On Faith Overcoming Fear

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Faith over fear. This is what I feel like God is teaching me / has been teaching me during this pregnancy.. well and actually the process of adopting Kohen as well! But I was never scared of adoption. I willing put myself out there. But with pregnancy? Different story.
Quick recap: Our story began with me at the doctors office 6 months after we were married getting my pcos diagnosis. I was prescribed birth control pills (never even picked them up) and was told to call my doctor if I ever wanted to get pregnant. Oh yeah and, we might never get pregnant.
This prompted a lot of discussions with Steve about the future of our family and what we thought that would look like. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a huge brat and when someone tells me I can’t do something I want to prove them wrong, or if I actually was ready to be a mom so shortly after our wedding, but the baby itch suddenly became very real. As you may know, we unsuccessfully “tried” for a year and then one day landed on foster care adoption and it was like the clouds parted and we could see the sun again. It was perfect for us. And all the pressure I had put on my body vanishes.

Once Kohen came home I had no desire to get pregnant, or as people outside the adoption world say “have one of my own”. 😉 Adoption made me a mom and that was all I needed. I also loved the fact that adoption is very much equal for both parents. Same amount of paper work and doctors appointments, same amount of parental responsibilities like feeding the child (I’m looking at you, breastfeeding) and etc. I honestly loved that.

I started taking Plexus to just better myself. Plain and simple. I hated the weight gain and all of the other crappy and exhausting symptoms of PCOS and was ready to kick it to the curb. I knew that getting my body healthy from the inside out could potentially mean getting the baby maker ready, and that excited me and terrified me. Why would a happily married woman who was labeled as infertile and who once tried to get pregnant be terrified of getting pregnant? I’ll tell you. I was naive before. Now I wasn’t. I had no clue that a lot of PCOS pregnancies ended in miscarriage. I had no clue that getting pregnant would be difficult, but that staying pregnant would be even harder. I was just a happy little newlywed. Fast forward 5 years and the idea of pregnancy really freaked me out. So even tho I was infertile, we took precautions. Sure there were times when I day dreamed 9 months ahead, but mostly I was terrified and didn’t even want to get close to pregnancy.

But then we got pregnant. I would track my cycles in an app (because who ever remembers the date of their last period?!) and I was pretty sure most women got pregnant half way through their 28 day cycles… which I’ve never ever had. It wasn’t in the cards for us, I thought. Yeah- I got pregnant on a 76 day cycle. The odds were defeated! God was showing me that He is greater.

As excited as we were (and trust me we were), in the back of my mind and maybe even Steve’s, we weren’t sure this would go full term. I was just so skeptical. I also am the type of person that hates to be let down, so I drastically lower my bar of expectation. I wouldn’t let myself google miscarriage rates or symptoms or anything like that even though that felt natural for me to do. God was showing me that my faith needed to overcome my fear. I couldn’t play into fear anymore. I had to charge forward and face doctors appointments with gusto. The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. No matter what. And with each ultrasound and sound of our babies strong heart beat, my faith grew. I even allowed myself to buy maternity clothes to grow into – because of faith.

I’m writing this down a couple weeks shy of full term, and it’s just amazing. I’m so happy a quick conversation with a new friend tonight spurred the words “faith overcoming fear” in my heart. I needed to reflect on God’s goodness again and praise Him for knowing me, loving me, and teaching me how to trust Him.

Friends- don’t just let faith overcome fear, but let your faith propel you forward. We’ve seen it happen now in 2 very similar situations of us having no control and just giving it all to God. In our case, growing our family has not been easy, but it has been slathered with God’s love! And boy am I thankful.

OH BOY! And the chillest ultrasound room ever.

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About a week and a half ago (I think?) we found out we are having a BOY! We cheated and found out early at a place that specializes in ultrasounds and finding the gender. Our hospital / doctor appointments are an hour away and so we figured we’d find a local place to do the gender reveal and invite our family to share that moment with us! I am so happy we did this! Best $25 spent ever.

The waiting room was packed with me, Steve, Koko, my folks, Steve’s folks, my auntie, my cousin, and baby Penelope. My purse was packed with sour candies, a cookie, a candy bar, and a huge iced cold water. They told me to eat something sweet beforehand to get the baby moving, but sweets haven’t been sounding that great to me (should have been the first clue it was a boy) and I only managed to eat half a cookie and drink half the water.

The room we were taken to was AWESOME. Dark, chill lullaby music played, plenty of comfortable seating for the family, a large screen on the wall for them to see, and a screen perfectly in the corner for me to see. I really wasn’t as anxious as I thought I would have been. I honestly was so convinced it was a girl that the only thing I cared to see was the heartbeat. My brain and prayers just repeated ” heartbeat heartbeat heartbeat come on show me the heartbeat”.  And there it was. Loud and clear. Thank you Jesus!

The baby was cute in there… wait, I meant to type stubborn. The baby was so stubborn in there! First he was sitting indian style, then when he opened his legs his umbilical cord was in the way, then he sat in a kneeling prayer position, then he opened up with some good kicks but positioned his hand in a way Michael Jackson would be proud. The technician left us for 10 minutes so I could get up, dance, walk around, and get that baby boy to MOVE. Pro tip: if you ever want to feel really comfortable and not at all awkward in front of a group, dance around by yourself with all of them watching. Trust me.

A few minutes into the 2nd try (and lots of coughing, rolling on my side, having my belly jiggled by a stranger) the sweet technician said “Ok, so are you ready to find out what you’re having?” NO. I wasn’t! I thought it wasn’t gonna happen that day and suddenly  I didn’t feel ready!
She type “I’m a B….” and we all gasped as we filled in the blanks with an O and a Y.
“I’m a BABY….” and we gasped again.
“I’m a BABY BOY!” and I don’t remember exactly what happened in that moment! More gasping, maybe I laughed out a “no way”, and then our family cheered. It was a sweet moment that I am so thankful we shared with our family.  I  think mostly I was in shock, though. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy, but I was just so dead wrong about my prediction that it took awhile to process the news! We pretty much all were wrong (except Koko and Papa Lucero who I’m sure were proud of themselves haha).  We hugged, I wiped the goop off of my belly, and we all started talking about Koko having a BROTHER. Now that is a cool thought. Kohen, like me, was having a hard time processing what it all meant so I said “Hey Koko, we found out the baby is a boy!”
“………..”
“…He has a teeny tiny weenie…”
“Ohhhh. Kind of like in MY undies?”
“Yes, Koko.”

He cracks us up all the time. I just love his brain. And now he’s on board!

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p.s.
As I was uploading those images Koko walks over and says “I don’t want it to be a boy. I want a girl.” This kid, man!

Ok, it’s real now / Our first appointment

I took that “ruling out pregnancy” pregnancy test on March 30th and was able to get in to my first doctor’s appointment a few days later. I was excited for this appointment because I desperately wanted to figure out how far along I was, get approval to continue my Plexus products, find out my due date, and all that type of stuff.
Yeah. Turns out it was just an intake appointment. Based off of my last period the nurse gave me an estimated due date of December 19, 2016. That would have made me like 12-13 weeks or something and that really felt freaky! How could the entire first trimester have gone by without me knowing it?! My brain flashed to those weird reality shows like “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” where the woman gives birth in her sweatpants at the gym or something.
I left with a print out, a boxy folder full of info, and no other real answers. Boo. Then we left for our 5 day workcation trip to Sedona and Phoenix, Arizona. On top of getting my first real bought of morning sickness + some additional car sickness, it was a great trip. Haha. We were there for me to shoot my best friend’s sister’s wedding and to give hugs to all my friends that I never get to see anymore because we are all spread over California. It was strange interacting with people when my brain was just like “YOU’RE PREGNANT YOU’RE PREGNANT YOU’RE PREGNANT THIS IS WEIRD”.  I’m also a major information hoarder and love knowing all I can know, so being in this weird zone of knowing i’m pregnant and could possibly be anywhere from 5-13 weeks along was BIZARRE to the tenth degree.
Once we were home we had 1 more week to wait until our REAL appointment with the doc. We decided to bring Koko with us and go to the appointment as a family, especially because the hospital is 45 mins away. ANYWAY- Steve and Kohen were still parking the car when I got called in. It all went so fast! The nurse said they needed to wait outside anyway in case I needed a physical, and that they could come in once the doc said. I waited for awhile in that room with my “open in the back gown” facing the doorway while I sat on that crinkly paper. What a sight 😉 After a few minutes of chatting with the doctor she decided we needed to determine that baby’s size first and foremost. And all of a sudden my feet were in the stirrups and my baby was on the screen! I couldn’t believe it!
I was bummed that Steve and Kohen weren’t in the room to share that moment with me, but when I realized the compromised position I was in I didn’t mind (I’m not super into the idea of Kohen learning that much about female anatomy so young, ya know).

