The Birth of Emerson Rose

Near the end of my pregnancy I loved reading birth stories to get myself prepared and geared up for the day my little one would be comin’ round the mountain. I only read the positive ones, I didn’t want to go into the birth with any negative or scary images floating around in my mind. Now here I am, with our now two month old daughter resting like an angel in her rock n play, and I want to take a little time and tell my story while the details are still fresh. It’s a positve one incase you’re like me and avoiding reading anything too rough, but it definitely is not a perfect one (do those even exist?). It was a long labor so it’s only fitting that this would be a long story.

My due date was June 28th, so on Monday the 27th I had a late afternoon appointment with my OB to see how things were looking. My hubby had the day off because he started his two week paternity leave hoping and praying that little Miss wouldn’t be too far off from her expected arrival date. We went out to breakfast at our favorite spot and spent most of the day bumming around, finishing up packing our hospital bags, cleaning, making sure the guest room was ready for my sister who would be watching our dogs, etc. I was having regular Braxton Hicks for about a week, but nothing too strong, so I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get any exciting news at the appointment. I was so sure, we even went and rented some movies at the Redbox to watch that night. I got to see my favorite PA because my regular MD was at the hospital. They took my blood pressure and we were all surprised to find that it was elevated. When she checked my cervix I was at a 2 and still about 50 percent effaced from the week before. Because of my blood pressure, and because I was due the next day, she made the call to send me to triage just to be safe. I asked if we needed to grab our bags on the way, still really not letting it sink in that this could be it, and her response was basically “uh…duh”, haha.

Praise the Lord our bags were packed and ready, it took us about 30 minutes to grab our stuff, make some calls, and get down to the hospital. The triage area was quiet and it seemed like we were the only ones there (come to find out they were all upstairs having babies!). They had me change into a gown and a nurse started the basic tests including my blood pressure, which was even higher than before, probably partly due to my excitement and anxiety. My OB came in and did another cervical check because the notes hadn’t come over yet from my earlier office visit, and she discovered that I was now at a 4! She stripped my membranes and told me I was going to be admitted and that they were going to induce me right away because she was worried about my blood pressure being so high. Dread immediately washed over me at the word “induce”. This was the last thing I wanted, but I knew the health risks with preeclampsia would only get greater the longer the labor went on.

The nurse walked us up to labor and delivery, it was around 6:30pm at this point. When we got to our room I asked if I could change into the gown I brought, I didn’t want to wear the scratchy awkward hospital one. I was starting to feel cramps from the membrane stripping and there was some spotting as I gradually lost my mucus plug, so I knew things were progressing. I was not prepared for the onslaught of IV tubes and monitors that would soon be attached to me for the remainder of my time in L&D. They started a fluid drip, attached external heart rate monitors to my belly, and then came the pitocin drip. There was a nurse shift change around 7:30 pm and that’s probably around the time I started to feel my first contractions. There was a monitor that showed my contractions and the baby’s heart rate, I found it surprisingly calming to watch this every once in a while, and it helped my hubby to see when one was starting so he could rub my back.  I was bouncing on a ball, breathing through each contraction like I practiced. At one point we walked the floor but quickly came back to our room after hearing the screams of women in labor  all around us, we didn’t leave the room after that!

Throughout the night as I labored, the nurse would come in and check my blood pressure which was leveling out now. She was so calm and reassuring, showing me different positions to help manage the pain a little better. The downfall was having the belly monitors and IV tubes getting in the way. Certain positions would cause the monitors to slip off or break their connection so we were constantly adjusting them. I felt confined to one or two positions, standing and rocking, or sitting on the ball.The room was dim and calm, there was some house renovation show on in the background, and hubby even got to take a nap. The whole time I was freezing cold, shivering non stop. The nurse brought me a steady stream of warm blankets and socks. Turns out there was a thermostat in our room set to 55! If only we had discovered that earlier! Even my hubby was cold and he is NEVER cold.

