Monthly Archives: January 2014

Highs & the Lows of The Week

Oh, what a week it’s been.

The week started off with finding out that hubby may be getting laid off from his job. Yikes! We had heard that his company was making 5% cuts to the workforce, then 15% to his particular work group. That was Monday. He told me this during a quick dinner at home before he had to run off to his men’s group at church. After he left I felt some anxiety over the situation, so I did two things: I emailed my older sister and asked her to start praying and then I did the same. And almost immediately, the Lord gave me peace. I could tell the Lord was doing something good through this, like working some sort of self-reliance and sin out of my heart. We waited to hear more about the job situation.

My mom came over Tuesday for a visit and what a wonderful day it was! I wasn’t feeling great but was well enough to do some little things. She bought me some flowers for my front yard which she planted, and pruned away all the “mostly” dead plants that never got any TLC during the cold weeks we had back in December. I love beauty, and I love flowers! Even just a few colorful flowers really brings a smile to my face. My mom also worked on crocheting a hat for our son that matched exactly the outfit I have picked out for his homecoming from the hospital. Best of all, I really enjoyed our conversation and distraction from pain. Her visit was such a blessing. She even brought me a mocha!

Now for the lows of the week– I just wrote out some very long paragraphs describing what that was like and decided that it was way too verbose and a little boring to read about. So I will summarize and just give you the main points:

– I came down with intense upper abdominal pain with pain radiating to my mid-upper back on Tuesday afternoon, just a few short hours after my mom left from her visit.

-The pain worsened for several hours and I went to L&D the following evening after barely eating or sleeping in 28 hours. I had hedged my bets that I was either experiencing a gall bladder attack of some sort of gastritis. I’ve had gastritis in the past, however, and it felt nothing like this. But if there’s anything I’ve learned so far, it’s that pregnancy changes pain locations and intensity.

-The L&D doctor offered me IV fluids and morphine. I politely declined the IV (since I could swallow and wasn’t feeling nauseous) and asked for Tylenol with codeine instead of morphine. He agreed. Labs then came back saying that my liver and gall bladder looked just fine.

-The doctor sent me home saying that it was probably a “gall bladder spasm” and that there was nothing much else to be done. {Insert Sigh.}

-In the morning, after barely sleeping due to pain, I got up and ate some breakfast and drank some fluids. An hour later I nearly fainted. I called my OB and she ordered me an ultrasound that day for my liver/gall bladder/right kidney. Thankfully, because hubby was slammed at work with 5 meetings, my dad offered to come over and hang out with me. I rest a lot on the couch while we chatted. While I took a nap, he looked at our car which may have a head gasket problem. He then drove me to my ultrasound appointment, which was a huge blessing.

-My OB called 2 hours later and told me that my ultrasound results were, once again, *perfect.* Which is great news! (And also extremely frustrating and also confusing.) She told me that it was probably just acute gastritis. It doesn’t add up in my mind, as eating/not eating didn’t seem to affect the pain level and I didn’t have any nausea or heartburn. At the same time, the pain was lessening at that point… which definitely helped my frame of mind and level of frustration.

And now– back to the highs for the week: This morning I woke up feeling tons better. Still some upper abdominal pain but nothing compared to what it was. And I had some energy, too! I even met up with my coworker who gave me several nice baby items that she wasn’t using anymore– including a car seat, stroller, breast pump (the really nice kind!), and a soft infant seat. Talk about awesome!

Best of all, my husband texted me saying that he was going to be transferred to another department at work doing software instead of hardware (software is his true love and we’ve praying for an opportunity like this for quite a while). Additionally, he found out that the new department he’s transferring to is extremely unlikely to have any layoffs! Hooray!

So there you have it. A roller coaster of a week. But ending on a such high note! Thank you Jesus!

