Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Ella Adrianna


Dear Ella,
Happy Birthday my sweet little angel!!! I can hardly believe its been a year since I last laid eyes on you. Mommy misses you so much but wishes you the bestest day in heaven with Jesus, Layna, Luke, and all your little friends. Mommy and Daddy will celebrate YOU by heading to the cemetery tonight to bring you your very own balloon and flowers.

Oh Ella it would have been such an honor and a privilege to raise you. To see you grow into a young lady. To have the type of relationship with you that I have with my own mother. When I lost you...I forever lost a piece of myself. My heart broke the day you went to heaven. Oh I knew you were in a better place but my arms were so empty. So so empty. First Layna and then you. I cannot wait until our family is together again but only God knows when that will be...until then know that you will never be forgotten.

When I think back to those dreary June days (when it was just YOU fighting in my belly)...this is what comes to mind...

I laid in bed for 6 long days praying that God would spare you. That He would keep you here with me and daddy. But God had different plans. The emptiness I felt when you took your last breath was overwhelming. I honestly never thought I would recover. But day by day with you (and Layna) in my heart and God always with me I have survived the pain of losing you. You and Alayna are (and always will be) a part of everything we do. No holiday or significant event will go unmarked without thoughts or something done in remembrance of you.

Oh Ella the moment I laid eyes on you I loved you with a deep and fierce kind of love. I would have done anything to save you. You were so tiny and perfect just like your big sister. You too were surrounded by love the moment you were born (although this time it was just daddy in the birthing room)...all your grandparents and your Aunt Courtney were right there to welcome you into this world. Pastor Dave was there too...and he baptized you with the same cup that your sissy had been baptized with just 6 days earlier. Just know my little love that you live forever in this mama's heart!!!

Love Mommy (and Daddy)

Ella in the womb at 16 weeks.

Ella at 22 weeks...tiny yet perfect.

Here's the Carepage update from June 30, 2010... 


This morning at 9:36, Brian and Lindsey welcomed Ella Adrianna into their lives. She weighed 14.7 oz. and was 10 inches long. Brian and Lindsey were able to spend about an hour and 15 minutes together as a family and had her baptized, before she went to live with Jesus and her beautiful twin sister Alayna. Ella was so precious and perfect and she was loved so much.
Please pray for Lindsey and Brian as they grieve the loss of their 2 daughters but rejoice in knowing that the girls are safe in the arms of Jesus.
Courtney

But God's not finished. He's waiting around to be gracious to you. He's gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones. Isaiah 30:18

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Again) The Day Before...

Yet another trip down memory lane...

Every morning I had a 6am wake up call to get my blood drawn. And then around 8am my doctor (and a posse of residents) would come in with the results. Normally I would hear that my labs were rising but not significantly enough to be concerned. However, on June 29 we were told that my WBC (white blood count) had jumped significantly and that our only option at this point was to induce. I started crying and looked at Brian (and my mom). We told the doctor that we needed some time alone and she told us to let her know when we were ready to induce (yes when we were ready to induce not when we had reached a decision). I turned to Brian and said...we need a second opinion but that I didn't know if that was allowed. Brian said we would not induce without a second opinion. My nurse came in a few minutes later and we told her that we would like a second opinion from Dr. Jelsema (a perinatologist in another practice and my current physician). I had heard so many good things about him and there is NO way I would induce my sweet baby without hearing specifically why this was for the best.

A few minutes later my doctor came in and said that they don't normally do second opinions but that they would permit one for us. Excuse me...permit us. Right then and there I was done with her. Less than an hour later Dr. Jelsema walked in and the first thing he said was hold tight to the truth in there (pointing at our Bible). He sat down and explained that it was only a matter of time before I became sick. So sick that I could lose my uterus or my life. He also explained that our sweet baby was already so infected that there was no chance she would survive. He let us ask questions and then he prayed with us. We were sold. We called my nurse and told her we were ready.

At 10am I was started on pitocin. And if you can believe it or not around dinner time NO progress had been made. After dinner they let me get up for the first time in 15 days to take a shower. Then we started the cervidil supps (they are suppose to ripen up your cervix). After 3 doses (given every 4 hours)...only mild changes had occurred. Sometime early in the morning I was started on pitocin again and that is when the contractions started. Finally after enduring a long night of no sleep I was given an epidural around 7am. And I finally got some much needed rest. I woke up two hours later and called the nurse to be checked. She said I was ready and so the doctor was called... (Thankfully it was an on-call doctor from another practice who normally delivers for this group of perinatologists).

After Ella was born I asked if it was a good thing that I had labored for 24 hours. And my doctor (back to the one that I didn't like) immediately said yes. She said that if I truly had an incompetent cervix then I should have delivered within a hour or two...not 24. The only bit of good news in my day...

Combat comes before victory. If God has chosen special trials for you to endure, be assured He has kept a very special place in His heart just for you. A badly bruised soul is one who is chosen. (Streams in the Desert)


So I'm heading out camping today!!! Every year since I can remember my family has gone camping to Holland State Park over the 4th of July. I look forward to it every year. Two years ago it was sooooo cold that we never even made it to the beach and then of course last year it was beyond beautiful but I was in the hospital and when released in NO mood to go camping. So this year I am praying for a few nice days...with the humidity...rain is of course in the forecast. Either way I don't have to work for 7 days and I get to be with my family!!! Since the men (including my hubby) don't join in until the weekend I'll make sure Brian posts Ella's birthday letter tomorrow :) See you next week!!! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Journey: Week 12 and 13

June 19 (Happy Father's Day)
How Far Along: 12 weeks.

Size of Baby: Average length is about 2.5 inches. Or about the size of a lime.

Picture of Baby: No picture this week. But we do have an appointment to hear bug's heartbeat.

12 weeks:  The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Baby H's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his/her toes will curl, his/her eye muscles will clench, and his/her mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if I prod my abdomen, Baby H will squirm in response. His/her intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his/her abdominal cavity about now, and his/her kidneys will begin excreting urine into his/her bladder.

Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in Baby H's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His/her face looks unquestionably human: His/Her eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his/her ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, Baby H is just over 2 inches long and weighs half an ounce. (Information from Babycenter.com)

Maternity Clothes: Still not necessary but I do prefer my comfy pants :) 

Weight Gain: Up a grand total 5.5lbs...yikes!

Belly:

Stretch Marks: None.

Sleep: I have no problem falling asleep at night but (sometimes) remaining asleep is another issue.

Best Moment of the Week: Like always seeing my sweet babe!!!

Movement: None yet...

Symptoms: LOTS of nausea this past week...morning...noon...and night. I felt so sick this morning that during my retching I actually threw up bile. It was lethal tasting to say the least.

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular this week.

What I Miss: Brushing my teeth. I have bought cinnamon, mint, and bubblegum toothpaste and all make me want to vomit. I'm lucky to brush my teeth once a day...

What I'm Looking Forward to: After next week I can officially say that I've entered second trimester.

Emotions: Still thankful for my weekly appointments.

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June 26

How Far Along: 13 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our little bug-a-boo is on average 3 inches and 1 oz. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a medium shrimp.

