She laughs without fear of the future.

Life sure can throw a lot of storms your way.  We’ve been thrown some crazy curve balls in our marriage (as everyone does in different ways), but God has never let us down.  I could list example after example after example where God has taken care of us in ways that we never could have imagined.  Stress about money?  Bonus comes through for work or re-enlistment covers our entire $10k+ IVF cycle for our babies.  Stressing about finally getting to apply to flight school?  Picked up first round go and one of the first classes to EVER have the availability number of his dream aircraft (the hardest helicopter to get in the Army).  Terrified of not being able to have kids after 3 failed rounds of infertility treatments?  First round success of IVF with strong, healthy miracle twins!

So why do I have moments where the fear seems to overwhelm and swallow me whole?  Why do I stress about things that are beyond my control, but are the deepest desires of my heart?

I try not to be terrified that I won’t get to bring my 4 waiting embabies home.  What if my Graves’ disease keeps me from being able to conceive again or carry to term?  What if I can’t get pregnant before we PCS and we are sent OCONUS and I can’t get back for another transfer?  Will we finally have a duty station of our dreams and get back up North or OCONUS?  This verse hung in my bathroom in Savannah and I prayed it and believed it every day of our fertility treatments.  I’m believing it once again!

“He gives the barren woman a home, He makes her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the Lord!” Psalm 113:9

We wrestle not against flesh and blood and the devil sure knows my weaknesses.  The most important thing in the world to me has always been family.  That’s no secret and I can’t even turn my back and pretend that it’s not true.  So where does he attack me?  Loneliness in waiting for my dream husband to come along.  Infertility, Secondary Infertility, distant family abandonment.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 6-8

I refuse to let him win.  I’m still human, but I believe that my God is bigger than all of this.  I have to pray and have faith that He can turn situations around for His benefit.  If hearts will not allow that, then I pray He heals me, my husband, and my kids’ hearts and fills that void with His love.

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”  Psalm 27:10

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“When you’ve done everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

I know that I NEVER tire of my kids wanting me and needing me.  I want to give them all of the desires of their hearts, so how much more does God desire to help us through all that we’re up against?  He’s already performed so many miracles in our lives.  He has been so faithful to us in everything, so who am I to ever doubt Him?  My flesh is weak, but I know He’s in control!  Praying His words over our lives!

~Melissa G.

Praying for baby(ies) Grim…again

When you experience infertility (or miscarriages), it never leaves you.  Even after you have babies those thoughts and feelings can still resurface and sometimes continuing to complete your family is just as difficult the second time around.  We believed once we beat it and had 4 embabies waiting for us, that we might get blessed for this next round to be a bit easier.  Unfortunately, we’ve hit some new roadblocks.  Throw in a life in the military and it becomes a tad more complicated.

With Ryan in flight school and unable to take any leave (he has over a month saved up at this point), the scheduling to have another baby (or two) has been interesting, to say the least.  We should be PCS-ing again (we won’t find out where until August/September time frame) sometime after the new year pending him not hitting any “bubbles” in his training schedule.  I couldn’t be too far along or just had a baby.  However, we do have to travel to Savannah, GA where our embabies are frozen, so I have to be pregnant prior to us leaving Fort Rucker. If the first transfer doesn’t work and we lose the babies, we’ll have to transfer our last embabies and travel from wherever we’re stationed after here.

We were able to get everything planned and scheduled and all of my drugs had arrived!  I went to my OB/GYN on post for some preliminary testing to make sure that my body was set for the transfer, but we discovered a few abnormalities on my lab work.  My RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) from Savannah ran some of his own labs and my PCM doctor here ran some as well.  We discovered that I have Graves’ disease causing Hyperthyroidism.  Graves is an autoimmune disease attacking your thyroid making it go into overdrive. After speaking to my RE and doing some of my own research, I was devastated to learn that this can make it impossible to get pregnant and carry to term without the proper treatment.  I let myself grieve for another day once our transfer was put on hold once more.

I received a referral for a local endocrinologist and, after speaking to them, discovered that they couldn’t get me in until September!  I may have cried again. 😦  My RE sent over a special request with his series of lab tests and through much prayer I received a call that they could get me in at the beginning of June.

My endo spent an hour going over my 3 options moving forward. And This past week I went for a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Scan to confirm the diagnosis of Graves. The options going forward are:

1) Radioactive Iodine to kill my thyroid. This would keep me quarantined for about a week away from my babies (Just NO!). Plus I couldn’t get pregnant for 6-12 months after undergoing this treatment.

