Wednesday, May 23, 2018

To be continued ...

Don’t you hate those shows that keep you in suspense for an entire summer and you don’t know what’s going to happen?!? Well, I’m gonna do that, sort of.

I took a pregnancy test last night and had bloodwork this morning. Both had the same result - negative. This is normally where I say thanks for watching and it was a sad ending etc, but that’s not really what’s in my heart. My heart is saying, “that’s interesting...what’s next?”.

It’s not the end of the story or the end of a season, but it IS at least the end of the page and maybe a small chapter. God for sure could bless us naturally with a child I carry, but we are going to continue asking him, “what else ya got?”.  I think God likes people to do that, even though that’s pretty scary. Even though there’s a lot of unknowns. Even though we have no idea where He’s taking us. Sometimes the most beautiful things come from the scariest leaps. So let’s just see what that’s about.

We have appreciated your prayers, your hopes, your food, your texts, your kindness, and so much more. We have the best family and friends. I will keep blogging about our next steps and maybe a few other things as well. I think it’s good for me. :)

May we all have a restful Memorial Day weekend.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

3 more days

Happy Sunday!

This is it guys, this is the week we figure out what the rest of our lives will be like. Nothing like a heavy thought, right? LOL.  But honestly I haven't thought about it much. I've been busy doing my normal life of chasing a toddler, chasing a puppy, keeping a house sort of put together, feeding my people, laundry, having a friend help me with my lawn and another help me with my flowers. I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Because no matter what, the sun rises, then it goes down, then it rises again. No matter what.  No matter what we are feeling or how we want time to go faster so I can know if this treatment worked, or have time stand still to capture Asher in his awesome and complicated toddlerhood, or have time go backwards to be with those who are now with Jesus.  No, the best place for time to be is right here, right now.  I have to realize that even if today is hard, one day I will wish it was today again.  I will forget how hard the hard was and I will remember the joy. The dog licking and jumping and nipping and barking will somehow fade away to remembering Asher laying in his dog bed and saying, "Busta...Busta Busta!".   I will remember that I tried to be fully present in these days that seem to fly by with busy. Because it's important to go for walks and have light saber fights. And its important to stop cleaning to pray with a friend.  And it's important to walk across the street and take in my yard, my house, my tree, my garage and even my bent mailbox that now reminds me of the family I love. These things are important. 

So my boobs hurt.  I'm taking progesterone cream and estrogen as part of the protocol. And I'm having CRAZY dreams about babies and Asher and houses and weird stuff.  This morning I had that "I'm starting my period" feeling where my stomach gets upset and I end up in the bathroom.  But I wasn't scared or fearful - at - all.  I was just kinda of matter of fact. I'm trying to maintain the idea that God has our best in mind.  When I had Asher I couldn't imagine a gift like that.  I mean, he was the CUTEST and he's a joy giver and he is so loved by God. One of the best gifts ever. God has his BEST for us.  And if being pregnant isn't His best, then His best is coming. And that is exciting!  So, no period yet.  And the boobs hurting and dreams and craving cream cheese could easily be a time of the month thing for me because it's too early for any of that to be pregnancy.  My hormones can be crazy.  But I'm standing, and believing God to do something amazing.

I will post here Wednesday night with all the details of our continued story.  Thank you for praying and walking with us! We love you all so much and I pray you have an amazing week.

For now....


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Healing up and Mother's Day thoughts.

Happy Mothers day! But first this:

Hey everyone.  It's a cold, dark and rainy day today here in Shelby Township.  It's a good day to rest up.  Yesterday went well.  I had an 8am appointment with a laser acupuncturist and it was pretty cool! The idea is there is energy running through our bodies and in certain areas it tends to "pool" or get stuck.  Stress does this as well as poor eating, environment etc. The needles or lasers act as a bridge and release this energy which can also cause better blood flow to the uterus.  It's also relaxing so that's good.  I've never done acupuncture before so it was nice to see how it works as well as get to know Rhonda.  She got married later in life and wanted a family so she got pregnant when she was 43.  So it was nice to be with someone who actually believed it was possible for me.  She also told me about a school her son goes to and it sounds perfect for Asher.  That's another year down the road, but it was great to have the connection.

After I was done, Drew was also done with his appointment so we had about an hour or so to go get breakfast.  We found a cool diner not far and really enjoyed having breakfast together.  It's not very often we can do that together so that was nice.  Back to the office we go for the IUI.  The nurse was a nurse who I'd met and talked with on Saturday so it was nice to see a familiar face. She is very kind. She told us the sperm count and mobility was better than we expected so that was great! After the procedure (which doesn't hurt at all) I laid there for about 10 minutes and then we went home.

