Update on our Friends

11 Jun

Our friends lost their sweet little one today. It’s not the outcome we were all praying for but they are believers too and know their baby is with Jesus. Please pray for them as they celebrate this little life and mourn their loss. Thank you for your prayers for them.

Afternoon Update

9 Jun

I called my OB this morning to talk to my nurse because when I called on Monday, she had specifically asked, several times about spotting. Since she’d specifically wanted to know about it, I thought I’d call and chat with her about it. She was with a patient, so the receptionist took a message. About half an hour later, the receptionist called back and said that the doctor wanted me to come in this afternoon. I was a little alarmed by the urgency, but my friends told me that it’s pretty standard procedure for an OB to want to check things out with spotting. That was one thing that was so refreshingly different. The reason we chose this doctor (aside from his medical skill) is because he’s as pro-life as we are. This was a baby to him, not a “product of conception” or a “fetus.” I loved that. I didn’t feel like he thought I was crazy or overreacting. An RE’s office is just different. Don’t get me wrong–my RE is a WONDERFUL practitioner and I can’t say enough good things about him. But in their field, the way early life is viewed is just much more clinical. And statistics brace them and their patients for the worst, not the best (case in point, my first phone call with the nurse down there). My OB is the exact opposite, which was wonderful for my heart.

So, I went in. It took him a really long time to find anything. After a long time of looking, he said “I’m not seeing anything in your sac.” I just closed my eyes and lay there praying that God would give me strength to hear the news I thought was coming.

He looked some more than then he said, “Wait, there’s a little flicker.” And we saw it briefly, but then it was gone again. So he moved the wand some more and all the sudden, it was dead center, flickering away, plain as day.

We saw one heartbeat. Then he said the baby measured 5 weeks, 5 days, and I should technically be 6 weeks 1 day, but he said he didn’t think that was cause for concern. The heart looked like it was beating really slow and I told him that and he said it was ok because it’s early. But then when I asked for the rate, he said it was 116-which isn’t slow and is right where it should be!

He also said that the fact that we only saw one is not conclusive about whether both implanted or not since it’s so early.

So, he’s doing another ultrasound next week. (Oh darn, we get to see baby again). He said he just thinks it will tell us more. He said he could see some spotting still up in there preparing to come down but he didn’t think it was cause for worry.

He told me to cool it at the gym (again, oh darn) and just rest and come back next week.

I’m exhausted after all the emotional ups and downs of the appointment. But, so far, it’s good news! Not the “all clear” we were hoping for, but definitely good! Please keep praying though that baby’s just small and that this really isn’t anything to worry about! 2 days is not really a huge difference but it seems so significant when their size and everything is so dramatically different from day to day. But, I refuse to go looking for worry, so, we’re focusing on the good news.

I feel absolutely awful today, (in a good way), so that’s hampering my ability to feel much of anything except barfy, but we really are excited!

The dot between the two + signs is the baby! Baby is SOO tiny! It’s crazy!

Morning Update

9 Jun

Thank you all for your prayers. It blesses us so much to know our babies have so many prayer warriors on their sides! We really felt God’s presence and I was able to focus my prayers on asking for His will, His strength, His peace, and trust and faith in Him, rather than on sparing their lives. Because ultimately, we want His will, not ours. And I know that desire comes from Him, too. So thanks for your intercession. I truly believed God used the strength and peace you prayed for to direct my thoughts and prayers.

By the time I fell asleep last night, the cramping had stopped. I was still spotting, but a few hours later when I woke up to use the bathroom, it had stopped and it has remained gone this morning.

This morning, my morning sickness nausea turned into full-blown morning sickness barfing, which I took as a good sign that hormones are still increasing. So I’m actually grateful to be feeling so yucky. I’m pretty sleepy from being up a lot last night so I’m just going to try to take it easy today-just working and then resting, no gym tonight. I will call my doctor in when he opens in a few minutes to see if he wants me to do anything, but we’re believing in faith that everything is still ok.

Prayer Request

9 Jun

After working out tonight I had a little bit of spotting and cramping. It was very mild and the spotting only happened once and not since so I am trying not to worry. My workout was really easy (swimming, easy bike and treadmill, and body-weight only exercises and stretches) and I’m going to take it easy the rest of the night.

We of course want to pray that this is nothing, but more than that, we pray for the Lord’s will to be done in our lives, and in theirs. We’d love it if you would join us in intercession.

Thank you!

Cute story

8 Jun

I used to see an OB for my annual exams and for treatment/maintenance of my PCOS. Once we got our IF diagnosis and decided to pursue EA, I transferred my care to an RE. I haven’t been back to my OB since, as my RE just did my annual exams, too.

