Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Valentines Gift Ever!/Bragging on God

So I had to share some photos...My life is not consumed by miscarriage although, I do think of the babies we lost, often...I have a constant and beautiful reminder each day of God's blessings on my family. Carson was born and I was finally a mother! He is now four years old and is smarter than ever! Everyday, I am surprised by the things he says and by how much he knows.

I recall the morning that I took the pregnancy was February 14, 2006. I had waited all weekend because I did not want to be disappointed once again by a negative result. Do you know how hard it is to wait an entire weekend with the test in your bathroom drawer? Anyway, I woke my husband and shared the great news! And eight months later, I had a beautiful, tiny baby all my own. My pregnancy wasn't without complications, though. I threw up everyday for about ten weeks, until week 16! It got so bad that I started carrying containers and plastic grocery bags in my car for the drive to Nashville. 
Even my coworkers didn't get concerned when I'd leave the room and return a moment later, several times a day. I would have sickness morning, noon, and night! When that was over, I felt great!

Then I started having swelling and seeing stars in my eyes. My doctor did not catch it, but it was early symptoms of pre eclampsia. I delivered Carson by emergency c-section at week 36. Carson was very tiny because he had suffered from iugr (intrauterine growth restriction). He wasn't gaining the proper amounts of weight because my body wasn't giving him all the nutrients he needed. Scary, huh? He was immediately whisked away by ambulance to the NICU in Nashville at a hospital called Centennial. And oddly enough, it was the hospital organization I had been working for for 6 years. I was released on the Saturday after he was born and went to see him straight away. The nurses offered us a room that wasn't being used and we stayed the night. I got to see and hold my baby and even breastfeed for the first time. I was in so much pain from the incision and I was also dealing with high blood pressure and head aches. I was also trying to pump milk with some ancient, rusty, breastfeeding pump and it was a huge pain...literally. My husband thought it would be funny to play around in my wheel chair. He was spinning around on two wheels (as I sat on the commode, I know tmi...) and laughing hysterically that is, until he tipped over the wheel chair and landed flat on his back! All I heard was a loud, thud, and "I'm Okay!" I laughed so hard and cried from the pain of my incision for over an hour. 

In the two weeks following, I pumped my milk day and night to take to the hospital for my baby and patiently waited for my husband to get home to drive us into the city to see my baby. I would call at all hours of the day and night to check on him and see if he had gained weight. I talked family members into driving me to the hospital during the day. And many friends and family went to be with my baby during the day when I couldn't be there. That was so special to me. I was overcome with emotion each time I had to leave him, but I was very thankful for the nurses who took care of him round the clock. I was thankful that he had no breathing problems or underdeveloped organs. I keep thinking of how many people were praying for us and my little baby all through out my pregnancy. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about how many people were pulling for us and still are.

So, although I have had some heartache in the last year. It has also been the best 4 and a half years of my life! And if I don't have more children, I will be forever grateful to God for my son. He's my joy! He's growing up way too fast. And I know that what my mother says is true...they grow up quickly and time flies because it seems just like yesterday that I was looking into the isolette and now we're looking at schools in our neighborhood to decide on one before he starts kindergarten! I guess I'm writing and sharing my wonderful son with you because I know that some of you don't have children yet and long for your very own baby. We are living proof that there is power in prayer and the power is God! One of the most recent visits to my genetic specialists revealed the chances of my husband and I having a healthy baby were slim to none...something like 10-13%. 
So before I was plagued by miscarriage and 
before any knowledge of any faultiness in my body, God gave me a son. Thank God.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thank God for Springtime...

It's amazing how sometimes your mood or attitude mimics the four seasons. I think that God's creation of the four seasons was so special and necessary. Winter is sometimes depressing since we are sometimes stuck indoors and missing our vitamin D. And whenever my miscarriage happened (at Christmastime), it made me long for Spring even more. And when spring came, I started to feel better about things. 

I had some testing done at my OB/GYNS office, which revealed that I have issues with absorbing folate (folic acid) and possible blood clotting issues. The two gene mutations are called MTHFR and Paig4/g4. I started on large doses of folic acid and low dose aspirin, right away. And I met a new doctor who specializes in genetics. She was great! She and my OB/GYN seemed to think that the problem was definitely on my end. I guess in most cases of early miscarriage, the problem is maternal. So the genetics doctor said that we should have a DNA karaotype done to make sure there were no other issues to be concerned about. We agreed. 

