Holding Onto Hope, Anticipating Joy

Julie Davis

One wife's journey on the road of infertility and missionary living. Real life ~from Small Town, Missouri to Prague, Czech Republic.

How Time Flies

Our sweet miracle, Magnolia Joy, is now 5 months old. As I was looking back at the last time I wrote about our journey, I am a bit embarrassed that it was last November, when I was five months pregnant with her!

Can I say, the busyness of life, ministry and all else took over. It has been one of the most exciting times in our lives to be expecting something we waited so long for. It has also been one of the busiest as far as our ministry. I mean, who would have expected starting an International Church in one of the most atheistic cities in the world, would take up so much of our time (I say that with tongue and cheek). Great things were happening; I was feeling great, both Maggie and the church were growing and at 7 months pregnant, I started Heart Kids (our church’s Children’s Program) and our parents had bought their plane tickets for Maggie’s arrival! Looking back, this was way too much, but sometimes I take on too much.

Here is a little bit of catch-up for you, from the last few months of our pregnancy…so, you could say, this is Magnolia’s Birth Story, Part 1.

Each visit we had with our wonderful, fun and kind doctor showed Maggie growing well and quickly. They kept saying, she would be a big baby. We were able to see ALOT of her legs and arms, but hardly ever her face. She was always moving around, hiding her face or turned around when it came time for the ultrasound. We had one semi-good view of her face with the 4D Ultrasound, but never again after that…I jokingly stated that she was a Diva, and didn’t want to show us her face until her grand entrance.


One of the only photos of Maggie’s face we got, because she was such a mover!

At 30 weeks, we changed doctors, again. Pregnancy care is handled differently here. This time we went from our regular OBGYN to our Delivery Doctor. Our Clinic also has a partnership with one of the maternity hospitals in Prague. We were thankful for our Clinic because they helped register us at the hospital for the actual delivery, and made our appointments with the doctor to be at the Clinic. All things that could be difficult as foreigners.

We met our doctor, she was young and seemed nice. We remembered, how it seems that it takes about 3 visits to get to know a new doctor and feel comfortable with them…so, we settled into that fact and embraced the awkwardness of a first meeting. We could tell that she was the delivery doctor who worked for the hospital, and not our Clinic, as she would get us in and out for our appointments quickly. Not much relationship building…but, in the end we all got a rhythm of working together.

On one of our weekly visits, we found out that we tested positive for Strep B. Our doctor seemed quite alarmed with the results, and pretty much shut down any chit-chat. Aaron and I knew a little about it, but were not 100% on what the effects were on delivery, as well as procedures. Plus, we were in the Czech Republic, not the USA, far away from home, comfort and “normal". The doctor, mumbled some things indicating it was fine…but without any definite details, and then shooed us out of the room, until the next week. Needless to say, we were a bit worried and concerned…but, did some research and came back the next week with our questions. This part is hard for us. For us, we still expect a doctor to explain procedures and the “why’s" of whatever medical situation we have. Welcome to Central Europe!…where the guiding philosophy is, “The more you don’t know, the better." …and, “The doctor went to medical school, you didn’t…just trust'em."

In the mean time, we took a tour of the birthing hospital. There were papers and forms to fill out, money to pay and papers to take home and read. On our tour, they took us to a door where they said, when you come-in in labor, you will come to this door and press two buttons…not one button or the other button but both buttons simultaneously…or else the nurses wouldn’t know we were there. We wondered how many babies had been born in that hall due to improper button operation. When pressed, someone answers the call, you will tell them through the speaker that you are in labor. They will come and get you, see if it is true, and then set you up on a heart monitor while they start to check you in. The next tour stope took us to the labor and delivery rooms. They were nice and large, had a private shower and bathroom, clean and modern. The nurse talked to us about the procedure, and their thoughts on delivery. They are here to take care of the baby, not us, so their primary concern is for the baby…we could jump off a bridge. …this also meant, NO epidural during delivery…honestly, I tried to hide my shock! As I looked at Aaron, I thought, is it too late to fly to America to have this baby? A French couple was taking the English speaking tour with us. At the moment when the nurse declared their lack of concern for the mother…he blurted out, “You practice medicine like barbarians!" The nurse and the Frenchman began a heated discussion about the quality of care that lasted the rest of the tour. We silently made notes of both the hospital, staff and other guests. We kept our head down.


Aaron at the entrance of the hospital property.


On our walk up to the Hospital. The Hospital is in the background…not your average looking US Hospital.


The door with the TV above it…this is the door that ladies buzz into (pressing both buttons) to see if they are in labor or not.

In discussion with our doctor, regarding Strep B (we kept getting conflicting information on when we needed to go to the hospital to get the medication…and we live about 30-45 minutes away (much longer with traffic), which made the 1 hour limit seem troublesome, and the concern for Maggie’s growing weight, we decided to talk to her about the possibility of a C-Section. We shared our concern about Strep-B, and getting to the hospital in time. Ultimately, with a C-Section, there would be no danger of infection for Maggie.

In order to see if this was an option for us, we needed to see the head of delivery, our doctor’s mentor. …One more step in a chain of incomprehensible steps…so lets go for it! Our appointment was set with him for two weeks later. We went early to our appointment, so we could have her heart monitored and checked. The last time we had done that, she was a mover and a grover…this time, she was a bit more quiet…it was in the early evening, which was usually her rest time (she always came awake at bedtime, making bedtime for myself very interesting!) During the appointment, we discussed our thoughts and concerns, and he quickly moved to the ultrasound. He was looking, talking in Czech, giving the nurse numbers to enter into the computer to see the range of the baby, not bothering to let us know what it all meant. He seemed to be taking an extra long time, compared to our other doctor, but we assumed since it was his first time to see us, he was just being careful. He asked me when the last time was I felt Maggie move. I said earlier that day. He continued looking and speaking to the nurse in Czech this time furiously typing on his keyboard. He asked me again about the baby moving. I said yes. I looked nervously at Aaron, trying to figure out what was happening. We had just had her on the heart monitor, and everything was fine, so I was unsure of what was happening and he seemed frantic. He talked to the nurse some more, asked me again about her movement…a third time, in a commanding tone, unsatisfied with my previous responses. Then he told us, that he was unable to detect blood circulation between the placenta and Maggie. He said it made him a bit nervous, but that it wasn’t too the point of high concern. He asked us to come to the hospital the next morning at 7am, so he could do another ultrasound, this time on his equipment to check the status. Aaron asked if we should be concerned, he said, "not yet." (…really comforting!) …but again he would not give any specifics when we pressed him. …typical.


One of the many heart monitor readings for our sweet Maggie Girl.