The rest of the day I spent laying in bed. It was nice to have the time to just lay in bed.  Theoretically, with an IUI once the sperm are in, you can live your life however you want. They say don't exercise for the day, but after that we can continue on with life as normal. But I have been feeling really run down and my body is tired and sore.  So I'm thankful I have to option to rest. My awesome mother-in-law Lou came to help out and that has been a HUGE blessing.  She bought me flowers, brings me food, but most of all she is keeping things running around here.  Right now she's with Asher running around town and I'm sure they are both having a blast.  Again, making it possible for me to rest and for Drew to get some writing done.

So what's next? Yeah, this is the long boring part.  So after this weekend I have an appointment on Wednesday and will start my progesterone and then we wait. Implantation could happen anytime after Monday and we could know if all of this craziness worked in about 2 weeks or so.  So I guess we hope and pray and wait and believe.  I know God has an amazing plan for our family.  I don't know what it is but I'm believing He has our best in mind. And that's good enough for me. 

Today is also a sad day as it's the funeral in Georgia and memorial in Michigan for my friend Shannon who past away last week.  Her husband had to be alone a few days ago on their anniversary as well.  What an extremely hard situation.  I'm continuing to pray for them as well as remember all that Shannon stood for.  She stood up for the underdog.  She was fierce! When something wasn't right she would demand justice.  She was one of the people who kept a lot of our friendships together and would call out the "let's meet guys".  She will be deeply missed by so many people.  May God bless her family and may she be living in glorious radiance. 

Mothers Day... both tender and painful. It's such a strange feeling to be happy and sad at the same time.  I'm reminded of Inside Out when Joy has do discover that Sadness is really necessary and needed to have TRUE joy. So they walk hand in hand throughout life's ups and downs.  I miss my mom and the many Mothers Day's without her.  I'm thankful for my other mom's, especially Sweet Lou and my friend Rhonda. They always know what to say to ease my heart and guide my life. My heart hurts for my many friends who have not experienced growing their own family yet. I know that hurt. I know how badly I used to hate Mother's Day. It wasn't something to be celebrated. It was difficult and painful. It's still like that sometimes, but I know it's like that for a lot of women. We are all mother's really. Each of us birth dreams. Each of us nurture our relationships. Each of us sow into our work and reap rewards.  So here's to all of us women great and small. We are awesome.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Day 16 - triggered.

That's a big number - day 16.  Most women trigger at day 12 or 14 at the latest.  I had an ultrasound last Tuesday and another one Wednesday.  Tuesday everything was growing although it was slow.  I also asked the nurse about the Goneril that I have because I have like 8 boxes and I've never used it.  She looked at me with big eyes and then said, "what do you mean you've never used it". I told her no one ever told me to use it.  She looked on my chart and it stated that the Saturday before I was supposed to start taking it, but the nurse didn't tell me.  So she told me not to worry and that it probably would've only helped a little since I'm slow growing anyway.  I have to admit I wasn't very happy.  I told her that's fine but I felt upset because I spent money on those meds that I never used. SO frustrating.  So needless to say they added it to my protocol for the night.  That was Tuesday.  Wednesday's appointment came and my 2 bigger follicles did move up one point, so I had a 14, a 17 and an 11.  The 11 didn't move at all and they said probably not to count on that one.  The phone call from the nurse that day wasn't very fun.  She explained that my estrogen went down and that is a sign that I could ovulate.  She did say sometimes goneril will make estrogen go down, but they weren't sure that's what it was and they didn't want to chance my body going into ovulation so Dr. C decided I should do the trigger shot that night (Wednesday night).  That shot basically signals the body to ovulate.  So she wanted to talk about the risks of doing IVF with only 2 possible eggs.  This was the worst outcome.

She told us that of course 2 follicles doesn't mean 2 eggs. And the possible 2 eggs doesn't mean they will fertilize. And if they fertilize it doesn't mean they will implant.  And those odds are the same with any number of eggs, however with retrieval the average of eggs that fertilize are 50%.  So IF she got 2 eggs, MAYBE one would fertilize.  The other thing she talked about was the development of the eggs.  18mm is the size they look for. Mine were not there.  The best case scenario is that hopefully by retrieval day that 17 would be an 18.  Most likely it would, but there's still all the other factors.

We had been wrestling about what to do as we felt led to this process and expected better results.  When we started we prayerfully moved forward each step waiting to hear from God.  I asked him to make it clear and give us PEACE.  Dr. C told us she wouldn't do retrieval with less than 3 eggs.  And then we had only 3.  So now we had to choose what to do.  It was an extremely hard decision.  I didn't want to make it.  And I kept hearing, "you don't have to make it right now". So I waited until I did have to make it.  And honestly, God was so gracious.  Because the way the nurse explained everything, she said it really wasn't a good idea.  So we felt peace when we decided to cancel our IVF cycle. I wanted to do it, but not like this. And I've walked enough roads to know if this was something God wanted then the road would be clear and the message would be GO, but that's not where we found the PEACE.

