Sunday, December 23, 2012

Perspective

Okay, as I take a few steps back from my emotional breakdown on Wednesday, I have learned an important lesson.  Though writing helps me to heal and makes me feels as though I am doing something to calm myself, I should maybe wait just a few minutes before I explode publicly.  Everything I wrote was exactly what I was feeling at that point, but not how I feel all the time.  I have a tendency to write when things seem full of hope and promise, so I can share that hope with others and let them find encouragement with Reagan's life.  OR, I write when I am so consumed by my own grief that I feel like I can't go on, that I am being swallowed up.  That was where I was on Wednesday, and a few more days of peace following has helped me to move toward becoming whole again.

Christmas - yes, still not a fan.  But it's the worldly side of Christmas we are hating.  When the one gift we want, Reagan, no one can give back to us.  When I walk through the stores and see all the little pink clothes, "Baby's first Christmas" frames and ornaments, and people walking with strollers.  I long to be that person, to be out getting all these things for my daughter.  That is not possible, because she is gone.  BUT, I do still want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.  Because Christ came to Earth and was born, He followed God's ultimate plan and died.  Died for us, so that Reagan could be in Heaven with Him.  And without his birth, we would really have no hope.  So I am back to focusing on that, on Reagan in heaven.  Trying to figure out what she is doing, if she is watching us or praying for us, if she is having so much fun with Samuel running around.  I wonder if they celebrate Christmas up there?  Anything special to celebrate the birth of our Savior?

So thank you, to everyone who has prayed for us since Wednesday.  Your prayers have been felt as God has once again wrapped himself around me to bring me a sense of peace which can only be from up above.  Circumstances have not changed in these past few days, perspective has.  And I pray that I can stay on this side for longer and longer time periods before becoming overcome again and losing sight of the fact that Reagan is happy and healthy and loved.  And as a parent, when I think of only her, what more can I ask for?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Depressed and Forgotten

I can't do it anymore.  I can't be that strong person who is trusting that God is good and focusing on heaven. Last week, I was that person.  I was able to focus on that and dream about our future, overlooking the present pain.  Today, the present pain is all consuming.  I am drowning in my grief.  I can't take it anymore.  This is too much for any person to handle.  I can't wrap my head around it, can't understand the why.  WHY??  I want to scream that at the top of my lungs, but it won't help.  Nothing will.  I feel so empty.  And I hate Christmas, HATE Christmas.  I don't feel merry.  I don't feel thankful.  I don't feel blessed.  And I'm tired of hearing about the people who are.  I am crumbling as my heart continues to shatter.  And instead of it getting better, when the grief hits it is so much worse.  My baby girl is gone.  Gone forever.  I will not get to raise her, or see her as a baby, or see her have babies.  I am missing so much.  And I just want her back.  I would do anything to have her back.

My birthday next week is just another painful reminder.  I should have celebrated with a child several birthdays ago.  But God had different plans for me, and I came to terms with that.  But this was the year.  This was the year I was going to celebrate my last birthday before I became a mom.  Before I started getting a collection of homemade cards and cheap gifts with handprints on them that I absolutely loved.  And now it is another year gone by with me being barren.  Empty.  Broken. I hate my birthday.  It was not supposed to be like this, it's not.

I don't get to grieve the way I could at the beginning.  I can't just take a moment for myself to be sad during the day.  I can't randomly tear up with patients while treating them.  I can't break down and sob at lunch. Because Reagan has been forgotten.  Not by us, as both Andrew and I agreed things are only getting harder.  But by everyone else.  No one asks about her anymore.  No one wants to hear about her little face or our time together.  I don't want to be distracted.  I don't want you to tell me that it is going to be okay.  Because it will never be okay, never again.  And maybe I can punch the next person who tells me that the reason it is okay is because I still have more time, I can always have another one.  Like that is somehow going to replace my daughter?  If anyone said that of the families who lost children in last week's shooting, we would be disgusted and appalled.  But Reagan was just as much my daughter, even though she wasn't born.  I watched her kick.  I watched her smile.  I watched her wave at me.  And in those early moments, I planned for our entire future.  And I fell in love.  I am learning time will never diminish the pain.  Another child will never diminish the pain.  I am going to have to live with this the rest of my life.

So Andrew and I are researching new places we can move where we won't be constantly reminded of what we don't have, where we won't see all the babies who Reagan would have gone to school with.  I don't want to see my neighborhood pool where I had planned on taking her next year.  I don't want to jog around the parks where I had planned on using my jogging stroller.  There are too many painful memories everywhere.  Too many opportunities for me to break down, which I have done with surprising consistency for the past several days.  Right now we're thinking Singapore.  It's actually a beautiful country.  And as far away from here as we can get.  Now, just to save up a little more money to buy the plane tickets, find some jobs, and we'll be all set

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heaven

Every once in a while I have these moments of peace.  Mostly I alternate between rage (how in the world could God do this to us?) and being numb.  I continue to struggle with the why.  And trying to figure out what lesson God is teaching me through this.  And why could He not have taught me that lesson in another way? A less painful one?  One when my daughter did not have to die?  One in which I was not surrounded by pregnant women constantly?  One that did not cause this suffocating grief?  But He did not chose to do things that way, and yet again I am left trying to surrender the illusion of control.  Because let's be honest, I've never really been in control.  And this proves it.  If I was in control, she would be happy and kicking around in my belly.  I would now be in my 3rd trimester - complaining of being fat, waddling around the office at work, fighting swollen legs and hemorrhoids and heart burn.

I'm getting off topic, happens so quickly now.  Just takes a second to get sucked back into my sorrows, when I started writing this today so I could share my peace.  Okay, let's try this again.  Every once in a while I have these moments of peace.  Today it came after reading more on heaven.  My new favorite pastime (one in which I can find joy while not feeling guilty for not thinking constant of Reagan) is sitting outside in the sunshine with my tea right next to Reagan's garden.  That sort of makes me sound like I've turned into an old woman...  But today, I was reading a book on heaven.  I've struggled to get through this book with all the complicated theology and references.  So today, I skipped ahead.  And read the fun part - about relationships and society and family and everything we will experience.  And it just makes me so happy to catch glimpses of what Reagan might be doing up there.

Today, I found it reassuring that I will know my daughter when I get to heaven.  I have always had this fear that heaven would feel somewhat lonely - I would be worshiping the Lord so I would not really miss anything while there and would be content and filled with joy.  But it just seemed a little empty to me.  And the more I read and study, scripture paints a very different picture.  Relationships will continue in heaven as they did on Earth, just minus sin.  No more bitterness or petty fights, no back talking or lying, no deceit or gossip.  Reagan will never have to deal with that.  And the God given gifts we have on Earth will continue in heaven.  Not just things like "faith" or "prayer" or "hospitality" (though I'm sure those will as well) but musical talents, dancing, acting, etc.  We will return to the way we were originally created before the fall, worshiping God through all actions.  Not just singing hymns or reading the Bible (though, again, I'm sure we will do that)  And so, very soon I will get to see Reagan dancing her heart away in the streets of heaven.  And she will never trip, lose her balance, or be off beat.  She will be perfect at it, just the way God created her.  And when I get to heaven, I will know her.  We will pick up our relationship where we left off.  And we'll dance together.  And then she will dance with her Daddy (who won't even step on her feet!)  And it will be the sweetest reunion.

