Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moving Right Along: A Foster Licensing Update

We mentioned, forever ago, that we would keep you posted on our progress with getting our foster license. And then, we never did. We didn't because, well, not much was happening beyond paperwork, interviews and classes, so we figured we would update all at once.

I'm happy to say that TONIGHT is our last PS-MAPP class (a 10-week class you are required to take that walks you through all you need to know and all you may experience with foster care). It is an informative class, but it is a 3 hour class for 10 weeks, which gets a bit long, boring, and old. That said, we learned a lot and are excited to put what we learned into practice.

It's exciting to be DONE with classes after tonight because once classes are done, they really try to push you through the process as fast as possible. And we are so blessed to have a licensing worker who is determined to get this done quickly.

We have filled out all the necessary paperwork, which if you're curious, is stacks and stacks of paperwork. They ask questions ranging from personal information, to family backgrounds, to criminal history, to finances. I gotta hand it to them, they are very thorough. I think they now know more information about us than we know about ourselves.

We have also had a few interviews (about ourselves and our marriage) with our licensing worker. They conduct the interviews to put together our home study, which we need before we can receive our license.

All we have left is another interview or two, a house inspection (which our house is all ready for, we are just waiting to get to that part of the process), have our references be interviewed, and then, we wait for our license. They are thinking we should be licensed by the end of the year...YIPPEE!

If you are looking to get licensed, I would say that the process is pretty idiot-proof, it just takes a little bit of time (both time doing things required of you, and time waiting patiently for them to do what they need to do). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mckenna's Birthday Bash

Mckenna turned three on Friday, so Saturday we celebrated with a fall-themed party - complete with chili and bobbing for apples.

We tried to keep it small, but you know how that goes, it can grow quickly. We just invited our small group and their kids (some of Mckenna's best friends), our closest friends and their kids (some of Mckenna's best friends), and my parents and bro and sis-in-law, and Ronnie's parents and bros and future sis.  It was an amazing time! It was so nice to see everyone important to Mckenna all under one roof.

For food we had chili, and things you'd want chili on...like hot dogs and chips. And then we had snacks and desserts: kettle corn, apple pie, caramel apples and, of course, birthday cake.

For fun, we had pumpkin painting, bobbing for apples, lawn games, and side walk chalk.

It was simple, yet we had a blast spending time with our nearest and dearest. We are so thankful for everyone that took their Saturday afternoon with us to celebrate another year for our little lady!

Of course it was so fun that I forgot to take a single picture during the actual party...mom fail!! Thankfully I have 3 pictures a friend sent me! But here is what it looked like set up before the party (minus a few last minute things we set out).

Special shout out to my mom for making the chili, doing tons (and TONS) of work, and making my job WAY easier. And thank you to Ronnie's stepmom, Denise, for helping clean and prep!

Our friend's baby, Piper. Mckenna ADORES her!

It's cake time!

Getting ready to blow out candles is serious business!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Birthdays & NACFC

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for today and for the gift that keeps giving. Today I turn 28. And 3 years ago, on my birthday, I went into labor and received the best birthday gift (44 minutes after my birthday ended) - our daughter Mckenna. I am so thankful that each birthday I am taken back to that day and the memories that were made as we prepared to bring her into the world - the wonderful, relaxing morning at home; laboring through the evening; pushing in the night; and the precious first sights and sounds just after my birthday ended.

I’m thankful for hope. We may have gotten bad news last week, but I’m thankful that this week has been filled with hope and anticipation to get back into the IVF saddle and try again with some beautiful frozen babies!

I’m thankful for friends and family. Our friends and family have come along side us during these last couple weeks, from caring for us and Mckenna when we were both sick and hurting after the retrieval, to walking beside us in love through the waiting and disappointment. God has blessed us with an amazing support system.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the births of the two most special girls in my life. Mandi turned 28 today and Mckenna turns 3 tomorrow! I am so blessed by them daily that a simple birthday celebration would never capture how truly special both of them are to me. I hope that I'm able to make them feel "birthday special" every single day of the year.

