It's a busy week this week but I wanted to stop in and share a story with you today. (I'll also be bringing you Miller Baby followers a pregnancy/baby update Friday).
Annette found the Wonderfully Filled Wombs series on Pinterest and reached out to me through email. I'll never forget the day I opened her initial contact and cried as I rode the highs and lows of the journey she's been on for many years. I pray today as you read along you will be touched by how incredibly God beat out the odds.
1 Samuel 27: For this child I prayed, and the Lord had given me my petition which I asked of him
I think I was born to be a Mommy – when I was a child I dreamt about having ten! I was a bit of a handful, to say the least. Determined. Headstrong. An answer for everything (not at all). Stubborn (not.) Very Patient. Neat and (dis)orderly. Extremely Loving. My mom gave me the motherly blessing, “may all ten be just like you”. I loved to take care of people and things and knew it was my role in life to be a Mommy.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the rainbow when there’s been endless days of rain – Christina Greer
When I was 19 I became pregnant by my childhood love but I lost that baby when I was a victim of domestic abuse at his hand. I didn’t know I was pregnant until the day after when I started to have terrible cramps and then bleeding. I was at the Dr. because of the bruising and I couldn’t lift my arms above my head.
In my 20's I experienced another miscarriage. On, what would have been, my due date I got a tattoo on my upper thigh – a baby angel on a cloud. After this loss, I accepted that maybe I would just be an Auntie and not a Mommy. There are other ways to mother, right?
All glory comes from daring to begin – Eugene F. Ware
I met the man of my dreams, Tom in August 2004, and we feel deeply in love. We were married March 24, 2007. From his previous marriage he had two children who were four and 11, when we met. After having his two beautiful and perfect children with from his first marriage, Tom had a vasectomy. Because of my previous losses and because of our instant family, I thought I could be content without a child born from our love and then we both very quickly realized otherwise. We had the vasectomy reversed in a three hour procedure. The doctor joked that he cuts and reverses only once each way, so if we wanted the light switch installed we needed to let him know at the time of the surgery.
If only it was this easy. The surgery was the easiest part of the next three years of our journey.
1 Samuel 5: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb
I have battled endometriosis and PCOS since I was 10; I have had seven laparoscopies and multiple fibroid tumors removed. Still I have been assured by many doctors that conception and pregnancy is a possibility. Yet, it didn’t seem to be happening for us.
After six months I spoke to my OB/GYN and she prescribed Clomid for two cycles and then a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. Two cycles later, we sat in the office hearing the words that we didn’t want to hear – we needed testing and help.
We completed two rounds of IUI with Clomid with no results. We completed the testing which confirmed that we needed IVF and based on the results of my husband’s analysis we would need to have IVF with ICSI assistance. The meds were ordered; the education class was completed, the financing was done. We were on our way. And so it began….
First the birth control pills – well that seemed sort of odd, obviously we didn’t need birth control, that hasn’t been a problem. However, the birth control was to normalize my cycle. Then came the Lupron to shut down my cycle. Then the meds to create follicles; all of the meds with the exception of the birth control pill were given by injection into my belly and we quickly discovered that I am allergic to rubbing alcohol, who knew! My belly was black and blue. We were making progress and got to the point where we were at the every other day ultrasounds and lab work to monitor the progression of our follicles; things were developing quickly and the egg retrieval was scheduled.
On the day of the egg retrieval we got nine eggs from the follicles; I remember the doctor saying he was disappointed because of how great I did leading up this point, they really expected more. My heart sank because I knew this meant that my chances of success were lower and my chances for frozen embryos could be slim to none. The fertility clinic proceeded to do ICSI on 50%. The batch that did not receive ICSI did not fertilize at all. The batch that did fertilize had four that did fertilize; two that did not make it to blastocyst and two embryos which would be transferred back into me, but only one was likely viable. I was given less than 1% chance of conception. As I left the transfer I asked “so what is our plan B Dr.” and the Dr. said “let’s focus on names and think positive and instead of negative for a change.” This was the first time anyone has ever told me this.
The next two weeks were the longest two weeks of my life. I searched every sign and symptom on the internet and it got to the point where my husband left for work and took my laptop with him so that I couldn’t worry myself anymore. We got to THE day… I went in for my blood test convinced it was just a formality and I knew I wasn’t pregnant. The Dr said “congratulations” but all I heard in my head is “it’s negative” so I asked “so what do we do next” and she said “maybe you didn’t hear me, sit down this time, you are PREGNANT…congratulations. We will do a repeat level in 48 hours to confirm that things are progressing as per normal”.
One week later I started to bleed, really bleed, hard. I went to the Dr. and there was nothing to be done. They did an ultrasound and saw the egg sack, they repeated the blood test and my levels were continuing to look good. They sent me home. The bleeding was getting worse. The next week I was sent to the ER and was told the pregnancy wasn’t viable, I should terminate or it was just a matter of time until I lost the pregnancy. I refused. I was sent home to bed. A week later and still bleeding I had a follow up ultrasound and there is a beautiful heartbeat of 176 and the levels are still looking good. I continued to bleed, heavier than a period for the next four weeks, in and out of emergency visits to the OB and ultrasounds. At 10 weeks the doctor was sure I miscarried based on a late night call. The day before I had terrible cramps, probably the worst I had ever experienced, the symptoms and what we saw in the toilet. The doctor had us take what we saw in the toilet out, put it in a bag and store it in the freezer until the morning. We stayed up all night crying and holding each other; and with swollen eyes and trembling knees we carried ourselves and our frozen plastic bag into the doctor’s office at 8am. The ultrasound showed our baby with a strong heartbeat and I had a blood clot. There were multiple theories about what happened that night but our baby had a strong heartbeat and that’s all we heard. I was still bleeding and I continued to bleed until 12 weeks and 1 day gestation.
