Monday, March 28, 2011

Progress, Finances and Tough Questions

We're making progress! Our paperwork is 3/4 done! We've given out all of the documents that need to be completed by others (one of our references is already 1/2 done with their letter!). We need to go to the county jail to get fingerprinted....that will be an adventure!

Last night I sorted through 5 tubs of baby items and pulled out the things that I didn't want to keep for the new Baby T. It was so fun to look at all of Griffin's sweet little clothes and it made me very excited for our baby to arrive! (I know it will be a long wait, but I'm excited anyway!)The baby items I didn't want was added to the ever growing garage sale pile.

I sent an email out to my female co-workers and a few friends about our "Adoption Garage Sale" today and got lots of encouraging response. We're having the garage sale at my friend Kari's house on April 22 and 23. Let's hope it's a beautiful day with lots of people in the mood to find great deals!

One big icky part of my day....more bills arrived for my D&C, so we're up to $1,200 in expenses for that. YUCK. I'm sure the karyotype on our baby (genetic testing) will be a small fortune, too. The good news is that $1,200 in medical expenses doesn't seem as bad as it used to....but that's just because we spent $30,000 on medical expenses last year. How nice of us to do our part to make sure the medical community stays strong. [End sarcasm.]

Because we spent so much money last year, we were rewarded with credit card points! Yeah, us! We turned those into Wal-Mart credit cards (I know what you are thinking, I'd prefer Target, too, but that wasn't an option). Tonight Jamie, Griffin and I went to Wal-Mart to spend our gift cards on our family wish list: a dorm refridgerator for my office, and ipod docking station for home, a DVD holder for our family room and a new vacuum cleaner. So, thank you IVF clinic for 4 fun purchases!! (And, mom, don't freak out, we did pay off the credit way we are paying 20% interest on medical expenses!!) I realize we should maybe be more practical and buy TP and shampoo, but we have to "live" a little!

When we left Wal-Mart Griffin saw a big family and looked at me and said, "Mom, why do they have so many kids? Why do you only have one kid?" As I was drafting the appropraite response in my head, Jamie jumped in and said, "We're working on it buddy, we are going to have more kids in our family." Gosh I love that guy. He's right! We WILL have more kids in our family! Off to sort through more tubs of clothes to bring in money to help fund our adoption!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Washed Up"

One of the things that I've noticed about infertility is the feeling that I am "washed up". Not being able to get pregnant and have a baby makes me feel like my body is broken and old. I'm only 34. ONLY 34. That's actually kinda young, right? Right. So, I need to quit telling myself that I am washed up, broken and old.
I work out 4 days a week at 5:30 a.m. Washed up people don't do that.
Instead of sitting in front of the TV, I play with our son. Washed up people don't do that either.
And, Jamie and I jam pack our days with a whole lot of living. We have fun adventures and make games out of everyday things. Nope, not something that washed up people even care about.
So, I'll be working on new words to describe myself....whole, full of life, vibrant, young and happy......and flat stomached (that may take a while).

And, I'll keep covering my gray hair with highlights.

Turning Junk into a Blessing

We've been slowing doing some spring cleaning and purging things we don't need for a great cause! We're having a "junk = blessing" garage sale some time in May at a friend's house. Jamie prepped an area downstairs and we've started filling it with boxes and boxes of "junk" that we are hoping to turn into dollars that we can apply to our family building expenses. I got the idea when I visited an adoption website and it looked like so much fun--the photos of the garage sale showed their friends helping them with the sale...and quite honestly through this all, I am looking for a little fun! I also met with another friend that adopted and she, too, had a sale and said it was uplifting and helpful. So, done deal, we're doing it!
Once we get a date finalized, we'll let some of our friends know that if they have any items they are planning on getting rid of, we'll happily add them to the sale. We've already had a friend drop off a box of stuff as a contribution!
I love garage sales, but don't really enjoy getting ready for them. However, this time Jamie and I are both having a lot more fun with it. And, we are purging much more than we have before!
Before the sale I plan to go through all of Griffin's baby clothes. I think it will be good to downsize some of it and just keep the things that we really liked and are in great condition. We must have 15 tubs of clothes downstairs--EEK!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Relief! But, what now??

Our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) called tonight (I admire him so much, frequently his calls are at night and on the weekend--he's tries to catch me when I am not at work and can talk openly for as long as I want). Good news! The barrage of tests I had about a week and a half ago were NEGATIVE! No Lupus, no Rheumatoid Arthristis, no blood clotting disorders! I know if we found out bad news, our life would have switched from goals of family building to goals of maintaining my health for as long as possible. So, yeah!

