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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Miracle #2

There has been some interest in hearing the entire story of our little miracle. At first I said, "there's not much to tell. We were told we had a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant on our own and we got pregnant on our own."

But of course there is more to the story than that. 

To understand where we are today, you have to understand where we came from. 6 1/2 years ago, Brent and I decided it was time to start a family. We waited the obligatory year before anyone would take a look at what was keeping us from getting pregnant. Brent had a semen analysis and we learned that the 3% odds that Brent's chemo would impact our fertility had not been in our favor.

A semen analysis consists of a score that averages the count, morphology, and motility of the sperm. A normal man's score is about 30 million. Brent's score was just about 1 million. We were told we had a "significantly less than 1%" chance of getting pregnant on our own and were basically given the choices of doing IVF, using 3rd party reproduction, or adopting.

We dilly dallied in lots of different directions. After 3 years of going to various consults and never feeling right about anything, I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis. It was a very painful and challenging time for us. But at the same time, it was just what we needed. With both our challenges combined, we didn't feel like it was worth gambling with our money on infertility treatments. It was really what it took for us to close the door to the idea of biological children, pregnancy, birth and open our hearts to adoption. 

In May 2014 we were blessed to adopt our little boy. After struggling to find a direction for years and years, our journey finally made sense.

Since we adopted Patrick, we've been pretty solidly on Team Adoption. We haven't really given infertility treatments or pregnancy another thought. 

Since it took us a few years to get from home study to placement the first time around. We completed another home study last October and have been passively trying to adopt again the past year, trusting that if it was meant to be it would happen. We were gearing up to really kick adoption search into high gear this summer, when we had the rug pulled out from under us. 

On June 10 Patrick had his tonsils and adenoids out and tubes put in his ears. It cost us a few thousand dollars out of pocket, but we had figured out how to make it work and were fairly confident we could get on top of our medical debt. Five days later, Brent lost his job. We lost our insurance, our HSA, and our income.

Brent is starting a Master of Social Work program next week and we decided to take this opportunity for him to try to change career paths again. On July 13, Brent was offered a job working with the social work department at the University of Utah Neuropsych Hospital. It is basically a dream job, but as is usually the case with moving from a field you have experience in to starting over at the bottom in another, we lost 1/3 of our monthly income with the change in salary.

We were wondering how on earth we'd come up with the $30,000 for another adoption before, and now with our significantly reduced income and stack of medical bills, it seemed impossible. I spent a few days wondering if Patrick was going to be an only child or if he was going to be 6 or 7 before we could afford to give him a sibling.

Two days later, on July 15, we went to Lava Hot Springs to spend a few days with Brent's family. I had been feeling pretty lousy for a few weeks and had passing thoughts about being pregnant. I was mostly just angry with myself that after 6 1/2 years of infertility, I was still thinking of pregnancy as an option. Since I wanted to get in the hot pools at Lava, I decided I should take a pregnancy test just to rule it out so I could enjoy my vacation.

We stopped at Walmart on the way to Lava and I picked up an 88 cent pregnancy test. We unpacked our bags when we got to the family cabin and I casually excused myself to visit the ladies room.

I'll clue you in: "C" is for Control and "T" is for test.
Since I had never used this specific brand of test before and it doesn't have the little key on it, it took me a few minutes of looking at the instructions and back at the test again to register what it was saying. After seeing dozens of negative pregnancy tests in my life, I was in shock to see a positive.

I pulled Brent into the laundry room of the cabin and showed him the test. We both stared at it stupidly and were like..."huh." I told him I thought I should probably test again. We made an excuse to go for a walk and wandered into the town grocery store right before it closed. We bought another test, and low and behold, two positives. 

Now this is the part where I realized just how scarred 6 1/2 years of infertility had left me. I think that most people would see two positive pregnancy tests and believe that they were pregnant, but not me. I was immediately skeptical and also a little scared. I couldn't sleep and spent the entire night researching what could cause a false positive on a pregnancy test, worrying that I had cancer (if Brent would have taken a pregnancy test when he had cancer, it would have been positive), and worrying that if I was pregnant, that it was ectopic (in my tubes instead of in my uterus) since I had been having some pain.

I was so afraid of getting my hopes up that I refused to believe anything until I had more proof. On Saturday, when we were home again, we went to several instacares and walk in clinics looking for someone who could confirm pregnancy with an ultrasound. I was feeling like if I had cancer or an ectopic pregnancy, I needed to find out right away.

After being told I had to go to the emergency room if I wanted an ultrasound, I decided to try another route. My sister worked at the lab at Davis Hospital, so I thought she might know where I could go to get a quantitative HCG test--something that would not just tell me if I was making HCG or not, but how much.

