Fertility Friday

Thursday, December 31, 2015

 ....I've been waiting two long years to title a post that way! Yay!

At some point in my life I promise I will blog about something not fertility related...but don't hold your breath! This is the most exciting thing going on in my life so here are some details!

Yesterday the doctor called and confirmed that my hcg levels are rising...praise the Lord! On Monday (day 13 after transfer) my level was 814. On Wednesday it jumped to 1799! The doctor was looking for it to double and it did more than that so he's pleased. He also ran my progesterone and estrodial levels and both were through the roof (in a good way). My next blood work is next week at my leisure. I haven't decided which day I'm going yet but I do know I have a hard time waiting! And then on January 11th we get a sonogram to hear the heart beat. Many prayers for that please!

As far as the twin speculation goes we have absolutely no idea how many are cooking in there. The doctor said everyone has different hcg levels and that high levels don't always mean twins. He specifically told me, "Don't even try to google it. You'll get all sorts of answers/info." So I googled it. He was right. lol

 I do have a lot of friends who have had or are currently pregnant with twins and they say my levels are suspiciously close to theirs. But again, my doctor said you can't compare because everyone's bodies are different. He also said I could have two sacs but what if only one has a heart beat? Basically there are still a lot of variables. And just so you know...I'm ok with 1 or 2! At this point I obviously just want a healthy baby. Boy or girl I'll be thrilled! If you ask Blair though she is definitely asking for twin girls.

Speaking of Blair...she has some idea of what is going on. She knows there is a baby growing inside me but we keep telling her that the baby is really fragile and that we have to keep praying that God keeps it healthy and growing. She understands it's not a "for sure" thing. But man is that girl hopeful! Today she said the baby was made of glass because it was fragile. Ha ha. And they yesterday she was sitting on my lap and she got down quickly and ran away. When she returned she said, "Mom, I had to cough but I didn't want to get the baby sick so I went in the other room." I just ADORE how concerned she is already! She's full of questions about the baby(ies) and insists there are twins. She always patting my (still huge) belly and kissing it. She also likes to tickle my belly because "the babies like it!" I'm already loving seeing her take on this new role. My heart is officially melted.

The last thing I wanted to share with you guys is the sweetest interactions I've had with my phlebotomists (lab people who draw my blood on the reg). I've been going to the same lab for a while now and they know my story (because who doesn't?). Every time I go in they ask for an update and encourage me. So on Monday I show up and they all peek their heads out and give me "the look." I told them I was there to see if IVF worked and each one encouraged me. I told them that if I got good news that day then I would bring them donuts when I come back on Wednesday. They kept telling me that 2016 was a new year and it was going to be full of miracles for me which I thought was kind of funny.

Fast forward to Wednesday and I walk in bright and early with my box of donuts. They all stare at me wide eyed and I nod my head "Yes." Then came the mayhem! They all rushed out from behind the counter and pulled me back into the hallway and gave me hugs and squeals of joy. They happen to all be African American and their enthusiasm was not lacking! We all cried together and then I think they realized they left a lobby full of people alone and wondering what all the fuss was about. After we all composed ourselves I had my blood drawn and they ensured me that they would keep praying for good news. Oh, and get this! The girl who I am particularly fond of has twin girls! She struggled getting pregnant and then had twins naturally. She showed me their pictures and said she hoped that would be me soon. As I was leaving they told me, "See! We said 2016 was going to be your year! Your miracle is on the way!" So. So. Sweet. People really care!

So with that I'm off to Palm Springs for NYE. I plan on drinking lots of Shirley Temples and driving my friends around. Can I tell you this is the HAPPIEST I have ever been to be the DD?! I wouldn't trade it for the world! See you in 2016!

IVF Update

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

After two of the darkest years of my life, there is light. There is hope, joy, and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to the One who is the creator of all life. My shoulders are light where a huge burden used to lie and I owe it all to Him. God, I could sing of your grace forever.

