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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

28 years (and 9 months) down...

Yep, that's how long Allison and I have known each other as of today (if you count our time in utero, which we totally do)! In honor of her/our 28th birthday, I wanted to share 28 of my favorite pictures of the two of us- so enjoy, and good luck trying to tell us apart in all of them :)

Happy 28th Birthday, Sissy! Can't wait to celebrate the next 28 together... but after that, you're on your own. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The aftermath

It is safe to say that after I wrote yesterday's post, the day actually got worse. The good news is that eventually it did get better, but from here on out, I would prefer to pretend the first half of the day did not exist.

After getting ready for work (it was a wet bun and glasses kind of day- good thing it was casual Friday!), Brian handed me a CD he had made me the night before so I could listen to it on my way to work. It was coincidentally a bunch of worship songs, and as soon as I popped it into the CD player, the tears came.

I also received a few, "Are you ok?" and "I'm so sorry" texts in the first 2-3 minutes of my drive, prompting me to sob even more uncontrollably. Combine that with the fact that my mom was unreachable (anyone else ever have those "I want my mommy" moments as an adult?), and I was officially a complete mess. And as if that wasn't enough, as I was continuing to drive/cry to work, I noticed at one point that my cheek had developed a spasm and I could NOT get it to stop. Do you have this image in your head yet?

I pulled up to work and tried desperately to pull it together, but somehow getting out of my car and going inside only made it worse, prompting an awkward interaction with our morning security guard, whom I normally make small talk with when I walk in. I just apologized through the tears and said, "I'm sorry- I'm having a bad day. But I hope you enjoy your weekend!" as cheerily as possible. He probably now thinks that I'm manic depressive, so I can't wait to see how he treats me when I go back to work next week.

I also likely scarred my male boss moments later when I was sniffling loudly as I passed his office- he asked me if everything was ok and if there was anything he could do to help. Not wanting him to think I was just being a dumb girl and crying for no reason (and because, as I have mentioned, I have a compulsive over-sharing problem), I politely explained that "my husband and I have been trying to have a baby and are having some trouble," at which point he said, "Oh, ok" and backed out of the room slowly. Wonderful way to start the work day.

I have never been so thankful for a half-day Friday because I was having a very difficult time functioning at all, let alone actually getting anything done. And in the midst of all this, I had to call the doctor. Cue Debbie Downer sound.

Coincidentally, Nurse Goldfish's actual name is Debbie. Anyway, I informed her what happened (to which I got NO sympathy whatsoever), and asked her if she could ask the doctor what our next step should be. She then told me that I would need to come in that afternoon for a scan in order for him to tell me the next step, and said he could see me at 4:50 pm in their office in the medical center (30+ miles from my house).

I told her that really would not work, and asked if she could please just call him to see if he would call in the prescription without having me come in. Her response? "I can ask, but I know he's going to say no." Thanks, jerk.

She offered for me to come in on Monday instead, to which I reminded her that they were going to be closed for Memorial Day. She then suggested I come in on Tuesday (my BIRTHDAY), at which point I started crying. I told her it was my birthday but that if I had to come in, then fine. She then told me, "Oh wait, it looks like he isn't in the Sugar Land office on Tuesday. You'd have to go to the medical center office that afternoon."

Being that I already had an appointment scheduled for Wednesday (originally scheduled for me to have bloodwork done to see if I was pregnant- ugh), I just told her that I would stick with my original appointment, but since it would be too late in the cycle for me to start any meds, that I guessed I would just have to forego treatment for that cycle. To which she responded with, "Ok!
We'll see you Wednesday!" Nurse Goldfish, don't take this the wrong way (ok... do), but you are mean and dumb.

Thankfully, Dr. C recently gave me his e-mail address, so with the urging of my sissy and husband, I sent him an e-mail explaining the situation. He called me back shortly thereafter and said that I could just go into the Sugar Land office that afternoon and get a scan there without meeting with him and he would just call in my prescription. Now was that so hard?!

I thanked him profusely and told him that Nurse Goldfish probably would not be thrilled to see me because she was so rude to me that morning. He explained that she was just trying to follow protocol, blah blah, but clearly he did not realize that I already had made up my mind that she was put on this earth only to test my patience and make me angry.

