Adopting Amelia who was conceived via Reciprocal IVF Continue reading


Amelia’s Birth Story

The last weeks of pregnancy feel like eternity. From the start I was convinced she was going to come early, well 37 weeks came and went. She was full term and making no leaps to introduce herself to the world. At 37 weeks I was measuring 2cm and by 38 had only gained 1 cm. Since both us and the doctor were worried about me delivering due to her size (at 36 weeks she was measuring over 7 pounds) we decided to schedule and induction for May 5th. The doctor said I wouldn’t make it till then, especially since she had stripped my membranes, but she had said that the previous week so I had little faith in her estimations.

I decided to go to work on Friday since sitting at home wasn’t going to make her come any faster. Once I got home I lounged on the couch with Krystal who prompted me to go lay in bed for a nap – I’m so thankful I did or I would’ve never looked at our couch the same. Around 5 pm I woke with the sudden urge to pee and stood up to my water breaking. I yelled for Krystal and for some reason she never comes fast enough when I really need her- by that I mean it took her 20 seconds instead of 5 second to get to the bedroom. The next 30 min were a buzz of us wondering if we go to the hospital calling family and notifying them it was “go time” and grabbing the hospital bags. Oddly enough my contractions didn’t start till we were en route to the hospital and boy did they start!

Once arriving at the ER we waited 20 or so minutes to be taken up to labor and delivery where we arrived right before shift change for the nurses. Although this seems like a bad thing we actually got extremely lucky because I would not have been able to handle the amount of struggle bus of the nurse going off shift. Our nurse that came on shift was the absolute sweetest and calmest person and not one bit frazzled. The intake paperwork and labs took a little time but thankfully they got me an epidural pretty quickly since I was already at 6cm. For most of the pregnancy this was my biggest fear about childbirth since I knew all along I wanted to be selective about other types of pain relievers but was absolutely going to get the epidural. It really wasn’t that bad and the anesthesiologist was great by talking me through each step before he did it. The worst part was “the cramp” but it quickly began taking away the pain of contractions. My legs weren’t completely numb and I did have some control over them but the nurse got me a peanut pillow to help move the baby down since walking around wasn’t really an option. I figured, just a small pillow or ball right? This “peanut pillow” is like a giant exercise ball in the shape of a peanut. It was massive but it seemed to do its job. The doctor wanted to give me some Pitocin to help speed up the contractions however we opted not to and let everything occur on it’s own speed.

At this point we had a waiting room full of people who would come in sporadically and brought Krystal some food-which she ate in the waiting room because I was restricted to ice chips. My biggest regret throughout laboring was that I had forgotten to take all my medicine that morning which included something for my acid reflux. It was torture, they tried to give me something but it only worked for a few minutes. I threw up about 6-7 times during labor several of which while I was pushing. Let me tell you after not having eaten since lunch it was not fun…

I started pushing around 11p.m. What they don’t tell you is you push for quiet sometime with just the nurse till the baby is down far enough AND THEN the doctor and everyone else come for the actual delivery. We had to have a few extra people in the delivery room because our little pooper had pooped in the womb (muchonum). Although this isn’t serious it can cause infection and get into the babies airway. This meant that she had to be suctioned and checked quickly after birth which delayed skin to skin for a few minutes. To avoid getting to much TMI, I’ll skip to the part where she was born at 1:08 a.m. However, I will say the nurse asked me if I wanted a mirror and I would highly recommend it to any expecting moms who are considering it, it was definitely the coolest thing to watch.

Because of the muchonium and because I had an extremely short umbilical cord we were not able to delay the cord cutting as much as we would like. Krystal did get to cut the cord (which squirted blood all over her – at least she had a little of the dirty work). And we also had to delay skin to skin. Once she was cleaned up a bit and checked out to ensure she was healthy I finally got to hold our beautiful little girl and it was priceless.

We were able to do a delayed bath till the following day so family came in around 3:00am to meet her after all the medical team had done their job and we had some time with her.

Although I was in labor for 8 hours it felt like time stood still and we were only there for a few hours. Krystal was my rock every time I would start to get scared or emotional she was right there to cheer me on, wipe my tears, and help me get just a little closer to meeting our Amelia. I could not have asked for a better support person (as the hospital would say), wife, or companion to hold my hand throughout the beautiful but hard time. Becoming a mother is no easy feat y’all but it is worth it!

Two Years, Forever to Go

Krystal and I celebrated our two year anniversary yesterday (April 15th). Although there were many big milestones none really compare to getting pregnant with our daughter. I even asked Krystal last night what her favorite part of year two was and she said, “pretty much anything to do with the baby.” I ditto that statement. Our milestones included downsizing and moving into our adorable flip house, retrieving, transferring, and getting pregnant on our first try using reciprocal IVF. We’ve had our struggles this year, but they pail in comparison to how incredibly privileged we are and continue to be.

