No News is Good News

I’ve never wanted any experience to speed up and slow down at the same time before, but we’re at 24 weeks and 2 days and I don’t know how else to explain it!  This pregnancy is without a doubt the biggest, most exciting thing I’ve ever been gifted, but I know what’s coming will somehow be even more special.  I have loved absolutely every second of this pregnancy so far, and when I tell people that, or they ask how I’m feeling and my response is always great, they look at me like I’m certifiable!  Some of my family and friends have recounted horror stories of their pregnancies, filled with complaints, sickness, aches and pains, and the like.  I’m so thankful that has not been my experience.  Honestly, part of me wonders if this ‘ease’ in my pregnancy stems from kind of a ‘pay back’ for all the hardship we faced to get here.  Anyway, I’m loving it and already making jokes (but I’m undercover serious) about how I can’t wait to get pregnant again after this!   My kids at school (7th graders) have been so funny.  They are protective, but also way too comfortable at the same time.  I’ve swatted away a few belly rub attempts already, and allowed a couple from my crew from last year, who I had when I found out I was pregnant, and have been (dare I say) excessively interested and excited ever since.  Some of them, who lead a much different lifestyle than most of us are used to, still can’t believe that this baby is (a) my first one because I’m 28, and (b) belongs to my husband.  Oh, do they keep me laughing.

So what’s going on with Landon?  Let’s knock out the basics first.  This week, according to my Ovia Pregnancy app (which, duh, knows everything) Landon’s hair finally has a hair color.  I’m thinking it’ll be dark like ours, but I’ve seen stranger things.  He’s the size of an eggplant this week, and if that means as little to you as it did to me, you’ll be happy to know I switched the theme to fun and games and it turns out that compares to the size of a G.I. Joe.  This is much easier for me to visualize, since my sweet, sweet brother used to throw them at me, and I know EXACTLY how big those dudes are.

Since the last time we updated you, some exciting things have been happening.  FINALLY, at 21w5d, I felt my first baby kicks on the inside.  I was laying in bed before I got up to get ready for work, and felt the strangest sensation.  Obviously, as a first time mom, I wasn’t sure if it was baby moving, or if it was the impending doom that follows your favorite meal.  (You know the one, you love it but it hates you)  I waited a couple of minutes while the, let’s call them gurgles, continued before I woke up Houston to tell him.  As the day went on I felt a few more questionable jabs, and finally did what any sensible person would do.  I sent a message to almost everyone I knew that had ever been pregnant to find out if this was, in fact, little man’s doings.  As the responses started flooding in (I would say trickling, but let’s be honest, we know I go big) I was bombarded with reassurances and couldn’t help but smile every time I read an affirmation.  I gloated right there in the face of my anterior placenta (the reason it took so dang long for me to feel in the first place) the rest of the day, more or less taunting it every time I felt a kick.  Take that you puffy pillow that made me miss out on weeks of baby kicks!  Just this morning, daddy finally got his first kick from the outside, and he was so excited!  Also, we’ve begun working in the nursery!  We’ve (read Houston and Leonard) gotten the walls and trim painted, ordered bedding from etsy, got every piece of furniture we need except for a glider and ottoman, and are hoarding everything in a corner and my in law’s carport until we can get new floors down in there.  Whew! We have been BUSY!

We’ve had two appointments since our last update.  The first, on the 24th of August, was a routine OB check up with Dr. Tinker.  We heard his heartbeat, a strong 146 bpm, and scheduled my glucose tolerance test for the 21st of September.  REALLY looking forward to that one…Tinker says everything looks great with Landon, and after some uncomfortable mashing of the belly, told us growth of the uterus and baby seemed to be perfect.  After speaking with Dr. Tinker, we went on to meet with our insurance rep, and are set to deliver at Methodist Germantown.  We had a high risk appointment at Dr. BK’s office this past Wednesday, the 31st, to check on Landon’s VSD.  Remember that the best we could hope for was that in the four weeks since our last appointment the hole had closed, and worst case scenario, though unlikely, the hole would grow larger as he did.  After this month’s fetal echocardiogram and general ultrasound, we learned very little.  There was no change in the appearance of Landon’s VSD, which I suppose now we can count as a blessing, since it was very small to start with and didn’t get larger.  The staff remains very hopeful that the hole will close on it’s own, but we’re working up a game plan so we’re prepared if it doesn’t.  These were not the results we hoped for, but we are still definitely better off than we could be.  During our scan, Trinity (who we love almost as much as our tech from FAM) made jokes about him not cooperating and being stubborn, and shared with us that our ‘little’ man already weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces (23w5d at this point).  According to the app that knows everything, that’s about half a pound ahead of average babies at this point.  We didn’t get any pictures this time, because Landon, in true form, was completely vertical (feet down) and turned around with his face toward my back. We will return to Dr. BK’s office on September 30 very early that morning and finally get to meet Dr. Joshi, who will be Landon’s cardiologist.  We are looking so forward to meeting  and talking with him, as we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from those who know him.

