Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Gender Reveal...

Mike, Jake, and I were fortunate enough to have 2 of our good friends throw us a gender reveal party in Charleston this weekend.

Most of my family and friends live there, and with them not being able to be involved in the day to day stuff, it was really nice to be able to share our big news with them, all together.

We had a wonderful time seeing everyone and the reveal was a lot of fun. Everyone's excitement about the Adams' twins was so heart-filling! These miracle babies are so loved already!

Without further ado, the video from our reveal....

Sorry if it's a little blurry.. here is a picture of the cut cake!

It was both beautiful and delicious. ;)

All 3 of us are so excited for the outcome! We feel so blessed to even be at this phase of a *so far* healthy, (relatively) easy twin pregnancy and our gender news was the icing on the cake!

See what I did there? :)

Funny enough, Jake was 100% accurate with his guess. Even as to which is which. Baby A is our girl and Baby B is our boy. I know Jake is secretly releaved to be getting at least one little boy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hello 2nd Trimester...

Today marks 14 weeks as well as a very happy ADIOS to the first trimester!

This is a big deal, as anyone who has ever been pregnant knows. Even though my RE doc was very comfortable with the stability of our pregnancy at 6 weeks (when we first heard the heartbeats) it is still a major milestone.

Maybe if I keep telling myself that I'll stop worrying and relax a little....


Anyway, about a week and a half ago we got to see our babes again! The last time we saw them they looked like..well.. gummy bears.

This was at 8 weeks, so when we got to see them last week I was right at 12 weeks 4 days and WOW how they changed. No more little gummy bears! This time we had full on little people!

Up first, Baby A. He/She was so cooperative. The ultrasound tech was able to get every angle she needed, and all of baby A's measurements were perfect. Praise God! He/She was showing off for the camera, ready for her/his close up. Of course, Jake (our 8 year old) is convinced Baby A is a girl because "Girl's like to take pictures and stuff". ;)

Sorry it's a little more blurry scanned then in person, but hopefully you can make out Baby A's sweet little face. In these pictures he/she is laying on it's back the head is to the right and you can probably identify the nose. The brighter white line on the back is the baby's spine. For anyone that believes in the "dangle theroy" This baby's dangle is turned downward and is a little easier to see in person. This would indicate that Jake may be right!

Now on to Baby B - the baby that as the tech said "is going to keep me up at night". Baby B was wild. He/She was in the upright position when we first saw B. (I hate calling either of them it so for now I'll just go with A or B). B looked like he/she was jumping on a trampoline. We even got to watch B do a front flip then spin around to face towards A. We were almost an hour in before the tech could get B to hold still long enough to get the pictures she needed.

Baby B's shots are a little clearer. You can also see in that third one that we may have a thumb sucker on our hands. Jake sucked his thumb, and this time around I will do everything in my power to get that thumb out and a paci in. Don't get me started on dentist bills. This is right after Baby B's front flip when he or she finally wore itself out. Jake's theroy on Baby B "B is definently a boy because boys like to jump and kick and stuff". Baby B's measurements were all right where they should be as well. <3

On each baby we got to see all fingers and toes... crazy to think there are 20 fingers and 20 toes in my tummy right now! I can't tell you how amazing it is to know there are 3 hearts beating in my body - it honestly brings tears to my eyes.

Each time I see them I cry a little. The road to this place was rough. At times, I really felt like I may never get to expierence this again, but today I can stand here as a testimony that when God puts a desire on your heart if you chase it with all your might and trust in His plan you will get the result that fills your heart.

Here's one more pic of the two of them in a side by side shot. This is before Baby B flipped...

That is the screen shot of a modern day miracle.
As for me, I am feeling much better. I still have my moments, but honestly, nothing like before. I can eat again! I gained a pound as of my last appointment, and my energy feels better than it did. No pregnancy is the same some are easy (Jake) some are tougher... My version of a hard pregnancy may be your version of an easy one. All I can do is compare it to my previous one and with that I can tell you, this one has been harder. I still think I got off pretty easy. Some of the poor women in my IVF support group have been SO sick. So really, I would still say this pregnancy has been good to me so far. I think to, I've come to be so appreciative of the expierence that I will take whatever it throws at me, especially if it means these two beans are healthy!
We will get to see these two again this Saturday. We are going in for an optional ultrasound to try and get a determination of gender. Hopefully they both cooperate and we will be able to determine the sex of both. Mike and Jake are convincened that A is a girl and B is a boy. I guess that is what I think too. I had one dream about the sex of the babies, a few weeks ago, and that was the outcome in my dream. It really doesn't matter either way, except that it will enable us to move forward on planning.
Funny enough, I think Mike is dying to know and I am a little more willing to wait. Two of our sweet friends are throwing us a gender reveal party for out family and close friends (aka our biggest supporters through our journey) back in Charleston on the 13th. Once that has happened I will figure out a way to share with all of you. Maybe a video from the reveal...
All of this is just so exciting. Sometimes I have to pinch my self. I am really looking forward to the day I first feel them moving! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's been a while...

It's felt so long since I last logged in and wrote an update. Today it took me 3 tries to remember my log-in information!

I think, for a while, there wasn't much going on so I didn't have much to share. Not to mention my energy levels have been so low and I haven't been able to eat much. I can't remember the last time I really went out and enjoyed time with friends or went out to dinner and actually ate it. :( I miss that.

This past weekend I started to feel a little better. Which is good, because between Jake and Mike's sports schedules, Jake's social life (10 times more exciting than mine) and everything we need to get done, I needed to get it together.

Jake had a sleep over Saturday night so Mike and I went out for a date. It consisted of a trip to the outlets and dinner. Anyone that knows me knows I can spend hours at the outlet mall, but after a walk through an over-crowded Nike and Adidas I could feel myself tanking. We left there and headed to dinner where I nearly fell asleep on the table.

I think I was asleep before we even made it home.. poor Mike. I haven't been much fun these last few weeks. Luckily for me he's been pretty patient.

Sunday morning, I woke up and headed straight to the bathroom - just like every morning and 3-4 times during the night - only this time there was blood.

Of course my first reaction was to freak a little. It had been so long (over a month) since a bleed that I had put it out of my mind and assumed it was over. I didn't have any pain and it seemed very similar to the last bleed so I decided to do what they told me in the past. Bed rest, pelvic rest, drink lots of water.

Monday was my scheduled first appointment with my OB - so after speaking with a nurse at my reproductive doctor's office - we decided to just rest and wait for Monday.

The appointment Monday went well. It took almost 3 hours, but that was partially because it was my first appointment - lots of paperwork, seeing different people from billing, to nurses, to lab work to the doctor. When I finally got to see the doctor we went over any questions I had. I told her about the bleed which she assured me that everything was fine. She said she sees it more common than not on twin pregnancies. She also measured me and said I am sitting right at about 13 to 14 weeks so she thought we would be able to pick up the heartbeats on the Doppler. Obviously, I was excited about that because anytime I can hear their sweet hearts all my worries (temporarily) wash away. She was able to find them both! Baby A at 166 Baby B at 157! There is no sweeter sound - amen!

After that, I had to give what felt like a gallon of blood. I got a little dizzy, so they had me sit there for about 15 minutes before allowing me to go home. The doctor told me she wanted me off of my feet for the remainder of the day, which was easy for me because I was exhausted.

So far so good! I am down almost 9 pounds which they aren't thrilled about. She said she would let it slide for now since you put on weight with IVF and because she knows I'm trying to eat as much as possible. She said that when I am feeling better she wants to see that made up pretty quickly, and assured me that she doesn't think it will be a problem. Up until I got to hear the heartbeats it had been a pretty anxious 24 hours. I will go back in 2 weeks for an ultrasound and I can't wait to see how much they have changed in a months time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something new everyday...

I think Mike is over his initial shock of it being twins. Of course he knew it was a possibility, but when you've been on this journey as long as we have you begin to doubt it will ever happen, much less twice over! He has always been more optimistic than I have been, but part of me always wondered if that was just for my benefit.

Anyway, this week the idea of twins has really started to sink in for us. There is a lot to be done before they arrive and we've only just begun! We are working on trying to get our budget in place, how the bedrooms will need to be rearranged, start thinking about baby registries, focusing on getting our IVF debt paid down, the list goes on and on.

I have to just keep telling myself "One thing at at time". I'll tell ya though, 6 months doesn't seem so far away. Yikes!

Aside from our prepping, I have been getting stronger bouts of nausea. It's coming in waves now, and nothing sounds appealing to eat. I am also still so tired. By about 8 p.m. I can barely keep my eyes open. Then, like clock work I am waking around 4 and my mind starts racing.

I had another bleed over the weekend. It was just one quick rush and then it was done. It's scary, but I know I just have to keep on keeping on. The doctor told me not to be concerned unless I am in pain or I see heavy clotting. Praise God, it hasn't been anything like that. The rough part is you kind of feel like a ticking time bomb. When will the next bleed happen? Will there be another one? Will that one be scary? When will this be done? ahhhh.

