Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back

2010 was, like most years, a mix of both good and bad.  During 2010 we learned to laugh rather than cry when things seemed like too much.  We learned that the best things in life really are free.  We learned that we are stronger than we imagined, and that faith truly can move mountains.  We learned to fully trust God's plan and wait.  We learned that even when science says something is nearly impossible, God makes a way and miracles really do happen.

Here's a look back at a year that definitely changed our lives.

January:  I was in a dark place in January.  We were taking a break from REACH and fertility treatments.  The weight of infertility and the miscarriage weighed heavily on my shoulders, and I couldn't bear the uncertainty of the future.  January was a hard month in many ways.  On a happy note, in the middle of the month, we added Ethel to our little family.  Though I was a little uncertain of her in the beginning, she's been a wonderful addition and I couldn't imagine our home without her. 

February:  We celebrated Lucy's first birthday on February 13!  We also returned to REACH at the end of February.  I remember being filled with such hope that month.

March:  We learned that our first treatment cycle failed.  I started taking Bravelle injections and added an IUI to the mix.

April:  On April 1 I celebrated my 26th birthday.  We learned that another cycle had failed.  I continued taking the Bravelle injections and had an IUI. 

May:  Another disappointment.  After the negative result in May, Dr. W and I discussed surgery to remove a possible blockage in one of my fallopian tubes.  I scheduled the surgery for the first week in June.  

June:  I had surgery on June 1.  The blockage that had shown up on the HSG test wasn't there, and Dr. W couldn't find any reason to explain why, even with all the medication, I couldn't conceive.  We were at a loss.  Dr. W pulled everything out of his Hail Mary Box and we were presented with an aggressive treatment plan.  However, we were also told that IVF may be the only way to have a child of our own.  I finished my fourth year of teaching.

July:  I injected myself with more Bravelle than ever before.  Dr. W changed some of the other medications, hoping that something would work.  We didn't do an IUI because Dr. W felt it would be best if we saved that money for IVF.  We celebrated our fourth anniversary on July 29.  Bradley and I spent time at the beach with friends during the two week wait.  Everything about our time there is ingrained in my mind--the dinners, the time spent on the beach, our conversations, the strange mix of hope and anxiety I felt, the ride home.  Kesha tried her best to talk me into taking a pregnancy test while I was there, but I wouldn't because I was so afraid I would be disappointed again.

August:  We came back from the beach on August 4.  The morning of August 5, I took a pregnancy test.  After realizing that what I thought was a negative was really a positive, we rushed to REACH for blood work.  On August 6, I posted this on the blog.  Bradley turned 29 on August 12.  On August 20, we had our first ultrasound and were able to see the baby's heartbeat. 

September:  We had our second ultrasound on September 2, and were released from REACH.  We went to the Apple Festival.  I wrote the 100th post for the blog.  On September 24, I met Dr. H for the first time.  After a scary moment with the doppler, we had another ultrasound.  The baby was there, wiggling away.

October:  In October, we celebrated the end of the first trimester.  We also lost Bradley's grandmother to cancer this month.  Near the end of the month, I felt the baby's first fluttery movements.  What a precious moment!

November:  On November 12, we were thrilled to see that our baby was growing perfectly during an anatomy scan ultrasound.  We learned that we were expecting a little girl!  We fell even more in love with her as we watched her on the screen, and we chose a name for her that day.  We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families. We reached the halfway mark of the pregnancy during November.  We also celebrated Ethel's first birthday!

December:  Bradley felt the baby move for the first time.  We celebrated Christmas with our families, and experienced a white Christmas for the first time. 

Now we're thirty minutes away from 2011--the year our daughter will be born, the year we'll become parents, the year our lives will drastically change.  Looking back, I can truly appreciate how far we've come.  As good as 2010 was, I can't wait to see what 2011 holds in store for us.  :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

25 Weeks!



How Far Along: 25 weeks, 0 days

Size of Baby:  Length-13.5 inches; Weight-1.5 lbs.

Gender:  Girl--Aniston Louise

Movement:  I'm feeling her more and more.  She's most active in the mornings between 6:30 and 7:00 (but only if I'm being very still) and in the late evenings. 

Cravings:  Fries.

Food Aversions:  None this week.
What I Miss:  Sleeping on my stomach and sleeping through the night; being able to tie my shoes easily.  It's definitely worth it though. :)
Sleep:  Some nights are pretty good.  Others...not so much.
Symptoms:  Heartburn, back and leg pain, some swelling.  This is the first week that I've really noticed a difference in my ankles between morning and night.  
Best Moment This Week:  Bradley was finally able to feel Aniston kick last Thursday morning!

What I'm Looking Forward To:  Working on the nursery.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Merry Little Christmas

Bradley and I had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you and your family had a merry Christmas as well!  Christmas is always such a special time, but this year I couldn't help but begin looking forward to next year and the Christmases that will follow.  This was our last quiet Christmas morning, our last Christmas to sleep as late as we wanted.  Next year we'll be on Aniston's schedule, and we are so excited!

Christmas is always busy, busy, busy for us.  On Christmas Eve we go to three different places and on Christmas Day we go to two, then host one family Christmas at our home.  It seems like it's a constant rush, and we're never able to spend as much time as we want at each place.

This year, though, was different.  Our area experienced its first White Christmas since 1947!  It started snowing on Christmas morning while we were at my parents' house, and didn't stop until mid-day on Sunday.  We were on our way to my aunt's house for lunch on Christmas, but then turned around.  The snow was beginning to lay on the road, and Bradley was quick to point out that it's not just us anymore.  Since my parents live next door and had made the decision to stay home as well, we had lunch and spent the afternoon with them, Eric, and Chelsea.  We played games, talked, and laughed.  Snow days are so....peaceful.  Outside, the snow is so beautiful and everything is so quiet.  Inside, no one is in a hurry to do anything because you can't go anywhere.

This Christmas was different than anything I had experienced in the past.  While I'm sad that we didn't make it to my aunt's and our dinner with Bradley's family was canceled, I enjoyed our quiet Christmas at home. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

What a difference a year can make.

I remember last Christmas Eve all too well.  Last year, just like today, Bradley went in to work for a few hours in the morning.  I was left alone with all of my thoughts.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table and crying for what seemed like such a long time.  I blogged that day, but the post was never published.  I remember thinking about how different things should have been.  It should have been our first baby's first Christmas.  My heart felt like it was in a million shattered pieces, and I didn't know how to even begin putting the pieces back together.  With the exception of the ultrasound day, I have never felt so dark, so alone, so absolutely broken as I did last Christmas Eve.

This Christmas Eve is a different story.  I sit this morning in awe and wonder at the miracle I'm experiencing.  After all we've been through, this pregnancy still seems too good to be true...but Aniston's precious little kicks remind me that it is.  We are truly blessed beyond measure.

I spent time in prayer this morning for those couples who are still waiting on their miracle, and I ask you to do the same.  Infertility often doesn't show on the outside, but can destroy a person internally.  The holidays can be especially difficult for couples facing such an uncertain future, as well-meaning relatives ask difficult questions and babies are everywhere.  So pray for those couples.  Pray that God would be near them during this season, renewing their hope and giving them peace.    

