July 5, 2019
To say we’re excited would be an understatement! We are so so thrilled to finally know more of who our sweet baby is! And I have to say, its quite nice to finally be able to say “she” instead of “it” now!
In case you can’t pick up on context clues….
IT’S A GIRL!!!
I (Erin) have had a hunch it was a boy from the very beginning, but as of about a week ago, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was actually a girl. Will guessed girl because that’s always his guess when our friends and family announce their pregnancies. Haha! We cannot wait to meet our little girl :)
(Stick around til the end of this blog for some bloopers from our pink balloon photoshoot;-)
OUR PREGNANCY JOURNEY
I’m excited to take a bit of time this afternoon to write our pregnancy journey story. It’s certainly a miracle in more than one sense. I can’t wait to share! I know it’s long, but I hope you take the time to read it.
Our journey to get pregnant is likely quite different than what I think most people assume. We’ve been married for 10 years now, so the common assumption is that we have probably been struggling to get pregnant for at least 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, maybe even all 10 years. I know it’s kind of normal for people to get married then announce their pregnancy within the first year or two. So it’s understandable that after years of no announcements, the questions and assumptions started surfacing.
While we have experienced some heartbreak, challenges, and ups and downs, our journey has not been as long as you might think. It might come as a surprise that we actually both made the decision not to start trying for a family until after year 8 of our marriage.
Before we got married, we talked alot about kids and how many we wanted, etc. From day one, we both agreed that we wanted to wait at least 4 years before starting a family. Our 4th year of marriage arrived and we both agreed that we did not want to start trying yet, so we revisited the idea again in year 5. Same feelings. Same with year 6 and 7. And it wasn’t because we didn’t want kids or weren’t sure if we wanted kids or that we were scared of having kids. Seriously. That was really hard for people to comprehend, but that’s the truth! :) We knew we wanted kids one day, but we just didn’t want them yet, that’s all.
Finally, around year 8, we decided that we wanted to start trying! And thus begins our pregnancy journey story…
We were lucky enough to get a positive pregnancy test within a couple of months of trying. But unfortunately, we were told that I was miscarrying… then, after a week of doctor’s office visits and tests and ultrasounds, it was determined that the pregnancy was actually an ectopic pregnancy. I had never heard of an ectopic pregnancy until that point. For those of you who don’t know, in a quick nutshell: an ectopic is a fluke thing when the egg implants outside of the uterus (often times in the fallopian tubes) and is not a viable pregnancy. It can actually be fatal if it grows and ruptures the tube. Luckily, we caught it early enough, so I was ok. Even still, it was the worst, most emotional-roller-coaster week of my life — up until that point, at least. Some of the many things that suck about ectopic pregnancies are that once you’ve had one, you’re at a higher risk of having another one. Also, when you’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, it makes it just a little harder to get pregnant the next time, which is a bummer.
We went another year without a positive pregnancy test. Then, this past January, I got a positive! I wanted to test a few more times over the next few days just to make sure everything looked good. On the 3rd day of darker and darker tests, the line was lighter, then went away completely the day after that. It was a chemical pregnancy. That was rough and discouraging, to say the least.
Fast forward to March 31st. Even though I could feel it in my body that we were out that month, for some strange reason, I decided to take a pregnancy test. The interesting thing is that this was very unlike me at this point because after a year of negatives, I just stopped taking pregnancy tests unless I had a real reason to. This time around, I legit had NO reason to think I might be pregnant. No symptoms. I wasn’t late. Nothing. But for some reason I felt prompted to take a test. I firmly believe it was God prompting me to do so at that moment on that day… you’ll see why soon.
So I took a test… and it was positive! I couldn’t believe it! But, like my previous positive test in January, I wanted to see the line getting darker over the course of several more days before telling Will. The next day, I left town to drive up to Virginia for my sister’s wedding. And unfortunately, I started my period that day :( BUT it ended much more quickly than usual.
Because it was a much shorter period than normal, I decided to test a few more times throughout the week juuuuust to make sure it was actually my period and not just a fluke. The test line was definitely darker. Then 2 days later, the line was even darker. Finally, I called my doctor and told her everything that was going on and she felt like everything might actually be ok and I went in for an exam when I got back into town after the wedding.
My doctor tested my HCG and my progesterone and when they called me with the results, they told me that my HCG looked great, but that my progesterone was way too low. Alarmingly low for a viable pregnancy. My progesterone was at .79 (yes, less than 1) — ideally, the 12-20 range is where you want to be. So at just .79 , that basically told us that I was likely going to miscarry, but I went in every other day for more tests just in case. My HCG kept doubling “perfectly”, but my progesterone was still in the .79 range. Not good at all. After a week, they started feeling like it was probably another ectopic pregnancy.
They sent me to the ER on a Saturday afternoon to get an ultrasound to see if they could confirm that it was ectopic. I asked my doctor “Let’s just say that it’s not ectopic and they find a gestational sac. Considering how low my progesterone is, would getting on supplements even help at this point? Have you ever seen a viable pregnancy after such low progesterone this late in the game?” She was so sweet, but said “Honestly, no I haven’t ever seen a pregnancy go on to be viable when the numbers are this low at this point”.
After a 20 minute ultrasound at the ER where the nurse can’t show us or tell us anything, we waited to see the doctor where she’d tell us what they did or didn’t find in the ultrasound. The doctor came in and told us that they found a gestational sac and a yolk! I couldn’t believe it! I was thrilled! BUT, she immediately also told us that with my progesterone being as low as it was, it was highly unlikely that this would end up being a viable pregnancy even with supplements. I would’ve had to be on the supplements before getting pregnant to have a real shot. She expected me to miscarry at some point in the next week or two. But she put me on progesterone supplements just in case, which I started taking that day. (*Side note: they couldn’t put me on progesterone until they ruled out ectopic because if it was ectopic, progesterone supplements would’ve made it worse/dangerous.)
2 days later, I had more labs at the doctor. Then, the next day we went back in for another ultrasound and for our lab results. That was the longest 2-3 days. It was a huge mental/emotional struggle feeling some sliver of hope that I was at least doing SOMETHING that might help, but then also knowing that the likelihood of the progesterone supplement actually getting my levels high enough was really low. All the while, despite feeling all the emotions/anxiety, I also felt a peace. I knew I could trust God with my worries and emotions and I knew I could just trust that He had a plan, regardless of how things turned out. Oh how thankful I am that I felt Him so close to me not just in those 2-3 days, but every day ever since. It’s hard to describe, but I really did feel an overwhelming peace amidst the uncertainty and worry.
I went into my doctors appointment feeling a mix of optimism, but also preparing myself for the worst. As soon as the nurse walked in, she said “Well we are all just amazed at your progesterone levels!!!”
My progesterone shot up from .79 to 14 in 2 days! Apparently, none of them had ever seen that happen before! They were all stunned! When I met with my doctor afterwards, she was pretty much speechless. So were we. Speechless and thankful.
It would be another 2 weeks before our next appointment. So while I felt a rush of optimism, I also knew that the next 2 weeks would be really telling if the supplements were still doing their job.
Finally, on the last day of April, we went in for an ultrasound to see if we had a baby in there. Not only did we have a baby in there, we got to see a good, strong heartbeat. Praise Jesus!
I want to cry just thinking back to that time because again, I felt such a roller-coaster mixture of emotions for that entire month. From the day I took the first pregnancy test (March 31st) to the day we got to see our baby for the first time (April 30th), we really didn’t know A.) if I was really pregnant, B.) if it was going to end in miscarriage, and C.) if the supplements were going to help and continue to help. Needless to say, April was by far the roughest month of my life. Haha! BUT, I also felt Jesus so near to me during that time.
I would spend time with Jesus out on our back patio every morning, rain or shine. I found great comfort in the Psalms (Psalms 46 especially), just sharing my heart with Jesus, and journaling. On the days where I felt especially anxious, without fail, I would look up and see a cardinal right in front of me… sometimes perched on our pergola, sometimes flying low right in front of me, sometimes I would see 2 or 3 flying together. Cardinals kind of became my sign that Jesus was near me, that He heard me and was holding me, that He was in control and had a plan. What is interesting is that though I know cardinals aren’t exactly an uncommon bird in the South, I seemed to only see them when I was having an exceptionally hard moment. I decided to look up what cardinals signify just for fun: “They often represent passion, endurance, and strength because they are persistent creatures who stick around” And if this baby isn’t a persistent little thing that keeps sticking around, then I don’t know what is! ;-)
The morning we went to see the baby/heartbeat for the first time, I was feeling a little anxious. As soon as I opened our window that morning, of course there was a cardinal perched just a couple of feet away on a bush by our front porch. I’ve grown to really love cardinals now :)
Now back to present day (currently Wednesday, July 3rd). As I sit here writing this, my heart is full. We had our 16 week gender ultrasound this morning and we got to see our baby actually looking like a baby (with a nose and arms and legs and TOES!) for the first time. We decided to open the envelope telling us the gender later tonight. I can’t wait!
