Friday, May 31, 2013

First Outing

When we got home from the hospital, there was a receipt that I had received a certified letter.  Today was the first day that I felt well enough to skip pain medicine and hop in the car with Miss Ellie.  The post office is only about two miles away and we made it there and back with no hicuups! Whew!

The certified letter was regarding our four remaining frozen embryos at ART.  In the past I've been so hesitant to even let myself think that I would want more children.  I can handle the aches and pains of being pregnant, but the heartache of infertility is a whole other story.  You don't forget that.  After the past ten days with daughter there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we will try again.  I don't know when, because there is so much preparation and money involved.  Right now I am just enjoying loving on my precious daughter.
Here is a video of our little girl with the hicuups! We're so in love with her, but we're kinda partial.

I serve an amazing, mighty, and powerful God.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Newborn Pictures

The hospital's photographer did an amazing job on Elliana's photos! We couldn't be happier.  

You can see the scratches on her sweet little face from the forceps.  Our little girl is a fighter!
I could kiss her little cheeks all day long

She looks deep in thought

Elliana says this is her good side! Haha

She loves her Daddy already


My sweet angel

I'm cute and I know it!

Safe in Daddy's arms

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What the doctor said...

I'm sorry it's taken so long to post about our doctor's appointment today.  We got home and I was exhausted.  We had more family visiting and there was no time for me to sit down and post.

I am definitely torn.  It's on my perineum- about a 1.5 cm long tear.  The stitch is visible underneath as the tear is superficial.  They did not want to re stitch me, but let it heal from the inside out.  Dr. Radbill's exact words were that I was going to be miserable for a few more weeks.  Because of my past issues with stomach troubles, it's a harder recovery.  To be brutally honest, I have textbook IBS.  You have no idea how embarrassing it is to lay all of your issues out on the table.  I mean, seriously, everybody poops.  BUT I go way more often than most people.  Because my tummy is so active it's hard for my damaged area to heal.  They prescribed me more pain medication, but a step down from Percocet (Vicodin).

Ellie couldn't have been a better little girl today.  She never made a peep from the time we put her in the carseat headed to the hospital.  She didn't wake up until we were back home about two hours later.  She's such a great little girl and must know that Mommy is having a hard time.

Thank you for all of the sweet comments, prayers, and well wishes.  Not everyone has been supportive of my recovery.  It's not that they're not supportive, but they don't grasp the extensive damage that was done during Elliana's delivery.  Your words were exactly what I needed to read today.  Your words have kept me going.

Dr Appointment Needed ASAP for Me

My birth story is in progress; its difficult to just throw words down on a paper or a computer screen when it's something this intimate. 

My post will make more sense as my birth experience is shared......I had to call after hours at my OB office around 9 pm. 

Labor and deliver put my body through a lot and left me with a second degree episiotomy. The forceps were required to get Elliana out as well. 

To those who are unfamiliar, the episiotomy is a doctor made incision that aids in guiding the baby through birth canal. They are classified either first, second, or third degree depending on the severity of the cut. "A second degree involves the incision of the skin and muscle and that extends midway between the vagina anus."

Overall the episiotomy has not caused me much discomfort.  On the other hand, the tearing so close to my rectum has been the source of great agonizing pain that left me nearly unable to walk for days.  This is why I've not blogged- I literally could not sit down. The simplest of tasks that required sitting straight up caused me to break down in tears. Standing just long enough to walk across a room was near impossible. My heart has hurt that I've not been able to care more for Elliana. 

This leads to tonight. I had made so much healing and progress. I noticed pain before dinner but didn't think much of it, only that I got behind on my pain medication and that could be the problem. We went out to dinner and grabbed some items I needed at Target and came home. While in Target my bottom began hurting and I knew it was time rest. The pain goes down my right leg now. It appears that my episiotomy has torn near my rectum.  It may not even be my episiotomy at all, but a complete tear in my rectum.

Brandon started back working yesterday, but will have to go with me to the doctor today. I cannot drive with my pain medication, and there's a possibility that I will be sewn up again. I've had all night to process.  I was devastated last night and did nothing but cry. I know that God is in control, but I will be honest that I've questioned him so much in the past week. Why is this happening to me? I don't see how this is a part of his plan and my journey.  Please pray for my understanding and for peace through my pain.

