Embrace your Journey

Odom Wedding_0236

Oh this day four years ago was one of the happiest day’s of our lives, our wedding day.  It’s sounds so cliche to say I love this man more now that I did then, but it’s so true.  Over our (almost) 12 years of being together Wes has become the person I never knew I needed. I am so thankful to have a husband that is right by my side.

It wasn’t long after we got married we decided to grow our family, but that was not the plan God had for us.  These last four years have been the most amazing years, but also the most difficult.  We never dreamed we would become 1 of the 8 to struggle with infertility.  I swear everyday I am turning into my mother,  but I’m realizing that isn’t that bad of a thing.  I was always taught “if you want something bad enough, you must work hard at it” and that has stuck with me.  However infertility is well for a lack of a better word an evil bitch. It doesn’t care how hard you work or how much you study, it just starts to take over .  The one thing I have learned is to never give up and we are so glad we didn’t.  We have prayed for over 1,350 days for this moment when I finally saw the words pregnant on that little blue stick.  Baby Odom (or as Karina’s boys likes to call it Baby Darth Vader ) is growing well and is coming in November.  I can’t thank each and everyone who has helped or prayed for us during our struggle, it means the world to us and we are so excited!

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I have briefly talked about our infertility journey, but never in full detail.  This week is Infertility Awareness Week and there are so many couples that struggle with this everyday and my heart will always break for those couples and know I will always be praying for you.

I honestly used to be so embarrassed, so ashamed to even say the words infertility.  We are healthy people and honestly the thought of going to the doctor scared the crap out of me.  After the first couple months of trying, it was eh maybe we are just stressed and our timing is off?  We didn’t really tell too many people because well we just didn’t want to.  It seemed like every way we turned that same question “sooo when are y’all having kids?” came up and at first it was easy to answer .  As the months kept pilling on, the the questions got harder to answer.  We finally had to say we were trying.  I don’t know why I felt so ashamed, maybe because we were the first to have difficulty?  We got it all , “your too stressed”, “just stop trying and it will happen”, “it will happen when it is suppose to happen”.  And yes for some that is all they need, but it was different for us. I even had a few people ask “when are you due?”, REALLY? That really boosted my confidence.  As the second and part of the 3rd year rolled in, we took that “stop trying” advice since I was currently starting up a small business, it seemed like the right thing to do.  I actually had a friend give me some advice I didn’t know at the time would make so much sense now, but she had told me “maybe this is God’s way of having you take care of your business baby before he gives you a real baby”.

