Today's infertility journey is coming from a sweet girl that I have had the opportunity to meet and converse with due to the lovely land of blogging. Carol from Keeping up with the Kaune's is sharing her emotional trek to becoming a mommy to adorable little Kennedy.
If you are visiting from her world today, welcome! I am Maddie and I started the Infertility Prayer Project as a way for women to share their stories and build each other up, whether they suffered a loss, dealt with getting pregnant but succeeded or are still in the midst of trying to become parents. You can read about my personal story here and why I started this project. I will let her take it away from here.
My husband Nick and I have been married since October 2nd, 2010. Nick is 5 years older than me (34 years old now, 32 when we started trying) and he wanted to start having kids fairly early because of his age. This thrilled me. When I was 6 years old, I had two goals for my life, to be a teacher and to be a mommy. I was the little girl who always played with baby dolls and still secretly played with them at 12 year old. I have worked with children all my life and I have been a third grade teacher since 2006. Here is our story:
April 2011: Stop taking birth control. We decide to not really "try" yet because we had a big beach trip planned the first week of June with our good friends Adam and Jessica. This was supposed to be our "last hurrah" However we had the attitude that if it happened, it happened.
Mayish 2011: Can't remember exact date but period started and it was on day 28, right on time.
June 4th 2011: Period, 32 day cycle this time. Start officially "trying this month."
July 8th 2011: Positive pregnancy test. We are thinking “wow, we are those lucky people that get pregnant right away!”
July 12th 2011: Visit to OBGYN. We had a trip planned to Oregon that week to visit family and wanted to make sure everything was okay before we left. HCG level is only 47. Doctor is a little concerned because based on date of last period I should be 4 weeks along, but says to enjoy the trip and we will test again when I return. Needless to say, I have fun but worry the whole trip. Thank goodness my mom is there to calm me down a bit. My symptoms during this time are minimal, just really tired and slightly tender breasts.
July 21st 2011: We return from Oregon. My HCG is 262. The doctor (we ended up switching because she was just absolutely terrible) tries to assure me not to panic yet. I have done nothing but research HCG levels while we were in Oregon. I know that my HCG should be higher at this point but she just kept telling me there was nothing we could do but wait. I wish she would have checked my progesterone looking back now. I also wish I had asked for a sonogram to make sure everything is okay.
July 25th 2011: I start spotting. I call the Dr and the nurse tells me not to worry. Spotting is normal, especially if it's brown, which this was. In the next couple of days the spotting starts getting sorta clumpy so I call back. She schedules me for an appointment on August 1st for a sonogram.
July 31st 2011: I wake up in the middle of night gushing bright red blood. I know immediately it's over. :(
August 1st 2011: We go in to have a sonogram. The tech is incredibly rude to us. The Dr. comes in and tells us in a monotone voice without even sitting down that we have had a miscarriage. I can't stop crying even though I knew that was what she would say. She tells me I have already passed most of the tissue and will not need a D and C.
We end up switching doctors in mid August not sure of the exact date. We love our new doctor, who tells us that he is "old school" and prefers that people wait 2-3 cycles before trying again, just to be on the safe side. We agree. Meanwhile it seemed like every single person I knew was announcing a March pregnancy which was when I would have been due. L I remember having to block some people from my news feed because it was just too painful to read their posts.
Labor Day weekend: We get carried away and have unprotected sex.
September 17th: Positive pregnancy test. At this point, I have a bunch of different emotions. I am scared because I haven't even had a period since my miscarriage but I am also hopeful. My sister in law's sister got pregnant right after a miscarriage and had a healthy baby.
End of Septemberish: This time around, I have major symptoms, nausea, throwing up, really sore breasts and major fatigue. I go into to get my HCG checked. It's 1043!!! We are so excited! I never even got that high with my 1st pregnancy. My progesterone is in the normal range, but on the low side of normal so just as precaution my dr. puts me on progesterone supplements. We go back in 48 hrs to see if it doubles and it's 2280, so it more than doubled, which excites us even more.
October 11th 2011: Our first sonogram. We are of course thinking we are going to see our baby. The tech is honest and tells us she sees a gestational sac but no fetal pole. She tries to comfort me by saying that maybe I am not as far along as I think. The doctor is more straight up with us and tells us that the sac is measuring at 7 weeks, there should be a baby at this point. He tells me to come back the following week for another sonogram just to be sure. I also have my HCG checked and its around 32,000, which is should have been higher at 7 weeks. We are absolutely devastated. Even our doctor says he actually had really high hopes for this pregnancy. Not only am I devastated but I am confused. I had no spotting at all and I had waaay more symptoms which usually people say is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. How can this be happening?
October 17th 2011: 2nd sonogram, still no baby. We make an appointment for a D and C for October 19th.
October 19th 2011: I am an emotional wreck. My husband and the sweet anesthesiologist pray with me in the pre-op room. I feel a little more at peace but still very sad. Hubby and I talk and decide that this time, no messing around, we have to have protected sex until I have 3 cycles. We cannot put ourselves through this again. Of course, I am completely panicked also thinking there is something wrong with me. They did testing on the tissue from the D and C and everything comes back clear. Hubby and I decide to genetic testing just to be sure. Both of us come back clear. Praise the Lord. Our doctor tells us now all we have to do is wait. He thinks the first time was just a "fluke" and he thinks the 2nd time it was just "too soon." When he performed the D and C, he said he removed quite a lot of tissue and thinks some may have been leftover from the 1st pregnancy.
