Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome, Crème de la Crème-ers!

I am new to the blogging scene, although I’ve been reading for years (big ups to Julie for introducing me to the world of IF and blogging). In addition to my journey as an egg donor, I am writing about secondary infertility, childrearing, divorce, and my faith.

As a fun get to know you exercise, I thought I would share a bit about myself:

I love to make music and wrote my first song at age five.
I love to read, going through an average of three books per month.
I love to plan and organize: spreadsheets make me happy!
I prefer baking to cooking.
I hold a special place in my heart for the islands of my birth.
I am a knee sock fanatic and wear the same lucky pair for each egg retrieval.
I love twisted humor and some of my favorite shows/movies are Archer, Arrested Development, American Dad, AbFab, and Soap Dish.
I love my God and am finally experiencing spiritual growth after the events of my divorce.
I love my family and am grateful every day for their love and support.

Friday, December 30, 2011

And a good cup of coffee.

Last night was date night, our last night before the kids come home from winter break. We headed over to Lafayette Village for dinner and gelato.

Before travelling back home, we stopped in Jubala for what turned out to be the best cup of coffee to ever pass my lips. As we saddled up to the bar, we learned that our barista is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We stayed for an hour, talking with A about his time at SEBTS, his love of coffee and reading, and his hometown, and I was reminded of my time involved with a church service called "The Vista."

Although the website is no longer operational, my time serving at The Vista was very rewarding and laid the groundwork in my expectations for cohesive worship experiences. Our main attendees were the Disney interns, a group of college students from around the world who gathered in Orlando to work for a semester. They were young, broke, and far from home. To them, The Vista provided a free home cooked meal and a safe place to explore their faith.

I woke up this morning with our conversation with A on my mind. As I drove to work, I kept replaying the evening and A's comments about missing home. Eventually my thoughts began to take shape and centered around fellowship. R and I have decided to head back to Jubala to connect with A again. We are hoping to invite A and his girlfriend over for dinner to discuss the idea of having them and a small group of their friends over for dinner at our home once a month.

We are hoping that this will provide them with a taste of home (and if it just so happens to model young adult Christian behavior to our children, all the better!).

Please be praying for us as we explore this idea. It could be very exciting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After

This is the fourth Christmas I have spent with my husband and by far the best. And I know that is directly related to how much time I was able to spend with Little K in December.

Until this year, Little K has spent the entire month of December with her father. Let me tell you that being away from her during the holday season is the hardest thing I have ever done. But this year, it was different: she didn't go to her father until December 21st. We put the tree up together, made and wrapped Christmas presents, sang Christmas carols, and looked at Christmas lights. We finally had the chance to begin making Christmas memories.

There are things I will add next year: we will start the crafts earlier, make Christmas cookies, put on John Denver & The Muppets Christmas cd while we decorate, and do an advent wreath. I may even let her wrap a gift or two all by herself. But this year was absolutely wonderful all on it's own.

My stomach bug lasted through lunch on Christmas Eve, canceling our plans for salami, cheese, and artichokes that night. Instead, we watched the first Sherlock Holmes and Scrooged while nibbling on a baguette. Christmas morning was a little better, although I still was not the least bit hungry. We did stockngs together, Skyped with my folks, and cleaned the house. R went outside to finish the kids' playhouse while I got started on Christmas dinner. We went to the movies for Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and came home for dinner.

Back from the movies, I observed to R that I liked this Christmas. While it would be even better with Little K home, I finally feel like this kind of Christmas is enjoyable and maintainable. It was low-key and full of grown up stuff we can't do with the kids home. What a surprise to find that Christmas can be enjoyed!

We still can't do Christmas Eve service (too many kids) but overall we were able to appreciate the holiday season. That was the biggest gift of all.

