Processing miscarriage

In the weeks since my miscarriage, my state of being has been up and down. I still am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the purpose in all of this. I try to remember that so many have it worse, or are fighting bigger battles. I remember what a gift it is that we have our precious Eden. I remember just how truly blessed we are in this life and the absolute gift it is that we have such a strong, beautiful marriage. I remember, I give thanks, but the sting still hurts. From the very depths of my being, I grieve, I fight the longings and the ache of it all. Just tonight, a friend announced a pregnancy with a due date in the same week our precious little one would have been due. I thought I was good, but it brought back all the emotions, the hurt, the turmoil and confusion that surrounded those few weeks of my pregnancy given my emergent surgery and everything.

What’s been equally challenging is just how long this miscarriage is lasting. I thought it would all be over with the passing of the gestational sac, but now I wait for my hcg to drop. It has been 4 weeks. It went from 7700 to 95 to 31. In one and a half weeks I will go back in again for another hcg. I hope and pray that it will finally be less than 5, the magical number for which I wait. Once it is there, we will wait for a period to begin and then the whole process starts again. So potentially we are looking at another few months before we will be able to do an embryo transfer. I know what many may be thinking…”it’s just a few months, what’s the big deal?” And I know, it is easy to say such things…but I am telling you, it’s not that easy when you are living it, when daily you walk in the uncertainty of your future, when getting pregnant means injections, appointments, missing work, bed rest and so many thousands of dollars. It is all worth it, believe me and I know it completely but nonetheless it is taxing. And it becomes even more wearisome when it doesn’t work. And let me be honest in saying that I just felt so messed with with this whole last pregnancy. I just feel like the person Job in the bible and that God allowed everything to come crashing down in front of me…bit by bit. I know it is nothing compared to what Job lost, but it was a disheartening journey. The carrot would be dangled in front of me, and then hope would be dashed and then I would be asked to wait…and then the whole cycle would continue, hope…hope dashed…wait…hope…hope dashed…wait and then finally…complete LOSS and DEVASTATION.

Yet, as I have always said…faith endures, I will wait on God. I know that everything will be beautiful in time, that the waiting will be fruitful, that we will be blessed beyond measure…but it won’t be on our timeline. Right now I am in the refiner’s fire…getting worked over, molded. Day by day, my character grows stronger, my ability to persevere increasingly steadfast.

Get ready y’all…it’s going to be a beautiful story.


A deluge of grief.

It started out as a rather regular Saturday morning.  Our friend was over and we were enjoying a nice chat. Midway through the morning, she received a phone call that her dear friend’s baby had died earlier that day. 

The world came crashing down in that moment and a wave of emotions engulfed each of us.  My husband and I have been praying for this sweet girl since she was in her momma’s belly.  She was born with a congenital heart defect and though she has been thriving since her surgery shortly after her birth, a common cold caught earlier this week was more then her heart could bear. 

The tears have flowed steadily for me throughout the day.  My heart just breaks for this family, for this baby girl, who to me, had an uncanny resemblance to our own daughter.  I am struggling with how unfair life seems in this moment.  I am struggling with how God could take such a beautiful little girl so soon.  I am struggling with how her parents must have felt leaving the hospital without their little baby.  I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to have left their daughter in that room, in that unit, in that hospital…and drive away.  (I am sorry for how depressing this post is…but I just have to get all these emotions and thoughts out.)  I can’t imagine going to bed without my sweet girl next to me.  Days that have been filled with appointments and constant special heart care amidst the everyday life with a new born, what now to fill your days with. Having struggled with infertility, I have dealt with a great deal of grief in my own life.  Of course, there is no comparison with losing a child, but each month I felt like my heart died a small death with the passing of yet another month, another opportunity.  As a new mother,  I can only imagine how that grief would be absolutely overwhelming after the immense bonding and attachment that happens in these early months. 

