feeling fault

We had barely turned 20 years old when we were married in 1996. We had to sneak a bottle of champagne in our luggage to take on our honeymoon…..our honeymoon at Disneyland, that is! Adam wanted to start a family right away. The guy loves children. I’d like to think that I am special to all of our nieces and nephews but I KNOW he is. He plays with them, gets down at their level. And, he has the patience of a saint! To this day when I see a niece or nephew one of their first questions is ALWAYS “Is Uncle Adam here?”.

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I wanted to go to school. In high school my goals were not terribly steep, although they always included some college at least. I thought I would go to a local community college and be an LPN. I had a phenomenal English teacher in one of my AP classes that showed me I could go further. She encouraged me to go to a larger school and maybe be an RN. I would say I caught the “bug” of wanting to go way further in my education when I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship for MSU. It was AH-MAZING. My bachelor’s degree was going to be completely paid for! We married just before my third year of college. I was not about to mess up my plans with a baby! My OCDism would NOT allow it! As my family knows, I have always been a “planner”, and I mean I plan EVERY. LITTLE. THING. Having a baby was simply not yet in my plans.

Another “bug” hit me right after we got married, though and that was my love for babies. I saw my very first vaginal birth while in nursing school and was in absolute awe of the entire process. Working on our adoption profile, we have been digging through old photo albums and look what we found! The first baby I had ever seen born. Look at how young (and skinny!) I was. Wow.

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When I started working on my Master’s degree I was the youngest person ever to enroll in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Creighton University. Back than (gah-that sounds eons ago!), it was unheard of for a young RN to become an NP as it was mostly women in their 40s and 50s going back to school. I thrived. I loved it. I graduated 2nd in my class. Again, Adam was ready for a baby. You’d think that then would have been the perfect time, right? Not so. I still wasn’t ready. My gosh, I had just spent seven years in school and I was loving my newly-found freedom. I had (way too much) fun for about 18 months-I actually went to parties and traveled, things that most “normal college” kids do but I never allowed myself to do as I was too busy with “my plans” of go, go go!

In 2003, the beauty of being a Family Nurse Practitioner came to reality for me. I joined a busy family practice and was offered the opportunity to start obstetrics. Shortly after joining this practice, the MD I worked with didn’t make it to the hospital in time and I delivered my first baby in November, 2003 (someone had to catch it, amIright?!). I remember shaking afterwards. It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time. Later, I was given an envelope with this Polaroid photo that the nurse’s had taken for me.

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Following this was a seven-year whirlwind of family practice. I saw everything. I took care of pregnant women, labored with them and helped with or delivered many babies. I saw my share of babes with problems but thrived on researching the best way to care for these kids and finding out the best specialists for them to see. I watched these kids grow up, doing their kindergarten physicals and so on. My time here was full. I worked many hours and honestly did not have time to even really think about slowing down to have a baby….yet. By this time, we had been married for well over a decade and had our routine. We had pets but otherwise, came and go as we wanted. We traveled, spent money when we wanted to, loved on my baby brother (aka boy) and spoiled our nieces and nephews to pieces. To this day, I am so thankful for the time I spent in this community. Every Mama that ever came to me gave me a gift. Her trust; and I loved her and her family for that.

In 2010 I needed to slow down. Simply work less; no longer cover the ER, etc so we moved to a community closer to my Sister and her six kids. What a blessing to be closer to them! Working normal hours, Monday through Friday allowed me to actually envision having a baby. We bought an awesome home and set aside a room as a nursery, fondly calling it “the baby’s room” for the next 4 years. And, we filled that room with every single little thing a baby could ever need. Friends and my Sister were amazing to us, giving us their “gently-used” baby items knowing we were gearing up and getting’ ready! A crib, car seat, stroller, swings, bouncers, breast-pumps, exersaucers, you name it….we probably had at least two!

We were ready.

In hindsight, I have questioned myself every day since I lost my first baby. I question my decision to wait. If I had agreed to start a family in the beginning years of our marriage as my amazing Husband wanted, would it have worked. Did I wait too long? Are my eggs too old? Maybe I did this. I caused this. My gosh, my Husband….this man that I love more than any earthly thing, deserves to be a Daddy and I messed it up for him. He could be with any other woman and have a baby. It’s me. My body is the one that isn’t working. The guilt is suffocating.

But.