Lately I just keep my focus on the sound of those two little hearts beating. They were strong and loud and as the doctor said "The best indication of a healthy pregnancy". Beautiful!

Another positive? I had more blood work on Monday. They wanted to check my E2 (estrogen) levels again. They did, and my levels rose perfectly. She feels confident that my body is in step with this pregnancy and that the need for added hormone support is fading. I got to reduce my medications, and hopefully soon will get to stop them all together. The nurse said this is another great indication that this pregnancy is strong. Music to my ears!

We will have another ultrasound next Thursday - the 23rd. On that day I will be 8 weeks and I am so excited for Mike to see it live. He was running late and missed the first one :(.

We are so grateful for everyone that has reached out over the last week or so. It is so comforting to know how many people are praying for these babies and for us! God is clearly listening!!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Our 2nd scare that turned into the most incredible blessing...

SO of course I jinxed myself.

After writing that I had hopped the needle would be the last scare of our pregnancy, we had another. Last night I was at Jake's baseball game (which was great - he had two hits to the outfield for doubles) and had to go to the bathroom.

Lately, my life consists of eating, sleeping, trying not to puke, and going to the bathroom. However, and sorry for the TMI - this time there was blood. :( I just starred and said no no no no no - probably 20 times.

I have been through a miscarriage before and it is awful, but something about this felt different. First of all, there was no cramping, and it wasn't a whole lot of blood. I didn't cry. I told myself I would be fine and I left it up to God.

Many of you may have seen my silent prayer request on facebook. I was nervous but I kept reminding myself that either way, it was out of my control. I slept really well last night, and as soon as 8:00 am rolled around I called my doctor.

She wanted me to come in and her next available appointment was at 10:30 am. So I went through my normal morning routine, got to work, and calmly waited for my appointment time. I really felt at peace with everything and just kept reminding myself that I was not in control.

Mike was planning to meet me at the office, but I got there before him. They called me back told me we would be doing an ultrasound! They wanted to see if they could find the source of the bleeding. This also meant we would get a sneak peek at the baby.

We begin the ultrasound and the first think Dr. Jaffe said was "The baby is right here, healthy, heart beating!" Praise God! She then moved the screen where I couldn't see it and told me she would show me in a minute. This made me a little nervous but I knew the baby she showed me was ok. Next she told me she found the source of the bleed. She said it was relatively small and that I just need to take it easy. She also didn't think it was an immediate danger to the baby.

Next, she turned on the speaker and I could hear a heart beat! Of course I started crying at that point. She said the heartbeat was nice and strong. She proceeded to take a few more picture in silence, and I noticed the nurse was making a funny face. She turned back on the speaker and said "Can you hear that?" "That's baby number 2!"

I lost it. Smiling and crying. My nurse started to cry. She said they both were strong and measuring well. She worked and worked to get a clear picture of them side by side but given that they are still just peanuts we settled for this shot:

Meet Baby A and Baby B! Baby B is a little harder to make out, he/she is actually sitting almost behind A so the fuzziness is hard to detect. The whiter part in that sac is the heartbeat. One of the most beautiful things I have ever heard!

Dr. Jaffe wanted to mess with Mike and tell him there were quads! She likes to tease him a little, but I couldn't keep a straight face.

So we have twins on board! 2 healthy, developing babies! I can't believe it. I think Mike was in even more shock. He just starred at this picture for like 10 minutes. I am sure he is busy re-working our budget as we speak. :)

Thank you so, so much for all of the prayers! Twin pregnancy is risky, and we have a long way to go. Our first goal is to make it to week 8 when we get to see them again. Our next will be to get through the first trimester. If things don't go as (we) plan I will still be so thankful for what I got to see and hear today. For now there are 3 hearts beating in my body and one of those is so full it could explode!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

6 week update...

Today I am officially 6 weeks pregnant!

As I type, holding back the urge to purge, I can honestly say how thrilled I am to be feeling pregnancy symptoms. Of course it would have been nice to skip morning all day, never ending sickness, but it also is a constant reminder that I have a baby growing inside of me!

My other big symptom is exhaustion. I am tired. It has really hit me as I rounded the corner into week 6. Walking from my car into work this morning, I felt like I had just finished running a marathon. It's work to keep my head in the upright position. Lunch breaks at work may have to become nap time...

I know my exhaustion is because of all the amazing things going on in my body. This week several major organs are being put to use, the baby's circulating blood via his/her circulatory system, and he/she is looking less like a tad-pole and more like a person - growing nose, eyes, ears, chin and cheeks. No wonder I'm worn out!

I also got some good news from my doctor yesterday!... They did some blood work to check up on my estrogen and progesterone levels (these are the hormones I have been injecting daily) and they are nice and high! This means I get to come off of the shots and begin oral versions of the hormones. Praise God! I can't tell you how happy I am  to not have to begin every day and end every day with needles! I know Mike is happy too...

Speaking of, I had something INSANE happen to use last Friday night. Sorry if this story gets a little wordy, but stick it out.

As you guys know, I have to do a shot every morning and night. Most of the time it isn't that big of a deal, but it does stink when you are trying to make other plans.. Friday night I had plans to go with some girlfriends to a birthday dinner. Mike and Jake had soccer practice, so it worked out nicely. Unfortunately, before we could get on with our night, I had to have Mike meet me at home to get my shot done.
We had new needles from a local pharmacy and anytime something has changed in my routine, it makes me a little anxious. That being said, they seemed to be working fine. I got the needle ready, iced my back side and laid down on the bed like I do every time we do the shots. Mike did his part, just like normal, but when he went to remove the needle it make a strange clicking sound.
I instantly freaked and the dialogue went a little like this:
Me -"what was that noise?" no answer,
Me -"Mike, what was that noise?!"
Mike- "I don't know, I don't know what happened. The needle is gone!"
Mike - "I mean I went to pull it out and it broke off! It's gone."
(Que the hysteria)
Me (totally crying) - "Can you see it? Get it out! Get it out!"
Mike - "No I can't see it at all, just a little blood"
Me (flipping out) - "We have to go to the hospital right now" - I think I repeated this in my state of shock probably 20 times.
Mike (remaining calm) - "Ok, let's go, but you have to calm down."
Me - "You try calming down when there is a 2 inch needle missing in your butt!"

From there we got in the car. I held myself up off the seat as we drove to the nearest emergency clinic. I was still panicking. Scared because of the pain, terrified that it would somehow cause harm to the baby. Just straight freaking out.
The wonderful nurse practitioner assured me that she wouldn't do anything that could hurt the baby, and then said "Since I can't x-ray you, I'm going to have to numb you up and dig around for the needle."
Uh... not ok. Dig around? Oh Em Gee.
She wanted to push around on the area to see if we could pinpoint the location of the needle, but other than soreness I couldn't really feel any pain.
At that point Mike asked her if she wanted to see the needle. (He is so wonderful and calm that he brought all of that stuff with us.) And she did. After a few seconds of examining, she asked for a new needle and removed it from the packaging. She asked Mike to show her what happened so he did and again the needle was gone when he got to the end of pushing the syringe. We were looking all over for it and she said "wait a minute, I'll be right back"
A few seconds later she entered the room with a industrial pair of scissors and began to hack away at the syringe. She finally was able to break it in half, and there was the needle!

The pharmacy had given us the wrong needles. They gave us retractable needles (which we didn't even know existed) without any warning. They all laughed but I think I just stood there starring. She then went on to tell us how upset she was with the pharmacy for giving these needles to us without explaining how they work. She said they aren't typically given out to patients, but are more often used by medical professionals.

I was extremely relieved, but I think my adrenaline had gotten so high that when it crashed, it wiped me out. Mike took me home after that and all I wanted to do was sleep. I do remember on the ride home, him looking at me and saying "Well, that's a good story for your blog!"...

Hopefully that was our one and only medical scare for this pregnancy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The story behind our positive....

Let me start off by saying, the support in the last 12 hours has been overwhelming. Mike and I are so excited and we feel so blessed to have so many people in our corner!

I wanted to post a little more detail on what has happened in the last week. I was so excited to get our news out, that I left the details a little vague.

Last Sunday morning I woke up with a crazy desire to test. Granted, I had been eager since the transfer, but Sunday it was unbearable. That day was 5 days post my embryo transfer - here's where it gets a little tricky to follow... When they put my embryos in, they were already 5 days pregnant. If it had been a natural cycle, the day of my transfer would be 7 days post ovulation... Soooo that Sunday, I was 12 days post ovulation. Typically, you would begin to see a positive at about 14 days post ovulation. Knowing that, I told myself that it was no big deal if I didn't get a positive because it was still technically too early.

I went ahead with the test, and after about a minute, walked away, sure the test was negative. I left it on the counter and went to get ready for the day. I went back over a few minutes later (to throw the test away) and there it was. A very faint but there positive test line! I started shaking and ran for my phone.

