Here I am!

“The LORD called Samuel, and he answered, Here I am!” 1 Samuel 3:4

My last blog entry was almost a year and a half ago. So much has changed and I’m not sure where to begin. I thought of writing often and keep my fellow TTC sisters in my thoughts and prayers, but I just didn’t know how to put my feelings and thoughts into words. The aches and feels are different. I’m not in the throws of infertility or treatments or pregnancy, but I feel so deeply for others that are facing infertility or miscarriages.

Since our wonderful baby boy arrived in January, I felt the need to write, and connect as I feel there have been many things God has been teaching me and showing me and I just didn’t want to keep them in, but then my issue turned into time! I couldn’t put my sweet boy down! (I still can’t- even now when he’s almost 9 months!) But its past due that I start getting back into writing and connecting with the dear ladies I befriended so long (and not so long) ago!

Just today, I called out to our son, Levi. He always stops what he’s doing and smiles and crawls right to me. He had a tiny red ball he was chasing, but as soon as he heard me call him for lunch (he’ll never turn down a meal or time with Mom!) he glanced at his red ball, changed his direction and came straight for me. I felt pride and joy. I thought of Jesus, and how often he gently calls me to spend time with him and instead of a smile and immediate change of direction, I chase after the red ball, too distracted to hear or choosing to ignore the calls (for a tasty dinner, at that!) Motherhood is teaching me so many things. About God, myself, my husband. Similar to infertility, God is using it to draw me closer to himself, teaching me things that can only be possible except through the plan He has already mapped out for my life since the before I was ever thought of by anyone else.

An update on our family- We welcomed our wonderful baby boy- Levi Alexander Wales July 21, 2015. He is a constant source of JOY and an absolute blessing. We had hoped to attempt another FET in July, but my husbands work brought us back to the States for a couple months, and my period has still not returned in order for us to proceed with our remaining frozen embryos. As soon as my period returns, the Dr said we are going to be able to proceed with an FET. Alex and I are both in agreement that if we are unable to get pregnant again via our remaining low quality embryo babies, we will not attempt IVF again. Foster care is still very much on our hearts and a priority to our family when we return to the States.I’m so looking forward to catching up on here and following everyones journey.

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An update from Cave Woman

I’ve been meaning to update for so long and just have been putting it off mainly because I don’t have anything new to report! So far I’m measuring right on track (9 weeks today!) and stopped all of my estrogen and progesterone medications last week when I “graduated” from the fertility clinic! (Yay!) I thought that I would be worried to stop the hormones so soon, but I was actually very at ease with that decision. I took it as a sign that things are progressing and I shouldn’t compare when others stop medication to my own stopping point.

I must admit, that lately, I’ve been feeling like a cave-woman. Not getting out much because of morning sickness and not too much seems to help, though I hate to even mention this because I don’t want to complain. It feels so odd to be at a different place in life- a place I’ve been praying for for so long that now that I’m actually here, I don’t quite feel like I belong yet! I don’t know how to blog like an expectant Mother. Part of me wants to follow trend and do a pregnancy tracker (when I have the energy and actually begin to show!) and another part of me just wants to avoid causing anyone any pain that I would rather skip it altogether. So I’m just not sure what to do. I think I’m probably a little over sensitive right now, but I hate that I could possibly be the cause of anyone to be reminded of what they don’t have yet.

My next appointment is in a couple of days and I am really looking forward to having my first appointment where hopefully baby will be delivered, although I will miss seeing my Nurse coordinator every week at the fertility clinic! I’m anxious to see the Hospital, meet the staff and see the rooms. A friend of mine who is also pregnant said they give ultrasounds at every appointment so I am just hoping that’s true and I will get to see baby fairly often! I will try and be better about updating, just know I’m following you all and cheering you on! 

