Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End...

WOW! As 2008 turned into 2009 I never imagined the mountains we would have to climb. This year brought us month after month of challenges, but ultimately we are stronger today because of them.

Here is our year end review:

January: We were full of hope as 2009 started. We made the decision to go ahead with our frozen IVF transfer and prepared for it with doctor visits and a procedure to check my uterus. All was looking good until January 6th. A call from our previous RE brought news that I was a carrier of CF. That was devastating to me...but, after a few hours of digging and an additional call to the doctor it was revealed that I actually had CF defined by 2 present mutations. That moment would change our year...and our lives forever.

February: We kicked off our Team Chunky Monkey fundraising for The March of Dimes in February and had a wonderful response. February also brought Ellie's first serious illness and our first and second trips to Texas Children's Hospital because of it.

March: March brought beautiful weather and RODEO time! We were lucky enough to take Ellie to the rodeo twice and she had a blast. It ended with Ellie getting chicken pox and me in the hospital with a virus! The big scare of March was the visit to the orthopedic surgeon to check on Ellie's irregular gait. The doctor was very knowledgable and suspects that Ellie has a very mild form of CP. He recommends we let her continue to develope and check her again at 4 years of age.

April: April was a good month! It brought our Team Chunky Monkey crawfish fundraiser, the March of Dimes walk, my 31st birthday and B's favorite time of year...the NFL draft!

May: May means Mother's Day. I love being blessed enough to celebrate this day, but it's always hard without my Bennett. May also brought the long awaited for headstone for our little man. It would take us a few weeks, but it would become clear to us that we had overlooked the death date on Bennett's headstone...a minor bump in the road. B had a business trip to Scottsdale, AZ and Ellie, Biddie and I tagged along so we could visit with Aunt Courtney. It was an amazing trip and we all had a blast! We ended the month with a visit to our new fertility doctor and came out with the diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder that would affect any future pregnancies.

June: Aside from Father's Day being in June...the rest of the month was a nightmare. June meant that Bennett had been gone for 2 whole years...2 years of grieving the loss of our precious little boy. It also brought the results of Brandon's CF screen...it revealed that B was in fact a carrier of a very rare CF mutation. We were devastated and we knew this would impact our chances of having another biological child.

July: We spent July having fun with our growing little girl and friends and family. We also spent it waiting to hear the results from our DNA probes...

August: In August we took a family trip to Sea World with my best friend and her family...it was fantastic! However, the next week Ellie ended up with an upper respiratory infection and a week later our lives were rocked when Ellie was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis...because she spent so much time being sick and she was currently getting over being ill, they were nice enough to get us right in to see the pulmonologist. We fell in love with the CF team and I knew our baby was in good hands.

September: Ellie had her very first hair cut in September and we FINALLY started our 2nd IVF journey. The month was filled with ultrasounds and blood draws and all was looking good.

October: October started with some disturbing news. An ultrasound tech reported that my follicles had not grown as much as they needed to in order to continue on with our IVF cycle. We were heartbroken and scared, but a follow up a few days later revealed that all systems were a GO!!! On October 5th we had our egg retrievel and on October 10 we transferred 2 embryos. Six days later I took a home pregnancy test and it was POSITIVE! I was blown away...truly shocked and overwhelmed with greatfullness. On October 19th, our pregnancy was confirmed ~ it was one of the best days of our lives. Two weeks later we had an ultrasound to confirm a viable pregnancy and we actually got to see the heart beating...it was a beautiful site.

November: We spent the first part of the month enjoying our little girl and our growing miracle and then we got a little surprise on November 17th when I was diagnosed with another SCH. The second half of the month was spent on bedrest, but our little sticky bun was still growing!

December: B turned 32 the first week of the month!!! Ellie turned 3 the second week of the month and the third week Ellie became super sick. After 4 trips to the doctor B finally ended up spending a night at Texas Children's with our little angel. She had viral pneumonia, a head cold and cultured e-coli in her sputum culture...but, we made it through and we are all doing great now.

Recapping 2009 makes me realize how far we have come. Some months seemed to be filled with challenges, but after all of that here we stand. We are all healthy, we are all happy, we have a beatiful little girl, an angel watching over us and a miracle baby on the way. I am praying that 2010 will bring us the blessing of a new life and good health for all of us. I have learned that life is not without challenges, so we will be waiting for them as they arise.

I pray that 2010 brings abundant blessings and happiness to all of you! Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve and a relaxing New Year's Day!!!

Blessings,
Angie

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Because now she is 3...

I recently realized that the reason I started my blog was so I wouldn't feel as guilty for NOT starting a scrapbook. This blog and our previous babysite were ways for me to document Ellie and Bennett and keep a running record of how they were changing and growing. When Bennett died this blog became my venting space...a place I could write the things I couldn't admit outloud.

Now I feel like maybe I missed all of Ellie's second year...the cute things she says and does on a daily basis, basically the things most mom's scrapbook. So, I am going to try and catch up on Ellie and all of her funny little personality traits!

Now that Ellie is 3 I see such a change in her.

*Ellie carries on full (and I mean FULL) conversations with everyone and anyone!
*Ellie is totally potty trained and always wants to use the restroom "all by myself"
*Ellie is active (most public school teachers might even say HYPERactive)
*Ellie loves music. She has a piano, flute, guitar and drum set and sometimes we are lucky enough to have her play them all in one day!
*She loves to ride her bike, ride on her rollerskater, play with her bubble machine; basically she loves to play outside!
*She is the most (I am biased) loving and compassionate child I know.
*She is super independent...which reminds me of ME!
*She knows right when she has done something wrong and she promptly says, "I'm sorry mommy...I love you." and it works most of the time!
*She LOVES to play in her room with the door closed like such a big girl
*She loves to help mommy cook in the kitchen ~ if I am in the kitchen she is on her stool helping.
*She will eat anything you make for her, but she L.O.V.E.S soup of any kind...even the hot and sour soup from chinese take out!
*She does her neb treatment without any complaints and she will take any medicine she is on with no issue. (She did protest the e-coli meds at first, but I don't blame her they were like cement!)
*She is going to be a TALL girl! She is in the 91% for her age!!!
*She is usually at the 50% for her weight which makes the CF clinic very happy, but she has recently lost a lot of weight because she has been so sick. I am a little worried about our next CF clinic in 3 weeks...maybe I can get her to gain it back by then!
*It takes me almost as long to get her ready in the morning as it does myself.
*Her hair is so curly you have to go through this routine: wash and condition with special products. Gently comb and put in her soft foam and then diffuse it...and squinch as you diffuse...it is CRAZY!
*Ellie loves to look like a put together princess and she will wait for her hairbow and then look in the bathroom mirror and say, "Do I look beautiful mommy?" and YES she always does!
*If we are at home Ellie refuses to wear clothes and only wants to wear her jammies. This kills me because almost all of her outfits come from boutiques and she looks adorable in them! However, we wear our cute "jammies" with our slippers at home ~ this will change post deilvery!
*Ellie is obsessed with our ears. It comforts her to rub on our ear lobes...or pull them which hurts like crazy!
*Ellie is also obsessed with her umbrella! She waits for it to rain so she can play with it!
*Ellie is a smart little girl which I hope will make home schooling an "easy" transition for us...even though I taught for 5 years I am still nervous about teaching her and whether or not she will learn what she needs to.
*Ellie loves her dogs "Boskers the Moskers" and "Baggie" (Bo and Gabbie)
*Ellie still sleeps with us and we LOVE it. She is a cuddle bug and we know there will be a day that she wants to sleep in her own room ~ and we will be right there to support her when she makes that decision.

I know I am missing a million other little facts about Ellie and it is my goal to keep track of them from now on. She is amazing and she is a miracle. She is the love of our lives!!!





**We have decided that NOW is the time to start our pre-k homeschool program with Ellie and I came across the most amazing FREE resource for all of you mom's debating an at home program. As a "retired" teacher I am impressed with how complete this program seems to be and obviously how easy it will be to suppliment additional activities I have in mind. Here is the site: http://letteroftheweek.com/about_us.html

Happy teaching!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

14 week check-up

Well, I got out of the house yesterday...even if it was just for my check-up!

Biddie is still getting better, so my mom went with me and we took Ellie. It was fun to get dressed up and have lunch at Escalante's before the very brief visit from the doctor. I felt normal for the first time in a long time...well, a little normal anyway!

I got right in with the nurse when we arrived and she promptly weighed me (why did I eat so much at lunch?) and then we got to listen to the baby's heart with the doppler. I think they expect this to be such a fun moment, but truth be told I purchased a doppler when I found out we were pregnant because I knew being able to listen to the heartbeat before I could feel any movement would provide me with a sense of peace. However, Ellie LOVES to listen to the baby's heart and my mom had never heard it, so it was a fun experience. As I laid down on the table Ellie said, "It's okay mommy, it won't hurt and you will be okay." How sweet! Can you tell she has been to the doctor a time or two!

The heartbeat was at 162 beats per minute. At 10 weeks pregnant with the twins they both had a heart rate of 166...so, still no defining info to point toward girl or boy for sure. (except my mother's intuition...which we will get to put to the test in a few weeks!)

We waited for the doctor to get back from a delivery and she was in and out with no new news. They tested for any infection lingering from the cerclage and we will know results in about 4 days. I asked her if she was going to check the cervix and her response was, "The less we dig aroung in there the better..." so, I guess we will just wait to see what the perinatologist says in two weeks.

