"For this child I have prayed..." 1 Samuel 1:27


Exactly one year ago today, Ryan and I were on the road headed to Nashville to celebrate his birthday. When we were only minutes away from my grandma's nursing home, I got a phone call from my aunt, saying Grandma wasn't going to be with us much longer. Ryan and I immediately went to be by her side. I wrote about that day, and God's timing, here. We were the first ones to arrive at the nursing home. Ryan told me to say my last words, to take a moment to be alone with her, before everyone arrived. He left me alone in the room with her. Nothing could prepare me for that moment. I sat there next to her, holding her hand. I told her not to be scared, and that we all knew it was her time to go to Heaven [it was okay to go] and to be with Papa again. He was waiting for her. I told her the family was on their way. I never told anyone, except for Ryan, that I also had a special request. I told her to pick out our baby. And her eyebrows went up and I knew she was up for the request. Of course she was, she loved babies! Since that day, and throughout our entire journey to our baby, I always imagined her up in Heaven holding our baby in the comfort of her arms. I knew to trust in God's timing. 

I shared many pieces of our journey to our baby. It was tough and it was testing, but it was also beautiful and miraculous. 

Our IVF transfer date was moved to May, and we traveled in April. For some reason I stopped sharing the details of our journey. It wasn't necessarily planned, but it just felt right to us. It was an intimate time for us to cherish the process and spend time in prayer. We only shared the details and stories of our adventure with family and closest friends. 

I had read & highlighted this knowing I'd come back to it one day, by Lauren Bourne in her 14 Days of Prayer During the Two Week Wait, "But, God, you are a God of possibilities. You work and move in impossible situations so that people know it had to be you! So use my situation, Lord, to do something absolutely impossible. I will give you all the glory, and everyone will know what you have done!" When I highlighted it, I had no idea what God had in store for us. Oh my goodness, we never dreamed that our IVF journey could be filled with so many glimpses of Heaven and signs from our dear Lord, but it WAS! And to say I'm excited to share our stories with you - and to give all the Glory to God - is an understatement. If I could shout this from the rooftops I would. 

I have been writing letters to our child. This is the letter I wrote about our IVF transfer day on May 17th. 

Dear ------ or -------, (yes we have the names picked out but they are a secret for now), 

So much has happened since I wrote you last sweet baby. The biggest news of all is that we picked you up from the freezer! Tiffany, our embryologist, said you were fantastic after the thaw and that you were fully hatched. Your first grade in life was a 6AA, which means you are PERFECT! 

Before your dad and I left for the hospital to pick you up, we sat on our bed and said a prayer. Your dad is much more poetic when he’s praying than I am, and I really wanted to hear what he’d say, so I let him say the prayer. It went something like this, he had Willie Nelson’s Just Breathe song playing in his head, “JUST BREATHE, JUST BREATHE, (we both took big breaths), THANK YOU LORD FOR EACH BREATH WE TAKE, AND WE ASK THAT YOU BLESS US WITH ANOTHER SET OF LUNGS.” Amen. That was it, a short and sweet prayer to our Father in Heaven. We got in the car and he played the song by Willie for us. Another line in the song says “stay with me” and each time I hear it I get emotional thinking about you and how we pray you stay with me. 

When we got to the hospital I had to pee so bad. I was told to have a full bladder and I sure did. I changed into the gown, and your dad put on his slippers and cap. He snapped some photos of my pink and blue stork socks that we got in Palm Springs for this special day (your dad had on the matching set and the nurse thought it was so cute). And I tried to stay as calm as possible before we went back to the procedure room. Once we got back there Dr. Gehlbach said that it was a special day for them. It was their anniversary, their 12 year birthday. He had us sign paperwork and gave us your grade of 6AA. They turned the lights off, and they started the sonogram. Your dad was holding my hand next to me. The doctor told us several times that my uterine lining looked GREAT, which of course made me very happy to hear.  The moment they put you inside of me was miraculous. It was surreal, and my heart was full of gratitude, love, and excitement. I thought to myself, the struggle to become your mama has been long and tough, but nothing could beat this moment in time. Getting to see that very first moment of your life inside me. I’ll never ever forget it. 

