Monday, August 12, 2013


If you get a little blushy or nervous about words like uterus, ovary and infertility then allow me to jedi mind trick you. This is not the blog you are looking for.  Because it is about to get real up in here, time to write down our story.

In 2002, Josh and I were married and we waited exactly six months before trying to having children.  December* of 2002 was the first of many many months to come where no seed found fertile ground. About 5 months into trying I had debilitating abdominal pains and got the diagnosis and label of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).  My ovaries thought it would be fun to grow multiple cysts and then to let those suckers burst like pinatas of pain.  Brutal. The doctor that diagnosed me also advised that pregnancy would probably not happen.

This is where we decided to introduce humor. My ovaries earned the nickname Ovak-Hai.  Like their relatives the Uruk-hais, the most evil and devious Orc's from Lord of the Rings, my Ovak-Hai decided to attack at the most random times.

Now I can list all the medicines that we took, dates and types of procedures, let's just say years and years of treatments were happily taken in the hopes that we could have a baby.  But fundamentally what it boiled down to was that technology didn't have what I needed to procreate without spending astronomical amounts of money.  Large enough amounts of cash that Josh and I figured out treatments that "may possibly" lead to pregnancy equaled the cost of an adoption.  This is where we decided to stop.  For us it wasn't worth the 30% chance of pregnancy when we could put the money away and be placed with a beautiful baby at a much higher rate of success.  It might take years but at this point years seemed like nothing.

 December 2010 my father, an obgyn and infertility specialist, decided it was time to have the talk.  He quizzed me about what we had tried and when we had last participated in treatments**.  Then to my surprise (which in hindsight is silly) he told me about all the advancements since our last try. And so we decided to go for it again.

This time through some heavy handed spiritual inspiration, no really the Spirit practically hit me in the face, we landed with the right doctor. At my first appointment I explained our long history and that the last doctor we saw said I could not conceive. In return he told me, "Ellen, you'll be pregnant by September or October."  And I'll be honest, I laughed at him.  But I'll be damned, he was right.

In August we were placed with the most amazing baby boy for adoption.  He had an extended hospital stay so we never finalized our adoption until September 1. And people, for the first time in my life I ovulated that month.  So Josh and I had the talk, stop treatments and raise our boy or just keep going.  We chose to keep taking treatments because I think neither of us actually believed we'd get pregnant.  But we did, the second ovulation of my life and with a three month old child in our home***.

In the last six weeks we have been able to celebrate a first birthday and a second birthday for our beautiful sons.  It has been a brilliant time.  But rising from the cake crumbs is the return of the one Ovak-Hai.  That's right I have one ovary.  Not one doctor or ultra-stenographer caught it, not until I was being put back together after my c-section was that little tidbit discovered.  But I'll tell you what this one little Ovak-Hai punk has rage issues.  And so it just goes about business growing cysts and blocking fertility. Further debunking the idea that "it will just be easy" to get pregnant from here on out.  Sigh.

But don't give up on us, if the plan is to have more children in our family it will happen.  Whether by conception or adoption it will happen.

*As a side note, it is a terrible idea to try and get pregnant in December.  It is a memorable month for obvious reasons so as the years roll by without success it is hard not to grieve a little during a month that should be joyous.  

** This is my second rant.  People with medical condition need breaks.  Sometimes you have to stop forcing it and get cool with yourself again.  These breaks and your treatments are frankly no one's business.  By the end of our fertility journey I just started over sharing.  It proved to be the fastest way to get people to stop asking questions.  People want to know, but they don't want to know.  I just decided if they were going to ask, there were either all in or completely out.  Most people opted out.

*** Rant three:  People don't adopt and get pregnant as a regular practice.  We were lucky.  Our adoption had not relaxed us or taken the stress off. That is not why I got pregnant.  I got pregnant because of a good doctor, loads of pharmaceuticals and luck. Most importantly, it was the plan. The Lord knew that E Man needed to be the big brother.  This fact is confirmed to me often as I watch our sons play with a special familiarity.  I have no doubt they new each other before their arrival and had this process all worked out.

Friday, February 8, 2013


As aforementioned in this blog I have vivid dreams.  Vivid is kind of an understatement. Crazy colorful miniature mind movies is more like it. Starting about five years ago Alan Rickman started appearing as a pretty regular character in my dreams. Before you get all "whoa, she's wacko" let me just say I understand this is certainly special.  Clearly my mind has picked Mr. Rickman as the visual manifestation of my subconscious.  And I think that actually that is pretty innovative of my brain.  Alice had the Chester Cat, Pinocchio had the cricket, Tim Burton has Johnny Depp.  I have Alan Rickman.

The first time Mr. Rickman showed up he as a character in a novel that I clearly need to write because five years later I still remember all the details.  In this novel Alan is the moral compass of the book, guiding our heroine on a journey where she correct past missteps.  I think my mind liked him as the moral compass so much it just kept using him to keep me in line.

And so three to five times a year Alan Rickman appears in a dream.  He always introduces himself, "Hi! I'm Alan Rickman."  He's never dressed as Snape or Colonel Brandon, just as Alan Rickman. Then he narrates, clarifies, or point me in the right directions.  In the last dream he showed up to tell me I need more time with a friend who challenges my thought process and makes me a better lady.  Pretty good guidance.  Alan, he's like that. Always looking out for me.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hearts & Farts

This is just something I've got to document so 16 years from now I can look back and remember how grateful I once was that our son can pass gas. 

See E Man was born with two holes in his heart.  An ASD (atrial septal defect) and a VSD (ventrical septal defect). Heart holes are not cool. E Man was suffering heart failure by the age of 2 months.  Over a very long year, he had bi-monthly visits to the cardiologist.  Long doctors appointments, always at least 2 hours.  He suffered from what we believed to be acid reflux. He would have this scary intense gagging spells. Where he'd gag so hard he'd develop red spots on his forehead, his eyes would roll back into his head and he'd grasp for you to help him calm down. These attacks would happen multiple times a day.  Anytime he had gas or had eaten he'd gag.  It sucked, totally heartbreaking to simply hold a child while they suffer and find yourself saying again and again, "You are doing so good. It's going to be okay." Ugh.

At 14 months the doctors finally decided he was ready for open heart surgery.  And yes, it was scary but our boy did great! He was smiling within 24 hours and was released quickly from the hospital.  Recovery was not ideal, he developed a staff infection, but our boy never lost that amazing sparkle.  I think every nurse was in love by the time he was officially sent home.

And here we are 3 month out from the surgery and our boy is amazing. He is constantly on the go, just recently learning to crawl. He laughs loud and yells louder!  But I think the thing that pleased us the most is that he can burp and fart without all the gagging. I never thought I'd cheer for farts but I do.  The reflux and gags are completely gone!  How you might ask are toots tied to heart surgery?  I asked our surgeon the same question and he said to me, "Your body does extreme things when suffering heart failure." 

We are so thankful for our amazing son and for his killer personality.  We are thankful for modern day medicine, heart surgeons and nurses.  And yes, we are thankful for farts.