Friday, February 25, 2011

5 weeks, 1 day

94 ....

That is the number of hours we spent without power. About two inches of ice fell on Sunday evening and caused major destruction in Lenawee county and surrounding areas. I was at work until 11pm when the storm began and didn't realize its devastation until I drove home. The power had blinked a couple times at my job, but because I work at a correctional facility, we have a giant generator to backup any outage. At 11pm, the power was still on at work. I started my car 20 minutes before the end of my shift and noticed the thick ice encasing it. I spent another twenty minutes scraping the thick stuff off my windshield and rear windows. It was like glass. I had to wear my sunglasses as safety goggles to protect my eyes from debris. I finally chipped away enough ice to drive away, albeit visibility was still poor.

The drive home was difficult. I had to back out of several roads as they were either impassable due to power lines down and/or trees covering the roadway. I passed through the downtown and there was no stoplights or streetlights working. I called my hubby on the way to let him know I was safe, but it was taking longer to get home, however the answering machine did not pick up. That is when I knew we were without power. Just as I was turning onto my street, Shaun called my cell phone.

"I pulled the car further into the driveway to avoid any branches falling on them. Make sure you pull yours in as far as you can too," he said.

I did. I noticed there were already branches from the neighbor's tree in our driveway. I shut off the car and could hear the cracking of the ice on the branches and the whooshing of the wind. My fingers were still frozen from digging at the ice on my car ten minutes earlier. I was worried about getting out of my car. I waited until I heard a lull in the wind and I made a break for the front door. As soon as I safely arrived in my house another branch came crashing. I looked out my window, and sure enough, it landed on the back of my car.

I usually go home and check my email and head to bed. This night I was completely without power, so Shaun and I listened to the storm as he studied for a test by candlelight. "You are not gonna have school tomorrow," I tell him. He shrugged and said he was going to be prepared for the test either way.

When we both couldn't seem to keep our eyes open anymore, we heard a loud crash in our backyard. Parts of the tree out back had fallen and took out the power line to our neighbor's house. So much so that it tore the service off the side of their home. That is when the fear crept in.

"I am not sleeping in the bedroom. There is a branch that hangs over our bedroom. What if it falls? That is just what I need. I finally get pregnant and I die in a winter storm due to falling branches. I can see the headlines now."

Shaun agreed that although he thought I was crazy, we better not sleep under that branch. We pulled our couched together in the livingroom to the innermost place in the house and attempted to sleep. It seems we slept for 20 minute stretches all throughout the night and each time were awaken to loud booms and crashes. At about 3:30am, we heard what sounded like the neighbor's tree had been completely uprooted (the one that branches had fallen into our driveway earlier). We cautiously looked out the window to discover that one of the largest branches on that tree had snapped and fallen, narrowly missing their rooftop, but obstructed their front door and the top branches scraping their vehicles in their driveway. About an hour later we heard another loud crash across the street and noticed the neighbor's tree in their back yard had fallen onto their Ford 150 truck, and by the looks of it, the truck appeared to have been moved a foot crookedly in their driveway. Every so often we heard crashes in the distance, but seemed nearby. We later learned that around our corner half of a tree broke off and fell onto a utility pole and snapped it in half, bringing down the dozen or so lines with it. A couple blocks behind our house and in front of my brother's apartment a utility pole snapped in half and crossed Maumee St.

We didn't sleep more than an hour that night and since Shaun went to school in Jackson, the school had not closed. He headed to class on the ice-covered roads with his carpooling buddy. It was Shaun's turn to drive, but our cars were not leaving our driveway and no one was going to be able to pass through our street from downed trees, so Shaun's buddy picked him up at the corner. They were 5 miles away from school when the teacher called them to tell them that he was canceling class due to lack of people showing up. Thankfully Shaun went with his friend that day, because that friend allowed us to borrow his generator. He was one of the fortunate ones in the county to still maintain power.

It was 54 degrees in my house when they hooked up the alternative power source. However, it was a small portable generator, so conservation of power was a must. We turned on the heat, some lights and refrigerator only 6 hours each day. I sneaked in some Facebook time while Shaun was enjoying using his chainsaw to chip away at the damage in our yard.

