Tuesday, August 30, 2016

PUPO again!



I am nearing the end of my Two Week Wait and getting so close to finding out if our embryo has implanted and I am officially pregnant.  I have felt so many emotions over the last two weeks.  I have made an effort to take it easy and relax as much as possible. The first week I was blessed to have time off work and my usual responsibilities.  I did a lot of laying and resting on the couch and watching movies but mostly I watched Gilmore Girls!  My sisters told me I should watch this show and I’m so glad I started the series on Netflix!  It is light-hearted and the perfect show to get me through this emotionally draining time. 

During times like this, there is no other option but to completely trust God for the outcome.  I told myself going into this transfer that when I became PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise), I would enjoy every moment of this time.  For this reason, I did not test early with a home pregnancy test, as many ladies do.  You could say it's extreme patience but the main reason is I wanted to savor the time I was pregnant, even if for just a short period.  This is an extreme case of "Ignorance is bliss" ;)   

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
I have full trust that God’s plan is perfect and trust Him for the outcome of this pregnancy.  I want this baby more than words could adequately express and am praying without ceasing that this is my time to be a mom and have a baby to hold and rock to sleep.  I have spent a lot of time talking with God and sharing my hopes and desires for our baby and this pregnancy.   

There have been several verses that have spoken to me during this time of waiting and trusting.  I hope the verses encourage your heart today, no matter what you are waiting and trusting for, put your trust in God.

Psalms 130:5-6 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Psalms 27:13-14 “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalms 33:20-22 “Our soul waits for Lord; he is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

In Isaiah it says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” I do not know what the next hours, days and weeks hold, but I do know who holds the future!  In Him, I have hope and peace. 

xo,
Jessica

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weaping becomes Joy!

I have the privilege of owning a Bridal Salon and Event Design Company with my mom.  Through my work, I have met amazing people.  Over a year ago, I met a mom at a bridal show and she shared her need for a wedding planner and event designer for her daughter’s upcoming wedding.  We clicked, she loved our work and she booked our services.  We have been working together with her daughter over the last year to plan and design her wedding day.  Through talking and sharing, I learned that this sweet lady has suffered 8 pregnancy losses...some babies that were as far along as 5 months.  My heart broke for her.  When I first learned that news, I was beginning IVF round 1.  As you may know, IVF round 2 was successful and I was pregnant.  I lost my baby at 7 weeks 3 days.  Over the days following my loss, I often thought of this mom that had lost 8 children.  I remember thinking..."If she can go through loss that many times and still get out of bed and function, then so can I."  Not only does this woman function but she exudes happiness.  She is a joyful person that shares a smile easily!  That doesn't mean the pain is gone because it certainly has left deep scars.  When I was sharing my struggles with her, her tears came quickly.  It brings everything back.  You never forget the loss of a child, someone you loved so much and didn't have the chance to meet and hold.

After her losses and deciding to seek another route to motherhood, she pursued adoption.  She adopted two lovely girls.  It was months into our relationship before we were told that the sisters were not made up of the parents’ DNA and furthermore, we were shocked that the sisters were not biological.  These girls not only look like each other but look like they were the mom and dad’s biological children.  Through the investment this mom made in the life of her adopted daughters, they are both amazing, strong women!

I share this story because tomorrow, this mom who suffered more heartache then one should have to bear, gets to celebrate the wedding of her DAUGHTER!  Praise the Lord that Joy Comes in the morning!  Tomorrow will be such a time of celebration, happiness and joy!  This story has been a reminder that God's plan is perfect and the pain that we are experiencing right now is only temporary.  I hope it encourages you as well.  We must keep going and be open to the path God directs for our life.  Adoption is not for everyone and certainly is not the solution to infertility but it is a beautiful way to experience motherhood.  I am so happy for this mom and her family.  




I will share a wedding picture tomorrow!  

xoxo,
Jessica


Monday, July 11, 2016

Finding Hope in the Hard world of Infertility

My sweet friends,

The past weeks have been filled with some of the darkest days of my life.  I have felt such grief, pain and anger.  I have cried buckets of tears.

INFERTILITY IS HARD...
On June 16th, David and I had an early appointment for our second ultrasound.  Although I was excited about my appointment and seeing our baby again, I also felt weird, a bit off center and not normal.  I found my hands trembling and heart racing as I got ready and during our drive to the office.  We went into the room and prepared for the ultrasound, as the nurse began by measuring the sac.  She said the baby was measuring 6 + weeks and immediately my heart sunk...I was 7 weeks 3 days at this date.  The nurse continued with the ultrasound quietly, without a word.  It went very fast.   She then had me sit up and said the words I'll never forget "The baby has no heartbeat, I'm so very sorry."  I was numb, in complete shock.  My husband and I were given time to pull ourselves together and then we met with the Doctor to discuss our loss.  My husband called out of work, followed me home where we comforted each other for hours...he held me, prayed with me, cried with me, let me talk when I needed and was quiet when I needed.

