Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Embryos Reserved

The embryos are reserved! We sorted through the profiles last night and ended up going with Blasts again. I believe those are 5 day embryos… since I've been somewhat aloof through this process I haven't done a lot of studying up on all this stuff. I just do what the doctor tells me and move on.

We picked one family that had one blast and another that had 5 so that gives us our 6 total. That will also mean that once again we could have a set of twins not genetically related to each other. Last night we had all of the papers spread around, they were divided into blasts and multi-cells. We were thinking about using the multi-cells but then noticed that the genetic parents wanted the adopting family to live in the west. Missouri was not an approved state so we had to throw those out. To get enough multi-cells we would've had to used 6 different families. We learned the last time that greatly increases your expense when it comes to paying the shipping and storage costs. We weren't interested in paying that much again.

That left us with only a choice of blasts. Then we had to decide which ones to use. Should we keep the ones we have already and pick 3 more, should we start over, how should we decide….We went through them one more time and took out a couple we weren't sure about (one of them we removed because Jay wasn't confident in my biology lesson on recessive genes). That left us 4 donors to choose from. Since we are extremely tired of making these sorts of decisions we did the best thing we could think of to pick the embryos…I emptied out a Longaberger Bread Basket and we dropped the 4 donor numbers into the basket and pulled them out. Jay pulled them out twice and each time we got the same order. The third time we had Cade pull them out – same order. That's what we went with.

That's it, that's the big decision we made last night. While we were looking through them nothing mattered to us – who cares about hair and eye color? Hair texture and body build? Ok, maybe the height because Jay was a little hung up on the size of the people and my hang up was the egg age, but really what does it matter? That's why we drew numbers. If it works this time maybe I could contact Longaberger. They are always looking for different ideas on how "real" people use their baskets. Maybe they'd even send me a couple for free???

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Onward to November

I was very surprised this morning to receive a call from Clydene at the NEDC. She was ready to send me the embryos profiles so we can get them reserved for the November transfer. I was surprised because I didn't think this would happen until sometime in September. I guess the NEDC is doing it differently now…instead of picking the embryos in a mad rush each family gets 24 hours to make their decision. I have to e-mail Clydene our choices by 8 am tomorrow morning and then the remaining profiles will be passed on to the next family.

This new system is good and bad (at least for me). It's nice that I'm not frantically sorting through profiles and rushing to send an e-mail. I'm enjoying that part. On the other hand though it's not a good idea for me to have a lot of thinking time. I'm already wondering which ones we should pick. We still have 3 blasts on hold from the last transfer. Do I keep those and pick 3 more blasts? One issue I have is that 2 of the blasts are from genetic parents who were 40 and 50 years old. Yes, the age concerns me. Not only is the chance for genetic problems higher, the egg quality likely isn't as good. But it was still good enough for a pregnancy for the donors. It's sad to think that those babies may never get a chance because of people overlooking them due to their age. Do we release them and go with younger donors? So complicated!!!

I'm staring at this stack of profiles wondering if our child is in there? Is it in the stack we have at home from the last transfer? What if we make the wrong decision? I tend to go a lot on gut feelings, but sometimes my gut gets so confused because my head does too much thinking. Maybe we should put them in a hat and draw them out? Hmm, actually that's not a bad idea….

And the tension headache continues….

Clydene also reminded me about that pesky homestudy problem. It needs to be updated in September. I am so dreading that. I really really dislike filling out that paperwork. What I hate the most is the financial part of it. I do that sort of thing every day at work, but I hate to do it for myself. I don't like filling out the balance sheet, I detest breaking down where every $$ goes to each month, It aggravates me that I have to copy our tax return and the statements of every account we list on the balance sheet. EVERYONE ELSE CAN GET PREGNANT REGARDLESS OF IF THEY CAN AFFORD IT OR NOT!!! You loose all of your privacy through the adoption and this is the part that bothers me the most. Probably because I'm the one who has to fill it out and I'm the one making phone calls and digging through the enormous stacks of paper trying to find our latest statements. Makes my head hurt more just thinking about it. Have I mentioned this is the FOURTH TIME WE'VE DONE THIS??? I guess I feel like yelling today!