I know better. I know that my Husband loves me more than anything also and that I am who he wants. I also know that my God knew these last three years were going to be exactly the way they were all along. He knew I would be typing this exact blog post. Perhaps we would have had a successful pregnancy but also perhaps our child may have been ill, I may have not made it through the pregnancy (this happens), or maybe my depression would have gotten out of control. I actually wasn’t diagnosed with depression until when my Mom was very sick in 2003 but looking back, I likely had it off and on for years. Depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy. A fact, many do not realize. I could have become suicidal, for all I know.

I simply know that God has and always has had a plan for Adam and I.

 

Go to the Next Post In Our Adoption Journey

Excitement-devastation

We started trying to conceive in September, 2011 and had no luck for months. While we weren’t overly concerned (I tell my own patients that we shouldn’t worry until 12 months of trying), our OB was concerned. I guess at my age (GASP! 35!) you are diagnosed with infertility at the 6 month mark. She did the basic labs….my thyroid and other hormone levels, all of which were normal. I have never been on any hormones/birth control so that wasn’t an issue and for the most part, my cycles have always been regular, if anything varying by only a day or two. I have had a lot of pain during the 3rd week of my cycles since I turned 30 but really, nothing else abnormal.  Adam was tested (per the OB, his guys seemed hostile-he was certainly not lacking! And, yes this is good for the ol’ ego!). Finally during the summer of 2012 she recommend a hystersalpinogram (hsg) to be sure I had no anatomical abnormalities. A super-quick and easy test but super uncomfortable, too. I watched it myself and saw the nice normal shaped uterus and both perfect fallopian tubes as they filled with dye.

The next month we were pregnant! I have read time and again since then of other women with similar experiences~perhaps our little tubes simply aren’t patent and they push that dye through and voila! Although no one will medically say for sure but I find it hard to believe it was a coincidence.

We were so, so excited. It has been just the two of us and a couple of dogs and cats here and there for years and years! A baby! We told no one. Well, that is a lie. My nurse knew as I couldn’t believe the positive pregnancy test I took one morning before seeing patients!

In hindsight we were overly excited, eager, impatient, you name it. We actually took this photo at 6 weeks! We never intended on sharing it until the 2nd trimester but oh, how fun!

Junior

We thought this would be an awesome Christmas card-just imagine! Adam and Shana having a baby…..FINALLY!!!!!

I woke up to potty at about 4am on November 19th and was bleeding. I yelled for Adam-we were devastated. It is so amazing how you can go from elation to devastation literally overnight. I’ve never been good at keeping my emotions tampered-I called my Mom and my Sister and cried….and cried. It hurt, too. The cramping was intense. I don’t think Adam cried, at least not that I recall or in front of me. He held me and rocked me for nights after. That day was a blur and included the typical blood work to make sure I was okay, etc. I continuously was telling myself (and Adam) that it happened for a reason. It always does, right? I know the statistics….I recite them to women all of the time. One in four pregnancies end, often before the woman even knew she was pregnant. It is generally because there is something wrong with the baby, something making it incompatible with life. Right? Whatever. It meant nothing to know all of this. It was different. This was OUR baby.

I took comfort in knowing my Nana was rocking my little one for me and ordered this print the second I saw it. To this day it is prominently hung in our entry way. It is really one of the main things that comforts me.

love

From that day forward, our lives changed. Pregnancy became scary. I changed the way I practice medicine. I (would like to) think that I have always done a fairly good job with Mama’s who have lost a babe or who is having trouble during their pregnancy, but this….this changed me. Every patient that I have seen with a miscarriage since….I have cried with. Every babe I have delivered, I have cried as they took their first breath. What a miracle. I am even more cautious with my Mama’s-doing extra ultrasounds, etc….just to be sure their babe is baking fine! The other thing that changed is bitterness. I hate this part. I suppose it is human but I am always praying that He helps me with my bitter feelings towards patients with unwed, unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. I used to be able to keep it in better perspective (for the most part) and could consider their surrounding life-circumstances but now….now, that is hard.

Go to the Next Post In Our Adoption Journey

 

baby troubles

We met with a specialist this week about our troubles getting pregnant. We left with an armful of information of fertility treatments and adoption. Oddly it was both devastating and comforting to hear her say, “yes, there is a problem”. I am not sure why it felt good to hear it, other than it just affirmed our suspicions and made me feel like I’m not crazy. And, she gave us hope. Which I felt I had lost.

