Friday, April 29, 2011

Holding our Baby

I was listening to the radio on the way to a conference in St. Cloud today. A song came on about a pregnant woman who found out that her baby girl would likely live less than a year, her doctor asked her what she wanted to do. The mother and father had the baby, they wanted to hold her hand and be a mom and dad as long as they could. My heart broke thinking of our sweet little boy that never had a chance to have his mommy and daddy hold him. It seems so unfair, for him to never feel our arms around him, to never have a chance at life. I hope he felt comforted in my belly, listening to my heart beat. I hope he knew that I loved him, waited for him and wanted him more than words could ever describe. So, the tears kept flowing and I was digging for Kleenex thinking about how absolutely ridiculous I must look to all of the other folks in traffic.

Then I thought about our future, and the day that our family finally grows, the joy we will feel when our baby is put into our arms....more and more tears fell...the overwhelming gratitude I will feel to our baby's birth mother and father for giving us the most incredible gift, the gift of life. Then I prayed that the birth mother and father that choose us are ok with tears, because there will surely be lots of them when we see and hold our baby for the first time. What an amazing day it will be.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I called my mom the other day, and you know what she said? "Heather, I've always wanted to go to Holland!" (See previous post if this doesn't make sense!)

Thanks to my Mom, extended family, smiling ladies on the follower list, my Resolve support group, and my co-workers and friends that give me support in so many ways. Your encouragement means the world to me. You have gotten me through many difficult moments and have helped me see the hope through the heartbreak. The end of the story is going to be a good one. I just know it!


One of the questions I get on a somewhat frequent basis is if we are going to try IVF again, after all we have another session paid for. I can answer that with a good, solid maybe. Pretty pathetic, huh? Here's the deal. I'm not ready to go through that again. Here's why:
1) I had my blood drawn for auto immune tests a while back. I cried and cried sitting there. It brought back too many memories of baseline bloodwork and pregnancy tests.
2) That would mean more time in the place where I found out our baby died. What if my baseline ultrasound is in that very room? No thanks.
3) I can handle stabbing myself with shots all over my belly. I can handle having my eggs retrieved. I can handle them being put back in. I can handle telling Jamie to buck up and give me another shot in my keester. I don't think I can handle the 2ww (2 week wait)--the wait to find out if we are pregnant. Then, the two day wait to find out of my beta doubled. Then, the wait to see if the baby made it to ultrasound #1, then #2, then #3. It all sound too painful. I don't want any more babies to die.
4) If we get pregnant, our adoption will be on hold. (Yes, I realize we haven't even had our home study, but we are emotionally invested in our unknown adopted child already). If we have a biological child, we can't adopt through LSS for a year.
5) If we do another IVF cycle, we will pay about $9,000 out of pocket due to meds, bloodwork, ultrasounds and embryo testing. $9,000 would go a long way towards our $22,000-$25,000 adoption!
6) After everything we've learned about adoption, including the good, bad and ugly, we WANT to adopt a baby (or 2)!

So, am I ready to cash in on our shared risk program and get 75% of the $16,000 we invested back? (Only 75% because we have a frozen embryo.) Heck no. Based on our infertility track record, another IVF cycle is likely our last hope for a pregnancy. And, gosh do I LOVE being pregnant (even though it now scares me, too!)! And, as you well know, I'm not into giving up hope.

So, for now, I'll keep giving the same answer: maybe.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Softies, Grief and Loss

One of the speakers at our adoption training was a woman that has first hand dealt with both infertility and adoption. She was an excellent speaker, I could have listened to her all day. She and her husband have had 10 miscarriages (YES, TEN!). I can't even bear the thought of it. She talked about the importance of working through the grief and loss you experience with infertility, and giving up the biological "dream" of carrying a child and having the symbolic connection that comes with a biological child. The training included 32 adoptive families, and I am SURE that we were the two biggest softies in the room! I was sniffling during most of her talk--hearing about her heartbreak was close to home and hearing about the joy of her adoptions gave me so much hope. One thing that really touched me was when she talked about the mother's day that her husband left flowers for her on the table with a card that read, "We know you'd make a great mother! Love, Dan the Gang" (signing it on behalf of himself and the 5 babies they had lost at the time).

