Thursday, May 8, 2008

The journey for a family

Our journey of growing a family was one that I never though would turn out the way it has. God has a way of surprising you and pushing you. Ultimately, growing you. And sometimes, even breaking you.

I have severe endometriosis. I have had two laparoscopies and have taken multiple rounds of lupron. Once pregnant I also require complete replacement of progesterone and estrogen as I do not produce these on my own beyond a standard luteal phase length. I have polycystic ovaries, thyroid disease, and multiple blood clotting disorders including Factor V Leiden, MTHFR, and Protein C deficiency. I was told that having children was an impossibility and that my two are miracles. The first I proved wrong, the second statement I believe 100%. They are my living breathing miracles.

When our journey started, it started with a surprise pregnancy. Austin! He was conceived naturally and unexpectedly. A blessing. I had had one miscarriage prior to Austin, but knew that could happen and although painful, I was sure everything would be fine. With Austin, I was on progesterone through out the first trimester, but my pregnancy went pretty smoothly. I did have a bout of early labor with him at 21-23 weeks, but never dilated. He was also diagnosed with mild IUGR. He usually showed little growth with ultrasound and the day before delivery he was estimated to be not even 6 pounds. However, he was born a whopping 8lbs 9oz at 38weeks, shocking us all. He has continued to amaze us ever since.

When we started out to get him a little sibling, we had no idea what was to come. At this point, my issues were still unknown. After a normal round of lupron, I waited till my cycles regulated and then we started trying. Immediately I got pregnant and was thrilled. However, just a few days later, my pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I lost two more in the coming months and realized I needed to get checked out. With my next pregnancy, I had a new Dr and a new hope. Then I got my HcG levels back and they were not rising as expected. I was on progesterone and thought that that was all I could be doing at this point. I prayed that it would be enough. Over the next month, we found out it was ectopic and that we had to let yet another baby go.

I was overwhelmed at this point and desperate. The fear of another loss consumed me but so did the desire for another child. I asked for a referral to a reproductive endocrinologist and was turned down. My Dr told me my early miscarriages were normal and I just needed to be patient. Knowing something wasn't right, I made the appointment myself.
It was the best decision I ever made.
Our Fertility Dr was a true blessing.
After countless tests, HSGs, ultrasounds, blood work etc, they finally had the answers. This is where we discovered my thyroid disease and my clotting disorders. Now we knew what I needed. It was decided I was to take progesterone, aspirin, foltx, and daily injections of lovenox throughout my pregnancy.
The Drs agreed that my progesterone levels were down because I wasn't ovulating well due to my cysts. So they recommended Clomid to help form a better quality egg, and hopefully a better quality luteal cyst. I was so excited at the possibility of making it to term! I wanted to hold a baby in my arms so badly it almost drove me to insanity. For those who have struggled with trying to conceive, you know this. But I had faith and I pushed forward. Then I got pregnant again.This time my pregnancy was different. It was going smoothly and we had high hopes. The cocktail of meds were working and my levels were rising. At this point it was also discovered that I didn't make estrogen adequately either and was placed on estrogen patches in addition to the progesterone. I was on the strongest levels of each.
Then I started bleeding and I felt my world fall apart. I went in to the Drs office and we did an ultrasound. I saw our baby (a boy) and his beautiful perfect heart beat. It was love at first sight. He was growing right on track but he had no fluid around him. There was something wrong with the gestational sac. Unfortunately he had a chromosomal abnormality but I still prayed for him to make it. We named him Max and he was perfect to us. When I went back in for a follow up ultrasound, his heart was no longer beating and I had already began miscarrying. I didn't think I was going to make it through this and it was the darkest point of my life. I sank into a depression and couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. The Dr reminded us of the fact that we had made it further than we had with all the others. The medicine was working. With Max it was chromosomal not b/c of me. So after three months we tried again and I was pregnant once more. This time was with EJ. I had a peace from God that this one was the one. I knew he would make it and I never worried. I can't explain it but I just knew. And he did make it and boy is he a fighter! We had preterm labor landing me in the hospital on turbutaline and steroid shots. After that I was on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. He was born after being induced at 38 weeks weighing 7lbs 6 oz. At birth he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was transferred to another hospital three hours away. In the NICU he steadily improved and came home on Valentines day. Since then we have dealt with health issues but we have grown stronger through them.
So although I miss the six that we have lost,
I am eternally grateful for the two I get to hold.

People ask me if we will have any more children, and although I feel as if our family is not yet complete, I know it is in the Lords hands. We will have to see what is in store for us whether that be adoption or through pregnancy. one thing is for sure, I trust in the one who has led me through so far. In Him I place my faith.
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