Happy Anniversary to a very Special Couple!

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Happy Anniversary Kat & Kirk!

It’s a milestone!  At least in my book it is.  The happy couple has been married for 5 years today!  I just wanted to wish my sister and brother-in-law many more years of happiness.  These two have been through so much together and are always there for each other picking each other up on bad days and cheering each other on in the good.  A beautiful example of love and friendship!  I love you both and wish we lived closer so we could celebrate together!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”   John 15: 9-17 (NIV)

The Great Reveal

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Well, I am blessed!  Yes, I’m pregnant.  I know as you’re seeing this picture, you probably realize I’ve known for a little while.  I’ve honestly not been able to relax until 1.)  I knew the baby was in my uterus.  2.)  I saw a heartbeat.  Call it the nurse in me.  Call it my grief at the recent miscarriage.  Call it fear.  But alas, God is good.  I heeded where he was guiding me and here we are.  I pray that I am able to sustain this pregnancy.  This is from yesterday at exactly 6 weeks.  Baby had a heart rate of 114.  Yippee!  I guess God knew exactly what I needed.

Can I just say…I AM SO HUNGRY ALL OF THE TIME!  That so far is my big pregnancy symptom.  I don’t seem to ever be satisfied.  Wow.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this hungry, this often.  I’ve always had a good appetite, but sheesh!

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If you look really closely, you can see the head and fetal pole.  So exciting!  Thank you all so much for your prayers.  They mean so much to me.  We have nicknamed the baby “Parasite” because of my hunger…ha ha ha.  I guess my fur baby was right!  I really was pregnant when he peed on my belly after the embryo transfer!  Happy Friday!

No, I just can’t forget…

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Jonathan  9.11.1977 – 8.10.1988

Who?  I’d like you to meet my brother, Jonathan.  He would have been 37 years old today.  Born in Bitburg, Germany on Bitburg Air Base, and died in Maywood, IL and Loyola University Medical Center.  My brother died tragically while riding bikes with 2 other friends.  He was hit by a car and sustained injuries that took his life.  In his death, he was able to give others life by donating organs.  Hope in the midst of absolute tragedy, devastation, and loss.  We still miss him everyday, but on days like today, he is in the forefront of our minds.  Happy Birthday little brother.  I can’t wait to see you again in the clouds.

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9.11.2001

I’m sure you remember the tragedy and loss that people simply now only refer to as 9.11.  It definitely brought a whole new perspective to an already seared date for me.  Do you remember where you were, what you were doing, or who you were with?  I do.  I remember being in shock and saying…”we’re at war.”

I don’t know that anyone put it quite as well as Alan Jackson did.  Faith.  Hope.  Love.  God Bless you wherever you are on this September 11, 2014.  May peace shelter your souls, love fill your hearts, and hope dry your tears.

Surprise!

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Do you like surprises?  I generally like surprises, specially if they bring automatic joy.  Sometimes surprises bring uncertainty and shock.  That’s kind of what my Saturday was like. 

I got an email on Thursday afternoon that there would be an URGENT Executive Session of the Vestry this Saturday.  Now, I should preface that this is my third and final year on Vestry, and this has never happened before.  There was no other explanation, just a sense of urgency to be at the meeting.  I have to tell you, this left me with some anxiety regarding what this meeting would be about. 

I would like to tell you about my rector and priest at Church of the Holy Nativity, The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett.  Yes, you can click on the link and her bio will appear, but that is not the same as hearing personal stories.  The first time I met Rev. Aimee in the Fall of 2007, I was trying sneak in to this little church that kept compelling me to “check it out” after I had moved to the area.  I tried to sneak in, but there is really no place to sneak in this church.  I did my best and sat in the middle near an elderly couple.  As the processional started, I noticed the priest was walking in, in sneakers.  Wow, I thought, this is a really casual church.  Now after the service, the lady next to me put her arm through mine and asked if I would have a cup of coffee with her. Now remember, I was trying to sneak in and sneak out…but who am I to tell sweet little Harriet, no?  Needless to say, I found myself sitting down to a cup of coffee.  As I sat people started sitting with me and introducing themselves and next thing I knew Adult Formation was starting.  (I can’t just get up and walk out in the middle of a “talk!”….I thought)  Well, so I stayed.  As I listened to the speaker, I realized she was familiar.  So I kept staring and staring until I placed her.  I had taken care of her before in the Cardiac ICU.  She looked great!  She was thriving!  Suddenly it dawned on me, connections, God brought me here.  I was already connected in so many ways to the body (the people) of this church.  Oh, and that strange priest that led the service in her sneakers…she was prepared for Crop Walk Sunday!  This was the beginning on my journey with CHN or Church of the Holy Nativity.