The pitocin was still only at a drip of 1-2 but the contractions were very strong and getting really close together. With morning came another nurse shift change, and I agreed to a cervical check. I was only at a 5. It was very hard to not feel discouraged that I had only dilated 1 cm after 12 hours of labor. My blood pressure was still holding steady so there was some encouragement with that. They tried upping my pitocin but we started noticing some variations in baby’s heart rate as the contractions got too strong, so they had to keep lowering it back down to a 1-2. At this point my OB offered to break my water to hopefully help my cervix dilate.  This was the strangest experience, to feel like you are peeing yourself on a bed and everyone is cool with it…just throw me a few more towels and move along. This is when the pain started to get very intense, but I focused on my breathing and making it through each peak of pain, celebrating at each end.

Late morning they checked me again and found I was still at about a 5, and with my contractions strengthening it seemed like babys heart rate was bottoming out. They decided to attach some internal heart rate monitors to her, and when they did my OB told us that she had a good head of hair! This was so bizarre to me, knowing she was right there! The new monitors confirmed that her heart rate was getting very low with each contraction so they ordered me in bed and to lay on my left side. Laying down made the pain so much worse, and I was ready for some pain meds now. They gave me Fentanyl through my IV and I had a moment to catch my breath and rest. I was starting to feel really weak and nauseous, we hadn’t had anything to eat since noon the day before. I talked my nurse into getting me some crackers but that was not enough. I wish I had thought to eat dinner before we left for the hospital!

About 18 hours in, my regular OB finished her shift, so in came a new one along with the news that we needed to do a C section because baby was starting to go into distress. I cried pretty hard at this news because I wanted so badly to give birth naturally and felt like I had already battled so hard, and honestly I was scared to death of surgery and worried about my baby. My epidural arrived and that was a breeze, I didn’t feel a thing except for a little pressure. It started working very quickly, they put in a catheter and I was bed bound, still feeling very nauseous and surprised at how instantly numb I was. It was 3:00pm and I was set to go, but then came the waiting as more urgent priority patients came ahead of me, my time slot was pushed back twice. I put in my headphones to listen to some music and tried to calm down and rest. I’m not very good at waiting and my mind was racing.

Finally around 7:00pm a team of nurses came to prep me and the anesthesiologist came in to adjust my epidural for surgery. I no longer could move my legs and the numbness was spreading into my arms and hands as well. They wheeled me down the hall to the OR, I was shaking violently but was reassured that it was normal. The OR was so intensely bright, there were about 10 people there ready, and as they put me on the table and hooked me up to monitors I just closed my eyes and tried to avoid looking at the equipment and prayed for courage and peace. They draped me from the neck down and then hubby was allowed to come in and sit by my head. I don’t remember much of them getting started or how much time had gone by, but all of a sudden there was a flurry of nurses all working together and I heard the surgeon say the cord was wrapped twice around the neck. It seemed like an eternity, and then a shrill cry pierced through all the noise. I looked to my left and saw my baby girl for the first time, even through my tears I could tell she was beautiful and absolutely perfect, born at 8:14pm on her due date, weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces, and 21 in. long. There was so much joy in that moment I forgot where I was. I couldn’t stop crying. It was so hard to watch them take her away to recovery, but I was so happy she would have her daddy there with her while they finished my surgery. All in all it took them about 10 minutes to deliver her and 40 minutes to remove the placenta and close me up. I tried my best not to fall asleep, but the drugs made that really hard.

I made it to recovery and finally got to meet my girl. They put her on my chest and life as I knew it was over. She held up her little head and found my face, I’ll never forget her look of recognition as she heard my voice and knew she with her mommy. The child I carried under my heart for 9 months was finally here in my arms. As a family we bonded, she breastfed and we held each other for comfort. My violent shaking stopped, I felt no pain and had no care in the world.  We were there in our bliss for 2 hours before they took us to a room and we finally got something to eat around 1:00am, thank goodness the cafe was open. We were all beyond exhausted, so sleep came easy that first night. I was confined to the bed and still being monitored closely, so hubby had to bring the baby to me for feedings and he handled most of those first diaper changes- what a trooper. The next day was full of family visitors and so much joy and celebration. For so many years this little girl has been wished for, prayed for, and longed for. It is my greatest dream come true to be her mom, and I will cherish the memory of her birth forever. We feel so blessed and overwhelmed with love for this tiny perfect human being.


