Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chris's Reaction to the Amazingly Great and Wonderful Surprise News!

I thought it would be fun to have Chris type out his reaction to the positive pregnancy tests I gave him, especially since it was hard to read what was going through his head. This post is all from him!

It's Thursday evening and I'm excited to be home. I'm always excited to come home. My kids are especially playful and momma has a smile on her face so I'm on cloud 9. We're all downstairs playing and having a great time. There's extra levity in the air and it's turning into a memory I would remember regardless of the bombshell or not... but oh was there a bombshell.

Babe gets my attention and says she has something for me and pulls out a wrapped box. It's not my birthday, Christmas, anniversary (yes I remember our anniversary), nor any other occasion I can remember and we aren't really the couple that surprise each other with gifts, so obviously I'm curious. (Rach has a video of this but she won't show it because of something I say right when I open it, which is a funny anecdote.) To paint the scene we're in our bedroom downstairs, I've just tickled the twins like crazy and jumped around the bed making a mess of the bedding but it's all in good fun. We're catching our breath and momma hands me the gift. I'm surprised and intrigued but can't really remember what I thought it might have been, but I can say that I wasn't expecting what it actually was.

I unwrap the gift and see a thermometer, well what I thought was one at first (and I think I touched it before realizing what it was) but only a second or two later I realize what it really is. I quickly look up at Rachel (without reading the result) and now I immediately think she's got to be pregnant otherwise she wouldn't show me this. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I can do deductive reasoning! I look back down and see that it's positive. I'm happy, I'm surprised, I'm ecstatic, I'm every positive emotion for like 3 seconds until the doubt sets in...But we didn't do IVF, and the last time we did it didn't work. I got my hopes up before and I wanted to keep myself in check before I'd let myself get them up again, which to be honest is a little sad, well it's very sad because I'm purposefully repressing hope to shield myself from the pain again. The pain I felt back in November when what I really wanted, and what I really thought was going to happen...suddenly didn't.

So I process she's pregnant, I'm hopeful, but then I put my guard up. "How? Are you sure?" She shrugs her shoulders with a smile, "I think so". Neither of us believe the third positive pregnancy test I made her take. Both of us remember the repressed pain and try to repress it further by putting our guard up and letting doubt win. To my recollection we celebrated but it was a hesitant celebration, like we kind of let ourselves believe it might kind of sort of be possible and how great and amazing that would be, but we didn't really believe it at the same time. We got to talk a lot on a drive up to Idaho for a friend's wedding that weekend, but we mostly didn't bring it up. Even at the wedding when Rachel had an upset stomach we both thought it was because she ate too fast. Neither of us felt we could blame it on a miraculous parasite. 

Flash forward to the following Monday morning at the doctor's office, with the nurse walking into a hilarious scene. You could cut whatever weird mix of emotion was in the air with a knife. I still remember the thought in my head when the nurse congratulated us for being pregnant on our third, "Shut up with your congratulations until we see a blood test or ultrasound or concrete evidence." And what was weirder was neither of us really said anything, needless to say it was awkward. Which we have since cleared up with that same nurse. I couldn't believe it and my guard was up fully. I was ready to hear the tests were a mistake, multiple false positives, that Rach had a funky pee probably from asparagus. It messes with the smell and color so maybe it could do this. I didn't really let myself have the hope. It was too much pain last November and the subsequent months that followed. I had buried that hope for now, buried it good and deep.

Then the moment. I saw it. The doctor said it. Rachel saw it, said it, and confirmed it. But still I took a minute before I let my guard down, before I believed it. Even though they'd both said it I had to dig that hole open and let the hope run wild. But when it did... oh boy was it fast and overwhelming. I still feel like I asked at least 5 times in 5 different ways if the doctor was sure. When I pray for the twins I thank God for our two little miracles and this feels like it eclipses miracles. 
Those 3 seconds of joy and happiness I felt on Thursday was all I could feel now. Once I let my guard down it was down. I let myself believe. I opened myself up, I remembered the pain vividly from when it didn't work but it seemed to be erased little by little. The more I let myself believe the more that pain didn't matter anymore. It hurt like the dickens but now it didn't, now it doesn't.

I'm so very happy for this baby. Everyday I thank God for our new miracle, for "new baby" (we don't know the gender and I feel weird calling him or her 'it'). I was still skeptical, and I asked repeatedly what the odds of losing the baby could be, to what percentile confidence was the doctor? How many standard deviations? I needed the reassurance, I needed to know. The hurt was that deep, but by now my doubts are gone. This baby is coming and I'm so excited. Sometimes I even feel sorry for Boston and Lyla because I think they love my attention but this baby is going to get a lot of cuddles because I'm full of over a year of wishing I could have them. So ready or not New Baby, Daddy is bringing the cuddles!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm Pregnant?!!