Thankfully, I had to work Monday 2nd shift. But when Shaun left me alone all throughout the day Tuesday without the generator on, I thought I was going to freeze to death. You see, I have a cold allergy. Whenever I get too cold, I have difficulty breathing and break out into itchy hives on my legs. It was at 51 degrees on Tuesday afternoon and I was starting to lose it. Scratching myself and starting to feel shortness of breath, I called my mother in law to warm up at her house. I spent the afternoon there, showering, doing laundry and hanging out with grandma, whose home was also without power. Shaun used generator on Tuesday evening and then I worked 3rd shift that night. However, I knew that I would not be able to sleep Wednesday morning freezing, so I slept on the couch at the in laws. The next two days passed by a little better. I had a routine so I would go to in laws to shower and spend the afternoon until Shaun came home. On Thursday, I decided that in order to stay warm I would do some housework. I knew I couldn't run the dishwasher or clothes washer, but I did some dusting, sweeping, organizing of bills, I worked on a Bible study that I neglected since October and generally didn't feel too bad about the outage. Even when Shaun came home last night and hooked up the generator, I felt ambitious and kept working. And then I checked the consumer's website to see when the next estimate for restoration would be and there it was. "There is no outage at this location."

I yelped. "Go outside and see if the neighbor's security light comes on when you walk by it." I told Shaun as I looked outside. I saw that her doorbell light was glowing. "I think we have power."

Shaun turned off the generator and switched to the main circuit. It was on. Hooray!

94 hours. Ugh. But, I learned to be appreciative of the little things. Like extra time in the day to be productive due to artificial lights. We all would be sleeping at 7pm if we didn't have electricity.

In the midst of this week, I was reminded by the tell tale signs that I am pregnant. The nausea. Seems like I feel the sickest between 3am and 9am. I lay in bed holding my belly and moaning. I think maybe I ate too much and maybe I didn't eat enough and oh my gosh I am gonna puke!! And super tired. Maybe the tiredness is from the chill in the air, but I am exhausted and this cutting out caffeine thing is for the birds. I had 4 cups of coffee plus 2 pops on my third shift and still fought the urge to doze off a few times. Don't think I can hack no caffeine. I am going to have to come to a happy medium.

I can't wait until March 8. Eleven more days. Hoping that we have healthy fetuses in there.

Father, thank you for providing for us through this actual storm this week. I have seen you first hand in your amazing natural realm. I love that you use weather as a way to prune trees. I hate that our civilization gets in the way. I pray that you continue to keep those who are still without power safe and warm. I pray that you allow the power companies employees to be safe and without incident, as well as the city workers, mail carriers, tree removal services, gas companies, cable companies, phone companies workers. It is a treacherous place to be but someone has got to do it in our civilized world. I ask that you keep people on the roads safe as we had another round of snow last night. Thank you so much for your provision. Oh, and keep these little ones safe in my womb. I pray all these things in Jesus' name, AMEN!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Looking good so far!

4 weeks, 0 days pregnant -- Month 21, Cycle 17, Day 27, 14 dpo

I received my phone call from the clinic. The nurse had left a pretty upbeat message for me to return her call. I felt confident before I even called her just by the tone in her voice on the message. And then the interchange:

"Your numbers are looking great! They more than doubled. Dr. Randolph and all of the staff are very pleased with this."

"Ok. How well are they?" I fumbled over my words.

"One-sixty-seven! And we usually like to see these numbers increased by at least 50% and yours is more than 300%! Congratulations!"

"Should I do another beta in a couple of days?" I asked thinking I would get even more reassurance.

"Nope. Dr. Randolph looked them over and he is very happy with this. We all are!! You can come in for your ultrasound on March 8th at 10am."

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Step two accomplished. Step three is to make it to March 8 without any complications and find out just how many and how healthy each of the fetuses are. At this point, I am thinking 1 or 2 babies!!!!

Thank you all for your support and love. I so appreciate it.

Father, I praise you for this. I thank you for allowing me to again experience pregnancy, for giving me the opportunity to walk this path and try to have children of my own. I pray that you continue to give us glimpses of good news at each step and that you keep my embryos safe from harm. You are the author and PERFECTER of life and I ask that you make sure these babies are perfectly formed. I pray that you are with me to help me stay sane as the next 2.5 weeks pass by. I pray for my pregnant friends as always asking that you protect their little ones. I pray for my ttc-ing friends who are still waiting for their miracle babies that they know when to call it quits and when to keep going. I pray for my followers that they are able to see your miraculous nature through this blog. Without you, LORD, I would be lost and I pray that all see your wonders. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

and the winner is.......

Beta hCG is 46!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm PREGNANT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to get my blood drawn again in 2 days to see if the beta doubles and then I will be able to breathe a small sigh of relief. Today I am going to do exactly as I did in this post back in October. I will celebrate this victory!! Hallelujah!

