Monday, May 16, 2011

And the pregnancy test result is....

POSITIVE!  I went to the doctor this morning for a blood pregnancy test.  They called me with the news that I was pregnant!  I started crying on the phone...I was so happy - for about 30 seconds - until I started to worry.  The nurse told me any level above 60 is considered pregnant.  My level was 90.  I go back on Wednesday for another blood test.  The nurse says that my levels should increase by 60% if all is progressing normally.  After my initial happiness, I started to worry that my level wasn't that high.  What if the second blood test shows a decrease in my levels?  What if the baby initially implanted but I miscarry?  My mind just started going with worry.  Why can't I just be happy and excited?  That's what my husband wanted to know when I got home from work tonight.  Why can't I just be optimistic?  I don't know.  I don't want to worry.  I don't want to have these sinking feelings.  I guess I just feel so fragile and vulnerable. 

So, once again I'm reminded that I must trust God with everything - everything that I don't have control over and all the unknowns I face.  I must find my peace in Him and direct my thoughts to Him.  He will give me the courage and bravery I need. 

A lesson learned on a wife's role

Wow!  I just got challenged and convicted this morning during my quiet time.  Let me give you a little background first.  A couple of days ago, Adam told me he had trouble sleeping because he was worried about us having triplets.  He was saying how he didn't think he could handle it, etc.  He was just sharing his concerns, but I got defensive and upset. Then, yesterday, I asked him a dumb question (talk about setting him up).  I asked him if he would rather have triplets or no child.  His response was "I'd rather have twins than no child".  I knew Adam's anxiety about triplets, so it really was an unfair question.  We ended up having a slight conflict because he felt I punish him/get mad at him for being honest.  He's right - I tend to do that because I get mad at him for not having more faith or worrying about things I don't think he should worry about.  We worked through it, and it was fine. 

This morning, I was working on my devotional called Wisdom for Mothers.  The chapter I am on is about a wife's role with her husband.  Here are the things I learned this morning about a wife's role:
1.  a wife protects and defends s heart.  When a husband's heart is vulnerable or insecure or weak, a wife should protect and defend her husband's heart.
2.  a wife is called to submit to her husband completely - with a gentle and quiet spirit.
3.  1 Corinthians 11:7-11 talks about how we are to be the glory of our husbands.  We were created from man, and we were created for man's sake.    Man wasn't created for woman's sake!  This really challenged me that my role is to support and encourage and be my husband's help-mate. 

Sometimes I am selfish and get tired of feeling like I always have to encourage my husband or always have to say the right thing - I want him to encourage me.  But, God reminded me this morning that I was created to be my husband's help-mate. My role is to help him and support him. 

What changes do you need to make in your thinking and actions to reflect your role in God's plan?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You are God

This morning during church, I was really moved during our worship time.  One of the songs we sang was You are God by Charlie Hall.  Part of the lyrics state "you fill our hearts with love and faith, you fight for us you make us brave".  These words, for some reason, deeply touched me.  I understood, at a deeper level, that God provides me with love and hope.  I can have courage and bravery because He is fighting for me.  How cool is that?  What is there to fear when you are under God's care? 

No matter what the outcome of tomorrow's pregnancy test, I know that it has been filtered through God's loving hands.  I choose to trust and believe in His grand purpose and will.  I choose to trust and believe God knows what's best for me and ultimately only His purposes matter. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

The waiting is almost over

It's Friday!  TGIF!  Mostly, I'm just ready to get through the weekend and get to Monday - that's when I get to take a pregnancy test and find out whether I'm having a baby.  My daughter Emerson asked me today if I had a baby in my belly.  I said, "I don't know".  I still try not to let myself think about it too much - afraid that if my mind wanders, it will just go places that aren't helpful.  So, I continue to challenge myself to stay present, in the moment, enjoy life and what today brings. 

I've had many people tell me or my husband how they are praying for us, praying that God would grant us another healthy baby.  I told Adam this morning that at least if God says "no" about having another baby, we know we had prayer support and God definitely has a reason for saying no.  I know he wouldn't just not let me be pregnant out of being mean.  That's not who God is.  If I'm not pregnant, I trust God and His grand purposes. 

I thought it would be helpful to make a list of the things I'm grateful for - that no matter what the result of Monday is - I can reflect and be aware of the many blessings.  So here's my list, not exhaustive by any means....

1. a wonderful husband and daughter
2.  great extended family - parents and in-laws
3.  a healthy mind and body
4.  the ability to be active
5.  my salvation - I serve a God who is gracious, and merciful, and forgiving, and perfect in every way
6.  I get to stay home and raise my daughter - my husband works hard to provide for our needs
7.  we have a great church community with great friends

Life is good - that won't change on Monday! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A word on peseverence

Love it when I feel like I have heard from God during my quiet time.  I know He's always speaking through His word, but sometimes I just feel like the word just is louder or more specific than at other times.  This morning I was challenged on perseverance, not only spiritually but personally. 

