Look Ma! I’m on TV!

A few weeks ago our local news station was interested in interviewing a few couples about their struggles with infertility. Our names were passed along to them so the Producer called to set up an interview. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. But everything went really well! Kylie, the Anchor interviewing us, was very easy to talk to. The news team was at our house for a little over an hour.

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We covered a lot of topics such as the emotional tolls, financial burdens due to high costs, the fact that the majority of insurances cover absolutely nothing. But most importantly, how our faith in God is leading us through this season of life.  They condensed the interview down to two minutes so some of the questions were cut out.  I can’t say enough good things about the WBRZ news team. They were great! John and I are so happy to be bringing awareness to a topic that isn’t discussed enough. You can view our story by clicking here.   Be sure to leave comments on the news page to show WBRZ how important Infertility is!

 

Also- if you would like to see the interview my friend Mary Claire did about beating infertility click here.

*Note* Please disregard the comment about heavy drinking and smoking. I don’t feel like it should have been included in this particular story. There are many reasons for infertility such  as PCOS, Endometriosis, Hormone issues, uterine defects, or sperm count/morphology/motility, etc. None of the couples I have met are dealing with infertility due to heavy drinking or smoking.

love-lauren1

 

Piecing It Together

Last October when our 2nd transfer failed, I was having a really rough time. And that is an understatement. I needed someone to talk to so I went to see, Beth, at the Sarah’s Laughter Support Center. While I was there on my lunch break she asked me a question. “When was the last time you truly had to rely on God like you are now?”  At first, this question threw me for a loop. I’ve been fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian home. I came to know God at a young age. My parents, grandparents, relatives, and church  have all worked together to shape my beliefs. I’ve messed up in my life but not enough to have one of those amazing testimonies that brings tears to your eyes. I really couldn’t think of an answer to Beth’s question.

Then it hit me.

In 2011 at the tender age of 24 my OBGYN found a lump in my breast. As I told Beth this story, I was remembing it like it was yesterday. The Dr. took my hand and had me feel what she was talking about. It was a definite lump. She asked me to get dressed and quickly ushered me to the nurses station where she asked the nurse to make an appointment for me with radiology. I was mortified, you know it’s bad when they won’t even let you leave and call to make your own appointment. I had to wait about 2 weeks to get an ultrasound of my breast. During those two weeks I probably gained 10 pounds from emotional eating. I kept thinking “this could be my last cupcake!” Or “I may never eat another Reese Easter Egg again! Might as well buy all 10 of them!”.  Other than eating my emotions I also prayed a lot. My family prayed a lot for me as well. I felt that lump everyday for the next two weeks. Finally, it was time for my appointment. The Radiologist kept moving the Doppler over my breast and giving me looks. “Are you sure this was the breast?” Yes. I was postive. Are you really asking me that?! I even brought my referral with the breast circled, so he double and tripled checked it. “Well dear, there’s nothing here. You’re all clear.” My head was spinning! How could it have disappeared?! Where did it go?! As I was feeling with my own hand, the hand that had felt this lump at least a 100 times before, I suddenly wasn’t feeling anything at all!  I fully believed a miracle from the power of prayer took place that day.

After telling Beth that story, another more recent, one came to mind as well. In 2014 my husband received a phone call from our Primary Care Physician. They gave him some horrible, heart wrenching news about a medical condition that his physical  just revealed. He called me frantic and crying. It was the first time I heard my husband cry. I told him to call the PCP right back that we had to come back in and double check. They again confirmed the diagnosis and referred him to a specialist. After they confirmed it we had no idea where to go or what to do. I starting driving and went to an area of town where there is a monument of 3 very large crosses standing. We sat on a park bench and just prayed. I remember telling John that no matter what, we were going to be okay. It was about 2 weeks before he could be seen by the specialist (what is it with specialists and 2 weeks?!) they ran some more tests and gave us an appointment to come back and review the results. We had no idea what to do, so I just told him we had to pray like never before. I called my Mom and asked her and my Mammy to pray as well. It was finally time to get the results from the specialist. We were sitting in a tiny exam room, waiting for the Dr., and our heads were spinning yet again. The Dr. came in and immediately starting flipping through pages of the results silently. My knuckles were white. “Well, Mr. Best, you’re totally fine. All clear. Everything looks great!” It was another miracle.

