God is faithful!

Well, April 26 was the officially pregnancy blood test.  It was scheduled for that day as soon as we had left Colorado and I apologize for telling many of you it was the first week of May, but Dave and I knew we would need a few days to process this news either way on our own before sharing it with the world.  April 25 I went to dinner with my wonderful girlfriends who were so positive and encouraging about me being pregnant.  I just kept thinking through dinner I could be- my period hasn’t started, I’ve been extremely tired, I’ve been awfully ditzy, and I’ve had these weird stomach cramps.   This year I behaved and did not test early like I did our last IVF cycle.  I told myself it would only upset me and I wanted to enjoy the thought of being pregnant as long as possible before we officially knew for sure because as soon as we got the results of the blood test- there was no more thinking positive- it was either yes or no.   After dinner with the girls when I got home I convinced Dave that I would take one test and we would look at the results together.  I told him surely by now it will show up if we’re pregnant, the blood test was only 12 hr away.  So, we went ahead and took the test and our youtube video below captures the moment we will cherish the rest of our lives.  Our 3.5 year journey of trying to have a baby is well- see for yourselves, the youtube video is included in the blog below.

Our God is faithful and we can’t thank our friends and family enough for all the love, support, and prayers you have shown us through this journey.  We give God all the glory and praise for this little miracle in my tummy.  Without Him, we know this would not have happened and we will forever praise Him for this special little miracle He has given us.  Dave and I were told prior to going to Colorado that we had a 15% chance of success- and this is coming from the doctors at the nation’s best IVF clinic.  The odds were definitely stacked against us, but our God doesn’t go by the world’s odds or success rates, our God can overcome all of that and that He did!   We will also never forget your prayers and faithfulness and how they helped us get our little miracle as well!!!!

Dave and I are definitely relishing in the joy of these past few days in getting to tell our family and friends and rejoicing with them in God’s goodness and faithfulness.  Every time we share with someone else it reminds me that our God is an awesome God!!!  My parents came in town and we were able to tell them in person-and we got to tell our sisters and Dave’s parents via Skype – I think they all shed some tears in hearing the news and our overjoyed with us!!!   The reality of being pregnant is still sinking in for sure- throughout my day I just keep thinking to myself- I’m pregnant-I’m really and truly pregnant!!!!   It truly is such a miracle I am still grasping the reality of it.  Sunday at church we sang a new song during worship called “You are Faithful”.  A song I have never heard before but a song that seemed to sum up our entire journey we had just walked through- it was exactly what we needed to hear.    As the tears poured from my eyes, Dave and I and my mom and dad all sang the words, “YOU ARE FAITHFUL”.     And that's the best way to sum it all up. 

Today was our big day., the day we've been waiting for.   Dave and I arrived at the clinic at 9am for my blood work (estradiol level).   Then we headed upstairs for me to receive acupuncture prior to transfer.   Once my acupuncture was over, I remained in the same room for transfer.  The doctor came in and went over our embryos and Dave and I got to look at them on the screen.  It’s so amazing to see the lives we created- those little embryos are a part of each of us and to me htat is .     We had 2 embryos to transfer today.  One embryo was 4 cells and one embryo was 5 cells.  Although they really like for them to be between 6-10 cells on a day 3 transfer, the doctor said they looked to be good quality and with little fragmentation.

 So, now the real wait begins.  We have a few weeks before we’ll know If our little ones have implanted.   There’s no way to predict the outcome based on the embryos because they’ll tell you, they’ve seen 4 and 5 cells implant and 6-10 cells not, so even though the higher number of cells is usually favorable, no one really knows.  It’s up to God, as we know.  We’re rooting for our little ones to pull through and hope that now they’re inside me they’ll take off in growth and divide rapidly.  

For now the process is over until our confirmed pregnancy blood test in a few weeks.   Thanks for your support, encouragement, prayers, and love.  This is a long, hard journey but you have helped us reach the end and now we wait in expectation of God to grow these little ones up.

