Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Histeroscopy and follicles

Today was my first procedure on the PGD journey and it went great. I have had blood drawn twice but never anything else. Dr. H was fabulous and it was not a big deal at all. We got really good news! Dr. H said my uterus looked good but that my ovaries were fabulous! I had 26 follicles. He said anything above 20 is awesome. We are really excited because these follicles are what can turn into eggs which could become embryos. We assume James and I do not have any fertility problems but this is an area that could cause a problem for the PGD even if you don't have fertility problems. The more embryos we have, the more HLA matches for James Thomas! I feel like we are learning so much every day.

We now have to wait for our probe to be made by Genesis. We talked to our genetic counselor today and they have everyone's DNA sample but still need our consult with Dr. Hughes which is not scheduled yet. Everything seems to be going smoothly so far. We are thankful and don't take one little success for granted.

Melissa was going to watch James Thomas today but Luke has been very sick. We hope he feels better soon. Mandi and Avery stepped in and watched him while I was gone. James Thomas had a blast and I feel blessed to have such great friends when we don't have family in town. We left Mandi's house with a new toy. James Thomas is walking around the whole house. Thanks Mandi! James Thomas also tried spaghetti for the first time today. He LOVES it and got it everywhere! It is a blast watching him try new things.

Good luck to all my teacher friends and mom who are going through TAKS this week! I know your kids will do great. I can't lie, I don't miss the stress of TAKS.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A bunch of posts rolled into one!

Things are going well around the Garrett household. I have been meaning to post these pics as three different entries but somehow the time just slips away and I never get around to doing it.

Ever since James Thomas starting eating regular food he REFUSES to take food off of a spoon. I have been very frustrated with eating time. I worry that he is not eating enough and not eating good foods. So, the other day I thought we would try Velvetta Shells and Cheese. We have a winner! He LOVED it. So I stirred in strawberries and carrots and he ate the whole thing up!

James Thomas is also very curious these days. He is constantly in something or crawling around looking for who knows what! The other day I happened to have my camera when he started pulling out the toys from the toy chest. This boy is determined to get those toys!

We had a wonderful weekend at the lake. We have never taken our Houston, Baylor friends (plus the Chambers) to the lake. We had a blast. Little Luke was sick but he was still able to give us a few smiles. We missed the Coles but we were thinking about them as they participated in the March of Dimes walk. Kim (Julie's sister) gave birth to twins at 25 weeks. They are currently at Texas Children's growing bigger every day.

Hope you enjoy all the pictures. James Thomas is so much fun and a joy to be around. He is an amazing, little guy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Transfusion #13

Last week was transfusion #13 and it was very special. James Thomas' grandma and pawpaw had come down for the weekend so they decided to stay until Monday and go with us to Texas Children's. Pawpaw had never been to clinic and he got to see exactly what a transfusion day is like. It was awesome to have the help and someone to talk to the entire time. Monday is a great day for transfusions because there was lots of live entertainment. Here are some pictures from that day.

Grandma brought Daddy's piano from when he was a baby and James Thomas is in LOVE! He may have a music career in his future. More pics of him banging on his new toy! Mimi and Papaw came this past weekend to watch James Thomas and Luke while we had a garage sale at the Jones' (which was very successful). They got lots of performances from James Thomas too. Hopefully, I can upload a flip video of it soon too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The next step along this journey

Ever since I first heard about having another baby with the same HLA as James Thomas so he could receive a bone marrow transplant, HOPE filled my heart. While a bone marrow transplant is the last thing I want for James Thomas the possibility of it can only happen if he has a sibling who is a perfect match to be his donor. As you all know James Thomas is our only child so we have to use modern medicine to guarantee this for him. I originally said that I wasn't going to share this part of our journey on our blog due to the uncertainty of everyone's reactions. But after reading "Saving Henry" and "The Match" I believe being open is the best way to go for James and me. There is no way I will be able to explain everything or do a good job at it but I will try to do my best to share our story with you. My hope is that in the rare chance you find yourself in the same situation or meet someone who has to go down this path then maybe I can be there for them. I am so thankful for the people who have traveled this road before me and are open about it. It makes the process bearable.

