The Christmas Jar & A New Year's Resolution

The night before we left for the Texas Tour 2009, we were cooking dinner when we heard a knock on the door. We weren't expecting anyone so we didn't exactly sprint over to see who was there. When I did finally make it to the door, wiping spaghetti sauce off my hands, I found no one at the door, but instead a beautiful Christmas bag.

Bewildered, I carried inside to show Matt and not to be one to hesitate when opening presents, I immediately tore into it. I didn't see a card which was confusing to me --- but inside I found a large plastic jar brimming with dollar bills and coins...and a book called "The Christmas Jar".

Ever more confused, I started flipping through the book trying to find some indication of what the gift was about and who may have given to us. After skimming the intro and then the back pages (a cardinal sin to someone like me who is a HUGE reader), I discovered the purpose and meaning of the jar.

Someone (and we'll probably never know who) had collected change all year long and then prayed about who should anonymously receive the jar --- and that was us.

At first I was confused. I looked over at our Christmas tree which had a group of presents underneath ready for family and friends.

Why us?

And then we realized.

Not us.

For Matt's parents.

If you've read this blog for awhile, you may know that both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer within the last 2 months. Couple that with some other financial hardships in their lives, and well..it's been a tough year to say the least.

We fully believe this jar was intended for them and we were able to give it to them this past week along with a copy of the book "The Christmas Jar". The coolest thing is that his mom is now carrying the book around in her purse and has shared with all of her friends what it was all about - and has probably inspired many others to start Christmas Jars of their own.

Sometimes I am just blown away by people. Just when you think this world may be going off the deep end with people becoming more callous and bitter every day, God just up and reminds you that His Love is shining through ordinary people -and they're doing extraordinary things.

I wish I knew who gave us the jar - but I'm not sure a simple "thank you" would be enough. The money is wonderful obviously and will be incredibly helpful for Barbara and David - but more than that, it was a jar of Hope to us - and a reminder of all things good.

This year, as everyone makes their New Year's Resolutions and pledges to do all sorts of things for ourselves - exercise more, eat less, or quit smoking - why don't we do something to help others? Visit www.christmasjars.com and learn how you can be a blessing in another person's life next Christmas. Maybe dust off that empty mason jar or clean out that old coffee can, and start throwing in your extra change. We can all be lights of Hope next year.

Have a blessed and safe New Year,

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Random Christmas '09

Well, Christmas 2009 consisted of our usual "Texas Tour" - wherein we travel the triangle from Houston to Austin to Dallas and back to Houston. We feel incredibly blessed to be back in Texas so we can even attempt the TX tour, but I must admit it is pretty tiring - and I am already looking forward to next year when everyone comes to Houston for Christmas. No way I am throwing two 6 month olds into the car for that extravaganza. So it will be our selfish year.

Anyway, Christmas was wonderful. We began in Austin to see Matt's family and to catch up with a few friends. Fun as always, but a little bittersweet because of his dad's health. We managed to throw back our share of tamales (a Clanahan Christmas tradition) along with other wonderful goodies. With everything going on in his family, we all decided to forgo gifts for each other - except for our princess niece Riley, of course - and just concentrate on what is truly important, which is each other. While there is something special about finding that "perfect" gift, it is definitely wonderful to just be able to enjoy each other's company as a gift. On the Wednesday before Christmas I went and had a manicure with Riley and my mother-in-law. So fun and Riley was an angel the whole time. She had her special chair and the manicurist treated her to snowmen on her toes and Santas on her fingers. Too cute.

Christmas Eve morning we packed up again and headed up to Dallas amid rumors of afternoon snow showers. Sure enough, as we made our way up 35 - down came the snow flurries. So pretty! Of course, we had to stop at our favorite Czech bakery off of 35 and pick up a few kolaches. Normally I don't allow myself such a luxury but being pregnant has completely destroyed any sort of willpower I previously had.

And it was scrumptious.

The feeding frenzy continued all through Christmas thanks to my mom's cooking and my sister-in-law's mad baking skills. I must have eaten a pound of white chocolate. In fact I get a little nauseated to even type "white chocolate". Somehow it became perfectly normal to have breakfast and wash it down with an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie. As always, spending Christmas up at my mom's was absolutely wonderful. I just love all of our traditions and I can't wait until Matt and I can have our own traditions for our kiddos. We were completely spoiled by presents from my mother as usual, but it's not so much the actual present that means so much - but her heart and thought behind it.

Top of the list had to be the amazing little camcorder to start recording memories of our soon-to-be family. What a great gift - and so appreciated - love you, Mom! Of course, that favorite is quickly followed by an amazing pair of maternity pants she got me, appropriately named "The Perfect Pant" --- which are by the way, perfect. They have not left my body in 2 days so I am semi-obsessed. But to wear a pair of pants and not have to hold in my stomach --- well, I just can't explain the sheer joy I feel about that. Especially considering the non-stop eating as of late.

After 4 full days in Dallas, we finally headed back yesterday to Houston. However, as soon as we got back, Matt turned around and left for Austin. His father is now in the hospital and has a few different scary things going on. I will be heading there soon as well. Please continue to keep their family in your prayers - and specifically pray that his Dad will be comfortable and out of pain.

Of course, through the midst of all of that, our little miracle M&M's continue to shine hope into our lives. I had an appointment with the OB this a.m. and finally had my first abdominal ultrasound --- no more probing, yay!!! (My FE's office only had the probe kind of ultrasound). The babies both measured wonderfully with great heartbeats - and they were moving around like crazy. Guess they must be like their daddy and actually be morning people. Definitely not like their mom, for sure!

Baby B had both hands up the entire time like he/she was on a little roller coaster and Baby A kept trying to stick his/her fingers in their mouth the entire time. It still boggles my mind that you can see all that! I have an ultrasound scheduled again for the 25th of January to find out what "flavor" the M&M's are. My patience is certainly being tested with that but I guess if I waited 2 years to even get the M&M's in my belly, I can wait another few weeks for that appointment. I'm a little sad that I won't see my babies every week like I have been used to, but kind of relieved that I only have to go to the OB every 2 weeks for now instead of every week. Anyway, that's all the baby news for now!!!

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas holiday and cheers to a blessed 2010 for you all!

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Graduation Day!

Today was a big day. I officially graduated (sans cap and gown) from my "baby-making" doc and have been released to my "baby-maintenance" doc. What a huge relief to finally get my walking papers after 3-4 loooonnnggg months! Although I must say it was sort of bittersweet -- after all, the staff there has literally held my hand every step of the way. I sincerely love them and will miss seeing their smiling faces every week. They know so much about me and have held my hand through the tears and the joys.
I brought them some Christmas cookies and candies today as a thank you - but as soon as I handed it to them with my little card - it just seemed so insignificant. I mean, just how do you thank people who had a hand in actually creating life inside you??? I don't think Betty Crocker's finest quite does the trick. Oh well. I gave them the gift anyway and choked out my heartfelt thanks as I sprinted out of there before I completely lost it.
But onto the next chapter - and oh, that magical 12 week mark that I hit this past Saturday. It hasn't been as magical for me yet as it is for some people. I am still insanely exhausted with twinges of headaches that threaten to blow up on me. But 12 weeks does bring a huge measure of comfort and relief that wow, kids... we have made it this far! Only gosh, what - 28 weeks to go? Seems like forever. Patience has never been my most redeeming quality.

I know I haven't posted in awhile. I have had tremendous blogger's block, coupled with that aforementioned exhaustion - so my urge to write has been somewhat comprimised. Did I mention the headaches?

Seriously, there should be another word for them - headaches, migraines, whatever. Doesn't do it justice. At least it didn't last week.

Last Sunday I woke up with the all too familiar dull pounding in my head. Popped a couple of Tylenol which seemed to hold it at bay for awhile. Then my jaw started killing me. (I have horrendous TMJ thanks to years of stress-induced nightly teeth grinding and nothing.works.to.cure.that). When the jaw pain sets in, that is usually a sign that it is going to travel right back up to my head.

And sure enough Monday, that's what it did. I had just enough energy to make it through the day Monday - but by Tuesday.... oh. my.

Nothing could cure this bad boy. Not all the Tylenol with codeine in the world. Once I started getting nauseated and could not eat anything, then I just started getting frustrated. I called my OB who couldn't see me until the next day. No good. So I jumped in the car with blinding pain and drove myself to the urgent care - ONLY TO BE SHOWN THE DOOR BECAUSE THEY DON'T TREAT PREGNANT WOMEN DUE TO THE LIABILITY.

