Friday, December 25, 2015

Last Christmas

Erika:


We're thankful for this Christmas season and looking forward to the ones ahead.  This is officially our last Christmas together as two. Everything will be different next year and I'm excited and nervous for it all. (I've been eating my way through the excitement and have definitely gained some... a ton... of sympathy weight. At my birthday earlier this month my dad asked, "So... are you eating for two also?")

This season has been filled with baby stuff already... thinking about baby, researching stuff about baby, thinking about what baby is gonna need, receiving so many new and loved gifts for baby, and spending time talking and sharing our anticipation with everyone. Even my dad has started to come around and ask more questions and told me he'd been suppressing his excitement, but that he finally feels like he can share his happiness.

Even with all the business of the season, we were able to take time and celebrate.

Tina, thank you for helping us pick out our Christmas tree this year!
Your kiddos did a good job finding the perfect one!
And thank you for coming over for some delicious Abuelita's hot chocolate and cookies.
You guys are welcome any time.
(And Shiela... thank you for the mug!)
We'll be heading to Mexico this New Years and I'm excited to welcome 2016 with our family for the first time in a long time. I think they're excited to share the love for baby also!

To all of you reading...
Thank you for taking time to follow our story and watch it all unfold. We hope you all have a safe and happy New Year.

2016 is going to be a life changer.




"I cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with you and start all of our own brand new traditions as a family and share the old ones with you too. We're a big crazy family. You're going to LOVE it."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Thursday, December 10, 2015

We Graduated!


Luis:

We had our last visit with our fertility clinic a few weeks ago. It was filled with mixed emotions. Over the the last year we have developed a deeper relationship with everyone there, something more than business and client with our clinic. The faces have become familiar. Their voices and tendencies a bit more expected. The conversations about coffee, forms, and appointments that we would hear from the other side of the counter were calming. It would also mean the last time for the “Magic Wand,” and Tina was closer to ending the daily painful injections. We were graduating.

The last time we had seen Dr. Lin was at our transfer. He had been in a very positive cheerful mood during our second transfer and it was the same for this last meeting. As we watched our baby on the monitor, there were smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s hard not to smile. We got to see our little one dance and hear their heartbeat. I’m just as amazed as the first time, each time we're able to get a sneak peek at our baby.

After the ultrasound, we had a final meeting with our doctor in his office. I asked the question again about what had made this attempt different from the first transfer. I asked him knowing that he would do his famous graphs and statistics (which he did). From the math that he did and all of the explanations he presented, the answer to my question ultimately had no answer. Which made me, in a weird sense, happy. We have taken a very scientific journey to grow our family, but even with all of these high tech tools, life is not always guaranteed. Our little one has truly been a miracle.


Erika: 

Watching our doctor draw and scribble down notes and diagrams while always explaining each step in the process is something I'm definitely going to miss. On a few occasions, I'd asked to keep some of the notes... trying to decipher it was more complicated than I'd thought. 



We went back right after Thanksgiving to drop off a few little things for the office. It was funny to see their surprised faces when we walked in. We gave the office staff a Starbucks gift card to get their early morning fix which we knew was crucial to their workflow. They were always there by like 6am and even at that early in the morning, they would have smiles on their faces and be ready for the day. We also got them flowers to match the office and the blondie bars I'd made for the very first transfer.

For our doctor, we got him a little globe for his shelf (just like one we have in our living room) and a passport of chocolates from around the world, to thank him for playing such a huge role in helping us along this journey. He was there for us, despite personal family issues I know he was dealing with, and we are just so grateful to him for his guidance and honesty.  We had faith that he was the best choice for us, especially after running into family friends in the waiting room 9months ago, right before we'd decided to go with his clinic. And in the end you could hear such genuine joy in his voice when we saw the baby dance around at our last appointment.

Though these were tiny gestures of gratitude, there really was no way to ever express our joy and appreciation for all that they have done... They handled all of the stressed out emails, constant questions, and scatter-brained moments with ease and thoughtfulness and that really helped us get through.

-----

The following week we had our appointment with the actual OB office. We were moving on up in the world and, personally, I was nervous and didn't know what to expect.

