Encouragement In Life · Fertility Journey

Attitude Check.

“Many times people who have suffered adverse situations in their lives become bitter and angry. Over time, their lives will be negative and hardened towards others. The tendency for them is to point back to a difficult time and say, ‘That incident ruined my life.’ What they do not realize is that the incident called for an attitude decision – a response. Their wrong attitude choice, not the condition, ruined their lives.” – John C. Maxwell, “Developing the Leader Within You”

We have to ask ourselves: Will we allow our fertility journey to harden our attitudes towards life and others, or will we allow it to shape us into making a right attitude choice? We choose to let it mold and shape us into better individuals – it’s a journey, but we are choosing that path. We want to look back 20 years from now and be able to say, “that challenge changed our lives for the better and molded us into the people we are today.”

Often, we see individuals going through this journey [or other journeys] who have chosen the path of negativity towards life, friends/family/people, and God. I know the struggle, thoughts, hurt, pain, and confusion – BUT how are you letting that affect your life? When it’s raining are you complaining, or are you thankful for the fruit and vegetables that are being nourished? Are you approaching situations as “I can do this” or “There is no way I am able to complete this task”? When you hear another pregnancy announcement are you bitter or thankful for their blessing? [It is okay to still hurt, but bitterness only destroys you more.] It is amazing how much your thoughts affect your day, week, month, and life.

I challenge you – regardless of what you’re going through in life right now – to go through each day starting on a positive note – like listed below. It will help you build your mindset and attitude. This is not something that comes naturally. Instead, it is a DAILY CHOICE.

When you wake up in the morning:
1. Read self-improvement/ Bible
2. Pray/meditate
3. Write out affirmations

Throughout the day:
1. Encourage others
2. Pray/meditate
3. Connect with someone who encourages you

At end of day:
1. Pray/meditate
2. Self-improvement/Bible
3. Affirmations [again]

John C. Maxwell had a conversation with his Dad:
“Dad, you’re seventy years old. You’ve always had a great attitude. Are you still reading that stuff?”
“Son, I have to keep working on my thought life. I am responsible to have a great attitude and to maintain it. My attitude does not run on automatic.”

Perhaps today is a day for an attitude decision – response. Are you ready to change your mind, heart, and attitude. Jake and I are committing to making positive attitude decisions. Will you commit to that, too? — This does not determine your road to be easy, but it sure does secure it to be mentally and emotionally improved.

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Encouragement In Life · Fertility Journey

There Is Beauty In the Weeds

Weeds grow rapidly, spread all over, pop up where unexpected, and choke out other plants – much like the struggles in our lives, right?

The struggles build on top of each other and grow quickly. You’re reminded often by the things around you, and hurt often.

The pain spreads into other areas of your life. You often let it affect your work, home, spiritual, and physical life. You take your hurt, anger, and frustration out on the important people in your life (spouse, parents, siblings, children, etc.) – even when you try not to. It spreads like weeds – fast, wide, and sporatic. You don’t always know when it’s going to affect you – where you’ll be, who you’ll be with, and what’s going on around you.

BUT through it all, there is beauty – if you allow it.

Beauty in the pain and suffering. Beauty in who you become when you come out on the other end. Beauty in the relationships built through it – the ones who love you, support you, and pray for you. I am thankful for our fertility struggle. “Wait, what did she just say?!” Yup, I just said that. I am thankful. I still struggle, I still have pain, and I still hope and dream of becoming pregnant, soon! BUT I am thankful the Lord is using our experience to help others through theres. I am thankful I have a better appreciation and understanding for others who go through infertility as well. I still have REALLY rough days, and events, words, etc. that trigger my emotions, but I am THANKFUL!

1 Thessalonians 5:18: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Philippians 4:6: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT)

Psalm 106:1Praise the LordOh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)


Psalm 28:7: The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (NLT)

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Check out those “weeds” above – they aren’t actually considered weeds, but they sure are invasive. Each year we pull as many as we can find, but somehow they come back in full force the next Spring. They reproduce and spread like crazy. All through our yard and garden (much like dandelions). This year, I chose to let them be with my tulips. They are beautiful – if only for a moment. I cherished them this Spring, and will appreciate them each year for the reminder they bring to me.

Fertility Journey

Walmart Run-in!

I don’t think my heart could be any fuller in moments like these:

I made a “Walmart run” today (Wednesday, Dec. 14th, 2016) – I felt the need to go there to buy gifts for my youth girls (Jake and I are youth leaders at Calvary Church). I was planning to go to Target, but I am so glad I was drawn here today.