Thanks for nothing.

Got home, called my ob again and begged for relief. Without seeing me, she didn't want to prescribe anything else and asked me who my neurologist was. What?? Dude, I maybe had one or 2 migraines a year before this little thing called pregnancy. Neurologist is one of the few types of doctors I've never seen. So anyway, her final rec - go to the ER.

At this point, I was so miserable she could have told me to drive out to the beaches of High Island, jump in the water and do handstands for 30 minutes and I would have done it.

So I called the poor hubby (who has gotten more phone calls like this than I care to admit) and told him that I needed to go to the hospital. I am sure he was just thrilled. But he came home anyway and off to the ER hell we went.

I'll spare you most of the details of our 6 hour ordeal, but I will leave you with one bit of advice. Never ever say you just have a headache. That throws you down to the bottom of the list so fast your head will spin. Next time, I think I will mention that I have a little abdominal pain (which I did - but from nausea) and oh, by the way - I'm pregnant with twins. Actually, they knew that, they just didn't care since it was "just" my head.

Anyway, once we finally saw a doc, after crying to the poor accounting woman who just came in our room to collect the copay, they gave me what was supposed to be my savior shot of morphine and some anti-nausea thing. I asked how long it would take to feel some relief and they said about 10-15 minutes.

10 minutes passed. Nothing. 20 minutes. NOTHING. 30 minutes. DID IT JUST GET WORSE??

So I writhed in pain for an extra 30 minutes until they mercifully gave me some other shot with a name I can't pronounce -- but safe for babies, let me just say that.

After making sure it was truly better and that I was holding down food, they finally released me much to my exhausted hubby's relief. On the way home, I had a hankering for Chick Fil A... and well, let's just say, their whole "holding down food" test didn't quite work. It was a fun car ride home. And a fun night. I was so irritated to have broken my non-puking pregnant woman streak that I almost forgot about my head. Almost.

Until I woke up to that all too familiar pounding the next morning. And I promptly went back to sleep for 5 more hours. I'm happy to say that the migraines have been kept away as of recent, thank God. I am none to eager to visit the ER again soon, especially since I have picked up a lovely little cold - my first in a couple of years - from my little foray.

And now your day is probably complete after reading this inane post on my migraine trauma.

And if it's not, perhaps this will just make your day - my 12 week belly pic - which looks more like my "ate 14 Christmas cookies followed by 3 slices of cake" belly. But it is what it is. Actually, it's less for you than it is for me - I have decided the chances of my children getting some sort of beautifully made scrapbook is about nil and the best I can do is have this blog printed into a keepsake book.

Thus the pictures. And all the stupid details on just seemingly ordinary "stuff". They might care one day that they sent their mom to hospital with "just" a headache.

Or they may not.

And that's ok, too.

12 week pregnant belly pic.

The kiddos are the sizes of limes this week. Pardon the elastic band jeans. They are comfy. Although I feel strangely that I am 3 years old again and should be wearing a diaper with the stretchy band. Oh, and there's no face shot. There won't be until my skin decides to be on it's best behavior again.

Hope you all are enjoying this magical holiday season. And in case I don't post again before Christmas (which based on my track record as of late, there's a pretty good shot at that), have a wonderful and blessed Christmas Day!

In Him,

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An Unexpected Gift

So today I had my weekly ultrasound and I received the most unexpected gift.

If you've read the past few entries of this blog, you know things have been kind of rough in this neck of the woods. Matt's parents are both ill and I apparently have lost all semblance of reason and crash cars through garage walls. Today was an especially tough day because Matt's dad had his first appointment at MD Anderson and we are expecting to find out the course of treatment and prognosis sometime tomorrow.

So things haven't exactly "light" around the house lately to say the least. And I have been in kind of a funk, which doesn't help matters. I am totally in that bad self-esteem pregnancy stage where I am just feeling chunky monkey and all the food I am eating is going to my face and thighs and not my belly. And couple that with the new fresh array of zits lighting up my face... well, yup - let's just say I am not glowing yet. Although someone told me the other day that my face "looked beautiful and just like a moon". Ummm, excuse me, but that doesn't really sound like a compliment to me --- moon face??

Anyway, moving on before I dive too deeply in my pit of self-despair.

So I think the babies knew that Mommy & Daddy needed some good news today. I had a nice little chat with them on the way to the appointment. I told them I would pretty please like for them to smile nicely in just one picture with the 2 of the together. I also told them to be total show-offs, show us all what you can do and how much you have grown. (Side Note: This should not be considering a forewarning for me being a stage mom, right??)

Ok, back to the probe/ultrasound - right away the two most adorable aliens pop up on the screen. That's the only way to describe them at this point. Alien-like (although they are the size of kumkuats this week in case you want to look that up) But they are bascially huge heads and bodies. The huge head part doesn't surprise me - they're coming from Matt & I's stock, and we have notoriously large noggins.

So as he is doing his thing, capturing heartrates (166 for B) (158 for A), and take measurements, I am just starting at awe at the camera. Then.

"What was that? Did you just move something around"

"Nope, that was all baby moving around there."

AWWWWWW our babies are moving - quite a lot in fact. It touched me in a way that was unexpected. Today I just thought I was going in for the weekly deal, check it all out, make sure we still had heartbeats and growth and then be out of there. So to see this, on a totally unexpected day, was completely amazing for me.

Tears did flow for the first time since we initially saw our "spots" on the sonogram.

In the midst of all the darkness, chaos and the storms in our lives, there are 2 growing little babies, discovering new things everyday as they develop into our children. They are blissfully protected from the outside stress - so that's my biggest goal right now - not to let my stress affect one iota of their development. That's my job now, The Protector. Couldn't think of anything else I'd rather watch over than these precious two.

I only wish that during all their movement they somehow could have held up a little signal, like "Hey,I'm a girl" or "Here's your boy!". I guess that would have been too much to ask :) 6 weeks and hopefully we will know and then this can really get serious.

Anyway, that's all I gots for right now - it's late and I have the pure excitement of driving to the courthouse tomorrow morning to plead my case as to why I should be exempted from serving on a jury. Those M&M's will serve as primary reason #1 and #2, followed closely by my argument that I am allergic to eggs, thus cannot receive the H1N1 vaccine and shouldn't be around people at all. And I have a couple of others in my back pocket just in case that's not enough for them. I feel bad, 6 months ago, I would have been happy and perhaps even excited to give it a shot. Right now, no. Not a good season. Try me back later Fort Bend County.

Y'all have a great week. Please continue to keep my Father -in-law, David in your prayers.


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Pregnancy Brain...Not a Myth

Pregnancy brain is alive and well in the Clanahan house.

Or more specifically in the garage and guest bedroom closet wall.

Let me explain.

This evening I got a hankering for a Sonic diet coke. You know, after depriving myself all day. So I grabbed my keys and jumped in my car for the long trek all the way down the street. After getting halfway out of my neighborhood, I remembered I left my cell phone at home and because it's critical that I not miss a single call - I headed back home to retrieve it.

Pulled into the driveway (not into the garage), left my car running and jumped out to grab it.

Made it all the way inside to the computer room when I heard an earth shattering boom that literally made my house shake.

For 3 seconds my life passed before my eyes.

No, it couldn't be.



Ran out to the garage.

Sure enough.

Car no longer parked in the driveway where I had left it.

Instead it was full up against the wall in the garage. Still running.


Oh my Lord.

Thank goodness my husband built the Fort Knox equivalent to a storage structure a few months ago - and while it obnoxiously cratered a hole in my garage wall, it did stop the car from actually going through the freaking wall.

I still can't figure out what the hell I did to be able to get out of the car, walk in front of it, make it into the house, all the while it must have been chasing me up the driveway and my stupid brain didn't even realize it. Plus, the car actually was straight enough to make it through the narrow passageway that is my garage, only to scrape the side mirror slightly.

I would love to have it on security camera just to see or at least hear an eye witness account from a laughing neighbor.

I am sure one of these days we will laugh about it - needless to say, we aren't there yet. I managed to put a good size dent in the license plate and scrape the mirror - plus, it looks like the front fender may be off a bit.

Throw that in with some new drywall and sheetrock for both the garage wall and the guest bedroom closet - and well, I think that's what you call a successful day.

As several people have told me, it could have been worse. It could have been in reverse and hit a kid or a car in the street behind me. Or I could have been in the car. Or the car could have actually gone through the house.

