May 30, 2009

Pictures from the last few weekends

Before I show you our time in Ft. Worth, look who arrived on Thursday! Our friends' baby, Henry Peter! I got to go see him for a few minutes on Friday, and he is just perfect--and seems to be pretty laid back! Just like his wonderful parents, Pete and Jolene! What a cute little guy--Congrats Ericksons!!

The amazing momma--looking great less than 24 hours after giving birth!!
The proud poppa--with his look-alike little boy!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ on to our Ft. Worth pictures...

On Memorial Day, we had a great day in Forth Worth with Justin's parents. It is sad to us that we have lived here almost 6 years, but yet this was the first "real" time we've spent getting to know Fort Worth! We started out with a yummy lunch on the patio at Joe T. Garcias--a pretty popular Mexican restaurant there. The patio was absolutely gorgeous, and the weather was just perfect to be eating outside. Of course, I forgot to take pictures, but trust me, it was beautiful!!

We then made our way to the Ft. Worth Stockyards, where the pictures (and the fun) began!!

Well wouldn't you know it...we were thrown into jail soon after arriving!! =)

Then we came across this sign, and I thought for sure that Justin's arms had a longer span than a Texas Longhorn...
and they were!!!

But being larger than a longhorn's horns was kind of tiring!!!

So I decided that I needed to at least to have something to do with a longhorn too! Here I am, showing my cowgirl skills...on Big Jake!!

Some other pretty sights in Ft. Worth...

I thought this sign was neat...

She was so friendly...I can't imagine having to dress like this every day! I guess I am a city girl!!
So long, Stockyards!!
Next we went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I had seen this on the news a few years ago, but I had no clue how big and unique it actually is!

I'm still a little amazed that a walk like this one didn't have any kind of guard rails!! Seems kind of dangerous!!

It was really hot, so we had to cool off a bit!

Gene and Kathy...

Some pictures taken from the the bottom looking up--pretty cool!

Now, on to this past weekend. It was a relaxing weekend, and on Saturday night, we went over to my parents' house for a swim and some grilling out! No pictures of the food, but we sure had fun taking Betsy for a swim!!! Enjoy some pictures!!
The guys first had to do the hard work and blow up our floaties!!! Thanks guys!
Being that this is only her 2nd time in any kind of open water, she was a little scared...she was holding on for dear life!!!
What a cutie!!!

Watch this video--it is so hilarious to us to watch a dog paddle--she just goes on auto-pilot!!

I'm sure we'll do this many more times this summer!!!

Okay...I think I'm updated on all my pictures now!!!

May 27, 2009

It's about time!!

(Brace yourself for, quite possibly, the most verbose post of my life)...=)

Have you ever had a day where (if you are a blogger) you got on the computer to blog, but all managed to do was read everyone else's blogs? Yes? We me too...about 17 of those days...if you don't count my one post to tell you about a post that was to come. Sheesh! It's about time that I'm here!! =)

Before I get to that post--the one I've been meaning to do for weeks--let me do a quick catch up of some of the fun things that have gone on with us the last few weeks...

~I started going to the gym again. My husband is so glad that I'm going with him, but I'm also going with my mom 3 days a week after school. It is great to have people to motivate me, encourage me, and keep me accountable! I have a goal to lose a few pounds before June 25 (more about why that date is special below!)

~Work has been going well. My mom and I have been pretty busy at school the last few weeks. As a reading tutor, I thought the last few weeks would slow down, but we seem to be the go-to people when anyone needs extra help, need some one to cover a class, or even to manage the acts of a talent show--that is tomorrow! But it is all a bunch of fun--I even got to go geocaching with a bunch of 5th graders today!! (Google it--it is pretty cool!) So I'm very thankful for my job!

~Justin and I went to Fort Worth with his parents on Memorial Day. It is sad that I've lived in the Dallas area for almost 6 years, and really have only gone to Ft. Worth 3 times!! We had such a fun day... pictures to come soon--I have a feeling this post is already going to be on the long side!

~I have a great group of friends that I meet with on Wednesday nights for a Bible study. They are all such awesome women, and encourage me so much! I'm so thankful that God has put so many amazing Christian women into my life!!! has been busy, full, and wonderful!!! Let me tell you now a little bit more about some of the exciting things happening on the "baby-front" at the Steiner house...

