Making Straight Paths For My Feet (or brain)

Last night at Bible study, before we dug into the book of Hebrews, we each shared our “Red Dot” – where we are right now, as it pertains to our Christian walk and to life in general.

I shared briefly about how life has been hard for me lately. How I almost went to the ER Tuesday night with severe pain. How I was grieving the fact that we can’t (and probably won’t) have another child. That I wasn’t sure if I could live with this pain until my consultation and surgery this summer.

We proceeded to the book of Hebrews, and how the Word of God transformed my thoughts. In chapter 12 we read encouragement to run the race with endurance, and to not grow weary as we consider Jesus, who endured so much more (the cross). To remember that we are gaining holiness as we look up and go through these trials. To not drift away but instead to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet.

At the end of study, our entire group prayed over my husband and I. Specific prayers were said over each member of our family. I left with a full and grateful heart.

But this morning, I ashamedly found myself in the middle of a pity party. The pain was ratcheted up a notch or two. Sharp, stabbing pains under my right rib cage, and pain in my upper back and constant radiating pain in my shoulder. (These are classic diaphragmatic endometriosis symptoms.) We ran an errand and Rachel screamed a long time for reasons that will probably never be known (that’s life with a two year old). And then again at home, Rachel pushed herself away from the counter and tipped her bar-height chair over – causing her head to slam against the laminate floor (praise God with me that we don’t have tile, or else we’d probably be in the ER right now). And the pity sank in. Poor me. This pain is here to stay. Rachel is our last baby. You were hoping you’d be pregnant right now but instead you’re thinking about getting a hysterectomy.

Yuck. That’s all I have to say about my pity party. How it reveals a lack of trust. After all I’ve been through and all I’ve learned, I should be filled with nothing but hope!

And I’m writing this because I need to remember the rest of what I shared last night during the “Red Dot” discussion. I need to remember that when I look back over these past 9 years – fraught with endometriosis,  surgeries, infertility, pain, and doctor’s visits– what is the underlying current? JOY. Yes, joy. It’s not bitterness, despair, or loneliness. It has been joy – because of WHO Jesus is and how He has held me through all of these trials, and taught me to trust Him. And I’ve seen the good work that He’s doing in me. I just need to keep trusting that He’s doing a good work now. Hard times are never easy when we’re in the midst of them, and the battle is 95% mental. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to suffer, and it’s okay to be in pain.

And now please pray with me like crazy that I can get in for surgery much sooner!



Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility

Thoracic Endo Options & Consultation Update

It’s 2:30 am and I couldn’t sleep because I was in too much pain. (I never was any good at sleeping when  uncomfortable.) My mind has been percolating this predicament I find myself in, and I’ve been weighing my options.

As I’ve blogged about before, I am fairly certain that I have thoracic endometriosis (endo on my diaphragm). Endo in this location is more rare and found only in women who have stage 4 endo – it makes up about 1% of women with endometriosis. I’ve had this peculiar shoulder pain for over a year now and didn’t make the connection that it could be endo related until last December. It was tricky to figure out seeing as I have shoulder pain almost all the time, to varying degrees. The day before my period starts the shoulder pain becomes severe.

This month, the pain has spread from not just my shoulder but now to also under my rib cage on the right side (same side as the shoulder that hurts). I’ve read that this is very common for women with thoracic endo. I’m pretty freaked out that the endo will grow through my diaphragm and into my lungs. I really DON’T want that to happen. I’ve read about ladies that have this – they get what’s called catemenial pneumothorax – basically a lung collapse due to being on their period. Super freaky. Some women have to be hospitalized for weeks due to this condition.

That being said – the only way to even diagnose this beast is through surgery. I’ve booked a consultation with one of the best surgeons in the U.S. to deal with thoracic endo. This surgeon coordinates with a thoracic surgeon. However, I took a deep breath when they told me my consultation date: 10/10. An 8 month wait – yikes. I started to pray “Lord, can I get in sooner?” They told me that their NP would review my records and that they would call me back at some point to let me know what her thoughts were. I wasn’t expecting a phone call any time soon, but I received a call a few hours later. “Our NP has reviewed your records and has decided that you need to get in sooner.” So now I’m booked for the middle of July! Thanking God! They also put me down as “high priority” for the cancellation list. So if someone cancels I’ll be among the top of the list of people called to get in sooner.