So, it’s been years since I was there. I called yesterday to make an appointment and I (happily) spoke to a nurse who was my favorite from before. I said “Hi Maria, this is Jennifer _________. How are you?” Like my first name, my last name is pretty generic, and it’s been years since we spoke so I didn’t expect her to remember me. And at first, she didn’t. There was no recognition in her voice.

But, my OB’s office takes your picture for your file. It took her a minute to pull up my file and suddenly she exclaimed, “Oh my God, Jennifer!!!!” She literally squealed with delight when I told her we were pregnant. She asked me over and over and over again if I was feeling alright and if I was bleeding at all and I kept assuring her that I feel great. She was so excited! I was so grateful for her little celebration.

We’d also been vacillating on whether or not to return to this OB–he’s a wonderful practitioner, but we have ideological differences, especially on the morality of EA. But I know he gives wonderful care, I like that I know him, I like the hospital he delivers at, so we decided to stick with him. The conversation with Maria eased my concerns and confirmed that staying with him is the best thing for us.

So, I was just tickled pink and so honored that she would be so happy for us.

I think I’m finally starting to feel really pregnant. When you undergo an FET, you know you’re pregnant MUCH earlier than a woman who gets pregnant the good old fashioned way does, simply because you don’t have to wait until a missed period to start testing, and you have a doctor-ordered blood test confirmation right away. So, I’d tell people (strangers-not my friends, they’re very supportive) I am pregnant and they’d ask me how far along I am and I’d say “4 weeks” or something like that and people would just look at me cross-eyed. I think a lot of people adopt the attitude that you shouldn’t celebrate that early, and a lot of people just flat out don’t know that early, so I was an oddball.

But 6 weeks feels like a “legitimately pregnant” number (so far as the world is concerned)–normal women know they’re pregnant by now. First trimester effects are in full swing. Other people know they’re due in early February by now, too. Now when I tell people, I get a loving or a knowing “oh, that’s nice” look instead of a “wow, you’re weird” look. I don’t know–not that the babies’ lives weren’t legitimate before, because they were and are. It just feels like I’m entering an exclusive club that I’ve previously been left out of. The club of normal! It’s actually kind of nice!

Today’s my day off so I’d better boogie and get some work done this morning while my energy is high. TTFN!

Continuing to celebrate today, and praise the Creator of this day.

6 Weeks!

8 Jun

We’re 6 Weeks Today!!

This is going to be a busy week for your amazing little embryo. Their brain is still growing remarkably fast; miniature hand plates are starting to develop and the early formations of what will be their fingers are already visible. Also, the lower limbs do not develop quite as fast, so they’re pretty much still flippers. Up until this point, your baby has been very curled up with the head and tail in close proximity, but this week their trunk and neck are beginning to grow and straighten as their tail recedes into its resting position in the back. Even though your little miracle is only 6 weeks old, they’re already capable of demonstrating reflex responses to touch!

And

Baby’s now the size of a sweet pea! Growing like crazy, baby is starting to sprout eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and chin. Those little hands and feet — still webbed like paddles — might wiggle by week’s end, the heart is beating (almost twice as fast as yours!), and blood is starting to circulate.

More pregnant than I’ve ever been

7 Jun

At approximately at this time of evening, this exact number of days into my pregnancy, I was arriving home from the hospital emergency room after spending the worst night of my life miscarrying our daughters. It was an experience I hope never to experience again. The miscarriage itself was alone traumatic, but doing so among the worst hospital staff I’ve ever encountered, lying there bleeding helplessly all over the place, while the staff around me refused to answer me because “the doctor would be in soon” (7 hours later!), while the worst nurse imaginable dug around in my arms for almost an hour trying to start an IV (for what, i still don’t know), none understanding why I was freaking out so much because it was “so early” and we could “always try again” was beyond what I could handle. Honestly, it was the stuff that nightmares are made of. And I’ve tried not to think about it because reliving it was too awful. Each woman needs to make her own choice, but if God does take these babies (or any future ones), I don’t want to go through the experience in a hospital again.

