We get asked all the time “so when are you giving Jake a little brother or sister?” or “how much age difference do you want between your children?” or “are you only going to have 1 child?”. Honestly, the questions do not bother me. I understand why people are asking, and before we were in this situation, I know I’ve asked similar questions. We have 1 child, so surely having a 2nd one is just completely up to us & our timing. Right? I thought so! But wrong. The questions are easy to answer; I just respond that we are trying. People get it pretty quickly and I’ve not had anyone be intrusive. In fact, most times, they share troubles they have had themselves or people they know. It is comforting to know you are not alone. And it gives me hope. So really, I don’t mind. The hardest part is letting go of “my baby plan” and realizing that it is in God’s timing, not mine.
Our pregnancy troubles actually started when I was pregnant with Jake. We got pregnant very easily (& surprisingly) with Jake. The first 28 weeks went by amazingly. I had no sickness, was gaining weight moderately and felt pretty good. This pregnancy stuff was so easy! I look back now at how naive & over-confident I was. I skipped all of the scary parts of Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week. I mean, that hardly happens to anyone, certainly not us. I thought I’d gotten past the hard parts – getting pregnant & making it to 13 weeks. It was going to all be smooth sailing until we welcomed our baby! Oh, to be that naive again.
At 28 weeks, there were some things that the doctors were concerned about on our ultrasound. I learned with ultrasounds (which I previously loved up until then!) is that they cannot tell you anything for certain. It could be nothing. Just the way the baby is turned or something they just can’t get a good view of. But it tells you enough that there may be something to worry about. We had to have an amniocentesis. We were scared, we were confused, we were worried. (I tend to get very nervous about things that I cannot pronounce correctly.) Thankfully, chromosome wise, things were fine, but that also meant that the doctor was more uncertain about to what extent something could be wrong. We only told our immediate family & close friends. It was so hard & I didn’t want people to ask questions. I didn’t know everything that was happening, so I knew there was no way I could explain it to someone anyway. The remaining weeks of the pregnancy were so hard. There was just so much uncertainly and unanswered questions. The best they could tell us was to not look on the internet and once the baby came, we would know better what we were dealing with. I dreaded ultrasounds after that, because each time we had one, it was a reminder of there was something wrong, but they couldn’t give us a complete diagnoses. This continued until I was 36½ weeks along, until Christmas Eve night.
Christmas was on Thursday that year. I was scheduled to have another ultrasound on Monday. I was dreading that ultrasound like the plague. Then around 10:00 Wednesday night, I thought my water broke, so I went to the bathroom. After a few minutes, it looked like a murder scene in our tiny ½ bath. Crazy enough, at this point, I really was not concerned. I was more worried that they were going to put me on bed rest and I still had a good 8 weeks left of work I needed to finish before having this baby. (At this point, I don’t know if it was a blessing or curse that I skipped all of the bad parts of the pregnancy book.) We got to the hospital and they said they said that they would have to do an emergency cesarean. Again, I was not worried about that at all. I was just so excited that we were going to go ahead & have the baby & I wouldn’t have to worry about another ultrasound with Jake again. While doing the c-section, they confirmed that it was what they expected, placental abruption. (The placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. It can deprive the baby of oxygen & nutrients, which I know now, but didn’t realize then.) I had never heard of this, and it thankfully wasn’t until later that I learned either myself of Jake could have died from it. But that seems very dramatic, so I try not to think about it. I was just quite pleased that I had been able to eat a whole plate of chili cheese fries just a few hours earlier and was still able to have a successful c-section. (Again, can we say naive??)
Once Jake was born, the doctors were able to fully examine him and give us more insight into what was so concerning on those ultrasounds. Thankfully, it was not a worst case scenario. Jake has a wonderful pediatric surgeon out of Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital who has performed 2 surgeries on him & will perform 1 more in the next few years. Jake is a healthy growing boy and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for that blessing.
So were Jake’s problem & the placental abruption connected? No. They 2 are completely unrelated (or so the doctor’s say! I have no idea!). They both are things that randomly can happen to anyone and are not genetic. We just had them both happen to us.
