"But if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea', and it would obey you." -Luke 17:6

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Much Anticipated FET Consult

We had our FET consult this afternoon, and although I went in tired from a busy work day and still feeling under the weather from a cold, I left with a huge smile on my face and feeling awfully blessed! Here are some of the "highlights" of our talk with Dr T:

-The date has been moved up from September 20th or 21st to the 13th or 14th---a whole week early!!  This is due to the number of women undergoing "fresh" cycles (not frozen, like ours) and the clinic trying to ensure the 20th and 21st aren't packed full of transfers.  Since our embryos are frozen and we're not waiting on eggs to mature, be retrieved and then fertilized, we can go ahead with an earlier date.  Needless to say, this makes me a VERY happy girl!

-The cost was even less than we have anticipated--woohoo!  This is due to a few factors: the credited cost of the transfer we didn't do in the fresh cycle, the "mock transfer" doesn't need to be done again (Dr T will use his same "road map" to place the embies back in my uterus), and my medications hopefully will be covered by my insurance, since they're technically not considered "infertility drugs" this go round (this may cut the medication cost down as much as two-thirds!).  Infertility treatment is certainly not cheap, and none of it has been covered by our insurance, so we're praising the Lord for any deductions, no matter how small!

-Dr T is still very adamant that our embryos look "fantastic".  We got to see pictures of a few of them (taken before they went into the freezer, of course), and we will get to see them one more time once they're thawed the day of the transfer.  My husband and I really weren't sure what we were looking at, but since they're technically our babies, I couldn't help but "oooooh" and "ahhhhhh" over them a little. What can I say, I'm a proud mommy already! ;)

-The embies were frozen in groups of two in something called "straws".  The night before the transfer, the embryologist will set out one straw and we'll see if both embryos survive the thaw.  If by some chance they both don't make it, they will thaw out another straw of two the morning of the transfer.  If both of those survive, and we have three embies to choose from, Dr T says we can either a) use all three and have a very high risk of triplets (eek!), or b) use the best two embryos and refreeze the third, which, per Dr T, isn't hard to do and shouldn't harm the embryo in any way.  Of course, my husband's face turned ashen at the mention of multiples, lol.  So I think it's safe to say we'd choose to refreeze the extra and just stick to transferring two at a time.

-Speaking of multiples...while one of the nurses was going through our paperwork at the end of the consult, she stopped on one of the pictures of our phenomenal (sorry, I'm biased, lol) embies.  She pointed to one (that, frankly, looked like the others to us) and said, "Did Dr T show this one to you?" We told her he had, but he hadn't gone into any great detail of what he saw.  She smiled at us and said, "This embryo is already splitting into two...as in, identical twins!"  Say whaaaaaat??!!  I thought I was going to have to carry my FBD (future baby-daddy) out of there in a wheelchair after that!  It was certainly a surprise, since twins don't run in my family, but we'll take whatever God gives us!  She said the embryologist had commented on it when the picture was taken because it's not common to see the split happen so early in the development of the embryo.  I guess ours are just determined little stinkers! lol  Now, this may not result in a delivery of twins, and we know this.  They could stop splitting (or stop growing altogether), or one of the gestational sacs could form like normal and the other be reabsorbed by my body (sometimes called a "vanishing twin").  But I definitely saw what amazing things God can do when I looked at that circle with two little bubbles side by side in it!  God is good!

(Of course, this poses a few more important questions: What would we do if they thaw out the straw with the splitting embryo and a single one?  Will they transfer what could potentially be triplets, or will they only transfer the one that is splitting in hopes that it will become twins?  What if it doesn't continue to split, or even stops growing altogether in my uterus, and we're left with no embies to implant?  These are all good questions, and to be honest, we're not quite sure right this moment!  But we're going to pray about it, and I'll let you know what we decide if that scenario presents itself! ;) )

Ok, so how magnificent is our God??  He never ceases to amaze me!  Just when you think things can't get any better...God shows up and shows out!  At the end of the day, after all the excitement of the consult, all of the planning and preparation to make our dreams come true, the only thing my overflowing heart and awestruck mind can say is Thank you, Father.  Thank you for the blessings that have already been given and for those yet to come.  Thank you for choosing this path for me.  And thank you for walking beside me every step of the way.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The GPS Battle

As I was driving yesterday, and "Maxine", my Maxima GPS lady was (annoyingly) trying to direct me to my patient's house, I had my spiritual light bulb go off.  Now I know this may sound like a strange time to be receiving messages from God, but I truly believe that He uses every day routines and situations to speak something powerful to us...and I love that!  

