Friday, June 26, 2009

you make all things work together for my good

Sorry it was a week of no posts. I was pretty out of it at home on the couch. And it was kind of hard to think up words to say when Brian and I are just holding on trying not to be too anxious or panic. So I will just go ahead and start from the Friday of the embryo transfer.

Here is the story of two little embryos, aka The Hege Eggies.
Aww, look at them! Aren't they cute? For those of you who aren't used to deciphering ultrasounds, the little white arrow is pointing to the fluid sack that has both embryos floating in it. This picture was taken as they were inserting the embryos in my uterus.

The Hege Eggies spent all week growing into big strong eggs...super hero eggs if you will. Special thanks to my friend Ellie who is the craftiest, most creative person on the entire earth. Who whouldn't want to get these in the mail?

The little Hege Eggies grew and grew all week long, floating around for a place to implant and grow....and apparently, THEY FOUND IT!!!This was taken on Friday at 7dp5dt (7 days post a 5 day transfer) which in human speak is 3 weeks 5 days pregnant. On Friday, my pregnancy blood test beta number was 125. Anything higher than 25 means you are pregnant! Today (4 weeks pregnant), my pregnancy blood test beta number was 351. You want it to double every 2-3 days, so we are more than on track!

I am flying to Chicago on Tuesday for my pre-scheduled pregnancy test with the clinic who did our IVF. They will check our numbers again and then I will be done with Chicago! Yay! Then we will be transferred back to our clinic here at UNC for all my prenatal care. We will have an ultrasound in about a week where we will start to get an idea of how many little Heges are in there. It won't be the final count, which will come at another ultrasound in a couple of weeks when we see the heartbeats, but we are excited nonetheless.

We just want to say how thankful we are to everyone who has helped us on this journey. We could not be more ecstatic and we can't wait to share that emotion with all our friends. Look out for another post this week with our fun stories about telling our parents last weekend!

Expect to have hope rekindled.
Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways.
The dry seasons in life do not last.
The spring rains will come again.
~Sarah Ban Breathnack

Thursday, June 18, 2009

buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks

Our time in Chicago is coming to a close! We have our transfer tomorrow at 9:20am CT and could not be more excited about it. As of today, all 15 embryos are still dividing...over-achievers from conception that they are. The doctors will spend today grading them (study hard guys!) and select the best two for the transfer. All others will become little Hege icicle-babies, frozen for later. Doesn't that just make you want to knit a pea sized little blanket for them??

We have had a great week in Chicago and loved our "summer vacation" together. Tuesday night we got to have our fancy date night out at the Signature Room at the top of the Sears Tower...all 95 stories up. It was so fun to get dressed up and eat some yummy food. On Wednesday we got to take in the greatest sight seeing trip of all...a Cubs baseball game! It was a sold out crowd at the Cubs vs White Sox and we had an awesome time eating hot dogs, yelling at the teams, and enjoying a day outside.

Tonight we pack up and get the car all ready. After we drive into the city tomorrow and have our embryo transfer, we will hit the road. Which will entail Brian driving to Kentucky (or around there) and me laying down, not making any sudden movements. We'll stop halfway home for the night and then arrive back in NC on Saturday. Can't wait to catch up with all our family and friends and bask in the NC sunshine.

Chicago, Chicago that toddling town
Chicago, Chicago I'll show you around
Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in Chicago
The town that billy's Sunday could not shut down
~"Chicago" by Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

we're going to pump you up

Great news from Chicago! The retrieval went well on Monday and they retrieved 19 eggs! The surgery went great and I didn't have any complications. Brian had flown in the night before and I can't tell you the relief to have him here with me. Yesterday we were told that 15 out of the 19 eggs were fertilized and as of today (Tuesday) all 15 are still growing and dividing! This is very rare, as usually some of them have already been voted off the island by this point in the game. I guess our little Hege embryos are just too big and strong...

That means that we will let them continue to be big kids and grow in the lab until Friday, when they will tranfer the prettiest two back into my uterus. Where they can be all cudly and warm. Yay! Thank you everyone for all your prayers. I love getting all the emails and texts and it really helps keep our hearts in the right place to know we are covered in prayer from coast to coast.

This week is now for relaxing and healing from Sunday's procedure. My mom left yesterday and is safe and sound back in NC. We were so glad she could be here to take care of me over the last 2 weeks! Tonight we have our fancy date night at the Signature Room at the top of the Sears tower. Then we're hoping to snag some tickets to tomorrow's Cubs vs. White Sox game.

I'll try to post an update on Thursday to let everyone know what time Friday's procedure will be. After which, we're hitting the road back to NC. On the road again...

