Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10w3d...Unfolding Before Me

Yesterday was a good day.  We saw the babies again!  Both babies are still there!  No one vanished!  The vanishing twin phenomenon greatly worried me.  They measured a little ahead this time.  Baby A was 10w6d and Baby B measured 10w4d.  Both had heartbeats around 168....considered normal during week 11.  I had two favorite parts of the whole thing...
1.  At first both babies were still and peaceful in there, all snuggled up.  Then, the doc pressed with the ultrasound thingie, and each one, when engaged, moved all four limbs...did a little dance.  It was precious to me.  To see that evidence of life healed something in me.  There were tears.  And smile that shone right through them.
2. Yesterday I got to say good bye to my pal "wandy".  Yes, friends, a new graduation day.  Boy am I happy that part is done.  The babies showed right up the "regular way".  I am becoming closer and closer to a "regular girl".  

My next appointment is 1/13.  At that appointment I will be 12w2d pregnant.  I will finally be passed that ever elusive safety point.  In some ways, I never thought I would get there, never visualized what that would feel like, never dared to dream that far.  It hurt too much.  The consequence to that is, however ridiculous it is, this girl who has been trying for motherhood for 10 years, is nowhere near ready for what is coming.  Nowhere near ready for success. I didn't even dare to dream it.  What does that say about my faith in God?  I'm not sure.  I did a lot of dreaming about children in my arms, how I would nurture them, but the "how" they got there was never clear.  The journey was always up to God. And now it's unfolding before me, miraculous, and glorious, in all it's wonder, something only a God who truly loves me could create.  So maybe it says a lot about my faith after all?  There was no secure plan, there is no choreography to follow.  So I'll just strive to do one thing, snuggle up to Him and wait to feel the momentum of the curves up ahead.

The next "curve in the road" is beginning on Jan 4th, and it will surely be a faith walk. Hubby and I get to "step down" the support drugs.  We get to only do the progesterone in oil shots every other day, and the estrogen patches are also cut in half.  The end of the drug parade is Jan 11th.  When 12 weeks are finally behind us.  We are thankful that this expensive drug support is finally easing.  We are also praying that there are no consequences for the cutting back.  The babies look so healthy in there, let's hope their placenta's can take over the heavy lifting seamlessly.

Also, Dr. A wants me to schedule an appointment with the specialist.  Not sure when, but the specialist's office is already calling to schedule.  I'll keep you in the loop for when that appointment will happen.

And now, something I've been chewing on for a few days....a quick note of apology to anyone I have withdrawn from in the last few weeks:  I am sorry for my absence.  My heart has missed each of you.  I am sorry for the distance.  I think I understand the "why" and I would like to share it with you:
1.  I am so tired.  Scary tired.  The kind of tired that makes me worry a little.  I have been resting my mind and my body because I am trying to learn to listen to what I need, for them (of course).  Its an adjustment for me to not pick up the phone and reach out, to cover in prayer instead of actual talking, to let that be enough.  Know that each of you are not far from my heart, even if the frequency of our discussions makes me feel far away.
2.  My tired brain is mostly thinking about how to avoid throwing up.  Seriously, I'm overcome with how I physically feel, I'm trying to plan the next snack or meal, think of something I can stomach.  It's made me obsessive, and I fear that all this focus on food in, food out, has made my relationships suffer.  I'm truly sorry for that, and hopeful that there is some relief in this area soon.
3.  I think that God was/is doing something with me spiritually.  I think that only God knew how hard, emotionally and physically, this first trimester would be for me.  I think that God planned some heavy lifting for me in regards to beginning to heal my broken heart, and He wanted me to have some space and time and energy so that He and I could do that good work.  This momma has to be healthy and whole for these babies.  Thank you for letting me have the space to do the work, and for loving me through with your texts and your calls and your support with blog replies.  I know that you are right here with me, I feel you everyday, and I will be back to do my part in the future.  Know you are not forgotten, you are loved, and you are always prayed for.  I am thankful for each of you.

I pray much love and happiness and peace over each of you in 2014, this year of Hope.  Thank you for coming along with me on this road paved with hope.  I'm thankful for the company. Cheers!

Friday, December 27, 2013

10w0d How many times can I use the word PUKE? And how much inappropriate punctuation can I include?...Who cares!

Finally...some time to rest.  I'm loving being a teacher and being on holiday break!  No work until 1/6! Except for a side project I can do in my jammies!  This means a break from public puking.  No enduring of anything annoying to my poor tummy (examples...no spectrum of people smells...B.O...perfume...dirty diapers..., no riding in cars when nauseas, no forced/trapped listening to stories I've already heard, no expectations to be charming).  No hiding my grimace of yuckiness. The "grimace" means one of the following:  "I think if I eat I may not puke, but everything I think of eating makes me want to puke", "I think what I just ate to avoid puking is going to make me puke", "I think that you stink and I may puke", "I think that I may puke for no apparent reason what so ever".  No one around ='s no explanations, no extra talking, no hiding how I feel.  Some at home time is just what this girl needs.  

Week 10 is behind us as of today.  And so we embark upon week 11. Monday we get to see these little lovelies again.  I'm praying they are on target.  My weight is creeping up which is good for twins.  We will see where I stand on Monday.  Dr. Luke's book says 25 lbs by 20 weeks.  We started at 137, and with 10 out of 20 weeks down, we are at 143. Up by 6 lbs.  Dr. Luke says that the weight of these babies at birth is directly related to how much I gain all throughout this pregnancy.  My major goal is to be able to take these babies home with me, and breast feed.  I want them with me from moment one.  I want no NICU separation.  My best chance for that is at least 6 lb babies.  My best shot for 6 lb babies is to gain weight, good weight...protein...healthy weight all the way throughout this pregnancy.  So far, I'm blessed and thankful to have gained with all the puking going on.  Dr. Luke says if I gain good weight all the way throughout, then breastfeeding will take it off quickly after the babies come.  I'm pretty sure I will never be back to my size 6, but it's all worth it.

I've been having such a pukey week.  We are trying out ensure plus shakes.  So far so good, the first one is staying down.  Sweet hubby planned our meals for the rest of the week.  Then he grocery shopped.  He is serious about following Dr. Luke's advice.  I'm so incredibly thankful for him.  These babies and I are blessed to have him as our hubby/daddy.  When I stand back and watch him taking care of us, and being patient, and worrying, and planning for our future, I am filled with awe and gratitude.  We have both grown so much in these years of struggle.  Of course, here in this place, when I'm chuck full of babies, it's easier to let all of the waiting make some sort of sense.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

9w1d A Mountain of Gifts and a Mountain of Days to Go!

Today I wrapped a mountain of gifts.  I love wrapping gifts, tying ribbon, fluffing tissue...trust me its pretty close to as crafty as I get.  I kept thinking that if all goes well, it may be years before I can wrap to my perfectionist's heart's content.  Instead everyone will get last years gift bags, wrinkled or not, Christmassy or not, because friends we are going to be in budget lock down, and there is no way that two five month olds are going to let me wrap presents for hours on end. Yeah, no that ship has definitely sailed.