I wish you all a Happy Boxing Day (and Little K's 6th Birthday) and leave you with photos from our meal last night:

Osso Bucco with Lemon Gremalata on Shitake-Chantarelle-Oyster Mushroom Risotto

White Chocolate Banana Mousse filled Crepe Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Saturday, December 24, 2011


My apologies for the silence! If I may recap the week:

Monday: Little K diagnosed with walking pheumonia, reactive airway disease, and an ear infection.
Tuesday: Confirm diagnosis', spend 2 hours visiting different pharamcies, and attend school performance.
Wednesday: Transport Little K to her father's house for Christmas.
Thursday: Drive an unexpected six hours to provide clinic signage for work.
Friday: Come down with a stomach bug which knocks me out for 30 hours while my ex-husband gets secretly married.
Saturday: Finally drag myself out of bed and find a spot of ringworm on my hip.

I have spent the day washing our sheets and towels, trying not to miss Little K, and praying that tomorrow is better.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Welcome to Donating Hope!

I want to say thank you and welcome to everyone who has been by this past week! Between retrieval, recovery, and Little K's diagnosis, I have not had the opportunity to respond individually to each of you. I am new to blogging and each comment means the world to me. I am so glad you are here!

As a new blogger, I have some technical questions and would appreciate your help. How exactly does one reply to a comment in blogger? And has anyone else been having issues leaving comments on other blogger/blogspot blogs?

Thank you, again, for stopping by! I hope you decide to stick around.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sickness

After three weeks of coughing and a low-grade fever on Friday, a doctor diagnosed Little K with walking pneumonia and reactive airway disease this morning. After a quick nebulizer treatment, we were prescribed some high impact antibiotics and an inhaler with a face mask and spacer. Headed back to the doctor in the morning to check for improvements and clearance for holiday travel.

All of this while I'm continuing to recover from retrieval. I am very grateful to have avoided the intense swelling I experienced last time, although buttoning my pants is still uncomfortable. Hooray for the bella band! Still constipated (BOOOOO!!!) and very, very tender. I have also been exhausted, sleeping late all weekend and grabbing a nap this afternoon. *yawn*

Prayers for continued healing and travel safety are appreciated. I will hope to update once we're back from the doctor tomorrow!

Friday, December 16, 2011

In Shock

Forty-six embryos were created yesterday! Forty-six! I have never felt so amazed or more honored to be an egg donor.

My doctor and my coordinator came to check on me in recovery on Wednesday. The doctor took the time to discuss the high numbers with me, R, and our coordinator. We spoke about the warning signs of OHSS, the medications he was prescribing to offset it, and what we'll do different next time to keep the numbers down. After speaking with him, I feel confident that I am receiving the best care possible and that I am more than an egg producer: I am a patient.

Yes, I said next time. When my coordinator contacted me about this last cycle, she mentioned that she had just turned someone down since this was number six. When I heard that, I felt absolutely awful. Someone was suffering with infertility, gave up the dream of having genetic children to pursue donor gametes, struggled with choosing a donor, and we turned them down? I was sick at the thought.

I emailed my coordinator, letting her know that I understood the guidelines for six cycles max but asking if we could honor this recipient's choice. She agreed to speak to the doctor's about it and, surprisingly, they agreed!

My coordinator wants me to complete one natural cycle before we start stimming, so my FINAL final cycle will begin in February 2012. Here we go again!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fertilization Report

I received an email from my center this afternoon. Of the 55 eggs retrieved, 48 were mature, resulting in an even split to the two recipients. Of the 24 eggs each recipient received, 23 eggs fertilized. The next update I can expect from my coordinator will let me know if one or both have a doubling beta.

Dear recipients, I hope and pray you are sharing good news with your family by New Year's Eve.

As for me, I am doing well. My abdomen has begun to swell slightly, although it's nothing like last time. I received an additional shot of Ganirelix last night and will begin taking half a tab of Cabergoline tonight for eight days. Due to the intense swelling I experienced last time, I decided to invest in a bella band for this cycle. It's a good thing, too, because I doubt I'll be able to button my pants for work tomorrow. Ah, the joys of post-retrieval. *sigh*

Oh! And I broke the soft/liquid fast with this amazing meal, prepared by me while perched on a bar stool (since I am currently unable to stand for long periods of time):

Asparagus Risotto with White Wine-Garlic Glazed Chicken, Stuffed with Mild Italian Sausage. YUM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Retrieval Day, Part 2

Retrieval went well!

