Sunday, November 3, 2013

Plan B

We tried one more time, one final time. The doctor switched my medicine, I still gained weight, I still got sick and I still hoped. With every ounce of my body I hoped.

The cycle took longer than expected, and my body showed once again it doesn't like infertility. My levels jumped off the charts and I felt horrible. We probably should have cancelled but we didn't. The insemination fell on the only weekend we had prayed it wouldn't. Brian was away at a bachelor party in Vegas. I didn't want to tell anyone. We ended up telling everyone. Mostly for logistics, My mom gave me my trigger shot, Brian had to explain his early departure.

Brian drove all night back from a bachelor party in Vegas to be there. On lots oGood thing we needed him. We didn't have anyone to watch Drew, so he came. We didn't ask either. I had been through this before. I needed my boys, needed to be reminded that at one time my body worked. Drew found out where babies come from. Obviously the doctor plants baby seeds in mummy's belly. We prayed in that room they would grow. 

My belly grew.

And grew
And grew

I tried to stay distracted ( I certainly had enough to), I tried to not get stressed (I did). As the days passed I grew more convinced by the minute I was pregnant. Drew would talk to our babies and ask God every night for them to grow. (Certainly God can't tell him, no.)

I was on top of the world! Then it happened, after a hike with my boy, I began to bleed. My body  hurt heart hurt, my soul hurt. After five times I thought the pain would be less, it was more and I was angry.

We went to bible study, the group asked for prayers, Brian and I passed. God doesn't answer our prayers. Our group didn't know we had tried, they didn't know we had failed, and they didn't know I was angry. I had put on my poker face.  

The lady next to me began to speak. She adopted her daughter, she had gone through infertility and she said, "I tell my daughter she was never Gods Plan B. She was always Plan A. I just had to get there."

I got it. I wasn't angry anymore.  My baby is out there, and he/she is God's Plan A. I can't wait to meet him (or her).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Be Still

Have you ever had God speak to you? I've questioned this throughout my life. Why would God take time out of His day, and the overwhelming world problems to talk to me.  Was it really Him talking or just the result of an overactive imagination? Maybe a need to hear His reassurance when it steamed like I couldn't catch a break? If the past three years have taught me anything it is that if I'm quiet, if I'm still I can hear him. The problem is I'm rarely quiet and I'm never still. 

I heard him in the dream he told me about Josiah. I felt his power and I knew it was not an overactive imagination. And the past few weeks He has been talking again. Ever subtly and quiet....testing the microphone to see if it is on...testingif I am listening. It started with me noticing the same scripture repeatedly, Be Still ..and know that I am God.

Maybe it's trendy. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not. Maybe God was ready to move. 

Brian and I had started thinking of trying fertility again. We had sworn after the last time, the health scare, that another baby was not in the cards for us. That sometimes, even if we've prayed about it, wanted it, thought we needed it, God would answer "no". And we had tried to be good with that answer, to make peace with it and to love the little miracle we do have. About a month ago, our hearts started stirring. We are confident that our family is just not yet complete. Maybe just maybe God's answer wasn't "no", it was "not yet", "not this way".

 We started thinking of adoption. In the past, Brian had never really been too keen on the idea. He would say, " the next time will work",  recently, though his heart at first started to soften, and then seemingly move towards Exploring the possibility of adoption. Church had made an announcement about foster care and adoption, but we couldn't make the meeting. We weren't sure if we could handle loving a child and having to give him/her back. I can't imagine that pain. I'm not sure I'm strong enough for that kind of pain. 

Brian and I had both began to independently research the adoption process, the cost (astonishing), the wait (too long), and options ( oh the overwhelming options). We would come together to discuss topics and issues. I found some great families on IG that I began to follow, people that had made it through it. That I could see their happy ending. Throughout our research, the scripture kept presenting itself. Sure there were other scriptures. Holding on to God is apparently be step 1 of the adoption process.  But Be Still ... And know that I am God, would jump at me, tinge at me, make me stop and be still. 

 From @theadoptshoppe 

During our research talks, we both decided we should see if fertility would work. Our insurance will pay for one more cycle. I have been gluten free for almost two months and have been feeling better. I called the doctor and she said we can explore it again. I could call her the first day of my next cycle to check my blood levels. 

