Thursday, March 6, 2008

thirteen weeks...

Luke 22:42
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. But not my will, but Yours, be done.

Romans 11:16
From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.

Psalms 105: 1-5
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced....

i documented that last verse in my journal on january 4th, 2008.
i've lived in moments of deep guilt that i did NOT make known among ALL of my world, what HE HAD DONE. i didn't tell of all his wonderful acts....and though i felt Him prodding me to use this WONDERFUL answer of prayer to His glory....i was too afraid, too shocked, too utterly dumbfounded. maybe i was even in full disbelief.

nevertheless: i am pregnant. i am PREGNANT!

i'm thirteen weeks today and even SAYING the words, I AM PREGNANT still feels as though i'm going to get caught stealing something that isn't mine.

i truly do not know where to begin, as i feel overwhelmed at just the thought of starting all the way back to the beginning. it's been such a blur, such a dream, such a miracle, and even a self-induced scary nightmare at moments... and this mixture of emotions has AS WELL, kept me from really penning it all. it's literally taken me every moment of the last 13 weeks to process and digest it all....and to exhale. what a joke. i haven't exhaled yet...but every day i draw a little bit closer to believing it's ok to go to sleep....because it'll still be here tomorrow. i pinch myself, i stare off into space, i work myself up into a stressball, and i try in ways that just don't seem possible, to say "thank you" to God who answered my prayers. where do you even begin in doing justice to such a tremendous thing -- showing appreciation for such a miracle.

i get flustered trying.
i grow overwhelmed by the reality of it.
my brain short-circuits to even ponder this truth.
(...while Satan uses fear to overshadow the greatest of joys...)
and i've just been on my silence...words escaping me...
...but it's time to share.

from the beginning.....


as most of my friends, family, and readers were fully aware: i had decided to take off all fertility related procedures during november - march, because we had the holidays and because we needed a break. after the miscarriage in october, and the overwhelming hopelessness brought on by a failed cycle of injectables, i was ready to jump off a ledge. emotionally. hormonally. physically. spiritually. i felt incredibly...yuck. however, letting go of it all (once i REALLY DID let go), was so refreshing. knowing i could travel and enjoy the holidays w/o the STRESS of timing/pills/shots/doctors was really REALLY nice.

you can reference all of these emotions in my previous december entries.

fastforward to christmas in california.
we flew there on december 20th and were there till december 26th.
i knew i had ovulated on december 19th or 20th because we had been taking the ovulation predictor kits and i specifically remember if we should EVEN TRY to get pregnant, given all the oral surgery i still needed. i was also trying to fit that in during our "baby hiatus." but figured, "what the heck -- after 14 mths of MEDICAL INTERVENTION failing us....why on earth would plain old SEX result in a baby." and so we proceeded to give it a whirl....and i never thought twice about it again.

i felt totally fine the entire time we were in CA.
outside of my mother in law calling me a truck driver because i ate more food in one sitting on christmas eve, than i have ever eaten in her presence before. i was bottomless.

on the 26th we flew back to DC...switched out our suitcases...and drove to PA to have christmas with my family. we were there till the day before new years eve. toward the end of this trip...i specifically recall having cramps AND being tired beyond help. BUT, hey, it was probably jet lag, right? right. so i thought nothing more of it....

by new years eve....
i was cramping pretty bad and unable to keep my eyes open at 2pm. and yes, we had a party to head over to that evening. by 8pm i was feeling pretty darn cranky and ready to call it a year. but rather....proceeded to prop myself up by finishing off a bottle of prosecco and killing it in 3 games of Clue. :) WHY does nobody PLAY THIS GAME anymore? so funny....

but new years day....i wasn't feeling so hot.
tired beyond ALL IMAGINATION and....i had to go visit
that friend who had just had her baby on christmas day. i was feeling ok about seeing a newborn...after was a new year, and i'd better pony up and get over it if i was going to maintain any sort of friendship with her. it was SO lovely to see her son, see her, hear the story....and EAT. yes, i ate alot at HER HOUSE. shouldn't i have BROUGHT food? nope. i ate her food.