Through the years, as you might imagine, I’ve gotten to know Rev. Aimee so much more and on a much deeper level.  Not only is she my priest, but she is also my friend.  She has listened to my hopes, my fears, my struggles and has been there for the joys.  She provided my husband and I marriage counseling before our marriage.  She married us.  She blessed my womb before my first IVF and embryo transfer (that so many knew nothing about), and anointed me with oil.  What is special about Rev. Aimee, is that not only did she listen to my joys, challenges and hurts, but she shared hers as well.  Most certainly not all of them, but there is a vulnerability and authenticity that just exudes from her spirit.

Saturday morning, I found out that Rev. Aimee will be taking leave from her position at CHN as rector.  October 26th will be her last day with us.  She received a call from All Saints by the Sea in Montecito, CA to be their rector and accepted the call.  This is the letter that just went out to the parish (CHN).  We are so sad, but also know that God is working through Rev. Aimee, and that in our sorrow there is also hope.  Hope for us at CHN, but also hope for those at All Saints by the Sea.  As I said to Rev. Aimee, “I can only wish for you to grow and share your leadership, love and compassion to those who need you.”  Godspeed my dear, dear friend.  Know that you will be taking a piece of my heart with you, just as you are leaving a piece of yours.

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Rest for the weary

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Happy Labor day all!  How do you celebrate Labor Day?  What is it you do?  In honor of Labor Day, a day that should be a time of rest from our work and celebration of our accomplishments, I thought I’d try to get to know you all better and find ways for us to honor our work/labor.

Yes, this is at my sister hospital:

For those of you that don’t know, I’m an ICU nurse.  I love what I do and see the “fruits of my labor” everyday.  Yes, there are frustrating days, but what we do makes a difference.  I hope you all have a great Labor Day and celebrate you!

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A younger me, when it all began…

A Beautiful Morning

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It’s a beautiful morning!  I wanted to wish you all a good morning too!  Freddie (the pup) needed to go out at 7am this morning, and as we were walking outside and the sun was rising, I thought to myself, “Oh what a beautiful morning!”  Yes, I’m also geeky enough to start singing it too.  I forgot how much I love watching the sun come up, so I can only say thank you God, and thank you Freddie, for the gentle reminder.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring you joy and remind you to be grateful. 

A virtual Good Morning to all of you!  I hope something or someone brings you a smile today!

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Who’s claiming who?

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Oh yeah, he did!  Here you’ll find humor in a 2 week wait.  For those of you who aren’t aware, after an embryo transfer you are required to take it easy.  Bedrest or couch potato rest, it’s often called.  We have no children yet, but we do have a fur baby named Freddie.  He’s a wonderful boy.  I rescued him from A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter when he was 10 months old, but I digress.  We came home from our embryo transfer feeling like we’d won the lottery, so I sent my husband to go and buy a lottery ticket for kicks.  While my husband went out to get a lottery ticket…

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Freddie and I were snuggled up in bed.  I was laying on my side with a body pillow between my knees and talking to one of my best friends on the phone when suddenly Freddie stands on my hip and pees all over my belly!  It took me a second to realize what was happening (I was drugged for the procedure), and when I did I squealed “Freddie!”.  At which point he hopped off the bed, not  a drop of pee anywhere else.  Just all over my belly and the bed.  Of course my girlfriend was like “what happened?!?!”  So I explained…there was a long pause….then…”well, should we take it as a omen?”  I didn’t know what to think.  This is a fully potty trained dog who has NEVER peed on his or my bed and certainly not me.  This dog is so smart that there was a time I didn’t realize he was trying to get me up to let him out in the middle of the night one night and I heard water flowing in the bathroom; it was Freddie peeing down the shower drain.  He was able to get in because we had left the door open.  Smart and resourceful pup.  So I said to my girlfriend, well I guess he either just claimed me or the baby…I’m not sure which!

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Here is my beautiful boy.  I’d love to hear thoughts from you all about this!

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”        Psalm 126: 2-3

I won the lottery!!!