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little One Letters-About Love

Dear Aniston,
  Precious girl, with every day that passes we are one closer to meeting you.  Your daddy and I are so excited.  Most days this still seems unbelievable.  You are a dream come true, a miracle we thought may never be possible.  Already you are the most important thing in our lives.  Our decisions are centered around you, even though you're not even here yet.  I'm amazed at how much we love you already.  We don't know what you look like.  We don't know your personality or temperament.  But you are ours, and the love that comes with that is just overwhelming at times.
  You see, sometimes love can be scary.  It can be absolutely terrifying to give your heart to another person.  It takes a lot of trust, and a lot of faith.  Right now, you are safely inside of me.  While I realize I'm not in control of what happens to you even now, I'm more in control now than what I will be when you're born.  Right now, I'm responsible for you.  Every day I make sure to eat the right things, drink enough water, and take a prenatal vitamin.  I don't do anything that may even possibly put you at risk.  I am careful with you because I know what a miracle you are.
  Some days you are more active than others.  On those lazy days of yours, I worry constantly.  I just want you to be safe and healthy....I think that's all any parent wants for their child.  The other day I mentioned this to your daddy.  I told him about how I worried about you now, when you're still safely inside of me.  I asked him how in the world we were going to deal with the worry when you finally arrive.  What will we do when you go to school, to sleepovers, on a first date?  He calmly responded that you just aren't going to do those things.  We both laughed because we know that's not going to be the case.  We know we can't keep you in a bubble, and we wouldn't really want to.  Life is about experiences.  Yes, sometimes those experiences will hurt and you'll wonder why things happened the way they did.  But all of those experiences are woven together in the most amazing tapestry.  Sometimes it takes pain and hurt to see the beauty of it all more clearly.
  Little one, my prayer for you today is that your heart will always be filled with love.  When you are little, I pray that you will know love every single day of your life.  I pray that you will know how much your daddy and I love you, as well as so many other people.  As you grow up, I pray that you'll know the love of good friends and what a blessing friendship is.  And when you are older (much, much older), I pray that you will find the kind of love your daddy and I have.  You see, that's what it's all about, Aniston--Life is about love.  It's about loving God and loving others.  Love makes all the difference.

Love Always,
Mommy

24 Weeks!

First, I'm promising myself that I will do better with this.  Somehow life gets busy and I fall behind, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to do this every. single. week. from now on.  It's hard to believe that today marks 24 weeks--only 16 weeks to go! 

How Far Along: 24 weeks, 0 days

Size of Baby: around 12 inches long; weighs a little over 1 pound (It amazes me to think about how thin she is right now!)

Gender:  Girl--Aniston Louise

Movement:  She usually has a few very active days followed by a couple of lazy days.  Those lazy days really scared me at first, but I've realized it's just a pattern of hers for now.  I'm able to feel her move from the outside now.  Bradley hasn't had been able to feel her kick yet.  When I tell him she's moving, she'll completely stop when he puts his hands on my stomach.  Stubborn girl! :)  This morning she was really thumping around, and I was able to see her move once.  Absolutely amazing! 

Food Cravings:  Salad!  Lots and lots of salad!  I'm still loving orange juice.  I'm also still eating tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at least two times a week for dinner.  (Bradley is so tired of that!)  I've also found that many things I didn't like before I was pregnant are now absolutely delicious--like chocolate covered pretzels and salt and vinegar potato chips.

Food Aversions:  Chicken, but only on certain days.
What I Miss:  Sleeping on my stomach and sleeping through the night.
Sleep:  Some nights are pretty good.  Others...not so much.
Symptoms:  Heartburn.  I never leave home without Tums. :)
Best Moment This Week:  Feeling Aniston move from the outside, and actually being able to see her move!

What I'm Looking Forward To:  Taking a giant step and starting on the nursery.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

...and so it should.  Especially since Christmas is FOUR DAYS AWAY.  Only three if you don't count today.  Only two if you don't count today or Christmas Eve.

This year, I just haven't felt very Christmas-y.  I love Christmas, I really do.  But this year just feels...different.  It's not that I'm unhappy or depressed.  I have more to be happy about this Christmas than I ever have before.  It's just that everything seems like it's a lot of trouble.  Usually, our porch is decorated for Christmas, as well as all the windows.  This year...not so much.  Our tree is up, but all the cutesy stuff I normally put on the coffee table, console table, and end tables just didn't make it out of the boxes this year.  Our dining room table isn't decorated.  It makes me feel bad to think about all I haven't done this year to get our home ready for Christmas.  All of the shopping is finished, but only a few things have been wrapped or placed in gift bags.  Sigh.  I'm just so tired all the time.  (Not that I'm complaining about this pregnancy because I most certainly am not.  I know how blessed I am, and I would not trade one single minute of this for the world.)

Last week, I read Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas to my class.  As I continued turning the pages, I thought, Oh, my gosh!  That's ME!  You know, minus the whole stealing Christmas from an entire town thing.  But the attitudes were very similar.  Too similar.

Over the weekend, as Bradley and I were finishing our Christmas shopping, he looked at me and said, "What's wrong with you?  You love Christmas!  Where's your Christmas spirit?!"  And, honestly, I didn't have much Christmas spirit.

Until today.

Today, friends, is a turning point.  Maybe it's because today is the first day of Christmas break (!!!).   Maybe it's because I was able to sleep a little longer than the night before.  Maybe it's because I'm having lunch/Christmas today at my favorite restaurant with my two best friends.

But really, I think it's mostly because of these pretzel bites.  The assistant principal at my school gave us all these cute little pretzel treats.  I fell in love with them.  That's kind of odd because usually when it comes to chocolate and pretzels, I like to eat a couple once a year at Christmas, but not the whole bag.  (Of course, this is the same person who couldn't stand salt and vinegar potato chips until a month or so ago but now has been known to eat them until her tongue is sore from the vinegar.  Oh, pregnancy, how strange you are.)  But these were different.  These were fantastic! They were like little pretzels sandwiches with gooey chocolate and caramel inside. 

This morning I woke up and had a couple more of these delicious little things after breakfast.  (You know, for dessert.  After breakfast.)  Then I began to wonder, What is inside of these?!  I tried one more (for research purposes only, you see), and then had a thought.  Could this be a Rolo?!  I think it is!!  Giddily, I grabbed the laptop and Googled.  And, lo and behold, a whole list of Rolo Pretzel Bite recipes popped up on the screen.  I grabbed the phone and called Bradley's office.  "It's Rolos!"  I yelled into the phone, "Rolos!  And, it looks like they're pretty easy to make!  I could so make these!  I'm going to make them for everyone because these things are so good!  And I'll put them in cute little treat bags!  It finally feels like Christmas!" And, Bradley (who, bless his heart, puts up with my craziness), said, "Really?  It feels like Christmas because of pretzel bites?"  I could hear the smile in his voice.

And with that, my Christmas spirit was renewed.  Maybe I'll even go down to the basement and unpack a couple of Christmas boxes.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Appointment

Today was my monthly appointment with Dr. H.  We had the pleasure of listening to Aniston's heart beat--what a little miracle!  I never get tired of hearing that sound and always wish the experience would last a little longer.  Her heart rate was a strong and steady 144 beats per minute.  I measured right on track, according to Dr. H, and everything looks good.  Earlier in the week I had some issues with my left arm going numb from my elbow to my fingers, as well as blurry vision in my left eye.  I called and spoke with the triage nurse on Monday afternoon.  Dr. H believes that the two incidents aren't related.  He thinks Aniston was simply on a nerve which caused my arm to go numb.  He also thinks that the blurry vision (which was followed by a headache, but not a terrible one) was probably a pregnancy induced migraine.  I was told to come in immediately if it happened again so that I could be seen while it was occurring, but, otherwise, it's nothing to worry about.  It hasn't happened since then, so I'm hoping it was just a one-time thing. 
Bradley and I continue to feel so blessed.  It's amazing to think about how fast time is passing, and how in a few short months we'll have her here with us!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

I always thought I would be one of those people who had a Christmas tree with a theme or at least a color scheme.  Growing up, I always liked the idea of having a tree with only a few colors.  My mom never did that.  Every year we would put up a Christmas tree, and every year there would be a hodgepodge of ornaments on it.  She had a collection of ornaments--ones Eric, my brother, and I made as children, ornaments she'd received as gifts, ones she had picked up here and there through the years.

Now I know why.

This will be our fifth Christmas as a married couple.  The first year, our tree had a definite color scheme.  I only decorated with dark red and green, with just a bit of muted gold mixed in.  It was a pretty tree, even though the tree itself came to be known as "the Charlie Brown Christmas tree" because of the number of holes it had.  Fun memories. :)  Anyway, the first year, the tree had a theme.  After that year, I stuck to the same theme but began to slowly add other ornaments.  Bradley and I have purchased a personalized ornament every year we've been married.  Lucy has a First Christmas ornament, and Ethel will have one this year as well.  Over the years, I've picked up ornaments here and there.  Some are sentimental for one reason or another, others I just like.  Last year, we did a tree of just angels in addition to our regular big tree for our sweet Peanut, the baby we lost.  Many angels were given to us, and throughout the season we were in a constant search for more. 

