Archive | Infertility

The Whole Story of Baby #4

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I was right at 20 weeks in this picture. I’m now 21 weeks, 3 days.

 

‘Cause I just can’t leave you hanging like that!

We’ve gotten tons of questions (…and OMGs…and ‘Y’all are crazy’…and ‘Oh, hell no!’) from people we know so I thought I would just answer them all in one place.

  • Were you planning this?

Uhm, NO. No no no no. We’re not even really sure of my due date–we have no idea when this baby was conceived! (We think it’s November 13-21st. But because of my hereditary preeclampsia my other two bio babies were born at 37 weeks, 5 days so we’re thinking right after Halloween for this one.)

  • Did you want another baby?

C. was finished with kids. I was open to adopting again when Lawson was 3 or so, but we were mostly likely (definitely?) finished with kids. For sure we were done with having kids from my body though. 100% finished with that. (And let me assure you: C. has now taken medical steps, ahem, so that he will no longer be fathering any babies with Ms. Fertile Myrtle over here. And I’ll leave it at that.)

  • Didn’t you just have a tummy tuck last June? What’s going to happen with THAT?!

Yes, yes, I did (again, totally not planning on having another baby). I’m not so much worried about extra skin–I’m a 36 year old woman–who DOESN’T have at least a little extra skin at this age?! (I feel the same way with stretch marks–who cares!)–but I am *super* worried with how my muscle repair will hold up (not only with pregnancy but with a repeat c-section as well). I had a 5″-ab separation (y’all, that’s over the width of my hand!) that was sewn back together last June–there’s a strong chance that all the dissolvable stitches the doctor used are still there. I had to interview 19 OB-GYNs (my friend who delivered MM and Lawson has retired from delivering) to find just one that had done a c-section on a woman who had a muscle repair in the past. Thankfully this doctor has done three (and he’s been in practice over 30 years–that’s how rare this is). My plastic surgeon says my muscle repair is the strongest part of my body right now since it’s held together with stitches so something else will have to give/stretch/tear. Due to a kidney surgery I had twenty years ago I have a shredded left oblique muscle (the muscles that run along each side of your abdomen) and whenever I would eat before I got pregnant my stomach (my literal stomach) would poke out about the size of a baseball through the shredded muscle until my food digested. It was freaky and honestly kept me from eating large meals because it was uncomfortable (and gross looking now that the rest of my stomach was flat). Well, I’m 21 weeks now and it pokes out like I’ve eaten an all you can eat buffet 24/7 (like, that corner of my upper stomach is larger than my baby bump most days). I assume I will have to have a muscle repair (it can’t be stitched together because it’s shredded so I’m thinking some sort of mesh?!) on that section and I don’t even want to think about–the ab muscle repair was the worst pain of my life (hands down, no joke) and you use your obliques for everything. Yep, not even going there.

  • How far along did you find out since you weren’t planning this one?

Gosh, I guess like almost 9 weeks?! It was crazy! I’ve mentioned before that I have PCOS and two of the side effects of that is crazy periods and cysts. And the older I get the more my cycles get off (#closertomenopause) so it didn’t really concern me that I hadn’t had a period in six weeks…or eight weeks. The only reason I even tested was because I could tell I had a rather large cyst and I knew I needed to call my doctor and get a prescription for Provera which would force my body to have a period and “fix”/restart my hormones/cycle and would get rid of the cyst. But before my doctor will ever call in a prescription she makes me take a pregnancy test (which was always salt in a wound when we were trying so hard for baby #2 for FORTY-NINE cycles, ahem) so on a random Tuesday afternoon I grabbed a $3 test at Target so I could test real quick and get a prescription called in.

Imagine my utter shock/disbelief/amazement when the thing turned positive before I even put the cap back on (we’re talking less than 5 seconds!). For years I have stared at pregnancy tests wondering “Is that a line?” because I would test before my period was due. Well, y’all, when your period is five weeks late that second line appears REAL QUICK.

  • Why are you fertile now and weren’t for almost ten years?

Weight loss and low carb. There is NO question in my mind that Keto (low carb) and the subsequent weight loss gave me my fertility back. I’m having two babies in two years without trying at all (at all!) because I found a way of eating that works for this body that has PCOS with insulin resistance. If you have PCOS and are trying for a baby I can’t tell you enough how much I recommend Keto. It’s worked for me…twice.

