Monday, November 29, 2010

An Early Christmas

Well, the big week has finally arrived! It's FET week for my Snow Sister!

All we've been saying lately is how crazy it is that it's actually December and that transfer time has actually arrived. We can't decide if it feels like this whole crazy process just started days ago, or if we've known each other forever! I tend to lean towards the latter.

For several months now, I've been anxious about this week. Nervous about this week. I was prepared to deal with the whole gammut of emotions. To be experiencing a great deal of turmoil and confusion. And to be completely honest, now that it's here, I am feeling only one emotion.



I am beside myself thrilled!!

I have stopped couting the weeks, counting the days, and am now counting the HOURS. To think that in 3 short days, she will be PUPO!! How incredibly AMAZING is that?!? Can you THINK of a better holiday miracle?!?

I do recognize the need for cautious optimism. And I am trying to maintain some degree of restraint. But I won't lie~~it's tough. I just feel too good about this. Too wonderfully, incredibly, unbelievably hopeful.

We are absolutely thrilled that we will get to spend a good deal of time with our new extended family while they are here. And we can't wait. We have lots of fun events planned, and I plan on treasuring every moment.

This past weekend, we went and had our family pictures done for the holidays. And all I could think of when I saw our sweet angel smiling for the camera was that next year, this could be THEM dressing up their little angel in his or her Christmas finest. And it could be THEM beaming with pride and exploding with love.

I have but ONE wish this Christmas.

Please join me in prayer and well wishes for this unbelievable, amazing couple. From our lips to God's ears.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


On this Thanksgiving Eve, I would like to share (in no particular order) the things I am most thankful for:

~Being blessed with the love of the most understanding, compassionate, gracious, caring man in the world

~My two wonderful, amazing parents who gave me a childhood I will forever treasure, and who are now doing the same for their grandchildren

~Having two grandmothers still here, continuing to bless me with their love and support, and reminding me every single day what is most important in this

~My health and the health of all of those nearest to my heart

~A roof over my head, shoes under my feet, and the warmth and comfort of a place I am happy to call home

~The gift of my continuing education, and the support of all of those who are making it possible for me to achieve my dreams

~The friendship of some of the strongest, most beautiful, intelligent women in this world who are my sisters in every sense of the word

~Two furry little friends who are always there to greet me and love me in spite of everything

~An amazing, gorgeous young woman who entered my life over 18 years ago and forever changed the person I am for the better. I am so very proud to call myself her mother.

~The most diligent, hard working, responsible 17 year old I have ever known. The sky is truly the limit, and my heart bursts with love and pride for my beautiful girl.

~An outgoing, vivacious 14 year old just entering young womanhood who continues to amaze me every single day with her passion for life. She is a blessing to all who know her.

~The most handsome, compassionate, bright young man I know. Brave and smart and loyal and true. Such a little gentleman, and truly the apple of his momma's eye.

~A sweet, chubby, vibrant little girl with a belly laugh that inspires tears of joy. The crazy toes, the sapphire blue eyes. The smell of her neck after a bath. The feel of her arms around my neck. The soft downy of her hair against my cheek when she's snuggling in. Every tear, every pregnancy scare, all worth it for a lifetime of love.

~The discovery of an amazingly resilient, courageous, loving, brave, compassionate couple half a country away. A couple born to be parents. A couple who one week from today will be here. A couple who one week from tomorrow will be undergoing a transfer that could change all of our lives forever. A couple who have always been a part of our destiny~~in fact, a part of our family.

Please join me in praise and prayer for this unbelievable Thanksgiving gift. This miracle.

Thank you so very, very much to our most amazing God for all of these blessings and more.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy National Adoption Day

I was skimming through the news today when I came across a beauitful article about a local event held in honor of National Adoption Day. Any other year I probably would have glimpsed the headline and moved on to the next article. But this year is different.