But now that the pain has spread, I’m sitting here and wondering if I can make it even until July. I talked with my hubby this morning about going on hormones of some sort to stop my cycle altogether until my consultation. Hormones really do a number on me – it’s pretty rough and in a lot of ways I think I’d just be trading one woe for another. I don’t think birth control would be a great option because it has estrogen in it and that can make endometriosis worse as the estrogen feeds it. I went on birth control for 9 days back in Jan for my IVF cycle and remembered that my shoulder hurt pretty bad that entire time. So that leaves progesterone. I read an email I wrote to my sister prior to my last surgery 5 years ago and at the time I was on progesterone. I wrote that I had constant headaches on it and that I didn’t feel like myself at all – I was super crabby and it was hard on my husband. Also it made my hair fall out. So that’s not really a great option either. However, I’m pretty sure that if I went on progesterone my shoulder would stop hurting. The endo may still keep growing through my diaphragm but I think that it would be much more suppressed and would grow slowly.

So I’m trying to weigh these options. Do I take progesterone and risk having an altered mood and deal with having a headache all the time (and baldness!), thus negatively impacting all my family members? (I’ve noticed that when Mom is doing well and energetic, the kids are happy too.) Or do I risk getting blood in my lung cavity? (I’m trying to find out how long women have had thoracic endo symptoms before they ended up with blood in their lung cavity, but I’m sure the variables are great.) I feel very inclined at this point to not take the progesterone as I highly value good relationships with my family and highly suspect I’ll feel miserable on the progesterone.

Perhaps this is unwise? I’m not sure. So please pray that I’ll have wisdom. And please pray my consultation will get moved up!!!

Well, now it’s 4 am and almost the entire family was up the last hour. Hubby was up (probably due to me tossing and turning for so long before getting up) and Josh had a low grade fever (he got his 4 year old vaccines yesterday) and runny nose. So I gave him a snack and water along with some Motrin. Only Rachel will be well rested today!

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Beta Results

My hope is built on nothing less but Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

Yesterday morning, at 6 am, I took a home pregnancy test (FRER) and got the results I was expecting: Negative. Later on I had my blood drawn and 3 hours later I called to receive my results: beta of 4. Oddly enough, I was just surprised it wasn’t zero. Upon receiving the news I had peace, contentment and joy. I always imagined myself crying and feeling very depressed were I to have an IVF cycle fail, but I believe the Lord was helping me to keep my eyes fixed on Him and to not worry about the future. It also helped that we had a busy day yesterday and not a whole lot of time to sit and despair. And when I did have a free moment, I decided to mow the lawn and get dinner started.

I called the IVF clinic and asked if I still needed to get the follow up beta in two days. Their answer: Yes. “Really?!” I exclaimed? “I mean, the chances of this being a viable pregnancy are like 0.00000000000001%, right?” The reply: “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question.” Sigh… well, fine. So I’m still taking my meds and will get the follow up beta tomorrow morning. This time I am truly expecting it to be zero.

People have asked us if we’re going to try again… I have no idea. Maybe? We’ll see how the insurance reimbursement goes. We’ll see how bad my endo flares up from being on estrogen pills. I’m kind of thinking about  excision surgery with an endometriosis specialist at this point. I don’t want to live my life in chronic pain, if I can avoid it. The big caveat is that I’ll have to travel for the surgery, probably out of state. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure I have endo on my diaphragm. If that’s the case I really need to see someone who knows what they’re doing, because most surgeons won’t touch the diaphragm (understandably – risk of perforation, pneumothorax, etc.). Not only that but the diaphragm is only 1/4 inch thick. If I were a surgeon I wouldn’t want to touch it either.

I’m enjoying catching up on all the stuff I got behind on during the past month of IVF craziness. Things like deep cleaning (many of my friends know much I love cleaning), yard work, decluttering, even grocery shopping for more creative meals other than just the basics. Also, I’ve got 6# to lose from IVF. And I need to figure out (once again) if we should get rid of our baby stuff or not. I’m feeling a little more ready to let it go. Used baby stuff is cheap to buy, anyhow, should we ever need it one day.

