Sunday, December 26, 2010

From Preemie to Perfect: Happy 11th Birthday to my son Dax!

11 years ago today I gave birth to a tiny little bitty preemie baby boy. At 3 pounds 3 ounces Daxon was born with lungs fully developed and breathing on his own- a feat the doctors warned me-for the 3 weeks I was on bed rest in the hospital- would probably NOT happen. I knew then he was special, he was a fighter and he would be just fine. He just needed to grow a little! Though I only got to kiss him on his little forehand and see him for a split second before he was whisked away to the NICU...I knew at that moment that my life would never be the same. I changed, I became a better person, wanting better things for myself and for my baby and I became driven to get those things and make his life as good as I possibly could. At 20 years old I fell in love like I never knew I could and became a mommy to a precious preemie boy! 11 years later he is healthy, happy and strong. He overcame being a preemie, a heart defect and childhood asthma. You would never you suspect that he was born a preemie. He is perfect in every way.

I am so thankful God gave him to me. The timing was not the best but we certainly made the best of the timing. Speaking of time, I teared up today thinking how fast it has flown by. Too fast! 11 years just does not seem right! I wish I could hit the pause button and keep both my kids from growing up. I love them so much and life is so good with them in it...everyday!

Happy Birthday to my 11 year old son Dax! What a blessing you have been and will continue to be! I love you with ALL my heart!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Christmas Gift...4 Years Ago

Every year on Christmas Day my heart is filled with thankfulness as I  remember Christmas night 4 years ago. December 25, 2006- I fell in love with my hubby! We joke around and say God gave us EACH OTHER for Christmas in 2006. Christmas is extra special around our house because it is true 4 years ago we became more than friends on Christmas Day. (See pic of us in Jan. 2007- taken at his then bachelor pad which was deemed the Love Shack).

It is one of those stories that I can't wait to tell our future children! We were both single, totally NOT looking for a relationship and we had been friends for about 6 months. My single friend and his single were sort of dating and on Christmas evening his friend and mine friend were having dinner at her house. She didn't want to be there alone with him and her kids, and he didn't want to be there alone with her and her kids so he brought Dustin along and she invited me and my kids to come over. Neither of us knew the other would be there. We spent the evening laughing, talking, eating pizza in her kitchen while her kids and my kids played in the living room with all new Christmas gifts. We all agreed it was nice to unwind from the hustle and bustle from a family filled Christmas day.

That evening something changed in the way I looked at him and felt about him. It was certainly one of those AHA moments when you realized what you wanted was right in front of you for some time now. I can't really explain it but things just clicked with us and from that day forward we were pretty much inseparable. He made me laugh and I was totally not skeptical of him- like I was with other guys. He was a small town boy but very quick witted and smart and thought intrigued me beyond all means.

I am so very thankful for our two friends for inviting us with them that night. I am sure we would have eventually ended up together but that night was just perfect. I actually had my kids in tow with me so he saw some of the 4 and 6 year old craziness which obviously did not scary him away- which said A LOT. Even though we had been friends for 6 months I was very picky about who came around my kids and honestly he was the first guy who had been around them since my divorce. I felt safe with him. I knew he was a good guy with a solid background and good family.

God gave me peace about him. He saw me in mom mode and saw my kids in kid mode and he still wanted to date me. What a guy! He was only 23 at the time, with no kids, never married, and I honestly did not think he and I would make it past a few months because my life was so complicated and busy and his was so NOT complicated and so quiet. But he embraced the kids and I and all are dysfunction and craziness and he has loved us unconditionally from day one. I love him so much for being strong through everything. He is so amazing and to this day...he is the best Christmas gift I have ever been given...I thank God everyday for him and his love!

So as you celebrate your Christmas today and tonight...just remember that the most precious, viable, long lasting gifts DO NOT come from the store, they can't be bought...they come from the heart, from actions, from memories and mostly from God.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and don't forget the true meaning of the season....Jesus!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walking With God

We didn't make it to church this morning as we had a house full of chattering, giggling, running through the house kids last night who were up until 4 am. But they had a good time and that's all that matters. Thankfully I had our church bulletin in my email and was able to read it over just a little bit ago. In it was an amazing poem that spoke directly to me and so I am sharing it with you! Here it goes:




Walking With God
Sometimes I walk in the shadow, 
Sometimes in sunlight clear; 
But whether in gloom or brightness
The Lord is very near. 
Sometimes I walk in the valley, 
Sometimes on the mountain crest, 
But whether on low or high land, 
The Lord is manifest. 
Sometimes I walk in the desert, 
Sometimes in waters cold, 
But whether by sands or streamlets
The Lord doth me enfold. 
Sometimes I walk in green pastures, 
Sometimes on barren land; 
But whether in peace or danger 
The Lord holds fast my hand. 

 This poem sums up exactly how it feels to live the life of a Christian. Times will not always be sunny, happy, safe, healthy or joyful. There will be times of disappointment, sadness, sorrow, darkness and sickness. But as long as we walk with God we know we will grow into better people and come out of valley with a story to share and hope to keep us going. It also reminds us that the Lord is ALWAYS with us through the good and the bad times. He walks with us and never lets go of our hand. 


So keep hanging on and keep your faith and I promise one day you will be at top of your mountain, shining in the sun!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just a Small Town Girl Living in a Not So Lonely World

I love the Journey song "Don't Stop Believing" for obvious reasons now but I always loved this song and I am proud to say both my kids love it too! The opening lyrics to this song goes a little something like this "just a small town girl living in a lonely world". I cannot imagine living a small town AND being lonely. Though at times living in a small town can equal too many people knowing your business I have learned after 31 years in Skiatook, Oklahoma to just embrace it. Thanks to Facebook 75% percent of my friends are in  my "Skiatook Peeps" group. Some of them I have known since Kindergarten, some are parents of my kids' friends, some are parents of my friends, some are church family, some are just friends of friends or acquaintances. So there are many many people who know about my struggle with infertility everywhere I go. I am thankful for the hugs, prayers, text message, phone calls, cards, well wishes and sympathy. At first it just made me cry but now that I am not so emotional I am even more thankful than I was for all the support.

It's no secret that in the midwest patriarchal society many women are mothers by the age of 25. Most of my high school friends are parents of several children and some even divorced and remarried (like myself) before the age of 30. If you are 30 and you do not have kids yet people are constantly asking you why you either aren't married yet or why you do not have kids yet. Thankfully, I have a 8 and 10 year to detour the "why don't you have kids yet?" comment but sadly my Hubby does not have kids so as a married couple we still get the kids question. Most people by now are aware of our infertility and our failed IVF cycle and Lord have mercy on the person's soul who does not and unknowingly asks us the kid question. For a couple to be married more than two years and NOT have kids yet is taboo in our small town society.

I think about the couples who fit into the "no kids" criteria and I wonder if they are struggling with infertility and just not discussing it. I am sure if they lived anywhere else than Small Town America it would seem quite normal for them to be in their late 20s or early 30s and not have children. One would assume they are working on their careers, busy traveling, etc. and just are "waiting to have children". I honestly have never heard ANYONE say that aloud in my entire life. I cannot imagine the pressure infertile couples must feel living in Patriarchal society. Though I feel the pressure is alleviated by about half because of my two children, there is still pressure, expectations and well meaning nosy people who want to know about our having or not having children of our own.

Since the Holidays are upon us I felt this post was appropriate. The Sher Institute posted a video on their Facebook page today (which I am sharing here) focusing on the holidays and how infertile couples cope during the holidays. I have also been reading through many other infertile's blogs and realized how torturous the holidays are for them. I know that we had to deal with Thanksgiving during my Two Week Wait and while my kids were gone to their dads- and wow I nearly had a nervous breakdown. One infertile's blog post even made it to the front page of AOL where she rants about not wanting to receive Christmas Cards with ONLY the pictures of the couples' children on it. That made me highly aware of photos I use for our Christmas Cards this year. I would hate to think I unknowingly hurt someone's feelings or was insensitive to anyone's situation. There is also a high sensitivity when it comes to dealing with pregnant friends or family members and couples with babies or small children.

Being from a small town I know LOTS and LOTS of friends and some family who either are pregnant or have small babies. It's just unavoidable. I don't struggle as much with those situations because I am a mom and as a Christian I refuse to look on anyone with envy or jealousy. But for those women out there who have been struggling for years and years to conceive I can totally understand why they feel the way they feel. Infertility takes A LOT away from your self esteem and mental well being. It is so easy to fall into the bitter, envious category and become wracked with hurt and sadness. My best advice is to keep your eye on the prize not the prize of others. God's timing is not always the same as ours. He knows your heart and He knows what you need and when you need it. If the holidays are too hard on you, take a vacation to a sunny beach and forego the crying baby, children packed holiday get together. That's absolutely what I would be doing if I was childless and struggling with infertility right now. Because putting yourself in a situation that will create anxiety or stress is no good for anyone. Give yourself a break and focus on the blessing you do have- your loving, supportive spouse. We all know men who stick by their wives through infertility treatments are angels without wings. Be thankful for what you have now and always keep the hope for what you want to have in the future.

Sending love and hugs to my fellow IFers during the holidays....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For My Better Half From Your Infertile Wife

Due to recent events I decided I need to dedicate an entire blog just to my Hubby! Infertility is such a female dominated topic that I think the men sometimes get swept under the rug as innocent bystanders just waiting for their command to go into the room and fill up the cup! But they are in this process and invested in this journey just as much as all the fellow women out there. We are just more vocal about our journey (surprise surprise).

If it weren't for my Hubby I truly believe I would've lost my mind long ago. I have to give him props for marrying me knowing I was infertile and it would take LOTS of money, time and IVF to have a baby with me. Not many men would sign up for that and I am thankful everyday that he is spiritually strong enough to handle it all and be a good Hubby. He really is a saint in my book. I think couples who struggle with infertility and especially those who took the trek down the IVF road have a unique connection to one another not just as husband and wife but as rock solid partners in the treacherous waters of the unknown.

He has been so supportive and so unwavering throughout our marriage and especially through our IVF journey. He NEVER ONCE complained about giving me shots before he went to work in the morning or before we went to bed at night. He was so strong during our two week wait and he has never said a negative word about our IVF ending in a chemical pregnancy. The endless hours of my crying, talking and worrying would be enough to make any sane person crazy but he has been amazing. His love, hugs, kisses, hard work, support, kind words, reassurance, faith and partnership have blessed me beyond measure.

Even though I know we are both hurt, sad and disappointed we haven't lost touch of our love for each, if anything, we are stronger now than we ever were. The other day I said to him "what if IVF never works for us?"...his reply- "Then it's not part of God's plan for us to have children"...my reply- "Do you sometimes wish you would've married someone who could give you children the conventional way?"...his reply- "I love you babe- and that love is unconditional- kids or no kids". Yes, I know, he is pretty much the best. I knew that is how he felt but these days...I need to hear the words so I can sleep at night. Within the realm of infertility is a danger zone of insecurity and self loathing and sometimes I just need the assurance that no matter what I will have my Hubby and he loves me UNCONDITIONALLY. Maybe he should "post it note" it to my night stand just so I can read it when those negative thoughts creep into my mind?

Being loved unconditionally is a new gig for me. Before Hubby came along I had never experienced unconditional love. I am thankful every second I am blessed with his love. I know Love is God's gift to us and I thank Him everyday for giving me my Hubby's unconditional love- what an awesome gift! He really is my best friend and I pray and live for the day when God blessed with us with our own bundle of joy but for now I am enjoying the blessing of amazing Hubby and his unconditional love.

Babe, if you are reading this...I love you so MUSH! :)

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Where The Mind Goes...The Man Follows"

Proverbs 23:7 "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he"

Let's talk about THOUGHTS!

Today I am in my second day of being sick (chest/sinus congestion- it's just that time of year!). So I was blessed by Joyce Meyer today since I was unable to attend church with my hubby. Joyce Meyer, like I have said many times before, is just amazing. She has struggled and she has overcome many hardships within herself and her life. I feel so connected to men and women of God who have overcome and BEEN THERE rather than people who have lived a peachy keen life and have no clue what it's like to suffer and struggle.

Another of Joyce's amazing books, which I read 3 years ago, but probably need to read again, is "The Battlefield of the Mind". This is what she focused on today- the mind, our thoughts and the battlefield that exists within each of those. I believe that we can be defeated solely by our thoughts! Our minds can go to scary, deep, dark places (at least I know mine can). I am constantly keeping my thoughts in check! My struggle is with the "WHAT IF" thoughts...and of course- the WHAT IFS are always something bad or negative. I know this is the devil trying to take over my thoughts. Only through the word of God and standing in the Victory of Christ can I overcome possession of my thoughts and start thinking in the RIGHT WAY!

Ephesian 4:23-24 "let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy."

It is so easy to get caught up in THE WORLD.  To lose sight of our purpose on this Earth and to forget what we are called to do as Christians. Our thoughts and soon our time become focused on material possessions, worry, conflicts, deadlines, the internet, social media networks, kids' sports, money, work, TV shows...then all of a sudden we are wracked by guilt, sadness, depression, bitterness and discontentment. Sometimes we are so busy with the world that we forget about God's promise, God's word and our Christian walk. Our thoughts are taken over by earthly distractions and soon our thoughts and our feelings are not Christ like.

Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good". Each day on this earth, in  my opinion, is a battle. We must put on our armor as Christians and embark on the journey day in and day out. There is no easy day! At least in my world. My hubby always gives me a hard time because my mind is constantly going, my wheels always turning and I have a hard time unwinding and relaxing! I know I am this way because of my childhood- I had to always be on my toes, always on the lookout for what was coming at me next, always on the defensive and always ready for a comeback- physically or mentally. (This is another reason why I LOVE TO BLOG- it releases some of those thoughts!) Sure I can lay around in my PJs all day but I promise you my mind has been working at full speed since I opened my eyes. So for me, controlling my mind and my thoughts, is my hardest battle. I constantly have to keep my mind from going back to the past, thus bringing hurt, guilt and rejection to the forefront or going into the future and worrying about what is to come or what I want to come. I have to constantly remind myself to live in THE NOW to appreciate the blessings in my life RIGHT NOW.

I know that our struggle with infertility has certainly taken my thoughts to some crazy places. I have to bring myself back and refocus on things I CAN CONTROL because our infertility is out of my hands and completely in the hands of our CREATOR and I have to trust in His plan for our future. The mind is such a powerful tool and a complicated place. Sometimes I feel like my mind is like a misbehaving two year old who has to constantly be put in TIME OUT for acting out! At those times I am mostly thankful for Christ's mercy and forgiveness. He knows I am not perfect, He knows my flaws and He knows my thoughts before they even register to me. That being said, He knows what I need and when I need it. So I am trusting in Him to keep giving me Peace in our situation and providing strength and healing.

The battle is not over, it will never be over, but I am thankful I have the Victory of God's word and His love to WIN THE BATTLE, everyday.

 Throughout her sermon, Joyce kept repeating:
"If you don't learn how to think like God thinks and speak like God speaks there is NO HOPE that you will ever having Victory in your life".

And it takes Victory to win the Battle of the Mind....I hope you get the Victory you need today and keep it for all your days to come.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Keeping the Peace

As I discussed in my last blog I started reading Joyce Meyer's book In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear and Discontentment. I knew I would be unable to set the book down when even before finishing the Introduction I was moved to tears. I want to share this paragraph with you:

"We tend to think that persons with the greatest faith are the ones who get the miracles. I'm not really sure about that, myself. We make so much out of miracles, when they happen. We think, Oh, what great faith they must have! They got a miracle. But I think the ones with the greater faith are the ones who KEEP THEIR PEACE even they don't get the miracles they wanted. I think the greater faith is in those who have to walk it out and decide to love God anyway. The people who don't get everything they're asking for, and who might not understand why, but yet continue to love and praise God, are truly trusting God. They stay in church, give their tithes and offerings, and stay full of peace. That is remarkable faith, in my opinion."

I absolutely 200% needed to hear those exact words! When you feel let down and without your miracle, it is so easy to backslide into self loathing, disappointment, envy, resentment and bitterness. Through this entire process, especially the hurtful ending, keeping my faith and being still in God's peace gave me strength even I did not know I had. And believe me, my life has been NO CAKE WALK, I have overcome mountains and persevered through many trials...but this time it was different...this time the understanding and peace were insurmountable. It was hard to think we did not get our miracle and not question why others got theirs while we are still waiting. But at the end of the day, I rested in a peace beyond understanding that can only come from our Savior.

Just like Joyce says, we did not get what we wanted and we don't understand why, but we are choosing to "walk it out" and "keep our peace". I know I have looked at others and fought back envy thinking "why did they get their miracle and we did not?". So this paragraph grabbed me by the heart strings and gave me the assurance I needed in my faith and my peace. Through this journey I know that without our faith and peace we would have been completely defeated and crushed by the end result. Not that we aren't heartbroken or sad...but in our heartbroken sadness we still walk in the victory that God gives us on a daily basis. We are not losing sight of the prize and we are still praying for our miracle to come in God's time and believing in God's plan for us.

Thank you Joyce Meyer for being so awesome and just "getting it". I am so excited about this book. I love reading books that you feel were written JUST FOR YOU! It speaks to me, it moves me, it inspires me and I hope I can take that inspiration and inspire someone else!

SO I am KEEPING THE PEACE...holding on to it for dear and seeking it out in everything I do, hope for, pray for and think about....and I hope and pray you are doing the same....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life GOES ON

As the old adage says "Life Goes On". I don't really like to be a major promoter of sayings, adages, etc. because I like to make up on my OWN sayings, adages, etc. but today it just feels right and I want to blog about it.

I update my Facebook statuses on a daily basis, sometimes more than once, and today I found myself for the first in a long- speechless. I really didn't have anything significant going on or anything significant to say. So I dug deep and explored how I FELT today...that's a scary place to go these days because my feelings range from sorrow to excitement in a split second.

Here is what I came up with:

"The most beautiful & at times tragic thing about life is that IT GOES ON...in times of happiness, sadness, sorrow, uncertainty, heartbreak or triumph...tomorrow always comes and people always need you to keep going so that's what you do- you keep going and eventually time heals the wounds, celebrates the wins or reveal...s the purpose in your suffering. Today I am thankful for the time God allows me to have each day..."


