I wandered, still half-awake and a bit dazed into our bedroom where David was still lounging in bed, and I handed him the test. He smiled and announced proudly, "I knew it! I knew you were pregnant! My boys can swim!" I laughed a little... still unsure the test was real.
If I may back track for a moment. Last November or so, my doctors all told me that I could not/should not have a baby because of the Ulcerative Colitis I suffer with. I immediately panicked. I've always wanted to be a mother and I've looked forward to pregnancy. I immediately started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet to see if changing my eating habits would improve my symptoms. It did... for a while.
In January, David and I went to an adoption seminar at the local adoption agency, Adopt a New Beginning. We considered adoption. We also discussed surrogacy. Part of both of us still selfishly wanted a biological child. So, I went into the Fertility Clinic here in Boise to see if surrogacy was an option. The only fertility doctor in the area, Cristin Slater, told me that I was absolutely healthy enough to do surrogacy, but that she thought I could actually have a healthy child of my own with a little help from her. She said that she'd help many women with Inflammatory Bowel Disease through a successful pregnancy, and all but one of them actually got better during the pregnancy (The one who didn't get better, didn't get worse, she just didn't get better). I was THRILLED! (That said, I feel it is important to tell you that I would NOT recommend seeing Dr. Slater or anyone in her clinic ... they were unprofessional, absentminded, and flaky- one nurse would tell me one thing and another nurse would tell me something completely different which caused more money out of my pocket into their hands. Also, she overlooked all of my concerns regarding my Ulcerative Colitis, and she rarely saw me herself, even though I was being charged for appointments with her and not her nurse.)
Anyway, I immediately jumped into Dr, Slater's regimen of fertility drugs and ultrasounds, assuming that I would be pregnant by the end of the month. Unfortunately, that was not the case. After three excruciating months of fertility hormones, they informed me that I had developed a large uterine polyp and I needed surgery to remove it right away. That was April. I had it (and another small polyp) removed in May. The doctor told me I should start right back up on the fertility drugs again in June, but after the emotional roller coaster of the past 5 months, combined with the lack of quality treatment from Dr. Slater's office I decided that I - we needed a break. AND to make matters worse, the fertility hormones had caused my Ulcerative Colitis to flare, despite my best efforts to keep it in check with diet. The hormones were just too strong. In fact, it was the worst flare I'd had in 5 years, and nothing I did was helping to get it back under control.
My doctors and I agreed that I had to get the UC under control before I could safely have a pregnancy. So in October I started a new Ulcerative Colitis medication called Cimzia. It is approved for use during pregnancy, so the plan was, to let the medication work its magic for a while, and then I could try to get pregnant again.
However, all the stress I went through on the fertility meds last spring made me loathe trying to use them or trying working with Dr. Slater again. And the idea of dealing with any stimulating hormones to get me pregnant sounded so awful, we started looking into adoption once more. In fact we were set on it. I contacted a lawyer and the adoption agency, and I'd filled out the paperwork. I was waiting until the new year to submit everything, figuring that then the craziness of my new job at Opera Idaho and the holidays would have died down by then, and I could give the adoption process my full attention. We were so excited we were going to start a family.
My period was due on November 9th, but when it didn't come I didn't think anything of it, I always fluctuate a day or two. I was busy painting the walls and ceiling of the room we'd recently remodeled, so I just kept plugging away. My body felt like I was going to get a visit from "Aunt Flow" at any moment, so I just waited, and didn't think about it. On Monday, November 12th, I had an acupuncture appointment with my general practitioner. I called the office in the morning and said, "Look, I don't think I'm pregnant, but my period is late by four or five days as of today, and I know I'm not supposed to have acupuncture in the first trimester if I am pregnant... I figured I should call and say something... so what should I do?" They asked if I'd taken a pregnancy test. "No," I said. I didn't think there was any point because I thought it was just being thrown off by the new medicine. I didn't have one in the house and I didn't have time to take one before the appointment. The doctor - Dr. Gail told me to come into the office anyway and she would just do acupressure instead of acupuncture. She wanted to catch up with my medical history anyway.
