Monday, July 25, 2011

Barbie Dolls or Action Figures?!

Surprise ultrasound today! We found out...

I made this little outfit to tell our immediate family over skype.

Our first glimpse of our baby girl!
(If you click on the movie title it will take you to youtube and you can expand it)
Yours truly, Me

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Journey to a Family of 3

Well, hello again. Is it okay if I simply skip past the obvious topic of my lack in blogging?? 
We told our families and friends and co-workers the fabulous news almost as soon as we discovered it ourselves. It was almost unbearable for us to hide our smirks when we were around amc's parents before we broke the news that we were finally pregnant! We thought it was so cute to have our little baby secret... For like a day! We knew from day one that we could never take this gift of pregnancy for granted. And with most of our friends and family already knowing 'our story', there was only room for hugs, laughter and tears.  
    (This is how we shared the news with our families!)
Our Story. (Warning: female talk ahead.) I was always incredibly embarrassed about all things female. Periods. Pelvic exams. Pap smears. Pregnancy and labor. You name it. And I wish I was mature enough to say that I've outgrown it all. When I was itty-bitty, I remember being envious of my middle school girlfriends who had already started their menstrual cycles. Of course, I was asked for Midol pills and tampons during class which you could imagine would have cured me of any jealousy. But I had developed this deep fear that if I wasn't having a period then I wouldn't be able to become a mother. And the thought just crushed me. One of my least charming qualities is that I tend to be a major control freak. I was determined to get my body 'normalized' so I had my mother take me to the doctor. I was prescribed a drug to induce a period to see if it was even possible to have one. And, it worked. I went nearly every few years to the obGYN to have my exams. Most of my exams were normal with an occasional fluke, abnormal exam. Along with these visits, my body developed this weird defense mechanism to go unconscious while being on the table. Shall we just call my body special? Sadly, no periods came.

Fast forward to life as an adult.  Amc and I got married in August of 2008. A few short months before, when I was 20 year old, my period came. All by itself! I literally cried tears of joy. No freaking way. In the past, I had used birth control off and on for years. But I hadn't used them for a few years by then. In your face artificial hormones!
Normalcy set in and I thought my worries were over because my body was naturally producing a cycle. We were enjoying our newlywed life at BYU together. We would humor zero conversations regarding babies. I was determined to do well at BYU, setting myself up for an acceptance into Dental Hygiene School. And we just loved being together.. alone. A few semesters later, I received my acceptance letter into a Dental Hygiene program. Woop woop! Up until then, so many prayers and efforts had gone into this dream. I couldn't have been more satisfied.
Nearly 6 months later, and only 3 months before the program began, I started to notice some awful feelings that were developing. Feelings of guilt. Feelings that MAYBE this wasn't Heavenly Father's plan for me anymore. was just awful. This was such a hard dilemma for me to explore because this 10 year old dream had felt so right during the entire journey of going to BYU and applying for the HYG program. Why would Heavenly Father cause me to feel such intense feelings of doubt and unease. So, how did I respond? I'm embarrassed to admit that I fought it really hard. No way could I give up all of my hard work. But with time, my heart yearned to feel 'good'  and at peace again. I hated feeling, as I would try to explain to amc, 'selfish'. I found myself constantly on my knees, begging to feel excited about my acceptance and planned future. It had always felt right... so why not now? I came to realize that not once during my prayers, had I ever seriously been willing to change my own plans. And here I was, claiming to be doing all that I could. So, with time and a lot of humbling, the willingness came to give up my dream of hygiene school. A short while later, during a conversation with my mom (hi mom, remember all of those talks? :) I felt the flood of peace and happiness that I had been waiting for. All of this came while imagining the choice to skip the hygiene route. Side note: Good thing amc is out playing volleyball because I look completely ridiculous sobbing my eyes out. Anyways...What was my Plan B? No idea. And that had to be okay. Once again, I knew I was on the right path.

Eight months came and went and I started to have this sweet, yet nagging, concerns about the birth control I was on. I knew that it could take a long time for my body to come off birth control and I felt that the day had come to finish off my last dose. In hopes that Aaron would be on the same page as me, I genuinely told him that I was really ready. We did have this fabulous cruise vacation pending in 5-6 months from then and the thought of having to cancel that boat ride was tugging on his heart strings. But a woman's intuition is simply a beautiful thing. And very persuasive . Thank goodness it was.