Yes, finally we are only 2 weeks away from our meeting with the peri! I am thrilled because I will see him once a month and he will do ultrasounds each time. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will have a nice nurse and MAYBE we will get to peek at the "goods." Also, because I will be seeing the peri now it means that I have a doctor visit every two weeks. I feel a sense of reassurance being able to be seen so often because it gives me a chance to bring up every concern I have often.

I am thrilled to be at 14 weeks! Truth be told, I am thrilled when each day ends without incident because it means we are one day closer to viability...which is still about 10 weeks away. I know I will get there and beyond for that matter. So, in the meantime I will continue to sit here on this couch and be the best incubator I can be!

How far along: 14 weeks 1 day (or 14w3d according to my Ob)


Total weight gain/loss: Up 2 pounds, but I'm blaming the mexican food I ate for lunch!


Maternity clothes: Yes - and comfy lounge clothes. Mimi bought me a few cute tops yesterday that I can wear at home to make me feel a little "prettier" than my sweats do.

Stretch marks: Left over from the twins! I am thinking I can't possibly get anymore!


Sleep: I have had a few good nights of sleep. Having B at home for the holiday was great because I didn't have his alarm to wake me up!

Best moment last week: Christmas! It was such a beautiful moment when I realized that we will have 5 stockings hanging on our mantel next year.

Symptoms: Frequent urination, fatigue, horrible heartburn!

Food cravings: Anything salty. I am loving apple juice and anything with jalapenos on it. I can't stand the thought of chicken at all! I am not much of a meat eater, but for some reason I can't wait for B to go to the store and get sausage...with cheese in it! Sounds disgusting, but I can't wait to eat it as my pork "tradidtion" on New Year's Day with my jalapeno black eyed peas and sauted cabbage...my mouth is watering!

Gender: I still think it is a little girl. This baby has a very calm personality just like Bennett did. I teeter back and forth, but I have felt girl from the beginning, so I'll stick with it!

I miss: Not one thing! I love being pregnant. It is the most amazing experience and I would do this 5 more times if I could. I do wish though that I could be the cute pregnant girl walking around the mall or going to the grocery store...but, I'm just as happy being the pregnant girl on the couch!

What I am looking forward to: Getting dressed up for my next doctor's appointment to the peri on January 12th. I am going to start taking pictures of each doctor day, so at least I'll have some cute belly bump pics.

Milestones: Being in the 2nd trimester! Yeah for 14 weeks!

Prayers: That my subchorionic does not continue to grow (it did get larger from .90 to 1.3.) That my urine culture comes back negative for any infection following the cerclage. That my cerclage is all my body needed to keep this baby growing until 36 weeks. I pray that the bleeding does not begin and that my body will heal itself and reabsorb the blood clot. I am praying for a big, fat baby to keep growing quickly and ahead of schedule because if this body doesn't cooperate we will need a big baby to handle the prematurity!

Thank you for sticking with us through this journey! Your prayers comfort us as we anxiously make it through each day.

Blessings,
Angie

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family Time

I love the holidays. I love the decorations, the lights, the food, the shopping and even the wrapping.

This year it was difficult to feel as much excitement because there were so many things I couldn't do. I didn't get to shop while they played the Christmas music and I didn't get to pick out the perfect gifts for each member of the family...I didn't even get to do my perfect tree topper bow with streamers. This left me a little sad as Christmas Eve came to an end.

However, I realized as B, Ellie and I relaxed all day on Christmas Day that it was all perfect despite all of the things I didn't get to do. Ellie was thrilled to see that Santa had come to visit her and B and I had a great time opening gifts from each other (thanks to a little help from my personal shopper). The best part of this holiday is that we were all together at our house and the reason we got the chance to just relax is because of this little miralce growing inside of me. I thought Christmas Day was perfect, but the next day was even better!

My husband is awesome! He is dedicated to his family, he has a wonderful faith, he is a VERY hard worker and he is probably the funniest person I know. B decided to have an Iron Chef day after Christmas and boy did he deliver!

On Christmas night he started the smoker and put a brisket on at 8pm. He woke up every 2 hours through the night to make sure the meat cooked correctly. On Saturday, after our meat had cooked for 20 hours we had a feast fit for royalty. A perfectly smoked brisket, homemade jalapeno poppers, and delicious salsa.

It was the perfect family day of eating and relaxing. Uncle Dave joined us which made the day even more fun and wrapped up the holiday on such a wonderful note.

I am sad that this holiday season is almost over, but I am so excited for the wonderful times we have ahead in the next few months...family time with our newest family member!

Blessings,
Angie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Well...that was painful!

Not the cerclage itself...but, the days following have been very challenging!

Let me back up to surgery day. It was an early start, but we were right on time and feeling good about the whole process. A very good friend recently had the same procedure done and she provided a ton of info for me that really allowed me to relax about the whole surgery. I registered, walked back to pre-surgery, changed, listened to our baby's heartbeat and then B and I just waited. At 10:45 they came back with a wheelchair to bring me back to the pre-op surgical area. Only patients were allowed beyond that point, so B made himself comfortable in the waiting room. My IV was started and things seemed to be moving along. Then I noticed that my surgery time had passed, then another hour and then a sweet nurse came to tell me that my doctor had an emergency delivery. Okay...I can understand I have been on the emergency side of delivery before, so I waited patiently. Then another hour...and another hour and keep in mind I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. So, finally at 4:00 my doctor came in and was ready to get the party started. They let B come back and kiss me good luck and then we were off. Surgery went well and I was in recovery about 45 minutes after they took me back. I did have a small problem with my lungs after surgery, but nothing a little albuterol didn't take care of. I was so ready to get out of there, but to be honest if I had been totally with it I probably would have stayed in recovery a little while longer. I didn't wait for the nurse to come get me from my room I just walked up to the desk and by the time I got there I thought I was going to pass out (I blame my impatience on the drugs!). Apparently, I didn't look so good b/c the nurse said that my face had lost it's color and I needed a wheelchair. Finally, we were out of there and on the way we were blessed to run into Bennett's Aunt Charlette. B picked up dinner and finally we were back home and resting and eating for the first time in 24 hours.

Upon arrival, I noticed that Ellie sounded a lot more congested than she had the previous day. We didn't really make a big deal about her sounding worse b/c we were so exhausted. However, at 3am we were surprised with a seriously congested little girl who was running almost a 103 temperature. I really couldn't move, so B gave her some meds and put her in the bath. After about 2 hours of taking care of her we all fell back asleep. We decided to take her to the Saturday clinic to get checked out even though she had already been to the doctor three times that week. There was really no new news from the doctor, but he did prescribe a DM syrup for her congestion.

Saturday turned into Sunday and Ellie wasn't making any progress. Biddie started to sound like she had what Ellie had and I was pretty much bed bound because of the surgery and some bleeding. It was stressful to say the least!

Sunday evening Ellie really seemed to go downhill. She was tired and very congested sounding. By the time we got into bed Ellie was having difficulty breathing. She was wheezing and had developed a croup sounding cough. I was terrified just listening her try to breathe and so we decided that B would have to take her to Texas Children's Hospital. He called the emergency CF clinic number and told them what was going on and asked them to alert the ER that he was on his way with her. As I got her out of bed I noticed that her skin was mottled and her toes were ice cold and pale. She was clearly having trouble oxygenating her blood and I was hysterical because I couldn't be with her as they left. To be truthful, that was one of the toughest moments of my mommy career. Even though B and Biddie were with her I think a mom always feels like only they know what is best for their baby...or at least that is how I feel!

They got to the ER and immediately got into a critical care room. After SEVERAL hours and many tests there was still no real change in her diagnosis. The virus that she had made it's way into her lungs and because of her CF she went from bad to worse super fast. They put her on a new antibiotic and released her early Monday morning...just in time for B to make it home for our 7 year wedding anniversary. Really...our lucky number 7 wedding anniversary! How fitting that it started in the ER!

B came home, his mom went home (b/c by this point she was sounding pretty bad as well) and we all finally went to sleep...and then B was up 2 hours later to make it to work.

So, when I say it's been painful...I mean it has been a pain for all of us! It has been a long week which is unfortunate because it is my most favorite week of the entire year. We are blessed to all be at home and all be on our way to healing.

Despite the many challenges of the last few days we are ready to celebrate the miracle and the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior together as a family. We will have family over on Christmas Eve and then we will enjoy Christmas Day together at home watching Ellie open her gifts from Santa. Our lives are so full and we are so blessed.

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family that we are not fortunate enough to see this holiday season.

"Make a noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise."
Psalm 98:4

Blessings,
Angie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Goodbye First Tri!

I wanted to keep a weekly record of this little survey, but I have had zero time and a broken computer. So, I figure I'll start now and continue it from here!

How far along: 12 weeks 4 days


Total weight gain/loss: Was up 2 lbs, but lost them somewhere! Back to even!


Maternity clothes: Yes - and comfy lounge clothes. Really, I don't go anywhere, so comfort is the key!

Stretch marks: Left over from the twins!


Sleep: Fitful. I fall asleep easily but wake often. Oh, and a sick toddler doesn't help.


Best moment last week: Starting to feel the "twitches" in the belly. I KNOW I didn't feel them as early with the twins, but I didn't know what to pay attention to or what it was supposed to feel like! I love it when I cough b/c it is pretty much a guarantee that the baby will move.

Symptoms: Frequent urination, fatigue, horrible heartburn!

Food cravings: Anything salty. I don't really crave anything. In fact I can't fathom eating the same thing more than once...no leftovers for this girl!