I told a few of my closest friends, and of them suggested accupuncture. She has suggested it before. In fact I think she brings it up whenever we talk about it, but I finally gave in. I found a doctor online and made an appointment. Wanna guess what sign sits on their receptionist desk? That's right! It's my scripture. ( yep, I'm claiming it now). 

Then I started seeing it more frequently. Seeming to pop off the pages that I read. Dreaming it. 

My cycle started Friday and I missed my appointment (long story) so she is squeezing me in today. I had to leave before sunrise to get here, but as I pulled off the freeway, the song that started on the radio, Be Still. 

 Me as a pin cushion. 

I don't know if this cycle will work, I don't know if God's answer has or will ever change. But I do know this, sitting in an almost empty parking lot at sunrise on a Sunday, God sure does want me to be still

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meeting Josiah

Here is part 2 of the baby journey. For a full recap read part 1. 

We began fertility testing which led to an initial diagnosis of stress induced menopause (at age 28). My initial reaction was heck yes, I'm stressed... I'm trying to have a baby. (I didn't say heck, it was more like, Are you f'ing kidding me?!?! Who gets menopause at 28! Why is this happening to me?!? Let me just pitch my pity party tent!!)

The doctor assured me that since we had success once before she was confident in medical intervention and I started cycle one of IUI. Short story... Clomid makes me sick (really sick, like throwing up think I'm dying, have the flu sick) Despite this I someone am able to still gain 30 lbs a cycle. 

The eggs were ready, brian provided his sample, the doctor did her magic... We waited two weeks and I was pregnant!!! (Queue the music, break out the baby blankets and start the And They Lived...)

For a few months we did live happily ever after, or ectasticly ever after!

Us finding out....

Brian finding out....

Confirming @ the doctor

Announcing the pregnancy

Hand on my belly for Easter pics.

It was glorious. I loved that little baby inside of me more than life itself. I had struggled, fought for and I thought earned this precious life and I could not wait to meet him or her. 

Then one day after checking my morning email at work I went to use the restroom and like so many other times in the months before I saw red on the toilet paper. My heart fell out of my chest, rolled down the four flights of stairs and down the fwy. I did what every girl would do in that moment. I called my mom. and then I called the doctor. They got me in at the next available appointment and as the image came through, we saw our little peanut and the doctor was able to register a heartbeat and watched it flicker. I sobbed tears of relief, tears or happiness, tears of love.

Our next appointment, there would be tears but tears  of the other kind. Eager to see my growing baby, the doctor's face dropped, she turned the the monitor away and maneuvered the machine this way and that before whispering "I can't find the heartbeat." I couldn't find mine either. 

She said it happens sometimes and for us to come back in a week to see what happens. A
We waited, we prayed and we hoped for that week. And as a sign, my belly grew. A week later on our 12 week appointment, the news wasn't any better. My belly grew but my baby hadn't. 

The doctor assured me I had done nothing wrong, and that miscarriages happen and sometimes our bodies know more than we do. She asked if I'd like to take medicine to have the baby now or if we would like to wait and see what happens in two weeks.

Two weeks went by. We prayed. We had friends pray, strangers pray and had healing hands laid on us in a moment that can only be described as divine. And my belly grew more. But we went back and there had been only growth to the uterine sac, and the uterus and our baby was still measuring small and heartbeat was erratic. When she asked again about a DNC, I asked if my baby had any hope. She said you're body is holding on but you'd need a miracle. We'd surely take one of those. She gave us another deadline and this time, Brian and I decided we couldn't keep waiting. If God was going to give us this baby we needed Him to show up now.

That night I had a dream, just me and God (because we are cool like that) and I was begging for my baby's life. The voice responded "His name is Josiah." I responded "Jo what? I don't like that." His voice came back more clear and a little more stern, "if you want this baby, his name is Josiah." I woke up.

I told Brian about my odd dream and about the name. He responded , "It means Jesus saves". We were in awe. I hadn't recalled hearing the name before but we knew that my lil guy in my belly was our Josiah. I prayed with every ounce of my being for God to let me meet my son, to hold him and to look in his eyes. 

Confident at our next appointment, we were devastated when the news wasn't any better. Josiah hadn't grown and my body was showing signs of early miscarriage. The doctor offered us some drugs that would help us pass the baby. She assured us, we wouldn't see any resemblences of a baby and I wouldn't be forced to flush my baby down the toilet (my biggest fear).