When we were finished we chatted with the doctor and nurse for a few minutes then they wheeled me back to the room. Dr. Gehlbach gave us some instructions for the next 48 hours, which was pretty much to keep doing what I always do, but take it easy and no strenuous activity. I was told to lay on the bed with my knees up for ten more minutes. Then, the most amazing thing happened. I already had happy tears rolling down my cheeks. I looked at your dad, at the very same moment we heard the loud music on the intercom playing a song called JUST BREATHE by Anna Nalick. Over and over we heard the lyrics “JUST BREATHE!” Your dad burst into the biggest tears of joy. I’ve never seen him cry like that before. And he just kept saying, “this has never happened to me before, I’ve never had a sign like this before!” We cried and we cried, with the biggest sense of spiritual connection to the Lord above. I’m always searching for signs and deeper meaning in this life. Sometimes your dad probably thinks I’m silly, but he knows that is just who I am. This, baby, was our prayer for you playing on the intercom above us only moments after you were put inside of me. You have already changed us. You have already made us better people. FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, JOY, HEAVEN. That is what you’ve already done for us. We love you with the deepest love that exists. In this moment your dad and I looked at each other with foggy eyes that were covered in big tears, and we held hands and our hearts and souls were full of something we had never in this life experienced before. A miracle. You are a miracle. We thank God for that moment. 

As we were leaving I gave my favorite nurse, Lauren, a big hug and told her we were taking our embaby home. She looked at me and said, “OHHHH, I just got chills all over my body!” Of course that meant a lot to us, as she does this for a living. We love all the nurses and Dr. Gehlbach, and we are very grateful we have them to help us with you! 

We headed home. I don’t remember much of the drive, we were in complete awe. I do remember telling your dad over and over, I’ve got our baby in my belly!  Your dad turned on the TV, with Pandora playing. Then he remembered that we forgot to get McDonald’s french fries on the way home. That is just some Good Luck thingy that TTC sisters do after their transfers. I hadn’t had McD’s french fries in years, so having a good excuse to eat something fun was something we had planned to do for months. So we left to get the fries and when we got home the TV was still on. I opened the door from the garage into the kitchen and the very first thing I hear is Papa’s song, Kenny Roger’s The Gambler. That was one of his favorite songs, and anytime I hear it, or your aunt Haley hears it, we always say “that’s Papa!” I actually heard that song on the radio the night I met your dad. I told Aunt Jenny, as we were headed to the Football Fantasy Draft, something special is going to happen tonight, and sure enough I met your sweet sweet dad. We already had one sweet sign from above, so to have another was pretty darn amazing. We watched the movie Daddy’s Home, and we laughed and laughed. Then we went out for Thai food. It was such a beautiful day. 

I have felt little twinges, cramping, pinching on the left side of my uterus and I really believe that is you getting snug and warm in there. We still have four more days before we take the blood test to confirm the pregnancy, and waiting has been tough, but it hasn’t been the toughest part of the journey. I have felt at peace knowing you are inside of me, instead of in the freezer! I have felt very faithful and confident that you are growing strong and healthy. Your dad is such a patient and optimistic person, and so very faithful. He told me this morning he already knows I’m pregnant with you right now because he watched the doctor put you inside of me. We talk to you and we call you “cookie” because you are a strong little cookie. Your dad also asked what I was going to do with our baby, and I gave him a never ending list of all the things I dream of doing with you. 

We love you so much already! Stay warm and snug in there baby! 

xo Mommy and Daddy

May 26th was blood pregnancy test day! Another miraculous day. This is the letter I wrote to our baby. 

Dear ------ or -------, 

Oh, sweet baby, you are growing inside of me. Mommy and daddy found out yesterday that we are pregnant with you. It was the best news of our lives. 

The night before we found out I went to bed and prayed to the Lord above, and asked him for peace and comfort through this journey. I asked that he be in control of my mind, as my head was spinning with how things would turn out. I laid all my problems and worries out for the Lord and he took away my worry.

That night I dreamed of my loving grandma, she went to Heaven on July 17th of last year. She was with me and I felt her love throughout the night (you’ll hear all about her when you arrive). Then I dreamed that my favorite nurse Lauren called, and this is what she said: 
Wendy, are you planning to make a man cave for Ryan? 
You need to make a nursery too. 
BECAUSE YOU ARE PREGNANT. 

My reaction in the dream was Oh my God, Oh my God, and lots of thankful crying. 
In the dream she was trying to tell me more, but I couldn’t hear her very well. 

Then I woke up to the loud thunderstorm, and it took me a good 30 seconds to realize it was just a dream. It was the most real dream I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t wait to tell your dad about the dream, and he thought it was very special that Grandma was in the dream with me. It was as if she wanted to be the one to tell me the news! 

Before we left for the blood pregnancy test the next morning, I was in the bathroom, and I looked down and saw a beautiful white feather. I always say, feathers appear when angels are near! It was comforting to find that little feather. Your dad said a prayer that went something like “Lord, we’ve had a lot of thunderstorms here lately, and as you always do, the sun will come out again. And then we’ll have our rainbow.” Gratitude is what we were feeling, along with FAITH, and nerves. Your dad admitted to me he was scared too. We were scared but we never lost the faith in you sweet baby, and the Lord’s plans and his timing. 