The National Adoption Center has a motto which states: "There are no unwanted children, just unfound families." Such a short quote, yet so incredibly profound in meaning.

I have always thought of adoption as one of the most tremendously selfless gifts one person can offer another. As a mother who has been blessed to carry and deliver all five of my own children, I cannot imagine the courage, the resolve that a woman must possess to carry a child for nine months only to relinquish it to another woman's care. In my eyes, that is cutting to the deepest, rawest core of motherhood that exists.

It is the very defintion of unconditional love.

Yet I continue struggling to find a place for myself in this world. Although I am technically the source of the eggs which produced these six precious embryos, and any children born will consequently be "legally adopted" by our donor recipient family, what does that make me? Obviously not a "birth mother" as I am not carrying the child(ren), and I dare say not even a "first mother", again because I am not bearing these children.

However, an undeniable connection exists.

These six embryos exist for one reason. Because of the profound love between myself and my fiance. When we are married, our wedding song will be "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascall Flatts. It speaks perfectly to our life's journey that brought us together:

"Every long lost dream led me to where you are...
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars...
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms...
This much I know is true...
That God blessed the broken road...
That led me straight to you..."

"I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there, you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true..."

Oh yes. It is most certainly a grander plan that is coming true.

So thank you God for leading me to this unbelievably amazing man. Thank you for recognizing our desire to share our love by having a child, and leading us down the path of IVF.

Thank you, thank you for the gift of our precious baby girl.

And finally, thank you for leading us to such a loving and wonderful family to adopt our six snowbabies.

Their family has been found.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Updates and Downdates

I hate that I've been MIA for so long, but between five kids, the impending holiday season, and school work~~well~~need I say more?

Everyone in my house is doing extremely well, I'm happy to report. We're all healthy and staying very busy making our Xmas lists (little people) and to-do lists (big people). There's also a daily run for the mailbox as we await college acceptance letters for A. (Fingers crossed!) Lil Miss has started sprouting teeth (Ouch!) and hair ( maybe people will stop telling me how cute HE is!). Still holding tight at my job for the time being, and thanks to the overwhelming love and support of my otherworldly fiance (more on him in another post), we've determined what will be, will be and we'll deal with it when and if the time comes. Oh how I love this man.

I'm sorry to say Maria is still having issues. Maria is my best friend to whom I devoted my "I Knew You Were Waiting" post several weeks back. She's now (I believe) 29 weeks and still showing signs of impending preterm labor. I went over and picked up her two older kiddos for the day this past Saturday and we had a blast. I was also thrilled to learn this allowed her to nap while her hubby attended to their very busy 1 year old. I think about her and worry about her every single hour of every single day. I pray that God keeps that little princess safe inside for at least another 4-6 weeks.

I'm also ecstatic to report that everything is on track with our recipient family. I always pause as I prepare to mention them because I'm not sure what the correct term should be. I certainly hope "recipient family" doesn't come across as cold  or unfeeling as the complete opposite is actually true. Any ideas or suggestions? Perhaps there's a much better term that's already been coined that this newbie just hasn't heard of yet?

Anyway, our hopeful Mama-to-be has been on her meds for several weeks now, and is unfortunately feeling the hormonal/emotional side effects that seem to go hand-in-hand. The next phase of testing (including ultrasound) is scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving which will determine if we're still "all systems go" for the first week in December. There are moments when I feel as anxious for her as if I was going through it all over again myself. Along with the excitement and anxiety, I must admit that I'm also feeling a range of other emotions.

These feelings are very difficult to come to terms with.  Make no mistake about that. I feel as though I can't emphasize enough my confidence in this decision and our love for this family. And in absolutely no way do I want to equate my emotional investment to what they must be experiencing at this time. But in the interest of full disclosure, I am also terrified. Terrified of hearing that one (or more) of their Snowbabies didn't make it through the thaw. I will mourn those embies tremendously, and for some reason I feel guilty admitting that. I know I will also experience heartfelt emotions regardless of the outcome of the transfer. And I feel guilty about that as well. Because my emotions will not be restricted to sharing their overwhelming joy if she is in fact pregnant, or their grief and disappointment if the first attempt is unsuccessful, but also acknowledging my own feelings about the results.