Ironically, the day after Father's Day, June 20th, I had a D & C.  This was a hard day.  It was so final...our pregnancy was officially over.  The physical recovery was going smoothly until a few days later.  I woke up at 3 am with awful cramping and by 10 am, I was in tremendous pain and could hardly speak.  I sent a text to David, asking him to please call my mom and my Doctor (in that order ha ha)!  He did and my mom rushed over to help me get to the hospital, per my Doctors orders.  Mom checked for a fever and gave me some medicine from one of my retrievals.  The medicine helped tremendously.

The ER visit was another "slap-in-the-face."  The staff at the hospital were, unintentionally, insensitive to my emotional condition and each staff member asked questions that were a constant reminder of the tremendous loss.  In addition, my release papers had, in big words, PREGNANT - POSITIVE.  However, I no longer was...

Currently, two weeks since that hospital visit, my HCG levels are still not back to 0, but thank goodness the cramping and bleeding are over.  I am beginning to feel like myself again, though, I miss being pregnant and keep thinking about how far along I would have been today or this week.

BEING PATIENT IS HARD...
I am very grateful that I now know I can "get pregnant."  I also understand that the odds are something genetically was wrong.  However, this does not take away the deep feelings of loss, failure and hopelessness. 
One of the hardest struggles is the continual waiting in this journey...
waiting for my cycle
waiting through injections
the two week wait
waiting for Beta results
waiting for a successful embryo thaw (my newest fear)
waiting for my sweet child to warm my heart, my life, my arms

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up like wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

BEING PREGNANT IS HARD...
A naive person, I am not.  Infertility and the IVF process certainly strips away our naivety and innocence.  I honestly never thought of miscarriage in my scenario.  I thought the embryo might not "stick" but when it did, I was hopeful and full of joy.  I will never experience pregnancy with the sweet innocence I had always envisioned.  I am not being a pessimist but rather a realist.  Those of us struggling with infertility are poked, prodded, probed, evaluated, stimulated and on the list goes.  Constant failure breathes at your back.  The "roller coaster" analogy describes it best.   You are hopeful with anticipation as you embark, trepidatious as you climb to the top, elated when you reach the pinnacle, terrified of what's to come, literally, holding on for dear life and then you drop...

TTC WON'T MAKE ME HARD, IT HAS MADE ME STRONG

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12

No doubt, the ride is depressing, challenging even maddening!  But...we get back on and ride again, experiencing all the ups and downs that TTC brings.  I have recognized I have one of two choices;  despaired and bitter or hopeful and joyful.  I am choosing to be hopeful and joyful.

My heart has been touched by the love and encouragement from family, close friends and my TTC sisters.  Please never underestimate the value of your sweet, encouraging words.  You have helped me recover and climb from my pit of despair.

Kind words are like honey...sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

xo
Jessica

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Struggle is part of the Story

I am so thankful for the TTC community.  The ladies in our community are amazing!  We encourage and inspire each other, grieve with others who are likewise suffering or discouraged and celebrate with overwhelming joy a success of any kind and especially a BFP!  For so many months, I kept my struggle with infertility between my husband and myself. It wasn't that I was ashamed, I am just a private person.  Sharing my struggle and my story is the best decision I ever made.  It has been healthy to share the pain and fears and also to have a strong network for support, guidance and reassurance.  

The Struggle is part of the Story.  The injections, medicines, countless Doctor appointments, egg retrieval, embryo growth, embryo transfer, staggering financial costs, emotional turmoil and stress, all comprise the struggle.  However, these struggles have made me a stronger person, a more compassionate individual and have drawn me closer to God.  The struggle goes beyond the obvious. 
Even though I have gained the tremendous blessing of support through sharing, it remains a struggle to share.

Many women who conceive naturally would not consider to share the news of their pregnancy at only one month along.  There are still many critical milestones ahead in the baby’s growth...we have not even heard a heartbeat or had a sonogram!  You would think finally getting a BFP (big fat positive) would alleviate the apprehension, but it certainly hasn’t.  Psalm 34:4 comes to mind, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I think it is only natural, in a sensitive situation like early pregnancy to be worried about a lack of symptoms, sharp pains, and even comparing your own Beta numbers to other ladies Beta numbers.  I have to continue relinquishing my fears to God who already has a perfect plan.

The past few days, I have been battling with myself over whether to share my news so early and the most appropriate way to share the BEST news I have ever received in my life! (I was doing this battling, while fighting the urge to do a backflip and shout to everyone I see “I am pregnant!!”) I am keeping positive thoughts, am overjoyed beyond measure and I am inviting prayer and support for our growing child. 

