Friday, April 29, 2016

Finding the Beauty in God's Timing through Infertility: Our Journey to Sweet Baby Sam

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"Infertility" is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. {source.}

 We are one in eight. Our journey to conception with our sweet Baby Sam was a long one, and so is this post, but it's also one that I wouldn't change for anything. It's also not something I have ever kept secret. I encourage you, if you are experiencing any sort of infertility, to share your story. Talk about it with your peers or anyone you feel like may need to hear it. Understanding that I was never alone was a fact that kept me strong on my weakest days.

Matt and I got married on November 16, 2013. We knew before our wedding, that children were something we wanted immediately. We've always known that we were meant to be parents, and were never the type of couple that needed to "live life" before children. Four days after our wedding, on our way home from our honeymoon, I started to experience a sharp pain in my lower abdomen (at this point, I can't even remember what side!) so I decided to make a doctor's appointment. After just one visit and one ultrasound, we found out that one of my ovaries was covered in cysts and the pain was probably from one erupting. I should also mention at this point, I hadn't had a period in over 3 months but the doctors seemed to think this was normal since I had quit birth control in September. This was my only diagnosis. Cysts were common, and probably something I shouldn't worry about. So for the next few weeks, I continued to live a normal newlywed life.

By the end of December I had finally gotten a period, along with a random phone call from my doctor on his cell phone. He called to tell me that after reviewing my ultrasounds again, he wanted me to start taking at home ovulation tests. He didn't think I was ovulating. Strangely enough, I got a super late positive ovulation (like day 30 in my cycle) and a period just 5 days later. This was also the shortest cycle I've had in the past three years. After learning so much about normal cycles and ovulation, I now know this was completely abnormal. With that, I let my doctor know I received a positive ovulation and we were given the go ahead to try to get pregnant on our own.

Now here is why I consider myself one of the luckier ones. We found out fairly soon that conceiving on our own may be difficult. We knew that no matter what the doctors said, there could still be a problem, but we chose to try on our on anyway. No more tests or peeing on a strip. We simply wanted to enjoy our first year of marriage, while trying to get pregnant without any stress.

Unfortunately by April-June (ish) my periods were still crazy abnormal and I was still experiencing a lot of regular ovarian pain. I would go 70+ days without having a period and spent a lot of time with a heating pad, so my doctor finally referred us to an OB/GYN. In June of 2014, after more tests and ultrasounds, I finally started going in for regular monthly blood tests for ovulation, all of which came back negative through October. At this point, we finally decided to turn to fertility drugs to start my period and encourage ovulation.

After a negative ovulation test our first month on Clomid, we decided to forgo a second treatment and try acupuncture. I wasn't a fan of how the drugs made me feel, and will always choose a more natural way if it's an option. After a positive home ovulation test in December, we found out we were finally pregnant in January of 2015! We were thrilled and in complete shock, but we were also horrified. Call it a woman's intuition, or sheer paranoia, but I knew from the beginning something wasn't right. Matt did his best to encourage me, but something in the pit of my stomach wouldn't allow me to relax. We went for our 8 week ultrasound to discover there was no baby. The term for this is called a "blighted ovum". Although they couldn't "confirm" the diagnoses because our "conception dates could be off" we knew they weren't. There was no possibility for different conception dates, and we left that day knowing in our hearts that we would soon miscarry. 

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 {8 week ultrasound of our first pregnancy}

Sure enough about a week later, I started spotting. It took 4 days, but eventually I ended up having a complete miscarriage at home. While this was probably one of the worst things I have ever experienced, it was also a relief. At that moment, the tiny bit of hopeful anxiety I had left was gone, and we officially knew we had lost the pregnancy.

We decided we would hold off on trying another round of fertility drugs and just stop "trying" all together. The loss of our pregnancy was so difficult, we knew it would take a while to heal. But 7 months later and after 2 more rounds of Clomid, on September 29, 2015, I woke up at 6am to take a pregnancy test. 5 minutes later, I woke my husband up with the darkest positive stick I had ever seen and the biggest smile. We had a second chance, and I had more hope in my heart than I could put into words. We were 6 weeks pregnant with our little miracle, and completely sure that no matter what, God was completely faithful. We chose to put our complete trust in Him, and have been so unbelievably grateful ever since.

God's timing is perfect, and His stories are the most beautifully written. There was a moment after we found out we were pregnant with Sam where I was standing in church worshiping while the band was performing "Every Line" that I heard these words and knew He was writing my story in the most beautiful way that I could never even begin to fathom. "I close my eyes cause faith is seeing for me. I'm out of breath, but you are breathing for me. I lift my hands, to Jesus be the glory. My fight is gone, but you are fighting for me. The battle won I'm standing on your victory. I lift my hands, to Jesus be the glory." I held my belly as tears streamed down my face. My fight was gone, no matter the outcome, because He was always fighting for me. Then and now, my heart is full of so much love and gratitude for our Sweet Baby Sam. I have the comfort in our Savior, in His goodness, and in knowing that no matter what, He is good.

Matt and I now have the ability to look back and see just how perfect His timing is. Every "no" we ever received was only to prepare us for something better. Our journey to conception was difficult and at times heart crushing, but I truly believe we wouldn't appreciate our baby Sam as much as we do, had we not gone through everything we have. It has made us stronger in every way, and we have become so much closer to Jesus through needing Him more than ever. How crazy and beautiful is it to look at our children and know that we have a Father who loves us infinitely more than the way we love them? Having a Father who loves me the way Jesus does saves me over and over every single day. My heart is so full of gratitude that Sam will know how much he was wanted and prayed for, and that he will also grow up with a Daddy who loves him more than Matt and I could ever imagine.
 *I have never been diagnosed with PCOS. While I did have multiple ovarian cysts, and unexplained anovulation, I never met the criteria for an official diagnoses. I've never been given the reason "why" for any of our struggles with conceiving. In my heart I believe that the "why" is simply timing. It was simply God's way of saying "Not yet, my child" and I'm so grateful for His "but, now" in our story.

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 24-April 30. You can find more information here.

1 comment:

  1. I was diagnosed with PCOS after seeing a fertility doctor. I had a bunch of cysts in my ovaries, but no other signs. I was healthy, thin, no acne, no excessive hair growth and my only sign was cysts. My doc put me on metformin and after two months of it and crazy cycles, I was pregnant with twins. We tried for 11 months before becoming pregnant. Thank you for sharing your story!



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