Until next time, please be in prayer that the VSD will close, that our little man continues to grow big and strong, that mom continues to feel great, and that someone can be touched by our story.  We love you all, and can honestly say that feeling your love and prayers for Landon and for us has been a big reason we’ve able to handle this bump in the road the way we have.  The reassurances and stories from friends who have and had children with VSDs accompanied with the knowledge of their abilities to lead active, normal lifestyles has given me such a peace about this whole thing.  Thank you all for lifting us up, please continue to do so as we work through this next month with poise and patience.

GM

 

 

 

Gender Reveal and Anatomy Scan

I had every intention of doing an update after the gender reveal party.  You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I’ll start by saying I feel great!  Were it not for the incessant hunger and monthly appointments, oh and the belly, I might forget I was pregnant all together!  At our last appointment, I’d gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks (holy moly), making up for only having gained less than a pound at each prior visit.  That puts me right at 10 pounds at almost halfway through, which the doctor says is excellent.

The first of July, we went to the doctor for our regular monthly appointment, and were far enough along to determine the gender of baby Moss.  Our sonographer turned the screen around, made us look away AND close our eyes, and in less than a minute, she knew what our sweet baby was.  She printed a picture and wrote it in an envelope, which she then very carefully stapled closed around all sides so we couldn’t peek.  That night we handed the envelope off to Houston’s sister Allie, who was planning our reveal party and would be the only one to know ahead of time.  After two agonizing weeks, on July 16th, we got the answer we’d waited for.  I loved the surprise of not knowing, and the experience of getting to find out alongside our families and closest friends.  It was the most special and exciting day, and I won’t forget the feeling as long as I live.  You can see pictures from our perfect party, and watch the video of the reveal on my Facebook page (you’ll need to roll down the timeline) here:

https://www.facebook.com/ginny.corinne.hankins


Landon Houston Moss will be here in December and we can’t wait to meet our sweet baby boy!

Fast forward to our next monthly appointment, at 19 weeks on July 30th.  We were so excited for this appointment because we knew it’d be a long ultrasound and we’d get to see every part of little Landon.  He weighed in at a whopping 12 ounces on Thursday, and was measuring 20 weeks and 2 days.  When we met with Dr. Tinker afterward, he said there was something he needed to go over with us but to try not to freak out.  RIGHT. Like that was a possibility now.

He then told us that there was a place on Landon’t heart that looked suspicious on the ultrasound.  He explained that it could be a space, a possible VSD (which we now know means ventricular septal defect), or it could be nothing but a shadow.  Either way he wanted us to see Dr. BK the following week.  Dr. BK runs a high risk facility called MidSouth Maternal Fetal Medicine, and their equipment is supposed to be much higher quality.  Having an ultrasound done there, Dr. Tinker said, would either confirm or deny the presence of the VSD.  They scheduled us for Monday morning, and we held our breath all weekend.  I prayed everyday for the outcome of the scan on Monday, and when Monday morning I was so nervous I could hardly eat.

We got to the office just before 10 am, and were called back right at our scheduled appointment time of 10:30.  The next almost hour was spent in the sonography room, where our sweet Trinity took excellent care of us. Landon had already gained an ounce since Thursday! She did another full anatomy scan, as well as a fetal echocardiogram, and even printed us a couple of new pictures of Landon after we told her how poor ours from Thursday were.  (We had Wanda again…*eyeroll*)  Those pictures are here:


Once we finished with Trinity, she took us to the back of the office to a conference room to wait to speak with Dr. BK, who would come make sense of all the pictures and measurements we knew nothing about.  We sat in that tiny stuffy waiting room for an HOUR.  In that hour I went from anxious to concerned, worrying about what could possibly be taking so long and secretly knowing that if all was well someone would breeze in and tell us so, and we could exhale and be on our way.  My heart was beating so hard when Dr. BK walked in, I swear you could have seen in through my shirt.  He took a seat, and got right to business.  The next ten minutes or so were a total blur of tears, questions, and disbelief.

