Little Acorn

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Monday, April 23, 2012

feeding the worry beast (7 weeks)

Every day is a paradox. Every day is a beautiful day, one more that I get to have with my beloved genetic child, more than I ever thought I'd get. I take each day as a precious gift from God, to live it to the fullest and enjoy every moment.  Yet every day is also filled with wonder. Not just the wonder and awe I feel that we've made it this far, but the wondering of survival. I am at the airport right now, looking at all these people, knowing that they all were easily born from mothers, they all were normal, that this happens all the time and is no big deal.

But it is a huge deal to me. And I wonder if my little one will share the same fate as all these busy people sitting next to me. To survive. To live. Of course only time will tell. Only God knows our fate. And so I continue to torture myself in this waiting game, sitting in my roller coaster car, enduring my self-made free-falls. I scour the pregnancy blogs to learn about missed miscarriages and other sad events where embryos die at the drop of a hat...even after you see the heartbeat. It happens more than I want to admit. One week they're on screen beating away and growing, and the next they're gone, the only evidence of their little lives is a little pigmentation on a screen, so fleeting and surreal. Even scarier is that the body can sometimes think it's still carrying the child, so the mother isn't aware that her baby died. The body is tricked for whatever reason, bullied into going along with it, and the mother sits there helpless and unaware. Such a cruel, cruel fate for both mother and child.

And in doing this internet research, I fear I am feeding a beast deep within that can do absolutely no good for this baby. But I can't help myself and so I read. I read so many stories of women who were confident of the life growing in their bellies, only to be shocked out of their skin when the doctor can't hear the heartbeat, sees retreat in size, defeat in body. Now I guess that would be the ultimate betrayal--none of my weird PMS symptoms could even compare. It makes me think that just because it's going well for me does not mean that God couldn't easily take it away or have some other purpose for my little one, have a lesson yet to be taught to me. 

Ugh! You just love sabotaging your good feelings, don't you? Dammit! Stop it! You need to just embrace the good in every moment! I do love waking up every morning feeling the deep ache in my breasts. It reassures me on a daily basis as my nausea, exhaustion, and headaches are pretty irregular. And so maybe I should just stop trying to analyze everything and just live. Who cares anyway? You gonna be scared to live now that you have this kid in you? Man, it's always something, isn't it? If it's not infertility, then it's pregnancy, then it'll be a child, then more infertility, then more pregnancy, then more children. Will you ever live a life of encouragement and excitement? Stop feeding the worry beast and start feeding your soul, you goof!

Friday, April 20, 2012

thermal activity (6 weeks)

I tried to be calm. I tried to be reserved. I tried not to let my heart beat too fast. But by the time I was staring down at those damned waiting room fish again, all attempts to try were quickly thwarted. I kept breathing deeply, slowly, in and out, staring at those yellow tangs fighting for food and waiting for the clown fish to appear through anemone tangles. Those oblivious fish soothed my aching, retching heart and its beat finally slowed.

Ryan drags himself in a few minutes later only to tell me he was just rear-ended! I kept thinking all of these signs of bad luck, rough news, is this a sign of things to come? Then we walk into the examining room and it was all I could do to keep breathing slowly, in and out. In walks the doctor and he is much more reserved today, perhaps wondering himself what he would find.

But our fears were quelled. In slips the wand and immediately we see the heartbeat pumping! Before the doctor could even focus, I knew the baby was alive! We could see our little miracle pumping away, flashing it's sweet heart on screen, winking at us over and over again that it'll all be okay. He zooms in and measures the heartbeat. The sound is so strong and fast just like our baby, giving us a wow wow wow wow wow sound. My thoughts exactly. Wow. Thundering horses down my path of life. So exhilarating was this sound that it instantly put me into a trance-like state, meditating that I could listen to that beautiful sound for hours. As it was, I almost didn't catch the doctor say 116 beats per minute, anything above 110 is normal. Thank God.

