6 Months and Great News!! 

It has absolutely been the best 6 months of our lives!! She is why!!

People say, “you don’t remember what life was like before her do you.” Well actually, yes we do. We had almost 9 years of “just” us. Nine years to have fun, nine years to work hard, nine years to save, nine years to get to know each other, nine years to grow and nine years to become the best team we could possibly be up until now! 

Did I want a baby before then? Absolutely! Did I ever question God? Absolutely! Did I trust and believe that He would fulfill His promise to me? Absolutely! “Blessed is she who believed the Lord would fulfill His promise to her.” Luke 1:45

Now, while we do remember how simple and easy was life was before Cora, we longed to have a sweet baby in our lives! She has changed us, renewed us, exhausted us, thrilled us, and made the happiest we’ve ever been! For now, she completes us. God’s timing is always perfect whether we understand it or not! Our lives will never be the same, and we are eternally grateful! 

Where in the world has 6 months gone? She is growing and changing so fast! It is so fun watching her learn new things! Life couldn’t be more exciting! She is currently trying soooo hard to crawl, and she’s almost sitting up well by herself! We started baby led weaning and she is enjoying trying new foods everyday! So far, she loves shrimp and grits, black beans, cheese, avocado, and we are working on lots of other things! She actually had her first smoothie today! 

We also put her in her crib on her 6 month birthday! She did great, mommy not so much. Actually, I cried really hard. She grew out of her bassinet a long time ago, but I kept holding on! Finally decided she was way to uncomfortable and well, she might fall out! She was ready! I miss her being beside every night, but then I remember she is in the next room sleeping peacefully. I realize there’s mommy’s out there who have lost their precious babies and will never have them beside them again, and it puts everything into perspective! 

Sooooo, BIG NEWS!! She had her follow-up eeg back in January and it was all CLEAR!! God is so good folks. We knew she was perfect, we knew she was healed, but to hear those words was such a relief! I have prayed even more as a mom. I have prayed every single day for her healing and continue to pray for her protection. My heart is so incredibly thankful it might explode. God has been so good to us, even in the trenches! 

We don’t follow up with neuro till July. She will grow out of her phenobarb dose! She does take it much better now. She actually holds it herself! We’ve come a long way! 

I told Nicholas that being a mom is by far the hardest, most exhausting, yet rewarding job in the world! Cora is the most perfect baby (it makes people crazy), but even with her being so good, it’s still exhausting! She seems to be a good mix of mama and dada so far! She’s funny like her daddy and sweet like her mama! To say we adore her is an understatement! She is such a joy and the light of our lives! 

Cora’s Neuro Check-Up

Look how far she’s come!! We are so proud and so thankful for this precious yet sassy, chatty, independent, fun loving baby girl!! The first picture is when she was having her continuous eeg that lasted 37 hours! I don’t think I ever shared many of them bc well, they are scary looking. I can’t look at any pictures from that week without tears in my eyes. We have never experienced so much emotion, even during Our fertility journey! It was the greatest, scariest week of our lives! The second picture is from yesterday during her neuro check-up!! She sure showed off for Dr. Fequiere! She laid on that table for at least a total of 20 minutes while we were there kicking, squealing, and smiling her heart out!!

Her assessment was perfect! He explained to us that the brain heals very slowly, so she will be on phenobarb for a while. She had basically grown out of her dose already, but she has had no seizure activity. We will actually be increasing her dose based on her weight. We will do a follow-up eeg in 6 months. If he is pleased with how she is developing at 8-9 months we will discuss letting her grow out of her dose at that point. She will more than likely be on the medicine for a year.

We are so thankful for her doctor! We trust him 100%. When we were in the nicu, standing at her bedside, he told us to follow-up in 2 months and it seemed sooooo far away!! Now that seems soooo long ago!

I am still in awe of God’s goodness and grace! He has already used Cora in a big way, she already has an incredible story to tell!! We continue to pray for her healing and development, but as of now, she’s showing no delays! She is actually a little ahead of the game! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! It literally takes a village! I can’t wait till she understands how much she is wanted and loved!

Our beautiful, chunky girl weighed 13 pounds 2 ounces and was 24 1/2 inches long. (12 weeks old) Thanks for loving her with us!!

When God’s plan becomes totally unclear, again…

I thought I would be sitting here sharing with you our somewhat crazy and incredibly joyous labor experience, and maybe I will soon, but we have a way bigger story to share right now. We need your prayers. I don’t want this update to be alarming, or worrisome for anyone, but fear totally gripped our hearts Wednesday morning. I will try to tell the story the best I can and in terms that you can understand (nutshell version).

Cora Grace had a great first couple of nights of life. She has acted like a total, happy, fussy, hungry, well baby from the very beginning. She loves to eat! I hope mommy can keep up with her!

Background…I progressed quickly in labor which was great and surprising for a first time mommy! The bad part, I ended up pushing for almost four hours. They did threaten a c-section a couple of times, BUT Cora looked great on the monitor (believe me, I was listening closely), and I felt good and still felt like pushing (Even though I had two epidurals that DID NOT work). Yes, you read that correctly. Anyways, Cora was a little stunned when she came out and had quite a bit of bruising on her head. How this big ole beautiful baby fit inside me, I have no idea!

Cora did exactly what she was supposed to do the first 36 hours or so. She ate well, peed, pooped, fussed, everything a well baby should be doing. She did start her cluster feeding early in the day Tuesday which made for one exhausted mommy and daddy! I should add, she is still doing all of these things (except nursing, we are finger feeding/syringe feeding her)!!