  • Do you know the gender? What’s the name? Are you doing a nursery theme?

Well, for that you’ll have to wait until Friday. 😉

3


Weight Loss with PCOS 101: What is Intermittent Fasting?

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Oh goodness, writing this post has me all nervous. Like I’m about to say something crazy controversial and no one will ever be my friend again.

…will you please still be my friend? {said in the saddest little voice possible}

And I have no idea why I feel that way. After all, I’m *just* telling you how I lost weight and got my fertility back with PCOS. That’s it. I’m no doctor. I’m not telling you what is right for your body. I’m just telling you what worked for ME.

So, what is intermittent fasting? (Oh! First I should say you would only do this once you are comfortable with a Keto-lifestyle.)

Our body is always in two states–one of feeding or one of fasting. Technically, any time you are not eating you are fasting. I like to think of my body as a car. I’ve got all this stored fuel in my gas tank {aka belly fat in my case!} and yet I continue to add more fuel (food). Before my weight loss there were some days where I would put too much fuel in my body and it would get stored in my gas tank–meaning my belly would get bigger and bigger (and my cheeks…and my wrists…and my feet–it’s amazing where all you lose!). Once I started doing Keto and got in a calorie deficit I wasn’t putting “enough” fuel in each day so my body would use some stored fuel {aka belly fat!}.

Now, you can get technical and talk about how your body burns glucose easier than it does fat and protein, blah blah blah. But at the end of the day I try to put less fuel in my car than I actually need so my body/car can burn the extra fuel it already has.

And one day–gosh, late spring last year I guess–it occurred to me that I was adding fuel to my car when my car didn’t even need gas. Meaning, I was eating just to eat sometimes. And then I started wondering WHY.

Why do we do that?

Why do we eat three meals a day?

I didn’t NEED those calories from those three meals (I was 55 pounds heavier last spring than I am now). I had all this stored fat that my body could consume instead.

So why did I do it?

I remember listening to people talk about metabolism. Or listening to others talk about eating five small meals a day to keep your blood sugar even.

But I didn’t think that applied to me. After all, my blood sugar runs naturally high with PCOS (with insulin resistance) and if anything I want it LOWER.

So I Google’d “Fasting with Keto and PCOS” and angels sang.

Suddenly, my body and the way it had always been working made sense to me. I wasn’t EVER giving my body a chance to show hunger…never giving it a chance to use that stored fuel.

I learned there are three types of fasting (if you’re interested here is a great book to read more about them!):

  1. Modified fasting. Basically restricting your calories to 25% of what you normally eat for 2 or more days and then eating regularly the other days.
  2. Religious fasting.
  3. Intermittent fasting. Meaning you restrict your food intake during certain windows. Most people already do this–say from 9pm until 6am, right? {You can read a 99-cent Kindle book on intermittent fasting here. Or here’s a FREE Kindle version for women on fasting.}

Well, with more purposeful intermittent fasting you “up the ante” a little more. You might skip breakfast (so you’re fasting from 9pm-12pm) or maybe you don’t snack after dinner (so you’re fasting from 6pm-6am).

Or, you can do what I do.

And it sounds SO ridiculous simple to me now that I do it.

I only eat when I’m hungry.

I don’t snack if I’m not hungry. I don’t eat breakfast/lunch/dinner if I’m not hungry. I have to be hungry (my stomach growling) to eat.

Crazy, huh?

It sounds so simple. I mean, why WOULD we eat unless we’re hungry? Right?!

My ideal day would probably be just to eat every day around 2 or 3pm (you’d call that a “23/1” (meaning I fast 23 hours and eat during a 1-hour window) and that would be it. BUT life/kids/jobs/routine just gets in the way of that. So usually I fast from 6pm-2pm and I have a four-hour window where I’ll eat everyday–I’ll snack around 2 or 3pm because my stomach is growling and then have dinner around 6pm (this is called “20/4 fast”).

