Thursday, November 26, 2009

What Are You Thankful for This Thanksgiving?

I am thankful for my family and friends. I know, same old, same old. But seriously, who are my biggest supporters and cheerleaders? How would I have survived after our last IVF cycle, and who would have helped us and encouraged us to fundraise for our adoption?

My mom is one of my best friends. Sometimes I think I tell her too much, sometimes I wish I could tell her more. I'm always afraid to disappoint, or hurt her, but I also know that she loves me so much and just wants what is best for me. She always watches our little boy when we ask, and that means we don't have to worry about how he's being cared for. We know that she makes sure he gets everything he needs, and he loves her to death. What more could we ask for? Thanks Mom!

My husband while he may irk me some days more than others, is my confidante, my pillow, my kleenex (you know how wet their shoulders can get if you're crying hard enough), my best friend, my everything. This man puts up with so much (although he'd say the same about me, LOL), loves me, and loves our son so much. He is the best father I could have chosen for our son and any future children we may have. He has his faults, don't get me wrong, but we all do. He has never once waivered in his husband or father roles, he is someone I can count on when it matters. I love you babe, thank you for all that you do.

My friends and extended family are awesome. My cousin and aunt, both of whom have had more than enough to deal with this year, have come out to help us with both big events we had to raise money for our adoption, and didn't think twice. They said they wouldn't miss it. How's that for selflessness? My friends who have been my sounding boards, shoulders to lean on when I thought I couldn't go one step farther, my volunteers to watch Jack while we did our last IVF cycle. The ones who listened to me and were polite enough not to roll their eyes when I had to obsess over whatever, once again. Thanks guys!

My sweet boy. He is the reason I get out of bed some mornings. He is my best little friend. Always inviting me to play with him, and always wanting to keep a smile on my face. He cares so much about those around him, even animals and pets, and just wants everyone to be happy. Thank you for being so adorable, so sweet, so affectionate. You are everything and more than we ever imagined and could have dreamed of.

God. He put these people in my life. He answered our prayers for a healthy child. He answers our prayers, perhaps not how we had hoped, and perhaps not as quickly as we would hope, but when we look back at how things have happened, they did for a reason. Thank you God for every one of my friends and family members. Thank you for listening when I have things I don't know how to deal with, or don't feel like I can tell anyone else. Thank you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holy Adoption!

So I was perusing one of the other blogs I follow-The Mommy Journals, and I have to say that I began reading her blog, and I didn't agree with her on all of her stances. For instance, she is very much pro-life. I'm not really sure what I am. I could never myself have an abortion, and for the most part, I don't think you should do it except in extreme circumstances (rape, etc.), so where that is concerned, I am pro-life. But, that said, working where I do, and seeing what I see, there are so many children that we send home with questionable parents. And that is putting it nicely. I hate to be judgemental, but there are some parents who just shouldn't be allowed to take children home, particularly without the homestudy and follow up required with adoptions at the very least. I say this because I see children sent home to places where a mother is an addict, and doesn't have custody of her other 7 children, but yet, her child can go home to the grandmother, raising the other 7 children, and allowing her daughter, the child's mother to continue living with her while she uses, and thus, still exposing her children to that. Our child welfare system is so badly taxed. In our state, parents have endless opportunities to keep messing up, abusing the system, putting their children in bad situations, and yet, our foster care system keeps sending them back home. Why, because they believe it's better for the kids to be with their biological families. At what cost? I'm not saying that these people should get abortions. I'm just saying that perhaps it should be an option for people who don't have many other choices. And I guess in that manner, I am a bit pro-choice. It's funny because before I worked in an inner city hospital, I was so pro-life, and it had nothing to do with religion. It was simply something that I believed in.

Anyway, I decided to take a look at an article she had come across, that she mentioned in her post, and was appalled by. She said it was disturbing, particularly for parents who have relinquished a child for adoption. Well, let me tell you, I've never relinquished a child, but I felt absolutely sick to my stomach and in tears after reading the article.

