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Monday, August 19, 2013

Socks in June

Three has always been a special number to me.

On June 3rd, 1996 my husband and I started ‘dating’.

On October 3rd, 2002 my husband proposed.

Interestingly, the proposal involved my magic number. It started with a question. 

“How many children do you want to have someday?” I asked him.
But not wanting to influence his decision, I insisted we write our responses on post it paper and trade off.

He handed me his paper. It said. “Will you Marry Me?”

Mine said: “3”.

So there you have it…our future began on the question of our future children. As the years passed and I battled through infertility, the sweetness of that proposal became steeped in pain and irony. Three. I wanted three…and yet, I’m blessed to have one and have so many people ‘reminding’ me that I’m blessed to have just one...and yet, I wanted my three, damn it. I didn’t want to just be grateful. Maybe it’s greed. I got my miracle.

But I am. Greedy. I wanted more children with such a desperate longing that it drove me to see doctor, after doctor, after doctor, after doctor in multiple states. If you had told me to stand on my head to get pregnant, I’d do it.

This year, I reached my crossroad. Oh, there have been plenty of family and friends who told me to ‘stop’ long ago. Family planning, however, is something terribly personal and intimate. No one else can tell you when it’s time to ‘stop’...or move on to plan B. Unless you are infertile, you can’t understand that.  I moved onto the next doctor. I sat across from him, Dr. L, who listened to our story, read our file, and then set it down. He was not arrogant or cocky. He didn’t promise to succeed where others had failed, as those other doctors had….he was honest. He said. “It would take a lot of hubris on my part to believe I can succeed where others have failed. But if you want to do one final round, I will support you.”

This round was our good-bye. This was an acceptance of our fate. After five years I was finally managing to lay to rest my anger, and the bitterness that consumes me every time I see a pregnancy announcement or baby picture posted on Facebook. This is, my life. Rather, this is OUR life and I’d finally found peace in that. Oh, the hurt will never, ever go away but there is peace.

We put back two embryos and when the phone call came, I knew with the sickening pain in my gut that had followed me for many years. It was a chemical pregnancy. I locked myself in a bathroom stall because I happened to be in public and cried until my body hurt. I turned to the wonderful IVF support group I had and they railed alongside with me. They allowed me to ask the age old question: “Why?” And cursed and cried with me.

With three embryos still frozen, our doctor called us in. There was no explanation for what happened…which is probably one of the hardest things about being an ‘unexplained’ case of infertility.  My doctor said let’s throw everything in the book at it this time. So we did. I had acupuncture twice a week for two months, I took vitamins, enzymes, I went for almost daily massage. I changed my diet. I lost weight. I had two uterine scratches (yes, you are awake for them and yes they are as painful as they sound). I ate pineapple core…you know, that hard piece at the center. I slept on my left side. I worked to improve my circulation by keeping my feet warm; I kept a heating pad on my feet. I wore socks in June. And I gave it to God.

In June, when the phone call came, this time, I knew it with the same intuition that had dogged me in every cycle. I knew what she was going to say. I knew before she said it.

“You’re pregnant.”

My babies at 100+ cells

Just like that, my world stopped and spun, this time with the same giddy, dizzying joy I had known when I learned I was pregnant with my first child. This was my second pregnancy but this feeling was not less…it was profound, and moved me to the point that I needed the support of a wall to stand.

But the journey doesn't stop…because when you are an IVF patient, you have labs every other day to make sure your hormones are rising appropriately and you wait for ultrasounds. When other, typical woman find out they are pregnant and celebrate, IVF patients, we still are clinical. There is no immediate congratulations. It is a waiting game to see what happens. My levels weren’t just rising. 

They. Were. Rising.

Ultrasounds are exciting for most women. There is nothing more terrifying than that first u/s in your IVF pregnancy when they check to confirm a pregnancy. Is there a sac? Is there a heartbeat? It’s kind of like a ‘what’s behind door number 1’ moment?

In this case, what was ‘behind door number one’ happened to be two. I’ll forever remember the moment the doctor held up two fingers in a V sign. I had two.

Just like that, I had my three.

Of course, it hasn’t really been ‘just like that’. The journey is still hard. Even at 14 weeks 3 days, I’ve been on and off bedrest for complications. Every day I hold my breath; praying for these two warriors; praying they stay, praying they're healthy, praying for the day I get to hold them. 

Yet, I have my three…

and for now, nothing else matters.






43 comments:

  1. Oh Christi!

    I am so thrilled and happy and gleeful for you! Congratulations! I know how much you've wanted this and for how long!

    I can't wait to hear more... due date, possible names, gender - if you're finding out or not. (I had to know. I had to have the name ready and colors picked before he was born. I'm an instant gratification kind of girl.)

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  2. Thank you so much, Ava. I can't wait to document Baby A and Baby B's story here at Lady Scribes. I'm definitely finding out genders and will have possible names floating around here. We always said, the real surprise is the fact that we are having babies, not their gender. : ) The due date is in fact, February 14th...of course, my doctor said, they won't let me go that far with twins. I'll keep you posted.

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  3. What a lovely post to wake up to on a Monday morning. Congratulations!

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  4. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I'm still afraid to believe it's real.