Landon has a hole in his heart, a VSD, where the left ventricle and septum meet.  Where there should be a solid barrier, there is only a partial septum that didn’t grow all the way down to close off the ventricle.  Our sweet miracle baby, our perfect, flawless, angel baby, was not actually perfect.  I was in shock.  I was numb.  So i listened as best I could through the ringing sadness in my ears.  Dr. BK explained that of all congenital heart defects (which sounds so scary), this was the most commonly diagnosed.  This was to be perceived as good news, because even in the worst case scenario, Landon would be cared for by gifted doctors who were well versed in his condition.  About 80 % of VSD’s close on their own as the baby continues to grow, healing themselves completely by age 2. There is a possibility Landon’s could even close up before he is born.  This is the best case scenario.  If it doesn’t, Dr. BK says often times people born with VSDs go on to live perfectly normal lives without many effects on lifestyle.  If the hole is left unrepaird it can lead to lung problems later in life, due to the opposite side of the heart and lungs working harder to pump the extra blood that is not taken up and out of the side where the hole is.  Worst case scenario is this: he could have surgery as an infant (when he is resilient and will have no memory of it) to repair the VSD.  The thought of my baby boy having surgery chills me to the bones.  It makes me cry.  It terrifies me.

So here’s what’s next.  In another four weeks, we will return to Dr. BK’s office for another scan and fetal echo.  If the hole is still there and hasn’t closed up, we will be referred to Dr. Joshi, a pediatric cardiologist at LeBonheur.  He is tops in the area, which is comforting.  Dr. Joshi would then monitor us through the rest of the pregnancy, to Landon’s birth, and after if necessary to determine a course of action and possibly schedule his surgery.  If they hole has closed, then this nightmare is over, just a bump in the road.

When speaking with Dr. BK he was very kind and understanding.  He comforted me, and was patient as I struggled to form questions from my tears.  He told us of different options for additional testing, as in some cases children born with a VSD are also born with other genetic anomalies like Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 21, and others.  We’d already completed an initial test for Down’s with clear results.  The only other way to know what other risks Landon might be facing is through an amniocentesis, where they draw out amniotic fluid to test.  This test comes with a significant chance of loss of pregnancy, about 1 in 800 we’re told, and we obviously selected not to have that done.

I wanted my son to be an all star athlete like his dad.  To be able to run and play and all the things most kids take for granted, and parents too.  It had never crossed my mind that he might not get to.  I was upset because I didn’t want him to miss out on anything.  Why were we being tested again?  Hadn’t we proved our faith was strong enough?  Was this because there were nights when I fell asleep before I finished my prayers?  Or days that they were selfish, more about us and our needs than about others and theirs?  Was this a new wilderness journey for us to navigate through? Or had we never in fact reached the end of the last?  I know that as before, something good will come of this.  It always does, just as He promised.  I can tell you now though that it is FAR too soon for me to see it.

Whoa Baby!

What happened and where are we now?

In case you missed the news, I’ll cut to the chase:  IT WORKED YA’LL!  Our God is good and faithful and has granted us the desires of our hearts, as promised.


On Wednesday morning, April 13th, I woke up early.  Scratch that.  I couldn’t sleep.  I’d equate it to being the night before the first day of school, or a big vacation.  I had two pregnancy tests left in my arsenal.  One from the dollar store, and a good one from WalMart.  I collected my sample and woke up my husband.  After dipping and dripping both tests, I set a timer on my phone for 3 minutes, and began the most agonizingly slow wait of my life.  Two years, two weeks, it all seemed to pass by more quickly than those minutes were ticking by.  After shaking out the jitters (as best I could), we approached the bathroom counter.  In an instant I knew our lives would change.

Having taken approximately 40 pregnancy tests in my TTC tenure, all of which were negative, I could tell right away that they were positive. (Partly because I had dreamed of it so many times over the past years, and partly because I’d seen so many negatives I knew it WASN’T a negative) I burst into tears, jumped up and down, doubled over, all before telling my poor sweet husband what they said.  He kept saying “What does that mean?” “Why are there two lines?” “I don’t know what that means!”  All I could manage to get out was “It worked.”  I fell to my knees to catch my breath.  Was this really happening?  With the odds stacked against us?  With words of ‘wisdom’ and ‘warning’ from friends and family not to get our hopes up, and reminders that this procedure rarely works on the first try, and ovulating only one egg wasn’t ‘that’ bad, because it only took one (half hearted reassurances)?  YES! Because one IS all it takes!