we left her house at 4pm...and....once again, i passed out in the passenger seat on the way home.
"chad...are YOU this tired???"

he shrugged.
....and the thoughts that i hated myself for having....kept trying to make their way to the forefront of my mind. what IF i'm pregnant. what IF this is why i'm cramping. what IF? NO just flew coast to coast....of COURSE youre tired. NO're cramping b/c your body HATES YOU and is confused....NO ALLISON....stop THINKING this way.

"chad, will you swing by CVS on our way home...i need to get something."
like any hubby -- he never asked why.
he sat in the car while i bought my 200th box of pregnancy tests.
and if you think the CVS people are worried about me, because of that....just keep reading.

i jumped back in the car and off we go.
i forgot i had purchased the tests, honestly.
i took a nap.
at 6pm, i went to a block party for our neighborhood, it was, after all, New Years Day.

i was exhausted by 8pm....and walked home.
around 9pm, i remembered i had pregnancy tests sitting in a CVS bag somewhere.
since chad was distracted on the phone....i could humiliate myself by actually SUBJECTING myself to another private pregnancy test without him knowing and/or watching.

my heart raced and i thought, "here goes nothing...." as i sat there and peed.
yet, something deep down....knew.
i set it on the counter with my nose 2 inches from it, too anxious to even stand up.
i literally thought my eyes were seeing things.
i could see a second pink line.
i could SEE a second pink line.

yes, in those few moments in life like this -- the world stops spinning. completely. fully.
my couldn't draw in breath.
i couldn't cry.
i couldn't talk.
i couldn't think.
i couldn't MOVE.
i remember my chest burning...and i remember hearing my heart beat...and i remember not ever wanting this moment to pass as long as i lived.
i could still be sitting there in that bathroom...staring at that 2nd pink line.
it really did feel....other-worldly.

i tried not to kill myself running down the stairs upon hearing chad hang up from his phone call. i was shaking. still unable to form words....but remember hitting the bottom stair and yelling his name...holding it up...and saying something along the lines of "i'm pregnant," in a tone somewhere between a scream, cry, squeak....

from his face i could tell he didn't understand what i said...but saw the stick i was holding...and knew he was in simple shock.

i ran, jumped on him, we both cried....and then sorta slapped ourselves back into reality because -- well -- we've been here before. it only takes ONE "almost pregnant" experience to make you doubt all future positive outcomes forever.

we decided to HOLD OFF on our FREAK SESSION until i had my doctor's appt the next day.
bear in mind -- i was still FIVE DAYS before my period should have arrived. it was still SO premature....

on january 2nd, i had my first pregnancy blood draw done at the fertility clinic. they called that afternoon to tell me, "you're definitely pregnant, BUT, you must come back in 48 hours to determine viability."

i get to hold my breath for another 2 days.
on jan. 4th, my next blood test came back with soaring numbers....but....
"great! come back on monday for another blood test....we need to keep checking to see if this is going to stick."

they did this to me for TWO WEEKS.
my final blood test was on january 15th....when they finally showed some signs of confidence that i may actually be pregnant and stay pregnant.

to prove my psychosis, as if you ever wondered......

at this point, on jan 16th, a whole BUNCH of emotional drama hit the fan. it's too long and too emotional and too far-fetched to really get into. i started bleeding. i went to the ER. they told me scary news. i cried for a week. i thought i was dying. or could die. and for SURE thought the baby was dead. i regretted getting pregnant. it involved "molar pregnancy" being thrown around....look it up.

terrified. first sonogram on january 22nd (these dates are seared into my brain forever.)
i was 6.5 weeks pregnant.
and we saw a heartbeat.
it's about all we saw.
everything is SO SMALL that you simply see a little dot on the screen and inside the dot is a teeny strobe light....which is a beating heart. i could have died and gone to heaven RIGHT THERE.