Focusing back, I next took note of his measuring the little one. He said it's measuring at 6 weeks, 3 days. You're at 6 weeks, 4 days so that's not a big deal. Anything within a week is fine due to measuring error. Thank God. He took a picture and hugged me again to my relief ever less awkwardly than last week.

And there you have it. She survived. He lives. For now. We just need to get past next week's final sonogram at the clinic and our chances of miscarriage go down from 33% to 10%. I thought we'd be out of the water this week, but I'm okay with that. I don't think we'll ever be completely out of the water. We'll never stop worrying about this. And I guess that's what parents do.

We do, however, have to take stock that it's completely out of our hands at this point. If God wants this embryo to live, he will make it so. If He needs my baby earlier, he or she will go. There is a plan for us all, even for this little being inside me. Knowing God is on my side, knowing that it really does happen on His terms for a reason, that I have learned so much about myself and loss and healing, I'm okay with it all. I know I can survive anything now.

But that's another day. Today, I want to tell you that I love you so much little baby. I can't wait till next week to see you again dancing your sweet heartbeat dance on screen, to see your life performance. To see you bigger and better, looking more and more like the amazing human you are! I can't wait to float on your success again, to feel lightweight and fearless as I do right now. Because for this week, this day, this moment, I feel the heat of your life deep within me and I float skyward and raptor-like on your thermals.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

wait is a four letter word (6 weeks)

I barely spotted yesterday, but spotted nonetheless. It was the palest of pinks with a swipe. I've heard pink or brown is not a big deal, that gushing bright red blood and/or cramping is. But timing is everything and for me to be spotting at this particular moment seems to have more meaning to me.

And I swear my breasts are not hurting as much, that I'm not as tired, not as cottonmouth dry in the mornings, not craving as much water. I went to the bathroom early this morning and I could have sworn my breasts hurt painfully so, but when I woke up for good they barely ached. Was it a dream? I know I dreamed a nightmare of bright red applesauce pouring from my body. My mind is just toying with me, turning me against myself.

I swear, this is so much worse than IVF. These bouts of true hope and true worry that come with life actually inside me, wanting it to survive with all my might, it's the most intense roller coaster ride I've ever been on, trying to turn my stomach, eyes squeezed shut with every free fall and jostle. Yet I remain calm. There's nothing I can do but sit in that coaster car and wait. And hope. I want to believe so badly. But then I think I already know the answer, that my body is telling me that it's over. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it's probably a duck. If my HCG levels came back low, my breasts don't hurt, and I'm spotting, it's probably a miscarriage.

Such doubt, you non-believer! Ryan is so strong and believes we will see her today all cute and wiggly. And I have been wrong so many times and don't know the first thing about reading my body during pregnancy. So BELIEVE, dammit! Our little acorn, our little warrior embryo, could still be in there fighting, all alien-like and adorable, growing every second. It is possible. I want to believe it so badly, like Ryan does so confidently.

Dear Lord, help me to get through this day, no matter what the result. Help me to remain calm and to be at peace with what we'll find this afternoon. I want this so badly but know you may have a different purpose for our little warrior. This is more time we've gotten to spend with any of our embryos so every moment has been a true blessing. I just appreciate the opportunity to have been around him or her this long. It's longer than I ever thought I'd get with our genetic baby and I am forever grateful. Thank you. Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

see you tomorrow! (6 weeks)

I dry heaved this morning at work. The intense nausea came a little while after taking my prenatal vitamins and E2 on an empty stomach, but this has never bothered me in the past. And I keep checking for breast tenderness, worrying that it'll go away, but every morning I am painfully reassured that they're still very tender.