We immediately called our parents to share the news, cautiously optimistic, as we hadn’t even spoken with the doctor yet.  During my planning that morning, I called the office to give my triumphant report of a positive test. They had me come in for blood work to verify the next morning.  My HCG measured 233, anything over 25 is considered indicative of a pregnancy.  We would need to go back in 48 hours to make sure the level was doubling as it should.  At our second draw Saturday morning, it measured 627, well over twice the number from the draw 48 hours previous.  Good news from the lab, so far everything suggested a healthy, viable pregnancy.  I would begin taking a prenatal supplement, and continue my progesterone.  On Thursday, May 5th, at approximately 6 weeks and 6 days, we would be able to see our little miracle via ultrasound.

The next two to three weeks seemed to pass by more slowly, again, than anything ever had.  Glaciers had to move faster than these days.  I just wanted the reassurance of seeing that little tiny heartbeat, the sign of life that our gift from God was not only good and perfect, but REAL.  At our appointment that Thursday, the tech explained everything that would happen, what we should see, and bless her heart, is really the best at ‘dumming’ it down for us.  At this point, remember Baby Moss just looks like a blob anyway.  A beautiful blob, but indistinguishable to our naive eyes nonetheless.  She turned the screen toward us, began looking around, and then the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

7 Weeks 1 day

There was our baby! Our perfect, healthy, blob of a baby!  This was real.  This was happening.  We could rest easy now.  Baby was measuring 7 weeks and 1 day, 2 days ahead of where we expected to be according to my last cycle, and growing fast! I sobbed, I’m talking big, fat, crocodile tears of joy.  But then, a very matter-of-fact exchange took place.  Our tech showed us a large dark spot in my uterus beside the baby.  “This,” she said, “is a small bleed.” Heart in throat.  Didn’t she just finish explaining that everything looked as it should?  Talk about a roller coaster.  She went on to explain, “These are very common, I see them in many, many women, and they almost always go away on their own.  It could be left over from implantation, and will probably just be reabsorbed, nothing to worry about.  When you go speak with Dr. Brezina, he is going scare you.  He doesn’t mean to.  It really truly isn’t usually anything to worry about.  Just listen to what he has to say, and remember that they are very common.”  Ok.  Bleed.  Not a big deal.  Doc’s gonna spook you.  Got it.  I’m ready.

When Dr. Brezina came in, he reiterated everything our tech had said about growing as we should, etc.  Then he said the “M” word.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I tried to hard to remember what the tech had told us.  He’s just doing his job.  He has to share this information with us no matter how small the risk is. I blocked everything and simply said, ‘God, you wouldn’t give us this baby just to take it away,’ and turned on my hearing again.  He was saying 85% of the time these just go away and the mother goes on to have a completely healthy, full term pregnancy.  I’m no number whiz, but I could do the math.  That meant 15% didn’t.  We were already part of a statistic.  I am 1 in 8.  I am in the 12% of women who struggle(d) with fertility.  If I was already part of the 12%, and 15 is bigger than 12, who’s to say I couldn’t just as easily be in that 15%?  Hearing off again as I processed all of this as stoically as I could muster.  When I tuned back in this time, he was asking, “What do you do for work?”  I told him I was a middle school teacher and he gave me this tisk tisk look.  “It’s so hard to be present at work and not be active, but especially with kids that size I’m wary.”  He put me on bedrest from Thursday until Monday, when we would go back to see if the bleed was still there, growing, shrinking, whatever.  Bedrest.  Isn’t that supposed to happen very late in a pregnancy and not very early?  The bright side is that it was modified bed rest, meaning I could use the bathroom, answer the door, go get a glass of water, etc. all on my own.  This was good, since Houston would be the best man at a wedding I now wouldn’t be attending, leaving me alone all weekend.  I spent most of my time on the couch, and dedicated my attention to rewatching One Tree Hill on Netflix from the beginning.