So all day long, I’ve sort of felt in a fog. I’ve felt a numbness for this day, and a genuine surprise that I am at the end of it without incident. It wasn’t a conscious fear; I have absolutely no reason to suspect that this pregnancy will turn out like the last one. My medications are adjusted properly (unlike last time), I weigh less, I am eating right, my doctor is better skilled, and most importantly, these are different babies than the last ones, and God has a different plan for them. But still, the scar tissue is there and it was sort of always in my head. I am now more pregnant than I have ever been. And I’m at a loss to describe how I feel. I truly don’t have any idea what tomorrow will look like. Pregnancy up til this point has been sort of familiar. But starting tomorrow, it’s all uncharted water!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for the length of time we’ve had with the babies and I pray that these are just the first of many, many days. But in a lot of ways, I feel like I just found out I’m pregnant all over again. Everything from here on out is completely foreign to me. I have a sense of bewilderment as I look toward tomorrow! I don’t have anything super spiritual to say about it all… I’m just working through my feelings. I’m missing our girls. I’m excited that God has seen fit to continue this pregnancy. I’m a little bit nervous, despite the fact that my head knows Who is in charge. I’m exhilarated and terrified at the same time. I’m just processing through it all I guess. I know the Lord will sort through the thoughts and emotions with and for me, so I’m grateful that I can leave that up to Him because I feel like my head is spinning.

We had a nice day today. We went to church and were very late because morning sickness necessitated a stop (that’s not a complaint-I actually love the reminder that something is really happening). Then we had a lunch fellowship time at the church and then we came home and napped a while. I went to the gym and had a nice long workout, spent the evening with DH and now we’re on the way to bed.

I actually have to call my regular OB tomorrow and get on their calendar for my first prenatal visit. I figured I’d wait til after my ultrasound, but I was just looking at their website and they like to do their first visit at 8 weeks, which is the same week as the ultrasound, so I guess I need to schedule it! That feels surreal too–the prospect of leaving my RE and returning to a “normal” doctor is just so…sublime. After so many years of doing everything unconventionally, to know that in a few weeks, this will be treated like every other “normal” pregnancy sort of blows my mind.

I find myself rubbing my belly and talking to the babies all the time. I can’t wait til I have something external to show for it so I don’t just look like a fat lady who is clutching her tummy because she’s eaten too much or is suffering from indigestion 😉 But, it’s so wonderful to know that they’re going here and there and everywhere with me 🙂

I’d best get to bed. Goodnight everyone!

Meltdown

6 Jun

This is completely embarrassing and humbling to confess, but in the interest of authenticity, I’m going to put it out there anyway. My walk with God is not always the strong and confident one I want it to be.

One of the medications I take for this pregnancy is fairly expensive. But, my copay is the same whether the prescription is for 1 day or 30. The first prescription was written for 2 weeks. So I filled it, and then when we did get pregnant, I asked my doctor for a 1 month prescription, so that I could maximize my copay. He gladly obliged. With our insurance, you can get medication less expensive through mail order. I only take this medication every other day, so I mailed it away with plenty of time to spare. The other prescription I filled at the same time came without issue and in plenty of time, so I figured this one would soon follow.

At 5:00pm last night (a Friday night) they called to tell me that they were out of stock of the medication, indefinitely. Last night was my last dose of it, so I asked them to transfer to prescription to a local pharmacy (our mail order service and our brick and mortar pharmacy are both Walgreens). The first 3 people told me they couldn’t help me and that I just needed to call my doctor for a new prescription. I explained to them that they’d waited til 5:00 on a Friday night to call me, and the doctor’s office was already closed for the weekend (and he doesn’t have a paging service). I continued to escalate the call until the pharmacist, who works EST hours but who is in the next town over, told me that if I went to the local pharmacy, the pharmacist there could call him and he would verify that it was a legitimate prescription and they could fill it. He said he’d be there another 25 minutes-great! He also said he’d be there today til 2:00pm EST. We jumped in the car and drove the 2 miles away. But when we got there and they tried to call him, he’d gone for the day. I promise, it didn’t take us 25 minutes to drive 2 miles. But, he was gone. And this particular pharmacy was out of stock of the medication. So they called a third pharmacy, who did indeed have it, and we explained the situation. The pharmacy there said that they would call all morning today to try to get the pharmacist on the phone and fill it. They’re a 24 hour location, so I figured they’d have no problem meeting the EST deadline.

Despite my stressing the importance of the medication and the fact that I didn’t have any more was beyond my control, the pharmacist basically called, left a message, and then washed his hands of the situation. When I arrived to pick the medicine up, he told me “tough luck.” He said he couldn’t help me because it was a weekend and then suggested I call my doctor. I laughed at and pointed out the irony of his statement.

I couldn’t understand why the written prescription is in their company possession, the man with authorization to fill it is in the next town over, and they couldn’t communicate with each other.

