Click For Hope

Infertility

Infertility | O'dell Family

Clickforhope, Infertility, Loss, Twins, PrematurityJasmine LopezComment
“What started as candlelit dinners and silly jokes gradually turned to month after month of growing anxiety and despair as that pink line never showed up.”
— Amanda O'dell

Please share your story:

I have always been a perfectionist. I lived my life by my spiral-bound agenda, checking off every minor accomplishment. So, when my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, I meticulously learned more than I ever thought I would about human reproduction, and armed with that knowledge, I figured I'd be pregnant in no time. What started as candlelit dinners and silly jokes gradually turned to month after month of growing anxiety and despair as that pink line never showed up.

After a long and very difficult journey, including the loss of our only naturally conceived pregnancy, we finally got pregnant through IVF. I received the shock of my life, on April Fool's Day no less, when I found out that our single embryo had spontaneously split and we were now the proud parents of identical twins. I spent the next several weeks of my pregnancy again researching all the potential complications of this news, knowing that I was now considered particularly high risk. My spiral-bound notebook grew increasingly ink-stained.

Early on, the trouble started. Contractions at only 14 weeks. Bleeding at 16 weeks. By 22 weeks I had considerable contractions throughout the weekend. I saw my doctor the following Monday and was immediately admitted to the hospital. We could tell that something was seriously wrong, but no one was telling me much. Finally, the attending physician broke the news: I was in labor and there was not much they could do but give me a few kinds of drugs and hope the labor stopped. If the boys came now, they would not survive. The chances of holding off labor until they were big enough to make it were not great. We were admitted to the high-risk section of Labor and Delivery and left to hold our breath and wait. And wait. And wait. One doctor even told us that we should consider aborting them and "starting over" because "some women just can't carry twins." Those words cut into me like a knife. I had never been more scared in my life.

So I laid in a hospital bed crying, worrying, and despairing, knowing there was absolutely nothing anyone could do but let the seconds, minutes, hours tick by. My husband was by my side every single night. We waited for SIX WEEKS. I was only allowed to leave my bed once every few days to shower. The drugs I was on to hold off labor made me feel foggy and disconnected. I felt lost without my ability to know what was going to happen and if my babies would be alright. People kept telling me to take the time to read, catch up on movies, do crossword puzzles, anything to pass the time. I couldn't do anything. I was too paralyzed with anxiety to focus on anything but watch the clock.

Finally, I got up one morning to use the bathroom and my water broke. That meant delivery was, most likely, imminent. I had made it to 29 weeks, meaning the boys were viable but still quite small. A neonatologist from the NICU came to our room to explain to us what to expect when the boys were born...assuming they survived.

We waited some more, and I was not allowed to get up at all. Two more days past. I was laying in my bed when my husband left to get coffee...as he left, I sat up and felt something strange between my legs. It was Twin A's umbilical cord. A cord prolapse is a true obstetric emergency. I paged my nurse and was immediately rushed to an OR. There was no time to find my husband or discuss anything. In fact, the surgery was so fast that the anesthesia had not set in before they began the C-section; I felt everything as they sliced into my abdomen. I remember screaming and fading away. My husband was left outside the operating theatre during the C-section and had no idea what was happening or if we were alright.

The next thing I knew, I woke up feeling lots of pain, and my husband was next to me. Owen and Charlie were in the NICU. They were a good size for their age, but still small; each was about 3 pounds. Luckily they were quite healthy. I ended up staying in the hospital another week because I developed pneumonia (my lungs had become very weak from all the bedrest) and I came very close to being admitted to the ICU. Leaving the hospital without my baby boys was the most heart wrenching thing I have ever gone through.

For the next six weeks, we commuted between our house and the hospital every day to visit Owen and Charlie. We held them skin-to-skin, fed them, and bathed them, and returned home only to sleep. Even then, I was waking every three hours to pump my milk so I could bring it to the NICU for the boys' feeding tubes. I could barely walk during this time because my muscles had atrophied so terribly. It was a grueling, surreal time after everything else I'd already been through. Finally, when the boys were big enough to regulate their own body temperature and take feedings by bottle, they were able to come home.

Although the twins have been very healthy since then, we will have to monitor them carefully for the next several years to be sure they don't suffer any negative effects from their pre-maturity. They are still at risk for Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities, vision problems, and a host of other issues. For a perfectionistic person like me, this experience was absolute hell on earth (I did everything RIGHT, so why did this happen to us?!), but I am so thankful every single day that my boys and I all survived.

How has your story shaped you into who you are today?:

The trauma my family and I went through as we struggled to grow from two to four has changed me forever. As someone who used to live and breath by a schedule and a daily agenda, I have learned that life can never truly be planned. The most important thing is to know how to be vulnerable and ask for help from your loved ones when all of your plans and expectations are destroyed. I have also learned that we women are such amazingly STRONG creatures. We grow human beings inside our bodies. We sometimes suffer through incredible stress and loss during this process, but somehow find it within ourselves to keep trying. And once we have our babies in our arms, we dig down deeper than we ever thought we could, through all those hours of crying fits and sleepless nights and feelings of failure and we give all we have to nourishing and cherishing those little ones. It is just awe-inspiring. I wish I could go back in time to my grandmothers, and my mom, and say "thank you...I get it now."

