January 2, 2013

Breaking into the Baby-Making Business

By Kristina
Introduced by Amy

"Kristina and I met when we lived in the same apartment complex back in my newlywed days.  We talked at church a couple times--just acquaintances.  

Then, one night, Patrick and I went to our friends' house for dinner (grilled shish-kabobs...I have to mention that, because they were SOO stinkin' good) and Kristina was there with her husband.  We started out with the typical get-to-know-you questions (where are you from, what are you studying, yada, yada...), but soon a funny story was told...then another, and by the end of the night, we were all rolling, slapping the table, laughing our heads off!  I am glad I didn't pee my pants.

Next time I have dinner with these two couples, I will wear an adult diaper(Come on, I've had a baby since thenLaughing like that becomes RISKY!  Hah!)

I am so happy for Kristina and her husband to finally get their miracle babe.  I rooted and prayed for them as I read her blog updates all through that stressful pregnancy.  Boy, am I glad their little girl finally decided to show up!"

New Year’s Resolution: Lose the baby weight.
Because I, like everyone else (it seems), just had a baby.

And weight doesn’t come off easy.
As much as that stinks, I’m a bit okay with it.
Because, hello, I have a baby.

But it wasn’t long ago that I would have liked to lose weight but was far from having a baby.

Almost two years to the day before my daughter was born, my husband and I decided it was the time to start a family.
We were newly married, finishing college, and terrified.
In our hearts, we knew it was right.
But in our minds, it was insanity.

So you can imagine our surprise when, two weeks after coming off of birth control, I was pregnant.
I was elated.
I’m sure my man was miles beyond horrified.

We planned to tell our families on Christmas day.
So we hopped in a mall photo booth and made a series of pictures announcing our upcoming bundle.
I sent one off to my family, and wrapped another up for the in-laws.

We decided to tell the Jensen side a few days earlier, because my brother-in-law was planning a marriage proposal for Christmas day.

Two days after our first announcement, and after telling more friends than we should have, the unthinkable happened.
While standing in my mother-in-law’s flower shop, I excused myself to use their bathroom.  And inside that flower shop, I discovered I was miscarrying.

That was hard enough, but few things were harder than calling my Dad and telling him that I had lost the grandchild he didn’t know I was carrying, and asking him to dispose of the Christmas present.

Our hearts broke in small irreparable ways. 
But through the heartache, I saw a side of my husband I hadn’t yet been blessed to see.  He stepped up to the plate, put his pain aside, and took care of me.
Thankfully, we had Christmas, a proposal, and many other things to keep us occupied.

I knew that statistically, many, many (or even, most?) women will have at least one miscarriage, so I almost felt like I had now paid my dues.

We returned home, waited a month or so, and tried again.
And let me tell you friends, I am so good at getting pregnant.
Seriously, it’s a good thing I was never promiscuous.
Because I’d have a billion kids.
I was pregnant again at the very beginning of April.
We kept it quieter, but still probably not as quiet as we should have. 
We told our families on Mother’s Day that I was expecting.
At that time, even my own mom didn’t know about my previous miscarriage.
Easter morning, in church, I started gushing blood.

I went to the ER to discover that I had been pregnant with twins, and that one baby’s heart had stopped beating. 
The other’s was beating still, but low.
Within a few days, that little baby’s also stopped beating, and I was having another complete miscarriage.
I had a d+c immediately.

While the first miscarriage was heartbreaking, (for me) the second was beyond frustrating. 
I felt ripped off.
I had paid my dues with the first one, so where was my baby??
But we picked ourselves up and moved on.

I started student teaching in August, and a few weeks later, I was pregnant.
Surprise, surprise.
I knew better than to tell family.
But when this super annoying girl in my carpool announced she was pregnant, I felt compelled to declare my impregnation as well.
That’s how competitive I am.
And I told my cooperating teacher.  Because she needed to know why I was napping during our lunch hour.
And of course, we told some friends.  Because, third time around or not, it’s still exciting.
We would use the term, “cautiously optimistic,” time and time again.
But still, excited nonetheless.
Plus, we felt it was better to tell friends than family.
Because if something did happen, we knew friends would be sad.
But family would mourn.
And we didn’t want them to go through that.

But, of course, it didn’t take very many weeks before I once again knew I was losing the baby I so dearly wanted.
When you student teach, you’re allowed three days of absences.
I think I took almost two weeks.

While the first miscarriage is heartbreaking, and the second is frustrating, the third is infuriating.
I barely mourned, I was so mad.
I had more than paid my dues.
I had been through more than most women.
I was doing everything I should.
I was healthy, in shape, and at a healthy weight.
And if I got pregnant so easily, why was my body having such a hard time?
They scheduled me for a Saturday morning d+c.
Unfortunatly, the poor woman in there before me had some complications.
So I sat in the waiting room for two and a half hours, watching elated parents and women with swollen little bellies pile in and out of the doors, while I sat there holding back the tears.
I hated those women.
I hated the doctors for making me wait.
I hated everything.