Baby Stanley 1 & 2
Today was our last day to enjoy Denver so Dave and I planned a fun day!   We started the day going to Denver Zoo.  It was a beautiful day to be outside and we enjoyed walking around seeing all the animals.   After the zoo, we went to Brothers Barbecue for lunch.  It was a really good Barbecue place.   Then we headed over to Colorado Mills to do some shopping and see a movie.  We saw the movie “Octoberbaby”.  It was very good and as usual I cried.   We highly recommend seeing the movie though- very good story line!  Tonight we met up with Dave’s cousin at the Elephant Bar for dinner.  My parents and sister go there frequently in Florida and we’re always hearing about it so when we found out there was one near here we wanted to go.  Dinner was very good!  I ate way too much! We joked before going out tonight that this could be my last night of not being pregnant.   I smile ear to ear just thinking about being pregnant!   I can’t wait!!!

Tomorrow is the big day.  Transfer will take place at 1045am.  We will arrive at 9am for some blood work  as well as acupuncture prior to transfer.  The IVF process seems to take so long but our day has finally arrived!!!  We are very excited to transfer our 2 little embryos tomorrow to their new home for the next 9months –me!!   My 3rd egg they had mentioned that wasn’t quite mature did finally mature, but when they ICSI’d it, it did not fertilize.  I was hoping the 3rd one will pull through but we are very, very happy with our 2!!!!   The hardest part of the IVF process is over- no more shots- which I cannot say enough how happy that makes me;  Only oral medications from here on out.  Like a normal pregnancy, we will have to wait a couple of weeks before we find out if we are pregnant and the embryos have implanted.  I know the wait will seem like an eternity but it’s in God’s hands and there is nothing else we can do now except pray.   We have 2 little babies in a petri dish right now and tomorrow they will be implanted into my uterus.  It overjoys me to know that even though we won’t officially know for a couple weeks, I know in my heart I am a mommy to these two beautiful lives God created and I pray they make it to 9 months for us to see them face to face!

The Elephant Bar.
Dinner with Cousin Bryce.
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it, and it will be yours."

Mark 11:24 

3 words:  DO IT LORD!
We got the call today about 1030am our time here in Denver.  Robin, one of the embryologist was on the other side of the phone call.  She reported we had 2 mature eggs and BOTH fertilized.  Yes- both of them!!!!  She also mentioned a 3rd one that wasn't fertilized at this time but they would give it the rest of today to do so.   We don't know specifics on the quality or cell # of the embryos at this time, but we do know 2 are fertilized and hope for continued growth, division, and development.  We also pray for that 3rd one that miraculously will start to fertilized and by the end of today be caught up with the other ones.   I prayed on and off all night as I woke up last night and I prayed multiple times this morning for God to do this for us!   It's in his hands.

Embryo transfer is set up for Sunday at 1045am.  We are to arrive at 9am as I will be receiving acupuncture before and after transfer this time in hopes to increase percentage of implantation.  Research shows that acupuncture can significantly increase chances of success so we are going to do it!!  We ask for continued prayers for perfectly developing high quality embryos with at least 8 cells.  Praying specifically for God to do these things in the final stages of this process.   Thank you for continuing to lift us up and these precious little lives that have now been formed.  We have two little babies growing - that's so amazing!!!!   Life has been created and those little embryos are in God's hands.  As we read in 
Psalm 139:13-You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.   
God created these precious little babies and we are trusting him to bring them into our lives in 9 months!!!!
One of the songs we regularly sing at church always gets me fired up when we sing it and it came to me today as I know our simplest prayer right now is DO IT LORD!!!

Retrieval Day

Dave and I arrived about 8 am this morning to CCRM for retrieval.  They prepped me and started my IV.  Then I met the anesthesiologist, doctor and other nurses that were going to be present during the procedure.  They rolled me back for the procedure at 9am.  The procedure only takes about 20 minutes total as they go in and try to retrieve all the eggs that are in there.  I woke up about 10 and shortly after we were greeted by the embryologist who reported they retrieved 4 eggs.  Yes- 4 EGGS!   1 more than they expected.  Praise God!!!

