When Miracles Happen

They say miracles happen when you least expect them..

There is no doubt that God is real and that He has been with my husband and I throughout our entire infertility season. During the heartbreak and the tears, the joys and triumphs, He has been there every step of the way. He has a funny way of answering our prayers.

As most of you know, Jason and I experienced an early miscarriage back in November after FET. We were devastated. We have been taking this time to reflect, to heal, to mourn and to think about our future. Little did we know that during that time, God was performing miracles.

On the morning of January 19th, I woke up not feeling well. That entire week I hadn’t been feeling well as I was suffering from a sinus infection. I was tired, I was nauseous and for some reason my boobs hurt (ladies, you understand the pain). With little thought, I grabbed the last at-home pregnancy test I had and took the test. To my shock, the test was positive. I didn’t get too excited because I thought that maybe the antibiotics had triggered the test to be positive in some way. I called the Fertility Center and spoke with my nurse. After reviewing my chart, she advised me that they wanted me to go to the hospital to undergo blood work. I obliged, but was cautiously optimistic.

I called my husband to tell him what was going on as he was stuck at work. He immediately got excited. I told him to be calm because we didn’t know what this was.

After leaving the hospital, I stopped at the store to grab a few more pregnancy tests. Once I got home, I took another one which came back positive. Ok, I was starting to get excited. But how could this have happened? I tried patiently waiting, but an hour or so after I did the blood work, I called the nurse to tell her I had had another positive test.

“Congratulations, you’re like really pregnant!” she expressed! “Your hcg level is 79,000!”

“What?!” I cried. Guys, I started ugly crying! Like bad.

“We want you to come in for an ultrasound. We want to see how far along you are. Those levels are really high so you’re either having multiples or you’re really far along!”

I had an ultrasound that day. We were nearly 8 weeks pregnant! Heart rate was 154 and the baby was measuring at 7 weeks, 5 days! Our doctor said we naturally conceived at the beginning of December, somewhere around the 10th. We conceived naturally after experiencing a miscarriage, and we didn’t even know it!

I called Jason to tell him, since he was still stuck at work. He was in shock!

There it is. We’re PREGNANT! We are due with miracle baby #2 September 3rd!

Braxton was also conceived naturally in between treatments, too! Crazy, right?

This wasn’t science. This was alllllll God.

We ask that you continue praying for us during our pregnancy. We greatly appreciate all of the support, encouragement, love and prayers over the years. It’s been quite the journey, to say the least.

I continue to pray for all of my fertility sisters who are struggling with infertility.

All our love,

Danielle & Jason

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him” -1 Samuel 1:27

Christmas Blessings and New Years Hopes

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Despite having a miscarriage last month, I still have so much to be thankful for this Christmas. Unlike those struggling with infertility who don’t already have a child, I am so fortunate to have our miracle. As those struggling to have children struggle through the holidays, brokenhearted, I am thankful for the messes, the terrible 2’s and my son’s sassy attitude.

I am still brokenhearted from our miscarriage, and I’d be lying if I said that seeing all of the pregnancy and baby announcements didn’t make my heart hurt, but I am reminded to be thankful for what I do have, not what I don’t have.

I’ve taken the past few weeks to really think about this infertility journey and how it’s transformed myself, my husband, our marriage, my health and our finances. This journey has tested me on an individual level in ways I’ll never truly grasp. It’s transformed the very trajectory of my and my husband’s life, our marriage together and our parenting. It’s redefined our marriage in good ways and bad. I still step on that treadmill and try to run, but the pain I still experience from the shots resonate deep within the tissue. I still cry out when my husband playfully smacks my behind. My body is still trying to normalize, and the new medication I’m on has weird side-effects. We’ve spent a lot of money on treatment the past 6 months, and it’s a difficult pill to swallow when you have nothing to show for it.

2016 has by far been the roughest year for myself, personally. My body has gone through hell, I’ve shed tears after tears, and I’ve learned that I can’t control or fix every situation or problem. I’ve learned that I can’t be in control at all times, but that HE can. I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I’m resilient, and I’ll never give up. I’ve learned who my real friends are, and I’ve realize the ones who aren’t (and that’s ok).

Despite everything, I still have my faith. I still have my marriage. I still have my son.

My hopes for 2017 is that our infertility can be pin-pointed once and for all, corrected, and that we may be blessed with another child, or two. I pray that this treacherous journey does more good than it does bad. I pray that everyone who is struggling with infertility know that they are not alone. There are so many others struggling and praying for their miracle. I hope that they all know how strong they are. I hope they know how courageous they are and how much they’re admired for their unbelievable faith in something larger than themselves. Most importantly, I hope they know how loved they are.

I’m praying that 2017 is the year of babies!