What compelled you to share your story?:

My story shows a side of pregnancy that, thankfully, is pretty rare. The majority of couples have no problems conceiving and are lucky enough to enjoy uneventful, healthy pregnancies. However, for those of us who struggle with infertility, pregnancy loss, or particularly difficult and scary pregnancies, just hearing the stories of others who have gone through it (and come out on the other side) can be comforting. On the other hand, I know that it took me a long time to stop feeling a degree of resentment towards all the carefree pregnant women I knew whose lives seemed so easy. Maybe my story can serve as a reminder that you never know what someone has been through, or how their story will end. And no matter what your circumstances (trying to conceive, biological mother, mother through adoption or other means, or happily childfree), I hope my story reminds women of the strength we all have within us, even when we don't believe its there.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story? : Please, please never give up hope that you will have a happy ending. It might take awhile, and you might go through a lot of pain and healing, but every single person I have met who has struggled with similar issues has eventually found their happiness. Some of them have successfully carried to term after many losses. Some of them have adopted. Some of them have chosen to embrace living childfree. All of them have battle scars, and all of them are strong, amazing women.


Infertility | The H Family

Family, Infertility, ClickforhopeJasmine Lopez1 Comment

Please share your story: : Brandon and I have been married for 7 years this August! About two years into our marriage we decided we were ready to try for our first baby. After about a year of struggling to conceive we decided to see a doctor about why it might be taking so long. I come from a family of 6 kids and never imagined that we would have trouble conceiving. Little did we know at that appointment that we would struggle with infertility for three more years. We did testing, treatments, and finally after four years of disappointment, heartache, and lots of growing we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family. Dash was a baby bathed in prayer well before he was even born and we knew that God was designing one special little man in our waiting. Even though the journey was long and hard, now that we have him we would have waited many more years if that was what it took to have our little man in our arms. His name represents the "dash" in our lives... because it doesn't really matter when you were born or when you die, its how you live your life and what you did during the "-" that really matters. And we believe that our little Dash has an amazing life to live and know that he's going to do big things for the Lord.

How has your story shaped you into who you are today?: The biggest thing we learned through our journey is how important it is to trust God's plans, even when they don't make sense. See on paper having a baby 4 years ago made perfect sense. We had great jobs, savings, a home, things seemed just right for starting a family! Then we left our jobs, spent our savings, and moved across the country and ended up pregnant... the timing seemed so off! But God continually showed us and still does that his plan and his timing are perfect! I still struggle with remembering that when we face hard times but I just have to look back at his faithfulness and look down at Dash to remember how truly good God is.

Why were you compelled to share your story?: Infertility can be a scary word and one that is not talked about much. By sharing our story I hope to reach those struggling with the questions of why can't we start a family? And let them know they are not alone.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?: Trust God's plan... even when it seems like your hopes and dreams couldn't be farther from coming true. Also, talk about it! The support I got from family and close friends helped me get through some really hard times.

Infertility | The R Family

Infertility, ClickforhopeJasmine LopezComment

What is your story?

Matthew and I got married in 2011 and planned on waiting to have children. After a year and a half of being married, we prayed and decided to try to have a baby. For about a whole year we couldn’t get pregnant and even had a miscarriage. We decided to stop trying and made an appointment with a fertility doctor. Around December of 2013 we said we would leave it in God’s hands and we had many people praying for us. My fertility appointment was set for January 31st and I was set to be put on fertility drugs. The morning of my appointment, I decided to take a pregnancy test due to not feeling well the past week. And what do you know, it was POSITIVE! That very instant I called and canceled my apt, God had answered our prayer. Since that day its been a roller coaster of events. The first doctor’s appointment was to confirm the pregnancy. Second, was finding out we were having twins, third having twin girls, and then fourth identical twin girls. When it got closer to my due date around 29 weeks we were told the girls were not gaining the proper weight and I needed steroid shots in case they arrived early. Again we trusted in God and prayer. The girls and I were monitored very careful after that and we expected them to come any day. At 36 weeks and 6 days I had a another doctor’s appointment to see how things were going, and I had my scheduled c-section for that following Monday. I explained to my doctor some symptoms I was having, and she took a test and came back to me saying I would be meeting my girls that very day! My water had broken for one of the girls the previous night without me knowing it. I was shocked and excited. We headed to the hospital and had my girls that night via c-section at 8:04 & 8:05 pm. The trial wasn’t over yet. After having the girls they were sent to the NICU for being prematurely born. Ava was on a feeding tube and Vivi had a breathing episode. Along with that, I was having anemia issues and needed a blood transfusion. I knew I had to be strong for the girls and God gave my husband the strength to get through it as well. They also explained to me that the girls needed to stay in the NICU for a while and maybe one would stay longer than the other. I was in the hospital for a total of 5 days. Ava finally was off the feeding tube and came home with me the day I was discharged, but Vivi had to stay two extra days in the  NICU. I was heartbroken but knew it was for the best. The very next day after we came home I received a call saying that Vivi can come home and we could go pick her up! Both girls are gaining the proper weight now and we are all adjusting well. We all went through a huge trial but came out victorious!

What encouraging words would you tell someone going through a similar story?

It may seem impossible for things to happen but it’s all in God’s time. I’ve learned that it doesn’t come when we want it. I believe there is purpose and a reason for all things. I believe to make us stronger, wiser, patient, and to minister to others going through the same thing. So be patient and don’t give up hope…..because I’m living proof that miracles can and do still happen.

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