Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
My first Mehaffey nephew is finally here!! Matthew and Heather are real parents! They welcomed Mason Ryan into the world on October 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM. He is first and foremost perfect. And wonderful. And also, he debuted at 18 inches long and 7 lbs, 9 oz. You guys, I LOVE him!!
Let me show off a few pictures of the excitement!
|No Birth Day is complete without a cake!|
The proud papa and his bundle of joy
|Brand new family of three!!|
|Three generations of Mehaffey men|
|Mason Ryan Mehaffey|
Basically, he's awesome. The whole family is completely in love with him, and I'm so happy to be an aunt again! God is so good and gracious with his wonderful blessings!!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Right around nine months ago (how ironic), I mentioned that finding and maintaining hope in our fertility process was a struggle for me. A lot has happened since then. For starters, my sister gave me a very special necklace for Christmas. It has a pendant inscribed with the word "hope" accompanied by two jewels: a teal one, which is the awareness color for my condition of PCOS, and a pearl, representing motherhood. She wanted to provide me with some tangible hope while I couldn't find my own. It is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. Since then, it has dangled from the mirror in my car as a constant reminder of what we're moving towards. During the days when I thought all hope was lost, I could simply look up and find it dancing right in front of my eyes.
In 2012, we had exhausted all of the support we could receive from my original OB/GYN. In February of this year, we sought a second opinion from another doctor who came highly recommended by friends. He pretty much confirmed what we knew by agreeing that we would need to have procedures performed that regular doctors are not equipped to do, requiring specialized assistance. It was hard to accept that Brad and I would never naturally conceive a child at home in love. That was a loss of opportunity that we had to grieve. However, this doctor was much gentler and kinder about the news and was able to put the perspective in significantly more positive terms. He assured me that fertility treatments were not a death sentence, but rather a chance to consult the experts in the field who literally do this for a living.
In March, Brad and I sucked up our pride and swallowed all of our fears of owning an "infertile label," and we nervously walked into Nashville Fertility Center. We had mixed emotions of despair because, after years of trying, we could no longer fool ourselves into thinking we were "normal couples with a typical level of difficulty," as well as determination to finally call in the Big Guns. We were more than ready to officially get this show on the road.
Immediately following our first consultation with Dr. W, I knew we were in an additional pair of good hands. With his expertise combined with God's power, I started to see sparkles of hope in my vision even without the dangling pendant in my eyesight. In the four months since Dr. W. has been part of our story, things have started picking up. I've tripled the dosage of my daily PCOS medication, checked and rechecked various blood levels, consulted (and ruled out) a medical endocrinologist for possible obscure hormonal defects, and undergone surgery to remove harmful tissue from endometriosis and also repair if possible, but mostly likely remove, a damaged fallopian tube.
But, you guys, Brad and I experienced our first "victory" when Dr. W. came out of surgery and said he did not need to remove the tube! All of us were nearly positive it was going to have to happen, and we had all prepared for fertility chances and options with only one fallopian tube present. He not only did not have to remove it, but he said both tubes as well as my uterus are in perfect condition! Either God healed my anatomy over the last year (which is entirely possible!) or the dye test/x-ray had been misleading, probably because of muscle cramping and resistance during the procedure. Hallelujah! God is Good! I never thought I'd consider it such a cause for celebration to simply have all of my reproductive organs in tact!
|(Flowers from sweet friends post-surgery)|
The next immediate step is an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), aka artificial insemination. During this procedure, they will take Brad's sperm and inject it directly into my uterus with hopes that it finds and fertilizes an egg in either of my two fallopian tubes. These procedures will be accompanied by rounds of Clomid to help me ovulate, but with a doubled dosage from was prescribed the previous six times I took it. If need be, after a couple failed IUIs with Clomid, we'll modify the drug to Femara, which I've only taken once before (but didn't enjoy the side effects of). If the oral medication and IUI combos don't result in a conception at any point, then we'll switch to injectable drugs. They're much more effective, much more successful, much more invasive, and much more expensive, so I hope it doesn't come to that. If IUIs don't ever work after all of the various drugs are attempted, then our general next step is IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), but we aren't going that far in our minds just yet, so calm back down.