Would they let Luis and I be part of the process? Would they talk to all three of us during the appointments? Would they care what Luis and I had to say? Would they welcome this new dynamic into the office? Would it be uncomfortable or weird?... I know... so many negative questions. I was just nervous that Luis and I would be brushed aside if we ended up working with an office that didn't have experience with a surrogacy situation. Thankfully, our agency provided Tina with a list of offices that they've worked with and so that put my mind at ease a bit. And honestly, the most important thing for us, is that Tina and our baby get the best care possible.

So... we're at the appointment and they called Luis and I back to the room so we could hear the heartbeat. A plus to being at the OB is that all checks were now ontop of the belly (no more "Magic Wand")... but using tools that had probably been used before I was even born.

For about 5 minutes (though it seemed like an eternity) the nurse used this old Doppler thing (no monitor, just sound) to try to let us hear the heart.

We were sitting in silence for that entire time. Nothing was getting picked up besides Tina's heartbeat.
The silence was excruciating.

...I felt like throwing up, my heart was racing, and the room was getting hot.  We were all silent, holding our breath, trying to hear a hint of it. Nothing. After a couple of minutes had passed, I started praying. A couple more minutes passed.  Thoughts jumbled up in my head. This is not how I expected the appointment to go. At all other visits (when the nurse had "direct access") there was never any issue hearing the heart. It always sounded so strong.

"Where are you baby?"

Eventually the nurse decided to call in the physician's assistant. She came in right away, rolling in a huge ultrasound machine from the 80s. With this machine we would get an image, but no sound. She came in with a smile and got straight to work. Initially the screen was facing her, but once she got set up, she turned it around for us.

As soon as I saw the screen I shouted out "BABY!" And my eyes instantly darted towards baby's chest. It was the most beautiful, glowing, little flickering heartbeat.

Huge Exhale.... 


Our first selfie with the baby!

And really after all of this, I could not have been happier with how the appointment went.
(Also, I found out later that this is totally normal and happens at most early appointments. 
Thanks for the head's up!) 

We didn't get to meet the official OB, but the nurses, the physician's assistant, and the office staff were so helpful and friendly. The nurse who was with us for the appointment initially seemed a little distant and serious, but I kept smiling extra huge, and straight at her. I could see it was starting to breaking her down. By the end she was cracking jokes and was really awesome. 

The most important thing for me was to see how they all worked with the dynamics of our situation. They didn't just talk to us, they didn't just talk to Tina. They were talking to all of us. When they'd ask questions, the three of us would look at each other blankly, like... "Well... what do you  think?" It was kinda funny. Then they asked what questions we had... I didn't write them down... and after our little hide-and-seek session with the baby, all of my questions went out the window. Again, we all looked at each other.... Clearly we could have been more prepared, but my nerves got the best of me and I mostly just wanted to see if we all meshed. We did. And that answered my biggest question. 

Before we left, the physician's assistant looked at all of us and said, "Don't worry. From here on out, it's easy. No need to worry. It's easy." It was really nice to hear such positivity and see how supportive she was. Hoping our OB is the same.

Got home to find an envelope on our kitchen table.
It was a card from his sister, whom we haven't really seen much of over the last few months. 


Needless to say... instant tears. It had been an emotional week, as I'd also witnessed an amazing friend give birth, and after the Doppler fiasco, the card just pushed me over the edge. Luis walked over to me and recognized that instantly. He let me cry and rubbed my back. 

Huge exhale....

"Little baby of ours... you are a "tough cookie." You're also a sneaky cookie. I realize that you were probably shy because we were at a new office, with new people, but please... no more hide-and-seek till you get here, ok?"
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Very Thankful Year


Erika:

      Before writing this entry I went through and read all the ones preceding it. It kind of took my breath away to see where God has taken us in such a relatively short amount of time. We are beyond thankful for everything this last year has brought us. We cannot even really begin to describe just how excited we are for this next year. We are finally REALLY excited.

I made this at a workshop last weekend. 

For those of you who are visiting our blog for the first time... there is actually something we need to let you in on.... We've hit a milestone. Having been together as long as we have... I feel like each section of our life has not just been a different "chapter." Each has been a full on novel in its own right. Having survived our awkward teenage years... aimlessly sprinted through our twenties... now in our thirties we are beginning to write a new book and introduce a new character.