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At this point I knew the natural way was just not in the cards for us.  We had tried ovulation tests , old wives tales, you name it we tried it, but still no baby.  One night I went out with some of my friends for drinks and the talk of babies came up and how some of them were having a hard time.  I have talked a little bit about it, but again nothing about how I really felt.  I just remember sitting there telling them it doesn’t get any easier and finally admitted how scared I was to even see a doctor.  Yes I know it could have been an easy fix , but just the idea of having a doctor tell me you can’t have kids scared me.  I was in denial and if you are at this stage I am here to tell you it’s ok. It’s ok to be scared and it’s ok to be sad for yourself.  Around the end of August of last year, Wes and I talked about it and I finally got the nerve to call the doctor.  I made the appointment and the first thing we did was draw some blood for some tests, and then was told Wes needed to get checked as well.  Yes it is exactly as awkward as you can imagine, but we just laughed at it because at this point that is all you can do.  Everything came back normal on both sides and a sigh of relief came over us, but then the question why,  why can’t we get pregnant, tormented us. My Ob wrote a prescription for Clomid 50mg, and for those of you that don’t know Clomid is a fertility drug that basically causes you to ovulate.  There are some crazy side effects and the worst was the hot flashes, I was a hormonal hot mess ( literally ).  During the projected time of ovulation I went in for a ultrasound to check to see if we had any good folicals to produce and egg, and from what we saw everything looked great.  Well we were wrong, our first round failed and it sucked.  We tried for round two and went through the same process, but this time was different .  As we were looking for a folical, one was kinda small miss shaped .  My Ob was quiet and just said huh guess we missed it and we’ll just try again next time, the Clomid didn’t work.  About a week goes by and all of a sudden around Midnight I woke up to this AWFUL pain in my lower abdomen.  I thought maybe I ate something bad and I’ll just go back to sleep, haha yeah no .  I laid in bed for awhile just praying the pain would go away until around 1:30ish I couldn’t take it anymore and was hovering over the door frame with the bathroom light on.  Wes jumped out of a dead sleep and said “DO WE NEED TO GO TO THE ER?” with tears in my eyes, all I could do was shake my head, he knew at that point something was really wrong .  I am stubborn like my momma , again I’m turning into her, and do not like to go to doctors.  We rush over to the ER and at this point I could barely sit down and my stomach was so tight. We get to a room and the nurse drew some blood and got me prepped in case I needed fluids.  They fist did X-rays and waited till the doctor came in to talk with us, she started to listen to my belly as said “good lord you have a volcano in your belly and from what she saw in the X-ray I had a lot of gas.”  Now yes I looked at Wes and said “are you kidding me I came to the ER for gas??” She laughed with us and said she would have the radiologist take a closer look and if they find something they would come in and get prepped for a CT scan.  We waited for awhile and at this point ( 5AM ish) I was so tired, and as soon as I tried to shut my eyes in comes this other nurse with a wheelchair to take me to get the CT scan.  They hook me up to the IV with the iodine that acts like a dye so they can see what’s going on in this body of mine.  He didn’t have much of a sense of humor which is too bad, and said your going to feel kinda warm here in a few seconds and just try to stay still.  Warm?  No more like I felt the stuff go in every vein and just heat up, I felt it in my eye lids and then down my legs .  It was the weirdest feeling ever and then the feeling of oh good lord did I just pee on the table?? Luckily it just feels like you did, but you really didn’t ( and yes I checked).  After we were all done he wheeled me back to our room and told Wes about the “warmth” incident again we have to laugh.  Our doctor came in and was like well there was something wrong with you, you had an ovarian cyst rupture.  Yes another lovely side effect to the Clomid, but it was also a good thing because the cyst took care of itself with no surgery.   So after two failed rounds of Clomid I said one more and we need to try something else.  We started round 3 and good lord it was the worst of them all , one minute I was hot then I was cold , and then back to hot. My mom laughed and said “now you know what your future will be like during menopause”, the woman has jokes , only sometimes.  We went through the same process, but this time felt different.  I was getting close to the time I was suppose to start ( sorry boys) and I felt funny.  I was later than normal, but trying to not get my hopes up I said I will wait one more day.  I had my tests ready for that first morning “testing” and almost couldn’t sleep.  I hoped out of bed and all of a sudden that feeling of hope turned into devastation .  I cried and cried, until there were no more tears to cry.  My heart was shattered into a million pieces of our bathroom floor and all I could do was crawl back into bed.  I have been disappointed before, but nothing like this.  I texted Wes because words just couldn’t come out and told him how I couldn’t do this by myself and that I needed him.  I wanted to be strong, but I couldn’t anymore. The texts he wrote back we not his usual “ok love” , but a side of him that he doesn’t show very often.  Of course that made me cry even harder to know he is right beside me and that my friends is the husband I never knew I needed.

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I called the office of a local fertility specialist and told them our story and normally they would need a referral, but because we had been trying so long they decided to take us.  There is usually a 3 month waiting list, but there was a cancelation and they were able to get us in with in a couple of weeks (beginning of January ).  I was so scared, but at this point I knew we needed to go another route. We had our first meeting with our specialist and we talked about options, he said more than likely this is unexplained infertility and you just might need a little help.  I felt good about the decision to start seeing a specialist, until we got a phone call saying our insurance doesn’t cover infertility .  Lovely, I was on such a high and then got kicked in the stomach again.  We talked it over and we couldn’t just give up.  He talked about a less invasive procedure called a natural IUI (intrauterine insemination) and we decided to start there.  More blood tests and more ultrasounds, at this point I have become a pro at this and needles no longer scare me.  The nurses y’all have seriously become part of our family and was there for us each step of the way.  I promise not to get to graphic haha, about the next few steps.  We work off of my normal cycle and estimate a time of when I should ovulate.  That is where drawing the blood comes into play, and they can tell exactly where I am in my cycle through my levels.  We get a timeframe set and I go in for blood work and an ultrasound to check how my folicals were doing, one got pretty big but not where they wanted it. I was told to take an ovulation test the next morning and if it was positive we would go ahead with the procedure that day, if not then I would need to give myself a shot to trigger ovulation and have the procedure .  Of course it was negative and the idea of giving myself a shot was well just not going to happen.  So husband comes to the rescue and he might have actually enjoyed it.  With the shot you will ovulate within 36 hours so it was all very timed out.  IUI day comes and poor Wes had to go into a little room and well use your imagination and then we came back in about 2 hours.  For this one we followed the instructions to a T and one note was to have a full bladder,  yeah so mine was way full .  We go into our room and they come in with a little vial and said “are you Wes Odom?” Yup so now it was go time. Yes it was super weird, but it only took about 10 minutes, and then you just had to sit back and wait 2 more, longest 2 minutes of my life when you have to pee that bad. Now the hard part…the 2 week wait.  It was all becoming so real, like this could be it ! We had our trip to Savannah, GA right when we would know something whether it was good or bad.  In my mind I’m thinking this is perfect we are relaxed and it will be the best news for our trip.  Yeah nope, our first day there right as we sat down for lunch I needed to use the restroom, and instant heart break once again.  Only this time I couldn’t curl into a ball or let it out, I had to keep it together and just needed a drink a big tall drink. We got back to our little house and Wes kissed my forehead and said we will just try again.  I was ok oddly enough and maybe it was because my mind was so busy looking at the history of Savannah or the baby goats I wanted to bring home with us, but I was ok.  It wasn’t until our ride home that Monday where I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  It was like a Hallmark movie, we were trapped in a car and it was pouring rain outside and my mind had nowhere to wander.  I tried my best to hold it in, but the tears still rolled down my cheek.