Yesterday my blood test came back with good news showing that I am indeed pregnant. I know we are not out of the woods yet but this is a huge step forward. The Lord has given me every reason to trust Him and I plan on doing just that. I plan on trusting Him when I go back on Wednesday to make sure my numbers are going up; I plan on trusting Him next week when I have blood work done to test my numbers again; and I plan on trusting Him when we have our first ultrasound to ensure that there is a heart beat (or two!). I know that He is more than able. God has been faithful this entire journey and I'm thankful He has never abandoned me in my times of doubt and weakness. I need to continue to trust Him with my whole being no matter where this journey takes me. This baby (babies) is in your hands Lord. I pray that you protect him/her and continue to grow him/her into a healthy, strong baby!

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge those who are still struggling with infertility (heck, I could be back in that camp soon for all I know). It is a dark, painful struggle to deal with and I don't wish it upon my worst enemy. I realize that since I am no longer in this camp I lose some of my validity but I'm here to say that I am not done with infertility yet. In fact the wounds that infertility has caused me and the spiritual growth that resulted is something I will carry with me forever. I want to continue to encourage women who are dealing with this in big ways. God hasn't showed me exactly how to do this yet but I'm listening for His voice. In April I'm attending an infertility/adoption event and I'm hoping some doors open up there. Just know that for now I am still praying for all the women out there facing this heartache. I'm praying for your miracle right alongside mine.

For now we are cautiously optimistic. I'm not waving my "I'm pregnant!" flag till we hear a heart beat but in the mean time I have hope. This is the best news we have had in two years and I'm holding onto it for dear life.

Christmas Re-cap

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas came and went in a hurry this year but it didn't disappoint! Santa was good to Blair and brought her the world's biggest doll house. He also brought Baby a new plush butterfly that she asked for. Apparently Santa didn't realize just how giant the doll house was when he purchased it in Costco...

It is by far the ugliest and biggest eye sore anyone has ever laid their eyes on. Sigh. Once we have some friends over this beast is getting booted to the upstairs. I'll be putting that empty nursery to good use! Despite it's offensiveness the look on her face was worth it when she saw it. She said, "Mom! I'm going to play with this forever!" Once she took in the whole scene with all her gifts under the tree she kept saying, "Whaaaaat? A shopping cart? Whaaaaaat? A fridge for my kitchen?!" It was hilarious and we videoed it. I may or may not have watched it a few times already. ;)

I actually didn't take too many photos on Christmas day. Mostly because my lazy huge self laid around in any recliner I could find. Lala got Blair a sleeping bag and matching one for Baby that has been a big hit. Paired with the triple bunk bed that Gramma got her... that Baby has been doing a lot of sleeping!

Cousins in Christmas jammies!
 Again...I don't know what Santa was thinking. Frozen press on nails? They lasted a whopping fifteen minutes before she got all sorts of things caught on them. Her chubby little hands were pretty hilarious wearing them...

 I always get sad when Christmas is over but I also enjoy getting our house back in order. We spent the weekend putting away our loot and then putting away all of our Christmas decor. M was a huge help. I mean he kind of has to be since I'm still looking five months prego and can't bend over/reach for things. I feel like we are two weeks behind in life because it's basically a one man show over here. He has to help me with so much but there's only so many hours in the day. It's back to reality today with M back to work. All good things must come to an end!

Today we are supposed to find out if IVF worked. I'm crazy anxious but am glad the waiting will be over. I've been preparing myself for disappointment...surely my way of guarding my heart. It makes the fall less painful when you are expecting it I think. But at the same time I can't help but have a glimmer of hope. Funny how that works. I keep reminding myself that if now is not the time for us to have a baby then that was God's plan. It's not Him forgetting about me, it's Him choosing a better plan for our lives. There is a purpose in the waiting and He is working in this mess. I am determined to continue to be faithful and wait. In the meantime I'm trying to keep my eyes on Him and not let fear set in as it so often easily does.

Keep the prayers coming!

(In)Fertility Friday

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Since I'll be taking Friday off for Christmas I thought now would be a good time to post about infertility life lately.
Friends help friends give shots in the butt.

After I had my eggs retrieved on the 10th I was anxious about getting ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. I never got any bloating so I assumed I escaped that dreaded condition. Wrong. After the embryos were transferred into my uterus and when my bed rest was done, the bloating began. Guys...this is not your typical la tee da bloating. We're talking maternity pants wearing, looking five months pregnant bloating. I'm HUGE. I would describe my current status as a walrus.

