This post has been a long time coming, but I really needed to find the time to sit down and write a more thoughtful post rather than just spitting words out onto my screen. If you’ve read my blog for the past year, you know that we struggled to achieve a successful pregnancy. I’ve written about my struggles a couple of times on the blog, and you all have been so supportive to me. I come here to write to you and see you as friends and I thought it was about time I brought you all up to speed. I know that each individual is unique and that what worked for us might not work for everyone, but it’s worth sharing our story if it helps one person. Today, I am going to share the details of our pregnancy after loss and why it worked for us this time. If that story doesn’t interest you so much, I’m also going to be sharing some photographic gems of days gone by, and the somewhat humorous stories of my previous pregnancies.
Before I get into what worked for us, I want to travel back in time a bit, 13.5 years go be exact. In 2004, less than a year after getting married, we were ready to start a family. OK, I was ready to start a family and finally convinced Chris that he was never going to feel financially ready, so he should just give up and let me have my way now. I was young and healthy and assumed we would just give it the old college go and we’d get pregnant! Of course I’m not sure why I am calling it a college go, because I don’t suggest having babies while you’re in college. Anyhow, being the first of our friends to start growing a family, infertility hadn’t really even entered my mind as a potential obstacle. However, after about 4 months of trying with no success, I went to my doctor. We discovered that I was not ovulating, and she started me on Clomid. The first two months were unsuccessful, and the third month Chris was away for work, so we chalked that one up to lost. Later that third month we went to a wedding, and I had a little wine… truthfully just a little. Two glasses of white wine were sipped and enjoyed, but the next day I was violently ill. I assumed that I had some sort of reaction to something I ate or possibly the tannins in the wine, but a few weeks later we found out we were expecting. Once we got pregnant, keeping it was not an issue, and just 8 months later, Sawyer was born.
My pregnancy with him was easy; I felt great and truly loved being pregnant. I enjoyed several walks outside with my faithful furry sidekick Jake during that time, and even after Sawyer was born. I’d strap Sawyer on in my baby Bjorn, and take Jake for walks, both boys happy to be outside, together, and enjoying the fresh air.
When Sawyer was 9 months old, Chris and I were fortunate enough to take a trip to Mexico with his company as a reward for his performance that year. I had only stopped nursing him a couple months prior, and my cycle was irregular. To top it off, pregnancy hadn’t happened right away when we tried the first time, so I assumed the next time we tried it would again take a little time. (Insert laugh). What little did I know? We returned from that trip and in the week that followed I ran into my gynecologist at the grocery store one day, and then at the gym a couple days later. I should tell you that I never saw her outside of her office other than those two times. I knew that I was being sent a message from above… I just knew. Even though it was very early (just 4 weeks), I went to the store and bought a box containing 3 pregnancy tests.
I took the first test…. positive.
Later that day, I took the second test…. positive.
And finally, that afternoon, I took the last test…. positive.
I could NOT believe what I was seeing!!! Sawyer was only 9 months old, and having kids so close in age wasn’t our plan. We had planned on trying again to space them a couple of years apart. That evening, Chris came home and was working in our home office. I wandered the house, building up the courage to tell him. Several times I went into the office and sputtered out some random thought, afraid to tell him the news I was harboring. Finally, I was tired and ready to go to bed, so I just blurted it out….
“So, I think I’m pregnant.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Well, I’ve just had this weird hunch and I ran into the doctor twice this past week- isn’t that kind of funny!?”
Chris, who doesn’t really believe in signs, looked at me quizzically.
“Also, all three of these tests are positive. Are you mad?”
‘Why would I be mad? I mean, it’s mine right?”
After that we both laughed and I may have cried. 8 months later, Emmy joined our family.
Life with two babies under the age of two was a little crazy. Ok, it was a lot crazy. I felt like I wasn’t able to savor the baby moments I had before, and I was “surviving” each day rather than living it. I have absolutely no regrets, but at the time if you had asked me about a third, I would have laughed in your face. “A third? I am barely getting through right now!” Aside from that, Chris and I had decided that we were going to be a 2 kid family… kids were expensive, a lot of work, and this kept the parent child ratio 1:1. If that wasn’t a recipe for success, then I don’t know what was! 😉 Of course, I loved and still love my kids so much and had a blast at times…. when will I ever be able to dress them up in themed costumes together again? The farmer and the cow… this costume came to be because Sawyer hated having any hat or mask on his face, and Emmy was a chunk who naturally fit the cow costume well.
At the time this photo was taken, we lived in a small 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home in a suburban neighborhood. When Sawyer had just turned 6 and Emmy was 4, we moved into our current 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home; we suddenly had more space and a much larger yard, and the kids were at much easier ages. I started to want a third baby… however, Chris was not on board. Every year as the Fall weather would approach and all of those cozy feelings that go along with it settled onto my soul, and I would find myself wanting that third baby, wanting to fill that extra bedroom in our home. Spring would arrive and the feeling would subside, much to Chris’ relief.
However, two years ago, that feeling didn’t go away. I was 37 years old and I saw my baby bearing days as numbered and it saddened me. Sawyer and Emmy’s baby days rushed by me and I didn’t get to relish it as I would have liked because I was just making it by in survival mode. In my heart, I knew I wanted one more baby whose infant and toddler stage I could completely soak in. The thought of my big kids as older siblings melted me; I knew that they would enjoy the experience as well and it was something we could do together. We talked about it again, and after what seemed like months of discussion, I got the green light from Chris and we decided to once more add to our family.
