Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Day 7 of National Infertility Awareness Week...


So there you have friends. There "Ain't No Mountain High Enough to keep me from getting to my baby(s)." And you know why? Because I have faith that my Heavenly Father WILL CARRY ME OVER EACH AND EVERY SINGLE MOUNTAIN that is blocking me from my baby(s). I believe that in the end He WILL place my sweet baby(s) in my arms!!!
I trust in your word.
Psalm 119:42

The strength of our faith is in direct proportion to our level of belief that God will do exactly what He has promised. Faith has nothing to do with feelings, impressions, outward appearances, nor the probability or improbability of an event. If we try to couple these things with faith, we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith is not dependent on them. Faith rests on the pure Word of God alone. And when we take Him at His Word, our hearts are at peace.

God delights in causing us to exercise our faith. He does so to bless us individually, to bless the church at large, and as a witness to unbelievers. Yet we tend to retreat from the exercising of our faith instead of welcoming it. When trials come, our response should be, "My Heavenly Father has placed this cup of trials into my hands so I may later have something pleasant."

Trials are the food of faith. Oh, may we leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children. Yet trials and difficulties are not the only way faith is exercised and thereby increased. Reading the Scriptures also acquaints us with God as He has revealed Himself in them.

Are you able to genuinely say, from your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him, that He is indeed a beautiful Being? If not, let me graciously encourage you to ask God to take you to that point, so you will fully appreciate His gentleness and kindness, so you will be able to say just how good He is, and so you will know what a delight it is to God's heart to do good for His children.

The closer we come to this point in our inner being, the more willing we are to leave ourselves in His hands and the more satisfied we are with all of His dealings with us. Then when trials come, we will say, "I will patiently wait to see the good God will do in my life, with the calm assurance He will do it." In this way, we will bear a worthy testimony to the world and thereby strengthen the lives of others. (Streams in the Desert)

And I can't forget to mention that today is my baby girl Ella's 10 month angelversary. Ten loooong months ago she joined her big sissy up in Heaven. And even though my heart still hurts I am at peace knowing she (and Alayna and Luke) have been adopted by God. And I am so thankful that He is caring for my sweet Ella (and Alayna and Luke) until I once again can care for her (them) myself. Love you more every day my sweet angel.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Because He Loved Her

Day 6 of National Infertility Awareness Week...

"The most common question a father who has lost a child typically hears is "How is your wife?" Remember, he's grieving too."

So much of infertility is focused on women and obviously most of what I blog about is...well...what I'm feeling. So I wanted to focus one day of my National Infertility Awareness Week of blogging on the male population. It's not long but here goes...  

I once heard that infertility is like a roller coaster where the wife is struggling to hold on during the wild ride while her husband is frantically trying to find the brake.

Little frustrates a man more than feeling inadequate to prevent his wife's pain. First of all, most guys want to "fix it." It's part of their nature and how God made them. When they can't, they often feel they at least need to "be strong." Wives, sometimes you may not appreciate your husband's strength. It may seem like he doesn't care as much as you do or that he's not sensitive or grieving with you. He may even seem stoic. This is probably not the case. Oftentimes men deal with their grief, sadness, or helplessness in the only way they know how: through being strong. If we understand this, we will have more appreciation for how God created our husbands, and we will avoid the additional heartache of unrealistic expectations.

Husband's, it may surprise you to know that, while your wife depends on your strength, your vulnerability can be a great treasure to her as well. Knowing the depth of your sorrow, anger, or frustration will comfort her, because it means she is not dealing with those emotions alone. I encourage you to share your feelings with her and trust that she can handle it even in the midst of her own emotional journey. (Jennifer Saake, Hannah's Hope)

I know I haven't thanked my husband nearly enough for the strength he has provided me throughout this crazy infertile journey. Sometimes I felt like I wasn't even allowing him to mourn the girls because I was doing enough mourning for the both of us. And when he was angry or sad I got even more depressed (as if that was possible). But then on the flip side there were times when I wondered why he never cried over losing the girls or Luke. But I suppose he knew if I saw him crying that it would have knocked me to the ground. So thank you to my husband for being the absolute best husband I could have ever asked for!!! I love you more and more as the days roll by.

My lover is mine, and I am his.
Solomon 2:16

And just for kicks because someday we'll have to tell the little ones how they came to be...


Mother Earth's Flower Shop

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Put Yourself in My Shoes

Day 5 of National Infertility Awareness Week...

As difficult as it is to cope with struggles in childbearing, our well-meaning friends and family members can make it even more challenging. People who haven't walked in our shoes have no idea of the depths to which we grieve and experience anger and hopelessness. It's no wonder their comments and behaviors can often seem insensitive or down right clueless. (Jennifer Saake, Hannah's Hope)

My Aunt Jane Knows More Than My RE...

Making it worse, the loved ones of infertile couples often feel they must measure every word and action, yet will be attacked the moment they make an unintentional slip up. A friend who watched her brother go through infertility shared her frustration over the "politically correct" mindset of infertile families, who seems to take every word or act of those with living children as a personal threat or challenge. (Jennifer Saake, Hannah's Hope)

I want to stop here a minute and  personally thank my family for being so sensitive to me (and Brian). When Brian and I lost the girls my brother and his wife were expecting baby number 3. Thankfully they understood that it was too hard for us to go up to the hospital to meet Easton (just 2 weeks after Ella's birth and death). And thankfully they understood my hesitancy around him for the first few months of his life. My family didn't showcase Easton or make a big production of him around me because they knew how hard it was for me to see him at times. Now he's my lil E man and I love him to pieces. Then many of you might not remember that my sister was due just a mere 7 weeks ahead of me when I was pregnant with Luke. When I lost Luke once again my family stepped up and didn't talk about my sister's pregnancy in front of me (unless I brought it up). I obviously saw and still see my sisters growing belly but because of their sensitivity I now have no problem talking about baby Tibbe and I am so excited to meet him/her come the end of June (hopefully on Alayna's birthday since Ella shares her birthday with her cousin Kylynn)!

