Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Miracles of Thanks Giving

Most everyone knows that we are expecting a new little one in June 2011. While another little boy would be great to even out the numbers in our house I'm fairly certain this baby is a girl-- call it a hunch, call it mother's intuition, call it a guess, call it whatever you wish. What some don't know is the journey and miracle that have brought us to this place. It's a personal story, but I feel for those struggling with fertility, that it needs to be shared. Following is the story of our journey-

July 2007-
Christina gave birth to our little Gracie and decided their family with three beautiful children was complete. Jason conceded and had a vasectomy.

May 2008-
Christina passes away from Ovarian cancer.

November 2008-
Jason & I are married. We had talked about both wanting more children He confided that though he had had the vasectomy, he had always wanted SEVEN total.. I had always wanted 4- though we didn't agree on a specific number, we did agree that three probably wasn't enough. We looked into our options and found that a vasectomy reversal would give us the best odds of naturally continuing our family and decided we would save for the surgery.

May 2009-
Not quite two years after the initial surgery we had the vasectomy reversed. We were given a very positive prognosis and said the counts would continue to come up for the next 18 months but that there were already sperm present. Our chances of conceiving were 90% or better!

November 2009-
Had our first semen analysis and the results weren't great. While the movement was good, our count was only 1 million while a normal count is anywhere from 20-40 million. While disappointed by the news, we hadn't yet given up hope as it had only been 6 months.

June 2010-
We had discussed my adopting our 3 babies since we got married and as luck would have it I have a friend who is a Paralegal. She works with an attorney who does adoptions. She did all of our paperwork and the attorney charged us minimally. Though they had been my babies from day one, now we were legally, lawfully a family. We still felt like there were more babies to come to us.

August 2010-
15 months out from the reversal we still had not concieved. A healthy couple under the age of 35 unable to conceive after 1 year is counseled to consult a physician. We had waited until after this time as we knew there had been extenuating circumstances in our case. We decided it was, however time to figure out what was going on. The first and easiest determination in fertility issues is with male infertility so Jason went in for another test. We knew by this time, that whatever the numbers were- that was the best they were going to get.

The end of August the test results came back and were rather devastating. Movement was still good but our count had only risen to 3 million. Our first call was to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. From the test results alone he told us our chances of conceiving naturally were less than 1%. Our best chance was going to be Invitro-Fertilization with ICSI. A procedure that had to be done in Los Angeles and cost upwards of $12,000 dollars. Jason was working out of state and I felt so alone when I got the news. I wanted him to be here to share in my grief. I felt that all our dreams of expanding our family had just been crushed. We didn't have that kind of money and saving it would take years.. time we didn't have since I was already in my 30's. The longer we waited, the higher the risk of complications.

It took me several days to pull myself together and press on. I knew I couldn't yet give up. So I called the urologist who did the surgery. He told us what we had feared, the numbers weren't great and re-doing the surgery wasn't going to bring them up. Our best bet was Invitro-Fertilization.  Shot down twice.

Jason and I got together and decided we would do whatever it takes-- sell our possessions, the car, have a yard sale.. save every penny to afford the IVF. If we were going to go that drastic it was time for me to make a visit to the doctor myself to make sure there were no issues with my ability to concieve. I set up an appointment with an OB/GYN who specializes in fertility problems. He suggested that we first try a round or two of IUI. A procedure that could be done in office in a matter of minutes and costs only a few hundred dollars. I called Jason when I got home and told him the news. We decided that was probably the best first step to take but coordinating Jason's out of town schedule with my ovulation schedule was going to be a nightmare. He was working out of state for 2-3 weeks at a time and was home 5-7 days a month.

