So much news

I started this blog in the beginning of month 4 of trying to conceive after a miscarriage in June.  I was prepared for a very long road at that point.  The first time happened with no effort, but the months of trying had proven unfruitful, and there are no guarantees in life.  Many women have a long, hard struggle to conceive for no apparent reason at all.  Losses happen with no explanation or real consolation.  In this pursuit, there are only statistics, and statistics don’t mean anything when you’re found in the minority.  And when you believe that God is sovereign over everything.

Although four months isn’t a very long time, it was enough to get me used to disappointment.  I tested less frequently each month.  I found more distractions.  I pursued things as if I were not planning on having a baby at all.  I applied for a job in a different school district, I signed up for a 10k race in the Spring, I planned a whisky tasting and bike riding getaway for my husband’s birthday.  My husband and I started talking about maybe waiting to try for another year or so in order to have more time to save up money so I can stay home with the baby, and so that we could have more time to explore our new town and enjoy a carefree summer in our new house.  We could travel a bit more and run a cool-looking half marathon held near our new house, we could enjoy drinks with friends and have time to set up the house and finish painting and all the little home-improvement projects that we found ourselves faced with.  After all, if I can’t enjoy life before a baby, how will I learn to enjoy it after, when there are many additional stressors?

I don’t exactly believe that things happen when you give up trying, but there does seem to be a kernel of truth to it.  I didn’t stop trying, of course.  I was getting a little tired of trying, and we considered putting off trying for awhile if the fourth month wasn’t successful, but I used the digital OPK and took maca root and charted my basal body temperature for the first time and certainly put forth effort.  I actually WANTED to be able to give up trying, because I thought that maybe then it would happen faster, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t really force myself to give up hope so easily.

Well…if I haven’t given it away yet…..

 

 

 

…..we’re pregnant!!

 

Fourth time’s the charm.

And wouldn’t you know it…when I went for my early ultrasound last Friday, the technician found not just one healthy beating heart….but TWO!

TWINS!

twins_ultrasound

So, there has been a lot to process these past few weeks.  Based on the measurement of the larger twin at my ultrasound, I should be about 9 weeks on Saturday.  Not far enough to be out of the woods, but the two little beans were already measuring further along than the last one that I lost, and I saw two strong heartbeats and they were measuring on time (one was even ahead of schedule), so I will remain optimistic.  There has been no sign that anything is wrong, so I will believe that everything is alright.

I wanted to make sure that I posted this because in the few months that I was trying and waiting, I received much hope from reading blogs of women who struggled to conceive and then were successful.  Even more so if I saw that their baby made it full-term and was born healthy.  So I will continue to post updates so that this story will not be forgotten, and that God’s goodness to those who wait may be glorified.

Until next time!

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Things I have tried, Month by Month

Let’s hope there aren’t too many months listed here by the end of this journey! Here is a brief recap of things that we have tried during each month of TTC.

Month One

  • Vaguely tried to hit what I thought was ovulation, but in retrospect was probably too early. I didn’t know very much at this point. I also got sick, and we closed on a house and moved within a span of 3 days, coincidentally right around the time I should have ovulated. I think this delayed ovulation a bit, and I shouldn’t have expected for this to be our month with so much going on, but it was still disappointing when my period finally arrived, about 3 days later than I expected.
  • Prenatal vitamins and iron supplements (I discovered earlier this year that I am pretty anemic…no surprise given a long of history of being vegetarian and not being careful to eat enough nutrients, coupled with an even longer history of disordered eating and exercise habits).

Month Two

  • Prenatal vitamins and iron supplements
  • Tried OPK strips, with little success. I thought that maybe I saw a positive around CD 18, but when I saw a true positive the next month, I don’t think that what I saw was actually positive. So I probably either missed the LH surge this month, or (I fear, perhaps) I never had one.
  • Even so, I don’t think timing was an issue this month unless I never ovulated. Went a little crazy researching anovulatory cycles.
  • Possibly only 10 day luteal phase…went a little crazy researching luteal phase defect.