I've really put myself out there and shared something very intimate. Our birth story will elaborate more in detail and you will understand what I mean by a rough delivery. Please leave only kind and supportive comments. You truly have no idea how hard the past week has been for me not being able to do simple things for my daughter. I know that all women have pain after a vaginal delivery, but this surpasses anything that I could ever have expected.  I've been dealing with people in real life trying to tell me about their experiences and wive's takes when they have no idea how severe my pain and recovery has been. Any negative comments will be removed

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elliana: 1 Week Old

How old is Elliana:
1 Week

How does Mom feel:
Tired! Labor and delivery took a lot out of me, but I'm on the mend. I am still struggling with bladder control but it gets easier every day. Breast feeding is not that bad really and I love how great I sleep afterward.  I had no idea about the hot flashes!  There's so much that you cannot prepare for.  I just thought I had hot flashes while I was on fertility medications, but these are super intense--Like wake up soaking wet intense!  Ellie's first six days were hard for me.  Once you read my birth story you will understand.  I have been through one hell of a recovery after our vaginal delivery.  I'm completely amazed to be sitting at my computer right now typing this blog post.  God is good.

How does Dad feel:
He's a little tired from everything but is good.  He says that he is just happy.

Sleep for Mom:
I've taken care of baby girl on my own for the past two nights. I couldn't do it if I hadn't rested and healed so much over the past week.  I'm taking at least two naps with baby girl during the day.

Sleep for Dad:
Brandon is able to sleep well because Ellie only cries when I change her diaper at night. He deserves the rest for taking care of his girls this past week.  We have had some sleep walking incidents where Brandon was not truly awake but conversing with me.  It's funny because he still helps but has no recollection of it later.

Sleep for Elliana:
She's a great sleeper! She falls asleep at my boob often and I have to aggravate her to wake up.

Upcoming Appointments:
June 24- 1 month appointment and vaccinations.

Funny Moments:
Ellie can clear a room with her gas! Daddy is jealous that he's been dethroned as the gassiest member of the house.


Pre-pregnancy Weight:  123 lbs
Full Term Pregnancy Weight:  162 lbs
Today's Weight:  145 lbs
17 lbs lost!
Ellie says Hi!

Daddy loves his sweet baby!

I don't have many pictures of Ellie and I together yet.  In the hospital I felt terrible and look absolutely awful in all of my pictures.  This is the first picture of me standing up right with a smile on my face.

My Postpartum Belly

1st Pediatrician Appointment

Elliana is one week old today and we had her first pediatrician appointment as well. 

We absolutely love our pediatrician! Miss Ellie weighed 7 lbs 11 oz, only 2 oz down from her birth weight! (She was 7 lbs 4 oz when we left the hospital on Friday.)

The pediatrician said that our baby was perfect. She's strong and very alert. She's also having enough wet and soiled diapers. Breast feeding is definitely agreeing with baby girl! 

I've been feeding Elliana every two hours; offering each breast at the feeding. She nurses about 15 minutes per side and she has a great latch! (She latched the fist time I put her to my breast after birth). I was nervous it wasn't enough. The doctor commended me and said that I was doing a fabulous job!
 Everyone says that breast feeding is hard and they're right, but for me it was the soreness and keeping her awake to eat. It's pretty easy now and we have a routine but I will write about that later.

Brandon and I grow more and more in love with our daughter by the minute. 

It's super blurry because of the elevator's reflection but I love the image of our family of three. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Elliana Joy

Elliana Joy Boyington was born on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm. 
She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and measured 20.5 inches.

I am absolutely in love with our daughter. I never anticipated staying so silent on my blog, but labor and delivery was exhausting and my recovery has been slow. In the coming days I will post our birth story.  

Like our infertility and pregnancy journey, it too has proven to me that I am one strong woman and that mine and Brandon's marriage is solid. 

Elliana is a pure joy and I cannot wait to share more about her!