Tuesday morning after she had nursed for about at hour, after being super fussy and not wanting to latch for an hour, she spit up and cleared it out on her own. I sat up with her and noticed a faint pulse/twitch in her left arm. Being a NICU nurse, I was a little alarmed, so I called my post partum nurse to come in and see what I was seeing. It was a blessing because the doctor that was in the nursery happened to be a neurology resident completing his OB rotation. He came in and asked a few questions, and we thought it might be a reaction to reflux. Everything we talked about made sense to me. Better than seizures right?

A few hours later the pediatrician came in and assessed her and royally pissed her off. She handed her back to me, and I instantly noticed she was twitching her left arm and left foot. I pointed it out to her and she suggested we video it. She immediately took the video to the neuro resident who came in and assessed her again. She did it again after he pissed her off, so he went straight to his attending who wasted no time getting her admitted to the nicu. The good thing is, she was ALWAYS alert during these episodes. She even latched and nursed while she was having the last episode we saw, so I was encouraged by that fact. They took her away to the nursery and prepared to transport her to RNICU.

Side note…UAB RNICU is where I started my career as a nurse in 2007. It is my first home and the friends I made here will always be family. We have been been treated like nothing less. When my friend Candice came rolling out the well baby nursery with the transport isolate, the tears began. I was so happy to see her face. The RNICU staff and my fertility doctors are the sole reason I always knew I wanted to deliver my babies here. As hard as it is to understand right now, this was in God’s plan the whole time.

Cora has been through a lot since Wednesday morning, and she has been a trooper!! I will throw in a few details, but it’s a lot. I will also try to make it all make sense, but that’s not likely (i will probably use some medical terms that not everyone will understand)!

They loaded her up on seizure medication that morning. Placed a UVC because they had difficulty getting an IV. By this point, she was probably pretty dry so that wasn’t surprising. I’m actually very thankful she got the central line because they have had to draw so many labs, and they use the line for that! They followed that with a head ultrasound which was normal! She had a pretty large bruise on the back of her head from delivery that they have been a little concerned about, but it has not moved at this point. They also follow frequent blood counts, and hers has remained pretty steady which is good! They followed that with a 1 hour EEG to check for seizure activity. That did show a couple of small focal seizures. They then swept her off for an MRI. The MRI showed a small bleed on her right frontal lobe which is causing the minor twitches on the left side. It also showed an ischemic area in her basal ganglia that could have happened in utero or at birth (really no way to know). The neonatologist said the biggest concern with that area would be leg tightness. As of right now she’s moving these crazy long legs just fine. She did not have any cord issues at birth (nuchal or bandolier). Her apgars were 5 and 8, so she was quite stunned and took quite a bit of stimulating and suctioning, but she came around quickly. All of her lab work has been okay. A few very minor things here and there, but as of today everything has been normal. Of course she ended up under bili lights, more so because of the large bruise on the back of her head (increased risk). They should be turning those lights off tonight. She has also been on a continuous EEG since midnight last night that will run through tonight. It picked up a couple of minor seizures this morning, they did another loading dose of phenobarbital this afternoon and she hasn’t had anymore. Tonight they began her maintenance dose of phenobarb that she will eventually go home on. (Typed 8/3/17)

(Update 8-4-17 am) Last night was a low point of this roller coaster we are on. They did turn off her bili lights which was the LEAST of our worries but still good bc it went down! Overall, Cora had a great day yesterday! For her 9pm feed she was super alert and interactive with mommy and daddy. We were so happy!!! Then they gave her the first oral dose of phenobarb, 10 minutes later I went to turn her and she was absolutely lethargic. It made me very concerned and her daddy as well. We talked to the nurse who was also concerned and she called the doctor. Doctor told us they were actually planning to give her another small dose bc they had seen a trend on the eeg that looked like she may be going to have another seizure (she had not actually had one yet but they want to stop them before they happen obviously)! I felt sick bc she was already so knocked out. I began worrying about her breathing and the possibility of her needed respiratory support if they knocked her out even more. We talked to the fellow on our way out and she was not very encouraging about going home anytime soon. We both had somewhat of a meltdown when we went to shower and lay down to rest. We came back down to bring her milk around midnight. Praise Jesus at the site we saw!!! She was alert (sleepy alert) and syringe feeding! They DID NOT give the extra dose of medicine!!

People, PRAYER WORKS!! We prayed so hard in those couple of hours. Honestly, I found myself trusting but also pleading with God. I guess that’s possible.

I have never seen my husband so tired and worried. He is my absolute stronghold, so to see him so concerned breaks my heart. Being a nicu nurse is a blessing and a curse, but at least I have dealt with all kinds of babies before, I know more of what to expect. In this situation, him being an adult ICU nurse is definitely a curse!! He knows way to much on the other end of the spectrum. I have told hundreds of parents that babies are resilient, they bounce back. When it comes to your own, IT IS TERRIFYING!! Being on this side of the bed is absolutely the hardest thing we have ever experienced! Of course it’s hard not to let your mind wander to the worst case scenarios. I feel like we have kept each other strong. We have both had weak moments, but we lift each other up. I’m sure there will be many more moments especially as we enter parenthood!

Update 8-5-17 @ 1:00 am…Gonna be a quick update! NEED TO SLEEP!!

They removed the EEG around 1:00 yesterday afternoon! I couldn’t get my hands on my baby fast enough!! We cuddled A LOT today!! Daddy got even more cuddles!! She is doing well on her maintenance dose of phenobarb so far. She got to be treated like a normal well baby today even though she is still getting fluids through her central line. Those were cut in half last night because she nursed so well throughout the day! She is such a champion. She just had a blowout in her diaper, nursed pretty well, and is tucked in for the night. Well, she actually has the hiccups and is staring at me, so maybe there is not rest for the weary tonight. I WILL TAKE IT!! I am so happy with her progress!

