Our Pregnancy Journey - TTC Roller Coaster Ride
REASONING & BACKGROUND:
I was hesitant at first on whether or not to create a blog on our pregnancy journey, but after some considerable thought, I decided to be vulnerable and share our story in hopes of offering encouragement to others TTC (trying to conceive). Not only has this proven to be a therapeutic release for me, but a way for both my husband and I to continue to connect and grow closer as well.
I hope these posts are not only relatable to others TTC but also offer some hope, encouragement, a realistic perspective of the ups and downs that come with TTC and pregnancy, and advice, along with some much needed comic relief. Be prepared for a few tears, some laughter, real life and candid moments as we embrace this journey together.
We started our TTC journey over a year ago. I'll admit, we didn't take it as seriously the first couple of months as we were busy enjoying married life, traveling, and decorating our rental home, among other things. I had a general idea of when I was ovulating, but we didn't make it intentional at first. During the first few months in the fall of 2016, we were even in different locations during ovulation time too. So unless I'm the reincarnated Mary, this baby wasn't going to be created on its own without Dad around...
A NEW YEAR & NEW GOALS:
We started to get more serious about TTC at the beginning of the year in 2017, considering at this point, we were both turning 32 this year, so we were no longer spring chickens. I experienced my first time of being 2-3 days late on our ski trip to Flagstaff to visit my brother, but was secretly relieved when I found out I wasn't pregnant as I had taken some expired antibiotics the week before that my brother informed me that I should have thrown out a LONG time ago... #attentiontodetails
THE RESEARCH BEGINS...
We started to be more intentional after that trip, and I conducted more research than should be possible for a girl with ADD. I had basically temporarily memorized everything possible to try to boost our chances of conceiving as well as foods to eat and not eat during pregnancy and other do's and don'ts to the point where I was about to reach the threshold of insanity. I came to the realization that pregnancy was just the start of a lifetime of sacrifices and selfless decisions in order to do the best for our children's health and wellbeing.
I also came to the realization that when it comes to pregnancy, EVERYONE has an opinion on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. The more research you do, the more you will go in circles and end up back where you started...not having a clue which is actually the right answer. From avoiding chemicals in products, to essential oils, to whether or not you should get your hair colored or shellac nails, to the best pre-natal vitamins, to how much exercise you should get, to natural sleep remedies, to natural cleaning solutions... The list goes on... You name it, I researched it. I think I covered the whole gamut and then some... After all that research, I then realized that in the end, I could do everything exactly right and by the book, and somehow, something could still go wrong. Or I could do things not so perfectly and make a few mistakes along the way, and yet have a perfectly healthy, happy baby. Some things were just out of my control. This was yet another opportunity of MANY that I would just have to do the best I could with what I have and know, and then let go of all the unknowns and just trust God in the process, or I would drive myself crazy.
THE RESEARCH ENDS...
I stopped with the research to retain my sanity and gave my brain a break. We tried off and on the next few months with no luck. We started realizing just how little control we actually had in this process, despite the fact of how much we tried to control externally. This recognization was humbling in itself. It was time for something to change, but this time, it wasn't adding more variables or things to control, but instead, giving our hopes and plans to God. We made a point to add our future little one to our daily and nightly prayers. After all, it is God who is ultimately in control of our future family, in whatever way that would look like. Whether it would be conceiving naturally on our own, with a little outside help, adoption, or just being content with our fur baby, we needed to rely on Him and work on being patient and content with whatever situation we were called to be in.
Come spring time, we decided to hold off for 2 months of trying as we had some close friends that were planning on visiting us who also had been TTC for a couple of years. They had quite a roller coaster the last year of trying, so we decided that just in case I would become pregnant, that we wouldn't want to release that news to our dear friends on their trip since it had been quite a journey for them up to this point. So instead, I planned a vacation for them encompassing all-things wine related, including a wine festival and visiting a few vineyards. Crazy enough, when they came to visit, they actually surprised us with the most exciting news... They were pregnant and expecting a baby in the winter! This was the best news ever as they previously had 2 heart-wrenching miscarriages, and it had taken a toll on them emotionally, mentally, and physically. YAY for HOPE!!!!
HOPE & HEARTACHE...
The month after the exciting news about our friends, we decided to try again... In June, I had what I believe was a chemical pregnancy / 1 month miscarriage. For the last couple of years, my cycle has been like clock work with predicting my period and knowing what to expect. The only delay I've had previously was the barely noticeable 2-3 day delay in January, but that was more likely the result of changes in sleep, exercise, and stress. Besides that, I've never been even a day late on my period. Come June though, I was almost two weeks late. The first day I was late, I took an at-home pregnancy test with no positive result (as I had already taken tests religiously the week before too). At that point, I was not only out of pregnancy tests, but I opted to stop driving myself crazy with taking them daily, and instead scheduled an appt with an ObGyn to have the official test done. Two weeks later, on the exact date of my scheduled appointment, Aunt Flow arrived, and she came with a vengeance. To spare you the details, let's suffice it say that I looked up signs of an early miscarriage, and I had experienced all of the signs. It was the worst and most painful period of my life, and I've had some pretty tough and painful visits by Aunt Flow in my day. Even though this was just the beginning, there was the silver lining of hope that we could possibly get pregnant. Along with hope, there was also heartache with the many unknowns, and the reality that we would be starting this all over again as the waiting game would continue along with even more uncertainties that would follow.