We do not yet know exactly what the problem is but there are two things that she zeroed in on more than once. My age. I’ll be a young 36 on Monday and this concerns her. She is worried about premature menopause as it runs in my family and I have been having night-sweats. Secondly, the fact that I have never been on any form of contraception in our 16-year marriage is troublesome. So, we are both being tested right now-some things are pending already and more tests are scheduled for this week.

We are struggling with how aggressive to be with this. We don’t want to play God but have such a strong desire to have a child. Adam, especially does not want to do anything really invasive. I had told him about Clomid before our appointment and after she explained it even better he is comfortable with trying it. As we talked about the increased risk of multiple babies, though Adam quickly said, “we aren’t greedy…we just want one!”. If anything, we are at highest risk for twins…it was odd to listen to her talk about twins as she talked like twins are no big deal! Which, in hindsight, I am sure she delivers multiples all the time but geesh….more than one!?! The idea gives us the jitters to be sure, especially considering my Father-in-law’s dream about our twin boys when we were first married! Yikes!! No matter what we will be thankful to Him for however many he gives us!

I will be starting the Clomid in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile we are praying that we get pregnant naturally this month! And, we are trying to keep our spirits up. They gave us a bunch of information on the psychological aspect of infertility….all TRUE. Just sayin’.

We’re working on that

We have had a nursery for a long-time. An empty one. Before we moved to our current home we restored our previous home and had a room set aside for “the baby”. One of the four bedrooms in our current home is already full of cutsie baby things my Sister and a couple of wonderful friends have given us. There is a dresser, crib, bouncer, a couple of swings, bassinet, bathtub, car seats, clothes, a breast pump-you name it. And tomato and broccoli plants under the window. That is the only thing actually growing in that room.

Let me be clear, we didn’t actually start tracking dates, etc feverishly though until about 6 months ago. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t definite plans for a bambino of our own for some time before this but with our move and my new job we felt it important to wait so that I had enough PTO accumulated to be able to take 12 weeks off. I always had this worry in the back of my mind; that when we were truly ready to grow our little family we wouldn’t be able to. I think too often we think things will just happen. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! Way too many times I have taken care of a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy and thought to myself “geesh, this ‘child’ got pregnant and didn’t want to but when I want to I probably won’t be able to!”. I’ve often thought that because Adam and I waited until we were older that we were asking for it; asking for trouble getting pregnant.

Why did we wait? Several reasons, really. Initially I think I doubted my ability to Mother. I felt challenged also, I think, by my Father. When Adam proposed we were young and in college still. My Father’s response? “You’re going to end up knocked up and drop out of school and never go anywhere in life”. I quickly changed my goal from being an LPN to getting my Associate’s degree as an RN to getting my Bachelor’s as an RN to going all the way and practicing medicine. In 2001 I was the youngest graduate Creighton University had through their program yet! I worked so hard at my education and going far that I didn’t live life like someone in their early 20s. Although married, we were a fairly serious couple. Never drinking, going out, etc. That came after graduation. I think I then got into a cycle for 2-3 years of having way too much fun in life. We traveled, spent money, drank and just acted like young people generally do-to this day I refer to it as my young-life crisis. Next thing you know we were in a not-very-healthy situation in Tecumseh where I was working too many hours, under appreciated and being taken advantage of. It wasn’t until late in my 6th year there that I truly grasped the significant state of un-health I was in. It then took time to wrap up the renovation of the home we were in so it was sell-able and find somewhere else we could thrive that was close to family. Praise God for the blessings we’ve received. We are 45 minutes from my sister now, rather than 3 hours and I am in a healthy environment each day.

Strangely perhaps my biggest regret in my 35 years thus far? It is not that we will be older parents. Not that we aren’t completely debt-free (although we are sooo very close-YAY!). It is that I feel I made a selfish decision to have my children later in my life and because of this they never met my Grandparents or Adam’s Mawmaw. My Nana and Pepe are the only Grandparents I had a connection with and they are gone now. Adam’s Mawmaw, too. His Grandmama isn’t well and I fear her time left with us is short. I look at family photos of nieces and nephews with my Nana and Pepe, of our nieces with Grandmama and my heart breaks. I will never have a photo like that to give to my children and say “see, you met these wonderful people when you were young”. When my Nana was dying when I flew to visit her to say goodbye I cried. I cried as I hugged her goodbye before my flight home and she said, “don’t cry, honey…just don’t cry. It will be alright”. I told her I was so sorry I hadn’t had a baby yet that could meet her. I promised her I would tell my child(ren) all about her someday. And now—our own parents keep having Birthdays. Both my Mom and Adam’s Dad turned a year older this month. Hopefully they will be around for years and years but I feel like I have cheated our children out of time. And, what about us. Just 10 days ago we lost our friend…only 43 years old. Just Monday night I lost a man that is my Husband’s exact age. After he coded I just wanted to vomit at the thought of his too young age.