Gender: I think it is a little girl. This baby has a very calm personality just like Bennett did. I teeter back and forth, but I have felt girl from the beginning, so I'll stick with it!

I miss: Not one thing! I love being pregnant. It is the most amazing experience and I would do this 5 more times if I could.


What I am looking forward to: I look forward to every single day ending without any emergencies. I don't want to wish this pregnancy away, but I can't wait to hold a healthy baby in my arms.

Milestones: The end of the first trimester! (almost)

Prayers: That my subchorionic does not continue to grow (it did get larger from .90 to 1.3. That my cerclage goes well and there are no complications. That our little baby continues to grow and remains safe in my troubled uterus! I pray that the bleeding does not begin and that my body will heal itself and reabsorb the blood clot. I really need prayers for my anxiety and constant worries that something is going to happen.

That's it for now! 12 weeks down and with a ton of prayers and some medical intervention hopefully we will have 24 weeks left!

What in the world???

So, Monday didn't exactly end like we had planned for our big birthday celebration. In fact, this week hasn't exactly gone the way we had planned. Fortunately, we are used to this by now and "rolling with the punches" is just how we expect to live life!

On Monday, Ellie arrived home with my mom and looked super tired. I figured the doctor and errands had worn her out, so she cuddled up on the couch to watch her new movie and relax. About an hour later she was yelling at me to help her. When I asked her what she needed help with she said she had to go potty. No biggie! We made it into the bathroom where I took her pants off of her and noticed that her skin was burning up. Her legs were bright red and super hot. So, I took the rest of her clothes off and her entire body was red and burning up. She got off of the potty and went to lay on our bathroom floor...not normal behavior. Obviously, I decided to take her temperature and discovered that Ellie was running 103.3 fever.

After a minor panic attack I called B and asked him to come home right away. I knew Biddy was going to be back soon, but I figured B might need to run her to the doctor...again. I called the doctor and we decided to just try fever control with Motrin and Tylenol before bringing her back in. It worked out well and for the rest of the afternoon I medicated her and watched her fever fall back towards the normal range.

Even with the fever and all of the meds, Ellie ate like a big three year old that night at dinner, so I figured maybe it was just a fever reaction from the shots.

However, at 2am Brandon woke me up and asked me to feel Ellie's head. She was burning up again! So, we started with the Motrin and Tylenol and I stayed up with her from 3 until the doctor's office opened up at 8:30 and they asked us to bring her in for a CBC.

Seeing as I am on bed rest...B had to play Mr. Mom and take Ellie in to the pedi. They did find an elevated white blood count and he gave her a diagnosis of viral pneumonia. B left with her Rx and headed home. I knew I had to call the CF clinic after this diagnosis and I was sure they would want to see her...and I was praying they would not admit her.

So, after his trip to the pedi and his 3 hours of working at home, B was back off to Texas Children's Hospital. They had x-rays, several cultures and a nasal rinse and they came home with a new list of issues. It seems that Ellie does have a viral infection, but her CF doc didn't want to label it pneumonia b/c it could have also been a strain of the flu. In addition to that she cultured e-coli in her sputum culture and she has a head cold. Really??? My healthy 3 year old that was still running around the house with a 102 fever...it just doesn't make sense.

Initially, I felt so guilty because I was sure the birthday party had played a major role in all of this. However, I really feel like it is my job as Ellie's mom to make her childhood as "normal" as it can be DESPITE her CF. Typically, we follow every single order from our doctors and we avoid most kid gatherings especially this time of year. I struggled with myself over the decision to have a birthday party or not and after I saw how excited Ellie was about getting to have "her" birthday I knew we didn't have a choice. So, I am sure this will be a battle for us every year, but I can't imagine making Ellie feel like she is "different" by not allowing her to have a party. We will just plan on antibiotics this time of year...every year...and we will be following all of our "rules" the rest of the time!

During the whole illness discovery my Dell laptop decided that it was time to retire for good. So, after the "blue screen of death" and the threats to erase my entire hard drive we turned her off and took out her battery. I felt like I was so lost because here my daughter is being diagnosed with some pretty serious issues and I don't even have a computer to research off of. We do have a home PC, but I can't sit up in that room and spend hours researching. So, my wonderful mom went out of her way to buy a new laptop for me and now I am back in business! I never realized how old the Dell was until I got this HP! I feel like I went from the "old school" cell phone to an iphone! It's awesome!!!

Last, but certainly not least...tomorrow is the BIG surgery day! FINALLY!!! It was switched from Tuesday at the outpatient surgery center (b/c I was considered too high risk with my CF and my blood clotting issues) and moved to 3pm on Friday! Really...3pm with nothing to eat for 12 hours??? Do they not realize that I am pregnant? Anyway, I got a call this morning that the surgery had been moved again to 12 noon. Which is better than 3! So, tomorrow morning I will check in at The Women's Hospital at 8am for my 12 noon surgery...and I'll be praying the whole time that all goes well! I am nervous, but only that this surgery will cause something to happen to the baby. I am praying that I won't get an infection and that the surgery itself won't cause me to have any contractions...the more I type the more I realize how I really feel about tomorrow!

So, there it is! Our unplanned, crazy, "Kahl" style week! What would we do without all of the excitement?

I know all of you take such great care of our family in your prayers and we appreciate it. I would appreciate any extra prayers for a healthy surgery tomorrow and a quick recovery!

I'll update when the drugs wear off.
Blessings,
Angie

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Miracles

I really can’t believe this day is here already. On one hand it is so exciting because Ellie is thrilled to finally have her birthday. On the other hand it seems surreal that three years have already passed.

The memories I have from this day three years ago still bring tears to my eyes. It will always remain the absolute best day of our lives.

I remember Brandon overflowing with pride as he ran from my recovery room back to the NICU to video the babies.

I remember the being wheeled into the NICU to see Bennett and Ellie for the first time. They looked so different to me and they were so unbelievably tiny.

I remember Ellie’s black hair and Bennett’s HUGE feet!

In a matter of hours we had gone from a family of two to a family of four and we couldn’t have been filled with any more joy.

It’s amazing how three years can change your life so dramatically. Never in a million years could we have imagined the mountains we would have to climb. The memories we would make…good and bad. The heartache that awaited us and the blessings that were yet to come.

Our last three years of life have been full. Full of laughs, celebrations, hope, love, a little fear and a lot of tears, but above all of that the last three years have been full of faith.

This day is always a balance of happiness, gratefulness and sadness as we grieve Bennett’s absence. What would he look like? What would I have dressed him in? Would he have woken up ornery like Ellie did this morning? What donut would he have picked out for his birthday breakfast?

But, for the first time today on their third birthday I didn’t wake up mourning. I woke up singing to my baby girl. The thought of sadness was outweighed by the atmosphere of celebration I created for her. She is here and she is ours and she is amazing!

Ellie woke up bright and early and a little on the wrong side of the bed! She walked into the kitchen and ate a kolache and a pink frosted donut for breakfast. We snuggled on the couch and then it was time to get ready for her big day. I have had an outfit picked out for months and it looked even more precious on her than I could have imagined! Mimi picked Ellie up and they were off to Ellie’s big 3 year old check up and then to run errands together.

Words will never be able to explain what our two babies have done for our lives. My heart is so full of love and pride for my two perfect miracles!

We will celebrate tonight with Ellie’s favorites…Mac-n-Cheese, tomatoes and cake! A birthday dinner fit for a three year old princess!

It makes my heart a little less heavy to know that Bennett will be celebrating as well and I am sure he will be eating the best chocolate cake ever!

Happy third birthday to our precious angels! You both mean the world to Daddy and me and our lives wouldn’t be full without you!

Catching snowflakes on her tongue!

In her birthday outfit for her gymnastics party.

Sending a birthday balloon to Bubba at her party!

Visiting Bubba with balloons and flowers.

Happy Birthday precious Ellie!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quick update

Ugg...my laptop is broken which is why there have been no updates!

Here is a quick rundown:

*Thanksgiving was chaos, but B did a fantastic job of making it perfect...even if we were frying our frozen turkey at 8pm that night. Thank goodness Mimi had a big turkey for us to roast! We have a million blessings to be Thankful for this year!

*My mother in law has sacarificed her freedom to come and take care of Ellie and me during this horribly difficult time. We are so grateful for her and truly couldn't do this without her!!!

*Doctor appt on Monday was great. We got to see this VERY big baby moving all around and he/she (I think the latter)is measuring 5 days ahead of schedule.

*Still on house rest (couch rest really). No change in the SCH - it didn't look any bigger or smaller. No walking, standing, pressure or strain on the old uterus should allow it to reabsorb the bleed more quickly...please pray!

*I am treating myself to a haircut on Saturday b/c I figure I am only going to be sitting in a chair and it is only a 2 hour break away from home.

*Sunday is Brandon's 32nd birthday!!!

*Next Friday is our NT scan. I am nervous about this and I didn't do it with the twins, but I figure it is a free ultrasound and who passes those up???

*Ellie and Bennett's 3rd birthday is on December 14th! I can't believe it has really been 3 years...unimaginable. We are having a party on the 12th of December and that will be my fieldtrip for the week!

*On December 15th I will be having surgery to stitch my cervix closed(fun times!). The cerclage is supposdly 85-90% effective, but it isn't without some risks. I am very nervous about this and would appreciate any and all prayers you can lift up for us on that day.

