Sunday, May 22, 2011

Running for Our Cause

In my last post I mentioned another doctor at Fertility Centers of Illinois that offered to help us raise money for our July Birdies for Babies Golf Outing. Her name is Dr. Eve Feinberg. She is running the North Shore Half Marathon on June 12, 2011 in Highland Park, IL. She is dedicating her run to our cause and donating all money she raises to our Birdies for Babies event. You can watch her fundraising progress through the widget on the top right side of this blog site. Greg and I are so thankful to have her help and are truly amazed by her generosity. Her actions are just one example of the many ways the doctors at FCI go "above and beyond" for their patients. It is so important to be treated by doctors like this, that are not only medically knowledgeable, but also understand the emotional side of infertility. While our fertility journey has been a challenging one, I am truly grateful to have met some amazing new friends and be surrounded by such a wonderful support system. Thanks again to Dr. Feinberg!! Good luck in your race! We will be there to cheer you on.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Little Bit of Sunshine

So many emotions come into play when one is experiencing infertility. It begins to feel like you are on a roller coaster with the constant ups and downs and many unexpected situations that sometimes throw you for a loop. When Greg and I chose Gestational Surrogacy as our family building option, I felt as if a tremendous weight had been lifted. I no longer felt the same pressure to get my body to cooperate and carry our child. Because of this I thought that maybe this was the end of all of the crazy feelings that come along with the territory of Infertility. Through the planning of our July Birdies for Babies Charity Golf Outing, I have come to realize that I have shifted my energy from trying to get myself pregnant to trying to plan the best event possible. While this can be a great distraction at times, the same feelings still creep up on me from time to time. The twinges of jealousy each time I hear an announcement of pregnancy have not gone away. I am always happy to hear the good news of others, but it reminds me how sad I am that my body was not able to cooperate. I still feel like I am stuck in the "waiting game". Even though we are so much closer to having our baby, it is still hard to be patient and trust in God's plan.

This week seemed to be especially hard for me for whatever the reason. I would like to attribute some of it to the gloomy weather at the beginning of the week. One of the things that has helped me to stay positive and strong throughout this entire journey has been seeing my students every day at school. They make me laugh, forget my worries and remind me of my dream to have a child of my own. One student in particular brought "a little bit of sunshine" into my otherwise gray week and since then things have been looking brighter. I would like to share the story of how this student brightened my week.

I was standing with my class in the hall, waiting for them to go to Spanish and a sweet little girl that was at the front of the line looked up at me with big bright eyes and a huge smile and said, "Mrs. O'Brien, my dad is going to golf in the golf tournament." I replied with, "my golf tournament?" and she answered, "yes"with an even bigger smile. I had no idea if what she said was true or not, but to see her that happy to tell me that information reminded me of what an impact I have on the lives of children each day. She made me remember how much the children look up to me as their teacher. I sent the little girl's mom an email that night to let her know how touched I was by her daughter's comment. The response that I received from her mother further solidified all of the support we have around us. She told me that what her daughter had said was true. She and three other Lake Bluff moms were organizing a foursome for their husbands to play in our golf outing and sending them to our event in a limo. She went even further to remind me of what a special gift I have with children that makes me an excellent teacher and will also make me an amazing mother. I was brought to tears while reading her email.

This experience was the beginning of my gloomy week turning around. It seems that the weather has turned around, too, as I type on this sunny afternoon. Last night I found out that a new friend, who happens to be another doctor at FCI, is running a half marathon in June and she wants to raise money for us through her race and dedicate her run to us. I was overwhelmed by her generosity and willingness to reach out to me when I am not even her patient.

I also continue to be amazed by my doctor, Angie Beltsos, with each passing day. She continues to support me with phone calls, emails and meetings offering any help she can to make our outing a success.

It is little moments like these that remind me of how blessed Greg and I are to have such amazing and supportive people in our lives. The ways in which they show their love and support truly bring "a little bit of sunshine" on otherwise cloudy days. Thank you to everyone who has shown and continues to show their support for us during this journey.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Final Medical Clearance

Today was a good day. We found out that in mid-June we will get to meet our surrogate and her husband. On this same day, she and her husband will meet Dr. Beltsos and have the final medical screening completed. If all goes well, we will start drawing up contracts and be ready to start our cycle. It is exciting to know that we are so close to finding out if this is truly a good match. Please pray that things continue to go smoothly and that all goes well for us in June. As always, we will continue to keep you updated on things.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I feel blessed in so many ways on this Mother's Day. The most important person that I celebrate on this day  is my own mother, Margaret McKeown. God chose her to be my mother when she and my dad adopted me at three days old and He couldn't have made a better choice. My mom is my best friend. Every day starts with a phone conversation with her, sometimes two or three. She has helped me remain positive when times are rough and is my biggest fan when things go well. I know that when I am a mother I will be a great one because of what she has taught me. She is the best mom a daughter could have and I love her very much.
I am also thankful for a wonderful mother-in-law, Janet O'Brien. I am so lucky to have gained another mother when I married Greg. She was so welcoming from the moment I met her. I am also thankful to her for being such a good mom to my husband, Greg. She raised a truly amazing son. He is my rock. He is smart, kind, compassionate and funny. I know that he will be an amazing dad to our children someday.
While I may not be a mother yet, I feel so blessed to be an aunt to an amazing little girl named Maggie. She amazes me everyday with all of the new things she learns. She is such a sweetheart. Her smile lights up a room and her laugh is contagious. I love her hugs and kisses. She is a true gift from God.

With each day, I am one step closer to becoming a mother to a very special baby. I am especially thankful to the woman that is going to make this dream come true.  I look forward to the day that I am able to celebrate this holiday as a mother, with all of the wonderful mothers in my life. I would like to close with a Mother's Day poem that I found on several websites.

“Happy Mother's Day”
It comes around every year;
but when you have empty arms,
it's very hard to hear.

It's a day to celebrate a mother,
for all the trials she overcame;
and a reminder to an infertile
of her loneliness and shame.

But what really makes a mother,
Is it just conception and birth?
Or is there something more,
that shows a mother's worth?

It's putting your child first,
in everything you do;
it's sacrifice and determination,
and love and patience too.

An infertile woman makes all her plans,
around a child not yet conceived;
she loves them even though they aren't here,
more than she ever could have believed.

She appreciates and understands,
what a blessing that children are;
she works hard for just a chance,
that motherhood is not that far.

All odds are stacked against her,
and yet she still has hope;
everyday is another struggle,
finding ways to help her cope.

So even though her arms are empty,
she can still be a mother too;
So say a special “Happy Mother's Day”
for those waiting for their dreams to come true!

 Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful women I know who are already moms or hope to become moms soon!!