that was all you could see.
but it was all i ever wanted to see.
it wasn't even real. chad sat there and asked if it was a boy or a girl and i have to admit, it was nice comic relief.....

the following week, the fertility clinic wanted a final sonogram before they'd discharge me....i was 7 weeks:

and we still had a heartbeat.
and they pulled me into an office.
and for the first time....really said CONGRATULATIONS like they meant it.
they closed out my file.
handed me all documents.
"we'll call you in 10 mths to get the details on your new baby...."
...and i stared at her...and smiled...and the weight of it all still hadn't fully sunk in.
i had never celebrated.
i had never exhaled.
i had never blurted the news to the public.
i had never dared to dream this would pan out.

was i NOW allowed to ...believe?

the following week, i had my first OB appointment. i hadn't seen my OB in a LONG time....
he congratulated me...did a sonogram...and handed me a file full of labor and delivery tour info., a Rx for prenatals, and registration for a birthing class.

i think at THAT heart REALLY wondered if i could start to feel safe with this news. my fragile heart might have started believing at that moment....just a little....but still, it was a start....i was 9 weeks by this point, and the baby was measuring ahead:

i was told to come back in 4 weeks.
how would i wait 4 weeks after being SEEN EVERY WEEK by specialists up this point?? i was weirdly spoiled at that point and now had to simply sit around and...DO WHAT for FOUR WEEKS!!!???
the first 2 weeks went well.....
i tried to relax.
i felt great.
i tried to refocus my mind to possibly POSITIVE things....
and by the end of the 2nd week i was back into a frenzy.
i was actually having cramps and flipped out.

my OB said to come in and they did follow up sonograms to ensure everything was fine.
everthing WAS fine.
and everything took on another dimension when i saw the baby...
i shreiked.
it shocked me.
it was kicking its legs and punching its fists and doing little jumps....

in this pick....the baby is laying still:

and then it KICKED ITS LEGS and bounced!

i literally dont remember checking out.
i dont remember driving home.
i FLOATED around for the rest of the day.

by week 12, i had the nuchal translucency test done after being adviced by my OB to have it done. it's bloodwork and ultrasound that determine the odds of the baby having Downs, and trisomy 13. i was terrified, but would be best to KNOW.

it was the best sonogram of my life.
it's a TWENTY MINUTE SONOGRAM...and the baby is on a FLAT SCREEN across the you can watch it while they take measurements!!!! chad and i were awestruck by EVERYTHING. fingers! toes! nose!
in the actual sono, you can see individual toes up close....

and then the baby started to move and waive :) you can see a blurry hand with fingers!
i never wanted to leave that room.
i WANT TO BUY one of these machines!!!!

that was a week ago.
and today....i had my 2nd prenatal appt and they drew blood, told me i gained nearly 4lbs, my blood pressure is fine....and dopplered my belly for the heartbeat, which sounded wonderful.

i'm 13 weeks.
i'm 13 weeks pregnant.

and no...i dont have any more need to pee than i have all my life.
no, i never threw up.
no, i'm still in my regular clothes (jeans are tough these days...but most things are fine)
yes, i get tired...but that was sorta normal all along :) it comes and goes.
they told me today i'm anemic. woo hoo.
and....i've been given a good prognosis.

after living like a train wreck for nearly a year and a half....i do find myself wondering what to stress about next. is everything ok? is this for real? what if something happens? how safe is my news? who needs to know? am i ready to celebrate?

of course, OF COURSE, i could scream from the mountain tops that GOD IS GOOD. and GOD IS GOOD! and God finally allowed this to occur. but i get so scared of proclaiming His goodness BASED on a gift i've been given. He was good all along. He is good no matter what. He will always BE GOOD TO ME, regardless of what i have or dont have.

so where does that leave me?
still speechless.
i don't know why He answered when He did.
i don't understand His timing, even when it's GOOD TIMING.
i can't grasp all of His ways behind my entire experience....