We don’t know when we will go home for sure! We are so ready! Hopefully they will pull her line tomorrow. Then we will make sure she continues to eat well, keeps her temp up (hasn’t been a problem), and does well on her maintenance dose. I hope it’s not too long!

I have been working on this update for 3 days now. I keep getting distracted, we hit a road block, or there’s just so many updates. Oh yea, I’m exhausted, have trouble remembering to eat, usually pumping or feeding Cora, etc. I want to say I’m sorry for not posting something sooner. I have tried to keep up with texts, calls and messages but there’s just not enough time in the day. Thank you to everyone who has checked in and for all of the prayers we are receiving already!!

At this point, she will go home on seizure medication and follow-up with neurology at a future date. I don’t even remember what I started typing a few days ago, I just hope it makes a little sense!

We covet your prayers now and in the future!! Our baby girl has been quite the challenge since the beginning, but we know God’s plan is incredibly greater than our own!! God has already written her beautiful story!! I pray He gives her a humble heart and incredible voice to share it with the world! We adore her more than we could have ever imagined and can’t wait to get her home and share her with everyone! We may be a little protective in the beginning, so we ask that you understand. Okay, maybe we will be a lot protective for the rest of her life!!! We thank everyone for their congrats and sweet words on her arrival! It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s our rollercoaster and God is sitting in the driver’s seat!

For now, we gracefully wait with hopeful hearts.

Mommy’s first time holding Cora Grace since Wednesday morning!

Daddy couldn’t wait to get his snuggles after the wait!!

Our sweet baby hooked up to and EEG monitor for 37 hours!! Longest hours of our lives!


And her name shall be….

Girl names were wayyyy harder for us!! I had a name in mind for a while that I ‘thought’ I loved but felt it didn’t grow with her! One day we were sitting around, and I happened to mention the name Cora. Nicholas loved it and suggested Cora Grace, and well, that’s when I fell in love my my baby girl’s name!!

I only survived last year because of my faith and God’s amazing GRACE!! His grace is what got me out of bed in the mornings, helped me endure the crazy hormones, and gave us the most incredible gift through IVF. He has literally given me unimaginable Grace in more ways than one! There were many days when I begged God for a baby, and there were also days when I convinced myself it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ve said it a million times, HIS plan is so much better than our own!

So I finally get to share a couple more pictures with you! Cora’s aunt Suzy got her the sweetest Easter surprises!! I absolutely love her little backpack with her monogram! She has a beautiful monogram which makes me very happy! She also got her the sweetest rabbit with her name on it! Two sweet firsts my baby girl! Oh yea, and a pink baby hate with an alligator on it (had to throw a little Louisiana soul in there). 

Of course I had to get her a little something for Easter! I just did a little basket that I can use later for this year! Added a few copper pearl bibs, lamb rattle and teether, the sweet mommy and me book, and a gown! I can’t wait to celebrate Easters with her!! I pray she always remembers the reason we celebrate! 

So far, so good. I’m really starting to feel pregnant here lately! I know, I know, just wait! I passed my glucose check!! I was really praying Cora wouldn’t have to have her sugar checked when she’s born! I feel like we are done with all of the major tests and scans for now! The echo/ultrasound we did at 23 weeks, she looked great! 

I am having a great time planning/designing her nursery! It’s definitely going to be my happy place! I’m trying so hard to enjoy every moment and not get overwhelmed! We have the ball rolling, so I’m feeling pretty good about it right now! We basically gutted her room! Nicholas ripped out the carpet, and hardwoods are going in in a couple of weeks! Painters are just waiting to be contacted! Furniture is ordered. Still lots on my to-do list though!  

We have decided to just stay in our house for now. God’s plan is better than our own right? Of course, since we are staying, there are more things I want to do in the house! Like paint our bedroom and bathroom. Lots of work to be done in the yard. I’ve already rearranged the living room and have more plans for that! 

I’m trying to get all my traveling done in April! Spent a wonderful week at my sisters, headed to Cali this week for a week, then to the beach with our Parden family. I’m tired just thinking about it, but even more excited! Looking forward to celebrating our sweet miracle with family and friends throughout the next couple of months! 

I’ll leave you with the bump…

In the meantime…

Well, it’s been a few weeks since our gender reveal, and it has finally sunk in that we are having a baby girl!! Although, some days the fact that she’s in there still doesn’t seem real, I am amazed every single day!! We already have our mommy-daughter time in the mornings when I wake up and she gets awake and starts wiggling around! I absolutely love every single moment, and believe me, if we are hanging out together you will be aware of her every move!! I have taken care of babies her size who were born way too early, so it blows my mind that we can feel AND see her kicking already!

I always thought we would have a house full of boys! I was pretty sure she was a boy! Oh how wrong I was, and oh how happy we are! Planning her nursery has been a dream so far!! Somewhat overwhelming at times, but so much fun! I’ve always imagined what this time would be like for us, but could have never fathomed how wonderful it would be! I can’t wait to share the nursery progress! Nicholas has been wonderful and agrees with all of my ideas!! I think he realizes he has no choice, but he’s okay with that! I also think he is just glad he DID NOT have to go to Atlanta to look at her furniture!!

I know a lot of people are wondering about her name!! She does have a name, and we will be sharing it with the world soon!! So stay tuned!!

She looked great and measured perfectly at our 18 week anatomy scan! We do have another ultrasound scheduled on Monday, I will be 23 weeks. This is an ‘extra’ one, where they will do an echo of her heart. We have no reason to be concerned, but there is a higher risk of heart defects in IVF babies. Remember that post about all of the increased risks with IVF, well that is one of them. Please continue to pray with us that there are no surprises, and that she is still growing perfectly!

My anxiety level has actually gotten better! My fear of losing her dwindled a little after the first trimester, and seems to get better every day! Being a nicu nurse, I know too much and have always feared some of the worst things. I am incredibly grateful for my faith and the fact that it is way bigger than my fears! I have felt my Father’s arms around me way more times than I could count!

Our gender reveal party was a lot of fun!! We shared it with family and friends who have loved and supported us so selflessly through our infertility journey. A few of them couldn’t make it, but were there in spirit! We did a buck or doe theme which was fun for both of us! I need to create a fb album to share all of the pictures! My sis and best friend Ash took lots of pictures for us! I didn’t have to worry about anything once the party began! I was pretty emotional that day because it’s hard to believe it was a gender reveal party for us! It’s hard to believe that baby showers are being planned for us! It is just all hard to believe! Here’s a few highlights from the party! If you missed the video of the reveal, check out the last blog post!

She may not be a proud big sister, but I really think she may do okay once her baby sis gets here!

My sweet Annie Clare made the post that hid the pink chalk! It was a “keep her busy” project the night before!

My first most favorite girl in the world! I never thought I could love another baby girl as much as I love her!

Just missing Bailey Ann!!

So thankful for my sissy and all she does for me! She got me through a rough year!

These two love each other and it makes my heart so happy!

Proud nana and papa!

Love my family!

Becoming a family of 4!!

Enter a caption

Getting prepared for the explosion!

Maybe this is how she really feels about ‘B’ having a baby!

I think this shows her true feelings!! She asks about her every day!

Our first sweet baby! Don’t worry, she had free reign over the party!

We may or may not have started a small fire. It was all totally under control. We used a tannerite bomb surrounded by bags of chalk. My husband has had plenty of experience with them and yes, they are totally legal. He made a bomb he could shoot with his .22 rifle that I gave him a few years ago, so that was special. He also wanted to use the .22 so the gunshot itself wouldn’t be so loud. What he didn’t tell me beforehand, is that he tripled the recipe, so that’s why some of the chalk caught on fire! MEN (rolling my eyes)!! Thanks again to everyone who have and continue to help make this time so special for us!!

We have a shower coming up in California on April 23rd! I can’t wait to see everyone out there and enjoy doing some fun things before our sweet girl arrives! I miss my Cali family so much! April is a busy month for us! Traveling to Louisiana this week, then Cali for a week, and the beach for a few days! Trying to get it all in before things get even crazier! I’ve had several people ask about our registries. We are registered at Target, BabiesRUs, and Amazon. I will also be registering at Mommy and Me the beginning of May.

I want to leave some encouragement for you! You all know who I am and what my beliefs are. I also pride myself on being honest and transparent with all of you! We had our feet swept out from under us last year financially and at times emotionally. It was hard. I tried so hard every single day to keep my faith. There were days when I failed, when anxiety won. This is part of a devotional from a few weeks ago…

“But we don’t have to live plagued by anxiety of the unknown. We don’t have to go to sleep wondering what the next day will bring or wake up working our way through all the “what-ifs” we can think of. We don’t have to seek some means to figure out what we will never be able to figure out. No, we can have rest when we are confused. We can experience peace in the face of the unknown. We can feel an inner well-being while living in the middle of mystery. WHY? Because our peace of heart does not rest on how much we know, how much we have figured out, or how accurately we have been able to predict the future. No, our rest is in the person who holds our individual futures in his wise and gracious hands. We have peace because we know that he will complete the good thing that he in grace has initiated in our lives. HE IS FAITHFUL, so he never leaves the work of his hands. HE IS GRACIOUS, so he gives us what we need, not what we deserve. HE IS WISE, so what he does is always best. HE IS SOVEREIGN, so he rules all the situations and locations were we live. HE IS POWERFUL, so he can do what he pleases, when he pleases.” (New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp)

Our Creator began a good work in you, and He WILL complete that work in due time. It’s our human nature to be fearful and anxious, but we don’t have to be! Great is thy faithfulness!

I also want to share a verse I came across in my devotional recently that brought tears to my eyes because we have been there. Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

Through some of our hardest trials, when I wanted to give up, I tried so hard to be faithful. I know many people out there struggling with many different things, hang in there. DO NOT GIVE UP! Jesus has got you! Remain faithful to Him and He will always remain faithful to you!! There were moments when I felt like we had nothing, but yet He provided for our every need! I have met many people through my blog. If you feel alone, or like nobody cares, please reach out. I am here, and I’m a good listener. I may not have any answers for you, but I know where we can find them!!

Buck or Doe?

Buck or Doe? Now we all know!! It has been fun watching everyone wonder and squirm waiting for today!! It was nice having a little secret for a few days! We had a great day with family and friends revealing the gender of sweet Baby Parden!! I will have a blog post soon with lots of pictures and more details, but as promised, here is a video and a couple of pictures! The best video, of everyones reaction, is still to come! Stay tuned!

We may or may not have started a small fire! It was worth it!


“From the fullness of His grace…”

Pregnancy is treating me well, but that’s not where I want to begin! I want to begin with some shared frustration and encouragement. I also want to share some lessons that I have learned! If a picture was worth a thousand words….


It represents our struggle and our joy. There’s light at the end of those long dark tunnels if you believe!! This isn’t even half of the drugs I had to take. Just some that were left, maybe a few that were used.

When God repeatedly tells us, “not this time,” we have a choice. We can choose to be angry and let our hearts be chipped away little by little, OR we can choose to believe and have faith that His plan is perfect and true. When our heart belongs to God, He holds it together, no matter how bad it may hurt or how broken it may feel. I HAVE BEEN THERE!

