Friday, February 19, 2010

Our Baby Story - Blog 2: IUI

I had a date on Tuesday. Nothing romantic. Nothing sexy. No flowers. No 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. As a matter of fact, my man wasn't even there!
Just me, a nurse, stirrups, a long syringe, and a tilt-a-table. The IUI procedure took about 8 minutes and I was glad when it was over! WHEW! Let's just say that it was not pleasant. Caused quite a bit of cramping and I nearly came off the table at one point from the discomfort - and I ain't no baby! I do not heart IUI - yet I sure do hope it works!

When the procedure was over, they tilted the table upside down and I tried to lay still and not fall off the darned thing. It would probably have been funny for an on-looker but I dare anyone to walk in that room and see me that way - one of us wouldn't come out alive. I may not have an ounce of pride left, but I'm still a lady. A lady who would kill you or gouge your eyes out if you saw me like that! I've turned into a life-sized science project. We are now praying for this science project to fertilize - swim boys, swim! We will find out on March 4th if we are pregnant. I started the Progesterone yesterday. It makes me sleep SO good. I love it. Hey, I should love something about all of this, right?

While laying on the tilt-a-table I prayed, "Lord, help me to accept your will. I really want a baby. I'll even take a litter if it's your will. Not my will, but Yours be done." I picked up my phone and clicked on the "Bible" app and I began reading in Proverbs 16 (cuz it was February 16. Proverbs has 31 chapters - one chapter for every day of the month). The first and last verses captured my heart and my breath:

Proverbs 16:1 (NLT)
"We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer."

Proverbs 16:33 (NLT)
"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."

He's in control. He knows the plans He laid out for me and for Brad. We trust Him for those plans to be fulfilled. And we're still going to trust Him even when we don't get our way. He's the author of life (Acts 3:15) and He gives it to whom He chooses.

I hope for the day when I get to put these next verses in Psalm 139 on a piece of canvass and hang it on my nursery wall:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I pray that the "secret place" described in verse 15 is being formed even now. A cocoon where only God knows what is happening as He forms the zygote that is to be our child. We still hope. We still pray. We still believe - even if we don't get our way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Baby Story - Post 1

At the risk of the vulnerability of full disclosure, I've decided to blog about our (Our = Brad + Me) journey into the world of infertility. I want to share this because I know so many couples have gone through this. And it's hard. And it's embarrassing. And it's disappointing. And it's a pit. And then it's hopeful. And it's exciting. And it's a wonderland.

It began for us in August of 2008 - we decided we would stop birth control. Scary considering that when Brad and I got married in 2005 neither of us wanted children...not "just for now" but we "never want kids". And we meant it. Until 7 weeks into our marriage when my Dad suddenly died and something flipped in me, like a switch was turned on...I wanted to be a Mom. Not because my Dad died and now I needed something to love or to love me. It wasn't a decision born out of a "Daddy issue". It was like God spoke in my heart, "You're going to grow as a family. You want children." And BOOM! I wanted children. Just like that. It took Brad a while to catch up to my new "plan" for our life, but that's another blog for another day. Suffice it to say, God put a stubborn wife and a scared husband on the same page at the same time and they made a decision together to try to have a baby in the fall of 2008.

We went off the pill in August of 2008 with the expectation that it would take us 3 to 6 months to conceive because that's what all the baby websites said and it's what my OB/GYN told us in our "You want to have a baby" meeting. So you can imagine our surprise when I took a pregnancy test in September and it said "Pregnant". We were pregnant. Holy cow. Now what?!?!

Telling everyone was the most fun. The start to our marriage was faced with such adversity that everyone was thrilled for us because the baby thing was playing out like a fairy tale.

However, about 5 weeks into my pregnancy I began bleeding. I frantically called my doctor, she was out of town. More panic. The precious nurse at my doctor's office could sense my panic and sent me to the hospital's radiology department for a sonogram. Brad was working and couldn't get away, so my Mom and sister, Jenni, went with me. The radiologist technician performed the sonogram but wasn't allowed to tell me anything. I layed there trying to breathe. When she was finished, she told me to call my doctor's office and they would read the results to me. I wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor. I'm not good at waiting.

