Bridget Jones Baby

I have been writing this post in my head for a few months now but I haven’t actually put it into actual typed words for two reasons: 1.  I have trouble finding time and 2.  I feel guilty writing it.

I knew the day was coming when someone in my group of moms or one of my friends who have children the same age as Peyton would say they were pregnant again.  Talk during our playgroups were starting to head in that direction as other moms would share that they were either trying for another or thinking about trying for another.  I know a couple of moms also struggled like I did so I knew I wasn’t completely alone.  I was ok with it all until someone actually became pregnant and then another and another. I started to feel those familiar pangs of longing, grief and jealousy.

I made peace with myself, God and whoever else a long time ago when we started our journey that if I was lucky enough to have a child it was only going to be one unless I got pregnant with twins or triplets.  And I thought I grieved that idea of having more than one child but I guess I was wrong or at least that grief isn’t just a one shot deal with it and move on…it lingers apparently.

Last week I decided to watch Bridget Jones Baby…with wine and greasy chinese food.  I loved the other movies and was looking for a lighthearted funny movie to watch by myself since my husband was traveling for work and would never want to watch it in a million years.  Boy did I get more than I bargained for that night!  I was fine until she took the pregnancy test and that’s when it truly hit me.  I will never experience that again.  As the movie went on to her going for her first ultra sound and heard the heartbeat…I bawled my eyes out.  I will never experience that again.  When she went into labor and held her newborn for the first time.  I will never experience that again.  The night ended with me crying into my wine and chinese food and grieving the future children I will never have and the experience of having those children. And that’s exactly what it was…grief.  I didn’t feel jealous or angry just sad.

I know I am one of the lucky “infertility survivors” and Peyton is more than I could ever ask or hope for in a daughter.  And I also have two amazing stepdaughters who I have come to care for and love as though they were my own.  So that is where my guilt comes in…how can I even begin to complain when others are still struggling so much to become a mom??  Believe me I thank God everyday for my miracle and pray EVERY DAY for those that are still waiting for their miracle.  But there is still that part of me that feels robbed of the decision to have more children.  For Peyton to be a big sister and for me to be pregnant again.  My husband will say every now and then that we can try again and I do think about it for a bit BUT I don’t think I can do it again.  The physical part yes…although I would just let nature take it’s course rather than go the fertility intervention route even though natures course didn’t always pan out. I could throw caution to the wind and keep my fingers crossed.  What I can’t do is the emotional roller coaster…the highs and lows every month, the agony of having another miscarriage, the constant worry each week if I do get lucky and the pregnancy sticks. I also can’t do all the doctors appointments, tests, etc. that would take time away from my daughter as well as my emotional absence.  I am also almost 43!  I was a young 40 when I got pregnant with Peyton so I am pretty sure my ovaries are in an even more desolate state then they were 3 years ago.

So for now instead of feeling angry or jealous I am trying to let myself grieve.  Grieve the loss of being pregnant again.  Grieve the loss of being a mom again.  Grieve the loss of Peyton being a big sister and my stepdaughters having another younger sibling.  Because it is a loss…every part of it.

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LOOONG Overdue…

So I have been working on this post for a very long time…in my head but just haven’t had the time to sit and actually put it print.  It’s funny because I always thought being an “at home mom” meant you had unlimited amounts of time but it turns out that is not the case.  I have also had mixed emotions about writing a blog post and what it should be about.  Do I write all about Peyton or do I write about life after infertility?  I was reading a post a few weeks ago that was written by My Hope Jar titled I’mStill Here and it was exactly how I was feeling…where do I belong now that I have actually had a baby after going through infertility for the last 3 years??

It’s a question I find I often ask myself as I am sitting with other moms during playgroups or events.  This is especially true when the conversations turn to having a 2nd baby.  I still feel that pang of envy when I hear a mom talk about how they want their babies to be __ years apart or they really want to try to have a boy this time or have a spring baby.  I know I am blessed beyond words with Peyton and she is more than I ever could have hoped to have but I guess I was just surprised that the “infertility awkwardness” is still there and never completely goes away.

It’s still the uncomfortable question but instead of “when are you going to have kids?” it’s “so do you think you will have more?”   My standard answer is usually “well Peyton was a 3 year journey with lots of bumps along the way so I think we are good!”  What I really want to say is “well yes I would LOVE more children but after 5 losses and years of trying I think this was literally my only good egg so the odds probably aren’t in my favor.  And I really don’t think I could handle another loss or the stress of another pregnancy and being worried every minute”  But I usually just keep all that to myself.  Once in awhile I stumble across a fellow survivor who will share that they had difficulties too and we just kind of give each other “the nod” that let’s the other one know “I got you sister no need to say anymore!”

