Today in Sunday School we read the story in 2 Kings 4:1-7.  The story is below.
2 Kings 4 :
 1One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.”  2 “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
“Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied.  3 And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. 4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” 5 So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim!
“Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons.  “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.  7 When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”

We were reminded today in Sunday School that God is able to fill our empty jars.  The question remains..........Do I go to the Lord with my empty jars for him to fill them or is my life so busy that I don't take the time to go to him and ask?  As we read the story we see how God provided exactly what the widow needed in a desperate time of need.  If she didn't pay her debts, she was going to lose her children.  But God stepped in and provided.  This story gives me so much hope.  The Lord knows exactly what we need.  Dave and I are in a time of waiting and we need to ask God to fill our jars to the brim while he is preparing us, so when we have children, we can pour into them what God has poured into us.  Now is the time of preparation, God has big things ahead for us and I can't wait!  Lord, overflow my jars.  

So, I started Folistim on Saturday Sept 17 and did 225 units every night thru Sept 23.   Last night I did my Ovidrel shot (to trigger ovulation).  And then tomorrow is the big day for us.  
At my last visit   I had 7 developing follicles.  They measured as follows:
Right ovary:                                                    Left ovary:
15x20                                                                 15x15
10x9                                                                    11x10
14x13                                                                  12x9
So, they like for follicles to be about 18mm, and she said after my last dose of Folistim and then my Ovidrel injection, it looked like there were probably 2 that would be completely mature (18mm).   That doesn't mean that the others couldn't mature, but that was her prediction.  Again, it only takes one follicle with one egg inside to release and meet up with the sperm, but we're trying to optimize our chances with as many follicles as we can get.   Not all follicles have eggs inside them either- all these exceptions to the rule.  

My baseline estrogen level was 42, it then went up to 342 on Wednesday Sept 21, and at the last visit on Sept 23 it had reached 846.  They say your E2 level is 150-200 per mature follicle.  The follicles grow about 1-2mm every night, so we're hoping we've got a few good ones to work with by Monday morning when I go in.  

Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow morning Sept 26 as we will go in for the procedure at 1130am.  Then we wait to find out if anything is growing in there.   
Thursday are my day off, but really Thursdays have become doctor day for me, because I usually end up in some doctor's office-lol.  It's slightly humorous, but believe me I'll be glad when I am not frequently visiting the doctor for this.   Today was one of those Thursdays- It started off with a visit to NFC.  After talking with them yesterday about  trying a cycle with a  bit more aggressive medicine or an FSH med (follicle stimulating hormone) drug similar to what I used when we did IVF.  They got back to me yesterday after getting it approved from the doctor and said we could go forward with an IUI with Folistim (FSH med).  However I would have to come in today for a baseline ultrasound to make sure there were no cysts present from the last cycle.  I didn't think anything of it because I've never had cysts from prior cycles and have definitely never had a problem with overstimulating from the medications.  Usually the problem for me is not stimulating enough. 

I went in this morning and the ultrasound tech informs me that I have a cyst on my right ovary.  I just laid there like you've got to be kidding me.  I almost didn't believe her because like I said it's not like me to get a cyst from Clomid.   I've been on much stronger medication and have never had a problem.  The tech left the room and told me to come out when I was ready so they could discuss it with the doctor.  As soon as she walked out of the room, I began to cry.  All I could think to myself was there's always something.  Part of the downs with infertility are receiving bad news, but for Dave and I, it has always helped us to have a next step in mind.  This was our next step and I felt like she was taking it away.  

I finally came out of the room and sat in the waiting area as I waited for the nurse to come tell me if the Dr. felt ok proceeding with the IUI and medication even though I had a cyst.  The nurse came out and told me they would draw an estrogen level on me and make sure the level was low- if the level came back low they would proceed with the IUI and medication, but if it came back high, then we would have to wait.   My hope returned as I began praying for a low Estrogen level.  She told me she would call me later this afternoon.  Finally around 230 I got a call from the nurse who confirmed my level was only 42. She said they like it to be under 80 to proceed with FSH medications.  So, here we go.  I will begin Folistim Saturday evening thru Tuesday evening and then return to the doctor Wednesday AM for an ultrasound.  At that time, we will see what follicles are developing and when to trigger ovulation for another IUI.  