Mike had left about 30 minutes prior for his soccer game (he plays in a men's league) so I knew it would be a stretch to catch him on the phone but I called anyway. He answered and I told him the news in a shaky, emotional voice. We were both really happy, but decided to stay calm and wait out the next few days in hope that our line would get darker.

Queue my addiction to at home pregnancy tests. From that day forward I tested every morning and each day my line got significantly darker. Tuesday morning, I decided to call my doctor's office and just let them know what was going on. :)

My nurse called back and told me that there was no reason to wait through the weekend, and that I could come in to test that Thursday. For those keeping score that's 9 days post my 5 day transfer (14 days since conception or 16 days since ovulation.

That morning, before work, I went in for blood work. That was the easy part. Sitting at my desk, patiently waiting for them to call with results -- not so much. Eventually, of course, time passed and my phone finally rang! The nurse explained that they want to see a beta come back at 50 or greater for the first test and that mine was at a "very pregnant" 292! She said it was a great sign of strong implantation and that they would see me on Saturday for a second beta to make sure my numbers are doubling.

In that moment a sense of peace washed over me. We prayed long and hard for this. In the last few days I had prayed countless times for peace and for my heart to be still. God answered those prayers 10 fold. He always does, if you are just willing to wait for Him.

That Saturday, as I mentioned, my test results came back more than doubled at 630. They told me that my numbers look wonderful and to continue on, for the time being, with my injections. They also told me to begin a 2nd progesterone shot each morning as well as my nightly shot. She said my progesterone levels are safe, but on the low side of where they like them to be, so we are boosting them up a bit. This is fairly common for women going through a frozen embryo transfer, as it takes a little longer to get things going sometimes.

For my needle sympathizers, that's 1 shot each am, 1 each pm and a 2nd pm shot every 3 days. My backside is sore! That being said, no complaints here... I will do whatever it takes with a big smile on my face.

After Saturday's results I really became excited. I am cautious, but I will celebrate every second of this pregnancy. This has been such a journey so far. Some really bad days, some amazing days, all of them leading to this moment and the moments that follow.

Saturday afternoon was spent with Jake's soccer buddies and our family at a birthday party for him. He had such a good time and it was so nice to just relax and hang out with our soccer family. It really was one of the best weekends in a long time.

So, today I am 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant. (I can't tell you how good it feels to type that!) So far, I can say I have began feeling a few symptoms... light nausea, tiredness, and a little uhh.. hormonal... I am doing my best to keep my mood swings in check. ;) Poor Mike has a long few months ahead. Keep us both in your prayers! Ha!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Guess what?...

I finally get to shout:


Yep, you read that right! I am officially pregnant! I know I know, if you keep up with the blog, I wasn't supposed to know until Monday, but last Tuesday I got a little ancy. 

I couldn't hold out anymore and it was time to take a test. That morning, I tested and guess what? A big ol' positive! That day I called my nurse and she moved my appointment to Thursday. 

Thursday morning came, I got my blood work done and just sat around waiting for the nurse to call. She finally did around lunchtime to tell me that my test was not only positive, but that my numbers were nice and high! My beta, the pregnancy test in which you are supposed to have a 50 or higher, came back at 292! They made me an appointment to come back on Saturday to make sure the number was doubling...

Saturday finally came and again, I was waiting for the call. I got it right before Jake's soccer game started. My numbers more than doubled to a wonderful 630!

We have an ultrasound scheduled for October 16th to see our baby(ies)! We will know at that time more details, but my preliminary due date is June 4th!!

We are on cloud 9! I of course cried and probably will at every appointment here on out! I just can't believe this. I can't express to you our joy and our thankfulness. God is amazing!

I know we have a long way to go, but we are taking this one day at a time and celebrating every step of the way! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Frozen Embryo Transfer...

What a day.

I knew today would be special. I knew it would be a big day. I didn't realize how special or how big though. I don't think I could have ever imagined it being as amazing as it was.

Today was our first embryo transfer.

Originally, our plan was to transfer last month. 5 days after the retrieval. Unfortunately, due to my risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome, we weren't able to do that. The safest option was to freeze our embryos, all 16 of them.

Fast forward to today... The day that felt like it would never come. The day that has been on my mind for so long.

I went to work this morning, which was perfect, because if I had taken the day off I would have been a nut job by the time my appointment rolled around.

My appointment was at 12:45 p.m. so at 11:45 I had to start drinking water. I also was not allowed to go to the bathroom from that point on. When they do the procedure, they run a simultaneous ultrasound on your stomach that helps them make sure they are in the right place. A full bladder helps them to identify your uterus and the positioning of the catheter.

That part was probably the most uncomfortable part of the entire procedure. That feeling like you need to pee, so much so that you feel like if you jumped you would wet yourself... that’s how I felt.

Once they got me checked in, I changed into my gown and lovely hair net...

Dr. Loy came in to talk to us about the procedure. We ran through the risks and our options. We talked about the embryos - how they took two out to thaw, that both made it through the thaw beautifully. Then he ran over the risks of putting both back in - 40% chance of twins, potential for high risk pregnancy, early delivery, increased risk of c-section, etc. He is obligated to run down all the risks with us and I think he could tell we were doing our best to soak it all in. He then looked at us and said, "All of that being said, I have IVF twins at home - they are perfect and I wouldn't do a thing differently." We looked at each other once more, and still felt confident in our decision to put two embryos back.

At the end of the day, I am not in control. The doctor isn't. Mike isn't. The embryos aren't. God is. If He wants us to have twins, twins we will have. If He wants us to have one, one we will have. Our hearts will be just as full either way!

We signed the papers confirming our decision and he handed us this...

Our first picture of our babies... Meet baby a and baby b :) They are moving through the early stages of development and are now safely back where they belong. Hopefully, they implant and continue to grow. This picture was the first of my breath being taken away today. I was sure this was the most amazing thing I had seen, but I was wrong.

After that the nurse came in and told me to take the vicodin rx they had given me. Then they led me back to the procedure room. The nurses got me set up and then the lab tech came in to confirm who I was and that we would be putting two embryos in. Dr. Loy then came in a started the process. It wasn't that different from an ob exam as far as pain.

The most amazing part was that I got to watch it all happen. They would stop and explain to me in detail what I was seeing. They identified the catheter on the ultrasound and then he told me to watch for what would look for the firework show. :) He told me "here we go" and just then I saw two blips of white fly out of the catheter. Those were our babies! Of course, by this point, tears were streaming down my face.

He finished up and told me to just relax and that the nurses would take care of me. He said everything went perfectly and that judging by the quality of our embryos and how the transfer went he feels great about our chances. I then said "It's all up to God at this point" and I got a collective "Amen" from everyone in the room.

After that they wheeled me back to the waiting area and told me just to lay for a little while. Mike came back and said he got to watch it on a screen in his waiting area.

I wish I could put into words how amazing the experience was. I know I can't, but I can tell you how lucky I feel to be where we are.

I also want to thank all of my family and friends who reached out to us today. We recieved a serious outpouring of love and support and it was such a boost of confidence for me. I know I have a whole group of people cheering us on. Thank you so so much.

I'm sure, when the newness of all of this settles down some I will be able to talk more about how I felt. How much I could feel God's presence in that room. For now I can only tell you that I am simply overwhelmed.

The next two weeks are going to feel like 2 decades I'm sure. I will pray everyday for a wonderful outcome to this wonderful journey. I appreciate your prayers too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Catching up and moving on...

Hello PBP readers! It feels like it's been so long since I've had anything to write about.. maybe because the days go by really slowly when you're getting needles plunged in your arse. :)

Before I get carried away with today's update - let me fill you in on where we've been. My last post was 11 days ago. Back when my little world was innocent to the pain of having your husband drive a 2.5 inch needle into your butt muscle.

As anyone who has read this blog previously would know, I'm not a fan of needles. That being said, I like to consider myself an expert, at this point, in taking them in my stomach. It didn't start out that way, but seeing as how I am currently on day 26 of them, I'm now a champ at it. I don't even flinch anymore. Some days, I swear I've lost feeling in my stomach.

Any who, as I mentioned in the last post, I was going to have to start taking delestrogen shots in my back side every 3 days. I knew it would suck at first, and I really tried my best not to panic.

Tried being the key word.

I panicked. Like a full on, toddler melt-down. It didn't help that I was lying face down and actually kicking my legs while sobbing crying and repeating how unfair it was. I was 4 years old in that moment. Thank God my husband remained an adult.

