We Are Really Doing This

That’s what I’m starting to find myself thinking. “Wow, we are really doing this.” For so long I said I didn’t feel like I needed to or wanted to do IVF. We pursued adoption, completed our home study, and for six months we were a waiting family. Then one day after struggling with the wait we found ourselves considering IVF. We dove into researching our IVF options and found that IVF was actually a great possibility for us.

Now we find ourselves in the wait to start IVF. We’ve taken our names off the waiting list with the adoption agency, we’ve made our IVF payment, scheduled appointments, and are getting ready to purchase all the meds. I am finding this new wait to be very different. As we move forward we learn more about IVF and what our IVF journey will look like. I’ve found myself starting to feel more hopeful. We’ve tried other fertility treatments and they weren’t successful, which makes it hard to not be guarded.

But sometimes when I’m by myself I start thinking about how this might work. I had given up on ever being pregnant. I had accepted that we would welcome a newborn into our family that wouldn’t be genetically related to us. Now we have this chance to have a biological child and I have the chance to experience carrying and growing our child. It sounds like a dream.

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A month from today we have our first appointment for our IVF retrieval cycle. It looks like the first of our shots will start on Christmas and our egg retrieval will be somewhere between January 4th and 6th. All of the embryos will be frozen and six to eight weeks later we will do a frozen transfer. So we still have some waiting ahead of us again,  but we are moving forward and we can’t wait to see where this new journey takes us.

I know that IVF may be new to some of you. You might have questions and we are always happy to answer them, we are actually still learning too. Here’s a resource with some general IVF information for anyone that’s interested: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/in-vitro-fertilization .

Michelle

A New Path

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Our adventure to start our family has not been a predictable one. I’d always thought we’d have difficulty getting pregnant and that we would need medical help. When our third iui was unsuccessful last year we were ready to move on. We needed to do something new and adoption felt like the right option for us.

We spent months saving and researching adoption. We chose an adoption agency in Kansas, completed our home study, and became a waiting family in May. There have been days where the wait has felt short and others where the wait has felt unbearably long.

Lately I’ve found myself asking if we’ve done everything we can. I’m a planner and to endure this wait I have to be able to say I’ve done everything I can right now. Not having control over the length of our adoption journey has been so hard.

One option we never considered was ivf. We thought it would take years to save up the money for either ivf or adoption and couldn’t stand the thought of ivf not working and having to start saving all over again. Surprisingly we were able to save the needed money for adoption over this last year. We never thought that would be possible, I almost cried the first time I did our budget when we started considering adoption and it was looking like it might take 3-4 years to save enough money. Thanks to Josh’s new job and a lot of side work we have been able to save what we needed.

Now that we had the money saved, ivf could be an option but thinking about changing our path felt strange. How could we just change our minds after all the time we’ve spent planning to adopt and after already being a waiting family for 6 months? Before I even told Josh about this crazy idea I spent time researching it. What are the costs? What does ivf look like with the fertility clinic we had already gone to?

Through my research I found out that our fertility clinic participates with a company that has a risk sharing program. You get a reduced rate on your treatment, but you pay for multiple cycles at one time. If it works the first time you don’t get the money back that was paid for the other cycles. I also found out that same company had a program that gives a discount to public service professionals, and teachers were on the list. There was also another program where you could get a portion of your money refunded if ivf was unsuccessful for you, if you meet their criteria to qualify for the program.

I took all this information and shared my crazy idea with Josh, and to my surprise he didn’t think it was all that crazy. We found ourselves seriously considering ivf (and we were quite shocked). We decided we would book a consultation appointment with our fertility clinic and go from there.

Our consultation went really well. Looking at our medical records they feel we have a great chance of success. I asked about the discount program that included teachers, they said they hadn’t heard they could include teachers and currently only had veterans on the program. They said they would definitely check into it for us. Within two weeks they had teachers added. We’ve spent the last few weeks having different tests done to prepare for ivf and to find out if we could qualify for the refund program.

We are still working out our plan but we felt it was the right time to share with our friends and family that we are now pursuing building our family through ivf. We know that this could be unsuccessful and that we may end up back on the path to adoption, and that’s okay. Right now this feels right. I know that if we try ivf but end up back at adoption we can say we have tried everything, and my hope is that the wait to adopt will be a little easier knowing that. We can’t wait to see where this new path on our adventure takes us.