Did you know you can SEE the heartbeat? I never ever would have thought that was possible!! But our Little Blueberry had a butterfly in their chest and it was the most beautiful and freaky thing I’d ever seen.  My super cool and chill Doctor gave me a pat on the knee and congratulated me on a healthy baby and heartbeat. She also gave me the news that I was only 8 weeks and 3 days along and my new due date would be January 31. WHOA. That felt so much further away than the December 19th date I walked in with!
She printed out the sweetest little ultrasound photos and sent me on my way. Although it wasn’t quite the same, it was special to show the ultrasound images to Steve and Kohen together and share the news with them! I was also assured the next ultrasound would by on the belly and 100% appropriate for a 4 year to witness! 😉 So there’s always next time!

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How We Found Out

You have to believe me when I say pregnancy felt like a 5% chance of ever happening and maybe a 2% chance of it happening without strategic planning, fertility drugs, and countless tests. The fact that we got pregnant the ol’ fashion way (you’re welcome) is such a gift, blessing, and a dream.

A little back story on my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and health:
I was diagnosed back in March of 2012, just shy of 6 months after our wedding, with PCOS and was told we might not have babies and if we ever decided we wanted kid we should call our doctor and talk about fertility treatments. As newlyweds this wasn’t on our mind, but it was also a harsh wake up call that our family might not happen easily / traditionally. After that appointment I couldn’t get pregnancy out of my mind. Steve was more free spirited about it happening and I think it took him a few years for him to realize what was going on in my head and heart at that time. It’s so hard to be honest with yourself in that season, so I can’t blame him for not getting a good read on me.
I tried a couple alternative medicines things and we tried to get pregnant for about a year. It didn’t work. The TTC (trying to conceive) message boards were consuming my free time and I was obsessing over this thing that might never happen and I started feeling depressed. I’ve never been a big medicine / hospital girl so the thought of fertility treatments scared me and it just didn’t seem like the right avenue. So we agreed to adopt. There’s already a lot on that story, so I will suffice it to say it was the best and hardest decision ever but no doubt the biggest blessing in our lives. Koko needed us and we needed to love him even more.

In June 2015 I started taking some plant based supplements called Plexus to help regulate my blood sugar, help with cravings and bad habits, lose weight, and to get gut healthy for maybe the first time ever. My friend jokingly warned me about what could happen when you get your body working properly from the inside out, but I had my guard built up so high that I didn’t even bat an eye at her advice (i’ll let you guess what it was she said). What I did experience with Plexus was amazing… better sleep, better moods, 17 pound weight loss, better eating habits, healthier cravings, a semi-normal 75 day menstrual cycle (that was non existent before), and a pep in my step that I had been missing for so long. I felt better than ever! Until this last cycle…

Why I took a pregnancy test:
My cycles were a steady 75 days a part and when I was getting into the 60-ish day zone I started to not feel good. My ovary was hurting so bad I was convinced I had another cyst that was wrecking havoc on my insides and I was just gearing up to start my period. WRONG. Anyway, I waited til I was at day 78 and I told Steve I would be going into doc soon to get medicine to kick-start my period again. I was told every time i went 3 months without a period I gained a new cyst on my ovaries, so i was careful about approaching that line. He and Koko went out to go pick up some pieology and while I was home alone I decided to take a run of the mill pregnancy test to RULE OUT pregnancy so that I could be informed when I called my doctor. It wasn’t an emotional decision at all.
I had taken so many of those bad boys before and knew what I would be seeing again… 1 line and a blank window. WRONG AGAIN. That 2nd line popped up darker and faster than I had ever expected! I was in shock. And I was home alone! Why did I take the test when my husband wasn’t home?! What was I supposed  to do now? Oh that’s right- cry! and pray! I clutched onto my belly and prayed. I asked God “Did you open my womb?” and I cried and cried. It was a line I learned from Sarah Haggerty’s book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. Then there was a lot of “God is this real? OH MY GOD IS THIS REAL??” and texting Steve “Hurry home!!”
We had been in a good discussion earlier about what God was wanting from us in this season and it felt like a pretty easy transition into handing him the pregnancy test, which is essentially what I did when he walked in the door! We hugged, cried, tried not to make a big deal of it in front of Koko, and agreed that God was giving us our answer! It was a peaceful moment. Our hearts were so full… and our pizza was so cold.