That is just how I feel...today anyway. I am glad life goes on. I most certainly could not stand being stuck in my sorrow and sadness. Mostly I am thankful for my two children. They keep life going on! When I feel like staying home and laying around in my comfy clothes watching Lifetime movies and fighting back tears, they intervene on my pity party and always have somewhere they need to go and something they to do- whether it's a school function, a basketball game, a church function or the library- I am thankful for my busy life filled with the kids' activities. For anyone who has a job or kids you know what I am talking about. When you just feel like staying in bed, never getting dressed, much less putting on makeup or fixing your hair- you just want to "check out" for a while- life has not been "easy" lately- you have lost a loved one, you have bills you can't pay, you got your heart broke, your job is not fulfilling anymore, you or someone you love is ill, life just IS NOT going the way YOU WANT it to- BUT low and behold you have someone or something that DEPENDS ON YOU to KEEP GOING! So you put on a good face and you keep trucking down the road- broken or not- life keeps going and you must keep going with it!

It seems really hard right now. I know I am struggling. But when I look back on times when I have been in this "sad, lonely, grief stricken" spot before- like when I was a child and a teenager struggling to survive my parents in broken homes, being alone and pregnant with Dax, when Dax was born two months early and nearly died, when I was in an abusive marriage, when I got divorced, when I was a single mom, when my son came home with bruises from his dads, when we struggled financially to pay for attorneys- life got me through those times. God blessed me me with another day and another day and another day and eventually one day it wasn't so hard. I woke up and didn't feel like crying, I felt whole again and time had carried me through the hardship to a place of peace and revealed to me the purpose in my suffering.

For example, Mady come home from school Tuesday and declared that she wanted to go the first home high school basketball game because her class mentor was playing and her mentor "takes time out of her day to spend with a bunch of 3rd graders and we need to take our time and go show our support at her game". Um Okay- how do you say no to that? So I fixed my hair, put on my makeup, got out of my comfy clothes and off to the game we went. I was so glad we went. The 3rd grade girls basketball team was scrimmaging at half time so I got to visit with a few of my favorite mom friends. Just getting out of the house and being around people was therapeutic. Thankfully, no one hugged me or asked how I was doing. They had texted me and talked to me on Facebook so I knew they were praying for me and wishing me well but I was glad we didn't talk about "it". I want life to carry on just like it was before and for the first time in a long time- that night- I felt normal again. It was a blessing! Thank you Mady and her teacher who encouraged the kids to come to the game!

Yesterday I had a meeting with a potential new client. So once again, I was forced to make myself presentable and put on my BEST face for 2 hours. I felt alive and full of energy. The meeting went awesome and I am pretty certain I landed a new prosperous account. Just when we need it most- God always provides for us and I can only thank Him for the new business opportunity. I am submitting my business proposal tomorrow and praying all goes well. Life is still going and going....

Today after school Mady wanted to go the library so off we went straight from school to the library. I was so excited to find a few good books for myself, one being Joyce Meyer's "In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear and Discontentment". That book is just what I need right now. I can't wait to dive in and be blessed by that amazing Christian woman! She always makes me feel like it is OKAY to feel defeated, make mistakes and struggle with peace, grace and understanding as long as we always come back to the Cross for redemption, forgiveness and the ultimate peace. I know I have my moments when I am not at my best and let myself get down...don't we all? I struggle the most with my thoughts- letting them run wild before I put myself in check and say "NO I am NOT going to let FEAR get the best of me, NO I am not going to let GUILT rule my life, NO I am NOT going to let SELF-LOATHING ruin my day!" I am a child of God and HE loves me more than all that...He has blessed me beyond measure and I should be standing in His promise and being thankful for all the blessings!

So today I am thankful for the marching on of time...it keeps me going...it keeps me on my toes and keeps me out of my pity party! Thank you Lord for each day and time...I am blessed to have it and spend it with people I love so much!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is there an IVF Value Menu?!?!

I was texting back and forth with a fellow IVFer the other day and we were discussing the different protocols for IVF. She seemed a bit frustrated about her protocol and jokingly stated that she wished there was a menu to pick from for IVF. We are both Micro IVFers and with that comment I began thinking to myself how I wish there was a Value Menu for IVF. A little of this, a bit more of that and all with the full blown IVF results. Fairytaleitis right? I mean when you are a SELF PAY IVF patient...the cost is VERY real! Why can't there be a Dollar Menu at least for the meds?

Seriously though, it is amazing the wide array of protocols for infertile women undergoing IVF. The different Stimulation meds, steroids, shots, pills are very overwhelming. Not only are there different types of meds but there is a huge different in the dosage amounts ranging from large to small doses. I am fortunate to be "good responder" and small doses work just swell for me! Since I did Micro I was on the Micro dose of Gonal F for my stims. My HCG Trigger Shot was pretty painful in the arm but obviously it did its job producing 15 eggs.

The Sher Institute has their protocols down to an art and they know what you need. Hence the extensive blood work you must undergo before starting your cycle. I love that they keep you on meds following your Egg Retrieval. Progesterone in Oil shots in the hip are torturous and the vaginal suppositories also no fun but each of these help with egg implantation and that's what we want in the end! So Bring It On!

Although our next cycle is 7 months away I am already looking forward to getting down to business with the shots and meds and making this baby! I always like to hear about others' protocols if you feel like sharing feel free to comment below or email me at ashleybwrites@gmail.com. Or if you just want to vent about how sick you are of your meds and shots- I am always an open ear and heart to my fellow IVF Heroes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back At IT

So I am back at IT! Working out and healthy meal planning! This is not easy stuff especially when you have been pretty much on bed rest for 6 weeks. I did Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred Level 1 yesterday and I will admit that I struggled through the entire thing! Before starting IVF Stimulation Meds I was rocking Level 3- the highest level! The eating healthy is not a big deal...I enjoy it!

Today is running day so I will be seeking out a treadmill because mine has bit the dust and I need to get in at least 45 minutes of cardio.

Here is my meal plan for the week: Beware I LOVE Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Bacon, Pineapple & Pistachios!

Monday
Breakfast: Kashi Oatmeal- Honey & Cinnamon with one slice of turkey bacon
Lunch: Chicken filled wheat tortilla
Snack: Almonds and two slices of fresh pineapple
Dinner: Salmon Salad, broccoli & sweet potato
Snack: Raspberry and Blueberry soy milk shake

Exercise: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred Video Level 1

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Wheat bread toast with two slices turkey bacon
Lunch: Chicken Sandwich, cottage cheese & blueberries
Snack: two slices fresh pineapple & a clementine
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Breast, Sweet potato & spinach salad w/ balsamic vinegar dressing
Snack: Pistachios & Apple

Exercise: 45 minutes cardio

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Egg White Omelet with tomato and spinach
Lunch: Chicken Spinach Salad with Balsamic Ceasar Dressing 2 Slices of Pineapple (can you tell I LOVE PINEAPPLE?)
Snack: Blueberries & Granola
Dinner: Tilapia, steamed brussel sprouts and carrots
Snack: Banana Raspberry Shake

Exercise: Biggest Loser Cardio Blast & Sculpt

Thursday:
Breakfast: Kashi Oatmeal honey & cinnamon one slice of turkey bacon
Lunch: Subway Veggie Delight w SunChips
Snack: Banana & Pistachios (LOVE THOSE TOO!)
Dinner: Turkey Burgers with Lettuce & Tomatoe on wheat bun, sweet potato fries (baked) with 2 slices pineapple
Snack: Orange

Exercise: 45 minutes cardio

Friday:
Breakfast: Egg White Breakfast burrito wheat tortilla, tomato, spinach, onion
Lunch: Salmon Salad with Avocado
Snack: Brussel Sprouts cottage cheese
Dinner: Steak (very lean) Asparagus cooked with Rosemary & baked potatoe with olive oil butter and garlic
Snack: Celery and Cauliflower

Day off from exercise- always do sit ups and push ups- however many I can stand!

Saturday:
Breakfast: whole wheat pancakes with fat free syrup and 2 slices turkey bacon
Lunch: Turkey Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwich, sweet potato fries & cottage cheese
Snack: Soy yogurt Raspberry or blueberry
Dinner: (family get together- will bring a salad)
NO SNACK!

Exercise: 30 day Shred in the morning

Sunday:
Breakfast: Go Lean Crunch Cereal
Lunch: Mazzios Salad
Snack: Banana & Pineapple
Dinner: Salmon, sweet potato with cinnamon and olive oil butter, broccoli
Snack: Almonds & Pineapple

If anyone wants to share their healthy recipes or workouts...please feel free! I am always open to new ideas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Remembering to "STEP"

Sundays...oh how I love Sundays...we are blessed beyond measure to be a part of an awesome body of believers. Today's sermon who absolutely amazing in every way. I felt like our pastor was speaking God's word directly to me and for me. Of course I cried through the entire service. God always gives us what we need exactly when we need it and today I needed to hear exactly what Russell was called to say. I love it when God speaks to us through men called to serve God. It reminds that I am exactly where I need to be worshiping in the house of the Lord with my family.