She spoke about the grief and loss that her children experience because they are adopted. No matter how great their life is, they feel the loss of their biological family. It gave me a twinge of pain to hear a mom you want your kids to have as easy of a life as possible. Knowing that our adopted children will have pain down the road due to the adoption is hard. But, I know that being a member of our family is in their best interest.

She also mentioned that because of the grief and loss we have experienced due to infertility, we will be better equip to help our children cope with their grief and loss. I sure hope so.

Garage Sale Day #2

The second day of our big adoption garage sale was COLD, too, but at least we saw a sneak peak of the sun every so often. Jamie was there with me most of the day and we got additional help from Kari and Mary Kaye. We had some friends stop by to visit which was really nice! The grand total from the two days was $1,219! UNBELIEVABLE! With Mary Kaye's monster cookie sale (she makes the BEST cookies and sold them at work for $2/cookie) and another donation we received, we are well over $1,300! We have a lot of people to thank for the great sale--so many people donated their items and time. We have a decent amount of things leftover, so boxed it up for a sale later this year.

It was fun to answer questions about our adoption during the sale. Lots of people asked where we are adopting from and were surprised to hear "Minnesota". Most people assumed we were adopting out of the country.

One woman commented that she serves as a guardian for pregnant women from time to time. She worked with a woman that placed her baby for adoption last week...they found the adoptive family through word of mouth. Of course, I was thrilled to meet her! She mentioned that she will be working with another woman soon, so I gave her some information about our family and our number. Before learning more about adoption through research and training, I think I would have been more aggressive and excited. But, we've learned that the right match will come along, and that you will know when that connection is there. So, I figured if it's meant to be, she'll call!

We met another woman that was about my age and was adopted. She said her birth mother tried to locate her, but she didn't have any interest in meeting her birth mother. After all, she had a mom and a dad, and that's all she needed. It was interesting to hear her perspective.

It was a very encouraging day, and we're $1,219 closer to covering our adoption costs (about $22,000-$25,000)!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Garage Sale Day #1

So here we are freezing our butts off on day 1 of our adoption garage sale! Yep, that's me and Jen (Kari needs to learn how to focus a bit better with my camera!). Despite the cool weather and mist, we had a great first day of our sale. We made $766!! We were so lucky to have had so many great "junk" contributions from friends, and the help of others to price and display everything. I say this a lot, but we are blessed. It's true.

Jen cracked me up, if someone tried to barter too much, she'd playfully add, "Come on, it's for the adoption!" And, it worked! :) One nice lady had me keep the change from her purchase (about $10!). She has a son (adopted) and is being placed with a baby in a few weeks through our county foster care program. Another guy that was hemming and hawing about each thing he was going to purchase gave me an extra $5. Another lady heard about the adoption and said she had to go and buy more stuff! I had some great conversations with many that gave encouraging words, asked many questions about our adoption, and told me "Good luck!" when they left. One woman who has a daughter that is struggling with infertility. She, too, tried IVF without success.

A few friends stopped by to see how things were going, it was so nice to get the support. Jen made sure we had warm coffee drinks handy. Chloe came to help for a while. Friends celebrated with me when I called to tell them the total from the day. Yes, we are blessed.

The garage sale did more than just raise funds for our adoption. It gave me a chance to feel lots of support, talk about our plans for adoption, and educate many people about the adoption process.

It was a great day. Let's pray for no rain tomorrow!

Adoption Training

Look at these happy prospective adoptive parents heading to "class"! I love the LSS sign in the background...the Center for Changing Lives. Yep.

We're Heading to Holland!

Our adoption training day was many things: a great chance to meet new people (people just like us!), fun, informational, overwhelming, scary, exciting, and the list could go on.

I'll blog about a few of the many important things from the day, but I thought I'd share the essay below. It was something I've heard before, and was repeated again yesterday. It applies to us, and to all of my friends that have given up "the biological dream". It was originally written about children with disabilities, but can certainly apply to those of us that thought having biological children would be easy...and was part of our "plan".

by: Emily Perl Kingsley.

