Monday, December 27, 2010

The Name Game

As a fellow EA Blogger noticed in my previous post, I did indeed mention our baby boy's name - Landon John Noorman - Todd couldn't hold off any longer and we started letting people know a couple of weeks ago through phone calls, FB and then through our Christmas letter....Thanks, though, to Jen (in case I didn't want to let people know and just slipped!) :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Home For the Holidays

This year was the first year since being married that it was just the three of us at Christmas. When we lived in Michigan we spent Christmas morning with my family and then drove over to the other side of the state to spend Christmas evening with Todd's family. Since living in Tennessee we have drove up to Michigan twice for Christmas and had my parents down once.

This year, however, with Landon coming in (a short) 7 weeks, and us needing to get things done at home (the nursery, for example) as well as at school (lesson plans for my sub when I am on maternity leave - 12 weeks off!), we decided that that we would stay home and have Christmas with just the three of us. It has been wonderful - not having to travel 10 hours in the car there and back and not having to entertain anyone, but it was also a little sad for me because this was the first Christmas that I did not spend with my mom. Luckily, Todd and I have kept busy so I haven't had time to think about it much AND knowing that next year she will be down here, I made it and was still able to have a Merry Christmas :)

Something else that was 'new' this year (or at least it hasn't happened since we have lived here), middle Tennessee had a white Christmas!

The first white Christmas in 17 years!
Here's to a Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
The last year for just three stockings hung by the chimney with care!
The real reason for the season - Happy Birthday Jesus!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours!


*To check out our Christmas letter, please click the following link (and while you are at, check out our family's web page!) The Noorman Family's Christmas Letter 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

2 Reasons for us to Celebrate on 11/29

 First, Todd and I celebrate our wedding anniversary - Happy 7th Anniversary to us! I love you, babe!

Happy Wedding Day - November 29, 2003

Second, we celebrate the birth of our baby girl - Happy 8th Birthday Gracie Ann!
*The past 8 years have gone by so fast and she is a dog, I can't even imagine what it is going to be like when it involves a human :)
Grace loves to have her picture taken!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

29 Weeks

*How far along? 29 weeks
*How big is your baby? A squash (15.2 to 16.7 in, 2.5 to 3.8 lb)
*Total weight gain: 14 pounds
*Sex: It’s a BOY!
*Name: We know and you will find out in about 11 weeks :)
*Maternity clothes: Yes, but I am still able to fit in some of my regular clothes
*Stretch marks: Breasts - yes. Belly - no. I am using Burt’s Bees Mama Bee body oil every night
*Movement: All the time now!
*Sleep: I have been getting about 5-6 hours a night (and that might be pushing it!)
*Best moment this week: My mom getting to see her grandson for the first time!
*Food cravings: Grilled Cheese, French Fries, Chocolate Milk, Cherry 7 UP
*Labor signs: Let's hold off for about 11 more weeks!
*Belly button in or out: In
*What I miss: Being able to walk for more than 5 minutes without my legs feeling like they weigh a ton!
*What we’re looking forward to: Getting started on the nursery

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm In Love With A New (Little) Man

Like I mentioned in my previous post we were able to surprise my mom with an ultrasound today. My mom asked me how long it would take. I told her about 5 minutes since it wasn't routine and just for our pleasure. I was way off. I should have said more like 30. Yes, we got another very thorough ultrasound today including more 3D shots! An excellent (FREE) early Christmas present for my mom who was in awe the entire time....

The tech performed another anatomy scan and while the first one was amazing at 20 weeks this one was even more so because he is now so much more developed and about 3x bigger. Leg and arm bones, heart, stomach, kidneys, bladder, rib cage, spine - everything looked, well, like it should, not like blobs or sticks or simply a hole. His face, hands and feet are more defined and we could see his facial features along with each little finger and toe. And, once again he was very active kicking, waving and yawning. At one point we even got to see him play with his toes!

As for results, baby boy is measuring in the 52nd percentile weighing 2lbs 13ozs. He had a healthy heartbeat of 163. And, while he is currently breech, there is no concern because we still have 11.5 weeks to go. Everything on my end looks great as well - cervix length, amount of amniotic fluid, weight gain (14 lbs. to date) and belly measurement are right where they should be.

And, now here is the new love of my life. While I loved him before, I felt a connection today as I watched the monitor and then, once I got this picture I couldn't stop looking at it, overwhelmed with love for this miracle growing inside me.

28w3d

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surprise for My Mom

My mom is here for Thanksgiving and tomorrow is our 28-week appointment so she will be coming with us. While she has seen pictures of her first grand baby, she has yet to see an ultrasound of him and not just of our baby either, but of any baby EVER. Seeing as how our pregnancy has been (thankfully) uneventful, there was no need to schedule an ultrasound, however, I wanted to surprise her so I asked for one. My doctor called yesterday and said we could have one! I am really excited that we are going to be able to share this experience with her....Details and pictures to follow :) Oh, and we are pretty excited that we get to our boy again, too!

Our Christmas Card this Year Courtesy of Shutterfly.com!

Thanks to an awesome promo from Shutterfly.com, we will be sending out fancy pants Christmas cards this year! While we have yet to pick out the exact design (there are so many to choose from), we are excited that we will be able to send a personalized card including pictures to family and friends along with our annual Christmas Letter all in one folded 5x7 card - no trying to find a card we like AND separate stationery that matches this year. While a lot of our family and friends have been able to follow our Embryo Adoption Journey through pictures and my blog, we are excited that we will now be able to share our journey with those who do not have access to the Internet.

