Thursday, March 31, 2016

Breathing A Sigh of Relief

I mentioned last week that my doctor found a subchorionic hemorrhage {SCH} at our sonogram. She told me to expect spotting through my first trimester because of it. My spotting had stopped last week, but started again last night, and I started to get worried.

I tend to wait too long to address health issues. I wait until things are really bad so I can be sure that there's something legitimate to go in for. Example: I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in the emergency room...and only because Mike insisted that we go. I don't want to freak out over every little symptom, but with all of our infertility and loss, I can't help but fear the worst. And in this pregnancy, I now have 2 others that I have to take care of. 

So when the bleeding increased from what it had been before, I called my doctor. She suggested that I come in for a sonogram, just to make sure everything was ok. As I drove to the appointment, I kept repeating my memory verse from Shiloh this week:

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
~ Deuteronomy 31:8

I didn't know what I was going to be walking into, and I just kept praying for the Lord's strength to face whatever it was.

Jesus was gracious, and I was able to see our little ones again, still growing strong! I let the tears of relief flow. My sweet doctor was incredibly gracious and understanding, saying that I did the right thing by coming in. We will have to monitor the SCH, and I will probably feel worried about it until it resolves, but she was not worried about it at this time. 

So we wait and pray and trust the Lord to take care of our little ones. And we praise Him for how He has already taken care of them so far!

Baby A:
- Measuring 7 weeks + 4 days at 14.26mm
- Heart Rate is 156 bpm

Baby B:
- Measuring 7 weeks + 4 days at 13.13mm
- Heart Rate is 147 bpm

{iPhone Rewind} :: March

Date #8: Dinner at Dona Mary, thanks to Bryan and Christa! #wcsavethedate16

March 6th was National Oreo Cookie Day. Don't have to tell me twice to celebrate! :)

Puppies and thunderstorms don't mix. Poor puppy. She has never handled storms well. But I'm ok with puppy snuggles...

Date #9: Salata + Re|Engage + Sprinkles #wcsavethedate16

Crawfish night with the McCulloughs :)

I started attending this Bible study. I have needed a safe place to process our infertility and miscarriage, and I am so excited about this study. The workbook is intense, but filled with Scripture and truth. This is going to be so good for my soul.

Puppies don't let their humans go to the bathroom alone. Sasha followed me in and sat down. Such a weirdo. But I love her.

Date #10: Cheesecake Factory #wcsavethedate16

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Infused Water Wednesday :: Cucumber + Lemon + Mint

Today's infused water recipe: Cucumber + Lemon + Mint

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • 5-6 slices cucumber, halved
  • 3/4 lemon, rind removed, diced
  • 2-3 mint leaves, scrunched {to release the flavor}
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Filtered water

Verdict: Yummy!

I wasn't sure about this combination, but I really liked it. It tasted so clean and refreshing. It might be one of my favorites so far! I will definitely use this one again. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

7 Weeks

How far along? 7 weeks 
# of Babies: 2! :)
Days since transfer: 31 days
Meds: day 51 of Estrace, day 38 of progesterone in oil
Total weight gain: -0.8
Maternity clothes? WAY too early, but stretchy pants are my friend :)
Sleep: Still sleeping A LOT. It's new for me not to sleep through the whole night, since I now get up to pee once or twice. But I am usually able to go right back to sleep. 
Best moment of the week: Seeing 2 little babies with strong heartbeats on the ultrasound screen!
Miss anything? Not yet.
Cravings: Nothing specific, just eating non-stop. So I guess I just crave food in general :)
Symptoms: Definitely had some more nausea this week. Haven't actually vomited, just have a general feeling of bleh. I also feel super bloated and gassy {sorry, TMI} so that's super fun.
Looking forward to: Seeing our little ones at our follow-up ultrasound!


Size of baby? About the size of a raspberry or dice
Development: The arm and leg buds begin to sprout, and babies have kidneys, a pancreas, and an appendix. The beginnings of cartilage and teeth are forming. Babies have an appendix too. Brain cells are being generated at a rate of 100 per geniuses :)
Heartbeat: At 6 weeks + 3 days, the tiny hearts were beating 119 and 98 times per minute
Movement: Too soon
Gender predictions? We're just hoping for 2 healthy babies! {But I did apply the Ramzi theory to our ultrasound pictures and see a boy and a girl :) }

**This post was written at 7 Weeks, but was not published until after we made our official announcement. I back-dated to the actual day so we could have all of this for our own records and memories.**

10 Years of Blogging

Today marks 10 years of blogging. 10 years

I originally started blogging on Xanga, blogging there for about 3 years before I eventually migrated all of those posts here to Blogger. 

