Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pregnant: Receiving Our Positive Part 2

If you haven’t already, be sure to read Part 1 here. 
To view our pregnancy announcement click here. For a recap on our entire 5 year journey to grow our family, click here

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On Saturday July 8th, I woke up & took a fourth pregnancy test…positive
Finally it truly hit me that this was happening! As that realization washed over me, joy flooded through me!


Sadly, my joy was quickly replaced by panic & fear. If I was pregnant, why was I still bleeding? All I could think about was something going wrong. After waiting for five years to experience pregnancy, I was not prepared for the roller coaster of emotions & fears I would face once experiencing it. Unfortunately, my fears & feelings wouldn’t subside anytime soon. 

Even after seeing my doctor a couple days later & confirming through blood tests that my HCG was rising, the fear continued. Even after hearing that bleeding can be normal, the worry continued. Day after day I continued to spot, bleed & pass clots. Some days I moved through my days like a robot. Some days the anxiety & fear left me feeling paralyzed yet simultaneously spinning out of control. Some days I was full of hope & faith. I learned to take one day at a time…& also one night at a time, as I was often awake at night watching the hours pass. 

Our family beach trip was such an incredible escape during this time!

Anxiety is a tough beast to fight. I absolutely hated that I was feeling this way. I hated that I couldn’t fully celebrate or truly connect with this baby in the way I longed to. I hated that Cary couldn’t understand how I was feeling. I prayed constantly for the Lord to fill me with peace. Yet every time I went to the bathroom & saw red, a new jolt of fear shot through me. At times, I felt like a failure for not being stronger & more faith-filled. I struggled to feel God’s presence & often felt like He was so silent during this time. At the same time, there were days I knew He was carrying me through. There were moments of crying out to Him in prayer when His peace was evident. I had to choose to believe He was with me, even when I felt so alone.



Being involved in the infertility community has revealed to me just now common miscarriage is. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I know that all too often, babies slip away, hearts are broken & dreams crushed. Many around me have suffered the heartbreak & loss of their babies to miscarriage. The thought of losing our baby scared me more than anything ever has before. 

I thankfully dealt with pregnancy symptoms very early on & throughout my first trimester. I say thankfully because each bout of nausea, every bit of painful breast tenderness, every food aversion spoke to me that things were happening as they were supposed to. I literally thanked God each time I threw up. Still, I struggled with deeply allowing myself to believe everything was going to be okay. I went to bed every night holding my stomach & thanking God for giving me another day with our baby. 



I clearly remember my lowest point in those weeks of fear. At six weeks pregnant, after a few days of only having light spotting, the return of red bleeding & clots sent shock waves running through me. That night I laid awake for hours crying & praying as I wondered what was to come. My doctor was concerned as well & asked me to come in for an ultrasound immediately to make sure our baby was still alive & to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. In the shower on the morning of our first ultrasound appointment, I found myself unable to stand as I fell to my knees, crying & shaking uncontrollably as the water washed over me. I begged God to let our little baby hold on & for us to see a heartbeat that day…

Thankfully, as y’all know, this story does have a happy ending. As we sat in the ultrasound room waiting for our answer, a tear slowly slid down my face. Ready or not, we had to face whatever would come next. The screen popped up & before we could hear it, I could see it…our tiny baby’s heartbeat blinking on the screen. It was a surreal & beautiful moment. Cary squeezed my hand, as more tears slid down my face & relief spread through every part of me.

That day, I was able to finally able to take a big step forward in hoping & believing our baby was going to make it. The fear, worry & bleeding continued until week 10. For those of you wondering, they were never able to identify the source of the bleeding. Originally, my doctor thought it was a subchorionic hemorrhage, but they never saw any evidence on the ultrasounds. 
I continued to deal with everything the best I could & tried my best not to let fear steal my joy. I decided I wouldn’t let worry rob me of connecting with my pregnancy, but it wasn’t easy. I started to fight the fear by speaking life over our baby & imagining who he or she would grow to be. I began to find the strength & discipline to take every thought captive. In my mind I began to picture Isabel, Noah & this baby walking…hand in hand in hand. 

A couple of the weeks passed before we saw our sweet baby again on an ultrasound screen. In the meantime, we began sharing our pregnancy news with family & friends. Sharing our miracle helped usher in so much healing & joy! It’s safe to say we shocked pretty much everyone with the news! The reactions were priceless! Many tears were shed & praises to God offered up. We plan to put together a video compilation of the reactions soon because they are just too sweet not to share. 

