IVF Stage 3!

First of all, I am sorry that I have taken so long to write. To be honest, this stage is the scariest and therefore, the hardest one to share.

Aug. 29- I started the progesterone shots in the hip. These my friends, these are not fun. I use a 1 1/2 inch needle that is a 22 gauge (that is BIG) and the progesterone is carried in sesame oil so it is thick stuff. I will be having nightly shots until Oct. 24 when I will be 10 weeks pregnant.
Starting these shots was hard. I was nervous about feeling the pain, which they have been very painful for me, but also worried about the implant not working and the shots being for naught. It has been hard to stay positive, but not, all at the same time.

Sep. 3, 2014-

Transfer day- this turned out to be one of the most incredible days (number 2 so far) of the journey.
Mikeal stayed home from work and school so he could take me in. I of course was nervous about feeling pain, I’ll admit, I’m a wimp with pain. I don’t like it and I wig myself out before the pain starts as a type of preparation or something lol.

We went into the Transfer Room and my doctor got me all set up. I of course asked about the pain lol. They said they would give me Valium so I could relax at home and not feel anxious. The resident brought me 2 Valium and dropped one on the floor. I told her I didn’t care, but she insisted on getting a new one. She came back in with my doctor and he said, you’re a lightweight, you only need one. Of course I wanted two because I was afraid of the pain haha.

So a big thing I had been preparing myself for was complete bedrest for 2 days. I was told I couldn’t get up unless it was to shower or go to the bathroom… That would be hard for me, but of course I’d do it for the babe. So, I’m sitting in the chair and my doctor says, “so, you know how we had women go on bedrest after the transfer?
Yes, I’m ready to do that.
Well, a very large, comprehensive study came out yesterday showing an extremely higher increase in successful pregnancies with those women who did not do bedrest, so you won’t either. After you sleep off the Valium, go about your normal day.
What!? I was so surprised! Ha, but ok. This clinic is pretty much top in the nation and I trust my doctor 100% so, ok. πŸ™‚

Now, the best part.
I remember they had U2’s it’s a beautiful day playing softly in the background and they showed us our embryo on a magnetized screen because he was too small to see with the naked eye. I asked if they were sure he was alive after being thawed.
Yes! He’s extremely alive and healthy!
Do you see how bright and shiny he is? That is a very good sign of a very strong embryo.
Then, they laid me back and placed a catheter into my uterus. The embryologist carefully transported our little embryo over and my doctor carefully placed him in the uterus. I’ll never forget that feeling. Mikeal was sitting by my side holding my hand and the U2 music was playing and I had to hold back tears. I felt an instant connection with that little embryo that I can’t explain. It was incredible and like nothing Id ever felt.

Then they did an ultrasound at the same time and showed us our little guy right there in the uterus!
Now, he just needs to stick. Stick stick stick!
We had several people tell us they were sending sticky vibes our way, loved those vibes. Like I’ve said before, every good prayer, thought, and stream of energy helps.

They wheeled me to the car and then the giggles started. Haha the Valium had kicked in and I was feeling great!
We went out to lunch and I was walking like I was drunk! Haha, once we were home, I crashed out for 4 hours and then felt back to normal when I woke up.
Wow… I have a baby inside me! How exciting is this?! How lucky am I?! I realize that normal pregnant moms don’t think this way at 2 1/2 weeks, but normal pregnancy doesn’t include all of this!

The next two weeks were hard. I was just waiting. Period symptoms were normal, cramping was normal, spotting was normal, but bleeding wasn’t a good sign.
I tried to distract myself with work and YW, but each night, Mikeal would give me another shot in the hip and each night I’d think, oh, I hope this works.
My hormones were everywhere, the shots hurt, and I just wanted to know Yes, it worked; No, it didn’t.

I remember one night after work. I exercised and had dinner, but was feeling odd. I was having weird cravings and eating everything in sight, then I started to feel really bloated and gross. I remember stopping mid-bite and thinking, oh my gosh, I’m going to start my period. This is always how I feel. Spot on. I tried to stay positive, but the next day was nerve racking for me… I was just waiting to bleed!

I never bled. I never spotted. I never had any of the signs that you don’t really want. I kept going, kept waiting.

Sep. 15- most nerve racking day of this journey, so far-
I was going in for my pregnancy test. Usually, Mikeal would draw my blood and run the test, but he had class that morning. I was extremely emotional when I went into the clinic.
Like I’ve said several times, people have been so incredibly kind, supportive, aware, hopeful, and excited for us. It has been so great, but these two weeks of waiting were very hard because I was asked on the daily what the news was…it was hard to focus on anything else.
The clinic, they LOVE Mikeal. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life. I walked in and everyone was like, “oh my goodness! We are so excited to hear! We are so excited for you two!”
I just tried to hold back the tears. It was so hard to stay positive. You see, after the first pregnancy test, if it was positive, I’d have to go in 2 days later to confirm. If it was negative, I’d have to go in every 2 days until it was an absolute confirmed negative. I did NOT want to have to face everyone day after day. Mikeal had told me how incredibly hard that must have been for other women… I could only imagine.
Mikeal’s friend drew my blood and told him that Mikeal would run the test as soon as he got in that day, I ran out of there as fast as I could, made it to my car, and bawled.

