January 28, 2008

Here comes the Big!

This is not the first tummy pic I've posted, but the committee decided the original was inappropriate. In other words, no more bare skin pics. "Doughy" was the word used to explain the decision against.

But hey! There's a baby Jordan incubating in there!

Markana had another acupuncture appointment today and Dr Sheng is still placing bets on a girl. A colleague of Markana's gave us well-thought reasoning explaining her belief it's a girl, and most of the relatives have also expressed visions of a she-baby. I tend to put a bit more faith in medical proof, but it's fun to get caught up in the "what if". Regardless, we're not reviewing Home Depot pink paint samples.

January 23, 2008

The road to here

Chip and I still look at each other and wonder can this really be true. I suppose starting this blog is our first courageous effort into our present lives and glimpse into our future. It still feels surreal to me. If you are visiting this blog, you most likely are a family member or dear friend and know how important all of this is to us. I would like to take time to share our story for those who may be searching the web for something personal that responds to their something personal as I did.

Chip and I were married on January 1, 2006. We were so in love (as we still are) and ready to start our lives together. We both wanted a family and that was one of the main reasons we wanted to be married. We decided that I would stop taking the pill, knowing that your body may need some separation time before it will respond to pregnancy. Months later, still no response. This is where my commitment to conception begins.

On January 9, 2007 I had my first visit with Dr. Lihua Sheng, OMD, L.Ac-doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She had been recommended to me by several people I had spoken to about our problems with fertility-she was known for her success in helping couples to conceive. I really wanted to conceive a baby naturally or at least try this route before we depleted our savings account and put my body through the pains of fertility treatments.

I have had a few sessions of Acupuncture while living in Los Angeles and did find the practice to be helpful. I had been on a waiting list for 2 months for Dr. Sheng and was very anxious about my first visit. She is an adorable Chinese woman and I immediately felt comfortable with her. On my first visit we spoke about my medical history, she looked at my nails and my tongue and then she read my pulse. I am still fascinated by this. She spoke to me about how my body was not ready for reproduction. She said that the body is like a machine and that all the parts have to be in good working condition before it can work properly. She said that not all women are able to conceive, but that I was and one day I would have a beautiful baby. I loved her already.

I cannot tell you how many needles I have had in my head, feet, legs, knees, arms, hands, back and especially my stomach. She also ask me to drink a tea twice a day that had been blended especially for me. I have no idea what was in that tea, but I was committed to do anything that she told me to if it would help me get pregnant. (I know that Chip's mom worried about what was in the tea) I staring charting my temperature every morning, completely changed my diet, no more caffeine and no more sugar. No more sugar! One of the hardest things I have ever done. I slipped off the wagon a couple of times and by reading my pulse she would know. How does she know??? I would be in trouble with her and she would say "You want to have baby, right"? No more sugar for me.

On Monday, March 26, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and I was pregnant. I knew that I was. I told Chip on Saturday that I wanted to take a test and he said that I shouldn't, that it would only make me upset. I agreed. Then, when my temperature went up Monday morning, and Chip had already left for work, I took the test and when I got the results I just sat at my desk and cried and cried. I immediately was terrified and have been terrified ever since.

We went into the pregnancy with our eyes open wide and our hearts very full. We were so excited to share this wonderful news with our family and friends. We had our 8 week ultrasound and got to see our little baby that affectionately became known in our home as "Bud". We returned to the doctor at 11.5 weeks to hear the heartbeat. The doctor was unable to find the heartbeat with the doppler, so she preformed an ultrasound. There was our baby on the screen, but there was no heartbeat. The doctor gave us a moment alone in the room. She came back in the room, and though it must have been difficult, she spoke to us about having a D&C to remove the fetus and that she would like to do it the next day. We were not prepared for this. The next morning I went into surgery.

As most of you know, I am a pretty strong person and recover quickly. When I was recovering from surgery, I had a lot of time to think. In my grief, I tried to find peace in knowing that Chip and I were able to conceive and that something was wrong with the baby and there was nothing that we could have done. You have no way to know how long this inner strength will persist and when reality sets in and you wonder how you will ever get out of bed. I experienced a lot of both that weekend. I still think about that little baby.

I gave my body a little time to heal physically and Dr. Sheung blended a tea to help with the recovery. After some time passed, I was back to charting my temperature, dieting and digesting everything I could read about miscarriage and possible contributing factors. I knew that we could get pregnant, but how do we keep the pregnancy?

