Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our journey to have child #2, continued…..

I posted about our journey trying to have a second child here in April last year. I just knew after publicly posting that, that we would get pregnant.

We didn't.

We had another HSG done (procedure that clears out the Fallopian tubes). That jump started our previous pregnancy, so I just knew it would jump start this one.

It didn't.

My doctor put me on clomid. I just knew that would be the trick to get us pregnant.

It wasn't.

So my doctor doubled my prescription. That would definitely be what was needed. I just knew we were going to be pregnant.

We weren't.

So finally, in November 2013, my doctor & I both agreed that he had done everything he could do, and it was time to see a fertility specialist. He referred us to 2 fertility specialists in Birmingham. Both had over month long waits for an appointment. It was so disappointing. We’d have to wait a month to even see a doctor, go through tests, wait for my cycle start and then start with their suggestions. We could be looking at February 2014 before we could even start. But then one of the clinics called & had a cancellation for the next day, if we could make it. Um, yes, we can. So we were able to meet with them mid-November. We used the ART Fertility Clinic at Brookwood Medical, and I just cannot say enough wonderful things about this clinic, the staff, the nurses and doctors. Absolutely amazing throughout the entire process. We had tests done, blood work drawn, and met with the doctor. He agreed that on the outside, everything seems perfect for us to get pregnant. My cycles are very regular, I seem to ovulate every month, around the correct time. We've gotten pregnant 3 other times, something is working. It is probably due to the ectopic pregnancy that just has the inside off. We come up with a plan. We will try an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) a few times, if that doesn't work, then they will go in with surgery, to take a closer look and our last option would be IVF. My cycle was scheduled to start the last week of November, so we would start the IUI process in December.

Here is the part that if you are my dad, or just not interested in fertility talk, stop reading & skip down to the next paragraph. But this was our journey with IUI.   

After my cycle started, I took an injection in my stomach everyday. I realized very early on that I could not give myself shots, so Robbie had to give them to me daily. The belly shots were not bad. The needle was not too long and it basically just felt like a pinch. The more nerve-wrecking part was just making sure we got the correct dosage of medicine and didn't waste any or give too much (the medicine isn't cheap!).  I had to take these shots until my follicles on my right side got to a certain size (November 27-December 3). (My left tube is the damaged tube, so it’s been voted least likely to succeed.)  Of course the left side follicles grew faster than the right side, so I had to go in daily for ultrasounds until the right side grew large enough. Finally, once the right side made it, I had a take the big shot in the bum (December 4). That one, did hurt. Thankfully, we only had to do that one once. The next 3 days were our best chance. A few days later (December 12) I went in to see if I ovulated. It looked like I had, so YEAH, we are one step closer. Then a week later, they did blood work to see if there was a pregnancy or not.

Start reading again here.

They would call me later that afternoon with the news. Now, I've been told I wasn't pregnant, because I got my cycle. I've been told I wasn't pregnant from a pregnancy test. But I’d never been told by a human being that I wasn't pregnant, so I was nervous about that. The nurse called that afternoon and said the words we have waited a year to hear “Congratulations, you are pregnant”. So many mixed emotions. Tears of happiness, but so many worries of fears. We’d been in this boat before, and didn't get a happy ending. I know that the joy of finding out you are pregnant, you can be robbed of it at any moment. And it hurts so badly when it is taken away. But I thank God, and give Him all the glory.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:3-5  

So, Step 1: Getting pregnant, was complete. Now on to Step 2: Stay pregnant, was about to begin.

First 20 Weeks

I started taking progesterone pills immediately after trying to conceive. On December 31, we had our first ultrasound (post baby conception) at 5 weeks. They warned us that we probably would not see the baby, but should be able to see the sac and confirm that it was in the correct location. It was! “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

5 weeks

(Hence, this is why we did absolutely nothing for New Year’s Eve this year. It was New Year’s Eve a year ago, that we had an ultrasound and they couldn't see the baby. Later that night, the miscarriage started. And 2 years before that, we miscarried the week after New Year’s. So New Year’s Eve is a touchy time for me.)

