Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keeping the Trust

The thing about being on this journey is that most days are like trying to climb your way up a steep mountain... in the pouring rain... inside a deep dense overgrown forest... with a blindfold on. Yeah, that about sums it up. Today I am feeling emotional. By emotional I mean I have spent a lot of time crying today. I watched Wall-E earlier for the first time. Leave it to Disney to leave me crying when they want you to believe that that sweet little robot has no recollection of his robot love... heck I just cried watching an episode of Food Network Star that I had recorded on our DVR.

Call me hormonal, I suppose... but today I just feel like a mess... at least I can eat. Actually, I can't stop eating today. I'm STARVING. My mother left to go home this afternoon now that I am officially out of my 48 hour bed rest period. I have been eating ever since. I'm still taking it easy, and will probably for the next... oh 9 months, God willing.

This is all part of the roller coaster. I know that. I know that all of these symptoms I have could be withdrawals from the injections or the use of hormones to sustain our little post-transfer babies. I know that I am the type of person to overanalyze any and every symptom I have... that's what I have always done on this journey for two years... but now? I have to make myself stop. Easier said than done when a simple innocent thought can put me into a pile of weepy tears in a millisecond. But I must... I must TRUST.

When I stop... and I pray... I feel the peace. I just have to figure out how to hold on to that peace. The good part of it? God doesn't care how many times a day we come to him and ask him for peace. He loves giving it to us. I also believe He loves when we make it a point to come to HIM for it without trying to find it in other avenues. Don't wear out Google searching for "post transfer IVF success symptoms". Instead... break out that bible. Break out that devotional... you just might find that word you're so longing to hear... like this:

This is today's entry from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Yes, Kandie... I stole this picture from you. ; )

My friend Kandie and I are on such similar journeys... it's definitely a God thing that we found each other... so of course we are reading the same devotional. You should definitely check out her blog here.

I know that over the next days and weeks my mind is going to wander to a thousand places and I am going to feel a thousand feelings. The only thing I can control is where I go from here... and I want to go to Jesus.

God... give me the strength... the patience... the protection. I know we are asking to keep our miracle... but that is only in Your hands, we are fully aware of that... and we are fully trusting YOU and only YOU in that.


Dear babies... I know I've told you a million times already... but I love you so much. Hold tight to me my dears... Let God protect us all... xo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meet the Kiddos!

Hello dear friends! I'm feeling.... well, pregnant! Today I am officially 2 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I've never been so happy to have my head in the toilet this morning. I know some of you are thinking that is crazy... but when I was pregnant with our first, I had symptoms way super early, so this feeling is a very welcome feeling, yet not a surprise.

Yesterday was our implantation. We arrived at the surgery center at 9:45... the worst part was feeling like my full bladder was going to explode before I was able to empty it at precisely 11:53. We had yet another wonderful doctor doing our transfer, Dr. Kutteh. We have officially interacted with everyone now... and everyone has been wonderful. I changed into a gown when we arrived and hubs changed into scrubs so he could go into the procedure with me. Side note... he was really good looking in those scrubs.

After Dr. Kutteh came in and introduced himself and went over our case to be sure he had it all straight, he then gave us the most beautiful picture I had ever seen. Our babies.

Aren't they amazing!? I'm so in love with them. I was in love with them before I even saw them... but now that I have this picture to look at... I can't even put it into words. I held the picture against my heart throughout the entire procedure. Dr. Kutteh let us watch the whole thing on the ultrasound screen. The only hiccup was when I started bleeding after he cleaned my cervix. Thankfully the bleeding was not from my cervix or uterus but from my previous retrieval site. He said it was okay, not to worry if I saw some spotting at home... he "doctored" the area and said it looked fine. Otherwise, he said the procedure could not have gone more perfectly. The fluid I had seen in my pelvis before was gone. : ) My ovaries are still huge... but that is totally normal!
The procedure itself was not too uncomfortable. My legs were loosely strapped into soft stirrups and a set of forceps were used to clear the way much like a physical exam. He then cleaned my cervix with a sterile solution. The procedure was done with ultrasound guidance transabdominally (scanning from my stomach using my full bladder as a clear window to clearly visualize my uterus). A soft catheter was loaded with a transfer medium that contained our two little babies. The catheter was then inserted through my cervix into the proper position in my uterus. We could see the little bubble go through on the ultrasound and just like that... our babies were home. The catheter was then removed and my legs unstrapped and put in a more comfortable position.
Afterwards we were left alone for about 30 minutes, laying on the tilt table... with my full full bladder.... but all I could think about were my sweet babies, finally where they belong. Mike held my hand and we prayed... we cried... and we prayed. The doctor said sometimes the babies attach in minutes, sometimes hours... sometimes days. The best relief? Getting to go to the bathroom afterwards!!
We are hoping by now that those sweet little ones have burrowed in and made themselves at home. I am on strict bedrest for 48 hours. Easier said than done. It's been really hard to stay comfortable with only getting up to use the restroom. My back hurts from laying around... I'm not a big napper... but ANYTHING for my babies. I just have to be careful not to roll over onto my stomach when I sleep, which is usually my favorite sleeping position. And hydration is a MUST!
I am continuing my progesterone gel, Crinone, daily. The doctor also added on estriadol tablets twice daily. The lining of my uterus was still not as thick as they would have liked it to be, but the tablets (taken vaginally) should help thicken it up and make a "fluffy bed" for the babies, as the doctor put it.
All in all I am feeling good... I'm definitely feeling happy. My mother is here to take care of me while hubs is gone to work... and other than the nausea... I'm great. Restless... but great.
We did receive one down note yesterday... the majority of the rest of our embryos had stopped or slowed down in growth. The embryologist told us before the procedure that we might not have any to freeze for the future. We prayed for that also... and in true amazing form... God always comes through. I received a call this morning saying that two of our little babies had greatly improved and made it to freeze... keep the miracles coming. <3
I will go on July 4th to check my Beta HCG levels (pregnancy hormone) and will hear back from that the same day... until then, I was only instructed to grow those babies!!
Psalm 37: 3-5 Trust in the Lord and do what is good... Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart's desires... commit your way to the Lord, trust in HIM and He will act!!
Side Note: One thing I love about these doctors? Answering all our questions... they never say "if the babies stick" or "if you may be pregnant" they say "You ARE pregnant" and "WHEN the babies attach"... it just puts such a positive spin on things. And it is so comforting that their confidence is contagious. I love that about them.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Waiting To Meet Our Miracles

