Friday, July 14, 2017

Sarah's Laughter Support Groups, Podcast & Hope Narrative Conference

Last week I attended a Sarah's Laughter Infertility Support group meeting for the first time. It was such an encouragement to me & I only wish I'd started going sooner! If you're in the Baton Rouge area & dealing with infertility, please don't continue to struggle alone. Sarah's Laughter offers support groups for infertility, secondary infertility, adoption, pregnancy after infertility, support for men & they even have an online support group for infertility. All info on support groups can be found on the Sarah's Laughter website: http://www.sarahs-laughter.com
I was so excited to finally meet some of my "online friends" in person for the first time at the support group, especially sweet Melissa! 

Back in January Cary & I had opportunity to sit down & record a podcast with Beth & Jason Forbus (the founders of Sarah's Laughter.) On the podcast, we share our story of infertility, adoption & faith. We get really honest about the devastation of infertility, the struggles we walked through as we adopted & what God has done in our hearts over the past 5 years. I shared the link to our podcast months ago on Instagram & Facebook but I wanted to share it here as well. We pray our podcast will be an encouragement to everyone who hears it: 
There are currently 37 podcasts up on the Sarah's Laughter website, all featuring people who have testimonies about infertility, adoption, loss, brokenness, restoration, hope & faith. What an incredibly valuable resource for our community, right?! 
Y'all be sure to check them out:

Sarah's Laughter sponsors a faith-based Infertility, Adoption & Child Loss conference called the Hope Narrative which will be held here in Baton Rouge, LA on September 16th. This conference is for both men & women. Husbands are welcomed & encouraged to attend, but many women will be there without their husbands as well. 
Cary & I are so excited to be a part of this event! We will speaking about adoption together in a breakout session & Cary will also be leading a men's breakout session on infertility & adoption. If you live in Baton Rouge or surrounding areas (Or anywhere really! We are just a plane flight away) & are struggling through infertility, adoption or child loss, I highly encourage you to attend this conference! My faith-filled friend Caroline, blogger, author of In Due Time devotional & founder of Mom's In The Making ministry, is the keynote speaker & I am pumped to finally get to meet her in person! Caroline's blog: http://in-due-time.com


Conference tickets are on sale now for only $49. You can purchase yours here: Hope Narrative Tickets

 I'll also be giving away a conference ticket on my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/theadventuresofbabyk/ in a few weeks so stay tuned! I know this event is going to be a powerful encouragement to many! 


If you know someone struggling with infertility or walking the rocky road of adoption, please please please pass along these resources to them. This journey is so hard, but having support makes such a difference! 

With love,
Tyler 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Safest Place

Waiting. Hoping. Healing. 
These themes have seemed to repeat themselves over the past few years as we've walked this journey of infertility, adoption & faith.

 "I can feel Him nudging me to loosen my grasp on acceptance & to fix my eyes on hope. I can feel Him opening my heart again to the idea of healing." 
I wrote those words in June of 2015, two years ago. It's taken me a long time to be ready for where we are now... This place of trying for a biological baby after 4.5+ years of infertility & 2 adoptions. God has been so faithful & patient all this time. I know we are right where we are supposed to be.

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Hurry up & wait... 3.5 weeks ago, I had laparoscopic surgery to remove endometriosis. Now that I'm recovered, our doctor has given us the go-ahead to start trying to conceive again. Since then, I've just been waiting & waiting to ovulate. Next will come the 2 week wait. And if we don't conceive, more waiting. After years of infertility, I know the drill. But this time...everything is different.

It seems I've finally come to a place where the trying, the waiting, the hoping & the surrendering are working together. There's an undeniable peace covering me that wasn't with me before. I am surprised by how calm & steadfast my heart has been. It's like the weight of the wait has been lifted from my shoulders. Without a doubt, He is covering me.
Of course, some days, the hard flares up. There are still occasional days when I look in the mirror to see sadness just one blink away from spilling out of my eyes. When these type of days or moments come, I now allow myself the space to feel my emotions freely, then I turn my heart over to the Lord & ask Him to draw me close. Even in the midst of the hard, His peace remains.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7

In addition to peace, I'm also experiencing real hope that we could soon be pregnant.
That may not seem like a big deal, but for me, getting to this place emotionally & spiritually wasn't easy... It still seems too bold to even say it. To proclaim I have hope leaves me exposed, vulnerable. Vulnerable is a state I once fought hard not to be in. But vulnerable is where He is calling me to be... To be vulnerable before Him ushers me into intimacy with Him. So here I am, hoping. 

