Always precedes the miracle.
Always precedes the miracle.
At the end of each year, Andrew and I write a list of miracles we are praying for in the year ahead. We started doing this the first year we were married, and every year since then, God has answered every prayer! He has not always answered in the ways we thought He would, or in the ways we thought we wanted Him to, but He’s always given us an answer.
Here is the list we wrote at the end of last year, for 2013 (Find the original list here):
And God has done all of these things and MORE:
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, it is all I can do to wrap my mind around everything that has transpired in our little family this year. The year has flown, but there have been days and weeks that have felt long, painful, and almost unbearable.
Fertility treatments made the weeks and months pass slowly. Andrew’s school schedule made his days drag on. But looking back over the year, I cannot believe we are reaching its end. And as I sit here, contemplating everything that’s happened and everything that has changed this year, one thing has stayed the same: God’s hand has been in every event, both big and small, that has happened in our lives over the past eleven months. I can look back now and see that, in the bleakest of times, His hand was there carrying us. In the loneliest of nights, His voice was singing over us. He has been in every victory and in every disappointment. He has made every event of this year, both the good and the bad ones, work together for our good. He has been faithful, and He has exceeded our wildest expectations.
His timing is perfect. His ways are perfect. That is what I see when I look back over this hard, hard year. The struggles that seemed so insurmountable, and all-consuming… they all fade away in the midst of God’s glory, and in the face of goodness and grace.
There is just no one like Him. He is huge enough and powerful enough to have created the universe, and to hold everything together. He is big enough to hold our entire lives in the palm of His hand. And He is small enough to care about our measly little miracle list, about our day-to-day, and most of all, about our hearts.
What a crazy, creative, awesome God we serve!
P.S.- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!
I don’t know how I would have made it through this year without you. Thank you for being a constant source of prayer, encouragement, and support in my life, especially over this past year! And thank you for being my voice of reason when I so often need it.
We are 10.5 weeks pregnant today. I can still hardly believe it! After last week’s ultrasound, I feel an incredible peace. And I feel so in awe of God: His timing, His deliverance, His provision, His miracles, His hand on our lives.
The nausea has been a lot better this week than last, although I think I’ve gotten off pretty easy in that department. It’s not been terrible, and this week it has almost completely subsided. The sleepiness, on the other hand, has not subsided yet. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. I feel exhausted all day, every day, but then when bedtime rolls around, insomnia kicks in. I’m not sure if that’s a pregnancy thing (I know it is common during pregnancy) or if it’s just the excitement about spending several days with my family over Thanksgiving that is keeping me up at night.
So, I am a sleepy girl these days, but I’m a happy sleepy girl! Every symptom is a blessing… a reminder
of what a wonderful God I serve.
Now that I’m working outside of the home it’s been a little tough to get my walking in. It sounds ridiculous, but every time I come home for lunch, or at the end of the day, I just want to sleep! So far, I’ve been pretty good about making myself do my walking during my lunch break. I have a long lunch break, and I know if I can get my walking in during lunch, I won’t have to worry about it later in the evening. This week was kind of an off week exercise- wise since we were packing and getting prepared to head to Nashville for Thanksgiving. I should get off work around 9:00 tonight, and we will head home then.
I have picked my pace up quite a bit since I first got back into walking after our FET, so walking an hour usually means that I walk about four miles. That’s major progress, and I think I will only get faster! If this sleepiness would just leave me alone…
Saturday was my last day of shots, patches (Vivelle Dots), and estrogen suppositories. I’ve loved going all day the past three days without having to remember to take them, and Andrew has really loved not having to give me a shot these past few nights. My backside is already starting to feel less sore and look less lumpy, bruised, and swollen… so nice!
My appointment at the new OB is in six days… I’m so thankful we’ve come this far.
Here’s what is going on with Baby:
What I am looking forward to most these days:
I’m looking forward to meeting my new doctor next week. And, not related specifically to Baby, I am looking forward to some family time this week… so happy to be back in Nashville for a little while!
This is one of my favorite times of the year: Thanksgiving right around the corner, followed by the anticipation of Christmas, and lots of time spent with family.