Why I wanted to share our story…
I wanted to share our story in depth for a couple of reasons. First, because I like having things documented in written form, video form, photo form. My memory has never been top notch, and I expect it’s only going to get worse these next 5 months ;-)
Secondly, I wanted to write our story because I know how helpful it was to me reading other people’s stories when I was going through a challenging month or season. My heart and my hope is to be an encouragement to any women (or men!) out there who are in a season of struggle, waiting, heartache… I want you to know that you are not alone. I know our journey wasn’t years and years like some go through, and for that I am thankful. But that being said, we have experienced struggle and disappointment, even though it wasn’t as long as many others experience. I want people to know that if you’ve been struggling for 3 months or 3 years, you’re allowed to feel sad if you feel sad. I get it. We have had SO many friends and family members who have struggled to get pregnant, who have experienced miscarriages, and so much more heartache. I know that hearing pregnancy announcements can be exciting, but also heartbreaking. I see you, friend.
Thirdly, I didn’t (and still don’t) know anyone else who has had an ectopic pregnancy and I know that that would’ve been super helpful for me to have someone to talk to who actually knew what that was like. So, if anyone out there has experienced an ectopic and needs someone to talk to, I’m here. And even if you haven’t experienced an ectopic, but you have been experiencing heartache and struggle, I’m here for you too.
There is something else that has been on my heart for years and I hesitate before sharing this, but it’s been such a heavy thing for me for 10 years, so I do want to share my heart…
The question “When are you going to have kids?” is a very private and sensitive question for alot of people. It hasn’t always been a sensitive question for me personally (until recently), but I have SO many friends and family members who have experienced/are experiencing infertility, loss, miscarriage, and all kinds of other struggles. So every time we were hit with “When are you guys going to have kids?” or “Do you even want kids?” or “Don’t wait too long!”, it hurt my heart because I knew that if I was being asked those questions — often on a weekly basis –my friends who were going through infertility/loss were also likely being asked those same questions. It’s a very personal and sometimes extremely painful thing for people, so I would urge everyone to be careful about casually throwing those kinds of questions out to people who don’t have kids yet. You don’t know their story and chances are, they may cry themselves to sleep that night because of it. It’s not an easy thing for alot of people, so I encourage everyone to just be sensitive to that and maybe keep those questions to yourself unless they are sharing that part of their private life with you. My heart hurts for my friends who are still hurting and waiting because I am certain they are still getting those questions on a regular basis.
So although I want to celebrate and rejoice in this blessing, I also do so with a heavy heart for my friends and the thousands of others who are still struggling. You may be silently struggling and you may never share your story with me, but please know that I see you and I am praying for each one of you.
Finally, I wanted to share the details of our story because I truly believe that God has had His hand in all of this. I truly believe that this baby is a miracle in more than just the common sense of the word. According to all the doctors and tests and medical journals and blogs and forums, this baby should not be here and growing inside of me right now.
Remember that first pregnancy test I took for no real reason? I firmly believe that was God prompting me because if I hadn’t taken it, I would’ve “started my period” the next day and thought that was that. I definitely wouldn’t have taken a pregnancy test after that point. I never had any morning sickness or any of those typical symptoms that women speak of. So really, I would’ve had NO reason to suspect I was pregnant. I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor to check on my progesterone levels. I wouldn’t have gotten on the supplements. And I would’ve miscarried. And I likely wouldn’t have really known I miscarried.
We’re beyond grateful and we feel so blessed. We’re trying not to take any moment of this journey for granted. Thank you for being excited with us! I look forward to sharing more of our journey with you guys in the coming months. If you want to stay updated on a weekly basis, you can follow our Instagram page specifically for baby and land/building updates at @BuildingTheLindseys :-D
Also, taking photos with balloons isn’t as easy as it looks…