Family Life (82) Surrogacy (66) Rachael (44) So Sayith... (23) Justin (17) Jordan (16) Taylor (14) Elijah (7) Nerdness (3) Adoption (2)

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Need A Bigger Butt

So in about 4 days (give or take a few hours) I’ll be having the IVF transfer.  I’m super excited! 
I don’t feel nervous and that, to some people, has appeared as odd.  The more people ask me if I’m nervous and then respond “are you sure?” when I tell them I am fine make me question my calmness.
Maybe my calm is just being na├»ve?  Deep down I assume that everything is going to go perfectly this first time.  When in reality that just isn’t true.  Here is some info I found online (who knows if its legit):
  1. You have a really good chance of success with a surrogate or carrier. If you go this route, you will probably be able to bring home a baby within 14 to 18 months.
  2. Over half of all gestational carriers get pregnant after the first IVF attempt. Those that need a second or third attempt are almost always successful as well.
  3. If you choose a gestational carrier, don’t be surprised to bring home twin babies. Almost half of all gestational carriers give birth to multiples.
  4. Surrogacy may sound appealing, but it is not cheap. If you want to save money, you can manage the surrogacy arrangement on your own, but it will still cost you about $50,000. If you choose to let a large agency walk you through the process, step-by-step, it can cost you up to $120,000.

In reality there is the chance that this wont stick.  Some of the risk was reduced because they've done genetic screening, but because there are frozen embryos that can also decrease the odds. I prefer to think I’m an optimist and that I’m not ignoring the odds, but hoping for the best.

But hope isn’t what is going to make this all work.  But I’ll keep hoping (and sort of assuming) that this will all work out great the first time.
Knowing in the back of my mind that it doesn’t always work that way, but a calm and excited surrogate has to be better than a stressed one.
One of the reasons I even began this journey is because I have a friend that is working through this process too.  She is a strong and awesome woman and today she will find out if her first attempt worked.  So I’m sure she’d love some of your prayers.  If all goes well we’ll be about 2 weeks apart.
And for another topic my rump is painfully sore.  Like I did 500 squats and my muscle is trying to rip itself off my body.
That’s grand.
It’s not Justin’s jabbing skills (seriously he’s awesome), but the massive amount of medication my butt muscles are making room for…that’s my best (unprofessional) guess.  I also think (my unprofessional opinion) that a girl my size should be taking less medication right? I mean I’m tiny, there’s not a whole lot of me to medicate…
Do you think I could make that case with the doctor?

Prayer requests:
·         Tonight is my first double shot (one on each side) and for the first time I’ll be getting an injection on a side that is still sore from an earlier one.

·         My friend gets good news today.  And if not a peace for her and her IP so they can move forward.

·         That, again, the little girls I will be getting transferred on Friday will stick this first time AND

·         They will be perfect, healthy baby girls

·         Through all of this I can minister to my IP and show them my Savior’s love and compassion

Friday, November 22, 2013

This One's For Brad

So I moved about 2 ½ years ago which cut my commute down (1 way) from 1 hour to about 30 minutes.  That is my commute until those dumb Cal State Fullerton kids are in school.

They don’t quite understand how to merge so that out of the 4 lanes there are on the freeway, 3.5 of those lanes are people trying to merge over to get off the freeway.  SO MUCH TRAFFIC.  I am pretty sure I look forward to when school’s out more than they do.
Add this annoyance to the fact that I HATE driving to a point where I am nearly always anxious, nervous and overwhelmed while driving (I know, I’m broken.  Deep down inside I know I’m going to die in some horrible car accident).  So I am not typically a “happy” driver.
At all.
But I would say I am a happier driver than my husband.
Anyway, so here I am one day and I’m driving, I’m feeling anxious (because I’m behind a wheel), and I’m feeling angry (because Fullerton kids can’t drive), and then some jerk face honks at me for no reason!
I’m used to getting honked at by creeping guys who then stare at me and think winking or licking their lips at me is SOOO attractive.
I’m used to get honked at by jerks on the road who have far too much road rage against a tiny little redhead who refuses to cut other people off and be rude (if you don’t like it YOU be the rude one to go cut them off…don’t honk at me when I won’t do it).
I’m not used to being honked at by somebody who is trying to get my attention because they know me.
So when I turn I expect to see a pervert or a jerk in the little truck next to me.  Instead I see a normal looking kind of dude waving at me.  I wave back (not because I know him, but because he’s waving and the polite thing to do is wave back). It takes my brain about 20 seconds (that’s a lot longer than it sounds) to process the fact that it actually IS somebody I know.
But by then I realize the cars in front of me have moved and I don’t want to be like those idiot Fullerton kids so I move up and can no longer see my friend in his truck next to me.  I keep hoping and waiting for our cars to once again be side by side so I can give him a proper wave and smile, but it doesn’t happen.  And since he is one of those lame face Fullerton kids he eventually gets off the freeway a few exists before me and the moment is over.
And as he tells the story…I practically flipped him off and yelled obscenities at him as I sped off…then I turned back around and ran him over with my car 10 times.  Did I get that right Brad?
But since that day…every Tuesday and Thursday I drive through the massive Cal State Fullerton traffic and hope for a glimpse of that little truck… because Brad and I are now freeway friends (which originally said freeway lovers, but that’s just inappropriate).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Triple Stripe