I was so overwhelmed. What a CRAZY journey it had been emotionally, physically, and spiritually the last year and a half. As soon as I was crying, I had stopped. I started to pray, I was so grateful to have gotten this far. I was trying to stay positive, but begged that if it wasn’t what I wanted Id be able to have a clear understanding as to why.

I got home and instantly worried about Mikeal.
Is it the best idea for him to run the test?
What if it’s negative, will that be too hard for him to handle in front of his friends and co-workers?
He assured me that he had prepared himself and was ok. Alright then. He told me he’d get the results to me by 10am.

I started working, got on a conference call, lost track of time.

10:25am. Oh my gosh, why hasn’t he called? It’s bad news. He doesn’t know how to tell me. I was going crazy inside waiting for this. I just wanted to know yes or no so I could move on….

I texted Mikeal and just begged him to tell me.

“The controls failed and I need to re-run it. I’ll have the results no later than 11am”
I went back to work, I can do this.

10 minutes later, Mikeal walked through the door with flowers. I looked at him waiting for an answer. Luckily, he didn’t hesitate.

“You’re pregnant.”
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, are you serious.
“Yes babe, I wouldn’t joke about this. You’re pregnant, congratulations.”

I ran to him and we both cried.
I was beyond humbled. I was beyond grateful. I was beyond relieved. I was beyond words. Once again, Heavenly Father gave me the answer to my question I had been asking for the last 10 years.

Will I ever have kids?
Can I have kids? How can I not pass on this disease? I have so many menstrual issues, will it even work for me?
Through God, all things are possible and wonderful things come to pass, even miracles.

This. This is a miracle. I am so lucky, blessed, and grateful.

From that day forward, I haven’t even questioned wether I will go full term or not. I will. I am not worried. I am so grateful. I went back to my normal exercising and noticed another HUGE blessing… No PMDD.

PMDD goes away during pregnancies and can come back with a vengeance afterwards, but it goes away for 9 months! Hallelujah!!! What an incredible cherry on top this has been for me. And for Mikeal. πŸ™‚

Sep. 16- Mikeal got his MCAT score back. He didn’t do as well as he needed to. He was bummed. I was bummed for him. We were both grateful the score came the day after the great baby news instead of the same day. πŸ™‚ This trial for Mikeal will turn out to be another way God works things out in a way that will be best for us, even if we don’t understand. He’s signed up to re-take it in January.

Sep. 25- Mikeal and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary! We bought our first little piece of clothing for baby boy. Bah! So fun. πŸ™‚

Like I’ve said before, this experience has been one of the hardest to go through with Mikeal, but it has brought us so much closer together and it has increased our faith in God and their plan for us 100%. To this point, it has been an experience that I will be able to reflect back on during times of doubt and fear and say, it’ll work out. It ALWAYS does. Even if it’s not in my timeframe, which it never is! It works out and is always the way it should have worked out.

It always works out the way it should work out. This is not an easy concept to grasp or always believe and remember. It has been 9 years since my mom died and 8 1/2 years since my brother died and I still don’t know how them dying was the best solution. I have definitely recognized how much more they have been able to help me since they have left this world, but with the earthly mentality to struggle with here, I may never full understand why it was best for them to leave us. However, I am starting to understand that with some things in life, we won’t know the answers until the next life and that is OK. Why is it ok? Because life is good. God is incredible. We’re all here to do our best, help others, and be happy. So, it’s all OK.

Dec. 9- move forward to today. I am over 16 weeks pregnant and so beyond grateful, happy, peaceful, and humbled at several things:

1. The grace and way Our Heavenly parents works. Mikeal and I both feel like They have walked us to this point in our life. They have been right there by our side leading us, helping us, and showing us the way. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be pregnant as I know so many desiring women will never get the chance even though they may be much more deserving than me. I can’t compare my life or ask why because it is what it is. I can be grateful and enjoy every moment of this journey which is what I’m doing!

2. Mikeal- this has been hell for me emotional and physically for sure, but emotionally, this has drained him. The fact that we are still married and actually stronger than ever is a miracle. I love him and am so so so glad I listened to my heart and mind and chose him 6 years ago- best decision of my life. Our future is still so unsure, hell, day to day is unsure, but I know it’ll work out in the end because it always does. Mikeal is the best example of this- have faith, chill out, laugh, work hard, it’ll work out!

3. Incredible friends and family. There are a select few of you who have been there for me and with me since the beginning. I am so grateful for you and all the incredible energy, faith, love, and support you’ve been. I have very few close friends, but they are the best.