After telling these two stories to Beth she looked at me and said “Lauren, have you ever thought that, maybe, God allowed you to go through a breast cancer scare because He knew you would know how to comfort your Husband during his medical scare? Have you ever thought that, maybe, He allowed you and your Husband to go through these hard times because He was preparing your heart for your struggle now?”

I was speechless. I never pieced our story together like that before. I always tend to compartmentalize my life events, as separate but equal stories. But it all makes perfect sense.

Now this doesn’t answer the “why me, why us,  why this?” questions. But I was told early on not to dwell on those thoughts, they will make you go crazy. For the first time in a long time I can say “You know what? I’m okay.” And really mean it. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray this season of life passes quickly. But my faith is exactly where it needs to be, in God. He hears my prayers and the prayers of those praying for John and I. Baby (or babies!) Best will make his/her miraculous appearance into this world soon. In God’s time. And you know the testimony earlier that I mentioned that I didn’t feel like I had? Well I actually do have a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. It hasn’t came to an end yet, but I have faith that it will!

 

love-lauren1

 

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

It is that time of year when everyone starts reflecting back on the previous year and planning for the new year to come. Resolutions are being formed and hopes are being made about what is to come. I’ve started thinking about the new year too, but I started on December 3rd.

 

It was the last Sarah’s Laughter meeting of the year and we had a guest Speaker. Our Guest Speaker was Mary Claire Stickle (www.thestickles.wordpress.com). Mary Claire has a pretty amazing story. Like me, she struggled with infertility. A certain part of Mary Claire’s testimony really stood out in my mind.  Everyday during her walk with infertility she used to pray for her future baby (ies) by name. Before they were even formed, she knew their names and lifted up Bennett and Eliza to God, asking Him to bless her with them. Not knowing how or when these little ones would come. During this time she would see little reminders that God is sovereign in random places. She mentioned meeting a dog that had the same name as one of her future babies’ at the dog park, or seeing a man on an airplane with a puff painted shirt signed by a little girl named Eliza. It was those moments that she would smile and believe that God was showing her to keep believing.

My friend, Melissa (www.littlemrsmarried.com), has a word she felt God had given her in 2015. It is “Believe”. She also would see little glimpses of God at random times with this word. Friends would give her coffee cups or little signs with the word Believe. Or certain things would just remind her to keep believing.

Both of these things have really stuck out in my mind. I had a verse for 2015 “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” Luke 1:45.  2015 was a year I really needed this particular verse. Setback after setback I would recite that verse and remember that God has a plan.  I still rely heavily on this verse.

These two friends don’t even know it but they have helped challenged me to some New Year’s resolutions of my own. If you know the Doctor I work for, you know he is a HUGE advocate for writing down your goals. He always says “You have a goal? Write it down, look at it every day. Tell yourself it will happen.”  I do plan on writing my goals for 2016, but I’m going to blog them too! Same thing, right?!

  1. I wanted to choose a new verse for 2016. I wasn’t quite sure which one to pick. But then I randomly won a giveaway from Fertile Box. In the box is a 5×7 picture of a verse that just couldn’t be more perfect! ” Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1 . There we have it, folks! My verse for 2016!image
  2. Like Melissa, I’ve also decided on a word for 2016. Faith. Walking through this journey of infertility you MUST have faith.  I have faith in God that one day Baby (ies) Best will make their miraculous entrance into the world. What a joyous day that will be!
  3. Like Mary Claire, I have decided to start praying for our future babies by their particular names. I’ve prayed for them for a long time, but never by name. Now, we have a few picked out, so I’m not really ready to share their names with the world just yet, but maybe eventually!
  4. Be a better friend/daughter/sister/wife etc. etc. etc. I’ve read somewhere that Infertility can make you into a very selfish person. And rightfully so. Its a journey where you have SO much on your mind that you can’t possibly think of anything else. This year I have been late with Birthday wishes, or have forgotten them all together. (I really am very, very, very, sorry Dad!). But in 2016 I will remember that I am not the only one in the world who is going through something. I will really listen to my Husband more, remember birthdays, and send out notes of encouragement like all the ones I have received.  I’ve been blessed with so many letters, little gifts, and words of encouragement this year. So I will make a conscious effort to pay those forward!
  5. Be more intentional with my Prayer life. I already pray a lot. In the morning after my devotional for the day, at night before I go to bed, and sometimes in between. My nighttime prayers are usually my long ones. But the problem arises that I’m always in bed and sometimes drift off to sleep before I’m finished. So my goal for 2016 is to be more intentional with my prayers. I’m going to find a spot besides my tempting, super comfy bed, to really pray and connect to God. Its a long overdue change.

