Saturday, May 24, 2014

Our Story

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

This is my first post and I am nervous. I feel like I am in front of hundreds of people, about to let all our personal facts out of hiding. So here goes.

I guess the best place to start is the beginning so here is a post that I have been reluctant to share, originally written about 8 months ago. It gives a little background on how many years we have been TTC and the journey so far. I have added an update since the time of writing at the end of this post.

" In January of 2011, Nathan and I decided we were ready. We had traveled and moved several times and he had finally settled on a career path. We were ready to start a family. Sounded easy enough. Except we had no idea we would have to wait. Every single month dragged on, always hoping- then being brave and smiling through the disappointment every time the tests showed the dreaded negative result. All the while being baffled by those around me who seemingly had no trouble getting pregnant, maybe even trying only once.

Those few who knew we were trying would often offer advice about not stressing- "It will probably happen when you stop thinking about it!" they would say. Not exactly helpful, no offense. More time drags on. More friends announce pregnancies. Facebook was becoming(and still is) a pregnancy announcement bulletin board. I was happy for all these glowing girls, but every time I read about their news, I felt a pain that I couldn't even explain to anyone.

If you know me personally, you know I am the baby shower decorator for seemingly every baby shower in our church. And I love doing it. Still, part of me wonders when will it be my turn?

In May of this year Nathan and I had just returned from a fun trip in which we had taken the Seniors from the school he teaches at to PA, NY and Washington D.C.. We had been home about three days when I noticed some strange "changes". When you are TTC, you are constantly watching for changes/signs, but being on the road the week before had completely taken all this off my mind. I had one solitary pregnancy test left. (I have kept First Response and other test companies in business over the past couple of years.) I waited after the test, looking at it with doubt. Alot of doubt. I had already started the self-scolding. You know better than to get yourself excited over this. You should just accept this is the way things will be. I was greatly disappointed to only see one pink line. You are really dumb...doing this to yourself all the time. Just accept it and move on. Then, the craziest thing happened. I decided to go look at the test again. One distinct pink line.....and one very very very faint pink line. My heart started pounding. Shelly, find that box! It says something about faint lines. Sure enough. It meant positive. I started smiling then laughing with excitement. I needed more tests to be sure, but since it was late it meant waiting until the next day. I thought I would explode with my news before I could get it confirmed! Nathan was kind of in shock but seemed happy and excited.

Fast forward through more positive tests and making my first doctors appointment. Nathan wasn't able to go with me so my sweet Mama and little sister went that day. We saw the doctor and she told me she thought I was around 7 weeks. I knew better because of my "tracking" app on my phone. But she insisted we go ahead and look at baby. That ultrasound was the sweetest thing- baby only being 5 weeks- looked like a little blinking dot. The tech told me the blinking was baby's heart beating. Amazing.

I had bloodwork done and all the first appointment tests. Had an embarrassing episode in which the nurses had to "fan" me back to reality after taking so much blood. (They now know to lay me down!) Then got my new mommy goodie bag and headed home with baby picture in front of me all the way. How exciting! I couldn't wait to share with Nathan. I snapped a pic of the ultrasound printout and sent it to him. We laughed about he/she being our little bean. *Cry break*

And so began the morning sickness(really?? why would you call it morning sickness when it can hit you literally ANYTIME!?), the anticipation, the plans....How will we tell everyone? How long should we wait? Wow, I'm sure glad we traded that tiny Jetta in for our SUV. I wonder if I should be helping with church camp clean up this weekend? Someone might catch on that I'm not moving heavy things or using chemicals to clean. I wonder if this food is bad for the baby? I need to eat more greens. I am soooo exhausted! I'll just lay down for a minute and then get up and cook supper. I wonder if this basket of laundry is too heavy? If it is a girl...... If its a boy.... Oh, we need an announcement photoshoot! I had all these thoughts and more all the time. I guess it's typical with any first baby.

Nathan's birthday was coming up and since it was his 30th, I had been planning a party. What better time than to announce our pregnancy at his party! I would be 10 weeks and I had my second appointment scheduled just a few days before we would have the party so I would be able to make sure baby was doing good and then we could make our announcement.

Weeks 5-9 were crazy busy. Between trying not to vomit in public, keeping our secret to ourselves, Nathan traveling up north and prep for church camp we stayed busy.

Now comes the raw, real, heart-breaking part. The part that I can't keep bottled inside. The part that I have felt like no one understands. (Even though millions do.)