And not only do I feel so much better (because I’m not walking around with a full stomach and high blood sugar all the time), but I end up eating less calories a day. I actually have to MAKE myself keep eating sometimes to get enough calories (fat/protein) a day.  My blood sugar is steady throughout the day and my body uses my stored fat. Intermittent fasting helped break my weightless plateau (after I had Lawson I lost back down to my pre-pregnancy weight (which was a 40 pound weight loss) by six months post-parteum, but then I couldn’t get the scale to budge at all (mainly due to breast feeding). Intermittent fasting changed that!

Now can I tell you if intermittent fasting is right for YOU? Oh my goodness, no. But it might give you something to think about. For me personally, intermittent fasting plays JUST AS BIG OF A PART in my weight-loss journey as Keto. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ve been as successful as I’ve been because of intermittent fasting.

And as always, feel free to ask me questions in the comments, on Instagram, on Facebook, or email me. I’ve had two more ladies ask Keto questions (meal ideas and Keto & menopause) and I’ll be answering those next Friday. 

List of Resources for Keto:

5


Review-Preview

This day each year is so mystical to me.  I’m given the opportunity to look back at this past year, while having the chance to dream about the upcoming year.  Such a time of reflection.

And I’m sure it’s not a surprise that I find myself thinking about our adoption.  It seems like just yesterday…and yet also like a lifetime ago…that we announced we were adopting in late January almost a year ago.

Here we are almost a full year later and in a sense, the same.  No baby, but the hope of one to come.

This year though we know his name.  And that hope all centers around a day {or a week or two} in early March when he should be here.

To say I imagine holding him the first time, looking into those eyes, and whispering ‘We’ve been waiting on you’, a hundred times a day is an understatement.  Because, y’all, the thought of him follows me everywhere I go.

With every teeny tiny-sized purchase I make, with every thing I pull out of storage, every time I go into his room, or every time I talk about March–he is there.  He’s so real it’s almost like I could put my hand on my stomach and feel him kick, living there inside me.  Our lives are intertwined though a few hundred miles separate us.  But one day–most like a chilly, early spring day, we will meet–and my heart and arms already long for that day.

And I have to say, because it’s what I’ve been realizing, that infertility is a beautiful thing.  Never in a million years would I have ever imagined myself saying that as I sat crying on another bathroom floor with another negative pregnancy test in my hands…or when I sat on a cold doctor’s table and was told that the baby we had been praying for was no longer there.  Because of this unspeakable grief I have experienced as my heart {whose only wish my whole life was to be a mother of many children} is overjoyed with the thought of our next child.  My heart sometimes feels as if it could burst it is so happy and joyful.  My soul sings.  And infertility gave me that…it made me realize just how beautiful and wonderful and amazing the gift of having a child is.  It made me realize how very blessed I am to be the mama of such a special little girl…and to this amazing little boy.

Infertility gave me a gift–a joyous heart.

Of course, nothing with adoption is ever set in stone until the papers have been signed {and in our state ten days must also pass after that until he is really, truly ours}, but I can’t tell my heart to not laugh with happiness.  I cannot hide the feelings for our son.  I tried at first, I really did.  But every time I thought about him {and his precious birth mother}, a smile would come across my face and the love grew and grew.  There’s no stopping this mama’s love.

So this January 1st while I envision our upcoming year {which always stops in early March because how in the world am I supposed to think past him being born?!}, our son is at the forefront of my mind.  And my daughter as she becomes a {wonderful} big sister.  And my husband as he becomes a dad to two.  And myself who, well, I think I already told you…is just a little excited.

Thank you for still being here, waiting out the the periods of silence while I hope and dream, to see these beautiful things that are about to come.  Happy New Year, everyone, may 2012 be all you dream of and more.

2


Just One Thought

Tonight we had nuns from The Order of Saint Helena come to our church and speak to the adult class while MM was in “Sunday School” {yes, I know it’s on Wednesday night…doesn’t “Wednesday School” just sound odd?}.  I sat there the whole time with my mouth open just absorbing it all–those women and their lifestyle just enthralls me.  They were so wise and thoughtful with their talk and their answers to our questions.  Their love for God and people was breath-taking.

One of them was talking about love and how we give and receive.  She was talking about how much God loves us and went on to say that when God doesn’t give us the same gift that He gives everyone else it is only because He gave us a different gift.  I needed to hear that because I can’t help but sometimes feel that my body is broken because it can’t do what {seems to be like} everyone else’s body does naturally.  But that sister was right–just because I haven’t been given the gift of carrying a child again doesn’t mean I wasn’t given the gift of being a mother.  In fact I think it’s an extraordinary gift to be adopting.  I know that to be true.