After giving it some thought, however, I really thought it would be better to actually meet with him, because I knew Nurse Goldfish and/or Robot Nurse would not provide me with any meaningful advice or answers to my questions other than their requisite, "I'm not sure, sometimes that just happens..." So I reluctantly called the office back and asked to go see Dr. C in the medical center that afternoon. And guess what? He had openings at 2:45 and 3:30- NOT just 4:50 pm. I signed up for the 2:45 appointment and then printed out a picture of Nurse Goldfish to make a dartboard out of her face. Not really, but I should have.

I realize this story is getting way too long, so I will try to wrap things up.

Two of my sweet friends took me out for lunch after work, which was far more therapeutic than my original plans (HEB and Wal-mart), and a much better way to pass the time until my appointment. Thankfully, Brian was able to get off of his temp job early and join me for the appointment. Unthankfully, the office is basically in Egypt compared to where we live, and you have to pay for parking there. I call that adding insult to injury.

Dr. C did the scan and we talked about our next options. Our plan for now is another round of Femara (which seems basically like my daily vitamin at this point), but we are going to decide in the next week or so whether or not we want to try IUI this time. The downside is that it's more expensive (but nothing compared to IVF). The upside is that it theoretically increases our odds of getting pregnant by getting "the boys" (yes, I just called them that) closer to where they need to be. I'll have my first scan on day 12, so we basically have 10 days to make a final decision. Advice welcome!

We also talked about my luteal phase issue and he agreed that it would probably be wise for me to take progesterone after I ovulate, which should be an easy fix. So that's that. We left the appointment feeling at least like we had a game plan in mind, and as a bonus, the nurse there did not ask me if I had ever been diagnosed with PCOS or shrug her shoulders when I asked her a question.

We ended the day by running some errands and going out to Gringo's for dinner. A few baskets of chips and a frozen margarita later, I was feeling much more relaxed, for which I could tell my husband was very grateful :)

Once we got home, I took a bath, finished responding to everyone's sweet and encouraging comments/e-mails/etc., and passed out. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to start a new day. And amen for that.

Oh, and in case you thought I was just being dramatic about that run-in I had with the bed post the night before last, allow me to show you the aftermath:

And on that note, I'm going to go clean up the house for our visitors that are coming today. Hope you all enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Not this time

As of midnight last night, our hopes of being pregnant this time are officially dead. I started spotting yesterday, so I had a hunch this might be coming, but that doesn't mean I was/am any better equipped to handle the news.

As an added bonus, while I was groping my way back to the bed in the dark, I also jammed my thigh into the corner of the bedpost, and at that point, I informed God that we aren't speaking at the moment.

Yes, there is the ever-present silver lining. But I don't want to think about it right now and it isn't making me feel any better. I am just trying to get out of the mode of thinking of fun ways to announce our pregnancy and back into the mode of thinking of fun things we won't get to do with the money we are going to continue spending on treatment. In case you were wondering, this last period cost approximately $600. I know, I know- I can't focus on the cost, but right now, as you might have gathered, I am wallowing.

The other issue weighing on me is the fact that my period came just 9 days after ovulation. I have mentioned before that the phase of your cycle between ovulation and your period is called your luteal phase, and ideally it is supposed to be closer to 14 days, with the "average" for people being somewhere between 10-14 days. Anything less than 10 is typically not good and gives you a lower chance of sustaining pregnancy. Typically adding a progesterone supplement will do the trick, so I guess we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there next time. Assuming there is a next time.

So I'll be giving the doctor a call when they open this morning to give them the latest update. The other hard part is that we more or less have to make a decision today about what we want to do next, because if I am going to take Femara again, I would need to start it on Sunday. Nothing like making important decisions while going on very few hours of sleep and being at the bottom of a pit of despair, right?

Anyway, that's all for now. I will leave you with the lyrics to the latest song that is providing me comfort:

"Arms that Hold the Universe" by Steve Fee

I know it seems
Like this could be
The darkest day you've known
But believe you me
The God of strength
Will never let you go
He will overcome, I know

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

Through many dangers, toils and snares
You have already come
His grace has brought you safe this far
(And) His grace will lead you home

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

You can hope, you can rise, you can stand
He has still got the whole world in His hands
You can hope, you can rise, you can stand
He's still got the whole world, the whole world in His hands

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

He will never let you go

(He's) Still got the whole world in His hands
in His hands, yeah
Still got the whole world in His hands

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anyone else think brains should have an "off" switch?