Only 9 more wake ups until my next ob appointment.  To say I am counting the days would be a gross understatement.  I misspoke in the post where I claimed this two week wait would be hard...because this is an 18 day wait...which is way longer that your usual TWW.  Also, this morning sickness makes the days drag on, everyday they feel longer.  By the 30th I should be 10w2d pregnant. I am praying that both babies measure on target and that both heartbeats are strong.  I am trying to do everything right, take my crohn's meds, keep my vitamins down, eat protein, drink water, etc.  Not all of these things are occurring though, not with the constant competing nausea, and with the going to bed really early.  There just isn't enough time in the day to be perfect with everything.  So I am trying not to think about any guilt equation if things are iffy on the 30th.

I also have to remember the three great ultrasounds we've already had.  There is no evidence of anything going wrong.  I just can't help preparing a little.  All the while though, that quiet constant peace is still way down there helping me rest.

And in the meantime, we have Christmasness to get through.  And, by the Grace of God, I have two weeks off to puke in private, and really rest. I do have a special project to work on that will bring in some unexpected money...it's just the kind of challenge I like to dive into.  Maybe it will be enough to distract me?

I'm looking forward to the family time, and some time with my sweet hubby.  Although, here's hoping he's better during labor than he is during the puke party.  Poor guy doesn't know how to help, he keeps trying to talk to me during, like I can answer!!!  I told him the best thing he can do for me is clean the throne for me and not make me wait for meals.  He's been doing most of the cooking because this girl is going nowhere near raw meat!  He's working on it.  I love that man.

Monday, December 16, 2013

8w2d Preggo Meet my Cool Pal "Bessie"

This girl is so sick.  I have now become a veteran at puking in public places. It's a new flavor of awesome.  I'm even thankful for this nauseous adventure.  I'd be worried if it was otherwise during this latest two week wait.  I am thankful for this data, for this proof, for this evidence of these babies.  

So, I'm doing my job to avoid the nausea, and keep my head out of random garbage cans, I am eating the freaking world.  I carry a giant cooler with me full of things I think I can stomach.  I can be found shoving the contents of said cooler in my mouth at any given moment throughout the day.  I met with more than one of my bosses today and in between semi-intelligent utterances, I shoved cheese and crackers, dried mango, and an uncrustable (yes, I am craving processed pb&j) in my mouth instead of breathing.  It was completely out of control.

I hear that there might be some "twenty pound by 20 weeks" rule with twins.  So far I've only gained a pound with 8 weeks behind me.  With my Crohn's I'm guessing I might have trouble meeting this benchmark.  My answer to that, a constant companion cooler. That thing is spending more time with me than anyone else in my life, except for my bundles!  Maybe I should give it a name?  How about "Bessie" since it's main purpose is to transform me right out of my size 6...which I may never see again! Feeding these babies is my most important job.  I don't care what it costs me in the long run.  There's always the gym.  Besides, with two babies, I may never sit on my couch again!  Which, by the way, is exactly what I've been waiting for!

Meet "Bessie"

Friday, December 13, 2013

7w6d Preggo...I'm Just a Regular Girl

So, for the first time in 10 years I'm at my OB/GYN and I am not having ripples of emotional pain at the sight of all the preggos, and preggo related paraphernalia.  I'm surrounded by baby themed, belly related schtuff, and I haven't cringed once.  I fully remember how I used to feel.  The memory is not gone.  But I can't feel it the same way.  It feels out of my reach.  I realize that, on this side of the proverbial stirrups, I can fully see the girl I was, and I love her deeply in her pain.  I long to give her pieces and parts of the peace I have now.  I long to hold her, and show her the pictures of these two that will be hers.  Although, back then that probably would have hurt too.  

I can remember it all, but it is as if these two in me have given me an emotional epidural.  I can't hurt for wanting for them, because they are here. Really here.  Really a part of who I am even now.  Their presence is such an overwhelming comfort to me.  

Dr. A is awesome.  He even complimented me for sticking it out and never giving up.  He said he was proud of me.  He has such a strong paternal presence.  I'm thankful for him.  He says I need to consult with a specialist because of my age and the twins.  He also said that its ok with him if I need to see them (ultrasound) more than most.  He understands that it will help me be calm if I can see them doing well in there. My next appointment is 12/30.  We will get to see them again then.  He looked again today, a pleasant surprise.  The heartbeats were just a little higher today...164 and 158...two days ago they were both at 150.  Here is the chart I'm hanging my hat (and heart) on...so to speak:
I'm so thankful for this encouraging info.  My God must know how much I need it.  So It's time to settle in for another two week wait.  Is this one going to be easier than all the ones that came before?  I have no idea.  I'm praying it is.  These little ones are giving me lots of reminders of their presence.  I'm surprised I don't look as green as I feel.  I've got two parties tonight, and I will be lucky if I make it 15 minutes at each.  Going to rest now while I can.

When I wake up tomorrow, 8 weeks will be behind us.  I already love them so much.  So thankful.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

7w4d Preggo...RE Graduation Day

Today we had another great ultrasound.  We are ready to tell our closest friends and family, and you that, by the abundant grace of God, we are expecting a double blessing in July of 2014.

We heard both heartbeats again! They got faster as they should.  They both measured 6w1d at the first ultrasound and Baby A had a heart rate of 120 beats per minute.  Baby B was just 9 beats behind at 111.  These were VERY strong heart rates for little ones so young.  10 days later, today, 12/11/13, Baby A measured 7w4d and had a heart rate of 150 BPM.  Baby B measured 7w1d and also had a heart rate of 150 BPM.  The normal range is 120-160 BPM....so we are right on track.  Very very healthy.  We are thrilled, and thankful, and humbled by all the love and prayers.  There couldn't be more prayed for babies after 10 years of hoping and praying and yearning.

We have graduated to "regular pregnant people" land.  The RE's office will still follow us with the meds until 12 weeks....Jan. 11th.  They will start to wean us off of them in a few weeks, and will do blood work once a week until then.  It's time to try a new adventure of the regular OB.  Not sure I'm going to like that much.

I am back to that feeling of peace.  Now, with all this wonderful info, I feel I can embrace this peace that is a gift from God.  I am feeling less fear, and more certainty everyday.  I am feeling that these are finally my babies.  I am more and more certain that these are the little ones that I will get to hold.  These are the faces that will look back at me that first moment they are placed on my chest.  These are the hands I will hold on the first day of school.  These are the hearts I will teach and nurture.  These are the faces that I will help to turn toward the Son.

To my sisters out there who are waiting, hoping, praying, and yearning.  I know what it can feel like to read news like this.  I know that there is no way to avoid the deep reaction that would happen to me every time I heard of someone else getting what I so deeply wanted.  I can remember it feeling different when it was someone who had struggled, someone who knew what loss felt like, and/or who had walked along side me loving me every step of the way.  Know the love and the prayer that I have for each and every one of you.  After ten years of building a prison for myself, the door is finally unlocked and gently opening up for me.  It will open up for you too.  To what (or who, or how) exactly, only God knows...but I promise you that prison will not be there forever.  Keep believing, and hoping, and opening your eyes to whatever God has for you next, and maybe that prison will turn into a beautiful carousel, with colorful horses, that sometimes spins a little too fast, where almost nobody is sleeping, and where you smile so big for so long that your cheeks ache, and your hair always looks like a windblown mess, and everybody is too tired to care!

