Thursday, January 20, 2011

Journey to Motherhood! Its a long one!

I wanted to write this post in hopes to inspire other women as well as my friends who are on this journey. One thing that helped me keep going month after month was the friends who shared with me stories of their own struggles with infertility.

6.5 years ago Andrew and I were so excited about starting a family. Little did we know it wouldn't happen the way we had planned. So every month I charted my temperature, timed everything right and nothing. I would go from being hopeful to being very disappointed. Each month it got harder and harder. So after 12 months and a what seemed like a million negative pregnancy tests we finally saw my OBGYN. She ran tests on both Andrew and I only to find nothing wrong with either of us. I was relieved but also disappointed because we still didn't know why this was happening to us. So she decided to treat me with Clomid (aka-Crazy medicine) as some of you know first hand the medicine turned me into a monster. We tried that for 2 months and nothing. We were so disappointed. The next step in the testing process was a laperoscopy to test for endometriosis. By that time I had read every book, learned everything you needed to know about making babies, charted my temperature, stood on my head, had sex more than most couples who were married 50 years. So when the doctor said surgery I said "sure why not"! I was willing to do anything at that point. So a week before my surgery things were different so on my lunch break I ran to the store, bought a pregnancy test, went home, took the test, went on fixing my lunch because after a million negative tests I wasn't anticipating it to be, but when I went back to the test it had TWO lines!! Finally positive!! I began to cry and thanking God. But then I had to tell Andrew so when I returned to work I called him and he didn't believe me until he saw it for himself and then he didn't believe me till we had our first sonogram. So 9 months later on May 23rd, 2006, Jase Andrew was born. I was on cloud nine. My dreams of a year and a half were finally made true. I was finally a mom!

Unfortunately my journey of infertility didn't end there. Right before my pregnancy with Jase I had met with Dr. Gehlbach , a Reproductive Endocrinologist, he ran some different blood tests than what my OB had done and the week after I found out I was pregnant he called to tell me my FSH level was really high. At that time I didn't care what that was and what it meant. So after Jase was a year old we thought we better start trying again since it took so long before. 6 months went by and nothing happened. Tried the Clomid with IUI's and nothing. SO I went back to Dr. Gehlbach only to be told the worse news ever. The high level of FSH meant that I only had a 5% chance of conceiving a baby on my own. High FSH is found in women who are in menapause and that my eggs were depleting. WHAT???? I was only 24 when I was tested how in the world did I have this issue. I remember sitting there wishing Andrew had gone with me because I was trying so hard to be strong and not start bawling in front of this doctor as he was explaining what this meant for me. After hours of crying and being angry that God would make me go through this. I did what I do when I am in a horrible situation; reminding myself God is good and there is a reason, a lesson I am suppose to learn. So I stayed positive and began treatment. Not pills this time but SHOTS! Andrew loved it cause he was the one giving me the shots. (I'm glad he found humor in it cause i hated it) Well after 4 months NOTHING I began researching on the Internet on how to get pregnant with HIGH FSH. I found TONS of research that acupuncture can cure high fsh and the great testimonies on how these women got pregnant after being treated. So I found an acupuncturist started going every week and after 3 months and still not pregnant .I saw a naturpathic doctor, Dr. Johnson , she began researching further as to why I had this issue. OK so I'm not a holistic person so when she began to look at my tongue and feel my pulse I was a little skeptical but I was hopeful so I continued my visits with her. She revamped my diet, NO YEAST! What?? This meant no bread, no cake, nothing made with yeast, no PASTA!! Crazy,I know but apparently I had whats called a Candida overgrowth in my body (aka yeast) so I did what she told me, took some awful drinks of Wheatgrass, as well as Chinese medicine. Well after 3 months of treatment and totally changing my lifestyle as well as my belief in Chinese medicine I became pregnant. After 3 whole years of trying I was FINALLY pregnant. But.....I didn't feel right. I was terrified I would miscarry. I thought at one point I was having an ectopic pregnancy but only to confirm I was wrong after seeing this little pea on the sonogram. A week later which I was 7 weeks pregnant at the time we had heard the heartbeat so I felt okay about the pregnancy. But.....only to find out a week later the baby no longer had a heartbeat. My world had tumbled down. My heart was crushed. I was so angry at God. What in the world did I do to deserve this?? I had been at my lowest point after that. It was terribly hard. How do I bounce back after this?? We were flooded with emotions. Naturally we were hurt and angry. Angry that God had taken this gift we had so longed for. It was the first time in our life together when loving God was difficult, almost impossible. Naturally for me I knew God had a plan so I leaned on Him to get through it.

