Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

All has been quiet on the "I love you this much" homefront...well...quite frankly...because all's been quiet on the homefront! And sometimes that is a blissfully wonderful thing!

I was just looking back at my posts from this time last year and cannot believe all that has happened! Literally, a lifetime ago...

It has been almost one year since the blessed event that forever changed the lives of so many. Almost one year since the big transfer. I can honestly say on one hand it seems like just yesterday, and on the other hand, I truly cannot remember our lives "before".

It fills my heart with more joy than words can possibly say to see this beautiful little boy with his parents. To see the love in their eyes for him.

And for this, I am thankful.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the immense blessings that have been bestowed upon me, and I am eternally grateful that God led us to this amazing couple and enabled us to unite them with their son.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An "ouch" moment

All has been quiet on the homefront as of late. Little man continues to do well at home with his mama & daddy and we anxiously await updates and photos as they become available!

Although our story of embryo adoption is one I cherish deeply, I don't find much occasion to share our story with people who aren't already familiar with it. Honestly, it's not something that comes up in casual conversation, and we've tried to keep it amongst those we love and trust. However, I did find myself sharing it with someone for the first time this past week.

There is a girl I work with fairly closely on a daily basis. She is a real sweetheart and has recently become engaged. One day last week, I saw her carrying her phone with her everywhere, which was unusual. She told me her twin nephews were due to be born any minute and she was eagerly awaiting word that they'd arrived.

The babies were her sister's, although they were being carried by a surrogate. She proceeded to tell me the story of how her sister had given birth to a son years ago during her first marriage, but that shortly after she found herself in the position of needing a hysterectomy. Remarried some years later, she and her husband decided they very much wanted to have children of their own. They sought out an anonymous egg donor with physical characteristics similar to her own, and were fortunate enough to have one of their best friends offer to carry the pregnancy.

She was incredibly excited to share this story with me, and in turn, I felt truly honored that she would trust me with such precious information. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to share how our little princess had been conceived (few people know that we became pregnant via IVF), which of course also led to our tale of embryo adoption, and the recent arrival of little man. She had many questions, all of which I answered as honestly as I could. I told her that although the decision was initially a difficult one, we haven't looked back or regretted it for one moment since.

Knowing what a devoted a mother I am, she told me how much she admired my ability to distance myself from the biological connection to the baby, as well as any future children that may result. I admitted that there have been several emotional moments for me, the most profound being the day of his birth, but that for the most part I simply viewed it as a celebration of dear friends having become parents.

She then asked if I noticed any physical similarities between their son and my daughter. I told her that to a degree I did, but that I tried not to go seeking it out intentionally. I admitted that it would most likely become more obvious with the passing of time, and offered to show her some photos on his Caring Bridge page. The moment she saw his face, she grabbed a family photo on my desk of myself, my fiance, and our daughter when she was approximately 3 months old, held it up next to the photo on the monitor, and screamed "Are you kidding me? They're identical!"

I won't lie. It hurt.

I know this statement was made out of pure astonishment and disbelief on her part. In no way did she mean to "point out the obvious" so to speak, nor would she ever intend to hurt my feelings. And it obviously wasn't so much her words that hurt as it was having to acknowledge that she was absolutely right. They could've been twins.

She then asked if we intend to ever "meet" him in person. I explained that part of the reason we chose a family that lived half a country away was to make that as much of a "non-issue" as possible. They are his parents, that is his family. Although we love him with all of our hearts and look forward to the day when that hopefully happens, that is not our decision to make.

I do not regret sharing our story with her. As previously stated, it is one I cherish deeply.

But it did result in one of those "ouch" moments I didn't see coming.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I gave you life so that you could live it

The above quote is from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". While I never thought I'd find an analogy relating that movie to this situation, I keep hearing Toula's mother's words every time I'm asked how I could make a decision as profound as embryo adoption. We produced these embryos so they might have a chance at life ~ a chance to live.

Little man is still in the NICU, but I'm thrilled to report he is progressing quite well for a peanut born after just 31 weeks in the roaster! His parents have been wonderful enough to set up a Caring Bridge webpage for all of their friends and family to keep updated on his day-to-day progress, and needless to say I pay a visit there at least several times a day! In addition to reading his medical updates and poring over the newly added pictures and videos, I love reading through his guestbook. When I see the number of people who care about this little boy ~ LOVE him ~ it takes my breath away.

