My first born is diabetic


My first born is Toby, our beautiful yellow Labrador retriever. He’s 10 1/2 years old, and I have raised him since he was since the tender age of 5 months. He means the world to me. He sleeps in an oversized orthopedic dog bed next to my side of our bed, and that’s only because with me, Brent and Toby in the bed, I turn into a contortionist.

A couple weeks ago Toby started acting different. He didn’t spend much time out of his bed, which was unusual for him since he loves to be with us at all times. He started panting heavily and waking up in the middle of the night for water and to go outside.

As my husband says, Toby has always been a “heavy drinker,” but out of nowhere he started begging for more and more water. I had to fill a big mixing bowl and put it by his bed at night so he could quench his insatiable thirst throughout the night. He also started acting like his hips were hurting him a lot.

I thought perhaps it was his winter dog coat coming in. Perhaps the change in weather was making him “clammy?” Maybe we weren’t talking him out enough. I made up all kinds of excuses in my mind, but in my heart I was pretty sure I knew the cause of his distress — dog diabetes.

We woke up one day last week and Toby wouldn’t eat his dog food. He’s a Lab — that just wasn’t right! I knew we had to get him to the vet. It was my 35th birthday and it was truly a gift to be able to take Toby to our wonderful vet clinic and get him checked out.

A blood test revealed the truth: our little wet-nosed blonde had sky-high sugar in his blood. Doctor Rouchon put him on prescription metabolic dog food and gave a stern warning: “No more dry dog food.” I always thought the canned food wasn’t good for dogs due to a higher fat content. But the vet told me that’s just not true. Dry dog food is loaded with carbohydrates and too many of those can cause insulin resistance and/or Type 2 diabetes in dogs.

One day after starting on the diabetic dog food, Toby seemed more like himself, spending time with us in the living room and kitchen (of course lol) and his thirst seemed to have abated. He seemed to regain some energy and just seemed happier and more lively. What a relief! My dog mom’s heart swelled.

It’s been a few days now and Toby seems to be adjusting. He didn’t eat all of his lunch today, but gobbled it up later after I topped it with some frozen green beans. Dog dinner went down much easier. We’ll go in Monday and leave Toby with Dr. Rouchon to have glucose tests done throughout the day. If the new food is working, we can stick with that. If not, he might need to start on insulin.

Apart from that, we just need to sort out his achy body and what seems to be arthritis.

I’m so thankful for a great vet and the healing power of God, who cares for ALL His creatures.  I’m also so thankful for the chance to take care of this beautiful animal. He is a true joy and the light of my life. After all the years that he has taken care of me, it’s my privilege to be able to care for his little whiskered face.

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Time, waiting and being OK with it


We are on Day 2 of our “two-week-wait,” or so they call the time between trying to make a baby and taking a blood test to find out if we’re pregnant.

Most women dread this time — the uncertainty makes the hours seem to drag — but I am a bit refreshed that all we have to do is wait. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to know if “it worked,” but a break from the doctor’s appointments, injections, pills and, well … other major efforts.

If we’re not pregnant this time around, we will have to go through it all again, but that’s OK. Now that it’s so close I’m in as much of a hurry. I’ve wanted a baby since I was 27. Every kid I saw made me tear up, hoping I wouldn’t get too old to be a good Mom.

Then I turned 30, and I thought I was too old. Unmarried, not even dating, and no prospects on the horizon. I said I didn’t want to have a child past 35. When my husband and I met, I was nearly 32. We married and I was approaching 34. Just over a year later, I’m rapidly coursing past 35. For some reason, time doesn’t seem to important.

Time to trigger


After a morning of driving through thunderstorms and taking photos of doggies and their owners, my husband and I headed out to my doctor’s office here in the DFW Metroplex. It was an overcast day and we could see low-hanging, black cloud shelves that preceed a weather front. Tornado weather.

There’s nothing friendly about having an ultrasound like this. But the doctor saw a couple follicles that looked good. Only one was as large as hoped for, and they couldn’t find the other ovary. But the decision was left up to my doctor, who was out of town this week.

I walked out of the office feeling like a tornado inside. All this waiting and anticipation … multiple doctors … painful procedures … surgery … a month of estrogen … a week of fertility pills and injections … several scans … AND (the worst part of it all) I turn 35 in a couple weeks. How much longer can we try, I whined to my husband.

“This is starting to take its toll,” I said to him on our way home in the rain, wind, thunder and flooded roadways.

I got home, took a boiling hot shower and passed out. I talked Brent into laying down with me so he could hold my achy body and battered emotions in his strong arms. He said to me, “Sarah, I don’t understand why you’re upset about this. We don’t even know anything for sure yet.”

