"Crazy Faith" - Alison Krauss
Here it is, almost 3 in the morning, and of course, I am wide awake with no sign of sleep. I've wrestled for over a month now on how to start this blog...or if I should even start one at all. It is more clear than ever tonight, I must start typing without hesitation...with little worry on grammar and punctuation, and focus on flowing feelings and truth. I promise other posts won't be so long, as I already know it's going to take a while to tell my story. The name, "Every Day is a Country Song" pretty much sums it all up...my life! Every day we all face new challenges - sometimes the unexpected - and some days seem like they are the mirror image of the day before...being it good or bad. Some days you feel like your life is so crazy, you're living a real life country song! Unlike many people, I do love me some country music! I had the idea to start this blog a month ago when my husband, Steve, and I went away to Nashville and The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I thought of the title shortly before leaving, and as we drove (Steve driving 12hrs, me driving 1hr LOL) I sat and listened to the lyrics to so many songs that touched my heart. I'm going to take a song and a set of lyrics to apply as the "theme" behind each blog post.
My very first post, "Crazy Faith," is a song by Alison Krauss (my favorite). I love these lyrics..."I lit my love and watched it burn, asking nothing in return, except the lessons I will learn, by holding crazy faith." This past year and a half has been full of crazy faith!
pictures of Steve and I in Nashville, TN <3
Steve and I on a carriage ride in Nashville <3
Steve and I touring the Gand Ole Opry <3
at our cabin in the smokies before heading back to Nashville to see a concert at the Grand Ole Opry <3
Alison Krauss <3
beautiful view from the cabin
My hope for this blog is to be exactly what a blog is for most people...an outlet for feelings and venting emotions. I don't want to hold back or sugar coat things. I want to let it out with no worry of "should or shouldn't I have said this or that"...or questioning what people will think. I know most people wouldn't post such personal things as I'm going to write about, and I know there are some very opinionated people out there. I have learned in these past few years especially, whose opinions matter and whose don't...I have learned the difference between people giving you caring advice out of concern and love. And people thinking they know it all when they haven't a clue -often saying things when it isn't their place to. I have learned that people will either be for you or against you. And I am so grateful to have so many people there for us in this journey! I've been told by many people I should "write a book." And this blog...will be my book. I am obsessed with taking pictures. I have my online scrapbook on facebook...but pictures, never tell the whole story. This will be my story. This will be our story. Steve read this whole entry, knows I am posting it, and isn't ashamed of anything I wrote, as he shouldn't be. My hopes are that sometimes this blog will pass by people who can relate and understand on some level, even if in the smallest of ways. My husband and I have had quite the "country song" these past couple years! We married in January 09' in Las Vegas followed by a wedding in October 09'. Since then, I have learned more than I could have imagined about love, trust, faith, and finding your strength when there seems to be none left. I always said I'd start a blog when I had my first child, and while I am not expecting at this moment, I am hoping that some day I will be fortunate enough to post about that. I have known that I wanted to be a mother since I was a little girl. I know many women feel this way. I grew up with my mom always present, being a stay at home mom. She outdid herself. She did it all. She was strong and bold and pushed my brother and I to do our best. My parents later divorced when I was a teenager. Where my grades were no longer a reflection of all she taught me, she taught me about life and the real world. I have her to thank for my openness, honesty and compassion. She showed me what it was to truly sacrifice, roll with the punches, smile and laugh through the pain and never give up. And that is exactly what I have been doing this past year and a half. Some days definitely better than others...but I am always, every day, holding onto "crazy faith."
My Mom and I <3
Mom and I, Christmas 2010
Steve and I started trying for a family at the end of October 2009, right after our wedding. Some people thought we were rushing, but we knew what we wanted, and looking back, we are so glad we did when we did. I remember how fast my heart was pounding, not even 2 months later, as I had a positive pregnancy test staring right back at me. I remember feeling so lucky...thinking, this was too easy. Not even a week later, I was spotting and ended up having an early miscarriage. We were heartbroken, naturally. It was that feeling of, "I can't believe this is happening to me"...but we felt positive that we'd be just fine and were looking towards trying again. I remember not wanting anyone to find out but close friends and family...telling my mom to stop telling all of her teacher friends, because people I know would find out. I worried so much about that at the time. Fast forward to today, and it sounds crazy, but not too crazy to talk about - I have had 5 miscarriages since we started our journey for a family. It is who I am. It is who Steve and I are. And our story truly began with this journey...It has taught us so much about love and life.
