Life is A Journey...Come Follow Our's

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making the Most of My Time

No...I'm not going to die. Doesn't that title sound morbid? But I guess, in a way, a part of me will be dying for a short while when we undergo IVF. You see, I know myself as someone who is an exercise-fanatic...maybe even a compulsive exerciser, but I just LOVE it. I LOVE the feeling of my heart beating 170 beats per minute, I LOVE beating the challenge of getting up that daunting hill, I LOVE pushing myself to new limits, I LOVE how strong and accomplished I feel when I'm done with a great workout, I LOVE the friends I have from the gym, and I LOVE that I don't have to be on Ritalin or Prozac because exercise lifts my spirits and burns tons of energy. Exercising is not something I feel like I have to do, it is something I feel blessed I get to do; however, in 12 short days that will all be taken away from me. I have strict orders to limit myself to "walking leisurely" and lifting very light hand weights.

I have to admit, I am quite nervous about all this. The 2-3 hours I spend per day getting to and from the gym, socializing there, and exercising will have to be filled with something else. I know, I know..."Get A Hobby" you say, but exercise is my hobby. That and cooking I guess (which somehow go hand in hand). I am very grateful that I will be returning to school as I know I will be plenty busy trying to get ready for my students to show up, but still, what am I going to do with myself when the school day is over and I still haven't gotten my fill of happy pills/exercise?

No need to worry about things before they happen, instead, I'm just "making the most of my time." This weekend, I hit up my favorite trails at Hobbs State Park just 45 minutes from our house and ran a 9 mile trail run. It is so beautiful and peaceful out there. I saw more deer this weekend than I did people. Trail running enables me to zone out, to enjoy the silence, and to completely relax as I focus on the sound of my breathing and nature that surrounds me. This morning, Brad and I conquered the hills of Bella Vista with a 7 mile SUPER hilly run. Brad's training for the Chicago Marathon so as a part of his training program, he gets to run hills once a week. Somehow, when the training program said to "find the hilliest course you can find," I don't think they realized that some people live in the mountain like we do! Nonetheless, it was an AWESOME run. We really have our best conversations when we're out running and it's the best quality time we can spend together.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This Day in 2006...

Happy Anniversary to the BEST Husband ever.

3 years ago, Brad and I got married and wow has time flown. I always knew I was marrying the perfect man for me, but I never knew that our relationship would continue to strenghten so much day after day.
We got engaged on New Years Eve of 2006 (Dec 31, 2005). I was completely surprised. Just the week before, Brad's sister Michelle and I were taking a snowy walk in Iowa and I was telling her that he was never going to propse. She told me, that while she had no idea, she thought he would sooner rather than later. To everyone's surprise, he did sooner than expected. I love our engagement video so I thought I'd share it with everyone:

In the past 3 years, we have done so much. We have travelled to Africa, Mexico, Honduras, moved from Arizona to Arkansas, moved onto the lake, supported each other through family and other day-to-day issues, and now are working our way through infertility and hopefully onto having a family of our own.

There are so many things I LOVE about Brad; however, just a few I'd like to share are...

1) His unending love and committment to me.

2) Brad can sense when I'm stressed out and starts cleaning and organzing the house so I have some sort of haven to relax in.

3) Brad will eat anything I make and never complain even when it's not the best.

4) Brad is so witty. He's so quick with his that if you don't listen or pay attention you might miss them.

5) Brad is an extremely honorable and honest man.

6) Brad is always supportive even when I'm being more emotional than logical.

7) Brad is extremely ambitious and is committed to working hard and smart to provide for us.

8) Brad is so excited to be a father...I know you're going to be amazing and I can't wait to love you as the father of our children.

9) Brad has an amazing ability to separate work and family.

10) Brad never criticizes...even when I'm having a body image issue day, he's quick to tell me how beautiful and perfect I am.

11) Brad never questions my decisions.

12) Brad is very committed to being healthy and is one of the few people who can both keep up with me and continue to challenge me physically.

13) He is an amazing teacher. He is very patient and is determined to help me succeed...especially when we're mountain biking.

14) Together...we are a one of us is more valuable than the other in our relationship.


...A few pictures from the past 3 years:

Brad and I travelled to Ghana, West Africa in March before our wedding to spend time with my Brother Anthony who was in the Peace Corps at the time.

Scuba Trip to Utila, Honduras July 2008

Cozumel Scuba Trip June 2009

Sausalito - June 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Journey Through Infertility...Where We've Come From...Where We're Going

Most of you probably know our story, but for those of you who don't, here's a quick recap. Brad and I "stopped preventing" back in January of 2008. We assumed, like most others, that it would take us awhile to get pregnant, but we never thought it would take this long. After 4 months of not getting a period, my doctor decided to put us on Femara (a fertility drug) that causes multiple follicles (with eggs inside) to be produced. Fast forward 9 months, double and triple doses of the fertility meds of Femara and Clomid, months of tears, and no viable follicles later, our doctor was forced to send us to see a specialist.

Living in Northwest Arkansas, the closest specialist was an hour and a half away in Tulsa. We are now working with Dr. John Clark Bundren, a doctor who delivered the first IVF baby in this country. He is amazing at what he does. He has a 64% success rate and a 59% live birth rate (according to the CDC website). This puts him in the top 5 in the country. We couldn't be more thrilled.

We will be doing our first (and we pray only) cycle of IVF starting in August. The process consists of 10 days of shots (2x/day) which stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, an August 19th Egg Retrieval Date (done in Oklahoma City) and then 5 days later, on August 24th, an Embryo Transfer. We are hoping that at least 2 embryos will be ready. The doctors will only implant 2 embryos (no we will not be the next John and Kate Plus 8) and any others that could produce a viable pregnancy will be frozen for later use.

As silly as it may sound, I am most nervous for how I will handle this process mentally. Beginning August 9th, I will not be allowed to work out AT ALL. I can walk slowly (is that even in my vocabulary??) and lift light hand weights. I cannot even push a vacuum cleaner! The medications I'll be on cause the ovaries to be overly stimulated. Any bouncing could cause an ovary to twist and if it did, all blood flow would be cut off resulting in the ovary itself dying. It would then have to be removed. That is serious enough to me to not take any chances.

So there you have it, August is a big month in The Pope house. In the meantime, we are doing our best to enjoy our summer. Life on the lake has been better than we could have ever imagined and life in The Ozarks of NWA has provided us with the perfect playground for our active lifestyles. I go back to school on August 12th and my students come on August 19th (I'll be in OKC instead). Summer has flown by, but you can count on The Popes making the most of what's left.

Stay tuned for more excitement. We have a few "events" that will be worth of documentation for sure =)


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome to the Blogging World

With all the e-mails I've been sending out trying to keep everyone updated on our journey through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), I decided it might just be easier to start blogging to keep everyone up to date on our life here in Arkansas. Keep tuned in to learn about where we've come from and where we're going. With any luck, we'll be a family of 3 (or 4!!) in the next year! I'm sure there will be plenty in our life to keep you entertained with.