Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pregnancy Month 4

Hi everyone! Month 4 of pregnancy has FLOWN by, as we have been pretty busy these past few weeks. Despite our busyness, I am so happy to share that this month has gone smoothly in the pregnancy realm. I am still crossing my fingers and being extra thankful that other than some occasional nausea, I've not had any morning sickness.

I'm now in the 2nd trimester and the exhaustion of the 1st trimester has mostly passed. I'm starting to get some energy back. It's good I've gotten some energy back because in the past month we have celebrated my mom's 50th birthday in Nashville, spent Mother's Day cooking out with all the the wonderful momma's in my life, threw a little birthday shin dig for my hubby's 30th birthday, and finally planted my garden for this year.

My 16 week appointment with the doctor showed that baby's heart rate was strong, baby is growing right on track, and my blood pressure is looking good. We didn't initially have an ultrasound scheduled with this appointment, but Lee and I didn't know that.... We've had an ultrasound with every other appointment so far, so we just assumed that was a normal thing. The doctor explained that our next ultrasound isn't scheduled until our anatomy scan, which happens around 18-20 weeks. She knows we are always anxious to know that baby is doing well, so she said she'd check to see if someone was available to do an ultrasound.

It was late in the day, but thankfully someone was available for an ultrasound, and it was the same woman who I saw previously when I went in due to some bleeding. When I went in bc of the bleeding, I was a crying, nervous wreck and she was incredibly sweet. She was incredibly sweet once again, and she asked us when we went in if she was allowed to say what she knew, etc. and we told her to tell us what she saw... so she started scanning and went right to the pelvic area of our baby. She explained what was being shown on the screen. Our baby's little butt, two legs, and then the moment of truth: our baby is a.... BOY!!!! We are thrilled to know the gender of our baby boy! We also got to see his spine, his little ribs, and his facial profile. We are already so in love with our little boy!

Finding out the gender of our baby has been an incredible surprise this month. We thought we wouldn't know gender until later in the pregnancy, but we're thankful we got to know sooner! So now you can find me on Pinterest creating boards for our baby boy's room, and Lee and I are throwing out ideas for all kinds of different boy names.

We shared the news of our baby's gender with a some of our friends and family during Lee's 30th birthday cookout. Although we've known for over a week now, we are still in shock, and so thankful and excited!! We get to have a baby boy! Is this real life?!

We get to have our anatomy scan in early June, and we are looking forward to seeing more of our little guy and see all the growing he has been doing! I'll let you guys know how the anatomy scan goes with my next blog post. We are still thanking God everyday for this experience, and continuing to pray for our baby boy and his health, growth, and development. Everyday Lee and I look at my baby bump and are just so thankful. We are so lucky that the pregnancy thus far has been so smooth. We are loving being able to plan for our future as a family of 3. We are now in week 17 of pregnancy, but I'll leave you with pics from weeks 13-16.

Here I am at 13 weeks pregnant. 
Here I am at 14 weeks along.

Here is another from 14 weeks. A friend gifted me this tank for my birthday, and I love it!

I failed to take a 15 week photo, but my mom snapped this one Mother's Day weekend. My brother did an awesome seafood boil for all of us ladies, and our baby boy made his way into the pic! :) 

Finally, here is my bump at 16 weeks. We are excited to get to use the gender card now!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pregnancy Month 3

Hi everyone! I am almost finished with my 12th week of pregnancy, and have so much to share with you!

These past few weeks have been pretty great. I almost feel guilty typing this, but I have been so very fortunate with my pregnancy symptoms so far. I have not thrown up once (yet)! I have to add that 'yet' in there so I don't jinx myself. I've been tired, which I hear I can pretty much expect for the next 18 years or so, and I've had a little nausea here and there, but over all I'm feeling really great.

As of tomorrow, I will be 13 weeks pregnant. I'm SO CLOSE to being done with my 1st trimester. The 2nd trimester starts on my birthday, and I can't think of a greater gift. I have had a little spotting a few times, so we have had several ultrasounds just to make sure all is well. Our ultrasounds have confirmed so far that our baby has a strong heartbeat and is growing right on schedule. Seeing the baby move around on the ultrasound screen is a dream come true! We go back for our next appointment around 16 weeks.

