Monthly Archives: June 2016

BABY #2

Jun 22 2016

I’m almost scared to start typing this in fear that I’m going to totally jinx things.  We’re no longer ashamed about infertility, it’s what makes us who we are today and through my disease and our fight, we have one beautiful baby on earth, two blessings in Heaven and one sweet baby in my belly.  These precious lives remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness daily.  My fear in writing this comes from the subject being socially taboo and very personal… but more so, I don’t want to be hurting someone else with my happy news.  For those who are struggling, I pray that you can find hope in our story.  And know that you are all in our prayers and the Lord is with you while you wait.

Two years, 196 needles, what felt like hundreds of blood draws, ultrasounds, zero infertility insurance, tears, failed procedures, prayers, multiple IUI’s, 2 rounds of IVF, one loss and now…  

We celebrate this precious life.  A life that I never knew that I could love as much as I do this early on.

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It’s impossible to find the words to express how surreal this feeling is and how very grateful we are…

We are so thankful for this sweet little miracle that I am so blessed to carry.  I’m relishing in every moment of this pregnancy, knowing that it will more than likely be our last… which makes the pit of my stomach ache.  I’m ‘one of those’ who wanted a house full of kiddos  (“full” as in 3 or 4 little rug rats).  I truly love being pregnant.  I loved delivery and the days spent in the hospital.  I love every ounce of motherhood.  It’s not always easy or pretty, there’s definitely the ugly, but I’m pretty grateful that I have the privilege of caring and providing for these 2 sweet kiddos for the rest of my life.

It was another long road to get to where we are today, but I’m thankful for our journey.  Everyone endures struggles, hardships and pain in their lifetime and conceiving children happens to be one of ours.  Through our battle with infertility, I’ve found that although it’s broken me, it’s made me a much stronger woman, wife and mother.  All along the Lord had a plan for us that was so much bigger than our infertility diagnosis.

Two years ago we started trying for another child (Henry just turned 6 months).  We were convinced that we would get preggo instantly after fighting a 3-year battle with Henry.  In my mind… I was confident that I would be able to use a normal pregnancy test and be somewhat surprised when two lines appeared.  Little did we know…

I tried not to talk or focus on the topic.  When people asked, I would just laugh and say that we’re enjoying our little baby, Henry.  By April of 2015 I was back in the stirrups at REACH.  I was 32, John was 37 and Henry was now 16 months.  It felt like we were just here in the days, months, years leading up to our son.  We gave a few rounds of IUI, meds and injections a try (even spent 4th of July inside our clinic undergoing a procedure), but as luck would have it, this mama needed a little more TLC and IVF was our only option.  We continued to “try” and remained hopeful that we could defeat science… but, these ovaries of mine like to put up a fight.

In November and December of 2015 we started our IVF prep work, doctors visits and ordering meds (oh, the meds!).  By January we were aggressively working towards baby #2 with synthetic hormones that stimulate my ovaries to produce multiple eggs (rather than the single egg that normally develops each month).

And this my friends was the shape and size of my belly only 3 days into injections.  That belly I’m sporting was as big as my 20+ week belly when I was preggo with Henry.  As uncomfortable as that belly was, I loved seeing it all over again.  Gave me hope.

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The belly 3 days into stim meds. 

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Charting my meds 

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What baby making looks like (lol).  

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Nightly rounds of injections. 

5760B68A-76B4-48F2-882B-37DECA970042Henry was even involved making his future sibling. 

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After I can’t tell you how many of injections, meds, ultrasounds, blood draws, acupuncture appointments, nerves, emotions and prayers it was time for the big egg retrieval.  On February 11th our amazing doctor at REACH (Doctor Katz) and his team of nurses and anesthesiologist gave me the best sleep and retracted all of my eggs.  I think I had a total of 16.

The day of the retrieval the embryologist fertilized the eggs using a protocol called ICSI.  The embryologist watched these sweet little embryo-babies “hatch” over the next 5 to 6 days after fertilization. Everyday we would receive a call from the embryologist letting us know how many continued to grow and “hatch” (and unfortunately the ones that didn’t make it).  These phone calls were the highlight of our days.

After 5 days of developing in the incubator the embryologist was able to take a small sample of each embryo.  They sent the samples off to a lab out of state to test for specific genetic diseases, the correct number of chromosomes, etc.  This is a test that I’m  thankful for, as I’m a carrier of poor egg quality and a number of embryos did come back with genetic disorders, which more than likely wound’t have made it past the first few weeks of any given pregnancy.

