Monthly Archives: November 2014

The car seat mockery

We had gotten news in May that there was a transfer opportunity for G. A little more money but better job security and more chances for advancement. The catch was that we would have to move 400 miles away. We had a house we loved, a strong support system but G was maxed out at his current job and the position would actually be ending. There was also a NaPro doctor in the area we would be moving to and she was a surgical fellow. Which meant she had more training that my current doctor and also had the same moral values. We decided to go ahead and apply and let God decide.

The application process took forever and G’s attempts to get jobs closer to home were not happening at the wages he had been earning.

Eventually, the job was his and we scrambled to put our house on the market, pack and move. We would have to rent a place till the house sold and we couldn’t afford a big place like we had. So we had to downsize.

That meant we needed to get rid of baby stuff. Car seats, strollers, pack-n-plays, swing, bouncer, etc. Things we bought for several children. Things we paid extra so they would last us the long haul. Things we no longer needed. Things we couldn’t use.

We offered them to friends who were expecting first. Then listed them for sale, figuring if we didn’t sell them, the Gabriel Project could use them, so we would donate. The car seat had been mocking me anyway.

We joked that as soon as I got rid of them, I would get pregnant…and i had some of the stuff loaded up to donate when I realized my period was late. Usually, my post peak phase is 13-14 days, and the HCG trigger is out of my system by day 11.

Day 14, when I was not technically late, a positive pee test. Called for a beta and the Medical Assistant was new and dumb, and my doc was out of town and it was the weekend. Day 15, positive pee test.

I took the car seat out of the donation pile. No beta yet but day 16, positive pee test. Day 17, finally got a beta test, pee stick was fainter. Day 18, my period.

A cruel joke that the HCG hung out in my system longer. We had switched brands and that might have been why. It was too much. Fighting with the MA to get the beta, several positive HPTs, and I wasn’t pregnant.

Too much.

The car seat again mocked me. The row of pregnancy tests mocked me. They also defeated me.

Too much.

I took a hot bath and broke down. Broke down, seriously, who was I kidding? I had been broken and the medicines that were supposed to help, cruelly reminded me.

Too much.

Broken.

That car seat had. To. Go.

It wasn’t broken.

I am.

Advertisement

Pro-life troubles

My parents own a business in a small town so we were fairly well known, we were active in our parish, my husband was active in the Knights and we all active in the pro-life ministries. After Isaac, it was harder and harder for me to deal with the graphic images that the pro-life groups use. My husband occasionally prayed in front of the abortion clinic, but it wasn’t for me before Isaac, and it was less for me after.

During the 40 Days for Life, one of the volunteers pressured me to sign up to stand out in front of the clinic. Pressured G to do it, and finally, without our consent, signed up G anyway. I was furious, especially when I told the volunteers to take him off the list, she said “Babies are the most important thing!”

I walked away.

Babies are the most important thing?

Did she think I was that superficial to think that babies weren’t important? Did she think I didn’t want to save babies? Did she think that I didn’t want a baby of my own?

What. The. Hell.

I was offended in so many levels, I couldn’t work passed them. I thought about emailing the director of the program, because, frankly, it was rude of them to sign us up without permission and insensitive to us as an infertile couple. I wound up not doing it because every time I tried to, I would be so angry, I would cry.

Our pro-life stance was no secret, we voted pro-life, we donated pro-life, we were Pro-life, we are just infertile.

Another time, I had a customer come up to me and demand “Aren’t you pro-life?”

I was taken aback, Why?

Are you pro-life?

Yes, of course.

Then why aren’t you having a baby soon?

I wanted to shoot back ‘Being pro-life doesn’t mean you have all the babies, being pro-life means you are open to babies and support babies.’

I was silent and walked away, and my dad covered for me and changed the subject.

Then I had several people ask me why I didn’t have as many children as my brother. I’m just not as fertile as he is, I guess, I would reply.

I’ve heard “Don’t you want another child?”

“The bean is so _________ you should have another one!”

“Why don’t you have more?’

Believe me, I ask myself that question all the time.

Sometimes I feel I have to explain, “We want more, but its not happening.”

