April 13, 2017

Family Ties

Family looks different for everyone and in our case, it not only involves two moms, five grandmas, four grandpas and a bunch of aunts and uncles, but also two hands full of half siblings scattered around the country, plus their sweet parents. 
I wrote about this before…we just love the relationship we have with these families, many that we never met before, but we're lucky enough to get to know three of them in person. 
My dream is that we all meet up once a year, when the kids are a little older, rent a cabin over the weekend and watch these incredible kids build their own relationships with each other. I already feel bad for Quinn though, who is the only girl in a bunch of boys! 
Last week we got a very special visit from Candice, who we’ve been Facebook friends with for the last 3.5 years, but never met in person. She is the mom of two of Fox’s half siblings and was visiting a friend in Phoenix, so we had her over for dinner one night. We were so sad that her kids didn’t travel with her, but we were excited to get to know her better and finally get to hug this woman, that we considered family for so long, but never got to meet. It’s such a special relationship and so hard to describe, but we think it’s amazing.


I loved watching her play with Fox and he warmed up really fast to her, although he thought her name was “Candy” for the first two hours she was there…ha!
We made tentative plans to all meet up in Disneyland next year, so that our kids can meet as well and I would love it if we could make this happen! 




I’m sure, as Fox grows older, he will have a lot of questions about the donor and although there is a lot of information and pictures we can show him, I feel like there is a lot we don’t know and that we will never be able to answer for him. I hope that having a relationship with his half siblings will somewhat fill that void and that he knows that there are many children in the same situation out there. 
I’m sure that the questions will start in the next few years, being in school made him realize that he doesn’t have a daddy, but he very confidently tells anyone that he has a Mama and a Mommy and a “Grandpa Daddy”…not sure where he got that from, but I thought it was cute! Grandpa is his favorite, if you haven’t noticed! 
Anyway, my wish for him is that he will grow up without feeling a void in his life, that he will know that he has two moms that love him to the moon and back and wanted him more than anything else!

April 06, 2017

Moving on...

Here we are, a month later, and I figured I would give you an update on what’s happening. First of all, I wanted to thank everyone who commented or messaged me after my post, I definitely felt the love and support and I love this little community we have here. 

We are doing good. Just trotting along and passing the time. The initial weeks following our negative pregnancy test felt weird. I had it all planned out and all of the sudden it wasn’t happening anymore and I had to shift my mindset that there won’t be a November baby, and no pregnancy to announce. Ironically, the pregnancy announcement picture I had planned for over a year, was used earlier this month by one of my good friends. She obviously didn’t know of my plans and I didn’t know of hers, so I guess that idea is out the window and I will have to come up with something new. Oh well! I was excited to have our second babies close together, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m happy for her. I’m in a much different place than I used to be after negative tests back in the days. I have my miracle baby (well, I guess child now) and I’m way too busy these days to dwell on bad news or be bitter about it. But truth to be told, it took me about a week to get out of the funk I was in after that phone call.

Before our pregnancy test, there was excitement in the air, anticipation, happiness, nervousness and all of the sudden, there was nothing. Just empty space waiting to be filled with something else. So I pretty much threw myself into my business and kept so busy, that I couldn’t possibly imagine being pregnant (and  tired and having morning sickness) at the same time. 

It was pretty clear to us from the minute we got the results, that we didn’t want to work with our clinic anymore. I called up my old doctor at his new clinic and basically gave up after trying to get an appointment there for a week straight. They kept promising to call me back, then lost my info twice, but never actually called me to schedule an appointment. It was the most ridiculous thing ever and it almost seemed like somebody was telling us to stay away. They finally called me back after leaving a review on their Facebook page, but I was already over it by then and had moved on.