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Doctor’s Appointment Following Miscarriage: Aggressive Antibodies?

Tuesday morning, I sat in the waiting room silently trying to figure out how I got there. I had been deep in thought during the 10 minute drive to the doctor’s office and didn’t remember my drive. I was about to hear the doctor’s theory on why my body miscarried our pregnancy, and I was blinking through tears as the thought of our recent miscarriage took over my emotions. Thank goodness I hadn’t applied my mascara yet.

I waited 25 grueling minutes, alone with my thoughts, to speak with the doctor. I must say that I left more confused than ever following our 30 minute conversation. .

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The doctor theorizes that there might be some antibodies that are attacking the embryos. These antibodies can be a result of an issue with my thyroid or a result of another hormonal imbalance due to our previous pregnancy that may have inadvertently created antibodies. Either way, there is a chance that my own body is attacking our embryos, what the crap?! My thyroid had been tested previously, and everything looked fine, but I was told that pregnancy can change your body over time. My thyroid hasn’t been tested since we had our son back in 2014. They also want to look into other ailments that could be creating antibodies that would be capable of attacking the embryos. On top of that, they plan on switching up some of our medications.

Furthermore, our doctor wants to conduct an Endometrial Scratch Biopsy.

According to CreateHealth.org, “The process of endometrial scratching as it relates to embryo implantation is not entirely understood and some questions still remain unanswered. Scientists involved in studies believe that there may be two reasons for the increased implantation rates:

  • Increase of endometrial white blood cells.  It appears that endometrial injury increases the production of white blood cells which secrete so called growth factors which in turn control embryo implantation.
  • Gene switching within the endometrium. Scientists speculate that sometimes embryos fail to implant due to genetic switching related to endometrial receptivity. That is, genes responsible for implantation of embryos are not switched on during the time when embryos are supposed to implant. Endometrial scratching may increase expression of genes (switching of genes) thought to be responsible for preparation of endometrium for implantation.”

For now, these are merely theories and suggestions, but the blood work will be the first determining factor in our continued journey from here on out. Depending on the results of our tests, we will then prioritize next steps in our fertility journey.

It’s still hard to believe that we were pregnant,but now we are back to square one. This battle has been one of the most emotionally and physically draining journey’s I’ve ever been a part of. The amount of money we have spent over the last 5 years makes me want to throw-up. I  continue praying as we  try to figure out how we will be able to afford additional fertility. For now, I’ll apply to every available grant and pray that we can get some kind of financial assistant.

If you’re feeling generous and want to pitch in for continued treatment, you can do so on our GoFundMe account. Please don’t feel like you have too, we will settle for lots of prayers also!

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Action items for me:: try not to get upset with every new pregnancy announcement, try to stay positive, love on this sweet boy (included picture of my son, Braxton) and continue praying for a miracle while holding onto my faith.

 

Being Thankful through Infertility

I never thought I’d say this, but a part of me is thankful for my infertility.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Seems hard to believe, right? It’s not something you’d expect to hear from someone on Thanksgiving who has been battling infertility the past 5 years, went through several failed fertility treatments and procedures as well experiencing a recent miscarriage (last week).

I wouldn’t take back all the pain I’ve experienced or the mental and physical anguish that comes with it. Why? Because my life has been changed in ways I never thought possible. Without our infertility battle, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Over the past five years, I have been inspired, I’ve grown as a mother, a wife and friend. I have made friends with others also traveling down a similar road, and for all of that, I am grateful.

My husband and I are even more grateful for the miracle son that we do have. He might be our only child, and we are so thankful for have him. He is our light through our darkest hours.

Would our lives be easier without our infertility? Absolutely! Would we have more money? Yes! Would there be less heartache and tears? You bet! Without our infertility, Jason and I wouldn’t have a story to share with others. We wouldn’t be helping all those who we’re helping. We wouldn’t inspire others to keep pushing on even when times are hard. More importantly, infertility has shaped our marriage. It’s made us stronger, it’s made us more close and there is a love there that I cannot even adequately describe how powerful it is.

Fortunately for us, we have amazing family and friends who are encouraging and supportive, and we’ll forever be thankful for them. We are thankful for each other. We have never pushed blame, passed judgement or let our infertility ruin our relationship with each other. Sure, we’ve had arguments and voiced frustrations, but we stand hand-in-hand walking on this journey together.

Trust me when I say that being thankful when you’re hurting all the time is hard-it’s damn near impossible. Life can be so unfair. The holidays can be so tough for those experiencing infertility and child loss. My heart breaks for all those on a similar path. What’s important is that we all understand that we have our significant other, our family and friends and God who is all continuing to root, encourage and support us.

