Thursday, March 8, 2018

Past, Present, and Future

My son, he recently turned two years old.  That seems unreal to me.  Facebook has the memory posts that show up with your past posts.  There have been quite a few of those to pop up on my Facebook page recently.

Some of the posts were of pictures from when I was pregnant with my son, and some were from when he was born.  There were those first birthday pictures that remind me how much he has grown and changed in a year.  He's taller now of course, and he's not so pudgy as babies are.  His hair went from being short and straight to growing the most lustrous curls.  He got that feature from me except my curls don't quite have the wow factor.  His curls are way more beautiful.

Then there are those pictures of times in between.  Those particular pictures were moments where it was just me and him at home together.  I'd look at him and wonder what he would be like at six months, one year, two years.  What would his character be like? His attitude?  What would he be able to do physically that he isn't strong enough and coordinated enough to do now?  What would he have learned?  I've been doing that a lot since his recent birthday.  Now I wonder what he will be like at three, four, and five years old.
 It's hard to focus on the here and now.  I like to be prepared.  I'm not a fan of surprises or sudden change.  (And yet, I decided to be a parent.)

However, when I got sick with Crohn's Disease, all I could focus on was the here and now most of the time.  I was so sick, in so much pain, losing weight by the second it seemed, and unable to even drink a glass of water without it sending me to the bathroom, how could I get beyond that in my mind?  The pain I felt on a daily basis was like (and this is only a small, small, small-scale comparison) a paper cut in that once you get it, you realize how much you use fingers.  Suddenly, that small injury to your skin becomes a massive wound that keeps getting hit and burns fiercely with every hand washing.  And don't forget how awful hand sanitizer can make a cut feel.  Every action draws your attention to that little cut. 

Like I said, paper cut pain is small compared to what I felt in my intestines.  Initially, the pain was just there.  I didn't know to give in to it.  I didn't realize I could be sick with something more serious than strep throat.  But once all the tests were run and a diagnosis was given, I still didn't know the severity of what I was dealing with.  I was young, fourteen years old, and I didn't give much thought to my future as it was.  I was already just living in the moment as a teenager.  Being sick didn't change that thought process.

But being sick made it hard to think about the future which I needed to do as I would be graduating high school in a few years.  Instead, I was dealing with the repeated flare-ups of my illness.  I couldn't imagine life beyond pain, beyond being chained to my house and to the bathroom.  I feared the future if this was the life that awaited me.
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have an ileostomy.  I wondered what it would be like of course, but I couldn't fathom the idea.  However, I was hopeful.  My desire was to not be sick anymore, to be set free from the bondage that Crohn's had put in me for six years.  Freedom is what it gave me.  Now I can look to the future as I feel that I now have one.  And I can continue to watch my son grow, wondering what he will be like.  I don't have to wonder what it will be like to have an ileostomy.  I've lived with one for over ten years now.  I just wonder at the joys and blessings that await.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Blame It On the Peanuts

I've had a couple of frustrations to deal with the past couple of weeks.  One of these causes is why I haven't written a blog post during the past two weeks.

My laptop computer, which I've had for several years now, wouldn't start up past the initial screen.  It would flash the HP logo and go to a blank screen with a flashing cursor in the top left corner.

My husband ran diagnostic tests on it in an attempt to find out what was causing the computer to not to want to start up.  The results led us to buy a new battery for it.  Fortunately, the battery wasn't expensive because it didn't help.  The screen remained blank except for that flashing cursor.
More diagnostic tests were run, but those yielded no results.  My husband contacted his father who has immense knowledge of computers.  He walked us through a few things to try in an attempt to find out what was going on with the computer.  But the screen remained the same.  And we had no idea what the cause was. 

The frustration was not only the fact that this computer didn't work, but that it had files on it that we wanted to be able to access.  And we thought we had those backed up properly.  We didn't.  My father-in-law was able to get those files off of the laptop and onto my husbands.  That part of the frustration was resolved, and we now have the files backed up properly.  Currently, my father-in-law has the computer with him, attempting to diagnose the problem and maybe even bring the computer out of its comatose state.  Otherwise, we may be going computer shopping.  I don't mind sharing a computer with my husband, but it doesn't always work out well as he needs to use his computer quite often.

The other frustration I've had lately had to do with my ileostomy.  With that thing, it seems like all is going fine, and then...BAM!!  A leak occurs, and it's in the middle of a very sound sleep.  Suddenly, I wake up.  I was intending to roll over and go back to sleep.  But I had a nudge that said, "get up".  I did and walked into the bathroom. 