Not only will we be reunited with Reagan, but we will get the opportunity to know her twin we lost before we even found out gender.  I always thought we had one of each, so until I know differently, it is a boy.  A little boy I like to think of as Samuel.  Who has sandy brown hair, chubby cheeks, and runs through the field of purple flowers holding his sister's hand and laughing. (cause, remember, in heaven they get along.  no fighting!)  We will learn what he enjoys doing, what his talents are, and how God is using him for His glory.  I have 2 children waiting for me.  And their waiting is filled with joy and wonder and awe with the Lord.  No pain on their behalf, just mine.  And mine is temporary.  Until we are reunited again...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One Month...

I was given from the women in  my small group a journal specifically for women who have suffered infant loss.  It is such a wonderful gift (so thank you so much for those of you who were a part of it, and to Leah for arranging the whole thing) and I have begun to pour my heart out in it.  The following words are taken from the page titled "One Month" from when Reagan would have had her first little birthday.

I cannot believe it has already been 1 month.  One month since I held my precious Reagan in my arms for the last tie.  Time has not really made it any easier.  Sometimes I am so completely overwhelmed with how much I miss her that I can hardly breathe.  I now know true pain and heartbreak.  I will always miss my sweet baby girl and know nothing will ever take her place.

The past month has been an emotional roller coaster.  At times I have collapsed on the ground, sobbing and missing my Reagan so bad.  My heart literally aches and there is a huge weight pushing down on me, suffocating me.  At times the grief is unbearable and I would how I could ever go on.  I had that yesterday.  I thought of how I should be putting the "1 month" sticker on her chest, posing her with stuffed animals, and posting in on Facebook.  But I never will.  We have pictures with her in my belly and from the hospital, and that is all.  I will never get a new picture, unless there are cameras in heaven?

At other times, I have felt incredible peace.  A peace I know can only come from above.  I realize Reagan is in a much better place.  She is not suffering, not even a little right now.  She will never know pain or heartache, will never be lonely or unloved.  She will never have tears running down her tiny, little face.  Right now, she is perfect.  She is healthy.  And she is loved.  She will never know anything different.  We prayed for God to keep her safe, and He has.  Just not in the way I expected.

Reagan has touched so many lives here on Earth.  In nearly 28 years, I have done very little.  And in 21 weeks, she has already had a greater impact on the world.  That is such a blessing for me, to know her life counted.  Of course it counted for us, as she has brought us so much joy.  But it also brings me peace to know her life has helped others.  Makes me a proud Mommy.

One month ago, I said goodbye to my precious little one.  I looked into her eyes for the first and last time.  I rocked her and sang her a lullaby for the first and last time.  I told her I loved her for the last time.  I still remember exactly how it felt to hand her over to the funeral home - like my insides were shattering, like my heart had stopped beating, like I was dying inside.  I felt that again when we picked up her urn and baby blanket, when I looked at her memory book at a family wedding, shortly before her memorial, and at Thanksgiving.  And I'm sure I will feel that way again.  Each time I thought I might die of grief, sadness, loneliness.  And each time God has carried me through.  I am now one month closer to seeing my Reagan again and spending eternity with her.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Memorial

4 weeks ago today we welcomed into the world our beautiful baby girl.  She was already gone, but we were able to hold and love her for a brief time.  She was taken away the following day.  Last week we had her memorial service.  I wrote the following words, which I spoke during her service, during those times when I was feeling God's grace and peace around me.  It was the best way I knew to honor her.

"These past 3 weeks have been difficult and heartbreaking.  There have been times we have been crushed with grief, wondering how we could ever go on.  There have been times when God has comforted us and given us a peace that surpasses all understanding.  We have struggled with understanding why – why would we have to struggle so much with infertility?  Why would God allow us to get pregnant, only to take her away so early? Why would I have to go through hours of painful labor for a child we knew we would never take care of?  I have experienced every emotion possible.  And I still have no answers.  But I do know I am forever grateful for the hours we had with Reagan. 
                                                                             
I found out I was pregnant on July 3, 2012.  I laid eyes on her for the first time on July 18.  She looked like a blob.  A blob with a steady heartbeat.  And we fell in love.  Over the next several months, we watched as our blob developed into a beautiful little girl.   Each ultrasound brought us so much joy; I could have watched her for hours.  I still remember the first time we saw her dancing in my belly, bobbing her head side to side and kicking her legs.  At only 9 weeks she had so much energy!  Each time we saw Reagan after that, she was always dancing.  So very happy.

I felt her kick for the first time at 15 weeks.  Tiny little butterflies in my stomach.  It was such a wonderful feeling.  And she kept getting stronger.  Andrew was able to feel her a few weeks later – and his face just lit up, so proud of his little girl.  It was such a blessing for me to be able to watch him get so excited, knowing he would be such a wonderful father.  And so we started dreaming of our future together – picked out purple for her nursery color and started painting color samples, registered for a ridiculous amount of stuff, bought and received an assortment of adorable pink and ruffled tiny clothes.  We dreamed of Barbie dolls and tea parties, dress up and dance recitals, skinned knees and butterfly kisses.

And then, something happened.  And God decided to take her home.  Reagan was born on October 31, 2012.  She weighted only 7 ounces.  And she was perfect

We got to spend some time with her before we said goodbye.  As we are sitting in the hospital holding Reagan, I am overwhelmed with how much I love her already.  When you are dating someone, you almost have to earn their love.  When you are married, you chose to love each other.  But when you have a child, it just happens.  Here is our beautiful daughter who has done nothing to earn our love – she was expensive, made me sick every second of the day for 14 weeks, made me tired, made my whole body swell, and caused us countless hours of worry and stress.  And yet, we love her so completely. 

It brought me so much joy to hold her and study her face, her tiny, little face.  She had the most delicate features.  She has Andrew’s eyes and long eyelashes – closed and peaceful.  She had my lips and chin, and we decided in that instant she would have been an amazing pouter.  She was a perfect blend of each of us.

When I first heard I was going to have to go through labor to deliver her, I thought it was some sort of cruel joke.  Surely there must be an easier way.  But it gave us those precious hours with her.  And I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.  It gave me a chance to see my baby girl, to hold her.  I will forever cherish that time together.

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans for you, Declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.

God is in control.  And right now, it is his plan that we walk this very difficult road.  That we learn to rely on Him for strength and healing.  It was his plan that I struggled with infertility.  And it was his plan that I got pregnant and delivered her very early.  And even though I cannot see it now, his plan is good.  His plan is not to harm me.  His plan is to give me a hope and a future.  I don’t know why this happened to us, and I don’t think I ever will this side of heaven.  But I don’t have to, because God does. 

On the other hand, this was God’s perfect plan for Reagan.  His plan for her was also to give her a hope and a future, not to harm her.  Even when it’s not the way I would have chosen.  From the moment He knit her together, this has been his plan.  It is not my plan – my plan involved her here with me.  But my plan is selfish and revolves around me and what I want.  And I know deep in my heart that this was absolutely what was best for Reagan.  As a parent, you have to think about your child’s needs before your own.  And even though it breaks my heart, I know she is happier in heaven with Jesus than she would ever have been here on Earth. 

Isaiah 57:1-2 says "The righteous pass away; the Godly often die before their time. And no one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For the Godly who die will rest in peace"

Our daughter knows 2 things: the love of her parents and the love of Christ.  She never had to experience the pain and heartbreak of this world.  She will never have a moment where she feels left out and lonely, never have to worry about not fitting in or go through the awkward middle school years, never have tears running down her tiny little face.  What a blessing, for a parent to know their child will only know joy.  She will know the fruit of the spirit.  She is worshiping her Savior who loves her even more than we do.  And until we can join her, she is taking care of her twin brother or sister.

