Our Journey to Parenthood – Part 2

If you didn’t read Part 1 – you can read it here:  Our Journey to Parenthood – Part 1

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5081_1163545493529_1051810_nIn September, we found an awesome new RE.  My old RE wasn’t listening to my opinions and wanted to just move to IVF (in vitro fertilization – which is a whole other ball game).

The new RE laid out a “game plan” and part of that game plan was to have a Laparoscopy (“lap”) done.  I was a little nervous, never liked the thought of being put under.  So, I had the lap done and they did find “mild” endometriosis, which they were able to “scrape” out and get it under control.

November was “recovery” month and December we did another natural cycle.

At this point, Pat and I both had made an effort to keep God first in our lives and amazing things happened in our relationship.  We were at peace with everything and wouldn’t want to change a thing we’ve been through because we have learned many valuable lessons and truly felt closer to God, which is always a great place to be.

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In January 2009, we started injections with IUIs.  Pat did an awesome job with stabbing me every night for 8 days straight!  January and February ended up being negatives.

We took off March, April, and May to gain some sanity and lose some weight!  We had joined a weight loss contest with some family and close friends so figured we would focus on that – we did a pretty good job.  Pat lost 25lbs and I lost 18lbs!

broke-Dave-Ramsey-QuoteIn addition to making a spiritual and physical change in our life, we ended up making a financial change in our life.  In December 2008, our bible study started a new series, Financial Peace University (FPU).   If you’ve never heard of FPU, check it out!  Good stuff.  Who knew God had so much to say about money – read the Bible!!

The course teaches you how to live a debt free life so that we can give more and bless others.  That is, after all what God wants us to do on this earth….bless others.  We liked the course so much that we bought the DVDs and had “classes” with various family members.  It has changed Pat and I’s whole outlook on life as far as finances.

We started our first IVF cycle in June, 2009.  We had great health insurance where a lot of the cost was taken care of.  I’m extremely thankful for that because I know there are those out there without insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover it and it isn’t cheap!  I think the average costs is anywhere from $10,000, sometimes up to $40,000 per cycle.

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One thing our insurance didn’t cover was all of the medicine, which can be the most expensive part of IVF.  Thank God, we ended up being eligible to participate in a medicine “timing” study, which made most of the medicine free.

Here is what our IVF cycle looked like: We had the Day 3 ultrasound and blood work done just like with IUIs.  Then I started the injections.

In my case, I had to have a shot in the morning and a shot in the evening from Day 3 – Day 9.   Then Day 9 – Day 12, I had to have two shots in the morning and one at night.  All my shots were in my stomach and once again, Pat did an awesome job stabbing me!  On Day 12, I got the ”trigger” shot and was scheduled for my retrieval 36 hours later.

jeremiah-29-11They told us going into the retrieval that they were expecting to get 12-15 eggs.  After I woke up from the retrieval, they told us that they were able to get 24 eggs!  That is an amazing amount of eggs!

They said to expect about 1/2 to fertilize.  We got a call on Monday morning and they said 21 eggs fertilized…which is another awesome result!  God is in control!  They were able to freeze 10 embryos right away (so that we can use them for future cycles).

The remaining 11 embryos were “watched” in the lab until transfer day.  My transfer day was on Day 5 (after retrieval) because I has having some medical complications from retrieval day.

emergency-roomThose complications were the beginning of close to a month from hell.  I ended up in the ER a couple of days after retrieval due to severe stomach pain and shortness of breath.

Turned out that that one of my many follicles was leaking fluid and blood, which was hitting the nerve that runs up my side, into my chest, and right shoulder and was causing me to not be able to catch my breath.  The stomach pain, they said it was because I was in so much pain that I couldn’t feel the pressure to pee so my bladder was full.  It ended up being a whole different story….which was not figured out until after transfer day (more on that in a bit).

Well, transfer day came.  We were supposed to watch the transfer on the flat screen monitor by the bed but it ended up not getting a signal so we were a little bummed to not be able to see it all go down.  The embryos looked “beautiful” according to the dr.   They were in the blastocyst stage and were getting ready to hatch which is perfect timing because they would hatch in my uterus and attach to my uterine lining, Lord willing.

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As far as the remaining embryos they were watching, 3 made it to the freezer to join the other 10.

About a week after transfer, I started having the horrible stomach pain again.  This time, I started gaining weight and my stomach was expanding and was really hard.  Me being the “this is probably normal and I just need to suck it up” person that I am, didn’t want to call my doctor but Pat hounded me.  I called and they made me go right in.