And it's not just family thats been sensitive...we have some pretty awesome friends (with and without children) who have been super sensitive to us too. All I can say is I am so thankful for the friends who have walked this journey with us with their unconditional support and love.

(Back to Jennifer Saake)...In some ways you are in a "no-win" situation. If you ignore me when it is time to send out baby shower invitations or birth announcements, it may make me feel all the more removed from normalcy. Yet if you do include me and I'm having an especially hard day, I may feel you have been insensitive. One idea might be to send me the same baby shower announcement that you are sending to all of our friends, but inside include a handwritten note acknowledging that you know this might bring me pain. Let me know that I am free to come or not, as I so desire, but that you love me and are praying for me.

If my baby has died, please do remember my child. Remember that I am a mother. Don't forget dates of significance, like my baby's due date (November 4, 2010 and August 18, 2011) or the anniversary of our loss (June 24, 2010, June 30, 2010, and January 14, 2011)...Make a point of calling my child by name (Alayna, Ella, and Luke) when you are talking with me. While hearing my baby's name might bring tears to my eyes, it is music to my ears. Above all, please keep me in your ongoing prayers. And every now and then, call me on the phone or drop a note in the mail just to remind me that you are praying. (Jennifer Saake, Hannah's Hope)

"I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Through It All

This is my second post for the day but I wanted to share with you the song...Through It All by Selah. Every step of my infertility journey was met by tears and questions (EVERY STEP)...but through it all I have learned to trust in Jesus. So I am thanking Jesus and I am thanking His Father (who is also my Heavenly Father) for this mountain called infertility because it has brought me closer to Him and has made me depend solely on His Word.

Through It All by Selah

I've had many tears and sorrows
I've had questions for tomorrow
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials only come to make me strong

I've been a lot of places
And I've seen so many faces
But there've been times I've felt so all alone
But in that lonely hour
In that precious, lonely hour
Jesus let me know I was His own

Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to trust in Jesus
I've learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to depend upon His Word

So I thank God for the mountains
And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He's brought me through
Cause if I never had a problem
I wouldn't know that He could solve them
I wouldn't know what faith in His Word could do

Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to trust in Jesus
I've learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I've learned to depend upon His Word
Yes, I've learned to depend upon His Word
I've learned to depend upon His Word

Family Ties

Day 4 of National Infertility Awareness Week...

Last August Brian and I (together) began the year long journey of reading through the Bible in its entirety. And one thing is for sure...my eyes were opened to how real infertility was even way back then. And while reading Hannah's Hope I was once again reminded that infertility is most definitely not just a 21st century problem.

Enjoy another snip-it from Hannah's Hope (chapter 1)...
If we climb through the branches of Hannah's family tree, we learn that the Jewish nation had a tentative start. Infertility took center stage in God's account of history as the establishment and continuation of the Israelites seemed to be in question. Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety when their child of promise was finally born (see Genesis 17:17).

Isaac, in turn, prayed for his barren wife, Rebekah, before God placed twins within her womb (see Genesis 25:21). On of those boys, Jacob, also went on to taste infertility challenges. While he had twelve sons, only two came from his beloved wife, Rachel, who struggled through years of infertility, both "primary" (never giving live birth) and "secondary" (unable to conceive or carry to live birth after at least one prior successful pregnancy).

I've often wondered if Rachel's first son, Joseph, might also have battled to become a father. The Bible records only two sons for him, something rare in an age without birth control, when a large family was a sign of prestige. When this beloved son of Jacob chose to name his second son Ephraim, he pronounced, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (Genesis 41:52). I find it ironic that Hannah's story, perhaps the most famous infertility story in history, is staged in the hill country of Ephraim, the land of the "twice fruitful." (Jennifer Saake)

Prior to struggling with infertility (myself) I NEVER realized that these women also dealt with infertility. Now that infertility is at the forefront of my mind...I recognize it much quicker.

Then if you want a little more insight about infertility in the Bible just google "Women in the Bible who have dealt with Infertility" and you come across an article entitled What the Bible says about God and the infertile woman. Here's a few things that I specifically wanted to share from this article...

What does the story of Sarah teach us?
God is faithful to his promises. What he promised to Abraham and Sarah he was faithful in fulfilling. God does not make this exact same promise to each of us but we do learn something else from Sarah's story: God is the giver of life and he can bring about miracles. We do not know what God may be doing in our lives - even when it seems like he is not doing anything at all. God can surprise us!

What do we learn from Hannah?
God wants us to turn to him. We don't have to pretend we are without pain, but can give this to God and know that he can answer our prayers. "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD." In Hannah's words - "I am a woman who is deeply troubled... pouring out my soul to the LORD... out of my great anguish and grief." (1 Samuel 1:10-16) There is no pretense that she is not hurting, not blindly trusting God but really wrestling with the pain of infertility. I know that I too can take my pain to the creator of the universe and pour out my soul to him.

What does God want you to hear today?
As I reflect on God and who he is, I have been pondering what he would want to say to me as I struggle with infertility and my unanswered prayers. What might God be saying to me or to you today?

1. I love you. You are my beloved child. You are mine
2. You do not walk alone - I am with you always.
3. I hear your prayers and I cry with you.
4. Trust in me, know that I too want what is best for you.