In other news, I’m going to pick my camera up tomorrow–cue the angel chorus.  I haven’t had it since September 19th {uh-huh, *16 days*} and I’m going to be a picture taking fool tomorrow.

Wanna do a camera phone picture dump instead?  Why not!

In no particular order…

Goat kiss
Goat kiss at the county fair.

Banner
Our little ‘boo’ banner that MM helped me make last week.

Parade

Bhs band
Our high school’s annual homecoming parade.

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Scooter
While we waited on Mimi to come to our house so we could go to the Atlanta Greek Festival she rode her scooter.

Pumpkins
Getting 2000+ pumpkins for the farm for the dozens of field trips scheduled for the month of October.

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At her workbench.

Teacher gift
Random September teacher gifts.

Pumpkins
And last night…posing with our latest afternoon project–painted pumpkins!

1


Even in the Hard Times…

…I am so very glad to be a mom.

Today MM and I were in the car for a little over four hours, just the two of us.

I planned it so well making sure our little trip would be during her nap time and since the trip was only supposed to take 2.5 hours and she normally naps over 3 hours it would work out great.  Perfect plan, huh?

Well, you know what they said about the best laid plans, right?

My baby…my fabulous lover-of-sleep little one…did not sleep.  Wait, I take it back.  She did.  For the last *nine* minutes of the trip.  The rest of the 231 minutes of the trip was spent whining, wanting her hand held {it’s not safe to do, I know}, or straight up bawling.  The hyperventilating, shrill, coughing-fit type of bawling.  Hours of it.

There were three stops and lots of soothing–I was the crazy lady rocking a toddler in the Shell parking lot in Douglasville–I would be lying if I didn’t admit I got a little flustered.  And maybe I shed a few tears too.

But at the end of the day…this long, drawn-out, tiring for everyone day…I know I am so blessed.  I remember Mother’s Day three years ago and I was devestated that we *still* couldn’t get pregnant.  I know that woman back then would have done anything for a baby and even the thought of a bad car trip would have made her heart smile with joy.

And because I remember that woman I was back then–and who are we kidding, the woman I still am–I feel so blessed.  Tantrums and all.

Thank you for making me a mother–your mother–Mary Margaret.  I love you to the moon and back.

2


A Moment to Think

I accidentally snapped this picture on the way to dinner last night and as I was downloading the pictures to my computer I realized this photo spoke about the mood I was in yesterday: contemplative, searching, thankful. It might be just my eyeball to some, but to me it’s a window into my soul.

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You see, yesterday was my fourteen-year cancer-free anniversary.

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Fourteen years. It feel like just yesterday and at the same time it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

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I’m sure I’ve told you the story before of how I find out about the cancer. If not, here it is.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school I became very tired. So tired that I would fall asleep anywhere. During the track and field events at the Olympics. During class changes at school.  I couldn’t help it or do anything about it.  I was sleeping almost 16 hours a day by that September. My mother took me to the doctor and they did a battery of tests on me. I was severely anemic and had severe recurring UTIs, but that was all. There was nothing to explain the sudden, extreme tiredness.  And the problem grew worse. After many almost-weekly trips to my doctor he thought I was perhaps having seizures–that instead of sleeping I was really in a seizure-induced haze. See, I had became so perpetually tired that I could go to sleep and wake up having taken pages and pages of notes in biology without even remembering it. It was eerie. My mother got a recommendation for a neurologist.

However, before we could make an appointment I was admitted to the hospital.

It was election day 2006 and I had the day off from school. My parents had gone to vote and I went to take a shower. That’s when I all-of-a-sudden doubled over in pain. I’ve always heard that you forget pain, and it’s true, I honestly don’t remember what it felt like. All I remember is thinking that it was the worst pain of my life. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t move. Somehow I got out of the shower, fell to the floor, and that’s how my parents found me when they got home–delirious from pain and laying on the floor. They got me dressed and decided it would be quicker to drive to the hospital than to wait on an ambulance.