and i'm humbled beyond words.
i guess that's how i feel....almost guilty because it seems too good.
unable to even ask for anything else in prayer because....He answered the deepest desire of my heart. it pleased Him to answer my request, rather than to withhold it forever.

how... do you ever get over that?
how do you ever recover from something so marvelous.
how do you even learn to look upward in an attempt to show gratitude.....
i don't feel like i'll ever fully grasp it.
the joyous disbelief washes over me again each day, as were the first day i found out.
i can't catch my breath at moments...(sometimes out of fear that it will all vanish, and it could, and God will still be all GOOD)

but is hasn't been a pretty illustration of my faithfulness.
this trial has not been something i was fully faithful to glorify Him with.
the entire story is just easier to keep to myself sometimes because it's difficult to put it in pretty envelope it in trite little sayings of, "yay! He is love! i am pregnant! the pain is over!" and to walk out of this unscathed.
i still feel battle-weary. i still wrestle with anxiety and trying to control my situation.

yes...HE WAS AND HE ALWAYS IS FAITHFUL!!!! i praise Him DAILY for that!!!
but no...i was not and always feel so unfaithful.
there is nothing about this that i deserve. there was never a moment that i knew He would answer my prayers the way i wanted. i guess my SIN and my DOUBT are the first things that rise to the surface, when in His graciousness, He answered my prayers.

the feeling of unworthiness. the feeling of even deeper disbelief.
and even my eyes well up with tears...i learn in a deeper way....

....that He has always loved me through it all, anyways.
and He always will.

the Lord gives...and the Lord takes away...
and through this journey of losing and gaining...
i have grown stronger in my faith...stronger in my understanding of His love and provision...stronger in my prayers for others who are in need...

i feel empowered as an advocate for those who suffer...
if He answered my prayer this time....
He can answer my prayers again.
and so i pray harder than i ever did before for those i love.
i dig deeper. i yearn more than ever before for all those who are waiting on the Lord -- to have their strength renewed.
i empathize in a way i was completely incapable of prior to this season.

and i hope to look back on it all, and to remember it, when i inevitably encounter my next life-altering next next crisis of faith.

And to really believe:
Job 13:15
Though He slay me -- I will hope in Him.

a verse that took my breath away on Feb 20th, has stayed with me for the past few weeks.
i have it circled and starred and underlined in my journal. the words never jumped off the pages the way they did that day....and it means more to me now than ever before....
it has nothing to do with fertility...or specifically answered prayer...or any strong application to ONE particular thing in life... the core nature of our Savior.
it speaks of His eternal desire to LOVE US.
it proves how far He'd go JUST TO HAVE US KNOW His love ENDURES for us:

Hebrews 6:17-20
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you."
And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever.....

i can't even type it without crying.
God made a promise to Abraham.
and since He couldn't swear the oath to Abraham in a way of CONVINCING him, He swore on Himself. God so desperately wanted Abraham to BELIEVE and to TRUST...that He made an oath on Himself...because there was NOTHING GREATER to bargain with. he made the oath and made the effort and made the PROMISE for abraham's sake...not HIS OWN. he wanted abraham to SEE and to KNOW and to TRUST his unchangeable character.

he KNEW asking abraham to wait would undoubtedly TEST HIM...but God in His LOVE and in His desire to keep abraham faithful, went the extra step to swear on His OWN sovereignty.
God WANTS to convince us of His love. i just cannot get over that.
the words, "so desired to show MORE CONVINCINGLY" is amazing to me.
GOD of the UNIVERSE...desires to
CONVINCE ME, when i should be the one convincing HIM to love me at all.
not only that, but He wants to prove MORE CONVINCINGLY that "we who have fled for refuge might have
strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul..."

it almost makes the Lord sound breathless in His desire to lavish us with CONVINCING LOVE. a sure...a steadfast anchor for my SOUL. He knew we'd NEED an anchor in this life...He KNEW we'd need reason to trust in it. He KNEW in our sinful state -- we'd need convincing.
how gracious God is to humble Himself enough to convince me.

and all of this in addition to the fact that He is my forerunner. my advocate. my high priest

i just don't know what else to say.....i just don't know how to end this.....

we are thrilled....and we are hopeful....and we are THANKFUL for answered prayers....
but we are foremost thankful for His unchangeable character and convincing love.....