(Pic of Hubby and I and our first dance as a married couple. We are embracing our "life dance" even if the steps are painful right now)

He used the analogy of learning how to dance comparing it to our walk with God. His wife taught him how to two step and she would kindly remind him to "step" at the right time. Our walk as Christians is much the same. He preached about the Beatitudes in Matthew and how each one requires us to remember to "step" and dance with God through the good times and the bad times. Whether we are poor, sorrowful, hungry or persecuted our dance is the same and God is ALWAYS with us reminding us to "step". The key is to listen to Him and believe in his plan no matter where it takes you.

The beatitudes in Matthew are:

  • The poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom in Heaven.
  • Mourners; they will be comforted.
  • Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness; they will be filled.
  • Those persecuted for seeking righteousness. The text says that theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I certainly feel like I am hungry and I am in mourning. I can 100% relate to those beatitudes RIGHT NOW in my life. As much I as I want to give up, be defeated, be angry and just break down I know that I have to KEEP DANCING because God is there with me reminding me to "step" and I will keep stepping and keep believing in God's plan for my life.

I appreciate all the hugs and encouragement from my fellow church family today. Sometimes I feel like a little kid who has fallen down and scraped their knee...you know how everyone says if you don't react to a hurt child they will brush it off and keep on playing but if you coming running to their rescue to give them comfort or attention they will start crying...well I feel that way. I am certainly hurt and when people hug me or talk to me about it- I AM GOING TO CRY! But regardless it gives me comfort and I thoroughly appreciate it. The emails, the messages, the cards, the hugs and the kind words...mean so much to me. There is no way I can thank each of you enough for praying for us and being there for us through everything. I am truly humbled by the outpouring of love during this process and now during our sorrow.

I don't know how long it is going to take me to heal from this...maybe I never will...maybe I will always be scarred in some way from it. I know I am looking forward to the day when I don't cry 5-10 times a day. The wound is fresh right now and I know as I have learned from many wounds from the past- time will heal this one too. The road is certainly easier because I am believer and I know God is near me and I know He loves me and He has a bigger plan for me even if I don't understand right now. I honestly don't know how anyone goes through this process without God in their life. It could certainly turn someone into a bitter, hateful, self loathing individual and that would be a tragedy.

If you are one of my IVF followers and you don't know Christ Jesus as your Savior I encourage you to open your heart to Him because He already loves you, knows you and is sitting with you in your grief and sorrow. He hears your prayers and He will never forsake you. I can attest that in my past He brought to roads I felt were unbearable and I knew if I made it out alive it would be by the grace of God...and I did make it out alive and not only that but it made me a stronger and better person. So do not give up hope...no matter what you are going through...keep dancing and listening to God's reminder to "step". I believe that eventually your steps will take you exactly where your heart desires and where God wants you to be! This happen to me when God gave me my two children and when He brought me to my husband and I know it will happen again when we bring our own child into this world. I just have to keep dancing and keep believing!

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

Saturday, December 4, 2010

6 weeks & 12 pounds later....here we go!!

It is no secret that women who undergo IVF put on a few pounds before and during their cycle. With the fertility meds, injections and steroids in addition to the no exercise rule it is just inevitable. Sadly, I fell victim to the IVF weight gain...after 6 weeks of no exercise, meds, and injections I gained 12 pounds. Very disheartening when I had worked so hard before my cycle to lose weight and I had lost 15 pounds in two months.

I went for my first run Thursday and I was pretty much devastated at how out of shape I was! 6 weeks ago I could run 3 miles easily...NOW...I made it half a mile and had to walk the rest. I am hoping it's just because the progesterone is still in my system and I am still weaning off steroids BUT STILL how sad! I worked so hard to get in shape and starting is just UGH! But I know I can do it and I know I have to do it!

My goal is lose 50 pounds (yes I said 50 and yes I could certainly lose 50) by our cycle in July. This is completely realistic to do in 6 months. I am totally determined to reach my goal and be the healthiest I can possibly be. Being overweight is detrimental to your IVF success and even though I am not unhealthy I could certainly stand lose a few pounds. I am Hispanic so I have always been "curvy" but I know when I was 24 years old - two years after having my second child- I weighed 120 pounds and I would LOVE to be that weight again!

So back to the trail I go- running every other day and doing The Shred every other day. Greens, high protein and portion control. It is really simple when you think about it- just eat less and move more! I am blessed to be able to stay home and work from home which gives me plenty of time for exercise and meal planning. Thank you Lord for making that possible and giving me a husband who works hard to provide for his family.

As I embark on my weight loss and IVF prep journey I will share my tips and tricks on my blog. Losing weight is about A LOT more than just physical stuff it is emotional/spiritual too so I will be touching on that as well...there will be tears...so bring your kleenex! The strength to keep going will come from God and I know He will carry me through this journey as He has done from day one. It will be hard and there will certainly be times when I want to quit or give up but I know with my faith at the forefront I will win this battle.

Until next time friends, family and fellow readers...I am going to finish my Kashi Cinnamon & Honey Oats and Turkey Bacon then get Shredded with Jillian Michaels...that should be interesting!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Setbacks and Comebacks

Honestly when we think about our lives...we all have them- days we shine in the sun and days we are foreshadowed by darkness. Life is a revolving series of setbacks and comebacks. Certainly my days of sunniness and comebacks far outnumber my days of darkness and setbacks. Embracing the darkness and setbacks is pivotal in learning how to grow through our heartaches, letdowns, losses and disappointments. My times in the valley were honestly the times I grew the most spiritually and though this IVF was extremely hard emotionally I can say that even a day after the bad news...I am looking back with such a thankful heart for the experience. I am stronger and more determined now than ever to get that FINAL COMEBACK and have a baby with the love of my life! God has really blessed me with peace these last few days. All the calls, texts, emails, facebook messages have been amazing, blessings and so encouraging! I really love my friends and family so much! I am so glad I did not keep our IVF journey and our infertility a "dirty little secret" like many infertile couples do! No it is not easy putting myself out there especially the failure, hurt, sadness and pain but I am a FIRM BELIEVER that God allows us to go through certain things- sometimes good- sometimes bad- FOR A REASON and for me- that reason is so I can share my journey/struggle/triumph with others and hopefully touch someone or help someone along the way. There are so many people around you struggling with infertility...you would be amazed...and so many do not talk about it. So I am doing the talking for them I guess!

Infertility is absolutely an example of a revolving door of setbacks and comebacks. When Hubby and I set out on this journey we did so with all the confidence in the world that this would work on the FIRST TRY for us. We are young, healthy, we passed all the tests and thankfully our only issue is with my plumbing. Why wouldn't this work perfectly for us? After reading online blogs and forums I became well aware that it's a 50/50 chance when dealing with IVF and we could fall on either side of those lines regardless our infertility issues.

We started out ahead of the game- my FSH was perfect, my uterine lining was perfect, my Estradiol level perfect, Ovarian Reserve perfect and Hubby's sperm also perfect! Comeback times five! The shots were not as bad as I thought they would be...a little setback just because weeks and weeks of several shots a day can wear a person down but ultimately we knew it was for a good cause. We got to Vegas and my first ultrasound showed awesome Follicle growth and response to stimulation meds. For a Micro IVF patient producing 24 Follices was phenomenal. Most Micro patients produce 10-15 Follices. Another Comeback! Egg Retrieval was pushed up a day and Dr. was able to retrieve 14 mature eggs- Comeback again! Out of 14 we had 13 eggs fertilized- we were rocking this IVF! Comeback! On Day 3 the report was good we had 5 embryos leading the way who were already at 8 cell and the other were growing good as well- we still had 11 in the running. Comeback Queen! Day 5 presented our first setback- none of 4 embryos we had left had reached the blastocyst stage that my Dr. likes to transfer at so our Egg Transfer was pushed another day. Setback!

I believe it was Day 5 that the anxiety set in. I spent that entire day on egg shells praying and hoping that our embryos would grow and reach that perfect stage! Day 6 came and we had one early blastocyst and one compacted embryo- Dr. Sher was willing to transfer BOTH. We were scheduled for 11:00....then an hour later- we were moved to 3:30 to give them a few more hours to grow a little more...Setback Setback! Thankfully those two were fighters and we made it transfer! Transfer went perfectly and smoothly! Comeback baby!

I was most anxious because I knew we were scheduled to fly home the next day first thing in the morning with a 12 hour travel plan which meant I would not get my 24 hours of bed rest. Setback! Finally we made it home to the kiddos and our doggies...they were on Thanksgiving Break for a week so I was able to stay in bed a lot and rest up...comeback!

The Two Week Wait has got to be the most excruciating. For me it was because I am such a busy body mom that I felt like my life was on hold for two weeks. The NOT KNOWING drove me a little nuts mainly because I am a control freak and just like to know what the rules are, what is going on and what is going to happen- at all times! Mental hardships certainly a setback! Doing IVF right before the holiday is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED! That caused me such anxiety and stress I cannot even put it into words here...it was a huge emotional setback for me. I literally wanted to skip Thanksgiving! Here's why: because you aren't NOT pregnant but you AREN'T pregnant- you just feel like a weirdo! Ugh! You have to be around babies, pregnant people and people who are asking when you find out when you are pregnant or not...and it feels like going shopping at your favorite shoe store WITHOUT any money! You want desperately to buy the shoe you always have wanted and everyone around is purchasing theirs but you are STILL WAITING TO GET PAID! Does that make sense? Maybe I'm crazy? Anyway what I am trying to say is that the holidays were hard and I encourage everyone to skip IVF in the month of November or December unless you live far away from family and don't have to worry about all those issues.

