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Our Frozen Embryo & Family Growing

When I finally gave birth to Eli, I’d came to a decision on our frozen embryo…or at least I thought I had. After all the heartache & uncertainty surrounding whether we’d ever have a child of our own, & alllllll of the anxiety over my pregnancy with him, I was at a place, & still am, that I got what I prayed for & was content. If we never have another biological child, we will still be infinitely blessed. It was & has been everything I ever wanted & could have dreamed.

Now, on our frozen embryo, my feelings were initially that I never wanted to put my body through any more fertility drugs ever again. They’re a bitch & effect you fiercely. They also increase your chances of certain cancers & that, to me, as well as my husband who is in the field of cancer treatment, is scary.

At the same time, when I saw our last two embryos, one of whom is still frozen, on my Timehop yesterday from 2 years ago, I couldn’t help but feel something for them…it’s OUR baby…or could be if it survives the thaw & the stars align…nevertheless, it’s very hard to come to terms with the concept of giving away our child….or leaving them frozen forever…or, worse yet, throwing them away.

Also, oddly, someone I went to school with yesterday contacted me asking me about fertility treatment. She shared that she had went through a lot to have her first child, also had endometriosis, was struggling to get pregnant again, & was told by her OB that, while the laparoscopy helped increase pregnancy odds the first time, it did not subsequence times…which makes me a bit nervous.

Before infertility, I wanted 5 children…& then dropped to 3 lol If it weren’t for infertility now, I’d want all the babies 😀 & we do still want to adopt. Strangely, after having Elijah I want to adopt now more than ever. When I’d hold him & take care of him in the early days, I remember one time in particular I just cried when thinking of all the babies who are left to cry & not cared for in this world. That to me is heartbreaking. I am so glad he will always know love & never have to wonder if his parents will follow through for him. I want to give that to another child who may never know that same fierce love.

For the moment, like I wrote about earlier, we have decided to actively TTC again as my OB recommended. I’ve already bought an ovulation kit & plan on using two STORK OTCs again this cycle. We’ll see where it takes us.

Again, sorry the blog is a bit slower nowadays & a heartfelt thank you, to all of those who continue following along on this crazy ride with us. We love & appreciate each of you! ❤

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss 5K

Y’all, I-along with Scott & Eli-did my FIRST 5K this past Saturday!!! & the cause couldn’t have been more fitting. It was a Pregnancy & Infant Loss 5K &, if you’ve followed this blog even a little, you know  it’s a cause that will always be very close to our hearts. Even though infertility seems to be becoming less taboo, I still feel like it’s something that isn’t discussed near enough. 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, yet, it’s still something that isn’t talked about near enough. When I had my miscarriages, I couldn’t believe how many other women that were aware they happened  had a me, too story. It was mind blowing for me, especially with my first.

This month is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month! While I know not everyone wants to share their story, I do like to to take the time to share ours. I want anyone who has, is, or will experience a miscarriage to know they are not alone &, if they so choose, it is okay to talk about it. I saw a post just last night from a girl disclosing she & her husband miscarried over the weekend. In the same post, she’d written, “even though I was only five weeks along,” as if she had to let the world know she was aware of that or that it, somehow, wasn’t suppose to be as painful had she been further along & it absolutely broke my heart that she felt she needed to justify her pain. I’m sure anyone who has also had a miscarriage knows that, no matter when you lost your baby, it will hurt…a whole awful lot. It will rip you to your core. &, it is my hope, that, as time goes on, no person ever feels that they have to justify their pain over such a HUGE horrible loss. As the book The Fault In Our Stars reads, “It hurts because it matters.”

Your pain mattered & will always matter. It is real. & you don’t need to justify that to anybody.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from our first 5K. While we weren’t the fastest, our goal was just to finish. & we did! &, to our surprise, weren’t even last 😀 We hadn’t trained since we live somewhere that isn’t close to a place to run so didn’t have high hopes but we did it!!!

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“When Are You Going To Have Another One?”

It’s a question we got, almost immediately to my surprise, after Elijah was born.

“Well, when are you going to have another one??”

It shocked me for a few reasons, the biggest being our infertility has never been any secret to the public eye. I shared our struggles from the beginning of infertility treatments to the very end. So, being that everyone knew just how much of a miracle Eli was, I never expected to be questioned about the possibility of a second child. Especially IMMEDIATELY following his birth.