When Monday rolled around and it was time for our ultrasound, everything with the baby looked great.  Baby was now measuring 8 weeks and 1 day.  For those of you keeping up, that’s 3 days ahead, and again, growing fast!  The ultrasound tech looked and looked and found no trace of the bleed.  NONE.  The bedrest worked.  The prayers worked.  At our appointment with Dr. Brezina following the ultrasound he was very relieved to see the bleed was gone, and released me to go back to work, as long as I promised to take it easy.  No lifting. No straining.  No jerking a knot in anyone’s head.  Bummer on that one.  He told us we’d see him (and baby!!) once a week until we were released to the care of our regular OB/GYN, which usually averages anywhere from 11 to  13 weeks.  As we stood up to leave, he shook Houston’s hand and made a joke that with the way the baby kept measuring ahead, and Houston’s height, we could probably expect a big’n.

At this week’s appointment, we had a mom date.  Houston had to work, so both our mom’s came with me instead so they could see their grandbaby in real time.  This week, growth has leveled off, and Baby Moss is measuring right on track.  We saw some spastic movement, and our tech (remember I adore her, she’s so great about telling us everything) said next week we should have enough muscle tone to see some intentional movement, like arms waving or legs kicking.  Baby is still to small to feel those movements, but being able to see them will definitely do for now!  We all cried, laughed, and headed for the clinic side to talk to the doc.  After introductions, Dr. Brezina was more concise than he’d ever been.  He was astounded at how perfectly everything was going.  Baby is measuring, growing, and looking exactly as we should, I could stop the progesterone (praise da LORT!), and then a shocker:  We could move to our regular doctor! At 9 weeks!  The shock/fear must’ve registered on my face because he offered to do one more appointment with us next week just for my peace of mind.  Somewhat emotionally (these people had helped a dream come true after all) I agreed and tried to convince myself not to be sad, but triumphant…at least until next week.

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9 Weeks 1 Day

Overall I’ve been feeling great!  I was so nervous about what symptoms I’d have once I got to about 6 weeks, but ta-dah!  I’ve been so very lucky to have only experienced the sensation of sickness, and have not been physically sick.  I am so tired all the time, ravenously hungry, thirsty, waking up in the night to  use the restroom, and give God a little wink and a smile each time I notice one.  I asked for this after all.

The Final Countdown

Well ya’ll, we’ve almost made it.  I’m finally approaching the last days of the longest two weeks of my life.  No, really.  The longest.

Today I am 13 days past trigger and 12 days past IUI.  Our RE nurse told us to give it 14 days to ensure the residual HCG from the Ovidrel was gone and take a test.  That means that in about 36 hours we could know the fate of “Maybe Baby Moss”🙂 !!! WHAT?!

Sweet friends and coworkers have been so supportive and interested, and one in particular asked today (knowing test day was coming this week) how to approach the coming days.  I hadn’t thought about it.  Of course, the people who have been praying over us and our situation and who have been following our journey via the blog or otherwise will want to know!  So how does that work?

After some prayerful consideration and a talk with my husband, who is the only reason I’m sane enough to get up and go to work each day of this awful wait, I have the answer.  This will likely be the last update for at least a few weeks no matter what the outcome of this week’s test.  This is for two reasons.  First, if it is positive, there will be several appointments in the near future for blood work, etc. to validate a home pregnancy test and make sure the pregnancy is viable, not to mention a desire to celebrate a long anticipated success with my husband and our families first, who have been unwaveringly supportive through this whole experience.  Second, if it is negative, I will definitely need a ‘buffer time’ to grieve another lost month, a continuation of a seemingly never ending nightmare.  Those losing months are no fun and trust me, are best processed privately.

That being said, I’ve got a great feeling about all of this!  I’ve seen God’s reassurances here and there throughout this whole wait.  These have ranged from blatantly obvious to small things that I know were meant only for me to pick up on.  On Thursday of last week, we went to Little Rock to visit my brother and to go see one of our favorite bands, Mumford and Sons.  Between the opening act and when MandS took the stage, I got a very distinct wave of what was the strongest nausea I’ve ever experienced.  We’re talking push people out of the way, skip the drunk girls in line in the bathroom (hey, they’ll never notice) nauseated.  In all my two week waits and all my ‘symptoms’ over the last nearly two years, I have never once been nauseated.  Coincidence? Maybe.  We’ll know soon!

Thank ya’ll for your kind words, heartfelt prayers, and genuine investment in this crazy ride!  I look forward to returning to you in a few weeks with the greatest news, and hope that you’ll continue to follow our journey even if it means more medicines, treatments, and heartbreaks, because our story is important to us no matter how many chapters it contains.  Love ya’ll!

GM

And Now We Wait…

Sweet friends,

The deed is done! (Not that deed, that’s why we’re here, remember?)