My IV went in on the first try (thank you, sports drink!!) and my nap was delightful. We retrieved an amazing 55 eggs and I received some additional medications to stave off OHSS. I've been feeling great this afternoon and experiencing a minimum amount of spotting. The soft/liquid diet will continue today and possibly tomorrow.

Thank you all for your prayers. Now back to bed for me!

Retrieval Day!

Retrieval is scheduled for 10:00 AM this morning. R and I are leaving the house in 15 minutes to head to the center. I have taken a different approach in preparing myself for surgery this morning:

Constipation: I have been on a soft/liquid diet for the past 24 hours and will continue for the rest of today. I will continue to take the stool softener I started during my last retrieval.

Pain Management: I try not to take additional narcotic pain medication once I get home, due to the side effects. I am hoping to get by on ibprofen and my rice heating pad.

Hydration: I get dehydrated at the drop of a hat, which has made inserting the IV extremely difficult the last two retrievals. Last night I stayed up late drinking 36 ounces of reduced-sugar sports drink. I am hoping for good results!

Nervousness: As many times as I do this, I still get nervous the morning of retrieval. See "Hydration" above! This morning, rather than accompanying R in dropping the kids off at school, I stayed home and did my Bible study (BSF: Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 14). I am already feeling more calm.

So, there you have it. Your prayers are appreciated and I will try to update this afternoon. Thank you for being with me today!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today is Not a Good Day

My co-worker's house was broken into last night, taking their belongings, car, and Christmas presents. Another co-worker (who is battling cancer) has had a seizure in the office, we just called 911. Prayers for all, please.

Retrieval at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I am R’s third wife.

The first time R got married, he was 18 years old and fresh out of high school. As he puts it, he was in heat and being married meant consequence-free sex. Around age 23, he and his wife visited a fertility specialist and found an issue with her fallopian tubes. They decided not to pursue further treatment at that time. Four years later, he found her in bed with another man and they divorced.

At age 30, R met a woman during a weekend away. They parted ways and she called a few weeks later, telling him she was pregnant. They got married immediately and divorced 28 months later. Two boys were born during their relationship.

R spent the next ten years raising one of the boys as a single father. Toward the end of those ten years, we met, he became a Christian, and we were eventually married. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary two weeks ago.

There are times when it just kills me. At age 23, even though he was not ready for children, he cared enough about his first wife to visit a specialist and get some answers. I’ve asked him before about those trips to the doctor. About why they were there, what tests were run, and why they chose not to pursue treatment. He is so pragmatic, my husband:

“We went because because all of our friends were having kids.”
“They took her into a room and handed me a cup.”
“We didn’t have the money for treatment and I wasn’t ready yet.”

She eventually remarried and adopted two children.

For the second wife, R tells me that God blessed him with two beautiful boys but cursed him by having them with a woman he couldn’t stand. I have met her when we drop SSA off for the summer. She and I don’t have much in common, but she is nice enough and obviously loves her boys. She eventually remarried and had another two children with her second husband. All four are good kids and seem at peace with their family’s situation.

And then there’s me.

Wife number three.

Mother of one beautiful almost-six year old. Step-mother to two teenage boys.

And the one woman R has been married to who he hasn’t tried or succeeded to conceive with.

Sometimes I think, “Why did he try to have children with number one but won’t try with me? Why did he have a second with number two, who he doesn’t even like, but won’t have one with me? What’s wrong with me?”

Let me tell you that the Enemy has some great answers to these questions. The Enemy tells me that he tried with number one because he loved her most. That he won’t try with me because number one broke him. That he had kids with number two because she was more seductive than I am. That R would be disgusted with my pregnant body and leave me before the baby was born. That I would fail to get back in shape after the pregnancy and he would never be intimate with me again.

Our weaknesses and insecurities are the Enemy’s playground. What is the Enemy trying to tell me? That I will never be good enough, that I am unlovable, that a man would only want me for my body, and that R is waiting for any excuse to bail out.

Each and every one of those is a lie.

R tells and shows me daily how much he loves me. And I choose to believe him. I rest on the strength of God’s promises and faithfulness. I threw down the fleece (more on that another time) and God answered; I can step out daily in love and trust.