Then the phone rang, and it was my doctor’s office.

It’s time to trigger that follicle, the nurse told me. The doctor said we can take that next step. Through a fog of disbelief and hope, I noted a few additional things we’d need to do this week and made an appointment for a blood test on November 9.

So here we go. I’m thankful that we’ve gotten this far. It makes me feel like I’m doing my part in all of this. Despite writing this, I’m still somewhat speechless.

Trial and error


So today we had the “big scan.” It’s no big deal actually. Let me try to explain:

Because I have PCOS, my ovaries have eggs, but don’t release one each month. Sometimes the ovarian follicles (where the eggs mature and come to the surface of the ovary), still grow eggs but don’t release them. When that happens over time, several of them can be seen on an ultrasound — they look like a “string of pearls.” That grouping is the hallmark sign of PCOS. Poly-“cystic” (egg) Ovary Syndrome.

At times, these “cysts” can rupture. Last year, after my first round of Clomid (a fertility drug used to stimulate these follicles to release eggs) one egg got super big, but sadly never “ruptured” or released. When that happens to a woman, a doctor might prescribe birth control (Can you believe it? How counterproductive!) to help shrink the cyst. Then fertility treatment can begin again.

The goal of many fertility drugs is to (as noted above) cause several eggs to grow to a certain size. At that point, a “trigger” injection of fertility drugs is given to help the ovary actually release eggs. Sometimes several eggs develop — too many — and that round of fertility meds is cancelled b/c of the risk of multiple babies. With PCOS, that can be a big risk factor for miscarriage and unhealthy pregnancies.

Sometimes the eggs haven’t quite “cooked” enough and they are a bit too small to “trigger.” That’s what we found out today. I’m looking good, but the eggs are just a bit too small yet. So I’ll get another injection tomorrow then go on Friday for another scan to see if it’s time.

Then we do our thing and “try” to get pregnant. Then another test next week to see if I actually ovulated. Then 2 weeks of waiting to see if I’m pregnant. And on …..

I’m happier than I expected to be after this scan. I was worried there wouldn’t be any eggs or there would be too many. My doctor made a good choice to start me out on less medicine. I’m hopeful about Friday’s scan. This thing might actually happen!

Afraid to believe


Tonight we will do the last injection of Follistim for this round. We’ll go in for a scan tomorrow morning to see how things have developed.

I started to feel some twinges and dull pain this morning, which I think could be a cyst or a healthy growing follicle, but I just can’t be sure. I’m hopeful that it means something good is happening inside my body.

To tell you the truth, I’m pretty nervous about tomorrow’s appointment. I’m worried that nothing will have happened and I’ll need more medicine. I’m worried that there will be too many eggs ready to go and we’ll have to cancel the trigger shot.

From some other women who have gone through this same treatment, I’ve learned that it can take several rounds of this treatment before getting the OK to trigger. That’s so frustrating because in a couple weeks here I’ll be 35. Getting older makes getting and staying pregnant more challenging (according to experts). Add PCOS to that mix and the hope of a big family waxes bleak.

Dear Jesus ~

I didn’t realize how difficult this would be for my heart. I’m afraid to be hopeful. I’m afraid of disappointment. I know you hold this whole thing in your supernatural hands, and I trust you. Please take this worry from me and help me stop being an obstacle for your plan. Empty me of me and fill me with you.

What doesn’t change


This is something I wrote about 1.5 years ago. Please go ahead and read the old, unfinished part and then the commentary below it.

It just occurred to me today that in less than 2 months Brent will be a part of my family. No longer will I be part of a nuclear family in terms of “family,” but my immediate family will now be Brent (and Toby and Jeeves). That is an odd reality.

Pretty soon, his dad, who I now call “Mr. Bays” will be my father-in-law. His brothers, my brothers-in-law, and his niece will become my niece. I will also change my name to his.

I won’t be able to just pick up and leave for a trip whenever I want to, nor will I be making life choices on my own.

It’s funny how all of these things seem so petty now that we’re 15 months into our marriage. Most of what I think about as a wife revolves around the details of making it through the day. I’m afraid to think in fast forward mode because I want to be good at what I’m going in the present time.

There have been a few times when I’ve thought about how I can’t just take any old job and move to another state or something. I don’t bug out about it like I first did, while I’m thankful for. Having a teammate to get through the beautiful and tough times is so much better than going it alone.

At first, it was so weird to have a husband. OK, I still get chills when he says to me, “You’re my wife.” That does it every time. But I’m past the novelty of having a new last name. The ring on my left hand is simply part of my daily “uniform.” I forget that we’re still “newly married.”