I have a habit, an ostomy habit if you will, where I look down at my ostomy appliance when I get up in the mornings I guess as a measure to make sure all is well.  Well, I didn't really have to look too hard this time.  My shirt was slightly soiled.  (Gross I know but that is one of the downsides of having an ileostomy I guess.)  I'd sprung a leak; at about 3am, too.  All I could say was "Oh, man!"  And wonder if I'd have to wake the hubby so we could change the bed sheets.  (Fortunately, somehow, it never got on the sheets.  I don't think he even knew I got out of bed.)

I gathered the supplies I needed to change my ostomy appliance.  The changing process goes fairly quickly now as compared to the beginning; even when I'm half asleep.  I get all cleaned up, changed my pajamas, and went back to bed.

The frustration here is obviously having to take care of the issue at such an early time of the morning when I could have been and should have been asleep.  And then, when I go back to bed, it's frustrating because I can't just fall back asleep like my husband can.  My brain turns on, and it won't shut back off.  I'm laying there trying to figure out why my ileostomy appliance leaked so I can avoid a reoccurrence. 

The other frustrating part of this was that I was going to change the ostomy appliance later that night.  3am is just too early to schedule something like that.  And it makes life easier if I can stick to the schedule.  But it didn't and there I was analyzing what I did to cause the leak.  Maybe it was not anything but coincidence.  However, I blamed it on the peanuts.  I ate some (maybe too many-I love peanuts) before bed.  At least I digested them okay as I felt fine, no pain.  For that, I can be thankful and feel a little less frustrated. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Who's to Shame?

There is a level of shame that seems to come with parenting, with health matters, and with  Anytime there's a decision to make, there are people in the background slapping you on the back for making a great decision.  But then there are those who are trying to knock you off your feet because they disagree with all you do. 

And then sometimes the shaming comes from yourself.  Like when our son gets sick.  I have a tendency to try and figure out why, how he got sick.  Could it have been because we didn't dress him warm enough?  Was he outside too long?  

 Another self-shaming experience is when I switched from breastfeeding my son to formula feeding him, I felt like a failure.  After reading the literature and information on breastfeeding, I believed it to be the best form of nourishment.  I still do.  Switching to formula made me feel guilty and weak.  I shamed myself.  No one said anything to make me feel that way.  I just based it on the fact that it's something that women have done for years (and continue to do) and therefore, I should be able to breastfeed my son.  However, as soon as my husband gave him his first bottle with formula in it, the weight of the struggle of breastfeeding quickly fell away as well as the guilt and shame.  His development hasn't been affected in the least.  

And yet another time I shame myself is when my ostomy bag leaks.  When this happens, it's disturbing.  I'm not expecting it.  And I try to analyze every detail such as the foods I ate before it leaked that might have caused issues, or maybe I didn't apply something properly when I changed it the last time.  I'm always trying to figure out what I did.  But in reality, it's not necessarily anything I did or didn't do.  Just like with my son getting sick.  These things just happen.  

What is painful though is when other people shame you.  Just recently, my husband received "a look" from an individual after our son decided that that particular day was not going to be his day to behave.  The "look" was one that seemed to say "Can you not control your child any better than that?"  We were experiencing our toddler's desire for self will in public.  We dealt with his outbursts as well as we knew how.  But this individual must not have agreed with how we were dealing with the situation.  I had to wonder if they had ever had to deal with children themselves to which one would quickly realize that these tiny beings have brains of their own, and they use them in ways that constantly have me in a state of wonder, positively and negatively.
And of course, people have their ideas of how other should take care of their own personal health needs.  Personally, I had people mention things that I should try.  Most ideas I take into consideration.  I can't say that I recall anyone shaming me for my decision to have surgery which gave me an ileostomy.  Although I'm sure there are those who don't agree.  But it was right for me.  It gave me my life back.  However, I have heard of situations where those with ileostomies are shamed for having them.  They are told that they are ugly.  They are told that wearing a bag of waste on their body is disgusting.  Or they are told that they should have tried other options instead of ostomy surgery.  Some of those with ostomies weren't given a choice because it was a matter of life or death.  Maybe they weren't given a choice as I was because, for whatever reason, they were incapacitated and woke up with an ostomy bag.  They are shamed over something they have no control over.
 And I'm sure that there are those who didn't agree with our participation in a fertility clinic.  But again, it was right for my husband and me.  That (and God) gave us our son.

