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Unexpected blessings

When Dave first discovered I had PCOS, he immediately put me on metformin, a medication usually used to treat diabetics, but also helps regulate blood sugar for women like me. My world changed. I remember marveling that entire first month at how much more energy I had. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t starving all the time or that I wasn’t falling asleep 30 minutes after eating a meal. I had energy. Dave and I weren’t having fights over food anymore. For the first time in my life, I had a healthy relationship with meal time. For most of my post-pubescent years, I could not figure out why I was so hungry ALL THE TIME. And why I struggled to stay awake after meals. And why I felt better when I didn’t eat. Suddenly, my food world made sense. I did not, in fact, have an eating disorder as many of my friends had suspected throughout the years. Just an undiagnosed hormone imbalance. I was so relieved to not have to fight the food battle day in and day out.

That discovery was about a year ago and, while I’m still grateful for how good I feel every day, the daily pill routine is just that: routine. I sometimes forget that getting my blood sugar figured out was an unexpected but welcome blessing in this whole process. Now, it turns out, we have another one.

Dave and I have had a stressful few months. After our miscarriage in July, we decided to press forward with our next round right away. We both felt really good about it and went into our 11 day ultrasound feeling really optimistic. We walked out devastated. They have overstimulated my ovaries and had to pull the plug on that month’s procedure. I had four follicles and they weren’t willing to risk us having quads. There was a lot of anger and confusion we had to work through in those next few weeks. We decided to take a break from our fertility process for a little while until we could get our feet back under us.

The break did us so much good. We just enjoyed being married again. We went on vacation. We didn’t talk about getting pregnant. We dealt with some pretty heavy stuff with Dave’s work. We took part in my sister’s trial and sorrow. It was a good choice.

When we started back on some of our drugs, it came time to take the ones I really dreaded, the ones that make me really crazy, the ones that make me wonder if I have what it takes to see this thing through. On day two of the meds, Dave came home to find me barely holding it together. After a furtive call to our doc, he called in a prescription for a very small dose of Zoloft, an antidepressant that apparently works very well for women who have a bad reaction to the progesterone. Of course I cried. One more pill, and one that was trying to counteract the crazy. I took the pill, though, and woke up the next morning a different woman.

It was a surreal experience. Not only was the crazy from the other pill gone, but the general anxiety I was dealing with each day was far, far away. I had been having panic attacks about Dave’s work situation every day we talked about it, but I found that I was able to listen with a clear mind and be a good partner instead of using my energy to keep it together.

I’m not sure I would have taken that medication under any other circumstances–I was functioning fine without it–but instead of expending a good portion of my daily energy to keep my anxiety at bay, I’m now able to use my energy for other things. I’m sleeping better. I have more energy during the day. And most importantly, it’s making this whole process a whole lot more bearable, and I think it’s making me a better partner. Hopefully it will also help me to be a better mother.

These were blessings I could have never seen coming. I am surprised to find that I am genuinely grateful for what we are going through. My life is so much better now than it was a year ago when this all started. This trial has been difficult along the way, but we are experiencing a current parting of the clouds that shows us just a few of the blessings God has in store for us. It’s one more piece of evidence that God teaches us and helps us through our trials. If we push through, something good is bound to come of it.

Thick

It’s depressing when this is the thickness of this year’s medical bills file, and neither one of us has been ill this year. Thank goodness for our HSA account.

Most days I’m optimistic about this whole process, but on office/bills day I just want to punch someone.

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A ray of sunshine

My sister’s sweet Michael passed away last night as she held him. Our family has shed a lot of tears this week and the mood was pretty somber around our house last night. We have faith in the Lord’s plan, but it doesn’t take away the sorrow we feel at my sister’s and her husband’s loss. 

The one ray of sunshine in it all is that we are an eternal family. My sister and her husband and all of their children are an eternal family, and they also belong to a larger eternal family. My heart is so touched that almost all of my siblings are going to be able to make it to the graveside service, to help hold my sister’s family up on what may be the hardest day of their lives. For a mother to have to bury not one, but two children on the same day…she is courageous and resilient. She is heartbroken, but she is faithful.

We have mourned together as a family once before and we will do it again. I know it will not be the last. The only way we survive it is to find ourselves on our knees in prayer, and then bind ourselves together with our family.

Babies Matthew and Michael

I just got home from my Houston trip last night. Karen celebrated her birthday by being transferred to Texas Children’s. She also celebrated her birthday with the birth of her twin boys. 

From my sister:

Matthew Neal Adair and Michael Leon Adair born September 5, 2013. At 23 weeks. Michael is stable and doing well. Our sweet Matthew didn’t make it. Our hearts are struggling tonight but we know The Lord loves us.

I don’t know how many of you are actually out there, but if you wouldn’t mind throwing your prayers into the mix for little Michael and for the comfort of my sister’s family… Thanks in advance.

 

 

As a side note…

Regarding our conversation on miscarriages, I think I may have portrayed Dave as a little detached from his patients, which is a bad representation. He felt so bad about the case I referred to in my last post. His wish for women to understand a little more about miscarriages stemmed from watching women beat themselves up about what they should or shouldn’t have done to prevent losing their baby. He just wanted them to feel more peace knowing that it’s a natural process and often not the result of anything anyone did. He wasn’t annoyed that they were sad. Just the opposite–he wanted them to feel less sad if it was possible. Just wanted to clear that up.

(Love you honey. You’re the best doc I know.)