So, we went home…packed, in case we were to stay at the hospital the next morning. Of course, we made it to the hospital early…we are American. The doctor was not yet there, but came shortly after 7. He took us in immediately for the ultrasound. He said that it looked like the placenta was not growing anymore, and that it would not be beneficial to keep Maggie inside any longer. We asked if she was developed enough to be born, we were at 38 weeks, he said everything looked good and was developed to the point of delivery. We asked if there was a risk to keep her inside longer, he said that if she stayed inside, it would affect her and possibly cause a stillbirth…so, we obviously chose to go ahead and have her. We knew God was in control, but hearing the words spoken “still birth" in a foreign accent, in a hospital a world away from family still sends shockwaves through Aaron and I. It didn’t matter the context.

First, we are thankful to God that we even started the discussion of a C-Section. Because of my positive results for Strep-B, we were able to talk about this option. Which in turn, caused us to have a special ultrasound with the Head of Delivery…which in turn, found a problem that may have not been found until a week or so later. It is obvious, God had his hand on this time, on me and on Maggie!

Our doctor that was going to deliver Maggie originally, was unable to do a surgery that week due to a sick child…so, not only did God take care of finding this problem early on…BUT, he also arranged for the Head of Delivery, the doctor with whom all other doctors have do their C-Sections and is at the top of his group in all of Czech, deliver Maggie! What a great God.

After the next morning’s appointment, we left the hospital knowing a little more information. Knowing that we would come back the next day to check-in and welcome Maggie into the world and knowing that, there were a lot of butterflies and excitement as we drove home. Then, it started to sink in…I was about to almost be split in-two, in a foreign country.






The Second Trimester Continues...

Since our sweet baby is due in March, I felt it fitting to start off with the saying that usually comes with each March. If March comes in like a lion, It goes out like a lamb.



Well, that is exactly how my Second Trimester has gone and is going. People told me, once you get into your Second Trimester, you will feel much better and you won’t be as sick…people told me that, as my head hovered over the toilet. To say my Second Trimester has been “much better", are not the words I would use. It was actually the hardest. I believe my best shining moment was one night as we were going to bed, I took my prenatal vitamin and was drinking water beside the bed. All of a sudden, I was gagged by the pill and I started coughing. I covered my mouth, to no avail. The next thing I remember is Aaron applauding “My wonderful and most amazing throw-up show he’d ever seen". (He used the word “spectacular", …boys?!). ...That is, until I burst into tears. He quickly jumped up, got a towel for me. Shooed me to the bathroom to “finish up what had just started", as he cleaned the bed, the room, the curtains and whatever else the shrapnel hit. …in the end; new sheets were added, tears were dried and there was even a little laughter. …roar….


Four months in…pregnancy sickness plus a cough and cold, not a great combination.

BUT! The last week and this week, they have been great. As I am coming to the last week of my 5th month, with one more month in my Second Trimester to go, I am hopeful that, “it will go out like a lamb". …bahh….

It has been a fun an different experience being pregnant. I have waited so long to be in this place, and yet, it is sometimes just unbelievable. Aaron and I will be lying in bed about to drift off, when one of us will exclaim how great and exciting and nerve wrecking it is!

It all became even more real, when we found out our sweet miracle is a GIRL! Now, I will admit, I wanted a little girl so bad. However, after trying for so long to conceive, I was happy with whichever God would give us. In fact, I was pretty certain it was a boy! My Pinterest Board was full of girl things, then it started to become full of boy things, because I was so convinced.

As long as Gender Reveal Parties have become a “thing", I have wanted one. I told Aaron and Amy (my most wonderful and best friend and missionary colleague), that if we became pregnant, this was the one thing I wanted to do. Then…we got pregnant. I started thinking logistically about how it would work and look, who would come, on and on. I basically told myself, I wasn’t going to happen. The amount of work to have something like that was daunting. I told Aaron, then Amy…and they both said, NO! This is the one thing you said you wanted, and we are going to make it happen…and I am so glad they put their collective foot down!

Here in the Czech Republic, the Gender Reveal Phenomenon has not appeared. So, we knew it was going to be an uphill battle. I had contacted a bakery after one of our appointments, where we knew the date we would find out the gender. As I have mentioned before, I am an organizer and planner…so, I wrote an email with pictures and as detailed as I could. The baker, did not understand…and didn’t really want to understand, if you get my point! So we would have to go about this another way. Let’s just say between Amy, the bakery and I…there were about ten or more email exchanges. …finally at the reveal. We just hoped we had something pink or blue. And not white, purple or green!

The next step was to explain to our Doctor, …try explaining how, “I want to know, but not really know, but write it down in an envelope so our friend can know."…in a foreign language! When we went in for our appointment, we reminded her that we needed her to write it on a paper and fold it up. We tried to explain the idea of the party, and she just smiled and said ok…have a fun party. She started the ultrasound, and told us when she was looking for the gender. Aaron and I both turned our heads. After the ultrasound, she went over to her desk to write the gender. She was whispering to her nurse in Czech, and Aaron quickly spoke to her in Czech. He said, “We understand some Czech, so make sure to not say it is Czech because we will know". They looked at us in surprise and laughed. They said they are excited to see pictures from “our party" at our next appointment.


Our Doctor’s Office, Canadian Medical Care. We are blessed by our great, caring and friendly Doctor.

Our party was really more than I could have hoped for…of course, having our family and close friends in attendance would have made it the greatest, but God blessed us with being surrounded by people we love here. Amy (Chris, Gideon and Karis too), met us in Old Town Square with the cake. It looked so great. We all kind of joked that if we cut into the cake and it was white, Amy would just shout out the gender…no matter how clear or how much we think we explain things, they can always get lost in translation. We found a little table in the extremely crowded area, and then were surprised by some other great friends and fellow missionaries from Hungary; Rick, Lori and Zsolti. There were a few tears on my end…I mean come on, how wonderful to be surrounded by people we love and not feel alone at one of the happiest times in our lives. I texted our parents and family to make sure they were on, and ready to watch (we did a Facebook Live Video, so everyone in American could join us). Once we received word they were, it was show time…I was so so nervous. You can tell by how Aaron had to prod me to talk during the video. However, when I started to cut the cake and saw a little sliver of pink, I just couldn’t believe it! Of course, no-one else was able to see, not even Aaron, so once I got over my initial shock and excitement..I continued. Afterwards, we had the most amazing Mexican food (it’s what I crave the most) we’ve had in Prague, as we all celebrated together.

Here is a link to watch our Gender Reveal, if you missed it!


My first moment of seeing the “pink", and forgetting to continue cutting the cake for everyone else to see.


It’s a GIRL!

Our sweet and wonderful missionary family sharing in on our excitement and miracle.

We have started on the nursery. We have a crib put together, we have a few other pieces of furniture. We are slowly finding things that we are liking for the decorations (I am trying to stay off of Hobby Lobby website, but boy oh boy, how I wish they would open a store here). We’ve bought some cute dresses and stuffed animals (Aaron’s favorite thing to buy). We are planning for both of our parents to come shortly before/after her birth. Things just keep progressing and moving forward…


Shopping at Ikea for our sweet baby! This is the chair that each photo has been taken in…except this one was part of the display.


