Monday, October 28, 2013

The Miracle of Pregnancy

Sometimes life comes along and blows you away when you least expect it. For several years, we have longed for another child, a sibling for Violet to grow up with. My arms and heart ached for a child that I never thought would happen. Gregg and I decided against fertility treatments after the difficult pregnancy I had with our beautiful girl and we left the decision up to God and tried to be content with whatever happened. Gregg handled the wait better than I did. At times, it was gut wrenching for me to be around little babies. It seemed like I was constantly around little babies. Our church is filled with young families and couples who are starting their little families. And in our home school group, our family was the only one with one child. No matter how happy I was for these families, my heart ached for another child. Not because Violet wasn't enough or perfect in every way, because she is, but because my family didn't feel complete. Growing up as an only child, I knew from an early age that I never wanted to just have one child. 

Just when I had finally given up the hope of another child I was faced with a surgery to remove yet another cyst on one of my ovaries and more endometriosis. During the initial consult with my doctor, he naturally brought up the option of a hysterectomy. As soon as he uttered that word, my world collapsed. Apparently, I still had hope. My doctor noticed the immediate tears that welled into my eyes and quickly started talking options. First, a test was in order to see if my body was still producing viable eggs. Then, surgery to remove the cysts and enometriosis. I've had this surgery before. Three times to be exact. And in four short months from the time of my surgery, we discovered that I was pregnant! Words still fail me at the emotions that ran through me at the news.

I had gone in to see my family doctor because I thought I had gotten yet another case of food poisoning. Within a two month time frame I had gotten food poisoning twice and a stomach bug. So, I went to my doctor out of desperation. I begged my family doctor, "Please, give me something, anything, to make me stop getting sick!" The possibility of my being pregnant wasn't even a remote thought in my mind. My doctor ran a quick test without telling me what it was. When he came back into my exam room, my sweet doctor's next words are ones that I'll never forget. "Kimberly, I'm pretty sure this will come as good news to you. You're expecting!" I felt like I was in a vacuumed environment when he said that. All of a sudden, everything became tunnel vision as my mind tried to process what he had just told me. "Expecting what?" I asked. Yes, I was THAT clueless. Remember, I never thought this to be an actual possibility for me without fertility treatments involved. My doctor's face was priceless as he looked at me with caution in how to proceed. "Kimberly..." and then after sitting there for a few seconds it sunk in. "Oh. Oh! OH!!!" 

Meanwhile, my sweet husband was sending me text messages to see what the doctor had to say. I ignored his messages and immediately called my Ob/Gyn and was making an appointment. My pregnancy with Violet taught me to never wait to see my doctor in this situation. My family doctor smiled at me when he heard me making an appointment for the next Monday and getting lab tests arranged to check my progesterone levels. I had everything set up by the time Gregg arrived at the doctor's office to pick me up. He looked at me with such concern on his face, it was obvious he was worried about me. I couldn't just bust out the news that we were pregnant because Violet was in the back seat so I discreetly handed him the pregnancy test. My poor husband looked at me with confusion and said, "I don't know what this means." (We never had a pregnancy stick test with Violet as her pregnancy was confirmed with a blood test.) I quietly told him, "One line means no. Two means yes." Gregg looked at the stick again and said, "There's definitely two lines here." And with that, we drove home listening to Violet's chatter come to us from her seat in the back of the car while he clutched my hand and held on to me as if he was afraid I'd disappear somehow. Once we got home, we immediately put a movie on for Violet to occupy her time so that we could steal a few moments alone. Gregg and I sat on our bed and just held each other for the longest time. I think we were both in such a state of shock, and in awe of what we've just found out, that we were afraid to talk and break the magic of the moment.

It has been seven months since that fateful day and the shock still has not worn off. In some ways, this pregnancy has been easier on me than what I experienced with Violet but it has been quite challenging too. With Violet, I was...
1) put on bed rest after only knowing we were pregnant for two days due to extremely low progesterone levels. It took nearly a month for the levels to be brought up to where they needed to be in order to sustain her pregnancy. 
2) I spent a few days in the hospital due to getting the flu and becoming seriously dehydrated. And then...
3) the mother-load of complications hit me at 26 weeks, I was diagnosed with a severe case of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. I spent a total of 31 days in the hospital just trying to eek out more time for Violet to develop and then another two weeks spent at home with home-health care monitoring me several times a day. 

This time around, my progesterone levels were low again but they were easier to bring up. I've dealt with debilitating dizziness and some morning sickness but nothing serious enough to land me in the hospital. And, through God's grace and the help of my doctor, I've managed to dodge preeclampsia so far (I'm five weeks past the point of when it hit me with Violet). I have gestational diabetes again but we've been able to manage it without insulin by following a diet that was provided by a nutritionist. 

As I look at both of these pregnancies, it is impossible to not see how God's hand was in the details of everything. He protected Violet, and my health, during some of the worst things you can experience in a pregnancy. This time, God is protecting me from the very complications that made Violet's pregnancy so hard. Two totally different pregnancies, but God's hand is evident in both! We are so incredibly blessed.

I was never supposed to be able to have children according to one doctor that I saw many, many years ago. My endometriosis was too bad and my ovaries were a mess. I went several years without hope of ever having a child. And then I met Dr. Balat. Dr. Balat changed all of that with a couple of surgeries and then a low dose fertility medication. Sometimes it takes multiple tries with fertility meds to conceive, if you conceive at all, but we were fortunate to get pregnant with the very first dose! Oh, what an amazing blessing it was to hear the words I had so longed to hear, "Kimberly, you're pregnant!"

Fast forward nine years... no pregnancies and my hopes were fading into the ether. Obviously, pregnancy didn't fix whatever was wrong and we weren't conceiving on our own. Yet, we still did not want to go through fertility treatments again. We were experiencing the phenomenon that's called "secondary infertility". When you've had one pregnancy and then struggled to conceive a second.

Glory be to God! Gregg and I were finally getting to experience for a second time the miracle of pregnancy! So, here we are now, I'm in my 31st week of my pregnancy and my estimated due date is Dec. 28, 2013. We know already that we will be delivering this little bundle of joyful blessings during the first week of December, for health and safety reasons. So, this little one will be here before we know it, in five short weeks! We couldn't be more thrilled with this tremendous blessing in our lives. Much like Sarah in the Old Testament, I began to believe that having another baby was impossible. And just like Sarah, God showed me that He was capable of doing anything for His children! And here we are, experiencing for the second time the absolute miracle and joy of pregnancy. 
Thank You Father for never giving up on me, even when I had personally given up hope. Your grace and Your mercy never ceases to fail or amaze me. 

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