This coming Sunday we will officially be 13 weeks pregnant, via gestational surrogacy. As unconventional as our means to get here may be... God has been there with us every step of the way; through the planning, the research, when telling family and friends about our plans... through the shots and the hormones, financially and emotionally, through the disappointments and those moments of anticipation, utter shock and joy, He has been there to see us through.

Luis:

This time of year is of course known for the food and family gatherings. And I know it’s Erika’s favorite time of the year. I have slowly gotten around to being a bit more joyful and in the “spirit” of the season. I have in the past, thought that we should be like this year round and not just during these two months. It’s kind of how I feel about my birthday sometimes. It's just another day, nothing should be different. 

This thanksgiving however IS a little different. This year we have something that being thankful for is just not enough. Our journey to grow our family has included many people mentioned and not mentioned in this blog. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of those who have given life to our baby. There are many people in our fertility circle that have chosen a humble profession and dedicated their lives to help people like Erika and I. There are people like Tina and her family who have given their lives aiding in giving life to another. Then there are family and friends who have supported us with words of encouragement, love, and understanding. There are few moments in the year that we focus on thanking these people. So I’m happy there is a season to say in words, prayers, and thoughts how Thankful I am. If you're reading this, thank you and know that I love you. 

Here is a look at baby at 10 weeks. The size of a kumquat, I think.





Baby 10wks from Erika Perales on Vimeo.


Feel free to follow our blog to get updates on how our little Blueberry is doing. We love hearing from you guys in comments, calls, texts, or in person!



"We are thankful for your 10 little fingers and your 10 little toes, and your cute little chin.... that you are growing healthy and strong and are beginning to wiggle around. You are the biggest blessing we could have ever wished for and we grow more and more thankful each day." ---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wiggles

Erika: 



So the last time we went in to see baby... there was a lot of head tilting. We were struggling to figure out which end was up.

Not this time. 

This time, even though only the size of a large blueberry, it looked like a baby! We could easily see its head, its belly, and tiny nubby arms and legs. We could even see its heart beating through its little chest and its brain through its little head.

To top it off... it mooooved. It wiggled its tiny shoulders and I could not believe it! It was DOING stuff! It was an adorable, tiny, little wiggly BABY!!! This was the first moment for me that I reeeally, deeply exhaled. It all became super real. I felt like baby was telling us, "It's ok! Don't worry anymore! Here I am!" I didn't want that moment to end. 

I think that day alone I must have watched the video, like, 100 times... and at least 100 more times since! 

In SUCH LOVE with this little wiggly baby. Our tiny dancer

8WksBabyP from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

Luis:


Our last meeting gave us a small glance at our little one. The beat of a heart was an introduction to this brand new life Erika and I had made. As I stared at the, now familiar, monitor, we saw our little gummy bear floating around in the black space of fluid, swimming around in Tina’s belly. It looked so big on the monitor but in reality it was only about a half an inch big. 

Erika had shown me these baby growth videos earlier and looking at our child I could imagine all the changes going on inside. Cells going here for developing the skin others going somewhere else to build bones and muscles. We were also able to get a longer listen to our child’s heartbeat. As I heard the fast beat of the pulse on the monitor I felt in total awe. I knew each beat was providing nutrients and blood to this quickly growing baby.

A new feeling of security rather than anxiety filled me up. We had passed the “hold our breath” moments of a pregnancy and moved into “what size fruit are you?" I could now look at the screen and not be on edge. Everything out of the nurse's mouth was positive. Knowing this brings me peace. 
...Something that we may not have much of in a few months. Ha.


"The awe and wonder we feel each time we get to see you on the screen, grows more with each visit. One of your tias said that this sense of awe will last forever. With every new thing you do and each moment we witness... that feeling will never ever go away."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tiny & Strong

Erika:

          Going through this surrogacy process and going in for appointments with our fertility clinic has given us a perspective on life and the whole babyhood process that we may not have been super aware of, otherwise. Even before transfer I used an IVF website that helped calculate and project a potential due date and it gave me all of the teeny tiny little milestones our little Baby Blast would be experiencing. 
   
