The Second Baby Project

A while ago when we announced we were pregnant, I promised to share the story of our second round in our IVF journey…First of all, as I am typing this, I can’t believe it has been this long already, this pregnancy has flown by!  I kind of had a big awakening a couple days ago on how quickly these next few weeks are going to go.  When I was pregnant with Jacob, by this time, I already had my bag packed for the hospital, a Pediatrician lined up, I had most of my checklist completed, car seat installed, etc…So in a frantic moment I called our Pediatrician to see if there was anything I needed to do to add another child to his patient base, thankfully, since we are already established with them, I just have to give them a call when we are ready to schedule his first check-up.  I told Justin we needed to get the infant car seat back out so I can wash the cover and at least have that ready to go.  I don’t even have a checklist and I can tell you right now, it’s not going to happen, we are winging it this time around.  Although, hopefully, I’ll get my hospital bag packed before my water breaks or contractions start!

I also wanted to get this blog post done before our little guy arrives.  As I have said before, the reason I chose to share our journey is because the stories of other people who have been through this gave me comfort and strength to go down that road.  Since I’ve started this blog there are at least 3 (that I am aware of) women that I have been in touch with who are navigating their own way through IVF.  And I have been able to share stories with them, laugh with them and give them as much support as I can.  That makes me feel good, that is what it is all about. I hope there are more women out there who have found comfort & strength in our story, so I have been taking the time to write about our second go at it and you can read it here or by clicking on the Second Baby Project link at the top of the page.

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers!

The home stretch

31 weeks pregnant!

I’ve had two checkups since my last pregnancy update and all continues to look good!  A little over a month ago I had my gestational diabetes test and according to my doctor my results came back “perfect”.  Guess I don’t have to admit to her that the night before my test I baked a double batch of cookies 🙂  She measured my belly, weighed me, took my blood pressure and listened to the baby’s heartbeat and told me to come back in 3 weeks.  I went back two days ago and they checked everything again and all continues to be good.  Now I go every 2 weeks for a month and then weekly until he comes!  We are getting close, I can’t believe that in 2 months we will be a family of 4!

In the past month I really have started to feel more pregnant.  Before I was moving along and doing things like normally would.  But now I am feeling the extra weight of my belly, it’s getting harder and harder to bend over or get up off the ground and I am finding my energy level is declining, my back hurts and I am out of breath quicker than usual.  A couple days ago I was having some Braxton Hicks which woke me up early in the morning, but haven’t had anymore since. It’s all normal stuff, but it seems to be intensified since I am chasing a 2 year old around this time.

Speaking of our two year old, Jacob was having a discussion with grandma when she was here last and during their discussion Jacob decided that mommy has a BIG belly and grandma has a little belly.  Since grandma left he loves to point to me and say mommy BIG belly and then point to himself and say little belly.  He thinks he’s so cute…who am I kidding, of course he’s cute!

A fun thing about this point in pregnancy is I am noticing how much bigger and stronger our little guy is getting.  Instead of a kick here and there I am feeling him stretch and roll to make more room.  He still kicks me and they are starting to make me jump since there is a bit more power to his kick!  He also gets the hiccups every once in a while, but not nearly as often as Jake used to.

Here’s a picture from last week of my 30 week belly.

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Pregnancy update

It’s been a while since I’ve done a pregnancy update and I’ve had a few appointments in the last month and a half, so here’s an update on our little guy.

At the beginning of December, I went in for my check up at 20 weeks (halfway!) and all looked good!  I asked my doctor about what the “specialty OB” doc said about my baby measuring big.  And he said, he could have grown a lot during this last growth spurt, and may not grow as much during the next growth spurt and could average out.  It doesn’t mean anything and baby is healthy.  Both the specialty OB doc and my doc said they wanted me to have a fetal echo done at 22 weeks to do more extensive check up on the baby’s heart.  It is a routine test they do on frozen embryo babies and nothing to be concerned about.  So I made that appointment and went on my way.

Here is a picture of my 20 week belly.

A couple of weeks later I went back to the specialty OB office for the fetal echo and they pretty much checked everything that they looked at last time I was there, but spent a lot more time looking at the heart.  They checked the left side, right side all the chambers, blood flow, heart rate, etc… and all is functioning normal.  The ultrasound tech kept saying that he was a very cooperative baby since she was able to see all the areas she wanted to check very well.  Here’s to hoping he continues that trend once he’s born! I asked about his size since he was measuring big at my last visit and she said he’s within the normal range, actually to be specific she said he’s 1 lb 3 oz.  She gave me some more pictures of our little guy to take home. Here he is with his left arm up by his face.

22 wks

And finally last week I had another check up with my OB. All continues to be well. My doc said both baby and I look healthy and on track.  It was a bit of a reality check when I was getting ready to leave and the nurse gave me the paperwork to “register for my stay at the hospital.”  Yikes!  It’s creeping up on me! I can’t believe soon I will be starting my 3rd trimester.

