Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Adeline Elizabeth

The morning of the two year anniversary of our pregnancy announcement with Evelyn, the daughter that preceeds us in heaven, I was especially emotional. I felt it in my heart, God was telling me that it was time. Among many other reasons, He gave me this story to share it. So, here we are. 

On December 11, 2013, I wrote a condensed version of our journey and more importantly detailed my spiritual journey in having our son, Grayson. You can read that


But, this wasn't the end of my story. This was only one chapter. This was only the beginning.

Some of this continued story, you may find very sad. However, that is not what I want you to take from this. This is not a sad story at all, but a story of His grace, goodness, consistency, and love. As you listen to me speak, make an effort to keeps God’s sovereignty in the forefront of your heart and mind.

Evelyn’s Story

As Grayson's second birthday was quickly approaching, I started to get that baby fever once again. I had always wanted to have my children close in age as my sister and I were. I knew that it could once again take us quite a while to add to our family. That combined with the fact that I was getting older daily and already struggled with poor egg quality, I didn't feel there was time to delay. I began praying for clarity on where to go from there. 

My pregnancy with Grayson was very high risk and I had many issues, followed by severe preeclampsia which resulted in an early delivery, a NICU stay for him and me having to be on blood pressure meds following his birth. The likelihood of this happening again was high. My OB told me that while some doctors would advise that I never get pregnant again, that she was confident that together we could handle any issues that may arise.

Adoption was still very much on the table in my heart, but is very expensive, much more than we could afford at the time now that we had a small child already. 

We considered foster care and went to some meetings with agencies to learn more about it, but it didnt seem to fit at the time either. The goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families and we were looking to grow ours permanently. It didn't feel right going into something and selfishly hoping for the opposite outcome. 

After praying and considering options for a while, I told Jason that I flat out did not know which direction to go. After weighing the pros and cons and considering what was actually possible, we were en route to our fertility clinic to discuss another IVF procedure. We decided that we would give IVF ONE more try. If the one try didn't result in a baby, we would close that door completely. We would also continue to gather more information on adoption and foster care during that time.

My obstetrician and reproductive endocrinologist were in agreement that if monitored closely, another pregnancy with a good outcome was possible. We went ahead and got our IVF schedule going for the August before Grayson's 2nd birthday. When it came time to move forward with the plan, it was not financially possible at that time. I was so discouraged, even though I truly did trust God's plan deep down. I was angry at Jason because he stated that he "was content" with one child anyway. To me, that said he wasnt going to try harder to make it happen for us. I felt so defeated and so lonely. Shortly thereafter, I found out that two of my very close friends were pregnant. They were due exactly when I had "planned" to be. Here I go, trying to control my own life again instead of letting God work it out for me. You'd think I would have learned, but feelings are real and sometimes they are hard to get a grip on. My emotions took over and I forced Jason into giving me a timeline. It was decided that December/January, it was going to happen. I was so mad, that I opened my Bible in spite, looking for some verse telling him why he was wrong to delay this. Instead, I was humbled by reading Proverbs 17. There it was, verse 27. "The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered." I needed to learn when to quiet down. I apologized to my husband and he was forgiving, as he always is.

 December and January came and went with no IVF and by that time I began thinking more clearly. I was understanding that finances really just were still not in place at that time. I didn't want to put our family in a financial bind.

In February, we went on a ski trip with some friends and family. On the second day of our trip, the first day of skiing, Jason wiped out on the slope. I received a photo via text message from Ryan of Jason laying in the hospital bed. We rushed over to the resort's on site clinic where Jason tried to convince me that he was fine and could walk. He attempted to stand with his crooked leg and I think that was when he realized it was serious. My sister took Grayson to go sledding and Jason and I transferred over to the nearby emergency room. He was still trying to convince me that it wasn't broken and everything was fine when the ER doctor walked in and said it was practically destroyed and one of the worst knee injuries he had seen. Jason had shattered his tibeal plateau. His leg was in such bad shape that they said he may never walk again. The ER doctor said he would for sure need surgery and soon, but that he would brace it and stabilize it enough to get us home. Our flight wasn't for a few more days so Jason camped out in the condo while I tried to ensure that Grayson still had some fun on his first big snow trip. 

Getting Jason home from Colorado with a knee that desperately needed surgery was eventful, but we did it. He had surgery shortly after we made it home and they reconstructed his entire knee. He had a plate and tons of screws put in. This was our first experience with the church really stepping up to help us out. They brought over so much food and offered so much support. We were completely blown away by the kindness. I prayed so hard. The thought of him never getting to play sports with Grayson and teach him all of the "daddy things" broke my heart. Miraculously, after 6 weeks, he stood. Slowly, he began to walk. Eventually, he returned to work, ditched the crutches and was able to get around. That in itself was unexpected. He surprised his entire medical team with his miraculous recovery. We are so thankful. 

Suddenly, IVF wasn't even on the table anymore. At this point, we were in "survival mode." Grayson was 2, Jason was incapable of doing much of anything. My heart still yearned for another child, but it wasn't realistic during this time. I was barely keeping my head above the water with a 2 year old and a disabled husband. I backed off of the idea for several months.

In April, we were finally back on our feet enough that we were ready to consider options again. I wondered if maybe all of this was a sign that we weren't supposed to do the IVF again. 

I still couldn't shake the foster care/adoption that was on my heart. Why would God place this so prominently on me if it wasn't in His plans for us? That said, on April 10, 2015 we sent in our application forms for those.

On April 30, 2015 , I went back to the fertility clinic. I received my new IVF schedule. After Jason's scare, we valued health more than ever before. i was scared of more issues with a pregnancy, being put on bed rest and being separated from Grayson, but continued to have faith that God had all of this in His time.

I just didn't know. Then I felt God telling me that was fine. I didn't need to know. He knows and he has this.

I thought, "God, you pick. Here are both routes completely open for you to work."

And I felt peace for the first time in a while. I was confident that He was going to do what needed to be done. That as long as I have faith, He would move mountains for us. So I shifted my prayers to this.

Lord, do whatever will bring you the most glory.

Lord, even if it hurts me, use me to bring you glory. 

On May 31, 2015, the IVF process officially began.

 As I was preparing my body, Grayson and I flew to visit a friend in June just to have a short break from everything. It was so great to have that quality time with him before the whirlwind that was beginning in all of our lives. One of my favorite memories from that trip was our three hour layover in the DC airport. We ate pizza, had ice cream, filled up on all kinds of junk food, watched airplanes take off and land and I watched him take in everything, while i took every ounce of him in. It was such a perfect reminder that joy can be found in the journey, and must be found in the journey, instead of only in the destination.

Everything with my IVF protocol was textbook up until the very end. On July 20, after receiving my labs, my clinic called in a frenzy needing me to rush to Dallas for close monitoring. It was indicative of OHSS, which means ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which in the worst cases can be deadly, so we would have to proceed with extreme caution and alter some things with my protocol. Thankfully, my sister is always on board and willing to support me and help with anything anytime. No more than thirty minutes after I called her, she, Mason, Grayson and I were off to Dallas together.