It's been a tremendous source of comfort to be able to remain regularly updated on his status. He, like most preemies, has done his job of making sure Mama and Daddy are buckled in tight for the rollercoaster ride that only the NICU can provide! I remember those days well, and can sympathize completely with the emotions I'm sure they are experiencing. Having a baby in the NICU requires a tremendous amount of faith, hope, and trust and I have no doubt that his parents are remaining steadfast. They are my heros in more ways than one.

With each new picture, each new video, my heart continues to burst with love for this little boy. The videos especially have been breathtaking as seeing him as a living, breathing miracle elicits more emotion than I can possibly put into words.

But, I'm incredibly relieved and elated to be able to say that it is a love with which I have complete and total peace. I see his sweet face, and yes, I cannot help but notice physical similarities to his full biological sister. Yet I have to admit, never once have I looked at him and thought he was "mine".

At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, I caught one of my very favorite movies on tv last week ~ Juno. While my story in no way resembles hers, with the exception of our both wanting the best possible family for our babies, after she has given birth to her son, she makes the statement regarding her baby's adoptive mother that "he was always hers". This is precisely how I feel when looking at him ~ he was ALWAYS hers.

We continue to talk about little man in our family openly, and that too provides me with such a sense of peace. My teenage girls could not be prouder of my decision, and more in love with this little boy. But they too understand that he is in the right place ~ the very best place that he could possibly be.

Our family is complete.

And theirs is just beginning.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sweet Boy

That little red blinking light. Anyone out there with a Blackberry knows what I'm talking about. That little red blinking light that notifies you when you have a call. Or a text. Or an email. And when your phone is on vibrate or silent as frequently as mine, it's often times your primary source of notification that you have a new message.

Lately, that red blinking light has become my life's blood.

Blink: Monday afternoon. We found out that Mama was experiencing some pretty bad swelling, and her blood pressure was alarmingly high. After being evaluated, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and admitted to the hospital. The hope was to get the blood pressure down with some Magnesium, administer the steroid shots to encourage baby's lung development, and as he was breech, deliver via C either Tuesday or Wednesday. Everything seemed to be stabilizing, and baby was looking good with a predicted weight around 3 lbs, 6 oz. We are officially in stand-by mode.

Blink: Tuesday. Things seemed stable in the morning, but by afternoon baby's heart rate started to gradually decellerate. Rather than risk waiting any longer, little man was delivered shortly after 2:00pm CMT, and came into this world weighing 3 lbs, 7 oz and crying. Praise God. I received this email at approximately 4:30 EST. As I was leaving work. Getting on the interstate. I will remember that car ride as long as I live - tears streaming down my face as I sped down the highway, looking at the very first pictures of this sweet boy.

Since Tuesday, the blinks have all started to run together. My phone is attached to my hip constantly. Baby boy is of course in the NICU, and as an parent of a NICU baby knows (I had two ~ my son who is now 9, and Lil Miss last year), it is one giant rollercoaster ride of emotions. It's not day to day, and sometimes not even hour to hour. Often, it's minute to minute. In the past 2 days, he has had highs & lows,but overall is doing very well for a peanut his size. His prognosis is excellent, and he has the two most doting and loving parents in the world there with him every step of the way.

And yet my heart aches. Some moments unbearably.

My heart aches for them. After everything they have been through in the past year. The one year anniversary of the loss of their precious daughter mere days away. And now having been through the scare of the past several days, and having their son lying in the NICU. Dear God, how much is one couple expected to take? I pray that He gives them the strength. I pray for her physical recovery. I THANK GOD that they are the amazing, loving couple that they are, the very best parents that this little boy could possibly ask for.

And my heart aches for him. For that sweet, sweet baby boy. I close my eyes and I see his little face. I see his crazy toes, just like Little Miss. I see his dark, fuzzy hair. I see the soft downy still covering his skin. And I ache for him.

I see what could have been. And it hurts. With every fiber in my being, down to the depths of my soul, it hurts.

I am in a strange kind of limbo right now. And honestly, feeling somewhat selfish for even acknowledging my own feelings, knowing what his parents must be experiencing.

I continue to pray fervently that God watch over him, that he is quick to heal and grow, and is soon home with his family ~ where he belongs. I would ask that you please do the same.