Putting the crib together. One of the easiest pieces of IKEA furniture to ever put together!

In fact, last week, I was able to feel her first kick! I have been waiting for it. I was laying on the couch after dinner, watching some tv with Aaron, when I felt this little flutter…well, just a little more than a flutter! It took me a minute to realize, it was a kick. I shouted to Aaron, I am pretty sure I just felt a kick. What, he exclaimed…yep, a kick. It was another great, joyful and tear-filled moment. Really, one of the best feelings ever. I am looking forward to when she kicks more aggressively, that Aaron can feel it. He loves her so much already, and is going to be the best daddy!

Next Tuesday, we have our 2nd Trimester Ultrasound, where we will see our sweet baby’s organs and how she is progressing. It will be the first time, we get to see her, knowing she is a her! It is amazing to be able to watch her grow and progress from a little blob on the ultrasound screen, to a little blob with a head, to arms moving and legs kicking…to soon, being our sweet little Magnolia (Maggie) Joy, held in our arms.

-Julie


Our Sweet Maggie.

Three Months In!

It is amazing how life takes you through transitions. As missionaries, we have a lot of transitions. Transitions to the US, transitions to our country of calling, transitions with cultures, on and on the list could go. I was expecting to go through some type of a transition with pregnancy. I quickly found however, my thoughts on what that transition would look like, and what it actually was like, were quite different. It has been a while since I have posted…I’ve needed a few moments to make it to the other side, collect my thoughts before I share.

Aaron and I went from; hoping for, praying for and believing for a child…to hoping for, praying for and believing for a healthy pregnancy and baby. We have so much excitement about what has happened. We will randomly yell during the day, during car rides, at dinner, “We are going to have a baby"! We went to the baby store (one of the only, everything-you-need-for-baby-store that is available to us), and looked around, only to be completely adrift amongst a sea of baby-things. Aaron said in a hushed tone, “I know we need this stuff, but I have no idea what it is or what we actually need." Our Czech language (while developed enough for survival and very light conversation) is not developed for the baby-world vocab, which adds to the surreal atmosphere of shopping in a foreign baby store.

One challenge of being pregnant for us, is separation from family. It seems sharing the excitement with our family…over the phone/facetime/skype wasn’t enough for us either. We have been blessed with friends here, who are wonderful, but what’s missing is the idealized sense of community that comes from having two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We imagine sitting at our parents homes, while they, and an impromptu family reunion endlessly parade in front of us. They are showering us with praise, congratulations, balloons and cupcakes. …We tell ourselves that those feeling are just that, idealized. In reality, it would never be “that perfect" inevitably…someone would be sick, someone would get mad, the cupcakes would be dry and the balloons would accidentally fly away and get caught in a power-line. No! We are in Prague, not Missouri...and God is doing something amazing in our lives.

Two weeks after we found out we were pregnant, we got to hear the sweetest sound. A sound that told us, what is happening is real. A sound that told us God did a miracle in our lives. That sound? Our sweet baby’s heartbeat.

We went to our Fertility Clinic at 6 weeks, for a check-up ultrasound. Someone told us, this two weeks of waiting to hear the heartbeat will be the longest 2 weeks. Having just waited 2 previous weeks to see if we were pregnant or not, we thought this could not be possible…but, it was. We were waiting in the waiting area, our doctor was running behind, and every minute seemed to drag by. Our doctor finally motioned for us to come in to her office. She said, “Are you still pregnant."? Her English is still somewhat stilted, so we were caught off guard at her phrasing. We squeaked out an answer of “Yes, we hope so." We went into her office, sat down and answered a few brief questions, then went behind the curtain…this time, Aaron came too! (He was never allowed there before.) She started the ultrasound, the monitor was turned away from me at first, and I saw a smile come across her face. I looked at Aaron, and he was nodding yes too, with a big ol’ grin! She turned the monitor, showed me our tiny, sweet, amazing miracle…then, turned the sound on. There is was. The littlest, sweetest most amazing sound. I was trying not to loose it, but was so thankful for God’s faithfulness in that moment. What a great God we serve! He loves us and cares for us.

Before we left, we scheduled our last appointment (next week) and got a refill on my medication. I remember when we first started visiting the clinic. There were so many unanswered questions and unknowns. Now, we go in, greet everyone and know what to expect and what is going to happen.

After our first look at our Little Olive Shoot.

Now, we are finding ourselves in another transition. This transition is from the clinic to a doctor’s office. It has not been easy so far, but we are; hoping for, praying for and believing for the right doctor, that can help us to the ability that we need. We know God cares about that too, and we are learning to continue to trust in Him with every step.

One Month! My sweet husband is doing a photography project. He says he wants to capture the feelings I have each month in a photo. Month One, excited and happy…feeling a little nauseous.

Our first appointment with a new doctor, was last week. We are thankful and so grateful to have a private english speaking clinic that we use. The gynecologist I had visited before is no longer there (It was during our last 3 year term I saw her). So, that means I had to be assigned to one that was available.

As we entered the room and met the doctor, she seemed nice and quiet. She asked for our paperwork from the fertility clinic. She was looking for a specific piece of paper that said, I was released from their care. We did not have that paper since we have one more appointment. I did however mention, that they gave us this paperwork knowing we were bringing it to our doctor, which they encouraged us to do. She shrugged her shoulders. This part of the story is a challenge for me to explain well, because we are dealing with some complex cultural differences, and how the patient / doctor relationship works in this part of the world. Me not having that paper…means I could have just left the room at that moment. The appointment would be about us not having the right signature, than about me the patient. I couldn’t answer any questions about my health, (because I’m just a silly pregnant girl…not a doctor)

She eventually asked me to go to the ultrasound table (they now have an actual privacy screen-which I was thankful for as people tend to walk in and out of the room in the middle of the ultrasound…only one during this appointment). She said since it was early in the pregnancy, so she would not do a long ultrasound. She showed us our little miracle. Our little oliveshoot had grown since we had last seen. She refused to turn the sound on, or tell us if everything was looking good. She tore the print out off, and handed it to Aaron. She asked if we had any questions…of course we did…I started to ask, and she basically looked blankly at us. She could not understand us enough to understand what we were asking, or answer. I had asked specifically about something I could get from the pharmacy for heartburn (no tums here), she said there was something, but didn’t know the name. We pretty much stopped asking at that point, and Aaron and I just looked at each other a bit in shock. The nurses (who spoke great english), said we could wait outside and they would bring us the dates for our next two appointments. These appointments would be big ones. As we waited, there were some intense conversations happening between Aaron and I…I mean, I am pregnant.

Our second view of our Little Olive Shoot…even bigger than the last time.