The night before we delivered, I wrestled with God. I pleaded with, I bargained with him, I yelled and cursed and then I repented. My fear and grief eased with the morning light. There had been no miracle for us. God had answered me even if it wasn't the answer I had wanted. His silence was overwhelming. I had felt abandoned and angry and so sad. So very very sad. Sad that I wouldn't ever know his personality. Sad of the memories and time we lost. Mostly sad that I wouldn't see my baby's face and meet the boy I loved so much. 

After taking medicine, i began bleeding heavily for most of the day, I grieved knowing I was losing my baby. Then the labor pains came, they were as painful as Remembered. The kind of pain that takes over your whole body and all you can do is release low archaic moan sounds. 

My mom had come to check on me and seeing me in the fetal position, she wrapped her body around mine. Cradling my defeated, broken body. She prayed, she talked to me, she absorbed my pain. And then I said, "I've gotta push."

I moved to the bathroom, feeling the pressure of what seemed like the world coming through me. I had so badly wanted to meet my boy. To look in his face. To tell him that I loved him and was proud of him for fighting. To tell him that his life had meaning. That he would forever be a part of our family.

I pulled my boy out just short of midnight. Although, the doctor said we wouldn't see anything. God answered this mothers' grieving prayer. I looked in my baby's eyes. I saw his face. I told him his mommy loved him and that I always would.

I handed him to his daddy and said. "I just delivered a baby on a toilet." The humor of the moment cut just merely slightly through the grief.

We buried our boy in our inlaws garden, just underneath the window of Brian's childhood bedroom. Our friend gave us a butterfly garden and the butterflies hatched shortly after Josiah's due date. We talk about hi often, Drew tells us weekly he misses Josias (that's what he calls him.) and asks when are baby is coming back from Jesus.

My heart still breaks and I look ever forward to the day I can see him again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Baby Rollercoaster

The last few years have been undeniably hard and if I honestly look back, it's hard to recognize the life that I lived back then. Brian and I have struggled with whether to share our journey or keep it private. Part vulnerability, part not knowing how to put our journey into words, and part not sure if anyone would care. What i do know is that others telling their story has helped make the journey easier. With September being PCOS Awareness Month I thought it was time to tell my story...

Our Story 

Slightly after Drew turned one, Brian and I decided that we should try for baby # 2. Naively, we assumed that baby #2 would be conceived as easily as Drew had been and soon we would move from a family of 3 to a family of 4. Our children would be close in age and be playmates. Grow up to be the best of friends and life with our family would be perfect. 

So when life heard about this plan, he laughed and said "I've got a plan for you!"

Three years into this "plan",  God has shown me that His plan is not my plan. A journey that has brought me to my breaking point (sometimes over my breaking point), has tested my faith, my sanity and my health. I'm not sure where I am in this valley of infertility or what other tests God may have in store for me. I do know that whatever journey God has me In the palm of his hand and he can make beautiful things out of the dust. 
Look at us all ready for baby # 2

Our first sign of trouble 
A few months into "trying", (which may I just say is incredibly awkward to state that you are trying to have a baby. It is unnatural and private but that's for another day). We were becoming impatient, because patience is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact I am the opposite of patient. We did some research and found that on average it can take up to a year to become pregnant, so we just continued on our "trying" path. After all, we were successful in having a child before so obviously we work. 

Each month into this trying journey I would be 100% believe this was the month and would have all the tell tale signs of being pregnant. I would plan out how to tell my husband, How to prepare Drew for becoming a big brother and preparing a nursery. Then, a trip to the bathroom would crush those dreams in an instance, destroying the hope. Most of the time resulting in me sobbing on the bathroom floor and Brian lovingly telling me our baby was coming and it's just going to be another month, just one more time. 

About six months into this roller coaster, I had stopped taking pregnancy tests each month, after all my day dreaming could last a little longer and as long as I wasn't not pregnant on that little stick it could be happening. I was feeling like I had the flu, had completely lost my voice, felt completely awful and my period was about 3 weeks late. So I headed to the doctor, 100% feeling awful and convinced that this awful feeling would soon lead to the pitter patter of a new addition. 

