How we got here in the first place…

Monday, January 21, 2013

When I finished grad school a few years ago, Tyler and I had been married for three years.  We were so excited for a life that included TWO salaries and a schedule that didn't revolve around tests and papers.  It felt a little like we would finally be able to truly enjoy each other and our marriage with more freedom.  We were not ready for babies.  We generally agreed that after I finished my first year of clinical practice, we would think about having a baby.  That way, by the time we got pregnant and had the baby, I'd have a few years of experience under my belt.

That year came and went quickly, and I found myself still terrified at the idea of pulling the goalie.  A few more months and we agreed we still weren’t ready.  But by December, Tyler suggested we take the plunge, pull the cord, and "just to see what happens."  We'd both been on the same page the last few months, so his suggestion caught me by surprise.

"Really??.... OK."

And just like that, faster than you could say “basal body temperature,” some insane maternal switch flipped in me and I went from a blasé, “we’ll have a baby sometime” attitude to full on, no holds bar, I-need-to-be-pregnant-right-now.

Like, Right. Now.

In terms of all that technical, baby makin' stuff, I had no idea what we were doing.  I didn’t know a thing about ovulation cycles and body temperatures and mucus.  But given my family's fertility history {twins on dad's side, two sisters that conceived twins, and my own triplet-ness} and my sister's track record for get-quick pregnancies, I fully and naively expected to be pregnant that month.  January at the latest.

But that's the thing with expectations.  They can really ruin the whole experience...

By January, we'd had no luck.  Looking back, I don't know why I was so surprised.  But I was.  And I was quickly becoming versed in calendars and cycles and the aforementioned fertility speak...and still fully expecting we’d be announcing the impending birth of our perfect child to my family when we were home for St. Patrick's Day in March.

{I hadn't learned my lesson apparently.}

Two more cycles passed without happy incident.  It had been five or six cycles and we'd done everything, short of hand stands, humanly possible to get pregnant.

It was okay that I wasn't pregnant at that exact moment in time.  But it was terrifying not knowing if I'd ever be pregnant and not knowing when I should start to worry.  I remember crying on the phone to my friend Lindsey, "I just feel like this is so out of my control, I hate it!"  She honestly {and wisely} told me, "Girl, this [parenthood] is just the beginning of things being out of your control.  You better get used to it!"

I knew a fertility specialist would laugh in my face if I tried to schedule an appointment.  The road before us had seemed like such a given, a natural assumption.  Fertility struggles were never on my radar and I was growing paralyzed with fear that the road before us was not as clear and paved as I'd once expected.

However, on the marriage end of things, things couldn't be better! Taking on this little "project" had really united us and Tyler was as involved as he could be {haha}, always asking how I felt, checking on my symptoms, and doing research of his own.  We prayed together frequently that God would bless us with a baby.  In church each week, as we were singing and praying, I always knew we were focused on the same thing and our hearts were in the same place.  This was a team effort and it was great for us.  It was so good for us, I worried that infertility was the trial we'd been handed as a means to grow us.  We were laying in bed one night after discovering another failed attempt and I whispered, "I'm worried.  "Me too," he agreed.

One rainy Wednesday afternoon when my right-on-schedule cramps started {I knew my body like clockwork at this point}, I drove home sobbing.  All of that hope that came with each window of waiting completely dashed again.  A Chris Tomlin song came on the radio and I sat at a red light, singing along to the song {I lift my hands to believe again/You are my refuge, You are my strength/As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember/You are faithful, God, forever
}.  Talking to a friend of mine later, I compared it to going on a blind date month after month, thinking you'd found "The One," and then having him break up with you two weeks later {Okay, so I was getting a little dramatic at this point}. 

So then we decided to take a break.  Not only was I tired of all this disappointment and worrying, I was craving a bit of sanity and I didn't want a Christmas baby.  I'm big on birthdays and having shared my birthday with my brothers all my life {and now sharing it with my anniversary}, I knew I didn't want my kid to feel like their birthday was an afterthought or always having to share their special day with the chaos of the holidays.  Sharing a birthday with my brothers was one thing, but sharing one with Jesus?  Good luck kiddo!

