The Hard Stuff

January 27,2014

Ok you’re here! Welcome to my story!

As I said on the main page, today is the day that I feel I’ve been led to share with you a journey my husband Price and I have been on recently. I’m about to open up pretty big, which is a stretch for me! Here goes… 🙂

About 7 months ago, I thought this week right here, the week of January 27th, would be one of the happiest weeks of my life. And it still might be! Our God is REALLY good! But it won’t be happy for the reason I was hoping it would be 7 months ago.

What’s all this about 7 months ago, you ask? That’s when Price and I found out that we were pregnant! After about a year of trying without any success, we started to see a fertility doctor. Over the course of several months, he got my wacky body (and y’all, my body is WACK!) all regulated with some medication, which caused me to normalize enough to ovulate and get pregnant! We were so excited. This is what we had been praying for!

I got a positive pregnancy test, then had a positive blood test, when I was about 5 weeks along. We were on cloud nine!

We went in for a six week ultra sound and were told that there was no sign of a baby… We were so bummed!

When I went back to my OBGYN to talk about options for my next step, she said, “I like to do just one more ultrasound before we totally write off situations like this. Just to check and see…” so I was like “Sure. Fine. Maybe a miracle has occurred.”

When I went in for that ultrasound, THERE WAS A BABY WITH A HEALTHY HEARTBEAT IN THERE! What?! Just two days ago I was told I’d miscarried! That sneaky little grain of rice must’ve been hiding somewhere! 🙂

I was back on cloud nine after having been really crushed there for a couple of days!!! We are having a baby after all!, although my doctor did say she’d like to stay cautiously optimistic at this point.

We decided that we had to tell someone about this crazy little miracle, so we told our parents and brothers and sisters that night since they were all coming over to our house to celebrate our mamas’ birthdays anyway! And they were very excited for us! Naturally! 🙂

Two weeks went by, and we went back for an 8 week ultrasound. Healthy heartbeat! Active little bambino in there was rocking its head back and forth like there was some Tom Petty playing inside my belly! We were thrilled. This was looking like a healthy pregnancy! My doctor moved her stance from “cautiously optimistic” to “more optimistic, less cautious!” YESSSSSSS

The doc wanted to see us back at 12 weeks, but we had a trip planned to Chicago when the 12 week mark fell, so we just made an appointment for the day after we got back from our trip, which was closer to week 13.

We had a ball in Chicago! I was walking around that city with baby on the brain. Drinking virgin cocktails, avoiding certain cheeses, and looking in every baby store I passed! I had even started to show a little (or I felt like I had, anyway), so I was wearing baggy clothes and shopping for new items with the mindset that I could wear those as I got bigger. Price and I were STOKED to be parents! We even told our extended family on the trip. My grandmother was really excited to have another great grandchild on the way (and we caught her reaction to the news on film, which is still hilarious to this day!)

When we went in for our 13 week check up the day we got back from Chicago, we were called straight into the ultrasound room. The tech tried to do a sonogram on top of my skin, but she said she was having a hard time seeing through my layer of belly fat (just kidding! She was really sweet and didn’t say that!) so she wanted to try the other way!

That was when we heard the loudest silence in the world.

And saw a beautiful baby lying perfectly still inside of me. No movement. No heartbeat. Nothing.

I asked the nurse if there was any way the baby could just be taking a nap, but I already knew the answer. The baby wasn’t alive anymore. And it measured at 11 weeks, so the baby had been like that for almost two whole weeks.

It was devastating. I was a mess. Price cried (which hardly ever happens.) How could God take our baby away? We wanted to be the best parents! (Although we knew we had a lot to learn.) We had been praying about how to raise this little one, and that he or she would grow in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man just like Jesus in Luke 2:52.

After calling our parents and telling them the heart breaking news, we met with the doctor about what to do next. She said I needed a d&c. That was something I’d only read about on baby blogs but never thought I would actually have to have myself. So we scheduled it for that afternoon. It was a Friday. July 19th.

I remember being in the hospital bed surrounded by my wonderful husband and my amazing parents. We were watching that goofy show Wipeout on TBS and all laughing together so I could have a minute to not think about what all was going on… I didn’t want to believe that this was all really happening…  I think it was right after some fat guy belly flopped into the water after mis-timing a jump on Wipeout that the anesthesiologist came in and explained to us what was about to happen. He said that once he gave me the medicine to put me under, I should be out in about an hour. It was about 2:30. I remember being wheeled into a freezing cold room and that was it. I was out.

