Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Little Trooper

Can I just say that the last few weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster. The wait to see our doctor this morning felt like it would never come. As Chris & I waited for our turn with Dr. T this morning we were trying to prepare ourselves for the worst. I had a lot of bleeding over the last few weeks, so much so that we were having a very hard time holding hope that the baby was okay. Dr. T came in to perform the ultrasound. I’ve heard other women say that they find themselves holding their breath until the doctor finds their baby’s heart beat, I must admit I didn’t feel much hope to hold mine. When he said “Look, there’s the heart beat!” I’m pretty sure Chris jumped out of his chair and planted his face in front of the screen to see with his own eyes. I was stunned. All I could do was stare at our little fighter in the monitor and thank God for yet another miracle! After he let us listen to our little one’s heart beat he turned our attention towards the large dark blob sitting just below the baby, about three times the size. Our doctor called it a large clot in the uterus. This is the cause of all my bleeding. Dr. T told us he wants us to see a specialist since it appears this hasn’t and won’t be a straight forward pregnancy. Chris & I felt relieved to know we were being referred to see someone who could give us more answers. Dr. T sent us right away to have an ultrasound done at the hospital since their machines produce clearer images. The ultrasound tech at the hospital told me the clot in my uterus is more commonly called a subchorionic hematoma. She said she’s seen this before in other pregnancies but that the size of my hematoma was quite large. She showed me the baby’s heart beat, it was amazing to say the least! At this point we’re waiting to hear from Dr. T to let us know when we can see the specialist. As my dad prayed for his grandbaby over the phone earlier today he reminded me of Isaiah 55:8

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Devotional Reading

The following is from my favorite daily devotional by Amy Carmichael.

2 Tim. 1:12 For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

We commit: He undertakes. And what He undertakes He carries through. We may have to wait to see the fulfillment of our hope. We may be disappointed again and again. But Love will find the way to fulfill the promise of love. 2 Tim. 1:12 is a glorious word, and so is Hebrews 10:35: Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.

O God of Hope, how green Thy trees,
How calm each several star;
Renew us, make us fresh like these,
Calm as they are.
O what can dim his hope who sees
Though faintly and afar,
The power that kindles green in trees
And light in star?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

God IS Able!

Monday morning our doctor’s office called to give us the results from the last two blood tests. They said my hormone levels were too close to know for sure whether or not we’d miscarried, so they wanted me to go in for a third blood test right away so they could get it back before the end of the day. I think Chris & I both rolled our eyes and said something like “go figure”. How did we know the answer wouldn’t come that easy?! Even though this was just a few days ago I can’t remember what we did that day, all I know is that I felt surrounded by God’s peace. We got a call from the doctor’s office late that afternoon... the results were in. Chris & I both picked up a phone to hear the news... on Saturday my levels were over 17,000 and the blood work from that morning was over 23,000... they were pretty sure I was still pregnant! Chris & I were stunned. We were both just staring at each other while holding the phones to our ears. We both knew right away this was another miracle! I had been praying God would find favor on our little one, I felt God’s favor for sure! What a roller coaster of emotions! All I remember after that was being on the phone for what seemed like hours, letting as many people know as I could that the baby was still with us and that God answers prayer! Our doctor said I was to remain on bed rest indefinitely. Because of the peace and assurance I had this day and the day before while grieving with Chris, it was a lot easier for me to pray and ask for God’s will to be done concerning our little one that night when I went to bed. I KNOW that no matter what happens to our baby that God is able, He will take care of us! I just want to enjoy every day I have with our little one and to count each day a blessing!

Psalm 139:7-12

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

After The ER

Two days after being in the ER Chris took me in to get my second blood test done. We knew we wouldn’t hear anything for another two days since it was the weekend and our doctor wouldn’t be in his office again until Monday. Our hopes were high since I hadn’t had any new bleeding since being in the ER, we thought that was a good sign. Chris dropped me off at home after I had my blood taken, then headed out to Vancouver for a wedding he was in that afternoon/evening. Late that morning I started bleeding heavily again. This time it was heavier then it had been the first time. My heart started to sink in fear and disappointment. To the best of my knowledge all signs pointed towards a miscarriage. Chris called to check on me but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him anything, I just wanted him to focus on the wedding and try and have a good time. That evening my sister-in-law, Lynia, brought me dinner. It was nice to have some company and to talk out loud about things. While talking with Lynia God opened my eyes to see that no matter what happens I still know that my God is faithful, His promises to me haven’t changed, He hasn’t changed! Later that night Chris called again to check in on me, I had been crying so I figured I couldn’t keep it from him any longer. I told him I was pretty sure the baby was gone this time, I was still bleeding heavily and cramping on and off.

