We are having a…

  If you read my last post, you saw that we went through the 1st trimester screening.  Our testing came back abnormal which required extra testing.  We had the NIPT (Non-invasive Prenatal Testing) completed to look further into if there was something going on with our baby.  The NIPT test showed that was no concern of chromosomal issues!  The silver lining of a extremely stressful situation is that we got to find out the gender of our baby early!  The NIPT test looks for Fetal DNA in your blood stream.  This DNA obviously includes the baby’s definite gender.  So without any further waiting…WE ARE HAVING A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!

Now on to the name picking and nursery decorations!   My anxiety is still through the roof, I am praying for some type of relief.  Most of the time I am just begging my body to function.  Our last appointment resulted in me holding my breath to prevent tears from running down my face in the waiting room, because waiting equals more anxiety.  It really is a struggle and I am trying so hard to fight it.   We go in a few weeks for the full anatomy scan which will hopefully help me calm down. My biggest thing is believing that she is actually there and that we get to be her parents.  I just cannot comprehend something so amazing happening sometimes!  I almost feel unworthy of the title, even though we have fought so incredibly hard for her!  I believe hormones are definitely not helping here!  They are not known for helping with rational thoughts!!!!

The following week we go for a Fetal Echo of our GIRL’s heart.  This is one thing they want to rule out still.  There is no significant reason to believe something will be wrong with her heart. The doctor wants to check since our NT scan was on the thicker end of normal and our baby is an IVF baby.  So pray that our girl’s heart keeps growing strong and healthy!

For now it is so nice to be able to say “she”, rather than trying to avoid saying “it” but really having no other words to say!  We are absolutely in love with our little girl and have been since day 1!

    

   

12 week scan and anxiety! 

I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with our IVF miracle.  You’d think you could take a miracle and just be happy to have it.  Instead, I feel like I am spending most of my days in terror.  Terror that this baby we fought so hard to have, will be taken from us.  It is exhausting.  I wish I could just enjoy the pregnancy as people like to tell you.  I am well educated, 28 years old, and very experienced in what the world can throw at you.  I know my thoughts and fear are often illogical.  However, that does not mean I can make them go away.  But I really wish I could. Some days I just lay there and beg the baby to let me feel it move.  It is still so early for that, and I know that.  Which is what drives me insane!  I know what I should be dealing with, from readings, but I’ve never actually dealt with it.  I do not know what is normal for my body, I only know I have read and what I have watched other experience. I am used to almost weekly scans or check ups.  Now I am going on 4 weeks since I have seen a doctor.  It is starting to take its toll on me.  I’ve spend too much time wondering, is the baby okay?  Am I doing things right?  Is he/she still growing?  Am I even pregnant or did I just imagine this whole situation?  That seems ridiculous I know!  I’ve seen the scans of the baby.  Why in the world wouldn’t I believe it is there?  Logical me, know it is there and everything is probably okay.  But, anxiety driven me, is terrified. I’m used to things going wrong.

At week 12 we opted for the first trimester screening.  I only wanted the screening because in my mind, I would rather grieve a diagnosis now and enjoy my baby when it is is born.  I cannot imagine the toll it would take on you to get the diagnosis and the baby at the same time.  I want, at birth, for our baby to be my focus.  I don’t want to grieve then, if there is something to grieve.  I went into the scan fully expecting for everything to be fine.  I’m 28, healthy, and we had a great embryo transferred.  None of those things mean I would be in the clear from anything going wrong, but I just didn’t expect a problem.

We went in for our sonogram and it was amazing to see our baby look so much like a baby!  We got to see he/she in 3D and it was just beyond words.  Their heart was beating away and it was just pure joyous.  Then…

After the scan you go to the waiting room to wait to be seen by the doctor.  While we waited we sent the photos of our baby to our parents and siblings.  We were beyond excited to see our baby and share how “baby like” he/she has become!