Michelle

The Things You Lose…

I realized during a conversation recently that unless you’ve experienced infertility, you really can’t understand it. And that’s no one’s fault. This post is by no means meant to make anyone feel bad or to make anyone feel sorry for me. The purpose of this post is just to share what I lost to infertility.

One thing I’ve learned through our journey is everyone has their own hardships, pain, and losses. We may not be able to understand what someone else has been through, but we can always support them.

What I’ve lost to infertility:

  1. The chance to tell my husband we are pregnant and see the look on his face. I always imagined what it might be like to tell my husband we were pregnant, even before we started trying to get pregnant. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and that’s the moment the excitement all starts. We also lost the dream of telling our families we were expecting. And that’s gone, infertility took that away from me. Instead, I got negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. Then I got to share with my husband, friends, and family that again we weren’t pregnant. Every month you’d imagine what it would be like if it was positive: who you’d tell first and how you’d tell them, but I never got to do that.
  2. Feeling a baby grow inside of me. I will never get to experience a baby growing inside of me, feeling their kicks and movements., watching my belly grow. I see my pregnant friends holding their hands to their bellies and feeling their babies move, and it reminds me I will never have that experience. Now I watch them and think of how much I hope they truly treasure their experience. They are bonding with their baby and feeling them before anyone can see or hold them.
  3. Wondering who our baby will look like. When you think about having a baby you think about who will they look like: mommy or daddy. After they are born you pull out baby pictures to see if baby looks like mommy as a baby or daddy. You talk about how baby has grandpa’s nose or grandma’s eyes. Infertility took that away too. When we adopt we may or may not meet our baby’s birth family. We may never know who our baby resembles.
  4. The ability to plan out our future. When you’re pregnant you get a due date. Now, I know babies don’t come right on their due date, but it gives you an idea of what to plan for. You know when you could go on a vacation, you know when you’re going to need that stroller and carseat, you know when your  whole world is going to change, you know when you’re going to get that first Christmas or Halloween. Infertility leaves your whole life sitting like it’s on hold. When you’re doing fertility treatments you feel like you can’t make plans because you don’t know if/when you might get pregnant, or if you might have to be close by for a procedure or monitoring appointment. With adoption you’re left feeling like you can’t plan too far in advance. You don’t want to plan a vacation because you could miss that call from the agency or you might have a newborn by then. You also feel like those firsts are so far away, like they’ll never happen.
  5. Our privacy. Whether you publicly share your infertility journey like we have or you choose to keep it between you and your husband, you lose all privacy when you choose to pursue medical treatment. Between the questions about intercourse and medical history, and the exams and tests there isn’t much your medical team doesn’t know about you.

Though infertility may have taken a lot from me, I have gained so much too.

  1. Strength I never knew I had. There’s the saying “You’re stronger than you think you are” and through our journey I’ve found it to be true. Somehow I’m still standing. After so many no’s, so many let downs, having to give up on something I’d always dreamed I’d have/do; I’m still here and hopeful. I wake up everyday and know that one day we will get our baby. I’ve let myself buy baby things. Having a room set up is me telling myself that this will happen. We might not know when, but it will happen.
  2. Confidence. For almost the first year that we were trying to get pregnant I was always scared or worried that someone would ask when we planned to start a family. How do you explain to someone that you’ve been trying for quite a while? How do you make someone understand you have a medical condition and you can’t just relax and it’ll happen? Those things are so hard to hear. Then when we started working with the fertility office it was all a lot to handle and process. How do you explain something to someone else that you are still trying to understand yourself? Before we started our second IUI I finally decided I wanted to open up and share our journey. Being open and sharing took out all the scary parts from not sharing. I wasn’t worried about someone asking, I was ready to talk about it. I’ve found that most often people are curious because it’s not something they’ve experienced. When they ask a question they are really just trying to connect with you and learn. I am always happy to share about our infertility and adoption journey.
  3. A stronger marriage than I had before. Infertility is hard on everyone. We had to learn to be really open about how we were feeling and what we wanted. We’ve always been pretty good at communicating, but it has become more important through this journey. All those no’s and negatives are hard, and you have to be able to talk about them or they really tear you apart. We also had to be able to talk about if we were ready to move on to fertility treatments, what we wanted to do if/when they didn’t work, if we were okay with never having any biological children, and those aren’t easy conversations. When we were completing our home study binder we had to complete a really long list of questions about ourselves. We each had to do our own. These questions included what was it like growing up in your family, what do you admire most about your spouse, what do you want for a child growing up. As much work as it took to answer all of those questions, I loved getting to read my husband’s answers. There were many questions that we answered similarly. One question asked your desire to adopt, and we both talked about how we had talked about adopting way back when we first started dating. We actually felt sorry for people that don’t adopt and don’t get to read their spouses responses to these questions. We had great conversations started by these questions.
  4. An amazingly strong support system. I’ve always known my friends and family were there for me when I needed them, but I never imagined our support system was so big and strong. We recently attended a family event and everyone told us they couldn’t wait for us to bring a baby home and they pray for us every day. Last week I had meet the teacher night at school and one of my student’s parents was asking me if we had any news on our adoption journey. This baby will be so loved, by so many when they finally join our family! I also recently found an online adoption community and it’s amazing. It is so good for the soul to find other people who can really understand what you are going through and they are right there supporting you too. These are families thinking about adoption, starting the process, waiting just like us, and families that have adopted. Seeing that there are other waiting families out there with cribs set up, carseats purchased, and trying to keep patient while waiting reminds you that you aren’t alone. Then when you see these families get matched and bring babies home it reminds you that it really does happen; the wait will be worth it and one day you too will bring a baby home.

