Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Journey To Parenthood-Part 3

Wow.  I'm overwhelmed with your comments.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  If our story can touch one life and be an encouragement to one other person then it is all worth it. 

After many prayers and talks with my doctor, we decided it was time to try In Vitro Fertilization.  My official diagnosis was "un-explained infertility."  That diagnosis brought mixed feelings. On one hand I was relieved that it wasn't something untreatable but on the other hand I was frustrated because I wanted a reason.  To this day we still don't have a reason but that is okay.  I could never have imagined we would be two and half years in our journey or that IVF would even be a possibility!  I did not know much about IVF except that it was expensive.  After talking to my doctor and finding out she had had two successful pregnancies from IVF and that it didn't seem as far fetched as I once thought, I was excited!  My Dr.'s clinic is a satellite clinic of Little Rock Fertility Clinic so that was an extra blessing and made it very convenient too.  I only had to come to the LR clinic twice.   

Cody and I in Florida

Side note-At this point in our journey I decided to keep a journal.  I wish I had done it at the beginning but like I said, I never thought it would be a "journey."  I would encourage you to start writing down your feelings, concerns, comments, and even all the information you are given at each appointment.  I was given a LOT of information at every IVF appointment and I was relaying all that information to all my prayer warriors too so it helped to keep it all straight.  :)

So now we are to June 3, 2009.  We were in Florida but it was time for me to give myself that first shot that would start my IVF process.  That was the first of 20 Lupron shots I would give myself.  I am so thankful that none of the shots ever really hurt.  It really was not as bad as I was expecting.  I watched a lot of You-Tube videos of people giving themselves these same shots and got some good tips.

June 11, 2009-Bad news.  In my ultrasound they found a large cyst.  The Dr. (not my regular doctor) said we would probably be stopping IVF and starting again in a couple of months.  I was devastated.  (You have to take birth control the month before you start any of your shots and apparently the birth control gave me a cyst.)  I called Cody on the way and I'm not sure he could understand me through my tears but I just didn't want anymore delays. 

However, that evening the LR clinic called and said I could have that cyst aspirated the next day if I didn't want to stop my IVF cycle.  I drove to LR that night.  I had my cyst aspirated and all I can say is that if I ever have to do that again then I will be put under.  To this day that was the worst pain of my life.  Way worse than recovering from a C-section. 

June 15, 2009-  This was the day I started my "stimulation" shots.  So now I am giving myself two shots a day for the next 8 days.  This drug will make me produce a lot of eggs.

Thursday, June 25, 2009- Retrieval Day!  This was the day I would come to LR, be put under and have all my eggs taken out.  They were able to get 16 eggs.

On our way to the clinic.

Before retrieval

Friday, June 26, 2009-The nurse called and 8 out of the 16 eggs fertilized.  She said they hope that half will fertilize so we were looking good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009- We were at the lake with my mom, Jason, Katie and Zach when the Dr. called with my embryo update.  (They call every day to update you on how your babies are growing.)  Ideally they want the embryos to grow for 5 days before they put them back in.  Sometimes they only let them grown for 3 days though if they think they could take a turn for the worse.  My mom, Katie and I came back to LR just in case we had to go to the clinic the next day.   

Sunday, June 28, 2009- The Dr. said he wants to do a 3 day transfer so we went in that day at 10am.  Dr. B put two of our embryos back in while we watched on the ultrasound screen.  My mom and Katie were able to be in the room.  Talk about an emotional moment watching two of your babies being put into your womb.  When he was finished, he said, "in God we trust."  Couldn't have said it better myself.  They were able to freeze 3 embryos for future use. 

Before transfer

Fun side note-Technically those 3 embryos are Westin's fraternal twins since they all were conceived the same day during the same cycle.  I think that is neat.    

After the procedure I was on bed rest for 48 hours.  

Now the waiting begins.  My blood pregnancy test was scheduled for July 9th.  The day after my birthday.  I'm sure you can guess what my wish was when I blew out my candles!  :)  

Thursday, July 9, 2009- I was up very early because I couldn't sleep.  It is amazing all the emotions you can feel and even convince yourself. I had completely convinced myself I wasn't pregnant so if it was negative I wouldn't have been surprised.  I took my blood test at 11:30 (Elizabeth went with me!) and I was told I would have my results by 1:30.  I spent all day with Katie and Zach and every time my phone rang our hearts stopped beating for a second.  Would you believe they did not call with the results until 4:30!!!  Talk about the longest day of my life.