A few pictures of the beginning of our story....
Our Wedding, October 2009 <3
The day I found out I was pregnant for the 1st time...December 2009 <3
Mom and I, Christmas 2009 <3 (the "good luck" angel she gave to me)
A much needed date w/the Mr
My doctor told us to wait two cycles and then start trying again...so in February, we did, and within two more cycles I found out super early on that I was pregnant again at the end of March 09'. We had our first ultrasound at the end of April. And shortly after, I found myself miscarrying again at the beginning of May. My Dr told me that he wanted to do an ultrasound to see if we lost "both of them." We were pregnant with twins. He hadn't told us yet because he wanted to make sure at our 2nd ultrasound that they were both still there (because of the common case of "vanishing twin syndrome.") Sadly, we already had lost both. That by far was the most physically painful loss. It was like a really mean trick...to be told there were twins when we were already miscarrying. I felt scared...my heart ached...and at times, I felt numb. It was right around Mother's Day and my Mom wrote me the nicest card. I held onto her words..."count your blessings when times are trying...I do, and count you and your brother as my greatest blessings." It is so true - when times are rough and trying, we all tend to feel like everything in our life is going horribly. We find it hard to focus on the positives in our life. I am and always will be thankful for all the blessings in my life. I know it could be so much worse...I am healthy, Steve is healthy, my friends and family are healthy, and I have so much love in my life!
Steve and I, Easter 2010 <3
Mother's Day 2010 <3
Mother's Day gifts from my Mom
After our 2nd loss, we decided we would take an extra month or two after our doctor's orders of again, a 2 cycle break. Our doctor performed an HSG test...where he checked my uterus for abnormalities. He ran tons of blood work to see if anything would show up. Everything checked out perfect. He said it was a case of bad luck and was sure we'd be fine next time. Once we got the news, we started trying again in August. I remember finding out I was pregnant on the last day of August. I couldn't believe it - again, we were getting pregnant so easily and it didn't make sense how we could have anymore bad luck. All of our friends were so positive, and we felt like this one just had to work. Not even a week and a half later, I was spotting and ended up having an early miscarriage right before my birthday in September. I turned 28. Steve, my friends, and family made it such a bittersweet birthday for me. They went out of their way to make it extra special...and it was!
Jessica Kelly and I out to dinner for my 28th Birthday <3
Me and Kelly out for a birthday lunch after pedicures <3
Steve and I <3
Mom Me and Brigid <3
Mom Nicholas Me and Dad
I can honestly say that third one hurt emotionally - the most...more than the first or second and more than the fourth or fifth...because I truly felt like there HAD to be something wrong. Three strikes, I'm out, kinda feeling. This was not normal. I was beside myself and my doctor told me basically, he didn't know what else he could do for me...being that all my tests came back fine. We decided to make an appointment with a fertility doctor right away. We had our first appointment in the beginning of October 10'. It was then that we met our wonderful doctor who has been another blessing in our life. He is open, honest, caring and really understands what you're going through. He told me he didn't want to waste any time and was really puzzled at our year so far. He decided to run every blood test under the sun on me...even the ones I had already had. I had another procedure where he tested my lining. Everything came back fine.