And so I wait. And pray. And hope.

Hope for the miracle that I know is waiting for them.

    "Somewhere...over the rainbow..skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.."

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    The Reason I'm Here

    This blog is something I'm taking quite seriously, and in spite of my posts of late, is also something I want to ensure is utilized for the purpose which it was originally intended.

    I was thinking today about the name of my blog~I love you this much. As many of you probably know, this is the title of a lovely children's book which I'm already reading on a regular basis with Lil Miss. However, I chose this title after great reflection and with tremendous purpose.

    It is, simply stated, my heartfelt message to the 6 snowbabies my fiance and I have relinquished for adoption.

    When I first began my IVF cycle last spring, each step of the process was explained to me in great detail. I learned about the different medications I would be taking, and their intended effects. I was informed of the various procedures I was to undergo, and all of the possible outcomes. I recall the militant monitoring of my ovaries, and praying for a high follicle count. I remember the anxiety of wondering how many eggs would fertilize, and, gulp, ultimately make it to the blastocyst stage. However, my primary concern remained (as I'm sure it does for most everyone) having a healthy baby. And so it was on transfer day, when we were handed a photo of beautiful little embryo "G" and told how wonderful he/she looked, embryos A-F were no more than a fleeting thought in our minds.

    How very much can change in the course of one year.

    When we received the letter this past summer informing us of the decision to be made regarding our remaining embryos, it was breathtaking. That is truly the best way I can descibe it. My breath was taken away. They were no longer embryos A-F sitting frozen in our clinic. They were 6 little miracles waiting to be born. And oh how I wished~in fact ached~to have them all. To carry them all. To raise them all. To love them all. But I realized it was not possible. I had already been blessed with 5 amazing children. Yes, these 6 were just as real, and just as amazing, and just as loved. But they were not mine to have. To carry. To raise. But oh yes...always to love.

    I look at my beautiful 8 month old daughter~at her chubby cheeks, her big blue eyes, her crazy toes that go every which way~everything that makes her "her". And I wonder. I wonder if those other 6 angels, her full biological siblings, will share any similarities. Will I be looking at a picture a year or more from now of a perfect little boy with those same blue eyes? Of a precious little girl who also crinkles her nose and snorts when she laughs? And if so, how will I feel? I imagine a range of emotions, all of which I intend to process and experience as they happen. As far as I can tell, it will be a healthy not to mention necessary part of this process. Will it be easy? I imagine not. Will I come to regret this choice? Not on your life.

    While my heart might ache out of love, it will also be loudly rejoicing. Rejoicing that these babies were given a chance. A chance to be born. A chance to be raised by amazing, wonderful people who were destined to be their parents. Parents who will love them~beyond the shadow of a doubt~as only I could.

    I found an amazing article link on another blog today, sparkly things distract me..., entitled "Myths of Donated DNA". While it primarily addresses egg donation, I feel it still resounds loudly:

    Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies — including egg donation pregnancies — is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her new child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, and then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of a new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood.” That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why she is the child’s biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child.

    So yes, precious little were wanted more than you will ever know. Loved more than you will ever know. And God~in his infinite wisdom and goodness~has led us to your family. A family that will care for you and love you and cherish you every single second of every single day.

