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

Friday, May 5, 2017

Izzy's 2nd Birthday: Photos

In February our precious Isabel Grace turned 2! 


So thankful for our girl & her life! She is the best gift.











We love you forever Izzy! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

National Infertility Awareness Week: Our Hope Is In Him

As National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close, I wanted to thank all of you for all the love & support you've sent my way this wk & over the past 3 years as I've shared my heart here. 

Infertility has taken a lot from me, but it has also given me so much...my babies, strengthened faith, a heart for adoption & empathy for others walking through infertility. As hard as this journey has been, I wouldn't change a second of it because it brought us our greatest gifts, Isabel & Noah! They are beyond worth every second of the pain, wait & process it took to find them! They are my heart...it's my dream come true & greatest joy to spend my life loving them.



I'm grateful for the Lord's plan & His faithfulness to me. Infertility is a part of our story, but it doesn't define us. Our hope & identity is in Him! We are hopeful for what's to come & know He isn't finished writing our story yet! 
We have a fertility appointment this Thursday. After our appointment, I'm going to write a post to update y'all about our test results & what the next steps are. Thanks for your continued prayers. :) Means the world!

With love,
Tyler 

National Infertility Awareness Week: Feeling Down & Encouragement

The past couple of days I've been feeling down. I didn't really want to share BUT I felt like there might be someone else out there today who needed to know it's ok not to be ok...someone else who needed some truth & encouragement. 

A funk has been slowly creeping up on me & yesterday I finally decided to face it head on. I sat in the silence for a while & let myself feel all the emotions I've been trying to avoid. I let the tears roll down my face & buried my head in my hands until the tears stopped. After sitting in that sad, honest space for a while, I spent time in prayer & God's word. I renewed my mind & heart with His promises & chose to hold onto the truth that through Him, I am more than a conqueror. In Him, I have hope & joy that is bigger than my circumstances. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to strengthen & comfort me...to fill me up with peace that surpasses all understanding.


I am so thankful that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I'm thankful on days & weeks when I feel messy & broken, He invites me to come to Him just the way I am. I'm thankful He is a loving father who carries my burdens. I'm thankful through Him, all things are made new. I hope you know you can approach the throne of grace today just as you are. He is waiting so tenderly & patiently for you!

Here are some verses I've been clinging to:
Romans 15:13 
Hebrews 4:14-16 
Romans 12:2 
1 Peter 5:7 
Romans 8:31-39 
Philippians 4:6-8 
2 Corinthians 12:9 
Matthew 11:28-30 
2 Corinthians 5:17 

With love,
Tyler