On Tuesday of this week, we went for our day 12 follicle scan.  The ultrasound showed one honkin’ follicle (mature egg) on my right side, measuring at 24 mm.  It must be at least 18 mm to trigger.  The sonographer told us it was beautiful!  Since everything looked as it should, the nurse gave the trigger shot, and we were to report back Wednesday morning for the IUI.

That morning, phase 1 went off without a hitch.  We had an hour to kill before phase 2, so we walked to a gas station Subway and had a breakfast date in the Jeep.  When we went back, they called us right in, and I was so nervous/anxious (if you know me well, you know this is textbook Ginny) I thought I was going to be sick.  The nurse came in and shared with us all of the numbers pre and post ‘wash’ and again, they were outstanding.  Everything with Huey was perfect, and she said I looked perfect for where they expected I was in ovulation.

The procedure itself took around 5 minutes.  It was not very painful, mostly uncomfortable.  After waiting on the table for 15 minutes, explicit follow up directions, and a prescription for progesterone, we were out the door!  The progesterone is given as a precaution to help maintain a potential pregnancy until the placenta takes over, just in case there’s a chance for low natural production of progesterone, which would inhibit implantation.

From here forward, it’s just a waiting game.  We ‘TTCers’ (un)affectionately call this the two week wait.  Because the trigger shot contains HCG, the pregnancy hormone that home tests identify to determine a positive, we cannot test until the full two weeks is up.  I found myself already antsy today, which is not good considering I’m only 1 dpiui.  BUT, I think God knew I needed some reassurance.  Dr. Brezina called around 1:00 this afternoon to say again that on paper everything looked great, that he’d be thinking about us, and to wish us luck.  HE HEARS US!  We are so excited for what the next few weeks might bring, and we are bursting at the seams to share the story of how God has worked through our doctors  and in our hearts to help us realize a dream, no matter when it comes to fruition.  We will be zealous and humble witnesses of what God can do, even when the odds are stacked against you!

We pray for the skillful minds and loving hearts of all of those we work with at FAM, we are grateful for the relationships strengthened and created, we are humbled by the showing of love and support from our families and friends, and we revel in the opportunity to share our testimony of God’s grace in this, our wilderness experience.

With poise and patience,

GM

Treatment Time!

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Well ya’ll, it’s here!  Today marks the first step in our first treatment! How did we get to this point? Well if I were a better, more serious blogger instead of the procrastinating novice that I am, I’d have updated you after our last appointment.  Sooooo, here’s what you missed:

At our last appointment with our RE we got all of the results back from all the crazy tests we had run.  Good news! There’s nothing obviously wrong with us! (WHAT?) My SHG and HSG showed no blockages in my fallopian tubes or fibroids in my uterus, and confirmed mild PCOS.  My ovarian reserve (the number of eggs available in each ovary) is about 4 times what is normal (thanks to the PCOS) measuring more than thirty eggs on each side.  Houston’s SA came back through the roof (my man!), as the doctor’s say no less than 16 million per sample is ideal, and his was over 80 million.  (Yikes.)  Our blood work and carrier testing all came back great, meaning neither of us are carriers for any genetic disorders like Cystic Fibrosis, praise God.  Upon completion of this explanation, Dr. Brezina says, “Well guys it’s just as I’d expected, we’re dealing with unexplained infertility.  There isn’t anything apparently wrong, physiological or otherwise, with either one of you.  This is good news.”  HOLD ON.  You mean to say there is ‘nothing wrong’ with us and we still can’t get pregnant?  Obviously, our diagnosis begs more questions than it answers.

Our next question was now what? Answer:  IUI. What?  IUI stands for intrauterine insemination and is a roughly two week, very scientific and time sensitive process.  We were instructed to call the office on day 1 of my next cycle, so they could call in a prescription for another ovulation inducing medication.  Not Clomid, thank God.  (Remember previous post about the side effects of Clomid? Uh huh, and cue the hallelujah chorus)  This time it’s Femara.  So on cycle days 3-7, today through Thursday, I take one dose of 2.5 mg of Femara to prepare my eggs for ovulation.  On cycle day 12, I’ll go to the office for an ultrasound to check the growth of my follicles.  All that means is they’ll measure the largest eggs in each ovary, determine if one side looks dominant or more mature than the other, and judge when they think the mature egg or eggs will ovulate.  If they are at the appropriate size, then at that point, in office, we will trigger.  I know, I know, all these words and TTC lingo!  The act of ‘triggering’ simply refers to an injection of a medicine called Ovidrel which makes the body ovulate.  Then 1-2-3 the body ovulates in 24-36 hours from the time of the trigger.  We would then go back the next day, so March 30th, to have the actual procedure.  This day happens in two parts: First, a sample is collected from Houston, where it will be ‘washed’ to remove any debris, antibodies, or anything else that my body may be having any kind of reaction to preventing fertilization, and will be spun and concentrated. This part takes about an hour.  Next, the sample is injected directly into my uterus, passing by anything that may have been causing any ‘transportation’ issues.  Last, we wait!  We will monitor changes and symptoms as ‘days past IUI,’ for instance if I get crampy, it’ll be recorded as 5dpiui = cramps.  Acronyms, abbreviations, and medications, oh my!