      At the time of our Beta test, Baby was only 4 weeks old (poppyseed status). But even just 1 week later, the heart was going to begin contracting! It was 4 days after our positive test, well into week 5, and the heart was set to start doing its thing on October 3rd, (according to my calculator #nerd). Coincidence or not, we were out celebrating my brother's birthday that day, and I found this in my drink. <<<
      Our next appointment at week 6 was going to be a big one. This was going to be our first time hearing the heartbeat, hopefully, if detectable. Walking in there I was scared... nervous... had no idea what to expect. Keep in mind, up to this point I was still kind of everywhere with my emotions and was praying so hard that I be able to handle the day well. I was telling myself... well, it's still early, so maybe the heart won't be loud enough... we probably won't be able to see anything.... Totally psyching myself out. We met up with Tina and we were all hugs and nervous smiles. And then we went in. 

Super teeny tiny, like a lentil, it's hard to even see. We were actually twisting our heads a lot at this appointment 
trying to figure out the difference between sack and baby.
Sack is to the right. Baby is to the left... looks like a little snowman.

But then we heard it. Faint at first... then booming. At 6wks 4 days, heartbeat was at 124. "Perfect," according  to the nurse. People ask what my reaction was... and honestly I think it was PURE SHOCK. 
Jaw on the floor silence and then some nervous giggles (listen for Luis).... 
Like... Holy crap... that's our baby.... It's a little life. With a little heart. And I could hear it! Something that had seemed so far away and unattainable... was coming in loud and clear. In the video you hear it loud only for like a second, 
but I mean... just... Wow.....

Baby 6wks from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

Probably the MOST surreal moment of my life. I needed someone to slap me! ...still do!

Even earlier than this, Tina told us that she had started feeling nauseous, exhausted, and she was having a hard time cooking meat. All great symptoms for pregnancy, but we wanted to help her out in any way we could. We got her a goodie bag filled with things she'd said helped her during her other pregnancies and a few extras.

We also got her a book to read to her kids about surrogacy called, "Sophia's Broken Crayons." It is such a sweet book, that explains surrogacy from the perspective of a child and was written by a surrogate. It's beautifully written and gives lots of great information about the whole process.




Luis:

In a traditional pregnancy you would have the opportunity to surprise or find a unique way of telling your parents that they are becoming grandparents. My mother has been waiting for a long time to be a grandma. A long time. Within the first year of being married she even had a dream playset built in their backyard (Erika calls it the Field of Dreams move). 

Over the years, she has adopted many of my friends children as her own and I guess I really did not understand her excitement to have a grandchild. Now as we get the gift of a heartbeat it sinks in for me that this cycle of life and death is something that happens to all of us as we mature. We spend so much time, patience, energy, love in raising our own children that the idea of that child that we raised doing the same to another life is a completion of a cycle. There was no big surprise or no crazy elaborate trickery in telling my parents. The sole beat of a heart was enough. And according to the strength of that beat my mother is certain it will be a "baron" aka boy.  

As much happiness as I have in soon becoming a parent, it brings me even more joy to know our child is going to have a family surrounding them that has been through many rough times, celebrations, and growth. More importantly it has a heart ready to be filled with love. 


Erika:

For the record, I think the heartbeat would be just as strong, girl or boy.


"It's crazy that someone so tiny can have a heartbeat so strong.... Hearing your heart has made ours full." 
---excerpt from a letter to our baby


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Feel It All

Erika: 


Growing up I always dealt with worry. Starting at the age of about nine I'd always come up with horrific scenarios and ask, "...but what if..." over and over again. I think my mom used to call me the Whatif Bird. She would try to convince me that the story lines I was coming up with in my head were far-fetched and that I shouldn't spend so much time worrying.

It was some time between appointments, soon after we'd gotten our beta news, when Luis and I were in the parking lot at Trader Joe's and I could hear that little bird again. So Luis, me, and the bird sat in the car and started talking about the whole process.
---Why I decided to bring it up in the parking lot before we even went inside to buy cheese, I have no idea.
My concern was knowing how to feel and at what point is it ok to feel... happy? At what point is it ok to feel excited?...Can we tell our parents? How much do we tell them? ...at what point do we let go of fear and worry? Will it ever be ok?

I think I was feeling uneasy about feeling happy... Weird, right? It's like one second I would find myself getting excited and looking forward to appointments... and then the next second I was feeling nervous and unsure...almost sick... just not wanting to get too ahead of myself. Always holding back the happy....

Luis and I sat in the car for like 30 minutes. He was such a good listener and helped talk me down from that tree...
where I'd sat and built a nest with that little Whatif Bird.

The conclusion we came up with is this...

We have to be able to take time and celebrate all of the little things, all of the tiny successes and steps closer to parenthood, even in these early stages. And at the same time... relax... breathe... and surrender. It's all we can do. I'm glad I was able to tell him this before we went in to buy cheese.

Later that week I was telling one of my friends about this and she said that this is exactly what pretty much all pregnant women actually go through. There is always a sense of worry (no matter how big or small) in between appointments and over-thinking of every little feeling. Other friends of ours said that even into the first year of having a child... you worry and stress with each new stage of life... and constantly hope things are ok.

Now that I think of it, this probably only gets worse into teenage years! Another friend of mine, that I've known forever, now has a teenage son. And just the other day she posted a worry she had about him now that he is all grown up... worried about how prepared he is to make good decisions on his own..... I guess you never stop worrying.

Hearing from actual parents who have dealt with these very similar emotions made me feel better and gave me some peace about it. I guess I've joined the club.



Last weekend Tina and I went to a pre-natal yoga class. For me, it really helped with my emotional state that week. And although I wasn't sure what to expect, and thought I might feel weird about being there and not "physically" being pregnant, the instructor welcomed us both with open arms. It was great to be able to breathe (the teacher made a joke about forgetting that important step) and re-focus... and really visualize Baby Blueberry (comparable fruit size at the time) floating around, all cuddled and warm. It was also nice to hear from other mommies-to-be about what they're dealing with, both physically and emotionally. And I think Tina's and my favorite part was Child's Pose.  "...It's always a good time for Child's Pose."

I need to continue to remind myself to breathe in peace and allow myself to embrace the full range of emotions that comes with this journey... 
I want to be able to feel it all.

In August, right after our first failed transfer, I stumbled upon this book while buying a gift for a birthday or a baby shower.... I cried when I read it in the store. I went back a couple of weeks ago and bought it.


So now... I will tell you a story.



video

(I recorded this in the middle of the night... in the middle of the week... while Luis slept... 
so my voice sounds extra whispery and scratchy... it may put you to sleep. And yeah, there's a cricket that listened in too.)

"Our hearts are forever happy and hopeful for you."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One Step Closer

Luis:


Just as the first time around waiting was not easy, neither was this time. However, I think we might have done a better job this time of just being patient. There was not much we could do for these 10 days (the 2 week wait after transfer) of finger crossing, baby day dreaming, back and forth conversations with God. We had spent the weekend before with my cousin Ben, Lisa and BAM. I really do love Ben the IV, he reminds me of my childhood growing up with all of energy, giggles and mischievous curiosity. Seeing my cousin interact with him gives me a smile knowing time is the only barrier in building a relationship with our own little one.


Monday was supposed to be a back to normal day, however I could not help but have my eyes check my phone every opportunity between activities with my students. I got a missed call sometime around noon from the clinic. I had to wait an entire two periods to give them a call back. On our first transfer Erika and I had found out together after being spending the whole day with one another. I would have liked to have done the same thing this time around as well, but I called the clinic wanting to be the one who would have to say it was bad news and tell Erika myself instead of the nurse.


When I did call and the first words uttered by the office were, "We have great news..." it took every ounce of me not to blurt out random noises of excitement. She started telling me numbers and adjustments for the meds for Tina. I had to quickly grab a sticky note and jot down the info. The most important of course was the HCG number being 281. Our little Blast had started multiplying. In the moments after getting off the phone I took what seemed like a slow motion movie shot to compose myself back to the present. I had asked the office to inform Erika because I knew she would love to tell Tina the results. I imagined her smile, pulsing heartbeat, watery eyes and felt joy knowing that this small number had ignited a dream we have been waiting for.


I love my wife and she asks me why all of the time. This next part explains one of those reasons. After calling and texting her with no response I knew she had to have known. Even in a time like this, Erika has a heart to think about us. She had gone to the store to pick up little baby shoes and a beanie. She rang the doorbell and left them for me to find. This small gesture goes to show that even though she was crazy happy herself, she thought of me. I think this is what our glue is in our relationship. The unselfishness and thoughtfulness towards one another. We both show it it in different ways, but it's one thing that our child will no doubt see as they watch us continue to grow.






