Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Quick facts

Here are the current facts of our existence (in bulleted form to save everyone time):
  • The Wilson family is coming into town for English Brown's graduation. They are staying with us for a week.
  • It is currently in the upper 80's (near 90's). I don't remember it being this warm in the heat of summer last year. I can live here forever!
  • JB and I went out Chipotle with the gift certificate my parents gave us for my birthday tonight. We ate outside. It was a beautiful evening and a great time to talk and just catch up.
  • John is currently on his IM (internal medicine) rotation. This rotation is one of the busier rotations. He works about 65-70 hours a week and only gets one day off a week. Unfortunately it doesn't always fall when my day off falls.
  • I am doing pretty well. Please keep praying for me, but everyday I am getting myself emotionally ready to try IVF again. I will do another "IVF update" post in the next week or so to let you know everything we are currently thinking.
  • I don't think JB plans to ever do his cooking posts. I ask him everyday, and everyday he says he isn't ready yet. (Okay, he is planning on it, but he just types v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.)
  • I have started exercising again. I plan on doing some light jogging, walking, and biking as long as we aren't doing a fresh embryo transfer. Don't worry! John said it is okay as long as I don't go crazy. Exercise really helps me emotionally deal with things so I really like to be exercising.
  • Want to visit me in Minnesota? How about August? JB will be gone from August 5-September 5 and I would love some company! I plan on going to visit him from August 11-21.

Okay, that's really all I can tell you about our lives. Fairly boring, I know, but hey, you are the one reading my blog. So who's bored? :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pizza Hut

Well it is Tuesday evening and the Huismans have safely arrived back in Indiana. We had a wonderful time hanging out like old times. I really miss the easy life in Franklin when we lived across the street from each other. When winter was only a few months long and rent was $450 a month. When running miles through the farm land was followed up with a trip to the infamous Sonic where Cherry Limeades called your name. When every checkout line in the grocery store was operated by one of my students. Wait -- I don't really miss that. But, I do miss living by Josh and Sarah in Franklin.

Sunday night, when we all went to Red Lobster, Josh bought a personal pan pizza for Tyler from Pizza Hut. This reminded me of my Pizza Hut embarrassing moment which, unfortunately, only occurred a few days ago.

Last week while JB was on call, I was at home, by myself, when the phone rang. Anytime a number ends in 1700, it is Mayo Clinic. Being as JB was on call, without thinking, I assumed it was him and decided to answer the phone as if he had called Pizza Hut.

Why Pizza Hut? I have no idea. It was the first thing that came to my mind. I do this on occasion, picking a random restaurant, in the hopes that I will cause JB to become confused. Confusing JB isn't something I pull off often so anytime I successfully throw him for a loop, I mark it down as a good day in my life.

But this time when I answered the call as "Pizza Hut", I heard a female on the other end and realized it was my nurse! Ugh! She started laughing so hard. I apologized profusely as she tried to contain her laughter. I told her I was worried that when I came in for my next appointment everyone would be snickering at "the Pizza Hut girl". She assured me this wasn't the case and that it would be "our little secret". I explained to her why I answered the phone as if it was Pizza Hut, and she seemed to get it. But needless to say I was embarrassed.

Of course, I had to tell JB -- it was too funny not to. He got a kick out of that and laughed pretty hard.

Okay, so that's all I want to hear about that.

Oh, and JB's thai post. I have given him permission to post it whenever he has it done. He says it is near completion so hopefully you will hear from the chef soon.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Josh and Sarah are here!

Well as promised, here are some pictures from the Huismans visit to Minnesota. It was a great time. As you can tell, Tyler loved our birds -- he is fearless! We spent today at the zoo and at Ron and Ebby's. Beautiful weather and a fabulous time!!! We will miss them when they go home tomorrow.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am so excited that are our buds Josh and Sarah are in town. For those of you who don't pay attention, Josh is my cousin. Sarah is his wife. And their boys are Tyler and Jordan.

They got in around 6:00 last night. They make the most unbelievable time whenever they drive here! English Brown came over and babysat and the four of us walked to Red Lobster. Then Sarah and I hung out with the boys while JB and Josh went and saw X-Men.

This morning we got up and JB made Panakookens (sp?). Now we are heading to the free zoo about 20 minutes from here and then over to the Rays to cook out!

I will post some pictures later this evening. We are having a great time.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday Morning Sermon

I was thinking JB would post his Thai post this morning. However, he had to be in the hospital again this morning. This internal medicine rotation is about 65-70 hours a week. It really isn't too bad, but he only gets one full day off a week. He worked it out so it would be Monday this week in preparation for Josh and Sarah's arrival tonight.

So, while JB has not posted, I wanted to post. I, obviously, am not at church right now (no guilt trips please oh fellow family). So I am listening to Joel Osteen (Kathleen's favorite) on television. What a fantastic sermon he has this morning.

The overall message:
Do not less disappointment become the central theme of your life!

He read from II Samuel 12. This is a fairly obscure story in the Bible. If you don't know it, let me share it with you:

15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate."

19 David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked.

"Yes," they replied, "he is dead."

20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"

22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

Joel wasn't saying you shouldn't grieve. There is a time for grief, and I have had my few days of grief. I know in the coming weeks I will have a moment that I again need to cry, and I will give myself permission to grieve the babies we have lost and the disappointment that our house does not yet include children. I spoke with my best bud Kristi the other day. Kristi has had a difficult journey to being a mom and she is one person that I truly share every aspect of my heart with. Kristi reminded me that it is okay to cry and grieve and let it all out. I agree totally. Kristi refuses to let me pretend that nothing happened, and I think that is very important.

However, it is time to begin to look forward. There is a reason cars have large windshields and small rear view mirrors. Looking forward is much more important than looking back.

As JB mentioned in his previous post, we believe that there are spiritual forces at work in our lives. We believe there is a devil. I believe that Satan does NOT want good for us. I believe that there is a spiritual battle occurring for our children.

I refuse to allow sadness, bitterness, or anger manifest itself in my life. This message does not just apply for infertility. I am sure that most of you who are reading this have something in your life that just sucks -- illness, divorce, sickness, financial strain, jobs you didn't get, goals you just can't accomplish. The question is: what do we do about it? There is a time to grieve. There is a time to be frustrated. There is a time to be disappointed.

Then there is a time to look forward as David did after his son died. That is what I intend to do. I can't get our sticky babies back. But I can look forward to what is next in my life and in the lives of those I love.

I hope this message does not get lost on people because you aren't infertile. (And I don't believe I am infertile -- I believe I am fertility-challenged.) Apply this message to whatever you are struggling with. You don't have to have experience infertility to understand what JB and I are going through. If you have faced grief and disappointment, you have an understanding. Apply it to your own life. Give it to the Lord and decide to trust him with the future and look forward.

Not that I quite understand how to do this. I just know I am trying to do it.

Hurry up Josh and Sarah!!! Get here soon!!!

P.S. Oh and we went and saw Over the Hedge, it was a fantatsic family movie. Only bad thing: sitting in front of an eight year old who likes to put her feet on your head. :)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hi everyone

Well after a few days off, I am back. JB, of course, has his Thai food post, so if he has that ready, you may actually get two posts today. I figure none of you will mind. I wasn't planning on blogging yet this morning, but I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and thought I would give it a go.

John is currently on call. He went in yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon, I got an email at 1:00 in the morning that he was going to bed, and I haven't heard from him yet this morning (it's about 8:30). I think he is hoping to be home by 2:00 today but it could be as late as 5:00. I hope he at least got a few hours of sleep. Missing the whole night would really dampen our weekend fun.

