Friday, December 17, 2010

Creating a Family: Thoughts on Our Options and a Question

So I know that it's been baby central around RSBR lately...It will let up! But before it does, I wanted to post the post I promised I'd post (say that 10 times fast): our thoughts on our options.

First things first, the appointment Tuesday went well. Shockingly well actually. He made it sound like getting me (a 24 year old) preggers was a no brainer. He obviously said we have to first rule out any possibility of me having infertility issues, but he sounds like if there are no issues, we should have pretty good chances. This was music to my ears. I know there is still the chance that we do a few rounds and it doesn't work, but he seems to think if that's the case, then we need to reassess because there's something there we're missing.

I'm excited. I'm excited, and I'll tell you why. To me, the best of our options, the option that I like the most, is being able to conceive a child that is created from Ronnie's DNA and mine. I have spent many hours asking myself why this is; trying to pinpoint my reasoning behind this being my preferred option. And here's what I've concluded: There are two big reasons, but I'm not sure which is the main reason. The first reason is that I want to carry a child. While terrified by the what pregnancy can do to some people's bodies, minds, emotions, etc, I have always dreamed of being pregnant. Most people just played house with babies. I played house "pregnant", "delivered the baby", "brought it home from the hospital" get the point. The second reason is that part of me wants to look at my kid's face and see Ronnie. I don't know how to explain that better than that. And I know this one is flawed, as Ronnie keeps reminding me, even if it's biologically his, it very well may not look anything like him. But it's still part of my reasoning, so there you go. To me, this seems like the option you try first.

All that being said, there are a TON of other options. For us, the next options to look at are adoption, fostering to adopt and adopting embryos. Here's the dealio on these options: they're really good options that I am actually excited about. First, adoption and fostering to adopt. While I want to carry our child really badly, I think after holding my adopted/fostered baby in my arms, the pregnancy wouldn't matter, the genes wouldn't matter, nothing. You could hand me a child tomorrow and I would not love it any differently than a child I carried for 9 months with my genes in it. So while I really want to carry our child, if that's not in the cards for us, we'll regroup and look at adoption/fostering to adopt. Also, we have talked about fostering regardless of if IVF works or not. We would love nothing more than having a few biological kids, and then fostering and potentially adopting a few children (no, we we're not picturing a Cheaper By the Dozen or a 18 Kids and Counting deal). We have watched the foster care process with our cousins, and I have a really close family friend that has 3 biological kids and several adopted foster children. I would love that. As I said, you hand me a baby, and I will love it just as much as if I carried it nine months. What a cool way to give a child a home that maybe wouldn't have had one. So even if we do IVF and it works, fostering/fostering to adopt is still in the cards for us!

And onto the last option, adopting an embryo. To be honest with you, I've looked into this only slightly after following the Davenport's (awesome, awesome people) journey. It seems like a really good option that falls somewhere between adoption (in the traditional sense) and having biological children because you adopt an embryo, they implant it, you carry the baby, and vwalla. This is another option for us, but I need to dig into it a little deeper if IVF with our goods doesn't work.

So there you have thoughts on our options. We will be moving forward with option number 1 (IVF) and try to roll with the punches. Here is my question for you: how would you like us to do this? Would you like the blow by blow? Postings each step of the way? Or would you like us to make it through the first round and post backwards how we got to the outcome we got to? We want to share the process, but in the way you all want to hear about it! So leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday - The Party Continues

We can't stress enough how important it is in our own lives to slow down when things seem to be getting "fast" and just think about the little things that we're thankful for. Many of you expressed a similar sentiment last week as 8 people joined forces with us and blogged about their own thankfulness. I have a little "Linky Tools" at the end of this post that you can use to join the party and link up your thankfulness post! Feel free to spread this around to anyone you know that may like to participate.

We all have GREAT things going on in our lives and sometimes it's just a matter of sitting down and putting it to paper before we realize how good we really have it.

Mandi's list:

I’m thankful for being young. This may sound a little silly, but after being at the baby makin’ doctor, they make it sound like all the world’s problems can be solved by having a young uterus. Thank you mom and dad for conceiving me in 1986 vs 1976!

I’m thankful for my mommy being back in the US and A. My mom got back into town from Shanghai (where she and my dad currently live) for Christmas and New Years. I absolutely love spending time with my mom and always look forward to her being back in town. I am eagerly awaiting my dad’s arrival this time next week. My parents are the bomb-diggity and I’m so blessed to have them home for the holidays, and in my life in general.

I’m thankful for the ability to shop online. I like to shop for all of 30 minutes, and then I’m ready to be done. The world of online shopping is like heaven to shoppers like me. I have bought a lot of my Christmas gifts online this year (especially Ronnie’s gifts because if we do shop, we’re together). Man oh man do I love clicking through pages of merchandise from the comfort of my couch, sipping on hot chocolate, in my PJs.

