Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reality Hits

After finding out there were four tiny little people growing inside me it took a little bit of time to actually set in. Later that day while at the mall with my hubby, aunt, and my brother it did hit. They were all joking about just putting the kids in dog crates instead of cribs, cheaper. They were listing all the things we would need in sets of fours. Carseats, cribs, stroller, etc. My mind began to whirl, I pictured a house full of all this baby stuff no furniture. How would I ever take care of four babies? I would not be able to work, how could we afford 4 babies and all the things that are required for their care?? I pictured days when all I could do was sit on the floor and cry with them, assuming that there would be days when they would all cry unconsolably. That did not happen by the way. So early in the pregnancy to worry about all of this trivial stuff when the words that the doctor said kept running through my mind. Before we left his office he looked at me and said, "We will get you at least one baby in the end." ONE?? I had FOUR, I did not want ONE. Here I am pregnant for the first time I was suppose to be soooo happy and full of hope for the future of our family but instead I was clinging to those words, "at least ONE."
Now no one wants to have quadruplets. I don't care who you are, to actually want to put your body and mind through all that. Not to mention the fact that the kids are at high risk for all kinds of defects and even death. BUT once you know that you have four you instantly want all of them. You are not thinking of anything else except getting them all here safe and sound. There was not a day in my pregnancy that I did not wake up and wonder if everyone was okay or not. That was the new reality we were in, fighting for the lives of our four little helpless babies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finding Four

After the initial home test I then scheduled, yet another blood test to confirm my pregnancy. Not really thinking much about it I went to our local hospital had the blood drawn and waited for the results. I remember being at work in the shredding room, a room where all the paper is shredded for confidentiality, my phone rang and I answered it. I knew it was the Dr.s office by the number. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock I was about to receive. On the other end the nurse said, "Jennifer? You are definately pregnant. The doctor would like to schedule an ultrasound very soon because your numbers are elevated indicating a multiple pregnancy." I was in shock. She went on, " They, the numbers, are not really high but just enough to indicate there may be twins." Oh twins, I thought, I can do twins.
A few days later my husband, mom, aunt, and myself were all crammed into a small Dr. office waiting for the ultrasound tech to come in. She came in and the ultrasound was underway. The first thing we saw were four little circles. I could hardly believe my eyes. I glanced over at my husband, who turned white as a ghost. The tech started talking, "Let me tell you what we are looking at...". Now we both knew exactly what we were looking at, we had FOUR little babies growing inside me. The doctor then poked his head in the door, "Is everything okay?", he asked the tech. Her response was very sober, "take a look Dr. Gentry." He looked toward the screen and gasped, "FOUR".
He began to tell us of the risks involved in a quadruplet pregnancy and asked us what we thought about having four babies. We responded saying that we knew it would be risky but it was obviously what God had wanted for us, selective reduction was not an option.
This was a very scary time for us. We had just lost a dear loved one, my cousin Sean, and just one year earlier my sister had given birth to stillborn twin boys at 31 weeks. We knew that we might not ever hear our children cry or take a breath but we were willing to do what ever it took.