With me being 9 months pregnant we kept it pretty low key but still managed to toast to year number three, eat some chocolate covered strawberries, and watch our wedding video. Surprisingly our gifts to each other were extremely similar and both kept with the cotton tradition. She gave me this Mommy & Me robe set to wear while we are in the hospital and I gave her a robe for skin-to-skin while we are in the hospital with this a custom tag I found on Etsy from ShannahJSmith. (I’ll wait to post pictures of my robe till our sweet peas arrival.)

Needless to say we are anxious for year three since we get to welcome our little one into the world.

The Nursery Reveal

Before the Gender Reveal there were so many ideas and Pinterest boards of what designs we were going to do for the nursery. Wouldn’t ya know we did NONE of that. We searched for days/weeks looking for the perfect bedding set with all the right colors, that wasn’t astronomically expensive and finally we settled on a floral design with hints of mint, coral, gold, and navy. Looking back we maybe should’ve put her in the bigger room, but it is ready and waiting for her arrival in 40 days or less.

Wall Color: Jocular Green from Sherwin Williams – All credit for painting goes to Krystal, her Dad, Geneva C.J. & Ally for painting while I was out of town at a conference.



  • Diaper Wall Storage (it’s actually kitchen storage) & Side Table from IKEA
  • Dresser & Glider from Rooms To Go
  • Crib – Bassett Baby from the Destin Nursery Collection (we actually bought our crib on Amazon and saved about $400.00)

Waddle it Be?

Invitation by IndigoandOrion on Etsy

I cannot tell you how many times Krystal said, “Screw the party, I want to know now.” But we held out till our Gender Reveal as hard as it might of been on our patience. 

Since we found out extremely close to the Holidays we decided to go for a winter theme, with Penguins! Most of my inspiration came from Pinterst of course.

One would think around Christmas time, there would be Penguins everywhere. Nope! I think I covered every store looking for anything Penguin-esk. Thankfully the prep came around the beginning of my second trimester so I had a new found energy and was anxious to get back into my crafting. I decorated the chalkboards and painted the penguin jars for our diaper raffles and name suggestions. I was actually able to find a free diaper raffle ticket online too!

As much as I’d like to take credit for this idea myself, I can’t. However, I can take credit for the research that went behind making it “explode.” This website gave me step by step instructions. Finding hazmat chemicals was a different task, that I will say earned some respect from my students as I was on the phone with a scientific supply store. 

First Trimester

As you can see from the lack of pictures, I was not feeling myself throughout the entirety of the first trimester. These were probably the only three days in 3 months that I put on make-up…not an exaggeration I promise. (Countdown Calendar from BATZkids Milestone Blankets.)

6 Weeks: We had our first ultrasound on Sept. 17th at our fertility clinic in San Antonio. We couldn’t really see much, but we did hear a heartbeat which is probably the most reassuring sound I’ve heard in my life. This was out last appointment at the clinic and we are officially graduated! The nausea has become constant although thankfully no vomiting yet. I am also beyond tired and it takes every ounce of energy to just function at work. I have begun taking a nap during lunch and a nap before rehearsals and I am still in bed by 8:00p.m.

At this point we decided to tell our family, because we were so excited but also because it was getting harder to hide the nausea and blame it on the injections. We found a special way to tell each of them (most of which came from Etsy). 

  • Diana (Krystal’s Mom) always the cowboy fan we  used these cool beer labels
  • For the wine lovers in my family (Kim & Mom we used these wine bottle labels.
  • For both of our Dads we got these rocks glasses with their respective names and dates.
  • Krystal’s sisters each got a shirt that said “Tia Vibes” and Geneva got a shirt that said “Gigi Vibes” all of which were made by Krytal’s cousin who did fantastic work!
  • I told Tyson with this fun t-shirt and Korey with this one. CJ our little fisherman got this keychain.  
  • The Sampsons we told with these lottery tickets. (let me tell you Mama Sampson did not see that coming.)

9 weeks: At 9 weeks were were able to go to our OBGYN in Corpus and have another ultrasound. Its amazing how much the baby grows in just a few short weeks. I heard on a TED talk the other day that if the baby grew at this rate the whole pregnancy it would weigh one ton. Yikes! It looked like a  gummy bear. At this point I am still on my daily progesterone injections and the lumps and bruises have only gotten worse. I only have 6 more days left and most of them fall where I have to give them to myself. URGG! Needless to say I am so ready to be done shooting up in public restrooms or being not being able to walk afterwards because my ass hurts too much to move. In addition, to the injections I am in full fledged morning sickness mode. All I want is the blandest food possible; I think I am surviving on saltines, apples, and popcorn (the only things I haven’t thrown up yet). 

Around this time we decided to tell my students because it was getting harder to explain away the naps, frequent bathroom breaks to throw-up, and respirator I wore while painting. Our fall show was “Odd Couple” (female version) and towards the end there an, “I’m pregnant!” line. Salena and I thought we would change it to “O’Brien’s pregnant” and see how the kids responded. (Just another teaching moment to ‘active listening’ while acting on stage.) It took a minute to sink in but their reactions were pretty priceless. I wish I could post the video here. 