And, to make matters worse, where I would have had the first grandchild on both sides, now I had a pregnant sister and sister-in-law.
The sister-in-law, if you remembered, that was getting engaged when I was miscarrying.
It wasn’t salt in an open wound, it was alcohol and acid.
It burned and caused a bitterness one couldn’t imagine.

I found myself rolling my eyes at any pregnant woman I saw.
Because, clearly, these strangers I knew nothing about had everything so much easier than I did.
One time, a woman even caught me rolling my eyes at her in the grocery store parking lot.
I hopped in my car and hoped she was too nearsighted to noticed what I did.

And once again, in February, while home for another sister-in-laws wedding, I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time.
I told my man, and my pregnant sister-in-law, and a few friends.
Mostly the friends that were also struggling trying to get babies.

Because, for me, all the heartbreak was a humanizing experience.
I suddenly became the spokesperson for the childless.
Maybe it’s because I was open with my trials, but women were coming out of the woodworks from all angles.  I had no idea how many other women were hurting without babies.
But they were.  And now I knew.  And I could relate.
I had a whole ring of women I could understand, and they knew me.

I waited until I was 12 weeks pregnant to go to the dr.
I had always miscarried before then, and I didn’t feel like seeing a sweet little baby inside of me if I wasn’t going to keep it.

And wouldn’t you know it, as I was 12 weeks pregnant and finally thinking I had made it to the “safe zone”, I once again started bleeding.
How freaking ridiculous.

So I went to the ER once again, and found out that, once again, I had been pregnant with two babies.
One was alive, and the other wasn’t.
But that first one was very alive.
And I saw a baby moving from inside of me.

And I tried to look away and not give my heart to that baby.
The doctor finally explained that I had two things happening:

1. The twin that was no longer living was being reabsorbed, and
2. I had a subchorionic hemorrhage

Subchorionic hemorrhage means that you have bleeds in your uterus that make blood pools that turn into clots.
The risk?  Miscarriage.
Of course.

I was classified as “high risk,” and on the pregnancy went.  And I let myself get a little attached to that little baby.

And then, at 15 weeks pregnant, I found out it was a girl.
And that’s the moment I let myself realize I was pregnant.
And I handed my heart to that baby on a silver platter.

We were so excited.
And we threw, “cautiously optimistic,” out the window.
We were taken off the “high risk” list at 17 weeks, when my clots were all but gone.

At our 20 week anatomy ultrasound, the tech said something that we automatically knew was not a good sign,
We asked for details, but he told us the doctor would review everything with us.
I was sweating.
Finally, the scan was over and our doctor told us that there were two lateral ventricles in our brains.  They should be below 10 (mm, I think?), and the baby’s was at 12.
We were back on the high risk list, and I held in my tears.
The ventricle continued to grow, maxing out at, I think, 17.
It became a wait and see game, and the perinatologist was invited to play.
He offered no insight, and we left feeling frustrated and afraid.  My man was infuriated.  So we went and saw Batman.  For some reason, that took our minds off everything enough to make us feel better.

At 25 weeks pregnant, I was giving my man a haircut when I started to feel “off.”
I thought I must be really constipated.
Have you ever heard of women that think they’re in labor and go to the hospital to find out they need to poo?
That’s embarrassing.

Within 30 minutes, I knew something was very, very wrong.
My husband called the dr, and they told us to come in.
He literally had to lift me out of the bathtub, because I couldn’t move.
I started puking.
And my poor husband tried to get my dressed.  He handed me a shirt, and I said, “Too small.”
Next shirt, “Too small.”
Next shirt, “Too hot.”

I think he wanted to ring my neck.  He had so much adrenaline, something was wrong, and I wouldn’t put on a dang shirt.

We got in the car, and I told him that there was no way I was making it to my hospital.  We went to the hospital closer to my house, and the looks on the nurses faces brought no relief.

I was in labor.  And it was way too early to deliver a healthy baby.
Before I knew it, I had an IV, the most painful shot of steroids ever, and fetal monitors strapped to me.
The only problem was, they needed me to sit still for the monitors to work.
But I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin.

Eventually, the magnesium in my IV went to work and my contractions slowed.
And I was life-flighted to the hospital I was originally supposed to go to.
However, my contractions had stopped by the time I was on the helicopter, and I felt like a fool.
Strapped to a gurney, in a helicopter, talking with the paramedics and my pilot, Opi Taylor.

I stayed in the hospital for five days, and thankfully did not have my baby in July.  She wasn’t due until Halloween, and she needed to stay in.

They didn’t know why I went into labor, but they told me to take it easy and to, of course, not be afraid to mention anything to my doctor.

Now, I’ve told you a lot of details, but there is a good end.

