Thursday, February 18, 2016

Smith Baby #2 -Graham

I've been meaning to document this on our family blog since we announced our pregnancy but I just didn't know quite how to say what I was feeling. Obviously I'm so excited and happy we're pregnant with baby #2! It just doesn't seem real yet if that makes sense..?

P.S. this got long winded. You have been warned.

Because of all our struggles trying to get pregnant with Hilton, when we finally did I just knew it was meant to be, it was the Lord's hand in our lives, it was quickly our new norm knowing that we would finally be parents. This time around however, it's taken quite a bit longer to sink in and become 'real'. Let me back up.

As some of you remember it took us over a year to get pregnant with Hilton, mainly because I had undiagnosed PCOS. After about five months of trying and not getting pregnant I went to see my OB again and said 'something is wrong, we're doing what you told us to and it's not happening'. That's when they asked if I was testing for ovulation - which by the way they never told us to do prior to this even though I was having to have periods induced each month, a huge red flag that ovulation probably isn't happening either - and we hadn't been, so they then instructed us to start testing for ovulation during the proper time window. Well, obviously I wasn't ovulating. So I was started on Clomid.

The typical procedure with Clomid is that the first cycle you take it you only take the lowest dose (50 mg.) and test for ovulation. If it's negative you take the middle dose of Clomid (100 mg.) the next cycle and test for ovulation. If it's negative you then take the highest dose of Clomid (150 mg.) the next cycle and test for ovulation. If that's negative they send you to a fertility center. All the while each of these cycles from period to ovulation to inducing another period was about 50 days for me - almost twice as long as a natural woman's fertility cycle. The reason why is that I had to take the hormone medication to induce a period for ten days (cycle day 10), and then it took up to another ten days for my period to begin (cycle day 20). I then had another 14 days from when my period started to ovulation (cycle day 34), and then had to wait another 14 days until I could test for elevated hCG levels before starting the process all over (cycle day 48).

So basically in a year's time when most women have 12 ovulation windows to possibly get pregnant, I only have about six to seven. This is why it was such a hard experience getting pregnant with Hilton, because I was made to waste three cycles before we figured out I wasn't ovulating and another two cycles after we figured out the only dose that made me ovulate was the highest dose. Basically we wasted five cycles (10 months) until I finally got on the medication that helped me ovulate!

Since this time around we knew what was wrong, and what worked with Hilton I wanted to just skip all the hoops I was made to jump through with Hilton and just do what worked! Unfortunately, when I changed jobs after having Hilton my insurance also changed, and so I wasn't able to see the OB that delivered Hilton. In my mind he was my best chance to just start on the highest dose because he knew my experience, but instead I'd have to find someone else.

Because we knew we wanted to try for a summer-fall baby we knew we'd need to start trying in fall-winter time. So in the early spring of 2015 I started looking for a new OB; a good six months before we wanted to get pregnant because I knew it might take a couple months once we were on medication to get pregnant. I went to two different OB's, both of whom were very on-guard about my request, clearly reluctant to believe me and basically said they would require me to start from square one - the lowest dose of clomid - even though I already knew that it would be a waste of time. One OB also went so far as to say she, 'didn't think I truly had PCOS and would require me to do a full cycle unmedicated'. I kind of understood why they did that, but I didn't want to waste six months before I could even get on the highest dose of Clomid, nor did I want to see a doctor who didn't believe me even though I was telling her exactly what was in my medical chart! It was after two failed attempts at finding an OB I decided I needed to go see a doctor who knew me, and I knew would do what was best for me and not strictly follow the protocol standard.

Enter my PCP who I worked for right before having Hilton. He knew all about our struggles getting pregnant with Hilton, he happened to specialize in maternity care, and he knew me and knew I was telling the truth. He was fabulous, he didn't require me to start at the lowest dose, he also felt like if we knew what worked last time why try to find another or more difficult way to obtain the same result this time. I am so grateful for him being willing to help me when no one else would and helping me feel like asking for the highest dose wasn't like I was asking for narcotics. I also went to see a reproductive endocrinologist before I even knew I was pregnant who assured me that my PCOS was treatable with the right medications and to not lose hope, that I wasn't delusion in wanting to just take the medication I knew worked and that most OB's don't understand how to properly treat PCOS.

And that is why miraculously, we got pregnant on THE FIRST round of the highest dose of Clomid. The stress I felt this time around was so almost non-existent compared to the constant stress I lived with during the year we were trying to get pregnant with Hilton. I think it really helped that this time I knew I could get pregnant if just given the right medications, and that I was able to find physicians who listened to my experiences and formed a plan that was right for me and didn't try to make me do all kinds of weird trials of other medications just because they didn't want to prescribe Clomid.

But, it's also a little why it's taken so long for this pregnancy to sink in and really for me to start to realize that Hilton won't be our only munchkin. I wouldn't say I was in denial, I just almost felt like this time around was 'too easy'. I mean, come on, we got pregnant on the first cycle of Clomid! Compared to getting pregnant on the sixth cycle of Clomid with Hilton it just felt like it was too good to be true, that I wasn't really pregnant, or something might go wrong. So while my pregnancy with Hilton was very stress-free, this one comparatively has been so much more filled with worry. Worry if I sleep on my back I'll miscarry, worry if I go sledding I'll miscarry (I did go sledding with Hilton once and I was anxious for a straight week until my next check-up), worry if I eat only potato chips and drink root beer that I'll miscarry (the only food I could start for about two weeks straight), worry if I forget to take my prenatal I'll miscarry, etc.

Now that I'm finally in the second trimester the food aversions and morning sickness are finally going away and I'm becoming more visibly pregnant: I actually feel pregnant and truly know this is such an incredible blessing for our family. It also really helps that Jared and I have now agreed on a name that it feels more real. I can foresee what life will be like a little bit in August when this little man finally comes, and I'm getting excited for him to arrive. While it's going to be a pretty uncomfortable summer for me; I want to just savor every little bit of it as we will never be just a family of three after he comes.

I just want to conclude that I know there are so many women out there who are struggling with infertility and PCOS and that it is truly a struggle I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I also want to say that I hope you do not feel alone in your struggle. I hope you don't listen to doctor's that tell you it's impossible or not a real struggle, and that you are able to find physicians who are willing to help you and give you the right medical care that you need and is best for you. This experience in comparison with our experience with Hilton has been so night and day, because we had the knowledge and support of doctors who knew what we needed and were willing to do what was best for me instead of trying to force their protocols. I truly hope that anyone struggling with PCOS will be able to find that supportive and comforting physician who is able to really help them not just with the physical difficulties PCOS brings, but also emotionally to help them feel like it is doable and there is hope and they are not broken or defective. I'm so grateful for the support we received and I know this time around wouldn't have been as stress-free and painless without my wonderful physicians who truly listened to me and my concerns.

Lastly thank you to all my sweet mom-buddies who listened to my frustrations with not being treated well by the OB's I saw, and who encouraged me to find other solutions than a typical OB. I wouldn't have thought of that without your ideas and support to seek out someone who truly wanted to help me.

15 wks on the left with Hilton, 15 wks on the left with Graham
And because no post is complete without a couple goofy pictures of Hilton :)

No comments: