9 months later….

24991440_876541482274_2052247889102768815_nI will preface this by saying that I am still pregnant. ūüôā

I haven’t written in awhile and I feel like I left some of you hanging…especially those of you that aren’t friends with us on Facebook. ¬†Mama M and I have had quite the roller coaster of a pregnancy that I feel the need to catch you up on. ¬†The last update I provided said that we were finally pregnant!

Now sit back, grab a drink (if it’s wine, have some for me!), and enjoy this recap of the past 3 trimesters!

First Trimester: We found out we were pregnant about three weeks prior to our planned move to South Korea.  At the time, our lease was ending and there was a short, 8-day gap before our flight departed for Seoul.  Our friends, the G family, offered to let us and our 2 dogs stay for the week in their guest room.  Little did we know that this offer would turn into the BEST decision that we had made in a long time.

When I notified the military that I was pregnant, they changed the day that we needed to report to Korea to the second week of September — essentially the end of the first trimester.¬† We had to make a decision at this point about where to live — do we continue to impose on our very welcoming hosts, or do we find a place with a short term, furnished lease.¬† Remember, by this time, all of our household goods (minus the suitcases that were coming on the plane with us) had either been put in storage, or were on a ship making the trans-pacific journey to the land of the Morning Calm.¬† After sounding like a broken record for a few days with our friends….”Are you sure it is okay that we stay?”……..”No, really, are you sure we aren’t imposing?”, Mama M and I decided to continue to stay with our friends, their four kids and their 2 dogs for the entire summer.¬† It was like one BIG happy family — Mama M, Mama D, our two dogs, our friends, T and J, their two dogs, their four kids, and our little one in utero (Shim — a term created to mean she and him since we weren’t planning on finding out the gender).¬† What could have easily been a recipe for unhappy disaster turned into the best summer of our lives.¬† Not only did we get to stay in the United States during a trimester riddled with “all-day” sickness, a diagnosis of hypoglycemia, and just general fatigue — but Mama M and I became part of the extended G family — and intend on maintaining that family relationship for the rest of our lives.

Second Trimester:¬†In September, it was time to pack up our bags (and by bags I mean 8 – 50 lb bags, 2 large dog crates (for our 2 smalls dogs) and our 2 carry on bags…total of 12 bags) and fly to our next duty station in South Korea.

Flying to Korea

We might have over packed…..

Upon arriving, and spending 5 days in limbo waiting to find out if we were going to be staying at Yongsan (Seoul) or Camp Humphreys we finally found out that we were going to be stationed at Camp Humphreys, a larger base located about 90 minutes south of Seoul, in a city called Pyeongtaek.  We again packed up our 12 bags and headed down to Camp Humphreys.  We quickly found a house, got settled into a routine at work, and slowly started planning how Shim was going to fit into this life of ours that we were creating on the other side of the world.  A nursery started coming together,  we were set up with a wonderful OB team at the U.S. military hospital in Seoul, and we started exploring this beautiful country that we had the privilege of living in for the next two years.

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Visiting one of the oldest and largest temples near Suwon.

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Spending the day at the Yellow Sea, which is very similar to Monterrey, CA.

During this trimester, I continued to have pretty much every pregnancy symptom in the book.

Continued nausea?       Check.
Rib Pain?                         Check.
Back Pain?                      Check.
Trouble Sleeping?         Check.
Snoring?                          Check.
Heartburn?                     Quadruple Check
Hemorrhoids?               WTF Check!

The list could go on and on, but essentially, this pregnancy was proving to be difficult for me.¬† I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia at around the 12-week mark after failing a 3-hour glucose test.¬† Most women fail this test by having glucose levels that are too high.¬† I, however, was a rare case of the opposite — my glucose level was at 31 at the 3-hour mark.¬† This level was considered critical and the staff at the OB’s office has no idea how I was still standing, let alone able to walk out of their office and drive myself home.¬† At our 20 week ultrasound, we were devastated and worried sick when we were told that Shim had developed calcium deposits on his/her heart.¬† We were sent to a local Korean hospital within two weeks to have a more in depth exam done and, thankfully, the spots had disappeared during that two week period.¬† Whew!