It’s official. I have discovered the most difficult task in the world: Simultaneously trying to (1) convince myself I’m pregnant, (2) convince myself I’m not pregnant, and (3) not think at all about whether or not I’m pregnant. Hmm, I wonder why I’ve had that recurring twitch in my eye for the past several weeks?

I hope you’ll excuse my lack of blogging. I am really at a point where I am utilizing my entire mental capacity to simply function at work. And while I would love to devote some of that effort to blogging, it unfortunately does not pay my bills, so alas, work it is.

I have done my best to stay distracted—I really have! We had a visitor last week, and we have more visitors coming this weekend. I went to a wedding shower. I watched a crappy movie (and spent most of it wondering why we didn’t just pop in The Notebook instead). I spent an entire weekend with the cutest 26-day-old on the planet (oh, and his parents). I ate a double fudge chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard AND a bowl of frozen yogurt with cookie dough on top (don't worry- on separate occasions).

And yet still, I have only one thing on my mind.

One of my favorite verses has always been 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” This verse has helped me through college break-ups, family issues, stress at work, and countless other potentially all-consuming situations, but it has taken on an entirely new meaning for the past week as I try not to give into the temptation to let my fear, anxiety, and just plain curiosity control me.

So while you likely will continue not to hear much from me over the next week (or couple of weeks), I do hope that you will pray that I would not allow myself to be crippled by the “what ifs” and perhaps worst, the “what if nots.” :)

Until then...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hard to believe it...

but this little girl is turning SIX years old today!

17 months (2006)

5.5 years (2010)

I don't have any pictures saved on here from when she was a baby, but trust me when I say that (a) she was as adorable as a baby as she is now, and (b) there were a LOT of pictures taken of her. Guess that happens when you're the first grandchild!

Happy 6th birthday to you, Emma! We love you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sorry to have left you hanging!

I know, my life is such a cliffhanger, right?

Ok so good news, my friends. My follicle-babysitting efforts paid off because I ovulated! Well, at least I am as confident as I can be (without paying exorbitant amounts of money to confirm) that I ovulated.

I didn't get a positive ovulation test on Saturday or Sunday, so on Sunday morning, my wonderful husband got to give me the Ovidrel (trigger) shot in my stomach. I once again acted like a huge baby, complete with tearing up and refusing to actually look in the direction of the syringe (I hate that word).

I also, once again, insisted that Brian put a bandaid over it once he was done, and he also, once again, put the bandaid in the wrong place because there was literally no mark for him to see. And in case you were wondering, yes, I milked it for all it was worth and acted pitiful/disabled for the next 24 (or 48) hours.

My temperature chart confirmed that the shot did the trick, so now we just get to do something I despise with every fiber of my being: wait. And in that time, I am going to to my best to distract myself and think of anything and everything besides the possibility of being pregnant. So go ahead and prepare yourselves for the fact that my blog will not be covering the topic of fertility for the next couple of weeks.

In other news (here's your first dose of fertility-free Meet the Joiners!), I have somehow failed to mention that Brian has landed a temp job for 2 months!

The upside: he has a "normal" schedule for a change, keeps me company while I get ready in the mornings, and is getting paid!

The downside: it's in the Galleria (20+ miles from here) and he doesn't finish until 6 pm... which means I am now the one responsible for picking up the mail, feeding the dogs, and heating up dinner. Boo hiss.

I am trying to enjoy the hour or so of alone time that I have, and making sure to give myself plenty of pats on the back for how resourceful I've been- heck, I even took out the trash tonight! And cleaned the bathroom! Gold star, please? Thanks.

Also, one of my bestest friends in the whole world (from high school) is flying into town tomorrow, and I am pretty pumped about that. She lives on a farm in Maine (no lie) and very rarely makes it back to Texas, but since we have a friend's wedding shower to attend in Austin this weekend, she decided to fly into Houston first so she could see our house and we could have a little time to catch up.

Unfortunately she will be in town for less than 24 hours, so I won't get to take her on a townie tour. But maybe if she's lucky, we can swing by the snow cone place and pick up some Thug Passion snow cones? Although who am I kidding- if we get dessert, the odds are much greater that we'll hit up DQ.