2 Peter 3:8 states With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. If I take this literally, and we live another 60 years, it will seem to Reagan as if we are joining her in just 41 minutes and 40 seconds.  Hardly any time at all for her.  Still a long time for us, but I just love the thought of her not having to be in heaven without her parents for a long time.  Less than 1 hour.  And then we’ll be there with her, loving her perfectly and worshiping our creator.

We get a picture of heaven from Isaiah 65.  “"See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.  Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.  For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.” 

And so I can cling to this as a promise from God, of what our future will be like once He returns.  Although I won’t get to see Reagan grow up on this Earth, I will be with her for eternity…an eternity filled with joy and wonder, with Christ.  There will be no weeping or crying.  Infants will not die.  And I will be reunited with the daughter I lost when she was just too young.  We will get to see her laugh and smile.  We’ll watch her dancing on streets of gold.  And as we walk through the pearly gates into heaven, she can run to us with her tiny feet and embrace us for the first time."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

4 weeks

4 weeks.  It has been 4 weeks since I learned that Reagan had passed away.  It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant and dreaming of our future together, of all the little things.  Just yesterday that we were picking out her nursery colors and painting the walls.  And just seconds ago that I saw that last ultrasound.  Every time I close my eyes for the past 4 weeks, I see conflicting images - her alive and kicking like crazy, and then her tiny empty chest, no heartbeat, legs so still.  And I crumble, again.  I miss her so much, so very much.  My heart literally hurts, like I have this huge weight bearing down on me and like my insides are being shattered over and over again.  And nothing will ever make it better.  My little girl is gone.

I know in my head that I will see her again.  And I know that God's promises are true and He is faithful.  But my heart feels none of that today.  I am a broken woman, an empty shell of what I once was.  I have been grieving for Reagan and for the times I would never get to experience with her - watching her learn to crawl, take her first steps, her first smile and first words, hearing her say "Mommy" or torturing Sammy.  But I just realized yesterday after reading about grieving and hope in our devotional that I will never know her as an adult.  I'll never be able to give her marriage advice or watch her become a mother.  We'll never have that type of relationship either.  And yes, I will see her in heaven and we will be together forever, but it will never be the same.  All the children that may come in the future will never replace that piece of me that is missing.  No one will ever take the pain of losing Reagan away.  The rest of the world seems to be moving on and I am just stuck, completely heartbroken.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reagan's life through pictures


Reagan's memorial video (the blurry version)

I created this video mostly for me to watch when I want to remember every second we had together.  When I am so overcome with sadness that I no longer see her face when I close my eyes.  When I want to remind myself that this is not just a nightmare - that I will never wake up and have her back in my tummy.  And when I want to remember just how beautiful she is, how much joy it brought me to hold her, how completely I love her.  Makes me cry almost every time...sometimes tears because I am sad and miss her with every breath, sometimes tears because I love her so much and am so very thankful for her life and the time we had together.  I miss my baby girl so much sometimes my heart physically hurts and I can't catch my breath.  But sometimes I feel hope and peace, knowing we are walking this road for a reason and God has a plan.  And other times I am just longing for when Jesus comes back and we can all be together again.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why, God??

Some days it seems like I am being crushed under the weight of despair.  And that God is absolutely against us.  Why else would the new patient on my first day back to work be Reagan?  When, in 3 years, there has never been a patient with that name in the clinic.  And why would he choose to have us sit directly in front of the unwed woman who was 25 weeks pregnant on our flight?  And why, this morning as I log on to Facebook for the first time so I can accept the friend request of my new cousin who just married into the family, is there a girl who announces with such joy that she "can't wait to meet my daughter this morning...headed to the hospital"??

We read from Psalms last night, and chapter 38 seems to grasp how I feel.  "I am feeble and utterly crushed.  I groan in anguish of heart.  All my longings lie open before you, Lord, my sighing is not hidden from you.  My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes."

How do you ever recover from this grief?  How can I ever move forward again?  We picked up her urn late last week and its like a new piece of me crumbled inside.  And we started talking about her memorial service last night.  How is this right?  I keep thinking it can't be true, and that I will wake up from this awful nightmare.  And then I close my eyes and I see her last ultrasound - with her empty chest.  And I feel the shock and terror of that moment all over again, the moment when I realized my baby girl was gone.  And I want to just curl up in bed and stay there forever.  There is just too much pain.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Broken


It has been one week…one week since the hardest and most devastating day of our lives.  We learned last week that we had lost our precious baby girl.  On Wednesday morning I was taken to the hospital and labor was induced.  Just over 16 hours later, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter.  Reagan Catherine Savant was born at 11:16 PM on October 31, 2012.  She was the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen.  She was just perfect, only too small to make it in this world.  For some reason, God decided to take her home early.  And we are left behind, heartbroken.

This week has been by far the most challenging of my life.  I have struggled with understanding why – why would we have to struggle so much with infertility? Why would God allow us to get pregnant, only to take her away so early?  Why would I have to go through hours and hours of painful labor for a child we knew we could never take care of?  And why do we have to be surrounded by so many pregnant women with a constant reminder of what we have lost?  I have experienced every emotion possible.  And I still have no answers.  But I do know I am forever grateful for the hours we had with Reagan.

Reagan would have been a petite little thing.  She was born weighing only 7 ounces.  But her delicate little features were just perfect (and the doctor said so too, so I’m not just being a mom)  We were able to hold her and spend some time with her before we had to say goodbye.  During that time, I tried to memorize her little face.  It still makes me smile when I close my eyes and picture her.  She had tiny blonde eyebrows, her daddy’s long black eyelashes, and her mommy’s lips and chin.  I never understood how people could say of an infant “oh they look just like so-and-so” but now I do.  She was a perfect blend of us.  Her feet were only about an inch long, but already had all the texture and skin folds you would expect an adult to have.  Meme said she could just imagine those tiny feet running in heaven, which makes me very happy to think about. 

Our time together was so brief, but we tried to think of all the things we would have wanted to do with her.  So we sat and rocked her, read her a story (Brown Bear), sang her a lullaby and Jesus Loves Me, and read to her from the Bible.  She brought us so much joy, even knowing she wasn't really there with us.




But coming home without her has been heartbreaking.  The house seems so lonely, so empty, without her.  We have been loved by our neighbors and friends, but nothing really takes the pain away.  I keep trying to think of some way to bring her back, and it can’t be done.  How do I move forward from here?  And do I even want to??  I just don’t know what to do anymore.

But I can take peace in knowing she is in heaven waiting for us to come join her.  And she never had to live a day knowing the pain and suffering of this earth.  She knows Jesus, and He can give her the hugs we can’t until we are reunited.  So we had engraved on her urn Isaiah 65:17-23, a beautiful reminder of what I have to look forward to and what Reagan is already enjoying.  

"See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.  Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.  For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.  They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.”

We have been working to try to preserve our memories of her and honor her short life.  We have created a memory book which, so far, we have read through every night.  We also have decided to try our had at flowers and have a container garden on the back deck filled with purple flowers…the color we started painting in her room.  And so I have spent the last afternoon before I return to work sitting outside, drinking tea, looking at Reagan’s garden, and reading a book about Heaven.  And in this particular moment, I feel God’s peace and comfort wrapped around me.  So for everyone who has been praying for us, thank you.  Your prayers are felt at the times when we are overcome with grief and anguish. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 20: 1/2 way!