God is good all of the time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Last Bumpdate

Today is Elliana's Birth Day!

This won't be one of my traditional weekly and bumpdate posts, but it does have our usual pictures!

Today I am excited and nervous and hungry!  Of course I'm never hungry in the mornings anymore but I am today since I cannot eat.  My nausea is growing and I cannot wait to get to the hospital to ask for some Zofran.  

I am glad that I slept as long as I did, but Elliana stayed awake for quite a while last night taking in her last chances to beat this Momma up!  She's going to be one active little girl!

Brandon slept like a rock, but woke up ready to get going.  We made the bed, took out the trash, got all of the towels to the laundry room, made sure all of the dishes were put away, fed and gave Logan his medicine, and finished packing the car.

Our milestone reached today is making it Elliana's birth day.  This day is so surreal.  Our lives are about to be so different.  It's just been the two of us for almost four years and we will be coming home as a family of three at the end of the week.  It's amazing.  Our dreams have come true.  I cannot believe that I am currently typing these words without tears streaming down my face.  

Brandon appreciates all of the support that I have received from this blog.  Today he is thanking you, my readers and extended members of our faith family for providing us with so much encouragement through our infertility and pregnancy journey.  I greatly feared that continuing to blog through our pregnancy would offend so many who have followed me, but I have proven otherwise.  Y'all have given us nothing but support even while many of you are still struggling in your own journies.  Thank you.  

As Elliana is born I will continue to stay with this blog.  The blog name will stay the same:  Our Pathway to Parenthood, because parenthood is not just something that one accomplishes over night.  It's a daily experience.  I do hope that if you've stayed with me this long, you will continue to follow our journey and experiences with Elliana.  She is our gift from God and Brandon and I know that her life must have purpose.  We hope that our story and her birth may provide hope to others still trying to achieve their forever family.  

Today is THE DAY

"Today is the day that The Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

I took the most amazing nap ever yesterday afternoon after I blogged.  There was drool everywhere when I woke up- evidence to me of a good sleep!
This was the screenshot I sent out yesterday to our faith family.
As soon as I woke up I went through all of the text messages I had received and saw a bunch of notifications on Facebook.  I immediately saw posts from my friend Toni in Oklahoma.  They had bad storms the day before but I had no idea they were continuing.  We texted and I watched the live coverage on The Weather Channel.  She was only a mere ten miles from the destruction path of the storm.  As my eyes were welling up with tears I called out to God asking for Him to keep her safe.  At that moment I promise you that I watched the tornado disappear back up into the clouds.  In my own selfishness I had only prayed for her, along with her husband and daughter.  The three of them were fine, but the tornado left behind so much devastation and many lives lost.  This is not one of the happy memories that I wished to record on the day before my daughter's birth.  My heart is at rest knowing that my friend and Elliana's honorary Aunt Toni is alive today, yet I still grieve for all of those who perished.

My experience with the first two cervical checks was easy.  I left the office feeling the same way as when I walked in.  That cannot be said for the past two- last Wednesday and yesterday.  My belly feels even lower and I have battled more contractions and back pain.  It actually felt like my tummy could fall off of my body.
Weemail is hilarious. (It's a free app in the apple store)  You get a "message" from the baby everyday.  Some of them are funnier than others and this one is one of my favorite so far!
Brandon had to run to a few meetings with customers yesterday and wasn't home until close to 4 pm.  He worked until past 5:30 pm trying to wrap things up knowing that he wouldn't be able to fully sit down and take care of people until next week.  My pain and anxiety level from watching the storm coverage kept me from doing much at all until he was able to help me.  We did wash, dry, and put our sheets back on the bed. I absolutely love the smell of Gain and having clean sheets!  We packed the diaper bag, snack bag, car seat, and nursing pillow in the car to get a jump start on today's packing.  We finished up two additional loads of laundry and reevaluated our hospital bag.  Brandon did a quick clean of both of our bathrooms again and vacuumed throughout the house one more time.  All of the trash has been taken out and this is about the cleanest I've EVER seen our house!
I added this PicStitch collage to Instagram yesterday.  I've taken so many pictures of my growing belly throughout the pregnancy.
I can't believe that I'll look so different when I return home at the end of the week. 
Once we finally stopped running around we decided to go ahead and get gas in the car and grab some dinner.  We could have went out for a nice sit-down and romantic dinner but I was feeling too crappy honestly!  We grabbed McDonalds instead and I enjoyed my last fully-loaded caffeinated Dr. Pepper.