Thank you, Lord.


T.T.J. said...

That is wonderful, congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family :-)

Chrissy said...

i am so overwhelmed today. i am so blown away by God's love, his grace and HIS POWER. praise HIM for what you've learned thru this. He is SO good and i am SO EXXCCITTTED!!!!!!!!!!!! auntie chrissy cannot wait to squeeze this baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
love you.......lots.

Glenna Marshall said...

YAY!!!!! I'm so glad you finally posted about it!!!

What a stunning sonogram...what a precious little morgan hopping around in there!!!

As you already know, I'm thrilled beyond words for you. I can see you're done "hedging your bets." :-)
God is faithful and good.

Love you.


ckuretich said...

and again, I am bawling. 3rd time today! About average.

bawling, bawling, bawling.

allison it's just so unfathomable, and all the truths you say to yourself, I need to hear them too, right here, right now - for two totally different situations, God uses the same wisdom and the same PROMISES of His love to communicate to His sinful, doubting children. When I think for even a second that I might've doubted him, I am put to shame. But it is almost a good feeling - thinking, thank GOD it's not up to me. Thank GOD it's not dependent on what I feel or think or know. Because I fail, every time. And finally I am getting that. I don't know why it has taken multiple dealings with cancer to teach this to me - but I am learning.

this is such a beautiful post, and such a JOYOUS and CELEBRATORY post. we should celebrate, every moment of every millisecond of your pregnancy. The joy is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!! Allison your blog was beautiful, making yourself vunerable bye speaking of all your deepest emotions and fears AND answered prayers is what makes it so easy for others to open up to you! As God has given you new empathy for others and their pain, others feel so easy in sharing their pain with you. As heartbreaking as it was watching you go thru the past 2 yrs., and it WAS heartbreaking, I just wanted to take it all away and carry that pain for you. I have never been more proud and grateful for what you have come thru and all that God has taught you! A heart who has never felt God's presence in sorrow or pain, will seldom express His delight in adoration and praise. Christen as I write that I also think of you and Dave. Tho i dont write or reply to your cancer blog, I pray for you both and delight in the Lord with you when you see His provision, feel His comfort and experience His answered prayers. Thank all of you who have prayed for Ally and being such wonderful friends to her. This will be a WONDERFUL YEAR!! About those that not the most BEAUTIFUL little baby you've ever seen?!?!? LOL Ally, you and Chad are gonna be WONDERFUL parents. I love you, Mom/Gammy : )

Julie Nickerson said...

I love this post!

You are a GEM, Allison! I can't wait for Baby Cheese and Abel to hang out.

Thank you for reminding of us God's love. Your post was beautiful.

PS-I love your mom's comment!

Filtering Life said...

I have been waiting for the formal announcement and it is even better than I could have hoped for. I love all the pictures, the journey of 13 weeks and the ultimate honoring of God's character. He is good and faithful to us even when we doubt all of his promises. Never will you feel so vulnerable, never will you feel so powerless to control then when this baby is in your womb. Know that God intimately loves and has died for this little one in your belly. He checks on him/her moment to moment knitting them together day by day. Marvel at his goodness and trust in his provisions for you and Chad. He loves you very much. We are thrilled for you both. Welcome to the club..MOM!

Annette B. said...

Oh my word!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, Allison!! I am SO excited for you, and praising God for how He works, in His time, in His way. I love it. And now you have an amazingly beautiful baby growing in you!!!! WOW!

ckuretich said...

leave it to TT - totally choking me up again!!!!