One of the most exciting milestones from this past month was that I have been released from my Reproductive Endocrinologist, aka fertility doctor, and am now seeing my usual OBGYN. Although I am going to miss our doctor and the nurses that have been here for us for over 2 years, I am so excited just to be a normal pregnant woman! I have also gotten the green light to stop taking the estrogen and progesterone, so for almost 3 weeks I have been sustaining this pregnancy  all on my own! Woo Hoo! Every little step forward is a huge victory for Lee, myself, and our precious little miracle.

Lee and I are so thankful for all that we have to look forward to. Finding out the gender of our baby, preparing the nursery, and choosing a name are all at the top of our list! A lot of people are asking if we are going to find out the gender... The answer is YES!! We have been waiting a long time to experience this pregnancy, and we want to know as much as we can about our child! So we are definitely hoping to find out the gender. We haven't decided if we are going to do some type of fun gender reveal or if we will share our good news right away.

Everyday I am thanking and praising God for this experience. There were days (months, years) where I wondered if this would ever be a possibility for us. Now that it is, we are both so excited. Some days I am still pinching myself just to make sure this is real life. Other days, I don't have to pinch myself, because the fact that most of my jeans no longer fit is a good reminder! haha. Never have I been so thankful to be gaining weight!! That being said, bring on the bump pics! Here are pics from weeks 9-12, and a few funnies. :)

I already shared this pic on my Instagram account, but its too good not to share again. This is one of my fav. baby  purchases I've made so far. I got this prior to us getting our IVF results, and prayed that we would get to use it someday
Here I am at 9 weeks pregnant. 
Here I am at 10 weeks along. If you're thinking that I look rough in this pic, that's because this pic was taken the same day I woke up with some spotting, and I was a crying mess most of the day. Thankfully the ultrasound showed everything is great baby. In the morning I cried bc I was terrified that something was wrong, and in the afternoon I cried bc I was so happy everything was ok. It was an all around emotional day :). 

Here I am at 11 weeks, and 1 whole week hormone free!! You might notice the cute little signs I'm using. My cousin sent these to us and we love them! 
Here I am last week at 12 weeks pregnant, wearing maternity pants and a maternity shirt! I can still squeeze into a few of my normal pants, but I'm mostly embracing maternity pants bc they are way more comfortable. 
For funsies, here is Lee 12 weeks into my pregnancy... of course he is staying his usual handsome self and isn't gaining any sympathy weight so far. 

Lastly, another funny. Here I am estimating what I might look like in the next few months, haha!

Thank you for following along with our blog and your continued prayers for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby. We appreciate you all so much! 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

IVF Round 1: Results

Well... As you all know, we had our embryo transfer last month. What many of you don't know, is that our transfer was done on Valentine's Day, the day of love... How perfect is that? Brace yourselves for a really long blog post, but if you can make it to the end, I think you will enjoy this one.

 I'm just going to jump right in and share, because I know our faithful blog readers are dying to know: After 3 years of trying to conceive, 7 rounds of fertility treatments, more hormones than Lee ever imagined he could tolerate, lots and lots of tears, and even more prayer.... I. AM. PREGNANT!!

Can you believe it?! Being able to finally type those words is incredible. I have never been more overcome with emotion than the day I finally got to see the words 'pregnant' on a test, and share that moment with my husband. Getting to this point has been a long road for Lee and I, and we are so thankful to be able to experience pregnancy and parenthood together.

I am still very early in my pregnancy. At 9 weeks along, Lee and I realize that anything can happen at anytime, but we want to embrace and enjoy every moment that we can of this pregnancy... even the ones that involve exhaustion and nausea! We debated to wait until later in the pregnancy to share our news, but we decided that it only makes sense to share our good news. We know that many of you have been praying for us throughout this process... some of you have been praying for 2+ YEARS with us, and we are so appreciative. We knew that you would want to celebrate our good news with us as well. So for now, I am enjoying pregnancy and praying daily for continued health of both myself and the baby. We have had 3 ultrasounds so far, and all 3 confirm that there is just one baby, and he/she has a strong heartbeat! The heartbeat continues to rise with each appointment, and the baby's growth is measuring on par. We haven't gotten to hear the heartbeat yet, but we've been able to see that little flicker on the ultrasound screen.