Taking my first home pregnancy test and getting a negative was sad setback...mainly because never in my life had I got a negative on a HPT so it was a bit devastating...SETBACK ALERT! When we got our initial HCG BETA and it was low, I was honestly not surprised though I had hoped and prayed for better results. The SETBACKS just kept coming...then the second of course confirmed what I had feared the most...a chemical pregnancy and early miscarriage. FINAL SETBACK!

The point I am getting at here is that the next thing to come can only be a COMEBACK! There were many COMEBACKS with this IVF and we are blessed beyond measure that we are healthy and have good numbers for Micro IVF. I am so looking forward to our next Comeback Cycle! I pray the beginning goes exactly the same, only changing the outcome! Sorrow now but joy ahead...I am standing firm and believing that wholeheartedly!

And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you. John 16:22

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Keeping The Faith, Not Giving Up Hope & Staying Thankful

Today was my second beta blood test and the results were not as I had hoped. My number dropped from a 16 to an 11. This means my pregnancy was a "chemical pregnancy" and I will soon miscarry our two embabies. I had felt something was not right with pregnancy mainly because I have been pregnant before and if I was indeed 20 days along- I would certainly know it. I had taken a pregnancy test the night before and it was negative again. After doing my research I learned that if your HCG is above 20 it will show on HPT so I felt like I was prepared for the number not to have risen. I was very calm this morning and even though I cried the entire way I had a peace about it.

Yes, I feel like breaking down, staying in bed for days and crying a river. Well maybe I have cried a river and I did stay in bed for most of the day today- until my sister rode in on her white horse and gave me some comfort- sometimes just sitting with someone in their grief is all you can do and I am thankful she left work early and barged into my house and did just that. I know I insist that I like being alone when I am sad, mad or down but really we all need somebody. Being alone is not always the answer and it helped to cry to her and talk about it and get my feelings off my chest. I am truly heartbroken, sad, disappointed and struggling with my self confidence right now but I am not giving up hope. I am not letting go of the dream to have a child with the man I love more than words. I know God brought him into my life for a reason and everyday with him I consider a gift from God. I believe God has a plan for us and I know having children is part of this plan just not at this time...in God's time I know it will happen.

I am trying to stay focused on the positive things from this experience. Here are just a few things that are keeping me going right now:

* I know now what to expect from IVF and I know what questions to ask and things to say and do and when to say and do them. The anxiety and uncertainty of the process has faded away and I am totally prepared to do it again!
* We know we are still good candidates for Micro IVF because our testing was all perfect and having a positive pregnancy at all is a good sign for future IVFs.
* We are NOT giving up hope- we are planning to do another IVF as soon as we have saved enough money to do it- we will be going in for round 2- in Dallas at the Sher Institute- we will hopefully do it this summer and the kiddos can come along and we can make a vaca of it!
* I walk with the Lord and I am confident in His plan for my life and my family. I know he will not forsake us and even though this didn't work as we had planned- He has bigger plans for us and when it's His time we will have what we so desperately want the most.
* Times like this make me thankful for the hard, sad, hurtful, sorrowful times from my past- because of that- my armor is strong and I even though I am sad, disappointment and my heart hurts I am not broken. I will move on a wiser person with a new story of courage to tell and hopefully help others.
* I am so thankful for the people I have met- through my blog, online discussion boards or the Sher Institute that are fellow IVFers- women made of steel! What a blessing those friendships have been and hopefully will continue to be for many years! Also the women who I am friends with or even related to that I had not known struggled with infertility until I shared my journey and they reached out to me and shared theirs. What an amazing blessing those women have been. They have touched me in so many ways. I am thankful for them- there are just not words here.
* I have an awesome hubby and for reasons I will never fully understand he knowingly married an infertile woman and he loves me even through this struggle. He is amazing. We have certainly grown closer in a different way and I admire his willingness to give me my 12048508347 shots and never complain and always be a comfort.
* I have two beautiful healthy children who keep me going and who love me even at my darkest saddest hours. They are a joy and a blessing to me each and everyday of my life. I am proud to be their momma!

I am not questioning and asking why. I am not mad and I am not bitter. I am not even going to think one second about the cost and months of saving we incurred. I am going to be still and have faith in God's plan. I am going to praise Him for allowing us to go through this even if the ending was sad. I am thankful for the struggle, the sorrow, the pain, the tears, the sacrifice...all of that has to make me a better person, friend, wife and mom. As a Christian it would be a shame for it NOT to.

At the end of the day this scripture keeps me going as it has many many times before:
""We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

Bless you all and bless all you IVF women out there...you are my heroes!

Monday, November 29, 2010

There is ALWAYS Hope!

Wow! What a roller coaster this process has been and continues to be. Today was my first BETA HCG blood test. Of course I went first thing this morning to the lab in Owasso. Because my Dr. will not discuss your results until AFTER your second test- which is Wednesday- I asked the lab how long it would take- since it was a STAT order- they said an hour. So I went to the truck and waited the hour- playing Words with Friends (thank God for that game) and checking up on my Facebook friends (thank you to all my interesting friends and their amusing updates).

As I waited (on a dark cloudy rainy morning) the sun peered through the clouds and it seemed to only shine on the hospital parking lot. It was so comforting. It was like God was telling me and me only that everything was going to be OKAY and although there are times of darkness, clouds and rain- the shine will ALWAYS shine later! I was so touched- it brought me to tears. I had to get out of the truck and take a picture it! I know I am such a sentimentalist but it just seemed like one of those moment when God speaks to you...I know it was one of those moments. It really gave me peace. Before I saw the sun I felt planted in my seat like I needed a bulldozer to pick me up and force me to walk back into the hospital and get my results, after I saw it- I was fine, I had peace and I was calm. Isn't our God AWESOME? I felt so reassured not to give up HOPE! When the clock struck 9:30 I confidently got out of the truck and headed back to the lab.

I got my test results and my number was a 16. I would've liked for it to be a higher number but any number above a 9 is a positive pregnancy and I was so relieved! There is still hope! Certainly there is cause for joy and cautious optimism! Immediately I began researching about others who had low betas- of course there are some whose numbers did not double after their second BETA which resulted in a miscarriage- but there are also some whose numbers kept growing and have healthy children now! I am so so so so thankful for the online fertility forums- you would not believe the many many stories I have read that have inspired me- these women are made of steel and I admire each and everyone of them! Truly amazing! So right now I am praying and hoping my number will double by my second BETA on Wednesday! Praying for anything over number 32!!! I am praying I will be one of those inspirational stories of a low BETA turned healthy pregnancy and baby! Maybe God is using me to help others?

I truly believe that we just have a little bit of a stubborn embaby- he or she was late to grow to blastocyst- pushing us to a 6 day transfer now he or she is a late implanter! Maybe he or she is just stubborn like their mom & dad- completely not out of the question here ;)

Right now I am walking in RELIEF....relief that the number was not a big fat zero as it can be with some! I am walking in HOPE that my numbers double in 48 hours and I am walking in FAITH knowing that no matter what the results are it is God's will for us right now and I will have PEACE.

What a roller coaster, numbers game and test of patience this has been. I can only become a better person because of this journey and I intend do everything in my power to keep my spirit strong and my faith unwavering.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weeping Willow

Well since Sunday the waterworks have been flowing, and flowing, and flowing....and flowing. I cannot remember a time in my life I was sooo emotional in a weepy way. It's truly pathetic. If weren't for my hubby I would have probably lost my ever loving mind by now. It's not so much stress or worry it's just EMOTION just sheer outright overwhelming, happiness, sadness, sorrow, elation...emotion that just comes over me at any given time and the tears flow. My cheeks, I fear, are forever tear stained.

I will admit as much as I hate to that I broke down and peed on the stick! AKA- took a home pregnancy test...or 4...all were negative :( BUT I am holding out hope that I am one of the MANY IVF women who take HPT (home pregnancy tests) up until the day of their Beta blood test then get a POSITIVE blood test! It could be too early, maybe late egg implantation or maybe my levels are not going to high at first. Either way I am NOT giving up HOPE and I am believing in our miracle!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and the kids were with their dad, which made the day harder than hard. Being around family should give me comfort but really it just adds to my anxiety. I feel so much pressure because my Hubby does not have children of his own for us to have HIS children. I know how important it is to him and his family and especially since he is a man and should carry on his last name which he and the Bryants are very proud of. I know his family loves me and loves us no matter what- all the pressure is purely self inflicted! He reassures me that no matter what we have each other, love each other and baby or no baby nothing will ever change the love he has for me. He knew what he was in for when he married me (he must be crazy I know) and the man is true to his word and love and completely steady and unwavering when it comes to his loyalty, support and compassion for me. It's truly amazing. His love reminds me everyday of how much God loves me to have given me such an amazing man, best friend, rock and father to my children.