I totally lost it. By God’s grace, I didn’t lose my temper and I was polite but firm with the man when I told him they had royally messed this up and that a voicemail or two was not sufficient effort to correct a problem his company created when they knew I needed this medication but I was a puddle of tears with worry. I just sat down in the store and cried. And cried some more. And then I cried because I was crying. And I was angry at myself for being angry. And then I was stressed out that I had made myself too stressed out. All the while, God kept telling me “The medication doesn’t keep you pregnant, I do.” But though I kept repeating that in my head and out loud to myself, I just couldn’t settle down. I guess you could say it was my first major episode with hormones but I hate that answer. I hated that I couldn’t get a control over my emotions and allow the truth to govern. I let my emotions totally contradict the truths I’ve been clinging to.

It persisted for quite a while-being upset at the situation, then being upset at myself for being upset, and around and around it went.

It’s 11:51 pm. In a few minutes it will be Sunday. Sunday will be the same length into pregnancy that we were when I miscarried. That’s sort of been haunting me all week and I think that played into it, too. So then I had myself convinced that my meltdown was going to induce a miscarriage, and I was just a big stinking mess. I think I’ll breath a sigh of relief when we make it to Monday.

My dear sweet friend Jan is moving away. They were supposed to leave first thing this morning, but their car broke down. DH spent the day fixing it, and as a result, I got to spend several hours with her. I think the whole arrangement was a God-thing. If the problem had happened with their car any later, they’d have been on the road somewhere between here and Colorado, stranded. And as a result of the two guys being tied to the car all day, we got some time and she was able to talk some sense into me. She gently, and then when I argued, not-so-gently, told me to confess, repent, and get over it and myself. I couldn’t keep dwelling on the fact that I screwed up.

How crafty is it of the devil? Even when the Lord puts our sins as far as the east is from the west, the devil hangs our shame over us and binds it to it, as though our judgment is somehow more just and accurate than that of the Savior of the World. And self-flagellation feels almost sort of Holy. But it’s not. Therein lies the bigger issue, (though I believe that all sins are ontologically, the same). Yes, I freaked out and allowed my worry and emotions to override my trust in the Lord. But then I made a liar out of the One who promises forgiveness by remaining chained to that first sin. But, God is so wonderful. He even forgives that, though I didn’t deserve either pardon. How marvelous and generous He is! I praise Him for His forgiveness and mercy. And I praise Him for holding these babies in His hand, because I clearly am not very good at this. And I’m so grateful for the extra time I had with Jan and the truth she so consistently speaks into my life.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, so I came home and slept for 2 hours, and things continue to be normal on the baby front (well as far as I can tell). I am missing my girls tonight, which makes carrying their sibling(s) bittersweet. But the fact that we have them here still is great cause for rejoicing so my heart is just a little bit conflicted. Praise Him for knowing that and loving me still.

I can take a shot tomorrow instead to make up for the medication I’m missing (I normally alternate every other day) and then I’ll call the doctor on Monday and ask for a new prescription to be called in somewhere else.

Church comes early so I’d best get to bed. I’m praising God that His memory (of my sin) is short, and His mercy is boundless.

I’ve been worshiping to this song tonight–I hope it encourages you, too. Goodnight!

God is good, and He has a sense of humor

4 Jun

I’ve been feeling really good so far. Like, normal good. I’ve felt well enough that last night, I posted this on the infertility support group that I’m on:

I’m trying to take this pregnancy one day at a time and we are determined to celebrate it for as long as we have the babies…Monday will be the day we were at when we lost our girls, so I think I will feel better when we pass it.

I’m trying hard not to worry. My insurance only covers one beta. My ultrasound isn’t until June 21. So I just have to hope/guess/assume that as long as there’s no bleeding between now and then, that nothing is wrong. I wish they made home HCG tests! 😀 But God keeps telling me that I said I’m going to trust Him, and I need to do actually do that and it doesn’t matter how many tests or check-ups I have or don’t have. So, I’m trying to rest in that.

I don’t FEEL really pregnant yet. I am really tired. [I also listed a couple other TMI symptoms] and I’ve gagged on two foods (spinach and plain yogurt) but other than that, I don’t have a lot of symptoms. I’m focusing on counting that as a blessing, not a cause for worry.

Basically, I was a little bit afraid because I didn’t really feel pregnant enough. I prayed about it a little, but honestly, not a lot. I didn’t want to dwell on it and I didn’t really ask for signs, because I actually don’t want to be struggling with this. I just confessed to God that I am, and asked Him to handle it.

Ha! God has such a wonderful way of providing for my needs, even if He has a sense of humor while doing it.