As the nurse came out, she handed me the paper with the dates and times. I noticed it was a different doctor our appointments are scheduled with. We have heard from a Canadian couple, that they had this other doctor, and that she is great, speaks english and even gives you her cell phone number if you have any concerns. Will you pray with us, that she will become our primary doctor. We are planning on asking for her, or a better english speaking doctor.

This is where I have to remind myself. God did this! He made this amazing miracle inside of me, and He knows each step of the process for us from here on out. He knows what we need, and He cares for it…so, we will continue to hope for, pray for and believe for God’s hand in our lives (all three of us).

Two Months! This last month, I have been tired and nauseous quite a bit. No more OJ for me. However, mashed potatoes have been a big success! Brewster seems to know something is up in the Davis house too!

And so, we have returned to the baby store. Looked at strollers and other things we know we need, and feel excitement and all the czech baby marketing materials are beginning to look less overwhelming. I have experienced some “wonderful reminders" daily, that, yes, we are having a baby. …please read “wonderful reminders" sarcastically. My days seemed to be filled with nauseous feelings, eating all the time and taking naps in between. We have decided which room will be the nursery in our house, and will be moving things to make it all work. We are happy.

We are continuing to Hold onto Hope, as we are Anticipating Joy!

-Julie

God Did This!

It has been one week since we learned the exciting results from our IVF…what an exciting time it is.

After the IVF transfer they send you home, and tell you to return in two weeks…two weeks! The first of those two weeks, we felt optimistic and encouraged. The second week, was a bit different. As the final testing day was coming closer, I was terrified of a negative result. I was also having some pain, ...all to familiar cramping…."oh no! Here it comes!" I thought, convinced that my cycle was going to start at any minute. ...and so that’s how I felt for about a week. Those were some rough days of questioning and wrestling, replaying every scene in my head of what the outcome would be. I was so thankful that God had placed some ladies into my life who have experienced IVF blessings before, and they were a huge help in calming concerns or fears. It was helpful, but still Aaron and I had the feeling of walking through this door into a dark room, with no idea what would happen when we turn on the lights. Each day, we would pray and hold onto the scriptures God has given to us over and over…around Wednesday we had a breakthrough, and we found a newfound peace.

Now my blood test was on Friday. After our procedure, the clinic had given us a take-home test to use as well. Aaron and I had gone back and forth, as to whether I would take it or not...when I would take it, etc. Neither of us really had the answer, but on Wednesday we decided, I would take it Thursday morning. So, we woke up EARLY. I mean do you think we would be able to sleep at all?!? …I went in and took the test and laid it on the window sill and ran back into bed and dove under the covers. The agreement was this, ...I would take it, ...Aaron would see the result. I was convinced, I just couldn’t handle the wrong answer. Four minutes crawled by, Aaron went back into the bathroom…he was gone forever, or at least that is what it seemed to me. I heard no sounds, nothing, not even crickets…so, I finally said, “Well?…What’s it say!?!"

He came in, and said, “I’m not sure. Take a look. There is a faint line, but not sure what that means." I looked, and yep there was a line, it was faint…really faint! (Almost like a true / false test at school when you didn't know the answer and you marked your answer with a T that kinda looks like an F. The test said, “I’m not sure about this…I know, I’ll just draw a line so faint, you have to tilt it in the light.)

I said, "I’ve never had a line show up at all before, so the fact that there is one is pretty positive" ….POSITIVE!!! Just to make sure, there is a pharmacy down the road from us, so when they opened (about 2 hours later), we were at the door. We bought three more tests…you know, just to make sure. When we got home, I drank some water, waited a bit, and took the second test. Boom! Right away, there were two stripes!

We were excited, a little shell shocked and then...emotional. We started thinking about the medications I was on…could I have gotten a false positive from them? After looking up online, we found out the answer was no. It was the middle of the night in the US, and we thought do we share this with our parents now, or wait for the blood test? After the second positive, we thought, we are going to share…we are too excited. So, we sent them a text with a picture of the tests…and figured when they woke up, it would get them to call us…and it of course did! We of course, cautioned and said, the blood test will be the sure fire proof. I remember, we just kind of laid on our couch, in awe and shock of what God had done. We definitely were thanking and praising Him for this miracle. Aaron cried. I don’t think he’ll mind if I share that.

You see, even though we went to have IVF. This is very much a miracle from God. When we first met with our doctor, she said, because of our age and the low quantity and quality of my eggs, we had about a 23-26% chance of this working. There are SO many variables, things that can go wrong at any step. Couples often go through multiple IVF cycles before they are successful. We had ONE shot at IVF. This means, God performed a miracle, working within my body and through the care of our doctors, to make our baby(ies)! We are praising God! He is faithful.


We went in Friday for our blood test. We waited for a little bit. Fridays at the clinic are crazy! They are never fully staffed. So, we were waiting for a nurse and our coordinator. One of the nurses came, and said she was going to go ahead and take the blood. We asked if we could pay the $10 extra to have the test completed within 2 hours…she said it was no problem. She took it, and we went downstairs to the reception to pay. Our coordinator was not able to make it up for our blood test, but as we were getting ready to walk out the door, she came running down the stairs to greet us. She was happy to see us, and anxious for the results. We told her we took a home-test, and that it was positive. She got a big smile on her face and said, “Really?!" Aaron asked if that was a pretty good sign that we were pregnant, and she said, “Maybe!" On our way to the car, we stopped for breakfast and then made our first purchase for our miracle(s). Aaron asked to take a picture while we were checking out…to which that lady looked at us, like we were weird…but, we didn’t care…at that point, we were pretty sure we were going to be parents.




We came home, and the waiting began…again. We weren’t sure; would she text us, call us, email us? Finally around 12:30 my phone rang…it was Karolina. She said, “Hello, I have your results. Do you want to know them?" I said, “Yes, of course." She said it was positive! We are pregnant! She was happy and surprised and kept saying, "I can’t believe it!" (Which, on a side note, makes us laugh…aren’t they supposed to be the ones encouraging and believing in the procedure?) We continued to talk, I asked several questions about the results. We scheduled our first ultrasound with the clinic, out last time with them before heading to our doctor, for the 26. On this day, we will get to hear the heartbeat(s) and find out if it is one or two…or more.

Yesterday, we had to go back to the clinic for some more medication. I am continuing with some of the medication, to continue to help make my body the best environment for our miracle(s). When we walked in, there was “our receptionist". She was happy to see us and chatted a bit with us, before figuring out where we needed to go. Our coordinator was out for lunch, so we went up to the nurses station. While there, we ran into our first coordinator, who helped us with paperwork, etc. She came running over with a big smile and said, “Congratulations!" She shook our hands and said they were so happy and excited for us. She said when Karolina saw our results that day, she jumped up and down and started shouting. She said she was so excited, she had to just call us right away! It was really a great moment for us to hear about. Then, our doctor came around the corner. She saw us, and ran over with a big smile on her face and congratulated us and shook our hands (several times). She was so happy and excited for us (this is the same doctor, who a month ago, would hardly crack a smile). The said she was looking forward to the ultrasound, and we said we were too. She is cute because her english isn’t always perfect….so, when she doesn’t quite know what to say, but wants us to know she is with us and hopeful, she squeezes her hand into a fist and pumps it in the air. We got our second air pump yesterday!