Erika:

Well... I had a whole thing planned... but Luis' entry made me cry... so instead... this....



This is what I put on our doorstep. I rang the doorbell and hid behind a tree.
I heard his grunty giggle... then I hopped out.
I had never really thought about how I would tell Luis that "we were pregnant." The concept always seemed so infinitely far away. Even though he technically heard it from the nurse first... We still got our moment.
(I say, "Dude..." all the time... and I figure this would look adorable on a boy or a girl... Imagine pigtails in that beanie!)
This was the message I sent Tina after finding out our first beta result on a Monday. Hehe...  
This was the text I got from Tina after she got the results for the 2nd beta on a Wednesday. It was a surreal moment.
How I got through the rest of the day... I have no idea.
Since we didn't want to say much to anyone quite yet,
our friend Florencia suggested that Luis and I go walking around outside
and just start high-fiving strangers!
(We didn't. lol.)

This was further confirmation that Tina sent us....
(Luis was so excited he felt like if he were to POAS  it would also be positive.)
While we know things are early... like ridiculously early... this is as pregnant as we've ever been. Ever. 
It's crazy to think about. 
And each step we get closer... is another huge exhale.....
We also understand that everything is in a very fragile state right now
and completely (as always) out of our hands....
We decided to go ahead and share this part of our news now 
so we can get extra prayers and support that baby continue to grow healthy and strong.
Grow baby, grow.



"Not a day goes by that I don't think about you... I imagine you growing and changing... and especially in these first few weeks... SOOOO much is happening! It's such a miracle and God's got you in his hands. Praying for you all the time bitty baby...." 
---excerpt from a letter to our baby











Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Here we go...


Erika:

We woke up early on Friday and got our Transfer Tattoos on.

I found these at a cute little store named Hello Friend. It's an adorable shop
and when I saw these... I knew I had to buy them!

We met Tina at our acupuncturist's office and then were off to the clinic! We were pumped! (Side note... the nurse almost left one of the needles in Tina's ear! Thank goodness she noticed!) When we got to the clinic we gave them some pumpkin bars that were DELICIOUS. The office has been so helpful and patient dealing with us, that we try to bring them goodies when we can. We filled out some paperwork and were sent down the hall to meet with the doctor and check out our baby blast.
OF COURSE we had to stop and take a selfie!


And here is our little baby. A little bitty Baby Blastocyst already loved.

I have to say... our doctor was absolutely HILARIOUS on this particular day. He was in such a great mood, seemed excited, and was even telling jokes about some of the tools... "And this was made by a man...." We were all cracking up in there. He was just being so great the entire time and the mood in the room was great. The doctor was pointing things out on the screen, which he hadn't really done before, and we all felt like we were really understanding the whole process even better. And our nurse described this moment on the screen like a shooting star.... Just watch.

TransferVideowords from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

And this time, by the way, we were back in the room where I'd had my retrieval done. Remember that closet with the window? ...We'd come full circle.

One thing I forgot to mention about the ride to the clinic... right after I had posted a picture of my awesome fake tattoo, a really awesome friend of mine posted this on social media. She sent this prayer out into the world for us and suddenly all the prayers multiplied. When we got home later that day, it was so uplifting to see the words of encouragement her friends had for us, total strangers. But their hearts were genuine and their prayers were definitely felt.
Thank you so, so much.

Instant tears.
Our transfer day ended with this arriving in the mail... a baby catalog from Target with a gift card on the back in case we want to register.... OH! And not ONLY this. The next day a package came in the mail. It was meant for the people who used to live here.... It was baby formula. No joke.
...Did you catch what the doctor said, right after he transferred? I hadn't until just now.
And the very next day I sent Tina a clip from "Friends"... actually, several clips. But the one I had stuck in my head, for about a week, was of Phoebe's transfer day. She's laying upside-down on the couch with her guitar and singing a song (which I told Tina to feel free to sing outloud to her belly). 

"Are you in there Little Fetus
In nine months will you come greet us?
...I will... buy you some Adidas!"

"At some point, fairly early on, someone asked me how we were feeling.... Well, with our emotions and expectations all over the place, I can only describe this time as both scary and exciting... basically, like being on a roller coaster."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby



Happy Birthday Tina! 
Thank you for riding this roller coaster with us!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2nd time around

Luis: 

Life is about second chances right?

It’s not that I expected things to go smoothly, but at some point things that you want take patience, focus, redirection, a whole slew of things. I am thankful for Tina and her family for the commitment that they have given to us. The idea of carrying a child is already huge, but going through the preparation for a transfer is not an easy thing. So up front I can think of nothing else but to be thankful for this moment, with this family.

School of course had kept us busy and preoccupied, but for a very short time, I got a little down about the results of our first attempt. I did spend time thinking about the potential our little embryo had. We never knew if it was a boy or girl embryo. When I think about it now, I am more amazed at our own lives. We get all of our intelligence and insight as we grow older and we think that is what makes humanity special, the ability to increase our knowledge of the world. I now come to think that the obstacles and barriers of conception add to the most miraculous part of our existence. Our doctor (whom we trust very much and who has done this for years) told us with a straight face, “I don't know why it did not work.”

Because conception is not a one hundred percent guarantee, life still holds that sense of miraculousness. So maybe that is why this whole process isn't meant to be easy. If conception through assisted reproduction technology was a one hundred percent guarantee, humans would potentially lose their sense of awe and wonder. But that's makes us human... our feelings of wonder, hope, and the unexplainable.  

This second attempt has a familiarity to it. I am not worried about what is going to happen, but anxious to start the timer for a result. In the bigger picture we know this will be but one of the many more obstacles that we overcome on our way to being a family. We have been fortunate enough to have so much support from friends and family. And it's always nice to hear and feel your encouragement.


Erika: 

August was a tough month and it really forced me to let go… of a lot of things. I spent the last half of that month clearing out an old classroom. I called it “The Purge.” The stuff was just taking up space.… So shelf by shelf, box by box, I threw stuff out (going to donate a lot, too). And though the process of cleaning out the room (and reorganizing another one) was a ton of work, time consuming, and labor intensive, it was also, almost, therapeutic. Letting go really was the theme of my month.
This calendar hangs right next to my desk. The work is by Katie Daisy. Love her work.

At the end of August we celebrated our 8 year anniversary. This year also marks 17 years in our relationship. We’ve experienced so much over this span of time and could not have imagined going through half of what we've gone through without Luis by my side. 

At my first faculty meeting, which just so happened to be on our anniversary, and the day before school started, the principal popped this up on the screen as a reminder for all of us as we move forward in our classrooms.


This slide completely resonated with me, and I could not get over how perfectly it bullet-pointed my own personal life experience in that moment.

But now we are in September. And this is now what my calendar says.



I am choosing to live in Happiness, not Fear and Worry. On Tuesday I overheard a conversation about letting things go and grieving. How Grief and Sadness are healthy and good places for us to visit, they help us heal... but we should never choose to live there. I want to live in Hope and Gratitude, with my eyes facing forward.

And so here we go. We are ready to take our next step. Tomorrow will be our second attempt at a transfer and we are excited! ...Well, excited isn't even really the right word. It's something more than that, and something that might exist in some other language... (if you know of one, let me know).

I dropped off some goodies for Tina yesterday evening.  My favorite thing in the bag… besides some AWESOME temporary tattoos that the three of us will be wearing tomorrow (oh, and Brownie Brittle), is a book that really gets to the heart of our current feelings.
I sat in a bookstore and read this book one day over the summer. It's the best.
Waiting is hard, but along the way I am learning, growing, and finding peace amidst the unknown.

We remain thankful. Thankful for the wiat… for the built up anticipation… for the extra time we’ve been given to get ready… for the lessons in patience and perserverance.

We remain thankful for Tina, her heart, and the growing friendship that we’ve found in each other. Also thankful for her kids who make me laugh every single time I see them.
Bag Boy. A very close relative of Sponge Bob.
We remain thankful for our friends and family who pray, ask, encourage, and share with us their common hope.  And for those of you who silently think of us and read our words… thank you.

Tomorrow we move forward. Tomorrow will be filled with Joy and Excitement! Tomorrow is going to be a good day.



"One day we are going to look back on all of this and realize how small this wait really was, compared to the lifetime we get to spend with you." 
---excerpt from a letter to our baby