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Friday, November 30, 2012

Got the call...Sunday is the BIG day!!

Today is day 3 after egg retrieval and I got a call from my friend at PREG around 6:45 this morning about whether I needed the transfer done today or Sunday. She sounded super happy when I answered so I knew everything was looking good.

All the numbers can be kind of confusing, so here they are again: They retrieved 22 eggs on retrieval day and out of those, 13 were mature enough to fertilize. On the day after retrieval they checked on those 13 and only 9 were viable embryos. So I asked you guys to really pray for those 9 embryos to stay healthy, grow appropriately, and start cell dividing correctly.

This morning, we have 8 embryos still growing, and 1 of them didn't make it. Of those 8 embryos, 2 of them are straggling behind a little bit and the other 6 look really good! This is great news and I'm hoping by day 5 (transfer day), I'll still have those really good 6 embryos still growing and moving to the blastocyst stage.

What can you pray for moving forward?
-Please pray that the 8 embryos we have will continue growing (and that the 2 stragglers will catch up).
-Please pray for me while I'm still having to take PIO (progesterone in oil) injections each morning, because they make my rear end really sore.
-Please start praying for the embryologist, doctors, and nurses that will be doing the transfer Sunday.

In the middle of me writing this entry, Lindsay JUST called me and I've got the schedule for Sunday. I have to be at PREG at 8:30am with a FULL BLADDER (oh boy!) and the transfer will be at 9am. So, those are the times I need you wonderful prayer partners to pray! Thank you again for all the love and support. It's so nice to have Christian friends and family and even people I don't know backing us and praying for success.

In case you're wondering what these embryos look like, here's a generic photo of what happens to the embryo on the days 1-5 after fertilization:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Update after Egg Retrieval

Hey everybody:)

Thank you so much for all the prayers that were lifted up for us as we had egg retrieval yesterday. We got there at 8:45am and I went straight back to get into a lovely gown, booties, and hair net to prepare for the procedure. Here's a picture:
After getting beautified, the anesthesiologist found a vein in my hand and hooked me up to the monitor meds:) Another picture:
She took me into the procedure room, put some tubes in my nose for oxygen, and I waited for the doctor to come in. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me she was starting the meds and that I would feel a slight sting in my hand. I remember looking up to the ceiling wondering when the meds would kick in. The doctor came in, said hi, and the rest is history. I don't remember much!

After the procedure, I was wheeled into the recovery room and woke up to Jason at my bedside laughing at me and telling me that I kept asking him the same questions over and over about how his part went! HAHA! And I kept wanting him to document by taking pictures. Here's one after recovery:
And here is a video while I still had a little bit of the meds in!

Thumbs up and all smiles! After being released, Jason brought me home and I got to snuggle with this little guy for the rest of the day:
The only injection I'm on now is PIO (Progesterone in Oil) which I do (actually Jason does) each morning. I'm also on Medrol and an estrogen patch. The PIO injection is a rear end injection, so I'm a bit sore, and will be for a while since I have to do it every morning. But, it's no biggie if we can get a baby growing in my belly!

So, onto the important information...before we left yesterday, they told us 22 eggs were retrieved and they'd call me tomorrow (today) to let me know how many of those were mature enough to fertilize and how many fertilized over night. So, here's the numbers: Out of 22 eggs, 13 were mature. Of the 13 mature eggs, this morning 9 of those were fertilized and considered embryos. My good friend, Lindsay, who works at PREG called me with the news and says that's a really good number and she's really excited for us.

Now, we wait until Friday (3 days after retrieval) to here how those 9 are doing. Most likely, we are still looking at the embryo transfer to be Sunday (day 5) but in the case that they look at them Friday and we need to go in Friday to do a day 3 transfer, we will. We are really just on a day by day basis right now. Lindsay told me this morning that they don't like to take the embryos out from the dark incubator too often because they want them to grow in conditions similar to the uterus. So, we'll know more information on how our embryos are doing on Friday.

Until then, we would ask you to pray that all 9 of the embryos grow well and develop as they should to have potential to be transfered or frozen. Thanks again for all of you who have reached out and loved on us through it all. I will update again Friday when we know more. XOXO!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Calling all Prayer Warriors!