Last night I was blessed to go to dinner at the Jones' house upstairs. Lesley made an awesome and refreshing dinner for an unusually warm Minnesota evening. I came home and worked on my story for Rochester Women while watching the last half of Mona Lisa Smile. I wouldn't waste your time on it. I wasn't impressed by it at all. I also started the book Tara gave me for my birthday: The Wedding. I realize it's connected to his other book The Notebook but it is indicating to me that the movie didn't end the way the last book did so I need to talk to Tara about that.

We are anxiously awaiting Josh & Sarah's arrival tomorrow! Excited to get to spend Memorial Day with them. We plan to go over to Ron & Ebby's house on Monday and hang with them for a bit so it should be a good time. Although, currently, I am just anxiously awaiting JB's return from being on call.

We found this online scrabble game that two people can play and after one person plays the other person gets an email to let them know it's their turn. Since JB gets a lot of breaks but can't often call, it's been a fun time. Of course, it goes very slow, but nonetheless, it's quite entertaining.

As for me, thank you for respecting my need for a little "verbal" privacy. This is one of the first times in my life that I just did not want to talk about out loud about something. I know that will change eventually but right now, that's how I feel.

We have been blessed by wonderful emails, comments on the blog, flowers, cards, etc. that we both sincerely appreciate and cherish. They have meant so much to us and each evening we've sat by our computers reading notes we have received to each other. My doctor is a very wonderful man. When he called to talk to me after the negative result he said, "If I could come through the phone and hug you I would." I wished he could. He seemed as dissapointed as I was.

I also need to say how blessed I am by the wonderful soul mate that the Lord gave me. JB has been the most amazing husband during the last eight years of our marriage, three years of our infertility struggle, five months of this IVF journey, and especially during the last 3-4 days. While his body isn't going through what mine is, he is monitoring my drugs, keeping track of our schedule, handling my good and bad days, and picking up a tremendous load around the house without (barely any) complaining. He is also facing the disappointment just like I am but attempting to be strong for me. I have heard of many couples where the husband is completely hands-off in the infertility journey, but since this all began, he has missed only 1 or 2 doctor's appointments, and made every step with me. I love him so much. Our marriage is so much stronger because of this. What was initially pulling us apart, has now pulled us completely side-by-side. Only the Lord can do that.

As for what is next, JB commented briefly on the blog he wrote the other day about that. We have decided that our FET (frozen embryo transfer) will be in September. June is too soon for my body, July the Clinic is closed, and August leaves JB out of town. We briefly contemplated doing it in August while he is gone, but both decided that the extra month was worth him being here to do this with me.

As JB also mentioned, we will only transfer 2 during the FET. As he also explained, while the odds go down slightly with frozen cycles (instead of fresh), they still work and the stats aren't that much lower. Actually, I pulled out my "stat" sheet at Mayo and found that:

In my age category (under 30), of the 42 FRESH RETRIEVALS that they did in 2003, 40% of women got pregnant and 31% delivered a baby making the implantation rate for each embryo 22%.

In the entire age category (24-44), of the 163 FROZEN TRANSFERS that they did, 41% of women got pregnant and 34% delivered making the implantation rate for each embryo 23%.
Actually, those stats indicate that frozen is slightly higher, however, with older women, they often transfer more embryos which is probably the reason for the slightly higher stats. However, as you can see, frozen is not that much different from fresh. And those stats actually indicate that they are better.
Of course, as JB constantly reminds me, each woman is an individual woman, not a population. Stats are actually very difficult because each woman is there for a different reason.
The sticky babies are currently stored with 2 together and 1 alone so that 1 will remain frozen for right now. We don't want to get too much ahead of ourselves with "what will happen if this next FET doesn't work" etc. so we are going to simply look at our FET in September and go from there. The question most people want to know is, if you do not have a delivery from the 3 remaining sticky babies will you go back for more sticky babies. At this point, we would, and we would even consider going back for more sticky babies before using the 1 we would still have frozen.
I also wanted to comment briefly on adoption which I know is on some of your minds. JB and I still feel the same way we felt a year ago. We plan to adopt. As far as we can tell, our family will definitely include adoption. However, right now, we feel total peace with continuing with IVF. We feel that we are in one of the best places in the country, I am at a great age, and our finances are in the perfect place to move in this direction. Adoption is a wonderful gift. However, there is a reason that people have their own biological children. They want a biological child. The Lord designed us to desire that. Adoption also carries with it it's own emotional and financial issues. Adoption losses occur just like pregnancy losses. However, I wanted to answer that because I know people do want to know.
Some people also tell me, "well if you adopt, maybe you'll get pregnant." I wanted to correct this nasty "rumor" that infertile women often hear on a weekly basis. Even my counselor said it the other day, and I had to correct her. Statistics indicate that less than 1% of couples who adopt, go on to have their own children. Because you hear about those stories, it seems like it happens more than it actually does. But it is the exception. Not the rule.
I hope this kind of lets you in on where we are since JB posted on Thursday. Don't worry. He still plans on providing his recipes for all you cookers out there! I have no interest in recipes ... But I am glad he does.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I am a Foodie... (by JB)

(So, I still have full reign of the blog! Scary, isn't it? Wendi is doing well - still taking a break - but things are getting better. I will be on call tonight. I am on my internal medicine rotation, so I will be spending the night at St. Marys Hospital. Wendi said for all of you to feel free to email her or IM her this evening or during the day tomorrow so she doesn't get too bored. Not too much else is going on here. I had started working on a blog about food a little while back, so now you get to read it. Bon appetit!)

I love food. I must admit it. I am so thankful for God's gift of taste buds that grant such gastronomic pleasure. Now, I guess I could buy everything I ate already prepared; but my tastes have too much variety for the restaurant scene in southeast Minnesota, and my bank account is not padded enough to afford that either. Fortunately, I love to cook as well. I love to find new ingredients I have never used. I could, and often do, spend half an hour slowly going through the produce section looking for the perfect fruit or vegetable. If I spy something I haven't used before, I will stand and ponder for a bit. If I happen to come across something I have never even seen before... well, Wendi usually leaves, rolling her eyes, and says something along the lines of "I'll be back when you stop drooling and your hands stop shaking."

Thailand and a sampling of its cuisine.

From my love of food, reading, cooking, and my perfectionism (yes I admit it!), I have become a chef of sorts. My interests are in healthy dishes of Asian, Indian, and Mediterranean fares. So now, because a white-boy in MN can finally (after YEARS of trial and error) cook some pretty decent, pretty healthy, fairly exotic meals, I suddenly have a reputation of being a gourmand. And, I admit, my ego is boosted when people say I am a good cook. However, the truth of it is that I just have the right combination of interests to make good food.

The Mediterranean and a sampling of its cuisine.

The food I cook is actually no more difficult than say a lasagna or a casserole. Some can be more involved, more like a Christmas turkey, but some are as easy as barbequing burgers. Overall, it is just a matter of getting the right ingredients and following the directions (recipe). But that is the big problem with ethnic foods. First, the ingredients may be hard to pronounce (galangal and tuvar dhal for example), hard to find (where do I buy grachai, paneer, or rose water), hard to pick correctly (is this durian too raw or too ripe?), hard to substitute (can I use regular butter in place of clarified butter or ghee?), or just really strange to us westerners (fermented fish sauce and tamarind pulp). Second, it can be hard to find reliable recipes, recipes that you feel confident enough to try, and recipes you'll want to eat when you are done.

An Indian market and a sampling of Indian cuisine.

That is why I have decided to take you through the process of making one Indian meal, one Thai meal, and one Mediterranean meal. From going to the markets, picking the ingredients, doing the prep work, cooking the dishes, and final presentation, I'll guide you through it all. You will be able to avoid the mistakes I have made, and feel comfortable making these great foods.

