Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday, y'all!  I made it through my first full week of school with students and it's been wonderful!  Literally, my students are so, so good!  I'm so thankful for this year's bunch!  

But you know what else I'll be thankful for?  FALL TEMPS!  It's been so hot and muggy here lately and mugginess and the humidity is the WORST!  I cannot wait for a cool, crisp morning while burning my fall scented BBW candle haha!

As always, today I'm sharing some of my favorites!

I just wanted to thank everyone who reached out on the blog or through email regarding my post on Wednesday.  God blessed me so much that day with all of the encouragement and prayers from y'all and that was so unexpected.  So again, thank you for being so kind!

 It's been so hot lately (see my intro haha) and I've been unmotivated to workout.  But its all worth it when you finish a workout and you feel great after!  (It also helps when your Apple watch is paired with your sister and she works out at 6 AM)  I'm headed to Fleet Feet this afternoon to get a new and much needed pair!

 A sweet student gifted me with this Harry Potter bookmark!  She saw my HP stuff in my class and asked me which house was my favorite.  The next day she brought me a Gryffindor bookmark--so sweet!

 Small town living at its finest--truck probs = your husband and the shop owner (also a friend) underneath the truck in the parking lot.  Looks like Dustin's truck is going to need a pricey repair 😢

And then he found a screw in my tire, so if you watched my IG story last night you saw where the Shaneyfelt men plugged it.

And this is what I'm so excited about!!!  Last year Emily and I joined together and teamed up on fall favorite posts in September.  We had such an interest that we decided to make it a link up!!  Please join us for 3 weeks in September where we share our fall favorites!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin!

Linking up with Erika, Christine, and Amanda

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Struggle with Infertility

I’m so nervous to share this publically but I’ve felt a nudging sensation that can only be the Lord and the more I push it away the more disobedient I become.  I hope that our story points you to God’s goodness in the midst of our suffering.

            September of this year will be two years of Dustin and I actively trying to have children.  That’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around it because I never thought that we would be a couple that struggles to get pregnant.  It’s been hard, but it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would (until recently) because the Lord has been so gracious to us in this time of suffering.  Trusting in God’s plan for our family hasn’t always been the easiest but God is forever good and knowing and repeating that truth has made all the difference.  I’ve learned that I struggle so much with wanting to feel in control of my life and having children by a certain age is definitely something that I’ve tried to control.

            To summarize quickly, after lots of fertility medicine and a few IUIs along with switching to a new fertility doctor, I found out that I had severe endometriosis and had surgery in December of 2016.  I had no idea and found out that my pain tolerance is extremely high.  I didn’t really want anyone to know about that surgery because I assumed that once people knew it was because I had endometriosis then they would automatically assume we were trying to get pregnant.  Our parents didn’t even know at this point because we had dreamed of ideas on how to surprise them with a pregnancy announcement.  While I was still in recovery, the doctor told Dustin that she wasn’t expecting my endometriosis to be so bad and that she honestly felt like IVF would be our best option to get pregnant.  December was a very hard month for me.  Recovery from surgery was rough and then being faced with the news that getting pregnant naturally would be extremely difficult was a lot to deal with that month.  We finally told our families and close friends after Christmas.

            One thing God has blessed us with through infertility is that our faith has grown tremendously.  Knowing that the only lasting joy comes through Christ and resting in the biblical truths of God have been the only things that have made this suffering bearable.  Once Dustin and I were referred to our first fertility doctor, our prayer was for God to give us clarity in the direction He wanted us to take.  I prayed that prayer all the time, and after my follow up surgery visit with my current doctor, we felt a calm in choosing the path of IVF.  Even starting IVF and during IVF I was still praying for clarity and wisdom.

We are so thankful that our insurance covers a majority of the medicine because both boxes contain THOUSANDS of dollars worth of medicines!

            We were supposed to start my IVF meds late February to give my body time to heal from surgery, but it wouldn’t cooperate and I didn’t get to start until late April.  What I didn’t know about IVF is that you begin birth control for a few weeks to suppress your hormones before beginning the shots that are supposed to ramp up your hormones.

Nightly stim meds

            My first round of IVF meds began late April and were stopped on Day 8 because my body wasn’t responding to the meds like they were supposed to.  That was upsetting to both Dustin and I because based on the calendar they gave us, I would be pregnant over Mother’s Day and have my actual blood test confirmation a few days after.  Obviously that was something I was excited about, and I was devastated when the doctor cancelled my round.  That Mother’s Day was hard for me and I’m so thankful that Dustin took that day off of work so that I wouldn’t have to be alone.  Dustin has been the best supporter and encourager throughout this entire journey, and I know that I couldn’t do it without him by my side. 