Luck was on our side, I was able to order an HCG test at Davis without a doctors order and was given a cash discount since we had just lost our insurance. An hour later, we found out that my HCG levels were around 22,000-too high for a false positive on home test. At that point I started to believe I was pregnant and didn't have cancer, but moved on to the fear that I had an ectopic pregnancy since I was still in considerable pain.

We talked about going to the emergency room, but decided it wouldn't really do anything other than satisfy our curiosity. We spent the rest of the weekend trying to keep our mind off what was going on and to hold off on getting too hopeful. 

Monday morning I called every OBGYN within driving distance to see if someone could get me in that same day. I explained my situation and shared my fear of losing my tube to an ectopic pregnancy. While they were all sympathetic, they simply could not help me.

I decided to try and see if the doctor that did my laparoscopy would be willing to help me. They were not able to get me in with the doctor that day, but since I was an existing patient, they were able to order an ultrasound for me at a nearby imaging center.

 We prepared ourselves on the drive over for the possibility of having a pregnancy that was over before it began. I was sure this pregnancy was too good to be true and that I was praying that I wouldn't lose my tube. 
A baby in the right spot!
This ultrasound turned out to be very informative. First of all, I saw with my own eyes that there was a baby growing inside my uterus, right where it belonged. It couldn't believe that we had actually gotten pregnant and that it actually implanted in the right place. It felt like I was back in the fantasy land I spent so much time in when we were first trying to have a family.

6 weeks 6 days
The ultrasound tech asked when my last period was and I told her June 2014, over 2 years ago. She directed the imaging to my ovaries and we saw the evidence of my PCOS: the tiny little follicles that never developed.  

She said she figures the ovulation that got me pregnant is the only time I have ovulated in the past 2 years. 

She also measured the size of the baby and told me she thought I was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant and that I was due March 7. 

8 weeks
I've seen the doctor twice since then. I was sure that with my history I was going to have a high risk pregnancy, but the doctor informed me that even if you struggle to get pregnant, once you get there you're pretty much the same as anyone else. Other than the fact that I'm struggling with nausea and fatigue (which people keep telling me is a good thing) everything has been smooth sailing so far.

12 weeks. I spy a head, arms, and legs!
It's really taken me a while to grasp what's happened to us. I've struggled to be as excited as I thought I should be, but I've been feeling pretty sick and I've been working through my fears of how having a biological child is going to impact my sweet little Patrick. 

I told him I wanted to see what was on his shirt and he did his "I looked out the window" face
Sharing the news of our miracle has really helped me get excited and I have been so appreciative of people's sensitive responses so far. I read accounts of people who had miracle pregnancies after adopting and the insensitive comments they received. I don't fear these comments for my own sake; I'm an adult and I know people don't intend to say the wrong thing. But I fear for my very intelligent little boy who understands so much more than we give him credit for. He's forming such a positive identity and I have spent sleepless nights worrying that someone's comment about how this pregnancy was our reward for adopting or that this child is any more "our own" than Patrick would impact him.

I've been very grateful that, so far, people seem to grasp the concept that we need Patrick and he needs us. That I may not have carried him in my body, but that he is the little spirit that Heavenly Father intended to be our son. 

We feel very humbled to see the hand of God in our lives. There have been times I feel like I have a sliver of understanding what the Virgin Mary must have felt like. It is very humbling, and a little confusing, to be the vessel to a miracle. 

We are so grateful that he made it possible for us to grow our family when we would not have been able to afford to do so financially for many more years. There was a time where I would have believed that this was "better" than adopting. Now I know that it's just a different path. 

Brent has felt like it is his calling in life to be a counselor and we have been making sacrifices to make it possible for Brent to go to school and become involved in this career path. I feel like this pregnancy is Heavenly Father showing us that he truly does open a window any time he closes a door. 

We don't know why we have been so blessed -TWICE- while many of our friends and family are still waiting. All we can do is be grateful for our blessings and continue to have faith on behalf of our friends.


Trisha said...

I am so beyond excited for you guys! I wish I still saw Brent every day so I could congratulate one of you in person.
Keep positive, keep praying!
I can't even think of bad things people would say.
My only thoughts are just wow- that's insane!- awesome!

Patrick will be fine. You guys are raising him well and you have time to prepare him for a little sibling (which I am betting on another boy!)

Laura said...

It's just too beautiful for me to say too much. I just can't tell you how happy I am for you. ❤️

holly thompson said...

Im so happy for you guys (: Patrick was your first little miracle and this little one is your second (: Patrick was always meant to be your son god looked down on you two and said them their the ones they are the ones who will care for this beautiful child they will love and care for him always

holly thompson said...

Im so happy for you guys (: Patrick was your first little miracle and this little one is your second (: Patrick was always meant to be your son god looked down on you two and said them their the ones they are the ones who will care for this beautiful child they will love and care for him always