Wednesday, May 21, 2014

IVF vs. Adoption

Someone commented on my last post asking for advice on IVF.  She said she wasn't sure which path she would choose: IVF or Adoption.  I can only speak to one side of it, because for us, IVF was the way to go but it might not be for everyone.

We started our journey to parenthood by going to the fertility clinic for a simple consult.  I was so naive at that point and really had no idea what we were jumping into.  I kept postponing buying clothes and such because I just knew with the next cycle that we could be pregnant.  Throughout the IUIs, I kept telling people how we "might" be pregnant, so I shouldn't drink beer, lift heavy stuff, etc and I now realize how silly I must have sounded telling all these people that I "might" be pregnant when in reality, there was a very very slim chance that the IUI would ever work.

When we decided to move on to IVF, I was super open again with the process.  I think it helped me to share my experiences to work through it myself.  What I didn't know was that other people really had absolutely no idea the struggles we were going through no matter how hard they tried to relate.  It was isolating to go through so many treatments, have to plan your day around your injection schedule, and worry constantly during the two week wait.  I read forums trying to understand what BFP, FET, IVF, BFN, 2WW, DD, DH, DS, HPT, BETA, and everything else meant.  While I appreciated everyone's support, it was also draining to have people ask if "it worked" yet and such.  After my 2nd FET when I got pregnant I told everyone who would listen, only to have to un-tell them that I was going to miscarry when I found out it was a blighted ovum at the 7 week ultrasound.  I couldn't even tell people myself.  I made Brian call our families and I sent e-mails to everyone else that I could.  I had co-workers come up to me afterwards and say that I just needed to "relax-go on vacation and I would just get pregnant."  Um, Right.  Maybe if I brought Dr. S with me.

After the miscarriages and cancelled transfers, I wasn't sure we could do another fresh cycle.  I was an emotional wreck and just didn't know if I could put myself, my  husband, and my body through it once again.  Brian hated seeing me in so much pain (physically and emotionally) and said he would leave it up to me if I wanted to go through the process again.  If not, we would figure something else out.  We never really talked about the possibility of adoption at length because we got pregnantwith the   girls the next cycle, but it wasn't off the table.  I am confident that's the path we would have chosen  had we not conceived through IVF.

For me it was never a question of "IVF or Adoption."  Ever since Brian and I met I had always wondered what our children would look like, and I wanted to give trying for a biological child all of our effort until someone told us to stop trying.  Our doctor was optimistic and never gave us a reason to stop the fertility treatments. He was confident that with a new cycle we could change a few things and have success.  Which we eventually did after "throwing the book at" my possible issues.  We still don't know exactly what made those embryos stick..... could have been the thyroid medication, or the prednisone that kept my body from attacking the embryos.  Could have been the lower dose of FSH meds, the constant monitoring of E2 and P4. Who knows, really.  The first batch of embryos could have just been bad for all we know.  I was SURE our FET wouldn't be successful either, but man was I wrong.  I prepared myself for failure and heartbreak, but I got quite the opposite.

We spent a lot of money on IVF.  There is no question to that.  Do I regret it? Not for one second.  Would I have regretted spending so much and not ending up with a baby? I can't say for sure, but I don't think so.  If we had stopped treatments prematurely, I would have always wondered "what if."  And "What would my kids look like?"  You will know when enough is enough and if treatments are worth it for a shot at pregnancy or if you should skip it and adopt.  Everyone's heart is in a different place.  I know women that have done treatments, never sustained a pregnancy, and then adopted.  I know women that have never sustained a pregnancy and went on to have biological children through a gestational carrier.  Some adopted first, and then had bio children after.  There are all kinds of situations and one that's right for one family will not be right for another.

Since I can only speak from my viewpoint of getting pregnant through IVF, perhaps others can chime in on their adoption experience by commenting or sharing a link to your blog.  I know some of you wonderful ladies must still be reading. :)

Here are my 4 miracle babies!