Things seem to finally be getting real, and Brad and I have many emotions right now, however, they aren't necessarily the same as each other. While he (and many of my close friends) are super encouraged that this next step could be the final one, I'm keeping realistic and grounded expectations that it is just the next step in a remaining list of steps in our journey toward parenthood. But Brad and I are both extremely excited to be taking what seem to be bigger steps than we ever have before. We're excited to have a plan and be proactive and aggressive. We're excited to be working with a doctor and a facility that we wholeheartedly trust. I'm so happy to finally feel like we're in a safe place with people who truly want the same thing for us as badly as we do and who will do whatever they can to make it happen. What a great feeling.
Conversely, we're also both scared. What if it finally happens? What if it's not just a dream anymore but is finally real life? What if we become parents?? Yikes! So much to plan, budget, and do! But we're simultaneously scared of the opposite, too. What if it doesn't happen? What if even this step doesn't work. What if it's just another failed task on a checklist that we have to continue trudging through. How do we (I) stay out of the despair that follows such disappointment and heartbreak? Ugh. As a result of this overwhelming risk, I'm doing what I can to guard my heart. Everybody else can let their hopes soar, but I'm going to keep them right around eye level. And ya know what, eye level is still five feet higher than they were nine months ago, so I very much consider that success in the hope department!
So, y'all, if you would, keep your fingers crossed and your prayers lifted that God will soon bless us with a child, and that our hearts will handle the process, however long, in the meantime. You guys rock!
PS. I've been purposefully vague about the timing of the future procedures. Even though I'm exponentially grateful for all of your love and support, I'm not sure I'm ready to handle all of the emotions, excitement, anticipation, disappointment, etc. of others as well as myself. I'm not trying to be rude in any way, but I ask that you please be considerate by not asking more specific details or asking if we're pregnant yet or when we'll find out. I promise I will share the (good?) news as soon as we decide we're comfortable. If we haven't said anything, it's either because we don't know yet, so we have nothing to tell you; no we're not, and I'm hoping to not have to verbalize that sentence any more than is absolutely necessary; or yes we are, but we haven't told you yet because we're waiting for a specific reason and your asking won't negate that reason, so we're going to lie about it anyway. Does that all make sense? However, those three questions are the only ones that I ask remain off the table. Everything else, bring it on! If you are full of hope, let me know! Maybe I'll catch some of it! If you're feeling guarded about it, help keep me grounded. I've invited you all into this journey, and I'd love to share it with you as much as you are interested. Your outpouring of love and support on my previous fertility-related posts have provided so much encouragement and happiness. Thank you so much!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
My hubs has been my hubs for eight full years, now. My how time flies.
We celebrated our anniversary in style by going to a fancy restaurant.
We sat outside by the flowers and got to watch the sun set during our meal. Every bite of every single thing we ate was absolutely delicious. We shared a cheese assortment for an appetizer and a berry cobbler for dessert. For our entrees, Bradley chose the "Seared halibut over caramelized fennel and Vidalias in a blood orange vinaigrette," and I picked the "Roasted Amish Chicken over parmesan whipped potatoes in a caramelized fennel, smoked bacon and chive jus." You guys, it was amazing! And each course was paired with a wine that perfectly complimented the taste of the food. We really felt like high rollers.
The night was very romantic, and it was fun to celebrate another milestone in such a classy way. We like being fancy every now and then.
Eight years. It's gone by so quickly, and it's also been forever. I still can't believe it. How have eight whole years already passed us by?
Love you, Boo!!
Monday, May 20, 2013
So, you know how much the hubs and I absolutely love New York City? The minute we concluded our week-long trip in 2011, we vowed we would return as soon as we could, specifically to consume as much Broadway as possible. Well, we finally got to go again! And this time, we were accompanied by all of the Mehaffey siblings!
|Times Square on Day 1|
The six of us, including Matthew & Heather and Jeremy & Madison, spent a long Friday-Monday weekend in the Big Apple. We travelled and stayed together, but spent much of the weekend doing separate things, since each couple had various priorities and agendas. To keep up with each other, we all agreed to hash tag everything we posted on any social media with #MehaffeyNYC to group it together. So 2013, huh?
|On the plane, waiting for take off!|
Brad found the perfect place in Queens for us to stay during our mini-vacation through VRBO. It was a quick walk to the nearest subway station, and then a kinda-quick train ride into the city. Splitting the cost three ways made this the cheapest stay we could dream of in NYC.
