Friday, December 5, 2014

4th time's a charm?

What does this mean? This means I want you back in. I want you to join me on this journey. It is a special time of trying to help a couple's dream come true of having a child and I want you all along for the ride...if you'll come. Today starts the beginning of our 4th try. This is so new to me. I had only known success when it came to IVF. I now have a very tiny perspective of what couples feel when they battle infertility. I can be more empathetic when I hear story after story of the heartbreak couples feel. I now understand why my previous IPs (intended parents) have held back their excitement and cautiously allowed hope to sneak in with each pregnancy milestone that passed. This is a hard road but one that is so worth it if you can just hold on until the end. The end of the road has not come for my third set of IPs. We are starting fresh and are going to set our minds as such. This is a new start for us and we hope to have you along to cheer us on.

I'm a picture person and I think blogs are boring unless you have a picture to go with it. So here is the start for me. I get to start with birth control pills to help get me on the same cycle as the intended mother. For those of you who are new to surrogacy, she will be taking hormones to get her eggs ready for retrieval, and I will be taking hormones to get my body ready for a pregnancy. So these birth control pills are just the beginning. If all things go smoothly then we are looking at a mid-late January transfer. Come back soon to see how things are going.

Just because I love this picture and we don't have enough pictures of us. He is my rock; without him, I wouldn't be able to do what I do. Plus he's hot, so why wouldn't I want him on my blog?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Another path

The girls have been gone 3-1/2 weeks and life has quieted only in the sense that there is less noise in the house.  The boys started school and we are just as busy.  They go to different schools now since Sawyer was picked from the drawing to attend Bullard Talent.  We have been making it work and trying to get back into the habit of doing homework everyday.  So far, it has been a battle...Every. Single. Day!  I know it will get easier once we get into the routine.  It really helps that the boys at least enjoy school.  I really struggled with the idea of sending them to different schools but they have adjusted well and enjoy the fun things they get to do at each of their schools.

My cutie patooties first day of school

Through social media we have learned that the girls' case was dismissed and they were returned back to their bio parents.  We pray for them and for their parents to make better choices this time.  God loves these girls more than we do and we have to trust that he will care for them.  Even though it was difficult with them in our home we miss them and wish we could get updates.  The boys have asked to see them and don't understand why we may never see them again. So far that seems to be the hardest part; hoping and praying that they are doing well but never knowing for sure.

So for the past 5 months we have been walking another path we have not shared with many.  Another surrogacy journey.  We met a wonderful couple in May of 2013 and had been building a relationship with them until we felt it was ready to begin the process.  We figured we would start in the beginning of 2014.  As many of you know or have read in my blog, the surrogacy process can simply be described as a roller coaster ride.  And this one was just that.

Transfer #1

We were finally ready to transfer on April 26th.  One year and two days after the birth of my last surro baby and they day before my little man's birthday. Finally the day had come that we could start their story to a family.  We transferred 2 fresh, beautiful embryos.  We waited our dreaded 10 days until the blood draw...negative.  What?  How could that be? This had never happened to me before and I couldn't understand it.  How could it not work? Everything looked perfect. This couldn't be happening.

Transfer #2

They had 7 embryos left so we decided to try again. June 18th came and we transferred 2 more embryos, this time they told me the embryos looked "okay".  This didn't give me as much hope but "not so great" embryos have made beautiful babies before so it could happen for us.  Another 10 days of waiting...negative.  Again?? Are you kidding me?  I just couldn't wrap my head around why this wasn't working for us when it happened the first time for both of my other journeys.  I felt terrible.

Transfer #3

During that last transfer they had to thaw 3 of the embryos because 1 of them did not make the thaw.  So they had 2 remaining.  They wanted to give those last 2 a try and we all crossed our fingers that the third time would be the charm. The week before I was so afraid I would show up to transfer and they would tell me the embryos didn't make the thaw and all of the hormones I had been taking would be for nothing.  I didn't receive a call before my transfer so I showed up, once more, with hope that this would finally be it.  They transferred the last 2 embryos.  The doctor said everything looked great and we had a 50% chance this would work.  It had to, we didn't have any more chances.  Another 10 day wait...positive!  Beta came back at 67.  This was a lower beta than I had ever gotten but it was positive.  Two days later I had to go back and get tested again and all we needed was for that number to double.  It did...157.  With each blood test we held on to a little more hope.  I had to return for my last beta the next Monday.  It came back at 2309.