In addition to greeting cards for birthdays, weddings and now Christmas, I have used Shutterfly in the past to create photo books (which make excellent Christmas gifts!). To check out some of my other favorite Shutterfly items, please click on the following to learn more:
Holiday Photo Cards
Christmas Photo Cards
Christmas Cards

*Bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly...learn more by clicking here:
http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to the 3rd Trimester!

 
*How far along? 27 weeks
*How big is your baby? An eggplant (13.6 to 14.8 in, 1.5 to 2.2 lb)
*Total weight gain: 13 pounds
*Sex: It’s a BOY!
*Name: We know and you will find out in about 3 months :)
*Maternity clothes: Yes, but I am still able to fit in some of my regular clothes
*Stretch marks: I am using Burt’s Bees Mama Bee body oil every night on my belly
*Movement: All the time now!
*Sleep: I wake up a few times during the night, but am getting a good night's sleep most nights
*Best moment this week: Daddy started reading to us at night
*Food cravings: Sesame Seed bagels w/either peanut butter or cream cheese, Cherry Pepsi or Coke, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, Cereal
*Labor signs: Let’s hold off until February, please!
*Belly button in or out: In
*What I miss: Being able to get out of bed without having to roll-out!
*What we’re looking forward to: Getting started on the nursery

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Nursery Take 1.5

After receiving Twinkle Little Star in the mail, it is out. The green that I thought was going to be sage is actually mint green on most of the pieces. Yes, two different greens are used. On two pieces the same color as in the picture is used; a pretty sage green, while on the rest, a bright mint green is used. Not a fan of the different shades of green or the bright mint green with the all the different shades of brown. *Sigh*

There are two new nursery sets in the running though - please see below for pictures. These sets are a lot different than Twinkle Little Star, but I am actually liking them more since they are more 'boy' and could be used in a toddler's room as well as a nursery.

My new goal is to have the new set picked out and ordered by the end of the week....What is your favorite of the two??

Baby Jackson by CoCaLo

Forest Friends by Carter's

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Nursery

Ok, maybe not the nursery as in it is done or even that we have found furniture, but rather the accessories such as bedding, lamp, etc. have been picked out and purchased (minus the diaper stacker, border and pillow) as of yesterday! And, we do know what we what it to look like (like the picture)....Anyhow, I went through literally over a hundred different nursery sets/scenarios over the span of a few days after we found out we were having a boy. There was actually a point where I was going to let Todd pick it out on his own as it was overwhelming, but I was finally able to pick out my ten favorites and then had Todd choose from those. We had decided that the stroller, highchair, play yard - all the big purchases would be gender neutral, but that we wanted the nursery to be somewhat gender specific. As you can tell from the picture that really didn't happen as the nursery could really be for either gender (though personally I think it is more boy than girl), but it is what we both agreed upon so we bought it and have to say are quite happy with our choice! Now to find furniture we both like....Any suggestions on a good place to buy nursery furniture?? We hope to have the nursery at least started, if not finished by the time we go back to school after Thanksgiving break (news to Todd!). I'll keep you posted with how that goes :)

Twinkle Little Star by Kimberly Grant



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

24 Week (and 3 days) Appointment

We had our 24 week appointment today and it was pretty much like the others  (baby boy is PERFECT and my body is doing whatever it is supposed to be doing) except today I got to drink an Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage for my gestational diabetes blood. I must admit the super sugary, syrupy beverage really wasn't too bad. I got to choose from either orange or fruit punch flavors. I choose fruit punch and other than gagging once or twice, I had no problems getting it down in the 5 minutes I had. Them taking my blood, however, a whole different matter.

I don't mind needles or blood which is a good thing because after leaving the office and being about 20 minutes away, I got a call that they did not take the right vial and could I come back. Really?! Apparently, out of the six vials they had already taken, they needed to take a red vial, which they didn't, but they did have 3 extra purple vials. Lovely.

Anyhow, I get my results back tomorrow for the gestational diabetes. The other blood work I had done today had something to do with antibodies - I am O negative and the embryo is from donors who are both A positive. The blood work will check to see how my body is handling a 'foreign' object (a.k.a a baby) and whether or not I will need an injection of some sort at 28 weeks and again sometime near delivery.

Not much else going on this week. We did have two baby showers in Michigan a couple of weekends ago (from which we are still overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family and friends!) which I will post on soon along with some new baby bump pictures.

Hope this finds you all well....GOD Bless :)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Happily Ever After


Eight years ago today I met my very own prince charming on a first date and have been living happily ever after ever since....
Sweetest Day - October 19, 2003

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Baby Boy

3D Profile shot
Like I mentioned in my previous post our visit today was perfect in every way. The u/s was about 30 minutes long and very thorough. The tech pointed out his tongue, nose, eyes, ears, stomach, kidneys, heart, brain, spinal cord, each of his tiny leg and arm bones, his hands and feet, his ribs and of course his boy parts :) In fact, as soon as she put the wand on my belly his boy parts were the first thing we saw. We also got to see blood flow and him swallowing.

He was not very cooperative as he kept moving around, but she was able to get some still shots of him in 2D and 3D. We also have the whole u/s on DVD - it so cool! I can't wait to share it with my mom and mother-in-law in a few weeks at our baby showers in Michigan! I hope to get some still shots off of it, but for now will share the still shots that the tech printed out for us.