Joy was here at the house when we got back and we spent some time with her and the kids, and Dad showed up as well.  Joy prayed over me and I surprisingly only shed a few tears.  After she left Dad came in for just a few minutes and then he went home as well.
God has blessed me with an amazing family.  Joy's kids call my Daddy "Pops" now.  It's so awesome how your family doesn't always have to be blood related.  My faith family chooses to be a part of my life and I am blessed by them.
My Joy.
Where would I be today without her?
This is my favorite picture of us because we could pass for sisters.  She is like a sister to me.  She know all of the personal serious stuff and the embarrassing things too!
I have no idea how I went to bed.  I guess I was tired.  But here I am now not able to sleep anymore.  This is about my usual time to wake up and drink loads of water or sweet tea before falling back asleep on the couch.  I'm being good and am NOT drinking anything (doctor's orders for induction).

A friend I met through Joy is also in labor right now.  Brandi's water broke yesterday morning and she has been at the hospital since.  They are planning her c-section today and I know that she is beyond ready to hold her daughter as well.  Her labor experience has been long and hard and she has failed to progress past 4 cm.  They have two beautiful children through the gift of adoption, and God also blessed them with Miss Annalise after a severe battle with over twenty miscarriages.  Please remember Brandi today.  She's been through so much already and I'm just praying that her c-section is quick and that she recovers swiftly.

I messaged with her earlier telling her that I had an inkling our daughters would share a birthday.  My hope was that I'd magically go into labor yesterday after my cervical check... not that she would labor and labor and labor through the next day.  But she and I were both products of what Joy calls "Nesia's baby dust."  I've only met Brandi once, at Nesia's first birthday last year.  In that one week Nesia was with us at the fertility clinic during the FET and then saw Brandi and her husband during the time they must have conceived their own miracle baby (who thrived with one of the LOWEST progesterone levels I've ever heard of).

So here we are today.  I should be sleeping right now but I'm wide awake.  I may regret not getting more rest later, but for now I am glad that I've been able to type away more memories.  Elliana's arrival is getting closer and closer and I cannot even comprehend the amount of love I will feel for her as I give birth and she is placed in my arms.

I have some anxiety and nerves about today, but for now I feel God's overwhelming peace flowing through me.  He brought us to this day and I will trust Him to help us through it.  Our journey doesn't end today because Elliana will be born.  Our journey is just beginning as a family of three, but I will never forget what it took for us to get here.  The friendships and relationships we made along our infertility path are so special to us and we will never be the same because of them.  I would not trade our journey for anything.  Brandon and I are so lucky and blessed to be on this side of infertility now, but know that there are still so many others waiting to complete their own families.  We will always pray for those still in the family building process-no matter how they are trying to achieve their forever family.  He and I do not know what our own family future holds, but I do know that we will continue to trust God and rely on Him.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Induction Date Set for....

Brandon and I are so excited.  After our appointment today, Dr. Ross went ahead and scheduled our induction for TOMORROW!

I had progressed a little at
1 cm / 90% / -3

Dr. Ross did ask me if I had underwent previous surgeries on my cervix.  Of course I had two different hysteroscopies, as well as the egg retrieval and frozen embryo transfer.  He seemed to think that may have played a factor in my cervix's slow progression.

Nonetheless we are thrilled to have our induction set for tomorrow.  We have to be at the hospital at 6 am and all of the fun will start from there.  I will try to update as much as possible so that I can remember everything!

Please keep us in your prayers!  There's so many little things that I need to do to prepare, but I am trying to enjoy these last moments with Elliana as a part of me.  God has been so good to us.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

39 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
39 Weeks
This could very well be our last Bumpdate!