So this week has brought with it a new sense of hugeness.  Yes, I knew in advance I was going to get bigger.  The doctor even warned me I would be seeing all new numbers on the scale. (to which I though, duh!  I know that)  I wasn't expecting it all to come in one week!  My body has decided to start absorbing everything as it puffs up.  With my weight gain schedule, I've got another 2 months now before I actually have to gain another pound.  Of course that's not an option, so looks like I'll be at the higher end of that range they like to give you.  Nothing's easy with this, huh?

BUT...baby girl is healthy!  Her heart rate is still good, growth is right on track, and she is  just kicking away.  She is now the size of a banana (though she feels much more like the size of the cantaloupe I have sitting downstairs on the counter!)  Some days it still doesn't feel real - I'm wondering when the reality will set in? When will it finally settle that I am carrying another human being inside of me?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 18: IT'S A GIRL!!!

After 4 weeks of keeping the secret, we can finally announce we are having a BABY GIRL!  We are so excited to dress up and love on our little princess.  Andrew is going to be the most amazing father to this tiny little girl - his face just lit up when we heard the news.  (of course, we would have loved a boy as well...)  We were able to share the news with our immediate families this weekend which was so much fun.  We stole the cake idea from whoever first made that up and filled a yellow cake with pink icing. making both moms cut the single piece and pull it out for everyone to see.  I think someone got a video of the whole thing that we will be posting at some point for all to enjoy.

Andrew was able to finally feel the tiny baby kicks on Saturday.  I have never seen someone so excited.  He has been struggling as I have felt her for the past several weeks and he had felt nothing - was feeling very left out.  Baby girl was able to experience her first Clemson game this weekend as well.  She got a great tour of campus and was able to see where her parents (us!) met and fell in love.  It was a wonderful weekend, but absolutely exhausting as being up and about, walking up those hills, and cheering on the Tigers had me tired enough to sleep for a full 11 hours last night!

And I think our fruit for this week is no longer a fruit, but a sweet potato.  Pictures of our potato to come as we have another ultrasound with the doc this week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 16

Our baby is the size of an avocado! At the last ultrasound, we are measuring 5 inches from crown to rump, plus legs, and 0.36 pounds.  Such a tiny little thing to be causing so much drama already.  We had a great ultrasound experience last night where we got to see our little one moving all around - kicking, thumb sucking, smiling.  Really helps to make everything real, to remind me why I have felt so miserable for the past several months.  But I am finally getting to a point of being excited about being pregnant.  Of course I was excited about having a baby and getting to this point, but the pregnancy experience has not been enjoyable in the least.  I haven't felt the "glow" or joy.  But it's starting to come.  And it really is amazing to feel these kicks throughout the day.  Helps to ease my worrisome mind and put me at ease.

In the past 2 weeks, drama has slowed down significantly.  We have had no more scares, everything checks out with the doctor, and we are back on track with doctors visits falling at regular intervals instead of weekly or more.  Which leaves me with not much in the way of updates.  I love that God is giving us this time when we can be at peace with the pregnancy and hopefully start enjoying this blessing before the craziness of life starts with a newborn.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 14: Relief

I am finally having some relief!  Almost no nausea, and I think I'm already forgetting how absolutely terrible it was.  Which is wonderful for me since I am so anti-vomit/sickness.  REALLY need to forget those first months very quickly.  Ugh...  But I am able to go throughout my day without cringing at the thought of food, without hiding from certain smells, and without keeping crackers nearby.  AND I think I felt a baby flutter.  At least that's what I'm going with - I felt the baby move.  Not a kick but more like a little bubble or tickle.  Oh how incredible. :)

Our baby is now the size of a lemon!  Now, if you ask me, a lemon is a little smaller than a peach, but who am I to judge the baby size fruit analogy??  She is growing strong and continues to measure well above her true gestational age.  Her tiny little belly is already measuring 15 weeks!  Oh my, I'm going to have big babies.  We'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 13: tired

So, let me start by admitting that I neither enjoy writing nor have a talent for it.  I started this blog as a way for me to express my frustrations and anguish over my infertility issues, to be reminded of what God is doing through the process and see his faithfulness, and to share my joy with others who may be struggling in a similar (or completely different) situation.  I pray that these posts will at times be encouraging and at other times allow for you to pray for us as we struggle.  That being said, when I have weeks like I've had for the past 2 weeks...I don't quite know what to write because I don't know what I'm even feeling.  So thanks so much for all of you who have contacted me concerned about baby Savant...we are both doing just fine.  I just have every emotion possible running through by heart and mind over these past 2 weeks and don't even know where to begin.

So let's start with the size update.  Our baby is now the size of a peach!  She is getting to be so big.  At around 3 inches long, I can finally start saying some of this belly might actually be baby.  I've had 3 doctor appointments since my scare 2 weeks ago and everything is right on track.  Still no answers for that terrifying night, and still having continued pain and intermittent bleeding, but nothing at all like before.  My OB says maybe this is just my "normal."  Not sure why my normal needs to be so stressful, but there it is.  On the positive side, I get to see our little one on a semi regular basis.  And she is growing!  On Friday, I was able to see her tiny, perfect little spine.  And now she is actually looking like a baby and less like an alien or blob. Look at that perfect little nose!

Right now I am so grateful she is doing well and growing right on track.  I still feel a little overcome by all the pregnancy symptoms (really makes me wonder just how stupid those women have to be who are on the "I didn't know I was Pregnant series...) with continued nausea, fatigue, heartburn, etc.  I feel like I lose a little of the joy just with feeling so crappy all the time.  I had a few days where I thought things were turning around and I lived life like a regular person before it all hit me again.  So I wait for the "honeymoon" period to start now that I am safely in the 2nd trimester.  Any day now...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 11: ER + bedrest

So this little one is just trying to hard to give me lots of drama!  I was thinking pregnancy would be this nice time (cause I made a deal with God years ago that I would have no morning sickness...) where I would be in awe and wonder of what was going on inside me.  I would wear cute maternity clothes and be one of those women who only gained weight right in my belly.  It really was a nice vision, very peaceful time.  Reality is a little bit different.

I'm sure God is trying to teach me something earth shattering through this process, or else it would be more similar to my pregnancy dream.  Sunday night was filled with terror and I started uncontrollable bleeding.  I'll leave out all the details, but let's just say it was bad.  My sweet husband who was in pain all day with a neck injury rushed me off to the ER where we waited...and waited...(lesson #1: patience).  After a few hours, an ultrasound finally confirmed there was still a baby with a heartbeat. (lesson #2: God is in control)  What a relief!  The monitor was turned away from me, but Andrew assures me she was dancing away, perfectly content in there.  The doctors could find no reason for the bleeding or pain I was experiencing.  I've self diagnosed with partial placenta abruption, just very early in pregnancy compared with most.

And so we left the ER with prescriptions for pain meds (which I refuse to take) and instructions for bed rest and no work for the next 3 days.  Three days of just lying around.  I know I should be enjoying the peace and quiet, cause I won't have too many more of these days, but I just feel so anxious. I'm lying here thinking all these terrible things, trying to figure out what I could have done wrong in these early weeks to make things so hard for the baby.  And doubting whether this really was God's plan for us - did I trust the doctors too much to provide me a baby that I'm going against God's plan and each step of this is going to be a struggle??  Too much time on my hands to sit and worry.  But our follow up with the OB went well, and I've got another appointment Friday just to make sure things are still looking good and the heartbeat stays strong.  And until then I am back to living on the couch, staying hydrated, trying not to worry so much, and praying fervently for this little one I love so much already.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 weeks: Trust

I have officially completed all medications.  It really is a terrifying thought.  No more butt shots, no more sticky belly patches, no more visits to REACH with their angry red letters announcing my infertility.  And as wonderful as it is to be at this point, I am beginning to realize just how much I was trusting in the extra drugs to keep me pregnant and not God.  Cramping and bleeding don't really add to that feeling of security.  But have no fear...the nausea is still there!  I am going to miss the ultrasounds every 10-12 days and the check up calls from my nurse in between.  But I know God has a plan for me, and right now it involves increasing my faith and putting my trust in Him and Him alone to keep my little one healthy.  Tough lessons all around these days.  But I am just beginning to see how small my faith has been in the past.