So these are my goals/resolutions for 2016. I’ve never been more ready to say Goodbye to a year! I’m SO over 2015, so see ya bye, 2015! Here’s to all the good things to come in 2016! Cheers!

love-lauren1

Consultations, Consultations, Consultations!

 

The past week has been full of consultations for John and I. We are slowly trying to piece together a game plan for the next part of our infertility journey.

 

Post Op Consultation 

It has been a few months since our failed Fresh and frozen embryo transfers. So we finally got to sit down with Dr. Webster to discuss why our transfers failed. I was hoping to pinpoint a reason or reasons why we didn’t have success, hoping that there would be something we could change. Unfortunately, there’s no rhyme or reason why it didn’t work. According to Dr. Webster everything went perfectly (besides the fact that they both failed). When I was “stimming” or giving myself endless injections, all my hormones looked great, I produced a great number of eggs. Our eggs fertilized well, so we had a good number of embryos. We transferred two good embryos during our fresh cycle, and one during our frozen cycle.  All my lining checks looked good too.  So the moral of the story is everything went perfectly. We just didn’t get our big fat positive. On one hand, I’m happy that everything looked so great and went well. But on the other hand, it’s frustrating to know there’s not a reason for the failed results. There’s nothing tangible I can change to up our chances of success. But this is where I just have to continue to believe in God’s plan for our life. We will continue to be hopeful and have faith that the next cycle is the winner! There IS a purpose for all of our suffering. Overall, Dr. Webster was very positive that we would have success soon. He is retiring at the end of this year. But our free IVF is actually with another office all together, so this is the perfect time to transition to a new office.

 

Pre Op Consultation

Since we are switching offices for our next cycle we also had another Pre op consultation scheduled. We met our new RE, Dr. Dunaway, and his staff. I can’t say enough to good things about our experience. We met all the nurses and staff, took a tour of the office, then settled in to discuss the plan. Dr. Dunaway has a beautiful new office where all the technology is “state of the art”. He went into every detail of their lab and how meticulous they were when building it. Everything down to the lighting and even the air quality were considered when building. If it could give the embryos even the slightest advantage of success, they did it.

We decided our next cycle would be a “freeze all”. Meaning there will be no fresh embryo transfer right after the retrieval. The embryos will be frozen after they reach a certain stage of growth and will be transferred at a later date. Since FETs (frozen embryo transfers) have a higher rate of success, a month after our retrieval we will transfer one or two embryos depending on how many we have. Dr. Dunaway does a few extra things during the IVF that he feels will be very beneficial.  We decided to wait a few months before we get started. We don’t want to rush into anything and that gives us time to continue to work out, eat better, and just get a little healthier in general. We all feel really good about our upcoming IVF, and we are so happy to have another shot at it!

If you are walking through infertility I strongly encourage a book called It Starts With The Egg, by Rebecca Fett. She is a Microbiologist and an Attorney, and wrote this book based on her experience of IVF. The book gives tons of helpful tips and knowledge to better your success rates. But we all have to ultimately realize, it’s all up to the Big Man upstairs!

Make sure to stop by soon for my next post about how I plan to start the new year!

love-lauren1

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A little image that popped up on my newsfeed that really spoke to me. From the church we attended before we moved. God uses our pain and sufferings for a reason.

Grateful.

When trying to describe yesterday’s events at the Baby Steps 5k, I can only come up with one word, grateful. Grateful for winning a free IVF from Dr. Dunaway, grateful for family/friends/coworkers that signed up to support us, grateful for family that flew in from Chicago & Kentucky, grateful for The Forbus family and all of their hard work, grateful for Sarah’s Laughter, and most of all grateful for one amazing God.

