Colton James Brooks

As many of you have seen on Facebook or Instagram, my husband and I were lucky enough to get the genetics back on our 3rd little one.

Baby Brooks #3 was Male with a condition called Triploid Syndrome. Triploid syndrome is extremely rare and happens in only about 1-2% of pregnancies. I am extremely thankful that this is a condition that is not hereditary or in any part because of me or my husbands genetic make up. If you happened to google it, or clicked on the link and find anything out, you would see that the majority of the time the circumstance is 2 sperm (nice work babe on the super swimmers) joined with one egg. Every human typically takes 23 genes that come from Mom and 23 that come from Dad. Resulting in 46 total. In triploidy the baby takes on 69! That’s 3 whole sets of chromosomes! 

Triploidy causes a huge giant laundry list of complications such as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological issues. Just to name a few. More times than not the baby doesn’t just house one issue, it’s typically multiple issues. All incompatible with life.

In one article I read it was said that it’s a 1/15000 chance that a woman reaches past the 15th week of pregnancy with a baby that has triploidy, and most often the egg never implants or the woman miscarries before even realizing she is pregnant. There has been only one documented case of an infant making it to 10.5 months of age.

Yesterday happened to be a rather emotional day. I thought that I would feel 1000 times better once I knew the gender and what had happened. Instead, I hung up the phone and burst into tears. Full of gratitude and sorrow all over again.

A little boy!

It was very surreal. However, as I consulted with Dr Google, once again, I found article after article about this syndrome, I felt empowered with knowledge. Later that night as I crawled into bed talking about the results with C, we had both felt so much peace about the timing of our miscarriage. I wouldn’t ever wish to have another, or wish it upon anyone else, but I was so thankful that our baby didn’t have to live in pain, or with disease. Sounds a little morbid, but is there even a better way to reach heaven? Straight from the comfort, warmth and security of my body to Jesus’ arms?

After much consideration C and I decided to name this little one. I am privileged to say that I have a son in heaven.

My boy, Colton James Brooks.

We hadn’t ever felt the need for healing or closure after the other two, but this one… It’s different. So in loving memory of all our little ones we made a box to place all our keep sakes (ultrasound pictures, tests, letters, notes from friends and family, etc..).

 
 
 
Sounds crazy but I am so in love with my little ones, and so in love with our boy. I actually feel proud and a sense of being a mommy to a boy. I wonder if this compares at all to what it’s like to be proud of your living children? If it is, I like it. I took that little box with my from room to room last night. And it will probably travel around the home for a while until we decide on a special place for it.
 
On another note, in my previous post (MTHFR) I mentioned about some results I received. There was some questions I had about this specific mutation and when my Doctor called yesterday I was about to have a nice long chat with her again. Changes have asterisk next to them.
 
Karyotype – Normal ( I am happy to know that I am genetically sound, *Hubby no longer needs to have his done, unless we have another miscarriage.)
All Autoimmunity disorders – Normal
Lupus – Negative
Thyroid – *Low indicating possible hyperthyroidism, getting second opinion
Prothrombin – Normal
Antithrombim – Normal
Antibody tests – *Normal / Some Not Tested yet

 
Vit D – Normal
Factor V – Normal
Factor II – Normal

Some type of active diabetes tests – Normal
Blood clotting disorders – Normal

Homocyseine – *Not tested
Protein S – *Not Tested yet
Protein C – *Not Tested yet
Prolactin – *Not yet tested
 
MTHFR – **Compound Heterozygous MTHFR (click the title for more information on this specific type) – She also mentioned that I was also a double carrier. which I don’t know if that means something else as well as..or if it’s one in the same? So many questions!
 
 
So, really I still have a lot of questions but honestly most of them have been answered. I am getting a second opinion on everything just to have a second set of eyes. However, because the genetics on baby we now know for certain that this loss was NOT because of the MTHFR. This doesn’t mean that our other natural miscarriage wasn’t due to MTHFR though. And this does give us more information in case I need to be treated in the future. This might depend on the tests that have not yet been tested. Which brings me to the next point, because we received news on the genetics of Colton, she no longer thinks it’s necessary to complete my RPL panel. Which I understand her reasoning, however, I would like them completed for my sake and why stop when we’re almost done, right?! Plus I think it will give us some valuable information. I am glad I am getting a second opinion, I know this will reassure me that all will be well next go around.
 
