Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's a Boy!

Words can't describe the joy that these pictures bring to me! He's normal and healthy and waved at us during the entire ultrasound! Tears of joy! =)

Side Effects of Infertility

When we began our adoption process, we went to this class where they spoke a lot about unresolved issues, specifically unresolved issues with infertility. And I remember thinking that I didn't really have any unresolved issues. It's been a long, difficult road, but I truly feel I'm better than I was because of the trials. I feel like I've coped and dealt with the different issues of infertility and that I was moving forward, without any unresolved issues. Well, now that I'm pregnant I have discovered a side effect of infertility, an unresolved issue, if you will. I think that the denial or doubt that good things can happen to me and the fear that the happiness rug will be pulled out from underneath me at any time are both real side effects of my battle with infertility.
For example, a week after I found out I was pregnant, I had what I would call a 'moment of insanity'. It was a stormy night and my husband had a study group at 7 pm. All was well. At some point Gimli did something to get in trouble and got sent to his room. I had had a really long, tiring day and fell asleep around 10 pm. Well, around midnight, Gimli became upset to still be in his room and body slammed the door, waking me up. I was disoriented and confused at first. I let Gimli out and looked at the clock. It was midnight and Hubbie wasn't in bed with me. I looked all over the house for him. He wasn't home. His car wasn't in the drive-way. I called him on his cell but it kept going straight to voicemail. I began to panic. I didn't know where his study group was meeting, I didn't even know what direction to drive to go look for him. The thought that was running through my mind was, "He's lying dead in a ditch somewhere because I'm pregnant and nothing this purely good can happen to me!" I was debating whether or not to call his dad or my dad or the police or what. As I sat there ready to dial 911, suddenly my phone rang--it was Hubbie. They had been working on a huge project and decided to keep plugging forward until they got it done. He was going to call me around 10 but was afraid I was asleep and didn't want to wake me. I just started bawling, sobbing hysterically. And even after Hubbie got home, it took me a full hour to calm myself down.

Example #2-Even after a positive home pregnancy test and a positive blood test, I still had difficulty believing that I really was pregnant. Remember, I thought I had a tumor in my uterus that my body had mistaken for a baby. It wasn't until the first ultrasound and the doctor showing me my baby's heart beating that it started to sink in. And even now, I am an ultrasound junkie. Just days after a doctor's appointment and I'm craving another ultrasound to see how things are going. I would get one everyday if I could just to have that daily assurance that all is well. I can't wait until I can feel the baby moving!

I have got to teach myself to quit waiting for something bad to happen, to just let this miracle be. I am so grateful and happy and so afraid to lose this! I'm like the little girl who gets a pretty, new doll but never plays with it because she's afraid to break it! I am going to allow myself to be 100%, totally unguarded happy. I will take down this wall of self-protection and let the sunshine in! I will quit worrying and being afraid. I will have more faith and hope.

I was reading this article the other day and it had this scripture from Romans 5:3-5: "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience; and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." And I thought how true that scripture is. Our hard times, our trials, our tribulation, if used correctly in life, do make us more patient. And with patience comes experience--the wisdom of having been there, done that. And our experiences should bring us hope. I look back at my life experiences and I realize that I have been so blessed in my life in so many ways and even when I don't think I can get through something, I always do. Experience has taught me what I am capable of and that the sun always rises after the darkest night, that rainbows come after the grayest storms. It sounds cliche maybe, but I can't deny that the love of God is shed abroad in every moment in my life. So I will take the tribulation of infertility and the patience and the experience, and I will have hope, and I will be happy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Catching Up