Honestly, pictures don't do it justice!
OHSS is basically from my ovaries being crazy stimulated by all the meds they gave me to grow eggs. My ovaries are enlarged and full of fluid. There's so much fluid, in fact, that it has filled my whole abdomen...hence the buddah belly. In some cases it can get so extreme that the fluid pushes up against your lungs making it difficult to breathe and ending you up in the hospital. I'm not there yet! Praying I can keep that at bay by drinking Gatorade (electrolytes help), no water, protein, and lots of sodium rich foods. Sounds super healthy right?
IVF jammies and pineapple fro-yo

Apparently if there is a baby (or two!) growing in there it doesn't seem to affect them. If I do end up being pregnant my belly will just stay huge and if not then it takes like 2 to 10 weeks to go away. Basically I'm destined to be huge for quite some time. Good times. If I'm huge because there is a baby growing inside clearly I'm good with that. But being huge for huge's sake? No thanks.
Last few hours of bed rest in my new whip at Blair's preschool performance.

I do have pregnancy symptoms such as swollen and tender breasts and obviously bloating but those are also side effects of the medication I am taking so nothing to get excited about. I have to friends near by who have both done IVF and been successful and neither stated that they had obvious symptoms so that makes me feel better. If I had to guess I would say I'm not pregnant this round. But that's just me protecting my heart like always. Even if we do get good news from the blood test I take on Monday it's just another step in the right direction. I've had that happen to me twice before so it would be silly for me to get super excited. We have to ensure that the numbers are going up with consecutive blood work every two days. So keep praying! It will take us a long time to get out of the woods but I know God is able.
Chic Fil A is always fun with Grandma..especially when you run into one of your favorite friends!
For now I'm still on soft bed rest. No picking up Blair, and just a general notion of taking it easy. I've been taking a nap every day and making Blair pick up everything I drop on the floor. :) I forgot I couldn't lift her and I ran to the store the other day and had to have two different strangers lift her into the cart and out of the cart when I was done. Ooops! Blair kept pointing the gentleman out in the store who helped her. Ha ha.

I still can't get over how selfless and helpful our friends and family have been. We've been blessed with so many meals, people who watch Blair, friends who bought me cute bed rest PJs, and so many encouraging comments and emails. God has been so gracious and I'm so thankful! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas...you are loved and I appreciate your support immensely!

Hotel Marina Del Rey Wedding

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A couple weeks ago my cousin asked Matt, Blair, and me to be in a styled wedding shoot for her job. She works for a hotel chain and needed to feature Marina Del Rey Hotel's new remodel for brides who are interested in getting married there.

I was all about it and it only took a little coaxing to get Matt on board. Blair was thrilled to be in Mommy and Daddy's wedding. An added bonus was having her best friend as a flower girl by her side! I enjoyed having one of my bests and my cousin (the short blonde hair) in my faux wedding too. :)

The whole day felt like a real wedding since we started out getting our hair and make up done. We borrowed a dress from a bridal boutique and cinched it up a smidge...you would never know! The robes and dresses we happened to mostly already own. From my perspective the whole day went really smoothly...I mean it was a faux wedding after all. No bridezillas necessary. ;)

Such a sweet photo of my dear friend and her daughter! Swoon!

Our "wedding" will be featured on theknot.com and weddingwire.com. Who knew I'd be marrying Matt all over again 8 years later! ;)

Wrap it Up

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas is so close! Is weird that I'm already getting sad that it's almost over?! M and I wrapped presents together this weekend, mostly because I can't reach or get on all fours to cut the paper. I indulged him by watching football while we did it. I have to say that seeing him get all geeked out over winning some Fantasy Football stuff was pretty entertaining. I'm just sad I wasn't sly enough to catch him on Snap Chat. Bust! We laughed a lot and I know that is good for my soul.

Every year I try to change up my wrapping a little bit. I tend to stick with rustic, classic paper and I love adding natural elements along with some glam! This year I went with plaid, reindeer, and wood grain printed paper. I like to have all my papers mesh well.