So as I have graduated from the fertility clinic and have not yet seen my ob/gyn, no new pictures.  Apparently you only get a few ultrasounds when you are at the regular doctor...bummer.  Next time I see our little dancer (really looked like she was trying to dance last week) she will be 18 weeks.  And we'll be able to find out if she is really a she.  Until then, I can definitely use continued prayers for my sanity, strength, and faith.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

9 weeks

My baby is now the size of a grape!  Other than our little one changing fruits on a weekly basis, there is not much to update on.  We toured one of the hospitals here in Charlotte and are trying to choose our OB for this process.  I officially graduated from REACH today with my very own "Made in Charlotte" onesie.  I'm not so sure we will be advertising that, seems a little weird and slightly inappropriate, but it may become a great one to throw on when everything else is covered in spit up.

We had our final ultrasound at REACH today and got to see our baby for a little longer.  And she looks like a baby now!  We could see arms and legs, and distinct head and body.  Still blob-like, but very much a baby.  I think she is going to be a dancer cause she was sure dancing today.  So cool to see her bobbing her head side to side and wiggling her arms and legs.  Maybe more so than the heart beat?  I don't know, too close to call.  Such an amazing little miracle God has given us!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

8 weeks

Our baby is now the size of a raspberry, kidney bean, or jelly bean!  Not real sure why all of these websites and support sites compare my child to a random food item, but we're still pretty excited to get that email each week.  It's like a little surprise for me each weekend.  Next email will be on Saturday when I get to find out what food our baby will most resemble at 9 weeks!

Overall things have been relatively uneventful.  Bleeding has slowed and stopped at times; I have all the pregnancy symptoms I have read about with fatigue and nausea causing the most complications.  I find it amazing that I can crave a food, go and purchase said food, and then change my mind when I smell it.  Makes finding things to eat very challenging.  I'm trying to keep to the 6 small meals per day to keep the nausea down, and that helps somewhat.  Other than that, nothing new to report.  My belly seems to be swelling a little quicker than I thought as I am well past the pant buttoning stage and at times in missing the pant zipping stage.  I really appreciate that fashion right now continues to include long shirts and undershirts.  Makes it much more manageable.

We had a second ultrasound last week and I was amazed at how much our little peanut had grown in just 10 days.  You would be amazed at the change too, except I tucked the pictures away in my car while away for the weekend and apparently the heat sucked the ink right off the page and now it's just a black blob.  She (still dont' know gender, so I write with whichever I am feeling like at the time...) continued to look strong and healthy with a heart rate up over 150.  And I'll have a new set of pictures for next week where I think we'll actually be able to tell we are looking at a baby...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bittersweet

Yesterday was an emotional day. Everything started normally, but at some point around lunch time I started bleeding. So many emotions go through your mind when you see that. Terror, grief, hope, trust, fear, heartbreak. I definitely cycled through all of those as I waited to get in to see the doctor. We headed up to REACH and it was confirmed that we lost one of the babies. Not necessarily at the exact moment I was bleeding, but at some point in the last week. It is going to be so hard to stop saying "the babies" when we talk to each other, talk about our future, and pray for them. There is no longer a "them." No more double strollers, double cribs, boy/girl rooms, cute matching clothes. Breaks my heart a little bit.

BUT...we still have one baby. We got to see our beautiful (well, blob-shaped but one day beautiful) little baby on the ultrasound. We got to watch him on the screen, watch his little heartbeat flicker. And we got to hear the wonderful sound of his little tiny heartbeat! 124 beat per minute...just perfect. The doctor said everything looked great - that he saw no reason why anything would happen to the remaining baby.


"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Morning Sickness

Ok, so I have learned a very important lesson in the past week.  Never pray that God would remind you daily that you are, in fact, pregnant.  Don't doubt He is in control and beg for a sign that you have not lost the babies.  Because...wham!  Morning sickness.  I am trying to take advantage of these few minutes when I do not want to throw up or cry or lie in the fetal position.  Ugh...  Not that I am complaining, because it really is such a joy to be pregnant.  I am a little more awestruck each week as I get my updated emails with the size of the baby (pea-sized this week) and what organs are developing (the heart is already beating at 150 bpm!!).  But it is very challenging to work when I feel a little like death.  Just a little, and then I remind myself it is all because of these babies we have prayed so hard for, and then I feel a little better.

I have had two big fears in life.  Not really being alone, not really dying.  Nope, my fears are 1.) vomit and 2.) needles.  Wow, how God uses our circumstances to just push us right outside of our comfort zone.  Thankfully I am just feeling sick and not getting sick (He only gives us what we can handle!) but I am continuing to learn so much.

We have our 1st ultrasound in 2 days - our first opportunity to see the babies and their tiny little heartbeats.  I am so excited!  Right now it's just this vague blood test, this hCG level, and that's it.  My body is telling me now that they are there, but I haven't actually seen them.  And that is just going to make my day.  I'll have new pictures for the fridge!  And then we can finally tell our families and I can publish these last few blogs!  YAY!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Relief

We had our 3rd and final blood test today and still positive!  I am so excited.  But it has been a rough couple of days.  I had some sharper pains that started on Friday, following by cramping and a complete resolution of all pregnancy symptoms I was feeling throughout the week.  Gone.  Just like that.  And so I assumed the worst, and thought that must mean our babies are gone too.  I had myself convinced that the next blood test would be negative, and it was all I could think about.  Gone was the peace, the joy, the trust in the Lord.  Everything just flew out the window as I collapsed on the bathroom floor, mourning for the loss of my children.  This shows me several things.  First, I really do love these little ones.  It happens so quick.  I always heard that, but never was able to experience it until this weekend.  Second, when things get tough, I completely resort back to all old habits.  God has taken us on this journey, has guided us through, and has helped me to overcome every medical obstacle possible to allow me to be in this position right now.  And how quickly I can doubt Him and lose all trust and faith.  I am so weak.

So, this is going to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster (still) as I overreact to all the little things.  I imagine seeing the ultrasound next week, knowing they are really in there instead of just some obscure blood test, will help.  But I also have until next Friday before that happens, with no blood test confirmations in between.  Eek.  Praying that God would continue to make me a stronger woman and help me to rely on him for my peace as we continue to wait.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Positive :)

WE ARE PREGNANT!! We finally had some good news from the doctor with a high HcG level today! YAY!! So so very excited.

I wanted to try to write as soon as possible after our news so I can remember just how this feels...some definite disbelief initially, followed by shock, joy, giddiness, and some other stuff I don't know how to even describe. I am in awe of how it feels to have 2 little ones, not just in me, but attached to me. (though my body feels the same as it did yesterday...) The moment we have prayed for for 2 years is finally here! It is still very early in this, which is why we are waiting until a second blood test before I actually post this, but I am just so excited to be at this point. I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to put into words what all has gone through my mind, and I think I'm having so much difficulty because it still seems so surreal. And I hesitate to be all excited and plan for the future after only 1 blood test for fear it will all be ripped away from me. So I'm trying not to think about that, knowing God is faithful even when I am weak, and just experience the joy of right now. Without the fear of the future.

