Monthly Archives: April 2015

Toddlerhood and 16 Weeks

There’s not a lot happening these days. So far, this pregnancy has been a breeze (minus the subchorionic hematoma) compared to my pregnancy with Josh. I’ll be 16 weeks tomorrow, and I can’t believe how fast it’s going by. I read back on my blog and was shocked to see that I was already starting to have chronic pain by 12 weeks last time. No pain this time around!

Here's my almost 16 week belly. This was a morning shot; it looks a lot bigger by the evening!

Here’s my almost 16 week belly. This was a morning shot; it looks a lot bigger by the evening!

Chasing after Josh has been good for my body in that my back/upper body ¬†is much stronger now. I’m grateful that I can vacuum, move furniture, and carry Josh around with no pain.

I have no idea if things are okay with baby #2, but I think I’ve been feeling flutters and also I have an OB appt tomorrow, so it will be a relief to hear the baby’s heartbeat. My belly’s been growing bigger, so I guess that’s another sign that things are alright. I’ll be glad when I can feel the baby kicking on a regular basis!

Things with Josh have taken a huge turn. My easy going baby has become a defiant and opinionated toddler. He screams when he doesn’t get his way and will occasionally throw himself on the floor in glorious tantrum fashion. There have been some long, trying days– days where anything I do provokes him to a screeching rage. But there are lots of good and fun times with him as well. He’s become a bit more unpredictable as well and sometimes he’ll have a huge meltdown over something that I can’t for the life of me figure the cause. It’s exhausting, fun, wearing and entertaining all at once. There was a day this week I cried tears of frustration when dealing with his 30th tantrum by 6pm, and yet much laughter and joy at seeing him delight in discovering new things.

Wouldn't you believe this adorable little boy had just thrown a tantrum over being put in his car seat? ;)

Would you believe this adorable little boy had just thrown a tantrum over being put in his car seat? (Mommy has learned that snacks go a long way.) ūüėČ

He’s crawling and cruising around everywhere, and just waiting for me to turn my head so that he can get into something that he’s not supposed to be. He’s rather skilled in that area!

I find myself desperate for wisdom and patience these days, and asking God for it often. So many times I have thought about how motherhood has not only taught me a lot about God, but propelled¬†me towards Him like a speeding bullet. I see my desperate need for a Savior in just my flawed parenting alone. So many times I have prayed out loud “Lord, help me… please give me patience for this little boy that I love so much.” What’s so neat is that I see the Lord deliver those fruits of the Spirit that I ask Him for. He has given me patience at times when I was crazy sleep deprived and should have been an impatient grump. But somehow the Spirit enabled me to be otherwise.

So it’s not much, but that’s the news around here. Each phase of life seems to have it’s way of bringing me to my knees.¬†Thankfully I serve this kind of God:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11, ESV

 

 

 

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Filed under Baby, Pain, Pregnancy, Toddler

Mysterious God

In a rare turn of events, we received a huge refund from the IRS this year. My husband claims he did our taxes properly… he’s pretty nerdy and even reads tax books for ‘fun,’ so who am I to second guess him on that? We were pretty sure we just grossly overestimated our tax withholdings the previous year. Which left us with a large sum. We weren’t really sure what we would do with the money. “Hmm…maybe we could save up for a new car when mine dies?” My hubby said. His car did have over 200,000 miles on it. “Or maybe we could save up for a new A/C in case ours goes out?” I suggested, sure that our A/C was over 20 years old. We threw some other boring ideas out there. None of the options were very exciting. For once, we didn’t seem to have a huge pressing need for income (such as needing to buy a new car, replacing the fridge, etc). It felt odd. So we decided to wait before making any decisions. And we prayed about it.

Little did we know we’d be using that tax refund to buy international plane tickets. Less than a week later, I started bleeding and was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma (SCH). My doctor put me on strict bed rest. We weren’t given an exact time on how long it takes these things to heal, but were told that most heal up by 20 weeks. Well, that seemed a bit daunting as I was only 6 weeks along. I did a ton of research and discovered that the majority of women had markedly improved results from bed rest. There seemed to be a direct correlation between activity and bleeding. So I knew I would certainly be taking it easy. The only question was how much time off of work would my husband need? We still had 14 weeks to get to the 20 week point, with that being the worst case scenario. He had maybe 4 weeks of vacation saved up, tops. We weren’t really sure what the best course of action was. Burn up all of his vacation now? Save some for later? What if things got worse later on?

A day after my SCH was discovered, a thought occurred to me. What if my sister, who lived overseas, was able to come help us out for a few weeks? It seems pretty extreme but the fact of the matter was that everyone in our family has a job (which is a good thing!). My parents and my husband’s parents are all still working. Our siblings all have jobs. My sister who lives locally would have been a great help, but she had recently started a new job, making her free time almost non existent. My sister who lives overseas doesn’t have an official fill-out-a-time-card-type-of-job, per say, but she’s a full time missionary, a home schooler of her 3 children, and she does Bible translation and checking, as well as several other duties. I think she is probably busier than anyone I know! At the same time there was no ’employer’ she would need to ask for time off (other than her family). I gave her a call and set forth my proposition to pay for her and one of her three children’s tickets so that they could come out and help me get through bed rest. I knew I was asking a lot of her. At the same time, I know she wanted this baby of ours to make it just as much as we did. She responded to my proposal by saying that she and her husband would pray about it. The next day, they agreed for her to come and they were able to get tickets that same afternoon. The very next day, she and two of her children (they paid for another one of their kids to come) were en route to the U.S.! We were completely amazed at how quickly they were able to obtain tickets (and for an affordable price)!