I'm thankful for my NACFC experience. NACFC is always a good time and I'm always thankful that I'm able to catch up with folks that I talk to throughout the year via email and phone. This year was no different as I sat down with many folks across the CF community and talked about ways that we could serve the community together. Hopefully we see some of those conversations turn into action!

I'm thankful for Pops and Nana D coming into town. My dad and step-mom drove into town two days ago to bee around for the birthdays and birthday party this weekend. Mckenna absolutely loves them and they are always fun to have around.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, October 13, 2014

IVF Update: Back to Zero and Square One

Sorry for the late Mandi Monday, I wanted to wait until we had our blood draw to post.

Unfortunately the draw confirmed what we had thought, my numbers went back to zero, which means we lost the pregnancy. We are sad, but usually numbers that dip and rise again are, most commonly a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, so being no longer pregnant sure beats that alternative.

We grieved the loss on Thursday and Friday. I felt downright angry, until I decided to trust God and choose to focus my energy over the weekend enjoying the blessing I had already been given (Mckenna) instead of mourning the blessing I was losing. So since we knew how this would likely end, the news today didn't come with the same sting. Instead it came with thankfulness that it was the best of the two likely scenarios and thankfulness that it's happening now and not in weeks to come. If ever there's a time to have a pregnancy end (in my opinion, maybe not for everyone) it's now and not after we've seen them on an ultrasound, assumed we would hold them in our arms, etc. So I am thankful that if we won't get to hold this baby (these babies) at the end of this pregnancy, that it unfolded this way.

We are also moving forward with hopeful hearts. We have frozen embryos from this last retrieval (I will post a whole blog on that in days to come), so we will move forward with another cycle when my body is ready. I will stop meds and "Aunt Flo" will come to visit, and then after that, whenever my ovaries go back to their normal size (one is still quite large from the retrieval), I will start meds for a frozen transfer.

Thank you so much for going on this journey with us and all of your prayers.

Prayer Requests:
- God's love and peace continues to surround us during this time.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

IVF Update: An Unfortunate Turn

This is a blog that is really difficult to write, but we wanted to update. We ended up having our second blood draw today, instead of tomorrow (because I am a nut, and I wanted an update sooner). Unfortunately, we got news that wasn't good.

My second number was 39, down from 42.5.

For those of you who have never been through the process of watching your hcg levels in pregnancy, my levels should be doubling every 48-72 hours. So the numbers should have been doubled, or close to that. Any shift downward is usually a sign that a miscarriage is likely.

They are having me stay on all meds and redrawing it on Monday. We are praying that a miracle will happen, but preparing for the worst.

This is obviously heartbreaking news for our family. I am feeling pretty devastated and confused. And honestly, angry. I wish I knew why we keep going through this. I'm just so tired. And it feels like we not just have another mountain to climb. But through all the confusion, I know one thing, our God is always good, and His plan is perfect. So we truck on.

Coincidently, Mckenna has requested this song on repeat over the last couple days...and it's perfectly fitting for today:

Prayer Requests:
- God works a miracle and the numbers were a fluke...and are back up on Monday and the pregnancy will continue.

But, for also:
- Peace throughout the next couple days as we wait for another draw.
- Thank God for getting us to this point and for blessing us with getting pregnant as well as with frozen embryos for the future.
- Thank God for Mckenna.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IVF Update: We're Pregnant!!!!


Ahh it feels so wonderful to type those words. So good that I'll type them again: we're pregnant! God is so good!

The clinic called this morning, and for the first time in 1.5 years I got to hear the words, "I have good news...YOU'RE PREGNANT!!"

We had our beta (initial blood draw to test HCG in my level) and it came back at 42.5. Our doctor is happy with that number, although it is on the lower side of normal, so we will go back for another blood test on Friday to make sure things are still growing properly.