So how do we ensure that we have an exact HLA match for James Thomas? Along with MANY prayers we will use IVF with PGD. James and I first heard about having another baby back in October when we first learned that James Thomas had Diamond Blackfan Anemia. A family friend of James' is a doctor in Washington DC and she suggested that we try to get pregnant right away. Then in November, I traveled to New York to meet with the experts in DBA and they told us about IVF with PGD. Basically, you go through the same IVF process that family's who have trouble conceiving go through. When the embryos reach day three of development a cell is removed from each and sent to Genesis Institute in Detroit where they will test them. Then they will implant the embryo or embryos that match James Thomas' HLA. The reason we have chosen not to try naturally is because there is only a 25% chance of a sibling being a perfect HLA match. They will also check each embryo for the genetic mutation that James Thomas has. Based on James and my genetic testing they don't anticipate any of the embryos having the DBA mutation but we are at a higher risk of this happening since we have already had one baby with this mutation. My initial fear was what do we do with the other embryos? It would be devastating to destroy the embryos that have the RSP 19 mutation. What if we have a lot of embryos, do we freeze them all and implant them later? Can James and I really have 6 or 7 children or on the other side could we destroy the embryos that are not HLA matches? This is the side of PGD that is very difficult. This is where I pray that you never have to even think about these kinds of things. But, from all the research I have done we would be blessed to have that many embryos because families try over and over again and some are never able to conceive a child and the ones that do feel blessed beyond words when it finally happens. One mom told me I would be lucky to have extra embryos because she never did. In fact it took her over a year of attempting to finally have her daughter (which she gave birth to a few months ago!!!). So, I do not worry anymore about that problem. I trust that God will be all over this and what happens will happen. I just pray that it won't take James and I several attempts to get our precious baby.

We have found our fertility doctor who is going to walk us through all of this. I was nervous about him at first, mainly because I have never had a man doctor and I wasn't sure he would be as overly compassionate and cheerleader type which I know I need. But after two consults and being assigned a nurse I know he is where we need to be. We are using Dr. Hughes with Genesis Institute to conduct the PGD. There are only two places in the US that do this and he was the pioneer behind PGD. Tomorrow we will be receiving our DNA swabs. All three of us, plus our parents have to send in swabs with our DNA to Genesis, then they will use them to make a probe to test the embryos. The probe must recognize James Thomas' HLA in all the embryos. Once the probe is made, then we will be able to begin the IVF process. Dr. H wants to do blood work and some other prepping tests while the prob is being made. Hopefully, we will be able to begin those this week. It is a lot to process and learn but we are so thankful that medicine is able to help us grow our family and at the same time do everything possible to ensure that James Thomas lives a long, healthy life. The author of Saving Henry was asked what she says to people when they ask her, "How could you do all of this?" She said when she looked Henry she sad to herself, "How could you not?" That is our philosphy here: How could we not do everything we can to cure James Thomas no matter what the financial or physical pain it causes us.

We ask for your prayers through out all of this. As much as I do believe in medicine I know that God is in control. He has a PLAN for our family and we want Him to be all over this entire process. I always try to find a song that really hits home with what we are going through. So, this is my song for IVF with PGD. Hold Us Together by Matt Maher I will try to figure out hot to attach a link to hear the song. Hope this worked.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Picture Time

We have had the best two weeks with no doctors appointments! We have been to the zoo twice, have had some work done on our house, had lots of play time, and a wonderful Easter! On Easter Sunday James Thomas turned 10 months old. I don't know where the time has gone. These past ten months have been the best ten months of my life. I can't believe I am already starting to plan his birthday! We have decided to celebrate in Galveston and James and I rented a house right on the beach. We are really excited!!

James Thomas is on the go and super mobile. I think any week he will be trying to take his first steps. He is eating real food, clapping his hands, and taking in the world. It is really fun around our house right now.

Next week we are back to the doctors as we have three appointments scheduled starting with a transfusion on Monday. Beware, I am about to post lots of pics!!! Hope everyone is enjoying Spring and the perfect weather!

First trip to the zoo
Fun in the laundry basket

My Easter basket.
What did the Easter bunny bring?
The Easter basket Mrs. Ashley gave me

He has Risen!!!
Time to cover those plugs!
Our pretty flowers have bloomed!