The next day was Sunday. We both woke up in a sort of melancholy state. Chris asked me if I wanted to go for a drive. I was relived to get out of the house. We started driving and ended up headed in our favorite direction, south! We crossed the border into the state of Washington, stopped to get a sweet tea from MacDonald’s, and drove down the Chuckanut Drive along the Washing bay. It was a beautiful sunny day. The water sparkled like thousands of diamonds were floating on top. We saw a rock set away from the road overlooking the water so we parked the car and found our way to it, the view was breathtaking! We felt the grieving had already began, we just sat there in silence and let it run its course. The tears came so easily. In time we talked about how grateful we were that God allowed us a taste of the joy in experiencing pregnancy, no matter how long or short it was. We were so glad we got to experience what it feels like to find out your expecting, the whole rang of feelings and emotions you experience, the silly smile you can’t wipe off your face... we were also glad that we’d gotten to share the news with our families. We’ll never forget their faces and how they reacted! There was such a peace we experienced! I knew in my heart that we would be okay, God was still with us. I told Chris that I counted every day we had with our baby a blessing and a gift! Since finding out I have an abnormally shaped uterus I had prayed that God would not allow me to get pregnant unless I could carry that baby to full term. But sitting on that rock with Chris, feeling in my heart that the baby was gone, I realized I wouldn’t pray that same prayer again. I would never want to miss out on one day with my baby, no matter how long or short I carried him/her. I felt so completely thankful and humbled to have known such a priceless gift! Of course the thought of miscarrying scares me to death... but I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day (2 Timothy 1:12). I just kept feeling His loving, everlasting arms around us. And I knew that He promised to never leave us, so our precious little one never left his/her Father’s arms! What a comforter He is! All I know is that Jesus was with us there on that rock, enabling us to trust Him and to put our hope in Him. There was no strength in Chris & Amy, they were spent and weak. It was all Jesus in us! He opened our eyes to see His love for us and we basked in Him, what an amazing time! We moved on to talk about what to do, where to go from here. We both agreed that God opening my womb was our answer regarding whether or not to pursue in vitro, we would put that on the back burner for now and hope He’d bless us again with another pregnancy soon. We praise Him for His marvellous and miraculous works on our behalf! We talked about what we might like to do to bring the final closure we felt we needed in saying goodbye to our sweet baby. Then we talked about the possibility of pursuing adoption, maybe this was the time? We wanted to be open and to pray about it. I left there feeling like I’d been loved on by my Savoir. I felt so at rest and secure in His arms. Even though my heart grieved for my baby, I had His word that His plans for Chris & I is to prosper us, not to harm us, He has plans for us that give us hope and a future (Jer. 29:11)!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Over Nine Hours At The ER