So now what? Well, the stim meds were very expensive and of course we don't want to just stop everything so we've switched to the IUI method.  This method is MUCH easier, simpler etc.  Instead of removing my eggs and injecting the sperm into it, creating an embryo, the IUI let's your body do the work.  So once I've triggered ovulation, they place the sperm in the uterus as close to the eggs as they can get them. Then I lay there for a bit.  Then I go on with life and wait.  It's pretty much like the traditional way of trying to conceive but the sperm doesn't have to travel as far.  This is a good thing for us!

Now the debbie downer part.  We've done IUI's.  Lot's of them.  100% unsuccessful.  As Drew would say, we have had 100% success at IVF (we only did one) and 100% failure at IUI.  It's true. I'm not too hopeful. BUT, I am finishing the process.  And honestly, if God really does make us pregnant through this process I will spend the next 9 months in even more shock then what I was when I was pregnant with Asher.  Serious shock people.  God once again reminds me of the story when the disciples were in the boat and they had been fishing all night but caught nothing.  Jesus shows up and says, "hey, cast your net on the other side".  And the scripture says:

When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5“Master, Simon replied,“we have worked through the night without catching anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to tear.…
Jesus.  When Jesus says let down your nets in that empty place, you'd better listen.  I don't know why we are on this path, I really don't.  But I DO know I want to follow him wherever he leads us. And if he tells me to go into deeper water and do something I've done a million times before in a dark season with no results, I'm going to do it. God's kingdom plans are big.  I keep trying to connect to the kingdom vision of it all.  Even if it's just a testimony that we were faithful to walk where he said walk, that's enough.  But maybe, just maybe he has more than that.  We shall see. 

IUI (fish catching) scheduled for tomorrow (friday) at 10:30.

Thank you again for the millions of prayers.  We know lots of you are going through dark times and we stand in prayer with your miracle as well.  We love you so. 

D, K and A

The image Drew saw a little bit after our phone call

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Day 11

Thank you for your prayers and for following. It's been the craziest week.  To begin with a good friend of mine from college passed away unexpectedly.  We still aren't sure what happened but most of us were in shock for most of the week.  Shannon was an amazing person.  She loved well and she cared about so many people.  She wasn't a stranger to anyone and she was real with anyone she met.  I sadly didn't see her often as she lived in Georgia, but I know she will be deeply missed.  Please keep her family in your prayers.  She left behind 2 young girls and her husband.  They have a hard road ahead of them but I know from personal experience of losing both parents in my teens that God can heal, protect and cause amazing redemption out of stories that seem impossible. Rest in Peace my friend. God will take care of the rest and we will see you soon. 

thanks kwaun for the photo. xoxo

This week we have had a few appointments monitoring our process. My follicles have been slow growing and my estrogen as well. With each appointment their voices get more serious and sad.  My last appointment was yesterday at the Warren office which isn't my favorite. I felt pretty good as I went in but that quickly changed. They took my blood and then put me in a holding room and from there they walked me back for my ultrasound.  This time, it was in the same room where they do the surgeries and when I walked in there I felt like I was going to throw up. I remembered last time and how I felt scared for retrieval. I remembered how Dr. B made me feel comfortable and showed hope in his eyes. This time I had a new ultrasound tech who didn't even tell me her name.  She was nice enough, but I had to ask questions along the way.  In this office you definitely feel more like a number then a person.  So many patients.  The result of the ultrasound is we lost the follicle on the left and we also are down to only 3 follicles on the right.  The size's are one 10, and 2 less than 8.  Our goal is to reach 18mm. The earliest retrieval would be trigger shot Tuesday and retrieval Wednesday.  We will not be doing that.  The latest I think is trigger Thursday and Retrieval Friday. Then we would wait 3-5 days for insemination. Dr. C told us she won't do retrieval with less than 3 eggs.  Right now I have 1 that might make it and 2 that are hanging on. We do have options. We can decide to not go to retrieval but switch to an IUI cycle which has never been successful for us, but again - God.  If we did that we would continue on meds until they are big enough and they would trigger us (we would take a shot to release the eggs) and do the IUI and hope for conception. Knowing that last time we had 17 follicles, 11 eggs (not all follicles have eggs), 7 fertilized and 3 were successful embryos........these odds seem pretty scary.  Those are the facts.