Sometimes I use an excuse “Children are expensive!” (Especially went you have spent thousands of dollars trying to conceive one!)

Sometimes I laugh it off, sometimes I want to cry. Depends on how the day is going.

If you tell them “Not for lack of trying” they say “Too much information!” Or depending on my mood, I can retort rather crudely.

If you tell them you are open for another one, they get excited like they should be able to expect a baby within 8 months. You just can’t win.

My brother is constantly asked if he knows what caused the 5 children he has. I get asked why I don’t have as many as my brother. You just can’t win.

At least I can’t seem to.

It takes its toll

We took cycles month by month. Tried one, skipped one, avoided one. Avoiding pregnancy when you are infertile seems like putting an armed guard to guard a dandelion. A lot of fuss about nothing, but it was surprisingly good for our relationship.

I think a lot of people imagine TTC as sex all the time but for infertile/subfertile, they recommend focused times. When you have IC, sex can be painful or cause a flare. So we had to avoid to ‘save up’ for the most fertile days. Spontaneous sex has to be carefully planned. It was hard on our marriage as a union and as two individuals.

I felt guilty for our sex life and planned sex. I know it’s a common complaint with both IC and IF patients. It doesn’t make it any easier that there are other people have the same problem. It made me feel less of a wife and felt I had to compensate in other ways. Except, every time I would be active, proactive or over extend myself, I would have a flare.

We couldn’t schedule family outings because I never knew when I would flare and have to cancel. I felt like a prisoner to my body and my body was a bipolar jailer.

Mother’s Day was coming and my pregnant friends were putting out requests on Facebook, about what they wanted to do on Mother’s Day or lament how the “sufferings and sacrifice” of motherhood started in the womb. When a friend of mine posted the pics of each card her children made for her, and a pic of nicknacks with her children’s names, I got really jealous. I felt the need to have something tangible of my baby. A baby that few people even knew existed.

We had a pendant engraved with his name, and the Bean’s name. (Bean is what we call our daughter) and a lighter engraved for my husband. Something tangible.

I posted a picture on Facebook, I asked G before I posted, if I should. He said go ahead, but don’t be offended by the reaction.

A few friends acknowledge, a few asked who Isaac was, most of them ignored or didn’t say anything. What I didn’t expect was people to ask G about it and not me. I was welcoming, although in a passive way, questions about my baby, and people didn’t ask (much). Which in a way, was okay, he was still privately mine.

In July we decided the IC had gotten bad enough and we would need to do the surgery again. The day before the surgery, G and I had a huge fight. Things had built up to epic proportions. He wasn’t talking to me about thing he should have, and talking to people instead of me.

(The irony of me now posting this on the internet hasn’t escaped me.)

I also took issue with him not supporting me like I needed supporting. He wouldn’t comfort me when I would start my period. He wouldn’t talk about Isaac or would shut me up when I tried. The last surgery I had, he didn’t take time off or help with things around the house. Which considering I was going to have this surgery in part to help our sex life and our family planning, I felt I needed a little more appreciation for what I was going through.

we both said a lot of things that both needed to be said and hurtful things, but we eventually went to bed calmly and were able to have a decent morning before the surgery.

The surgery was by far the most painful recovery since my cesarean. This time we were smarter and had the nurses do procedures right away before waiting till I was in pain, but the recovery was the most painful. I needed a lot of pain killers and the painkillers made me hallucinate. Scary things, peaceful things, horrifying things, but I also hallucinated a newborn in my arm, snuggled in the crook, asleep like I used to with the Bean, with a dark haired little boy by my bedside, that looked exactly like my husband’s baby pictures.

As a Catholic, always worry about how I read my dreams/hallucinations but this dream was wonderful. I had a baby in my arm, and who I thought was my son looking on at him. It was both painful and comforting. I wanted to stay in the hallucination, but couldn’t.

The physical pain sucked, and I needed constant pain killers, which I hardly use even during a flare. I expected it to be easier, it was my fifth overall and I knew the drills but it was hard. G was more supportive and my mom was able to to watch the Bean.

We decided to take more cycles off to recover and then go from there.