The first procedure in the IVF process will happen tomorrow morning at 9:30am. Jason and I have to be at PREG in Greenville at 9am to get everything started. I will be sedated for the egg retrieval, and well, Jason just has to give a sperm sample. The procedure takes about 20 minutes to retrieve all the eggs, and afterwards I will be released home to rest. Hopefully, I will be fine and ready to head back to work Wednesday. Before we leave the office, we will be told how many eggs were retrieved and will get a call the next day about how many were successfully fertilized.

I have never felt the kind of love, support, and prayers lifted for us before like I have since we started this process. It brings tears to my eyes as I type to think about all the people out there that have loved on us, sent us encouragement, and prayed on our behalf. I was always somewhat apprehensive about sharing my blog with people I knew, because I thought people would think we were weird or that we had major issues. However, since posting my blog to FaceBook the very first time, I never looked back nor regretted letting you all know about our infertility struggle.

Now, we need your prayers more than we ever have. All this is getting so very real, and we are getting very close to end of the process. It seemed easier at first to talk about because it was going to be about a 2 month process and 2 months seemed quite long at the time. Now, I've injected all the stimulation medication, taken all the oral medication, and I'm ready for retrieval. It's unreal how quickly this has snuck up on us.

So how can you pray? Many of you may still be a little unsure of what this process entails, so here is a list of things you can specifically pray for tomorrow at 9:30am:

1. Pray the doctor will retrieve a lot of eggs and that most are mature enough to be fertilized.
2. Pray we will get good sperm to fertilize the eggs.
3. Pray that over the next 3-5 days as the embryos are incubated that many will survive and grow into healthy embryos that have the potential to be transferred back into the uterus.

Some of you may not understand any of that, but will you please partner with us and pray the Lord will do these things? The whole reason I ever decided to share our journey is to have people who love us and support us to pray the Lord will grant our desire to have a healthy baby. We know and have read many times that "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" Matthew 18:20. We also know to "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4. Lastly, I love this part in James that our pastor has spoken on recently (James 5:13-18)

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Some people may not see infertility as a "sickness" but it is a condition that prevents couples from having children and it can be "healed" through medicine and procedures mankind has created. The Lord has gifted many men and women with the ability to help the "sick," and I am truly thankful for these kinds of people. While the Lord is fully capable to heal anyone, isn't it cool that he allows man to step in and use his/her talents/gifts to help those who need it? I think it's quite amazing:)

I love the part about "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." Have you ever thought to yourself "oh...there are so many people praying, what's one more?" Well, let me tell you, I have witnessed many miracles through prayer, and I can attest to the power of many people lifting up prayers to the Lord on someone else's behalf. While I used to feel weird about asking people to pray for me (especially if I thought my request wasn't as important as someone else's), I covet your prayers more than ever and thank you for loving us enough to see how much this means to us!

After retrieval tomorrow, and as we get closer to the embryo transfer, I will ask for your prayers again, but they will be specific to the transfer procedure. We love you all very much and thank you in advance for praying for/with us tomorrow at 9:30!

Lastly, this song has been my go-to song to remember to stay strong through this process and through any hardship in life. I hope you'll watch the video and listen carefully to the words of this song. I claim these words as we walk through this journey!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Truly Thankful

As I sit and reflect on a day like today, I have much to thank the Lord for. I thank him for:

my sweet family
my loving husband
my faithful dog, Bentley
my health
my job
my amazing friends
a gorgeous home
vehicles to get me where I need to go
food to prepare for meals
heat for the cold winter months
a church filled with people who love and serve the Lord unselfishly
a life group I call family

and the list goes on. But as I read this list over and over, I realize that many of these things are just that, THINGS. Many are things that will just pass away. The one thing that I am forever grateful for is God sending His son, Jesus, to earth in order to die for my sins, so that I could live in Heaven with Him forever. What a price to pay! For God to look at me and think I am worth dying for is mind boggling. I am a sinner, and confess to sinning on a daily basis, and for someone to come and wipe the slate clean is quite amazing. What an incredible Love! Someone who could do something like this for me, I believe can do anything!

Believe! Lord, I believe you will do great things! Lord, I believe you will answer my prayers.

These are words I have had a hard time saying when it comes to my infertility. I have to admit this. I find myself wondering if this is REALLY going to happen this time. We've tried everything else, and it seems like THIS IS IT! So, what if it doesn't work?