It's just easier when I’m not ramped up on hormones. Only one more injection before retrieval. Thank goodness.

Cycle Day: 13
Estrogen: 3500+
Follicle Measurements: 15m to 18m
Dosage: Trigger Tonight
Retrieval: CD15
Baby Crazy: 7/8

Friday, December 9, 2011


Brooke of s&b put up a wonderful post about her husband, a man of character, who gives and works and loves with his whole self.


How amazing is a man like that?

I bought SSA a book for Christmas called BOOM: A Guy’s Guide to Growing Up. The very first chapter talks about the difference between being a boy and being a man, focusing on the shift from self-first to others-first, receiving to giving.

As someone who was married before I can tell you that this kind of man is hard to find. You can’t tell the difference between a boy and a man just by looking at him. Sometimes you can’t tell by talking to them, either. Even living with them, you can be deceived.

“Is Your Man a Man?” doesn’t involve the standard checklist of: Is he over 18? Does he have a job? Is he educated? Is he interesting? No, instead this list looks at more complex issues:

Does he having a growing relationship with God?
Are his friends men you want to be associated with?
Does he put others’ needs ahead of his own?
Does he complete something during the time he says he will?
Does he leave work on time?
Does he complain?
Does he go out of his way to do things he knows you will enjoy?
Does he make excuses for his actions/inaction?
Do you feel the need to make excuses for him or his actions to your friends/family?
Do you have to specifically ask him not to do/behave a certain way in front of your parents?
Does he speak differently in front of your parents or pastor than he does with you or his friends?
Does he handle disappointment or frustration in a healthy way?
Does he become provoked or angry easily?
Does he put you in harms way, either physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually?
Would your parents or pastor approve of the way you act when you are together unsupervised?

I will be honest: prior to our marriage, I would not have been able to answer every question well with R(although it is a definite improvement over my previous relationship.) We did many things that I am not proud of and, I must admit, that I now see he should have put a stop to. I am so thankful that R is, at the heart of things, a man of character and that he continues to grow daily. In spite of my many mistakes, God has chosen to bless me in my second marriage.

I purchase a book as part of Little K's Christmas present, also, called The Princess and the Three Knights. After a rigorous round of tests, including strength, charitable work, and essays, the king puts the knights to a final test: to take the princess as close to the edge of the cliff as possible without falling. The first knight takes her within twelve inches, the second to within six inches. But the third knight refuses to take the princess anywhere near the cliff, telling the king that she is too great a treasure to put in harms way. All three passed the tests for strength, intellegence, and charity, but only the third showed true character.

1 Corinthians 13 is often quoted during weddings, but have you ever really heard it?

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

This is not a trivial list. Each and every statement shows depth of character, a selfless way of living that is vital to the sustaining of any relationship, whether marriage, friendship, or parental.

I pray that R continues to grow and that I do, too. I want my man of character to have a woman of character by his side.

Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to pass these lessons on to Little K before she is old enough to date or get married!

That Escalated Quickly

Things that have made me cry today:

Casting Crowns, The Voice of Truth via The Zen of the Egg Hunt
I want to listen and believe the Voice of truth. It's just so hard when the Voice is telling you exactly what you don't want to hear.

Eggs in a Row
"I know he wants to be a daddy, but I didn’t realize how much." I want that.

Four of a Kind: "I hope that wherever this post finds you today that you are able to move from focusing so much on life's "what ifs" to make the most of "what is" in your life and family."
These donor hormones make it so hard to block out the "what ifs."

I even made myself cry.
It is easy for me to be jealous when I hear about people who have the opportunity to pursue pregnancy but it never really is a sure thing.

Two songs are playing in dissonance inside my head, each powerful and each with my whole heart. Maybe, maybe.

Maybe This Time, Cabaret
Not a loser anymore
Like the last time
And the time before
Everybody loves a winner
So nobody loved me;
'Lady Peaceful,' 'Lady Happy,'
That's what I long to be
All the odds are in my favor
Something's bound to begin
It's got to happen, happen sometime
Maybe this time I'll win

Blessings, Laura Story
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Baby Crazy: Easily a seven.