Third Trimester: The homestretch of this pregnancy has definitely felt like the longest.  We were lucky enough to start it off with a trip back to the United States, both for Mama D to work, and for both of us to take a few days off and visit with our families and friends. Baby Shim was definitely spoiled with multiple gatherings and showers to celebrate his or her upcoming arrival.

Colorado Family

Our Colorado Girls!

In Denver, Colorado, the place where all of the magic took place to create Shim was the first stop on our trip.¬† Our “Colorado Girls,” as Mama M calls them, hosted a wonderful brunch and baby shower to celebrate Shim.¬† The highlight was having everyone create homemade bibs for Shim to wear when s/he is a wee bit older.

After Denver, we were able to visit with Mama D’s family in Chicago.¬† Her cousin, Kate, opened up her home and her heart to all of us.¬† It was so nice to see everyone together in one place, celebrating the addition of another cousin to the family.¬† Shim is so very lucky to have quite the extended family living throughout the Chicagoland area!

Our final stop on our trip to the United States was to visit Mama M’s family in Southern California.¬† How blessed Shim will be to not only have wonderful grandmothers around, but also his/her great-grandmother, Quyen.¬† We can’t wait for Quyen, Mama M’s mother, and Mama D’s mother to make the trip out here to Korea sometime in the the next few months to meet our new addition!

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The last highlight of this homestretch was our trip to Pyeongchang to witness some of the 2018 Winter Olympics.¬† When we found out that we were being stationed here, we knew that we had to see at least one event —- even if I was 36 weeks pregnant!¬† We were lucky enough to obtain free tickets and transportation to the Final Women’s Luge event.¬† So, with Shim in tow, we went out the event, braved the bitter cold, and got to witness amazingly strong female athletes in action.¬† Definitely a once in a lifetime experience and one that I will never forget.¬† Plus, we can tell Shim that s/he was actually at the Olympic Games a month before being born!
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That, my friends, is the Cliff Notes version of the past nine months of our lives.  We are looking forward to having Shim join us in this world, creating memories and adventures together, and, in the next week or so (hopefully!) introducing all of you to the long awaited baby Shim!

Shim

Shim at 32 weeks, partially blocked by his/her hand, but still, an adorable chunky monkey 

 

My Wife Lied to Me

I’ll just start this entry by saying that I have a very LOW tolerance for pain.

Prior to starting stimulation medications, a baseline scan of your ovaries is necessary. ¬†Unfortunately, at mine, they found a decent-sized cyst on my left ovary. ¬†This is the same kind of cyst that caused Mama D to have to fly to Denver to get drained back in February (thus, missing her sister’s surprise birthday party!), so I knew that it meant that I’d have to go in for a “quick procedure,” too. ¬†I found a doctor here in Kansas City that wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to do it, and scheduled the procedure for the next morning.

I left home under the assurances from Mama D that the pain would be along the lines of an ear or naval piercing, followed by cramps. ¬†Despite being completely NOT EAGER about having this done (seriously, who wants a needle through your vagina and ovary???? ¬†Hands? ¬†Anyone?), I knew it was necessary for us to do this retrieval. ¬†If I didn’t, all of this expensive medication that I had negotiated for would get sucked up by the cyst and not by my little follicles/eggs.

Mama D had to go to work that day and so I went down to Kansas City solo — again, with the assurance that it would be a relatively easy procedure.

It started just like any other OBGYN appointment. ¬†The doctor came in and explained what would happen — a vaginal ultrasound to confirm the presence of the cyst followed by a needle that would then be inserted through the vagina and into my ovary to drain the cyst. ¬†A big part missing from her explanation was any mention of anesthesia.

