family pic

family pic

Saturday, April 30, 2011

the baby story continues .. where are my eggs?

Most women have a mass abundance of eggs, in fact if your interested at about 16 weeks gestation a baby girl has 6 to 7 million potential eggs called "oocytes". For some reason most of them waste away and at birth she will be left with only 1-2 million. No eggs develop after birth. By the time this chica reaches puberty she will have around 300,000 oocytes. An adequate amount for a good reproductive life! Of course only a small percentage of these oocytes will mature into actual eggs. The average egg maturation is around 400 for a lifetime. Thats still A LOT of eggs!

Not sure i have the average amount, less or more. I have never been a "regular" type gal. So either i am storing up or protecting. Cant be sure which. either way my oocytes would like to remain mysterious. Some years i have only had 1 yes thats ONE period. Not even sure that was a result of any kind of egg production, perhaps just waist removal. As you can imagine this does get in the way of easy conception, yet somehow i have 3 beautiful kids {ok so storie was not naturally conceived because of this issue, but the other two right?}

last year early in the year i began to be plagued yet once again by the idea that there was yet another child waiting for our family. I was most disturbed and frustrated, i liked the peaceful feeling that we were done and what our lives were like, so for several months i chose to ignore the feelings and promptings. This didnt make them go away, in fact it intensified them! In early spring it was on my mind most of the day, and it was annoying, i didnt want it to be. But i realized i should start working through it and go through the motions of finding answers and solutions to what i was supposed to be doing. End of april 2010 at womens conference, a talk by Elder Oaks sealed the deal, not even sure that the talk really had directly anything to do with my personal problem but it gave me the answer i needed.

It just so happens during this same time period we were in the middle of insurance chaos and a transition, so i began to include future possibilities in that planning process. once that was in motion the next step was one of the biggest requiring that leap of faith and endurance i had not kept years prior, the removal of the IUD. Prior to this step i went through a realm of emotion and instability in the decision, a blessing or two, LOTS of crying, and oddly enough, some very strange physical changes and issues. Late May the IUD was removed, but it was yet to be seen if i had the faith to leave it out for longer then a month.

Obviously i did.

After a few months of the IUD being removed and expected irregular but strange periods i decided i should see a doc. Who ran all sorts of tests and found some strange results but nothing with definitive answers, just guesses. After a few more weeks it was evident that with my age being that it was and my EGGS in question fertility drugs might be the answer. I struggled with this decision as well, how can that be? If this was what we were supposed to be doing then why not just send me a kid right? was i not understanding? was i not learning or experiencing what i was really supposed to be? with hesitation i began the pharmaceutical provocation of my period and fertility drugs followed by lots of blood work. After several months of this and never once even ovulating i seriously began to wonder if any oocytes even existed in my body. I decided that i was on the wrong path and i needed to re-evaluate. The decision was mutual, nate was feeling it too and we werent willing to go to invasive measures to get a baby, we werent even sure we were supposed to have another. So the process came to a halt and we began to let go of the idea and explore what this process and these feelings might have served purpose for.

Over the next few months i began to be more "regular" then i had ever been in my life {on my very own without any pharmaceutical intervention}. I found this to be strange considering it was such a rare thing in my life. But continued to move out and away from the idea of a baby, with only occasional thoughts here and there, in fact i was contemplating IF we should consider some kind of birth control just in case i actually did have some eggs somewhere in there. But had not yet done anything, just sort of waiting for that day when i KNEW the answers having faith that it would become clear sooner then later.

Nate and I really dont have anything for a baby in this house, or even a toddler. Not a single sippie cup or blankie. nothing. We had given it all away years prior. I had started to collect a few items over our "trying period" but decided that i was indeed at peace and that my little fam was complete so i shipped what i had to pregnant sis-in laws and friends. {this is in no way a plea for the return of said items, i wanted to send them to you all!] I tell this only because it carries so much irony.

A few days after my shipping spree ... while anticipating another period I started receiving intense inspiration to go get a pregnancy test, I didnt give in until it got louder both physically and emotionally. No period had come and so i relented, drove to the dollar store, drove home. Proceeded to take a $1 pregnancy test mid day, so not "ideal" testing time of day, fully expecting it to be negative! and my crazy thoughts to just go away! But not so .... It was positive and i was pregnant. SURPRISE!

