Thursday, December 28, 2017

Our Christmas Announcement

It came as a bit of a shock in November when I missed my period. We have been using conservative birth control methods and felt quite comfortable that we had mastered it since it has worked well for the past two years. Of course, we prayed for wisdom often and felt that even if a "surprise" happened we would know that God is ultimately in control. If the decision was completely up to us, we had planned for Genesis to be the last of our biological children. When she potty trained this summer, then moved out of our room and into the girls' room, that solidified it for me. I was 100% ready to move on to the next stage of parenting--done with diapers!

In August we did a major cleaning out and purging of the garage. At that time, I downsized some of the clothes I store for hand-me-downs. That included giving away my un-needed maternity clothes and the largest portion of baby and toddler sizes we are done with. We also gave away most of the big equipment for babies, but kept the car seat and crib as "insurance." Haha. At one point when I opened the boxes of newborn clothes, I did have a few tears. We were close to done with the garage, and feeling the emotion there, Mitch suggested I put the infant clothes back in the attic. He reasoned, "It can't be THAT long before we have grandchildren."

I began seeing a therapist for general anxiety disorder in August also. She suggested I talk to my doctor about trying some medicine for a while to help my brain reset. So when I saw my doctor at the end of August, I discussed this with her and she recommended Zoloft. "But if you get pregnant..." she began. I confidently assured her we had it under control. Little did I know...just a few days earlier sharp abdominal pains landed me in the ER where I discovered I had an ovarian cyst. I had no idea how that would mess with my Natural Family Planning.

September and October passed, and I met with my doctor again at the beginning of November. The Zoloft had been an AMAZING change for me. I had always thought I would know if I wasn't doing well mentally. As soon as I started Zoloft I felt better than I had in four years. My own personal demons (impatience and anger...which sadly would lead to yelling) that I had been unable to defeat on my own, were now able to be conquered. I told my friend Kristin that I would take Zoloft for the rest of my life if it meant I would never yell at the kids again. Like so many other people in a similar situation have said, I wish I had started the Zoloft sooner. I had gotten used to the medicine and was having some breakthrough anxiety, especially in the evenings. I did NOT welcome the return of the feeling that had been a constant companion for so long. So the doctor increased my dose and that did the trick. Then I missed my period.

As I stood staring at the test line slowly appearing on the test, my first feeling was disbelief. I've taken a few negative tests where you strain and turn the test, and hold it up to the light, trying to see the faintest hint of color, but none shows up. I felt like I had just been pulled over by a police officer, and I was waiting to see if he was going to let me go with a warning or write me a ticket. I got a ticket. ;) You don't have to strain to see that line, nor invert the colors in photoshop, or disassemble it and hold it up to the sunlight. It was there within seconds, and it kept getting darker.

My next feelings were joy, laughter, and fear. Why fear? I KNOW I don't deserve a gift like what I have already been given, and I certainly don't deserve another. What if this time God took it away? I was given a wonderful surprise, and what if he took it back? It has happened to my close friends, and I grieve with them. And let's be honest--I have been pretty open with telling people, "Nope, we're done." And I had quite a bit of pride and confidence in telling my doctor that we had it under control. So I knew it would be embarrassing to admit that our method "failed." And doubly worse if I went through the embarrassment of telling people, then had a miscarriage. It is vanity, all of it. I texted my friend and confessed my fears. She gently texted back, "Why are you afraid?" She was right. God was in control, he's still in control, and he will always be in control.

Zoloft (Sertraline) is the safest medicine for depression/anxiety to be on during pregnancy, so my doctor suggested I stay on it or wean off it slowly. I tried decreasing my dose and the anxiety came right back. So I opted to stay on it as the huge benefits to my mental health certainly impact us all. There is a risk, and we will talk about that as the pregnancy progresses.

In the time since I had Genesis, some of the policies for pregnant women changed at my clinic. So when I scheduled my first appointment, I found out that they would do an ultrasound in the first trimester. I scheduled it for when I thought I would be 8 weeks. It's the earliest I've ever had an ultrasound, and while I've seen other people's ultrasound photos, it was still pretty amazing to see my own.

The baby's heart rate was 165 bpm. I measured 8 weeks 2 days, which was pretty close to what I thought. My due date is July 16, 2018.

I've been feeling pretty typical for me in the first trimester--nauseous and exhausted. It seemed like the "morning" sickness started within days after getting a positive pregnancy test. I get bloated and uncomfortable in the evenings, which makes the nausea even worse. Some of my pants already don't fit. I took 1/2 a Unisom tablet and some vitamin B6 at nights for about a month to help with nausea. Last night I was able to not take it, and I survived. :) So I hope that part is nearly done. I have gagged a few times, but I haven't thrown up.  I'm trying to eat more frequently, smaller meals, avoiding fried or spicy foods (hard!!), etc. I researched prenatal vitamins (my enemy) and chose Naturelo to use this time. They smell weird, but they don't make me sick. I stuck my nose in the jar and told my brain that the smell is not offensive. Silly, but it seems to work.

The ultrasound revealed a subchorionic hemorrhage and an ovarian cyst on my right ovary. That's the same side that I had the cyst on in August. It isn't remarkable (and could just be a coincidence), but they are going to check it again. The radiologist noted that it could be a corpus luteum. Subchorionic hemorrhage is the number one cause of bleeding in the first trimester, and I'm happy to report that I have not had any bleeding. I hope that the follow-up ultrasound reveals that it has been absorbed.

We told the kids (except Eden and Caleb, who I told privately) the day after Christmas that I am pregnant. Their reactions were funny. Micah was like, "Well, that's old news!" LOL. Tirzah was jumping up and down excited. Mercy and Genna didn't seem to know what was going on. Malachi immediately asked to go to his best friend's house to tell him the news. Zeke was kind of upset to hear that so many other people already know (he wanted to share the news first). And Josh won the sweetest award for saying, "I was just thinking the other day that I'd never get to hold a new baby again." Awwww. Genna gets the weird 6th sense award. Two weeks ago at church, she randomly looked up at me and asked, "You have a baby in your tummy?" Then last week she said, "Mommy we don't have a baby. You get me a baby." I asked her where I should get a baby from, and she said, "In yous tummy." LOL, I should have asked her if she wanted a girl baby or a boy baby. ;)

Twenty-one years ago this December I had a similar surprise and positive pregnancy test when I found out I was pregnant with Micah. I had no idea when I conceived, so the doctor I saw ordered an ultrasound. It was done on Christmas Eve, where I found out that I was 11 weeks pregnant and due on July 15. Cool, huh? They did something that I've never experienced since--they popped in a VHS tape and recorded the ultrasound for me. A while back I bought a little box that I could use to hook a VCR to the computer and transfer video tapes to digital. Micah's ultrasound was the first video I made. :) And the timing is perfect since I'm 11 weeks right now. So here is Micah, 21 years ago.