The IUI procedure is going to cost around $800.  In the state of Tennessee, our medications are covered under our insurance, but the actual procedure is not, because it is ‘elective,’ like cosmetic surgery.  PLEASE. Only 15 states currently have a law requiring insurance coverage for fertility treatments.  Live in the other 35 and want to start a family? Too bad.  You’ll have to figure it out on your own.  All this to say:  This is not something we are going to be able to do several months in a row.  We will likely have to do a month, and if it doesn’t work, wait two or three more to save up money, and then try again.  Now as you can imagine, for someone who’s already waited almost 2 years, this doesn’t make me excited, but such is life.  Prayers up that we only have to do this ONCE because God works through our doctors and the first time’s the charm!

One final tidbit:  in talking with our doctor about the side effects of Clomid vs. the side effects of Femara (Femara is supposed to be much easier on your body) it came up that because it is very common to mature and ovulate more than one egg, there is a higher probability of multiples.  If you mature and ovulate 3 eggs and 1 takes, it will be a single pregnancy, but sometimes you mature and ovulate 3 eggs and 2 take, meaning TWINS! (granted everything goes as planned).  If we mature and ovulate any more than 3 the doctor will likely call to cancel the cycle and wait another month, so as to not put us at risk for the complications and difficulties that come with high multiples.  No John and Kate plus 8 here! (and definitley no ‘I’d like to speak to the manager haircut like Kate) Houston and I had always said, before we ever sought out any assistance, that we would be fine with twins, so the possibility makes us excited!

I’ll be sure to be more intentional in keeping ya’ll updated this month, as it’s a big deal this time around!  It’s happening ya’ll, let’s do this!  Baby Moss/Mosses we’re coming for you!

gm

 

The ‘God Talk’

I’ve debated since the beginning about how and when to write this particular post.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  It’d be emotional.  It’d make me vulnerable.  I told myself when I started this that I would be honest at all times.  Brutally honest.  Painfully honest.  Uncomfortably honest.  If anyone else going through this same kind of thing stumbles across this wondering what to expect, I don’t want them to know part of the truth, or most of it.  I don’t want to just prepare them for the rays of hope we’ve seen, the excitement of having answers and moving forward, and the like.  I want them to see the ugly parts.  The tears, the anger, and today, the struggle with my faith.  Yesterday, in the benediction, we were challenged to address the one thing standing in our way, the one thing keeping us from letting God take complete and total control, and to work toward letting it go.  This is my one thing.  I can’t let go of control because then who’s going to make sure we get back to the doctor, and who’s going to ask about that next test, and isn’t NOT taking control how we ended up going a year and a half without any answers anyway? Heads up, there’s heavy stuff coming.

The first time I remember acknowledging that I felt disappointed in God was right around the year mark.  That was a ‘big deal’ time.  Young, healthy couples were supposed to get pregnant within one year of actively trying.  We were young.  We were healthy.  It’d been a year.  We weren’t pregnant.  Hmmm.  As it so easily can when our faith is tested, doubt started to creep in.  Maybe I don’t deserve this, maybe He doesn’t think I can handle it, maybe we’re not ready, maybe we wouldn’t be good parents yet, etc.  All these things swirled around in the back of my mind like the static in the radio station that’s playing your favorite song but losing signal, and you just can’t make yourself change it.  It was always there, dull at first, like when your ears ring.  You’re still not pregnant.  You don’t deserve this.  Congratulations, I’m so happy for you! (forced smile) No, we don’t have any yet.  Yes we would like to.  Will we get to?  Another facebook picture with an ultrasound picture?  Yes, you’re so creative.  I was becoming bitter.