Here's what Charles Swindoll writes:

I fear our generation has come dangerously near the "I'm-getting-tired-so-let's just-quit" mentality. And not just in the spiritual realm.  Dieting is a discipline, so we stay fat.  Finishing school is a hassle, so we bail out.  Cultivating a close relationship is painful, so we back off.  Getting book written is demanding, so we stop short.  Working through conflicts in a marriage is a tiring struggle, so we walk away.  Sticking with an occupation is tough, so we start looking elsewhere....And about the time we are ready to give it up, along comes the Master, who leans over and whispers:  "Now we keep going:  don't quit.  Keep on"

I was challenged on so many levels..sometimes I think I'm much weaker than I even think I am.  I think I do give up too easily, whether it's with watching what I eat or having walls up in my relationships.  I get tired of the constant effort it takes to do what's right.  BUT, that's the life we are called to live - that's the way to growth and maturity and blessings.  We must be willing to persevere, even when it's hard and we are ready to stop trying.  We must keep going, don't quit, keep on! 

In what areas do you need to persevere in? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Are you fast-forwarding life?

I've been wanting to blog about something profound or transformational, but honestly I've just been steadily plodding along.  But, I guess, most of life is steady plodding, isn't it? 

I get to take a pregnancy test next Monday.  I've been trying hard not to rush the week away, thinking about what the news might be next week, and what will happen after i find out the news, and....Instead of being caught up in trying to fast forward life, I've been trying to stay present and engaged to what is going on each day in my life- to stay present and engaged with the people in my life, to enjoy the present as much as I can.  Tomorrow will come soon enough, but I don't want to be a person who wishes I could turn back time and enjoy moments longer and better.  We live in such a fast paced society, rushing through the days and weeks and months.  I want to be a person not rushing.  I want to be a person who can stop and smell the roses.  I want to live each day with meaning and purpose, even if it's just a mundane day. 

I will deal with next Monday when it comes, and I hope to deal with the day with grace and strength no matter what the test results might be.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Legacy

Today at church, we had baptisms.  There were several children being baptized, and one of the fathers gave a brief statement about the legacy his parents had been a part of leading up to his daughter's salvation and now public statement of faith through water baptism.  I don't know if I'm extra hormonal or what, but I couldn't keep the tears from falling.  I thought of the legacy I want to leave behind...most importantly, loving Jesus with all my heart, mind, and soul and pointing others to Jesus.  I thought about my daughter Emerson and the importance of leaving her a legacy of a life serving Jesus.  I want her to know Him fully and in a way that transforms how she lives. I want her to see in me someone who lives what she says.  I want her to see someone who is full of joy and hope because of a life with Jesus.  I want her to live with purpose and intention. 

When I think of this legacy, it reminds me the importance of daily living.  We often find the daily living "mundane" or boring.  What importance is there in cleaning the house, doing laundry, dealing with tantrums, going grocery shopping, making dinner, etc.  But when you think of the legacy you want to leave behind, it reminds me that how I live daily is the legacy I will leave behind.  It's not a dramatic one time action that leaves a legacy (or not often, anyway).  It's the daily choices and behaviors and attitudes that make up our legacy. 

My daughter has gotten into the habit of asking me "what are we going to do tomorrow, mom?".  My response has been, "let's worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Let's focus on today, today".  Because that's been my answer consistently, Emerson likes to ask me that question so she gets to hear that answer.  She frequently answers her own question now with my answer.  What we say, how we respond, the daily choices DO MATTER. 

What legacy do you want to leave?

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Battle of the Mind

It's only been one day since our embryo transfer.  We had three embryos transferred yesterday.  I've been feeling tired and having cramps today.  Since the IVF nurse advised me against running or high impact activity until after our pregnancy test, I've been doing other lower impact exercises.  Today, I did the elliptical for 35 minutes and then did a weights class.  As the day progressed and my cramping/dull pain continued, I began to let my mind wander...did I do too much today, exercise-wise?  Is my body rejecting the embryos?  I got on the Internet and started reading different sites about whether cramping after embryo transfer is normal.  I'm continually amazed at how much our mind can stray so quickly and easily.  I had to constantly challenge my thoughts today - not to think negatively, not to dwell on what ifs, stay focused on the present. 

I continue to believe and pray for the best, that these little embryos inside of me will continue to grow and develop.  I will continue to fight the battle of the mind - not letting my thoughts become negative or full of anxiety.  I will turn my concerns to Jesus and focus on living in the present - focusing on things that are true, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praise-worthy.

