Friday, September 12, 2008

Once again, time has flown by

Well I have let 10 weeks go by without a post. The last 10 weeks have been both amazing and at times - more than a little tough.

I thought I was a big belly mama back then. Whoo that belly was nothing. I now sporting an enormous watermelon. I am in full waddle mode and I have the ugliest troll feet you have ever seen. The troll feet are from the swelling. You know it is bad when people look at your feet and turn away in horrow. Sleeping is more than a little difficult. Every roll over is an event and I have to use the bathroom every hour on the hour. Did I mention the hemorroids? - yep there starting to show up. The heartburn from hell. The carpal tunnel I am developing. People don't tell you this stuff when you are just thinking about getting pregnant - I think it is their idea of a sick joke. As one woman in my birth class said "This just keeps getting better and better"

Actually, all joking aside. It is physically tough, but it does just get better and better. The baby just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I can definitely pick out her parts now - a back here, a butt there, and the other night I played with her little feet. She would stretch her legs out (I could feel a little heel on each side of my abdomen) and I would grab her little heel and rub it. She would pull her legs back in for a second and then stretch them back out. I would grab them again. We played this little game for a few minutes. It was delightful and I would take every ache, every hemorroid, all the heartburn, and lack of sleep a million times over for those moements.

I am also officially full term! The baby can technically come at any time. I can't wait to meet her.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Update on my pregnancy

Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since I posted. I was just re-reading the post about seeing my baby's heartbeat for the first time. It still brought tears to my eyes. I was going to let the blog go but have had a change of heart because it is so neat to have a record of this time in my life.

Well this baby has GROWN quite a bit over the last four months of course. I am now in my 28th week and the little one is quite the wiggle worm and kickboxer. I love to sit and watch my belly roll and bounce as she does her "thang" in there.

So far, I have been blessed with a fairly easy pregnancy - very minor morning sickness, not too many aches and pains (though that is rapidly changing as my ever expanding belly is taking its toll on my back and sleep patterns). I would not change a thing. I love every bit of being pregnant.

We found out that we are having a girl. I am thrilled. I really did not care if it was a boy or girl, but it will be nice to have the three girls. I have been nesting big time - sewing, cleaning, and getting the nursery ready. The theme is country and farm animals. I have lots of farm animal accessories - cows, roosters, lambs, and ducks on the walls and shelves. I also have my favorite Bible verse on a plaque that hangs right over her crib.

It is Philippians 4:8 "..whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - mediate on these things." I pray that she will be able to do that because God has provided so much beauty and good to this world and I don't want her to miss it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Nicest Valentine's Day Ever!

I had the most wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday with my family. It was simple and perfect. One of our favorite Christian rock bands was playing in Grand Rapids, so we got tickets for the whole family for our Valentine's present.

We took the girls out to dinner. We all laughed throughout the whole dinner trying to see if we could say several sentences without the word "like". It is much harder than you may think, especially for a Souther Califonia girl. Darling husband has blamed me for his daughters usage of the term, but I think it is a "girl thing" rather than something they picked up from me.

The conversation also included conversation about what "we" (the whole family) were going to name "our" (whole family again) baby. Darling hubby still likes "scrotum" and the girls like "tectonic plates". I just feel sorry for the little guy because he/she is coming into one crazy family. I told everyone I thought it was a boy. Darling hubby (so sorry Dad) really wants another girl. Yougest daughter also wants another sister. I, of course, do not care. I know hubby doesn't care either but thinks he knows how to raise girls and would not know what to do with a boy. Oldest daughter would be happy with anything too - she would especially like it if I gave birth to a basset hound puppy.

Once dinner was done, we headed to the concert, where we sang, danced, and prayed as a family. It was a great first concert to take our pre-teen and teenager daughter too. An arena filled with happy people, enjoying life, God, and music.

I can't remember another Valentine's that was so full of love and laughter.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I saw God today

I saw God in the heartbeat of my baby yesterday. After pushing back our ultrasound appointment as late as possible in the week in the hopes of seeing a heartbeat, my darling husband and I SAW and HEARD our precious baby's heartbeat.

I have spent most of the week sleepless worrying about whether we would see a developing baby or just an empy gestational sac. By Wednesday night, I was at my wits end - crying over something Simon whoever said on American Idol. Darling husband put me to bed about 8:30 after my progesterone shot. I am sure it was the combination of hormones and exhaustion that had me crying over stupid American Idol of all things. I despise that show and the cruelty they show to people.