Sunday, May 11, 2014


The whole conceiving, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding thing has caused me to shed a lot of tears.  And I mean a lot.  Lately though, I feel like I am starting to heal and move on from letting it all take over my life.  It will always be a part of my life, but it isn't the only thing I think about anymore.  I am a mom.  Four times over!  I carried two sets of twins to term.  I was able to have the vaginal delivery that I so desired.  And even though I wasn't able to nurse my babies as long as I had wanted to, I provided them with breastmilk for over a year.  Over a year!!!

This is the first time in a long time that I feel like I just get to enjoy being a mom without worrying about all of that other stuff.  I'm not planning my next round of IVF.  I'm not thinking about my next injection.  I'm not thinking about what my birth experience will be like.  And I'm certainly not thinking about the next time I have to pump.  And the next time I have to pump 3 hours after that.  I'm able to wake up in the morning, feed my kids, play with my kids, and (sometimes) leave the house if I'm feeling ambitious.  I get to go to playdates with other moms, take the kids to the park, sit around and watch movies all day, or whatever we feel like doing!

Today as I drove home from meeting a sweet baby boy today, it dawned on me that I wasn't hurting inside as I once had.  I didn't fear going to the hospital to see baby E, his mom, and his dad.  Instead, I was filled with joy for this newly bonded family.  I wasn't sad about not nursing my babies, I was happy that this mom was choosing to try and breastfeed her son.  I didn't have that feeling in the pit of my stomach as I held this tiny baby boy of "When will I get to be a mom."

I'm actually quite surprised with myself.  Time does help heal the soul, and that's one thing I do know.  Knowing that my journey through infertility and what not can help someone else, also makes it seem like it wasn't all for nothing.  I have numerous friends that have come out of the woodwork when I post on FB that they are also struggling to get pregnant.  They are scared, and feel so so alone.  Just knowing that they have a friend out there to answer questions and provide support puts them more at ease.

When I was having difficulty breastfeeding, I read everything and anything that I could find.  I joined support groups for breastfeeding, getting baby back to breast, and finally exclusively pumping when it turned into that.  I learned proper techniques for pumping, how to choose the right size flanges, how to maximize production, how to properly store breastmilk, how long its good for, which types of pumps are best, how to pump and drive, what a tongue tie is, how to check for an upper lip tie, all sorts of things.  I was pretty open about my struggles on FB and privately with friends.  I now find myself getting messages from friends asking breastfeeding questions.  I expected that these would cause me pain and bring up thoughts of what I deemed my own failure, but they aren't.  Instead, I feel a sense of pride that I can share the information I have learned so that another mom won't have to go through what I did.  Its taken me a long time to get to this sense of overall peace, but I finally have.  The feelings I have about these topics will never completely go away, and I'm sure will resurface again if/when we TTC again, but for once they are not everything to me.  Just being a regular mom is.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you that are already mothers, and those of you that long to be.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2.5 going on 25

Where do I begin with these two little girls.... Parenting toddlers is so much different than parenting babies.  There are tantrums, timeouts, hitting, pushing, screaming,  crying because you want something, and crying because you don't want what you just cried over.  But, there are also hugs, kisses, smiles, and I love you's.

Lately on FB, there has been a lot of bragging about what people's children can do at the age of 2.5.  Some people's kids know all of their ABCs, numbers 1-20, colors, etc.  They  are so worried about their children learning these things at such a young age and it seems there's a lot of pressure on the kids.  I am a firm believer in a more natural, fun approach when it comes to learning.  If a child wants to learn, and enjoys doing it, they will become a lifelong learner.  If they are forced into it, they may not have that intrinsic motivation that others do.  

Grandma has taught the girls their ABCs via using super fun flashcards.  The girls love to do their ABCs with her!  There are little pictures on the cards as well and they always remember what Grandma says about the picture too.  For example, the letter I has an ice cream cone that's dripping.  When Grandma asks what it is, Evy says that "Its dripping on the floor!" Or, the picture for letter Q is a quilt and Evy will say that "it goes on Grandma's bed!"  I have no idea how they keep all of that knowledge up there, but its pretty awesome.  We practice colors by pointing things out in books, picking out sippy cups, silverware, plates, etc.  We count blueberries, fingers, toes, eyes, and whatever else we can count.  They sort things by helping put the silverware away.  Char is really good at it!  You can just see her wheels turning when she's standing on the chair putting the forks with the forks, spoons with spoons, etc.  Its so cool when you can just see them thinking!