Saturday morning I was awoken with a call from our embryologist, or as I like to call him... the babysitter. He had excellent news. Out of our 21 fertilized eggs we had 6 embryos in excellent condition and 5 in average condition. The embryologist was very thrilled, he said these were excellent results. He then said the rest were below average or fragmented (read not developing properly). I spent the rest of Saturday on the couch resting... only doing a couple of things around the house. I was still feeling the effects of the retrieval.

Sunday was the longest day ever. Our babysitter told me he would not be calling me that day, not because they weren't there, but because it is best to leave the babies in the incubator with the least disturbance as possible. Whatever is good for our little darlings! I was still sore... so Mike let me slept in. I hated missing church, but I knew it would be difficult to get up and around in a brisk manner. Showering felt like a job. I was exhausted before I even got my hair completely dry.

Although I still wasn't feeling too great... I had developed cabin fever. Big time. We planned to go to an afternoon movie with hub's best friend and his awesome girlfriend and then to an early dinner. We saw World War Z. Zombie movies are not hub's favorite genre, so I was surprised by the choice. I actually really enjoy these types of movies and books... I know it's weird. I blame that on being partially raised by my brother. : ) I will say this however... nothing will get your mind off of your anxieties better than watching a bunch of people try to save the world from a zombie virus.

I slept horribly last night. It was not due to the movie... when I have bad dreams they tend to be way more realistic than zombies. As I tossed and turned... I began to pray. I prayed for healing. I prayed for our little embies growing in their incubator... I prayed for good results... I prayed for our future. I prayed for God's will and OUR understanding of that will. That is the most important part of all of this... following God's plan for our life. That is when the blessings flow, and boy are they flowing.

I got the call from our babysitter this morning. He was joyful as always, which instantly put me at ease. He said he peeked at our little eggos today and they are developing into blastocysts... right on track!! I cannot wait to see them tomorrow. I will arrive at the surgery center at 9:45 in the morning and the procedure will occur by 10:45. I will be given a valium before the procedure and lay on the tilt table for 30 minutes after the transfer. They plan to transfer 2 embryos.

Because of my estriadol levels before retrieval being over 4000 I have been at a high risk to develop OHSS which would build up fluid in my pelvis. The good news is that I haven't had any symptoms of this... I haven't had any weight gain, my abdomen is not distended and I have been urinating frequently (come on nothing is TMI by now). The doctor says these are excellent signs for everything to go smoothly. HOWEVER, if they get in there tomorrow and see too much fluid they may only transfer one embie. We are praying that doesn't happen. There is a much higher success rate with two transferred, plus that is our plan... that is our path. I feel it. With my curiosity peaked, I did scan myself today... and I do have some fluid in my pelvis... I'm hoping that is just a post surgical reaction and it won't be enough to put a damper on anything. It wasn't a large amount... I don't even look or feel bloated.

To work off some nerves. I cleaned the house when I got home... although it wasn't too dirty. I just know that coming home to a clean house tomorrow will make me feel more at ease. Whatever works right? I love a clean house... it calms me. I put clean sheets on the bed, since I won't be leaving them after we get home tomorrow until Thursday afternoon. I will be on strict bedrest for 48 hours when I get home. By strict I mean I am allowed bathroom privileges and am allowed to walk from the bed to the couch. That is IT. I am not allowed to get up and do ANYTHING. Hubs will be working from home tomorrow afternoon and after that, my sweet mommy is going to come stay with me so he can go to work Wednesday and Thursday.  : )

We went last night to stock up on snacks that I might want or need if I'm feeling sick. It's really hard to plan what you are going to want when you can't do anything... but we tried.

So tomorrow is the big day. I feel like it has been a long time coming... it really does fly by once you start the medications. It feels like just yesterday we were meeting with Dr. Ke for the first time.

I'm so excited. I'm so happy. I can't wait to see pictures of our little babies. I feel pretty at ease right now, although I anticipate not sleeping much tonight... much like a little kid waiting on a visit from Santa Claus. Now that everything is in order... all I can do is relax. And pray. Pray pray pray.


Dear Babies,

I cannot wait to see you tomorrow. Our little ball of cells that are our miracles. We have been looking forward to this for so long. We have constantly been dreaming of you and your brothers and sisters that are growing along side of you. Mommy has done her best to do everything right for you to be healthy and happy. Tomorrow two of you will be transferred into mommy's uterus. PLEASE make yourself at home. PLEASE stick around. I know you are anxious to meet your older brother in Heaven, but we would really really love it if you would stay with us for a while. We are anxious to meet him too... maybe you already have met him... because we know you came straight from God's heart and into our world. We hope everything goes well during the transfer and the following months... But we want you to know that if anything should happen, and you get called home early... we love you. We will cherish every second we get to spend with you on this Earth, whether it is a few days or many many years. You are now and always will be our miracle babies. We love you. Forever... in this world and the next.

Forever Trusting in Love,
Mommy and Daddy (and your 3 puppies waiting to kiss your face and love you forever too)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Witnessing a Miracle

How many times in your life do you realize that you are witnessing a miracle as it is happening? Often times it is realized after we looked back... we don't even know it is happening, often it is too hard to see the big picture as you are living through the difficulty.

My friends.... we are living through a time of miracles. And you all are our witnesses.