We got called back to the patient room.  They did their typical routine blood pressure and everything.  Everything was good.  Then the doctor came in.  She shared that our babies Nuchal Translucencey (NT) appeared to be very thick.  She shared that a thick NT scan can be a sign of Downs, Trisomy 12 and 18 (both typically lethal chromosomal issues), as well as  Heart Defects.  She continue to talk some information and next steps.  All I could hear was my own breathing.  Something always goes wrong, and here it is, was all I could think.   My heart was stopping and I literally could not take it.  I remember her saying, how sorry she was and she knew we worked so hard for this.  I remember my husband telling her that this was our second attempt.   This seriously cannot be happening, kept running through my head.  I would love our baby no matter what it came into this world with, but just like any parent, you do not want to see them struggle.  As a Special Education teacher, I am very aware of the struggle.  I knew exactly what they were telling me that we may be dealing with and it was breaking my heart.

I was able to keep my body somewhat calm as I recalled what some people I know have experienced.  When my Mom was pregnant with my sister, her blood work showed that my sister has a high chance of having Downs.  My sister does not have Downs, she is perfectly fine.  When the doctor mentioned Congenital Heart Defects, I thought of my friends daughter who is an amazing young girl who just happens to also have a heart defect.  Her and her family fought, and their daughter is stronger because of it.   I saw that other people survive this, I would have to too.

Our next step was the NIPT blood scan (Noninvasive Prenatal Testing).  This test looks for fetal DNA in your blood.  They test the DNA for chromosomal abnormality.  This test takes about two weeks to get back.  GREAT, ANOTHER TWO WEEK WAIT!

We were also sent to a specialist.  Luckily we were able to see the specialist on Monday (our scan was on Friday). I could hardly function while driving there and waiting in the office.  I begged my body to please just let me function.  I tried breathing, I tried laughing, I tried it all.  I even brought my Hope rock that I held for each of my injections to hopefully help calm me down!  By the time I got into the patient room my blood pressure was of course high.    They redid the scan and took a more thorough look at our baby.  They did not get as high of a NT thickness as we originally had, which is great!  Our baby also had a very well developed nasal bone.  The lack of a nasal bone is another sign of chromosomal issues, such as Downs Syndrome.  I could feel my body start to relax.  I had a strong grip on my Husbands hand that I could start to ease.  The specialist recommended the NIPT test to be sure, which we had already started.  Our NT was within the normal range, however at the higher end of normal.  He said that it may just be normal for me, which we do not know since this is my first baby.

The next week, we received our results from the NIPT test!  The results shared that our baby does not show signs of chromosomal abnormalities!  The terror those 1.5 weeks put us through were immeasurable!  However, we know that at this moment our baby continues to be healthy!

Since my NT scan was on the thicker side of normal and our baby is an IVF baby they did recommend a Fetal Echo around 22 weeks of pregnancy.  IVF babies have a very slightly higher risk of Congenital Heart Defects (very slight).  Also, a thicker NT scan is a sign of a possible heart defect (but only a possible sign).  We will get everything check out to make sure our baby’s heart is growing strong as soon as we can.  For now, keep us in your prayers that our baby continues to grow healthy!

This entire situation obviously did not help my anxiety.  The silver lining of it was that I had a specialist look our baby over from head to toe.  This did help ease my mind some.  However, I do still feel myself lingering in thoughts of, “what is next.”  Every doctor appointment is scary, I never know what they are going to tell us.  I feel like you go in blind, with no idea of what they might find or tell you.

When I feel myself starting to get stressed, I try to look a baby names or nursery ideas to help myself get excited instead.  Sometimes it helps, however after a few minutes I start to feel like I am just crazy and it is too early to plan anything.   I feel like I am just in this limbo period, where I cannot get a daily reminder that our baby is okay like kicks or movements.  I am just wondering what in the world is going on in there!  I am still getting sick and food is just not my friend most days.  My clothes are getting tighter even though I am losing weight.   So I guess that in itself is a sign that something is still changing in my body. I am trying to enjoy this pregnancy, but I simply cannot put these thoughts aside. People like to tell you to just relax.  I cannot relax, I’ve tried everything I can think of to relax.  I know I am being illogical, making it all the more frustrating.  Having people tell you that you’re thoughts are not valid and you should just relax only makes things worse.   The whole process of IVF has placed a fear in me that is very real. I wish I could explain it better. 

