Monday, March 5, 2018

Full Circle

It's official that I'm really, really bad at keeping up with this blog.

Here is a snapshot of what has happened since:
- Our 6th and final IVF cycle was a success
- Grayson was born 10/24/16
- Post-partum hemorrhage 11/16 (Very aggressive D&C procedure, 2+ liters of blood lost, uterine lining damaged)

Unfortunately, I've continued to have complications since the hemorrhage.  I was seen throughout 2017 and even had a few ER visits.  But, in Jan 2018, my OB performed a surgery to remove the uterine scar tissue and abnormal growths.  I felt fantastic for 2 weeks following, then it all came back.  The headaches, nausea, back pain, cramps.  The symptoms worsened, so they scheduled me for another appointment, which was last Friday, March 2.  I was devastated when the scans showed the scar tissue came back in 6 short weeks and was now much worse.  My cervix was blocked.  There was no usual triangle shape in the ultrasound of my uterus.  Just a shadow filled with what looked like spiderwebs.  Estrogen therapy in Jan/Feb was unsuccessful in rebuilding my lining and it was irreparable.  Because of this, future surgeries like the one I had in January would be pointless.

So, on March 20th, I am having a robotic hysterectomy.

2 weeks.

It's hard for me to even type.  After my appointment, I was too upset to drive, so I pulled over at the nearest shopping area.  I walked the aisles of Marshalls for almost 2 hours.  Basically in shock.

I'm only 32.

I really struggled this weekend with the emotions surrounding this surgery.  I couldn't sleep and when I did doze off, my dreams were of me on the operating table.  I believe in a God who has carried me through a heart wrenching IVF journey and two life-threatening births.   He has written a story for me - so beautiful and so raw.

But, it still hurts.

When I logged in to make this blog post, it hit me how full circle my journey has come.  I started this blog when we were brand new to IVF cycles, praying desperately for a baby.  We got two.  Our road wasn't easy and it was filled with a lot of loss.  But, I have two amazing little boys who call me mama.  Now, I am writing one of the last entries and it's to describe the procedure that will take away my ability to ever carry another child.  God works in such mysterious ways.  Grayson was our very last embryo and he came into our world in October 2016.  Although we didn't necessarily have plans to go through IVF again, it's the the sting of knowing it will be a completely shut door.

I spoke to a dear friend this weekend and told her I felt like I was in mourning.  Emotions that were really unfamiliar to me.  Thank God for her presence in my life because she put into words exactly what I'm feeling:

"In a way, that is a death.  Death to a dream, a hope, a desire."

Absolutely, yes.

The kindness I've felt over the past several days has carried me when I wanted to fall apart.  I did really well until Sunday morning, in one of the last worship songs.  When we got to my favorite lines of the song --- "....When I cannot stand, I'll fall on you.  Jesus, You're my hope and stay", the ugly crying started.  I know God will see us through this.  He does over and over again.  I am so blessed - no matter my current circumstances.  It's so overwhelming when I remember the days that I prayed for what I have now.

Your prayers for March 20th - both for safety and peace - would be so appreciated.  The surgery will be at MCR in Loveland, CO.  I'll stay there 1-2 nights, if all goes well.  I won't be able to lift Grayson for 8 weeks, so keep my boys in your prayers, in case they have a tough time with what's going on.  Also, big prayers for Jake as he balances his CF therapies and handling the boys on his own while I have restrictions.

I love you and am so grateful you're in my life.

All my love,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Please Don't Tell Me

A blog is a beautiful thing.  No one can tell me what to write about, what to feel or how often I post.

See, I've gone in spurts since I started this thing.  But, when we started this last cycle, I made a promise to myself and close family to use this as the place to be consistent in posting updates.  Social media can be a blessing and a curse.  I chose to use it in a positive way to keep our families connected across the miles as we dove head first into trying to grow our family.

3 days have passed since we got the phone call our cycle failed.  I was actually napping on the couch when the call came, so the nurse spilled the news to Jake.  God really knew what what he was doing when he paired us up.   He's the solid, clear-headed realist.  I'm the emotional, over-thinking optimist.  We balance each other out really well.  Times like this make me wish I had more of my husband's qualities though.  I wish I was as strong as he is.