When we went through our injection training, Mike asked the nurse how many good mature eggs was our doctor hoping to retrieve from me. Her answer? 8. His hope for us, to give us a good chance of success... with everything that is "wrong" with my ovaries... their answer was 8 good healthy mature eggs.

Yesterday was our retrieval. I didn't feel nervous, although my heart rate of 115 gave me away... honestly I felt excited. Most importantly, I felt in peace. We didn't speak much on our way to the surgery center. I spent the entire time, in my head, in prayer. I prayed for peace and I immediately felt it. I felt all of your prayers being lifted up for us. My mother met us there... and I was ready to go! I was still hurting from my full ovaries but I knew that was a good sign that they were so full.

The nurses of East Memphis Surgery Center were amazing. Everyone went out of their way to be nice and encouraging. Everyone we met was great, the anesthesia doctor and nurse, the pre and post op nurses... and our new doctor. Our regular doctor had a very valid reason for being out of town... his daughter was graduating college. HELLO of course he had to be there! Dr. Brezina would be our doctor for this procedure and possibly for our transfer depending on the date. I know people who see him so this change in plans did not worry me at all. He was well up to date on our case. He was kind and open... just what you want from someone who is about to do a surgical procedure on me. He told us the ins and outs one more time, the risks (of course) and made us feel completely comfortable. As we walked to the surgery room and I said goodbye to my husband and my mother... he even laughed at my silly joke to my husband... He was off to give his sample upstairs, to which I replied "Do me proud Mister." The doctor burst into laughter and I immediately liked him even more for thinking I was funny. ; )

I remember being strapped down to the table (just my legs, it was not uncomfortable). I remember an oxygen mask being put on my face... and I remember the nurse anesthetist saying "this may burn a little." It did not... and I was out. I felt nothing from the procedure, I don't even remember them moving me from the surgical table to the recovery stretcher. Next thing I knew, I was just awake. I felt like I had a really good night's sleep... but I was VERY sore and VERY thirsty. I downed the glass of ginger ale they gave me in about 20 seconds. I was given some pain meds after asking about my pain level. Dr. Brezina came around the corner next smiling from ear to ear... I knew this had to be good. "We got 30 eggs," he said. Wait... what?? 30?!? "These are amazing results," he said. I'll say they are.

Keep in mind that on Tuesday we had 25 good sized follicles... and it goes like this... Not all follicles contain an egg... not all eggs will be mature... not all mature eggs will fertilize and not all fertilized eggs will mature. Keep this in mind from here on out. I wonder how many follicles matured in the day and a half before our surgery! Amazing, amazing results... based solely on God's blessing and power. I think he likes showing off sometimes. ; )

My mother and husband were given my discharge instructions. From there Mom took me home to babysit me and hubby went to work. She made one of my favorite meals... eating was thankfully not a problem. I was comfortable when I got home, slept in bed for a while. Mom went to get my pain meds. I woke up starving while she was gone and moved to the couch. I ate and passed out about 5 minutes afterwards. I slept for hours but was unfortunately awoken in bad pain. We had inadvertently let the medicine wear off. It wasn't too bad if I laid still with a heating pad. Really the worst part is moving around or going to the bathroom. The filling and emptying of my bladder moves my ovaries around, so it's a before and after pain. The bleeding hasn't been too bad, it gets less and less as time goes by... exactly as it is supposed to.

Last night wasn't too great. I'm so overly emotional. I don't know if it is the hormones or withdrawals from all the shots or the discomfort... or if the emotional impact of all of this is catching up with me. I'm crying a lot. But all in all I feel okay... just that my body is going crazy lol. I take that as a natural response. The doctor says my level of pain is not abnormal, due to the fact that "he stabbed my ovary over 30 times". His words...

I have read and re-read all of the retrieval letters that were given in our basket of love from our friends. The love you guys have for us is just overwhelming.

Now for the news you all are waiting on. I spoke to the embryologist this morning.

Out of the 30 eggs that were retrieved, 22 were mature enough to use.

Out of the 22 eggs that were mature enough to use, 21 fertilized!

Now, keep in mind, not all fertilized eggs will keep growing and developing into embryos...

All we can do, and all we ask of you, is to keep praying. This is the power of prayer! This is a time for miracles. Watch it unfold before your eyes as we are!

Praising God continually! To God ALONE be the glory!

.... for now... I'm going back to bed. : )

We love you all!

We should hear more tomorrow from the embryologist, they will decide whether to do a 3 day transfer (on Sunday)  or a 5 day transfer (on Tuesday). Today is counted as day 1. Retrieval day was counted as day 0. The transfer date depends on how healthy the embryos look and how they are developing. We will transfer 2 embryos at that time. We hope for a 5 day transfer, because our doctor believes there is a greater chance of healthy implantation on day 5... but we know that God is the one in control... it will happen in His time, on His terms. We are okay with wherever and however He leads us.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Almost There!

I know... I know... I said I would post Sunday with our update... here's my excuse: We went from the doctor to breakfast, then to church which was an extended service for a meeting, then to lunch (because it was after 1:00), then to take Hubs to see Superman for Father's Day and finally... home. By the time we got home I was so uncomfortable and achy from sitting through all that, I just wanted to go to bed. That is precisely what I did as soon as I took my shot for that night. That night we went down to 125 IU per night on my follistim. I had about 20 good size follicles on Sunday. Since then... we have continued the menopur and ganirelix at the same dosage.

I am happy to report that today is my last day of shots! My poor bruised and tender stomach is grateful! I have responded beautifully to the regimen they had me on. This morning... I had more than 25 good looking follicles. A few of those are larger than the "ideal" size but they are all around the same... 1.8 cm is ideal, this is the size of the majority of my follicles with a few 1.9-2.0 cm ones... we pray they are ALL healthy.