12 weeks:  We had our third ultrasound and doctors visit today. At this visit they measured the nuchal thickness of the fetus along with my blood work for risk of down syndrome, trisomy 18 & 13, and other chromosomal abnormalities. All (THANKFULLY) came back within normal ranges. My doctor found that I had also lost two pounds since my last visit and put me one two medications to help with the morning sickness. Let me just tell you those are miracle drugs. I feel like a new person!

To sum up the first trimester was rough, from not eating, exhaustion and morning sickness I had energy for absolutely nothing and for those who know my personality can get why this part I really struggle with. But I hear that after the first trimester energy starts to come back as well as an appetite, so fingers crossed!

First Trimester Must Haves: Peppermint candies, Naps, Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter (gotta start early to prevent those stretch marks, Airplane vomit bags (stolen out of each seat on my travels), Sprite, and  Sea-Bands,

First Trimester Reading: A very quick read. I recommend reading later in the trimester, simply because it was more relate-able for me at that point. After each chapter, I wanted to say, “Preach!” while also laughing out loud.


The T.W.W.

You may be wondering what TWW stands for, it is an acronym for “Two Week Wait.” It is the amount of time you have to wait after the transfer to find out if the embryo stuck and if the pregnancy is viable. Our wait was more like a week and a half, but that was long enough because patience is not mine or Kyrstal’s strong suit, well mostly its just not mine.

The first few days were filled with McDonald’s fries and pineapples, both of which (supposedly) help that embryo become sticky. Our doctor told me to resume normal activity so there was no bed rest or limitations thankfully.

Day 4 post Transfer: The lumps have begun. After about 2 weeks of PIO its official I have bruises, and one not so fun lump on my bum. I also have a nice little heat rash from sitting on a heating pad for multiple hours. I am already counting down the days to be done with these daily injections.

Day 6 post Transfer: I haven’t really had any side effects from the PIO or transfer that I can tell. I’m very tired, but I think that has more to do with trying to lower my caffeine intake than anything. Heating pads and my massager are still my BFF and my favorite time of night is when it’s time for a (non -sexual) butt massage from my wife.

Day 7 post Transfer: I know all the books say not to and that you can get a false positive but we couldn’t help it so today we bought a pregnancy test. It wasn’t a clear positive but there was an ever so faint second line to help us not give up hope…. the waiting game continues.

And of course nothing is official without a t-shirt from Etsy to commemorate the occasion. Shop: Benny & Ray

The following weekend after the transfer was Labor Day weekend, we spent it at Lake Medina with family and friends. Everyone pestered us on whether we were “knocked-up” or not, none of them knowing we had already done the transfer and were anxious ourselves to know the answer to that question.

Day 10 post Transfer: Monday when we got home we couldn’t bear it anymore and took a second pregnancy test. Within seconds that double pink line showed up strong and bright as a positive pregnancy test. I’m not gonna lie we were excited, but we tried to keep our excitement contained since the surge in progesterone (of which I was still taking daily injections) can often cause a false positive.

Day 11 post Transfer: Tuesday, September 4, I went and had my first blood test done and wore a pineapple shirt for good luck. Later that afternoon we got a call confirming we were pregnant with HCG levels of 533. AHHHHHH

We went back for more blood work that Friday and confirmed we were still pregnant. Our HCG levels had almost tripled at above 1800. That embryo had found its new home!

Since technically the pregnancy calendar starts on the last day of your last period technically at the end of the two week wait we were 4 weeks pregnant!

* HCG is a hormone produced by the placenta during and after implantation.

May the embryos be ever in your favor: Transfer Day

(Somehow we lost the one in 18 between the car and the office) oops!

My transfer was scheduled for 11:15 and they told me to arrive with a full bladder. They, unfortunately, were short 2 nurses and didn’t end up starting till about 12:30.

I. Had. To. Pee. So. Bad.

Apparently it’s not a form of torture but allows for a better view of the uterus. When you see the video all the black on the screen is fluid is how full my bladder was. No joke I peed for over a solid minute afterwards.

I, of course, wore my good luck socks from pkvPrint on Etsy.

Our embryologist came and showed us the embryo we were going to transfer and said it was beautiful! She was also an Aggie so I feel like that is a good luck charm. Right?

Our embryo was a little stubborn and didn’t want to come out of the tube the first time so it took two goes, but maybe that means it’s sticky?

Here is the ultrasound if you focus on the right side you can see the tub and the deposit of the embryo and poof it’s done!

They did have to up my progesterone injections from 1 ml to 2 ml due to a slightly low level but other than that everything went beautifully.

Here is a picture of our beautiful embryo and it’s first home. P.U.P.O. Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.img_1649