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Unique & Special: A Saga About Sisters, Part 2

You may have read one of my previous posts, which pertains to my older sister but also to sisterhood in general. With all three of my sisters in the same state this past year, the gift of having sisters has been on my mind much these days. Just like marriage or having children, you can see the beauty of a God-given thing like family when all involved are striving to walk with Jesus. Oh, what a difference does that make! Sin easy entangles, but when sin is rejected consistently, relationships on this Earth can be so wonderful. Such has been the case in the relationships I have with my sisters.

Which brings me to my second youngest sister — my sister who will never read this, who will never understand exactly what the words on this page mean, because she was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder, Trisomy 14.

Many people often ask me, “So what does a disorder like Trisomy 14 actually look like?”

If I could sum it up briefly, I would say that cognitively she ranges anywhere from a 2 year old to a first grader. She is extremely sensitive to light and sound. Physically, most babies born with Trisomy 14 have numerous cardiac problems but she was thankfully spared from this, although whenever she has let me listen to her heart rhythm with my stethoscope I have always noticed that her heart rate was a little too high (borderline tachycardic). Stature wise, she’s pretty short and one half of her body is longer/bigger than the other side. The difference in leg length (which was about 3 inches) caused a major problem until she had surgery on the knee of her longer side to stop the growth on that side. If you have the time or inclination, you can read a little bit more about my sister’s genetic disorder here.

Circa 1987.

Circa 1987. I think somebody must have fallen and bonked her nose!

My sister is incredibly unique — and a lot of people, even people who have known her for many years, are often baffled by her. On the outside she appears to be capable of acting somewhat mature: She may ask you how you’re feeling, or why you look tired. She may notice that you got new shoes, or that you got a haircut. She might tell you that her bus broke down on the way home from her adult day program. She’ll notice if you sound like you’re sick. She can keep up a semi-coherent conversation with you. But then she may suddenly turn into a demanding two year old when she sees that you’re touching her ipod or if she thinks you’re being mean to her (which is something that she frequently misinterprets). She might very well scream at you, and if you’re thinking she’s much more mature than that, it can be quite shocking. Lastly, if you interfere with her schedule, watch out! She is a lover of routine, and thrives in knowing exactly what to expect. Change is hard for her.

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My relationship with my sister is pretty one-sided much of the time. And yet I love her so much. I give the Lord credit for the deep love I have for this sister of mine. She is who she is– wonderful, difficult, unpredictable, gregarious, loving, easily upset… and I accept her as such. I don’t let her get her way all the time if I can help it. She and I have always been close, since we were really little. She was easier-going back then and we always had a great time playing together (which translates to me constantly picking her up and swinging her around!)

What a cutie! She's 3 years old, and still not walking.

What a cutie! She’s 3 years old here. Still learning to walk.

That being said, I’m not her primary caretaker. My parents are. I am not the one to help her shower, or to make her meals, or to tell her for the millionth time to stop hugging strangers. As beautiful and as unique as she is, I also see the constant need for correction and instruction wearing my parents down. They’ve been at it for 28 years with her. It’s a battle knowing which things to just completely avoid (such as taking her to a really busy or loud event that might overstimulate her). And… if you can imagine parenting your two year old– year after year, with little improvement or growth, you can just imagine the weariness my parents experience. And yet I see them continue to pursue what is best for her, even though they are often exhausted. My parents’ perseverance  impresses me. Their task is not easy, and it is not short. But they press on.

Being a goofball.

Being a goofball.

There are incredibly hard days which turn into hard weeks and even months. Weariness aside, my mom has often told me that my little sister has been very, very good for our family. She’s absolutely right. My sister is an extraordinary, most wonderful gem. Her unique situation has caused all of us family members to grow in unexpected ways. We are often pushed to our limits by her. We are brought more quickly to joy and laughter by her. And lastly, we are hugged and loved more by her than anyone else! She will make us want to cry in frustration and simultaneously shake our heads in amusement, and we love her for it.