 

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A New Mothers Day

I’ve had all the emotions today. It’s been a very reflective day for me, thinking about the blessing of my own mother and mother figures in my life. Feeling the joy and anticipation knowing that I will be holding my little girl in my arms in just a few weeks. I was thinking back to a year ago and where we were at on our journey trying to conceive and I’m amazed by how much God has worked in our lives and in my heart. A year ago we were starting to hope again. Starting to dare to dream of finally getting answers and making progress in our struggles with infertility, and now here we are. A healthy baby girl on the way and our hearts bursting full of love and wonder.

On a day that I usually prefer to succumb to my sadness and grief alone, hermit style, I went to church and decided to see how I could bless someone else. I looked around and saw the faces of the people who have supported me, prayed for me, loved me, and I was filled with gratitude. I felt my baby girl stirring inside me and felt the warmth of my husband and family beside me. On a day that has only filled me with despair for the last few years, I felt joy!

This is a post to say THANK YOU. To everyone who has been a prayer warrior, everyone who has cried with me, my family who has never left my side, my husband who has never let me give up hope and has healed my bitterness time and again with his selfless love. God put you all in my path at different times but always right when I needed to be reminded of his faithfulness and goodness.

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22 weeks- It’s a girl!

On Valentines Day we had our family over to our house for lunch and a gender reveal party. I went all out on decorations, purchased pink and blue beaded necklaces for our guests to “wear their guess,” and baked some cupcakes with a special surprise in the middle!

It was so fun to watch everyone bite into the cupcake and then erupt with shouts of IT’S A GIRL! I took a video to show baby girl some day. This will be the first grand baby girl for my hubby’s side, and the second grand baby girl for my side.

  • How far along? 22 weeks, 3 days
  • Total weight gain/loss? -12 lbs
  • Maternity clothes? Maternity pants are a MUST, some maternity shirts. I found a killer sale at Motherhood and stocked up for the coming months.
  • Sleep? Still sleeping comfortably for now, body pillows to keep me from rolling to my back or stomach.
  • Best moment this week? Feeling some more defined kicks and punches, not just wiggling and butterflies anymore!
  • Symptoms? Random heart burn, itchy belly, some ligament stretching/pain.
  • Food cravings? Wendy’s fish sandwich, it’s a problem. Ice cream. Cereal often in the middle of the night.
  • Food aversions? Hot dogs…bleck.
  • Gender? GIRL!
  • Labor signs? No.
  • Belly button in or out? In.
  • What I miss? Sleeping on my stomach, breathing easy during exercise or let’s face it-walking up the stairs.
  • What I’m looking forward to? Getting started on the nursery, now that we know it’s a girl I can narrow down my design.

Telling my brain to be happy

So, it has been a very long time since I’ve posted anything. Once I became pregnant I thought that my fears would dissipate and I could finally be happy, I got what I wanted right? Well, the fears didn’t go away, they just shifted to a weird sense of guilt and worries of “will this baby make it”? My brain is such a Debbie Downer. I want to be like the expecting moms on my Facebook page who post a picture of their bump every week and gush about their super awesome experiences. However, as a “formerly infertile,” I want to be sensitive to my friends and family who are still going through the trenches of despair and struggling to make sense of their empty wombs. I don’t want my joy to hurt anyone else.

A friend gave me some really good advice. While I’m busy worrying about things I can’t control and walking on eggshells with my good news…the only person I’m really hurting is myself. I’m missing out on the moments I should be cherishing NOW. I have been working really hard at getting my brain to switch to happy from that feeling of impending doom and dread, and consciously making decisions to allow myself to get wrapped up in the joy and wonder of this pregnancy.

First ultrasound, 6 weeks. 

Today was our first ultrasound and it went great! Hubby took the day off so we could celebrate and enjoy the day together.  The RE went above and beyond to make sure we both felt comfortable and enjoyed our experience. A resident in training did the ultrasound so it took a little longer for her to locate things, but then the gestational sac popped up on screen and we all had a moment of celebration. There was our little baby, the size of a pea! Tears started coming when we saw the little heart beating, what a beautiful miracle. They took measurements and then the RE took over to verify that there was only ONE sac, and as far as he could tell there was nothing to indicate multiples.  

 

We go back in two weeks, and if everything looks good I’ll be released back to my regular OBGYN for the remainder of my pregnancy. I’m excited to celebrate this victory, and to keep pushing forward with each new week. To anyone struggling with where they are in their journey TTC….don’t give up!! Keep going, keep fighting! 

Is this real life?

For 5 years I’ve been waiting for the chance to get to say these words. I’M PREGNANT! 6 weeks 1 day to be exact. Monday the 19th was officially the end of my two week wait, which meant test time. I was dreading it, and really expecting a negative result (like usual). To my surprise, It only took about 5 seconds for that positive sign to pop up! I just stared at it, I don’t know if I was waiting for the line to disappear or what, but there was no doubt about it, all signs pointed to pregnant! I absolutely lost it. Full out sobbing, throwing up, crying in the shower. I was going to wait tell my hubby when he got home later that night, but because he knew I was testing and because I couldn’t keep it inside for one more second, I ended up telling him over the phone. Probably not a good idea to tell him while he was driving, but he found a good spot to pull over!

I called the RE’s office with the positive result, and my nurse immediately ordered a Beta HcG blood test to verify. I don’t know how I made it through work, I was shaking and was so excited to the point of nausea. I’m pretty sure I only slept for an hour that night. The next morning my nurse called with the results of the test, 140! More jumping up and down, more crying. She ordered another HcG for 48 hours later, just to make sure, and those results were 350! Because I went through fertility treatment there is a greater chance that I could be carrying multiples, so this week will be my first ultrasound. The nurse said we will be able to determine if there is more than one baby, and we should also be able to hear the heart beat at this point. I can’t wait to see that little peanut!

We are going to surprise our families with the good news on Thanksgiving, so until that time it’s going to be really hard to keep it quiet. There are so many people I want to tell, people who have really supported me and have been prayer warriors for us, but it’s really important that my family is the first to know. Why did I post this blog then? I need to let myself feel that this is real.

My 6 week symptoms include:

  • Incredibly sore breasts
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Food aversions
  • Lots of trips to the bathroom

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Limitless

Take away the limitations
When we fix our eyes on You
Flood our hearts with expectations
Lord, there’s nothing You can’t do

Doubt sees a mountain, no way around it
Faith sees a victory, no doubt about it
Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars
Love be the light inside of our hearts

This is part of the song “Limitless” by Colton Dixon. As I was driving home from work today I started sobbing listening to these words. On this journey TTC, I realize how much fear I have, when all the while I know that there is nothing my God can’t do. Like the song says, fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars. I want to see those stars. I want to have faith in a victory that I know is possible!

For the full song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeG46or2O4A

Femara how I love thee

About a month ago, my new RE started me on Femara to see if we would get better results after failed attempts with Clomid. First of all, compared to Clomid, the side effects of Femara for me were virtually non existent. Hallelujah to no more hot flashes. I had my mid cycle ultrasound check last week, and I had worked myself up so bad that I was almost nauseous. During the procedure, which is always oh so awkward, my nurse and I casually chatted about weekend plans and the weather…all the while I’m thinking WHAT IS GOING ON IN THERE. She finishes up and has me get dressed and instructs me to meet her in a conference room when I’m ready. I’m not sure if this was normal for the RE’s office or just because it was my first time…it felt like a torturous wait either way. My nurse comes in with some printed ultrasounds, and lo and behold, there are my developing FOLLICLES!! My left ovary was showing predominately larger follicles, while the right ovary showed only a few smaller ones. I couldn’t believe it, maybe because I had worked myself up so bad thinking the Femara wouldn’t work. I know it might be silly at this point for me to get excited over follies, I know it doesn’t exactly mean I’m going to get pregnant, but this is the first time I’ve felt like I’ve seen REAL results. Like a step forward instead of backward.

I had to have my ultrasound a day early because I was going out of town, so the nurse instructed me to give myself the “trigger shot” of Ovidrel two days later. This trigger shot hopefully forces those follies to ovulate within 24-36 hours. My hubby ended up administering the injection for me, and let me just say I am not proud of the toddler I turned into once I saw the needle. I’m talking a full 10 minutes of WAIT, ok go, WAIT, ok I’m ready, NOPE… my man is a saint. I had a lot of CM prior to the shot, which is always a good sign, and more after. The next day I felt sore at the injection site, which is normal, but I also was starting to feel twinges and cramping from what I’m hoping was those follies releasing some nice eggs. I had back pain for a few days, but my chiropractor who specializes in prenatal care helped ease some of that.

