Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthdays and Insanity

Those who know me, know this is my youngest daughter Rebekah. She turned four years old on Saturday and we loved helping her celebrate. There is a lot to celebrate, we waited a long time for her to come into our lives. Just as we spent four years praying for and over Sarah and that God would allow her to join our family on a permanent basis we also prayed that God would send a sibling for Elizabeth. We had no idea when Chris and I decided to start trying for a sibling for Elizabeth that what would follow would be a four year journey in repeated negative test results and a lot of tears and grief.

They actually call what happened to us, secondary infertility. At first, it was just disappointing - the negative test after negative test. But as time dragged on and it looked more and more like we would never gain custody of Sarah and we would never get pregnant again - the more it took a toll on both of us. I even had a friend who found getting pregnant easy at the drop of a hat and while I would have loved to be pregnant I never begrudged her the fact that she could get pregnant when I was struggling so much to have just one more child. I suspect that being on birth control after having Elizabeth for about a year messed with my hormones too much. So after yet another heartbreak in May 2005 we decided we weren't trying anymore. Of course, we didn't do anything to stop getting pregnant, but we weren't actively trying either.

As God would have it, July 2, 2005 Sarah came for her summer visit and she hasn't left since. I had been praying and I told God I couldn't take another year of watching her get into the car with her mom and not know if she was happy, healthy, safe or even being taken care of like she should. It was too heartbreaking - things began to steam roll and in September 2006 we received the most beautiful set of papers in the world - WE GOT CUSTODY of SARAH!!! They were the most wonderful papers in the world. We'd prayed and waited so long for her to come and live with us.

In the meantime, I had hit 300 pounds and had high blood pressure and so I began researching my options and decided to have gastric bypass. April 15, 2006, after jumping through all of the medical and psychological hoops I was wheeled into surgery and thus began my journey of eating with a smaller stomach. And one of the things you aren't supposed to do is get pregnant for at least one year. It gives your body time to heal and recover - because they literally reroute your intestines and create a new stomach for you - there is connective tissue in there that helps hold everything into place. So I opted for the Nuvaring as birth control. And I met with my primary doctor to discuss options to ensure I wouldn't get pregnant. Here's the thing - I know my body, I know it's rhythms and how it's supposed to feel. After putting in the Nuvaring for a week I realized it was not a good option for me and took it out. What they don't tell you is that if you do this, it will jump start ovulation. . . I suspect I hadn't ovulated on a regular basis for a while, because after I got back into a rhythm without the birth control I felt the difference immediately. That happened in June and August 28th I took a pregnancy test and TAH DAH!!!!! I was pregnant!

You know how you read those stories or watch an interview and a person speaks about weeping for joy? I began weeping for joy when I realized that it was unmistakably a positive. If the lines had gotten any bolder they would have jumped off of the test and hit me and it turned in seconds. My next step was to call my OB/GYN who I had made an appointment with previously to discuss fertility options, but now I had to talk to her about the fact that I had gotten pregnant four months post-op from gastric bypass. Thankfully, God sent us an excellent Obstetrician - Dr. Briet was a good doctor. She kept a close eye on my weight and Beka's weight and made sure she was growing and she kept in contact with my gastric bypass surgeon all along the way. The only thing we had problems with were contractions - they began at 30 weeks and I ended up on bed rest and had to give up driving.

On April 30, 2007 I went into my doctor's appointment and my blood pressure was very high 150/120 - that is actually stroke level. The girls didn't have school that day so they came with us to the doctor's appointment and she asked me to head to the hospital so I could be monitored. She was very calm and nonchalant about it - to help the girls remain calm. So on the way I made the phone calls I needed to make, created a list of things for Chris to pick up from the hospital to put in my bag and then tried to relax. I am so glad my friend Jaymi and I both got to enjoy our last pregnancy together - so when I called her and told her they were sending me for observation - she told me to plan on being induced - because that's what they'd done for her and she had struggled with the same problem too. They started inducing me at five that evening and by 9:02 p.m. we welcomed Rebekah Beryl Koeppel into our family! She was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen that evening. While I know that life won't always be smooth and that she'll become a teenager someday I also know I wouldn't trade her for a million dollars or all the tea in China - she is our little miracle.

I hope you all have a good week. May God Bless you and keep you.

Love in Christ,

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