Hind sight is always 20/20 as i have said many times before. I especially think this pertains to the spiritual and emotional side of one self, specifically myself! It took me several weeks and lots of emotions to sort through the experiences that had gone down over the last year and what they meant. But i have found peace, I can see that for many reasons this could happen in no other way. Both nate and i needed this process to be able to do this and feel right and good about it, to know where and whom it came from and what the intentions of a grander design are.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saylor Is 8!

Our little angel turns 8 today. Its an emotional day. {Blame it on the hormones or not ...} She is so larger then life that as i reflect upon words to describe how blessed i am by her and how joyous i feel to celebrate this day with her i cant find them, its bigger then me! its truly enormous! She is the very definition of all that is beautiful in life. A living example of our Savior and a walking miracle and manifestation of God. I still cant even wrap my head around how it was that i came to be the mother of this most amazing spirit, but i am, and i am so blessed by her. More then i can contain.

Happy Birthday Angel ... words cannot even describe your greatness!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

book review tinterwined w/a vertical incision meaning

So i realized shortly after publishing my last post that i didnt explain why a vertical incision presents problems for subsequent pregnancies and why it was not advised to have more children. this would help you understand it all right ???? ok silly me. I dont recall which doc explained it to me this way, but it really stuck, because its lamens terms! whomever it was, brilliant to explain it this way! and so ill pass it on in these terms ...

this is a depiction of muscle tissue up close. a uterus is a muscle as most of us know. its also an organ, some say it functions like muscle but is an organ. but really its a smooth muscle organ. regardless this is the best way to explain. so ... check out this depiction, see how the muscle tissue has grain and it runs for the most horizontally? well similar to a uterus, much like a stretch mark developing in skin in the direction that will most allow the skin to stretch, creating an incision on the uterus with the grain or stretchable lines is the best incision to have, it will allow the "muscle" to more safely stretch in the future should needs be. This is the kind of incision most commonly done during a c-section. So my incision would be like cutting this depiction down the very center vertically, in a manner that is not conducive to stretching. I am sure you can conclude that this presents risk in pregnancy. Its not only fetal surgery moms who have this type of incision, in fact some are lucky enough to get a hori incision, but there are many women who have it, yet making up a small % of the child bearing population. these incisions occur for a variety of reasons but all are out of the norm of a healthy not complicated pregnancy. It occurs when serious complications and specific needs arise.

many of our family and friends in short have just thought we couldnt have anymore or have concluded that we couldnt get pregnant. {though we do have fertility problems .. more on that later, that wasnt the reason for our fear}. When indeed its not conception that is affected or even early pregnancy {though the nasty scar tissue has presented problems already}, the problem occurs when the uterus begins to stretch beyond what that incision is capable of holding, putting both the mother and baby at grave risk. Often times this happens very early in pregnancy.

with saylor the incision only held to 28.5 weeks. But it was also a fresh and healing incision. We have high hopes that we will advance further in gestation than that after 8 years of healing and what seems to amount to a lot of scar tissue. But we also know that a full term baby is not worth the risk to any of the docs taking care of us. {nor to us} Keeping my uterus stable, happy, and quiet so to speak will at some point {likely 25 weeks or so} begin to be high priority.

So onto my book review ... and i know your still wondering how i ended up being pregnant .... this story skips around a lot. but its fun right?

I recently finished this amazing, beautiful, book! Much of how i feel about myself and my body comes as a result of the extremely graphic incision on my stomach and the odd shape it makes my stomach as well as the muscular changes it creates. It seems that no matter how fit i am nor how many sit ups i do ... my stomach will never be what it was. Interestingly enough i have come to discover that its one of the things nate loves about me. A symbol of why he loves me i suppose. When i wanted to have it removed and surgically repaired, he wouldnt even let me entertain the idea. So in some ways this book does intertwine with my earlier words but i dont desire to dwell on that for long, its more honestly intertwined with just how i feel about my body in general.

I recently have really grappled with not being my best self. being pregnant accompanies an ever changing body and in my case or rather perception not for the better. my belly wont turn out to be a cute and round one. it will take on some odd shape molded by scars and tissue, and my much older now body will begin to distort. all worth it of course, but hard on the self esteem. I have become a bit more emotional and assumptive in how others perceive this less then best audrey, especially my husband. It has created many likely not necessary fears. This sort of all came to a head when i recently went to palm springs, where i had a fantastic and relaxing vacation but also was surrounded by mirrors, the one downfall to my fathers vacation home. By the end of the trip i was emotionally and yes a bit mentally unraveled. After a big meltdown i found my sane self again but none the less felt most damaged and unattractive.

