Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Story Behind #2

Back in January, I decided to document our journey of trying to expand our family.  I kept this private, as a sort of journal to help me navigate my thoughts and emotions.  I wasn't sure if I would ever put it out there, but I feel like I owe it to so many people to continue being an open book.  So, here goes nothing.

Brace yourself... this is a long, long post documenting many, many weeks.

Without further ado, here is the story behind #2...


After lots of praying and soul-searching and talking and crying and praying, T and I decided that we have a very small window of time to try to expand our family.  And if we want to try IVF, now is the time.  Because every doctor I've seen over the past fourteen months has told me the same thing - my time is running out... my ovaries are almost empty... so if we're going to do this, we have to do this now.  Odds are not in our favor, luck is not on our side, but we know that if we don't at least try this, we will look back with regret.

So, with the love and support of our families, we're putting all of our faith and resources and hopes and prayers into Dr. H and our IVF team.

I am documenting my journey here, hoping with all of my heart that the end of this post will be a baby - or babies (!) - and I don't want to forget a single part of this chapter of my life, no matter how difficult it may be.  And if this journey does not conclude with CK becoming a big sister, then - well - we'll navigate those waters as best as we know how.

For now, though, I am choosing to be hopeful, and positive, and ready to kick secondary infertility's ass.


Our journey started with a consultation on November 26th, 2013.  We went over my history with Dr. H, and I immediately loved her.  She called me "Jess" right out of the gate, and I trusted her.  That day I started on an intense concoction of prenatals, Vitamin D twice per day, Iron twice per day, CoQ10 twice per day, fish oil, and DHEA three times per day.  We tracked my HCG to zero over the next few weeks, because my body still thought I was pregnant from my most recent loss.  When the pregnancy hormone was finally out of my system, I had nine vials of blood taken for a repeat loss panel (RPL).  I was convinced that those results would come back as normal, but -- they didn't.  It appears as though I have a blood-clotting disorder.  Now, this news brings mixed emotions... it could very well be the reason for our losses, and is treatable (meaning if I'm ever pregnant again, I have to go on daily blood-thinning injections for the entire pregnancy).  It aches my heart to think that our losses could've been prevented, though. :(  Regardless, we can only use this information to give us the best chance of success moving forward.  And honestly, I am looking at this piece of information as potentially life-saving, because when all is said and done with our infertility journey, I will most likely need to be on a daily dose of low-dose aspirin... and I never would've known that without all of this.

On January 8th, 2014, after we were officially GA residents, we were back in Atlanta with Dr. H.  She told me that in order for her to even consider doing IVF, my FSH level needed to be below 12.  

Mine came in at 11.7.

After a long discussion, we decided on a protocol for our IVF process.  I monitored for my LH surge that month using at-home OPKs, and had bloodwork to confirm that I had, in fact, ovulated.  We ordered our meds, and I was blown away when the box arrived and the contents took over our kitchen counters.


Ten days post-surge, I started on Vivelle, an estrogen patch.  Eleven days post-surge, I gave myself a subcutaneous Ganirelix injection for three nights in a row.  I started bleeding after the first day of the Ganirelix shot, on Monday, which was officially the kick-start of our IVF month.

On Monday, February 3rd, I went back to Dr. H's office for bloodwork - this time a CBC to check iron levels and a blood-clotting assessment.  I also sat through an injection class, which is always incredibly overwhelming.

And that's where I am now.  So far, the meds have made me emotional, bloated, and hormonal, and we're not even to the big stuff yet!  

My poor husband.

I go back to see Dr. H tomorrow morning for a trial transfer, which is where they insert the catheter to make sure they can get to my ovaries smoothly.  Tomorrow is also my baseline ultrasound, which is very, very important and thus I am very, very nervous.  This ultrasound will determine if we can start the stimulation injections on Friday night.  They're basically looking at the uterine lining and ovaries to make sure all is quiet and ready for major stimulation.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a wreck about tomorrow's appointment.  I don't know what the protocol is if things don't look ready, and I'd rather not know.  I've been tossing and turning, night after night, ready to get this show on the road, so we can start looking forward instead of back.  

