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


  1. What a wonderful relationship you have with your dad! Thank you for sharing your story. Congrats to your dad on his baptism.

  2. Wishing I had that same type of relationship with my father. Lucky you!

  3. What an amazing Dad you have, Courtney, and this is a beautiful tribute to him! Thank you for sharing with us! Praise God for so many answered prayers!!!

  4. I am a daddys girl through and through and like you I only hope Reagan has the same relationship with Matt. Your dad sounds pretty darn amazing. Plus you have his smile =)

  5. I know others in your family haven't been there for you but you have a wonderful dad, husband, and church family. So excited that things have gone so well for your pregnancy. Can't wait to see pictures of her. Praying for your delivery. Love you!

  6. Brought tears to my eyes. Lots to explain... But I love you!

  7. Your father sounds like a truly amazing man. So happy that you had this relationship with him growing up. Now I see where you get your kindness :)


Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate your comments and support on our journey.

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14