Thankfully, we got it worked out and the risk of OHSS down, and the boys had a blast on their mini vacation. After getting word that we were good to proceed, Jason drove up for my egg retrieval. 

On July 22, 2015, they retrieved my eggs.  Thus Evelyn, her twin and Adeline were all conceived that very day. Due to the risks, my body needed some down time. They wouldnt be able to transfer any of the embryos at this point. We cryopreserved (or froze) all three of them. The anticipated embryo transfer date would be September 11, 2015.

On August 13, 2015 I began the frozen embryo cycle. On September 11, we chose to transfer two of our frozen embryos to up the chances of success, even though that also would increase the odds of issues during pregnancy.

To my relief, I was able to do most of the ultrasound monitoring and labs for this cycle in Tyler vs Dallas like I had done previously. After all of this time, I became close with the owner of sonocare, Julie, who did all of my scans. 

On September 14, the pregnancy test was positive. The following week, my best friend Christin and I made a series of drives to the lab in Tyler for three consecutive blood draws to confirm viability.

After the final blood draw, Christin and I drove over to sonocare so I could tell Julie. She had been cheering us on from the beginning so I couldn't wait to share the news. As soon as I walked in she immediately knew why and was so excited. She said "Well, let's go look" and that marks the first day I got to see my little Evelyn, ever so tiny, on the ultrasound screen.

A few days later, a woman called to let us know that our application had been accepted for the adoption program. I told her that I had just found out that we were expecting. She congratulated us and took our name off of the list because you can't do both, nor would Jason allow us to.

A few days later, Christin also found out that she was pregnant. We were ecstatic, but deep down I just had a bad feeling. I've struggled with anxiety in the past, so I attributed it to this. 

My pregnancy had a rocky start, but each ultrasound showed normal growth and development for our baby. At my 7 week ultrasound, we found out that the issues I had been having were likely due to a twin that had been hiding behind the first sac all of this time. They called this second sac a "vanishing twin." He or she had stopped developing very early on. I was saddened by the loss of this twin, but the thankfulness for our surviving twin and to have answers to the issues overshadowed sadness. Things progressed normally and by our next ultrasound around 9 weeks, our baby looked perfect. We were then released from our fertility specialist into the care of my regular OB. 

In the beginning of November, we found out that our baby was a girl. We named her Evelyn Grace.

Evelyn means "wished for child" and grace is a word that holds so much meaning to me. Throughout this entire process God had revealed to me the true meaning of His grace and I wanted to honor that with my daughter's name.

On November 10th, after dropping Grayson off at MDO, Jason's mom and I drove to Tyler to go shopping for this new baby girl. We bought all kinds of things for Evelyn. After our shopping, we scheduled a sono with Julie, thinking it would be fun to peek in on our little one. 

So, we walked into the ultrasound room and as we were getting situated, Julie was saying how she was so glad to see me and be able to do an ultrasound on someone who was actually appreciative of their baby. It had been a rough day at the clinic she volunteers at. For lack of better phrasing, she said it was "dead baby day" and she had performed a few ultrasounds where the fetus' had died. All this to say, she was in very desperate need of the happiness we were about to experience.

She placed the transducer on my abdomen and we were all waiting with excitement and anticipation. A few seconds later, there was our little Evelyn, in perfect focus on the screen. She was perfectly still and it was perfectly quiet. That didn't seem quite right. By her gestation of pregnancy, I was expecting her to be bouncing around and waving her limbs at us. By this point, I know what I'm looking at when I see a baby on the ultrasound. I began to scan the screen for her heart. Once I located it, I noticed it wasn't flickering like it had been before. Deep down, I knew right then. I instantly felt numbness overcome my body and I went into survival mode. We all sat in silence for a few more moments when finally I worked up the courage to look at Julie and whisper, "what's wrong?" Even though I already knew exactly what was wrong, it had to be said out loud. I needed to hear the words. She tenderly replied "I can't find the heartbeat." My mother-in-law immediately started crying, Julie began to tear up, and I just sat there with absolutely no emotion. I was in complete shock that what I had feared the entire time had come true. Julie spent the next hour verifying what we had found. She searched multiple angles, measured several different ways and turned on the colors that measure blood flow in and around the baby. I could tell she was so disappointed for us and shocked that the baby was measuring right on target so this had likely just happened within the past 24 hours. She called my doctor and took so many photos for me. She was willing to sit with us for as long as necessary. 

This marks the beginning of the series of what I like to call "little miracles" from that day. This begins with the fact that Julie, someone who had become a friend, was the one who was doing this scan for me. I know that it was awful for her, but it was exactly what I would have chosen. I can't imagine finding this out with an unfamiliar face. Someone who had no idea what we had been through up until this point. I can't imagine being rushed out like this was just another typical day. I needed her to be the one. I needed her compassion, her care and her hugs.

What happened after that is somewhat of a blur. I remember Jason's mom offering to drive us home which for some reason I declined. I remember us discussing what we were supposed to do with all of this baby stuff we just bought. I didn't even call Jason, because I wanted to give him a little more time before his life changed forever, in the worst way, like mine just had. Ignorance is bliss.

Brenda called Bill and they were both crying and I remember wondering why I wasn't. My emotions were all wrong. I couldn't feel anything. I realize now, I was in my typical panic mode. I am the calmest person ever, when everything is a disaster. Instead of outwardly responding with emotion, I internalize it all and turn it into productiveness. In my mind, I was planning out the next steps. I couldn't stop to let myself feel this or I would completely break.

Our time returning home was the exact time that I would need to go pick Grayson up from Mother's Day Out. I dropped Brenda off and left to go pick up Grayson. I remember thinking how ironic it was that I was driving straight to church in that moment, which is exactly where I felt in my heart I should be driving.

I parked my car and I got out, still numb. I saw Brittany loading the kids up in her car and I didn't think about it, I just walked over. I knew she would understand, having suffered a loss herself. She had been a wonderful friend and source of support throughout most of this journey, so I already felt comfortable. She said hey and I just looked at her and for the first time I blurted out the words "My baby died." She was like "do what?!" I repeated myself, "My baby died. She died, I just found out." She hugged me, which was exactly what I needed. She offered to go talk and pray with brother Danny with me.

Mrs. Peggy, who I have known for as long as I can remember, was Grayson's teacher at that point. I was comfortable enough with her that I asked if she could stay a few extra minutes with him so that I could go speak with brother Danny. Of course she did.

After speaking with him, I walked back to the classroom to get Grayson and I told Peggy what was going on. She hugged me and I literally fell apart on her. Every emotion hit right then and there. I remember Emily, Sara, Mandie and Mrs. Darlene all coming to comfort me. I was holding Grayson so so tight.

Jason's dad came up with an excuse to send him home from work early, so I could tell him in person. After leaving the church, that was next on my list.

He walked in the door and I immediately told him. He responded pretty much identical to the way I did. Complete shock. 

That morning before school, we had promised Grayson that we would take him to Chuck E Cheese later that evening. I know it's really weird, but that's what we almost immediately left to do. On the way out the door, my sister pulled up to the house to check on me. I told her our plans and even though I know she thought it was totally out of the ordinary, she and her family met us at Chuck E Cheese. I just knew that I had to keep living for Grayson. It felt like the world had stopped spinning that day, but I knew I was going to have to force it to continue for my son. 