So today I choose to BELIEVE that He loves me. I choose to BELIEVE that I am one of His beloved children. I choose to BELIEVE that He is walking (and has walked) every step of this journey with me. I choose to BELIEVE that He hears my prayers (all of them). And I choose to blindly trust that He wants only the best for me.

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain
you..." Psalm 55:22

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Would Die For That

Day 3 of National Infertility Awareness Week...


So a few weeks ago (when we were at Avalanche Bay with my family) we decided since our rooms were not ready yet to grab some dinner. While waiting for our food my niece Cambrey leaned across the table and out of the blue said "I love you, Aunt Linnie." And let me just say that I love that little girl more than words can express (I love ALL my nieces and nephews more than words can express) but after watching this video and listening to the lyrics it makes me wonder what it would feel like to hear the words "I love you, Mom"...

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Worshiping While Waiting

Day 2 of National Infertility Awareness Week...

Today my topic of choice is "Worshiping While Waiting." A few months back (after losing Luke) I decided that I wanted to read some books on infertility and loss. While on the internet one day I came across a book titled Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake. This book is a MUST READ FOR ANY AND ALL DEALING WITH INFERTILITY. And if you yourself have never dealt with infertility but you know someone close to you who has or is dealing with it...YOU SHOULD READ IT TOO because you will begin to understand why we infertiles act the way we do. Over the next couple of days I've decided to share bits and pieces of the book with you all but seriously do whatever you can do to read this book. Here's a summary of what the books about:

You can meet Hannah in the pages of 1 Samuel, chapters 1 and 2. The Bible says she was "barren," and we know she suffered heartache, anguish, and grief because of her empty arms. Perhaps you do too. Hannah's Hope is for all who long for a child yet to be conceived, grieve for a baby too soon passed from the womb, or have lived through the no-man's-land of failed adoption. It is a guide to assist you in making wise decisions as you struggle through your grief. And by the end of the journey, God may surprise you by the ways He answers your heart's cry. Compassionately written by a woman who knows well these painful struggles, Hannah's Hope will direct you to the Source of strength, whose name is "the God of all comfort."

A snip it from Hannah's Hope (chapter 15)...
Our suffering can increase through the agony of not knowing when it will end and why God has allowed it. We want answers to questions that God does not seem eager to explain...We imagine that if only God would tell us the day and time that our wait will end, we could relax and pace ourselves during our waiting.

But the idea that this suffering could stretch on indefinitely haunts us and makes the present much more difficult. We can stand short bursts of pain, such as in the dentist's chair or when we get a flu shot, because we know the pain will end quickly and because we feel confident the suffering will produce a greater good. We don't seem to need or ask for God's strength in those moments...

Lack of control, however, with no sense of when the suffering will end or why God allows it, nudges us to an all-knowing, all-powerful Lord. God can best demonstrate who He is when we are paying careful attention. Perhaps this is one reason why He does not reveal to us His exact times and dates and reasons. We want Him to reveal the future--He wants to reveal His character. (Jennifer Saake, Hannah's Hope)

WAIT
by Russell Kelfer
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter

He is not here; He has risen!
Matt. 28:6

Last night I went to bed with a minor sore throat but UNfortunately for me I woke up just a couple hours later with what felt like daggers piercing my throat. Oh it was awful. And if I laid flat my nose plugged up so I had to sleep on 3 pillows (which meant instead of being plugged up) I was blowing my nose every couple hours (which equaled very little sleep). Then to top it all off my whole body has ached all day and although I haven't had a temperature my body doesn't know whether its hot or cold. And my nose is about raw from all the blowing.

However, in spite of it all I still made it to our wonderful Easter service and afterwards we still went to my parent's house for a yummy Easter dinner . But guess what. When we got to my parent's house my mom said that she has had these exact same symptoms for the last 4 days and that yesterday she went to the Urgent Care Center because she thought that maybe it was strep throat...nope just pharyngitis. Signs and symptoms include: sore throat (check), difficulty swallowing (check), body aches (check), fever, and a rash. Ugh...praying for this nasty lil virus TO GO AWAY.

So since this nasty lil bug decided to pay me a visit I got no kisses from the niece and nephew today...boo. However, I did take some cute pics of them during their Easter egg hunt!!! Unfortunately my bro and his family were up in T.C. with my sis-in-law's family so no Vugteveen kiddos this year to partake in the F-U-N. 

My handsome nephew Cole
Checking out his eggs
74 eggs: Cambrey-60 Cole-14
My beautiful niece Cambrey
Cambrey and Cole 
Me and Cam
Me and the hubby

Once home I took a looooong nap and haven't moved off the couch except to use the bathroom. The hubby has very little sympathy since he says I laugh at him every time he's sick. He always says...you're a nurse but you don't "nurse me back to health when I'm sick." Nope I tell him to buck it up... So that is just what he is telling me today. I guess I deserve it :)

Some other thoughts...
Today was a little bittersweet for me because as always my mind drifts to the girls. This would have been their first Easter. And although they would not have been able to participate in the egg hunt it would have still been fun to see their smiles at all the excitement around them. All these firsts knowing that they SHOULD be here are hard. To be honest they SUCK.

Yesterday I read the book Heaven Is For Real. A few weeks back I had put it on hold at the library and this past Friday I got an email saying that I could come and pick it up. What a good read (I highly recommend)!!! One thing that really hit me was when the little boy said to his mom I have two sisters. His mom said no you only have one. He said no I have two. He went on to say that when he was in heaven his other sister ran up to him and gave him a big hug. His parents were astounded because they had never told him that they had had a miscarriage before he was born. They didn't even know that it was a little girl. They asked Colton (the little boy) what her name was. And he said she doesn't have one because you didn't name her. (I'm am so glad that we decided to name Lukie boy)! But then he went on to say but mommy and daddy she sure is excited to meet you. My heart just melted. Layna, Ella, and Luke...mommy and daddy can't wait to meet you again too!!!