We had a little indication that the test would result in good news because I have been cheating and took some pregnancy tests. We had been getting some faint positives, and then last night decided to take a digital so there was no guessing. Here's the video from that test:

We are so, so thankful that this first step is GREAT news! We are very, very excited, but at the same time we are guarding our hearts a bit since we have lost a couple pregnancies very early in the last 1.5 years. We are trusting that God will continue to work this pregnancy together for our good and most importantly, according to His perfect plan.

We cannot thank you for all your prayers!! From your lips to God's ears...there's a baby (or two) in there.

Prayer Request:
- Praise God for his goodness up to this point and giving us a baby or babies in there as of now!
- A happy, healthy, LOOOONG pregnancy!
- Friday's blood work looks AWESOME and the numbers are doubling normally!
- We find the perfect balance between excitement and reservation as we move through the early stages of pregnancy.

Welp, I'm off to do a happy dance...annnnnd then go back to managing my expectations :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

IVF Update: The Non-Update Update

We kind of went dark there. Sorry! I've been trying to relax as much as possible, but Ronnie's been swamped with work, so it's been a balancing act. Anyhoo, it has left very little time for updating. Also, there hasn't been anything to update. We are stuck in the horrible "two week wait," as it's referred to.

Our blood draw (they call it a "beta test") is tomorrow to see if our little beans stuck or not. They draw my blood in the morning and call a few (LONG) hours later with a number. That number in and of itself if kind of worthless...to be honest. As long as it's above a certain value (all clinics are different with the value they like), our clinic just says "see you at 6.5 weeks for an ultrasound." If it's on the low side, they'll have you do another draw or two to make sure it's double at the proper pace. The value just tells you that something implanted. So we won't know how many until a first ultrasound. For us, having a few early losses, having a positive beta will be thrilling, but we will reserve some excitement until we see a heartbeat (or two) at 6.5 weeks..because we know all too well that there are a lot of hurdles after this first beta.

Anyways...soooo in less than 24 hours we should know what it's looking like in there....and I CANNOT WAIT!

Prayer Requests
- The next 24 hours are filled with peace...and fly by.
- Our little beans implanted and our beta comes back POSITIVE!
- Peace for any outcome!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Friends & The New Park

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for good friends and family. Ronnie and I needed extra help this last week when Ronnie, who was supposed to be on Mckenna duty after my retrieval, got sick unexpectedly. My parents were out of town the last week and a half, and they are usually who we call on. Instead we called upon friends and other family. My brother watched Mckenna one night when our sitter canceled and we had to go to our foster care class; our friend took Mckenna for a playdate; our cousins took Mckenna for a playdate; and Ronnie’s mom and brothers watched Mckenna during our transfer. It was a bit of a rough week, but I continually felt overjoyed and so blessed as I watched our friends and families shower us with love and assistance.

I’m thankful for the CF community. We have been gifted a community that is so genuine, caring and always rallies around one another. We have felt so blessed by all the prayers over the last couple of weeks surrounding our IVF cycle. It is just another way we are blessed by CF.

I’m thankful to be waiting again. While the waiting process after a transfer and before a pregnancy test is the most brutal time, I am trying to just remember how thankful I am that we are here. I’m so thankful that for right now, two little babies are inside of me. I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to try again. And I’m so thankful we have the family we currently have, to wait it out with!!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a sacrificial wife. Mandi is constantly putting my needs and time in front of her own and I couldn't be more thankful. This week, I've had to work quite a bit, and even though Mandi should be relieved of Mckenna duty more than normal, it seems that she's stepped it up and picked up my slack. She doesn't complain, doesn't make snarky comments, she just supports me. I am so lucky.

I'm thankful for the new park. A new city park was just completed and opened this week about .2 miles from our house. We've been there every day this week and Mckenna absolutely loves it. There is a lot of green space, swings, two playground areas, a basketball court and a sand volleyball court. Mckenna has already met and played with a bunch of new friends!

I'm thankful for friends. I've had two lean on friends this week for advice and help with work stuff that I wasn't familiar with. They were quick to restructure their day and make time for me. Both meetings went well and I was able to complete the task at hand because of them.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 29, 2014

IVF Update: A Man's Small Contribution (TESA)

(I've been meaning to get this story down on virtual paper since last week, but things got away from me. I'm here now though, so here we go!)