Shame can come from your inner voice or the voices (or looks) of others.   But it should come from neither source.  Life happens, some things are out of your control.  Decisions then have to be made based on those events.  All I know to do is sincerely pray for God's guidance and to help get me through those life events.  Do what's best for you.       

Friday, February 2, 2018

In Reality...

I had this crazy idea, a new mom sort of mentality, that raising a baby would be near flawless.  I mean, I went through infertility treatments to get this child.  That means that all would be rainbows and sunshine when it came to childrearing.  Right?... those first few days when all my new mom eyes saw was the wonder of this child.  I didn't know life could be so blessed.  I was a mom.  To my son.  It's an amazing feeling.

Reality did set in though.  There's the special way to wrap up newborns to keep them snug and warm and feeling safe like they were in the womb.  The nurses could get him wrapped up like that.  And he'd stay like that until someone unwrapped him.  It seemed to be something he'd only comply with for those lovely ladies though.  If I or his father or anyone else wrapped him like that, getting him as snug as possible, in a few minutes he'd have an arm free, and then the other arm; without fail.  At home, we'd have him in a sleep sack, and he'd get his limbs out.  He'd be sleeping on his back, manage to get loose from his wrap, and jerk himself awake, and then awake mommy and daddy of course.  We tried propping him on his side to see if that would help.  (We were trying our best to comply with the advice that "back is best")  But being on his side didn't last.  He'd roll back on his back and jerk himself awake again.  Ultimately, we realized that he just wanted to sleep on his stomach.  He moved his head well, so I wasn't as concerned.  And the child stayed asleep for longer than thirty minutes.  We were thankful and prayerful that God would take care of him because even though I wasn't as concerned, I was still concerned enough to pray about it.  (For those that don't agree with this decision, let's just agree to disagree.)

Then, there was the whole breastfeeding thing.  I tried that.  Maybe I didn't give it enough of a try.  I lasted for maybe 3-4 days.  But I feel like we had latching issues.  Again, he seemed to do okay when the nurse was in the room to help me figure out what was going on.  But when they weren't there, and I used the techniques that showed me, it didn't go well.  I was hurting because he'd only take one side which in turn made me frustrated.  And then he probably felt my tension, and that didn't help us get anywhere.  Even pumping didn't seem to work for me.  My hormones were a mess which made me super emotional.  All of this combined with my lack of sleep made me break down.  I told my husband we had to start our son on formula.  I wasn't in a good place, and that wasn't good for me, my husband, our child, no one.  And I have to say, I felt a little sad that I couldn't do the motherly job of feeding him like my ancestors.  But the relief that swept over me when I handed my husband the baby bottle for the first time to feed our son was exactly what I needed.  A weight was lifted.

And changing diapers and clothes: that was the most awkward thing to do for my child.  I thought it would just come naturally.  But babies wiggle and move a lot.  And they are so small.  He seemed so fragile when it came to these tasks.  It took quite a bit of time to just change and wet diaper (no poo included).  Let's not forget how little boys can somehow manage to soak their clothes even though the diaper appears to be secure.  And if their clothes are dry before the diaper change, they may very well get wet during the diaper change, or maybe it's the unsuspecting parent who gets the shower.  We were fortunate on the latter part.  We tried to keep ourselves protected and tried to stay attentive during these times.  There were a lot of wet pajamas in the mornings though or wet clothes after nap time.  Eventually, we both got much quicker with the process of diaper and clothing changes.

The worst day for me was when my two-week-old son fell off the couch.  He was protected (or so I thought) by pillows that would keep him propped up and unable to roll off.  But those same skills he used to wiggle out of his snug blanket wraps and sleep sacks, they also worked on the couch.  I go into the kitchen and hear a thud coming from the living room, and it's like my gut just knew what happened.  The screams from his little lungs confirmed my gut.  I scooped him up and looked him over from head to toe to check for injuries, and then I proceeded to join him in crying.  I have him in my care for two weeks, and I let him fall off the couch!  I felt like I should have been branded with the words: "Worst Mother in the World."  What kind of mother was I?  A mother.  Normal.  We had an appointment with his pediatrician a few days later, and I mentioned the incident (maybe expecting some ridicule), but instead, she checks him over thoroughly and tells me about an incident she had with her own child.  And later, my gastroenterologist mentioned an incident with his child as well.  That made me feel much more accepting of the fact that I'm a mom, but I'm still human.  And when my son fell off the bed several months later (after he started crawling) while myself and his father are standing there with him, I felt awful again because it's one of those "really?" moments.  But I allowed myself some grace.  (After I found my baby to be okay and apologizing to him over and over and over...)