I'll be back with the first meal soon...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Filling In For Wendi (by JB)

So, I am going to fill in for a day or two while Wen is just taking a break from things. She will eventually get sick of my posts and kick me off, but for now, the blog is mine!

First off, she is doing just fine. We are pretty disappointed - no kidding, right? And I know from the emails and messages that we have received that many of you are disappointed as well. Thank you all for your prayers and support. It has, and does, really mean a lot to us.

There are a few things that people keep asking us, so I will try to explain where we are at with everything.

1. What happens next?
Wendi got a call today from the doctor. He is a very kind man, and he seemed a little surprised that those "sticky babies" didn't make it. But, we have 3 more embryos. They are in cryopreservation - yes just like in science fiction movies. They can stay like that for years and years. The IVF clinic is booked for the next month. Then the following month, the lab is shut down for maintenance and certification (the government has very strict regulations on how an IVF lab is to be run, and they monitor things closely - that is a good thing.) That brings us to August. Well, I am going to be in Florida doing an away rotation in family medicine at Eglin Air Force Base. Wendi is planning on being there for a bit and maybe going to visit family in south Florida then. Now, I don't actually have to be here for the next attempt (ain't modern medicine great? Hmmmm... ) So we are looking at either August or September before we try again.

The doctor said he only wants to do 2 at a time. He still says Wendi is a prime candidate for IVF to work, and just because the odds went against us, doesn't mean we should be reckless and try for all 3 at once. (for each fetus greater than 3, there is a 20% chance of one having cerebral palsy - so with triplets, there is a 20% chance of one having a birth defect, and with quads, there is a 40% chance of one having a birth defect... that is not smart to do)

The fact that the doctor was surprised, and that he is recommending only 2, is an encouragement. He still believes that we have a very good chance of this working - or else he would say go for all 3 at once.

2. Why didn't this work?
The million dollar question! Well, there are a few different perspectives to look at with this question. First the science. The odds of IVF working at any given time are about 30% (give or take, depending on the study and the population you are investigating). So the odds are not hugely in our favor in the first place - in fact, they are actually NOT in our favor. BUT, if a person has a good womb (like Wendi), has no other medical problems (like Wendi), has good eggs (like Wendi), and can make good embryos (like Wendi... and me!), then the odds are in our favor if we keep trying. But one must weigh the chance of this eventually working against the emotional cost of going through the process. That is actually the hardest part - we have every reason to believe that this will work eventually. But deciding to keep pursuing it after the emotional toll is the real battle.

So, specifically, there are a few medical reasons why our "sticky babies" didn't make it. In a typical scenario (i.e. conception from intercourse), about 50% of fertilized eggs never make it. Here are the two main reasons, and both could apply to us as well. First, after an egg is fertilized, the embryo might never implant on the wall of the uterus. Second, genetic abnormalities (genes or chromosomes missing or doubled or just arranged incorrectly... this is actually very common) cause the embryo to start off just fine, but after a certain number of cell divisions, the embryo doesn't develop correctly and either dies or the woman's body kicks it out. In our case, if it was a genetic thing, it occurred very early.

Now the spiritual side of things. This one is not as easy. Everyone has their own views, opinions, interpretations, etc. of things spiritual in nature. Usually they are pretty deeply rooted - either based on personal study, based on influential spiritual teachers, based on personal events (either naive or bitter), or based on nothing more than personal whim (what they would like it to be). I'll give you my opinion on the matter, and I will try to be as brief as possible. :)

God created a perfect universe. Through the beauty of free choice, sin (separation from God) entered His creation. From that moment, the eternal struggle between good and evil shaped this creation (yes, I believe that evil incarnate exists in the form of the devil - Satan). We live in the middle of this war zone, and we begin life on the wrong side. We have a hope though - Jesus Christ - He allows us to change sides. But, there are no promises of a "fair" experience in this life - whether we follow Jesus or not. The rain will fall on the righteous and sinner alike, and the sun will shine on both in turn. Our responsibility is do what we can to understand God's truth, and then follow it (not to do what we want and justify it.) Our responsibility is to rejoice in the blessings we receive, and to remain faithful in the times when we feel so far from those blessings. Our responsibility is to help other people start and finish this journey as well.

With that said, we prayed, along with so many of you, for children of our own. So, with a negative result, what does that mean? Now the cynic will say "if you pray for something, and it happens, then you say your prayers were answered. But if they do not happen, then you say God said no. Well, your prayers don't change anything - you just change how you respond to life." I don't buy that. I have done way too much study (and I am very logic and fact oriented mind you) and seen way too much in life to believe that. God is not a cosmic Santa Claus, but He is there for us to praise, to talk to, to request things, and to comfort us. Sometimes He says "yes", sometimes He says "no", and sometimes He says "not yet." I have no idea why He didn't say "yes" to us and to all of you who prayed with us. One day, maybe in this life and maybe not until heaven, I will hopefully understand the why. (And I will be able to meet my "sticky babies"!) But we have to live in the now, and I will remain faithful in spite of a heartache. Not because I am feeble-minded, but because I have insight enough to know God's wisdom is much greater than mine.

I guess that kind of answers all the questions we have been asked, and some we ourselves have asked, in the last couple of days.

I will try not to bore you too much while Wendi is away! :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not what I hoped to post

As you can see from the title, I had a negative blood test today which means we are not pregnant. I told everyone that we would share the results on Sunday, but we have decided to just tell people instead of waiting until Sunday. The Sunday "deadline" was to provide ourself room to deal with a positive or a negative privately.

I appreciate all your prayers and love and encouragement and have to ask one additional favor. If you want to chat, feel free to contact me in any way except in person or on the phone. Writing via email, IM, or blog is something I feel very comfortable with, but as I have mentioned before, I am not a phone person, and as I have told some of you, this has been compounded during the last two weeks. To talk about this verbally is just too painful right now and leaves me constantly struggling not to cry.

I hope you all understand right now. I will let you know on the blog when I am emotionally able to handle phone calls or a day out for lunch or a quick chat.

Otherwise, keep those prayers coming!

Missed AI

Well I went to do an interview for my next Rochester Women article last night and JB decided to ride with me since it was about 20 minutes away and he was just going to read at home anyways. He found a park to read in and I did my interview. It's an article on infertility which I am really excited about. It's been "in the works" for quite some time.

When we got home, he realized, that our VCR did not tape American Idol. Now VCRs are not humans and have no brains but since I can't even turn the VCR on, I can't actually blame JB for this. He says it is the VCR's fault, and I must believe that. Either way, we missed the final sing-off. If you could fill me in on who you think will win tonight, please comment and let me know. I was pulling for Taylor Hicks. JB was, obviously, voting for his girlfriend Katherine McPhee. However, I could have been swayed if I would have gotten to see what happened. Ebby said Simon said Taylor would win? What do you guys think?

I know the finale is two hours tonight so I am sure they will recap everything, but we were still dissapointed.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
O God, I pray that when the storms of life rage against me, I will remember these words and find refuge, comfort and peace in your sheltering care. Make me aware, O God, of your singing in my life as you make your salvation clearer to me each day. Through my Savior Jesus I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I am now at the last age before 30

David Jones and our friends Brandon & Kristen Yuan

Well, 29 is officially here. I don't feel much different. Although the waitress yesterday asked me how old I am. When I told her I was 29 she said, "Oh yeah, me too." She thought I was being sarcastic! (Me?!) I realized that 29 is kinda the age everyone says they are from the time they are 29 until the time they are like, 99, so I had to tell her that I really am 29.

