God sometimes brings us challenges we never expect.
My husband and I never thought conceiving and carrying a child would be so difficult. But through a miracle and the grace of God, we have made it through this journey transformed into a family.
After my husband Nick and I married in May 2012, we casually decided to start a family by just stopping birth control and letting nature takes its course. On our delayed honeymoon that we took a year after we were married, we thought it would be quite a story for our child to be conceived in international waters, even if we weren’t quite committed to being parents just yet.
We suffered an early miscarriage in September of 2013 and I was diagnosed insulin resistant by my OBGYN. Now on medication to regulate my system, my doctor said to give it a year. Well, that year came and went with no pregnancy. But we were still in denial. Denial that God would make this difficult. Denial that a problem may exist. Just plain denial. Our relationship was also suffering from the stress of trying to conceive… which we all know definitely doesn’t help us conceive!!
Finally, we conceived naturally in December 2014. Two months later we received the shock of our lives when the ultrasound showed IDENTICAL TWINS! We were immediately referred to a maternal fetal specialist who explained the risks of twins, including TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome) which my babies had a 15% chance of developing due to the fact they shared a placenta.
At our 16-week ultrasound we found out we were expecting girls, but the scan also showed a 20% size difference between the twins, a tell-tale sign of TTTS. Surgery to help is usually not done that early and with prayerful consideration and recommendation from our MFM we decided to wait. Unfortunately, by the next week we had lost Baby B, Katie Marie. We were crushed but the doctors said her sister, Baby A- Aubree Lynn, still looked perfect. We went home to set up the nursery for one crib hoping it would give us some positive vibes and encouragement. The next morning our worst fears came to reality. We had lost Aubree sometime during the night.
We realized this was part of our journey and God would help us to grow into a family.
Before our loss we had made jokes about how God had made us wait two years for those girls because there were two babies. But now that dream had just been ripped away from us. I had a visit from God in the hospital, felt His hands on my shoulders when I was alone in the room. He helped me realize this was part of my journey. Everything would be okay. He would still help us grow into a family.
After the loss of our twins, we were introduced to Sarah’s Laughter Christian Infertility Support Group in Baton Rouge. We attended a butterfly memorial after our loss, but it took me a whole year to bring myself to attend a meeting. Through this support group I made many forever friends and found it to be a safe place to express any feelings without fear or judgement. I wouldn’t have made it through the next part of our story if it wasn’t for them.
We took time off to better ourselves and our health and about nine months later we did three rounds of Clomid with my OBGYN with no success. In May 2016, we made an appointment with Dr. Susan Conway at Fertility Answers and I immediately liked that she was very straight forward. I really appreciated that she didn’t baby us and was very matter-of-fact about our chances of a successful pregnancy.
After a hysterosalpingogram, it was confirmed that I had only one functioning fallopian tube. We started treatment for an IUI, taking the required medications. But on the day of our procedure, Dr. Conway came in with unfortunate news. Nick’s sperm count, which had previously been great, had plummeted for no apparent reason. Dr. Conway recommended that we cancel the procedure, but we had come this far and we still wanted to give it a shot. I felt in my gut it wasn’t going to work but I prayed and prayed and prayed. Then two weeks later on August 12, 2016, we were pregnant! I took one of every pregnancy test I had at home. Five tests all positive!
Of course, all of Louisiana knows the significance of that Friday… the first day of the Great Flood of 2016. As a 911 dispatcher, that led to lots of stress and overtime. Every day after the flood I prayed for God to let me keep our baby. Our prayers were answered and I had the best pregnancy. Emma Jean Dahlke was born by C-section in April 2017 and perfect in every way! Thank you, God, for leading us to Dr. Conway and Fertility Answers, and for helping us grow from a couple into a family.