Please, Lord, please let this be it for us.


I immediately called T.  "Hello?"  I heard the worry in his voice.  "Hey," I said. "I'm done and all looks good!"  "Really?!"  He asked, both relief and excitement coloring his voice.  "I've been waiting on pins and needles to hear the tone of your voice when you called,"  he said.

Oh, my sweet, sweet husband.  He never, ever lets me feel like I'm alone in all of this.  As a matter of fact, he has said to me multiple times over the past few weeks:  "Thank you so much for doing all of this, for us."

So, needless to say, all went well with this morning's trial transfer and baseline ultrasound!  It was probably the tiniest hurdle we'll face in all of this, but it's a hurdle we've passed, and that's what counts!

After a 5:00am wake-up call, I left the house at 6:00 to drive to Atlanta in rush hour traffic.  Whew.  It was literally a two-hour drive for a fifteen minute appointment!  But, the quick appointment meant all was well, so I wasn't complaining.

The trial transfer was painless - they insert a catheter to measure the length of the cervix and depth of the uterine cavity.  After that, it was time for the baseline ultrasound.  The doctor measured the lining, and made sure both ovaries were in quiet mode - and they were!  There was a fluid-filled "something" visible, most likely a cyst, but it wasn't on an ovary so the doctor wasn't concerned about it affecting anything.  So, I got the go-ahead to start stim injections tomorrow night!  As much as I'm not looking forward to the moodiness, weight gain, acne, and bloat, I am looking forward to getting this show on the road.

When I lift up my heart to God during all of this, I'm not really sure what to ask of him.  To take away my worry?  To bless us with a baby or three? (Kidding... sort of.)  To let his will be done?  To let MY hopes and dreams come to fruition?  All I know is, I am thirsting for Him during this process.  And I know I will only be able to get through this process by allowing Him to hold my hand.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord.  'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11


Our IVF cycle is officially underway, hence my incredibly sore and bruised stomach.

We're two nights in to what is likely to be ten nights of injections, and it hasn't been without it's share of stress.  I've done an injectables cycle before, so I went into this pretty familiar with how to do the shots.  I did still take an injection class, just to refresh my memory.  But what a lot of people don't realize is that it's not just giving yourself a shot.  The medicines come in powder form, and you have to mix it all up to get the right dosage with sodium chloride and multiple vials - which is so stressful since it's the medicine that's supposed to make all the magic happen in my ovaries.  
All those little vials are the powder that you have to mix together with sodium chloride to make the shot the right concentration.  And yes, I got my very own sharps container.

I did have a little freak-out/meltdown during night #1, which led to talking to the on-call nurse to make sure I wasn't screwing it all up.  And I may or may not have had another little meltdown last night again, so worried that I'm not doing this right.  But after talking to a friend who has been through IVF already (and successfully!), she assured me there's a large margin for error and that it would be really hard for me to screw it up.

Let's hope so.

She also reminded me to try to focus on being excited throughout this process, rather than stressed.  And to think about how 10-15 years ago, I most likely wouldn't have even had this opportunity or the benefits of modern medicine.  Thank you, J, for your constant support. :)

So that's what I'm going to try to do from this point forward - change my attitude of nervousness to excitement, as much as humanly possible.  Obviously it's going to be impossible not to be anxious, especially leading up to the doctor appointments.  But I think if I approach everything with a positive, I-can't-WAIT! attitude, this will all be a lot easier on all of us.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)


Negativity.  Frustration.  Defeat.  Anger.  Worry.  Stress.  Failure.  Helpless.  Hopeless.  Overwhelmed.  Sadness.

These are just some of the many emotions that have taken over throughout the past 24 hours.  As much as I have tried to stay all glass-half-full and positive-attitude and Suzy-sunshine, it's just not happening.

