What can grow bigger by February 2020: my belly or Ryan's beard?
Turns out I actually can grow more than just plants!!!! By the grace of God, through a whole lot of trusting, waiting, and praying, and a bit of Miracle Grow (thank you CNY Fertility!), our little sprout will be here this February!
We are so very grateful to our friends and family who have supported us in this season of waiting! Several of you have checked in to ask how we were doing in our struggle and offer prayer. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Be encouraged; God answers prayer!
Many of you know that we have struggled with infertility for almost three years. It was a very trying time, but we learned so much about God and each other through it all. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the communities of people that I know who are still longing to be moms and dads. I will never forget the years of heartache, the 34 cycles of letdown and disappointment, the countless tests and procedures, the cancer scares, the medications and all the side effects that come with them, the many doctor's visits, lab tests and ultra sounds plus so much more. It was the most difficult time we have ever been through and our hearts ache for those who have been struggling or may start struggling. Infertility is more common than we realize and I just want to let all my friends and family know, that if any of you ever are going through this, you are not alone. If you ever want to ask any questions or just need someone to listen to you, I am here!
Before I go any further though, I really want to make something clear. I want to express that I don’t believe that we got pregnant because we prayed hard enough, or used some magic potion or secret formula, or because I was faithful in taking care of myself through what I ate, or because I removed stress in my life, or even because the doctor's gave me the exact hormones, medications and procedures I needed. The truth is, God is sovereign and in control over it all and He ordained and chose for me to be pregnant before I could even choose to attempt to "do all the right things". I do believe God used all those things to make my body fertile but it was only because He was the one giving me the desire to be faithful in my diet, to continue to go to the doctor's and trust that He gave them the wisdom and skill to know what to do, and because He gave us the strength to keep praying and trusting in His timing and believing for a miracle.
I also don’t believe that I was being punished with infertility for something that I’ve done wrong. God does not punish Christians because of our sin. Yes, there are consequences for actions in life in general but if you are longing to have a child or longing for a spouse or whatever it may be, God is not withholding it from you because of the sin in your life. Heck, if that was the case, we'd all be in some deep trouble because that's what we’ve earned! God has your very best interest in mind and he will conform your desires over time to what He has for you. I can't promise He will give you a baby or a spouse or whatever you're longing for but I can promise you that if you are believer in Christ and trust Jesus for your salvation, that he has promised to work everything together for your good!
Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Anti-inflammatory diets & fertility treatments
I’m not going to go into all the details about my treatments like I have done in the past, but if you are someone who struggles with infertility and are thinking of doing treatments or are currently doing them and have questions, please shoot me an email and I’d love to chat! But basically starting in January I went on an anti-inflammatory diet which was gluten free, dairy free, and soy free with trying to stay low carb and low sugar and staying away from all processed foods. I maintained this right up until I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I couldn’t stomach anything healthy and just wanted all the bagels, muffins and crackers, haha! I do believe that this diet helped and if nothing else, I felt way better while I was on it. I never had any bloating and felt really good. It also gave me the peace of mind that I was doing something and trying anything and everything that I could.
In March we started medicated IUI through CNY Fertility. And before I go further, I just want to say that CNY was amazing! My doctor was so awesome and the nurses were so helpful. I really had a great experience and definitely recommend them if you’re in the Northeast! So IUI is a step below IVF and thankfully and by the grace of God, it was covered under my health insurance. I only had to pay copays and the meds weren’t outrageously expensive which was a huge blessing. They started me on some meds and also some hormones. They monitored me all the time. I was going to the doctor’s about once a week getting ultra sounds and lab work and was constantly on the phone with the nurses at CNY who were so wonderful. With the very first cycle that I started, my body responded too well to the meds and the doctor did not want me to go through with the IUI in case I ended up becoming Octomom. It was frustrating that another month was wasted but at least we knew my body would respond. We dropped the dosage and tried again. The first IUI did not work but then the second did work and like I said, I am still astonished. It feels so surreal. It was one of the coolest calls when one of the nurses called to share the good news after I had gotten my bloodtest. The first thing I asked her is if she had good news for me and she told me she had GREAT news for me and was so overjoyed to tell me and was so sweet about it. They really are a wonderful team and I highly recommend them!