Isaac

I spend a lot of quiet moments thinking about the miscarriage. Second guessing myself is one of my special skills. Over and over I thought “What if I had given myself that shot right away? What if that day at the Pumpkin patch was too much walking, exertion? What if, what if?” We knew my body was messed up, what if the pregnancy wasn’t strong enough to make up for my weak body. I even wondered if it was caused by all the scar tissue from my multiple surgeries.

I would tell myself that based on the timeline with the Bean, I should have had a few days more time before I needed the shot. I would tell myself that if I lost the pregnancy because a day at the Pumpkin Patch, I probably wouldn’t have had as easy time carrying the pregnancy and would have been on constant bed rest. I talked to the priest and he said that I really couldn’t blame myself because if I thought I needed the shot, clearly, I would have given it to myself. Talking to the priest helped me put away some of the guilt.

One day we splurged, hired a baby sitter and went to see a movie. When we got back, we stopped to check the mail and there was a card from my cousin, and it was a Mass card, saying a mass would be said for us and our baby. I burst into tears as soon as I read that. Our baby.

I started having dreams about a boy, undefined but perfect. I would wake up with a wet pillow and either peace in my heart or troubled, depending on the dream. One dream was of a boy who’s attention I wanted, but I could not call him, because he had no name. I woke up troubled and could not go back to sleep.

Then I was talking to a friend and she asked if I had named my baby yet. I hadn’t, and decided that I would talk to my husband about it, but purposefully avoided it. I had always wanted a son named Isaac, because it means “he laughs”, and it has a special meaning to me, but I didn’t want to use the name on a child I would never hold. I wanted to hang the name over a crib, and sing song it to make him laugh, like I did our daughter.

Then another dream, I don’t remember, but I remember waking and thinking he deserved the name. Regardless of if the baby was a boy or girl, Isaac would laugh with Jesus, he deserved the name I loved. So I talked to my husband about it, and he was initially against it. The thought I would dwell on the miscarriage more if we named it. I told him that I already thought about it constantly and he agreed to name him, reluctantly. Our baby was named Isaac.

I registered his name with the Church of the Holy Innocents and they emailed me a little certificate saying that Isaac’s name was written in the Book of Life in the Shrine. Even though it was email, it brought me peace. I was amazed at the relief I had felt. I don’t think I had realized how much the loss had weighed on me.

Laughter always takes the weight off, and he laughs.

Isaac.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Because my head is naturally prone to the analytical side of things. I laid things out.

I got pregnant.

Naturally.

With no drugs.

I couldn’t keep the pregnancy.

The physical pain of miscarriage isn’t cramping, it’s labor. It’s worse than labor, no pink and cuddly reward at the end.

I didn’t celebrate like I said I was going to.

I only had two days of knowing I was pregnant. Which of you start from the date of my last period, I was about 5 weeks.

Why did it hurt so bad when the pregnancy was so early?

I was pregnant, with a baby.

I lost a baby.

It’s easier to say “I had a miscarriage” than “I lost a baby.”

For the most part, we kept it to ourselves, as we had kept most of our fertility issues to ourselves. I could not bear to hear people say “At least you weren’t far along!” “At least you can get pregnant!” “Maybe there was something wrong with it?” “God had a reason!”

A few of my “safe” friends knew. Ones who likely wouldn’t say stupid things, or people who would simply pray for us.

Otherwise, I felt that my world was rocked and I was terribly afraid that people would not understand. When I was pregnant with our daughter, people I was pregnant with had miscarried or had premature birth resulting in the loss of their child. Their grief seemed a million times worse and I couldn’t compare my early loss to theirs. This was so early and so wanted that I was crushed in different directions.

It was good that we had the break in TTC, because even though we had medicated the cycle immediately following, I regretted it and enjoyed the time of not trying. Except, a visit with my in-laws, where my mother in law asked when we were going to have another baby.

I carefully replied that we were open to it, not mentioning the miscarriage, not mentioning we had be actively trying, but just saying we were open.

My mother in law was so excited about it, after all, her granddaughter is amazing, adorable and was busy trying to tackle her grandfather and laughing up a storm. I am sure she thought we would be pregnant soon.

