This story is very important to me, and I want to be sure and get it documented before I forget too much of it. It hasn't been easy thinking through all of the details, but I'm glad that I'm writing them out here so I can recall them if and when I want to. If you missed Part 1 or 2, there is a link to them at the top of this post.
I left off on Part 2 with us waiting for our first ultrasound. Hannah (my nurse at my fertility clinic) had warned me that with the slow start to the pregnancy we needed to be prepared to not see a viable pregnancy or a heartbeat. I don't think she was meaning to be so negative about the situation (because trust me, that is how she came across), I just think she wanted to be real. And really, a healthy pregnancy was not looking likely with my numbers. Also, I still had no symptoms of pregnancy at all, so I just wasn't sure what to think. We had prayed fervently about the situation. I prayed specifically that my heart could handle the news if it was not what we wanted to hear, and that we would be blessed with more children whether now or in the future. I had no idea at the time that I would be praying that exact prayer six weeks later.
I was 7 weeks along at our first ultrasound, which was the day before Thanksgiving (November 21st). The weekend before we had been out of town for my birthday, and after getting home I told Chris that I was feeling so fatigued. I was beyond tired . . . like abnormally exhausted. This little thing gave me so much hope that maybe - just maybe - we had a healthy little baby growing inside me.
Even with that bit of hope and the endless prayers, I was incredibly nervous at this appointment. It was an afternoon appointment - which I absolutely hate! I despise waiting all day for an appointment like this . . . that just gives me too much time to get nervous. We made the decision for Chris to stay in the parking lot with the kiddos while I went in to the ultrasound by myself. We just didn't know what kind of news I would be receiving, so we thought it best that the children not be present for it.
My heart was seriously beating so hard as Dr. P began the ultrasound. I thought I didn't want to look, but I couldn't help myself. As soon as he got a picture on the screen, I could see the little flutter of B3's heartbeat. The baby was measuring perfectly at 6 weeks and 5 days.
It took a minute or so, but Dr. P finally got the audio of the heartbeat as well. Oh, that sound was so beautiful to me! The heartbeat was a perfect 131 beats per minute.
As soon as Dr. P left the room, I broke down in tears. Now, I can definitely be a crier, but I pretty much never cry in the doctor's office. Of all the not-so-great news I've received in a doctor's office (infertile, ovaries look terrible, need surgery on reproductive system, may never get pregnant, etc, etc, etc), I have only cried in the doctor's office one other time (that was when I was about 22 weeks pregnant with Brianna and she stopped growing and we thought something major was wrong). All of the other times, I have waited until I was in my car to break down. This day, I was just SO overcome with joy and thankfulness for this life inside of me that I said over and over "Thank you, God. Praise you, God" as I cried.
After a few minutes, I composed myself and headed to the parking lot to tell Chris the news. My exact words to him were, "Are you ready to be outnumbered?" He already knew before I said anything though because I had a huge grin on my face that I couldn't stop. He laughed, smiled a huge smile, then quickly became serious and said, "Wait, how many are there?" This is always a concern with fertility treatments, but I happily reported that there was just one. Not that we wouldn't have felt incredibly blessed had God seen fit to give us multiples, it just would have been A LOT to handle with two littles already.
I pretty much immediately called my siblings to tell them the news, but we waited until Thanksgiving Day to share with my parents. They were so happy and it was such a joyous moment. I just kept thinking that I couldn't believe this infertile girl was pregnant for the third time, and what a blessing this was!
We had a second ultrasound with Dr. P two weeks later (on December 5th) when I was 9 weeks along. I was much less nervous this time as a few little symptoms had finally kicked in. I was a bit nauseous at times and I was certainly fatigued beyond anything that I had ever felt before. However, other symptoms that are normal for me - such as soreness in certain areas, bloating, etc - just weren't there. But the fatigue was terrible. Waaaay worse than what I had ever experienced before.
We took the children to the ultrasound with us this time. It was how we told Brianna that she was going to be a big sister again. As soon as we told her that the screen was showing us her new baby brother or sister, she just grinned ear to ear. She was SO excited!