His current stats:
  • He is measuring 20w6d (a little ahead of schedule!)
  • He currently weighs 11oz.
  • Heartbeat 140

Profile - Look at the little nose!

A little foot


How we know he is a boy!

As for my part of the visit, it was perfect, too! Everything inside and out is how it should be and where it should be :) I have gained a total of 5lbs. According to my iphone application, What to Expect When You Are Expecting, I should have gained about 10lbs. My doctor wasn't concerned though, so neither am I especially since our boy is doing so well.

After our apt. we went out to lunch and then to Babies R Us to complete our registry there. I think we are about done. We added clothes and some gender specific items. I hope to get our Target registry done for the most part as well this weekend. Do babies seriously need all this cute crap?!

I will share tomorrow how we told our moms what the gender was. And, without further ado, my 20 week belly shot. Yes, I know there is not a lot there! The women I work with comment on this daily! I will have to post my other belly shots so there is something to compare this one too because my belly has gotten bigger - trust me!

20 Week Belly Shot
On a side note, I want to thank GOD for the positive BETAs my fellow embryo adoption girls have gotten this week. So far we are 3-for-3!

So many things to praise GOD for....

The Noorman Family Would Like To Announce...


Another awesome visit including a 1/2 hour u/s which we got on DVD! Lots of photos including a 20-week belly shot coming tomorrow along with details of our baby boy and the visit overall :)

Praising GOD tonight!

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

You know when you were little and you couldn't sleep the night before Christmas? All you could think about was what Santa had put under the tree for you....Well, that is how we are feeling tonight only we are waiting until tomorrow to see what GOD has blessed us with!

We are having the BIG u/s tomorrow and couldn't be more excited. Though as I write this, Todd is sleeping :) I, however, am wide awake. This u/s seems to have taken FOREVER to get here. Today seemed like the longest day and now in about 10 hours we will know whether we are having a baby boy or girl!!

Tomorrow is also the long, very thorough anatomy scan. Though not inclusive it should give us a good idea of how things are developing and whether or not there are any complications at this point. Not only that, we haven't seen the baby since week 12 and are anxious to see what he/she looks like at this point in the pregnancy.  At our 6 week u/s they used a machine that produced 3D/4D images. I am hoping that this is the machine they use tomorrow!

PREDICTIONS
-We have a lot of predictions from friends and family. Most say girl.

-We have also asked the Magic 8 Ball. When asked if we were having a boy it answered, "Yes" and when asked if we were having a girl it answered, "You may rely on it." Go figure.

-We then did the Cabbage Test. This test revealed a boy.

-About a month ago I felt like we were having a boy (and still do a little bit!).

-Todd doesn't feel one way or another, he just wants a girl.

Whatever GOD has blessed us with we will be eternally grateful for this wonderful blessing He has given us!

Thanks to those of you who continue to follow us on this incredible journey! Updates tomorrow!

*The Cabbage Test can be found here: The Cabbage Gender Prediction Test

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We Are Half-Way There!


*How far along? 20 weeks
*How big is your baby? A cantaloupe (6.5 in, 10.6 oz)
*Total weight gain: Weigh-in on Tuesday
*Sex: The BIG u/s is on September 28!
*Name: It’s a secret!
*Maternity clothes: Not yet – but things are getting a little snug….
*Stretch marks: I am using Burt’s Bees Mama Bee body oil every night – only time will tell!
*Movement: All the time now!
*Sleep: Getting better – less night sweats and less bathroom trips as long a I don’t drink much past 8PM
*Best moment this week: Once again courtesy of my sweet husband who drove 40 minutes round-trip to Panera to surprise me with two Cinnamon Crunch bagels.
*Food cravings: Coke and Cherry mix Icee, Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera Bread, Sourdough croutons from Cracker Barrel, French Fries
*Labor signs: Let’s hold off until February, please!
*Belly button in or out: In
*What I miss: My clothes fitting
*What we’re looking forward to: Finding out the gender of the baby so we can stop calling it IT!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We're a Sweet Potato!

*How far along? 18 weeks
*How big is your baby? A sweet potato (5.6 in, 6.7 oz)
*Total weight gain: A little over 3lbs
*Sex: The BIG u/s is on September 28!
*Name: It’s a secret!
*Maternity clothes: Not yet – thanks to my BellaBand, however, maternity jeans are in my near future….
*Stretch marks: I am using Burt’s Bees Mama Bee body oil every night – only time will tell!
*Movement: Nothing yet – could be soon!
*Sleep: Trips to the bathroom and night sweats kinda make for a not-so-good night’s sleep – I heart my after school naps!
*Best moment this week: Got woke up from my nap by my sweet husband with a kiss to find dinner ready and on the table. How did I get so lucky?!
*Food cravings: Coke and Cherry mix Icee, Little Caesar’s Baby Pan-Pan, Taco Bell Tortilla Chips, Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagel
*Labor signs: Let’s hold off on this one for at least another 4.5 months please!
*Belly button in or out: In
*What I miss: Sleeping through the night
*What we’re looking forward to: Looking at furniture for the baby’s room

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An (Uneventful)* 16 week Appointment

It seems that after four, very difficult years of trying to get pregnant, God has blessed us with an easy pregnancy (thus far)! Today's appointment was like the others - everything perfect :) We didn't have an u/s, but did get to hear the heartbeat which we hadn't heard since week 6.  I have gained 3 pounds - a little low, but the doctor wasn't too concerned as long as I continue to gain weight over the next few months at a somewhat faster pace. We also scheduled the BIG u/s for Tuesday, September 28. I can't wait to find out if we are Team Pink or Team Blue! I am starting to have somewhat of a baby bump - will post pictures soon!