Picture of Baby: Another no picture week. But I should have one next week!!!

13 weeks: Fingerprints have formed on Baby H's tiny fingertips, bug's veins and organs are clearly visible through his/her still-thin skin, and his/her body is starting to catch up with his/her head — which makes up just a third of his/her body size now. If I'm having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Maternity Clothes: Not necessary (yet) but I did buy a pair of comfy black maternity shorts...and they certainly are comfortable!

Weight Gain: No gain this week so still up just the 5.5lbs.

Belly:

Stretch Marks: Nada...I'm only 13 weeks.

Sleep: Still loving it!!!


Best Moment of the Week: Throwing out the prenatal vitamins!!! And buying me some chewable Flintstones...here's to saying ba-bye to some of that constant nausea and middle of the night throwing up :) 

What I Miss: I will be honest. I do miss some things but the end payoff is what I keep focused on. After all it's only 9 months of "missing out." And for this babe I can and will do anything!!! But some things I do miss...I miss picking up my nieces and nephews and loving on them. I miss lazy summer night bike rides. I miss Saturday boating days. I am sick of the constant bad taste in my mouth. I wish that my thirst could be quenched. (I am constantly thirsty). I miss Cherry Coke. (I really limit my caffeine intake). But I will continue to take things to the EXTREME and I will continue to be very cautious cause like I said...THIS BABE IS MY EVERYTHING.

What I'm Looking Forward to: Hearing my bug's heartbeat tomorrow.

Milestones: This is the last week of my first trimester!!!

Emotions: Holding them in check...it's about all I can do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Appointment Update!!!

So we had another good appointment today!!! My blood pressure was actually pretty good and no protein spillage in the urine :)...it now gets checked weekly. Baby's heartbeat was bouncing between 165-168. But the best part was when my doctor told me that everything looks perfect!!! Here's to him saying the same thing at next weeks first cervical length check.

And I will admit that I was nervous again today. Really nervous. I think I used the bathroom like 10 times this morning...I had a 10:15am appointment. And it didn't help when at first (when my doctor put the doppler on me) that we couldn't hear the heartbeat (for like maybe 30 seconds but it was a long 30 seconds in my defense). But he told me to relax and then there it was...sweet sweet sweet music to my ears!!!

The Journey: Weeks 10 and 11

June 5
How Far Along: 10 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our bug-a-boo is approximately 1.25 to 1.68 inches from crown to rump and weighs a little less than two-tenths of an ounce. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a prune.

Picture of Baby:
Bug at 10 weeks 1 day...do you see the lil profile!!!

10 weeks: Our little bugger is swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs (including kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver) are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout the rest of my pregnancy. Fingernails and toenails are beginning to form and the little bug's limbs can bend now too. The outline of bug's spine is clearly visible through translucent skin, and spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from his/her spinal cord. Also baby bug's forehead is temporarily bulged out because of his/her developing brain (which measures half the length of his/her body). (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Up a pound and a half from last week which means I've gained a grand total of half a pound...not too bad if you ask me!!!

Belly:

Sleep: After working 2 12's in a row this past Thursday and Friday...I was worthless on Saturday (to put it mildly). Slept in until 8am but needed a nap already at 9:30am (slept for 2 hours). And I needed a second nap later in the day. Nice! Otherwise some days I need a nap and some days I don't. All I can say is I am not nearly as tired as I was with the girls.

Best Moment of the (past) Week: Always seeing my sweet baby's heart beat and hearing that he/she is growing right on track!

Best Moment of THE DAY: Brian gave me my last PIO shot this morning. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The top needle is the one that has gone into my ASS for the last 8 plus weeks.

Symptoms: The same as every other week. Tired. Hungry. Nauseous. And on a side note...the nausea includes frequent retching (way more than I ever did with the girls) and bouts of actually throwing up (I think I only threw up 3 or 4 times in 20 weeks with the gals). But if it means I'm pregnant...BRING IT ON!!!

Food Cravings: Peaches :) and fruit in general. And Wendy's $1 menu. Still having a hard time drinking...something I have to FORCE myself to do. Otherwise either something sounds good or it doesn't. Oh and I am ALL about eating out!!!

What I'm Looking Forward to: Getting to the second trimester...3 more weeks to go!!!

Milestones: So very thankful that we're past where we lost Luke

Emotions: My anxiety continues to lesson a little more each day.

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June 6
Ultrasound number 4 was today and once again we saw a growing baby with a beautiful heartbeat...beating at 176!!! According to my doctor everything looked great...man I love hearing those words!

With every appointment my anxiety is decreasing but it's definitely not gone. We had a new US tech today and even though she was super friendly I still lost it. Why you ask... Well she went and measured my cervix. And then to top it off she said I'm just going to go and see if Dr. Jelsema needs to see anything with this US. Que my freaking out. Why did she measure my cervix (I was under the assumption that cervical checks would not start until 14 weeks) and why did she need to check with Dr. Jelsema (was there something wrong)? The US tech from last week didn't do either of these things. She came back a few minutes later and said he said no so we're all set. Then my nurse seemed super quiet today so again I thought something must be wrong. BUT ALL WAS FINE. Brian said not only am I anal about putting my glasses on so I can immediately see the heartbeat but now I analyze the behaviors of all the staff. This could be a long 40 weeks...

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June 12
How Far Along: 11 weeks.

Size of Baby: Bug-a-boo is approximately 1.75 to 2.4 inches from crown to rump and weighs about three-tenths of an ounce. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a fig.

Picture of Baby:
all 2 inches of our sweet babe
waving at mommy and daddy!!!

11 weeks: Our bug-a-boo's hands will soon open and close into fists, tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under his/her gums, and some of his/her bones are beginning to harden. Bug-a-boo is already busy kicking and stretching, and his/her tiny movements are so effortless they look like water ballet. These movements will become more frequent as his/her body grows and becomes more developed and functional. However, I won't feel bug-a-boo's acrobatics for another month or two-nor will I notice the hiccuping that may be happening now that his/her diaphragm is forming. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Gained 2 lbs this week...yikes-a-roonies. At least I'm still only up 2.5lbs from pre-baby.

Belly: Didn't snap a shot this week.

Best Moment of the (past) Week: Being done with my PIO shots. They are NOT missed!!!

Symptoms: The same.

Food Cravings: Peaches and strawberries. Oh and lately ice cream has become a nightly ritual too (might need to nip this one in the butt before it gets too out of control :))

What I'm Looking Forward to: Second Trimester.

Emotions: Thankful that the anxiety is lessening.

****************************************************
June 14
Had another US today and once again everything looked great. Baby measured in at 2 inches and his/her heartbeat was 176 (same as last week). He/she was moving all over the place and waving at mommy and daddy. It brought a huge smile to my face. It brought me back to my 11 week US with the gals...Alayna was busy waving at us then too.

Had to have a lovely PAP smear with this appointment...ugh. I said to Brian I don't think they should be messing down there and he said tell them if you feel uncomfortable with it. But then I thought to myself...I suppose they know what they're doing :) And the good news from the PAP was that Dr. J said my cervix is long and thick...now that deserves a YEA!!! We also set up Baby H's ECHO which will be October 5.