So I am in a state of calm now. There is absolutely no good in worrying that our little acorn could have died. Because you didn't. Because you're growing in me. Because you are making me wonderfully sick and excitingly sore. Because your heart beats faster every day. And I will see you tomorrow. On screen. In your glowing performance of life. Yes. I will see you in the afternoon. And smile.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

hang on little tomato (6 weeks)

Did I mention that a truck drove into our house on Friday night? Yeah, our joyous evening after finding out our child has a heartbeat was desperately short-lived. The sound of a huge crash near our home scared the HELL out of me at 1AM as I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room. I immediately saw car lights outside our window and realized we were not being burgled, so I calmed down a bit. Ryan was out of town so that was a little nerve-racking, but it worked out okay for the most part. But that's not even the scariest thing that happened this week! An aircraft almost crashed landed during a night survey at the airport I was working on last night. AND, finally, we got our latest results of the blood work and it wasn't good.

HCG only rose to 10,608, not even doubling once from the 6,136 level last Thursday. It should have been around 20,000 - 24,000. My estrogen also skyrocketed from 240 to 1,200, which was odd too. Progesterone, however, was stagnant at 8. Good ol' reliably low progesterone. What is wrong with my body? This is ridiculous! I did take it at a different lab in College Station, but that wouldn't explain the extreme deficit in HCG. So there's a chance now that we could miscarry. HCG is still going up, but definitely not doubling. I think this is almost worse than IVF!! Going through these periods of extreme joy and extreme worry over the loss of the child is too much for me. I called the doctor's cell phone at Ryan's request and he said not to worry, that yes, there is a chance this could indicate a miscarriage, but that we will find out nothing more until the ultrasound on Thursday. He said that HCG levels are highly variable and that at this point an ultrasound is a better indicator of the embryo's viability. So we'll just have to sit tight and wait.

Meanwhile, my breast pain is at it's all time greatest. This morning, I bent over and actually had a sharp pain in my left breast! Crazy! The slight nausea has been present in the background pretty much since Saturday, never so bad I'm throwing up, but a constant reminder nonetheless. And then there's the exhaustion. If I hadn't been kicked out of my hotel room this afternoon, I would be napping right now. I napped all weekend and took another nap yesterday morning when I got to my project site. So these are all positive signs. I have to keep thinking positively. And I am.

Deep down I know this kid is such a fighter, has been from the very beginning. So why all the drama? Just let me be content knowing I've seen a heartbeat! Why is this so hard? Why can't it ever be normal? Is this ever going to work? Why can't I let this stuff go now? Well, I'm trying! I'm trying to keep it together, keep it calm, keep it real. Be strong, baby. Be the warrior dragon I know you are, the fighter who won't give up, who's perfect in every way, who wants to live and live ferociously indeed.

Hang on, little tomato. Please survive. Survive for yourself. I can handle losing you, but I don't want you to go. This is not selfish. This is not for me. I would miss you for the rest of my life and I understand if you need to go to a better place. But I don't think you want to do that. Not now. I think you
want to live. I think you want to thrive. I think you want to grow. And for that, I want the best for you. I love you, little one. Please keep growing normally. Do it for life and the experience and I promise you I will show you a world of love and laughter and wonder. 

 Week 6
Had to provide a baseline. I was lookin' pretty flat-stomached!

Monday, April 16, 2012

a blessing in worry's clothing (5 weeks)

Man, we had a pretty bad scare on Thursday-Friday of last week. On Thursday the nurse called me with my blood test results. She left a message saying everything was progressing nicely but that she wanted to call back with the doctors' orders. Our HCG level was at 6,136 so very nice from 748 a week before. But my progesterone had dropped further down to 8, which in all my research was not good at all.

So when she called me back and said the doctor wanted to see me for an ultrasound, I immediately gasped. I asked if it had to do with my low progesterone level and she said that the doctor didn't seem too worried, but that he wanted to check to make sure everything was okay. I asked why and she said, well, because lower progesterone levels typically indicate the body is not producing enough hormone to support the uterus and a healthy pregnancy or that it's already an indication that the embryo is not functioning properly (a chromosomal abnormality). She asked to schedule the sonogram at 5PM and I refused, saying that was too much waiting.

So we planned for 1:15 on Friday. I tried not to panic. After all, I was in a baby store buying a present for our friend's new baby when she called. I still had to be civil and survive being in public. So when I got home I started immediately researching low progesterone issues and yes, my worst fears were realized because most forum posts had low progesterone before supplements and they went up to decent levels afterwards. I, however, am already on some serious supplements and I'm still low. Typical.