Lastly, if you have a disabled child, you probably understand and face many of the same challenges that my family faces. You know what it’s like to not be able to always go to church or to take a family vacation. You get it when I say that one little change in your child’s routine wrecks the entire day. But it is for those of you who have never known what’s it’s like to live with or parent a disabled child that I write this blog post. To shed some light and to facilitate understanding. We are occasionally met with disapproving glances from others who know nothing of the situation, and it’s hard given the daily grind of parenting a child who will never fly from the nest. Please, I beg of you, give grace to those families you know with disabled children– to the mother who’s disabled son just ran up to you in the grocery store and invaded your personal space, or to the girl who looks like she’s twenty-something but is throwing a temper tantrum at Disneyland for no apparent reason. It is more challenging and wearying than what often meets the eye.

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Infertility Turned Pregnancy Blogs

Over the past few days I have been mulling over infertility, infertility blogs and infertility-turned-pregnancy blogs. I’ve read a bit here and there that some women are irritated by blogs that are initially geared toward infertility that eventually turn into pregnancy blogs. For some who are still experiencing painful infertility, such blogs give them hope. But for others, it’s as painful as attending a close friend’s baby shower or the news that your younger sister is pregnant… again. And so I have been thinking a bit about my own blog and my dilemma of not wanting to be insensitive and hurtful, yet wanting so badly to share my story so that others will cling to the same HOPE that I clung to while in the throes of infertility.

My blog was initially supposed to be an adoption blog. Mix in some infertility blogging in there too. And IVF. (I hardly blogged about IVF because I had such little faith that God would allow it to work.) Oh wait… God had other plans! So now my blog is an adoption-turned-infertility-turned infertility treatment- turned-pregnancy blog. Talk about a major change in plans! I don’t apologize for this becoming a pregnancy blog now, because I honestly had no idea I would be sitting here pregnant and in my third trimester. I really thought that if we ever got to have children, every single one of them would be adopted. And I thought that my endometriosis would have crippled my body far too much to even think about infertility treatments, let alone getting pregnant. My goals were to exist without having to have surgeries every 8 months, and to survive the pain of not raising children when I so strongly felt like that was exactly what God had called me to do.

I have friends who are currently treading the murky waters of infertility. Where every month that passes with another negative pregnancy test results in more sadness. And there is a general question as to which direction to turn–to keep waiting and trying? To try IVF? Or adopt? What is the best path to take and how can further heartache be avoided? It hurts my heart to watch it. I’ve been there. I know the ache and bone-deep desire to be a mother all too well. Tonight I came across some helpful, loving words for those who are struggling with infertility on another gal’s blog. Her points could not be better expressed. Please take minute to read, and to be encouraged if this is your battle today: http://redeeminginfertility.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/10-things-i-wish-someone-had-told-me-about-infertility/

None of us know what the future holds. My story is living proof of that! If your situation is bleak, if there seems to be no end to negative pregnancy tests, infertility treatments or to painfully prolonged adoptions, please keep trusting God. Refuse to give in to bitterness and despondency. There are many who will not understand your situation and who will ask you hurtful questions (“So why don’t you have children yet?”), and you know what? Praise God that they don’t get it, because it’s a hardship they have completely gotten to bypass. They may be enduring hardships in another vein that you know nothing about. But there are many of us who do understand, who have walked the same path. And although everyone’s situation is unique, the pain is not. So let others pray over you and love you through it. Don’t hide it or shrink away, because God gave us the Body of Christ to help shoulder each other’s burdens. I have many friends who helped shoulder mine, but that wouldn’t have happened much if I wasn’t willing to share my struggle with them in the first place. Being transparent can be scary but I think you’ll find it ultimately freeing.

Lastly, let God know you are trusting Him to heal your wounds. One day, He will. And keep trusting Him through the fiercest temptation to despair. He will carry you through it.