I was starting to get really frustrated with my Doctor and the answers, or lack there of, she was providing. I finally told her that I was an information person. I wasn’t trying to be difficult and I certainly am not saying that she isn’t worthy of being trusted. However, I feel like she just doesn’t have much experience with my particular type of situation. Once I told her that I really appreciated her taking the time out of her day to call me and explain things and answer my questions because it was incredibly healing (emotionally) for me, her whole attitude changed. She was much more nice and understanding of my need for information. I don’t need it because of my lack of faith, and I don’t need it to prove God wrong, or prove Him right. I needed it so that I could process the way I process to gain emotional healing. She was much more inclined to discuss things with me once I made it clear that I am not set out to challenge her. Just learning to advocate for myself, that’s all.
 
So all in all I think we have a good start on the medical side of things. I am sure as life moves forward we will have to have trials and errors on how to proceed, but for now, I am very satisfied with how things are turning out. I think  I am starting to accept that there is always the possibility of complications of any kind, but God is bigger and will make a way when it’s time. Perhaps now I can and will blog about an array of other things now…
 
Blind Faith. Trust through the unknown.
 
 
 
 
 

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MTHFR or Mother F’r?

Tests, Tests and more tests…

I must say getting the results of many of these tests was a major relief. I am slightly disappointed with the way it all played out and I was certainly annoyed by the time I finally demanded that the actual doctor call me to discuss the results. At that point I had her undivided attention and a 25 minute phone call. It was glorious. I am disappointed that the results of the genetics are not yet back on our little one, however she implied it should be soon. From her end of things it looked at though it was sent to another location for further testing. Which I guess could be good or bad. Good as in they are being thorough, bad because something could have been terribly genetically wrong. Either way, I will be happy with no news, or any news. All I really hope for is the gender, and she seemed pretty confident that we will be able to know. So I took the list I made in a previous post and applied the apporpriate test results next to it. 

Karyotype – Normal ( I am happy to know that I am genetically sound, Hubby will have his done come the first of June.)
All Autoimmunity disorders – Normal
Lupus – Negative
Thyroid – Normal
Prothrombin – Normal
Antithrombim – Normal
Homocyseine – Normal 
Vit D – Normal
Factor V – Normal

Some type of active diabetes tests – Normal
Blood clotting disorders – Normal

Protein S – Not Tested yet
Protein C – Not Tested yet
Prolactin – Not yet tested

All Antibody tests – Some Normal / Some Not Tested yet

MTHFR – POSITIVE!!!!!

I have never been more relieved to know that there is something that is potentially causing our losses. So what is MTHFR you ask?  If you’re asking my best friend A, she said it’s a Mother F’r (MTHFR). But if you ask Dr Google you will find a never ceasing wealth of information. From my understanding here is what I have learned (and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong…. Seriously, still learning here!!)

MTHFR (click here too for more information..) is a gene mutation on the enzymes of your blood. What this means is that your body becomes incapable of converting folic acid into its biologically active form (I-Methylfolate). In addition, depending on what kind of mutation you have (apparently there are a few different types, of what kind I am unsure and I will hopefully answer why soon), it can cause elevated homocysteine which then can cause (TA DA) blood clotting! Again, there are plenty of resources out there that might better explain this issue. I will add that this is actually a very common mutation (1 in 4 have some form of mutation, and yes it is hereditary). Again depending on the mutation, your treatment and protocols may vary. You’d really never know you have this mutation unless you were hitting some road blocks such as infertility and repeat miscarriages. It can also  cause many other issues.

As many people know Folic Acid is vital in gestational development. It supports healthy brain development and without it, or without the proper amount your baby could develop many neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida, and malnutrition for the baby. It is vital that a woman who is planning to become pregnant or is pregnant has the best nutrition possible and receives the best supplements possible to support a healthy pregnancy. Although I eat healthy and take my prenatals and live a pretty healthy life style the underlying issue is that the baby(babies) was not able to absorb what he/she needed to continue growth. 

I could have fallen into a puddle of tears. Some have said that results don’t matter and I agree, but I also believe the Lord has given my husband and I some medical resources to give me and our future pregnancies the best care possible. I am thrilled to know that something like this, that is actually quite common, is treatable. 

However, if you happened to meander your way over to any MTHFR resources you will also see that not only is it treatable with many different options, it’s also quite a controversial diagnosis. Some progressive doctors are more than happy to add a few concoctions of medicines into the mix and some will simply disregard the diagnosis and deem it invalid because of the lack of research and not enough information to support the theory of it being linked to repeat loss. However, in most resources that I have read 99% of them list infertility and repeat pregnancy loss as legitimate symptoms and side affects of this mutation. My doctor happens to be one who chooses not to treat any form of the mutation, although she recommended again, to start baby aspirin now and continue through child bearing years. How that makes sense, baffles me. As baby aspirin happens to be one of the many drugs they can use to treat this Mother F’r (MTHFR).  