Before, the months & months of negative pregnancy tests & years of crushed spirits became too much. Pain & disappointment taught me to snuff out the hope before it had a chance to take root in my heart. If I didn't have any hope, it wouldn't hurt as much when it didn't happen, right? So I distanced myself from hope, first by holding it at arms length, then by burying it. I even renamed my lost hope & called it acceptance...anything to find relief from the crushing disappointment of hope deferred. For a time, it was simply easier to live & breathe...to survive...& eventually, to move forward that way. 

This seemed to work for a while, seemed to shield me from the hurt & offer the relief I was so desperate for, but burying my hope came with a price... Bottled up emotions, detachment from the Father, dismissed desires...these things manifested themselves into thoughts & habits which have affected many parts of my life. Infertility consumed me & changed me, even when I distanced myself from it, in ways I am still uncovering. 

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." ~Proverbs 13:12

Adoption brought incredible joy, healing & love back into my life. 
When the Father first spoke the word "adoption" to my heart, the door of my hope was reopened & intimacy with Him restored. With one powerful word, He breathed life back into my broken soul. 
When my Isabel Grace was born, I felt as if I was literally holding the faithfulness of God in my arms. Then Noah Griffin was born, another layer of my grief was peeled back & replaced with joy. It became impossible to deny the Lord's love & perfect plan with my children before me, but still there were wounded parts of my heart only He could heal.
Last Fall I started to feel the Lord bringing a season of change to my heart & to our situation. Winter came, seasonally & spiritually. This is the time I would typically like to bury everything, but instead He used the cold to cut through my defenses & strip me bare. It was there, in the dead of the winter season, where I could see the reach of the decay of infertility. It was there, with my undeniable brokenness exposed, that God met me & whispered, "I am doing a new thing." 
...A word that had been given to us an entire year before. I finally heard & believed it...

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. ~Isaiah 43:19

Since then, the Lord has continued to prune me & press into me. So many dead parts have fallen away & hidden wounds bound, but I know still have a road of emotional healing before me. Instead of burying, I am daily learning I must face the ups & downs that come with this journey of trying to conceive. I knew trying again would mean I have to become vulnerable & stay vulnerable. It hasn't been easy to be back in this place of unpredictability...it requires constant surrender for me to live with my hopes outstretched. 
I often find myself wanting to turn back & hide in the space of disconnect, because it seems safer, less risky. But when my hands tremble, my strength waivers & my hope yearns to flee, thankfully, He is near. He whispers to my heart, "feel, hope, dream, believe." And so, I do. I keep pushing forward, keep grasping for the light, knowing that even in the dark, He is with me. I now know deep down in the unshakeable parts of my faith is that here, vulnerable before Him, is the safest place I could ever be.

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Friends, infertility does change us, but the one thing that never changes is God's love for us. If you're hurting today, let that truth lead you back to Him. 

Thank you for loving us & praying for us as we walk this road. We are believing for "more than we could ever ask for or imagine" - Ephesians 3:20. Will you believe with us?
With love,
Tyler 


"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." ~Psalm 143:8

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What to Expect with Laparoscopic Surgery

If you've been following along with our fertility journey here on our blog & over on our Instagram @theadventuresofbabyk, you know I recently had two laparoscopic surgeries. The first was exploratory to check for endometriosis & the second to remove endometriosis. I was nervous for both, but more so for the first exploratory surgery because I was my first time having surgery since I was eight years old! For me, getting an idea of what to expect, feeling prepared & praying {a lot} is the best way for me to manage my fear & anxiety. Asking questions on social media & hearing about lots of people's experiences gave me great insight into how to prepare! So, if you're nervous & *need* to know what to expect, I totally get it! I'm going to share an overview of both surgeries + give you a list of tips below. I hope sharing my experiences with you helps better prepare you for your own surgery. Just know that recovery varies person to person & surgery to surgery. 