Hmmm. That doesn't make me feel better yet. I still feel a little sick to my stomach. Mostly because on top of everything else, dealing with this is the last thing that Matt needs for sure. Obviously, it was an accident but stressful for him just the same.

Needless to say, I am a little frightened to drive right now. It's one thing to forget your phone number or be talking and forget what you are saying --- but pregnancy brain leading to a car through the house?? That's just scary.

And perhaps I am just copping out chalking this up to pregnancy brain. There's a good chance I am just an idiot.

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8 weeks and counting!

I was officially 8 weeks on Saturday. This time seems to be passing soooo slow but everyone tells me it will start to speed by and I sure hope so! I had yet another probe, I mean ultrasound, today and all still looks good. Babies are measuring great. I cannot believe how much they have grown in just a week. While I wish we hadn't had to go through the infertility process obviously, there is definitely something truly amazing about being able to watch my kiddos grow week by week like this!

Here's our latest picture of the M&M's. They are kidney beans this week!

I realize they kinda just look like blobs at the moment but I happen to think they are the cutest blobs ever!

I'm still feeling okay -- I don't want to get my hopes up but I think I may be out of the danger zone for experiencing true morning/day/night sickness. What a blessing. However, I think your body is going to get you one way or another so I have had relentless migraines for the past 2 weeks. I would almost rather be puking daily than to have a near-constant headache that completely debilitates me. The migraines were just laughing the face of the extra-strength Tylenol so my OB finally called in a prescription for Tylenol 3 - which is Tylenol with codeine. That kinda takes the edge off but it's not a cure to say the very least. I just pray that these will disappear in a few weeks once I am beyond my first trimester.

I definitely am having symptoms of pregnancy brain. I start talking and I swear, insane gibberish just pops out of my mouth - or I will mean to say one word and completely say the opposite. It's like having a stroke and Turret's all in one amazing combination. Quite fascinating. I am also super clumsy and my hips and arms have the bruises to prove it. I can't seem to make sharp turns and twice have run into the wall outside my office rushing to answer the phone or something. Cute.

Today I was in the doctor's office and I was talking with the receptionist, and when I turned to walk away, I ran smack into the wall. Yeah, that wasn't embarrassing in front of a room full of patients.

I don't know if the clumsiness is pregnancy related at all but I'm going to go ahead and claim it.

I will say that I probably have the most patient and understanding husband. Not only does he hear me complain about migraines and other aches and pains when he gets home but he's also dealing with my finnicky food selections. I was all set to cook tacos tonight having braved the grocery store yesterday afternoon -- but of course, tonight rolled around, I had a horrible headache and tacos was the very last thing that sounded good to me. So he settled in with a bowl of cornflakes while I opted for Subway. So much for family dinners.

One of the most annoying and perplexing things about what sounds good to eat is my lack of desire to eat anything in my house for lunch. I can make it through breakfast, but by the time lunch rolls around, I absolutely cannot stand the idea of having anything from my pantry, fridge or freezer. So I usually try to plan my errands around that time so I can hit one of a few different favorite sandwich places on my way home. It all takes careful planning and preciseness because if I run even 15 minutes behind on my lunch time, I am in dangerous territory - then the nausea comes full on along with the crankiness, and then I just feel sorry for the poor, underpaid workers behind the counter.

My patience as of recently is at an all-time low. I never was the most patient person to begin with, but now I feel myself burning up with rage over the littlest things. It was truly tested at the mall on Saturday as I dealt with all of the newly minted sales associates for the holiday season. After that little trip 'o fun, I came home and have since sworn off shopping until after Christmas. I promptly completed all of my holiday shopping with as little human interaction as possible -- just me, my computer, the internet and my credit card. Best thing I've ever done for myself. Now if I can just convince Matt that we should grocery shop that way too.

We are all still reeling over here from the news of last week regarding Matt's Dad. It just seems so unfair - but none of us are immune from the evils of cancer. We are trying to stay as positive as possible in light of this terrible development. While the news is horrible, we feel amazingly grateful that we have these little M&M's with us - they are a ray of light and source of hope for us all. My goal is to try to remain as calm as possible and do my best to take care of me and the kiddos. That sounds a little bit selfish, but if something were to happen to the babies at this point with everything else going on --- well, I just don't know how we could handle it.

So we continue to pray for both of his parents to be healed and appreciate the many prayers you all have already lifted up. We will keep you posted. Right now, the most immediate prayer request is to prepare Dave for a surgery he will have next Tuesday to put in a shunt that should help him with his digestion issues. We pray that everything goes smoothly and that it will bring him a measure of relief. After that, it looks like he will be coming to MD Anderson the following week -- we should hear tomorrow for sure what day. If all goes as planned, he will be here for the duration - although we still don't know exactly what that looks like yet.

We hope and pray that you all have wonderful Thanksgivings with your family and friends. We feel blessed to see both of our families this year -- Matt's on Thanksgiving Day and then mine on Black Friday. Yay - shopping with mommy! I haven't seen her or my brother and his wife since I got pregnant, so I am so excited to spend time with them - and have them tell me honestly if I look fat or pregnant :) ha. I hope to take some pictures this week and a little belly shot as well. I may have to do a comparison shot so you can tell the difference, but there is an obvious little hard bump there - and I can tell - or at least my jeans can for sure. Here's hoping that they don't button after this week of crazy eating. Bring on the pie!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

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Talk about being kicked while you're down

This won't be long because I really don't know much, but we are coming to you for another huge prayer request. My father-in-law, David, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this morning. As most of you know, Matt's mom Barbara was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer just about 6 weeks ago. So everyone has been dealing with that battle, and now this.

Like I said, the info we have at the moment is sketchy - we do know that it has spread to his liver. It looks like he will be coming to MD Anderson next week here in Houston for a few more tests and perhaps treatment for the long-term. Beyond that, we just don't know.

Please lift up Matt's Dad and entire family during this latest struggle. It's sort of unbelievable that this can happen to your parents within weeks of each other. We are pretty much in shock. However, one thing I am certain of is that God is the Ultimate Healer and that all of this is beyond human capability to deal with. We must lean on Him now more than ever.

In His Hands,

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Thanksgiving Blessings Times Two

First, a quick baby update - M&M #1 and M&M #2 are doing GREAT. I saw them again this morning and both of them are measuring wonderfully and still have strong heartbeats. They are now officially labeled Baby A and Baby B on the ultrasound, which surprisingly brought me to tears when I saw that. I don't know, made it more real or something, as if the previous 3 ultrasounds hadn't been enough! I feel myself growing happier each day and more willing to get excited about them. I feel like they may be here to stay :)

On a side note, I always wondered how they label them A & B. Apparently, A is the one that would be the first to slide out should the birth be a natural vaginal one. Ummmm, no. With 2 little babies, I highly hightly doubt the birth will be anything other than C-section. I literally have no hips so one would be scary enough. Thinking about pushing two out makes me physically ill. You know how people have "birthing plans"? This is mine...

Step 1. Give me drugs

Step 2. Give me more drugs

Step 3. C-Section

That's it. My birthing plan in it's entirety. No water births for me thank you very much (nothing against the people who do that --- but why? Oh why the heck would you do that??!!)

Today's picture. 7 weeks, 2 days. Sorry for the size. My scanner hates me. Baby B is on top and Baby A is on the bottom. They were not cooperating to have their picture made together. Already wanting to be independent I guess.

Anyway, with this little cold front that blew through H-town this morning (and by cold I mean like 55 degrees - stop laughing if you live in Iowa or something - that's very chilly by bayou standards!!), it got me thinking more and more about Thanksgiving. Well, that and the 7 hours of Food Network I watched yesterday - all with their Thanksgiving recipes.

I simply love Thanksgiving. It's absolutely my favorite holiday. I love the food, I love being with my family and friends, and I love that it seems less stressful than Christmas. The day is completely about being with the ones you love and not about what presents everyone got each other.

I am especially excited for this year because we have double reasons to give thanks. I can hardly believe next year we will probably have 2 little babies rocking in their swings during Thanksgiving dinner. Blows my mind actually.

This year will be extra sweet because next year we probably won't do any traveling with the babies. I really don't want to have to throw two 5 or 6 months old in a car with all their "stuff" to make the drive to either Austin or Dallas. So this year, we will spend the holiday just enjoying our families and enjoying the last Thanksgiving with just Matt and I. What a wonderful blessing.