After asking around for reviews of other clinics in one of my mommy groups, another doctor was highly recommended to me and I was excited to make an appointment. Unfortunately, he was so busy, that the appointment was three weeks away and I counted down the days to finally be able to get another plan in place.
We met with the doctor last Thursday and were immediately impressed how he had read our entire file, that was thicker than a Harry Potter book, and knew our history. He even did an ultrasound on me to check out any potential problems inside my uterus, which I didn’t expect at all during this free consultation we received. There were three things that shocked me during this visit:
  1. After the ultrasound, he immediately told me why I never got pregnant with all these IUI’s we did before we started IVF. While it didn’t matter at this point anymore because we decided to go forward with the remaining embryos to give Fox a full sibling, I was so happy to finally know what was going on, because I always kept wondering, questioning what was wrong with my body. Was there something wrong or was it just bad luck? Now I know. On the other hand it made me upset, that the three doctors before him never mentioned or noticed this before, but I guess we wouldn’t have had our sweet boy, if they did. 
  2. Remember how I told you that I questioned the nurse why I was on a different protocol for this last transfer than the one I did three years ago (and got no answer whatsoever)? During the consultation I was told that I needed to demand to have the same protocol because obviously it worked on me and the other one didn’t. It didn’t sound like I was on enough medication for this last try and that I needed to be back on shots. 
  3. But I really didn’t expect what he was going to say next. After he gave us this great consultation and answered a lot of our questions, he basically said that they couldn’t take us as patients, because their Insurance won’t allow them to transfer our embryos over to this clinic. Apparently there was a $1.5 million lawsuit (with another clinic) when the embryos were all damaged during the shipping process, which made it almost impossible for them to accept any embryos from another clinic. He said we could try other clinics in the valley, but since we already dealt with most of them and the thought of potentially losing our embryos was too much. 
Which brings us to today and the only option we have at this point, is to stay with our current clinic and deal with them for as long as it takes. The new doctor also told us that he didn’t recommend to have our embryos tested, because the risk was too high and based on the genetic testing Katie did, he didn’t see any red flags on why we should have them tested. I was a little disappointed about this news, because I was dying to know how many girls and boys were in our batch. Now we’ll never know, but my guess is 12 boys and 1 girl…haha!

He told us that based on the fact that we only transferred one embryo, there was only a 42% chance for this to work, so it might take a little bit, it’s like flipping a coin he said. He also said our risk of a twin pregnancy would be 40% if we were to transfer two embryos, but Katie wasn’t having any of that…ha!

I was hoping to have another transfer in May, but at this point it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I sent two emails and left one voicemail for my lovely nurse and all I received back is silence. They know I got another consultation because they had to release my medical records and they’re probably pouting. Maybe not, but I’m sure they’re not happy about it. 

On top of that, we are going out of the country in June and my friend, who also did IVF, told me that her doctor didn’t allow her to fly in the first trimester, so if my doctor is the same, I won’t be able to try again until July. Which is perfectly fine, but also a bummer, because I had my heart set on May. I need to stop planning and just go with the flow. Easier said than done, at least for me.
And I can only imagine the upcoming discussion with my nurse/doctor, when I demand to be put on the same protocol I did three years ago. I’m assuming it won’t go well, although the new doctor told me, that we are the paying customer and we can request anything. 
So at this point, it’s another waiting game. Let’s hope that damn nurse will go me back this year…lol.

...

Before I could hit publish on this, low and behold, she called me back! The doctor doesn't recommend me flying when newly pregnant, so my next Embryo transfer would be in August the earliest. Maybe we'll have another May baby...!


April 01, 2017

Can't stand the cuteness!

You all know that I love pictures and you have probably noticed that we do a lot of mini sessions. I have been cutting back a lot since last year, because Fox started to hate it, but lately he has been really into it and keeps asking to go take pictures. Granted, the only reason he wants to take pictures, is that he knows that's about the only time he gets a lollipop, but I'll take it.

This was a new photographer to us and I couldn't love these pictures anymore if I tried. She was highly recommended to me by my best friend and I have been following her on Facebook for a while and loved her work. 
I usually have to hold my phone over the photographer's camera with a funny picture of Fox and Grandpa to make him smile, but for this shoot, I didn't even have to take my phone out. She was absolutely amazing with him. So funny and silly, I have used many photographers in the last three years and no one can measure up to what she did in those ten minutes we were with her. Fox absolutely loved her.