My shot each night for stim meds

            I was put back on birth control and given my next calendar which had me starting my new meds on July 2.  Because I went up on my dosage over double, I had to be extremely careful.  I couldn’t do anything to jar my pelvis because I was at a high risk of twisting my ovaries.  Dustin drew up and administered my shots so I never worried about anything (this may be the only time I've ever been thankful for his type 1 diabetes!  Thankful the Lord prepared him in advance to give all of my shots!).  All of my stim meds were administered in my stomach and by the time we had finished all of those, I had bruises all over my stomach from the meds. 

 My stomach is swollen because my ovaries are so huge.

My poor body was bruised and beaten up but I've realized that you'll go through anything for what you want.

My first check up showed that my follicles (the sacs inside your ovaries that contain the eggs) weren’t growing again like they were supposed to.  I cried at that visit because it was the exact same thing that had happened the previous round.  But it was Dustin who pointed me to Christ and told me to trust that God was sovereign over that moment.  (See, I married a really amazing man!)  My next appointment was on a Sunday morning at 7:30 AM and my mom went with me.  That appointment confirmed that my body was doing what it should and that my follicles were growing.

 Going through our retrieval checklist while Dustin preps my trigger shot

trigger shot

            Once we found out that my body had made it, we then scheduled egg retrieval for July 13.  I was so nervous.  Dustin had to give me my trigger shot 36 hours before and it’s intramuscular.  I had to battle the fear of the trigger shot not working correctly and there not being any eggs to retrieve.  Worry and control are things I have to really work on, and it’s really been pointed out to me during our struggle with infertility.  The retrieval went great and we ended up with 3 embryos….3 babies.

Ready for retrieval!  

            Since the meds I had been on were so strong, my doctor had originally planned for us to do a frozen embryo transfer because my body would need time to calm down hormonally.  But since my body did great, she scheduled a fresh transfer 5 days after retrieval.  Dustin and I decided together not to tell anyone about this.  IVF robs a couple of the ability to surprise their friends and families with a pregnancy.  We knew that this would be our chance to still surprise everyone. 

            The transfer was on July 18 and we chose to transfer 2 embryos.  It went exactly as it should and once Dustin and I made it back to the car, I burst into tears because at that point, I was pregnant for the first time.  I stared at the picture of our babies and was so thankful to God that He brought us that far.  One of the things I’ve really learned through suffering with infertility is that you have to have good theology if you’re going to survive.  Throughout this entire process I’ve rested in the truth that God is good always—in the dark times and in the joyous times.  He’s good and He never changes even when our circumstances and plans change.

 We had just arrived to the hospital before our embryo transfer.  We were so excited to become parents!

This was taken right before we were taken back for the embryo transfer.

Our pregnancy test bloodwork was scheduled for Thursday, July 27.  I’ve read that most women who go through IVF take home pregnancy tests before but since the days before our appointment were Dustin’s birthday and then our anniversary, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I woke up on our anniversary, July 26th, with spotting.  I knew at that moment that I wasn’t pregnant.  I was devastated.  I cried a lot that day—I mourned the loss of our two babies while feeling incredibly guilty that Dustin had to rearrange our anniversary plans that he had made because I couldn’t make it in public.  I wanted that day to be a happy day, but I just couldn’t do it.  The next morning we had an appointment in Huntsville for my bloodwork.  I woke up feeling okay and inside I was hoping that I was wrong—that I was pregnant.  We got the call that afternoon and I made Dustin answer the phone.  After he told me I wasn’t pregnant, I immediately became angry.  Angry that I was right the day beforehand, angry that my body was betraying me yet again, and angry that we couldn’t have the children we constantly prayed for while so many women around me got pregnant so easily.  I did not want to read my Bible that night or pray, but I did ask God to not let my heart harden from this experience.