Blame the past year -- the constant surge of bad news has turned me into quite a cynic.  And I'm having a hard time feeling anything but hopelessness.

Today we were hit with a pretty significant ice storm.  And today is when I was supposed to have my first IVF monitoring appointment to see how my body is responding to the stim shots.  Because we knew there was no way we'd get to Atlanta today, and because we didn't want to stay in Atlanta and get stuck there for who knows how long, we rushed over to the doctor's office yesterday to squeeze in my appointment before the bad weather started.

I didn't even have time to be nervous about it.  We were literally in the car, heading somewhere else and decided at the last minute to rush over there for the appointment.  I was in an out before I knew it.

And before I knew it, I'd been handed yet another "things don't look good" diagnosis.

Long story short, an ultrasound showed maybe ONE measurable follicle, with maybe four hidden and too small to measure.  So, if you're counting, maybe five total.  Maybe.  And bloodwork showed my estrogen level to be a lousy 73.  A crappy number of eggs that are probably crappy quality anyway given my Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) diagnosis, and an estrogen level that shows that I'm barely responding to the oh-so-painful shots I'm giving myself every night.

To put it into perspective, when doctors do IVF they want 8-14 eggs to retrieve (because not all of the eggs will make it when fertilized).  And usually you start with MORE eggs in the beginning of your cycle because that number will taper off by retrieval, too.  And I'm starting with maybe five.

Why don't we just up the meds, you ask?

Because I'm already on the highest possible dosage.

This is it.

I go back on Friday to determine if anything has changed.  If not, it is very likely they will cancel this cycle.  And then possibly recommend a different protocol/combination of meds, or possibly decide that it's just not gonna be in the cards for us.

My chest tightens and my belly fills with a hot anger as I type all of this out.

IVF just always felt like a last resort - I can't believe we're even here - and now it's not even working.

All of these hormones and pills and supplements I've been taking for months now, all of the money we've spent on the medicines I'm injecting into my body every night, medicines that aren't even working... I see dollar signs in the trash, but more than that - I see our hopes and dreams in the trash.

Yes, there is still time for things to change.  But things weigh so heavily on Friday's appointment results and it's all out of my control.

Do I sound hopeless, and like I'm giving up, and like I'm pissed?  Probably... and honestly, I'm having a hard time feeling anything different.  As I said before, when you've been battling all of this for so long, watching two babies' hearts stop beating inside of you - you feel like you're stuck in a storm that just won't pass.  And when you keep turning a corner and the darkness won't fade, how are you supposed to believe that you'll ever see the light?

It goes without saying that I'm a nervous wreck about Friday's appointment.  We still have a long way to go with this cycle, but good news on Friday means that we can at least keep moving forward, keep hope alive.

And no matter how frustrated and heartbroken I am feeling in all of this, I really am trying so hard to keep Him at the forefront of my mind.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  (James 1:2-4)


"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength."  (Philippians 4:12-13)

Our IVF cycle has been cancelled.

I'm on the highest possible dose of medicine, and my body just won't respond.  We needed three eggs to get to retrieval.  Three.

I only have two.  Maybe two.  They weren't even a strong two.

We may be able to convert this cycle to IUI, maybe not.  I'm awaiting a phone call from my nurse to see what my estrogen level is... and we'll go from there.

Our doctor actually said if we really, really wanted to still go for IVF, we could - but that it's a huge financial risk since it's all out-of-pocket.  So truth be told, if money weren't an issue, we'd be going for it.

But, we just can't.  Not with such a small chance.

It just seems like we're so close to hitting a dead end - so close to getting to the point where the doctor shakes your hand and says, "I'm sorry... we tried everything we could, but your body just SUCKS."

And I'm not ready to be at the finish line yet.

Infertility is more emotionally, mentally, and physically draining than anyone can ever imagine... unless they've been there.  It doesn't matter if you're battling infertility with your first, second, fifth pregnancy - when your heart aches for a baby, especially when you've lost a baby... you constantly feel the nagging of a hole, a hole that is so desperate to be filled.