Thank you SO much Terri...praying for YOU as well, all the time.

The Dixons said...

I tried to hold out, but the tears are just falling. I have been following your blog for quite some time, being uplifted by your faith. Your words of encouragement have gone straight to my soul. Your struggles straight to my heart. I was breathless when I read your title. I am so happy for you. It it so refreshing to see prayers answered and dreams come true for a wonderfully committed Christian woman. God is so good. He is good today, yesterday and tomorrow. I will keep you in prayer. I can't wait to read of your miracle child. Amazing...

Nina said...

Every once and while Joel and I say, "Can you believe Chad and Allison are pregnant?!" We just shake our heads - we can't believe it! Why is it so hard to receive it when God says "Yes!"?? It is like we are afraid to believe it is true!

We love you and Chad and are so excited for the time ahead! Is this officially a baby blog now? Woohoo!

Misty said...

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!! I have never read your blog before, other than what my friend Kari quotes you on, on her blog. But today she told me of your post and how beautiful it was so I had to come and read for myself.

God has given you a gift of writting, a gift to encourage and inspire the women that come to your blog and read each day. I know kari has been uplifted and encouraged by your posts, and I thank you for doing that for her.

I am so happy for you and your husband and this MIRACLE God has given you. May he continue to pour his blessings down on you. I look forward to following the rest of your journey to mommyhood! :-)

Mom said...

I have never read your blog, but found out about it from Kari. Your story sounds so much like mine, and the timing is nearly the same also. After 3 years of "trying" to have a baby, going through infertility work up and IUI's, around October of 1975 I too decided to "take a break" due to the exhaustion, and hoping and being disappointed monthly.... I too knew my ovulation schedule and planned accordingly :)on 12/4/75. About 72 hours later, I was nauseated, had very tender breasts but just chalked it up to probably getting ready to start my menses. It didn't happen and I WAS NEVER LATE. Then on Christmas Eve, I started spotting. I still remember the pain, fear, and asking God "why". What a journey, and reading yours brings it all back. I have never forgotten the dates - even 32 years later after my beautiful daughter was born! :) God ALWAYS knows exactly what he is doing and I learned so much about Him through that experience and He has never stopped teaching me and growing me. Congratulations! God is indeed GOOD all the time! May He continue to bless you and your family and may you eperience many, many years of blessings with your child as I have and still do with mine! Linda (Misty's Mom)

getnhealthy4babies said...

wowo girl...God is so good...i am so happy for you...yay...words cannot described....woohoo

Monica said...

Allison, this news is amazing. I'm just crying and crying reading this post. I'm thrilled for you! And your way with words is just exactly what I needed--you touch my heart. :) Congratulations to you both--that baby is already adorable! Such cute little arms and legs. :)

RYC: I don't ovulate. I took clomid for 9 months and we got pregnant and miscarried. My hubby's counts are a little on the low side, but nothing to be too concerned about. The injectibles were just so strong--I feel like there has to be something between clomid (which I stopped responding to) and hyperstimulation...

Anyway, congratulations again.

Becky Barber said...

WOW. Ok, so I've fallen behind in keeping up with your blog. Just now saw this.... CONGRATULATIONS!!! What beautiful news...what a beautiful story.

Jen said...

Congratulations, Allison! We're so happy for you and thank you for sharing your precious pictures!

heather said...

Yeah! Praise Jesus for this blessing. It's such a strange thing, I know...hard to know how to process. THank you for walking me through your journey - i'm SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! (and only 4 weeks behind you, too...:)

Hope said...

I read this post the day you posted and while I was beyond happy and excited for you....I wasn't in a place to be outwardly happy. Anyways...I am so in awe of your faithfullness and your prayers answered. I have read your blog for a while and had a feeling that something wonderful was about to be exposed...YAY. Praying for a happy and healthy pregnancy...Hope is a great name haha.