From my journal: Praise the LORD!  I'm pregnant!  I was completely shocked and Katie and I started crying and screaming.  It was so surreal.  After getting a negative every month for almost three years, it is hard to actually believe you could get a positive!!  She called all the prayer warriors she had praying for me and I called my prayer warriors.      

The dish Westin grew in for 3 days.

Cody was out of town for work but when I called and told him he said he knew all along.  ;)  My mom couldn't talk because she was crying and my dad was getting his oil changed and was crying in the waiting room.  I had dreamed about what it would be like to make those phone calls and it was so fun!  Everybody I called just started crying and would get me crying all over again.  HERE is the post where I announced it on my blog. 

Family celebration party

So that is our story.  I know it was not nearly as hard or as long as some of your journeys.  Some of you have shared your success stories with me and some are still waiting.  When you are waiting for a baby, either a few months or 10+ years, the wait is agonizing.  I will always pray for those who are still waiting.  If you ever need to talk, please email me!  I would love to become your prayer warrior.  

Thank you for letting me share our story. 

Flowers sent from Christina and Trey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Journey To Parenthood-Part 2

The next step for us was a different fertility drug called Femara.  It works like Clomid but some people who do not get pregnant on Clomid, get pregnant on Femara.  We did about 3 or 4 months of Femara with artificial insemination.  After those very disappointing months I took a few months off.  I was tired of all the drugs, calculations, shots (a "trigger" shot to make me ovulate) and just tired of all the emotions!

I will say that the day every month, when I found out I wasn't pregnant, was hard.  Very hard.  There were lots of tears on those days and lots of "why me?!"  However, it is truly amazing how the very next day, I was at peace and had hope again.  I was already looking ahead to what our plan would be that month.  I am so thankful to the Lord for not ever letting me get down or depressed about the process.  He is so good to us and so faithful!

When we started trying to conceive, I never thought I would still be waiting to get pregnant when Zach was born (Katie and I started trying around the same time-although we didn't know it at the time. :)).  Much less at his first birthday! 

Also, I never thought I would see my best friend have two babies while I still waited.

I know that both Katie and Christina were nervous to tell me they were pregnant but I was truly SO happy for them!  I cannot take credit for those feelings because without the Lord's help I know I could have easily been bitter and jealous.  I always told them that I thought it was because I loved them so much that I couldn't have been anything but happy for them.  I am thankful that the Lord did not let me dwell on the negative feelings in this process.  I had my pity party on that one day of each month but that was it.  I also had the encouragement of sooo many faithful friends and family members who helped me stay positive!  You know who you are!  I'm not sure I have ever had so many people praying for me.  Westin's baby book is FILLED with encouraging cards, emails and Bible verses that helped me along the way. 

I would encourage you to confide in someone if you are in this process.  At first I didn't want to tell anyone, but it is such a lonely place to be.  Husbands only understand your emotions so much.  ;)  Tell a friend so they can be praying for you and encouraging you along the way.  They can also be there that one day when you just need to cry and vent.  :)  If you do not have anyone you feel like you can tell, please email me!  I will be your prayer partner and friend in your journey.

Before I get to the part of our journey that worked for us, I wanted to share some Bible verses that were very encouraging to me.  I wrote these out and kept them in our bathroom.  I read them multiple times a day and believed the promises in them. 

Ephesians 3:12  I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence.

Daniel 4:37 Praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all his ways are just.

II Timothy 2:13  Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of Himself, and He will always carry out His promises to us.

Luke 18:1  Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 

Ephesians 3:14 &20  For this reason I kneel before the Father...Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. 

There were many more verses that I read every day and will email them to you if you are interested. 

After 2.5 years, we decided it was time for the next step.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Journey To Parenthood-Part 1

I'm not sure how many parts this will be but I'm just going to start typing.  I think the reason I have not made the time to sit down before this, is because these emotions are hard.  They are not fun to re-live but a lot of you are living in them right now so I know I can go there.  And hopefully my story will be encouraging to you and give you some hope.  Also, this is just our story.  Your story will most likely look very different.  I am not saying your journey should go in this specific order.  We all do what we feel comfortable with after much prayer and conversation with your doctor.

Cody and I were married in May of 2004.  We thought we would enjoy married life for a year or two and then have some kids.  We had it all planned out!  :)  Obviously God had some different plans and His plans are perfect.  We started trying to have a baby in September of 2006.  I had never really known anyone who had trouble conceiving so it never even crossed my mind.  Honestly, my biggest worry was that our baby would be born in 2007 and odd numbers are hard for me to remember!  Haha!  Sad, but true.  After six or seven months of negative results I went to my regular doctor and she encouraged me to keep trying naturally for about 6 more months.  She didn't want to jump right in on fertility treatments because I was very "normal" and regular and it usually takes couples up to a year the first time.