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Most of you already know but 2015 was filled with lots of disappointment and pain for John and I. After 3 negative IUIs, and 2 failed IVFs we were near our breaking point. The thought of going into another Holiday season, a New Year, and another birthday without a miracle baby was overwhelming me.

We couldn’t take anymore disappointment, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret we had been hiding. John and I had decided a week or so ago to start the adoption process. A social worker was scheduled to come to our house on December 4 to begin a home study. And I have been very busy on Pinterest finding different adoption T-shirt designs to sell, and searching for ways of how to raise money since adoption is very expensive. The night we decided adoption would be our next step I had a very honest talk with God. I told Him I was laying down my desires to be pregnant, and my desires to have a tiny human that looked a little bit like my Husband and a little bit like me. And I asked him to continue to guide our steps through our journey. After this prayer I felt a wave of peace come over me. It was almost like God was saying “Dear child, your story is already being orchestrated the perfect way.” Little did I know that I would understand exactly what this peace meant in a few days.

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Fast forward to the morning of the Baby Steps 5K, my house was full of family that flew in to support us. We gathered up our tent, the signs we made, and the tickets. The tickets that had been labeled, and double and tripled checked to make sure they were all there. I knew our chances of winning would be slim. I hadn’t won anything since Elementary School when I won a free bicycle via a Scare Crow coloring contest. I won because I drew patches on the clothes of the Scare Crow and no one else did. It was a really cool blue bicycle that had pictures of Oreos all over it! But that was the end of my winning streak.  But nonetheless I really, really wanted to win, as did every other deserving couple there. It was a cloudy and rainy day, so I was excited that I had so many people to support team Hoping for A Best!

The drawing was moved to before the race since the weather was bad and Beth announced she was about to start the drawing. The crowd of 2,000+ people was silent while a cute little red headed boy (Dr. Dunaway’s son) drew the ticket for a free IVF. When I heard the names “Lauren and John….” I immediately started crying and turned to hug my Husband who was as still and stoic as a statue. He was not going to get excited until he heard “Lauren and John BEST”! When he realized we were the chosen couple he finally hugged me back and got excited! Another sweet couple won the Family Building Grant and they were just as excited as we were!

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I don’t know if the fact that we won has really set in yet. We are just so grateful for everything that happened yesterday. We also won a giveaway for a professional video to tell our story, how perfect is that?! Beth likes to describe the Baby Steps 5K as an Ephesians 3:20 day, and boy it is!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

So many lives were changed yesterday including ours. Before the 5K I think God had led us up to this point in our infertility journey to show us how important adoption really is, to make us realize that one day in the future we will adopt. But for now, God has given us another chance for the pregnancy that we so desired in our hearts. We couldn’t be more ecstatic. 2016 brings renewed hope for Baby Best. And we pray that sometime in the New Year we will have another announcement of a miracle baby given to us by God, and the Baby Steps 5K.

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Dear John

Dear John,

Happy 4th anniversary to us! I love you! I love you! I love you!

There is no denying that this past year was hard. Maybe the hardest we will ever have to endure. But we have clung together and are becoming stronger because of it. Thinking back on our wedding day, I keep remembering the lyrics to our first dance. The lyrics to ‘Steady As We Go” by DMB ring truer now more than ever.

“When the storm comes

you shelter me

And I don’t say a word,

And you know exactly what I mean

In the darkest times

you shine on me.

You set me free.

And keep me steady as we go.”

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Even though 4 years ago, it seems like we were kids dancing to song we thought was a cool love song, it really does rings so much truer today. This season of life will eventually pass. One day we will hear the pitter patters of tiny little feet running down the hallway. So I thank you for being such a rock for me to lean on this past year. Through all the nights I cried myself to sleep, you were there to hold me and to whisper that it would be ok.  When I asked you if the pain would ever go away, you assured me that day would come. When our world was falling apart, you were somehow strong enough to hold us both together.

The 2nd thing I remember about our dance is that you sang every word to me. But when I realized I couldn’t remember the next dance steps you guided me. “Slow, quick-quick, slow, quick-quick” you said, just like the dance teacher taught us. You helped me get back on track. You’ve always been there to help guide me. This year I’ve wanted to rush through one treatment after the next just trying to get the end result quicker. But I thank you for reminding me to slow down and to take a breath.