Since all this I’ve been to the ER before for various things. Never, and I mean never, have they taken me right back. You have to wait and fill out paperwork and get your vitals, etc. But that day it was so obvious that I was in intolerable pain, that they immediately put me on a gurney and wheeled me back.

I don’t remember much, thankfully. I do remember coming to {I was passed out from the pain for most of it} and begging for pain killers. I remember being told they couldn’t give me anything until they knew what was wrong because they might have to do emergency surgery. I remember them telling me that all my xrays were cloudy because it looked like I was bleeding internally. They did catheterized me {without any pain medicine, I might add}–I do remember that plainly–and admitted me.

Finally, they did an abdomen ultrasound and realized that most of the bleeding was coming from my pelvic area. A surgeon came in and told us he was going to do exploratory surgery because he thought I might be having a cyst issue.

“A cyst issue” was an understatement. It ended up weighing 15 pounds and had twisted and destroyed my ovary so much that it had to be removed. It had caused me to lose massive amounts of blood to my internal bleeding {hence, the sleepiness and anemia}. It had put so much pressure on my bladder and kidneys that they could not function.

After a four-day stay in the hospital, I was sent home to heal. It was all going to be fine I was told.

A week later as I was laying on the couch, my parents received a call from my doctor. They left quietly and without telling me who had called. I assumed that they were going to look for me a car for my 16th birthday that was in less than two weeks.

They came back a couple of hours later crying. They told me I had cancer.

I tell you this story because it is an important part of who I became after those three words, “You have cancer.” I am such a blessed woman to have survived this ordeal. I have a wonderful family. A phenomenal husband. A daughter I don’t deserve. She is my miracle baby.

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I only let me dwell on the “Cancer Natalie” one day a year. Every November 7th I allow myself to think back on those dark days. But every single day I rejoice for what I’ve been given.

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Because I have been given so very much. And last night we celebrated by going out to dinner and I was given beautiful things by my family that I treasure.

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In fact, I treasure everything since November 7, 1996.  Because that is the day my life, and its purpose, changed forever.

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5


What If

Today would have been my due date.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently.  Instead of going to the doctor for yet another cycle day 2 {we’re on cycle #18 of trying} appointment like I did today, I would be holding a baby, another blessing from God.

I know I’ve said it before, but infertility is so very hard.  Yes, on your body–the meds are no fun, but really what I mean is that it’s hard on your heart.  Sure, the infertility wound may heal like when I had Mary Margaret, but it leaves behind a scar nonetheless.  And when you are in the throes of infertility, well it’s painful.  My heart and spirit hurt and ache.

I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago who has recently had two miscarriages.  The only way I could describe the pain was telling her that if you had your palm read {and believed in that sort of thing} you would see a large indention on your life line because of your miscarriage.  That the loss of a child or infertility leaves that big a mark on your life.  On your soul.  It changes you.

I wonder sometimes why God gave me my passion of wanting a large family.  When I was little I always said I wanted twelve kids.  Or eight.  But no less than five.  Why did he put that in my heart if I’m unable to do it?

And yes, I’m 110% okay with the fact that MM might be an only child.  I am so very grateful for her, please don’t misunderstand.  What I mean is why does my heart now–and since I was a tiny child–yearn for many children?

I know things in life aren’t easy and that I need to be patient and all in God’s time.  I say these things to myself every day.  Every day I wage that internal war with myself over the child I want now {right now.  right this very second now.} verses trusting in God’s timing.  I constantly have to fight with my heart to have faith that I will have more children.  One day.

One day.

I always say that I wish I could go back to my sixteen year old self that had just been diagnosed with cancer and tell her that one day I would have a child–a perfect daughter–and not to worry for the next 12 years.  I wish right now I could have the same question answered: will I have more children? with just a simple yes or no.  That way I could stop worrying and obsessing every cycle.

But that’s not faith, is it?  Faith is believing and trusting that it will happen.

And it will.

That’s why I started fertility meds tonight.  Again.  Seventh time’s the charm with them, right?

11


I Refuse to Let It Get Me Down

I was going to post one of my “Debbie Downer Infertility Posts” tonight.  You know, the whole “we’ve been trying now for over a year for #2” thing (not to mention the year of trying it took to have MM).  The icing on the cake this month was not yet another negative home pregnancy test–I’m actually used to those by now, but the fact that I can’t take fertility meds this cycle because I have not one, but two, large cysts on my itty-bitty half ovary.  If I did take the meds I run a very high chance of the cysts getting out-of-control, turning, and cutting off blood supply to the only ovary I have left.  No thank you.