2) Anti-thyroid meds. These cross the placenta and can be very dangerous during pregnancy. There is some research stating this can be rare, but they can cause birth defects and thyroid problems for the baby. My RE has said he won’t allow me to do an Embryo Transfer on the meds or within months of taking them.

3) Thyroidectomy. 97% of the time goes smoothly, but I’ll need hormone replacement for life. 1-3% of the time it can damage your larynx and/or your parathyroid depending upon my anatomy and how invasive the surgery ends up. After that I’ll instantly become hypothyroid and will need to have my hormones regulated before we can do the transfer. However, hopefully we can pregnant possibly within 2-3 months.

Finally, on a smaller note: He thinks the reason I haven’t been able to lose weight is also due to sleep apnea. So I have to do a sleep study. Not a big deal, but I HATE being away from my babies!

I now have an appt with a surgeon to schedule a Thyroidectomy, which Ryan and I feel like is the best option going forward. I’m a little nervous to literally have my life depend on a little pill forever and for the surgery itself. However, I’m confident that we’ve made the correct decision and I’m ready to finally feel normal again and to hopefully get pregnant as soon as possible to be healthy for all of us.

Please keep me and the family in your prayers. We desperately want to bring home more of our embabies and this has all been a little overwhelming!

Confession Time

I’ve always wanted to be a twin mom.  I had the most wonderful expectations of the type of Mom that I would be and I was determined to meet every single one.  Pretty sure we’ve all been there and just smile and nod when we hear others make the same mistakes.  Then I actually became a mom…and a twin mom at that.  Guys, being a mom (or a parent in general) is a lot tougher than it looks!

It’s no secret that we prayed for Logan & Emma and went through our own struggles before God gave us our dream.  It took 3 failed rounds of  fertility treatment, 1 successful IVF cycle, many tears and heartache, thousands of $$, feeling like failures, judgments and negative remarks from family and friends, doubts about ourselves and our future and too many moments to mention.  But, looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  We wouldn’t have Logan & Emma and our 4 babies waiting for us if we’d gotten pregnant any other way.  I wouldn’t be eternally grateful in the way that I am and know what a true miracle the gift of life is.

However, our struggles didn’t end when we had our babies like I thought they would.  I truly believed that going through so much heartache and infertility would make every moment absolutely perfect.  I thought that I’d be so grateful that I would never have to deal with anything like postpartum depression…I was wrong.  I wrestled with it for months because I didn’t want to believe that it was something else that I and my body failed at.  It wasn’t until Ryan called my doctor and kept the kids that I finally admitted that something was wrong.  Breastfeeding twins what felt like nonstop, hundreds of doctors appointments, working 20-25 hours a week from home, a spec ops husband that was gone 14+ hours a day and living off of ZERO sleep for months on end can take a toll.  I never wanted to admit that I wasn’t super mom, but guys, I should have admitted it a lot sooner for the benefit of me, the kids and my poor saint of a husband!  Our home has been much happier and life has continued to improve.

I’m also learning to listen to my body (and my husband).  As of the end of March I’ll be a full time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom)!!!!  I’m wicked excited and I truly feel that this is the best move for our family.  With a husband in flight school and two VERY active toddlers who want and need my attention, i’ll feel much better about everything.  This has always been my dream and has been the ultimate goal, but I always felt that I should be contributing financially.  But, taking care of kids IS a full time job and they need me more than my money.  (My Boston Terrier, Yawkey, is curled up with me agreeing) 😉

I’m admitting to all of this because it’s also been an insecurity for me.  We’ve been told by family members (and via hearing gossip repeated) that I “couldn’t handle” working and my kids…that I “Couldn’t take care of her own kids”…and that I “wasn’t meant to be a Mom” because of our struggles.  Well, I’ve been working at all of the above for over 19 months and kickin butt, if I do say so myself.  I did all of this while battling postpartum depression ZERO help from family that all seemed to disappear after the babies were born.  I was also so jealous of the people I saw on social media (a very, very dangerous thing to get sucked into) who had family and friends visiting, helping out with their kids or just giving them adults to talk to.  It forced me to lean on God and my husband.  Our “Team Grim” did it and we’re stronger than ever!!  Not everyone has a “tribe”, but I’m okay with that now.