This isn't our first rodeo.  Out of 5 cycles, only 1 of them has given us a full-term pregnancy.  This one hurt more than the rest.  Our RE gives restrictions on lifting and exercise during the later part of the cycle.  So, when I couldn't lift Gavin, I told him it was because we were trying to get a baby for our family.  He has been really interested in babies for the last 6 months or so.  He comprehended the news much easier than I expected.  His excitement melted my heart.  He would kiss my belly morning and night...even a few sporadic ones during the day.  He wasn't kissing me.  He was kissing the baby, at least the idea of it.  I'll admit.  I was really, really confident this time around.  Not so much that I purchased baby things, but I did have a secret Pinterest board titled "Praying and Dreaming for Baby #2".  I've been beating myself up about getting too cocky and really thinking it was going to work.  But, then I try to visualize how this cycle would have been if I had not had a positive outlook those 6 weeks.  Would I have dreaded every shot, thinking they were a waste of time?  Instead, I weirdly looked forward to them.  I would turn on a Pretty Little Liars YouTube video.  You know, thinking I could also solve the "A" mystery while I'm getting an injection.  Talk about an overachiever.  Jake has always been awesome at the shots.  So, they were a breeze.  I didn't have a countdown to the last shot.  I was anticipating them, because it meant I was either still on the way to getting pregnant or god willing was on them long enough to mean we were expecting a little one.

I've been very open this time around.  I've welcomed any and all questions.  With this candor, it also welcomes unwanted comments.  With lots of love in my heart, please don't tell me these things....

Please don't tell me --- "Maybe you just weren't ready."
  • I'm healthy.  I eat well & work out.  All of my tests checked out fine. We knew CF was the culprit of needing to go the IVF route.  We are Christ followers.  Jake has a great job.  We have a child, even a spoiled rotten dog.  We are financially stable.  We are ready.  
Please don't tell me -- "Just relax."
  • If you know me at all, I'm about as lax as they come.  I'm the anti-planner of the family.  I took full advantage of bed rest.  I indulged in weekly acupuncture.  I'm not against Netflix binges.  I know how to relax.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard this.  It would've funded this cycle.
Please don't tell me -- "I went to the Dr thinking I had the flu, but in fact I was pregnant."
  • Honestly, I have no idea how this could be helpful or uplifting.  I'm speechless on this one.  
Please don't tell me -- "Kids are expensive.  Enjoy just having one while you can."
  • I have no sympathy for those who complain about the cost of diapers.  Our current total is over $50,000 paid out of pocket at the chance to have a baby.  Out of that we have our sweet Gavin and I'd pay it all over again to have another one.  But, come on -- a $30 box of diapers isn't even in the ball park.  
Please don't tell me -- "At least you have each other."
  • This is true.  I couldn't have made it without Jake and Gavin.  They keep me smiling and laughing.  But, it doesn't take away the hurt in our hearts.  
Please don't tell me -- "It just wasn't meant to be."  
  • I believe God's timing is perfect.  But, only He knows what that timing is.  No one on earth knows what is or isn't meant to be.  Each cycle is draining physically, emotionally, financially and to be blunt, spiritually.  It is difficult to keep focused on the prize and not get discouraged along the way.  If I let the thought that it wasn't meant to be creep into my mind, it would be hard to give another cycle a try.  
Please don't tell me -- "You wouldn't have wanted a toddler & newborn to take care of."
  • Try me.  It's all I want.  The cycle takes around 60 days, plus each time it fails I have to take a couple months break.  So, had this cycle been successful, Gavin would have been rounding the corner to 4 years old when a baby was born.  We don't know what the future holds for our family.  We don't have a plan for when we'll try again.  So, you may be right after all.  I may not even get the chance to have a toddler & newborn at the same time.
I know it will get easier as the days pass.  It has since Friday.  Comments will start not bothering me as much.  But, I do know that it's the perfect time for me to evaluate my commitments, cut unnecessary ones and those that cause hurt.  I say this after every unsuccessful cycle, but it's time to regroup and focus on me and my family.   We have trips in the works and house projects planned.  

Despite all of these crazy comments, we've been flooded with love and uplifting messages.  You guys have held us up these last few days.  "Thank you" doesn't even begin to express our gratitude.  

All our love,
Amy, Jake & G-Man


Friday, July 17, 2015


Thank you all for your support and prayers during our IVF cycle. Sometimes even when things are perfect on paper, God has a different plan. We found out at noon today the cycle failed and my pregnancy test was negative. My heart is broken. The hardest part will be mustering up the strength to tell Gavin the baby he's been kissing in my belly isn't there. Hugging my sweet boy tighter than ever and counting my blessings, even if I'm one short.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lining Check

We went back to Nashville Fertility Center early this morning for a lining check appointment.  A major praise was smooth traffic, despite traveling during rush hour!  We were early for the first time ever.  Yay us!