But you know what?  I don’t want to be that person tonight.  I don’t want to be gloom and doom.  All day long I’ve been talking to God (‘Hi, God, it’s Natalie again.  Got one more thing I wanna talk about…’) and I feel better.  I’m just praying that I get a feeling of peace about all this soon.  Do we stop the fertility drugs?  Do we keep trying?  Do we stop the temping/the charting/the ovulation predictor kits?  Do we adopt?  Domestic?  International?   Do we decide that one child is enough?  Because right now I have no peace and I need it.

Woah, that just got long-winded and I so didn’t want that to happen.

So, since I want to lighten the mood and I haven’t done this in at least four years…

LET’S DO A QUESTION & ANSWER INSTALLMENT OF THIS OLD SOUTHERN HOUSE!

Yep, you heard right.  Ask anything you like, as many questions as you like.  Random things.  Things you’ve been wondering for years.  About me.  About the house.  Anything you want.  Whatever goes!

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In other news, last week I found a perfect “big girl bed” at a local antiques store for a steal (Dare I say how much?  $65!).  It was in such good shape all we had to do was paint it since I wasn’t a fan of the black and gold, haha.  Here’s Mary Margaret “in” her bed, before we painted it. 

5


His Time

Today at Kelly’s Korner she wrote about how this is National Infertility Week.  She wrote about her struggle with infertility and asked her readers to leave a comment with their stories.

I didn’t really think much about it and added mine.

Ovarian cancer at 15.  More ovarian surgeries.  Left with 1/2 an ovary.  Tried for 13 months and conceived our miracle.  After a high-risk pregnancy we were blessed with a perfect daughter.  Tried for 7 more cycles with fertility meds.  Miscarriage.  Have been trying for 4 more.  Saying prayers and counting our blessings.

That’s our story.  To me, it’s a rough story filled with many tears…both the heartbroken kind and the my-heart-is-so-full-of-happiness-it’s-going-to-explode kind.

And then I read about other women and their struggles to have children.  It makes my own struggle looks so very silly and small.I just wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self that it would all be okay and that I would have a child (because I worried about my future fertility then).  And then by the time we had been trying for 13 months? Well, I was a basketcase.  It is so hard to have faith when you feel like there is no hope.

Then we had MM and my faith was renewed.  I believed we would (easily) have the large family I always longed for.

That was until we started trying and after 11 cycles I have to admit, the fear is starting to set in again.  Daily I tell myself, ‘In His time, in His time’.  I’m doing my very best to just let all the stress and worry go because I know if we are only blessed with our Mary Margaret, then we will be more than fine.  We are infinitely blessed.  At least once a day I stop and watch her because she is just so perfect.  I am in awe of the gift I have been given.  But then I get wrapped up in the whole infertility struggle again and seem to forget that.

So, tonight when you say your prayers, please say a prayer for those 136 commenters {and counting} who left their stories over at Kelly’s today.  And one for me too–to daily treasure my blessings and to not worry about the future.  It’s all in God’s time after all.

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. ~Psalm 113:9 {ESV} 

5


Hope Floats

I am pregnant.

I am seven weeks today.

We found out on New Year’s Eve.  We celebrated the new year planning and dreaming for our new family of four.

But because of the person I am, I worried.  I realized I worried because I felt funny.  I started taking my blood sugar and I realized my Gestational Diabetes was back.  I went to the doctor at five weeks.  My blood sugar numbers were crazy like I was pregnant with twins, I was told.  We did an ultrasound and saw a black dot, which is perfectly normal for five weeks.  We found two corpus luteum cysts–like you would have with twins, I was told.  Maybe the other twin was hiding.  We’d look for it again next week.

Twins?  Could it be?  How wonderful!  What a blessing!  Our little family would be complete.  How perfect would it be to have a boy and girl?

I went back at six weeks to see if we could find both babies and to see the heartbeats.  What we saw was a black dot.  The same as the week before, but bigger.  Nothing inside but blackness.

Oh.

‘Perhaps your dates are wrong,’ I’m asked.