We all have our struggles, our insecurities, our imperfections…but we all need to be a little more lenient with ourselves!  I guess I’m just here to admit that I have my own and I’m still here living to tell about it.  My kids still give me 1000 hugs and kisses a day and my husband still wants to come home to me every night so I must be doing something right!

~ Imperfect Melissa



A person’s a person no matter how small

I’ve struggled for awhile on how to put this all into words.  IVF, In-Vitro Fertilization….I keep saying those words and it is still so surreal that this is real life for us.  Mayo Clinic defines it as“…a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab.”

It all sounds so very clinical, simple, and unemotional.  Well, that first part can be true, but the rest is far from it.  This has been the most difficult, emotional, expensive, trying, beautiful, scary, exciting, exhilarating experience of my entire life.  The first time we met with our Reproductive Endocrinologist he walked us through the process of diagnostic tests that we would need and gave us our options moving forward.  Hearing IVF made my stomach tie up in our knots, but I never truly believed we’d have to go this far.  IVF is just something someone else does…lots of people get pregnant from IUI/Superovulation, right?  By the time that our 2nd round of SuperO failed and we put down the deposit to reserve our start date of 24 NOV it started to hit me, but it wasn’t until we went to our orientation that everything hit me.  Seeing the many, many drugs arrive on top of what we had done, reading through the file of documentation/paperwork/releases and having slips to get tested for all kinds of different diseases so that our embryos wouldn’t possibly be infected or affect others is just so much to take in.

Pretty much everyone I know in real life that has been through infertility did super-ovulation (like we did first) or IUI’s (similar to super-ovulation, only instead of intercourse, the sperm is placed inside the cervix to naturally fertilize any eggs) so I didn’t even have a community of people who understood.  Thankfully, I found an online community/support group of AMAZING women who understand and are going through/have gone through the same path that we’re traveling and understand all of the emotions.  Infertility, and especially IVF is very isolating.  While we had so many distant friends and family that were so supportive, we dealt with so many insensitive comments.    A few people even made us feel even worse by invalidating our feelings because it’s not “as bad as cancer or real problems”.

The first part of the process, the “Stimulation Cycle” was pretty close to what we had been through with our 3 superovulation cycles with a few new drugs.  However, it was definitely more intense.  There was so much riding on each of the appointments and we were much more nervous to make sure that my body was progressing the right way.  Plus, I was more sore since we had to have many more eggs than before (in superovulation, you only want one or two eggs to release).

The toughest part came after the retrieval “surgery” when I came off of all of the drugs.  My body had NO IDEA what to do going through withdrawals from all of the hormones and the wait to find out if we had embryos/would they make it/would they be healthy/would he have some left to freeze…the whole week was unbearable.  I also had some pretty insensitive comments directed toward me, but I guess many people just don’t think and empathize what someone is going through.  It was extra hurtful though being that I wasn’t in my right mindset either.

IVF is just so much to wrap your mind around.  The idea that your embryos are being created in a lab is a lot to come to terms with and be okay.  What I wasn’t expecting was the need I felt to protect them and be close to them.  After my surgery I missed my babies that I didn’t even know I had…I just wanted them back!  It’s like my maternal instincts kicked in automatically.  Poor Ryan had to deal with a few emotional breakdowns that I had that week, but he’s always the best at calming me down and getting me through it.  I can’t imagine the gut wrenching pain of losing babies that have been implanted back in you.  No matter how early it’s still the same or close to the same pain of having a miscarriage.  While many might disagree…our babies were our babies before they were ever put back in me.  I can’t explain how thankful we are and how blessed we truly are that they are both still with us!

It’s still hard to think about PCS’ing and having to leave the other babies behind until we can use them again, but i’m still thankful that we have some left for the future.  I still feel like it’s all been a dream and I can’t believe it’s finally our turn and it finally worked!!!

~Melissa Grim, IVF Twin Mommy


IVF Embryo Transfer!!! – 11 DEC 2015

I don’t even know where to begin.  I’m still on such an emotional high and keep crying off and on after the most beautiful, most emotional procedure I’ve ever had in my life!

We arrived at the clinic at about 7:40 (after taking a few pics, of course) and were able to speak to my Doctor about where we stood on everything.  He said that our embryos looked very, VERY good and he was confident in our chances.  He also gave us the opportunity to elect out of the 2 embryo transfer since we had pretty good chances anyway.