I won't lie, it did (and still does) suck. That needle is huge. I'm sure there are much bigger but in comparison to what we've used in the past, this one looks like the kind you inject marinade into a turkey with. On top of that, the medicine is in oil, so you have to do the injection very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Here's how the process goes... (FYI- to be truthful, this is the process from our third time - as I mentioned before the first one didn't go nearly this graceful)

I ice the upper outer quadrant of my butt cheek for about 10-20 minutes. I'm pretty sure this is all in my head, but I've convinced myself that it would hurt more if I didn't.
Once it's numb(ish) I wipe down the area with a alcohol wipe and lay down gripping the pillow like my life depends on it.
My sweet husband than has to pull the skin taught and shove that thing in, all 2.5 inches, with some force. It stings and all I can do is tell myself to keep breathing.
He then has to pull back, just a bit, on the syringe to make sure there is no blood. As long as there isn't, and thank God there hasn't been, he can slowly start pushing the syringe plunger down, administering the medicine.
This process, once the needle is in, takes about 12 seconds.
Longest twelve seconds of my life.

All that being said, it is getting easier each time. My anxiety about it is dropping and I'm doing a better job of being a big girl. Mike is getting much better at it too. I know it sucks for him to have to do this to me, but he never let's me see that. He remains calm and strong even when I am a total disaster. Always reminding me of how worth it all of this will be one day. :)

So 24 stomach shots, 3 butt shots and 10 days of antibiotics later - I headed to the doctor's office today to see if we were progressing, like we should, toward out FET (frozen embryo transfer).

I was under the assumption it would be blood work, and ultrasound and then a nurse would call me this afternoon with results. This is the normal routine. I go back to work and neurotically check my phone to see if they've called yet...

Today was a little different. They did the blood work first, and asked me to go back to the waiting room. Normally the ultrasound girl comes to get me, but this time it was a nurse. She informed me that one of my Doctors, Dr. Loy, would be doing my ultrasound today. This is always nice, because you get a better idea of how things look right then, rather then waiting for him to review your ultrasound.

I like Dr. Loy a lot so I was glad it was him today. He came in, did the ultrasound, and informed me that everything looked wonderful! He even gave me a print of the ultrasound, but between you and me it wasn't very exciting so I won't share it. He then told me to meet them (he and the nurse) back out at the nurses station.

When I got out there, the nurse explained that everything looked even better than expected. Originally they told me my transfer date would be somewhere between the 16th and 18th of September. 16th being best case scenario. After my ultrasound and seeing my progression, Dr. Loy said the 16th it is! I am really happy about this! In his opinion, things couldn't look any better and he sees no reason to wait past then.

So, here's our new plan of action:
September 11th will be my last lupron shot! Woop Woop! That night we will begin progesterone injections (another butt shot). Heck, this one gets a Woop Woop too, because it means we are SO CLOSE.
That rolls on through the 14th, when I start 2 more medications (just pills) Keflex and Medrol...
This continues on up to the 16th - OUR TRANSFER DAY!!!!!

Our transfer will be at 12:45pm NEXT FLIPPING TUESDAY! They told me it was very similar to an IUI, except that I have to do this one with a full bladder. I have heard this is the hard part, and I am so bad at holding it. Anyway, they will do the transfer, then I will head home for the day to rest. From there, life can return to normal - sort of - until we take a pregnancy test at the end of September.

Funny enough, the nurse did give me a paper that said for 5 days post transfer I am restricted from activities like heavy lifting, vacuuming, grocery shopping, carrying laundry baskets, etc. I had her write in some extras like cleaning the kitchen, cooking dinner, so on and so on. Mike should love that.

Alright, so here's what I know... We still have a long road ahead. This process is not fail proof - our odds are good, but not 100%. Even if we get pregnant, we aren't guaranteed, that in 9 months, we will be taking our baby home. We have a long way to go. A long way, that usually people don't choose to share with everyone they know as well as some strangers. I've gotten a lot of opinions thrown my way about our decision to share our journey so openly. Mostly good, some bad - and that's ok. Not everyone will agree with the choices we make. That being said, let me explain why I feel it is important, crucial even, to share my story in real time.

My God is bigger and more steadfast than any doctor, procedure, medical statistic, etc that you can throw at me. Don't tell me what my chances are, don't tell me to brace myself for the worst. My faith is bigger than my fears. Yes of course we will be crushed if it doesn't work. I will cry and beg for God to heal the hurt in my heart... the awesome thing is, I know He will.

He has put it on my heart to take this one day at a time, and to share those days with anyone that wants to listen. I will do that to my best ability, in my attempt to honor Him the whole way. From the moment that embryo baby was created it is alive. I will cherish every minute that I have and pray that God chooses this to be our time. That He will hold on to us with his sovereign hand and help that baby or babies grow and grow. If He takes our baby away, I will cling to my faith, knowing that His will is perfect even when I can't see it as such.

My PBP followers are amazing. Your messages of support, your prayers, have blessed me more than you know and they help keep me going. This next month is going to be amazing and I can't wait to share it with you. I hope we get to celebrate together very very soon!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ready for take off...

So I just got a pretty awesome call from the nurse!

My re-check ultrasound showed them just what they wanted to see. My uterine lining has thinned out and we are ready to move forward! After 10 days of delays this news was much appreciated.

What this means is we are one major step closer to our frozen embryo transfer! It also means we will start a whole host of new medicines.

For my fellow infertiles here is my protocol:
Beginning Sunday the 31st I will reduce my daily lupron injection from 10 units to 5 units. We will also begin delestrogen injections every 3 days. The first injection with be 0.2ml and then we will move to 0.4ml from there. Those go in the upper outer quadrant of my butt cheek. :( ouch. Mike and I will also both begin antibiotics on Sunday. This is just to insure that we don't have any potential bacterial infections that could pass between us.

Tuesday, September 9th we head back to the doctor's office for a check-up on how things are going. This will be a big appointment. Nothing is "set" until we get through that appointment. They will do an ultrasound and blood work to determine that things are progressing like they should. If all is well, we could potentially be transferring our eggs TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH!!!!!! At that point I will be considering myself P.U.P.O. (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise). Also, technically at that point (if all takes) I would be about 2 weeks pregnant since start of pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last cycle.

We are so close I can taste it! We are praying that October will be a month full of excitement, and don't worry I'm already dreaming of some form of pumpkin involved announcement.

On the flip side, if this doesn't go the way we want I will do my best to keep spirits high and move on to the next month. I feel so incredibly blessed that we are where we are in this. There are 16 frozen embryos and I have all the faith in the world that at least one of them will be in my arms one day.

Our journey to baby #2 has been long and exhausting. We aren't there yet, but I feel a little like Dorthy when she steps out of the forest. If  we can just get through the poppy field we'll be at Oz! :) Lucky for us, the man behind the curtain isn't just a man. God is holding our hand this whole way. He never falters or fails. Even when I am weak, He is strong and steady. My flesh may fail, but He never will. That's all I need!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to the doctor...

Today was supposed to be my bounce back from my medicine screw up last week (see previous post). I know I didn't go into much detail so I will explain what I did a little more...

Let me start off with my excuse! ha! Things have been crazy in my life lately. I feel like my world is spinning at 90 miles per second and sometimes holding on is the best I can do.

Alright, now that we understand, I'll move on. Jake (7) started the 2nd grade last week! We love his teacher, so far, and are really excited for the school year. That being said The week leading up to and the week of school were hectic. Between clothes, supplies, forms to complete, etc. I was a mess. Somehow in all of that I lost my FET protocol. [FET Protocol: a paper that details what medicines I take each day.]

As soon as I realized it was gone, I called the doctor's office to get another copy. When I did, the nurse told me that I was to come in that next Thursday and that nothing changed between then and my appointment, so they would just give me a new copy Thursday. I thought that was wrong, but I didn't say anything (a minus to being non-confrontational).

Thursday came and I headed to the doctor. Without getting too wordy, basically, I was supposed to stop taking bc pills 5 days prior to my Thursday appointment. This would put me on about cycle day 2. I was still on them. I didn't have the paper that told me when to stop and the nurse said I was to keep going with my medicines. UGH. Long story short, it was a total waste of time and I had to reschedule for Today, Tuesday.

Fast forward to today's appointment. This appointment was supposed to be a check to make sure I was ready to move forward towards our FET. I am currently take 10 units of Lurpon (shot in my stomach) every morning and have been OFF of bc pills for 5 days, putting me on cycle day 2. If all went well today, they would reduce me to 5 units of Lupron and add an estrogen shot every 3 days (the dreaded butt shot). This would also allow us to schedule a tentative transfer date...

I can't tell you how much I need to hear that date. I am so desperately in need of a mental push and that date would be the first sign of light at the end of this tunnel. I understand it may not work and we may have to start all over again, but I can't put my focus on that. There's no drive or determination in believing it won't work.

Well, the nurse just called. She said my blood work looked great. My levels are right where they should be. Estrogen is low and ready to go. However... (there's always a however) my ultrasound showed that my uterine lining (aka the yolk) is too thick right now. My body isn't shedding it quite like they would have hoped. :(

So now, it's another few days of my 10 units of lupron and another ultrasound on Friday morning. Hopefully, by then, the lining will be nice and thin and we can move along.