First surgery: 
Exploratory laparoscopy, hysteroscopy & hystersalpingogram to check for endometriosis, as well as check my tubes, uterus & surrounding organs

The day before the surgery I had to do a liquids only diet & bowel prep. 
Not fun, but not as bad as I thought. Once it was time to get started with bowel prep, I needed to be home & near a bathroom for the rest of the day. The evening before the surgery, I felt tired, emotional, overwhelmed & anxious. 
The next morning we arrived at the hospital for 10 a.m. to go over last minute paperwork & get prepped. They took me back to my outpatient room where I undressed & put on the hospital gown + socks. I expected to be freezing, but thankfully there was a heated blanket waiting for me :) A little while later a nurse came in to ask me questions, do bloodwork & put an IV in. After that they called my husband back to the room to sit with me. The waiting was no fun... Surgery was scheduled for 12 p.m., but ended up getting pushed back to 1:30, so I had to wait over 3 hours with my IV in before going back for surgery. I definitely recommend having something with you - book, phone, music to help you pass the time. Listening to worship music helped me stay calm. The anesthesiologist, nurses & my doctor came in & out to go over paperwork & answer any questions. 
Finally it was time to get rolled back. They gave me something to relax me & after that everything got hazy very quickly. I barely remember being rolled into the OR. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. I hadn't given much thought to this part, but it was one of the worst parts of the whole exerperience for me. I was freezing cold, shaking, in pain, everything was blurry & I couldn't talk. Pain meds & warm blankets helped calm me down & after about 20-30 minutes my vision got better & I was able to communicate. Not trying to freak y'all out, just wanted to share because I wish I would have been aware ahead of time what that would be like.
They rolled me back to my room where my husband & doctor were going over the surgery results. My doctor found endometriosis in multiple places at about stage 2.5 & an infection in my uterus. Other than that, my tubes & uterus & other organs looked good. She told us I would have to schedule another surgery to remove the endo & a fibroid. I was really bummed about having to go through it all again, but thankful to have answers after years of pain, wondering & infertility. 
In recovery, as soon as I was feeling good enough to get up to go to the bathroom, nausea hit me. They gave me nausea meds in my IV, which worked well...temporarily. I was in recovery for about 2 hours before being discharged.

sweetest hubby!

Definitely bring pillows & a blanket in the car with you for the ride home. I was so tired from the anetheisa & slept the whole hour long drive home. I also brought something to throw up in - just in case, but thankfully didn't need it in the car. Once I got home I went straight inside to get comfortable in a recliner. We had pillows, blankets & a heating pad ready. I was really tired, but stayed up long enough to eat & take pain meds. I didn't have much appetite & heard it was best to eat light the first few days, so I stuck with chicken soup & crackers for my first meal after surgery. Unfortunately, as soon as the nausea meds wore off I started throwing up...which hurt my incisions & was miserable! The nausea continued through the night {ugh} but thankfully let up by the next morning.
I took pain medicine for first 2 days. I definitely recommend taking meds 
for at least the first 24 hours. You don't want to be miserable & hurting, especially that first night. I was very sore, tired & weak for the first couple of days, but overall, recovery from the first lap wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My husband was home with me Saturday & Sunday. He kept me fed, helped me get up + down, kept track of my medication, etc. He went back to work on Monday & I was fine by myself. By day 4 I felt much better & by day 5 I felt really good physically. Emotionally I was really down & depressed in the days following both surgeries, but thankfully that passed with time. My doctor said that's totally normal, so just wanted to share in case anyone else experiences it. My wonderful in-laws & parents kept + helped with the kids for both surgeries which was so crucial & appreciated! Within a week I was feeling pretty much back to normal besides my incisions needing more time to heal. 3 weeks later I went back for my second surgery.

Second surgery:
Laparoscopic surgery to remove stage 2.5 endometriosis & fibroid 

ready to get the endo out!

Everything was pretty much the same for my second surgery has far as bowel prep & hospital pre-op. I told my doctor about the nausea after the first surgery, so she had the anethesiaologist give me some anti-nausea medicine in the anesthesia & the nurses also put a 72 hour anti-nausea patch on me after surgery. Thankfully those things worked like a charm! 
My second surgery was longer than the first & I ended up being under anesthesia for almost 5 hours. The surgery went as planned & was very successful {so thankful!} 
My doctor used a robot to remove all of the endo & take out the fibroid. My recovery in the hospital wasn't as smooth & quick as the first time. I arrived at the hospital at 5 a.m. (for 7 a.m. surgery) & wasn't discharged until 8 p.m. Longgg day! The hold up was because of my bladder. Before you can be discharged, you have to be able to go to the bathroom on your own. Well, that just wasn't happening for me. Long story short, my bladder was basically still "asleep" from anesthesia. So after about 4+ hours of trying to go on my own & lots of tears, I had to have a catheter put in to drain my bladder...so so fun, y'all {insert all the sarcasm}... Thankfully I was able to be discharged shortly after. 

let's go home! 