Hope you are all having a blessed week!

*By uneventful I don't mean it wasn't exciting (because it was!) - maybe a better word to describe the apt. would be uncomplicated or perfect :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

15 weeks


*How far along? 15 weeks

  *How big is your baby? A navel orange

*Total weight gain: A little over 2lbs

*Sex: Only 5 more weeks until we can answer this one!

*Name: It’s a secret!

*Maternity clothes: Not yet – Thank you BellaBand!

*Stretch marks: Nothing yet, but my Burt’s Bees Mama Bee body oil has been ordered :)
 

*Movement: At least another month until we can answer this one!

*Sleep: Trips to the bathroom and night sweats kinda make for a not-so-good night’s sleep – I heart my after school naps!

*Best moment this week: Got our Michigan baby showers put on the calendar!

*Food cravings: Coke and Cherry mix Icee
 

*Labor signs: Let’s hold off on this one for at least another 5 months please!

*Belly button in or out: In
 

*What I miss: Raw Cake-Mix cookie dough

*What we're looking forward to: Next OB visit on 8/31 - we will get to hear the heartbeat which we haven't heard since week 6

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Big Sister

I am utterly shocked that I have not posted about THE Grace. Grace is our Silky Terrier. We have had her since she was two months old; she is going to be 8 on November 29.  Grace is spoiled, sassy and stubborn. She is also very smart. Too smart sometimes. She knows how to work us to get what she wants. She also does what she wants when she wants. We love her! We also talk about her a lot, and apparently I talk about her as if she were our human child. Twice now someone who had not known me well overheard me talking about Grace and commented that she did not know we had a daughter :)

Anyhow, THE Grace is absolutely thrilled that she is going to be a big sister (see picture below for proof). We have been prepping her since we first started for a baby four years ago. She gets along great with kids (even those that chase her and pull on her). We can stick our hand in her food dish, take food away and she will either eat around it or walk away. She shares her toys. She has never bit a human (dogs are another story). Our only concern is going to be toys. Grace loves toys, and up until now all toys and really anything else that she wants to play with (except Todd's Transformers) have been hers to play with. We do not know how we are going to teach her that the baby's toys are not hers to play with. Any suggestions?

As for baby news, we were 13 weeks last Saturday! Other than the frequent bathroom trips (which are lessening!), being tired and the night sweats, I do not feel pregnant. Let's hope this keeps up!

Thanks to those who are still reading - I love the comments! I have been a bad commenter and I apologize for that, but please know that I have been reading your blogs as you update them and have been thinking and praying for you all <3

Monday, August 2, 2010

Perfect (Again!)

We had our 12w2d appointment and u/s today. Once again we were amazed at what the u/s showed us! The u/s tech took us on a little tour - we got to see arms, legs, hands, feet, spinal cord, eyes, nose, ears, heart and even a tiny little stomach :) Apparently, the baby did not like all of the exploring, however, because he/she turned completely around. Where he/she started off facing us, we ended with his/her little backside looking at us. The u/s tech also did a 3-D scan. Nothing too exciting at this point. In fact, to be honest, the baby looked a little creepy! Heart rate today was a healthy 148 and he/she is actually measuring a little big right now at 12w4d. My apt. with the ob was a little less exciting. He checked my cervix and uterus. Again, the ob told us that the baby could not be looking any better!

Our next apt. is in a month. We will not be having another u/s until week 20 where we will find out whether we are having a baby boy or baby girl. We are already counting down....

I have about 10 posts to post. I hope to get to those before Friday - before my first day back to work - Yuck!
**This post is dedicated to DANA NICOLE BURCH**

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PIO Update

*PIO = Progesterone in Oil

I had my b/w done yesterday and received a call from the nurse at the NEDC today that I can stop all medications! I have no problems taking pills and I actually fell asleep during the last shot Todd gave me, so the medications didn't bother me in that way, but knowing that my body has taken over and is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing, is a REALLY good feeling :)

I have to have b/w done again next week just to make sure that my progesterone and estradiol levels are still where they need to be. After I hear from the NEDC about those results and assuming they are good, I will no longer need to report to the NEDC until the birth. Sad, a little because the NEDC has been nothing but great, but glad that our pregnancy will just be a regular pregnancy from here on out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

PIO No More?

*PIO = Progesterone in Oil

Apparently my ob is not as quick with b/w results as the place I usually get my b/w at (they usually have the results to NEDC later that afternoon). Anyhow, the NEDC got my b/w back from my last ob apt. My progesterone and estradiol levels are looking great meaning that the placenta is doing its job producing the correct amount of hormones. YEA! The nurse from the NEDC told me that I can cut the dosages for both the PIO and Estrace in half. So while I still am taking both 2x a day, the dosage is smaller. I will continue to take these dosages for 5 days or so before I have my b/w checked again. It looks as though my days of shooting up may be coming to an end....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baby's First Gift!