For now, I'm enjoying this beautiful fall day we have here in Nashville.  It's 'absolutely gorgeous outside.  
Meditating on God's word:  Psalm 138:3:  
When I pray you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.  
God always gives me a song when I need it most.  I think God speaks to me often times through lyrics of a song.  This morning on the way to work I heard Mercy Me's new song, "Move", for the first time.  It was exactly what I needed to hear because my cycle started today.   It's upsetting and sad like every time before, but this time I felt a little more sad.  I had really hoped the acupuncture was working, but it didn't seem to make a difference for this IUI.  I called my doctor to see if she would try injectables with an IUI.  So I'm awaiting her call at this time.  I'm hoping she will try it at least once.   I wish something in me would give, but I still feel so strongly about pursuing this.  I've shared the lyrics of the song below and the youtube video.   The lyrics say exactly what I'm feeling.  

 "Move"  by Mercy Me
I'm not about to give up 
Because I heard you say 
There's gonna be brighter days 
There's gonna be brighter days 
I wont stop, Ill keep my head up 
No, I'm not here to stay 
There's gonna be brighter days 
There's gonna be brighter days 

I just might bend but wont break 
As long as I can see your face 
When life wont play along 
And right keeps going wrong 
And I cant seem to find my way 
I know where I am found 
So I wont let it drag me down 
Oh, I'll keep dancing anyway 

I'm gonna move (move) 
I'm gonna move (move) 
I'm gonna move 

Ive got to hold 'er steady 
Keep my head in the cage 
Everything is about to change 
Everything is about to change 

This hurt is getting heavy 
But I'm not about to cave 
Everything's about to change 
There's gonna be brighter days 

I just might bend but wont break 
As long as I can see your face 

No matter what may come 
Gotta move to a different drum 
No matter what life brings 
Gotta move gotta move to a different beat [x2]

I just might bend but wont break 
As long as I can see your face 
When you're going through the infertility journey,often times you feel alone.  Of course that's not the case, we are surrounded by family and friends who have the greatest of intentions, but it's so hard to relate to someone sometimes if you're not going through it yourself.  I've been that person on the other side sometimes and I know how it is to try to be there for someone but just feel like I let them down because I wasn't experiencing all the emotions they were.  As a Christian, I strive to be there for my friends.  Even when it's something I've not experienced myself, I try to empathize with them.  In nursing school you learn both sides of this- you learn to sympathize or even empathize with the patient, and then you learn to set those healthy boundaries so you aren't emotionally drained with others' problems and take them upon yourself.   I totally understand the balance and how others don't want to be bogged down with my problems, because we all have heavy b and sometimes our own are just about all we can carry.

With infertility, most friends do a wonderful job with offering sympathy.   They feel sorry for you but they do not necessarily understand what  you are actually feeling, partly because they've never gone through it themselves.  As a result of this they feel sympathetic for you because they do not understand the problem or predicament that you are presently having.    Empathy on the other hand takes a little more work.  It often takes going through a similar situation to gain empathy for someone. Empathy can be described as sharing a feeling with someone.   Sympathy is generally expressed to  a person when they're going through a rough time.  Empathy is generally shared with the person as you walk with them through the problem they are dealing with at that time.  You have the ability to imagine how hard it is to be in their shoes, and you are with them during their time of stress.  

I guess this has been on my mind tonight because I just got back from an infertility seminar at our church.  Thanks to a friend who informed me of it.  Up to this point, I hadn't really known of anything to attend to receive support from others who are walking through the same  journey. I've never been surrounded by so many others all at once that are going through exactly what we're going through.  People that are literally walking through the same process as we are- women that have had the same surgeries, procedures, medications, shots, and received the same bad bad news time and time again.   We're  not alone.  I think tonight I learned that there is support out there.   There are so many other very deserving couples out there who want a child just as badly as Dave and I , and they're not getting pregnant either.  Currently 15% of all childbearing couples in the United States are walking the infertility journey.  That's a good amt of people when you think about it.

The group session tonight was very good.  Probably about 20 of us that met- husbands and wives.  It's such a comfort to know there are others out there that truly do understand the pain, the trials, and the longing that Dave and I have been experiencing the past 2.5 years.   They've walked through it too!  Our church is going to actually start a group that meets regularly for anyone walking the journey to gain support and encouragement.  I think that makes such a difference in any difficult circumstance- having others walking alongside you that know exactly what you're going through.  That's one of the main purposes of church, of course number one is to hear God's word spoken into our lives, but I would say that community is right up there.  He provided us with a group of fellow believers to walk alongside of us when we are going through difficult times.    Not just infertility, but any trial we find ourselves in. 