A simple way that I added some dimension to my gifts was to cut small branches off of our scrap heap of Christmas tree branches. M trimmed the bottom of our tree and left me the trimmings for table decor, small wreaths or... presents! I just tucked them under the ribbon. Other things that could add dimension are small ornaments, pine cones, or mini candy canes depending on the look you're going for.

I like to use wire ribbon because it behaves better than the other stuff. I also like that it is often printed on both sides. And hey even if it's not you can twist it to show off the pattern. Something basic like the burlap ribbon goes well with everything.

Since I love glitter/glam I added some sparkly tags to finish off the look. You can find these at Michales or JoAnn craft stores.

Here are some Pinterest wrapping jobs that inspire me...


How do you guys wrap your gifts? Are you done wrapping? I hope these pictures inspired you to try something new!

(in)Fertility Friday

Friday, December 18, 2015

Well I am thisclose to being done with bed rest! I'm done today around noon and then from now on till after Christmas I will be on a "soft" bed rest. Basically no lifting Blair, no exercise other than walking, and just a general taking it easy. And to be totally honest? I didn't hate it! You're probably not surprised. Although I do feel like quite the fatty eating take out and sweets while I lay around all day. I'm officially a sloth.

I feel great other than the dull aching of my back from laying down all day every day. The day after my embryo transfer I woke up and told Matt, "I don't feel pregnant." Of course he rolled his eyes and reminded me that it hadn't even been 24 hours since the transfer. As of today I still don't feel pregnant but according to my other IVF friends they never had symptoms this early either. One of the hardest parts about this is guessing what each little pain and twinge in my body is. I'm trying to stay out of my head but it's so hard! I'm welcoming all distractions...Christmas is good for that!

I find myself preparing to fail but at the same wanting to be hopeful. I've found that throughout these last two years I've had to learn how to balance so many emotions. It's weird how emotions can be so opposite and coexist at the same time. I'm joyful because my life is full of blessings yet sorrowful because I desire to have more children. I'm protective of my heart yet wanting to fully trust God. I guess what it comes down to is that I am constantly battling my will against God's will.

I listened to a sermon this week by Matt Chandler (December 6) called The Refining Love of God. He talked about how sometimes God asks us to let go of things for whatever reason. He said it would be wise for us to open our hand and let go but so many of us clench our fists to hold on tight. His point is that God is going to act in your life either way. So don't make Him break your hand to get what He's asking for. The process is so much easier if we hold things loosely and let Him do what is best for us. Such a hard lesson to grasp! I'm over here gripping my dream of having a baby when I know I need to give that up to Him and let Him control my life because He has my best interest in mind. He loves me and cares for me and will never leave me. He is good and worthy of glory, honor, and praise...regardless of whether He gives us a baby. Now if I can just rest in those truths and never doubt...wouldn't my life be easier?!

Today Matt's wheeling me over to Blair's preschool so I can watch her perform her Christmas program. She's been reciting the sweetest little poem about Jesus' birth for a couple weeks now and I can't wait to see her in action!

As far as what is next for us...a lot of waiting. I won't have another appointment until after Christmas when they draw my blood to see if I'm pregnant or not. Prayers for me to be patient and fearless these next two weeks and of course for those two embryos to attach to my lining and grow, grow, grow!

Tiny Prints Christmas Cards

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I just love this time of the year for many reasons...one of them being Christmas cards in the mail! I make M brave the cold to get our mail each night and we love opening them up and taping them to the wall with washi tape. And you know the prettiest cards come from Tiny Prints!

This year Tiny Prints helped me to create a beautiful Christmas card. When I heard they had designs with glitter on them I was sold! Real, live, glitter?! So glam!

We took our photos at Disneyland and they came out so cute! Disneyland has been a special place for us this year and we wanted to document that in our Christmas cards. Since Blair loves it so much we knew it would lend itself to good photos naturally!