The waitress was at Jaspers. I went out to lunch with Tara, and she gave me a book by the same author as The Notebook. Very excited about that. Tara really liked Jaspers which I was glad about. Since it is my favorite lunch spot, it's important that people I would actually want to go to lunch with, like it as much as me. I got something new -- some sort of flat pizza. It was awesome.

I picked up cookies from City Cafe on my way to RLS as it is customary that the birthday-girl bring treats on her own birthday at RLS. Kind of a backwards and fun tradition. So I brought in cookies only to find that some of the women had gotten me a very chocolate ice cream cake which they didn't tell me about until I had dug into the cookies. So needless to say I am a little desserted out.

I was taking a break from my dessert fast for my birthday. However, the amount of dessert I consumed yesterday is beyond what you can fathom. When I came home, we had the Jones and Yuans (and Tara joined us later) over to watch the season finale of 24 -- and geez that show is frustrating. Doesn't even give Jack one day off before it sets things up for next year.

Back to dessert, Leslie bought me a Dairy Queen Oreo Cookie Blizzard cake. OH MY GOSH! The thing was AWESOME! So I consumed even more dessert for my birthday. Here is me with my cake.

JB started internal medicine this week. This means he will be on call. This means that I need someone else to give me my shots in the evening. So Lesley and Tara (below) took a lesson from JB last night (and yes, they have seen my rear end now as well.)

Onto an IVF update, there is not much to report. We continue to wait. You think you see signs that you are pregnant but is that what they are? Who the heck knows. So instead, you continue to wait. We decided how the nurses will tell us. They are going to page JB, he will leave the hospital, call me, and meet me at home. Then we will call them back together. Unfortunately, my nurse, Ruthie, will not be in the day we get the call. She was disappointed about this and said she would definitely call in to find out my results.

My Grama Huisman sends me a card every birthday covered in Bible verses and stickers and encouragement. If you are related to Grama, you know these cards very well, and like me, treasure them dearly. This year she included two bookmarks with a poem on them. I wanted to include these on my blog because they were both so appropriate for the journey (and wait) we are currently on.

As I close with this, please continue to pray for us (as so many of you have told me you are.) It is so comforting to know how many people have called out to our Lord on our behalf. I know he is listening and am very hopeful that we will get a GOOD REPORT! Stay tuned ... if you are frustrated with the wait, you can imagine how frustrated and anxious WE are with the wait.

Don't Quit
Don't quit when the tide is lowest,
For it's just about to turn.
Don't quit over doubts and questions,
For there's something you may learn.
Don't quit when the night is darkest,
For it's just a while 'til dawn;
Don't quit when you've run the farthest
For the race is almost won.
Don't quit when the hill is steepest,
For your goal is almost nigh;
Don't quit, for you're not a failure
Until you fail to try.
(Jill Wolf)
I said a Prayer for You Today
I said a prayer for you today
And know God must have heard;
I felt the answer in my heart
Although he spoke not a word.
I didn't ask for wealth or fame
(I knew you wouldn't mind);
I asked for priceless treasures rare
Of a more lasting kind.
I prayed that He'd be near to you
At the start of each new day,
To grant you health and blessings fair,
And friends to share your way.
I asked for happiness for you
In all things great and small,
But that you'd know His loving care
I prayed the most of all.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well Monday morning is here and, so is the beginning of my 29th year on this earth. I woke up to a card and a gift certificate to the scrapbooking store! JB said I totally blew his gift by using my gift certificate from my boss for the jeans he wanted to buy me. But the scrapbooking gift is great. This afternoon Tara is taking me to lunch at Jaspers. I love that place and she has never been. It is a tiny little restaurant set up to mimic a Parisian cafe. One of my favorites. Then this evening we will watch the finale of 24 and have dinner with a few friends. Should be fun.

We had a wonderful weekend, and I was so busy blogging about JB being a stinker and Matt graduating that I really didn't tell you anything about it.

Friday after work, we decided to use the gift certificate I got from the post-docs I worked for and go to Broadstreet Cafe. It was fantastic. We actually went with Danny & Kelsey as she had been raving about that place. Their raving was for good reason. We had a wonderful time. Afterwards, JB and I were planning on going and seeing Over the Hedge but dinner was quite an "experience" and we ran out of time. JB got the "Chef's Sampler" where the chef sends out small bits of a bunch of favorites. I had also been planning on breaking my dessert "fast" when we went here as well and boy was it worth it. You actually have to order dessert with your meal so the pastry chef can work on it during dinner. Great stuff people. Expensive stuff, but great stuff.

Saturday morning we woke up and decided to venture into ... the guest room! JB has been doing a lot of construction and so this room was a construction zone. However, we are about to have a bunch of company come into town and the room needed to be cleaned. Josh and Sarah are coming for labor day, the Wilsons are coming for English's graduation, and my dad is coming for a two week visit during his summer holiday so the space needed to be made available.

We got about halfway through the construction zone cleaning, then I went and got my haircut, and then we went and had lunch by a pond in our favorite nature preserve especially enjoying watching a baby goose with his parents. Unfortunately, the 70 degree temperatures were wearing away by then from some rain clouds, and I was a little chilly so we headed back home.

I decided to do my relaxation CD again in the afternoon to try and clear my mind (which is a jumbled up place). Again, I failed to make it through the 2nd of 5 exercises! I was out. For two hours I was out!!! We woke up, played two games of scrabble, and watched America's Funniest Video's 350th episode which we had taped on Friday night. The "Quad Squad" won the $250,000 grand prize. It was a video with four, well, quads, laughing uncontrollably. Not really that funny. However, when you see the girls now, all grown up, it became obvious that these were IDENTICAL quads. I am not sure what the odds of identical quadruplets (which means the embryo split THREE times) but it was quite amazing to see.

Saturday evening we were invited over to the Philps for a fantastic Indian meal. As always, everyone eats with their hands. (Not only Karuna but the adults as well). I have yet to succeed in this feat so I stick to my fork. It hasn't failed me yet. Karuna was very excited to see us, and we enjoyed her continual copying of every word you say. There is NOTHING she will not say now, and it makes for a very entertaining evening. She had her feet up on the table and Melissa told her that her Dad was going to get upset. JB said, "What is Christo the bad cop?" Karuna then began saying, "Cop, cop, cop." Too cute! She is growing up way too fast.

Sunday morning, JB was ushering at church so we had to be there a little early. Aftewards, I went to work at Mayo for about an hour and a half, we returned to the park for lunch, and then headed back home. More office cleaning and laundry ensued.

All of that brings us to Monday, my birthday! I am doing well and excited to get our results and share them with you. Keep checking the blog. May 28th it is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Congrats Matt!

Well as I mentioned awhile back, John's brother Matt has completed basic training for the Army. We are very proud of Matt. He is actually in the Army Reserves and will be able to get his education paid for through this program.

Matt graduated the weekend of May 12th which unfortunately coincided with another fairly important event in our life: IVF. We were both disappointed that we couldn't be at the graduation ceremony. John wanted to wear his Air Force uniform and have Matt salute him. Matt wanted JB to wear his Air Force uniform so that his drill sergeants would have to salute John.

I know there are people reading this blog who have various views on the war and what is happening. As I have mentioned before, I hate politics and refuse to allow it to take over my blog. I wish everyone in the world loved everyone else! However, service men, from whatever country they are with, deserve our unending gratitude and thanks. They are heroes. They do not make a choice on what battle they fight. They simple decide to serve our country in whatever position that may be. Whether it be helping with hurricane relief within our own walls, dealing with border patrol, or just working in an office somewhere ... We don't have to support the war, but we should always support our troops. If you disagree, please don't tell me about it. This is as deep as I care to get in politics, and I hate conflict. :)

Anyways, we finally got some pictures from Ray and wanted to share them with you. Ray, Mom and Dad Kit., John's sister Elizabeth, and Matt's girlfriend Danielle, all went to see him graduate in Missouri. We wish we could have been there. But here are some pictures to share with you nonetheless. Here is a picture of Matt with our niece Grace after returning to Florida, his girlfriend Danielle, and their dad. (I think you can figure out which picture is which).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My husband is a STINKER!