These babies are miracles, and I know that my loved ones in heaven are fighting for them right alongside us.  My grandfathers, Jake and James, my dear Dreama (I'm sure she's already made her presence known in heaven!), Eileen Scholl, Carol Throm are all up there guarding these babies.  I am so thankful to my Jesus for the gifts of each of their lives and for their love and prayers all these years.  I am so thankful to my Jesus for His great love, and for teaching me who He is along this journey.  These babies already belong to Him.

Friday, December 6, 2013

6wp3dt 6w5d This World is Forever Changed

I'm sorry you haven't heard from me.  As is life's inevitable pattern for this girl, hugely wonderful news has been faithfully followed by something I've been dreading for the last few years.  The loss of my beautiful and wonderful, classy and sassy Grandmother, Dreama, happened yesterday at 1:34 in the afternoon.  She was surrounded by her equally incredible daughters.  She died in her own little bed, in her own nightie, on her own pillow just they way she wanted.  

Every time I saw her the past two years,  I found myself saying good bye.  I knew that we would lose her, and that maybe it wouldn't be in God's plan for me to be by her side.  I am heartbroken that I can't snuggle up with her in her bed anymore, and feel that little extra squeeze she saved for me at the end of every hug. Every time I walked into a house where she was I would yell "Hello, my Dreama!" and she would exclaim in true Dreama fashion "Ohhhhhhhhhh it's my Cristy!" while rushing to greet me.  It's funny that we would both describe each other with "ownership" words.  As if we loved to declare to the world that we belonged to each other.  As an adoptee, I think that the way she loved me, as if I was hers without an inkling of doubt, filled a hole in me and helped me become whole.

Dreama had a little box on her white kitchen table. In it are prayers for each of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.  She prayed these faithfully every day.  For ten years there has been a slip of paper in there for hubby and I, for this baby already so loved.  I have long yearned to see a child of mine in her arms.  Now, today, in heaven I choose to believe she's holding the one's I've lost, gazing into thier faces as I've longed to do, loving them and letting them know they belong the same way she loved me.

I hope they have hard rolls with butter and strawberry jelly in heaven, I will be picturing all of them, in blue robes, around a little white kitchen table, that prayer box in the center, tearing off little crusty  pieces of bread, while they are still too hot to touch, putting on a chunk of real butter, and the right ratio of jelly. Enjoying the company of My Dreama.

I'm headed to Buffalo to stand at my mother's side.  If you're looking for me, you just might find me snuggled up in Dreama's bed, hiding under the covers having a good cry.

This pregnancy is one of Dreama's miracles.  I've asked her to protect it.  While she's gazing into the tiny little faces of those we've lost, I know she will move heaven and earth to make sure my arms are full as soon as possible.  My Dreama would say, "nobody deserves it more!". Well I say, nobody deserves heaven more than my Dreama.  

I wonder if an angel's gown would include a feather boa?  Well it should!!!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

26dp3dt 6wks1day Finally...We heard it! Praise the Lord!

Today is the day.  Today is a major day in 10 years of infertility history. Today we have made it farther than we have ever made it before.  Here is how today went down.....Later, I owe you the story of how God prepared me for today...a little preview...He let me know it was safe to go into today and rest in His peace.

This morning, and throughout today we felt surrounded with support.  I was getting texts all day, thank you to everyone whether we heard from you or not, we know your prayers were holding us up.

This morning my hubby was lingering as we said good bye.  The heaviness of what would happen this afternoon was hanging between us.  He was kind of pacing around, and I knew he was looking for the right words.  I could feel his heart in the heaviness, and I said "Thank you for us getting this far".  If he hadn't said yes to this course of treatment, made it happen for us financially, and been there every step of the way, we wouldn't have an ultrasound to go to today.  I wanted him to know, in a simple statement, that his faith in God, in us, and in our future meant the world to me...he thanked me right back.  

Our appointment with the RE for our first ultrasound was at 3:15 today.  This meant that almost an entire work day had to happen before the big event.  That was torture.  My partner at work did a good job distracting me until it was finally time to head home to meet the hubby.

When we arrived, we did blood work, and went into the same room where the empty uterus scan happened only 4 and 1/2 months ago.  When we entered that room, all that I had experienced there washed over me, it stopped me my tracks a little.  I went a little mechanical...got undressed, draped the cape over me, ignored whatever my hubby was saying, he was trying to distract me, hopped up on that table, and  bowed my head in prayer.  I prayed against the spirit of fear, and I asked for the Holy Spirit to fill every inch of that room.  As soon as I did, the peace I knew, deep down, was there all along, was a tangible presence.  I knew that what ever came next, would be the will of God, and that I would have the peace of God no matter what the ultrasound result was.

Then, it was as if God launched a campaign to give me the "normal ultrasound" of my dreams.  Dr. T came in and gave us the "really early....might be too early to see anything, but you wanted really early, so here we are" speech.  He said we may only see a yolk sac and no baby yet...My God said, oh yeah Dr. T....watch this....bam, right away, baby clearly visible!!! 

Then Dr. T says, sometimes it's hard to see the heartbeat this early...and then... he said...ah...there it is...looks great.

Then the doc says....it is really early to be able to hear the heartbeat but let's give it a try....and then I heard the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. It was already strong...120 bpm.

We measured 6 weeks 1 day which is considered RIGHT ON TARGET.  That's right friends, today Dec 2, 2013 I am thrilled to report that we have experienced the elusive "normal ultrasound".  My hubby has permagrin:).  I am breathing a lot easier.

Honestly, I'm kind of in shock, and thrilled, and the boulder that I shoved over that place in my heart that holds all the hope, is all of the sudden feeling lighter, and smaller, even insignificant.  Maybe it's because today pieces of my broken heart came together, maybe because my heart feels more whole than it has felt for years.  My heart may have even managed to swell large enough to hold all the love and hope that exists for this pregnancy.  I am beyond thankful to my Jesus.  He heard every word of your prayers.  Please keep them coming, we still have a ways to go.  Another ultrasound in 10 days.  Resting in His peace tonight.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

24dp3dt Preggo...Sharp Edges of Rubble...Valleys of Peace

The last two days have been a whirlwind.  Food, friends, family, thankfulness.  Then yesterday we hit Epcot.  On principle, the mouse is not my thing.  I'm not a fan of any kind of faux fabricated festivities.  Especially when the entry fee for one person would pay for 6 days of my estrogen patches.  Besides, I prefer authentic, 'sneak up on you' beauty found in everyday life.  Regardless of the mouse, there was beauty to be found on the faux streets of the countries we visited.  My sweet niece kept seeking me out, she's a snuggler, and she growing so fast.  We had a big group, which meant a lot of different agendas, tons of waiting around, and wrangling of little people and handling of drunkish people.  My niece would come up beside me when there was distance between us and everyone else and lean in.  I talked with her about "enjoying the process" and how she will see days such as this very differently when she looks back on them from an adult place.  I also told her it's ok to feel her feelings now, whatever they may be. I couldn't dig into that with her, but I so mean to in the future.