In September, Houston and I started helping out with the youth at our church.  Were we qualified? No way.  But we were eager to get more involved, and personally, I thought it would be another avenue to evaluate and repair my relationship with this God who didn’t think we deserved a baby.  (Presumptuous much?)  One Sunday night in late fall, we participated with our youth in an activity called prayer stations.  There were five stations set up throughout the sanctuary that contained a different activity or tool to help you focus your prayer, with instructions on how to focus your time.  As soon as the first station I realized that night would, for me, overwhelmingly be about our family.  At the ‘wind’ station,  I sat in the corner listening to the wind long enough to be sad and to cry, long enough to be apologetic for feeling sorry for myself, and finally, long enough to become angry.  Like white hot, searingly angry.  Our time at that station was not up, so I began to write.  I still remember exactly what it said.  I wrote a letter to God asking him why I was not good enough, why He didn’t see us fit to be parents, why, if He were so good and so gracious that he would let our sadness and barrenness continue.  I told Him I was angry with Him.  I told Him I was doubting His goodness, His faithfulness, His love.  I screamed my words at Him as my pen flew across the page, racing from one line to the next.  (I’m crying now just reliving it)  I could feel my blood boiling.  I could taste the bite in my words.  My hand hurt from squeezing my pen, my weapon I so carelessly wielded against the only hope I ever had for becoming a mother.  I tore out that page, embarrassed for anyone else see it, and put it in my pocket.  At the end of the night, one of our youth stopped me before we left and said she needed to show something to me.  She pulled out her phone and opened her instagram.  She pulled up a direct message that she’d sent in October, but I never saw.  Here is what it said:


Talk about a humbling experience.  A teenage girl, with everything in this world going for her (she was smart, kind, had a great family, tons of friends), who I had no real personal relationship with until that day, remembered that one day, six months ago in small groups, I wrote that I was struggling with God’s timing.  No explanation was given, we hadn’t openly made it known that we had so desperately been trying to start our family.  She didn’t know that I felt inadequate, like less of a woman, even less than a human because we couldn’t.  She hugged my neck, and I cried as she told me that she didn’t know exactly what to pray for, but that she had prayed for me every day since, and would continue to as long as we needed it.  I was ashamed.  Not twenty minutes before I was in a very one-sided shouting match with God, accusing Him of abandoning me when I thought I needed Him the most.  He hadn’t abandoned me.  He sent this girl to me.  This beautiful, mature, compassionate youth was God’s response to my anger with Him.  We were not in this alone.  Even though she didn’t know our story, and may not still unless she’s picked up on the blog, she knew I was looking for something.  For an answer.  For a reason.  For a sign.  She was it.  She didn’t know that.

God’s funny that way.  I can say that day was hands down the darkest day in my faith.  That day haunts me still.  Every time I feel that doubt and that jealousy and that anger creeping in, I can feel the words I wrote and they still burn with anger but they don’t hurt as much.  I’ve got a long, LONG way to go to become who I need to be and to feel like I have repaired the damage I did to myself and my relationship with Him that night.  It’s still hard.  It still hurts.  And every so often, when I see another ultrasound picture, a cheesy pregnancy announcement (that secretly I wish were ours), or the news of someone’s third or fourth child (fertile showoffs) it comes sneaking in like the static. But so does the love.  The love of the girl who changed me without even realizing it.  The love of a God who is growing my patience and my faith and my trust.  As the pain and anger subsides, the resolve seeps in.  I will be a mother one day.  I can just feel it.  Amidst the angry words, and the spiteful prayers, and the accusations of abandonment, I remember that I am on this journey for a reason.  I am not on it alone.  I am being refined.  I am being taught to be patient.  I am being tested.  I am being molded for something great.  I am going to be okay.  I am the child of a God who loves me unconditionally, in spite of my raging anger, my human jealousy, and my incessant need to question why He chose this path for me.

Recently, a sweet friend gave me a book called Pregnant With Hope.  If you find yourself in my position, I highly recommend reading this.  It’s made me think, made me laugh, made me cry, and given me comfort when nothing else has.  I’m learning to be patient.  It’s a process.  I’m learning to share. To be an over-sharer.  To be honest, even if it means exposing some of my many faults.  You may not get anything out of this, and that’s fine, it won’t hurt my feelings one bit.  But if you did, I’d encourage you to explore whatever that is.  Sit down and tell someone about it.  You never know who’s listening to you or supporting you or looking up to you without you even realizing it.