On January 9, we went in for our 6 week ultrasound. We could actually see the baby (which basically just looked like a lima bean). “For You formed my inward parts: You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalms 139:13

6 weeks

On January 16, we went in for our 7 week ultrasound. Again, the baby looks good! I can’t believe it, 3 great ultrasounds of a baby in a row. We never even had that many with Jake (which we were not getting them weekly, but still). Could this pregnancy be our worry free pregnancy? Of course not. Later that day they called to tell me that the blood work (that I was still having drawn weekly) came back and my progesterone levels had dropped. Robbie was out of town in CA on business, and I didn't want to worry him. They decided to double my dosage of the progesterone pills in hopes of getting that number back up. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

7 weeks

On January 23, we went in for our 8 week ultrasound. I prepared myself that the news might not be good. I would be disappointed, but at least we made it further this pregnancy than the last 2. So there was hope. Then on the ultrasound screen, we saw the baby move for the first time. A flood of emotions just wash over me.  I cried over so many negative pregnancy tests for 2 years. I cried in the past over seeing a baby on the ultrasound that we knew would not survive. I cried in the past over not being able to see the baby in the ultrasound. So to see this baby that we had prayed for, begged for, cried for, to see it moving on the screen was completely emotional. I give all of the glory, honor and praise to our Lord. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalms 139:14

8 weeks

We missed our 9 week appointment due to the snowstorm.

On February 4, we went in for our 10 week ultrasound. If we got a good report, then they would release me back into the care of my regular doctor. Everything looked great! “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7

10 weeks

On February 18, I got to meet with my regular doctor for our 12 week appointment. As soon as he walked into the room, we just hugged for the longest time. (I have the most wonderful, awesome doctor, that I absolutely adore.) He had been by my side during this whole journey over the last 2 years. He listened to my questions, hugged me when I cried, put up with all my charts and tracking and is just an absolutely amazing doctor. He knew the hurt we had gone through, he & his wife had faced similar problems, so it was just a wonderful time to get to actually celebrate good news! “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

12 weeks

 Due to our prior complications and evidently my extremely old age of 35 to carry a child, we had some additional blood work done at our 12 week appointment. This was going to tell us some stuff that we would normally not find out until our 20 week ultrasound.

On March 4, (I was 14 weeks) I had just dropped Jake off at school & was heading back home. My phone rang & I figured it was my mom calling me to tell me how my sister’s doctor’s appointment went, as she was scheduled to have Gaines that Friday. I picked up my phone and saw it wasn't my mom. It was the doctor’s office. Oh my. They were calling to most importantly tell us, that all of the blood work had come back normal. Everything pointed to a healthy growing baby. They also let me know that they knew the gender of the baby. Did I want to know?

Um, yes. I am a planner and I do not like surprises.

I almost ran off the road I was so excited. And that is when she told me that we were having a little girl. The call was ending about the time I pulled in our driveway. I thanked the nurse and then just sat there in our driveway. I couldn't believe it; we were having a little girl. (I’ll do a separate post on how I told Robbie & the grandparents. This post is already way too long & I have 6 more weeks to write about!)

On March 19, I had my 16 week appointment. No ultrasound, but I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I do not know why, but for some reason, that made me extremely emotional. To hear that little heartbeat beating inside me. It is one of the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

On April 8, we had our 19 week appointment. During this ultrasound, they confirmed that it was a little girl. Everything looks normal and healthy. We already knew that it was a little girl, so of course she cooperated perfectly and they confirmed it even more so. (Unlike her brother who never cooperated during ultrasounds!) But we were most pleased just to hear everything was normal and healthy. We took Jake to the appointment and he was really into it. (Jake loves anything associated with a doctor, hospital or medical equipment, as long as he is not the patient.) He was able to see the baby and even recognized the foot without us pointing it out. While they were doing the ultrasound, a baby cried in the hallway. Which Jake thought was the baby in my stomach crying. But there on the screen was our little baby girl. The 4th member of our family. “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1

19 weeks

So this closes out the first half of this pregnancy. The hardest part of this pregnancy has been not freaking myself out.  I thought after I was 12 weeks, that fear of losing the baby would go away, but it didn't. I worry every single day about the baby. I’m starting to feel her move, which is so comforting and my favorite thing about pregnancy. Her movements are soft and little and I have to be either sitting or lying just right to feel them. But I love them and they reassure me.

There is not a day that goes by, that I take this pregnancy for granted. My doctor laughs that he has never had a patient that was so thankful for every annoying pregnancy symptom. Now, don’t get me wrong, being pregnant is still not my favorite thing and I will be so glad when she is out (in 20 more weeks). But having a baby grow inside me, that is a pretty wonderful thing and something I am grateful for every day and I don’t take for granted. And I still pray every day for those that are trying to conceive. I only had a touch of the heartbreak they go though, and I know how much just that little bit impacted me and how bad it hurt.

So there you have it. I’ll probably update more often as the pregnancy moves along these last 20 weeks. We are very excited here, including Jake. I’ll write more later of his thoughts on the pregnancy and his name for the baby girl, who for now, we just call baby sister. We love her so much already and just cannot wait to meet her in another 20 weeks.  

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