Friday, February 13, 2015

The Miracle of Ordinary Days - Part 21

The day of my appointment came.  It happened to land on Abigail's birthday.  I was anxious to know what the situation was with the baby.  The doctor took me back to do an ultrasound.  She was excited for me. As she was doing the ultrasound I heard her excitement fade.  She looked and looked at the scan but said she could not see what she was looking for.  She said if there was anything in there it was not eight weeks along.  She sounded sad.  She said her equipment wasn't as good at the one at the ultrasound place so she gave me a slip to head over there. When I got there it was too full to be seen that day so I made an appointment for the next day. I felt a bit numb as I walked to the car.  I couldn't speak so I didn't even call Aaron. I just kind of felt dull.  It was happening again.
That night was Abby's birthday.  I had planned to take her shopping but after the news the doctor had given me I did not feel like doing anything.  When Aaron came home I explained what happened and he told me he'd take care of Abby.  He went and bought dinner for us and took her shopping.  I laid in bed until they got home and then did my best to put on a brave face for my girl.
In the morning I went into the ultrasound.  The tech was the same one that had not found a heartbeat or growth on the baby earlier that year.  I was just prepared to hear the same thing again.  I had said my prayers that morning and put it in God's hands.  I was ready. Resigned.
The tech started the scan and the first thing she said was, "So the heartbeat is 173 beats per minute."
I must have looked very shocked because the tech looked confused.  "Heartbeat?  Are you serious?" I don't think I've ever felt that many emotions at once. Relief, shock, amazement, love, were just a few.  My whole body shook as I burst into tears. Tears streamed as she assured me that there was a heartbeat.  She asked me if I was okay. So I repeated what the doctor had told me the day before.  She asked who my doctor was and I told her.  She rolled her eyes and commented that it sounded like someone needed some more practice on the ultrasound machine.  I was so relieved.  I watched the heartbeat and listened to it. I hadn't been wrong!  I was very much still pregnant!  I couldn't believe it. I left the office feeling much better. Hooray!  I was 8 weeks pregnant!  And the baby was still there, with a beating heart! 
When I got to the car I called Aaron.  I started with the fact that we had a baby in there!  And we rejoiced together.  Immediately after that he wondered how the doctor had missed that.  I told him I didn't know how I would keep going to her.  She just wasn't very skilled.  We had a couple of other doctors in that practice as well.  It was cheaper for us to use the doctors at Lourdes because they were in the system. I had interactions with another of the doctors that made me think working with him would not be enjoyable.  Then as I was waiting in the ultrasound waiting room that morning I heard one of the other doctors employees talking to another lady about something the other doctor had said about her weight and the weight of others in the office.  None of those things made me think that I'd like to work with either of my other choices. For that day anyway we decided we'd look into someone else to work with.
Two more weeks went by and I didn't want to visit the same doctor again.  My sister Kim invited me to her house and we were talking.  I had not told anyone yet and didn't want to share it with her either.  But as we were talking the subject of having more children came up and she asked me directly. "Are you going to have any more kids?" I kind of stammered through my answer.  I didn't want to lie of course so I said, "Yes."  She looked at me in a knowing way and asked, Are you pregnant? I kind of nodded and told her that I was ten weeks along.  She got excited and I was excited too.  I told her that we weren't telling anyone so she agreed to keep it under wraps.
I told her the story of my doctor and the ultrasound and looked alarmed.  She know my history and knows that that was not going to work.  She urged me to find another doctor.  She insisted I needed a high risk doctor who could handle my complications and case.  I agreed with her.  She told me about Dr. Bahnmiller.  Many of her friends had really liked him.  We looked him up to check if he was covered by my insurance and found that he was.
It didn't take long for Aaron to see that it was important that I see another doctor.  I can't imagine how nervous I would have been if I had stayed with the other doctor.  I made an appointment with Dr. Bahnmiller and immediately felt at ease.  He was not Dr. Fine, who I had always loved and trusted but he was very good.  He was always kind, knowledgeable and helpful.  His staff was awesome, too. I knew it was the right fit.
From then on I went to see Dr. Bahnmiller. One of my first appointments around 12 weeks he told me about some blood tests.  Because I was of advanced maternal age it was recommended that we test the baby for down syndrome and other genetic problems.  I knew that it would not change how I felt about the baby but I've always thought that knowing was better than not knowing so that I have time to prepare. He also told me that one of the tests they could run would have the baby's DNA and of course the DNA would tell us the sex of the baby. Since it was five years since I'd been pregnant with Nathan this was new technology to me.  And it was really exciting!
Now I have to say that I would have been happy with another boy if that is what had come to us.  But there were so many things that made me want to have another girl.  Abby had always wanted a sister.  Having my own sisters I know how amazing that is and I wanted that for her.  There was also all of those dreams and promptings that told us we had a girl out there that was supposed to be a part of our family. We waited to find out what the sex of our baby would be.
We didn't have to wait too long.  On Tyler's birthday, March 18th I had a doctors appointment early in the morning.  They didn't have any test results back yet but told me that they would call when they came in.  I talked to Aaron telling him that I had not found out yet.  Around four oclock that afternoon I got a call from the office.
I was very anxious to hear.  The nurse asked me if I wanted to know and I said yes of course.  She said, are you ready?  And I was dying.  Then she said,  Congratulations, it's a girl!  I think I squealed, and cried out at the same time.  I knelt down by the bed.  I shook as I said, "Are you kidding?" then asked, "are you sure?" She said, yes!  I said "Thank you so much!" We both hung up and I knelt beside my bed as tears flowed and thanked my Heavenly Father for this great blessing.  It was one of those moments that I don't have words for.  There have been so many moments during pregnancy when I have felt very low, almost to the point of despair.  But this moment was as high a moment as I had ever felt. It was such a beautiful moment.
Then I realized that I had a chance to tell Aaron what we were having.  That had never happened before!  He had always been there at the ultrasound when we found out!  So how exciting!  I quickly got things together to run to the store.  It was Tyler's birthday so I had other things to get.  But I was also concocting a surprise for Aaron and the family.  I went to Walmart and bought a black bag with white tissue paper.  I also bought a newborn outfit that was pink and a pink card.  I wrote a note to Aaron that said, "Dear Daddy, You were right! Love, Camille Elizabeth Martin"