I just wish I could check inside more often.  I wish I could see a doctor more, I cannot stand four week waits.  Several two week waits were enough! 

FET = Success!

On November 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving, we transferred one of our frozen embryos.

The Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), is a very different experience compared to the fresh cycle.  The FET involved very little trips to the doctor when compared to the fresh cycle where I went everyday to be monitored.  Before the transfer, I started injections to prepare my body.  These injections are different from the ones I did for a fresh transfer.  They are fun intramuscular ones that go in your backside.  Kevin has become my drug administrator since it is just easier that way for this type of injection.  These injections continued until I was 10 weeks pregnant! Needless to say, I am over my fear of needles!

After the transfer I had picked two days to test, Day 5 and Day 9.  During my last cycle I was completely taken over by the need to test.  I was constantly getting negatives. It completely impacted my mood and general ability to function during those two weeks.  This time, even though my anxiety was pretty elevated, I decided to try and stick to just two days.  On November 30, 2015 I got up early to take my first test.  I was barely awake and was absolutely expecting nothing to show up.  I looked away from the test for a few minutes and when I looked back a faint double line was showing.  I blinked a gazillion times to make sure my mind was not making it up!

I was not making it up.  The lines were there!  I continued to test every couple of days to make sure the line got darker!  It did!

The the dreaded, but very anticipated Beta day!  I was in a much better mood than the last time I went for Beta testing, but still nervous!  Later that day, I got the call.  We are pregnant!  I’ve never heard those words before.  I’ve dreamed about them, but never has someone actually said them to me!

I had to continue with another Beta testing to make sure the hormones were continuing to grow as they should.  Everything was going very well!

At exactly six weeks pregnant, we saw our baby for the first time! Then we saw he/she again at 7 and 8 weeks.  At 8 weeks I was released to the OB.  It was difficult to leave Shady Grove.  I trust them.  I’ve been through some of the most difficult times of my life with them.

We announced our pregnancy to the world at Christmas.  In the world of some, it may have been “too early.”  But to us, we love that baby no matter what happens, he/she is worth celebrating.

I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately with blogging.  I have some catching up to do with what has been going on with us!  I’ll get to that soon!   I just wanted to share this good news for now! We appreciate all the love and support that has been shown.  Please keep the prayers going for our baby as he/she continues to grow!

The picture below is our baby at 6 weeks! I’m now 14.5 weeks!  baby jaye first picture

Home Sweet Home!

We just moved into our new home that Homes for Our Troops graciously gave us!  This was my speech from the ceremony! The world should know how amazing this organization is!

Thank you for coming today! We are very excited to share this special day with all of you!We are very much looking forward to moving into this new home. It is a blessing beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Our current home, has been nothing but difficult for Kevin to live in. To get to the bedrooms there are stairs, to do laundry there are two set of stairs to go down. The bathtub is too small and hard to maneuver, and it is really just not safe. Kevin’s wheelchair has been in the storage unit since last year because there has been no room for it in the house. This has caused a nightmare for his legs, they never get a break. The skin starts to wear down and painful sores start to emerge. I truly commend him for having a positive attitude while dealing with these less than favorable situations!

One thing that Kevin and I both feared for our future was having a family. As many of you know, the war took more than just his legs and mobility, it took our ability to have children on our own. We must rely on IVF treatments in order to have children. While we are so thankful for the science that provides IVF, it is terrifying and difficult journey that leaves a lasting impact on your heart. We had amazing doctors, nurses, and staff that got us through it at Shady Grove Fertility. We are forever grateful for their time and dedication to helping us achieve our goals. Now, as many of you know, after our second cycle of IVF, I am 13 weeks pregnant. To say we are thrilled would be an understatement. We faced numerous doctors’ appointments, rounds of injections, losses, pain, surgeries, and emotional turmoil. Then one day, I woke up early in the morning several days after our last embryo transfer and decided to take a pregnancy test. The most beautiful thing appeared on that stick, those two pink lines finally showed up. Our hearts have never been fuller.