This post had nothing to do with my Crohn's Disease this time.  But maybe it will reach someone with Crohn's/IBD and/or an ileostomy or anyone who may be expecting a child.  Maybe it will bring a little humor to those who aren't expecting.  This is just some of the stuff I learned in just the first few days, weeks, and months of my son's life. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Delivery Day!

The day had come to meet our son.  I was very excited!  And I was just as nervous, anxious, and scared.  This child was going to be under my care.  I had to keep him alive.  It's hard enough taking care of one's own self.

I'm sure I had all of the normal fears: 1) Fear that he wouldn't eat properly as I was attempting breastfeeding.  2) Fear that he would get sick and we as new parents not knowing what to do.  (He did get sick, and we didn't know what to do.  My advice is to have your parents on speed-dial as they not only are experienced, but they will be more logical in thinking during this scary time whereas you will have a foggy brain from being tired due to lack of sleep and overwhelmed from the ceaseless crying your child is doing.)  3)  Then there was the fear of not having enough financially to care for all of his needs.  We didn't (and we still don't).  But God does.  We were blessed in ways we never could have imagined.  Formula (I ended up not continuing with breastfeeding), diapers that they soil right after you change them, clothing that they outgrow overnight, and childcare cost money.  And the Lord has provided people with generous hearts and a desire to help in all of these areas.

My anxiety and fears were also wrapped up in the delivery process.  The doctor wanted to induce me one day after my due date if my son didn't decide to come before then.  The reason was to attempt to avoid me having a C-section.  The baby would continue to grow while he was inside of me which would increase my chances of not being able to deliver him myself.  Th doctor didn't want to have to cut me open since that would create more scar tissue as I'd already had surgery years before for my ileostomy.  He didn't come by his due date, so I was induced.

We didn't have to be at the hospital until later that evening.  My husband went to work for the day, which kept his mind busy.  And I just tried to carry on with my daily activities as much as possible.  I took care of a few last odds and ends and made sure our bags were packed well for the hospital stay.  And I even walked on my treadmill.  Exercise is something that was important to me before my pregnancy and continued to be so while pregnant.

As far as the delivery itself: our female ancestors were some of the strongest people on earth!  Anyone who has delivered a baby without medication, you deserve all of the accolades this world can offer.  And just think...our ancestors did that over and over!!

The medication to induce labor was started, and as the contractions were showing up on the screen, the nurse would ask if I was feeling them.  I would say no.  After a few hours had passed, I thought I'd try and go to sleep, and I needed to go to the restroom.  I saw blood while in there and had a moment of near panic.  I wasn't expecting that.  And as I was coming back to bed, that's when the pain came!  It was like going from 0 to 60 in a second.  I was thinking I had to really be dilated by now to be hurting that much.  But when they checked me, I was only at 1.5.  The contractions were also close together as if one would stop only to have another close behind.  The nurse told me to breathe through them.  I tried, but it didn't seem to help me.  And it was too soon for an epidural.  They were able to give me something to help me relax some, enough that the pain didn't seem as intense.  But I didn't rest well even with that.

Once they were able to give me my epidural, my body seemed to relax to the point that my husband and parents went to get breakfast and I was dilated very little still, and when they came back,  I was dilated at an 8.  The nurses started making preparations.

I needed to prep to as far as my ileostomy.  The most I had eaten through this process was several grape-flavored ice popsicles.  But my ostomy bag still needed to be emptied, and they helped me take care of that at the bedside since my legs weren't carrying me to the bathroom after that epidural.

Then, it was go time!  I was at a 10.  With my husband, sister and mom by my side, I started pushing.  My husband got lightheaded (the nurses saw it coming and got him in a safe place that he could still be present but not hurt himself if he passed out).  And it didn't seem but a few minutes of pushing had passed, and my son was born.  He was not at all happy to have been pushed out of his resting place, but he calmed down soon enough.  The only issue he had was low body temperature, so they had to take him on to the nursery before his father got to hold him.  Otherwise, he was perfectly healthy.

All went well with my ileostomy physically.  No blockages occurred throughout the pregnancy.  There was no leakage from the ostomy wafer during delivery.  It just got dirty from the delivery as the process is far from mess free.  And there was no reoccurrence of Crohn's Disease.