This morning I got up and made our smoothie for breakfast, like I do every morning. (It’s just pure fruit, plus some Whey powder, in the Vitamix–until recently, I included spinach, but see the aforementioned note about gagging on it). Today’s smoothie was peaches and bananas–pretty innocuous, right? Wrong! In the very last swallow-full, I gagged and had to struggle not to throw it all back up (sorry for the TMI!). I proceeded to be nauseated for most of the rest of the day. I got a respite during the late afternoon enough for a little late lunch and a small dinner, and then it came back this evening. I’ve also had heartburn all evening (which I had a lot of in my first pregnancy), and some other areas of discomfort (the specification of which would be even less appropriate for polite company than those I’ve already mentioned) have increased tenfold.

CS Lewis once said that pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. Well today, nausea and heartburn were God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf Jen. It’s as if He was yelling, “I told you, I’ve got this one. But since you seem to need a reminder, here you go.” And it wasn’t just a little sign…it was a big, old, honkin, God-sized, Bill Engval style “Here’s your sign.”

And that’s the wonderful thing about God. His grace is so overwhelming. If we really believe His character is Truth, then His word should be sufficient. But He, in His everlasting compassion and generosity, reassures our doubting hearts and minds anyway, with signs of His continuing faithfulness. We see examples throughout scripture, with Moses, and Gideon, and Thomas, and countless others. In each instance, their human weakness caused them to doubt His power, and rather than being offended at their mistrust, He gently demonstrated His love. What an amazing picture!

Anyway, I promised DH that I’d be quick, but I just wanted to post about what He continues to do in our lives.

I don’t have an update yet on my friend I posted about the other day, but please continue to pray.

Tomorrow, I get to have brunch with my dear friend Heather, who is also a Snowflake Mommy. I’m totally excited and grateful for the opportunity for fellowship. Then my friend Brenda is coming over to hang out and scrapbook, and my friend from Sweden comes to visit next week, so I’m just being pampered all around by God’s love, as shown through His people. Fellowship is such a wonderful gift, don’t you think?

Lastly, I’ve been part of a scrapbooking message board for almost 7 years. While there are a a lot of amazing people on it, over the years I’ve pulled away because there’s a certain sector of people who anonymously and viciously target other members on an offsite blog. I’ve been one of their favorite targets (mostly for being outspokenly Christian and politically conservative, and for being overweight. They pick on my DH too, which proves they’re just plain crazy, since he’s the most amazing man I know). I did post when I was pregnant before, and when I miscarried, and I was the subject of a lot of cruel comments.

I hesitated posting again, for that reason. It kills me to know that someone somewhere might make unkind comments about our children. But, I also have a tremendous heart for spreading the word about Embryo Adoption, and about God’s overwhelming love and mercy in our story. He reminded me of those things today, so I took the plunge and posted about our pregnancy and our testimony of God’s love. Anyway, no one on the board itself has said anything unkind today. (Through other means, I can tell that things are likely being said elsewhere on the net, but I’ve willfully not read them).

The post itself has lead to a wonderful discussion wherein lots of people have asked me questions about Embryo Adoption, including a woman who needs to make a decision about what to do with her frozen embryos and was very intrigued by what I shared. The thread has been viewed nearly 4,000 times. Even if only half of those are unique hits, that’s 2,000 people who read about Embryo Adoption today. I’m so grateful that God is able to work beyond my fear and pride, and enable me to testify to His greatness. I’m grateful that He is using me to spread the word about something so near to my heart. He’s already using these babies for His mighty purpose of spreading His glory. How awesome. Even when I am tempted to doubt their presence here, He is using their lives to tell His story of love.

And, nearly 200 people posted replies, all positively, and it warms this mommy’s heart to know our babies have so many cheerleaders and prayer warriors (all of you included). We are truly blessed!

Our cup runneth over.

Celebrating today…

5 Weeks Development

2 Jun

I’ve only consciously crossed the week mark twice since learning I’m pregnant, but I love it when it happens and I get to read a new stage. This is what’s happening in week 5. Isn’t God amazing? I constantly marvel at all that is happening so early in this process. No one but our great, magnificent, wonderful, creative, intelligent, masterful, physician God could have masterminded such an amazing process!

The changes to your growing embryo are not quite as drastic this week as they’ve been in the last few weeks. Growth is now largely focused on their little head, which is starting to develop much more rapidly than the rest of their tiny body. This is because their amazing brain is undergoing some very crucial and rapid development in order to effectively regulate their heart rate, blood circulation, and other vital functions. As for the rest of their miniature body, what were simple limb buds last week are limb flippers this week and the tail is more expressed. Amazingly, within a mere five weeks your little miracle is already developing the rudimentary forms of their liver, pancreas, lungs, stomach and nasal pits while their little heart is already increasing its circulation. Your baby is now a whopping 4-6mm in length.