When we found out
The picture above with the onesie was actually a gift Ryan bought me for Mother’s Day. He knew I was going to be extra bummed this past Mother’s Day because the first IUI didn’t work and it was now my 4th mother’s day having to go through with such sadness. But he cheered me right up and made me happy cry and little did he know that the next month we would find out I was pregnant 3 days before Father’s Day!
It was kind of funny because by now I had 4 friends and my mom who were constantly checking in on me and knew my cycle and when I should expect my period. They all knew when I was supposed to get the lab work done to see if I was pregnant too. Well, the morning of the blood test, I decided to take a pregnancy test at home before I went in because I still hadn’t gotten my period. I also had an inkling that something was different because I already started feeling a strange pressure in my lower abdomen among some other symptoms but I kind of shrugged them off because for the past 2.5 years, I analyzed every single cycle and hoped that PMS symptoms were pregnancy symptoms and they never were so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much even though I knew these symptoms were different than all the previous cycles I had analyzed. So I took the test at home right when I woke up. I kind of hovered over it at first and didn’t see two lines so my heart sank. I mean of course you’re supposed to wait 3 minutes, but I was eager. I went out to the kitchen and came back and looked a couple minutes later and saw two lines! I remember rubbing my eyes and looking again and then looking closer under the light and sure enough there was two dark lines and I just started sobbing. Ryan heard me crying and immediately thought I was crying because it was a negative like it always had been in the past and he called me back into bed and wanted to comfort me. I walked into the room as a blubbering mess and tried to say “I think I’m pregnant” while crying and Ryan was like…. What!? And I said it again a tiny bit more clearly still crying and he freaked out and looked at the test and it was the sweetest moment ever together hugging and crying in disbelief and excitement. Ryan prayed over the baby right then and there and it we thanked God for this amazing miracle.
So because we found out right before Father’s Day, we wanted to wait to tell our parents on Father’s Day when we would be celebrating with them all. But because of that, I ended up lying to my 4 friends for those 3 days telling them that my blood test results didn’t come back even though I got them back like an hour after I did them! I felt awful lying but they understood when I told them right after I told our families. I got videos of us telling our families and some of our close friends and they are pretty hilarious and just so special. And that being said, I want to personally thank Heather, Breanna, Jen and Justine for being so insanely awesome through that time and all my struggles leading up to it. I am incredibly thankful for you all listening to all my concerns and consoling my sadness month after month and then being with me in the happiest moment too! You are appreciated and I love you! <3
I also want to give a huge shout out to my mama. Even more so than my friends, my mom was constantly texting me and asking me how I was doing asking for updates and praying for me and encouraging me through it all. I am so stinking grateful for her and her undying love for me. I know that I am blessed to even have a mom much less one that is so involved in my life and I never want to take that for granted. I actually ended up telling her about getting the positive pregnancy test that morning and also told her right when the blood test results came back. She was the only person who knew besides Ryan and myself and I am so proud of her for keeping it a secret from even my dad until I could tell him on Father’s Day! Thank you mom for being so supportive and caring. I love you!
Some other special moments were when we were able to tell our Life Group and pastor and his wife at church. Our life group knew of our struggles and had been praying and believing with us for several months now and it was so fun telling them the news and they were so excited for us. We also got an opportunity to tell some of our previous BASIC students at a wedding this summer. That time was so stinking special because these kids were part of our core group when we were leading it and they had all hoped we would get pregnant while they were at college but it never happened. So this moment was really special and they all cried and then prayed over us. I love them to pieces and am looking forward to a BASIC reunion where they can all meet the baby!!!