I remembered my prayer, for God to allow what would bring him the most glory. I would not let this loss be meaningless. I knew I had a choice.

That night when I crawled into bed, I wrote this post for Facebook. I hated for some people to find out that way, but I also didn't have it in me to call or text each person individually so I had to do what I had to do.

November 10, 2015

"Today we named our daughter, Evelyn Grace. Evelyn means "wished for child" and Grace because well, God's grace. Today we also discovered that our daughter's heart has stopped beating and she has gone to heaven. We are all in a state of shock. I'm not sure where to begin processing this but it will come with time. What I am sure of though is that my God is constant. I take comfort in knowing that although situations and life changes, He never changes. He is always good. He is always working on a bigger plan for my life that I am incapable of understanding. I have learned not to ask why. I have learned to trust in that plan and His goodness in every trial. I know that it is with Him that I am able to get through these devastating and otherwise impossible situations that I am dealt. I am so thankful that God placed the perfect support teams in my path everywhere I went today. Not even once did I feel alone. We have been reminded again what an absolute miracle it is that Grayson is with us. Life is fleeting and we never know when we or those we love will be called from this earth. We have to make a conscious effort to cherish each and everyday. Our family maybe weak for a while as we cope with this, but I know we will grow closer and be stronger one day. I know that our story isn't over. I don't know how our story ends, but I do know that it isn't over yet."

The days passed and the emotions came. I poured myself completely into Grayson. I tried to keep living life as normally as I could for him. When I would lay down at night, it would all come flooding in, knowing that I was carrying a lifeless body inside of my own. I also felt an amazing sense of unexplainable peace that I knew was only from God. As weird as it sounds, I also cherished what may very well be the last time my body ever carried another body, even if she was no longer with me. In my strongest moments I also felt joy. Joy that she never knew pain, or heartache, or anything but love for that matter. I carried her every second of her life and now she was with Jesus. Is that not the end goal for us all? To be with Him. 

The grief would come in waves. I missed her, all of her, all the time. I felt like I was suffocating.

I saw my OB who is absolutely amazing. She explained every detail of every question that I had. Ultimately, I opted to wait it out and miscarry naturally. She scheduled me one more ultrasound on November 16. Neither of us had any doubts, but it was one of those things that I needed to do for my own sanity. Jason, my sister and I went to that scan and it was once again confirmed that our baby had no heartbeat nor growth from the scan the week prior. Almost an entire week had passed and at this point I felt like I was hanging in the balance of "when." Everyday I wondered if this would be that day that I lose her forever, even though I knew she was already gone. I was exhausted. I knew it was time to say goodbye, so my doctor gave me cytotec to move things along.

My sister, my best friend and I spent that entire day together. They had my back, completely. They were going to make sure that I was not alone. They took me to my appointment, took me to pick up my prescriptions and stayed with me for as long as I needed. 

My mom came to pick up Grayson, Jason came home and I began the process. I had minimal pain, which is miraculous in itself. At 1:30, I woke up and I knew it was time. My body was shaking uncontrollably. I'm not sure if it was a physical reaction to what was happening or if it was and emotional reaction to what was happening. Jason and I went into our bathroom and at 1:49AM she was in my hands. I cut her tiny umbilical cord, measured all three inches of her body and we took a ton of photos. She was perfectly formed in every way. She had all ten fingers and toes and even the tiniest fingernails. She had every facial feature and her mouth was literally smiling. I cannot explain the calmness that overtook me while all of this was occuring. God was with us, no doubt. 

In the following days, we buried our baby girl next to my grandfather. 

We began our new normal. It was so rewarding to watch God use our daughter's life to transform others. I know in my heart of hearts that if one single person was brought to Christ through her loss, then it was worth it. I know that's a bold statement, but it's true. I know that God can use any tragic situation for his glory. I had confidence that good would come from all of this.

One thing became very clear. God never promises us that suffering will cease in this life. And he invites us into a deeper relationship with him based on trust, not built on what He will give us or keep from happening to us. What he promises us is Himself: the one who gives His son to forgive our sins, resurrect our bodies, and grant us an eternal life with him. You can choose bitterness or you can choose to let Him wrap you up in peace that can’t be explained and that choice will lead to hope.

“Jesus was the Son of God, but he still suffered, and through his sufferings he learned to obey whatever God says. This made him the perfect high priest, who provides the way for everyone who obeys him to be saved forever.”

Hebrews 5:8-9 ERV

During all of this, the most amazing thing was happening. God was working out an adoption plan for my sister. I'm not sure she even realized the desire was truly there yet, but God made himself very clear. However, that isn't my story to tell. I'm just thankful that God had put adoption on my heart years before, so I was educated on it all enough to be able to offer advice and support them. I finally had some clarity, maybe God put adoption on my heart to benefit my nephew, not my own child. I had the privilege of getting to know their birthmother and love her like the family that she is now. My sister and I both were able to be present for Jaxon's birth. It was one of the most beautiful and incredible things I have or will ever experience. I will always cherish getting to be a part of it. 

January rolled around and I just got fed up with waiting. I knew we had our last embryo still frozen and I had every intention of still transferring it eventually. At this point, after everything, pregnancy just sounded so daunting. Not only did I have the previous issues I was concerned about with the repeat preeclampsia, etc. Now, I also had Evelyn's loss hanging over my head and I was terrified of going through that again. I just wanted to add to our family and I wanted to do it quickly. I was tired of being patient. 

We were back to square one. Jason really wanted to transfer the remaining embryo and I really wanted to pursue adoption, so we decided to do both, again. While I was waiting for my body to recover from our miscarriage, I made a page to attempt to find a birthmother and do a private adoption. Our next door neighbor is an attorney and handles adoptions often so I contacted her. She was eager to help us. We were all set to hit the ground running again. I figured if we found a birthmother before my body was ready for the embryo transfer we could always keep it frozen for a few years until we were ready for a third child. I wanted to remain open to life and let God do whatever he saw fit.

We had a couple of leads with the adoption, but everything ended up falling through so in March, we proceeded with our final embryo transfer. I was ready to close the IVF door once and for all, regardless of the outcome. Physically, I was done with it. 

Every time I would drive to Tyler for ultrasounds and labs, I would blast the song "Praise You in this Storm" by Casting Crowns which became my theme song for this time in my life. Everytime the part that says "My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth," my horrible singing voice would shout it out and tremble and I would bawl my eyes out. I knew I could never have made it throughout any of this without Him. Somehow, by some miracle, here I was, doing this again and I was okay. I was the most okay that I had been since November 10. I was okay because I don't think I had ever felt such a strong connection with God before that time. It gives me chills just thinking about that turning point. When I realized that no matter what, He was worthy of all praise. So I would sing out and shout out all of the words to all of the songs that I realize now were like my therapy. Those drives to those appointments became a gift where I had nothing else to do but worship Him in the car and that is all I wanted to do.

