Journey to Parenthood

I want to be purposeful about journaling during this time in our lives as we watch our miracle micro preemie, Asher, continue to grow and thrive. I began this blog during my month of bed rest at the hospital while I was pregnant with Asher and his brother Titus. We continue to hope and trust the Lord for Asher's future. This blog begins with the story of how both of our boys came to be. They came about after many tears, many prayers, and many months of crushed hopes. On February 2, 2012, our boys Titus Bauer and Asher Mark were born at just 23 weeks and 2 days gestation. My water around Titus broke at 19 weeks, so his lungs were very underdeveloped. Titus lived 45 minutes and is now living a perfect life in heaven as he watches over his little brother Asher. Two and a half years later God redeemed our story of hurt with a precious full term baby brother for Asher. We are humbled by how the Lord has loved on us in our journey through parenthood.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fertility Treatments- Part 3- In-Vitro, Just Joy

"Behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and make the valley of troubles a door of hope. And there she shall sing as in the days of her youth." Hosea 2: 14-15

After our trip, we came back refreshed..having seen many beautiful places and things, and just having sweet, fun times together and with my parents. During that trip I spent many moments by myself on the ship, just feeling the wind on my face, and watching the ocean..and looking for a word from God in it all. I was reading the book One in A Million at the time by Pricilla Shirer. This is an AMAZING book about struggling through any kind of wilderness. I read the first few chapters on the plane on the way to Rome, and knew this book was perfectly timed for me right then. It gave me hope, and insight into my current struggle. And it also talked about refreshment amidst the vast wilderness. It paralleled the story of the Isrealites wandering through the wilderness, and how God provided refreshment and what they needed, just when they needed it, and in just the perfect way. Bryan and I had begun discussing in-vitro as our next option, and also the topic of me working. I had been a teacher for 7 years. The last school year had been very tough with all the appointments, and then later..the stomach issues and doctor appointments for that. You can't be a good teacher and be gone all the time. It's just not that type of job. It's a lot of work when you are there, and a lot when you are gone! And I always felt a deep responsibility to my children- to make sure they were getting exactly what they needed. And my anal nature just didn't always trust someone else could do it "just like I could."

So, after much conversation, prayers, and tears-- we decided I should resign for the upcoming school year. We knew in-vitro would be a very involved process for me and it would all be taking place at the beginning of the year. And I kept hearing words from One In a Million about God providing refreshment in the wilderness just when you need it. I couldn't help but think that's what He was offering me. Financially, we could afford for me not to work. It was and is still now a huge blessing. I decided to take time to catch my breath, relax, do the regiment of treatment and just support our house and my husband hopefully in a way I could not when I worked. I bawled through every bit of resigning though! It was not an easy decision..and it was scary to give that up not knowing what the future held. But I felt God telling me to trust Him, and if having a family took more time, well that was ok. I no longer had a strict schedule to work around..not working just "opened up" time for me and I didn't feel near the pressure I had before to get pregnant around a certain time in the school calendar.

So, we began treatment in August of 2011. At one point I was doing 3 shots a night! I got very used to needles and shots. In September, we did the retrieval and implantation. The dr retrieved 20 mature eggs! Yikes! At the end of the 5 day growing/waiting period we had 7 embryos. The 2 with the best quality were put in me and we froze the remaining 5. This whole process was pretty smooth. Our good friends, the Widener's were going through in-vitro a month ahead of us and so Kelly gave me heads up and tips on everything! I was so thankful! I remember going through lots of emotions about doing all this to my body and spending all this money..just for nothing if it didn't work. But I kept myself sane by asking for "small" goals from God. I would ask for first that my body responded to the meds to grow follicles, and then for a good number of embryos to be of good quality so that if it didn't work, we could do a frozen embryo transfer and not have to go through all the meds again. And the back of my mind, I was asking God for a baby. Although honestly..I was a little scared of asking too much, for fear of being hurt. It's not the right view or heart to have in that, but it's the one I had. I'm in a similar place now, and I have to remind myself of Truth, and that I can't protect myself from hurt. I just need to ask and pray- and have the faith to keep doing it!

The time came for the blood test after implantation. We were ready to know!! Though 2 days before that I started feeling really sick. I felt nauseous and couldn't eat, and my tummy was beyond bloated, everything in my middle section hurt! I suspected I was hyper-stimmed, a side affect of in-vitro that can happen. Your body over reacts to all the hormones and a bunch of extra fluid is created, and all that fluid causes you to feel horrible. I went to the doctor on the day before our blood test and she concluded that was the case. I had to be "drained". After I was, I felt immediately better! And I was 4 lbs lighter! They drained 2 liters from my mid-section of excess fluid. And she decided to go ahead and take my blood for a pregnancy test. The doctor told me they only see hyper stimulation happen right after retrieval or at the onset of pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones stir everything she said she was almost positive I was pregnant but I'd have to wait until the next day to get the results back. She also told me my # would be lower because it was a day early and hyper stim makes the # lower too.

The next day she called with a positive test! And my hormone # was through the roof! A normal number for 4 weeks pregnant is 50-100. For twins, maybe around 200. Mine was 534! I was hoping to just be in the normal range and God wanted to bless with me with a number that was WAY more than normal or ok. She was actually concerned there could be more than 2 babies in there! We didn't care about that yet... we were just elated to have a strong number! Finally a pregnancy that was looking healthy. We were so excited, but still cautious...we had a long way to go still. But we praised God so much for His faithfulness so far!! (The picture above is of the two embryos we implanted!)

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