Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bluebonnets and Babies (Blessings #6)

Today was super, duper busy! I am so tired - I know that I will sleep soundly tonight.

I had my doctor appointment this morning to take my E2 blood levels. The doctor's office called me back about 5:30 this evening and said that my levels were 420 (or maybe 402 - I don't really remember which one it was). The nurse sounded surprised by this because I guess it is a little higher than what they were expecting. It is NOT a bad thing - my body is just responding really well to the medication. This means that I will go in tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. for another E2 level and a sonogram. They also told me that I needed to decrease my Follistim from 100 to 50 units. The Menopur and Lupron stay the same (2 vials and 0.10 cc respectively). I am excited to see my little follicles and get a picture of them.

After my doctor's appointment, Mom and I went to run errands. We ran to McKinney to CJ Riley and I got some super cute clothes - skirts, dresses and a couple of shirts that fit me now, but are "flowy," so they will fit me through the 1st and into the 2nd trimester. After that, we met my friend, Sheryl, and her sweet daughter, Shaye, for lunch at La Madeleine. YUM! After lunch, we did some shopping at Sam Moon. I missed that place - it's better for my pocketbook that it is NOT in Pittsburgh.

We wrapped up the day by going to Costco so I could get a Sonicare toothbrush for Chip and me, went by Kathy's dad shop and had dinner (homemade guac) at Anamia's.

Blessings for the Day
  1. Bluebonnets when driving on Texas freeways
  2. Sweet salespeople at CJ Riley and dreaming about a big pregnant belly
  3. Meeting and catching up with a friend I haven't seen in years and being able to pick up just like it was yesterday
  4. Feeling completely surrounded by prayer
  5. Good news from the doctor and getting to have my ultrasound a day early :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Monday Not Manic Monday (Blessings #5)

Today was another awesome day! I am pretty darn happy here in Texas - other than missing Chip and the girls like crazy!

I got up super early and picked up Starbucks for Mary any myself using a gift card Mom gave me. Mary was super sweet and squeezed me in for a desperately needed teeth cleaning. The drugs I'm on are making my teeth more sensitive and messing with my gums. Who knew? Anyway, I now need to get a Sonicare toothbrush, floss every night (which I should be doing anyway) and go back in 3-4 months for another cleaning. We don't have dental insurance right now, so I was expecting it to be a bit high. It wasn't - they gave me the family rate. What a blessing! Thank you, Mary!

I did take some bark off the tree next to my parent's driveway trying to back Dad's truck out - luckily no damage to the tree (other than the bark) or Dad's truck. Note to self - don't try to back out a different way than normal, it won't work!

After that, I played on Craigslist (being humble with God's money) looking for stuff and looked at baby stuff online and hung out with my parents. SO CUTE! Then - a nap. See - I can relax!!

The best part of my day was going to Niki's for dinner with my Mom (after which I got my shots) and then to my LifeGroup! I have missed these ladies SO much!! It's not the same being in PA and doing the study - it's better to see their smiling faces. I adore them! Tonight, they laid hands on me and prayed for "sticky babies" (my term for the twins that will be implanted), protection, continued peace and success. I love them! I have never had that done before and the feeling is pretty awesome. I have been blessed to not have been in an instance where I needed that prayer before - I have been feeling and continue to feel a protection around me and a true sense of peace and certainty. I know this is because of God and the power of prayer. I am a blessed girl!

Tomorrow is another doctor's appointment - this time they will just do blood work and give me the list of how much of the meds to take. Please pray that everything works just the way it is supposed to work for IVF.

Blessings for Today
  1. Niki's Italian dressing and Blue Bell Cookies and Cream ice cream (not together)
  2. Mary fitting me in to clean my teeth and being charged the family rate - so appreciated!
  3. Getting to see my dear friends at Bible Study - I love ya'll!
  4. Being prayed over with hands laid on me ... incredible blessing and something I will always remember. My friends - they are so faithful!
  5. A phone call from Kathy to check on me - so sweet, especially since she is pregnant and due in a few short weeks with Peyton and Corey!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day (Blessings #4)

Today was a perfect day, other than the fact that I completely slept through my alarm and missed church. I vaguely remember it going off and hitting snooze and then, not hearing it again...