If I can be praying for you, please let me know!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Infertility, Pregnancy

The Mini Pill & The Mega Planner

I’m a planner. I love to think about the future and the different possibilities of what it may look like, and prepare for it. It’s pretty ridiculous to some people, and smart to others. It’s the way I like to function, if I can at all help it. Spontaneity is definitely not my thing (which is something I share at the risk of looking like a complete stick in the mud!). But it’s true. Thankfully, hubby doesn’t seem to mind too much as he is very analytical in nature.

Which is why, even though I am only 33 weeks along (at least I will be tomorrow–I like to round up), I am already considering the period between when I have the baby and when our next embryo transfer will take place. For most women who have given birth and breast feed, their periods don’t return until they stop breast feeding. But that is not always the case. I’ve heard of some women getting their periods just two months after giving birth, even though they are solely breast feeding their baby.

Although I have no idea what my body will do when the time comes, this is a concern of mine. If I am having a period, then I am risking getting another endometrioma and needing surgery. The very last possible time when I want to have to surgery is when I am caring for a newborn! Not only that, but surgery means more scar tissue and another rough go with pain if I ever get pregnant again.

I talked with hubby the other night about my concerns. I told him that one of my limited options was to take the “mini pill” (progesterone only) after I have the baby. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: So, I could possibly go on the mini pill after I have the baby.

Him: What’s the mini pill? That’s the same as birth control?

Me: Sort of, except without the estrogen.

Him: (Frowning now) I don’t know… even though you’ve had some mood swings being pregnant, it’s been really nice to have you off of birth control.

Me: What do you mean?

Him: Well, you’re a whole lot less hostile when you’re not on birth control!

Me: (Stunned) Wow. Oh, wow… Okay, well, that’s something to definitely consider.

So we have some time to pray about these things. My husband doesn’t want a hostile wife, and I don’t want to be that wife! But I don’t want surgery either- and neither does he.

I’m realizing that sometimes life comes to this– there doesn’t appear to be any “great” options on the table and we must ask and trust the Lord through it. Actually, when it has come to dealing with endometriosis, it has seemed that there has never been any “great” options on the table. And yet, here I am– miraculously pregnant, in spite of stage 4 endometriosis, and after thinking several times that the best route for me to take was to have a hysterectomy. I can only thank the Lord for that, and remember how He has made beauty out of ashes in my life. I can trust Him for my future.

So there you have it. More insomniac 5 am ponderings from me. 🙂

On a completely new note, our fridge is fixed! Hubby was able to fix it with an inexpensive part. We are so thankful to the Lord for this! I am really enjoying not living out of ice chests anymore. I’m praying for a similar miracle for the leaking head gasket in our car. I would say that I don’t know for sure that it’s leaking, except for the fact that I can smell burning oil every time I get out of the car after driving it. Definitely not a good sign, but as a good friend reminded me the other day, anything is possible with our God.

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32 weeks 4 days

Just wanted to share a picture of my bowling ball!
Struggling with lots of pain today but I will be term (37 weeks) in just 30 days!!
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Seven Glorious Days

Insomnia strikes again! Usually I’m up at 3 am but I guess after taking two mini naps during the day I had a bit of a hard time falling asleep (I know, not exactly rocket science to figure that one out).

I have to report that I had SEVEN wonderful days, mostly all pain-free! It was like human life and energy re-inhabited my body again and I started dreaming up all kinds of new things to do. I cooked and cleaned, went places, did some shopping, completely organized the baby’s room, and even tried to work (but I wasn’t needed for the shift I signed up for so I got cancelled). It was lovely. I am so incredibly thankful!

Today I had a routine appointment with my OB and she was thrilled to hear that I had been feeling better. When I told her I was hoping to return to work again, her eyebrow went up and she gave me a concerned look. She discouraged me from working and told me that the baby was in a good position now but that he could move at any time and I might be right back to where I started. Hmm. I hadn’t really thought that would be the case. We talked a bit more about it and I told her I would really consider her advice.