Aaron and I keep laughing a bit at their reactions. We haven’t really seen reactions like this from Czech people we don’t fully know. We also think, “...this is your job. This is what you have trained to do…don't you trust it will work?" By their reactions, we feel almost that they didn’t have high hopes for a success. I guess in their minds, from their scientific point of view, we didn’t quite have much going for us. This was our first procedure, I am 35, I don’t have a great egg supply or reserve……. The great thing is, is that we had something great going for us…we had people of God praying for our miracle!

GOD DID THIS! GOD DID THIS!!! GOD DID THIS!!!!!

There are times when we say, are we really pregnant? This week, I went to the mall with a friend. While in a store, I looked in a small maternity section they had. They were having the end of season sale, so I thought I should look. As I was standing there looking, there were so many emotions running through my head. I just grabbed a shirt, and thought I would try it on. I called my friend over, needing some advice on how I am going to be expanding in the next couple of months…in that moment, I just cried and said to her, "I just can’t believe I am shopping for these clothes and I am trying them on." She hugged me and said, this is a great day, this is a great day! …and it was!

-Julie

In case you missed it, this was our FB announcement. We hid several clues in the photo…so, you had to catch them to get the message.



It’s Been One Week!

One week ago, Aaron and I were waiting on our daily email update from our Fertility Clinic on how our embryos were doing. It had been 2 days since they were removed and fertilized…we had great news the day before (6 out of 8 eggs where now embryos!), and we were anxious to see how the update would look. I carried my phone all over the house with me, and kept updating my email feed, waiting and waiting. Around 10:30 (half and hour later than the previous days email, ugh!…every minute is an eternity.) it popped up. I ran to the living room, so Aaron and I could open it together…the next minute to the end of the day became a blur...

The email read that we had 2 embryos that were healthy and mature and ready for transfer. First of all, we were expecting more of the embryos to make it, we started with 8 eggs. Secondly, we thought the transfer would be on day 4 or 5, not day 2. We continued reading. Both embryos were strong, healthy and growing quickly, and because of this, there was no reason to wait for the transfer, it would be best in the cycle time frame, to do it…TODAY. So, please come in at 1:30 it said.

There were so many emotions…SO MANY. It was hard to control. We were excited (we had 2 embryos), shocked (this is happening this afternoon), empty sadness (we had 6 embryos yesterday…now they are just gone), worried (I wasn’t quite ready, I had a battery of questions ready about the next step).
It was 2:30am in the US, so we didn’t want to wake our parents, so we sent them texts. The procedure would be taking place around the time they would wake up, so we were hoping they would get them before we went in. Thankfully, they did! We were able to talk or text with both of them before the procedure (thank God for technology)!

We were so flustered, that we weren’t sure that we should drive ourselves. The clinic is located close to downtown, so there isn’t any parking next to the facility. We usually park in a parking garage close by, and walk about 10 minutes to the clinic. We were so appreciative to have our missionary family here, and they were able to be our “chauffeur". Hey, if I am ever gonna have a chauffeur, this was the time! 😉

Just a few minutes before leaving, in our garden.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by our favorite receptionist (who at that point deemed herself, "our receptionist"), then headed back up to the third floor. We went in with another doctor who was entering, and waited for our coordinator. Karolina arrived, and escorted us to our room. She said it was a “crazy Friday", lots of clients in, she is one of the only English speaking coordinators, and so she was quite busy. She seemed to enjoy that though. She asked Aaron if he would like to come into the room for the transfer, he excitedly said yes. She went to get him a gown and mask. She asked me to put on my “night dress", as well. Aaron and I laughed a bit because I was just wearing a sundress I brought from home, but he needed to be in a gown, hat and mask.

Aaron is his “procedure gear"!


As we entered the procedure room, we had a very nice nurse. She was funny and spoke great English. She pointed to a tv monitor on the wall, and said we would be able to see the embryos on the screen that were in the lab. We waited, we saw a dish, then the microscope zoomed in…and we saw our 2 embryos! Wow, it was quite amazing to us. We saw them suck them into the tube that they would use for the insertion, and then the doctor came in to get ready. We were a little giddy and excited…we were, holding onto hope and anticipating joy! That is when…the doctor, reminded us, were weren’t in America. Ugh, …that doctor. He was quite rude and spoiled a wonderful moment…let’s just say, I had a nervous giggle-to which he responded, “do you think this is funny" (in a very harsh tone)? He was having a little trouble finding the correct area for the insertion, so he was frustrated, and my giggle didn’t help. Aaron replied, that when she is nervous sometimes she will giggle…his reply, “Well, it is not helping"…to which was followed by ALOT of heavy sighs and eye rolls…banging instruments on the table. In the end the procedure was completed. Aaron was able to watch it on the ultrasound screen, he kept smiling and squeezing my hand and nodding…so, I knew it was good. They gave us a little print out to show us our two embryos being inserted…they were two little glowing specks in the picture. They were beautiful!

An ultrasound showing our two embryos. You can see the catheter, then the two little guys glowing!
And now, we wait…we wait two weeks! TWO WEEKS! Today is the end of the first week…let me just say these seven days have taken foooorrrreevvvverr! We have had some anxious days, we have had some peaceful days…we are praying constantly for our two embryos, that they are attaching to the lining and digging in for a long, nice, warm and growing journey. Will you agree with us in prayer for this, that these two good things will grow, strong and healthy!

There are times that we fear we won’t become pregnant …and worry about what that means for us as future parents. We are asking the Lord to remember us…like Hannah,

1 Samuel 1:19 “the Lord remembered her plea."

He is giving us peace and reminding us of His promise and our trust in Him!

Romans 15:13 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirt.".

-Julie


Oh, Today is a Big Day for You!

As we walked into our Fertility Clinic, we walked up to the check-in counter. The receptionist looked up from her computer, and smiled a big smile. She greeted us, and checked her schedule for where we needed to go…then said, “Oh, today is a big day for you".


Yes, it was a big day! Yesterday, we had Phase 2 of our IVF Journey! Phase 1, was medication. Phase 2, the egg collection. At this point, all of our appointments have been on the first or second floor. When we set the date for our procedure, I told Aaron, we are moving up to the third floor.


It wasn’t until we got up to the third floor, where it hit me…up to this point, Aaron had been the nervous one. I was nervous, but I got really nervous, when the elevator doors opened to, not an open floor, but a locked floor. The floor was locked, because they don’t want just anyone coming into that area. I will admit, the emotions hit…they hit hard.


Thankfully, I had my guy with me…and together, we persevered through the unknown…and the locked doors.