As November 30 (the anniversary of what would have been her due date in 2009) approached, Bradley and I talked about what to do.  We decided that this year, the angels would go on our big tree.  We're at a funny place in life.  I still think about her and all that could have been.  I still wonder why.  Even as I feel Aniston move around, even as I'm so thankful for her, even as I love her so very much already....I still miss the first baby.  She was a part of me as much as Aniston is now, and the sadness of never meeting her is still very real for me.  It's a strange thing to experience joy and sadness like this at the same time.  Back to the Christmas tree, though. 

Our tree is a hodgepodge, much like my mom's always has been.  It's a culmination of sentimental ornaments, lots of angels, and a few solid colors mixed in.  I now have too many ornaments that I love and can't bear to leave off the tree.  It doesn't have a theme, and it's not all the same color.  And it's perfect.  It represents us as a couple, the same way my mom's tree has always represented us as a family.  The personalized ornaments represent where we've been.  The angels represent what we've lost.  And Aniston's ornament?  It represents where we're going. 

Aniston's ornament

Our personalized ornament for 2010

21 Week Bumpdate

How Far Along: 21 weeks, 4 days
Size of Baby: around 10.5 inches, 3/4 lb.
Gender:  Girl!
Movement:  She's definitely getting stronger. 
Food Cravings:  Orange juice!  And tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
What I Miss:  Sleeping on my stomach.
Sleep:  Still not great, but has improved a bit since last week.
Symptoms:  Round ligament pain.
Best Moment This Week:  I have several: 1) Aniston's movements becoming stronger; 2) hanging her ornament on the tree; 3) deciding on bedding for the nursery.
What I'm Looking Forward To:  Appointment on Friday to check on Aniston.  I love hearing her heart beat! 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Whirlwind Thanksgiving

How do four day weekends pass so quickly?!  I can't believe it's Sunday night already!  Our weekend was busy, but wonderful.

On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families.  We went to Bradley's parents' house for lunch and then hosted my family at our house for dinner.  Yum!  I have so much to be thankful for!  An amazing husband, a wonderful family, great friends....and, of course, this precious little girl we'll meet in April!  The Lord has truly blessed us, and we will continue to thank Him for His blessings not just on Thanksgiving, but always.

On Friday, Bradley and I went shopping.  Usually I get up to go shopping really early on Black Friday, but not this year.  We left home around 8am and still managed to get some pretty good deals.  I continued my Christmas shopping with my mom on Saturday.  I have such a wonderful mom, and it was a blessing to be able to spend the day with her.

Bradley and I decided to begin working on our baby registry this weekend.  I hadn't planned to do it quite yet, but, with Christmas approaching, several people mentioned buying things for the baby and asked if we had registered.  So, with lists in hand, we braved Babies R Us today.  I knew that babies needed lots of things, but I never imagined how many things we would need.  We were there for hours.  Hours!  At the beginning we were both bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (love that expression!), excited to pick things out for our daughter.  By the end, though, we were exhausted and overwhelmed.  There were so many decisions to make, such as: Should we register for neutral things or go all pink?  Which stroller is the best?  Should we go with a travel system or individual pieces that fit together?  Which brand of bottles should we use?  It was exhausting!  Fun, but exhausting!  In the end, we registered for lots of pink things, but tried to keep the major things (play yard, bouncer, swing) in neutral colors just in case we do have another baby and it happens to be a boy.  Given our struggle with infertility and everything it took for us to become pregnant with this baby, I'm not sure that's going to happen.  But you never know, and I wanted to make sure I could use these things again in a few years if needed.  After a lot of research, we chose a travel system by Chicco in a beige/pink color combination.  No, it's not neutral and, yes, I cringed at the price, but I absolutely fell in love with it.  If we ever have another baby, we'll have to get another stroller.  For now, though, pink it is.  :)  Bottles were the hardest for me.  There are so many choices, and I'm just not sure what to do quite yet.  We didn't register for any, and I plan to think about it more and then make a decision.  I was so tired by the time we left the store.  I feel like we've accomplished at least something in preparing for her arrival.  Now we need to get started on the nursery. 

We planned to begin decorating for Christmas this evening, but, after our looooong adventure at Babies R Us, it just didn't happen.  Hopefully we'll get to that sometime early this week.

20 Week Bumpdate

Over the last several years, I've watched (er, read) many bloggers post weekly "bumpdates" during their pregnancies.  I always thought it was a great idea, but when I found out I was (finally) pregnant, suddenly I was hesitant to do such a thing.  For twenty weeks now, I've been wary of posting anything like that.  It seems like no matter how great every appointment or ultrasound goes, I'm still fearful.  For the longest time I couldn't make myself buy maternity clothes or things for the baby.  I was afraid doing so would jinx this pregnancy somehow, just as posting weekly bumpdates would.

I don't want to look back on this time with a single regret, and I'm determined to enjoy the next twenty weeks rather than worrying through them.  So let the bumpdates begin!

How Far Along: 20 weeks, 4 days
Size of Baby: around 10 inches long and 10.5 ounces
Gender:  Girl!
Movement:  Flutters.  Earlier this week I was concerned because she wasn't moving as much, but she definitely made up for it today.  She has been wiggling constantly! 
Food Cravings:  I could eat grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup every day. 
What I Miss:  Sleeping on my stomach.
Sleep:  Not great.  I'm able to fall asleep quickly, but can't sleep through the night.  Usually I wake up around 3ish and can't go back to sleep.
Symptoms:  Round ligament pain (ouch!) and heartburn.
Best Moment This Week:  Celebrating Thanksgiving with our family and knowing that we'll be celebrating Aniston's first Thanksgiving next year.  What a precious thought!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little One Letters-20 Weeks

Dear Aniston,
  Sweet girl, today is an important milestone in this pregnancy.  I am twenty weeks pregnant with you!  We're halfway there!  I can't believe it.  Time is passing so quickly.  In one way, I want time to slow down just a bit so I can savor every moment of this experience with you.  At the same time, though, I find myself wishing that April would hurry up and get here.  I'm so eager to meet you!  
  I have always loved the hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness."  Growing up, I couldn't get enough of those words.  When your daddy and I got married, we chose to use the hymn as part of our wedding music.  It's special to us, and I hope that one day you will understand how very true the words are.  I love the chorus:  Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!  Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed the Lord hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.   As we longed to have a child, those words never left me.  Even when we lost your sister, even when we were told that you may not be a possibility, I clung to the truth in the words in that hymn. 
  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for, and you are at the top of our list.  You are surely a miracle, little one, and we thank God for you and ask His protection over you every day.  Every time you wiggle, I am reminded of how faithful and loving our God is.  Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

We love you so very much,
Mommy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Little One Letters...It's a Girl!

Dear Little One,
  Last Friday we had an ultrasound to check on you.  You're getting so big and changing so quickly!  I am just in awe of you, sweet miracle.  I am so thankful already to be your mommy, and can only imagine what life will be like when you finally arrive.  The ultrasound was absolutely amazing.  We were thrilled to see that you were growing and developing appropriately.  Your little heart was just beating away.  The sight of that takes my breath away every time.  You were constantly moving, tapping your feet and waving your arms.
  We also wanted to find out if you were a boy or a girl.  At first, you turned away every time the ultrasound tech tried to see.  I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to find out.  Finally, you decided to cooperate and the ultrasound tech announced, "It's a girl!"  A daughter! 
  I can't wait to begin picking things out for your nursery!  I am so excited about all of the pink that will be in our house!  People are already buying things for you.  You are such a lucky little girl!  You're not even here yet, and you are already so loved by so many.  I love to look at the little clothes and shoes people have given us this past week.  They are so tiny and so cute!
  Your daddy and I picked out a name for you that we both love--Aniston Louise.  I was the one who suggested Aniston and, after a lot of thought, your daddy agreed that it was perfect for you.  Your middle name comes from Mamaw Louise, your great-grandmother.  She is such a wonderful, special person and I can't wait for her to meet you.  She and Papaw Coy are so excited about you! 
  Sweet Aniston, you are such a blessing to us already.  Keep growing, precious girl, and April will be here before you know it.

Love always,
Mommy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Psalm 150: 6

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's a....