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All ready to go, didn’t realize I had to tuck my hair in the cap – which happened after these pics were taken (lol).

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So excited to make Henry a big brother! 

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The worlds best nurse!  

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Lookin’ a little rough.  lol. 

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I mean real rough… 

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Post transfer pic.  After every round of IUI and IVF (even pre-Henry) we stood in the same spot outside our clinic to take a pic.  

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Another one of my favorites at REACH, she always got the right vein the first time.  

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After the egg retrieval I started a new round of meds and injections and on February 16th we went through a fresh embryo transfer.  We were so positive, so hopeful.  The embryo that was implanted was a day 5 (the very best).  Luckily, I found out very early on that this embryo did take and I was in fact pregnant.  Yay!  

We enjoyed a few weeks of living on cloud nine and around 6-1/2 weeks into that pregnancy I miscarried and was no longer pregnant.  I found out on a Monday and I knew something wasn’t right over the weekend.  There’s no reason that it shouldn’t have kept, it was perfect and my body was in a good state thanks to an amazing doctor and medicines.  We decided not to know the gender of the baby going into transfer.  After losing this sweet little life, we did find out that it was a little boy. 🙁

It’s crazy how attached you become to a few cells and a picture that make up your baby.  I didn’t take the news very well, especially after knowing that Henry was supposed to be a big brother to his little brother.  Although, this miscarriage was extremely early on, it’s still a loss.  It is my firm belief that life starts at conception.  The instant that an egg was fertilized, a soul and a human life was created.  And after the roller coaster of emotions leading up to this point, it was a huge disappointment. IVF is grueling!  It’s tough on you physically, emotionally and mentally.  I allowed myself a few hours of pity, but immediately turned that pain into prayer and hope.  I needed to be strong for my son and positive to undergo more meds, injections and another round of IVF.

Here’s a few pictures to reflect back on the day of our embryo transfer.

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Mommy + Baby’s first picture. 

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All prepped for transfer.

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Daddy + Dr. Katz (he’s given us all of our sweet babies), he’s the best man + doctor! 

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Close up of our Day 5 Embryo Transfer.  That would be the cells that make up our sweet child who is now in heaven. 

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The normal injections after transfer (minus the estrogen patches). 

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The pregnancy tests that I started taking early on to test out the HCG hormone that it was in my system, until I got a true positive pregnancy test.  I’ve done this with every cycle pre-Henry too!  

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My levels were all over the place so we did as our doctor suggested and took a cycle to recover.  Once everything came back to baseline and a cycle passed, I immediately jumped back into the meds and injections.

Here we go again…

John and I were very hopeful this next go-around and trusted the plan that has already been written for us.  If having multiple children wasn’t meant to be, we prayed to feel full as a family of three.  If our calling was to have multiple children, we trusted the timing that God has planned for our family.  We were in a good place and remained very hopeful… our clinic is so personable, positive and uplifting – they’ve given us so much hope along the way.

We basically started to repeat everything that we did for our first attempt.  This time a few days leading up to transfer we started progesterone injections instead of progesterone suppositories.

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Meds on meds. 

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On April 19th, we went into REACH for our frozen embryo transfer.

April 19th holds a special place in our hearts.  It was the due date of our first pregnancy (pre-Henry), that we also lost.  It was also the date of Henry’s first ultrasound at REACH.  We were incredibly positive going into our transfer.  We just knew it had to work.

The day of transfer was so calm.  Leading up to this day, Henry had been a typical two year old.  Up between 4am and 5am, the little man would scream bloody murder the moment he woke up, which would startle us every morning.  He normally puts up a fight to get dressed and even a bigger fight getting him in the car to go to school.

That morning, he slept in until almost 7am.  John had the day off of work and we woke up to him singing, literally singing, in his bedroom.  I was able to sit outside for quiet time, answer a few emails and enjoy my coffee while John got him dressed peacefully.  Henry joined me for breakfast outside and then ASKED to go to school.  He was an angel or maybe our baby angels were with him that day.

Later that morning I went to my acupuncturist for a pre-transfer treatment.  I even took a little nap on the table.

John and I headed to REACH shortly after that to start the party.  Our doctor came back to chat with us and review how the embryo unthawed and reassured us that it was perfect.  Dr. Katz is truly one of the best and has made our experience over the years leading up to Henry and now baby #2 so positive.

