March, 2016 – This may be the hardest time I will ever have putting pen to proverbial paper. I’m sitting on our sofa in the living room – the coldest place in our home, but the perfect spot to pull on my Pure Barre socks that have taken over the majority of my drawer and the blanket that usually dawns the guest bed. My coffee was just brewed – it’s cinnamon on the first day of fall with a touch of french vanilla coconut milk. I finally found an addition to my usual black cup that won’t cause an allergic reaction. Friends is on Netflix in the background, The One with the Jam. Although the episode doesn’t really matter, it’s the show itself that brings a comfort and a nostalgia of post high school afternoons and instant mac and cheese before the football game – a time that required no life changing decisions, a short time taken for granted. Bigger fish were coming and I would never see them until I was in the middle. Those would be moments that would define me and our path in life.
It was almost two years ago that this photo was taken – our wedding day in Santorini. We flew into Rome first, spending a few days in Italy before heading to Greece. It was the most incredibly special time together. There was a strong chill in the October air, and on most days there was a slight shower. But we didn’t mind. We walked around the cobblestone streets searching for hidden gelato shops and chasing the smells of mouth watering authentic Italian food, pausing in front of history at every turn and taking it all in. One afternoon at a square in the middle of the shopping district we found ourselves in front of a children’s store and went inside. The small store has the most wonderfully clean scent that I took in as I walked around brushing past each piece of tiny clothing with my fingers. I stopped when I came to this pair of boots. They were perfect. I had memories of my mother taking me to the mall in Palm Beach when we were little and buying us pairs of the most beautiful and shiny Italian shoes. These would be the first for our baby. The saleswoman packed a sample of the store’s scent in the stark white box along with the shoes in their dust bag. I would carefully place them into my carry-on luggage once we got back to our hotel room.
We knew that we wanted to have children right away. Ron wanted five children. He himself is one of five – the oldest. I adore every single one of his siblings. Nick, Jessica, Katrina, and Justus. They are all so unique and the family has a place for each one of them, almost as if it wouldn’t function properly if his parents had stopped at three or four.
I grew up with just one sister. I never thought much about more siblings when I was younger, but as she went to high school and then college I often wished that there was still someone at home with me.
No matter what the number was, we were ready for our family. And I had no doubt in my mind that everything would happen as it should. But God had different plans. Throughout my relationship with Him he has never ceased to surprise me, but I didn’t see this one coming. After six months of trying to conceive, we decided that we needed to consult with my doctor. I was full of nerves sitting on that small square of white paper. I looked into Ron’s eyes and could tell he wasn’t quite ready to be hit with another wife ailment.
He spent the first few months of our relationship in and out of hospitals trying to diagnose my GI issues. He met my parents for the first time in the hospital – not quite ideal. I could see those memories rushing back as we sat unknowing of what was to come. The doctor wasn’t quite sure either, scheduling a procedure to look further into the issue. Another hospital. I went a few days later and watched the screen next to me like I was a five year old looking at a building schematic. I had no clue what I was looking for. The specialist said a few words to the doctor and then left. Even at the end of the appointment I didn’t have a clear answer. She recommended that I see a specialist, someone that could further assist me in the process. Another doctor.
That night I thought about our wedding day. I thought about those tiny shoes in my top dresser drawer. I felt unsure of what was next.
April, 2016: Our follow up with the specialist started with answers. From looking at my test results he knew exactly the issue – I have a unicornuate uterus. All I heard was unicorn. I had no qualms with unicorns up until this moment. I would never be able to look at a Lisa Frank back to school section ever again.
I was born with only half of my reproductive system. For the two men out there reading this, women have two fallopian tubes, two ovaries, and a uterus. I have one fallopian tube, one ovary, and half of a uterus. Most women don’t find out about the condition until my moment when they’re trying to get pregnant, or when they have a prior kidney issue. So here we were with another rarity that Paula has wrong with her body. But no surprise there. The specialist also checked Ron who passed with flying colors and is off the charts on Olympic swimmers. Of course.