As many of you can see, when it comes to IVF cycles, the man does very little in terms of bodily sacrifice or contribution. Mandi seemed to have a needle in some part of her body multiple times a day for the last handful of weeks. She looks like a drug addict with tracks up and down her legs, stomach and booty. To say that I married one tough cookie would be a gigantic understatement.

I will say though that my contribution, although small (literally and figuratively), comes with some big pain and trepidation at just the thought of it.

That my friends, is a TESA - Testicular Sperm Aspiration.

So, how does this look? Well, I won't get all science-y on you. They take a large needle to "numb" my testicles and then take a large claw that latches on to testicular tissue and rips it out. They hope that the tissue contains some sperm. And just for those that are wondering - nope, the testicles can never feel truly numb. I'm still looking for the horse that kicked me repeatedly.

How does it feel? (This is from my original one back in 2011)

That's how it feels.

I posted my TESA from 2011 because it was already on YouTube and it gives you a good sense of how it feels. I've had 2 since then (including) last week, and believe me, they do not get any easier.

Recovery has been different for all 3 procedures. For some reason, the one last week was the worse. I wasn't able to drive the car home (a first) and was unable to get into a comfortable position for hours and hours after the aspiration. I put my boys on ice and did my best to stay completely still. One wrong move and it felt like I was on the table all over again.

Want to know the good news however?? They said that last week provided them with the best sample that they've ever had from me. My little swimmers were actually swimming (that has not always been the case) and many of them looked normal (again, not always the case). The embryologist also said that he set aside 8 hours to find sperm from my sample, based on my past history, but it only took him 4 hours to find 30+ usable sperm! Way to go Sharpe baby batter!!!!

So there you have it, my small contribution.

FYI: I'm walking normally now and will attempt to work out today. Still painful to the touch, but nothing that I can't handle.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

IVF Update: Transfer Day!

Today is the day! We are so excited to be here and so thankful that we have made it to this point. We spent our morning in church, and I spent most of the service praying that God was guiding our embryologist to the two babies God has for us this transfer. The last song to close out the service was the one below. I walked into church this morning praying God would bring me peace and trust today, and I was so thankful that He spoke to my heart so intensely through the last song of the day. I cried through it, but I felt so at peace.

And then I got home and looked at Mckenna's craft from Sunday School. I couldn't help but smile at this clear message:


Saturday, September 27, 2014

IVF Update: Day 3 Update

Just a quick one to update on the progress...

But before I do, I'll start by saying that we can't thank you enough for all the prayers. They are really felt, and it is so evident that God's hand is all over this process!

Our embryologist, Drew, called yesterday afternoon with our day 3 update. Right now we are sitting at 14 that are 6-8 cell embryos like he likes to see on day 3. The other 7 are sitting at 2-4 cells. This means 14 look really good, and 7 are behind (they could catch up, but likely won't). This is exactly what is expected on day 3, and we could not be more thrilled. It's actually the best we've looked on day 3...and Drew said this is the best he's seen from us at this stage in the game. Praise God!

Ronnie and I are both feeling good. Ronnie's little incident Wednesday night was nothing a little GoLytely couldn't cure, and he's back up to par after a long night and morning on the throne. I am feeling really good for what I usually feel on day 3. Still a little discomfort when I bend/move or have pressure on my stomach, but all of the constant sharp cramping is gone. I still look about 4 months pregnant, but hey, that's what yoga pants and baggy shirts are for, right?

As of now, we are game on for Sunday at 11am! Come on babies, mommy's tummy is ready for you!

Prayer Requests:
- Pray for embryos that they continue to do well and that we have a handful of good ones on day 5.
- Pray for my body to continue to heal, so I feel 100% in the next couple days
- Pray that my body is ready to have two babies implant and stick around
- Pray that the 2 embryos that will implant and hang around grow in a way that Drew (our embryologist) instantly knows they're the two he should pick to put back Sunday. Make it clear as day in his heart and mind.