But we do have one new asset to add to the balance sheet this year. Maybe it will distract them from all of the other stuff. I'm guessing it's not everyday a social worker would see 1 Hawaiian Ice trailer listed on an adopting couple's financial statement. Maybe Jay could even offer to whip up one for her….she'd pass us through with flying colors after that regardless of what the balance sheet says!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to Work

I'm finally back to work today after taking off Friday and Monday for the fair and yesterday for a crop insurance meeting.  I have so much to do...pretty sure my headaches have been caused by tension, but I had to make a quick post.  I've got several other I need to do...fair and 1st day of 3rd grade, but I'll have to do those when I have more time.

I was just on msnbc skimming the daily headlines and I saw this article.
American Idol Judge

I am a so-so fan of American Idol.  We faithfully watched Season 1 way back in 2002 when Cade was a baby and we couldn't do much of anything else.  We didn't watch it again until 2005 - the year that Carrie Underwood won.  Since then it's been hit and miss for us.  If we are home and think of it we may turn it on, but otherwise we aren't huge fans.  But if this article is true I will have to watch it this year because I really like Aerosmith (for some weird reason)  Maybe the whole group would be there for the finale??  I'm still upset about them cancelling their concert last year, but this might make up for it a little.  Hopefully Steven Tyler won't fall off any more stages between now and when they start the taping for the show!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fair Day #2

Today has been pretty much a repeat of yesterday, except Cade and I hung out in the room more. This makes me feel a little guilty but then I remember a certain picture that appeared on Facebook yesterday and I don't feel bad. At all!

But Cade loves his show calves so I guess that makes all of this worth it....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fair Day #1

The first day of our trip to the fair is almost over. It has been pretty uneventful for the most part. The most we've done today is just a lot of sweating. Finally about 4:30 Jay told me to take Cade back to our room. He did not have to tell me twice!! We got in a couple Hours of cool. Cade was on the verge of a brekdown so it did him a world of good which in turn helped his parents tremendously!

The fair is definitely one place where having a sibling would be handy. Then he would have a playmate to occupy the hot hours spent sitting. Since Cade doesn't have a sibling he spent those hours hounding us! I laid my head back for a few moments and every two minutes I could feel his hot breath on me and his eyes boring into my face. He'd ask when we could go and do ______? I'd say just a minute, which he took to heart, because he'd be right back a minute or two later! We are heading to tie outs right now so we are about done with day 1. All i can say about the fair my first time bein here for a show...THANK GOODNESS we have a hotel! Think we are heading out for Mexican when we are done!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 12, 2010

NEDC Consult

Today I had the phone consult with the doctor from the NEDC. Not to complain about money, but we spent $60 on a phone call that didn't tell me anything more than what I already knew. One thing about adoption (besides the wait) that will drive a person crazy is the nickel and diming that occurs. Not that it is anyone's fault – it's just the way it goes. When someone decides to adopt they go into knowing that it is going to be expensive. The agency will give you a list of their fees and you'll take a big gulp and sign your name on the contract. What no one tells you is that those fees are only a part of what you will pay. Or at least Jay and I were totally unprepared for all of the "little" things that you must also pay for. I would hate to guess how much all of these little things have added up to be over the last three years.

Again, I'm not complaining, I'm just stating that this is a fact of adoption. I just want anyone who reads this blog who may be thinking about adoption to know about this extra stuff. It also doesn't help that we have waited almost three years – that adds to the cost because of the multiple profiles we've copied and the number of updates we'd had to do…

Color copies of a 10 page front and back profile (lost track of the number of times this has been copied)

Covers for the profiles

Mailing the profile to St Louis and KC

Being fingerprinted for the 4th stinking time

Paying for the 3rd homestudy update (4th time a person has been in our home)

The additional medical costs because we had to repeat everything after waiting two years:

Blood Tests to once again prove we do not have an STD

TB test



Will have to have more blood tests before the November transfer because ours will expire in September to again prove we don't have an STD even though I was just tested in May.