4. Medicine and technology and medical staff. When I was 18 years old, I never thought I would get pregnant for several reasons. Expensive, reproductive issues preventing me from possible pregnancy, and the lack of technology to have successful results. Even during the process things improved! My doctor called me randomly one day while I was still doing tratings and told me that my chances of pregnancy full term would increase from 32% to 72% due to the small change of freezing embryos for at least 30 days before implementation. This was HUGE! 32% is low and mine was much lower due to the genetic component, so this was such an advancement. The research going into medicine and technology is mind boggling and means so much to me. I can’t wait to do two things:

1. Bring my baby boy into my doctor and nurses when he’s born.
2. Help someone else financially and emotionally with this same journey.

Pay it forward.

Thank you for following my journey, it has been oh so worth it.

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IVF, Stage 2!

Wow! What a month it has been. The shots went well and I am glad they are over with, but all in all, they weren’t that bad.

June 16- started 3 shots per day in the stomach. Mikeal is GREAT at shots. He gets the shot in fast and then slowly releases the medicine….this makes it not hurt as bad.
I had a couple welts and was a little sore, but it really wasn’t that bad…I remember thinking a few times, ‘wow, this isn’t so bad.’ πŸ™‚

Then….the ovaries started to grow…ow! My ovaries became 5x their normal size and I looked like I was at least 4-5 months pregnant, lol. I couldn’t exercise, which was hard for me, so I walked a LOT. Theodore, my dog and I, went on lots of long walks. That was nice.

June 23- I had an ultrasound to see how many follicles were mature in each ovary. The results looked great! I had 13 mature follicles in one ovary and 11 in the other. This was great because it was most likely that there was a mature egg in each follicle!
This day got better…Mikeal drew my blood for the first time ever and, he and all his co-workers were right…he’s really good!

Mikeal drew my blood to test my estrogen levels...he did awesome! :)

Mikeal drew my blood to test my estrogen levels…he did awesome! πŸ™‚

My estrogen levels were perfect and my egg retrieval was scheduled for Wednesday June 25. All of my doctors and nurses were extremely confident that I was going to have INCREDIBLE success! I was excited.

That night, Mikeal had to give me my ‘trigger shot’ to give the eggs an extra BOOST before the retrieval.

I. Was. Terrified.
I was so nervous because these needles were HUGE! The gauge of the needles I’d been having shots from were 29 and these were 21! (The smaller the number, the bigger the gauge). I am a wimp and was seriously so scared. Here is why, I knew that once I transferred a baby and got pregnant, I would be taking these shots every night for 10 weeks. If this one shot hurt, I wasn’t sure how I’d do 10 weeks of them!

This needle was HUGE!

This needle was HUGE!

Trigger shot right in the hip baby.

Trigger shot right in the hip baby.

So, Mikeal sat down and had me stand in between his legs. My nurse told me to tap my foot to keep the muscle relaxed. I did that. Probably too fast because I was SO nervous! Lol.Β  I made Mikeal stop like 10 times before he actually did it. You know how that is. They’re about to do it and you pull away or flinch. Our mental can be so powerful in both ways!

I said I was done like 5 times before I did it. I was done with IVF. I don’t want to do it anymore. It isn’t worth it. I can’t handle this. It’s too hard for me. I cried! Dang hormones…I was so irrational and so so SO scared!
He did it. It didn’t hurt! He did it SO slow and with SO much care.
“Did you do it?!” Yes. “Oh my gosh! Mikeal, it doesn’t hurt!” Haha- I continued to laugh and cry at the same time.

I was so relieved.

EVERYONE I talked to including the nurses and doctors told me they would hurt…I’m so glad it didn’t. The 10 week’s worth of them might hurt, but my brain doesn’t believe that, so we’re good to go.

June 25- Day of the egg retrieval. My ovaries were huge.
I took before and then after pictures that morning to see the difference….

The before pics are on the left and the after are on the right. Bless my body. It hates me so much for all I’m putting it through, but still, it’s amazing and can adapt to anything. So fascinating.

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Before is June 16, 2014 After is June 25, 2014

Before is June 16, 2014
After is June 25, 2014

The egg retrieval was a little bit of a bummer for us. They only got 13 eggs and they didn’t know how many were actually mature. The doctors were all shocked. I was shocked. Mikeal was great.
It’s OK Kaylee, we only need one.

The next day, Mikeal went into work. We are lucky because we hear news much faster than others because he works there.
9 of the eggs ended up not being immature and not able to fertilize. We were left with 4.
Mikeal said, ‘it’s ok Kay, it’ll all work out.’

Friday June 27- one of the eggs failed a couple days after fertilization. 😦 Only 3 eggs left. This isn’t looking good, but….it only takes one.
Now it was the weekend and we were praying that these 3 little embryos made it!

Monday June 30- Day 5 of fertilization…all 3 were still alive! 2 were strong as can be, biopsied, and frozen. Good sign! The 3rd little guy was struggling, but still growing…fingers crossed.