There are no words.  No words of comfort I can offer.  Instead, all I can do is look heavenward and do my best to trust Jesus.  To trust that his ways are not our own.  To remember just how precious the time was that she was here on earth.  To believe in His sovereignty and to remember that she is in a better place, free from pain and suffering.  In this lifetime, I will never understand the tragedies and sorrows that we each must endure, but someday they will all be redeemed by the mighty hand of our Savior.  To Him be the glory.  Lord, please bring your peace to this family.  Surround them with your comfort and your care.  Give them your hope and help them to not lose heart.  She will never be forgotten.  All I can do is pray and hold my own precious gift close.  How blessed I am to have one of my own. 

17 weeks! So much excitement in the air…

Hello all!

I have missed blogging. It has been a very eventful 3 weeks since my last post. From a trip to the mountains (picture to right) to attending a marriage retreat to a day trip to Seattle to all sorts of nesting projects and some intensive book writing…busy, busy, busy and I have loved each moment of it. Especially given that fall has finally settled into the northwest. Cozy sweaters, warm beverages and ALL things PUMPKIN have been in order.

My pregnancy continues on uneventfully. We had another OB appointment last week and I really think we could have accomplished most of it (minus the vital signs and weight measurement) via the phone. She listened to the heartbeat but couldn’t quantify a number and then went over with us the food dos and don’t of pregnancy (which I thought was a little late given we are in our second trimester). That’s it and sent us on our way. Oh well, I imagine our appointments will become more involved the further we get. One important thing did happen though and that was that the order was placed to schedule our big 20 week ultrasound! We are SO excited about that one. This will be our first ultrasound in over 10 weeks.

On a side note, we opted not to have an NT scan or do any genetic testing. We chose not to because I have always heard about the relatively high rate of false positives. This truth became a reality just over 2 years ago when a dear friend of mine received a false positive that sent her into a state of anxiety and depression for the remainder of her pregnancy. Of course, at the time, she didn’t know it was a false positive. Instead of enjoying her pregnancy, she prepared herself emotionally for a child with Down’s Syndrome and processed through long established expectations of what she had hoped this baby would mean for her. Bottom line for us is that no outcome of these tests would cause us to terminate a pregnancy. So rather than deal with the small chance of a false positive, we would rather just leave it all in God’s hands. What will be will be! Of course, this is just the right decision for us. I know myself and know that I would most likely respond in a similar manner as my friend. This is an area where I am choosing ignorance over knowledge. Perhaps, instead of ignorance I am just going to call it faith. I am learning that all parts of infertility, pregnancy (and very soon I will be adding parenting to that list) include releasing control and having increasingly more FAITH.

Other than that, things have been going pretty smoothly. I guess the biggest thing I have had to deal with is a whole lot of constipation. There have been moments throughout the last few weeks where I didn’t think my belly could stretch any more, the pain and discomfort close to unbearable. As a result, last weekend, our household initiated operation FIBER and that has really turned things around. My husband has been trying to help me eat 30 grams of fiber per day. He has been making all sort of fiber rich meals and breakfasts. Let me tell you, that is a LOT of fiber and my body is responding appropriately. Praise God though! I feel so much better.

We are busy planning our gender reveal party that will be coming up after our ultrasound…actually 9 days after. This was the earliest that we could find a free weekend night to plan it. Though it means a little more waiting, it will give the baker a chance to make our cake and for us to get all the last minute details together. SO FUN! I will definitely give you more details as it comes together.

Also, we are planning to finally announce our pregnancy to the world (aka facebook) sometime in the next week or 2. We are meeting up with a dear friend on Sunday to take some pregnancy announcement/holiday pictures. Another thing I am VERY excited about. I keep using that word over and over again, but there are just a lot of great things going on right now. I feel really blessed to be where we are at.

Here are a few more photos from our weekend in the mountains.

Tonight I will post a 17 week picture and a few more updates. Blessings to all!