That day was of course Ryan's 34th birthday. That kid never gets a break! Always something crazy happens on his birthday! So we tried to go out to dinner and have a good time, but the mood was definitely dampened. The next morning I was consumed with getting my mother's invitations out so thank God, I was pretty preoccupied the whole day.

But by the time Ryan got home and we ate and we drove over to the clinic, my heart began to race and it wouldn't stop. I was convinced that it was the chromosomal issue, that my egg quality issues had yet again crushed our bright opportunities and our little miracle was going the way of the dodo. The waiting room was luckily empty for once and I was grateful for the silence. No one was there to see my tear-stained face staring numbly at the yellow tangs and clown fish and angelfish and gobies and trigger fish and damsel fish in their salt water tank, beings that are perfectly content in their own glass prison, delightedly oblivious to the pain and aching that lies just a few feet beyond their aquariumed cell.

Then we headed to the dreaded room where all of my dreams were going to be crushed and stomped to bits. Yet in walks the doctor all bouncy and upbeat, wondering why we were so glum. I let him know how concerned we were because we were called in a week early. He said no, this is your regular sonogram for 6w6d and I said actually, I'm at 5w6d. When he realized the nurse had mistakenly written down a "6" instead of a "5" he apologized profusely said the appointment was on the house. Sighs of relief all around. I was not yet registering this but was smiling lightly just to keep up. Then he said well, let's just see since you're here, even though it's so early. We likely won't see the heartbeat but you never know. 
So in goes the vaginal ultrasound. My eyes squeezed shut, my head turned away, my body tensed for those terrible words. But they did not come. Instead, he said the embryo is intrauterine, so no ectopic pregnancy. He said there's the gestational sac and fetal pole, and...wait for's the heartbeat! You see that flickering? Oh man, we don't always get to see this so early!

What. We have an actual HEARTBEAT? I was still in shock from bracing myself for a chromosomal nightmare. Shocked was I that I barely registered the good news. Say that again? He told me to hold my breath to see if he could hear the heartbeat. Breathless, I focused on the little lines fading in and out at the bottom of the screen, but it was too faint to register an actual number. But that doesn't matter. We got to see that beautiful white light fluttering on the screen like a child's eyelashes against my cheeks. Fluttering ever so steady and strong. Tickling me with life and light and joy and beauty. The doctor gave me a big hug and I hugged him right back. He held on a little too uncomfortably long considering I'm not wearing any pants, but that's okay. It was a beautiful moment and Ryan and I couldn't help but cry.

Such wretched, deep emotion coursing through my veins. Such unnecessary worry for such a joyous occasion. A disguised blessing that wouldn't have happened where it not for a nurse's mistake. We wouldn't have gotten to see that beautiful flickering of light on a dark screen for another week. And for that I'm grateful for what happened. For now it is real. For now our warrior's heart beats true. For now our sea dragon lives deep within. For now, I am at peace.

Monday, April 9, 2012

dragon breath (5 weeks)

Did I mention that the baby's due date is December 10, 2012? The end of the world (or rather the end of the Maya calendar) is supposed to happen on December 21st, so we've got some serious catastrophic, apocalyptic, Doomsday-esque Armageddon about to occur right after the baby's born! That's okay. This kid is a warrior embryo, remember? The only one out of 19 seemingly viable embryos that survived. One among 18 other brothers and sisters who were fated to a quick and genetically warped demise.

While I know it's complete ridiculousness that the world could end in December, I just think it's pretty funny how life works out, that this kid was fated to live by it's own set of rules - definitely not mine. God had such a different plan for this child than I ever could have dreamed, and of course, it would be better than I ever could have expected. Such a dramatic plan!