First, the article is about crisis pregnancy centers (CPC's), and what the women who visit some of these centers end up facing throughout their pregnancy. It's a good article to read, a good one to open up some eyes, shed some light for those who have never been there. I have posted previously about ethics in adoption, the need for adoption reform, and how first parents are sometimes treated. This article says it all, no joke. I should note that I'm not saying all CPC's are bad. I think that there is some good to them, such as providing pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, etc. I think that the fact that they make adoption info available to pregnant women is a good thing, but I also think that information on parenting, resources available for women living in poverty, or struggling to get by is extremely important so that women can make decisions that are good for them and their child.

Some of you may recall that in a previous post I discussed why we had not chosen Bethany Christian Services for the adoption we were planning. This article talks about BCS quite a bit, and let me tell you that I am so glad we decided not to go with them. I am glad that we trusted our gut instinct. It would kill me to hear that our child's first parent went through what these women have. The pressure from the CPC's, the homes made available for these women to live to be cared for while they continue their pregnancy, where the people they live with may very well make them feel like dirt for having trouble relinquishing their child is astonishing to me. Where the women are cut off from the rest of the world socially, and where they may tell you that you could never provide for that child like another family could. It made me cry just to read this article. I understand people are very much pro-life, but what about being understanding, and remembering that while they are choosing life for their child, that they may want to parent that child themselves. It's like brainwashing. I just think it's horrible. There has to be a better way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy November ICLW!!!

Well, I'll post this a few hours early because I'm bored at work at the moment and have nothing else better to do...

Some of you may have come across my blog previously. You'll know that there have been some changes if you were here last month. For those of you not up on who I am, I'll tell you.

My husband is 33, and I am 29. We had our first son after our first IVF/ICSI cycle for MFI (male factor infertility), endometriosis, and one patent tube. We are very blessed. After an unsuccessful attempt earlier this year which went horribly wrong (see this backpost), we began to consider domestic adoption. We had a fundraiser in June, and another in September using the money raised in June's fundraiser. It was a disaster financially and we lost just about everything we'd invested (see this post). We are still up in the air about adoption vs. another IVF cycle. We did get some news which changes things somewhat financially (see these posts here and here). This means that another IVF cycle for us may be $15,000 cheaper than adoption at this point, and to be honest, if it didn't work, we'd be done. We'd agree to be blessed for what God has given us thus far, the beautiful child we have who is almost 3 years old, and more than we ever dreamed he would be. So it's still a huge decision, there are multiple physicians to consult, and then a big decision to make. We continue to struggle with this.

What we do know is that we are lucky to have a child at all, would be doubly blessed to have another, and neither of our options will be easy. I'd love to have more followers, and everytime I do ICLW, I find at least a few more blogs to follow. Please feel free to join us on our journey.

Happy ICLW!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Joy In My Life

I worked Friday night, Saturday night, and again tonight I am working. This morning Jack's preschool class was going to be singing at their school's church. About 7 of them came to sing. I thought Jack might be a little shy, and I didn't think he'd sing at all, because everytime I tried to get him to sing to me at home, he just told me he wanted me to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star with him. I told him that I didn't think that was on the agenda for church, but he insisted it was, and hey, he likes to sing it with me, so I humored him. This morning, he got up, not at all shy, and walked with his friends to the altar. They sang 3 songs. Jack sort of sang. He did the body motions for the songs, as well as making some funny faces with his fingers in the corners of his mouth, some funny hand gestures, and the last song, he either really liked the word "here" at the end of the lines, or was just off, but you could hear him plain as day as everyone moved on to the next verse. I caught myself giggling a few times and looking down as I continued to record what I had originally thought would be a disaster with a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds trying to stand in front of people and sing. None of these kids seemed to have the nervousness that some of us adults do. I think that's great! I was so proud of him for getting up there and doing it, and I was proud of all of his friends too. I truly look forward to seeing their Christmas program on December 18th, and can't wait to see if Jack will play an animal at the manger scene, or one of the main people who were there the night that Jesus was born. So I've got it uploaded on my computer, but I can't figure out how to password protect this post or that part of it, and it has other kids from his class in it. For that reason, if you would like to see the video, please email or contact me, and I'd be happy to email it to you. It's about 3 minutes long, but it's an adorable video if you want to watch it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Trip to See My Grandmother

I know, I'm a slacker. Obviously I can't hack this posting everyday bit.