When I received my cards in the mail I couldn't wait to send them out! Tiny Prints' paper is thick and high quality and I know the added glitter will really make our cards stand out among the rest. The colors are vibrant and beautiful as well! I love how they offer so many options in photo layouts so I have room for all our outtakes. :) I chose personalized liners with Blair's sweet face on them along with shimmery gold envelopes. So festive and fun!

I love addressing cards in a unique way so I traced a tag on each envelope to give it the feel of a package. When you are on bed rest you have plenty of time to do these things. ;) Enjoy the rest of our Disneyland photos below!

Cards courtesy of Tiny Prints.

Photos by Carrie Johnson Photography.

Nutcracker Ballet

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Today is a big day. We find out if our two little embryos made it over the weekend. The frustrating thing is that whether they made it or not we still have to drive down to Newport to meet with the doctor so he can tell us. If one or two of them made it I'll be on bed rest for the next three days. If not then we thaw the five remaining eggs on my next cycle and try again. I've never hoped so much for bed rest in my life! Pray, pray, pray!

Over the weekend my Mom, Mother-in-Law, and Blair and I went to the Nutcracker ballet. Blair is crazy into ballet so I thought this would be a fun girls night out for us. We went out to dinner and then walked over to the theatre downtown. I wasn't sure how well she would sit though it but she loved it! Towards the end of the second act she got a bit restless but hey, even I was restless at that point. For the most part she was glued to the stage and kept asking me what they were saying (um, it's ballet...they don't talk!). At one point she grabbed my face and said, "Mom you're such a sweetie!" That's when I know she's thankful! Hahah.

At intermission she danced her way up the aisle to the restroom and back down again. I'm sure she was their youngest guest and quite a show stopper in her own big tutu.

In the spring the theatre is hosting The Little Mermaid ballet and I can't wait to take her to that! Have you taken any of your littles to performances like this? How did it go?

(In)Fertility Friday

Friday, December 11, 2015

Operation egg retrieval was a success! The doctor retrieved 16 eggs out of my 25 follicles. We will know tomorrow how many eggs were mature/healthy. Yesterday M and I made the decision to fertilize 5 eggs. Statistically, not all five eggs will fertilize so we will likely be left with 2-3 embryos to implant. Two will be implanted this time and whatever is left will be frozen for a later date. Is is possible that we could have six kids total out of this? Yes. Likely? No. Only God knows!

After waiting an eternity in the lobby I was finally called back to the O.R. The staff was super friendly and I actually remembered to take my underwear off this time. ;) The anesthesia they used was called propofol and is ironically what killed Michael Jackson. Apparently if you use it everyday to sleep the results are no bueno. Lucky for me I was only out for 12 minutes while they did the procedure. Once they turned my drip off I woke right up! I thought I would say some funny stuff but it turns out I was pretty with it. Aside from asking M and the nurse the same questions over and over I wasn't all that loopy. I basically had a good buzz going on and I didn't hate it!
I wore my fearless bracelet to remind me not to fear and to trust in Him!

Once I was in recovery I asked for all the pain meds I could have. The cramping was insane! Basically it felt like menstrual cramps on crack. Or, if you've had a baby, like intense contractions. After a shot in the butt (it wasn't that bad!) and some vicodin I was feeling just fine. Oh, and the heating pad helped a ton too! Not to mention the animal crackers I got to devour snack on.

I also wore my gold "give grace" tattoo to support those who are going through infertility. I was all decked out!
My biggest concern was hyperstimulating but since I didn't have a crazy amount of eggs the nurse said it was very unlikely. Phew! Bullet dodged. 

On the way home we rolled through In-n-Out since I hadn't eaten all day. I usually inhale my food but the meds slowed me down. When we got home M put me on the couch and I was passed out for a good 2 hours. Lala dropped Blair off after her nap and she was the sweetest girl snuggling me on the couch and checking out my bandaids and fancy medical bracelet. Friends brought us dinner and we've been so taken care of! The sweet texts and prayers are such an encouragement.

At this point I'm feeling hopeful and at peace. I'm giving this burden to the Lord and resting in His sovereignty. On Tuesday I go back for the embryo implantation and will be on bed rest for three days. I'll be doing "Netflix and chill" minus the chill part. ;) Thank you for praying hard for these little babies!