It's been a rough day, and definitely not how I imagined I'd be spending Valentine's Day.  But I can only move forward, not backward.  I can only hold on to what little hope I have left in my heart, feeling the comfort of my faith and the prayers of all of those who have selflessly kept us in their thoughts.

"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  (2 Corinthians 4:18)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)


Well, I guess I'm officially in the dreaded two-week-window (2ww)... the wait... the slowest days, ever.

We went through with our IUI yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  After an ultrasound on Monday showed two follicles that had progressed, and a blood estrogen level in the 300s, we decided IUI was the best choice.

Yesterday, I was feeling eternally optimistic, really good about everything.  Despite the fact that our doctor told us our chances were 20%, at the most... I was really positive about those two little follicles.

Today, though... today I'm back to second-guessing, back to worrying and wondering, back to being sad, and scared, and afraid, and negative.

Par for the emotional-rollercoaster-course, I guess.

All we can do now is hope and pray and cross everything with all our might... maybe, just maybe, this will be it for us.

I will probably take a little break from updating this little space because I honestly need a mental break from it all.  So, as hard as the 2ww will be, it will also be nice to not have to drive 2 hours to a doctor appointment and not have to give myself anymore shots.  I go for a bloodwork test next week to see how my progesterone is looking, and then a pregnancy bloodwork test the following Wednesday (though we all know I'll be taking pregnancy tests way before then).

For now, it's in His hands...

"Not only so but we 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)



I'm so frustrated, annoyed with myself, anxious, etc.

I'm trying so hard to take everything one second at a time, focusing on the now, not the yesterdays or the tomorrows.  But it's TOUGH.

So, after my last IUI I took a pregnancy test at 11DPO, and got a positive.  I was obviously thrilled, but simultaneously worried because the trigger shot you give yourself before the IUI procedure is actually HCG, the pregnancy hormone.  And there are SO many stories out there about girls who get a false positive because they test too early, and the test picks up the remnants of the trigger shot.

So I told myself that this time, I'd do what most people do, and "test out" the trigger shot.  Which basically means you start taking pregnancy tests VERY early in the process so that you can watch the "fake" positive line fade away day after day, until it's gone - thus knowing that the trigger shot is out of your system.  This way, if you do get a positive you'll know that it's an actual positive.

However, I've been out of town the last six days (which was a perfect distraction!), so I didn't start my testing-out-the-trigger until yesterday (Thursday, 10 days since the shot and 8DPO).

Well.... the test was positive.

And I had tried to prepare myself that it could very well be positive, but if I was, I should NOT get my hopes up because it was most likely the trigger.


I couldn't help it.

T and I both had a glimmer of hopefulness, a moment of a skipped heartbeat, a hint of a ray of sunshine.

And I tried so hard to stay guarded, but it was hard.

And I knew I'd take a test again this morning, and everyday until I get my period (or don't)...  And knowing you're going to take a pregnancy test in the morning = no sleep.

So, I was at it again this morning.  Hopeful, guarded.

And it was negative.

Well, there may have been a hint of a line... a "squinter" as it's affectionately called by any woman who has taken  too many pregnancy tests in her life.  Even T said he couldn't see it without, well, squinting.

Regardless, it was barely there.  Definitely lighter than yesterday.  Which means yesterday was a false positive, a result of the trigger shot.

And I'm annoyed with myself, for even letting my brain go there.  But it's SO hard, ya know?

So I guess we'll keep on keepin' on.  I'll take a test again tomorrow, and my heart is already racing at the idea of waiting for a second line to show up.

I'm so tired of this emotional rollercoaster, you guys.  

So tired.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer."  (Romans 12:12)



I'm pregnant.

I think.

I'm so scared.

After my fake-trigger-positive and my squinterish-negative, I had another squinterish-negative on Saturday, and then Sunday... a line.