GIRL!!!

We are absolutely thrilled!  The ultrasound went really well.  The baby was constantly moving and tapping her feet.  Several times she brought her hands together as if in prayer.  The ultrasound tech typed the word "amen" beside her hands and made sure to give us that picture.  Amen, indeed!  Our little girl is truly a miracle.  It was such a blessing to spend time watching her today.  All of the measurements were normal.  Her heart looked wonderful and the doctor was able to rule out 90% of all heart defects.  Her bladder and kidneys are functioning, and she even swallowed several times during the ultrasound!  Her brain, spine, face, and tummy are all normal.  The umbilical cord has the correct number of arteries and veins, and the area that will be our little girl's belly button shows no sign of organ displacement.  Her feet are really big!  The ultrasound tech got a laugh out of that and said that she normally didn't measure feet, but couldn't resist knowing how big the baby's were.  They definitely measured the same length as her thigh! They told us it was nothing to worry about--her feet just grew faster than the rest of her body and probably won't grow much more before birth.  Most of the ultrasound pictures aren't great because she's such a wiggle worm!  She never stayed in the same place for very long.  We did get a neat picture of one of her (big) little feet, and it's just precious--she has such tiny toes!  I had hoped for one of those cute profile shots like she's given us before, but she just didn't cooperate this time.  Both the ultrasound tech and the doctor said that the baby is perfect!  We are so thankful for this healthy little girl, our Aniston Louise, and know that our prayers have been heard and answered.  What a great God we have!

For this child I prayed; 
and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him.
--1 Samuel 1:27


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boy or Girl? We'll Know Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day of our big ultrasound!  Because of the missed miscarriage during the first pregnancy, ultrasounds always make me a little nervous.  I've dealt with the familiar anxiety and fear this week by praying constantly.  Over the last couple of days, my anxiety has been replaced with excitement and my fear with optimism.  When those terrible thoughts pop into my mind--What if we've lost the baby?  What if the baby doesn't measure correctly?  What if they find some sort of abnormality or problem?--I'm now able to push them away by thinking, What if the baby's heartbeat is strong and clear?  What if the baby is perfect?  I am excited about tomorrow's appointment, and that is such a wonderful feeling.  Since they'll do all sorts of measurements, this will be a long ultrasound (they told us to expect it to last thirty to forty-five minutes).  I can't wait to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, but I'm also thrilled to be able to watch the baby for that long since all of our other ultrasounds have been five minutes or less.

As always, please continue to pray for us.  Please pray that our baby is healthy and growing appropriately.

So, boy or girl?  Any last-minute guesses?  :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Morning

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--
how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Groceries

I haven't really been grocery shopping lately.  I managed to stockpile a lot of things over the summer, so we've been using what we have before buying more.  I picked up a few things at Harris Teeter and CVS today though, and thought I would share with all of you. :)  It wasn't a fantastic week for sales, but I did okay.


Harris Teeter Transaction

--2 packages of Martha White Muffin Mix, on sale BOGOF, had a $0.55/2 coupon which doubled=$0.02 each!!
--2 boxes Pillsbury cake mix, on sale BOGOF=$1.49
--2 packages ground beef=$5.06
-- 1 box Cap'n Crunch cereal, on sale $2, had a $0.50/1 coupon which doubled=$1
--Harris Teeter bread, $1.17
--Farm Rich Mozzarella Sticks, $5.79
--Bestlife Butter Spray, on sale BOGOF, had a $1/1 coupon=$0.17!!

Total Spent (including taxes): $15.07


CVS Transaction
 
--3 boxes of Kleenex, on sale $0.99 each, had a $0.50/3 coupon=$0.82 each
--Air Wick Mini Freshmatic Starter Kit, on sale $4.99, had a $2/1 coupon=$2.99

Total Spent (including taxes): $6.08


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Names?

From the beginning, I told Bradley that I wanted names picked out right away.  One of the worst things about losing the first baby, the thing that haunted me constantly in the months after the loss, was that she didn't have a name.  It didn't feel right to me to name her after she was gone, even though I know that many people choose to do that.  I hate that we'll always be forced to refer to her as just "her" or "she".  She was so much more to us than that, and she deserved a name.  I wasn't about to let that happen this time around, so from the very beginning, Bradley and I talked about names.

And talked.

And talked.

It's a big decision, you know.  The baby will be known by his/her name for the rest of his/her life.  Talk about pressure.

Since I'm a planner by nature, I had a list of baby names compiled.  Every couple of months I would either add or remove names....or just look at it and cry, depending on how that month's treatment went.  But when you're faced with naming a real baby, not just the baby you're hoping for, it's different.  The first couple of baby name discussions were fun.  Then they became stressful.  As with every other decision I have ever made, I constantly second guess myself.  Just the other day, I was looking through an online list of baby names.  There are traditional name lists and unique name lists.  There are popular name lists. Did you know that there are even "intelligent" name lists?  It's unreal how many lists there are.  Unreal, and a bit overwhelming.  As I was asking Bradley what he thought of certain names, he sighed.  He sighs a lot these days; not sure exactly what's up with that.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with me.  Or the fact that we chose names at the beginning of the pregnancy. ;)

Really, we've already made our decision.  Boy or girl, we know what we're naming the baby.  It's just so....final, though.  I want to make sure it's perfect.  I've doodled both names on paper countless times.  I've written, "Merry Christmas! Love, Bradley, Adrian and ________" just to make sure it works.  I've said the names aloud to imagine what it will sound like on graduation day.  I'm fairly certain Bradley thinks I've lost my mind. 

As hard as it was to choose first names, middle names were exactly the opposite.  We wanted the middle name to be a family name.  If it's a boy, his middle name will be Edward because it's been in Bradley's family for generations.  If it's a girl, her middle name will be Louise after my grandmother.

I recently realized that I'm secretive about the names we've chosen.  A few people know, but usually when someone asks, "Have you thought about names yet?" I give some sort of response that doesn't really answer the question.  It's strange, but I'm kind of protective of the names.  I don't want anyone to criticize them.  At the same time, though, I want to stake my claim on those names.  I don't want anyone to use them between now and April because they are my names.  Crazy, right?  Maybe it's the hormones. (I'm blaming a lot of stuff on hormones right now, by the way.)

Even though we've had a difficult time choosing names, I am still so amazed that we're actually able to make decisions like these.  After waiting for so long, we're choosing a name for our baby!  We are so very blessed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Little One Letters

Dear Little One,
   On Friday evening, I felt you move for the very first time.  I was catching up on shows on the DVR when it happened.  It was such an odd feeling!  It was fluttery and kind of tickled--like butterfly wings.  I immediately hit the mute button as if that would allow me to feel more.  I felt so silly when I realized what I had done!  I sat very still and concentrated on you.  It was a moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life.  Your daddy wasn't home, and when I talked to him I explained that either I felt you move or something was very wrong with me!  Since then, you've moved several more times and every time you do I'm just amazed.  It makes me smile.  You're so special and so loved already, little one. 

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.
--Psalm 13:5-6

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Little One Letters

**Written on October 16, 2010**
Dear Little One,
  Today I am fourteen weeks and three days pregnant with you.  When I think about that, about how far we've already come, I'm amazed.  I'm in awe of you, sweet miracle.  Your heart is already so strong.  Yesterday we were able to hear your heartbeat by doppler rather than the ultrasounds we're accustomed to.  Although I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get an ultrasound, I was thrilled that the doctor was able to find your heartbeat right away.  What a precious sound!  Your heart rate was in the 150s, well within the normal range.  I was happy to hear that.
  I've spent so much time worrying, little one.  I've worried about everything.  For the longest time, I was terrified that something would happen to you, just like it did to your sister.  I've worried about your chromosomes, your heart, your health.  I've worried about diseases and birth defects and so many other things. There are so many things that are out of my control, and that's terribly scary for me.  But when I get scared, even when the fear is almost paralyzing, I pray.  God has given me so much peace.  I can rest knowing that He is in control.  He has a plan for us, little one, and it is so much better than any plans of ours will ever be.  I know I've said it before, but I want you to always remember that.  Even when life is hard and you ask, "Why?" a thousand times, remember that God has a plan for you.
  We love you so much, little one.