My mom and I picked up my nephew and watched him for a couple of hours. We went to Babies and Toys R Us. I picked up some presents from a couple of my friends' registries and walked around looking at baby stuff and knowing, with a peace in my heart, that someday VERY soon Chip and I will have a registry of our own. WOW! I even looked at TWIN strollers - ehh gads! I didn't spend too much time going crazy over the wee precious baby stuff, with Nathan that is a little difficult. Besides, I will have plenty of time for that very soon! :)

After the R Us stores, we met Elesha for lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Lunch = blah. Dessert = oh so good! Mom and I then headed to Sam's, Costco and Wal-Mart. I am on an organic food kick/way of life thing (more on that later) and I learned from ET that Costco has organic fruit. Kathy also told me that Myloplex shakes and protein bars help with morning sickness/nausea (a side effect of IVF drugs), so I also stocked up on that. Thanks Mom - she totally spoiled me (as she always does) and bought me a couple of skirts, shirts and a dress that I can wear now and that will work for the first trimester since they are stretchy. It is so nice to be able to talk about the pregnancy that will happen - being positive is helping me. It's not a secret - it's a beautiful thing and we WILL be pregnant, STAY pregnant and HAVE a healthy baby (or two) with God's help.

I am sad that I had to miss Bowl for Kid's Sake in PA today. Our work is a sponsor and it benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters. Chip bowled like a rock star - I wish I could have seen it! I love you, sweetheart, and am excited to see you in a week and a half. Evidently, Izzie managed to get out of her kennel today when Chip was gone. When he got home, Izzie was laying on the bed like what? I am supposed to be here Dad. Little stinker! I miss the girls - it's weird to sleep in a bed without Chip and two dogs (one who weighs 75 lbs and one who is 65 lbs). It's worth it though.

My blessings

  1. The warm sunshine - the cold air has left Texas and it was a balmy 65 today.
  2. Spending time with Nathan and my Mom
  3. Brownie fudge sundae cheesecake
  4. NO bruising from the shots today (yesterday's shots left a massive bruise on my stomach)
  5. Talking to my sweet husband - I miss him so much!

I am off to bed in a bit. To my work friends reading this - thank you for being so supportive and taking up my slack while I'm in Texas. I appreciate ya'll more than words can say. You are NOT only co-workers, you are amazing friends!

Right Where I Need to Be (Blessings #3)

Yesterday I was SO exhausted (in a wonderful way) that I didn't even get on the computer at all. Our church's women's retreat, StayCation, was just AWESOME!! The speakers were amazing, the women there were amazing - God knew it was just what I needed and just when I needed it. Being there put my heart in the right place and helped me grow closer to God.

I also started my stimulation shots yesterday - thank you, Mom, for injecting them for me. My poor skin is so confused by the needles - it bruised up yesterday. It looks terrible, but doesn't hurt at all. It's on my stomach, so no one can see it, for which I am grateful.
  1. White chocolate mocha Starbucks (breakfast) and guacamole (dinner)
  2. Incredible StayCation with the most Godly women
  3. Singing in praise of God
  4. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. - Micah 6:8 (our verse from StayCation)
  5. Time with my bestie, Mary, and her sweet kids, Halle, Carlie, Abby, and Cade, and her husband, Brian. Brian very sweetly installed my parents new receiver for them. Thanks B!


StayCation. How can I even adequately describe how awesome it was? Friday night was filled with fun games, fellowship, food, praise & worship, and even square dancing! It was God's divine timing that placed me there and WOW - is He awesome or what?

Saturday morning. We started off with breakfast and singing praise to God. Jourdan Burks, our praise and worship leader for the weekend, is just awesome!

My very own LG leader, Sheila, started off our speaker series with Remembering God's Faithfulness. Our LG has been doing this, however, I didn't truly "get it" until I heard Sheila speak - because I am a slow learner. She did an amazing job and has a gift for explaining things in a way that I (or anyone) can understand. Remembering how God has been (and continues to be) faithful in our lives helps us to walk in faith, knowing that He will provide. God commands us to remember - as seen in I Chronicles 16:11-12, Psalm 77:11-12 and I Corinthians 11:23-24.

Why remember?

  1. So we can experience joy and peace.
  2. To allow us to face our fears and remain faithful. This is seen in two examples in the Bible found in Deuteronomy 7:17-19 and Psalm 106:7 and Joshua 4.

How do we remember? As Sheila said, in the Bible, people built monuments of rocks. That would be a little crazy. The way now is easy - with a journal that you keep handy or something else. It needs to be:

  1. easy
  2. accessible
  3. able to endure

What do we remember? This doesn't mean going from age zero and writing down everything to the present moment. Sheila gave us some ideas to help us get started. What we write down doesn't need to be complete sentences or have perfect grammar. It can be a few words, a picture, whatever helps us.