like I said, I take pictures of EVERYTHING! ;)
He gave Steve a blood work slip for karyotype testing and other blood tests. He told Steve, "no rush on it," as the chances of anything coming up is slim to none. He started me on Clomid (a fertility drug that helps you ovulate). I was already ovulating perfectly, but his hopes were that it would make me produce more than one egg, giving me a higher chance of more babies - therefore resulting in more chance of a pregnancy "sticking." He told us to start trying right away in mid-October, so we did just that. About a week and a half later we got the call that all my tests came back in range and right where they should be. As much as you'd think we would be happy, we felt even more helpless because we didn't have an answer! I didn't get pregnant that cycle and another week passed. I will never forgot the phone call I received in November. A nurse from the doctor's office called to ask me to schedule an appointment for me and Steve to talk to our doctor. I told her we already had an appointment the following week and thought maybe they had overlooked it. She said, "No, this is to talk about some of your husband's blood work results we just received." I remember walking down my steps as she was talking and holding onto the railing because I was shaking so hard. I couldn't even mutter, "what is this about?" to her because I was so scared and taken back. I told her I would talk to my husband and call her back. As soon as I was off the phone, I called Steve. I was hysterical. I was thinking the worst. We called right back and the office was already closed. I didn't know how I was going to wait to find out what I already was thinking was true. I called my friend, bawling...trembling, and told her what was going on. I remember telling her, "It's gotta be his karyotype test...something has got to be wrong with the chromosomes...that was what he was tested for."...I knew what that meant. I knew that if it was, what was causing my miscarriages, it would basically mean we weren't "compatible"...and even though I didn't know for sure yet, I had this aching feeling in my stomach that it was. I remember asking my friend if she thought it too. She did. We cried together. I picked myself up and went off to clean. (I'm a cleaning lady for all types of offices) That will be another post and another "country song." ;) I was cleaning an office with my brother that day. And then, I got that call. I can remember every single second. I was cleaning one of the powder rooms when Steve called me from work to say he got a hold of our doctor. He had him paged. Leave it to Steve to find a way to get that doctor on the phone after hours. He had the news. Steve told me the doctor said Steve's blood work showed he had a chromosomal inversion of chromosome pair 4...that basically one side of that pair broke off and replaced itself upside down. It wasn't missing any pieces, it was balanced, and it was, "the better of the two" types of inversions. It was nothing health wise for Steve to worry about, because it happened all when Steve was a ball of cells. It has and will always be his DNA. This is what was causing the miscarriages. When a pregnancy occurs, my DNA mixes with his DNA. If the "mixed-up" side of his chromosome pair 4 is the one to "mix" with my DNA, it can cause abnormalities...not always, but it is pretty much a game of chance. The doctor told him that the lab wrote, "we were advised to seek genetic counseling and be prepared for a high chance of infertility, recurrent miscarriages and genetic abnormalities in our pregnancies." The chances of this inversion is less than 1%...after our first two miscarriages, when Steve asked my regular ob if he should be tested, he almost laughed and shook his head, and said, "No, you're fine". While Steve was explaining everything, I can remember hanging onto the sink, tears streaming down my face, my heart beating so fast and loud, I could hear it. I kept saying, "NO NO NO!" Steve was trying to calm me down but was still at work. I could tell he was terrified and in shock. When I got off the phone, I let out the most loud, horrible cry. I ran to find my brother and fell into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. My brother, Nicholas, hugged me close and let me cry, sob and ramble without making any sense until I gained my composure. I'm tearing up as I write this because that is one of those moments in my life, I will remember every single detail of...forever.
Crying like a baby, seeing my brother for the 1st time on my wedding day
I got home after cleaning and Steve still wasn't home. I knew he was taking it just as hard, if not harder than I was, and I wanted him to have his time and space to process everything. I had "toughened up" a bit in a few short hours and was in the state of mind where you're laughing, crying, screaming and not knowing how to feel next. When he came home, he hugged me and immediately started sobbing on me. We cried in silence for a good twenty minutes. He kept apologizing, and it was ripping my heart out to see him like this. I needed to be strong for him. He has been so strong for me...he has pulled me through and seen it all this past year and a half. He has never made me feel like it was my fault. And now, here he was feeling totally to blame. I assured him that I would never resent him for this, that it wasn't his fault, it was uncontrollable and I loved him no matter what. We went through a really rough patch in November. I saw a very vulnerable side of Steve that I had fallen in love with when we first met. As sad as it all was, I felt closer to him. We felt closer...We felt like if we can get through this, we can get through anything. It was coming onto Thanksgiving and again, feeling like I didn't want it to be ruined, I pushed through with the wonderful help of friends, family and faith. We met with our doctor shortly after the news and to our surprise, he told us he wanted us to try again "naturally." He told us because Steve's inversion was balanced, and he wasn't missing or gaining any chromosomal material, we had a chance at a healthy baby of our own. He told us it's not for everyone, but he could see we were a strong couple, and if we could roll with the punches, we should go for it because he has seen other couples make it happen. He assured us he'd tell us when enough was enough. And that's just what we did. I continued on the fertility drugs to produce more eggs. He upped my dosage because now, more than ever, the more eggs, the more babies. And the more babies, the higher chance I had that at least one would "match up." I was definitely beginning to feel like a lab rat and giant science experiment. But I had the faith...something telling me to keep going. I have never been a fan of taking medication. And now, being on all types...I realize it's different. I despise the side effects of some of them, but I would do anything to help us have a family. If it meant me stabbing myself in the leg every day, I would do it. I found out I was pregnant a fourth time, three weeks before Christmas 10'. With knowing our odds, I wasn't super optimistic, but I thought of it as at least being one step closer to getting to where we wanted to be. I miscarried again very early. This time, it wasn't so bad. I unfortunately expected it and was being realistic. This time, at least we knew why. Plus, It was Christmastime and there was no way we weren't going to enjoy all of our blessings.