Even though my doctor warned me this recovery would be harder & slower, I was shocked by the pain & soreness. With the first surgery I only had 2 incisions, with this surgery I had 5. One through my belly button, two of either side of my belly button & 2 above my hips. I was more swollen & it was much harder to move around this time. I had to do everything -walking, sitting up & down, bending over, getting dressed- slower this time around. Cary was a great help & very sweet through it all. I also was surprised by how exhausted I was & how long it took for my energy to return after second surgery. Even after the kids came home, I {thankfully} still had a lot of help with them during the day because I was extremely tired {like still needing to nap or lie down for a significant part of the day}, dizzy & unable to lift them for the first week-week & a half. It took about 2 weeks for me to get energy back & start feeling "almost normal" both emotionally & physically again. I'm currently at the end of week 3 of recovery & still feeling tired, but other than that I feel good. 


Tips:
  • Car ride home: Be sure to bring a couple pillows & a blanket in the car with you, especially if you have a long ride. I also brought a bowl to throw up in as a pre-caution 
  • What to Wear: I wore the same casual, super soft, loose & flowy dress & oversized cardigan on surgery days. If you wear pants, just make sure they have a soft, stretchy waistline because you will be swollen & tender. Be as comfortable as possible. You could totally wear pjs! 
  • Hospital Bag: Be sure to bring a hospital bag with a change of clothes, chargers & toiletries *just in case* you have to stay overnight
  • Trapped gas: A LOT of people have discomfort from trapped gas because they fill up your abdominal cavity with air during surgery. I was aware to expect gas pain & took preventive measures so thankfully mine wasn't bad either time! To help with trapped gas: Take gas-x, drink ginger/peppermint tea multiple times a day, use heating pad on neck & shoulders & sleep elevated - I made an incline with pillows & slept elevated in our bed first two nights after each surgery. I've heard some people sleep more comfortably in a recliner first couple of nights 
  • Bleeding: I had medium-very light bleeding for 4-5 days after first surgery & 2+ weeks after second surgery. Be sure to stock up on pads
  • Fluids: Drink lots of fluids first few days after surgery
  • Eating: Before your surgery, stock up on some light, easy to digest foods for after surgery. Soups, jello, healthy meals...avoid dairy & greasy foods 
  • Constipation: Pain meds will stop you up. Have stool softeners on hand 
  • Entertainment: I had a few shows & movies lined up to watch after surgery. This gave me something to look forward to & helped passed the time. If there are books you've wanting to read, get them before surgery so you'll be set. It also helped me emotionally to have friends come over to visit the week or two after surgery 
  • Help & Childcare: You are going to need to have someone come stay with you for the first couple days - week. If you have kids you're going to need to have help lined up for the first few days - a week+ depending on how well you're recovering 
  • Other: Be sure to go to the store before surgery to stock up on meds & food. I also recommend washing your sheets & catching up on laundry to ensure sure you have plenty of comfy, stretchy clothes clean 
I've linked a few other blog posts I found about this topic that are informative & helpful:

I am so thankful I found an awesome doctor & was able to have these surgeries done. I am relieved to know the endometriosis is gone! I am hopeful my monthly pain & discomfort will be lessened & my quality of life improved! We are also praying that we will be able to conceive in the next couple of months. 


Thanks for reading! I hope this info was helpful. If this post helps even one person prepare for their own surgery I'll be happy! :) Best of luck, you're going to do great! In my experience & from what I've read, recovery varies greatly person to person & surgery to surgery. Just prepare the best you can, take it one day at a time & be sure to allow yourself to rest! 

With love,
Tyler 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
~Isaiah 41:10

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fertility Update: Surgery Follow Up & TTC

First off, how cute are our babies!? I'll never get over the absolute miracle of these two! Huge thank you to everyone who helped us bring them home! 