 It was rising just as they would like to see. Finally we get to schedule the ultrasound which has always been my favorite part. The moment the parents get to see their baby for the first time. Unfortunately the IPs were not going to be able to make it so I took my mom. We showed up September 2nd excited to see the little one moving around.  She started the exam and looked a little confused.  She was fairly new so I thought it was just taking some time for her to examine everything before she got to seeing the baby.  Then I looked on the screen and saw a big beautiful gestational sac, the first thing that attaches and grows.  But there wasn't anything inside.  She left to go get another tech to make sure she wasn't missing anything. She wasn't able to see anything either.  So she sent me to go get another blood test and said she would like to see it between 15000 and 20000 and if it wasn't then we would know for sure that it wasn't a viable pregnancy.  I received a call later that day..17,817. We still have hope.

The whole next week I held on to that number and the fact that I was feeling sick.  I returned for another ultrasound yesterday so nervous and still hopeful that the baby was just hiding.  Still no baby.  Once more I am left confused and can't understand why this isn't happening for them.  I share this because surrogacy isn't always babies and happy endings. This is the heartbreaking part.  It's heartbreaking to know that there was absolutely nothing else you could do and yet they still don't have a baby. As surrogates we know it is not our fault but it is so hard to be the keeper of their dreams and then bear the weight of their disappointment.
Our family has seen a lot of disappointment and loss in these last 5 months so we are taking a small break. We are taking time to re-group and decide what is next for us as far as fostering and surrogacy.  I don't know what my IPs are planning to do next but I understand that we all need time to grieve. Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers for our family. We really would not have been able to keep moving forward with out it.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

4 weeks together

  The girls have been with us 4 weeks now and I am exhausted.  Making the jump from 2 kids to 4 has not been easy.  My house is a disaster, laundry is piling up and I barely have time to pee let alone do my hair or make-up.  But seeing these girls smile and laugh reminds me that we are making memories for them.  I was finally able to get my water safety certificate and thank goodness!  It has been in the 100s for most of the time the girls have been with us.  The girls love to swim and we have been going almost everyday.  M loves to jump off the side and wants to show everyone.  Bonus points that it tires them out and helps them sleep.  Sleep has also gotten so much better.  They sleep all night finally.  I am so grateful for that.  They have gotten better about eating fruits and vegetables and trying new things.  Things seems to get a little better day by day.

M jumping off the side.  

  Unfortunately, they will not be staying with us.  After their first court hearing we learned that their parents are appealing the decision for them to be in the system and even if they don't win this appeal they will be working toward reunification.  We were told this timeline would be around 18 months to 2 years.  Travis and I made the painful decision that we could not keep the girls for that long only to say goodbye.  There are some who may not agree with our decision but when we started this process we signed up as an adoptive home and not a foster home.

All dressed up for church

   We have learned a lot over the past 4 weeks about the system, about our agency and about ourselves.  We are more prepared to ask the right questions when being called for a placement.  The foster care system is tough but I know we will be blessed if we can keep walking forward.  Being an adoptive family, I don't feel we should have ever been called for placement of these girls so soon in their process and we didn't know enough to say no.  That being said, I would never give back these 4 weeks we have had with them.  I have wanted to pull my hair out more times than ever before in my life but when I sit and rock those girls at night I know it's worth it and they will always have a piece of my heart.

Water and shaving cream.  So much fun!

   Please, please continue to pray for all of us.  They will be leaving within the next 3 weeks.  I am in tears now thinking of those girls having to go into yet another family and trying to bond with another family, learning another set of rules and having the rug pulled out from under them again.  Also, my boys have to say goodbye to the girls they have called sisters.  I know it is better now than in 2 years but it is still very difficult. Thank you all so much who have helped us welcome these girls into our home, for bringing meals and for bringing clothes and toys for them.  I am so happy they will be able to take things with them that they can call their own.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Weekend Adventure