Satan is really good at making us feel defeat. If we feel defeated, then we have already lost the battle. I've heard that little voice in my head lately as we get closer and closer to the big procedures. "What if it doesn't work?" "You're never going to get pregnant." "Just give up." That's exactly what Satan would love for me to do. And you know, it would definitely be easy to just wallow in self pity and let others pity me and feel sorry for me. It would be easy to just quit the journey and blame God for not allowing us to get pregnant. However, I'm not that kind of girl. Satan will have to work a little harder to get me down. I'm a princess of the King, and I BELIEVE He will answer my prayer and give me the desire of my heart.

From the last blog post, Healing, one of the things the paster said we have to do is Believe Christ will answer us. Quit questioning Him and thinking of the worst. Believe that He will work that miracle in your life. Believe He can do that for you. Believe that you are special enough to Him that He will heal your hurting heart, cure that disease, mend that relationship, get you back to work, GIVE YOU THE CHILD YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF. Just believe. Trust. Be faithful to the one who took your (my) place. He is faithful, always, to us.

So, in those moments where you question His ability, remember to believe. Remember, that through Him, anything is is possible. Remember these verses that Jesus gave us in his word:

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

This challenge is for me and for anyone else out there facing adversity. I do not have all the answers, but through the many miracles I see and read about on a daily basis, I for one, have seen the true power of the King. He can do ALL things we thought were never possible. Just believe.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Today was a very different day at FBS. Our paster, Don Wilton, has been preaching from James for the past 3-4 weeks and we've focused on Identity Crisis. We've talked about Favoritism, the Future, Money, and today he talked about Suffering and Healing from James 5. Last week, we were challenged to bring someone, anyone, who we knew was suffering--emotionally, physically, etc. A few people definitely came to my mind, but I never asked them to come with us. I didn't realize it was actually me who needed healing.

Many of you read my blog and probably think, "She's really brave," or "She must be really strong to put all her business out there for the world to see." And I have to admit that all the strength I have only comes from above. Jesus has truly given me a mission to share my personal journey of infertility with you so that somehow, at some time, some one might see Jesus through this journey. I never thought I would ever make this blog public for my closest friends and acquaintances to read. It simply started as a  random blog for other bloggers who I would never meet to possibly read and relate. But somewhere in my journey, the Lord spoke to me and told me to share. And I chose to do just that.

However, while much of the time I put on a brave face and a big smile, there are quiet moments in the day where I'm by myself and I am scared to death--not of the injections and how some of them may hurt or make me feel. But I'm scared that if this journey doesn't give us a successful pregnancy, people may think God didn't answer our prayers. Please know, whatever the result, my God is faithful and He is Good and He will provide in His way and in His time. I trust Him completely, and I hope those of you who read will see only the strength He provides in this trying time. While a negative pregnancy test would be disappointing, I would never go back and do this stage in our lives differently. God opened this door for us for a reason. We aren't quite sure yet, but we know our job is to continue to walk.

So, back to the service this morning. Dr. Wilton gave us four points about what the Lord says in His word about Suffering and Healing. They are as follows:

1. Be believing--even in your suffering, believe God will do great things and believe He will heal you
2. Be open-hearted--don't be trapped by your circumstance, but instead, allow people to surround you, pray for you, and walk with you on your journey--don't do it alone!
3. Be humble--sometimes we allow our pride to get in the way and we decide to suffer in silence--be vocal about your struggle and seek help from others
4. Be expectant--expect that God will answer your prayers

As I went through this list, I felt as if I could put a check beside each one. At first, I wanted to do this by myself and not tell anyone about this "problem." How weird was I that I couldn't get pregnant? What would people think? Eventually, I opened up my heart and the Lord spoke. I started with my family and close friends, and then eventually posted my blog to FaceBook for my other friends to read. I thought, "I'd rather have a HUGE number of people on my side asking the Lord for the same thing than just me asking Him." And finally, I'm still getting better about being expectant. Sometimes the devil rears his head and asks me "What are you going to do if you don't get pregnant? You've waited so long and prayed so hard. Just GIVE UP." I'm learning to ignore that voice and expect that God WILL answer my prayer.

My sweet husband saw the suffering all over my face this morning as tears rolled down my cheeks and simply asked me if I wanted to go down to the alter and ask someone to pray for us. While it was in the back of my head, I kept telling myself that my "suffering" wasn't "like" other people who were sick, in pain, battling cancer, etc. I decided to go, with his leadership, and it was the sweetest time with our friend who prayed over us. Another hand landed on my back after a minute or two and I felt the Spirit of the Lord covering us with His love and grace. What a time of healing it was!

