Christmas Time…the most wonderful time of the year?

Last weekend we were decorating for Christmas and I was thinking about where we were this time last year and I never thought this is where we would be at a year later.  Christmas time is always a difficult time for people struggling with infertility…everywhere you turn it’s just babies and kids.  It is supposed to be the happiest time of the year even though depression and suicide rates are at their highest this time of year.  It makes you wonder…where and who are all of these supposed happy people??! I would like to say that even after being 20 weeks pregnant that all of that goes away but it doesn’t go away…it’s a little easier this year and I am more hopeful than I have been in the past but there is still a part of me that feels a little sad and that something is missing.  Every year, I would always wish and hope for the same thing: please let this be the last Christmas we spend without a baby of our own.  I am still hoping that for this year and that next year we will have a happy and healthy little girl with us.

Here are some things that have helped me “survive” the holidays past:

1.  Let yourself feel it…the good, the bad and the ugly.  I think one of the worst parts is feeling like you have to be happy all of the time during this time of year even though you just want to curl up in a ball and cry.  And if you aren’t festive you feel like the Grinch.  You have to allow yourself to feel how you feel even if that means skipping out on some of the events you normally would have attended.  There will be some things that you will have to just suck it up and put on your festive sweater and a smile but if it’s something you don’t have to go to and you don’t really want to then it’s ok to skip it.  Your family and true friends will understand.

2.  Plan some special things that you like to do.  Make sure you schedule some time for you and your husband or significant other to spend some time together doing things you both really love.  Infertility can be a real drag in the romance department so try to plan some fun outings or even a weekend get away if you can.  Also take time out for yourself and treat yourself to something you like…a manicure, massage, movie, etc. whatever you want.

3.  Wine.  I am not by any means suggesting you start to develop a drinking problem over the holidays but there is something about enjoying a nice glass or two of wine every now and then that helps the soul.  I would advise cutting yourself off at two glasses…anything more than that tends to get into a wine with crying situation and that’s not good…unless of course you need a good cry (refer back to #1).

4.  Plan some things with children.  I know this sounds counterproductive but if you have nieces and nephews or  friend’s children that you really enjoy then plan something with them. Or even volunteering with children who don’t have a good role model.  Bake cookies, go see a holiday movie, take them to see Santa or a holiday event.  I know it sounds terrible but there were times when seeing a child was the last thing I wanted to do but spending time with children can sometimes be the best reminder of simpler times and the joy of the season.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you do have children in your life and can still enjoy them even if they are not your own…and it will be good practice for your own one day:)

5.  Take a little time to mourn your losses.  I always take a little time to mourn the losses of my little angels.  I have an angel ornament for each of them that I place on my tree…it’s not for anyone else but me and a way for me to honor them.  The worst things is pretending that it never happened and that there aren’t little ones that are supposed to be here with you but taking time to remember them always makes me feel a little better.

These are just a few things that have helped me.  Talking to others and being open about my feelings rather than hiding them makes me feel a little better and not feeling like I have to always pretend.  The holiday season can also be a time for believing so believe that you won’t always feel this way, believe you are not alone and believe that you will have the life you want either with a child no matter how or when they arrive or a full life living child free.  And also believe that January 2nd is right around the corner:)

believe

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19 weeks and counting…

Today I am 19 weeks.  We had our anatomy ultrasound scan on Friday and the baby looks great!  She is measuring right on track and has all of her parts:)  We even got some cute pictures!  I am so relieved that everything so far looks good.  I am starting to relax more and enjoy it.  I have allowed my family to start planning my shower and am starting to make plans for the nursery.  I still have anxiety and fears but they are becoming more about after the baby is born such as am I even qualified to take care of a baby??  I am sure I will be or at least have the ability to consult resources if necessary:)

I still can’t believe it how far we’ve come!

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It’s a…

its a girl

So now we are all caught up to the present at 16 weeks 3 days and we just got the results from the new MaternityT21 test where they can detect the baby’s DNA and check all of the chromosomes (one benefit of being of “advanced” maternal age) and everything came back NEGATIVE:)))  So no chromosomal abnormalities detected.  I am so relieved as it was always thought that the reason for my miscarriages was poor egg quality so it looks like we caught “a good one”.  Another benefit to this test is we get to find out the gender a little sooner.  Now it’s like a REAL person and it just got a whole lot more real!

I am slowly trying to become more relaxed but of course I have a million worries but I am trying to enjoy these moments and not let them get clouded by the anxiety associated with the losses I suffered in the past.  I announced at our monthly staff meeting on Monday that I was expecting.  Of course in the back of my mind I am thinking: wow this is a lot of people to untell if something awful should happen at this point BUT I pushed that aside and just took it all in.  It still feels weird to have people congratulate me or ask questions about the pregnancy, etc. but I am really trying to let myself settle into it.  It’s a weird place…I still don’t feel like I am out of the infertility woods but I am also lingering around in the motherhood pool…even if it’s still just at the edge…one toe at a time.