How did I find out I was pregnant, especially since I wasn't expecting it?

I have to thank our local McDonald's for that. Every time I saw that McDonald's I had to fight every fiber of my being not to go and order a greasy double cheeseburger. For someone who doesn't eat fast food, this was very unusual. I guess I should mention that I had been feeling "off" as well due to extreme lightheadedness and some nausea.

I was concerned there was something wrong with me, but I also knew that what I was feeling could be signs of pregnancy even though it would pretty much be impossible. So the morning of October 6th, I took a cheap little .88 cent pregnancy test just to excuse that very unlikely possibility. When I looked at the pregnancy test there were two very clear lines. A quick review of the instructions confirmed that two lines meant positive. My pregnancy test was positive.

Even with a positive pregnancy test in my hands I didn't believe it. I immediately googled all the possible reasons for a false positive. Nothing I could find really explained it so I just chalked it up to being a cheap little test. However, I was feeling weird and I had been having the most ridiculous vivid dreams...

Two hours later I found myself in Walmart looking at a shelf of pregnancy tests, but this time I was looking at the fancy expensive ones. I had no idea what I was doing so I grabbed one that had 2 tests and had a $2 off coupon attached to it. (Score!) I also bought the twins plastic pumpkins to hold their Halloween candy in because it's impossible to go to Walmart without picking up something you weren't planning on buying, am I right?

I got home, fed the twins lunch, and peed in a cup.

I think the video below pretty much explains what happened. It's embarrassing and my voice is annoying, but this is real life people!


I'm pregnant!

No hours and hours of doctors appointments, no needles and medications, no ultrasounds to check on my follicles, no daily blood draws, no stressful bills, no ovaries the size of tennis balls. Nope. Just a beautiful miracle from God.

I couldn't wait to tell Chris, so when he got home from work I gave him a gift box with my two positive tests inside. I was still in utter disbelief, clinging onto a small bit of hope that this was really happening when I gave him the box. We were both so shocked, he made me take another pregnancy test. (Spoiler alert: it was another positive!) I actually asked him to type out his reaction so I could share it here on my blog, but it's so long that I'm going to make it my next post. He's an overachiever :)

I'm pregnant!!!

*Special thank you to McDonalds and Clearblue ;)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Part 5: The Year 2016

This is Part 5 of a series of posts telling the journey to our third little miracle baby.
Click the links to read Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

It's crazy to think that the previous parts of this story were written between August and November of 2015. Now it's the year 2017 and I'm trying to bridge the gap of what has happened since then.

After we found out the frozen embryo transfer didn't work I tried my best to cope around my pregnant friends and family. The holidays were especially difficult with one sister-in-law having a beautiful newborn and another sister-in-law announcing her pregnancy. I was happy for them, but in all honesty it was hard with the timing of it all. It was hard to know I could have been pregnant along with them. However, a couple weeks after we found out about the negative pregnancy test, a fire started burning within me to fight back. But I wanted to fight back on my own. I wasn't interested in going to fertility doctors anymore, or running more tests, and the last thing I wanted was the stress of another IVF. I started diving deeper into research that relates to me and my reproductive issues. I have never had a regular period in my life. The number of periods I've had without fertility medication can probably be counted on one hand. (You probably think having so few periods would be amazing! It kind of is, but definitely not worth the trouble and numerous hormone imbalances behind it.) But somehow I managed to have 3 periods within the first 8 months of 2016 all on my own. I didn't know if I was ovulating, but for me this was a huge step. Huge.

Somehow the stars all aligned and the timing of everything just worked. Turns out I got pregnant naturally in September of 2016!

What changed? What happened? Did going without any added sugars in my diet for 6 months do something? Did my body finally start to understand how it's supposed to function after I had the successful pregnancy and birth of my twins? Maybe those things helped, but I actually know the answer. It was my Heavenly Father and I know that to my core. It was so difficult exercising patience and moving forward with faith and hope in God's timing. I am very aware of all the intricacies that must happen for pregnancy to occur and with my reproductive issues, this pregnancy was nothing short of a miracle. I personally believe every pregnancy is a miracle, but this felt extra miraculous ;)

Waiting for my miracle wasn't all sunshine and roses. There were tears and sadness. I could sense my husband's yearning for another child stronger than ever. He kept asking when I would be willing to go back to our fertility doctor, but I didn't want to back...I didn't want to fail again. I started thinking about adoption, which is something I still really want to consider in the future. There was also a trial I faced that impacted me significantly, but now I can see God's hand in what happened and I believe its outcome helped me on the path to getting pregnant. However, that's a story for another time. I do want to share it, but I still feel too sensitive to talk about it.

