Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Call that Changed Everything

"Sometimes a great plan, is kinda hard to understand.  Right now it don't make sense... I can't make it all make sense." ~Luke Bryan


It was a Friday.  I had just put Cameron Kate down for a nap.  My phone rang.  The screen said, "Fertility Clinic."  I knew they were calling with my bloodwork results, but honestly, I wasn't worried.  I thought we'd already diagnosed the issue, and the bloodwork was a formality.

I listened and jotted the numbers down, listening to the nurse spout things off like "prolactin" and "thyroid" and "normal."  Then, though, she paused.  "But your AMH level is a little below normal."

"Oh really?"  I replied.  "What is it?"

...a pause...


In my beginning research of fertility issues, I knew this number was not simply "a little below normal." It was alarmingly low.  Like, almost-completely-infertile-low.

My mouth immediately dropped open in a state of shock, my hand quickly went up to cover my mouth, and my eyes filled up with tears.  I knew this was despairing news in the world of baby-making.

The nurse heard my emotions jump through the phone line, heard the tears, the panic, the shock.  She assured me I'd have plenty of time the following Monday to sit down with Dr. D and discuss our "options."

"Can you tell me ANYTHING about our options?"  I pleaded.

"Well, your number means we need to get aggressive as soon as possible.  Time is not on your side.  But your number is so low, we may not be willing to even try IVF.  We typically don't try IVF on women whose levels are below 0.5.  But we'll look at many factors and do some more assessments to see if it's worth a shot."

The panic ripped my heart open and I felt an emptiness all the way into my core.  They may not even TRY IVF??  IVF was something we didn't even think we'd have to consider, and now it looked like it probably wasn't even an option.

I don't remember the rest of the conversation.  I was in a state of shock, sitting alone in my dark living room, tears streaming down my cheeks with a hole drilled into my heart.  Cameron woke up from her nap, and I immediately went in and scooped her up and held her tight and thanked God for her, our little blessing.  Our daughter who the nurse told me was probably a little miracle.  I pulled myself together and dabbed some makeup on my swollen eyes and took her to the local childrens' museum, just like I'd promised I would.  When we got home, I was so relieved to see T's car.  I didn't want to be alone, and he was the only person who could join me in the darkness.  I walked in the door and he pulled me into his arms.  And I stopped holding back, I let the fears and worries and sadness and guilt wash over me, and I fell apart in his embrace.


Let's rewind.

About five months after our D&E in December, I knew something was off.  I was well-schooled on the whole trying-to-get-pregnant business, and I could tell my body wasn't quite doing all that it needed to do to become and sustain a pregnancy.  I made an appointment with my doctor, and after a long talk with him we both agreed it was time to see the OB in the practice who dealt with patients struggling with fertility issues.  He wasn't necessarily a specialist, but it seemed like the next logical step.

Two unsuccessful medicated cycles later, we decided it was probably time to see a specialist.  As if a sign from above, a blog-reader recommended her doctor, letting me know he was responsible for both of her children.  After my first consultation appointment and a mid-cycle ultrasound to see what was going on, I felt confident in Dr. D and his diagnosis.  He believed I was hypothalamic... so without trying to get all WebMD on you, my brain isn't necessarily doing it's job in the whole baby-making business.  You see, your brain has to tell your body when and how to respond during different parts of your cycle.  My brain was dropping the ball.  Everything he said made sense, and the mid-cycle ultrasound pretty much confirmed our suspicions (everything with Dr. D started when I was already mid-cycle, so we could only conclude so much).  We came up with a great game plan that would begin with the start of the next month.

When that day came, I went in for some bloodwork and a sonohysterogram.  The SHG looked normal, and we awaited the bloodwork results.  However, because we ALL (Dr. D included) assumed the bloodwork results would come back normal, we thought we had a good plan in place for the next few months.  I was ready to take things one day at a time, one step at a time.

Then we got the call that changed everything....

There were times I wondered if I was overreacting - Obviously there is far worse news one can receive from a doctor.

But I can't apologize for my feelings, for my grief.  This news was life-changing for us.  Especially when just eight months earlier we'd heard a promising little heartbeat, we'd heard our baby.  And now, this life we had pictured, this family, this chaotic house full of children, was probably not going to happen.  My dream was shattered by one tiny, hopeless, inadequate number.

It was a rough few days.  I cried, a lot.  I didn't understand why this was happening to us.  I tried to keep myself busy, but sat in many parking lots, in my car, struggling to pull myself together enough to go inside.

I felt so alone.  I felt such a dark sadness.