I would ask those who know David and me personally, please don’t share our special news before we have the chance to do so!  You are our most treasured of friends. I know, just by your interest in our situation and your love and caring messages, this is not too much to ask.  I have waited through years and throngs of negative pregnancy tests to have finally heard the words that play like beautiful music to my ears, “you are definitely pregnant!” Praise God! LET IT BEE!!!

I know that my news can bring pain to many of you struggling and waiting patiently for your own positive outcome.  This too is part of the struggle.  I refused to allow myself not to allow joy for others. I would think why her not me.  Then I would ask myself again…why not her?  It would help me every time. My prayer is that this step in my story would serve to strengthen our community with hope.  This is exactly what your stories have done for me.  Thank you!

David and I are overjoyed by the news that this round of IVF may just bring us our long awaited BABY BEE!  I am excited to continue sharing our journey, having you cheer us on and having your support and prayer.  I thank God every time I think of you! Philippians 1:3

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4

Beta #1 done!

The best $2 I spent on this sash to surprise my family with the news of our Beta results!!




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Patience in the Two Week Wait!

This Two Week Wait is not easy...oh my!  One hour I'm giddy with excitement and hope about being pregnant and the next hour, I'm anxious and scared that it might not work this time.  The evening of my transfer I downloaded my first pregnancy app...this was so exciting!  I wanted to begin tracking my pregnancy, which is tricky to do with IVF.  At transfer, the embryo is two weeks into development, it just happens in a petri dish!!  In the pregnancy app (I downloaded Ovia and What to Expect), I entered myself as in the beginning of week 3.  At the end of the two week wait, Beta day, I will be 4 weeks pregnant!  It was/is hard to process that I am actually pregnant...please Lord let me be pregnant!  I don't have bad eating habits, but I have been making a conscious effort to eat lots of fruits, veggies and protein and drink a lot of water.  I don't drink coffee and the hot tea I drink is decaf, but I have paid attention to caffeine as well.  I am taking care of myself as if I were pregnant, because I have to believe I am.

Per my Doctors recommendation, I was able to take several days off work to rest, let my body heal from the retrieval and transfer and to relax during a time when the embryo would be implanting in the uterine wall.  I just keep imagining what is happening inside my body...a new life is forming!  Since I had time, I read a lot through the apps I downloaded, but I also took to Dr. Google.  WHY do I do this to myself???!!  I know I'm not alone...we all do this...right?!  I would lay awake some nights, unable to sleep because of something I read: "Someone said they had cramping and spotting at Day 2 and 3," "Should I be moving around more," "Don't drink anything cold...great, I drank cold water today!," "Should I test early" and the list goes on and I would be wide awake anxious and fretting.  Ultimately, I understand and know that this is completely out of my control, but I do want to do the right things and make good decisions, to create the best environment for my baby to grow and to not hinder my chances of a successful pregnancy.

The symptoms can make me crazy too!  The lack of symptoms make me nervous and scared that the embryo maybe isn't sticking and getting comfy.  Then, the few symptoms I do have- breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, which are all great early indicators of pregnancy are ALSO side effects of the progesterone that the Doctor prescribes to take after an IVF transfer.  Talk about confusing!  I have taken a lot of time to do things that I enjoy during this time as well...read, watch movies, read, cook, nap, organize, dream and plan for my nursery decor...that has all been wonderful and I am so thankful to have had this time.  I am back to work now and while that is a good distraction, it is hard to concentrate on tasks and focus, knowing what may or may not be happening inside my body!  I am also very emotional and sensitive, which make everyday conversations harder.

Patience and trust during the Two Week Wait is very difficult but it is essential to surviving.  During this time, you are the closest you've ever come to having what you've yearned for and desired for so long...being pregnant and having a baby.  However, the situation can also have the exact opposite outcome.  The only path to peace that I have found on my journey with infertility was within my relationship with God.  I continue to rejoice in hope!  As believers, what do we have if we don't have hope?  That applies to any struggle or unknown we are facing in life, not necessarily infertility.  I am striving for patience in tribulation.  Each day that passes and I worry with my lack of "symptoms," I have to continually cast my cares upon Jesus.  I am constant in prayer during this two weeks.  Praying for the outcome that God desires for David and me and our unborn children and praying that we can handle the news we receive in the coming days.  I have learned and continue to learn so much about myself during this journey.  My prayer is that God will use my pain, hurt, struggle and hope to bless someone someday.

I want to share one of my favorite scriptures with you:

Psalm 121:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence cometh my help?

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Just like the incredible women of the Bible-Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth, some who had to wait longer than I could ever imagine to become a mother, and like me, when you are struggling during the wait in your life, you don't have to walk through the valley alone.  You can fall into the loving and safe arms of Jesus.  When you don't think you can continue on, He will carry you.  My help and hope comes from the Lord!



xo, Jessica