As we celebrate our pregnancy, and all that is to come, I think it is most important that we celebrate how BIG and how GOOD our God is! We are very thankful for our doctor, nurses, and modern technology, but we are most thankful for our Lord. We know that only He can create life, and we are so happy that our prayers (and yours) have been answered. God has provided for us in a way that only He can do, and we owe him all the glory and praise.

THANK YOU for everyone who has read our blog, prayed for us, sent us words of encouragement, etc. To say that you are appreciated would be a huge understatement. Most of my family lives out of town, and initially I created this blog as a way to keep my family updated on our fertility treatments. Especially during my times of sorrow, it became difficult to share the same stories over and over again. Posting updates here where I could explain once and be done with it was a huge relief for me... It was also a great outlet. I never dreamed that Lee and I would receive so much support not only from close family and friends, but from extended family, high school friends, acquaintances, and even strangers through this blog. I know many of you have become faithful followers often watching for updates posted on social media, and know that I enjoy hearing from you as much as you have enjoyed following along. Your support has been a huge blessing to Lee and I.

For any of my friends reading who are still waiting for your miracle, please know that you are not alone! I wish I could say that doing X, Y, or Z is the perfect solution for healing, or the best way to cope, but I just can't. I know that every situation is different, and there's no magic involved here. What I can say is to cling tightly to your faith, and remember God's promises to us. He promises to give us hope, to bless us in  abundance, and to provide for us. If you are struggling with infertility and are feeling lost, frustrated, defeated, or anything else, please reach out to me. I want you to know that even if you are private with your struggle, you are not alone, and most  importantly, there is hope. We serve a God who redeems, and sometimes its nice to be reminded of that.

Below are a few baby bump and other pics we have snapped along the way. Our due date for Baby Fehrenbacher is November 2, 2017.We are so thankful for your continued prayers for a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy. I'm going to try to keep blogging about our pregnancy each month, so stay tuned for more details!

The first two photos were taken during the IVF process. One the morning of our egg retrieval, and the second was taking right before our embryo transfer.
This was taken super early the morning of our egg retrieval. 

We snapped thus pic right before our embryo transfer. 

We totally spaced on weeks 4 and 5, but here I am at 6 weeks along.

7 weeks along! 
Here I am last week at 8 weeks pregnant. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

IVF Round 1: Embryo Transfer

Hi everyone! With my last blog post, I briefly told you all about the egg retrieval, and what was to come next: embryo transfer. This month's cycle has been pretty pleasant overall. Towards the end of my last cycle, I had a phone appointment with my doctor to touch base on how he thought the egg retrieval went, and what our action plan should be going forward. Overall, my doctor thought the egg retrieval went well, and we decided we'd move forward with transferring the embryos this month. I did a several rounds of blood work, ultrasounds, medication, etc. to prepare for the transfer. All of the medicines I took this month have been taken at some point before, either last month during the egg retrieval, or during our IUIs. So thankfully, nothing was a surprise this time, and we knew what to expect with each and every medication.

The embryo transfer was much easier than the 6 IUI procedures we had in 2015. I thought that the IUIs were painful. The embryo transfer wasn't painful, just a little uncomfortable. While the doctor and embryologist are transferring the embryos, the nurse does an ultrasound so they can see exactly where in my uterus the embryos are going. I needed to have a full bladder so they could get a good view during the ultrasound, so this made things uncomfortable, but otherwise, the procedure was quick and painless.

I had an acupuncture session both before and after the transfer. This is my first experience with acupuncture, but I thought it was interesting, and relaxing. The goal of acupuncture the day of the retrieval to help increase blood flow to the uterus. This is supposed to give a stronger chance of the embryos implanting. Whether it did or not, I don't know, but I really enjoyed the relaxation, so I'd say it was a good choice.