I’m thankful for living in an area where there are a ton of shops and restaurants nearby (within a mile). On Monday night I was craving ice cream around 8:30 pm, and didn’t have any in the house, so we jumped in the car and made a Cold Stone run (I’m VERY thankful for Cold Stone). I got a “Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some” ice cream…then we drove next door to McDonalds so Ronnie could get a cheaper option!! He’s not as thankful for Cold Stone…as he hates their high prices.

I’m thankful for my husband’s willingness to fold laundry. There are a few chores around the house that I despise…folding laundry is one of them. I will wash laundry all day long (AKA carry it to the washer, start washer, transfer to dryer, start dryer…I don’t wash by hand) but when it comes to folding it, I’d let it sit for days if my loving, wonderful husband didn’t take the initiative to encourage us to fold the laundry together, or just do it himself (typically it’s the ladder). He sure knows how to make my day!

Ronnie's list:

I’m thankful for people who are a billion times smarter than me. Going through the IVF process, I have been able to sit back and take a look at the science that’s involved, and I sit here in amazement that someone discovered all of this! Not only have they discovered it, but they’re made it better year after year, to the point that they can create a baby/make a woman pregnant with almost an 80% success rate (depending on age, fertility issues, doctor, etc.)

I’m thankful that Nancy (Mandi’s mom) is in town. Seeing the joy on Mandi’s face when she gets to spend time with her mom, beyond the daily 1-hour Skype call, is what I’m truly thankful for. In addition to that, I’m eagerly awaiting Eric’s arrival, so we can have the whole clan around for the holidays.

I’m thankful for new experiences. Today was the first time in my entire life that I have ever raked up leaves. I never thought that I would have to rake leaves (because I never thought I’d move out of Arizona, and it’s not normal to have leaves in your yard in Arizona…). I actually loved seeing them raked into piles and wanted to jump into the piles like people do in movies.

I’m thankful for excitement. It’s been very heart-warming, comforting, and encouraging seeing the genuine excitement within our family as a result of talking about the IVF process. You can tell that they’re behind us 100% and are eager to add onto the family. It’s not just with our family however, but also those that we know in the CF community that have showered us with words of encouragement and support.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Second Wind / Challenge Thrown Down

Huffing and puffing happened, but there would be no blowing down of the house.

I took off for my run today feeling great! The weather was perfect. My legs felt loose. My lungs felt open. I was ready to nail it...then I actually started running. It actually took about .5 miles for it really to hit me, but when it hit, it hit. All of the sudden my lungs really tightened up and I had little mini coughing spasms. Now, coughing spasm during my run is something I am very used to, but the problem this time was the 3 bowls of Raisin Bran sloshing around in my stomach that had been consumed an hour prior. Not great planning on my part. After feeling great and ready to kick booty, I had to stop. At this point I was dry heaving and doing my best to keep the cereal down. As I was walking down the road, thinking about exactly what NOT TO DO before my next run, I saw Mandi approaching.

I was still walking as we passed each other, but as we passed she gave me a big ol' thumbs up and yelled "push it!!". I wish I could tell you that it was right at that moment that I got the energy I needed and broke out into a full sprint to make up for some lost time. Yeah, that did not happen. I was still swallowing down the pre-puke and just trying to get to a point where I didn't feel like tossing my cookies. It took me about another 2 minutes of walking before I was in a position to harness Mandi's "second wind" and just go for it. I took off.

I started booking it down the road with only the image of Mandi with a thumbs up running through my mind. I knew I had it in me, it was just getting over that mental hurdle that was keeping me from pushing it during the first half of my run. Could I have thrown up still? Of course! But I decided that pushing it the rest of the way was more rewarding than throwing up on the side of the road would have sucked. Sometimes you just have to pick the option that will suck less. I did, and I ran. Not only did I run, but I booked it.

When I finally reached the end of my run, I was throw-up free and was actually able to post a decent pace. And I was right, finishing that run strong was worth the risk. If I would have played it safe and walked the whole way home, there's no way that I would have felt satisfied. Instead, I was able to hold my head high knowing that I pushed through the pain, queasiness and lung tightness that I faced. I mean think about. If we only accomplished things that "came easy to us" would we really be satisfied? I think not. We can be much more satisfied when we accomplish something that we really had to work for or does not come easy to us.

So I challenge you. What can you do today that may seem impossible? Walk a mile? Jog 50 yards? Do two treatments? Have a smile on your face all day? Cook an entire meal? What is it? Leave me a comment and let me know what it is!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Thoughts About Baby Makin'

Wait!! Before you turn off your computer, close down this blog or throw-up on your keyboard, don't panic - I will not actually go into my thoughts on the baby making process. Well, at least not the baby making process that most of you are familiar with. Today, Mandi and I head off to the fertility doc (is that what you call them?) to go over all of our options and get some initial screening done. Mandi shared some of her thoughts heading into this appointment, so I figure I might as well share some of mine.

- I'm excited. We're at the beginning of this whole journey and although I know it can be emotionally draining, I'm ready, and I'm excited. Here's the deal; I've been a "master" at managing expectations my whole life and I'm hoping that doesn't fail me during this process. I'm going into this expecting to create a child, BUT if that's not the end result, I'll be ok. I'll still end up with what I have now. A beautiful wife, a wonderful life and a crazy (in a good way) family that loves us unconditionally. The way I see it, we can't lose.