Pregnancy announcements started popping up too. With due dates close the the one I had. One of them was a cousin who had long term infertility, she had been “open” for 8 years. I had to quell jealousy because she had waited much longer than I had. Then others, friends, cousins. I was going to be a regular baby boom.

For my daughter’s birthday party, we invited friends, and one of them had a newborn. I held the little guy and had family members tell me how cute I looked holding the baby, and how we needed another one. I passed off the baby like he was hot and left the area.

Then my niece came over and said “I want another cousin, but not from Uncle, but from you.” I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Then my other niece informed me that my daughter was 3, and therefore she was due for a sibling.

Okay, let’s end this party, everybody go home.

The next time…

After going through my pregnancy with my daughter, and being somewhat detached and afraid to bond with the baby, I decided that the next time I was pregnant, I was going to enjoy every moment of it. I wasn’t going to complain, I wasn’t going to worry (as much) and was going to relish in the moments of the baby moving in slow circles, I was going to shop early, plan the nursery, have a birth plan. Things were going to be different.

We had decided that we weren’t going to medicate from November to January, enjoy the holidays, not worry about scheduling sex, not worry about doctors appointments. Enjoy our time with our little family as well as the big family get together for Christmas. Plus, we really needed to start enjoying each other again. So when September and October became unavailable for us to have one last try, I was devastated. My husband had to travel and he was supposed to be gone almost two months.

Honestly, I was more devastated that we weren’t going to be trying than I was that my husband was going to be away for that long. Which made me really evaluate where my goals were. It was hard to realize how focused we had become on trying to make a baby, rather than our marriage and our renewal of wedding vows. I realized that I had been focusing on the next time we got pregnant, rather than our relationship now.

My husband left on Cycle Day one, whoops, I mean, Labor Day. It was hard being apart but we Skyped a lot and started talking about things other than trying to conceive. Really, even if one of us wanted to talk about it, I would have probably wound up crying anyway. It wasn’t ideal to spend the time apart but I think it was helpful to realize how much I needed him.

Then things at his work fell apart, he was up there for training and teaching but when the government shut down, funding for the rest of his trip was cut, and he was stranded without work. So we got him home and he was able to pick up some side work to get us through until the government got its act together.

A couple weeks after he had been home, on a Friday, I was at work and I felt slightly sick, and noticed that my breasts were tender and when I got home, I noticed that my breasts had changed color, which was the first thing I noticed when pregnant the first time. My period was supposed to start soon, and previous experience had told me that the fast way to get my period to start, was to pee on a stick. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I peed on a stick, only to have my period there when I was done.

A tiny, faint, line appeared on the pregnancy test. I looked at every angle and it was undeniably there. My husband was asleep, so I texted the pic to a friend. She saw it too.

I was pregnant, again. Finally. Instead of leaping for joy, I went to bed, eager to try it in the morning with first morning urine. I had no artificial HCG in my system, no fertility meds, nothing. In the morning, I didn’t have a pregnancy test to retake! My husband went and bought a test of a different brand, but it was lower sensitivity so I wasn’t too surprised that it was negative. My breasts were so tender, it hurt to hold our daughter, so I was going back in forth between, I HAVE to be pregnant, and maybe I got a false positive last night. We went to the Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maze, and started talking due dates.

We talked about giving myself a shot of progesterone, until we got a beta test from the doctor, but decided against it. I wasn’t cramping at all, like I had been the first time, I felt pretty good. That night, I started to spot. Three years of being in Natural Family Planning support groups, and my first thought was IMPLANTATION BLEEDING!” Even though I didn’t have any with my daughter.

The next morning, I started bleeding more heavily and with clots. I also started cramping, and I hadn’t cramped since my surgery, and this cramping was intense. It was the weekend so I didn’t know who to call or if I should. Monday morning though, I called and told the MA, that I thought I was miscarrying. She got bloodwork for me right away, and my doctor called to confirm the miscarriage.

I was pregnant, no more. We decided to use a last ditch effort and try to conceive immediately after the miscarriage, then take a break. No dice. The period after the miscarriage was hard with a lot of cramping too, but my doctor said that was normal, because I had immediately thought we were going to need another surgery.

That was it, my second pregnancy.

