Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On my heart...

Something has been weighing heavily on my heart in the last 24 hours or so, and I knew God placed it there for a reason. When in doubt, I turn to my blog, because it's the place where I can write exactly what I feel when I don't know how to say it myself. I try to keep my heart open with every post and let the words flow, so here goes...

Today, a friend of mine should be celebrating her second child becoming a toddler. The closing of the baby chapter and the beginning of the terrible two's.
Pink and purple balloons, princess dresses, cupcakes, and two candles displayed proudly on top of a birthday cake. Today should be the celebration of Tyler's 2nd birthday, but instead it's the anniversary of the day she was born not to this world, but to Heaven's.
Sweet Tyler never got to take her first earthly breath, taken from her family before she could cry or stare into her momma's eyes. Before her big sister could teach her how to dance or doodle or play with dolls, taken before her daddy could wipe away her tears, or teach her how to ride a bike. Taken.

I can't type a blog that gives justice to what my friend and her family went through when they lost their little girl. I will never be able to fully understand the pain. I know, that despite their faith, they were angry, confused, heart broken and understandably so. I have no doubt that God has a plan for this family, even when we can't possibly understand the purpose of something that feels so cruel.

Loosing a child is the most horrible thing any person on earth could ever go through. Before you become a parent, you can never fully understand the love you have for your children. I honestly believe it is the first time in a human's life where you love someone else more than you love yourself. To have that taken from you whether a month into pregnancy, at birth, as a baby, child, teen or adult, leaves a whole in your heart that will never be forgotten.

I wish I had a way to make that family feel whole again. I know they have many good times ahead and will live out wonderful lives, but I also know the pain they felt will always remain.

It is easy for me to sit here and say, "trust in God's plan, give Him all your pain" It is easy to preach the Word. It feels good to tell people how much God loves them. I believe it, I have seen what faith will do. I have felt His peace over my life and in my darkest times and I will share that faith until I die. God isn't a band aid for pain, He is a cure. A cure that takes time and stretches your soul, a cure that leaves you unable to forget the struggle, but with strength to smile at a new day. While we are on this planet we will never know all of the reasons why.
So rather than asking, or trying to understand I pray for peace. I don't know how to erase the pain, and honestly I don't think anything can or will, but I do know that God understands. He gets it. He knows the pain of loosing a child, He knows your heart and He loves you. He wants to see you happy and embracing life and He will bless you with so many wonderful things.

Sweet Girl, what you've been through is no joke. Your strength shines off of you like a bright light, your courage to continue on is an inspiration. Your struggle has put mine into perspective. Even in your loneliest hour, You have made God proud. Everyone that meets you is better because of you. Your girls will grow up strong and beautiful because they are cut from your cloth. You have been an unintentional witness, humble and beautiful. Be proud of who you are in Christ. Wear your heart on your sleeve for the world to see. She may not be running around, coloring on your walls, driving you nuts, but everyone that knows you sees her in your life. She is right there with you and she always will be.

Monday, June 23, 2014

We have officially begun...

Last week, our little family loaded up the car and headed to Anna Maria Island, FL for 4 nights at the beach. It was wonderful. I can't say enough how much we enjoyed our time away to just do nothing. We swam, and played, and ate and slept all through the week. It was great. I can't wait to go back to AMI next summer, I think it may have to become a regular thing!

If you read my last post, you know we were pretty much just waiting for me to start my new cycle. Going into vacation, I still hadn't started and was on CD 36. My cycles never run that long, and I knew I wasn't pregnant, so I just kept anxiously waiting for it to begin. Finally, on day 38 - 2 days into beach vacation, I started. Of course! If my period had started "on time" It would have been finished before our trip, but no, it had to start right in the beginning. What luck!

Any who, this also meant I had to leave the beach and find a lab for some blood work that was required by my insurance before I could begin IVF. Luckily, there was a lab about 10 minutes off the island, and I was able to get that done and out of the way in time. I also started my birth control pills, which will allow me to take control of when my cycle begins again, so that we can get IVF going!

At this point, I am just waiting to hear from my insurance, that we are approved to move forward with IVF. It is a little nerve-wracking, even though the nurses and insurance girls at my doctor's office have assured me that it shouldn't be an issue. I will ask for your prayers, that all gets handled and approved in a timely manner, allowing us to move forward with our plans. I should know something later this week, fingers crossed!