My doctor's office told me to come directly over. I was sick to my stomach as we drove the 7 blocks between the hospital and the doctor's office. I was prepared for bad news. By this time my sweet friend, Jennifer, had caught up with us and joined us as we walked into the doctor's office. We were immediately taken back to a room and the nurse came in and told us that the sonogram was difficult to read. It looked like I was at the implantation stage and that is what caused the bleeding - relief swept over me and I began sobbing. The nurse explained that she wanted to run my "chors" which is the pregnancy hormone level found in your blood - if you are viably pregnant, then your chors should double every two days. She took me to a private room away from my family and friend. She began taking the blood and she said, "Jessica, I didn't want to tell you this in front of your family because you need to share it when you're ready." OMG! I knew it! Here comes the bad news! She continued slowly, "The sonogram showed that this is a twin gestation." A WHAT? I must have looked scared, shocked, and confused because she said, even more slowly, "Jessica, do you understand what I just said?"

I stared blankly. "Twins. You said it's twins." She smiled, "Yes, that's right."

She finished taking the blood and told me to come back Monday and so they could draw blood again to check the numbers.

I walked back to the room where my Mom, Sister, and friend were waiting and I said blankly, "Okay, we can go." We got on the elevator, the door closed, everyone was silent and then I dropped the bomb. "She told me it's twins. I'm having twins." Mom, Jenni and Jennifer began screaming and jumping up and down. I finally started laughing and crying at the same time. My Sister screamed, "I knew it! I knew that's what I saw on the sonogram - two sacs! I saw the technician type "A" and "B". I knew it!"

All I had to do now was tell my husband that we would be paying for two sets of extracurricular activities, two cars and two college educations. Yeah, that was not going to go over well. As predicted, Brad was not thrilled. He was pale. He was quiet. He was scared, which raised my own panic level. After telling him, I went to my bathroom and planted myself on the floor and cried and cried and then I cried some more. He came in and found me and picked me up and said it would be okay, if this was God's plan then He would guide us and we would figure this thing out. He prayed. I cried.

Monday rolled around quickly and we were back in the doctor's office having blood drawn. The doctor called a few hours later to say, "Jessica, your chors are beautiful! Just perfect!" I was relieved and excited about our next sonogram in three weeks.

Three weeks later, the day before Thanksgiving, we went to the doctor ready to hear our babies' heartbeats, but there were no heartbeats. There were two empty sacs. I had miscarried. A D&C was scheduled for the following week. My heart was crushed, totally crushed. The fairy tale had come to an end.

We made it through the holidays and somehow hope made its way back into my heart. I believed that we would get pregnant again.

Month after month we waited. When you live in the "I'm trying to get pregnant" world, the assumption is that you live month-to-month, but the truth is, you live two weeks-to-two weeks. From menstration to ovulation from menstration to ovulation. It goes on forever until you pee on a magic wand and it says "PREGNANT". Our magic wand finally read "PREGNANT" again on July 4, 2009. We were elated, but this time we didn't want to tell the world until after we had heard a heartbeat around 8 to 10 weeks in. We never got to hear that heartbeat either. I miscarried at the end of July. This baby made it to six weeks and there was a crown in the sac. Another D&C was scheduled in August.

Two miscarriages, two D&Cs, and more IVs and pints of blood than a slasher film, landed me in the office of a fertility specialist in September of 2009. What a difference one year can make.

Since our first visit with the fertility specialist, I've undergone an HSG test and a hysteroscopy surgery and finally began my first round of fertility hormones in December 2009. I did not get pregnant my first round and then we had to take a month off because Brad had surgery to repair a hernia.

So here we are, today, February 15, 2010 and I have finished a week of Letrozole (the hormone that makes you produce eggs) and 4 days of shots of Follistim (another egg-inducing hormone).
We went to the doctor this morning to find out if the drugs worked...and they did! I have 4 mature eggs. The doc gave me an hCG shot to release the eggs to my uterus. I go back tomorrow morning at 10am so the doctor can perform the IUI (intrauterine insemination / artificial insemination).
We will find out in 2 weeks if we are pregnant.

More praying. More waiting on the Lord.

I stood in church on Sunday worshiping, taking Communion, praying and praising Him. It occured to me that I am truly complete in HIM. We will praise Him if He gives us 4 babies or if He never gives us any babies. His grace is truly enough. His body that was broken and His blood that was spilled out for me, while I was still a sinner, is enough. He's enough. We will still pray for babies. We will still hope for babies. But we will find our identity, our rest, our peace, our calling, our joy only through Jesus Christ. The prayer that I pray even more than "give me babies" is "let me accept Your will".

This is our baby story. Sorry the start has been so long! Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying. Please keep praying!