I just got back from another visit with Dr. L. to see how things are progressing and make sure my insides are ready to accept some babies.

I got a big thumbs up!  I have the “triple stripe” which is some way to tell my uterus is healthy and I have a 11mm lining (minimum of 9mm for transfer).  AND I still have a week to go!  The Dr. was so confident in the results he opted for me not to do a blood test (which would be another way to confirm my levels are where they should be).

Yay for that.  I’m all for less needles.

So apparently the needles in my rear (and my husband doing the sticking) are working which is a big relief.  Note: The image below is the needle used to get the medication out of the bottle (18g - Thanks for noticing Tiffany!)...which I then swap with a slightly smaller needle for the actually poking (22g)

Starting tomorrow I will be getting 1-2 shots everyday (at least the 2 new ones are slightly smaller needles at 25g).

In 6 days I will be having two little girls implanted.

So here are my prayer requests for the upcoming weeks:

-          The baby(ies) stick...literally

-          The babies are HEALTHY!!!!

-          The upcoming drugs don’t make me too sick (at least 1 is supposed to cause mild/severe nausea)
-       That I can use this experience to minister to this family so they can see Christ's love

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Extended "Family"

I want to talk about those kids up there and why we drive way to far 2-3 times a week to be with our church family.

First, I want to say that Justin grew up in Shoreline Baptist Church so many (many many many) people know him and love him.  And therefor think they know me and love me and hug me (that took some getting used to – being hugged by strangers who treat you like they’ve known you for years because you are married to a man they watched grow up).

It also helped that Justin’s favorite person in life was Youth Pastor at the church.  And for those of you who don’t know that is Sam.  And part of marrying Justin meant I had to agree to the facts that:

1.       I am 2nd in Justin life because Sam is 1st

2.       Sam is our official tie-breaker.  If Justin and I just can’t agree Sam will break the tie and we must accept his decision

Other than that I was rather opposed to going Shoreline when we first moved to the OC because it was not what I thought I was looking for.  Being a family with very small kids meant I was looking for a larger church with lots of other “young” families so that way I knew my kids would have friends and that there would be childcare for events so Justin and I could attend things together.  But I followed where my husband led and Shoreline it was.

It also sucked that it was 30 minutes away and being down there multiple times a week (on a super tight budget) was rather expensive.

It didn’t take long to fall in love with the church family.  In general, the people are amazing, and open, and caring.  I know they genuinely care about my family.  This would be something much harder to get at “larger church” where it is typically much more difficult to connect and relate to those around you.

And then there are moments like this last Sunday as well that remind me of why I call Shoreline my “home” church.   Where I can pick up my kids from their classes and then watch them run around like the little maniacs they are and get hugs and high fives from the many adults who have grown to love them and care for them.

And the moments where I sit with some of my favorite women and watch as their little girls play with mine.  Where I get to hear Elijah excitedly yell “My Sophie!” from across the sanctuary and watch Jordan give Kaylee a sweet good-bye kiss on the cheek. 

Where I can watch those little girls run and squeal with delight as my kids play with them.

This “family” that I have and these times I get to experience with them make it all worth it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Preparing For The Pregnancy No Nos

There are things in life I choose not to partake in.  Not really for moral reasons as some people believe, but merely because I find it unappealing and in some cases illogical or just far too expensive.  Granted, some things are completely for moral reasons, but I'm not talking about those types of things today.

There are also some things in life I find tolerable and occasionally enjoyable that in the coming months will be off limits. 

And there is nothing quite like the thought of NOT being able to have some things to make you want a last round of those things.

It started last week when I got the exciting news that I could be knocked up in 2.5 weeks.  There are some things as a pregnant lady you should avoid (and in my case actually contractually obligated to avoid).  Some of these things I would typically avoid anyway like smoking.

However, there have been a few moments where I’ve enjoyed (well sort of enjoyed) things over the last few days that I may have normally chose not to.