  1. Unearned blessings - people God has placed in our lives, provisions (encouragement, tangible items, etc.), revealed truth (through whatever way God does that for you - a sermon, a song, something someone says)
  2. Valuable adversity - God carrying us through a tough time and us coming out stronger on the other side. It's NOT about things, it's about depending on God.
  3. Amazing rescues - healing, rescues from a tough situation, finding something)
  4. Holy attraction (being able to NOT watch that TV show, to NOT look at that ad, to stay on the pure path)
  5. Faith heroes (people in our lives whose faith we admire)

Sheila mentioned a quote that can be found in The God Moment Principle by Alan Wright. "Satan cannot keep God from blessing you, but He can keep you so distracted that you don't remember it." That touched me. It made me also realize that God brought the 365 days of blessings project to my attention for a specific reason. I will journal to remember past blessings, however, I can use the project to remember blessings each day. God cares about me - and that includes my love for guacamole.

Sheila ended with this. Make remembering a PRIORITY!

  1. Keep a journal by your bed
  2. Write just one thing a day - this may/will lead you to remember other things as well!
  3. Start anywhere - you have permission to be RANDOM
  4. John 14:26 - pray for God to reveal what you need to remember

Thank you, Sheila! You did an incredible job and I am so blessed by God's faithfulness to place you as my LG leader!

Okay - this post is getting long, so I will write about the other speakers later... They were amazing as well!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blessings #2

Today I made it to Texas! I am here for two to three weeks as I go through the IVF process. It is an exciting time and I am so amazed every day!!

I have so many blessings today that it is hard to narrow it down to just five! I will try though. :)
  1. A safe flight and meeting a lovely woman who lives near us in Pittsburgh
  2. Seeing my Grandmother in the nursing home. As hard as it is to see her like this (Stage 2 Alzheimer's), I am happy that she is still with us.
  3. Spending some quality time with my Dad and taking a much needed nap. (It was worth losing sleep last night to spend time with Chip and watch him rock as a goalie - and watch Grey's and Private Practice together on the couch with the girls.)
  4. An awesome doctor's appointment. My nurse is amazing and so very sweet! I adore her and she is great at explaining EVERYTHING to us, which I so appreciate. The sonogram went well - they saw a small cyst (totally normal) and my estrogen level needed to be below 75 (cysts give off estrogen) to start stimulation drugs tomorrow. The nurse called and the estrogen level is 50.2! God gave me great peace today that it would ALL be okay and it was! So - this means I start Follistim (1 cc) and Menopur (2 vials) tomorrow and decrease my Lupron from 0.20 cc to 0.10 cc. My next appointment is Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
  5. Spending time with my sweet nephew, brother and sister in law (and my parents). AND StayCation women's retreat starts tonight at our church in Texas.

I am missing Chip and the girls. However, two to three weeks is a short time and worth it knowing the end result. Chip will be able to come for a couple of days so that will be awesome and I can't wait to see him!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Count Your Many Blessings - Day One

"May the God of your father help you;May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above,and blessings of the watery depths below,and blessings of the breasts and womb." - Genesis 49:25

"You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 28:2

"I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings." - I Corinthians 9:23

Have you ever noticed that the events that happen in our life are all a matter of perspective? We can look at a given situation and choose to have a good (even great) attitude and look at the positive or we can choose to have a bad attitude and focus on the negative. For me, personally, focusing on the negative doesn't do a whole lot of good for how I feel. Sure, things that really just stink happen, but stinky things happen in every one's lives. I want to be positive and focus on the good. I am making a concentrated effort to focus on the good - on my everyday blessings.

There is actually a website where you can track your blessings (by a link to your blog) and read other people's blessings. I have joined the website and the challenge/goal is to write down five blessings every day for 365 days.

I feel that by doing this I will be less likely to focus on when my feelings get hurt, or when something stinky happens and it will reduce stress and make me a happier person. I feel that I am a pretty happy person - however - I do get my feelings hurt easily and I want to not do that. I want to show God's grace on others in the same way that He showers me with grace everyday. An incident happened a few days ago where my feelings got hurt and, really, it wasn't about me and nor should it have been. Venting about it only made me feel worse. So, I am building a bridge and getting over it (as my wise Granma Water would have said).

Today is my first post so here goes:
  1. My sweet and supportive husband
  2. The financial ability to do IVF
  3. Supportive friends and family through this entire process
  4. The hope of a baby (or two!)
  5. Peace in my heart that it will work...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


With everything that is going on, anyone that knows me would think that I would be anything but peaceful. However, that is what I feel. Complete and total peace. Confidence. Excitement. I don't want to be so caught up in the worry and struggle to GET pregnant that I can't enjoy BEING pregnant. I want to enjoy every moment of the BEING and HAVING. Being pregnant and having a precious baby (or two!).