Oh, and something else I'm also pumped about? Getting to see baby Davis while I'm in Austin this weekend! Oh, and his parents, of course. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures and share the cutest ones with you. You're welcome.

Until next time, friends!

PS- Have I said "thank you" recently for all of your support, encouragement, and prayers? In case I haven't, THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Houston, we have two follicles!

Yes, that's right, friends. Not only were the two dominant follicles still there at yesterday's appointment, but they had both grown! One was measuring 18 mm and one was measuring 21 mm (insert Hallelujah! chorus here).

I met with Robot Nurse this time, and although she was by no stretch of the imagination personable, she was at least not insulting, and didn't ask me for the 823 millionth time if I have ever been diagnosed with PCOS. She told me that I will need to take another ovulation test today and tomorrow, and if I don't get a positive, then I will need to do the trigger shot on Sunday morning.

So the trigger shot has now been procured (for the small fee of $100), and I am now heading up Operation: Babysit the Follicles. I spent the night at the Children's Museum for the Junior League last night, so even though I kept them up too late, they at least got to sleep on a comfortable air mattress and eat a couple of cookies before bed.

This morning, I took them on a walk to enjoy this beautiful weather, and now they are just going to lay on the couch while Brian has a church staff meeting. Are you amused yet by imagining the follicles doing these things independently of my body? Or creeped out? Probably choice #2, so let's move on.

She took a screen shot of each ovary (presumably for my chart that they apparently never look at), and I was very tempted to ask her if she could print me a copy of the left ovary (or the Chosen One, as I will now call it), but thought that might not go over well. So I suppose I'll just have to settle for the day when we are actually pregnant and get a print-out picture of an actual baby.

The good news is that I am feeling very encouraged and hopeful. The bad news is that with this hopefulness (and transparency on this blog, mind you), comes an even greater possibility for disappointment. Getting excited about the prospect of actually getting pregnant and then "failing" is crushing enough when it's just me and Brian that know about it, so just beware that if things don't work out, a couple of weeks from now you might find me hiding in a hole in the ground with a gallon of ice cream.

The other worry in the back of my mind is that if I do ovulate this weekend as expected, I should be finding out whether or not our efforts were successful 2 weeks from now. Guess what is also two weeks from now- my birthday. So this could either be the greatest birthday present of all time OR an excuse to eat an extra piece (or 12) of birthday cake in order to drown my sorrows.

So I am going to selfishly ask for your prayers once more- please join us in praying for proper timing, for the next couple of weeks to go by quickly, and for good news when all is said and done. And just to be on the safe side, please also go ahead and pray that if we don't get pregnant, I would remember that God is still God and God is still good. Amen!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good news!

I just saved a ton of money on car insurance by switching to Geico!

That's actually not true. We use All State.

But anyway. My appointment with Dr. C went well today! I use the term "with Dr. C" loosely because he wasn't there. Was I annoyed? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it now? No. So let's focus on the positive.

I was not seen by Robot Nurse this time, although truthfully, I am having a hard time deciding if she might be the better option between the two nurses. The one I did see is friendlier and has a better bedside manner, BUT I am completely serious when I say that she is a box of rocks.

She asked me AGAIN today if I have ever been diagnosed with PCOS. Seriously. Maybe I will start referring to her as Nurse Goldfish because she cannot seem to retain any information. Either that, or she is illiterate. Or just completely unwilling to read my chart.

She also asked me if we were doing insemination, and when I said no, she said, "Oh, well that's what's written on your chart." Ok you caught me, lady, I am lying to try and get out of insemination because I'm not really all that interested in getting pregnant. When I said that the doctor hadn't recommended insemination yet, she said, "Ok no biggie, we can just change that on the chart." Great. Thank you for instilling my utmost confidence in you and this process.

Anyway, she did the scan and the first good news was that my uterine lining is "nice and thick." I never imagined growing up that I would be so flattered by hearing that kind of compliment, but nowadays, I'll take what I can get.

She checked my right ovary first and found something like 19 little follicles, which is not a good sign. I took a deep breath in an attempt to keep from panicking/screaming/crying and didn't exhale until a minute later when she checked my left ovary and found not one, but TWO 16 mm follicles!

As a review, your follicles need to be around 20 mm before you can ovulate, and they generally grow 1-2 mm each day. In the past (when the treatment hasn't worked) they have never gotten any bigger than 11-12 mm. So the good news is that the medicine is working!