 

Where My Heart is this Mother’s Day

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This weekend will be my first to get to celebrate Mother’s Day with the affirmation of two pink lines that are a symbol of what is to hopefully become a dream come true, but my heart is heavy this week thinking of those who don’t have the child they have prayed and yearned for for much longer than I ever have. For the Mothers who have lost, or are on the adoption waiting list, for those who ache for the child they have never met, for those that have experienced failed attempts at infertility treatments, for those who have heard the crushing news that it is unlikely they will ever conceive, for those who have been told to “wait” when everyone else has been given the “go ahead”. My heart hurts for those who have lost their Mothers, for the countless children waiting and aching for just one chance to experience the unconditional love of a Mother but have been rejected and forgotten. For the Mother who just gave her baby up and is going about her day as usual, but on the inside aching that no one but God and the Hospital staff will ever know that she had to give up being celebrated this day.

This day brings many Mothers joy, yes, but it also stings to the deepest core for many. If the thought of your husband squeezing your hand in Church because he is the only one to recognize your pain while other Mother’s joys are recognized with a flower is just too much, it ok to not attend! Spend the day with Him and know that you are not forgotten or alone and you are not a failure. No matter what your circumstance is that brings hurt instead of joy on this day, you are brave for trying when the prospects are bleak, for loving still when it hurts so bad, dreaming despite the many set-backs, praying when all that comes are tears. The journey each of us is on is unique, with no guarantees that your path will take you to your intended destination, but through it all, God is with us, carrying us when we tell Him we can no longer stand, recording each tear that falls. He loves and cares for us, His plans are good and He will use your story for His purpose and glory and it will be beautiful. My heart hurts for all of those who hurt this day and I wish I could give you all a flower of your own because, like so many others have pointed out, it’s not merely giving birth that makes the Mother.

First Beta Numbers!

Just got the call today from my first beta! After a little worrying because they had told me they would call at 4:00 pm and it was 5:15 before I heard from them (and I called the Nurse Coordinator a few times to make sure they didn’t forget about me and there was no answer all three times!) After an hour of sweaty palms and my mind racing and wondering if I perhaps read those pregnancy tests all wrong, I was utterly relieved when they called to let me know that 12dp3dt our first beta number is  strong at 1035!! I go in tomorrow to fill my prescription, and then Tuesday is my next appointment. I’m unsure if I get another blood test in 2 days, (Most of what I have read, they do another beta to make sure numbers are doubling in the States, but being in Korea, things are done somewhat differently) but I was too happy to ask what exactly is going to happen next week, all I cared about was that the baby (or babies?!) are strong for today. God is too good! 

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The one with the positive pregnancy test!!!

So, I was going to wait till tomorrow when I had my beta numbers, just in case something happened, but then I knew that this group of women would be most understanding of all if something happens, so I wanted to share with you all that I received my first positive pregnancy test ever 2 days ago!!! I can hardly believe it! It really does feel like a dream. I can’t thank all of you enough for the encouragement and prayers! Here is the story:

Over the weekend was the Army Aviation Ball, and I was feeling good, minus some cramping and bloat (not the best when I picked a form fitting dress last minute because the dress I had ordered two months previously never came) We had a great time, but my mind was on the day when I would test. That night, the cramps were probably the most I could feel this far and I had made up my mind I would wait until 9dp3dt to test- I wasn’t going to wait till beta day because Alex leaves for the week and I wanted to be able to know the results in person before he left. 

The morning came and I was preparing myself for one line (the usual), telling myself its still pretty early, while hoping for maybe a glimpse of faint line at the very least. I was shaking when I ripped open the pregnancy test. I was so nervous that I just about peed everywhere but the right place on the test! So I guess I don’t do very well under pressure. No results showed up on that test. Test #2 I decided to be safe and grabbed a little tupperware. Alex and I were both hovered over the sink and the line immediately showed up before the control! Alex said “Amy!! Its a line! I see two lines!!” We hugged and kissed and couldn’t really believe our eyes! We were pregnant! It wasn’t a faint squinter either! It was as dark as the control line! We skyped our parents and siblings to let them know (since they all know we are doing IVF and were anxious to hear!) I took another test in the afternoon because Alex wanted to see two lines again (alright, so did I!) and again, we got a very dark couple of lines! I didn’t test yesterday and then I tested today again and those two pink lines showed up in full force! 