BUT...that means we don't know why we lost our precious baby boy.

Maybe we are closer to an answer? Maybe we will never get the answer?

Our RE had a few suggestions for "next time". And he recommends a next time.

We'll see.

P.S. Tonight Griffin said, "Mom, there were two babies in..." and I started to cringe fearing he'd say "your belly". Instead, he finished the sentence with "....Nonna's tummy". "Yes, Griffin, that's right, Nonna had Uncle Chris and me in her belly." [Sigh of relief.] Sometimes I have to put life into perspective and realize it's not all about me. :)

Cheers to good test results, and to red wine with dinner!

Three Peas in a Pod

Last night after we tucked Griffin into bed, Jamie told me that a few minutes earlier Griffin had tears in his eyes and pulled his white blanket close to his face and said, "Daddy, why did our baby have to go from Mommy's tummy?" I never imagined that 2 1/2 months after our miscarriage he would still be asking these kinds of questions. He only knew about our baby for 2 weeks (although he asked if I had a baby in my tummy a few times before we told him he was going to be a big brother). It's so hard to explain to our sweet little boy, especially since we don't understand it ourselves.

Many times when the three of us are playing, laughing or are out on a family adventure, I think, "We're three peas in a pod." I guess with grief it's no different, we are all still feeling sadness and loss. At least we can grieve together.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Take on Paperwork

I love's so fun to look back on all of our great memories and preserve them for the future. Griffin will probably have no interest in dragging 20 scrapbooks with him to his home someday, but I am sure I will enjoy sharing each moment with my fellow residents at the nursing home.

The writing part of the adoption paperwork is a bit like scrapbooking. I've been reliving my life stage by stage for the last 2.5 hours+ (and I still have MANY more questions to answer....and I PROMISE I am not being long winded).

It was fun to write about my childhood. I had to call my mom to check on how I was disciplined....I don't really recall getting punished much. I hated disappointing my parents. My mom reminded me that if Chris and I weren't getting along she'd sit us across from each other at the little kid's table and in no time we'd be giggling. I can't wait for Griffin to have a sibling so I can test that out! She also told me that once they took the door off my room for slamming it too many times! I don't remember that, but I don't doubt one bit that in my pre-teen years I was a door slammer.

I had to write about my favorite memories as a child--I talked about "Wolney Snow Day"--the day each year that there was lots of snow, but school was still on. My parents would keep us home from school, my dad would stay home from work and we would watch movies and eat pizza in our PJs. I also loved "Heather Day" and "Chris Day" when we got to choose the plans for the day for our whole family.

I also got to write about my friendships (I am blessed with great friends), and about how Jamie and I met....and every other detail about our relationship! I was able to write my observations of him as a father and felt like I could go on forever about how patient, understanding, loving and supportive he is.

I had to write about tragedy, loss and how I dealt with it. Tears were flowing then. But through the tears, I was reminded of the outpouring of support we have had through each tough moment in life.

Overall, this part of the paperwork is actually fun--reliving the good times (and rough times) and being thankful for the good life we have.

OK, back at it!

Just checked--I have 29 questions to go (plus financial info, etc.) and completed 26. Jamie only has 9 left to go (he worked on his for 4 hours yesterday)!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I just spent time looking through photos on my computer to select which ones we will use for our adoption profile and website. Those of you that know me well know that I have a camera with me most of the time, so this project may take several months! :)
It was fun looking back at all of the things we do as a family. We're definitely all about experiences. We're the kind of parents that encourage puddle splashing, early morning leaf crunching in our PJs and trying new things. We have a great life.

Looking at the photos also conjured up different emotions--the photo of us on the hayride reminded me of the cute baby girl and her older brother (who was younger than Griffin) that we saw at the was hard for me to get past that, the photo of us tubing was taken just before we were about to start IVF....I had so much hope that I'd be pregnant and nearly due about now, and the photo of Griffin at a local small town festival reminded me of the trips we didn't take in the summer so that we could save money for our procedures.

Mixed emotions, but overall, life IS great. We are blessed in so many ways. We have so much support and love from others and for each other. We WILL get through this. I can't wait to hold our baby in my arms and know that it was all worth it!!


While I was running the other day, it dawned on me that I was suddenly freed from the infamous 2ww that all of us infertiles experience. 2 weeks of waiting to find out if we are pregnant, 2 weeks of waiting to ovulate, and repeat. (Not to mention shots, pills, tears, etc. inserted into the equation).