Your prayers have carried me through this process and it is only because of them that I can write today with a thankful heart. Truly, I thank you for your prayers and support!



Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF


(6 days past a 3 day transfer.)

Well, I think it’s safe to say that I’m an emotional basket case. For goodness sake’s, I cried during an I Love Lucy episode earlier today! 🙄 And I have teared up over many other things lately, probably none of them deserving of such.

I’ve been sick with a bad cold since the moment our embryo was transferred in. Hopefully coughing all the time doesn’t impede implantation…

(Not that I’m convinced an embryo is implanting. I’m pretty bipolar on that particular subject these days.)

Just have to get through two more days and then I’ll have a super early beta on Sunday. My Dr likes the super early betas. I’m just worried that I’ll get a level of 10 or something like that (or 0… 😖).

And now I should really try to get some sleep since I’ve been up with this cold and it’s after 1 am. Wish I could sleep while coughing! 😷

Thank you for the care and concern that I have received. The IVF process promised a roller coaster experience– and it has delivered. 😉 So I am very grateful for the prayers and encouragement.


Filed under Infertility, IVF

We Made It To Embryo Transfer!

What a crazy 24 hours! I had trouble sleeping last night and was up for hours praying for our little embryo.

We had two sets of plans- plan A, which involved hubby’s Mom coming over to babysit in the morning and me drinking 12 oz of water at the prescribed time, as well as taking the Valium pill (they have you take 1 pill just prior to the transfer so that it relaxes your uterus). After the embryo transfer I would come home and bed rest for 3 days.

And then we had plan B, which we would shift to if the whole thing got called off because our embryo didn’t survive the night. I didn’t like thinking about that plan, but I would stop taking the progesterone, cancel baby sitting plans, etc. I figured that plan B was very likely to happen.

I was on pins and needles this morning, dreading a phone call from my Dr. I could just hear him saying “I’m sorry, but your embryo didn’t make it.” As much as I prepared to hear these words I knew it would be hard to hear.

However, no phone call came this morning. Feeling cautiously optimistic, I got into the car with the hubs and we headed into the clinic.

They got me prepped for the embryo transfer at the clinic. My favorite nurse, Laurel, was helping me. Finally the Dr walked into the room. He was wearing a mask, but I think he had a big smile on his face. “Your embryo is a grade 1 (the highest grade), and it’s 8 cells!” I looked at the picture he handed us. Our embryo looked beautiful! He then transferred our little baby back inside, and I was instructed to lie there for another ten minutes.

As soon he and Laurel left the room, tears of joy and gratitude fell down my face. I looked at the picture of our little baby… And I was filled with awe and wonder. Thank you Lord for keeping this little embryo safe and strong!

Now for the two week wait! I feel loads better though just having our little one back inside.

Thank you for all your prayers! As of Thursday I really didn’t think we’d make it this far!


Filed under Infertility, IVF

Day Three Transfer Still A Go

Our embryo didn’t die last night and is dividing! What a relief. I’m still holding my breath though, because it still has to survive through the night before we transfer it back in at 9:30.

I’m really praying that my phone doesn’t ring tomorrow morning, because if my IVF Dr calls it’s likely because he’s got bad news for us.

Please, please pray our little embryo continues to do well!

I’m distracting myself today by cooking spaghetti and by baking gluten & dairy free blueberry muffins as well as regular blueberry muffins (for my hubby and his Grandpa). And also by vacuuming up ants in the kitchen… yay. 😒

And I can’t say it enough- thank you for your prayers! Trusting God’s plan no matter the outcome.

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We Have 1 Embryo

My Dr left a message for me while I was playing a game with Josh- not sure why I didn’t hear my phone ring when I had been very much anticipating a call.

We have 1 embryo that fertilized and survived. If it makes it to Saturday, they’ll transfer it in at 9am (3 day transfer).

It always does take a miracle for me to get pregnant. This IVF is no exception. Every step of this process has been hard news. We went from 13-14 follicles to 8, then 6, then 5, then 4. Eggs retrieved: 3. Now embryos: 1. I’m afraid I’ll get a call tomorrow telling me we’re now down to 0, and that our baby hasn’t survived.