This year. my heart is just so full of gratitude, as it should be every year. Oftentimes, in the busy-ness of the holiday season, I forget to stop, to breath in each moment, and to be thankful for each moment.
So that’s what I am doing this year… I am whispering a prayer of thanks for every moment, every experience, every victory and heartbreak alike.
What a wonderful God we serve!
All of my life, in every season, He is still God. And we always have a reason to worship.
“The Eternal is great, and deserves endless praise.
His greatness knows no limit, recognizes no boundary.
No one can measure or comprehend His magnificence…
We confess- there is nothing greater than You, God,
Nothing mightier than your awesome works.
I will tell of Your greatness as long as I have breath.”
-Psalm 145:3,6 (The Voice Translation)
About a month ago I posted about how to get a tax deduction for fertility treatments. I mentioned keeping track of mileage, parking expenses, the money you spend on medication, and the money you spend on actual doctors’ visits, tests, and treatments.
I may have mentioned that I planned on compiling all of my expenses into a worksheet so that I would be as prepared as possible by the time tax season rolls around.
Last week when I was entering some of our most recent expenses into my worksheets (I created two: one for doctor’s visits and treatments, and another for medication expenses) it dawned on me that the polite thing to do would be to share the worksheets with you guys!
I saved these worksheets in a Word document rather than in PDF format. That way, if you’d
like to customize them or make them longer or shorter, you can do that easily.
We started preparing for our first IUI in January (HSG, blood work, being diagnosed with PCOS, starting Metformin, etc.). You can see our complete TTC timeline here. We will finally get to stop with the fertility meds in December, when I reach the end of the first trimester. Since we squeezed so many fertility treatments into exactly one year (January-December) I needed a lot of space in the worksheets. If you got started later in the year, if you required fewer treatments, or if you took less medication than I did, you may not need all the room I provided on the worksheets. So feel free to personalize them to your heart’s content, and then do what you will with them!
Here is the tax worksheet for medications (click on the link below to download):
And here is the tax worksheet for doctor’s visits, treatments, mileage, and parking (click on the link below to download):
Yesterday was fabulous… all the way around. I still feel like I’m on cloud nine, and I just want to shout God’s praises from the rooftops. I know that He is always good, and that His ways are always higher than our own, without exception.
Sometimes we feel Him the most powerfully in the valleys, and when we are trudging through the wilderness. And I did feel Him then. There were times during our fertility treatments, when I felt so drained, disappointed, and overwhelmed, that I felt God’s presence so near. I felt Him saying, “I’m here, child. I am with you, and I am good. You don’t see it now, but one day you will.”
But now that we are in a different season: a season of hope and preparation and gratitude, I feel Him in such a different way.
Now, I hear him whispering into my spirit, “I told you. I am with you always. I’ve been with you all along, and my plans have been perfect all along. Take this time to rest in me.” It’s almost as though God is laughing over me. Not in a spiteful or a haughty way, but in a joy-overflowing, Father rejoicing with His daughter, kind of way.
I know that our troubles are not behind us. Life is full of one trial after the next. Hardships and heartache are part of being alive on this earth.
But I also know that in the face of anything that comes our way, my God is rejoicing over me. He has reminded me over and over and over again that He alone is sovereign; that He alone is Lord.
“Come, let us worship in song, a joyful offering to the Eternal.
Shout! Shout with joy to the rock of our liberation.
Come face to face with God and give thanks;
with loud and joyful voices praise Him in song.”
Our ultrasound was incredible. Our baby is so big… over twice the size he or she was two weeks ago at our first ultrasound! And, most amazingly of all, he/she was MOVING… wiggling its little arms and legs all over the place. I was so surprised by that!
Andrew could not be there yesterday, so my mom drove down to come with me. I loved having her there. Throughout this entire process, she has made the sweet moments even sweeter, and the difficult moments a little less difficult! Andrew does the same thing in his own way, but moms just have that special something…
I learned today that Saturday is my last days of medication. No more shots, patches, or suppositories after Saturday! I can’t believe it! It seems like they’ve been a part of my daily routine for so long. It will be sad to see them go.