If Dell can deliver my computer cord in a timely manner I promise to update with more detail soon...oh, and change my header to Christmas! For now we will stick with a "Thanks Christmas" theme here on our blog!!!

Blessings,
Angie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deja Vu

Today was fantastic!

It was also devastating.

So, here is the skinny on our sticky bun. This baby is amazing! Beautiful (even if it is a little fuzzy and in black and white), big, over achieving, active and it is OURS! Our precious little miracle measured 8 weeks 3 days today (I am 8w1d) and had a very strong heartbeat of 180 bpm. We were also so blessed that we got to see this beauty moving today! Two arms, two legs, a strong beating heart and a forming brain (we go to see the head and what will become the cognitive part of the brain). I am so in love…which is why I am so scared to death of losing him/her.

Why am I so afraid? Well, because today during our ultrasound Dr. D pointed out that I have a subchorionic hematoma (AGAIN). This is the exact clot I had with the twins and the reason I hemorrhaged at 11 weeks and potentially the reason my membranes ruptured at 26 weeks. Here is some info that may answer your questions:

What is a subchorionic hematoma (SCH)? It is a gathering of blood that forms between the membranes of the placenta and the wall of the uterus. They occur in 1.3% of all pregnancies (we are so very lucky!)
Have I started bleeding yet? No, not yet. However, we are expecting it in the next few days and coming weeks.
Will the bleeding/clot hurt the baby? No…not directly. A SCH is basically a placental abruption. So, the smaller the clot the less of a chance you will abrupt a significant portion of the placenta and the better chance you have of reabsorbing to occur. Mine is about .8 mm right now. I can’t remember exactly, but I think mine was 4 cm last time.
What can we do to help it? NOTHING!!! I am totally helpless and this is all in the hands of God (as usual). Most small bleeds will resolve themselves around 20 weeks of pregnancy.

What do we do now? I was released today from my RE, so I got on the phone asap and called my OB. After I told my nurse I had another SCH her words were, “Oh, no!” Just what I wanted to hear!!! She told me she was going to talk to the doctor and call me right back…and she did about 10 minutes later. Her instructions were crystal clear: Get off of your feet, stay hydrated, and stop taking Aspirin. I have been on blood thinners and Aspirin from the beginning of the IVF process b/c I have a clotting disorder (shocker), but now that I am threatening to hemorrhage they want my platelets to get less “lubed” and a little more “sticky.”

So, here I am on the couch. My husband and my baby girl need a lot of prayers because I truly believe this is going to be hardest on them. I was almost eaten by Manny the Man eating Moth, but Brandon saved me from that disaster and now he is off to Subway! What a guy!!! While he was gone Ellie told me to take her hand because she had something special to show me (she wanted me to play Little People with her), but I told her that Mommy and the baby are sick, so she will have to bring her goodies to me on the couch. This is going to be a huge adjustment!

How am I doing? I am so angry at my body right now. I have a perfect, healthy baby inside and my body is failing me once again. I feel so bad having to rely on my unbelievable mother in law, husband and friends because I am so hard headed and I like to think I can do anything on my own. I am anxious…about so many things. I am anxious about when/if I hemorrhage, about making it to my next ultrasound and about how all of this will all end. This is all so much to take in especially after thinking this 1% occurrence would never happen to us again. This is probably one of the worst case scenarios I could be in at this point. We need major prayers and we might need a little help now and then too. I still have faith that this will all turn out great. I made it through the bleeding last time, so I am pumping myself up to do it again. I just hate to put Ellie through the emotional rollercoaster that this is going to be and to add even more responsibility to B’s plate. Pressure upon pressure…

My next doctor visit is on November 30th, so until then I am going to enjoy my family and the Thanksgiving holiday and grow a very healthy baby!

Blessings,
Angie

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sticky bun Update

Yesterday, was our 6 week check up and "confirmation of viability" appoitment and it went great!

My doctor started with this question: How are you feeling?
Me: pregnant, tired, nauseous
Dr: Good! Those are all good signs.
Me: Really? I wasn't sick a day in my entire twin pregnancy and now I find it nearly impossible to get off of the couch or think about making an actual meal. (Unless of course pizza rolls and a can of corn counts...)
Dr: Well, you know they say it gets harder as we get older

There we go again with the older comments!!! They told me not to wait to do another round of IVF after the twins because I would be older and I would not produce as many eggs...FALSE! I produced 6 more eggs this time!

They told me that the quality of my eggs wouldn't be as good this time around b/c I am (gasp) THREE WHOLE years older...FALSE! The quality of our embryos blew our first IVF round out of the water...it was unfortunate that all of our excellent embryos were affected with CF.

I fear, however, that they may be right this time! I am T-I-R-E-D and I mean very tired. That is not a complaint b/c I am so super grateful to be pregnant, but I have never been this tired in my entire life!

Oh, and the nausea. I am a bit of a drama queen...I'll just go ahead and admit that. However, I am not exaggerating at all when I say there are a handful of things that sound good to me to eat. You would think I would be losing weight with the little amount of food I can actually eat. That is NOT the case though!

Our little sticky bun is still measuring one day ahead at 6w2d (I was 6w1d at the appointment), but the very best part of the whole appointment was hearing the beautiful sound of our baby's heart beating. Oh...it takes my breath away to think that there is a perfect little miracle growing inside of my belly right now! He/she grew from .210cm to .517 in just 3 1/2 days and the heart rate was 117-119 beats per minute!

Being the anal one that I am...as soon as I got home I checked the twin’s stats from that point in pregnancy. At 6w2d we had heart rates of 88 and 100. At 7w2d we had 109 and 117 (117 was Ellie) and then they were both 164 at our 8 week appt.

So, this baby has a stronger heart beat than either of the twins did at this stage! Every little step we take I feel more at peace.

B and I talked about what our "gut instincts" are about the gender and we both agree at this point. Yesterday, Ellie wanted a "little broder" and even went so far as to call it a "him" and "he" when referencing the baby in conversation. Only time will tell!

My next appointment is on November 17th and I will be 8 weeks 1 day. I can't wait to see our little miracle again!

Blessings,
Angie

Clown-ing Around!

I'll just hold the shovel...

OKAY...I'll dig in!!!

Squeezing out the seeds

Eeewwwww!

Clowning Around!

Cutest clown I've ever seen!

Mommy's little angel...

and Daddy's little angel!

Dorothy and The Clown

And They're off!!!


Halloween was a real treat this year! (pun intended)

It started with Ellie and Daddy carving two of our pumpkins. It was so funny to watch Ellie and imagine what was going through her head when her Daddy told her to stick her hands in the pumpkin and pull out the seeds…she wasn’t digging it! However, once she tried it she proved to be a real pumpkin digging natural! B got his “top chef” on and decided to divide our seeds up and dehydrate them in the oven and then flavor them with three different flavors. They were delicious! It was a great teachable moment for Ellie, too. She understood that the seeds we were eating came from the work we had done earlier with the pumpkins.

Ellie and her very best friend in the world “Adds” got to walk the neighborhood together as Dorothy and Clown and get candy…couldn’t get much better in the eyes of a toddler! They strolled down the side walk sometimes hand-in-hand and knocked on every door and both said, “Trick-or-Treat” and then “Thank you” and “Happy Halloween.” It was absolutely precious!

It was a very chilly night here, so B started our fire pit in the driveway (don’t judge!...almost all of our part of the neighborhood sits outside in their driveway on Halloween and there were several families that had their fires going!)

We had our mini trampoline in the yard for Adds and Ellie and they had a blast! We got hog dogs and smores to roast over the fire …both of which Ellie thinks were sent straight from Heaven just for her! At about 9:30 both girls had hit their breaking point and I was totally exhausted. I mean barely able to walk into the house and get undressed kind of exhausted! I brought Ellie in and washed off her cute little clown face in the bath and the minute I hit the sheets I was out!

I had a blast with Ellie this Halloween. She has so much love and excitement for life and all that it brings. Each day she makes new connections and it is truly a blessing to watch her grow. I am so in love with my little angel!

Blessings,
Angie

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

My heart skipped a beat...

My heart skipped a beat today when I saw my baby's heart beating inside of me. We have one beautiful baby that is already measuring one day ahead of schedule at 5 weeks 5 days and it had a beautiful and strong heart beat! The tears poured out of my eyes as I laid on the exam table and realized that I was sharing that moment with Brandon and Ellie. We are so very blessed! Ellie was thrilled with the whole experience and said, "It's just like me!" Oh, and today she is claiming to want a little sister...her opinion changes as fast as the weather does in Texas!

We are thrilled and I feel so very safe. I just know I will be bringing a 36 weeker home from the hospital and the thought of that makes me feel overjoyed!

We also had great news about our 2 remaining embryos...they both made it to freeze. So, we might actually have a chance to have another baby in the future. Our remaining embryos are a grade 2 bb and a grade 3 bc. The two embryos they implanted for this IVF were graded 4 bb and 2 bb. (The bb/bc are the quality of the inner and outer cell structures)

Today was a wonderful day. It was a day we have prayed for and that we know you have prayed for as well. We thank all of you from the very bottom of our hearts. We go back on Tuesday afternoon for our next ultrasound and I will get the H1N1 at that time as well...I'm still a little nervous about that!

Blessings,
Angie

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Before I forget...

Warning: this is a ridiculously long post!

I wanted to document the days following our retrieval for my own purpose…God forbid we ever have to go through the harvesting process again.