When we left his family's Thanksgiving to go to mine- which was small- just my sister mom and grandparents (ahhh....sigh....). I broke down and cried 5 times between Sperry and Skiatook. He patted me and talked me out of my tears. He keeps assuring me we have been through HARDER times- reminding me what we went through with Dax and his dad and that this is nothing compared to that- I know he is right- but it is still SO HARD! We walk in the door at my sisters and I break down again and there we are in her living room- me balling and my Hubby holding me. I made my mom and sister cry- it was such a mess! I felt bad Thanksgiving should be a happy time and there I was balling like a 5 year old in my sister's living room. I only broke down once after that. I am not sure what it is- maybe my body is just SPENT- I mean 97 shots later (yes I am still on 2 pills, 1 nightly huge painful progesterone shot at night and vaginal suppositories) pumped full of hormone injections and pills my body HAS HAD IT! Not to mention my emotional well being. Don't get me wrong I would not trade this journey for the world we are blessed to be able to do this but it does take it toll and there is NOTHING easy about this. I would venture to say that only the most rock solid of marriages could withstand going through IVF and I am so thankful to have one of those rock solid marriages!

These past 5 days my hubby has held me for countless hours as I sobbed my eyes out...literally balling like a big kid! Who knew I could cry this much? Certainly NOT ME! I think he is shocked and keeps saying- "you never cry like this babe". A song, a book, a facebook post, a text, a thought, just little things send me into inconsolable sobs. I will even fess up to NOT showering for two days and being able to lay in bed doing nothing but watching movies, reading books and playing words with friends. Maybe this is me letting go of the situation and giving the control to God? I don't know but it's sad sight for sure! Hence the reason why I was relieved and jumped at the opportunity to get up at 3 am and go Black Friday shopping this morning with my mom and sister- change things up a bit ya know?! It doesn't help that kids have been with their dad all week so I am missing them and certainly if they were here I would fight back the tears. I promised myself after them seeing me crying literally everyday of their lives until they were 4 and 6 because of my miserable marriage with their dad- I would put on a happy face from that day forward and not shed a tear in front of them unless someone died or someone was hurt! And I have held true to that promise! So I am really looking forward to them being home so my steel armor of superwoman mom can be put BACK ON and the tears/sobs/weepiness can subside a little.

So for now...I am deeming myself the weeping willow...don't worry if there is ANYTHING that needs crying over...I am doing it for you!

p.s.- I am totally praying this all early pregnancy symptoms and beginning of the emotional roller coaster...we will know for sure on Monday- only 3 more days!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Little Thankful List

In my quest to stay positive and approach things with a thankful peaceful heart I am blogging today about ALL the things in my life I have to be THANKFUL FOR! When you sit back and think about it most of us are blessed with an overabundance of blessings in our life that mostly we don't even realize.

Here's my list:

1- God for giving his Son so I can be forgiven when I sin and fall short of His glory and grace.
2- My awesome kiddos- Dax and Mady- they are the light of my life. They make me happy and a better person everyday.
3- My Hubby- is so wonderful and I am so in love with him- there are not words to describe the blessing he is to my life. I love him.
4- My sister- she just gets it- she understands me and is always there for me. Thanks to her I don't have to mess with the girl drama of having a BFF- she is my BFF and I love her dearly.
5- My family- mom, brother, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins- I have many awesome people in the mix who bring special blessings to my life- they are all amazing! Love them immensely!
5- My Hubby's family- they are awesome- they make me laugh and they are truly genuine good people. I am blessed to be a part of that family. My in laws are an amazing couple who have been married for 31 years and I love it that they are still so crazy about each other.
6- My Church- it's an amazing place filled with amazing people who love God and are loving, caring, prayerful, giving people. I am lifted up by being a part of such an awesome church family.
7- My Home- its affordable, efficient and perfect for us right now. I am praying it will be an life changing investment for our future.
8- My friends- I have an awesome support system of friends. I know I can call at the drop of a hat and I know they have my back. They are prayer warriors and I am certain their prayers have changed the course of my life for the better a time or two.
9- Our truck and car- they are paid for- and for that I am thankful! The car gets awesome gas mileage which makes me smile every time I drive her :)
10- Books- because I can escape and go anywhere with them.
11- The Bible- it gives me solace and peace in times of turmoil and reasons to celebrate in times of uplifting.
12- My health....basically I am glad to be healthy in every way possible!
13- My family's health- thankfully we are happy and healthy right now!
14- IVF- for giving Hubby and I a shot at being parents together- God is in control here...
15- My doggies- they are always happy to see me and I am always to see them- they love me even when I'm a mess! The most loyal little four legged friends ever!
16- Pretty weather- I love opening the windows at my house and letting the fresh air stream through- those are my favorite days.
17- Football season- it's just fun- especially when your team is winning.
18- The Holidays- sure they can be stressful- but I so enjoy the food, fellowship, family and of course watching the kids enjoy their gifts.
19- Naps- here lately I cannot get enough of these in- so I am thankful for these wonderful little gifts in the middle of my day.
20- My bed- we call it the THE CLOUD- its awesome, so amazingly comfortable and wonderful in every way. One of the best investments the hubby and I have ever made.
21- Facebook- its a great way to pass the time and keep up with friends and family. I love it!
22- DVR- God made this for busy moms who can't spend time in front of the TV but enjoy certain shows and must be able to fast forward through commercials...
23- My ex-husband- I know sounds weird but he did help me create two awesome kids. My relationship with him taught me a lot about myself and how I will never let someone abuse me or control me ever again. How being happy with someone is so important and life is too short for misery. If he were not in my life I would not be constantly reminded of God's grace, mercy and my need to for patience, forgiveness and tolerance. I believe being forced to utilize these skills makes me a better person.
24- Music- it heals the soul and calms the beast and I love me some music of ALL kinds!
25- Pictures/My Camera- I am totally obsessed with taking pictures! I love doing it and I love capturing so many moments with people I love!
26- Memories- I have lost many people I love and memories are all I have left of them (and my quilt that my Mama made me that I sleep with every night)- I am so thankful for those memories and mementos- I treasure them and keep them in a special place in my heart.
27- Cherry Berry and Blue Bell Ice Cream- come one who doesn't love these? I am thankful for their yummy existence.
28- Exercise especially running- it helps relieve any stress or burden...sweat it away! Awe! Can't wait to get back into the routine again!
29- Prayers/Prayer Warriors- we all do it, we all need it and we all know it changes things...I am thankful for its power!
30- Blogging- I like to just put it out there- it's therapeutic for me to keep it real and write it out to get it off my chest. Sure I have made some people mad from time to time but I guess in life we can expect to ruffle some feather because God made us all differently and we won't all agree all the time- and that's okay as long as you know no matter you say or do- my thoughts/opinions/beliefs/convictions will mostly likely NOT change so don't waste your breathe/time/money to try to do so- you will fail. Just embrace me for who I am and if you don't like me or what I write- then do not visit my blog :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The TWO WEEK WAIT Crazies

Okay so I have heard about it time and time again from all the IVF women on the online discussion boards and a few friends that the Two Week Wait (the time period from Egg Transfer until you take your BETA blood test that tells you if you are preggo or not) is hard, nerve wracking and emotional.

Honestly I brushed off the thought of losing my mind and being an emotional wreck during my two week wait. I am a Christian- I have faith and I stand firm in God's will in my life- worry, fear and doubt should not even be in my vocab and in addition- I am a busy mom! I thought I would be so busy with kids and life that this time would fly by and I wouldn't even flinch I would pray through this and all would be peaceful and fine...boy was I dead WRONG!

Let's see it's been 4 days and I am approaching nervous breakdown mode! Just a half hour after the Egg Transfer the paranoia set in: Example 1- I had to pee- so they brought in a bed pan (I had lay flat on my back for an hour after the transfer) and Hubby chuckled at me peeing in the bed pan- I laughed too- and it hurt my stomach- I immediately started to worry that I messed something up because I laughed! Okay this is not my first rodeo- I have had to two kids- obviously I know A LAUGH cannot push two embryos out of your uterus- but I will be honest- the thought crossed my inching towards insanity mind. That evening every time I got up to pee- which I do ever more frequently because my ovaries are still very swollen- I did so with guilt because I was not laying down and getting in all of my bed rest I possibly could.

I do believe that not getting the full 24 hours of bed rest has sent me into panic mode! I keep thinking if it doesn't work it will be because we had to fly out first thing the next morning and I wasn't able to be on bed rest that entire day. I worried about that for the entire 12 hours traveling that Thursday. Not to mention that I actually went to the restroom and took off my panties and flew home commando because the panties were too tight on my lower abs when I would sit down and I did not want to put any undo pressure on that area...really? I am totally losing it here people...

So once we got home I actually felt better- I was so relieved to see my kids that the worry would go away then suddenly creep up on me and I would get that feeling in the pit of my stomach you know like your on a roller coaster ride getting ride to plummet straight down- yes that would be me about every 30 minutes! But I am seriously working on that- because when that happens- I am like- that cannot be good for the embabies! So I am doing some praying and breathing through those feelings...no more roller coasters!

Every little cramp, pain, ache I am totally over thinking. If I cramp I worry I might be starting my period and then I think maybe its egg implantation but then no sign of implantation bleed- so then I worry again that Aunt Flow might be coming to town- and right now she is my mortal enemy! I am praying for her to stay away for the next 9 months. I woke up with leg cramps two days ago and was ecstatic because I had horrible leg cramps when I was pregnant with Mady. Really? Who I am kidding? I totally am not far along enough to have any kind of pregnancies symptoms...but it's okay to wish right?