That first year I wasn't too stressed but I was getting a little anxious.  When you ready for a baby, you are ready!  Toward the end of the year I started wondering if this was ever going to happen for us.

After that first year, we started trying the fertility drug, Clomid.  I responded great every time!  I was told it usually takes about 1-3 times to work so that is what I expected.  After the 5th or 6th month my Dr. suggested we add artificial insemination with the Clomid.  I thought this would for sure be the ticket!  Why wouldn't it be?  Everything was just as it should be-I was responding perfectly to the Clomid and there was nothing wrong with Cody.

After three unsuccessful rounds of artificial insemination we moved to the next step...           

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feeling Crafty!

Hello!  I feel like it has been forever since I've opened my computer!  My parent's came up this past weekend and we have a fun Father's Day weekend filled with the pool, park and grilling out.  Westin went down a water slide for the first time and also started climbing up and going down a slide at the park by himself.  He is just growing up too fast! 

I am so thankful for my Dad who basically served us on his weekend.  He did a lot of things around the house for us.  He is the definition of selfless.  I love you, Dad!  I hope you had a good Father's Day!  Of course I think Westin also has an amazing father.  The way Westin lights up when he sees his Dada and the way Cody lights up when he sees Westin is a joy to watch.  We love you, Cody!

I have been wanting to try my hand at making a few shirts for Westin.  I knew it had to be pretty simple so when I saw these shirts in a catalog I thought they would be perfect to try.

I gathered my fabric and washed and dried it before I cut out the designs.

I just free handed the drawings and cut them out.  I couldn't find any shirts without pockets on the front so I'm just ignoring them.  I have to buy that iron on stuff (no idea what it is called) to iron on the pictures and then I will hand stitch around them.  I hope to finish them soon so he can actually wear them before he outgrows them!  I'll be sure to take a picture of the little model with the finished product.  Y'all keep me accountable!  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Westin's First Haircut

A few days ago we bit the bullet (is that the saying? haha!) and trimmed Westin's hair.  I was sad about it for a few days but I'm used to it now and it makes his hair look much thicker.  Here is a before picture.  I loved the way it flipped out in the back but it was time for a trim.   

When it was wet it would look like this.  So while he was in the bathtub Cody fed him a few bites of ice cream to keep him still and I cut those three little curls off. 

This is just a side note...Cody is holding that toy up because my camera would not focus on anything because Westin is the same color as the bathtub!  haha!
Here is the after.  Much more little boy-ish instead of baby-ish but of course I still think he looks cute.  ;)

I even saved a few curls for his baby book.  :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Busy, But Fun Weekend

I made the silhouette of Westin by taking a profile picture of him, printing it out, cutting it out and then painting it black with craft paint.  :)  You can print it out any size you want but I just printed it out as a regular 4x6 picture.  After you cut it out you could also trace it onto black paper and then cut that out but I just painted the picture.  :)

We had a great weekend!  Friday morning I watched Adeline while her mom went to her Dr. appointment.  Westin and Adeline had fun playing together and they looked so cute in their coordinating outfits. 

 They really look like they could be related.  :)

Friday afternoon Cody's parents came for the weekend.  They hadn't been up in awhile and hadn't seen Westin walking.  They couldn't believe how big he was and how fast he walks.  Haha I didn't get many pictures but I got some cute video of Cody's dad playing the guitar and Westin dancing.

On Saturday, his dad hung this old window and planter out back on our deck.  We have a big space of brick and I wanted something pretty on it.

 I've had the planter since we got married and have always used it inside so I'm glad I finally get to use it how it is supposed to be used.  :)  Plus, it is another place to add pretty flowers!

I also spruced up these pots since the scorching heat had beat up the other ones. 

Saturday evening we met our small group at the park for a picnic.  Adeline was a little mother to Westin.  She will be a great big sister!

Sunday, I cut some of my roses to enjoy inside.  This always makes me happy!  I hope you had a great weekend too!  I have a busy week of teaching VBS this week.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Re-purposed Frames-UPDATED

**Update: my mom emailed me last night and told me when I "corrected" my anniversary date, I corrected it wrong!  I got it wrong again!  It should read 5-8-04.  Haha!  Good thing Cody doesn't really read my blog!  Ha!

Remember these gold frames I found at Goodwill awhile back?  I used the wooden one HERE.  I wasn't sure what I would use the oval frames for but I like finding things in pairs. Plus they were only $2 each. 

