Tag: St Pete Beach

So Excited To Share Our Tanks and Tees With You!!

We are SUPER excited to show you our tanks and t-shirts we are selling for our adoption!!!!  ALL proceeds go directly to our adoption fund!!

We LOVE them and hope you like them as much as we do!!

Why the quote about surfing?!?

Although we are BEYOND grateful for adoption, let’s be honest….adoption is HARD.  It’s uncomfortable, it’s risky, and it’s scary. It’s about giving up control and just surrendering to the process (the HARDEST part for me personally).  We’ve learned that we can be knocked over by these waves of emotions brought on by adoption OR we can learn to adapt, let go, and ride out that wave so we can see the BEAUTY that adoption offers as well.

So now you know :)…..here is how to order!!!

These are VERY soft Bella Triblend unisex t-shirts and ladies flowy tanks!! The t-shirts are offered in Sunset or Blue Tri-Blend, for adults sizes XS-3XL. The flowy racerback tanks are offered in Sunset and Denim Slub for ladies sizes  XS-2XL. These are PRE-ORDER only! Order will close on September 24th and all orders will ship or be available for pick up the first 2 weeks of October.  Each shirt is $22 and we will ship for $4 for first shirt add $1 per shirt after that (to same address).

Message us to place your order and be sure to state STYLE, COLOR, SIZE, QUANTITY and YOUR EMAIL. I will send you an invoice via PayPal OR if you are local you can pay via cash or check in person!

 

Puzzle Fundraiser Update!

Okay, so there are TWO things we know for sure!

1 – We are absolutely horrible at putting puzzles together.  It may or may not have taken us 5 hours to put our complete puzzle together. And by “us”, I mean Bill…I had to walk away after an hour or so.   Also, as a pointer to others, if you plan on making a puzzle, make sure it’s colorful and has color on every piece.  All white pieces and pieces with black swipes about sent us over the edge!!

Aaaannnd Michelle OUT!
Ta-Daaaaaa!!

2 – More importantly….We have some AH-MAZING friends and family!!! No, seriously, you guys are the best!!   It’s so cool to start writing the names of our friends and family on the back side of the pieces and seeing how everyone becomes intertwined and connected together.  Although a lot of you may not know each other, you are ALL forever connected through our adoption story…how cool is that!?!? Pretty flippin’ cool if you ask me!

Adoption Puzzle Fundraiser
Do you see your name?? Everyone coming together as one!

We still have about 150 pieces left to complete our puzzle, so it’s not too late to become a part of our story!  And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries, you just missed our previous post, so I have the details for you here!

We had a beautiful watercolor painting done by my sister made into a puzzle. Each piece will represent someone who donated to help us on our journey! Each puzzle piece represents a $25 donation. You may want to be represented on 1 piece of our puzzle or many pieces! Your name will be written on the back of each piece that you represent. Once the puzzle is finished it will be framed in a double sided glass frame and hung in our nursery. It will forever be a reminder of who was part of our journey with us! To be a part of this fundraiser you can donate through our YouCaring (now GoFundme) link or the PayPal link on the right side of our blog or you can contact me directly! Even if you aren’t able to donate, we would LOVE it if you could share!!

xoxo – Michelle & Bill

Baby Boy or Baby Girl??

Hey All!

Thank you to everyone for your donations and for sharing our story!  With your help, we are getting closer to our goal each day! Please keep on sharing our story!  We still have pieces of our puzzle left, so if you’d like to be involved, it’s not too late to participate in our puzzle fundraiser!  If you have any questions on how to make a donation or where to donate to, you can check out the links on the right side of the blog or as always, you can contact me directly too!

So…onto some exciting news….WE KNOW THE GENDER OF OUR BABY!!!!

We are beyond excited to share our gender reveal with you!! Our sweet birth mama found out Friday morning and with the help of our good friend Naomi we were able to pull off a surprise gender reveal by Friday evening!! Both Bill and I were absolutely clueless until it was revealed!  We hope you enjoy!

Puzzle Fundraiser – Become a Permanent Part of Our Adoption Journey

We are SO excited to start our PUZZLE FUNDRAISER!!!

Everyone who donates to our adoption through this fundraiser becomes a permanent part of our adoption journey through a piece of our puzzle!

My sister painted this precious watercolor for us and we had the image printed on a 252 piece puzzle.

Each piece will represent someone who donated to help us on our journey!

Each puzzle piece represents a $25 donation.

You may want to be represented on 1 piece of our puzzle or many pieces! Your name will be written on the back of each piece that you represent.

Once the puzzle is finished it will be framed in a double sided glass frame and hung in our nursery. It will forever be a reminder of who was part of our journey with us!

