Saturday, March 11, 2017

Happy homecoming anniversary, Fernando!

(photos forthcoming)

A year ago, we had our fourth and last embryo transfer.  First transfer of two blastocysts on the 11th anniversary of daddy and I meeting, resulted in a week-long pregnancy followed by a chemical loss.  Second transfer of two blastocysts, about four months later, resulted in a "BFN" - big fat negative (pregnancy test). Third transfer of two blastocysts from a second batch resulted in our miracle 3 year old daughter, your genetic sister Maya. And our last transfer was also planned for two blastocysts, but only one survived the thaw.  That last little embryo was you Fernandito!

Just like with your sister three years earlier, daddy had to wait across the hall while I went in for transfer.  My bladder was bursting and I was certain that I would pee on the doctor, for which I wouldn't have felt bad since he made me drink twice the recommended amount of water and then had me wait on the transfer bed.  I walked on the wild side this time, and secretly took a photo of myself just before transfer.  (What'd you think I was going to say?  I videotaped the transfer?  I wish! Our first two transfers were videotaped, but alas that's irrelevant to you, I guess.)  Luckily this time I wasn't made to lay there for 30 minutes, so I was up and with daddy and Maya in no time.

We had made the whole trip into a family vacation.  We visited my brother and his family, Alex's grandpa and some cousins, aunts and uncles, and we managed a quick day trip to the beach the day before transfer.  I squeezed in an acupuncture session on the morning of the transfer, just in case it would help.  It certainly helped me relax and put me in the right frame of mind, if nothing else.

As we were leaving the hospital after transfer, we had someone take a lovely photo of us - first photo of us as a family of four!  I knew that no matter what, this was the last time I was undergoing any sort of fertility treatment, and all that was left was to find out what the good Lord had in mind for the future of our family.

I'm not sure what to think of the embryo that didn't get transferred.  All of the other embryos we "adopted" were in my body for however brief a moment in time.  I sort of thought of them as little angel companions for each other, especially for my Maya.  But Fernando, you were in there all alone.  So silly how the mind can weave crazy stories out of nothing.

Your batch of four embryos, I called the Franciscans, after the newly elected Pope Francis.  Maya's companion embryo I named Raquelita after my late best friend, Rachel.  We called Maya "Dee or Dino", alternating months during the pregnancy, since we weren't finding out her sex until after birth.  Your would-be companion embryo I named Francis.  We found out you were a boy in mid-pregnancy, at which point we started to think of names.  We had decided not to name you the boy names we had prepared three years earlier when expecting Maya. You were not some fantasy but a real boy, our son, and everything had to be reset.  Until then, you were a "Franciscan" ;)

I'm going to go ahead and put it out there, though I went back and forth about it.... I started to suspect right after your transfer that you may receive a calling to the priesthood.  (Since we're Catholic, this also meant that I suspected you were a boy!)  You see, after your sister was born and we moved to a new state, I became distant in my faith for a long time.  I had all but given up being able to recapture that sense of spirituality going into your embryo transfer.  Literally within days, I felt something spiritual.  I cannot explain what it was, because it wasn't anything concrete.  I just felt God's presence, I guess.  For the first time in years, I felt hope that I may one day truly "be Catholic" again.

I had a terrible first trimester as far as nausea and prenatal depression.  It was so bad that I had to request prescription medication, because the ginger root tea that finally helped when I was pregnant with Maya only made things worse this time!  I was thinking all sorts of nonesense about my lack of worth and I dreaded the idea of being responsible for two small children. I tried to sleep most of the time to avoid facing these thoughts.  But two Sundays in a row, before and after we moved into the house where you were born, the nausea and depression let up, to the point that I felt well enough to pack and move some of our stuff the first time it happened, and to unpack and put some things away the second time it happened.

Because these were Sundays, I again thought this was a sign of a possible religious vocation for you.  Whether or not the Lord calls you to the priesthood or not, He clearly called you to help bring me back to the faith!  I went on a spiritual retreat while pregnant with you, which helped tremendously in edging me in the right direction (namely, towards God).  As I write this, I am in my third week of spiritual direction, and I have started to call Jesus my friend.

In one of your sonograms, you resemble your sister Maya.  It is most uncanny, the lip and chin area in particular.  With Maya, I didn't think she looked anything like her sonos, but with you, wow!  I hope that you and Maya will be very close friends and are able to find comfort in each other's shared journey as donor conceived adoptees.  I have been working on locating your genetic family, in case you or Maya ever want more information about your genetic roots.  The Lord even put in my life a lady at our church who loves doing geneology and who has been working on your genetic family tree for many months.  I was also able to get a little more information from the clinic where your and Maya's embryos were stored, which has been a great joy to me, and I'm hoping it can help us locate your and Maya's three older genetic siblings, if not your donors as well.

So Fernando, thank you for showing me that just when I thought my heart couldn't possibly grow to accomodate loving another child as much as I love Maya, you proved me wrong!  My heart has been cloned, and each of you have their own mommy-heart in my chest.  I don't know how else to describe it.  I love you, and I'm so very happy that you're here and we're all together as a family now!