Our Little Miracle Baby

I’ve meant to write this post for a while, nine months to be exact.  But whenever I sat down to write it I got a lump in my throat, a tightness in my chest, and my mind went blank.  It’s like someone erased my thoughts.  I had no problem sharing my story verbally with anyone who wanted to know, but writing it was overwhelming.  Now though, I’m not scared…  I’m not scared that I’ll jinx our little miracle baby because she’s sleeping soundly in my lap as I type.

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Family and friends have told me that I don’t have to and I shouldn’t feel obligated to share my story on here, but I want to.  I want to because I want people who are going through a similar experience to have hope.

As I mentioned on Monday, pregnancy is an extremely personal experience.  I by no means am the golden image of health or pregnancy, because as you’ll read, we weren’t supposed to ever get pregnant without “help.”  I’m sharing my story because I know that at least one person can relate.

In the fall of 2013 Ryan and I began talking about when we wanted to start a family.  I believe that some people are born knowing that one day they want to be a mom, while others have to warm up to the idea.  Some people may never warm up to the idea and that’s totally okay – to each their own.  I was one of those people who was born knowing.

Ryan and I agreed to wait a year, he wanted to establish himself more at his job and I wanted to run a marathon {something that was taken away from me a few years prior when I was diagnosed with lupus}.  It was an easy agreement and I was glad we shared a similar timeline.  But talking about having a baby is much easier said than done.

Since we agreed upon a timeline, I thought it would be good to make an appointment with my gyno.  I’ve had an irregular period ever since I struggled with an eating disorder in high school, so I wanted to make sure everything was in “working” order.  At the appointment my doctor did a standard physical exam and lab work.  Physically everything looked good, but we’d have to wait for the lab results to return.

My doctor and I played phone tag for weeks which turned into months and finally, four months later, we connected.  She informed me that I was diagnosed sometime around 2004 – 2005 with hypothalamic amenorrhea.  She asked if my momma ever told me or if I remembered…  Yes, I’m sure my momma once told me, but I did not remember.  I was a teenager at the time and the thought of having children was in the distant future.

She explained that hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which menstruation and ovulation stop for some time because the body, specifically the hypothalamus, stops producing hormones.  She suggested that Ryan and I meet with a fertility specialist, sooner rather than later, since it can take years for couples with fertility issues to get pregnant.

There was a long moment of silence.  I didn’t know what to say and my mind immediately was flooded with questions.

Can I have children?  How am I supposed to tell Ryan?  Can I do anything to make it go away?  Why did this happen to me?  Is it related to lupus or iron deficiency?

After I hung up, the tears began to flow.  I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and overwhelmed.  Looking back, I realize that I was being dramatic, but in the moment I felt defeated.  I didn’t know anyone with hypothalamic amenorrhea and the only people I knew who went to a fertility specialist were much older than myself.

The following week we made an appointment with a fertility specialist.  I didn’t want to waste any time and wanted to know exactly what hypothalamic amenorrhea was, how it impacted our future, and most importantly, if I could have children.

Walking into the appointment I was a bundle of nerves.  Before meeting with the doctor, someone discussed the timeline and financial aspects of fertility treatment.  The doctor then came in and spoke to us about how hypothalamic amenorrhea affected our ability to conceive and the success rates of fertility treatment.  But the only thing that I could remember when we left was one statistic she shared…

“Based on your health and diagnosis, you have a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on your own.”

After the appointment Ryan and I reevaluated our timeline and decided that we would start a round of fertility treatment within the next month.  We didn’t share this with our family or friends because we felt that it was a time that needed to remain between just us.  For about two weeks I overcame my fear or needles and gave myself a shot in the belly every night after dinner.  It wasn’t pleasant but I was willing to do whatever it took.

At the end of September I made the difficult decision to go back to teaching.  Since it was a time of transition and we weren’t sure what the next few months would bring, Ryan and I decided to put the fertility treatment on hold.  I was responding positively to the treatment and the doctor was optimistic that we would have success.

I went back on birth control to help regulate my hormones, but my period still wasn’t coming every month.  In December I had a period so I decided to see if I could get one on my own without birth control.  January passed and no period.  February passed and no period.  By March I was getting frustrated.