Transfer 1 embryo: 40-45% chance of the embryo resulting in a successful pregnancy with a very slim chance of it splitting into identical twins (I can’t remember the exact number).

Transfer 2 embryos: 70-75% chance of the embryo resulting in a successful pregnancy with a 35-40% (pushing 45%) chance of twins if we stuck with the two.

We elected to still proceed with the two embryo transfer to better our chances and we really want twins anyway!  (Come on, Twins!!!!)

After that, Ryan gave me a good luck kiss and I was escorted back to the pre-op area (right outside their private O.R.) to get into my gown and ready for the transfer!  The embryos can’t be out of incubation for more than 3 minutes (MAX) so it’s important that I was set up and completely ready before the embabies were brought out.  Another perfect design of our doctor is that he built the embryology lab directly attached to the OR so it’s easy to bring them in and out.  I was put on the bed with my upper part of my body tilted down at a crazy angle and my favorite nurse checked me with an ultrasound (a normal abdominal one this time) to see if we were ready to proceed.  Next, my Doc came in and got everything in place for the transfer.  It’s all very specific exactly where the embryos go into the uterus and the catheter that’s used has to be in the exact right spot.  Finally he was able to bring in the embryos and get those embabies settled in there!!!!  My nurse was so great and she turned the screen to me so that I could see the little babies on the screen!!!! (They’re microscopic so you can only see a “flash” where the fluid is, but they were in there!)  My only wish was that Ryan could have experienced it with me, but I wore his green army socks (under my surgical booties) to have a piece of him with me and it’s safer for the OR/embryos to have as few people back there as possible.

The whole thing was so incredibly surreal!!!  I was officially/unofficially pregnant!!!!  To actually see something in there and know that there were two 5-day old babies ready to grow and make me a mommy was the most beautiful moment!!!  That moment alone made all of this worth it.  Every tear we cried, every doubt, every fear, every pain I felt when I saw someone else get pregnant or have a baby or get pregnant AGAIN in the time we were trying ALL became worth it!!!  To have this incredible joy and to experience the beautiful nature that is IVF and the science that God has given us is so incredible.  I’m so thankful that we understand the true value of this and just how incredibly precious life is!!!

I was officially pregnant at 9:50 am on 11 DEC 2015!  How cool is it that I know the exact moment that I got pregnant??!

As an added bonus, Doc took my phone back into the lab with the flash turned off and surprised us with pictures of the embryos before we got started!!!!   It was a total surprise that he did for us because he knew had badly I wanted one.

Once we were done I layed on the stretcher and chit chatted with my nurse until my 20 minutes were up and was able to get dressed and grab Ryan. 🙂 🙂  Once we got in the car, I surprised him with the picture of OUR BABIES!!!!!  He totally wasn’t expecting it and it was such a precious moment to share with him and watch his reaction!  A moment that i’ll never forget…and another blessing of doing a procedure like this.

Also, my two week wait cut down to 10 days was then cut to 8 to take my Beta blood test.  Then Doc said I could come back in in exactly one week to see if i’m officially pregnant!!!!  We’re so thankful that everything went great and are confident that this is going to work.  We love these sweet babies so much already…I can’t even believe it! 🙂 🙂  We hope and pray that they both get buried in there and make themselves comfortable to stick around for 9ish months!!!

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Embryo Report: Also, we already have 3 frosties (frozen embryos for the future) and 5 more waiting to see how they do so we might be able to freeze even more 🙂

UPDATE: We had one more embryo make it to freeze, so we’re hoping for future siblings! 🙂

~Hopeful mommy to be,

Melissa Grim

IVF Egg Retrieval – 06 DEC 2015

On Friday, we received the go ahead from our doc to do our last night of injections and add in the “Trigger” HCG shot at 8pm!!!  The HCG shot helps your follicles to complete their final maturing process and exactly 36-39 hours later you ovulate.  Everything is extremely time sensitive as you can imagine, so we were scheduled to be at Dr. Blohm’s office on Sunday by 0730 to prepare for an 0800 egg retrieval time.

We arrived at Dr. Blohm’s office a few minutes early (Ryan always has to be there 15 minutes prior to the 15 minutes prior) and got settled in.  It was a little weird not having a coffee or water since I was NPO (nothing by mouth) from midnight the night before, but so worth it!