For two kids with only a few dance lessons under their belts, I would say we nailed the ending of our first dance. Miraculously, between 30 pounds of dress (which didn’t get bustled), 4.5 inch heels, and a Bride that kept forgetting the dance steps, you dipped me and caught me! We nailed it! And as corny as this comparison may be, I have a feeling our infertility struggles will end in much the same manner. Miraculously and beautifully. We just have to keep steady, keep praying, and keep believing. But until then I will continue to thank God that he gave me you, and that we can navigate life together.

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Happy anniversary! I love you. I love you. I love you.

love-lauren1

P.S. This is where I will once again shamelessly plug the Baby Steps 5K. Even if you can’t come to the actual race, you can help us win a $10,000 family building grant. We need more people on our team! Team Hoping for a Best! Join by clicking this link https://runsignup.com/Race/Register/RaceGroup-168605?raceId=11519image

I was afraid you wouldn’t understand {grieving lost embryos} by Elisha

Tonight, I’m so happy to share a blog with you that touched my heart so deeply. Since the beginning of my infertility journey I have been following a blog from Elisha over at www.waitingforbabybird.com . She guest blogged this beautifully written piece for another website. While reading it my eyes became full of tears and I knew that Elisha would totally understand the emotions behind our failed IVF’s. Our stories are almost identical she had 10 embryos, I had 12. During two separate procedures John and I transferred 4 different embryos. Embryos that I prayed for, Embryos that I wondered if they would have my dark brown hair or his amazing personality, Embryos that I have pictures of.

I’ve never related to an article or blog so closely before. It was like Elisha took all the emotions I was hiding away and expressed them so perfectly. I knew I had to get her permission to repost the article here. So here is her amazing post:

I Was Afraid You Wouldn’t Understand {Grieving Lost Embryos} 
BY ELISHA KEARNS ON OCTOBER 22, 2015 INFERTILITY, TTC

“So, how many children do you have?”

Immediately I looked down as a lump began to form in my throat and tears slowly filled my eyes. I debated on whether I should give you the answer on my heart or the one I had rehearsed. But when I wiped away a tear that had sneaked its way down my face, I noticed you were starting to fidget and shift in your seat. I could sense you scrambling to excuse yourself from the conversation and I knew at that moment you weren’t ready for my answer.

At least not the one on my heart.

And so instead I flashed you a smile to let you know it was okay, and then I gave you the answer I had rehearsed. But it’s not because I didn’t want to talk about them or the incredible imprint they have left on my heart. And it is not because I am ashamed of my story, but simply because I was afraid…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that those eight precious embryos that were lost in a lab and the two that survived only a short time in my womb meant the world to me. They were the beautiful combination of me and my husband’s genes created in love and hope… they were our ten beautiful children…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that those “dots”, tiny as they were, were just as precious in my sight and in God’s sight as any other beautiful baby born to full term.

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that even though they were only five days past conception, God had already picked their hair textures, given them their eye colors, and branded them with unique personalities –all of which I often catch myself wondering about.

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that despite never hearing their heartbeat or feeling them kick, toss, or twirl inside of me, I had already developed an unbreakable bond. And I had already dreamed a million dreams for their lives and pictured a thousand moments they would live to remember…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand the guilt I so often feel and painfully carry around, because if it were not for me and my decision to pursue in vitro fertilization, this wouldn’t have happened to them. And it hurts…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that my ten embryos, as “early in the game” as they might have been, were boys who would have fished with their daddy and little girls who would have one day held his finger as they twirled around in their pink ruffled dresses. And had each of them survived, they would have grown up to be someone’s best friend, perhaps lead a lost soul to Christ, or maybe even become the president…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand the grief spasm I might have if I do mention them to you. It’s nothing scary; just a few moments, maybe minutes, where I start to cry because I begin to replay my darkest days. And I begin to think about how it’s been four tiring years and I still long for a baby to be in my arms…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that every embryo created, even though it was inside of a lab, was a life to me. A life that, no matter how short lived, was meaningful and special. A life that changed who I am today. And a life that I will always view as a person. Because as Dr. Seuss says, a person is a person, no matter how small.

Even microscopically small.