I remember wanting so badly our baby to be born in 2010, my favorite number of 10, thinking this has got to be my year because this is my number! I thought, even better, for a child to be born in October 2010, that 10/10 would be super cool! No, you fool. Time passed and I picked back up my hopes thinking well January 2011 is nice (1/11) or even November 2011 (11/11) would be pretty cool too! But no, you flippin idiot. You think you've got a clue as to what's in store for you? No. That was not the plan! No, your baby is coming in December 2012 (12/12), and not just December, but the 10th of December! And right before the end of the world! A very dramatic plan indeed!

So today I looked up the kid's Chinese zodiac just for curiosity's sake and s/he is a water dragon, a sign of good fortune and intense power. This little one is slated to not only be a warrior, but one full of honor, passion, and fearlessness, of confidence and innovation. I'm liking this kid's fate more and more!

And of course I did a Chinese prediction test to determine if it's a boy or girl (I couldn't help myself) and it came out "girl" based on my age and month of conception. Boy howdy, I was hoping for a boy simply to divert the name issue completely. That, and I'm a tomboy and love the outdoors, so having a stinky boy would be so much fun to go hiking with and teach how to roll over logs to look for slimies.

But alas, this water dragon is apparently destined to be warrior princess, as my mother and Ryan predicted. And a precious little girl would be all I ever wanted. But the name issue has given me heartburn for years. I am trying to convince Ryan that the name he has compared all others to, the name he feels reigns supreme above the rest - Rhea or Raea or Rheya (pronounced "Ray-a") - just isn't working anymore. And I don't want to tear down his dream because I love him so much. It was a cool name in theory about 10 years ago when I heard it from a movie (Solaris [2002]). But the more I thought about it, the more this name has several problems. I fear the only pretty way of spelling it (Rhea) will get our little girl needlessly made fun of. I just keep thinking everyone will call her "Ree-a" instead of "Ray-a" and then Diarrhea! Gonorrhea! could catch on. Maybe kids aren't going to be that smart, but I know some will figure it out and I don't want her to go through that!

And the second issue is if we don't go by the pretty spelling we have Raea and Rheya as the other choices. They are just too weird sounding and in a society where everyone is trying to trump each other on weird names, I really think traditional is much more classy. So my vote is Stella Marion. Stella means "star" and is my great-grandmother's name. Marion means "star of the sea" and is Ryan's great-grandmother's name. Both pair nicely with how special our shining little water dragon is. If it's a boy, I love "Calvin Thomas" and call him Cal for short. Or "Cole Thomas," which I love as it is both the uncles' names combined, Collin and Kale. But no, it's going to be a girl and I'll have to contend with Rhea as an option. Rhea Lauren? Rhea Sophia? Rhea Marion? Nothing else seems to compare to Stella Marion, my shining starfish of a sea dragon!

Wait. This is so very weird. Oh my God. I just had an epiphany! I have loved leafy sea dragons for years and have always put pictures of them as my desktop background on my computer. I can't believe I'm just now realizing this! She's not just a water dragon, she's a SEA DRAGON! The coolest animal in the ocean, the one I've always wanted to find, the one I have admired and coveted and loved since I discovered them at my first job!

I have such a good feeling about this and a huge smile on my face right now. Unbelievable how life works out. Our baby is a beautiful sea dragon. So amazing. And I can't wait to feel that sweet dragon breath on my cheek! Grin.

waiting for a thousand horses (5 weeks)

Thursday's HCG levels were very good again! We were up 748 from 190 last Monday. These numbers are doubling a little bit faster than 48 hours -- in fact, 24 hours, but no one seems to be concerned. They were concerned, however, about my progesterone levels. Started off at 16, dropped to 9 (I think anything below 10 isn't good), and increased back up to only 13. The nurse said progesterone levels are known to fluctuate, but Dr. Google said levels should be above 15 in the first trimester, so of course I am starting to get a little worried! I was so consumed that HCG levels were doing well that I didn't stop to analyze the rest of the hormones! 
After researching, it looks like HCG is a much better indicator of a viable pregnancy anyway, but still, we cannot forget about these other support indicators. I have to keep reminding myself that it is completely out of my hands at this point. Either the warrior child wants to live or he doesn't. I'd like to think his will is mighty, that he is a beautiful little creature growing with fierce determination, hanging on with sheer strength and grit. But life will be what it will be and our warrior may not have enough juice in him to sustain. And I have no control over the fate of this little life inside me anymore. All I can do is what I have been doing - stay hydrated, take my meds, and remain calm.