I can’t fully explain this, but when I finally came to, I felt like the Lord was telling me that my baby had been a girl. A sweet, beautiful baby girl. It was a very different experience than anything I’d ever experienced but I loved it. I was laying still enough to listen to Him speak to me! I realized I needed to be still more often.

Around the same time that I was listening to God, I could also hear the nurses in the background.

“Can you believe it’s already 5:30? This day flew by!” said one to another.

FIVE THIRTY?! I was supposed to be out of here at 3:30! What happened!?

I tried to talk, but my throat was so dry that all I could do was make weird gruff noises to get the nurses’ attention. But, hey, it worked! They came right over and gave me some water. They said they would take me into a room to see my family.

Honestly this part of the day goes into blur mode. I don’t know if it was my family or my doctor who told me this, but there had been a complication in my surgery. Since my body is just weird, my uterus follows suit, and bends more backwards than most. Because of that, my doctor accidentally made a puncture through my uterus with one of the tools she was using to perform my d&c. So she had to go in and take care of that, which is why things took longer than anticipated. Hence the 5:30 finish time. My family said she was really upset about her mistake! I thought that was so sweet because many doctors aren’t always humble enough to take ownership of a mistake like that. I felt like that was assurance that my doctor is the perfect one for me! My family said they could tell that she loves me, and oh do I love her!!

(Note: This is getting way longer than I originally intended… Sorry about that!! I won’t blame you if you tap out now!)

After the surgery, I took it easy for several days and my wonderful family and friends took the best care of me. I was reminded of just how blessed I am to be surrounded by wonderful people who love me (and who I love, too, of course!)

So back to the sex of the baby. I knew it was a girl because God told me it was, but the doctor wanted to send everything off for a pathology review to get more details about the miscarriage in general. And to confirm the sex of the baby.

About two weeks later, the results came back from pathology. According to science, I had a partial molar pregnancy, which means my baby was a 69XXY baby, which means too many chromosomes. Because of this, science was unable to determine a sex. Boy, am I glad God told me the bit about her being a girl! Otherwise, what would we have thought?! I would certainly want to know whether to call our baby a boy or a girl, even if that baby isn’t here with me. We also named her something simple so our family members and friends who are already in heaven have something to call her. I know some people think this is weird, but when I heard the idea of doing that (via the book Heaven is for Real), I knew we had to! My little brother ( I guess she’s calling him Uncle Dooley!) needs a name to call his sweet baby niece 🙂

Ok, so now that I have lost my baby, but at least I know she’s a girl (thanks be to God!) my question was, “What’s next?”

The doc said that once we got my HCG (which is a hormone associated with pregnancy) levels down below 3 (0 is normal for non-pregnant people. And they’re at like 100,000 when you’re super pregnant), then we could start trying again at 6 months from that point.

Ok! 6 months isn’t that bad! We can handle that!

Well, after a few months of weekly blood tests and level checks trying to get down get close to three, which they couldn’t quiiiite seem to get to for some reason, there was that one day where the levels spiked up to 8. So the doctor had me come in again two days after they’d spiked and, well… They’d spiked again! To 16! WHAT?! This is not normal…

My doctor said she wasn’t sure what was causing the spike, but it could either be that (a) I’m pregnant – YAY! – or (b) that some sort of potentially malignant tissue was growing in my uterus that was left behind from my partial molar stuff. And that I could have cancer. Not yay.

After about two weeks of waiting, testing, and analyzing, the doc determined that it was neither… No pregnancy and no cancer. WHAT??!! I’m so confused by my crazy, abnormal body! The testing and waiting that went on there for a couple of weeks was SO HARD. Emotionally, I was just all over the place. I felt like I was driving Price crazy, although he stayed super calm and sweet the whole time. And after we found out that it was neither, I couldn’t decide whether to be sad about not being pregnant or happy about not having cancer. So if I recall correctly, I just was a rainbow of emotions. My poor husband… What a trooper he is…

So I know you may be asking what caused that spike in my levels! I’m still asking that too… That, my friends, is still a mystery. We have no idea. Hello, I’m Laurel Donahoo and I have the most complicated reproductive system ever…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand and the reason that I felt like maybe now was the right time to share this story… That sweet little girl that started this whole story was going to be here this week if everything had gone according to my plan. But MY plan is NOT God’s plan! As a girl in an old Bible Study I used to be in once said so poignantly, “You can’t mess God’s plans up. But He sure can mess up yours!” Truer words were never spoken…

My doctor said that, because of the spike in my levels, I needed to reset the 6 month clock. AND I have to get on birth control instead of just trying to prevent without the use of any meds. So that was a little bit of a low blow… We re-started our 6 months in December.