Thanks again for all the prayers. It means the world to have your loving support and to know that our awesome God is hearing from so many on our behalf.

Friday, September 26, 2014

"I Lived" Because of Christine

I was very impressed (that would be an understatement) when I saw the new One Republic music video "I Lived" for the first time. It may be the best awareness video that has ever been put out in the cystic fibrosis community. It is rare to find an awareness piece that does such a great job in striking the perfect balance between education and inspiration. 

"I Lived" by One Republic

The music video below features real-life CFer Bryan Warnecke talking about what CF is, how it's treated, what his expectations are, his fears, his blessings and everything in between. What I took note of however, which may ultimately be most important for CF patients and their families, may not be what others noticed. Before I get into that, please watch the video below:  

Be Who You Want To See

So what struck me most about that video? His parents. I wish I could give them a hug and a high-five and say "job well done". They put their son in the best position to live out the title of the song. That video was much more about life than it was about CF. And when our parents allow us to live, in spite of CF, we can often look back and credit their approach for our successes as CFers.

Did you see how they raised Bryan? And in return, Bryan's attitude toward a life with CF?
"It's just one of those things that really makes you appreciate life. Makes you appreciate where you are as a person." - BW
That would not be his attitude if he was raised to fear a life with CF. If he was made to think that life gave him the short-end of the stick.

I do not know them personally, but I guarantee they modeled that mentality through action and words.

Judging by the clips, the last thing on their mind was that CF was a life-altering or life-shortening disease. Judging by those clips, they parented their son Bryan, and not the disease cystic fibrosis.

A Life In Spite of CF

So what did living life in spite of CF look like to them?
  • Falling into a pit of foam, in a public play place (eeeeeeek!!!) at 1:17
  • Riding a bike and falling over without a parents fear that their son is somehow "more fragile" at 1:47
  • Riding in a tractor down a dusty road (oh no!!!!!!) at 1:56
  • Water skiing in a lake (please make it stop!!!!) at 2:07 and 2:11 (with mom cheering in the background)
  • Tumbling over in an electric ATV then being "put back on the saddle" and encouraged to try again at 2:19
  • Boogie boarding in the ocean at 2:26
  • Jumping head first into a pool, maybe public (ahhhhhh!!!), at 2:35
  • Snow skiing at a presumably high altitude at 2:58
  • Back to the dusty tractor ride at 3:00
  • Playing hockey, which I assume means he's in a public locker room with his team at some point (I can't take it anymore!!!), at 3:24 

A Life Ruled by CF

Now, I didn't randomly pick those scenes out of thin air. I picked them because they are all things my mom would have prevented me from doing 34 years ago. When I was diagnosed with CF, my mom forgot that she had a son and instead only remembered that I had a disease.

Does that make her a bad mother? Absolutely not! She did the only thing she instinctually knew how to do as a mom - protect me. Her protection came in the form of shielding me from the outside world in fear that I would become "more sick".

If she would have continued parenting me like that, there is no doubt that I'd be dead.

My Life Changed

By the grace of God, at the age of 5 or so, my very imperfect mom with the very imperfect kid made the most perfect decision, to let me live. In fact, it was this quote by my doctor that started it all...
"If you continue doing what you are doing, not only will Ronnie be somewhat physically disabled his entire life, but he'll become mentally disabled as well...and that's far worse"
That's when my life changed.

She no longer parented the disease, she just started to parent Ronnie, her rambunctious son.

Mind you, this was still tough sledding for my mom. Not allowing the disease to make every decision for her didn't feel natural. There were many times where her heart and her head didn't agree. She had to practice parenting me apart from the disease. It was a decision that she chose to make every single day. That doesn't mean it was easy.

The fear was still there. The agony still hovered over her at times. The doubt crept into her mind from time to time. You know what though? She never let me see that. She would cry herself to sleep almost every night, something I didn't know until about 6 years ago. I never saw that.