With having a child, we face many more obstacles than the average family, as nothing about our life is normal, but whose really is? In our current home, Kevin would have never been able to carry his child to bed. All you fathers out there, imagine that, not being able to carry your sleepy baby to bed at night. It breaks my heart for him. Not being able to run up the stairs when you hear your baby crying or if you think something is wrong. In the middle of the night, not being able to quickly reach your baby if it needed you. Bath time would be difficult, along with so many other activities involving the child. War took so much more than just his leg.

Receiving this home allows my amazing Husband, to be the outstanding father he was born to be. We all know, Kevin is going to love this baby with all he has, now he can be there physically whenever the baby needs him. I will be able to run to the grocery store and not worry about something happening if I leave them alone. I cannot begin to tell you what that peace of mind gives me. We will get to live a more normal life because of amazing organizations like Homes for Our Troops, Dan Ryan builders, and everyone else that helped build this home. Everyone that has participated in this build has given Kevin the ability to be the Husband and Father he wants to be. I could never thank you enough for that. Kevin takes pride in doing things for himself and being an independent man. I cannot wait to look out our back window and watch him trying to teach our son to play ball or maybe even helping his daughter on her Barbie Jeep that I am sure she will have. The memories this home will hold will be beyond measure. 

     One thing we never worried about is if our child would feel love. Our child is beyond loved by not only us but our “village” of people who have supported us. I have always loved the African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As an Educator, I firmly believe in this proverb. I witness every day the power of working together. There is always power in a group of people. This home represents the power of what can happen when people come together. Every wall has been built with love, compassion, and dedication. Every piece of sod that has been laid down has been by the hands of those who believe in something better in this world, who believe in this community and the people who make it. I believe in this community, I believe that we can make this area where we have chosen to plant our roots a place that can be nurturing to all. We grew up in this area, we’ve witnessed what this community can do when we come together with the same mission in mind and it is something we want to be apart of. I am happy that we will be raising our family here and I hope we have a positive impact on this community in the years to come.

When we met with HFOT we gained a new family. They welcomed us with open arms, we’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Kevin has often mentioned that since leaving the Army he missed the feeling of being a part of something, HFOT gave that back to him. That means so much to both of us. When we are happy they are cheering us on, when we face difficulties they help build us up. This organization has given us a chance to live the American dream no matter what challenges we face each day or what the future may hold. I’m sure they think they know what they have given us, a home, independence, etc. They have no idea, they’ve given us everything. A chance for my husband to do everything he has ever wanted to do, a place for our children to grow up and run around with their Dad, and the ability to carry our sleepy baby to bed. Those things are irreplaceable.

   Dan Ryan and his company have graciously built this home for us, making them a part of our family and hearts forever. All of you here, you’ve come out to our home to celebrate this great day with us, many of you came out on I swear the coldest day of the year to help landscape. Many have been cheering for us since day 1, that makes everyone here apart of our hearts and family forever. Our family will grow up knowing about you, and the loved you have shown us during some of the most difficult and amazing parts of our life. War may have taken many things from us, but it didn’t win.  

Today we ask, that everyone here, Our Village, help us create something to hang in Baby Jaye’s Nursery. We ask that you put your thumb print on the matte we will have displayed after the ceremony. This will hang in Baby Jaye’s room, as a constant reminder of your love and our extended family and all of the people who made this home possible-giving us a chance at an independent life. 

I’ll leave you with this quote, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make (Jane Goodall).” Thank you for choosing to make a difference in our life and for changing everything! Our lives will never be the same because of HFOT, Dan Ryan Builders, and people just like you for showing your love and support! We are forever grateful.