I would urge anyone who is suffering in ANY way to seek out someone you trust and ask them to pray with/for you. Don't suffer in silence and never experience the kind of healing I felt in my heart today. To know other people are walking with me and praying over me daily means the world to my husband and I. What a truly special feeling that is. As I continue to walk through this door the Lord opened for me, my prayer is that He continue to open more doors and close others that simply aren't in His plan for me. Won't you do the same? If you don't have anyone that will pray for/with you, I will be that person. Please let me know if I can ever serve any of you. It would be my pleasure.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

From one to THREE

Yesterday was the beginning of the major fertility medications to help grow my follicles that will eventually house eggs for retrieval. Since November 7th, I've been taking the Lupron injection (10 cc) each night to prevent ovulation. The goal was to keep me from ovulating so that the doctor can trigger ovulation when my follicles have grown to a good size. This past Wednesday I had an U/S and blood work done at PREG to make sure everything was still looking good and my hormone levels were where they should be. In the U/S, Stephanie (my awesome nurse), was still seeing 12-15 follicles in each ovary which means I have that many which potentially can grow and be suitable to retrieve.

The two additional injections added to the regimen yesterday were low dose HCG and the Gonal-F Pen. What is this you may ask? Well, to put it simply, us women have hormones in our body that help stimulate follicle growth called FSH and LH. So, for those of us infertiles who need a boost, these medications do what our body is not doing for us. Some of you may have heard of the "LH surge" before. For those of you lucky enough to use ovulation predictor kits to predict when you will ovulate, that smiley face that shows up on the stick is there because of the LH hormone. It surges anywhere from 24-48 hours before ovulation and then ovulation follows. So, all of these injections are just helping us women who aren't so lucky.

So far, I have felt completely normal through this entire process. The process has included folic acid every day, birth control for about a month to keep me from ovulating, Lupron overlaped the birth control for several days which I continue to take (birth control has stopped), now I'm taking Doxycycline and 81mg of Asprin in the morning with breakfast, and yesterday was the first day adding the low dose HCG and Gonal-F Pen. After egg retrieval, there will be more. I feel really good and hope I continue to have a wonderful IVF experience. It's really been very easy.

I had a good friend, Susie, ask me to go see Twilight "Breaking Dawn Part 2" last night and told me it started at 7:40pm. I have been taking my injection(s) at 8pm each night and wondered if I could take them a little earlier so I could have a GNO. The nurse said that was no biggie, so I rounded up all my meds (HCG and Gonal-F must be refrigerated so they traveled with me in a cooler) and headed for the theater. I stopped at Rite Aid to grab some goodies and decided to hang out in the parking lot to do my injections before heading to the theater. Enjoy the video:)
By the way, Breaking Dawn part 2 was really awesome and even though it was the last of the Twilight Saga, the ending was really perfect!

Next week, I've got a 7:30am appt at PREG to see how the meds are working and to re-evaluate the dosage of each medication. I will have an appointment every other day or so for them to continue monitoring me and making sure the follicle growth is progressing as it should be. Keep praying for us and for a successful pregnancy to come from this. We put all our faith in Jesus Christ and know He will be glorified through this process regardless of the results.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1st Lupron Injection of IVF cycle November 2012

Wow, I can't believe the time is finally here for us to start injections. It seems like just yesterday that we were heading to PREG for our new patient meeting with Dr. Payne, and today I gave myself my first injection. Toward the end of the month is when we'll do the egg retrieval and the transfer 5 days later. Could all my dreams be coming true before Christmas? I sure hope and pray the Lord will give us a child (children :) ) through this process! What a Christmas present that would be!

Well, I decided to document each step of this process mainly so I can remember everything I go through, but also to help those of my friends, family, acquaintances, and people I don't even know who follow my blog and pray for us to understand what IVF is like. I want to give as much support to those going through infertility as I can, because I've been there when you feel like you're all alone! Please know I'm more than happy to talk with you or just be there to listen to you if you need a friend along the same journey.

Well, here's the video from tonight:) I kinda look like a pro, but this is the FIRST time I've ever given myself an injection. It's truly as they say.."Not bad at all!"

P.S. "The Soup" was on TV in the background and I found myself starring at the hilarity going on there!