I went into the office for my appointment. Afterwards, Dr. Gail told me that she wanted me to go home and take a pregnancy test and call her with the result the next day. I somewhat begrudgingly told her I would. On the way home that night I stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things for dinner, and sat there debating on whether or not to buy a pregnancy test. I figured as soon as I spent the money I'd get my period... but I picked up a box of two pregnancy tests anyway... deciding that in the end, it couldn't hurt to know for sure. I decided if there was still no sign of "Aunt Flo" in the morning, I would take the test otherwise I would just save it for another time... Well, you know the rest!
When I called to let Dr. Gail know the test result, I told the nurse that I was still a little unsure because the line wasn't quite as dark as the control line. She asked how many tests I'd taken. "Just one," I responded. She told me to take another test and call her right back. So I did. This time the line was darker. The doctor got on the phone and told me that she was declaring me officially pregnant. She ordered a blood test for me to confirm the home pregnancy tests, and told me to make an appointment with my OB/Gyn.
I did. I also called my Gastroenterologist. I was a little worried because I'd literally just started the new medication and my UC wasn't fully in remission like he wanted it to be. The nurse said not to worry, and congratulated me. She said the only thing I had to remember was that I can't breast feed because the UC medicine (Cimzia) I'm on gets into the breast milk, but other than that, I should be fine. The nurse and I had a good laugh because trying so hard to get pregnant after all this time, it was ironic that I got pregnant now when I'd finally decided to go ahead with the adoption process. I kept saying "We haven't had sex enough to get pregnant..." Well... it only takes once!
We decided not to tell our families or anyone anything about the pregnancy until we were given the all clear from the OB/Gyn doctor. Our sister-in-law, Helena, is also pregnant, and at Thanksgiving we found out that David's cousin Beth is pregnant too, and we felt it would be better to wait and make sure everything was alright with the baby considering all of my health issues, before we made our announcement. We are all due within months of each other... Helena in May, Beth in June, and me in July. And, we didn't want anyone to feel weird if something went wrong.
David's parents came out for Thanksgiving and it was REALLY tough not to tell them why I was so tired all the time. Or why I was running to the bathroom all the time. But, we just blamed it on the Ulcerative Colitis and the new meds I am taking. However... we both wanted to shout it from the roof tops! In retrospect, I'm sure they thought I was SO sick with Colitis though.
On Tuesday, December 7th David and I had our first OB/Gyn appointment. David and I are both VERY happy with our doctor, Dr. Weyhrich. By the end of the appointment, he left us feeling very confident. I have to admit, I was a little nervous... okay, A LOT nervous. But, everything went really well.
I'd been joking about having triplets since we found out I was pregnant, and luckily that wasn't the case. Just one, very healthy baby with a nice strong heartbeat!
Now that we were given the all clear, we decided to make our announcement extra special. After all, we were told I couldn't have a baby this time last year. Here's what we came up with:
A Message in a Bottle
The messages went out via the mail to everyone in our immediate families on Monday, December 19th. The postman told me that they would all arrive to their destinations on Thursday or Friday at the latest. Well, strangely, all of my family received theirs on Wednesday. David's parents got theirs on Thursday, and David's brother's family on Friday and his sister's family on Saturday. Each of their responses were really fun! Squeals, screams, crying, and more. It was a great way to unveil our secret!
And I'm hoping everyone will feel the need to make extended visits to Idaho next summer to help... I've done A LOT of free babysitting and free labor over the years, so I plan on cashing in all my "Help" chips next summer... plan accordingly! Wink wink!
I am also pleased to report that my Ulcerative Colitis is back on the road to remission thanks to the Cimzia and getting back on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and the pregnancy. Our 40 weeks due date is July 21st, however Dr. Weyhrich thinks Boise baby Lopez will make an appearance sometime between 38 and 42 weeks which is July 7th-August 4th, and Ulcerative Colitis patients tend to have babies come earlier than later. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers over the course of this journey! We feel very blessed this holiday season. Merry Christmas to you all!