Tonight I take my HCG trigger shot, Novarel, which will finalize the maturation process of my eggs. This shot is taken in the hip, intramuscularly at precisely 7:30 pm. I am actually looking forward to it because that mean I am DONE with injections!! Tomorrow, as soon as I get up, I will take a UPT (urine pregnancy test) which should be positive. If it is not, this is an issue and I will have to call my doctor immediately... I didn't ask what the next step would be then... because I honestly feel like we have made it this far, I have the faith for the next step! Tomorrow night before bed I am to take one valium and get a GOOD night's sleep!!

Thursday morning we will arrive at the surgery center at 6:30 am. My mom is selflessly giving us her time so she can take care of me afterwards and let hubs go to work. : ) We are beyond grateful for her being there for us!

The side effects haven't gotten too much worse on these meds. The headaches have been a bit more intense. Really, the worst part now is the achiness from my ovaries. They are so engorged at this point that they literally hurt whenever I move. It is close to impossible to find any sort of comfortable position to sit or lay in... I am SO ready for Thursday. I'm sure on that day I may be a bit nervous about being put to sleep... but right now I can't wait! We will know right after the procedure how many eggs they were able to retrieve from the existing follicles.

I was also given permission by my BFF to read all of the "retrieval" letters I received before bed tomorrow night. : ) Another thing to look forward to!

For anyone wondering what an egg retrieval consists of... read on.


The retrieval process:

First and foremost... I will get an IV and I will be knocked out! And I'm thankful for that!

The procedure is done with a transvaginal ultrasound probe which is attached with a biopsy needle and catheter to "suck out" the follicles. The wall of the vagina is perforated on each side by the needle and the transvaginal imaging is used to guide the needle. Not every follicle will be accessible, but they will get as many as they can.

Next, under a microscope, the embryologist will evaluate the fluid and find the egg within. Then he will determine which eggs look healthy and mature enough to fertilize. This morning also, Hubs will give his "sample" which will be used to fertilize my eggs.

I was told to expect to be pretty sore after the procedure, along with some cramping... possible some light vaginal bleeding from the procedure. After the procedure I will be given antibiotics to avoid an infection and oral steroids to reduce any post surgical inflammation. I was also notified today that I will likely be given an estrogen supplement due to the lining of my uterus being thinner than they like to see for implantation. Please pray it thickens up before the big day!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Faith, Progress and Love

Hello friends! More monitoring today... I went from 10 measurable follicles to about 15! That is egg-cellent news. ; ) Our target date has been delayed a tad... the follicles still aren't quite ready to go. We will have more monitoring Sunday morning. My estriadol went from 803 to 1540, a good jump. We knew once we started the ganirelix it would no longer double.

As far as side effects are going, I cannot differentiate the ganirelix from the menopur for a lot of things, such as dizziness, never ending thirst, fatigue and well... I just feel out of it to be honest with you. Today is my off day which I usually spend cleaning. But now? I clean for about 10 minutes then feel exhausted and out of breath and have to lay down for a bit before I can do much more. It's not awful... just kind of annoying because I lay here bored and when I try to do anything, I can't. But as with everything else I will do whatever it takes. As far as the injections themselves... the ganirelix does not hurt going in... it's only about 10-15 minutes later that the site turns really red, almost rash-like and burns. That only last a few hours before it turns into an area of bruising. My stomach is starting to look like a battle field. Oh and the battery acid? Oh, I mean the menopur. It HURTS... even with icing the area for a while before hand. Given the results we got during the ultrasound, it is SO worth it!

The lining of my uterus looks nice and healthy, just where we want it. The follicles on average are measuring about 14mm now, we need them to get to 18 mm before harvesting. On average they will grow 1-2 mm a day, but with the ganirelix that might be slowed. For now, they are saying our retrieval may happen on Wednesday or Thursday. We will know more after Sunday's testing. Until then... our meds are not changing. We are doing ganirelix and menopur in the morning and 150 IU of follistim in the evening.

I've been more worried about our eggs than I'd like to admit, at least on a subconscious level. First I was afraid I would spontaneously ovulate prematurely before starting the ganirelix. Then last night I dreamed that the ganirelix didn't work and all of my follicles had ruptured and they weren't able to see any eggs when we had the ultrasound. Being afraid is just a natural part of this. Overall I feel pretty calm, at least right now. I'm confident in the direction we are going. I'm confident that the medication is working... I'm confident in the ability of our doctors. Because ultimately it is all in God's hands. If God wants us to be parents, we will be, whether it is by these or other means.

I've been thinking about my husband more and more with father's day rapidly approaching. I hope to be able to give him as many eggs as my body is willing to give up... but there is nothing I could ever do to show my full appreciation for him. He is still faithfully doing all of my injections. He drove me to work on Thursday because he was worried about me driving with the potential side effects of the new injections. I was glad he did. I don't think it would have been safe with the level of dizziness I had yesterday. I know it is hard on him, seeing me bruised and in pain... but he is staying strong for me... he finally opened up about his concerns through this... about me. About how I will react if this is a big fat failure. Honestly, that has been a concern of mine as well. But I will tell you as I told him... this is the truth that I know now that I did not know during our miscarriage. My husband is enough for me to be happy. I want to be a mother. I will always be a mother to our angel baby... but above that, I am a wife. And I cannot imagine a life outside of "me and him". Children will only add to that joy. BUT If it is only going to be us (and all our four legged babies) from here on out... YES I would be devastated and upset... but as long as I have my dear husband. I know I can survive it.

My husband is the one who pushed me in my faith. He is the reason I am the person I am now. He is my rock. He is the love of my life. He is my one and only. I'm doing all of this for us, for our family... for our future. We are going through this together. Hand in hand. Every day. We fight as one. We worship as one. We pray as one. From the day we said "I Do" we became one. For better or for worse. Through infertility and IVF or adoption or anything life throws at us... we walk it together. We fight it out, together. We have faith...we have HOPE together. That makes all things possible... because our hope is in our Lord. The One who brought us together. The One who made us. The One we put our vows before when we became one in his eyes. We stand together on our faith. We hold together through our love.