I read the following quote on this blog and it so fits. (I also happen to totally love that blog's photography - sister has SKILLZ and is amazing!)

"Peace - it does not mean to be in a place with no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." - unknown

That quote pretty much sums it up. God has placed a peace and calm in my heart. There is absolutely no way I could feel this way without Him. I would not be able to handle this any other way.

In another show of God's wonderful plan, my home church is having a Women's Retreat right when I get home. The best part is (other than the people and the message of course) that it is at the church! I am so excited for this StayCation (the name of the retreat). It is sure to be amazing and will help further my relationship with God. I am so grateful and blessed!

I am also beyond blessed by my family and friends. They are INCREDIBLE! Just when I need a lift, they message me on Facebook, send me an email or text, or say just the right words to show they support me when I am standing in their office. I must say - I was so nervous about opening up about our IVF journey. I am so surprised by how supportive and wonderful everyone has been. When I think about it though, it isn't a surprise. My friends and family - they are God-given and amazing! Thank ya'll!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stickin' it to...myself

My doctor appt #2 went wonderfully! My Mom and friend, Kristy, went with me. The sonogram looked perfect and my blood work came back normal. The nurse showed me how to administer the Lupron shots and was quite impressed with my shot training with my Granma (at least that is what I tell myself)... I had a great time in Texas and look forward to going back. Truthfully though, I was ready to get home to Chip and our girls!

While in Texas, I was able to go bowling with Aaron, Alicia and Chip. We ate at Chan's with Mary, the girls, my Mom and the Garrett's. We had TONS of Mexican food and I had LOTS and LOTS of sweet tea. YUM! My Dad and I went to Cavender's (I love the smell of leather that hits you as you walk in). We spent quality time with my brother and sister in law, Elesha, and our sweet nephew, Nathan. Nathan totally loves me best! Okay - and my parent's youngest dog, B.B. I think he just likes her because her name is easy to say... Of course, no trip would be complete without Babe's with the Baker's (Nathan loved Babe's too) and going to a 3D Disney movie (this time - Jonas Brothers). I was super excited at the end of the trip because my cousin Darra met us at Mexican Inn with her three boys and her niece, Haley. Love those boys! They are a mess!! And Haley is in 7th grade - wow! She needs to not date for a VERY long time - she is just too pretty for stinky boys.

Thank you for the prayers - they definitely helped me as I had to give myself my first shot in an airplane (yes plane - not airport) bathroom during turbulence. I have to have the shot at the same time each day, hence the giving myself a shot in such an unusual location. BONUS: it makes for a great story. Honestly, the first shot wasn't TOO bad. However, last night (after yoga - I missed that while I was in Texas too. The studio I tried in Texas with my Dad was not the same as Alex in PA.) I was nervous to give myself my shot. I think because I had been thinking about it all day, I had scared myself and couldn't fathom the thought of sticking a needle into my skin KNOWING it would not feel good. Chip hates to see me hurt (and with my clumsiness, happens quite often) and didn't know if he could do it. However, he saw how nervous I was and gave me the shot. I didn't even hurt! He did a great job and has now earned the title of Official Shot Giver! Thank you, sweetheart, for being so wonderful!

Through this journey, I have received so much support and prayer. This makes me realize that yes - it was definitely the right thing to let down my guard and share what we are going through. This will work - we will be pregnant and I am praying to let go of all of my anxieties so that I can truly ENJOY being pregnant without being worried. I want to just enjoy every moment (even the icky stuff).

Let's cross our fingers that everything continues to go wonderfully and that the medicine I'm on doesn't make me a crazy person. :)

God bless you all on this wonderful first day of Spring. What a gift God has given us with the promise of things to come - new things - that will bloom, grow and be a testament to Him. Like a baby.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin...

The countdown to the babies has officially begun! Chip and I had our first visit to the doctor and it went so wonderfully. We signed all of the secret study paperwork, I had blood drawn and the doctor was able to move up our calendar by 2 weeks! He went ahead and did the mock transfer and it went very smoothly with minimal discomfort (for which I am so grateful - the books I have read scared the heck out of me). Due to moving up the calendar, I have to stay in Texas until Wednesday so I can have another sono and start my shots (Lupron). The shots arrive tomorrow (Tuesday) and have to stay cold. Please pray for me as I am a *tad* bit nervous about administering shots to myself, as well as traveling with drugs that have to stay at a certain temperature. Sure - I gave my Granma Water her insulin shots all the time since I was eight - it is much different to actually inject a needle into your own skin! It will be okay... it will be okay... the end result is SO worth it!

