I feel like before I share a bit of our story, I need to preface it with a couple of things, things that I don't really know how to say, and I know I'll publish this post and later on wish I would have said it differently or better, but here it is from my heart. First of all, there's a part of me that will always feel like a betrayer for having Nolan and being pregnant. I know that sounds weird, but some of my dearest friends are those women who have stood by me and who I have stood with as we have looked infertility in the eyes and faced it head on together. And some of those women are still looking at infertility head on, with no babies in sight, and here I am with not just one, but two babies. This doesn't mean I'm not grateful, I could never be grateful enough, but this also doesn't mean that I've forgotten you or what it feels like to deal with infertility. You are brave and strong, and I will continue to stand by your side as you wish for babies that I know will come, but haven't yet. Secondly, I know that some people go through fertility treatments time and time again and are never successful. I pray for you and won't ever forget you, and will continue to stand by your side, too. My greatest treasure in life is being a mom, but my dearest friends and those who were my greatest supporters were my fellow infertiles and you were my first bits of hope and strength. You're not alone, and I still got yo back.
In 2011 when we had the absolute perfect experience being placed with Nolan, and when everything from falling in love with his birth mom, Makenzie to holding him for the first time and bringing him home, went so impeccably well, we were so satisfied, so fulfilled and so certain that if we never had another baby, it wouldn't matter. Nolan was all we needed and we couldn't have ever, ever been happier! Fast forward to 2014 and we still felt the exact same way, Nolan fulfilled every single hope and dream and idea that we had about being parents and having the most beautiful life, but something told us that maybe we weren't all Nolan needed. There's just something about a little boy needing a brother or a sister that got us thinking about the possibility of adding another baby to our family.
We were terrified, because Nolan's adoption was so seamless that we were just certain that nothing could ever go that smoothly again, and so starting the whole process all over again was a little daunting, to say the least. But after much fasting and praying and after a bunch of random (or not so random) questions from Nolan about babies and brothers and sisters, we decided to try again for a baby. Our path lead us to adoption, which just felt so natural and familiar and incredibly exciting. I mentioned a little bit about this story before here but in a nut shell, we thought we had a baby and the birth mother changed her mind, and though there was a moment of "well that stinks" we knew without question that this was the right thing and that her sweet baby wasn't our sweet baby. So next, in a pretty crazy chain of events that, frankly, felt really scary and unfamiliar and surprised us both, we found ourselves pursuing fertility options, something we hadn't done in 6 years. Six years ago we closed that door, and it was a bit strange to open it again, but we knew it was right, we knew it was what our Heavenly Father wanted us to do, and so we went for it.
We went through the entire process, from start to finish, all over again. Testing, retesting, uncomfortable conversations with genetic counselors and informative conversations with amazing doctors, and finally, again, the diagnosis, which was not easier to hear the second time around, but fortunately, not as big of a blow the second time around, either. We learned a lot of new details but the bottom line was still the same, you will never have babies on your own, and the only way you will ever get pregnant is through In Vetro Fertilization, and not the normal kind, the most precise, expensive, delicate, and tricky kind (it's called ICSI, if you're interested in Googling it).
We went home, processed a bit, called our insurance (which covered a whole bunch of our process which can only be noted as Miracle 3,548), did some more fasting and praying, and knew that this was the right step for us.
The road through In Vetro is incredible. The fact that there is such an unbelievable process and procedure that works, still blows my mind. But to be completely honest, the road isn't that pretty. It involved giving myself lots of injections, and Collin giving me lots of injections, and plenty of weight gain, and feeling exhausted, and then there was the time when I was allergic to some of the medication I took and I passed out and woke up with several doctors hovering over me, and yada yada yada, like I say, not a particularly pretty road. And then there were the mood changes. Oh the blessed mood changes, which left me with only one things to say: bless my dear sweet angel of a husband. However, despite all of the ugly parts of the journey, there was a light, and a pretty bright one, at the end of that tunnel.
We had no idea what to expect after trying In Vetro, we certainly had no idea if we should anticipate pregnancy, so we tried to go in with high hopes but low expectations.
I'll never forget the moment I got the phone call from the nurse (Bridget) with the news that I was pregnant. I was at Jaron and Shelly's house, I saw that the nurse was calling, I ran outside, got the news, came back in, and lied through my teeth so that I could tell Collin before anybody else. :) Bridget was so nice. When she said, "you're pregnant" I immediately started questioning her and she laughed and said, "Ashlee, you are pregnant" to which I replied "I've just never heard those words before". It was surreal, exciting, and I couldn't wait to tell Collin.
The rest is sort of history. Our family has said endless amounts of prayers of gratitude and thanks, we've done plenty of belly patting and name discussing and all of the things that I dreamed we would be able to do some day. And aside from being terribly sick (ER visits, throwing up all day every day, losing 16 pounds (what!!!)) these last 12 weeks have been some of the most wonderful of my life.
I will never take pregnancy for granted. I will never forget what it feels like not to be pregnant. I'm also pretty sure I will never forget what it feels like to be pregnant, and for that, I could truly, never be grateful enough.
We are excited, feeling blessed beyond measure, and I have high hopes that as I start feeling a little less sick, maybe my blogging frequency will increase. Don't hold your breath. :)
***I'm not a huge fan of public thanksgiving because I'm notorious for forgetting somebody or leaving something out, but I can't not say what I'm about to say, so please know, if I leave somebody or something out, it's not because I'm not grateful, it's because I'm an idiot. :) There have been sick days these last several weeks where I literally could not stand up, much-less feed my family, and in those times of need my freezer has been filled with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for my family, with magical smoothies for me that kept me from withering away, my fridge was always full of something from somebody, neighbors have watched and/or offered to watch Nolan, people have had Collin over for dinner, friends and family have called/texted/emailed/messaged or dropped by. Friends have mowed, the youth have weeded and tended to our yard. I've had my own, personal, on-call Meals on Wheels driver, who also happens to be the leader of our congregation here in Racine, and undoubtedly had 1,000 other things to do. I've had my dear dear friend literally feed my family every day for weeks, make belly bands so I don't have to wear uncomfortable clothes, send over anti-nausia food, and check on me every single day without fail. People have offered to clean, or cook, or just be here with me, and though the list could go on, I'll stop there because my hormones make me cry when I talk about stuff like this. But before I completely finish, I HAVE to say thank you to my boys. Nolan has been so patient and so loving, and Collin has taken over my roles and never complained once. I am so blessed and SO THANKFUL FOR YOU!!!