So when the doctor went over the routine questions I moused out the first day of my last cycle and knew my answer would force me to take the test. When the nurse came back she said the words that I had feared each month, you're not pregnant. But this time it wasn't just that I was not pregnant, the doctor would be in shortly to discuss some concerns. I melted into my usual puddle of devastation but this time the weight of despair was a little heavier. The doctor came in and explained that while I was currently not pregnant, they believed that I had miscarried. He went over that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and continued to explain a lot of technical stuff that i have become familiar with. The words, kind and professional slipped off his tongue and ripped out my heart. In all honestly, Most of the conversation was lost as my mind raced with so many thoughts. This baby that was so wanted, so immensely loved was gone before we even knew he/she existed. The doctor left me in the cold sterile room, hyperventilating and devastated. Looking back I was glad I had lost my voice because my wails only meekly came out. After which was probably too long, I exited the room, put my sunglasses on (because while I'm certainly not cool enough to wear sunglasses inside, I couldn't let the world see the pain in my eyes and I still had to wait for some medication. 

Seeking Help
After another 6 months of the pregnancy roller coaster ride and another similar loss, Brian and were finally approved by our insurance to seek fertility treatment. Apparently you have to wait a year before insurance thinks there is an issue. While the year long wait was treacherous ... nothing can possibly prepare you or your spouse for the fertility process....nothing

In a nutshell here's how you get started: The first step was to meet with a doctor ( the doc asks a bunch of questions. And by questions, they are into two groups: medical (history of illness? date of last cycle, do you exercise?) and then personal (sex schedule?, does your husband beat you?, are you sane enough to go through this process?). (Insert I want to crawl in a hole and die face right now)  Talk about getting to know someone real quick, thankfully, our doctor couldn't be more amazing and we laughed our way through the checklist. 

After the initial consultation Brian and I would go through a series of medical tests where we were poked, prodded and had to provide samples of ummm ... Bodily fluid. Mostly I was poked and prodded and Brian supplied the later. 
 Going into surgery! 

I underwent a procedure, to confirm my tubes were not blocked. To test this, you are placed in a MRI tube, they feed a small tube with a balloon at the end, once in place the balloon inflates and the doctor from another room can read the cameras and test for tubes. Only in my case, the doctor tripped over the wire, pulling the inflated balloon out of me. OUCH!!!! But, the tubes were clear so we were good to go! 

The initial diagnosis came back as Stressed-Induced Menopause. A diagnosis that seemed to fit... I'm in a high-stress work environment which requires lots of hours and pressure and in addition to our baby roller coaster life had thrown us some curveballs (to put it mildly) in our family life. We were getting kicked from all angles but the tide seemed to be changing when we started our first round of fertility meds....

Next up ... Our journey of multiple cycles of fertility and losing Josiah. 

It's the Andrew Carnival!

Birthdays are always a little bittersweet for me. For the past three years on each birthday I have told myself this will be Drew's last birthday as an only child but the past three birthdays have come and gone and Drew is still very much an only child. I would love to say this year WILL be the last year Drew is an only child but, the truth is I don't know that. I can't say that Drew will ever be a sibling. And while that utterly breaks my heart, what fills my heart is the things I can say about my SUPER four year old.

- He is LOVED. Not just liked by friends and family but absolutely entirely loved wholly and incredibly by a large group of family and friends.


- He is Loving! He has begun to show his core principals of being caring, compassionate and loving of others. As a mom I couldn't be more proud of the person he is becoming. He thinks of others, wants to include others and is quick to dish out affection. (Seriously, who gets a call from school that their child got hurt initiating a group hug on the playground!)

- He is funny! He thinks of the  some new and witty to keep us laughing.

- He is Creative! For about six months when we would come home from work, Drew would create carnival games for us to play and hand us out prizes, so this years party I wanted to make a carnival themed birthday, but Drew is also opinionated and insisted that we do a super hero party so this momma combined them! 

Here is some more on Drew's party...

The theme while not conventional turned out great....

Our invite. Designed by Blue Egg Events

The Dessert Bar.......                               
The Candy Bar

The Cake by Pila's Cakery 
The backyard 

          The Games

Each game had prizes, we gave each child a bag when the came in to hold their prizes

Tattoos (because momma can't paint!)

Capes decorating station

And the hit of the party...thewater slide 
There were two photo op stations

station 1: indoor with super hero props

option 2: outdoor super hero photo booths made by my amazing hubby.

Drew is 4 and he is SUPER! (And I am a blessed Momma)