I am supposed to go back on Friday to get another scan, and depending on what size they are (they should be between 18-20 mm at that point), I will then do an Ovidrel trigger shot to make sure I release the egg(s). This is the fun one that Brian gets to give me in my stomach- he's such a lucky guy, don't you think?

SO my two biggest prayer requests are:

1. That both of those follicles would grow like weeds. Like cute little future fetus weeds, that is.
2. That the timing would work out perfectly with the scan on Friday and the trigger shot so that I don't take it too early/too late.

Oh, and one more tiny request: that we would get pregnant!

And on that note, I'm off to heat up dinner and enjoy the sound of rain outside. Yes, you read that correctly- it's raining in Southeast Texas. Today is full of all kinds of surprises, isn't it?

Monday, May 9, 2011

I could make some therapist very wealthy...

I have shared before that our battle with infertility has made me more self-absorbed than I ever thought possible. It is a constant struggle for me to stop feeling sorry for myself (or just plain stop thinking about myself) long enough to remember that (a) there are other people on this earth and (b) my problems are not the only problems.

So it should come as no surprise to you that I am devoting a post to how the arrival of baby Davis has affected me :) But I do want to start out by clarifying that no matter how hard it was/is to go through, I love that little baby boy like he's my own and am sincerely overfilled with joy for his mommy and daddy.

With that said, it was hard. And it continues to be hard. Seeing other people/friends/family being pregnant and having babies is difficult, but it's safe to say that seeing your mirror image experience something you want so badly yourself but can't yet have is getting-punched-in-the-stomach painful. As in there were literally moments during the weekend of his arrival that I had to take a deep breath and remind myself to continue breathing.

It almost feels like you are watching a movie of your own life without actually getting to participate in it. Wait, scratch that- it's like watching a movie of your own life wherein you only get to participate in the crappy parts and then your identical stunt double gets to step in for all the good parts. Yes, that's more like it.

One of the things that was harder than I anticipated was watching Wade's parents' enthusiasm for being first-time grandparents. Brian's mom and dad are undoubtedly going to rival Franny and Pop Pop (my parents) for the greatest grandparents of all time, and even though I know they don't hold even an ounce of resentment towards us, I couldn't help but feel guilty that we haven't been able to give them that experience yet.

Anyway, thankfully, by the time Davis arrived, I was so excited to meet and spend time with him that I almost forgot about the fact that I was sad to begin with. Almost :) Minus the fact that any time Brian and I left the hospital, we were suddenly reminded that outside the walls of that hospital, we were still baby-less.

Miraculously, though, I made it the entire weekend without crying! I did admittedly tear up a time or two, but there was no awkward sobbing in the corner of the waiting room or worse, in the delivery room, and for that, I was thankful.

Don't think that means I survived the whole process without tears, however. As is so often the case when you're (a) pumped full of hormones (b) tired, and (c) a girl, something seemingly small set me into a downward spiral of self-pity and there I found myself on Tuesday night (Brian's birthday, mind you) crying in the bathtub.

You see, after we got home from Brian's birthday dinner, we tried to talk to Allison and Wade on FaceTime so we could see Davis live and in living color. Except for some reason, after trying repeatedly, we couldn't get it to work (hmm... sounds a lot like our efforts in getting pregnant!). So I responded how any calm and rational person would by slamming our bedroom door shut, turning on the bath water, and bursting into tears.

Brian came in, slightly confused but not in the least surprised, and tried to get me to explain why I was so upset. This is where a calm and rational person would have responded with, "I've had a long couple of days and I am frustrated that the phone isn't working." Me? I responded with something to the effect of, "We can't have a baby! Davis is going to grow up without us and we aren't going to get to watch any of it! My life is ruined forever and I'll never be happy again!"

Thankfully, I married a saint, and as such, he didn't roll his eyes or tell me I was being dramatic. Instead, he reset our internet connection and gave FaceTime another shot- successfully this time. Within a matter of minutes, all was again right with the world. And this is the life of an infertile couple.

So that's where we are. Although actually, you are probably curious as to where we actually are in the process at this point. The good news (I hate you, silver lining) is that the Provera worked! I have successfully started a new cycle (62 painstaking days later) and finished taking the Femara on Friday.