National Infertility Awareness Week

Infertility this is for YOU...

After all of the stealing and cheating
You probably think that I hold resentment for you
But, uh uh, oh no, you're wrong
'Cause if it wasn't for all that you tried to do
I wouldn't know just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you

'Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

(chorus from Fighter by Christina Aguilera)

So today is special for two reasons (acutally 3 but I will get the third later). Not only do we get to celebrate Easter (THE DAY Jesus Christ arose from the grave) but today also marks the first day of a very special week...National Infertility Awareness Week. Read more about this special week by clicking here.  And in honor of this very special week I will be doing a daily posting on the subject of...you guessed it...Infertility.

A few weeks back I found an awesome song entitled I Believe that has been dedicated to infertile couples...along with an article. Below I've included a snippet of that article and below that the YouTube video of I Believe...

The Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM) announced the release of a new song and video inspired by and dedicated to couples dealing with infertility. The song, entitled “I Believe,” was co-written and produced by Darren Sher, son of SIRM Founder and Executive Director Geoffrey Sher, MD.

Dr. Sher has been treating infertility patients for almost three decades. His son Darren grew up watching him dedicate his life to helping couples reach their dream of parenthood. Now an accomplished musician and producer, Darren recognized the inherent compelling drama in the patients’ experiences and discussed with his father the concept of a theme song that would serve as both a tribute and an inspiration to infertile couples everywhere.

“I Believe,” sung by musicians Steve Carlson (who co-wrote the song with Darren) and Rosalee (Darren’s wife), poetically articulates the hopes and dreams of infertility patients as well as their courage and determination. It was written to honor those that have worked so hard to build a family. The video features real infertility patients and their families.


O tested soul, perhaps the Lord is sending you through this trial to develop your gifts. You have some gifts that would never have been discovered if not for trials. Do you not know that your faith never appears as great in the warm summer weather as it does during a cold winter? Your love is all too often like a firefly, showing very little light except when surrounded by darkness. And hope is like the stars--unseen in the sunshine of prosperity and only discovered during a night of adversity. Afflictions are often the dark settings God uses to mount the jewels of His children's gifts, causing them to shine even brighter...

God trains his soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury but by causing them to endure lengthy marches and difficult service. He makes them wade across streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many tiring miles with heavy backpacks...

Being left alone by Satan is not evidence of being blessed. (Streams in the Desert)

And my third reason for why THIS DAY is so special is because its...my baby girl Alayna Joy's 10 month angelversary. Still missing you baby girl...still missing YOU...

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lindsey's Infertile A to Z's

Happy GOOD Friday to everyone!!!

Lindsey's Infertile A to Z's, courtesy of Lindsey @ Adventures of Endo in the Arctic!

A. Age when you started TTC: Lindsey-25. Brian-33.
B. Baby Dancing or Sex: Baby dancing :-)...unless natural sex would make a baby (which we still haven't ruled out)!!!
C. Children wanted: I've always wanted 4. Brian wanted 2. So way back when...we agreed on 3. But since we already have 3...I'm now praying for 5 or 6. But truly I will be thankful for however many blessings He sends our way!!!
D. Dogs/Cats/Fill in Children: Zilch...just me and the hubster.
E. Essential Oils/Vitamins/Snake Oils: Just my horse of a prenatal vitamin.
F. Fertility Meds I’ve taken: Clomid, Lupron, Gonal-F, Menopur, Chorionic Gonadotropin, progesterone (IM and vaginal supps), estrogen, steroids, baby aspirin and a few different antibiotics...
G. Gain: What have I gained from infertility? Stress, strength, and more knowledge about the female reproductive system than I ever needed or wanted to know!!!
H. HSG (Hystosalpingogram): x2. And thankfully both we're pain free and ended with good results!
I. Infertile Pet Peeves: Fertiles complaining about pregnancy symptoms I’d kill for. And the list could go on but I will stop at just one :-) because I know most fertiles mean no harm.
J. Job title: Nurse (and hopefully mommy (again) someday)
K. Kid’s names you’re afraid will be taken by the time you can use them: Keeping this one a secret...sorry folks!
L. Length of time TTC: Just over 2 years...went off BC March of 2009
M. Miscarriages: 1 :-(
N. Number of times you’ve switched OB/GYNS, REs: Started with an OB (who I still really like) but since I am now considered high-risk any future pregnancies will be handled by my new high risk OB (whom I love). 1 RE...got nothing but good to say about him and his partner.
O. Ovarian quality: Excellent!!!
P. POAS or wait for AF: Wait for AF...too many negatives when peeing on a stick.
Q. Quote from an obnoxious fertile: "At least you know you can get pregnant" or "Maybe you should JUST adopt" or "It will happen...just relax and enjoy your time together now before life really changes"
S. Sperm: Private matter...all I have to say is we've got a great count.
T. Time you tried naturally: Just short of a year...with Brian's history we decided to not wait the full year.
U. Uterus quality: Excellent except for the infection it gave my girls. But antibiotics and me will be tight during pregnancy number 3.
V. Vagina: Excellent!!! Praying the cervix stays tight next pregnancy and that it was just the infection that dilated me.
W. What baby stuff do you already have?:Two cribs, a double stroller, and 1 car seat (all purchased the week before life as we know it stopped).  A few girl clothing items and some random toys. Oh and a diaper bag too.
X. X-tra X-tra Hear all about it! How many people know the ins and outs of our crazy TTC journey?: Quite a few people knew once we started IVF and then even more peeps found out once everything happened with the girls. So long story short...lots of peeps know...we just share more with some than others.
Y. Yearly Exam (do you still go in even though someone sees your lady parts most months?: Yep. It's important to do!
Z. Zits: I had pretty good skin until starting fertility treatments! Now it sometimes feels like WW3 has hit...oh well.