I don't feel bad about this post. I don't even feel bad about the title of this post. JB deserves every bit of what I am about to write.

My husband is a STINKER!

Yesterday morning I worked for RLS from home. John was supposed to be at the Clinic, but the physician he was working with was sick so he got the day off and was home with me.

So while I worked on my RLS stuff and watched Regis & Kelly, JB worked to update his online recipe program.

Now I didn't know this but apparently there is some sort of "bell" every time an entry is complete in this recipe program. I, instead, keep hearing this bell and it begins to confuse me. I turn up the TV. Is it coming from there? Is it coming from outside? I can't figure it out. I ask JB, "Is that bell noise coming from your computer?"

He says it is not.

I wait as the dinging goes off a few more times, waiting for confirmation that he hears the dinging as well.

I get ... nada.

I finally say, "Do you hear that dinging?"

He says (and here is where the STINKER part becomes very evident) ... "What dinging?"

I sit there, watching the TV as he types away, asking him every time there is a ding, "Didn't you hear that?"

"Hear what?" "Wendi what are you talking about?" "I don't hear anything."

This goes on for nearly five minutes before his laughter overcomes him, and he comes up and tries to give me a hug. (I don't think so.) All this while he is causing the dinging and having a jolly good time at my expense.

So I decided, the world should know what a STINKER he is. And so, without further ado, I present just a few highlights from the JB STINKER list:

1. Making Wendi think they will die in one second: This happened on a car trip. I was asleep in the passenger seat (as is often the case on long car rides). All of a sudden John yells and throws his hand across me as if we are going to get into an accident. My eyes fly open, and I look to see a tow truck pulling the cab of a semi backward. This means that the semi is facing us and at just a quick glance (which is all I had) it looks like it is going to hit us head on. I screamed (wouldn't you?) and nearly threw up. Quite funny don't you think? STINKER!

2. Making Wendi think she is going insane: This is fairly similar to the bell story I just told but bears a different twist. This, ironically, occurred during another car trip in which I was taking a snooze. I woke up and heard a song I loved on the radio. JB says: "Hey Wendi, it's your favorite song. You love this song." I smile and then doze back off. A little while later, I am stirred awake only to hear the same song on the radio. Without missing a beat, JB says: "Hey Wendi, it's your favorite song. You love this song." I, of course, tell him that he already said that. And he, proceeds to tell me that that must have been a dream because this is the first time he has heard this song all day. He takes this to the point that I say, "Wow, that sure felt like a real dream," before admitting he was just being a STINKER!

3. Making kid brother believe he is asleep when he is awake: Okay, so staying with the tricking people into thinking they were dreaming when they really were awake theme, let's go back to when John was about 16 and his little brother Robbie was about 4. John sees Robbie sleeping in a chair in the living room. John goes up to Robbie and begins shaking him, telling him that there is a fire in the house and he needs to wake up. Robbie wakes up. Robbies sits up. Robbie looks around. John continues to shake Robbie telling him he needs to wake up. Robbie tells John he IS awake. John tells Robbie he is NOT awake. "I was sent into your dream to try and wake you up," John tell him. "You think you are awake but you are really asleep." This continues until Robbie starts to yell, "I'm trying John, I'm trying!!!" At this poing, John admits he was just being a STINKER!

4. Making kid brother believe he is actually a robot: Okay moving away from the sleeping theme but staying with the kid brother Robbie theme, John hammered Robbie again in early childhood. One day Robbie comes running in from outside with a stubbed toe and asks John to help him clean it up. John just waves his hand at the toe and says, "Oh Robbie, that's no big deal, we'll just go to the store and get you a new one." Robbie asks, "A new what?" John explains that they can go get a new toe at the store because Rob is a robot. Rob really isn't buying this, but is starting to have doubts when John says, "Yeah, we got you in a kit. I helped Dad put you together." Rob still isn't quite sure what to think of this and JB realizes his little brother is winning the war. It was at this point, as if perfectly cued, that their father walks into the room and John says, "Dad, tell Robbie he is a robot." John's dad picks up on what is happening, looks at John, looks at Rob, and says: "Well, yes, but we wanted to wait until you were older before we told you." It was at this point that Rob started crying uncontrollably. John then had to explain to his dad how far he had taken things. STINKER!

If you have a story that you believe belongs on the John is a STINKER list, please do not hesitate to post a comment. All nominations will be given careful consideration and judged by a panel of John's peers ... well, mainly they will be judged by me, and if the comment is even slightly STINKER-like, it will make the list and show up on "John is a STINKER part II."

This was fun.

It will be even more fun watching JB read this!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Some Useless Info to Kill the Wait...Domestication: Creating Whimps from the Wild (obviously by JB)

There are almost 10,000 birds and over 4,000 mammals in the world.

Possibly only 13 of these animals have truly been domesticated!

Humans have been able to “tame” a lot of wild animals, but if given the choice tame animals would escape and become wild again. True domestication is actually a rare event in the history of the world.

For an animal to be truly domestic, it must meet these six criteria:

  1. The animal has to be an herbivore (plant eater) or at least an omnivore (plant and meat eater). In case you were wondering, dog food has a lot of plant material in it.
  2. The animal has to grow fast. An elephant takes 15 years to mature while a chicken takes under 10 months.
  3. The animal must breed in captivity.
  4. The animal can’t be mean. All attempts to domesticate zebras have failed here.
  5. The animal can’t panic easily. This is where deer have lost it.
  6. The animal must accept humans as the top of their social structure. This is why cats are not truly domestic.

A few of these animals retain some of the traits that let them survive in the wild. But many of these animals can't even survive without humans anymore - they are fat, fluffy, stupid, or whimpy versions of their ancestors... King Arthur compared to Prince Charles.

So what are the 13 domestic animals, and where did they come from? Here's the list with photos of the original (if available) and modern versions:

1. Dog (early man – many locations) from the Wolf/Jackal
I love the great dane and chiuaua image

2. Goat (early man – Middle East) from the Persian Wild Goat

3. Sheep (8,000 BC - Asia) from the Urial

4. Pig (8,000 BC – Asia) from the Wild Boar

5. Cattle (8,000 BC – Middle East, India) from the extinct Aurochs
The aurochs was a prehistoric animal almost 7 feet tall at the shoulder and took 5 men to kill with spears... now we have Bessy.

6. Horse (4,000 BC – Ukraine) Asiatic Wild Horse

7. Donkey (4,000 BC – Egypt) African Wild Ass (no comments please!)

8. Chicken (3,500 BC – SE Asia) Red Jungle Fowl

9. Llama (3,500 BC – Peru)
10. Alpaca (3,500 BC – Peru)
11. Camel (2,500 BC – Arabia, Asia)
12. Turkey (100 AD – Mexico)

13. Rabbit (1500 AD – Europe)

A couple other animals to mention:

Ducks and Geese – not domestic, they would fly away if given the chance.
Pigeon – many consider these domestic as well, but they have not been selectively breed for long enough to be considered domestic by others.
Lab Mice – some consider these domestic because they have been breed for so long in captivity.
Guinea Pig – kept in Peru for food (yes food!) since about 900 AD, but would be gone if not caged.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Well back from my blog day off (although it really wasn't a day off as I wrote for Bara's blog). But I thought I would update you with how I am doing.

Mainly, we are, well, waiting.

And waiting.

And not so patiently waiting.