I was angry, I was sad, and all the doubt ran through my mind and asked God, why us? Will we not make good parents? It was hard not to think like that, but I finally was able to push it aside and we went for a second round.  We went through the same process and still needed the trigger shot, in a way it helped me plan a little better.  We go in and this time Wes brought his “sample” , so we dropped it off and went for breakfast.  We had some time to kill still so we went for a short walk at the Greenway, and it was the best thing we ever did.  We were so calm and I knew no matter what I had my best friend right by my side.  We went in with a less full bladder haha and it seemed to go much smoother than before and she was in and out in no time.  Also during this month, my mom convinced me to start going to their chiropractor to see if he could help.  With cakes my lower back is all kinds of twisted and he said that those muscles could be constricting nerves to your ovaries.  It actually makes sense and again we would try anything.  The two week wait went by really fast this time, and it was time to take the test. It was first thing in the morning and I paced the whole house like a crazy person, until I read the words I have longed for for so long “Pregnant”.  I screamed and then tears and then more pacing of OMG OMG , our poor dogs had no idea what was going on. I was in so disbelief and called our specialist right away, like get me in today!  I rushed over there and they confirmed with the blood test, I was actually pregnant.  I had to tell someone, but I really wanted to surprise Wes when he got home.  I called my best friend, Ashley, and before the words came out of my mouth she said “Your pregnant!!!” Ah, I finally get to say those words!  As much as I wanted to “surprise” Wes he pretty much knew and because of our situation we had to tell our families pretty quickly.  Lots of happy tears and every day since we have prayed to just say thank you and to pray over this little baby.

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After weekly blood check ups to make sure our levels kept rising , we got news that we get to have our first ultrasound to see the baby.  We was so excited, and once we were trying to find the baby we just saw a “grain of rice” as they described it, and then when and got one of the other nurses.  At this point, I could see in their eyes something was wrong.  They told us we should be at 6 wks-2, but the baby is measuring 5wks-2 and there was no heartbeat.  I can’t even remember what the nurse said after that, I just had this instant wave of heat rush over my body and couldn’t hold back tears.  We were at that point we didn’t know if we had lost our baby or not and we would need to come back that coming Monday.  I was a wreck that whole day, but having a wedding that Friday I knew I had to stay focused.  I prayed and prayed for this little baby and after talking with a few friends they said it’s just too early.  I had doubt, but then I did some research that actually calmed my nerves a little bit.  As we were walking up to the building, Wes grabbed my hand and I just knew we were going to be ok.  We started the ultrasound and all of a sudden in this little grain of rice there was a tiny little flicker of a heartbeat.  I thought I saw it , but I didn’t want to fool myself.  Still holding on to me, Wes popped up and said I see it, and then so did our doctor.  Since then we have been watching very closely, and this past Tuesday we had our last appointment with our specialist.  It was such a bittersweet moment, our baby has grown and has a beautiful strong heartbeat, but we were leaving the people that helped us get to where we are now.  I don’t know if it was the IUI , the Chiropractor, or a whole lot of Jesus , but we have a baby and I couldn’t be thankful for everyone who has prayed over us and has walked this journey with us.

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Everyone is different and some have it harder than others, but never give up . The pain you have been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming | Romans 8:18

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Photography by: Erin Lindsey Images

Linen and Calligraphy by: Linen and Leaf

1 comment
  • 2016 | Erin Lindsey ImagesJanuary 2, 2017 - 7:37 pm

    […] – I had the incredible honor of photographing a pregnancy announcement for some dear friends of mine, Wes and his wife Michelle, who also happens to be the extremely talented cake designer behind Just Crumbs. They are now the proud parents of the sweetest little boy, Gage Reed. He is truly an answer to so many prayers. Read more about their story on their blog by clicking HERE) […]