I made a pit stop at the lab to have a quick blood draw to check my hormone levels.  Next, I went for an ultrasound.  The sonographer explained ideally they will find a tri-layer uterine lining with a measurement of 8mm +.  Thankfully in my scan I have a tri-layer lining measuring 12.5mm.  Such great news!  To compare, my lining at this point with Gavin was 9.5mm.

So, here's the plan moving forward:

- Continue daily Lupron injections (5 units) until Monday, July 6 --- only one week left!!

- Continue 0.2ml estradiol valerate injections on Tues/Sat.  The dose decreases to 0.1ml starting July 4th.  I'll stay on this through the pregnancy test and if positive, I'll continue until 10 weeks.

- Add progesterone in oil injections every evening starting Thursday, July 2.  1ml the first day and 2ml from then on.  Shots every day until the pregnancy test.  If positive, I'll continue until 10-12 weeks.

- Reconfirmed the embryo transfer for next Tuesday, July 7th at 11:30am with our favorite Dr.  I'll have an acupuncture session earlier that morning.

- Blood pregnancy test is scheduled for the morning of Friday, July 17

This cycle has flown by.  I owe that to G-man for keeping me busy.  It's been much easier than I imagined.  The biggest prayer at this point is for our embryo to survive the thawing process and remain great quality.  We are planning another single embryo transfer, like we did with Gavin.  If all goes well, this will leave us with 2 frozen embryos for future cycles.

Feels like Christmas morning is right around the corner.  All I can do now is relax until the transfer and pray that 10 days later we'll get news that a sweet little embryo is nestling in for the next 9 months.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

We Have a Date

.....a transfer date, that is.

I went to Nashville this morning for my suppression check appointment.  I had the full workup - ultrasound, bloodwork, consultation & physical.  The purpose of this visit is to make sure I'm fully suppressed a.k.a. my hormones are shut down.  Thankfully, they found no cysts, a very thin uterine lining & an estrogen level of 23.

Starting tomorrow, I'll decrease my Lupron injections to 5 units every morning and add in 0.1 estradiol valerate via intramuscular injection in the hip (2x week).  The needles are 1.5" and 22 gauge.  Fun times.

I'm officially on the schedule for a July 7th 11:30am transfer with my favorite Dr!  We are planning to do another single embryo transfer, like we did with Gavin.  In the meantime, I have one more appointment coming up on June 29th to be sure my lining is building as it should.  As long as all goes well, the transfer will go as scheduled.

I can't say enough great things about the NFC staff.  My nurse chatted with me for over a half hour answering my random questions.  This is on top of the fact that she came in on her day off when she saw my name on the schedule.  She talked through my 2011 miscarriage and shared her own story of loss.  In a world where infertility is so taboo, it was very refreshing that she was so open & honest about her own struggles.  It was a great reminder to never be ashamed of your story because it can inspire others in ways you never dreamed.

Will certainly keep you all updated on our progress.  Thanks a million for all the prayers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Life on Lupron

We are currently in the suppression phase of our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) cycle.  My ovaries and the hormones they make are being suppressed so the Dr can take the reins.  I'm on day #2 of Lupron injections (10 units every morning).  This drug basically puts my ovaries to sleep.  It turns off my hormones and puts my body into an artificial state of menopause.

It comes with some pretty nasty side effects:  headache, acne, mood swings, hot flashes, itching, weight gain, etc.  I spent most of yesterday with an ice pack on my head and I've had a pretty rough headache this afternoon.  But, it's nothing I can't easily shake.  The silver lining is the shots themselves are easy for me to administer myself, since they are subcutaneous in the lower abdomen.

I like to combat the side effects by staying busy, so I don't think about it as much.  We had a really fun weekend with family in town for the Superhero Strides for CF 5K, a race that my husband started to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.  Lots of $ raised to get us closer to a cure.

I also started back on weekly acupuncture sessions, which I LOVE.  I'll continue these until the morning of the transfer. It keeps me relaxed and in optimal health during the cycle.

My embryo transfer is just one month away.  Gavin has become really interested in babies lately.  Last week, he pulled his old bouncy chair into his room and filled it with toys for "his baby".  As each day passes, our excitement builds in the hope of baby #2 (& #3 for those praying we'll have twins). 

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Prayer Group

Today, I dropped G off as usual at preschool.  On the way back though, I decided to take a little detour.  I ended up at the Experience Community church, where we have been attending the last two weeks.  They have many opportunities during the week to come to the church for prayer, so this morning, I joined them.  A little one on one time with God was just what I needed.  Just me and Him.

I left feeling so uplifted and free.  I'm praying away my worries and am trusting Him to grant the desires of my heart.  He knows how much we want to grow our family.  His timing is always perfect.

Be blessed today, everyone.