I spent the weekend pretty laid out and was concerned about being able to get through an entire day of work on Monday. My pain was good, but I was just very out of breath whenever I walked. However, by the end of Monday, I felt really good.

By Tuesday, I felt nearly completely back to my old self. I still have to walk pretty gingerly and slow, and I am on a lot of restrictions (including no vacuuming! Shucks!) However, I feel good, and we are just patiently awaiting getting the results.

The worst part now is the nightly intramuscular shots in my lower back/upper gluteus. As I mentioned before, these are known to be killers. I am now 7 days into the shots and understanding why these things are so infamous among IVF women. The first few were okay, but the problem is, each shot leaves a bruise both on the muscle underneath the skin and the surface of the skin. John tries to find a new place each evening, but the shots from day one haven't healed yet so we are quickly running out of new places to take these things. It now hurts to lie on my back or lean against a chair -- it's difficult to imagine another week, and if we are pregnant, another nine weeks. But I'll make it through. JB says that each night when he mentions the shot, my face immediately goes into "pouty mode". I try not to complain, but they are not fun. Ebby Ray stopped over tonight to pick something up and, as Ebby is always trying to learn something new, wanted to see how JB gave me the shots. Yes, Ebby has now seen my rear end.

JB and I are really working hard to stay close and keep the stress low. I am now helping around the house more, but he is still helping make decisions and helping to alleviate pressure from me. Yesterday afternoon, he picked me up at lunchtime, and we went to our favorite nature preserve, sat on a bridge over a babbling brook (It was really babbling, and no, it wasn't named after me all you sarcastic family members) and ate our lunch. It was 71 degrees, and we just soaked in the amazing sunshine and talked about nothing related to infertility whatsoever.

Speaking of the weather, as much as I complain in the Winter, I thought it only fair to Rochester to applaud it on the back for it's late Spring and Summer. This time of year always helps me completely understand why south Florida is filled with people who live half the year in the north and half the year in the south. It is so beautiful here right now and as the summer wears on, it stay light longer and longer each evening. Right now it is nearly 8:30 before the sun goes down and come Summer time, it will be pushing 10:00!!!! I cannot wait. JB keeps saying if he was a kid living in Minnesota, he would have loved how long he could be outside this time of year (forgetting he couldn't even go outside for the rest of the year in fear of losing his nose or a toe).

Speaking of (I love that phrase "speaking of" if you can't tell -- it is such a great transition) ... living in the north or the south, I was wondering what I talked like. Being as I grew up with parents from the north, I always had a Chicago twang, However, then I moved to Kentucky and became country and now I have the midwest thrown in. So I took a little quiz and discovered, well, I discovered nothing. I was just as mixed up as I thought I was with a little bit of everything. But if you want to see what you are, you can take the
Yankee or Redneck quiz.

Keep the prayers coming. Tomorrow, JB will blog hi-jack with something about animal domestication. Hopefully tomorrow will come soon -- one day closer to getting our results.

P.S. The American Idol finalists have been named. JB's girlfriend Kat McPhee and our grey-haired Taylor Hicks are in. They split the votes -- 33% point something each and Elliot went home. I can see why the votes were so split. I really liked all three although I am pulling for Taylor and still sulking that America didn't come through for Chris!! Oh well. Tune in next week to see who pulls it off. I even have my MOTHER hooked on American Idol.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

JB & Wendi School: A Guest Post by Bara Zuhaili

Today -- a VERY special treat. Our friend Bara is going to be featured as a guest-poster!! Bara is from Syria. He is an MD but wanted to come to the U.S. to get more training. He came to Mayo to get some training for a few months and is currently living in Boston and working at Harvard for more training. For a full explanation of how we met Bara, you can check out my post on Bara. I was actually a guest poster on Bara's blog today as well (we swapped.) So click on Bara's name on the right if you want to read my post about Bara and how we became such great friends with him. (I'm not sure when Bara will put it up but it will be up there some time today.)

Also, Bara asks a GREAT question at the end of his blog. PLEASE provide a comment and help answer his question.

Okay, okay. Here he is in his own words and own photos!

I'm so glad and honored to be with you on this blog!

I am writing you today about JB & Wendi School! I bet you are wondering what that school is? Well, it's a school based on very simple idea: some minor actions can make a difference!

I am not sure if you know how I met John! If you know, that's totally fine! If you don't then I would rather not talk about it as I really feel embarrassed! I was really lost in men's locking room and I was just freaking out like a little kid!

Not to mention JB's first reaction and help in site! He generously invited me into his house on thanks giving day!

Now here is the first touch! I didn't expect anyone to do so ever! My idea about American at that time that they just hate us! This really was a big difference for me!

Then, I would never ever forget when I made it to their house how Wendi came out the house with big smile saying: welcome Bara! We are so blessed to have you with us today!

"So blessed!!" give me a break!

Well from my side, I was "so surprised" to be with them at that day, and "so shocked" to hear someone saying that to me!

I won't go any further, because we simply became friends, and you all know what a friendship is! It was just those two hints that made a huge difference in the way I look at the "others" and the way I approach people who seems different from me but might be very close!

I don't know if you ever watch the movie "Pay it forward"! This movie, together with what JB & Wendi did, simply indicate that we can make a difference in others life by simple attitude!
From my side, I will pay it forward! I promise!

Now, just to give you an idea of what I am doing, here is a photo gallery of my usual day!

I wake up at 6:30 and look immediately through the window and smile! Usually I look again 5 min later and groan! The first smile is for the clear weather I notice! The groan 5 min later is because it usually starts raining!

Then I use my bike to go to work!

I work in Gene Transfer lab! We try to enhance wound healing in general and especially in plastic surgery through the transfer of genes into the wound! Such fancy subject but still quite immature! We have to check our pig and anesthetize every day to see how wounds treated with genes are doing!

Also, I am working on another project which seems even more exciting and promising but still going on very slowly! We are trying through rabbits experiment to find a way to replace the any major defect in Knee cartilage! Cartilage is such a valuable and important structure of our body! Unfortunately, once damaged, it's never replaced! Well, you can say, we are trying to change that!

For some reason, rabbit's operating room seems cleaner and more complicated!

Here is my favorite rabbit (Infinity ∞)

And here is me at 7:00 PM at the end of my regular work day!

One thing I never understand is: how do you guys organize your weekends? I'm really confused about it and I want to know how Americans do in their weekends?

The reason why I'm asking is: every weekend I seem to have a lot of free time and then I end up doing almost nothing! Is that normal?

It's been really a pleasure to be with you today!

As I always end up my postings: Keep smiling!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

"Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of Joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30

On Sunday as promised, JB and I found something completely un-Mother's Day like to do. We try to avoid any place that we will find flowers on blouses ... and a dark movie theater, after considering the alternative: outdoor activities in cold and rainy weather, was perfect.

I wanted to see something upbeat with a happy ending. That left Poseidon as a no-go. It's a re-do so obviously, we know how it ends. It also left the 911 movie as a no-go. Unfortunately, the ending to that movie has also been written. So after crossing out "downers", it all came down to Ice Age II or Akeelah and the Bee. JB loves the website:
Rotten Tomatoes which presents an overview from movie reviewers across the United States. This website definitely favored Akeelah, so we had lunch over at Ajit and Sujit's house (their aunt was visiting and promised great Indian food. She did not dissapoint) and then headed to see the movie.

First of all, it was a GREAT movie. I strongly suggest it for people of all ages. You will love it. Every teacher should show this movie in their classroom. However, despite the happy ending, when the movie was over I started crying, pretty hard. We thought we avoided that by avoiding the "downer" movies and here I was, seriously, crying ... hard. It took me quite a few minutes to put into words what that movie made me feel and share it with JB.