Oh how I wish this could be the line where I tell you that their will be a Baby Steiner coming home in 9 months, but it isn't. But that reality is getting closer!!! Let me go back a little bit to explain our good news.

The last cycle that didn't work, back in April, got me trying to figure out the next steps we should be taking in our journey. It was the end of our 5th round of shots, third since we lost Jonathan, and it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere. Not pregnant, not on the road to adoption, no solution to our incompetent cervix...nothing. So I decided to stop. The nurse was ready for us to come in and start IVF, but I just couldn't go there yet--emotionally or physically.

So I spent some time doing research about adoption, incompetent cervix, IVF--just trying to find an answer of what we needed to do. I came across something called a transabdominal cerclage (TAC). I had heard of a cerclage before--the doctors had told me that for any further pregnancies, a TVC (transvaginal cerclage--where they stitch the lower part of your cervix closed) would be what I would have. But this TAC was new. The more I researched it, the more amazing it sounded. This cerclage is placed around the cervix, right below the uterus--as high up as it can go. It holds the uterus virtually closed, and from the research I did, has a 95-97% chance of holding a baby in to full term! This was such exciting news for me. All the research I had done on a TVC only shows it is 60-80% effective (live baby--but almost always preemie). So I decided to call my OB and see what she thought about it.

She was all for it, and said to go meet with the specialist here in Dallas who does it. So I scheduled an appointment for the next week, and went in, armed with a huge binder full of my medical records, questions, and the research I had done. I felt the need to come prepared, because from what I had learned, there are 3 things that could qualify you for a TAC---an abnormal cervix, a damaged cervix, or a previously failed TVC. I had none of the three, but I felt like no doctor would tell me that I had to have a TVC fail (which really means that I would have to have another baby die because of my failing cervix) to be able to get this done. But...that is exactly what he said--No. I was so discouraged that he wouldn't even consider it. In my heart, I knew that a TVC wasn't right for me, especially if we were really going to move on to IVF, that can have a risk of multiples. Multiples + Incompetent cervix + a TVC does not usually have a positive outcome.

So I stewed on that for a week until I could get into talk with my fertility dr. about IVF and all the details of it. We wanted to completely understand what we would be doing. Honestly, I am just in shock that we are actually even at the place where we have to consider IVF, but it is what it is, and I'm thankful that these technologies are even here for people like me!!

We talked to the dr. about it, and felt pretty good about doing IVF--especially under his care. At the end of the visit, I just mentioned that we'd been talking to a dr. about a TAC, and he said no, but that I'd found one of the top doctors in the nation that does this surgery (who is in Chicago), and I was planning on contacting him. And it just so happens that my dr knows him and is good friends with him!! Can you believe it??? He said that he is the absolute best, and his TACs hold like cement!!! He said to contact him, and see if he would do it, because whether or not I have a TAC will greatly effect the way he does IVF on me. TVC= one embryo implanted, TAC=2 for sure---which greatly increases the chance of getting pregnant.

(I promise I'm trying to give you the short version of this month...if you're tired of reading, just scroll down!! =)

So I email Dr. Haney, who by the way emails me back a personal email 1 1/2 hours after I send my email. He is the head of the whole department at the Univ. of Chicago, and gets back to me that fast!! Wow! He tells me to set up a phone consultation with his assistant, and we will talk more about it then. So I schedule the appointment (his staff are so sweet--they talk to you like they've known you forever!), and wait a week until the call. It was an hour long discussion, ending with him agreeing that this is the right option for me, and that he thinks I would be a great candidate. He does 80-90 of these a year, so he is definitely the expert. He said that having this surgery would almost 100% guarantee me with a full term baby--that there would be no chance with this type of cerclage in that my cervix could fail. WOW!! He said to talk to his staff and they would being the scheduling process.

So just last Friday, I got the email...I'm scheduled for surgery on June 25th!!!!! I just can't believe it, but I am so thankful that I finally found a dr. who understands that a woman shouldn't have to lose another baby before something can be done to fix the problem! The last detail we are waiting for is insurance coverage. This is something that I was very nervous about--that they would somehow find a reason to deny the surgery because I didn't "qualify". But after talking to the staff today, they explained that they hardly ever have any trouble with my insurance company covering it...they put it like this to the insurance--either pay this small amount for a TAC now, or run the risk of having to cover complications that go with a woman on bedrest with a TVC, a preemie baby in the NICU for months, and possible lifelong health problems. I'm praying that they say yes!!! We'll know sometime the 2nd week of June.