The plan of action was to try IUI first before going to the more extreme and aggressive IVF. For those not familiar with these terms, IUI is a turkey baster sort of situation. And we’re moving on.
May, 2016: We attempt our first IUI. Being new to this whole process, we had hope for the doctor’s recommendation of a starting point. I was told to rest that day, lay in bed, just relax. Easier said than done. I stared at the ceiling. Checked Instagram. Watched Friends. Checked Instagram again. Ron came in and asked us how ‘we’ were doing. I hoped he was right. I hoped that soon it would be ‘we’.
When our first ‘no’ came, it came as a shock. There was no longer hope in our first IUI. Nor the second. It was time to move past the easier options, and our first IVF round was scheduled to start soon.
June, 2016: Another month. Another issue. This time it was a new one – my thyroid. It was WAY off from where it was supposed to be. I was hypo, which didn’t make much sense, but my body just keeps those surprises coming. I wouldn’t be able to start IVF until my levels were approaching normal. So June passed. My medication was increased. July passed. My medication was again, increased. My holistic doctor in Atlanta decided to switch me to a more natural alternative. My levels dropped, and my infertility doctor basically told me that I had wasted that month and needed to get back on their medication. August came. Again, increased and then we were finally approaching normal. Whatever normal may be.
I was getting my makeup done for the newest release of my magazine. My artist was finishing up a familiar face, one of my classmates from high school. She was pregnant, probably about seven months. She went into the excitement of meeting their child soon, and talked about how they had only tried for two weeks to get pregnant. “So when you’re ready, just prepare yourself!” I laughed along, in-between that moment of making her feel horrible for making that statement or letting the hurt sink deeper inside of me. I decided on the latter as she finished up and went along her pregnant way.
September, 2016: IVF begins. Today was the first time I have cried about the situation in a while. I am five days in to the hormone shots. I had to give myself four today, because the medicine didn’t equal a full dose in two of the pens. I was down to the last one and started to shake. My stomach is covered in bruises, and I can’t find a clean spot to inject. Every time I go to do it, I stop at the last second. I pray. I curse. Twenty minutes later I looked the other direction and jab at my abdomen. Done. It’s done.
The injections, which seemed to grow in size each day, continued. I would go in to the doctor’s office, sit on that little white paper square, and get the same answer over and over. Keep going. You need more medicine. We’re not there yet. What would have taken a normal IVF session a month was taking me two. My body wouldn’t react the way we needed it to. Nothing was working like it should. Just WORK body. Why are you so broken?
Early on, we decided to document the stages of this process with a videographer. Our friend Orion came in to record interviews with us, and talk about what was ahead. We spoke on where we were and he got some B-roll of me taking my shots. When he was packing up, he looked up from his equipment and said, “Paula, did you know that I was adopted?” I had no idea. But I can tell you right now, that his parents hit the jackpot because he is one of the kindest and most talented people I have ever met. He went on to tell me that his mother struggled with infertility. He was now watching the path that his mother went down emotionally before she had made the decision to move forward with adoption. I was stunned. And if I ever had any doubt that God was in this with us, I didn’t any longer. Orion was there for a reason. As were we.
We continued on our path and ordering medications, which meant me rushing to our mailbox and getting the packages to a real refrigerator as soon as possible. Each ‘pen’ of medication was about $1,000 and we couldn’t afford to lose one due to the unusual South Carolina heat in the beginning of October.
Around needle 67, we decided to take a trip together back to where I grew up. A place that is quite possibly more special to me than any other – Reynolds on Lake Oconee. We needed a break. We needed to breathe. That was short lived when I got there and attempted to carefully transfer my pens full of medicine from my lunchbox cooler to the mini fridge. It didn’t feel right. It was too warm. The panic set in that the liquid would soon become too hot and that little tiny blue temperature indicator would creep up to red. I would have to start over. My body would cycle out. The past two months wouldn’t come close to counting if we couldn’t get to the first finish line.