We are only two days away from some uncharted territory that could be a sort of graduation day for hubby and I.  This ultrasound could actually be "normal" and could be the key that unlocks the door to many significant benchmarks along this road paved with hope.   

So if I hear the words "normal heartbeat" I think I will really be able to let some light into the place in my heart where I've hidden the hope, behind that giant bolder.  I actually feel fear at the thought of that hope taking over.  If that happens, and I feel my heart flooded with actual possibility, I am terrified that my wall of protection allowing me to take each step forward will come tumbling down, and then I will not be able to navigate around the sharp edges of the rubble, I will stumble over every bit of debris.  I feel like once I fall, once I am wounded again, once I bleed, once I feel the intensity of the pain that can come from losing my self in the hoping and believing, I feel that I will melt into something no one recognizes, something with no sturdiness, something without the strength to stand. I fear I will never be able to continue on this road.

So today, with this reality in my face, and this big moment coming in just a few wake-ups, I have to be brave.  I have to let God into the painful places, let Him heal each wound, and let him guide me through the rubble.  Maybe the light of the hope that I allow myself to feel will help me rise above the rubble, and glide over the sharp edges, and feel the happiness that my baby deserves?

There are many many weeks between Monday and the end of the first trimester.  It will feel like an eternity.  Lot's of time and space in between to feel my feelings...maybe completely freak out...maybe in between freak outs I will find little valleys of peace.  Maybe these valleys will be free of rubble, maybe instead there will be flowers and little white butterflies, or tall grass and sunshine.  

Symptom update: running a low grade fever...99.7.  It is making me miss a very important dinner date, with a very important, very sweet friend.  She insisted I skip it and rest.  I love her.  Fever could be a very normal thing according to the extremely reliable web info I read.  Also, the nausea is not constant, but its there.  Eating a snack that includes some sort of protein is helping.  Today my snack of choice was peanut butter and grahm crackers.  Yesterday it was those little foil wrapped Swiss cheese thingies with cheese its. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

20dp3dt...The Beta Breakdown

Had another blood draw yesterday.  My fabulous nurse agreed to add a beta. Got the results today.  They were really good. Here is the line up for my beta results thus far:

Beta 1: 11/13/13 8dp3dt  HCG....39.1
Beta 2: 11/15/13 10dp3dt HCG...189...doubling time 21.08 hours
Beta 3: 11/18/13 13dp3dt HCG...1046...doubling time 29.17
Beta 4: 11/25/13 20dp3dt HCG...17,000...doubling time 43.5

Yep, I've been to the beta base....I know my levels are high.  I'm preparing my heart for what that might mean.  Actually, who can ever really be prepared for what that could mean!  Even when you are an IVF momma, and every intentional act is documented.  I must also remember the soverign hand of My Jesus.  No matter what human decisions were made, I prayed the will of God over every single aspect of the process.  I believe that whom ever is growing under my heart is there because God is in control.  I also believe in loving them for how ever long I'm given.  Nothing is certain, we have a long way to go.  But that boulder that covers that place in my heart where the hope lives moved quite a bit today, about 17,000 bits to be specific!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

17-19dp3dt Do Not Be Afraid

This weekend my peace started to feel kind of in the background when compared to my fear.  I was camping with people I love, and don't see often enough.  Each of the ladies that I spent my time with are in different places on their journeys.  Some have walked where I've walked and have since seen the face of a baby to love forever.  Some are still lovingly waiting to see which path their journey will take them on. Others have no idea who I am, who I've been, or what this constant meal of patience pie, cautious cake, and sadness soup tastes like.  Each of them sweetly loved me just as I am this weekend.  I didn't have to work for it, I couldn't perform perfectly to earn it.  I didn't have to explain myself, I was just there, simply Cristy, in their presence, and I was thankful.  That was a gift from God because if I had to be present as celebratory carefree Cristy, I would have fallen flat on my face while attempting to "frolic freely".  The reason... I feel like that war I wrote about during my last post is still raging on.  My peace feels so far away, not gone entirely, but buried deep inside of me where I can barely feel it.  It's like I'm the princess, and I'm on all those mattresses, and the peace is the tiny pea, buried under layers and layers of fear and worry and doubt.  You see, I'm not sick enough, I haven't thrown up enough, my boobs don't hurt enough.  My humanity is grasping at any sliver of proof/data that this one is different than all the ones that came before.  I am fantasizing about asking my IVF nurse to pull another beta just so I can have something to go on until next monday.  That's right, I'm fantasizing/ practicing my speech....what will I say, what will my compelling argument be?  This is not the way I want to be feeling, this is not what I want my baby/babies to feel me feeling.  I want for them what God has for them, His sovereign peace.  I'm praying God will help me start mothering them now, and will settle His peace over my heart, so that it envelops them fully.  

I think I mentioned in an earlier post about the chapel we prayed in the Sunday before the ultrasound during the first cycle.  The chapel was dedicated to "Our Lady of Sorrows" also knows as Our Lady of LaSalette.  I felt drawn to that little chapel during mass tonight, and after communion we went to pray there again.  When I prayed, I asked that for that peace again.  When I looked up from my prayer, my eyes focused on the wall next to the cross where big, beautiful, golden letters read "Do not be afraid". I asked my hubby to remind me of those very words while we wait for next Monday to come.  He may not realize that I need to hear them spoken over me this week.  I invite you all to help me hear them in the deepest parts of my heart, all they way through the mattresses, so that peace envelops all of us in an undeniable way.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

14dp3dt and 15dp3dt and 16dp3dt There is a War Going On

I'm sorry you haven't heard from me for a few days.  I've been chewing on something, and I'm going to attempt to capture for you in the meager attempt below. Here's the thing, we've got a really long way to go. I feel like there is no reason why I should have even an inkling of peace about this. But...somewhere in me, from somewhere new and unknown, do I dare say this out loud, I do have this strange soft peace in me about this pregnancy.  That's how I know my Jesus is present all the way through this journey. It's gotta be Him, how else can I explain that I have this peace that surpasses all human understanding.  

My "humanity" can't help but point out to to this sense of peace growing inside me that "my body has never protected a baby past 9 weeks".  It's like until I pass each of the "traumatic benchmarks" I've lived along this journey my humanity can't rest along side this other part of me that feels this foreign peace this time around.  Here are my traumatic benchmarks:

Traumatic Benchmark one: The Pregnancy Test Trauma 
1.  Yay!  We've already passed this one!  Every time I POAS and the line showed up a little piece of me started to heal.  There is still a shrine of pee sticks on our bathroom counter.  All lined up and meticulously labeled.  I owe you a picture of that, maybe if you see it you will understand just how broken I am in this area.  When I saw that faint line at only 7dp3dt, it was like God was launching a campaign to teach me to live a different story this time.