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, June 26, 2011

The Newest Miracle has Arrived!!!

Introducing Brinley Mae Tibbe

Just perfect...8lbs 3oz and 19in
June 25, 2011

Proud big sister!!!

Unfortunately Brinley had a low temp after birth so she had to be put under a warmer until about 7:30pm which meant that only my sister had hung on to her when we arrived at 7pm (she was born a lil after 6pm). And since the hospital my sister delivers at has strictly enforced visiting hours (out by 8pm) there was not time to love on her after Cambrey and the proud daddy got their turns. So of course we had to go back today to hold (and see) her again!!!

Aunt Linnie with Brinley...love her already!!!
Uncle Brian with Brinley...don't ya just LOVE her hair!!! 

The Journey: Weeks 8 and 9

May 22
How Far Along: 8 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our little bug-a-boo is on average 0.63 inches and 0.04 oz. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a kidney bean or a raspberry.

Picture of Baby: Sorry folks...no picture this week.

8 weeks: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from our bug-a-boo's hands and feet, his/her eyelids practically cover his/her eyes, breathing tubes extend from his/her throat to the branches of his/her developing lungs, and his/her "tail" is just about gone. In bug-a-boo's brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. I may be daydreaming about baby bug as one sex or the other, but the external genitals still haven't developed enough to reveal whether I'm having a boy or a girl. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Didn't weigh myself this week.

Belly: 
a lovely (or not) Sunday afternoon picture :)


Sleep: I am so so so so (cannot expand enough) tired. I thought I was gonna die when I got home on Friday (after working my 12 plus hour shift) because I was so so so so tired. Only 4 more weeks until I go to three 8 hour shifts. I can do it!!!

Symptoms: Still tired and hungry. And I've been nauseous and gaggy yet too. But today marks the first day that I actually threw up. I had been complaining to Brian all morning that I felt off (really nauseous). But normally if I eat something I feel a little better so Brian made me a fantastic breakfast of egg and sausage. Of course a few minutes after eating it all came right back up. And to make things worse I threw up in the kitchen sink (and not in the garbage disposal side)...so I had to clean out all the nasty chunks with my own hands...just lovely!

Food Cravings: Sausage.

What I'm Looking Forward to: My next ultrasound on May 31 with Dr. Jelsema (my high risk doctor)!!!

Emotions: Still taking it day by day.

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May 26
Where to begin. I am back to being anxious and that is putting it oh SO very mildly. I started having nightmares Tuesday night...that something was wrong with this pregnancy and that the baby didn't have a heartbeat anymore. And to make it worse heart palpitations started the same night. Oh my goodness it felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest. It scared the dickens out of me. So as you can imagine all my thoughts yesterday were anxious/bad thoughts concerning our beloved and so so so wanted baby. And the thoughts were all consuming (more all consuming than normal).

And then two things clicked. First today I am 8 weeks and 4 days and this is right when Luke died (and obviously at the time I didn't know that anything was wrong). And my next ultrasound is this coming Tuesday at 9 weeks and 2 days. And the appointment where we found out that Luke had died was at 9 weeks 1 day. So I'm thinking that I'm so anxious because of this time frame. So you can believe I'm praying we don't have a repeat and that this sweet baby is alive and well in my womb.

The second thing that I felt led to the nightmares and heart palpitations was something that occurred at work this week. On Monday I accidentally poked myself with a needle when deaccessing a patients PORT. I was so frustrated and frazzled and it was the end of my shift so I didn't fill out the proper paper work that you are suppose to fill out when exposed to a patient's blood. I had gloves on and when I took them off I didn't see any blood (I could only see the spot where I had poked myself) and the needle didn't have any visible blood so I just put the incident out of my mind...until Wednesday that is. Then today I talked to one of my supervisors and she told me that I should and would feel so much better if I filled out the proper paper work and had the patient's blood tested. Thankfully under our general consent form we don't have to tell the patient why we're drawing blood so this morning I had the patient tested and was so very thankful when it came back negative for HIV. Now I just have to wait for the Hep B and C results (they should be back early next week).

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May 28      
The anxiety is getting a little bit better. But what I didn't mention on Thursday was that I completely lost my appetite for a few days because I was so anxious. When anxious and/or stressed I stop eating. And because I stopped eating I wasn't as bloated. And hunger and bloated belly are my two major pregnancy signs. So this of course also played a factor into why I thought something bad had happened to our little bug. Another thing I failed to mention was that I called my RE's office on Thursday to see if they could squeeze me in for a quick ultrasound. Unfortunately (being the holiday weekend and all) my doctor was already double booked and his partner was out of the office for the weekend. Memo to self...NEVER AGAIN say you can go two weeks without an ultrasound.

But my anxiety took the turn for the better (this afternoon) after a conversation with my mom and it also helped that my appetite has returned some.

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May 29 (Happy Memorial Day Weekend)
How Far Along: 9 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our bug-a-boo is on average 0.9 inches to 1.2 inches and 0.07 oz. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a grape or green olive.

Picture of Baby:
9 weeks 2 days


9 weeks: Our little bugger is starting to look more and more human. His/her essential body parts are accounted for, though they'll go through plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months. Other changes abound: Our baby's heart will finish dividing into four chambers, and his/her valves are starting to form-as are the bugger's tiny teeth. The embryonic "tail" is completely gone. And our baby's organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won't be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Our bug's eyes are fully formed, but his/her eyelids are fused shut and won't open until 27 weeks. Our bug also has tiny earlobes, and his/her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Down a pound from the original starting point.

Belly: No picture this week. Just didn't get around to it.

Sleep: Waking up at least 2 times a night to pee. I don't need naps like I did with the girls but I still like going to bed at a decent time. But I'm hating 12 hour shifts...I am so tired at the end of the day that I can hardly make the walk to my car.

Symptoms: Tired, hungry, and retching quite a bit. I can no longer take my prenatal vitamin in the morning because I'm too nauseous. I've thrown up too many pills so I'm thankful that they're free. I can barely take the pill at night but I'm managing.

Food Cravings: Fruit.

What I'm Looking Forward to: My ultrasound on Tuesday!

Milestones: Haven't had a complete mental breakdown...yet...

Emotions: My emotions are ALL over the place. But on Saturday I finally realized that I cannot will God to do anything so this is the silent prayer I prayed. "Not my will but yours O Lord. But I am choosing to believe that I WILL meet this child in December. Amen."

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May 30
Found out today that the rest of the blood results came back. And they came back negative for Hep B and C. Praise the Lord!!! So glad I tested so I can put the whole incident behind me and move forward with no more worries.