About a week ago I was at work when I started bleeding heavily. I rushed home as fast as I could. All I could pray was “God, please be with us”. I was so scared. Chris was away that day hiking with one of his brothers and two of his cousins. Chris’ cousins (Dwilah, Dorothy and Denise) had come to spend a few nights with us so they could do some much anticipated hiking in the area. Fortunately for me Dorothy had stayed home that day since she wasn’t feeling well. When I got home I told Dorothy I was pretty sure I was miscarrying. Chris & I had only told the girls the night before that we were expecting. I told her I didn’t know what to do. I got in bed and phoned my doctor’s office, they were closed for lunch. I called home, dad answered. I just started crying when I heard his voice, he prayed with me which made me feel better. Dorothy was such a huge comfort to me, she kneeled by my bed and prayed with me while we waited for my doctor’s office to reopen after lunch. My doctor’s office recommended I go to the emergency room. Dorothy and I sat in the ER waiting room from 2 – 4pm. Around 4pm they moved me into a private room in triage. Shortly after I was changed into a hospital gown and situated, Dorothy got a call from Chris, they were finished hiking and on their way home. Dorothy put me on the phone with Chris so I could fill him in on where I was and what I was afraid had happened to the baby. Chris arrived at the hospital within twenty minutes of our phone call. While waiting to see the ER doctor Chris & I spent the next few hours alone in the triage room talking and praying, but mostly crying. Several nurses came to check on me and take my vitals. The ER doctor finally came in sometime after 8pm. By this time my bleeding had stopped for the time being. The doctor was very kind and did everything he could to help us find out what was going on. He ordered some blood tests to find out my hormone levels and my blood type. He told us that unfortunately he couldn’t tell us for sure whether or not we’d miscarried, we’d have to wait for another couple days, go get more blood work done so that they could compare my hormone levels to see if they were going up or down. If they were continuing to rise that would be a good indication that the baby was still growing, but if they were going down then it meant I’d miscarried. In the meantime the doctor said I needed to be on strict bed rest. They let me change back into my own clothes and moved me to a comfy reclining chair where they did the blood work. Several hours later the doctor came back with my results, he reminded me that we’d have to get more blood work done in a couple days to know for sure if I’d miscarried or not, then told me my blood type is RH1 negative. He went on to explain why my blood type was a concern, most of which I didn’t fully understand. Just that if I was pregnant with a baby who had a positive blood type this wasn’t good and that I’d need what he called a RhoGam shot. He told me I’d have to get this shot with every future pregnancy. After I got the RhoGam shot and the paper work for more blood work in two days they told me I was free to go. By the time we got home it was almost midnight, it had been a very long day for sure. Chris & I were physically and emotionally exhausted. One minute we thought for sure the baby was gone and the next there was a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe the baby was okay. Over all we knew God was with us and promised to never leave us. We continued to pray God would help us to put our hope and trust in Him.

Amy's Birthday 2009

Our day started out with Chris & I dropping our SUV off at a shop because the brakes had locked on me the day before. I was anxious about how long it would take them to fix it seeing as Chris & I had planned a special weekend away to Seattle for my birthday. Chris had a bachelor party to attend that night, so he left early afternoon for the party/Mariners’ game. We’d arranged for me to pick him up near the ball field later that night after the game. Since the SUV was in the shop I was driving Chris’ truck to work…. It doesn’t have air conditioning so I wasn’t in a very good mood. I had a acupuncture appointment with my naturopathic doctor, Dr. L over my lunch break. Dr. L had been helping me with my infertility issues for several months through acupuncture and natural supplements. I was REALLY dreading having to drive over an hour round trip for my appointment in a truck with no air. Just before I left the office for my appointment Chris called to let me know the SUV wasn’t going to be ready by the time I left for Seattle that afternoon. The good news was that I wouldn’t have to take the truck, Chris’ mom was coming to drop off her minivan for me to take. I was beginning to feel like this was a pretty crappie birthday. By the time I got to Dr. L’s office I wanted the day to be over. I brought my BBT (basil body temperature) chart for her to look at just like I do every appointment. I pointed out to her on my chart that my temperature had been really high for the last week+, I also informed her I’d only had one day of spotting around the time I should have started my cycle, but tried my hardest to explain to her my work had been pretty stressful lately and that I wasn’t feeling any pregnancy symptoms. She told me she didn’t want to get my hopes up high, her and I both knew how many negative pregnancy tests I’d taken, but that she couldn’t do acupuncture on me in case I was pregnant. She asked me if I’d taken a pregnancy test, no, I had not. I’d sworn to myself a long time ago that I’d never take another one again. She looked around to see if she had any pregnancy tests in the office but couldn’t find any so sent me out to buy one and bring it back to her office. On my way to the store and as I was paying for the test I was feeling angry and thinking to myself “I can’t believe I’m buying another freaking pregnancy test”. Once I got back to Dr. L’s office I went to wait in her office while she did the test. As I sat there I was trying so hard to keep my hopes down, to prepare myself for another disappointment. Dr. L was gone less then two minutes, when she opened the door she had tears in her eyes and she said “You’re pregnant!!!”….. I burst into sobs and couldn’t say anything for a long time. It was the most amazing feeling, Dr. L and I just sat there crying together. In shock and disbelief I finally managed to ask “I’m really pregnant?”. It dawned on me at that moment that it was my birthday, I found out I’m pregnant on my birthday!!!! As I drove back to work I was still in shock, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. Chris & I had been pleading with God to bless us in this way, but all of a sudden I felt totally and completely unworthy to carry such a precious gift. The rest of the day at work felt so surreal, it was hard to contain myself. I couldn’t wait to tell Chris!