I need to ask for your prayers. Over all I have just felt sort of defeated lately. I don't want to give up, but I am finding it hard to be joyful in this part. If you could, please pray for an encouraged heart. I won't ask you to pray for a thin uterine lining (or I will) but if you could just pray that we remain patient, and that my body cooperates.

It's crazy. The range of emotions you go through during infertility treatments is down right insane. Sometimes I feel like a super woman and sometimes I feel defeated. Thanks hormones. I just want to feel our baby(ies) kicking inside of me. I long for pregnancy symptoms. I'd give anything to be making it through morning sickness right now. I'd love to feel the pressure as my body prepares for labor. I want to be scheduling an ultrasound to see the sex of our baby(ies). I want to put away the needles and pick up the peanut butter. I'm ready for less than stellar maternity clothes and waddling like a penguin. My heart aches for the day when I feel that first contraction. I'm ready.

Shamefully, my heart is jealous of all the women I know that are in various stages of this. Not the hateful type of jealousy, but I won't lie and tell you I'm not. When I hear a newborn cry my eyes fill with tears. I want it. I want it so, so badly. Sometimes, those very emotions are the ones that fuel me to keep on going.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sometimes you just want to scream...

Today looks like a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day. At least that's how it started.

This morning was supposed to be my happy doctor's appointment. I was supposed to have an ultrasound and blood work, then this afternoon (if all went well) they would be calling me to tell me to start changing medications and preparing for transfer. Well none of that happened today. Ugh.

Let me back up a minute. About a week ago I lost my protocol paper (my fault). This is the paper that details what medicines I need to take on what days. It also had today's appointment on it. When I realized I lost it, I called the doctor's office and told them I lost the paper so I just wanted to check and make sure that nothing changed with my medicines prior to my 8:30 appointment on the 21st. They confirmed that I was good and that they would see me on the 21st. (FYI I am on a lupron shot and birth control)

Fast forward to today. I get to the doctor, and at check in, the front desk girl says "Ok, the balance due on your account is $900.00." I think my mouth hit the floor. After a ton of questions, we discovered that my insurance was refusing to pay anything towards having my eggs frozen. Great. Nine Hundred Dollars. I'm just supposed to whip out my check book and write them a check. I explained to the girl that when I worked with their offices financial person that she told me I would be paying for storage ($180 every quarter) as well as co-pays ($40 each visit) which was fine, but that I didn't just have $900 to give them. She told me I could call and speak to finance to set up a payment plan, which I will do, but that was blow number 1 today.

When I finally got called back to the ultrasound room the nurse looked at me and said, "OK, what day did you start your period?" - "Uhm, I haven't - I'm on the birth control you guys perscribed me..."
Guess what? I was supposed to stop birth control 4 days ago in hope that today would be cycle day 2 or 3. Would have been great if the nurse told me that when I called to see if any of my meds were supposed to change prior to my appointment. She quickly left the room and a few minutes later my doctor's nurse came in. Basically, I screwed up. Now I have 5 more days of shots, 5 days of delay, 5 days of wasted time, effort, needles, drugs, money.

I was/am so frustrated with myself I just broke down and started sobbing. I know 5 days doesn't seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I know it's going to work out ok. I know that God provides, and that despite my guilt, He will find the means to our new giant bill. I know all of this and in a few hours I will probably calm down, but right now I just want to scream.

The guilt, the stress, the pain, all of the ugly parts of this rear it's head just when I begin to think I have it all under control. A reminder that control shouldn't be what I'm after in the first place. I goofed and lost an important paper. It's ultimately my problem that is now causing me a 5 day delay. At a time in our lives when money is extremely tight a $900 bill feels like a burden I can't bare. All of this makes me feel frantic, stressed and out of control.

Father, this is when I need you. I am reminded that I can't fix everything, do everything, be everything. I have to let go and let You take over.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A case of the Mondays..

Happy Monday! If you're like me, Monday's aren't your favorite day of the week. For whatever reason, I wake up so sleepy and grumpy on Monday's. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I allow this to set the tone of the day.

We all have things that set us off. Silly, insignificant things that can sneak up on us and steal the joy right out of our day. That is what my wake-up this morning did to me. I was the middle-schooler, fighting the wake-up. Pulling the covers back on and praying that my next peek at the alarm clock would reveal that I read it wrong previously. Guess what... it wasn't wrong. It was time to get up and get the day going.

My sweet boy is spending his last week of summer break at soccer camp this week and I had an 8:15am doctor's appointment, so our morning was quick and rushed. Getting dressed, packing lunch, searching for shin guards, brushing teeth, whew! I need a nap already. After we got out of the house and on our way it didn't improve much. Traffic was obnoxious and there is just never enough time. I got him to camp and me to the doctor with 3 minutes to spare. Victory! Sweet Victory!

The appointment this morning was to get our "green light" to proceed with our FET (frozen embryo transfer) this month. If you would have asked me two weeks ago, a few days ago, heck, even Sunday, I would have told you how excited I am to get this process underway. But of course, Monday stole my joy and I am not feeling very encouraged.

That being said, I know it's just a bad mood. Nothing more, nothing less. I will get over it, and probably by tonight, I will be back to me. Maybe it's the birth control, maybe it's the upcoming 20+ days of needles, maybe it was the $330 check I had to write for frozen embryo storage...who knows... I just wasn't my normal "excited to be here self" at the doctor's office this morning. That being said, my baseline ultrasound went "perfect" - everything looks great and I am full steam ahead towards our FET. That should have put a smile on my face right? Meh.

Tomorrow morning between 6-8AM we begin daily stomach shots again. This time a drug called Lupron. It's a small dose and won't be awful, but I can't tell you how much I look forward to the day when I can throw all those dang needles AWAY. This will be every morning for the next 10 days, after that we go back to the doctor for blood work and an ultrasound. They will be making sure my uterus looks ready for baby and then we begin MORE shots. At that point, if all is well, we start adding an estrogen shot every 3 days. That one has to go in the muscle in my butt. New shot + new location = new anxiety. I have heard the butt shots are the worst part of all of this and I am not looking forward to it. A few days after that we add a daily progesterone shot (also in my arse). The best news yet?!.... If I am lucky enough for our FET to work and we are pregnant... these shots continue throughout the FIRST TRIMESTER! All 3 months... well 2.5 months really.

Did you hear that door slam? That was my last bit of joy today... leaving.

I know I know, perk up buttercup. You're getting there! Not much longer now! It's all worth it!

Trust me, I will get there, but today I want to pout. No one on earth can turn my frown upside down today. Unless, of course, you send me a big bouquet of flowers or chocolate covered strawberries, that would surely make me smile. :)

Yet, just like the Grinch, I feel a small twinge in my heart. It's starting to grow, some how some way a little bit of sunshine is sneaking in. How is that? God is how. Even when I want to roll in my own darkness, He doesn't let me. He reminds me of how great my life is. How many wonderful things He has placed before me. Jake was so sweet to me this morning, even when I was a little cold. A friend of mine took time out of her beach vacation to uplift me without even knowing she was doing it. My husband sent me a simple text that reminded me how invested he is in all of this. I have a lot to be joyful about, even when I don't want to admit it. I get to move forward in infertility treatments. My scan today was "perfect" and we are that much closer to transferring 2 of our 16, SIXTEEN, one-six, beautiful embryos.

While I might want to hide under the covers today, there is a smile on my heart. I have a lot to be joyful about.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Post Retrieval/Pre Transfer...

Since the retrieval life has almost resumed to "normal" or almost normal. I'm not sure my life is ever really normal. As previously mentioned, we had 20 eggs fertilize! That was such a blessing! From that point on we would get phone calls to let us know how the embryos were growing on their way to the temporary finish line of day 5.

FYI: an embryo is just a fertilized egg. I wish they were called something else, as I am not very fond of "embryo". It sounds so medical and cold to me. Not to mention, I feel like in some ways it diminishes the fact that those are living, developing cells. I don't know what else to call them, other than babies. I also didn't want to get too attached, as more than likely, all 20 wouldn't survive to day 5. Side note: What would we do with 20 "babies" anyway? Mike calls them tadpoles. That is probably a more accurate description, although I hate really don't like frogs.

Back to the point... The nurse was supposed to call us days 3-5 to let us know how our....errr...tadp, bab..ugh.. embryos were doing, but as those of you who follow on facebook know, that didn't happen. I knew we wouldn't hear anything on Tuesday, but by Thursday morning I was beginning to get very anxious. At that point I didn't know what was going on and decided to make the call.