Stay tuned for more news on Sunday...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Egglets are Growing!

Good afternoon friends! I had an ultrasound and lab work before work this morning. The ultrasound was to see if we had any follicles that were developing nicely that will hopefully contain our little eggies. I was elated to see that we had 10 that were developing to the proper size. 5 in each ovary. There were a few smaller ones on each side that we pray will catch up to the rest. We would like to get as many eggs as possible, because not all eggs retrieved will be viable and not all viable eggs will fertilize... and on that note, not all fertilized eggs will mature into embryos. We really REALLY pray to get enough to freeze. So far I'm having some discomfort in my pelvis, nothing too bad... I guess my ovaries just aren't used to having anything in them. ;) This number is still less than the "normal" person my age, but for us... it's excellent news.

The nurse called this afternoon with my lab work. They are checking my estradiol levels every other day. I was told that a good change would be a doubling in the value. Previously (Monday) it was 280... today it had jumped to 803. We were told this is great progress. This coming Friday I will have another run of blood work and another ultrasound.

Today I felt mostly like myself... that was a welcomed change from yesterday. Yesterday was awful. I felt nauseated... grumpy... exhausted... emotional... you name it. Hubs is still doing my injections. Thank God for that! He's great at it... my bruising isn't too bad so far. Tomorrow might be another story. Tomorrow we go from having 1 injection a day to having 3 a day. In the morning I will start Ganirelix and Menopur. The Ganirelix, which will control ovulation by suppressing my body's natural urge to ovulate, has a nice large neon yellow warning label on the front about headaches... perfect. I don't have enough of those already. I was hoping this medicine would be taken in the evening and I could sleep the headache off... instead it will be taken right before I leave for work, since I go in so early. Menopur will help the maturation process of our follicles. I was warned that this one will burn. Ice has become my very good friend. Tomorrow evening I will decrease my Follistim to 150 IU.

After all the bad news that we have received over the last two years... it was so good to see those follicles pop up today! Our little egglets... that soon may be our children.

I'm a big fan of Sanctus Real. I saw them a while back at a concert (that was targeted towards youth, but my best friend and I went... and it was awesome). My current favorite song is called "The Redeemer", I feel that it speaks to me so much through this journey... Here's how it goes:

Sometimes I just want to start over, 'cause everything looks like a wreck
And I need the courage to carry on, 'cause I can't see what's ahead
And there are places I've wished I could be, battles I've wanted to win
Dreams that have slipped through my hands
I may never get back again

But I'm still a dreamer, a believer
Oh, I've lost my faith in so many things, but I still believe in You
'Cause You can make anything new

Sometimes I just wish we could say all the things that are easy to hear
Ignore the injustice we see and explain every unanswered prayer
But I'd rather speak honestly and wear a tattered heart on my sleeve
'Cause in the middle of my broken dreams, redemption is here

And I'm still a dreamer, a believer
Oh, I've lost my faith in so many things, but I still believe in You
'Cause You are the answer, the redeemer
Oh, I've given up on too many things, but I'm not giving up on You
'Cause You can make anything new

I don't have every answer in life
But I'm trusting You one day at a time

'Cause You can make a weak heart stay alive forever
this is where Heaven and Earth collide
I lift my hands and give my life
This is how my weary heart stays alive

Oh, I'm still a dreamer (This is where heaven and earth collide)
(I lift my hands and give my life)
Still a believer (This is how my weary heart stays alive)
Oh, You are the answer (Oh, this is where Heaven and Earth collide)
(I lift my voice and give my life)
The redeemer (This is how my weary heart stays alive, oh)

'Cause You can make anything new
Yeah, You can make anything new

I loved them so much live, that I even bought this t-shirt at the show... maybe I'll wear it to the retrieval... If I'm not too bloated to squeeze into it ;)

Keeping the faith through this journey has been so trying... but it's still there. I will admit that some days I have less than others, but I've never given up. I cannot and will not give up. Even if this cycle ends in disaster, I know that God has me in his hands... and that he has all our children, past and future, in his hands and heart... and when it is time, He will give them to us. Out of all of the bad feelings, the side effects... the emotional effects... I'm so thankful for what our journey continues to do for my marriage. I continue, more and more every day, to lean on my husband. Even in things like getting my injections from him... it has built up such a huge trust on a very different level than we have ever been on. I'm trying hard not to take out any of my hormonal emotions on him, but let's face it... you just can't control that! He continues to be so patient with me. Making jokes when I'm crying... singing and dancing in our kitchen just to make me laugh. It is awesome.

I have trust that God is taking our problems and turning them into something amazing... something beautiful... and it will be a joy beyond anything we can imagine. Like the song says... trusting Him one day at a time... sometimes that is the best we can do. But I WOULD rather speak honestly. Life isn't always pretty. God knows that. He knows it's hard down here! But He wants more for us. We cannot forget that. He is here. He is walking me through this every day. As long as I keep my focus on God, we can survive anything life throws at us... because He is our Great Protector.

Keeping the faith... one day at a time...


Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome Back to the Crazy Train!!

This weekend was... well, let's just call it an adjustment. I will never forget the roller coaster of emotions from previous fertility drugs. Now that I am on injectables? Hello crazy train! Did you miss me?? I know hubby didn't! Let's put this thing into overdrive!!

Friday night wasn't too bad, I had my shot... wrote a little on here... was a little dizzy. That's about it. I took a bath and went to bed early, feeling okay. Then at 4AM I woke up in a giant puddle of sweat feeling like I was going to throw up at any second. Luckily I had some Phenergan in my night stand. I took one and went back to sleep.

Saturday morning, I woke up cranky... hungry... moody... you name it. I burst into tears when my husband asked what I wanted to eat. Who does that?!? Somebody aboard the crazy train, that's who. Then, when he asked what was wrong, and I replied "nnnooottthhhiiinnnggg" in between sobs. I started laughing. So did he. There was truly nothing I was upset about. I still couldn't stop crying. One banana milkshake later and I was okay again. I cleaned some, but only in spurts because I only have a little energy to spare before I get tired again.

