Month: December 2013

Let it begin…

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Christmas has come and gone, special memories were made in Alaska with the Chuds which I am sure will last a lifetime. They include incredible food, sledding down the family hills, releasing lit lanterns into the night sky, praying, singing and a lot of laughing. We cannot begin to express the deep gratitude in our hearts for every stage of this time back in the states. Each place, each family member and each friend have helped to create an album of moments that we will treasure. As Alaska came to a close we said our goodbyes and yes, there were tears. A sweet mental picture that we have is our nephew and niece sitting up in their beds as we exited to the garage to leave, both of their faces beaming with smiles, priceless!

We flew all through the night to land in Boise, Idaho this morning at 10am. We were greeted by my Papa at the airport. Thank you God that he came through his open-heart surgery so well and is on the road to recovery. He is getting stronger each day and is even sporting a very Mumford-esque beard right now! After a bit of sleep we celebrated Christmas with my parents which was very sweet and reminiscient of my growing up years. We will be heading up to McCall tomorrow afternoon for a few days in the mountains with the Carpenter clan and we are looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Tomorrow is our first in-house meeting at the clinic. Up until this point we have been doing everything by phone. I must admit, I am relieved that we will be seeing these helpful and kind people face to face. I think both of us are at the point of actually feeling excited to get the treatment underway. Much of the reason we are even able to feel excited is this: We have reached our financial target for the treatment cost!!!!!! We can’t fully express how overwhelmed, thankful and humbled we are. Bryan and I are stunned at your generosity. Although there are unforeseen costs that may occur, the stress of the financial burden has been lifted. That fact combined with the amount of prayer coming our way has prepared our hearts, minds and hopefully bodies to begin the treatment once again. So thank you!!!

We have started taking antibiotics but tomorrow begins procedures and injection instructions. Bryan gives his sample, I have an ultrasound, we sign the rest of the papers and then… let it begin. Oh man, that is a scary/exciting thought. Our appointment is at 8:30am so if you are up, have read this by then please pray for the following:

Bryan’s sample

My nerves

Everything to go smoothly

Peace

Once again, thank you for your extreme generosity towards us both by prayer and financial support! I wish I could hold each of your faces in my hands, look you in the eyes and say thank you in person. Although I am pretty sure it would take me years to do that and I would cry my way through most of it.

Abba, thank You for bringing us to this point. Thank You for Your provision through Your children. We are humbled, astonished and overjoyed at the many miraculous ways in which You move on behalf of Your children. We once again lay this dream at Your feet, our lives are Yours. Walk with us tomorrow and in the coming weeks. Amen.

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My head hurts but my heart is full…

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First off I would like to start with an explanation of this picture. World, meet my niece Ava! Ava is a caring, strong and fun little girl who adds so much brightness to our lives. We have 7 nieces and nephews in total + one on the way and we love them all!!! This photo is from Ava’s dance recital in Anchorage. The Chud girls were able to go into town on Saturday for a girlie day and we started it with the performance. We may be biased but we thought Ava was the best dancer, smiled the most and simply lit up the stage! Saturday was one of those ‘normal life’ moments I have come to treasure during this extended time in the states. Soon I will be back in Idaho and making some more normal life moments with my side of the family. Right now I am thankful for it all!

To update you on where we are at with our fertility journey. This past Thursday we received an email from the clinic in Boise granting us 25% off all procedures and treatments!!!!! This doesn’t include meds, labs/bloods or anesthesia but still means they will take off a significant chunk from half of the procedure cost. We are also delighted, overwhelmed and shocked to report that as of right now we have $13,300 committed and $9300 actually in the bank. Some of the money committed will be coming after the new year. We estimated with the clinic that the treatment would cost around $20,000. Now that we have been granted the discount the figure is  closer to $17,500. We cannot believe so many of you have been willing to not only support us through your prayers but also through financial gifts! Thank you from the deep places in us for your outrageous generosity!! Words feel very inadequate to truly express how we feel. Thank you!