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Both literally and figuratively, I have been to Italy. And, both literally and figuratively I have wanted to go to Holland. So, to Holland we will go. We'll admire the tulips and windmills, and will make it a grand adventure along the way. A true Thompson Family Adventure.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I had a fun Sunday lunch date with Dana in St. Cloud. It was fun to catch up with her in person! She brought a ton of great things for the garage sale, as well as all of Tanner's 4T clothes for Griffin. It was fun to look through Madi's old clothes and see the fun things Dana got for her on our annual fall shopping trip to Albertville. Mary Kaye and Helen were ohhing and ahhing over all the cute clothes! Griffin was excited to see a Batman windsuit in the massive pile of clothes! :)

Thanks to some great friends and my super hubby, prepping for the adoption garage sale is going well! Jamie picked up Mary's tables on Monday night and moved all of the items that Mary Kaye, Helen and I priced to Kari's garage--LOTS OF WORK! Mary Kaye was great and helped Jamie load the van and watch Griffin. (I had a work event.) Barb was a sweetheart and brought some tables over, too!

Last night Mary Kaye, Helen, Kari, Beth, Jamie and I set up the tables and racks and put all of our items out. Mary Kaye and Helen told me I had a lot of stuff before, but I didn't agree until I saw it all placed out! It's awesome! Griffin was happy, too, because the Easter Bunny dropped off a cool dump truck with a tool set at Kari's for him to play with. The Easter Bunny wasn't smart enough to include batteries, but Kari saved the day!

While putting things away, I got an exciting call from a friend that is going through the adoption process, too. Things are moving along well for her--I can't stop smiling! I am thrilled for her family and feel so much hope for ours.

More garage sale items are arriving today, so we will get those priced and ready to go! Everyone has been so supportive and generous!

We may be running into a weather problem, but we'll make the best of it. Bring on the umbrella and hot coffee! Jen will be there helping me sell on Friday--we are sure to have a great time! Whatever we don't sell will be boxed up for a sale later in the summer.

It's been fun working with friends on this garage sale, and feeling the much needed support for our adoption process. Life is good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


We just finished our online training and adoption application paperwork this afternoon! What a huge relief--it's a great feeling to have the paperwork checklist crossed off and ready to send in. It was a ton of work, but as Jamie kept saying "BABY!". :) (As a side note, my application/essays were 13 pages and Jamie's were 14 pages--guess he's more long winded than me, which I didn't know was possible!) Our next big step is our adoption class on Thursday. Now I can focus on the garage sale (it's next Friday and Saturday) as well as our adoption website and profile. Bring it on!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Got the bill for the blood tests I had taken to determine if I have an autoimmune disease which could have lead to the loss of our baby boy. $2,616.60. Gulp. I'm praying that the bill is for all 11 tests--it's hard to tell. I'm trying to remind myself that we needed to have the testing done to determine if anything was wrong, and that if I didn't have it done, I would always wonder. But, I can't help but think that $2,616.60 would have paid for a nice Caribbean vacation. With lots of delicious blended drinks.

On the agenda tonight is movie time for Griffin while Jamie and I are on separate computers working on completing our online adoption training. We each have 8 hours of training to complete before Thursday (when we have our adoption class). Yikes.

It's going to be a long week, but a productive one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Field Trip the County Jail

We had another fun "Thompson Family Adventure" tonight...a trip to the county jail! Jamie and I needed to get fingerprinted as part of our adoption process. (Yes, Jamie did say he felt a little weird taking our picture.) And, look at those nice fingerprints! Check another thing off the long list of to-dos!


I am constantly learning that life is short, today I felt I needed to acknowledge it. So, I took Griffin to the local coffee shop for breakfast and brought him to daycare late. I love dates with my little man. Griffin was picking out a table and talking to one of the coffee shop employees while I was paying for our breakfast.

I turn to look, and the employee that was talking to Griffin was walking up to me with a big smile on her face. "So, I hear he is going to be a big brother! Congratulations!"