Soon after, our pastor started a series on love which really spoke to our hearts. It was then that we realized what true love really is. We learned to love God even though we had lost the baby we had been praying for over the last 3 years. We also learned to praise and love God with our actions even when our hearts are broken. Through our journey we have grown closer to God and learned a lot about who he is in our lives.  

Well.....2 months later I started feeling tired and very nauseous. Andrew had said" you only get like this when you re pregnant" I thought "no way, I cant be, I just had a miscarriage" but still went to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test and OMG I was!! I was so excited but nervous. I remember having the feeling that everything was going to be fine. Sure enough 9 months later on June 7, 2010
Joel Robert was born.

I remember a dream I had 2 weeks prior to finding out I was pregnant..... I was pregnant with twins but one wasn't growing like it should and was not going to make it but the other was healthy. In my dream i was holding a healthy baby boy visualizing him being about 1.5 years old having brown hair and brown eyes. I'm telling you that because that is exactly what God blessed us with!

My journey has given me the opportunity to help other women who are going through this and I hope you find inspiration and hope. Know always that its not in your timing, its in God's timing. He gave me Joel when doctors told me I had a less than 5% chance of having another baby. My advice to a woman going thru the same thing is to never give up and ask God for guidance, because I believe God lead me to Dr. Johnson who helped me and gave me the right care to achieve my dream of having another baby.

Love, Mandy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Mama behind MaMalogs

My older sister and I
 Me: Well most of you know me. I grew up in Kansas and have lived here my entire life! I have a younger brother, an older sister, and a half brother and sister. So yes...I'm a middle child. My entire childhood I dreamed of working in the medical field. My grandmother, who passed away before I was born, was a nurse, and the way that my dad spoke of her, telling me stories of how amazing she was, I knew I wanted to be just like her. So when I graduated high school I began my career as a medical assistant while pursuing my dreams of becoming a nurse just like my grandma. Little did I know that I would meet my future husband during those times. I was attending a church I had started going to while in high school, where in fact, I began my journey as a Christian, when we met. The youth pastor there, who I was great friends with, invited me along to celebrate Easter with her family. I knew of Andrew and already had a "crush" on him so when they told me that he would be there I totally agreed. So, introductions where made between him and I, immediately we had a connection. I remember watching him interact with his 2 year old sister  and I knew then that he was a catch. Not to mention he's incredibly handsome! I was smitten!
Well to make a long story short we began dating that summer, just after I graduated high school! We had been dating a 2 years when he purposed. It was the day after Thanksgiving and if you live in Kansas City you know that the Plaza is the place to be during the holiday season. We have had many dates on the Plaza, so when he insisted on having dinner and seeing the lights I didn't think anything of it. During our carriage ride around the plaza Andrew proposed and I happily agreed!!
Engagment 2002

August 9th, 2003

9 months later we were married and began our life together as a married couple!! I can’t believe that was almost 8 years ago. In those years we battled through infertility and miscarriage (a whole different post) but have created two wonderfully sweet little boys, Jase (4), and Joel (7 months). The moment I became a mother was probably the best day in my life! No, not probably, it defiantly was!! I am so blessed that every day I get to spend pouring my life into my family, which, yes, makes me a stay-at-home mom.
The day I became a mom!

God.........well, a big big part of who I am is because of my relationship with Him. I have always tried to put Him #1 in my life. Even though it is tough at times it is very important to me. Andrew and I have been attending Evangel Church in KCMO for 7 years. We love our church and  in fact have met some incredibly great friends. My journey as a Christian has evolved over the 11 years and hope that it only continues
                                                   to grow.

So that is me in a nut shell. I left TONS out but defiantly not the most important things. To me it’s all my dreams come true.

Love, Mandy

Monday, January 10, 2011

McDonnell Mamalogs

Welcome to McDonnell Mamalogs! Im creating this blog to document our lives "The McDonnell's" but have  hopes to inspire, relate, and laugh along the way. Sharing my stories of marriage, infertility, miscarriage, moments with my boys, and my journey with God. Im an open book so be aware.