So, our HcG needed to be 50. Not a real big number, just 50. We were at 849! Which most likely means we are having twins (which I would love). So we went out to dinner to celebrate and very briefly starting discussing the nursery plans. Andrew wants to pain the walls yellow if we have boy/girl and I want to paint them lilac if we have only girls. Pinterest is going to get very interesting in the coming months as I plan out our dream nursery :)

We go back for a second blood test on Thursday and will know the results by late that afternoon. Until then, we keep praying!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Waiting

The week is finally here...by the end of this week we will likely have some news!!  I am always just a little behind with the schedule of things (the one thing my doctor is really lacking is telling me what is coming up next) but I heard a rumor I would know by Friday.  So that is what I am counting on.  Less than one week :)  So I am excited now, crying this morning, and all emotions imaginable in between.  Whew, what a journey this is.  But God knows what He is doing, and what I am supposed to learn, and won't give me more than I can handle.  I say this as I am staring at the Hope bracelet I was given at church this morning, knowing it will stay on my wrist as a constant reminder of putting my hope in the Lord no matter the outcome.

I think our babies are probably some of the most prayed for babies in all of history.  And I love it.  As someone who is only recently beginning to understand prayer and God's power, I think that is such a wonderful thing.  And we are so appreciative of people checking in on us.  It is amazing how God knows exactly when I need some encouragement and right at that moment we get a phone call, text, or email from someone letting us know they are continuing to pray.  So please do continue to pray and know how much that means to us.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cramps...

So, I was feeling so encouraged, optimistic, and hopeful for the first ~5 days of this very long waiting process.  And then the cramps hit.  I know what cramps mean...I've felt the heartbreak and frustration month after month each time I felt these symptoms.  The doctors say it doesn't mean anything this time - could just be a symptom of all the meds - but I am still very discouraged now.  I realize we don't actually know anything yet and God is in control.  Maybe the waiting is just getting to me.  My nurse called yesterday just to check on me and see how I was holding up.  She was right.  Apparently people fall apart around day 6.  I'm fitting right in! I keep waiting for some sign of pregnancy, but nothing.  I feel no different than last week, except now I have cramps.  And my butt is all bruised from the shots.  No nausea, no breast tenderness, no weird cravings.  Okay, so I realize it is a little unrealistic to expect to feel anything at this point, but still.  Some sign would be fantastic and put my mind at ease.  Though I suppose it wouldn't work on increasing my faith...Oh, is this always going to be so difficult??

Sunday, June 24, 2012

:)


Everything went just perfectly on Friday.  We got to REACH, checked in, and got all settled while we waited for all the background stuff to finish.  In the procedure room, they showed us our two tiny little embryo and gave us a printout, which I just couldn't take my eyes off of.  This is just so amazing.  The embryologist said everything looked good - both survived the thaw and had good "cell masses" or something along those lines.  We got to watch as they put the embryo into the tube and then also as they transferred them into me.  Two little tiny specs on that big screen.  And then that was it.  All this build up, all this waiting, all this prayer, and it was over in a matter of seconds once the prep work was done.

And so, for the last 2 days, I have been lying on my back.  Alternating between the bed and the couch.  My excitement yesterday is  when I switched bathrooms to pee in.  Once even went downstairs!  I am not a great relaxer or someone who likes to just lie around, so this is a little frustrating for me...until I think about the why and then it's totally worth it.  Plus, getting all my meals made and brought up to me on a little tray is pretty nice.  Thanking God for a wonderful husband (and future wonderful father) who is taking such good care of me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tomorrow

So...tomorrow is the big day!  Can't believe we are here.  I feel like I should have some great insight, but really I am just feeling very drained.  I think too many emotions and too much riding on tomorrow I'm just starting to shut down.  Don't get me wrong, I am super excited and grateful for where we are.  There's just a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with this.  Tonight could be the last night before I get pregnant...wow.

Lord, please be with us tomorrow as we undergo our transfer.  Be with the doctors as the embryos are chosen and thawed.  Keep our little children safe through the process.  We know you are in charge and orchestrating this - from beginning to end.  Help me to trust in you, not in the doctors or the medical process, but in YOU specifically.  That you know what is best for me always and are working for the good of those who love you.  That there is a purpose behind all the suffering and waiting.  And that, no matter what, you are always with us.  But we still ask that you allow for these embryos to implant, be carried safely, and delivered as healthy babies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prayer

We are truly blessed to have so many people who are praying for us.  And I have gone my whole life asking people to pray for me, but have never experienced the outpouring of a group of people going out of their way to gather and pray over me.  How sovereign God is to lead us to a church where so many are struggling with the same issues and others are such prayer warriors.  I'd like to say it has alleviated all my worries to know people are praying for us now and for Friday and that God is in control.  And maybe one day I will have the faith to say that...but for now, it definitely helps.

On a lighter note, we discovered this evening after intramuscular shot #3 why they have been so painful.  Apparently, after drawing the progesterone into the syringe, you switch the thick needle for a thinner and sharper one.  Oops.  That explains why I want to scream each time Andrew shot me and why I am hobbling around work.  Tomorrow will be better!

Only one final test stands between us and an absolute confirmation for Friday.  Blood test early tomorrow AM and we will be good to go.  Just praying that the needle size wouldn't matter and that the newest injections are doing all they need to.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One more week

Time could not be going any slower!!  I feel like each day is slowly dragging on, and on, and on.  And yet, here we are, one week away!  I'm trying to fit in as much as I can in these days before I will be on bed rest and then hopefully having to take things a little easier.  At the same time, I'm trying so hard not to get stressed.  Seems a little off...working to not stress??  Let's just say I'm not very good at it.  And so I decided to finally schedule my massage for next week only to learn the number I have for my groupon is out of service.  Bummer.  So to start my relaxation process, I have spent the afternoon lounging by the pool reading a book.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Tomorrow we head back to the doc for one last ultrasound to make sure we are on track for next Friday.  They've not given me any indication that there is a possibility it wouldn't work out, but I'm assuming there has to be or else I wouldn't need to go in.  So one last hurdle and things will officially be a go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

10 days!

We are getting so close!  Only 10 more days!  It's still all feeling a little surreal - hard to believe this moment we've been building toward for 2 years is finally here!  Operation eat healthy officially began yesterday as I am working to make sure I get the correct amount of fruits and veggies throughout the day to prepare myself for what is to come.  By tonight I'll have 4 sticky estrogen patches all over my belly to start building up the hormone levels.  And by Saturday we'll be right back to injections, which I have officially mastered!  Yay for answered prayers and hopeful days :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Let the countdown begin...

2 weeks!  2 more weeks!  I'm not even sure what emotions are running through my system anymore - faith, hope, excitement, terror, fear, anxiety - just to name a few.  We are so excited that with all the medical complications God has brought us here and carried us through this process so far.  And we are so hopeful for what tomorrow holds (or what 2 weeks from now holds) that you can't really even begin to express it.  Yet there is always a fear of failure, of loss, and of being brokenhearted again.  I'm trying so hard to focus on only the first half of those emotions as the docs have told me I am not allowed to be stressed.  Is that really even possible??

1 Corinthians 12:9 (Thanks Sarah, for the encouragement): But He said to my, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.   As life is going along so easily, verses like this one are hard to understand.  Or easy to look at and say "why sure, that sounds nice." Yet how hard it is to have a "thorn in the flesh" that I can't control the way I want to.  How hard it is to truly rely on God and His grace. Yet it is in our weakness that Christ's power is revealed.  And so we continue to pray, not only for our children and potential pregnancy, but that through all of this God would continue to reveal himself.  And that if we do get the answer to our prayers and have a child (or 2....or 14) that we would not lose focus and forget where we have come from.