To be a part of this fundraiser just click on our GoFundMe link, or the PayPal link (Both on the right side of our blog) or you can contact me directly! We are thankful beyond words for each and every one of you that takes part in this fundraiser!!!

Even if you aren’t able to donate, we would LOVE it if you could share!! We are SO excited to share in this journey with you!

We’re Matched!!!

At some point and time I PROMISE I will go back and update you on how we got from there to here, but in the meantime, we could not be more excited to announce that we’ve been MATCHED!!!! We are expecting a little one to arrive around Thanksgiving!

Announcing the adoption was the fun part.

The part that feels a little more overwhelming is coming up with the $39,000 we are going to need to pay for the adoption (believe it or not, we don’t have that much spare money just lying around). Everything we’ve been through has definitely made us a stronger couple, but also a couple with a lot less money!

We’ve been working hard and have already paid for and saved enough to cover half of our adoption expenses. We only have $19,000 left to go and we have 5 months to get there! We are both working extra jobs, selling anything we don’t need, applying for grants, but we’ve realized that we can’t do this on our own.

We are going to need help. Adoption is expensive. We’re not fundraising because we can’t afford take care of a baby; we’re fundraising to ALLOW us the opportunity to do so.

We hope that during our fundraising efforts, we’re able to become advocates for the option of adoption and can shed a little light on this long, complicated process. We are humbled by the, many friends, family members — even strangers — who have been walking with us along this unknown, scary path.

We’ve set aside our pride to ask and accept financial help.

It’s not easy.
Trust me.

So, if you are interested in helping out in any way, we will be sharing lots of opportunities on our blog and social media!

There are some ongoing things in the sidebar on the right that can be done at any time, like shopping in our Etsy shop, visiting and/or sharing our YouCaring site, donating through PayPal, or just sharing our blog and adoption journey!

Thank you for loving us; we could not get through this without you.

xoxo Michelle & Bill

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Okay – I’ll admit, it’s been a hot minute or two since I’ve posted!! Which is crazy, because we’ve had SO much happen since I’ve posted last. Good news, bad news and everything in between. BUT…I’m very excited to update you on everything that’s happened and where we are now!

So watch this space…updates are coming soon!!

Expect The Unexpected

 

Hi All!

I had planned on blogging as soon as I got home, but jetlag kicked my butt this time around!!  Plus I basically went right back to work the day after I got home…work + jetlag = one tired girl…lol!  I think and hope that I’m finally caught up!

So, you’re all probably wondering how everything turned out, right? We had our “official” blood results back on Friday, but needed a day or two for it to all sink in.  I have to admit, the time from transfer to blood test feels like an ETERNITY and during that time I become a pee on a stick addict. I should seriously buy stock in First Response. I tell myself every time that I’m not going to obsess over testing and that I will stay away from Google…I once again failed…lol…it’s so freaking hard!! I started testing at 4dp5dt (four day past a five day transfer) as that’s when we got our positive last time around (I know it was super early, but it was twins so it showed positive).  I tested every day, at least twice a day (I told you I have a problem) and was getting negatives each time.  But, we still had hope.  A lot of women don’t get positives until closer to 8 or 9 days past their transfers and some even later if only pregnant with a singleton.  I had my beta (blood pregnancy test) at 9dp5dt.  The Dr called shortly after 9am while I was at work the next morning. “Hi Michelle, this is Dr. Salter and I have the results to your blood test”.  My heart was racing; I took a deep breath in.  “I’m sorry to say, you’re not pregnant.” I didn’t really hear anything else she said after that. My heart sunk.  I kind of knew that I wasn’t going to get a positive based on our at home results, but I really had hope that just maybe the blood test would come out positive. Actually hearing the words come out of my Dr’s mouth made it official and that sucked.  Getting the news at work really sucked.  All I wanted to do was to crawl into my bed, under my covers and cry. Instead, I went into the bathroom for a quick cry, and then somehow pulled it together for the rest of the day and did my best to act like it was any other Friday.  Life goes on, right?

This isn’t our first rodeo, so we’re used to the whole failed cycle scenario, but it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens.  You experience this horrible feeling of loss, the loss of something you never physically had, but it still hurts the same.  It worked for us last time, so we expected it to work this time (although we know you should NEVER expect anything when it comes to infertility treatments). Plus for me, since it’s my body I can’t help but to feel like it’s somehow my fault.  Deep down I KNOW it’s not my fault, but it’s a feeling that’s hard to shake. So we are on our way to healing.  Are we okay today? Truthfully? No.  Will we be okay?  Yes…in time.