Praying...praying...and praying some more that oh so very soon (but in the LORD's perfect timing) that we will be able to put infertility behind us (at least for awhile) but I fully know that it will always be a part of me. And that's okay because it has forever changed me.

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:11

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Sunday Afternoon Giggle and Nap

You know you’re infertile when (compliments of 999 Reasons To Laugh At Infertility)

1. Everyone at the fertility clinic knows your name including the nurses and secretary. It’s like an episode of Cheers, just without the bar and unlimited alcohol.

I would have to say that this one hits home BIG time. I walk into the office and I don't even have to say my name anymore. (Lindsey) the checker-in-er always says "Hi Lindsey...you're all set" as I'm approaching the check-in desk.

2. You accidentally said the word “ovulate” during a work board meeting.

Thankfully I have NEVER said the word ovulate during a work meeting...although if I did I wouldn't care since I work in a (mostly) female environment and most everyone knows what I'm going through...they know where my head is the majority of the time...

3. You’ve taken a pregnancy test after your trigger shot so you could actually see two lines.

I have only had ONE positive hpt IN MY LIFE. And I took that one only AFTER my beta (with Luke) came back positive. Maybe the next go around I'll have to give this a whirl...

4. You’ve rubbed your baby nephew or niece’s head for good luck and whispered in their ear “I want a baby too.”
 
I do want a baby too (more than anything) but I have never rubbed their heads for luck. And to be honest I don't believe in luck. My life is 100% in the hands of my Heavenly Father and He doesn't "do" luck.
 
5. You look at the toilet paper at least 10 times per day and you’re not always sure what you’re looking for.

O boy...during the 2ww and even for a few weeks following a positive beta I am notorious for this. And to be perfectly honest I do this before expecting my cycle to arrive too (praying that NO red will appear but it somehow always does).

6. You’ve had an emotional breakdown at least 4 times this week.

Yep...this one describes me too (for the most part). Just change the 4 to a 1 and that would describe me a bit better!!!

7. You’ve said positive affirmations to your uterus before going to bed… “I will get pregnant.” “My body is ready for pregnancy.”

I don't know if I've ever really had a chat with the uterus. I do however have lots of chats with the Big Guy. I like to let Him know that (according to me) my body is ready and has been ready for the last 2 years! And I always tell myself that I WILL get pregnant (again) and that I WILL take a sweet baby(s) home with me someday!!!

8. You know your husband’s exact sperm count and the measurement of your uterine lining.

Yep to this one too. But I will keep the details a secret.

9. You’ve asked Doctor Google “Is having a cold and cough a pregnancy symptom?”

Me and Dr. Google are tight!!!

10. You’ve held a pregnancy test up to a bathroom light to try to see a second line.

Too many times to count...

Just remember, we are only temporarily experiencing infertility. We learn from it and then find strength to move forward.

After church this morning we went to my parents for lunch. I guess we talked a little bit too long because 2 of the 3 kiddos fell fast asleep!

Addi and Uncle Brian
Easton with his daddy

Thinking I could go for a nap myself too...

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh...

I found THE INFERTILITY LIFE CYCLE on someone else's blog but then I had what my hubby classifies as "user error" (my internet just shut down). So instead of trying to find that same blog I just went straight to the source of where I knew that person had found it....at a blog entitled 999 reasons to laugh. Let's just say I had me a good Saturday morning chuckle!!!

The Infertility Life Cycle:
Typical Month of the Infertile

Negative pregnancy test.

Period.

Cry on toilet.

Cry in bed.

Depression.

Cry at work in bathroom.

Day 3, fertility appointment.

Wonder if you should try having sex during your period.

Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex.

Inspect toilet paper after wiping hourly.

Fight with partner about infertility.

Friend announces she’s pregnancy. Emotional breakdown.

Ovulate?

IUI?

Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex
Two week wait.

Facebook friend posts a picture of her bump. Cry.

Baby shower invite. Cry about that.

Analyze for early pregnancy symptoms.

Google: “Right breast feels heavier than left breast. Am I Pregnant?”

Google: “Peeing a lot at night, IUI.”

Google: “Left nipple looks darker. Pregnancy?”

Google: “Metallic taste in mouth. Pregnant?”

Inspect toilet paper after wiping hourly.

Hope for implantation bleeding.

Test early or wait for period.

Negative.

Mental breakdown.

REPEAT AGAIN THE FOLLOWING MONTH, AND THE MONTH AFTER THAT AND THE MONTH AFTER THAT AND THE MONTH AFTER…

Thursday, April 14, 2011

To My Little Man

Hard to believe that its already been 3 months since we saw our lil man for the last time. Three loooong and oh so very hard months. Wish I was feeling his little kicks instead of living with the emptiness that resides in my heart.

Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne

Na na, na na na, na na
I miss you, miss you so bad
I don't forget you, oh it's so sad
I hope you can hear me
I remember it clearly

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same
Oh

Na na na na na na na

I didn't get around to kiss you
Goodbye on the hand
I wish that I could see you again
I know that I can't

Oh
I hope you can hear me cause I remember it clearly

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same
Oh

I had my wake up
Won't you wake up
I keep asking why
And I can't take it
It wasn't fake
It happened, you passed by

Now you are gone, now you are gone
There you go, there you go
Somewhere I can't bring you back
Now you are gone, now you are gone
There you go, there you go,
Somewhere you're not coming back

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same no..
The day you slipped away
Was the day that I found it won't be the same oh...