Following the transfer on Saturday I came straight home and got into bed. My HUGE blessing of a mother in a law (Biddie) stayed with us for almost an entire week in order to help with Ellie and make sure I took it easy. I am very blessed to have Biddie as a mother in law for a million reasons, but the most important to me is that she truly understands what our struggles have meant to us. We have shared many similarities from fertility struggles to the death of a child. It is so comforting to know that we are not alone with our fears and anxiety and no matter what we are feeling we have someone so close that has “been there and done that.”

So, on Sunday it was much of the same…bedrest! However, Sunday night I remember waking up in what I thought was an extreme hot flash. I was soaking wet and even had to change my clothes. I woke up four times that night to use the restroom. On Monday morning I felt very hot on the inside, but I didn’t feel warm to the touch. I had very bad lower back cramps and I was tired. Brandon went to the grocery store to buy a slew of home pregnancy test kits. My goal was to test the hcg shot out of my system, so that when we got a positive test it meant we were actually pregnant. (Ovidrel is a trigger shot that they give you right before egg retrieval in order to make sure your eggs are mature. The shot contains the same hormone (hcg) that is detected in pregnancy tests, so it can give a false positive test if it is not out of your system. I tested with hpt’s until they were negative to make sure the Ovidrel was out of my system, so that if we got a positive test at the end of the week we would know it wasn’t the trigger shot in my system, but actually b/c I was pregnant…are you following??) Monday night I experienced the same hot flash, but it was not as severe as the night before. Tuesday I felt like I was recovering from the flu. I was a little “out of it” and I was very tired. At about 3 that afternoon I fell asleep in my bed and I NEVER nap! Wednesday I spent most of the day on the couch getting inventory ready for the upcoming show that weekend. No extreme symptoms, but I was using the restroom a lot more often than usual. Thursday was Bennett Day and I was exhausted that day. I honestly felt like I was hung over. Tired, a little hungry but nothing sounded good to eat and I felt shaky. I went to bed that night crying. Brandon and Ellie were sound asleep and I felt so defeated. I was upset about having to visit Bennett in the cemetery, I was grateful for the perfect scripture we put on his headstone, I felt overwhelmed with the love I have for Ellie and Brandon and I just sat in bed watching them sleep and I cried. Finally, I fell asleep and about 2am I woke up to use the bathroom. For some CRAZY reason I decided to take a home pregnancy test. Why? At 2am did I feel the urge to take a hpt I will never know! I fully expected it to be negative because I was only 6 days past a 5 day transfer (6dp5dt) in which case I am sure I would have gone back to bed and cried even more. However, what happened next will always rank as one of the best moments of my life. I sat in the bathroom in the middle of the night was watched a very F-A-I-N-T pink line appear to make 2 lines…which meant we had a positive pregnancy test for the second time ever.

I silently crept out of our bedroom to go into the kitchen, so I could exam the test under the bright lights in our kitchen. Sure enough it was there…barely, but it was there! My instincts were to run into the bedroom and jump on Brandon and scream that we were pregnant…but, that’s not what I did. I was shaking like a leaf and I was crying. I walked into our living room and literally got down on my knees and thanked God for this wonderful miracle that he had given to us. Then it was time to decide how to tell B. A few weeks earlier I got Ellie a cute t-shirt that said, “Big Sister” on it…you know, just in case! I have added maternity clothes to my business, so I went into the office and put on a shirt that said, “Baby Bump” it was a little big, but I thought B would get it when he saw it. I tip toed back into our bedroom and decided that I probably wouldn't win "Mother of the Year" if I woke Ellie up to change her shirt in the middle of the night…so, I just laid in bed with my shirt on waiting…and waiting…and waiting!

So, after all of that (and obsessing about it in bed) I decided to change the plan all together! (Can anyone say PSYCHO) I went into my closet (it was 3:30am at this point) and I got on black yoga pants and a t-shirt I bought when I was pregnant with the twins that says, “Yes, I’m pregnant!” I couldn’t sleep, so I came into the living room to get some work done. Finally, after waiting impatiently for over an hour I heard B get out of bed. His alarm goes off at 3:30 every morning b/c he gets up early to do work at home and it makes me SO mad b/c it always wakes me up too. When he got up and realized I wasn’t in bed he thought I was angry with him!!! He found me in the living room, on the couch with a smile on my face and he looked at me and said, “What are you doing? And why are you out here smiling?” He walked over to our bar and I stood up and faced him without saying a word. He looked at me like I had lost my mind and about 15 seconds later he realized what my shirt said. He ran over to me saying, “Really???” and we hugged and cried. We went into the kitchen and I showed him the test…his words were, “Are you sure? Are you really sure?” Ummmmm…Y.E.S. I am sure!!! Two lines means pregnant…no matter how faint the second line is! So, we enjoyed the moment together and talked and at about 6:30 I was exhausted, so I went back to bed!

When Ellie woke up I asked her if she was ready to be a big sister and she said, “Um, NO!” We didn’t want to tell anyone until our blood test…even though I continued to take a test every day and the lines got continually darker! We did tell our parents and siblings though. It was cute to listen to Ellie tell our mom’s that she was going to be a big sister b/c there is a baby in mommy’s tummy! A moment I will never forget.

On Monday, October 19th beta #1 9dp5dt: 90 (4 weeks pregnant)
On Wednesday, October 21st beta #2 was 11dp5dt: 239 (4 weeks 2 days pregnant)
(as a reference number I went in for my first beta with the twins at 4 weeks 3 days pregnant and my beta was in the 240's)

I was so grateful to be pregnant with Bennett and Ellie and I loved every minute of it. This time it is a little different…only because of everything that happened last time. I don’t know how long I have to enjoy this precious miracle, but I am going to spend every day I am pregnant celebrating it. I still take pregnancy tests some days and I look at it as therapy. I have had years of negatives and it is so amazing to watch that beautiful second pink line, so I test whenever I feel like I want to! The other day I wanted to show B the difference in my tests from last week and the one from this week and I said, “What do you think?” He said, “I think you are pregnant!” Duh!

I am excited, but I feel very different this time. Maybe it is fear of getting attached and being disappointed in the end? I am beyond grateful to be pregnant. I love the afternoon sickness that I get every.single.day and I love being so exhausted that I just can’t keep my eyes open past 8pm. I love that I wake up starving and by 4pm I still haven’t cooked dinner b/c the thought of food is totally nauseating (although I am sure B and Ellie would love a home cooked meal sometime soon!). I love this time and I want to remember every minute of it. I have had so many people ask me if I prefer one or two and you know what I prefer…For God to have chosen us to have a safe pregnancy with a healthy baby or babies that can come home with us.

Tomorrow is a huge day. It is the day we go in and pray that we see a sac and a fetal pole. I am not counting on a heartbeat tomorrow b/c it is still a little early (5 weeks 4 days), but I do want to at least see a sac in my uterus with something inside. I am anxious, but I feel like it will all go very well. I have faith.

I always end with “please keep us in your prayers” and I wanted to let all of you know that we think of our friends and family very often. I know that each of you have your own mountains to climb and I want to let you know that I keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers daily. We are so very thankful for all of you!

Blessings,
Angie

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is this really happening...?

Yesterday, at 10am I was at the hospital to have my blood drawn for my second beta test. I waited impatiently ALL DAY LONG to get the call about my numbers. A beta blood test measures the amount of hcg in your blood. HCG is the hormone secreated during pregnancy and it has a doubling time of about 48 hours. At 4:30 I still hadn't received a call, so I called them. Only they had an answering machine set to say, "We are in the process of calling clients about lab results...blah, blah, blah." So, I continued to wait impatiently...until 5:45 when I finally convinced myself that my cell phone was not going to ring with a call from my doctors office. To put it mildly I was f-u-r-i-o-u-s. After venting and planning my phone call to the office first thing in the morning I gave in to my early pregnancy symptom and just went to sleep.

I was up at 8am and I was ready to make "the" call. At 8:59.59 I dialed and of course the answering service came on, so I left a very polite message. Then I continued to wait.

The wait was totally worth it though. Our beta numbers came in yesterday at 239 which is more than double our 90 from Monday and my progesteron was 79.4 ~ both are AWESOME numbers. I am SO TOTALLY EXCITED NOW!!! I was on pins and needles waiting for our second beta number and my progesterone level b/c they are both such great indicators of whether or not this is a healthy pregnancy. It finally feels real to me...not that the extreme exhaustion and other very tell tale symptoms haven't reminded me daily.

I asked when I could come in for our first ultrasound and they seem to do things completely differently than our last RE. With the twins I went in immediately to have an ultrasound and then continued to have them every few days. After much convincing I have my first ultrasound appointment next Friday at 12:15, but I know the wait will be worth it.

Many thanks for the prayers and well wishes from all of you. We feel beyond blessed and thankful. Not only to be where we are today, but to have such faithful friends and family surrounding us.

Now, I am going to relax and grow a big, healthy baby!!!

Blessings,
Angie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Officially official…for now!

We are pregnant!!!

My beta hcg came back at 90 and I am only 9 days past a 5 day embryo transfer. A “normal” testing range is day 10-12 and they like to see a number around 100. So, we are a day early and VERY close to normal. Would I feel over the moon if my beta was 140…yes! However, my nurse said that 90 was a good number and that I am officially pregnant!

Now, I have to wait until Wednesday to go in for our second beta and P.R.A.Y that it doubles. I will feel super relaxed once I know that our number has doubled and that this is a healthy pregnancy. Then I am making a promise to myself to just relax and enjoy every.single.second of this miracle pregnancy.