I am now 14 weeks pregnant, praise God! 

The past month I have been doing much much better. Sharing our pregnancy news publicly was a huge step forward emotionally for me. I have been deeply touched by the response & love we have received since sharing. I am beginning to show & am so excited to watch my budding bump grow! We will be sharing gender in the next 2 weeks! It’s so fun to talk about baby names & make plans for another addition to our family. Cary & I could not be more grateful or amazed to be experiencing this precious miracle! Izzy & Noah love lifting up my shirt to "see the baby" & give the baby kisses...cuteness overload!


So, why share all the messy parts of this journey with you? 
Why not just share the positive, happy parts & keep the not so pretty parts to myself? 
The whole reason I first opened up about our struggles with infertility was to let others know they aren't alone! While it’s not fun to remember or share these struggles, I’ve found that when I share my struggles, there are always others who step forward and say, “me too.” Vulnerability invites those around us to step into healing with us. 

I share because I want you to know that if you are struggling with fear & anxiety, you’re not alone. I know it’s hard, I know it’s scary…I know some days you’re barely making it. But I also want to remind you that you will make it! I want you to know that you aren’t a failure when you experience struggle, doubt, fear or anxiety. On this side of Heaven, we will face many battles. We will fail, we will hurt, we will experience hardship. 

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10 


Let me remind you, the most beautiful thing about being weak is that He is strong. Let the Lord’s strength carry you through the hardest days. There is nothing shameful about coming to Him & asking Him to carry you. In fact, that is what our Father longs for…to be our strength, our hope & our provider through every season of life.

"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." ~Matthew 11:28 

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7


Breakthrough & victory come when we fix our eyes above our circumstances, on the One who never fails us. When we are filled with His strength, we can face any battle that comes our way. Maybe someone reading needs to be reminded of this truth today, just like I needed to be reminded when I was struggling. 

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For those of you reading who have experienced a miscarriage, my heart hurts deeply for you. I can only begin to imagine the depth of heartbreak you have experienced.  Please know I mourn your loss with you. 

Thank you for following along. I look forward to continuing to share my heart & our story with y'all. We are grateful for the prayers & love so many of you send our way!  

With love,
Tyler 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pregnant: Receiving Our Positive Part 1

Hi, y'all! I'm excited to finally kick off a series of posts sharing more about our pregnancy & all that's been on my heart the past couple of months. 

If you missed our pregnancy announcement you can find it here:
To catch up on our entire five year journey to grow our family, click here: Full Circle

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The first week of July was a hard one for me. 
I knew “testing day” was quickly approaching & with it came wave after wave of emotion. I tried to keep my hope in check & not read too much into any "symptoms" I thought I was experiencing. The morning of July 6th, two days before testing day, I woke up nauseous. The hope I had been holding back leapt in my heart. A few hours later, I started bleeding. All those hopes came crashing down as I faced the reality that this month wasn’t “it” for us. 

That evening, I shared on my Instagram (@theadventuresofbabyk - account dedicated to all things infertility, adoption, faith & family) that I wasn’t pregnant & would be attending a Sarah’s Laughter infertility support group meeting that night. The meeting was so wonderful & just what my heart needed! Sitting in a room full of women who understand your struggle is a powerful thing. I left feeling filled up, encouraged & focused on trying again.

Over the next 2 days, I continued to bleed but noticed it was different than usual. I remembered my doctor telling me my cycles would be a little off in the months following my endometriosis surgeries, so I assumed that was what was going on. However, Cary wasn’t convinced! He thought I should go ahead & test anyway, but I resisted. Testing was the LAST thing I wanted to do! It had been 3.5 years since I’d last taken a pregnancy test. In the past, taking a test was a huge trigger for me. I knew God had done so much in my heart over the years, but I still wasn’t sure if I was prepared to face the emotional rollercoaster that ensues after a negative. After giving it some thought, I decided I would go ahead & test, mostly so that we would be able to fully move on.  