Because of the HCG in my bloodstream from the trigger shot, I have been feeling those PMS and early pregnancy symptoms. I’m on my second week of the “Two week wait”, all the while being hypersensitive to every twinge and pain and sensation. At the end of this week, I get to take a pregnancy test, eeeeek! I have been praying non stop that this would be it. That one of those follicles produced the egg that will grow into the baby that we have been longing for!

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Back to the drawing board

I have nothing to wear. Why are all my clothes in the laundry. These shoes are dumb. I hate everything in my closet. These are the thoughts I have as I’m running around trying to find an outfit to wear the first time I meet the Dr. who could potentially hold my future in his hands. As if somehow my first impression will say “wow, she has great style, this one deserves a baby for sure.” I realize how ridiculous I’m being, and proceed to shift my frenzied attention to gathering all of my folders and notebooks with months of lab results, notes, charts, questions, etc. If the Dr. isn’t impressed by my clearly stylish attire, he will definitely be impressed by my mountain of preparedness (Ha). I focus on things that I can control, so that the unknown seems less scary. This is my first visit to see the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) who will be taking over my case, and I’m a little scared.

We check into the clinic, and a nurse takes us into an exam room. After answering a thousand questions (why yes, I do have the answers in my handy dandy notebook, thank you very much), my hubby and I are ushered into a nice, comforting, dimly lit office to wait for the RE. I immediately notice the box of kleenex sitting precariously on the desk in front of me and I can’t help thinking about how many women have cried in this chair, and I’m glad that they have name brand kleenex and not the scratchy off brand kind. Hubby squeezes my hand as the RE comes in, and immediately he puts us at ease with a joke, now I feel like I can breathe.

We go over my chart and medical records and then he whips out a drawing of the female reproductive system, taking me back to 6th grade health class but without all the awkward giggles. He explains in detail (including illustrations) the treatment plan he has in mind for me, and quizzes us on basic terms and functions. We laugh, we ask questions, we go over everything one more time, and then that’s it, our meeting ends. Why was I nervous about this again? I’m blown away by the kindness, knowledge, and sensitivity of the entire staff. I can tell I’m going to be in good hands here.

On our way home we are both feeling relieved and optimistic. This is what we needed. We went from feeling like we didn’t have a clue, to now having a plan of action and a goal to work toward. If i’m going to measure my journey to conceive in time, then I guess I’ll count this day as a new beginning. Back to the drawing board, step 1.

Clomid Shmomid

Bruce Banner didn’t want to be the Hulk (yes, I really am comparing myself to a mean-green-rage-machine right now). If you have had any experience with a little pill called Clomid…you know what I’m talking about. This teeny tiny pill comes complete with a full spectrum of mood swings, hot flashes, bloating, weight gain, anxiety, depression, nausea, headaches, insomnia, just to name a few.  I don’t want to be a crazy person, but the struggle is real, Dr. B knows all about it.

I received my diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in the fall of 2014, and discovered that I don’t ovulate regularly. The goal with Clomid is to normalize or induce ovulation in women who, like myself, do not ovulate due to one reason or another. On my first month of Clomid I began to experience severe anxiety attacks- cut to me going to a conference for work and crying in my hotel room because the idea of socializing with 100+ people was terrifying. After 6 months of Clomid all I have to show for it is 15 extra pounds and a greater fear and respect for menopausal hot flashes. If you want to know what a hot flash feels like, try lighting yourself on fire and then jumping into a bathtub full of ice, 100 times a day. This drug is very effective for some people, but for others…it’s a “I’ll laugh about this later” experience. Oh the stories I will have to tell!

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I’m only at the beginning of my treatment options and I know I’m lucky to get to TRY.  I mourn for my friends who want so badly to bear their own children, but will never even get that chance. I will gladly take the crazy side effects and put in the work if it means one day maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to bring a life into this world.

Clomid

If you want to learn more about PCOS- check it out! http://www.pcosfoundation.org/what-is-pcos