All of this behind us, I can honestly say, I was not scared in the least bit to try again. Robbie & I both knew that we wanted at least 2 children. Ideally, according to my baby plan, I would have loved to start trying when Jake turned 2. But, considering at that point, Robbie & I were not even living in the same state (he had already moved to AL to start work at his new job & I was still in TN finishing up mine), baby #2 was going to have to hold off. It was held off more because for several months we lived in temporary housing and then we were living with my in-laws. There was no room to bring in a 2nd child. Hindsight is always 20/20. I look back now & wonder if we should have just started trying anyway? Who cares if the baby would have to sleep in a drawer? But we wanted to wait until we were in our own house with plenty of room.
So we moved into the new house in September 2011, got settled, and I was pleasantly surprised, to find out just a few months after moving in that we had gotten pregnant. By this point, I’ve realized that we were very blessed to be able to get pregnant twice so easily & quickly. Oh if I had only known what was in store for us.
Pretty shortly after finding out we were pregnant, we knew something was wrong. Of course things started happening over the weekend, so I didn’t call my doctor. I thought I was miscarrying. I knew that miscarrying this early, there was nothing they could do to stop it, so I just struggled through it over the weekend. It was horrible pain. On Monday, I made an appointment to see my doctor on Tuesday. I was still in a lot of pain, but figured that is just what happens. The first thing they did was an ultrasound. The lab tech kept moving the wand around everywhere. I knew something was wrong, but figured it was just related to the miscarriage I thought I had. Then she gave me the good ole “I’ll let the doctor talk to you”. That is when my doctor told me that he doesn’t think I’ve miscarried, but that it is an ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus. In my case, it was in my fallopian tube [most common]. Also called a tubal pregnancy.) That blockage in my fallopian tube was causing the bleeding and near rupturing. So once again, we get to have surgery immediately, but this time the next day. The pregnancy was in my left tube and they were able to remove it. The surgery went well and we were able to go home that day.
The ectopic pregnancy was extremely painful. I like to feel like I have a pretty high tolerance of pain. I felt nothing during the placental abruption and after the c-section. But this little seed stuck in my tube hurt. Horribly. It is the only time in my life, I can remember actually crying because I was in pain. Even once we got home it was painful. I feel like that was increased due to emotions though. It was sad. They had to cut over my previous scar to remove the pregnancy. Why did this one hurt so bad when removing a 5 pound baby did not? I feel like it was due to emotions, the sadness of not bringing home a baby or never getting to meet them, but who knows.
We were very saddened by the loss of the pregnancy, but felt at ease and peace. We would give it a few months, and then try again. We had gotten pregnant easily & quickly twice before, so I felt confident that it would only be a matter of months before we were expecting again.
3 months go by. Then 6 months. Then 9 months. By this point, I was getting frustrated. I know that 9 months isn’t really considered a long time to try, but we had gotten pregnant in 1-2 months of trying (or not even trying) previously. Why was it suddenly so hard? Because of all of the prior complications, I was worried, so my doctor went ahead & started doing different tests. Everything appears to be in working order. All levels are high and good & right where they need to be to get pregnant. For whatever reason, it is just not happening. My doctor has run tests on my tubes and as we figured, my left tube is basically useless due to the damage. But my right tube is perfect & you only need 1!
**DISCLAIMER!!** I know this is the part where people love to say “just stop trying & it will happen”. Please do not ever say that to someone who is trying anything. They know that. And if only it was that easy. I know people tend to get pregnant when they don’t try or just give up trying. (HELLO! That’s how we got pregnant with Jake!) But unfortunately, my heart just doesn’t listen when I tell it not to want a baby. Even when trying to not think about it, I do. In the back of my head I’m counting days, wondering if this will be the time, what month would the baby be born in. Believe me, I wish I could just not care, go have fun & see what happens. But once you want something so badly, it is hard to just let it go. If I could, I would have done it long ago.
Back to our story (if you are still awake). By the end of 2012, I was at the doctor’s office weekly, just doing different tests & different blood work. I will admit, sometimes it is hard sitting in there with all of the pregnant people, wondering why that can’t be you. But I’m sure women trying for just one baby could say that of me since we already have Jake. So whenever I’m sad, I just start counting all of the blessings I do have. And that is a reminder about all things in life. There is always going to be someone who has more than you and what you want. But there are also people that would do anything to have what you have. Family, job, house, friends, food, security, etc… That has been one of the biggest lessons for me through all of this. Letting go of the “but I want that” and praising God for the “blessing I do have”. Which in my case, is much more than I deserve.