Like on Friday while hanging out with some of my AMAZING friends I tried a caramel apple martini (caramel vodka and apple juice).  HOLY MONKEY! I felt the vodka burn the whole way down after 1 drink and thought…so this is what it’s like to drink hard liquor.  Not a fan.  I’m also a wuss and lightweight and I’m ok with that.  I don’t get alcohol its expensive and tastes funny.

Or on Saturday (and yesterday morning actually) enjoying some nice shrimp (seafood will soon be out of my diet).  Yum, and thank you Neya for breakfast.  Seafood I get.  As long as you are shrimp, crab, or tuna…everything else is a nasty.

Or the last few meals out where I would normally drink water I’ve actually ordered a soda.  A nice cold glass of water is SO much better than a soda, but I guess I should enjoy the caffeine while I can.  I won’t drink coffee though becuase, well… that’s just ludicrous and disgusting.
So as I "prep" for what's to come I get more excited.  And the more excited I get the harder I pray for a healthy easy pregnancy, and more importantly a perfect, healthy baby (babies) for my IP.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It Has Begun

So yesterday (or Wednesday if you are reading this later) I had what I thought was just some blood work to check on something to do with the cyst they found on Friday during my ultrasound.
After the blood was drawn (by the way I LOVE the nurses at this fertility doctor’s office, I give them an A++) I was asked to wait a few minutes in case the doctor (let’s call him Dr. L) wanted to see me.  Dr. L decided to do another quick ultrasound and found the cyst had already shrunk and was almost gone so he decided to go ahead and start the process.
Within a few minutes I had a nurse giving me a tutorial on how to prepare my needle and medications, how to clean and dispose of things, and how to administer the giant needle into my rear end.  To be completely honest I was having a mini panic attack.  I don’t mind needles/and shots, but they are not a pleasant experience either.
I went from thinking that because of the cyst it was still going to be a couple of weeks before I can begin the process to being shown how to do an injection that would start tonight!  I don’t know if I was mentally ready to handle that change, but I barely made it through the demo (seriously hot flashes, clammy skin, not in my stomach, I thought I was going to pass out!)
After the nurse left the room and I waited for my calendar I talked myself down and although still a little nervous I got my excitement back.  The nurse came in with a giant box of drugs (click that link if you want to see WHAT drugs) and gave my calendar to start that night.
After some changes to ensure the transfer was happening on a Friday so I can avoid missing work as much as possible the Transfer date came back as 11/29.  That’s 15 days away!! In 15 days I may have a baby (or 2) clinging to my insides and growing.  HOLY COW!
My rockstar of a husband did my first injection last night and although I was freaking out for an hour (or like 8 hours) before the first shot it was actually pretty painless.
Here were some helpful tips I got from the Nurse:
1.       Do not ICE the area.  This is usually done to numb the area making the shot less painful, but since it is oil based the cold skin actually causes the medication to harden (even if using a heating pad after) and makes the aftercare more pain.  If you just suck it up for the injection pain the after-pain is much more tolerable when you do not ice it.  This worked for me! It barely hurt during the shot anyway.

2.       Use a heating pad after the shot.  This will help the pain and keep the medication warm to keep it from getting ‘stuck’.  I did this for about an hour after and although a little tender at first I felt great after.
Of course… this is my first and only injection so maybe this stuff won’t be true after today, but for now it worked great.
My calendar is below if you want to see the mass amount of drugs/injections I will be taking on a daily basis.  They will continue after the last day on the calendar, but I haven’t gotten that part yet.

The Drugs

Instead of boring EVERYone with a list of medications I decided to put them in a seperate entry so you can read it if you want, or just read the interesting stuff I'll post next.  You can see the calendar on my next entry as well if you want to see how long and how often I have to take this stuff.

Estradiol Valerate shown as EV on my calendar – Injection (Needle in my bum)

“Estrogen is a hormone naturally produced by the ovary during the natural ovarian cycle. Estrogen thickens and builds the uterine lining... It is taken from the beginning of the cycle and continued until a pregnancy is confirmed.”

Progesterone shown as P4 – Injection (Needle in my bum)

“Once the uterine lining reaches its critical thickness, a second hormone is added, progesterone. Progesterone makes the uterus receptive by inducing it to produce the proper nutrients to support the embryo...

The combination of estrogen and progesterone is continued for approximately two weeks until the pregnancy test.

