A #GiveGrace Update!

Hi friends!!

I am coming to you live from Orlando, Florida because I haven't been home for more than 2 nights in the past three weeks. This summer has turned out to be incredibly busy! Anyone else agree? Where has the time gone? Blake went back to teaching today and I can't believe it. It's like going from one extreme to the next. We spend all day every day together in the summer and then school starts and he goes back to working at least 12 hour days. As hard as it is to see him go back, we are both ready for life to slow down for a little bit and to get back into a normal schedule.

 

The past two months we have poured our hearts and souls into our Give Grace campaign and the response has been unbelievable. Honestly, this whole campaign is God breathed. I don't have any other way to explain it. The outpouring of love, support and prayers has meant the world to both of us. We have connected with so many new friends through the beauty of the internet and I am so grateful. Every single day, our info inbox is flooded with sweet people pouring out their support for our campaign. I want you to know that I read every single one of these emails. I read every single Facebook message that you have sent me. If I haven't responded yet, I promise I will. Promise. So from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you! Thank you for carrying us through this season. After all, that is what we are called to do as the body of Christ. To carry each others' burdens and to lift one another up in prayer. It is such an honor for me to get to pray for each one of you that reach out to me to share your story. Thank you for trusting me and thank you for being vulnerable. 

I wanted to take the time to send out an update on our journey because I feel like each one of you is a part of it in some way. This is your fair warning.... This update is very raw and real and some of it is probably TMI. So continue at your discretion. 

We had our full day work up at CCRM this past Tuesday. All I can say is WOW!!! This place is night and day different than the first clinic we went to. You walk into this three story beautiful building and there are two different check in desks on the first floor and a concierge desk. Everyone greets you with a smile and right away points you in the right direction. At the concierge desk, we were given a folder with our detailed schedule for the day and told to make our way to their conference room. We started off the day with an hour long welcome presentation that went over everything we could possibly want to know about their clinic. From the very beginning, they make you feel so welcome, so comfortable and so informed. Then we started into the rest of the appointments - meetings with the lab, the business office and our own personal nurse, Cindy. She is amazing!! She spent an hour with us going over this HUGE binder full of more information than I could ever read and what to expect moving forward. It was obvious that she had taken the time to read our chart because she made us feel like she knew our story well. 

Then we started the fun stuff. Lab work, ultra sounds, doctors meetings, etc. We were tested for more things in one day than we ever have been. My first appointment of the day was for an ultrasound and doppler test. I have had a million ultrasounds before but this one was different. First of all, I was already not the happiest about it because I had to be off caffeine for 72 hours before they did it. Secondly, they tested for blood flow which is something I have never been tested for before. This is the only thing of the day that came back abnormal for me. Apparently my blood flow is a bit strong but the technician said that it can be easily fixed with acupuncture. She said a lot of things can cause that, even just anxiety from being there for testing. But the good news is that she saw 25 follicles (what the eggs grow in) developing, which is more than double what most fertility patients have. The more strong eggs you have the more chances of having really strong embryos. 

Next up was the blood work. Blake sat down to go first and had 2 tubes taken. Then it was my turn and the lady told me I had to have FOURTEEN tubes of blood drawn. That's a lot of blood!!! It definitely didn't help my altitude sickness. 

Then my last test of the day was a hysteroscopy. Just google it. It was awful. For those of you that haven't ever experienced fertility testing, let me just paint this picture for you. They take me back to the room, tell me I have to undress from the waist down and that the doctor will be in shortly. Then they leave you in this bland room filled with all these horribly scary tools ALONE for what seems like an eternity. All you can do is look around at the utensils and machines and pray that surely they won't be using that on you. I had one of those moments sitting on the table thinking "so many women will never know what it's like to go through this." Those moments are hard. They are the ones that make you feel like you are broken. That your body doesn't work like it should. So you just pray and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Then we got to sit down with Dr. Schoolcraft to recap the day and to get a game plan for moving forward. I was a little starstruck sitting in his office because I have heard so many wonderful things about him. My favorite thing though is that I can tell he is a straight shooter. He doesn't give people false hope. He doesn't tell people to move forward because he wants the money. And my heart so appreciates this. I told him a year ago during our phone consult and again this past week that I don't want to go through it again unless he confidently thinks it will be different than last time. I know he can't promise us a baby but I just prayed for a very black & white answer. And that is what we got. We still don't have all of our test results back, but based on what he had so far and our last cycle, he thinks we are crazy not to try one more time. He said our "issues" should be an easy fix and that 90% of his patients would pay money to be in our shoes. That is confidence if you ask me!!

So what's the plan from here? Pray!! Pray for clarity. Pray for continued answers. And pray for timing. I firmly believe in the power of prayer. So here is specifically how you can pray for us:

- Timing. We aren't sure yet when we will try again so please pray that the path would be made clear for us.

- Clarity. As the test results continue to come in, pray for very clear direction. 

- Our hearts. Every time we take another step forward toward trying again, the emotions come flooding back and fear begins to creep in. I will need every single one of you to help carry me through it if we try again. Pray that if this is not what we are supposed to do, the Lord would slam the door closed. Because I just don't think my heart can handle another failed cycle. 

- Egg issue. Pray over each follicle. That a healthy, strong egg will be developing in each one. They still aren't sure if I have an egg quality issue or if my last cycle was just really strange. Pray that my last cycle was just really strange. 

- Blake. Pray for strength and wisdom. I know it is not easy walking through this from his end either.

- Dr. Schoolcraft and his entire team. If nothing else, I pray that God would use us as a light in that place. That each person we meet would walk away different because of Him. 

- Pray against fear and doubt and all the lies that Satan tries to tell us. If I am honest, I am terrified to walk this road again and for it to fail. I know if that happens we will be ok. But it will be incredibly hard and painful. So join me in praying against the enemy. That the Lord would clearly pave the road for us if this is what we are supposed to do and that He will give us the strength we need to do it. At this point, we both want to parent the child the Lord has for us, no matter what he or she looks like. A friend once wrote in the midst of her infertility battle - "I don't want a child that looks like me or my husband. I want a child that looks like Jesus." Can I get an AMEN?????

That's it for now! Overall, we loved the entire experience at CCRM and would strongly recommend taking the step to at least go out there and meet with them. There is something to be said about seeing the best of the best. Thank you for walking this journey with us!! It means more to us than you will ever know. Please know that we feel and appreciate every single one of your prayers!!

Lots of love,

Megan Smalley


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