Well not literally, but statistically, it sure feels like I have!  Yesterday, my husband and I arrived at FCI hopeful, but fully prepared to receive the news that I had no normal embryos to transfer.  As 70% of my eggs would create a chromosomal abnormality, having only 2 embryos to test wasn’t in our odds.  However, God is good, and he shows us every time that he is great and what I can’t do, he can!

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I was happily shocked to hear that I had a normal embryo!!!  So yes, I had an embryo transfer yesterday morning.  Now I’m required to be a couch potato and rest for the next two days.  Writing this blog and letting the dog out are about as active as I’m allowed to get.  I was told I must be a princess.  My husband was even told he had to treat me like a princess…ha ha ha. 

There’s more.  Not only did I get a normal embryo, but that single lone embryo that we created from our IVF cycle this time has made it to blast.  Not only did it make it to blast, but it started hatching on it’s own, grading it a 5BA.  Wow.  I’m calling it my warrior embryo.  The chances of a single embryo surviving it to blast are so small.  It’s amazing.  They were able to biopsy that one and the freeze it.  I should get the results tomorrow.  We can’t transfer it, but that single embryo could be my next baby.

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This tiny little ball of cells, that is really the size of a spec of dust, is making a baby.  It blows me away.

Grow baby, grow!

Well, here goes!

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First, I would like to say Thank You all for your support and encouragement.  I got a phone call today with an update on my embryo.  That single embryo is still kicking (grow baby, grow!).  It’s not quite full blast yet, so they can’t to a biopsy for PGD/PGS testing quite yet.  As my ultrasound showed a perfect lining, they thawed my 4 frozen embryos from my last IVF cycle to do a biopsy and PGD/PGS testing on those.  Only 2 of the embryos survived the thaw and were able to be biopsied.  I will be arriving at FCI tomorrow morning and will receive the results of the PGD/PGS testing at that time.  If we have a normal embryo, we will do an embryo transfer in the morning.  As many of you know, the likelihood of having a normal with the low numbers I have is not very high, but I have to trust God has a plan for us.  My gut, my instinct was demanding to check and see what I have before doing another stimulation round of IVF.  I have to trust my instinct.  I have to trust God has a plan.  I don’t know what the outcome will be and my eyes are wide open.   This takes “it only takes one” to a whole new level for me.  I ask for prayers for us tomorrow.  I will post an update here as I know more.  Thanks friends.

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Disappointment

“I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11: 24 (NIV)

Well, we all have disappointment in life.  That is part of living.  I had my egg retrieval on Wednesday morning.  They were only able to retrieve 5 eggs this time.  This is a significant difference from my first round of IVF.  Of the 5, only 3 were mature, and of the 3 only 1 fertilized.  My initial thought and feeling was the waste.  I just went through all of that for nothing?  I only have one embryo that I have to hope makes it to the blast stage? 

My first IVF cycle was in February.  They were able to retrieve 14 eggs, 10 of which were mature, and 9 of which fertilized.  6 embryos made it to the blast stage.  Of the six, we transferred 2 embryos in a frozen embryo cycle in April.  I was able to achieve pregnancy, only to miscarry between 9-10 weeks of pregnancy.  I was pregnant with twins.  We did testing on the miscarriage and found each baby to have trisomy.  What does that mean?  It means I have old eggs, so they produce genetic abnormalities.  The exciting thing is that I make eggs, so it is likely I will have some normal.  At this stage in my life approximately 70% of my eggs are probably not the best.  With that in mind, though I had 4 more frozen embryos, we decided to do another egg retrieval in the hopes of making more embryos and then having genetic testing so that we could try and minimize my risk for miscarriage.  Here we are, not so many more eggs or embryos.  Disappointment.  The one good thing about this cycle is that my hormone levels seemed to have behaved themselves and I have a beautiful looking lining.  I asked my physician prior to the egg retrieval what her thoughts were on possibly doing a fresh transfer, since I had a nice uterine lining, and my hormones were behaving.  She definitely thought it was a possibility since we would have to thaw my frozen embryos to do the PGD testing along with anything fresh that survived.  So now, we wait.  We Pray.  I will hear tomorrow how that single embryo is doing in the lab.  Monday morning, I will go in to have labs and ultrasound to make sure everything still looks ok.  IF we have any normals, I will go in Tuesday for an embryo transfer. 

Please pray for me.  Pray for the hands caring for my frozen babies.  Pray for wisdom in our decision making.  Thank You.

“Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18: 19-20

There is nothing to do but leave it in God’s loving hands.  Blessings to all of you.

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