Once we entered, took off our shoes, and put on slippers.


We were escorted into our room. This would be the room I recovered in, after the procedure…that they kept calling an “operation". We were very pleased, and happy to see some color…and to have some air conditioning! Wow, what a blessing that was.


We filled out and signed some forms. We talked to the anesthesiologist. I put on the “night shirt" I had brought to wear during the procedure, and walked to the operating room.

There is a moment of surrealness when I am laying on the table, and everyone around me is speaking Czech. At this point, there is no sense in me trying to figure out what they are saying. They asked me to sign a form, which I did (although Aaron mentioned he signed it too, and couldn’t recognize my supposed signature). The next thing I remember, they were putting my IV in (my very first one…ever), and allowing some nice smelling air from a mask surround my face…then, I hear, “Julie, Julie", “legs first"…they were trying to get me on the bed in the recovery room. Thankfully, the only things I said were, “I feel like a brick." and “I want a cheeseburger". Then I slept.


I would wake up every once in a while…ready to go home…so, I forced my self awake and to try and chat with Aaron. The nurses came to check on me, and give me fluids through my IV. Then, they brought in some hot tea and graham crackers. Since I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink…I was happy.


The doctor came in, and said everything was good and great. They were able to harvest quite a few eggs. Then, later the embryologist came in to discuss the next step. The eggs are being fertilized over the next few days, and will grow to be strong and healthy. Once they reach a certain stage, I will return for the transfer.

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and prayer. We really could not make this journey alone…and even though it has been uncomfortable to share at times, I am thankful to people all over the world prayer for us and our miracle! Keep praying the next few days, for the embryos to continue to grow and mature. And pray as well, for my body to receive them and produce our miracle!

-Julie


Father’s Day, A Czech Experience, The Egg Collection

So, I have asked Aaron, to join me today for this blog. I will say things, he will say things…together, we will share our hearts, laughter, tears and journey with you.

FATHER’S DAY - by Aaron

Sunday, Julie received a message addressed to me. It was from the wife of a couple, both close friends of ours. It read as follows;
“Also, if it is not too sensitive, would you pass along a Happy Fathers Day to Aaron for me? His longing and journey to be a father already makes him a uniquely incredible dad. The children are already in his heart, and he is a patient father, waiting. I just want to speak blessings in faith over both of you today. The children in your heart are coming, and you are ALREADY amazing parents."

These were incredibly timely and welcomed words! They helped me see from a slightly different perspective than from my own…In the thick of our own situations and turmoil.

As we wait for children, the years stack up, and so does level of intensity for what seems to be missing from our lives. For every Father’s day gone by, its a reminder that another year has passed without birthday parties, Christmas morning surprises, Easter baskets, marking heights on the door frames, or even dirty diapers. Father’s day has become a reminder of what feels missing in our lives.

When I consider the issue of infertility, much of the concern (and rightfully so) centers around the female spouse. I can not fully comprehend, no matter how sincere my attempts are, the complex emotions Julie experiences. …but I don’t want to diminish my own feelings and the pain of other fathers-to-be.

I can, and do celebrate my father. …and now for 12 years, my father-in-law, both of whom are great and Godly men. In words, that sounds like a great concept to insulate someone from that fact they are not a dad, but in practice, this still doesn’t salve the wound. My greatest fear in this walk from infertility to children has been, to show too much emotion. …and not for some “Machismo" reason that showing too much emotion is somehow weak. (I actually believe that not showing emotion is a sign of weakness…but that’s for another day, on another blog.) ...the reason I tend to suppress that emptiness is for Julie. I never would want her to feel as though, I was displeased with her. Or disappointed in her. I have always stated to Julie, "That should God ask us to be Childless, SHE was the helpmeet God intended, and SHE was enough." …but regardless of what words come from my mouth, communication in marriage, as with our walk with God, is often more than the words that we say with our lips.

This little encouragement reminded me of what we constantly are telling others. I think that we, in the church world, are often guilty of repeating concepts derived from Scripture, …and sometimes even the Scripture itself. We make them into slogans, catchphrases and a mess of cliche’s that act as Christian branding, but deny us of the truth that is written in them. It’s not unheard of to speak of our spiritual walk as a journey, but still we try so hard to avoid the trials that 1 Peter 1:7 speaks about. Some of us even have created a theology that has trouble accounting for a victorious Christian, experience any form of suffering. However, as much as we squirm in our seats, and battle impatience, when we stay faithful to God and follow His leading, He is shaping us into something useful. I know I’m not alone with this, because I feel much like Gideon, hiding in a winepress, as he is addressed as a might man of valor. …but I am grateful to God, to have Julie with me!

~Aaron


A CZECH EXPERIENCE

On Wednesday, we will have a procedure (see THE EGG COLLECTION below). This is the next step in our IVF journey. In order to have the procedure, I had to be cleared for anesthesia from a doctor. Our doctor is part of The Canadian Medical Clinic, a private English speaking clinic here in Prague. However, since returning we haven’t needed to visit. Since we are doing all of blood work and tests through the fertility clinic, we decided to go ahead and use their doctor for this one part. The day before, they did the blood and urine test in the clinic. That was pretty normal…I guess, if you call getting handed a test tube for your urine sample normal…how on earth am I supposed aim to hit that little target? On the way to the restroom, I grabbed a plastic cup from the drink dispenser and used it accordingly.

This morning, I went to their recommended doctor, for an EKG. His hours today were from 8am-1pm. You don’t make an appointment, you just show up and wait in line. We have lived here long enough to know that if you don’t have an appointment, if you aren’t there when the doors open, you will be waiting quite a while. So, we got up early, drove into the city, parked and made it there at 8:15…behind 3 other people. Not so bad. The waiting area, was a little hallway with chairs. We sat by the door of our doctor, and waited. Other people started joining us in the cluster of chairs, and we knew this was going to be one of those times to not let our “nice American" side show. We knew it was going to be a fight to get through the door. It doesn’t matter that we were there before them...All that matters is who gets through the door first! One gentleman asked where the line was, and a lady (who came in about 10 min AFTER us), said she was NEXT looking right at us. Aaron and I just smiled and waited. The patient that was in with the doctor came out, and he announced he would need to have a small 4 minute break. The lady who had positioned herself to be next in line (even though she arrived after we had, looked at us and said, there really isn’t a line. A nurse came to see the doctor for a question, and I knew once she left, it was our turn to go in…if we could get past the lady who thought the Americans were soft. The nurse left, the doctor looked at us, and said next…Aaron and I stood up, as did the other lady. We all walked towards the door. Now, the space we are all standing in to push towards the door was small, so it was a battle for who was going to make it. Aaron (my 300lb husband) blocked the door. We got into the room, the lady who thought she was next, started talking to the doctor about what she needed from the hall over my shoulder. He asked who the patient was, Aaron said my wife Julie…and he escorted Aaron out of the room. For a moment, I thought we had lost the “who’s next" battle, but then realized I was being escorted to the table. He spoke english, thank God! Asked, “Why I would come to this God forsaken place for a EKG." As he rolled my shirt up, picked up his “blue-windex-looking bottle" and sprayed my stomach, ankles and wrists. He clamped straps on my arms and legs as well, then hooked the straps up to what has to be the oldest EKG machine I have ever seen and performed the EKG. It really was all I could do not to laugh. He asked how it was living here, took my blood pressure, typed some notes and printed them out, wished me luck and sent me on my way…all in about 10 minutes.