As you all know, when you take a road that is off of a GPS's route, they alert you to your mistake and then list turns to help you get back on track...and they keep talking (and talking and talking) until you're finally back on the set path.  Well, yesterday, Maxine was being very annoying and persistent in trying to correct me when I took a back road, when I knew where I was going the whole time.  I was just trying to make a detour to go through Dunkin Donuts to get a decaf coffee!  Is that a crime?? lol  I tried to tell her this, but she wouldn't listen.  She just kept telling me to make U-turns here, turn right and then another right, blah, blah, blah...she's a very determined little booger.  I started to just delete the destination because her voice was irritating me, when God spoke to me.

He said, "Now you know how I feel!  Time after time, I have tried to get you to your 'final destination' (whether it be getting into nursing school, meeting your husband, having a child...the list goes on and on), and sometimes I like to take you down the back roads to get there.  But you're like a GPS system.  You just can't stand the fact that I'm not following the path that YOU have set out on, and so you nag me the whole trip about how I am taking the wrong way, when, quite frankly, I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING.  You say, 'Why are You taking me this way, Lord?', 'Why didn't You turn there?', or 'When will we get there, already??'...when all you need to do is sit back, trust me, and let Me drive.  Sometimes the detours I take you on are far more scenic and some may even get us to the destination quicker than you'd think.  And if you'd stop trying to direct the path and look hard enough, you might find that I've left some unexpected blessings along the way."

Whoa.  This really hit home for me!  During the beginning of our infertility battle, I was so focused on the end result, the final destination, of becoming a mother, I didn't even think about all the different routes that could bring us there.  All I could think was, "This should be working.  We've been trying for six months now.  We've done everything we should be doing to get from Point A to Point B...why aren't we pregnant yet??"  Now that I have let God take over the driver's seat, I can see the beauty in the journey that He has taken us on...through all the back roads, the more "scenic" routes, the bumps in the road.  It's all a part of His plan to get us to that place we so desire to be, but we just have to silence the inner GPS system in us and let Him determine the path we take!

Now, I know I talk a lot about God speaking to me, and I want to explain this a little more.  If you've never had God speak to you, then you might not know what He sounds like.  It may be a different experience for everyone, but for me, it's not a big booming voice like you hear on movies, and the clouds don't part and let the sun shine through solely on me right when He's speaking...it's simpler than all that.  When God talks to me, I randomly have a thought placed on my heart, one that I can't seem to shake.  The thought keeps repeating itself, like He's "pulling on my heart strings", until I take a moment to acknowledge what the Lord is trying to tell me.  What He tells me may be a simple command, like, "Tell the cashier to 'Have a blessed day!'", or, "Offer to do some chores around the house for your patient".  It may be a more complicated message, like this story, but God always has a purpose in what He is telling me---He doesn't just waste His breathe! You may be thinking, "Does God talk to me??"  And the answer is: YES!  The Lord might be talking to some of you right now, and you just haven't known what to listen for...so turn up those spiritual hearing aides and pay attention! ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stepping Stones for God

Good evening, guys!

I have to be honest...I wasn't planning on blogging today.  I had a very busy Monday, and feel a little "blah", but then a few minutes ago, my husband's aunt sent me a very sweet and encouraging email, and I decided I couldn't go to bed without writing a little something!  Thanks for the motivation, Aunt Dottie!

Although my day was quite hectic and long, there was one particular visit with a patient that really blessed my day and kept me going...isn't it funny how God knows exactly when you need a little "blessing dust" sprinkled on you?? ;)

Ok, so I have a patient that I have been seeing for a few weeks now, and she is battling breast cancer, along with depression and anxiety. My first visit with her, after listening to her journey and current trials, I felt God prompting me to ask her if she was a Christian.  Although I know God would have used me to witness to her if she had said no, I was thrilled when she said yes!