As frightened as I was while I was bleeding, the fear did not ease when the bleeding stopped. I was in the doctor’s office weekly while bleeding, the frequency of the ultrasounds and the heartbeat checks, I knew my “tad-cub” was still inside me and alive. When the bleeding stopped I was told to be tough and it was time to start the dreaded monthly OB visits and stop the nightly progesterone shots. I was told “relax; you have to find a way to enjoy this pregnancy”. Are you freaking kidding me? RELAX!! Enjoy this pregnancy? Did you just read everything I went through? If you think I was able to relax than please go re-read everything above. How was I going to enjoy this pregnancy when everything I prayed, everything I wished for, everything I dreamed for, a little life – was inside me and I didn’t know how this life was doing?
The doctor wrote down on a prescription pad “enjoy your pregnancy”. I filled this prescription at my local marriage pharmacy. This meant nightly foot rubs and once a week spaghetti night. It also meant that my husband became a FROG. Yep, one night he literally jumped into bed like a frog. I busted out laughing with everything I had “you’re a FROG”. He was already my bear, but now he was a FROG….and this is how our baby became a “tad-cub”.
Everything You Want Is On The Other Side of Fear --- Jack Canfield
At 27 weeks gestation I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. At 33 weeks our hearts sank again when I had a biophysical ultrasound related to the GD and it appeared that our baby had a possible heart deformity. We were sent to a neonatal-cardiologist for evaluation and transitioned to the high-risk care team for ultrasounds and stress tests three times a week.
At 34 weeks I completed my capstone and received my MBA; it was time to nest and have a baby. Yes, during all of this, I worked full-time and was a full-time student in graduate school, and during the possible miscarriage gave my step-daughter a rocking birthday party and she had no idea what was going on.
We were induced at 39 weeks; I worked 50 hours that week as a project manager. After 20 hours of labor, I was ten centimeters dilated and ready to push. Pushing was put on hold, however, until the NICU team was notified that we were ready. Suddenly my very small delivery room got even smaller – my birth plan called for only a few things; 1) no socks (I can’t stand warm feet – the hospital insisted on those silly slipper socks), 2) no cheerleaders (I didn’t want to hear –“you can do it, you can do it” – labor and delivery nurses get really excited and I had two fighting over which would get to voice their excitement) and 3) an epidural (anesthesiology was backed up, delivery was done without pain meds, even though the epidural was placed (ouch)). Finally the NICU team arrives all seven of them with their special bed for Faith. My panic sets in. But I have to push. I pushed for about 20 minutes. I hear that beautiful cry. The OB holds my baby up in the air so I can see her and then hands the baby off to the NICU team, she is still crying and so is my husband. The NICU team completed her evaluation and the doctor brings her over to me, wrapped in a blanket he hands me my daughter and says “congratulations, she is perfect, she has an Apgar score of 9 out of 10”. The doctor tells me that I can feed her and they will come to take her for heart scans in about 20 minutes. The results of the heart tests come back and it is determined her heart is just fine – there was no problem during the pregnancy, just a bad ultrasound. Praise be to God!
Throughout my pregnancy my husband kept saying “Honey, we need to hold onto Faith, the Lord will provide and keep our baby safe”. Our baby girl Faith just turned five. When she was born we knew we had found our Faith.
Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will. – Ben Stein
Be Brave. Remember that bravery is not the lack of fear but the ability to move forward in spite of fear. – Author unknown
I still want ten children, I would love to be pregnant again; I love being a Mommy and as scary as my pregnancy was, I loved having a baby in my tummy. After Faith, Tom would say that we could have as many children as we could get in by his 40th birthday but he did not want to be an OLD Dad of a large family. Faith prays every day for a baby brother or sister. We started indirectly trying again immediately after having Faith believing and hoping that the hormones of child birth would make it easier to conceive. No such luck. In 2013 we attempted another round of IVF with our life savings and the remaining fertility benefits we had and we successfully conceived but we lost that baby to miscarriage. We have been trying naturally since then as we are out of financial opportunities for IVF. The day after Tom’s 40th birthday I broke down in tears; I thought we were done, but he confessed that being an old Dad wouldn’t be all that bad, because he wasn’t ready to give up hope for a large family either.
Every month goes something like this: Day one of my cycle is heart breaking, by day five we start to feel optimistic. By day 7 I am reading the charts. By day 17 I am looking at implantation calculators, at day 21 I am searching for every possible symptom. By day 24 I am so positive that we were successful and then on day 28 well…you know what happens. Repeat… I am not ready to give up hope that we can make it happen somehow without IVF – we just need one determined swimmer.
We found our Faith, we had our miracle and we are blessed once, but not twice. For some of us, we don’t achieve our hearts desire but perhaps God’s plan, his path, is something different. Hannah did not trust in the Lord at first, she responded with tears and by not eating, she was bitter in her soul and then one day she turned her heart’s desire over to the Lord she put her worry and sorrow into the Lord’s hands and realized that her path of infertility was so that she could give birth to a child that would worship the Lord with all his might (1 Samuel).
Today at church we were making praying hands and Faith wrote on the hands that she wants a baby. The other day I said I wish I could give you a baby brother or sister and she said “you can mommy; we just have to pray and dream, don’t ever stop praying and dreaming mommy.” Out of the mouths of babes!
From Hannah – From Faith, we need to pray, believe and find our journey.
2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by Faith, not by sight
For more Wonderfully Filled Wombs stories CLICK HERE. You'll find journeys through fertility treatments, couples who felt led to not pursue testing/treatment, some who experienced many losses, but through them all you'll see one faithful God. I hope you'll be encouraged.