So I still don’t know where I belong but I am trying to be more settled in my motherhood role and when I hear of someone who is struggling I try to offer support.  I know what I have and I thank God every single day for her.

Here are a few of my favorites of our little miracle over the last few months:

    

      

I hope she makes you smile:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Not Alone

The infertility road can be a very scary and very lonely place.  I can still remember the first time I realized that this was the path I was about to take.  We had just suffered our 2nd miscarriage and my OB/GYN suggested that we consult with a fertility specialist sooner rather than later.  At this point I still didn’t think that the infertility label was for me, I still just thought we had a run of bad luck but if seeing a specialist would help us end this bad luck streak than I was in.  Even after we met with Dr. F and began all of the invasive testing I still just thought it would happen and Dr. F was just there to help nudge things along.

It wasn’t until one of my tests came back very low and I was diagnosed with Poor Ovarian Reserve that it began to hit me that this could be a really serious problem.  I kept thinking that I got pregnant on my own so the hard part was not an issue.  It was wasn’t until the doctor started to explain that even though I did still have some eggs left and was still able to get pregnant, the ones that were left had a higher chance of being poor quality eggs and more likely to result in more losses.  Suddenly I began to feel very alone and very scared.  I began to realize that the dream of becoming a mom might not come true.  Now I was traveling the infertility road.  This road included more invasive and unpleasant testing, failed cycles with and without hormones and unfortunately some cycles that resulted in more pregnancy losses.

When I look back on that moment I think that one of the big reasons I felt so alone was because it seemed that everyone else just got married and had kids with no problems or at least if they did no one really talked about it. And then there were the people of “accidentally” got pregnant without even trying.  I knew of a couple people who were struggling but they were pretty scarce.  I began to feel like I was the odd woman out and felt like I was different and not in the unique special kind of way but the “there is something wrong with you” way.

I remember reaching out to a family friend at a birthday party that I knew had been struggling.  It felt so good to talk to someone who “got it” and understood everything I was feeling.  Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone or so crazy for feeling the way I did.  I started to open up more about our situation which wasn’t really by choice necessarily but more out of the curiousity of other people as to if/when we might have children.  I am not one to cover up things and just began to answer questions honestly when asked.  As I began to open up more, that is when I discovered that there were a whole lot more people on the same road as me or who were former travelers.  Even my husband began to open up to others and found some others too.  I also found an amazing support group that really helped me in some of my darkest days.

My road led me to some unexpected places and contemplating treatments that I never thought I would be open to trying.  I started doing acupuncture and not sure if that was what finally helped us but in August we found out we were pregnant and this time we stayed pregnant.  I am currently 37+ weeks and counting.  When I started this journey I didn’t know where it would take me but I know I couldn’t have done it alone and without the support of so many others.

Every so often I find someone else who is just starting the infertility journey and the first thing I tell them is that they are not alone.  There are so many people who are struggling and reaching out to others has been such a lifesaver.  Just talking to others and hearing their stories makes the journey a little less lonely and scary.  So if you are someone who has just found themselves taking a detour on the baby making journey into Infertilityville, know that you are not alone and you will meet others who will help you along the way.  You will find others who will give you strength and hope when you have none left.  And never feel ashamed.  You did nothing wrong and didn’t ask to travel this road. Know that you will be stronger for it and you will find a final destination that might look a little different than where you thought you would end up but it will be your destination and you will not be alone.

 

35 weeks and still going strong!

We are officially 35 weeks and so far everything looks good:)  I know I have been terrible with my updates and the only reason I can come up with is that I have really been enjoying everything but I do apologize if I left anyone hanging!

Once we hit about 20 or so weeks I really started to allow myself to just enjoy it and not worry SO much or at least just worry about things that most women worry about during pregnancy.  As the weeks went on from there, we started to make plans for the nursery and even started buying things for the baby.  I registered and started getting really excited about the shower which was a little over a week ago and it was fabulous!  My family did such a beautiful job and it was so great to celebrate with all of our family and friends.  We feel so blessed.

I guess I have also begun “nesting” as I have been busy getting everything ready, washed, organized, etc.  I have also put together several baby things which was a little more challenging…WHY must Graco put the tiniest pictures and the most vague description in their directions!!  So far the stuff is still standing and I have no idea how to fold it up but it’s up!  We have also taken a few baby prep classes…my theory is that the more I know the easier it will be or we have wasted some good money!

My maternity leave officially starts in 3 days:)))  I do have mixed emotions and will miss my 2nd graders but know they are in good hands and will be happy to start my new journey as a mom and put my teacher hat aside for a little while.  It’s been hectic though getting both work and home ready for my leave.  Basically I feel I am preparing for my baby and my other 21 children.

On a sad note…we had to put our 13 year old pug Otto to sleep a few weeks ago:((  He developed pneumonia and wasn’t responding to any of the medications so we had to make that awful decision but knew we didn’t want him to suffer anymore.  For those of you who have pets and no how much they are our babies, you know how much it hurts when we have to say goodbye.  He was my first “baby” and still feels so empty in our house without him but I know he is always in our hearts.

So that pretty much sums up the last 12 or so weeks.  As April approaches and I am starting to see things for Infertility Awareness week, I am reminded of not just my own struggle but the struggles of so many out there.  I am thinking of you all and say a prayer for you each night that you will find your way on this unfair journey to a place that makes you happy whether it’s with your own child, adoption, living childfree, etc.  I will never forget where we started and the dark places this road took us on and I am hopeful that we are on the brighter side of this journey,  I promise to update more in the coming weeks as we wait for our little girl to arrive:)

In loving memory of our first baby…Otto:

One year ago today…

One year ago today, we sat in Dr. F’s office going over what I thought would be our last ditch effort to try to have a baby of our own.  He told us he thought moving forward with IVF and doing chromosomal embryo screening would be our best chance of conceiving a viable full term pregnancy.  We were very hesitant about moving forward with IVF especially since I was able to get pregnant on my own and even more hesitant about doing the embryo screening but felt if this was our best option than I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.

I remember leaving his office with a sense of hope and also pretty pissed off.  I felt hopeful because we at least had this as an option when so many others don’t and that same sense of hope you always have right before you are going to start a new treatment cycle and think maybe this will be “the one”.  I also thought that since it was New Year’s Eve and we were his last appointment of 2013 that this was somehow a good sign because when going down this infertility road you always think everything is a sign!   The pissed of side of me was angry at the fact that this is what I had to go through to try to have a baby.  Pumping myself full of hormones with horrible side effects, going through the egg retrieval (which BTW is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia) and then the waiting to hear which embryos made it if any and having to make hard decisions such as which embryo gets to be implanted and which ones either get frozen or destroyed.  Neither of those scenarios ever sat right with us. And then waiting those god awful 2 weeks to hear whether or not it worked.  I was pissed.

Once I moved past my pissed off stage we decided to move forward with IVF and got back to being hopeful…or at least so we thought.  Due to insurance reasons we had to do another round with an IUI before we could do IVF…not that I am complaining because I do feel extremely fortunate to even have insurance overage for fertility treatments but again I saw this as “a sign” that maybe this was going to be it…3rd times a charm.  Sadly it wasn’t and ended in another miscarriage (If you want to read the full story you can check out my post titled Not Compatible with Life )

So when I think about where we were a year ago, about to embark on a hopeful new journey that ended in one of our hardest losses and where we are now it feels very surreal.  2014 was a year of heartbreak and unexpected joy.  I have learned a few things along the way this year.

1.  Never give up?  I always have mixed feelings about this piece of advice especially when it comes to infertility.  Yes I think if there is even an ounce of you that feels you have to keep going than keep going.  Keep going as far as you can otherwise you will regret it.  I would often find myself wondering if I had reached my limit but the fact that I had to question it was probably a sign that I hadn’t reached it yet.  But at the same time, it’s ok to move onto other options if you feel you’ve had enough (see #2)

2.  It’s ok to say enough is enough.  They say you know when enough is enough and your enough will be different from someone else’s.  It’s ok to say it’s time to move on whether it’s adoption, using a surrogate, living childfree, etc.  You are not a failure.  Part of succeeding and fulfilling your dreams is knowing when you have to take a different approach or new direction.

3.  Get support.  Infertility is a long, lonely road to travel.  Your spouse or significant other can’t be your only source of support…they are on this tough road too and you have to take care of each other.  Seeking help from others will help you to support yourself as well as your partner.  It helps to talk to others who have been down this road.  Find a support group if you can or talk to a professional that can give you an objective perspective.

4.  Be honest.  Be honest with yourself and your feelings.  Often times we feel like we have to pretend everything is ok or feel like we have to say yes to everything our doctors tell us to do because if you don’t then you aren’t really trying.  If something doesn’t sit right with you, it’s ok to say no.  And be honest with your partner even if it means that you might be on opposite sides of the road for awhile…eventually you will find your way back to the middle again.

5.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  I would often find myself comparing myself to others or others’ situations.   Sometimes I would think that I hadn’t really done everything I could because I didn’t do x, y and z like so and so did. Every situation is unique and what works for some might not be right for you.   Only you know what’s best for you.

2014 was a year filled with ups and downs and I am sure 2015 will have it’s share of ups and downs too…hopefully more ups than downs.  Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a year full of UPS!