Soon, I will have my final pre-IVF appointment with my nurse, we will go over what medications I will take and when, as well as set our timeline. I can't wait to get going through the process, and hopefully to have some amazing news to share in the next month or so, God willing!

As soon as I begin my fertility medicines, I will make sure to post details and updates of where we are in the process. It's going to be a lot on us, and on me in regards to the drugs and administering them. I will be praying for calmness, strength, and courage to get through it as well as peace and patience to help manage the stress and anxiety that comes with waiting to see if it worked. It is all so exciting, and I just can't wait to be on the other side of this!

The blog has really taken off and I feel like God is using me to be a light to it's readers. Every day I log in and see new web traffic, people from all over the world have come to Please Baby Please and that is amazing to me. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you reading along, and taking the time to share the blog with friends and family. I love watching it grow and we love seeing the support!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We have a plan!...

Alright, I still haven't started my cycle, so I can't officially say we are set, but holy-moly it's coming because I am cramping and bloated and ready. Aside from that, we were still able to go see Dr. Jaffe and finalize our IVF plan, I will just have to go back once my cycle starts for blood work.

Now, bear with me, because it was a truck load of information and, well, I don't drive a truck. :) Lucky for me, unless you are going through IVF and I misspeak, you wouldn't know. HA!

After a lot of talk and thought we decided to more forward with a "standard antagonist protocol". Given my age, my AMH levels, Mike's specimen, etc. Dr. Jaffe feels like this is the best option. What the heck does this mean?... good question, let me try to break it down a little more.

There are different ways to reach the goal of egg retrieval, and different methods are preferred based on your personal test results. Being that we are younger,  my egg reserve levels are high (meaning I have a lot of eggs left), and Mike's sperm are Olympic athletes ;) we have chosen to go the more simple route [simple is being used loosely here, as none of this is simple]. So here is a timeline of our plan:

-On cycle day 3 I will begin taking birth control, we will continue on with that until somewhere around day 12.
-On the day we are to stop taking bc, I will have an ultrasound done, and unless something goofy happens, we will begin the stim shots the next day.
-Stim shots *should* run from cycle day 13-16, 4 days. At that point I will go into the office for another ultrasound. This is to check and make sure we are moving along, also to make sure we aren't over doing it as well.
-If everything is "on-track" we will be told to continue on with that pattern of shots and ultrasounds until the eggs reach 12mm in size. (Typically around day 18)
-Once the eggs are the correct size, we will do a trigger shot, precisely 36 hours later we will be doing the egg retrieval.
-Based on the fertilization response and the egg development, we will be doing the transfer 5 days after the retrieval. As long as I don't show any signs of hyper-stimulation, we will be doing a fresh embryo transfer of one fertilized egg. Any other eggs that made it through fertilization will be frozen. I am still trying to talk Mike into letting them pop 2 eggs in :)
-Assuming that everything goes perfectly (ha!) we would know if we are pregnant or not about 2 weeks later.

So for now, I just need my darn period to start! If it starts tomorrow I am looking at an egg retrieval in early July (around the 5th) and an embryo transfer around the 10th!

Whew, that was just a rush of emotion. I can't believe we are actually starting this process. I am nervous and excited and thrilled and scared all at the same time. While I am dreading all of the needles, I can't wait to get going and watch our babies grow! So much of this is just amazingly breathtaking to me! I know it is a ton of information to try and wrap your brain around, but I can't wait to see all of this unfold. From the time they take my eggs, they will call me each day with an update from the lab of how things are progressing, which is really neat.

I can't say enough wonderful things about Dr. Jaffe and her nurses at The Center for Reproductive Medicine, here in Orlando. Positivity radiates off of all of them, and every time I am there, they make you feel like you are more than just a patient. My favorite nurse, Michelle, was going over all of this with me today, and she just kept reinforcing that we are on the right path, and that we are going to be a success story for them. They all know about my medical history, and the fact that I was fertile prior to my emergency cyst surgery. She and Dr. Jaffe both were so nice and so encouraging to us today, and as we were leaving I heard Dr. J say "I just love that couple". While I was in with Michelle, she kept telling me how much we deserve this after everything we've been through in the last 5 years. It feels good to know you aren't just a number, and that they can't wait to congratulate us when we are finally pregnant!