Traumatic Benchmark two: The Beta Breakdown
2.  This one is last weeks news...This is the week of the Beta testing... This little number means everything to a hopeless hopeful.  I only had two of these weeks under my belt.  The first one was deceptively comforting.  This second one has been out of this world awesome.  I know better than to let it mean everything.  I also know how to google to find the beta base, and have searched high and low to read what other people scored during the beta breakdown.  All of this information means almost nothing, but that doesn't stop me from devouring it like a family sized bag of sweet/salty chex mix (you know what I'm talking about!)

Traumatic Benchmark three:  Worried about Wandy....The First Ultrasound
3.  This is the next benchmark I am striving for.  12/2 at 3:15.  It feels like a million miles away, but really its right around the corner.  This is where my "human understanding" is currently at complete war with the "peace that transcends understanding".  In ten years, I have never had a normal pregnancy ultrasound.  The first one at 8 weeks, our baby Gabriel Murray Lafferty measured at 5-6 weeks.  The doctor said he saw a heartbeat, I started bleeding the next weekend.  The loss occurred at 9 weeks.  There were a few late periods, faint pregnancy tests, chemical pregnancies with clomid that followed.  We never again saw evidence of a baby in my uterus.   July 15, 2013 was the empty uterus scan from hell.  To be honest, if that is my experience again, I just might have to be done.  This girl just can't have another experience like that.  The fear that I have that history will repeat itself is at total war with the weird unfathomable peace that I am feeling.  I've never had even an inkling of this peace before.  I pray with everything I am that this peace wins this war.

Traumatic Benchmark four: A Dozen Weeks Sounds Like a Dream
4.  Reaching this benchmark will feel like graduation day.  The faith walk to this day is going to be long and arduous.  Between first ultrasound 12/2 and the 12 week mark is a little over 5 weeks.  Its over some rough terrain....terrain like Christmas, and LOTS of family time full of hopefulness and uncontainable excitement.  People may ask things about names and boy girl preferences and who might be the God parents.  Before that 12 week mark, these things feel like daggers.  Maybe that won't be the case this time, maybe that peace I'm feeling will envelope me and let me join them.  I'm going to start praying for that too.  No wonder regular preggo people keep pregnancy a secret until then.  This is another burden of IVF, the knowing right away, the people who are closest knowing too.  It's a thing.

So I'm going to have to think on what a plan to get through the benchmarks 3 and 4 might look like. With everything else in my life, if I can build a framework,  I think maybe I can hang some curtains that remind me to embrace this gift of peace. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

13dp3dt... Beta #3... Whoa!

Well friends, our third beta was awesome.  1046.  The beta didn't just double, its more than five times the 189 we got three days ago.  I'm thankful for the reassurance that provides. I'm trying not to get lost in what that could mean.  I'm trying to take each day and be grateful.  Each day is one more day I get to hold them under my heart.  Our first ultrasound will be 12/2. If today I'm 4 weeks and 2 days preggo...then I will be 6 weeks and 2 days when we take a look with wandy.  That probably isn't quite soon enough to hear the heartbeat...but we will probably see it. If it's there to see...please, please let it be there to see.

I'm feeling a lot of action this time around...Pressure, pain when I laugh/sneeze/cough. Weird smelling pee. Nausea really started today. I'm ditzy...well ditzier(sp) then usual.  I'm exhausted at 3pm and it feels like I'm trudging through mud until bed time.  My boobies hurt, but aren't much bigger.  I am thankful for every ounce of discomfort, every possible reminder that this could be really happening.

Where is my guy in all this? My hubby seems to be all about the science.  He thinks this is really possibly happening because we finally know about, and are treating the Crohn's.  He's saying logical, analytical things about these awesome test results.  But that's not all folks, here's something that really got to me yesterday....  He prayed after communion at mass that he would get to see our baby's face.  Ok, so maybe he's finally living this out of his heart also.  The man's heart is breathtaking to behold, I'm honored anew every single time I get to hear words that came straight from that heart.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

12dp3dt Today is grilled cheese and tomato soup

There is something simple about today.  Something uncomplicated. Something colored with pale, light, almost tranquil colors.  Colors that don't challenge. Colors that don't soothe. Just the colors of softness, the colors created by natural light.  There is no tryinging going on here.  No real yearning.  There is just being right where we are. Yesterday was a culunary experience, today is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Tomorrow will be soon enough for the praying and the hoping and the yearning and the worry to begin again.  Today I am going to let enough be enough.  I'm going to just be where I am. Today I'm not going to try to move the boulder.  Today I'm going to build a picnic on it instead.  Let the light of the sun tell me what to smile about, today I'm going to just be. Today I'm going to spend some time with the Son. Anyone wish to join me?  It's lovely here...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

11dp3dt Crisis, Culinary Excellence, and a side of Random Coincidence

After our last loss (the awful, empty uterus scan/ectopic), we were all left realing.  My momma came to that ultrasound, we were wide open about the whole cycle, friends, family, extented family everyone was praying and hoping and happy we finally got a positive.  Then all that joy dissapeared.  We were all left feeling like we couldn't trust ANYTHING ANYMORE.

My mom left my side, and went straight to my brother's bedside.  He is 34, has a significant cognitive/behavioral disability, and lives in a group home in clearwater.  He is one of the loves of my life. I had the miscarriage on the weekend and then headed to clearwater.  My brother was in CCU for 3 weeks.  I was by his side for two.

This particular hospitalization (there have been many) was the scariest one my family and I have ever been through. Each day the news was worse...kidney failure, congestive heart failure, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)...the list goes on and on.  The underlying infection was pneumonia.  It's four months later, and he is just now showing normal hemoglobin levels.  He came incredibly close to dying.  

God always surrounds us with angels during times like these.  One of the many angels who came and physically held us together was my Aunt Judy.  She made space for all of us to breathe, to eat, to sob, to feel our feelings.  She soothed me and my momma in ways neither of us understand.  We are so thankful.

My Aunt Judy got a really good look at me during this time. My mask of strength fell away some. She shared all that we were going through...the loss of the pregnancy, the real threat that Jake was going to die...with her wonderful husband, my Uncle Mark.  In the aftermath, when I finally went home, it felt like we all had PTSD.  We couldn't shake that feeling of crisis all around us, waiting around every corner. A few days later we got a big surprise in the mail...My Uncle Mark, who lives in Ohio, had researched great places to have an excellent culinary experience, and he sent us a very generious gift certificate.  He knew that we needed a night together, a night to remember we love each other, we have each other, and we can keep hoping together.

I don't have words for how good the food was.  My hubby loved the rissoto that came with my Osso Bucco so much that he ordered a second rissoto dinner for himself.  Then he ordered two desserts, pretended like I was going to eat one of them, and instead ate them both!  By the end of the meal he was in physical pain he ate so much.