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May 31
Another perfect ultrasound. Praise the Lord!!!  (And it was my first NON trans-vag which gave me even more reason to be happy). Baby Helmholdt's heartbeat was 171 and he/she was measuring right at 9 weeks and 2 days. We went over the plan with Dr. J and left feeling very confident. I will have weekly appointments (to help with my anxiety). If weekly appointments do not help then I will be going on an anti-anxiety medication. For the next 2 weeks my appointments get to be ultrasounds (yea!!!) and then 2 weeks of just the Doppler. Starting at 14 weeks I will have cervical checks until week 24. I will also start antibiotic treatment at week 14. My doctor said he considers me low risk but realizes that I consider myself high risk so I get to dictate this pregnancy...meaning I'm in complete control. He said he will see me as often as I need to make this pregnancy as stress free as possible. I am so thankful to be in such wonderful hands. But you want to know what I love best about him...he closes every appointment with prayer!!! He also asked today if we wanted any downs/chromosomal testing (by law they have to ask) but we declined...it wouldn't change a thing cause we would NEVER abort this precious life. He said he assumed but that he has to ask. He also said that with IVF babies they like to do an echo-cardiogram between 24 and 28 weeks because studies have shown a 1%  increase of heart issues. I'm not worried about it though cause this precious life is 100% completely in my Fathers hands!!! And I think that about wraps it all up. Sweet dreams will be happening for me tonight!!!

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Journey: Weeks 6 and 7

May 8 (Happy Mother's Day)*I did some editing this week since my ultrasound was on Wednesday at 6 weeks 3 days*

How Far Along: 6 weeks.

Size of Baby: Baby Helmholdt is approximately 4mm to 6mm long.

Picture of Baby: Baby Helmholdt at 6 weeks 3 days...
All 5mm of my lil bug!!!

6 weeks: Baby Helmholdt's neural tube is closing and his/her/their heart is pumping blood. Basic facial features are beginning to appear, including passageways that will make up the inner ear and arches that will contribute to the jaw. And the beginning of the digestive system is starting to form. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight gain: No gain this week...stayed the exact same. Thinking that might change this week with my intense hunger issues.

Belly:
(funny how my belly is bigger here than in my 7 week picture)

Sleep: I'm loving my naps (when I get them). I'm loving going to bed nice and early (and getting a good 10 plus hours of sleep per night)!

Best Moment of the Week: Seeing my baby's heartbeat!!! Ahhhhh it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!


Symptoms: HUNGRY ALL THE TIME. I could eat every 2 hours. This intense hunger reminds me of when I was pregnant with the girls. Now I just need to remember to eat small meals frequently...because big meals = a TOO full tummy. Oh and I am still tired...I typically fall asleep (on the couch) shortly after 9pm. Still got the bloated belly (but thinking its not just bloat anymore)!!! And the weird taste is still in my mouth.

Food Cravings: This week I am craving chicken. Chicken nuggets. Chicken strips. Baked chicken. Just feed me chicken and I am one happy mama :)

What I'm Looking Forward to: Still our first sonogram which is this week Wednesday (finally). The first glimpse of our baby(ies) and our first opportunity to hear his/her/their heart beats. I am a lil nervous. I am praying praying praying that we see a healthy heart-beating baby. Two would be fine but a blank screen of nothing would devastate me. I don't think I could or would ever recover. Please Jesus hear my cry. Please Jesus turn my sorrow into complete joy!!!

Emotions: Feeling way less anxious than I did last week. Everytime I get nervous I just start saying over and over and over again...I Believe. I Believe. I Believe!!!

**************************************************
May 11
So I wrote on May 8 that I was feeling less anxious. However, I should have known that anxious-free me wouldn't last. Because last night (the night before my ultrasound) I almost lost it again. I was convinced that this was going to result in an ectopic pregnancy. I'm still not sure if I was imagining a dull ache on my right side or if it was truly there but it made me uneasy either way. So as you can imagine I went to bed extremely anxious. It's a miracle that I slept. I woke up and the nerves were still there (as was the ache...on and off). We had a 7:30am appointment (thank goodness it was so early) and since I have the WORLD'S best hubby he told me last night that he would go into work late so we could drive together. And believe me I squeezed his hand the whole drive to the clinic.

We got called back right away (the perk of a early morning appt) and Dodds knocked just a few minutes later. MY HEART WAS POUNDING. He asked how we were feeling. Brian smiled and I said not so great...I am unbearably nervous. With my history he completely understood. Then the probe went in...I saw a sac...I saw a baby... I SAW A HEARTBEAT!!! And my more than wonderful RE assured me that everything looked perfect. Baby H had a heartbeat of 121 bpm and measured in at 5mm...right on track!!! Praise the Lord!!!

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May 15
*I did some editing this week since my ultrasound was on Thursday at 7 weeks 4 days.*

How Far Along: 7 weeks.

Size of Baby: About half an inch. The size of a blueberry!

Picture of Baby: My sweet little bug at 7 weeks 4 days...
The picture is a little enhanced...but my babe is a grand total of 16.3mm

7 weeks: My sweet bug's hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs-although they look more like paddles at this point. Bug-a-boo's eyelid folds partially cover his/her peepers, which already have some color, the tip of his/her nose is starting to appear too. Both hemispheres of my bug's brain are growing, and his/her liver is churning out red blood cells until his/her bone marrow forms and takes over this role. He/she also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. A loop in my bug's growing intestines is bulging into his/her umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from his/her tiny body. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Somehow I gained a pound and a half this week...oops. But overall I am only up half a pound...not too bad!

Belly:
(I know the pulled-up shirt looks a little odd but I wanted you to see the small bump)

Sleep: Still needing LOTS of it. Waking up for work is the worst (just thinking about the next 12 plus hours drains me). And once home (and in my comfies) I am almost unable to move myself off the couch to go to bed.

Best Moment of the Week: Again seeing my sweet bug's heart just a-beating at 165.83 (bpm)!!! Sweet music to this mama's ears!!!

Symptoms: Tired...tired...tired. Hard to get me moving in the mornings. Oh and nauseous in the mornings too. I feel like I have to throw up but I don't (had the same thing with the girls). Sometimes I wonder if it would just be better to throw up. And I still have that nasty after-taste in my mouth as well. (Sometimes that almost makes me throw up too).

Food Cravings: Not enjoying water or anything to drink for that matter. This pregnancy reminds me so so so much of the girls...constantly thirsty yet nothing sounds good to drink. Still liking me some chicken. Had a wonderful chicken alfredo pizza this past week, made chicken quesadillas last night and grilling some chicken for lunch today!

What I'm Looking Forward to: I'm looking forward to ultrasound number 2 which will be on Thursday at 7 weeks 4 days!!!

Emotions: The emotions are much more in check this week since I saw our sweet bug last week. However, I will admit that I still do analyze most "things"...although I'm trying to relax a little more every day.

*****************************************************
May 19
So I had my second US today (at 7 weeks 4 days) and guess what...I graduated. (And in case you don't know what I mean when I say "graduated"...it means no more appointments with my RE). Yep you heard me right at 7 weeks 4 days I was given the a-okay because everything looks SO good.