The holiday season was a very hard time for us. At first, I had a major pity party for myself. I cried, got mad at people who were pregnant and cried so more. Finally after a long talk with my pastor’s wife, I decided to just give it all to God and just PRAY. I read the story of Hannah and her infertility in the book of Samuel over and over again and meditated over the words. The prayer team at my church prayed for me as well along with our good friends, Jessica and Adam and our families.
November 29th 2012: Period finally comes
January 4th 2012: Period comes. 35 day cycle this time.
February 19th 2012: Period FINALLY comes. I am excited that we finally get to try again but a little scared because my cycle was 45 days this time. I am worried that I am not ovulating regularly and also thinking about high school when my periods were really irregular. My senior year I got on the pill and have been on it ever since. I call the Dr. to ask if I should be worried. He tells me that my cycle is probably still just adjusting from all the crazy changes that have happened in the past year but that he would recommend taking ovulation tests just to be sure I am ovulating. Lucky for me, my mother in law had already bought me FIVE boxes of ovulation tests. (My husband is one of 5 kids, he's the only one who hasn't given them a grandchild yet, can we say pressure?!?!)
March 5th 2012: I ovulate on day 15! We are excited because I ovulated.
March 28th, 2012: Positive pregnancy test. So many emotions at this point. Terrified, happy, scared, excited, nervous.
I go in for testing for my HCG levels and they are normal but again, progesterone is on the low side. The doctor puts me on progesterone supplements. I cannot stress enough to people that have been having miscarriages, make sure your doctor is checking your progesterone. My first doctor didn’t even bother to check. All she was worried about was my HCG levels. Looking back, I really wish I had demanded a sonogram sooner with my first pregnancy knowing my levels were so low. I would have rather found out sooner than later.
4-19-13: We go in for our sonogram. I am so nervous. To make matters worse, when we pull up at the doctor’s office, there is an ambulance and police car in the parking lot. Someone had gotten run over! Nick and I pray for our baby but also for the elderly man who was hit. I am a ball of nerves at this time. We go inside and we didn't have to wait long surprisingly before the sonogram tech called us back. She spread the gel on my belly and immediately said "ohhh yes, there is someone in there!" and then I heard the sweetest sound ever, the heartbeat of our baby! I cried! The heartbeat was nice and strong, 159 BPM. We got a video of the heartbeat and I listened to it over and over again. On June 28th, we found out were having a baby girl. We decided on the name Kennedy Hannah. Kennedy is a family name and I picked Hannah from the story in the bible that helped me restore my faith that yes, I would be a mommy one day. On 11-28-12, our sweet, wide eyed baby girl was born at 7:39 pm. The number 28 will always be a lucky number for me. I found out I was pregnant on March 28th, found out our baby was a girl on June 28th and she was born on November 28th , when I was 28 years old! She was 6 lbs 6 oz and had a head full of dark hair. I can’t even find the words to describe the feeling of holding her for the first time. I have never loved someone so strongly.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. How is this infertility? Yes, I have been blessed that I was able to get pregnant very easily, however, the struggle for me turned out to be keeping the baby. A co-worker of mine told me I had no idea what infertility was like. It took her 19 months to get pregnant and she has PCOS. She has never had a miscarriage. She really hurt my feelings when she said that. I am not trying to say that my situation was worse. However, I was attached to those two babies the minute I saw that 2nd line on the stick. The love I had for them was instant. The feeling when you find out they are gone really feels like losing a loved one. I think there are different types of infertility and having multiple miscarriages is one.
Here is my advice for people who may be going through similar situations
*Pray, pray, pray. Everything is better with prayer. Read the bible. Ask people close to you to pray as well.
*Get your progesterone checked!
*If your HCG is low, ask for a sonogram. You can look up normal HCG levels online. The most important thing is that your HCG levels should be doubling every 48 hrs.
*If you feel like something’s not right, be assertive! I wish I had stepped up more with my first pregnancy. I felt like since it was my first time, I should just sit back and do whatever they said. I had a very insensitive doctor and she and her nurse kept trying to sugar coat everything and tell me it was okay. I had a bad feeling it wasn’t, things I was reading online said it wasn’t and guess what, it wasn’t!
*If you have already had a miscarriage, wait 3 cycles before trying again! I know a few people that have been blessed to get pregnant after not even having a cycle or after 1 cycle. However, I really think you need to give yourself time to heal, mentally and physically.
Having two miscarriages was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. However, it made me appreciate being able to get pregnant and have a baby so much more. It also made me realize that God is in control, not me. I will always have a special place in my heart for people who are struggling with infertility. Please know, I am praying for you even if I don’t know you. Every night I pray for women who are struggling with this. Don’t give up. Keep praying. If there is anyone who can make it happen for you its God. He did it for me and he can do it for you too. I have faith.
*A big thanks to Maddie for letting me share my story and for recognizing that there are many forms of infertility!
Thanks so much for sharing your story today, Carol. And yes, there are so many ways to experience infertility. When your heart longs for a baby and your arms remain empty...I am pretty sure that qualifies...
But what a beautiful baby you have now!