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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh, and one more thing

I just realized that I left off one slightly significant picture from yesterday's post:

Yep, you read that right. Baby Joiner is (finally) on board and will be making his/her debut in April 2013! Can you guess who's a little excited about that?

A few thoughts:

1. Wow, that didn't take long (unless you consider 33 months to be a long time, that is).
2. Apparently everyone was right- all you have to do in order to get pregnant is go on vacation!
3. I think you'll all agree that this baby owes us... BIG time.
4. Although inadvertent, I'm glad I was wearing purple in both of these pictures because pink + blue = purple... either way I am supporting our future child!
5. As of today, I am 5 weeks and 2 days pregnant (so basically, 5 minutes), and yet Brian has already demanded that I start craving cheeseburgers.
6. Praise the Lord!!!

"He has delivered us from such a deadly peril [trust me when I equate infertility to "deadly peril"], and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." - 2 Corinthians 1:10-11

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to life, back to reality

Well, we're back. Not exactly happy about leaving the beach and the fam, but it's true that there's no place like home... and there's also nothing like clean laundry and sand-free clothing :)

Allison was the official photographer, so be sure to head over to her recap for the quality pics, specifically the ones of a particularly adorable beach-obsessed nephew of mine. I'll just share a few subpar iPhone pictures with you  as proof that I attempted to document our adventures as well:

Ok so this isn't an iPhone pic, but Allison said she wasn't including it in her post and I liked it, so there you go. This was out on the beach (duh) after dinner on our first night!

Our view from the balcony on the first morning

So I got a pedicure the weekend before last and picked out a festive (but still work-appropriate) shade of pink by OPI called "Strawberry Margarita." I was too busy playing on my phone, however, to notice that apparently the girl doing my pedicure didn't support my choice and decided to paint my toes this not-so-subtle shade of neon pink instead. At least it was beachy, right?

Hanging by the pool with Brian... PS- Might I suggest not heading to the beach in the middle of an IVF cycle? The whole "no swimming" rule kind of limits your choice of activities! PPS - Isn't it sweet how Brian's chest hair is in the shape of a heart?

Someone got a little sunburned and spent the rest of the time covered up... doesn't look like he minded though, does it?

Twinz! Love this pic and love my matching sissy! Also, for the record, I don't normally support the cliche hand-on-the-hip pose, but in a swimsuit, I support anything that might be more flattering.

Ready for day 2 at the beach!

Mom and her two favorites :) before dinner on the last night (Confession: this is also not an iPhone pic)

So that's it for my pics. We were so thankful for this well-timed distraction and hope that it's a precursor to GOOD news this week... will keep you all posted!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some beach, somewhere

Dear Internet,

As you read this, Brian and I, along with the Olivers and my mom, are embarking on a very well-timed vacation to the beach. This break from reality could not have come at a better time for all of us- pretty cool to think that God knew that way back in the Spring when we were planning this getaway!

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to a break from bloodwork, doctor's appointments, and reality in general (although sadly I don't get to leave the progesterone and estrogen supplements at home... sigh). 

But have no fear, we should know the final results from Baby Quest 2012 early next week and as promised, we will report back with an update in a timely manner. (It seems redundant to say at this point, but once again, your prayers are still greatly appreciated!)

Anyway, I'll leave you with this throwback picture of me at the beach from some time in the mid-80s. Raise your hand if you think I should have been a model for Coca Cola? Everyone? Yeah, I thought so.

Hope your weekends are wonderful!


Monday, August 20, 2012

At least I was honest?

When my parents came to visit us recently while I was on bed rest, they decided to bring my entire childhood a car full of things from my old bedroom with them. This proved a little stressful for me because, thanks to my need for instant gratification, I wanted everything to be sorted and put in its place (mostly the trash can) immediately. This proved a little stressful for Brian because my inability to get off of the couch meant he had someone not-so-patiently demanding that the bag full of beanie babies be put in the same pile as the troll doll collection (the "keep" pile, if you were wondering... those are classics)!

Anyway, now that most of the boxes are out of the way, I am having fun reminiscing about my youth and uncovering embarrassing pictures of Allison and myself, which I assure you will be shared in the near future.

For now, I would just like to showcase a couple of hidden treasures from 2nd grade:

This came from a fill-in-the-blank book I completed entitled "All About Me." Please take note of the first sentence: 

The best age to be is 30 because I would get to be away from my twin sister.

(a) Wow, a little harsh, huh?
(b) Funny that I thought I would be "trapped" with her until I was 30.
(c) Good news, young Amanda, you were able to accomplish that goal early at age 23 when your sister ditched you to get married and move to Utah. Bad news- you actually weren't thrilled about it then and you still aren't at 29!

