Meh. Ugh. Blah.

Well, here I am, being one of those people that only updates every few months and most undoubtedly will write a blog too long for anyone to want to read about all the things that have been happening in my absence.

First, I want to thank everyone for sending so much love and kindness our way after the arrival of our little girl. She is growing and thriving and I couldn’t be more thankful. Every night as I cuddle her to sleep I feel like my heart could explode right out of my chest. Our niece is getting ready to start the 8th grade and we just celebrated her 13th birthday. Yesterday was the Anniversary of her mom’s death so it was a bit of a rough day but we made the best of it.

There has been a lot of family drama going on that has been stealing every ounce of extra energy I have left. Right now, I’m not sure whether certain family members will even continue to be involved in our lives. It’s very painful and out of my control so while I’ve tried to make peace with it, it’s still extremely hurtful when family member’s choose to walk away instead of work through the hard times together.

On top of the drama my paternal grandfather has also been very sick and in and out of the hospital and had multiple procedures done. Him and my grandmother actually made it to our niece’s birthday party this past weekend and I made sure to take lots of photos and cherish those memories.

It’s so strange to me how life works, and how very rare it is that all the stars align and that everything is going smoothly at the same time. Just 6 months ago my family was full and complete, my job was fulfilling but I was extremely stressed of the likely hood of losing my little girl to premature labor. Now, my daughter is here and my four walls at home seem complete and joyful, and everything outside of that seems chaotic and stressful.

My apologies now for this lack luster post and I probably am sounding super ungrateful, but please know I am so beyond thankful for my life right now, I just have a lot of mixed emotions with some of the logistics right now. I promise to post something a little more cheerful soon.

For now, thanks again for continuing to support me and my journey, and I send love and prayers to all of you. ♥

Here is a photo of the four of us at my niece’s/daugther’s birthday party this past weekend. She loves sharks, as you can see by the shirts. LOL!

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Moving on but not out.

The photographer that came to take pictures the first time we were all able to be together sent us the rest of the pictures. When I got to this one, all I could do was cry. Not because I am looking at my baby, but because of what you probably don’t see the first time you look at this picture.

My husband in the background.

***Trigger Warning: Birth, Miscarriage, and pregnancy mentioned in this post. Please protect you heart and skip this entry if needed***

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When we sat in the RE’s office in July of 2008 we never could have imagined the journey that was before us. We never could have foreseen the damage it would do to our faith, our hope, and our marriage. The years of bitterness and resentment that I will never get back. The people I let down because I just couldn’t be what they needed at that time because of the pain in my heart for my own short comings.

There is no sugar coating it. My body failed me. Time and time again. From the fiber of my DNA, my blood, my ovaries, and then my shitty cervix. We lost four babies and almost lost our little girl. The thought takes my breath away completely. There is no rhyme or reason why I went into pre-term labor when I did and every medication they gave me couldn’t have delayed in long enough to save her had it happened just 8 weeks before that when this all started.

The one thing that hasn’t failed though, is my husband’s unconditional love and support. Many nights I spent crying, begging him to leave me so he could have the life he deserved. So many times I couldn’t be the wife he needed because of the depression and anxiety that infertility and loss caused.

When I was admitted at 21 weeks he sat next to the bed and said, “I am ready to get off this roller coaster”. And so was I. We told each other that night that if we got this baby girl here safe that we would never go through this again. Then when I gave birth to our daughter at 28 weeks he told me he had a bad feeling something would have happened to me during child birth had we had her full term. I had been having the same feelings.

In this photo, I see a man who has fought harder that anyone would ever realize for this moment. This was his release. The moment that he knew our pain was finally over.

I will not be one of those people that tells you that having a baby didn’t erase all those years of pain, because in many ways it did. I understand that not all people have the same resolution but for the most part, I have moved on. The moment I heard my baby cry, I wanted to forget all the bad things we endured for her to be here. I don’t want to forget the losses, but those are a different part of my life now. They were necessary for us to get to here. Every loss taught us something different that helped save my little girl’s life. And even without her, each loss taught me something about myself. A piece of me that is irreplaceable. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I want to give myself permission to let go of all that pain, and move on with the pieces of me that remain from that pain.

