Our Journey to Becoming Parents

Journey to becoming parents

The journey of starting a family started for us back in mid 2010. It has always been a deep desire for us to have children for many different reasons. My childhood was very difficult, marred by extreme physical and emotional abuse to myself, my brothers, and my mother. I watched people that I was suppose to respect and look up to, take advantage of others and hurt people without remorse. So to me, having children means continuing a new legacy of people (that started with my brothers and I) that I hope will affect positive change in this world. To Jason, having children means being able to be a present father to his kids, which is something he didn’t experience as his father passed when he was 8 years old. And to us, it means laughter, joy, and little footsteps filling an empty house.

After trying to start a family for almost 2 years, we went to the doctor to see what the issue was. It was then that I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). At that moment, a lot of things began to make sense due to the physiological issues I’d been experiencing. PCOS is an endocrine (hormonal) disorder that currently has no cure. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Lack of ovulation
  • Infertility
  • Male patterned baldness or thinning hair
  • Abnormal hair growth in places like the chin, chest, back
  • Weight gain or obesity; typically around the waist
  • Patches of darkened skin on different places of the body

After finding out about this syndrome, I worked as hard as I could to lose the stubborn weight to hopefully get my body back into gear. I also began taking the daily medication prescribed by my doctor to try and balance my hormones.

In making the necessary dietary changes for my body’s needs due to the syndrome, I finally began losing weight. Then on my 27th birthday, August 14, 2013, I found out that I was pregnant. Jason and I were so excited and nervous all at the same time. All of the hard work and dedication seemed to be paying off. Shortly after, I was in severe pain on the right side. We then found out that our pregnancy was tubal. We were devastated. The doctors were fearful that my tube would rupture because of the amount of bleeding and the pain I was in, so on September 5th, they dissolved my pregnancy with double shots of methatrexate.

We were devastated. I was so afraid that this was my only chance because of how difficult it was for us to get pregnant at all. Part of the difficulty in ‘resolving’ a pregnancy is the waiting. For weeks, I had to wait for the pregnancy hormones in my body to return to zero. My body would still think it was pregnant although there was no one there.

Shortly after, I found out that I was pregnant again on December 5th. I was ecstatic and shocked because I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was also very scared. Any little feeling felt like something was wrong. I started bleeding again but I wasn’t in any pain so the doctors just told me that bleeding can be normal and not to worry. Because I have PCOS, they have difficulty pinpointing when I ovulate so they weren’t sure exactly how far along I was, but based upon my numbers, I was at about the 7 week mark.I was so excited to get through to the second trimester so I could let myself enjoy being pregnant. But instead, the doctor told me that I am miscarrying because my hCG began to drop. Everything sank inside of me. I went on to do a D&C and methatrexate on January 17 of 2014.

I tried to resume life normally, but it proved to be very difficult. The reminder of my losses ached inside of me every time I saw a baby or a pregnant women. It became difficult to leave my house because I just couldn’t get away from the sad and painful reminder. Every day that went by, I would think “I would be X amount of weeks today.”

After this pregnancy loss, we ended up getting our dog, Milo. It was difficult to rectify my life not changing in any way, as one would expect when they are expecting. He was a great addition to our silent home and our empty hearts.

Shortly after having the second pregnancy loss, we began to see a new doctor that was 2 hours away from us because of insurance logistics and what was available to us. They did an exam to make sure my tubes were open. We then found out that my left tube is blocked and my right tube was seemingly open. We left the office that day with an answer and some hope because it only takes one tube.

On April 26, 2014, after taking oral fertility medication with our new doctor in Knoxville, we found out that we were pregnant again. We were shocked and excited. I called our nurse and she was shocked too because we had gotten such a strong positive. When we went in for our first ultrasound, the doctor informed us that the pregnancy was growing but it was in my right tube. I hear a small sniffle behind me. When I looked back, Jason began to sob. The doctor and nurse gave us some privacy and we sat in the room and cried together.

This last pregnancy resolved itself. The doctor explained that he may want to do exploratory surgery. Our other option is in vitro Fertilization (IVF) which is a costly procedure that bypasses the tubes by eggs being removed directly from the ovary, fertilized outside of the womb, and implanted in the uterus. Statistically speaking, after 2-3 ectopic pregnancies, doctors say that women have between a 50-90% chance of having another one.

At this point, the emotional and physical difficulties of trying for 3 1/2 years and experiencing recurring pregnancy loss and the resolution of them  is very taxing on us in every way. We’ve incurred medical bills for babies that we haven’t been able to take home and broken hearts from our hopes being deferred.

We are so grateful to the Golden’s for their generosity in fundraising for us to be able to do the IVF procedure. To us, IVF means a home filled with the joy of new life; it means beautiful memories and new family traditions; it means the restoration and continuation of our legacy.

Friends, family, and even strangers have been so kind in asking how they can help and what they can do. Only because we’ve been asked, we would humbly ask that you consider donating to the fundraiser set up by our dear friends, Kara and Andy. For information, you can visit the You Caring page HERE.

Advertisements

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day

Today, I think of the glimmer of life that could have change mine and my husbands for ever. I remember the joy that I felt when I dreamed of one day holding you in my arms. Although I am hoping that these painful moments will occur further apart, I will never forget the spark of joy that I felt in the thought of you alone.

