That was the word of the week. Word of the month! All of those years of worry, all of the years of praying, and we were set on a path, a journey to lead us to not one but FOUR babies. QUADRUPLETS! In the two weeks that followed, our emotions went up and down, but those close to us used the word blessed. I remember crying one night, asking David, “Why can’t we just be normal?”. Here we were, all of these years setting ourselves up for our 1 baby, 1 car seat, 1 daycare bill, 1 nursery, with 1 crib. And all the while, the Lord had other plans in mind. Was I upset about our miracle? No. Was I complaining about our blessings? Not at all. However this was an experience that we did not plan for, and we were taken by surprise. And the weight that comes with this type of blessing is massive. Here I was, carrying 4 little lives, and I was expected to just carry on like everything is normal. Why? Because carrying a baby, especially multiple babies is so high risk, that the risk of miscarriage is great. And given this risk, it has been suggested that we keep our miracle a secret for some time. Goodness, I can only imagine the heartache of sharing your good news, only to come back and share the opposite. So we sat on our miracle, bursting inside with great news, and we carried on with our lives.
This blessing made me think back to the Sunday before we found out our test results. Our Pastor’s message that Sunday was “You’re not alone”.
The three key notes from the lesson were:
1. You’re Chosen;
2. You’re a Champion;
3. Walk in your Commission.
At the end, for the altar call, Pastor Watson extended an invitation to come up for extra prayer. David and I went up, hand in hand, knowing what we were praying for, and knowing what we were testing for the next day. Pastor specifically laid hands on us both and stated, “Today, this week, this month, before 2016 is out, a major blessing is coming your way. Mark this day, that the Lord has spoken.” He then continued to pray for renewed and strengthened peace and faith. The next day we learned we were pregnant, and shortly after we learned we were having 4 babies! David joked with him a few months later, after sharing the news, and said, “…next time, we don’t want you to lay your whole hand on us, just a pinky finger”. Because clearly our Pastor heard a word from the Lord and it surely came to pass!
We joke about that now, but truthfully, God had been speaking a word like that to us for months before we became pregnant. Years even. That is why we held onto our faith and knew a blessing was coming, we just had to hold out and wait for him to say yes. ‘Sit back and watch God work!’- was my saying that rang through my head all week…and it was true. He wove us a blessing beyond anything we could imagine. And we just thank him from the depths of our souls.
For two whole weeks, TWO, we walked on cloud nine. Mind you, I was only a few weeks at this point. We walked into the doctors’ office, hand in hand, ready to see the evidence of our baby. The nurses and staff were all congratulating us and we prepped for the doctor. Tall and stately, the doctor came in, wanting to smile wide, but maintaining his composure. He knew he assisted with another miracle, yet didn’t want to come across as pretentious. I laid back for the transvaginal ultrasound, the lights went out, David to my left side holding my hand...and the room was deafly quiet. The doctor doesn’t speak much during evaluations, so I didn’t push… I just stared at the ceiling because I cannot see the machine. I remember hearing a lot of clicking, but I couldn’t tell if it was the mouse, or typing. The silence was so loud that a brief moment of fear began to seep in… was there something wrong? They removed the instrument, and turned the lights on as I sat up. This time, the doctor’s face was blush, like a spring rose. I immediately asked, “Is everything okay?”. David sat puzzled, I knew he could see the screen, but maybe he was just in deep thought. The nurse moved across the room from the doctor to David’s side, and put her hand on his shoulder. My heart began to sink when the doctor said these words… “There’s four.”. Silence. “There are four babies”. I immediately began to laugh in disbelief. David’s face turned red, like a lobster and sat in silence.
Now let’s rewind for a second. I know what you’re thinking… huh? How did she get four babies? Infertility treatment involves intervention with drugs and medical procedures. Our particular treatment involved drugs by way of pills and injections administered at home. Remember in my first post, “Where do I start”, where I briefly explained intrauterine insemination (IUI), fertility drugs and the risk of multiples that come along with it? Well these drugs help your body prepare eggs for ovulation (release) at the time of the menstrual cycle. That is if they are not fertilized by sperm before the lining of your uterus sheds. My fertility drugs helped me prepare 4 quality eggs for ovulation. Four seems like a lot, however, that does not mean that at the time of the IUI all 4 would be fertilized. We have a small chance of fertilizing one, just like any other couple. It’s all science. There are couples who have 3-4 quality eggs waiting inside of the woman’s uterus and none are fertilized during the IUI procedure. And they do this multiple times, so it’s all science, odds, and God’s grace in my opinion. We fertilized ALL FOUR of those eggs (so we thought), and that’s where we were at that first ultrasound.
Fast forward back to our ultrasound. The doctors next words were, “I knew you were responding well to the treatment, but I didn’t think you would respond this well.” David had remained silent, and finally spoke after this comment. He was shocked, as I was. I chuckled and just said that we were grateful for this blessing and this must have been God’s will. But four babies, I was still trying to process it all. We were given the option of selective reduction, and they encouraged us to think about it and not make any decisions at that time. So with this news in hand, we left the office in complete shock, and sent back out to the world to process what just took place. We walked out, left the parking lot, and David pulled us over to a quiet and secluded lot for us to speak in private. I cannot remember what was said, how it was said, or anything. But I do recall lots of tears, prayer, silence, reasoning, tears, and more prayer. God had truly answered our prayers, and he answered in a MIGHTY way! We we’re carrying quadruplets!
In the months leading up to our pregnancy, we knew something big was coming. The Lord had spoken to both of our hearts and we knew we were in the midst of the blessing we had been praying for. When? How? Those were questions I asked myself a thousand times. My daily affirmations included scripture reminding me of what the bible says about faith, increase, and never giving up. I needed those reminders daily, and I had to remain prayerful to keep myself from drifting into sadness and doubt. You can literally make yourself sick and that was not where I wanted to be. In the days leading up to our IUI procedure, I took a variety of drugs at the direction of my doctor. The day before the procedure, I was surrounded by a home of family/friends all praying with and for us, and wishing us success. I remained calm, hopeful and positive. This was our time and our year. The procedure went on without a hitch and all we could do was wait. What’s 2 weeks when we’ve been waiting years? And who are we to rush God when he is working his miracle? The signs were everywhere… words from friends/family, dreams, and peace that I felt in my heart. THIS was IT. Results morning, and I went in for my test. I was good at not testing at home in the days leading up to our results. I even gave David all of my home pregnancy tests and made him swear to hide them from me! I completed the blood test and went to work. The plan was that the lab would call the doctor with the results and the nurse would call me with the news. I prepared myself for good or bad. Would I cry? Would I fall on my knees and thank God for his blessings? Would I leave early for the day and go home? And if the news wasn’t favorable, I planned to suck it up and prepare for the next cycle, because God wasn’t finished with us yet. Our miracle was coming.