I was taken back to the pre-op area that was connected to the OR (all private for my Dr.) to get changed into a hospital gown and ready to go.  My anesthesiologist was already in there waiting with my nurse and she got the IV started for me.  After I asked when Ryan could come back she looked a little surprised and said he wasn’t allowed back at all.  I was a little upset that I couldn’t give him a hug and a kiss before the procedure and give him my jewelry, but she gave me my phone so I could text him and even took a pic of me all ready to go.  She was so awesome and constantly made me feel relaxed and in good hands. 🙂  Besides, he had a very important job to do himself! 😉  Finally I was taken back into the OR and transferred to the operating table for the procedure and the anesthesiologist got me started on the good drugs. LoL  I don’t think I was awake for another minute after that and didn’t wake up until I was back in the pre-op/post-op area.

I was told that I did great, but my eggs were a little difficult to get out of my follicles in my ovaries.  The procedure took at least twice as long as it should have normally, but we were able to get 13!!!

Again, after hearing that so many people get between 20-30 it seemed like a small number, but I was confident that they would all fertilize  and we would have “Quality over quantity”.  We were also doing a procedure called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) where the sperm would be injected directly into the eggs to up the chances of healthy fertilization.

I was still groggy, but ecstatic while I was getting changed.  My nurse, of course, had to take me outside in my stylish wheelchair and Ryan already had the Xterra pulled around to get me. 🙂  I stayed on bed rest the next 1 and half days partly due to the doc’s orders and partly since I was so sore.  Having needles jammed into you to get out stubborn eggs isn’t always the most pleasant.  The most important part was that it worked and everything was all so worth it in the end!!

We would soon learn that the hardest part of the whole thing would be the wait between the Retrieval and the Transfer.  We had to wait two whole days to find out if and how many embryos we had.  With the procedure that we were doing (ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), the sperm would be injected directly into the eggs to ensure the best chances of conception and pregnancy.  Finally, late in the afternoon on Tuesday, Dr. Blohm told us that we had 10 4-cell embryos left!!!!!  10!!!!!!  We were so ecstatic that I just started crying…it was such a blessing.  He told us “I’ll be honest with you, Melissa, I didn’t think you’d have any good eggs with as hard as it was to get your eggs out.  It would be easier to pull your molars than it was to get these eggs.  I’ve been doing this for 25 years and it’s an absolute miracle that you guys are here right now.”  GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!  He was also confident that we could do a 5 day transfer instead of a 3 day…which was also our prayer.  It’s better to see how well the embryos survive in the lab to transfer the ones that will have the best chance of sticking.  The next few days were spent in MUCH prayer and hope that we would receive more good news on Friday during our Embryo Transfer!

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IVF Cycle – Stimming

First shot: Saturday, 21 NOV 2015  I took my last BCP (Birth Control Pill) and began my 0530 shot called Lupron.  The Lupron basically stops your body from ovulating on your own so that the mature eggs don’t release before the doctor has a chance to the retrieval.  It’s a drug that I was on during my last two cycles of Super Ovulation, so at least we were used to it.  Ryan set an alarm and gave me my shot every single morning. 🙂 This would continue every morning until the day of my trigger shot.

Last day of down-reg and first day of Lupron!

Last day of down-reg and first day of Lupron!

Morning Lupron Shots

Morning Lupron Shots

First IVF Appt: Tuesday, 24 NOV 2015   We counted down to this day for over 6 weeks and were so excited to go in for my baseline ultrasound and blood work.  However, while everything looked good to proceed, we had to wait a few days because my body wasn’t quite ready to begin the stimulation drugs.  With IVF, everything has to be absolutely perfect to go forward to each next step (you are putting thousands of $$ into this after all).  We left the appointment extremely disappointed and felt like it wasn’t the best way to begin the cycle of positivity, but by the end of the day I got the call that we could begin the stimulation drugs in 2 days…on Thanksgiving.

1st Appt

1st Appt

Day 1: Thursday, 26 NOV 2015       Happy Thanksgiving!!!  We were so excited to get started on the rest of our shots (FINALLY!!!!) and it couldn’t have worked out any better to begin them on Thanksgiving.  No doubt about what we were thankful for.  I started off on 250 IU’s of Follistim (again, a drug I was familiar with from my 3 Super Ovulation cycles) and 1 vial of the Menopur (a new drug).  The Menopur required mixing right before giving the shot (daily at 6pm on the dot) so Ryan handled all of that while I did the “easy” Follistim. 🙂  They definitely burned a little, especially the Menopur, but they were subcutaneous rather than intramuscular so not too bad.