First, I have just one excuse for not blogging for so long...end of the school year. I didn't realize how all-encompassing the end of a school year is until I saw the date on my last entry (and the fact that my husband hasn't had a home-cooked meal since before that date and the fact that my house is looking like wreckage from a major disaster provide further evidence). Wow! Well, a lot has been going on besides school, and I have been itching to blog about everything. So, here I am, FINALLY!
One exciting thing, right now I am sitting at my home computer typing this. This is really big for me. Three days ago my husband and I finally entered the 21st century and got internet at our home. The journey began almost 5 1/2 years ago. At first, my hubbie had some sort of hang-up about internet in the house (I refer to this time as his kooky phase). "We have internet at work, or you can go to the local library..." Then he complained when I came home from work so late. And I complained about trying to maintain my blogs and e-mails and Facebook and all those other 21st century things while sitting by some smelly person at the library (though sometimes the smell persisted when I got home, so it's always possible that I'm the smelly person...) or some creepy looking guy who made me paranoid that he was always looking at my screen. Anyway, finally my hubbie consented that internet is not evil and that it would actually be quite beneficial in our home. Then fate started working against me. Apparently, my home is in some sort of internet-dead zone. We can steal internet from the neighbor across the street (though we would never do such a thing!), but we couldn't find a company that could get internet to work at our house. Except for dial-up which wouldn't work because 1) we don't have a land line and 2) I don't have the patience for dial-up. To make a long story medium-long, we finally found a company after much searching and much money and here I happily type!

Okay, for the really exciting news going on in our lives...
In my last post, I wrote how hubbie and I are adopting. We also had plans to do a final round of IVF this summer. Well, plans change. Basically, we put all of our cards on the table--adoption, IVF...we were going to get a baby one way or another. And then God had a card up His sleeve. On April 3rd we found out that I'm pregnant. --Pause here to allow you to re-read that last sentence--First, let me say how beyond excited we are about this miracle in our lives. Second, I have to say that I've had a hard time trying to find a way to make the announcement on this blog. In fact, I just successfully small-talked about getting the internet for a couple of paragraphs trying to think of what I really want to say. I've been Infertile Myrtle for so long that suddenly finding out that I'm pregnant has been like an identity crisis. I realize that I had become quite comfortable in Myrtle's shoes; I knew what to expect; I have a lot of experience. Being pregnant is so NEW to me. So, I guess I'll just start by telling you our story of how we came to find out and what our journey has been like so far.
April Fool's Day, Hubbie was out of town, and I was waiting for my period to start. I needed it to start soon so that I could start tracking things and getting ready for my next IVF cycle. I hadn't really been keeping track of my cycles for the past few months because I knew I was going to be doing IVF, so I figured I would worry about it then. Well, you know how you have that feeling like you should have started your period by now? So, I got out a calendar and figured it all out and I was 10 days late. I didn't think for even a second that I was pregnant. After over 4 1/2 years of infertility, you come to the point where you stop jumping to that conclusion immediately (though I do slip every now and then). I told my husband on the phone, "Good April Fool's Day joke on body's messing with me again." His response: "You probably just counted wrong." And I remember being so frustrated with my body because I needed it to work right so that this last round of IVF would go well. I was so anxious and nervous about this round working. Well, two days later, on a Friday, my husband got home from his business trip. I had a class that evening and didn't get home until around 10 pm that night. And still no period. I decided to do a home pregnancy test. Again, this wasn't to see if I was pregnant--that just wasn't a possibility in my mind. I just knew that every time I do a pregnancy test, I start my period within hours afterward. So I thought I would just get things going. I did the test and waited indifferently for the one-line. I glanced at the test and there they were: two wonderful pink lines. I can't express my emotions at that moment. Even as I type this, the tears come freely because all the heart ache, all the negatives, all the hurt...and there it was: what I've wanted for so very long. And suddenly that little bird called Hope was fluttering in my heart.
I had always wanted to do something cute and creative to tell my hubbie, but what actually happened was me handing him the pregnancy test and blubbering incoherently for a long time. Neither one of us could make complete sentences. He looked at the test and said, "Does this mean...?" I nodded. And then we just sat there holding each other and crying. After awhile, we had to go look for our dog because he had run away and on the way home we stopped at Wendy's and got yogurt parfaits to celebrate. As Brad Paisley sings, "Yeah, I live for little moments like that."
After all of this, I was in total denial. Could this really be happening to me? I have the accuracy statistics memorized for home pregnancy tests, but even then I still worried that it might be a false-positive. Monday I went in and did a blood test. Overwhelmingly positive. Not borderline, you might be, but yes, you are definitely pregnant. That was exciting, but even then I still had a hard time believing that I was really, truly pregnant. I began worrying that maybe I actually had a tumor or something and my body just thought it was a baby. Yes, it sounds crazy, but this is what infertility does to you. It wasn't until our first doctor's appointment that it finally became a reality for me. The doctor was funny. I hadn't been to see my Ob-gyn for awhile (not since I had started meeting with my fertility specialist-I figured one doctor looking at my insides was enough). In fact, the last time I had seen him was when he did a laparoscopy on me. He was looking at my charts and saying things like, "Wow! You really were messed up, weren't you?!" Okay, my ovaries were cemented to my hips with scar tissue--I was messed up. Well, even the doctor was cautiously optimistic. He asked us, "So you've done three rounds of IVF and none of them worked?"
Us: "Nope."
Dr:"And you just got pregnant on your own?"
Us: "Yep. We were the only ones in the room."
Dr: "Well, let's just take a look at things before we go any further..."
So he did the ultrasound and there was a baby. And we could see its little heart beating. And it looked just as a baby should look at that point. We were all in shock. The doctor kept saying, "Wow! This is incredible!" I just lay there and bawled. Granted it was just this little blob on the screen at that point, but we could see its little heart beating. It was real. It was alive. It was so beautiful. After chasing rainbows all of my life, there I was with a pot of gold. Wow!
Since then, we've had the opportunity to hear the baby's heart beat, I'm starting to get a baby-bump, and in two weeks we'll do the full ultrasound and possibly find out what we're having. Even with all of this, it is still hard for me to believe that right now I am 16 weeks (that's four months!) pregnant. We made the big announcement to our families on Mother's Day. I had had enough rough Mother's Days--I wanted to make it a special holiday with tears of joy instead of tears of hurt. Of course, everyone was in total shock! At first, everyone thought an adoption had come through. They were double-surprised when they found out I was pregnant! By the way, we're still doing the adoption thing. Hubbie and I both feel really strongly that the Lord took us down that road for a reason and that there is a very special child waiting to come to us down that road. So we'll see how things go with that.