Our two precious babies--at that moment, I was pregnant and we were so very happy

Infertility is hard.  It’s hard when you want something so bad, but you know that it wasn’t in God’s timing—but He is still good.  Even when I don’t feel it (and I didn’t when I found out we weren’t pregnant), I still KNOW and that’s the most important thing.  I’ve learned that it’s okay to allow myself to feel angry and upset because the Psalms are filled with people crying out to God in their suffering, but those same Psalms also end with praising God for His goodness and grace.  I allowed myself the 27th to be angry, and then when I woke up the next morning, God had given me a new day.  My ultimate purpose here on this Earth is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  That is my focus.  And although Dustin and I still hurt from losing 2 babies, in a way we’ve become thankful for our suffering.  Our marriage has grown, our relationships with the Lord have grown, and we’re going to be so much better parents because we know the purpose of our parenting—to point our children toward Christ.  I can see that God is shaping us and preparing us, and even though the wait is hard and painful and we don’t understand why, we trust in Him.

This is just a small glimpse into the struggle of infertility that we’re dealing with currently.  I hope to share our entire story at a later time.  Please, please pray for us as we long to be parents.  Pray for our wisdom in the decisions we make and pray that we keep our eyes focused on Christ.  Above all, I hope that you see God’s goodness in our story.  This Bible verse has been one that I constantly repeat to myself: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26: 3-4

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Home Tour Tuesday: August 2017

Guess what today is?!  

Eek!  I am so so SO excited to be bringing this series back to the blog!  Today I am featuring Morie Smith from Salt Creek Wife.  She has such a cute blog and we both love John Mayer, so you know we're definitely meant to be friends!

Welcome to her precious home!

Welcome to our home!! We moved here a year and few months ago for my husband to start internal medicine residency. This is our first home together, and when looking for a home to buy, we both agreed that we loved this one the most! It is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house and we were shocked when our two bedroom apartment filled it right up! 

The first photo was taken our first Sunday here. The only thing that's really changed since this is that we hung a Texas Tech flag off the center between the front windows. Wreck 'em, Tech!

So, here is where you are once you first step inside our home. On the long wall, we have a few hangings-- the end square one and the middle one are from Hobby Lobby, and the end circular one was made by a sweet friend as a wedding gift. The wooden crosses were handmade and picked up in random places. 

The mint bench has been with me since college and has had a few makeovers over the last several years (I've repainted and reupholstered it at least two or three times). I picked it up for $20 at an antique shop in Lubbock, and I think it has been well worth this for all the time I've had it and all the looks it has had. I love having it there as a decorative piece, and as a catch-all for my purse and other things I bring in from my car, but truth be told, my husband is not it's biggest fan (it does block traffic a little, or at least narrows its flow) and I don't know that it will live there forever. Above this, I have my vintage Nancy Drew collection on these shelves, along with a few of our engagement pictures.

 Next room you will see is our living room. This is where we probably spend the majority of our time. We like that our house has a good division between all the main rooms (living, dining, and kitchen), but that it still feels pretty open. 

The fireplace is my favorite part of the living room. I have styled, restyled, and styled this again, and finally feel like I've gotten it just right. The only thing I change is hanging holiday tapestries that my husband's aunt sews for us during the fall.

 On the mantel, we have a canvas print from our wedding, a decorative "S" (which I collect), our family Bible given to us for our wedding, a display of wooden pens that Steven handmade, and a shadowbox of pictures and his spurs from when Steven went to bull riding school (this was a one-time adventure, but something very cool that I like to commemorate!). On the hearth, on one side we have candles from Hobby Lobby on top of my Pride and Prejudice collection (I collect copies of all kinds of Pride and Prejudice because it is my all time favorite book), another decorative "S", and a decorative lantern. On the other side, there is a bucket of cotton blooms (our homage to West Texas!) on top of more vintage books (Jane Eyre, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, A Little Princess, The Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland), with two more decorative lanterns, a decorative "S", and a hand-painted wooden bird Steven's granny gave us. I made the grapevine wreath next to the fireplace with cotton blooms and an "S" from Hobby Lobby. 

The lamp on the side table was made by long time family friends of Steven's family. It was turned from a mesquite tree on their family land outside Midland and is very special to us. 

The picture wall is kind of half in the living room (our wedding photos), and half in the hallway leading to the guest bath and 3 other bedrooms. Right now, we have one as Steven's office, and two as guest bedrooms (with one having all my craft supplies/ my office), but we are in the process of transitioning one into a baby room! Baby Smith will be here in February, so we are consolidating my craft/ office needs into the bigger guest room and turning the smaller one into the baby's room once it is old enough to sleep in its own room. 