I felt so guilty, because my amazing daughter, my daughter who is clearly a little miracle, probably won't get to experience life with siblings.  And my husband, the most incredible father, probably won't get to have the family he'd always imagined... all because of me.  Though T would hear nothing of that guilt.  He is amazing, and has been my anchor throughout all of this.  I've said it before, but I will never know how I got lucky enough to be his wife.  What I do know is that news like this, tough times like these, tear many marriages apart. But it has only brought us closer together.  And that is all because of my T.  Because my T, he is the best, most selfless, most amazing person I've ever known.  My T, he looked me in the eyes and said, "Well, we're gonna fight this.  We're gonna do whatever we can so that 20 years from now, we can look back with no regrets and know we gave it our best shot."  And my T, he has held my hand through all of this, making me put one foot in front of the other when all I want to do is lay down and cry.

Don't get me wrong - I did - lay down and cry.  And I still do every now and then.  I let myself grieve, I let myself feel all of the heart-wrenching emotions - sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, more sadness, and fear... lots and lots of fear.  But then, I grab on to T's hand, and we started walking.  Walking toward hope, and courage, and strength.

And that's where we are now.  We're hopeful.  We're choosing hope.  And it's definitely a choice.  Every morning I wake up, and I remember the fight we're fighting and my stomach drops and my heart breaks a little - but then I consciously choose to try to ignore the ache and focus on the hope.  I decide to be courageous no matter how scared I am.  Because these are the cards we've been dealt.  And we're not gonna fold.  We're gonna keep drawing from the deck.

We're gonna keep choosing hope, we're gonna keep digging deep for the courage and strength to fight, and we're gonna keep holding hands and putting one foot in front of the other, helping each other stay steady and squeezing three times to say, "I love you, you're not alone, we've got this."

And that call?  That call that changed everything?  It changed everything because it made me a better mother and it showed me just how incredibly strong my marriage really is.  And while this life may not end up looking the way I'd always imagined, it truly is beautiful... and I'm gonna live it for all it's worth.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Brain Dump

We just wrapped up our first week of me going back to work, and the best I can do with this blog right now is a Sunday Brain Dump.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy some random thoughts from my scattered mind...

*I am going to LOVE working part-time!  I use the words "AM going to" because, so far, I've had some sort of appointment almost everyday this week right after work... So, by the time I get home from said appointments, it's almost the same time I used to get home when I was working full-time.  But on the day I actually picked Cameron up at 1:00, came home, and spent the afternoon being productive and playing with my girl, it was AWESOME.  So once the dust settles a little bit and we get into a routine, I AM GOING TO LOVE WORKING PART-TIME!!

*There is so much I want to share on this blog - so much I was to open up about.  But I'm just not ready yet.  It's all still so raw, like a new wound that stings in the breeze - but when things start to heal up a bit, hopefully I'll find the courage to be vulnerable.

*Y'all... Cameron Kate has been using the potty ALL WEEKEND!  It really came out of nowhere.  We've had the potty for awhile, but we've never pushed it and honestly I've felt way too lazy to even attempt potty-training.  Diapers are so much easier.  But on Friday I threw out a casual, "Hey, wanna pee in the potty?"  Which resulted in a little plastic frog potty full of pee, the potty dance, and a handful of M&Ms for CK.  She's continued to go all weekend long, and this morning asked me if she could go herself.  Took off her pants herself.  Removed her diaper herself.  Then called me in there to hold her hands (I'm guessing it makes her feel safe?) and she POOPED IN THE POTTY!  Overshare?  Maybe.  But all the mamas out there know this is a BIG DEAL!

*And while we're on the topic of my favorite little girl, I swear she's grown up so much over the past few weeks.  All of a sudden, she's just that - a little girl.  Asking me questions, "What's that, mama?  What color is that, mommy?" and asserting her independence, "No mama, those my shoes!  I'll put them on!"  And while toddlerhood still requires the patience of a saint, I am absolutely in love with her age right now.

*Speaking of saints (nice segue?), now that our summer weekend craziness has come to a close, we're finally able to get back into our Sunday church routine.  For the first time in many years, I actually look forward to Sunday mornings and the peace church brings me all week long.

*And also, I downloaded a Daily Devotional app on my phone that I LOVE!

*I ordered Cameron's 2nd birthday invitations yesterday - ahhhhh!  I'm so excited, but also I can't believe she's almost 2!

*Tomorrow is our first day of school with kids (we've only had teacher workdays so far), and I have to say that I'm quite nervous!  The first-day-of-school-jitters still hit me, nine years into this gig.