I picked up the phone in almost tears, trying to explain to the receptionist why I needed a refrigerator, and why I needed it now. Within minutes, the staff was rolling in one of those medium sized fridges you had in your dorm room and plugged it in to the wall. It wasn’t the most ideal situation to have this reminder sitting in the corner of your relaxing and beautiful hotel room, but it was there. And that’s where we were, in this new normal of needles and refrigeration.
Coming back from Georgia, another doctor’s visit awaited us. He was going to let us know when he thought my body was ready to go, and when it was, surgery for my egg retrieval would be the next day. The doctor was unsure of how many eggs my body would produce, only having one ovary. Once again I laid in the room, staring at that black fuzzy screen waiting on someone to tell me what was happening. Today I had the nurse practitioner giving me an ‘oh so pleasant’ exam.
“Hmm.” The absolute last thing you want to hear at the doctor. She jabbed around a bit more. “Well I found your other ovary.” WHAT?! A year into this process and it turns out they had told me I didn’t have a body part that I actually have. “Yep, there it is. It can be very hard to see at times.” You don’t say.
So I now have two ovaries, one fallopian tube and half of a uterus. Good to know. The doctor then informs me that he might not be able to get to it during egg retrieval, but not to worry because instead he can use a really big needle and stick it through my side to get the eggs out. Sounds great, doc.
October 29, 2016: I feel like there is a watermelon inside of me. My body better have produced a decent number of eggs because I. Am. Miserable. I woke up at 7am to go into the doctor’s office for my surgery. I pulled out a pair of socks from the back of my drawer that I had been saving. The office tells you to wear socks on the day of your retrieval to keep your body and uterus warm during surgery. Mine were covered in rainbows and donning my ankles were two very large white unicorns. I had to.
I sat patiently in a new part of the office, one I had never seen before. The chairs reminded me of the ones my volunteers would sit in during chemotherapy treatment when I would visit them in the hospital. I had spent a few years working non-profit with the American Cancer Society. I always hated hospitals. Seeing others in pain was never easy – something I would never get used to.
Ron changed into his scrubs, and sat next to me. Orion filmed in front of us and I attempted to not look scared out of my mind. Giving the best face possible as the weekend nurse who I named Stabby Joe shoved what felt like a million bee stings up my vein to put in the IV. I kissed Ron as they took me into a smaller room and transferred me on to the bed. I looked over before they shut the doors, Ron standing there looking as if he wished it were him on that bed. I liked seeing him in scrubs – it felt like we were connected, even though he was on the other side of those operating doors.
I looked up at the doctor, a different face than I’m used to seeing. Mine was not on call that day. We often played this physician roulette game. He started strapping my legs down to the table to which I said “Hey hey hey there buddy, whatcha doing?!” I felt like the tiny white room might has well have been padded. “It’s so you don’t kick me as you fall asleep.” “Oh. Well then proceed.” Which he did, as my eyes closed.
I remember waking up and being able to walk out to the receptionist. They handed us a prescription for pain killers as we opened the door to the waiting room. I froze before I could take another step. My sweet, small statured friend was sitting on the couch, waiting for her first appointment. She had mentioned to me briefly that she would be visiting my doctor, but to see someone at the beginning of what you know is one of the hardest journeys you will ever take, just makes you want to squeeze them. It makes you want to hold them as tight as you can and say, I know. I know and I’m here with you. But the hardest part is that you don’t, really. Her journey is going to be completely different. She will cry at different times, go through waiting periods at different points, and feel different waves of struggle and hope. You just have to pray that at the end, you’ll come out the same. That God will answer the prayer that is inside you both. But I’m still squeezing you, dear friend. I’m still hoping with you. Praying for you. Struggling beside you.