Once again I went into my appointment a wee bit nervous but I came out ALL smiles!!! My RE came into the room and of course asked us how we were...before inserting the lovely probe...oh that lovely probe. I couldn't see the screen as well today but after what felt like hours (it was only a few seconds) he said I see the heartbeat and everything looks good!!! What an answer to prayer. After the ultrasound my RE told Brian and I that even he gets nervous before my appointments because he just wants everything to go so perfectly for us...can you say A+ physician. Bug's heartbeat was beating at 165.83 beats per minute and he/she measured in at 16.3mm. My RE said we have a good size baby on board because I'm measuring 8 weeks today (and if you remember I am only 7 weeks 4 days). My RE said this is an excellent sign. Again can you say what an answer to prayer!!!

My first appointment with Jelsema (my high risk OB) is May 31...not sure if I can handle waiting 12 days for my next ultrasound but my RE said if I'm feeling anxious next week then to just call the office and they'll squeeze me in...LOVE MY RE!!! I told him that maybe its a good thing to space out the ultrasounds since I get so anxious before each one. And here's some more good news...I only have 17 more days of IM progesterone booty shots...now that's something to smile about!!! Can't wait for June 5 (when I'm 10 weeks) because the stash of needles below WILL BE GONE...
The end is in sight!!!

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Alayna Joy

Dear Alayna,
Oh baby girl words don't even begin to describe how much I miss you. How much my heart hurts and how much my arms ache to hold you. I can hardly believe its been a year since you were born. A year since my world was forever changed. My baby girl YOU are 1 years old today!!! Oh I can only imagine the wonderful celebration Jesus has planned just for YOU!!! I am so glad that Ella and Luke are there to help you celebrate since mommy and daddy cannot be. Daddy took the day off from work today and we just dropped off your flowers (roses from you and Ella's rose bush in our front yard) and your 1st birthday balloon. Wishing you the bestest birthday ever my sweet girl!!!


Oh Alayna I remember the moment you were born...the moment I became a mommy. Daddy was by my side and grandma V and Aunt Courtney were in the room too...to welcome you into this world!!! You were beautiful. But to be honest I didn't know at first whether to look or not...I was scared because I didn't know what you would look like but you were perfect...just tiny. They put you in my arms and your little tongue was just a moving. I was in love. Grandpa Vugteveen left work to meet you and Pastor Dave (who had just left the hospital) came immediately back to baptize you. You blessed us with an hour and 45 minutes until Jesus called you home. A minute in my arms but a lifetime in my heart. You will always hold a special place in my heart because you are the one who made me a mommy. I love you baby girl!!!

Love Mommy (and Daddy)

Alayna in the womb at 16 weeks.

Alayna at 21 weeks...my precious firstborn.
Here's the Carepage update from June 24, 2010...
At 9:30 this morning Lindsey and Brian welcomed their precious daughter Alayna Joy into their lives. They were able to spend about an hour and 45 minutes until God called her home to live with Him. She weighed 14 oz. and was 10 1/4 inches long. Alayna was also baptized by Pator David Breen during those precious moments together. She was beautiful and is loved so much.
At this time Baby B remains inside Lindsey and things seemed to have calmed down. Please pray for Lindsey and Brian as they now face a decision of how to proceed. Please pray for a miracle that Baby B will continue to grow and develop over these next few weeks.
Courtney
My mom and dad gave us the beautiful plaque (below) in remembrance of Alayna and Ella's first year in heaven. And in case you can't read the wording I included it below. But this is just one of the many gifts my mom (and dad) have given us over the last year in remembrance of the girls. My mom searches high and low for the perfect gifts. Whether it be the charms I wear every day around my neck. The beautiful A and E picture frames that I look at every day. Or the A and E Christmas ornaments and pillow pets (Ella's being Ella the Elephant :)) So I just want to thank my mom for constantly remembering Alayna and Ella...it means the WORLD to me...to know you have not forgotten about them. Thank you for stopping by the cemetery to visit them. Thank you for bringing them flowers. And thank you for still talking about them with me. It means more to me than you can even imagine. I am so so so thankful for YOU and the unending support you have given me as I have walked this path of infertility and loss (and now pregnancy after loss). I love you Mom!!!

I didn't give you
The gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is
Deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have
Each other
Is like a dream
Come true.
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me
The gift of you.
-unknown

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Day before I Became a Mommy


Another trip down memory lane...
June 23 is another day that is forever etched into my memory. Brian was at work and my friend Karie was "baby-sitting" me until he got home. My friend Gretchen came over too and we were talking wedding because she had just gotten engaged. Around noon I got up to use the bathroom and when I looked into the toilet all I saw was blood. I immediately called the doctor and explained the situation. (Now on a TMI side note I also had had a hemroid and so I wasn't exactly sure where the blood had come from but I was praying it was from that hole and not the other). Well an hour later I got up to go to the bathroom again and this time I paid close attention to the toilet paper...sure enough it was NOT blood from my hemroid. I called the doctor again and she said to get to the hospital ASAP. I called Brian who immediately left work, Karie packed my bags, and when Brian got home we bee-lined it to the hospital.

Things happened pretty quickly once we arrived at Spectrum. I was immediately started on magnesium sulfate (the devil's drug) to stop labor. I was cold then hot...hot then cold. I felt like fire was flaming from my eyes. I could not get comfortable. Most of my family and Brian's parent's were with us that night. My mom and sister were the last to leave (around midnight) saying that they would be back first thing in the morning. 



Here is the update from our Carepage on the 23rd...


Please continue to pray for Lindsey and Brian. Things seemed to take a turn for the worse and they are back in the hospital. Lindsey started to bleed this afternoon and contractions have started. She is dilated to 5 cm and is quite thin. Please pray for a miracle. They are staying strong for each other. Please, please keep praying...


Updated by Courtney (Lindsey's sister)


Around 3am (still super uncomfortable) my nurse gave me a drug called stadol (a drug I will NEVER again take). I felt like someone had tied me to an anchor and had thrown me into the ocean. I couldn't move. I felt paralyzed and nauseous. After what felt like hours (but was pry only minutes) I sat up and vomited and that is when my water broke...and also when life as I knew it felt over because I knew the inevitable was only hours away...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Journey: Weeks 4 and 5

April 24
How Far Along: 4 weeks.

Size of Baby: Average length is .5mm to 1mm. No bigger than a poppy seed!

Picture of Baby:
Photo courtesy of Google Images.

4 weeks: Baby(ies) Helmholdt is now just a ball of cells.This week the blastocyst (the ball of cells) will split to form the placenta and the embryo, and the specialized parts of my baby's body will begin to develop. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Maternity Clothes: Not necessary at this point.

Weight Gain: 0 pounds.

Belly:
 

Stretch Marks: Zilch...and the girl's pregnancy didn't give me a single one either.

Sleep: Yes, please! But I tend to wake up every 3 hours to pee (thanks in a large part I believe to my PIO shots).

Best Moment of the Week: My positive beta on Good Friday!!! And telling our families and a few friends the exciting news!!!

Movement: None yet but I can't wait to feel the lil bugger(s) move.

Symptoms: Tiredness and a bloated belly after eating and at night.

Food Cravings: Nothing yet. Just thirsty so drinking lots of water.

Gender: No clue. And at this point we don't plan on finding out.