On Monday, September 24, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I couldn't breathe. I immediately called the doctor and she asked my to come in for blood work. The pregnancy was confirmed. I had an appointment with Dr. Sheng and told her the news. She said that progesterone seemed low. Damn progesterone-always my issue. The following day the doctor confirmed that my progesterone was low and that she wanted to start me on Prometrium. I did not like this. I did not want to take medication. I had worked so hard to conceive this baby naturally. In the end, even Dr. Sheng said that it was best to take the medication. I complied.

We were absolutely freaked out. I know I was. I did not feel great on Friday, but being pregnant, there are many days that you do not feel well. We went to visit my parents that weekend. I woke up Saturday morning and had some light spotting. I called the emergency nurses line and my doctors office and she told me that it could all be very normal. She said to monitor the spotting and I should only be concerned if the flow gets heavier and I start cramping. My doctor was in the ER that weekend, so she said that she would consult with her and get back to me. Within 2 hours, I was bleeding heavily and cramping. We knew what was happening and decided to go back to Nashville to be near the hospital if needed and to rest in the comfort of our home. We miscarried that weekend.

Here we were again. The whole thing was really exhausting. Physically and especially emotionally. Within less than a week we were pregnant, low progesterone, put on Prometrium and then losing the pregnancy. We decided that we needed a break. No more temperate, no more dieting, no more stress. We felt good about our decision-it felt right.

On Friday, November 2, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I knew that I was late, but also knew that with the miscarriage last month that things could be a little off track. We were pregnant - again. We certainly had not intended for this to happen. I again am sitting on the edge of the bathtub crying. I called my doctor and she said to come in for blood work. I told her that I was scared that it was too soon. She said that every pregnancy is new, so maybe everything will be ok. She immediatley put me on the Promtrium (which I took through 11 weeks). I had just started a new job and Chip came by to visit that day after he got off work. Funny for him to surprise me at work like that. He sat in my office and we chatted about our day and nonsense and then I blurted out "we're pregnant". He looked at me with confusion. Believe me, it was confusing to me as well. It took a while for it to sink in for both of us. A good long while.

On Thursday, November 29, we had our first ultrasound (see image below). Everything looked great. After that you would think that I would feel better. Well, I didn't. I allowed myself to get completely consumed by fear. It is was all I could think about. Every cramp or discomfort paralyzed me. I was making myself physically ill. This certainly was not good for the baby. Our next appointment was not until January 3-I was never going to make it. On Friday, December 14, 2007 I finally convinced my doctor to see me. The doctor was actually not in the office that day, but her sweet nurse said that she would see me. I left work, picked Chip up at his office and off we went. The nurse tried to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler and had no luck. She knew we were scared and she decided to do an ultrasound. Then a different nurse came in and wanted to give the Doppler a shot. She found it - we had a heartbeat. I was happy of course, but still completely terrified. I couldn't get past it.

At this point, our family and closest friends are all kind of on stand by. Nobody wants to get too close. I understand. The emotional circus of all of this has been is too much for everyone. You have to keep your guard up a little. My mom gave the baby 2 presents for Christmas. It was big for her to take the first step. It was good to be happy for a moment and feel like everything was as it should be. I thank her for that.

On Thursday, January 3, 2008 we had our appointment with the doctor. We had been waiting for this appointment for so long. The baby was 13 weeks, 3 days. Again, there was a heartbeat. We were giddy. On that day, we really had to make a decision to turn this thing around. It was time to celebrate in this pregnancy. I sent an email out to friends announcing our big news. On February 7 we will have another ultrasound and find out the sex of the baby. We cannot wait!

Calm. Peace. Beautiful baby. (Words from Dr. Sheng)

January 22, 2008

Post #1

It's only fitting that our first entry begin with the image that excited us most. At the time of this ultrasound, we had already been through a series of tough doctor visits and disappointments — one lost heartbeat at 11 weeks and two chemical pregnancies. This image was taken at eight weeks, but the relief occurred four weeks later with a successful Doppler heartbeat. Now we're in our 16th week and excited about the pending "what sex is it?" visit at week 18.

Our intent with this blog is to chronicle our march towards parenthood for those who can only be near us virtually, and, according to our shortlist of new blogging parentals, start a continuous record of our lives as they change dramatically. We're excited and scared, anxious and cautious. Here goes...