Ok, back to the update... ;) 
We had a fertility appointment this week to go over results from my recent laparoscopic surgery. It's been two weeks today since I had surgery. I recovered well & am finally feeling pretty much back to normal. The surgery went very well. All endometriosis, as well as a fibroid, was removed successfully. I am so grateful & relieved to know the endo is gone! Woohoo! Thank you all so much for all the prayers!

{Blog post coming soon about what to expect when having laparoscopic surgery. I've had two now, one exploratory & one to remove endo, & my experiences were different. For me, the anxiety & not knowing what to expect beforehand hand was the worst part. I'll be sharing soon in hopes of helping others better prepare for their own surgeries!} 

Now that the endo is gone & everything else is in motion as far as meds, supplements + diet, we can start trying to conceive again! I thought we were going to have to wait another cycle because of the surgery, so I was really excited to hear we already have the green light from our doctor! Mentally & emotionally, I am so ready to move forward from the testing + surgery stage to start trying again. 



I'll be starting progesterone & continuing to do lab work over the next 6 weeks to make sure all meds are working well. If we haven't conceived in 3 months, we will continue with more testing. Our doctor is so sweet & hopeful for these next couple months. I am too...I feel excited for the first time in years about TTC again. And even if it doesn't happen like we hope, we know we are right where we are supposed to be! 

Thanks so so much for all the love. We appreciate your continued prayers! It feels good not to be in this alone this time around.  



With love,
Tyler 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Noah's 1st Birthday: Photos

Last month, Noah turned ONE!


His party was so much fun. We had a blast celebrating 365 days of loving our precious son! 

Cary & I are so thankful to have loved our boy for an entire year now…feels like a blink & forever all at once. I love watching Noah explore, learn & grow more each day. I love the sweet connection we share & the way he looks up at me with his beautiful brown eyes. I love how cuddly he is when he wakes up & how he puckers his lips so perfectly to give kisses. I love the way he laughs with his sissy & follows her around everywhere. I love this stage & wish he could stay a baby forever…but I'm also excited for year 2 of loving him!











Happy Birthday Noah! 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Birth Mother's Day

Today is recognized as Birth Mother's Day. 
Everyday, but especially this weekend, I carry my children's beautiful birth moms in my heart. I wouldn't be celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow or living out my dream of being a mother everyday if it weren't for these two women & their brave decisions... I am beyond grateful for the loving sacrifice both Izzy & Noah's birth moms made when they chose life, chose adoption & chose us... I am forever humbled & blessed by their decision to entrust the most precious gifts in the world to us... 


I am thankful that God made a way for us all through the option of adoption. In both situations, He knit all of our hearts together in love for the sake of our children...through His grace, we share an incredible, bitter sweet, beauty-from-ashes kind of bond... Together we are motherhood.

Would you join me in lifting up two very special women in prayer today?!

With love,
Tyler 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Loving Waiting Moms on Mother's Day {A Word to the Family, Friends & Churches of the Waiting}

I love celebrating the amazing women & moms in my life every year for Mother's Day! However, after experiencing infertility & adoption, my perspective on this holiday has been forever impacted. I'm now aware that Mother's Day can be a very difficult day for many for a variety of reasons. Today I'm focusing on how to love women walking through infertility or adoption on Mother's Day, but I want y'all to know my heart goes out to everyone who struggles on this day, no matter the reason. I believe we can wholeheartedly celebrate the wonderful mothers in our lives while also being intentional to remember & reach out to those who are hurting on Mother's Day. 

For a woman dealing with infertility or waiting to adopt, Mother's Day can be one of the most painful days of the year. It's a day when everywhere she turns & everywhere she's looks, she's reminded of what she longs most desperately for & despite all of her trying, praying, believing & hoping, she doesn't yet have. It's a day when every emotion she's tried so hard to control often confronts her head on. It's a day she tries so desperately to be strong, when all she really wants to do is crawl back in her bed & cry herself to sleep. It's a day she dreads going to church because as women stand up around her to be honored, she sits forgotten, with shaking hands, a throbbing heart & her head lowered to hide her tears. It's a day when buried questions bubble to the surface of her every thought...
"Why me? Am I unworthy? Do I not have enough faith? Has the Lord forgotten me? How much longer will I have to wait? How many more losses will I have to endure? How many more not yets? Will I ever have what my heart longs most for? Will I ever hold the sacred title of mother?" 