When I got close to the checkout lines I was on the phone with one of my beautiful cousins (if she wouldn’t have called, I would have already checked out) when along came one of our best friend couples and their five sweet children! I cannot even begin to explain how much this family means to us! They are prayer warriors, encouragers, friends, supporters and genuine listeners. The excitement these children get when they see “Shake & Jelly” is so incredibly good for my soul. Today was a huge blessing to get hugs, hi’s, and kisses! Sweet little Lily reached out for me to hold her. Yup, I was quickly melted in to a puddle – a puddle of joy and love. Asher shared how excited he was to get a balloon pump for Christmas, Noah & Malachi sweetly smiled and chatted, and little Gracee slept in the car seat all snug. My heart grew a million times bigger in that moment.

The children in our lives – through family, friends, and patients – really have no idea how much the hugs, smiles, and excitement with seeing us really help in our healing process through this journey. If only they could truly know how much we love them!

We both would love the love of a child of our own, but for now – we’ll take glimpses of love from other little ones.

This journey is difficult, but God has placed very dear friends in our lives – and we are thankful!

* I attached a photo of one of my favorite ornaments. This was before the two little girls came along! *

Fertility Journey

Fertility Appointment – 12.8.16

We had our appointment with the Fertility Doctor today. Many of you reached out to us through texts and calls – we felt the love!

(Long post, I apologize in advance.)

Jake took a half-day from teaching today, and was able to be home by 11:40am – so we took advantage of the time together and went to my favorite restaurant for lunch – DJ’s A Taste of the 50’s! (They have Gluten Free buns!!!!)

We are very thankful for Dr. Sobel – thankful for his detailed explanations, genuine care, great bed-side manors, and making us feel comfortable (… and answering all of our questions – a few times if needed). He also understands that we want to stay as natural through this process as possible.

SUPPLEMENTS: I took all the supplements in to let him see everything I am currently on. He was pleased with Dr. Sheehan‘s recommendations, and was proud of me for seeking a natural way of health with Nutrition and Chiropractic (thanks Dr. Tai Scelfo!).

We had about a 30-minute consultation with him – updating current information and recapping past tests/findings. The last time we were in their office was February of 2014 – close to 3 years ago. Since it has been so long, he is wanted to run a few more tests again:
– Bloodwork/urine sample for both of us. Jake will be able to do his at any time, while I have to wait until a certain point in my next cycle (too far in to this one). Specifically checking the level of my eggs (Ovarian Reserve), the quality of my eggs, Thyroid levels, as well as my Vitamin D levels.
– Jake will be having another semen analysis, just to be sure everything is functioning correctly.
– HSG again (yippeee!) between days 5-12 of my next cycle. This is a much easier process then the last time (extremely painful for me), and will be able to be done in their office rather than having to go all the way to Paoli, PA. This procedure is done to confirm whether the Fallopian Tubes are unblocked or blocked.
– Shelly will also have a Saline Sonogram done. This procedure is to check the uterine walls.
– He will be trying me on a less invasive drug (I did not previously do well on Chlomid). Our plan is to not take this for any longer than absolutely needed. They do need to use this for the testing portion within my next cycle in combination with ultrasounds.

We have chosen not to have any genetic testing done on either of us. Something neither of us feels is necessary, and does not effect whether or not we conceive.

What was done today: ULTRASOUND
– I previously had a slightly heart-shaped uterus, which could cause a miscarriage if we ever conceived. He removed the septum that causes this a few years back during a Hysteroscopy done in Paoli. Dr. Sobel said it looked great today! PRAISE!
– 7 Follicles (“egg banks”) on left ovary and 7 on right ovary.
– Different cyst than the last ultrasound he did a few years back, which is a good sign. It means the other one went away, and this one does appear to be a Ovulatory Cyst – you need these to conceive!
– Overall, he was pleased with the ultrasound.

* * * * * *

Some of you have asked about costs:
– Most of what was mentioned above will be covered by insurance after our deductible is met – because this is all diagnostic. PRAISE!
– After the diagnostic tests there will be other expenses. This is why we are looking in to applying for those grants to help us along the way. Our DREAM is to give back to these organizations in the future to help others.
– If we have to do another round of that medication and ultrasounds it will be: $1000 for each round.
– IUI: $380 each time.
– IVF (In-Vitro): Did not get exact numbers at this point, praying we do not need to seek this route. (Especially with all the drugs involved.)

*He did mention that the fact that we have not conceived over a 5-year period it may be that IVF is in the future for us, but he is hopeful we will not need it. However, prepare ourselves emotionally for that.

Thankful for some clarity of what to do next.

Continuing my regular care with Chiropractic & Nutrition. We are still hoping to add Acupuncture (high success rates with infertility) to our wellness plan soon!