Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's been a while since I've written. Honestly, I haven't written because it's been difficult to accept the truth. But with time comes healing and acceptance, grace and then triumph. I can finally continue my journey without disappointment.

As many of you who read this know, Phillip and I, along with most of our family thought that we would be expecting twins. I have written alot about what that would mean to me and how much I wanted both of our children. I leaned heavy on God and his provisions, but come to find out God had another plan. During our first ultrasound on July 23, what I thought would be elation, came heartbreak. Instead of carrying two babies, we found out we were only carrying one. Now to most people, they would be thrilled. I, on the other hand, was devastated. As my doctor was probing my uterus trying to get a glimpse of our single bean, my heart was aching. You wouldn't know it to look at me. I put on a good face of excitement that we in fact had one healthy baby. A good heartbeat and right on schedule. My doctor and nurse congratulated me and bid be a farewell. My husband though all was well too. But inside, I was holding back the tears. There was no preparation of how it would feel to lose a child.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes in disgust, others will know exactly how I feel. Honestly, noone could possibily know how it feels until you go through this experience. I should have known better than to get my hopes up. I also should have been joyous with one healthy baby, and don't get me wrong, I am excited. But there was still a pain of loss that I had to overcome. We started this journey of IVF by implanting two embryos. To us, those were two lives, two beings that were ours. The debate always starts when people disagree at when life begins. Some of the people I talked to didn't understand my pain because they said, well if it (the embryo) didn't develop, it was never a life. Those words were so painful to hear that I literally have had to cut off friendships because that belief alone goes against everything I believe. Even more so now that I've gone through IVF. I don't think I completely understood it myself until I went through every single stage of conception. But now, I'm on the other side of understanding and it's something none of us want to go through.

We had prepared ourselves, our hearts and our heads that we were having two babies. My husband and I got into arguements about switching rooms with our older son because his room was the bigger room and to me it made more sense to put two babies into a bigger room. We bought two of everything. So the shock and disbelief that we were having one hit me even harder. Driving home from the doctor's office was a silent trip. Phillip and I came in separate cars, since we were coming from different directions. At that moment, I was never so glad to be able to sit in my car and try to gather my thoughts. I turned off the radio and sat in complete silence. I called one person, my mom. She was the only person I had enough strength to tell. At home, I couldn't even face looking at the room we had prepared. It was too much a reminder that I would only be bringing one baby home.  I went to bed early. The next day was even worse. All my co-workers who knew I had gone to the doctor came by one by one and asked about our news. Two hours into my work day, I had wished I hadn't come in. Having to re-tell over and over that we were only having one baby was like torture. I got the standard, "well at least you're having one baby." And they were right. I was grateful and blessed that God gave us one baby. We could've been on the other side of the coin and asking why we didn't get pregnant. But as much as I was grateful, I was having a hard time showing it. That evening while at bible study, I had heard one too many times of "aren't you grateful to have one" and I lost it. The tears burst out and didn't stop of the rest of the night and into the morning.

It took me several days to come to terms with God's plan for us. I wish I could have been strong enough to get over it and move on with a happy attitude. But I didn't. I was selfish and angry. I couldn't even look at the fertility forums I had been pouring over for months. Here I detailed every single moment of our journey and now I couldn't even bear to look at it. It was a crushing blow when I kept reading about yet another one of my IFV sisters that was having twins. That was supposed to be me. I wanted to be in the moms of multiples club and suddenly I felt like I had been denied access. Like I wasn't accepted into the high school clique or into the college sorority. I know, its stupid. But that's how much it hurt.

Now, time had healed me somewhat. I can't say it still doesn't hurt. A part of me still hopes that in some miraculous feat, that I still do have both babies, that maybe somehow my doctor didn't see the second baby. That it was one of those that likes to hide behind the other. But at the end of the day, I know and trust God's plan even if it isn't what I want. He always knows better and there is a reason for everything. I remember telling someone that God must have needed my baby in heaven more than I need her here. It gave me some comfort. Having peace about it gets easier everyday. I know one day I'll get see all my babies again. They'll be waiting for me when I get to eternity. And they'll know how much I wanted all of them, but God needed them more.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Only a few more days

I'm 4.5 days away from my first ultrasound. It will be the first time I'll be able to see my babies and their heartbeats. I know from experience with my first child,  it's a moment you never forget. All the wondering and waiting finally comes to fruition. It becomes real and almost tangible. The hardest part right now is hearing all my other IVF forum girls announce one twin pregnancy after another. I'm super stoked for them and pray that they're twin dust rubs off on me. I'm optimistic and hopeful for my own twin announcement. My husband on the other hand, is 100% confident that we are indeed carrying our beloved, God given twins. Why else would our omniscient God give us such a scripture as "receiving a double portion?" I want to believe and probably deep down do believe, but I find myself questioning...why is God giving me all of my heart's desires? Why do I deserve it? It's a hard concept to grasp when we live day to day failing to be the person God calls us to be. Lucky for us, he gave us grace.

Grace covers a multitude of sins. It's an old addage that I've referred to often in my life. I fail miserably when I get frustrated at my husband for doing something silly. Or at the driver who refuses to let me in the lane even though I've had my signal on for a half mile.Though hormones, at the present moment, play a huge role in my sudden mood swings, it's no excuse for behaving the way I can sometimes. I look back at my behavior or my attitude and ask "what the hell was I doing, thinking, saying?" So it makes it all that much harder to believe that God answers our prayers, gives us things that we don't deserve and still manages to love us.

I've put 100% faith in God's abilities. Often I only put 10% faith in own abilities. That's a huge shortfall when it comes to giving myself a break when I do fail. I imagine God shaking his head at me in that annoyed grievance, but yet giving me chance after chance. How do we overcome things in our lives that zap us of faith in ourselves? I might seem annoyed with my husband, but it's more myself I'm annoyed at for my reactions.  Thank God I have a God of grace and mercy. Now I need to stand in humbleness and gratitude.

I am truly grateful for everything I have. I have so much more than I deserve. Problem is, I don't acknowledge it often enough. My husband is loving and provides a safe and nurturing home for myself and our son. I have a vehicle in which to drive daily to and from work, I have a job that provides income and insurance. I have a beautiful home and precious things that fill it. I have a family whom I love and loves me in return. I'm a blessed woman.

Now its time to stand in faith in God and myself for these babies. Their fighters and they come by it rightfully. They have two parents who stand in the Lord and who have already acknowledged them as God's children. Why else would I not believe? I'm only 4.5 days away from being able to testify to his continued miracles in our lives and realizing that I am worth all of God's love and that includes being a mommy to my twin babies. And if not, then I'll still be eternally grateful for what he does give me because its always more than I deserve.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keeping up with the symptoms (or lack there of)

I realized that with my first pregancy with my son, I didn't keep any kind of records of my pregnancy. I vaguely remember being deathly ill, but I don't remember when. I don't remember when I started to show. Nor do I remember all the little things in between that I'm constantly asking myself now. So along with the other topics I talk about on my blog, I guess I want to make this sort of a journal for myself and maybe some days for my kids.  Not every entry will be exciting, but I think its fascinating to look back at the weekly events that took place.

So this week, I'm six weeks pregnant. Today, I'm 6weeks4days. Symptoms have been little to none. Part of me wants to celebrate this lack of morning sickness and boobs that hurt so bad you want to cry. These are symptoms I remember having the first go round. This time, as least by this point, I've been spared. My boobs don't hurt near as bad as they did in the weeks prior. Its more my nipples that hurt to the point of feeling like they could be sliced off by the wind. Luckily, it doesn't start off that way, but after being cooped up in a bra all day, by night time, they're screaming for freedom.  I feel like they've grown in size. I'm not spilling over in my bra just yet, but I've still got along ways to go.

Morning sickness hasn't shown her ugly head yet. If memory serves me right, I don't think it hit me until week 8 or later. So there's still time to ruin a lunch or two.  I'm enjoying the sick-free time right now and indulging myself in whatever I want to eat. I'm trying, emphasis on trying, to eat healthy. I fail almost daily when a craving for fried pickles suddenly surfaces. I order fried pickles. One of the many crazy cravings I'm sure to have. Compared to last time, its about the same. I lived on those small chocolate donettes you find at the gas station and chocolate milk for breakfast. Fries with ketchup and a salad with vinegar and oil for lunch and dinner varied from pizza, to Mexican food to Italian. Its no wonder why my son constantly eats those things. He comes by it rightfully.

I occasionally get a twinge of queasiness. If I don't eat or if I eat too much. I'll take that at this point. At least I'm still able to eat. Who knows, I might get off lucky this time and escape the dreaded sickness after all.

I've already gained 4-5 pounds. I'm not sure what to blame that on. It could be the copious amounts of food I've already consumed or the two forms of progesterone I'm still currently on or the fact that I could be carrying twins. I'm praying for the latter. Every inch of my heart wants twins. Not because I'll be free to continue eating at a furious pace, but because that is the desire of my heart. We placed two beautiful embryos inside with the hopes that both made it. I'm believing my babies are fighters. We'll find out for sure next Monday.

I'm already showing a little. Again, I can blame this on several things. Medicine, weight gain or twins. Can anyone guess what I'm hoping for???? I don't mind wearing maternity clothes early. Bring on the maternity pants. I'll be sporting leggings with a smile. If it means that I walk away with two babies, who could ask for more???

But most of all, I want to be grateful for this experience. Grateful for the lack of morning sickness. Grateful for the racing heart and feeling hot all the time. Its such a beautiful thing. God's miracles are so wonderful and I always want to remind not only myself but anyone reading this, that his miracles are bigger than we can imagine.

Here is a verse that was mentioned at our monthly Habitation service at Church. It was such a moving time and very relevant to our situation. It came from a couple who had been struggling to have baby for as many year as Phillip and I have. But they finally received their miracle, as will we. We both loved these verses. But as I read the verse, I read the previous verse and the verses following and loved the entire thing. Hopefully, even though my pregnancy fog, I can memorize it.

Phil 1:3-11 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request of you all with joy for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partaker with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ and this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and with out offense til the day of Christ being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God."

Friday, July 13, 2012


During this whole IVF journey you always trying to reach the next milestone. Finding our your pregnant is the first and most exciting.  If your like me, waiting for your first beta was pure torture. So even though I promised myself that I wouldn't POAS, I crumbled under pressure. But for me it was the good news we had been waiting for, it was positive.

Milestone #1: accomplished.

Waiting for your second beta to double.
For me, we were in Memphis at my sister in law's house on vacation. Had I decided to have my first beta done at a lab there, it could have taken days for my results to be sent to my doctor back home. I wasn't willing to wait that long. So my first beta was done on day 12 past our 5 day transfer. My second was done three days later. I wondered, I worried, I prayed. Oh did I pray.  Sometimes I imagine that God has put headphones on so he doesn't have to listen to me chatter on and on about making sure that these babies stick. But he must have heard me anyways. I told the nurse that took my blood that I wanted it to be in the 2000s. My first beta was 503. Three days later it normally would have been around 1300-1500. Doubling occurs every 48-72 hours. Mine was 2002, just over my goal mark.
Milestone #2: accomplished (and then some)

Then comes milestone #3, the ultrasound. The first chance for you to see your baby(ies). You may see a flicker of a heartbeat, see a sac and a yolk. These tiny forms of life that allow you to finally be able to breathe, to sleep, to eat (unless morning sickness has kicked in). The wait for this milestone is excrutiating.  I imagine with all my might two little beings growing at this rampant pace and I can't even feel it. All I feel is a racing heart, constant tiredness, sore boobs, and food aversions already taking place. I've so far avoided the dreaded morning sickness and I consider myself one of the lucky ones. But I'm not holding my breath. It can kick in any day now and linger until my second trimester. Oh yea, that's another milestone. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I'm still waiting for milestone #3. Nine more days to go and it feels more like a year.