I'm sure I'm missing some stuff in here, but this should be the majority of it. None of that includes the other "extras" spent on the embryo adoption.


I guess I'm just frustrated today. We are staring in the face of our 3rd homestudy update, the 4th time someone will come into our home and inspect it and inspect us. Our old social worker left Bethany last fall, right after our last update, so we will have someone new this time. That brings on a whole other list of concerns because Pam was so easy going. What will the new one be like?


Back to the phone call, I somewhat digressed there….Dr. Keenan said there was nothing that he would've changed about the transfer. Everything went very well. The only thing that could've been better was the quality of the embryos. I already knew that. I had already thought about the embryo quality, but really does it matter? If it was God's plan for it to have worked it wouldn't have matter what the quality was. It just happened that having the embryos survive wasn't part of His plan. I am just praying that us having another baby is part of His plan at some point because right now I'm not sure that it is….

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

State Fair

Tonight I have an enormous amount of laundry and house picking up to do to get ready to leave tomorrow night for the State Fair. We are taking Ruby and Buttons to the Hereford show. I am still battling this headache…I think it's a combo of coming down off the hormones, stress/tension and the awful heat we are having. I really hope it goes away otherwise it is going to make the fair awful!!! Jay thought giving me another shot of progesterone would make it better. I think he was half serious about it. I told him no thank you. My hip areas are still tender from the shots. I notice it if I do anything jarring – like jogging or if I bump it against something. At least it's a good excuse not to jog!

I'm sitting here just thinking again about all of the different things I've done this summer that I had never planned on doing. It has just been crazy. Never in my life would I have dreamed we'd own a Hawaiian Ice business. Or that we would've gone out on a limb like we did with the Columbia thing. Or the same as going back to infertility treatments – that was such a huge step for me. I was so done with all of that junk four years ago and then all of a sudden I found myself back in the same spot. Good or bad, it has dug up some old feelings I had buried away. Now I'm re-examining thoughts and feelings I haven't thought about in years. Maybe there are still some things I need to work through? I'm not sure what the answer is…I'm going to have to ruminate on it awhile. AND maybe the biggest thing for me this summer is going to the State Fair…..

I'm no going to sugar coat it – I hate the State Fair. I've been 4 times in my life. All four visits were roughly 4 years apart. I think it took me four years to forget why I didn't like going so I could be suckered into it again. Now this year I find myself going again, but it's not for just one day. It is for 3 whole days. At least we are supposed to have a hotel room. I'm still holding my breath because I'm afraid something will go wrong with the room and we will be stuck sleeping in the back of the truck. Again, I'm doing something I never imagined I'd be doing. But the surprising thing is – I'm not dreading it like I thought I would be. Maybe it's because it feels like the three of us have not been together for ages. This is something that we will be doing together, good or bad. So tomorrow evening, after I get home from work, the 5 of us (counting the bovines) will be heading for Sedalia. I'm going prepared – I've got my baby wipes so I can easily clean off any poo I may step in and a huge stack of books to keep me occupied. If anyone is at the fair over the weekend, look us up. I'll be the only one in the cattle barn wearing flip-flops.

Seriously – when you read about all this fun it makes you wonder why we haven't been chosen yet??? I mean a trip to the State Fair every year and the possibility of one day inheriting a snow cone empire seems like a great deal. How can anyone pass on that?

P.S. Just to explain the flip-flop reasoning. I wear Old Navy flip-flops that are like $2.50 a pair. If you step in something all you have to do is hose them and your entire foot off. Since tennis shoes average $50 a pair I will wear the same pair for a couple of years – I would much rather step in something in the cheap flip-flops that can be cleaned rather than my tennis shoes that I try to keep nice for as long as possible. Jay doesn't get my logic (hence the shape of his tennis shoes) but I think it makes total sense!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Official Start of Football

Yesterday I had a monster headache (it seems to have carried over to today for some reason). I have a lot of stuff to catch up on at work and I had planned to stay late last night. My head hurt so bad though that I had to leave at 4:30. I was so looking forward to a night of staying home with all of us in the same 1600 sq feet and doing nothing. The minute I walked in the door that all changed. Jay said he talked to another mother and we were to pick up football pads at 6:00.