How big is Ellie:
The size of a watermelon

Maternity Clothes:
My shorts all fit as long as they have elastic and stay up under my belly.  My bathing suit bottoms also still fit and I've been trying to get a little bit of sun before d-day.

Weight Gain Alert!
161 lbs
Gained this week:  38 lbs
Total weight gain:  0 lbs (I actually lost weight since last week)

Sometimes it feels like she's trying to beat me up in there.  My entire belly moves when she's flailing around.  It amazes Brandon at how strong she is.  If I had to stay pregnant much longer I think she'd break one of my ribs!

Food Cravings:
Ice, Ginger Ale, and Popsicles

Food Aversions:
I don't really want to eat much at all now.  I battle nausea throughout the day and am only able to function by drinking lots of fluids and the occasional Zofran pill.

My Current Eating Pattern:
Not eating much these days, but I try to make it count when I am able to eat.

Lost mucus plug!, BH Contractions, super EMOTIONAL, low belly, frequent urination, fatigue, NESTING, carpal tunnel syndrome, swollen hands and feet, cankles, anxiety about baby coming soon, excitement, quick to get angry, loss of appetite, constipation, busy feeling, boredom when I'm home

I would get more sleep if I didn't frequent the potty so much!  When I do get up it takes me much longer to sit up and make it to the bathroom.  If Ellie's been asleep she snuggles up on whichever side I've been laying on.  My belly aches a lot at night, but I'm still able to go to sleep.

What do I miss:
Nothing now.  I'm so excited to meet our daughter soon, and I want to try and enjoy the last days of being pregnant (which is easier said than done).

Best moment of the week:
Finding out that we made some progress at our cervical check and making it through the sweeping of my membranes like a boss!  I also lost my mucus plug and know that labor could happen soon on it's own!!

Worst moment of the week:
I had some emotional days, but I'm hoping they're behind me now.

What am I looking forward to:
More contractions to get Miss Ellie here!  We've moved up our next doctor's appointment to Monday and will schedule an induction from there if I'm not already in labor on my own.

We're 39 weeks pregnant and it's now a completely safe time for our baby girl to be born!

"Ellie weighs around seven to eight pounds now and could measure 19 to 21 inches.  Her measurements won't change much from now, but her brain is still growing and will continue until she's around three years old.  Ellie's pink skin is now more white and her head has dropped into my pelvis making it easier for me to breathe!"
from What to Expect When You're Expecting


Friday, May 17, 2013

Passed my Mucus Plug!

Last night I felt better after I blogged.  I was able to go back to sleep once my words were out of my head.  Not long after Brandon got up this morning, I decided to get up as well.

I went to the bathroom and............

Talk about excitement and nastiness all at the same time!  Brandon and I went for a walk around the block and came home.  I took a two hour nap and have had a few contractions.  Best part is I had the contractions while resting so they're the real deal now!

I had passed a tiny bit of my mucus plug before, but there was NO DOUBT that I was passing the real thing today.  It's so funny to be excited about something this gross!  Labor could be hours or days away now, but we're making progress.

Diary Blogging in the Last Days

I haven't wanted to write much lately because I'm so down.  My emotions are crazy and all over the place.  When I wake up I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to hold it together or not.  I spent the better part of yesterday in tears over silly stuff.

I am so excited that our daughter could be here any day now.  Our house is as ready as it will ever be and our bags are packed with all of the essentials.  All of the pregnant women around me are having their babies and it's hard to not be jealous.

We started trying to get pregnant in July 2010.  That's how long I've waited to hold my baby.  Now that we're within days of her arrival I find myself so filled with emotion that I can barely get through each day.  I'm glad that I have been able to identify jealousy as the culprit of my recent sadness.  It's just difficult when I feel like I have been pregnant for so long.  It's not like I took a test early, we know exactly which days everything occurred for Ellie to be about to make her grand entrance.

After our appointment on Wednesday I was so full of energy and joy.  I had contractions off and on all day and really felt like something was happening.  On Thursday, nada.  I barely had five contractions all day.  It was such a discouragement.  Walking usually makes the Braxton Hicks start again but I barely have the energy to walk anymore.  I laid in bed almost all day long and cried over every little thing.

