Journey to Parenthood

I want to be purposeful about journaling during this time in our lives as we watch our miracle micro preemie, Asher, continue to grow and thrive. I began this blog during my month of bed rest at the hospital while I was pregnant with Asher and his brother Titus. We continue to hope and trust the Lord for Asher's future. This blog begins with the story of how both of our boys came to be. They came about after many tears, many prayers, and many months of crushed hopes. On February 2, 2012, our boys Titus Bauer and Asher Mark were born at just 23 weeks and 2 days gestation. My water around Titus broke at 19 weeks, so his lungs were very underdeveloped. Titus lived 45 minutes and is now living a perfect life in heaven as he watches over his little brother Asher. Two and a half years later God redeemed our story of hurt with a precious full term baby brother for Asher. We are humbled by how the Lord has loved on us in our journey through parenthood.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fertility Treatments- Part 2, More Joy, More Pain

So, as I mentioned at the end of the last post..the spring of 2011 was really a time of the Lord pressing down hard on me. The first month we tried after the miscarriage was March..we did everything the same as before and my follicles did not respond at all. I was beyond frustrated. So, the next month we added some follicle stimulating shots, as well as changing from clomid to letrazole. Apparently, after 4 months or so of the same treatment, your body can adjust and stop responding. We did this routine for April, May, and June. During the month of March, I became very sick to my stomach. I had all kinds of symptoms, the hardest being loss of appetite and extreme stomach cramps- a constant stomach ache. This continued off and on for 2 months, then at some point in May, I felt a little better and was dealing only with minor symptoms from then on throughout the summer. I did all kinds of tests, everything was normal. Some dr.'s thought that my symptoms were a result of the constant hormone treatments. The one thing we did find after a colonscopy was that I had SEVERAL pre-cancerous polyps- all of which they removed. This was unusual they said for someone of my age. I still to this day have to remind myself to wrap my mind around the fact that if none of this had happened...I would not have had a colonoscopy until I was 50 like most people, and I would have already had cancer by then. So, if I had gotten pregnant when I wanted to, I would probably have not had those stomach issues, and would not have discovered the polyps. So, I wouldn't have been able to be a mother nearly as long. God's sovereignty was beginning to blow up my world. But at this point..I still just wanted to get on with the fertility treatments. This time of my stomach being sick was just as challenging, if not more some days as the infertility. I would go to sleep each night with a stomach ache and when I woke up, it was still there. I wondered when the days would be that it would NOT hurt. Chronic pain, I realized, heavily affects a persons emotions. It wears on you and breaks you down. I never knew this feeling before. One verse I clung to is this time was Lamentations 3:22-24---
"Because of the Lord's great love, we are NOT consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new EVERY morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'the Lord is my
portion, therefore, I will wait for Him.' "

In June, I had a great response to the meds..almost too good. I had 5 follicles all capable of being mature. This made us all nervous, but we triggered and tried anyway. I was discouraged to see that the day before I could take a pregnancy test, I started bleeding. It was very heavy, and I had really bad cramping. I went to the doctor the next day, she took a urine sample to confirm I was not pregnant and we could begin the next round of treatment. I was confident I could not be because of the heavy bleeding! She confirmed, and we ordered more meds to take 2 days later. I woke up 2 days later with a thought..that now I would say was God, saying "take a test, see the no before you start a new month of meds". Now, this was slightly crazy because I had become SO bitter when it came to pregnancy tests. I didn't want to take them. Ever. And this morning, I was prompted to see the "no", so that I could move on. Well, MUCH to my surprise , it was positive! And so were the 4 I took after that. Yes, I took that many... see, once you get that positive, you are so happy that you are "good" at taking pregnancy tests that you don't want to stop!!!

I went to see the dr a few days later, and she confirmed I was pregnant with a blood test. She was dumbfounded at why the urine test showed up negative. My bleeding was also odd, but it did only last 2 days instead of the normal 4 or so. So, we did the routine of checking hormone levels every other day to make sure they were doubling. My first number was fine..but then the doubling quit happening. It was January all over again in my mind. But I still had hope. I still believed THIS was different. THIS was our miracle baby that by the grace of God I had discovered, right?!

We went in 5 1/2 weeks to confirm the yolk sac in the uterus. We went in with high hopes! We left devastated. More than ever before. The baby was not in the uterus. You cannot see on a sono if it is in the tube, but that is what the dr concluded because I had a "mass" show up on the sonogram between the uterus and the ovary..where my fallopian tube would be located. She went through all the risks with us. She said I had bleeding in my belly, she asked if I was dizzy at all- I hadn't been. She told us we could watch it carefully, or just go straight to surgery. There was really no way of knowing how bad it was until they got in there and looked. We could also take a highly toxic drug that would force the baby to miscarry. This medicine is so strong- a treatment for cancer- so you cannot try for another baby until 3 months after taking it.