In all of this I will continue to just hand it all over to God. He has brought us this far and every time I have felt a door slam shut, He has opened a new one. I can barely speak about the process without tearing up and I am just in awe of God's greatness. The ability to potentially watch your baby from the moment of conception on is a miracle to me, a true testament to the power of God. I am totally aware that we aren't pregnant yet, and while it is impossible to not get my hopes up, I also rely on the sovereignty of the Lord. If this treatment works, the first time, and fills my belly I will shout out in praise, if it doesn't and we are forced with what's next, I will shout out in praise as well. This isn't the beginning or the end for us, and no matter what, for that alone I am so thankful!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

To put it simply...

Some days are easier than others. Some days infertility only crosses my mind 100 times, rather than every other thought.

Sometimes the guilt I feel is heavy. Sometimes my heart aches. There are days where I find myself angry at the world.

It is impossible for me to hear a newborn cry without crying myself. I yearn for that new baby smell. I have to stop myself from walking up to strangers and asking if I can hold their baby.

I can't tell you how badly I want to be the 7 month pregnant woman in the grocery store, rubbing her belly, while everyone around her insists on unloading her groceries.

I can't wait for the day that I see two pink lines and go screaming to my husband. I'm positive it won't be graceful, or thought-out. It will probably involve me shaking and barely remaining conscious.

I long for the day that we get to make the call to our family and friends to shout the news... I have dreamed about how I will share that most wonderful news.

When I imagine what it will be like to hear my baby's heartbeat for the first time, or see them on a sonogram, or feel them kicking in my tummy a lump rises in my throat and goosebumps cover my arms.

I can't wait for the day that I get to take our son to the doctor with me to see his baby brother or sister for the first time. Or the moment when he walks into our hospital room to see his new sibling.

These are the things that keep me holding on and holding out. These feelings are what drives me and reassures me that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. I have no doubts.

I will praise God through the good days and the bad. I give Him all my struggle and I give Him all my joy.

Monday, June 9, 2014

{im}patiently waiting...

Infertility, like many things in life, can be a complex bag of emotions. One minute you are filled with hope, the next you are crushed. Unlike many other events that can have this same effect in life, with infertility treatment, chances are, you are taking some hormone that makes that situation even more dramatic. It funny and screwed up, all at the same time!

Right now, for instance, I am sitting here praying for my period to start. Praying for the one thing that is the only true sign that you are not pregnant seems backwards, right?

Don't get me wrong... If I am pregnant (which I'm not) I would be over the flippin' moon. However, I am eager to get this next phase of our treatment underway, and we can't do that until the da'gum cycle begins.

As of right now, we have a tentative appointment scheduled with our RE (doctor) for Wednesday at 12:30pm. That is where we will sit down and map out the plan based on my test results. Tentative, because if my cycle doesn't start tomorrow, none of this can happen. I will have to cancel the appointment and reschedule when my cycle does start.

Ugh. That's the thing with infertility... it's always hurry up and wait. When all you want is for someone to give you some concrete answers.

So, hopefully, the next time I am blogging will be to tell you that we were able to keep our appointment and lay out for you our IVF plan. We are right there, and it's driving me crazy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Happiness in infertility...

Most of the time, when I sit down to write a blog post, the words come easily. Usually, when I am blogging about a doctor's appointment, or an update I just sit down and start talking to myself, typing whatever it is I say in my head. This post, however, has been something that has weighed pretty heavily on my heart for the last week or so. I keep typing paragraphs only to later delete them. At first, I couldn't put my finger on why the words weren't coming to me like I wanted them too. I realized, my problem is a reflection of the importance of the post. My desire to have it come across in the right way outweighs my desire to get the post published. This post, like my others, is never meant to come off as offensive, and I pray that I am able to communicate my thoughts in a way that makes people stop and think.