At that moment, I silently began to pray for God to speak through me, and to encourage this sweet lady with His love.  I told her that although we can't see it now, God's plan is unfolding just the way He wants it to, and that through this terrible illness, He is going to use her to His glory.  We ended up talking for a long time about God's love and how He works through us, which always gets my glory-bumps rising! 

Well, as I was sitting there talking to her, I felt the need to help this woman in more than just a "nursey" sort of way...I wanted to do something for her because I wanted to, and not because it was part of the job.  So I asked her if there were any two things she would ask someone to do for her (whether it be housekeeping, making her a small meal, etc), what would they be.  After some persuading to let me help her, she told me she would love for me to vacuum, and that she had put her vacuum in the living room two weeks ago, hoping someone would come by and offer to do it for her, but no one ever came. She also asked if I could clean off the island in her kitchen so she would feel more organized.  (Of course, this was right up my OCD alley! lol)  She was so stinking excited about having the floor and the island clean, you would have thought I had given her a million dollars! On my way out the door, I felt like I had really done something that day.  Not for money, and not for recognition or a pat on the back, but to show Christ's love to this wonderful person.  When she asked me why I did what I did, I told her just that.  I left that day feeling truly blessed, and thanking God that He had chosen me, of all people, to share His love with one of His children. 

I've been lucky enough to see her at least once a week since then, and every time I am headed out to see her, I pray that the Lord continues to pour His love out through me, in everything that I say and do. Our visits are always wonderful, and I always leave feeling refreshed from our talks about the Father!

Well, today, when I went to see her, she was feeling a little down.  She told me she was overwhelmed and wasn't quite sure what God wanted from her.  I had brought along two of my older devotionals (both by Sarah Young) for her to read in her spare time, and when I opened one of them, the message was so perfect, I had to share it!  I don't quite remember it word for word, but it was something along these lines: "When you're feeling down and hopeless, remember that you are right where I want you.  I designed that path that you are walking down, and I am not only paving the way ahead of you, but I am also right there beside you, holding your hand every step of the way."  After reading that out loud, we both had to take a minute to marvel in God's message.  We were reminded, once again, of the Father's awesome plan for us and of His unconditional love for us, during the good times and the bad.  Even though she was having a bad day, and even though mine was chaotic, by the time I left, God had filled up both of our spiritual gas tanks, and we were ready to tackle the rest of the day!

During the last few weeks, while visiting with this patient, I have come to understand this clearer: God uses us in mysterious ways!  It may be through interactions at the store, doctor's office, in the break room at work, or in a patient's home...through actions as small as holding a door open, saying "God bless you", or doing odd chores for someone who can't do for themeselves...but each time He uses us, He is paving the way to something so much bigger.  Don't you want to be a stepping stone for God?? I know I do! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hellooooo Weekend!

PTL moment for the day: I've survived another work week!  Woohoo!

Even though the beginning of my week started off busy with routine patient visits, I have to say, being on call this week has been a breeze! (Lord, please don't make the phone start ringing like crazy just because I said that! lol) I haven't received any calls at night (so far), I only had one patient to see yesterday, none to see today, and no one lined up to see Saturday or Sunday...the awesomeness of this is indescribable!  It's definitely a God thing---He heard me when I asked for a lighter load and time to recoop from the recent craziness...that just goes to show: "Ask and you shall receive!" (Matthew 7:7) Now, if I could just keep my phone from ringing all weekend...;)

Well, I'm off to cook dinner for my wonderful other half!  On the menu tonight: Jamaican jerk shrimp, island rice with black beans, and mango salsa---yummm!  I hope you all have had an equally awesome week, and I pray your weekend is even better!

(Side Note: T minus sixty-two days until FET day!  In case you were curious...lol)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin...Again!

That's right, folks, it's time to start marking the days off on the calendar again!  Only twenty-five days left until I start the BCP portion of the FET cycle!  That means in a mere sixty-five days I will be welcoming two our precious embryos back into my womb for what will hopefully be the next nine months---major "eeeeek" moment happening right now!