By the time we got home the afternoon of the transfer, I didn't feel too well. I was tired, and had some light cramping. A few days before the transfer I began progesterone, which is a hormone medication that is supposed to help the lining of the uterus stay thick and prepare for pregnancy. I've used this medicine before in various forms, and it has always made me very sleepy. Usually I've taken it at night to hopefully sleep through most of the emotional side effects, and I've noticed I sleep very deeply when I take it. After the transfer, the nurse suggested I take it in the morning rather than at night, so I took it right when I got home from the transfer, and I felt pretty tired the rest of the evening. This is a medicine I will continue if I get pregnant, probably until I am 10-12 weeks along.

Once the embryos are transferred, we wait 9 days and then I can have blood work done to see if I am pregnant. We are currently in our waiting period, and are both nervous and excited to get our results, but are also trying to stay busy so we aren't thinking about it constantly. When people ask how we are feeling, I say cautiously excited... Truthfully, we are so super excited to know that we could spend most of 2017 planning for a family, but at the same time, we know how disappointing it can be to be so hopeful and get negative results, so we are cautiously excited.

Once we have our pregnancy test results, we will take some time and tell our family and close friends, and then I will write a blog post a few weeks later to let you all know! Lee and I have been praying for implantation of our embryos and a healthy pregnancy. We are also praying that God give us peace with the results, no matter what they are. We are praying that He help us to stay distracted during our wait and that he take away our fear, stress, and worry. At this point, we are really close to the end of our wait, so if you are praying for us, we would love for you to pray that we have peace with the results, and for a healthy baby and pregnancy if the results are positive. I am really hoping that soon I can write that one blog post we've all been waiting for!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

IVF Round 1: Egg Retrieval

1st we stimulated my ovaries with medicine to try to get a ton of mature follicles... Next I had an injection to cause ovulation... Then the doctor retrieves the eggs. The egg retrieval was quite the process, and I'm not going to go into all the details. I'll just let you know that I survived and it was successful! After my eggs are retrieved, they are combined with Lee's sperm and watched over the next 5 days as they grow into embryos.

Our doctor told us the day of the retrieval that with my last round of blood work, one of my hormone levels (progesterone) was elevated. Because of that, he would prefer to freeze the embryos, and transfer them later, once my hormones have leveled out. This way, we have the best possible chances to achieve pregnancy. The thing is, we didn't know at that time how many eggs fertilized, how well they would grow, etc., so we made a tentative plan: If they embryos appear to be strong enough to survive a freeze and thaw, then we will want to transfer them during a later cycle. If they do not appear strong enough to survive a freeze, we will go ahead and transfer them with this cycle and pray for great results. 

Fortunately, we got great news that our embryos appear to be strong. So, they are now frozen. Our plan is for me to start some medication with my next cycle to prepare for the transfer. This time around, the medication will hopefully be much lighter than all of the injections we did prior to the egg retrieval. We will get more info about our next steps in the process sometime next week, so I'll include all of that in my February blog post. My plan is to write a blog post in February letting you all know how the medication went with the next cycle, and how the transfer was, and hopefully in March I will give you all an update on the results of our embryo transfer. 

Please be praying in the meantime that our embryos are healthy and survive the freeze and thaw, that they implant, and that we are able to achieve pregnancy. 

I think that now is a prefect time for me to remind myself, and share with you all, that regardless of the outcome of this procedure, God is good. Everyday, all the time, He is good. It's easy to praise God when things go our way, and we get what we want, but its also important that when we don't get what we want, to still praise God. God has a plan for us. He already knows the outcome of this procedure. He knows when our children will be born, and how our family will come to be. He has the perfect timing, and we must trust Him. I often have to remind myself of this, because its easy for me to get wrapped up in my own plan, and my own idea of how I think things should play out. So now, we are praising God for all of the good that he is done, and we know that the results of this IVF cycle will be good whether we achieve pregnancy or not, because it is all part of His plan.