I came home from my appointment to discover that our refrigerator and freezer weren’t working. So I spent most of the afternoon dealing with that–  transferring all our freezer items to our chest freezer in the garage (thank goodness we have that chest freezer!). I wasn’t sure if the fridge was broken at that point too so I ran to the store and bought a refrigerator thermometer. And for some reason, at that point I was feeling pretty lousy. My belly was seriously hurting. I realized too that I felt utterly exhausted, so I took a nap. Woke up a little bit later and ate some food and checked the thermometer in the fridge. 46F. Kind of warm. I thought about running to the store again to grab some ice (so I could transfer all our food into an ice chest) but I still felt crummy so again I took another nap! At 6pm we had a Late Pregnancy class at the hospital which included a tour of the labor and delivery and postpartum units. It was helpful, but I was disappointed to hear that they will be transferring me to a postpartum room as little as one hour after giving birth. Talk about in and out! After we got home we discovered that the fridge had not miraculously healed itself and the temperature was now 52F. So my very tired hubby ran out to get some ice and we transferred everything from the fridge to ice chests. Broken appliances are a time sucker (not to mention a money sucker). We are praying that our 15 year old fridge is only ‘mostly’ dead and not ‘completely’ dead.

With me not working, we are working hard to scrimp and save and live by a very strict budget. My husband is an excellent provider, and in the past few months we have been focusing on saving for unforeseen expenses as well as known expenses. That way, if something major breaks, it won’t kill us! But what that means is that it leaves quite a bit less to live on if I’m not working. We had been given the recent news that the head gasket in my car is reportedly leaking and could blow at any time, and now our fridge is broken. I had been hoping I would be back to work soon but today as I lay in bed with the heating pad on my belly I realized that wouldn’t be happening either. The pain has returned. I’m ashamed to admit that I cried, because it showed not only that I was hoping in my own ability to work and help cover some of these expenses (instead of asking the Lord for it) but it also shows an ungrateful heart for the past seven wonderful days where I felt so much better. Thankfully, at that point my husband and I prayed together and asked the Lord to provide, and to help us to put our hope in Him and not in either of our abilities to work. I felt so much better after we prayed. These are stretching times, but good times. I know I’m learning to trust the Lord in new ways and that is always a good thing. I’m also learning to live without things I always thought I needed, and I’m discovering just how freeing that can be!

So the pain is back but who knows, maybe it won’t be as bad this time around? My friend texted me these verses below today. What a timely reminder that hardships are always worth it.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”                       Romans 5:3-5

And now I just have to share some pictures from my baby shower last weekend. My mother in law, Cheryl, did such a lovely job! The theme was Peter Rabbit. My sister in law also helped plan the event but she was sick that day and couldn’t make it. 😦

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Unfortunately we didn’t get a group photo until after a lot of people had to leave! But here are many of my good friends and family… what a blessing to be surrounded by people I love!

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My mom on the left and my mother in law on the right. I am incredibly blessed by these two women!

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This was the dessert! Yummy!

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This gift made me cry. My dear friend Terri has prayed faithfully for me for a long time– even back when I was having my very first surgery for endometriosis. She has encouraged me so much along our infertility journey, and she gave me this wonderful wall hanging which couldn’t be more true!

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This giant picture of Peter Rabbit was perfect!

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Lastly, I realized I never posted any pictures from my first baby shower, which was back in November when I was only 23 weeks along. My mom and sisters hosted a smaller shower during that time so my sister (who was visiting from overseas) could be a part of it. The theme was “Something Special is Growing!”

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Each person got a plant to take home with them to represent our growing baby and God’s faithfulness.

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My older sister did a devotion with the group and shared our story for those who didn’t know all the details. Most importantly, she gave glory and honor to God for our little miracle!

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Opening gifts!

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Can’t leave out the food!

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An Odd Day, Yet Full Of Mercy

Dear friends and readers of this blog,

I just want to thank you all for your prayers. I HAD A PAIN-FREE DAY TODAY! It’s been a really long time since this happened, and I am thanking the Lord for this reprieve! Thank you so much for praying on my behalf. I am almost giddy at the possibility of continuing to be pain free, yet preparing to not be crushed if that is not the case when I wake up tomorrow morning.