Todd and I went out to lunch with Aunt Liz today - a crazy woman I teach with :) She had a gift for baby. While Todd and I have bought the baby things, this is the first gift from someone else. Isn't it cute??!! Thanks Aunt Liz!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Absolutely Beautiful!

We had our second u/s today. What a beautiful sight! Baby is continuing to measure right on track - 9w2d. The heartbeat was a healthy 175bpm. His/her little arm and leg buds were moving like crazy. The u/s tech commented on how active he/she was :) 

We also had our first apt. with a regular ob. He commented on how healthy the placenta/baby looked and told me to keep doing whatever it was that I was doing because it was working. We couldn't have asked for better news than that!! The due date is still February 12, 2011.

I am still not experiencing morning sickness - not complaining! I use the bathroom about 15-20 times a day thanks to my tilted uterus. I could be sleeping better, but overall I cannot complain. This has been a (thankfully) uneventful pregnancy thus far.

I am still on the progesterone injections 2x daily and taking Estrace 2x daily. Once the NEDC gets the results from the ob, I will know whether or not I cannot reduce the amount or even stop taking one or both completely. If I can stop the injections, Todd and I won't know what to do with ourselves at 10AM and 10PM everyday (though I am sure we can think of something!) :)

Our next u/s and apt. with our ob is schedule for Monday, August 2 or in 3 weeks when we will be at the start of our 2nd trimester.

I have a lot of posts yet to post of what has been going over the past couple of weeks which I will post soon (so patience DANA BURCH!). Those posts will get you up to do date with what has been going on....

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Sights & Sounds of The Day

Today's ultrasound made up for the four years of seeing an empty womb on the monitor. The tech had no problem locating our precious baby :) He/she is measuring 6w1d with a heartbeat of 119. Along with the u/s, I had blood work done.  We will find out tomorrow whether or not we need to keep up with the Progesterone shots and Estrace.

In other news, I still don't have any nausea. I do have to go to the bathroom at least once an hour. At night it is even worse - I probably go to the bathroom 5-6 times in the first hour after I lay down. I eventually get up because I can't sleep. I have been falling asleep around 3AM for the last two weeks. Not fun, but at least I am on summer break! Heartburn hasn't been bad since that first weekend after implantation took place. I am hungry more often but have actually lost 4 pounds since we found out I was pregnant. However, I do not fit into any of my pants OR shorts due to the bloating. A shopping trip is needed in the near future to solve this problem as I am getting tired of wearing the few bottoms that I own that actually fit me. Good thing I will be home on Friday to go shopping with my mom!

No other news to report as of now. I do have a week's worth of old posts that I will post within the next couple days. I know you all will be waiting for them :)

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers - GOD is good!

*Baby is circled in pink!



Harder (and Longer) Than a 2WW

I truly think this 9dw has been harder (and longer) than the 2ww was. While we have had the positive pregnancy tests, and I have had some pregnancy symptoms, seeing the baby(ies) is what is going to seal the deal for me  :) 

During our fertility journey I have had numerous ultrasounds to check out this or that. Though not painful, they aren't a treat either. Oh, and I am not talking about external ultrasounds. Anyhow, today will be the first time we see the baby(ies) and we couldn't be more excited!!

Thanks to those who have sent their prayers and well wishes!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rest Assured

After much prayer and talking with the nurse at great lengths several times yesterday, I am good. Dr. Keenan is not at all concerned that my BETA did not double for three reasons. One, the first BETA was so high. Two, while they like to see the number double in 48 hours, it can actually take 48-72 hours to see this happen. Three, it did increase 65%. As for the estrogen, he is not concerned with this either since I am taking Estrace, 2mg, 2x daily. Yea!

On to other news: We will be 5 weeks this Saturday with our first u/s scheduled for Monday, June 21! Since my cycle was controlled with the Lupron, using the date of my last menstrual cycle would not have given us an accurate due date. The nurse used the last day of Lupron to calculate our DD giving us a due date of February 12, 2011. Oh my...this is all starting to seem more real :)

Since Todd and I are both teachers we have the summers off. Last summer we started Summer Date Days. One day a week we go on a date. We do something different each week. Today is our first Summer Date Day of 2010. We are going to pick up Quiznos in Nashville and eat in Centennial Park followed by a movie and some shopping. I love date days!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BETA #2 and Estrogen Levels

We got the results for our second BETA today: 693. If you don't remember, our first BETA on Monday was 420. The nurse said that even though they like to see it double, the doctor was OK with it and for us to schedule our ultrasound at 6 weeks. For my reassurance, I am asking to have another BETA on Friday. I also have no idea when we are 6 weeks. How do we determine how far along we are? My menstrual cycle was controlled by Lupron so I didn't ovulate when I should have so going by that date would not be accurate. I was going by three days before the date of the transfer as the day I ovulated since the embryos were transferred at 3 days. That would give me an ovulation date of 5/22 (transfer was 5/25). Does this make any sense?

Another concern of mine is my estrogen level. Though never formally diagnosed with an estrogen deficiency, I have been told my night sweats are caused by the drop of estrogen before my cycle. Before we started the medications and such for our first transfer in March, the night sweats were pretty much under control with birth control. However, since not being on the birth control consistently the night sweats have started back up again. About a week before my cycle starts I wake up 1-2x a night soaking wet and freezing. Sheets, pillow and pajamas. This cycle the night sweats started at the same time, about a week before my cycle was to start, however, they stopped Friday night (implantation?) only to come back Saturday night (and continuing).  Even though I take Estrace 2x daily, I can't help but think my estrogen level is low due to the night sweats. While I am not sure the exact role estrogen plays in pregnancy, I am sure it is important or I wouldn't be taking the Estrace, right? I am asking the doctor about this, too.