It was the tiniest thing
I ever decided to put my whole life into.
~Terri Guillemets

Saturday, June 13, 2009

if i could talk to the animals

The last couple of days we have been taking it easy and winding down as my meds make me more and more tired. We did have a BEAUTIFUL day yesterday where it was sunny the whole day...yes in fact, the entire day. We headed straight for the Lincoln Park Zoo, right in the middle of the city. Who better to spend our sunny day with than some new friends?
We also have a new favorite friend; her name is Geneva. Just like the town we visited! That is because she hails from said Geneva and is our new mascot. We thought we needed someone to represent this trip. It was cold the other day (as you can see by her scarf in this picture), so we went to the movies to see "My Life in Ruins" which was a cute girl movie. We have been so glad to have this great girl time, which we don't often get to have back at home.

Well, it is almost time for the nesting to end, as tomorrow is our egg retrieval day! Yay! Brian is flying up to Chicago as I type and I am so excited to see him. We were so glad he got one last day in NC, as today was his brother's high school graduation. Congratulations Patrick! We are so proud of you!

So tomorrow we will head to our IVF center in Chicago at 7am for our 8am retrieval. They are hoping they will retrieve at least 10 eggs, if not more. Then they will be fertilized tomorrow afternoon and start growing! We should know on Monday how many were fertilized and I will post then. Hopefully they will grow in a little hormone bath (too bad I don't have any mini bath salts) for five days and then the strongest two will be implanted back in my uterus on on Friday. My doctor calls this time the embryo beauty pageant. Please keep us in your prayers tomorrow at 8am (central time) that the doctor be skilled, the scientists in the lab that are fertilizing the egg have God with them as they fertilize them, and that the embryos grow healthy and strong.

Before I formed you in your mother's womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.
~Jeremiah 1:5

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

good day sunshine

It was a day of international in a visit to Geneva (Illinois...not Switzerland) and Sweden (by way of Ikea). Thank you Jesus that it finally warmed up today! And by warmed up, I mean it was high 60's. Even still, we spent as much time as possible in the sun, pretending it felt more like 80's.

Today we travelled to Geneva, IL for a little day trip to this cute touristy town. We shopped in tons of adorable little boutiques, and FINALLY got to sit in the sun at lunch time! Yay! It was great just to hang out and have some fun mother/daughter time. And for all your "Prison Break" fans, Geneva sits right on Fox River.

Yes, the same Fox River that the original prison in the show was named after. Apparently scenes were filmed right down the river at Joliet Prison. Which we almost visited, but thought that seemed too weird to be visiting a prison on vaca...but I guess when you've already hung out at a historic community activism museum and with Sue the T-Rex, that wouldn't be that strange.

We also made a trip to Ikea on the way home. We just wandered for a couple hours and only came out with a wall shelf and magazine rack...I know, unbelievable will power. Doctors appointments are still going well and hopefully we'll find out the retrieval date tomorrow...or as my mom likes to refer to the retrieval procedure, the "easter egg hunt."

Rivers know this: there is no hurry.
We shall get there some day.
~Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

cluck cluck

I wanted to do a little post about how all the medical stuff has been going. You know, the real reason for this extended vaca in Chicago. Everything has been going great! As of yesterday (Monday) they said I have 21 big eggs and lots of little ones growing. My nurse this morning was making fun of even my ovaries being overachievers.

I am continuing to take shots to grow the eggs and probably will through this weekend. We are still waiting to find out when my procedures will be, which will determine when Brian comes up. I hope its soon cause I miss him a lot. And he is being so brave, keeping up our life in NC even though I know he wants to be here for all the pre-appointments.

The medicine's main side effect is to make me really sleepy. Like abnormal need for naps sleepy. So in real life I get about 7 hours of sleep a night. Here in Chicago, I get 8-10 hours of sleep. And require a 2+ hour nap every afternoon. So my mom tucks me into bed after I fall apart in the afternoon for nap time. She keeps saying I am like a little hen nesting on all my eggs.

Other than that, I have had a few emotional outbursts. Like stomping my feet in Walmart, demanding a diet coke, and bursting into tears because there were so many "annoying people with ugly clothes" in my way. For real. I think God is laughing because he knows this whole scene will replay in about 3 years. When I am the one with the irrational toddler. And God will laugh then too.

The only thing that ever sat its way
to success was a hen.
~Sarah Brown

sue, the t-rex

Katelyn arrived in Chicago on Friday and we had a busy, awesome weekend, hence the lack of posts. What can I say...we were just to busy having fun to sit around at Starbucks! Saturday, we hit the town running...or considering my current energy level, we hit the town meandering, stopping often for rests.

had a doctor's appointment in downtown Chicago early Saturday morning (hey 8am IS early when you're on a permanent vacation), so we were up and out the door. We spent the day shopping "The Miracle Mile" and trying on lots of clothes at H&M, Filene's Basement, and Nordstrom Rack. The day just seemed to get colder and more cloudy as it went on, so we stopped for an extended lunch at Elephant & Castle, a fun little Irish pub.

