Friday, April 4, 2014

Entering A New Phase, or God's Surprise

So, on Monday I will be five months pregnant. Pregnant. For those of you who have been with me since the start of this blog in 2011, you will know that I started this blog partly out of a desire to find contentment through infertility.  had wanted to get pregnant for about a year and a half and I wanted to find ways to encourage and distract myself during that time.

You would think that if pregnancy was such a big deal to me, I would have blogged about it before I was 5 months pregnant. It's not that I haven't thought about writing; it's just that our lives are so busy right now. But when I realized that the 5th month of my first pregnancy was approaching, I decided it was time. Bite the bullet, push other commitments aside, and write something. 

So, here's the story of why we're entering a new phase. Or, almost more appropriately, here's the story of God's surprise for us.

Back when I was accepted into Teach For America last January, Mark and I decided I should accept Teach For America's offer, fully knowing the decision would push our family-starting endeavors back a few years. The two years of Teach For America (TFA) is not the time to be thinking about starting a family. It's hardly the time to think about growing friendships or growing a marriage. And TFA in Minnesota is even more intense because TFA corps members are required to be working toward their teaching license through graduate classes at a nearby university. And, of course, you have heard me expound on some of the anxiety and stress these factors produced in me during the fall.

When we moved to Minnesota last April, I went to see a new doctor about my infertility and PCOS. The doctor works at a small Christian clinic in a nearby suburb. Two friends of mine living up in the Cities who didn't know each other at all had suggested this clinic and one of the doctors in particular at that clinic. Both friends had dealt with some complications in getting pregnant, met with other doctors who didn't seem able to help them, and then switched to this clinic and this doctor. Both friends found this doctor easy to talk to, attentive to their concerns, and a firm believer in natural family planning (charting basal body temperatures and whatnot). Both friends ended up pregnant. Since that seemed like too much of a coincidence and because I had been less than impressed with the way doctors I had visited with before had poo-pooed my basal body temperature charts, I was excited to go to a doctor who I thought would be supportive of me and understanding of my situation.

My first appointment with this doctor (and almost only appointment, until I went in to confirm my pregnancy) was great. He took time to look through the information sent up from Iowa, and when I pulled out my temperature charts, he exclaimed, "Oh, this is great! Look! I can see you ovulating regularly every cycle! I think that with just a little progesterone in the luteal phase of your cycle, you will have no trouble getting pregnant." He prayed with me, thanking God for my healthy cycles and asking God to bless Mark and me with a baby in due time. I started the progesterone right away. Because I'd had fairly regular cycles for the previous few months, I didn't notice any major changes with the progesterone.

Needless to say, after 2.5 years of infertility, I was fairly skeptical that my doctor's optimism was quite warranted. I was still fairly convinced that I could not get pregnant and never would get pregnant. So, even though my cycles continued to look normal on paper and my doctor was happy with the results on my follow-up appointment in September, I left his office in the fall fully expecting not to see him again until May, the month Mark and I had picked out as a good time to start 'trying,' since if a baby was conceived in the summer of 2014, it would be born towards the end of my two-year commitment to TFA. And because I still considered my body 'broken,' Mark and I didn't take any birth control precautions.

So, over Christmas break from school, I found myself in my luteal phase, watching my temperatures and waiting for the inevitable period that would come somewhere around day 16 of the luteal phase. When day 16 came and only brought a higher than usual temperature, I first began to wonder. Then, by day 19 and a repetition of higher than usual temperatures, I decided a pregnancy test was in order.

It was my last day of break before school resumed and I had just finished up with a nasty bout of stomach flu. My period still hadn't turned up, and I thought to myself, Oh, I'll just check. In my mind, it was more to stop myself from getting my hopes up needlessly. Mark left for work, and I was wandering around the house early in the morning. I took out the pregnancy test, kind of pretending I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing, and went through the motions of using it to help bring my silly hopes back under control.

When the test showed up positive two minutes later, I gasped. Then I wandered out of the bathroom whispering, "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" to myself. Then I went back in the bathroom and took a picture of the test. I was pretty sure I would never believe myself an hour later if I didn't have proof.

But there it was -- proof. I called my doctor, set up an appointment with him to confirm pregnancy, and lo and behold. Pregnant.

Here I am, a week after I made the discovery and had the pregnancy confirmed by the doctor.

Obviously, no evidence of Baby yet when this picture was taken. My emotions have been on a roller coaster since that day of discovery: wondering if the baby is healthy, wondering how my PCOS will affect the baby and my pregnancy, trying to sort through feelings of being someone who 'deals with infertility' when technically that's not true anymore. But those are thoughts for another post.

For today, I'm just amazed. Amazed that God could surprise me after all that I've learned about my body, amazed that His timing includes us having a baby smack-dab at the start of my second year of teaching, amazed that my body apparently is at least somewhat healed from its brokenness. I'm just amazed. Amazed and thankful.


  1. Oh Hillary! You made me laugh and you brought tears to my eyes remembering the struggle that Tim and I had with infertility. God's timing is always perfect... It's our patience in waiting for His perfect timing that needs some 'tuning'. Blessings to you and Mark.

  2. Praise God! We are very happy for you, and this story just brought back memeories for me when we were dealing with infertility. God is so good! I know Greg and I didn't believe I was pregnant until we went in for the ultrasound at 10 weeks (which is forever, by the way, when you can't believe you're pregnant). It's funny I read this today, I just found the Easter Eggs that we handed out to our family announcing I was pregnant. When they opened them, they found a slip of paper that said, There's more good news this Easter! And we also put baby confetti in the eggs (baby bottles, pacifiers, clothespins, etc. Congrats again!! Janell Pennings

  3. I have to admit, I've been waiting on this post for a while. I'm your crazy blog stalker. But you knew that already... :) Looking forward to seeing you guys soon.

  4. This just makes me so happy. Love how God works and I'm so excited to meet your little one!