That has been one of the hardest parts of this process – others trying to relate to what you’re going through. And they try. They start with “Oh my sister…” or “I knew this girl that…” And their stories always end with “and now she has a beautiful baby.” Or twins. Or four children. That’s great. And we are so happy that they were successful. But while we have hope for our lives, the truth is that we don’t know how this is going to end. Even a friend that went through this IVF process and was pregnant after her first try, couldn’t find words when her path and mine stopped traveling in a parallel direction. So after telling a select few and receiving this struggle to relate in return, we just stopped talking. Until now.
That night after surgery I crawled into bed, and slept straight for 18 hours. I didn’t know that was possible. I thought that was called a coma. But at that point my body and spirit were so exhausted, 18 hours probably wasn’t nearly enough.
The pain was constant. What I thought would leave with the surgery, stayed. For a week. I didn’t leave the bed for seven days and took every last pain pill they put in that bottle. It was the worst cramping feeling I had ever felt. Like a small, but very strong child was punching that remaining watermelon that was still inside of me. Remember playing ‘Red Rover’ when you were little and hitting those locked arms as hard as you possibly could just to get the wind knocked out of every part of your body? It’s like that.
The doctor called with the first bit of good news we had received in the process. They had retrieved nineteen eggs from my ovaries. NINETEEN! That’s like a reality show family. But then he explained to me that the number would go down after fertilization and that it would continue to dwindle as the embryos matured. Nineteen went to fifteen. Then fifteen went to twelve. Then twelve went to nine. And after genetic testing for abnormalities that could lead to a miscarriage, nine went to five. Five. The number of children that Ron had always wanted.
Up until this point, the doctor had told me that I would have to wait for my body to heal after the surgery, so I wouldn’t be able to do the transfer within the same week like most IVF patients. In my head, I thought that my body is different, so maybe I would take twice as long. Where most women transfer in five days, maybe I would take ten. “Not quite.” He said. “Eight weeks.” More waiting. More waiting as our five embryos went on to be preserved in the freezer.
December, 2016 – We left for the chill of Boston, my prescription bottles rattling in my Gucci crossbody as a constant reminder. I didn’t want them to go far out of sight or out of reach when I had to consume eight small blue pills per day. I checked and rechecked the instructions from my doctor making sure I had the correct amount in my hand before popping them in, waiting for the mood swings to begin. But we were close. Close to the finish line of the healing process, and my body to be ready for transfer.
When we returned home I cried over a dead Christmas tree, a broken vacuum – every day life problems that could be fixed easily but were adding up to a mountain I couldn’t seem to climb. My mind wandered to the extra stocking that lay under the guest bed – the one we had ordered at the start of this journey with the plan to announce our pregnancy in December.
Before we left for our trip, my father and stepmother shared the news with us that my stepsister is about sixteen weeks pregnant. When the news left their lips I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to jump for joy for her, and for her future child. Christina had struggled as well, with a miscarriage late in her pregnancy. While my body wanted to move, I sat at the dinner table frozen. Quietly staring at my plate of food that would never be finished.
The next day my sister Anna (2 of 3) took me to lunch. She sat across the blue patterned tablecloth as I led her through a packed menu of her first Greek food experience. I looked up after I finished describing Dolmades to see that she was clearly nervous and shaken. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” she started. I took a large sip of my water with lemon. I always liked the ice at our lunch usual. It was smaller and crunchy. I let it settle on my tongue as she continued, but I knew what was coming. She hadn’t tried, but she too, was pregnant. Just a few weeks. Again, the feeling came of wanting to jump up in celebration – get up, hug her, gush over the due date and name options. But I was frozen. The hole in my heart getting larger, and the ice becoming harder to swallow.
January, 2017 – I hadn’t felt much stress going into our egg retrieval on January 4th until now. Thinking about watching my sisters go through their pregnancy – tending to registries and preparing nurseries. Wondering when my time would come. Realizing the want for it now more than ever.
