Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Journey to Madeline

For this child I have prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I have asked of him...

1 Samuel 1:27

I wanted to do a post about Madeline's birth but I thought I would first do a post about our journey leading up to her. Terry and I married in 2003 when I was just 19 and he was 21. CRAZY! Our parents attempted to talk us out of it to no avail. We moved to Maryland just two weeks after our wedding. I remember being scared out of my mind. His parents drove our U-haul but literally had to drive us there and drop us off to get to Terry's sister's graduation from boot camp. We had lunch at a Pizza Hut in Laurel (a town which we later found out is not super safe) and they left. I bawled like a baby...seriously sobbed. We had no place to live yet because the paperwork was being processed by the military to show Terry was married so he could get housing allowance. So we couldn't do anything ahead of time since the world revolves around "paper". To make matters even better, we had towed my car (a stealth 1995 Ford Probe GT) because the engine was blown. We ended up getting a house on base that same day and when we pulled up to the house, I seriously felt like I was going to be living in a castle. It was an OLD townhouse but had been redone on the inside. It was my dream home at the time -- all Terry and I wanted was to be together. Sometimes I miss those days!

Anyway, so married life was harder than I ever imagined but we were making it! In 2005 I found out I was pregnant. I hadn't been feeling great and I took a test and got a faint positive, but a positive. We went to the doctor that Friday and they confirmed it. I was terrified... I went home and cried for 3 hours -- literally. I just felt like we were SO young and unprepared. The next day we went hiking with our friends and then to a movie. I still remember Terry standing at the concession stand telling the girl he needed a Sprite because I was pregnant and couldn't have caffeine! So sweet but I am sure that girl thought he was crazy! The next morning we went to breakfast and I was really not feeling well and by the time we got home I was cramping. I miscarried later that day. Miscarrying is tragic but the worst part for me was when I went to the doctor and they told me it happens to everyone, you weren't that far along, you'll get pregnant again, your body wasn't ready, etc. They totally negate the fact that you were carrying LIFE that has died. I was heartbroken. I decided God knew we weren't ready and I was ok with that. I had no idea what was in store for us.

In 2008 I was working for a mortgage company processing loans. I was on my lunch break with one of my friends ( I miss her so much since we moved) and we decided I should get a pregnancy test. We had been talking about it all week since I was late and decided to see. So I bought a test and took it in the bathroom of Safeway. It was positive and I thought I would fall over! We have never used birth control and always kinda assumed we would need help to get pregnant. So I called Terry ecstatic. I just knew this was our time! My grandmother had passed away a few months earlier very suddenly, and I thought somehow God was helping me heal with this pregnancy. My grandmother had twin girls before my mom and aunt were born. They were born premature and they both passed away shortly after they were born. My Mamaw really helped me heal from my first miscarriage. Anyway, so I came home from work to a balloon bouquet, flowers, and bear with our names on it, and The Simpsons movie. Clearly, the movie was for Terry but he put it with all my gifts anyway! He was beside himself! The next day I started bleeding -- bad. We went to the emergency room and they told me I was miscarrying. I followed up with my doctor the next week -- again this happened on a Friday. My HCG levels were still rising so they did an ultrasound to determine that I was pregnant with twins, one of which had not survived. I was devastated and so hopeful all at the same time. So we monitored my levels to be sure everything was going ok and it did for about a week and a half. I continued to bleed off and on and I went in for another ultrasound a week and half later. There was no heartbeat -- nothing. The doctor so kindly told me, we can give you something to abort this now or you can just wait it out but you're going to miscarry. I thought I was going to have a mental breakdown. I refused to take anything to abort my pregnancy but within 24 hours or so I was miscarrying again. I was starting to become so bitter.

A few months after that miscarriage, Terry got orders to Iraq. It was a good distraction for us. I got laid off about 6 weeks before he was set to deploy and I waited to go back to work until he left. We had so much fun that summer. I felt closer to him than I ever had before. He left in July of 2008 and came home March 12, 2009. We went to Jamaica when he came home and literally had the time of our lives! We had gotten involved with church and had an awesome homegroup we went to every other Friday night.

In July 2009 we were sitting in homegroup and I started getting this terrible pain on my left side. I began to sweat and had to double over it was so painful. It wasn't long before I had to excuse myself. We were thinking maybe a cyst had ruptured on my ovary but weren't sure so we headed to the ER. When we got there the doctor thought my appendix may have been causing my pain so they did some bloodwork and had me drink this stuff so they could do a CT scan. They were also going to check my ovaries to see if anything had ruptured. As I was drinking the stuff for the CT (you have to wait 45 minutes after you drink it for the scan) the nurse came out and called me back to an exam room. She congratulated me and told me I was pregnant. I burst into tears because I knew what pain plus pregnancy meant. They sent me home -- again this was on a Friday. It was a long weekend and I followed up on Monday with my doctor. The next morning, I woke up around 5am in excruciating pain and bleeding. I had miscarried once again. I decided I could become really bitter or I could try to see what purpose God was trying to accomplish through me. The ladies in my homegroup were kind enough to invite me to join their Monday night Bible study.