Another important part of this journey is a priesthood blessing I received. Even though it was my sweet husband's voice I heard as I received this special prayer and blessing, I knew the words were coming from my Heavenly Father. The love I felt from my Father was so strong, especially as He told me I would have more children. I believed it. From that moment on I knew I would...just when was the question. That was September 4th, 2016. Two days later I conceived this precious child I am carrying, and 4 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. This might not mean much to you if you're not religious, but to me it just strengthens my testimony that much more of a loving Father in heaven.
I sent this to my hubby Oct 10th!

I remember reading stories of couples that went through IVF, had a baby, then went on to conceive naturally. I always wished their story could be my story, and now it is. Those stories gave me hope and now it's my wish that this journey of mine can do the same for others.

In the next post I'll share about finding out I was pregnant!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Part 4: I Will Wait for my Miracle

This is Part 4 of a series of posts telling the journey to our third little miracle baby.
More will be coming soon. Click the links to read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3.

I will wait...

Two days later the blood came.

My body is mourning through tears of scarlet. Every cramp, every drop, reminds me of what is not to come. I had a due date. It was July 10th, 2016. I was so excited, I got my hopes up, but nothing will happen when July arrives. No special delivery.

Part of me thinks I'm being over dramatic, making mountains out of mole hills. But I am hurting. I have thought of this embryo every day since I knew of its existence. Everyday I have thought that my precious little embryo would one day become part of our family. That Boston and Lyla would have a little brother or sister. So much thought, hope, and love has gone into something so small, small as the period at the end of this sentence.

Writing helps the pain pass. I have no idea what I'm supposed to learn from this. I am not angry at God, just confused. I still expect great miracles from Him. After many years my sister was able to conceive naturally. She might not believe that it was a miracle from God, I don't really know her stance on it, but I certainly do believe it was. And now I'm waiting for mine. Something needs to happen because even though I was afraid I would never have more children, I'm going to fight for it. I don't know my plan, I don't want to do IVF again, but I will figure something out. I will wait for my miracle.

Talking with Chris about what happened breaks my heart even more. He really thought this was going to work and that we would be celebrating. That the voicemail from my nurse would bring tears of happiness, not tears of great sorrow. We both viewed this embryo as our next child, that this embryo would become a part of our family forever. We both felt like we lost a child that day. Our hearts are devastated.

Again, to those who know how I am feeling, to those women who have had miscarriages, who have lost a baby, I do not know how you do it. You are so strong. You are my heroes.

A message I will never forget

I had some leftover Endometrin (a really expensive progesterone medication) after our frozen transfer so I decided to donate it to my fertility clinic. Everything was still so fresh and painful that when we pulled up to the clinic I couldn't go in. I asked Chris to give it to the receptionists for me. Attached to the Endometrin I included a note basically explaining that I wanted it donated to someone that couldn't afford it and that I will be praying for that person to be able to get pregnant. Chris dropped it off and we drove away.

The next day I got an email from my nurse that meant a lot, especially during this sensitive time.

I just wanted to send an email letting you know that I received the donated Endometrin. Your note with it was painfully sweet to read. I have that little note saved on my desk as a reminder to myself to show grace when faced with a hard situation, as you did. Your note of compassion really stopped me in my tracks, because I know your own heart is hurting. Your act of kindness will be appreciated by someone beyond measure. I hope you are doing okay. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Her message is something I will never forget. Nurses truly are angels.

Each part of these posts were written over a year ago. I call them posts, but they really feel like personal journal entries. My journey didn't end with an unsuccessful frozen embryo transfer, it was actually just the beginning. I said I would wait for my miracle and that's just what I did. I can't wait to tell you about it.

More coming soon!

Click here for Part 5.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Part 3: The Results

This is Part 3 of a series of posts telling the journey to our third little miracle baby.
Part 4 will be published soon. Click the links to read Part 1 and Part 2

Fear and Faith

Monday morning, three days after my transfer, I woke up to find that I was spotting.

My heart sank. I was so scared.

I immediately prayed. As I was getting the twins up, I didn't know what to think. I almost felt like I was in shock and was putting that energy into doing all sorts of random chores. It wasn't bad, but of course I was really worried about what it meant. I had heard of implantation bleeding before, but fear of the worst came over me. I prayed, Chris prayed, and for a while it stopped and then started again. Part of me was saying that this was it, "game over." The other part of me was hoping that maybe this was a sign that this would work, that our little embryo implanted and I was experiencing implantation bleeding. I never bled when I got pregnant with the twins, but apparently it does occur in about 1 in 3 pregnancies. My nurse at the fertility clinic said it was probably just implantation bleeding and that I should take it easy.