Dave and I are excited to meet with this group again as we walked away feeling supported, encouraged, and normal.  Normal in a sense that everyone else there shares the same struggle we do.    Some have opted to adopt and have beautiful babies, others may choose to use donor sperm or donor eggs, and yet others are still trying to get a diagnosis from their doctor so they can proceed appropriately.   I think sometimes God allows us to walk through things so we can be of help to others.  I am gaining such a heart for women going through infertility.  My heart weeps for them because I know exactly what they're walking through. I don't know how God will use this in my life, but I know that he's growing a passion in me to help those going through what  I'm going through. 

It crossed my mind today when I woke up that today is our half way mark.  In 7 days we will find out if our IUI worked. Bon Jovi's hit song " Living on a Prayer" came to mind as I was thinking oh, we're half way there!   The two week wait always seems like such a long time when in reality it's not.  It's just that during those 2 weeks,  I can't help but  analyze every little pain or  symptom  I might experience  that quite often leads me to believe I'm pregnant, when I'm not.  I'm trying to keep busy and stay distracted from thinking about it.  Dave is out of town this week in Austin for work, but I've had some good quality girl time with friends and that has helped tremendously.  Tomorrow I will get to join Dave in Texas and then Saturday we will go to our first Texas football game together.  I'm so excited.  Getting to experience new things with him is always fun, and that's one of the reasons I can't wait to share in the experience of having a baby together.     

So, Dave as the words of the song speak it so well.............
We've got to hold on to what we've got
'Cause it doesn't make a difference
If we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - we'll give it a shot

Oh, we're half way there
Livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear
Livin' on a prayer.

Dave and I have come to a point in our lives when we feel unsure of where we belong.  We don't have kids but we want kids.  Many of our "friends" are not ready for kids and the issue of infertility doesn't have a place there.  But then there are the couples we really like that have children.  Their lives are so completely different from ours because of this and again we find ourselves stuck in this odd place.    Where do we belong?  What's wrong with us?   

I've come to realize the past few months as we have been slightly consumed with infertility stuff that  my friendships are not what I thought they were.  In college I had a group of friends- we were all in nursing school together- we did everything together.  I also had some pretty amazing college roommates.  Then I moved here to Nashville and I had more amazing roommates that took me in and became fast friends.   There are also the lifetime friends I've known for many, many years and with whom even though we don't talk daily, when we get a chance to talk, we easily pick right back up where we left off.   I also have my amazing sisters who will always be my best friends because they know me so completely and understand me.   

After I got married, many of my friends also got married and moved away.   Dave and I joined a Sunday School and made friends with those in the class.   We hosted parties and invited others to hang out frequently.  We've known some of them for years now and I guess I always thought that the feeling was mutual.  When you're going through a tough time in life I think it really opens your eyes to who your friends really are.  In the past several months Dave and I have not been as "social".  Life was full of doctor's appointments, bed rest, medications, etc.   I was so burned out of always inviting people, asking people out, etc.  and decided to take a break from the initiating.    Sadly, instead of others taking the initiative and calling us or inviting us out, we found no response in return at all.    Lives went on around us, and those "friends'' we thought we had kept hanging out and either chose to  leave us out or "forgot" to call us.   It seems like everyone else has friends and were the only ones that have been left out.   I just don't understand, it's so hurtful. It's  opened my eyes to the harsh reality that I need to re-evaluate the "friends" in my life.

At this point in life, I'm over the cliches, the gossip, the games.   I'm ready to start a family.  I enjoy hanging out with my husband.   I don't need hundreds of friends, I've never been one to count quantity for anything.  I've always cherished having a few extremely close "quality" friends and even though I still have those friends out there, they're not here, and I really miss that.  My prayer is that I can be that kind of friend first so that I can attract the friends I'm looking for.  None of us our perfect and I want friends who can be imperfect with me.   I want friends who really want to hang out and don't just call to be nice.   I want friends who say what they mean and mean what they say.   I don't want "nice", I want "real". 

As we go through this journey together God has grown us and taught us so much.  I know one of the things he's teaching me is I need to be a better friend.  I can't expect those friendships in my life until I become that friend.  I need to put aside "expecting" from others and open my heart instead to "give".  

Lord help me the friend I'm looking for.   

Yesterday I went in for my ultrasound- we've got one very nice looking follicle measuring a good size and one lagging just behind it.  The doctor said I was ready to be triggered so they gave me my Ovidrel shot and was told to come back today for the IUI.  I got a strong positive test last night that I am definitely ovulating, so we're ready to do this thing:)   

The procedure will take p lace at 1130am today. If you think of us please say a prayer.  

My positive ovulation test. We're ready!!!!