In preparation for the little ones' transfer, I am still working out consistently four to five times a week, staying on my healthy diet (although I do admit to cheating every now and then), and trying to reduce my stress level at work (easier some days than others).  By the time the FET date rolls around, I'll be in tip-top shape and ready to go!  Then, once I'm pregnant, I can let myself go again! ;) Just kidding, just kidding....well, maybe I'm not.  Haha!

Before I return to my paperwork (yuck!), I wanted to share this poem with you guys.  I read this today and thought it was perfect to remember not just during life's trials, but throughout our daily Christian walk!  It's called "Direct Me, O Lord", and is by M.S. Lowndes:

"Direct me, O Lord
To where You want me to be.
Give light to my steps,
and a lamp to my feet.

Give me Your wisdom
So I'll know which road to take,
And know the twists and turns
And when I need to wait.

All these things, O Lord
Are important in our walk.
So we won't go the wrong way,
forgetting what You've taught.

Let us know Your will,
The plans You have for us.
So we may fulfill our destiny
And be walking in Your love.

So that others may also
Come to know Your ways.
And follow after You, O Lord,
and walk within Your grace."

All I can say after that is "Amen"!  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just a Quick Note

Hi guys! 

Just popping in to say hey before I run (literally--I'm like a chicken with my head cut off today!) out the door to finish my work day, enjoy an Employee Appreciation lunch at work, and then my hubby and I are leaving for FL to visit my parents for the weekend!  Yay!  This is a much needed trip, since I haven't seen my Mama in over four months---I'm going through withdrawals! lol I still have her Mother's Day presents to give her!  Sheesh!  We also get to enjoy time with my Dad (whose birthday was Monday), little brother, and his super sweet girlfriend---I can't wait!

Nothing noteworthy in the baby-making biz.  I am looking so forward to getting things underway in August.  Only a little less than a month to go before I start the BCP again!  And we have our FET consult at the end of this month--eek!  I know God's gonna do even bigger things this time, and I can't wait to see what they are!

Alrighty, my allotted blogging time is up--gotta stick to the schedule in order to leave on time! ;) I hope y'all have a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend!  Please pray for safe travels as my husband and I make the five hour drive to FL! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Today's Awesome Devotional!

I just read my devotional for the day, and it was so inspiring I just had to share it with you guys!  

It's from Jesus Lives by Sarah Young.  She writes from Christ's viewpoint, which always makes the messages seem much more personal.  Here's an excerpt from today's message:

"When you are going through painful trials, it is tempting to blame Me because you know I have unlimited power to intervene.  However, I refrained from using that Power to save Myself from brutal torture and execution.  Whenever I allow you to suffer, try to see it as My vote of confidence in you.  It's a way of affirming you as a member of My royal family; a co-heir with Me.  Call upon Me when you are in the midst of trials, and I will be ever so near you--entering into your suffering.  Remember that I allow you to share in My suffering in order that you may also share in My glory." 

And here is one of the verses that go along with the devotional: "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Him, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (Hebrews 12:3)

Wow.  Doesn't that help to change our perspective about the trials He allows us to go through...even just a little??  I know it does mine!  If Jesus can live on this earth and endure all of the pain and suffering that He did (for you and I, mind you!), and all while managing to remain righteous and not question God for not delivering Him from it, why can't we??  Our trials may seem like deep wells that we can't find a way out of, but in comparison with what Jesus, the Son of God faced, they look more like tiny puddles!  

The point is: there is NOTHING that God can't bring us through.  We just have to ask for His help and remain faithful that He will deliver us from our trials, just maybe not in the time frame or in the way we might like! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How My Faith Has Grown

This morning, as I was getting ready for church, I was (once again) overcome by feelings of joy, peace, love, and the knowledge that God is in complete control of my life.  I got to thinking about how burdened I felt earlier this year, and how God managed to totally change my heart, mind, and attitude in such a short period of time...actually, during a single church service!  I realized that I never really described the events that brought about this change, this sprouting of my faith from a tiny seed, so I couldn't wait to share that with you all!