It feels so real - a month from now the embryos will be transferred to me and WOW! I will be pregnant (hopefully with twins)! I can't believe it - it is SUCH an answered prayer.

So - several people have asked me what happens and when it happens, so here is the lowdown (i.e., very important calendar or countdown to babies 2009 edition):

Wed., 3/18 - doctor appt #2 for sono and begin Lupron - go back home to PA to see sweet husband and our girls
Thurs., 3/19 - Thurs., 3/26 - Lupron shots continue in PA
Fri., 3/27 - back to Texas for doctor appt #3 for sono and E2 blood test, continue Lupron shots
Sat., 3/28 - add Follistim and Menopur shots and continue Lupron shots
Sun., 3/29 - Mon., 3/30 - Follistim, Menopur and Lupron shots
Tues., 3/31 - doctor appt #4 for E2 blood test and continue all shots
Wed., 4/1 - Happy April Fools Day! Continue all shots (no joke)
Thurs., 4/2 - doctor appt #5 for sono, E2 blood test and continue all shots
Fri., 4/3 - continue all shots
Sat., 4/4 - doctor appt #6 for sono, E2 blood test and continue all shots
from here - the schedule will depend on how my body (read: folliciles) are responding to the shots. I will continue all shots and the egg retrieval window will most likely be somewhere between 4/8 - 4/10. After the retrieval, the embryos will grow for five days and then be transferred to me for the next nine months! WOO HOO!! After the transfer, it will be two days of bed rest and back to PA to my wonderful husband, girls, friends and job! :)

I have the best job and bosses ever for being SO flexible with me and the ever changing IVF calendar! I am oh so grateful and thankful for the incredible support that my coworkers (read: friends) have shown me! And no - I will NOT be sharing the place I work on this blog.

I must say - Chip and I both are so thankful - for so much! We are excited to be parents to however many babies God decides we should have. Thank you for the continued support and prayers - it truly means so much to us both!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clean Slate

This morning as I walked out the door to go to work, I took a moment to pause and just be in the moment. I heard the birds chirping - a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. I could smell the cleansing rain that had fallen overnight and made the earth fresh and new again. The air felt crisp and clean. I enjoyed the few seconds it took for me to walk to my car and just sat for a moment in my car before closing the door. Given the big adventure that will overtake our thoughts for next year (and more), I felt incredibly at peace. God has this handled - He knew this moment was coming - He knew what was in store for us - His hand has been in this all along. I could feel Him talking to me - telling me that it would work, this will work. We will have the family we have dreamed of and so much more - because of Him.

I haven't been ready to share the details of what we are about to embark on. I have been holding it oh so close to the vest. The reason for this is because of the loss we have suffered before when we lost our precious baby in January of 2007 - I was barely 5 weeks pregnant. I could never have gotten through it without God, my husband and our amazing friends and family. Since then, we have been actively trying (just about everything) to see those two pink lines. Now, it has come to the point where the "basic" infertility treatments have not been enough. The Clomid, the IUI's - nothing. IVF (actually ICSI in our case) is the journey we are on now.

We leave tomorrow to see our doctor in Texas (he's one of the best - for many reasons, the most important being his faith) for the blood tests, analysis and mock transfer (a test run - to see the lay of the land, if you will). I go back in April for two and half weeks for injections, every other day sonograms to see the development of my follicles, egg retrieval (at which point Chip will come for his part), the five day wait as the babies grow in their petri dish hotel, the egg transfer (when they transfer the best two babies) and the rest. We will have our blood test 11 days after the transfer - it will be positive. We will find out after our family vacation to Alaska how many babies are in the oven - two is our prayer. This will work - God has placed peace on my heart and I am giving all of my worries to him. I am not going to be anxious - I am going to enjoy this time and be thankful for the time with my family and friends in Texas.

Next December/January we will have two new additions to our family. Two precious, prayed and hoped for babies. They are already loved and God knows their every breath and every hair on their heads.

There - it is all out there now. This is a good thing - I never have been very good at keeping secrets about what's going on in my life. If our story helps even one person to understand the road we're on or to help them in the road they're on - then this blog has done more than I ever could have hoped for. It has helped me immensely. Say a prayer for us - we appreciate it and we know God hears every word.