Now, I want to get to know myself again. Learn about all these new and old pieces and how they fit together. Learn how to love my body again. Forgive it for the years of failure and thank it for holding on just long enough to bring me my miracle. I want to renew my relationship with God, and forgive Him. Yes, forgive HIM, because I have been angry at Him for far too long and forgot many times to trust Him in this journey. I want to move on.

I want to finally be able to help answer the question that I see so many women ask at this point, “Where do I go from here”? I want to figure out how to take all the pain and experience and use it to help others. I want to learn how to remain in the community that has supported me for the last 10 years.

I see so many women with “survivor’s guilt” leave because they don’t know what else to do. I want to find out how to stop that. We all connected because of a common goal and we have to stop acting like when we reach that goal we have to disconnect from all the amazing women who helped us along the way.

Last, but certainly not least. Thank you. Thank you for the years of love and support. Thank you for forgiving me even when I didn’t deserve it. Thank you for sharing in my joy even when it caused you pain. Thank you for teaching me how to look at the world through another set of eyes.

I hope you will continue down this journey with me moving forward…

 

And she exceeded every expectation…

As I sit in her half finished nursery, surrounded by her washed clothes, her blankets and stuffed animals that were given to me at the shower, the pictures propped against the wall still not hung, and I reflect on the last 10 years of our journey I want to soak in everything. Every tear, every heartache, every loss. I never want to take this feeling for granted. I don’t have much to remember that I was even pregnant. I have a few belly pictures and videos of her kicking visible from the outside. I have a couple maternity shirts and a stack of clothes I had just ordered that need sent back.

But my baby is finally here. She exists.

The survival guilt is over whelming sometimes. As I cry happy tears for myself, tears of sadness are there as well for those still in waiting. I will never understand why deserving women have to endure so much to even have a chance at this feeling I am having. Please know how much my heart aches for those still in the wait, and especially for those that have moved past this journey and made the decision to live childless.

At 1:30 am on 4/3/2018 I woke up with severe back pain. I quickly realized that I was having back labor. After multiple attempts with oral and injection medication to stop my labor failed I was admitted and given Magnesium. After 43 hours of labor I got an epidural. Three hours later my baby girl arrived crying and with a head full of dark hair. We were able to do extended cord clamping because she was stable which gave me a few quick moments to see her with no cords, no monitors, and no breathing mask, before the NICU team whisked her away in an incubator with her Daddy following close behind. I was finally able to see her 4 hours later.

Yesterday, my baby turned 6 weeks old and because I used all of my FML for the fiscal year being on bed rest and for maternity leave I had to return to work and leave my her in the NICU. The day was surprisingly tear free and not as awful as I envisioned. Luckily we have a new policy giving an addition 4 weeks of paid leave for new parents (mothers and fathers) that we are saving for when she gets home.

She has been oxygen support free for a week now. She is doing 50-60% of feeds by mouth (the rest are through her NG tube), and so far there are no signs of eye issues, developmental issues, and we have remained infection and surgery free.

Because of RSV restrictions at the hospital only 4 members of our family could see her the first month of life. (Our biological parents) Our niece, her big sister could not be on that list because of her age so we didn’t post any photos until after the restrictions were lifted.

We had a wonderful photographer offer to donate her time and talent to be there to take photos when we could all finally be together again. I only have a few images right now but there are no words to express how much those photos mean to us. I will post a few at the end of this blog for those that want to see them.

This blog actually started in a spiral bound blue notebook to keep appointments and medications organized. It then migrated to blogger, and again migrated to wordpress. I can’t thank everyone enough for their continued support. Over the past 10 years I have met so many amazing people through this community. Some I still know, and some drifted away. I am thankful for each one. Every person was for a reason and purpose. I learned a lesson, I was humbled, and I was given the chance to experience life through the eyes of many perspectives. Thank you for that.