It was over before I could enjoy it, before we could revel in it, it was over.

Sent from my iPad

Starting the journey of whatever

People of average fertility usually conceive within a year of TTW, so we decided that using that statistic, our daughter would be between 1.5-2 when the baby was born. That would give us time to buy a home, work off student loans, and my husband should achieve a promotion in that time.

According to plan, we bought a huge, 3 bedroom house, with a master suite large enough to keep a crib and co-sleeper and a two car garage with room to store baby gear and clothes. The kitchen was huge and the living room was open and spacious with lots of room for children to play.

Soon after we moved in, the hematuria came back. Along with the pain of hematuria (imagine passing kidney stones), came frustration, anger and depression. Now I had a child to care for! I couldn’t stay in bed with pain or drugged up all day!

We went back to the urologist and she saw patches on my bladder, so she wanted to do a laparoscopy and biopsy on my bladder. She suspected endometriosis was on my bladder and the first surgery simply didn’t catch it because it was too soon postpartum. I went in for the procedure and other than no cancer, it really didn’t tell us anything and her and my local OB said my only option was birth control again.

Having two years to discuss and learn about the wisdom of the Church on it’s stance on NFP, we really preferred not to be on the pill. When we told the doctors this, the local OB and the urologist told us that we didn’t really want me to be cured, if we didn’t want the pill. Knowing that the pill was only masking my issues before and knowing we wanted to remain open to another child, we fired them both. We stayed TTW and dealt with the hematuria flares for a while until a friend told us about a new NaPro who had started practicing 80 miles away.

When I talked to this new doctors assistant and mentioned birth control, the assistant said “The Doctor will not prescribe birth control for any reason.” That was what I wanted! So I left a message detailing the situation and the doctor called me back. She was “fascinated” by my case, and agreed that there was a connection between my hematuria and my menstrual cycles. Since we had switched to TTW, we had stopped charting so I would have to start that again.

This doctor was wonderful, she listened and read my charts, didn’t tell me that body wasn’t doing things I said it was doing, understood the gaps in my chart where the hematuria made it impossible to make observations. She also did hormone panels that showed my hormones didn’t rise and fall like they should, they just kind of flatlined.

She prescribed HCG, a pregnancy hormone that would kickstart my hormones. A couple cycles of HCG and things got a little better but I reacted better on post peak progesterone, so I was back to getting shot in the ass again.

The hematuria was still coming and going and so was the despair I felt during the episodes. While the hematuria was in remission, we were able to plan things, take trips, and work out. Now that it was back, I was missing out on activities we planned, I would work out for a few days, have hematuria and then taken 2-3 weeks before I felt up to working out again, I would start slow and then the cycle would repeat. I couldn’t lift my daughter without pain during the episodes and when a baby needs to be comforted, you do what what you have to.

My husband was asked to be part of a special ceremony and I had RSVP’d to it. Then hematuria came and I couldn’t make it. I felt horrible, not only could our daughter and I not go, but I had to call a sitter to watch her while I stayed in bed. I was failing as wife and mother.

My husband and I talked for hours, days, and wrote out what our options were:

1. Give up on NaPro, get on the pill.

2. Have yet another surgery to see if endo had returned and attached to my bladder.

3. Get pregnant.

Giving up would be admitting defeat, and I had learned that it was quite possible that the pill was what messed up my hormones that lead to the progesterone deficiency that could have meant miscarrying our beautiful child. Plus I hated being dependent on pills and shots. I had also learned so much about NaPro and the dedication my doctor had, I felt like I was letting them down.

Surgery had it’s own risks, including creating more scar tissue and that created problems too. Plus, it was expensive.

Getting pregnant would mean risks, risk of another cesarean, it would mean that I would likely be dependent on shots, and my hormones would get all whacky again, and it would put the hematuria info remission…it also had a by product of a baby!

We decided to officially move to TTC so we could put the hematuria in remission again. The least invasive method is plain old fashioned sex, so we decided to try fertility focus intercourse and did so for three cycles before I started having pelvic pain that made sex painful. Surgery would help with that so we decided to so that, and then try Clomid. A month before surgery, my husband was sideswiped in a hit and run, and the insurance eventually declared his pick up a total loss.