After she popped the bubble she formed around me, the only mom I remember was the mom that told me to live, and live well. The mom who sacrificed her afternoons and weekends by having me in sports year round. The mom who made my health our families number one priority, while still be a fantastic mother to my two younger brothers. The mom who would come home physically and mentally exhausted from work, yet made sure to hand pound my chest, back and sides for 45 minutes like she had done before leaving for work in the morning. The mom who took a job that she was overqualified for, and not all that interested in, because it had the best medical insurance in the state. The mom who made me believe that if I put my health first, I was capable of anything. The mom who talked about when I would go to college/get married/make her a grandma, and never "if". The mom who made cystic fibrosis feel like such a small part of our lives, even though most of her energy went to managing it. The mom who raised a boy who was proud of having CF, because she made it clear that she was proud of me - the boy with brown hair, buck teeth, a loud voice, fast feet, quick wit, and oh yeah, cystic fibrosis.

I'm asked all of the time, "where does your attitude come from?". That's easy. My mom.

My Mom, The Perfect Mirror

My mom made me into the man I am today by using CF, and it's inevitable challenges, as another tool in her tool belt. She had me convinced that CF helped mold me into the boy that was the "apple of her eye". She always talked about what a blessing CF was to our family. She was quick to point out the opportunities that came along because of cystic fibrosis. She often reminded me of all of the great people I met and friends I had that would have never been a part of my life without CF.

I loved my life with CF, because my mom loved our life with CF.

Frankly, if she would have shown me that she hated CF, I would have thought that she hated me, too. If she would of shouted "CF sucks", I would have heard "our life sucks".

I never once got that feeling from my mom. I haven't heard her speak a bad word about CF to this day.

She perfectly modeled everything she wanted to see in her son and for that I am forever grateful. Like Bryan's parents, she made sure that a life with CF was a life full of living.

The only reason I'm able to write this blog 34 years after I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis - with her granddaughter tucked safely in bed and my wife nestled up on the couch -  is because I had a mom who believed, from the bottom of her heart, that I would.

"I Lived" because of Christine. I love you mom.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IVF Update: Good Numbers, Lame Parents

I'm here and ready to update, but I'll keep it (semi) brief. Monday Ronnie had his aspiration. Monday night Ronnie rewarded himself with a feast from Long John Silvers. Welllll, that was a bad idea. Ronnie's body was so confused by that junk that he's been sick ever since. Monday night he was up "enjoying" his chicken planks and hush puppies a second time. And his stomach has continued to be really painful since. We aren't sure if it's related to the aspiration, the Long John Silvers, or something else coincidently happening at the same time. He's actually at the Emergency Room as I write this, to rule out that it's nothing else....because he's been really miserable. We are wondering if it's a partial bowel blockage, something with some organ in there, OR just the fact that he feels like he's being kicked in the boxers repeatedly. We will keep you posted, but my guess it's not cause for major concern.

Tuesday morning was my retrieval. The procedure was smooth and successful. They collected 40 eggs, 27 of which were mature. I felt pretty good yesterday aside from the typical cramping and discomfort that everyone gets after a retrieval. My stomach has continued to get more distended, but it's actually a lot better than it has been the last 3, and I don't have any other symptoms of OHSS (rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, low urine output, etc). So I'm pretty pleased. I think I would be feeling a little better than I am now if I was able to just sit in bed, but because Ronnie and I are quite the pathetic duo, I have been taking on most the duties for Mckenna. Poor Mckenna has been forced to watch more movies in the last day than she has in the last year, but I'm pretty sure we didn't kill too many brain cells yet! Our dear friend was sweet enough to take her for a couple hours this morning while we met with our foster care agency worker (not ideal timing, but we gotta do what we gotta do), so at least she got to play with friends then. And then tonight I took her to Chick-Fil-A while Ronnie was at the Emergency Room, so she could run off some energy while I sat and rested. But pretty much we have laid on the couch all day, getting up only to use the potty or feed ourselves or Mckenna, and napped when she's slept.