Monday, June 4, 2012

AHHH!!!!

AHHH!!!!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it!!  I got a call from the nurse this morning after my very early AM appointment today that everything looked good for me to start the process!  So I start estrogen patches today and we go from there!  AND...they have set a date for the transfer.  June 22!!  So close!  That's not next week but the week after that!  Yipee!!  I had to do a little dance when I got the message while I was standing in my office today - good thing no patients were there at that particular moment but is making things very distracting for the rest of the day.  God is so faithful!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

YAY!!!

Let's just say I have never in my life been so excited to start my cycle...or "have my friend come to visit"...or however is the most appropriate way to announce that to the world.  Usually that means it's another month of failure.  This time it means we get to officially start the transfer process!!  I was hoping the horrific cramps were a sign that it was almost time and yep, sure enough.  So I am sitting here waiting to hear back from the doc whether they want me in the office this morning or tomorrow, and then I will know so much more.  What a wonderful answer to prayers!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Menopause week 8: completion!

Well, in the past 2 weeks we have continued to wait.  Yesterday was technically the final day of my menopause, though hot flashes have continued into this morning so it is definitely not the quick switch I was hoping for.  Andrew and I were away in Costa Rica for our 5 year anniversary during my normal weekly update, but there is really no big update to give.  I think mood swings might be settling down, road rage is still in full swing, hot flashes still come and go, and we are still waiting.  As soon as my cycle returns after being dormant and shut down all these weeks, we head back to the doc for labs and ultrasound.  Assuming everything looks good, new hormones start and the transfer occurs ~20 days later.  So possibly in another month??  It's all very exciting.  All this waiting, and we can finally see the end of the tunnel.  Craziness.  Today is another hopefully day, which I can only thank God for.  He has continued to be faithful despite my lack of faith, my frustrations, and my desire to just cut him out of the process so we can move forward a little quicker - cause somehow I think that would actually happen...

I did talk with the doctor yesterday and confirmed we'll be transferring 2 embryo, so I guess now we are praying for twins.  :)  Until then, the waiting continues...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Menopause week 6

Almost done!  I am so excited to only have 2 more weeks of this horrendousness!  Hot flashes have picked back up these few days and I am feeling as crazy as ever, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I will start the process of coming out of menopause 2 weeks from today - with one week of that being our vacation.  I am finally feeling like I can make it!  Soon we will start the waiting process again, and then the transfer will come about another month after that.  Yay!  So now I am trying to start cleaning out the house, going through the closets, and trying to de-clutter the space, and potentially make room for all our 14 children.  Finally having a hopeful day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Traditionally, Mother's Day is one of the hard ones.  When you wake up in the morning and just want to crawl back under the covers and not even get up.  Today was no different.  I visited with my mom this weekend, which was great - good to see family again.  And I have 2 fantastic, supportive mothers whom I love dearly and am so thankful for.  Unfortunately, that didn't make the day any easier.

We hid out this morning from church - a constant reminder of all women who have healthy babies and are rewarded with flowers for their fertility.  Nope, not going through that again.  So my very sweet husband prepared a short message for us so I could avoid the opportunity of publicly turning into a crazy person.  And he let me be grumpy the first half of our way home, and then bought me a 32 oz slushy.  Adding even more bulge to my ever increasing middle.  Sigh.  So today I am having a little pity party for myself and somewhat mourning all the moments that could have been with our children if they had come in our time.  And tomorrow I am kicking myself out of the slump and starting over positive if the hormones will let me.  Still amazed at just how much a few hormones can affect you...

I had a few people somewhat wish me happy Mother's Day.  And looking at this year compared with last year, we have some hope.  But Andrew told me today he decided not to get me any sort of card so I wouldn't get as attached to the embryo, if that's possible.  And that is our constant reminder.  We have the possibility of healthy babies, but no guarantees.  Not that there is a guarantee once you are actually pregnant, but we know so many who have told us of multiple IVF cycles without actually getting pregnant or carrying a child to term.  And so while I am hoping and praying this is all successful in the end, I can't yet consider myself to be a "mother" in any sense of the word.  But there is hope for next year...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rage and despair

So it is now official...the hormones have won.  I feel like every moment of these past few days has been spent trying to just keep my head above water.  And I have these wonderful moments, where everything is good and I am at peace, full of hope, and content with my wait.  And then out of no where...WHAM!  I'm not even sure of the triggers anymore, I just morph into this other person.  And I am trying so hard not to let the crazy thoughts take over and not blow up at every person who crosses my path, but I feel myself slowly crumbling. I'm not even sure at this point what I am upset about - is it the waiting? is it the endless stream of women who are getting pregnant without a care in the world? is it all the happy baby pictures? or is it just that I feel God is not hearing me and that I am all alone in this?  I begged Andrew last night to just let me stop this...just let my body rest so I can feel like a normal person who is in control of her own emotions again.  It always seems to be one step forward a two (or 8) steps back, never actually moving forward.  Feeling very discouraged at this particular point in time (but don't worry, an hour ago I was perfectly happy and in another hour...well, who knows??)  Second Lupron shot arrives tomorrow AM, so I get double hormones by the end of the week.  Just praying I can hold it together at this point.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Menopause week 3: waiting

Things are looking up this week.  I finally took the advice of a friend and am now on another hormone (just what my body needs) to try to relieve the hot flashes.  I was up to one every 20 minutes, and now more like one an hour or less so that is fantastic!  Yay for more hormones.  And I have not been feeling as crazy as I thought - minus the road rage which continues to escalate.  I even felt sane enough to rejoin facebook so I could wish my sister happy birthday, see my college roomie's engagement ring, and congratulate a dear friend on the birth of her 2 little twins and see their precious pictures.  During my first episode back, I found only 3 women who were announcing their pregnancy on that front page (bleh) but I didn't want to scream or throw things so I consider it progress.

The waiting has become more challenging than I thought.  It reminds me of waiting for my wedding day.  There was all the stress and excitement at the beginning of the process, then you took all the steps you had to and during that point you could count down to the specific day.  But those last few weeks (or months in our case with our long engagement) were so hard.  I couldn't wait to get married.  And I resented those people who married in the few months before me - they didn't date as long as us, we were engaged first, blah blah blah.  And here I am, with a set date (or a range of dates) for the transfer to occur and I am growing discontent in my waiting.  This is a position I should know well by now, and we are so much further along in the process, but I still hate it.

Our church is going through the story of Samuel and this past Sunday was on Hannah's prayer.  The pastor spoke some on the struggles of infertility and of Hannah's anguish but faith in her situation.  I had to think of how much harder this would be if I had someone in my life rubbing in their fertility.  Though I feel like that is often what happens with Facebook as people brag on their children and post weekly maternity pictures, I do really know that no one is intentionally trying to cause me grief.  No one is telling me over and over again what a failure I am or how I have let Andrew down as a wife as I am unable to bear him children.  And for Hannah to go through that, and do it with such faith, and then give up her first child to the Lord to be raised by someone else...wow.  I can't even imagine.  It was such a horrific thought but a beautiful picture of learning to live by God's strength and not my own.  And I do think I am slowly learning that though it is a very fragile characteristic at this point.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Menopause Week 2: Hot flashes!