But can we be raw and real for a minute? God is amazing. He is all knowing. He has the master plan for my life and knows exactly what our future holds.  If God wants to make us pregnant, he could do that without IVF. He brings dead things to life.  That's one of the things He loves to do.  So as we prayerfully consider what's next we wrestle with things like prophecy and God's will.  We sat in a room full of people while someone announced to us that we would have a baby girl from my womb. And countless times throughout the years people have mentioned twins to us.  But here's the thing, we can't MAKE that happen. We can't make God do anything (nor would we want to) and we can't make life.  So, wow - what a gutsy move to be a prophet these days and be specific because even though they were just repeating what they were hearing, whew, that's a lot to throw out to a room full of people who are really paying attention.  So honestly, we do wrestle with the prophetic. It's a love/hate relationship with me.  All we can do is make ourselves available which I feel like we have.  And allow God room to move.  He may choose this route. He may choose another, but either way we want to be right in the middle of Him moving. So we are trying to hear God speak this week as we make these difficult decisions.

Thank you so much for walking with us during this time. My next appointment is Tuesday and we will see how things are continuing to grow.  My belly is sore from shots, my ovaries are starting to feel bloated and uncomfortable (even though they aren't growing that well) and I'm feeling pretty emotional and tired these days. But I know the end is in site and God is with us.  So we know all things work together for the good for those that love Christ Jesus.  And we are praying for peace in whatever way He leads us. 

IVF = no joke.


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Day 6

So I had my appointment this morning and I’ve been bracing myself to accept the fact that this IVF thing might not happen. My body isn’t cooperating and I’m now entering the EMOTIONAL ZONE.... where everything makes me cry. BUT I’m still trying to maintain my understanding and complete agreement with the fact that this is 100% in Gods hands. He has his best for us so whatever that is, so be it.

That said, my estrogen is growing! She saw 5 follicles. One on the left and 4 on the right. Which is good. My left side is always wonky. My left foot is bigger. My left eye won’t open as big as my right eye. Left side is so lame. So I have one good follicles on the right. The others are there, just growing slow.  Which isn’t bad, but they still increased my low dose HCG. So I go back on Thursday to see how things are cooking. My mother in law - sweet Lou - arrives on Thursday and I’m so excited. This weekend will be filled with family and fun so I’m looking forward to that.

My prayers are continuing to ask God for direction. Asking Him for His will to be done. Asking for peace and grace. And that my emotions will be a little more under control. Oh, and no headaches. I haven’t felt very good the past few days. Headaches and upset stomach. :(

Now I’m going To sleep. Love you all.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 1 - 4

Happy Sunday!

We are now well into our first week of fertility stims. I had a good week as far as emotions go so thats helpful for everyone. HA! I woke up Wednesday and looked out my window to see 3 little bunnies jumping around my yard.  I took that as a great sign for starting my treatments.

Wednesday - Day 1
My appointment on Wednesday went well.  The nurse found 3 follicles on my left and 3 on the right.  The follicles are what holds the eggs. In a normal cycle the body will have many and as the cycle goes on the strongest follicle stays and releases one egg.  In IVF we try to get as many eggs as possible to retrieve so we can have a chance of creating embryo's to transfer. We have no control over the number of follicles we have to work with. So I was thankful to have 6 to start. The Dr. had stated at the beginning that it wasn't many, but it was doable.  So we are going with it! We did blood work so we have a base to start with and to monitor estrogen and progesterone.

Day 2 - nightly shots - Gonel-F and low dose HCG.
Day 3 - nightly shots - Drew is doing good! He's a good shot giver.

Day 4 - 8:30 am appt in Warren.  I don't really like the Warren office. I mean, it's different and not like the normal office I go to.  It's a reminder that Dr. B isn't my doctor.  But, I'm trying to embrace what's now.  The office was very busy, buzzing with hopeful women and men.  I wondered about their stories, if they were at the beginning or maybe the middle of their journey. And I pray God fills their hearts and homes with lots of Joy and Laughter.  I had my ultrasound and they found 1 less follicle then on Wednesday.  Sometimes things can change.  Or maybe the person who did the first one didn't count properly.  It's hard to say.  But either way, that wasn't good. I got the results from my blood work that showed my estrogen isn't raising.  If it doesn't raise then the follicles won't grow.  She said we would have to have 3 good follicles to do retrieval.  3.  That's not very many.  Our first IVF we have 17 follicles and retrieved 10 eggs. By transfer day we had 3 embryo's and one of them stuck. - ASHER! WHOOP! But, as you can see, this time around the numbers are much less.  Not impossible, but yikes. The nurse told us we are doing the strongest meds we can right now so that's good. So we keep going and see what happens.

Our prayers.
Our prayers are that God would give us CLEAR direction.  That if this isn't the road for us, He would make it clear or impossible for retrieval to happen. Or if this is God's intent then we would see it CLEARLY.  We know God has a plan for us, but we don't want to guess. We need Him to help us.  Our next appointment will be Tuesday. We will continue to walk with confidence in knowing that God is faithful. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you all.

D, K & A

And so it begins....

Icing it up!

Asher helping make me a shot day paper chain