I mean, come on, how cute is this? I know, I'm biased, but seriously, we made one cute kid! :)



I love this one too!


The photographer had real baby chicks for this shoot.
The bad news is, that she specializes on babies 0-12 months old and only offers these mini sessions every once in a while. She told me, I just had to have another baby to see her more often. I told her, I'm working on it...ha!

March 26, 2017

Fox's Easter Pictures

Just wanted to share a few pictures from Fox's recent Easter Session.




If you paid attention, you may have noticed that this is the exact same outfit he wore last year!
I couldn't find any outfits I liked better this year and he still (although barely) fit in this one, so we rolled with it! :)



March 12, 2017

Back on the Rollercoaster!

I had it all planned out. For over a year, I knew exactly how it was going to happen. The timing was perfect, I knew how we would announce it, I designed props for the announcement, I had it all figured out. Or so I thought.

I thought this was going to be easy, after all, it was easy the first time, I had done it before and the success rates were supposedly better this time around. Turns out they weren’t. 

So when the nurse called me and started to deliver her news with “Unfortunately…”, I knew what was coming. I shook my head “no” to Katie, who was staring at me expectantly. She was just as surprised as I was. 

For the last two weeks I walked around thinking I was pregnant. Turns out, I’m not. I didn’t think it would effect me as much as it does, I thought I would be fine if we got bad news. I tried to prepare myself for it, I kept telling myself that it didn’t work, that we wouldn’t be lucky like this twice in a row. But I guess deep down I thought that it worked, that we would have a November baby, just like we planned it for so long. 

We started this process back in October, when we had our first consultation with the doctor. It was the same clinic that we had used for Fox, but a different doctor, since our beloved Dr. J had since changed clinics and wasn’t working there anymore. We considered switching to his new clinic, but ultimately didn’t feel comfortable transporting our precious embryos, so we decided to stay with this new doctor, that we had met a few times when we went though this process with Fox, and we knew, we didn’t like. We should’ve taken this as our first cue.

In November, I went in for some testing and procedures and everything looked great. I started birth control in December, which literally made me a crazy biatch. I was nauseous for days and when the nausea finally lifted, I started to get moody and depressed and didn’t like how I felt on it at all. They reassured me that it was the exact same pill that I took with Fox, but I didn’t remember any of those side effects back then. 

Dealing with the fertility clinic was a nightmare and there was one red flag after the other, to the point, that we were considering once again to transfer our embryos to Dr. J. The nurse, that was assigned to us was rude and always unavailable. They even lost my blood once and I had to come back for another blood draw. To top that, they tried to charge me for that repeat blood draw. 

In January, I started on more medications, and then again more in February, followed by blood work and ultrasounds. On February 23rd, I had my embryo transfer. 

When I got into the room, the embryologist showed me a picture of the embryo and told me it was an “AB”. I was really surprised, because when we had our consultation in October, the doctor had told us that we had 8 “AA’s” out of the 14 embryos we had left, which is the best quality embryo. And now I was told, there were no “AA’s”. I never received an answer to what happened or why I was given incorrect information. 

The medication I was on made me really tired and dizzy, which was another symptom I didn’t remember experiencing three years ago. I asked the nurse why I was on different medication than before (besides the birth control) and she kind of snapped at me, stating that was their protocol. No other explanation was offered. 

And here we are. Not pregnant. 
I have all the right answers in my head. It wasn’t our time. This wasn’t our baby. There’s a plan. We are lucky to have Fox. We are lucky to have each other. 
But my heart still hurts. While I didn’t forget how hard this process was during those 14 months we tried to have Fox, I forgot the heartache that comes with it. I’m mad at myself for feeling this way, because I KNOW that this is out of our control, that God has a plan for us, that there’s a baby waiting for us somewhere, when the time is right. 
I know I’ll feel better when there’s a plan of action. Because right now, there’s just a blank space and we will have to make a lot of decisions on how to proceed. 