So needless to say, we are so EXCITED!!!!!! We are planning, right now, to go to Chicago on June 24, and come home on the 27th. I'll be in the hospital overnight. It is a major surgery (it is done like a c-section) and takes a couple weeks to recover, but oh so worth it if it means a chance for my future babies to grow inside me for 9 months, and to live!!! Then we will start IVF two months after that. YEAH!

And if all that weren't enough, here comes the icing on the cake. Justin has worked at WaMu this past year, and they are finishing the switch over to becoming Chase. This means new insurance coverage for us starts on July 1st. We completed the enrollment process for the rest of this year, and let me tell you what our new plan says under the Family Planning section....something I've never seen before on our insurance plans before...during these five long years of fertility struggles........................... Fertility Drugs: COVERED. Fertility treatments: COVERED.

I could have cried. We don't know all the details yet, but those words bring us so much hope!!

So there you go...the good, amazing, wonderful blessings that are happening right now in the Steiner household. Thanks for letting me share!!!

And thank you Jesus that our life is finally starting to feel like this...

Some sunshine through all the clouds!

Have a great rest of your week!!

PS--will you pray for my friend Jolene and her husband Pete? She is in the hospital tonight waiting to be induced in the morning. Pray for an easy delivery--we can't wait to meet little Henry!!

May 22, 2009

I'm still here!

Okay, so it has been almost 2 whole weeks since I've blogged--yikes!! I'll be back to posting again soon--I promise! We have some exciting things beginning to happen on our road to being parents that I'll post about soon--I'm just waiting for some final details to work out! But we are very encouraged!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful Friday, and a great, relaxing 3-day weekend!!! We don't have too much planned (yet) but just might have to break out the grill! Hopefully it won't rain!!

May 10, 2009

I'm so very blessed...

I dreaded today, because I knew it was going to be a tough day. But, even though it was hard, I have also had time to think about how very blessed I really am. I have so many amazing people in my life who love me, and I'm so thankful for them!

I want to first tell my mom "Happy Mother's Day"!! We had brunch at their house this morning, and it was such a nice time with my sweet mom!

She is such a wonderful and incredible woman, and I am honored to have her. She is beautiful on the inside and out, and a true friend to everyone she meets. She is a woman of God, and a powerful prayer warrior. I'm so glad that she is now living here in Texas--I just love all of time we get to spend together! Momma--I love you so very much!!

I think this is where my mom likes to be best--nestled in flowers! Well, maybe she would rather be shoe shopping.... but I don't have a picture of that! =) Isn't she beautiful?!

Being silly in a fountain at the Dallas Arboretum--that we probably weren't supposed to be in, but hey, it was pretty hot!!

Again, by the flowers.
With one of my mom's closest friends, Debbie, who was like a mother to me when I was in college.

And today, on Mother's day, celebrating her!
I was also so blessed by my family and friends this week. I think God put it on their hearts to encourage them these last few days! My sweet husband had these flowers sent to me--such a wonderful surprise!

I've gotten so many emails, texts, and cards also. Today was so hard. As I was sitting in front of Jonathan's grave this morning, I had so many tears over the fact that even though I am technically a mother, it's sometimes hard to really feel it because I never got to "mother" him. I never saw him smile, changed his diaper, heard him giggle, kissed away a boo-boo, or rocked him to sleep. That is really hard...but, so many people have reminded me that, even though my babies are not here on Earth, I am indeed a mother.
I got this card, anonymously on Friday...such a special gift--from some sweet friend of mine. Thank you!

I also went today and had a pedicure with my friend Jolene. What a fun time we had--she is so thoughtful and always seems to know just when I need to have time together! Love you, Jo!
When she dropped me off at home, this was on my doorstep. Another precious anonymous gift from a sweet friend.

What a special gift!
Here is the assortment of wonderful cards that I received this mother's day.

So on a day that started out hard, God has blessed me so much with absolutely amazing people in my life. I am so very blessed, and on days like today, especially on days like today, I am thankful.