One of the sub-themes of this movie is grief, and mid-way through the movie, I was hit with quite a strong epiphany. I realized that no matter how our own personal story turns out, what I am dealing with is grief. Obviously, you can't compare grief. Each situation is completely different. However, what we are dealing with is, quite simply, grief. I have mentioned before that I had a lot of guilt when the Tsunami hit that I was so busy worrying about my empty womb when mothers had lost children. My Aunt Jan put me in my place when she wrote, "You can't compare that grief. Those mothers got to hold their babies and you haven't." This hit me quite hard, and I realized that while the grief is different, my grief is justified and fair.

If I were a mother who lost a child due to illness or an accident, that would be the end of the story. There is no getting that child back. The child is gone. Forever. I would not be able to pray for things to change. Things would be as things were and I would have to learn to live with my grief, heal from my grief, and replace my grief. My grief would never dissapear, but through faith and hard work, I would grow and survive.

The truth is, EVERYONE dies. EVERY SINGLE PERSON, unless Jesus returns before they die, will die. And for nearly everyone who dies, people are left behind to grieve and to learn to deal with that grief.

In my situation, the grief is slightly different because I am believing that my grief will actually be eliminated. However, I realized (and for some reason, this hit me during, of all things, Akeelah and the Bee), that however this turns out (and don't begin to think I am losing hope and faith), we are dealing with grief. That grief requires acknowledgement, education, and healing. Something that JB and I have been working on together. That grief requires knowing that no matter what, we will survive.

We have all seen people eaten up by their grief. I am saying right now that I REFUSE to be one of these people. I have so many wonderful things in my life. I REFUSE to let grief run my life. That is not to say that I will not have rough times when the grief is powerful. However, I will take that grief and learn from it and heal from it.

Yesterday, when we got the news on our blastocyst, I got very upset. Then I realized that this is grief, and while it is okay to grieve, the morning brings new prespective. JB was so wonderful. When I got home we put on one of our relaxation CDs that the psychiatrist recommended. It was awesome. 45 minutes later I woke up with JB long gone and the CD over. I don't remember making it through ridding the tension from my shoulders!!! If you have stress, I can recommend some GREAT CDs. I woke up feeling wonderfully refreshed.

Speaking of that grief which we are believing, may very soon turn to joy, I have had many questions about our "sticky babies" as my friend Tara playfully called them. JB and I have lovingly adopted this phrase. We felt we needed to call these embryos something more than embryos so now they are sticky babies. Has a ring don't you think?

I wanted to take a few quick moment to answer some of the questions I have been getting:

1. Will you use all of your embryos? Absolutely. That is the reason we only fertilized 14 instad of all 21 eggs. We consider each sticky baby, a baby.

2. What if something were to happen to you before the embryos were used? This would be up to JB. He could choose to either donate these to another set of parents via the snowflake program or ask a surrogate to carry our children. Being as they are 100% him and I, I would imagine he would lean toward the latter, but since I will be dead, I really won't speak much on this.

3. What if something were to happen to JB before the embryos were used? I would use all the remaining embryos. No question.

4. What if something were to happen to BOTH of you before the embryos were used? The embryos would be left to my brother in my will. We have asked that he donate these embryos to the snowflake program for a chance in the womb of a couple unable to use their own sperm or eggs or both. Many couples have a problem with both of them or they would prefer to have a child 100% not their's genetically instead of half their's genetically.

5. Will you ever do a "retrieval" (egg harvest) again? At the beginning of the IVF journey, they encourage you to come up with a "game plan". Our current game plan (which we reserve the right to change) is that if we do not conceive with our five sticky babies, we will attempt to stay at Mayo for residency and attempt another retrieval. We have not set an end limit on how many attempts we would make. That would be based on much prayer and discussion with the doctor. If we conceive ONE time, we feel that we would probably not do IVF again. If we only had one child and were out of embryos, I do not think I would be quick to go through egg harvesting again. If we wanted to grow our familiy, we would consider adoption if we had had one child.

6. When will you know if this transfer worked? I will have the results to share on May 28th.

7. How soon would you return for the additional embryos? We have no immediate leanings on this. If it does not work, I would imagine we would return for 2 more sticky babies fairly quickly. If it does work, we will return when we feel we are ready to add to our family again, probably 1-2 years from now.

8. Will you continue this blog after IVF? I have NO plans to stop this blog. In fact I look forward to it changing directions slightly when we add one or two children to our family in nine months.

I hope that clears up some of your questions and let's you in my new epiphany of grief. I know many of you out there are dealing with your own grief for a variety of reasons. The Lord is with us in grief and will be with us always. He will be with us and in the morning, he promises joy.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blastocyst news

As I had explained earlier, we currently have three frozen embryos. They froze 3 and kept out 3 embryos, 2 of which they transferred on Friday. The weakest of the three is labeled a "blastocyst", and if it survives, they freeze it. Blastocysts have higher implantation rates as they are "further developed".

We had been told in the operating room on Friday that our blastocyst was "not doing cartwheels." I called today to check on it and spoke with the embryologist. He told me that the blastocyst had died over the weekend. He was very kind and explained everything to me knowing that this was not easy to hear.

Now this is something that happens inside a woman all the time. Eggs fertilize and don't make it, and we are told that what is happening in the lab is what would happen inside of me. However, it is still very surreal and I unexpectedly started crying -- not only that it had died but that we now only have 3 frozen instead of our hopeful 4.

If you write me or talk to or call me, please just remind me to focus on the 2 we have right now inside of me. I do not need to be worrying about something that we may not use for years and something completely out of my control. I know that, and the few people I have talked to today have reminded me of that. I have one job: be positive, upbeat, encouraged, happy, etc. Okay, maybe that is more than one job, but you get my point. We must look forward.

Who wants to play pro ball?

As some of you know, my cousin Justin, who is my Dad's brother Bob's brother, is a professional baseball player. Being as I grew up in South Florida and my cousins were in the Chicago area, I didn't know them all that well. When Justin's brother Josh moved in across the street from us in Franklin, Kentucky, we instantly caught up on twenty-something years of life and Josh and Sarah and JB and Wendi became the best of buds. This then, reconnected me with Josh's older brother Jason and younger brother Justin. Since Justin is into IM (instant messenger) and so am I, we have become good friends, and I have grown very intersted in his baseball career.

A basketball player myself, I really know very little about baseball even though I played softball until my junior year (when my dad convinced me it was a complete waste of my time! He was right of course. My volleyball and basketball were definitely my tickets to college and I was getting hit more than I was doing any hitting in softball.) But through Justin, I have learned a lot.

Justin has had a BIG week this week. So, I thought I would let him tell you about his week in his own words -- from his blog. Even if you aren't that in to baseball, I think you will find it very interesting and educational. So here it is: the life of a professional baseball player in five minutes or less:

I'm writing this blog not only to tell you about my interesting year so far, but also one thing you may or may not know about the pro baseball life. First of all, I love playing baseball for a living. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing with my life at this moment. Obviously, cause if there were I'd be doing it right? The myth about getting drafted into pro ball is that you're immediately rich or making a lot of money. I get many comments from old friends that find out what I'm doing and start saying "seems like you're doing well for yourself" or "looks like life is treating you well." Now some players who get drafted high get a lot of money in bonuses, but most players don't get that much. And what they do get goes directly towards paying off college debt, buying a car that they'll need to get around with, or the first month's rent at the apartment they end up in for the new season. Most college senior signs either get a pat on the back and a good luck, or maybe $1000. As far as during the season, here's what I made money wise in my first few years of pro ball. In short-season A...$850/month. Low A...$1100/month. High A...$1200/month. AA...$1500/month. Second year of AA...$1700/month. AAA before getting called up...$2100/month. Now for all you math majors, do the math for that amount over only five months. Cause we only get paid during the season. They don't pay us anything during the month of spring training. Now when I made it to the big leagues, that's when if you go back to the minors you start making a salary more similar to what you'd get with a normal job in the real world. Unfortunately, when you start making that much, that's when your career starts hanging in limbo. That's when you may start bouncing around many many teams, whether due to trades, free agency, or getting released and just trying to find a team to pick you up and give you another chance. Cause although they pay their big league contract guys crazy amounts of money...for some reason, they are very cheap with minor league players and look for any way possible to save an extra buck. For instance, when I was sent down from the big leagues to AAA, we were on the road in Detroit. KC had to mail me the rest of my baseball stuff from my locker back in KC. Well, when I received my pay check a few days later, I saw a deduction for $12 for USPS. They charged me for shipping my stuff to me!!! I guess they needed the extra twelve bucks to help pay for Sweeney's 12 million that year.