I have this stack of books to be read. I am a big book DI book shopper, because i am a big reader, much more affordable endeavor then barns n noble. I needed a new book to escape a little so i recently went to my drawer of too-be-read and of the 15 or so books in it, i decided on this one. it almost reached for me, felt so meant to be like the timing of it was clear and strong screaming read me NOW ill help you.

to save time and writing here is the basis of this novel from amazon ...

"Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.

Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process."

i cant begin to explain how closely i felt i could relate to the emotions of this women so candidly and elegantly written in this novel. At moments she might as well have been me describing my body and my emotions, my private moments, like this excerpt from the beginning of the book.

"in the dark, i ran my hands over my post-pregnancy belly, a warm, soft, gelatinous thing that had become a part of my life since having kids just as permanently as the kids themselves. I pressed on it and squeezed it. I had never anticipated how much pregnancy would age me. The stretch marks on my belly, the wrinkles on my face, the spider veins on my thighs. how had i changed so much so quickly?"

i realize that many of my friends & family arent struggling with this and whose bodies have not betrayed them. you likely would not connect to this book, no offense. But more often then those lucky few i suspect are us struggling mass.

it was so refreshing to be in the life of a character who was so raw and real about who she had become and how she was dealing with it, i felt connected to lanie and i needed someone to feel like this with me to get me passed and through the moment that seemed impossible to overcome.

You think you know where her self finding journey might lead her, and in fact the potential is there. But where it does lead her, lead me to tears.


i cant help myself but post a few very poignant paragraphs from the last page of this book. I realization of things i already know and have concluded but had lost for a time, a realization that I AM BEAUTIFUL.

"as for getting skinny, i never really made it. after all those months of working so hard to bring myself back into my body, after trying so relentlessly to recover that lost version of myself that i couldn't stop mourning, i finally found a stopping place - and settled out at a mom size. Not a high-school-girl size, not a college-girl size, but a mature woman's, now i-really-get-it size. I got stronger, and maybe trimmer, but i never actually returned - as i confess i had been hoping - to my pre-mom self. which made sense. because i was not that self anymore, and i was no longer even close to that self. In the end, that was a good thing."

"and here, after all that, is what i have come to believe about beauty: laughter is beautiful. kindness is beautiful. cellulite is beautiful. softness and plumpness is beautiful. its more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous, that to sit pretty for pictures. A woman's soft tummy is a miracle of nature. beauty comes from tenderness. beauty comes from variety, from specificity, from the fact that no person in the world looks exactly like anyone else. beauty comes from the tragedy that each persons life is destined to be lost to time. i believe women are too hard on themselves. i believe that when you love someone, she becomes beautiful to you. i believe the eyes see everything through the heart - and nothing in the world feels as good as resting them on someone you love...."

i sincerely believe all that too, though i tend to loose sight of that in myself from time to time. But i know and believe in the truth of this last paragraph. what it really did for me was remind me that my husband LOVES me, that he sees me far differently then i see myself and differently then i perceive that he must see me. that he thinks i am beautiful.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

where the story begins ...

I still struggle with some sort of undefinable argument within myself about sharing all this. I feel driven, as i often have about my life and our experiences, to share knowing what potential it carries, but feelings of reservation also plague me. I find myself coming to blog and "not feeling it" so i allow myself to not do it, until that is i feel so inclined, so i guess this story will progress as it so inclines me or perhaps as inspiration comes to do so. {and then there is of course the issue of having the time :}

It really starts way back, eight years in fact, in this place ... UCSF medical center. Ok so maybe not, but this place really symbolizes the beginnings of baby #4 for me. it symbolizes much more then that of course, so many facets and characters that have become me and part of my life, my place of holy, my place of significance.