On another note, I did notice that I felt much less movement from our little guy today. Usually I don’t even bother to do kick counts, because I can feel him constantly moving–about ten times in two minutes (or less). He’s been an active guy all along with no exceptions. Until today. So this morning I followed the kick count rules–drank a large glass of water and ate something sweet– and actually counted… ten kicks in forty minutes. Okay. A big change from his usual two minute mark. But at least it was under an hour, which is the criteria for normal fetal movement. I went about my day (yes, I actually did stuff today because I felt decent!) but then later on in the afternoon I kept noticing that I wasn’t feeling him moving much. So there I went again–lying still while doing more kick counting. This time, ten kicks in 28 minutes. I could only feel him kicking with my hand on my belly, and not from the inside like I usually can. “Hmm,” I thought, “What’s up with this?”

I called my mom to tell her my big news of not hurting today. I knew she’d be thrilled to hear it. “But,” I told her, “I haven’t been feeling the baby move as much today…” We discussed various possibilities of what could be causing that (moms are good at that) and after hanging up the phone with her, I decided to pull out my stethoscope and was delighted to pick up the baby’s heart beat right away. It was 156, his norm. He had the hiccups then and so I was able to actually feel him moving quite a bit during that time. But overall it seems like he’s been much quieter today.

So it was a bit of a strange day– on one hand by feeling so much better, yet on another not being able to feel the baby move as much. I wonder if he moved positions, which alleviated my pain but hampered my ability to feel him move as much (or his ability to move as much)? Maybe there is less room for him to move now? Either way, I’ll be keeping an eye on it, and let my OB know tomorrow if it keeps up.

Meanwhile I am rejoicing in His mercies placed over me today, and for feeling better for the first time in weeks!

 

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The Baby Craze

The baby-craze. Anyone else experiencing this? Just take a quick stroll through Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby and you will see that I mean. Entire stores filled from floor to ceiling with any and everything baby-related. At this stage in the game, with less than nine weeks to go, my mind is filled with getting prepared for the arrival of our son. Being a first time parent has left me wondering what I will really need. There is so much out there and everyone has a different opinion and advice to give. And so I wonder: Will I really need that swing, chair, Bumbo (which I didn’t even know existed until 6 months ago), Moby wrap, Ergo backpack, and that Kelty backpack frame as well? Will I need two strollers, one for jogging and one for trips to the store? Will I need those multiple diaper changing covers and Boppies? Is that wipe warmer really necessary? What about a humidifier? And the obvious answer is that I have no idea. I can sort of guess. But how do I pick and choose and spend resources wisely?

I think back to my sister who raised three babies with only a port-a-crib– no ‘real’ crib and no changing table. They did have a few baby items, but they were missionaries in training and were always on the move; they had neither the space nor the finances for elaborate items. And their babies did just fine. In fact they are three wonderful boys now, a real treasure and joy to not only their parents but to us as well.

I believe that the craze over baby items comes from a little place in our hearts, a place called fear. We all know (and are constantly reminded) that having an baby is hard, really hard (and if it isn’t, just wait–someone will inevitably tell you that your next baby will be a real terror). I’ve had countless warnings about how little sleep I will be getting and how my hormones will be completely messed up. Basically what I translated this to mean was: “You will be an absolute wreck!” I’m not denying I won’t be somewhat of a wreck. I’m sure it’s more or less true. But what I realized was that out of that belief I started to worry that hubby and I would somehow just barely survive it and we wouldn’t enjoy it as much as we wanted to. And so the desire to eliminate struggle and hardship was growing out of proportion. I looked for solutions, for anything that would make the transition a little easier. And just like that fear crept in. How benign it looked and sounded — “I just need this to make life a little easier!” But really I was transferring my trust in the Lord to idols. Baby-things idols.