Beginning of September 2010-
The stress of a new school year, running 3 kids to two different schools at 3 different times, Jason working out of state and worrying about try to concieve and the timing and costs involved had finally taken it's toll. I was tired of trying, I was tired of worrying about it and now I was doubting I even wanted another child if Jason was never home. It was hard enough to chase 3 on my own... how in the world was I going to do adding an infant to the mix? So Jason and I had a little heart to heart and decided we were going to lay off the baby talk until at least after the holidays.

End of September 2010-
I spent several weeks very sick and it was just adding to the rest of the stress. I couldn't figure out why I was so exhausted, so nauseated all the time. Then my cycle was late. I attributed it to stress and at 4 days late, I took a test just to prove it was stress. 3 agonizingly long minutes later, the pregnancy test was negative. So I continued on, still sick and now certain it was stress and probably the flu. Jason went to a week long training class in Grand Junction, Colorado on the 26th of September. He was to be gone until the following Friday.

On Tuesday, September 28 I was 10 days late. That had NEVER before happened. I was sure it was again stress and took another test so I could put it out of my mind. In less than 45 seconds the little digital test said PREGNANT. I didn't even know what to do. It was first thing in the morning and I still had kids to get ready for school. I left the test on the bathroom counter. I took the kids to school and ran to the drugstore for two more tests. I was going to need the third one as a tie-breaker in case the 2nd one was negative. I came home and holed myself up in the bathroom and took the second test... less than 30 seconds and it started blinking PREGNANT just like the first one.

I knew that two seperate digital tests- the most accurate on the market- couldn't be wrong. I sent Jason a text and asked him to Skype with me during his lunch break- a highly unusual request from me- so he did. I asked him if he thought his mom would like to come visit this summer so she could see her new grandbaby born... He yelled and said "We did it! They said it wouldn't happen and we did it!"

November 2010-
We're now almost 11 weeks. The end of our first trimester will fittingly be Thanksgiving Day and we have much to be Thankful for. My doctor laughed when I came in for my first appointment remembering that I had just been there a month previous seeking fertility advice. God does work in mysterious ways. While I'm still not sure what I'm getting myself into adding another little one to our already crazy house, I'm excited to finally be able to welcome this new little spirit that I know was meant for us.

We were told that all odds were against us.. medical intervention was our only chance. Cliche says "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans". We were "planning" to wait.. He saw fit to bless us otherwise. It IS possible, Miracles are possible and I'm carrying our miracle now and for that, we are so Thankful.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Photos

I know, I know- I haven't posted family pictures since Christmas. We were fortunate to win a delightful photo shoot with Amy Bennion Photograpy back in May and I'm finally getting the pics posted. So for your viewing pleasure- The Hays Family

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mommy's Rotation Vacation

I heard a great quote the other day, regarding the repeating difficulties of life "It never gets any easier, you just learn to get through it" It's hard to be without your better half and for the babies to be without dad for days upon days upon days. Let me tell you though, we LOVE having him home for a full week at a time after rotation! Most people get a few hours at night or a day or so on the weekend, but we get Jason for an entire uninterrupted week every month and we sure take advantage of it.

This last week we partook of many adventures- bbq'd at the park, went to Bridal Veil Falls, splashed in the water at The Grotto and took in the breathtaking views of Devil's Kitchen.

Most importantly we went to court where our petition for adoption of the kids was willingly granted! As of June 23, I am officially- legally- lawfully: A Mommy

Here are some of my favorite pics from our adventures last week-

Bridal Veil Trail with Dad

Hanging out with Mom on the dock-
avert your eyes from my blindingly white legs


All done- back from court

Utah Lake Overlook from Payson Canyon

Playing in the water at The Grotto- Payson Canyon

Crossing the river while hiking the Grotto Trail

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Oil Field Life @ The Rock

Forever West- That's the tourism slogan for the state of Wyoming. Dust and dirt cover every surface and from the streets you can almost hear the sound of hoofbeats and the crash of bottles against the barroom floor during the 15th fist fight of the night. Although those actual days are long gone, you'd never know it when you set foot in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Jason's new assignment is in this dusty western town and I took the kids up to visit overnight this week.