It is weird though. It felt weird leaving the clinic today knowing that next time I go for an ultrasound, I will be going to a “normal” OB-GYN… where all the “normal” pregnant women go. I’m afraid I may feel a bit like a fish out of water there. And it’s hard to imagine liking and trusting another doctor as much as I’ve liked and trusted my doctor at GRS. It was bittersweet to leave her and the staff today, knowing that I won’t be back soon!
But it was also good. It’s what is supposed to happen, and what so many other patients there wish would happen for them. I can’t believe this day has finally come. There truly were some days when I wondered if this was ever going to happen for us: if we were ever going to get pregnant.
To top off what had already been an excellent day, I received a surprise package yesterday evening. My mother in law sent a care package just to let me know she was thinking of me and is happy for us. I LOVE getting unexpected surprises in the mail, and her care package was so thoughtful and so perfect.
Fuzzy socks, lip balm, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, shower gel, lotion and bubble bath in one of my favorite Bed, Bath and Beyond scents, a candle, and tummy butter for stretch marks (which I really hope I do not need)!
A wonderful ending to a wonderful day.
I wish I could adequately express how grateful I am to my God, my family, my husband, my doctor and nurses, friends who have covered us in prayer along the way. But nothing would be enough to express my thanks. There are just some gifts that can never be repaid.
Sorry for the lacking blog post yesterday… I just did not have much to say!
I think the new job is going to be a good fit. So far, it’s a little slow, but as I learn more I think I’ll begin to enjoy it more. And since I feel so strangely exhausted lately, I’d rather things be a little slow than absolutely overwhelming. The hardest part about working away from home (a whopping ten minutes away from home) is having to leave the dogs. I DO NOT know how women can make themselves leave their children each day to go to work. If I have a hard time parting with animals for a few hours here and there, I just can’t imagine what it must be like to have to say goodbye to your children before work each day.
We are 9.5 weeks pregnant today, and we have an ultrasound scheduled for later this morning. I am just as nervous about this ultrasound as I was our last. Does that feeling ever go away??
I mentioned this last week, but I will say it again… I am so tired! 24/7. It just won’t go away. “Tired” is not even a good word to describe it. I feel overwhelmingly sleepy. It is all I can do to keep my eyes open during the day. I’ve had a couple waves of nausea, but they have not been bad; noticeable, but not bad. And no nightmares this week! YAY!!!
I’ve walked about an hour every day of the week except Tuesday. I worked until just after 8:00 last night, and the last thing I felt like doing when I got home was walking on the treadmill. I’ll try to make up for it by walking extra some other day. If I could shake this sleepiness, I feel sure that I would walk A LOT more.
Today is my last appointment at GRS. It feels really bittersweet. The people at GRS have been so wonderful that part of me hates to leave, but the other part of me knows that this is a really good thing. The goals was never to stay there forever. Plus, they still have our frozen embryos, so we will be back eventually!
Here’s what’s going on with Baby:
What I am most looking forward to these days:
Of course I am anxious for our ultrasound later today. I’m also really looking forward to the day when I will be able to stop taking progesterone injections. My backside is ready for a little break from those suckers…
Well, Andrew’s midterm week is officially over, and his grades are in. Overall, he did wonderfully and I am very proud of him. We seem to have one problem class this quarter, but Andrew is confident that with some extra work during the next few weeks he can pull his grade up.
Even though Andrew’s schedule should return to normal this week, my schedule will be new! I start my new job today, and I’m really nervous. We will solidify my hours today, but as far as I know, I will be working between 25 and 30 hours per week. This will be the first time in over a year that I’ve worked away from home, and it’s a far scarier prospect than I imagined it would be. But this opportunity is such a God-thing that I have to believe it’s the right thing for this season of our lives.
I’m not sure what will happen after the baby is born, although the doctor I’m working for seems willing to let me bring Baby with me. For now, I am just focusing on getting through the first day at a new job!
