20 August 2012

yippy skippy: a story and FAQs

Here is the story of the miracle.

Part I  
(Guys, you probably won't care about this at all, but girls like to know.)

I have been working with a naturally-minded doctor for years--he has been my primary medical provider since age twelve and has done so much to help me. Despite the great changes we saw, however, my menstrual cycles were never normal.  Unpredictable was an understatement. This mattered little in high school and college, but when I got married, I wanted to settle things down.

We looked into it more. Turns out that my estrogen was off the charts thanks to a combination of stress and poor liver function. Friends, if you know anything about female hormones, you know that you really don't want anything off the charts; the body is a tightly choreographed ballet, and once your endocrine system gets wonky, so does everything else. Given my lovely Type A personality, the stress would most likely remain, so I used an herbal supplement to help reduce estrogen naturally. Though that certainly helped, actual pregnancy did not follow. Next we worked on the liver. No dice. Then we got to overactive adrenal glands, which were helping to churn out that excess estrogen and essentially tricking my body into thinking it was on birth control all this time. Fantastic.

Meanwhile, I had been discovered that my basal body temperature was alarmingly low. I felt lucky if it ever popped up above 97 degrees! This low temperature, coupled with adrenals on overdrive, pointed to hypothyroidism. (Thyroid and adrenal glands work in tandem: if one falters, the other picks up the slack. So it made sense that if my adrenals were working too hard, my thyroid must be weak.)

Medication seemed to be our best option. Now, I don't even like taking Advil, but if my crazy-smart, skeptical-of-modern-medicine doctor was recommending thyroid meds, I knew it was time.

I filled my first prescription the first week of June.

I got pregnant the following month.

Hmm. Guess he was right.

Part II

On July 21st I decided to take a pregnancy test. I hadn't done so for a year and had no real reason to think it would be any different this time--I simply cherished some faint, faint hope that the medication would have worked. But there was only one line. You need two for a baby. Not this time, I thought.

On July 28th I decided to take another pregnancy test. A few days before, a friend had casually mentioned that she'd had a false negative with one of her children. What if? I wondered. What if? Still, I was convinced that the previous weekend's results were accurate, and had no real reason to think it would be any different this time--but-- oh God.

In that second space there was a faint, faint line.

I started shaking. Then I took a shower, baked some apple spice muffins, and tried another test. Same thing. Holy cow. I called Jared, who was working outside, on the pretext that I needed him to find some paperwork for me. When he walked in, I gave him a muffin. And then I told him: "So. I lied. The real reason I called you is that I think you're going to be a daddy."

You should have seen his face. Grinning when your mouth is full of muffin is very difficult, but he managed.

I have to admit that I took three more pregnancy tests before I really believed it. (Remember what I said about Type A?) By Sunday morning I was fully convinced, and by Sunday afternoon, we'd told our immediate family. Talk about joy.

We're told that the baby will arrive at the beginning of April. Until then, we have a lot of waiting and planning and rejoicing to do. Thank you for sharing in our struggles; thank you for lifting us up in prayer; and thank you, now, for joining in our elation.

So that's it: I have a baby in my belly. And God did it.


1) The due date is April 7th. If all goes well, we're planning to have the baby at Birth Care.
2) Though I am not drinking caffeine, it's more out of necessity than conviction; my body revolted against tea and coffee somewhere around week 5. Once the first trimester is over I will go back to one cup a day, which is the recommended allowance for a pregnant woman anyway. I am still happily eating fish, rare beef, and raw eggs. If it's safe for me, I am also confident that it's safe for my baby. (NB: I only eat those things because I trust my food sources. I sure wouldn't recommend making mayonnaise with factory-farmed eggs.) Also--gasp!--the occasional glass of wine.
3) Once we find out whether it's a boy or a girl, I promise to let you know. :)
4) My brothers' name suggestions so far include Gatling Gun, Pimsleur, Fifi, Gluteus Maximus, and Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebon. We have . . . issues.
5) Still sick. Oh well.
6) Yep, I'm planning to teach all year. We'll take a break when the baby arrives, then pick up in a couple of weeks and still be done by the middle of May. (The nice thing is that even if I get put on bedrest or end up with a C-section, well, all I need for work is a laptop. I don't have to go anywhere.) This should be the last year of teaching for a while, though!

p.s. If you know anything about botanical symbolism you know why I chose a pomegranate tree for this post's image. Ha, ha.


  1. Great details, Rebekah. Thanks!

  2. You're a total nut, my dear. And I love you. Type A I am not, but I do think I can relate to the having way too much estrogen issue and the stress...which for me resulted in a ridiculously low milk production after each baby was born. (Not enough to feed a mouse on) Ask your doc if that's a possibility for you. If I remember correctly, a healthy dose of testosterone is necessary for good milk production...I don't think I had much. (I credit this to my girly-girl-ness, or maybe that's vice versa?)