Maybe one day I will be able to share with you about these precious lives that have left an incredible imprint on my heart. And maybe I’ll be able to do it without being afraid of what you might think or being fearful of how you will react. But until then, and until I think you will be able to understand my unique grief that comes from a unique loss, I will just continue to smile and give you my unique answer. It’s the one which I rehearsed and the one in which I proudly say, “I hope one day I will have more than ten.” Because I do still hope.

I believe God is not finished writing my story. I have hope He is not finished in His pursuit to fulfill the desires placed in my heart. And I cannot help but dream of the day I am rocking a baby in my arms…a sweet baby whose eyes, ears, nose, and mouth will look like the ones his ten brothers and sisters would have had too.

Be Still

“Be still & know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

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Last Friday, exactly one week ago from today, was a pretty bad day for John & I. We didn’t tell as many people this time around, but we had our Frozen Embryo Transfer a few weeks ago. Our last failed cycle was really tough, so John requested a bit more privacy this time. Which I totally get, because the more people you tell what is going on, the more people you have to tell if it doesn’t work. Every time you have to say another cycle failed, it feels like you’re ripping a band-aid off a painful wound.

So last Friday after another blood test, we got the call that once again led to ultimate disappointment, it was another failed cycle. But this time was a little different. We have no more frozen embryos, so we have no back up plan. There were a lot of tears, a lot of pain, and a lot of unanswered prayers and questions. I tell you this, not to get pity, but to show you what infertility really looks like. It’s honestly horrible, and the hardest thing John and I have ever experienced.

So we are at a crossroads now, and we have no idea whether to turn left or right. Do we try IVF again? Or do we look into other options?  Or do we do nothing? Over the past few days a verse has kept popping into my mind. Be still and know that I am God. I’ve brushed it off a couple of times, but it keeps coming back, so I finally decided to read the Psalm it comes from. I dug around for some more information about the verse. I noticed that the psalmist was involved in some sort of warfare and the verse was a call from God to stop fighting, to lay their weapons down, and to BE STILL. It was a call to stop the frantic activity and know that God is sovereign over all.

John and I may not be fighting in a war, but we are right in the middle of a war against infertility. And I’ve been pretty frantic. Doing things like only using organic all natural products, including deodorant (Sorry, John!), to hours of endless research on Dr. Google. I kept ignoring the verse looming in the mind because I was afraid of hearing what God wants us to do next. To be still. To take a break. Honestly, a break from fertility treatments scares me. For all of 2015 I have healed from one failed treatment by immediately jumping to the next treatment. But now I can’t. On Monday I went  to see Beth at the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility Christian support center. After talking crying for awhile, she looked at me and said “You just want answers don’t you? What if a break is your answer right now?” Talk about hitting a nail on the head!

I keep questioning whether we should try again with IVF or look into adoption. Currently, that question overwhelms me. So now I understand why I need a break. John and I need to take a break to “Be still” and know that God is sovereign over our problems. We need to pray and be led in the right direction. Even though it scares me to take a break, I have to trust in God that this is what is right for John and I right now.

In a few weeks we will go in for a failed IVF consultation with our RE. We may get some answers from that meeting, or we may not. But even if the consultation makes our next move clear, we will probably continue our break for a little longer. We need to recoup spiritually, mentally, physically (for me), and financially. No matter what our next step is, it’s probably going to be expensive. And that money tree just refuses to grow in our backyard. Most of you know we have a team in the Baby Steps 5K in November. At the 5k one couple will win a $10,000 grant towards infertility costs or towards adoption. You can help us win by signing up as a participant on our team “Hoping for a Best!”. The best part is, even if you can’t attend, you can still sign up and it still counts!

But for now, we will practice “Being Still” and trusting that God will show us answers when the time is right. And somehow between our last failed results, talking to John, pouring my heart out to Beth at Sarah’s Laughter,  reading the Psalm, and writing this blog, I have become okay with that.

Oh yeah- I threw away the organic all natural deodorant. I found that it doesn’t work very well about 3 months too late! 🙂

love-lauren1

An IVF Review

Since completing our IVF and sharing that it failed, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends about the process. I really enjoy your questions and your interest about our journey towards Baby Best! So I figured I would write a little review about the process.