Hours passed… I called the doctor's office and left a voice message. I even called the lab, and checked my online Labcorp account. Unfortunately the lab doesn’t release the results online until the doctor has reviewed them, first. So I had to wait. David even called me wondering what was up, and I expressed my frustration that we hadn’t heard anything yet. It was past noon and we needed to know, now! Lol, patient Monet had exited the building. David said give me the number, I’ll call them myself. He had a vacation day and was home relaxing, so I can only imagine how his mind raced with anticipation. A short while later he told me he was running over to his grandma’s house but needed me to sign an important document for some business we were handling in Charlotte. I had a brief break between meetings so agreed to meet him at the front of the school. He pulled up and began to get out of the truck. I thought to myself, what in the world is he doing? Why is he getting out? Doesn’t he know I need to sign these documents and get back into the school? He walks up to me, kisses me and interrupts me mid sentence. He smiles and says… “Christa (the doctor's nurse) called. We’re pregnant.” Rewind, rewind, rewind… what did he just say?! I was in shock, I threw my hands up to the sky and I wrapped my arms around David in the biggest embrace and kiss. I then stumbled on my words, gasped, inhaled, exhaled deeply, my mind was racing… I remember asking him to repeat what he said and tell me what happened? How did he know? When did they call him? I wanted EVERY detail, fact, and I wanted to feel like I was there when it all took place. He explained that he was on his way to his grandparents’ home, when the doctors office called him back. They did receive my earlier message, but just called David back because he was the last to call. My test results came in, and the blood work showed a positive pregnancy. After many congratulations, she also stated that my levels were pretty high, possibly indicating a girl, and they wanted me to come in on that following Monday to confirm via ultrasound. I think I hugged and kissed David a thousand times that day, but I didn’t shed a tear. I was just happy, elated and my heart was so full. I was not dreaming, this is really happening. We then each reached for our phones and agreed to call our parents then and there. He dialed his mother and I dialed my father. I could barely get my words out, I know my voice was 3 octaves higher than normal. Keep in mind, we are still out front of the school during all of this. A school that has front security cameras and I really don’t know what the office staff was thinking. They probably thought we just won the lottery, which we did… we’re so rich in blessings and in that moment we knew God remembered us. He answered our prayers!
I walked back in that school on cloud nine. I was also shaking, I couldn’t keep calm. I called my cousin, who had been on pins and needles all day and shared the news. I had to keep a low and calm voice, but I wanted to scream. We called our closest family and friends to share the news… I mean after all, going through a journey of this magnitude is not something you go through alone. We had an arsenal of praying and hopeful family and friends in our circle who had been praying with and for us for years. And on that day, we all celebrated a victory unlike anything we’ve ever imagined. It wasn’t a matter of IF this could happen, but WHEN this would happen, and we were so proud to share. I never cried that day, in fact, my heart was so full that all I could do was smile. I’m sure I was beaming and I know my walk had a little pep in it. All the while God spoke to me and said, see? I told you I had it all worked out. And he surely did. Years and years of praying could not prepare me for this feeling. Bliss. Elation. Humbleness. God remembered us, hallelujah!
I know what you're thinking... That's it? Thats the whole story? I could literally write a novel about my PCOS journey. But that is not what this blog is about. It's to journal our experiences with our 3 little miracles. I can tell you this...During our journey of infertility, it felt so taboo. Like, I'm a black woman! Black women don't suffer from infertility! But the statistics were staggering. 1 in 4 couples will experience some type of infertility. And it's not usually a "problem" until after a year or longer of trying for a baby unassisted. During this journey I learned that a myriad of black women and women in general were plagued with infertility just like me. Whether it was PCOS, fibroids or unexplained. I was not alone. BUT, it was difficult to find others like me because no one spoke of it, like me! And the depression that comes along with trying to start a family was embarrassing. Here I was, this seemingly strong woman, and I was hurting so bad. The battle-field of the mind is real. Am I sick? Will my husband leave me? What if I can never give him a child, will he resent me forever? How do I face my friends and family who are multiplying day by day? How do I keep a smile on my face at every pregnancy announcement after announcement? At every baby shower? I was losing myself. And my faith, I had it, but I was letting go. After all of these years, I couldn't give up. But after all of those years, it seemed as though faith was all we had. So I held my head up, I smiled, and very few knew of this "thing" that made my heart ache.
In case you're wondering, no, I didn't go to counseling. My husband is my counselor and my rock. He has an innate gift. But for others that may be the best option, you don't want to go down that road of depression. I truly flirted with that line and David pulled me back every time. If you ever feel like you've crossed it, then I definitely would seek help.