Every morning I wake up and hope for morning sickness (once again not far along enough but one can hope). This comes from the person who puked their ever loving guts up every day until 5 months preggo with both kiddos. I used to pray for an early death while worshiping the porcelain god 8-10 years ago now I pray to just to worship it again! When I am laying in bed I am constantly on guard to make sure our crazy dog doesn't jump on my belly. I am inhaling pineapple like it's chocolate on Halloween because it is supposed to help with egg implantation.

The bad side to this entire process is that I am still on two daily pills and one nightly injection. One being progesterone which can make you mimic pregnancy symptoms. So tender boobs- must be progesterone, tired all the time- must be progesterone. One cannot be certain what they are feeling with the meds! Maybe it's the meds that are making me an emotional basket case too?

Here's the worse part: unless you have been through the emotional, financially and physical ins and outs of IVF you just DO NOT GET IT! I know I have awesome family and friends who love me and are praying for us and I could call at the drop of the hat to cry to or whatever to but really- I just sound crazy! Being around people almost makes this entire craziness worse. It's like I am half pregnant- not really pregnant but maybe just a little pregnant- not enough to talk about but enough to constantly be on my mind. People who are pregnant and have babies- well it's just heartbreaking right now. I love them but right now for me it's just a double edged sword and I do not know how to change that feeling. I mean I have two kids- I am a mom- but I want to be a mom again and with the man I love I have never had that...

I feel like there is so much on the line here- after the money we spent, the time away from family, the now weeks of meds and injections- its just A LOT for this to not go our way. Most importantly- wanting to have a baby with my hubby and give him his only child- there are not words to describe how bad I want this- more than I have ever wanted anything in my entire life. I know God knows this I keep telling myself this over and over. He has never forsaken me and I know He won't now.

I cannot imagine the let down. I shutter at the thought- and I shouldn't even let that thought cross my mind- I know how powerful our thoughts are- and I guess that's why I am writing this OUT...because I am trying to get control of any negative thoughts and get a grip on my paranoia and emotions. I think about how we will have to sacrifice to save money again to try again, how I am getting older, if I am pregnant I need to keep the stress level low to ward off miscarriage- have you met me? I am a total stress ball.

Maybe a cry fest is what I need. When Dax was in counseling and I would go in to visit with his counselor I would always cry and I would always apologize for crying and he would kindly remind me each time that crying is good- its the body's way of releasing emotions and stress so just cry and let it out! I just feel so weak when I cry. I am strong and I want to be strong through this and keep a thankful heart. Crying and being worrisome seems so weak, selfish and faithless.

I am sure this blog post is rambling and doesn't make sense to many people who are reading it- but it certainly has made me feel better just by writing it out and getting it off my chest. I feel engulfed in two week wait crazies...and I am trying my hardest to dig my way out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

2 Perfect Embabies!!!!

After a whirlwind of a week...and everything get moved up a day- we got the call Wednesday morning- our anniversary- that we were all set for transfer! At first it was at 11:00 then they changed it to 3:30. Hubby and I were at a loss for things to do- we had literally been everywhere and seen everything in Vegas! So we went to see a movie! HA! We thought we needed a good laugh so we opted for Due Date- it was hilarious and just what the doctor ordered! We had a great lunch at TGIFridays then headed to Sher's office. (Pic of me right before the transfer).



He seemed very pleased with our little babies and said they were perfect. The Egg Transfer was like wham bam thank you ma'am all of ten minutes tops! It was uncomfortable but not painful. They gave us a picture of our two perfect blastocysts! That really gave me a peace of mind- because they do look amazing- the cells are plentiful and that's what we want for good "stick" quality! They just need my uterus to get nestled into and grow grow grow!


Doctor's orders are 24 hours of bed rest, can't lift anything over 10 pounds for two weeks, can't do anything strenuous for two weeks (the no ponytail bob order is still in effect people) and no intercourse for two weeks- Hubby was sad about that one- LOL! I am trying not to worry about what my house is going to look like at the end of this two weeks. With two kids, two dogs and a hubby- things quickly get out of control if I take just ONE DAY off- imagine 14? YIKES!

I was a little apprehensive that the transfer was so late in the day- since they recommend 24 hours of bed rest and we were flying out first thing in the morning. But I went to the hotel and went right to bed and only got up to pee! Hubby had to finish all the packing and getting thing ready to leave- have I mentioned lately that he is the absolute best? Well HE IS! :) We left at 5:30 in the morning and headed to the airport- there was some confusion at check out but after waiting in line an hour and a half we got it straightened out as I tried my best NOT get worked up or stressed out!

We had a 2 1/2 hour layover in LAX, we ate lunch and I layed down in the lobby chairs and took a nap- bed rest right? The flight to Oklahoma seemed like forever! I did my best to rest but the seats in that plane were not sufficient for resting! I was never so happy to the see midwest in my life and before we knew it- we were flying over Skiatook Lake, I could see the dam, Cross Timbers, my in laws house then Skiatook! Yay for HOME! HOME SWEET HOME! I love you! I was so ready to get off that plane and see my babies! As we walked through the terminal I got a glimpse of my Dax and the tears come flooding! By the time I got to my kids, mom and sister I was sobbing! Emotions that there are no words to describe! I missed them so much...I hope I am never away from them this long again in their entire life! Just sayin'!

Daxon said the picture of the babies looked like two "fuzz balls" LOL! The kids are being so sweet and considerate when it comes to me being pregnant. They are just awesome kids and I love them so much! I kept them home from school today so we could have some extra cuddle time! They will be back with their dad next week for Thanksgiving so I am cherishing every minute with them that I can!

I am scheduled for my BETA blood test on November 29th- we will know if the babies "stuck" or not. I am confident that the little fighters are growing and healthy as can be! So please keep praying for us and our little babies- that they grow grow grow! Thank you everyone- what a journey this has been so far! Wow! We are so thankful for the blessing we got and honestly- because we are Christians- we were concerned about having too many good embryos and not being able to use all of them- and what the right thing would be to do with them. God took care of that for us...no worries now- we got the PERFECT TWO! Thank you God for taking care of us once again!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

6 Day Egg Transfer

Okay so today we were thrown a curve ball. We were all set to transfer our eggs today and nurse called this morning and said we will "probably" be doing a 6 day transfer because 4 of our top embryos have not fully reached blastocyst (the best growth rate for egg implantation) stage yet but they are at pre-blast stage which is good. Then she added IF none make it to blast they will cancel the cycle- WHAT?

Let me vent: many many many women have 4-6-8-10 cell embryos (not even blastocyst yet) transferred on either day 3 or day 5 and get pregnant! I understand my RE wants to give us the best shot at getting pregnant but canceling a cycle all together when we have 4 good embryos- um no. If we get the call in the morning that none are blasts yet I will insist they transfer our "top two" embryos. We have sacrificed financially, emotionally- been away from kiddos 11 days- I will not walk away with nothing...it's just not an option for me :)

Okay now thinking positive- I am hoping we will have those precious 4 (the perfect number that I wanted and prayed for) and we will transfer 2 and freeze 2 in case we need them in the future.

SO I am asking everyone to please please pray our embie babies are growing and make it to that perfect blastocyst stage by tomorrow morning!

One a good note- we will be transferring on our 3 year anniversary! How romantic right?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

73 Shots Later Equals New Found Heroes

I try my hardest to be upbeat and positive no matter what the situation. I admit I have my downfalls when I just want to complain and whine about everything. But mostly I keep that attitude in check and pray through whatever it is that is causing me to have the whine syndrome. That being said, I need to whine and complain a little bit- just to get it off my chest!

First of all, I want to say that all you IVF and IUI moms and women out there are now my new found heroes. I have talked to many women who have been through 1, 2, 3 or more IVF cycles. I do not know how you do it. This is HARD STUFF there is nothing easy about the shots, the hormones, the emotions, the retrieval, the bloating, the discomfort, the waiting, the waiting, the transfer....and the waiting. I think if I did not have my hubby, family, friends and God I would probably cry everyday. Luckily I have only cried a handful of times but I do have to admit I get misty eyed more often these days due to the hormone injections and high emotions.

I counted today and so far I have received 73 shots either in the tummy, thigh, arm or hip. Hands down the Progesterone in Oil shots that I started the night of the retrieval are the most painful horrible awful shots EVER! My Hubby deserves the medal of honor for being such a trooper about the shot giving and always being positive when I feel like I just can't take another shot! The PIO shot is supposed to help my uterine lining thicken because IVF shots can thin it out. This will prevent miscarriage so I am doing them and I am going to do it with a thankful heart! This shot continues until I am 8 weeks pregnant...Lord give me strength! Right now both my hips are so sore I cannot even sit down without cringing. (see pic of my hubby getting ready to give me a shot)

Also this bloating and discomfort is for the birds! My ovaries are so swollen you can actually see them protruding from my stomach. At first I was scared maybe I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome but I am still peeing, pooping okay and I am not retaining water so I think it is just because I had 24 Follices and they are now filled with fluid which takes 7-10 days to leave your system. Wow! I look huge! How do women work before, during or after IVF? I cannot imagine! You cannot even wear your clothes. Prior to the retrieval I looked about 3 months pregnant and now I look about 5 months. I told Hubby its a good preview at what I might look like in the months to come! ;) I have to pee every 5 minutes and it hurts like I am going to burst every time! The burping and passing gas is out of control- my poor Hubby and in laws- I am so glad they love me and don't mind my issues!