I just started my third month of birth control over the weekend. But guess what?!?! When I got my levels checked last week, our doctor’s nurse called and said that, since my levels were totally normal, we only have to do one more month of BC before we can stop that and start trying!!! Three months early!!!! Price asked what the reasoning was for getting to start trying again early, and it was then I realized… I was so excited about the news that I forgot to ask! But that’s when I said, “Who cares?! The doctor cleared us! Beggars can’t be choosers!”

I’ve been known to get my phrases mixed up from time to time, so that’s when Price said, “I think what you meant to say is, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth… You and your sayings!”

Ok fine. Same thing as far as I’m concerned! So that was a little answer to our prayer about God normalizing my body and preparing me for a healthy pregnancy… We are very hopeful that our next step will be a happy one. But we’re gonna keep on praying!!!

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Although I’m finding that journeys like ours are more common than I realized (and I know our journey is PEANUTS compared to what many couples have been through! There are some TOUGH people out there!), I still felt compelled to share what we’ve been through. And after our pastor preached about fear a few weeks ago, I’ve realized that I need to quit being afraid. We all do! Fear is the opposite of faith. One of the biggest reasons why I haven’t really talked about my journey to many people is because I’ve been AFRAID. Afraid that people will think I’m crazy. Afraid that people won’t want to share about their babies with me. Afraid that people will be awkward around me knowing what a basketcase I’ve been lately. But PLEASE!! Don’t be afraid to talk to me. I’m not afraid to talk anymore. (I hear Kevin McAllister yelling, “I’M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE!” right now. That’s how I feel! Truly! haha! It always goes back to a movie with me…) 🙂

I want to hear all about your pregnancy and all about your journey and all about how you’re decorating your nursery. I want to learn from you and share with you in the AMAZING experience you’re getting to live! I need to know/hear all of this because we ARE going to have a baby one day! I just know it 🙂 Now’s just not the time that God had in mind! (But hopefully it’ll be soon!!)

This has been an emotional roller coaster and a spiritual experience unlike anything else Price and I have faced, for sure. I know God is using all of this heartache and confusion for something good. I’m trusting Him on that. For now, I’m hoping and praying that God can use me to speak to someone else who might be having trouble with something similar.

And I’m also learning to SIMPLIFY. I have a tendency to sign myself up for too many jobs, and it wears me out. It also leaves me without any time to just sit and listen. And as cruddy as the experience had been leading up to God speaking to me right as I came out of anesthesia, I still relish that moment of being right there with God. It was one of the clearest experiences of my life. A calm in all the calamity. The maker of heaven and earth was speaking to ME, telling me something that tests wouldn’t be able to figure out. Just think about how cool that is. All I had to do was listen. WOW. The same goes for you!

Through all of this, we are doing our best to stay positive (and last week’s news was definitely a boost!) and to take the opportunity to learn more about God’s character. I feel like He reveals so much of Himself to us in small ways that, if we’re not paying attention, we might miss.

This is why I’ve been trying to simplify. I want to hear from Him! If I’ve turned down a job or committee or club that you’ve asked me to do or join, please don’t be mad at me!! That’s just part of how I’m simplifying. 🙂 Plus, I’m still busier than I’d like to be, but things will eventually slow down. I see light at the end of the busy tunnel!

We would covet your prayers if you would lift Price and me up when you pray throughout the coming months! I pray that God will continue to prepare us to be good, Godly parents and equip us to, whenever He chooses to bless us with another pregnancy, bring our child up in this crazy world (although there is absolutely no way that will be possible unless we stick close to The One who made this world! That we do know!)

Thanks for listening to me. I’ve felt a nudge to write about my experience for a long time. Thank you Lord for teaching me about getting rid of fear through our amazing pastor and just do it!!!

And if there is anyone else out there who is having trouble in the same area we are, if you want to email me or leave a comment so I can have your name, we could start praying for each other!! I would love that!! We could start a little prayer community with one another! 🙂 I certainly believe in the power of prayer and in the great big plan our Great Big God has for us that we can’t see from our extremely limited point of view!

Ok, I’ve gone on long enough. Thanks again for being here. I appreciate you hearing me out 🙂 And I so appreciate your prayers! If you want to get back to more fun and happy stuff, click here to get back to the main page! 🙂