Yuck!!! I really do not care if Cade plays football for so many different reasons. Probably my #1 reason is I absolutely hate the way sports have started controlling the kids (and the parents) lives. When I has in HS we could play sports, but still have our summers off. That’s not the way it is any more – they have “open” gym nights that aren’t required but yet they are required, if you know what I mean. They just have all this crap that they have to do and have to miss out on so many other experiences that summer offers like vacations and having a job. I already know that if he continues to play sports we can say bye-bye to family vacations and cattle showing in the summer. Ok, I’ll try to get off my soapbox now, but it still irritates me!

The other two reasons I don’t care if he plays is pretty much tied for spot #2. I don’t understand it. At. All. We didn’t have football in Sheldon so I haven’t a clue what goes on. I just go to the games to talk. Then the other reason is that it terrifies me. Every time I see a player go down my first thought is “where is his mother”. If Cade goes down on a football field they will have to haul out two stretchers because I will pass out. I don’t handle things like that very well. If he makes it to HS football I’ll be the one on the sidelines with the back of my chair facing the field. I’ll be there to support him, I just won’t be able to watch it.

So back to last night. When Jay told me about the pads I said we need to talk to Cade to make sure this is something that he really wants to do. Jay told me I could ask him, but he knew what the answer would be. I called Cade into the family room and asked him if he was sure that’s what he wanted to do. When he said yes I pointed out a couple of the negatives – he’d be practicing in the heat and he’d be hitting people and getting hit himself. He gave me a strange look and said YES he wanted to play. A few minutes later he walked back by and I asked him again if he was really sure he wanted to play. His face turned bright red and he said “Fine then, if you don’t want me to play maybe I just shouldn’t” then he stomped off. I felt kind of bad, but he was so funny I started laughing. I was trying to be quiet so I was laughing silently which always makes me cry. Jay yelled at Cade to come back to the family room and he told Cade he wasn’t in trouble he just wanted to talk to him. So Cade came out and Jay explained to him I was just worried about him playing but it was fine for him to play and they were going to pick up the pads in 30 minutes.

While Jay was giving this speech to Cade about playing football I looked down and saw Cade had slipped on my wedge heeled sandals that I wore to work. That really made me start laughing. Since Cade was still in the room I didn’t want to draw attention to the shoe thing so I was laughing quietly. Which made me shake and cry even harder. I think Cade thought I was crying because I was worried about him so he gave me a dirty look and ran off. I didn’t know if Jay saw the shoe thing but he did because he said “as he was wearing a pair of women’s heels”. I lost it again. I was trying to be quiet but it was just so funny. I was on the couch shaking and crying even more. About that time Cade walked by and saw me. He screamed “would you just stop worrying about me already”. That made me cry and laugh even harder. What could you say to that? I couldn’t even speak at that point. I think Jay managed to get it all smoothed over with Cade before they left.

When they got home Cade was showing me all of his gear, he was so excited about it. Jay told me that he tackled Neilson pretty good while they were picking up the stuff. Cade patted his shoulders and said “Yeah, he wasn’t even wearing his knee pads”. Guess what… I lost it again. Then Cade put his helmet on for me and then tried to take it off. I had to video it. I hope it will play for everyone, if not let me know. It’s too good to not share. As much as I thought Cade had grown into his genetically large Shepherd head, I guess I was wrong. I may not have to worry about Cade playing when he gets into HS – they may not make helmets big enough!

Monday, August 9, 2010

National Bikers Roundup

Thank you for the sweet comments about the fact I was not whining but just telling what's going on. Sometimes I feel bad talking about the frustrations with this because I know there are people in the world going through a whole lot worse things than this so I don't like to "complain" about adoption stuff. But this junk is so frustrating. Absolutely maddening at times. There are times I just want to scream and throw things because I get so frustrated. Then other times I'm fine with it and I just go on with our day to day life, but I never stop thinking about it. There hasn't been a day in the last 5 years that I haven't had some kind of infertility/adoption thought go through my head. Some thoughts have been positive, some are negative, but it's always there. It's a monkey on my back that has grown into the size of a large ape! I'm just ready to get him off of there!