My sister arrived pretty exhausted and obviously jet lagged, but I cannot fully describe the blessing she was to our family the nearly three weeks she was here (her kids went to visit their Grandma up North for half of the time they were here in the U.S.). She cooked delicious and hearty meals. When I was nauseous (which was about 90% of the time) she merely placed food in front of me –without even asking me if I was hungry– and I discovered that if I didn’t have to think about food, I could eat it. She cleaned, did laundry, prepared leftovers for my husband to grab on his way to work, and made muffins and cookies for the freezer, as well as extra meals. She also played with Josh, took care of him (did I mention that he loved her right off the bat? It was his first time ever meeting her!) and took him on walks every day. Best of all she MADE¬†me stay on the sofa as much as I could stand it (there’s something commanding about older sisters….). In short, she was a total lifesaver. Literally.

A week later, we went in for an ultrasound. The hematoma hadn’t shrunk or grown. It had changed shape a little. Thankfully, the baby had grown a ton in just a week’s time and was almost twice the size from the previous week.

So bed rest ensued. And my sister continued to labor on our behalf (quite cheerfully I might add). We had my husband’s parents over for his dad’s birthday and my sister did all the cooking and cleaning for that. We celebrated Josh’s birthday with a party (invitations went out before the SCH was discovered) and she did a ton to prepare for that as well. By that time my SCH had shrunk to a narrow sliver- long but almost so narrow that it looked like it was almost healed. We were SO encouraged.

A few days after Josh’s party, my sister had to return home with her kids. I went in for another ultrasound not long after she left and this time, the SCH was no where to be found! My OB said I no longer had any restrictions, but I continued to take it easy for another two weeks. I didn’t want the tear, which had so recently healed, to rip open again. For the past week I have been back to regular life and I am starting to believe that the SCH is forever behind me.

And so God used a shockingly large tax refund, a new pregnancy, and a very scary SCH to ordain a special visit with my sister that I don’t expect to have again in my lifetime. My sister and I are very close– and if you could see the massive amount of emails we have written to each other over the years, the hours and hours of phone conversations that have taken place– you would understand what kind of sisterhood friendship I am taking about. My sister lives overseas, and I don’t get to see her much. The separation feels almost crushing to me at times, as much as I am grateful for the work they are doing. And I think the Lord just happened to heap blessings on my head when this SCH happened. What I thought was going to be the beginning of a miscarriage and a despair threatening to delve deeper than what I have probably ever experienced, instead turned into laughter and joy in having my sister nearby for many deep conversations and times of prayers.

I never thought i would be able to thank God for something as scary as having a SCH threatening my baby’s very existence. But I do. I see now how He has used it to bless me– a blessing I will remember my entire life.

God works in mysterious ways, does He not?

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

 

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Another FET = Another Pregnancy

Yes. You probably already read my previous post. But in case you didn’t, I’m PREGNANT! We are expecting another baby in early October! Thanks be to God, we have made it past 12 weeks so far. We had a bit of a scare around 6 weeks — I wrote about what was happening at the time but wanted to wait to post about it. You can catch up on the past weeks and days below!

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{This post was written on Thursday, February 19th.}

A few months have passed by since our chemical pregnancy back in early December. I thought we would take a break and save up for the final transfer of our remaining two embryos, but ¬†instead we jumped right back into it. The day after I miscarried I started birth control to start my next FET cycle. I didn’t have to order meds for the new FET because I was already stocked up from the last one. I also got to bypass a water sonogram and several labs due. After dealing with all the ups and downs of the last cycle, this FET just seemed so… easy.

Ease aside, I ignored the fact that we were going through another FET as much as I possibly could. I tried not to think or talk about it. I was still pretty numb from our chemical pregnancy. I prayed and asked God for another baby. I tried to hope. But I dreaded the idea of more heartbreak. Adding to this stress was the fact that these were our last two babies in storage. My husband and I were very uncertain as to whether we would go through a second full IVF cycle in order to retrieve more eggs and eventually embryos. In other words, we were coming to grips with the fact that our son might be an only child.

Those six weeks proved to be a hard time for me. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t want to share with people what was going on with us. I just wanted to get it over with and take the time I needed to adapt to whatever scenario the Lord brought us.

On the day of the embryo transfer, January 21st, our RE transferred in two lovely 4AA embryos, one expanded and one not quite expanded. As the bed rest and two week wait progressed, I began to have mild cramping. I breathed a sigh of relief, taking this as a good sign. Sure enough, on the day of my beta at 12 dpo, my beta came back at 103. We were elated and even wondered if I were pregnant with twins. Two days later, at 14 dpo, my beta more than doubled and came back at 227. At 24 dpo, my beta continued to double perfectly and was 7,383. I was having very light cramping and some pretty extreme first trimester fatigue. The nausea started the night before I hit 6 weeks and I felt completely relieved that everything was seeming to be progressing as it should be. I allowed myself to dream a little, to think about my due date and maybe what kind of stroller I would purchase for two or more children. My husband and I were nothing short of excited.

