Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Embryo Adoption :: Our Journey {2016 part 2}

I wanted to be sure that our entire embryo adoption journey was easily accessible, so I placed the rest of the links for 2016 below. We still have 2 embryos waiting for us, so we'll have to see what 2017 holds for us! :)

** I only provided links for my first 12 weeks of a baby bump in the previous 2016 post, since we didn't make any public announcements until after that. The rest of my pregnancy weeks can be found here or further in the list below - though you will have to scroll back a bit to get back to my twin pregnancy :)  **


June 3, 2016: Embryo Adoption Q&A

September 7, 2016: The Day I Miscarried- talking about my miscarried 1 year later

October 7, 2016: Our Rainbows After the Rain

November 1, 2016: Countdown to Babies- 1 More Day! {Because of the gift of embryo adoption!}

November 2, 2016: Baby Day!

November 14, 2016: Baby Bump- Week by Week // Month by Month {the twin baby bump with Eli and Maddie!}

November 25, 2016: Embryo Adoption Awareness Day


We are beyond grateful for the gift of Embryo Adoption! We walked a hard road, but the Lord was gracious to us every step of the way. Every time we look at Eli and Maddie, we are reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness to us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

{iPhone Rewind} :: November

I apologize in advance for the baby photo overload...but it was their birth month, and they have pretty much been our entire focus this month...and I just couldn't help it :)

Sweet sleeping babes

The sweet moment before they started kicking each other :)

Daddy has been christened by Eli

With Aunt Lindsay...who was a lifesaver the first couple of weeks!

Sweet boy...granny was also a lifesaver the first couple of weeks

Baby her tiny-ness

Date #35: Sonic Date to process our first 11 days of parenthood #wcsavethedate16

Feeding time!

The many faces of Maddie...gotta send some love to daddy while he's back at work!

Eli meeting grandma

Paci partners...I mean, can you even??

Happy {?} babies :)

Men and babies...pretty adorable. They love their Uncle Michael!

Sasha made sure to sneak some snuggles in...sweet puppy.

Sasha overseeing tummy time...gotta make sure those babies lift those heads!

We actually made it out for a walk!

Soaking up some grandma and grandpa time

When you are overwhelmed by motherhood and your sweet husband brings you home flowers to encourage you #lovehim

Date #36: Boomer Jack's + Baskin Robbins for Mike's Birthday #wcsavethedate16

Eli and Maddie got their first mail! 

I finally tried my hand at baby wearing. I need some practice, but I think it will be great once I get the hang of it!

Sleeping babies are the best :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Embryo Adoption Awareness Day

November is National Adoption Month. We are pro-adoption, in whatever form, but since we personally have grown our family through Embryo Adoption, I wanted to take today to raise a little bit of awareness.

I am a part of an Embryo Adoption group on Facebook, and a few years ago they declared November 25th as Embryo Adoption Awareness Day. It's not an option that many people know about; we certainly had never heard of it until we started exploring fertility treatments and adoption. So the Facebook group decided to dedicate a day in November to help share information about it.

Obviously, we LOVE this option. It's how we were able to grow our family, how we have Eli and Maddie. So we want others to know more about it! So here are some a lot of facts about embryo adoption/donation (EDA).

The Process:

  • When your family building is done, your remaining embryos do not need to be destroyed or donated to science. They can thrive and develop into healthy kids in loving families!
  • Donor embryos are often lovingly referred to as "snowflakes" due to their uniqueness, size, and preciousness {not to mention they were frozen!}
  • There are over 600,000 embryos in cryo-storage in the United States alone. Many of those are stored indefinitely as families do not know alternatives other than destruction or donation to science exist. EDA gives these embryos a chance at life.
  • In the eyes of the law, EDA is a transfer of property and requires much fewer hurdles than traditional adoptions. As an example, while home studies may be required by certain agencies {we did one}, it is not a mandatory requirement to adopt an embryo.
  • You can work with an EDA agency, a fertility clinic, or look for recipients/donors yourself. You can choose the option that feels right for you.
  • Once the embryo(s) are donated, they are legally yours. You are the child's mother and your spouse is the child's legal parent regardless of genetics.
  • Like traditional adoption, there are many types of embryo adoption: anonymous, semi-open with periodic updates, and open where both families stay in touch as the child grows.
  • In many cases, EDA is much less expensive and less medically invasive than an IVF cycle.
  • There is currently no limitation on length of being frozen. In fact, there have been children born from embryos frozen for 19+ years!
  • In many instances, EDA allows background and medical history on the embryos you have received.
  • You can adopt embryos of any race or mix of races, for example, to add to an already transracial adoptive family.
  • You don't need to match the embryo blood type to adopt an embryo.

  • EDA allows women to experience pregnancy and birth when they otherwise may have been unable.
  • EDA is an effective option compatible with most types of male and female infertility diagnoses.
  • EDA allows parents to bond with the baby while the mother is pregnant.
  • During pregnancy, your body may influence an embryo's gene expression due to a process called epigenetics. Although not guaranteed, your child might have your cute button nose after all.
  • EDA allows you the opportunity to breastfeed your adopted child.
  • Children born from donated/adopted embryos are just as healthy as their typically conceived peers.
  • There are EDA specific support groups so you don't have to walk the journey alone. Your future children can exist in a community with similarly conceived children.