This is great news for us as last year they were only able to retrieve 3 eggs.  Now we wait for our fertilization report which should come tomorrow sometime around 12pm.   For now, our little embryos are being created and we’re praying for growth, division, and excellent development.   The embryologist said they typically hope for about 75% to fertilize, but again we’re going for miracles here so we are praying that they all fertilize and grow well.   We’re going for big results!!!!  Our little embryos need to begin to divide and reach 8 cells by Day 3.   They predict my transfer will be Sunday. 

We’ll keep you posted on the progress.   We’re so excited to report the first part of things has gone extremely well and we continue to ask for your BIG prayers!!!!  We're going for MIRACLES!!!!

Ready for retrieval!
Recovering from retrieval.
Last blood draw for a few days!!!!
Went in today for a quick blood draw---- my last one for a couple days.  Today was the 7th blood draw in a row so I will gladly welcome a few days without being pricked.  And I didn't have to give myself any shots this morning - first shot today is 11am- the second part of the Lupron flare protocol I'm doing.   Then we go in tomorrow for retrieval which will take place at 9am  (10am back in Nashville).  This is considered a surgical procedure so no eating or drinking anything after midnight tonight.  I am very excited to get those eggs out and fertilized.   This is the part that gets really exciting but also very nerve 
                                                                                  racking as we wait in expectation for the true results.

My reading last night out of James couldn't have come at a better time.  
James 1: 2-8.  :  Testing of your faith.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.   5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The first part of course was a reminder that God puts trials in our lives sometimes to strengthen us, produce faithfulness and perseverance in us.  Dave and I don't know what the end results will be in the coming days, but we can be assured that God has put us through these trials for a reason and we pray that as He has allowed this into our lives that we have learned and will continue to learn the lessons he has taught us along the way.  Perhaps he is preparing us for something bigger and we needed this time of testing to be ready for it.  Whatever it is, I pray that we are ready and willing to obey.  We understand that when our faith is tested, it can bring out the best in us, just as fire purifies gold (1 Peter1:7) and just as training makes the athlete stronger.  May this testing/trial bring us closer to the Lord and help those around us see him more clearly too!

The second part - a bold statement but much needed for me to hear right now.  When I lack wisdom let me ask God and it will be given to me.  However, I must ask in faith without doubting, for if I pray weak, doubting prayers I will not receive anything from the Lord.    We must go to God believing that God IS, that he has all good; and that he is ever ready to impart to his children whatever we need.  We've been challenged to believe God for big things throughout this whole journey.  We've been challenged to pray with boldness and courage and even when things don't go our way to continue to believe God for his ultimate purpose and plan for our lives.  This needs to really take action now as we approach God for such a big request knowing He can do it and asking that He will do it.

I began reading a new book today that I borrowed from my friend Terri called Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.  It's a good book if you haven't read it yet.  In reading it today I came across a fairly known story in Mark 2 about the paralyzed man who needs to be healed. He can't get to Jesus himself so four of his friends carry him on a stretcher. When they get to the house where Jesus is healing, the crowd is so large that they can't get close to the front door. So his four friends carry the paralyzed man up to the roof. They dig through the roof and lower the man down in front of Jesus.  The gospel says, Jesus was amazed at their faith and he heals the paralyzed man. What the man couldn't do for himself his friends did for him, and Jesus was amazed at their faith.

I stopped while I was reading and thanked God for everyone praying for us right now.  Its' not only our faith and our prayers but your prayers that He hears.  I am reminded that it was the belief and persistence of the paralyzed man's friends that brought healing and forgiveness for this man. 

We can't thank you enough for your prayers.  Your prayers and your belief do make a difference in our journey.  I pray that we can all approach God with boldness and courage in the coming days.