As she spends her day celebrating all the beautiful, wonderful, amazing mothers around her, all she longs for is for her momma heart to be acknowledged too, even in the simplest or smallest of ways. She doesn't want to take away from any mothers' much deserved praise, not one bit...not ever...she's just hurting. She needs to know others, especially those close to her, are praying for her & believing with her for the day all her dreams come true. She needs to be extended grace & understanding if she needs to duck out of the celebrations early or avoid them altogether in an effort to protect her heart. She needs to be reminded that the Lord sees her, loves her & is with her. She needs her church to recognize her struggle, to affirm her strength, to honor her heart & to lift her up in prayer.

Here are a few simple, thoughtful ways for spouses, family & friends to honor a waiting momma on Mother's Day: 
  • A thoughtful note/card/text of encouragement
    • Recognize & honor her momma heart
    • Remind her that she is loved & remembered   
    • Acknowledge her pain, longing & losses 
  • Give her a big hug & tell her, "I love you, I'm praying for you & I'm here for you." 
  • Flowers or a small gift like jewelry, art, bath bombs, candle, journal, plant, chocolate, gift card, etc. It's not the specific gift that matters, it's the thoughtfulness that comes along with it! 
  • If you know someone who's experienced miscarriage or child loss, consider dropping off breakfast & a sweet note at their door the night before Mother's Day 

Easy, meaningful ways the Church can minister to waiting moms on Mother's Day: 
  • Verbally acknowledge that Mother's Day can be a hard day for many & pray for those who are hurting 
  • Include those dealing with infertility, miscarriage, child loss in your prayer intentions
  • When you honor all the moms, also honor the women walking through infertility & adoption 
  • Whatever way you bless moms in your church on Mother's Day, include the waiting moms/moms who have lost babies too
Also, please...
  • Pray for those dealing with infertility or waiting to adopt year round 
  • Recognize & celebrate families built by adoption just as much as you celebrate other families in your church 
  • Offer support groups/resources for those dealing with infertility, child loss & adoption 
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To all the waiting mommas...my heart goes out to you this weekend. Even though I am now momma by adoption to two precious babies, I remember the heartache of Mother's Day like it was yesterday. I hope & pray your friends, family & church make you feel seen, loved & celebrated for your beautiful momma heart this Mother's Day. I hope they tell you this, but just in case they don't: You are already a fantastic momma. Your strength, your determination & your love for your future children is beautiful. 

So this weekend, even if you don't feel seen or celebrated, I want you to know you are. You are honored by me & by the many other women who have walked this road before you. We know firsthand how hard Mother's Day can be when you are still in the wait. We are all holding you in our hearts, lifting you up in prayer & rooting for you. Most importantly, you are seen, loved & celebrated by our Heavenly Father who knows your momma heart better than anyone.

Friend, I know no one but the Lord knows the future...but today I'm hoping & believing on your behalf that one day you will experience beauty from ashes... Oh how I pray your day comes soon! When you hold your child in your arms for the first time, you will be so overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness & perfect timing. On that glorious day, you will understand the reason for your wait in a new way. You will understand redemption in a deeper way. The desperate longing you feel for your babies now will translate into a deep appreciation for the gift of motherhood once your child is in your arms. The absolute miracle of motherhood will never be lost on you. 

Sweet sister, as someone who has stood where you stand, allow me to gently speak some powerful truth to you today...let me remind you that His timing is never late, or early...it's always perfect. He has not forsaken you, He has not forgotten you. He is with you & has gone before you. He has plans for you & a purpose for your wait. He is with you today. He has joy for you today. He has hope for you today. He is enough for you today. I hope you will hold these truths close to your heart this Mother's Day. 

I am praying for your heart this weekend. I'm so sorry you are hurting & grieving. I'm so sorry you are facing trails & walking through this hard season. I'm sorry you haven't received your yes yet. I'll be thinking about you on Sunday as you put on a brave face to celebrate your loved ones. I am praying for your weary heart to be filled with hope today as you set your eyes on the One who makes all things possible! I am believing for your miracle babies & rejoicing for what the Lord has done, is doing & will do in your life. 