So much has changed in the almost three years we have been on this journey. We’ve lost many things we’d dreamed about but we’ve gained so much too. This journey has made us stronger, built a greater circle for our family, and will make me a better mommy. One day this journey will feel like it was short and it was just the beginning, but right now I remind myself to have patience and that one day we will hold our baby in our arms and forget all that we lost.

Michelle

A Peek into the Baby’s Room

Today I thought I’d share the baby’s room. We’ve spent quite a bit of time working on this room over the summer. I’m sure we will continue adding to the room, but we’ve got all the big things done. Let’s start with what the room looked liked when we bought the house, what it looked like after we painted it when we bought it, and what it looks like with it’s fresh paint job.

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Almost Done, I think….

Well things have really been moving along since my last update. Our home study is complete, yay! Somehow that ended up going way faster than I thought it was going to. I’m not going to complain about that. Next we did four hours of online training, infant care and cpr, first aid, aed training. We spent the last few weeks building our adoption profile book and our online profile for our agency’s website. Our agency will use our profile book to show to prospective parents, who will then choose a family or families that they want to meet with. Our online profile went up over the weekend. Let me tell you it was a little crazy seeing our profile up on the website with other prospective adoptive parents. Here’s a link if you would like to view it or know of anyone you would like to share it with: http://www.adoption-beyond.org/families/josh-michelle/. Continue reading

Adoption Adventure Update

We’ve had a few people ask recently where we are at with adopting so I thought I’d do an update. During my spring break in March we turned in our home study binder. It was exciting to have it all together and hand it over. The next week we had our home visit with our social worker from our agency. It was so much more laid back than I expected. She talked with us together about their agency and process, toured our home, talked with us both individually to ask a few questions, and then we finished all talking together a little more. In all it was about two hours. So far we are loving our agency. Continue reading

Getting Started

Anyone who knows me well might say I am an impatient person; I hate waiting for anything. Waiting to start our adoption process has been no different. These last few months have felt so long but we’ve been doing a good job of saving. Knowing that once our adoption home study is complete, we could wait for as little as two weeks or as long as two years for a placement, we decided we wanted to go ahead and get started. We have officially started tackling our home study binder.

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Looking Back on 26

Well a few days ago I turned 27. Hard to believe that’s even possible. There are many days I look at my life and think I couldn’t possibly be this old- I have a house, a car, a full time teaching job, and I’m married- wow! But I love my life. When I think about this last year I think about everything that’s changed, how much I’ve grown, and what I’ve learned.  Continue reading

Adventure Update

Well it’s been a while since we updated so I thought I’d share where we are now. In September we had a consultation with an adoption agency. This agency does domestic infant adoptions in both Kansas and Missouri. We were really happy with the information they shared and feel they may be the right agency for us. Not long after meeting with the adoption agency Josh was offered a new job at an ad agency, VML, as a web developer. Taking this new job has a few different affects on our adoption plans. Josh’s new job comes with some great adoption benefits: 4 weeks of paternity leave and financial assistance towards adoption expenses. These benefits, though, are not available to him until he has worked there for a full year. This means that if we want to take advantage of these adoption benefits we will have to wait another year. As hard as it can be to think about waiting another year, after already waiting almost two years, this will also give us time to save for the adoption expenses. Continue reading