Stimming Day 1 - Thanksgiving

Stimming Day 1 – Thanksgiving

My nurse shot prepping the Menopur

My nurse shot prepping the Menopur

Menopur shot prepping

Menopur shot prepping

Day 2: Friday, 27 NOV 2015      So far so good and still not a whole lot of symptoms (except for the headaches and hot flashes) and I couldn’t take anything but small doses of Tylenol as NSAIDS aren’t good for the eggs and can make you ovulate prematurely as well. (Follistim 250/Menopur 1 Vial)

Stimming Day 2

Stimming Day 2

Day 3: Saturday, 28 NOV 2015      Shots were still going well and the headaches were starting to dwindle.  No real side effects except a few hot flashes.  I was actually feeling scared and anxious that I wasn’t feeling any pain or discomfort.  Was everything working??  This road can feel so overwhelming and you can’t help but to worry about every little thing.  Thankfully, Ryan was there to remind me to “Just Be Held” by God and give Him control. That always seemed to calm me down. 🙂  (Follistim 250/Menopur 1 Vial)

Stimming Day 3

Stimming Day 3

Day 4: Sunday, 29 NOV 2015        Still feeling good and positive, although getting more and more nervous for my first appointment in the morning!  Since I wasn’t feeling any pain, was everything working??  (Follistim 250/Menopur 1 Vial)

Stimming Day 4

Stimming Day 4

Day 5: Monday, 30 NOV 2015 (Ultrasound/Bloodwork)    Definitely started to feel a little bit of pain and cramping my ovaries being pushed.  First progress ultrasound scan and bloodwork.  The goal is to have as many follicles as possible while balancing your hormones and staying healthy/not overstimulating.  Originally Dr. Blohm had told us he wanted close to 20 for retrieval so we had the odds in our favor for a good amount of mature eggs that were able to be fertilized and make it to the transfer back into my body and/or cryopreservation (freezing for later attempts and/or siblings).   Left Ovary: 10, 9, 9, 8, 5 – Right Ovary: 10, 10, 9, 9, 8  From everything I was told, this really disappointed me.  I was hoping for at least 10 on each side!  This was only 10 total…half of the amount that we should have had.  My doctor assured me that it while it wasn’t perfect, it was still good numbers and that he could work with these.  Quality trumps quantity after all.  Again, I left in tears, but a few of my friends through my IVF support group made me feel TONS better.  While some had had better numbers, I was doing very well.  However, we did up my drugs a bit to push my follicles to a little more growth.  (Follistim 300/Menopur 1 Vial)

Good Numbers for Day 5

Good Numbers for Day 5

Stimming Day 5

Stimming Day 5

Day 6: Tuesday, 01 DEC 2015      Back to regular stimulation and definitely feeling the cramping and some pain from all of the drugs.  Very normal for an IVF cycle, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  It was also Yawkey’s birthday!!!  Hopefully it’s his last as an only child 😉  (Follistim 300/Menopur 1 Vial)

Stimming Day 6

Stimming Day 6

Follistim Shots - One of my 2 daily night shots

Follistim Shots – One of my 2 daily night shots

Day 7: Wednesday, 02 DEC 2015      Still sore and had another headache, but just felt like pressure (kinda like a sinus headache but all over).  I allowed myself to take a little bit of tylenol and a half a cup of coffee to knock out the headache since i’d given up caffeine. (Follistim 300/Menopur 1 Vial)

Stimming Day 7

Stimming Day 7

Yawkey was very supportive and protective

Yawkey was very supportive and protective

Day 8: Thursday, 03 DEC 2015 (Ultrasound/Bloodwork)      Was REALLY feeling the discomfort of the shots now!!!  However, we were getting really close by our appointment that morning.  Left: 18,17,16,16,16,14 and Right: 18,17,16,16,15,14.  Doc asked us to come back the next day to see if we were ready to rock and roll.  We were just getting more and more excited to be getting close to the important parts of the cycle: Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer! (Follistim 300/Menopur 1 Vial)

Follicle Scan

Follicle Scan

Stimming Day 8

Stimming Day 8

Day 9: Friday, 04 DEC 2015 (Ultrasound Bloodwork)              Dr. Blohm said everything looked great!!!  I was still a little nervous that I didn’t have more follicles and that some were still on the smaller side.  He reassured us that some of the smaller follicles can end up having better quality eggs that are more mature in them so I felt a lot better about that.  He also said my uterus was PERFECT and ready for us “to place two beautiful embryos in here and be good to go!”  Pending the results of my blood-work down in the lab after my appointment, we were ready to rock and roll!  We left with all of our instructions to do one final shot of Follistim that night at our regularly scheduled time (1800 hours or 6pm) and then to “trigger” at 2000 hours or 8pm with the HCG shot intramuscularly.  We were ready for the egg retrieval come Sunday morning at 0800! (Follistim 300)

Stimming Day 9

Stimming Day 9

Trigger and Retrieval Instructions!!!