Na na, na na na, na na
I miss you

Mommy and Daddy love you Luke!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Faith Can Do

I was driving into work yesterday morning listening to the song What Faith Can Do. And its not like I've never heard it before (after all it's background music on my blog) but for some reason it really struck a chord with me yesterday. At times this journey has seemed more than I could take. But I have never given up. And I WILL never give up until I have my sweet sweet baby(s) in my arms.

My prayers WILL get answered.
My heart WILL be healed.
I won't give up.
The sun WILL shine again.

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think its more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell you that you can!

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

by Kutless

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boyne and Blessings

On Thursday Brian and I headed up to Boyne Mountain to spend the night at Avalanche Bay with my whole family (minus my brother Brandon and his wife Jana). It was a quick trip...there and back in 24 hours but we had a great time!!! I only took a few pictures since my hands were mostly occupied by the little ones but enjoy the few I've posted.

Uncle Brian and Cambrey after a ride
Ready for day 2...Kristi and I with the kiddos 
Addi, Cambrey, Cole, and Kylynn

But as always my kiddos were never far from my mind. I couldn't help but think how much different this trip would have been if Alayna and Ella had been there with us. At 6 months old they most definitely would have kept this mama busy (and I'm sure their daddy too). And of course after thinking about the girls my mind drifted to the fact that I should be 21 weeks pregnant with Luke. But I am not pregnant and I do not have my girls. And this folks makes me sad. But someday my little blessings WILL fill my home and NOT just my heart.

I came across a song entitled Blessings on a blog that I recently started following called The Johnson's Journey.  She is a fellow infertile walking the treacherous road of infertility. And I couldn't agree more with what Bobbi said..."Walking through infertility brings more questions than answers, more pain than joy, more tears than smiles."

But there ARE blessings in this journey too. And although sometimes it's hard to see the blessings through my tears...I KNOW that they are there. This journey has made me a stronger person. A more compassionate person. It has made me a fighter. But most importantly it has shown me that His love never fails.


Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love the Lyrics

My sis-in-law sent me this the other day. And you all know how much I love to share special songs so please enjoy the lyrics to Stronger!!!

Stronger by Mandisa

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain't right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you're asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you ...

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
In time it's gonna get better
Believe me

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Infertility Etiquette

The other day I started blog hopping a bit more than my usual. And I came across a blog entitled The 2 Week Wait. Well today I came across an article that she wrote on infertility etiquette. I wanted to share a few comical things that made her infertility etiquette list. Do enjoy!!!

1. All movies and TV shows must have a PG label: Warning storyline contains numerous pregnancy related topics.

2. Strollers should have bells so we know when they are coming and can turn the corner.

3. People addicted to crack should not be allowed to have their seventh child

4. The word Duggar shall never be uttered in our presence.

5. Never make a pity face when you talk to me.

6. Save the sonogram photos — don't post them in public

7. Understand if you're pregnant and I don't talk to you for awhile, it's nothing personal, I just hate your uterus.

Anyways crazy me picked up an extra shift (in addition to our mandatory extra shifts) and I promised Brian I would actually "make" dinner tonight. So off to be Mrs. Betty Crocker...making a homemade meatloaf that my mom said was really good. Hope it's better than the last meatloaf recipe I made...that one took a nosedive straight into the trash!

But I'm leaving ya with a lil Streams for the soul...

Faith is built upon trust. God wants us to trust Him - even when we do not understand what is happening or can explain the circumstances. Even when nothing makes sense and everything seems wrong. It is easy to trust Him when the seas are calm and the skies are clear but the strength of our faith is measured in the midst of a raging storm. A crisis always reveals what is really inside. What life does to us depends on what life finds in us. Faith is a deliberate choice to believe God, to walk through our fear, knowing we can trust Him every step of the way.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our Story

For months I have wanted to write a post detailing our whole story so that newbies to my blog can read about our journey with just one click. So here's the whole shebang...

Brian and I began dating in September 2007 and after just 4 months of dating he popped the big question!!! We got married on December 6, 2008. And oh what a day it was. The Grand Rapids/Holland area was hit with a HUGE blizzard. But it was the best day of my life. And what a journey we were about to begin.

We decided to start trying for a family right away since we have an 8 year age gap. So in March of 2009 I went off birth control. It seemed like every month someone else announced their pregnancy but it wasn't until the end of September that my dam burst. I always felt like we might have "some" difficulties in getting pregnant (since Brian had testicular cancer when he was 23 years old) but never did I imagine the extent we would have to go through. On September 28, 2009 I made our first fertility appointment with Dr. Lown. The earliest appointment available was not until October 20. We met Dr. Lown and decided that based on Brian's history our first step was to get a semen analysis. We met with Dr. Lown on November 3 to get our results. The results showed (more than likely) due to Brian's radiation treatments that we would have a difficult time conceiving on our own. (His SA came back with very poor motility and morphology but normal count). Dr. Lown felt it to be in our best interest to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (enter Dr. Dodds).

We were very fortunate to get an appointment (because of a cancellation) for the following day. So on November 4, 2010 we met the man who through God we hoped would (and still believe will) bring us our family. He basically told us if we wanted to be pregnant NOW that IVF was the way to go but that he would do IUI's for up to 3 months. We were not ready to commit to IVF at this point and since I was a week late we were able to start meds that very day for our first IUI. We did our second IUI in December but a few days after I was injected we received a phone call saying we had a less than 1 percent chance that this IUI would be successful. The nurse who called went on to say that although Dr. Dodds was willing to do one more IUI...he was recommending we move towards IVF. After much prayer we decided to for go our last IUI and dive into IVF.