We are made to feel. It’s okay to feel broken, sad and hurt. We all struggle! Sometimes it’s a daily battle/decision to choose heavenly happiness and peace over the cruel emotions of this world. HANG IN THERE friends! Lean on those around you. Be open to encouragement, support and love from people who care. Especially on those days when the last thing you want to hear is, “everything will be okay.” It’s okay to feel, and it’s okay to be needy. BE YOU.

I want to encourage you to daily accept God’s grace and mercy. It’s there, a free gift. I promise His plan is better than our own, as hard as it is to understand sometimes! It always has been for us. He sustains me daily.

I have friends struggling with a lot of different things right now. Whether it be your marriage or relationship, finances/job, infertility, school, just doing grown up things, etc. My advice is to be transparent. Be real. Don’t let your hardship define who you are. Don’t struggle alone. Turn your struggles into your testimony. Let God use you!

I was challenged sooooo many times over the last couple of years. The devil tried to steal my joy on multiple occasions. I will be totally transparent with you! There were days where I let him. It hurts to think about those times, but my struggles made me who I am. God’s grace lifted me out of those dark days, and look where we are now! I will also admit that I still struggle with the thought of it all being taken away. The sweet baby doing flips and sucking their thumb in my tummy is such an incredible part of our testimony, our story, that God has so delicately written. I am so thankful that my faith is way BIGGER than my fears!! I’m thankful that I am not alone. Please know that you aren’t either!

I’ve had several people reach out to me since hearing about our story. Some are just beginning their journey and some are well into it. I have another piece of advice. BE CAREFUL what you say!! Be sensitive. Be kind. I may go into further depth on this subject later, but for now, that’s all I have to say!

Soooo, as of today, I’m 16 3/7 weeks!! Pregnancy has treated me pretty well so far! I did not have morning sickness Praise the LORD!! I did feel worse in the evenings during my first trimester and felt tired ALL THE TIME! I still feel tired, but it definitely got better after 12 weeks! I told Nicholas my teeth might just have to rot while I’m pregnant because just the thought of it makes me gag! I did start eating better in the last month and actually wanting to eat healthier foods again.




I’m loving the fact that there’s a tiny human growing inside of me. Some days it still doesn’t feel real! My regular jeans wouldn’t button starting at about 13 weeks, so watching my tummy grow has made it more real! I have had several people offer me maternity clothes which has been great, I am so thankful! I also bought a couple of pairs of maternity jeans in cali last week and man, those things are AMAZING!!

Our last check-up was at 13 weeks and we did not have an ultrasound done that day, which was weird. I had 4 vaginal ultrasounds between 5-10 weeks with my fertility doc. A perk to my job though is having the labor and delivery nurses take a peek at our little one!! So I have gotten to see him/her multiples times since then. I could sit and watch that squirmy lil baby ALL day!! Baby is also sucking their thumb just about every time we take a peek!!

To say our family and friends are excited is an understatement!! There’s a little someone who asks about Baby every single day and that’s my sweet Annie Clare. She has to see baby when we FaceTime, and she has to give Baby a kiss before we hang up. It literally makes my heart melt every single time. I can’t wait to see how she loves and cares for our sweet baby!


Our due date is July 31st!! It’s already going by so fast! So much to think about and so much to do! I have lots of pictures to share, so I will try to do better with my updates!! Thanks for continuing to pray for us! Life is still a bit complicated with trying to sell our house and not knowing exactly what the future holds. All I know is that it holds this precious baby, and God holds the key!!

“From the fullness of His grace,we have all received one blessing after another.”     John 1:16


There’s only one baby in there! I promise!

When Mountains Move

I was going to start out by apologizing for the incredibly long silence, but I was told to never apologize for that! I’ve always said I would update when my heart was ready! Well, I think I’m finally ready! So here it goes…

I am so thankful that my God is a merciful and gracious God, because I have been overwhelmingly anxious at times over the last couple of months. I’m going to share a VERY personal bit from my journal. “On a day that I should be gleaming, and excited, I am scared and in tears. I have prayed every single day that God would grow  and protect the precious embryo that was implanted into my body, give me subtle signs that he or she is there. Yet here I am, the day is here, and doubt and fear keep creeping in. I fear disappointment. I fear heartache. I don’t want to feel this way, but I do.”

We never saw or heard a heartbeat with our first pregnancy. We were devastated. I felt like I temporarily lost mine. My heart is now beating again!! That journal excerpt is from December 7th, the day of my first ultrasound at 6 weeks. The day we saw our babies heartbeat for the first time! It was a couple of weeks after having three positive home tests, and three great lab results!! I just couldn’t believe it till I saw that little heart beating! We actually got to hear it on December 14th (7 weeks) and what a blessing that was! Our first round of IVF worked!! Our prayers have been answered, and we couldn’t be happier! To say, “it was worth it,” just isn’t right to me, because it would have all been worth it no matter what!! Our Heavenly Father is writing our story and every moment is part of His perfect plan!


This is by no means your typical pregnancy announcement, but what about this past year (or our lives in general) has been typical for us? If it were a normal situation, would we be telling people this early? Probably not, but you have all become part of our journey! You have prayed this sweet baby into the world, and we know you will all pray that our sweet little one will continue to grow big and strong!

Talk about not being normal, Nicholas was in California for our first ultrasound so my mom and dad went with me! Was I sad, a little bit, but it is what it is and we totally accept it! My parents have been by our sides every single step of the way! Nicholas was also out of town the day I went for my first lab draw. I was a nervous mess that day even though I had had three positive tests at home! My mom went with me bright and early to the lab, and they both stayed with me ALL day!! To say our families are excited is an understatement! Suzy got to go with me to my 8 week ultrasound this past Wednesday! I was sooooo excited that she was in town to go! Nicholas was supposed to join us, but he woke up that morning with a fever and flu symptoms, so off to the doctor he went!! Thankful he was here for our our 7 week appt, and we got to hear that precious heartbeat for the first time together! Now we can plan doctor’s appointments around his traveling schedule.


