Monthly Archives: January 2015

The 24 Hour Roller Coaster

“So how did you find out you were pregnant?”

The simple answer? I took a pregnancy test.

The long, drawn out answer? Well, here we go.

After our first month on fertility drugs, we decided to take a break from them for at least three months. We wanted to visit home this summer, and because of pregnancy travel restrictions, that meant no due date in July or August. Really, September would be risky if there were any complications, and the thought of being pregnant in Cikarang all summer did not sound appealing at all. We agreed to reevaluate after Christmas to see where we stood.

In the middle of October we traveled to Malaysia for our fall break. If you are a Facebook friend, you may remember a status update or two about food poisoning. It was so incredibly awful; I don’t remember ever being that sick in my life. When my period was late a few weeks later, I didn’t think much about it. Severe sickness or even travel can delay ovulation (if I were even going to ovulate at all that month), so I wasn’t overly concerned. I did take a pregnancy test (nothing new to me) a few days after I had expected my period, and it was negative.

At this point the more I thought about the months ahead, the more I was willing to delay even further our jumping back into fertility treatment. We were looking at the year ahead, and the benefit of continuing to pay off debt on two incomes was enticing. We began to talk about waiting until we got back from the States (August 2015) to jump back into meds. It wasn’t set in stone; we were determined to pray through the decision and then discuss it again over the Christmas holiday.

Fast forward a couple weeks to Thanksgiving. Earlier that week I told David I was 90% sure I was about to start my period. (There had been indicators.) It never came. I had to take care of some grocery shopping that Friday afternoon for our Indonesian Thanksgiving celebration that weekend, and while I was out I stopped by the pharmacy.

I’ve bought a few pregnancy tests since moving to Indonesia, and it’s always a funny experience. Sometimes the cashiers know what I’m asking for; other times I have to pantomime a big belly to help get my question across. The nice clerks in their white hijabs always give a knowing smile as I fork over my 40,000 rupiah.

This time I was by myself (David was sick), carrying groceries, and about to walk back in the rain. I just wanted to be done. I trudged home trying not to slip on the slick concrete in my sole-worn flip flops.

As I prepared to take this test I had failed so many times before, I told David that of all my prior “sittings” (to use an exam term), I had never wanted a negative result more than now. Previous tests were always at least a little disappointing, even when the timing would have been pretty difficult. There’s always that little bit of hope and excitement at the thought of how in the span of one minute your life could drastically change forever. Maybe it was emotional self-preservation or selfishness in wanting my own summer plans to succeed, but I fully expected and even slightly desired a negative result.

I took the test. Nothing happened. No lines appeared, not even the control line. I was so frustrated. Of course on the one day I would have to walk a kilometer in the rain by myself to get another test, my test would be defective. Thanks a lot, Indonesia.

But then the line started to move across the window, and I could not believe my eyes.

Two lines.

Hamil.

Indonesian Pregnancy Test
Indonesian Pregnancy Test

After verifying that I wasn’t in fact seeing things, I said to David, “So I guess we’re not going home this summer,” but with a joyous rather than disappointed tone. My plans suddenly didn’t matter at all. The next few hours are a bit of a blur; mostly we just stared at each other with big goofy grins on our faces. We were going to have a baby.

If I'd expected a positive result, I might have cleaned up a little more for the picture ...
If I’d expected a positive result, I might have cleaned up a little more for the picture …

The next day we were in Jakarta for a dinner to belatedly celebrate Thanksgiving. David’s mom, sister, and our brother-in-law were all there (in addition to his sister, her husband, and two children who live here), so it was a little strange to walk around all evening thinking, “I’m pregnant and can’t tell you!” J We had made a doctor’s appointment for the following weekend, and with less than 24 hours knowing ourselves, we weren’t exactly ready to let the cat out the bag.

Sitting at the dinner table that night, my stomach began to cramp up. I thought maybe David’s gastrointestinal illness had made its way to me, so I excused myself to the restroom. I did have diarrhea (TMI, I know … this whole post is probably TMI), but what really freaked me out was the spotting I noticed. I couldn’t tell if the cramps were intestinal or uterine, and that coupled with the blood terrified me. I thought I could be miscarrying, and here I was surrounded by 30-40 people and not even in my own home. I got David’s attention and asked him to come upstairs with me, where I remained for the rest of the night.

David later said he had never been as scared as he was that night. I kept thinking, “Why did I take a pregnancy test? If I had never known I was pregnant, I would just think this was the start of my period. Why would God allow us to know only to allow the baby to be taken away 24 hours later?”

If the night before had been a blur, this night was equally so. We mostly prayed and cried and looked up stuff on the internet. Spotting is normal in early pregnancy, except when it isn’t. Most sites said it wasn’t something to be overly concerned about but that anytime there’s bleeding, you should go to the doctor. We rescheduled our Saturday appointment for Monday and kept praying.

By the time Sunday night rolled around, the bleeding had mostly stopped. I felt hopeful, although I didn’t want to go into the appointment not being prepared for the worst. The next day we got to see our tiny 6 week, 5 day old baby with its tiny heart beat-beating away. It was still very early, but everything looked normal.