There was a period of nursing school that was really tough- I was struggling to see the end. I was feeling drowned in papers, tests, and overwhelmed by all that I needed to do.  I began to doubt God's plan for my life.  During that time, God reminded me through a song that I had people praying for me to get me through when I couldn't do it myself.  After writing this blog, that song couldn't be a more fitting end to this blog so I've attached the youtube below for you to listen to it.   I know I am encouraged to know you are praying for us and even more so that your prayers matters to God.

I just got a call from my IVF nurse who reported that my blood work was as follows:
Progesterone level: 1.8 (they like this to be at least 2 before egg retrieval)
HCG level:  264 (they like this over 100)

Due to my lower progesterone level- they are going to give me a booster dose of Novarel asap to increase my progesterone level.  Dave and I are on our way to Todd's Pharmacy again to pick that up and get that in my system.  Tomorrow we will still go forward with the retrieval.  The nurse told me not to worry that the doctor was doing this to be extra cautious.   I told her we'll do whatever we need to do at this time to optimize success!  
This morning was good.  It looks like my follicles have reached the right size and they feel ready to trigger ovulation.  Woohooo!  The time has come.  

Follicle Sizing:
(1) 21 mm
(2) 18mm
(1) 7mm

Uterine Lining: 10mm
Estrogen Level: over 1000

We only have 3 follicles but we're praying that these 3 are going to provide our little miracles of life.  I've been reading online that some women go under anesthesia and when they wake up they actually find out that they had a few more eggs retrieved than they had follicles.  I pray that this would be our scenario.   We pray the doctors are surprised by the number of eggs they retrieve - that they retrieve more then they were even expecting based on my follicles.  What a miracle that would be.  We're praying for many, many eggs to be found and all in excellent shape ready to be fertilized.
Here is a picture of what Dave and I get to see on the screen once the ultrasound is completed. So, the tech measures the follicles length and width and then takes the avg. of the follicle which is the number you see on the far right.  The numbers on the screen are in cm but follicles are recorded in mm which is what I've been recording on my blog.

The plan:
Tonight I will trigger ovulation.  
Medications:  Novarel-10pm, Lupron-11pm.  
I will take my last Dexamethasone tonight and my last Gonal-F.  Yeah!!!!
Tomorrow I will go in for blood work and repeat Lupron at 11am.  
And we are set up for retrieval at 9am for Thursday morning.   Very ready for this day to arrive!!!

Tonight we went out to some local shops and enjoyed walking around and eating some gelato!
A little too big for my style.
And this is why Dave here makes thins trip journey easier to go through- he's always making me laugh somehow.
Trying on hats at a local store.
Gelato at Paciugo's. Very good!
Today's appointment went well.  We are very close to triggering ovulation.    I just got the call from the nurse though who reported Estrogen level which is still slowly creeping and currently at 797. They still would like this to be at 1000, so that means no triggering tonight.   

Follicle Sizing:
(1) 20.3mm
(1) 17.3mm
(1) 16.4mm

Estrogen level:  797  (they want this near 1000) 
Uterine Lining:  8.3mm  ( Yes, one of the ultrasound techs had told us 14mm a few days ago- which apparently was way off.  But above 8mm is good)

Plan:  Tonight I will go back down to 300iu of Gonal-F, 2 vials of Menopur, and 1 injection of Cetrotide.  That's 3 injections in my poor tummy.  Not looking forward to that but the doctor thinks this will help me finish stimulating and reach 1000 by tomorrow morning.  Since I've run out of meds again Dave and I will be heading back to Todd's pharmacy before they close today to pick more up.  And then hopefully we will trigger for sure tomorrow.  I feel like it keeps getting delayed but we want to do what's best for those eggs growing in there!!!