Thinking of you & holding you in my heart, 
Tyler 


"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 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fertility Update: Surgery, Results & Moving Forward

If you've been keeping up with our blog & Instagram (@theadventuresofbabyk) posts, you know we've recently started focusing on fertility efforts again. After 4.5 years of infertility & 3 years of taking a break from doctors & treatment, we are now seeing a wonderful doctor trained in Napro technology. I share more about how we got to this point & Napro technology here & here


Getting back into the fertility world makes me even more grateful for our little family! 

Our first appointment with our new doctor was at the beginning of March. Since then we've had lots of testing done to discover the root causes of our infertility. We are ready to move forward past the testing & surgery stage, but we are trying to have patience because we know this part is super important. We are so grateful to finally be getting answers & for a doctor who is thorough. We recently had a fertility appointment to go over test results & make a plan to start addressing all the issues they've found. I wrote this detailed post to update y'all on all the results & let you know what's next! It's super long...but I wanted it to be informative, so hang in there with me. Or don't, that's ok too! ;)

Warning: This post contains words like bleeding, mucus, sperm, etc. Totally TMI, I know. This is the first time I've ever shared the nitty gritty details of our infertility, so don't worry, this feels a bit awkward to me as well! However, over the past 3+ years of sharing about our journey with infertility & adoption we have been shown incredible support. After all the love, prayers & generosity many of you have shown us, we feel like y'all are in this with us! So now that we are getting these long awaited answers, we want to share them with y'all. We appreciate your continued prayers for our family & hope this post will allow you to pray more specifically for wisdom & healing. Also, by continuing to share our story, we are bringing awareness & helping to break the stigma of shame & silence often associated with infertility. 

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2 weeks ago, I had my first exploratory laparoscopic surgery, hysteroscopy & hystersalpingogram to check for endometriosis, as well as check my tubes, uterus & surrounding organs. My doctor found endometriosis at about stage 2.5 - there are 4 stages. This was not surprising based on my years of symptoms - heavy bleeding, horrible chronic/monthly pain, fatigue, bloating, painful cramping, infertility, upset stomach issues, etc - but there's no way to know for sure if you have endometriosis until you have the surgery. 

Thankful for my sweet husband for taking great care of me while I recovered! 
And also for our incredible moms + families who have helped out so much! 

{Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may also develop.}

This Friday, May 12th I'll have another laparoscopic surgery to remove the endometriosis. Hopefully after the endo is removed, I'll should have less monthly pain + symptoms & we will have a better chance of conceiving. Unfortunately, endometriosis is a chronic & often reoccurring condition, even after being removed. We would appreciate your prayers for a success surgery. Please pray that every bit of endometriosis will be removed & for it not to return in the months or years to come. 

The first survey went well & the recovery wasn't as bad as I thought. The anxiety beforehand & not knowing what to expect was the worst part. I'll be writing a blog post about what to expect with a laparoscopic surgery after my next surgery. The recovery for this surgery should be longer because I'll have 5 incisions instead of 2 & they will actually be removing endometriosis & a fibroid, which means I'll have more healing to do. I'm bummed to have to go through the surgery again, especially on Mother's Day weekend, but also more than ready to get this endo out! 

In addition to endometriosis, my surgery, blood results & Creighton Model charting have revealed other issues. Thankfully it seems the issues should all be able to be managed with medicine, supplements & diet. 

My blood test results revealed: 
Thyroid issue- Elevated THS. Treatment: Take medicine (Nature-Throid) to lower it. 

High prolactin- Normal levels for a non-pregnant female should be less than 20. My levels are elevated to 67. We don't know why my prolactin is so elevated but it's been like this for 3.5+ years. I had another MRI last week to rule out tumor on pituitary gland. High prolactin could possibly be connected to high TSH. Symptoms: infertility, lactation, breast tenderness, decreased libido, headaches, acne & more. Treatment: Prolactin can be lowered with prescription medicine. I took Cabergoline a few years ago which worked. I've recently started taking it again. 

Low progesterone resulting in luteal phase defect. 
{The luteal phase is one stage of your menstrual cycle. It occurs after ovulation and before your period starts. During this time, the lining of your uterus normally gets thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy. If you have a luteal phase defect, that lining doesn't grow properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant. A luteal phase defect can happen to you if your ovaries don't release enough progesterone, or if the lining of your uterus doesn't respond to the hormone.} 
A few health issues luteral phase defect is linked to include: endometriosis, thyroid issues, high prolactin (all of which I have) & more. Treatment: I'll start taking a progesterone prescription on specific days of my cycle. Progesterone should also help ease my PMS symptoms, which are intense & start 7-10 days before I start my period every month.  

