Monday, June 18, 2012

Wait, Hope, Pray

I'm happy to report that my very dear friend is doing well--or at least as well as one can when trying to balance the fear for her unborn child with caring for a toddler and maintaining a career.  The quantitative tests came back with small numbers, essentially indicating a "small exposure" or that her healthy body "fought it well".  Late last week, she had an infusion of medication that would cross the placenta and get to the baby to help him fight the infection as well.  More tests will need to be run when he is born.  The doctors are pleased with how things are looking on the ultrasound, and my very dear friend and her husband are pleased with the positive but conservative approach that the doctors are taking.  But for now, we all just wait and hope and pray. 

As for me, my waiting and hoping and praying is over--at least for my most recent cycle.  Day 1 came on day 1 of my vacation at home with Ella and my family.  I'm sad, but I'm not as devastated as I thought I might be--thanks to friends and family lifting me up in prayer.  If anything, I'm just relieved that it did finally show up.  I'm hoping this was just an anomaly, perhaps due to a more stressful time at work with the transition from the academic year to summer.  Or maybe I just got too caught up in my own selfish desires, and this is God's way of gently reminding me that He is in control.  Whatever the case may be, I'm back to where I was before:  I wait, I hope, I pray.

We had a lovely time at home with my family, though it ended up being hotter in Northern California than it was in Arizona!  We visited both sets of great-grandparents, went shopping, swam, played at the park, went to the zoo, and visited with friends at my dad's church.  Ella thoroughly enjoyed her time with my parents and her cousin and aunt and uncles.  I'm so glad that she was able to spend some quality time with them.  My parents will come again in September, and then the whole family will spend Christmas with us here in Arizona.  Here are a few shots from our trip:

Ella (20 months) and Brooke (16 months) at the park
Ella and Mommy at the park
Brooke and Ella at the Zoo
Ella (acting as a monkey) and Uncle Peter
My blessing yesterday was that Ella slept peacefully for the first leg of our flight.  All my family got together for lunch of Father's Day, right before we had to leave for the airport, so Ella was so wound up that she skipped her nap.  But I knew she was tired, and it was such a blessing that she fell asleep in my arms as we were boarding the plane.  She woke up as we were landing, and was a happy traveler the rest of the way home.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bigger Concerns

I'm on Day 43, and got another negative test this morning. I don't understand what God is doing with my cycle, so all I can do is trust that He has an awesome plan for my life, and I just need to wait on Him. But I have a bigger concern--for my very dear friend and her 29-week baby, Henry.

My very dear friend is a Pediatrics Resident who was recently exposed to CMV. Her initial screening after the first exposure came back negative, but her recent test after a second exposure came back positive. If she did contract the virus during her pregnancy, then the antibodies that her body would be producing could be harmful to the life of her baby (or at least that is my understanding of her explanation). She is under the care of a wonderful doctor and will begin working with a specialist. She will undergo some more test--this time that are quantitative, rather than just negative/positive. As a pediatrician and a loss survivor, she is acutely aware of the fragility of life. Please pray for my very dear friend, and for the baby boy who is growing inside her. It situations like these that make me appreciate Ella that much more. My insecurities, wonder, and concerns about my cycle going crazy again seem so little in comparison to what she is going through. She is a strong and beautiful woman of faith, and I trust that she believes that God has a plan for her and this child. I just wish I could do more to bring her comfort and assurance at this time--she has been such a blessing to me through my journey to start--and build--our family. I appreciate your prayers for her--it's the least I can do.

 My blessing today was the chance to stop at the park with Ella on our way home from church. I love watching her confidence grow--she has mastered the tall slides, but is stil nervous on the swings. I'm glad that I could spend this quality time with her doing something that she enjoys.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Here We Go Again

I envisioned myself starting a post with a "Here We Go Again" title with a disclaimer about a pregnancy announcement.  But alas, that is not the case.  Rather, I feel like I'm on the "Here We Go Again" roller coaster because my cycle is--once again--not cooperating.