What I Miss: Nothing!!! I wouldn't trade being pregnant for anything.

What I'm Looking Forward to: Our first sonogram on May 11...the first glimpse of our baby(ies) and our first opportunity to hear his/her/their heart beats.

Milestones: Just found out that we're expecting so I guess I would say...that my first milestone is that I am PREGNANT (again)!!!

Emotions: Waiting for my second beta (I'll be getting it drawn on Tuesday) and praying for good results (quadruple baby). *Since my RE's office doesn't do blood draws on the weekends (and since Saturday is day 12...the normal day to get my blood drawn) I had to get it drawn a day early.  So my first beta was 75. Normally beta #2 is drawn 2 days after beta #1 but since 2 days after Friday is Sunday...they bumped beta #2 back to Tuesday which means it should be quadruple what it was on Friday.* Also trying not to worry. Instead, trying to simple trust that He WILL carry me through this pregnancy and that in December (or January) I will be holding the most perfect little miracle(s) imaginable!!!

*****************************************************
April 26
So I POAS this morning and was happy to see 2 BRIGHT pink lines!!! I wanted a little reassurance as I went into my second beta draw today...and I got it or so I thought...

So last week when I first found out that I was pregnant I asked my nurse to put a note in my chart saying that it was okay to leave my 2nd beta result on my voicemail because I'd be working (and obviously I would be unable to answer my phone). And my nurse said that she would make a note. ***On a side note my office will not leave results on voicemails without a note saying that its okay.***

I got my labs drawn and around 9:30am I checked my voicemail to see if I had a message from Dodd's office. I had two. The first was from my mom and the second was from Dodd's office. T (the same person from last week) said...Hi Lindsey this is T from Dodd's office. We have your results back so just give us a call when you get a chance. That was it. No results. No beta results. Obviously I started freaking and I mean FREAKING OUT because my thought was I told her to just leave the level on my voicemail so it must be bad news since she wouldn't leave it.

Good thing I was in the bathroom because I was sick to my stomach. I was shaking and I was soooo nervous. I immediately called the office and pushed the button to talk to the secretary...since the nurses never answer their phones when I call. I always have to leave a message and wait for a call back. Now I don't want to throw my nurses under the bus...they are wonderful and they always call back as soon as they can but I was in no mood to wait. I figured if I called the secretary she could get up and look for a nurse.

But the phone just rang and rang and then it said that everyone was currently on other lines but I could leave a message or stay waiting. I stayed waiting. Well when it gets to a certain point they just put you right to voicemail. So instead of leaving a message (remember I am at work) I hung up and left a message on my nurses voicemail instead. I then called the secretary back and was waiting again when someone finally picked up. I said why I was calling and that I really wanted to talk to a nurse NOW. She said she would look for a nurse so once again I was put on hold.

Finally she found T (who had left the message earlier). T said Lindsey hold on a second I need to grab your chart. And then FINALLY I heard the news I so desperately wanted to hear...everything looks great...your level was 477. All I could think was praise the Lord...my prayers have been answered!!! Just so you know I was on my knees in the bathroom (remember this is a hospital bathroom) praying for everything to be okay. Lets just say those 20 minutes (from first hearing the voicemail to being read my beta level) were the longest IN MY LIFE.

*****************************************************
May 1
How Far Along: 5 weeks.

Size of Baby: Average length is 1.5mm to 2.5mm. About the size of an sesame seed!

Picture of Baby:
Photo courtesy of Google Images.

5 weeks: During the next few days, baby(ies) Helmholdt's heart will start early contractions, which will later become distinct beats. All of baby(ies) Helmholdt's major organs are under development this week, and facial features, such as ears and eyes, are beginning to form. The neural tube, which will later be referred to as the spinal cord, will fuse this week. And my lil bugger's arm and leg buds are starting to appear too. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Down a pound

Belly:
(taken just after waking up from a lovely nap)

Sleep: Still waking up to pee at least twice a night.

Symptoms: Tired. Bloated belly at night. Cranky (haha). And I think that I am getting that bad taste in my mouth again (I had it with the girls but not with Luke).

Food Cravings: Doritos (with the girls I loved Doritos too).

Gender: Obv still no idea. And at this point we still don't plan on finding out.

What I Miss: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I would give up anything and everything just to know that this baby is healthy and whole with his/her/their heart(s) just a-beating.

What I'm Looking Forward to: Still looking forward to our first sonogram on May 11...the first glimpse of our baby(ies) and our first opportunity to hear his/her/their heart beats!!!

Milestones: I'm still pregnant and praying it stays that way until December (or January).

Emotions: Ask my poor hubby...I am a neurotic mess (and that's putting it lightly). This poor baby (or babies) has NO chance of NOT being neurotic. I am praying for my nerves to ease but the thought of my last ultrasound with Luke still haunts me. There is NO NO NO way I can see another still baby on an ultrasound machine. Please Lord Jesus protect this sweet baby(s). We so badly want to meet him/her/them in December (AND NOT BEFORE ...again please and thank-you).

***************************************************
May 3
And today neurotic me gave neurotic me another scare. I like to analyze all my symptoms (or lack there of) and worry about them. Am I still pregnant? Am I miscarrying? Why am I not as bloated? Why am I not as hungry? Is it because I am so stressed that I am having trouble eating? Oye me I worry about EVERYTHING and question EVERYTHING. The joy and excitement of pregnancy is something I am not privileged to know. Instead this pregnancy is filled with worry and anxiety. So here's my latest neurotic story...

So right before dinner I decided to POAS again (just for peace of mind...haha). I know full well that peeing on a stick wouldn't mean that my pregnancy was viable. It would only show me that I was currently pregnant. It (the pregnancy) could still be a blighted ovum or an ectopic pregnancy (both non-viable). But I thought if I saw two bright line that it would at least mean that my hcg was still high. But this is what I saw...

So yes I FREAKED OUT. Last week Tuesday when I tested the line to the right was WAY (and I mean WAY) darker. I came out of the bathroom and told Brain that I was pretty sure that I was starting to miscarry. So I started googling "what does it mean when your hpt test gets lighter." My only hope was that because I tested in the evening vs early morning that my urine was more diluted. However, Dr. Google was telling me I was most likely miscarrying. I was devastated. (And this feeling lasted for over an hour).

Then I took a closer look at the hpt and I said to Brian, "Wait a minute. Babe I think the first line is the testing line and the second line is the control line." I started feeling a little hopeful again. So I started googling "why would the testing line be so much darker than the control line." And my answer was because my hcg was so high it needed to steal a little color from the control line strip. More hope returning!!! Next I went to Bobbi's Blog. I knew that a few weeks before (when she was in her 2ww) that she too used First Response HPT's. And I was so so so relieved to see that the line on the left was the line that was getting darker and darker every day Bobbi tested. (A HUGE thank you to Bobbi who made me feel better without even knowing)!!! And with that my hope was restored!!!