MTHFR gene mutation -The MTHFR gene mutation can be tough to understand & explain, so I'll just give you the summary: Basically my body can't process or break down folic acid. MTHFR gene mutations are connected to a plethora of health problems, but thankfully the mutation I have is a mild form. Treatment: Managed by avoiding folic acid, anti-inflammatory diet (Paleo), daily baby aspirin, daily methylfolate. I'm taking Thorne pre-natal vitamins because they don't have folic acid. 

Creighton Model Charting showed us:
Limited fertile mucus -Fertile mucus is crucial to conception. Treatment: I'll be starting Mucinex & N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) to help increase fertile mucus. NAC also helps with symptoms of endometriosis. 
Issues with identifying ovulation -Hopefully increasing fertile mucus will allow actual ovulation day to become more clear 

Surgery: 
In addition to finding endometriosis, my surgery also allowed my doctor to see an infection in my uterus that is causing inflammation -Treatment: Cary & I will both take prescription to clear it up. Other than the infection, my tubes were clear & my uterus looked good.

Other supplements my doctor has me on: magnesium & red raspberry leaf. 
In addition to all the medicines & supplements I'll be taking, we are also going to continue our anti-inflammatory diet (gluten, grain, diary & refined sugar free). I have also cut out alcohol & am about to attempt to go caffeine free. I started the diet less than 2 months ago & I've already lost 9 lbs. My cycles have also been slightly less painful with less bloating since starting Paleo. It's been challenging, but I'm thankful I am already seen positive changes. Anti-inflammatory is recommended to help manage symptoms from endometriosis. 

Now moving on to Cary's results...
When we originally had fertility testing done 3.5 years ago, we discovered Cary has a condition called teratospermia. {Teratospermia, also known as teratozoospermia is a condition characterized by the presence of sperm with abnormal morphology that affects fertility in males.} 
There are three categories of teratospermia, Cary's results over the past couple of years show he falls into the severe category at 2% normal morphology. His most recent SA result showed 3% normal morphology. Our doctor has recommended supplements for him to take (Vitamin C, Pycnogenol, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Maca root & Multi-Vitamin). He is also doing the anti-inflammatory diet. In a few months, we will do another analysis & see if there's any improvement. If not, we will do further digging & testing to see what could be causing it, although causes are sometimes unknown or hard to determine. Years ago, Cary did have a varicocele removed. A varicocele can cause teratospermia. Our doctor told us she has had patients with teratospermia conceive (without the help of IUI or IVF because Napro doctors don't use those treatment methods) which is encouraging.

On one hand it's frustrating to know we are dealing with multiple issues...on the other hand, the more problems we are aware of the more we can address! We are thankful to finally be getting answers after years of wondering & thankful that we finally are on the path to treating these issues. 

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I want to close by asking y'all to keep us in your prayers. We'd appreciate your continued prayers for healing, for wisdom for our doctor, for all the medicines + supplements we are taking to work properly & for limited side effects! Also, I've been having horrible headaches the past 2 weeks. I would really appreciate prayers for my headaches to ease up. Please pray all goes well with my surgery this week. We would love prayers for our hearts & our emotions as we continue to move forward. 

We know the Lord is the giver of life. We know every pregnancy is a miracle. We believe He is a Healer & we continue to pray for healing. Scripture is full of faithful, God loving people who dealt with infertility. It even says in scripture that God closed Hannah's womb for years (1 Samuel 1). Elizabeth was older & barren yet God gave her a son at the appointed time (Luke 1). Sarah was beyond the age of child bearing years yet God fulfilled His promise to give her a child & make her descendants as numerous as the stars (Genesis 17).
We trust that God has a perfect purpose in our wait. We trust He is using our story to put His love & glory on display. Whether or not we ever conceive, we will continue to proclaim God's goodness & find our hope in Him. 

Every day when I look at Izzy & Noah, I see two beautiful examples of God's faithfulness looking back at me! My children are walking miracles & the joy of my life. As painful & hard is infertility is, I am thankful for how the Lord is orchestrating our story. Thanks for following along & loving us so well through it all! 






With love, 
Tyler