It was a fun night with Kim and her kiddos and Emily.  Emily was kind enough to help me with the surprise.  We had cake and ice cream and then right before they had to leave I got out the present.  I had told Ty earlier that the present was actually for Dad and he was understanding.  (We got him something else earlier and he had a birthday party) Aaron was very surprised when I handed it to him.  I think I did well.

This video captured the moment.  Thank you to Emily for taking it for us!

Our baby girl was on the way!  All of our dreams were coming true!  And it was a very, very sweet moment that I will always remember.  Hooray for Camille, Cami, Cammers!


The Miracle of Ordinary Days - Part 20

 Losing a pregnancy is painful.  So Aaron and I made the decision not to talk about it again for a few months.  We'd just wait.  Sometimes it is better to hold off certain conversations to let time heal a bit of the hurt.  It's just the way it is for us.  So that is what we did.  Life returned to normal. The kids started school.  This was a big deal because Tyler and Abby had homeschooled the previous year.  Now they were both in regular school full time.  It was a huge change for me.  As much as I enjoyed certain aspects of homeschooling it was also really stressful. I never felt caught up and I felt like I was failing to teach my kids what they needed to know.  We worked hard but we prayfully decided that school was the right place for them both.  And having more freedom through the day to get the house in shape added greatly to the peace of our home.  It was lovely.
During this time I took a lot of time to think and pray.  Did I really need to have another baby?  Did I really want to?  Was it worth all the difficulty, the pain, the worry? I really tried to look at it objectively but the fact was that I had felt for many years that we had a daughter somewhere. I used to have dreams that she was there with us.  She looked different at times which made me think that it was possible she was coming by way of adoption.  Aaron felt it, too.  We had a name picked out for her.  We knew just what we were going to call her.  It just didn't seem like things were going to come together.
So the fall months started to fly by and in late October, early November we discussed what to do.  We both agreed our feelings hadn't changed about it and that we felt that we had one more child to bring into the world.  So we decided that if nothing was happening by December that we would talk about it more.
Aaron needed to have a minor surgery at the beginning of December.  It was nothing major but needed to be done.  He'd need a few weeks to recover so he took some time off before Christmas to recuperate. Aaron is a lovely guy most of the time but Aaron in pain is no fun to be around.  It was hard for me to see him in pain and not be able to help at all.  After a few days I was on edge and felt really irritated with him.  Now for most people that is probably normal but for me it really takes a lot.  Unless I'm pregnant. 
I realized that I might need to take a pregnancy test so I ran to the store and bought three.  I always like to do that to take them over time.  I was not surprised to see that the test was positive!  Hooray!  I was excited and I wanted to tell Aaron but he was in a LOT of pain.  So I went down to comfort him and tell him I was sorry for being irritated with him. As we talked I just told him, I know this is really bad timing to tell you this but I'm pregnant.  He was happy but in pain and he said he wished I would have waited until after he'd recovered a bit more before telling him.
We decided that we were not going to tell anyone about the pregnancy.  There was just too much emotion and worry that it would cause.  I especially didn't want my parents to know until I was sure that it was going to work out.  That might sound strange but being that far away made it easier not to tell them.  Just like missionaries don't always tell their folks when things happen in the mission field, it seemed the most kind thing to not make them worry about me until we were absolutely sure that we had nothing to worry about.  It was the first time in my whole life that I did not tell a soul I was pregnant.  Only Aaron and I knew.
I waited much longer to visit the doctor.  I decided that because the majority of my miscarriages happened early on I would wait until I was eight weeks pregnant to go into the doctor.  I prayed every morning and always turned the pregnancy over to God.  I just said if you want this baby to be a part of our family, I am here and willing to bring it into the world.  I put all of it in his Hands.  It was a very peaceful feeling.  I was feeling sick and nauseated most of the time so I knew that was a good sign.  I made an appointment for my eighth week and let the time go by. I wondered how it would go but had faith that if it was to be, it would be.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Miracle of Ordinary Days - Part 19

Those of you that have read this blog in the past will remember that our journey to and through mother and fatherhood has not always be easy.  So some of you might be curious to know how, why and when we decided that we would add just one more treasured child to the Martin Family.
This is the story of Camille Elizabeth Martin.