So this morning, I decided to pull out the big guns...
You guys... this is what your bathroom counter looks like when you're undergoing fertility treatments after two losses.  Just keepin' it real.

Today, 12DPO and 14 days since I took the trigger shot, the word "pregnant" popped up on a digital test.

When I told T, he was in the shower.  He opened the shower door and wrapped me up in his arms, soaking me from head to toe.  Our breaths were rapid, our heartbeats faster still.

We're so scared.

Is this it?  Please let this be it.

I go for bloodwork on Wednesday to test my hormone levels, to confirm a healthy pregnancy at this point via betas.

I'm so scared.

Have I mentioned that I'm scared?

"Don't worry about anything:  instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)


"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." (Psalm 625)

"You can make plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." (Proverbs 19:21)

"Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you through Christ Jesus." (Thessalonians 5:16)

"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." (2 Samuel 22:33)




There was a time I didn't know if I'd ever be able to say those words again, yet here we are. We have a loooooong way to go, but today, I am pregnant.

This, my fourth pregnancy... four pregnancies, and only one baby in my arms so far - two in heaven.  Please let this tiny little blessing be our second miracle.

A blood test on Wednesday confirmed pregnancy with an HCG level of 167 at 14DPO.  Two days later, my HCG level had increased to 468.  A great amount of growth in 48 hours.  These numbers don't promise anything, but they do mean that today, March 7th, we can celebrate the life inside of me and hope with all of our hearts that one day we'll get to meet this baby, here on Earth.

On Wednesday, I was told to immediately start daily injections of Lovenox, a blood thinner, since my last blood panel revealed a clotting disorder.  Our doctor is hopeful that this may be the key in giving us our baby, that maybe our two lost little ones didn't make it because of me passing clots to tiny little veins that couldn't handle them.  If all goes well, I will need to give myself the shot every single day for the entire duration of the pregnancy - which I will gladly do, thankyouverymuch.  In fact, I think I actually find myself smiling as I administer the medicine, knowing that I am doing it for my baby.
Bruises on my stomach from the shots... Take THAT blood clots!

Still, though, it would be remiss of me not to mention that we are terrified.

Unlike most people who take a pregnancy test, see the word "Pregnant," and celebrate and move on with their lives - T and I have been holding our breath all week.  Waiting on blood results, trying to navigate the waters of being equal parts scared and worried and so, so excited... and hopeful.

So that last word - hopeful - is the word we've chosen to cling on to.

We have a long way to go, starting with another blood draw on Tuesday and, if all looks good there, our first ultrasound on March 20th.

Today, though... today there is a life starting to grow inside of me.  A life I have dreamed of and longed for with every ounce of my being.

To my little peanut, I love you so much already.  Please, please stay put.  I can promise you with all my heart that you will be loved, and cherished, and live a life full of so much joy, a joy that is best seen through the eyes of your big sister.  We're praying for your little life, my fighter.  Hang in there for us, ok?


I swear, with every breath, I feel like I should celebrate that I am still pregnant... for one more breath, for one more second.

It's hard for me because when we lost our last two babies, I thought I was still pregnant.  My body thought it was still pregnant, thus the exhaustion/nausea/first-trimester-symptoms were all very real.  Yet, an ultrasound revealed a tiny little heart that just couldn't keep beating.  So I have a hard time relying on symptoms to assure me that everything is okay.  I only have Him, and our hope.

I am SO tired, you guys.  My boobs HURT.  My skin looks like that of a pubescent teen.  I'm nauseous, and my appetite is off.  All things I try to find hope in; however, I am also taking a hormone supplement twice a day that mimics all pregnancy symptoms.

Talk about a mind game.

I had another blood draw this week, on Tuesday.  My levels had shot up to 3,413... an awesome, beautiful number.  A number that should give me peace... but to be honest, I'm having a hard time feeling peaceful at all throughout these anxious early days.