Ok, here's my interesting year so far. All off-season and during spring training, I wasn't happy with KC. My agent and I tried many times to get permission to talk to other teams who may be interested in me. See, you have to have been playing for six full season before you're allowed to do that, and I wasn't a free agent for one more year. But they continuously said no. This made us think they liked me enough to not want to lose me. Well, a week into the year...and after pitching very well in spring training....they released me! After holding me down, they let me go! And at the worst possible time of the year to find a new job, since the season just start and most rosters are full. Well, apparently the head of minor league operations let me go without even getting permission from the higher ups that were telling me they liked me and didn't want me talking to anybody. Now whether that's true or not, we'll never know. Cause that's another beauty of pro baseball....they lie all the time! Thank God I found a new job with Houston in less than a week. It was a miracle. Getting to Round Rock, Houston's AAA affiliate, they told me I'd pitch a lot here. They lied. We ended up having way too many pitchers there in the bullpen and none of us were getting enough work to stay sharp and do our best. I only threw 8 innings in a month, which a normal reliever gets at least 12 to 15. We had 13 relievers when you're only supposed to have 12. Not only that, an injured big league pitcher rehabbed with us and was coming off the Disabled List last friday. So all of us knew that they had to send someone down from the big leagues to make room for this guy. Which meant that one of us could be....sent down to AA, sent to what we call the "phantom DL" where you're said to be injured when you're really not just to make room on the roster, sent to another team via trade, or sent home! And the beauty was it could have been any of us! We had no clue. I figured it would probably be me, just because I hadn't pitched much, I didn't do all that well when I did pitch, and I was the new guy. So they didn't know as well as the other guys there, so it'd be easy to let me go. Well guess what happened, during the third group of batting practice...sure enough, the pitching coach called me off the field and into the office. I asked him if this was bad news, and he said not really. So I'm thinking, "alright, I'm not going home. Am I going to the phantom DL?" Well, I get in there and the manager says he just got off the phone and I've been traded to Seattle. At first I was in shock, then I realized something that makes this story a little funny. We were in Tacoma, Washington.....the AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners! And I had just pitched three innings against them the night before!!! Apparently, Houston owed Seattle a player from a previous trade, they sent them a list of guys, and Seattle picked me off that list. So anyway, I got dressed back into my street clothes, packed my baseball things, and WALKED ACROSS THE FIELD INTO THE HOME CLUBHOUSE! Now I've seen many crazy things happen to players, and I've even heard of something like this happening to someone....but how crazy is it that this happened to me! Anyway, that's my story so far this year. Stay tuned for the next episode of Where's My Career Going in just a moment. Ha!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Well last night we decided to go over to Ron & Ebby Ray's house to watch a movie, have dinner, and just hang out. It was good for me to get a change of scenery and lay on a different couch. I seriously do not know how people go on long-term bed rest like our friend Kristen Spielman during her last pregnancy. Just two days, and I really can't take it.

The Rays have four children: English, Veronica (a.k.a Victoria), Hunter, and Cole. I can always count on Veronica to take some pictures for me when she is around. Here are a few of Veronica's snapshots from the evening.

JB making a dish he created early in our marriage: Cheesy Chicken Marinara. It was delicious! We also had Cole's favorite (NOT!) -- broccoli. Also, JB is wearing the Iowa Cubs T-shirt that he got at Justin's game after the kid behind him dropped his hot dog down the back of his Air Force shirt.

Tara stopped by for a bit to watch "Red Eye" with us. This is Tara (left) and Veronica (right.) Now that I think about it, Veronica couldn't have taken this picture. Oh yeah, I took this one.

First of all, Kevin, is STILL a weird name for a cat, but I really love this cat, and for some reason, this cat loves me. No one made this cat crawl up and nuzzle his face in my neck. I think he knew I was too sick to bother him while he laid there. Kevin is very cool!

Ronaldo being Ronnie. Did you know Ronnie's middle name is "Eugene"?

We were hoping to stay and watch another movie at the Ray's, however, I had lost steam, and we headed home. My biggest issue during the last 36 hours has been major GI upset. We aren't exactly sure where this has come from, (medicine, surgery, pregnancy etc.) but it has left me most uncomfortable. Hopefully this will pass soon.

Now, that I have shared with you the events of last night, I have a few other bits of news to share with you.

  • My cousin Justin was traded again. He is now with the Seattle Mariners and is playing for the AAA Tacoma Rainiers. (I have no idea what a Rainier is by the way.) Now the funny part of this was that Round Rock Express was playing the Rainiers when he found out he had been traded. So, he literally walked across the field during batting practice and changed uniforms. Justin promised he would write a blog to explain all this, and I got some message that he did write it and lost it. Sounds fishy to me! Just kidding Justin. Hopefully, I can provide you with an update in Justin's own words sometime soon.
  • Some of you know that know me well or know the Huisman side of our family, may be familiar with the story of Erica Van Zuidam. If you are not, there is a link to her webpage on the right side of my blog. Erica is my cousin Josh's wife Sarah's first cousin, and she recently lost both her hands and feet to bacterial meningitis. The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois did a huge story on Erica that was on the front page two days in a row. You can read Part One and Part Two. In addition, the local Christian Radio Station did an interview with Erica which you can also read entitled: "God's Shining Star". Feel free to drop in and read Erica's whole story from her yourself.

Well of course, the obvious is that today is Mother's Day, and of course, I have to wish my mother, JB's mother, and all of our grandparents a Happy Mother's Day. As usual, JB and I do not attend church on Mother's Day. For one thing, our church combines Mother's Day with baby dedication Sunday -- neither of these are an easy thing to be a part of. You want to remember your own Mother, but when they are giving flowers to all the mothers and they leave you out, it can be difficult. Or when the whole service is about the joys of motherhood, it can hit a nerve.

What's so weird is that this year, we might possibly already be parents. We sort of, are, already parents. My Aunt Janet wrote me an email and told me that she couldn't call our embryos "embryos" and had to call them "babies". I repeated this to JB, and he said that he felt the same way. They are children. So we are parents. Nonetheless, we decided to stay home. We wanted to do something outdoors today but the weather is so cold and rainy that we instead may catch a movie or something else together, to celebrate our wonderful marriage and our hopeful "babies". STICK GUYS STICK!

I also wanted to add a thank you to my wonderful husband JB. While I write this, he is cleaning up the kitchen, doing the dishes, and cleaning up my messes. He has waited on me hand and foot during the last week without one complaint. He said that if he didn't have to work, he could totally be a "house dad/husband" which kind of cracked me up. However, tomorrow, when we both try to go back to work, things will get a little challenging so pray that I get the strength to do things and that he has the patience to help me over the next few weeks.