Praise the Lord. And praying for a positive successful outcome. Can't wait to meet baby Plato in a few weeks on the ultrasound....

And as a reminder, this is just the beginning. Many things can happen unexpectedly and I ask that you respond delicately. Check out the blog for updates and be sure you know what is going on before you post onto Facebook. Some lurkers do not read my blog, but instead only read your Facebook posts and comment without understanding what is happening. Let's make sure they have to come to the source for the gossip!! Let's pray that in two days my beta doubles. Let's pray that in 3 weeks I see a heartbeat and baby growing on track. Let's pray that at each successful office visit, that only good news is to come. Let's pray that in 8 months a healthy, successful breathing, living person will be born into the Plato family. But, only time will tell. I know the pain of chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage). I know the devastation of a deteriorating fetus on the ultrasound. I know the hurt a missed miscarriage and subsequent D&C causes. I know the ache of having a complicated pregnancy. I know the brokenness of delivering a baby that is destined to die due to traumatic delivery. This story is far from over. There is a long battle ahead of us. We have so much more to overcome. I ask that you join me in praying for my little one and our family. I pray that everyone is blessed because of this miracle. I know today, I am blessed!!!

Thank you, Father, for providing me with a miracle yet again. I pray for a long, successful, healthy pregnancy with a result of a healthy, living, breathing baby or two at the end of it. I thank you so much for your generosity. I am truly blessed again. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Pregnant? Or not pregnant?

Month 21, Cycle 17, Day 25, 14 days past trigger.

Slight nausea
Increased appetite
Slightly fuller breasts
Scant spot of blood on Sunday and Monday
Slight low cramping

Pregnancy Test Sunday:
Negative result on Dollar Store brand test

Pregnancy Test Monday:
Very faint pink line on First Response Early Result after tilting the test stick

Pregnancy Test Tuesday:
Faint pink line this morning on First Response Early Result
Faint blue line on Walmart brand Equate

I have been thinking I was going to get my period today as I had one scant amount of blood on my tissue on Sunday morning, and one other incident of it on Monday morning. And then today, I tested. Definitely more possibility of positive on this mornings tests, I thought. But, I am not convinced yet. I figured that since I had 5 follicles, I would get pregnant with multiples, and if so, then the test would be dark and clearly positive. So, maybe there is only one. Or maybe it is another chemical pregnancy.

I called the doctor office this morning and requested a blood test. Just had that done an hour ago. I am waiting (im)patiently for the result...Pregnant?!

Father, I know you know our hearts desires. I know you know how badly my husband is suffering thinking we will never be parents. I know that you have the answers. I pray, Father, that you allow us to bring home one or two healthy infants in the next 8 months. I pray that you have already ordained this time for me and I ask that you reveal to me a peace that surpasses all understanding if and when I hear the positive result. I pray that you continue to be the forefront of my thoughts and that you bless me again.

I pray for my pregnant friends that they continue with their pregnancies and deliver without complications. I pray that you allow them the joy of motherhood as many of them have struggled with infertility and are expecting their first living child. I thank you Jesus for the successful deliveries that I have recently been made aware of and I thank you for their healthy babies that you spared from demise. I Praise you father in the name of the Son, Father and Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heaven is her home