Welcome to the world, sweet boy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

I realize the phrase "calm before the storm" implies a negative connotation. But in my personal experience, it can also refer to some of the happiest and most cherished moments life has to offer...

For instance, late on Christmas Eve (or early on Christmas morning), I love looking around the living room and soaking up every bit of it. The tree, the lights. The nativity. Almost 20 years worth of homemade ornaments. The snowmen, the angel atop the tree. And the piles and piles of brightly wrapped packages. For that moment, everything is peaceful. Still. But shortly after sunrise (if not before!), the proverbial storm swoops in and what had previously been a near-perfect moment is now transformed into one of those rare moments of utter and complete joy.

Excited screams. Grins from ear to ear. Hugs. Thanks. Laughter. Sometimes ~ if the gift is perfect enough ~ tears...

That's the kinda storm I like. And it's the one brewing thousands of miles away from where I sit.

Now that the 30 week milestone has come and gone, I've found myself almost in my own version of "expectant father" mode. I am constantly checking my phone. Making sure I didn't miss an email, text, or call. Always taking no news as a sign of good news, and blissfully it has been just that. The nursery is ready. Little outfits (I'm sure!) hanging in the closet. And best of all ~ a mommy and daddy just bursting with anticipation and excitement.

The impending arrival of Lil Man is felt silently yet heavily in our home. With Lil Miss becoming busier, chattier, and more toddler-like by the day, I find myself missing those precious baby moments. A soft (and still!) hug. A quiet moment. Those sweet cooing sounds. For us, those have been replaced by flailing, excited hugs (if you can catch her as she's running by!), giant, wet kisses (love those!), and shouts of "Mommy!", "Daddy!", and "Doggie!" The other night, I took out the photo album from her early months. Amazing to think it was only last year....

As I flipped through the pages, I started concentrating intently on her tiny fingers. Her crazy toes. The shape of her eyes. Her little button nose. Her waking and sleeping facial expressions. And wondering. Wondering how much he'll look like her. His biological big sister.

I think that is the reality that has been hitting me more & more. Yes ~ there are also four biological half-siblings. Ones who are older and don't have quite the stake in this that she does. What will she think? How will she feel? Knowing it could have been her? I want to believe ~ have to believe ~ that if we follow the path we discussed, remaining as open and forthcoming as possible, telling her how very much we loved each and every one of those babies and were going to do everything in our power to help them, that she will understand. That she will be grateful knowing she wasn't the only one given a chance at life.

And yes, of course, there is also a part of my heart that sits in waiting. Waiting, upon seeing images of his sweet face, to leave my body forever. Just as it did when I delivered my five children. So a piece of my heart will go to their sweet boy as well.

But I continue to believe, and have steadfast faith, in knowing that the piece of my heart will be just one of many. So many people already loving this little boy, counting the days til his arrival.

And so we wait. And we pray.

I love the calm before a storm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Keeping it Real ~ Confessional #1

I knew this post was coming. In all reality, I thought it was going to come much sooner.

If you are at all familiar with my personal story, you know I lead a very busy life. Five children. One in college, one heading to college this summer, one getting ready to drive, one busy year-round with sports, and one just learning to walk and talk. I also work full time. And go to school full time. And run a household.

So while I am elated to be a part of the world of embryo adoption as a donor mother, it is not something that I have a tremendous amount of time to spend thinking about. To be honest, while I think of my snow sister on a regular basis, I often just think of her as a dear friend expecting a baby later this summer. Which she is. But I don't much dwell on the fact that my fiance and I directly contributed to the actual child she is carrying. This baby belongs to her and her husband.

However, in an effort to be completely honest both with myself as well as with anyone else who may be contemplating this choice, I will admit that last week I had my first "moment". It hit me like a wave, and passed almost as quickly, but there it was. I was sad.

We are so incredibly blessed to have a wonderfully amazing open relationship with our "extended family". We receive updates, see ultrasound pics, and celebrate each and every milestone. Last Monday, they discovered they were expecting a boy. A son.

As you know from my history, I had four children prior to meeting my fiance. Three daughters and one son. What can I say? My cup runneth over. When we were at the final stage of our IVF journey, and the day arrived for our embryo transfer, we were told we had seven total embryos that had made it to the blastocyst stage, two of which were the "strongest" of the bunch. If I remember correctly, "F" and "G". One of those turned out to be our beautiful daughter. The other, I can safely assume, is their son.