And here is my 24 week belly.

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Because “I am going to be 35…”

Usually around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy your doctor will order you a fetal anatomy scan where they do an ultrasound to check the baby’s organs, measure the head/limbs, check the blood flow and just make sure everything looks good.  When I was pregnant with Jacob I just went to an ultrasound tech that was in the same building as my OB.  However, now that I am “going to be 35 years old when I deliver” (a phrase I am hearing a lot these days…) my OB sent me to a “Specialty OB” office to have my fetal anatomy scan.  Simply only because of my age.  I understand that the older the woman is there are more risks involved and they just want to check and make sure that all is well or be able to prepare you if all is not well.  As often as I hear the “going to be 35 years old when I deliver” I also remind them that my 35th birthday is only 13 days before my due date, so there is a chance I may still be 34 when this baby arrives, it is not like I am over the age of 35 yet.  Plus…since this is a frozen embryo pregnancy, then the baby was technically conceived when I was 32.  Anyway, it doesn’t bother me, if anything it gives me a peace of mind.

Yesterday morning was my ultrasound appointment.  When I was pregnant with Jacob the ultrasound tech kept the screen hidden from me and didn’t talk to me or tell me anything while she was doing it, until at the end she gave us a look at him and said he looks good.  This time around the ultrasound tech allowed me to see what she was looking at and explained what she was measuring or looking for, etc… and everything looked great!  Just like my last pregnancy we declined the genetic testing and the amniocentesis. The doctor came in and talked to us and confirmed that everything looks good and one thing we talked about was that the baby was measuring big, 10 ounces to be exact, which is common for IVF babies.  I didn’t ask what the “usual size” was at this point, but according to What to Expect When You Are Expecting…at 18 weeks the baby is around 5 oz.  So the doctor was predicting that he would probably come early, maybe around April 25th.

Here’s a recent picture of our big guy (yes, we confirmed again that it is indeed a boy, no doubt about it!)

18 wksThey also did a few views in 3D which was kind of creepy looking but kind of amazing at the same time.  Here he is with his hands up by his face.

18 wks 3D

 

Round two

For some reason when I originally posted this, the pictures were showing up sideways on mobile devices, but not on the computer, I’m hoping I fixed it. Sorry!

Life has been pretty busy these days.  It’s that time of year when everyone wants family photos done for their Christmas cards, so my weekends have been filled with photo shoots. Then my week nights are spent at my computer editing the pictures.  Soon I will get my favorite ones up here to share with you.  But before I post about anything else, there is something that I need to share…we are adding another baby to our family!  Yep, we did it again and we are pregnant.  We had one of our frozen embryos transferred in August and baby is due on May 3rd.  I love that date since my grandma’s birthday is May 2nd and my mom’s birthday is May 4th, so it is right inbetween 2 of my favorite women.  However, Jacob was 12 days early, so I am pretty confident this baby will be coming sometime in the end of April.  Who knows…my birthday is 13 days before May 3rd, we could share a birthday, or Justin’s dad’s birthday is April 29th. Anybody want to make any bets??

So far this pregnancy has been really different than last time.  When I was pregnant with Jacob I had very little nausea and it only lasted for a week.  The only “problem” I had was the extreme exhaustion during the first trimester.  Other than that, my pregnancy was a breeze and I loved every minute of it.  This time around I spent the entire first trimester battling some pretty bad nausea ontop of the exhaustion (and throw in the added job of taking care of an almost 2 year old).  I spent many days laying on the floor in Jacob’s room half asleep pointing out toys for him to play with.  I also got sick with a cold twice during that time which was not fun…It was a rough first trimester, but I have turned a corner, the nausea is gone and I am feeling more energized.  My appetite is back which is good since I lost 3 pounds during my first trimester.  Because this pregnancy is so different Justin was convinced we were having a girl.  I didn’t have any strong feeling either way and would be happy with either a girl or a boy.  A few weeks ago we had an ultrasound which brings me to the second half of this announcement…that we are having another BOY!!  I am really excited about that, I love the idea of two brothers running around playing together and terrorizing everything in their path.  I think deep down I was secretly hoping it was going to be another boy.  Somebody remind me of that one day when I am frustrated with the constant messes they make and all their rambunctiousness!

I am having problems with my scanner communicating with my computer, it is a problem I’ve had for quite a while now, and somehow fixing it never makes it to the top of my priority to do list.  So instead of a nice scanned ultrasound picture, I have for you a picture of a picture. He was very active during this ultrasound and kept jumping on my bladder which was fun after drinking the required 24oz of water before the ultrasound.