After a month of eight hormone pills a day, I visited the doctor for an ultrasound – the last step before the transfer of one of our five embryos. The purpose of this waiting process was to thicken my uterine lining for a better chance of implantation. The doctor wanted to see a thickness of at least eight for the minimum. I laid back as he began. As many ultrasounds as I’ve had, I still have no idea what I’m looking at or for. It’s just a big blurry screen to me. He looked at me and said, “Okay. We’re at a six.” It was better than the two I was at a few weeks ago, but still not where I needed to land. So they sent me away with a cancelled transfer date and more medicine, this time more shots in my abdomen.
It’s like when you run a race and come home with a participation medal. It’s not what you came for, but it’s still something, right?! Wrong. It sucks.
So back home, holding a needle in my shaky hand as I start what feels like a never ending process once again, taking my needle count up to 108.
A week later I am back at the doctor on my cancelled transfer date. It was still on the calendar up until that morning. Another promising date cancelled, the breadcrumbs we were attempting to follow towards our future scattered and half eaten.
Again, I lie back and what feels like my second not so vacation home of the doctor’s office. “Four,” he said. “FOUR?!” I shot straight up so fast the paper on the table should have ripped. I felt like Ross on Friends when Rachel is only dilated three centimeters. “FOUR?! Ron’s up to four by now.”
I got dressed and the doctor came back in to discuss options. I felt defeated. I felt hungry. And my entire body, all of the sudden felt so tired I couldn’t hold it up. He wanted me to continue on with the transfer. They were basing my uterus off of a normal one, which mine was not. There was no measurement for how mine should look, no textbook to check. Percentages of success could not be given we just had to “try it.” If it didn’t work we could look in to genetic testing through a uterine biopsy, and then possibly a surrogate (you’re up, Jenny), but he would suggest failing three times before giving up on my body.
Trying it. Trying it with three of my five beautiful, healthy, perfectly wonderful embryos. All of which I was already attached to and protective over. All of which I wanted to be born into this world. Trying it on my abnormal body – I couldn’t help but feel like I was gambling against the house with the highest of stakes. If I tried it, and it failed, I couldn’t help but feel like I had not given my child the best possible odds. I couldn’t help but feel like a failure would be more pain and weight on my shoulders as to why there’s still only two of us. Why one and one, in this case, has yet to make three. Try it.
It was one of those drives home that you just end up at your doorstep not sure how you got there, all of the sudden nervous about your driving skills, and looking down to make sure you’re in one piece. I opened the door, as my eyes clouded. Heading towards the shower.
Water has always had a healing power of sorts over my body. When I’m stressed, I shower. When I need a break, I bathe. If there is a pool at my disposal, there’s nothing that stops the tears like diving in and the temperature taking my breath away. Most of the time I sit. Sit until the feelings stop.
It’s been difficult to define feelings throughout this process. I’ve held it together as much as possible, going through the motions of it all for the past year and a half. The waves of emotion come and go, and I’m never quite sure when I’ll break down. But that morning in the shower, as the heat pounded on my back, I let it all flow. I cried for my body. I cried for my marriage. I cried for our family. And I cried for those five frozen, month old embryos. The hand that we had been dealt was smack in the middle of a hit or a stay, and the house was staring me down from across the playing table – waiting on me to make my move.
February, 2017 – After talking through it with Ron, and again with the doctor, we decided to gamble. We would move forward with the transfer. Again, it was an abnormal situation, with more shots and more medicine to prepare my body to the best place it could possibly be. We went in and the process itself was very uneventful. After about thirty minutes I was all done.
Then we wait. And wait. Lying on my side that night I felt every tiny movement that my body made – wondering intently what it meant. Would I feel something and know that was the moment that I became pregnant? The uncertainty took over as I closed my eyes and finally rested for the first time since my retrieval.
