Staying grateful in the hard times

I’ve found myself in a difficult season. It’s a story that I know isn’t finished being written and I know it’s a story that God will turn into something good. But for now, it’s the season I’m in and maybe someone out there needs to hear my story.

In spring of 2015, Tim and I felt like it was time to grow our family. So we gave it a shot. And then a year passed, and nothing. Then a few more months - nothing. My doctor said that everything seemed fine with me so we decided to have Tim checked out. We were both very relieved to find that the trouble we were having could possibly be solved by a simple outpatient procedure that he would have to have. So he had surgery and then we tried again last October. And we had a positive test. That very first month! We were over the moon. FINALLY. That next week, I called the doctor to find out what exactly I needed to do. It's the strangest feeling to find out something so monumental and not be able to call my mom. But unfortunately, after monitoring my blood work for a week, they found that my HCG level wasn't doubling and that I was experiencing a non-viable 'chemical' pregnancy. I'd never even heard of that before! I was devastated, confused and ready to try again.

Fast forward to March of this year. I had another positive pregnancy test! I cried tears of joy and then I got my HCG level checked again. It was doubling just like it was supposed to. So I left town to my church women's retreat and I was so excited. I secretly drank decaf coffee and it was darn near impossible to keep it to myself.

But that next week, I woke up one morning and I knew something was up - I was feeling some cramps that just didn't seem right. So around lunch time I got up the courage to call my doctor and let her know what was going on. She told me to come to the office immediately - so I left the apple I had just sliced on my desk and ran out the door. Unsure what the urgency was all about, I went straight to an ultrasound where the ultrasound tech told me that my uterus was empty. Great bedside manner. My first thought was, "this was impossible because I had my levels checked and they were doing what they were supposed to do!" Then, I was taken to a room to wait for the doctor where she told me that I had an ectopic pregnancy and I had two options. One was an injection of a chemotherapy drug, methotrexate, that would hopefully stop the growth in my tube. The second was that I could have surgery but I would lose my left fallopian tube. "Which do you choose?" she asked me. I was still in total shock and I just found out that my uterus was empty about 15 minutes earlier and I couldn't imagine choosing either of these options. They checked my levels again and felt comfortable letting me go home and think about it. When I went back to the doctor the next day, she said that she was okay with watching this situation like a hawk and trying to let it pass it's own. She warned me about how dangerous it was if my tube ruptured so I was scared to move too much and felt like a ticking time bomb. But I was also grateful that there was a good chance that this could work out without needing methotrexate or losing a tube in surgery.

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Thankfully, it passed on it’s own, the pain subsided and I was able to put that experience behind me - with both of my tubes in tact. Again, I was devastated, confused and now I felt like there was something wrong with me. Not to mention the guilt that I was feeling from not being able to give Tim a baby. Two different pregnancies that didn’t work out. I started to feel very discouraged and broken.

We took a few months off from trying and I took a break from tracking every little thing in my fertility app.  We said we'd resume in the fall. I was channeling my inner Scarlet O’Hara, "I won’t think about it now, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” I felt at ease. I took the pressure off of myself. But then in July, I had another positive test! "Third time's a charm", I thought.

The day we found out, I spent the day shopping with my sister and it was so hard not to spill the beans. While I was alone, I took a stroll through Pottery Barn Kids and bought something for the baby. I was so excited. I was so sure that this time was different and the baby I was envisioning would be with us in nine short months.

That next week, I was back in the doctor's office getting my HCG level checked. Again, it was doubling beautifully. I let the nurse know that I'd like to continue getting my levels checked because, like I said before, I worry. So that following week, I went back to get the level checked and that afternoon I got the call that it had stopped doubling. Immediately, I knew I was having another ectopic. I went in the next day for an ultrasound and it confirmed what I already knew. Having gone through this before, I learned that it was likely that I could have another ectopic so I really tried not to let it get me down. That was until the doctor came to talk to me and we found out that this time it was in my other tube. I had just assumed it was happening in the same tube as last time. My doctor wanted me to go straight up to oncology and get the methotrexate injection but I was so hesitant. I decided to wait another day to see if my HCG level would go down in hopes that it would pass on it’s own again. And it did. And to me, that’s the important part of this story. The enemy was trying to break me but God fixed it every time

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So here I am. 3 positive pregnancy tests in the past two years and no baby. My story is still unfolding and I don’t know where it’s headed but for now, I do my best to keep my mind focused on gratitude because that’s the best thing I can do. 

While I was writing this post, I kept wanting to delete parts of it. I mainly wanted to delete the parts about how the things I've gone through made me feel. I spent a lot of time throughout these experiences feeling like I didn't deserve to feel sad or upset or devastated because I know that people have had much worse experiences than this. Dealing with failed pregnancies can be very isolating but the times that I felt most encouraged and hopeful was when I was reading the stories of the women who had been through similar experiences. I hope that this post can do just that for someone else.

XOXO,

Di