Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Miracle of Ordinary Days - Part 16

As days turned into months and months into years Abby grew quickly and well.  She started out in the 2nd percentile for her age at birth.  For months she remained steadily growing at the 2nd percentile curve on the growth chart steadily gaining a little bit of growth in percentage until around her third birthday.  She was finally up in the 1oth percentile in weight and height.  It was awesome!  She used a bottle a little longer than most babies until she was about 13 or 14 months.  She was followed closely to watch her growth and they gave me recommendations that I wasn't sure of like adding butter to her food and giving her only whole milk.  I felt strongly that she would continue to catch up by herself so I listened to what they suggested but did not put butter in her food.  I also educated myself by reading studies about premature babies and obesity later in life and I decided that I also felt like as long as she was a healthy eater and was getting consistent meals that eventually everything would work out. 

Around her first birthday, Aaron and I started to discuss having more children.  We both wanted more kids and felt that it was important for our family to give Abby a sibling and also what God wanted us to do.  We had been reassured that what had happened with Abby was unlikely to happen again.  Through a lot of prayer and reassurance we started to try again to have a baby.  I became pregnant and miscarried that baby at about seven weeks.  It was very difficult for me.  With my first miscarriage I had not been able to see the heartbeat.  With this baby I was there for an ultrasound early on and saw the heartbeat.  At the second ultrasound at about seven weeks the heartbeat was not there.  It is an emotional and trying experience to miscarry but I took a lot of solace in the fact that I had Abby and could try again.  It took me a few months to prepare myself for another try. 

There was a lot going on at the time.  Aaron had finished under grad and we moved to Kennewick, Washington so that he could open a store for his dad's window business.  In the fall of 2004 I found out that I was pregnant once again and as always was thrilled with the prospect of pregnancy and a new baby.  Dr. Fine gave me a referral to Dr. Cates in Richland.  He specialized in high-risk pregnancies.  I went in early for blood tests and ultrasounds.  It was during this time that we discussed Abby's birth and talked about the possibility that I didn't have a Protein S deficiency.  It was interesting to me to hear this and I asked if he had another explanation for me.  He said he didn't have one but in looking at my protein levels from that time they were not particularly low for a pregnant lady.  Apparently Protein S is naturally reduced by the body during pregnancy and he shared studies with me regarding it all.  He agreed that I had been given the correct course of treatment and that Abby's birth had been necessary to save her life.  But it also raised more questions in my mind for future pregnancies.

I lost this second pregnancy at eight weeks gestation.  Again, I had been to the doctor early and seen the baby's heartbeat.  It was very discouraging and disheartening when I began to bleed and lost the baby.  It felt like I was broken and I was frustrated and sad.  I again found solace in Abby.  She was growing well and doing well and I decided that I needed to wait a little while to try again.  It is hard to explain such feelings and I'm not sure I can do them justice.  The kind of loss that is associated with miscarriage is hard to explain and to deal with at times.  I found a lot of comfort in the fact that I could get pregnant but staying pregnant seemed to elude me.  I had faith but I was weary of the losses and I felt that we weren't receiving the promised blessings of another child.  It was a very sad time for me.

We moved back to Spokane shortly after this and Aaron began a new job with Washington Mutual.  It was a good time for us.  Abby was delightful.  So cute and smart.  She learned how to talk and was really good at singing songs with me.  She also was great at entertaining herself and making messes like any two-year-old.  She loved to watch Dragon Tales.  My days were spent being her mom, taking care of the household chores and doing church callings.  I was happy to see her doing so well. 

In the summer of 2005 I found out that I was expecting again.  I was excited but apprehensive about whether or not this pregnancy would last.  I was happy to be able to go back to Dr. Fine and his staff.  It felt so nice to be back with people who I didn't have to explain things to and who knew what had happened with Abby and my two miscarriages.  They were so understanding and supportive of us.  I began the same order of blood tests and ultrasounds as I had previously.  When a pregnancy is healthy those numbers should double every 48 hours.  With my two miscarriages we had started to see problems with the pregnancy in the sixth and seventh week.  Our families were supportive of this process and it was nice to have people who cared.  We didn't tell many people that we were pregnant because we had learned from sad experience that it is more difficult to deal with miscarriage when too many people know.  

Another development that occurred during this time was having my sister Kim see Dr. Fine.  Kim had a baby the year before with Dr. Fine as her doctor and he knew her history.  It helped him to see that there might be a connection with the problems that I was having also.  It involved low progesterone levels during the early part of the pregnancy.  He gave me progesterone to take to see if it might help stave off a possible miscarriage.  After the first blood test my pregnancy hormones were rising but at the second blood test Dr. Fine called me very concerned.  He told me that my number wasn't lowering but it was not rising as quickly as he would have liked and that I should prepare myself to lose another pregnancy.

When I got off the phone I immediately went to my room and knelt by the bed.  The two previous losses had been so hard that I couldn't fathom a third.  I poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father and told him that if he ever wanted me to have another baby that I needed to keep this pregnancy.  I was just too weary for anymore loss.  That night, my dad and Aaron gave me a blessing and I was assured through that blessing that he would be okay and that he would be healthy and strong but not without challenges.  My dad kept referring to the baby as he or him and we questioned him afterward to see if he had felt that it would be a boy.  He joked, saying that he wasn't going to guarantee it but that they were the words he was told to use. I felt the Spirit confirm that and I had no doubt that this baby inside would survive.   Blood tests confirmed that things were going well again and I told Dr. Fine about the blessing and prayers that we had said.  He is a man of faith and was happy that he had been wrong. 

I felt very good through most of my pregnancy.  Abby was into everything at that point so I was constantly running after her.  Luckily, we lived in a small apartment with little furniture so she had plenty of room to run around in.  Every day at about three o'clock in the afternoon I would fall asleep for a little while.  I was never exactly sure when it would happen but I prepared for it by making sure that she was fed and safe before I laid down.  I was determined to be as healthy as possible during this time so after the first few months of pregnancy when I felt the danger of miscarriage had past I would go to the mall to walk around and get exercise.  Most days I was really tired. 

Our days were good.  Time went by quickly and every minute, week and month that went by felt like a gift.  The 28th week passed quietly and I breathed a sigh of relief. As did the 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd.  At the 34th week a new challenge would be presented that would make this pregnancy a different test for our family and especially for me.  I was in for another teaching experience but this time it was me that would have the challenge.

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