Months came and went with no period. I still bought nearly 10 pregnancy tests and used all of them by month 6.
(These were the winners, but that will come later on in the story ;-)
I was convinced that I must still be ovulating although my periods were absent. We decided for this to be the topic of our fast for the following month. When Sunday came, so did my period. At this point, I felt a dramatic relief from all anxiety that had built up from simply all of the unknowns. Finally, my body's cycle was working naturally. And then month 8 came without a period. I had to ignore the tendency to feel as though I was back at square one. I had been using ovulation kits but I learned that they wouldn't work in my case because I had lab work come back from my Dr. that showed my LH and FSH hormone levels to be completely off. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had blood work to confirm this earlier on when I was 14. Oh, and I have low blood sugar which excluded me from being a candidate to get a prescription for the drug that would regulate my hormones. Oh, and I also had super low progesterone levels, too, which will kind-a-sort-of get in the way of making a baby. I attempted the daunting task of taking my temperature to check for my ovulation but I don't think I could ever get an accurate reading. This pattern continued well through the year 1 mark. Our next option up for grabs was to do 6 rounds of Clomid that I was excited to begin.
Over the course of that year, I had been completely off my birth control, doing what married people do, and still no pregnancy. We rung in 2011 excited for a new year, but I was also feeling completely uncertain about our future as parents.  On top of my personal embarrassment about (what I felt was) my failing body, I felt a strong sense of guilt that I might not be able to give amc the babies that he so deserved because I knew what a rockin' father he would be.  Of course he told me that was absurd and he loved me regardless, but my own emotional baggage was heavily weighing me down.
Every month, I told myself I would give it one more month.  Every month I bought a pregnancy test, and every month it was negative. Blood work confirmed that I wasn't ovulating and my progesterone(pg) levels were still low. On round 2, I started a prescription for a ton of of pg and welcomed on the awful hot flashes. Can I just say that getting older and reaching menopause is not for sissy's! I continued the pg even after I completed the the unsuccessful cycles of Clomid. I knew our next option were hormone injections and rounds of IUI. But through so many prayers and meditation I never could feel that that was an option for us. I've had many friends with PCOS have great success with In-vitro. It costs a ton of $$ and the results cannot be guaranteed. But nothing in me cared about the costs, I just wanted to know our next step. The answer came. Patience. That's it. No medical procedures, nothing! A small part of me felt discouraged with this answer. Remember my least charming quality of being a control freak? Yeah, this shaped that up really quickly! Each month came and went and the peace came to even greater degrees with time. I just knew that if pregnancy was in my future, it would come at the most perfect time. 
This April's General Conference was a huge turning point in our plans. In between sessions we found ourselves drawn to a show that involved various families who had adopted children. Up until then, this hadn't been an option that we ever felt encouraged to talk about. We went for a long walk afterwards and shared our deep impressions that we had. It was it. We hoped we would have children of our own one day, but at that point in our journey we finally felt good, strong, and indisputable confirmations that adoption was our next step. I'll be honest, it wasn't the most easy decision. We had to address and come to terms with any issues...fears... and other questions associated with becoming emotionally ready for this. Time and time again, we felt peaceful and exciting feelings that this was good. We received an application in the mail to begin the adoption process.
One week later, we found out we were pregnant.
Through all of this, amc was so good to me. He listened. He empathized. He couldn't feel the pain I was having, but he insisted through his tender patience that he loved me and was right by my side. Above all, we were learning that whatever issue or challenge we would face in our relationship, it was never just mine or his problem. It was our problem, that we would face together.
(Here is the first photo of our 5w4d baby! So tiny!)
There is obviously more to our story, but for the interest of space and your attention span I will just have to share later! I thought for now that I would just tell y'all our long journey towards getting pregnant.
Part of the reason I was so excited to spread the news so early is that for me, just knowing that I could GET pregnant was a huge blessing I wasn’t sure I would ever experience.  So as I said before, for better or for worse, this little bell pepper-sized baby is a gift that we will never take for granted.
Yours truly, Me