Father, I thank you so much that we can boldly come to whenever and I thank you that so many people have been reached because of Miranda Cole's birth story. Sadly, for her father here on Earth, Miranda died. But, LORD, we know in whose arms she resides. Her mother cheerfully greeting her long awaited baby, and both of them surrounded in the arms of Jesus. I pray LORD that you hold Chad tight, that you continue to fill his heart and lips with songs of praise as he did in this blog post. I pray that you allow him all the support he needs in the form of how his faith has touched a community. And I pray that only those that wish him well and know him are the ones who choose to respond to his public tragedy. I pray Father that you allow him to grieve on his own timing, in his own way, and that people and timetables do not dictate when he should be healed. I pray that he is able to go through all stages of grief, and that others who loved his wife and child can safely do so on their own, as well. I pray for PEACE. I pray that peace comes in small forms, in tiny reminders that YOU are in control of all things that that YOU redeem us for our losses. I pray that Peace comes to this family by way of a gradual exit of the public profile rather than an abrupt loss as well. I pray that Chad finds comfort from his family and church family without fear of reporters or gossipers to get in the know. I pray for a place he can share his grief, where he can be real, when in the times that he wants to tell people that he just doesn't trust You, he can say so without feeling like he is betraying You or the image of himself that others have put on him. I pray that he finds a new normal, a position in which he is content with going to work, the grocery store, etc. in his own timing. I pray that Chad takes care of himself as it is so easy to self medicate in overeating, indulging in TV, internet, drugs, alcohol and other things. I pray that you allow him to see a bit of a glimpse of his future in which the pain is not so great, and the longing to be with his wife and child is diminishing. I pray that You give him strength to wake up each morning, especially on the mornings that the lump in his throat is so great that even the simple act of breathing causes pain. I pray that You give him permission to let himself feel human and vulnerable around his immediate family members, so as not to bare the burden of this loss all on his own. I mostly just want to ask you to be his ROCK, his Sustainer, his healer, his refuge and his COUNSELOR. You are the Great Physician and your work is not done in this family. It is going to take MANY YEARS for this grief to pass, for him to feel halfway decent, and to be able to not feel jaded. I pray that you teach the people around him how to accept his new self, as much of his old self will be hard to recognize in months and years to come. I pray that when the letters and notes, and cards and flowers and phone calls stop coming, that you remind Chad that Sara and Miranda were chosen, that they were loved and that they mattered. I pray that you remind him that You are taking good care of them and that his purpose here on this Earth has just begun. Remind him how fortunate he was to have been their husband and father and that his life matters.

I pray all these things and more in Jesus' name, AMEN!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


My heart is torn in two. I ache for a prayer request I received last night. On my knees, sobbing, I cry out to the LORD to hear the cry and prayer of thousands of people on behalf of the Cole family from Jackson, Michigan. An expectant Godly couple who spent 16 months of fertility treatments to finally become pregnant with their first child were awaiting three weeks until their due date. They were traveling on Saturday when a semi-truck collided with their vehicle. The pregnant wife, Sara, sustained serious injuries and died at the hospital where their baby girl, Miranda was delivered after her death. Miranda was born without a heartbeat or breath, and was resuscitated. She was taken to U of M NICU and has been said to have little to no brain activity. It appears that tonight at 7:30pm there will be a meeting to discuss her progress or lack thereof Here is a blog the father has written since her conception.

The story saddens me deeply. I so remember those days my son was in the Holden NICU and had "little to no brain activity." I remember pleading with God to let His will be done. And like Chad, the father, I remember trusting in God's plan, 100%, and knowing that the strength and calm that I showed on the outside was just the handiwork of Christ alone. Ah, but this touching story breaks my heart. Why is it that people who have endured so much already are put into more precarious places to endure? As if this family, this man, hasn't suffered enough, he has to endure the sadness that being in a NICU brings. And 5 years later, my response to this story is endless tears. This is not just a news story, folks. Real life.

He writes: Daddy needs to be honest with you, I'm selfish. I don't want to think that your going to be with mommy and Jesus is an option. I want you right here. I don't want to ask God for a miracle, I want to demand one. I want Him to feel like he owes me this.

The desperation he shows is the same one that Jesus shows for us. Our Heavenly Father is selfish, he doesn't want to think that we are going to die without him is an option. He wants us to choose to be with Him. He doesn't want to ask you to choose Him, he wants to demand that we choose Him. But, He has allowed us the gift of that choice. His heart breaks for you to choose Him as much as and more than Chad's heart breaks to have his daughter leave him.

So, in the stream-of-consciousness type of blog here today, I just wanted to beg that you all pray for this family. Pray that God's will is done here and that this story, whether Miranda miraculously survives or whether God calls her home with her mama, pray that this story is used for the GLORY OF THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!

Father, I thank you so greatly that you show us so tangibly that our lives are precious and fragile. I thank you that we can readily come to you day in and day out and that we don't need an appointment to speak to you. I boldly am asking for a miracle for the Cole family and beg that you provide complete healing of Miranda. I pray that she is forever a blessing to this family and is completely devoted and dedicated to your service. I pray that her life is a testament to your love, peace and mercy. I pray that Your glory is shown above all and that people from all over see who you are and call upon your name. I pray for healing for Sara's loved ones as they mourn her untimely death, that peace that surpasses all understanding descends on them and that they see that she is blessed to be with you. I pray for a deep healing of her husband, that he is able to sustain the mental turmoil the next few years bring in raising his miracle alone or in surviving this trauma. Father, your will be done as it always is. I pray that you receive the utmost praise, because LORD, no matter what we endure, you endured the cross so that we might be saved. I praise you, LORD. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Month 21, Cycle 17, Day 13, 1-2 dpo

Day 11 Ultrasound:

Lining: 11.6mm
Right: 17mm, 15.5mm, 9.5mm, 9.5mm
Left: 20.5mm, 18mm, 18.5mm, 14.5mm, 10mm

I was shocked when Francie told me these numbers. She introduced me to the very tall man who walked in with her, "he will be a fellow with us in July!"