After the birth of Nathan, my husband and I decided that we would put off discussing more children for a while.  Our lives were very busy.  And a bit stressful.  Nathan was a dreamy little baby.  Our older children loved him and we were happy being a family of five.  For quite a few years I just put the idea of giving birth again on my shelf of never gonna happen dreams and enjoyed my family.  The idea of having another baby was a very dear and precious dream but pregnancy was not. I loved my little crew and we had so many great times together as a family of five.

There were some great changes happening, too.  Aaron decided to work on his CPA exam.  Having worked in financial planning for many years he was hoping to expand into someday using his accounting knowledge to help his clients with their accounting needs as well.  A few things happened that put us on a different path and it has been a huge blessing for our family.

Aaron was able to pass all of the levels of the CPA exam on his own.  Anyone that has taken that test can tell you how challenging that is to do.  Aaron decided that in order to provide more for his family he would look for work as a CPA somewhere.  That along with his MBA in Finance opened doors for him that would not have been otherwise and he started working in Healthcare Finance. 

This allowed us to stabilize our income and brought newfound peace to a sometimes difficult earning situation.  It was heavenly for me to know that we had a consistent income that we could count on.  It really helped Aaron as well.  Life improved in many ways.  Aaron's job in Spokane was good.  It was a lot of hours.  I spent my days homeschooling Abby and taking care of the other children while Aaron toiled away for long hours. 

Aaron started looking for a job that would be less hours than the job in Spokane and because Spokane has only a few jobs in healthcare finance we looked in other areas in Washington State.  We didn't tell many people that we were doing this but we traveled to a few interviews and Aaron was offered a good job in Pasco, Washington at Lourdes Medical Center.  We moved to West Pasco, Washington in July 2012. 

After moving to Pasco our life really changed.  Aaron's job was perfect for our family.  Great hours, great benefits, nice co-workers.  It was very nice.  It was during this time that we started to discuss adding a girl to our family. 

I knew that getting pregnant again might be difficult and perhaps dangerous for my health.  So we discussed other options.  Adopting a baby or fostering to adopt were both considered carefully.  We researched both and although there were many children in need of homes, we decided that it was not what we were supposed to do.  I did not feel like it was the right thing for our family.  After quite a few months we decided to find out if I could or should be pregnant again. 

Aaron came to me one day and asked how I felt about having a baby.  At that point it was a scary prospect.  I had been on bedrest with Nathan for a long time and I knew how busy I was at home with my three growing children.  Complications are always expected in my pregnancies.  I was afraid to try again.  Afraid to ask for one more miracle.  But I knew that the only way to know was to ask in prayer if it was something that I should do.  I spent a tear-filled night praying to know what we should do and if we should try again.  I decided that I wanted to know more before I jumped in.

I called my previous doctor and had him send the medical records to a new provider.  I spoke to him at length about our desire to have another baby and like always he was understanding and supportive.  He told me that I knew the risks from my previous pregnancies but with close monitoring he felt that I could carry another child.  This of course was great news to me!  But it was also worrisome.  Now I'd really have to decide.

I went to see a new doctor that had just started at Lourdes.  She was kind but not as experienced as my former doctor.  I told her my history.  She recommended that I not get pregnant again but if I wanted to have another baby she would help me through it. After careful consideration and prayer we decided to try again. Just a month later I found out I was pregnant. It was a bit overwhelming to have it happen that quickly.  I was nervous and anxious about the whole thing.  It felt unlike other times I had been pregnant.  I was constantly worried.  I was not myself. 

Just a few weeks into the pregnancy I found out that the pregnancy had already ended.  Although I had no outward signs the fetus had not grown beyond six or seven weeks.  It was a missed miscarriage.  I would have to have a D&C. We scheduled the D&C for the next week because we were going out of town.  It was sad and very hard.

We traveled to Utah to be with my family as my parents left for their three year mission to Moscow Russia where my dad would serve as a mission president.  It was exciting to know that they would fulfill one of their dreams to serve a mission together but also sad because we would miss them so much.  The night before they went into the MTC, I asked my dad for a priesthood blessing.  There were many things shared with me that I will always remember.  But one of the things I was blessed with was that I would be able to do things that I had never done before.  It was very special, especially since I will not see my dad until he returns in 2016.  It was very comforting that even though I was unsure of the future or if we'd be able to carry another child my father and my Heavenly Father loved me.