I’m grateful that infertility has introduced me to something I’m so incredibly passionate about. I have a passion to share our story with others in hopes of helping others. I have found my purpose, my spiritual gifts handed to me by the big man upstairs. I hope through our heartache, I’m able to comfort and help others.

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Here are a few other specific things I’m thankful for:

Thankful for Jason:

I am so incredibly thankful for my husband. We have been through absolute hell and back, and instead of our misfortunes breaking our marriage apart, it’s brought us closer. We are stronger because of all that we have been through. We still bicker and have our moments, but we will always have each other’s backs. We will always be there for each other. These past few weeks and months have been the worst of our lives–with a failed IVF followed by a miscarriage–but I am so fortunate that he has been there through it all. I’m not sure I could go through it all without him.

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Thankful for Braxton:

I am so thankful for our miracle son, Braxton. We tried for two years with this guy and he was so worth it. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me–to my husband and I. He is so funny, so smart and such an adventurous kid. I seriously had no idea how motherhood would change me, and I’ll be forever grateful to be his momma.

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Thankful for family and friends:

I’m thankful for my family who has been there for Jason and I as we battle infertility. They’ve been there to encourage us through treatment and comfort us when we experience heartache. They’ve been there for us when we needed them most.
The same thing goes out to our friends. I cannot even begin to describe the support system we have through our friends. They’ve been there to encourage us and they’ve been there with us to mourn. They care, and we are so fortunate for all the text messages and phone calls we’ve received the past few weeks.

Thankful for Jesus:

Lastly, I am thankful for Jesus. There have been times when it’s been difficult to not question my faith only because of all the heartache my husband and I have experienced the past five years. He has picked me up when I have fallen to my knees. He has listened to my broken heart, my tears and my prayers and even though my prayers haven’t been answered yet as far as having another child, I have faith that he will heal my womb and give us another child in His time. I was lost before I truly dove into my faith, and He has filled a gap that had lied dormant for so long. He will not fail me.

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I am thankful this Thanksgiving because of what I DO have. I have an incredible husband and amazing son. We have supportive family and friends, our health (overall), careers and a house over our head.

I hope that we can all keep those struggling with infertility in our thoughts and prayers this Thanksgiving. Infertility is always painful but it can be amplified around the holiday season. Let’s be mindful and caring towards them, and continue to keep them in our prayers. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May you have a blessed day with those that mean the most!

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It’s the kind of heartache you can feel in your bones.

Nothing can explain the pure excitement we had upon seeing two positive pregnancy tests 9 days after our transfer. There were tears. We were in disbelief. We were beyond excited and had already started discussing next steps. When would we be moving Braxton to a big boy bed and room to use his nursery furniture for the baby? When were we going to tell our friends and family? We were already counting down the days to our first ultrasound.

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Monday morning we got the call that our beta test also came back positive, but that our hcg level was low at only 14. Our hcg levels had to increase substantially for it to be a viable pregnancy and for it not to end in miscarriage. I have never prayed as hard as I have prayed and cried as much as I have cried, until Wednesday morning when we redid our beta test. Our beta test showed the hcg level had dropped to 6 meaning that we were experiencing a miscarriage. Even our urine test slowly showed the hcg’s demise, as the second line grew more faint with each test.

Nothing can prepare you to hear those words. We were pregnant, but we were miscarrying. I was losing our miracle and there was absolutely nothing myself or Jason could do about it. I had kind of prepared myself for the devastating news because even I knew that 14 was a low number.

We are not only 1 in 8 couples who will experience infertility, but we are now 1 in 4 who will experience unexplained miscarriage. The statistics are really stacking up against us, huh?

I sat on my couch crying, in disbelief absolutely heartbroken. All I wanted was Jason to be there by my side, but a part of me was glad he wasn’t so I didn’t have to see the heartbreak he would also be experiencing. I tried to gather myself before picking up the phone to break the news. I called, but got no answer. In that moment, I was relieved because for a few more minutes all that he knew was that we were pregnant. When he called back shortly after, he knew. Our conversation was brief, because there is really nothing that we can say to make this devastating news easier to comprehend or even accept.

We are broken. We are devastated. We are crushed.

Just as quickly as we were pregnant, we suddenly weren’t.

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We went into our Frozen Embryo Transfer procedure on November 2nd feeling extremely optimistic. Not only had all 3 embryo’s survived the thawing process, but the process went smoothly. Jason slightly rearranged his schedule so that I could fully rest and take it easy for the first 48 hours following our procedure. We had such high hopes. We were doing everything right. We had tons and tons of people praying for us. I experienced the holy spirit spreading through my body only days earlier giving me so much hope. This was going to work.

But it didn’t.