One thing that I have learned through all of this is that in the medical world, it is very easy to become just another patient. While this isn't always wonderful, it does have it's benefits. For instance, in surgery, I don't want a doctor that is an emotional wreck. I want someone calm, cool and collected. Someone that follows the procedure and stays focused. I think this is also why we, as patients, get closer to our nurses rather than our doctors. They are the real diamond in the rough. They get emotional with you, get you tissues when you cry, call to check on you. I know it is their job, but it does make you feel loved when you get a good one! I have also learned, that if you feel like your doctor's office has forgotten about you, maybe they have. They have a lot going on, and I don't expect them to always keep my personal desires in the forefront. So when in doubt, call. Between my insurance company and our bank account, we are paying these people a lot of money, so there is no shame in calling to ask status or questions.  :)

So, I called and left a voicemail the night of Day 3, then again when it became late afternoon of Day 4 and I still hadn't heard. That night, my favorite nurse (Nurse Michelle) called to give me an update. She apologized that no one had gotten to me yet, and explained that they had been in meetings all late afternoon. She also told me how awesome our embryos were doing! We had 16 that were looking good and continuing on in development. The other 4 weren't out, but they were slowing down. That was a weird moment for me. I was excited about the 16, but sad for the other 4. Part of me wanted them all to grow on, but I (hopefully) don't need 20 embryos... At that moment I just asked for God's grace to cover over me and comfort the way I was feeling, and in that moment I felt peace with letting go of the 4 that were more than likely, not going to make it to freeze. Michelle also informed me that they would be planning to freeze them by Sunday morning, and that I should get a call once that is complete.

After a weekend with friends, I got the call Sunday. All 16 had successfully frozen and were ready and waiting for transfer. They raved to me about how beautiful the embryos were and told me that I should be really excited that I have so many that are so healthy. All I could think is "How great is our God!"

They also informed me that since my cycle had already started, I would need to come in Tuesday if we wanted to do this sooner rather than later. Now, you all know how I feel about waiting, so of course I made an appointment and got there as fast as I could!

Tuesday was not my day. It wasn't awful but I just felt like it was "off" so it's no surprise that I was at the doctor's office for 3 hours. Dr. J was stuck in surgery, and because of my cycle timing, if I didn't wait for her, this month would have been a loss. I honestly looked up and just said, "Ok, Ok, I get it Lord. I have to be more patient, and you are going to show me that every chance you get, right down to the wait time in my doctor's office." At least He has a sense of humor, right?

Anyway, once I did finally get to see Dr. J, we went over our plan for my FET. (Frozen Embryo Transfer) I was to start birth control pills that night (ugh) and then in about 10 days I will begin a sub-q (small needle in the belly fat) shot each morning of Lupron. This will successfully shut down my ovaries for the month while still allowing my uterus to prepare for baby(ies)! About 4-7 days later I will go off of the birth control pills and begin taking estrogen shots in my butt muscle. This one I only have to do ever 3 days, but it will stink. They will monitor me with blood work and ultrasounds and once my uterine lining reaches a certain thickness I will begin the progesterone shots - also in the butt. :( 5 days later, we will transfer!

I can't tell you how bad my heart aches for that day. I know we have a few weeks, and thank you Lord for providing me with such a patient man, but I can't wait for it to be here. Once that day comes, I know it will be just the beginning of a very anxious 3 months. I also feel like, at least in the beginning, it won't feel real. As much as I have pushed myself, and been encouraged by others, there is a part of me deep down that felt like this would never happen for us again. I began to feel that way after our miscarriage and honestly it's never fully left. There is a much larger part of me that knows this will happen again. That God has the perfect children waiting for us, for the right time, and that all I need to do is be faithful. Well that, and continue to grit my teeth and bear the shots. ;)

The scientific odds are against us that this will work the first time. As for it working at all?, we are about 50/50. Lucky for me, I'm not a gamblin' woman - I'm a daughter of God and He doesn't need scientific odds.

I will continue to pray for peace and patience. For a steadfast love to cover us and our frozen tadpoles. For strength to put one foot in front of the other on this journey. To never loose site of the weight He placed on our hearts to have more children. I will constantly thank Him for His mercy. The gifts He has given us thus far and the ones we have yet to receive. Infertility is not a curse. It is not a reaction to something wrong I've done in life. While I certainly have done plenty to deserve it, My God doesn't work that way. He already paid for my mistakes on the cross and that is an amazing gift that I can't repay. What's even cooler - He isn't concerned with my trying to settle an unachievable debt. All He wants is my heart, and that belongs to Him already. Nothing brings me more peace than that!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

retrieval update...

What a week this has been, and it's only Tuesday!
Since the last post my days have been filled with daily visits to the doctor. Blood work, ultrasounds, and more shots. Each day they would check the progression and growth of my follicles, waiting for them to reach a certain size before we could move forward.
IVF is really so complicated and there are so many if/than scenarios. When I write, I try to do it while remembering that most of you don't know much about it. I know sometimes the details get a little blurry, but bear with me.
Basically, every day they checked my follicles to see if they were mature enough to trigger ovulation and proceed with my retrieval. FINALY, on Saturday, we got the call we had been waiting for.
We were ready to trigger! The nurse instructed us to do the shot at exactly 9:15p.m. and that my retirieval would be scheduled for Monday morning at 9:15. Exactly 36 hours later.

I know previously, I touched on the chance of OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-Stimulations Syndrome) and that my estrogen was high. Given all the risk factors and my high estrogen, we have decided to hold off, freeze our embryos, and do a frozen embryo transfer (FET) rather than a 5 day fresh transfer. While it will mean we are delayed almost another month, OHSS can be extremely serious, deadly even. Obviously, the goal in all of this is to have and maintain a healthy pregnancy, and that means I have to be healthy as well. I feel really good about our decision, and after all this time, what's 3 more weeks? It also is giving me a mini-break from the shots, doctor's appointments, and stress. I can just relax and focus on getting my body ready for baby. Lots of vitamins ;)

All of that aside, we spent the weekend prepping for Monday's procedure. I was nervous. Nervous about the procedure, about going under anthesia, about how many eggs they would be able to retrieve, etc. I slept ok Sunday night, but by Monday morning I shed some tears. Lying in the hospital bed, waiting for anthesia was nerve wracking. Mike was trying to make me feel better and lighten the mood, but I could feel myself tensing up. I stopped panicking long enough to pray and that helped calm me down a lot. Before I knew it, they were bringing me into the procedure room and then everything started getting heavy. I couldn't stay awake, and before I knew it, I was back in the recovery room with Mike. It felt that quick! A few minutes later, the doctor walked in and informed us that he was able to retrieve 46 eggs!

That number blew me away. Honestly, with everything I've read and all the women I've talked too... I was expecting we would get about 15-20 and about half of those would fertilize. When I heard 46 I was floored. Once I felt stable, we were able to leave. Mike drove me home, with a quick Chick-fil-a detour, and then I spent the rest of the day resting and watching tv. I felt pretty good and even got up to head to Jake's soccer practice. That was probably not the best idea, because after being on my feet for a bit I was ready to lay down. That night, I took one of my pain perscription pills and slept like a rock.

This morning (Tuesday) I woke up and felt pretty normal. My energy was a little low, but I felt better than I thought I did. I took my time, got in the shower, and started to get dressed for the day. That is when I noticed the first big difference. Holy swollen stomach! People warned me that I might look like I'm 3 months pregnant... granted it's been a while... but I don't remember being this big at 3 months pregnant. I feel like this is more like 5 months pregnant and it's hard to the touch. So weird.
I headed off to work, but by lunch time I started feeling pretty weak. By about 3p.m. I couldn't last any longer and headed home. I wanted to make it through the day, but sometimes I forget what I am asking of my body and it catches up to me.

The best part of today, aside from getting home and relaxing, was getting my update from the nurse. She called at about 11am today to inform us that 20 of our eggs have fertalized "so far". She said there was still some time for more to fertilize, but 20 is amazing to me!

We officially have 20 embryos! God is amazing. Over the next 5 days we will continue to get updated on how our beautiful babies are growing. As excited as I am to hear how the progress, I know the statistics show that they won't all make it to day 5. While this is bitter sweet, natural selection is God's doing and I trust that the right embryos will continue to grow. On day 5 we will freeze the growing embryos and begin preparring for my transfer.

All of this has been so amazing and flown by. I can't wait to see what's next and where this takes us! Thank you so much, for all your prayers and well wishes. The support has been incredible. I plan to continue to update as we know more!

Friday, July 18, 2014

My letter to you...

Dear Sweet Babe,

We haven't met yet, my name is Jordan, but you can call me momma. I haven't heard your heart beat, I haven't seen you floating around on an ultrasound, you haven't even been created, but I know you.

I know my body is ready for you. Aching for you. My heart is so full just thinking of you.

Your daddy can't wait to see you on that screen or hold you for the first time. Your big brother can't wait to feed you, help us take care of you, and teach you how to kick a ball.

For just a moment I get a glimpse of what God's love is all about. He knows you better than anyone every will, even me.

He already knows your name, your sex, the color of your eyes. He knows who you are and who you will become. While I can't wait to find those things out, He is busy preparing our family for you.

We have been through so much, yet we know it is just the beginning. We have fought for you, continued on when we didn't think we could, mourned the loss of a sibling we never got to see... all with the hope that one day, you will be in our arms.

Your arrival will be a celebration! We will praise God for gifting us with your presence. We will cherish you and love you. We promise to raise you to know Jesus, and to love Him. We will do our best to raise you with a strong moral compass, rich character and a heart filled with compassion.

We promise to make you laugh, to have fun with you. We promise to discipline you, teach you right from wrong, and be patient through that process.

I can tell you how lucky you are to have such a wonderful father and brother. Beyond that, we aren't the only ones waiting for you. Our friends and family can't wait to hear the news that you are coming. They have followed along in our journey to get to you and they will celebrate with us when we see your face.

Sweet Babe, you are loved.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

moving right along...

Today has been really really wonderful! God answers prayers and He does it in a BIG way :)

As you read previously, my last trip to the doctor left me feeling uncertain. My estrogen was way to high and it looked like I was headed for a frozen transfer (4 weeks from now) rather then a fresh (5 days after retrieval). Also, with estrogen levels getting too high you run the risk of hyper-stimulation. Something we want to avoid at all costs.

Today was our follow up. My appointment was at 8:15 and we knew it would be a big one. They told us we would be making plans on moving forward based on these results. I. was. anxious. Ready for it to be here, ready for good news, but bracing for disappointment.

Right before the ultrasound, a million things were running through my mind. What if there are no follicles? What if there is only one? What if there are way too many and they aren't growing? What if my estrogen is over 3000? what if, what if, what if...

Psalm 62:5 "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him"

In that moment I looked over at Mike and said, "I gotta pray", and pray I did. Quietly, I asked God to take over, to remain in control, to bless the doctor, the ultrasound, the results... I gave it all up to him.


Here is how He answered me...

All of those black circles you see are follicles. Inside each follicle is an egg. This is just my right ovary, there were just as many on my left! Be still my heart, God knows what He is doing. I just kept looking over at Mike and smiling every time the doctor would pause to measure another follicle.
The medicine is working. Every black circle is a burst of life and hope for us.
After we finished up with the ultrasound, the doctor said everything looked great, but that I needed to wait and get my blood results before we could plan the next step. ahh, blood results - i.e. my estrogen level. He told me the nurse would be calling this afternoon to let me know the plan...
Well the nurse just called, and guess what?! She told me, given my estrogen, that she was expecting me to be sitting somewhere around 2500... getting dangerously close to the 3000 mark. BUT, my estrogen has "slowed beautifully" and my current levels are right around 1450!!!! It will continue to rise, but at this rate she thinks we will be fine for a 5 day fresh transfer! Praise God!
She then told me to continue my medicines as I am and that they need me back tomorrow morning for another check. If the follicles have hit the right size they will give me trigger shot information and schedule my pre-op appointment for my retrieval! It will be happening sometime this weekend into early next week! I am sorry for the 14,000 exclamation points but I just can't wipe the smile off of my face right now.
By the way, I have officially conquered my needle phobia. I'm not saying I like it, but as my husband will testify, I have gotten SO much better at being on the receiving end of a shot! ;)
I keep starring at those black dots, thinking one or more of those might just be our next baby. My heart is as full as my ovaries are right now, and let me tell you, it's getting uncomfortable to wear pants, so they are FULL!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Post blood work update...

Tonight I am asking for your prayers. I got a call from my nurse this evening, following up on my blood work today. 

IVF walks a fine line between pushing your body to produce an abundance of eggs while avoiding potential overstimulation. You are given a high dose of hormones, and obviously there are some risks involved. If you overstimulate there are potential serious consequences and you can get very ill. My doctor will work to avoid this at all cost, even if that means canceling a cycle. One of the ways they keep track is by doing blood work every couple of days. Today they checked my estrogen levels.

Estrogen is the hormone that your body begins releasing when you make follicles. Obviously, I am on a drug that is making me produce many follicles so my estrogen should be higher than a women who isn't going through IVF. However, if it's to high, that's a sign that I could be headed for overstimulation. :(

Given my treatment, my estrogen should be sitting somewhere between 100 - 150. Currently I am at 525. Way to high. Now, without boring you with the medical detail, I will just say that in order to transfer embryos back in this month my estrogen must stay under 3000. If it goes above that we will have to freeze the embryos and try to transfer them next month. Bummer. If I have to wait another month it is what it is, but I really want to transfer those babies this month! 

So what do we do? We try to slow my estrogen. Of course it isn't simple, I can't just stop the meds for a few days and I can't just significantly drop my dosage. If my estrogen crashes the follicles won't develop. 

The plan is to reduce my dosage of stim drugs from 225 to 150. I also will be starting a new drug, called Ganirelix, every morning. So as of tomorrow - that's a shot in the morning and another at night. 😣

Hopefully, this does the trick and helps keep my estrogen in a safe place. I am praying that the doctors plan is the right one, praying that we will be able to keep moving forward. Safely. Thanking God for the technology in place and the monitoring to keep me safe. And, of course, asking God to keep me calm and patient and focused.

My follow up appointment is Thursday morning. We will be doing an ultrasound to get a count of follicles as well as more blood work. Once I know more I will post a follow up. I am optimistic that this is going to turn out just fine! 

Get Social...

Hi everyone! Many of you lovely readers know, but some may not, that Please Baby Please has a facebook page now. :)

If you don't mind, click the link below and "like" the page! This is where I share updates, etc. Also, if you love the blog, share it with your friends!

I've gotten so many sweet notes from total strangers and I love that about this process. I love getting into a conversation about something so personal with a total stranger, only to see how similar you are to each other, so keep 'em coming!

God Bless!!!

Like the blog here on Facebook!

On a mission...

Yesterday was Sunday. The day of the Lord. Church day. A day my soul aches for all week long.

This was a big Sunday for me, and my soul was hungry. As you know, we began IVF treatment this past Saturday and my anxiety has been really high. A morning of worship and learning more about God was exactly what I needed and exactly what I got.

Our pastor has been doing a series on the book of Acts, with each sermon building on the previous one. In case you aren't familiar, much of Acts details Paul traveling around, spreading the Word of God through the Gospel. In Acts, Paul is on mission.

It isn't pretty or shiny. People aren't just taking his word for it. He isn't riding into towns on a red carpet, embraced by people thirsty for the Word of God. Just the opposite actually. Paul is stoned, imprisoned, left for dead yet he continues to get back up and share the Gospel.

I can honestly say, I hope I am never stoned within an inch of my life... shoot, I'm not sure if I could even survive prison, but then again, I doubt Paul thought he could either. Paul wasn't a superhero. He didn't have any special powers. He wasn't any stronger (physically) than you and me. What Paul did have, was a calling. A purpose. A mission. He knew the task ahead of him and he ran straight for it.

I know I have mentioned before that I joined an infertility support group and that, at times, it can be a real downer. The women in that group are hurting, depressed, broken. Some of them are angry. Angry that God would do this to them. Angry that women, that shouldn't, are having babies left and right. Bitter. I feel so sorry for these women. My heart aches for them. When I see them vent their frustrations with God I instantly want to hug them. I think of these women often, I pray that God continues to work in them despite their anger.

Yesterday, a light went off. I was listening to the Pastor speak about Paul and I instantly knew... infertility is my village of angry people, ready with stones. The women in that support group, and many others struggling around the world, are those villagers. They are angry, they feel like God isn't delivering. He isn't swooping in and laying a hand on them. He isn't filling their womb with a miracle child. And I am need to be Paul. I am called to run in, face their anger and spread God's love. It is also my duty to express to them that God doesn't owe you anything. He already gave you a gift that you can never repay. We are in debt to Him. You are not entitled to your dream life. You are not owed a child, or a fancy car or big, beautiful home. Being faithful to the Lord will not guarantee an easy life. If you think it will, then you don't know Jesus.

Maybe this is my place. Maybe this is just where God needs me to be a Paul. I am not as smart as he is, I do not know the gospel like the back of my hand, but I am committed to my faith. I am willing to keep fighting. I do not look to heaven and command God to do anything for me. It's not my roll. All I can do is show Him my love and my faithfulness. I will praise Him in the beautiful parts of my life and in the dark parts. I will get back up and run back in, even when I feel like giving up is the easiest path. What I do know, is that God is using me for something bigger than my desire to grow my family. I may never get pregnant again, and while I pray that I do, if I don't I will continue on in this journey. I just hope that God gives me the strength to be like Paul. Not perfect, not a superhero, just a child of God - determined to keep moving forward. Thankful for my life and the gifts He has given me. Focused on my mission.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Shots begin tomorrow!

This week has been a rough one...

All week long I felt a little out of sorts, just not normal. Almost like I was waiting for the bomb to go off, and if there's one thing I've learned about bombs... if you are looking for them, they appear. I just felt anxious and, stupidly, it took me until Wednesday night to figure out why.