Wednesday July 2- Day 7 of fertilization…3rd little guy made it! He was still struggling, but they biopsied him/her (I felt it was a boy for some reason) and froze him.

All 3 embryo samples were sent to Natera, the genetic testing center to be tested for all chromosomal diseases and mutations. The actual embryos stayed at the U safe and sound, nice and frozen. Lol- so weird, but so incredible at the same time.

We were told we would get results by Friday July 11… the praying began again.
Mikeal and I received an answer that I’d been waiting for for 10 years, but answers don’t always mean what you think…I’ve learned that before.
People have been so supportive, people have prayed, put our names in the temple, and just been keeping us in their thoughts…it all helps in some way, in my opinion.

During the waiting game, we got to celebrate Mikeal’s 27th birthday! That was so fun. I love birthdays. I love spoiling people, especially my loved ones. He had school and studying ALL day, but we had a party with all of my family and all of his that night in our little backyard. It was great!Β  It was so much fun!

Happy 27th Mikeal! :)

Happy 27th Mikeal! πŸ™‚

He had a Superman themed birthday since he never had one as a kid.

He had a Superman themed birthday since he never had one as a kid.

All of us went in and bought him his very first hand gun + an all day pass to the shooting range with me, and a carry and conceal class. The gun hadn't arrived yet, so this was the pic. :) He LOVED it and can't wait to go shoot it still.

All of us went in and bought him his very first hand gun + an all day pass to the shooting range with me, and a carry and conceal class. The gun hadn’t arrived yet, so this was the pic. πŸ™‚ He LOVED it and can’t wait to go shoot it still.

Wednesday July 9- I get a call from Mikeal while I’m at work.
“Hey babe, what’s up?”
“So, I know something..”
“Oh my gosh, you already know!?”
“Yes, they just told me.”
“Do I want to know?”
“Do you dear?”
“I don’t know. I have 3 hours of work left, so you tell me. If it’s going to be bad, I don’t want to hear.”
“So you don’t want me to tell you?”
“Oh no, it’s bad. Oh geez.”
“No, it’s not all bad.”
“Ok, tell me.”

“Ok well, I’ll start with the bad news..”

I was silent.

I was so nervous, but I truly had started to believe what Mikeal had been saying, Everything will work out. It’s all going to be OK.

He continued, “Well…the one little embryo that was struggling does not have the disease, but he has a different mutation. We can’t transfer him. One of the two strong embryos is a girl, she’s a carrier of ALD, and the strongest of all is a….HEALTHY BOY!”
“Wait, what?! Oh my gosh, babe! Are you serious?!”

I was so excited, I was so relieved. I felt so blessed and lucky. We had a healthy boy! It was all fitting together…I felt so so grateful for as far as we’d gotten. The fact that 2 of the 3 embryos were not affected or carriers and especially since they were boys, was insane! Although the other little guy had a different mutation, the odds were in our favor! How lucky were we?!

Ok, so now what do I do with this little girl. I mean, she’s healthy, she’s just a carrier. She’s like me. Wow, not sure what to do.

Here is my reasoning. I am a healthy carrier. I’ve had an incredible life without limitation. I will most likely live long and healthy and happy. What’s the difference with her? She won’t grow up with a brother who suffers and dies of this disease. She won’t know the true meaning of what she can pass on. She may not really care because what teenager does?

I did.
But, only because of my little brother. Seeing that first hand…anyone would care. What if she got pregnant in high school? What if she did with her husband? That would be their choice, but the whole reason we did IVF was to eliminate the disease from my family. It is a terrible disease with no cure and no hope of a cure any time soon. I don’t know why I was worrying about her, but I think I was just figuring out my back up plan, or my next baby after this one. Typical woman. πŸ™‚

Either way, I came to the conclusion that I need to be happy, excited, and grateful for this HEALTHY BOY and worry about this later. We would know what to do when the time was right. She can stay frozen for now…I know, it sounds so odd. πŸ™‚

July 16- It has been 3 weeks since the egg retrieval. The first week was hell. I was so sore, so sick, and in so much pain. I hated the way I felt physically and emotionally. I was all over the place.I had a HUGE fight with Mikeally on July 11…even after the wonderful news…

PMDD

I suffer from PMDD and after being on extreme hormones and then having a period, my body goes OUT OF WACK!
The fight was bad. I felt so rational. I felt so justified for feeling the way I felt.
The fight was so dumb.
It took 24 hours for me to think straight again. For me to realize how crazy I seemed. But, I’m not crazy. I have a disorder 1-3 days out of the month and IVF does NOT help it. πŸ™‚ It is what it is….Mikeal is trying his best, so am I. That is all we can do.
We had a GREAT day together on Saturday to make up for the night before. πŸ™‚

This week has been rough too…I am still bloated, but doing so much better. I can’t complain though. I feel so lucky to be where I am at. What in the world do I have to complain about….seriously. Life is good. I am blessed. I am lucky. I am FINE.