Remaining calm has surprisingly been survivable. But then added pressure from my family has definitely tested it. This last weekend was Easter weekend and my mother was wanting me to announce our pregnancy to the family via the prayer my father was to say before dinner. She wanted it to go down just like Kale's pregnancy was announced 28 years ago at Thanksgiving. I seriously debated it, considered Ryan's pleas for the announcement, thought about how it would be so fun to shock everyone. But no, we are only 5 weeks in, have only known for 1 week, and this is not yet a done deal. Everyone is acting like this baby is a sure thing, but we have such a long journey ahead of us that we cannot be too confident. Not yet. And she finally conceded, realizing that she was pressuring us to do something that wasn't comfortable to us. Thank God. And so my father said the prayer with only a subtle hint of what was to come and we passed the test. Only my cousin caught on and that was good for now.

We should at least wait until we know the kid has a stinkin' heartbeat to tell the rest of the world, you know? The heartbeat sonogram is in two very long, patient weeks, and we definitely should keep it a secret at least until then. We'll know more about the baby's progress on Thursday, but the true test is April 23rd. I hope my progesterone level is better this Thursday. I hope my HCG level has continued on its glorious skyrocketing path towards the glittering sun. I hope this baby is thriving inside me with love abounding. I hope she is healthy and strong. I hope that our dreams will continue to come true because we've already been blessed with more than we could ever have hoped to achieve.

Our little family (parents, siblings, Ryan and I) was so unbelievably happy this weekend, so content, with sly grins,
tears, and pure joy on our faces, relaxed foreheads, hugs all around, with love and protection abounding. This is not just a dream for Ryan and I, but a dream for our family too. A lot is riding on our little miracle, our little warrior, and I hope he can support the weight of the world. I want so badly to do it for her, but she's got to want to do it for herself. She's got to want to live.

And that's how I imagine we will parent her or him (if we get to). We will help guide him through life and teach him how to live it, but he's got to want to experience it for himself. I love her so deeply it
already that it aches from deep within. I want him so badly to live that I weep with excitement. I grin at my pregnancy symptoms (breast tenderness, headaches, and cottonmouth thirst) and gladly endure any inflicted pain for the chance at her growth. I thrive on the possibility and the thrill to be his mother.

But most of all, I cannot wait to see his beautiful thundering heartbeat, hear the sound of a thousand horses pounding down a dirt path, and to know that she is ours for the keeping. It's all I can do to be patient and wait for the sound of the warrior's inner strength traveling down our cobbled road.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

hcg looking good (4 weeks)

So far so good. I had another HCG test on Monday and it doubled, went up from 99 to 190 in 42 hours. So we're looking good for now. Current symptoms include breast soreness, cottonmouth thirst, and continuous headaches. The next test is on Thursday, but I'm getting more and more confident that this embryo is a warrior child and will be perfectly normal and successful.

A warrior child born right before the end of the something out of a sci-fi novel!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

breathing in sweet intoxicating success (4 weeks)

I am happy and proud and honored and humbled and shocked and delighted to say that Hell has frozen over. The fat lady has sung. Pigs have flown. The impossible has indeed become possible.


I can't believe I am writing these words! It's completely surreal. SURREAL! Our little embryo is a such a stubborn fighter! He/she hung on for dear life, clung to me, and (hopefully) will never let me go! Burrowed with such determination into my poor lining, my inferior womb, that my lining worries didn't matter. This kid wants to live. It burrowed right in like the badger that it is and never looked back. The embryo is that strong that s/he's ahead of the curve. I accidentally took my HCG blood test a day early (should have been today), but that's okay. They typically want to see an HCG level above 50 by day 14. Ours was at 99 and a day early! This child is so strong and bull-headed.