Killing time in Railroad Park before Nicholas’ flight, after our 7 week ultrasound!!


Mom and Dad joined us for the fun! Day before mom’s bday!

I feel like infertility has defined me this past year. My job, my relationships, my life has literally revolved around doctors appointments and medications! I am looking forward to getting back to a more normal work routine, spending more time with family and friends, and continuing to take care of myself, my husband, and our most precious gift! I have to admit, it is going to be somewhat of an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to it.

I also feel like the weight of this year is going to come down on me at any moment. I have experienced so many different emotions in the last couple of months, but I haven’t cried very many tears. I’ve had an incredible peace. For some reason, I feel like a flood is coming! Thankfully I tend to forget how hard the year has been, but when I sit down and reflect it all feels so heavy! When you are going through fertility treatments, things tend to happen quickly. You experience a million different emotions all at the same time. Sometimes, you are too overwhelmed to feel. When things slow down and you look back, you realize what you’ve been through. It’s a lot!

I am incredibly thankful for every step of our journey so far. We are thankful for all of you who have walked it with us. It’s definitely not over yet!! It’s only just beginning!! I am wondering when it will feel real. When will I stop being anxious before every ultrasound appointment?

Overall, I have felt pretty good. I am still taking hormones on top of what my body is producing. I feel like it has been a double whammy. I started weaning them on Wednesday, and my last day to take them will be Sunday! Merry Christmas to me!! The worst part for me is that eating is a serious chore!! I LOVE to eat!! It’s just not fun right now! Other than that and the exhaustion, I feel okay!!

I wanted to share our exciting news for a couple of reasons! I know some of you were very anxious to know! The most important reason, is this…I know you all will continue to pray for our family! Please pray sweet baby Parden continues to grow big and strong! We pray first and foremost for a healthy baby! Also, pray that my anxiety will continue to get better! Oh yea, and one more thing. Please, Please pray that the perfect buyer would come along and buy our house!! Now that we have a baby on the way, the pressure is on!!

We are blessed! The holidays have been a little extra special this year, and man are we looking forward to 2017!! We realize it’s early, but the gigantic mountain we have been facing for so long, has now been moved! (Mark 11:23)

Our greatest gift of all isn’t wrapped beneath our tree, but cuddled up snug and warm exactly where he/she should be!!

Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas! Our greatest gift of all was never wrapped beneath a tree! He was lying in a manger! God sent His precious Son to earth to be the light in a very dark world!! Jesus was perfect, yet He gracefully endured the worst that human life here on earth has to offer, so that we may live!! What a precious gift!!

From our growing family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! 


Baby Parden, 8 week ultrasound. Looking great!


Suzy got to help me deliver goodies to our favorite doctors, nurses, techs, andrology lab tech, embryologists, and receptionists. They are special people!! They have been such an incredible blessing to our family, and they themselves, have become family!



This was before my first ultrasound at 6 weeks!! I have no words to describe how thankful I am for my parents!! God knew it would take special people to go through this with us!


Transfer Day

I can’t believe transfer day has already come and gone! The last month flew by, but the days in between our retrieval and transfer couldn’t have possibly gone by any slower! There is absolutely no way to describe all of the emotions involved in this process, but I know that we have so many people praying us through it!! You have all become a part of our journey and you’re curious, so I am going to do the best I can to explain where we’ve been so far. We also have a few other IVF warriors and survivors following our journey, so I will share some details that might be of interest to them!

I have wanted to update all week but for some reason I haven’t had the words, and honestly, haven’t really felt like it. So, this may be a hodge podge of words!


Prepped and ready for transfer!!

Last week was long, and I didn’t feel well after our retrieval. I was not worried about our transfer at all. I knew we had several good embryos growing under the diligent watch of our embryologist. We were pleased and very excited! The enormity of what was coming up on Saturday didn’t hit me until my doctor called on Friday night. I have talked about him before, so you all know how much we love and trust him. He called to see how I was doing and how I felt going into our transfer. He was also letting me know that he was out of town and that another doctor would be doing our procedure. I was a little disappointed, but he went on to tell me that she actually takes care of his daughter. That’s how much he trusts her, so I felt totally okay with it! I have seen almost all of the fertility docs at UAB. They are all wonderful, but I had not met the one that would be doing our transfer! He and I also discussed how many embryos to transfer. He told us we had 5 that looked great! We have been pretty set on transferring two for a while now. He was totally okay with that decision because while we trust him, he also trusts us and wants us to be happy.

After our conversation, I was incredibly overwhelmed! It hit me hard that it was here. What we have been preparing ourselves for for a couple of months now! I did not expect the emotions that I felt. All of the ultrasounds, the shots, the lab work, the tests, the EVERYTHING, has led to this. We were ready right? It all seemed like a blur in that moment! Transfer day was finally here! Ready or not!

I have to share a God thing. Nicholas had scheduled his ACLS recertification class for Saturday morning at 10:00 in Birmingham. When my nurse called that Thursday to let us know that our transfer would be Saturday morning at 10:00, I was like of course that would happen. Nicholas was planning to call and see what he could do to reschedule. Well, Friday morning, the person responsible for the class called Nicholas and asked if he could come at 8:00 Saturday morning instead! God was taking care of us, as always! So he left early that morning to go to his class, and he met us at the hospital at 9:30. My parents picked me up and took me down to meet him! Again, not sure what we would do without them!


I needed some mama love before!! So thankful they are so involved in our journey!