I decided it was time to find an actual ObGyn that I would keep in case we ended up getting pregnant. I sent out my doctor referral radar on high, started asking around and researching on the internet. After a couple of days, I set up an appointment with a wonderful and knowledgeable ObGyn (who came highly recommended to me through various friends and google reviews and was also known for his patience, which was a TOP priority for me).
Let's just say that I came in with about 3 pages of questions, and thank the Lord this doctor was the cream of the crop when it came to patience and my endless barrage of questions and uncertainties. After 1 hour of questions, tears, and more tears, I felt like I had found just the right doctor for my personality and received answers to my many unknowns.
Feeling equipped with the knowledge I needed and a level of assuredness, we attempted to continue our efforts in the summer. The following summer proved to be a bit of a stressful one with various factors, and despite our best efforts, no pregnancy resulted. Each time I went through countless pregnancy tests and each time, the test results all came back negative. I vowed to limit my testing to only the day after I missed my period from here on out to avoid driving myself any crazier.
It hit me at some point that when it comes to parenting, there are things we liked and things we would change about our own growing up experiences. We decided it was time to expand our knowledge and utilize the experience of others by adding to our growing library with a few parenting books. I reached out to a few close friends to ask them about books they would recommend to aid in efforts of raising our children in a faith-based home. A couple books were repeatedly highly recommended to us, such as the book, "Parenting," by Paul David Tripp. We purchased this book along with a few other parenting books. Needless to say, they stayed in our library, untouched for quite awhile.
THE WAITING GAME CONTINUES...
I made another appointment to speak with my ObGyn about other options to try to increase pregnancy chances. One indirect blessing that resulted from this appointment was that in my 'slightly shorter' 2-page document of questions, I had asked about any immunizations I would need to make sure I was up-to-date on all my shots. After analyzing my blood work to check for any immunization boosters I would need, he discovered I needed another MMR shot. "No big deal," I thought and scheduled an appointment to get this crossed off my list. Little did I know that the MMR shot is one of the few immunizations that you can't get while pregnant, but it is imperative to have before you conceive. Even though I had the series of two shots when I was younger, for whatever reason, my body hadn't built up the immunity to the diseases it needed. It was vital that I receive this before I became pregnant as measles, mumps, and rubella can cause all sorts of pregnancy complications and birth defects. Also, little did I know that after you have the shot, you need to wait another minimum of 4 weeks before you try to conceive since it's a live virus. A person may need to get another shot at that 4-week mark with another 4 week minimum of TTC once again. This news broke my heart, as again, it turned into another waiting game. When TTC, weeks of waiting seem like an eternity. I never understood this until we were actually trying.
So after a patient 5 weeks and calling to make sure I didn't need a second follow-up booster shot, thankfully, we were in the clear to start trying again. My doctor also performed a few blood tests to check my hormone levels (a series of 4 blood draws every 3 days). Most of the results came back fairly normal with a few little minor concerns so he gave me progesterone pills to take during specific days after I ovulated. Three more months of intentional trying went by and each time, my period came like clockwork.
One word of encouragement for others TTC. If you are in the stage of also trying, let me just tell you, this will be a true test of not only faith but of strength, character, and compassion. There will be times when your excitement has reached all new levels. There will be times when you feel beyond the point of discouragement. Needless to say, it will be an emotional roller coaster. Not only will each negative pregnancy test result you receive be another sting of disappointment (and at times feel like a failure and raise doubts you never knew existed), but it just so happens that when you are trying to conceive and are unsuccessful, everyone around you becomes pregnant or are already pregnant. Your closest friends, your new friends, your old friends, your bible study friends, your work friends, your acquaintances, and just about everyone you run into at the store. Let me reassure you, you are NOT alone. As much as you will be more than excited for each of these people, you will still have moments where you will feel like there is something wrong with you. Your doubts may seem to get the best of you at times.
My best advice is to stay hopeful and to embrace the times where you are able to take long showers, read a book, and make spontaneous trips to Target without spending an hour to pack the car for the baby/toddler and then getting to the store with the inevitable result of your child having a meltdown, only to return home two hours later with nothing accomplished and no Target shopping bags to show for your day. So take advantage of the Target runs (and the long showers and book reading) while you can! I truly feel like God has a plan for each of us, no matter how difficult it can be at times, and by truly trusting His plan and His timing, God can bring good out of every situation to those who love him. Romans 8:28
Thanks for reading and following our journey! Stay posted for more updates...
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