We are talking about switching clinics again and we would like to talk more about genetic testing with our doctor. We had talked about it briefly in October, but ultimately decided against it, because we didn’t feel comfortable messing with the embryo, if it wasn’t necessary (which the doctor said it wasn’t). While the doctor told us that there was no harm for the embryos, it still didn’t feel right to us. But then I think about our half sibling mom (who used the same donor as us), who had three failed transfers before she finally got the embryos tested and then found out, that they were all abnormal. She said, she wished she had tested them earlier, to save herself a lot of money and heartache.
And as a funny side note...those embryos were ALL boys! Which makes our grand total 15 boys and one girl that we know of! I can't wait to see how many boys are in our batch, if we decide to test them!

While transferring a frozen embryo is much cheaper than doing a fresh cycle, it is still very expensive. To put things into perspective, we paid $26,000 plus meds for Fox’s cycle (which didn’t include all the failed attempt we made before) and this cycle cost us about $4000. Still a hard pill to swallow. I'm not sure how much the genetic testing will be, I heard about $4000, but we will have to see what the new doctor will recommend. 

Because of work schedules, we won’t be able to try again until at least May, so that’s a bummer. But then again, if we do switch doctors, we probably need that time to get everything situated and transferred. I’m also glad to get off these medications for a little bit and hopefully feel like myself again. 
So while we won’t have a 2017 baby like we had planned it, I hope there will be a 2018 baby for us. 

February 24, 2017

A Day in the Life...

I always enjoy reading other people's "A day in the Life" posts, so I thought I would do one myself. It'll be fun for me to look back at this a few years from now and seeing how life was like with a two year old!

So here we go with a bunch of random pictures from February 22nd, 2017!
My day started at 4:50am, so I snapped a quick screenshot.

I always start work at 5am, so I headed into the living room, let our dog out, put on the TV and got cozy under the blankets on the couch. 

I worked for 1.5hrs before I wrapped up and went to take a shower and got ready for the day

This guy got up around 7am that morning and we had breakfast. His wake up times are very hit and miss these days, it could be as early as 6:30am or as late as 9am, although we would usually wake him up before that if it's a school day!

On this morning, I had an early doctor's appointment, so Katie took Fox to school and I left at 7:30am for my appointment. Holy traffic! I'm so grateful our office is only 7 minutes from our home and we don't have to take the freeway, because I don't think I could deal with this rush hour each and every day. 

Nothing better than getting a blood draw first thing in the morning!

After my appointment, I headed to the office and these smiling faces!
Fox has had a hard time with drop off at school lately, so what motivates him is when we all record a video cheering him on every morning that he gets to see after school. 
I promised not to share the actual video, but they are hilarious each day and Fox loves them. 

I worked for a few hours and yes, this is my messy work space!

Katie picked up Fox from school during her lunch break, so I could work a little longer. He was so happy to come to the office and "work" with Aunt Ashlie for a few minutes.

We went to the library afterwards to pick out a few new books and play.



And then it was time to grocery shop with my little helper!

He was so funny. When we passed the cereal aisle, he remembered that we had to get Mommy's favorite cereal...although in reality I think he was picking this out for himself!

We unloaded the groceries at home, I did some dishes and we played with this giant shark balloon until Mommy came home from work.


He loves baby dolls lately. He always refers to this baby as "Baby Simon" which is the name of his friend's baby brother.

Mommy coming home from work is always a highlight for everyone! 

We played for a little bit before it was time for dinner, jammies and books. We always read books in my bed and it's one of my favorites each day. Right now, he's all about Curious George!

After Fox went to bed, it was time to go back to work for me, catching up on Etsy Orders while watching a Show with Katie!

And then it was already time to wrap up the day and go to bed! It was a late night for me!