Truly, this baby is our little miracle.
Read on for that story that I've decided to record for posterity, or just scroll down for pictures :)
We've been trying to conceive for approximately three years now, but I have been attacked with a plague of health challenges that have made it difficult and worrisome to do so.
At first we weren't getting pregnant because I was so stressed out about Brigham losing a job, moving across state lines, living with my parents, job hunting...etc.
Then I randomly broke out in a fever and had intense pelvic pain. After going in to urgent care I was told I had a urinary tract infection (though no bacteria was found in my urine) and given antibiotics and sent home. I knew it was something more so I scheduled an appointment with an obgyn. He diagnosed me with a pelvic infection, but said that the antibiotics I was given should take care of it.
Well after MONTHS of pain, multiple internal/external pelvic ultrasounds, lots of different diagnosis from ovulation pain to genital warts (all wrong, mind you) from the same obgyn, I couldn't take the pain anymore and I went back to urgent care. There they told me that I had a pelvic infection so bad that I almost needed to be hospitalized on antibiotics. The doctor couldn't believe the obgyn didn't give me better antibiotics, didn't notice the obvious signs/symptoms, and she tried to kindly tell me that guy was an idiot and I should find a new ob. After a straight shot of antibiotics in my rear, and two prescriptions for two different oral antibiotics to take simultaneously, I was able to go home.
Luckily, those antibiotics resolved the infection - though not the pain and consequences from having a pelvic infection for three months- but having that high and strong of a dose of antibiotics together really wiped out my system.
My stomach was really screwed up and I have spent the last two years trying to course-correct with varying success. From the antibiotics I developed food intolerances (a list a mile long) that made it so I could basically only eat three things. Happily, those have mostly resolved - though some things still bother me, like dairy. My body stopped breaking down or absorbing fat. My hormones were out of wack and parasites were found. My hair started falling out, my nails started developing ridges, my eyes started acting up, and much more. And yes I took probiotics. STRONG probiotics. It wasn't enough. I think the combination of the antibiotics and stress just shut my body down.
During all this (except the pelvic infection time and for awhile thereafter to make sure my womanly parts had time to heal) Brigham and I were hoping to get pregnant. We wanted another baby so badly. I was so worried that the infection had ruined my chances for good. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that I could get pregnant. And it didn't happen.
It didn't happen for so long that I could feel it changing who I was. I was depressed and didn't care as much about things. I didn't want to interact with others because they couldn't understand the pain that I felt. I know it may sound ungrateful since I have two children, and many dealing with infertility aren't blessed that way, but I knew what it felt like to be pregnant, to have a baby. And every day it just hurt more that I couldn't have that again, and the longing become sharper and sharper. Especially when friends and family that started having kids AFTER Brigham and I started passing me up. It hurt.
The other thing that just ate at me was that Ammon was going to turn five. FIVE! And I wasn't even going to be pregnant, let alone have another child. I never wanted my children spread that far apart. That gap seemed sooo wide and unbearable to cross. I cried about it almost daily. I felt like I was depriving my children the joy of another sibling and felt terrible that they wouldn't know what it felt like to have more babies come along. Also, with Ammon turning five that meant that kindergarten was coming. And then both my kids would be out of the house. What was I supposed to do with myself? This was never in the plans. I was always supposed to have lots of babies to keep me at home for years and years. But this way, I really had to rethink my life. If I was going to be unable to have more children, I needed to figure out what direction to go. But wait. That's WRONG! That's not how it's supposed to be. I didn't even want to think about it.
It all sounds pretty dismal. And it was. Lots of darkness and soul-searching happened. Lots of prayers of anger and why's and telling God to fix things. Lots of questioning and having to discover truths I thought I knew, all over again. It wasn't an easy road and my testimony had it's lowest points ever. But here's what I learned as I struggled to find myself and God again,after much praying and scripture studying and priesthood blessings and lessons and institute classes and temple trips.
God loves me. His plan for me is one of happiness, even if I don't understand it. God wants to give me EVERYTHING and more, I just don't understand how it will come or when. I have a lot to learn and it's not always fun or easy to learn it. Even if things are bad, I can choose to be happy and it's the devil that tries to keep me from doing that. Deciding to wallow in misery is what the devil wants and I'm prone to giving into that. Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. God has a specific plan for me. God's timing is different than my timing. I don't always have to know WHY something is happening, I just need to try to learn and do my best. I can't control the why or the when. To give up control and be patient. To trust God, to love Him, to let the Savior heal my heart, that God loves me, that God hears my prayers, that I'm not alone, that everything will be restored to me because of my Savior.
Maybe I repeated myself a bit, but some lessons I had to learn more than once, and I'm still trying to learn, and will have to relearn in the future. Amazingly, I started to figure all that out and I still wasn't pregnant. Getting pregnant didn't make me happy. Coming closer to God helped me find peace. And from praying I realized I needed to look forward with hope, and that God loved me and was listening and had a plan for me.
Did I still hurt? Yes. Did I still cry most days about Ammon turning five and no baby? I sobbed. Did I still ask why? Yes, but without bitterness and with faith that it would all be ok.
I decided to figure out what to do with myself. I took up substitute teaching to see if a career in education would be something I wanted to pursue. I looked into colleges to see what it would take to get a teaching certificate or master's degree. And I felt really confused and I prayed a lot and felt like I just needed to have faith it would all work out. So I tried my best to do that. I stopped focusing so much on getting pregnant (though I couldn't help it being on my mind often) and just tried to live my life.