One question that I have found that really bothers me is “Is this your first?”.  Of course this is coming from people who don’t know me well let alone any struggles we have faced but it bothers me because this isn’t my first baby but I don’t really know how to answer that in an honest way that doesn’t include me spilling my guts to a virtual stranger.  My heart still breaks for those little ones I lost and not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. It’s bittersweet to think of this little one growing each day while those others aren’t here.  Someone told me “you just had to wait for a little soul to come to be yours” and maybe that’s true and maybe the others couldn’t stay so that this one could.

I go for my biweekly “reassurance” visit with the OB tomorrow and then our anatomy scan on December 5th so I will keep you all updated:)  Until then I am saying lots of prayers, not only for this little one but for all of those others out there still in the trenches.

The BIG One

It’s been a couple of weeks since I was released from Dr. F and since then I met with the Maternity Nurse at my OBGYN who went over all of the scary testing I will need to have done given my history and “advanced” maternal age…probably one of the few times the word “advanced” is not a good thing.  I also met with one of the doctors in the practice that I haven’t seen yet who I will refer to as the BEST OB ever for a woman coming off the heels of fertility treatments and multiple losses.

While I didn’t have an ultrasound, I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and the nurse said it was 166 bpm which is great so I felt slightly relieved.  Now I am not one to cry in public or at happy occasions (I reserve my tears for the really bad stuff and in the privacy of my own home) but hearing the heartbeat was something I never thought I would ever hear.  As soon as the nurse left the room I started crying and was really trying to get myself together before the doctor came in but no such luck.  I think I gave him a slight panic attack when he walked in as he simply said “Oh God” and I quickly reassured him these were happy tears.  Apparently he hadn’t seen the nurse’s report from the heartbeat yet and wasn’t sure what he was walking into.

After my exam which I was NOT prepared for having nor was I prepared for a pap smear, he let me have back my dignity and get dressed and met with me in his office.  The first thing he said was “Our first priority is your mental well-being so if you need to come every week in order to reassured than that’s what we will do”  I started crying again because normally the once a week fertility visits quickly end when you “graduate” back to your OBGYN and you are left with weeks of not knowing and panic attacks.

This brings me to today…today is the day I go for our ultrasound at the hospital to make sure everything is measuring appropriately and look for indicators of chromosomal abnormalities.  They will also do noninvasive bloodwork which will be able to pick up the baby’s DNA to check all of the chromosomes.  I obviously have very mixed emotions right now…I am so excited to see our little one again but scared to death something will be wrong.  I know the only thing I can do is have faith that everything will be ok.  Hopefully I can post a good update in a few hours:)

 

**UPDATE:  The ultrasound went great!  The little one was moving around and all measurements were normal so no signs of any abnormalities at this time:)  I am a little more relieved and a little more relaxed but know we still have a long way to go.  My sequential screening bloodwork also came back and I screened negative.  I am just praying that all continues to go well!  I also broke down and bought my first pair of maternity jeans…my GOD why do they NOT make all jeans and pants with an elastic waist!!  They are wonderful and I am going to enjoy wearing them every minute:))

I thought I was special…

Many of us who walk the infertility road often form strong attachments to our fertility specialists especially since they probably know way more about us than any other human being on the planet…inside and out…literally.   I was no exception, Dr. F walked on water as far as I was concerned.  Even though technically, according to my husband,  Dr. F didn’t really do anything to make this latest pregnancy happen I feel that we don’t really know and everything that he did or didn’t do up until this point may or may not have had a hand in this little one being created.   Either way I am grateful for his patience and dedication over the last year and a half.  So much so that I decided to write him a heartfelt thank you letter.

Here is what I sent:

Dear Dr. F,

I just wanted to send you a note to say thank you for all of your support and help over the last year and a half.  Your kindness and patience always made me feel at ease.  The infertility journey is a long and difficult one but you and your staff helped to make that road a little easier.  I know we still have a long way to go with this little one and I am hopeful that things will work out.  Hopefully we got a “good egg” this time.  I will continue to keep you posted on our progress.  Again thank you again for everything you have done for us.