So I am trying to be wise about the baby-craze. To put it in the Lord’s hands and to not worry about it. Sure, I may be a walking zombie when the baby comes. But we’ll get through it, and hopefully we’ll also really enjoy it! For now, I have to admit, getting ready for a new baby is really fun. I have loved my times of organizing the nursery, washing new/borrowed baby clothes, constructing Ikea drawers and folding blankets. It’s really a treat. The nursery used to be the saddest room in the house for me because I didn’t know if it would ever by used, and now it has transformed into my favorite room in the house. What a blessing!

Before I forget, here I am at 31 weeks. My OB tells me I won’t be having a little baby!

31 weeks, 1 day.

31 weeks, 1 day.

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The Myth About Endometriosis & Pregnancy

It’s 3 am. I woke up after wincing in pain too many times after trying to roll over in bed. So now I’m awake and doing further research on endometriosis and adhesions, particularly in pregnancy.

There’s a lot to be found on the subject of endometriosis when it comes to pregnancy. Everywhere you look you will read “Be free from endometriosis pain while pregnant!” and every doctor will tell you “Pregnancy is the only temporary cure for Endometriosis!” I feel completely frustrated with this. And as I’ve discovered first hand, it’s simply just not true. I know I’m not the only one out there who’s dealing with worse endometriosis and adhesion symptoms while pregnant than not. Not that knowing the correct information would have changed our decision to go through IVF– believe it or not I’d go through even a lot more to have children. But I was completely blind sided by the pain. It would have been nice to have been able to prepare mentally and physically for the challenges I am facing today.

Wednesday night I hit a low point. When I say low point, I mean too many hours and days of intense pain with no relief. It happens sometimes. I emailed my OB and just let her know that the pain had been pretty bad for about a month (my last  appointment had been with the nurse practitioner, so I figured my OB didn’t know about it). I wasn’t having any new symptoms, but I was at my wit’s end with the unrelenting pain. I sat at the table after dinner and started to cry as I typed out the email to her. So tired of sending these emails, which all basically say the same thing… “still hurting!” (If I were an OB, I’d let out a loud sigh when emails like mine came in.) I expected a response from her the next day but didn’t expect that she’d want to see me right away. I went in that day at 2 pm. She did an ultrasound to check my cervix (still fine) and did a NST (no contractions, and baby did great). Those things were a relief. I was glad to hear that all this pain doesn’t seem to be affecting the baby one bit.

Next we discussed options for this unending pain. (If I could describe the pain, I would say two things, first: Imagine (if you are a girl) you are about to start your period, but it is unusually painful with cramping. This is how most of my periods were before getting pregnant. Pretty miserable. Second: Sharp stabbing pain in various places, usually on my cervix and on my bladder.) Initially my OB suggested stronger pain meds, which I refused. I told her I’d have to be dying on the floor to take those. She then suggested Flexiril (a muscle relaxant) but I was hesitant to take that too, even though it’s a category B drug. I’m not sure how much of what I’m having is actually a muscle problem, and my OB suggested as much. She said it may or may not help. I decided to keep listening to see what else she recommended. She suggested a maternity belt and a heating pad, and I agreed to try those. Lastly, she suggested I take Protonix for the acid reflux I’d been dealing with over the past few weeks. I’d tried all kinds of different things to help with the heartburn and reflux but the fact of the matter was that I was having to stay up until 1 am every night in order to give my smallish dinner several hours to “settle” before lying down and going to sleep. Even then, my throat was becoming sore from the stomach acid not staying put where it should be.

I came home from my appointment and my sister called from overseas to see how my appointment went. I started to cry (again) as I told her I had agreed to take the Protonix and how hard I had tried to stay as ‘medicine’ free as possible while pregnant. I felt like a failure. She literally started to laugh and said, “Em, don’t listen to lies! You can’t be staying up every night until 1 am to wait for your food to settle. You needed to change something to be able to manage.” I paused to think about what she said. She was right. She prayed with me and when we hung up I felt infinitely better. Sometimes my sister really knows the right thing to say at the right time.