And of course, I am super excited this year just to eat!!! No worrying about holiday pounds or extra calories. I want it all. 3 slices of pecan pie (1 for each of us, me and the two babies!), extra helpings of all the sides, the works. Yum. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Nothing is wrong with my appetite, I'll tell you that much. As long as I eat what I crave, I feel great --- and I have no problem taking down an entire hamburger and a side of fries without even blinking. So Thanksgiving will be no hill for a climber.

More on Thanksigiving later - I have a tradition post to include when I don't have tremendous writer's block.


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Heartbeats. Check!

Well, we have conquered another step in this process - we saw 2 little strong heartbeats yesterday afternoon. Praise God! Everything looks really good and the babies are both measuring well. Due date has changed to July 3rd (I think I know someone with that bday - huh, H? :) ) but with twins, I highly doubt that I will make it to that date, although it's a goal.

Now I feel like I can sort of take a deep breath and relax a little more. To be honest, I have been somewhat cautious in getting too excited about being pregnant. I think I have read way too much about things that can go wrong that I haven't let myself truly revel in the joy of being pregnant. I think every pregnant woman, regardless of the ways and means they achieved pregnancy, holds her breath until that magic week 12. And I guess I still feel a little anxious knowing that my body may not fully be producing everything it needs to yet to maintain the pregnancy.

However, my doctor feels pretty confident that everything is progressing as it should. So, he is FINALLY tapering down my progesterone injections (to end tomorrow - yay!!!!) and starting me on alternate means of receiving progesterone. It is still not a pleasant means of getting meds (think yeast infection, but not yeast infection medicine ----ewwww, I know. Gross.), but it beats the heck out of nightly injections and butt massages.

Which by the way, reminds me... I totally have the cure for anyone who feels like their butt is a little too jiggly for their liking and would like to firm it up a bit without doing 1,000 squats at the gym.

Simply go through in vitro and take progesterone shots every night for over 30 days -- you will have a firm butt in no time. The residual effects of the leftover progesterone in your butt kind of forms into hard lumps all over and you will have no jiggle whatsoever. It is amazing - if you can get past the unsightly lumpiness all over that precious real estate. Oh yeah, and the searing pain that comes along with the shots in the latter weeks because there simply is nowhere "fresh" for the injections to go.

Or you know what? Just hit the gym. A lot less painful.

So now, we are again in the waiting period. I will go back every week until week 11 or 12 for an ultrasound and bloodwork at my RE's and then I am officially released to my regular OB for good. Yay! I will be so glad for that "Graduation Day"!

The ever popular question has been "how do you feel?" Well, I think so far I have been pretty lucky. While I do have nausea, it is somewhat tempered by always stuffing my face. So as long as there are crackers, chocolate, and cookies (especially Subway cookies!) around, I seem to be ok. I definitely have cravings and aversions but they seem to switch up a lot. It's throwing off my grocery store trips big time because what looks good to me on Sunday does not usually sound good by Weds at dinnertime. So I have taken to going to the grocery on the afternoon I am going to cook dinner to ensure I don't have to throw out yet another meal because I simply can't stomach it.

I'm all about everything Italian and Mexican and my scale definitely reflects that. I have finally started to add on a little bit of weight from the weight I lost during the invitro process. It's been a little hard on me mentally to have my jeans fitting tighter with no obvious outward signs of pregnancy but I hope soon enough I will show and not just have this horrendous bloating feeling.

Other than the food thing, I am just plain exhausted. Thank goodness for home officing. I tend to wake up really really early -- either because I am hungry or I have to pee :) -- so my workdays have started earlier and allowed for naptime in the afternoon. Such a blessing to have a flexible work schedule. Praise the women who work a full day at "regular" jobs while pregnant -- and I'm selfishly glad it isn't me!

I still have not been released to work out at all - even a quick mile stroll around the block. Like my doctor says, now is not the time. I do miss working out or at least breaking a little bit of a sweat. It was always a great stress reliever for me. However, I know I will have to spend A LOT of time working out after these babies, so maybe it is just as well to enjoy it now. And besides, I don't know where I would find the energy. You know, after a hard day of sleeping and eating and writing blogs.

Anyway, that is pretty much all that is happening around here - and kind of sums up my life - I just roll from meal to meal and naptime to bedtime :). Sounds like my dog's life actually. We're totally on the same schedule.

Thank you all for your prayers, notes, and comments. The prayer support we have received has been nothing short of amazing and please know how much it means to us. We pray for you all daily.

Also - update on my mother-in-law, Barbara.... she is doing incredibly well and her strength through this battle has been inspiring. She will receive her 2nd round of chemo this Friday. We did find out that while it is stage 3 breast cancer, it has NOT spread anywhere else which was a huge blessing. Please continue to pray specifically that her body continues to tolerate the chemo (last week she had an infection that required antibiotics to ensure that it cleared up before the chemo hit again), that the chemo starts to shrink the main tumor, and that Barbara continues to feel well and positive. Thank you all.

In Him,

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Remembering My Daddy

Barry B. Anderson
March 6th, 1944 - November 5, 2006

Three years ago today, we lost my father to a very quick but courageous battle with cancer. Since he was a man of few words, I will follow his lead and keep this post pretty brief :)

He was an AMAZING father. I wish every little girl and boy could be blessed with a dad like him. He taught me so many things over the years and I treasure every single moment we had with him, up until he took his final breath to be with Jesus.

And now that prayerfully that Matt and I are embarking on the journey to be parents, we only hope we can raise our children with as much love as was given to me growing up. He set a lasting example of what it truly means to be a daddy, a husband, and a friend.

I only wish that he could be here to share in our joy of his grandbabies, but I know that my M&M's have a very special guardian angel up in Heaven. Love you, Dad, today and always.

In His Hands,

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Does anyone have a chair???

Cause I think I might pass out. That would be two little babies. Truly M&M's.

More later when I can talk.

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I'm a walking cliche

So I have become a walking cliche for pregnancy (ughhh - and I can't figure out how to put the little accent of the "e", so just pretend it's there). I always giggled a bit when you would hear these outrageous cravings and strange aversions. Always thought that person was lacking a little in the self-control department.

Turns out I am that person.

I really don't know how my body is already having so many of these symptoms. It seems so early. But I know everyone is different. And if one more person tells me that I won't need maternity until 4 or 5 months, I'm going to throw a shoe at them. My jeans are already tighter than they were on Monday (I know, pathetic that I haven't worn "real" pants in 5 days) --- and I don't have the dryer to blame it on. And I can't blame it on weight gain cause I really haven't gained a pound yet. It's just like my hips or something are spreading. Awesome.

The other day I was mindlessly walking through the grocery (our NEW Kroger Marketplace - whoo hoo, the excitement!!!) talking to my friend on the phone. Totally engrossed in our conversation and not paying attention to what I was throwing in my cart. If it sounded good or looked good, it went in.

I hung up with my friend, proceeded to check-out, and started unloading my cart.

Oh, the horror - I just sat there and stared at what I had picked up without even really recognizing it. On the belt was the following:

2 kinds of pork chops because I couldn't decide which ones looked better

1 package of chicken in case the pork did not sound good

1 LARGE jar of dill pickles

Gingerbread cake mix

2 containers of Blue Bell ice cream because again the decision-making proved too challenging

Ice cream sandwiches

2 pregnancy magazines

Oh my word.

And the other night I finally decided I was ready to get back in the cooking game. So I hit up my Food Network mag, found what I thought would be a great recipe and went to work on it. About halfway through I was having doubts. By the time I served it up, I just couldn't stomach the thought of eating it and sat there miserably until my wonderful husband offered to go to Subway for me (hey, our fine dining options are limited out in the 'burbs and their new Buffalo chicken is pretty darn good)

I am a freaking pregnancy cliche. Everything I used to laugh at, I am not. Payback is awesome.

I really wish I had other stories to tell (and I know I keep saying that - I really need a hobby!) but honestly I have been too bone dead tired to go anywhere or really do anything outside the occasional lunch or dinner with Matt or a friend. It's all I can do to prop my head up at work right now. And working from home can be an axis of evil when you're pregnant. My bed taunts me all day long and it takes all the power I have to resist it every hour, on the hour.