After checking into our hotel I went to pick up Chris in downtown Seattle. I was so nervous, excited, anxious…. I just couldn’t wait to tell him! Once we got back to our hotel I told Chris I had a present for him, his gift was sitting on the bed, wrapped in some tissue paper. I had found a really cute giraffe at Target on my way to Seattle. I had tied the pregnancy test around the giraffe’s neck. As he unwrapped the gift I watched his face, he stared at the giraffe for a long time, obviously in shock. I started to cry and mumbled “I’m pregnant”. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said “really?”, all I could do was nod my head. We sat there for what felt like a really long time, not saying anything, just crying in disbelief that this was REALLY happening to US!

The same day we found out that we’re expecting we received a call from the in vitro clinic to schedule our first appointment… Can you believe God’s timing?! In some ways I’d say we’re still in a state of shock and disbelief! We praise God for this incredible miracle He’s bestowed upon us! We are so unworthy to receive such a precious and priceless gift. We thank Him for His mighty works on our behalf! Wow!! God answers prayer!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was to tell our families our incredible news! Everyone was so surprised! There were lots of joyful tears!

A Little History....

Fall 2007

About two years ago Chris & I started trying to conceive, we thought it'd be so cool if we could surprise our families at Christmas with the exciting news! When I wasn't pregnant by Christmas I was disappointed initially, but Chris & I were optimistic, maybe it'd happen early in the coming year! By early summer we had a feeling something wasn't quite right. All through my teenage years I had a very irregular cycle, in my early twenties I saw a well known OBGYN in Texas who told me she was concerned my irregular cycles were keeping me from ovulating. Hearing that concerned me a little but I tried not to think much of it at the time. So, when we still weren't pregnant after trying for eight months my fears were mounting quickly. There were a couple months when our hopes would sore, I'd make an appointment to see our family doctor, she'd have me take a pregnancy test.... negative. "But how can it be negative when I'm so late?" I'd ask. "Don't all the logical signs point to pregnancy?". On my second visit like this my doctor told me she felt something wasn't right and that she wanted to refer me to a fertility specialist. I was surprised that she wasn't going to make us wait until we'd been trying for a year, but felt thankful and fortunate as my worst fears of being "infertile" were feeling more and more real to me. Chris & I felt the Lord opening the doors for us to see a specialist. On one hand we felt at peace and on the other hand anxious to get answers.

Summer 2008

Chris & I spent the next few months going through all sorts of tests required by the fertility doctor. We finally got to sit down with Dr. T in July, we were hungry for answers. Dr. T told us the problem was with me, I wasn't ovulating. That wasn't a huge surprise to us, we'd had our suspicions. What we weren't prepared for was to hear that I also have a bicornuate uterus, commonly referred to as a "heart-shaped" uterus, it’s a type of a uterine malformation where two "horns" form at the upper part of the uterus. Neither Chris nor I had ever heard of this so we asked what this mean, Dr. T told us it doesn't cause infertility, it can make it difficult to carry a baby to full term if we get pregnant. Dr. T assured us he could help me to ovulate with the help of medication and close monitoring.

Fall 2008

In late August my brothers and parents visited us for a little over a week. One night during their visit I was telling mom and dad about the specific things I was struggling with... anger towards God, resentment, asking God "why us?", fear that Chris & I would never know or experience having biological children, fear that I'd never get to live my dream of becoming a mother, the dream of carrying my own child.... my feelings and emotions were never ending and all over the place. After pouring it all out through my tears, I'll never forget my dad asking me: "Amy, is your hope in Him?". To this day I'm discovering, learning and seeking what this looks like.... my desire to put my hope in Him has grown from my infertility to other areas of my life as well. What I discovered after thinking about dad's question was that my hope wasn't in Him at all. I knew that God would have to do something radical on this journey to change me even in the smallest way. We tried our first round of meds and scans in late September. We felt very excited, optimistic (Chris more then I, by nature :o), and fearful.