    How much do I love you? I love you THIS MUCH.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Days They Don't Mention In The Mom Handbook

    Well, it's been another crazy weekend around these parts, and it ain't over yet! I should probably preface my weekend by giving you a brief glimpse into my week. My company is being sold. Or depending which article you read, "merged" with another company. And as anyone who's been through something like this before can tell you (I have), there will inevitably be layoffs. For me, it is a bit scary of course (holidays just around the corner, 5 kids!, etc.) and I'm still a relative "newbie" compared to most of my coworkers. I've been there for almost 5 years, but only had a maybe a year left (max) regardless. Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I am actually a full-time student in addition to working full time and being VERY MUCH a full time mom! I'm only a couple semesters away from obtaining my teaching degree and I am ecstatic beyond words. This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time, and about four years ago, finally decided to go for it! But needless to say, my job status aside, this news about my company did put a damper on my overall mood for the week...big time.

    Friday night rolled around just in time to help restore my sanity! Came home from work with plans to take our 2 youngest over to our friends' house to hang out for the evening. And so I enjoyed a much needed glass of wine, made some (if I do say so myself) delicious buffalo chicken dip, and off we went! We spent several hours laughing, eating, drinking and just unwinding. Just what the doctor ordered. Saturday's primary goal was cleaning, and for the most part, that mission was accomplished. Then around 1:30, it was time to roll out for my son's final soccer game of the season. My fiance had to work, so I rushed to get my son (along with Lil Miss) off to the field in time, which is a half hour away. I drop my son off at the field, and go to find a parking space that's hopefully less than a mile away (tons of fields at this facility!). I managed to find a spot not completely surrounded by mud (we've had a mini monsoon this week), get out the ole stroller, and lift Lil Miss out of her car seat only to discover she's soaked. Now, she had a fresh diaper when we'd left the house only a 1/2 hour earlier, so I was dumbfounded. Turns out, it wasn't #1 but the dreaded #2 in it's worst form (insert collective EWWWWWWWWWW here). problem...lay her down on a blanket in the back seat, grab the diaper bag, only to guessed diapers! And no change of clothes! In my rush to get out of the house, I'd completely forgotten to check for reinforcements. Awesome.

    So I strap poor Lil Miss back in her seat, locate my son's coach to let her know I'd be back in a jiff, and head off to the nearest store to get diapers.  A half hour later, my daughter (in a fresh diaper and a too small onesie that was buried in the bottom of her diaper bag) and I proceeded to watch her brother's game from the heated comfort of my car since she was without clothes and it was about 55 degrees outside! Well, I'd had to pull up close to the field to get a spot to watch the game, and unknowingly...yes...pulled right into a MUD PIT which I discovered as I went to back out after his game. Double awesome. So being that close, I had a captive audience while 3 wonderful soccer dads proceeded to push me out of said pit. One knocked over trash can and several dozen hysterically laughing kids later, I was on my way. Aaahhh, motherhood...

    My plan for today is to lay very low (hide if necessary). There will be coffee and warm blankets and chick movies. And (fingers crossed) nothing that involves mud or explosive diarrhea.

    Happy Sunday.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Don't Blink predicted, yet another weekend gone in the blink of an eye! And (almost!) everything went according to plan. We did "Chinese Friday" instead of "Pizza Friday", didn't get around to the brownie haunted house til Saturday, and never made it to the trailer. :( But another stellar weekend in the books nonetheless! Not to mention the most precious 1st Halloween for a certain Lil Miss!

    Let's start with the Brownie Haunted House! This was perfectly suited for my 8 year old son, who has quite a creative knack if I do say so myself..

    Homecoming was also an absolute blast, starting with the parade at 10am all the way through to the dance at 7pm! Getting ready is half the fun in our house, and lo and behold I had two beautiful young ladies who I swear were still in diapers just yesterday! :(



    Which then brought us to......Halloween!! And what a terrific day it was!! So without further delay, here she is...the prettiest little flower in the East...


    Even though this weekend was exhausting, and hectic, and at times, even mind-numbing, it was one that I'll be sure and "lock away" as some cherished sweet memories. I know all too well that "in a blink" this precious little flower will be the one getting ready for Homecoming...

    Maybe if I keep my eyes squeezed shut real tight, I can keep her my baby girl forever....