Together with the doctor, we decided to watch my hormone #'s each day to see if they were dropping and the baby was miscarrying by itself. The tube does not have the ability to support a pregnancy very long, so often the body takes care of it without intervention, but not always. We were lucky to catch it so early. For the next several days we went back to the dr to check my numbers. This was emotionally go everyday not to try to GET pregnant, but to see if your baby is still dying on it's own. But, by the grace of God, the #'s were dropping on their own. We didn't have to do surgery or take any meds. That is a blessing, though not one we could really see at the moment. Waiting..for our 2nd baby to die was an incredibly painful experience of loss. So much more than before. It was just more twisted to me, and sad -- that our baby was lost, and was trying to grow in the wrong place. It was also the first time Bryan and I both realized that all the treatments were were doing to my body were not just affecting my ovaries and uterus. It was affecting all of me. The doctor warned us of the chance of the tube rupturing due to the pregnancy in there, and severe internal bleeding would follow. This would be an emergency situation. So, we watched and waited..and each day the hormone number got lower. I never felt any symptoms such as dizziness or any uncomfortableness. We were supposed to leave to go on a trip to Europe with my parents at this same time. We postponed our flight to leave 4 days later and hoped we would be all clear by then. We both, mentally, needed to go.

The day before our flight we went back to the doctor. My numbers had fallen low enough to be in safe from the risk of rupture. We decided we were leaving..and she agreed that would be fine. We left with the plan of taking some meds over the trip to help me start my next period so we could begin treatment after we got back. She left us with the idea of discussing in-vitro as our next option. Her reasoning was because of my PCOS, my body's response to meds was so unpredictable. Having 5 follicles mature is too many is too risky in regards to multiples...and now that I had had a tubal pregnancy, the risk of me having another had jumped up significantly. With in-vitro, we could bypass using the tubes at all.

And so...we left to go on a Mediterranean cruise leaving out of Rome. Sounds like an amazing trip right? It was...but we both boarded that plane and ship with broken hearts. It was again a time of asking God to pick us back up, and give us hope for His plan. This miscarriage not only broke me, but Bryan as well. We both initially had moments of sobs and tears and crying to to God asking Him to explain himself. I remember us driving home from the doctor that day and I said to Bryan, in tears, "What ELSE does He need to teach us?? We get it, we have learned a lot..what IS the purpose in this?" Psalm 13:2, 5-6 resonated with me a lot. Especially the beginning..

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? BUT, I trust your unfailing love, my heart
rejoices in your salvation. I WILL sing the Lord's praise, for HE HAS BEEN

There was purpose. And mostly what I can say it was, was a deepening of our dependence on Him and a lesson in choosing to see what good is coming out of something so awful. As I said, after the first miscarriage I didn't see myself as someone struggling. I just saw it as a little set back, and we'd quickly move on. Now, it was different. That 4th of July was the saddest in my life, and just one of the saddest times in my life. I remember holding one of my goddaughters (I'm blessed to have 3 and one on the way!) as she slept in my arms and I was wondering..."when will I do this with my own child?"

PS---A GREAT book to read while struggling with infertility is Hannah's Hope. It's SO amazing, and packed with scripture. I underlined, highlighted and tabbed this book so I could reference it over and over again! It offered so much support to me, and really as I was reading..I felt like I had a friend who understood EXACTLY how I felt. It' a hard place to walk through with your friends and family. Especially with friends who never struggled with having children and just look at their husbands and their pregnant! This was 2 of my best friends. I will say..this time was the most challenging in our friendship. But, these two women are AMAZING women of God, and they pressed into Him and into loving me in my pain. I don't want to repeat this time in my life, but it did show just how tender their love was for me, and there aren't words to explain my thankfulness. I pulled away, and they stayed constant. Both were pregnant at some point in this time, which magnified how hard everything was. And what I've learned is going through that is not a one time event..I will always have to deal with the emotions of this path God chose for me..a path of struggling to have children. This is what he's choosing to teach me through. All of my close friends were such a blessing during this painful time. And one sweet friend was in the same place I was. That was SUCH a blessing. We talked all the time, for hours at a time, and I know God placed us together at the point in our lives that He did so that we could better bear the pain we were experiencing. I can't imagine not having friends like them. Love you girls. :)


  1. I loved reading Hannah's Hope!! And I like you also had a friend in the same place as me. We grew so close together during this time & our friendship is 10x's better now.

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