Now I'm sitting here wishing it was time to be awake because sleep has grown so difficult.  The nightly visits to the bathroom aren't awful, but I wake every time thinking that I should be getting up to start the day.  I feel so bad for Brandon because he never knows if I'm angry, happy, or about to burst into tears.

Today makes us 8 days away from our estimated due date.  Remember us in your thoughts and prayers.  I'm trying so hard to hold it together each day and to continue to pray for patience and peace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15th Appointment and Cervical Check

Today's cervical check was not terribly disappointing.  I wish that I would have had more progression, but the Braxton Hicks really fired up yesterday and obviously caused a little bit of movement.
1 cm / 70 % / -3
This explains cervix effacement
This explains the "station" of the baby
(both photos taken from Prepared Childbirth book we were given at Brookwood)
Dr. Mac stripped my membranes today*.  This was something I was honestly terrified about, but it ended up not being too bad.  Cervical checks are not my favorite at all due to some issues with severe pelvic pain.  While he was checking, he continued to talk to me and then stripped the membranes in hopes of firing up more dilation and contractions.

Our original plan was to go ahead and schedule an induction for next week.  My step-dad and brother are leaving for China at the end of the month and I do NOT want them to already be gone when Elliana is born.  If we were to schedule the induction now, I'm at risk for a painful labor experience.  My cervix is NOT ready yet.  Right now our plan is to get to my next appointment on Wednesday, May 22, and schedule and induction from there if necessary.  But I could have my dilation progress or my water break between now and then too.  It's all a waiting game and I'm excited.  I've been opposed to an induction from the beginning because about 85% of them result in a c-section delivery.  If Dr. Mac doesn't think that we've made enough progression at my appointment Wednesday we will definitely schedule an induction as soon as possible from there.  It is very difficult for me to walk around now without feeling pain, but I'd rather keep baby girl safe and healthy until she's more ready to come out!

I've been nesting like crazy and find myself cleaning the most obscure things that I've never thought about before.  I walked outside in the backyard with Logan for 15 minutes yesterday and I had the worst BH contractions in this pregnancy to date. I ended up calling the nurse because they were so frequent and they told me to lay down, drink water, and take Tylenol.  Well if it happens today I'm not doing it.  I resolve to stay on my feet and keep them coming!

And whoever said that BH contractions aren't painful LIED!  Mine aren't terrible, but they're not pain-free either.  But now this truly feels real and my baby girl could be here with a matter of days or a week.  God is so good and I am overwhelmed with joy and happiness!

*Stripping the membranes. The doctor will insert a gloved finger into your vagina and move it back and forth to separate the membrane that connects the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus. This is called "stripping the membranes," and it causes the body to release hormones called prostaglandins, which ripen the cervix and may lead to contractions. You may feel some cramping and have some spotting after this procedure. Usually this method of inducing labor is done in your doctor's office, and you'll be sent home to wait until contractions begin.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Dad