On the drive home from the doctor's office the sky was a beautiful white. The thunderstorm had passed and the sunbeams were shining behind all the white clouds. It was amazing. 

We came home and we waited for what felt like a very long time for the nurse to call. When she did finally call I was in the bathroom again, as I have been even more lately. Your dad answered and it was on speakerphone. I heard it was Lauren, my favorite nurse, and that made me happy. This is how our conversation went: 
L: How are you? 
Me: I’m good, how are you? 
L: I’m very good, because I get to call and tell you that YOU ARE PREGNANT!

I was jumping up and down, and saying Oh my God, Oh my God. Just like my dream. I couldn’t wait to tell Lauren what had happened and how I had dreamed about her just the night before. She said she got chills again! 

After we got off the phone your dad and I hugged and hugged, and cried and cried, and it was a moment I’ve waited for all of my life.  We immediately sat down to the thank the Lord above again. I feel like I’m in a constant state of gratitude. 

The rest of the day I tried to rest, as I had gotten myself all worked up with the news! I called your aunts and grandma to tell them and they were overjoyed for us. They have been praying for this moment for a very long time too. Your dad called your Grandma and she cried. Yesterday was such an emotional day full of so much joy. 

We love you already, Cookie! We ask the Lord to make you snug in my belly, and grow strong and healthy. 

Love always and forever, to the moon and back, 
Mommy and Daddy

TODAY, EXACTLY ONE YEAR AFTER MY GRANDMA WENT TO HEAVEN, WE GET TO TELL THE WORLD SHE PICKED OUT OUR BABY AND WE ARE PREGNANT!!! God's timing is perfect! 

  
A big thank you to my sister Haley for taking our pregnancy announcement photos. And another big thank you to Ryan's parents for letting us use their beautiful property. This is the exact spot we got married. Being there is always magical. 

This journey to our baby has taught me so much about life, love, faith, compassion, and strength. I know at least one person reading this announcement is struggling with infertility or loss and going through a fight for their baby. To that person reading this blog post please see our story as one that gives you hope. I know the feeling that comes with another pregnancy announcement, the moment when your heart sinks because you wonder when your day will come, or even worse IF YOUR DAY WILL COME. And then you feel shame and guilt because you know you should feel only happiness for that couple, and instead it's highlighting the depth of your pain and struggle. I will admit, for the first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I cried and struggled with what I guess you could call "survivors guilt!" There were times I wondered if I'd ever get to carry our child, and then when it happened it didn't feel real at first. I cried and worried for all the women & men that didn't get their positive pregnancy test. My heart broke for every couple that had to go through the IVF process again. There was a point in our journey that I compared my medical results with other Trying To Conceive (TTC) sisters. I would compare follicles, eggs retrieved, embryos fertilized, embryos frozen, my hormone levels, my beta levels, etc. At some point I realized how ridiculous I was being. It's hard not to compare and obsess about every little detail. I did decide to never share our IVF/medical details again, for that reason. I do want to say one thing about the medical side of it all. From a medical/scientific statistical perspective, the odds were completely against us. If you looked at my numbers only, and the odds, you would bet that I would not be carrying our baby right now. This is when I'll tell you about God and Faith. I will talk about our faith, and our hope, and our trust in God's timing, forever! If God put a desire to be a parent in your heart, your baby will come, do not give up hope.

I made a short video as a keepsake of our memories to this baby! 



Your prayers mean more to us than you'll ever know. We still have a road ahead of us and we appreciate each and every prayer...so keep 'em coming! 

There will be lots of baby bump photos coming soon. I intend to cherish every single day of this pregnancy! I'm very excited to have a big round belly and I'm already completely amazed at how my body can transform to make a life. Why I walk around the house thinking I'm going to vomit in my hand I'll never completely understand, but I've read that it is a good sign, so of course I complain about it in the happiest way possible (the irony of life!). 

Being a mom is a DREAM COME TRUE! I was born to have babies and it's been a long road to get here. I plan to embrace every aspect of "mommy life" and can't wait to share more about it here on the blog as I take on this new role. There may posts in the near future about stroller round-ups, fashionable diaper bags, breastfeeding questions, best swaddles, car seat Q&As, etc. I've got a never ending list of mom stuff to ponder and question and write about! 

The last HUGE THANK YOU goes to Dr. Gehlbach and his team at Midwest Reproductive Center. They became our family during this journey and we absolutely love them. They were a God send. They will always hold a special place in our hearts for helping us become pregnant. To anyone in the Kansas City area struggling with infertility we can't give them a more glowing review and we would love to refer them to anyone that needs help growing their family. Find more information about them on the MRC website here or on their Facebook page here

We love you and we thank you for the prayers and support! 

xo Wen and Ry 
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Wendy Correen Smith
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