So, here’s the plan- we’ll transfer this little guy and if I get pregnant, great! IF I have him as a healthy baby, Amazing! IF we feel it is right, we’ll do another egg retrieval after the baby is born and try our luck again.

I shouldn’t say luck. I believe in luck, of course, but this experience has been much more guided and directed. Everything is falling into place from the feelings we’ve felt, inspiration we’ve received, and news we’ve gotten…it has to work out right?

No, it doesn’t have to ‘work out’ how I think it should. It will still ‘work out.’ That’s the crazy thing about life.

I am grateful for Mikeal and his love and support. I’m grateful for his patience. My PMDD has been off the charts, but it is OK. That is how it is and it’ll all be worth it. It will not last forever and we always look back and laugh about it. That is good. πŸ™‚

One thing I don’t want to do is be nervous and think, ‘what if’ what if, what if, during this whole process. It’s too much for me. Anyone, even the most fertile woman, can have ‘what if’ happen to her. That is just life.

So, I am excited! I am acting as if I will be getting pregnant. I am taking my gut feeling for what it is. I am taking care of myself, eating clean, exercising daily, and laughing a lot with Mikeal and Theodore. I am being grateful for getting this far in the process and despite everything, getting to be this lucky. I am going with it.
And ‘if’ it doesn’t work out how I want it to, that is OK. I will be heart broken, I will be upset. I will NOT understand it, BUT I KNOW it will work itself out. It just means that it isn’t the right time. It means that God has a different plan and that that plan is going to be so much better for us, for the baby, etc. I do know that with 100% of my heart and all of you reading this can help me remember that right?! πŸ™‚

But, for now, I am grateful, humbled, blessed, and honored. I am excited and getting ready for this next adventure in our lives. If it is premature hope, then so be it. I don’t care. It is getting me through and making me live each day, so that is good enough for me. Sometimes, all we have to hold onto is the hope of how we wish it to be. I think that is good enough as long as that hope can adapt and change as needs be and we can continue to be patient while it works itself out.

Stage 2 is complete…now we’re on to Stage 3. I have started birth control pills and will start the shots in the stomach again on August 1. Those will continue for 1 month along with some other pills and shots, an ultrasound to assess the uterine lining, and then the transfer date is set for Sep. 2. What a fun day that’ll be.

I am grateful that I get to share my experience and I hope people can see how grateful and appreciative I am for this experience. I hope people can see that I do NOT have the perfect life and that Mikeal and I do NOT have the perfect marriage and that this process is NOT easy, but I truly feel like it has been doable. I know I don’t have it as hard as a LOT of women out there in my same shoes. I don’t know why, but I know I am grateful for what I did have.

This experience has brought Mikeal and I closer than anything else has in the 3 1/2 years that we’ve been married and I am so grateful for that too.

One wish…I hope this little boy has Mikeals’ exact face because he would be the most adorable little boy in the world and I would want for nothing more. For a little boy to look like and most importantly, grow up to be like the incredible man his dad is.

Mikeal Elias Robinson

Mikeal Elias Robinson

IMG_7674 IMG_7675He is the cutest little boy! Oh I just love him.

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I hope this post helps someone else who is going through a hard time to keep their head up and keep going because it DOES work out and yes, even if I don’t get pregnant, it WILL WORK OUT. I am convinced of that.

Thank you for following along in my journey. It means the world to me that you care….

I V F… It starts

Mikeal and I: friends first, always soulmates, meant to be.

Mikeal and I July 2009- friends first, always soulmates, meant to be.

Day 11 of In vitro Fertilization (IVF) down, __ days to go. My husband and I are finally doing this and it is crazy, scary, and exciting. True, I just started, but my story with having a family actually goes way back.

My little brother, Nathaniel Kent Thomas, was diagnosed with a rare (at the time) disease called, Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) when I was 8. He was 7. This disease is missing a gene on the X chromosome that breaks down Very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA’s). Because of this missing gene, the blood stream builds up with these VLCFA’s and eventually they break through the brain barrier and destroy the myelin sheath (this is responsible for protecting and managing the functions of communication from the brain to the body and back). When this is damaged/destroyed, the communications are destroyed, and the crucial functions of the body, stop functioning. My little bro went from a healthy, happy, very smart, athletic, coordinated, and popular little boy to a bed-ridden vegetable in about 18 months.

It all started with extreme hyper-activity and difficulty concentrating in school, then bladder and bowel issues followed. This was so hard to watch; your little brother being made fun of, pushed around, laughed at, etc….and there was nothing he could do, bless his heart. To make things a little better…I did enjoy kicking a few of the mean boys’ where it counts…hard. That felt good and Nathaniel appreciated it too. πŸ™‚ Nathaniel had lots of fighters for him during this time. My older sister, Ashlee, being one, my mom and dad being two others….lots of power in the family I grew up in. I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky.