Finally, on the eve of Christmas Eve, 2012, we got the result that we had been hoping for, for almost a year. A pregnancy test that said pregnant. The month of December (especially the days leading up to Christmas) would defiantly be my most favorite month. The joy of Christmas, I had our firstborn that month and now, after a year of trying, we found out we were pregnant that month. I LOVE YOU DECEMBER!!
For as excited as we were, we were also extremely cautious. I was terrified this would be another ectopic pregnancy. I went to the bathroom probably every hour. My doctor wanted me to go ahead & come in at 6 weeks. By this point, I actually could feel the pregnancy symptoms. I felt like if it was another ectopic, I would have known by now. So we go in for the ultrasound. Everything looks right for a pregnancy, but they just cannot find it. They wondered if maybe I just miscalculated my dates & it is just too early, but in my heart, I know it is not a good sign. They take blood work & then I have to go in 2 days later for more blood work. They can compare the 2 and know what is going on. So we head home.
Details are TMI, so I won’t list them. But basically the following days, we had a miscarriage. Thankfully blood work showed that it was a miscarriage, not another ectopic, so everything was able to happen naturally. We are now 1 for 3.
And that is where we sit today. I leave you with these very short (ha!) points….
• Words cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for my amazing doctor. He is the perfect combination of sensitive, funny, optimistic, sympathetic, and most of all, a man of God. He & his wife have had an easy pregnancy & a struggle pregnancy, so I feel like he relates, he understands. He has been the perfect doctor for me. It is random how I found him, so I know that it was God working, because he knew Dr. Simmons was going to be exactly who I needed.
• What we have gone through the last year, does not even begin to compare with what so many women & families out there have faced. They have struggled more years, more heartbreak, more financially than I could ever imagine. I will not even act like I know the pain and disappointment they have faced. I know how bad the little bit I’ve suffered has hurt, so I know theirs is a thousand times harder. I cry for them. I hurt for them. I hope for them. I pray for them.
• I am not bitter. It doesn’t upset me when someone announces they are pregnant. If fact, we have several friends who are pregnant right now. And I can honestly say that I am so happy for them. Now, I know it is easier for me to say, because I already have 1 child, but how could you not be happy for a friend that is pregnant? Rather you’ve been trying or it just happened, pregnancy is a miracle and something to celebrate. (Now, I’m not going to say that I celebrate Kim Kardashian being pregnant, but my friends, I do.) I know that when we unexpectedly got pregnant with Jake, I’m sure there were people trying who felt like we didn’t “deserve” to be pregnant. I probably would have agreed with them! But I thank God now that we were, because had it not happened, we could be sitting here without a child at all. You never know what the future holds, and just because someone has something you want at that moment, doesn’t mean that they took your gift. It just means your gift is coming at a different time. A more perfect time for you. So I celebrate these new babies, I pray for their health, for their families and I am so happy for them. And I hope someone would feel the same for me.
• If you have children, hug them & make sure they know how much you love them & wanted them. Shamefully, when we got pregnant so easily with Jake, I just took it for granted. I thought we could just have as many babies as we wanted whenever we wanted them. This has taught me the miracle that is a pregnancy and being grateful, because you are not promised that it will happen again. Each day with a child is a precious gift. Even the hard days when you want to just walk away. I will never take for granted that we have Jake and I will go in his room every single night (until he is probably a teenager & learns to lock his door) & kiss him & thank God that he blessed me with such a precious little boy. I will never again take for granted the gift of a child.
So here we are, April 2013. Still not pregnant. The day of the month that you get confirmation that you are not pregnant, for me, is the hardest day. It’s disappointing. It hurts my heart. It makes me frustrated. It’s like studying a whole month for a huge test, and then finding out you got an F. I feel like I failed. It is so disappointing, I want to cry. But I will never stop trying. My doctor & I have a plan and a timeline, and we'll see where it goes. There will do more tests, more shots, more fun. I know this is not the end of our story.
So I pray. I hope. I have faith. I’m trying my best to let go of my plans and have complete faith in God’s plans. It is just so much harder to do sometimes. But even on the hard days, I can honestly say that I feel His peace, I feel His love and I know that He has blessed me far more than what I deserve. So the chapter of my life “Having Baby #2” isn’t exactly happening as I wrote it in my book. But thankfully my editor is a much smarter man with a much better plan. And no matter how that chapter unfolds, no matter how much heartbreak it contains, not matter how many tears I cry during that chapter, He will never leave my side. No matter how that chapter is written, I pray that He will give me peace about it and faith. And He is a much better writer than me anyway.
"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16