Month Three

  • Prenatal vitamins and iron supplements
  • ClearBlue Digital Ovulation Detector (worked very well and made it clear when my LH surge was!) combined with OPK strips, which allowed me to see what a true positive OPK should look like. Sad that I probably missed it last month, but hopeful and encouraged that at least the cheap strips can work.
  • Researched cycle syncing eating and exercise, tried a few recommendations. Specifically reduced running mileage from about 25-27 miles per week to 20 or less. Especially tried not to run as much around ovulation and implantation since long distance running seems to have a fairly direct connection to fertility issues in some women. Hoping I don’t gain too much weight trying to get pregnant, before I gain more weight when I get pregnant!
  • Vitex to correct possible luteal phase defect. In retrospect, this may have been a hasty measure. I suspect, but do not know, that my progesterone is lower than it should be. The first half of my cycle seemed great–I got a clear positive OPK which suggests strong LH hormones, and I seem to have ovulated on CD 14 or 15, which is textbook! BUT the second half of my cycle I felt much lower energy, and the days leading up to my period were kind of hellish. Serious bloating, cramps, nausea, and I got a weird case of (TMI) the runs which is very rare for me. Might not have been the vitex, but it certainly didn’t feel right so I have decided to discontinue that unless a doctor recommends it later. On the other hand, luteal phase seems to have been 12 days, so hopefully that continues even without the vitex.
  • Tried red raspberry leaf capsules and B-complex, for maybe a day or two, and ended up feeling awful so I also stopped that. But it may have been the sudden cocktail of supplements, rather than any particular supplement that made me feel this way.
  • Ate pineapple core for 5 days of my luteal phase to aid in implantation. Not so bad! I’ll do it again next month if for nothing else than because I like pineapple and it was nice to eat a different fruit than usual. 🙂

Month Four (the plan)

  • Prenatal vitamins and iron supplements
  • ClearBlue ovulation detector plus OPK strips
  • Daily basal temping and charting on Fertility Friend app (to make sure I am actually ovulating and when)
  • Keep running mileage around 20 miles per week or less
  • Eat pineapple core during luteal phase
  • Relax and enjoy my life. Make plans for the future like I’m not planning on getting pregnant and staying home with my baby for a few years. Try to get a new job that I like better and has a shorter commute. This might be a long ride.

God’s Sovereignty is Not Always Comforting

It should be, and in many ways, it is. I am comforted to know that God saves me regardless of my undeserving sinful state and my inability to have faith apart from Him. I am comforted to know that there is a plan for the world from the beginning of time that will not be thwarted no matter what things look like on earth right now. I am comforted to know that even my greatest mistakes and willful sinful actions can not change God’s love for me or His plans for my life, and that all things work together for my good because I am called according to His purposes.

These are the big things of life, the things that I could not change or control even if I wanted to. And I don’t want to! I want to rest in the knowledge that God is in charge and I am most decidedly not.

But this is not always comforting in the moment, especially when I want something to happen and it doesn’t seem to. Having a baby, for instance. I believe that God alone gives life and has the ability to take it away when He sees fit, and that is a very hard fact to deal with since He did, in fact, see fit to take the (very young) life of the child I never got to meet. He decided to give it for a moment, and then take it away. And He has not seen fit to give us another child yet to replace the one that was lost.

I believe that He can do whatever He desires, and so I am now left with the question…how could He desire this? Doesn’t He love children? Isn’t becoming a parent a noble and worthy calling, and a good part of the point of marriage? Many Christians try to let God off the hook by saying that He does not will for these things to happen and they are a result of living in a sinful world. All true points, of course. But this is the same God who entered into the world He created as a man, born to a virgin, who rose from the dead and lives forever. Don’t tell me the God who did all of those supernatural, reason-defying miracles can’t form a healthy baby in my womb through the very natural means that He created. He is bigger than that.

And there is a reason for all of this, I am sure. I may never really get to know why. Actually, I’m pretty positive that even if I think I know why, I will never truly know. For His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways, higher than our ways…this is just the uncomfortable reality of being human with a sinful nature that wants to be God.

This is His way of developing patience and hope and humility within stubborn and hardened hearts. It doesn’t make the breaking any less painful. But it does produce the faith that is refined by fire, more precious than gold.