This also came from the "All About Me" book:

At home I would like to try harder to:
1. clean up
2. making my bed (atrocious grammar, I know)
3. beat up my sister

I mean, geez, I remember that we weren't BFFs growing up, but I didn't realize that my contempt for her was so strong that I actually wanted to work at abusing her like I would a household chore. Thankfully, I excelled above and beyond at #1 and #2 but never ended up having much success with #3 (well... except that one time that I tripped her down the stairs...).

And last, but certainly not least, an acrostic using the letters of my name that presumably was supposed to be about things I hoped to accomplish in the future:

A trip to Parris, France (you know, like the double 'rr' sound in Spanish?)
Meet many different people (good thing I live in Houston)
A very good teacher (guess that dream died)
No one will control me*
Do many things (wow, that was specific)
Always help people (except my twin sister, whom I was busy trying to beat up)

*Um. What 2nd grader says that? And why was I not sent to therapy after my teacher read this? I suppose it shouldn't have surprised my mom 3 years later when I told her my life ambition was to be a dictator.

So there you have it: a glimpse into the inner workings of the mind of 7-year-old Amanda. Stay tuned for more childhood treasures soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let the waiting begin

Contrary to popular belief, I did not die and/or fall off the face of the earth after our transfer on Friday, but I can see how it might have seemed that way, so forgive me for leaving you hanging :)

We are thankful to report that the transfer went well! We had two perfect (to us) little embryos transferred that are HOPEFULLY currently taking up residence in my uterus. Or in the words of the announcers from the Olympics, they are hopefully going to "stick their landing." Hysterical, I know.

We also found out that four additional embryos were able to be frozen, so out of the 10 that fertilized, 6 survived, which was also great news!

Anyway, allow me to briefly chronicle our transfer adventure via the following photos:

This is me in the waiting room... that look is supposed to communicate "I'm bored" as well as "OH MY WORD, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO LET ME PEE?!"

Brian, who was not being forced to sit for an hour with a disturbingly full bladder, was just plain bored. Do you like how he's wearing pink and blue? :)

Yep, these pictures never get old. And by the way, I promise that I do (on rare occasions) make normal faces when being photographed.

Ready for serious business, clearly

The lighting in this picture is a little terrifying, but I thought it was important to show one of both of us together.

Transfer complete! (I didn't take any pictures during the procedure. Sorry/you're welcome.)

Some sweet friends brought us dinner on Friday night which was delicious and greatly appreciated!

Those same sweet friends also got us DQ blizzards, mine being the largest possible size, obviously!

Some other sweet friends brought us this cute gift basket (not pictured: beer for Brian)- I think we could get used to this bed rest thing!

This little guy kept me company (very briefly) while I enjoyed being a bed-ridden prisoner. There are no more pictures of me after this because 3 days without a shower = not a very attractive look for me.

(Also not pictured: my sissy and parents, who came to visit/entertain us on Saturday!)

And yes, one more set of sweet friends brought us dinner on Sunday night. Please note that Brian prepared my plate, which might be why the mac&cheese to fruit ratio is a little skewed :)

So there you have it. I went back to work on Monday and we have since resumed life as normal, minus any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for yours truly, and plus some extra progesterone and estrogen supplements, also for yours truly. Fun times.

We appreciate your prayers while we wait- for peace, patience, and ample distractions :)

"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." - Psalm 130:5

Friday, August 10, 2012

Today's the day!

Can you believe it? Because I certainly can't! I remember once upon a time when IVF seemed like the biggest, scariest 3 letters I had ever heard. IVF was what really old people with rotten ovaries or really rich and famous people who waited too long to start a family did in order to get pregnant. IVF was definitely not what normal, healthy 29-year-old couples did to get pregnant. Duh, all they had to do was go on vacation. Or have a drink. Or just relax.

But lo and behold, as He so often does, God had different plans for us, and here we are on transfer day. We are nervous. We are excited. We are overwhelmed. We are scared. We are hopeful.

We are also unbelievably thankful, both for the fact that this process has gone relatively smoothly (dare I say, even well?) so far, and for the fact that SO MANY people have reached out to us to let us know they have been praying for us and cheering us along.

Of course our biggest prayer today is for a successful transfer that results in a healthy pregnancy. Assuming all goes well today, I will spend the rest of the weekend on "strict bed rest," and in the coming weeks, will be going in to the clinic for bloodwork periodically to check my hormone levels.

To answer the biggest question: no, I don't know (yet) when "the" appointment will be, and most likely, I won't announce that appointment date to the world just in order to avoid any undue pressure. But you can rest assured that we will update you either way in a timely manner!

I'll try to check back in in the meantime while I'm busy pretending my brain is capable of processing any non-waiting-for-the-news thoughts, but no promises :)

That's all for now... happy transfer day to us and happy weekend to you all!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Anniversary recap

Yes, the promised anniversary recap awaits, but FIRST I have some wonderful news to report: TEN of our eleven eggs were fertilized! So as of right now, we have ten embryos! They most likely will not all make it to the transfer, but we are still very encouraged by this number and are praising God for this outcome.