On our first try, we got pregnant! We were elated and I recall saying joyously to one another, “Oh yeah! We still got it!” But just a week later, that pregnancy terminated itself. That miscarriage was the first I’d ever had, and to be honest, I was shocked. I never once conceived of the notion that I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby. Months passed and I didn’t get pregnant for quite some time. About 7 months later, I once again became pregnant. We had just told the kids about the first miscarriage and that we were trying to have a baby, and they were so supportive about our decision and devastated about our loss. Soon after telling them, we discovered that next pregnancy; but again, I lost it very early on. After two losses, the doctors were concerned but not on high alert. One midwife even said to me, “Welcome to old age!” (I was 38 at that time.)
The end of the school year came around, and once again, I found myself pregnant, and it ended in just the same way as the first two. This time, the doctors wanted to run some tests and gave me the name of a specialist. My blood test results showed a couple of things…. 1. an MTHFR mutation which is actually rather common, but prevents the absorption of Folic acid, and 2. Protein S deficiency which can cause blood clotting issues. Both of these are things that I would have had while carrying Sawyer and Emmy, but perhaps because I was much younger, they didn’t present any issues.
I met with the specialist and she wanted to try a round of progesterone before doing anything drastic. We tried that, and in August I had my fourth miscarriage, the week of my 39th birthday. If you’re keeping track, that was 3 miscarriages in the matter of 6 months. By this time, I felt defeated. My body was letting me down, and I felt it was time to just accept that a third child wasn’t going to happen and move on. After speaking with my specialist, she said that the next step would be trying Lovenox, which is a daily injection of blood thinners. After thinking about it, I decided I didn’t want to go that route. I’d had enough, and I already had two fabulous healthy kids and a supportive husband…. my life was full enough and I could move on. However, I went ahead and made an appointment to learn about the blood thinners just so I could be certain of my choice. I wanted to go to that meeting, hear what they had to say, and walk away feeling resolved about my initial decision.
It was time to focus on me again, and to do the things that made my heart soar. I signed up to be a vendor at Sweet Clover, started to get myself into running again and thought about signing up for a half marathon, and I dove back into the blog after a long hiatus. This all happened within the span of one week, and that Friday I went for a longer run and felt a little funny. Around 9 am I just had this feeling, and I took a pregnancy test… positive.
My reaction to that positive test was not joy or elation, but fear and anger. I was angry that I would be pregnant yet again (and no we were not trying this time, it just happened!), only to lose it. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, I feared what I knew would happen. All weekend long I worried and was slightly spotty, and I just knew the loss was going to start at any time. It was Labor Day weekend and our appointment to learn about the Lovenox and how to do the injections was coming up on Tuesday immediately after the holiday. Somehow, we made it through the weekend with not much spotting happening, and when we arrived at the appointment we told them what was going on. No longer was there a choice for me as to whether or not I would start the daily injections; now I was going to be doing them and hoping for the best.
We started that day, with the first injection in the office, and here I am over 5 months later still doing them. They have clearly been the solution my body needed.
For this girl who gets little queasy at the sight of blood, putting a needle into my stomach every day has not been the easiest thing, and I won’t say I’ve gotten used to it, but I have become much more efficient. In all honestly, it’s not that bad, and because it’s working, I know it’s worth any little sting of pain each day. Early in the pregnancy, I still worried that things wouldn’t work out. I made it through the first 6 weeks and felt a hint of relief, then I made it to 10 weeks, then through the first trimester, and so on…. each week bringing me more and more relief and joy that this was truly happening. Now I’m in the last week of the second trimester, and my baby boy is healthy and beautiful.
Earlier this week, we had an ultrasound (the perk of seeing a specialist is the frequency of detailed ultrasounds!), and everything looked great. Prior to the lovenox, my uterine arteries had been resistant to blood flow which stopped me from being able to carry a pregnancy, but the lovenox has helped immensely and now everything flows as it should. We were able to take home a great photo of our guy, and we think he looks like Sawyer. If you can’t tell, he’s holding onto the umbilical cord here… my stomach was growling the entire time, so perhaps he’s yanking to let me know he was hungry.
Now that I am so far long, everything has become very real and the fear is almost entirely gone. Our home is filled with hope and happiness for what the future holds. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know this story would be ending differently had we not kept that appointment with the doctor just to learn about the Lovenox. Although this baby is not truly a “surprise,” he did completely catch us off guard just when we were ready to move on. Naturally, I am saddened by all of the grief that we endured, but it makes this pregnancy all the more special to me. He’s already a fighter in my book, and we can’t wait to meet this strong magical boy in a few months.
I wanted to share my story today for several reasons… I wanted you to know what has happened behind the scenes, and to understand why this worked, of course, but I also wanted to share a glimmer of hope for those who might be going through similar hard times and losses. How many times have you heard that love always finds you when you aren’t looking for it? Well, that same thing happened to me with this pregnancy… just as I closed that door and stopped asking for it, a window opened and the greatest gift was presented to me.