Winter 2008

Again, Chris & I had high hopes and dreams that maybe this Christmas would be the great surprise we'd hoped for the year before.... but it didn't. Each month we would take meds to make my body produce mature eggs, then we'd take a booster shot to ensure those eggs kept growing, then our fertility doctor would do a scan to look at and measure my eggs, if they were at the size he wanted them to be he'd give me a shot to take home and give myself the next day to make my body ovulate. After trying this procedure three times unsuccessfully our doctor told us the next step was IUI (artificial insemination). We did IUI in February, March and April of 2009, all were unsuccessful.

Spring 2009

We were totally caught off guard when we heard Dr. T tell us "You're only option left is IVF (in vitro fertilization)". I remember leaving his office that day in tears, it wasn't the first time, but I was terrified of IVF. I was terrified of IVF not working. What if we tried IVF and it was unsuccessful, then what? The grieving process of laying down these hopes and dreams forever scared me to death. Chris & I spent some time in prayer, asking God to give us guidance and direction in this next step.

Summer 2009

For the next four months Chris & I spent a lot of time researching IVF. It is amazing to us the number of people God started to "randomly" put in our path, some who had been successful with IVF, and others who were unsuccessful. We lost count of how many gracious people invited Chris & I into their homes to share with us their story of infertility, all the medical treatments they'd endured, the varying lengths that they felt God leading them to go through, their highs and lows, their joys and sorrows, a lot of them had AMAZING adoption stories to encourage us with! Each of these couple’s, and their children's faces are etched in my memory forever. The bond we share as fellow travelers on the road of infertility runs deep, and the support and encouragement they give us leaves me speechless. Chris & I desired more then anything to please God in the decision making process of whether or not we felt Him leading us to IVF. We felt we had three options: (1. IVF, (2. Adoption or (3. Take no action/Wait. We prayed for God to lead us to people He wanted us to talk with, whether they were for or against IVF. This process was very difficult for us both as we felt very torn between putting our hope and trust in God and desperately wanting to do whatever we had to do to become parents. This scared me. I can't tell you how many times I asked God to give Chris extra wisdom through this process because I feared my feelings and emotions would get in the way of making the right choice. We didn’t feel pressured for time but felt anxious to start the IVF process if this indeed was God’s plan for us. I was lacking one very time sensitive test before we would be contacted by the fertility clinic. In July we’d hoped to get the test done and out of the way but the day I needed to get the test done we were going to be vacationing in California with my family. We were frustrated but had to keep trusting that God was in control.


When Chris & I were engaged we talked about how many kids we’d like to have some day, we always thought it’d be fun to have a large family! In our dream world we would count it an honor and a tremendous blessing to be parents to both biological and adopted children. God really has confirmed this desire to us as we’ve walked this road through infertility. In February of 2009 we attended a one day seminar given by a local Christian adoption agency. It was an amazing day full of information that only confirmed in our hearts that this is totally for us some day! We aren’t pursuing anything at this time as we haven’t felt God opening the doors quite yet. We anxiously await God’s perfect timing!

What God’s Teaching Us

I could go on and on under this heading in regards to our infertility. It has felt like forever ago since Chris & I started trying to conceive, but when I compare our wait to others I know who are or have been through infertility, our road has been very short. Chris & I have learned so much about each other through this journey. God has used this time to change us, praise God! He has richly blessed us with dear friends whom we have the honor of walking with hand in hand through this valley, and we have seen God repeatedly answer prayer, time and time again! Chris & I have experienced God’s compassion in our pain. God is teaching us to empathies and be more compassionate to others in pain. He has opened us up to be more honest with others when sharing about our infertility, He has richly blessed in this area! We have learned more about prayer. Speaking for myself, I’ve come to know, that I know, that I know, that He is faithful. I didn’t know this for myself before now, I think it was more head knowledge then heart knowledge. It look a long time for me to learn this, I think it’s only been in the last six+ months that I’ve come to rest in this truth. God is faithful, it is his nature, it is outside of His being to be anything but faithful to us! If there were one verse that Chris & I could share with you, that has kept us going when we couldn’t go one step further, it would be:

Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This verse has gotten us through each day, one day at a time. We cling to this verse. We remind God constantly of His promises to us in this verse, it has become our life verse! We KNOW He has a plan for us. His word stands firm!