Love,
Mommy

Little One Letters

**Written on September 26, 2010**
Dear Little One,
  What a miracle you are.  For years, we prayed for you.  We asked God to bless us with you, and, oh, He has.
   On Friday, you gave us a scare.  When Dr. H couldn't find your heart beat, I think my own heart stopped too.  In that moment, your daddy and I prayed for you, just like we do so many times every day.  We prayed that you were alive, that your little heart beat would be found, that you were strong and growing.  When we saw you on the ultrasound screen, kicking, squirming, and flailing your arms, we knew our prayers had been answered.  Prayer is a powerful thing, Little One, and you have so many people who are praying for you.  As you wrapped your arms around your head during the ultrasound, we laughed.  Though you are tiny, you have a personality already.  God already has a plan for your life--can you believe it?  What a beautiful thought!  He knows you and loves you even now.  You are very, very special, Little One.  Never doubt that. 
  We love you so very much.

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Morning

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
--Titus 3:5 (NIV)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Baby Update

I had an appointment with Dr. H on Friday afternoon to check on the baby.  Everything looks wonderful so far!  This time Dr. H was able to find the heartbeat right away with the doppler--an answer to my prayers!  The baby's heart rate is in the 150s.  Because the heart rate was normal (anything from the 120s to 160s is considered normal) and was easily detected, we didn't do an ultrasound today.  It's so strange to go from being a pregnant infertility patient with ultrasounds every couple of weeks to being a 'normal' OB patient, where a simple check of the heartbeat satisfies the doctor.  Of course, we've already had more ultrasounds than most people have during their entire pregnancy, but still.  It's odd that we're now grouped with the people who haven't had a bit of trouble at all.  Strange and odd, but such a wonderful blessing at the same time!

My next appointment is November 12.  At that appointment we'll have the anatomy scan to make sure the baby is measuring like it should and gender determination.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait to find out if our little miracle is a boy or a girl.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
--James 1:17 (NIV)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mamaw Frances

Around the time we found out I was pregnant, Bradley's grandmother, Mamaw Frances, learned that she only had a few months of life left.  The cancer she had been fighting for nearly a year had spread.  Additional treatment was an option, but even then the prognosis was not good. 

Mamaw Frances passed away last Saturday.  She spent her last months surrounded by family and friends.  Bradley and I were able to spend a lot of time with her, and I'm so thankful for that.  I'm thankful that we were able to tell her about the baby and share our ultrasound pictures with her.  She said all along that it was a girl--I can't wait to find out it she was right.  I often prayed that she would live to see her first great-grandchild, but realized a few weeks ago that it just wasn't going to happen. While I am sad for us, I can't help but smile at the thought of her in Heaven.  She is no longer suffering.  Her death was merely a stepping stone into something much greater than we can ever imagine.  Mamaw Frances is with our sweet Peanut now, both of them in the presence of God.  What a wonderful thing!

Mamaw Frances was a wonderful Christian lady.  Her faith was so strong and solid.  Through cancer and all of life's hardships, she never complained or questioned.  She was always full of wisdom and encouragement.  She made an impact on all those around her.  I am thankful for the blessing of knowing her.  She was so very special, so loved, and will be greatly missed. 

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
--Proverbs 31: 30-31

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Coupons & CVS

Today I made a quick trip to CVS and actually made money!  I was thrilled!  Here's how the transaction worked:
  • Revlon Nail Polish, on sale for $3.99, earned $3 in Extra Care Bucks
  • Schick Hydro 3 Razor, $8.97, had a $4 coupon, earned $5 in ECB
  • Re-Nu Contact Solution, $7.99, earned $7.99 in ECB
  • Makeup Sponges, $3.49
I also had a $4 off $20 coupon and $3 in ECB from a purchase a few weeks ago. 

Total Spent Out-of-Pocket: $14.79
Total Extra Care Bucks Earned: $15.99

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Morning

He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; 
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
--Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV

Friday, September 24, 2010

Today's Appointment

My first appointment with the ob/gyn Dr. W referred me to was today at 10:30.  The appointment was looooong.  As in, we didn't leave until a few minutes before 1:00.  We didn't have to wait or anything, there was just a lot to do.  He did a routine exam and then tried to check the baby's heart rate using a doppler, since the pregnancy had already been confirmed twice by ultrasound already.  That was fine with me....until he couldn't find the heart beat.  I nearly died.  Died!  Of course, I was terrified that we had lost the baby.  He assured us that it was still a bit early to find the heart beat by doppler (that normally happens after 12 weeks) and sent us into the next room for an ultrasound.  The ultrasound tech (who was so sweet and understanding!) found the baby and heart beat right away.  Oh, I was so relieved!  The baby has grown so much since the last ultrasound--he/she measures two inches now!!--and was wiggling all over the place.  So precious!  After the exam, ultrasound, and lab work, Bradley and I met with the OB coordinator.  We filled out paperwork for the hospital and made arrangements for paying for the delivery.  Wow!  I had been wondering when this pregnancy would begin to feel real....and, let me tell you, there is nothing more real than writing a check!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

100th Post!

One hundred posts ago, I was in a dark place. We had just lost the baby we longed for, and our future was filled with uncertainty. One hundred posts ago, getting pregnant seemed like a far-fetched dream. I prayed that one day we would be the couple leaving REACH with the coveted Destination: Maternity bag with ultrasound pictures and a onesie, but at times it seemed like too much to even hope for.

Now, one hundred posts later, we're expecting a baby. We still have two schnauzers. And hope? We're absolutely filled with it.




The best is yet to come, and won't that be fine?
The best is yet to come, come the day that you're mine.
--Written by Carolyn Leigh and Cy Coleman
--Performed by Frank Sinatra

A Wonderful Weekend

Yesterday Bradley and I went to the Apple Festival. We spent the day listening to bands, looking at everything the vendors had to offer, and eating yummy food. We bought apples (of course!) and the cutest collars for Lucy and Ethel. Lucy needed a new collar because Ethel chewed hers while she was wearing it (sad, but true), but I couldn't stand for Ethel not to have one too. In the end, I chose matching collars. Too cute!


After the Apple Festival, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. I didn't really like Mexican food until college, but now I can't get enough of it. The Mexican cheese is on the "do not eat" list, though, and I'm having withdrawals. There are very few Mexican dishes that taste right without the cheese! While Bradley had a delicious pollo fundido (my favorite!), I had....soft chicken tacos without cheese. Sigh. It's a major sacrifice, let me tell you, but one I'm so glad I have to make. :)

We didn't go to church this morning because I wasn't feeling well. I was feeling okay until I took a shower and dried my hair. This seems to be happening more and more--maybe I'm getting too hot when I dry my hair? I'm thankful that I haven't been sick yet, just nauseous. I'm definitely not complaining about any of it, though. :) Anyway, we didn't make it to church and I was so disappointed. Sunday just doesn't feel right without church. We spent most of the day just relaxing at home.

Overall, it's been a wonderful weekend--restful and slow. I've enjoyed it so much.

There is more to life than increasing it's speed.
--Mahatma Ghandi

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Coupons & Groceries

Fertility treatments are, without question, expensive. To pay for the months and months (and months...and months....) of treatment, Bradley and I had to be creative. We've always had a monthly budget, but we had to carefully examine the budget and make cuts where we could. Over the summer, I started using coupons more and more so that we could save more money. In the past, I used coupons sporadically, but this summer I made a conscious effort to match grocery store sales with coupons. Yes, it's time consuming and was overwhelming in the beginning. Going grocery shopping took lots of preparation and thought. Now I love it. Seeing how much money I can save is like a game to me. And now that we are expecting a baby, the money I save can go toward cute baby things. :)

I love to read blogs about coupons and saving. Many of the bloggers post pictures of their weekly finds and how well they did that week. I eagerly anticipate those posts because they encourage me. I'm going to try to do that and see how it goes.