*Disclaimer* I am not in the medical field so these are just my experiences. However, I am qualified to offer some great oral health advice! 🙂

Step 1: Birth Control Pills

I know, it seems silly, right? Why would I take BCPs when we have been trying 19 months to conceive?! But they actually serve an important role. The BCPs get my body ready for a cycle that my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) can have complete control over. They “quiet” your body down in a sense. It’s also the easiest part of the process.

Step 2: Hormone Stimulants

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All the millions of meds I needed for IVF.

These stimulants come in the form of injections. Yay, shots! (Just joking). But they help your body produce more eggs than what it would in a normal month. Way more eggs. I was on a concoction of Bravelle and Menopur that I would mix up and inject nightly (later on they added a 3rd- Ganirelix). I give patients injections at work so it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me. The needles are tiny so it doesn’t hurt too bad. I gave myself nightly injections for around 11 days. Everyone’s Stim phase is different according to your own body. Others may end up injecting more or less days than I did. I actually had to reorder my meds twice, which was no fun because they aren’t cheap. To add a little enjoyment to my nightly injections I bought myself Hello Kitty Band Aids. It’s the little things!

*Side Note* during my Stim phase we had tickets to a Garth Brooks concert. Since the concert time coincided with my injection time I had to bring my shots with me. And shoot myself up in a parking garage. Talk about feeling like a druggie! I had John be my lookout so we wouldn’t have to explain ourselves to anyone.

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Meds on the go!

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Here goes nothing!

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Hello Kitty Band Aids!

During the Stim phase you have Monitoring appointments. There is a fine line between producing too many eggs and developing Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). They also monitor you so you don’t ovulate early and ruin the whole process before they can retrieve the eggs. Towards the end of my 11 day Stim cycle I went from every other day monitoring appointments to everyday appointments. Shout out to my wonderful and totally understanding Boss and office staff! The bloat and discomfort of developing so many eggs really didn’t bother me until the very end. But man! Once it hit, it really hit! I felt like a  Chicken about to lay a million eggs! Your very last shot is a very time specific injection that causes you to ovulate so the RE can retrieve the eggs.

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Celebrating my last injection!

Step 3: Retrieval

I never thought I would be so ready for a surgery! The Retrieval day seemed like it would never come. But finally we reported back to my RE’s office. Since its surgery I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight the day before. Which caused low Blood Sugar and caused me to almost pass out during the multiple attempts to place my IV. Finally an Anesthesia Nurse was called to help and she got it in place. After some fluids I was wheeled into the Operating Room in my super fashionable surgery garb, and they helped transfer me to the Operating table. HOLY STIRRUPS! Ladies- the stirrups at your OBGYN’s office have nothing on the ones for an egg retrieval! Talk about awkward- I was basically on a pedestal and exposed to a bunch of strangers. I just kept praying the sedation meds would hurry up and take effect. Suddenly I was asleep and then awoken by my RE who informed me they retrieved 19 eggs. 19! No wonder I felt like a big puffer fish!

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Headed in for my Retrieval

They wheeled me back to John and my mom for more fluids before I was discharged. During this time my Husband had already went to do his “business”, and my eggs were given to the Embryologist to be fertilized. We were finally able to go home so I could rest and down some serious Gatorade for the next 5 days (to also prevent OHSS).

Step 4: Transfer

During the 5 days between Retrieval and Transfer we got daily updates on how our embryos were doing. Out of 19 eggs, 17 were mature, and of those 12 fertilized successfully. Unfortunately some of the embryos will always become non-viable so we ended up with 4 perfect and viable ones.

I got some wonderful Valium for the Transfer day and headed back to the O.R. Thankfully, no IVs this time. The Transfer went smooth and the Embryologist and the RE put back 2 beautiful embryos. John was able to be in the O.R. with me and he did a great job of holding my hand and rubbing my head. He saw the RE pray before the transfer and we both really appreciated that. After the transfer we went home and I was told to take it easy for 2 days.

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Selfie on transfer day. The closest we have been to being parents yet.

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Our embryos before they transferred them back to me. I prayed over these little guys at least a hundred times.

After that it was just a 10 day waiting game to see if the embryos would implant. We prayed a lot, and I read, and colored (yes, colored) to take my mind off the wait.