Below I will post a few pictures from the last 6 weeks with our daughter. As always, please be kind to yourself and don’t continue if it is going to trigger or hurt your heart.

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If you click on the photos I have put dates and captions ❤ 

 

 

She Will Not Have my Eyes.

I was 22 with two miscarriages in my history when I found out I would probably need to use donor eggs. So while I was just getting used to the fact that I could buy my own alcohol, I was told that any preconception of an idea I had for a family would probably not happen. Over 9 years I grew, I changed, over and over again. I found myself, and lost myself, and found myself again. I experienced life, loss, and more of the same. Through all that time, whether we were actively thinking of TTC or not, the thought was never far from my mind that I may never have the child I had longed dreamed of.

When we started our journey over 9 years ago we never expected to have two losses very quickly and to be told to make the choice between enduring the risks of using my eggs or making the choice to use donor eggs. We never expected that when we finally took the leap of IVF with donor eggs that we would then endure two more losses.

But here I am. All struggles, and current risks aside, I am pregnant, and my baby girl is possible because of a woman, who chose selflessly, to give her eggs to a faceless couple she had never met. She chose to put her body through more than necessary in order to give us 25 eggs. Out of those 25 eggs, 10 embryos thrived, and after three transfers, 7 of those embryos were given the possibility of life, while the other three remain cryopreserved. Out of those 7 transferred embryos, we are now carrying our one miracle baby.

A little girl. My daughter.

Infertility brings us all to the point where we have to decide what our limits are. Some women stop at the line of pursuing medications, some never want to consider IVF, donor eggs, donor sperm, adoption, etc. Everyone has to make the decision that they can live with.

For us, using donor eggs was never something we struggled with. I won’t lie and tell you there hasn’t been moments of sadness that I will not see what my genetics will look like mixed with my husbands, it is just not something I typically put much thought into.

I do not shy away from talking about our donor, or my child’s link to her. I am open and up front with telling anyone who makes comments like “she will probably have (insert one of my features here)”, about the donor that made her possible. While I respect that some people can’t, or won’t be as open about their donor egg journey as I’ve been, I am incredibly grateful to have a very supportive family and circle of people in my life, and I want to share this part of our journey openly with anyone who will listen.

When I remind people of the donor, I often get replies like, “I just don’t think of that” or my least favorite, “Well that really doesn’t matter, she is still YOURS,”. I cringe at this one, because it DOES matter, and the fact that it does matter, does not make her less “mine”. I am thankful for the technology that makes all this possible, I am obviously undoubtedly thankful for the donor who gave her eggs, and I am immeasurably thankful to God for this life I have been given.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that someone in this world, was kind enough to give her the gift of life. I want her to know that there is good in the world. I want her to know about all the pain and struggle we endured for her to be here, and I want her to know that despite it all that she is a reality. I want her to know that it doesn’t make her any less “mine”, or any less herself. That who she is will not be defined by the physical traits that do or do not look like the ones around her. She will never have to know what it feels like to fear being herself. She will never have to hide her truth from me. She will never have to question if my love for her will withstand the mistakes she will make.

She will not have my eyes, but she will have my unconditional love.

 

 

This blog was written for #MicroblogMonday. Find my blog and others that also participate here every Monday.

Cervix Checks, Bed Rest, and Suppositories, OH MY!

Sorry for the dumb title. It is literally the best I could come up with. And trust me, I tried quite a few. Feel free to comment below with better ideas that I missed just for fun LOL!

I am writing this blog from home, where I have been on modified bed rest since a few days shy of 21 weeks, I have been hospitalized over night once since my last blog, and I am now having cervical checks twice a week.

So now to rewind a little. My last blog post I stated that my cervix was measuring short at my anatomy scan (February 5th) and that there was funneling. I was put on progesterone suppositories and was scheduled for a check up the following Friday (February 9th). When I went in for my vaginal ultrasound I could tell the funneling was significantly worse and the shortening was obvious to even me. When the doctor came in to check my cervix she said it was not dilated and apparently that surprised her a great deal. My cervix had gotten significantly worse in just four days. Now, despite what I had read, and stories I had heard, because I have no previous history of pre-term labor or cervical issues, I was told they would not do a cerclage until I started to dilate. The risks were just far too high if they didn’t know for sure that my cervix wouldn’t stay closed. At first I was very angry, but now, I truly feel like they made the best decision.

I was hospitalized that day for over night observation because the doctors truly believed that because of the drastic change they were seeing in just four days I wasn’t far from dilating. Well, I was sent home the next day and scheduled for bi-weekly checks for dilation. I just had my 5th check since my hospitalization this morning and my cervix is still closed and very firm. I think my doctors, and especially my husband and I are very pleasantly surprised that is the case. They have not done another vaginal ultrasound to look at the funneling because they have said it’s insignificant if my cervix is staying closed on the outside.

We spoke today of the plan going forward since I am almost 24 weeks. On Monday (March 5th) I am scheduled for a growth ultrasound (for marginal cord insertion which is something they found in the anatomy scan that they didn’t really tell me about in great detail until later due to all the other chaos) and a cervical check with my MFM. After that scan I will meet with my OB for my regular 24 week check up. I will then be seen by my OB every two weeks for cervical checks (unless I get symptoms of dilation or labor in which I will then be seen immediately), I will also be seen every 4 weeks for growth ultrasounds by the MFM. I will also be off work until she arrives.

If at anytime I have pre-term labor issues or cervical dilation I will be admitted to the hospital, given steroids, and that’s where I will be until she gets here.

My anxiety and fear are definitely a very large part of this pregnancy journey but I am trying my best to not let them be the driver. I am trying to put them in the trunk and ignore their banging and clanking as I hit bumps on this road. I try to focus on my very healthy little girl who is kicking me almost constantly now, I try to focus on all of the beautiful things I have ordered for her nursery and look through the clothes that I have had the courage to purchase.

I could write a novel on my complex emotions regarding this whole situation. It is hard not to be angry and bitter than I fought so long and so hard to get to this point and now I still can’t “enjoy” this pregnancy and I have to live with this fear basically until she gets here. But, I like to try and stay positive as much as possible, and I like to believe that I have been put on this path for a reason. Wether it be for me, for the doctors, or maybe just sharing my journey will help one other person advocate for things they feel they want checked and can prevent them discovering issues too late to do anything about them.

A very good friend that I have met through this community went through a devastating loss when her cervix was discovered to be dilated and it was too late for them to put in the cerclage. Because of her story, I have advocated my whole pregnancy for this to be checked. In my 9 years of infertility I never knew that this was even something that could happen. But just before this pregnancy it became obvious that it was something I wanted them to check. While I don’t think the loss she endured was “for me” and I wish with everything that I could change what she went through, I truly believe she was put in my life for a reason. Thousands of miles away she made a difference in my life. She continues to be an amazing supporter of mine and I feel like I owe her far more than I could ever give in return. By sharing her story, and her life with me, she might have just saved my little girl’s life. I just wish I could have done the same for her.

The out pouring of love and support from my family, friends, and this community has been over whelming. If it weren’t for the people in my life supporting my husband, niece and I as we readjust our lives to me not being able to do all the things I usually do, I just don’t know how we could make it through this.

My mom has been doing all the grocery shopping and deep cleaning of my house, my husband now cooks almost all meals and keeps the general upkeep of the house up, and my niece has basically sacrificed doing anything fun unless she is with someone else because I can’t walk for long distances, stand too long. or lift anything. She is extremely active and I feel so bad that she spends most nights on the couch watching TV with us or helping me around the house. Friends come to keep me company, and the amount of texts and calls I get asking how I am is incredible. I am immeasurably blessed.

I apologize for the long, rambling blog but I wanted to share what has been going on in my absence as well as document this part of my journey. I hope if you are reading this you are well, and that life is treating you kindly. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us, praying for us, and cheering us on as we push through this journey.