What I pray never gets old is the absolutely serenity of falling asleep and waking up in the arms of another human — of someone who loves me unconditionally — a completely safe place. I feel God close in those moments. I pray that never changes.

Unsure about motherhood


Today is my first day of injectible medicine — Follistim — for fertility. I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about doing it right. What if I don’t give myself the shot in the right place, or the needle breaks off?

I’m also really nervous because as each day passes, we get one step closer to finding out if we’ll be pregnant this month. We probably won’t know for sure until early next month, but if it doesn’t happen, we’ll have to wait a few weeks to try again. It’s not so much the waiting that bothers me, it’s the not knowing.

If this method doesn’t work after 3 tries, my RE says we’ll have to regroup and talk about trying something else. We’re not really in a position to try alternate fertility methods, for a couple reasons. So three months from now could be the dead end of our journey toward parenthood.That’s both scary and relieving.

Weird, right? Although I’ve desperately wanted a child for the past 10 years, the closer we get to it the more worried I become that I won’t be a good mom, or we won’t be able to provide for a baby in the way we would want to. With a twinge of guilt, I admit that there are moments when I almost hope it doesn’t happen.

I know a lot of moms-who-want-to-be might be irritated at that. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s deep longing for a child. I have that longing too! I really don’t know why I feel this way. I feel guilty for feeling this way. I wonder if that means I shouldn’t me a mom? But my husband wants to be a father badly. What does that mean?

Perhaps it’s OK to feel unsure at this stage of the game. Maybe we’re just at peace about it possibly not happening. I hope the next week helps clear things up a bit.

It’s time


YesterdayI had my baseline scan to see if we’re good to go with fertility meds. My RE said everything looked great, and I took my first dose of Femara after that. This drug is supposed to make my ovaries prepare some good eggs to release.

This Friday I’ll start an injectable drug called Follistim, which will we hope will be the knock out in a one-two punch to get the eggs ready to pop. Next week I’ll have another scan to see if I have any ready follicles and how many and how large they are.

If that scan looks good, I’ll inject a “trigger shot” of another drug which is sort of like a booster shot to get the eggs to actually pop into my tubes…etc. Then we try …. then we have a blood test to see if I even ovulated … then we wait 2 weeks … then we have another blood test to see if I’m officially pregnant.

This is the time we have been waiting for. We started trying for a family about a year ago, but hit a couple obstacles with my PCOS and then finding out surgery was required. I’m nervous — nervous that we won’t conceive and nervous that we won’t. The stress has at times made me want to quit trying.

But here we are … lining up to get into the gate and get this race won. We just pray for God’s will and plan for our lives to be done.

Tips to love your husband better


love autumnBrent and I have spent just shy of 15 months of marriage. I love being married! With just over a year full of highlights and challenges behind us and steeped in sweet memory, I offer some tips for young (or newly minted) wives:

  • Forgive as often as you get the chance.
  • If you have to choose between spending time with your husband and indulging in your favorite pastime, choose him.
  • Lavish him with praise, and be quick to bite your tongue when you don’t have something uplifting to say.
  • Never grow irritated taking care of him — it’s rare that men need us to help them physically, but they really, really want you when they’re sick.
  • Live to please him, and let him live to please you. Love makes that natural, so be sure to invest in learning how to best show your love to him.

A new home


IMG_0828Recent developments have brought such relief to me and my husband. For the past 8+ months both of us have been without income from an outside job. He’s been in school and thanks to his military service we were able to pay most bills. But we were living with family — and that situation quickly eroded.

After living in a motel for a week (with a huge yellow Labrador) and making daily runs back to the family homestead to feed the cat and load up our temporary home, we were blessed to find a lovely apartment just outside Dallas. Moving is never fun, and this time was no exception. But from the first night forward, the peace that washed over both of us has been palpable.

We’ve had some wonderful times together in our new home already. We cook together, watch movies together, go on couples walks, walk Toby (aforementioned Lab) together, clean together, shop together and just enjoy each other’s presence. There’s quiet here — not quiet like our previous home — and it’s by nature a peaceful silence. It saturates us and restores the hope and excitement that was drained away at the last place we lived.

I’m not bitter whatsoever. I’m thankful for family and for their generosity. I’m grateful that they made it so easy to leave, and I know that sounds snarky, but it’s not meant to be. Finally, we can be ourselves and not fear what someone else might be thinking about us.

A couple weeks ago I landed a call center job. I went for 4 days of training but was suddenly snatched up by a local news company who decided I was what they wanted. And so here I am, a newsie again, working from home, where I can spend time with my man, my Lab and our tuxedo cat. I’m outrageously blessed.