We mostly stayed in this weekend, aside from Sunday. We did things around the house, rested a lot and watched quite a few movies. I don't recommend half of the movies we watched if you are in such an emotional state. Friday night we watched "Side Effects"... crazy movie which led me to have crazy dreams. Saturday night we watched "Seven Pounds"... also a crazy movie which led me to cry uncontrollably at the end. Fantastic.

I gave myself Saturday's shot as well as Fridays... then I was done. I did not want to stick myself anymore. I thought the anxiety of it would get better after I did it a few times... nope. Just as bad. As soon as I finished Saturday night I broke out into a cold sweat and started dry heaving. Fun times?!

Sunday I woke up actually feeling okay. I managed to shower and get ready for church on time, which is good news any week. We love our church family... it felt good to be there learning. I had stomach pains throughout church but nothing too terrible. We did end up having to leave early due to the nausea. Once that passed, hubs took me to lunch and then his softball game. It was sweltering. In the hour that I was sitting there I got a pretty good sunburn (I later noticed once we got home, the warning on our antibiotics that gives a warning about burning easily with sun exposure while taking it)... then I got overheated... and I felt AWFUL.

I feel like this is such a roller coaster. I go from feeling normal to having hot flashes to being cold to being sad to being happy to feeling sick to having NO appetite to feeling like myself again just in time to take my next injection. I cried in my Chinese food last night thinking about sticking myself again. Then hubby steps in... he never misses a beat when I'm upset. He expertly did my injection last night. I took a friend's advice and numbed the area with ice for a couple of minutes before the injection and it went much better. Mentally it was better because I did not have to have the anxiety of doing it myself. This is his job from here on out. He says he doesn't mind one bit. I'm so lucky to have him catering to my needs during this time. He is pouring out his love to me, and that is the only thing keeping me sane on this crazy train. This man is my greatest gift from God. Laying in bed with him last night watching "Wreck It Ralph" was definitely the highlight of my weekend.

This morning I had labs drawn before work. Things seem to be progressing properly. Other than spending the first 30 minutes of the workday with my head in the toilet... We will continue 200 IU of Follistim today and tomorrow. Wednesday I will have more blood work and an ultrasound before we get our next instructions.

For now... I feel like I need to walk around in a t-shirt that says "Please Ignore the Crazy Lady".... and I will keep telling myself just keep your eyes on the prize...


Please excuse the rantings in this and the upcoming posts... it's a little hard to focus and keep my thoughts straight. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013


There is nothing too big or too small for God. He wants us to come to Him for everything. Big or small. Silly or serious. Give it ALL over to him.

Yesterday morning before work I had to go in *super early* for a baseline ultrasound. This ultrasound would look for my endometrium (the lining of the uterus) to be thin and to count the number of follicles on each ovary, also they would make sure there were no large cysts that would delay the start of our medicated cycle. ALSO before starting any medication I had to start my period, or at least have some spotting to mark the start of this new cycle. I was on birth control for 18 days to regulate my hormones, ideally my period would start 2-4 days after I stopped taking the pill. Two days passed... nothing. Three... nothing. Four (the day of our injection teaching) still nothing... I was stressed. It just figures that when you want to start... of course you don't.

So I woke up yesterday morning... still no period. I got ready for work... nothing. Then I started getting irritated. I said a prayer that probably left God shaking his head or laughing at me (I actually envision Him doing that a lot since I prefer to talk to him as a dear friend and finally got to a point where I spoke from my heart and not just the way people teach you to "properly" pray). There I was, in the bathroom saying "Come on, you've led me here and now are we going to be delayed... YOU are the one in charge of this... Let me start my period already!!" This went on for several minutes until finally I started laughing at how absurd I sounded. So I finished getting ready for work and my appointment and went to the bathroom again before I left. Low and behold, within the time of my "silly" prayer and the time I was ready to leave (maybe 5-10 minutes later)... I had started my period. I laughed as my silly husband sang "Oh happy day" to pick at how happy I was... and so it began.

When I arrived to my doctor's office I had discovered the normal girl who does the ultrasounds was on leave and someone that I completely adored working with in a previous job was there training to fill in a few days a week. We chatted for a second, I was so happy to see someone I trust there. But unfortunately someone else took me back to a different room to scan me. Let's just say... this type of ultrasound was not her strong suit. It was fine, her measurements were accurate. I watched the entire thing to ensure it was done properly. My endometrium was perfectly thin and I had a few follicles on each ovary. If everything goes as planned those follicles will mature and will soon be our babies.

After a crazy day of work, the nurse called with my instructions. Hubs and I are on 7 days of antibiotics, just to be sure neither of us have any bugs... I have prescription prenatal vitamins... and was told Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings to inject 200 IU of Follistim. Monday I will have blood work to determine further dosing and to add on our next injections, tentatively I will do the Follistim in the morning and Menopur in the evenings starting next week.

This part of the story just proves to myself even more... to come to God with EVERY aspect of this journey and not just the major things. He is truly in control... of EVERYTHING. Thank the Lord for that.



Today was my normal day off. I took advantage of that fact by going to have a luxurious long lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant with a dear friend of mine. The food and the company were excellent... we left there and went to a French bakery to get treats... I brought home a box full to have as my reward for my injections this weekend. I also got some treats for another dear friend and took them to her on my way home. I was surprised by a call from my hubby to tell me he was headed home (earlier than usual) and was taking me on a date. : )

We had a nice dinner... rare steak of course... my favorite... and then headed home to the dreaded needle that awaited me.