I woke up Saturday morning excited and wide awake! I was doing really good until it got a little closer to time for us to leave. I was told to drink 64 oz of fluid that morning because I needed a full bladder for the transfer. Have you ever tried drinking that much fluid in an hour!! I started getting a little anxious while I was getting my breakfast and plenty of fluids together! My parents arrived, I got in the car, and all of a sudden I got super nervous and very emotional! Luckily it was a brief moment. I then entered a very quiet and prayerful mood. All of your texts and fb messages/comments really helped to calm my soul that morning! We were almost downtown, when traffic stopped on the interstate! I did begin to panic a little on the inside. There was no way around it. Nicholas beat us to the hospital and informed them that we would be a little late. We ended up only being about 15 minutes late thank goodness! It was not a problem at all!

When I arrived, we went back and got prepped right away! I was so happy that Nicholas got to be with me for the transfer! Dr. McLean came in and went over our embryo results, which were very very pleasing! She was super honest and very patient with us! She went over the risks of implanting one verses two based on our protocol. This was a decision that weighed heavy on my mind for a long time! Here’s what we discussed…

Being pregnant is risky for anyone, whether you became pregnant naturally or through more extensive measures. I know this all to well being in the profession that I’m in. For those of you who don’t know, I am a NICU nurse. I take care of sick and well babies. I have been to a LOT of deliveries in my 9 1/2 years as a baby nurse. While the majority of them go smoothly, there are ALWAYS risks. You never know what could go wrong. With IVF, the risks are significantly greater. This includes higher risks for mom and baby, especially when multiples are involved. For me, this would mean higher risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, prolonged recovery process, etc. For a baby, or more than likely babies (if more than one embryo is transferred), the risk of preterm birth is incredibly higher! I am a NICU nurse and none of this ever crossed my mind!

It was a blessing that Dr. McLean was there that morning! While she would have supported our decision to transfer two 100%, there was one statement she made that I will never forget. She told me, “If you were my sister, I would only implant one.” It may have been the heaviest emotional moment of my life. I started to cry because for what felt like the first time, I understood the magnitude of our decision. Our doctor also had tears in her eyes, and I realized how much she truly cared. She left us alone to talk. We decided without a single doubt to transfer one embryo. We had a peace that surpassed all of our understanding that morning!! We felt confident and so good about our decision. We left the risk of multiples up to the Man upstairs!!

While we’ve always thought twins would be fun (I know, we are crazy), our goal is one healthy baby!! We will gladly accept whatever God chooses to bless us with! I have to remind myself, it’s not up to us! Dr. McLean reminded us that we have a whole family ahead of us in our future! Here’s one interesting fact that she shared with us that might make you say…really? I have done a little research on it as well. Transferring one embryo verses  two does not increase your chances of pregnancy! Crazy, right? But it’s true.

Now for my fellow IVF warriors. I am by NO means saying I disagree with anyone’s decision to transfer more than one embryo! Everyone’s protocol is different! Some of you are on your 2nd to 5th round! I applaud you and have an immense amount of respect for you! Based on our protocol, our ages, our health, and the quality of our embryos, and all the other factors taken into account, without a doubt one was the way to go for us! Some of your protocols may even suggest implanting 3, it all just depends on the particular couple!

So far, everything has fallen into place for us. Now we patiently wait. While I know a lot of you are almost as eager as we are, we ask that you be patient as well! Our faith never fails us! It’s true. While we do not know what the outcome will be, please pray for us as we wait.

I guess I should add that our transfer went great! It was quick and painless. I have actually felt better this week than I have in a month! Our team at UAB has been incredible. It’s a big place, and they have a lot of patients. We haven’t once felt like we are part of a herd, just a number. The teamwork is seamless. You come into contact with a LOT of people through this process, and everyone has been wonderful! We are so thankful for our experience so far!

Nicholas had been home for over a month. He has been by my side and held my hand every single step of the way. He has taken care of me like nobody else ever could. We have a relationship that I thank God for every single day because I know it’s rare. My heart got on an airplane yesterday headed for SF. It was the hardest time I’ve ever had letting him go. I feel like some of my strength is gone when he isn’t here. I do not know what I would do without my friends and family who step in when I need them most! Thankfully he will be back next Tuesday, so pray with me that the days in between fly by!

This whole IVF round now feels like a dream. There were lots of emotions. Lots of medications. Lots of hard questions and decisions. Lots of doctors appointments. Lots of lab work. Lots of unknown!! I am so thankful that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!! God’s love isn’t conditional, and His grace is never temporary! My sister reminded me Saturday morning that we serve a good good Father!

“His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1


I just have to share this song! It is my prayer that no one ever feels alone!  I hope it blesses you as much as it has me!! If you are praying for us or supporting us in any way through this journey, I pray every single day that you will be blessed in return! I am so thankful that we are never alone!!

Retrieval and Transfer Update

While it has been an exciting, depressing, shocking, and overwhelming week in general for America, it has been an even more emotional and exciting week for our family!

While I haven’t felt much like getting out of the bed since Monday, I did get up Tuesday to join my hubby to vote. I feel honored to exercise my right as an American citizen. I’ve always said that I’m a terrible citizen bc I’ve never cared much about politics. I am a firm believer that God’s got the whole world in His hands (learned at a very early age)! I have friends, some who are more like family, of all races, religions, sexual orientation and nationalities! I respect their beliefs and opinions, and I expect them to respect mine! This is why I lay low, it’s not really that I don’t care, but, just like everything else in life…we have NO control when it really comes down to it! We were not blessed with life here on earth to be judgmental! It is NOT our place. James 4:12 says this, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor.” Okay, Im done. Thanks for listening!


our “i voted” selfie, but also our, “we just found out we have 10 growing embryos” selfie!!