So we took some time off and it was SO NICE to breathe and let go of all my expectations.  We set our sights on the summer months and returned to the life of normal people who actually do the hokey pokey for fun.

Which didn’t last long.

A busy travel schedule for Tyler was taking him all over—Saudi Arabia, Alaska, San Diego—and a fly on my wall would have caught me complaining to my sister, “Yeah, maybe we’ll be pregs if the man ever stops traveling!”  But apparently, all of the scheduling and trackers and ovulation predictors don’t always steer you right.  I’d set my sights on June because Tyler’s overseas travel didn’t really sync with my own schedule.

But we found ourselves in Kentucky in mid-May for a friend’s wedding.  My period was supposed to start on Friday {sorry—I’m operating on the assumption all dudes have abandoned this post by this point…}, and just as expected, it did.

Sort of.

A little bit.

But on Saturday morning, it was gone.

Weird.

Saturday afternoon…nothing.  Saturday night…nothing.  At this point in our efforts, I knew my cycle and I was never late or off and it certainly didn’t come and go.  It completely took over my mind and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day and night, but I really didn’t believe I was pregnant and really didn’t want to get my hopes up.  So we spent the night celebrating with our friends, even promising one friend late into the midnight hour, “I promise—we won’t get pregnant until we plan a couples vacay with you!”

N and E Wedding

By Sunday, there was still no change in my period-less, obsessed status.  But I sat on the airplane and resolved I wouldn’t take a pregnancy yet.  It was too early to be sure and I was enjoying being a little optimistic.  And then an hour later, I decided I would.  And then I decided, I’d wait.  At least until the next morning.  And then we got home and there was no way in H-E double hockey sticks, I was just going to go to bed while there was a little pregnancy test sitting right there under my bathroom counter.

And you can guess what happened from there.  Just like in the movies, the test I used was one of those with the lines.  So I peed on it….and waited…and a faint line appeared…. {And I said, “Holy shit balls!” but don’t tell my grandma} and Tyler and I spent the next ten minutes debating whether that line actually counted before he made a late night run for a fancier test.

I’m pretty sure I can wrap this story up because we all know what that test said…

DSC_0351

We simultaneously rejoiced, panicked, prayed, and tried to wrap our brains around what this really meant, a state we still find ourselves in these days…  We spent the next few weeks joyously keeping our little secret to ourselves while I also secretly panicked about the spray tan, hair color, and alcohol I’d consumed since conception.

{And the rest of the story picks up right here…}

The moral of the story is…I don’t know when to worry about infertility, but I probably did so way too early.  I don’t know when you should start using ovulation predictors, but I probably did so way too early.  It’s so hard once you decide to go down this HUGE road to keep your wits about you… Just remember that God is faithful. 

I wanted to write this out because I didn’t want to forget how worried I was last spring.  How frustrated and defeated I was on many days.  How out of control I felt.  {And I don’t want to forget, for the next go round, getting pregnant isn’t easy!} We could have struggled with infertility—that could have been our road to travel.  And if that had been our road to travel, God would still be faithful—I don’t believe He’s faithful just because He answered our prayers how I hoped he would.  I don’t ever want to forget to be thankful that not only are we pregnant, but my pregnancy has been easy and we are expecting a healthy baby.  We could have miscarried.  We could have received terrible news with the genetic tests.  We could have been dealt a blow at that 20 week ultrasound.  She could have decided to make her arrival three months early.  Any number of things could have gone wrong and any number of things still could—I’ve seen it happen to so many good, faithful people.  But God is faithful to carry us through our trials, whatever awaits us, and I will continue to rejoice and trust in the One who holds the stars… So now, ten months later, we wait in eager expectation of our sweet baby girl!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”

                                             Ephesians 3:20-21

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