You'd think I would have learned from Grayson not to give up hope on the last embryo, but I stayed emotionally disconnected. I truly didn't feel like another successful pregnancy was going to be in the cards for us. If 2 out of 3 of these frozen embryos resulted in a loss, what would be different about the third one? They choose the highest graded embryos to transfer first. That means that this third remaining embryo was a lower grade than even the first two were. As a matter of fact, when I got a negative pregnancy test the day before my best friend's baby shower, I shut the door emotionally. I accepted that was it and I would never be pregnant again. I was at peace with it and kept myself busy with planning the celebration for her little one. I didn't have anymore sadness left and I was ready to move forward.

We had a wonderful day on April 2, celebrating the life of little miss Leighton Grace. Christin asked me if I would be okay with her using the middle name "Grace" for her baby girl in honor of Evelyn. Of course I was okay with it and I was so touched by the gesture. This little girl would forever be a sweet reminder of my baby girl, due just a week apart from one another.

After the baby shower, I went home and took another test just because I guess I like to waste money. But, this time It had the faintest line ever, but I knew that a line is a line and a line means pregnant. I was in complete and utter shock.

Then I was completely and utterly terrified. I didn't actually plan for this to work. I had planned out how I was going to comfort my family in their time of disappointment of the failure. I planned out how I would ensure that they knew that truly, I was fine. But I didn't give much thought to the idea that this would actually result in a pregnancy.

I was so anxious. I knew God was in control and I trusted Him, but I couldnt shake the anxiety and the fear that I would lose this baby too. I trusted God and I knew that it was all according to His plan. I also knew that trusting God doesn't mean that bad things never happen. Being hormonal didn't help any of this. 

What if it happens again? How will I survive that?

Maybe when my labs come back confirming the pregnancy, I'll be less anxious.

Maybe when I have my first ultrasound, I'll feel better.

Maybe after I hear the baby's heartbeat, the fear will go away.

Maybe once I'm past the point of pregnancy that I lost Evelyn, I will enjoy this.

Maybe once I can feel her moving, I'll be at peace.

Maybe once we're past viability at 24 weeks, I won't be so anxious...

On September 18th I was driving to my baby shower. The song "Held" by Natalie Grant began to play. "This is what it means to be held. how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was when everything fell, we'd be held." It was undoubtedly playing just for me in that very moment. I was overcome with just about every emotion in the book and I started crying my eyes out. It still hadn't sunk in completely that there was a beautiful baby girl coming. I was hit so hard with the knowledge of the grace of God and my gratitude came out in the form of tears. 

He was holding me through it all. He has this.

That evening was my first event this pregnancy with high blood pressure. Jason was in our bed with the worst headache of his entire life and here I am 27 weeks pregnant and needing to go to labor and delivery to be monitored. I called my sister and like always she was at my house in about 15 minutes ready to go. We stayed until just after midnight and at this point, everything checked out okay. I was told to "take it easy."

The next morning, Jason went to the emergency room because he couldn't take the pain anymore. Long story short, they found a mass near his optic nerve. He was in the hospital for days having tests run. Grayson and I did our best to hold down the fort. The poor kid, one parent on bed rest and the other parent in the hospital. I'm not going to lie, it was a difficult time for all of us, but I kept hearing the word "held." I knew it was going to be okay, one way or another. We were held.

A few weeks later, Jason went to a neurosurgeon in Dallas and thanks be to God, everything checked out just fine. We found out they were 99% sure the tumor was benign and unless it began causing any issues he would return for occasional checks.

A couple of weeks later, at 35 weeks pregnant, I did develop preeclampsia yet again. This time, we were expecting it and caught it before it got too severe. I was put into the hospital on bed rest for several days before we welcomed out baby girl, Adeline Elizabeth into the world on November 14, 2016. 

Everything about my labor and delivery went beautifully. Adeline came out perfectly healthy and didn't have to be rushed to NICU like Grayson had. She was breathing well and was able to stay with me in my room. It was such an incredible experience to feel kind of "normal" for that time. When they checked her bilirubin at 24 hours, it was elevated so they had to take her to NICU at that point. She stayed for 2 nights, roomed in with me at the hospital for one night and then came home for one night. When we took her back for labs, her levels were still elevated so at that point she was admitted to pediatrics where we stayed another 2 or 3 nights. I was so thankful her issues were a simple fix, but I was also so homesick. I missed Jason, Grayson, my dogs and my bed and most of all I longed to bring her home and begin our family of four adventures. It was beginning to feel like we would be stuck there forever. 

She's a healthy one year old now and the happiest human being on earth, I think. She was certainly the missing piece of our family puzzle. She and Grayson are truly the best of friends. Knowing sorrow also allows me to know joy and for that I will forever be grateful for every aspect of my journey.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I got my HCG beta results back from my test last Wednesday, December 30. It was a 4. Less than 5 is considered a negative result. I'm finally closing this chapter of my life. It's a relief, but to be completely honest I'm also a little sad. Life goes on and people move on and I still feel stuck in this one moment. Even my body has effectively erased any physical evidence of her existence aside from the gaping hole in my heart. I'm still waiting to stop bleeding, so I can start a normal cycle. It's been 7 weeks now exactly. In the meantime, I have to make the phone call to my fertility specialist to get the ball rolling again. I'm ready to have complete closure, but I'm just not ready for all of the steps it's going to require. I'm emotionally ready to try again, but physically I just don't feel like it. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Evelyn Grace

I have recently been asked a few times why I stopped blogging over on my rainbow blog. I guess truthfully, I felt like what I had to say was becoming a little repetitive. I felt uninspired. Given our recent circumstances, it only seems fitting to pick back up where I left off at this blog.

It's been a busy year. We kicked it off with a family ski trip to Colorado and my husband broke his leg and shattered his tibial plateau aka knee. Getting him through the airport and back home all the while meeting the needs of a 2 year old was trying at best but we rocked it. Grayson was on his best behavior and brought a lot of joy to the trial. Jason had to have surgery soon after we returned home and they placed all kinds of metal and screws in his leg to hold it all together. They weren't sure he would ever even walk again. Thankfully, our family feels exceptionally challenged to overcome odds against us. I mean seriously, tell us we can't and we will show you we can. Even the little one is this way. It was a long recovery but he eventually did walk again, praise God. Some days now I almost even forget it happened. I gained a lot of respect for my husband. I can't call him a big baby anymore, because he was pretty tough throughout the ordeal. He was down for about 3 months.

Soon after that, we dove right into an IVF cycle. We had been hoping to try for another baby a year earlier than we actually did. Between finances and his injury, it just didn't happen. At the beginning of May, we got the ball rolling. I started my birth control pills to get my body on schedule. By July, I was up to my neck in injectable hormones and medications. The cycle itself was the worst yet as far as inconvenience and physical discomfort. There were so many ups and downs. Once, we had 30 minutes to drop everything, pack a bag and rush to Dallas to make it to the office before they closed. It was in order to change a medication to prevent my entire cycle from being canceled due to overstimulation. Thankfully we made it and I didn't end up with a canceled cycle or OHSS. We were able to retrieve the eggs, but because of my risk for OHSS we couldn't transfer any resulting embryos at that time as previously planned. 