I'm scared to believe that this is actually happening, that it really could actually happen for us.  And I know that if we ever want to hold another baby in our arms, we're going to have to go through these mentally and emotionally draining weeks of worry.

But y'all, it's harder than I ever imagined.  I know I've said it a lot before,

      but I'm so scared.

Scared to fall in love with the tiny life growing inside of me, scared to imagine life as a family of four, scared to believe CK really will get to be a big sister.

I'm scared to believe these things because I'm scared of how much it will hurt if I do let my heart believe, only to have it all taken away.

I read some scripture recently, and I can't remember exactly what it said or where it came from, but it dealt with how if we trust in Him, and believe in His love, we should stay positive and hopeful and not drown ourselves in the negative emotions.  It is something I struggle with everyday, but I am working on it always.

For now, we are eternally grateful to be here, almost six weeks pregnant, with our fourth baby.  We just hope with all our heart that this baby will be in our arms in November.

"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139: 1-16)


We're on the way to our first ultrasound.  I can't breathe and my heart is beating so fast and my stomach is SO nervous (and queasy... hoping that's a good sign!).

So many questions... Will we see a healthy heartbeat? Will we see two? Will it be enough to give us hope, or will we leave uncertain, having to wait until the next appointment to see if things progress? Worst of all, will we leave heartbroken?

T and I talked a lot last night about today's appointment. He confessed that he, too, is not only scared, but sick to his stomach when he thinks about being in an ultrasound room. It was hard to hear his fears, as he is my rock... But I appreciated his honesty and now know that I'm not alone in how I'm feeling.

And I also must confess that we almost called and canceled the appointment. THAT'S how scared we are, like we'd almost rather not know. Or, as T put it, he'd rather just sit around and see if I get fat.

I truly believe we both have a level of post-traumatic stress disorder from our losses and in dealing with ultrasounds. We've had to see two of our babies who passed away on that dreaded, black and white blurry screen.

But this is a NEW day, a NEW pregnancy, right? Completely different than the others...

And hopefully, God willing, this will be the baby who completes our family and makes so many wishes and prayers and dreams come true.


A tiny, perfect beating heart.  126 beautiful beats per minute.  A baby measuring right where it should, at 6 weeks and 1 day.

Our baby.

We go back in a week to see if that sweet heartbeat has continued to progress, if that perfect baby has continued to grow.  Since our losses have come at 8 and 9 weeks, my RE wants to do an ultrasound every week for the next four weeks.

Ultrasounds that give us extreme anxiety, but will hopefully provide us a sense of peace while on this emotionally draining journey.


Here I am again, the day before our second ultrasound.  Our baby should be measuring 7 weeks and 1 day tomorrow, with a heart beating a little faster than it was last time.

Dear God, please God, let us get another sense of relief tomorrow, let us see that sweet heart flickering away.  Let us see a baby who is a little fighter, our little fighter.

I've been so nauseous, miserably nauseous, and I am so hopeful that that is a good sign.  Though it's been a struggle to get through these long days, I will not complain about my misery.  I am SO happy to be so miserable.

Hoping with all of my heart that tomorrow brings us even more promise of finally bringing home our healthy baby...

"Rejoice and be thankful!  As you walk with Me through this day, practice trusting and thanking Me all along the way.  Trust is the channel through with My Peace flows into you.  Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances.

I do My greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts.  Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Me continually.  This is a paradigm shift that will revolutionize your life." (Psalm 95:2; Psalm 9:10)


Wow, I haven't updated on here in a long time.  Probably because after the 7 week ultrasound (which went GREAT!), the nausea literally took over my life.  I was MISERABLE.  And grateful and happy and thankful to be miserable, but miserable nonetheless.  Which meant that everyday, all I did was try to survive.  Seriously.  I almost cried everyday when T left for work, knowing I'd have to try to entertain CK and not die from the nausea and throwing up.  And I'd count down the hours until he would be home so I could surrender.