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I’m so happy, and feeling great! I can’t stop thanking God for this wonderful answer to prayers- He is so, so gracious and good! I also found out that our little embryos had some help with assisted hatching. I am just amazed and shocked and just so, so thankful that I can hardly think straight! Tomorrow is the beta blood test and I am so anxious to hear officially that we are, in deed pregnant and this is real! 

The Power of Positive Thinking?

Today for me marks 5 days past my 3 day transfer or 5dp3dt. Thanks to the internet, I look up each day the progress our little babies might be making! It goes something like this:

1dp3dt: Embryo is growing and developing turning from a 6-8 cell embryo into a morula

2dp3dt: Embryo’s cells continue to divide and morula is now a blastocyst (If you did a 5 day transfer, this is the stage you did your transfer!)

3dp3dt: Blastocyst hatches out of shell

4dp3dt: Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining (I also read that this day the blastocyst has about 100 cells, although it wasn’t a scholarly journal so this could be inaccurate)

5dp3dt: Implantation begins as the blastocyst attaches deeper into the lining

6dp3dt: Implantation process continues

7dp3dt: Implantation is complete, cells that will eventually become placenta and fetus have begun to develop

8dp3dt: Placenta cells begin to secrete HHCG in the blood

9dp3dt: fetal development continues and more HCG is produced as fetus  develops

10dp3dt: more fetal development continues and more HCG is produced as fetus  develops

11dp3dt: HCG levels are now high enough to detect a pregnancy

12dp3dt: This is the day I go to the clinic to get the blood test!

One of my rituals each day is to check the process of development the babies are hopefully making! Its kind of special to get to follow along in the process when most people are clueless that they’re even pregnant! My 2ww is almost halfway through- beta test is one week from today and so far I really have no symptoms at all, even though I’m conscientiously analyzing every twinge, cramp, bloat, and every other bodily function/fluctuation like a crazy lady!

Some “expert” advice I’ve read via ladies in forums while googling (hehe) is to relax, think positively, no sex, no googling symptoms, eating the core of pineapple to help aid in implantation, etc. My thoughts on this advice is that its similar to the advice of “relax” and it will just happen. I understand the benefit to my body and mind about thinking positively, but whether these babies implant or not doesn’t is not in my control, nor is it in the power of the Doctor. Its completely in God’s hands, so while I am hopeful that this procedure will result in a pregnancy, if it doesn’t, its not going to be because I did or didn’t eat the core of a pineapple. (Just in case you’re wondering, I did eat a pineapple because I will try anything that might be helpful for the babies, however the fate of this FET does not depend on it!) 

Before the transfer was my time of doubt. When the Doctor told us our embryos were poor quality, I was so disappointed, crushed to be honest. Then the transfer happened and I saw the little bubbly embryos on the screen. It was such a unique feeling that passed over me and has left its remnants in my heart and mind. I know our chances of this not working are just as high (and even higher) than it succeeding given our 2 day 3 medium and pretty good embryo, but its easier to hope now that I have the picture of them in my mind. The transfer was nothing like the retrieval. The retrieval was scary and painful, the transfer was calming and sweet and miraculous. I may have very different emotions if I have to go for a second (or third or fourth, fifth and sixth) FET, but after my first frozen embryo transfer, I was just thankful. For the gift of these two embryos we have been given for these couple of weeks(although I’m praying for more and more!!). The knowledge that they could be developing and growing and implanting is just amazing! I think the power of positive thinking may be onto something, or is it the power of hope?

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”- Romans 8:25

 

My FET story

It was such a great day today! From
My title, you probably already know that today was my first ever frozen embryo transfer! Everything went smoothly and I was able to see two of the most beautiful sights my eyes have ever seen! Our Doctor even said that after being thawed, the embryos grades improved a little! We have one good embryo and one “medium” embryo (whatever that means!) put back inside of me! I am so happy! The only downside was Alex wasn’t able to be in the room with me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect- if it would be painful or if my emotions would be mixed but all I’m feeling is pure happiness right now thinking about the two little loves we have. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and prayers- they have meant so much to me and I am so thankful for you all!