Anyway, on to the National Bikers Roundup. We had The Icebox at this event last week. Jay worked so hard this summer getting things ready for this. Then last week he really worked his tail off going back and forth between Ozark Empire and Columbia – taking care of our cattle and the stand. I wish I could say the event was successful, but it didn't turn out like we had hoped. But on the plus side we did learn a lot. Some about the business and some on a more personal level. We know we will never travel with the stand that far again. We are going to keep it local so we never have to pay for hotel rooms again. That was our biggest killer. Also, if we had known that it really wasn't worth opening it until Friday night, that would've helped a lot. Again, it would've saved us on the rooms and the labor, but you live and learn. Owning a business is never easy and the first year is definitely all about learning. Don't worry, The Icebox will still be around for many summers to come!

The NBR is an event that travels all over the US. Last year it was in Atlanta…next year it will be either Vegas or Houston. Another thing working against us was that it was in Columbia. I don't think you can really compare Columbia, Mo to something held in Atlanta. We heard there were 200,000 people in Atlanta but only about 25,000 in Columbia. St. Louis actually won the vote last year, but there wasn't a place large enough to handle something this size. That's how it ended up in Columbia.

Even though there were only 25,000 – there seemed to be people everywhere. I can not imagine what Atlanta would've been like. I didn't take our camera so I tried taking pictures with my iPhone. It did not do it justice. There were people and bikes everywhere. It pretty much consisted of the observers lining this paved walkway at the fair grounds while the bikers rode their bikes up and down the walkway. The bikes were so loud and I think all of us had headaches by the end of the night. Also, they were definitely night owls. We finally closed down the stand at 3:30 am Sunday morning. We did not get to our hotel until 4am. I am way too old for that!!

We were also in the minority at this event. I think it was maybe 2% Caucasian and the other 98% was Black. One of the boys we took is Hispanic. Sunday morning he asked the other two boys how it felt being in the minority because he is usually the only one who's different. The way he said it was funny, but it is the truth. We live in such a small community and we never experience anything but being around other Caucasian's. Most of us have no idea what it is like to be "different". Jay and I had a taste of it when we went to CA, but nothing like what we just came from. I will say though I never felt weird or out of place, I actually had a pretty good time. The only time I was ever worried about anything was when I walked to the bathroom – and that was only because I didn't want to get hit by a bike. There were so many going different directions that it was really hard to cross the walkway. Some of the bikes were going pretty fast. I can't even begin to describe what that part was like. Of course I wondered why anyone would want drive to Columbia, Mo to sit in the heat and watch a bunch of bikes. Then I thought they would probably wonder why anyone would load up a bull and a heifer, drive them to Sedalia, Mo, sit in the heat, and watch people lead them around a show ring. Pretty much it's the same difference.

So all in all, it was a good experience for all of us. I know the boys that went with us probably heard and saw a lot over those few days. This thing was calmer than the Sturgis stories we've all heard, but it still wasn't your garden variety county fair either. Who knows, maybe someday some of them will own a bike and want to travel to this thing again. Jay and I know for sure though that The Icebox WILL NOT make an appearance in Vegas or Houston next year. We are sticking close to our own bed from now on!

Even though our two big events this summer – this rally and the embryo transfer – didn't turn out the way we wanted, it was still a good experience for us. Normally I am a "play it safe" type of person. I never want to get outside my comfort zone with anything. I think I've even been in a "comfort zone" with waiting for an adoption. This summer was definitely all about us taking chances and stepping outside our normal areas of comfort. No one can say the Shepherd's didn't try during the 2010 Summer!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How We Are Doing…

Thought I'd give an update on how we have been doing the past week. I really try hard not to whine on the blog, but I think I will today. Mostly because I want to have a written record of what we went through on this (extremely) long journey. So if you don't want to read whining you can check back in a few days. I'm sure I'll have some good Biker Roundup stories to share.