On October 15th, 16 blissful days early, our little Harper Quinn was born completely healthy.

All the worries were for nothing.
The clots, the ventricles, the twin – none of them affected her.
She was and is completely healthy in every single way.

I know that I don’t love or appreciate her more than other moms love their babies, but I feel that all trials and heartbreak leading up to October 15th at 1:46 am make me love and appreciate her differently.

And, though I’m so, so glad that phase of my life is over with and I finally have my sweet little 11 week old slice of heaven, I know that many women are either just beginning, or in the thick of their trials.

And for you girls, I feel you pain.
I’ve been there, and I get it.
Most other people don’t, but I get it.

And there is hope.
Because you can always become a mom.
Maybe you’ll physically birth a baby.
Maybe you wont.  But maybe some sweet woman will do it for you, and will give you the greatest present you can imagine.
And you’ll have your baby, minus the stretch marks and baby weight.

But whether you give birth or adopt your babies, it’s okay to acknowledge that you love and appreciate them differently.

And until then, it’s okay to be frustrated and upset.  It’s okay to have a hard time being excited for friends and family who don’t struggle.  You should probably pretend you are happy, but you don’t really have to mean it. 

Just beware of the bitterness.
It will consume you.

Place your faith in whatever you choose – God, karma, fate.  Whatever.
Just tell yourself it will all work out and keep living your life.
Because one day you will have a baby,

And that day, oh that sweet day.  It will make it all worth it.



  1. Thank you for sharing this, Kristina! I love how you said, "it’s okay to acknowledge that you love and appreciate them differently." This resonated with me so much.

    And I completely agree with you- when I started sharing my own experience with miscarriage, I found so many other women who had experienced the same pain of miscarriage, but never found an outlet or support group to talk about it with.

    Thank you for sharing! And I am so happy for you that you finally have a little baby to hold in your arms. Congratulations!

  2. While not completely the same, it's a very similar sort of heartbreak to experience the miscarriages and complications with a later pregnancy. In fact, it brings all new challenges to the mix. Who will watch the little one(s) while I'm on bedrest? Do we tell the kids why mommy's sick, when we aren't telling anyone we're pregnant yet, because we don't know what will happen?
    For someone with fertility problems (which, trust me, I do have) I have been amazingly blessed to get pregnant SEVEN times. Yes, seven. I have four sweet children at home, and four more waiting for me in heaven. My first two pregnancies went about like normal, with a little bedrest here and there. Pregnancy #3 seemed to be going just fine, until we were blindsided about 18 weeks with the news that she had no heartbeat. Four weeks of trying to go into labor, and then finally a D&E at 22 weeks. Pregnancy #4 was sort of "medium risk" rather than high risk, but went okay. #5 wasn't quite right, from the beginning. Preterm labor started in at about 15 weeks, amniotic fluid began disappearing without leaking... major bedrest. Delivered stillborn at 22 weeks, again. At that point I was having much worse depression and anger than the first time. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't stop obsessing. The first time had been sad, and mysterious... but the second just WASN'T FAIR. As you said, I'd paid my dues! And I'd taken such care to stay off my feet, and do everything right. I'd been to all the right specialists and had my mom come stay with us to help with the kids so I wouldn't have that extra stress. All to no avail. And then, surprise surprise, before my body had even had a chance to recover I was pregnant again! The first time we'd gotten pregnant without begging and pleading God to send us a baby, the first time we'd planned to NOT get pregnant in order to let my body rest... and one was coming anyway. Bedrest from day one, labor from 18 wks... and a full term baby. :) Later, after five years of trying for another one... five years... We'd given up hope and assumed the Lord had sent us all he'd intended to, and then I managed to get pregnant quite by surprise! After waiting so long and so anxiously, we shouted it from the rooftops! And then at the first ultrasound, discovered that we'd miscarried the twins already. :(
    So, here I am. That urge to complete the family hasn't gone away. I still ache for another baby or two to hold in my arms. I still feel like someone is missing. And I just hope and pray that the Lord isn't done sending us our family. I pray that if/when I get pregnant again, my body will be able to do what it needs to do, to get those little spirits to the earth. I pray that if that isn't His plan, my heart will be okay with that. And in the meantime... I dream of the day that I get to meet the other half of my little brood of kids, and I'm thankful that I was allowed the chance to provide them the body that they needed to fulfill their all-too-brief missions on earth.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Susie! I seriously love your last paragraph and the part about dreaming of the day when you get to meet your other children, and the opportunity you had to give them the opportunity to get bodies.


  3. I am so thankful for my struggle with infertility and miscarriages. Sounds strange, I know, but through 8 years of infertility, losing twins after a succesful IVF, and thinking we would never start a family, I am grateful that I was open and honest baout my journey. I made a lot of friends, helped others seek help, became closer to my husband, and most of all, gained an amazing testimony of Christ and the atonement.

    Thanks for sharing your story!


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