Weekly ultrasound examinations and blood tests are performed while the hormones are taken to ensure a proper response. Once pregnant, both hormones are continued until the eighth or ninth week of pregnancy. At that point, the pregnancy produces its own hormones. Therefore, supplementation is no longer needed.”

hCG 1000 or 5000 – Injection (Needle in my bum)

“HCG helps in the follicle maturation process and triggers the release of mature eggs from the follicles... The hCG trigger shot will then assist in the final maturation process and ensure that the mature eggs are released from your follicles.”

Baby Aspirin – Pill

“81-83 mg low-dose aspirin. Assisted with cycle stimulation and impending embryonic implantation. This medication will continue until 12 weeks of pregnancy.”

Prenatal Vitamins – Pill

Extra vitamins for me and the soon to be growing baby

Doxycycline (Doxy) – Pill

“Pre-cycle antibiotic for both partners. Treats any possible low-grade pelvic and/or prostatic infection.

Dexamethasone – Pill

Some doctors have you take other medications as well (Dexamethasone to suppress male hormones to increase implantation, antibiotics [Doxycycline] to guard against any infection that might have gone undiagnosed, etc.)”

Medrol (methylprednisolone) - Pill

“Medrol is a low-dose steroid pill to suppress the autoimmune system from interfering with embryo implantation.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Problems With My Locks

Hair.  I have issues with mine on a regular basis.

There is an embarrassing story coming (so just hold out until the bottom…or skip to the bottom)
When I was young I hated the color.  It was red and I hated that I stood out and people always made comments on my hair color.  I hated that in 1st grade we learned about bar graphs and when we did hair color the teacher forgot to put “red” as an option so I was left off the list.  I died it once only to find out you can’t use “temporary” dye on red hair since it just absorbs the color so I had odd brayish (brown and gray) hair for like a year.  I like the color now, but Jordan is not convinced I’m a redhead.  She insists that it is brown.
The length is an issue.  I prefer a nice short cut.  It’s quick and easy to take care of.  But when the wind blows you can’t put it in a ponytail…and that sucks, because like my feet (see here), my face is opposed to being touched.  Long hair can get heavy (despite what Paul says) and having it up all day gives me a headache.  It takes 20x longer to brush and wash and dry.  But my hubby prefers it long, and now that I’ve had it long for so long I’m sure I’d hate having short hair.
The real reason I’m writing today is the perception of hair.  Hair is what makes you look fresh and clean or like you haven’t showered in a week.  Hair is what makes you look put together or like you don’t own a brush or maybe you enjoy the nest forming on the back of your head because you want a place for hummingbirds to feel welcome.  I have no idea why a hummingbird was my bird of choice.
So I’ve heard of this “No Poo” thing…where you don’t use shampoo and conditioner because according to people out here somewhere shampoo strips your hair of natural oils and destroys it (or something like that)…so like 6 months ago I gave it a shot.  HORRIBLE idea.  My hair was a greasy mess, like I just dipped my head in bowl of old KFC fryer oil.  The vinegar and baking soda are supposed to “wash” your hair.  LIES I tell you! I tried it for 2 weeks and it was the nastiest thing I’d ever done.
THEN to fix the problem I had created I went and bought a nice expensive “salon quality” shampoo and all that did was leave my hair feeling like it was caked in melted wax.  I spent a lot of money on it, so I had to use it all (because I’m cheap like that) so for the last 4-5 months on the days I washed my hair…it was gross…the days I just rinsed with water my hair looked awesome…so I knew it was the horrible shampoo. 
All that to say the last few months my hair has been a nasty nightmare.  So when somebody pulled me aside at work today to make a comment on how sometimes it looked like I didn’t bathe because my hair looked sort of dirty I sort of freaked out internally.  First I thought HOW EMBARRASSING.  I thanked them for “letting me know” because really they were doing it to try and help me and did not mean it in a bad way.  I fought the urge to tell them WHY my hair had been like a greasy KFC candle because I didn’t NEED to justify my horrible hair.
Instead I blog my justifications so I feel a little better about myself.  I do shower, I swear.  I just had a couple failed experiments with my red locks.
However, rest assured that the awful shampoo is gone (only because Taylor dumped out half of the bottle to make a very expensive bubble bath) and I am back to my normal shampoo so I have shiny (not oily) and bouncy (not waxy) hair once more that actually looks better after shampooing instead of worse.
What lesson did I learn? Don’t experiment with your hair when you still have to actually show up to work looking professional.

And proof I have red hair and an excuse to show you one of my favorite pictures of all time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Afternoon List

 It’s Friday.  I’m exhausted.  And yet I have 500 things going through my mind that I want to share, laugh, or whine about.  So I’m giving you a random list of things.

YAY for random things!!!

1.       A few days ago I went to hug Jordan before I left for work.  She kept her arms at her side and would only bend them at the elbow.  I asked her “Jordan, what are you hiding?” She hung her head in defeat and lifted her arms as 2 bottles of nail polish dropped from her armpits.

2.       I went to a midnight showing of Thor last night.  Great movie.  Glad to hang out with Tiffany, Megan, and Heidi.  But I am SO stinking tired.  Oh to be a full time working mom of 3 (I’m sure a stay at home mom of 3 would be in the same boat…as I’m sure my husband is today).

3.       I love small ice cubes…like the ice cubes that are the size of peas (I hate peas, but pea sized ice is fabulous).  I would send Justin inside AMPM to get me cups of this ice while pregnant… I would send him now, but he’d just say no and call me lazy.   I am lazy.

4.       My feet are claustrophobic.  I am not.  Merely my feet.  I hate socks.  I only wear them when I have to.  I NEVER wear them if not also accompanied by shoes.  I hate walking around in just socks.  I must always have my sheets un-tucked at the foot of my bed so my feet can peek out of the bottom and be free.  This is why I sleep a quarter of the way down on our bed…so my feet can hang over the edge and not feel trapped by bars of cotton bedding.  This is also why we will NEVER have a foot board on our bed…NEVER… HOW would my feet escape?  Poor feet.

5.       I have a cyst on my left ovary.  I know you were curious about my ovaries…and your curiosity is sort of weird.  You should really stop thinking about my innards.  I know this from my non-baby ultrasound today.  This could delay things, but that’s a story for another blog.

I have more to say, but my favorite number is 5 and I don’t want to stop a list with number 7 or 8 because…that’s awkward.   I would stop it on 9 because that’s Justin’s favorite number.  I would also stop it on 10 because it’s a multiple of 5.

Happy Friday

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Star Girls Return

So as I mentioned before I have a band forming in the back seat of my car. They have decided music just isn’t for them.

So today Bella and Taylor decided they wanted to be “Funny People” when they grow up.  So they began making up jokes that they could tell people on TV.  I’m pretty sure the first one they had heard somewhere before…the rest are just ridiculous and only funny because each joke was followed by squeals of delight and laughter from the girls.   

What do you call a bear with no teeth?
A gummy bear

What do you call a pink house with lots of flowers?
A flower house

What do you call a house full of chickens?
A chicken house

What do you call a yellow house with pink flamingos?
A flying house

Those are the ones I could remember…  so so horrible and yet they found each other to be the funniest people on the planet during our 15 minute ride to school.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

World's Greatest Smile

I intended on doing a “So Sayith” blog last night all about Jordan, but instead we went out for a belated Birthday Dinner celebration to enjoy one of Jordan’s favorite dinner foods…breakfast.  The IHOP by us has kids eat dinner free every day so it was a perfect little way to eat breakfast for dinner.
I still wanted to give an all about Jordan update, because she’s a stinking cute and compassionate kid and from I’ve been told most all my friends let me know she is the “favorite”.
I’m mom…so technically I don’t have a “favorite”, but I am the first to admit that I totally have a favorite and that favorite just happens to change from day to day depending on how the kids are behaving.
Maybe I’m a bad mom, or maybe I am just willing to admit how all us moms really feel.
Picture one for today…proof of my daughters interesting taste in clothing.  She LOVES to pick her own outfits out and most days that means she is wearing several layers of things that do not match, but she is proud of her unique style (tutu with hightop sparkle shoes)
Anywho, so Jordan had about $60 in birthday cash to spend so we headed to Target on Saturday.  She picked a Hello Kitty scooter and hefty Baby Stroller.  I call it hefty because it won’t break after one use since it has actual metal parts.  She was thrilled use both and share both.  She is a great sharer.

At one point during our shopping excursion she asked me how much money she had left.  I told her $25 and she told me I should save it to help buy a house ::heart melted:: I told her thank you, but daddy and I would worry about that and she should just have fun spending her birthday money.
Last night she found a nickel on the ground and handed it to me saying “Save this, don’t spend it, it’s so you can buy us a new house”.  Apparently the kids have noticed us talking about our savings plan to finally own our own home.
And that to end it everyone in the family told Jordan 1 thing the LOVE about her and here is what we got:
Daddy: I love Jordan’s smile
Me: I love that Jordan is a great sharer and she’s super compassionate ::insert Taylor “what’s compassionate?”::
Elijah (with a little coaxing): Jordan plays with me
Taylor: Nothing, because she’s so CRAZY all the time ::insert lecture on being mean from mommy:: I like when she is calm