2nd TRIMESTER!!! Woweeee! 14w1d

October 1st marked the first official day of my second trimester according to!!!  I am so excited to reach this point.  I have been feeling great.  I couldn’t have asked for a healthier, more feel good pregnancy thus far.  So, I decided to celebrate and post my first bump pic.  This was taken at 5:30am, before breakfast.  I get so bloated by the end of the day, so I wanted my bump pic to be tried and true – not the late evening bloat belly.

I feel that I have really settled into my pregnancy and don’t find myself anxiously anticipating my next change day as much as I used to.  It’s a real joy carrying our little “half pint” as my husband so affectionately refers to them as.

I look forward to writing more.  It has been a busy fall thus far.  Tomorrow we are headed to the mountains for our annual FALL get together with our dear friends.  It’s always a wonderful time for some R&R and a WHOLE lot of the great outdoors.  Last year they were pregnant during our trip.  How I remember dreaming that we would be on similar journey of our own this year and HERE WE ARE!  Such a blessing.

12 weeks and LOVING it!

We have made it to 12 weeks!  It is a BLESSED, HAPPY, SOLID number!!!  It felt so good to get that pregnancy update from baby center today!

Over the past few weeks we have really begun to embrace our pregnancy and my ever so slightly growing bump.  Last week, I even splurged and bought some maternity shirts.  Not that I need them, what I really need are some pants, though rubber bands are doing me wonders.  But, I have to tell you that I kinda hit the jackpot at ROSS of all places.  I bought 9 new maternity shirts for $76 total (The really nice kind with rouched sides!)  It felt great!  Ross, is the one place that I essentially have a free ticket to shop all I want!  My husband loves to save money and Ross fits nicely into the budget.  Typically little money is spent there though as I have never really enjoyed shopping and especially not at stores like Ross that require massive amounts of patience to sift through all the clothing.  But the maternity section was small and quite easy to maneuver.  Anyway, all the shirts are are super cute.  I should post a few pix.  The experience certainly beat the $24 I paid at Target for one shirt.  Anyway, there is always a compromise though.  I am going to splurge on one pair of fantastic maternity jeans.  I live in my jeans and have yet to find anything I like, so I am going to go for it, though I hope to purchase them through consignment…but if not…then I am just going to take the plunge.

Anyway, enough ramblings about clothes.  On to some God talk.

For some time, I have felt that I need to do more for women battling with infertility.  My heart is soooo heavy for women yet in the trenches and I want to help them find hope.  It was SO hard for me to cling to hope and not give up on my faith entirely at times during our long road to conceiving.  I have felt in my heart a real desire to write some sort of devotional or bible study to help encourage women through this season in their lives.  We’ll see what becomes of it, but I can’t seem to shake the idea.  Honestly, it seems so daunting to me. I am not a good writer and to put together some sort of booklet sounds like a huge undertaking, but at the same time, I want to be a voice of compassion and encouragement to women going through this.  Fortunately, for so many of us, we have found community and a voice through our blogs, but I know there are so many more out there that are feeling humiliated, isolated, and without support during one of the greatest challenges that life can bring.

Anyway, so that is a bit on that….

We have begun to tell family and friends about our pregnancy and it is just wonderful to hear their responses.  It is like a long awaited Christmas gift that we are just now beginning to unwrap. My husband and I cherish these moments together with our family and friends and find such joy in their responses.  I think we will wait to post it on facebook for some time just because I kinda like keeping it to our inner circle for now.  Maybe when I bust into those maternity clothes I will post a little pic or something, but for now, it has been so delightful just letting people know as we run into them or call them or however the connection may occur.

Praying for so many of you ladies and so thankful to be able to share in your stories!  This community is a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement for me!

9dp5dt. Beta Results. Pregnant!

I don’t even know where to start.  These past 9 days have been a faith building exercise.  Learning to trust, learning to wait.  Lessons that seem to reappear time and time again in my life.  This past week and a half was no exception.