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  5. There is nothing more wonderful and inspiring than your story Christi. I'm praying for your two little warriors as well with all my heart. I am so proud of you for being so brave.

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    1. Oh, Lauren. Thank you so much. Prayers have gotten me through this.

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  6. Many, many congratulations to you, Christi! It's so exciting--thanks for sharing your incredible journey with us!

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    1. I always knew I'd share the next stage in my journey, Deb...I just wasn't sure which journey that would be. Thank you for the congratulations. : )

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  7. Congratulations to you and your husband, Christi! You are wonderful parents and I'm so happy your family is growing by two. I know those little warriors are going to be well-loved, just like their older brother. :)

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    1. That is so incredibly sweet. I want to cry every time I think of my little prince having siblings. I've wanted this for so long. (as you well know)

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  8. Aww, man. I'm crying at my desk, I'm so happy for your family. Congratulations!

    BTW, I'm taking January 13th on the babies' birthday date lottery! :-)

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  9. I'm so incredibly happy for you and your family, Christi!! Super, duper heartfelt congrats, my dear :)

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  10. I know how much you wanted this, and I'm so very happy for you!! You're still in my prayers. Tweeted.

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    1. Thank you, Ella. And yes, please continue praying...I've learned that this is only part 1 of a VERY long journey.

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  11. What a lovely post! Congrats Ms. Caldwell. :D

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  12. HUGE CONGRATS!!!!! I'll keep you in my prayers. We have four boys and we got twins the last time :) Hang in there and enjoy as much as you can.
    xo
    Sara

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    1. Thank you, Sara! Oh boy...four boys! I'd love to know what that is like...and who knows, maybe I'll find out! My husband has said that the balance of power in our household is at stake. All kidding aside, I'm just so unbelievably grateful to be pregnant, gender is an afterthought! Oh, and BTW maybe I can pick your brain and see what it is like with twins! ; )

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  13. I cried when I saw your ultra sound pictures and I cried at this post today. Not a day goes by that I don't pray for you and your little warriors, Christi! You and your husband are amazing parents. <3
    Nancy

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    1. I'm so incredibly touched by your outpouring of support, love, and prayers. Thank you so very much, Nancy.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My eyes are still swimming with tears.

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    1. Thank you so much, Collette. I'm honored that you were moved to tears.

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  15. Christi- Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I don't know you but I'll be praying for all the best for you and your family.

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    1. Angelina,
      Thank you so very much. For many years, my battle with infertility felt a little bit like a 'dirty secret'...and then I met so many strong warriors who are battling this disease, and it felt liberating to share a piece of my story. I appreciate your prayers and warm wishes. I'll keep you and Lady Scribes posted! : )

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  16. Christi,

    I am so, so, so, so excited for you! I know it's been such a long road, and I'm so happy you're finally getting your "3". May you all stay healthy and strong through the next 5ish months!!!

    HUGS AND LOVE!

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  17. Such an amazing story. I have to share this!

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  18. What a beautiful post, Cristi. My husband and I were married on November 3, so I'm all over those threes of yours. So happy for you.

    Sandra

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  19. Beautiful recount of your journey!! <3

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    1. Thank you, Tamara...as you can imagine/know there is muuuuuuch more that is missing here. I'd need more than a blog post to recount all that. : )

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  20. Congratulations Christi! I know this is a long-awaited miracle for you. Rest up--you'll need it! :D

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    1. Thank you so much, Andris...bedrest was good for making sure I stayed off my feet. My Dear Husband has been taking great care of me and my little man, in the meantime!

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  21. Christi, I'm so happy and proud of you for not giving up and still had hope for two more. I'm so excited for you and your family. Lots of wishes and prayers for yours and the little ones' health for the coming future.

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    1. Kipha,
      Thank you for the warm wishes. I always accepted each failed cycle with a healthy dose of tears and a constant conviction that I was supposed to go through each failed cycle to get to the child(ren) who would someday be mine. I welcome your prayers and positive thoughts!

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  22. These babies are in my prayers every day, as is your entire family. Gosh, that has such a nice ring to it - FAMILY !!! Take good care, my friend, and remember we are here for you. Always!

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    1. Thank you so very much, Louisa; for your support, love, and prayers.

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  23. What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. Congratulations-Can sympathize on how you all feel my daughter went through same thing for 3 years and now finally due in Dec. but still has to use a vaginal hormone until 7 months because she kept spotting.

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    1. Denise,
      I'm thinking of and praying for your daughter. I'm beyond thrilled that she found success! And I know how scary the spotting can be. I assumed I was losing the pregnancy for weeks and weeks. Thank you for sharing!

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  25. I met you just a short while ago and I had met your beautiful son before you. After reading this I realize just how wonderful you are inside. I meet a lot of 'nice' people but it is the inside, thoughts and spirituality that is what makes you special. (I don't want to leave hubby out as he is wonderful too and you both deserve happiness!

    After reading this tears also came to my eyes and having seen the ultrasound(the one you tried to send me) you have 2 new lives created and growing large quickly. Time passes fast and I know you want them in your arms and they will be here soon. Although I am sure the bed rest time went 'slow'.

    I think we all will pray for you, your family and the 2 babies. I am so happy that you and your family are living by us.

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