Our retrieval was July 22, 2015. At the end, the IVF cycle resulted in 13 eggs. Twelve of them were mature and 7 of them successfully fertilized with ICSI. Out of the 7, 3 embryos continued to develop and were healthy enough to make it to cryopreservation.

Deep breath. Mission accomplished. Pause. Breathe. Go to Turks and Caicos.

Now that we had our three embryos, it was time to start the Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle. More birth control pills to get my body on schedule, more injections, more pills, patches, etc. On September 11, we transferred 2 beautiful embryos. Three days later, on September 14, I got my first positive pregnancy test. 


The rest of September was incredible. A week after I got my positive test, my best friend found out she was also expecting. Too perfect! Everything was going so smoothly and lab results were all coming back great. My HCG levels were more than doubling. My first ultrasound at 5w2d showed a sac and fetal pole. The very next day I began bleeding. My doctor wasn't very concerned and said its pretty normal in early pregnancy. I was told to put my feet up and call if I started cramping or bleeding heavily. It progressively lightened up until it went away. At 6 weeks, it returned. I called my doctor and they scheduled me for an ultrasound scan at 6w2d. I was nervous but as soon as the baby was on the screen we saw a little flicker. Her heart was beating strong to be so early. We got to hear her heartbeat and the doctor assured us that things were fine. He asked us to return the following week to check things one more time. 

I continued bleeding until the next scan at 7w2d. This time, my doctor was studying the ultrasound screen pretty hard and Jason was silent. After what felt like forever, my doctor turned the screen toward me and I saw what was so baffling. There were 2 sacs. This was a twin pregnancy. However, one of the babies failed to develop. This explained the bleeding. I was sad at the thought of one baby not making it, but I was relieved to hear the strong heartbeat of the remaining twin. We finally had the answer to the bleeding that we had been praying for. 

My final ultrasound with my fertility specialist was at 8w5d. At that ultrasound, the bleeding had stopped and it appeared that the second sac had been "reabsorbed" by my body. Again, our baby had a strong heartbeat. Finally, I took a sigh of relief. After hearing the heartbeat the chances of a healthy pregnancy are 90%. Smooth sailing.

At 9 weeks 2 days, I had my first nurse visit at my OB office. I had labs drawn including the panorama testing. Things were good. I was really getting comfortable with this whole thing at this point.

At 10w1d, I heard her heartbeat with the fetal Doppler. YES! We had made it to double digits. 

At 10w5d, my OB called to let us know the panorama results were in. Everything came back low risk. None of the most common chromosomal problems would affect our baby. Plus, IT'S A GIRL! This was really it. Things were progressing well and the first trimester was almost over with no real risk factors. I took my final sigh of relief.

At 11w3d, my MIL and I decided to go shopping for this sweet new baby girl. We went overboard buying everything pink and girly that we could get our hands on. I scheduled an ultrasound appointment with Julie for that afternoon. She is the one who did all of my scans during my IVF. This was likely the last time we would see the baby before my 20 week scan. We were so excited. 

I got comfy on the table. We were all so excited. Julie started the ultrasound machine. There was radio silence. I had seen my baby's heartbeat three times at this point, so I was concerned when I didn't this time. I thought maybe she was just turned awkwardly so it would take a minute to locate it. I think Julie was hoping the same. I could tell she was desperately trying to find it. She then asked "Who is your doctor?" Too much time had passed and I knew that wasn't a question she would've asked without cause. I knew something wasn't right. I knew exactly what it was. I knew what I wasn't seeing on the screen. I knew my daughter should have been moving at that point too. All I could muster up was a soft whisper. "What's wrong?" She replied with "There's no heartbeat."

STUNNED. I didn't cry. I did nothing. Nothing. I was perfectly still, inside and out. Julie was crying, my mother in law was crying. There I was, sitting there blankly staring at the screen while pure shock took over my body. 

Julie tried for 45 minutes to find any sign of life in our daughter's body. She tried everything. She looked so hard that we even located the yolk sac from her twin that we thought was already gone. There was no blood flow, there was no heartbeat, there was no movement. There was just the perfect profile of a perfectly still baby. My daughter. My baby had died. My Evelyn Grace was more real than ever, laying lifeless inside of my body. 

I was in so much shock that I drove myself home from Tyler. No tears. I just got in the car and left like nothing had happened. I just drove straight to my son's school. From the time I got to his school, which happens to also be our church, God placed the people I needed directly in my path. As soon as I pulled up, I saw a dear friend. I just walked over to her and in my shock blurted out the words "My baby died. My baby is dead." She gave me a huge hug and finally the tears came. They were still not tears sufficient enough for the pain I was feeling, but they were tears nonetheless. She walked me into the school where our pastor happened to be walking out of his office. I asked if we could talk and he prayed for us. When I went into my son's classroom, his teacher (also a lifelong family friend) immediately knew something was wrong so I told her what happened and cried so hard on her shoulder. When I looked up, a circle of support from several amazing women was surrounding me. My son walked over and gave me the biggest hug and held me for at least ten minutes. I know God was with me. 

G and I left his school. I still had the task of telling Jason weighing on me. This wasn't something I could tell him over the phone. Truthfully, I knew this would forever change his life like it already had mine. I wanted to give him a little bit longer to remain oblivious. It wasn't something we could change. I waited for him to come home from work. It was one of those odd decisions I made as a result of my shock. When he came home, I told him they couldn't find her heartbeat at the ultrasound and he said "well that's kind of scary" and I said "No, I mean she died." Then he proceeded to do exactly what I did when I found out. Pure shock. Silence. Blank stares. Grayson hugs. 

...and then we took our son to Chuck E Cheese. Because humans do weird things when in shock. We also had promised him we would that very morning. Completely oblivious to what the day would bring, we made him that promise and we intended to keep it. 

The next morning (Wednesday) we had an appointment to discuss options with my OB. Waiting on that table, it all came crashing down. I had my first extreme panic attack. I started hyperventilating, my chest was hurting, tears were just pouring out. It was terrible. Terrible. My doctor told me it could take weeks for my body to realize she had died and miscarry naturally. WEEKS. News to me. I thought I'd start bleeding any minute. My other losses were early on so it was basically just like starting a new cycle physically. We scheduled a final ultrasound for the next Monday. I went home. I waited with my lifeless baby inside of me. I knew she wasn't with us anymore, but I treasured those last days knowing that may very well be the last time I ever carry another human being inside of my body. I was emotionally numb. Confused.

Monday rolled around and the ultrasound showed no growth, no heartbeat, no signs of life. I opted to go with Cytotec to induce. I picked up my prescription that would end it all. It was $5.30. It felt like such a slap in the face. It takes us months of injections and medications, ultrasounds, labs, being poked and prodded constantly and approximately $20,000 to even have a chance at conceiving a baby. Yet it costs $5.30 to end it all in a few hours. FIVE DOLLARS AND THIRTY CENTS TO END A PREGNANCY.

I placed the medication a little before 3pm. Miraculously, I had no pain. I woke up at about 1:30am knowing that it had begun. At about 1:40 I started shaking uncontrollably and having cold sweats. At 1:49am, our daughter was born in our bathroom at home. 