After the weight loss surgery and attaining my ideal weight for the first time ever, my husband and I assumed that we would finally be able to get pregnant. Afterall there was a new healthy me and that was what the doctors assured us was the reason we were not successful in getting pregnant. I decided we would just wait, maybe it wasn't in God's timing yet. After a couple of years we began talking about adoption. We received a lot of information from different agencies and started filling out the paperwork. It was a daunting task and I could not help but feel like we were buying a child. Through much prayer and thought my husband and I decided to give it one more chance. I did some research online for a good fertility clinic. I settled on Dr. William Gentry of Advanced Fertility in Indianapolis, Indiana. On the first visit we discussed my weight loss surgery and the different treatments that my husband and I had done in the past. He set up an appointment for a dye test to make sure I did not have any blockage.
A few weeks later as I lay on the table having the test the Dr. asked me if I had had a recent miscarriage. I quickly answered, no, I have never been pregnant. He looked at his assistant and said, "It looks like she had a failed pregnancy last month." My mind was racing. Had I really been pregnant and didn't know it? We left the hospital and both myself and my husband could not believe that we had lost a child, our child. Even though we didn't know it existed it was a terrible loss to us.
The next month I returned to Dr. Gentry's office to hear the full results. Everything was a go, I would be receiving a full packet in the mail within a week dictating my medication schedule and the different ultasounds and procedures that we would be doing. I told the doctor that I did not want to waste a lot of time and money on treatments that were not going to work. He reassured me and we decided on a series of oral medications along with injections that I would do in my stomache and a final injection that would be taken in my lower back.
The next month we were scheduled to be on vacation in Gulf Shores during the beginning of my period. Because I had to get a base line blood test between day one and day three of my cycle we decided to wait one more month.
October came and my period started. I called the office and set up my appoint for the blood draw. It just so happened to be on October 11, 2007, my sisters birthday. My sister worked not far from the dr.s office so I met her and my mom for a birthday breakfast. I remember us talking about the possibility of actually getting pregnant. I thought it would never happen. Upon returning home we got a devistating phone call. My 19 year old cousin had been killed in a car accident. We went to the families side immediately. Our family had always been very close and this was a terrible tragedy for all.
All of a sudden having a child did not seem so important. We had already orded the shots, which were very expensive and felt that we should go ahead with the treatment even though our hearts really were not in it. I do remember taking my other cousins out and having to run home to take one of my shots. Also when it came to the last shot in the butt we were at my Aunt's house gathered to both celebrate and mourn my cousin Sean, right in the middle of the dining room I dropped my pants a little and my mom administered the shot. It was finished. I had done all that I could not it was all up to God.
The next day I went into the dr.s office for an ultrasound to see how many eggs were ready for fertilization. As the ultrasound tech inserted the wand we could clearly see there were 5 eggs. As she began to measure them 4 of the eggs were the right size and ready to be fertilized, 1 of the eggs was too small. They scheduled our IUI or intrauterine insemination for that Monday which was two days away.
When we arrive at the office it was 7am. They called my husband back to make his deposit. He was a little embarrased because he was the only man in the waiting room. Shortly after his return they called both of us back. They had put his sperm through a machine that somehow disguard all the ones that are not prime candidates. A nurse came in with a syringe and a long tube. I laid on a table and she inserted the tub into my cervix. She pulled the trigger and they were off. There was a timer on the cabinet and when the sperm on the timer reached the egg on the timer it was time to get up get dressed and go. It was all over and now in God's hands.
I remember leaving the office very optimistic.
So this occured on day 14 of my cycle. We could not wait until the first day of my missed period so... we bought one of those early detection pregnancy tests. On day 24 which was a Thursday we went to the store and purchased a double pack of pregnancy tests. Now I do remember this day vividly because when we left the store we had to call my cousin Brad because Chris, my husband had locked the keys in the car and we were stranded. Brad took us home and I went stright in and took the test. Meanwhile, Chris and Brad were outside chatting about Brad's car. Brad had no idea that we were waiting to see if we were parents. Still outside when I looked at the test, I could not believe my eyes. I had taken what seemed like hundreds of these tests before and I had never seen two pink lines appear. POSITIVE.
In a bit of a daze I walked to the backdoor of our home, with the test in hand, and asked my husband to come in. He and my cousin were taking about something car engine related and I handed him the test. He took one look and the test and went right back to my cousin and the engine. Brad, my cousin, then looked at me with a huge smile. He knew what it meant. I then turned to my husband and asked him to take another look. To this day I have no idea what he was thinking when he saw the test and just ignored it.

Weight Loss Surgery

Having weight loss surgery was one of the hardest experiences I have ever faced. When I decided to take this drastic measure to lose weight I had no idea what I was signing up for. I went through a severe depression. I felt alienated from friends and family, we always gathered around food and I was trying to change my perspecitve of food. I felt as though no one understood and I was malnutritioned for some time after surgery. All the side effects that I experinced were very common for the surgery that I had. However much like the quad pregnancy, until you are in the situation you cannot fully understand it. There were honestly days when I wished that I would have died on the operating table. I cannot believe that I am admitting that but it is the truth. I had many friends and family praying for me and it was only by the grace of God that I was able to be triumphant. At the end of six months I had lost 100 lbs. WOW! I was so excited and proud. I established a workout routine and learned how to make healthy meals and choose healthy options when eating out. After the first year I had reached my goal and more. For the first time in my entire life I was at normal weight for my height, with a weight loss of over 200 lbs. I was healthy and felt FANTASTIC!! Even though everyday I do have to make a conscious effort to make the right food choices, I try to do my best. I want to raise a healthy family and teach them to make healthy choices from the beginning of their lives.

Our Marriage

My husband Chris and I were married on October 5, 1996. A long time ago, huh?? Well we never prevented pregnancy from the beginning we just felt that if it happens it happen, Right? Wrong. It never happened. We sought help from by OBGYN but with no luck. We saw several doctors and it was always the same answer, my weight. At my highest weight before weight loss surgery in 2004, I was a whopping 376lbs. I know, that's a lot. Because this seemed to be what the doctors believed was keeping us from the one thing we didn't have in our marriage, I took action.

One evening when my husband returned from work I announced that I was going to have weight loss surgery. This was quite a shock as I had never complained about my weight to him. I didn't want him to know I was fat. HA HA. As if he didn't know already. After long hours of convincing he was finally onboard with my decision.

On January 30, 2004 my life changed forever for the first time. I had struggled with my weight my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I could go into a regular store a purchase clothing. Now that seems so sad and depressing to me.

Our Family Today

Here we are now... Sean, Mommy, Edith, Henry, Daddy, and Sophia.

Here we are then...
Mommy with Henry and Sophia. Daddy with Edith and Sean.

Now we are going to backtrack throughout this entire blog. Today our beautiful children are over one year old. I will give you a glimpse into our lives today and then I will begin to unfold how we got to this place in our lives.