We spent the afternoon napping (as all my afternoons now are spent) and then had a fun girls night out on Saturday, having a wonderful dinner and enjoying a jazz band at Pete Miller's in Evanston. Sunday, we slept in a little and enjoyed some nice girl before we packed Katelyn up and spent the day at the Field Museum. Okay, so before you start your rash judgements about what losers we are for being in a great town like Chicago and spending a day at a museum, let me tell you a little something...the Field Museum is awesome! Even if you're not a dork like me who had book reading contests every summer...competing with myself.

The Field Museum has tons of great exhibits about ancient Egypt, including real mummies. And lots of exhibits about past civilizations and...Sue, the T-Rex! Sue is the biggest and most complete t-rex skeleton they have ever found. And she was found in South Dakota...who knew?

After spending some QT (quality time) with our new friend Sue, we dropped Katelyn off at the airport for a Sunday night flight home. But God had another plan...her flight got cancelled so she could spend one more evening with us! Well, technically because of mechanical problems, but that's God code for more girl time. We finally dropped Kates off on Monday morning and then spent the rest of the rainy, cold day in bed watching quality cinema like "Sex and the City: The Movie."

A girl should be two things:
classy and fabulous.
~Coco Chanel

Thursday, June 4, 2009

in chicago, chicago my home town

This week in Chicago has been such a blessed, wonderful introduction to our new city. On Wednesday we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to "start" our week. I had my first doctor's appointment on Wednesday morning and everything looked great! We spent the day meeting with Al and Sandy, our amazing new "family" who is letting us stay at their place. We had a great time grabbing lunch and getting to know them.

That afternoon we settled into our new home away from home and got familiar with Northfield, the cute little town where we are staying. We are meeting so many wonderful, new friends in Christ, like Laurie who lives near our condo, and gave me such encouraging words in our time together on Tuesday. I also got a chance to catch up on all the news back in NC from Brian, who is being such an awesome husband, supporting and praying from home. He had a great week at his new branch and is taking such good care of our puppies, our home, and even keeping our home group up to date.

Thursday was finally a time to relax and start settling in. I started my medicine on Wednesday night, so I wanted to take it easy and take our time this morning. We drove into Chicago and had a great time visiting Hull House, the site of the first "social worker", Jane Addams. My mom totally kept up as her activist daughter pulled her around the museum.

We then drove into downtown for a wonderful lunch and shopping trip at Fox & Obel, a great little marketplace. After eating some fresh brie and pasta, we were good to go. We took a great walk around the Navy Pier, checking out all the fun people and sights to see. We will definitely need to walk around some more when it is not so cold. Speaking of, even though these pictures look sunny, looks can be deceiving! See those silly NC/CA girls in flip flops? All the Chicago people were laughing as they bundled up in the 51 degree, windy weather.

May the God of hope fill you with
all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~Romans 15:13

on the road again

We made it! What a blessed, peaceful roadtrip. Both my mom and I hate being in the car for long periods of time...and God provided by making this 15 hour trip seem like the most calm, quick moving day ever.

We made it up through Winston-Salem, NC with no problems, moving quickly into Virginia. After a rousing game of auto bingo, we stopped for lunch in Abington, VA. What a cute little town! In fact, I had fallen asleep for a minute and was so confused when we stopped because it looked so much like Boone, NC.
Then we were back on the road up through the VA mountains and into Kentucky. We loved driving through the horse country in KY, with huge beautiful farms and prancing horses. As the afternoon drew closed, we stopped in Jeffersonville, Indiana for lunch with Gene. Gene was my mom's next door neighbor all growing up and still lives in the house next to my mom's childhood home. What a great time to hear fun stories and catch up with old friends!

After leaving Jeffersonville, we were back on the road for a last portion of Monday's trip! We made it into Zionsville, Indiana late, late on Monday night to our friends Connie and Mark's.

Connie, Mark, and their girls Claudia, Hilary, and Meredith used to live across the street from us in NC. When they moved back to Indiana, we were all so sad to see them go. What a treat to get to catch up with them and see their life in Indiana! We had a great night's sleep, waking up just in time to see Claudia and Hilary before they jumped on the bus. Then we were off to a wonderful lunch in downtown Zionsville with Connie and her youngest, Meredith. We had a fabulous day of beautiful garden lunches, shopping at fun girl stories with Meredith, and doing some "big girl" shopping at Anthropologie and Gap once we dropped Meredith off at kindergarten.

We hated to say goodbye to this wonderful family but hope to see them again soon! We made it back on the road and into to Chicago on Tuesday night, where we grabbed a wonderful seafood dinner, and promptly crashed into our warm hotel beds.
Like all great travellers,
I have seen more than I remember,
and remember more than I have seen.
~Benjamin Disraeli