We did not develop a meal plan for this week, and I did not do a lot of food prep over the weekend. We have plenty of food left from last week, because Andrew’s schedule was even more hectic than I thought it would be and he was home even less than I thought he would be. As a result, a lot of the food I bought and prepped last week went uneaten. I don’t want to make that same mistake this week. And since my schedule is up in the air, I figured it might be safest not to plan too much, and not to cook a lot in advance. Our plan for this week is to take it day by day, meal by meal! (:
We did something a little crazy over the weekend and BOUGHT A PUPPY! It’s something we’ve been talking about for a couple of months now. When we decided to transfer two embryos, we said that if we ended up finding out we were pregnant with twins, we would nix the dog idea; if we found out we were not pregnant at all, or if we found out we were pregnant with one baby, we would consider it.
So when we found out that we were pregnant with ONE BABY, I started to keep an eye out for the perfect pup. You may be wondering what our reasoning is behind getting another dog. I am starting a new job, we are getting ready for a baby… why would we want one more responsibility?
Funny you should ask, because I just so happen to have a “pros and cons” list handy!
Then we had to consider dog size. We decided on a smaller dog, because:
As I announced the week before last, I have returned to my healthy eating habits… the ones that were apparently not as “habitual” as I thought. But before I made that decision, Andrew and I bought some delicious looking bread from the bakery. When I realized that I would not ever actually taste that bread, I decided to make my own.
I’ve shared a banana bread recipe before, but this one is a lot different. And, in my opinion, a lot better. It does not contain any sugar or sweetener other than the sweetness that the bananas contribute. It is moist, and dense, but not too heavy. And it is just
The original recipe (which I altered only slightly), suggests baking the bread in a loaf pan (of course.) I actually chose to use a pie dish, because I thought it I made brownie-sized pieces of bread that were thin it would help with portion control. And I think this strategy worked!
3 ripe bananas, peeled
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt + a tiny pinch more
1/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a baking pan with grease/spray or parchment paper.
Mash the bananas until smooth (I used a hand mixer.)
Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well.
Add baking soda, salt, and flour, and blend well.
Let the batter sit for about five minutes. Don’t skip this part!!! (The flour needs time to absorb some of the liquid.)
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and the middle is cooked.
Cool and slice.
(This bread can also be frozen for up to a few months and thawed later.)
A perfect PCOS treat for the weekend!
As a side note, every time I type the word “banana,” it takes me back to one of my worst elementary school memories: the day I misspelled “banana” in the second grade spelling bee. I spelled it “bananna.”
Please tell me you’ve had a similar experience.
Immediately following my PCOS diagnosis, I began posting frequently about natural ways to increase fertility and balance hormones… diet and exercise, proper sleep, supplements, yoga… the list goes on.
And while there is evidence suggesting that chiropractic care has the potential to increase fertility, there is abundant evidence that chiropractic care during pregnancy is incredibly helpful… and healthful… for both Mother and Baby.
What does chiropractic care involve?
Chiropractic care involves the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints of the body, especially the spine, which reduces spinal nerve stress and therefore promotes health throughout the entire body.
Is it safe?
What’s the point?
What are the benefits?
My experience with the chiropractor:
I have been seeing my current chiropractor since shortly after we moved to that Atlanta area almost a year and a half ago (so hard to believe it has been that long.) My hope was that chiropractic adjustments 1-2 times per week, a new and improved diet, and Metformin along with other vitamins and supplements (including, of course, Juice Plus+) would result in pregnancy.
That didn’t happen (hence all the posts about IUIs, IVF, FET, shots, etc., etc.)
Of course I was disappointed, but I have remained faithful with my visits to the chiropractor (minus one short hiatus when I was hyper-stimulated, and another between the time of our embryo transfer and first ultrasound). My motivation is that I know chiropractic care is good for my overall health, and it really does make my body feel better. If I miss an appointment I do notice a difference in the way my body feels (specifically, my neck and lower back.)
So, although chiropractic care did not “get me pregnant,” I do believe in it, and maybe one day I WILL get pregnant naturally, with the help of my supplements, diet, and chiropractor. And, of course, by the grace of God! (: