05 January 2014

Having Faith

One thing that I found out in 2013 is how pervasive the trauma and effects of infertility are.  We lost another pregnancy in January - it was very early, only 5 weeks, but seeing a positive, then losing it was enough to make us question our efforts in trying to have children.  We hugged each other and cried and fussed... but ultimately decided to try again.  Faith and Fear.  Strangely enough, even though I knew this cycle of medication and doctor's visits would work, I was still scared of another loss.  But in early April, we got another positive test.  I was scared to tell hunny about the first one, so I conferred with a friend and decided to go to the store and get two more and tested again a few days later... still positive!
I went back to the fertility doctor for their test, but knew it'd come back positive.  Because of the prior losses, especially the twins, we decided to be much more secretive about this pregnancy.  We only told a few select friends at first.  Then we started telling our family.  And finally, on 8/11, our 12th wedding anniversary, we made it public.

Way back in 2001, a few weeks after we'd gotten engaged, we felt led of God to name our firstborn son David Emmanuel and our daughter Faith Elizabeth.  We had no clue that we'd only first meet David 9 years later, and Faith even later than that.  We always assumed that we'd be like normal people and just have kids because we were physically intimate.  But that wasn't our path.  Our path was full of Faith and Fear.  We knew we'd one day be parents, but were terrified that we'd somehow end up childless.  And that fear was intensified after losing David and William.  But Faith remained.  And eventually manifested.

The pregnancy was relatively easy - I had minimal morning sickness, some fatigue, and had to modify my diet to keep down nausea, but overall, carrying Faith was easy.  Yet I was always looking for the other shoe to drop.  And by November, I felt it had.  Towards the end of the pregnancy, we realized time was winding down for her to still be breech.  But no matter what we did, chiropractic adjustments, Spinning Babies positions, cold/heat packs, music, pleading with her, or prayer, she merely flipped from side to side, but always toes down.  Even down to how she chose to make her grand entrance, Faith has been a lesson in Faith over Fear.  On Wed, 12/4, we consulted with the one doctor we could locate here in Houston that attended vaginal breech births, Dr. Michael Lucas.  After a full pelvic examination, he and his assistant deemed my pelvis "adequate" for a vaginal breech delivery.  We'd already scheduled to have an External Cephalic Version with my regular OB on Fri, 12/6, so we agreed with Dr. Lucas that if the Version was unsuccessful, or if after a successful Version, she resumed her breech position, we'd be back with him for delivery.  All finally seemed well and in place: all bases were covered.

Friday morning came, and we showed up bright and early to see my OB for the Version.  With the procedure, as with most in pregnancy, it starts with double-checking the fetus to be sure all is well before continuing.  But we were in for a surprise on the ultrasound: while all was well and normal two days prior, on this day, we had low amniotic fluid!  There was no explanation for the fluid's disappearance, but without it, not only could we not safely turn her, we also needed to expedite delivery.  My OB tried to convince me that a cesarean section would be the safest route for a breech delivery, but I knew that wasn't true.  I knew that the safety of a vaginal breech delivery was contingent on the skill and experience of the attending doctor, not simply a byproduct of the "breechness."  And I've always been a bit quirky, so I refused to let my daughter start off life being forced into some arbitrary status quo when everything about her was still "normal."  (Not to mention the fact that I was very wary about consenting to a major surgery to resolve a minor issue.)  I've found that it's okay to be unique, and so, against my OB's advice, and despite her pleadings, we were discharged from one hospital and made our way down to Ben Taub General Hospital to see Dr. Lucas for a vaginal breech delivery.

Upon arrival, Dr. Lucas and his OB team re-examined me and agreed that the fluid was low and that we needed to get her out ASAP.  After getting admitted, we started the induction around 4pm.  At first, she didn't tolerate the contractions well, so they stopped the Pitocin.  We consulted with Dr. Lucas again, and he agreed that it wouldn't hurt either of us to try again, so we restarted the induction.  This time, there were no problems with her tolerating the contractions, but as the contractions got stronger, I began to have uncontrollable urges to push.  But with her being breech, Dr. Lucas wanted me to get an epidural so that I could control the pushing and help them guide her out safely.  After the epidural, and after I had some more contractions and less forceful pushes, I felt her feet move past my cervix.  It was time!  The whole shindig was moved to the OR, and after more pushing, an episiotomy, and with the assistance of forceps, by 12:55am on Sat, 12/7, Faith was here.  Fear hasn't disappeared, but Faith has finally trumped it.

20 March 2013

Challenge

In my walk with Christ, and with my professional training in both arts and sciences I recognize patterns when I see them. 

This is a season of challenge for me. 

Although I am not the one to make God my last resort when faced with issues, I do know that I am somewhat reluctant at times to be immediately obedient to His prompts.  Why?  Because as my Pastor so eloquently put it: I know it will challenge me to a new level of maturity.

I won't go into all the varying challenges, but they are hitting me in every area of my life: personal, professional, relational, spiritual, emotional...  And in every one of them God is prompting me to accept a new level of responsibility, a new way of embracing life, a new me.

Yesterday, someone specifically sought me out to pray for a woman who recently lost a twin pregnancy.  So many emotions immediately boiled over in me: anger, frustration, fear, grief, sorrow, desperation, regret - not all for myself.  I recalled the devastation of losing David and William and my heart ached for her.  Not even knowing who she is, I hurt for her.  But I recognized the challenge.

Losing a pregnancy, no matter how far along a woman is, is a painful process.  There are not many words that can be said to comfort her because there's nothing to be said or done to bring back her babies.  The pain of knowing you'll never hear them cry, see them grow, kiss their sleeping face, or smell their heads isn't something that can be eased or erased with a trite platitude.  (See also Exhibit B and Exhibit C)

If, after reading through this meager blog, she would like to reach out to me, I'll be here for her.  But if simply knowing that others care, even strangers, is enough, I'm okay with that as well.  Part of what got me through was finding ways to not simply be mad, angry, bitter, and depressed.  I did something with it: I wrote to my sons, I cried, I prayed, I yelled at God, I hugged my husband, I blogged, I talked about it on social media.  There was no way for all of that to have remained inside me and I stay sane.  But even with all of that venting, my husband later confessed he still worried for my sanity at times!  What truly anchored me in all of that was the care of my friends & family - the ways in which they reached out to me and expressed their love and care for me overwhelmed me and pulled my heart back from the grave.

So my challenge in this is to pray for her and grow in grace and compassion.  To let go of that last tendril of bitterness that still curls through my gut when I hear of others' pregnancies.  To not be offended and resentful when folks tell me "my time is coming". 

It's easy to cry for her: the pain is still very real for me. 

The challenge is to reclaim my joy and let my smile be real.


17 October 2012

Continuance

Hey ya'll!  It's been a while since you've seen me over here, hasn't it?  I've not forgotten about this blog, but life happens.

And so it's been over a year since my last post.

I've come across some interesting news articles pertaining to incompetent cervix & pregnancy loss over this last year and __ months, but seeing how my computer has died and been resurrected only to die again in that time, I don't have the links to them.  So "why a new post if I have nothing to give to you," you ask?  Because I do have something for you!  It's encouragement.  Yes, it still hurts that our sons are not with us.  But it's not an all-consuming, mind-numbing, soul-wrenching pain like it once was.  Time has indeed eased the severity of that.  Folks, I'll never forget, but I've been able to pick up the pieces and move on.  Sometimes I have to stop and take a deep breath, but I'm always able to resume life afterwards.  Be encouraged, you can, too!  :-)