UGH. Seriously. Satan is constantly finding ways to attack us. Please pray that he DOES NOT win.

I will update when I know more....

Now What?

So now that we are pregnant, what do we do now? Another BETA is scheduled for today. That number will decide on when we are to schedule our first ultrasound. I am praying that it is soon because I want to know how many babies are in there! Of course, as soon as I found out the BETA from our first test I went online and it looked it up. I got so many different answers that I have no idea what to think. I did ask our nurse and she said it was perfect which is good enough for me (for now - I can't help be curious - we did transfer 3 excellent grade embryos after all!). The progesterone shots will continue 2x daily for at least the next month along with the Estrace 2x daily. Other than that, we are just to enjoy being pregnant! And, after an emotional 4 years, 3 ART, numerous protocols and too many shots/pills/dr. visits to count, we are ready to do just that :) GOD is good!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My New Favorite Number

My new favorite number is 420.
Why you ask?
Hint: We got the results of our BETA today :)

*Will post more later!!

No News Is Good News?

No News Is Good News - isn't that what people always say? Anyhow, I got my blood work done too late (I forgot about the time difference). By the time the results were sent to NEDC, they were closed. Well, I am guessing that is what happened because we did not hear from NEDC today. What is one more day, right?! Ugh. I did not give in to taking a HPT so we are totally in the dark. Hopefully, they call first thing in the morning!

On another note, I have not spotted anymore since Friday evening though I have had that 'feeling' I get before my cycle does start since then. The heartburn comes and goes as does the rash. The rash is becoming more concerning though as it is worse than before when it does appear (it comes and goes within minutes sometimes). I have tried to figure out the cause, but each time I think I know what is causing it, I am proven wrong. I hope to get into the dermatologist this week. As for other 'symptoms,' I have not wanted to eat because anything with a lot of flavor or substance has been giving me horrible heartburn. I have been living on cereal, strawberries, Goldfish Crackers, McDonald's Strawberry shakes and Chick-Fil-A for the last couple of days. Not super healthy, I know, but besides the heartburn, nothing sounds good or tastes good either.

On a third note, my current perspective: I am not seeing the glass half full or half empty, but rather even. I don't feel one way or another about this transfer. I think I have had my hopes up too many times before and got crushed, but obviously I think this can work or I wouldn't have gone through it all again. I am trying not to let Satan win this battle....Make sense?!

Before I go, I want to thank those of you who are following us for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement - all make this journey a bit easier!

Praying for good news tomorrow!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New BFFs: Maalox and Benadryl

Never can I remember having heartburn this bad. I woke up with it yesterday and have been battling with it on and off since. Not knowing whether or not I am pregnant, I didn't want to take anything. I finally had to give in, and after finding out what was alright to take, am downing Maalox every few hours for relief. While I am sure the two are not related, I also have been breaking out with hives and red splotches that itch. Again, once finding out what I could take, I am taking Benadryl along with the Maalox. Sweet relief! FYI: If I am pregnant the baby(ies) do not like Pizza Xplosive Flavor Blasted Goldfish crackers. Not only did this cause heartburn, but also an upset stomach.

*Warning: May contain TMI
On a more serious note, I spotted a bit yesterday (10 days past transfer of 3 3-day old embryos). Nothing heavy and it did only last yesterday, but it still left me a bit uneasy for two reasons. One, spotting while pregnant or waiting to find out if you are pregnant is almost never good. And, two, this is typical for my cycle. Spot one day, skip the next, and then the official start of my period a day after the spotting. Please be praying that the spotting was a one day thing and not the start of my next cycle.

Friday, May 28, 2010

(No) Privacy

Since starting our infertility journey - almost 3.5 years ago - I have lost almost all sense of privacy. You have to if you want to be successful with this journey. Anyhow, what little privacy I had left, is pretty much gone as of tonight. Since Todd is gone and I am still needing progesterone shots 2x daily, it was either I do it myself or have my mom do it. I don't mind the shots, but the thought of giving them to myself actually makes me nauseous. So my mom it is, and while she has seen me naked before (about 25 years ago) and I am not naked, IT IS MY MOM AND I AM 31 YEARS OLD. Definitely an awkward moment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Heart Bedpans

Yes, you read right, I do indeed heart bedpans. Read on to find out why, but before that, read about our embryo transfer #2....

Woke up bright and early (7:15), got dressed, got my progesterone injection and headed down for a free breakfast in the hotel. With breakfast I had to take my drug cocktail: Valium, Albuterol, 3 Advil, and Estrace. Next, the drive to the National Embryo Donation Center.

Since we were one of their first appointments, we were taken back right away to the recovery room where I got my bed, gown and shower cap type thing. I changed, got in bed and we waited to see Dr. Keenan and the embryologist, Carol, to tell us about our embryos.