If anyone is reading this has IBD, if anyone has an ileostomy or maybe a colostomy, the journey of childbirth may not go as smoothly as mine did.  If I were to have more children, I may not have the same experience.  But don't let the fear of what-ifs hold you back from being a parent.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Worried Pregnant Woman

I didn't know how to contain the excitement of finding out I was expecting our first child.  And I couldn't wait to tell someone.  Obviously, with the pregnancy being in its young stage, you don't really want to tell very many people, because if something goes wrong, the last thing you want to do is share that news over and over.  And a person doesn't really want to hear condolences at that time.  I know how much it hurt to struggle to get pregnant, and hearing the well-meaning words from others that I didn't care to hear at that moment.

But I still needed to tell someone.  I knew the excitement would build to the point that I felt I was going to burst.  My twin sister was the first to find out after my husband, as in the very next day after I took the test.  I was the first one she told when she found out she was expecting her first child.  She, along with the rest of our families, knew of our journey.  And we told them as well as soon as we could get everyone gathered together.

The next step was to get the official/medical confirmation of the pregnancy.  I got to have another one of those lovely, invasive ultrasounds. But this time, as well as the ones that would follow, I didn't mind at all.  I was going to see my child for the first time!  The image they said was the baby was so tiny.  From my perspective, the screen just showed a jumble of black and white except for a tiny flicker that was moving extremely fast.  That was the heartbeat.  That was life.  The little one who had the quick beating heart, had no formed arms or legs, fingers or toes.  The child's eyes had yet to develop, and basically, the image we saw looked nothing like a baby as one would think of a baby.  But there was a heartbeat, and that made my child real for me.  and the sound of that rapid beating, it's truly amazing to think, even now, that there was life growing inside of me and at how small and vulnerable the little one was, yet so strong and determined to grow and develop.  And at how important my role was in that development from day one.

My gastroenterologist was aware of our visits to the infertility clinic and wanted me to be sure and let him know when I got pregnant so he could see me in his office more often and to keep closer tabs on me as the physical changes of pregnancy can cause flare-ups of Crohn's in patients.  And before we got too deep into the process with the fertility clinic, he suggested I have an ileoscopy done as that procedure would be due for me, and it couldn't be done safely while I was pregnant.

I was considered a high-risk pregnancy with my health history, but I think more so due to our infertility struggle.  That was a scary aspect.  It had a tendency to weigh on me that something could go terribly wrong at any moment.

I had tried to keep myself informed on what I could do to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.  I wanted to know what foods to eat and which to avoid.  I realized that I didn't really need to alter that too much.  I wanted to know what activities I could do and what I shouldn't.  That was just a matter of common sense.  I continued to work and exercise all the way up until the day I was induced.  In fact, the afternoon before I went into the hospital that evening to give birth, I was walking on my treadmill.  I couldn't just sit and relax knowing my life was soon to change, so I just tried to do what I normally do in a day (although in hindsight, trying to get in a nap would have been a good move because it was a significant amount of time before I slept well again).

Another stressor for me was intestinal blockages that might occur as the baby grew to cause potential hospital stays and a tube down my nose and throat.  Also as the baby grew, my stoma size could increase from pressure put on the area. I would need to make adjustments to my ileostomy supplies so they would fit properly if that happened.  I just didn't know if these things would happen and when.  And I like to be prepared, so these unknowns made me anxious.  The good news is that I was fortunate to have neither of these things to happen.  My body cooperated.

I also thought the baby would come earlier than expected.  There wasn't really any reason for this.  It was just a thought I had.  However, I was induced.

A plus to the high-risk pregnancy is how many ultrasounds I got to have.  I don't recall how many exactly now, but I know it was more than is typical.  And again, it didn't matter that a good number of them were invasive.  It was okay with me.  I wasn't sure how the lubricant used for the usual abdominal ultrasounds would cooperate with my ileostomy appliance.  (For the record, the gel didn't cause my ostomy any problems.)

Some of my concerns were valid and some probably were just from my tendency to overthink things and find something to worry about.  I was fortunate to have a good pregnancy without complications. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Giving it to Him

It took us a few months to get our minds and our hearts to accept the idea of trying the IUI procedure again.  However, our decision to try again wasn't completely accepted on my part.  My heart was so set on having a child through my own physical body, and I had expected that first IUI to work.  When it didn't, I didn't think I could handle going through all of that again and possibly having it fail as well.