So what can I say besides the fact that I am a crazy emotional MESS. And to be truly honest I am not even enjoying this pregnancy. Because I am so so so nervous. I am trying my absolute best to put everything in His hands but because of my last ultrasound with Luke I am scared for my first ultrasound this go around. I question every tug and pull. I question if my belly is more or less bloated than the day before. I question if I'm feeling more or less tired than the day before. I question if I'm peeing as much as I did the day before. All I can say is (for my sake and Brians)...December (or January) cannot come soon enough.

*******************************************************
May 6
And then a few days later my sweet friend Amy emailed me this:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

You and this baby are in the best possible hands you could be in. Nothing changes at 12 weeks...or 20 weeks, or 30 weeks. God is in control now, and He'll be in control then. We are praying for you and Brian!

This email made me realize (once again) that worrying was not (by ANY means helping) nor was it going to change the plans my Lord and Savior's has for my life. So today I am choosing to BELIEVE that this little baby(ies) growing inside me WILL be welcomed into this world in December. I Believe. I Believe. I Believe.

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick Appointment Update

Second posting of the day...I'm on a roll :) But I just wanted to share that we had another good appointment today...praise the Lord!!! Well besides my high blood pressure. We're all thinking this is due to the anxiety that hits upon arrival to each and every appointment. I am getting a little less anxious every week but the morning of still sends me in a tailspin. And for this reason Brian still comes with me to every appointment :) Can I just say...what a guy!!! Love you babe!!! Anyways my BP was 138/70-something but I told my nurse that during fertility it often hit 170's/100's so the above BP isn't that bad. On a different note the little one's heartbeat was bouncing between 171 and 172...strong and steady. We just did the doppler today so no pictures (boo). My next appointment is this coming Monday for another heartbeat check and then it's ultrasounds every week (well until week 24) to check my cervical length...so we'll be seeing lots of our little one and this makes me very happy!!!

The Journey: The Beginning to The BFP

March 26
Yea!!! AF (Aunt Flo) finally decides to make her debut!!! So let's get this process started!!!

March 30
I had my first ultrasound this morning and everything looked great!!! So we've been given the GREEN LIGHT!!! I had a new nurse today so of course I asked her if she was new. She said nope I've been here for 4 years. So my next question was whether or not she was an IVF nurse.  She said yep but I mostly work with egg donation implantation. I said oh its just I've never seen you before and I've been in the process of IVF/FET for over 16 mons. She then told me that she recognized my name and that she believes she has even talked to me on the phone a few times but that no she has never met me face to face. Anyways she was really nice and I apologized for asking so many questions. I told her I get a little nervous and stressed with new people...she totally understood. She said that this would have been an awesome fresh cycle cause I looked so good...meaning my uterus, lining and follicles!!! Anyways my next appointment is Saturday morning and since today is day 5 of my cycle the pokes or should I say my meds start tonight. Praying everything goes oober smoothly this time around!!!

Haha...so the nurse (that I had today) from Dodd's office just called me back. They have to change my appointment because she didn't realize that today was only my screening ultrasound. She said no wonder my follicles were so tiny yet. She felt so bad. She said here we just talked about her not being new but then she goes and messes up. I thought it was a little weird that I would be having another ultrasound already this Saturday (since I wouldn't even be day 10 of my cycle yet) but I just went with it. Thankfully my office reviews (has a little pow-wow) every afternoon (doctors and IVF nurses) to discuss all the IVF/FET plans and one of my normal nurses caught her mistake. Jennifer (the IVF nurse that caught the mistake) said she would call me but Kristine (the new TO ME nurse) said that she wanted to call and apologize. She was so sweet. Anyways my next appointment is now Tuesday at 9:15am. And on a side note...Kristine's mess up would NOT have messed up my whole cycle...it only would have cost me an extra appointment (so a few extra dollars).

April 5
Second ultrasound. Grow follies grow!!! Still looking good.

April 7
Third ultrasound. One more day of gonal-F before I get to trigger.

We're also heading up to Avalanche Bay in a few hours for a water-filled 24 hours of fun!!! Unfortunately because of all my stim meds...no rides for me. Too risky for my sweet little ovaries.

April 8
Tonight is my trigger shot. So out comes my faithful icepack. Unfortunately for me (according to the hubby) I didn't ice the appropriate spot so he gave me my HCG trigger shot where he deemed it appropriate. Lets just say my bum hurt a wee bit.

April 9
A day of NOTHING. No oral meds. No booty shots. Just me enjoying a day FREE of all medications.

April 10
Today is day 1 of my IM progesterone shot (I know this is waaaay toooo much information but man it makes my pee smell and it makes me need to pee ALL the time and it makes my butt super sore...feeling sorry for me yet)? I also started my antibiotics and steroids today.

April 12
Transfer Day. Come on little embies...mommy and daddy wanna take you home!!!
The daddy and mommy-to be
right before implantation

Implantation went smoothly but unfortunately they had to dethaw 3 embryos to get 2 good ones for implantation. (Meaning one of the first two died during the dethawing process so they had to dethaw a third one). So this means we only have 1 left. So I am a lil nervous but trying NOT to worry. If it doesn't work this time then we have to start from scratch...but like I said trying NOT to go there. Praying for peace as we wait to see if one or both of our embies stick. The second thing that disappointed me was that one of the embryos that was implanted was of lower quality than my previous embryos. My girls were 2+ and Luke and the embryo with him were 2's (so one step down) and this time around I had a 3+ (one more step down) and a 2+ (yea!!!). I just soooo badly want this to work. So to sum it up...thankfully a 2+ was implanted, my lining was nice and thick, and the transfer went smoothly...now its all in God's hands!!! And He is the only one able to GIVE life!!!

My lil embies...grade 3+ (to the left) and grade 2+ (to the right)

At my RE's office after a transfer they make you lie flat with your legs elevated for an hour. About half way through I felt the urge to pee but held it. In the past I have never needed to pee until I got home. So I asked my nurse after the hour was up if it would at all affect implantation if I used the bathroom before I headed home. She said that there was absolutely NO reason why I couldn't use the bathroom before heading home...so I did. It just kinda trickled out but if I hold my pee I typically have that problem so I wasn't too concerned. Well this problem continued throughout the rest of the day...meaning I was having lots of trouble peeing ALL day. And this was new to me because I had NEVER had this problem before with any of my previous implantations.

April 13
Well it finally got so bad or should I say so painful (because my bladder was so distended) that I called my RE office's emergency line (at 4:15am). They paged the on/call doctor (and it happened to be Dr. Young who had done my transfer the day before). Dr. Young called me back a few minutes later and I explained that I had been having trouble peeing since the transfer and that it was now becoming quite painful. And that I was also concerned that this would affect implantation. He first reassured me that the two (my peeing issue and implantation) had nothing to do with each other and continued to say if I could wait it out until morning to just wait it out but to come into the office around 8am and they would cath me. (If I couldn't wait it out then I would have to go to the ER). I said I could wait it out but let me just say that 8am could not come soon enough. Thankfully the hubby brought me because there was no way I could have driven to the office by myself but he did refuse to go back into the examining room with me.