Oh dear. I am not pregnant, I am SO not pregnant. Then it dawned on me that, yes, he IS going to be a big brother! So, I did what every expecting mother does: "Thank you!" Followed by a cheerful: "Oh, I'm not pregnant, we're adopting." Adopt. It's such a nice word. It warms people's hearts. The coffee shop lady definitely had a warm heart.

Enter coffee drinker on the left, "Oh, how exciting, you are adopting! Congratulations!"

So, there I was. An expecting mother, celebrating with strangers. I'm expecting, and my sweet boy gave me a moment to enjoy it publicly. No baby bump, but people still celebrated with me, for me. All because of my little man and his gift of gab. What a gift.


I was having a hard time on Monday morning. I was feeling like we had too much to do before April 21 (our adoption training day). We need to finish our paperwork, complete 8 hours of online training, get fingerprinted and gather more "junk" and price it to make sure the adoption garage sale is a success. To top it off, I was
visiting with a friend that gets ready at the Y the same time I do. I told her about our adoption garage sale and she inquired about the cost of adoption. I casually mentioned that it would probably cost between $22,000-$25,000. Her face said it all, she had complete sticker shock. She repeated, "I can't believe it costs that much." That stuck in my head. Really, I can't believe it costs that much either. Sigh. So. Much. Money. I know it will be SO worth it. But, it feels so unfair. We've worked so hard in school and our careers to get to where we are. Living paycheck to paycheck was a thing of the past. Then, we couldn't have babies like other people. The easy way. The normal way. The natural way. And, we love babies. We have so much love to give. So, after time, the money didn't bother me. It's just money. We can make more, right? What would I rather have, a lifetime of joy or a finished basement and fun trips? A lifetime of joy, thank you very much! But, on Monday it all bothered me. I wanted a pity party! I married my true love...and, our fairy tale came to a screeching halt when we tried to pursue the next grow our family. So, I had a mini pity party on the way to work. And, I pity partied a bit at work.

Then I got an email from a friend/co-worker/someone that really understands and offers me lots of encouragement and support. She commented that she read this blog and she was impressed that we were making so much progress so quickly. Really, we were? I didn't seem like it. My baby bump is gone, we aren't approved for adoption yet and there are SO many LONG and UNPREDICTABLE steps between approval and holding our baby in our arms. But, you know what, she is right! Three months ago we lost our baby, and here we are 3 months later still putting one foot in front of the other-- and still on the journey. We haven't given up. We ARE making progress. Wow, did that one email turn all of my thoughts around. Thank you!!

And, it gets even better. She said she'd love to contribute to our "junk to blessing" garage sale, but she gave away her "junk" to another garage sale that was raising funds for a great cause last fall. So, instead she sent a check to our friend that is hosting the garage sale at her home. 100% thoughtful, but also 100% unexpected and unnecessary--which I told her. She told me that she wanted to contribute. Want. It's so great to have people that want to help. Again, we are blessed.

My day and thoughts completely turned around with one two paragraph email. We are making progress and we are not alone. We have people in our lives that really, truly care. And, they show it. Wow. We are so, so fortunate.

Much Needed Help!

When we had our most recent miscarriage, a friend told me I had to keep trying and couldn't give up--and she said she'd do whatever she could to help me. Well, here is proof!
Mary Kaye and Helen have been an amazing help with our adoption garage sale. We priced things together for 3 hours on Sunday, and then they priced for 3 more hours without me! We got together on Monday night and priced for a few more hours and are getting together again on Wednesday. I'd be lost without them!
Totes and bags have been showing up from others and, more is on the way! It's so encouraging. We are so blessed to have such supportive and generous friends and family.
I have help lined up for the day of the garage sale, too. It's going to be a fun day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dear Surgery Center

Dear Surgery Center,
I, along with all of your other patients that have had to endure a D&C, would appreciate it if you would have a bit more respect with the language choices on your invoices. For example, after sufferring from an unexpected second trimester loss, it would be much less painful to read, "treatment--miscarriage" rather than "treatment--missed abortion".
I would be happy to consult with you on other ways to make your patients feel more comforted through this difficult process. Remember, we are grieving women, not just clients.
Warm regards,