With my anxiety level ever rising by looking at it... I thought it was best just to dive in and get it over with! I was warned about certain injections burning, but was told this one shouldn't... I was told wrong. It BURNED... and maybe it was just because I was so worked up about it. If you are giving yourself injections, do yourself a favor and follow my friend's advice... PUSH THE MEDS IN SLOWLY. The slower I pushed the less it burned.

Personally I think I took it like a champ... at least for me and my fear of needles. :) This was about ten minutes ago... so far the only thing I feel is dizzy. Hence this short and sweet post, it's a little hard to focus right now.

I want to personally thank you all for your continued prayer through this... especially to my girlfriends who have to hear all the details and have to hear all the "freak-outs". I love you guys so much. I hope you know how much I appreciate you putting up with me through this.

Most of all, I want to thank my amazing dear husband. I could not do any of this without his constant love, support and encouragement. He continues to amaze me every single day.

(If your thinking that needle doesn't look like a standard syringe you are right! Follistim comes with this neat little injection pen that has a medication cartridge and a measurement gauge to ensure proper dosing.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Finding Control in an Uncontrollable Situation

One of the hardest things in our situation... especially with the nature of my personality... is being completely unable to control anything that is happening in my body. As a woman, you always think that you will have a family as soon as you decide it is time. Well, apparently life does not work that way. It's a hard thing to wrap your mind around... not functioning the way a woman's body should, being that out of control is a HARD thing for me. I needed something to keep my sanity... and I found a few tricks along the way.

1. PRAY. A LOT. Finally admitting to God (as if it was any surprise to him) and to myself that I had absolutely no control in this situation. I had to say it out loud in order to fully grasp it. "God, I know only you are in control of all of this. I know that whatever may happen is only Your plan in accordance with Your will... and God? This is so hard. You know our heart's desire, we pray that our desires go along with whatever You have planned for us. PLEASE give me peace, patience and understanding as we go along this journey, whatever the outcome may be." PRAY MORE. Repeat it until you believe it whole heartedly... the more you say it, the more comfortable you become with being out of control... but having faith gives you back a sense of control. Because, you can turn to God any moment of any day... and He is there waiting. Say it again... even if you think He is tired of hearing it... it says in His word, pray without ceasing... It works!

2. Find a hobby completely unrelated to your body. Mine was baking and cooking. Baking became my therapy after our miscarriage. I found joy and fulfillment in making things that were beautiful, but more importantly, delicious! My kitchen is my second favorite room in our house. I have about 5 different cooking magazine subscriptions... and making delicious things for my husband and friends makes me feel like a better wife. I know, hello 1950's but it really does!! Thanks to pinterest I always have something I can try... For a while I even made our own juices, jerky and stocks... it was fun! Haven't had too much time for this lately, but at least I have developed lots of skills to provide nutritional meals for our family. Plus you have the added bonus of being able to control what you put into your body... I am happy to report that I am now caffeine free... and have been eating more "fertility foods." (On a funny note, if you research foods that are good for fertility, you will find most fruits are uterine and ovarian shaped... maybe a little hint from God about the benefits of his creations?? Avocado anyone?)

3. RELAX. My FAVORITE room in our house is my bathroom. I take a relaxing bath every night. It's my treat to myself that I look forward to every day. I have several different types of bubble bath and a pile of books next to my Jacuzzi tub. I think it is very important to take time for yourself to "reset" especially if you are struggling with something hard. The doggies even look in the bathtub for me if they can't find me in the house. :)

4. Laugh. Every day. Having three dogs in our house is chaotic, but in a fantastic way. Any time I am upset or angry or crying... I can fall into a puppy pile and receive as many kisses as I can stand... INSTANT THERAPY!

5. Let your husband know how much you value him. This roller coaster of hormones can do a number on us... but guess what? It does a number on your husband too. He is the one who has to put up with whoever comes home that day, whether it is Jekyll or Hyde. Let him know how much you appreciate that... and as a bonus... acknowledging this takes some of the burden off of you and makes you feel closer in your marriage. That is always a welcome bonus. He is in this too. Even though he isn't the one doing all the tests and meds and injections... this is his burden as well. You can't control the path you've been led down but you can control how you treat each other along the way.

6. Clean your house! Yeah, yeah... I know hello 1950's again... but as much frustration I deal with when it comes to my body... I CAN control my surroundings. When I feel upset or anxious... I clean. I have always done this, even before I got married. For some reason cleaning gets all my frustrations out. Now my house is not immaculate, but it is rather clean 90% of the time. Don't worry, I don't judge people who don't have as much time and energy to clean their home as much as I do. I never judge when I walk into some one's dirty house. When I go over to a friends house and everything is covered in crayons and random puzzle pieces and barbies... all I see is a happy fulfilled loving home. I hope to one day be one of those moms with toys everywhere from my little rascals destroying the place... but for now, I don't so I feel anxious if my surroundings look pretty. Sounds silly right? But it works!

7. Get lost! I love to read. I'm what you would call an avid reader, at least a book a week or more... lately it has been pre-apocalyptic Christian fiction... sometimes it's mysteries... sometimes it's thrillers (hello Hunger Games)... sometimes it is stories of experiences of Heaven... sometimes it's simple fully chick-lit. ALWAYS it is a story I get lost in... I can "forget" what is happening around me and lose myself in someone else's world... and I always feel good when my nose is in a book. It's so calming to forget about your own troubles for a while and follow someone else's story.

8. Most importantly... and I know I've said it before... In an uncontrollable situation, the most important thing is to have someone to talk to who has been there!! Knowing that you are not alone in whatever you are feeling at the time is essential. I can't stress that enough. My husband is amazing, but sometimes I need to hear from another woman that they feel or have felt this way too.

I know these tricks won't work for everyone... every person is different. But find something to keep the peace in your head :)

Now... I'm going to go do some laundry and process everything that is going to happen this week.


In similar news... we had our injection teaching today. We met with the nurse who explained how to do my injections and all of the medication... and before we left we had to practice using the needles. YIKES!! I have been dreading this for weeks. I am terrified of needles. It isn't the pain I am afraid of, it is the actual needle. Something about jabbing a sharp metal object into my own stomach freaks me out!!