**All coupons doubled this week, thanks to Super Double Coupons!

--3 boxes Hamburger Helper, on sale 10/$10, had a $0.75/3 coupon=$0.50 each
--2 boxes General Mills cereal, on sale 2/$5, had a $1.00/2 coupon=$1.50 each
--2 boxes Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes, on sale for $1 each, had a $1/2 coupon=$0.50 each
--5 boxes Pop Secret popcorn, on sale B2G3F, had a $1/2 coupon= $0.80 each
--4 cans Progresso Light Soup, on sale BOGOF, had two $0.50/2 coupons=$0.90 each
--4 cans Campbells Soup, on sale $0.50 each
--Minute Maid Orange Juice, on sale $2.50
--Best Life Butter Spray, on sale BOGOF, had a $1/1 coupon=FREE!
--Danimals Yogurt Smoothies, on sale $1.99, had a $1/1 coupon=FREE!
--Herbal Essence Shampoo, on sale $2.50, had a $1/1 coupon=$0.50
--Colgate Total Toothpaste, on sale $2.50, had a $1/1 coupon=$0.50
--GUM toothbrush, on sale $2.39, had a $0.75/1 coupon=$0.89
--3 boxes Green Giant frozen veggies, on sale $1 each, had a $0.60/3 coupon=$0.60 each
--Sugar, $1.97
--Quaker Oats, on sale $1.50, had a $0.50/1 coupon=$0.50
--2 bags Yoplait Frozen Smoothie, on sale 2/$5, had two $1/1 coupons=$0.50 each
--1 bottle Frank's Red Hot sauce, on sale $1.35, had a $0.50/1 coupon=$0.35
--Not pictured: 2 18 lb. bags Purina Little Bites dog food, on sale BOGOF, had a $1.50/1 coupon=$6.50 each

Total Amount Spent: $40.67

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Break in the Clouds

Most days, I'm still insanely nervous about this pregnancy. Bradley says I'm driving him crazy, and I'm sure I'm doing that to our friends and family, too. It's not that I'm not happy--I really couldn't be happier. It's just that I know what can happen. I'm still worried about losing the baby. I'm worried about going to the next appointment and not seeing or hearing a heartbeat. The thought of going through that again terrifies me. Like I've said before, I worry about everything. Am I eating the right things? Doing the right things? Am I hurting this baby in some way? Is the baby healthy?

But sometimes there's a break in the clouds of my constant worry and nervousness. Sometimes I can look toward the future with excitement and imagine the joy we'll know in April. I love those moments, and the past two days have been filled with them. We've been given a miracle, and I can't wait to meet him or her.

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
--1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For This Child I Prayed.....Ultrasound #2

Oh, how blessed we are.

Today's ultrasound was wonderful. Our baby was there, alive, and measured beautifully. I can't begin to describe the joy and relief I felt when our little miracle appeared on the screen. The flicker of a heartbeat was clearly visible right away. What looked like a bean two weeks ago now looks like an actual baby, with a head, arms, and legs. What a precious, precious miracle. I'm so in love.

We were released from REACH today. Truthfully, it was kind of bittersweet. Dr. W and his nurses have seen us through a lot. They are such wonderful people! At the end of our appointment today, they gave us a bag filled with all kinds of goodies--REACH pens, coupons, a Best Wishes card from Dr. W and his nurses, and our baby's first onesie!

Bradley and I are so excited and thankful. God has given us so much. I know that it's still early and many things can happen, but I feel we've made it through the first hurdle.

I'll post pictures soon!

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
--Psalm 126:5

Sunday, August 29, 2010

For This Child I Prayed...

As promised, here's the first ultrasound picture. Better late than never, right? ;)


August 20, 2010
6 weeks and 2 days
CRL: .52 cm
Heart rate: 118

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Morning

Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.....Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
--Psalm 150: 1-2, 6

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Ultrasound

Going into today's ultrasound, I was so incredibly nervous. I was terrified that there wouldn't be a heartbeat and that we would be told that we had suffered another missed miscarriage. I told the nurse, D, how nervous I was when we arrived and I heard her pass this information on to Dr. W right before he entered the room. I can't even begin to explain how wonderful the people at REACH are. They care so much about their patients. My heart was pounding as the ultrasound began. I only had to be nervous for a few more seconds though, because Dr. W found the baby immediately and announced, "I can already see the heartbeat!" before he even zoomed in. Oh, how those words thrilled my heart!! We were also able to hear the heartbeat today--what an amazing miracle! The baby measured .52cm and the heart rate was 118 beats per minute. Dr. W said that everything looks good right now. The measurements indicated that the baby was 6weeks, 2 days--slightly ahead of the schedule Dr. W had calculated--so the due date has been moved up to April 13.

I'll go back in two weeks for a second ultrasound and will (hopefully!) be released from REACH to a regular OB/GYN. In our first pregnancy, the second ultrasound was when we found out the baby had died. Dr. W says that we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed (and say lots of prayers!) for the next two weeks. I'm supposed to take it easy, stay hydrated, and "use my common sense". I can do that. :)

We are so thankful for the gift of this miracle. We are also grateful for such wonderful friends and family that are praying us through. Thank you all so much!!!

(I'll try to post one of the ultrasound pictures soon!)



I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.
--1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Prayer Requests

--Please keep my mom, Susan, in your prayers. She has been in the hospital since last night and will be having her gallbladder removed tomorrow.

--Our first ultrasound is tomorrow at 3:15. My excitement is mixed with fear, but I know that God is in control of this whole situation. Please pray for us! Pray that our baby is healthy and developing well. Pray that we are able to see and hear a clear, strong heartbeat.


"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,
"Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
--Matthew 17:20

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Day at a Time

Worrying isn't going to change or help anything, I know that. I worried during my last pregnancy, and, turns out, the one thing that went wrong was the thing I never even worried about. (Ironic, right?) I understand that worrying is a waste of time and that nothing good or productive will come of it. But, you see, I'm a worrier by nature. It's like a hobby. I worry constantly, and not just about the baby. I worry about all sorts of important stuff. But the worrying has to go. It's stealing my joy, and I just can't let that happen.

I prayed and prayed and prayed that this would be our month. My prayer was answered. The hCG level has more than doubled every time, and the numbers are good. Dr. W said what happened the first time with the chromosomes was incredibly rare. A fluke. A once-in-a-lifetime problem. It's not likely to happen again, according to both Dr. W and the pathologist who ran the studies on our little Peanut. I've worried a lot about the ultrasound on Friday. What if, by some chance, it does happen again? What if there's no heartbeat? What if we lose another baby?

But you know what? I'm not in control of all this. I can't force a heart to beat by worrying. I can't will the perfect number of chromosomes to appear. I can't. All I can do is pray, and know that God is handling all of this. Really, I don't need to worry at all.

I can't live my life being afraid of what may or may not happen in the future. I can't appreciate this pregnancy and be consumed with worry at the same time. I've decided that I'm going to take this pregnancy one day at a time, and enjoy every bit of it. I know that I'll still be nervous at times (that's only natural, I think, given everything we've been through), but I'm not going to let myself be consumed by the nervousness and worry.

(Someone remind me of that tomorrow, okay?)


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
--Philippians 4:6-7, NIV

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nervously Waiting: UPDATED

I'm waiting on the results from what should be my last hCG test, and I am beyond nervous. Waiting is so hard when it feels like everything is hanging in the balance. Will the level be high enough? What if it dropped? What if it has gone up, but not like it should? The questions just don't stop. I try to quiet my mind with prayer and scripture, but it's just so hard. We've wanted this so badly for so long, it's like now that it's happened it's surreal. I still can't believe it. Honestly, and this sounds really awful, I'm waiting for something to go wrong. From our first pregnancy I learned that terrible, terrible things can happen. I know that you can think that everything is fine, and then your whole world can fall apart in an instant. We've been there, we've experienced it. So, while I am thankful for and excited about this pregnancy, there's also a twinge (okay, more than a twinge) of hesitancy there. My mind cautions my heart not to be too attached too soon. But then I wonder, what is too soon? We lost the first baby at 10 weeks. Should I distance myself from this experience until after the 10 week ultrasound? I've heard many stories of babies being lost much later than that--16 weeks, 18 weeks, 36 weeks, even 40 weeks. I can't distance myself from the whole pregnancy, nor do I want to!! I want to enjoy every single minute of this! But how do I get past all the fear and worry? I'm struggling. I want to be able to really appreciate this for the miracle that it is, and not be afraid. I'm praying about it constantly. I feel that praying is all I can really do, but then I wonder if I'm frustrating God. Sometimes I imagine him throwing his hands in the air and saying, "Good grief! What does this girl want?! I gave her a baby, what she's asked for for so long, and she still can't be happy!" I know that's (probably) not the case, but I still feel sheepish when I think about it. I keep telling myself that all the worrying in the world is not going to change anything. It's hard not to worry though.