So, back to my point.  I wanted to throw a different perspective out to FB.  I wanted to say how important it is to work on character instead of just intelligence.  This is what I wrote and I got an overwhelmingly positive response!  Every parent puts importance on what they feel they need to, and at this age, I want them to be good little people with big hearts.

I am insanely proud of what amazing little people Char and Evy have become at the young age of 2 1/2. My girls care about their family, and love to play with their friends. After a play date all they can talk about is what they did that day. They love to help unload the dishwasher, put clothes in laundry baskets, and cook breakfast. They understand feelings, offer a blankey, and rub someone's back when they seem sad. They follow directions, say please and thank you, give hugs, kisses, high fives & fist bumps, and kiss their mom and say I love you. Their eyes light up when they get to do simple things like go shopping with mom or go outside and get the mail. Watching them play pretend makes my heart melt every single time. They may not know all of their letters, numbers, shapes, and colors yet but there is still a lot of time for that. To me what's important right now is shaping them into caring, empathetic, creative, open minded and thoughtful people.

What else is new with them you ask? They never. stop. talking! I remember wishing that they would talk more, but now I just want one moment of silence!  I have to say though, what they do say is pretty entertaining.  
Here are a few of my favs:

Shaun T is kicking mommy's butt! (In reference to me doing T25)

What's that for? ( Evy says this countless times a day)

Whatchya doin Mama? (Evy also says this many many times a day.)

I love you Mommy!

There's a big ucky right there. (She's telling me to get the bug or whatever away from her)

Bro has penis, Evy (or Char) has jaina.  (Yes, yes that's true.)

Boop! (Pokes my belly button.)

Bro Bros Awake!!! (They get very excited when the boys are up from their nap)

Sure! Uh-huh!  (I ask Char something and this is what she says.  Cutest thing ever.)

Evy do it! I do it!

I'm so hungry for cookies.  (Aren't we all?)

Use a fork, Mama.  (I was eating my asparagus with my fingers and she told me to use a fork! How proper.)

Take a big sip?  (They always want a sip!)

Mama drink beer? (Yes, of course I drink beer.  And wine. And coffee. A lot of it)

I'm sure there are many many many other things that they say daily, but that's just what comes to mind.

Things the girls LOVE right now:

  • The movie Frozen
  • Playing outside
  • Tormenting their brothers
  • Playing with the doggie
  • Throwing food
  • "Helping" mom with chores around the house
  • Pushing buttons (actual buttons, and Mom's buttons!)
  • Playing pretend
  • Cuddling with Mommy
  • Their blankies
  • Talking non-stop!
  • Talking to Grandma on
  • Learning... everything!
  • Being independent
  • Buckling things
  • Playing with water
  • Going places with mom
  • Riding in the car
  • Did I mention talking?
  • Eating cookies
  • Helping mom make waffles
  • Playing pretend
  • Taking care of their babies
  • Playing at the park
  • Playing with their friends
  • Making messes out of EVERYTHING
I love these two so much and am so proud to be their mom!  I know I don't do everything right, but no one does.  I am doing the best I can and that's all that a mom can do.

Friday, May 2, 2014

12 (13, and 14) Months!

The boys turned ONE at the end of February.  Its pretty wild to think about the fact that I have two two year olds and two one year olds!  The boys have such funny personalities and I almost hate to say it, but things are getting easier these days!

I will have to find the paperwork from their 12 month appointment, but Oliver was about 22.5 pounds and Elliott was 27.5 pounds!  Elliott stayed on basically the same growth curve as he's been on, but Ollie shot up in both height and weight by about 15 percentile points.  I was really happy to see that because at his 9 month appointment he was barely eating any solids at all... and now he eats like a champ!!

Both of the boys pretty consistently wear 18 month clothes.  Although Elliott can fit in some 24 month stuff and Ollie in some 12 month stuff! He has a really small toosh and the 18 month pants just fall off of him.  They wear size 4 diapers during the day and size 5 at night. These boys pee A LOT! Just to give you an idea, the girls still wear a size 4 and are completely fine in them!  Elliott is in about a size 6 shoe and Oliver in a size 4.  Elliott has 8 teeth and Oliver 9.  He JUST popped his 9th this week and it was a molar... brutal I tell you.  He was up MULTIPLE times each night.  I bet you can imagine how awesome that is for mom!