There was another surprise in store for the two of us, across the restaurant, right around antipasto time as I was deeply enjoying both a sausage and pepper stuffed mushroom and the company of my handsome hubby, I noticed his eyes kept leaving mine and focusing on a table across the room.  Then he started giggling and said "Is that Dr. T".  Um, yes that's right, some how, with all the restaurants in Orlando, we ended up in the tiny one in WP that also happens to be our RE's fave.  The very same doc whose unique partnership with God has given us something to wonderful to celebrate.  The italian momma of the chef, who was hostessing, took great/loud delight in the coincidence.  We ended up sending over dessert to them.  They came over to greet us and thank us.  It was precious.  I do hope the next time I see him, in the ultrasound room, we are all in great spirits.  Only God knows.  And no matter what happens, it was nice to see this kind man as a real boy, out in the world, loving his wife on her birthday.

Blogging Abbreviations from "The Stirrup Queens"

Just in case this new alphabet soup is not to your liking, this list will help.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

10dp3dt... Beta overachiever....You wanna see the #double...how about if it quadruples instead?!?!

Big sigh......friends, sisters, followers (few and fabulous!)....we are are having a great day in crazy I.V.effffed land!  The first beta was 39 on 8dp3dt, today, 10dp3dt we are happy to report a 189.  That is a strong and exciting increase and we aren't even at 14dp3dt yet.  I cried when I heard Amber say the numbers on the phone.  It was like the boulder that I keep wedged over the part of my heart that "hopes" that "dreams" that "yearns" moved away an inch, and I don't have words for what flooded over me at that moment.  In the same breath, my incredible nurse, Amber, said to me that my doctor was wanting to follow me closely, and he agreed to scan me a little earlier than usual. Not sure when, but I'm so thankful he agreed.  I also don't have words for the gratitude I feel for the campassion that I am being shown by the wonderful team at my clinic.  They are considering the losses we have endured, and are willing to soothe my heart with their consideration.  We go in for a third beta monday morning. I hope to happily report a number that moves that boulder just a little more.  As the will of God is revealed, moment by moment, test by test, I will be praising Him for each healing moment.  Tonight I'm doing more than "just breathing". Tonight, I feel the way I look in the pic that decorates this blog...the salt air blowing in my face, my face turned up, my arms out, focused in prayer and praise and hope on my Jesus.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

9dp3dt... The Darker the Better!

The darker the better, and I'm not talking about chocolate! Finally! Our BFP is showing up right away now!  I've decided that the "getting darker" is conclusive evidence that the numbers are getting stronger.  Time will tell.....specifically 7:45 tomorrow morning....my second beta... will tell!  Having some wierd achy pain when I move quickly on one side or the other.  I've decided that is my uterus stretching.  See how much "deciding" I do?  Really I don't know anything AT ALL for certain.  It's like we are all working toward some twisted merit badge for stepping out in faith...moving foward even though the ground beneath our feet is shakey at best. Apparently this girl needs extra tutoring....10 years of tutoring! Speaking of certainty, I will be asking my RE to take some extra diagnostic steps for me this time around.  Already so thankful for this early beta.  Knowing the number while those sticks took their sweet time darkening up really helped me worry less.  The first time around my first beta was 122 at 14dp3dt, the second was almost five times that number. These were pretty exciting numbers, and we all stopped worrying.  Until the worst ultrasound ever at 7 weeks.  To be honest, I have never had a "normal pregnancy" ultrasound.  Each one has been more devastating then the last.  If I'm going to make it through this pregnancy with any sense of peace, I am going to need a normal ultrasound as soon as possible.  Back to the "certainty"....In the name of certainty, I have asked that my RE break protocol and look in there earlier for me than he does for others. His rule is ultrasound at 7 weeks. I want one a soon as you can see a fetal pole/sac just so I know that the baby is in the uterus this time.  It doesn't sound like he is willing to consider such rule breaking.  He is brilliant, but he's a man, and a man on the spectrum of autism at that (him having high functioning autism is another thing I have decided). He has made a rule, and it would take an act of God for him to break it. We shall see how it all shakes out.  I will report back:).  I also want extra betas.  I want to know if the numbers start dropping before I get to the US.

Also, PRAISE GOD, I finally slept through the entire night last night!  I now know I was way low on estrogen after the BW they did wednesday.  I had to slap on two more patches.  I have the most expensive sticker collage on my tummy known to man. At 4 10$ stickers every two days, I'm going to need a second job!  But at least I will be better rested!  And maybe there is a little girly in there stealing my E2?  I sure do hope so.

Ok sisters, yes darker is better, I will take it.  Please pray for good strong numbers.  I should know something by tomorrow afternoon.  I am thankful for each day this baby (or babies) spends under my heart.  I'm feeling fuller with each passing day, and each day heals "my momma heart" just a teeny bit more.  Please Jesus, let me see this sweet little face (or these little faces)!

PS. Just a little shout out to the circle of sisters who physically and emotionally surround me each day. I may not hear your voices each day, but I know your hearts are yearning to scream with glee, and giggle, and toss names around, and kiss baby feet right along side me.  There will be time for that, I promise.  We will get there.  Thanks for sensitively following my lead as I navigate this slippery slope.  I love you, I can never thank you enough, or find the words to express what it means to me to have you come along side me all this time.  They say that God loves you through your friends.  No one knows that to be true more than me.

One more thing...my man.  My honey wants to know if we can trade unnecessary pregnancy tests for estrogen patches?  And, he actually said to me today "ok, I read your blog, now can I go back to building my miniature Death Star?".  He'e been lost in some iPad game lately....it looks like he's building a Star Wars themed barbie house to this girl!  Oy vey, this man is in for it when parenthood hits him. Really, I know this slippery slope is hard for him, he wants to protect me from pain, and, for him, for anyone, It's hard to predict where I am in this at any given moment.  He's doing the best he can and letting me lead.  I know this is all hard for him too. I know the face of his little one will heal wounds that he doesn't even know that he has.  He's doing a really great job with the shot, and with the shot intervention (aka, the butt rub).  I love that man, even when he's hiding in the Death Star.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


POAS is such a mind game.  I can't seem to make it to the morning for a good "first morning pee"!  I have been getting up to pee at night for a week (which isn't normal for me at all!).  This effected my sample...the lines aren't getting darker.  The good news is my blood test came back positive.  Beta is 39.1 in the AM of 8dp3dt.  My next beta is Friday morning 11/15.  Thankful for the postive, praising God for the positive.  Praying it doubles on Friday.  Hang in there!  Grow baby grow!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

7dp3dt....Glimmer of Hope

So I POAS today.  Ladies, we have a faint postive in the house on 7dp3dt.  This was with FMP.  It was darker using FRER this afternoon after drinking a ton of water.  My incredible IVF nurse, Amber, wants to add a beta to my BW in the AM.  I feel different with this one then the last.  I didn't have a faint positive until 10dp3dt last time, BFP wasn't until 12pd3dt.  The betas were ok, but fizzled.  This early positive is a good sign that the numbers will be stronger. I'll take that and cautiously run with it.  I am admitting that I definately feel very different with this one.  We will see what my Jesus has to teach me with even this tiny step forward.  I think He knows that I am going to need to ease into believing this with lots of glimmers and twinkles of hope, heck...I need flashes and strobe lights of hope along the way! And in between glimmmers and strobes, I promise, this girl is going to just breathe.  Breaths of gratitude.  Someday, a big sigh of relief.