I sent Cary out to pick up some pregnancy tests & then it was time for the moment of truth. Cary & I sat together on our bed as we waited for the 3 minute timer to go off. We had been in this position so many times before...
 The alarm went off. Slowly, we walked to the bathroom together, picked up the stick & stared in disbelief at two dark pink lines…
positive. 
Stunned, I looked at Cary…I saw tears in his eyes as he started to laugh. After a moment I heard myself saying, “Wait…what?! This can’t be right. Can it? Oh my gosh… What is happening right now?!” We were both in shock to say the least! After nearly 5 years of infertility, we were holding a positive pregnancy test in our hands for the first time ever

Cary accepted & celebrated that we were pregnant right off the bat, but emotionally, I couldn’t go there yet. I had heard too many stories of false positives. The possibility of this being a false positive scared me to my core. 
I chugged some water & took another test. Positive. 

At this point, I couldn't hold my emotions back anymore! I was shaking, smiling, crying & totally overwhelmed. I’m pretty sure I was near the point of having an out of body experience. Cary & I laid on our bed & let the reality sink in. We smiled, we cried, we hugged & thanked God.



That night we went to bed filled to the brim with emotion. In the middle of the night, I woke up & fear took root in my heart. From 3-5 a.m. I prayed over our baby & asked God to calm my heart & mind. 
Finally at 5 a.m. I got up & took a third test...Positive. 
I sat in the dark on the floor in our bathroom & let the tears flow. I jumped back in bed but laid awake for a couple more hours with my mind racing & heart exploding with emotion…finally, I drifted off. 

As soon as I woke up, I took a 4th test…Positive
Finally it really truly hit me that this.was.real. 

To be continued...
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We have been blown away the all the sweet support & love we have received since sharing our pregnancy news! Thank y'all for celebrating with us & praying for Baby K #3! I am currently 13 weeks pregnant & feeling great. Our baby is developing & growing right on track. We are overwhelmed with gratitude & joy to be experiencing this miracle! 


I'm so glad to finally be re-visting & sharing the details of our pregnancy story with y'all! My next post will cover the days & weeks after we received our big news. A time I had always dreamed would be filled with joy & celebration was instead consumed by fear & anxiety... 
More coming soon!

With love, 
Tyler 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Full Circle: Recapping Our Journey to Grow Our Family

Hi friends! Since announcing our pregnancy, I've gotten a lot of messages & questions about our journey to grow our family over the past 5 years. 
I will definitely be sharing all the details soon about my pregnancy & everything that happened leading up to it! I know some of you have been following along for years & others only days, so I also thought it would be helpful to back up a bit & give all a timeline recap of our whole story!

  • First let me throw it back to January of 2009...when Cary & I met for the first time. I know this sounds cheesy, but our story really does begin with a love at first sight type of moment! 
  • We were married in April 2012 & starting trying to conceive about 6 months into our marriage. We were young, healthy & in love...we honestly thought we would get pregnant right away. As the pregnancy tests came back negative month after month, I started to fear something was wrong...
  • December 2013, we went in for testing & received a dual infertility diagnosis. We were referred to a local Reproductive Endocrinologist. This was a heartbreaking & devastating time for us. I felt like my world & all my dreams came crumbling down around me. 
  • January 2014, we started seeing the RE & did two rounds of IUI. We weren't given a lot of information or explanation about the underlying causes of our infertility, in fact, a lot of my concerns were brushed off or not addressed. We were essentially told we had little to no chance of ever conceiving outside of extensive fertility treatment (IVF) 
  • March 2014, God firmly closed the door & our hearts to fertility treatments & opened our hearts to adoption! Adoption had always been a way we envisioned our family growing, but it wasn't something we had planned on pursuing right away. Once God put adoption on our hearts, a passion was ignited inside of us! We knew without a doubt that adoption was the path for us & for the first time in a long time, we felt hopeful & excited about the future of our family. 
  • April 2014 we officially started the adoption process through Faithful Adoption Consultants. I started this blog as a way to share our story & publicly announced our adoption "adventure"  
  • August 2014 our home study was completed & adoption fundraising was well underway. We became officially "active" with FAC, meaning we starting hearing about adoption situations & began to present our profile book to expectant mothers
     