The days ticked by as we had hope for what was to come. I continued using a medication that I can only describe as carwash fluid. But on day four I felt some unusually strong cramping. It faded, but in my gut I knew that this time around had been unsuccessful. Ron was still very hopeful, and I didn’t want to crush his spirit by saying that I felt like we would receive a negative result. But nonetheless we went to the doctor for the blood test and continued to wait until the nurse called us that afternoon. “Unfortunately..”
That was the only word we needed to hear. It was at that word that I watched my husband break down into tears. Our third ‘no’ throughout this process. Another wall hit head on. Another floor of hope pulled out from under us. The nurse continued to speak in what felt like a whisper. I wasn’t processing what she was saying until I heard, “When would you like to schedule your next appointment?” My next appointment?! I can barely even take in my next breath. The living room was spinning and I was all of the sudden very aware of how thirsty I was. I needed water. We needed sleep. We needed everything except the thought of our next appointment. I heard a small pitter-patter on the dining room rug. My eyes met Ron’s as his tears continued to fall.
March, 2017 – So we recovered. And we took a breath. And we took a mental break. We went back to life as usual. At that point, we had all but broken ground on our dream home – a lot that had sat empty as we spent months with an architect, planning. But how do you build your forever home, when you don’t know what forever looks like? Those five bedrooms could easily become a constant reminder that we can’t fill them. We packed up the architect’s plans, along with the items I had collected thus far from traveling – the baby boots from Italy, slippers from The Plaza in New York – and sealed up the box that held our unknown future. We would move into another flip for now, until our picture was a little clearer.
A few weeks later my friend Sarah quit her job and was looking for a safe place to travel solo until she started her new career. I couldn’t let a girl go alone, right? It was a quick decision to plan a trip together. Ron and I were heading to Costa Rica in a few weeks, so we landed on Mexico. It was a place I had never been. It was somewhere warm. It was somewhere I didn’t have to think about needles, transfers and the now four frozen embryos that await our decisions.
But the decisions did have to be made. So did that next appointment, as much as we attempted to avoid it.
The weeks dwindled down to days before we would visit the doctor, and I realized that I couldn’t calculate that pesky date that they always ask – when was your last period? And I had no idea.
We were in the process of moving (again), as we had sold our current house while I was in Mexico. The bathroom ‘stuff’ was scattered about, but I spotted a lone pregnancy test in the mega box that I had blown through over the past few months. “Why not?” I thought.
I went through the motions, and while it sat there on the counter with the little clock flashing, I prayed. I prayed that for once, I would get the answer that we wanted. Please God – not another ‘no.’
After a minute I peeked up at the test. Pregnant. As clear as day, my prayer was answered. I screamed at the top of my lungs, to which Ron jumped up like there was an invasion ensuing on our front door. After the panic subsided, I showed him the test. “Well take it AGAIN!” He said. But I couldn’t. I only had one. So we would have to wait.
It didn’t quite register what was happening, and wouldn’t until the next day. I showed it to him again in the morning, but he didn’t let hope get the best of him. He was going to wait until the doctor confirmed what the test had told us.
My next thoughts were ‘crap’ as I mentally did the math on how many coconut filled drinks I had consumed in Mexico. I quickly said another prayer for that as well.
I was at the receptionist’s desk the moment the doctor opened his doors. I wanted that blood test, and I wanted it now. By the time I came in the office, an email chain must have gone around with the staff. We were greeted with congratulatory remarks and comments like “how is this even happening?!” After all, we had been told it was close to an impossibility.
The nurse asked us if we wanted the blood test done in-house that day. We answered with an astounding “yes.” I was leaving later that afternoon for a women’s retreat and I needed an answer. Pronto. I stuck out my arm with more confidence and gusto than ever before. “Finally,” I thought.
As I was packing up the car to head to our nearest Young Life camp with my closest 300 girlfriends, I received the call that confirmed what the test had read the night before. I was, in fact, pregnant. About five weeks. They wanted me to continue the dreaded carwash medicine I had taken before and then come back in the following Monday. I threw it in my bag, and quickly ran over to my friend’s store. Vann and Liv is the cutest children’s store in town, and I have bought so many adorable onesies for friends, sisters, etc. But this time I was buying one for us. And that was an entirely new feeling.