We are right back to square one, but it’s worse this time because our treatment worked. We had gotten pregnant.

We are so incredibly devastated. I cannot help but blame myself, because yet again, all my body had to do was carry our embryos. I know people tell me not too, but I challenge them to try and understand everything my body went through to prepare for this unfortunate outcome. My body is riddled with bruises. My hormones are all over the place. The headaches haven’t stopped. The discomfort I experience when lying down from all of the shots still exist. The emptiness I’m feeling now, more than ever, is overwhelming.

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I have shed many tears. I have sat in silence trying to comprehend why this painful journey ended in heartache, yet again. I continue to pray asking Him for strength. I continue asking Him for clarity and for explanation. Clarity and explanation I might never receive.

This past weekend, Jason and I were able to escape from reality, and we headed up North to Petoskey to visit some family. It was nice being able to forget about the sorrow I had in my heart for a few minutes, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t break down in tears a few times. I was dreading our final beta test that was scheduled for this morning, and even though the numbers were bad, I still held on to some hope. We both did.

The test was negative. We are officially no longer pregnant. We have officially miscarried.

The next few days, weeks and months will be particularly difficult as we had pictured it being so differently only days earlier. I ask that you continue praying for us. Continue praying for our faith, our strength and for a miracle. Pray for our little boy who has seen his parents both break down in tears. Pray for all those who experience infertility and miscarriage.

I am forever grateful for our son. He is the light through all the darkness. The laughter when there are tears and our joy when there is sadness.

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If you feel compelled to help, we do have a GoFundMe account. If we continue treatment, any little bit will help us: https://www.gofundme.com/seekingbaby-2?ssid=812763758&pos=1

 

 

Frozen Embryo Transfer- Our Wait is Nearly Over

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Well friends, our (not quite) two week wait is nearly over, and I’ll just say it’s been one of the hardest waits of our life. Sure, 9 months is a much longer wait, but when you’ve been trying for another 2+ years for a child, that time ticks by so slow. As the final hours click down to Monday morning, there are a few things I would like to say on behalf of my husband and I.

First off, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us. Our family and friends have been praying every day for us and continually checking in on us. My bible study ladies have been praying for us every week as well as my storytellers group through church. God has placed all of these Godly women into my life when I have needed them most. I’ve experienced so much growth and healing since meeting with these ladies, and I’ll be forever thankful for their prayers and wishes. To all my blog followers, thank you for following along on our infertility journey. I don’t know who you all are, but I can feel the prayers pouring in. I have shared with my husband the prayers, scripture and wishes that you all have shared with me!

Secondly, I’d like to thank my husband. He has helped give me my progesterone shots nearly every night for almost a month. I know that he hates having to see me go through the pain from those shots, but I’m thankful that he has helped make it a bit easier. It’s hard for him too, especially because he hates needles-and lets be honest, this needle is not little. He has put up with mood swings and exhaustion, and I’m so thankful he has been by my side for every minute of it.

Lastly, I hope you all will understand that we will not be sharing the results of our blood results this time around. At least not for a while. We will need time to process the results regardless of the outcome. We ask that you give us a bit of privacy for a while as we work through this next season, whatever it may be. We will share the results when the time is right. We ask for continued prayers.

Until then, thank you thank you thank you again for all of the prayers and wishes. You guys are all amazing, and it’s because of you all that this journey has been some-what bearable.

 

Photo Credit: Rachel Crowe

7 Days Post FET

It’s been ONE week since our Frozen Embryo Transfer. One week since 3 beautiful embryos were transferred with hopes of one or all of them staying for the long haul of 9 months.

It’s been one heck of a week and so much has been going on which has helped-to an extent- to keep my mind off of wanting to google every symptom I’m experiencing. I have continue to connect with others who are struggling with infertility, and I have found comfort knowing that my husband and I are not alone. We will never be along in this journey. Sadly, there are an incredibly large amount of people struggling with infertility. Some have struggled longer and much harder than us, while others are so new on their journey. I pray for all those on a similar journey that they experience a miracle, that they experience healing and stand in unwavering faith throughout their journey. I know, firsthand, that it’s not going to be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

Regardless of what the blood test reveals, this entire experience has been so incredibly humbling despite being so devastating.  Jason and I do not take our son for granted. He is surely our miracle. He is going through the terrible twos, so there is no question that frustration and raised voices go hand in hand with that at times, but even on the most trying of days, we are reminded and humbled that he is ours. We cannot imagine life without him. We’ve also started to accept that he might be out only child, which is why it’s even more important for us to be the best of parents that we can be for him.

As we continue to pray for a successful FET, we also thank GOD for all He has given us and will continue giving us in the future.

I ask those that have been following our to continue praying for us, and I will pray for you.

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