I did the Micro shots of stimulation meds (although with my amount of eggs you wouldn't think so) so my hormones and emotions were not too bad but I could certainly tell my patience wearing thin with my kiddos. I really did feel bad for them...it's like one day your mom is one person and the next day she wakes up and she's Roseanne Barr on crack! I am certain this time apart they have found a new love and respect for me regardless of how I was acting when I left. So I am at peace about that behavior however rash and uncalled for. I was totally open and honest with them about the shots and how they made me feel so maybe they took it with a grain a salt. I can only hope. For all you IVFers and infertility warriors who did the full blown stem shots and meds- you rock and you amaze me!

After all the yucky symptoms, side effect, aches, pains and shots I have to say I am still so very thankful for the experience and to have 11 healthy embryos growing! Yes we got our FERT report today and 11 of the 13 have made it to the next stage of growth. The nurse said 5 are growing on track and are almost ready now. We are planning our Egg Transfer on Tuesday November 16th. The day after my birthday and before our 3 year anniversary. We are so blessed and we know it! I cannot wait to be home and pregnant (hopefully with twin Bryant Babies).

We are still having a good time in Vegas with my in laws! I hate to see them go tomorrow. (see pic of my hubby and I at Hard Rock Cafe today). We've taken in lots of sights and yummy food!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lucky Number 13 & Yoga at 2 am!

What a whirlwind week! I cannot believe tomorrow will already be one week in Vegas- it is flying by! I am having a blast but I am missing my kids and my dogs soooo bad! I cannot wait to see them and give them love!

I am so enjoying my in laws and hubby being here. Our Egg Retrieval went smoothly Thursday morning. I picked Hubby and in laws up from the airport and we went straight to Dr. Sher's office. We were in and out in an hour. We had 14 mature eggs out of my 24 follices. He was very happy with the results. I spent the afternoon resting and we had a great dinner that night at the hotel. I was pretty sore, bloated and crampy but nothing too bad. I started my Progesterone in Oil shots that night- which are very painful and in the hip- I have to do them until I am 8 weeks pregnant- OUCHEY! I am trying not to be such a whiny baby I mean I have had two kids so I can handle A LOT- right?

The next morning we were off and running bright and early. We went to Hoover Dam- which was awesome and beautiful! Being surrounded by such amazing scenery makes me feel close to God- He has created an amazing Earth for us to live on! I am thankful and humbled by it! We also saw 3 REAL monks there- like in robes and scandals- but they were carrying around probably a $2000 Nikon Camera- I thought Monks did not have care about material possessions? Hhhhmmmm.....

Then we went to Pawn Stars and they were filming and we got to see Rick- way awesome! We had a nice lunch at Planet Hollywood at Caesar's Palace. My nurse called with our Embryo report and was please to announce that 13 out of 14 of our eggs had fertilized. She said we will take tomorrow off- meaning there will be no new news then we will hear from her Sunday morning on how they are growing and if we will do Egg Transfer on Sunday or Tuesday. That evening we hit Fremont Street- which was WOW! It is the older part of Vegas but very very neat! The street has a screen over the top that puts on a light show to music. We saw a lot of very interesting people dressed up and some dressed way down. Vegas is a really unique place! Then we had a yummy dinner at Landry's- love their seafood! The main side effects for the day were discomfort from being bloated and gassy! My nurse said that my ovaries are swollen and taking up more room than usual which causes everything else to feel cramped. I also have to pee every 5 minutes! Which is very interesting when you are walking around and scrambling to find the nearest restroom. She also warned me that the PIO shot could cause constipation so be sure to get Metamucil- which we did at the pharmacy on Fremont Street- the one thing we bought! haha!

Last night was very rough. I woke up at 2 in the morning in excruciating pain! Honestly, I felt like I needed to pass gas for about an hour and I would be fine! At one point I was so desperate for relief I was doing YOGA in the bathroom just to get things moving! What a sight that was I am sure! I was in pain for about 2 hours before I finally got some relief- two Gatorades, two Gas X's and some Metamucil later I was asleep. And yes the PIO shot before in the other hip was horrible- so now both hips are super sore and tender...I am tough...I am tough...I will not be a gripey whiner! Okay...I feel better now...

This morning after a yummy buffet breakfast- which I kept high protein so I could have a BM- which I did successfully after breakfast- I have never been so happy to poop in my entire life! Relief AT LAST! We were out the door at 10 am headed to the MGM Grand. We did CSI: The Experience...very neat we had a good time! My mom in law loves that show- I am glad we got to do that with her! Then we walked what seemed like 5 miles from the MGM to The Venetian in hopes of buying Blue Man Group tickets- we were not up for paying $150 to see them so we are currently on a search for cheaper tix! We had a yummy lunch at The Venetian! A Tuna Wrap for me- then I had to treat myself to a slice of Mousse cake- it was heavenly! I am still feeling bloated but its not painful. I think I look like I am 5 months preggo! I swear! After searching online a bit I read on some discussions boards that after your Egg Retrieval your Follices fill up with fluid that can golf ball sized- in my case- that is 24 golf balls! So I am not alone in this discomfort, swollen, bloated, gassy, constipated feat post Egg Retrieval.

I just really hope it all gets straightened out BEFORE Egg Transfer- I cannot imagine being preggo and dealing with these symptoms simultaneously! I am praying for healing and relief- like ASAP!

All in all we have a great fantastic blessed Micro IVF Cycle- I am super blessed and thankful- gas and all! I am praying we have 6 good Embryos out of the 13- so we can Transfer 2 and freeze 4 if we need them in the future. I am so thankful God has allowed this process to be so successful for us!

Vegas is amazing and I have only seen one transvestite! That was quite a sight! You don't see one of those everyday in Oklahoma...thank goodness!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just call me the Easter Bunny

First of all let me just say- God is Good- He is so good to us- all the time- even when we are at the lowest of lows or highest of highs He is there listening to our prayers and giving us what we need!

We've been in Vegas since Sunday but it feels like forever. We have been so busy! My mom and I have taken in lots of sights, shops, scenery & places! Vegas is an amazing place! The Venetian was breathtaking, Ceasars Palace amazing, Was Musuems tons of fun, The Mirage awesome, Planet Hollywood very cool (see pic of mom and I at PH), we got to meet Chumlee today at Pawn Stars & all the scenery & sights have been awesomely amazingly cool! We are having a great time and I am so glad my mom is here with me until Hubby and the in laws get here Thursday.

My first Dr. appointment with Dr. Sher was Monday morning. Mom and I got lost on the way to the Dr. office and we were twenty minutes late but it somewhat took the edge off the worry about the results. My ultrasound went great (see pic of the wonderful vaginal ultrasound device- not my first & I'm sure it won't be my last- but just had to share). I had 14 Follicles on the right and 13 on the left. Let me just stop here and review these numbers. Okay as I have said before, I am doing the MICRO IVF, not full blown IVF, so that means my dosage for stimulation meds were half what they normally give an IVF patient. Most IVF patients are told to expect a low number of Follices and eggs because of the low stim protocol. I was expecting to hear I had 5- 10 Follices NOT 27! WOW! Dr. Sher said he was amazed with my progress and told my mom she should be very proud of her fertile daughter!

I was on cloud 9 when we left the office. I understand the road is still long, we still have to do retrieval, pray for the eggs & sperm to fertilize beautiful embryos, do the egg transfer, then wait to see if the embryos "took" or not. Just the fact that we will have so many good eggs to choose from I know for sure we will have those two perfect "embies" to put in and that makes me happy! It evens the playing field and give me a peace a mind about everything.

I went back today and all the Follices had grown to the perfect size for my trigger shot tonight! I had to do all 3 of my normal stim shots this morning- that was rough- at one point then needle actually bounced off my skin when mom tried to stick me! I am so sore! But we did it! I am so looking forward to a few days off from the shots! The trigger shot will make the Follices release eggs in time for the egg retrieval- we do that shot at 11:30 tonight on the DOT! My lining looks good and everything was as Dr. Sher said "perfecto". He thinks we will get 24 good eggs. Egg Retrieval will be Thursday at 11 am and Hubby's flight lands at 8:55 so we will be going straight from the airport to the dr. office for him to give his SUPER SPERM deposit to fertilize those eggs! How romantic right?
The highlight of Dr. visit was Dr. Sher calling me the "Easter Bunny" because I have made so many eggs as a Micro IVF patient.

The reality is sinking in that I might very well be pregnant with twins this time next month. Even though most people would be scared to death. Honestly I will feel so very blessed that God has allowed me to have not just ONE but TWO babies with the man that I love so much! I spent so many years in misery that now I cherish every moment I have with my hubby, the kiddos and hopefully our soon to be baby(s).

I am so thankful God has let me maintain my FERTILE MERTILE title after all these years and at 31 I am still healthy as ever "down there". I know He is 100% in control of this journey and He has heard my prayers, my family's prayers, my friends prayers, my church family's prayers and I am sure the prayers of people who just know us and what we are going through. I am so humbled by the outpouring of support, prayers and love by everyone! It has been amazing!

Keep up the awesome prayers all my prayer warrior friends & family! THEY ARE WORKING! God is amazing and He is allowing us to have this miracle!