So, now it’s almost 4 am and I am still hurting, still wondering what exactly my insides could look like to be causing all this pain, but at least I don’t have acid reflux anymore! My OB said the pain would probably only worsen until I go into labor with this little boy. Not exactly encouraging news, but I’m glad she told me that because I don’t want to be in denial about these things. I’m praying often that I can make it to my due date without having to be induced or have a c-section because I can’t walk or function anymore from the pain. And if I can’t make it, well… I’ll have to remember that I did my best. I always thought I could tough out any level of pain to keep my baby growing a little longer but now I realize just how much pain wears you down. And it scares me. So I really need your prayers to help me make it as long as possible!

And… if you are a faithful reader of my blog, thanks so much. I admit that I feel like a broken record right now. There are so many other things in life which are far more interesting than the pain I’ve been living with these past months. It’s pretty boring if you ask me. So thanks for sticking with me.

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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain, Pregnancy

Let Us Draw Near

Chronic pain is a tough one. Every day is a challenge — a monumental task at times to get a single errand run or to choose to not fall into despair. Often times the later is harder for me than the former. I feel like a complete wimp for acknowledging it, but I do get frustrated. I wish I had a natural dispensation to “look on the bright side” but I don’t; rather it is a discipline for me. It is a choice I must make when faced with sheer disappointment, over and over again.

For the time being I have given up on working altogether. The pain is too steady and often times very sharp and stabbing. I couldn’t imagine trying to work while occasionally doubling over in pain! How embarrassing! My mom encouraged me to wait until I had 2-3 “good days” in a row where I experienced less pain before heading back to work. Only trouble is, it hasn’t happened yet! So we are buckling down on our budget and I am trying to make the most of this time. Even with the steady pain, I’m beyond excited to meet our little boy.

I’ve been pondering the correlation between fear and pain lately, and how crippling fear often makes pain worse. I know this has been true for me, especially when I have a new area of pain that I can’t immediately explain or diagnose. It’s hard not to focus (okay, maybe obsess!) on the pain until it’s been figured out. Furthermore, fear is kindled by the question of “how long will this pain last? Will it be for a moment? A day? A month, maybe?” Lastly, kerosene is added to the anxious thoughts when we start to wonder if we will have to live with the pain forever. Trust me, it’s not a good place to be, and by this time the sensation of pain is often times blown out of proportion. At this point, we can choose to either despair or to allow the anxious thoughts to be put to rest by the Holy Spirit who assuredly reminds us that no matter what hardships we face, we will not meet them alone but by His strength and power. Without this reassurance, I have found it’s pretty hard to not spin out of control emotionally and find yourself in self pity and despair. I’ve had lots of practice at this, and yet I find myself still failing at times to look to Christ and to ask Him for help in trusting Him.

And trust Him we must. When the anxiety creeps in again, we must again choose to believe that He is good and faithful and will see us through any hardship He allows us to face.

This passage from Hebrews 4:15-16 has encouraged me again and again:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

This, my friends, is what this blog is all about. Whether going through infertility, or muddling our way through adoption, living through the uncertainties of surgeries and then IVF, and now pregnancy and chronic pain– I am encouraged to draw near to our perfect and holy God (take a moment to ponder just how preposterous that statement is). A God who understands because He suffered too. Just being in His presence is enough, but instead He chooses to give us mercy and grace by calling us His own.

And so on days like today, where I look back over the weeks and can’t remember a day where I haven’t been hurting a lot, I choose to not despair. I choose not to be anxious about these next ten weeks of pregnancy, or even how long I will be suffering the consequences of having stage 4 endometriosis. Instead I choose Christ, who suffered far greater than I, who shouldered all my sins and who lovingly allows me grace even though I don’t deserve it.

His mercies are new every morning, and I can only wonder what they will look like tomorrow!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pain, Pregnancy