We have a pretty good schedule going on these days.  The boys wake up around 7:00-8:00, have breakfast, play, and then take a nap around 10:30.  They are usually up by noon, have lunch around 1:00, and are back down for their second nap about 2:30 when all kids take a nap.  Seriously, from 2:30-5:00 is my saving grace!  Some days I take a nap, and other days I get things done or work on a sewing project without 8 little hands trying to touch my sewing stuff.  After they wake up from their nap we play for a while, have dinner, and then do baths and bed.  If I'm lucky, all the kids are fast asleep by 8:30, but that hasn't been really happening lately.  I just transitioned Ollie into his crib (instead of his car seat) so its taking a little longer to get settled down.  Both boys won't sleep either unless I sit in their room with them.... So, here I am, blogging away!  I'm actually glad to have the excuse to do it!  Usually I sit on the couch and watch crummy tv.

The boys' vocabulary is really blooming.  Here's what they are saying. Elliott: mama, dada, Urza, bite,uh-oh, all done, bye-bye, go go go, up, and lots and lots of babbling.  Ollie says: mama, dada, all done, uh oh, bye-bye, go go go, and other unrecognizable words.  He doesn't do as much babbling as Elliott, but I'm sure he will get there!

Did I mention that they love to eat? Here are some of their favorites: Turkey, cheese, Pirate's Booty, green beans, carrots, peas, home made puree pouches (apples, bananas, and lots of veggies), PB sandwiches, mashed potatoes, sour cream, watermelon, applesauce, french fries, pancakes, melon, scrambled eggs, bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, chocolate, cookies of any kind, chicken, and really just about anything we give them.  The only thing I've found that they don't like is avocado, which is really a shame!

Its really hard to sum up the boys' personalities in just a few words!!!  Ollie is just the sweetest boy I've ever met, but he sure does know what he wants.  If one of his sisters swipes his toys, he will let you know how he feels about that!  He is such a ham, and always smiles for the camera.  As soon as he sees my camera (phone) come out, he turns on the charm!  He loves to give kisses and has the most amazing little laugh.  His whole face just lights up when he smiles and laughs at you!!  What can I say, this kid loves music more than  anything.  It calms him down instantly and he always jams out to the tunes that we play on our phones. Ollie dances in his high chair when music comes on and tries to sing "Let it Go" from Frozen.  Watching him do his butt scoot is about the funniest thing I've ever seen.  He never crawled, just scooted, and then started walking.  (At 13.5 months.) I just love this little guy to pieces! He loves being held by his mama, and is totally the baby of the family (even if only by 13 minutes.)

Elliott is my big goofy boy.  He loves to laugh, play, be silly, and make funny noises.  He is a daredevil and climbs up on EVERYTHING.  He will get up on the coffee table, use that to get onto the couch and then scare the living daylights out of you as he runs back and forth on the couch.  He has a HUGE smile that you can't help but to love!  He's always on the go and has now learned how to open up the door that goes to the garage! He loves to play and explore outside.  You name it, he likes to taste it... rocks, dirt, sticks, chalk, leaves, everything.

Both of my boys are animal lovers.  I think after they said mama and dada their next word was Urza.  The dog.  When I call him, the boys do too.  They love to throw his ball (sort of), pet him, and climb on top of him which he doesn't seem to mind too much.  The other day Elliott was testing the cat's patience a bit.  She was on top of the couch and he kept poking at her.  She just kept swatting at him until he got the picture.  Pretty entertaining for all of us!!!  They do like to pull fur at times as well, but thankfully she tolerates that too.  When they hear her meow they tend to let go and back off a bit.

What else can I say? Life is super extra crazy these days, but I feel like we have really made a turn for the easier.  We went to the zoo not too long ago with only a double stroller.  The boys rode and the girls walked.  It worked out pretty well!  I only have to pack a small diaper bag when we go out and about too.  If need be, I can grab food from wherever to feed them.   That's about all my mommy brain can think of, so lets find some photos!!