We then went back to the room where the magic happens.  The procedure is absolutely fascinating.  There are large screens in the procedure room – the same room that I was put under during the retrieval.  One screen shows an ultrasound of my uterus and the other screen shows the microscope with the embryo.  You then watch the embryologist “suck” (don’t know of a better way to phrase that) up the embryo and bring the embryo-baby to the doctor.  One of the nurses was controlling the ultrasound of my belly as the doctor uses the catheter that has the embryo and navigates inside of me.  Once the catheter tip reaches the ideal location, the embryo is transferred from the catheter into the lining of the uterine cavity.

I went back to acupuncture for my post-transfer treatment immediately after.

What’s next… the two week wait!

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So many prayers for this little embryo-baby. 

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Waiting for transfer. 

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Nervous, happy, excited, tearful! 

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“It’s go time!”

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Love this man of mine and all the support he’s given our little family. 

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Prayers on Prayers. 

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Our little embryo-baby on Frozen Embryo Transfer day.

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Ok, lets do this, 2 week wait.  

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We continued the progesterone injections and estrogen patches.  Around 5 days post transfer, anxious-can’t-wait-control-freak-have-no-patiences-Lindsey began to use pregnancy tests.  Sure enough they came back positive as they always have due to the HCG trigger shot.  However, normally the positive pregnancy line begins to fade by day.  Mine began to get darker and darker.  I knew early on that I was pregnant again.  At 10 days post transfer my wonderful nurse brought me in and sure enough, my levels confirmed an actual pregnancy.

Prior to being released from REACH at 10 weeks, we had 3 ultrasounds that Henry got to be a part of.  As exciting as being released was – it was also bittersweet.  The people within our clinic became family and have given us the ultimate gift of all and that is our children.

We are beyond excited, I truly can’t find the words – I have never in my life felt so much gratitude.  We owe a huge thanks to our wonderful clinic.  As a family of now four, we’ve grown so close to Doctor Katz and his nurse, Stephanie.  The relationship and bond that I’ve formed with our nurse over the years is something so special.  Nurse Stephanie loves her job and her patients, she pours her heart into all of them.  We truly have been blessed with the absolute best medical team.

My acupuncturist Adrianne with Inner Peace Acupuncture was an angel.  I started seeing her in 2011 for infertility and she’s so incredibly calming and reassuring.  There’s no doubt that she helped my body find it’s proper balance.

I thank God every day for the medical advancements that allowed us the choice to be the Mother and Father we had dreamt of being.  We are so thankful for all of you who have kept our little family in your prayers.  Our hearts have grown a million sizes.  Having Henry present for the ultrasounds and understanding that there’s a baby in mommy’s belly gives us all the feels (and tears!).  He’s going to be the best big brother.

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Our Baby Making Team from Day One.  We love you Dr. Katz and Nurse Stephanie.

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First picture as a family of four.

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He’s so proud to be a big brother and love his sibling forever.

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A few faves

Jun 07 2016

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Sharing a few of my favorite beauty must-haves to create that summery glow (plus a few other of my faves).  First of all, if you haven’t already, you need Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer from Benefit.  It’s one of the best liquid bronzers that I’ve ever use.  I actually substitute foundation for this bronzer.

How do I apply?  I conceal the bags under my eyes with NARS Radiant Concealer and then I go in with the Hoola, using one pump and simply blend into my skin.  I’ll then set the primer with my favorite NARS Translucent Powder.

NARS just released their signature blush color, Orgasm in a larger size!

Ok, if you want to look extra summery and dewy, you’ve got to try the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder by Hourglass!  This product seriously sculpts the face with the light!  It’s perfect for slenderizing and sculpting!

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You can see how amazing the Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder by Hourglass is in this picture!  Highlights the face in all of the right places.
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Next up… as a makeup artist, one of the biggest questions I get asked is about makeup brushes.  I’ve linked up a few of my favorite individual brushes and brush kits!


SHOP THE MAKEUP



SHOP THE BRUSHES

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Charlotte Agenda Feature

Jun 06 2016

Feeling very lucky to be part of Charlotte Agenda’s “The 5 Best Places to Get Your Makeup Done in Charlotte”.  Such an HONOR because there are so many AMAZING makeup artists in Charlotte that weren’t mentioned in this article!

I hope that someday in the future, I have the opportunity to meet and beautify all of you who read this blog.

Be Pretty wouldn’t be a success without my right hand (incredibly talented artist), Sabrina and the rest of our team!  So blessed!

Xo!

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