Friday, May 31, 2013

Thank You

I was very grateful for the love and support I received with coming out regarding our infertility on the blog on Monday. I honestly expected nasty comments about how we barely 'struggled at all' or 'were too stressed about it' because I've honestly heard those to my face from others before. I felt so much love and understanding and I really want to say thank you. To those that we associate with on the big blue known as facebook, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and outpouring of congratulations and compassion we received. Announcing was honestly incredibly scary while very exciting at the same time. Not a lot of people knew about our struggle except for a few chosen friends and the majority of our coworkers, and though they were the first to know and we had to announce sometime I honestly considered putting it off longer. It just felt like this huge expose into my soul and my pain throughout this journey. But again, thank you for your uplifting words they made my heart feel overwhelmed with love all day.

Secondly thank you to those who do follow this blog for being so patient as I wasn't posting from firstly lack of desire and secondly constant miserable nausea that made me want to stay in bed curled in a ball all day (don't get me wrong, I'm very happy for the nausea since it means a baby but it still isn't fun). A couple of friends informed me that a month was a bit to long to be away and so thank you for being patient. I'm back and going to try to not completely overwhelm you all with pregnancy/baby obsessions but I'm probably going to do it a bit. Maybe a lotta bit but I'll try to keep it under control.

And lastly again, thank you to those who supported us through this journey (you know who you are) you really kept me afloat and hopeful that it would happen sooner rather than later.

Thank you.

And now for your viewing enjoyment: my first belly photo

Ok, a bit of background on this photo: we are pretty darn positive there's only one baby in there (my OB double checked at our first ultrasound), and no that is not fat (I can still feel my abs and I've only gained 5 lbs. so far) but yes that's after lunch. I am very aware I look like I'm about 16-17 weeks for a typical first pregnancy, but the OB says I'm probably just carrying really far forward. 

In good news to report my nausea that started around week 7 has gone away almost completely-it comes in early morning and late night still-and my appetite has come back so I'm no longer living off gatorade, cherrios, or just cheetos. 

Now we can add cheese sandwhichs, spaghetti, and pizza. Much healthier right?! Jared thinks I need to be eating salads for every meal or something. He tried to convince the OB that my eating cheetos was going to kill the baby or severely make it handicapped but the OB sided with me on that one while I was super sick. I still can't even look at meat without gagging, but my edible food list has increased and I'm very very glad for that. Any suggestions moms and other pregnant women? Any good ways to get your protein intake? Because I am struggling with that.

In bad news to report since I have a history of migraines on a bi-monthly basis before being pregnant, now that I am pregnant I have one about every week or two. However I think I've pinpointed the migraines to following when I've had high salt intakes. For ex. one night we went to a movie, got a huge tub of popcorn of which I ate the majority and the next day I had a killer migraine. So I'm working on controlling salt intake closely.

So far that's the only huge major changes, other than the fact I can't fit into ANY of my pre-pregnancy pants and half my shirts either. Definitely time to go maternity shopping! Any cute places other than motherhood maternity?

I'd love lots of tips and advice cute mommas!

Monday, May 27, 2013

14 months, and 16 days

This past 14 months and 16 days has by far been the hardest experience of my life. I often contemplated on speaking out on our struggle with fertility, but I never truly had the nerve. I didn't want to classify myself as one of 'those' people. But in all reality I was and will probably always be one of those people who don't get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

The time of over 14 months was not only the hardest because of the obvious-we weren't getting pregnant-but mainly because of the underlying reasons. And while 14 months doesn't seem like a long time to struggle with getting pregnant, it was a daily challenge and burden I carried with me for the whole duration of that 14 months. I was crying on a weekly basis, sometimes everyday when someone else announced they were pregnant on social media. I cried when I sat in the doctor's office for what seemed like the billionth time seeing a gleaming pregnant woman walk in, I cried when I watched the movie 'What to expect when you're expecting' because I felt like I would never be on the other side of parenthood. I cried to Jared constantly, and when he got tired of my tears I cried to my girlfriends, and when they got tired of my tears I cried to my coworkers.

Medically what was happening is so important to understanding our struggle, so if it's TMI skip this paragraph. I have never really had a 'normal' menstrual cycle. And because the type of birth control I was on for the first year and a half of marriage made it so I didn't have a period at all, my system got completely messed up. When we went off the birth control in the beginning of 2012 I didn't have a natural period for three months. And a natural period only occurred every three months during our 14 months of trying. Because I didn't start having a period normally when we stopped the birth control the doctor gave me hormone medication to induce a period each month I didn't start naturally. The problem was that it was a 10 day course and that a period was supposed to begin within ten days of finishing the course of hormone medication. So I would sometimes go a month and a half or approximately fifty days without a period. Because I had such irregular periods since the majority had to be medically induced, it decreased our opportunities to get pregnant. About eight months after having started trying the doctor said that because we hadn't gotten pregnant yet and because I had had such irregular periods, I probably wasn't ovulating normally either so I had to go on medication to induce ovulation. But on the lowest and even a raised dosage of Clomid I didn't ovulate. It wasn't until 13 months after starting trying that I finally tested positive for ovulating on the absolute maxed out dose of the ovulation medicine. But we still didn't get pregnant.

On the emotional side it wasn't until about after seven months of trying that one day I realized not only was this so hard for me because it wasn't happening on my timeline, it was excruciating because I've always achieved whatever I put my mind to whenever I wanted something. It was out of my control. I could make my body run seven plus miles a day, but I couldn't make my body get pregnant. This was something I just could not will to be done and it was a very difficult inner battle. I practically stopped believing that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me, because why would he ever make me go through this? I stopped praying, I was too stubborn to yield because in my heart I felt that it had to be done on my grounds. I became resentful to every single pregnant woman I saw or heard on social media that was pregnant because I yearned to be them. I became bitter and unhappy. Even our parents (who we hadn't told we were trying) started to notice something was wrong. I'm pretty sure they all questioned Jared privately, but not me since I was a pretty apparent time bomb.

And then one day when I was crying (again) after a negative pregnancy result, it finally clicked. I knew why I was going through this trial, call it inspiration or the craze of the moment: I knew I was being spoken to through my heart. What I heard was that, 'this experience was to help me appreciate the tiny little souls that I would be sent to care for, more then I could ever imagine if I had easily obtained them without a painful preparation'. And I just felt the love that was sent with that message. I could feel tension coming out of my life in many forms. I stopped doing what 'I' wanted in my work life and home life, and started listening more closely to the spirit. The love and compassion had always been there, but because of my bitterness I had pushed them away.

The second hardest part of this experience wasn't until we hit our one year of trying when we were referred to an infertility clinic that I really started to give up. After an hour conversation crying sob fest with my OBGYN's nurse (where she even cried with me for a bit) I convinced her that 'just a few more months of the medication that helped me ovulate', because we weren't ready for the next step. She agreed but wanted to talk to the doctor to see if he would agree to max out the medication dosage since I hadn't had a positive ovulation test in the previous cycles on the medicine. He agreed and I took the medication. For the first time in 13 months I ovulated but I still got that ugly one line at the end of the month. I remember telling Jared that we would try for two more cycles and if it didn't happen we would take the next step.

The next month we were busy moving from our apartment and I stupidly thankfully packed the ovulation tests and since I didn't want to spend $50 on another set I decided we'd do without. This time felt different, I had come to accept that if it didn't happen now it would happen when it was supposed to or that maybe we needed more help. I was a lot less stressed because we were not at our awful old apartment, and I wasn't worrying about testing each day which I definitely think helped. And then I had a dream about a week before my missed period that I was holding our baby. It was one of the most spiritual dreams I had ever had, because I felt as if I was truly getting to know our child, I kissed them and loved them. When I woke up I just knew that this was a spirit child waiting for us. I told Jared about it, and how I felt it meant we were close to having a child. It still didn't sink in that it could be this month though, I just felt that it was down the road so when I told Jared two days after my missed period (which wasn't unusual for me because I hadn't had regular periods since we started trying) that I didn't want to take another pregnancy test and just have another negative result. Being the realistic man he is told me to grow up and go take it, so I did when I got home.

And I finally got those two little lines. Those two little lines that anyone trying to get pregnant crosses their fingers or holds their breath for after taking the test. After many many previous negative tests it took some real convincing that that really was actually a second line and not just my imagination. I called a fellow pregnant girlfriend who convinced me to take another with which I got another positive result. She reassured me, 'You're pregnant!' I told Jared as soon as he got home although it wasn't quite the reaction I was looking for-he thought they were negatives because the second line was so light. So I went to the doctor's for a blood test the next day, which was of course positive, and he finally got excited.

See the second line? Yeah I had to message this picture to my friend Alex so she could confirm that that was actually a second line.

A more scientifically easy test to read. Also what we told our parents with. Apparently peed on sticks aren't appropriate ways of telling people you're prego?

8 weeks-I'm now 12.5 weeks

Looking back I am grateful we didn't get pregnant before we did because now we will be able to be more settled financially before this little one arrives, and we will be more settled in our jobs, I'll be done with my Bachelor's, and Jared will be close to finishing his. It's funny how life turns out, but it definitely is meant to be in the Lord's time and in his way. I'm a completely different person now than I was when we started trying to have a baby, and I know I'm going to be a better mother because of my struggle getting pregnant. 

To all the other women out there trying to have a baby, I hope that you can be have the weight lifted, because it is a heavy cross to bear. I know that some of you may have struggled with longer terms of infertility, or even miscarriages and while I don't know what that feels like, I know what it feels like to desperately want a baby and to be unable to have one. And I know that you probably hate me just like I hated all those other pregnant girls, but I know that you don't mean it. And even if you do or just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen I am more than willing, because I know what support I needed and how much of my burden friends were able to take. Don't lose hope even though that's easier to say than to hear. I love you, I have walked where you walk and my heart has hurt just as yours does.

To all the women who can get pregnant as easily as thinking about it, don't flaunt it. It just makes us other women secretly openly hate and detest you because that's really not something you should brag about, especially with so many women having struggles getting pregnant in this day and age. Be sensitive, thoughtful and grateful that you don't struggle with fertility, and remember to hold your little babies close and to always remember when they do something that makes you mad what a blessing they are. Don't take them for granted, because for every newly blessed mother there are probably ten others praying to get pregnant who can't.

Lastly to all the friends, family, and coworkers who were aware of our struggle and helped us (mainly Melissa) keep it together and sane: thank you for all your words of encouragement, thoughtful acts, and support throughout this entire experience. We couldn't have endured without you, and we're so grateful for the love we were shown this past year and a couple months. We're very grateful it wasn't many years struggling with fertility, and we're praying for those who have struggled with it for years.

Baby Smith expected 12-7-13.