Wednesday night was a pretty heavy snow storm, so we were not sure if we would even get to the clinic for the ultrasound. But, I think darling hubby knew that we had to get there and find out or I would go more insane than what I am normally.

We made it safe and got in for the ultrasound and right off the bat, I could see the most beautiful flutter. The doc didn't even need to point it out, but it sure did sound wonderful when he said, "Do you see your baby's heartbeat right there?" I could not speak. Then he asked if we wanted to hear it and I shook my head yes. Wow, it is undescribable to hear that sound that you have yearned for for so many years. I listened and watched as the tears rolled down my face. For one final kick, the doc said let's add some color and you could see the heart beating in flashing colors.

It was an amazing day and the greatest GIFT from God and I am so eternally grateful to Him for giving me this gift and blessing this pregnancy.

On the way home, I heard the song "I saw God from George Straight" for the first time and I knew that "I saw God" that day smiling down on me in that beautiful little flutter inside me.

Here are the lyrics for "I Saw God Today" sung by George Straight, written by Rodney Clawson

Just walked down the street to the coffee shop
Had to take a break
I'd been by her side for 18 hours straight
Saw a flower growin' in the middle of the sidewalk
Pushin' up through the concrete
Like it was planted right there for me to see
The flashin' lights
The honkin' horns
All seemed to fade away
In the shadow of that hospital at 5:08
I saw God today

I've been to church
I've read the book
I know he's here
But I don't look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today

Saw a couple walkin' by they were holdin' hands
Man she had that glow
Yeah I couldn't help but notice she was startin' to show it
Stood there for a minute takin' the sky
Lost in that sunset
Splash of amber melted in the shades of red

I've been to church
I've read the book
I know he's here
But I don't look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today

Got my face pressed up against the nursery glass
She's sleepin' like a rock
My name on her wrist
Wearin' tiny pink socks
She's got my nose, she's got her mama's eyes
My brand new baby girl
She's a miracle
I saw God today

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Ultrasound

Today I had my first ultrasound. We saw a nice gestational sac with a yolk sac. Of course, a lot could still happen, but if it does it probably was due to a pretty significant genetic problem. I go in next Thurs. and will hopefully see a heartbeat. The doctor said everything looked exactly how he wanted it - so I am happy and relieved for today. I am sure new anxieties will creep back tomorrow, but I will do what I have been doing - praying for God to bless this pregnancy and if it is not His will for this pregnancy to go to term than for him to comfort me and support me through my next phase on this journey. The ONE THING that I truly know is that GOD IS FAITHFUL and WANTS ONLY THE BEST FOR ME and for that I am so eternally grateful.

Just have to brag on my darling husband a bit. I had a hard time last night with my shot. It hurt pretty bad (my butt is pretty bruised up and sore at this point) and I started crying about how scared I was and how hard this whole process has been (that I have been getting shots every day for over a month now) and that wonderful man (he does not like me calling him my beloved anymore because he thinks it makes it sound like he is dead) got down on his knees and said "You just need to me to kiss the baby." and then proceeded to kiss my belly. Even if it went bad today or goes bad tomorrow, I still had that moment which was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Confirmed Bun in the Oven

It has been a bit of a roller coaster couple of days, but it is confirmed. I have a bun in the oven cooking as I type.

I had my first "BETA" = bloodtest to measure quantitative hCG in bloodstream. It came back with a definite positive - I am PREGNANT!

But following that happy news, was a lot of stress. Probably the worst stress I felt during this entire process. I found out that progesterone level dropped in half and thought for sure I was already miscarrying. Later, the doctors explained that those levels can fluctuate between tests - depending on the time between shot and test. I realized that I had taken the test a bit later that day than the previous test. The doctor also said that he wanted to see that number double by Tuesday.

I was pretty stressed the rest of the day - worried that the number would not double or even worse that it would go down. I prayed throughout the night for God to bless this pregnancy and protect it. I had planned on POAS one more time Tuesday morning with my last HPT, to prepare myself in the event that the line may be lighter.