We love sharing the story the Lord has written for us. You can read more about our story here on this blog. Or please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful to celebrate our first Thanksgiving as a family of four! We always have much to be thankful for...the Lord is a good Father, and we are constantly amazed at His outpouring of grace and mercy over us. We are thankful for how He has always taken care of us, in the good times and bad. And we are especially thankful this year for our tiny turkeys :)

And because I have to be fair and show what most of the photo shoot looked like, here are a few of the outtakes...

Get used to it, kiddos. Mama is going to want family photos at all the major holidays :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Baby Bump :: Week by Week // Month by Month

Today would have been my due date! It's crazy to think that we made it all the way to 38 weeks with twins. What an incredible blessing from the Lord! But I am super thankful that my doctor didn't let me go much past that though; an act of mercy, for sure haha.

I thought it would be fun to look back over the past 9 months and watch my belly grow! I knew I would get big, but to actually see it in photos is so funny to me. Just when I thought there was NO way I could get ANY bigger...I did :)

1st Trimester :: Month 1 :: Week 3 // Week 4

1st Trimester :: Month 2 :: Week 5 // Week 6 // Week 7 // Week 8

1st Trimester :: Month 3 :: Week 9 // Week 10 // Week 11 // Week 12 // Week 13

2nd Trimester :: Month 4 :: Week 14 // Week 15 // Week 16  // Week 17

2nd Trimester :: Month 5 :: Week 18 // Week 19 // Week 20 // Week 21

2nd Trimester :: Month 6 :: Week 22 {+ actual on beach} // Week 23 // Week 24 // Week 25 // Week 26

3rd Trimester :: Month 7 :: Week 27 // Week 28 // Week 29 // Week 30

3rd Trimester :: Month 8 :: Week 31 // Week 32 // Week 33 // Week 34 // Week 35

3rd Trimester :: Month 9 :: Week 36 // Week 37 // Week 38

I am so thankful for this pregnancy. It certainly wasn't uneventful, but overall, it was a good one. If you got tired of pregnancy posts, please forgive me. I just wanted to have a detailed record of everything. After our difficult journey through infertility, it is so humbling to look back through these photos and see the incredible miracle that the Lord provided. We are so thankful for the gift of embryo adoption and the blessing of this healthy pregnancy. And we are just so in love with our babies!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Baby Firsts :: Home Bath

So Eli and Maddie got their first bath in the hospital, but we had some help from the nurses. When we got home, we were on our own to figure out the bath time routine. And it sort of works out like an assembly line #becausetwins  :)

Again, Eli was NOT a fan. Which is funny because it was the bath in the hospital and this first bath at home that he hated. And now he is a HUGE fan of bath time. We learned that he just doesn't like being cold. So once the warm water hits, baby boy practically falls asleep because it relaxes him so much!

Same thing with Maddie...the photos show her initial dunking in the water, which she does not like because she's cold. But once the bath starts, she acts like she is at the spa and LOVES it.

I am so glad that they have actually both loved bath time these first few weeks. It relaxes them both so much, that it's perfect before bed time. {And don't worry- we don't use soap every day so we don't dry out their skin}.

I mean, this is the cutest hippo and monkey that I have ever seen :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Welcome Babies :: Going Home!

There have been so many moments where I can't help but stop and reflect on how much we have prayed for that specific moment. 

The moment the doctor asked, "are you ready to become a mom?" 
The moment I held my babies in my arms for the first time.
The moment I watched Mike hold our babies for the first time.
The moment our babies looked up at me.
The moment those tiny hands wrapped around my finger.
The moment we walked out of the hospital with our babies. With our family. Finally.

Time seemed to stand still in those moments, and I have tried to just drink it all in. I don't ever want to forget those moments, or how I felt in them. So many tears. So much love. So much gratitude. 

So when we loaded the car and headed home as a family of four, we were so overwhelmed by the gifts we have been given. It has been a long journey, and to finally see our prayers answered in such a tangible way...there really are no words. Just humility and gratitude. So we were definitely excited to leave the hospital and head home!

Eli and Maddie's first car ride!

We were welcomed home by fun decorations and more gifts from friends and family. We have had such an outpouring of love, support, and generosity by so many. It has been humbling to see the far reach of our story, and how many people have been praying for these two babies.

Adorable going home outfits, courtesy of Aunt Lindsay :)

It was extra special to have Eli meet part of his namesake- Scott Winn. Scott was Mike's youth pastor and has been a friend and mentor for over half of Mike's life. He was the first person I met at Woodcreek. He married us. And his sweet family have been a constant encouragement to us. So to have Eli meet Scott was such a special moment. We hope he will get to meet Claire soon!

And of course, Sasha was curious about these two little noise makers who invaded her home. She has been so good, and a sweet little mama overseeing them too. She definitely has her times when she hides in her kennel to escape all things baby. But most of the time, she is out with us and the babies. She is quick to alert us to their cries, and she has settled in well to our new normal. Love my fur baby :)

It felt good to be, Mike, Eli, Maddie, and Sasha. Welcome home, sweet babies!