The transfer is scheduled for Friday. I won't have much to report on the IVF front before then (or likely after... especially during the 2 thrilling days of bed rest), so don't be alarmed if I stop providing regular updates.

Ok onto the anniversary:

I was feeling pretty uncomfortable by the end of last week, so when trying to plan the big day, we had to figure out something that (a) required minimal walking, (b) was not outdoors, and (c) was very inexpensive or free. As you can imagine, this limited our options a bit!

To start off the celebration, I made Brian a peach cobbler on Friday before he got home from work, which is actually what we served at our wedding in place of a groom's cake! We agreed not to do gifts this year, so that was technically the only thing I got him (besides 5 years of wedded bliss, of course :)

On Saturday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to receive breakfast in bed, courtesy of Chef Brian:

And this lovely bouquet was waiting for me when once I finally stumbled out of said bed:

We spent the rest of the morning lounging around, and because we (ok I) couldn't muster up the energy to shower and get dressed for the day, we opted to pick up lunch to go from Sandy McGee's. And because no anniversary would be complete without re-watching our wedding video, we took a break from watching the Olympics to enjoy a trip down memory lane while we ate.

That break didn't last long, however, because we basically spent the next 4 hours on the couch... yep, that's right, watching the Olympics. Here's documentation:

Apparently all of this excitement was too much for me, however, as evidenced by this picture Brian snapped of me while I was "resting my eyes." I'm not normally much of a napper, but I must have been pretty tired... can you blame me? Growing all of those eggs was a lot of work!

Eventually we did shower and make ourselves presentable in order to go out for an anniversary dinner (although I was admittedly tempted to convince Brian to order a pizza and stay home). The solo picture of me below is to provide proof that I was sporting THREE items of clothing/accessories that were associated with our wedding weekend. Any guesses as to which three they were?

We got to the restaurant at 6 pm and were a little surprised to learn that it would be a 1-1.5 hour wait, but thankfully this foxy guy (ok, and unlimited chips and salsa) were there to keep me company:

Here we are enjoying the wait together:

Our dinner was delicious, but I was even more impressed with the customer service. Not only did they offer us a free dessert for our anniversary, but they also took a picture of us with their own camera and even printed off a copy for us!  

And if that wasn't nice enough, our waiter also took a picture with our own camera (which isn't quite as fuzzy, thankfully):

So there you have it. Even though it was our most low key anniversary to date, it was also one of my favorites. Looking forward to many more, although ideally those in coming years will involve getting a babysitter!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just call me Mother Hen

Well it's safe to say we had quite the eventful weekend! Let's start with the news you're all interested in:

The egg retrieval went well. We woke up bright and early at 6 am yesterday to make it to the clinic by 7 am. I was exhausted due to the fact that I was tossing and turning all night (in between completely rational nightmares about the egg retrieval failing and Brian forgetting to get a wheelchair to take me out to the car...), and feeling a little nauseous (most likely due to nerves), but otherwise just anxious to get the whole thing over with.

The procedure went well, and thanks to the anesthesia, I don't remember any of it! They were able to retrieve 11 eggs. I will be honest- I was a little disappointed when they told us this number because I had been hoping for more. BUT I have read that the average is 8-15, and the doctor assured me that this was a good number, so we are happy with it. Although it's too bad we couldn't have ended up with just one more, because as my SIL pointed out, then we would have had an even dozen eggs- ha!

We made it home by 10 am and other than feeling groggy and crampy, I really felt fine. Brian took good care of me as always, and I was able to spend the day resting on the couch.

As far as what's next: we should get a call tomorrow letting us know how many of the eggs were fertilized. They will watch them to see how many of the embryos mature, and depending on those results, we will do the embryo transfer (followed by two fun-filled days of bed rest) on either Wednesday or Friday of this week. EEEK!

For now, please pray for as many of the eggs to be fertilized as possible, and for as many of those eggs as possible to mature appropriately. And for us to stay sane in the meantime!

We aso had a great (albeit laid back) 5th anniversary, but I'll save that recap for the next post- stay tuned!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Five years

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:12 (recited at our wedding)

Five years ago today, Brian and I said "I do." We had no idea what the next 5 years would have in store, but for better or worse, we agreed then and there to face it all together.

Brian was praying for our dinner after a particularly difficult day recently and said these words, "God, I thank you for my wife. I thank you that we get to share everything - the good and the bad."

A simple prayer, yes, but there is just so much truth to it. Obviously we are thankful for the opportunity to share the good parts of life, but in the latter half of our marriage, we have learned to be thankful that even in the darkest times, at least we are in it together.

Anyway, I won't ramble on any further because I know all you really want to see is pictures :) Like Allison and Wade, we also finally got a hold of the digital proofs of our wedding pictures from our photographer just recently. So even though you might have read the posts from our first anniversary, second anniversary, third anniversary, and fourth anniversary, hopefully these will still be new to you!

Happy 5th anniversary, Brian! I love you!