I still can't believe it's real, won't believe it for many weeks. But I have to say that I had a growing suspicion towards the end of this last week. The headaches were steady even though I was drinking SO much water and I wasn't sneezing from allergies. I also was not having period-like cramps, thank God. No cramps at all, just that constant pressure like something was in my uterus.

My breasts were the biggest sign though (sorry, TMI!). I started becoming aware of them on Wednesday morning (Day 10). Not much, just a little as I bent over. I never have breast pain this late in a cycle. I've only had soreness when I've taken an Ovidrel shot during IVF and it would wain by the this time in the cycle. So as I was becoming more and more aware of their presence and a little achey on the sides each day, I started to suspect we could have a winner.

Saturday morning rolled around and I wanted to take a pregnancy test. You may say that was cheating, but Ryan really wanted to buy a car that day (random!). He just had to get it done. And I had a feeling it would take much longer than expected, interfering with our blood results and I didn't want to be mad at him when he feels he's doing the right thing by protecting me. So I told him I wanted to take a home pregnancy test.

That morning I took a test and put a cloth over it to distract me from reading it too early. When Ryan came in I talked to him about it, that it'll just help us prepare for the news later that day, especially if we're delayed while buying a car. If it's negative that doesn't mean anything since it's still early, but I'll be better prepared for negative news. But I drew back the cloth and gasped! There was a dark fuchsia line and then a faint, but definite, beautiful pink line right next to it. I started crying immediately. Ryan was in denial and wouldn't believe it until the nurse let us know. But I knew. I knew that precious pink line would ONLY show up if I was pregnant.

So we carried on with our day. We bought a Nissan Rogue and traded in my beloved 4Runner. Boo. And then I drove back and took the test. Ryan and I ate lunch at Dulce Vita and shopped for cheese next door. We paged the nurse when we got home and I took a bath. So of course I would miss the actual DOCTOR'S call! What the? I immediately called him back and left an anxious message. Apparently, he never calls his patients to give the good news. But he called us. And said that he was so happy for us, that we were pregnant and looking strong. It was the best moment of our lives.

We cried together and hugged each other. And then we called our families because even though it's super early and so much can still happen, they carried the burden with us and we wanted them to know the amazing news too. It's not a typical pregnancy anyway--we've struggled with infertility for almost 4 years and the few friends and family that knew about it shared our pain and helped lighten the weight of our sorrow. They knew we'd find out today anyway, so might as well bring them our good news.

Ryan balled his eyes out every time he said it worked, could barely eek out the words he was so overcome with happiness. It's been such a long journey and he has not healed like I have. I don't think he knew how to even be happy while dealing with infertility so this news is not only shocking to him, but will be hard for him to adjust to such joy.

But we're getting there. I should be cautious this first trimester, but I'm not. I should not let my heart be so overfilled with joy that I overflow onto everything, but I can't. I know this kid is strong. I know this child is determined. I know God will take it easy on us after all that we've been through. And it has been a lot. Not as much as some, but certainly more than our fair share.

As I look back on this journey that has been so hard, I do see purpose in our pain. I see my own enlightenment growing from the dark soil of our misery. I see that I am a different person than when I began, a wiser, calmer person, one who has looked adversity in the eye every time, who has congratulated all of her friends and watched them live the life of her dreams. Our road has been lined with cobbles and boulders so big we could not see ahead. Downed trees
and cracks made us dodge and climb over and sometimes trip into deep despair. Our road has been lined with beautiful, green fertile trees that we cannot touch. It has wound us around pastures of endless blossoms we cannot smell. But we're still here. We're still standing. And the road has finally opened up on smooth and seamless ground. The beautiful blooming trees are now reachable. And we can finally breath in the sweet, intoxicating scent of the wildflowers.

We still have a long journey ahead of us, but I know it will be that much more bearable knowing what we've overcome and where our destination lies.