Next, went Nathaniel’s ability to walk and talk. We’d communicate with him by having him point to things or we’d draw out what he wanted and he’d point yes or no. Although it must’ve been so frustrating for him to not have these skills anymore, he’d still play around with us.

“Nathaniel, pick this hand if you want PB & J sandwiches or this hand if you want egg salad.” Nathaniel would pick egg salad. Ashlee would make this sandwich for him. All the while, Nathaniel was sitting on the chair laughing.

“Here’s your sandwich Nathaniel.” Nathaniel would laugh and shake his head and try to say, “no, no, no, hahaha.” He actually wanted the other sandwich, but he sure did enjoy watching us make the wrong one. πŸ™‚

Next, went his ability to see and hear….this was hard for me…I can only imagine how hard it was for him.

Nathanial and I were best friends, only 18 months apart. We did EVERYTHING together from playing in the mud and eating grasshoppers to playing legos, video games, cops and robbers, barbies, “House”, and of course, night games and late night movies (in the summer of course).

When Nathaniel could no longer see the movies we’d come accustom to watching since he could no longer walk, I started reading to him. This was a time of my life I’ll never forget. He couldn’t respond, he couldn’t do anything, but he was so grateful for the company and to hear happy stories.

When we first noticed his hearing was going, I was so sad. “What will Nathaniel and I do together Dad?” I had so many spiritual experiences in my childhood and continue to have them, it is so incredible. Miracles.

One day, I prayed and prayed and prayed that Nathaniel could please see and hear the book I was reading him. I just wanted him to enjoy it for the day. It wasn’t fair.

Next thing I knew, Nathaniel was looking straight at me with a huge smile on his face. He could see! Hurry, read to him, show him the pictures!

That was a great day…Miracle.

The last thing that goes when the body is dying is the ability to swallow. People will usually enter into a coma state and the passing is usually quite peaceful. My parents were given 2 options:

Let him slowly starve to death; about 7 days

Put in a feeding tube and prolong his life for who knows how long, in the state he was in. You see, Nathaniel’s disease at this pointΒ  was similar to an auto-immune disease; all the systems were functioning properly to keep him alive, but the immune system was extremely fragile. A cold could take his life.

My parents were faced with a tough decision. You see, on top of my brother being sick for the past couple years, my mom was in remission from brain cancer; she was diagnosed one year before Nathaniel’s disease came about, my dad had sold his business and started a new one from scratch so he could work from home, and they had 4 daughters to take care of as well…..wow. I can not imagine.

My parents put in the feeding tube. I don’t think my mother could bare the thought of burying her youngest child.

The next 9 years became the new norm for me. My mom refused to have a nurse take care of her son, so she cared for him during the day and my dad would work in the basement office all day, then come up at night and take care of him the rest of the day. At the same time, my mom was on and off of chemo and radiation treatments as the cancer kept coming back, she was in physical therapy and rehab for the neuropathy she was dealing with due to the cancer, AND they had 4 other children to care for. Again, I can only imagine how that would be as a parent…it was hell enough sometimes as a child/sibling. I look back at these times at my incredibly strong parents and think.. “if only I could do so well…”

Nathaniel was almost taken from us several times as his feeding tube would be knocked out from his constant seizures and muscle spasms. Due to his low immune system, the surgery to put back in the feeding tube would kill him. Luckily, my dad, my sister, and the doctors once, were always able to get it back in. Miracle.

My mom was also up and down with her cancer during this time. She went through radiation and chemotherapy 4x and underwent brain surgery to remove the original tumor when I was 17 years old….she came out of this talking as if nothing had happened..Miracle.

I was 19 when my mom had a bad seizure (one of many), hit her head, and was rushed to the ER. The doctors found more tumors…there was nothing they could do. 7 weeks later, she passed away, peacefully in our home while on hospice care.

I’ll never forget that night. The way she looked, the pain, confusion, anger, and loneliness I felt that she was gone and the tears I saw slowly streaming down Nathaniel’s face…doctors said he had a mentality of a 2 year old and remember, he couldn’t hear or see….somehow, he knew exactly what was going on and missed his mother. Miracle.

My beautiful mother, Kim.  Oct. 1, 1955- June 12, 2005

My beautiful mother, Kim.
Oct. 1, 1955- June 12, 2005

That is how my whole life was living with my brother and mom. There were so many miracles and unexplained experiences, but they were all lessons learned or tender moments for me, my family, and many many MANY others that knew them.

Nathaniel passed away peacefully in our home 9 months later. March 5, 2006. I was by his side, holding his hand, and he told me goodbye. That is an experience, that in full, I don’t share with anyone….Miracle.

My little brother, Nathaniel Kent Thomas July 18, 1987- March 5, 2006

My little brother, Nathaniel Kent Thomas
July 18, 1987- March 5, 2006

There is no cure for ALD. They have come leaps and bounds since Nathaniel was diagnosed, but still no cure…

I was diagnosed as a carrier of ALD when I was 18 years old. I was also told at age 19 that due to my menstrual issues, I would most likely never have children. This news was devastating.