We got the much anticipated call from our clinic this evening that 21 of the 27 mature eggs fertilized normally. We are really excited about those numbers. Our prayer is that God provides us with exactly the number of embryos He wants us to have, so we are trusting that today he wants us to have 21. We will get another update Friday.

I started the oh-so-wonderful twice-a-day Progesterone injections this morning. Thankfully the first week of them are never too bad because the soreness doesn't start until there's some oil build up. They also have me on progesterone lozenges 3 times a day. Currently, I'm also on all the dailies they want me taking (about 7 supplements, I'll do a blog all on it's own of all my meds), and heparin and prednisone for recurrent miscarriages. One quick note about the prednisone...I don't think I'm having noticeable side effects from it...so PRAISE JESUS.

We will keep you posted on how we are feeling tomorrow and what we find out about Ronnie's tummy troubles. I told him he can have a free pass on taking care of me while I recover from the retrieval as long as he's better by the transfer day, so I can lay low after it! Priorities!! Ha! 

Thanks so much for being in this with us and covering us in prayers. So far, God has provided all that we've asked for!!

UPDATE FROM RONNIE: So it ended up only being severe constipation. I was in so much pain because my colon was full of BM from the entrance to the exit. It was also very enflamed and rubbing up on my other internal organs. I was actually having issues taking deep breaths, which is ultimately what led me to the ER. All of my other labs looked good, so they released me with a script for GoLytely. I was up until 4am letting the drink work it's magic and it continues to do the job well into today. I'm feeling much better with minimal pain when compared to yesterday. Still feeling a little backed up, so I'll take it easy with mostly liquids.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and concerns!

Prayer Requests:
- Thank God for how well our procedures went, how good we are feeling relative to what we could be feeling, and the great numbers so far.
- Our 21 little lives as they grow and develop that God works with them according to His will.
- Continued recovery that is quick!
- God starts revealing to Drew (our embryologist) which embryos he should choose to put back on day 5. He checks them again Friday and Sunday...have God guide his eyes, mind and heart to the two that should be used!
- Mckenna feels content and is understanding as stuff looks different around the house and the routine  is different for the next few days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

IVF Update: Moving Right Along

Things are moving along swimmingly. Sunday night we did my trigger shot. Yesterday I had an ultrasound to double check that all looked good. My lining is perfect and my ovaries look about as full as can be!  I then had a blood draw to check my Estradiol levels. We got a call that they are in the 3000s, which is high, but similar to what they were with Mckenna, and lower than they were for the pregnancy we miscarried. I was nervous they'd be too high, but they are exactly where they'd expect for the number of follicles I have, so we are all systems a go.

Ronnie, poor guy, had his TESA last night (Monday). I think this one hurt a little more than the previous two, and unfortunately seems to continue to hurt more than the other two. But he, of course, is a champ...and currently devouring several pounds of Long John Silvers (his post-TESA reward after each one...he hasn't had it any other time in our married life! Ha!) Some ice, rest, and good food should have him back up to snuff in no time.

I go in today (Tuesday morning) for my retrieval. I am a little nervous, but mainly just excited. The recovery after our first retrieval wasn't awesome, but the second two weren't bad at all. So I'm hopeful that the recovery will be like the last two and not the first one. Time will tell, and whatever the recovery looks like is so well worth it in the long run!

After that, we get updates on day 1, 3 and 5 to hear how we are looking in terms of embryos. And as the plan stands now, the transfer will be Sunday, day 5.

Prayer Requests:
- They find great sperm from Ronnie's fresh sample and the frozen sample from his last one they are also using.
- Ronnie's recovery is quick, and he's back to the gym in the next couple days.
- My retrieval goes well, and they retrieval a ton of great quality eggs.
- My recovery is easy and smooth, with little to no signs of OHSS.
- God guides the embryologist's hands in creating the embryos.
- Great updates on Day 1, 3 and 5

Thank you so, so much for the prayers. Our God is awesome in power!