Apparently, the schnauzers know I'm worried about the results and have decided to create a diversion by getting into the laundry room trash can and spreading dryer lint everywhere. Bless. So much for worrying in peace. I'm off to clean up their mess.

I'll post results as soon as I get them. Until then (and even after), pray for me.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:27

**************************************************************************************************
Update: The nurse from REACH called a few minutes ago. hCG level is up to 3,000. Dr. W says it looks like a "good, healthy pregnancy"! An ultrasound has been scheduled for Friday, August 20. Due date is April 14! :) :) :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Up, Up, Up!!

I went to REACH first thing this morning for more lab work to make sure the hCG level is increasing. And it is! The nurse called this afternoon with the results--my hCG level is 911! Everything is going well so far! I'll go back one more time to check the hCG level, and then we'll schedule the first ultrasound. It's still so hard to believe. We are so blessed! I am constantly amazed by the goodness of God and the miracle He is allowing us to experience.

Please continue to pray for us! If you wouldn't mind, I have some specific prayer requests.

1. Please pray that the hCG level continues to increase as it is supposed to.
2. Please pray that the baby is healthy, developing appropriately, and (given what happened to
our first baby) has the correct number of chromosomes.


Every good and perfect gift is from above.
James 1:17a

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Post I've Waited So Long To Write....

I couldn't write yesterday. I tried, but I just didn't have the words. Even now, I'm struggling with what to write. Since I don't know where to start, I'll just tell you everything.

Yesterday morning I woke up around 6:30. The schnauzers think that as soon as light begins to come through the windows it's time to get up, regardless of the fact that, a) it's summer, and b) Bradley's off this week. Bradley took them out while I stared at the pregnancy test box. In all honesty, I considered not taking it at all, but curiosity (and Bradley pressuring me) prevailed. So I did it.

[Now, at this point in the story, you must understand something: Up until this point, I have used a certain type of test every month. The kind that says either "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant". This month, however, I refused to buy those because I absolutely did not want to see "Not pregnant" again. Give me a minus or just one line or whatever--just not those words. With that in mind, I bought the cheapest, most basic test I could find. You should also know that with the "Pregnant"/"Not pregnant" test, a little hourglass flashes until the results are ready--you don't have to check back after a certain number of minutes. Now we can move on.]

So I took the test, put it on the counter, and waited maybe a minute or so. There was a minus in the results window and a line in the control window, so I assumed the test had finished working and was negative again. I told Bradley it was negative and went back to bed.

An hour or so later, I walked into the bathroom and glanced at the test. There was a vertical line through the minus, making a plus. I about died. I made Bradley look at it to be sure I wasn't hallucinating. He agreed; it was definitely a plus. This threw me for a loop. Was it really positive, I wondered, or was it a false positive since it had been so long? I didn't know what to do or what to think. So I ate breakfast. I did laundry. I looked at the test thirteen times. Finally, I decided that enough was enough. Positive or negative, I had to know one way or the other.

So I took another test. I watched the clock for three minutes. And there it was. Clear as day. A plus! A positive result!! I immediately called the nurse at REACH, and she was (almost) as excited as I was. She asked me to come in for blood work as soon as possible. Bradley and I rushed to get ready, and we made it to REACH by 11 (the magic time if you want to get the results that day). I was so anxious as I waited for the phone call. We passed the time by going to work in my classroom. Of course, I didn't do anything--I only instructed Bradley where to move things.

Finally, the call came. The lab results were great! My hCG level was 196, which Dr. W said was wonderful. It's really, truly positive!! We are so very blessed. And so, now for the words I've been waiting for months, for years, to say....

I'm pregnant!


For every mountain there is a miracle.
--Robert H. Schuller

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm back!

I've been at the beach so I haven't posted in awhile. We had a wonderful time! The sand and sun made the two week wait a bit more bearable.

The 2WW is nearly over. I spoke with the nurse last week about a medication issue, and she mentioned that I could do a home pregnancy test today rather than waiting until tomorrow. I just couldn't make myself do it though. At one time, I would have gladly accepted the go-ahead for early testing. But after this long, after this many negative results.....well, ignorance is bliss. I'd rather spend one more day not knowing than knowing another cycle failed. I'm terribly nervous about testing tomorrow morning. I just don't want to see another negative.

Basically, I'm a chicken. I'm practically sprouting feathers as we speak.


Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now.
--"Airplanes", B.o.B


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Morning

But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
--Romans 5:3-5

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Few (Random) Things

1. It is WAY. TOO. HOT. I love summer, but a heat index of 105? No thanks.

2. While at a salon the other day, I heard a girl tell the nail tech about her neighbor who is twenty and pregnant. She said the neighbor didn't want the baby at all. When the nail tech asked if she was going to give it up for adoption, the girl responded that the neighbor would rather
"get rid of it" than "carry it for nine months and then just let somebody else have it". Sigh. That made me so sad. The girl said she was still trying to talk to the neighbor about adoption. I hope the neighbor will have a change of heart.

3. The two week wait is upon us. I hate the 2WW. I just keep reminding myself that this is all under control. God is handling it, and there's no reason for me to worry.

4. Lucy is going through a chewing phase again. I swear, she's the most destructive dog ever. I thought we were past this, but apparently not.

5. Ethel hates it when we mess with her hair. As soon as I pick up the brush, she's off and running. And trimming her eyebrows is a nightmare. It's like a wrestling match, and Ethel usually wins.

6. I've become obsessed with using coupons and matching coupons with store sales. It takes a lot of time, but, boy, is it rewarding! It's not even the saving money that's so rewarding. (Even though that's a great thing!) It's knowing that I got a deal.

7. I bought a new planner this week, and it makes me oh so happy. (It's the little things, people. The little things. Like planners and coupons and deals.)

8. Our anniversary is Thursday, and I have no idea what to get Bradley. I'm a procrastinator in the worst way.

9. As much as I love having all this free time to do whatever I choose, I'm ((almost)) ready to get back in the classroom. I absolutely love my job and can't imagine doing anything else. I love this time of year--thinking about new activities, buying things for the room, coming up with new ideas or ways of doing things, and the back to school sales. Those back to school sales just thrill my heart!

10. A friend posted on Facebook that she was going to Wild Wok for lunch. It's [practically] all I've thought about this afternoon. Sad, but true. The lo mein, the sesame chicken, the egg rolls..........

I'm off to beg Bradley to take me to Wild Wok for dinner. ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I have good eggs!

Dr. W was grinning from ear to ear during the ultrasound this morning. "You have good eggs!" he said. Today is cycle day 13. There are two 20s on the left and a 21 on the right--just what we were praying for!! I'm still waiting on the lab results, but everything looks good so far!

**Update: My favorite nurse called this afternoon, and she's excited, too! The lab results were good! I'll take the Ovidrel injection tonight, stop taking the spirinolactone, and begin taking progesterone supplements on Saturday. The nurse said that Dr. W is "thinking positive" and wants me to take the supplements every day rather than every other day (which is what he normally wants me to do).

Please continue to pray that this cycle will result in a healthy pregnancy. [And, while you're at it, go ahead and cross your fingers, toes, and eyes. You know, just for good measure.]

Optimism is the one quality associated with success and happiness more than any other.
--Brian Tracy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 10 Appointment

Yesterday's appointment was a success all the way around.

First and foremost, the lab tech believed me when I told her that they normally have to use a butterfly needle. They normally don't believe me. They normally try with the regular needle, fail, realize that I actually do know what I'm talking about, and then go on to the butterfly needle. But this lady was smart. She listened to me, got the stuff ready, and then, when I held out my arm, she said (in a really disappointed voice), "Oh. I remember you from last week." Even my veins make impressions. Haha!