 Our dining room has been the most put-together room of our house from day one, and has just always been easy to keep together. I change tablecloths every so often, but that one is from World Market. The extra chairs in the corners are actually folding chairs (even though they don't look like it), the owl pillows are from Earthbound Trading Company and I made the green pillows behind them.

On one side wall, we have vintage postcards from our honeymoon in Hawaii, and on the other side, we have our Texas wall. There are postcards of our favorite cities in Texas, and other Texas decor. Next to this, I have somewhat of a baker's rack with all my cookbooks. My kitchen gallery wall has a few signs from Hobby Lobby, a Mary and Martha dish towel on a canvas from one of my dear college friends, and a few custom pieces that were made for us as wedding gifts. (It's hard to see, but the top wooden square is a cutting board laser engraved with a buck and doe that has our names, and our anniversary is on the tree like someone carved it). 

Our kitchen is probably my second favorite room in the house. I love to bake, so I love being in the kitchen! (I like to cook... but I LOVE to bake!). I love all the counter space and all the room we have for cooking and fun treasures! 

My Tech plate was a graduate school graduation gift from a dear friend and mentor and one of my top favorite things in the kitchen! My canisters and utensil holder on this side are all Fiesta (Fiesta is the best!!). I switch out the tea towels on the stove for holidays, but right now I have one that says "You are My Sunshine" that was a gift from Steven's granny, and one with a dressed up llama from World Market (because, one, who doesn't love llamas? and two, I dare you to look at a llama and not smile!). My turquoise mason jar accessories (I have the cookie jar, spoon rest, utensil holder, and stacking measuring cups) are all from World Market. The flower print canisters are Pioneer Woman, and that's usually who's cookbook I have on my cookbook stand! Our turquoise Keurig is a fairly recent addition, and I love it!! On the other side, we have the sink and my one of my most prized possessions-- my KitchenAid stand mixer. I love that thing like our fifth child (that includes 3 fur children, and one growing unborn human one). The mason jar cookie jar holds my dishwasher tabs, and the elephant cookie jar is a special gift from Steven's granny. Before we got married, she picked this out because she said someone gave her and her husband (who's been passed away for several years now) an elephant tea pot the was very special to them. She said elephants are special and good luck, and I love that gorgeous cookie jar! One, because it's special, and two, because it's so colorful and really ties everything together! On the counter above the sink is proof positive that I have a black thumb, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn't even keep succulents alive. I need to dump them out and start over but I haven't gotten there yet! 

At the end of every tour, I always ask the same five questions.  These are Morie's answers:

1.     What’s your favorite thing about your house?
 My favorite thing about our house is our master bedroom. It has huge vaulted ceilings, and then a sitting room off the side, so I love how spacious and open it is. Even after a year, it's still not completely decorated exactly how I'd like, but I love all the space so much! 

2.     If you were to build again, what is something that you would do differently?
Our home was a new build, but we had no say in the building of it-- it was completely done by the time we were ready to look for houses and came across it. But, with that being said, there's not really anything we don't like. We looked at several houses before picking this one, and feel like it has everything we'd want. The only things we really plan to change in the future for our forever home is just straight up more space. We like the layout of this one, we'd maybe just want one twice as big later on. 

3.     What’s your favorite memory that you have made in your house?
 I have lots of favorite memories! This is our first house together (we lived in an apartment for two months right after getting married before moving here), so pretty much every married "first" has happened here-- first married Christmas, first wedding anniversary, etc. But, I would probably say surprising my husband to tell him he's going to be a dad is my favorite memory in this house so far. 

4.     Any plans for your house in the future?
This sweet house is going to see a lot of firsts with us, but not be in our lives forever! As is the life in medicine, we are not going to be here forever, and will say goodbye to this house in a few years. We will for sure be here until June 2019, but there's a chance we will move for fellowship training then. If we stay for fellowship, then we will for sure move in June 2022. Our hope is to land back in West Texas for my husband to practice because we love it, and it's home. This is a great home, and it will be great to someone else whenever our time here is finished! 

5.     What’s your favorite store to shop for home décor?
 I am a little DIY when it comes to home decor, so Hobby Lobby is usually my go-to. I also love Target and World Market. A lot of pieces around our house are junk or antique finds, or special things we've collected/ inherited, so they've just been picked up at random places here and there.

Thank you Morie for sharing your home with us!  I love how special you've made everything in your home!

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Linking up with Whitney and Lindsay
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