Our embryos: This time around the embryos we chose were frozen at the 2PN stage (PN=Pro-nuclear) and were frozen in straws of 5. This meant all 5 had to be thawed which meant if all survived (and could not be re-frozen) we could have had 5 embryos transferred! Bittersweet moment - while all 5 embryos were viable, only 4 of them divided. Of those 4, 3 divided they way they should have after two days of being un-thawed. After two days, the embryos should have divided into 6-8 cells. The embryos were graded the following: 8c/G1, 7c/G1, and 6c/G1. The c stands for cells. The G is the grade, 1 being the best up to 5 being the worse. Needless to say, we had 3 excellent embryos! This means we have a great chance for a pregnancy with a 10% of triplets :) The other 2 embryos will be observed in culture for 14 days. After 14 days they will know whether or not they can be refrozen or if they need to be discarded.



*Warning: Some may find this part containing TMI!
After talking with Dr. Keenan and Carol, I walked back to the operating room. Unfortunately, the transfer was not without complications. First, they checked my bladder to see whether or not it is full enough so they can distinguish it between my uterus. They could not. They then begin to prep me for a catheter so they can fill my bladder and for the transfer. Next, a speculum is inserted followed by the catheter which is followed by a pinch. A saline-water solution is added by the bottle full until they put approximately 64 ounces of liquid into my bladder. I feel like I am going to pee all over Dr. Keenan and that my bladder is going to burst - luckily neither happened! My bladder and uterus can now clearly be detected by ultrasound. A new catheter is inserted into my cervix or rather it is attempted. It is too big. A second, smaller catheter is opened. Attempt #2 is successful in that it goes into my cervix, but due to my tilted uterus, it cannot be positioned corrected and gets destroyed during the process. It is removed, Dr. Keenan puts on his 3rd pair of gloves, the 3rd catheter is opened and attempt number 3 is attempted. Apparently, for me, the 3rd time is a charm. With the catheter in the correct position, the embryos are loaded into a syringe and deposited into my uterus. An amazing sight on the ultrasound! Catheter and speculum are removed, I am transferred to a bed and taken back to the recovery room more than twenty minutes after I should have been.



Here is where my love of bedpans comes into place. I am on bed rest for the next hour. I also have a bladder that is fuller than full. Hello bedpan!! No need to say anymore about this :) Todd sits next to me and we talk, he reads, I rest and the next thing we know the hour is up. I change, we get my discharge instructions and are off. *No extra charges this time around - huge blessing as last time the 3 sets of embryos we chose had over $1200 of fees associated with them. Fees can be for storage, shipping charges (the embryos come from all over the U.S.) and for any of the tests required for them to donate the embryos that are not covered by their insurance.

I am to rest for 24 hours so we stopped for a quick lunch and ate it in the car. Got back to the hotel around 1 and slept until 630! We just got back from an excellent dinner at Puleo's, went to Target for some snacks and are now back in the hotel for the rest of the night (unless I can get Todd to go out for a strawberry milkshake from McDonald's in a bit!). While I do have restrictions for the next two weeks, I can pretty much got back to my regular routine.

So, like last time, according to some I am pregnant with triplets, and to others I won't be pregnant until a positive pregnancy test. Either way, GOD is good! After the complications, we ended up having a successful transfer with 3 excellent embryos!

We will continue with the progesterone injections 2x daily until we are told to stop. If the pregnancy test is negative, we will stop that day. If positive, we will continue the shots through the first trimester.

The two week wait begins....Thanks for being on this journey with us!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bittersweet

**For the background on this blog check out: May Transfer is ON!**

About a week ago I started feeling very anxious about traveling the 10 hours to Michigan a mere two days after the transfer and attending all of the wedding festivities that were planned that weekend. Not to mention the 10 hour drive back and all within a few days. We had to be back by Monday, May 31 to be back in time to take my mom to the airport on Tuesday. We were too far along with our protocol; or rather had spent too much money on this transfer to stop now.

The last thing I wanted to do was not go to the wedding especially since they worked around our schedules with their new date. I didn't even mention it, however, Todd did. I told him before I would even consider it I wanted him to talk to his family about it. I didn't want Travis and Amy's marriage to start off with a family conflict because I didn't attend their wedding. Todd talked to them and they were all very understanding and supportive of it. Huge sigh of relief! So, the 'bitter' part of this bittersweet moment is that I am not going to be attending the wedding :(

The 'sweet' part, I will get to spend some quality time with my mom. Before my dad's Parkinson's disease had progressed (to where he couldn't be left alone), my mom and I used to do all sorts of stuff together, and now that I will not be attending the wedding, we will have four days to just hang out, go out to eat and shop. All things we both love doing!

God has definitely blessed me with two wonderful families! A family who understands my predicament and is supportive of our decision for me not to make the trip to Michigan for the wedding, and another who got on a plane to watch Grace so we could take the next step on our journey :)

GOD is good!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Embryo Adoption - How we came to it and what it entails (to just get on the waiting list)

Let's go back to May 2009 - After an unsuccessful IUI with donor sperm in February 2009 and then a consultation with our fertility specialist, we no longer had peace about pursuing another one. We had been trying for a baby since July 2006. Almost three years later, our arms were still empty, and our hearts were broken. We so badly had wanted to experience a pregnancy. Everything from the ultrasounds to the first movements to the birth, but not feeling we had God's blessing to move forward with the assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that we knew of, we thought that dream was gone. I had started to look into local adoption agencies, but wasn't feeling 'it'. I knew we wanted to children, but if we didn't have God's blessing do another ART or adoption, how were we going to get a child? Discouraged, I continued to research adoption, but didn't make any contacts.

