Snowflake Embryo Grandbabies

This week I’m linking up with one of my favorite blogs, Kelly’s Korner.   Her “Show us Your Life” Friday feature is for grandmothers 🙂  It was almost exactly one year ago that I became the grandmother of twins -long awaited, much loved and prayed for, special little people.  For several years, my son and dear daughter in law tried on their own, and also through fertility treatments, to have a baby.  They were finally told that it would take IVF (in vitro fertilization) for their wish for a baby to come true.  Son and dear DIL prayed long and hard about what to do…. and then one day they learned about embryo adoption.  It was truly an answer to prayer.  This was perfect for them!  It was not only less expensive than IVF, it would possibly give a chance at life to a frozen embryo (which we personally believe to be a little person).  Families who do IVF, sometimes have left over frozen embryos that they do not want or cannot use themselves and they may  have an option to put their “left over” embryos up for adoption.  Our embryos came to us through a Christian embryo adoption agency.  It is much like adopting a baby… you have a caseworker, fill out lots of paperwork, pass thorough background checks, have a parenting plan, and then you get “matched” to a family.  To make a long story short, the first try at transferring the frozen embryos was unsuccessful.  A few months later, another attempt was made and this time, everything was just right.  We rejoiced to learn that dear DIL was indeed pregnant.  We rejoiced even more a few weeks later when we learned -via ultrasound- that twins were on the way!  Here are a few photos…

twins at 9 weeks!

Isn’t it amazing to see both our babies at only 7 weeks along?

Then we watched dear DIL “blossom” as well….

20 weeks 28 weeks 33 weeks

The pregnancy didn’t exactly sail along in smooth waters…  at 26 weeks, dear DIL had to be admitted to the hospital for pre term labor.  She spent approx 6 weeks in the hospital on strict bed rest and then two weeks at home – also on strict bed rest.  Then…. when she was 33 weeks and 2 days, her water broke.  We knew the babies were coming early, but we were also so thankful that she had been able to keep them safely inside for 33+ weeks.  Let me insert here that I’ve been a neonatal nurse for over 30 years, and in my heart I knew that there could be ALL SORTS of complications  with babies born even 7 weeks early.  Thankfully, the twins had a typical and normal course in the NICU.

Jake and Katie 6 days old

Here they are, Jake and Katelyn, 6 days old.  They were both around 4 pounds and 6 ounces at birth, Jake being a few ounces bigger than his sister.   You can see they have feeding tubes in.  Premature babies need to mature before they can take all their feeds on their own, so this is very typical.

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Here they are, sleeping in their isolettes.

first week at home 022After about 3 weeks, we had our precious twins at home.  Grammie Suz went to spend a couple weeks with the new family – precious days that will never be forgotten.  Our babies thrived and grew and grew!  Even though they were preemies, they learned quickly how much they loved to nurse.  No, I won’t be posting a photo of that!  But it was impressive, how quickly they caught on and went from all bottles (and dear DIL so busy, pumping, pumping, pumping) to simply nursing and loving it.

2012-07-11_08-27-30_319Here they are at about 3 1/2 months old… growing and getting cuter by the day!

grammie and katelyn jake and grammieThen one day last summer, the twins (and their parents) came to Grammies house to visit.  What fun!!

Twins 8 moHere our happy babies are at about 8 months.  Absolutely precious!

Katelyn Jan 16Here she is, a couple of months ago, so proud of her new found skill – standing!!

jake standing1Here is our big boy, standing up and very pleased with himself!

In about two weeks, we’ll celebrate their 1st birthday.  On that day we’ll send up special prayers to thank God for bringing these special, darling, and oh-so-loved babies into our lives.  🙂  I can’t say enough wonderful things about embryo adoption.  What a wonderful answer to many prayers!

We’ve got TWINS on the way!

I think we are still digesting the news… in fact I’m pretty sure we’re still in a little bit of shock — but it’s happy shock.  You see, back in April of this year Son #2 and dear DIL went through the frozen embryo transfer process for the first time.  DIL took all the pills and hormones and shots everyday for weeks to get ready for that transfer.  They drove to the clinic in Seattle with high hopes and many prayers were with them.  Unfortunately, the outcome was not so great.  ALL the embryos they had adopted had to be thawed, just to get two that were viable for transfer.  Son and DIL were most certainly amazed to learn that most of their embryos had failed to survive the thaw.  There were conjectured reasons as to why most didn’t make it – but at any rate the two that did were carefully transferred in what must have been a very bittersweet moment for our parents-to-be.  Ten days later, the blood test was negative.  None of their 10 embryos survived and they had to start the process again, the process of being matched with another generous family who wanted to give their embryos a chance at life.

As we now know, this time things went much, MUCH better.  The clinic only had to thaw two, to find two healthy thriving embies.  Those two were transferred and found a happy happy home in which to grow!  Last week Son and DIL went in for the first ultrasound.  I think it was with joy and amazement, as well as with prayers of thanksgiving that they actually were able to see the super-tiny beating hearts of TWO babies.  Wow.  Has obstetrics ever changed since I was pregnant!  I never had an ultrasound.  I think I heard the baby’s heartbeat once or twice in the doctor’s office, and only when I requested to listen in!  When my two arrived, I had no idea if they were boys or girls… it was an old fashioned total surprise.  You know, that might be fun when you are having your 2nd or 3rd baby, but I would sure want to know the first time around.  I think the curiosity would simply kill me! I was plenty curious way back then, but since there was no way to REALLY know (short of an amniocentesis), I didn’t dwell on it much.

Next week will be another ultrasound.  I think they want to measure the growth of the babies and of course count the heart beats.  It looks like the due date will officially be in early May, but since twins pretty much always come early, I’m going to be requesting time off work in April, just to be prepared.  I’ve had a “little experience” with babies over the years (ha!) and quite simply can’t wait to be a hands-on Grammie…. well, as “hands on” as Son #2 and dear DIL will let me!  🙂    More as it happens………………………….