Now, for the good and exciting news! 

It was hard to sleep Sunday night, but we slept better than I thought we would! Our Monday started at about 4:15 am. I’m so glad my parents went with us because it was nice knowing they were there! My mom surprised me with my absolute favorite lip stuff that morning!! She always thinks of the little things! I woke up that morning with a peace and comfort, knowing everything was going to be okay! We got to the office at 6:30 am, everything was all locked up, but there’s a phone to call and let them know your there. When I called, my favorite nurse answered. I felt even more at peace at this point! We were the ONLY people there, it was a little eerie! She took us back to the procedure suite to get us checked in and prepped. I felt like royalty! We were the only retrieval that day! I got changed, she started my IV in one stick (yay), and she started my antibiotic. I also got nausea meds before. My anesthesiologist was wonderful! She was super sweet, patient and very calming! At about 7:15 they took Nicholas to do his thing! They took me back right at 8. Nicholas got to stay with me the whole time, and he was there when I woke up! The knocked me out for the procedure, so I didn’t feel a thing. My 3 favorite doctors were in the room! I was so excited! When Dr. Bates (he did my surgery 8 years ago), asked what kind of music we wanted to listen to, it did bring back some memories bc I remember him asking the same exact thing right before I was put to sleep for my surgery then.

I woke up soon after they were done. The first thing I wanted to know what how many eggs they were able to get! They got 17!! So now we would wait till the next day to find out how many fertilized! We were headed home by about 10:30. I felt okay, crampy, but okay. Got home and went to bed. I was able to eat some lunch about 12:30. took a pain pill about 1pm, then my prescribed steroid at about 2:30. After that, I was beyond nauseated. I felt extremely weird. I’m not sure I have ever felt that way before. I felt like I was outside of my body. I was scared that it was the steroid, but we think it was just a mixture of all the meds and coming off anesthesia. I was miserable. I slept off and on all day and then slept through the night.

Luckily, I felt better on Tuesday! Nausea was pretty much gone. Crampiness still ever so present. I’m not sure what I thought I was going to feel like afterwards, but I wasn’t prepared to hurt! The most comfortable position was laying down, in my bed. I started taking estrogen yesterday too. I have NEVER taken so many drugs in my life! Here’s the exciting news we received…

As of Tuesday, we have 10 embryos growing!! 

When my nurse told me this, tears of joy started pouring from my eyes. 10 is a great number! 12 actually fertilized and 10 look good! I automatically felt like we have 10 babies. That doesn’t include the sweet one God chose not to give us just yet back in February! They will not recheck them until tomorrow. We are scheduled for our transfer on Saturday morning! We will find out then how many survived, and how they have been graded. We will also find out how many they will transfer. There’s no guarantee that any will survive, but our hope is in the Lord. He has held us and carried us through this entire process! He will carry us always. So until Saturday morning, I will sit around wondering and believing, but resting assured that God already knows!

My devotion from Tuesday was incredibly fitting. The header said this, “Today you can give way to fear-producing “what-ifs” or rest in the sovereign care of your wise and gracious Savior King” All of our personal stories, are a part of an even bigger story. They are all part of God’s huge plan, a story that will never end. Our lives, our personal stories, are just a small part of an even bigger one! I just have to share this part too…

“Your inclusion in this story took place before you breathed your first breath; in fact, it took place before anyone breathed his or her first breath. Because your story is woven into the fabric of the redemption story, there is meaning, purpose, and direction to every part of it. The inertia of redemption carries your story along. The goal of redemption guarantees your destiny. The future grace of eternity secures for you all the grace you will ever need in between. No, you won’t understand all that you face, and yes, God’s will will confuse you at points, but your story has been infused with meaning and purpose because it’s been included in God’s story of redemption and restoration.”

Even though every step has gone well so far, it’s still hard not to have “what-if”, or “why” moments. Why were they only able to retrieve 17 eggs? Why did only 10 eggs fertilize? Why did my life seem so unfair this past weekend? What if none of our embryos survive? What if they survive but aren’t good enough for transfer? Why am I still so uncomfortable? What if I get over-stimulated and my body rejects the transfer? Will I be able to endure this process again if it doesn’t work this time? You get the point, I could go on. Here’s my point,  if it weren’t for God’s redeeming grace, I would absolutely lose my mind! Thank goodness His mercies are new every single morning. He provides all the grace we need in the meantime!!

When my IVF nurse, who actually went through IVF herself, called today, I asked her if I was being a wimp bc I’m still so uncomfortable. She reassured me that I was not. My ovaries are still large and stimulated. There is a risk for overstimulation even after the transfer is done. We pray that this does not happen! I am on a lot of medications and my body has to adjust to a new one almost every day right now. This is just a season, and we are already stronger because of it! I am reminded of this verse from Ecc 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” This is our time, our story, all a part of God’s even bigger plan. His timing is absolutely perfect!

Nicholas has been patiently meeting my every need. Every time I grimace or moan, he is there. Every time I need a drink or something to eat, he is there. Every time I need to cry, he is there. Every time I need to take a pill, he is there. God knew that he was the only man that would be patient and humble enough to take care of me!!

My parents have been there for us 100%. They were there to support us Monday and they brought us dinner Tuesday night! I’ve also been a couch potato at their house a couple of days, just to get out of our house! They also cater to my every need!

I may still be uncomfortable, but we are in a good place!! We are very excited! I feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful. I’m not worried or scared. I know that God’s will will be done. I don’t know how anyone could go through this process without His grace, or without friends and family praying them through it! Thank you all for your prayers!! Keep them coming!


the sunset was breath taking tonight!!