It was Sunday, I had an appointment the next day and it was just under a week before Nathan's party.
Around 10:30 pm the pain started. Not only the worst physical pain I have ever been in, but the most emotional and mental pain. That was the longest nightmare of a night. Totally helpless. I knew exactly what was happening. I just never knew how bad it could be. All those plans, all that happiness- gone so quickly.

I didn't go to the E.R. (maybe I should have, I don't know.) But in that moment of loss and pain, I did not want to be surrounded by strangers in a hospital. It felt like too much. At one point, Nathan just sat there with me. Silent. He was in pain too. This can't be happening. We have plans! We have wanted a baby so badly! Why? Why don't we get our happy little story too?  I questioned so many different things. Had I done something to cause this? I bet I lifted something too heavy.

By morning, I had called into work and planned to go to my appointment that afternoon knowing that I was only going to have everything I already knew confirmed. After hours at the doctor and hospital (for ultrasound) then back to the doctors office, the doctor confirmed that we had in fact had a miscarriage.

Nothing prepares you for losing a baby. Nothing. I am blessed to have a sweet doctor who sat and talked with Nathan and I as long as we needed, answered questions and even called me the next week to make sure I was ok. She told me about her own miscarriages and that there is hope after loss. We left that appointment feeling worn and lost. I spent that week off work. Sitting alone on the couch most of the time, trying to find something on Netflix that might take my mind off things. The painkillers(yes, I was in pain for about a week) actually put me in a great mood so I appeared to all outsiders to be taking things well, and to those who never knew- they are probably surprised that all this was going on.

My pastor, boss and coworkers(who knew about baby) sent flowers. It was from their hearts(and very much appreciated) but made the loss more real. I got text messages and calls and everyone took great care of me. I still had Nathan's party to pull together by the weekend and put on a happy face that day.

I avoided(yes, I am admitting this) anyone in public that knew about the baby but didn't know we lost it, I just couldn't tell them he/she was no longer going to be here in January. I couldn't look at the baby aisles in the stores without wanting to cry. I literally had no idea what to do with the ultrasound pictures, but couldn't bring myself to throw them away. That "new mom bag" of info and freebies just sad there in the kitchen drawer for weeks, out of sight but I just didn't want to "deal" with getting it out and looking in it.

Today, the little box of Huggies samples sits in the hall closet, waiting just like us- for a baby. When people say "Just wait until you have a baby" or "When you have a baby, you'll understand" or even "Look what you have to look forward to when you are pregnant one day", I just want to say "I DO have a baby! I WAS pregnant!" No, I won't be up at 3 a.m. feeding him or her. But I'd give anything to be. I'd give anything to carry around a heavy carseat and giant diaper bag and listen to crying and be on a tighter budget to be able to afford all the little things that come with babies. When we go on trips or do fun things I find myself feeling like there is someone missing. Like the feeling you get when your favorite family member couldn't come for Christmas. It just doesn't feel as complete as it could.

I struggled very much with letting go. How do you say goodbye when you never got to say hello?

I do not blame God, or myself. According to the doctor there was nothing I had done and she believes that the baby would not have been perfectly healthy had he or she made it to full term. A blessing in disguise? Maybe so.

I do know that God has a plan. We still want a baby and I do believe that God will bless us with a child in the future.

I saved the best for last.

What I haven't told you is that one night the weekend before we left for our trip, I was in my sewing room alone and I suddenly got a very strange feeling. I felt like I needed to tell God that this baby was His. At this point I was not even able to get pregnant(or so I thought). I felt silly even telling God this, but did it anyway. I went on about my sewing project and didn't think of it again until we lost the baby. This is why I can not be angry at God. The baby was God's to begin with. I had placed this in His hands without even knowing the heartache to come. January 29th will be a difficult day for me. There will be tears. But I have an everlasting Hope on my side.

I am not alone.

Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

***Why is miscarriage such a taboo topic? I feel like there are so many women grieving and living in emotional pain that don't feel they can talk about it. It is a loss like no other. I felt so alone since I don't know very many people who have been through this- or maybe they have never shared. We should try to make this subject one where we don't feel like we have to keep it inside. Thoughts?*** "

UPDATE- In January, we learned we were pregnant again. We also lost that baby at 4 weeks and 5 days. The experience was just as heartbreaking but a different experience altogether. We discovered through tests that my progesterone was incredibly low- too low to support the pregnancy. I now am tested twice a month to see what my levels are.

We are trusting God for a miracle baby in His time.