10.07.2011

Special Guest Blogger Feature: Meet Stephanie from Racing on the Road Called Life

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Today's featured guest blogger is Stephanie
from Racing on the Road Called Life!


For as long as I can remember I have always wanted babies...lots and lots of babies. Ask any one of my childhood friends and they will tell you that I always said I was going to have 294857583 babies. So, naturally, getting pregnant proved to be an almost unachievable task. But that’s getting ahead of myself. I may as well start at the beginning.

So this is me! (Okay, I’ll be honest. That’s me 4 years ago and about 30 pounds lighter. I don’t like any of my recent pictures.) I’m Stephanie and I’m 27 years old. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and then went off to college at Saint Louis University. I graduated in 2006 with my bachelors in Psychology. Truthfully, you can’t do much with a bachelors in Psychology, so I’m kind of stuck here, but that’s okay with me. My freshman year of college I met and started dating Chris. Unfortunately he had to leave Saint Louis after about 8 months of us dating to move back home to Connecticut. We stuck it out though, and thank goodness, we got through 3.5 years of a long distance relationship.


Chris and I got married on March 24, 2007 and I packed up and moved to New York to be with him. Shortly after, Chris’s job got transferred to Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC, and that is where we still live today. When we got married, we both knew that we weren’t going to have kids right away, though the thought was always right there in the back of my mind. Instead, we decided to get animals. I grew up with pets, had had one every minute of my life from birth up until college when our beloved rottweiler, Gump, died and my parents decided for the first time to not get another pet. Chris on the other hand, had never once owned a pet growing up. Thankfully I didn’t have to work too hard to win him over.


Meet Zeus! He was our first kitty, and he was welcomed into our family in the end of 2007. We drove all the way to a shelter in West Virginia to get him and boy, was he a great kitten. He was about 6 weeks old when we got him so he was really tiny, but he sure knew how to love. He wanted to be with us every minute of every day. Sadly, he was very sick when we got him. After a trip to the vet, we found out poor Zeus had an upper resperitory infection. To help him, we put him in a huge plastic container with a humidifier 3 times a day. He took it like a champ and never protested. However, I could still tell that something wasn’t right and I finally convinced Chris we needed to take him to the emergency clinic. While there, they did an ultrasound only to find out he had a congenital condition that caused his kidneys to be malformed. It was a heartbreaking moment when we found out we were going to have to put our precious kitten to sleep. I held him in my arms as he took his last breaths and I’ll never forget him. Even though Chris was never an animal person, I know that he loved Zeus because after Zeus died, he cried and up until then I had never seen him cry. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen him cry since. So I think that says something.


In January 2008, we decided to try our hand at pet ownership again. We found a different rescue here in Virginia that had a cute tuxedo duo. After a little convincing by one of the volunteers, we decided to adopt them both. So Wrigley and Cobalt came to live with us. They were quite the pair and I figured our kitty family was complete. However, to my surprise, during one of our many trips to PetSmart to buy treats (and look at the shelter kitties!) Chris said we could get another one. I was ecstatic. And so, Penelope came to live with us. Thankfully, the three get along beautifully and they are such fun to have around. It’s crazy to see how different each of their personalities are, and by looking at them, you would never know that Penelope isn’t from the same litter as Wrigley and Cobalt. We certainly do love them.

In December of 2008, Chris and I decided to start trying for a baby. I had always heard that it could take up to 6 months to get pregnant, so I wasn’t surprised when I got a BFN (big fat negative) on Christmas day. However, I’m an anxious person, so I tested again once we returned home on the 27th. Low and behold, that digital test flashed “Pregnant” almost immediately. We had done it, gotten pregnant on our first month trying! On new years day I had a pain in my shoulder, and paranoid me decided to consult Dr. Google where I read that shoulder pain could mean an ectopic pregnancy. With tears in my eyes, and my voice cracking, I frantically called every OB/GYN in the area praying that one of them would be open and have a chance to see me. Being new years day it was next to impossible to get ahold of anyone. Finally, I found a nurse who was at least willing to listen to me. She went to talk to the doctor and advised me to go to an urgent care center. I called Chris home from work and off we went. All they did that day was a urine test which came back positive and then gave me orders for an ultrasound later that week. With butterflies in my stomach, I went to the ultrasound at 4w6d and the tech was unable to find anything...no yolk sac or fetal pole. Since it was so early I wasn’t too worried and waited the few weeks until my first prenatal appointment. After I told the nurse about the first ultrasound, she sent me for a follow up which was again later that week. I was a little over 8 weeks at the follow up so I was eager to see a little baby on the screen. Sure enough, when she turned it on there was a little gummy bear looking blob on the tv. Then came the time to check the heartbeat. At that point I didn’t know much about ultrasounds but I knew the flat line on the bottom of the screen wasn’t good. The nurse left and then came back to tell me my doctor was on the phone to speak to me. With little optimism in his voice, he told me that the baby had no heartbeat and in most cases these pregnancies don’t pan. He said I should just go home and wait it out and I could come back a week later to double check the baby was no longer viable. I left devistated, I wanted a baby SO bad. That weekend the bleeding started and on Sunday as I went to the bathroom, my little baby came into the world. It may be gross to some, but I pulled the sac out of the toilet and took the chance to see my baby. I couldn’t bring myself to flush the toilet with my little child in the water. How could someone do that? It was unbelievable to see the little embryo in the amniotic fluid. To know that that was my baby...my child that I wanted so badly. I called the doctor and they had me bring the “tissue” in for examination. The tissue looked normal so it wasn’t sent for further testing. This is the first regret that I have. I would have given anything for them to test it and tell me if that baby was a boy or a girl. I want to know SO badly what we were having. It doesn’t change the outcome, but still, I just want to know. They took the tissue to be disposed of with the bodily fluids at the hospital, another thing heartbreaking to think about. My baby disposed of...but enough about that. My next regret is not taking any time for myself. The baby came on Sunday and I went right back to work on Wednesday. Anyone who has had a miscarriage knows that it’s like your heaviest period times 39484832. It’s seriously like you are bleeding out. Having to deal with two rowdy children (I was a nanny) while grieving the loss, and uncontrollable bleeding was just too much for me to handle. Oh how I would do thinkgs differently. We decided to name our little angel Logan. Some people may not believe in Heaven but I fully believe that one day, we’ll get to meet our precious oldest baby and I sure can’t wait for that day.