Monday, November 11, 2013

6dp3dt This Girl is Just Going to Breathe

Some days I'm wasting my life waiting, whether I'm waiting to test, waiting for the next cycle, waiting to recover from a loss, waiting to afford the next step, I'm waiting, waiting, waiting and wasting, wasting, wasting.  Today I've had enough waiting. So, I'm adding something to my "plan".  While I'm waiting, I'm also going to just breathe.  Just do something simple like fill my lungs and empty them. Just stop wearing my sholders as earrings in the space in between, and just rest.  Here is what I know to be true, I absolutely know that when I'm rushing in my mind toward the next, I'm completly missing what God has for me in the present, specifically in His "presence".  I'm going to rest and breathe and open my eyes.  I'm going to be thankful and present to the people all around me loving me through this.  There is heavy lifting to be done all around me, and right now I'm only supposed to lift ten lbs at a time. So that's what I'm going to do, I'm going to let other people, and my Jesus, do the heavy lifting right now (physically, emotionally, whatever). And in the in between, this girl is just going to breathe.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

5dp3dt...The Compulsive Search for the Implantation Bleed and My Little Buddies

Good morning!  It's Sunday, a perfectly normal day to sleep in, snuggle in with the hubby and the puppies.  After all I am hoping and praying that a few months from now sleeping in will be a distant memory.  What a thing to yearn for!  Instead, this girl is totally up. 6am, up, for no reason!  This is my new pattern unfortunately.  I am jealous of others who report that PIO makes them sleep!  I really wish that was the case.  Maybe it's because I stopped my melatonin?  I figure my estrogen is back to normal, so I shouldn't have that  "surgical menopause" can't sleep thing going on.  And yet, not really sleeping great.  I wonder, anyone else try melatonin?  My RE is not on board with me continuing to take it.  But I wonder if anyone else has had that experience?

These two are not happy that mom is out of bed!  They followed me out here grudgingly! But there they are, right by my side, always.  What a comfort to me they are.  The are snuggling a little closer than usual.  I wonder if they know?
Toby Trouble Lafferty (above), Charlie Choo (below).  They are my "beautiful disasters".  Sweet, snugly  bouncing brothers rescued and from the same litter. Half rat terrier, half toy poodle...We call them "weirdy beardies".  They've kissed and snuggled me out of many an "infertility funk".  I was built to nurture someone, they've been happy to be the subject of our affection the past five years.  They'd better be good at sharing!

On to the main topic of today's post, IT has begun. The next few days, days 5-7 past a 3dt, could mean that at any moment...the elusive...the ever exciting...the not often noticed by the "non-IVeffed" (coined by a fellow blogger), the symptom we all compulsively search for, the one and only "implantation bleed" evidence could be upon us.  Yes friends that compulsive behavior of watching closely for that tiny little dot of evidence is occurring.  I have provided a lovely white background for this phenomenon, and I am now engaging regularly in the ridiculous behavior of CLOSE observation.  We will do ANYTHING for a little extra bit of evidence that provides reassurance.  Even if it's gross.  Funny that we end up wishing to see exactly what we would do anything to avoid during non-IVF-IUI cycles....any evidence of AF!

Beyond the a fore mentioned compulsive search for a "symptom", other symptoms to report are:
Light crampiness, lots of peeing, some sharp fleeting pains near my ovaries...which I am "deciding" are due to stretching ligaments there instead of implantation in the tube! My hips are unhappily sore from the PIO, but not nearly as bad as before the implementation of the "Regimen" (see "here is my plan" post for details). My boobs don't hurt as much as last time yet...might still be early for that.  Only a bit sore, with the really sensitive nipple thing going on.

I'm brand spanking new to this blogging thing.  If you happen to stumble across this, I am open to feedback. TMI? Let me know.  I will get better at this whole thing I promise. Thankful for the opportunity to let some of the things I think about......out.  It relieves the pressure, so to speak. Rest in hope and faith friends.  TTYS

Update: there was barely anything to see....just a bit of light brown output.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

4dp3dt...Here is my plan

So, this time around I'm way less frantic.  I even made a med mistake that didn't send me into a tail spin (6 extra days on 5 of lupron)....whoops...don't worry, doc said it was fine. Don't get me wrong.  I have analyzed what I could have done differently between the first cycle and this one.  I have employed a problem solving process.  I have logically and rationally decided the following (caution, I am about to totally geek out with IVF language/acronyms, who else cares to hear this stuff besides my sisters who also know to google "4dp3dt"):

  1. My endometrial biopsy (the procedure that makes things more "sticky" in there) would be way closer to the embryo transfer this cycle...so points in the "+" column  (I was overstimulated the first time around and couldn't transfer until months after the endometrial biopsy...perhaps the stickiness wore off?)
  2. Since last time there was no sign of the babies in my uterus, first beta was 122, second was 643, we didn't bother with a beta after that we were so happy with the results.  You would expect to at least see a sac....but nothing.  This time, whether it makes sense to anyone else or not, I am really resting the prescribed three days, and then adding two for good measure.  So implantation is covered!My friend, a sister to me, questioned the source of this important information.  I challenge her to either verify or offer a replacement, and until then I intend to pour over it at will.
  3. This time I will be with my blogging sisters where they are.  I will not look ahead to see if things worked out.  I will not read rambling posts of panicked people about symptoms or no symptoms on TTC support sites.  I will emotionally engage with bloggers where they are, and allow this to be an outlet to me, and I will contribute with supportive comments and also do the work to provide my own support by sharing...thus this blog.  I'm done just browsing and taking.  I am thankful for the support these blogs offered me the first time around.  There is nothing more isolating that this process (see my post re: the poem....line 1)
  4. POAS....This time I will only POAS on 7dp3dt, and 9dp3dt with tests that measure 25 or less miu.  Here is why:
    • I learned last time that tests vary greatly in sensitivity, gotta make sure that I only use tests that measure the smallest amount of HCG....otherwise with this early testing there is much unnecessary disappointment.
    • If I get a positive on 7dp, this will mean to me that I have stronger beta HCG earlier than I did last time, the first positive with the first cycle was 9dp3dt, and those fizzled after the exciting 122 beta, and 643 second beta, I was not aware of said fizzle until the awful empty uterus scan at week 7, worst day ever.  So although it means almost nothing, I will feel illogical comfort if I get even a faint positive on day 7.  
    • Also lots of people with multiples report BFPs on day 7.  Since I will not know until week 7 (which is a crime! if they can see a sac at 5 or 6 weeks they should show it to me!!!!! waiting until week 7 is unnecessary torture, especially after my empty uterus last time). If they want me calm, logical, and less stressed, and altogether more pleasant, they need to frigging give me information.  Sorry for the rant. Wait, no I'm not...
  5. PIO....here is what I learned about this particular method of torture
    • the secret is the a deep 10 min rub of the area before and after the stick
    • My hubby uses Palmers to grease the area (dual purpose...if it will possibly ward off stretch marks I am so in)
    • I limit heat to no more than 10 min before rub down
    • the walk is also a good idea after the shot, but we have thus far failed to implement this step
    • my goal is to manage to be in less build up of pain as we (hopefully) progress through the first trimester.  Last time by week seven receiving the shot was awful because of the build up of bruising.  We did not manage to keep up with a system, and I paid for it.
    • Giving the shot can be traumatizing to your partner, they need encouragement, they need to know they are not at fault for the evidence before them (your cries of pain, your colorful booty, etc.)
    • Do not give a PIO directly after the 10 min on the heating pad, you will have a bleeding geyser on your hands!!!! Not pretty, and traumatizing evidence to the shot giver.
So sorry sisters, about all of the detail.  I hope something useful can be found.  Either way, 4dp3dt, I have my little plan in place.  Through it all though I am absolutely aware that I am not in control of whether or not I get to gaze into the face of one of these babies.  That is up to my Jesus.  I can't mess this up, I can't perform perfectly to get the desire of my heart.  All I can do is rest in the knowledge that right now, they are nestled under my heart, and they know on some level that they are loved by their mother and father.  We are already mothers, each and every one of us.