Speaking of nieces and nephews….my sister and older brother’s kids have got to be “cousins” when together. At this rate the closest cousin in age to our child will be 7 or 8 years older. Although my little Brother will have children I am sure so I am hoping that they will be closer in age!

Rambling. That is what I am doing I guess. There is a sense of disappointment at that certain time of the month when it continues to happen each and every month. And I have had some medical problems to boot that has made things a little more difficult-more speed bumps in the road. We think it will happen, though. I have to remind myself of what I always tell my patients about faithfully trying for 12 months before truly worrying….

People have always asked, “and when are you starting your family?”. It used to be “ahh, someday soon….” in a vague voice but not as of recent. Our answer has been “we’re working on that”. And we are.

Eating better

Part of getting myself ready for a little babe is losing some extra poundage/ie: trimming down. It seems so easy for me to get into a rut, stop exercising and eat all of those goodies the drug reps bring day in and day out (the FDA says they cannot bring us pens but they CAN make us fat…real nice!). BUT, I know I want my body in the best shape possible before pregnancy in order to have the best pregnancy and delivery possible (and lets face it, postpartum too as I am the poster girl/billboard exhibit for postpartum depression). I actually know what I want my BMI (body mass index) to be before we get pregnant. I know, I know…sounds crazy BUT after waiting for 14 YEARS  we might as well do it right ya’ think? Yes, people…we will have been married for well over 14 years before conceiving. Yes, we have consumated the marriage and are either infertile or are a great exhibit that if you practice “safe sex” you can prevent pregnancy. So, take that….all of my teenage patients! 

I am also not ignorant to the fact that twin pregnancy truly does peak at the age of 35 (aaaaccckkkk!!!!), which I will be and I need to be in good physical shape to endure the labor and to have a successful vaginal delivery, especially in the way that we are thinking of doing (more on that wayyyyy later). My sister had gestational diabetes (thanks a lot, sister) with her last pregnancy and as this may be genetic this predisposes me too.

And, folks can we just be honest…I am simply going to be old (I will be termed an “elderly obstetric patient” and will require more frequent and different testing so I need all the help I can get going into this. Whomever came up with this whole elderly term was a nutso male doctor with not nearly enough patients and was obviously trying to get back at someone for something!)

WARNING, however: I will not be prego next month or even the month after that. We are hoping that it will probably be this fall but as I am a planner with a side dish of OCD I surely will be writing about it a lot in the future. Plus, I really need to try my best to consider my medical practice as much as possible as there are many patients that count on me so I haven’t figured that one out just yet. Just the thought of “Adam and Shana having a baby?!?” has some people’s eyes dilating so I’m just a’ clarifying that it isn’t happenin’ right now as we’ve got some business to tend to first (other then the real business). For example, my wonderful Father-in-law just recently called me to jokingly ask how things were going with his twin grandsons?! Can you believe it?! Holy Schneikes! Yikes! My blood pressure went up at that moment, cheeks turned red, I probably started drooling and I think I stuttered something like “I gotta go, I’ve got a patient to see” and promptly hung up. Yeah, I know I’m gonna have to learn better coping skills.

Okay, so onto the whole eating better, taking care of myself bit….Last month Adam and I read an awesome book. In fact it has been on the top 10 best seller list since the first of the year. It is a very plain, simple book. Diet really is that anyway…simple. It is like I tell my patients each and every day. We all know how to eat, we just need to do it. Food Rules by Michael Pollan is a really fun book to read. It has common sense “reminders” per se such as:

  • don’t eat cereal if it changes the color of the milk
  • try to shop only the periphery of the grocery store
  • do not buy fuel for your body where you buy fuel for your car
  • do not eat anything with more than five ingredients on the label
  • do not eat anything that has ingredients that a 3rd grader could not read
  • do not eat it if it will not rot
  • do not eat it if it has high fructose corn syrup

….and tons more for a total of 64 tid-bit brief one pager rules. All common sense reminders.

Enough ramblings for now. We are still open to suggestions on roofing the other half of the house….wouldn’t want that babe to get rained on ya know.