Today, I pray for all of the families that have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. There aren’t any elaborate words or advice that can be given to appease the broken heart of a parent or expectant parent. But, I offer prayers of comfort and I hope that beautiful memories in the good moments will dawn on the difficult ones.

xo

PCOS Symposium Recap

pcos-awareness-month-symposium-2013

I attended the free PCOS Symposium in Atlanta, GA this past Saturday. This particular event was put on by PCOS Challenge. The specialists that were presenting were very knowledgable about PCOS and how it affects our physiology, mental and emotional state, and our relationships with both people and food. The event kicked off with Sasha Ottey presenting a portion of her story with PCOS and how she (as many of us have been told) needs to take some birth control pills and lose weight and she’ll be fixed. This, unfortunately, is not the answer to this syndrome.

PCOS Symposium 5 of 5

Through Google Hangout, Gretchen Kubocky, Psy.D. gave some insight into the mind of what many PCOSers and those dealing with infertility are struggling with. She informed us that women with PCOS have a propensity toward depression, anxiety, and suicide. She did, however, balance this information with steps that can be taken to help alleviate many of these issues. Self- care. Self- care is extremely important because you have to be able to do what is necessary to lead yourself toward more positivity. Some of the things she suggested were doing things that made you feel better about yourself; whether that mean diet and exercise, wearing things that make you feel attractive, or seeking professional counseling if necessary.

Rachel Brandeis, R.D. gave a lot of information regarding diet and nutrition specific to the PCOS population. She gave a well rounded presentation of the plan of attack for managing PCOS. She calls it the ‘3 Stool Approach.’ Like a 3 legged stool, if one method is missing, it will break down. The methods (nutrition, medical management, and exercise) all work in conjunction with one another. She also gave many helpful tips as to what out daily consumption of food should be to manage our condition.

Last but certainly not least was Dr. Mark Perloe from Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta, GA. He explained the importance of lifestyle with regards to the development of PCOS. So, in order to have the best chances at conception, it’s a good idea to begin to diet, exercise, and take any prescribed medications consistently in order to set the foundation for a healthy pregnancy.

Overall, the symposium put on by PCOS Challenge was very well rounded. They gave information pertaining to diet and nutrition, exercise, fertility, mental health, and self-care. It ended with an extensive question and answer session. There were tons of questions asked by some newly diagnosed PCOSers. I thought this was pretty awesome because it gave them some powerful tools to attack their diagnosis with from the very beginning.

PCOS Symposium 1 of 5
There is ALWAYS time for a selfie. =)

 

PCOS Symposium 2 of 5

PCOS Symposium 3 of 5

PCOS Symposium 4 of 5

Footprints On My Heart

Baby Footprints Heart

Sigh…here it goes. I’ve been dreading this post for a few weeks now. Posting this now isn’t my attempt at trying to get this over with, but it’s me trying to heal as the days pass and I continue to both remember and be reminded.

As I sit here typing this post, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I should be sitting here pregnant. Right now, I should be about 9 weeks and 6 days pregnant with my first baby. Tomorrow would have been 10 days. Although I’ve been able to reintegrate into life after loss, I can’t help but feel like every day that passes is a reminder of how far I would have been.

On August 11, 2013, I had a thought. I said to myself, “Self, I think you are pregnant. Take a test.” So Myself said, “Ok,” and took a pregnancy test. After taking the test, I looked at it in the way that many women look at them…in every possible lighting and angle there is to look at it. I thought I saw a line but I wasn’t completely sure so I asked Jay and he said he thinks he saw one but he isn’t sure either. So after a few days passed, I took a First Response test at about 8 a.m. while we were away on vacation. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to put the test down before I saw the brightest positive on the side of Tennessee. My mouth dropped, my heart fluttered, and I was hungry. Cravings, blissful soreness, nausea, and sleep overcame me over the next few days. Those were some of the best days I’ve had. I remember throwing up and feeling a sense of joy overcome me for the reason of my regurgitation.

Shortly after we returned from our vacation, things started going south. I was bleeding, some of my symptoms began to disappear, and I was very afraid. Every day that passed felt like time itself tripled in length. I communicated with doctors who couldn’t tell me very much because it was so early on in my pregnancy. I had my HCG tested every other day and it seemed to be doing a tormenting dance, going up and then dropping. When I tried to make peace with a miscarriage, it went up again. The doctor concluded that my pregnancy is ectopic and they were worried because those can be very dangerous.

On September 5th at 1:30 p.m., I showed up at the doctors office distressed, tired, and defeated. I was 30 minutes late because I couldn’t make myself get off of the couch knowing that I was going to terminate my pregnancy. For 45 minutes, they tried to inject me and for 45 minutes, I cried.

I didn’t want that moment to be my last memory of my pregnancy so I purchased a little chest to place everything from that pocket of time (as Kara would say) to remind myself of God’s blessing of my pregnancy, that it really happened, and so I will never forget. Today, I still cry. I cry because I am sad. I am frustrated and heart broken. I cry when I think about how my little silver chest holds all of the hopes and dreams that my husband and I had for this life, for us as a family, and the future of what would have been our baby.

Though my heart is broken, I will continue to move forward because it is the only choice I have.