On the morning of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon {March 15th} I woke up an hour before my alarm because I felt nauseous.  Like many runners, I get pre-race jitters but I’ve never felt nauseous.  I sat by the toilet for an hour, contemplating running the race or sacrificing the money.  I ultimately decided to run.  It wasn’t my best race, but I finished.  Later that day I worked at the running store and immediately crashed when I got home.

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The next morning I woke up feeling nauseous, again.  Later in the day Ryan and I went out to run a few errands and on our way home Ryan got a haircut.  I don’t know what prompted me do it, but I walked over to the grocery store and bought a pregnancy test.  I felt incredibly awkward in the checkout line holding the pregnancy test -  like there was a big flashing sign over my head and everyone was staring at me.

I couldn’t wait to take the test until we got home, so I went into the grocery store bathroom and waited the longest two minutes of my life for a result to appear.  Positive.  No way.

I walked over to meet Ryan and he could tell something was wrong by the look on my face.  When we got into the car I immediately began to sob and showed him the test.  He was equally as shocked.  When we got home I took the second test.  Positive.  No way.

Ryan went to the store to buy a different brand of tests because I still was in disbelief and insisted that I bought a faulty pack.  As soon as he walked through the front door I was in the bathroom taking another test.  Positive.  No way.

By this point I’m pretty sure that Ryan knew that the tests weren’t rigged, but I still couldn’t believe it.  Of course there was a part of me that was ecstatic and wanted to believe it, but all I could hear was the doctor’s voice in my head…  “You have a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on your own.”

The next morning I went to the fertility doctor for blood work and sure enough, that afternoon I received a phone call confirming the news.  I put together a bag for Ryan and my mom to break the news.  I’ll never forget watching my mom read the card telling her that she’s going to be a grandma and Ryan that he’s going to be a dad.

It happened.  She’s our little miracle baby.

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— Allison

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9 Months of Transformation

Happy Monday, y’all!  After yesterday’s Sunday Funday and sleeping for five hours straight last night, Evie woke up this morning with her first case of the Mondays.  She needs her beauty sleep!

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This week I’m focusing on #AllAboutEvie.  I’ll be sharing our story about how the doctors told us we had a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant, Evie’s birth story, what we packed in our hospital bags, 10 must have items for new parents, Evie’s one month update, and today’s topic: my bumpdate transformation.

It was hard for me to notice how much my body changed over the nine months that I was pregnant, but the changes are evident when scrolling through the pictures.  We found out we were expecting when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, the same weekend that I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon.

In the beginning, I would scroll through pictures on Instagram and ask “Why isn’t my bump showing?  I want my belly to pop.  These girls are already showing and they’re only X weeks pregnant!”  One thing I learned early on is that pregnancy is an extremely personal journey.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone’s experience is unique.  Oftentimes women say that each pregnancy is different from the last.  Although there are some “common” symptoms {and cravings}, there’s no checklist of things that all pregnant women go through from month one to month nine.  Additionally, there’s no specified time when everyone’s belly “pops.”  Every body responds differently.

During the first trimester I felt alright.  My energy level was low and I felt nauseous frequently, but I only got sick a couple of times.  When the second trimester arrived, I started to look bloated, but I was happy for my energy to return.  It wasn’t until around 22 weeks when I started to notice my belly rounding and suddenly my belly popped around 24 weeks.  The third trimester flew by.  And by 30 weeks I felt very pregnant – my clothes didn’t fit, my belly looked like a basketball, I couldn’t get comfortable laying down, and I wasn’t sleeping much.

Overall, I feel extremely blessed that my pregnancy was uneventful…  That is, until my water broke a month early.

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— Allison

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Bumpdate: 35 Weeks

What day is it?  I’m always turned around for the first half of the day after a 3-day weekend.  We had a very productive and enjoyable long weekend.  I hope you did, too!  The weather wasn’t great, but we didn’t let that rain on our parade.

On Saturday Ryan and I picked up the crib and changing table.  Ryan put everything together {thankful to have married a handy man!}, while Charlie and I read the directions aka rolled around on the floor.  Unfortunately, the changing table had crack in the wood and a piece was missing so we had to go back to the store.  It makes me so happy that the nursery is coming together…  All we’re missing is the rocker and bookcase which are at my momma’s house and were in my nursery when I was a baby!