The other news for today: My levels are now a 2965 - right on track. Praise God! I was soooo nervous for some reason this afternoon before I got the call. I just kept thinking that something could go wrong and then what would I do? I know that it's still extremely early and if I had been able to get preggers naturally, I probably wouldn't be so apt to share the news with everyone so early. Oh well, I just can't keep my mouth shut :) The other good news is that they moved up my ultrasound from Weds to Monday because with my levels, they feel like we definitely should be able to see something Monday. I'm not going to argue with that!!! So in just a few days we will see if we have one little bean or two. CRAZY!!! I'm still totally adjusting to the fact that we may be parents - parents of twins may send me over the edge. ha.

Thank you all for your sweet comments, emails, and phone calls. I feel like the luckiest girl alive right now. And now, I must leave you - my stomach is growling and I am growing faint. After all, it's been a full 3 or 4 hours since I last ate!

Have a great Halloween weekend!

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Turns out I can keep a secret!

I'm obviously not good at keeping things to myself. My blog is a perfect example of that. But for me it's always been better to be candid and open - I don't know, it just works for me. I know, it's not for everyone.

So seeing as how I have a tough time keeping things to myself (which btw, only includes secrets about me, not about other people - so if you are a friend, I always keep your secrets!) - would you be surprised to know that I knew I was pregnant a full day before anyone else? And I didn't tell anyone - not even my husband?!!

Shocked me too.

I have to admit I almost busted out with the news several times but I wanted confirmation before I said anything. So anyway, I ended up being a bad girl and against my doctor's advice took a pregnancy test on Thursday afternoon. I don't know why, except that I just knew. My body was just feeling different and I wanted to know.

So I hightailed it to Walgreens, bought a massive box of tests, came home and took it. It wasn't even morning pee so I wasn't really expecting to see anything. So imagine my shock when I walked into the bathroom and saw a big fat plus sign staring me in the face. I was so surprised, I picked up the test with trembling hands, saw that little positive and immediately dropped it on the floor.

After 3 years of taking multiple tests and seeing N.O.T.H.I.N.G. over and over and over - I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't even know my body was capable of producing a positive sign! Oh, but it is :)

Now it just feels weird to say "I'm pregnant". It sounds foreign to me, like it doesn't belong with me. I equate it kind of when you get married and your new last name doesn't seem to feel just "right" yet. It rolls off your tongue awkwardly for a few months until finally one day you don't turn around and look for your mother-in-law when somone calls you "Mrs. Clanahan".

Oh, and I already have symptoms. That is crazy to me! How your body can change so much overnnight is insane. All I can say is that this bloated belly (thanks to the nightly progesterone shots and the estrogen) is going to be in maternity jeans before I even get used to the word "pregnant". And I don't look pregnant. I just look and feel fat.

I always promised myself that if I did get pregnant that I wouldn't complain about the symptoms and would welcome them with open arms. Well, I think I kind of overshot that one a little bit because I am soooo complaining about it. Even though I'm grateful to be pregnant. I just have a hard time not complaining when I get nauseated just watching the Food Network. That's my favorite channel and it's ruined for me right now.

Anyway, enough rambling as usual - the stats from today's blood work are in. Levels rose from a 243 Friday to a 727 today! Everything looks great. Twins are still in the realm of possibility. We scheduled our first ultrasound for next Weds to check out how many are in there. And technically, I am 5 weeks along on Saturday. Seems weird since my transfer was not even 2 weeks ago - but they go back and calculate now from the 1st day of your last period. I'm like a regular pregnant person now! Except I go to the doctor 2-3 times a week to check out everything :)

So today was a good day. God is so good! Y'all have a great Monday. I'm going to go eat some pickle, cheese and cracker sandwiches now. Don't knock it till you try it. Oh, and I will do my best to think of something non-preggers/infertility related to blog about next time. Hard to do when I only get out to go to said doctor's appointments but I'll do my best!

And a little FF (Fun Fact) for you...if everything stays on course, my official due date right now is the 4th of July!

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Can you see my smile from here???

Thrilled to announce that we are definitely PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!

I don't even have words now to write a full post - I am in such shock. But I will tell you that my HCG level was 243 (8 days post transfer). So there is no doubt! Could be twins perhaps??!! We'll see :) For now, my excitement is somewhat tempered in that I know we still have a few hoops to jump through. Will you continue to pray and pray specifically that the levels more than double this weekend for my blood test Monday? Thank you all - there is no doubt in my mind that this is such a God thing. We are so blessed.


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Messing with my Mind

My body is messing with my mind.

Or I guess I should say that the meds are making my body mess with my mind.

I have now been injecting the Progesterone shots for about 10 days and I guess it's fully entrenched in my system. I have every single side effect those meds are supposed to cause.

(Oh and if you are guy - and I think only about 2 guys read this - but you may want to avert your eyes or this post altogether. It's a woman thing, you wouldn't understand. No offense.)

Cramping? Check

Headache? Check

Dizziness? Check

Food cravings? Check.

Pain/swelling at the injection site (ie: lumps in my ass)? Check, check.

Sore boobs? Check, check, check, check check.


The terrible thing about it is that some of these (especially the boob thing) are also indicators of pregnancy. Fantastic. I just keep telling myself not to get excited about these symptoms for a couple of reasons. Number 1, it's a little early. Number 2, with everything I have injected/swallowed/patched into my system the last 3-4 weeks, it's no wonder that my body is having a breakdown.

But of course my insomniac brain can't help but surf the internet at night scouring for details about how you are supposed to feel post embroyo transfer (especially for those people who had positive pregnancy tests). The symptom that is irritating me the most mentally is this weird, dull ache I have to the left of my belly button, higher than where cramps usually are, and it feels like my stomach is stretching or something.

So I ran that little symptom by my best friend "Google" and found that some women experience that when implantation occurs and the uterus starts to stretch and grow to accompany the embroyo(s).

That didn't make me lose my mind at all.

I have never been so in tune with how my body feels as I am now. I guess it's exciting because it could possibly mean that my body is preparing for the M&M's. Or it could just be a massive overload of Progesterone, Estrogen, and Raw Emotions.

Of course, I am very familiar with how your body can play tricks on you. "Back in the day" when Matt & I were naively trying to get pregnant, every month I was convinced I had some sort of pregnancy symptom. Thus at the height of our conception trying, I probably took 3-4 pregnancy tests every month. Of course, at that point we had no idea that it would take a miracle for us to get pregnant on our own - but man, I wish I had that cash back. With that, and the money I spent on birth control. I probably could have paid for the invitro process by now.

And if I was worried that this process was going too smoothly, then we finally hit our first bump in the road on Monday. Turns out I am allergic to my estrogen tablets, Estrace. Call me slow, but it took me a full 4 doses to realize that my throat swelling and the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest were probably not normal. Oh yeah, and I lost some feeling in my right hand and couldn't make lunch because I literally couldn't grip anything.

That's when I called the nurse - apparently my breaking point on allergic reactions is when I can no longer shovel food in my mouth.

4 Benadryls and a 2 hour comatose nap later, by Monday evening I was much better and I haven't had a problem since. And luckily, since I have been prescribed estrogen through 2 different sources (the pill & a patch that goes on my abdomen), then I can just slap an extra patch on to get the meds I "need". While I am convinced that it was indeed the pill that almost caused an afternoon trip to the ER, I almost want to make doubly sure. I am almost tempted to take another one at the end of the week to see if it happens again.

I know. Stupid, right? Well, it just so happens that those Estrace pills were incredibly expensive and it was the one med that my insurance didn't cover a large amount of for whatever reason. So before I toss it in the trash, I guess I want to be thoroughly convinced. I shouldn't be surprised though - I was expecting to have an allergic reaction to at least one of these bad boys considering my track record with meds. There is not even enough room on those Doctor information forms anymore for me to write down all my allergies. So add estrogen tablets to the list. I guess hormone replacement therapy is out of the question for me when I go through "The Change".

Anyway, all this useless babble to really let you know that we might possibly know something Friday. Maybe.

I kinda wish she hadn't told me that because now I am in countdown mode to Friday. She did make the clarification that if she didn't see anything on Friday then it certainly doesn't mean all is lost. Some babies are just more stubborn than others about showing up in momma's blood levels. And that will only be barely 8 days post transfer - so pretty early still. I'm just going to try my best not to lose my mind by then.

I am also going to do my darndest to stay away from the Women's Health aisle at Walgreens and throw 1 or 8 pregnancy tests in my basket. EPT has gotten enough of my money.

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An M&M Update and Prayer Request

Well, we've learned one thing through this process.

I am not a good bed rest patient.