The house had three bedrooms (one of which had two sets of bunk beds, so we could have had so many more people!), two full bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a beautiful back courtyard, and even a garage that had been converted to a game/exercise room (which we never used, because let's face it, we're spending time in the city, not playing ping pong in our back yard). We stocked the kitchen with milk and cereals, and had a nice little place to call home for the weekend.
After unloading our belongings in Queens, our first stop naturally had to be Times Square. I hereby declare this crazy location my favorite place on Earth. (I reserve the right to change my mind after visiting Disney World and/or Harry Potter World.) I could quite literally spend all of my time amidst the chaos, crowds, lights, and general over-stimulation packed into these few blocks. I absolutely love it.
While we were walking around, Madison and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase some new, cool shades from a street vendor in prep for our upcoming weekend.
After a quick run-through of The Greatest Place on Earth, we headed "home" to get gussied up for our first Broadway show of the weekend. Each couple saw something different: Matthew and Heather went to see Wicked and Jeremy and Madison saw Jersey Boys.
Brad and I went to Annie, since it's stage revival is what originally prompted this whole Broadway trip in the first place. Bradley grew up watching the home video version of this story, and it was fun to share this live experience with him. Not to mention the young child performers were incredible!
Concluding each of our Friday night shows, we all gathered together on the Red Steps of Times Square before heading to a late night group dinner.
We walked a couple of blocks to the famous Ellen's Stardust Diner where all of the staff are aspiring stars who entertain the guests by performing various songs. We didn't expect much going in, but they were actually very good! Last year alone, twelve of their staff made their Broadway debuts. It was so much fun, and delicious too!
After such a long day starting with an early flight and ending with a dinner that didn't finish until after midnight, we were all exhausted. Brad even took a catnap while standing up in the train on the way back to our house. Ha.
Our four siblings left the house early the next morning to visit the 9/11 Memorial, but we oldest Mehaffeys enjoyed our rest since we did that during our last visit. While I got ready for the day, Brad walked around the corner to a local bakery for some coffee, just like a local.
The cute shoes I insisted upon wearing to Broadway Friday night resulted in starting Saturday off with a trip to the Walgreens near our train station in order to pick up some blister helpers. The price of beauty isn't cheap, and we had a full weekend still ahead of us!
You can't visit New York City without depending on some vendors for a cheap lunch, so Brad and I gladly met our street meat criteria while we were waiting to meet up with the other Mehaffeys near the Financial District.
Together, the six of us travelled across the Brooklyn Bridge. This was one of the landmarks B and I had only seen from afar (well, from below, actually, as we floated under it on our Thanksgiving Dinner cruise) during our first visit. It was a pretty long and warm walk over the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but it was awesome to experience one of the country's oldest (and most beautiful) suspension bridges in person.
And the experience itself wasn't all we gained from the walk across the bridge. Directly on the other side rests one of the best pizza places in town: Grimaldi's Pizzeria. It came highly recommended, and the strong suggestions were absolutely warranted. The wait was long, but the authentic New York style pizza was worth it.
After we finished our pizza pies, we all split ways, and the hubs and I headed to our second Broadway musical for the weekend: Newsies. Y'all, this show was so good!! It was 2 1/2 hours solid of incredible dancing! At any given time, 12-15 people were on the stage leaping through the air, doing flips off of props, soaring over other guys, or spinning so fast that they were a blur. I literally spent the entire time on the edge of my seat with my mouth hanging open. Oftentimes, I couldn't keep my hands from my face in shock of what they were capable of doing (and fear that they'd die, because those stunts were so dangerous!). It's no wonder that they won a Tony Award for Best Choreography. Seriously, find clips online and watch them. Trust me. It's awesome. I will definitely watch this musical again at the nearest possible opportunity. It was by far my personal favorite of the weekend.