There were many things pointing to this being a great sign, but I was still so scared. I stopped bleeding two days later, but late that night my mind wouldn't stop trying to figure out what all this meant. I prayed for peace and comfort until I was asleep. When I woke up the next morning I felt different. I was happy and hopeful again. And when I was alone, I didn't feel alone. Throughout this entire transfer process, every time I have sought after the Lord in faith I have felt His comfort and my fears were cast away.

The Results

One week later I had my blood test to see if I was pregnant. Fortunately Chris got to be with me and we spent the rest of the day together as a family. I hadn't decided how I wanted to receive the news, so I just left my phone in the other room. I ended up missing the call with the blood results at about 3:00pm. I checked my phone shortly after and noticed I had a voicemail from the clinic. I started to tremble a bit because I was so nervous. Chris and I decided to go for a drive and listen to the voicemail together. We ended up at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. The air felt heavy as Chris pressed play. I'll add that before our drive began I had feelings of rejoicing, feelings of love. I didn't know what it meant but I embraced it. The moment the message started to playback I knew.

The only word I can remember is "Negative".

I wasn't pregnant.

It felt like a minute passed before I could breathe. Then came the sobs for what felt like hours. It was one of the most painful cries I have experienced. I was crushed. In situations like this it is so common to start asking God, "Why?" But this time was different. Even though my heart was so heavy, so broken, I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I thanked Him for the opportunity, thanked Him that I had a chance to give this embryo a home even though it was much too short. I thanked Him for Boston and Lyla. I pleaded with Him asking what I'm supposed to learn from this and what I'm supposed to do next. I then remembered what Chris had said in a blessing he gave me a couple weeks prior. In the blessing I was told to keep my head up. So that's what I did. With tears streaming down my face I held my head up and tried to focus on what I needed to do for my family, but I was unable to speak for 4 long hours.

At one point when the twins woke up from their nap I went in to get them, but the moment I saw them it just set me off. I fell to my knees in tears. I am so thankful for them. So thankful for their perfect little bodies and the chance I have to be their mother. With my hands on their cribs, Boston reached out and rested his hand on top of mine and Lyla gave me a smile. They are such precious gifts.

I feel so bad that Chris married a woman that has a hard time conceiving, even when all the conditions are almost perfectly controlled. He came to me wanting to add to our family. He wanted this so much. I wanted it too. You never know how much you want - no, need - something until you can't have it.

I'm fighting that urge. That horrible urge to give up. To sleep all day and not eat. My body wants to but my spirit is saying don't give up. Take care of your family. Hold your head up.
With my failed IUIs I would always pick myself up and try again. I've already said I never want to do IVF again. It is expensive and so stressful, emotionally and physically. And I can't deal with the thought of more frozen embryos waiting for a home - however temporary it may be. Though I held this embryo in my body for only a short time, I carried it in my heart for so much longer. The loss is devastating.

After I got pregnant with the twins I felt invincible against infertility. Like I couldn't be stopped again. I really thought this was going to work. We had so many answers to our prayers. It felt so right. I knew exactly how I was going to announce the pregnancy to everyone. I could imagine watching Boston and Lyla play while I held a newborn baby in my arms. I would think about our family of five. But the truth is, I still suffer from infertility. Before we started treatment I was terrified this wasn't going to work. Now I am terrified that because the transfer did not work that I won't be able to have more. I am terrified that I am done.

To those that have experienced miscarriages and still heart aches for you. I cannot imagine your pain, your broken heart, your emptiness. I saw my embryo before it was carefully placed inside me. I have a picture of him or her. I don't know if it implanted or not. I'm almost sure I experienced implantation bleeding but it must have stopped developing after it implanted. I didn't experience a positive pregnancy test or hear a heartbeat and then lose the baby like so many have. I only know the pain and sorrow from knowing there was a precious living embryo inside me that didn't grow. To those that had a baby growing inside them but lost it, I am so sorry. I only know a fraction of your pain and it is some of the worst pain I've experienced.

I am mourning the loss of my embryo. The loss of the idea of a third child. The loss of a growing family. Of the defeat of infertility. And the despair of not knowing what to do next, that my call to motherhood begins and ends with Boston and Lyla. I don't want to be done, but I am so afraid I am.

Until I can pick myself up, that's all I have words to say.

The journey continues. Click here for Part 4.

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