I will never forget that time and all I went through. It's by the grace of God that I am able to write in this blog today and tell some of my story. It's funny, as time went on, I would meet people and I began to tell who was going through infertility like me. Maybe it was something they said, how they said it, or a look in their eye when a family walked in. And in those moments, I would come out of my shell and drop off a nugget to imply that I'm going through the same thing. And man, the flood gates that would open!! I would leave with an instant friend, and someone else praying for me, and someone else for me to pray for. And I did. Because we both understood each other and where we've been. Every story so different, yet still the same. Some I've kept in touch with because we're connected in some way (work or socially). Others I am not, but I'll never forget them and I pray their situation has changed. So, is it taboo to talk about infertility? No. But you can't talk about it until you're ready.
I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). There. I said it! Do you know how difficult it is to even admit that? Forget the fact that some may not even know what that is. I hate it. Hated it. And it has been a topic of discussion in my close circle of friends and family, only. You would never catch me talking about it in public, on Facebook, nor do you know how many PCOS related groups, blogs, books, journals and pages I follow. It has been my biggest secret for almost 18 years. What is PCOS? It is a "hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges." Well, that's what the Internet tells you it is. What is it to me? What has it been to me? Cysts on my ovaries. Imbalanced hormones. Irregular periods. Worry. Weight gain. Acne. Fear. Heavy cycles. Anemia. Hypo-thyroidism. Infertility. Yep. That last one is the biggie. Infertility because my cycles are so irregular that I do not ovulate like the average woman. No period, no ovulation, no pregnancy. Period. When I was diagnosed as a teen, it was shortly after my mother’s death. I knew something was wrong but I was not going to any doctors and I was not telling anyone. Didn't we just endure one of the most tragic events of our lives? Why add on that I may have a big problem on my hands? I'll just put it on the back burner and make sure my family was okay, because that's what my mother would have wanted. Then I needed to focus on getting into college, because again, some really important things are happening here. But eventually all of that caught up with me. And the diagnosis followed...along with some harsh words. You "may have trouble becoming pregnant when that time comes". Huh? That's a lot to drop on a girl! Especially one who always knew she would be a mommy one day and always wanted to be one. At the right time, of course. So there I was, carrying the loss of my mother and the biggest news of my life.
Fast forward 12 years and I was married. Before we married however, I told my husband about my diagnosis and what it meant. I also gave him a chance to back out, no strings attached, and I would forgive him. He, like I, believed that God was a healer. And he, like I, knew he would be a parent one day. And that meant a lot to him. But he wasn't ready to give up on our relationship and he loved me. And together we decided to face this giant together. We were so hopeful and ready to conquer all. Little did we know that this was a storm that God destined for us to face together. And I cannot think of anyone else to go through it with.
We decided to start from square one. Tell my doctor I was ready to get pregnant! That meant coming off of the birth control pills that supplied me with the medicine needed to regulate my hormones. From there we tried pill after pill. After trying for a brief time, and a few fertility treatments, we put everything on pause and moved back to Florida. We thought my body needed a break. A short while after our move, we began some homeopathy treatments, including NAET, NET, acupuncture and major changes in our diet. I truly believe that took us down the path to appropriately prepare my body for treatments and pregnancy. If only I had taken that path years ago, where would we be today? I guess there's no time to fret over the past, we were on this journey for a reason. Fast forward another 1.5 years and we came to the conclusion that we would like to try some fertility treatments again. My only issue was ovulation and regulating my hormones, so our specialist recommended fertility drugs and an IUI to increase our odds. An IUI (intrauterine insemination) is a procedure that takes the man’s sperm and directly inserts them into the woman's uterus. It's like in baseball, when you take all of your players and bring them directly to the infield. The fertility drugs help me produce an egg/s and prepare my body for ovulation. It manipulates the system that is stunted or slowed by the PCOS. The one caveat, is that fertility drugs run a risk of multiples. But after years of trying, neither of us were against twins. We weren't against anything that God had in store for us, and we knew we were in the midst of a big blessing. We were simply standing on our faith and waiting for God to say "yes". Well the treatment worked on the first try, and we were on our way to the biggest surprise of our lives!!