There was a sense of calm. A perfect peace only God could give in a moment like this.

She was still inside of her sac. I opened it and I cut her umbilical cord. She was three inches long and fit in the palm of my hand. She had a smile on her face. She had perfectly formed fingers and toes. She had eyes, ears, a nose and every vital organ was already formed. Every body part was present. She was a baby, my baby, in every way. I stared at her in awe. I took photos. I held her. I just held her. I prayed. 

In the following days, we said our goodbyes. My son amazed me with how he handled her and the entire process. We had a private gathering with our immediate families to bury her next to my Grandaddy. 

Emotionally, reality finally began to sink in. I won't ever see her again in this lifetime. I struggle. I'm up one day and I'm down the next. I'm unpredictable. I cry. I watch life go on around me and I feel like I am stuck in a moment. I genuinely miss her. I have a craving for her. I could tell you on any given day exactly how old she would be now. Nothing has made me pray "Jesus come quick" quite like this has. 

Yet on the other hand, I know I've been given the gift of perspective. While it's unbearably painful, I know I serve a God who will make good come of terrible tragedies. It has been my prayer from the very beginning of the IVF that God's will be done. I prayed for Him to let whatever would bring Him the most glory happen. I've chosen to be open about this experience like many past experiences in hopes that this helps someone or changes someone's life. No life is too short to make a difference. She was with us for a short time for a reason. Truth be told, if one person finds Christ because of her loss then it's worth it. She's already won. She's exactly where we all want to be. I am so thankful to have the assurance of seeing her again one day. I know she is with our creator and I never have to worry about her now.

In memory of Evelyn Grace:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Rainbow Blog

I have started a new blog to follow the adventures life brings after infertility. To view this new blog, visit: Blissful Blessed Mama: The Bruner Family

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Testimony

For months I have felt it on my heart to share my testimony. I was stuck wondering when and in what way would be best to do so. I have waited for a big opportunity to arise. Suddenly, God made something very apparent. Every single day is a big opportunity to share my testimony. What is a social network or a blog if it isn't a place to share something of utmost importance?

God provided me with the opportunity to speak with and help more women in the past couple of months than I could have imagined. He made our paths cross and opened opportunities for conversation. In our journey to have our son, I chose to be very open about our experiences. I stated that if I could help one woman, that would make it worthwhile.

Little did I know how God was using my heartache and that one day I would find myself thanking Him for that very struggle. I know, it's easy for me to say now, now that I have a child... But what if I told you that I learned how to be grateful for my infertility before my sweet angel was conceived? What if I told you how God used this to teach me how to be grateful and have peace in all circumstances? That's exactly what I'm going to do.

I grew up in a wonderful loving home. I honestly never struggled much with anything other than petty first world problems during my childhood or teenage years. When I was 18 years old, I got the news and it hit me like a sack of bricks. I had always had what seemed to be hormonal issues, but never thought I would have difficulty becoming a mother. After all, being a mom was my life's goal. "Real life" began right then and there in that doctors office. I became consumed with learning all I could about pregnancy and conception. Yes, I was young but when I found out I may not be able to have a child my life and priorities changed.

I had never struggled with anything to this extent before. Anything in the past I had wanted, I could achieve if I put in enough effort. This was out of my control and in God's hands alone. It wasn't long after that I became very bitter. I didn't know how to handle disappointment. I hadn't ever had to rely on my faith and God alone before. What had I done to deserve this? Why me? I had never given it all to God before. Bitterness ate away at the core of my being for years. I was bitter toward God, bitter with my fiancé for not being bitter, bitter toward anybody who was pregnant, bitter toward anyone who made any wrong comment, walked the wrong way, talked the wrong way or looked at me the wrong way. I was angry.

I distinctly remember a wonderful lady who shall remain nameless telling me that one day I would find "peace" regardless of whether or not I became a mother. I could not fathom that thought. I was too consumed with bitterness to allow myself to ponder the idea of peace. Instead, I responded with negativity trying to get her to join in with me on complaints so many of us infertiles have. She did not. This conversation was the beginning of a turning point in my life.

My sister became pregnant with my nephew after struggling herself. I was so thrilled at the idea of becoming an aunt, but so heartbroken of the thought that I still was not a mother. I was also so lost as to why MY battle was continuing on. This was the first time I consciously made the decision to not be bitter. I prayed that God would help my attitude. I couldn't handle the mere thought of looking at my sister and nephew as he grew and not having a relationship with him. I chose to be grateful and loving as I was consumed with self-pity.

This was another turning point in my life. I learned that I had control over my emotions. I found that through prayer God would ease my pain.

Shortly thereafter, I finally conceived via our second IVF only to end up miscarrying. There was nowhere for me to fall but into God's arms. I collapsed on my bathroom floor and cried out to Him. I admitted my anger and prayed that he would help me see things from a new perspective. I begged that if He would not change His plans that He would change my plans. I prayed for the peace that I couldn't comprehend in that moment. Then I got up.

When I picked myself up off that floor I realized something. It wasn't about me. All this time all I cared about was my desires. I was making motherhood my idol. So many people told me I deserved to be a mom more than anyone they knew. I realized that was a lie. None of us deserve to be mothers. Sure, by worldly standards, yes I deserved to be a mom. By God's standards I would never stack up. Thank God for his grace.

I continued praying and growing. When the reality of a biological child seemed to be fading, I prayed more. I prayed that if God had other plans for my life that He would continue to grant me peace and acceptance of His plan. I cannot explain the miracles that He performed within my soul, but slowly and surely I was transforming. After our third IVF failed, I knew it was time to step out in faith.

I felt it so heavy on my heart to pursue adoption. I prayed that God would open my husband's heart and lead us on the right path. Although this wasn't the route I originally thought I would take to have my first child, I was excited and very open to the plan God had laid out for us.

I knew if all 3 of my IVF cycles didn't work, my frozen embryo transfer wouldn't either. In the very beginning, I knew the only way I was comfortable with proceeding with IVF is if all of our embryos received a chance to live. So even though I knew the odds were against us and these final 2 frozen embryos wouldn't make it since even the fresh embryos from the same cycle didn't result in pregnancy, I proceeded anyway with adoption in the forefront of my heart and mind.

We drove to Dallas for our final embryo transfer. The very next morning was our adoption orientation in Houston. Everything went so well and we were certain that the Lord put us on the right path toward adoption. God answered all of my prayers, all I had to do was open my heart to His plan. My heart was so full with the thought of adopting a miracle baby in what would most likely be less than a years time.

Three days later I found out I was pregnant...................