I found a newborn size that was covered in tiny blue crowns. No matter the gender, I lean towards the neutral colors and the blues and greens. My sister is having a girl in September, and I’m still buying those borderline patterns that are more arguably boy than girl. I held up the tiny size in my hands. My heart felt so full. I turned around and did a quick scan around the room. My eyes fell on a stuffed unicorn in a basket by the register. Perfect.
My errands were complete with a run to Barnes and Noble for a What to Expect When You’re Expecting and a Dude, You’re Going to be a Dad book. I left all of the tiny packages on Ron’s pillow, shot an email to our friends in Costa Rica letting them know the situation, and then hopped in the car for the weekend ahead.
It was such a wonderful place to be after hearing the news – surrounded by mountains, friends, and the words of our Lord. I shared with my group leader of the news when she asked me how everything was going. We silently did a little cheer, knowing what we had been through. My small group had been praying with me through all of this. I was so excited to eventually share good news, instead of more disappointment.
On Monday, Ron and I went back into the doctor for our second blood test. Again, it was positive, and my HCG numbers were climbing. Not as much as they would like, but I wasn’t a normal case. We continued to check in with them, and had three positive blood tests. Ron added a date to tell family and friends to the calendar. We planned on which room we would make the nursery in our new renovation. We added baby furniture to our delivery that would come shortly. We happily read our books at night, sharing our new knowledge. It was finally our time.
April, 2017 – Then the pain came. Dull and in the background at first, then sharper and more prominent. It was around 10pm, and I went to the bathroom. Ron was already asleep. There was blood. So much blood. Ron found me on the floor, and did his best to calm me. “We still didn’t know what this means, so let’s just wait.” It was Saturday. I waited until Monday morning to take another blood test. We had the same urgency to find out the results. After she took my sample, the nurse held me close, praying for me before I left. This would be the 125th needle of the process. We knew each other well.
Our fourth ‘no’ would arrive that afternoon. Another ‘unfortunately’. I had more than likely miscarried over the weekend. At eight weeks, our new found hope came to a crashing halt. I had to continue going in to get blood tests and make sure that the HCG levels kept dropping. Robotically I gave my arm, knowing that nothing would come of the results.
My levels did continue to drop. But at what would have been 12 weeks, I started spotting. I called the doctor and went in for an ultrasound. While there was no embryo, there was still a sac in my uterus.
May, 2017 – As I write this, I have taken the medicine that allows the remainder of my pregnancy to pass. It’s been four days and two repeated dosages of pills that make me fully miscarry the once celebrated baby. I’m in pain, I’m bleeding, I’m tired, and we are once again drained of our energy.
Are we hopeless? No. We know that we are in a gap. God will answer our prayers in a more beautiful way than we ever would have hoped. He may have answered my prayer that night as I sat and asked for a positive result. But he has a greater plan for our lives. We refuse to lean on our own understanding – because at this point, we don’t have one. We can’t even begin to digest and understand what we have been through. But we do know that we’ll get through it.
We hadn’t planned on talking about our journey at all until it was successful. But then a three month expectation turned into six months. Then a year. And the weight of our pain became too much to carry alone.
So on this weekend – this celebratory day that will undoubtedly bring a sting to our family along with the flowers and the cards – we are letting you in. We can only go so long without community, and letting others walk alongside us. Throughout this process, we have been distant. Awkward. As one of my past friends put it ‘depressed.’ Everyone is going through something. This is our something. This is why we can’t celebrate with our friends and family as they move forward with pregnancies, as much as our hearts want to sing for them. This is why I will miss my high school reunion this weekend and all of the life milestone checklist questions. We are in the gap. And we’re not sure when God will bring us out. But we’re asking you to love us in the depths.
xx, Ron and Paula