I was pleasantly surprised with another set of 2 pink lines. The pregnancy line showed up immediately and was significantly darker than the last test. I confidently went to the lab and gave more of my blood. And sure enough, the beta not only doubled, but increased 175% (with a doubling time right now of about 31 hours). So things are looking positive right now. I keep praying for God to bless this pregnancy because I know things can change in an instant.

Both of my beautiful stepdaughters seem happy about the news as well, which is a little surprising because the youngest was not thrilled with the idea. She was the first to congratulate me and the first to run and meet me at the door with a hug.

So today - I am so blessed and grateful to my loving and faithful God.

Friday, January 18, 2008

2 Pink Lines

Well, I took my first home pregnancy test today and although one of them was fairly light, there was definitely TWO PINK LINES!!!

Needless to say, I am thrilled and was surprised by how emotional I got. I broke into sobs immediately when I saw that second line appear.

Today was a dream come true for me. I have wanted to "pee on a stick" for almost ten years now and see those little lines and today I did. I fell to my knees and thanked God for granting me that moment and for all my other blessings as I choked back the sobs.

My official bloodwork pregnancy test is not for another two days. I will worry a little per my nature, but tonight I will celebrate MY TWO PINK LINES!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Three's Company

Well, I have finished the final stage of my IVF treatment - Embryo Transfer.

ET took place two days ago. The last few days have been amazing in so many ways. Let's start from the night before embryo transfer. My beloved and I talked about the very real possibility that we could get the call the next morning that there simply was no embryos to transfer. As we talked about it, I explained to him that I fully accepted that if that was God's plan that although the phone call would be painful to receive I was okay with that. I explained how this whole IVF process has brought me so much closer to God and for that I am eternally grateful.

You see, before this IVF, I always loved God and thought God loved me but not specifically me. I always felt I was so small in the grand scheme of this universe that how could God love me so intimately to want to be involved in my everday life. But through the stress and pain of the procedures, tests, and anxieties over outcomes, I came to realize that indeed God did love me and wanted to be in all the little details of my life. As I explained this transformation in my relationship to God and how I have been sharing my faith with the women on one of the infertility boards I am on and how they seem to be responding (very postive and loving), his response was that perhaps this IF struggle and my way of coping with it was supposed to change him. He told me how watching my faith only get stronger has changed him as well.

Wednesday morning - I had just told Beloved that "Well the phone hasn't rung yet" when of course it did. I looked at the number and of course it was my clinic. Beloved ran to me as we received the news...three of the four embryos looked good and we would be transferring them in a couple of hours. My hands shook as I shut the phone. Beloved and I shared a big hug and a kiss and got ready. A few moments later, I knew that I had to stop what I was doing (getting ready for the appt) and take time out to give thanks to One that truly made this possible. Beloved and I knelt down to pray - I was going to start but was crying too hard to actual speak, so Beloved said a beautiful prayer of thanks. That drive down to the clinic was the best one - the first one that was filled with hope instead of anxiety.

The transfer was an amazing experience - They showed us the pics of the embies and discussed how many to transfer. Based on my age, we decided to do all three. Then we watched them load the catheter on the big tv screen and as they moved down the cath - it was so cool to watch the three little things chasing each other / flowing down the tube, then we switch over to the ultrasound and I got to watch them as they got put in. They had Enya playing in the background which at first I thought was cheesy but in the end really liked it. When I got wheeled back to my recover area, Beloved, ran up and gave me several sweet kisses and I could see that for the first time he was relieved and enjoying this a bit. As I was getting off the OR table onto my gurney, the sweet embryologist blew me a kiss. Later while I was waiting (you have to lay down for about 20-30 minutes afterwards), he came over and we talked a bit. He has the best bed side manner and is just so kind, which I told him. He gave me a sweet kiss on the hand. I feel very comforted knowing this was the man taking care of my embryos and even if it does not work, it has been a wonderful experience.

So now I am in the dreaded two week wait period (2WW)- though for me it is not dreaded, because while I am waiting I can hope and pray that those little guys are nestling in nice and safe. My secretary calls me "mommy" every time I go down to the office and you know what - I love it! Last night at the girls basketball games, a friend asked if I was in the "family way" and I said yes kinda. That I had three embies in but that they weren't in in yet.

The bloodwork test to see if I am pregnant is in 9 days. I plan to cheat and take a home pregnancy test the day before - in the event that it is a negative blood test, I wont be hearing it for the first time on the phone.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Times flies when your IVF cycling

Well, my last post was when I just started taking my ovarian stimulation drugs.