To go so quickly from initial shock to absolute joy and elation, moving to the most debilitating fear and sense of helplessness made for the most emotionally exhausting 24 hours of our lives. The moment we saw the heartbeat, however, eclipsed even the joy of a positive pregnancy test. We don’t know what the next six months have in store for us any more than we knew in November what the next six weeks had in store. The Lord remains our hope and confidence in this and in everything.

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How We Didn’t Conceive

Sunday, December 21, 2014, 3:21 AM

I. Am. Pregnant. This is true, although at the time of my writing this, only a handful of people know. I have never been one to wake up in the middle of the night to pee, much less to just, you know, be awake. However, these days I make trips at least twice a night and for the past two nights have woken up around 3:00 AM with no hope of going back to sleep. I figure that writing is a better use of my time than scrolling newsfeeds (although middle of the night scrolling is better than afternoon/evening scrolling when the time difference between you and most of your friends is 13 hours), so I might as well make the most of it.

I have been pretty private about issues surrounding our trying to conceive, and part of me wants to remain that way. Thankfully, I’ve avoided most of the “When are you guys gonna get pregnant?” questions from folks partly because David and I have really great people in our lives who are sensitive and respectful of our privacy, and partly because I’m good at sniffing out those who do not fall into said category and avoiding these kinds of conversations.

The truth is, I didn’t know when we were going to get pregnant. We got married in 2012, two days after I turned thirty. We both knew we didn’t have a luxury five or so years to “just enjoy being married” and “be really ready for a baby,” and we were fine with that. We didn’t desire a honeymoon baby, but neither did we want to delay something that might not come that easily to us. Our prayer for a long time has been that God would give us the right children at the right time in the right way, and we really had no idea how or when that would happen.

Last year around this time I developed some pelvic pain and that, coupled with a few irregular periods, caused me some concern. We went to the doctor, and while we never really got an explanation for the pain (which went away and I think was stress related), we did learn through the course of an exam and discussion with the doctor that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Plenty of PCOS women go on to conceive happy, healthy babies, but it’s more difficult, especially for women who are overweight. The doctor advised me to try to lose some weight and then come back to see him in six months to see where we stood.

I suddenly felt this pressure and panic, “What if this never happens for us? What if I can’t ever get pregnant?” While these thoughts made me incredibly sad, I feel like God used this time to further open our hearts toward adoption. We had always talked about wanting to adopt, but it was a little surreal, easy to say but hard to truly imagine. Adopting in Indonesia is a complicated process.  There are all sorts of regulations regarding things such as the length of your marriage, the number of years in country, and even a couple’s fertility.  We clung to our prayer: right children, right time, right way. We trusted that the Lord would work out all the details whenever He saw fit to bless us with children.

Now at this point we weren’t necessarily “TTC” (trying to conceive for those not currently lurking around pregnancy message boards 🙂 ), but neither were we actively trying to prevent. The timing wasn’t exactly convenient: we still had a year and a half on our contracts and a good amount of student loan debt to pay off. We were enjoying our “DINK” (double income, no kids) season and trying to make the most of it. We took the trip of a lifetime last summer, getting to see the world and experience life in ways I never would have imagined for myself. In the midst of all this, however, we were open to interruption. Right children. Right time. Right way.

When no interruptions came and after about eight months, we went back to the doctor. We were ready to start trying, for real trying. If I got pregnant in September, that would put my due date in June (right at the end of my contract), and then we could still go home next summer but with a cute, snuggly baby in tow. The doctor put me on a round of Clomid, and that was one of the most exciting and stressful months of my life. It meant traveling into Jakarta at least three times for appointments (once on a school day), checking my ovaries to see if an egg was preparing to release, taking ovulation prediction tests because we were traveling to Singapore for visa stuff and I couldn’t make another appointment, not to mention taking all kinds of hormones to aid in the process. It was exhausting. I couldn’t imagine doing something like this month after month after month.

As the end of my cycle approached, I took a pregnancy test. Negative. Maybe it’s just too early, I reasoned to myself. A couple days later my temperature shifted low again, and I started my period. I was crushed. I chocked every previous non-birth controlled month up to, “Well, we weren’t really trying.” But this was different. We were trying. And trying with lots of help. And my body failed.

Here’s where I get to talk about what an incredible husband I have. He has been the voice of sanity and truth in all this. He is the originator of our prayer; he is the comforter and the one to reassure, the one to point me back to the One who has provided for every need, who has never left nor forsaken me, who has cared for me as a loving Father and continues to do so. I know this was hard for him, too. I knew he wanted biological children just as much (if not more) than I did, and I was heartbroken at the thought of it not happening for us. But as I listened to him pray, I also knew he trusted the Lord despite all the pain and fear we were facing. Everything was going to be okay.

So we took a break. I couldn’t stand the thought of going through another month like that right away, nor did I think it would even be possible to make the doctor’s appointments considering we would be spending a week in Malaysia over fall break. The biggest reason, however, centered on summer. If I got pregnant in October, that would put the due date in July, and that would mean no visit home this summer. Our school pays for a visit home at the end of an initial two-year contract and then every subsequent summer. I got go home last February for my grandmother’s funeral, but David hasn’t set foot on American soil since July 2013. We needed this summer at home. Desperately.

But this is a blog about how we didn’t conceive, so I’ll save the rest of the story for another time. I’ll just say that the past few weeks have really born out the truth of Proverbs 16:9:

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”