In spite of receiving hard news after hard news, about a million people have reminded me that it “only takes one.” It could still happen. There is still hope.

Please pray for us. As days go, this has been a hard one.


Filed under Infertility, IVF

Egg Retrieval Day

Uno, dos, tres.

We only got 3 eggs today. Pretty disappointing. I cried when I woke up from the Propofol- induced slumber and heard the news.

Praying all 3 eggs will fertilize. We’ll know if they did tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime I’m trying to rest. Feeling a bit nauseous from the meds they gave me, as well as sleepy.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll wake up with a better outlook on life. Definitely feeling discouraged, but I have to remind myself that there is still hope.

Thanking God for all His blessings, including these two kiddos.

Snuggling with my babies.


Filed under Infertility, IVF

Stim Day #11, IVF #2

Wow, am I ever glad this is my last day of stims! Between the near-constant headaches and the 1+ hour traffic-laden commute to the IVF clinic, the need for frequent childcare, etc… I’m ready to be done. Thankfully, I just need to take my HCG trigger tonight at 11:45pm, and that’ll be it until the egg retrieval on Wednesday!

By midnight I will have injected myself 5 times today. I had two injections this morning (Follistim & Ganirelix) – I then went to my appt and my Dr said that he wanted me to inject whatever Follistim I had left as well as 2 vials of Menopur when I got home. He said that taking the meds wouldn’t affect the ones that were mature and that it might help push along the other follicles that are responding poorly. We’ll see. I kind of doubt it, since they haven’t really “woken up” during this entire process. I have 3 mature follicles and 1 or 2 almost mature follicles. I have more follicles, but they just haven’t caught up.

I also got my blood drawn for my E2 and progesterone level. Lots of pokes today!

My Dr said he thinks we’ll do a 4 day transfer. I’m totally fine with that. With so few follicles, I don’t really want to push it and wait until day 5/blastocysts. We did a day 4 transfer when we got pregnant with Josh. I’d rather get my babies inside me, even if it means going through a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage. They weren’t made to be sitting in a lab.

It’s been interesting, thinking about this whole IVF process and how it has come full circle. Back in November, when my lab results came back so terrible (FSH 24.7, AMH 0.2) I told my husband that we’d be extremely fortunate if we only had one embryo to transfer back in. Then in December and January, my FSH came way down and my AFC was 13-14. So my expectations rose considerably. But now that my body is responding poorly to the meds…. I’m back to praying that we’ll at least have 1 embryo to transfer!  Life never goes the way I think it will!

I’ve been listening to Shane & Shane’s Psalms album (free on Amazon if you have Prime!) on the way to and from my appts and it’s been wonderful! A time to lament, to cry out to God, to worship Him and get my focus where it needs to be. Highly recommend it. I love Scripture-songs.

As always, thanks to those who have committed to praying for us.  You are a blessing to us!




Filed under Infertility, IVF

Stim Day #9, IVF#2

I arrived at the IVF clinic this morning pretty startled to see that the line to the check in desk was out the door! I had really enjoyed the traffic free commute and, considering the empty roads, I was expecting an empty clinic. Not so. The MA was practically panting as she took me to my exam room after my blood draw. “9 IUI’s today… and on top of that we only have three exam rooms!” I mentioned that three exam rooms total for 3 IVF Drs really seemed inadequate. She agreed wholeheartedly.

My Dr came into the room shortly after and did my exam. It was more bad news. This time there were only 5 follicles that were large enough to be considered mature by the time of my egg retrieval (there were 6 my last appt and 8 the appt before that). Basically there is 1 large follicle on my right ovary and all the rest were on my left ovary. The follicles measured between 12mm-15mm. I had other follicles, but they were smaller.

My E2 today was 920 and progesterone 0.2. Things are fine there. My Dr commented on how nice my lining looked, which measured at 10.2.

So… The good news is that I won’t have to buy another day of stim meds. I will only stim 11 days. My egg retrieval will be Wednesday.

I asked my Dr if, given the low number of follicles I have, a 3 day transfer was most likely to be expected. His response: “Well, you never know. Because I had a patient recently who had 5 eggs and all 5 fertilized and went on to become blastocysts. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Okay then. I’ve got some hope. Praying for miracles!

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Filed under Infertility, IVF