I think for me its the begining of it all feeling real. Up until now, I've relied on a home pregnancy test and some blood work to tell me I'm pregnant. I may feel a few symptoms, but those can also be blamed on the medicine that I'm still taking. It's like convincing ourselves we're pregnant, when inside our own heads we're questioning it ourselves. But that first ultrasound is a confirmation. It's concrete evidence that you're a vehicle of life. God's miracles are so amazing and I'm to a participant and not just a spectator.  So for now, I continue to pray for my two babies. For their health and growth. But I pray for patience and peace and most of all, no morning sickness. Well for now at least.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Twins or not twins...that tis the question.

Before we started this whole IVF journey, I had always wanted twins. I think it was the mystique of having two babies at the same time, dressing them alike, always having a playmate and having two beautiful babies to love.  I watched all the tv shows about multiples, Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Quints by Surprise. I secretly envied those women. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would end up having to do IVF. But apparently God had other plans.

As soon as Phillip and I started discussing starting IVF, though I was very reluctant at first, I told myself this was my chance to have the twins I had always wanted. I was more than ecstatic when we implanted my two little embryos. I knew that they were fighters, that they would make it. But with the excitement of finding out that I was pregnant, came telling our close family and friends. Indeed we were having twins, at the present moment, we are. But lingering inside me, questions, did both actually make it?

Now I know to never question God. I get countless people telling me that, "wouldn't you be happy with just one?" I understand where they're coming from. I try not to take it as personal insult to my babies, but the fact of the matter is, I am pregnant with twins until otherwise told.  In the IVF world of acronyms, we use PUPO, meaning "pregnant until otherwise proven". It means we're pregnant until our beta, or bloodwork, tell us otherwise. We get to spend two weeks of pregnancy bliss, believing that IVF worked. For me, it did, for others, well they get to at least say they were pregnant for two weeks.  It makes going through the torture of shots and medicines all worth it, even if you don't end up with a baby.

But for those of us who do get pregnant, most of us are indeed pregnant with twins. It's become the norm among today's IVF doctors. Gone are the days of octo-moms and sextuplets. Now, we're only faced with the chances of two or in a few cases, three.  I was faced with having to make the decision to implant three. It was a difficult one, but I know I made the right choice for me, my babies and my family.  But it meant I must rely on God to either grow the two we left behind in the hopes of growing to snowbabies or growing the two inside me. Two. Not one. It infuriates me when I hear people tell me I should be happy with just one. I had to mourn the loss of my two possible babies when they didn't make it.  I don't want to have to mourn the loss of another one. Now God being the awesome God he is, will give us exactly what we need. One baby or two. But until our sonogram on July 23, I'm believing, I'm praying, and I'm faithful that God has grown both of these babies.

The weekend before we did our embryo transfer, Phillip, my mother in law and myself attended a monthly service at my church that was "extra" spiritual. It was a time for praise and worship were I could really call out to the Lord. It's a service of miracles and testimonies shared among the church.  We heard the testimony of a couple who had been trying to conceive for four years and miraculously got pregant. Even though Phillip and I prayed that we could conceive naturally by a miracle, neither one of us were getting any younger and we both believed it was the right time to go through IVF. But just hearing of their success gave me hope that our procedure would work as well. I truly felt the Holy Spirit that night. As we were leaving, my mother in law, who is a true prayer warrior, stopped to tell us that she had heard a word from God and he gave her a scripture. She said that God told her to read Isaiah 61:7 "Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs." We all knew that meant we were having twins.

So, yes, I'm pregnant with twins. We're praying for girls. We've already named them, their nursery is done, minus one crib.  This is how much we're believing that BOTH of these lives are still with us. But if God has other plans, if he gives us one, if its a boy, we will rejoice! We will be happy with whatever God has for us because we are good and faithful servants. We know He is a loving and faithful God. Either way, boy, girl, twins or a singleton, we are blessed beyond imagination.  But my heart beats for two and will continue to until other wise told.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Life as usual

The past few days have been like any other day. I would hardly know I was pregnant if it weren't for the occasional sore boobs and tiredness. Though it's easy to blame that on life in general or the medication I'm still on and will continue to be on until I'm at least 11 weeks pregnant. I've still got six more weeks to go of shoving creams and pills in my va-ja-ja.  It's not fun, but a small sacrifice to make for these beautiful babies.