Recently, I joined an infertility support group. After following a few facebook pages, I thought it would be a good way for me to see how other women are dealing with infertility. I went in with an open mind and a big heart, hoping for an uplifting experience that would support my journey, while helping to support other women like me.
As a christian, I know how important fellowship is. While God is the root of the tree, the people you choose to walk through life with are like the soil. Nurturing, uplifting, and encouraging your faith. This is also true for non-believers. I think everyone can agree that the people you surround yourself with are directly related to your quality of life. Positive friendship and fellowship are like that rich, black potting soil. Anytime you add them to your life, your tree pushes out a new branch with bright green leaves. When a friendship fades or becomes negative in it's influence, that once rich soil turns to sand. You can choose to loose a branch or you can go out and get some new soil.
My hope, in joining the support group was that it would be a new truck load of soil. Not because I have recently lost any of my support system, but just to enhance my leaves :)
In the beginning, I really enjoyed the group. We shared stories, swapped tips, asked questions... but then the group began to get a little... well, sandy. The women in the group started talking about frustrations (which is healthy) which led to anger, which led to bitterness, which led to hate. I felt like I was watching just how dangerous choosing to be unhappy can be.

No part of this journey has been easy for me. Guess why... not because I am a wimp or because this burden is more than I can bear. It's because this is the hardest thing I have gone through yet. My struggle with infertility has been the most difficult phase of my life, thus far.
Think I'm complaining? Absolutely not. When I repeat that phrase to myself over and over, I don't dive deeper into sadness, I start to glow. How did I get so lucky? How is it that my struggle (so far) in life, has been my inability to have baby number 2? This walk seems steep because I don't have anything harder to compare it to. My mountain seems giant in my little world, but when I see what others are going through, my mountain becomes a mole hill.
One of the number one questions I get is how am I able to keep going and keep the faith in all of this. That last paragraph is how. While it still sucks that we haven't been able to announce a pregnancy, I am happy to take on this burden in comparison to others.
A few things the women in the group struggled with most made me realize, as humans, just how self-centered we can be. Absolutely stuck in the weeds of our problems. It is so easy to get stuck, it really is. I have days where I am bogged down, too, but at some point I control my happiness. The world doesn't owe me a baby. God never promised me a struggle free life. Character shines it's brightest when the world seems it's darkest.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard a woman complain about her good friend getting pregnant so easily, or how she moans about discomfort during pregnancy, or how she posts a million pictures of her new baby, how rude! Doesn't she know what a blessing it is, doesn't she understand how lucky she is? Why her and not me? The answer is no, she doesn't know. She doesn't understand how hard it is, and how can we expect her too? It doesn't make her a bad person. It doesn't mean she doesn't feel sorry for you. Pregnancy can be really hard on some people. While getting pregnant is the biggest hurdle in your life, it isn't in hers. Rather than lusting over what she has that you don't, you have to focus on the rich parts of your life. That baby she's posting pictures of, she deserves to. She loves that baby and wants to show it to everyone she meets. Can you blame her? Would you feel any differently in her position. She isn't posting those pictures with the thought of "what infertile women can I offend today", I promise.
This, in and of itself is what makes infertility harder than it has to be. We cry that we feel alone, yet we ostracize ourselves from the world. We complain that no one understands, yet we don't take the time to be vocal about our struggles or to become involved in someone else's. We become bitter and jealous towards women that get pregnant easily, yet we don't stop to think that just like we feel that they are insensitive when they complain about being up all night with a crying baby, there are people in your city that would give their everything to have infertility be the biggest burden in their lives.

Want my advice on how to stay happy through infertility, here it is:

Lower your expectations on what happiness is. It isn't a perfect life, it isn't a permanent feeling. You will have good days and bad days. What matters most is the drive to push on through the bad ones.

Have faith. I have said it before, and I'll say it again... I can't imagine going through this without God.

Volunteer - take a look at the world around you. Spend time working with people who need your time. Gain a greater appreciation for the word "struggle".

Find patience and peace with your current situation. It isn't settling, it's choosing to be happy.

Use your struggle to find a greater appreciation for the people around you. Strive to not be hypocritical, but instead understanding.

Give back to women that are dealing with infertility. Working to make them feel better will in turn make you feel better. Iron sharpens Iron.

This journey is hard, and sometimes it really sucks. But just like with all struggle, it stretches who you are and makes you stronger. It's OK to vent to your friends or your fellow infertiles, but remember to spread as much love as you do anger. It feels good to get if off your plate, but it feels even better when you choose to smile. :)