Time has brought the city street lights, WalMart and the lucrative Oil Field Business. There's good money in the field when the market is good and each single waitress and convenience store clerk in Rock Springs is looking for their meal ticket out of town. They know these guys spend weeks at a time away from home and on those lonely nights away they drink to excess and seek the company of women - any woman- who will give them the time of day. While many of these encounters stop with conversation; "Honey", "Darlin" & "Baby" are thrown around by these desperate girls like quarters bouncing out of a slot machine. The Rock - as Rock Springs is affectionately known to the crews- is also home to the World Famous Astro Lounge, a cheap strip club buried in the heart of historic downtown. I've seen the women in that city... I have no idea what these guys are paying to see.

They say the oil field is no place for a family man and with the atmosphere I've been exposed to, I can see why. However, I see my husband make it happen every day. He goes to work each morning, does his job superbly and comes back to the hotel. He spends a few minutes after work with the guys and makes sure to call home each night. The kids love being able to "see dad" on the computer when we Skype in the evening.

It's a rough life, being apart for weeks at a time, sometimes not knowing whether he's even going to get to call and seeing how exhausted he is at the end of the day. But it's far better than what some other families face. For now, I'm grateful that he's back within driving distance and that we can head out to see him at the drop of a hat. Yes, the oil field isn't for the feint of heart and they say it's not a family environment but to those who say that, I say you've never seen the bond of brotherhood between a crew and you've obviously never met my husband.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

North Dakota "Deployment"

10 days and counting... that's how much longer Jason will be gone. He's been in Williston, North Dakota for 5 days now and I keep telling myself it has to get easier. You never know how much help your spouse is until they're no longer there.

I count my blessings though that he's so willing to go out and work in these wretched conditions (It's been freezing temps with snow and rain and hail for the last week) to provide for his family. I know it's not any easier on him being away from home than it is for us to be without him. Right now he's working a 14/7 schedule except with travel days it's really more like 15/6 but we'll just be grateful for any time he has at home. This stretch in ND will be the longest that our little family has been apart since we got married but we're tough and the babies and I, we'll just keep counting the days until Dad comes home.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

You Grew in My Heart

Mother's Day- full of macaroni necklaces and pictures scribbled by chubby hands, the same hands you try to keep off you clean walls and tuck into bed every night- at least for those lucky enough to have children with whom to celebrate this day. These precious babies come to us in varying ways through birth or adoption or marriage all a part of the Lord's bigger plan. Even for those who don't believe they are mothers in their own right, every woman is one by nature, nurture or design. An Aunt, a Friend, A Co-Worker, a Mentor, a Teacher. One doesn't have to give birth to a child to be seen as a mother.

My children did not come to me through birth, but through grief and pain and personal miracles. Though they are not of my blood they are my babies always and forever. So on this blessed holiday I want to wish every Woman a Happy Mother's Day and thank all the women in my children's lives for helping to teach and mold and love them. It's true that it takes a village to raise a child and it takes all kinds to be "mothers".

Especially on this day I want to thank my babies' birth mother, Christina for giving me the most precious gifts that one woman could give another. I know she still watches over them from the highest courts above and I can only hope that she's proud of the mother I've become.

By: Fleur Conkling Heyliger

Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own,
And don't forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart but in it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Few Pics...

Our little wall-top container garden on the patio. We are growing tomatoes, green bell peppers, red bell peppers & jalapenos. Can't wait for the harvest this summer.

The living room. Jason even picked the color (after I said Green, Yellow, Taupe RED!)

I couldn't pass up a trip to The Quilted Bear-- Just to look of course, yet somehow this vinyl ended up coming home with me

Our Dining Room- (note the aforementioned vinyl)

It's Space Week at Central Elementary and today was Alien Hair Day. I told Madi & Caili to give me their best Alien faces--

A more subdued Alien