I arrived at 7:31 AM this morning, but the elevator was still locked. I joined eight other women and one man by the elevator, waiting for the keypad to blink, announcing that we were open for business. I glance around the group of women, all avoiding eye contact with each other. The thought crosses my mind to break the silence, but instead I pull out my phone and check email. If they want to remain anonymous, I will let them.

I enter the clinic at 7:35, add my name to the sign-in sheet, and have a seat. Glancing around the room, I see that each woman has taken a seat away from everyone else. Somehow, with only 10 bodies, we have filled the entire waiting room. Some read, others play with their phones, and the only break from silence is the nurse calling us back.

I am finally shown to a room by my least favorite nurse at 7:52. I am already heading to the restroom when she asks me if I need to use it. Yes, I think, I know the drill. Instead I nod my affirmative and let myself in.

As I sit down, I notice that the woman on the other side of the door has left her pants, shoes, and jacket in the room. I remember those boots from the waiting room, camel-colored Uggs with fleece lining. There were two women with those shoes, one my age and the other slightly older. “I wonder which one,” I think.

As I wash my hands, I think about that woman. About how she gets the chance to become pregnant and how I’m jealous. “Donor hormones are kicking in again,” I think. As I fold my pants and hide my panties, I wonder about whether or not to try this cycle. “R’s sperm count was never verified after his vasectomy and maybe this is the cycle…”

I pull the paper sheet over my lap and take out my phone, figuring I’ll read a few blogs as I wait. I hear a noise and think it’s my doctor coming in, but it is the restroom door locking. Then a gulping noise and the tears start. I hear her sobbing and pulling paper towels out of the holder. I want so badly to knock on the door, to offer her a hug and to hold her. I don’t want her to be alone.

Just a minute later, my doctor comes in and invites me to lie back as she readies the wand. She asks me about my upcoming weekend as we both pretend not to hear the woman crying on the other side of the wall. I put my feet in the stirrups and pray that she doesn’t have to go to work, that she can just head home.

By the time I make it to the lab, there are no Uggs. She has already left and I have no way to find her.

Whoever you are, I am praying for you. I hope you are not alone today. I hope the next one works.

Cycle Day: 10
Estrogen: 1500
Follicle Measurements: 10m to 12m range
Dosage: 150 Follistim, 1 vial Menopur, 1 Ganirelix pre-filled syringe
Estimate retrieval date: CD15
Baby Crazy (1=least, 10=most): 5

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The More You Know

There are times when it makes me laugh and others when it makes me shake my head. At this stage of the game, I know:

How to do my injections in less than 4 minutes.
To set multiple alarms and reminders on my phone for appointments and shots.
To request the large Sharps container over the small one and keep it through multiple cycles.
To drink a full bottle of water during my drive to the clinic and to finish it 10 minutes before my scan.
Which phlebotomist to request in the lab.
To bring a sweater or wrap to the clinic for the waiting room.
To keep my phone handy when I’m in the stirrups, just in case I have to wait.
To wear a liner everyday during a cycle.
How to estimate my retrieval date based on my CD8 scan.

Apparently the one thing I don’t know how to do is insist that I receive my Ganirelix syringes on CD8, even if the doctor doesn’t think I will need them until my next appointment. I now have to make another trip downtown before Thursday night. *sigh*

Cycle Day: 8
Estrogen: 601
Dosage: 150 Follistim, 1 vial Menopur, add Ganirelix pre-filled syringe CD9.
Estimate retrieval date: CD15
Baby Crazy (1=least, 10=most): 3*

*I did experience a split-second hope of seeing a yolksac during this morning’s ultrasound. Uterus’ contents = none.

Monday, December 5, 2011

And Many More

Yesterday marked the first time, in three years of marriage, that R and I have been in the same state for our anniversary.

For our first anniversary, I was in Florida for my first egg retrieval. For our second, I was dropping off Little K to spend December with her father. R sent roses to me at my parents' house both years. This year, however, R and I exchanged cards and spent our anniversary in the comfort of our home, cuddling on the couch with Little K, watching the Harry Potter marathon on ABC.

Best. Anniversary. Ever.