Surgery happened and I had a lot of adhesions, sticky, glue like things that were keeping my insides together, but something else happened, a diagnosis for the hematuria. Interstitial Cystitis.
Inflammation of the bladder. It’s actually sort of a broad term and IC flares can be caused by hormones, as they seemed to be in my case, food allergies, stress, and other factors.

Most importantly. There was a treatment plan, hydro-distention, blowing up my bladder to maximum capacity and then draining it, and medications.

After the surgery, we started looking at vehicles. I wanted a small SUV but since we were planning on using Clomid, and had heard of Clomid Twins, we optimistically bought an eight passenger SUV with room for a double stroller, and heated seats for all the times I would have a sore butt after twice a week progesterone shots.

I started talking prenatal vitamins, eating healthier, cutting back on wine, exercise. I even cut my work hours drastically.

We tried three founds of Clomid before my doctor decided I would have better results on Letrozole. Which was good because Clomid made me emotional, irrational, and sometimes made my head pop off and spin around.

So we tried Letrozole alone and then had to add mucous enhancers, and then extra hormones, and more supplements.
There were days were I was taking 25 pills a night. We were trying to get pregnant to keep the IC in remission, with the bonus of the baby and that mindset was helping us not be upset when my period started.

Cycle after cycle with some breaks for sanity. Our love life began to suffer, because we were timing sex and not enjoying it. The cycles were shorter because of the meds so I was having 21-24 day cycles, 5-7 of them would be bleeding. People started asking us when we would be having another one. It began to turn into not when we get pregnant but if.

I started to really ache for a baby, our daughter was becoming more independent and more active.

Then we decided to try Follistim. Which was a small fortune each cycle and no results. We had added HCG into the treatment plan and that have me false pregnancy symptoms without the pregnancy, and that made it harder on me to have the tender breasts and pseudo morning sickness only to have AF come. It also made testing for pregnancy harder because the HCG would give false positives.

Dealing with false pregnancy symptoms with no guarantee of a pregnancy was hard. It would play tricks in my mind. Were my breasts getting more tender? Was I tired more? Did I really smell something that made my stomach sick.

Around that time, our parish put out a church directory and seeing families in the directory with so many children, they would fill the frame of the picture. Friends from high school who I hadn’t seen because we went to different masses, had 3-4, even 8 children.

My heart was changing and I couldn’t tell you which direction it was changing to.

Then we were three

We had a now pink little girl and we had both survived, what more could we want?

After delivery, even though my child was healthy, I was very angry about her birth. It was my body’s chance to do something right and it got it wrong. The doctor said while she was operating on me, that it was the first time in all her years if practice,
that a baby had gone from stage zero, out of the birth canal and to breech.

The rational part of my head said it was just something that happened, but the internet googling part of my mind said it was because of the interventions, because my uterus was misshaped or any other reason.

I also wasn’t producing enough milk and she wasn’t latching properly, again, I blamed myself. I started having severe anxiety, I was sad about her birth, but I would find myself having panic attacks over dropping the baby or hurting her while changing her, even though I had tons of baby experience and that had never happened before. I would also worry about the baby being too hot, too cold, not gaining enough weight etc.

I would have anxiety over things I normally wouldn’t, was the door locked, was that car going to stop, would the brakes fail on the stroller.

Fortunately, PPVI saved us again. They diagnosed me with Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Anxiety. They started me on progesterone therapy again and all was better. It was more like being a new mom and not a new mom who had never been around babies before.

The baby grew and with the help of lactation consultants and a little bit of formula, we eventually nursed well. Till teeth started coming in and I couldn’t hack the bitting.

Once the PPD/PPA lessened and went away, I realized how much I loved being a mother. The cuddles, the snuggles, the realization the God had trusted and made possible for me to have this sweet child.

The hematuria stayed away throughout my pregnancy, and my period stayed away while nursing. When I stopped nursing, my period came back and so did the terrible endo pain. So we scheduled the surgery again, drove 1000 miles again, and this time, pulled off the surgery.