Attitude of Gratitude

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Our Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is all set for this Friday- only 3 days away!! I went into the appointment preparing myself for the possibility of a cancellation for some reason or another, since so far it has been impossible to predict how things will go, but everything is on track and set! I am really a ball of emotions; I’m nervous, excited, anxious and it changes from moment to moment. I have really been trying to just be grateful for what I have right now, to be able to try and expand our family through IVF is something I never thought possible or that I would have to do- but I am so grateful for that we are here, a place we’ve never been before, 3 days away from transferring 2 of our embryo babies back to me(where they belong!). We had our first round of IVF back in December, and its now April, so it just feels unreal to be closer than we ever have been to pregnancy!

Up until this point, I have no idea if we have ever been able to have our egg and sperm meet and try and implant so I have been putting more effort than I ever have into trying to take my daily pre-natal vitamin, and I’ll also be eating extra healthy the next couple of weeks, not that our success is determined by any of these extra efforts, but I want to give our embryos the absolute best chances! If you have any tips for what you did to prepare your body and mind for your FET, or nutrition advice in general- I’m all ears! 

I’m also on estrogen pills and daily crinone progesterone suppositories and so far so good! I remember last year about this time I was on progesterone and it really effected me- I had all the symptoms of pregnancy without actually being pregnant so I’m hoping and praying my body will respond very well (even if it means being uncomfortable or sick or anything!) so that my body will be ready and willing to welcome our little babies! I keep reminding myself that God likes to use underdogs (which is what our little embryos are right now) and that if he can give Sarah a baby at 90, surely a lower grade quality embryo thriving for me at 26 is nothing to him! 

A happiness not my own

“It is sometimes a little lonely to be surrounded everywhere by a happiness that is not your own” -L.M. Montgomery

This week has been a mix of happy-sad, if that makes sense?  I have been working on trying to remain positive and hopeful. My next appointment is in 5 days and I am feeling some excitement and can’t help but hope and pray that we conceive despite the odds stacked against us- God is a God of miracles! It seems I am surrounded bombarded by new babies being born and pregnancy announcements. The last childless couple that got married the same Summer as my husband and I (I think there were 6) messaged me yesterday to let me know they’re expecting and baby is due in September. Its such a bittersweet emotion to be surrounded by so many pregnancies and babies- I love the excitement for everyone, but don’t love that I’m left behind, unable to share the experience. It seems this week more than ever we have received comments that are brought with good intention- but I get a lump in my throat when answering just the same. You all know the comments “when are you going to get aboard the baby wagon?” or “when are you going to catch up” and “don’t you want kids?” I honestly don’t mind when people ask me, my answer is always the same; “I love children so much and hopefully someday I will be blessed with lots of them” and I really haven’t been asked all that much before this week because everyone who knows me knows that I love children and can probably guess the reason we don’t have them yet is because we have had difficulty conceiving. I just get sad when its other men that make those comments to my husband. I know he doesn’t mind at all, but for some reason I care much more when these questions are directed at him. I know I don’t mention it enough, but my husband is the best man- ever. He always is so positive and caring at all the right times- he brings me so much joy and makes me feel so loved that I can’t help but want to be able to give him children, even if, or especially because he constantly reassures me that he will always be happy no matter what, and that we WILL have a family one way or another.

When other men make thoughtless, albeit well meaning remarks about “catching up” I just feel bad because its not his fault or even in his power.  It’s not in mine either, but its an awkward place to be helpless in the fertility department and seemingly “behind” when others don’t understand because it comes easily and naturally for them. Had pregnancy come easily to us, or even if trying meant success, we would be leaps and bounds “ahead” and if I’m honest I would probably be the person asking and wondering why others don’t have kids yet because I still can’t comprehend why couples wouldn’t want children. 

I hope this post isn’t giving people guilt or awkward feelings who have been blessed with a new pregnancy or baby because that wasn’t my intention! New life is a gift and it is so special and a happy time for celebrating- I especially feel happy and hopeful for those that it was a difficult journey to get to the place they are- I’m cheering you all on and its my goal to join the baby boat (or wagon or ship or any other mode of transportation that babies are on!) 

Romans 12:15- “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”