I know.
It was surprising to me, too.

I enjoy afternoon naps or really naps of any kind, so I thought 3 days in bed sounded like pure delightful bliss.

Not so much. Turns out, I am not a very patient patient.

Quite the opposite. I was ready to get moving after 4 hours of lying on my back. I think it was just the fact that I was being told I couldn't do anything for myself and that lack of independence was especially frustrating. And for me mentally, when all you can do is lay there and watch whatever craziness is happening on "The Real Housewives" or think about what just happened within your body - well, you think a lot.

And you wonder. Is this really going to happen or am I just wasting my time with all of this? It's very frustrating not to technically feel sick or anything and then just "be still". Yuck. My personan definition of insanity.

Anyway, I made it through the 3 days - kind of cheated on day 3 by taking a shower, but Lord, I just needed to for my own personal good. That made a world of difference on Saturday and after a couple of rough days Thursday and Friday, to laugh and smile again yesterday just felt really good.
Overall, I feel kinda yuck to be honest. I don't know if it is all of the hormones making their way into my system (those fantastic progesterone oil shots - which by the way, suck as much as anticipated. I literally cringe when the clock turns 8:30pm and it's time to mix yet another one.) or if it is emotional stress - or a combination. But I am just exhausted, yet unable to sleep well - crampy, bloated, and every other adjective that would go along with your typical PMS-type symptoms.
And to make my body even more of a chemistry experiment gone bad, today we had the ultimate excitement of introducing more estrogen back into my system through the form of a pill 3x daily and a patch on my abdomen that will be changed out every 4th day.
(I have had a lot of questions about the meds, so in case you were wondering why all of this stuff? Basically now, the progesterone shots and the estrogen are designed to maintain the pregnancy, should one happen. When a spontaneous pregnancy occurs, usually your body is smart enough to produce adequate levels of these. However, during IVF your body doesn't know that it just got preggers until much later (like week 10 or so), so you have to take these additional measures.)
I know I sound kind of bitter about these meds. I don't really mean to. We are willing to do anything to get the M&M's here. But the fact remains - no.fun.at.all. But it is what is.
Anyway, I promised some pics, so here we go...

Here are a few pics from transfer day:

May I present to you the two little M&M's (full blasts)....

The embroyos (5 day transfer). Beautiful, right? :)

Oh, the sexy ways to make a baby. With my lucky socks on. (I wore them for the retrieval and that went well, so I decided to break them out for the transfer too.)

Look at that hottie. They let Matt come in with me but he had to get all space-aged suited out.

Our transfer day on Thursday turned out to be an even more emotional one than expected when we found out the shocking news that Matt's mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Obviously, we are both devestated by this news but we are encouraged by Barbara's fortitude and positive outlook. We don't know yet what stage or really the complete treatment path yet. What we do know is that God is holding her in the palm of His Hand and that He will continue to give her strength and love on her during this tough time.

I tell you this news in the hopes that you will add Barbara to your prayer list. Please pray that the testing this week will show the cancer at an early, more treatable stage, pray for the wisdom and grace of the doctors, pray for our family and friend's hearts to rally around her at this time, and pray for Barbara, that she will have peace, conviction to fight, and the strength to overcome. We love you.

Matt and his mom, Barbara

In His Mighty Hands,

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Preggers Until Proven Otherwise...

So that's what they told me I am - PUPO (Preggers Until Proven Otherwise). I am not much for fertility acronyms but I thought that one was funny.

Or maybe that was the Valium.

Anyway, I am home now in my bed, laying down typing which is proving to be quite a challenge.

So this post will be short. Here are the stats:

7 out of 9 made it.

2 made it to full, beautiful blasts and the 5 others were "good" and potentially "great" tomorrow.

Dr. H said he will probably freeze all of them tomorrow b/c they all looked that great.

Praise God.

So the big question? How many did we put in?

After all of the meds, procedures, surgeries, etc - we did TWO. That was my Dr.'s recommendation as well. 1 is kinda risky, even as pretty as they looked :)

Statistic wise, we are looking at a 25-30% chance of twinkies and 75-80% chance that at least one will make it.

In the back of my mind, I just keep thinking of that 20-25% chance the neither will take. It's a sobering thought. But I am going to stay positive.

All I know is this next 2 weeks will be the looonnnnggggessttt of our lives.

Please keep praying for the little M&M's now firmly implanted in utero. Love you all and I will write a more detailed post later with pics of our little beautiful babies :)

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Pre-Petri Placement

So I had a long, drawn out blog to write (which I am quite sure you will all be subjected to before the bed rest period is over) but for now, I simply say thank you.

I say thank you to my friends and family who have supported us in this incredibly long journey. Your hearts and hands of friendship are unmatched.

I say thank you for the people who until recently I had not kept in touch with over the years and have been generous enough to share their infertility struggles with me. You all have provided invaluable advice and I am so glad to be in touch.

I say thank you to the "lurkers" (meaning that word in the nicest way possible, I promise!!) who check out my blog and pray alongside us all. Your prayers are being heard.

Words cannot even describe how blessed I feel for us to be so loved on.

Thank you to those who have lifted us up daily in your prayers. Prayers do work and God does listen. I am proof positive of that (my other blog is all on that - so I will leave that as is for now)

For now I leave you one of my faves:

Jeremiah 29:11 "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".

That is my little prayer for our little embroyos, Petris, M&Ms, whatever you want to call them - hopefully our children. Tomorrow we start the first stage in letting God give them that hope and and a future.

I will post tomorrow on the transfer with all the fun stats you guys are dying to read about I'm sure. Fascinating to me --- to you, probably not so much :) But they're coming anyway.ha

In His Hands,

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The Great Egg Hunt, Part III

Really? There's a part III of the Great Egg Hunt?

Well, yeah, in my book there is. Even with all the reading up and edu-macation I received prior to the retrieval, I still had tons of questions for the doc. What a shocker.

And there might even be a part IV. I'm not sure when I am going to transfer (ha - no pun intended!) from my Egg Hunt posts to my Petri placement posts. hmmmm... maybe soon.

Back to asking questions: I am certain that he and his nurse will be quite relieved when I get preggers and stop peppering them daily with questions.

But I also figure I've kind of earned the right to ask questions seeing as how I didn't just write them a check for a $25 copay & they got a negligible payment from our insurance company that probably barely covered their time. Nope, they got straight up cash - and for that much cash, you are going to listen to my questions! ha.

They've been wonderful though -- I really can't complain. When I called this morning (at 8:03am - knowing full well they had just opened at 8am), my very favorite receptionist Barbara answered. She happened to be working the day of my retrieval at the other location & saw us go in, so when I called, she knew I had already had everything done. When I told her the news about the fertilization, I swear she almost started crying she was so happy. That made me start crying, of course. In a good way. It's funny to me to think that an almost perfect stranger would be that hopeful for us -- and that thrilled that (so far) everything is working out to plan. Certainly a blessing.

Anyway, finally spoke to my nurse and reviewed my schedule - confirmed my 5 day transfer and the meds to start prior to. I was saddened to hear about the new shots, even though I knew full and well they were coming - maybe I was hoping for a last minute twist in the med plan since everything was going so well? ha. no. Dream big, Meg.

So, I started my progesterone in oil shot tonight. In my ass. It's a fun one, folks. Not only because it's a super thick formula so it takes about 5 minutes to get it fully in (ok, not 5 minutes but it's a loooonggg shot - or maybe that was just Matt's incredible nursing skills - love you, honey!), but also because well, it hurts. You have to massage it to make sure it gets all the way in. My nurse recommended at least a 30 minute butt massage to ensure that my ass doesn't get all lumped up with this medicine.

And if that isn't an incredibly attractive scenario, I don't know what is.

And who has time to lie there for 30 minutes and get their butt kneaded? Well, I may have the time, but I have no desire and no patience for such a thing. About 10 minutes in, I just told Matt to rub vigorously for 5 more minutes and then he would be freed. That boy leapt up like a dart at 4 minutes 59 seconds, muttering something about carpal tunnel.

I think he was just as excited to wrap up the "massage" as I was.

Oh, but the most awesome part of the progestrone shots??? If this does work and I do get preggers - these bad boys will be shot up daily until like week 9 or 10.

Come on??? Well, day 1 down. Perhaps only 62 to go. Small sacrifices. This child is already giving me a lumpy ass. I am sure that is the first of many changes to my body if I get pregnant so we'll deal.