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Another big difference with this pregnancy is remembering that I am pregnant.  I am so busy with Jacob and everything else in life that I often times forget.  I know what is coming and I know why my body is doing the things it’s doing, but the full reality of it has not hit me and it may not, until I am holding my sweet boy in my arms.  One day I will get the full story on our journey through the second baby project posted.  In the meantime here’s my 16 week belly.

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Twenty Twelve

Yesterday morning at church our pastor asked us to stop and think about the best year of our lives…This was a hard question.  There are so many milestones, accomplishments, vacations and fun things we’ve done over the years it is hard to pick just one.  I was thinking about when I graduated college, all the fantastic vacations we’ve taken, the year we planned our wedding and got married, etc… But then I started thinking about what I’ve learned in those years and how they have changed me as a person, it was really a thought provoking question.  After a few minutes, he asked us to raise our hand if our best year was 20+ years ago, within the past 10 years, 5 years or this last year.  As he was asking I was still deep in thought and then both Justin and I raised our hands when he asked if it was this last year.  We looked at each other, smiled and Justin put his hand on my belly.

As you know from our story, 2009-2011 were some pretty rough times for us.  Sure we took some vacations, celebrated some milestones and had lots of fun along the way, but there was another part of our lives where we were struggling to start a family and it was pretty dark and really hard.  2012 started off pretty hard as well, with some unexpected surprises, surgeries and the stress of going through IVF.  But it worked, and it was all worth it.  Other than the obvious reason that we are pregnant, I also choose this last year as one of the best years of my life because of what I learned about myself, my husband and our relationship.  It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t all fun and games, and we didn’t take any wonderful vacations.  But I know that I married a wonderful man, our relationship is solid and I know that we can survive the hard times hand in hand.  The reconfirmation of that in this past year is also what made 2012 a wonderful year.

I love it when people ask you questions that really make you stop and think.  Usually this time of year, we are busy making plans for our New Year’s Eve celebration.  It becomes more about staying up past midnight, champagne, noisemakers, dressing up and dancing the night away or watching the ball drop on TV, which is great and I don’t see anything wrong with that.  But maybe we should take just a few minutes to stop and reflect back on the year no matter how great or how difficult it was and think about not only what you did, but what you learned about yourself and others, it can really open your eyes and maybe it will help us to make some more realistic resolutions for the new year!

I have a feeling at the end of 2013 I’m going to say that was my best year since we will actually have our little boy in our lives and I know that we have lots of struggles, fun times and learning experiences to look forward to.

Since I cannot do a post without a picture…I’ve waited years to be able to park in the expectant mother parking spaces, and this year I was finally able to do that 🙂

Happy New Year!
Expectant Mother Parking

Why Me?

During the time leading up to our IVF and during the process, there were so many emotions swirling around me bouncing back and forth between excitement, frustration and fear of the unknown.  I had a continuous stream of disappointment for the 2.5 years before and I was convinced that it (IVF) was not going to work and we were going to end up being that couple with no kids, forever.  Which meant we would need to find a new group of friends, you know, the kind of people you can call up at a moments notice to get together without having to think about childcare.  I felt myself starting to dread the family events, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE both sides of our family and enjoy spending time with them, but…it was hard fielding the “so what have you been up too” kind of questions and I got so tired of talking about work because if I didn’t talk about work then I would be forced to talk about our all consuming fertility struggles which resulted in a huge headache because it took everything in me to keep myself from completely losing it and crying from frustration. So it was just easier not to talk about it at all.  When other family members bring their babies to family events it becomes the focus point, which is great, that’s how it should be.  Families grow by making more babies and it is a wonderful thing…except when you can’t have a baby and so desperately want to and it kills you to see the joy in your grandparents or parents eyes when they light up at the sight of a baby and you can’t give that to them.

I spent so much time trying to figure out what my purpose was, I was trying to figure out how I was going to make some kind of change in my life if we didn’t have kids since I was not happy just going to work every day, coming home walking the dog, making dinner, going to bed and then waking up and doing it all over again for the rest.of.my.life.  I guess you could call it an identity crisis, I was depressed at times and clueless to who I was.  It was hard…really hard.  And during that time we did not tell anyone what we were going through, I did not want anyone feeling bad about talking to us about their kids or making their pregnancy announcements or feeling awkward about inviting me to their baby shower or kids birthday parties, we really truly were happy for those people and wanted to celebrate these special times with them.