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My thoughts on being an infertile pregnant lady

Before I share the story of how we found out, how we told our families, how I’ve been feeling, etc. I need to get something off my chest.

Being pregnant has been extremely bittersweet for me and I have lot’s of reasons why:

– Pregnancy is this huge life changing thing that I feel like most women think about it for a couple years before it happens and sort of have time to prepare. Well, for us we were basically told that pregnancy was off the table since I didn’t want to take drugs, so I can honestly say it was OFF the table. It was 99% out of my brain… because ladies let’s be honest, there are so many things in a day to think about so if something isn’t a possibility I had to get it out of there! Then one day we saw 2 pink lines. Game changer.

-Pregnancy was foreign to me. Adoption I knew. It took weeks to wrap my head around our  new reality (some say the pregnancy hormones didn’t make that any easier). I truly felt like God was asking me to say YES to this pregnancy, just like the way us adoptive / foster mamas are used to saying yes to those placement phone calls!

– Getting pregnant while being a citizen in Adoption World is a strange feeling. This is going to sound really silly, but I almost felt like I was joining another team and leaving my infertility and adoption pals behind. I know that wasn’t the case, but that’s how I felt and I didn’t like that feeling.

– I have so many friends now who are STRUGGLING with their infertility and I was about to be one more friend they had to painfully congratulate with tears in their eyes, or maybe even a full blown sob fest if they were lucky enough to be behind a screen. And it’s ok, I get it! Before Koko came along it was really hard for me to watch announcement after announcement and attended baby shower after baby shower. Infertility is, in my opinion, one of the most justifiable times to be selfish. What does a woman getting pregnant have to do with you? Nothing. But infertility is so gut wrenching and all consuming that it somehow does. And it’s hard.

– Some of those friends of mine aren’t just TTC but they are actively pursuing doctors help / IUI / IVF to help get them to their miracle baby. Do you know how bad I felt that we got pregnant as a surprise? Really bad. Even though we spent a year of our life wanting to be pregnant and I saw more negative pregnancy tests than we could probably afford, I still felt bad that this baby in belly came so easy. Maybe I should have put the word easy in quotes, ha. I guess not everyone would consider that easy. I suppose being a foster adoptive mom teaches you that there is a lot of misery to go through before you get your baby, so maybe that’s why this felt easy. I don’t know, I feel a tangent coming on so I will save it for another post.

-I have this irrational fear that people will place more value on this child than our adopted son. I am anticipating someone saying “FINALLY your OWN baby” and it makes me cringe and start ascending my soapbox… 😉
We just love Kohen so much and never want him to feel like 2nd best, and I feel like our world just doesn’t celebrate adoption the way they do with pregnancy. We’ve already talked to Kohen a lot about this baby and how special his role is as big bro and we remind him daily (ok, hourly) how much we love him and what he means to us.

I gotta end this by thanking you all for your support, love, and encouragement! Announcing our pregnancy yesterday felt really similar to the joy we felt when we announced our adoption 3 years ago. I am so so thankful for that. It’s amazing how God allows adoptive mamas those exact same feelings that a pregnant mama’s heart feels as she awaits her baby. It’s truly incredible!
Lastly, to the women who opened up their heart and said the kindest words to us while balancing their own infertility emotions, thank you.  I see you. I clutched onto your congratulations and prayerfully paused for you. It meant so much to me.
You know that popular adoption quote that circulates around mother’s day about how your baby was born from another woman and the magnitude of that will not be lost on you? Well, this baby being born into our family from my body will not be lost on me. Promise.

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Here we go!

I really had no intention to blog about this pregnancy, but after keeping it a secret for 7 grueling weeks (lol) I’ve realized I HAVE A LOT TO SAY!

So I plan on sharing our personal stories, grateful honesty (it’s not always pretty, but I’m thankful) and also all my soap box speeches. Should be a wild ride. 😉