We KNOW this process works!  It’s worked for us before. We don’t know why it didn’t work this time. My lining looked perfect, the embryos looked perfect (looked being the key word since we didn’t have them genetically tested), but for whatever reason they never attached. So, the big question….are we going to do it again?  I’m going to let my body recover (pumping it full of drugs to make it think it’s pregnant, then suddenly stopping makes my body hate me!) and then we’ve decided that we are going to try again in December or January (recruiting for a travel partner has officially started…you know you want to go!).

I received a lot of questions while I was away about the process and my trip.  In the upcoming weeks I’ll try to cover everything in detail so I can get all of your questions answered and if anyone has any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts.  Although we didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for, knowing that you were all rooting for us and have our backs makes this grieving process a little easier.

Xoxo – Michelle & Bill

 

Busy Is A Good Thing!

Hey All!

Sorry it’s been so quite here lately! We’ve been BUSY…like really, super busy!  But busy is a good thing right?  In addition to our day jobs, we’ve been booked pretty solid with photography (www.mybphotos.com) AND I’ve been pretty busy fulfilling orders and making new designs (coming soon!) at my Etsy Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/HopeStrengthandWine).  But like I said, busy is good…it’s helping us pay our medical bills from my last 2 surgeries (2 in 3 months…yikes!) AND it’s also allowing us to go back to Reprofit in the Czech Republic for another round of embryo adoption!  IF all goes as planned (I’ll know for sure June 29th when I get my ultrasound), I will be leaving July 2nd for the Czech Republic!  We are super excited, but after TWO cycles in a row being cancelled just days before I was to leave, we are a little cautious with our excitement. I will be taking my trip alone this time, so if anyone wants to fly half way across the world with me, just let me know…no, really 🙂

For the past few days, I’ve just had this gut feeling that something good is about to happen.  I’m not exactly sure what it is yet, but I’m really hoping and praying that it’s for this next cycle! I will updated everyone after my appointment on the 29th!

Xoxo – Michelle

good things

 

A Bunch of Randomness

Hey All!

Three posts in a week…I know, it’s a lot for this busy blogger and is probably why this one is one big pot of randomness!  So here it goes…

I had my second surgery on April 20th.  All went well with the surgery and we are just patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting for the pathology reports to come back. The doctor said it didn’t look like a traditional polyp, it was more of a flap, but she’s not ruling polyps out.  IF all is well with pathology (and I really truly think it will be), then my hope is to go back to the Czech Republic in June. My doctor has decided to start me on a lower dose of estrogen and slowly bump me up in hopes that I don’t develop any more polyps.

Next…

We’ve been presented with an amazing opportunity to share our story and raise infertility awareness…I can’t go into details yet, but it’s pretty cool! But before we can do so, said storytellers are looking for someone who is a surrogate or someone who is working with or getting ready to work with a surrogate.  Is that you?  Is that someone you know?  If so, please contact me and possibly you can help!

Next….

We often get asked about what people can do to support us.  We would love any support people are able to give us!  Here are some ways to help

Next….

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while because although painfully truthful, it’s hysterical. Bill and I feel like someone based this video off of us…lol!

 

XOXO – Michelle & Bill

Infertility Etiquette

From our experience, a lot of our family and friends don’t know what to say when we start talking about our fertility issues (especially since we are so open!). They think they are saying the right things, but a lot of time they end up unintentionally saying things that can be upsetting. This awesome article from Resolve really hit home (we experienced all of this!) and has some great tips on what NOT to say after someone opens up to you about their fertility struggle.  The article is a little long, but I promise you it’s worth it!

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don’t Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she “relaxed.” Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as “just relax” or “try going on a cruise” create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, “If you just relaxed on a cruise . . .” Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don’t Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone’s life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.,” do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father’s Day or Mother’s Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn’t even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don’t Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don’t tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the “worst” thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the “worst” thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the “worst” thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the “worst” thing that could happen.

People wouldn’t dream of telling someone whose parent just died, “It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead.” Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don’t tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, “Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.” How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don’t you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn’t he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren’t religious, the “maybe it’s not meant to be” comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man’s sperm in a petri dish. This is a method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, “Why don’t you just try IVF?” in the same casual tone they would use to ask, “Why don’t you try shopping at another store?”

Don’t Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don’t make crude jokes about your friend’s vulnerable position. Crude comments like “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don’t put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, “I’d gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby.” When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, “I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes.”

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends’ new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend’s emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can’t bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn’t rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother’s Day

With all of the activity on Mother’s Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother’s Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother’s Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother’s Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven’t “forgotten” them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

 

healthrpose
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