My nurse told me today any follicle over 15mm by the time we trigger ovulation is usually a mature egg.   That was encouraging to hear!  We should have 3 mature eggs to retrieve when the time comes.  I pray that these are super, healthy, perfect eggs and that they all fertilize perfectly and continue to grow miraculously inside of me.  Those 3 little eggs growing in there are so precious to us already.  We have worked very hard to get them to where they are.  

Thank you for your prayers- I slept through the night last night without any arm or leg pain- this is truly an answered prayer because I have not been sleeping well due to pretty significant arm and leg pain (they suspect a side effect of the medications).  It has been keeping me up and literally just makes me lay there thinking about everything even more which is not good.  It was soooo good to get a good night's rest.  I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go this morning.  

A good friend shared with me a very simple but good prayer to pray as we are going through this.....
We know you can God, but we ask that you will.   
Her and her husband are also going through the infertility journey as well.   I love the simplicity of this prayer- We know God is capable, He is all-powerful and He is capable of performing miracles.  What we pray for is that He will bring this miracle into our lives, that He will allow it to happen for us. 
We pray Lord that you will give us the gift of a beautiful healthy baby! 


Dave and I went to the Rock for lunch today.  It was pretty good.  

Easter appointment

Our appointment today consisted of another ultrasound and estrogen level.

Follicle Sizing:

(1)    19.5 mm

(1)    16mm

(1)    15 mm

Estrogen Level:  649  ( they really want this to reach 1000)

There are still a few other small ones that have pretty much stopped growing.  So, we’re pretty much hoping for 3 good size follicles at this time.  Praying that each follicle has an egg inside that can be fertilized successfully and be transferred at the end of this week.    I was extremely tearful today after our ultrasound because I feel like throughout this past week our follicles have diminished.  I have had a different ultrasound tech at each visit and I know they all do measurements a little different as well, so that has been a little frustrating.   Dave and I talked with them today about our frustration and felt a little better after getting if off our chest.  They simply can’t provide the same ultrasound tech for each patient due to people’s vacations and time off etc.  I understand being a nurse, but it’s just been hard getting different results each day and feeling like we’re regressing rather than moving forward. 

Tomorrow morning we’ll go back in for another ultrasound and estrogen level.  They think I will be ready to trigger tomorrow meaning I’ll do an injection that triggers ovulation.  Once I take the shot, I will go back in about 24-36 hr after for retrieval when the eggs are ready to go.  This looks like it should occur on Wednesday so I’ll keep you posted on updates of course!

This morning we had our appointment at 745am and then Dave and I went to Grace Chapel in Englewood, Co for church service.  It wasn’t the same as being back at our home church in Brentwood, TN, but it was good to be around fellow believers on this extremely special day!

 Last night we were able to go to the production of The Thorn at  Denver University.  The Thorn is the  Passion meets Cirque du Soleil.  Thorn Productions is a multi-faceted non-profit organization committed using the creative arts to share the love of God with a sight and sound generation. The core of their ministry is the live stage production The Thorn. The Thorn Live uses narrative, visuals, movement and music to tell the story of the Cross. Often described as The Passion meets Cirque du Soleil, the show has expanded over the years to include aerial acrobatics, pyrotechnics, dynamic visuals and special effects.  Dave and I really enjoyed going to see the production while we were here.  It was really neat to go the night before Easter as we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection.  As always watching the passion of Jesus Christ brought me to tears as I watched our Lord go through the suffering and painful, public death by crucifixion.   It’s always hard for me to watch that and yet it’s so good to watch to remind me that it was my sin that put him on that cross.  It was I that he died for and it was I that he has given eternal life through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ.  The Easter Story is a story of hope.  As we sat there last night and watched, I was filled with hope- The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Gospel message and, perhaps even, the meaning of the life: that there is hope. No matter how dark it gets, there is a light that shines. That’s why they call it “The Good News”, and it should inspire us all and give us all hope.  