The month of April came and I had that 'feeling'. I was afraid that my doctor would be mad at me, but we hadn't tracked ovulation and it wasn't planned. I had hope that it would be okay this time. I tested positive on April 30th, 2010. I called the Dr. and told her that I hadn't received results of DNA karaotype and was curious because I was now pregnant again! We went in right away. She told us that my husband's DNA wasn't perfect. He has a balanced translocation of two chromosomes and that she was unsure of whether or not it would be the cause of miscarriage. The fact that it's balanced, is a great thing! The pregnancy ended two weeks later. I missed more work. I spent time questioning that herbal tea I drank or that seafood I had the week I found out...

It really makes the months drag by when you are thinking about how old you're getting and how you're ovulating. Then you think about how it might end in miscarriage when you become pregnant again. I know, it seems obsessive, but it's hard to describe when it's happening to your body. You feel everything. And as women, we're naturally attracted to our husbands, but sometimes I found myself afraid because of what might happen if I got pregnant again? My OB suggested contraceptives, but the genetic specialist suggested to wait on more blood tests to make sure there were no serious blood clotting issues.

It's a hard pill to swallow when your doctor tells you that the reason for all of the miscarriages is because of DNA and gene mutations. I mean, why would a loving God (who knows how much I adore children) allow such a strange condition to befall us? I know that is part of life and there are more serious health and medical conditions people are facing, but this was our struggle, and one struggle that I thought I'd never have to deal with. 

Over this sad and long winter and springtime, I met a friend. We'll call her Billie. She had had several miscarriages like me. She had also had d and c surgeries. Billie had no children yet. We talked about our struggles. We started to have lunch each week. Most of the time we ate at taco bell. It wasn't about the food (because she doesn't eat much), but about the conversation. Here was a person who actually understood what I was talking about when I talked about feelings of guilt and sadness, progesterone and folic acid and horrible cycles. Just when I felt alone, I had someone who could empathize. And even when others around us criticized, we found comfort in each other's trials. I think I may have stopped working if it hadn't been for her. Some days it felt like most people were tired of bearing my burdens with me. But Billie always understood.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heartbroken and Judged

My husband and I were heartbroken. And not to mention, I was in extreme pain and very exhausted. I guess it's different for every woman/family, but it hurt me badly. I didn't really know where to turn. Obviously, I turned to God because I love God and want to serve him. But, I needed someone to talk to who understood. I called a family member who had experienced a miscarriage. I asked them if we could come and visit for New Years and we did. It was very therapeutic. Of course, my son loves my family and he is cherished and spoiled by all of them so he was occupied. It was also good to be distracted for a couple days. We stayed up late watching TV and eating. We ended up staying the night and slept in the next day. My doctor called to check on me and that was very kind. I'd never had a doctor call me personally. She said to call her if I needed anything. In the days to follow, I talked with my Dr. on the phone several times. She was a great support.

And then the doctor's appointments began. I first visited my OB/GYN's office and they were very kind and did their best to comfort me. I was actually seen by a Nurse Practitioner who was great. She suggested to wait 6 months and try again. She said that there was no way to know any specifics unless we gave the baby over for testing. This didn't seem okay for me. I had heard a lot about low progesterone levels related to miscarriage so I asked if I could have a prescription for the next pregnancy. She said as soon as I got pregnant to come in and she would start the progesterone.

I found that it didn't matter how many days passed, I still felt sad about my baby. It doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my life, my precious son, or my husband, but I was dealing with small bouts of sadness. It wasn't debilitating in my opinion, but there were a few times when I couldn't hear the alarm in the morning and was late for work. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am habitually late. So it wasn't much of a surprise to anyone except me. It's very frightening to not be able to hear the alarm and wake up for the day. I thought I might lose my job for being late. They changed my schedule, which seemed to help a bit. It's still hard for me to get up and get moving.  It took a toll on my body that I was not expecting. Maybe I was somewhat depressed for a short period of time?  Oh, I forgot to mention that the Nurse Practitioner prescribed an anxiety medication for me to take. I was not all together convinced that I should take it. I thought I should deal with my grief instead of pushing it away for another day. I mean, who knows when that grief would reappear?

I understand that life has to go on. And believe me, plenty of people were ready to tell me that several times a day. One lady at my work even told me not to cry. And plenty of people were ready to give me all of their odd and "helpful" opinions. I know people mean well, but sometimes a hug or a note saying, "I am praying for you" works as well as a long and drawn out explanation of how god works in mysterious ways. Or, "Well, how selfish you are for wanting more children because some people don't have one child." And "you should be thankful for the son you have already." As if I do not love my son and have not thanked God for him each day. And thanks, but no thanks to those folks who asked me what I had to eat or drink or if I did any strenuous exercise or lifting! Don't they realize that I have questioned myself thousands of times to think of what I could have done differently? It is a strange and terrible feeling to think that it was your fault or feel that something is wrong in your body that you can't fix.