The next step is our phone consult tomorrow morning to set up our Plan of Care. As I have explained before this is when we will find out the timeline of treatment. We will be informed of when we will start our drugs, when Bryan will give his sample, when the eggs will be retrieved and when implantation will occur. The schedule is set up but much of it has to do with how my body responds to the drugs. The clinic has already sent us an example plan. It was kind of intense to read over. If I am honest I got a little emotional. Reading through the schedule stirs up something inside of me that feels like a mixture of hope/anxiety/excitement/concern/etc; an emotional cocktail of sorts. It reminds me of our first attempts at achieving pregnancy through ICSI. It reminds me of the shots, ultrasounds, check-ups, uncertainty and the overall feeling of having no physical privacy left. It reminds me that we are going through all of this again in hope that it will work and turn into genuine and legitimate excitement, not just the idea of being excited. It reminds me of the days that followed our two unsuccessful rounds of treatment and the grief and sorrow during those times. It reminds me of the kindness of the staff at the hospital in Belfast who were so kind when I had hyper-stimulation. So many memories.

At church today I had the pleasure of helping lead worship with my husband, two brother-in-laws and a few other musicians. For those of you who don’t know, my brother-in-law Nate is a talented songwriter. He introduced a new song of his this morning called ‘Magnificat’. He wrote the song after being inspired by reading Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-55. Nate asked me to read the passage of Scripture. As I read the passage I nearly lost it emotionally. Read the passage yourself and you will understand why. Verse 31 was where I lost it. This is what it says:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.

The word ‘conceive’ gets me these days. There are so many verses that say something about women conceiving, there wombs being opened and having children. I am in no way comparing myself to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, a worshipped religious figure to many. Yet I find comfort in knowing that Mary conceived her first child in an extraordinary, divine way. I am looking at our experience of treatment as an extraordinary, miraculous opportunity to conceive. I am thankful for modern technology that can hopefully help us achieve our dream of starting our family. Mary had the angel Gabriel, we have angels too in my opinion. They are Dr Slater, Kara, Diane, the rest of the staff at the clinic, our family and friends.

To conclude this post I end with Psalm 27:8, a friend recently encouraged me to read it, thanks Grace.

When You said,”Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

Abba, through all of this, help Bryan and me to seek Your face. It is You we seek. We long to bring You glory and the honor that is due Your name. Take our lives and this journey of having a family and use all of it however You will, but give us You. Amen.

Just normal life.

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Recently the Chud side of our family had a photo-shoot. This has become a bit of a tradition for both sides of our families when we come back to the states since everyone gathers together in one place for a brief window of time. This picture is one of my favourites even though it is probably not the one we will have printed on canvas or framed. I love this picture because it is just normal life. Not a posed moment but one that plays out daily in our marriage. Bryan is the funniest person I know and can make me laugh so hard it hurts. I have been incredibly thankful over the years for this trait in him because he has kept me from crying by making me laugh. When I was growing up my Mom would ask me what I was looking for in my husband, I always said I wanted someone who could make me laugh. I got exactly what I prayed for and I am glad I stuck to my guns because life is more fun with Bryan!

In the process of moving forward with our fertility treatment, the normal life I mentioned earlier occurs. We get up, have coffee, spend time with our families, read, exercise, make dinners, play cards, etc. Most recently though my Dad underwent a very successful open-heart surgery. In no way do I think his operation is normal life but it helps keep things in perspective that there are very real issues, very big problems that surround us. We are not the only drama taking place on the stage of life. So I am thankful for the normal day to day stuff that keeps me present and not running 10 years down the road. This journey of starting treatment again can put you on a fast track down the future lane if you let it. Yet normal life seems to be what keeps my feet firmly planted in thanking God for my daily bread. He has given enough for today and I will thank Him for today. I ask Him to help me handle whatever happens today and I will do the same tomorrow. Today I am thankful for my Dad being so strong and courageous and braving his operation with optimism and determination. Now maybe he can get back to a bit of the normal life that he craves.

For those of you who want to know how things are progressing, this is where we are at: I am still taking birth control. We should be finding out this coming Wednesday if we qualify for the Discount Program the clinic offers which would knock a chunk off the cost of the procedures. We also hope to find out an exact date of when we have to pay for all the treatment as it has to be paid in full on our first day of treatment which has yet to be determined. We have a phone consultation on Monday 16th December to set up my Plan of Care (this will be my schedule of treatment, ie. stimulation drugs,collection dates, implantation dates-much of which will be determined as we go and how my body responds). Right now we also have it in the calendar for Bryan to give his sample on the 27th December that will be used once my eggs are ready to be collected later in January. So that is where we are at right now.

We have felt loved and supported by so many as we have started this cycle of treatment. We have a committed amount of around $5400 right now and have received about $3900. This amount has been made up by the generosity of many and we constantly feel overwhelmed when we pause to think of how many people have invested into us both prayerfully and financially. We won’t stop saying it, THANK YOU!!!