*I had acupuncture last week for the first time, and I just might be hooked.  I'll be going again this week, and may go ahead and sign up for a package of 10 sessions.  I have to say I went in quite cynical, but walked out refreshed, relaxed, and hopeful.

*When T and I watched all of the Homeland episodes and had to join the rest of the world in anxiously waiting for season three to begin, we decided to give Dexter a shot.  Needless to say, we are HOOKED.  However, we JUST finished season one, and I believe there are seven seasons, so we have a LOT of catching up to do.

*We've decided to try to clean up our eating a bit - which means more organic and less processed foods.  We're not going crazy with it all, and will still enjoy indulging (like yesterday's trips to BOTH Coldstone AND Chickfila), but I'm honestly already feeling a bit better and I hope we can slowly, but surely, make good progress with what's in our pantry.

*Last week CK and I got to accompany one of my very best friends to her 12-week ultrasound.  When her husband and mom couldn't attend, I was so honored that she asked me to tag along.  Cameron ADORES her "Aunt Yindsey," and we pray for the baby in her tummy every night.  It was so, so special to be there and see the little miracle up close, before he/she even makes his/her debut.  I can't WAIT to find out the gender of the little nugget in just seven short weeks!

*Now that Cameron is away from the house for the first half of each weekday, I'm having to pack her lunch.  Packing a toddler lunch is tough!  I'm already running out of ideas and we're only one week in.

*My little sister is getting married in a little over two months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*CK's summer gymnastics class came to an end, and we decided to switch back to Kindermusik for the fall to change things up.  I have to say, I wish we could afford both.  I love them both for different reasons.  So I think for now we'll alternate between the two.

*I've said it before and I'll say it again - I wish I was good at and enjoyed cooking.  Bleh.


Happy end-of-August!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Summer

To my Cameron Kate,

I cannot thank you enough for giving me the BEST summer of my entire life.  We have had so much fun together throughout the past eight weeks!  I have done my best to document  our time together not only so that I never forget, but also so that one day, when you're a bit older, I can show you how much sunshine you've brought into my life.

Here, sweet girl, is how we spent our summer together...

You woke up on morning and requested a ponytail:

You spent a LOT of time in sunglasses:

We went to the public library for lots of cool events, like a reptile extravaganza and a magic show:

We got PIGTAILS!!!!!

We visited your Great Granny and Great Aunt Faye... so special:

We let Dad get in on the fun every once in awhile:

We had donut picnics:

And Chick-Fil-A lunch dates:

You discovered a love for my jewelry:
And my heels:

We played with sidewalk chalk:

We became Sci-Works "regulars":

 You learned to throw AND catch a ball:

We watched Daddy play softball:

We ate A LOT of "ice keeeeeem":

You soaked in some extra time with Banks and Raleigh, who you adore:

We enjoyed back-porch dinners:

We spent many afternoons at Tanglewood's pool and splash pad:
And many of those visits were with your good buddy Grace:

We visited the Greensboro Science Center:

You had a lot of toddler moments: 

We went on plenty of wagon rides around the neighborhood:

We made a lot of wishes, most of which we're still hoping will come true... one day: 

 You grew up, way too quickly:

We played putt-putt:

We frequented Barnes & Noble's story time:

We spent a lot of time in the backyard, bouncing between a pool, a water table, sprinklers, and yes, a tomato house:

 We visited Beaufort, SC, to watch your Uncle Randy get married:

We spent one of the best weeks of my life at the beach:

The playground became your home away from home:

We made sock puppets:

We went on MANY cupcake dates:

We both had a blast at your Tuesday gymnastic classes:

I introduced you to the world of banana splits:

We built forts on rainy days:

We fingerpainted:

You perfected your "cheeeeeeeeeese!!":

You became quite the little swimmer:

 You became obsessed with your purse, which is almost heavier than mine, and now goes into your crib for naps and bedtime:

I soaked in every second, my sweet girl...
And each of those seconds reminded me how important it is to breathe in every moment as your mama...
Because to-do lists, and errands, and chores... they're not going anywhere...
But your childhood?  It's already going by way too quickly... and I am determined to make sure we both get the most out of this life we've been given.
A life that is sprinkled with so much joy because I get to be YOUR mama.  You don't even realize it yet, my dear, but you are the best, most important thing that has ever happened to me.  God knew exactly what he was doing he gave me you... a little girl whose spirit inspires me to be better, to do better.
Though our summer together has come to an end, I know I have SO much to look forward to... all because of you, Cameron Kate.