We did a two month protocol starting with Lupron (a medication that puts me in early menopause) in January 2010. And on February 11 I went in for my egg retrieval. Moments before being taken back I said to Brian we need to fertilize more embryos (we had agreed on 8). So we decided to fertilize 12 embryos instead (and praise the Lord we made this decision...truly orchestrated by Him alone).

Two days later (on February 13th) I was implanted . What an exciting (and nerve-wracking) day. First things first a nurse let us know that 3 of our little embies had not made it through the night...so we were left with the perfect number 9. Dr. Dodds implanted 2 embryos and the remaining 7 all made it through the freezing process. I was sent home on bedrest for the next 2 days and told to take it easy for a couple more days before resuming normal activities. The two week wait was tortuous. But on February 24 we got the news of our life...WE WERE PREGNANT!!! And just a few weeks later on March 8 we received even better news...IT WAS TWINS!!! And my due date was November 4, 2010 (remember my very first appointment with my RE was November 4, 2009...crazy)!!!

I was released from my RE (Dr. Dodds) at 8 weeks and had my first appointment scheduled to see Dr. Lown (again) at 12 weeks. My pregnancy had a lil bump in the road however at 11 weeks when I started spotting. Thankfully it ended up being nothing. At 16 weeks we found out that baby B was a girl (yea!!!) and Dr. Lown told me that my body was made for twins. Our 20 week ultrasound started off good but ended horribly. We found out that baby A was also a girl. I was one ecstatic mama-to-be. And that both of our girls looked perfect!!! But when my US tech asked if I had been having any pains I knew something was wrong. She told us to go back to the waiting room while she talked with Dr. Lown. We were called back in a few minutes later so Dr. Lown could check my cervix. He was immediately concerned because I was dilated to a 4. Little did Brian and I know that we would be meeting both of our precious daughters in just over 2 weeks.

We were immediately sent to Spectrum Health's Labor and Delivery Unit where they monitored me overnight. My care was completely transferred over to a high risk group that would now be seeing me for the duration of my pregnancy. Since there was no activity the following morning I was sent upstairs to the OB Special Care Unit for 2 more nights before I was sent home home on strict bedrest. On June 23 my friend Karie was "baby-sitting" me. I told her that I needed to use the bathroom so she helped me up. I slowly made my way to the bathroom and when I wiped I was shocked...there was blood and lots of it. I went back to bed and called my doctor. She said to immediately get to the hospital. I called Brian who was home in 20 minutes.

I called my mom in tears and told her what was happening. My life was falling apart before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Once I got to the hospital they immediately put me on a drug called magnesium to stop the contractions. It was a loooooong night to say the least. Thankfully my whole family and Brian's parents spent the evening up at the hospital with us. My mom was the last to leave (around midnight) and as she left she promised to be back first thing in the morning. Around 3am I was not feeling so hot so my nurse gave me a drug called stadol. I immediately felt like I was drowning which led to me vomiting which led to my water breaking but thankfully it stopped there.

My mom and sister arrived the following morning at 8am with a posse of doctors right behind them. My doctor checked me and said to let my nurse know when I felt like I needed to push. My Pastor came in after the posse of doctors left. We talked, prayed, and read some scripture and then he headed out telling us to call with any changes. A little after 9am I called my nurse because I felt different. Sure enough my little girl was trying to make her way into the world. With support from Brian, my mom and my sister Alayna Joy Helmholdt entered into this world at 9:30am. She weighed 14oz and was 10 and 1/4 in long. She was absolutely beautiful. We held her and told her how much we loved her. Our Pastor came back and baptized her while she was still living. She lived for an hour and 45 minutes. We had many visitors (close family and friends) that day and all were blessed to see our sweet baby girl.

But the fight was still on. Baby B (unnamed at this point) did not follow her big sissy into the world. However, two days later I started having some contractions again. I asked to be put back on the Magnesium but before they would agree to this proposal they wanted to do an amniocentesis to check for infection. If I did have an infection in my uterus it was too risky to try and stop labor. Brian and my mom were with me when they came back in with my results. My uterus was infected so there was nothing they could do to stop my labor. The plan was to now check my WBC count every day to watch for an increase in my infection. And every day my counts increased so 5 days after delivering Alayna my doctor came in and told me that I no longer had a choice...I needed to be induced.  I have never cried harder than I did that day. Knowing that I had already lost one daughter and that I was about to lose the other too. Brian and my mom just held me as the tears fell one after another. We asked for a second opinion from another high risk doctor by the name of Jelsema. We had heard wonderful things about him from acquaintances. They called Dr. Jelsema and within an hour he was at my bedside and clearly (unlike the first doctor) explained why I had to be induced. My baby was so infected that she had no chance of survival. I was becoming more infected every day and was risking my uterus and my life. The decision was made.

They started me on pitocin around 9:30am on Tuesday June 29. Nothing...nothing...nothing. Did we make the right choice? Why after weeks of trying to keep her in would she not come out. They finally let me get up and get into the shower. Wow did that ever feel good. Brian even shaved my legs :) Once I got out of the shower they let me eat a little something. Afterward they gave me a drug to "ripen" (aka...thin out) my cervix 3 different times over the next 12 hours. Nothing...nothing...nothing. They finally put me back on pitocin sometime early in the morning (of June 30) and long story short at 9:36am (after 24 hours of labor) with just one push my sweet Ella Adrianna finally made her debut into this world. She weighed in at 14.7oz and was 10in long. She blessed us with her presence for 1 hour and 15 minutes and she too was baptized before passing into Jesus' arms.