Suddenly I am doing things that I haven't done in a long time: running 3 miles straight (wow did that feel good!), drinking a diet cherry pepsi without any guilt, sipping on wine with dinner. As I was running and processing all of this, I felt so liberated, I felt like me again!!

Would I rather be pregnant and feeling a baby kick in my belly? Absolutely. But, I don't have that choice right now, so I am choosing to live life to the fullest and enjoy things that I haven't in a long time.

I noticed a change in me when I went out with a group of girls last night, I feel like I am getting my old pre-infertility self back. A weight has been lifted off. I don't need to be concerned about medications and doctor's appointments. Instead, I need to complete paperwork and take good care of myself and my family--those things seem so much more manageable to me!!

So, for now I feel liberated. I hope it lasts. :)

P.S. Now the dreaded question of "How many children do you have?" doesn't seem quite as tough. My answer now is, "One, and we are in the process of completing our paperwork to adopt." Gosh does that feel good!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Our new hobby, adoption paperwork. Adoption paperwork with butter caramels.
Adoption paperwork with french press coffee.

Hope and a Sign

On Saturday we were registered for a Resolve Family Building Conference in the Cities. (Resolve is a national infertility association that assists families struggling with infertility. I attend a monthly support group in St. Cloud through Resolve.)
We woke up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the conference in time and could quickly tell that the roads would be bad (wind, wind, wind). We looked online and the road conditions were indeed bad, so we thought we'd have to skip the conference. As the gal that looks for signs (Miss, I know I am not the only one!), I thought this was our sign that we needed to give up the battle. (As you can tell I am a bit burned out lately!) Positive husband came to the rescue. He told me to jump in the shower while he cleared the driveway and he'd check to see how bad the roads were.
We got on the road and got to the conference mid-way between the first session. We missed the keynote speaker, but I didn't mind one bit--we got there. As much as I feel defeated, deep down in my heart that I am not ready to give up hope.
We had a great day and learned so much about coping with infertility, alternative options (i.e. acupuncture) and adoption. We skipped the sessions on artificial reproductive technologies...we feel like we are WELL versed in that area! I am so blessed to have such a supportive, understanding husband. We split up and went to different sessions so we could get as much info as possible, he was so great at recapping what he learned. I'm happy to say that after the conference today, we feel even better about our decision to pursue adoption. (But, don't be thinking I have let go of the pregnancy dream!)
We seemed to have a very unique situation with a biological child conceived naturally, yet a huge amount of struggle to have a child afterwards. The struggle sucks, but we are really blessed to have G.
I hope that some day we are panelists at this event. We want to help others get through their struggle.
Anyway, how is this for a sign? At the end of the day there was a prize drawing, we could put our tickets into boxes labeled for the items we would like to win. We won $1,000 towards our home study through Lutheran Social Services!
Our night ended with dinner with a good friend that happened to be in town from Madison. The perfect end to what turned out to be a great day.

Not Gonna Lie....Breakdown

So, every now and then through this crazy process you have to expect a little breakdown. Everything is SO emotional, feels SO unfair and seems like SO much work. So, I had one of those breakdown things on Friday night, and ironically a good friend called in the middle of it. I did what any good woman dealing with infertility would do....sucked up the tears, chatted like normal, then broke down. Luckily the good friend was calling about going out for a drink, so I picked her up and we headed to a small town bar a few towns away. By the time I got there I felt better thanks to her great listening ears and encouragement. Boy, I love friends.


After we miscarried in January, we had chromosome testing on our baby and found out that we were having a sweet little boy....and that he was chromosomally normal. Not what we expected, so the big question was WHY??? We have been through so much, feel as though we are good parents with so much love to give. Why oh why oh why can't we have more children? (I could expand on this topic for about a week straight, so I will move on and get off my soapbox.) Anyway, our Reproductive Endocrinologist ordered a host of auto immune blood tests. The thought of having my blood drawn AGAIN and going back to the clinic in town where we found out that our baby was no longer living wasn't all that appealing to me, so I put it off. I finally called on Wednesday to make sure the blood work orders were in, and they were. On Thursday I got up my courage to go back into the clinic, I went in at 7:30 and figured I'd be out of there in 15 minutes. Wrong. I sit down and they lab tech looks at my order and says, "So, you are having an Hcg test (pregnancy test) today?" [Insert tears.] So, her curtain was quickly closed, I explained the situation and she went in search of the correct orders. Because many of the tests were somewhat unique, she asked someone to assist her. They had to consult the Mayo Clinic site to make sure that they were doing all of the correct tests. In the end I spent 45 minutes there and has 11 vials of blood taken (and it wasn't very fun to hear all of they scary things I was being tested for). Good thing I had a nice run with a good friend before I got to the clinic so the blood work wasn't the start of my day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Perhaps the scariest part about our adoption journey is bringing Griffin's heart into it. He wants to be a big brother, and his heart was broken when we lost "his baby" at 14 weeks along. We asked our contact at Lutheran Social Services (LSS) about how to introduce the adoption concept to him. She recommended that we start talking about how some mommies can't take care of their babies, so sometimes other families take care of them. We started having discussions with him about that and explained what adoption means. He's excited about the idea of adoption, but makes comments like: "But what if no one gives us a baby?" "What if I don't get a baby?" We encourage him (and ourselves) that we will have a baby someday.