But I know they’re not.  When you have fertility “issues”you know your days.  We’ve been trying for seven months.  Seven long months.  And three cycles of Clomid.  And taking my temperature and charting and using ovulation predictor kits.  Baby-making in an infertile couple is time, monitored, and the most unspontaneous thing ever.  I know because it took thirteen months to have MM.  My dates are perfect–there is no way I could be measuring behind.  She tells me I’m measuring five weeks, one day.  There is only a gestational sac.  No yolk sac.  No fetal pole.  No heartbeat.  There should be a heartbeat at six weeks, but there’s not.

Oh.

‘Oh. Oh.  Oh,’ I think back in the waiting room.  I know what’s going on, but refuse to let myself think it.

Oh. Oh. Oh.

I sit on the examination table waiting for my doctor who is, thankfully, also my friend.

She comes in.  We chat.  She makes sure I’m certain on my dates.  She doesn’t say the words–the words I’m hiding in my heart.  The ones I’m daring myself not to say.

Blighted ovum.

She says we’ll do some blood tests today and in forty-eight hours.  The same HcG tests we did with MM whose numbers doubled so perfectly.  She said she would call me personally on Monday and let me know herself.  She then uses the word–miscarriage–and everything kind of goes still.  She says we can try again–that she’ll help us to get pregnant again.  But everything might be okay too.  We’ll find out on Monday.

I sit there numb.

Oh.

I don’t say much on the way home.  Then I cry.  The animal-like cries of someone who’s heart feels like it may quit beating.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I’m confused.  I ask C. what did I do to deserve this.  He tells me I’m crazy to think that, but it’s hard not to.  I have just one partial ovary left.  I’ve had cancer.  Cysts.  Surgeries upon surgeries.  A year to get pregnant with MM.  And then such a horribly complicated pregnancy that it almost killed me.  More cysts.  Fertility drugs.  Now this.

Why?  What did I do to cause this?  Why can’t it be easy for me to be a mother?  I go through the rest of the week in a daze.  There are moments when I accept the fact that I am pregnant, but that there’s no baby.  Other times I have faith that there is a baby hiding in there or perhaps the black hole we saw will just start growing like it should.

Maybe.

Perhaps.

If I didn’t have my sweet MM during all this I don’t know what I would have done–I can assure you I wouldn’t have handled it so peacefully.  All I had to do was look at her face and it confirmed what I already knew–that even if I only have this one precious child then she is more than enough.  But it doesn’t stop the yearning for another or the feeling that our family isn’t complete.

Thankfully, no one said the horrible, ‘Well, you can have another one.’  This week God was looking out for me there because I probably would have hit them.  Those are words no one going through this should ever hear.  We’re not talking about a cake that didn’t turn out, shoes that don’t fit, a bad day–we’re talking about a child.

I went back for my second blood draw on Thursday.  I peek at my chart and saw my number from two days ago was 1428.  Low, yes, but still within the normal range.  At 1428 you would only see a gestational sac (you don’t see a heartbeat until 20,000).  I start to feel hope.  I try not to, I really, really do.  I’m trying to stay numb for the news on Monday, but I can’t help feeling hope.  I pray over and over, ‘Please God, let that number double like it’s supposed to’. 

Over the next four days I think about that number–1428–every single minute.  I haven’t had many symptoms so far, but when I wake up in the middle of the night nauseous, I smile.  Maybe it will all be okay.  Then my mind says, ‘Don’t get your hopes up, Natalie.  Maybe not’.

But my mind can’t keep my heart from hoping.

Then Monday comes.  I wake up knowing that I will remember this day for the rest of my life.  It could be a day of happy tears and disbelief.  Or…

Monday crept by.  I had my phone in my pocket, but it didn’t ring.  Finally, at 1:15 she calls.  I know instantly it’s not good.  My numbers went down from 1428 to 1200.  We discuss my options.  I decide to have a D&C on Wednesday since I have no signs of miscarrying on my own.

So, there it is: I’m pregnant, but with no baby.  And I won’t be in 48 hours.

I’m really trying to feel numb about it all, but it’s hard.  My emotions–the overwhelming sadness, pain, hurt, and fear that it might happen again–well, it’s hard to supress those.

Please say a prayer for me this week.  I’m really going to need it.

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