Unfortunately, you all that have been keeping up with us already know that this “fresh” cycle failed. We didn’t end up pregnant. However, we still have 2 beautiful frozen embryos. The process is long, hard, and nerve wracking but it’s also miraculous. John and my personal relationships with God have never been stronger. And our marriage has never been better. We have had to support each other in ways that most couples will never have to. We are still hopeful that our baby(ies) Best will come eventually!

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P.S. Please join or consider donating to our Baby Steps 5K team! By joining or donating you will help us win a chance at a $10,000 family building grant! You also help keep Sarah’s Laughter (a Christian infertility support group) open! Our team name is Hoping for a Best! Click here to join or donate!

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The Post That Wasn’t Supposed To Be

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This post wasn’t supposed to be, it was never supposed to exist. You see, when I started this blog I had a plan. We knew we were about to start the process of IVF. So I was going to post the few entries that already exist, then after we finished our IVF, I would slowly start blogging about the different aspects. After a few weeks of talking about this or that, I would happily announce that our IVF was successful! That we were finally pregnant!

Except, it didn’t work out the way it was supposed to. Our IVF failed. I’m not pregnant for the 18 month in a row (but who is counting?!). It took a while to muster up the courage to write this. I don’t want to admit that our IVF didn’t work, I don’t want to admit I’m not pregnant.  Honestly, I considered deleting this blog. I didn’t think things would get so personal so quickly. But I started this blog to 1. Bring more awareness to infertility and 2. Hopefully encourage others that may be struggling. Unfortunately, treatments don’t always work, its part of the process. Life doesn’t always go the way we planned. The failed IVF is our reality right now.

Was it devastating? Absolutely. There are so many emotions and hopes tied up in the procedure. There seemed like endless nights of injections after injections, appointments after appointments. Weight gain from all the hormones. Phone calls about how many eggs fertilized, how many embryos were still growing. And of course, the dreaded “two week wait”. The period of time when you over analyze every minor change, ache, or pain that could be going on with your body. For those two weeks I just knew I was pregnant. We had SO many people praying for us. We had already been through so much on this journey as a couple, how could God say “not yet, Lauren and John, not yet.” ? I just knew He wouldn’t, I just knew our infertility journey was coming to an end.

Fast forward to the Saturday morning I had my beta test to see if I was pregnant. Since it fell on a weekend our appointment was at 7:30 AM. I didn’t ever care I couldn’t sleep late because I felt like I was about to receive some of the best news in my life. So John drove me to the hospital where I gave another blood sample for the millionth time this year, and we drove back home to wait. And wait. And wait. What was supposed to be a phone call a hour later seemed like 5 years. I kept my phone as close to me as possible waiting for the call.

Then it came. As soon as I heard the tone of Nurse Jenn’s voice ask, “May I please speak to Lauren?” My heart shattered. She was always so upbeat and cheery on the phone. Even though I has just seen her an hour before, her voice was now quiet and sad. I’m not for sure what was even said. My brain quit functioning after the words “Your test came back negative” slowly came through the phone. I assume there were some instructions on what to expect next and something about what the next step could be. But all I heard is that my test was negative. As the words “thank you” meekly escaped from my mouth I gave my best effort to hold the tears back so she didn’t know I was about to breakdown. My world was suddenly upside down.

Somewhere between answering that phone call and hanging up, John had already moved to my side and was hugging me. He didn’t have to hear the conversation to know that our miracle baby wouldn’t come this month. So we just sat on our living room couch and cried. We mourned the babies we just knew for sure were in my womb. We mourned our lost hopes and dreams all over again.

The next few days were all a blur. We were both still hurting and confused. I was angry, sad, devastated, and numb all at once. I asked God “Why? Why us? Why isn’t this over? How could He let this fail when so many people were praying for us? Have you forgotten about us?”   My answer to these questions came in form of a text message from Beth, the leader of our support group. She was checking up on us so I texted her the bad news. Her response was the answer to the questions I was so angrily asking God. “I am so sorry. I know it’s so hard. But your story is not over.”

How could this happen? Because our story isn’t over yet. How could God let this fail? Because our story isn’t over yet. It doesn’t matter how much I plan my life, it doesn’t always work out the way I want it. I’m still struggling to completely accept this. But I know that God knows what he is doing. I know the story He is writing for John and I is the most beautiful story for us. But for now I take comfort in the fact that our story isn’t over yet.

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