Then one day in April I noticed my period was late. I didn't give it much thought because with my messed up hormones, my periods were often late. But then it didn't ever come, and I wasn't feeling great. Still, I didn't dare take a test because I didn't want to dash any hopes, and my prenatals often made me nauseous anyway. Soon, I couldn't deny my symptoms anymore and I took the test.
And at that time, I felt this feeling rush over me of God saying, "It's time."
That has given so much peace and hope and love. But it doesn't mean it's been easy.
Even though God has reassured me, I have been filled with so much fear. My body still has so many lingering health problems. How is my body supposed to support a growing fetus when it can't even support my own hair? How is my baby supposed to get the right nutrients when I'm not sure I am getting them? What have I done? I was being selfish with my wants and now I'm going to have a child with issues just because I wanted something NOW. But whenever I pray Heavenly Father just tells me that He has this and it will turn out as He wants it to.
Which leaves me terrified because some of the things He's wanted from me I haven't really liked. But I have just told Him that it's in His hands because I can't do it myself. I turned it over to Him. And then had faith that He knows best and wants me to be happy.
Especially when this has been a ROUGH pregnancy so far.
I was going to wait until our anniversary and tell Brigham then that I was pregnant, but then I got so sick it was sort of hard to hide. And I started spotting so I was sure I was miscarrying. So instead, the day I spotted I threw the pregnancy test at him instead and said, "I was going to give this to you for our anniversary, but don't get your hopes up because I'm sure I'm miscarrying." And then I threw myself on the bed and sobbed. Poor Brigham. Poor me. Dang pregnancy hormones.
Luckily, I have a sweet husband that was so kind and good to me, and luckily it was just some light spotting.
I started seeing the dr and tried to act like half a human...which just turned into trying to survive hour to hour as the morning sickness took full force. No exaggeration.
|the little misshapen jelly-bean|
However, after twelve weeks of being deathly ill, I came home from grocery shopping and felt this gushing. I rushed to the bathroom and my underwear was full of blood. This time I was SURE I was miscarrying. Beyond upset, (how fair is it to be that sick and make it to twelve weeks only to lose the baby! If I did lose it, I didn't think I could ever make myself get pregnant again) my mom rushed home from work to help me and I rushed in for an ultrasound.
Everything looked fine and they couldn't figure out what happened. It was probably a burst vessel on my cervix, but no clear answers. Although it was a traumatizing experience, I was grateful that I got an early peek at this one. I cried tears of gratitude and the ultrasound tech guy was really sweet with me.
For the next month I would bleed all the time if I did too much -I couldn't even push a grocery cart by myself- and I was in a lot of pain. Sitting through church was EXCRUCIATING. I don't know why, but I think sitting put pressure on my sore cervix. All I know is that after the first hour I wanted to cry and sitting through the following two was like chinese torture.
Luckily, things healed and the spotting has stopped along with most the pain as the baby has moved up. However, the worry never has. I have had weeks where the worry has been all-consuming and was almost worse than the morning sickness. I know a lot of it was hormones, but it was becoming way too much for me to handle. A blessing from Brigham helped turn everything around and I've been doing much better. Not worry free, but I'm able to keep it manageable.
A huge cause of worry was that I haven't really been showing, and so I was really nervous that meant the baby wasn't growing. So we put off telling most people because I wanted to wait for the twenty week ultrasound to make sure everything was growing as it should. That way if it wasn't, I could prepare myself. I have been anticipating this day for SO long. And I'm happy to report that our little baby looks great.
We were going to keep the sex a surprise, but I was so sure it was a girl. I said just before we went in, "It's not even fun to keep it a surprise when I already know what it is. We might as well just confirm I'm right."
So we did...
There's his man-parts in all their glory. I'm still not convinced. But I suppose the evidence is hard to deny. It just doesn't feel right.
Ammon is super happy to be getting a brother. Lydia and I were a bit disappointed because we wanted a cute girl to dress up, but Lydia decided it would be ok because that meant she'd get her own room. Brigham is just happy to have a healthy baby. He's a good man.
One reason I've regretted not sharing our news earlier is because I wanted to share with the whole world how great Brigham has been through this. He has been my rock mentally through all the worry and sorrow, and in every other way as I was too sick to function, let alone take care of things around the house. Growing a baby is really a two person job; I couldn't have made it this far without him. He's meant to be a dad.
Isn't the face-on shot creepy looking?
He's in the 55th percentile and everything looked great. He was very photogenic. I am so relieved and happy. I know I will still worry, but this comforts me to know that things are on the right track. My placenta is pretty low so I will have to have another ultrasound to make sure it moves up with my growing uterus, but that is something that happens often in pregnancy.
This little guy likes to hang out super low in me and it's really uncomfortable. He's also super active and likes to kick a lot. Especially if you start poking around. My ligaments have been pretty mad at being stretched out again, but I keep telling them it's a good thing.
Ever since my pelvic infection, anything tight on uterus really makes it ache, and as it grows there's much more surface area to make ache, so that's been fun...not. But luckily maternity pants are soft and flexible, so I'm enjoyed starting to transition to them.
Here I am at twenty weeks. I'm starting to get a bump. And it makes me happy.
Here's with my shirt up so you can tell a bit better.
I never wanted another winter baby. Especially with Ammon getting so sick, but I'll take this little miracle. I'm actually excited to have a Christmas baby because this baby feels like our special gift and I think it will make the season really special.
It truly is our little miracle from God. And you know what, he'll be born one month before Ammon turns five. Isn't God so good? He really is.
So I'm halfway there. 20 weeks to go. Pray for me that my ravaged uterus and body can support a growing baby. And now you'll get to hear much more about my pregnancy from hear on out, now that it's public. And now I REALLY can't wait for Christmas!