This blog was written for #MicroblogMonday. Find my blog and others that also participate here every Monday.

Anatomy Scan

We had our anatomy scan today. Everything they were able to see looked perfect for baby girl. The MFM Dr. said growth percentiles were perfect (she weighs about 12oz) and all looked well.

They weren’t able to get a good view of the heart so they wanted me to come back. But apparently they refer all IVF patients for an Echo so she said we will do that and if that is good they won’t need pictures.

Now for the difficult part. Because of course after 9 years why would it all go as planned!? I have been asking my OB to check my cervix for quite some time. I was basically told there is no real reason to and it would be checked today. I had to ask twice because the ultrasound tech didn’t do it so the doctor took me back and did it.

Cervix was only measuring between 1.7/1.9. We also saw some slight funneling down to the 1.7 but she said my cervix is closed. The Dr. said she wants me to start Progesterone suppositories today and we will recheck on Friday after my Echo. She did discuss the cerlage and bed rest but said we would wait and see what happens Friday. If you have any experience or positive stories I would really appreciate them right now. I think the most frustrating part is that I have been asking for this to be checked since my 12 week appointment. I feel like the whole time they brushed me off. Now here I am looking at possible surgery and bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy and I’m terrified. I know it’s good we caught it now and I have faith that the MFM will make the right call it’s just so frustrating. I will put the good profile picture we got on her separate page if you’d like to see it. I’m happy that she is looking good and I am definitely not over looking that.

Busy Season

I have a few random topics I want to blog about but work has gotten progressively busy ramping up for audit season, and our niece is in the middle of swim season so between practice and meets I am pretty distracted. I am sick of the cold weather and ready for sunshine!

So I’ll just put a little update here. It will mostly be pregnancy related so feel free not to read if that’s not going to serve you well in your current place of your journey. The posts I have planned are not pregnancy related and you can feel free to wait for those.

Since our scare last weekend I have had no more bleeding. I followed up with my OB and all was well, and I’ve been able to find baby girl on the doppler every morning. I am pretty sure I am starting to feel real movements too so that is surreal and weird, and also very wonderful.

I have finally found the nursery furniture and color scheme/decor that I want, now I just have to order it. I’m still a bit cautious but I know after the 20 week scan (a week from today)  I really need to get on it. I also haven’t even thought about a registry yet and oh yea, the nursery is still my closet and catch all room so I have to completely clear that room out still….

Other than that my husband has been amazing and supportive and he deserves at least a whole post about how thankful I am for our partnership in life and love. So for now, I will just say, I am so happy to have him by my side and my love for him grows every single day.

I hope you all are well and prayers are always appreciated for our scan next week. ♥

This blog was written for #MicroblogMonday. Find my blog and others that also participate here every Monday.

FEARFULLY & wonderfully made.

#5

I have been trying to write this blog all morning. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to just say it, but years of pain and loss, paired with knowing the journey many of you are on make it hard for me to blissfully say that…

 

I’m Pregnant.

 

16 weeks and 1 day pregnant to be exact. Yes, we’ve been keeping this secret for a while. We had our FET on October 6, 2017 and transferred two excellent quality embryos, and one not so great quality (because why not). Out of those three, we got one healthy baby.

It has not be an uneventful journey. We first dealt with weird betas, then lots of spotting, loss of symptoms, more spotting, and yet, here we are.

Yesterday we did our gender reveal with our friends and family and also found out, we are having a Girl. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. We have had a name picked for years and she will be known as Baby A on the blog.

Pregnancy after loss, is extremely hard. I pray every day and ask God that this baby makes it to June. I have been lucky in that I have been able to find baby on the doppler very easy since about 12 weeks so that helps a little but I still fear the unknown.

Thank you all for your love and support. I will be keeping most of the updates on a separate page on the blog so that I won’t over due it here. Our next big milestone is the 20 week scan with MFM on February 5th.

Thinking and praying for all of you, wherever you are in your journey.

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