IVF occurs in stages and the hyperstimulation phase went fairly well. The shots were not too bad at all. It was only towards the very end when I started to have trouble. When I added the antagonist, I went from two shots a day to three. The antagonist shot had a larger gauge needle and was a lot more difficult to inject. The second night of that injection (which was also fortunately my last night of stims) was the worst. I had to up my main stimulation drug to 525 units (which at minimum would require that it be given in two doses). Well that night, I gave the first part of my Follistim (400 units) and was giving myself the second dose of 125 units when the vial ran out of medication. So now, I had to get a new vial, another needle and give a third injection of one of the meds. The second med was easy, but my final shot (5th that night) was the antagonist with the big needle. I tried to get it in but couldn't. Tried again and still couldn't. Finally I started to cry at which my beloved came into the bathroom and asked what was wrong. Tears flowing, I cried "I can't get this one in."

He just said, "Honey let me help you." and proceeded to get an ice cube to numb my belly. He numbed the area, cleaned it with an alcohol swab, gave me the last injection, and finished it with a long hug. It was exactly what I needed. I realized that at that moment, trying to conceive a child through IVF is as loving if not more so than the old fashioned way.

The next morning we had our check up with my doctor. Apparently, I was ready to go and we checked into the hotel. It was a whirlwind weekend of doctor's appointments and getting ready for the big Egg Retrieval (ER). I gave myself the trigger shot on Friday night and beloved and I played backgammon and relaxed. Saturday, he picked up the girls (who wanted to stay at the hotel with us, primarily for the pool). We went out to eat, shopped at Trader Joe's (the girls love that store and the granola), played in the all important pool, and hung out in our room. By 9:30 Saturday night, the ovaries were making themself known and every movement was uncomfortable. I was able to sleep okay, but my wonderful husband had some trouble. He was pretty nervous for the next morning.

Sunday morning was the big day. We headed over to the clinic. There were four other couples having their retrievals as well. Beloved and I just cracked jokes while we waited for my turn in the OR. That is who we are - big jokers. He dared me to cluck like a chicken - ready to drop her egg - which of course I did. ER was really fast and easy. I received the sedative and poof it was over. I woke up in recovery thinking I missed the appointment. It took a minute for it to register that it was already over. Darling husband then had to get aspirated again because the embryologist did not like how is sperm was thawing. They were moving but not well, so they told us they needed a fresh sample. The urologist was called in and got an even better sample than the first one. He was really excited and could not understand why this one was so much better (Olympic swimmer sperm as he called them) than the first one because he took them from the same spot. I think the embryologist stated it perfectly pointing up towards heaven, "Someone is looking out for you today and it is in His hands now."

I love my embryologist - he is the nicest man and I gave him a big hug before he went to work creating our precious embryos. I am so grateful that he is so thorough in his work that he wants the best and I am so grateful that he is such a warm caring individual because as I wait the agonizing couple of days before they can be put back in my body, I feel good knowing that they are in his care.

I have already mentioned my embryos - I have four. They retrieved seven eggs from me, five of which were mature, and four of the five fertilized. The doctor seemed very happy when he called this morning (I was still half asleep) and said, you did great. I think he would still sound as optimistic if the news wasn't great, so it is hard for me to really tell.

But going into this weekend, I said: "I would be happy with 5-8 mature eggs" and I had 5. "I would be happy if we had at least 3-4 embryos" and we got 4. "Ideally, I would love for all four to continue to grow and divide and to be able to transfer two and freeze two" - we will see what happens with that. I know that is not very realistic - so realistically, "I will be happy if I can get one embryo to make it"

We will see. But for right now - this very moment. I know I am SO BLESSED! I have a WONDERFUL husband and I love him so much. If we are not blessed with a pregnancy with this IVF, I will be okay because as I have said before "I love my family." This whole experience has brought me even closer to God and for that I am so grateful. I am grateful for my infertility, I am grateful for having to go through this IVF process, I am grateful for all the difficulties associated with it because for the first time I truly handed my life over to God and it is wonderful. I have never felt such peace before.

Embryo transfer is scheduled for Wednesday (God willing of course that they survive). But today, they are alive, and I am a mother.