Depression and Infertility: Not forgetting those who struggle
I distinctly remember the day I found out I was pregnant, life was so different and I started seeing things from such a different angle and through a much brighter lens. I remember going to the grocery store to pick up a prescription for fertility stuff and as I was parking, I thought about how exciting it is that soon I will get get to park in that spot that’s just for moms instead of begrudgingly looking at it like I use to as a reminder of how I still am not pregnant. And when I walked in I was standing in line and the customer and pharmacist were talking about baby names and baby showers. Normally I would have been so saddened and annoyed by this. They are happy talking about baby names while I am having to wait for more fertility drugs as I struggle to even get pregnant. But this time, I was so happy inside thinking about all the baby names that Ryan and I could finally start talking about. (Well let’s be honest, I had my baby names already picked out years ago, lol)
But after that moment at the store, I realized the depression I had been in and never even fully realized it. I knew that I was sad and I knew that my infertility affected my life and outlook but didn’t realize HOW MUCH it had affected me and shaped almost everything I thought about and how I thought about it. I also got scared because it was almost like a switch where I was instantly not sad or annoyed by anything anymore and I got worried that I would forget all those who still struggle and told myself that I will do my very best to always be sensitive towards others who struggle. I know that I will never forget the pain I went through but you can get so caught up in the moment of your own life you forget about what other people are going through.
Speaking of other people… In the midst of my struggle, I found an amazing Facebook support group of other women going through infertility and through it, I have made many friends. Shoutout specifically to my friend, Melanie. We have never met in person but she and I formed a friendship online as we both started doing IUI at the same time. Constantly we would message each other about the different weird side effects to medicines we were taking or the different symptoms we hoped were pregnancy symptoms. Melanie is still on her fertility journey but I pray for her and for all my other fellow fertility warriors. I don’t want to forget them. If you are going through infertility and aren’t a part of a support group, I strongly encourage it!!!
Morning Sickness and Various Thoughts
It’s funny how I always prayed for morning sickness. What was I thinking, haha!?! I remember thinking how some women would complain about their pregnancy and how awful it was and I would be so annoyed inside because it’s all I ever wanted was to just be sick because I was pregnant. Well once the sickness came, I instantly regretted those thoughts, haha. I have felt bad and guilty for not enjoying my pregnancy much thus far. I realize my morning sickness could be way worse than it has been but being terribly exhausted and sick to my stomach all the time is not fun! I definitely give huge props to mother’s who go through this while working full time jobs and/or juggling another kid or two during it! I am grateful that I work part time and my business just happened to have a lull during the time I have been the most sick. Thank God for his provisions!
One thing I have thought about is how I wish I could say that I finally came to terms with the fact that I would be happy if God never chose to give me a biological baby, but it’s simply not true. I think I definitely had an attitude adjustment over these past almost 3 years but it wasn’t like I arrived at total contentment and then God decided to bless me because of it. That’s the cool thing about God though, we never have to be perfect for him to love on us and bless us. He does it because He is perfect himself and all loving. Just like I said before… there is no special formula or magic potion to use in order to get what you desire.
I am just so grateful I serve a God who loves me based on what His Son, Jesus did on the cross for me and not based on my own merits. Thank you, Jesus for living the perfect life I should live and paying the price I owe. To God be the glory for this miracle! Ryan and I are so excited to teach this kiddo what Jesus has done for him/her!
So, all in all, thank you so much for any ounce of care or concern that you’ve extended our way in regards to our fertility journey. There have been so many of you who have encouraged us and we are really grateful. To those struggling still, I know how lonely and difficult it can be, and I want you to know that I love you and am available to talk about what you’re going through.
We can’t wait to meet our first little baby! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Much Love, Kimmy and Ryan
P.S. Huge Thanks to Sammy Cald for the amazing photo announcement. Stay tuned for some more pictures too!