How do you fight negative thinking?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now the waiting begins

The embryo transfer went well this morning.  Three embryos were implanted, all of which "looked good", according to our doctor.  So, I have three little embryos in my uterus right now, just needing to grow and develop.  Could we have triplets?  Of course, there's a chance.  But, somehow I doubt it.  We are praying for God's will - we want one baby but would take whatever God gives us.  We will still do daily progesterone injections until we know whether or not I'm pregnant.  I will take a pregnancy test on May 16th, so just over a week of waiting. 

No matter what the outcome, I feel like God has stretched me and refined me in many ways.  I feel like my heart has opened up in ways that have been shut off for a long time.  I tend to put walls up around me to protect myself from hurt, but this process has taken my walls down.  I feel free to hope and be optimistic, knowing God could still decide not to allow us to get pregnant.  That's okay.  I would rather be open and hopeful than closed and pessimistic. 

Hope Endures

This morning, I go in for the embryo transfer.  It's a "day 3" transfer this time instead of a "day 5" transfer.  I'm not really sure why, but the nurse says all the embryos are growing as they should.  When we go in for the transfer, we'll get more information on their quality.  Then, it's a matter of waiting - to see if the embryos implant on my uterus. 

Emotionally, waiting is hard! There's nothing you can do to make a difference in the outcome - it's completely in God's hands.  I have been hopeful in this process, asking God to grant us another healthy baby.  I remind myself I will be okay no matter what the outcome, and I know that will be true.  But I will continue to present my petitions to the Lord, trusting Him with my requests. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another step in the right direction - IVF update

Today, I found out that out of the 7 follicles retrieved yesterday, 6 were mature and 5 have fertilized.  It sounds good to me.  Now, that doesn't mean all 5 fertilized eggs will continue to develop.  I'm supposed to call back tomorrow to see how they are developing and when the embryo transfer will occur.  It's weird to be finding myself praying for the development of those little embryos. I've drifted off praying for them several times today - that they would grow and develop normally and implant in my uterus.  When the science of baby-making is broken down, you see how much of a miracle "life" really is - how many complex things must come together to create life, and how one breakdown can cause life not to occur.  It's such a fragile thing! 

I was reading some online articles last night about the effect exercise has on the IVF process and outcome.  Of course there are probably many different views, I read one recent article that said the IVF process is actually one of the few occasions when exercise is not helpful.  Because I am an exercise addict, not really, but I do work out 6 days a week rather strenuously, I started to worry about my current exercise routine.  Will running cause me not to become pregnant?  Will doing regular strenuous workouts negatively affect implantation?  I don't know, but it has me concerned.  I started praying that God would give me wisdom if there was anything I needed to do differently during the next few weeks awaiting pregnancy results.  I emailed the IVF nurse yesterday asking about whether my current exercise routine was safe to continue at this point.  She advised against any high impact activity, such as running, and said to stay with low-impact activities that do not raise the heart rate very high.  Mixed Emotions!  I'm sad that I have to scale back for so many reasons.  One reason I'm sad is that I'm not naturally athletic.  I work hard to achieve results and running is something that never has come easily.  I'm afraid of losing my endurance and abilities when I stop running.  I also worry about weight gain.  I have to work extremely hard just to maintain my weight.  IF I"m not working out as hard, will I gain weight?  On the other hand, I did pray to God for wisdom and i do feel like the nurse's response was confirmation of what I needed to hear - SLOW DOWN, let your body rest.  I needed permission for that, and God knew that. 

So, I will heed medical advice.  I will slow down, do yoga and other low impact activities.  I will rest and take it easy.  I have the rest of my life to work out hard and train but maybe only this one opportunity to have another child.  Which is more important?  There's no contest - I'll take another baby any day over my exercise routine. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval procedure went well this morning.  We thought we had 6 mature follicles, but the doctor actually retrieved 7 follicles.  This is good news because the more follicles retrieved, the more chances of fertilization and embryos for implantation.  I can call tomorrow at 11am to find out how many eggs were fertilized and when the embryos will be implanted. 

So today has been rest day.  I don't get many days where I just get to lay in bed and relax.  It's been nice.  It's nice to get permission to rest!  You don't have to tell me twice.  Tomorrow will come soon enough, so today I will enjoy. 

Filled with Hope

This morning was the egg retrieval process, and it went really well.  We originally thought we had 5 follicles growing, then we found out on Saturday we had 6 potentially mature follicles.  Today, after the procedure, the doctor told us he had retrieved 7 follicles.  yay!  I know 1 or 2 extra follicles don't seem like a big deal, but for me it is a really big deal.  It gives us 2 more chances of developing healthy embryos.  I will call the doctor tomorrow to see how many of my eggs were fertilized.  It's still a process that feels so much out of my control, but we are trusting in God.  We are looking to Him to keep proper perspective, to remember His perfect character. 

I'm thankful for friends who have been supportive and have covered me in prayer.  I have felt peace in the midst of much uncertainty.  This process can be very overwhelming and stressful - we have had our fair share of stress.  But, Adam and I have really come together and supported each other well through it all.