So far I'd like to think I'm doing fairly well. Aside from wanting to run over the slow people on the road and bawling for a good hour during Private Practice, my main symptom has been the hot flashes. Andrew would probably say I'm more testy and short tempered, but compared to what I expected this is not so bad. Don't get me wrong, hot flashes are intense. But I've done pretty good throughout the day with maybe 10ish through the work day. Night...that's a complete different story. I've taken to stealing Andrew's side of the bed on those mornings he gets up before me to escape my sweaty sheets. Nastiness.

My peace with waiting has been more intermittent these past few days. I'm not entirely sure why, but God has placed numerous patient's in my life these last 2 weeks who are randomly telling me of their infertility issues and failed attempts at treatment. Not exactly the encouragement I was looking for. I'm not even sure why these conversations are starting and feel as though I am at a loss as to how to respond. I think Andrew and I both thought this would be a sure thing, that out of this whole process we would be guaranteed a child. As of a week ago, everyone I know on a personal level has experienced success. And now, it's more like 50/50. And those odds are scary. And we're right back around to that trust issue.

And so each night we pray for the safety and health of our freezer babies, which feels a little surreal, and that the menopause would continue to dry up all the endometriosis. And we wait. Two weeks down, 7 to go. We are making progress and slowing moving forward!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Menopause Week 1

Well, God's plan (once again) was a little different than mine or my doc's. Back to the doctor on Saturday to pick up and inject the Lupron. What a scary experience after seeing how huge that needle was. I was not prepared for that - thought I had another week before I would be experiencing my first intramuscular injection. Nope. I felt pretty good on Saturday with only minimal nausea following the injection. Sunday was not as great as I experienced my first hot flash. Oh my...I have been thinking that hot flashes would be a minor component of this process. No big deal, so I get a little warm. HA! More like I'm on fire! Whew... But since then I have been fairly good with only slight increased irritation with every minor frustration as the inability to control emotions is starting to creep in, particularly the slow cars on our 2 lane roads. It would be bad to ram right into the back of them, right??

But despite the increased emotion, I am feeling even more at peace with the waiting process. I know there is a potential for a long journey ahead with possible failed transfers, but I have been so encouraged during the past 2 months with how many obstacles the Lord has already been able to overcome. Don't really know what that surprises me - it shouldn't. Yet I find myself surprised each time our prayers are answered. And so we continue praying for our children and this time of waiting and preparing.



Friday, April 6, 2012

Freezer official

What a hectic but wonderful week. I am finally starting to feel a little more normal - though still looking very much pregnant. Just getting tired and winded easily and still using some external force to keep my pants together. So appreciative of whoever it was who told me the rubber band trick, very useful. The doctor thinks about 2 weeks and I will be shrinking back down again.

We went to the Masters Wednesday and when we got back in the car at the end of the day, we had a message waiting from REACH with our official count. 14! At first I thought there must be some mistake, because that is such a huge number. It's ridiculous. Or more so miraculous. Because even when we were at the doctors office on Sunday and told him there were still 19 embryo at that time, he still told us from that normal would be about 5 or 6, maybe a few more since mine were all developing well at that time with no fragmentation. But nope, God has chosen to bless us with 14. I'm not entirely sure why that is the case - just how big does He want our family to be?? But I know he has a plan for each of these little ones and knows exactly what their lives will hold, even if some are incredibly brief and lost early. So now we are to pray for our future 14 children and that God will begin preparing us for our future as parents. What an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness and his ability to overcome all medical odds. Thank you so much to all of you who have continually prayed for us though this difficult journey. I'd like to think we've made it through the most difficult part, or at least a piece of the most difficult part, but I have a feeling I have no idea what I am in for. (probably all of you pregnant people or moms could attest to that one). But menopause starts next week with the first embryo transfer probably occuring some time in July? Will have to see how my body responds to the hormones - though right now it is pretty incredible to be hormone free :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bed Rest

As anyone who has known me since childhood can attest, if there is a side effect or complication from medical procedures or medications - I will get it. Back to the doctor we went today after having more abdominal pain and being HUGE (my dear, sweet husband offered to let me borrow his pants...and kindly pointed out that now my belly sticks out past my boobs...nice). The doctor confirmed that my ovaries are the cause of that hugeness as they were measuring over 20 cm total. Eek. So I was instructed to continue my bed rest at least another day, making 5 days total. Not sure I am going to be able to take any more time in the bed or the recliner.

While we were at the doctor, though, we got an update on the embryo. Of the 29 eggs, 22 were mature eggs and able to be fertilized. Of those, 19 actually fertilized. We knew through the process that we would lose some each day. But our day 3 number: still 19. Wow. As of 11:30 this morning, each embryo was 6-7 cells and all looked healthy. The doctor seems to think we may end up with more than the original 5-6 he was hoping for. Andrew and I have always dreamed of a big family, this is just a little more than we ever expected. It is going to be such a journey seeing where God takes us with all this, how many of these children he choses to bring into our lives as healthy babies. We always said we would never just discard the embryo, because human life begins as the DNA is combined and cells start to split which, at 6ish cells now, has already occured. Maybe they will make a TV show about us and all our children?? Could be interesting

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eggs

Still on pain meds and a little woozy from anesthesia, but overall I am not feeling too bad. I am reclining and resting after retrieval this morning. For the most part, things went smoothly. I never do well coming out of anesthesia, so that was expected, but the procedure itself went well. No complications, just a few extra hours in recovery to help me combat anesthesia.

We have been praying since Tuesday for God to prepare the rest of the underdeveloped eggs so we could have a decent number at retrieval. As of Tuesday, they were thinking 12ish and maybe a few more would grow before Thursday. Considering how few actually make it to day 5 and become embryo, they were thinking maybe 3-4. Well, we got a call from the doctor shortly after getting home and were told they took 29 (yes, 29!) eggs. Eesh. That's a lot. We have no idea how many, if any, are mature and will be fertilized. But what an answer to prayers!

The one downside to having so many eggs is he is concerned I will develop hyperstimulation syndrome. So we've added another med and I have to monitor my fluids and spend a few days resting. Thankfully the weekend is right around the corner so I get plenty of time before I have to head back to work.

So here's the timeline: Tomorrow we get a number of healthy eggs and number fertilized, Sunday we'll get an update of how many have survived, and by Tuesday I'll know how many actual embryo (little bitty babies) we have!
So excited...in the OR of REACH waiting

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One more step

After a very discouraging appointment on Sunday, I was so excited to get some good news today! Things have been growing well and I now have at least 12 mature eggs for retrieval which has successfully been scheduled. On Sunday, I saw the on call doc (who was very rude and a little rough with that ultrasound) and was told I was not where I needed to be. That all my follicles where too small and needed more growth. Three needle sticks to attempt to draw blood only added to the trauma. I left feeling very discouraged and anxious about the upcoming week. And my only next step was to "wait until Tuesday."

After some clarification as to why we were having to push everything back yesterday, I was nervous for my appointment today. Nervous that I would have to start the drugs over, but more nervous that I wouldn't be able to handle the emotional struggle and strain over losing this opportunity. I realized just how invested I was in the process at that point. So I learned for the first time what it meant to pour out my heart in prayer as I pleaded with the Lord for the opportunity to continue this journey and to not have my spirit crushed in the process.

And at today's appointment, things looked much better. Only 12 eggs, but enough to continue. My doc feels confident there are more hidden somewhere. And he thinks he can remove some of the endometriosis as well to increase the odds of pregnancy in a few months when we get to that point. What wonderful news! Now we just wait for the next 36 hours, with only 2 more shots between me and the end of phase one.