A trip to the mailbox in late May 2009 changed everything. We received a pamphlet from Bethany Christian Services about something called Embryo Adoption. Embryo Adoption = A Baby? Sounded good to me, so I read it. Hope that I had lost resurfaced a bit. I had Todd read the pamphlet. Curious we signed up for the next orientation (which happened to be in just a couple of days). We looked Embryo Adoption up online, but still weren't sure really what it was. Excited and growing more hopeful, we went to the required orientation. After the first part of the orientation, we both knew. THIS, Embryo Adoption, was God's plan for our family. We stayed through the rest of the orientation learning everything we could about what it was.

That next day I began to research agencies that would do an embryo adoption home study because just as with a regular adoption, we had to had one. A week later, and after many emails and phone calls we choose Adoption Assistance, Inc. We found out what we needed to do and did it. Application in a week. Paperwork and more paperwork in two weeks. One meeting in a neutral place done. Meeting and inspection of our house soon after. In about six weeks we had completed the entire process. In the meantime, we were also needing to complete an application and paperwork (and more paperwork) for the National Embryo Adoption Center (NEDC) in Knoxville. After our part was done for both, no longer than two months, we waited.

During the middle of August we got a phone call from Adoption Assistance. We were 'approved', and our home study was complete. We got a copy and sent it off to NEDC for their approval. More waiting.

Early September we found out that we were officially on the waiting list. We had satisfactorily met all of the requirements! Well, up until that point. The next step was a medical clearance from NEDC. An appointment would be scheduled in January or March. So we did what we did best, and waited until we heard back from NEDC.

A phone call in the beginning of November reminded us that God was there. He knew we were trying to wait patiently, but that it was getting hard. A couple had canceled their initial appointment, did we want it? Yes, please! We needed to be in Knoxville on Monday, November 23. That gave us about three weeks instead of another two to four months. We both arranged for a sub and called my mom to see if she could come and watch Grace. She could. We were set for November 23. God is good!

Monday, April 19, 2010

May Transfer is ON!

After many emails between us and NEDC we finally were able to confirm a May 25 embryo transfer. Two months sooner than expected after we found out our first, second, and third choices were taken of the embryos we had to choose from originally. Needless to say we are excited!!!

I called my mom when there was even a possibility of a May transfer to see if she would be able to come down to watch Grace. She can (plane ticket already purchased!), and she is also going to watch Grace when we drive up to Michigan for Travis and Amy's wedding later that same week. This is such a huge blessing for a couple of reasons - we will not have to worry about finding some place to stay at night that accepts dogs, and we will not have to worry about Grace while we are busy with the wedding. I love my mom!

The last week of May is going to be crazy busy for us. Teacher's last day is Monday, May 24. As soon as we get released from school, Todd and I will load up the car and head to Knoxville. Though May 25 is the day of the actual transfer, a three day stay is recommend so we will not head home until Wednesday. Thursday we will be back on the road; this time heading up to Michigan for Travis and Amy's wedding. We will stop half way overnight with the hopes of getting to Sparta late Friday afternoon. Saturday is the wedding. We will be heading back home either Saturday night or early Sunday morning arriving home at the latest on Monday. I am tired just reading our schedule for that week!

Other news: TCAP is this week. For me, this means testing with one student in the morning and another in the afternoon. Fun times :) My brother has an interview with a principal in WCS for a middle school PE position next Monday - prayers appreciated! 2nd grade Business Day on Friday - so fun and so cute! I will post on Friday with a recap of the day and pictures.

Friday, April 16, 2010

GOD is good

If you are just now joining us in our journey: Our May transfer was pushed to July because our 1st, 2nd and 3rd embryo choices were no longer available leaving us with only 2. A minimum of 6 embryos are required. Not comfortable with the embryos still available for a May transfer we made the hard decision, and pushed our transfer back two months. This was very emotional for us. I could feel Satan attacking, but kept reminding myself that GOD does not make mistakes....

Present: God continues to shows us He is here - that He has not forgotten about our desire for children. I got an email from NEDC today letting us know that another profile became available today. This particular adoption would lead us to adopt 15 2PN embryos! *A 2PN embryo is the earliest stage when the sperm has penetrated the egg. Not only is this a huge money saver (unfortunately something we have to take into consideration after 2 failed attempts), but it would allow our children to be blood-related. Many times with embryo adoption the number of embryos available from one couple do not allow this so it is a huge blessing in many ways. Not to mention, out of all of the profiles we have had to choose from (over 100 between the 2 transfers!) this one matches us almost perfectly. Male donor is Dutch, Todd's height, (desired :)) weight, eye color, hair color/texture and skin tone. Female donor is German, my height, weight, hair texture and skin tone. Hair color is blond (which could be from my mom - she is a natural blond after all :)) and blue eyes (which must run on one side of the family!). Needless to say we are extremely excited about this opportunity!

Prayers needed: We are still trying to work out the details of when the transfer can take place. Being teachers with the last day of school for teachers being May 24, May is a difficult time to take two days off. Not to mention that we just confirmed that we could attend Travis and Amy's wedding on May 29. We were offered May 23 or 24, but have asked for May 25. May 25 would give us enough time to be in Knoxville for 3 days before having to head over to Michigan for the wedding. Anytime before this date would interfere with school and anytime after this date would interfere with the wedding. Todd and I have already decided should it interfere with the wedding that we would hold off on the transfer. We should hear something on Monday....