Sunday morning Ryan and I drove out to Skyline Drive to see the fall foliage.  We visited last year and it was breathtakingly beautiful.  It’s not a quick trip, we’re in the car for 5ish hours, but it’s easily one of my new favorite fall activities.  There is nothing quite like being on top of the mountains and feeling like you’re floating among the clouds.  After we got back I had a pre-natal massage which was ahhh-mazing.

Yesterday was a busy and productive day, although I didn’t do nearly half of what I had hoped to do.  I had a chiropractor appointment, a stress test and ultrasound, tutored two kiddos, and my momma came over to see our new place.  She set up the bassinet that she gifted us, I made a Mexican fiesta, and we enjoyed the carrot cake that Ryan bought for my birthday {freezing cakes is an awesome tip if you don’t wanna waste it!}.

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the bassinet & bedding my momma gifted us, except ours is white

My momma also brought over the shirt that the hospital gave me when I was born, my receiving blankets, a bonnet and blanket that my birth mother’s mom knitted, my old bibs, and a pillow that was in my crib.  It was such a sweet, special moment!

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Due Date:  Thursday, November 13th

Gender:  Girl!

Name:  Chosen, but we’re keeping it a secret until she arrives.

Size:  Coconut {17.2 – 18.7 in.}

Symptoms:  Groin pain.  This is the one pain {in the butt} symptoms I’ve experienced my whole pregnancy and considering it just stared within the past two weeks, I can’t complain.  The sharp pain starts from my groin and shoots down my left leg.  It comes on sporadically and lasts for no longer than a minute, but it’s painful enough to stop me dead in my footsteps.  Based on Baby Szed’s positioning, it makes sense – her head is wayyy down {behind my bladder} and her legs are nestled under my rib cage.  Also why I have to pee every 10 minutes!  My chiropractor yesterday adjusted my back and neck, but he also pushed {HARD} on a spot near my hip bone/pelvis and I haven’t felt any shooting pain yet.  I hope I didn’t just jinx myself…

Movement:  I feel her moving at least 10 times a day – the nurse who did my stress test yesterday asked if I could feel her at least 10 times daily – but the movements are not as noticeable as they once were.  When I first began to feel her move, it felt like she was jabbing/kicking me, but now it feels like she’s just readjusting.  Although, it still looks like I have an alien in my belly when she moves.

Weight Gain:  I’ve maintained the same weight for the past month or so.  In total, I’ve gained about 20 pounds.

Cravings:  Still no real “I gotta have it now!” cravings.  I’m kinda hoping to have at least one before my due date because it’s one of the most cliché pregnancy symptoms, but if I don’t, oh well.  I’m still enjoying saltier foods more than sweets, ground beef {which I don’t typically care for}, lots of fruit, breakfast meats {turkey bacon/sausage}, and cheese.  I’ve been spoiled the past few weeks between a wedding, my baby shower, and my birthday…  I’ve eaten a lot of delicious cake.  I’ll take all of the frosting and leave all of the cake for someone else.  Ryan thinks I’m crazy.

Aversions:  Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head.

Fitness:  Last week was a good week in terms of workouts.  I either went to the gym and did 45+ minutes on a cardio machine or took Charlie for a long every day except once.  I love walking {and miss running} in the fall.

Sleep:  Same as last week.  I’m asleep by 8:30 or 9PM and up around 4AM.  Except Monday morning, I was awake at 1:30AM.  Blah.

Read past bumpdates…

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

Bumpdate: 25 Weeks

Bumpdate: 26 Weeks

Bumpdate: 27 Weeks

Bumpdate: 28 Weeks

Bumpdate: 29 Weeks

Bumpdate: 30 & 31 Weeks

Bumpdate: 32 – 34 Weeks

Question:  Cake or icing?  Or both?  Icing!  Ryan prefers a 1:1 ratio of cake to icing.

Question:  Do you prefer frosting to be more sugary or more buttery?  Sugary, like the kind on cheap grocery store sheet cakes or in a tub.  I’m not a huge fan of buttercream because it’s so rich and I tend to get a stomach ache later.  Cream cheese frosting is okay, too.

— Allison

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