  • November 2014 we were "matched" aka chosen by an expectant mother from Georgia who was due in February 2015. I'll never forget how it felt to receive that phone call & hear the words, "She chose you!" After being matched, we started working closely with Abiding Love Adoptions (with FAC taking a backseat role)
  • December 2014 we met "C" & went with her to an ultrasound appointment where we found out Baby K was a girl! We will never forget that special meeting with C & her family. That experience gave us a glimpse into the beautiful, messy, redemptive relationship of open adoption. 
  • February 12th, 2015 was the most amazing & heartbreakingly beautiful day of our lives. Our precious daughter, Isabel Grace Koch, was born & placed in our arms forever by her courageous birth mom 
  • August 2015, we were loving life as a family of three & over the moon to be parents of our sweet Izzy. God put adoption on our hearts for a second time. We started preparing, saving & fundraising assuming it would take about 2 years before we would be able to adopt again. Even though it was overwhelming to think about tackling another adoption, we knew without a doubt this was how God was going to grow our family for a second time so we stepped out in faith trusting He would open doors when the time came
  • January 2016, After much prayer, I knew in my heart God was going to bring our next baby to us quicker than we expected...I just couldn't see yet how it would be possible! 
  • March 2016, I called a pregnancy crisis home here in Louisiana called Danielle Inn. Our information was passed on to an expectant mother looking for a family for her baby boy. A week later, we found out she'd chosen us to be his parents! (Sadly Danielle Inn had to close down earlier this year due to lack of funds)
  • April 15th 2016, 9 months after God put a second adoption on our hearts, our precious son, Noah Griffin Koch, was born & placed in our arms forever by his brave birth parents. We hired a local adoption attorney with On Point Legal to handle the adoption 
  • Summer of 2016, we were finally getting into a routine with two babies under two! I started to feel the Lord leading us to revisit our fertility efforts. I knew at that point, I was not ready emotionally or spiritually. God had a lot of work to do on my heart before I would be able to face fertility treatment again. I started pressing into Him & revisiting a lot of the emotions I had kept at bay for a long time. I remembered a family friend doctor telling me about NaProTechnology & Creighton Model. As we prayed about moving forward to address our infertility, we started to look into these more natural fertility methods. God gave us peace that this was the direction He was leading us. 
  • Fall & Winter of 2016, We got trained in Creighton Model charting & scheduled an appointment with a NaproTechnology doctor for March 2017. During this time, I worked a lot of my heartache & grief associated with infertility out with the Lord. For the first time in a long time, I started to feel cautiously hopeful about conceiving. 
  • March 2017 after a three year break from infertility doctors, we had our first appointment at the Gianna Center in Covington, Louisiana with Dr. McGlynn. We loved Dr. McGlynn from the start & left the appointment that day with peace, hope & confirmation in our spirits that this was exactly where we were supposed to be.
  • March, April & May of 2017 were consumed by blood draws, ultrasounds, discovering & making a plan to treat all the underlying causes found, managing hormones & getting weekly blood work done on specific days of my cycle, committing to Paleo diet, taking a list of supplements + medicines & undergoing two laparoscopic surgeries to find & remove my endometriosis. Dr. McGlynn worked closely with us & we finally received thorough answers into what was going on in our bodies to cause our infertility. 
  • Early June of 2017, I was finally recovered from my second laparoscopic surgery. We were given the go-ahead to try to conceive that next cycle. We used Creighton Model charting to determine my best fertile days & had a blood test done to confirm ovulation. We tried naturally, started progesterone & then we waited... 
  • July 2017 to our absolute shock, amazement & joy we found ourselves staring at a positive test after 5 years of infertility! Our sweet Baby K #3 is expected to arrive March 2018. We are incredibly grateful & humbled by this blessing! God's timing is incredibly & His ways are perfect. We are forever grateful for the assistance of NaproTechnology & our wonderful doctor! 
Our journey over the past 5 years is not one we would have ever imagined for ourselves. We have been challenged, stretched & changed in our marriage, in our faith & in the way we view family. Our experience with adoption & infertility has forever impacted our lives & who we are as people. By sharing our story, we have built a platform to connect with, minister to & learn from others who are walking similar paths. It has been beautiful to see the Lord bring beauty of ashes & use our story of brokenness for His purposes & glory. We have been supported & loved over these past few years in powerful ways that has brought us to our knees in gratitude & humility. 
We have seen the Lord move mountains to bring each of our babies to us. Three years ago, I was a barren woman with empty arms & an aching heart. Now we have a 2.5 year old, a 17 month old & I am 12 weeks pregnant! We will never take for granted the absolute joy & privilege of being momma & daddy to Izzy, Noah & Baby K #3. We hope & pray our story will continue to bring hope to those waiting on their own miracles babies! 

In the weeks to come, I look forward to continue to share more details & more of my heart with you! As always, thank you for following along & loving our family so well. 

With love,
 Tyler