On 3dp5dt transfer I had my only “symptom” of a possible impending pregnancy.  I felt a few quick, sharp stabbing pains in my left flank. I also experienced a few brief cramps with the intensity of my uterus feeling like it was being wrung out like a wet rag.  That was it.   Other than that, I have felt 100% completely normal.  Though I guess this is not a surprise as I have not really experienced any side effects of any of the medications throughout this IVF cycle.  The only thing I had was a little nipple tenderness with my high estrogen levels prior to retrieval.  Nonetheless, it began to make me nervous, I scoured people’s blogs and the internet…should I be feeling more?  I worried and I fretted…but then I remembered, every story is different, there are plenty of people who don’t feel pregnant for weeks.  I realized, once again, that this WHOLE thing is out of my control and that all I could do was keep trusting God, keep walking, and keep hoping.

My husband and I decided that we would test early.  I figured I would rather ease into whatever is ahead.  If it’s negative, I wanted to begin to prepare myself slowly.  I figured that would be easier for me to shoulder than waiting until beta day with all the stress and anxiety of finally getting to that day only to find out it was negative.  We took our first test last Saturday at 6dp5dt.  After  peeing on the stick, I quickly dismissed it as soon as I saw the control line appear without the slightest mark on the test line, assumed it was negative and jumped in the shower.   Perhaps in hopes to convince and prepare my own heart, I had reminded my husband prior to taking the test that it was too early and that it would probably be negative.  Nonetheless, in the shower, my heart sank and I prayed that God would give me the strength to handle this whole thing if it didn’t work.  Lo and behold, upon getting out of the shower, I looked at the test and there it was…a faint pink line.  The first I have ever seen in our 20 months of TTC.  My husband could hardly believe it.  I thought back to all the encouraging posts I have seen of women with pee sticks that started out faint and slowly grew darker.  Where would this go?  Could this be it? Was it still possible the hcg trigger shot was still in me?  It had been 13 days since we had had our trigger shot.  Only time would tell.  So we kept waiting and continued living.  We prayed and prayed and prayed to our faithful God who is sovereign whom we knew had the perfect plan for our lives.

The next day the test was positive AGAIN!  We decided there must be something wrong with these cheap 88 cent Walmart test sticks and dug in the bathroom closet for our one and only digital pregnancy test.  This would tell us for SURE that we weren’t pregnant, I just knew it.  That’s all they had ever shown us.  A big, fat emotionless NOT PREGNANT.  But within a minute I realized it had left out the NOT and only the word PREGNANT had appeared on the screen.  Could it be true?

Well, our line continued to darken yesterday and this morning.  I went in for my beta at 8am and waited 5.5 agonizing hours for my clinic to let me the know the results. Finally at 1:30pm my Doctor called to let me know that I was PREGNANT.  He told me that they had all been fighting over who would get to call me with my results and that he won the fight because he is the oldest.  I thought that was SOOO sweet.  I didn’t expect him to call at all, as the lab tech told me this morning that she is the one who typically calls with results!

Our beta was 98.4!  We are so excited about this number but also a little nervous.  I hope it is high enough, I guess we’ll know in a few days.  I just gotta keep the faith!  It all comes back to that for me.

We feel extremely humbled and are in complete shock right now.  We feel beyond blessed but are also experiencing a great deal of what I am calling “survivor” guilt until I can figure out a better term.  We don’t feel like we deserve this amazing outcome with so many still in the trenches.  Our hearts break for everyone battling infertility and we want everyone to get their joyous results too.  Also, I am all to aware of our how delicate this pregnancy is and will just have to wait and watch and keep trusting and praying that God will bring it to fruition.   I will never forget the road that has led me here and those that have journeyed with me.  Thank you for your support, your care and all your prayers.

I will keep you posted with our next results on Thursday.

BLESSED to be PUPO!!!! 1dp5dt

I can’t believe I am typing those words.  Long before IVF was a consideration for us and the hows and what ifs of our fertility were bent on timing and OPKs, in the days when I first began blogging, I remember seeing that as a part of someone’s blog title.  I remember racking my brain trying to figure out what it could mean.