My blog has seen quite a few changes over the years. Design-wise, I have used free templates,

bought pre-made templates,

and even tried my hand at my own html design that you see today {wonder if it's time for a change?}

Content-wise, my posts can kind of be all over the place. But even though I may write about random things, I have always tried to keep my blog title in mind {at least when I moved over to blogger and adopted the title}. One Woman's Journey to the Heart of God. If you have read my blog for any extended amount of time, you know that most of my posts are not spiritual in nature. But every time I sit down to write a blog post, I always have the title in the back of my mind. I want what I write to truly be the account of my journey to pursuing the heart of God. Whether that's in the mundane day-to-day, or the really intense mountains and valleys, I want to always remember all that the Lord has done in my life. 

While I haven't blogged about every single thing in my life, I do think this blog shows a fair representation of it. From college, unemployment, and career to marriage, ministry and infertility {and everything in between}, it truly has been a journey. As I reflect back over the past 10 years, I can't help but sit in awe of ALL that the Lord has done. It makes me laugh to read old posts. The way I processed things, the way I struggled or rejoiced over things. But it also makes me smile, because it truly has been my journey with the Lord. Praise God that He works in us to transform our hearts and minds to be more like His Son, and He doesn't leave us as we are. I love that this blog is a place that I can go to reflect back on how the Lord has molded, shaped, and grown me. 

I am excited to see what the next 10 years holds...

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Heartbreak {and Hope} of the Cross

Good Friday.

Today we celebrate the cross and all that it means for our faith. Good Friday holds a special place in my heart, of course because of the spiritual implications, but also because I can vividly remember the first Good Friday that the Lord began tugging at my heart, even as a young child.

Growing up, we used to always spend Good Friday with family. All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins would meet at my grandparents' house for the traditional Good Friday meal: albondigas {salmon meatballs...I promise, they're good!} and capirotada {Mexican bread pudding}. We would then all pile into cars and head over to my grandparents' church to attend the annual Good Friday play, where members of the church would act out the passion of the Christ. It was always loud and intense, and I was often afraid of the shouting crowds, and the thunder and earthquake noises that came at the time of the Jesus actor's death.

We did this every year. But one particular year {before my parents and I had even become believers, so around age 7 or 8}, I remember being so overwhelmed by the production. After the play concluded {which ended after the burial of Jesus}, they always sang the song Were You There, When They Crucified My Lord? by candlelight. If I'm honest, it was always a little haunting. 

This particular year, I started sobbing uncontrollably; I can remember it so vividly. I remember repeating over and over through my tears, "But He didn't do anything wrong!" My dad asked me why I was so upset, and I remember telling him that I didn't understand why Jesus had to die. He didn't do anything wrong; why would they kill him? My little heart was literally breaking over it. 

That moment has stuck with me some 20+ years later. While I didn't truly understand the fulness of the gospel yet, it was as though I understood in that moment that it wasn't just a play, but that this actually happened 2,000 years ago. That a man named Jesus suffered and died for the sins of the world. That it was God's plan for His Son to suffer and die for the mean crowds that killed Him, even though He didn't do anything wrong. And I just was so overwhelmed by the immensity of it all. 

A short time later, the Lord did connect the dots for me, drawing me into a relationship with Him. As I reflect back on that Good Friday, I often ask myself if I still feel that overwhelmed by the cross, like I did as a young child. How often does my heart break over my sin and the immensity of God's love poured out for me that day? Is my heart still overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus died for my sins, even though He wasn't the one who did anything wrong?

As an adult, I now understand why He was crucified and why He had to die for my sins. My sin absolutely should tear me up inside, and I should take the time on Good Friday {and more often} to reflect on the immensity of God's love and wrath poured out that day. But I also understand now that Friday wasn't the end of the story. The church ended the play after Jesus' death and burial...but the resurrection was coming!

The heartbreak that was felt that Friday and the heartbreak I should feel over my sin was nailed to the cross and buried with Christ. But the cross always points to hope because of the resurrection. And I praise God that Friday wasn't the end of the story. Instead of death and heartbreak and sorrow, life and hope and redemption are the end of the story, because Sunday is coming!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Embryo Adoption :: Hello Babies!

Today we went in for our first ultrasound. To say I was nervous is probably an understatement!

The doctor started the ultrasound, and I immediately started crying when I saw the little bean on the screen. We could see the tiny little flicker of the heartbeat, and we were so ecstatic! She moved around a bit and said, "And here is baby #2!"


Both embryos snuggled in tight! We have prayed for so long, and there are so many prayers being lifted up for these 2 babies in particular. So many happy tears!! :)

Hello babies!! :)

I am 6 weeks + 3 days, but both babies are measuring 6 weeks + 4 days {a good sign of growth!}. It was too early to hear the heartbeats, but we were able to see them flicker on the screen. It was an absolutely incredible moment. We got to see them moving as tiny embryos, and now see their tiny heartbeats. So. Much. Fun.