Speechless. Praise God! Because of my experience, I learned how to trust The Lord wholeheartedly and undoubtedly. I feel set apart and blessed in such a unique way that I feel many people could never comprehend. It is my hope and prayer that I can share this blessing with as many people as possible. God used my infertility in the most amazing way. Since then, I have been faced with many challenges, none of which I have questioned Him. I know He is working things out in His time and for His greater plan. I don't have to understand it, I don't even want to understand it. I just want to sit back and continue to be amazed at the work He does. Because of my infertility, I am a better Mom. My son gets a mom that is so strong in her faith that nothing can shatter us. My son gets a Mom that is thankful for every second she gets with him. My son benefitted from my struggles in having him. I benefitted from my struggles in having him. Everyone I come into contact with benefits from my infertility whether they know it or not. I am a better person. I feel His love pouring out of my soul. I want to touch as many people as I can. I am burning to share His love, His true, unexplainable love and grace. His forgiveness for all. His acceptance. He is so misunderstood. God is good, ALL the time. I am so blessed to understand the meaning of that phrase.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

Today is a special day because one year ago, on April 15, 2012, we found out that we were expecting. I was 3 weeks, 2 days pregnant. I have been debating for a while whether or not to write a follow-up post on this blog. Although I know it can be hard to read about pregnancy and birth, I decided to proceed in order for my devout followers that I do not know personally to read how my story unfolds. Even some of you who do know me personally, don't know the full story. If you are sensitive to this kind of post at this time, please bypass this and continue downward to previous posts to discover how I overcame my struggles with infertility.

My pregnancy was beautiful and perfect. And by that, I don't mean that I didn't go through the typical discomforts or experience the things so many complain about. What I mean is, I know what it's like to wish to be pregnant more than I wish to live on another day. I didn't spend my mornings I was hugging the toilet complaining or feeling sorry for myself, I spent them joyful (probably mentally more than physically) and thanking God that I had such a wonderful reason to be sick. I had morning sickness until I was over 20 weeks pregnant. As a matter of fact, I had just about every symptom in the book all the way up until the end.
(34 weeks 1 day)

At 16 weeks, we found out we would have a son. My 20 week ultrasound revealed that my son had what they call an "echogenic foci." This can be an indicator of Down's Syndrome. We were scheduled for another ultrasound at 24 weeks to recheck it and were assured it would most likely be gone and no big deal, but it wasn't. At that point we were sent to a perinatologist to keep an eye on it. My last ultrasound was at 32 weeks. At that point the foci was still on Grayson's heart. We chose not to share this information. I had faith in God that if he gave me a child with Down's, then my life would be better for it. Infertility shaped me, it made me more faithful and more positive (over a great deal of time.) I couldn't bare the thought that people might actually have pity on us for possibly having a special needs child. This was my beautiful son that I had longed for years. I was nothing but thankful that I was finally pregnant, no matter how many chromosomes he had or the challenges we might face.

November 23, 2012 - I woke up not feeling quite right. It was "Black Friday," so doctor's offices were closed. My best friend, Christin, went with me to a clinic to get checked out. Being 35 weeks pregnant and developing an illness of any sort didn't sound good. When they checked my blood pressure, it sounded high to me, but they didn't seem concerned. They sent me out the door with a prescription for nasal spray and allergy medicine. I went straight to CVS, not to fill my script, but to check my blood pressure again. At this point it was 167/119. I knew I needed to get to the hospital immediately. Christin then took over and drove me home to pick up Jason. Meanwhile, I called the doctor on call. We were already on our way to the hospital when Dr. Brazell told us to get there immediately.
(Trying to stay germ free at the clinic)
Upon arrival, they did a lot of tests and it was evident within the hour that I was suffering from pre-eclampsia and was also contracting (I didn't feel them). I had the symptoms of pre-eclampsia (remember that head cold?), but I failed to put it all together until I saw my blood pressure so high. My blood pressure had been excellent my entire pregnancy, and I had just been checked the previous week, so I had no reason to be concerned. My sister, Ashlee, then predicted exactly what would happen next. Shortly after, in came the nurse to confirm what we all suspected.
The next several days came as a complete whirlwind. They threw me into a wheelchair and rushed me down to labor and delivery where I was put on a magnesium sulfate drip (terrible side effects). My doctor was having Thanksgiving with family, so couldn't make it up to the hospital. The doctor on call decided within 5 minutes that I needed to be induced that evening.
At 6:00pm I was given Cytotec followed by another Cytotec at 10:00pm. At 2:00am, they began my Pitocin drip. My contractions came on long and hard. They had to try my epidural 3 different times because every time I would sit up my blood pressure would bottom out and I would lose consciousness. By this time, it was chaotic and everybody was suiting up and wheeling my bed out the door for an emergency-section. My blood pressure was dropping too low and Grayson's heart rate was also dropping too low with each contraction. Finally, they had me lay on my side and the third epidural was placed. Right then, my water broke. There was no time to hook up the medication to my epidural. I felt very intense pressure and told them to hold off on the c-section if they could. When they checked me the first time, I was dilated to a 2. They agreed that we could wait a little longer to see what happened because after my water broke Grayson and I both stabilized. Only 27 minutes later, I was at a 10 and pushing. I pushed for 45 minutes and into the world was born my beautiful, perfect, 5 pound 2 ounce, 18 inch long, God-sent miracle baby.
They rushed him off to check him out because he was 5 weeks premature. They said I started screaming "don't take my baby, bring me my baby," but I have no memory of that because the magnesium drip had me so foggy. I don't doubt that I did. I had waited my entire life for that moment. After a few minutes (which seemed like centuries) they brought him over and laid him in my arms. I think I was in shock. All I could do was hold him so close rubbing and kissing on his fresh little moist face.
(The first time I met the love of my life)

A few short minutes later, they took my son from my arms and took him to the NICU. I was then told I would not be able to see him again until the very next morning at 8 am. This was due to not being able to leave bed because of the magnesium. It was such a long day, I slept most of it away. That evening, my nurse from the night before agreed to let me go in and see him. I was determined to get out of bed, and she had witnessed what I could accomplish out of determination the previous night. I was able to go in and see him for a short while. I was too weak to hold my head up, so I simply laid it down next to his tiny body and held his hand. All too soon, I was whisked back to my hospital room. The next morning, I was taken off of the magnesium drip and was able to spend most of the day in the NICU beside my son where I belonged.
(My first time to see him in the NICU)
I was sent home the next day. The most confusing thing was having to leave my baby there. You should not have to leave your baby at the hospital. At the same time, my dream was here and thriving. I was an emotional mess of gratefulness and elation as well as sad that my newborn could not come home with me. I spent every second that I could at the hospital with him, only leaving to grab a change of clothes and a quick snack. He stayed in the NICU for a total of 8 days and that was more than enough for me.
(First day home)
This entire experience made me a better person and a better mother. Grayson gets a stronger, more optimistic, more faithful and an all around better mom because of how I struggled. I cannot look back on what I went through in trying to conceive him and feel sorrow, because I would not be who I am today if not for that experience. As this 4 and a half month old angel lays on my chest sleeping right now, I am overjoyed. My cup runneth over.
(Four months old)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Weeks

I am now seven weeks pregnant! Now that things are moving along, I don't want to muddy the point of this blog. I want to leave this blog as a tool for others facing infertility. I have always chosen to be open about our struggles in hopes that it would help somebody else struggling feel less alone. I hope that now this can be used as a source of encouragement to provide hope for those who believe they will never surpass the horror of infertility. I want others to be able to look at this and think, if it can happen for this girl who battled this for five years, a girl who went through multiple surgeries and so many treatments (from Clomid to IUI to multiple IVFs to ICSI and finally our *FET* that landed us here), then there is hope for me too. There is ALWAYS hope. Have faith in God, have faith that He is working out your very own plan. As you read this you will see that I have been through the valleys and the peaks and I have navigated the stages of grief. I can't say it was easy, but I can truthfully say that I have found a way to be thankful for this journey. Because of my relentless experience, I know that I will have an appreciation and love for my child that I never would have without experiencing all of these heartache and efforts. For that, I am eternally grateful for this journey.