Phillip and I, or should I say, Phillip has spent the last few days going ga-ga over buying baby stuff. I've had to tell him to slow his roll or these kids are going to have so much stuff, we're going to need to add on an extention to our house.  I know he's excited about becoming a daddy. It's something he's dreamed of all of his life. Since I've already experienced having a child, some of the newness has already worn off. I'm consumed these days with making sure I stay pregnant and that these babies, and I reiterate babies, grow.

The days during my two week wait until I found out I was pregnant, were filled with sleepness nights, wondering if both my babies implanted, were they growing, would they stick? Now I find myself looking for every known sign of pregnancy and finding little to none.  It's unnerving, when you're not experiencing typical signs of pregnancy. Some would call me crazy, since I am in fact, only five weeks pregnant. Others would call me lucky.  Avoiding early onset morning sickness, food aversions and the like. But this pregnancy has been relatively uneventful.

With the medication that I take, comes bloating. Lots of bloating. So much so, that I look like I should be 4-5 MONTHS pregnant, instead of my 5 weeks. I'm walking around looking the part of then having to tell people that I'm not as far along as they thought. I guess it's better that NOT being pregnant but looking that way just because I'm fat.  What horror! But with looking the part, comes not having to worry about sucking my bloated stomach in, which is impossible anyway. I find myself wearing loose fitting clothes and already looking into getting maternity clothes. That is one of the awesome perks of pregnancy. Not having to worry about my figure for nine whole months. My diet hasn't been the greatest. I'm not eating horrible, but I'm also not, not eating at all due to morning sickness. I keep telling myself I'm making up for the weeks to come when I'll barely be able to hold down a cracker. Well here's hoping anyway, at least then I'd feel pregnant.

But with all this comes the continued waiting. Telling people that I'm pregnant with twins, which in fact I am, since we implanted two babies. My prayer though is that while my mind might wonder of the things of God and his plan, God knows those two beings inside me. He created them with delight knowing that they were created in his name.

I can't wait until our first ultrasound, on July 23 when we will know, for sure, that indeed both our precious babies are still with us.  It will be a moment that will be with Phillip and I forever.  The first sign of life there for us to see.  But for now...I wait and get back to life as usual.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom doesn't come free

Today is the 4th of July, we get to celebrate our freedom thanks to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line. Most of the time we take our freedom for granted and really only remember it on this single day of the year, when we should be celebrating it 364 days a year (I'm already counting today). We as Americans live each day as though we have all the freedoms in the world and a 1000 years to spend living the dream. But not everyone gets to live their dreams. I think of the fathers that leave their wives and children behind fighting for a cause that sometimes seems hopeless. I pause to give remembrance to the moms, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles that go unnoticed on the evening news. Now I'm not hear to give my rant about war or freedom or anything of the like. I'm guilty of living my life without the slightest thought of what is happening outside my own world of IVF, betas, pregnancy tests, hormones and medication. Today I realized I was free to pursue creating my own family. There are women in other countries who don't get these freedoms. They are limited by one child laws or tossed out on the streets if they don't bear any children. Baby girls fill orphanages in some countries were girls aren't wanted over the preference of boys. Instead, I've been given a gift. Ive been able to create life with the help of my wonderful fertility doctors and God, and it isn't something I take lightly. Sometimes I wonder why blessed me with these precious lives over another precious woman. But I know God has a plan, as do each of us. These days I cherish with everything I have. I try to take in each moment and give thanks that I was given this chance. As the hormones surge through my body and create a hormonal monster that was once myself, I'm thankful. Every time someone goes to hug me and they unknowingly press against my very tender breasts, I'm thankful. Every time I look in the mirror and see my expanding waist (yes,even at 4 weeks, my body has the memory rention of a rubberband) or I feel little twinges, I rub my belly and THANK GOD, he had this plan for me. The freedoms we have are enormous, just like I know my belly will be soon enough. And that is more than enough to be thankful for. Ain't freedom grand?