Fast forward to September...the month that was suppose to be my first FET. I went in for a routine ultrasound on the 24th (scheduled with one of my IVF nurses) that did NOT end up in my favor. She said that there was "something" on the wall of my uterus. Long story short I had a ruptured blood vessel in my uterus...FET was a NO GO for September. Which brought us to October (the month of my 1st FET). We decided to only implant one perfect little embie this go around but sadly it was not successful. Disappointment on top of disappointment was weighing me down but I picked myself back up and prepared for my 2nd FET which occurred on November 27, 2010. With the failure from the previous month we decided to increase our chances by once again implanting 2 embryos. And on December 8 we once again found out that WE WERE EXPECTING!!! We saw our sweet baby's heartbeat at our 6 week ultrasound. But we also found out that the little embie that had implanted had also tried its very best to split but without success...meaning I had 1 living (heart-beating) baby and 1 dead (NO heart-beating) baby IN THE SAME SAC. My RE told me that a failed split was quite rare and that it unfortunately came with some risks. And at my nine week (and fourth) ultrasound our sweet baby boy was no more.

Because of the two consecutive losses we had to do some testing...and wouldn't you know...EVERYTHING came back negative.  There was absolutely no explanation (unless it was related to the failed split) for why we lost our little man who we named Luke.

So here we are with so many unknowns and so many questions. My RE believes that the two losses are completely unrelated (thank goodness). And he also believes (as does my perinatologist) that as long as I am on antibiotics I will be able to carry a baby to term. But no matter what I will be watched extremely closely.

So that's our story in a nutshell...please join us on this infertility and loss journey where all we can do is keep hoping. Keep trusting. And keep believing!!!

UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 7, 2012:
So when I last left off we were awaiting our fourth implantation. Well that implantation happened on April 12, 2011. Three little embryos were dethawed (THREE because one of the first two did NOT make it through the dethawing process) and on April 22 (which happened to be Good Friday that year) we received the news that we were once again expecting!!! Thrilled does not even begin to describe what we felt. We could finally breath again after a nerve-wracking 2 week wait.

But that "breath" didn't last long. My pregnancy was the longest 10 months of our lives and boy oh boy was it ever stressful. But after 44 doctor appointments (which included 24 ultrasounds and 15 non-stress tests), 20 counseling sessions (with a pregnancy after loss counselor), 8 prenatal massages, and 10 weeks worth of shots (8 of them being IM booty shots) the most precious little boy entered into our lives. Mason Dale Helmholdt arrived on December 27, 2011 at 11:13am. He weighed in at 9lbs 5oz and measured 21in long. BEST (late) Christmas present ever!!!

Someday we hope to add to our (Earthly) family of three but for now we want to enjoy this time with Mason. But since I am a planner I will admit that questions have been asked about baby # 2 #5 and when we're good and ready we pray that God will bless us with another healthy baby. Our constant prayer is that our last sweet lil embie (currently in storage) will want to join our family of 3. If not then we will pursue another fresh cycle of IVF. But with a fresh cycle comes all the same concerns that we had the first go around. Bottom line is that its all in God's Hands...so we're letting GO and letting HIM.

UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 5, 2013:
On November 8 (2012) we implanted our last sweet embaby. And on November 19 our prayers were answered when we received the "you're pregnant" phone call. We were ecstatic!!! (My hcg came back at 107). However, the excitement dwindled some when two days later my hcg didn't quite double (it came back at 199). My RE said it was nothing to be concerned about so I tried to remain excited and hopeful. But on November 29 I started spotting. I called the office and I got my hcg checked again. It should have come in around 3200 but it was only at 1926. Two days later I got my labs checked again (should have been around 3850) and my level had only risen to 2569. Had some more spotting on December 2. My ultrasound was moved up to December 3 (there was concern that the embryo had implanted in one of my tubes). Thankfully, this was not the case but at 5 weeks and 6 days all we could see was a gestational sac and a yolk sac...NO baby. A second ultrasound was scheduled for December 7 and we thought our prayers had been answered when low and behold there was our precious (em)baby WITH a heartbeat!!! We had a third ultrasound on December 14 and once again saw a baby with a good heartbeat!!! I was very nervous throughout this whole time period because although the baby measured "on track" it was measuring a significant amount smaller than what Mason had. Then on December 19 (while at work) I started spotting again. Called the office. Left work. And went in for another ultrasound that afternoon. And wasn't too surprised (although still very disappointed) when I saw that our baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I ended up miscarrying on my own 2 weeks and a day later on January 3, 2013 (Happy stinking New Year). We had a follow-up appointment with my RE on January 18 and it was decided that we will...when the time is right do another fresh cycle. So as my motto has been (and still is) all I (we) can do is keep hoping. Keep trusting. And keep believing that God WILL bless us with another healthy child(ren).

UPDATED ON JULY 5, 2013:
In February 2013 I had a sonohystogram in prep for IVF 2.0. Unfortunately they found "something" during the test and IVF 2.0 had to be post-poned. I was SO bummed. On March 6, 2013 I had a minor surgery to remove the "something" that ended up being some significantly large benign polyps from my uterus. Thankfully later that month we were still able to start meds for IVF 2.0. Through much prayer and talks with our RE we decided to only fertilize 6 egg and sperm. Our prayer was for at least one more child. An earthly sibling for Mason. God answered our prayers EXACTLY when 4 of the 6 turned into embryos. (We really wanted two embryos for a fresh cycle and two embryos for a later FET). I was implanted (with two embryos) on April 13, 2013 and on April 23, 2013 we found out we were expecting once again!!!