On that note, I will leave you with my new blog link that will follow our new journey. It is:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My HCG yesterday was 5,046! We wanted at least 2,386! Haha! Twins? I can't wait until my ultrasound Friday!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More Blood Testing

Last Monday I had another blood test and we were hoping my HCG would be at least 180. It was 298!!! Things are looking good! I have one more blood draw tomorrow morning. My ultrasound is scheduled for this Friday, May 4. I can't wait to find out whether or not we are having twins! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

...and then there was three, or four!

I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT STILL! How on earth did this happen? What the?! Okay, I know how it happened... if there is one thing I am highly (probably annoyingly) educated on it's how babies are made. But holy cow, MY baby or babies were stubborn little toots. Let me just share where we are.

As of today, I'm 4 weeks pregnant. We found out on Sunday and remained very cautiously optimistic. On Monday morning, I went for my first hCG beta blood test and it came back at a 6.5. (Anyone want to argue that First Response early result tests aren't sensitive as whoop?) Anyway, if anyone was ever "a little bit" pregnant, that was me on Monday. In order for a pregnancy to be considered viable, it is expected that the hCG number will double every 48 hours. Today was my second test and I was hoping for at least 13. My hCG was at a 30 today! PRAISE THE LORD!

Twins perhaps? Highly likely... I figured I wouldn't scare everybody with that news yet! HAHA!

ps- sorry for lying about my test on the 23rd, I didn't want everyone asking me all week. But anyone who knows me knows I would never wait until the date the doctor suggests to pee on a stick. Pfffft please! Like I can't take the few days of negative tests before it turns positive, I've survived at least 5,475,238 negative tests in my lifetime so far.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frozen Embryo Transfer & Adoption Orientation

Hiatus over! I just haven't felt like constantly updating this blog after the last negative pregnancy test. However, yesterday morning we transferred our two remaining cryopreserved embryos from our IVF cycle last July. The embryos looked amazing! They both survived the thawing process and even began hatching from their zona pellucida while waiting to be transferred into my uterus. Now we just wait until my pregnancy test on April 23. Here is a photo of our beautiful babies yesterday!

We have officially decided this will be our last try at trying to conceive at this point. Maybe in the future, as technology improves, we will revisit the thought. As of right now, our goal is to bring a child into our lives to love, nurture and share all the joys that we are so blessed to experience in our lives.

This brought us to our decision of adoption. Toward the end of last year, we met with our pastor John and his wife Jessica who have adopted children themselves.  Back in January, we turned in our application to see if we qualified to adopt. We were accepted into the adoption agency and today we attended an orientation with them in Houston. As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted with huge smiles and HUGS! It was such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. These people truly care for each and every adoptive family and birth family. They have a complete passion for what they do. I immediately felt serene and very excited to be there and Jason did as well.

If you've been following my blog from the beginning, you know that never experiencing pregnancy and a biological child seemed like something I could never accept. I can't fully explain it, but I strongly believe that after a lot of prayer the Lord has laid this method of building our family on my heart. I have accepted the fact that I may never experience seeing a heartbeat on an ultrasound, feeling the kicks of a precious miracle inside of me or giving birth. God has given me the peace I have requested on this. I believe God has so many unique blessings waiting for our family if this is the route we end up going.

When I say we lay this in God's hands, I mean it. If God's plan is for us to have a biological child, I pray these precious embryos inside my womb grow to become happy, healthy children. If that is not His plan for us, we have fully accepted our next step and are very excited to embark on a new journey. Please pray for God's continued hand on our hearts through this experience. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Negative Test #8,879,123,324,354

Yep, negative again..................................... Something's gotta give.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Yesterday we transferred two perfect embryos into my uterus! :)
Here is a picture:

We also had two perfect blastocysts to freeze. :)
Here they are:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quick Update

I just wanted to write a quick update with our day 3 embryo report. Yesterday our embryologist called and told me that we have 7 of our 12 embryos that look right on track at 6-8 cells. He said they looked exactly how they want to see them on day 3 and they were the best mine had ever looked at that point. Our other five embryos are developing a little slower with 4-5 cells but they still could catch up. They leave the embryos in the incubator on day 4 so I didn't get another update this afternoon, but they should have been at the morula stage today. Tomorrow morning we are going to Dallas for my embryo transfer. At that point we will find out how many of our embryos have made it to the blastocyst stage which is where they should be on day 5. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


IVF #3 is looking to be a success so far! This time I switched my medications all up and did Menopur, Gonal-F, and Ganirelix then a combination of Novarel and Ovidrel as a trigger shot. Yesterday was my egg retrieval and we got EIGHTEEN healthy, normal looking eggs. Today the embryologist called with my fertilization report and 12 of the 18 fertilized successfully and all 12 look healthy, normal and good!! No vacuoles, no problems at all. I am thrilled!!! He will call again on Friday (day 3) with another report on how they are looking. My transfer is scheduled for Sunday. :)) Can't believe that after everything I've been through we finally got some healthy eggs!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

IVF #3

I forgot to update after my last appointment. We are going to start IVF number 3 in the beginning of July. We're going to switch up all my medications and try the antagonist protocol to see if my eggs react better to it. Hopefully we can get at least one or two good eggs that stick this time!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We Shall See

Just wanted to post that I'm going to the RE tomorrow for my first visit after my miscarriage. I have no idea what to expect. Who knows if he'll recommend another IVF cycle or other options............. We shall see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Long Time No Blog

I just wanted to post a short update and let you know I'm still alive. I am on my first elective break since beginning this trying to conceive journey. After my miscarriage, I just couldn't pull myself back together quick enough to jump back into everything. Instead, I decided to take some much needed time out for myself. It's been a nice break and I'm in a much more stable place emotionally now. I'm not sure exactly what my next steps will be, but first I have to return to my doctor to discuss what went wrong. I may get a second opinion as well. I'm not in any major rush, but I feel like I will be ready to take the necessary steps to get us closer to having a baby sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Miscarrying

The worst thing that could happen, is happening. God took away my Christmas miracle. I found out yesterday that my hCG levels are decreasing. On Tuesday they were at a 24.5 which is lower than usual, but as long as they double in two days it is okay. Mine didn't double. They actually dropped to an 11. My doctor told me I could discontinue my progesterone and estradiol and I would miscarry within a few days. However, I began spotting soon after that conversation ended. I hadn't yet stopped any of my medications but I guess my body just knew.

I don't really have much else to say. I am still in a state of shock that this is actually happening to me after everything we've been through. I have many, many questions and emotions in my head. I will never understand. I thought this was finally over. I thought this new year would offer hope, excitement and the start of a whole new chapter. But here we are, back to square one...