I remember feeling a tremendous sense of pressure the day we went for our ultrasound that would reveal our baby's gender. Pressure put on from noone but myself. Knowing this was going to be our only child, I felt my fiance would be thrilled with a son. Not that he wouldn't adore a little girl, but just the same, I couldn't shake the notion that he was hoping for a boy.

I will never forget the look on his face as he watched his daughter being born. Will never forget the love in his eyes, in his smile, the first time he held her. There was no doubt that this was indeed God's plan. She was perfect. Our family was perfect.

                                            Daddy with his princess. Love at first sight.

Yet there it was. A moment of sadness. A tugging at my heart that I couldn't deny, and didn't feel as though I should. I felt it. I experienced it. I lived it. And then? It was gone. Replaced by joy and peace, knowing how much this little boy is already loved. Knowing how elated his parents are to meet him. Knowing he is with his forever family.

I can't wait to see pictures. Can't wait to see his proud mama and daddy showing him off to anyone who will give them a moment's pause. And I expect there may be more tugs and pulls to come. But I'm ready for them. I knew going into this process there would be bumps in the road. And every one of them is well worth it.

There's no denying this is the path I was meant to take. Destined.

I love my life. I love my family.

And I celebrate another family in the making. What a very lucky little boy indeed.                                

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Hug Across the Miles

My heart is hurting.

Hurting for the anxiety I know my snow sister is feeling this week.

In two days, she will have reached the exact date that her pregnancy with her precious daughter went terribly wrong. I have sat and looked at the calendar on my desk every single day for the past 2 weeks knowing this date was approaching. Dreading it.

The worst part is, I know there is nothing I can do. Nothing I can say to take away any of that fear, any of that worry. Although I cannot for the life of me imagine the devestation of such a tremendous loss, I can only relate it to the anxiety I suffered each and every day throughout my pregnancy with our little princess.

From week 6, that damn subchorionic hematoma had me bleeding every single day. Waking up every morning wondering: Will this be it? Will this be the day it's over? I will forever live with a feeling of loss and heartache for the pregnancy I dreamed of that never was.

But, in the end, there was this beautiful baby girl who was not only all we ever dreamed, but so very, very much more.

And in my heart, in my soul, with every single fiber of my being, I know the same destiny awaits our "extended family" half a country away. I dream of the sweet day I receive the phone call announcing "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"

Seeing that miracle baby in the arms of his/her mother. Sensing the overwhelming love of this family that was ALWAYS meant to be.

So please ~ keep my dear friend in your hearts and prayers over the next several days, weeks, and months.

"Faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch."

Monday, March 21, 2011



I hear babbling from across the hall. I quietly enter, and even in the dark, I feel her giant blue eyes searching for me. I turn on the light, and there it is.

The smile that melts my heart.

A smile so big that her pink binky comes flying right out of her mouth. Her chubby little hands reach up to grab the crib rails. She’s surrounded by her favorite snuggly blanket given to her by her sister while she was still in the NICU, her first teddy bear given to her by her daddy, Glo Worm, Elmo, and a couple of her favorite babies.  She stands, and gingerly lets go of the rail to reach her arms out to me.

I lift her up and she snuggles her head perfectly in the crook of my neck. I feel her chubby little arms and legs wrap around me, feel the warmth of her body through her soft cotton jammies after a restful night’s sleep.

In that moment, I am completely and wholly consumed with love. An emotion so overwhelming, I feel it with every single fiber of my being. In that moment, all I know is peace. In that moment, I am certain there is a God. Everything is right with the world.

This love is so overpowering, so otherworldly, and my only wish is to share it.

It is then I think about that couple a half a country away, almost halfway through their pregnancy. A tiny little belly forming, movements just becoming noticeable. Their own little miraculous bundle of joy. Of love.

And I realize I HAVE shared it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fifth Choice

Hello. My name is Shelly and I am a Blog Addict. "Hi Shelly..."

It's true. I feel like I should join Bloggers Anonymous. I have become obsessed with all things "blog", although to look at my own, I guess you wouldn't know it.

Thing is, I've vowed to reserve this blog for the purpose which it was intended. I mean, I could come on here and blog incessantly about how overwhelmed I am with school work, how exhausting a teething one year old is, how I'm suffering from tremendous feelings of guilt as a result of all of the obligations that keep me away from my family, and on and on....

But I won't do that. ;)

So I came across a blog not so long ago (in complete honesty, I don't remember which one), and read something that did not sit well with me. At all.

The topic was receipt of "the letter" following an IVF procedure resulting in remaining frozen embryos. "The letter", which I've mentioned countless times here, and that you've undoubtedly heard mentioned many times elsewhere, asking for a decision regarding the fate of your remaining frozen embryos.

Now we're all aware of the "big four". And prior to discovering this blog, I thought that's all there were ~ four choices. Disposal, continued preservation, research, or donation. None of which are obviously as simple as they sound. But now I hear there's a fifth choice. Transferring the remaining embryos at a particular point in a woman's cycle during which they have no chance of resulting in a viable pregnancy.

I believe there was a name for this procedure, although I can't recall what it was. Although several thoughts come to mind....

This is such a difficult concept for me to grasp. And in no way do I want to diminish anyone's personal experience. But WHY? HOW?

If you read back on my blog, you'll see that the option of donation for stem cell research was a very brief consideration of mine. But I just couldn't do it. In the end, for me, there was no other choice but one.

We entered the process of IVF wanting a baby. A living, breathing baby. We followed our protocol, held tight to our faith, and were blessed with seven beautiful blastocysts. ALL of whome we LOVED. ALL of whom deserved a chance at LIFE.

As for my family, we were only able to bring home one. But that left six little embies still in need of a family. And mercifully, God led us to them.

So I'm sorry, but I just don't buy this whole claim of "disposing of them mercifully"! By transferring them at a time that they have zero chance of viability is, in my eyes, a death sentence. Yes, I said it.

Was making the choice to donate them to another couple an easy one? HECK NO! Did we question ourselves and then question ourselves AGAIN? HECK YES!

Has this undeniably been one of the most life altering, amazing experiences of my life? No question.

If I offend anyone, I apologize. But you know what? I went into the IVF process thinking I couldn't possibly have a greater appreciation for life, or stand more firmly in my beliefs.

I was wrong.

Those remaining five tiny little frozen embryos, not to mention the precious miracle currently growing at 13 weeks strong in his/her mama's belly, have taught me a greater lesson than any person I know.

And for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Day Times Two!

Today was already a special day. You see, nine years ago on this day, I gave birth to a little blue-eyed handsome man who changed my life forever. Happy Birthday, buddy! Mommy loves you so very, very much!

And at 12:36 this afternoon, my dear lifelong friend "Maria" gave birth to a beautiful little 6.5 lb baby girl!

Just when I think my heart cannot be more full. My cup truly runneth over.


My amazing Snowsister continues to progress very nicely! Another week and a half and the 2nd trimester milestone has been achieved! How incredible is that?

All of these new lives entering the world just fills me with such a sense of hope and promise. I can't believe that one month from today we'll be celebrating the 1st birthday of our sweet little princess. What an unbelievable blessing she has been and oh how much love and joy she has brought to everyone!

This may sound strange, but I like to think of her as having had a tremendous hand in our decision to place our embryos up for adoption. One look into those big blue eyes and the decision was made.

The circle of life. Isn't it something?

Happy, happy day indeed!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This was the title of the ad we placed on the "Miracles Waiting" website what seems like a lifetime ago.

Although in hindsight it seems incredibly ironic considering the location of the family with which we were ultimately united! ;)

I had initially seen my Snowsister's profile on another website, and then was awestruck to see she'd also placed an ad on "Miracles Waiting".

When I first start researching couples with which to potentially place our embryos, I had several criteria in mind. One of the most important that I will discuss today was geographic location.

I know that for many couples, a significant geographic distance is preferable for reasons relating to avoiding a potential genetic conflict when meeting and developing possible future relationships. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also recall having seen several ads where placing couples expressed a preference for a family within driving distance so as to maintain a close relationship with the recipient family and their biological child(ren), which in many cases was deemed to be primarily for the benefit of full genetic siblings.

As I've stated on numerous occasions (and probably will on many more to come!), I felt an instant connection with our recipient family. Yes, it certainly made the decision easier as they were located half a country away, but it was also very much a case of  just "knowing"; similar to how many people describe feeling upon meeting their future spouse, finding the perfect home, etc.