I was that little girl who, although quite the tomboy, played “House” daily with 10 children of my own. I feed them, bathed them, changed their diapers, and sang them to sleep. I couldn’t wait to a mom! I wanted to be a doctor and scientist too, but also a mom!

Fast forward to 2008. I had just returned home from serving my LDS mission in Everett, Washington, was back in school at UVU, and met, my soulmate and future husband.

The first time I met Mikeal I looked up at him, said hi, walked away, and a voice said, “You’re going to marry him.”….Miracle. πŸ™‚

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September 25, 2010, we were married!

2 months prior, I was worried sick about what I was going to do to make sure I didn’t accidentally get pregnant and pass on this awful disease that now having of the knowledge of, I felt I needed to stop from coming to any more little boys, girls, and their families.

Birth control- they made me beyond crazy

IUDs- The Merana was full of hormones, same affect as birth control, hey how about the Copper IUD…turned out, I was allergic to copper. What was I going to do? Condoms? This was not the best solution in the world, but my only one.

I’ll never that night. I was driving home to our future apartment I had just moved into in Provo, Utah. I was crying. I was confused. I was frustrated. I felt I was doing my best to prevent this disease from coming here and nothing was working in my favor. And then, a voice came to me and said, “you’ve done all you can, it is all going to be ok.”

For the next 3 years, that was enough peace for me to do what I could, but put the rest in the hands of God. I never ‘accidentally’ got pregnant. Miracle.

I was married at the young age of 24. After serving my LDS mission, I had planned on finishing my Bachelors, Masters’ Degree, and starting a career before I married. 28 sounded like a good age. I’m 28 now. πŸ™‚

Mikeal and I were both in school our first year married and together decided that since I was most likely never going to have children naturally (I had halfheartedly convinced myself of this at 18 when diagnosed), 28-30 years of age sounded like a great time to start adopting. This felt good to both of us.

It was December of 2011. I was driving home from work and out of nowhere, a voice told me, “You need to start preparing for children.” What?? I’m only 25, it’s not time yet.

This thought wouldn’t leave me. I thought about it for weeks. I brought it up to Mikeal when I got home that night, but really didn’t believe it myself. Mikeal was NOT ready for kids; that was loud and clear. I didn’t think I was either. During these couple weeks that the thought wouldn’t leave me, I slowly started to want children. My desires for going back to school and pursuing a career started to change back (from when I was a child) to wanting to be a mom. WHAT?

Looking back, it is such a pattern in my life that when the Lord is directing and guiding you, He will make the decisions that are BEST for us, actually quite easy to follow. Miracles.

Now I was really getting excited. I was ready for kids. Mikeal was not. That was ok with me. I didn’t want him to go into it not ready, but I knew I needed to start preparing. Could I really have kids naturally? Is this what the feeling was telling me? Well, I knew one thing, I wanted to have the opportunity of being pregnant and bearing children, so yes, let’s give it a go.

I didn’t know where to start. Who does IVF in Utah? Who is the best? Where is it that Mikeal and I need to go to? For the next several months, I thought a lot about this and asked around, but didn’t make any progress.

My older sister, also a carrier of the disease and living back east, was starting IVF with her husband. Her experience was her own, it was hard, it was emotional, it was more than I understand right now and may ever understand. I am happy to say, she is pregnant and due in August of this year. She will tell you, Miracle.

One afternoon, I said a prayer and decided to google IVF doctors and asked the Lord to guide my search. I came across a name that felt right to me. I called it. It was The University of Utah Reproductive Medicine. Great. I set up a consultation. “We have several incredible doctors, they told me. Dr. Peterson is our head and one of the best in the nation. You most likely wont get him, he is always booked up.” We went to our consultation, Dr. Peterson was going to be our doctor. He had more experience and more knowledge in this field that probably anyone else we’d meet in Utah. Miracle.

This started in December of 2012. One year after I was told to get prepared. Mikeal still wasn’t ready for kids, but was good with the idea of going through the egg retrieval process and freezing our healthy embryos while they are still young, then implanting later on. This was great with me too.

IVF, as some of you know, is expensive! My incredible father had already offered to pay for both my sister and my treatment. Miracle. (What a beautiful miracle and gift money can be when used for good…someday, I will pay it forward). At the time, I was almost 27 and really wanted to figure out an alternative solution on my own, with Mikeal.

We applied for the Miracle Fund which with our income, we qualified for. This fund would pay for an entire IVF cycle. The application process consisted of 5 letters of recommendation each from non-family members, an adoption background check, application process, 4 hour interview, and $500 check.

During the middle of this 6 month ordeal, Mikeal got a PT job as a phlebotomist at The Andrology Clinic at the U. This was great because it paid for his tuition and books. We were really trying to stay out of debt. Around the same time, I got a raise at work. We no longer qualified for the Fund. We were denied.