Now, one little thing I need to clear up. As we've announced that we're having a baby, I've had to smile patiently as people have said things like:
"See! You just needed to relax!"
"I told you--the minute you went to adopt you would get pregnant!"
"You just needed to not think about it..."
What I want to say at these times is, "What part of planning another round of IVF and doing the adoption process is relaxing? And when did I stop thinking about all of this?!"
This baby is 100% miracle. There is no doubt in my mind that this was completely in God's hands. It is not because of anything I did or didn't do. Am I any more worthy or prepared now than I would have been earlier? No. Do I deserve this any more than another woman? No. It's just God's timing and His plan. I don't understand all of it and I can never predict what might happen next, but I do know that even the hard times and the good are all part of a loving Father's plan. And I feel that God loved me and was aware of me just as much when in my struggles (maybe more so in hard times) as He loves me and is aware of me in this time of joy. I never could have faced infertility alone. And even at my darkest times, I never was alone. It's funny because I feel like a soldier returning from war. I survived the battle, and even though I have this great triumph in my life, I will always have the old battle scars to remind me of the fight that I fought. Hopefully I fought it well. And hopefully when I come to my next battle, I'll be a little wiser, a little stronger, a little more patient, and a little more faithful.

P.S. And I haven't forgotten my fellow soldiers still fighting the infertility battle. Here's a shout out to you! You amaze me with your courage and strength. Keep fighting!