Those Monday nights would change me. I looked forward to them every week and they made Mondays such good days. These women prayed for healing. I went back to school that semester to complete a couple of pre-requisites I needed to get into the nursing program. I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life and I just thought maybe Terry and I weren't meant to have children of our own. I had made peace with the fact that we would probably be adopting our children. I have always loved kids and been involved with them through work or church. I figured God chose this for me because He knew I could love an adopted child like it was my own child. I did decide that I wanted some answers though. I switched my insurance to Johns Hopkins and in December of 2009 started the journey to find out why I couldn't carry a pregnancy. Side note -- I had been seeing military doctors this whole time and each time the answer was the same -- you're young, you'll have more children, at least you know you can get pregnant, blah, blah, blah. I was tired of hearing that -- these were my babies not some embryo that meant nothing. Anyway, I was diagnosed with PCOS or poly cystic ovarian syndrome by the doctors at Hopkins. I had several uncomfortable procedures done and everything looked good but there is just a higher percentage of miscarriage with PCOS. I had an appointment to see a reproductive endocrinologist on April 30, 2010 to discuss treatment options.

On April 17th, 2010 I was grocery shopping late at night. I was in the frozen foods aisle picking out my lean cuisines for the following week's lunches and I felt sick. Really sick.. mouthwatering, food coming up kind of sick. I ran to the bathroom and puked. I called Terry and told him I may need him to come get me. I managed to finish grocery shopping and decided to pick up a pregnancy test just in case. I took it when I got home and right away it was HOT pink. I took the other one just to be sure and got the same result. I cried hysterically -- I didn't want to miscarry again right as I was hopefully about to get some answers. I went to the doctor that Monday and they drew blood. They decided to take blood every other day to be sure the HCG was rising -- its supposed to double every 48-72 hours. They also put me on progesterone twice a day. It was awful waiting for those results. My Bible study ladies covered me with prayers and encouraged me daily. I will be forever grateful for their prayers. A couple of weeks went by with good numbers and they did my first ultrasound. They did it early with hopes of seeing a heartbeat. It was too early but we got to see the sac. It was so exciting but still nerve racking at the same time. The baby measured 5 weeks and 5 days at that appointment. I would have to wait until 8 weeks for another one. I prayed to God -- please let me carry this baby. I dont care if I puke every single day but please provide a miracle. Be careful what you pray for -- God may answer. I started puking 2 days later. At 8 weeks we saw a heartbeat and the most perfect baby I had ever laid eyes on. I cried and cried. I called my mother in law to tell her and I couldn't speak I was so excited. I was so nauseous and puked every day twice a day for the first 6 months. I puked the entire pregnancy, even the day I had her -- twice! I did go down to once a day after 6 months and the last month it was only 3-4 days a week.

When I was 5 1/2 months along we got orders to San Angelo, Texas. I was devastated. All of these people had prayed for this baby and for me and I was going to deliver her just a month after we had to move. I had the perfect doctors in Maryland and my brother lived just an hour away - it was going to be the perfect scenario for us to bring her into the world. But God had other plans for us. So we moved across the country when I was 8 months pregnant. I found an amazing doctor. At 37 weeks, I didnt feel the baby move for an entire day. I went to the hospital and everything was fine, but they did an ultrasound in the office the next week just to check on everything. They did a 4d and a regular ultrasound and told me I needed to meet with my doctor after the completed the ultrasound. My doctor told us that they thought the baby had a cleft palate. I was devastated but Terry kept reminding me of all the things that could be wrong, a cleft palate could be fixed. He helped me regain some perspective. A few weeks later, I still had not had her so my doctor set me up to be induced at 6pm on December 27th. That same morning we had another ultrasound that showed a perfect nose and mouth on our sweet girl. We were so excited and couldn't wait to meet her. She made her debut at 11:27 on December 28, 2011!

I thought a lot about whether or not to put this on my blog. My hope is that my journey shows God's faithfulness, and how even though He may not lead us down the easy path, He does hold onto us during the hard times. I wanted to let go so many times over the years and He holds on. I believe Madeline is a miracle. I cherish every moment I get to spend with her -- even the ones in the middle of the night. I love her with all my heart and am so thankful for her. I could also never express the love I have for Terry. He stood by me, wiped my tears, and held me when I cried. He also bought me a few puppies along the way! :) As my Dad says, God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

*Sorry for the super long post with no pictures...the uploading thing was down*


  1. Thank you for sharing your story!! What an answer to prayer she is. Wow!! And I love the love story between you and Terry. It is so sweet.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I miscarried in March and just yesterday I had a d&c because we miscarried again. Your post was so encouraging. God is faithful even when it's dark. Thank you again for this post. It gives me hope.