  The girls were dropped off at around 9 am on Saturday morning.  Their foster parents stayed for a little while to help ease the separation but they didn't seem to need much easing into our home.  They took right to the boys and followed them around everywhere.  Once their foster parents left we went to the park for a little while and decided to go to the zoo for a couple hours before lunch.
  They had such a wonderful time.  It was so fun to experience their first time at the zoo with them.  Our boys are used to seeing each animal for 30 seconds and moving on but the girls were fascinated with each animal and wanted to soak it in.  It was so special to see their joy.  We of course had to go to the "Dino Dig" and it seemed this was also their first time putting their bare feet in the sand.  It was so wonderful to offer them even simple pleasures like feeling sand between their toes.
  We came home, ate lunch and sat down for a rest while the little one took a nap.  Then we sat down and played with Kinetic sand.  That stuff is amazing!  They played with that for hours.  Then we had dinner together and finished the night at the park.  It was a nice day full of memories.
  All day long we heard from the boys "they are so cute" "can they be our sisters?"  It was so cute.  They instantly connected to each other. So we all talked and decided that we want them to be a part of our family. We called the on call social worker and told her our decision.  They were able to stay all weekend and now we will be planing a court date so we can officially put them in our care as our foster placement.
  The first night was a little rough.  There were tears at bedtime which would be expected and the the older one woke up at 3 and then again at 4.  Sunday we hung around the house for most of the day with the exception of Travis taking Sawyer to the doctor for an ear infection and then we all went over to my parent's house and spent time with my whole family.  Sunday was a bit of a wake-up call for us and the decision we made.  It is a bit overwhelming but we will get it.  We are now parents to 4 children and we are having to re-learn that we need to watch the little ones at all times.  I'm not as young as when I had the boys and my body feels it each night.  It will take time to figure out a new routine but I am grateful for it being summer break to figure it out before school starts. Last night we had the same difficulties at bedtime and tears but the girls slept all night.  Sawyer on the other hand was up in pain with his ear.  I'm hoping soon we will all be sleeping through the night again.
  The girls are just so precious.  The older one "M" is almost 4 years old and the little one "S" is 2-1/2 years old.  They have beautiful curly blonde hair that I will have to learn how to fix and big brown eyes that will melt hearts.  They have sweet natures...most of the time and "S" loves to scream.  So if you hear us in the store just smile and give us a hug.  We probably need it.  This is going to be a new adventure and we are looking forward to it.  It is a learning curve for us all but are grateful to love on these little girls for as long as we are able.  There are no current plans for them yet so we have no idea about reunification at this point. That will come as more court dates are assigned and I will let everyone know.  Please continue to pray for our family and our transition time.  Also, please pray for the girls that the courts will decide the best and safest place for them whether that be with us or with their birth family.  Thank you all again!

The only picture I can share right now.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Certified Baby!!

  Last I had written I was waiting impatiently for our social worker to come to do her walk through and make sure our house was in compliance.  Well, that had to pushed out 2 weeks and she was finally able to come out June 19th.  The walk through went great and we only had a couple of minor things we needed to do such as putting those plug thingys into the electrical outlets and putting latches on cupboards.  I thought it was funny that our social worker said, "you what you would do when you are getting ready for your own kids".  I told her I never put plug thingys or latches when my kids were little.  She agreed she never had either.  But I understand the need to be extra careful in these situations, so we rushed right out and got what we needed so we could get done with the home study.

  My social worker called me up yesterday (Thursday June 26th) to tell me she was working on our certification and it should be done Friday and we will just sign papers on Monday.  Then she says, "but the real reason I'm calling is..." All I could think of was that the county didn't approve us for some reason.  "I have 2 little girls age 2 and 4 that I want to tell you about."  What?!  Wait!  We're not even certified yet.  I had imagined this taking months to find 2 little girls that fit our match.  I was speechless (and most of you know that doesn't happen often). I let her tell me about them and the limited information she had on them.  I said I would call her in the morning after I talked to Travis.  We discussed it and decided we were definitely interested but would like to meet the girls if we could.

  Well, the girls are coming for a visit tomorrow morning and staying the whole day with us.  I am so excited and so nervous at the same time.  I am grateful for the chance to see their interactions with us and the boys.  The boys are so excited for "sisters" to come over to play.  I have tried to carefully explain what we are doing tomorrow so the boys will hopefully understand when the girls have to go home.  If we feel they would be great in our family they will move immediately.  This could mean we would be a family of 6 by the end of the weekend/beginning of next week.  

  Please pray with us as we open our home and our hearts to these 2 little girls.  We are praying for guidance and discernment in this fragile situation and we could use all the extra prayers you have to give.  I will be back soon to share how the day went.  Thank you for supporting and praying for our growing family.  

  The boys picked out swimsuits for them.  Sawyer picked out for the older girl because they are both the older siblings and Hudson for the younger one because they are both the younger siblings.  Hudson had to get the one with a bow on it. 

And as of today, we are technically certified foster parents.  Six months tomorrow since we started the process of filling out forms and 2 years since we attended our first foster/adoption workshop.  We are finally here.  

Monday, June 2, 2014


I am in full on nesting mode.  "But you're not pregnant" you might say.  You are right, I am not pregnant but I am expecting and so excited.  Having a home that we have only lived in for less than 6 months and feeling the need to frantically get the whole thing ready for more kids is driving me slightly crazy.  I just can't do it.  So I need to get real.  I've decided to just work on the kids' rooms.  If I can just get them painted all the rest will come. But the decorating is the fun part and I can't even do that because I don't know age or gender of the children coming.  So I spend my nights on Pinterest seeing how I can make my color scheme work for boys or girls.  We did say that we preferred sisters age 0-3 but in the world of God making families, it is almost never what we "prefer".  We know that we will get placed with the children who are perfect for our family if we just trust that God will take care of it.