Since I was already on such a musical high from the performance, we decided we needed to add a sugar rush to the evening after the show. The best place in NYC to achieve such a task is Serendipity 3, where they are famous for their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. However, I'm not the hugest fan of chocolate (yeah, yeah) and I always prefer anything strawberry, so B and I split the Strawberry Fields Sundae. Talk about yum. It was a sweet way to finish out our New York City Saturday.
Sunday morning, the whole group started out at Central Park. The three of us ladies got the only Mrs. Mehaffeys photo of the weekend.
It was fun to experience Central Park in the spring as opposed to the fall. It was so green everywhere, and there were so many flowers in bloom.
Once the couples separated, my Mr. Mehaffey and I visited the Central Park Zoo. It may be a relatively small zoo, but we had a great time enjoying the exotic animals that even Nashville's big zoo is lacking. Our favorites were the fancy penguins, and the massive snow leopards, the crazy baboon, and the super smart and talented sea lions. It was quite a romantic afternoon walking hand-in-hand with my boo, if I do say so myself.
Since the Middles (Matthew and Heather) were only on 5th Avenue, which is one of the streets lining Central Park, we met up with them for a while when we were finished.
We may or may not have spent hours playing in the giant FAO Schwartz toy store. Again. That place is so much fun! And I'm pretty sure it's a rule that you have to pose for a picture with the living toy soldier at the door. You know we like to follow the rules.
That afternoon, the whole gang got together to attend the final musical of the weekend: The Lion King. Even though many of us preferred a different show to this one, it was still cool to get to share a Broadway experience as a family. (And you can't beat the costumes on display in this play!)
Besides attending as many musicals as possible, the only other thing that was a must on my NYC agenda was eating dinner at Shake Shack, which I had previously declared the best burger and fries combo in the country. Talk about yum. There was a long line out the door, and we had to hover around a table of people about to finish and then attack their chairs as soon as they gathered their trays to secure some seats, but I'd do it all over again for this delicious meal. Even if we did have to enjoy our food while being hovered over by our own vultures waiting for us to finish so they could score our spots. Totally worth it.
While all six of us were together for the only time all weekend, we took the opportunity to visit Grand Central Terminal. Since Brad and I were total lame-o tourists last time we visited taking the self-guided audio tours, we acted like annoying know-it-alls this time around and showed the newbies some of the coolest aspects of the landmark. Specifically the spot where you can speak into one corner, and someone else can plainly hear you from the opposite corner. I'm not going to admit how long we spent standing with our noses against the walls whispering (somewhat inappropriate) comments to our siblings. Fun was had by all.
By the end of our third day, we were all ready to relax and give our sore feet a break. Most of us Mehaffeys enjoy the TV show How I Met Your Mother, so we decided to hang out at McGee's Pub, which is the inspiration for the TV series' main set, McLaren's Pub. Framed photos of the cast members were displayed throughout the bar, and they even had a specialty cocktail list that consisted of drinks featured on the show and drank by the characters. It was a great place for all of us to close out and recap our NYC weekend.
Our flight left early on Monday, so we didn't have any time to enjoy the city other than the exciting cab ride with 6 passengers and 7 bags squished together all the way to the airport. We were very sad to be leaving our Empire State of Mind.
The six Mehaffey siblings filed onto a Southwest direct flight back home. We were sad to be going, but also very glad that we all made it on the same flight this time. (Oh yeah, Matthew and Heather just barely missed the plane from Nashville to New York on Friday for circumstances out of their control, so they had to catch the next flight out that day and join up with us later.) Boarding the same plane was a Mehaffey victory.
It was very bittersweet to arrive back in Nashville and trade out all of the I ♥ NY souvenirs we had grown accustomed to for shirts with guitars and music notes, but it does feel good to be home.
Even though we did a lot of great things in the Big Apple, it was still a pretty laid back weekend for the hubs and me. (Read: There was no color-coded, detailed itinerary involved.) Brad and I wanted to see a musical every day, but other than that, we had no specific plans going into the trip. It was so much fun to wake up in Queens and simply ask each other, "What would you like to do today?" Yeah, we could pretty much visit NYC every year and never get tired of it.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering, by the conclusion of it all, we ended up with a combined 130 different photos and additional pictureless posts from the trip filed under our specific #MehaffeyNYC hash tag. #Sweet