“Oh,” she said, “that’s because we don’t use anesthesia here because it takes too long.”

SAY WHAT.

At this point, I was facing either bad pain or a canceled cycle.  I decided that the canceled cycle would be worse than the pain in my lady parts.

The draining itself went as expected — the pain was just like Mama D had described. ¬†The only difference was that the pain didn’t go away, the cramping in my abdomen was like a charley horse in your behind (seriously, the pain in my rear made me think that this doctor had stabbed me through and through), and, as I laid there waiting for the pain to subside, I was bleeding…….so much so that the doctor and nurse had to sit there with multiple rags trying to sop it up. ¬†I have no idea how much it was in the end, but I imagine that it looked like a crime scene down there. ¬†The doctor assured me that this happened sometimes and that it was nothing to worry about.

After about 15 minutes, the nurse asked me if I wanted to go to the restroom to clean up. ¬†Instead of having me get completely dressed, just to dart across the hallway into the bathroom, she peeked out into the hall and let me run across really quick —– in my t-shirt, flip flops, and a little paper dressing covering my lady parts.

As I sat there in the bathroom, the cramps got the better of me.  I started shaking and getting light headed.  All I could think was:

OMG – I cannot pass out in the bathroom with no pants on!

I mustered up the strength to get to the door, open it, and start to walk across the hall……and that was about as far as I got. ¬†The next thing I knew, ¬†I was laying on the cold floor of a medical room, half naked, with a nurse holding my legs up over her shoulder, another shoving a small desk fan in my face, and the doctor holding a paper bag over my mouth and telling me to breath.

This definitely wasn’t how I imagined this experience going. ¬†The only things I could mutter enough strength to say were “Someone call my wife to make her feel bad about not coming to this appointment with me” and a half-apology to the nurse holding my feet because half of my ass was hanging out of this makeshift toga. ¬†Eventually, I was well enough to leave the office — thanks to some friends that came to pick me up. ¬†Mama D was still in school and, although I gave her a guilt trip about it later, I knew that missing more classes would hurt her in the end.

After the cyst draining, my retrieval was pretty much by the book — with the exception of some odd abdominal bruising, continued cramping in my behind (seriously, I have no clue where that came from), and apparently my body decided to let my intestines descend throughout the week of stimulation medications.

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In the end, our doctor was able to retrieve 7 eggs from me.  From those 7 eggs, 4 of them grew normally to Day 5 and were frozen and sent off for chromosome testing.  Hoping that our little kiddos are somewhere in that 4!!!

The Little Engine that Could…..Couldn’t

M and I decided to push ahead with another round of IVF, despite it causing us to stretch our finances seriously thin. ¬†This yearning that we have for a child and a family is so strong that, at this point, we’d do anything to achieve it.

As part of the preparation for the next round, I had to have an ultrasound and labs done here in Kansas today. ¬†I had to laugh because my ultrasound was scheduled for a day when I had to wear my “fancy” uniform to school/work, and I was on a tight time schedule, so I didn’t have time to change before heading off to my appointments. ¬†Trying to finagle my way out of my pantyhose (clearly invented by a man….), my spanx (because, honestly, what woman doesn’t wear these nowadays….), heels, and uniform in order to get my ultrasound done made me chuckle……getting dressed again made me chuckle even more. ¬†It really made me appreciate the leggings that I seem to wear on a daily basis when I’m sans uniform.

As I was driving home from the ultrasound/labs, relieved knowing that the ultrasound looked normal, my fertility doctor called to let me know that our one little embryo, the “little engine that could”…..couldn’t. ¬†It came back as abnormal. ¬†Our one little hope from this last cycle turned out to be hopeless.

Needless to say, tears were shed in the car. ¬†I ugly cried most of the way back to school. ¬†Cried because my body was failing me — failing us. ¬†Why was this not working for us….again?