October 2013- it turns out Mikeal’s job worked hand in hand with the IVF clinic. Mikeal was working with my nurses and doctor! They loved Mikeal. His boss called him into his office and told him that becuase he worked there, we were going to be given a large discount for IVF. Total estimated cost of IVF with the genetic component is about $15,000. Our total cost was going to be about $6,000. Miracle. πŸ™‚

We started the process. Bloodwork, ultrasounds…problem. Turns out, I had what is called a septate uterus. I couldn’t get pregnant…. I was devastated for about a day. My doctor called me up, let’s do surgery. You’ll have an 80% chance of pregnancy once you heal. I was beyond grateful.

Remember back in July of 2010 when I was trying to figure out the best way to prevent pregnancy and the voice told me it would all be ok? 3 years and 3 months later, I understood why. My body couldn’t get pregnant without surgery. I was beyond protected. First thing Mikeal said, “well, that was a waste of condoms.” Lol.

But really, yet another, miracle.

March 17, 2014- Uterine surgery. It went great! I had the largest septum Dr. Peterson had ever seen. He also removed a bunch of endometriosis. This would help with painful periods and increase my chances of getting pregnant. Miracle. πŸ™‚

I was on hormones for 1 and 1/2 months to build back up the uterus. There were some breakdowns and fights during this time. Again, hormones make me crazy.

May 5, 2014- small procedure to remove a bit more of the septum to make the uterine cavity a perfect fit for a baby.

May 10, 2014- The IVF medicine process had begun with normal birth control. Again, some breakdowns and fights….we’ve gotten used to this, we best get even more used to it… πŸ™‚

May 31, 2014- Breakdown. A BAD breakdown. 4 hours of screaming, yelling, crying, etc. etc. etc. Poor Mikeal. this isn’t easy on him either. My mood was all over the place. I wasn’t thinking rationally AT ALL… I couldn’t help it.

I remember him coming in and massaging my back and head and shoulders for about an hour and a half. I dozed in and out of sleep. I was mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted. I was terrified. What if it didn’t work? What if the shots were too painful and I couldn’t handle them? What if I went through all of this and no baby? What if Mikeal and I had a terrible marriage these next 5 months because of the hormones? What if there wasn’t a baby? What if I am fighting what God intended? Maybe I am supposed to adopt only. Maybe my body came the way it did for a reason. Maybe I am just trying to go against what should be. The thoughts went on and on and on in my head.

Mikeal: “Kaylee, I am so sorry you have to go through this for us. I am so grateful you are willing to. I think it’s going to work out.”

Me: Silence.

Mikeal: “Kaylee, tell me what you want to do and we’ll do that.”

Me: Silence……….I don’t know.

We both sat there in total silence. I didn’t know what he was thinking about, but I was going through these thoughts and just begging the Lord to give me something. I need something. Forever seemed to pass by.

I had one of the greatest experiences to date. I am still in awe at what I was able to experience. At what my Heavenly Father was willing to give me. After tears of joy were streaming down my face, I told Mikeal what I had experienced.

He started to cry. I cried. Turns out, he had been praying for me to get an answer, to get what I needed while I was being given just that. MIRACLE.

I had received an answer I had been searching for since I was 18. 10 years later, I got it and it was all worth it.

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God is so good. God is so aware. God is so good.

June 1, 2014- I started the Lupron injections. 10 cc once a day, right into my belly. They aren’t bad. 2 moody days, but overall, I’m doing well so far.

I best get used to shots!

I best get used to shots!

I don’t know why life is the way it is. Why sometimes we have to go through such unbearable (or so it seems) situations, but I do know that God is real. That He is aware, and there to help us get through, but it really requires us to crawl through the mud with bricks on our backs at times. I am only starting these meds. I am going to have some tough times, but I have been given strength. I won’t hold back on days that just plain out suck, but I will always remember that God is there. God is real. God is good. I can do ANYTHING with God.

My dad taught me a lesson a long time ago. It’s called the 100 year rule. With anything we’re facing in life we can ask ourselves, “Will it really matter 100 years from now?” I can guarantee you your answer will always be no.

My dad Kent L. Thomas, and his wife, Kim.

My dad Kent L. Thomas, and his wife, Kim.

Trust me, I know that is WAY easier said than done, but I also know this. 10 years ago and on and off throughout these past 10 years, I have asked for the answer I received on May 31. It hasn’t been a walk in the park, but it’s also been doable.

When I received that answer, those 10 years seemed like a total walk in the park. They were worth every second in order for me to know what I know now.

This is my journey. I am an open book. This is where I am at now. I am grateful, I am humbled, I am strong. It’s good to write down the good times so you have things to look back on when the days are tough.

Thank you for reading, God bless, and keep pushing on…we’ve all got this, whatever our struggles may be.