I am scared. Scared to begin IVF. Fearful of the pain. Pain, both physical and emotional. Most of my anxiety right now centers around the medicines. If you've read my previous posts I have made it pretty clear that I loathe needles. If you haven't, I loathe needles.

Aside from the anxiety that brings, there are so,so many medicines. In fact, on my lunch break today I or my husband, will have to run home to pick the package up from the porch, get it inside, unpacked and put some of those medicines in the fridge.

I have a need for so many drugs and needles, that I have to get my prescriptions filled through a specialty pharmacy. I also had to decline counseling offered to me by said company in case I was addicted to anything that I could use the needles for. I literally laughed at the woman and told her "trust me, there isn't a high on this earth that could bring me to voluntarily put a needle in my body" ...well other than the high of finding out I'm pregnant. Apparently, I will do whatever it takes for that!

Anyway, tonight I will take a picture of all of so that those of you that aren't or haven't been through IVF can get an idea of what I am talking about.

Tomorrow is the day. Mike and I start our antibiotics, added to the vitamins we have both been taking, and I start my shots.

I mentioned before that I would be on a drug called Gonal F, due to my insurance requirements we had to change that to Follistim. Same drug, different maker basically. This will be the drug I start tomorrow. This is the drug, that if all goes well, will help my body to grow several follicles (eggs) which will develop and be ready for the doctor to extract. I will take the shot Saturday and Sunday night, then Monday morning I will go see the nurses for testing to see how my body is reacting. That afternoon they will call me to let me know the results and continue on with my dosage information (it could go up or down). From there I will continue on for several days, heading back to the office every other day for check ups. I am praying that by this time next week we will be preparing for my outpatient surgery to get the developed eggs.

Up to this point I have felt like time is moving so slowly. Now, all of a sudden, everything seems to fast. As anxious as I am, maybe the quick pace will help me get it over with.

I realized I haven't been very good about photographing my journey, and although I have my words, I want to be able to look back on this in every way possible. I am going to do my best to start taking pictures. Hopefully Dr. Jaffe and my nurses won't mind when I whip out the camera and ask them to take a selfie with me :) Mike thinks we should video a night of him giving me the shot so you all can see what a baby I am... I don't know about that yet. We'll start with pictures.

Today my prayer is for peace. I am asking for God's serenity to move over my life and keep me calm. I hope that I can be a big girl about all of this, and to do so I need His help and to keep my eyes on the prize. I will probably blog again after I hear from the nurses on Monday. Thank you so much for reading and for all of the support! God bless!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Off to the races...

So I completely forgot all the things I hate about being on birth control, but now that I am on day 13 of being on the pill, I clearly remember.

The two things I hate most are - 1. The way it makes me feel and 2. The way it makes me want to eat everything in site. 2 is pretty self-explanatory... I am not a snacker, but on birth control I can't stop eating and I feel like I am beginning to look like this....

I need an Oompa Loompa to come to my rescue.

As for the way it makes me feel, it's no secret that birth control suppresses your hormones, namely estrogen. Some people aren't really effected by lower estrogen... I am not one of those people. Over the last 10 days I have noticed I feel like I am in a major rut. Just sort of sad. Not mean or angry like you feel when you are about to start a new cycle, but sad. Being sad is fine when you have something to be sad about, but unjustified sadness makes you feel nutty, which leads to feeling anxious (at least for me).

So to recap, I'm fat, sad, nutty and anxious. Awesome. My husband is a lucky man.

Tonight, when I go home, I think I'm going to scrub something. Getting down with a gallon of bleach always makes me feel better... ;)

The thing I love about being on birth control is knowing that every day I take one of these little fat-inducing, anxiety-causing pills I am one step closer to becoming pregnant! Sounds a little backwards, right? Welcome to the world of infertility.

I know I have talked about the process briefly before, but basically the IVF protocol I am doing requires you to go on birth control for about 3 weeks before you move forward. This allows the doctor to sort of "take control" of my cycle, as well as getting rid of any cysts I may have developed. Basically, birth control puts your reproductive organs on pause, giving you some level of control as to when it plays again. I don't really like the idea of that in general, but since it's not like birth control is the thing that's keeping me from getting pregnant... here we are.

Yesterday I had my IVF meeting with my nurse and even though I love her, queue the anxiety. We started mapping everything out and going over all of the meds and doses and timing and whoa! It's a lot. A lot to take in both mentally and physically. IVF is no joke, and I am fairly confident that when it's all said and done my needle phobia will be conquered.

In a time line, here's how this will go down:
I will continue on birth control until Monday, July 7th. At that time I will discontinue that little pill from hell and hopefully return to some level of normal human.
On Saturday, July 12th we start the stim drugs, and by we I mean me with Mike administering them. For the first 2 days I will be taking a 225 dose of a drug called Gonal F right into the stomach fat which, luckily for me, there is a lot of thanks to the above mentioned BC pills.
Monday morning, July 14th I will go see my doctor for blood work. That afternoon, I will get a call from the nurse telling me if we need to increase/decrease/maintain my dosage and to keep going. From that point she told me I will most likely be in every other day for monitoring (aka those lovely internal ultrasounds) and blood work. They will be closely watching my hormone levels as well as the size of the follicles I am producing.
Once the follicles reach 12mm in size or by day 4 of the Gonal F shots, I will add in another drug called Menopur. That will keep my body from ovulating ahead of schedule. This is important because if I were to ovulate on my own the doctor would not be able to collect the eggs and our IVF cycle would be canceled. Luckily I don't have to do two different shots, I can mix the Gonal F and the Menopur and administer them in one single needle. Gag. Talking about it makes me queasy!
Basically, the nurse told me I will probably be doing this for about 9 days.
9 nights of me laying on the bed, trying to act like an adult, while Mike stabs me with a needle. In the past, I haven't been very graceful at this. Maybe one night I will record it and post it here so you all can get a good laugh. Honestly, I am worried that my neighbors think he's trying to kill me. He really is a patient human.
So then, if all goes well, either July 20th or 21st we will be headed to the doctor for them to extract my beautiful follicles! This is where I will be so emotional. I consider myself so blessed to be able to go through this process. Sure I would have loved to just get pregnant, but watching it happen is insanely amazing to me. I feel like I get to geek out with God over what an amazing process He created.
It is considered an out-patient surgery, and I will be under general anesthesia. I have had a few outpatient surgeries now, so I am honestly not worried about that so much. Compared to the surgeries I have had, this will be a walk in the park. Obviously, I will ask for prayers and will be praying every day, leading up to that for God to hold my hand the whole way through.
That day, after I wake up, they will tell us how many they got, then we will be on our way. Soon after, the nurse will call us to tell us how many of those eggs successfully fertilized with Mike's help.
From that day on, the nurse will call just about every day with an update of how our babies are growing. I am beginning now to mentally prepare myself for this part of the journey. I know it will be incredibly bitter sweet. For me, the second those eggs fertilize they are babies. As the days pass and we loose some of them to the process I will have to internalize that. I know that my faith tells me God knows them each from the moment they are more than just a cell, and I trust in Him completely to give us the baby(ies) He wants us to have. How cool is it to think that, potentially, the first image I will see of our next children will be the moments after conception?! That's right, we get pictures of the embryos as they grow and develop.
This process, that occurs outside of my body, will take about 5 days. Once the embryo's have hit a certain phase of development, the best 2 will be selected to implant. That's right, 2. I think Mike and I both feel pretty comfortable with 2 embryos being transferred. We are still praying about it, continuing to look for direction, but right now we feel confident in the number 2.
Now during that 5 days of watching our babies grow, you'd think I would get a break from needles, but ohhhh no. Starting after my retrieval, we begin progesterone shots, and unlike the Gonal F, these have to go in the muscle...
The nurse said, "during your retrieval, I will use a sharpie marker to draw a circle on your butt. Mike just needs to make sure he pulls the skin tight and injects the progesterone somewhere in that circle." Lovely. Great. This process has really been a dream for me. When do I get to shoot him with a needle?!
I have to do that for another 8-10 days, maybe longer. So I'm looking at 20 days (at least) of shots, as well as blood work every other day during stim shots. Yikes.
Right now, if all goes well, the transfer would happen somewhere around the 26th of July and we would know if it worked 2 weeks later. I know those 2 weeks will be like torture, but I am going to do my best to focus on anything other than my pending pregnancy. I am cautiously optimistic, and hopeful that this will be our answer. I promise to do my best to stay honest and open through-out the process, and as I mentioned before we won't be keeping secrets. We may be a little delayed as I am sure our friends and family would prefer to hear the news from us rather than reading my blog, but you won't be far behind.
I know I can share our news, because I know how much support we have. I know that regardless of the outcome, the love of those around us will pour in and fill our hearts. IVF isn't the end of our story, just the beginning and in the event that this time isn't our time, I will need this blog more than ever.

Thank you so much for reading this incredibly long post. Thanks for supporting us and being eager to see what's next. Our family is blessed to have so much love being shed on us! Thank you, thank you, thank you!