First off i just want to touch on and acknowledge that i did in fact have very specific impressions while pregnant with saylor, prior to knowing exactly what was wrong. I knew she was a girl, i knew she was disabled, i knew that this would require more of me then i thought i had to give, and i also knew {or so i thought} that she was my last child and that i had to embrace the pregnancy. Its hard to make sense of those feelings now, other then to embrace that its what i needed at the time to make the decisions that i made then, the ones that i would never change for the world, the ones i may have not made if i had thought our family was not complete, or at least i would have been more fearful about it. I know for many mothers considering fetal surgery the subsequent risk is more then they can take and so they elect for another treatment. I can understand that completely. Would i do that? clearly not ... but i understand it. Being a mother comes with some of the most powerful emotions and inspirations given here on earth.

The first mention of future baby complication came just before SF at diagnosis in Utah. After finding out that Saylor had SB dr. schemmer so kindly explained the basics of the MOMS study and touched on the subject but really it was the last thing on my mind and not the focus of our conversation. Later on in the evening of diagnosis at some point during my 3 hour conversation with dr shaer in DC she also mentioned the idea behind possible future baby complications, again not the focus and not of huge concern to me at the time. Though i do remember them telling me. I definitely knew!

Now we arrive at UCSF! where they really lay those risks on thick, wanting to ensure i KNEW what this would entail. We as you know did not hesitate to participate and shortly after being bombarded with mounds of info {equating to an instant medical degree} dove right into fetal surgery. Someone must of told me after surgery at some point that i did indeed end up with a vertical incision rather then the more ideal but unlikely horizontal incision. Meaning that the risks were going to be of the significance they spoke of for future pregnancy. though i dont remember being told, i have always just known {of course this has been confirmed several times medically}. and so for me that at the time was the end of our growth as a family and i was ok and content with that for the time being.

the pregnancy only progressed another 6 weeks when my water broke at my incision i believe. man that was a painful time full of scary things. delivery at 29 weeks was terrifying! i didnt make it far ... my body just wouldnt hold it together. I had no desire to trust it to hold anything subsequent together, i felt and was blessed that it got saylor to a gestation that would allow her survival.

fast forward a few years .... i think saylor was about 3 when the angst started to hit me. initially i did not even want to consider actually having one myself, so we or rather i started to look into adoption, nate just was a good supporter of not killing the dream knowing that really it wasnt right for us and the timing was off. most of my search ended dead for one reason or another. then i began to chat with the UCSF docs about possibly attempting another pregnancy, few {but some} were supportive, others were very frank and realistic with me but willing to explore it, others were flat out blunt that it wasnt a good idea. and so i toyed and toyed for years all the time with an IUD in so not entirely serious enough to really do anything, fear plagued me. and for nate he just couldnt see how we could take care of a baby and saylor, and he was right .... back then, we couldnt, and even now the misery of saylors last serious visit alone pregnant reminded me how difficult this is going to be! he sees it more clearly not as affected by emotion and mother instinct. still right in many regards.

THEN {when saylor was a little more then 5} dr ball my trusted and befriended OB/Maternal fetal medicine doc from UCSF moved to Utah and started practicing. A sign right? Well i thought so! So then again i began the process of working this through, praying, attending the temple all those things. And i even went so far as to have my IUD removed. Ok so it was expired so it kind of forced me too, but i elected to not have another placed. this lasted about a month before panic set in and i wondered what on earth i was doing and how could i be so insane to think this was what Heavenly Father wanted or that it was something i was physically, emotionally capable of?! SO only a month later IUD back in :)

so how did we get to where we are at today? well perhaps that will come in the next installment.

love, Audrey

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Having A Baby

So i am getting all sorts of hilarious texts. I didnt think the oven pic would be too hard to figure out, or perhaps its just that i posted it on april fools, not sure whether to take me seriously or not? well for sure there is a "bun in the oven" a little more then 3 months in the making.

So now your full of questions, i can relate so am i! In fact i am still in limbo about whether or not to share our story of how this came about and what this means for our little family, its controversial and so i understand with that comes some critism. It also entails a very detailed medical history and a pregnancy that is far from normal. so where do i begin and where does this next story in my life fit into the vast world? not sure yet. still working through that and so many other things.

for now just a basic should suffice ... when are we due? well thats up for debate actually. First week of oct based on size of baby, that being said my limit is about 34 possibly 35 weeks gestation. so that puts us no later then first week of sept best case scenario. Likelihood of earlier then that .... high. So i would anticipate anytime in the month of aug and no later then the first week of sept our baby will arrive.

Friday, April 1, 2011