I started by spray painting them black.  Then I took inspiration from Emily's post, HERE and put an old book page on top of the original picture.  I took one of Westin's silhouettes that I made when he was 7 months old and glued it on one and printed out a "d" for the other one. 

Total confession/embarrassing moment:  I got our anniversary date wrong on the "d" frame!!  It should read, 5-4-04.  I'll be fixing that soon!  Not sure what I was thinking other than Westin was napping and I was rushing to finish before he woke up.  Sometimes I wonder where my mind has gone.

I hung them in the hallway with Westin's 3 month and 6 month portraits.  Well, I have one hung but I couldn't hammer on the wall while he was napping.  ;)

Westin was so bald at 3 months!

I hand wrote the little tags for now because I was in a hurry so I might change those later.  To make them look more like tags, I used a black sharpie and a ruler to outline them and then put two dots on them to look like tiny brads. 

Yay for a project started and completed!  Those are rare these days.  ;)  Now, I wonder how long it will take me to correct our anniversary date.  Better yet, I wonder how long it will take Cody to notice it is wrong!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Water Day

I think I have sent an invite to everyone who requested one for pinterest so if you asked for one and didn't get it, leave your email again and I'll get it to you as soon as I can!  Isn't it so fun!?

We headed to Springdale today to go to the Aquatic Center.  Some people are grossed out and afraid of public pools (including Cody!) but I knew Westin would love being in the water.  I will admit that it did gross me out a little when he tried to put his face in the water to drink it.  Yuck!

 He loved it!  I love the baby area because it is mostly shaded and the water is only like 5" deep.  Westin walked all around in it.
 His hair is getting so long but I just cannot bear to cut it.  He already looks like such a big boy to me that I know if we cut it he will look like a grown man!  Haha!  Maybe I'll be ready to cut it soon, but not yet. 

The Richey's were there too but this is the best picture I could get of Westin and Adeline.  They are just too busy to be bothered with a picture.  :)

We sure are enjoying these lazy summer days!  (I know it's not technically summer but it sure feels like it!)  I see lots of water days in our future!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pinterest Tutorial

I'm glad so many of you use pinterest so I can follow you!  My ID is Shannon82 if you want to follow me.  Beth at The Stories of A to Z has created a great video tutorial.  It covers all the basics on how to use it and get the most out of it.  Click HERE.

And because I hate posting without a picture, here is what we have been doing tonight.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pinning, Westin, Pride & Prejudice and More

How's that for a title?

I can't seem to get anything done around here thanks to this little guy and my newest hobby-Pinterest.  Thank you, Kari Beth for introducing me to Pinterest.  Do you pin?  If you do, let me know so I can follow you.  I could spend hours on there and that's exactly what I did today.  :)  It doesn't help that my computer is 800 years old and runs as slow as dial up.  haha!

If you need an invitation to pinterest let me know your email address and I'll send you one.  It is an amazing website where you can keep all your favorite pictures, future projects, recipes and anything else you find online, in ONE place.  It is so easy and so convenient.  The best part (in my opinion) is that when you save (or "pin") a picture of something you like it saves the source with it.  Hallelujah.

This little man is into everything!  I just chase him around all day.  He insists on wearing his green hat all the time but lately he likes to wear two at a time.

We have had to move our toilet paper off the rolls and just keep them on the counter because yesterday he flooded the guest bathroom toilet.  In a matter of seconds he unrolled the whole roll into the toilet.  He was so proud.  Well today he found the extra rolls under the sink and when I walked in, he held it up to show me and then took off running with it.  That little turkey knows exactly what he is doing.

Another thing that is keeping me busy is that I downloaded the free kindle app on my iPhone so I've been reading a lot more.  I only download the free books (imagine that) so right now I am reading Pride and Prejudice.  I will admit that I have never read it before and I think it would be a hard book to follow if I hadn't seen the movie first.  :)  I do love having faces and places to picture in my mind as I read.  By the way, that is one of my favorite movies that I watch at least once a month.  Love it!

I'm not sure this post could be anymore random but I'll try...

I've been on an organizing kick lately and organized my scrapbooking supplies.  No, I do not scrapbook.  Yes, I do wander up and down the scrapbook aisles to find things I can use for other projects.  If you need inspiration for something, try going down the scrapbook aisle.  They make the neatest things.

I bought some fabric and T-shirts to make Westin some shirts...I'll keep you posted.  It involves hand sewing so it should be an adventure.

Sorry for the total randomness but that's the only way I can seem to get a post in.  :)  Oh, Katie posted some more pictures of our Memorial Day weekend.  Westin had his first sucker.  :)  He is getting so big!