My mom and I drove up to visit my grandmother. She seemed very talkative today (whereas last visit we couldn't get 5 words out of her), seemed upbeat, and seemed to recognize us, well, at least my mom. I wasn't convinced that she recognized me, but that's ok. She seemed more clear than our last visit, and for that I was grateful. She seemed emotional when we left, we had told her that due to the weather up north during the winter, we probably wouldn't be back until closer to Spring. I'm not sure if that is what she was emotional about, or that she'd seen my mom who she hasn't seen in a long time, or what it really was. I feel really bad and wish I could find time to go up over the winter, but even if I did, I'd be afraid to leave Jack behind. Afraid that I might get into an accident because of the weather, that something might happen back home and if I got stranded up there and couldn't get mind wanders, and of course, never to good things. My biggest fear is something happening to him, my second biggest is something happening to me and Archie and us not being there for him. If something happened to my grandmother and she needed us there, we'd be there, no question, but just to go up and visit for an hour or so before she gets tired I'm having some trouble seeing.

Our trip wasn't too bad, not much traffic (until we got back into MD), about a total of 9.5 hours on the road. My mom and I talked a lot, and didn't really argue, so I'm happy about that.

All in all, it was a good visit. And I'm glad I got some time with my mom too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Updated Previous Post

My post for today is that I updated my post entitled A Visit With Time with the pictures I promised almost a month ago. I just got them emailed to me, so I've posted them.

Speaking of the post where I talk about my grandmother, my mom and I are taking a day trip up tomorrow to see her. So, my post tomorrow will probably be about something relating to that trip. Wish me luck, my mom and I are VERY close, but also very much alike and can get on each others nerves sometimes. We just know which buttons to push. And we'll be in the car with each other for the better part of the day (like 11ish hours), so it could get hairy! I'm hoping for a pleasant trip and some bonding time though because with my crazy schedule we don't get to spend as much alone time together as I'd like.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaBloPoMo and IComLeavWe

Ah, do any of you not familiar with the title of this post want to know what in the world it is? NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Post Month and the goal is to post at least once a day. IComLeavWe is something I've participated in since September and it runs for a week (21st-28th of the month), and the goal is to read and comment on 5 other blogs that are participating, and do one response to a comment you got.

They are combining the two this month. This is going to be a real challenge for me since I've only been posting when I have something to say. I have to write everyday this month (starting today for me, LOL) about whatever since there isn't a theme at the moment.

Today I want to write about something that makes me happy, and has nothing to do with my Jack. I want to tell you that my cousin and her husband are pregnant, and the best news is that the baby at yesterday's 20 week ultrasound looked healthy! You're probably thinking, ok...why are you so happy, it's not you...I'm so happy because after two pregnancies, they are, hopefully since we are all praying for them, going to be bringing home a beautiful baby girl in March. You see, my cousin and her husband have had one miscarriage, and one pregnancy where their sweet son Isaac was born with a major abdominal wall defect, and due to that defect's impact on his lungs, he lived 16 minutes before going home to God. That was a year ago this October. It's been a long few years for them, but they've been so strong, so brave, and so faithful, and now things are going well. I love them, I love my son, and I know that they love Isaac and this sweet little girl growing inside. And so I am very happy for them.

Stacy has a blog as well-He Will Carry Me. She's very open and it's a great blog for those who are struggling with the loss of a child. She blogs about her good days and bad, how she has handled life since, and how she has begun to find a new "norm".

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Fertility Clinic Update

I called and spoke with another person at the location closest to us regarding fees and what we should expect. Without going into a million details, we are responsible for the difference between what the insurance allows, and what they pay, so we should not have more than probably $5,000 to pay out of pocket if we do another IVF cycle with them after the merger.

So, I would need to make an appointment to see our RE, find out what procedures I might need done prior to the cycle (such as a sono-hysterosalpinogram, bloodwork, etc.). I guess we'll make that appointment soon as there is a possibility that we could do a cycle as early as March, but that would only be once we get our roof replaced, and I'm not sure we will be able to do it that quick. I also would have to have my other physician's approvals, and I'm not there yet either. I think my urologist is going to be the biggest hurdle given the medications I am on.