Last Wednesday, going home from work, I got a message from Mary (the Light House case worker). There was a baby boy, already born, and the family wanted to look at profiles. He appeared to be healthy and there were no known health/drug concerns. The only "catch" with this one was that the baby didn't have insurance. The adoptive family would be responsible for his hospital cost. Since he was healthy and only stayed the normal two days that most newborns stay it didn't appear the cost would be too much. Basically though at this point most families who have waited anywhere near what we have would say yes if the caseworker told them the cost would be $1M over the normal placement fee. We had to let Mary know by 10:00 am Thursday morning, the day before the blood test.

We went back and forth some on what to do. Of course we wanted to be shown but what did we do about the fact I had three embryos transferred a week ago. Did we tell Mary and let her make the decision on if we could be shown – taking the risk that we could have a negative test and miss out on the opportunity to be shown? Did we not say anything and hope for the best? Did we not say anything and risk having the baby taken from us before finalization if I did become pregnant, etc. There were lots of things to consider.

I talked to Mary Thursday morning and she was ok with showing us, as long as we could handle two babies just 9 months apart. That was a little scary, but of course we agreed and knew we'd be fine.

After the negative test on Friday one thing that kept me going was this situation. We still had some hope that the weekend could turn out good. Monday morning though I got an e-mail saying another family had been chosen. We still had a little hope though because I knew there was still a mother with Bethany that hadn't made a decision. In fact I had received an e-mail from Aimee at Bethany saying that mother hadn't made a decision yet. When I first saw the subject line on the e-mail I thought "not today, I can't take another one!" I was so relieved that it wasn't us not being picked. The You weren't picked e-mail didn't come until 4:45pm Monday. I had already left work for the day so I didn't find out about that one until Tuesday morning. I'm glad that's the way it worked out because really, being rejected once a day is about all I can handle right now. By the time it happened Tuesday I was at the "this is just becoming ridiculous" place so I tolerated it pretty well. I think Jay was at that same place to so we were both "ok". Not that you're ever ok with disappointment, but there is a part of you that becomes use to it. You just pick up and move on and pray the next situation is yours.

We also made some decisions over the weekend. We have decided to wait until November for the next transfer. Things in our lives have been very crazy since the failed placement in February. Not that anyone's lives, including our own are stressfee – but we've been on a huge emotional roller coaster since then concerning the adoption. Or maybe I should say I've been on the emotional roller coaster because a lot of mine have been manipulated by the hormomes…But we had the failed placement, then the next day got the NEDC call, then we spent some time healing from the loss, about the time we were doing ok we got the phone call in April about the baby in St Louis that we just knew was going to be ours – instead he went to foster care, then I started the hormones, then we went to Knoxville and found out we could be in the July transfer (surely that was a sign, wasn't it??) then we picked out embryos and started the medical protocol, then we went from the potential of 5 babies to zero in a matter of days all while trying to open a business and work our other regular 40+ hour a week jobs. I think we need a break.

I should be able to remain unmedicated for about a month. I'm going to call the NEDC in a few days, but from my calculations I shouldn't have to start the BC Pills until the end of the month. I'm looking forward to a month of trying to flush that stuff out of my system, you know …just in time to put it back in for November. I think we or at least I need some time to just "be". Or at least "be" as much as the normal craziness of day to day life will allow a person.

It has probably also helped that this week has been extremely busy so it's taken our minds off of a lot of the disappointments. We've had our cattle in Springfield for the Ozark Empire Fair Monday-Wednesday and then Jay has been criss-crossing the state because The Icebox is at an event in Columbia. He's at the National Biker's Roundup getting an education right now. I won't lie though – sometimes I will be sitting at my desk and my heart will start to hurt if my mind wanders to the events of the last several months, but I'd say the majority of the time I'm ok. We will get through this.

So I just wanted to write this down because I hope someday I can read this and think "wow, when we were going through that our child was ____________ " …conceived, mother found out she was pregnant, family finally decided to donate the embryos, etc. Oh what a story we will have to tell someday!