I happen to be on the fence about switching OB’s and finding one who will really take an honest look at the type of mutation I have, and treat it accordingly as to avoid ANOTHER loss. I really love where I am at most of the time. I have also considered following up with my Primary doctor and see what her knowledge has to offer my. At this point I am actually willing to do whatever it takes to keep a baby until 40 weeks gestation. If that means I take a different form of folic acid, switch up my prenatals, and take a baby aspirin everyday, I’ll do it. But what if my mutation requires a little bit more of an aggressive treatment, such as heparin and levonox injections as well as the other options. There are so many different ways to tackle it. I guess as we go along and continue getting our tests back we’ll just keep making the best decisions for us and what we feel God has for us. If that means I find a new Doctor, then I know He will provide. If that means I stay, I know He will provide. I may have to advocate for myself a little more, and push a little until I feel comfortable with the direction. But, I do know He will provide all our needs as they come. 

I am a little disappointed that she would agree to test for this mutation, then neglect to treat it. Especially with my history. So today, I decided to be proactive for myself. Yep, I bought baby aspirin, and you bet your bottom dollar I spent the extra money for a different form of folic acid. It wont hurt me nor will it hurt future babies. We walked into the local Super Supplements and we walked around baffled at all the different options, asked a quick question with the gentleman at the front and made our selection. Upon check out I was really concerned that just maybe I wasn’t buying the right one. I expressed my concerns to my dear hubby and a different guy at the register asked me a few questions. I mentioned it was for a MTHFR Mutation and he was quick to show us exactly which one I needed. You could tell he was a little passionate about this, and incredibly knowledgable. Perhaps, with how common it is, his wife, or even him, has been diagnosed with MTHFR. What was even cooler, he said his dream in life is to see that all prenatal vitamins start to contain the methlyfolate that is easily converted in your body. C and I walked away incredibly impressed and even more thankful that he took the time to share with us his dream and help us find what was right!

Back into Limbo land again, but at least I have a little something to hang onto. Driving in the car I clung to my new vitamins and cried. One step closer and I knew that the guy who helped us check out was a gift from God. At that moment even C said, “Babe, we’re one step closer to our baby”. 

I am relieved to have something. I am excited to learn something new. I am thankful for the resources we have available when God give them in His timing.  


Refinement by Fire

As many of our friends and family know C and I have been planning to purchase a home. This was in the plans all along. From day one of our marriage we have been working towards getting out of an apartment and getting into a home! We’ve been so close to it for several months! Earlier this year we were presented with an amazing opportunity that fit our budget, our needs, and our circumstances.

A beautiful modest home that has a backyard to die for! A fence to keep the kids in the back and the potential dog from running away. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and dreams of our expanding family. As most of you have read/heard our dreams changed. We lost our third baby. Although we still desired that home our dreams started changing and taking new form.

The night of my procedure I was resting at home scrolling through Facebook I saw a post on the woman’s (I have been very close to this family for many years) timeline that we were buying from. It read something similar to, ” I am so sorry to hear about your home, if there is anything you need let us know”. I quickly followed over to her page and learned that some type fire had occurred. I immediately text her and asked if everyone was ok and what was going on. About a half hour later she called me.

Their home had had a house fire and lost just about everything. Her and I wept on the phone together. I couldn’t even believe it. My heart felt like it was swimming in my stomach. Thankful for the anesthesia and pain medicine I decided to think about it later. My heart was shattered for them. Losing everything just seems unbearable. Thankfully their children were unharmed!