My doctor said to wait 3 months before we started trying again so in May 2009, our TTC journy began for the second time. I was na├»ve and thought that since it happened so quickly the first time the second time would be no different. Boy was I wrong! We tried, and tried, and tried some more; got BFN after BFN. I started charting in hopes that that would help and in April 2010 I was able to get into a new OB/GYN ranked as one of the best by the Washingtonian magazine. After 16 months since we started trying, I wanted answers!! The doctor sent me for a hysterosalpingogram which was one of the most painful procedures I’d ever had. Apparently the experience is different for everyone because plenty of people I’d talked to about it before hand had said it was a piece of cake. Oh no, not for me! After the HSG – which came back normal – we were sent to Shady Grove Fertility (June 2010). Here the doctor said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Chris or I that would prevent us from getting pregnant. Since it had been so long since we began TTC he gave us a 1-2% chance of ever conceiving on our own. He suggested IUI or IVF and thus began a whirlwhind of testing and information. I was sent for day 3 bloodwork and ultrasound and they were ready to have the injections sent to my doorstep. However, Chris wasn’t on board with this game plan. You see, Chris is Catholic and they aren’t allowed any reproductive assistance. I on the other hand am Lutheran and I don’t think there are any rules on it for me. Needless to say, when Chris said we couldn’t go forward I was devastated. I cried for days and would hardly speak to Chris. We decided to compomise and would continue trying naturally until August of 2011. If we still weren’t pregnant by then, we could move forward with the IUI.

The month of July was our first real month trying on this new plan, so when I tested and saw the faintest of faint lines, I thought it was too good to be true and I wouldn’t let myself believe I was actually pregnant. I raced online to consult all of my TTC boards and was met with a unanimous decision on both groups that I was in fact pregnant. Of course, I still wanted that bright pink line to tell me it was true. I was going to wait until the following morning to test again, but I just couldn’t hold out any longer. So on the afternoon of July 31 I took a digital test and this is what popped up:


I started shaking in disbelief and shock and terror…the whole range of emotions. I texted Chris to tell him and then just a select few immediate family members. I was so nervous of another miscarriage. I went for several blood tests to monitor my HCG levels which thankfully were rising appropriately. After my nuchal translucency screening at 14 weeks, I finally felt confident enough to announce my pregnancy. It felt so good to have it out in the open.


At 18 weeks we went for a 3D ultrasound and found out we’d be having a little girl. Her name was going to be Samantha Caroline. Samantha because we liked it and Caroline after my mother, who actually was Carol, who passed away just before we started TTC in 2008. As the weeks went on, I grew more and more confident that things would be okay.


Around 32 weeks, we went for a 3D ultrasound again. This was absolutely amazing and even though it was expensive, I am SO glad we did it. It was so neat to see Samantha in 3D and get an idea of what she would look like. As the weeks progressed, doctor appointments became more frequent and my anxiety grew as we got closer to my due date. During my 37th/38th week my anxiety was so high I was sent twice a week for NST’s to montor the baby and thankfully everything was fine. However, at 38w6d, I hadn’t felt Samantha move much so I called the doctor who had me come in. They did my 39 week check up and found that I was only measuring 35 weeks. I had consistently been measuring 2 weeks behind so this was a slight jump. My doctor wasn’t concerned but I was terrified, and knowing my anxiety, he sent
me for an ultrasound the next day to check the fluid level. I was scared but not too worried since the doctor didn’t seem concerned. They did the ultrasound and I waited and waited to be told I could go home. After about 30 minutes a nurse came in with a wheelchair and said “I can’t tell you anything but you need to go to L&D right now”. Cue the freaking out. I hysterically called Chris and my family, who
ironically was flying in for my cousin’s sons baptim who was born 4 weeks before. Once we got to L&D I was told my fluid level was extremely low. They like it to be over 12 and mine was 5.5. So, I was going to be having the baby that day. At 4pm I was put on pitocin. Thankfully the labor progressed smoothly and long story short, at 12:47am on April 2, Samantha Caroline made her debut.


Things have been amazing and on Sunday we “celebrated” Samantha turning 6 months old. This first half a year has flown by and it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since deciding to start TTC almost 3 years ago. Things definitely haven’t played out like I thought they would, but I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t have it any other way. At this point, I still have that far off dream of having lots and lots of babies. However, after all it took for us to have Samantha, I’ve accepted the fact that she may be the only baby we ever have. I certainly hope this isn’t the case but even if it is, I’m still the luckiest mommy in the world.




Big thank-you to Stephanie for sharing her story with us! Visit Stephanie at her blog Racing on the Road Called Life!

4 comments:

  1. awesome stephanie that you can share your story.

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  2. A very nice guest post! Thank you to Lindsay and Stephanie for sharing this story with us. Off to check out Stephanie's blog. :)

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  3. Great story! New follower here. Hope to have you follow me!

    http://www.mommieagainblog.blogspot.com

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  4. What an exciting story - Samantha is adorable!

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