They did a lot of work, excised endometriosis, put me on meds for inflammation, repaired defects, really patched me up. After the surgery, my pain was practically nothing, and we plan to avoid pregnancy for a couple more months and then switch to TTW-trying to whatever, not avoiding, not trying to conceive.

I told myself that next time I got pregnant, I was gonna do things different, celebrate the baby inside me, bond with it sooner, enjoy being pregnant more, plan more, nurse sooner, longer. We decided that once I became pregnant again, I would quit my job and be a SAHM, raise and homeschool our children.

You know what they say though,

“Wanna make God laugh? Tell him your plans!”

For this child, we will pray.

Pregnant.

Me.

Naturally. No meds, no surgery.

My reaction was simply “Oh” and then “but I am cramping really bad.”

They told me I needed to their office straight away. So much for that beer! I could have really used it!

We drove to the PPVI office, and the waiting room was packed, but they called me back right away and drew my blood again. I am sure they told me things, but I don’t remember what all they said. They said I could go back to my room, and I drove back to the hotel trying to decide how I was going to tell my husband. I finally decided I was going to call him when I got back to the room, but when I looked at my phone, there were several phone calls from PPVI saying I needed to get back immediately. Mom and I turned around and went back.

Once again, I was called back immediately and they explained that my hormones were very low, specifically progesterone, and I would require shots throughout my pregnancy. The nurse left the room and I noticed there was a text from my husband. This is how it went.

Husband: How’s it going?
Me: Do you want me to text you now or call me later?
H: Text me now.
M: I am pregnant.
H (in rapid succession): What?
Are you serious?
Of course you are serious.
Really?
M: Yeah, waiting to see the doctor.

Meanwhile he was training somebody, went very pale and the trainee asked what was wrong several times before he answered, “I am sorry, I can’t train you today, I am pregnant.”

The nurse came in and gave me a big hug, and a big shot of progesterone in the butt. The cramps stopped soon after. The doc came and explained the zones of pregnancy and how they would monitor my blood work from Omaha, all I had to do was get my blood drawn every two weeks, spun and mailed to them.

My husband would have to learn how to give me the shots and I would have to get them twice a week. So even though I had conceived with no meds and no help, I was going to need a lot of meds and a lot of help to stay pregnant.

Mom and I drove home, and it took us a lot longer because the pregnancy symptoms hit hard. No morning sickness but extreme fatigue and having to pee every 30 minutes.

My husband was still at work when I got home and we talked about it for most of the night. Prior to the surgery we had done novenas, and rosaries, and We decided we were going to pray every night, every meal for this pregnancy, but leave it up to God’s will. So we prayed, took shots and celebrated every milestone. We always celebrated the milestones, but I never linked the milestones in my pregnancy to the milestones of my child. It was self preservation in my mind. If I lost the pregnancy, it wouldn’t have hurt as much as if I lost a child.

Mind you, I am Catholic and pro-life, but I was scared. The first ultrasound was scary because they said the sack was too small for what the doctor in Omaha said I should be. They changed my due date but also said a slow developing sack was indicative of a miscarriage. They also said that they wouldn’t have run the blood tests that PPVI ran until I had miscarried 3 times. So thank God we were in Omaha when we found out.

Shots, draws, ultrasounds, more shots. I had three friends who were pregnant with me, one 8 weeks ahead of me, and one 6 weeks ahead of me, one three weeks behind me. When I was 18 weeks, the friend who was 8 weeks ahead of me, had to deliver her son, he fought for 28 days before he passed away from complications of being premature. The day they buried him, the friend that was behind me, lost her baby. A week later, I started to cramp, but bed rest and meds and I was better.

I dealt with survivors guilt as well as increased my fear that I was next. Still, more shots, more ultrasounds, more prayers, and we found out we were having a girl. Knowing she was a girl made it more real to us, and we gave her a name immediately.

At 32 weeks, I went into labor. Three days in the hospital and strict bed rest and more meds, bed rest at home and more meds.
Thirty five weeks and and I was having contractions again, more meds, more bed rest. Thirty six weeks and I had maxed out all the recommended labor stopping meds, they let me progress and the baby was head down (she had been breech before) and contractions were close together and intense. They broke my water and labor stalled. They augmented my labor with pitocin and labor picked up again. They kept telling me that the baby’s head was right there, and I should be able to start to push soon.