Turned out, I was “over-stimulated”, which apparently only happens to about 1% of women, or so they told me.  My ovaries were leaking fluid into my abdomen which is why my stomach was expanding and hard (I looked like I was 6 months pregnant).  They drained 2 liters of fluid from my stomach.  It’s called a culdocentesis, look it up, it isn’t fun!

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pregnant copyThe following Monday, Pat and I were food shopping and my doctor’s office called.  I will never forget this call.  They told us that we WERE pregnant!  Hooray!  Finally!  Thank you God!  Little did we know, we still had quite a journey ahead of us.

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A couple of days later, my stomach pain started getting unbearable again.  I had to go back in and have a couple more liters of fluid drained.  This happened a total of six times, each time they drained 2 or more liters of fluid.  I was on pain meds 24/7 because of the constant stomach pain.  Each time I had to get drained, they would do an ultrasound and we would get to check in on the baby, which was only a speck at that point.

I was thrilled to be pregnant but the pain was horrible, and I was losing weight and weak.

The last time I had to get drained, they did another ultrasound and they saw a 2nd speck.  We were not only pregnant with one baby but two!  TWINS!  We were so excited!  They said that my hormone levels were so high because of the twins that, that is why I was still having fluid issues.

As the days went on, I was feeling better and better.  The fluid issues were going away, I was able to decrease the pain med, and able to eat again.

They were doing ultrasounds every couple of days to check on the fluid and to check in on our babies.  Around 5 weeks, we had an ultrasound done and they noticed that baby B was a little behind in growth.  By the next ultrasound, it was confirmed that I had miscarried baby B.

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We were devastated but still had hope because Baby A was still going strong!

miscarriage 3Around week 7, we went in for another ultrasound.  At this point, my fluid issues were gone, and I was off all pain medicine.  That is when they delivered the unthinkable news…..Baby A’s heartbeat had slowed and they couldn’t find the baby’s sac.  They told us that we would be miscarrying Baby A.  Needless to say, we were devastated.

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We prayed and prayed for a miracle.  God, this can’t be happening.

I was reading the Book of Job for my morning devotional a couple of days after we were told that we were losing Baby A.  I remember reading it and Job (1:21b) says, “..the Lord gives and the Lord has taken away, blessed be name of the Lord.”  I felt at peace when I read that.  He gave me the pregnancy, and He was taking it away from me….what was I going to do?  All I could do was look up and praise His name and fully lean on Him knowing He had the perfect plan for us.

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We went in for an ultrasound every other day for a week and a half, watching Baby A’s heartbeat getting slower and slower.  It was torture.  At 9 ½ weeks, I had to have a D&C.

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Up until the IVF, we hadn’t told our family much about what was going on.  My family would ask me almost every time I saw them “so, when are you guys going to have a baby?  Five years is up you know.”…….that’s when I regretted that we had ever told anyone our plan or made a plan in the first place, haha.  I can plan my life all I want but if it isn’t God’s will, it isn’t going to go as planned.

At one point, my brother, asked me that question on the wrong day.  My response was, “you realize that you just asked me when I was going to have sex with Pat”…..I immediately felt bad about that response but, in my defense, I think I was just coming off of a negative pregnancy test (for the millionth time).  Sorry Paul!  That is when I realized we must tell our family soon.

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When we started our IVF, we were both scared and not sure what to expect.  We knew we needed prayer warriors.  We had told a few close friends and our bible study leaders but no one else had a clue.  So, we decided to tell the family.  I don’t think anyone expected to hear what we had been through.

After all, all of what we had gone through is really a private issue and most people aren’t very open about it, for many reasons.  I’m glad we did open up about it, because we had them all praying for us during the whole IVF cycle and when we really needed it, when we lost the twins.

The weeks after the miscarriage were really hard.  We just kept surrounding ourselves with our friends, family, church, bible study, which is really how we got through that time.

During the IVF, we were listening to a lot of LiquidChurch.com because I was in really no condition to try to make it out to church.  Well, the series we ended up watching, shortly after losing the twins, was a series called “Habakkuk, When God Seems Unfair”.  If you ever have a chance to listen to this series, please do.  You won’t regret it.

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776527_8820475_bHe talks about how most Christians, when hit with a crisis, either go into denial or just give up because they feel like God has abandoned them (sound familiar – ME!).  Instead we are to lean into God and know that He is in control, and whatever the outcome, His plan is always better.  Remember, on the other side of that crisis is a new level of faith in God.

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James 1:2-4:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials 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.

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You can read Part 3, Our Little Miracles, here!

To Living On Purpose,

- Donna

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