INFERTILITY....an Acrostic Poem

I is for isolating, infertility will feel like an island....but thankfully there are cocktails!
N is for "naive hope" its the place we all visit at the beginning of a new cycle, a new leg of the journey, I call it the "hope upswing", each time the fall to reality is a bit less painful, which worries me.
F is for friend, yes ladies you can't do this without at least one real friend who "gets it" who has been there, who lets you feel your feelings and be where ever you are (thankful to God for mine, they know who they are)
E is for expensive, just think of it like an extra car payment or three.
R is for "Relax it will happen" aka. really annoying advice, platitudes, well meaning people that you may or may not want to smack regularly (I just imagine little miniatures of their faces in place of the bruises on my tummy when I'm going in for yet another stick!  Take that!)
T is for trust, trust your God, trust your doctor, trust your partner to torture you with PIO shots, trust seems to be a theme through out the whole process, trusting someone else and giving over control you never had in the first place.  I don't know about you, but when I meet my maker, I'm going to assure him I would've learned this lesson with a LOT LESS practice.
I is for intimacy and ice cream, my marriage has suffered during this almost 10 years of struggle, dates are extravagances we can't include in the budget (please see the "E"), we chose a local "twistee treat" as our regular date spot, our marriage is a work of art, a masterpiece in the making.
L is for loss, no one completely escapes this, the loss of a child or the loss of a dream (love+sex=baby HAHA hilarious)
I is for intense, yes everything about this is intense, it's not for the faint of heart, when you've been at it for 10 years, you will watch the weak fall away from you one by one, God let that happen to us so that I would learn it is only He who will walk with me, carry me, no matter what.
T is for truth, ladies, we gotta be willing to tell the truth about this to the world.  There are way more of us out there than we think.  We have to shine light in dark places to receive the love God has for us through his own hand and the hands of those around us.
Y is for "Yes it sucks", so so much of it sucks.  We are trudging though mud while other couples are skipping through fields of daisies (aka, preggo on frigging accident, on the pill, on the honeymoon).  It's also for "Yes you are allowed to strongly dislike these people, and any others who expect you to participate in baby showers"

Once upon a time: In the beginning and a bit of history...

DH and I met at a college bar called "The Mill". We've told the story a million times. Every time little things about it change. Who said what, who made which move, when we saw each other next, etc. etc. blah blah blah. What has stayed exactly the same, what was true then, and remains true today, 15 years later, is that my heart recognized that DH was the man God had formed just for me. That sounds ridiculous, I know it, I was 20, what the **** did I know? I think that my age, and the simplicity of my life during that season, the way I lived out loud, purely by feeling, is the exact reason why when I met this man, when his face became etched in the deepest parts of my heart, I didn't have any guile in me to refute it. It was the most real confirmation to any course of action in my life. It had to have been the sovereign hand of someone who knows and loves me better than anyone, my Jesus. Here is a pic of the napkin that started it all, yes we met before you just saved your digits in some else's phone (circa 1999) !

I had rules about giving out my #...so I got his.
Control issues? Um yes.

We got married on June 18, 2004.  And were open to the idea of parenthood from the get-go!

I can still remember that feeling of total hope and trust. Like a new world of submitting to God's plan for our family really felt like freedom to me.  I could see my life so clearly.  I had such certainty in my heart for what God was promising us.  I remember the beginning when I was nervous with anticipation that it could happen at any time!  I remember thinking those first two years, "It'll happen! We have plenty of time!  We are so young!" and "We aren't quite perfectly ready yet anyway..." (hilarious....who is ever perfectly ready?!?).  Now, almost ten years later, I reserve the right to kick anyone directly in the shins who dares spout off one of the above platitudes. Those and the hated "just relax, go on vacation".  Those people are in real danger.

Little did I know that our road to parenthood would be paved with more downs than ups...more blood, sweat and tears than "baby" steps forward...more loneliness and isolation than the feeling of building a family through the foundation of our love of God and each other.    

So here I sit, on my heating pad, at the end of 3 days of bed rest post our second three day transfer. I'm 35, and under my belt, literally, I know of 6 babies that DH and I have loved and lost.  One angel baby got to live under my heart for 9 weeks, and now rests near my grandfather at Calvary Catholic Cemetery   We lost two others at 7 weeks on July 15th, 2013.  We named these two Melanie and Max after the two children that Mary appeared to in La Salette France hundreds of years ago.  Another name for Mary is "Our Lady of La Salette" or "Our Lady of Sorrows".  After losing them to an ectopic (the end of my first IVF cycle) Mary became a great comfort to me.  During the first IVF, two babies didn't make it to blast/refreeze.  This made me so sad, to think of them never spending a moment under my heart.  My niece named these two angels Simon and Peter.  With each loss we struggle to find ways to remember those we have lost.  I want their little lives to mean something, and I want to hold onto the joy and the hope that I had when I held them, in the only way that I have ever been able to.  Still waiting for the day that this journey toward parenthood actually ends in the weight of a sweet little one in our arms.

Our first angel baby, buried in a special site for miscarried and aborted babies.  Gabriel was named after the angel Gabriel, who first let Mary know she was pregnant with baby Jesus.  Gabriel taught me that I could get pregnant, so the name made sense.
After the first IVF, we thought this would be a good way to remember those we had lost, there is a stone for each little one from left to right: Gabriel, Simon, Peter, Melanie, and Max.  Pretty huh?  The metal is real, but the stones are not.  Please, friends, we are way in debt with all these fertility treatments.  The stones are as real as they need to be to sparkle in the sunlight, just like the eyes of a child filled with laughter and play.