I pray that on this Easter Day, we all remember our God is a God who gives hope.   We all have areas in our lives that we feel are dead and hopeless, but despite how “final” these situations may feel,  God provides us with hope- a  fresh start.    As we remember the resurrection of Christ, the most powerful and hope filled story,   I am so thankful to know that hope and believe God can provide it no matter how hopeless our situation may seem.   
Dave and I stopped at Colorado Christian University and took a few pics after church today.  The weather is so beautiful and we enjoyed being outside most of the day! 

Saturday Appointment.

Yes, we had an appointment today on Saturday and we also have one tomorrow on Easter.  It’s crazy to think that we’re going to a doctor appointment Easter morning but I guess they don’t close due to timing of different cycles and women always needing monitoring during their IVF cycles.  It's odd to get up Easter morning and go to the dcotor before church service, but we'll do what we gotta do.

Ultrasound Results: Follicle Sizes:

(1)    16mm

(1)  15 mm

(1)  13 mm

(1)  12mm

(1) 6 mm


Estradiol level: 515--- slowly rising. 
Uterine Lining:  14mm  -  (above 8mm is very good)

I was extremely emotional today after results.  I guess mainly because I had a 16mm yesterday which means it didn’t really grow much since then.  I was frustrated to hear that there are still several small ones as well.  The nurse reminded me that it gives some of the smaller ones a chance to catch up to the larger follicle, but it was still a little disappointing to see the slow progress I am making.  I know the doctor didn’t expect me to respond really well but I was hoping they would be able to somehow get me to respond better here.    

The plan is to increase my Gonal-F injection tonight from 300iu to 450iu.   Since I ran out of this medication and the pharmacy couldn’t ship it to us on time here in Colorado, Dave and I ran to Todd’s Pharmacy here in Denver to pick an extra 900iu pen up to last for 2 more nights.  We’re hoping that’s all I’ll need but depending on my response over next couple days I may need yet another one.  I have also started taking the Cetrotide injection twice daily to prevent Ovulation from occurring prematurely.  If ovulation occurs before they retrieve the eggs, the entire process is pretty much ruined, so it’s very important we delay that for now.   The reason we have to delay it is because we’re hoping to give these follicles more time to grow and mature.  They are thinking Monday will be trigger day- in which I will take another shot to trigger ovulation and then possibly retrieve eggs Wednesday and do the transfer Saturday.  

We are slightly behind schedule as I was hoping to make it my sister’s wedding shower In Indiana on Saturday.  It’s sad to miss out on some of these things I really want to be a part of, and I know she has been extremely understanding with all of this, but I still wanted to be there.   After getting results today and realizing I probably won’t  be making it home for my her  shower,  I walked out of the clinic crying.   This whole process is frustrating and I know I can’t think about how unfair it all really is, but in the midst of these cycles with multiple shots and their lovely side effects, daily appointments, and the frustrations of having to do this and miss special events starts to really drain me.  I’m so glad Dave is here with me to help keep me positive and thinking about the amazing gift God has for us in the end of all of this.   We also know we are blessed to have so many friends and family encouraging us along the way while we’re here.  Your words of encouragement, prayers, emails, facebook messages mean so much to us!  You’ll never know the impact of your words you send our way- they truly keep us going! 

Last night, my friend Terri who we are staying with, invited me to go with her, her sister, her sister-n-law, and mother to Cocktails and Canvas.   It’s similar to our Paint & Canvas, or Uptown art Uncorked back home.  It was so good to get out and have a little fun!   Terri’s been great distracting me and getting me out.   We had a fun time painting while the guys stayed back and watched a movie.  It was a fun night and a great way to take my mind off everything. 

Terri & Karen Painting.
Karen's painting, Tulips in Bloom.
The whole crew of us.
Here are our lovely paintings.  I’ll admit I didn’t want to paint the chosen painting of the night, so for the first time I ventured out and chose a different painting to paint on my own.   In the spirit of Easter, I chose a painting of tulips that I will put up every Easter now at home for decoration.  It turned out pretty decent.