Today is cycle day 38, my temperature is still high (going on 20 days now), by boobs still don't hurt, and the test this morning was negative.  I'm not going to lie--I'm disappointed.  I'm disappointed about two things.  First, I would love to be pregnant.  But more significantly, I'm disappointed that my cycle seems to be going wonkers again--and during a month when I was trying to be so careful!  Before getting pregnant with Ella, my cycles slowly but surely started to improve.  Don't quote me on these numbers, but in the months leading up to conceiving, my cycles were something like 36, 35, 33, 32, 30.  So when my post-nursing cycle lengths went 42, 39, 36, 35...I was hopeful that I was again seeing improvement.  Which leaves me bummed, disappointed, frustrated...and wondering.

And wondering, in the land of baby-making, can be a bad thing.

I can feel myself going back to that place of over-analyzing and calculating and becoming consumed, and I don't want to be here.  I don't want to think about egg quality and whether or not I got in enough "attempts" before my husband left for three weeks of Army annual training.  I want to just enjoy the perfect and amazing gift of Ella, like I told myself I would.  I want to trust God's plan for our lives--which I know is just as perfect and amazing--without my own dreams and desires getting in the way. 

Ugh.  I found a problem with my "hoping to conceive" attempt at building a family.  The problem is that you actually begin to hope.  And hope is a powerful thing.

Today I am blessed with the chance to bring Ella to swim lessons.  We did swim lessons last year when Ella was just 8 months, so it will be so different this year now that she is 20 months.  She loves the bath and her water table, and it is super hot here in the desert these days, so I'm really hopeful that she'll enjoy the lessons this year.  We'll be at a new pool right across the street from her daycare, and I signed her up for the whole month of June, so I'm hoping that this will be a good distraction while my husband is gone.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So Different, and Yet Still So Similar

I'm finding myself where I've been so many times before--counting down the days until I think that I'm safe to test.  Except for this time, I have the perfect distraction--in the form of a silly and sweet 20-month old bundle of energy--to make the time go by.

Today is cycle day 35.  I was committed this month in terms of what I ate, how much I worked out, and when I encouraged certain marital interactions.  Ever since I stopped breastfeeding and started "hoping to conceive", my cycles have gotten progressively more regular (42, 39, 36, 35).  So in theory, I should be ready to test, right?  Since I've gone back to "old reliable" and started tracking my temperature again, I know that it's still elevated.  So in theory, I should be ready to test, right?

And yet, I put it off a little longer.  I think there is nothing less discouraging than a negative test, and so I wait.  I tell myself that it's now the weekend, and I wouldn't be able to make contact with my doctor's office until Monday anyway.  I poke at my breasts one more time, to confirm that no, they really don't hurt at all--which was my first true indicator with Ella (and my previous pregnancies).  And so I wait a bit longer.

But the waiting is so different this time.  Having a child is the perfect distraction from obsessing about having another one.  And no, I don't mean that in the "birth control" sort of way, though I guess it could be interpreted as such.  No, I simply mean that I still feel so amazingly blessed to have Ella in my life, and if she's the only child that God has planned for us, then she's already more than I could have ever imagined.  God filled the deep desire of my heart in making me a mother to her.  I long to experience the joys of pregnancy again, and I would love to give Ella a sibling, and I really want to give my husband the little boy that he desires; but I finally feel that I can live my current life without obsessing about building a future life. 

I don't know if I'll ever be one of those women who just "falls pregnant" without a worry or care in the world.  It's my nature--and my experience--to worry.  So part of me will always wonder and flip through mental calendars to find ovulation dates and then try to do the mental math about possible beta doubling times. But like a toddler who leaves her coloring when she hears the word "snack", I'm learning to leave my worries and wonders when I hear the word "Mommy". 

Today's blessing was waking up early and having the chance to sit here and write a bit.  I know that I don't post nearly as ofter as I have in the past, or as much as I would like (I guess having a child changes your blogging life as well), but I still really appreciate this community and enjoy following the lives of so many women who continue to be so important to me in my journey. I really am blessed to have this blog, and to have made these connections.