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, around the time we started seeing Dr T, I was praying often for God's will to be done, and saying that I trusted Him.  However, I wasn't giving Him 100% of my trust, nor was I accepting that what He was already doing in my life was His good and perfect will--a life plan that He specifically made me many, many years ago! I was just going along, thinking everything was going to work out the way I wanted it to...you know, since I was being a good Christian and praying about it.  Boy, did I get a wake-up call!

This wake-up call came on Friday, April 13th.  That was the day our third IUI was cancelled due to poor egg response.  This was also the same day that I learned my husband's morphology was very low and our only chance at having a baby might be IVF.  When the nurse, Kim, told me all that info, I couldn't help but start to cry.  I was thinking, "Just make it to the car and you can let it all out there...", but of course, after taking all of those hormones to grow my follies, I was on the verge on crying any second anyway!  Kim said Dr T was out of the office until Monday, but that I could come back in and talk to him about our options, so I numbly made the appointment and retreated to my car all red-nosed and puffy-eyed.  As I sat there in my car, bawling my eyes out, all I could think was "IVF can't be our last option.  It's expensive.  It's time consuming.  It's risky.  We shouldn't have to go that far...things should have worked by now.  God, why haven't You made it work by now??"   I was angry at God for making me go through all this treatment, getting our hopes up, and for what?  For nothing.  At least, this is what I was thinking at the time...I know, shame on me! 

I called my mother-in-law on the way home right after my appointment.  My parents (down in FL) were working, my husband was working, my friends were all in school or work...I needed someone to talk to, and my sweet MIL always seems to know what to say to brighten my day!  She was already aware of the situation and knew I had an appointment that day, so when I called crying, she told me to come straight over and we could talk.  I laid it all out for her once I got there, crying like a baby the whole time.  I told her I didn't know why God gives some people babies that don't even want them, and then I can't even have one when I want one so very badly--it just wasn't fair!  She listened to me and calmed me down, telling me that God had gotten us this far, and that if IVF was what we had to do, then we'd do it.  End of story.  Man, she's so wise. ;)  I felt better just talking to her, and was able to calmly discuss it with my husband later that night.  We both decided that we would pray about it over the weekend and talk to Dr T on Monday.

I went to church that Sunday.  My husband was on call at work, and although I didn't really feel like going to church when all that was on my mind was this IVF debacle, I really needed to talk to God about how I was feeling.

I had only been to this church a handful of times, but was really enjoying the pastor's preaching style and the worship was amazing.  On this particular Sunday, the worship team lifted my spirits with the songs they chose, and I could feel God was working on my heart.  Then Pastor Jay started preaching a sermon called "Defeating Your Giants".  It was about David and Goliath and how David trusted in God to help him defeat this huge giant, even though the odds were against him.  During the service, my MIL kept looking at me and she could tell I was following his every word, soaking up this message that was clearly from God, directed right at lil ole me!

Once the sermon was over, Pastor Jay asked for those struggling to defeat their giants to come up for prayer.  My MIL asked me if I would like to go, and although I usually would just pray in my seat, I felt like God was drawing me to the alter.  I can't remember the Children's Pastor's name, but he was the one who met me and asked what my need was.  I poured my heart out, and then he led me in one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever heard.  This man didn't know me from Adam, but he prayed for me as though I was family, and as though my need was the most important thing on God's To-Do List.  He told God that He had put me in this place in my life, only He understood my pain, only He knew what I was going through, and only He could heal this pain.  He prayed for God to bless my husband and I, for us to be the parents we desire to be, and for Him to move in my life.

It was, in a word, life-changing.  (Well, that technically is two words...but whatever. lol)

During the prayer, my husband's aunt (who is on the prayer team) came over to lay hands on me and pray, too.  She didn't know and didn't ask what my need was, and she couldn't even hear what the man was praying about, but she lifted me up to the Lord the best she knew how.  I don't know if she knows how much that meant to me, especially on that day when I was so in need of prayer...so Aunt Linda, thank you! 