"I so hope I don't see you again in July. No offense, I have been coming here since last May, so if I do see you it may be for an IVF cycle, but I don't want to have to do that. But, after everything, I am considering it." I blurted out, not realizing that I told too much to a perfect stranger. He just smiled and said nothing.

That was when Francie told me the above numbers. "Looks like we have 4 mature follicles and a possible fifth! I had a patient who had one mature and a 15.5 and ended up with twins, so it is possible. Start thinking about selective reduction and what you are willing to do. They will probably have you trigger tonight and intercourse today, tomorrow and the next day, but don't do anything until the doctor calls this afternoon."

"You're not gonna believe this," I shout into the voice mail of my husband's cell phone, "They found F-I-V-E mature follicles!!! Get ready, baby, cause we are going for it!!"

I waited until 3:45pm at home, anxiously wondering about the conversation I was about to have with the doctor or nurse. What is selective reduction? I researched the internet, and didn't really like what I was seeing. Procedure at 12 weeks of certain fetuses by way of injecting potassium chloride into its heart. Yikes.

The doctor called and confirmed the above number of follicles. She said that the team had discussed this and felt comfortable with my triggering with Ovidrel that night, but she needed to discuss the risks with me. There is a 10-15% chance of higher order multiples, HOM (more than twins). The risks associated with HOM are higher miscarriage rate, higher premature delivery rate, bedrest, long NICU stays, pre-eclampsia and seizures, fetal demise, etc. She spoke with me about selective reduction and my thoughts on that. But, ultimately the team was leaving the decision up to me to move forward with this cycle by giving myself the Ovidrel or canceling this cycle altogether to avoid these risks. I asked her what she suggested if she were in my shoes. She basically told me that she was a worrier, and thinks that I am too. She also said, that if it were her, she would cancel because it would be too scary for her to endure, knowing all the possibilities of what could go wrong medically. And she said she remembered me telling her that whatever can go wrong with me usually does, so she wouldn't want to tempt fate. On the other hand, she knows that I have been trying a long time and it is hard on my body mentally and physically and she might give it a try because I wanted an end. But, really, she said, it is such a tough decision. She said she would support me in either choice as they are both the RIGHT choice. She said, if I choose to cancel, then undoubtedly it would have been the 10% chance of conceiving quads. But, if I choose to go ahead, then it will be the time I get one or two babies. Think positively, she said, as we don't want you stressing out about this. You don't have to decide now, just need to before 9pm so you can take your shot. she said, talk it over with your husband, and if you need to call and page me tonight to answer some more questions, I would be glad to take your call after hours.

We hung up and fifteen minutes later Shaun arrived home. At this point, I was shaking. He had not listened to my message yet, so I instructed him to do so first. His jaw dropped and he gave me a high five. We discussed everything that Dr. Marsh had counseled me on, and he said, "This is our chance. God promises that he won't give us any more than we can handle, so we will be able to make those decisions when they come. But, for now, our plan is to GET pregnant. This is it. What would you feel if you skipped this cycle and never got pregnant again? You would always wonder if this was the one. So, give yourself the shot, and let's get going!!"

His optimism baffles me. But, I couldn't shut my brain off of the 'what ifs'.
I now have more things to overcome...getting pregnant, miscarriage, multiples, risks associated with multiples, death. I finally just decided that I had to do it. I pushed the shot into my belly and cried and shook uncontrollably. IT IS SCARY! So, the deeds were done. If this means I have sealed my fate, then so be it. It's gonna be worth it, one way or another.

Father, thank you for trusting me enough to witness my testimony to others. At times, I feel overwhelmed by what you have given to me, and other times I feel so blessed that you have given me the gift of loss so that I can help others. You know the plans you have for me, and I trust that you will not give me anything more than I can bear and if so, you will provide a way through it. Like Daniel and his friends in the fire, I pray that you walk through the fire with me and protect me so that not a hair on my head is singed from the flames. You alone are my salvation and I trust you. I pray for those who are in their own places traveling similar and yet different journeys, that you give them HOPE, PEACE, and LOVE. I love you, Jesus. In Jesus' name, AMEN