Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Don't Know Why

Sometimes I find myself wondering about why things have gone the way they have on my fertility journey. Not that it's necessarily important for me to know all of the "whys" and such, but I can't help but wonder, you know?

I don't know why the years that I thought would be my young, child-bearing years (namely, my twenties) were fraught with so much difficulty. I never imagined that almost that entire decade of my life would be spent searching for answers and wondering why I couldn't carry a baby full-term. I don't know why, but my faith, my ability to hope, and my resolve were tested in ways that I'll never forget. I saw six positive pregnancy tests during those years but never gave birth to a living baby. I still have a lot of scars from that time in my life, both physical and emotional.

I don't know why, during that time, we had a few doctors who gave up on us. One fertility specialist shook her head in disbelief when an ultrasound revealed that our baby had died in the womb at 9 weeks. It was our fourth pregnancy and it had been going well. She said she didn't know how to help us anymore. Another doctor, my ob/gyn at the time, told me (over the phone, no less) that she didn't think I would ever have a biological child.

I was reading a novel recently where one of the characters was talking about an aunt and uncle who had never had children. She described them as having a closeness that only barren couples seem to have. I don't know why, but we were that couple. My husband became my best friend during those years, and the trial of recurrent pregnancy loss brought us together in a way that I don't think anything else could have. For all we knew, we were facing a future together, just the two of us, that may not ever include children. I think we both deeply felt that somehow, someday we would become parents, but there were many years of uncertainty. I do feel fortunate now, looking back, that we had 12 years of marriage together before our daughter arrived. During those years we grew and changed and matured in ways that I hope make us better parents than we might have been a decade ago.

After I turned 30, we faced three years of unexplained infertility. Sure, I was apprehensive about getting pregnant again after all that my twenties had held, but we had begun to hope again and were forced to wait. And I don't know why, after the waiting was over, our seventh pregnancy made it to the second trimester and then the third, and resulted in the birth of our precious daughter. The Lord changed my story in 2010, when I was 33 years old. I don't know why that was the right time, but I'm so thankful that it happened.

And now we are in the early stages of pregnancy number eight. I struggled with whether or not to write about it here before reminding myself that that's what this blog is for. It's really the only place I feel most comfortable sharing my deepest fears and my unbridled hopes. This is always, always a scary time for me. I'm asking you to walk with me again, if you're willing. Will you wait with me and pray for me? Will you pray with me that this baby will survive and hope with me that, instead of being our seventh in heaven, this will be our second baby on earth?

The details are that I got a positive pregnancy test on Sunday, March 25. I went in for blood work the following Tuesday, March 27. My beta level was 1384, so we had our first ultrasound scheduled for Thursday, March 29. We were able to see a gestational sac and it measured normally for 5 weeks, 1 day. My estimated due date is November 27, 2012. We will have another ultrasound in two weeks, on April 12. I'm hoping with all my heart that we will see a tiny baby with a healthy heartbeat.

We are a bit surprised, but very happy and very nervous. The fact that our most recent pregnancy was successful gives us a boost of confidence, but we know that each pregnancy is unique and different. We know there are no guarantees. We are not remotely ready to make any announcements, so please if you know me in real life or are my facebook friend, please keep this to yourself and don't share it with anyone else until we are comfortable enough to make it more public. Thanks for being understanding and for choosing to walk beside us again. I hope you know how much it means to us to have your support and prayers!

I don't know why we've been given another chance at this, but (deep breath)... here we are.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

18 Months

I know I've been off the radar lately when it comes to blogging. Sure, things have been busy as always, but I think I've been away mainly because I've been spending most of my free time reading books. Lots and lots of them! On top of that, we've had nice springtime weather and I have a little girl who has rediscovered how much fun it is to play outside. And so, I haven't found much time for writing or, sadly, reading blogs this month, but I'm going to try to ease back into it slowly but surely.

Since it's been a while, I thought I'd write a (relatively) quick update on Lily since she hit another milestone this month -- turning 18 months old on March 21. Life has been good lately, and I'm realizing what a fun stage we've moved into with our growing toddler. She loves to run and play, especially outdoors, and is such a sweet, joyful girl! It makes me very happy that my girl still loves books. Each and every day we read dozens and dozens of books. She never seems to get tired of it and of course I love holding her in my lap and reading stories. As much fun as we have together during the day, I'm pretty positive that the highlight of Lily's day is around 4:15 PM -- when her daddy gets home. My oh my, you have never seen a happier child in your life!

We just had Lily's 18-month checkup with her pediatrician yesterday, so here are her "stats:" She weighs almost 26 pounds (75th percentile) and is 33 inches tall (90th percentile). Lily recently cut her third molar, which was tooth #11, so her smiles now show a mouth full of pearly whites. She is a healthy, growing girl who loves to eat her fruit and veggies, which makes me so very proud. I was afraid that as Lily got older she might become more and more picky with food, but she is still a wonderful little eater.

Sleep had been a struggle for us for a terribly long time. It seems that we had a pretty good sleeper until she turned 7 or 8 months or so, and then we began to have trouble. Night time routines were generally pretty smooth but Lily would wake up at least two or three times a night and want to be rocked back to sleep or simply held. Nap times were a challenge, too, because she never wanted to be put down. We knew that we needed to make a change, so we began working with Lily a few weeks ago to try to get her to fall asleep (and stay asleep) in her bed. I never dreamed it would have been so hard for me to give up rocking my baby, but it was! I found it much harder than giving up nursing. I knew it was for the best, though, and I'm so happy with where we are now. It may have taken 18 months, but we now have a girl who walks to her room ready to get in her bed after bath, stories, prayers, and cuddles. We put her to bed around 8 PM and we don't hear a peep until around 8 AM. Finally, we have a much happier, well-rested household!

Lily has been trying to say lots of new words lately (at least making an attempt), but the ones we hear most often are: Mama, Dada, hi, uh-oh, oh wow!, oh yeah!, up, all done, all better, banana, night-night. She also knows several animal sounds, but her favorites are bow wow, meow, and moo. Lily still signs "more," "all done," "eat," and "please," and she shakes her finger when I tell her "no, no, no." She occasionally says a few extended family members' names, too, if we've been around them for a weekend or so. Sometimes I worry that there hasn't been a really big language explosion yet, but I know she's doing just fine and is steadily learning new words. It certainly amazes me how much she understands lately.

One of my favorite things to watch her do is hand motions -- to songs like the Itsy-Bitsy Spider or Zacchaeus, or some motions that we've made up to go along with a few of her books. It's too cute, and it's lots of fun to watch her learn.

That's life with our silly, chunky, sweet 18 month old. What a precious and fun age! I'm enjoying it immensely and I'm still so grateful to be her mommy.