Then my daughter decided to back out of the birth canal and return to breech. Her heart rate dropped and I headed for an emergency c section. When she was born, all I could do was cry. My daughter was here, and healthy, and I couldn’t touch her because I was strapped down. In recovery, I was so stunned with the events that it seemed so surreal.

My daughter, the child we had prayed for. The child we didn’t expect, but were blessed with.

We struggled with things common in preterm babies, jaundice, poor latch, respiratory viruses. She was healthy overall and she was ours.

A little bit of a lot of background

Trust me, this is the short version!

When I was young, I was told I may never have children. I was young and it wasn’t a concern then. I didn’t have a steady boyfriend and marriage was the furthest thing on my mind.

I had nieces and nephews and I love them.

I also had a problem that no doctor could diagnose, I would pee blood occasionally with no infection and much pain. They called it hematuria. I also had rotten heavy, painful menstrual cycles that would leave me anemic and unable to function. Doctors prescribed artificial birth control pills and it was a lifesaver, back then. It also stopped the hematuria, when I would go off the artificial birth control, the hematuria and the horrible periods would return.

I went to urologists, nephrologists, and gynecologists and the recommendation was to always stay on the birth control. A gynecologist said I might have PCOS, and she said getting pregnant naturally with PCOS was difficult.

I started dating the man who would become my husband and we would talk about children often. Being fairly uninformed in Catholic teaching, I thought maybe we could try IVF for children.

When my boyfriend and I became engaged and started marriage preparation courses, Natural Family Planning (NFP) came up. I was determined not to use NFP because the birth control kept me pain freeb and functioning. I wasn’t supposed to have children anyway so why bother?

Eventually, our priest convinced us try NaPro technology and told us they could help me, at least to alleviate the pain. The thought of the process angered me. They wanted me to be off the pill, analyze my cervical mucous and chart my observations, for at least three months and that would leave me open to pain.

Our priest told us they my fiancĂ©’s insurance would cover the costs of a lot of the treatments at a doctor 1,000 miles away once we got married.

Wanting more to prove them wrong than anything else, we agreed. My fiancé and I signed up for the classes and started the process of learning NFP.

I hated it, but eventually we had enough charts to send to the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, NE.

Months later, after our wedding, we got back a letter detailing an infertility work up. From the charts they concluded, I likely wasn’t ovulating, I had hormone deficiencies, I had evidence of inflammation, endometriosis and endometritis. The basic conclusion, my instructor said, was that I was infertile or sub-fertile and would need help getting pregnant.

Suggestions were made for blood work and surgery. Meanwhile, I was dealing with blood clots in my urine and pain. We would go to the emergency room here and they would give me pain pills and send me home. We decided on the surgery so that God willing, we might try for a pregnancy later, although our instructor told us we still might need fertility meds.

Surgery was scheduled for June, Nine months after I started NaPro. It was over 1000 miles away. Our insurance was good but we would have to cover travel expenses which included a 7 day hotel stay.

A week before we were to leave, my husband found out he couldn’t go. My mother would have to go with me.

They schedule the surgeries far in advance and they try to schedule it after your period, but my cycles were so erratic that we weren’t sure when my period would show up. I wasn’t late, but my period hadn’t shown up, we chalked it up to stress and kept up our plans to go to Omaha. I took pregnancy tests because the pre-op instructions suggested it but was not surprised when they came out negative. The day we left, I started cramping, finally, and expected my period to start at any time.

We drove 1,014 miles to Omaha, checked into our hotel, did some shopping, met the anesthesiologist, got blood drawn, and prepared for surgery that would hopefully change my life. Every time I went to the bathroom, I expected to see my period. I was cramping so bad, I wanted to lay down with a heat pack and wine and just get it over with.

I told my mom, “Let’s get a nice meal out and then just cook in the hotel the rest of the time.” So we went to a restaurant recommended by the clerk at the hotel. The meal was delicious and I was calculating if I could have a beer when my phone rang from the PPVI institute, with words I never expected to hear.

“As standard pre-operative blood work, we run a pregnancy test and yours came back positive.”