Thank you,

Renee and Vinny

A few weeks later I received a typed letter from Dr. F.  I was like a kid at Christmas opening it up.  This is what I found when I opened it:

Dear Vinny and Mary,

Thank you for your letter.  Your kind words and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. F

Who the F is Mary??!!  Dr. F doesn’t even know my name?!  I really thought I was special…maybe even one of his favorite patients.  He certainly got my husband’s name right but the person who’s shit he was poking around, sometimes on a daily basis, that’s the name he gets wrong!  I was reassured by my friend that it was most likely written by his secretary so it was really her fault.  Even still, I feel like a cheap one night stand fertility patient:(

“Graduation Day” and Goodbyes

So I officially “graduated” from my fertility doctor at 10 weeks 3 days.  All looked good at the ultrasound and baby was even measuring a day ahead:)   This should have made me feel reassured…which part of me was but the other part of me feels like every week that goes by that everything is fine then that is another week invested and another harder if something should go wrong.  I am trying not to go to “that place” but when you have been down this road before and it didn’t lead to a baby being born you get a little jaded.

When I went in for my last appointment I had mixed feelings as I pulled up.  Part of me was very happy that this would be my last 7 a.m. appointment but at the same time I also felt a little sad.  I won’t see Dr. F or Nurse T anymore and my new favorite Nurse A.  I will even miss the med student who had been shadowing Dr. F for the last 6 weeks.  I know this will be my last appointment regardless of how this pregnancy turns out because I can’t go back down this road anymore.  I have said this before but this time I feel it in my heart…this is my last effort to have my own child.  Everyone who has been down this road says you just know when you have reached your limit and I know that I have reached mine.  I can’t buy another ticket for the roller coaster ride so I am just going to ride this one out to the end.  I am hoping I make it all the way to the end of the ride this time because I am starting to get just a “little” attached to this little one.  I am starting to allow myself to imagine what this child might be like and what it will be like to have a little one running around the house.  I am starting to allow myself to believe that some of my dreams will come true.  Right now all I can do is have faith that all will work out.  I saw this on Facebook the other day and am taking it as a good sign:

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9 Week Update

I have not been keeping up with my updates…partially due to being incredibly busy at work and maybe a little bit in denial.  Last week we had our 9 Week 3 day ultrasound and all looked great!  We even got to see the little one move around:)  Heart rate looks great too:))

So you would think I would be feeling a little more relaxed as each week goes by with a good report…WRONG!  Well some parts of me feel some relief but then all new worries set in because as each week goes by I get a little more invested, a little more attached and a little more afraid that something will go wrong.  I try to remind myself that this is a whole new pregnancy and so far (knock on everything) all is right on track.  I can’t lump this into the same category as my other pregnancies because they all had indications that something was wrong early on.  But it’s something I struggle with everyday and the part I hate most about infertility.

My husband on the other hand has a completely different attitude.  Here is a comparison chart I have made to show just how different we think:

My husband:  I can’t wait to see our baby tomorrow!

Me: (usually these are my thoughts that I keep to myself as not to burst his bubble):   How can he assume there is going to be a baby to see?

Husband: When can we tell people?

Me: When/If I give birth.

Husband: When can we think of names?

Me: When/If I give birth.

Husband: I know everything is going to be fine. (After I have asked how he can be so calm)

Me: Are you delusional?  How do you KNOW it will be fine??!

Husband: What do you think the baby is doing now?

Me: Hopefully being alive.

Husband: When can we set up the room?

Me: When/If I give birth.  I will just hold the baby until the room is done.

Husband: When can we register?

Me: After I give birth…again I will just hold the baby until we get stuff.

Husband: I can’t wait to take the baby for runs.

Me: I hope the baby has legs.

Husband:  After he thought I said something about trying for a second child…which I did NOT he then says: Well we could try for a second.

Me:   God willing we (me and this baby) survive this pregnancy than this is it so unless another one is coming by plane or someone else is having it this is it.  I have made peace with the fact that if I was blessed enough to have a child than it was only going to be one a long time ago…unless I had twins.

Husband: So like would you get your tubes tied?

Me: Ummm NO I have had enough procedures.  It is now your turn. Snip Snip.

 

So as you can see this is how differently we are both taking this pregnancy.  I am trying to be more like him and just go with it and enjoy it.  I am trying to have more faith that this will work and we will have our baby.  Either that or he is more crazy than I am:)

Next week is my (hopefully) last appointment with Dr. F before I get released to the regular OBGYN and I have very mixed emotions: panic, sadness, happiness…all rolled into one.  I know technically he is not really “doing anything” to keep this pregnancy going and is just monitoring me but I feel like it’s a safe place and I don’t know how I will do waiting weeks with no update OR maybe it will be better.  For now, I will take a deep breath and just enjoy…until next week.

 

** Again this is my original post I kept in my drafts until I felt brave enough to post.  I will continue to post updates and keep them in the original draft form they were created in…maybe just speed up the time to catch up to present day:)