Wedding 2009
Where do I begin?  I guess you could say that I have been a "daddy's girl."  Instead of making this blog post a short story, I will attempt to not recount every summer trip, Auburn football season, and identical trait that we share.  Dad and I have always been close and I can only hope that Brandon has the same relationship with Elliana some day.
Wedding 2009
Dad and I have a different dynamic than most father-daughter relationships.  I have always been able to tell him things that most girls would only tell their mother.  He has always listened to me with an open mind and has never been too quick to judge.  We both get angry with one another, only because our mannerisms are so similar.  He treats me with much respect and I try do the same for him.
Summer 2012
I can remember shortly after getting married thinking that I was pregnant. It's funny to look back now on that night knowing what I know now!  My cycle was late, despite birth control, and I had purchased a pregnancy test.  Dad and I were eating dinner at Cracker Barrel together and I used the test in the restroom only to find it negative.  At the time I was not interested in being pregnant.  Of course I told Dad. He was also glad and said that Brandon still needed to focus on one another.  We were so early in our marriage relationship that we had no idea of the infertility road that lied ahead.  Dad definitely wanted us to have children, but he wanted us to have more time together first.
Dad's 48th Birthday in 2011
Many months later, Brandon and I threw away my birth control and decided it was time to start a family.  We had "planned" on waiting longer, but my hormones were crazy when I took birth control and I even started feeling sick from the pills.  I told Dad our plan and he was more than supportive.  He knew way too much including when my cycles started, if and when I was ovulating, my pelvic pain drama, and everything else in between.  He never complained but surely felt uncomfortable!
Graduation 2008
As the months on the calendar continued to move forward with no positive pregnancy test, Dad continued to tell me that everything was alright.  He knew that it took time for some couples to become pregnant and he told me to be patient and relax.  (At this point those words didn't hurt so bad.)  As we began to approach the one year mark of trying to get pregnant, Brandon and I knew that it was time to look back at his cancer history along with my body's lack of cooperation in the process.  Brandon visited the same fertility clinic he banked sperm at years ago to have a repeat sperm analysis.  They sent us the information but did not explain what the numbers meant.  I scheduled an appointment with my OB (May 2011) at the time to discuss our lack of pregnancy so I took the paperwork along with me.  That was one of the worst appointments I have ever had with any doctor.  She looked at my BBT charts and acted like she was reading another language only to tell me that I was not ovulating and there was no reason to give me fertility drugs when we had no possibility of getting pregnant on our own.  IUI was the only option for us given my husband's sperm quality.  This doctor had the worst bedside manor and I have never visited her practice since.  (I also urge all of her patients to seek counsel elsewhere.)  After calling Brandon I immediately called Dad.  He could understand that Brandon's past cancer affected our fertility, but did not see how I could be having any problems due to my health and age.  I told him that we planned to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist and move forward with fertility treatment.  I could hear it in his voice that he was upset for us but did not know what else to say.
Christmas 2009
Brandon and I were not anywhere prepared for our journey with the fertility doctor.  I assumed it would take a few appointments, a "turkey baster," and then we would be pregnant.  All of the tests were intense and it seemed like I was getting the short end of the stick.  After the first HSG, we were both devastated.  Here we had thought that we were not pregnant due to Brandon's cancer and now my uterus was not shaped correctly to carry a baby?  I was in so much shock and the anxiety meds they had given me were doing nothing at this point.  When I called Dad he was afraid that it was somehow his fault!  My uterine septum was a congenital malformation, meaning that it never formed correctly in utero.  How many fathers would honestly think that way?  He did not want to have to see me have surgery.  Dad's never been good at seeing me in pain.  He is a nervous person, but he did his best to hide his anxiety about me having surgery.
Summer 2008
After the surgery we let my body heal and I was set for our insemination.  Our doctor was so discouraged with our fresh sperm sample on IUI day that he told us it would most likely not result in pregnancy and we should pursue IVF.  Try explaining that to your parents when they don't know anyone who's suffered from infertility.  That is a great conversation to have when you're fighting back your own tears.

