08 December 2014

Back In Limbo

So, we just celebrated Faith's first birthday and I am in love with both her and motherhood.  She's a joy and life is rather fabulous with her.  Of course there are challenging times, but I finally feel like I'm living the life I was meant to have instead of being in a perpetual state of tortuous limbo.  So why the blog title?  Because, as before, I want lots of kids.  So starting over on that quest puts me back into the mental state where there are too many unknowns for my liking.  There's the PCOS/infertility factor, there's the faith/fear factor, the finances factor, and now we have the newcomer: the breastfeeding factor.

As you may recall from previous posts, the PCOS factor is where we got started in the beginning.  My body's version of PCOS leads to no ovulation.  I have perfectly textbook PCOS ovaries according to one doctor: they're full or pearly partially mature follicular cysts.  So since my body never releases mature eggs, I rarely have a menstrual cycle because my body gets stuck on that one step.  But since there are rare occasions when I do have a cycle, I never truly know if at any given moment I might actually have a chance at a natural conception.

Then there's the faith/fear factor where I truly believe that I'm meant to birth more babies with this body, but simultaneously scared that Faith will be an only child.  After years of infertility, it's still hard to believe she's here sometimes, let alone that she's well, growing, and developing normally.  Nothing of the infertility has touched her!  Not that I expected it to, but that the issues consumed so much it's such a breath of fresh air that she's perfectly separated from it.  But in the meantime, I want to do it again and have to have faith and trust that God will honor my prayers on that.

Of course, fertility treatments aren't cheap, and neither are the costs of having a baby.  Not to mention random things that can (and did) happen where we had major household repairs, we're not in a good place financially.  So even though we both would love to have another baby, there's no way we could go get treatments again at this moment.  None.  And that is super frustrating.

But the finances aren't the major deterrent to treatment because I know I'll have some hassle from my specialist about using the ovulation induction medications while breastfeeding.  And I don't plan on stopping that any time soon.  As hard as I worked to get to this point, I'm super proud of my body for creating and then growing a fabulous girl.  Not to mention she's not even close to weaning herself from breastfeeding: there are days when we hang out together and she's still perfectly content with only having breastmilk to eat all day.  This kid ain't giving up no time soon and I won't force her to, not even for her future siblings.

So yeah.  Limbo.  But it's a much more peaceful limbo now that I have Faith to keep me company.  I mean, look at that smile!


BTW - please vote for her in this competition.  She NEEDS to win!  

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.