A different kind of loss

I remember a conversation Dave and I had early in our marriage, before we even knew we were going to have problems getting pregnant. As an FP/OB, he sees his fair share of miscarriages. We were talking about one case in particular one night and he said, “I don’t mean to sound heartless, but most women don’t realize that it’s not uncommon to have a miscarriage or two in your childbearing life. When people start having miscarriage after miscarriage, then we start to worry. But it’s pretty normal to have at least one failed pregnancy along the way. I wish women understood that not every pregnancy turns into a baby.”

That was a hard pill for me to swallow at the time. I was one of those women who believed that every pregnancy certainly turns into a baby. But as Dave and I would talk about these things, I better understood that sometimes you get a bad egg or a bad sperm, or something goes wrong in the early stages of division. A miscarriage is your body’s way of taking care of nature’s mistakes–something that just comes with the territory of being mortal. I’m so grateful Dave and I had that conversation when we did. It gave me a whole year to ponder that sentiment before I was to go through it myself.

That week following our positive pregnancy test was a rollercoaster. One day we would have a positive test, the next we wouldn’t. I had finally reached the point where I had missed my period, so we called our doc to see what he wanted us to do. He instructed us to get a blood test to see what was going on.

That whole week, I could not believe how tired I was. I mean, I’ve been tired before, but this was a whole different kind of tired. It was like my all of my soul’s energy was slowly being sucked away and I could never do anything to get it back. That, combined with not knowing what was going on, was tapping all of my strength and most of my reserves.

The blood test came back as positive for pregnancy, but the levels weren’t as high as they should have been five days after the initial positive test. I knew my body was either trying to be pregnant or I was on the verge of a miscarriage. I thought long and and hard after we got our results. I felt like I could pray with all of my faith and maybe keep the beginnings of the little life trying to form inside of me, but at what cost? I wrestled all day. I felt a little ashamed that my desire to stay pregnant initially had more to do with not wanting to go through another round of the fertility drugs rather than being focused on the actual baby that could have resulted. I remember standing in the bathroom getting ready for the day, actively dreading another month of drugs and tests, when suddenly I heard these little voices in my heart say, “Don’t you want us, Mom?” I gripped the sink and was overcome with a different kind of love than I had ever felt before. Suddenly the discomfort of the drugs seemed like nothing compared to having those little voices be a part of my life. I found myself silently replying through my tears, “Yes! Yes, I want you…But I want you here healthy and strong.”

I don’t know if that choice in my heart prompted the miscarriage or if it was going to happen anyway, but when it started later that night, I felt a mixture of sadness and peace. I knew we had little ones waiting in the wings, this just wasn’t the month for them to start coming. I have reflected on that experience a lot these last two months and how it has affected my attitude about this whole process. It was physically uncomfortable and emotionally discouraging. It was even a little bit of a spiritual challenge. But I feel it was a necessary step in helping me discover the true desires of my heart. Once I gained a testimony of what was actually waiting for me–little spirits who actually want to come to our family–it didn’t seem so bad. I also don’t feel the same frenetic impatience for this process to be over. I know that it will happen when it’s going to happen and that each bump in the road is to help prepare me for the future.

I suppose it’s the same with all loss. It causes us to look both inside and heavenward. We look inside to see what we’re made of. We look to God to ask if we’re being punished or taught. We learn things about ourselves, about our resilience and the depth of our faith. We learn about God, about His love for us and that the lessons He gives us in the course of our lives is to prepare us for ultimate happiness (as well as happiness along the way, I’m convinced). I think about how different this would be if Dave and I had gotten pregnant right away, how different our relationship would be, how different my attitude toward having children would be. I never thought I would feel grateful for my path, but I do.

Trials make love run deep

Dave and I just spent a lovely, relaxing week in San Diego. We visited my mom’s grave, ate at delicious restaurants, saw old friends, and visited some of my favorite haunts. It felt good to be home.

Partway through our vacation, my sister, who is 22 weeks along with her twins, was admitted to the hospital with a broken water but no labor or infection. She’s there for the remainder of her pregnancy. How long that is, no one knows. The magical date is 23 weeks 5 days to viability, and the survivability rate goes up with each day the twins can stay in the womb. They seem to be fighters, so I feel optimistic.

The original plan was for me to go out when my sister was scheduled to go to the hospital, which was about 2 weeks from now. After my sister was admitted, Dave and I talked and decided I should go now instead of later. So we bought a one way plane ticket for today and went on with our vacation.

We both woke up a little sad this morning. Knowing something is the right thing is still hard when it means being separated from your other half for an indefinite amount of time.

The scene at the airport was not pretty. Since our flights were leaving from the same terminal around the same times, we were “able” to have a terrible, tearful gate goodbye that TSA has managed to all but get rid of with post-9/11 regulations.

I lived a long time as an independent woman and I’ve traveled by myself a lot. I prided myself on not feeling clingy or sad at airports or other goodbyes. But being married to Dave has changed me. My heart is woven so tightly with his, tighter than I realized, and much of that is due to having to hang on tight through each doctors appointment and each round of drugs. Working so hard to start our family has been good for our hearts it turns out. And I thought it had been doing just the opposite.

I thought my heart would break as I watched him get on the airplane. I am so happy that I have the freedom time-wise to go help my sister and her family. I’m so grateful I have Dave’s support. And as much as it hurts to be separated, I guess it’s good to know how deep the love runs.

Too bad for Dave he doesn’t have a dry shirt in his bag. Turns out he needed one after I was done hugging him.

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