Which meant that during my normal blogging time - CK's naps - I was somewhere horizontal, closing my eyes to block out the misery.

Y'all?  It was bad.  But please know that I honestly never complained or wished it away, because I was grateful for the reason.  And if that baby needed to rock my world in order to grow and thrive and kick butt, then so be it.

Anyway, after that 7 week ultrasound we had another at 8 weeks, and then my fertility doctor "graduated" us!  It was such a mix of emotions, walking out of that office for hopefully the last time.  They gave me a little graduation present, there were lots of hugs, and my amazing doctor, Dr. H, told me she'd be shocked to hear if anything went wrong.

At 9 weeks we were in a regular OB office in my new hometown (no more 2 hour drives for doctor appointments!  Yippee!!).  We met my new OB, who I loved.  After a quick checkup we went in for our fourth ultrasound.  Again, all looked good and we were so, so relieved and hopeful.

At almost 11 weeks, we were back at the OB office for our fifth ultrasound.  This one, you guys, was my favorite.

The nurse took my blood pressure before the ultrasound, to which she said, "Um, are you nervous?  We're gonna need to have to take that again after you calm down or we may have a problem."  I assured her that ultrasounds gave me extreme anxiety because of our past.  So she immediately fired up the machine and there was our little fighter.  Our "Rocky" as he/she has been so affectionately nicknamed.  The little guy/girl was moving all around, doing headstands, etc.  T and I could not stop smiling.  It was amazing.  It was a miracle.

And fast-forward to today... Monday, May 5th.  The day I had decided that I would "go public" if all went well at our 13-week checkup.  And then this morning, my phone rings.  It's the doctor's office, canceling my appointment because my OB was stuck in surgery.

Y'all, I cried.  I had literally been counting down the hours until this day, a day that seemed monumental.  Because telling the world would make it all feel so much more real.

And honestly, it was getting hard to hide the fact that I'm getting fat.

So long story short, an amazing nurse who knows our story called me back and said I could come up for a heartbeat check, and resume my normal doctor appointment tomorrow.  Which was AWESOME news, because all I really wanted to know was if Rocky was alive and well in there.

T, CK and her cookies, and I crammed into the little room and before I knew it, there was the perfect sound of our baby's heart.  I will never forget the smile on T's face.

All Cameron cared about was the cookie she'd dropped on the floor.  

Details, details.

And now, I am so incredibly humbled.  A quick post on social media, and I have been flooded with calls/texts/posts/messages from people who have been praying for us, sending their love and congratulations and well-wishes and continued prayers.  And I am in tears, because God is SO good.  And I now know that this miracle, our little fighter, our Rocky, is not just ours to celebrate... the celebration belongs to all of you who have been by our sides, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually - as we have journeyed down a very difficult path.  A path that proven to present me with the hardest times of my life, but now, the most joyful...

We still have a long, long way to go.  All of our doctors are very optimistic, and we are trying to be, too.  But I'd be lying if I said that everyday isn't marked by fear - the fear that we'll lose this one, too.  The fear that something will all of a sudden go horribly wrong.  The fear that this is all too good to be true.

But a dear friend sent me the following (which I quoted already in this journal), and I have tried so hard to remember these words throughout the past 13 weeks...
So now, we praise God from whom all blessings flow... we remain hopeful, and prayerful, and excited about the promise of a joyful future, a future I am SO excited about.

To all of you who have been on the ride with us - there will never be enough words to thank you for all you've done.  There are SO many people who have helped us in all different ways, and we will forever be indebted to all of you for helping our dreams come true.  I am not sure what I did to deserve such unconditional, overwhelming support... but I will work my whole life to pay it forward.

Y'all... CAMERON IS GONNA BE A BIG SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"So with you:  Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (John 16:22)

"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."  (Psalm 30:5)

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9)

"Delight yourself also in the Lord:  and he shall give you the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:4)

"Rejoice in the Lord always:  and again I say, Rejoice."  (Philippians 4:4)

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