This time, B3 had a heartbeat of 171 beats per minute,
After this appointment, Dr. P released me to my regular OB. I was actually really surprised, as generally he keeps me until about 11 weeks. However, this time he said, "There's nothing else I can do for you. Your risk of miscarriage is extremely low now. Everything looks perfect." And it did. We were so happy and excited when we left his office. It was a fabulous feeling.
Oh, and as *somewhat* of a side-note: Dr P could never really give us an explanation for why my numbers looked so bad in the beginning. I definitely felt like it was because B3 was a late implanter, and the way he/she measured consistently 2 days late somewhat confirmed that. But we will never know for sure.
The following weekend, our entire house came down with some nasty virus. We all had fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. It was UGLY. I wasn't as sick as the children . . . my fever only reached about 100.5 and I only vomited a few times . . . but it was SCARY. I was so nervous that I was going to lose B3. Although the illness didn't last long (thankfully), I was super antsy to get to Dr. N's office and make sure everything was okay.
Dr. N is the most popular OB around, so they couldn't get me in until Monday, December 17th. I was still experiencing fatigue, but my nausea had pretty much gone away, so I was super nervous for this appointment , too. Looking back, I feel like I knew that something was not right all along and I was always waiting for the ball to drop. I was 10 weeks, 5 days along at this point and we still had only shared our news with family and a few close friends. Maybe it was because of the way this pregnancy began, but I just wasn't eager to shout it from the rooftops. I was more scared than anything, and was working overtime trying to remember to trust in the Lord in all of this.
However, this appointment with Dr. N was wonderful. I love him anyway, but he made me feel so good this day. I was his last appointment for the day, so I had to wait for over an hour to see him. I expected this though, and had come to the appointment by myself. When I was finally called back, he passed me in the hall going into another patient's room. He high-fived me, said "Congrats, girl. You did it again!" and walked on. Then, while I was in the holding room waiting to be moved to an exam room, he came in and visited with me for 3 or 4 minutes between seeing other patients. He asked about meds (specifically how I got pregnant this time), how I was feeling, etc. It made me feel so special that he took the time to visit with me like that! I mean, he is a seriously busy man and I know I am just one of hundreds of patients. He never makes me feel that way, though.
Then, the appointment itself was great. We chatted for a while about how blessed I was to have another first-try success, about how I got pregnant on half the meds as I had used before, about the family, life in general, etc. He kept congratulating me and saying, "Welcome home, Nellie. It's good to have you back." Yes, he calls me by a nickname that's a play on my last name. He also says we are long lost cousins because our last names are extremely similar :-). As soon as I told him that I was nervous, he jumped up and began the ultrasound.
And once again, there was B3 looking perfect and active! He/she was squirming like crazy, waving a little hand at us, and just rocking out. On the ultrasound photo below, Dr. N wrote Merry Christmas at the bottom and instructed me to hang it on our tree.
The heartbeat was 172 beats per minute, and Dr. N immediately declared that it must be a girl. I quickly informed him that we were not going to find out before birth day this time (we were sooooo looking forward to that kind of surprise!) and he just laughed. B3 was measuring 10 weeks and 6 days along. My due date was officially set for July 12, 2013 (based upon B3's measurements at Dr. P's office), though according to my IUI it would have been July 10, 2013. Then, we just sat and watched B3 perform for us for a few minutes. That is a huge perk to being the last patient of the day :-). Having that extra-long ultrasound and seeing B3 so active was such a blessing. I only wish Chris could have been there to share in that moment as well.
I was seriously on cloud 9 when I left Dr. N's office. All the worry and doubt I had was washed away. I was finally believing that we were going to have another baby, and I couldn't have been happier. As soon as I got home, we put the ultrasound photo on our Christmas tree and there it remained until we took the tree down.
We were so thankful for this amazing blessing, and even decided to share our news on our Christmas card (the card I put on here was edited so as not to spill the beans). We shared with our church family. Then, as you know, the day after Christmas I put the news on here and we put it on Facebook. I was 12 weeks and 1 day when we announced it in cyberspace, barely starting to show (though I was actually down one pound from pre-pregnancy, my belly was beginning to pooch), and feeling great. I had even felt just a few little flutters of movement. Little did we know that the ball really was getting ready to drop.
I'll share that part of the story next.