Some pictures of just a few of the blessings I am thankful for...
My doctor wanted to waste no time again, and I was back to trying. Only this time, he wanted to start performing IUI's...we were thrilled to find out our insurance covered unlimited IUI's. Where we had no problems getting pregnant, this would only up our odds of getting the most "bang for our buck. IUI (not to be confused with IVF), basically "puts the guys exactly where they need to be at the perfect time." So, they aren't glamorous, I will tell you that. I won't go into detail, but I'm sure you can imagine the pressure. We were to still continue trying naturally and come in on the day of ovulation for the procedure. We had our first in January. They monitor me mid-cycle to see how many eggs I have. I have produced as many as five! The average seems to be three. I had three that time. It was super painless...all I felt was a bit of pressure, a pinch and it was over. Two weeks later, in February, I was pregnant for a fifth time. Our doctor was sure this one would be the one. We so wanted to believe it too. However, a couple weeks later, another miscarriage...our fifth. So, off to Nashville and the Smokies we went. It felt wonderful to get away from all the bullsh*t...to not have to go to the doctors a gazillion times that week and get poked and prodded with needles and other unmentionable objects. We got home and reality set in...what's next?! Our doctor said to "get right back up on that horse." I was exhausted all over again but I was ready for another try...or at least that's what I kept telling myself. It had become habit at this point and I knew stopping wasn't going to get us anywhere. Our doctor always assured us that he would never tell us to try if he didn't think it was healthy...and that it was "good" my body always realized something wasn't right. Our IUI in March did not get us pregnant. March was our breaking point. Steve and I, after a year and a half of this roller coaster/merry-go-round were feeling everything in full effect. We were feeling truly helpless. We were feeling like we couldn't and didn't even want to talk to each other because we had nothing "good" to say. We knew it wasn't our fault and that we were saying things we didn't mean out of pure frustration and the fear of the unknown. I a lot of times tell myself I don't know how good I have it. Still, we felt like what can we do?...we can't change his DNA...we can't do IVF because doctors told us our odds are still slim and extremely costly with the added costs because of the chromosome situation. We thought about adoption and our doctor had told us many months ago, he didn't see that ever being an option for us. Because he knows I can carry a baby and we could have a child of our own. and go through the whole experience that every mother and father dream of. We knew something had to be done. We knew we couldn't keep on like this for too much longer without it affecting our marriage. We talked to our doctor about all of our feelings and he said he was happy to hear everything. He was wondering how much longer we could go without breaking down. I don't know why, but I have always tried to hold in my tears with our doctor...it's funny because I am the biggest crier you could ever meet. I cry at EVERYTHING, lol, and I'm not ashamed to. I guess I thought that the stronger I was in front of him, the more he'd want us to keep trying. So last week, I let it all out...we let it all out, and it was the best thing we could have done. Our doctor was so kind and inspiring with his words. He told us to go through with our 3rd IUI, our attempt at a 6th pregnancy, which we did on April 1st (hmmm, April Fool's Day...is that supposed to make me feel positive about it?...LOL) and that he wanted us to wait and see what happens with this one before we go on with the next step. I had 3 good eggs and he is hopeful we will get pregnant again! So now we wait for 2 weeks to see if we are or not. The waiting game is never a fun one. I keep very busy and that definitely helps! As for what happens if this time doesn't work out, I will talk about that next step in later posts. As for now, it's a lot of hoping, praying for miracles, and being thankful for what we do have, and not mad at what we don't. It's knowing that in whatever way, we will someday live our dream of being pregnant, having a healthy child and starting our family. It's holding onto that crazy faith and keeping it close to us. It's truly believing we will get there.
Like the last verse of this song..."it's crazy, I know, but my faith says so."<3