Other than talking to my (wonderful, loving, supporting) husband as a release, I also turned to a journal.  It was not a consistent thing, but when I felt like I needed to get things off my chest and sort my emotions I would write them down.  They ranged from pure venting, to prayers, to listing the things I had to be grateful for and anything in between.  It really helped me.  Once I found out we were pregnant I stopped.  I think since I started this blog I figured it would replace that.  And I do plan to be honest and truthful about things here and will eventually post more about our journey to get to this point.  But sometimes my thoughts can be pretty random and if I posted them here them you all would think I was crazy!  🙂  Lately I’ve been feeling that urge to start writing in my journal again (don’t worry I won’t give up the blog).  So I got it out and started reading through the pages.  One of my entries had an email print out attached to it that was sent to me by Justin’s Aunt last December.  It was a daily devotional from Truth for Life and it was called ‘Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered?‘  During any busy time (it was almost Christmas!) any emails I receive that require any lengthy reading, extra work or any kind of deep thought just sit in my inbox until I have time to do it, so I didn’t read it right away…But I didn’t delete it, because the subject Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered? was right up my alley and I desperately wanted the answer to that question. God knows I prayed many desperate prayers to him over the years and the big question I had was ‘Why Me?‘ I know God has his reasons for the way things happen, but I so so fixated on why, what was his reason, and if not kids then what, what do I do with myself?? When I had time to sit down and read the email and think about what it was saying, I loved it, it gave me a sense of peace which was what I needed at that time, I printed it up and wrote about it in my journal that night. I love how God is always there even when you feel like he’s not.  Here’s the devotional:

Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered?

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
~Isaiah 30:18

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in the Bible. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia received no answer for a long while. Paul asked the Lord three times for “a thorn . . . in the flesh” * to be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it would be removed, but instead a promise that God’s grace would be sufficient for him.

If you have been knocking at the gate of mercy and have received no answer, shall I tell you why the mighty Maker has not opened the door and let you in?

Our Father has personal reasons for keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty, so that we may learn that God has a right to give or to withhold.

More often the delay is for our benefit. You are perhaps kept waiting in order that your desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if He keeps you waiting, you will see your need more clearly and will seek more diligently, and that you will treasure the mercy all the more on account of the wait.

There may also be something wrong in you that needs to be removed before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps your views of the gospel plan are confused, or you may be relying upon yourself instead of trusting simply and entirely in the Lord Jesus. Or God makes you wait for a while so that He may display the riches of His grace more abundantly in the end.

Your prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while they will be fulfilled to your delight and satisfaction. Do not allow despair to make you silent, but continue to present your requests to God.

*…because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me ~2 Corinthians 12:7

Who knows why we had to go this route to start a family…but I do know that I wanted it more now then when we first started. I even had the thought that I have had such a great life growing up and to this point never really had to deal with any major pain or suffering so this was a lesson to me so I can mature and grow in other ways.  Whatever the reason this process has strengthened my relationship with Christ and maybe that was the reason itself.

One day while shopping this sign caught my eye and it made me think about this, so I bought it and it is hanging in my house as a reminder.

God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, nor sun without rain. 
But he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way.

No matter what you are going through in life God’s grace can carry you through.

Aunt Lee if you are reading this, thank you for sending me that email!  You sent it for a different purpose, little did you know that God was using it in other ways 🙂

XO

The Baby Project

When we were going through the process of starting a family, I was doing research and scouring the Internet for information (I now have a degree in Google!) I found so much information in other people’s blogs where they shared their stories, it was a personal way to relate and connect with others who were dealing with the same frustrations rather than reading all the impersonal medical language that just states the facts.  Yes, the facts are important, but when you are dealing with something that  involves many different variables among different couples, it helps to find someone that has a similar story to you and you’ll learn things that the medical world won’t necessarily tell you.

Looking back on this and rewriting our story for the last 3 years is really kind of crazy.  I remember doing all these things, feeling the emotions, sorting through all the information, wondering if we were ever going to have children and in the end it was all worth it.  I hope that our story provides some kind of hope or comfort to others who may be struggling through this.  I am not looking for any kind of sympathy or a pat on the back from anyone.  As I said, I found  comfort in other people’s blogs and stories and I hope to return the favor.  We don’t get to choose our path in life, but we can choose how we walk the path.  I never thought we would be on this path to start a family, but by leaning on God we held hands and walked the walk.   It makes our baby that much more special to us.

A woman I talked to who also went through her own fertility struggles once told me, don’t worry about the traditional way of doing things, sometimes you have to step outside the box to get the family you dreamed of.  She said this to me 2 weeks before I was starting my IVF medications, and it stuck with me.  A big part of this struggle was coming to terms with the fact that we could not conceive our baby the “traditional way”.  Medicine has come a long way and it is amazing what fertility specialists can do now.   I would not change a thing.  Yeah, it would’ve been nice to not have to deal with all this, but this whole process taught us a lot, and we learned so much about each other that we may never have learned.  It brought us closer than I thought was even possible and I am so thankful for that.

So I added our story “The Baby Project”, you can find it here, or by clicking “The Baby Project” at the top of the page. If you read it, get comfortable, it’s long, it covers 3 years of our lives.