1dp5dt:  1 day post 5 day transfer

Here we are and what a glorious cycle it has been!  I can’t even believe it.  Where to start?  All I can think to do is keep thanking God for his grace to us in this journey…but let me give you a little more detail first.

Yesterday was our embryo transfer.  It was went very smoothly.  Our Acupuncturist met us at the clinic and I was so thankful to have her there.  With a bladder full and screaming to be emptied, I was so glad the pre treatment needles helped the time to pass quickly.  Next my RE..if you don’t mind I just gotta give him a few kudos before proceeding.  We just LOVE him and can hardly believe we are so blessed to have him as he is one of the top rated in the country AND he came in on a Sunday to do my transfer though he wasn’t on call. What a guy!  Ok, back to the story, following the acupuncture, he and the embryologist came in to give us the good news….

Of the 10 that fertilized…9 had made it to the BLAST stage.  We were pretty overwhelmed initially, having expected only a few to survive to this stage of the game.  We transferred 2 embryos. For those of you interested, we transferred a 5AA and a 4AA.  Following our post treatment acupuncture it was off to our home and on to the couch.  I am on strict bed rest for 48 hours.  I can get up to use the bathroom but that is about it.  No showers allowed until Tuesday morning.

Bed rest has proceeded uneventfully.  My husband has such a servant’s heart and has blessed with me so much care over the last day and a half.  Home cooked meals, pillow propping, companionship, lots of good conversation.  I am enjoying our time together though I am EAGER to get off the couch and into the shower tomorrow.

This afternoon, I received more good news.  Our embryologist called to report that she was able to freeze 6 embryos.  All grade AA!!!!!!!  Unreal.  1 6AA, 2 5AA, and 3 4AA.  WHOA!  She told me that our cycle was absolutely amazing and they rarely see anything like it. To have 9 of 10 make it to the blast stage, all grade AA and to only have 1 fail to freeze…OUTSTANDING! We are once again feeling overwhelmed and humbled by God’s goodness to us.  I give him all the credit though I am thankful to have taken all the supplements I did to increase egg quality.  They seemed to have really payed off!

Anyway, I’m not sure how this will all turn out…but as of today, I am PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!!

Here’s a scanned picture of our 2 sweet embies.

Kissing Ovaries. Post Retrieval Day 1

We made it through our egg retrieval!  Everything went PERFECTLY.  We retrieved 16 eggs and found out this morning that 10 fertilized via ICSI.

I was in a lot of pain throughout the day yesterday. I became pretty worried I was headed straight into the abyss of OHSS when I stepped onto the scale last night and realized that I had gained almost 4 pounds since yesterday morning.  It hurt to urinate and do pretty much anything else, even sitting was hard.  But overnight, my body worked a miracle and after getting up to the bathroom at least 10 times, my body managed to shed just over 3 of the 4 pounds of fluid.  I must give a HUGE thanks to my OHSS preventative diet  – the protein shakes and electrolyte water/salty diet is paying off.  Also, more than anything I am so blessed by my sweet husband who took such amazing care of me and made me homemade chicken and rice soup to slurp on during the afternoon post retrieval.

I am SO thankful to be feeling so much more like myself today.  It still hurts a tad to go to the bathroom, but I am finding my strength again and happy to not feel so “full” where my ovaries are.  They mentioned that my ovaires were so large they referred to them as “kissing” ovaries when they saw them under ultrasound for the retrieval.  I have heard of kissing tonsils, but never kissing ovaries…kinda cute, I guess.  Apparently with little room to spare in side of me, they opted to grow together.  Regardless, they did great and we are beyond pleased.  Words can’t even describe the elation we feel at the thought of 10 potential children…I know that number will dwindle dramatically over the next few days, but I am just so thankful.  Something that has been IMPOSSIBLE for us on our own has now been made possible!!!!