I have a long and very cute story about how we found out we were “unofficially” pregnant, but to be perfectly honest I am so tired right now I can barely keep my eyes open! I promise to update with pics and our story very soon!

Thank you for everything you have all done for us! We need your prayers through the critical firsts in this pregnancy, but we are so thrilled to share this journey with all of you!! Our dreams have finally come true and I just can’t believe it yet!!!

Blessings,
Angie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beta Day Prayers

It’s here…beta day is tomorrow! I’m excited, but I know the hours between blood draw and results are going to be agonizing. I am looking for a good, strong, healthy number. We will go for a repeat test on Wednesday and if everything looks good we will have an ultrasound next week.

Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow. We are praying for a strong number that will indicate that there is one healthy baby in the belly!!

To pass the time this weekend we stayed very busy! I decided to go ahead and follow through with my commitment to The Foundry Holiday show on Saturday, so my SIL helped me out and it was a HUGE success! B went with us and set everything up with Connie b/c I was still taking it easy. The day flew by and I have to be totally honest I was exhausted at the end of the day!

Today, the weather was beautiful so, we decided to take Ellie to Dewberry Farm…and apparently, every other parent in the city of Houston and the surrounding areas made that decision too! It was packed (over 7000 people)! We waited F.O.R.E.V.E.R to buy our tickets online b/c the line was at least an hour long and then once we got in I wouldn’t let Ellie play on ANYTHING b/c it was so crowded with kids. We had never been there, so I had no clue it was such an attraction. We got yummy snow cones and kettle corn, waited entirely too long in the bathroom line and then made our way out to the pumpkin patch…a REAL pumpkin patch! It was so fantastic to let Ellie pick pumpkins off of the vine. We ended up with 60 pounds of pumpkin in our wheelbarrow which gave Daddy a big work out. We then loaded up and headed out. As we were walking the mile back to our car Ellie said to us, “Wow, that was a fun day!” Melt my heart!!!


Look for our update tomorrow…we are anticipating some very good news!!!

Blessings,
Angie

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our Embabies

I am so pleased to introduce you to our precious little miracles...our Embabies #7 and #10!




No new news on whether or not our little blessings actually implanted. I have a much longer post to put up later today, but it is nap time for now!

Blessings,
Angie

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's all in HIS hands

Well, the transfer took a little longer than we expected for a few reasons.

1. The genetics lab didn’t have the results to the hospital at 10:30
2. As we expected…we had some difficult decisions to make

We arrived at 9:00 on the dot even though we were set for a 9:30 transfer. On transfer day you are supposed to have a full bladder…very full! So, like a good little patient I drank and drank my liter of water I bought with me. At 9:30 they called us into our room even though the results weren’t there yet and for 2 excruciatingly long hours we waited…and waited…and waited…listening to the cheap clock on the wall “tick, tick, tick.” It was freezing cold and I couldn’t even lay down because I had to use the bathroom so badly.

Finally, at 11:30 we had the results. I got into my gown, booties and cap and B got into his surgery gear. We went back to the procedure room and waited for the doctor. I am going to be honest I don’t remember what our conversation was word for word, so I will give you the gist. He said we had some beautiful grade 4 blastocysts ~ unfortunately all but one of our embryos was affected with CF. There were three that have the R117H (7T deleation) and PS686Y (Ellie's mutations). So, our options were very limited. Our one carrier embryo was only a grade 2 embryo…they grade them 1-4 with 1 being the lowest grade. We knew this was a possibility, but to be perfectly honest I was not expecting this to be our case. So, that is where the difficult choices come in. We know we can’t transfer any of the DeltaF508 b/c that mutation typically causes a more clinical representation of CF and we don’t know how it manifests itself with the PS686Y mutation. However, we talked to several specialists about transferring embryos with Ellie’s mutations. It is all so scientific and I WISH I could explain exactly what he said to us. Those three embryos with CF would be classified as having CF by their DNA(genotype), but there was a slim chance they would have clinical CF(phenotype). Out of those three with CF we had a grade 4, 3, and 2. So, we transferred the grade 2 carrier with roughly 30% chance it will result in a pregnancy and our grade 4 with a 50% chance it will result in a pregnancy. The most amazing part of the grade 4 is that it had already started hatching and we got to see a picture of it and our other little embryo right before they transferred them. Truly amazing! We froze the remaining 2 embryos; however all of the embryos affected with the DeltaF508 had to be destroyed.

So, now we wait and pray. I am almost at a loss for words. I am totally emotionally and physically exhausted. I was just lying on the hospital bed in silence and poor B said, “Hey, how about thinking out loud.” When I get scared or nervous I clam up and internalize everything. So, now B and Biddy are out with Ellie and I am in bed praying that one of our perfect little creations wants to make its home inside of my uterus for the next 9 months. I know all of you have been praying for us so diligently and we thank you. I go back in 10 days for a blood test, so please call all of your prayer warriors and tell them our story. We know God’s plan has already been determined, but prayers for our acceptance of whatever may come are greatly needed.

Blessings,
Angie

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Leaving on jet plane

What a day! I have been awake for 19 hours and 23 minutes and I am just about worn out. It was a day full of emotion and nervous energy and I am glad that I am finally ready to make it my yesterday.

I woke up at 2:09 this morning…not with a sick baby or a dog begging to be let out, but because my mind was racing a mile a minute. I worry about ridiculous stuff like: if I remembered to take all of the right meds, what is on my schedule to be completed for work, what am I going to get at the grocery store for my family to eat while I am on restricted activity for the next few days, why don’t I have any family pictures from Bennett’s funeral (what?), what do I want to make for dinner, orders that need to be placed for business supplies, and the list goes on. At 4:00am (after I had been listening to B’s alarm go off for nearly an hour) I decided it was time to rise and shine. Lying in bed to daydream for 2 hours was totally unacceptable ~ clearly it was time to start the day. So, that is exactly what I did. At 4am I was in the office buying merchandise, sending emails and completing orders. Fun times! I actually got a lot accomplished before Ellie woke up at 8:30 which made me feel good. Little did I realize how far I had to go!

After making breakfast and eating with Ellie it was back to the office for mommy. Every minute that ticked by on the clock felt like hours. I was fully aware of what time it was and I was just waiting for 10am to come. My nurse gave me the green light to call them after 10am if I hadn’t heard from them. So, at 10:04 (ample grace time) I made the call. I could tell that they were rushed, but I was dying to find out how many embryos had made it through the past 2 days. She gave me my transfer time for Saturday morning, but no embryo info. I asked her if they had the reports from the embryologist and she said they hadn’t been entered yet….WHAT??? I had already waited 2 VERY LONG days and there was no telling how much longer it was going to take. She said, “I will give you a call later today when the results come my way.” Politely, I said “thank you” and then I hung up…deflated and emotionally drained.

As the day progressed I killed the time by organizing Ellie’s clothes, shoes, socks, training pants and hair bows…I mean why do the REAL work I had piled up on the desk when I could just waste time cleaning???

At noon I went back to the office to work and I waited…and waited…and waited…all the while dying for the phone to just ring with a friendly voice on the other end giving me the news.

At about 2pm I couldn’t take it any longer. I sent an email to sweet Sarah (our genetic counselor) and asked if she had heard anything from FSH. I hurriedly typed the email b/c Ellie was eating a weight watchers toffee nut ice cream stick on my cream carpet(oh, who am I kidding it is more like cookies and cream these days) and the chocolate was falling off in chunks! We headed to the bathroom for a little intervention and the phone started ringing!!! Hallelujah! I ran from the bathroom with toilet paper in my hands and my 2 year old still standing at the sink WITH THE WATER RUNNING to gather the news.
Here it is:
Our 14th embryo did actually start to grow and displayed a normal cell structure. So, out of our 14 embryos they biopsied 11 to fly to Michigan! 11…11…11…I am so in love with that number! I have been running stats in my head (and on a calculator) and I was pretty convinced we would be closer to 8…so, I was thrilled when she said 11. Then I went psycho on her and asked a million specific questions. They grade embryos based on days past retrieval. Every day they check them they expect for there to be a certain amount of cells and the look for fragmentation. On day 3 they expect to see between 6-8 cells (although some sites will tell you 7-10). I won’t bore you (even though I find it fascinating) with the little details, but you can go here to check out all of the specifics. Anyway, I wanted to know what “grade” they had given each of our embryos. We have 4 embryos at the 6 cell stage, 5 embryos at the 7 cell stage and 2 at the 8 cell stage. An 8 cell day three embryo is like the cream of the crop! However, I am very proud of all of our little embryos! One cell from each of our microscopic little embryos was being biopsied and prepared for transfer…on a jet plane…all the way to our dream team in Michigan. They will arrive tomorrow and my sweet friend Sarah has been given strict instructions to give all 11 of them a very stern talking to! CF is not an option for them, so they better get their DNA together before the genetic testing begins! I have full faith that she will instill “the fear” in them for me.

All kidding aside…we feel truly blessed. I have literally been holding my breath for days…every time the phone rings my heart stops. I pray nonstop that I have the strength to accept the path God has chosen for me. I am excited, scared, hopeful and nervous just to name a few adjectives. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to come this far; to be able to try our IVF again with PGD, to hire the best doctors and geneticists. I know that I have done everything I can humanly do to try for another biological child and the rest is up to God. I feel good right now (maybe delirium has set in) but, I know tomorrow will bring with it new hurdles. Oh, and if you were wondering how my bathroom faired with the toddler and the running faucet…let me just say it rivaled the scene at a splash pad in the middle of the summer…with 50 kids playing. Fun times!