The other news of the day:

My clinic doesn't do embroyo reports. Meaning I don't get a call every day letting me know how our little guys & gals are developing, if they are at all. I guess this would have been something important for me to know beforehand, but I don't know if I was so focused on retrieval that anything after that seemed so secondary - so I never asked.

Every clinic is different. Some do, some don't. My doctor is a firm believer in letting them be and grow without any daily disturbance.

Think of it this way: they are kind of baking at the moment. If you keep opening the oven, then you are going to disrupt that optimal baking temp and your souffle may fall (Note: I've never made a souffle in my life - but I've never made a baby either so maybe it's a good comparison).

So if my doc wants to leave them alone, we'll leave them alone. No daily grade reports, rating levels or anything else on our little ones. I am taking this is as a positive.

First, I don't have to wait on pins & needles all day waiting for "the call". Cause that's all I did last week and this past weekend and emotionally, it's a killer.

Secondly, I figure once these kiddos pop out, they are going to be judged/graded/scored for the rest of their lives. We'll let them start their first few days of conception in relative peace and harmony of not facing judgment from the cruel outside world.

Anyway, we'll find out Thursday morning (soon enough) how they all did and how many "made it" so to speak and at what levels.

So this is how I see Thursday now in my warped mind...

I see it kind of as a Christmas present. I've found the box before Christmas. I know that it says Banana Republic on it. I like to shop at Banana Republic. But I won't know until I open that box if I like what I actually got from Banana Republic. It could be beautiful and awe-inspiring. Or it could be last year's sock and sweater sale. Who knows.

I don't want to get my hopes up that we will have even 5 great ones. Even though deep in my heart I would love that. I know we only need 1 or 2 to make it work. But after all this, I really would like to have another shot at it just in case the pregnancy doesn't take so we don't have to start all over. But it's completely in God's hands.

And I leave you with this...I have a new "unfavorite" infertility statement that I have heard tossed around quite a bit as of late.

"It only takes one"

If one more person tells me that, I'm going to scream. I see the truth in that and I don't disagree. You're right. It only takes one. But going through all of this - you want more than ONE. Trust me.

Even the doctor on Saturday - when I asked him if he thought it sounded like I had enough eggs (statistically speaking), even he said, "well, it only takes one!". Chuckle chuckle.

No crap. It only takes one. It would have only taken one egg and one sperm for us to do this naturally and spontaneously. But that didn't work out for us too well.

And so ends my rant. I have consciously tried not to rant too much through this process because I know that most everyone is well-intentioned and their statements are certainly not meant to be hurtful or frustrating.

But when the doctor and nurse say it - well, I am just plain tired of hearing it!!! ha.

Thank you for allowing me to vent for a sec.

Y'all have a great Tuesday!

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The Great Egg Hunt, Part II

Just got the call from the doctor.

Out of the 13, 10 were mature.

Out of those 10, NINE fertilized!

Day 5 Transfer set for Thursday morning.

Could not have asked for better news this morning based upon the reports yesterday.

One step at a time, but we are marching forward.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Hard to imagine that Matt and I may have our little babies laying in an incubator somewhere in a lab in H-town. Kind of blows my mind. Trying not to get too pumped up because I know statistically that not all of those are going to make it to be supermarket fresh Grade A's - but praying praying praying that at least a couple of them do.

Hurry up Thursday!

Love to you all.

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The Great Egg Hunt '09, Part I

The Great Egg Hunt '09 commenced this morning @ 8am. I am exhausted and a little drugged up still, so I will make this relatively brief. After a semi freak-out last night and being completely stressed about the process (which prompted a 10pm call to my pastor for prayer), I woke up this morning completely at peace with the situation. Just totally gave it to God and it felt so good to turn over those reigns that I generally clutch onto way too tight.

This was probably the least anxious I have been about any procedure/surgery that I have ever had & what an amazing feeling! Both of my nurses were AWESOME and took amazing care of me, all while keeping the mood light. Couldn't have been better except the first nurse tried to start my IV and blew the vein causing some undue agony (but she was so sweet about it, so I wasn't upset at all) and she sent in her co-worker to get it started on my other hand. I do have to wonder why on earth does every hospital not do a little local when they start an IV like that?! I had that done a couple of times when I had prior surgeries and it made all the difference in the world!

(In other nurse news: Eleanor is outta there. I don't know many details - but I apparently was not the first or the last patient that experienced something similar. I generally never would wish unemployment on anyone, but she needs to be in a field where patients live's are not in her hands! The End. Bye bye Ellie.)

The only other thing that was slightly a bummer but turned out ok - my dr was actually on vacation. I think my nurse didn't want to tell me b/c she knows my tendency to freak out about little things. However, he left my case in the trusted hands of one of his colleagues & I found out yesterday so I had a chance to read up on him a little bit, ya know - just to make sure. Anyway, he was a honor undergrad student from Harvard and an honor med school grad from UT. Hook 'em. And he ended up being just as great - and quite funny, too.

Ok, so enough with the stories - they took me back, last thing I remember was saying, "Man, I am feeling that already" and it was zzzzzzzz time for Meg.

Woke up to find out very good news. 13 eggs retrieved as predicted. All looked healthy and most were of really good size, save for a couple that were on the slightly smaller end of the scale. But there were no "throwaways" as they call 'em and on first glance, appeared really really good.

So tomorrow we will get "the call" about how many have fertilized. I don't want to get my hopes up because I know anything can happen and perhaps none will fertilize. There is always that possibility. But deep in my heart, I am hoping and praying for at least 8-9 so we will have a good chance of several making it to blasts and maybe even having some to freeze just in case. But I know by talking to a lot of people that from 13, the numbers will just continue to drop and drop. That's just statistics of IVF.

Unless you are like my other friend who must be a superhero and after having a huge "Egg Hunt" had every swinging one of hers fertilize and was even able to freeze a large majority! That's pretty incredible but I know it is also rare. I have a little case of egg envy of her :) ha.

But all in all, God was great today. I was in quite a bit of pain earlier but am starting to feel better - and thank goodness b/c LSU vs Florida starts in less than an hour and I need to get my game face on. Suffice it to say that I won't be leaping about and yelling as is my normal gametime antics - but I will be conscious for it. I think actually Matt is sort of glad I am partially under the influence b/c I think I actually embarrass him most of the time with my rants. Blame it on genetics. I got the obnoxiousness from my Dad. Can't help it.

So anyway, we will wait for tomorrow and "the call" & I will give you guys an update. Thank you for your prayers. They are being heard. The complete and total peace I experienced today is the obvious example of that. Will you join me in praying tonight as our little embroyos come together to make hopefully what will be part of our future Clanahan fam?

Love & prayers to you all,

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Bring on Petri!

Got "the call" this afternoon. We are ready to go lay some eggs - I mean, retrieve - Saturday at 8am. Honestly, I can't quite believe it all happened so fast. Apparently my ovaries really really liked Menopur, Ganirelix and Gonal-F because I am 2 days ahead of schedule. Who knew?

Well, my ovaries may have liked it, but the rest of my body hasn't been a huge fan. Especially the last 2 days. I feel pretty rotten to be honest. Lots of headaches, stomach aches and all sorts of other pleasant things. I get hungry, but then I am so bloated that I feel like I can't eat a ton. And when I can't eat, I get cranky! Just ask Matt.

I will say I feel pretty lucky though. All my doctor's appointments went so smoothly and everything looks GREAT. I haven't gained any weight yet like I had feared, nor did my skin break out like crazy. I did however, have an unsightly pooch pop up on my tummy last night after my last round of shots. It almost looks like a little pregger belly, which both makes me happy and messes with my mind cause I know it's just a whole lot of eggies in there and not an actual baby.

Hopefully soon there will be.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering - "Petri" is what we call the potential baby right now. It came from one goofy staff meeting where my boss was trying to understand what was going on and I told him that my baby was going to be made in a petri dish like a biology experiment and somehow we just coined the phrase "Petri". So, this morning at staff meeting, there was "Prayer for Petri". He is going to baptize that child and call him/her Petri, I just know it. It won't matter if we have the best, most super cool name - he will always be Petri in my pastor's heart.)

Tonight we trigger at 8:30pm sharp and Matt has the pleasure of giving me my first shot in the ass. I am sure he can't wait to get home and do that. He was shown last week how and where to do it so I think he feels prepared. Plus, he keeps grabbing my butt and when I ask why - he just says with this really innocent look on his face, "Just making sure I know where the shot needs to go. I don't want to forget."