Thank you all for your support, I will keep you posted.  We will not hear back from the embryologist until Saturday.

Our transfer is scheduled for Sunday at 0945. We are going to have our accupuncturist come to do a treatment pre/post procedure.  I am really looking forward to that. Following our transfer, as my dear friend told me, I will then be P.U.P.O…Pregnant until Proven Otherwise!!!!!

Trigger Tonight

I am beyond thrilled!  I have finally been given the green light to take my trigger shot tonight.  I am currently on Day 9 of my stimulation medications.  My body has responded all too well to the drugs and they have been worried about my risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).  As a result, every other day, after my ultrasound and lab work results have come back, my meds have been decreased in hopes that my estrogen levels wouldn’t continue to rise too dramatically. They say they like to see them double every other day, mine had been tripling early on.  Though decreasing my doses has increased the duration of my treatment cycle, it is a HUGE precautionary step for which I am so grateful.  Also, I have read that an estrogen level above 5000 on the day of trigger can dramatically increase your risk of OHSS.  After backing off my Follistim significantly on Friday, I am finally where they want me, an estrogen level of 3967 and 22 follicles.

Nonetheless, on Friday they started me on an OHSS preventative diet. This diet will help keep fluid in my blood stream and moving through and out of my body, rather than into my cells which would result in water retention, bloating and many potentially SEVERE complications. This diet includes the following recommendations.

  • No Free Water.  My husband picked up some NUUN dissolvable electrolyte tablets at REI…so far, so good.
  • High PROTEIN.  Whey protein shakes.  I am adjusting…not a huge shake girl, but it’s for a short time.
  • High Sodium.  I like a little salt on things, but I’m typically not one who loves a little food with her salt.  But, once again, a small sacrifice. They recommend drinking V8 juice for this.  This has NEVER been a beverage of choice for me.  NASTY stuff…but I might as well drink in a few more veggies.
  • Limiting carbs, sugar, pasta…all that good stuff!

Anyway, one day at a time.  I am going into my egg retrieval eyes wide open.  I have done the anesthesia for egg retrievals many times, it’ll be interesting being on the receiving side of the IV this time.  Though I give anesthesia every day, I am definitely more nervous about THAT then I am the retrieval.  I am sure it will all go very smoothly.

I feel super blessed to be in this spot!  God is SO good and it has been a very LONG journey.  I am just so thankful for my sweet husband, supportive friends and such a wonderful infertility clinic to help me through this process!

Here’s a pic to spice up this post.  My favorite Chateau of the Loire Valley with QUITE a juicy story behind it.  Chenoceau.

so little control…waiting for retrieval

So little control.  So much faith.  I will not give up hope that this IVF cycle will be a success.

In my CoNTroL:

  • Taking the right medications at the right time
  • What I eat
  • Getting to my appointments

OUT of my CoNTroL:

  • How many follicles grow (today there were 24, an ever changing number)
  • How many eggs I produce
  • How many mature eggs there will be
  • How many will fertilize
  • How many will grow for 5 days
  • If there will be any left to transfer
  • If there will be any to freeze
  • If the transferred embryos will implant
  • If an embryo will be carried to term

So much is out of my hands.  No amount of stress, worry, or determination will change ANY of these factors.  I have never felt more out of control.  This journey is not a product of my own preparation or study or pursuit or persistence like so many other things in the past.  I have never had to depend more on my Maker, to trust more entirely in His plan for my life.  I can’t do anything but my own small part.  The rest is up to Him.  Though this is my body, it’s ultimately putty in the hands of my GREAT GOD…who is moving and willfully knitting together my life, my story, and the journey through which He will use me.  I remain grateful that I don’t have to muster up another ounce of strength to make my way through it…for He is my HOPE and my STRENGTH.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

I LOVE my story, I would not trade it for any others.  Though it has been full of hurt and heartache these have been but moments in a far greater current of love, adventure, and blessing.

Thank you.  I wait on you, Jesus.