We had our next appointment set up and again met with the doctor to regroup where we had been and where we were going next.  He wanted to try the IUI procedure again, and then brought up IVF (Invirto fertilization) as the suggested next step if the IUI were to not work.  I tried to ignore this part of the conversation.  I didn't want to do IVF personally.  It is more in depth in nature.  And it's more expensive.  I felt that we had already been on a treacherous journey.  I didn't think I could deal with more that what we had been through.  Plus, there's the increased chance of having more than one child in one pregnancy.  Now, I thought it'd be neat to have twins because I am one.  But my fear was more rooted in carrying two babies.  With my health history with Crohn's and with my current health with having an ileostomy, I was scared of carrying just one baby and getting blockages that would send me to the hospital.

But we went back through the process of starting the pre-IUI stuff.  I took the medications needed to make me have a cycle and to make me ovulate.  After the medication did its job, we went back to the ofice for our second attempt at the IUI.  I did my best to put up a wall around my heart this time.  I din't want to get my hopes up again, just to be hurt in the end.  Part of me wanted to be excited.  But more of me wanted to be guarded from any possible let downs.

There are at least two times that I can remember praying, the reason for praying, and recollecting what I said to some degree and then the feeling after I poured it all out to God.  It's not that all of the times I pray don't matter enough to be remembered.  But there are times in life that you feel like you're at the bottom of the barrel looking for that last bit of something to just hold you over until you might could be fully nourished.  The first time was when I got saved.  The second time was in this era of my life, waiting to see if this second IUI had worked.  I remember driving to work (which is probably my best time to talk to God).  My heart was so broken, I didn't think it could ever be healed again.  Tears were streaming down my face, and I believe the only way I managed to keep driving my vehicle through this was because God had control of the wheel.  I don't remember all the words I had prayed, but I did tell God how much I wanted a child, how muckh I wanted to be a mom.  And I told Him that even though I wanted this so much, it was okay if I never got to do that.  I would be hurt, but I'd be okay because He would help me through it.  I didn't pray this out of manipulation.  You can't manipulate the One who knows what we're going to do before we do it.  But I had prayed that with full belief, with complete surrender.  I had to let go and let Him do what He thought was best regardless of what I wanted.  Now, I can't say that an angel came down and spoke to me saying, "Behold, in time you shall have the child you so desire."  I can't say that the world suddenly looked brighter.  But the tears stopped, and the burden I was carrying was much lighter.  (And I made it to work without incident.)

The procedure had been done, and we have to wait a couple of weeks to see if it worked.  My husband and I had the opportunity to take a vacation and during this time I was to either start my cycle or take a pregnancy test if I didnt start by a certain date.  I did not want to take that test.  See that's another thing with infertility.  There are only so many pregnacy tests a person can take and see negative results on them.  And I had taken several of those negative tests.  It wears on one's emotions as well.  I didnt want to see another one like it.  I had in my mind that I would very likely never see a positive test.  Then, one day I saw pink when I went to the bathroom, and I thought, "Well, here we go again.  But God, it's okay.  It will be okay."

The pink never progressed to red though.  In fact, after that incident, I don't think I saw any more pink.  The date to take the pregnacy test had approached, and they suggest to take a test with the first urination of the day.  Well, I woke up at a probably 3 o'clock in the morning, and I had to go.  I reluctantly took the test.  I even tried to not look at it afterward.  And when I did decide I probably should look at it, I tried to look at it out of the corner of my eye as if that would make a negative result less painful.  But it wasn't negative.  It was positive!  I was in awe.  The angels were singing somewhere, I just know it.  My heart filled up really quick with something I'd never felt before.  Now, my husband was excited with the news.  It just didn't show up when I told him.  Like I said, it was early in the morning when I took the test.  I woke him up from a dead sleep.  I couldn't go back to sleep and not tell him.  This was big!  He stumbles into the bathroom, blinks a million times trying to focus on the test stick in front of him, and somehow managed to see that it was positive.  He kissed me and hugged me for a few minutes, and then went back to bed without a problem.  I'm standing there thinking "Really?  That's the reaction I get after all this time?"  It would have hurt me quite a bit more if it hadn't been so terribly early in the morning, and I know how he sleeps.  And he did come around to the excited side after he became more coherent.

I even managed to go back to sleep myself.  It took a while though.  My heart was so full.  I took another test the next morning that was also positive.  And then we had to get official confirmation from the feritility clinic.  But as I've said before, I already loved a child that didn't exist, so there was no way to deny a love for one that, to my knowledge, was in complete existence however tiny they were.  For whatever reason, God found this to be our time to receive one of His greatest blessings.