Ummm yeah. He's just trying to cop a feel. I feel so cheap. ha.

So here are some stats. I don't understand them all but according to my doctor and nurse, they could not have been more pleased with the way the cycle progressed. Picture perfect or something.

My estrogen levels started at 37 (I don't know what measurement they use).

Today, they were at 2347.

I'm lucky I am not a huge puddle of tears on the floor right now.

Baseline ultrasound last Weds (9.30), I had b/w 8-9 follicles on my left and 9-10 on my right.

Today (10.8), I had 8 measurable on my right (5 big and 3 smaller) and 5 HUGE ones on my left. Honestly, I think the main reason they decided not to push it another day is b/c my left side is so big. They probably could have waited another day to give my right smaller ones time to pop up some more but then my left ones could have gotten too big. It's a balancing act. Is anyone surprised that I am unbalanced as usual? I'm not.

Emotional Stats:

Surprisingly, I have had very few meltdowns. I cried yesterday on my way to my doctor's appointment b/c a song came on KSBJ that just touched me. I received an email from an old friend just saying hi and I started crying at that. I found out that another childhood friend of mine had a baby recently - and that hers was an invitro miracle. So I cried again.

But other than that, pretty stable. No blow-outs to speak of with the hubby and I think he has been somewhat shocked that there have been less tears than anticipated. He stocked up on Kleenex this week just in case but alas, there has been no need.

I feel pretty good about Saturday. We've done the best we can. I gave my shots as I've been supposed to. I've been probed with a wand more times than I care to admit. I've taken my vitamins and folic acid. I've tried to take care of my body. I've just simply done my best.

Now, it's the doctor's turn. Time for him to do his job and make some babies.

And ultimately, it's God's turn - this is all in His trusty hands. I turn it all over to Him. Let His Will be done.

Thank you all for your prayers and sweet emails. Will update you after retrieval when we find out how many hatched and how many fertilized. Oh, in case you were wondering - I have requested a new charge nurse for Saturday :) See Eleanor.

In His mighty grip,

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Matty Turns 30!!!

Please forgive me - there is an actual post underneath this - but I don't have the patience or the energy to put these pics in actual order. So just use your imagination :)
Matt with his Birthday "Tray" from Perry's Steakhouse. He did not leave behind a morsel.

Matt & I celebrating his 30th and my mom's XXth. :)

Mother and daughter
Blowing out the candles. I don't know why I felt inclined to help him with that one little flame.

Gig 'Em Ags! Our neighbor Ryan (former student '99) and friend Greg (former student '98)

Some of my girls! Our neighbor Kim, me, Kendra, and Nathalie

The spread. We thought we had a lot of food but we barely had leftovers!

Matt & I with the cake. That thing was h.e.a.v.y. It probably had 10lbs of fondant on it. But it sure was cute :)

Mommy & daughter again. She's so cute.

Couldn't resist picking up these plates. My mom actually gave me the napkins a couple of years ago and I have been waiting for the right occasion - and then I found the plates at Swoozies, my little party heaven on earth.

So in the midst of all the fertility "stuff", my wonderful husband turned the big 3-0!!! We usually don't make a big deal out of birthdays anymore --- usually just enjoy a nice dinner out and maybe an exchange of a gift or 2 (mostly clothes for both of us - and Matt usually does a heck of a job of picking out cute ones for me - go figure! But he plays it safe - Ann Taylor Loft or White House/Black Mkt - he knows it's hard to go wrong there!)

However, thirty is a BIG birthday - or I think so at least. Matt probably would have been happy enough with a steak dinner and a quiet night at home, but nooooo...I had other plans.

I have a newfound obsession with etsy.com and have bought many a baby gift on there recently. One sleepless night I was searching for invitations for Matt and decided to try my luck. And wouldn't you know - I found the perfect thing!

It's a stadium ticket down to every last detail - of course, I just had to track down a picture of Matt from his football playing days with the sweetest chili bowl haircut that you could sport as a freshman (circa 1993-94, I think?). Thank you, Emily, Rich, and Barbara for helping me with this!!! Sorry the scan is a little small - but you get the picture. (no pun intended)
Anyway, I found a woman who could make a cake like a champ and imitate the invitation perfectly. It tasted as good as it looked! So the whole theme was around football - which came in handy because we usually throw at least a couple of football watching parties each year. Selfishly, all I had to purchase were some plates and napkins and the rest of the stuff was ready to go.

The party was a success in my book. I felt crummy that whole day - but after a 2 hour nap was able to rally not only to route my Tigers onto victory but also socialize for a few hours.
Man, our parties certainly have changed. Not that we were ever big into partying, but we will call this a relatively tame party. Just good friends, good food, good times. We went through way more water and diet cokes than beer and vodka. That's a good thing because the days of hangovers are far behind us. And thank goodness my mother came in town to help out and celebrate with us - she was a lifesaver to me! And I think she had a pretty good time, too :) The woman has never met a stranger and I think became best friends with all of our friends at the party.
Speaking of birthdays, it was her birthday as well on that Friday the 2nd. It has become our tradition for Matt and Mommy to celebrate their birthdays together and it is so cute. I love spending time with both of them on their special days. The three of us went out for our "nice" dinner on Friday night and had a fabulous time as always - and much to my jealousy, were served incredible "Happy Birthday" dessert trays compliments of the chef. Mom and I kind of dabbled in hers but poor Matt ate every last bite. He still was full at 10am the next morning.
Pace yourself, baby - metabolism doesn't last forever! Or maybe for him it does. Because no matter what that kid, ummm I mean, "man" eats, it never shows. I find it disturbing and intriguing. And again, I am jealous.
Happy Birthday, babe! Hope you enjoyed everything. You deserved all of that and more. You are my heart and I can't wait to celebrate every single last birthday with you. Praying praying praying that the retrieval isn't on Saturday so you can enjoy a "guy's day" at the A&M vs Okie State game with Adam - far away from your hormonal and swollen wife. Love you!!!


An Unexpected Twist to Church Services

I passed out cold at church today. Awesome. For those who have weak stomachs, you may want to just move on from this post and go visit people.com or something. But apparently the meds are getting the best of me. I have been fighting migraines for a few days now ever since I started the meds. They seem to hit around 9am -10amish and last until 4:00ish and then I rally like a warrior.

This morning we had a new and unexpected twist. I woke up, felt great after having slept from about 11:00pm after the party until about 7:45. In fact, I was sleeping so soundly that my alarmed blared about 4x before Matt came in and told me to get up. Apparently I was having a dream that I was back working at hell.on.earth. (I mean, the bank) and my clients were trying to get in touch with me and my phone kept ringing and ringing and I was so agitated in my dream. Well, obviously that was the alarm.

Anyway, woke up, felt good, ate breakfast, walked to throw away the remnants and puked right in the sink. 5 times. No more breakfast.

After that, I felt decent, so I went to go shower for church and get ready - in the midst of my getting ready, I started feeling yucky and hungry so I ate some toast and all was ok except for a horrible pain on my left side (which now I attribute to swelling of my left ovary).

Got to church relatively on time. Actually got to sit with my husband for the first time in 6 months (he runs the projector and AV equipment during service, so I am usually a "church widow"). Last thing I remember is singing and closing my eyes to "Sweet sweet song", grabbing Matt's hand, and then apparently passed out cold to my left (where he was, thank goodness) - he caught most of the fall, but I still have a lovely lump on the back of my head.

Diagnosis per nurse: meds are now fully in my system. Known to cause nausea (duh!), headaches and the like. Combo little food in my system, to the concentration of meds, to the fact that the church AC was out - bam, Meagan out cold.

Feeling better now. Took a 4 hour nap & was able to keep down dinner. So far. Victory.

Now I am going to go inject myself again. She gave me the option if I felt like it to skip the meds tonight. Ummmm, no thanks. Let's get through this last 6 days or so (prayerfully) as quickly as possible. If I have to puke and pass out, then I am going to do it. No waiting. We have waited long enough.

Did I mention is was Matt's birthday today? On his birthday, he had to hoist his wife and carry me out of church, probably with my granny panties hanging out my jeans - spend the day making sure I was ok. Me...Wife of the Year award, seriously.

Although I think I slightly redeemed myself with his favorite meatloaf and mashed potato dinner. Hopefully.

Happy 30th Birthday, baby. Hopefully, we can make you a Daddy at 30.

In His Hands,

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