Yes, I have permission to share the photos.
These pictures are from the room where the fire started. This room has major significance to me. While our dreams of this being our home were forming, I of course started day dreaming and planning for a baby. I couldn’t wait to know the gender and decorate. Matter of fact, C and I had even almost agreed on a color to paint! This was the room where I imagined I would sneak in and take a peek at our little one sleeping in his/her crib. I had dreams that a changing table would be here and the crib would be there. Seeing as this is where the actual fire started my heart crumbled. My dreams had literally burned.
Lord, not only has our baby(babies) been taken away, and our dreams and plans have majorly shifted, numerous times this year. But, this? This felt like insult to injury. As I started processing all that has happened in a short 24hrs I was immediately embarrassed and ashamed of my selfish feelings. This wasn’t even our house yet! This didn’t house any of our personal belongings, or hang artwork from the kids off the refrigerator. I didn’t have recipes stashed into cupboards and my favorite cookie sheet in the bottom of the oven storage bin. I don’t have any children that lost not only their friends, Mabel and Dragie, but all their toys and clothes and homework.
I was so ashamed. As I processed I realized that its perfectly acceptable for me to be mourning with that family and mourning for my family in this entire situation. Our two families were so incredibly tethered together that day that it would be impossible to separate our stories. Although totally different, both of our circumstances completely intertwine. 
So as we all move forward H (the wife of the couple we are buying from) and I can’t help but notice the Restoration opportunity God has here. Refinement by fire in the works here! Not only will He be unfolding restoration in our spiritual and emotional lives, but He has the opportunity to show off in such a tangible way the restoration that can come when the enemy tries to steal everything! As this entire journey unfolds not only will you get to see what happens in me emotionally and spiritually, but I am also going to document the remodel process of this too, as much as I can. For now, C and I don’t actually own the home so I will only be sharing what is ok with both parties involved. The plan is to keep moving forward and none of us know exactly what that looks like. We are all pressing into the Lord and trusting that something good HAS to come from this. 
For me, this process has been incredibly messy, incredibly painful, and even more confusing that I can even begin to explain. It’s been hard on my emotions, my faith, my body (ugh, it’s been so hard), and it’s been hard on our marriage. I keep clinging and holding on for dear life knowing that something will come of this, and believing that there is a purpose. I could write a whole new post just about all that! That’s for next time 🙂
Stay tuned for updates, it will be a long process but I am excited to watch what happens and I hope you are too!
On another note check out the new addition to my tattoo collection…. Which I would like to say is my last but I can’t/won’t make any promises:
I love this verse, it is my most favorite. I love that it is now in my flesh to remind me that my flesh and my sin nature and selfish ambitions must become less and decrease as I strive to become more like Jesus. And also a reminder that Jesus must become more and more in me and His kingdom can increase and invade! I love it. I am very happy with it. 

How much is too much?

2 weeks post op.

I feel like it’s been years since I found out that our baby no longer had a heart beat. I also remember the silence hanging in the air like it was just moments ago. It all seems like just too much.

I’m almost feeling quite comfortable in the dark pit I find myself in. I’m not quite lonely, I’m not discontent. The heaviness has really become consistent enough that it’s nice to know I can rely on something.

I’ve watched these weeks fly by and crawl at snail like speed and I am certainly so amazed, once again, that when my world stops to a screeching halt, every one’s life keeps moving on. Friends are announcing pregnancies, completing their 9 long months of pregnancy, moving on. I am finding that I am having a hard time keeping up. Like I am running after the passed moments trying to catch up. Just the thought of keeping up, and moving on myself, seems like it’s all just too much.

My prayers lately have often sounded similar to this….” Lord, enough is enough..”, “How much is too much?”

I had an Ah-Ha moment yesterday as I sat in a waiting room full of pregnant bellies and smiling faces I was dreading and anxious for the next hour that would pass. Today felt like “Freedom Day”, today was a day for answers… or so I thought.

As I checked I gave the receptionist the “I’m back, again…” smile, and took a seat. Thankfully it wasn’t long until I was called back and pushed into a tiny little room. The same room where silence crushed every dream and vein in my body. I sat with my giant list of questions on my lap and swung my feet back on forth while I sat on a table. Waiting.

It was a great appointment. My doctor was filled with compassion, remembered to bring tissues, and was welcoming my questions with open ears and no time constraints. I had her full attention for 2 hours. Not only was she thorough but she was sensitive to the fact that my entire life just changed. So here’s the minor run down, and don’t worry if you don’t understand it, because quite frankly, I don’t either!

We did not receive any news on genetics yet for our baby. This should come back at any time. It’s just a waiting game for now. We (myself, my husband, and my doctor) have decided that we are going to run some tests. They call this a RPL (Repeat Pregnancy Loss, also known as a habitual aborter, nice right?) panel. We are also adding in a few tests of our own as well as genetic mapping, or Karyotype. The Karyotype will be done on both me and C (my husband).

Here are some (not all because I can’t remember them all, and one name includes like 5 or 6 different tests?) of the names of the tests we are doing…

All Autoimmunity disorders
Lupus
Thyroid
Prothrombin
Antithrombim
Protein C
Protein S
MTHFR
Homocyseine
Vit D
Factor V
Prolactin
All Antibody tests
Blood clotting disorders
Some type of active diabetes tests

