Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fertility, Infertility, and Faith

The first time we got pregnant, it was easy. We didn't do much planning or thinking. We just decided we were going to have a baby and a few months later, I got a positive test result. Really. It was like that. I mean, we had the conversation, eliminated anything that could be preventing a baby, and then like 4 months later...

However, on Halloween carnival night, I noticed something weird...and the next morning went to the doctor. It ended as badly as one could expect and we lost that sweet first baby. See recap here. We had some precious people who God allowed to walk through that stinky time with us.

That was October of 2014. It is now April of 2016. If you count the four months we tried for baby number one, we are talking almost two years of waiting for good news.

After the miscarriage, I talked to my doctor about things like "did I DO something wrong?" and "how soon can we start trying again?" and "how can I be SURE next time?" We got some answers we wanted and some that were scary. The scariest of the answers was that they don't do any tests until after the second miscarriage, which God-forbid, I wouldn't reach. So, we will never fully know why we lost that first pregnancy (more on that in a bit). We were told to wait until the cycle got back to a new normal and then we could begin trying again.

A year passed. A long year of hoping each and every month that a certain event would not take place. A year of crying. A year of wondering. I don't really know why I didn't call the doctor during that year. I really felt like "normal" families wait quite some time for a baby. In my brain, it took a few months for us to get back on track after the miscarriage and we had a lot going on and I was stressed, so it could just be awhile. Looking back, I wish I had called her after like 6 months....but who knew? I would advise you, if you are trying to have a baby and you aren't getting results, to go talk to your doctor! They are so very helpful. 

I said out loud a lot during 2015 that I know God is good. I know God is faithful. I know God's timing is perfect. I know God has a precious baby for us and it will come in HIS timing, not ours. But friends...I had a really really hard time believing it month in and month out. I cried at the beginning of each cycle thinking "why not this month?" I don't know that I'll ever know that answer this side of heaven. I truly just have to rest in the fact that God IS good. God IS faithful. and God's timing IS perfect. His love endures forever and His faithfulness to the sky. 

I went for my check up in October of 2015 and blubbered like a baby to my (new) doctor. Dr. Walvoord was amazing at my miscarriage appointment and was amazing once again at this one. I truly believe that God placed her in our lives for such a time as this!!! I truly do.

She explained that even people who do ovulate can have difficulties getting pregnant for a variety of reasons. She also explained that just because it was easy once does not mean that every conception will be easy or that we would never need any assistance, whether that be hormonal, IVF, or whatever may come our way. She told me we could do some blood tests and she said if we got decent results, we could have a conception in at max 6 months. For someone who had been taking a pregnancy test on day 28 for literally 12 straight months "in faith" (y'all. that's a bad way to do things, by the way...and very expensive...and very sad), that made me cry all over again. I didn't want something to be "wrong" with us, but at the same time, I desperately wanted something to be wrong so that she could fix it and we could get pregnant. My hormones were already all over the place and I was just so ready to have a baby. 

By this point in time, literally EVERYONE was either having a baby, pregnant, or just had a baby (I know, I know...every woman goes through this. It's like when literally EVERYONE is getting engaged and you aren't :)! )

After the blood tests, we met again. My ovulation existed but was very low on the scale. My progesterone levels are insanely low. In fact, progesterone is one of the key things that makes baby implant and "stick" (which is what Saville Baby Numero Uno did not do). We were able to get a little closure when we realized that this hormone imbalance may have actually affected/caused our miscarriage and that baby would never have developed properly without a progesterone supplement. 

Moose had some tests done as well and we determined that some fertility meds on my end might be just the thing that would push us to baby Saville. I'm so grateful that my OB/GYN was gracious and knowledgable enough to handle all of our issues in her office. We never had to go to a specialist and I am grateful for the financial burden that saved us (though the tests and medicine aren't covered by insurance. Apparently infertility is not a "sickness"; rather it is "elective"). 

The first med was a disaster and did not work at all. Ironically, a dear friend of mine was going through this at the exact same time and the same med did not work for her. Let's just say it was a crash and burn...and more tears. My progesterone level became nonexistent and we had to jump start the next cycle.

The second med did exactly what it was supposed to do...but no baby.

In month two of med two, we hit the jackpot :)

I woke up on day 27 feeling sure I was pregnant. I just knew it was working and that this was the month. I took a test (I'm telling you ladies...bad) and it was negative. I was crushed because I'm telling you--heartburn, bigger chest, gassiness, tired...I was SURE! But, then I (in my insanely self-aware self) remembered that I ovulated later this month. I took another test on day 32 and sure enough...

For those of you who read my miscarriage post (or clicked the link above for the recap), you know that my sweet doctor declared that I would be a hot mess when I saw those words on that stick and that I should call her immediately. She also told me they would do absolutely everything possible to inform me of what was going on this time around, to help baby implant and stay put, and to calm my hot-mess-ness. Well, Dr Walvoord stuck to her word! We got to do blood and hormone tests that very week. Then, two weeks later, we did an ultrasound to ensure that the sac was forming properly and implanting the way it should. Two weeks after that, we did the official 8 week ultrasound...and we told the world. Went back week 10 and on week 12. God is so gracious to give us people in our lives to calm our little crazy fears, is he not?

In each of these appointments, we were assured that the hormone levels looked good and baby is doing exactly what baby is supposed to be doing.  I do have the history of the miscarriage, as well as a few other little things that they are watching--but for the most part, this journey has resulted in a healthy pregnancy. 

That above picture that has been so comical to me...the big eyes, the no glasses, the in-the-moment joy...I sent that to my family like 30 minutes after taking it. Moose and I had a quick moment of celebration and I was just ready for our people to know. We did it secretly the first time and it did not work out well. I understand that the reason you keep it under wraps is so that you don't have to tell everyone if you lose the baby. I'm not a private person; I am a sharer. I want to share in sorrow. I need to share in sorrow. I want to share in joy. I need to share in joy. It broke me that we had to tell our family and friends that we were pregnant and lost the baby in the same moment the first time around. I knew that the next time, I would do things differently. Family would know immediately. The joy and the sorrow is worth sharing if it came to that. There should have been time for the joy before the pain. 

After two years of waiting. Months of pain and loss over our first pregnancy. Months of crying over negative tests. Months of fertility. It was time for some joy. 

Ps 30:5
"His good favor restores one's life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning."

We are so grateful that our fertility story has come to this beautiful conclusion. We are aware that this is not the end of our story; rather, it is the beginning of a new story--our journey through this second pregnancy and God-willing, our first child this side of heaven. Our season of sorrow is over and I couldn't be more grateful.

While we are so eternally thankful that the fertility medicine worked for us, I can't help but think of so many friends who are desperately praying for their miracle. Praying for adoption. Praying for this month to be the month. Praying that baby will stay alive and well inside mommy for just awhile longer. Praying desperately after loss. Praying in this fallen world for a completed family and for redemption. 

I'm grateful that you all have joined us in our joy...but let us not forget to join these precious friends in their sorrow. Please remember these families with me.

Romans 12:15-18 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

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