The best birthday yet

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
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It was a chilly morning. I rolled out of bed somewhere around 5:15 am, stumbled through the dark and managed to find my gym clothes. By 6:05, I was at the local YMCA questioning my life decisions while a buff little fitness guru kicked my rear into smithereens. I'll admit it was miserable, but I was 34 now and this was hopefully my last round of high-intensity interval training for quite some time.

The nerves that morning were indescribable and continued in the days ahead. The birthday texts and Facebook posts flooded in as we drove the hour to Indianapolis. I knocked back my water, ate my Valium tablet and waited. And waited. And begged the nurse to let me go tinkle. Twice.

Speaking of Valium, why do they make you take that before you sign the consent forms? Nothing like signing your life away when you're high as a kite, am I right?

Finally, in came the doctor. "Are you ready?" she asked.

"Ready as I'll ever be," I said.

Into the procedure room we went. Up first: A stop at the embryology window. Name. Date of birth. Number of embryos. 

One. One little embryo. Our future as parents hinged on a microscopic group of cells we were already madly in love with. If I didn't know for certain that there's a God who holds my future, I'm not sure I would have had the guts to try this again after the nightmare of the first round of IVF. But I believed God had led us down this path after years and years of praying and asking Him to either grant us a natural miracle or show us what to do. He knows the desires of my heart. After all, He put them there. I believed that one way or another, He would fulfill this dream, whether via this embryo transfer or another journey He hadn't yet revealed. And so we proceeded, not knowing the plans He had for us, but knowing that He did have plans.

The embryo thawed perfectly and transfer was flawless.

Hurdle #1: Cleared.

The 10 days between transfer and beta #1 were painful. When my phone rang and the clinic number came up on caller ID, I felt like I couldn't breathe. Sweet nurse Janet on the other end of the line could hardly contain herself: 338! 

I'll be brutally honest here: I had to stop myself from blurting out a curse word in her ear. My first beta with my first pregnancy was only in the 70s. This 338 was huge! 

Hurdle #2: Cleared.

My second beta followed 48 hours later. The numbers needed to have doubled at that point. Well, at 892, they had done more than that. Praise God!

Hurdle #3: Cleared.

The fourth hurdle brought the most anxiety of all. The first ultrasound is the time when we found out that our first pregnancy wasn't viable and that I would miscarry. I went into the ultrasound this time around feeling as fearful as I can ever remember. Immediately, the doctor shouted, "HEARTBEAT!" I, of course, cried. Jake sat behind me in silence staring at the monitor. There was a baby in there! 

Hurdle #4: Cleared.

The first trimester has not been a walk in the park. Anxiety is a beast born of Satan. As any subsequent pregnancy momma will tell you, there's a fear that lives inside of you that reminds you of the past and makes you wonder if this one will slip through your fingers too (a topic for a different post). I've had to wrestle with a minor complication early on that did nothing to calm my fears. And, like most pregnant women, I have been walking around sporting a lovely shade of green and trying not to ralph everywhere. But, it's like I told a friend: I'm super happy to be feeling crappy! 

The pitter patter of tiny feet is on its way to our home. Now at 12 weeks, baby will be joining us sometime around late June.

It's hard to express just how faithful God has been throughout this entire journey. He was with me when we suffered our greatest loss back in April and He is with me now as we pray expectantly for the safe arrival of the most precious and miraculous gift we could have ever hoped for. 

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