So, I went in shaking, palms sweating... making notes as she explained all the aspects of our meds and how things will go from here. Then it was time. She asked if I was ready... uhm, no but okay. I took my friend's advice and made sure to pinch my stomach really hard, luckily the needle was small. I figured the longer I hesitated the worse it would be, so I just manned up and stuck it in! Like a champ!! It may sound silly but I was so proud of myself for that moment!!

Then it was Mike's turn, the shot he had to practice on me with was intramuscular. That means it's a long needle that has to go straight into the muscle of my hip. I felt really sick to my stomach as I slid my pants down for the nurse to demonstrate... He has been saying for WEEKS that he wanted to be the one to give my injections. Just the thought of the TERRIFIED ME!!!! I could just picture him jumping out from around the corner and jabbing me cause he knows how much I hate needles. So I took a deep breath and turned around really fast saying I needed just a second... another deep breath and he stuck... and he was AWESOME! His intramuscular stick hurt less than my subcutaneous stick!! So maybe he will be giving my injections throughout this after all. I am so proud of him... and of me. :)

That satisfaction gave us a little bit more feeling of control, even though we know ultimately it is ALL in God's hands!

Control is strictly a human desire, it's stuck in our minds and we can't help it! But now, it's time to let go... and let God do his work.

Now we are ready to begin! I have a baseline ultrasound Thursday to check the lining of my uterus and my follicles, and if all looks well I start injections Friday or Saturday! Yay! He says we have a greater chance of success because I am young... so let the prayers fly!!

Let's get this party started!

We would be eternally grateful for any prayer you are willing to send our way! From here on out we will be updating regularly on our journey. We love you all!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Choosing Hope

Lately, there has been a battle raging... in my head. The closer the dates get to the beginning of our injections and subsequent retrieval and implantation... the worse the thoughts get... the "what ifs". You know what I mean, "what if this doesn't work?" "what if something goes wrong?" "what if the medicine doesn't work like it is supposed to?" "what if they can't get enough eggs?" "what if I get pregnant and miscarry again?" "what if What If WHAT IF?!" It's like an annoying alarm clock that you cannot turn off. The more I try not to focus on these things... the more they randomly pop into my head. My anxiety is growing. I was starting to panic a little. I was starting to get scared. I needed a sign... something to tell me this was right (even though I know in my heart that it is). I'm a big fan of signs. They're like little clues from God that tell us what we should do and when we are on the right paths. Now, I will admit that I have "made" things into signs that were NOT signs just to justify something that I wanted to be right. I like to think that I know better at this point in my life.

My quiet time with God is usually in my car on my way to and from work. I can think clearly when I'm driving, sometimes I even talk out loud to Him... I'm the only one in the car, I don't care if people see me and think I'm nuts. So Thursday morning, I poured my heart out. We had ordered the medicine, paid for it... and I was freaking out. I asked for a sign. It was a partially cloudy, not raining... and suddenly I looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow. It was like God was saying "Hey! I'm right here with you! I've got this! It's going to be okay! Just trust me!" After that I felt better... at least for a few hours.  

My medicine came in the mail on Friday... lets just say that seeing the quantity of it in front of me was overwhelming.

The questions began again... I have a fear of needles. It is not the pain, it's the actual needle. Watching it go in the skin, actually just thinking about it going in the skin makes my stomach curl up into knots. I have until Tuesday to get over that fear. I'm just going to go on and assume that's not going to happen until I man up with the needle in my hand and stick that sucker in my belly. Ugh.

The thing I have been sorely lacking this last week or two with all of these questions is a lack of hope. I'm so terrified of an unhappy ending that I can't even begin to think about a happy one. This could work... this might work. I need to be thinking that this is going to work. When you automatically think the worst, that is a hard think to wrap your mind around. We have been fighting this for so long, can the end really be in sight? Maybe. Maybe not. I cannot control the outcome of this situation. That is only in God's hands. But hope? That is something I can control.

Hope doesn't just fall out of the sky like rain. Hope doesn't just miraculously appear out of nowhere. You can't buy it at the store or order it online. Hope is there for the taking. You just have to choose to hope. Hope is ours, given by God, to get us through this life. There are countless verses in the Bible to teach us about hope. Here are a few that I find particularly helpful:

Romans 5: 2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Hebrews 11:1 (paraphrased) Faith is being sure of what you hope for.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
In the book of Romans, He is even called the God of Hope. It is one of his many gifts to us. He wants hope for us... He wants us to have faith in Him... He wants to give us hope. The catch is, just like we must choose to follow Him... we must also choose other things in  our lives... hope, joy... faith. I chose to have faith in the journey and this is the path I have been lead down. Now, I choose to have hope. I have a friend with a blog called "choosing joy". I have always loved that... but now I get it. I choose to be hopeful. I choose hope over fear. I choose joy over despair. I choose faith over blame and guilt. I choose a life guided by my Lord.

Now, every time one of those thoughts pops into my head... I simply say... "My hope is in You Lord." Then, I feel better. I feel calmer. I know this is right.

Do not be afraid to ask for what you need. If you need a sign, say it. If you need hope, choose it. If you want to be happy, decide to be... and then things will fall into place (with God's help of course).

Matthew 7: 7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

There will always be fear in the back of your mind. It is part of being flawed as a human, it is in our nature to fear the unknown, but we don't have to be afraid. We must remember who is in control... who has this all planned out and already knows the ending... it is already written out. I know we will be parents one day, hopefully sooner rather than later. Right now, I have to give it all over to God. I have to have hope. I have to keep the faith. I could go insane thinking about all the possibilities of bad outcomes... now, it is time to focus on the good.

Choose hope. Choose joy. Choose love. Choose faith! Rejoice! That's what God wants for all of us.