From outside the examination room…Aaron’s perspective.

As I sat down, the door to the examination room locked behind me. That turning lock seemed heavy to my ears as it clicked. I have tried up to this moment to accompany Julie at every turn, its hard for me to “just have a seat." This room is unlike any doctor’s office I have seen. Sparse, white walls. Paint is flaking, revealing rust from the doorways. The solitary word “Cekarna" (waiting space) written above entrance. The small room kept filling up with people and the air became quite stale.
The pushy, disappointed, line-cutting lady sat down in a huff…knowing she underestimated Julie, she pouted. I sat across from her, smiling on the inside. A few moments go by when a staff person, walked up to the door. It has no knob, but she has a key. Without hesitation, knocking or speaking, she turns the key and swings wide the door open, Julie and the doctor in mid-exam. The room collectively turns its head to see if it’s an opportunity to go in. Before I can jump from my seat to shield their view of my wife on the examination table, she has the door locked again. …and a few minutes later she returns, once again giving everyone a free show of Julie’s EKG. …as a husband, I was less than happy, but as Julie walks out, all I could think about was getting her out of there. She was unaware of what happened until I told her…for that I am thankful.


THE EGG COLLECTION

Now that I have my doctor’s note, I can move onto the procedure scheduled for tomorrow morning. After 15 days of shots and pills, the day has come for the egg collection. Tomorrow morning, I will have a procedure to remove the eggs from my ovaries. Now, from previous posts, you may remember that sometimes my ovaries like to hide, or they just don’t really have anything good in them. I am happy to say, that the medication has worked. Both of my ovaries are responding well, and have large size follicules. The follicules are what hold the egg clusters, and the doctor is hopeful.


PLEASE PRAY

*Wednesday Morning for the Procedure: That all will go excellent. That the eggs will be good quality and became mature over the next 3-5 days. That there are no complications, as I will be put out with general anesthesia. Pray for Aaron as well, as he will be waiting during time.

We will have some more updates over the next few days. Thank you for your prayers!
-Julie

The door everyone was dying to get into this morning at the Dr. Office.

The "Waiting Area", upon our arrival…before it got crazy.

Our Journey (so far)…in Photos!

As we started this journey, this specific IVF journey, we decided that along the way we would document important events with a photo.

So, today, I will share some photos, as well as a bit more of where we are in our journey.

Our First Visit to Gennet, Our Fertility Clinic was in April. We were unsure of a lot of things; about the facility, about the procedures, about the prices, about the doctors, about the steps…on and on I could go.


This photo shows a lot about what we were feeling…there is excitement, question, uncertainty. This journey, is a journey we are on together. It doesn’t just affect me, it affects us both, and this photo shows that.

After a month of going to the clinic for testing and check-ups, the time came for us to meet with our IVF Coordinator. So, last week we meet with our coordinator, and started the steps towards our IVF Procedure.


While there, we got our IVF plan.

Now, I am a very organized person…in fact, I LOVE ORGANIZATION! Take me to an office store, and I will want to buy everything there to make things nice and put where they should be.

In fact, on a recent ministry trip, Aaron snapped a photo of me before getting on the plane. I looked quite excited in the photo…do you want to know why I was so excited…I was so excited because of the folder in my hand. I had all of our travel documents and information in that folder…and I was so happy to have it all in one place and accessible, that I asked Aaron to take a photo of me with it! (True Story)


However, this plan that we got Karolina, was quite a bit more intense and very specific.


This is our IVF plan. It hangs on our refrigerator…mostly because, some of the medication is refrigerated, and it won’t get lost there! We have dates and days. I have medication to start and take (at the same time each day). I have medication to take now, some next week, and then more and more to be added. Every night at 8pm, Aaron gives me a shot. A SHOT! I set an alarm on my phone to go off at 8pm, so we won’t forget…and believe me, 8pm will sneak up on you. Today, we will add another shot, and he will give me 2 a night. He is so good to get it ready, sanitize the area and say, “I love you"…all right before he pushes the needle in…he doesn’t really like to see me in pain or hurt. Plus, have I ever mentioned...I don’t like shots!


Today, we also had a follow-up ultrasound, to see how the medication is working. I got a smile and an excited, “Things are looking good, and the medication is working well." Plus, that little right ovary that seems to hide…was nice and big because of all the follicules that were present!

Here is the Czech Republic. We have learned to celebrate little victories…whether, it is having a full conversation in Czech, getting the right food at a restaurant…or in my case today, having 7 follicules!


Now, you might think…what is the big deal, you got a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Doritos…well you see, you can’t just go get these at any store. You have to go to a special import store…that happens to be on our way home…so, celebrate we did! We also won’t talk about how much they cost…because we are celebrating!

Towards the middle to end of the month, we will have a few procedures to have the actual IVF. For the most part, the plan is in place, however the dates are “in the air" depending on how my body responds.

We would love to ask for your prayers.


Please pray for my body continues to respond to the medication in the way that it needs to.
Please pray for me. as well as Aaron, as my body and mind become a little crazy from the medication.
Please pray for the doctor to be guided each step of the way.
Please pray that God will bless us in the end, with a positive result.
Please pray with us, as we are "Holding onto Hope and Anticipating Joy!"

-Julie

I Needed It…This Week

This morning, I found myself crying on Aaron’s shoulder…it usually happens around this time, each month. I cry because I am sad, frustrated, angry, confused…but mostly, for me, I cry because I feel I have let him down. My body…let him down, again. Just to be clear, he has never, ever said these words to me…nor, does he believe this about me. This is a feeling that doesn’t come from someone who cares and loves me, it comes from someone who doesn’t love me or care for me…it is a lie. It is an easy lie to believe, in a fleeting moment, but then I have to take a step back and remember. Aaron doesn’t think this about me…and neither does God. They both love me unconditionally.

All this to say, last week God reminded to me about who I am in Him. In fact, I wrote some of this then…but, put it away for later. Then, this morning, as I sat there sobbing and apologizing to Aaron, I remembered…I remembered what God spoke to me.

There are always so many feelings that come along on this journey. Emotional, strong feelings…some that seem normal, some that seem crazy irrational and some that seem to be felt so deep in the core of who I am.

