(The first photo of our little bean!)
I know that over the past three plus years on this blog that I’ll give occasional glimpses about Mrs11 and Widcat11’s life. I try to keep it somewhat vague and brief because you come here to read about our Linfield Wildcats and not about our personal lives, or what kind of coffee I like, or my theories on why “The Wire” is the greatest TV show ever made. However, Mrs11 and I have received news in our lives that is so incredible to us that I can’t keep this in and I have to share with my Catdome Family.
Mrs11 and I are going to be parents!!!!! To us…this feels like a Miracle. I know that any baby is a miracle but for us this feels ever so true. I’ll just share our whole story with you because we’ve traveled a long road filled with disappointments, adversity, sadness, and now incredible joy.
I’ll remember the moment clearly. Mrs11 and I were driving to the Oregon coast in the late summer of 2005. We’ve been married since August of 2002 and felt like we’ve done a decent job of getting our feet on the ground and on that drive we came to the decision to try to expand our family. It was so exciting and nerve-racking to know that within the next few months we’ll have started our journey towards parenthood. But months passed and nothing was happening. At that point we were disappointed but we knew that with some couples it might just take a little time for it to happen. The months tuned into a year and then a year turned into two years with no success. At that point we made the decision to go to OHSU and start working with their excellent fertility clinic. The people at OHSU women’s health were so incredibly helpful and knowledgeable but not matter what we tired the pregnancies just were not taking.
When you’re working with such a good group of doctors the hope you feel is incredible. You say to yourself “these are the best people to help us and I know they will get us to our goal” so when it doesn’t happen after numerous and expensive treatments it just levels you to the ground.
At this time Mrs11 and myself were just turning 30 and so many of our friends were having babies, throwing baby showers, birthday parties, etc and every time you go to one of these parties you experience such a wide range of emotion. You love your friends and their young ones so much but at the same time it’s such a painful reminder that this is something to you that seems unattainable. Then you have the friends of your friends that don’t know you very well and they ask the innocent questions of “Do you have any kids?” or “Which one of these are yours?” I was never mad when someone asked that questions but it always felt awkward and sad. All of these moments are so draining and frustrating when you just feel like “this is never going to happen for us”.
Another major piece of this puzzle is what most people that knows Mrs.11 but don’t really know is what she has had to battle for years and I’m just going to talk about. Mrs.11 has battled some very difficult health issues that first appeared during her senior year of high school that could have ended her life if not treated. Mrs11 found out that she suffers from a rare blood disease called Acute Porphyria which causes the body to overproduce porphyrins in her blood. There is no cure for Porphyria and it manifests itself on occasion with what is called a “Porphyria attack”. For Mrs.11 it causes her skin to feel ice cold and causes incredibly painful abdominal pain. I’m not just talking about a little ache but like the feeling of a knife in your belly for hours upon hours and pain if I even touch her skin. There is nothing I can write to describe the desperation you feel when the person you love is in such agony and all you can do is just talk to them and help them ride out the pain. However, that’s just the short of it. The Porphyria is just a symptom of a bigger issue in that Mrs11 has in a life threatening disease called Autoimmune Hepatitis. This is a disease that causes inflammation of one’s liver and if untreated it will cause scarring of the liver and eventually liver failure. The problem is you have to manage this with a horrible but life saving drug called prednisone. While prednisone keeps the inflammation in check it pretty much deteriorates your immune system and has a gaggle of other bad side effects but it keeps your liver from dying which is good (needless to say).
So pretty much Mrs11 is the toughest and strongest person I’ve ever met in my whole life. She’s never let these horrible issues stop her from being a hardworking professional or an awesome wife but these issues where compounding the fact that we were three + years into the struggle of getting pregnant. The stress and frustration she was feeling just made the Porphyria that much worse. Everything just seemed out of control to the point that we had to make a change.
At this point it’s late 2009 and we had some very hard conversations about maybe it’s just not meant to be for us. Maybe we’re just supposed to be the cool Aunt and Uncle and awesome Dog Parents (we do love our Mack and Maddy). So we stopped “trying” in the sense of fertility, tracking temperatures, etc, and we just started trying to let go of the thought that we were going to be parents. It was time to get healthy both physically and mentally and just enjoy life. We looked at our lives and were thankful that we had each other; both have solid careers, supportive friends, and have made a good life together. It was time for us to move on.
Then about two weeks ago, Mrs11 was ill. She was feeling flu-like, she couldn’t really eat much, and some foods really were grossing her out (the smell of coffee). Finally I asked the questions of “should we get a pregnancy test?” Now for those that have struggled to get pregnant there is nothing worse than getting crushed by a negative test. It’s happen a number of times to us so it was a hard question to ask. But Mrs11 thought it would be good to cross pregnancy off the list of why she may feel so off so I hit a Walgreens and picked up a test.
Made it home and Mrs11 went into the bathroom to do her thing and I just stood in the kitchen preparing myself for the disappointment and pain of another negative when I hear Mrs.11 screaming from the bathroom. Now these where screams of joy and it just froze me up. “This can’t really be happening?” I raced down the hall and Mrs11 came out of the bathroom with tears of joy pouring down as she holds up the positive test. I was just stunned and my immediate thought was, “TAKE THE OTHER TEST”. She did and it came back “pregnant”. This had to be a mistake because we’ve been trying for 5 years that this couldn’t really be happening. So the next day Mrs.11 took a blood test and bam…baby on the way. Just incredible but I’ve built us such armor that it really didn’t feel real to me yet and I was still guarded. Well that was until we visited the doctor this past Friday.
After our initial Q&A with the registered Nurse we went up for an ultrasound. This is the moment that that armor broke and it all of that uncertainty fell away for good. With the television feed of the ultrasound turned on and while holding Mrs.11’s hand we were able to see our baby for the first time. It was so incredible and next thing I see is our little bean wiggling. It had to be the most inspirational thing I’ve ever seen in my life and I knew we were going to be OK. We found out that we’re actually at 10 weeks and now about 11 weeks along and everything seems to be going really well.
I know there is always some hesitation in sharing this information publicly because of issues that could come up, but at 11 weeks we just feel like this is meant to be and we’re just going to leave the negative thoughts to the side. We want to share this story with you because we know that we are not the only couple that have had this struggle or are having it right now. We feel so fortunate and blessed to have Baby14 in our lives (Mrs.11 wore 44 for the ‘Cats during her Basketball days so we’ll combine the 11 and 44). We still have a huge part of this journey in front of us but we’re excited to jump in with both feet and head forward.
I just want to thank everyone in our lives that have been so supportive of us during these times and know we’ll try to honor that by just doing the best we can to be supportive and loving parents. Thank you Catdome Family for allowing me to share this news and I hope you’ll excuse me for being a proud papa. Go ‘Cats and Go Baby14!