They also found a subchorionic hemorrhage {SCH}, which is basically a bleeding pocket. My doctor said it should resolve on its own, and she's not worried about it. They're actually very common in IVF pregnancies. It also explains the spotting that I have had. It was kind of strange to see it on the screen, and I'm praying it resolves quickly without affecting our babies.

Baby A:
- Measuring 6 weeks + 4 days at 7.26mm
- Heart Rate is 119 bpm

Baby B:
- Measuring 6 weeks + 4 days at 6.90mm
- Heart Rate is 98 bpm

My estimated due date is November 14, 2016, but it's likely our sweet little ones will come early. We go back in a couple of weeks for another ultrasound to hear the heartbeats and check on their growth. We know it's still very early, but the Lord has provided so much already. We are so thankful for this incredible DOUBLE blessing! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Infused Water Wednesday :: Lime + Mint

Today's infused water: Lime + Mint {Mojito anyone?}

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • 1 lime, rind removed, diced
  • Several sprigs of mint, crushed/cut to release the flavor

Verdict: Good!

It did remind me of a mojito. The only trick is that you HAVE to have fresh limes and mint. If either isn't fresh, then the water tastes bitter and/or sour. So it doesn't last but 1 or 2 days. The first time I tried it, I filled the Chilaqua infuser basket to the brim, and the flavor overpowered the water. I don't fill it as tightly packed and not necessarily filled to the top, and that seems to be the right balance for the flavor.

Monday, March 21, 2016

6 Weeks

How far along? 6 weeks 
Days since transfer: 24 days
Meds: Day 44 of Estrace, day 31 of progesterone in oil
Total weight gain: -1.8 {I have no idea how this is possible since I have been eating non-stop}
Maternity clothes? WAY too early :)
Sleep: I sleep all the time. 8-10 {or more} hours at night, naps during the day
Best moment of the week: Getting to celebrate with our family and close friends with whom we have shared our news. I also got to start the Shiloh study. While I am not glad to be a part of it, I am thankful that I have a place to process my infertility and miscarriage. I look forward to digging in deep with the Lord to find healing and peace.
Miss anything? Nope.
Cravings: None this week. 
Symptoms: Nausea showed up a bit more this past week. It was only in the evenings. And then it was only in the mornings. And then it was the middle of the night. So it's basically unpredictable. I don't love being sick, but it's strangely comforting, so I really can't complain. I have had some off and on spotting {which is terrifying}, but we hope it's just my uterus making room for babies.
Looking forward to: our ultrasound on Thursday!


Size of baby? About the size of a Maine blueberry, a ladybug, or a chocolate chip :)
Development: The nose, mouth, and ears are taking shape, along with the kidney, liver, and lungs
Heartbeat: The tiny heart{s} is/are beating 100-160 times per minute...we can't wait to hear it/them!
Movement: Too soon
Gender predictions? We're just hoping for 2 healthy babies!

**This post was written at 6 Weeks, but was not published until after we made our official announcement. I back-dated to the actual day so we could have all of this for our own records and memories.**

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Infused Water Wednesday :: Strawberry + Orange + Mint

Today's infused water: Strawberry + Orange + Mint

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • 3 strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 orange, rind removed and diced
  • Sprigs of mint, torn to release flavor
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Filtered water
I do feel that the colder the water, the better. That may be just a preference thing, but I also think it helps infuse the flavor in the water. If it sits out at room temperature, it just doesn't taste very good.

Verdict: Yummy! :)

I liked this orange flavor better. I have noticed that the orange has to infuse a little longer than the other fruits I have tried so far. And I actually got more refills out of this recipe too. I will definitely make this one again!

Monday, March 14, 2016

5 Weeks

How far along? 5 weeks 
Days since transfer: 17 days
Meds: Day 37 of Estrace, day 24 of PIO
Total weight gain: -0.8
Maternity clothes? WAY too early :)
Sleep: I actually have been sleeping a lot. I wake up a lot in the middle of the night to pee, which is new for me. And I take a nap almost every day.
Best moment of the week: Hearing that our numbers had more than doubled, and scheduling our first ultrasound!
Miss anything? Nope.
Cravings: Still with the pickles...otherwise, I am just eating food in general ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously. I can't remember feeling this hungry so consistently, since I rarely feel hungry with Crohn's. 
Symptoms: I have never peed so much in my entire life. I have had a little bit of nausea, mostly at night, but it comes and goes. Not too bad yet.
Looking forward to: Our first ultrasound!


Size of baby? About the size of a black peppercorn, an orange seed, or a BB pellet {still teeny tiny}
Development: Looking like a tiny tadpole :) The neural tube, heart, digestive, and circulatory system are forming.
Heartbeat: Even though we can't hear it yet, the tiny heart{s} has/have already begun to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood. 
Movement: Too soon
Gender predictions? We're just hoping for 2 healthy babies!