One main feeling, that I have continually dealt with/and is still dealing with, is the feeling of inadequacy. The definition of inadequacy is, “The lack of the quantity or quality required for a task." I ask questions of myself, such as, why can’t my body conceive? What is wrong with me? Why do I deserve this? Why do I get stuck with this problem? ...a “responsible" person who can’t have babies, but the world seems to be filled with unfit or unwilling mothers.

I have come to realize, these are all lies from the enemy. Lies to discourage me, lies to dishearten the view I have of myself….and this struggle is real. Yes, I am a Christian, I know God loves me. The thing is, these ideas aren’t the vocal words we profess, but the hidden, sometimes fleeting thoughts that run through my head…they never stay long, but their impact is felt. I have, just recently (as in last week), realized they are lies, distortions of truth. Maybe I knew all along, but this time I didn’t just push them to the side until the next time, this time I finally accepted it, and took them captive.

I woke up in the night, and was struck with the verse in Psalm 139. Verse 14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Upon waking up and jotting a note, to check it out in the morning…I thought, “I sleep hard enough to rest through Aaron's snoring. Only God can wake me up and prompt me to look at the scripture, so there must be something there for me."

Reading through the whole chapter. I began to see exactly how God saw me, what thought of me and how loved me. ME, the infertile lady.

Verse 1 starts out, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me."
The chapter continues;
  • He knew me in my mother’s womb
  • He knit me together
  • He knew my days and each moment
  • He sees me
  • He knows my thoughts and desires
  • He goes before me
  • He blesses me
  • He guides me
  • He strengthens me
  • He supports me
Verse 6 says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand."
I reread it. Verse 6 summed up my feelings…wow.

God knows me. …everything about me, because He made me. Verse 14 so eloquently says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous, how well I know it." And Verse 17, “How precious are your thoughts about me, they cannot be numbered."

Because of this I know a few things.

I know all those thoughts I had before, are all lies from the enemy.

My God knew this journey I would be on. He sent me a kind, loving, strong and caring helpmate to walk through this with me.

He made us together, for this journey, for this time,

…and all this together, allows me to walk in the confidence of our God!

Verses 19-22 talks about our adversary. How he attacks us and lies. Recently I have heard the whispers of, “What if this procedure doesn’t work?" followed by, "…all that you are saying now won’t matter when it fails." and also, "You have shared this, and now what are people going to say or think about you?"

My prayer, for any other ladies on this journey, that you will not listen to the lies of our adversary…but, to the love of our Father. For others, who are on a different journey, and may feel inadequate in another area, please know the enemy wants to creep in, in any way he can. He loves to steal what God has intended for you, by convincing you of inadequacy. …just remember, God’s thoughts are so precious towards you, He will strengthen and support you!

I am thankful today, that I know what my God thinks about me. I know how He feels about me. I know that He will keep His promise, and continues to guide and lead us on this journey.

I know I needed this for this week, and last week, and probably next week. But, today, I can rest in the reassurance and trust I have in Him.

-Julie


Third Times the Charm

When we first moved here, 5 years ago, we invited a few young people over to our house. Being Americans, that is one way we build relationships, having people to our house. In the Czech culture, to the Czech people, that is something that is considered to be very intimate and can some times take a while for it to happen. The young people, were excited to come and experience some of that American culture in our house. Of course, being American, we offered tons of food. Towards the middle of the gathering, I asked the young lady if she would like a cookie. She politely said no, and we continued on. The cookie plate was just sitting there in the middle of the table, not having one taken from it…so, a few minutes later, I asked again. To which, she again replied no. Since we were new in the country, we were working on learning the culture, learning the differences and how it works in comparison to what we are used to. We are, however, Americans, and we wanted to show that as well. So, I offered a third time. This time, she said yes! As she took a cookie, she told us that it takes about three times of asking or being with someone for them to do what you asked or feel comfortable with you. She said, she wanted a cookie the first time I asked, but needed to wait until a few more insistence by me to eat one. We laughed…and learned. From that point on, I would just offer something three times in a row instantly, and smile as they accept it.

We have found this to be true in our return as well. In fact, just recently, we went to get our hair cut. This time, our third visit, the beautician told me what she was going to do to my hair. Each time before, she would cut as I had asked. She did this time as well, but was more comfortable to say yes or no to certain things I had asked for! …She let me know what style I was to have.

I saw this again yesterday at our Fertility Clinic. Each time we have seen our doctor, she has always been polite, kind and tried her best to communicate to the level we need. However, yesterday, she smiled and joked and was genuinely happy about the next steps we will be taking soon. I realized later, this was our third “official" visit with her…and smiled!

As we were walking into the clinic, we are starting to get smiles and greetings from people we have seen several times now. Coordinators, who have helped us in our previous visits, poking their head out of the elevator to say hi and smile. Other coordinators and nurses, who are happy with the progression of our steps on this journey. And, yes, even our doctor! This helps to make this emotional journey and time, a bit more enjoyable (?). At least for this American, who likes to plan and feel welcomed and comfortable, it was a HUGE sigh of relief.

Aaron and I had parked our car, and were walking to the clinic. We were about 30 minutes early, which for an American, is appropriate…however, we have realized there is no reason to get there early because you will wait in an un-airconditioned building until the time of your appointment…either in a waiting area, or most times the lobby of the clinic. So, we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and breeze…and some pizza. 😃

When we arrived in our doctor’s office, she greeted us, and pulled the curtain. Yep, that was my cue to go back there and get on the table. And, yes, I had a dress on this time! As she started to do the ultrasound, she asked if I was hungry. I laughed and said no, we actually just ate before we came. She turned the monitor, and showed me my intestine and how the fluid was moving inside…she said this is usually a sign of hunger. We laughed, and she proceeded. Because of that big’ ol “hungry" intestine, she had to search for my right ovary. After several minutes, she found it. She spotted my left one, quite quickly…along with the cyst (yep, still there) too. As the curtain was pulled back, we went to join Aaron and our Coordinator to discuss our future steps. It is always interesting to me, the emotions that come out of no where. The ultrasound went fine, we learned more than we expected to learn; and yet, as I sat down next to Aaron, to await our discussion with the doctor, all I wanted to do was bawl! Our doctor speaks English, is learning English, can understand English…all of those, but gets mixed up with the grammar. That become quite uncomfortable for me at times. I know she’s a doctor, we want to assume she knows her way around the clinic, BUT…I want know what she is doing to MY body! AH!

After a discussion, a few questions, and a few of the same questions asked a different way, We have a plan in place for next week; we shook hands, thanked her and left.

This was the first time, I have left the clinic happy. I know, I know…You say, "just a few minutes ago, I wanted to bawl…now, my heart was happy?" It makes sense if you have ever been to a fertility clinic in a foreign country before. I left the appointment however; knowing the next steps, understanding the plan and realizing that things are going to be ok. Third time is the charm here in the Czech Republic!
-Julie


A shot from our city; Prague, Czech Republic