|photo credit: Kevin Tuck www.rgbstock.com|
When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with a serious and life-threatening disease. I was only the 2nd person in the world who had this particular disease present in this particular manner. I was given an experimental drug cocktail of anti-fungal meds and chemotherapy meds and luckily, it saved my life. However, I was told not to expect to be able to bear any children as the major side effect they expected was damage to my reproductive system. It was something I just always knew, so it was never a big deal. I never hid the fact that I would never be able to have children from my husband.
When we were first married I had very vivid dreams of our life together. One dream in particular has always stuck with me. In the dream, I was holding a little baby boy. He was a brand new, fresh from Heaven, little boy with olive skin and the smallest fluff of dark auburn hair. I was holding him so close to me and I was overwhelmed with this feeling that this was MY son. He was supposed to be part of our family. He had a special purpose and it was my responsibility to take care of him and to help him be the man he needed to be. He was a special son of God. I assumed he was going to be adopted.
A few months after that dream, to our utter shock, I found out I was expecting our first child!! We didn't find out the gender before birth, because I was so sure the baby I was carrying was our little boy. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, several bouts of pre-term labor which required extensive hospitalizations and finally delivered a near-term premie. The baby was whisked away immediately and taken to the NICU to be assessed. It was a good 5 minutes or so before my husband and I realized we didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl. We were told it was a girl, and I remember feeling shocked, but not at all disappointed. She was our little girl that never should have been, that we fought so hard to get into this world. She was our first miracle.
When Charlotte was only 8 months old, I found I was expecting again! Sadly, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks. I was devastated, but determined not to give up. A few months later I was pregnant again with our second beautiful daughter. Again, I had complications. Several hospitalizations for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and pre-term labor and I developed gestational diabetes. We were told at 22 weeks we wouldn't make it through the night - we'd for sure deliver a baby who was not yet viable. Miraculously, I delivered her at 38 weeks. Amelia was full term and healthy. The entire staff was in shock. In fact, the doctor who cared for us that terrible night was on call the day we delivered. When she heard I was there giving birth full term, she came to congratulate us and asked to hold our second little miracle.
About a year after I had Amelia, I noticed I was having weird symptoms. My cycle hadn't returned, I was having hot flashes, I was losing my hair and I just didn't feel right. My husband and I had been talking about whether we wanted any more children, and I decided I would go see my OB. He had devastating news. I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and I wasn't ovulating at all. The doctor encouraged me to meet with an endocrinologist and the infertility group if we ever planned on having any more children. The endocrinologist told me I should just adopt. The infertility group told me just to take Clomid and I'd for sure be pregnant soon.
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the dream about MY little boy. I was determined to keep trying. We decided to try Clomid. A few cycles later I was pregnant! I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks - it was another baby girl. A few more cycles of Clomid and I was pregnant again! I miscarried twins - 2 more little girls. Another few rounds of Clomid and another failed pregnancy with a little girl and I was beyond devastated.
I thought Clomid would be the miracle drug and that we would get to take home a baby. I gave up. A few months later I found out I was pregnant naturally (!!!) This for sure this was our miracle and surely it had to be our boy! But about 11 weeks into the pregnancy I was told our baby probably had Down Syndrome. We were encouraged to do an amniocentesis which we refused due to the risks of miscarriage. We didn't care if this baby was disabled. It was our baby whom, for years we had been praying for. We lost Lydia during my 18th week of pregnancy. (You can read her story here and here and here and here)
After we lost Lydia, I was broken. Our family was broken. We finally decided to get healthy emotionally and spiritually. I went to counseling and my husband went to counseling. We re-evaluated our priorities and allowed Lydia's loss to motivate us to become a better family, to have a better marriage, and to become more devoted to God.
One day, after several months in therapy, I told my therapist about the dream about our little boy I'd had so many years ago. She told me to just explore the idea of thinking about having another and see where it would take me emotionally. By the time I went to my next session a week later, my husband and I had already decided we wanted to try one last time. We thought and prayed really hard and long about the decision and we just knew we needed to. The next month I began fertility treatments again. This time the doctors decided a better approach would be to do injectable drugs. After several failed cycles and two very large and painful cysts, I finally became pregnant!!!
I knew immediately something was different. I started vomiting a few days before I even took a pregnancy test. I just assumed it was multiples, knowing I had released 3 eggs. Our first appointment revealed, in fact, it was twins! We were cautiously optimistic. Our second appointment revealed the 2nd sac was not growing, and by 8 weeks, that little sac had all but disappeared. Baby # 2 was what they call a vanishing twin. Baby #1 was doing amazingly well! Measuring perfectly for dates and even had a heartbeat at 5 weeks and 3 days. The doctor assured us he thought this one was a keeper!
But I was so, so, so, so sick again with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I thought since the pregnancy was no longer twins the Hyperemesis would disappear. Not so much. I was hospitalized in December right before Christmas for 4 days. I was miserable! I was vomiting dozens of times a day, losing tons of weight and severely dehydrated. I begged not to have a PICC line put in for daily I.V. hydration. I begged them not to feed me via a feeding tube. My doctors had mercy on me and decided to try one last treatment. Amazingly, despite still feel completely and utterly nauseated all day long, I have not vomited in over 3 weeks!
And guess what? I'm now 20 weeks along (today!). A few weeks ago we found out another amazing miracle - the baby is our little BOY! :) Words cannot describe the joy this pregnancy has brought into our lives despite the struggle it has been. Although my therapist pretty much nailed it all on the head when she said, "That's him. You already know him. And he was waiting to come until you guys could make some emotional and spiritual room for him. Look back on this experience in the future when you don't know how or why things are going the way they are / why timing is the way it is."
All of our babies have been miracles. And yet, I think the biggest miracle of all is that Heavenly Father has given us, through our trials, an assurance and a hope that one day perhaps, we will see Him as He is. One day, hopefully, we will be like Him. And one day we will be with Lydia and all of our babies again.
So on this Valentine's Day, please remember the loved ones in your life, but also now and forever please remember the one who first loved you for He has brought many miracles into each of our lives.