**This post was written at 5 Weeks, but was not published until after we made our official announcement. I back-dated to the actual day so we could have all of this for our own records and memories.**

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Embryo Adoption :: Beta # 2 {FET #3}

Today I went in for my second blood pregnancy test to see if my beta numbers were rising. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. While I felt more confident going into today than I did last time {because of our high number on Monday}, that nagging fear still crept in. After all, we were pregnant last time. And last time our numbers fell. And I have walked the road of infertility. We just know too much...

When I went in for the blood test, the nurse who has walked with us from the beginning made sure to come over and give me a congratulatory hug. She has been such an encouragement throughout this process, and it is so sweet how she is genuinely sharing in our excitement. Love. Our. Clinic.

When she called this afternoon, she had more good news! Our beta number had MORE than doubled: 3038!! Our babies (?) are growing!!

{Excuse me while I do a little happy dance and jump around the room in excitement}!  :) :) :)

I think Mike is pretty excited too...



I have woken up the last couple of days with a smile on my face, thinking to myself, "Erin, you're pregnant! There are {hopefully 2} babies in there!" This is REALLY happening! The Lord is being so gracious to us, and we are beyond thankful.

{Excuse me while I fall to my knees and praise my faithful and good God}!

Today I scheduled my 6.5 week ultrasound, my 8.5 week ultrasound, a pregnancy orientation with my OB's office, and my first OB appointment. Definitely a VERY fun day! :)

Infused Water Wednesday :: Orange + Lemon + Lime

Today's infused water recipe: Orange + Lemon + Lime

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • 1/2 orange, rind removed, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, rind removed, diced
  • 1/2 lime, rind removed, diced
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Filtered water

Verdict: Not great

I was excited about this citrus combination, but was disappointed in the flavor. I couldn't really taste the orange, and I know it was a flavorful one {because I can eat that fruit!} It really just tasted like a strange lemon/lime water. So I won't be drinking this one again. Plus, this one didn't look as pretty in the bottle :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Embryo Adoption :: Blood Pregnancy Test {FET #3}

With our last 2 transfers, we waited for the nurse to call with our beta results from the blood pregnancy test. This morning I just couldn't help myself...I wanted to know the feeling of peeing on the stick and seeing those magical words {strange, I know...but not to those who have walked the road of infertility}. So I took a deep breath and saw what we have prayed so long for...

The weeks estimator is from ovulation {which in our case, would be 5 days before transfer day}, so I am actually 4 weeks pregnant

And another...because I was worried about a false positive. It took 2 seconds to show up!

I just started weeping and saying, "Jesus! YOU did that, Jesus!"  :)

I still, of course, went in for the blood pregnancy test. And it was such a beautiful moment to hear the nurse say, "Congratulations, Erin! You are pregnant!" She told me that they like to see the first number between 50 and 100. Our number? 1300. 1358 to be exact! I could hardly contain my excitement! I had prayed for 500, so that I could know beyond a shadow of a doubt. He gave me more than 1300...

Jesus. YOU did that, Jesus.

Of course, we know that we're not out of the woods, and my beta number still needs to rise in order to confirm that our babies are growing. But today we praise God for the life He has provided!

How far along? 4 weeks
Beta Number: 1358!!
Days since transfer: 10 days 
Meds: stopped taking Cabergoline; continue Metformin daily, day 30 of Estrace; day 17 of PIO
Total weight gain: -1 {better start focusing on my calorie intake!}
Maternity clothes? WAY too early :)
Sleep: I stayed up late to ensure I could fall asleep. I slept really well...until I had to pee at 4am :)
Best moment{s} of the week: seeing the positive pregnancy tests, hearing the nurse say "you are pregnant!" and seeing Mike's face when I told him the beta number
Miss anything? nope
Cravings: Pickles. No joke. Specifically the sweet gherkins. At least it's not with ice cream ;)
Symptoms: I feel pretty normal. I have been tired from the progesterone, and the last 2 days were a little stressful because I had some cramping and light spotting. But the nurse said it was probably just baby {babies?} snuggling in deeper to my uterus.
Looking forward to: hearing that our beta numbers doubled appropriately


Size of baby? about the size of a poppy seed,  {teeny tiny}
Development: already growing the cell layers that are the beginnings of the nervous system, hair, skin, GI tract, pancreas, liver, thyroid, skeleton, blood system, connective tissue, urogenital system, and muscles...nothing much ;)
Heartbeat: too soon
Movement: too soon
Gender predictions? we're just hoping for 2 healthy babies!

**This post was written at 4 Weeks, but was not published until after we made our official announcement for our second pregnancy. I back-dated to the actual day so we could have all of this for our own records and memories.**