My first follicle scan (ultrasound) is on Wednesday afternoon, so we are hoping that I will show some progress so that I'll feel like I'm not simply showing up at the doctor's office to throw a couple hundred dollars in their trash can :)

As is always the case, I am doing my best to remain cautiously optimistic, so feel free to join me in doing the same. Do not, however, feel free to remind me to "just relax" unless you want me to "just avoid you" for the rest of my life :)

That's all for today- stay tuned for another episode of "why I'm a therapist's dream come true" where I tell you all about how I now view every other potential mother as my competition. Because that's normal and healthy, right? I thought so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Sadly, this will be our first Mother's Day spent without getting to celebrate (in person) with either of our mothers! Instead, we have big plans to celebrate by going to church and then taking a trip to Walmart. Oh, what a glamorous childless life we lead...

Anyway, we love both of our wonderful moms very much. We are thankful for the love, support, and friendship that they have given to us both, and I, for one, can only hope to be half as good of a mom one day as they have both been to us!

Terrie & Brian

Betsy & Amanda

Fun fact: Both of these pictures were taken the same day at one of my wedding showers in 2007. Another fun fact: Brian and his mom did not plan to dress alike- the matching lime greens were a coincidence!

Terrie and Betsy, we wish you the happiest Mother's Day yet! Although let's be honest, it can't really be the happiest one yet without us being there, but we hope it comes close :) And happy Mother's Day to all you other mamas out there as well, especially to my sissy, who is celebrating her first as a mommy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Half of my heart

Yep, that's what Davis has. Ok that's not true, he has my whole heart. But he DOES have half of my genes. Weird to think about, right? But if you consider that Allison and I are identical twins (and therefore genetically identical), then my genes make up half of Davis's genes. Crazy, I know!

Anyway, as you all know, he is adorable and perfect, which makes it all the more painful for me to not be able to hug and squeeze him on a daily basis. I told Allison today that I wanted to squeeze him until his brains come out and she, for some strange reason, didn't think that was a good idea. What a buzz-kill, right?

I'm sure you're also all curious as to how I "handled" the whole event in my emotionally fragile state, but I am going to save the deep thoughts for another post, so you'll just have to wait.

In the meantime, I wanted to share these two videos that were taken within Davis's first 24 hours. But be warned: his cuteness is almost too much to handle.

The first is from when baby Davis met his mommy for the first time (well, post delivery, that is) (and please pardon my annoying baby voice):

And the second was the next morning while he was resting and recovering from the traumatic event known as being born:

So tell the truth- how many of you had to pause repeatedly and/or turn off the computer in order to avoid exploding from the cuteness? Everyone? I thought so.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birthday wishes

Today is my wonderful husband’s 28th birthday! For the next 4 weeks, he gets to be older and wiser than I… unfortunately for him, that doesn’t mean that I will be any better at admitting he is right :)

I know the tradition is for the birthday boy to blow out the candles and make a wish for himself, but I am breaking tradition by sharing my birthday wishes for him instead. Brian has 28 great years behind him (the past 8 being notably greater, if I do say so myself :o), but I have high hopes that his 29th will be even better.

So for you, Brian, I wish for the following for your 28th birthday:

1. A baby – yes, this one is somewhat selfishly motivated. But having been in the trenches of infertility with you for the last 1.5 years, I can say with confidence that you want this as much as I do. I know you will make an amazing daddy, and just like Noah, Buster, and all 10+ of our imaginary friends, our children will never go a day wondering whether or not you love them with all your heart... just like you love me! :)

2. A job – you are blessed that your primary job and your calling are one in the same, but as the church continues to find its footing, I hope that you will find another job that doesn't just help pay the bills, but one that brings you joy and allows you to use your many talents. In fact, I'm still waiting to come home and have you tell me that you found a job posting for a position that requires you to play video games and perform magic tricks while reciting sports trivia...

3. And speaking of sports trivia... it is my wish that you would win all of your fantasy sports leagues this year! And if you continue to allow me to persuade you to pick people based on whether or not they went to my high school or dated one of my sorority sisters, then I think it's safe to say this wish is a shoe-in :)

There are countless other things that I wish, hope, and pray for you on a daily basis, but especially today, my wish is for you is to feel as loved as you make me feel every single day. Happy 28th birthday, Brian! I love you!