Prayers for Saturday PLEASE. Prayers that we have one or two embryos without CF. Prayers for our doctors as they guide us in making some potentially difficult decisions. Prayers for patience and peace for B and myself. You have all been wonderful to us through this wonderful ride and we are almost there…thank you.

A funny little story about my little angel girl before I go. I am teaching Ellie the Days of the Week. We are doing a good job of detailing what we will do on a given day…for example, I tell Ellie, “On Friday we are going to the grocery store. That is tomorrow”. So, last night we were singing our Days of the Week song and I was snapping my fingers. This is how the conversation went:
Me: Okay, let’s sing…here we go
E: Mommy what’s wrong with my fingers?
Me: Well, I don’t know let me see
E: See…they aren’t working! (as she tried to snap here pointer finger and her middle finger on both hands)
Me: Sweetie it just takes practice.
E: No, they are just broken.
Me: No, they are not broken (I shaped her finger to teach her how to snap) you just have to keep working hard at it.
E: Well, how about you snap and I’ll just clap!

I started laughing hysterically!!! I couldn’t decide if she was lazy or a genius! I mean she improvised with her own way of being actively involved and creating music, but she was sure NOT going to try and learn to snap! There is something every.single.day that she does that makes me laugh so hard I have tears…what a blessing!

Blessings,
Angie

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

13 is our lucky number

Out of our 19 "eggs" they retrieved 15 were mature and 14 fertilized. However, one of the fertilized embryos did not have normal cell structure, so the final number today is 13!

It's funny to me b/c last IVF cycle we had 13 eggs fertilize as well...13 would only be OUR lucky number!!!

We will not get another update until Thursday when they biopsy the embryos because they are tucked away in a little incubator diving cells like they should.

Please continue to pray for great embryo numbers on Thursday. We expect at least 50%of the remaining embryos to have CF...so, the more we have to chose from the better quality we can transfer.

Blessings,
Angie

Monday, October 5, 2009

The hen is home

Just a little fertility humor! We are home and I am doing my best to stay awake for longer than 1 hour. They retrieved 19 eggs today which is a huge blessing. We won't know how many are mature or how many fertilize until tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you for your continued prayers and all of your support. I will update tomorrow with more details.

Blessings,
Angie

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's a GO!!!

So, as I was processing the WONDERFUL news we got today it reminded me of our journey through the NICU. There are no certainties and it is a constant uphill battle. One minute you are up and the next you are down and no one can tell you what tomorrow holds. That is exactly what IVF is like. There are a million variables that fit into the IVF equation. Yesterday, we were told we were missing a huge variable, but with God’s grace we were given different news today.

What I really want to say is: Curse the ultrasound tech that started the bad news train yesterday! Now, I’ll be the bigger person and just be thankful for the news we got today and for the girl that actually CARED about doing her job and did it well.

This is what happened. I went in yesterday morning for my u/s and blood work. The u/s tech was in a rush (she always is) and I could tell by the way she did my u/s that she wasn’t doing a thorough job. When the nurse read my scan results to me I was in shock. The u/s tech showed only 6 really good sized follies on the right and 6 ok sized follies on the left. There was a huge discrepancy in the results from Wednesday’s u/s (that was done by the sweet nurse at the satellite office) and the one on Friday. I was missing a lot of follicles on Friday that had been there on the previous scans. Now, I understand that there is going to be some human error, but seriously missing a big number of follies is a HUGE mistake that should not happen. Furthermore, I think I slept for 4 hours total last night b/c I was so sick to my stomach that something had gone terribly wrong. Stress is my enemy, remember!

So, I was up at 6:15 this morning showered, dressed and out of the door with the family in tow by 7:50. We got to the hospital in time and I was met by a different u/s tech. I felt so at peace with everything right before the scan began I had the feeling that this was all going to turn out just right. Still, I would have loved to have known the results right away…not a possibility. There is a large neon green sign posted on the side of the u/s machine that reads, “The u/s staff has been instructed by the doctors NOT to discuss your results with you.” Heart warming, isn’t it???

So, I decided to beat the system and count every time she measured a follicle. You see, when a measurement is taken the u/s tech puts the cross-hair on one end and then at the other and when the measurement is taken the machine beeps. Being the college graduate that I am (Go Red Raiders!!!)…I decided to count the beeps!!! GENIUS!

When I was done, I met B in the lobby and I shared my brilliant “beat the system” news with him. I counted 11 beeps on the right and 7 beeps on the left…which makes 18 follicles. I knew that was only one part of the puzzle though. My estrogen level was next and it would have had to go up in order for our cycle to be a go.

The phlebotomist was awesome this morning. She used a totally new spot that isn’t already bruised and she was in and out with no pain at all! Now it was just time to wait.

Thankfully, I have been seeing a massage therapist every Saturday to help me relax and I had my appointment with her at 11am. I discovered that I also had a hair appointment following that, so it turned into a great day for me to just relax. I told B on our way to the hospital this morning that if we got bad news he would need to get his mom over to our house to babysit because I would be going out to drink…a lot! When I found out I had my hair appointment I thought, “Fantastic, if I end up going out tonight my hair will look great!”

After I told my hairdresser the situation he told me this was my pregnancy hair…since I won’t be able to go in and have it colored for a few months! It was cute.

So, while I was sitting in the chair to have my hair colored the phone rang…it was my nurse! I was shaking and then her voice said, “Okay, are you ready for some instructions???” I just started crying…hysterically…in the salon!!! My first words were, “So, it’s a go…we can do it.” She told me it was great news and to take a second to take a big deep breath. She went on with our instructions and then read me my follicle size, lining measurement and estrogen level. They are all FANTASTIC! I have 17 great sized follies, my estrogen is at almost 3200 and my lining is at a 10. I am going into surgery at 6:45 on Monday morning for our retrieval!!!!!!! YEA…AND PRAISE GOD! I honestly feel like I am on top of the world today. I told B on our way home that I feel like I did at the beginning of this process…relaxed and ready to be successful!

Our embryos will be biopsied on Thursday and one cell from each embryo will be flown to Michigan and taken by courier to Genesis Genetics where the “blue” team is ready to analyze the cells and id which ones have CF and which ones are only carriers. We will get that info and prepare for transfer on Saturday, October 10th! A few days of bed rest (and lots of prayers) and hopefully a little sticky bun will implant itself in my uterus.

So, after our great news today we took Ellie to get a new pair of shoes and then we treated ourselves to dinner and then to a movie! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is my ALLTIME favorite picture book and it was awesome to see in IMAX 3D.

I took my trigger shot at 7:30 on the dot this evening and tomorrow I actually get a break from all needles!

Thank you for all of your prayers. We will need them for the next few weeks and I truly want you all to know that they mean the world to us right now. We know we are still traveling uphill, but we’re still traveling and that is a miracle!

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalms 118:24

Blessings,
Angie

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Sky is Falling

Well, I hate to say that I expected this…so, maybe I should just say I am not totally shocked.

My body is just not cooperating like we need it to. According to the u/s today I have 13 follies, but there are a few in that group that are questionable as far as maturity is concerned. Also, my estrogen level is not rising as quickly as the doctor would like it to. Today will be the 8th day of shots and the doctor would like to have seen the estrogen at about 2500 and it is at 1964. The issue when the estrogen starts to plateau is that it means the smaller follicles will not continue to grow and mature. Right now we still need my smaller follies to grow a little, so if my estrogen doesn’t rise with tomorrow’s blood results they will cancel this IVF cycle. Yes, I said C.A.N.C.E.L. That is heartbreaking for me to even type.

I just don’t know what I could have done differently or if my body will ever cooperate. I am just so disappointed right now. So, we will wait for tomorrow and PRAY that my levels rise like they should…

If I could ask for one thing from all of you it would be to please keep us in your prayers the next few days. Strength, patience, courage, faith and hope are all things we can’t lose sight of right now.

Blessings,
Angie

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The news

I have been waiting and watching the clock all day for the news on our little follies! My nurse usually calls mid day to give me a report and to tell me what to do about my meds…increase, decrease or stay the same. The sweet nurse at the satellite office offered to take my blood again today and I politely declined and offered to drive out of my way to the very germ infested lab down the street…where they know what they are doing.

So, finally at about 4:45 my nurse called and asked if I did indeed go to the lab and have blood drawn. Ummm, YES! (and, I have another blown vein and needle mark to prove it!) She called the lab and they didn’t have any lab results for me…WHAT? How do you lose a person’s blood results. If you will recall ~ the same lab lost B’s blood more than once during the whole CF screen fiasco. It infuriates me b/c the doctor uses my estradiol levels to determine if I am on the correct dosage of meds. Not to mention, I have done loads of research on Estradiol levels/stimulation day and I was waiting to see what mine would be today. UGH! Stupid lab! (relax…breath…and picture yourself holding a sweet little baby…ahhhh…)

So, onto the other news. It’s getting crowded in those little ovaries; well maybe I should say those big ovaries. We have 10 measurable follies on the right ranging from 12mm-15mm (which doesn’t make sense b/c we had a 15 on Monday…I am assuming a little human error in calculation) and we have 6 measurable on the left ranging from 12mm-15mm. In addition, we have 3 smalls that were able to be seen on ultrasound. So, right now we have 16 measurables and we still have 5 nights of shots left, basically we are half way through. Typically, a follicle will grow 1-2mm/day, so we should have some very good sized follies. I asked today what the percentage of was of follicles that actually contain eggs. I have read that most follies that are at least 18mm probably contain a mature egg, but the nurse said 70-80% will have an egg. She also said that my Dr. is very aggressive about getting the egg out of the follicle. There is an embryologist waiting on the day of retrieval to look at the fluid from every follicle and make sure the dr. does actually get the egg out. So, if were to go in for retrieval tomorrow with the 16 follies we have now we should get 12.8 eggs…I am feeling positive so let’s say 13! Not bad for a 31 year old “advanced maternal age” mom with CF! I am feeling good about having at least 15 eggs…remember their target number is 20. With 5 days left anything is possible! Also, because I am so terribly anal I am going to ask to see my chart from my last IVF cycle so I can see exactly how many follies I had right before retrieval.