And then on Sunday, when I was 6 1/2 weeks along, in the midst of feeling quite nauseous, I noticed that I had some moderate cramps starting while sitting in church. I wasn’t sure which was making me feel more uncomfortable — the cramps or the nausea — but I stayed seated during the service until I decided that it would probably be a good idea to go out to the car and lie down. My plans didn’t quite go as planned though as I heard Josh crying from the nursery as soon as I left the sanctuary so I grabbed him and the diaper bag on my way out. As I sat in the car with Josh on my lap, the cramps started to worsen. My husband came out to the car right after the service and I told him that I felt concerned that I might be starting to have¬†miscarriage.

When we got home, I went straight into the bathroom and discovered that I was bleeding bright red blood. “Oh, no, oh no, oh no” I cried as I looked into the toilet bowl and discovered that it was completely red from blood. The cramps felt like menstrual cramps and I knew that they plus bright red blood were not a good sign in pregnancy. My heart sank lower than it had been in a long, long time. I started to sob and my husband heard me and came into the bathroom. His heart sank too when he realized that I was probably miscarrying.

I finally pulled myself together enough to lay on the bed and call the clinic. I left a message telling them what happened and that I had likely miscarried. Then I called my mom and the we both cried on the phone together. Somehow, hearing her own sorrow and pain at receiving my sad news helped to comfort me.

The nurse at the clinic called me back promptly and told me that she was trying to be hopeful about the bleeding and cramping and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day. I told her that I knew about subchorionic hematomas (a tear between the sac and the wall of the uterus) but that I was bleeding quite a bit and that I still had a lot of cramping. At the time I had thought that subchorionic hematomas didn’t come with cramping. She didn’t say much at my comment but did acknowledge that a hematoma could be a possibility.

That afternoon and night I researched like crazy. My bleeding had tapered off and completely stopped by the evening. And I was still nauseous. That didn’t seem to add up to a miscarriage in my mind. I learned that the cramping from miscarriages are often pretty painful (although mine wasn’t with my chemical pregnancy, most likely because the baby hadn’t developed very far) and that the bleeding increases and lasts for days, not hours. I also learned that subchorionic hematomas often do come with cramping, because there is blood in the uterus and the uterus becomes irritated from it and tries to get it out (hence the cramping). As I learned more, I began to feel a little hope that maybe I wasn’t going through a miscarriage. But I also felt prepared to receive the possible news that there might not be a heart beat.

The next morning a friend graciously watched¬†Josh, and my husband and I headed off to the clinic. My RE started the ultrasound and there I saw it — a sac with a flickering light! Our baby had a heart beat and was alive! Tears of joy filled my eyes. But then I saw a large fluid-filled pocket adjacent to the baby. My RE confirmed that it was indeed a subchorionic hematoma. The baby measured perfectly — 6w3d — but the hematoma was twice the size of the baby’s sac. My RE didn’t seem to be as concerned about that. The important part, he said, was that it shared about 30% of the baby’s sac with the hematoma. If it grew to share more than 60%, he said that it could constrict the baby from growing and cause it to arrest. Another possibility, he said, was that it could cause the sac and placenta to detach.

After the ultrasound, my RE discussed bed rest with us. He said I needed to be very careful not to exert myself or to lift anything heavy. We asked more questions to clarify — exactly¬†what level of bed rest¬†was he talking about? He never said “strict” bed rest but then he said we should “call in all our help” to get through this time, because I wouldn’t be able to pick up Josh at all, cook, do laundry or even go anywhere. My husband and I looked at each other. We were scared but we were determined. We would do everything we could to prevent a miscarriage. More than anything, we wanted to hold this baby in our arms when the time came!

When we left our appointment my RE wrote in big letters on my medical sheet “Threatened Abortion.” I felt sick just seeing him write it. “I have to write it on the sheet,” he said, slightly apologetic. “It’s not a high chance that you’ll miscarry (he couldn’t give statistics when I asked for them) but the chances are increased.”

On the drive home my husband and I began planning how we would both survive (potentially) weeks of strict bed rest. Everything I had read said to plan on WEEKS for hematomas to either be reabsorbed or to bleed out. Most resolved by 20 weeks, but the earlier the diagnosis in a pregnancy (meaning the first trimester as opposed to the second), the better the prognosis.

In the meantime, I am bed resting. Or rather, sofa-resting. Trying to make the best out of our situation. My husband has really kicked into high gear and is doing a great job taking care of Josh while also juggling the other jobs of the house. He’ll be going back to work next Monday and my sister will be helping out for a few weeks then.

As I lay low, we are all praying that this hematoma will miraculously resolve. We’ll find out more on Tuesday.

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Coming up next: Bed rest under my older sister’s care.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under IVF, Miscarriage, Pregnancy, Uncategorized