After the service, I felt like a new person.  It was like my heart had been opened and the Lord had filled it to the brim with love, peace, and grace!  I felt infinitely better having talked to God, laying all my burdens at His feet, and listening to what He had to tell me.  I knew then that God was putting my husband and I through this battle for a reason, and that reason was to serve Him.  Even though I didn't know what lied ahead, I was going to trust God wholeheartedly and let Him have His way in my life.  Later that day, the Lord placed it on my heart that I should tell other people about what we've been through, how He is blessing us through infertility, and how my faith (starting out as small as a mustard seed) is aiding me to use this trial for His glory...and tadah!  This blog was started about a week later!

It's amazing to look back and reflect on how much God has grown my faith through all of this.  He knew starting out that all those months of trying, all of those pills, ultrasounds, and negative tests, would break me down to the point where I desperately needed to seek His guidance.  He was just waiting for me to cry out to Him, to realize that I can't do it alone, and for me to give every part of me to Him.  And what's even more amazing is that through all of my questioning God's plan, He stood right there, with open arms, loving me unconditionally.  That is the God we serve...how lucky are we??!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Weekend Has Arrived!


Not much going on since we're awaiting our consult and for things to get crack-a-lack-in in about a month, but I just wanted to drop by and wish you all a great weekend! Hope you all stay safe, stay cool (this heat is killer!), and enjoy your loved ones!

God bless!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our FET Schedule

I made it!  I made it through the looooong nine day work week!  To celebrate keeping my sanity, my hubby and I got to enjoy a yummy dinner out last night (I love our date nights!), and then a day out on the boat today with his mom...perfection!  Now that I'm refreshed, it's time to go back to work. The next two days are going to be quite busy, but then I have the whole beautiful weekend to look forward to!  I think there is some mindless TV watching, sun bathing, reading, and napping in my future...:)

Now, I promised I would update everyone on our FET schedule, so here it is!

-July 30th @2:45pm: FET consult with Dr T, where we sign more consents and fork over more money. (Even though it's an additional cost, here's a praiseworthy tidbit of info: we received a small credit back from the initial IVF cost since we never did the transfer, so this will be put towards the cost of the FET. And overall, the FET cost is only 1/3 of the IVF cost---can we say "PTL"?!)

-August 11th-28th: BCP

-Starting sometime the last week of BCP: Lupron injections (luckily, these are the ones that SUPPRESS my ovaries and not stimulate them!  Whew!)

-These will last until the week of September 17th, in order to keep my body from ovulating before the transfer...can you imagine that?? If I ovulated and somehow conceived (that would definitely be a miracle--but it can happen!) at the same time I had two embryos transplanted??  Holy schnikies!  That would be a-maz-ing, but I don't think we want three or four babies at once!

-September 20th OR 21st: TRANSFER DAY!!  They will thaw out a few of our embies the night before, so there is a chance that some of them may not make it and that could affect the transfer date.  But we're going to stay positive, stay faithful, and know that God is totally and 100% in control!

-Progesterone injections will start again the day of the transfer and will last until either we receive a BFN or until the start of the second trimester.  I have to admit, I have not missed these shots...and neither has my poor bum! lol  But if I have to take a shot in the tush everyday for twelve weeks in order to help my baby grow, that's what I'm gonna do!

-The first few days after the transfer I will be on modified bedrest, just so those babies have a chance to implant and get all cozy for the long ride ahead!  I will take the day of the transfer off (either a Thursday or Friday) and then use that weekend to relax and focus on God's little miracle that will be going on in my body!

-October 1st or 2nd (depending on the transfer date): the official pregnancy test!!  They will draw my blood some time in the morning, and by the early afternoon, we should know something!  This will surely be one of the longest days our lives, but I will constantly be praying for God's perfect plan to unfold, so that will help pass the time and keep me focused!

So that's it in a nut shell!  We are more than excited for this part of the process--it's been a long time coming!  Even though things have been stretched out longer than expected, we know without a shadow of a doubt that God's will is being done, and that He will continue to bless us and use us, no matter what the outcome!  All I can do is praise Him for what He's done and what He's going to do: "Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?  Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, and working wonders?" (Exodus 15:11) :)