One of the other comments that really stuck with me when we had our meeting with LSS was that some adoptive parents tell their children that the baby's birth mother is deciding if she can take care of the baby, and in the mean time that they are going to take care of the baby. Then, if the birth mother decides that she wants to parent, it won't be as difficult for the family's current children.

What a tough decision. I want so badly to be able to bring Griffin to the hospital to meet his new brother or sister and talk to him about us being a family right away, but I also want to protect him from any more heartbreak.

This isn't going to be an easy road, but I know we will get through and will make the right decisions for our family. I am thankful that the three of us are on the same page, we all want to grow our family and can't wait to be blessed with a fuller home!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adoption Stories

We've gotten lots of encouragement to follow this path from wonderful adoptive parents that have shared their stories with us. I was fortunate to have lunch with a friend/adoptive parent a few weeks ago. It was great to be able to ask all of the questions that have been running through my head....How did your first meeting go with the birth mother? What did she want to know about you? How challenging was the paperwork? What was your experience like in the hospital? How did you structure your open adoption? How did you cope with the waiting period? She was so supportive and offered to help with questions we have during our adoption process. It will be great to call her when we need advice, or just an ear.

Last weekend we went out for drinks with a couple that adopted through LSS a little over a year ago. Their adoption story was encouraging to hear. I found it really interesting and heartwarming that from beginning to completion, their adoption process was 9 months, just like a pregnancy! They provided us with all of the documents they were given throughout the adoption process and shared their family profile with us. They will be another great resource for us as we travel down this new path.

We have a friend that adopted through foster care, and we have play dates with her and her daughter on a regular basis. It will be nice to have that relationship and someone to get advice from about how to communicate about adoption with our children.

Along the Way

Along the way of our family building journey, we've encountered situations that encouraged us to look more closely into adoption. Maybe they were just coincidences, but they seemed to be nudging signs to us. For instance....
  • Getting my blood drawn for IVF and having the nurse show me a photo of her beautiful adopted granddaughter.
  • Meeting with an acupuncturist to get assistance with fertility and finding out that he has two children adopted from the same agency we were considering.
  • Attending an event with several children included, all of which were adopted except for Griffin. Also at the event, an attorney that we knew commented that he loved his work with adoption. We left agreeing that we would someday adopt, and found out that next day that we were pregnant through our 2nd round of IVF (we miscarried at 14 weeks).

And, there's more! Maybe I'm latching on to these things because I want direction as to where we should be heading.....but maybe these things have been put front and forward so we notice them and follow the path towards adoption. Either way, we've started down a new path and are excited to see what our future holds. I can't wait for the day when our family photo includes 4 (or 5) of us!

Friday, March 4, 2011

First Offical Step!

After a great phone meeting with Lutheran Social Services, we took our first offical step towards adoption....below is our first piece of paperwork and money spent towards growing our family through adoption! (And, MUCH more to come!) We applied for the Domestic Infant Adoption Program through Lutheran Social Services. On 3/3/11 we received the information for our next steps including lots of paperwork and background check information. Oh how I wish I loved paperwork and running errands. We'll be working on completing paperwork, gathering documents, taking an 8 hour online training course, and on 4/21/11 we will be attending an adoption training course in the Cities. It all seems so overwhleming, and a bit unfair. I believe we are great parents, it's a little frustrating that we have to prove that to others. But, I also understand that its important for children to be placed in good homes. So, we will cheerfully go through all of the necessary steps, and hope and pray that we are blessed with a precious addition to our family!

Just Beginning

After 8 months of oral medication, 5 failed IUIs, many shots, ultrasounds, procedures, blood draws, 2 rounds of IVF, and a total of 3 miscarriages (it's amazing how one small sentence can encompass such a huge amount of pain, disappointment, time, money and loss), a good friend asked me if this was the end of our journey to grow our family. I told her that I thought it was just the beginning.

So, here we are. Just beginning.

The beginning is exciting. And scary. And hope filled.