Trigger and Retrieval Instructions!!!

Trigger Shot Time

Trigger Shot Time

My shot administrator :)

My shot administrator 🙂

Shots by a tree

Shots by a tree

God is in the Fire

Once again, we had an amazing church service this morning at Latechurch where I felt like God was speaking directly to us.  After a very rough morning and news of what feels like our millionth failed month and first failed round of fertility treatments, I desperately needed some time with God to get my mind right.  I wanted to share some of the key points from today to remember later and in case anyone else needed this as badly as we did.

“So many times in our lives we say we want to feel God.  But we don’t want to feel pain.”

Wow!  That one hit home.  How many times do we pray to God for things and tell Him we want to be more like Him and to draw closer to Him, but then we don’t want any of the growing pains?  I know I am definitely guilty.  We pray, but we only want God’s answer to go one way: our way.  We doubt God.  We get angry when we suffer especially when it seems some people have it so easy.

God doesn’t always deliver you from the fire…at least not in the way you expect.”

It’s so very hard when you’re going through something so painful or trying in your life to not wonder “Why?”.  Why is God allowing this to happen?  It’s hard to not blame God or be angry at Him when you see so many people abuse or take for granted their ability to have children when you would give anything for that blessing at least once.  However, when we’re asking all of these “Why’s”, we should really be asking “Where?”.  When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace they knew that God was with them.  Either He would deliver them or they’d be in Heaven with Him…no matter the outcome they were ready for what God would have for them.  It’s in the fire that God reveals Himself to us the most. My mom has always said that it’s okay to pray and beg God for what we want.  He never tires from hearing from His children and He encourages it!  But we have to be willing to accept whatever answer He gives us.  That’s the hard part.  There is nothing that I desire more than to be a mommy.  I want a baby that is part me and part my beloved husband.  I want to experience all of the joys and even the pain that comes with carrying a life inside me and giving birth.  I want to raise children and share all of our adventures with them as we watch them grow and experience the world around them.  The idea that we may never get our dream of having our own children or worse…none at all is gut wrenching.  How do you get to the point where you can accept that?  When we say “Your will be done”, do we really mean it?

Fire Does Two Things:

  1. It destroys or consumes.
  2. It refines

My prayer is that God teaches us the lesson that He wants us to learn from this battle with infertility.  We were never promised that this life would be easy; in fact, we were promised the exact opposite.  I know that God is in the fire with us and will never leave us…not once.  I know that the rejoicing will be 1 million times more amazing and special to us after we’ve gone through the hardest trial of our lives to get there.  There has not been a single day of my marriage with Ryan that I have not thanked God for creating him and bringing Him into my life after so many years of prayers and loneliness.  I have not once taken him for granted.  I know that it will be the same way with our children if it be His will to give us our dream.  As difficult as it is, I’m going to stop praying for the fire to end and start praying for the fire to refine me.

“BELOVED, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”  1 Peter 4:12-13


Team Grim

I recently changed the name of the blog to “Team Grim” since this has really become more of a place for my family than for just me and my thoughts.  When I originally started my blog it was to get out some of my thoughts and feelings about my husband’s (then boyfriend) first year long deployment.  Now it has become a way to document some of our life together and the excitement/difficulties that we face.  “Team Grim” was started as a bit of a cute name for ourselves when we got married and stuck when we started running our obstacle course races together.  I truly believe that marriage makes you a team and that has never been more apparent than it has in the past year-ish of our lives and dealing with infertility, but i’ll share more on that later.