- I'm ready. From a very young age, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a great husband (check - right Mandi?) and a great father. I'm as ready as I'll ever be to start the journey to great fatherness (sounded good at the time). Mandi and I have discussed this many of times and for me it's a simple question and answer. What do I want to do now in life, that a child would prevent me from doing? Uhhhhh, nothing. What do I want to do now in life, that a child would allow me to do? Let's revert back to box number two - I'm ready to be a father.

- I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful that no matter what the result and no matter what the process, Mandi and I will grow our marriage. Nothing is more important to me. You often hear that "God doesn't waste pain" and "God can use us best when we're broken". I believe both of those things 100%, and although I pray it doesn't come to that, I also pray that if it does, we have the wisdom to recognize what God is trying to do in our lives. More importantly, I pray that we draw upon strength from Him as we lean upon each other.

- I'm faithful. When we made our vows, we promised to put our own wills below the wills of our Father. We're turning this process over to Him completely and our faithful that He will provide the most perfect outcome.

- I'm patient. "Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet". I can't tell you how many times I'm recited that quote to myself, Mandi, my family and friends. I'll need to recall this quote probably more often than not during this process. And to be honest, it will probably not be a reminder for me. I won't name any names, but there is a little somebody who doesn't exactly excel in the patience category. That's what marriage is all about though, our strengths cover each other's weakness.

All-in-all I'm ready to get this party started and it starts with this first appointment. Send us some prayers that we're good candidates and that this process will be as smooth as possible. We'll be updating you as much as possible and also documenting as much as we can. That is, if you guys are even interested in coming along on this journey?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Mixed Bag of Emotions

Tomorrow we meet with a fertility doc and I'm a mixed bag of emotions. Tomorrow is an initial consult: to hear what the options are, what the process looks like and what a reasonable timeline might be. As we have said before, we know it's a LONG process, so we're trying to start it on the early side of when we want to start popping out babies, because the last thing I want is to get the itch really bad, and have no answers and no idea what I'm looking at in terms of time (patience is something I'm still working on). All that being said, I would take a baby tomorrow if you handed it to me. I've always wanted to be a mom (probably because my own mother was a rock star) and I don't feel like there's anything we need to accomplish or do before a baby comes. So I am getting a little itchy :) The only thing that has kept us from going to see someone sooner is that we're just enjoying each other. Newly married life is the BEST and obviously a baby would really throw a wrench in some of that (like "Naked Sunday"...which never really got off the ground, but Ronnie really tried for it by not turning the AC below 85 all AZ). But we also know that Ronnie is 30, and even if he lives to 80 (which we're fully planning on), he'll likely get more and more tired (I guess we all will!), so I want to be sure that we're having kids while he's still a spring chicken and can throw a ball with them in the back yard (one of his top reasons for wanting kids).

There are about a bazillion questions swirling in my head, in addition to "when is right for us to start?". How much will this cost? How long will I have to be taking meds? (Side Note: I never take meds. And I hate taking meds because I worry about every side effect possible...but that I will have to get over). What are the risks with IVF and ICSI? Will Ronnie's little swimmers be in there when they aspirate? What are the risks of fertilizing an egg with a sperm that would have never been able to do it on their own? (Seems like a recipe for issues). What are the benefits and risks of implanting 1 egg vs 2? I'm only 5'2 and 106lbs....seems like carrying twins would be nearly impossible and just wreak havoc on my body. Although Ronnie keeps saying, "then we'd be done!" "Yeah, done as is dead," I think to myself. Will my vanity allow me to enjoy being pregnant and the likely weigh gain, stretch marks, and who knows what else? (I struggle with this one a bit...but I want to be preggers more than anything it'll be a good learning experience on how to let go, and let God work his magic by allowing a HUMAN TO GROW IN MY BODY - still a crazy concept when you really think about it). Can I exercise? What is different with a high risk pregnancy? Where are all the procedures done? Why are you the doctor for us? (Obviously this is the question I will be asking this doctor, not one that you guys have to answer!) What if I have infertility issues also that we don't know about?

Those are just a few of the many questions. Some will be asked in this initial meeting...many will be reserved for when we actually get into the meat and potatoes of the process. I will try to take it all in and share as much as I can. In doing my hours of research (yes, hours upon hours) regarding options for couples in which the man has CF, there was very little to be found. Luckily, I found a few people on CysticLife who had been there and were willing to answer questions. Oddly enough, someone on CL, living in Phoenix, wrote a blog about all of it just a few weeks back. But I haven't found much more than that, and I know there are a ton of people out there with the same questions (maybe just about male infertility in general). So I will try to relay as much info as I can: the options and detail the whole process. Feel free to ask questions. After we hear what our options are tomorrow, we'll write our thoughts on each option (including the not so obvious of no IVF at all, and adopting or fostering to adopt). So expect that post in the next week or so!

So here's to tomorrow, step 2 in our baby makin' journey! I'm excited and want to puke, all at the same time!!!!