So Dr. Young came into the examining room and first said to me...you look tired (I wanted to say more than you can imagine) and next he said...so you're still feeling distended? I said yes as he was getting out the ultrasound probe. I lifted my shirt up a little and he said whoa you're right. I don't even need to ultrasound you but since I have it out I'll quick scan your bladder. He put a little pressure on my bladder (ouch) and said never mind lets just cath you. He then proceeded to tell the nurse to get a bigger jug (nice). A normal bladder can hold between 300-500ml of urine. And I had a grand total of 1100ml just sitting in my bladder...YIKES-A-ROONIES.

Dr. Young told me it could take another 24 hours or so before my bladder would be back to working order (since it had been so stretched) so he sent me home with some catheters. He asked if I knew how to cath and I said yes I'm a nurse. He then asked if I felt comfortable cathing myself. I said yes but was praying that it wouldn't come to that. Later that night I could tell that my bladder was not fully emptying (better than the day before) but I was worried about infection so at 6pm I told Brian that I had to cath. So with my lovely and lucky hubby holding a mirror I cathed myself (hopefully the first and last time I ever have to do that)...and got at least if not over 500ml out. Brian then let me know that this was another thing he was adding to his list of things that a husband should never have to do. Unfortunately for him...his list is getting pretty long.

April 14
The peeing issue is resolving!!! So I'm thinking I won't have to stick another cath up there...all I can say is praise the Lord.

Feeling a little anxious today because I so badly want my lil embies to stick (and I want them to stick like crazy glue)!!! I'm really wishing that it was already April 22 and that I had my BFP. I know that their fate is completely in my Heavenly Father's hands so I am praying for His Will to be done and trying (emphasize the trying) to leave it at that. But I will pray without ceasing for my miracle embies and that they will be a part of my happily ever after!!! All praise be to the only Giver of Life...my Heavenly Father.

April 18
Wow today was a bad day. An anxiety-filled kinda bad day (most of which I produced myself). Lets just say that this 2ww has been more anxiety-producing than any of my previous cycles. I'm guessing its because if this cycle doesn't work...we only have 1 frostie left...1. And if this cycle doesn't work THEN we have to start from scratch...from the very beginning...

On another note I had talked myself into taking a hpt on Wednesday morning BUT when I told two of my friends (Melissa and Jenn)...they said ABSOLUTELY NOT. Jenn (another IVFer and mommy to 2 beautiful little ones) told me it's too risky...you can get a false negative or worse yet a false positive. She told me to wait until my beta on Friday. So I promised them both that I would wait. I also promised Melissa that I would no longer be best buds with Dr. Google. So far I'm making good on those promises!!! 

At some point during my anxiety-filled BAD day I found this verse on a carepage:

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

So this is what I've got to say...I WILL NOT fear bad news because my HOPE and TRUST is and will always remain IN THE LORD!!!

April 19
(texting between the hubby and myself)

Me: Feeling a lil less anxious this morn than the last few days...praying this feeling will last!
Brian: Just remember God has a plan! And its perfect!
Me: More perfect that I can even imagine!

Praying...praying...and praying some more. And I will continue to pray without ceasing...

April 21
Tomorrow is the BIG day...oye me goodness I am praying like crazy. I must admit that I did visit Dr. Google earlier today. Had to ask him if my abdominal bloating was normal with an FET or not. Thankfully it appears to be very normal.

April 22
TODAY IS THE DAY. TODAY IS THE DAY. TODAY IS THE DAY.

I slept pretty good last night. (thank goodness). I only woke up twice but both times I fell right back to sleep. Got my lovely a$$ shot this morning (and prayed that it would be the last one with me not knowing whether or not I was pregnant). Brian left for breakfast around 5:40am but thankfully I managed to sleep for another 35 minutes. Then it was time to get up and get the day started. First things first I got down on my knees and said a prayer, then I got somewhat ready, next I went into our nursery and prayed that we would indeed be pregnant and that this would be THE baby that filled our lives with more joy than we could even comprehend, and finally I left to get my blood drawn. I was at the lab by 6:45am. Got myself all checked in before 7am so that when the lab opened (at 7am) I would be ready to go. And ready I was. I was out the door by 7:06am.

When I got home Brian was back from meeting his friend for breakfast. So while he got to working (his boss gave him the okay to work from home for the morning or day if needed)...I washed some dishes, folded some laundry, started another load of laundry, and checked my email. I went into our office at one point and said...so how ya feeling. He said to me (and I will never forget)...it's not like we're waiting to find out whether we're going to live or die.  This is NOT the end for us if we're not pregnant this time. We haven't been told to stop so if we need to do another retrieval we will. Not that I wouldn't mind one healthy baby under our belt before undergoing that again but its just not up to us. And you know what it most definitely isn't.

But the phone call came and the news was...GOOD!!! And I was super excited that it came so early. It was only 9:41am. If you remember back to December...I didn't get the good news phone call until 2:06pm. One of my faves called to give me the good news!!! And when Brian heard my phone ring he came running into the family room and once again I got to give him the famous thumbs up sign while I talked with Tara. My hcg was 75 which is pretty good considering my office had me test a day early since tomorrow is Saturday. I tested on day 12 with both the girls and Luke's pregnancies (because my RE's office doesn't test on weekends). So today I am officially 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant...yowzers am I ever excited and thankful to the only Giver of life...my Heavenly Father!!! I knew today would be good. After all...its Good Friday today!!!

After I got off the phone Brian gave me a big hug and we sat down and prayed. Then he told me he had to show me something in the office. He said he was just reading it when he heard my phone ring. And this folks is what I read...

Today's Verse:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2

Thoughts on Today's Verse...
God is not only our protector, he is also our helper. Even when our world seems to be crashing around us, he is there. He will deliver us from death or deliver us through death. He will deliver us from evil or he will deliver us to overcome evil. Our task is to trust that in the midst of our earthquakes and tidal waves we are not alone or abandoned.

My Prayer...
Holy God, I pray for those today who are in the middle of life's earthquakes. You know those for whom I am concerned. You know I care about their struggles which are too big for me to mitigate and too painful for me to truly bring comfort. I ask you now to bless them, be with them, and please deliver them quickly. You are our only true hope and Jesus is our only sure redeemer. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

The first person I wanted to share the news with was my mom. So I went to my parent's house to do just that. I came walking down the stairs and my mom's head appeared. She said you're pregnant. I nodded and she started crying and said what an answer to prayer. Indeed it is!!!

Since it was a Friday she was baby-sitting. And on this particular Friday she was baby-sitting the Vugteveen kiddos. My oldest niece Kylynn has school until 11:30am but when she got to my mom's house my mom said that we had a secret to tell her and then she asked her if she could keep a secret. She smirked and said that she could (riiiiight...she's only 4...well almost 5). We asked her who she thought the secret was about and she pointed at me and said Aunt Linnie. I said you're right but what specifically do you think it's about. And she said a baby. I said you're so smart. A few minutes later she said Aunt Linnie do you hope this baby will stay here with you? I said Kylynn I won't just hope but I will pray for this baby to stay here with me. And then I asked her if she would pray for that too. And she said she yes!!!

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1