As most people do, we had a lot thrown at us in our first year of marriage and even a bit prior to our wedding.  Surprisingly to some though, there were never issues between the two of us.  Ryan was gone for a total of about 9 of our first 15 months of marriage.  We started PCS-ing (permanently relocating for those non-military friends) about a month in and he had several schools to attend in order to be spun up for a new unit.  That led to multiple TDY’s, schools and a deployment to close out the year.  On top of that we had a few very painful family situations relating to both health and relationships that gave us no choice but to learn to depend on each other and God.

I truly believe that our relationship has been made easier by keeping God at the center of our marriage.  We prepared a lot for our marriage beforehand and I prayed often for my future husband before we ever started dating.  I’m a firm believer that everyone should spend considerably more time preparing for the marriage than for the wedding (as beautiful, magical and fun as ours was).  Recently we’ve been told by a few people, who we respect dearly, that we should start training/outreach to other married couples.  While I think we still have a lot to learn about marriage ourselves, this truly touched me to hear that people believe that we are on the right track and have something to give back to others.  With me as the aspiring counselor, who knows what may be in store for our future 🙂

“I’m a firm believer that everyone should spend considerably more time preparing for the marriage than for the wedding.”

I don’t say any of the above to brag on us as people, but to demonstrate how much God can lead a marriage when you continuously give it over to Him.  I want to be a testament to others that marriage can be wonderful and fulfilling!  There is no way that we would be this strong and still so much in love were it not for His love and guidance.  We are still learning every day to trust in Him as we face the most difficult journey of all so far, but we wholeheartedly believe that He will give us the desires of our hearts.  As a dear family friend and former teacher reminded us this week that faith is what it takes:

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20


God is faithful

I often get myself in trouble by being too open with how I feel, but sharing helps me to process emotions and situations better. Also, being the true believer in counseling and an aspiring counselor myself, I believe that knowing others going through similar situations can sometimes help.

Our home church here in Savannah recently completed a sermon series on being “Satisfied”. In the lesson that will always stand out in my mind we discussed being content with what we’re given and not comparing ourselves to others in order to have happiness. As do most of our lessons, this one really hit home for me. It is so easy in this life to compare ourselves to others and to always want more money, better health, a better job, a better duty station, kids (or easier time getting pregnant), etc. In fact, there is almost always something that we can pray for to make our lives better.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve literally begged God for some life-threatening situations in the past few years. And you know what? He’s come through: Every Single Time! We’ve had some medical scares in our family and God has kept everyone in His hands and worked it out for His good. We also had what seemed to be another hopeless situation with our family that we sometimes doubted ever improving. Sitting in that very church with family members that we were scared would never be in our lives the way we desired was proof that God is faithful! I’m so very thankful for every situation that He has turned around for the better.

Even with knowing all that God has brought us through it can be so difficult to depend on Him and believe that things are going to work out. Our greatest desire has been to grow our family and we hoped that this would be a quick answer to our prayers. Selfish as it may be, it’s painful to see people all around you announcing births or pregnancies, especially the “surprise” ones. It seems as though we can’t open up a social media site without seeing another announcement. It’s easy to sit back and wonder “What did I do wrong?” or “Are we being punished?”. I’m not sure if they’re happening more now or if we just happen to be noticing them more (more than likely the latter), but while you are happy for the growing family you can’t help but wonder, “Why not us?” Adding salt to the wound, we are much older than most childless couples on the enlisted side of the Army and we often get lots of questions. People assume we are 10 years younger than we are because we got married later in life and people tend to be excited/curious for you to add children to the family. I know that compared to some friends and family who tried for years and/or underwent multiple rounds of fertility treatments, we have little right to be upset. My heart goes out to each of them. I don’t think I could have ever imagined how painful this road can be and we are only at the beginning. It’s a daily struggle to remember to stay positive and focus on one step at a time when there is baby stuff/pregnant women everywhere.

Our prayer now is that God will give us the desires of our heart and help us through the ups and downs in the meantime. We know that His timing is best, but the human side has a hard time remembering that when there are painful triggers everywhere.

I was always taught that God ALWAYS answers prayers…but it’s not always yes. It’s scary to think that this may not be just a “not right now”, but a no. However, we are believing that He will grow our family in the best way that He sees fit and in His timing. Until then, the job is working on being “content” with the life that He has given us and all of our many blessings. I am so blessed to have an amazing partner in all of this. Ryan is the strongest, most patient, attentive and loving man I have EVER known. While painful, what should be testing our marriage has only brought us closer and taught us to depend on each other and God more than ever.

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” – Romans 4:18

“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!” – Psalm 113:9

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11