My second favorite doctor (behind Dr. W, of course!) was on weekend duty. He always takes the time to explain what he's seeing on the ultrasound and makes sure that I see it, too. The right side has 4 follicles: 13, 8, and two 5s. The left side has 3 follicles: two 15s and a 13. He said that those were good numbers for cycle day 10. He also reminded us that just because we're seeing that many follicles does not mean that I will have that many eggs. Of course, we already knew that, but I think he wanted to make sure we didn't panic! After my blood work came back, Dr. W reviewed everything and decided that I would continue with the Bravelle (150iu) for three more nights. He decided not to decrease the dose after all. He wants to see me on Tuesday morning--bright and early at 7:45!--for more labs and another ultrasound.

Please keep us in your prayers! If you don't mind, I'd love for you to pray for these specific things:
1. Please pray that at least one follicle matures to 20 or above. (Dr. W likes for them to be between 18 and 22.) More than one would be okay too, because it would give us a better chance of conception.
2. Please pray that the timing of Tuesday's appointment is perfect.
3. Most of all, please pray that, if it is God's will, this cycle will be a success!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

--1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Sunday Morning: A Few Thoughts

I've recently been working my way through The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Many people participated in Bible studies centered around this book several years ago, but I'm a bit behind the times. ;) One chapter really hit home with me and I thought it would be appropriate to share it on the blog.

The chapter focused on developing a friendship with God. It provided these thoughts:
--God wasn't bothered by the frankness often shown by 'friends of God' in the Bible--he encouraged it. (Think Abraham.)
--God listened patiently to Job and David's complaints and bitterness and even praised Job for being honest with Him.
--"Can God handle that kind of frank, intense honesty from you? Absolutely! Genuine friendship is built on disclosure. What may appear as audacity God views as authenticity."

Now, let's pause for a minute and just ponder all that. I read it several times, especially that last quote from the chapter. In the past three years, and especially during the last year and a half, I have complained to God a lot. I've fussed about the unfairness of this whole situation. I've questioned where He was, if I had been abandoned. And bitterness? I was filled with it to the point where some days I thought my heart would absolutely burst. And so, yes, I would often tell God all of these things in prayer. Then I would feel so ashamed, so positively rotten, that I would immediately ask forgiveness for my rant. After all, who was I to complain to God? Yes, we were struggling with infertility and miscarriage and sometimes that just seemed like too much to bear, but I could see the blessings he had given us as well--our marriage, family, home, jobs, health, and so much more. After that my prayers would be surface-skimming prayers--being thankful, etc., but never going into what was really in my heart. (I know that we don't have any secrets from God, so, in turn, I know that He already knew what was in my heart. I just couldn't bring myself to say those things aloud. Does that make sense?) This week I realized that I was being more honest with God when I was telling him how I genuinely felt, not praying a prayer that I thought was more respectful. What a concept! How did I miss this?? God wants us to be open and honest, even when we're complaining, because that's how a true friendship with God is formed. Warren provides this valuable insight (in reference to Jacob wrestling with God): "God isn't offended when we 'wrestle' with him, because wrestling requires personal contact and brings us close to Him!"

In light of everything we've been (and to continue to go) through, these thoughts also appealed to me:
--"God uses everything for good."
--"...God always acts in your best interest, even when it is painful and you don't understand it."

Over the last 1.5 years, my emotions have been all over the place. Only in the past several months have I started working through some of the junk I've been holding onto. Don't get me wrong--there are still bad days, days when I can't help but cry and days when bitterness and jealousy creep back in. But the good days are now--finally--truthfully--outnumbering the bad, and that in itself is a huge blessing. When I realized that it was a good thing to be completely honest with God and that He wouldn't view it as being disrespectful or ungrateful, I was finally able to really talk to Him. The peace I have felt since then has been absolutely astounding. The peace that I feel now, as well as realizing that God is using this experience for good and is acting in my best interest, has made this month's treatment so different. I'm not filled with the worry and panic that I normally am during treatments. Will I be sad and disappointed if I am not pregnant at the end of this cycle? Absolutely. But God is sustaining me, and my faith in His plan is making each day a little easier.


Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
--James 4:8a (NLT)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Appointment Update

The standard lab/ultrasound combo--which the receptionist always refers to as the lucky daily double--went well today. (I feel like I begin every appointment post by saying that it went well. I guess I just don't know another way to begin this type of post. I'll work on that.) I went back today to make sure that, a) there's not an obscene number of follicles, and b) to determine the course of treatment that needs to take place between now and the Ovidrel injection. There are four "okay" follicles right now--two 11s and two 13s--along with several "less than 10" follicles which more than likely won't amount to anything. (Four is not an obscene number, by the way.) Dr. W decided to continue with the 150iu of Bravelle for two more nights rather than decreasing to 75iu. I'm scheduled to go back to REACH on Saturday for another monitoring appointment. (In case you didn't realize, that's the second Saturday morning appointment in two weeks. Fertility clinics are not for the faint of heart. Or for people who like to sleep in on Saturday mornings.) Saturday's appointment will determine if I need more Bravelle (and, if so, how much) and when the Ovidrel injection will be.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
--Psalm 27:14


Monday, July 12, 2010

Beginning Again

The appointment at REACH on Saturday went well--the labs were fine and the ultrasound showed no cysts. I started taking Femara (letrozole) on Saturday and will continue to take it until Wednesday. I began taking the Spirinolactone last Thursday and will keep taking it until Dr. W says to take the Ovidrel injection. The Bravelle injections (150 iu) begin tonight and will continue until Wednesday night. And, of course, I've been taking the Metformin all along. It's a lot to remember! Everything is time-sensitive. I'm so anxious about forgetting to take something at the right time--I finally broke down this morning and set different reminders on my phone for different medicines. On Thursday I will go back to REACH for labs and an ultrasound to check on the progress thus far. That will be the earliest in my cycle that I have ever gone back for monitoring, but Dr. W wants to keep a close check since he's doubling the Bravelle. More than likely, I'll have to go back for at least one more monitoring appointment before the Ovidrel injection. All these medicines can cause OHSS, so they keep a close eye on things. Fine by me, except for that pesky $60 copay. But it's better to be safe than sorry. (I keep telling myself that maybe this is the last month that I'll have to pay them for all those monitoring appointments. That makes me feel a little better.)

Please keep us in your prayers!

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.
--William Sloan Coffin

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Morning

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.


--Psalm 100

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sigh

It's been a day. Not a horrible day, or even a bad day, but just one of those days where I sigh. A lot.
  • I took Lucy to the vet this morning because she was due for a checkup and some booster shots. (Taking Lucy to the vet is no small feat. She's a dramatic little dog that pretends she can't walk or even stand up as soon as we get there. This includes going completely limp when you try to pick her up.) I mentioned that Lucy's ears seemed to be bothering her and that she had started chewing on her paws. Diagnosis? Allergies. And her ears are infected because of all of the scratching due to the allergies. So now I have three different kinds of medicine plus ear wash to give to a dog that is very smart and isn't a big fan of taking medicine or having her ears washed regardless of the way it's presented. And I spent a ridiculous amount of money at the vet's office.
  • I called REACH to schedule my appointment (Saturday at 8:15, by the way) and was going over the plan with the nurse. I mentioned that Dr. W said he was going to conservatively increase the Bravelle, and she replied, "Yes. It says here he's going to double the strength." Wait, what? Since when is doubling conservative?? I trust him, I really do, and I really will do whatever it takes to have a baby, but that totally caught me off guard. Like the nurse said, though: "Maybe this is the ticket."
  • I also called REACH to talk to the billing department. At my pre-op appointment, I paid my deductible to them for the surgery. The anesthesiologist's office sent a bill this week stating that my insurance company says I owe them the deductible. REACH is refunding my money so that I can turn right around and pay the anesthesiologist's office. Because that makes sense.
  • Then I called the anesthesiologist's office to explain the whole situation to them and to assure them that they would, in fact, get payment. Unfortunately, the person I talked to was pretty much incapable of understanding anything I said. I would explain the situation, and then practically hear crickets on the other end of the line, and then try to explain it again in a different way. After repeating this process multiple times, he ended the conversation by saying that he would put a note on my chart.
Sigh. Just sigh.