Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How my baby girl came to be

Petri dish that my girl was conceived in. Her first home. We actually have pictures of both embryos but couldn't find them today. Not many people can say that they have a picture of their child at a few cells old!!
4 weeks after implantation.

20 weeks. I love this one, she's sucking her toes.

She came out looking so beautiful.

And she still is.
Photo by Brook Rieman (seriously, Brook is so talented, more in another post!)

This is a story that I don't think of very often. When you are busy raising children you barely remember yesterday, much less what happened over 6 years ago. That many years ago today I became a mother and had my first child, Brenna. When I think back on how she came to be I see so many miracles that happened. But I'll tell you the story and let you decide.

We had been married less than two years when Jeremy received a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully the doctors advised us to save sperm for the future because chemo and radiation usually causes people to become sterile. Six months later he was cancer free (Praise God) and has been since. For about 2.5 years we continued on, still not ready to have kids yet, enjoying our time alone. But then one day we decided we were ready. So we tested him again to see if there was any action going on. The test showed all systems go, or so we thought. After months of nothing happening, we called the doctor again to see what was going on only to find out someone had read the results wrong and there was absolutely no action whatsoever. Around this time we moved and I was working on my master's thesis. We decided to start the fertility process. We started going to a fertility specialist in Cincinnati. We began with artificial insemination, because of cost and because it is minimally invasive. The sperm had to be flown to Cincy from Indianapolis. Jeremy to give me shots several times a week, I even had to give myself some when he was out of town. I was writing my thesis at this time, a very stressful process, and going through these hormone treatments simultaneously. I can understand my state of mind a the time with more sympathy now. I would write and do data analysis while by hubby was at work. I remember screaming and crying and just plain suffering through this process. I realize now that the stress of the thesis process and the fertility process at the same time would be a lot for anyone to handle. In December I successfully defended my thesis and earned my masters degree in aquatic science from Purdue University. Also in December of 2003 the fertility doctor told us of a study coming up that he chose us to participate in that would cut the cost of invetero fertiliztion by about 80%, only 10 couples out of thousands were chosen. We jumped at the opportunity. Of course this was much more intense hormones and a lot more driving to Cincinnati from our home at the time in Versailles, IN. I growing up in a rural area was not comfortable at all driving in larger cities. But I had to overcome that, as many times I had to take myself over there. I also started my new job as a head librarian at this time. Thankfully they were so understanding and flexible with my schedule. So the eggs were harvested from me and they were to be fertilized and 2 embryos were placed back inside of me. Right before the eggs were to be harvested we got a call that a very good friend from college was killed in a work accident. I was not able to travel to the funeral in KY as my egg retrieval was projected any day. I was very upset not to be able to go and say goodbye. Thankfully my friend came in a dream and we said our goodbyes months later. We waited about a week then took a test to see if the procedure had been a success. YES!! And thankfully only one embryo implanted. I like to think that Kenny gave Brenna a high five as he was on the way up and she was on the way down.

I continued to work at the library. The pregnancy went very well. I was 7 months pregnant when my current boss hunted me down and asked me to work for him. My library boss laughed and said how many women worry about getting fired at that stage and I was having people hunting me down! About 1 month from baby arrival we moved to our current home, which is such a great house and yard for a family. Brenna's due date was November 20th. Jeremy had gotten a deer around the 14th and on the night of 15th around 11:30ish I was helping him package the meat (we process our own) when my water broke. Since we had just moved we stayed with the same doctor and had decided we would make the almost 1.5 hour drive back to the hospital that we had originally planned to give birth in. Of course Jeremy was scrambling to clean up the kitchen before we left so we wouldn't bring our baby home to a house of rotten meat. Then we took off. We got to the hospital after 1am and I had Brenna at 4:08am. Our parents didn't even have time to make it. She came hard and fast. This foreshadowed the personality of our girl who likes to do things her way.

I seems at every turn in this story "miracles" happened to lead us to our child. She is our blessing. By the way our son's coming to be story is just as miraculous! You'll have to wait till his birthday to hear that one!


Brook said...

Oh Jennifer. Let me try to see through the tears to type this!

What a beautiful post! I often forget the very unique way Brenna came into the world. She is such a sweet and wonderful girl, its easy to forget the long and painful road it took for you to get her. The part about your friend... the dream... more tears... high five... more tears!!

Happy Birthday Brenna! So glad that against all odds, you made your way to your loving parents :)

Brook said...

Okay, I'm back. I just have to say, you know how some newborns don't look anything like the kid they turned out to be? Yeah, Brenna is NOT one of those babies. She looks just the same to me :)

Bumble's Bounce said...

Whoa! Beautiful:) What an amazing story, Brenna is going to cherish that story even more one day.....

Alexis Heimansohn said...

What a beautiful story. It seems we (women) have this perfect vision of how our children will be brought into this world, but often it doesn't happen the way we thought it would, but still turns out perfect anyway. I know my little miracle came at a time, when I thought it would never happen and then voila!

What a gorgeous baby girl Brenna was and even more gorgeous little lady now!

chisato said...

What a beautiful story. I'm getting a little teary, too! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait for Brayden's story.

Nanny said...

Loved your story. What a journey. I'm so happy we got to meet you,Jeremy and the kids when we visited Indiana. You live in such a beautiful place and the views from your property are amazing. What a great place to raise children.
Reading your story made me appreciate you and your family even more and has helped me see all of you in a different light.
Brenna's story is indeed amazing.
Can't wait for part 2.