It is all alot to think about, but somewhat exciting and somewhat scary. I am trying to ignore the what-if's that are negative, and just focus on the roof getting replaced and then the doctor's appointments/discussions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some Possibly Exciting Developments!

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately. With us not actively fundraising at this point, and having not made any concrete decisions, there just hasn't been much for me to say. HOWEVER, I got a letter last week from our RE (reproductive endocrinologist-or more simply put-our fertility specialist). It basically said that they are merging with another fertility clinic. This new clinic is very well known in our geographic area for their shared risk IVF program. That program isn't really on our radar, but I will tell you about it just for kicks anyway. Basically, you pay $20,000 and you have 6 IVF cycles (usually 3 fresh cycles where you go through all of the injections, egg retrieval, and embryo transfers, and 3 frozen embryo transfers where I'm sure there are some drugs involved in prepping you for the transfers, but having never made it to have embryos worth transferring, I'm not quite sure what that would involve.)

That said, the letter we received stated that our RE and his nurse will be seeing patients for routine things like consults, ultrasounds, and lab work at our hospital (my insurance had stated that this was the only location we could have our IVF procedures done), but that actual procedures would be done at another hospital affiliated with this other fertility clinic as of December 15th, 2009. This got me wondering if this would mean an increase in fees or perhaps a decrease for those patients paying out of pocket. I was also wondering whether our insurance company was going to put any stipulations on our infertility benefits now that the procedures would not be occuring at our hospital. So I called the billing lady at our hospital. She explained that as far as the fees, they may actually be decreased since the other fertility clinic has a dedicated area for the IVF procedures whereas we were facing a $3,000 bill at our hospital because the area that they used is part of the L&D area-their recovery area, and their operating room. This is great news! She didn't know what we were looking at exactly as far as fees, and gave me the number of a billing person at the new center to call. She also advised me to call our HR rep to find out if the insurance was going to have any stipulations we needed to be aware of should we choose to go this route.

I called her contact at the new fertility center, and he told me that he was actually in charge of billing for freezing and storage of embryos, so he couldn't tell me exactly what we were facing with fees, but that when we met with our RE (at any of 12 locations-nevermind the logistics of him seeing patients at so many places), he would then refer us to the billing people. One person would call and figure out our benefits regarding our insurance and then we'd be assigned a financial coordinator who we would work with throughout our cycle. He said a good estimate of what to save would be about $5,000 since our insurance is going to pay a little over $5,000 as well, and with the insurance paying part of it, there would be an allowed amount that they would pay, and then adjustments and credits which would lower the amount we would be responsible for out of our pockets. $5,000 is a bit more manageable than $10,000.

Then I called my HR rep to confirm that the insurance was on board with all of this. She asked me how I knew about the merger, and I told her about the letter. She wasn't aware that anything was definite. I told her there was a date as to when these changes were taking place. She requested a copy of the letter...whoops! Hope I didn't get my RE in trouble, but you would think the left hand would talk to the right. The HR rep said that nothing had been released formally to the employees yet, and perhaps it hasn't been released yet to all of the employees, but I can tell you that my coworkers who see the same RE got the same letter I did.

Obviously, we're not moving forward with any cycles until we've spoken with the correct billing people in addition to all of my physicians. But with our tax refund next year, we may be able to do a cycle earlier in the year than we thought if everything lines up right. All of the money is due up front prior to the start of our cycle, and if there is any money left over at the end from what we paid, we would be issued a refund. I just hope it's only $5,000 or so that we have to come up with because then it might not be another year before we can do something! And yes, I am saying that if our docs are in agreement, our RE has the right plan (which is basically to go back to the protocol we used for our IVF cycle in 2006), and the cost is right, we'll be doing another cycle. If it's unsuccessful, I'm sure we'll be upset, but we will also consider our family complete, and be blessed for what we've been given. It will be our last attempt at expanding our family (as would adoption if we went that route) which makes me feel panicked just thinking about it. I will continue to look at the good things that can happen and just push those negative thoughts to the back of my mind.