So, on Friday I have decided to skip the satellite office and go straight to the “real” office. The down side is that my doctor will actually be at the satellite office on Friday…dang! It doesn’t really matter though b/c I will still be on meds through the weekend and I have to go back in on Monday, so I can just see him then. My nurse is AWESOME and she can answer any question I would ask him anyway. I am just a little disappointed though b/c I was looking forward to getting his opinion about how this stimulation cycle was going…

I still feel great. Bloated and very tired, but I feel positive and happy. Tomorrow means only 7 days until retrieval, 13 days until transplant and 23 days until pregnancy test. YEA!!!

Thank you to all of you that have our family in your prayers. Your support and encouraging words are such an inspiration to us and a reminder to keep our hearts focused.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.


Blessings,
Angie

Monday, September 28, 2009

What faith can do

It’s amazing what faith can do…almost as amazing as what we can do with faith.

I love the song “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless and it is the inspiration behind my post today. It is uplifting and it reminds me that it is ALL possible just as long as we keep believing.

Silent prayers get answered with faith. Like the ones I prayed about my FEV1 numbers. Last Wednesday at my CF clinic I shocked myself and my doctor and nurse with my FEV1. It is up 8 points…above where it was when I started my CF clinic visits! I was scared to death after my last visit (and the significant drop). I was even more determined to live healthy and set an example for Ellie after we got her diagnosis. So, the silent prayers that I said for weeks were answered last Wednesday.

You can overcome the odds with faith. Yes, we started our IVF process a few weeks ago. First, with pills, then we added Lupron to suppress my reproductive system, but it wasn’t until the results came in from my first ultrasound and blood work last Thursday that we actually got clearance to start the “real” IVF meds. We overcame a preterm multiple pregnancy, the death of our precious little boy and a CF diagnosis for both Ellie and me all within the last three years. We overcame the odds and survived all of it…with faith. (and some AMAZING doctors!)

With faith, impossible is not a word. I can’t tell you how IMPOSSIBLE I thought it would be to bring Ellie in for her first haircut…unfathomable! Well, we did it! Last Saturday we brought Ellie into Sweet and Sassy to have her first princess spa day. She got a princess lollipop, watched a movie and without any tears Brandon and I watched as a very talented stylist made our baby look like a big girl. Oh, what a moment…and she looks beautiful!

With faith, you have hope that never ends. All weekend as I could feel my ovaries getting larger, I had hope that the Follistim and Menopur were doing their job. That this time I would have a ton of follicles that would contain good quality eggs and that we will have options to choose the best embryos in the end. Well, today was the first step in that direction. I had my first ultrasound today (day 4 of stimulation meds) and I have 17 follicles so far. I have 7 measurable (ranging from 10mm-15mm) and 10 small (<10mm). I still have 7 days of stim meds left. They anticipate several more small follicles to pop up and we expect for the smalls to grow and mature. A follicle should be about 18mm to be considered mature and NOT all follicles contain an egg. So, the point is to get the most mature follicles by next Monday that we can and to HOPE AND PRAY that most of them contain eggs. I asked the nurse what her opinion was of the results today and she said, “they are better than we expected for day 4.” Good news!!! I’ll take it!

We have had a great week. I feel great despite the bruises in my tummy and the knots in my leg from the shots. I have tried to overcome my fear of the blood draws, but my uncooperative veins make it very hard! (Yes, I even picture myself holding a sweet little baby to help relax!) After the u/s today they needed to draw blood. So, like a good little patient I sat in the blood draw chair and put on my brave face. Then she stuck me…and dug…and dug…and dug until I thought I was going to be sick! Then she thought she could get it in the other arm. So, she stuck me and dug…and dug…and dug. By that time I am sure my face was pale and I was clammy. She thought about taking it from the top of my hand (I wasn’t going to let her) and then decided to just send me to the lab…what a novel idea!!! As I was checking out I noticed a book titled “Phlebotomy” I am TOTALLY CONVINCED it belongs to the sweet little nurse that made me her practice pin cushion! Only me!!! After three needles, the actual phlebotomist found my vein and drew blood all within 20 seconds!

My next visit is on Wednesday. I am hopeful that my body will continue to cooperate and I am excited about the results. Next Thursday is our retrieval day!!! Your continued prayers for our physical and emotional strength are much appreciated!

Blessings,
Angie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take two!

Today was our second trip to TCH for Ellie’s CF clinic and it was as fun filled as the first!

The weather was terrible today, so I decided to leave a little early just to make sure we were there on time despite the pouring rain…ummm…that didn’t really work out.

I took a new route to the hospital thinking it would be faster and that didn’t work out either.

I decided to valet park because…well, I’m lazy and I hate walking through parking garages…and they were full, so that didn’t work out!

I got in the hospital put both of our masks on and headed to the eighth floor (after I asked the information desk if that was the correct floor)…wrong floor.

I waited 10 minutes for the elevator to go back down to the forth floor…wrong floor.

I finally found someone to help and after waiting another 10 minutes for the elevator I finally headed up to the ninth floor…eureka!

Thirty minutes late and a “little” frazzled we were finally where we needed to be and the day sailed by flawlessly from there.

I have to admit the sight of several children in masks made me a little nervous. Our first trip wasn’t on a typical clinic day, so there were really no kids with CF there. Today was a totally different story. It is hard to explain to people that don’t have CF or children with CF why it is so important not to cross germ paths with other CF’ers. I am still in the learning process myself which makes me a little more paranoid and seeing all of the kids running around in masks in the waiting area raised my anxiety level a little. There was an adorable little girl there that was super friendly and I am sure Ellie was dying to get down and play, but I kept her locked in my lap like a prisoner with her coloring book! Poor baby!!

To say I was relieved to be called back to our room would be a serious understatement. We got Ellie weighed in and she gained 2 pounds and grew 1 inch! She is between the 50 and 75% for both height and weight. They want Ellie to stay above the 50th % in weight, so we are on the right track.

We met with the nurse and then our friend the dietician came in. If you recall our last visit and conversation with the dietician…you will understand why I was a little anxious about what line of questioning she would be engaging my toddler in. Upon her entrance to the room Ellie announced she had to “go poopy on the potty!” So, I left the room with the sample cup for Ellie’s number two and did my best to catch her in action…fun times! I made sure that Ellie had a bag of freshly cut nectarines and apples for snack today, both of which she ate in front of our friend the dietician. Score 1 point for Team Mommy!!! Today’s conversation was about vitamins and Halloween costumes neither of which came with the answer “macaroni and cheese” ~ thankfully!

Our visit with the doctor was good. I asked about getting Ellie started on Pulmozyme and I am thinking after her next clinic visit in November she will be starting nebs. The doctor did order Ellie’s flu shot and annual labs today which I dreaded. Thankfully, she watches B give me shots every night, so she took it like a champ. Then, we were off to the lab.

Oh, the lab…a breeding ground for germs! There were kids EVERYWHERE…coughing, running, jumping on the chairs, screaming…a total nightmare. I had “paranoid germ freak” written all over my face and I am sure all of the other parents could tell. I stood up for our whole 30 minute wait and watched a dying fish gasp for air in the fish tank that was in the waiting room…so sad. I was so freaked out about the germs that I didn’t even have time to worry about Ellie’s impending blood draw.

Finally, our name was called and we were on our way. As the nurse prepared the vials and needle I pulled out my backup “happy plan.” It was one of Ellie’s favorite ring pops and it was broken into a MILLION LITTLE PIECES!!! Ugh! What was I going to do? Then I remembered Ellie grabbing the “lick-a-stick” out of our candy bag and me shoving it into my purse to hide it from her. SCORE! I pulled it out and held Ellie in my lap as they gingerly searched for a vein and began drawing her blood. Six vials of blood from my precious little princess and not ONE tear was shed! She was a super trooper just like her Bubba always was.

Finally, four hours after we arrived we were leaving. We met Daddy for dinner and now we are all home and cuddled in bed as the rain still comes down outside.

Tomorrow is my CF clinic (not planned to follow Ellie’s ~ just my luck!) and then Thursday is our blood work and first ultrasound preparing for the egg retrieval. I am excited and nervous (more about the IV I will have than anything else), but I am anxious to see how my body is going to respond this time around (how many eggs, etc.). I have actually lost a few pounds which is awesome, but I know the real fun is about to begin with the FSH/LH drugs as they take advantage of my body. Eleven days from Friday is the big retrieval day, so we are getting close!

Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers and support. It is hard to be super positive 100% of the day and your comments, calls and cards have all been so unbelievable.

Rather than an uplifting scripture I’ll leave you with words from my baby girl:
“Dear God, thank you for my blessings!” Amen!!