I know some fall into the same categories but there were so many that we talked about that I was shocked. I just know as I read over that list I am forgetting so many. When I walked out, I felt like I was on information overload. Like I said, My husband and I are both doing Karyotyping. This is basically going to show exactly what my genetic make up looks like and if I have any mutations on any set of chromosomes that could cause issues or be passed along to a growing baby and cause issues. They will then look at my husbands and determine the same. What I think is really cool is they will also compare our two and also determine if when our genetic make up mixes together (sperm meets egg) it would even ever create a viable pregnancy! How cool is that? The great news is we got lab results on my uterine tissue and so far that indicated that everything was normal. This immediately ruled out any acidity issue and determined that there was no need for an endometrial function test. My doctor does suspect I just might have a blood clotting disorder. Because I had some major complications following the D&C, that should have never happened, and she mentioned that it could indicate an underlying issue. Obviously this will be proven or dis-proven with the tests. Because of her suspicion she does have a few recommendations. That being: a Baby Aspirin Protocol upon the next positive pregnancy test as well as switching from oral(sublignual) progesterone to a vaginal suppository form.

The crazy thing is that it is said that 30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and only a small 5% of woman experience RPL. I am that 5% and it kills me. To be placed in the RPL category you must have lost 2 consecutive pregnancies. I have now lost 3. She was very realistic and said that unfortunately my odds of having a successful pregnancy will only keep going down, but for now we still have just above a 50% chance. Above 50% is still pretty good…. I’ll take it. If we end up with any more losses that percentage will just keep dropping. I really appreciated her honesty and reality of our situation. And I am fully aware that in my particular beliefs I know that God is big enough to change that. From her medical stand point it was great to just have someone level with me and not candy coat and give me wishy-washy answers or try and make me feel better right now. I think she realized that’s not what I need nor what I want. I am very aware of the hope I have in a God who is bigger, and fully aware of His healing nature.

There ya go! That is a slightly scattered version of what went down in a 2 hour appointment. Back at square one. Ouch!

Obviously she educated me some, and tried to explain what’s what and how it’s all going to play out. We talked about my emotional health and physical recovery and lifted my physical restrictions. You could say that I am about 75% physically healed. I am still waiting for my HCG hormones to reach 0 and I find my physical pain is steadily decreasing. So we finished our conversation and said she’s hoping for a better outcome next time and some answers with our testing…. Me too, Doc. Me too.

Off I went to the lab. This is where my Ah-ha moment came.. I climbed into the chair making small talk with the phlebotomist. I hate getting my blood taken. I glanced over at the tray, she asked for my name and DOB… blah blah blah… I glanced again and asked her if those vials were all for me? Yes, she said. You guys, I am almost certain she drained ALL of my blood.

After the 8th or 9th vial, extra long and extra large vial mind you, I asked…” How much is too much?” I had reached my maximum for pain and heartache, and now you are taking all my blood! As my palms began to sweat and my face drained of color, and I played with my hair whooshing a breeze around my neck, she giggled and reminded me that my body is fully capable of restoring what was lost.

My Body IS CAPABLE of Restoring what was lost.

So every time I shake my fist at the sky and spout off in confusion at a silent God and scream,

“How much is too much?”

How much more am I to endure….? How many more nights will I cry, how many more mornings will I wake and wish I didn’t…? How many more times will I desire to flee into my old ways and drown myself in wine and narcotics? How many more questions will it take to assure you I have had enough…. Enough is enough… This is certainly TOO MUCH…I desperately wanted to rip that vial out of her hands and demand she not take any more from me. I needed that. I feel half dead already, stop taking from me!!

In my panic, and moment of fear that I would fall over any second, I remembered my previous seasons. I remembered His promises. I remembered that He is a God of healing. He is capable of restoring. No matter how much I have lost. No matter what I say, what I do, He is capable of restoring all that was lost. Just like how he designed my body to know how to restore what was taken.

And just like that I felt a brief moment of hope. Just like it takes time for my body to reproduce the blood that was taken, it’s going to take time until I can see the physical and emotional and spiritual benefits of God placing what was lost. He’s reproducing in me the things that were lost, restoring what I can’t see. It’s another season of Restoration. And I am oh so tired. I can’t help but plead that this journey is almost over. Beg for new circumstances. Bargain and make promises I can’t keep.

I was reminded while driving to work yesterday before my appointment, in quiet whispers: Although its dark and its heavy and your chest constantly feels like it’s been crushed over and over, I (God) have been silent because I am doing something.

While I wait, I’ll take each step, I remind myself to keep breathing. I will remind myself that He is silent because He is doing something. To me, something means anything. I am content with that. I am freed from having to work, because He is doing the work for me. I’ll sing to keep me alive. I’ll focus on songs that resonate in me, and encourage me that this too shall pass. As I wait in darkness and wait in silence I’ll sing…

Out of This Darkness
Into your Promise
You will Deliver me.
Eternal Savior
You stand forever
You are My Victory.

I’m surviving something I felt I couldn’t survive.