Brandon and I proved the doctor wrong and got pregnant only for it to result in a chemical, or extremely early miscarriage.  I don't think Dad understood what happened but he knew I was upset.  We rested again and were back to cycling during Christmas (2011).  That cycle was brutal because I never ovulated with Femara and injects.  Dad continued to be supportive and encouraged me when I told him it was time to see a new doctor.
Iron Bowl 2011
With our new doctor we were cycling with injects on my birthday (January 2012).  Dad was amazed that Brandon could give me shots!  With my new doctor it was protocol to perform another HSG being I was diagnosed with a uterine septum.  Brandon had taken so much time off from work that he asked Dad if he minded going with me.  I was a nervous wreck and so was Dad.  He had no idea that our appointments cost so much and hated seeing me so full of anxiety.  Dr. Allemand performed my HSG only to find a residual septum large enough to not want to treat me further until he surgically removed it.  When I made my way back to the waiting room and saw Dad I had no words.  It was written all over my face.  I actually fell to the floor and sobbed.  He picked me up and helped me to the car.  I cannot even remember that afternoon now, much less the long walk to the car.  I had to explain to Dad and then to Brandon that I needed surgery again.
Graduation 2010
Dr. Allemand had given us some options.  We could rest after surgery and move forward with a fresh and frozen sample IUI or move forward to IVF.  Our chances with IUI were slim to none.  Brandon and I talked so much about having children that we did not talk about much else.  The idea of using donor sperm was tossed around for months, but we never felt like we could do that.  From other infertility blogs, we both knew that you could only consider using a donor wif you felt like you had no other options.  It was not an option that many people felt led to research.  By March we were considered it.  An IVF cycle was around $13,000 total and it would take so much time for us to save that money.  In that time my Endometriosis could grow back and I may require another surgery.  I started looking at donors and realized how difficult it would be to choose someone who was not my husband, as well as having to explain the situation to our families.  Only a few people even know that we considered a donor, but now I guess it's public knowledge now.  When I told Dad that I was going through files of donors he was so heartbroken.  He said that it was not fair for Brandon, especially because IVF could provide us with our own biological child.  He knew exactly how much it cost and told us that he would give us the money.  He did not want anybody to know.  At the time my Dad was jobless, but was willing to give us what he had to help us become parents.  He knew that we would pay him back, but did not care how long it took.  When the day came for us to make our payment (suppression check) for IVF, it was Dad's check that we handed over.  (Brandon and I were able to pay for all of the medications thanks to some savings and a generous donation of Follistim from Toni.)
Wedding 2009
When we went to the hospital for our egg retrieval, Dad went with us.  I was so sick in the days following and Dad was with me whenever I called.  He got me out of the house the day after ER, and helped Brandon keep me company when I could not get out of bed.  He begged me to eat for days and brought me all of my favorite foods.  When we were supposed to have the embryo transfer but I ended up in the hospital, Dad was with us.  He sat by my bedside until I made him go home!  He called every day that I was in the hospital when he was not there.  When we came home, he was there within a matter of minutes to help me unpack and hide away all of the fertility medications that I could not bare to look at anymore.  He helped me stay busy and did whatever he could to help.
Christmas 2012
When I told Dad that I had taken the first pregnancy test after the FET, he was cautiously excited.  I don't think it sank in for him for days.  By that point he knew too much and seemed prepared for the unexpected and worst.  When the doctors confirmed the pregnancy he was happy.  He enjoyed seeing weekly ultrasounds even though I always had to explain the pictures to him.  The evening before our anatomy scan, Dad told me that I was having a little girl.  He was right.  He was so excited that the screamed out where he was!  After that he brought me gifts for weeks until I forced him to stop spending money!!
Wedding 2009
Dad is one of the very few people to NEVER give us parenting advice.  Contrary to what most people probably think, he stays out of our business and never shows up unannounced-even though he lives about 10 minutes away.  He attends church regularly with us, and is growing in his faith.  Not only did our infertility strengthen mine and Brandon's relationship, but it also brought Dad back to God.  He saw us go through hell and back and learn to trust God in His plan.  My Dad has changed so much over the past year and it's been amazing to watch.  He enjoys helping at the church whenever possible and has his own circle of friends within our faith family.  He changed from attending church only when we were there to joining his own small group separate from both of us.
Wedding 2009
So many people encouraged us along our fertility journey, but Dad never faltered.  Even when he didn't understand things, he was quick to listen.  He always offered hope.  Who knows where Brandon and I would be in our fertility journey if Dad had not graciously offered us the funds to start IVF when we did.    When Brandon finished his first year with the company, his yearly bonus was more than enough to pay Dad back.  God always has a plan and He always provides.
May 2013
I had written this post a week ago, but not yet hit the publish button.  The LIFE retreat happened at our church this weekend and my Dad was baptized.  He had given his heart to the Lord years ago, but was never immersed in the water.  When he called Saturday evening to say that he was ready, Brandon and I raced to the car to get there in time.  There was no way I was going to miss this!  I had been praying for him to make this commitment for months.
May 11, 2013

"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."  
Romans 6:4

"Baptism doesn't make you a believer- it shows that you already believe.  Baptism does not "save" you, only Christ does that.  Baptism is like a wedding ring- it's the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart."
from "Where You'll Find You Fit":  Discovering CALERA FIRST