  Why am I so frantic?  We have our final walk through in 3 DAYS!! I can't believe we are already here. Our social worker approved us at our last meeting and is working on our home study which we will sign once complete.  After that and our walk through we will be officially certified.  That just seems so surreal.  Life has been so crazy that I haven't really thought about it all that much.  Now writing it down along with the mad dash to get our house finished it has really hit me.  Once we are certified the timeline is unknown.  We said that we are willing to be respite care providers while we wait for our children.  Respite care providers take care of foster children for a few days so their foster parents can have a few days away, or travel for work.  Whatever the need may be.  Within the foster care system there are rules to who can care for foster children over 24 hours.  Being a certified home we would be able to offer that to other parents.

  So after Thursday we wait to hear from our social worker to sign our home study and then we just wait to hear of a potential match for our family.  I really appreciate having gone through surrogacy before doing this process.  Surrogacy is a hurry up and wait process just like fostering to adopt.  You get all your ducks in a row and then just wait.  I hope I've become a more patient person in all of this.  I also think it has helped prepare myself and my boys to understand that families are made all different ways.  They understand that mommy has carried babies for other families and now other mommies have carried babies for our family. We have interesting conversations and I just love how they want to learn more and are so excited for this too.

  Well, off to get my kiddos to bed and finishing painting one room.  The patience thing may be getting a little better but the procrastination has not.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

6 Year Old Superhero Party

Sometimes I wish I wasn't a procrastinator.  Especially when it comes to planning parties. My life would be a whole lot easier if I could do things ahead of time but I clearly haven't gotten that down yet.  Hudson and I had been talking about what kind of party he wanted for quite awhile and pinning ideas for months. Now that he is in school he was so excited to invite his classmates.  His actually birthday is April 27th but with scheduling conflicts we moved it to May 10th.  Whew, it gave me 2 more weeks to plan. Well, life got busy and I finally started shopping and making decorations the week of the party.  Sounds like me.

We recently planted seed in our backyard so we decided we couldn't have a bounce house on our new seed.  So we ended up having it at the park behind our house.  It was so perfect to have all that room to ourselves.  I just love "our park".

We rented a bounce house and it was going to be just that.  But then the weather report said it was going to be 94 degrees we just had to upgrade to the waterslide bounce house so the kids wouldn't be too hot. As the party got closer the weather said 84 degrees and then the day before it said 79.  Guess who doesn't care what temperature it is outside to play in water?  All of the kids.  Their little lips were chattering but they didn't care.  They had a blast.  We had such a wonderful time celebrating our little 6 year old.  It breaks my heart a little that my baby is 6 but we are having so much fun with the boys at this age.  Thank you to our friends and family who came to celebrate with us.  We are very blessed to have so many people who love Hudson.

My handsome little dude and me in our superman shirts before the party started.

This was the perfect sized bounce house for all the kiddos.

What's a superhero party without your aunts and uncles showing up in their superhero garb? 

This was a fun idea in theory until the wind blew.  


Spider webs of course.  

Look at this cutie!

I ran out of time to do anything more than this for the cupcakes.  Procrastination problems. 

 Hudson with one of his good friends warming up on the slide. 

 Their lips were so blue.  

But that didn't stop them from making funny faces. 

Make your own mask station.

Cute masks boys!

My favorite part of the whole party.  Instead of goodie bags I made all of the kids capes with their initial on the back

 This is the cutest superhero I've ever seen. 

Even my niece got a little one.  

Thank you to all our superhero friends!!

We were exhausted but it was so worth it!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My year in a nutshell

I miss writing. I miss sharing what is going on in my life. The last year has been hard to get back into it. I've let the fear of sharing too much keep me from sharing anything. So I go about my life in private and I don't really want complete privacy. I want my experiences to help others if they can. So I'm coming back. I've also felt like I need to update the last year if I want to start again but then the task of actually updating feels too overwhelming so I let more time pass.

So here is the last year in shorthand. I delivered a healthy baby girl on April 24th and now we are sneaking up on her 1st birthday. I can't believe it has almost been a year. The relationship didn't end up how I expected it to but it has been a learning experience for me. I have constantly struggled with having high expectations and then when other people don't live up to my expectations I come crashing down. What right do I have to expect other people to live up to MY expectations? That is something I have to work on. There was a precious baby girl born, they are completely in love with her and that is the only thing that is really important.

So besides that, my baby started kindergarten and my big boy turned 7. Am I even old enough to have a 7 year old? The wrinkles in the mirror say yes. We went to Disneyland for the first time and celebrated my first surro-girl's 2nd birthday. We bought a house and got a puppy. I've started a new job as a parent educator and I love it. We are slowly trying to work on our new house but there is a lot to do.

But our biggest news is:

We would love to have you come along us in our new journey.  Please pray for our family, for the child(ren) that will be coming in to our home, for social workers and other team members that will be looking for the best situation for those children.  We are adopting from foster care which means this will be a long process and a lot of people involved.  We know this will not be easy but we know that if God has called us He will equip us.