My initial thought was that for my own personal protection, meaning emotionally and mentally, that I would have much greater peace of mind knowing that while our embies had found their forever family, that physical distance would eliminate any pain or loss that I might experience in the future. I suppose in hindsight this could be perceived as a conflict with my desire to keep an open relationship with the recipient family. All I can say is, in my mind at that time, a significant geographic gap was of great importance to me.

While I have zero regrets about our decision, I will admit that I've already experienced sadness that we're not closer to one another. I realize every situation will be different, and that ultimately people need to make the choice that they believe will be right for them. And if I had it to do all over again, I would choose this couple every single time. But as our daughter's 1st birthday approaches, it hurts my heart that they can't be there to share in the celebration. When I think about #2 daughter's high school graduation this summer, our wedding next fall, I can't imagine the void I will feel not having this newly discovered part of our family there to share it with us.

We talk about them in our home on a regular basis, and my older girls are so incredibly excited to hear each update. They are so very dear to my heart, and I honestly can't remember life before them. This also presents the inevitable question that should we be closer, would that also be reciprocal? Would I be invited to the baby shower? Would I see him/her after they're born? If so, how frequently and in what capacity?

There are so many questions, so many unknowns. But the truth is that I've removed most of these variables from the equation by this"self imposed distance".

When we made our trip out west last fall, I tried to view everything through the eyes of their future child/ren. Their home. The neighborhood. The school. The community. And I was overcome with an indescribable feeling of happiness. Peace. Certainty. This was it. This was HOME.

We have a long future together ahead of us, and I am completely confident that we will continue making joint decisions that are ultimately in the best interest of everyone~~primarily, these precious little ones. And the truth is that even though there are thousands of miles between us, we are always no more than a call, a text, or an email away.

And most importantly, ALWAYS in one another's hearts.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Beginnings

A belated Happy 2011 to everyone!

The tree and "all things Christmas" have been packed away for another year, and we are now looking forward to all of the exciting things 2011 has in store!

First of all, an update on my dear expectant friend "Maria" whom I was so concerned about going into premature labor months and months ago. I am THRILLED to report that her little princess decided to hold tight and is still snuggled in nice and cozy! She is now 36 weeks along (well out of the danger zone!), and scheduled for a C-section later this month, assuming labor doesn't begin sooner. We are all thanking God for an uneventful past couple of months, and are eagerly awaiting this little one's arrival!

I'm also elated to report that my Snowsister has had a lovely past couple of weeks (with the exception of some nausea and fatigue, which I consider GREAT things!). She is scheduled for another ultrasound next week, and will then be graduating from her RE to OB! {Insert happy dance here}

When I embarked on this embryo adoption journey 6 months ago, I consumed myself with blogs on infertility, infant loss, etc. And I have been overwhelmed with stories of bravery, resilience, and strength. I am truly humbled to be included in a sisterhood of such amazing women.

Lately, however, I've found myself taking a slightly different route and have been devouring all things open adoption. Adoption is such an incredibly selfless act (and I do not mean this in any type of egocentric way), but also appears to be a somewhat complex road to travel at times, depending on the individual circumstances.

Closed vs Open. If Open, to what extent or degree. Who to tell. When to tell. How much to tell them. There are so many different factors and individuals to consider, not the least of which is the child or children involved.

I will say that I am at complete peace with our choice to maintain an open relationship with our donor family. Although some may not understand or necessarily agree, I've done as much research as I could on the alternative, and with some minor exceptions, open adoption seems to be the overwhelming choice in providing the greatest benefit to everyone involved. Yet once again, I struggle to find my place as an "embryo donor mother", as opposed to a "birth/first mother".

This is such new and unchartered territory, which translates to it being exciting, but also quite daunting. I have much to learn, much to discover. And this is only the beggining.

However, I realize that I am incredibly blessed to have such an amazing woman to be walking with me on this journey.

I see how much support she consistently provides to this huge network of women, offering words of encouragement, reassurance, compassion, and wisdom, and I realize that as lucky as they all are to have her as a resource (and in many cases, a friend), I am even more fortunate.

Because this child (and God willing ~ these children), are going to have the most amazing mother in the world.