I am still reeling in the magnitude of the blessing God has given us & in awe of him every single day. I’ve said it before & will say again that, if we are blessed with another baby somewhere down the line, then GREAT! If not, it is still great. Because God has been more  than great to us in giving us what we never dreamed we’d have.

Going back to the question, it is still, nonetheless, a question that still haunts me a bit. Scott & I have talked more about other children lately. I think this has been sparked in part by his upcoming Birthday, calling attention to the fact that he is getting older. A unique element for our specific infertility feat is that he is quite a bit older than I am. One thing that means is, as he’s shared with me recently, is that he doesn’t want to be fifty years old & still growing our family. If possible, he’d like to be done, meaning he’d like to have another sooner rather than later.

For me, with my endometriosis & my own fertility issues, I also worry the longer we wait the harder it may be for me to get pregnant again. My eggs were not the best when we did our IVFs, which may have been because of the endometriosis our fertility Dr failed to ever test & diagnose (that’s another story/rant), we aren’t sure.

He’s ready to try to have another now but I guess I’m the one that’s conflicted. While I do acknowledge I have my own fertility issues & my endo is likely still clear since I had the laparoscopy, followed by two pregnancies, I also want to be able to be completely present in enjoying the miracle we have. I think my biggest worry is, again, pregnancy loss. I was sooo stressed my entire pregnancy that something was going to go wrong & I don’t want to be in a constant state of anxiety when I can enjoy my rainbow now. On another hand, I’m getting older too & nearing 30. The fact that, as women get older specifically, certain abnormalities become more common as well is something that has also been on my mind lately.

Basically, we are conflicted on the decision currently. There are a lot of factors at play & infertility is a tough beast, even if you’ve slayed it once before.

P.S. Maybe you shouldn’t ask someone when they’re going to have another baby-esp if it was hella hard to have the first. Just a thought 😛

 

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I Had To Stop Breastfeeding During Breastfeeding Month & This Is How It Made Me Feel

Like a failure. At first, anyway.

During the month where breastfeeding selfies & statistics were everywhere, my milk decided to dry up. To make matters worse, this happened just after little guy & I were at a good place in our breastfeeding journey.

Our journey, a lot like our journey to parenthood, was never easy. From the start, he had difficulty maintaining a latch. I was also told I may have flat nipples. After seeing a lactation specialist, she determined I did not, in fact, have flat nipples & felt our LO could nurse just fine if he went to suck training. So we did. & he did! But right as we started doing soooo good, bam! Or lack thereof? Nothing. When I was usually able to pump 19 ounces a day at the end, it kept reducing. Firs down to 16, then 15, then 13, & then 10. Ten whole ounces out of EIGHT sessions of pumping. Eight!

My supply was never up to par with where it should be. It had reduced & raised one other time when I took an antibiotic & then stopped but not this time.

I drank more water. I ate oatmeal (every damned morning). I took my vitamins. I sipped Mother’s Milk Tea & threw back lactation vitamins, along with my lactation cookies. Still, no dice. For whatever reason, breastfeeding longer just wasn’t in the cards for us. I was greatly disappointed at first after we’d overcome so much to get to where we were & felt this was made worse by the glorification of breastfeeding. Not to say that breastfeeding should not be glorified, I’m just explaining it was an extra sting when I sooooo wanted to breastfeed little man for at least a year.

Once the initial sadness wore off, however, I’m now at a place where I can say all of this:

-I’m proud of both of us for sticking with breastfeeding for the 2.5 we did

-& even prouder of all each of us overcame in order to do so. From working to ditch the nipple shield to driving 3 hours to suck training biweekly, we did it! &, even though the speech therapist said E prob burned more calories to eat because he wasn’t eating effectively, it never stopped him from getting more & more adorable rolls

-I’m so thankful we got to experience breastfeeding. Through out infertility journey, along with mourning potentially never being able to carry a child, mourning the breastfeeding relationship I wanted was also something I was really sad about. Little did I know, that wasn’t out of the cards for us so all I can be now is thankful that I was able to experience it at all

-I’m glad that, if miracles strike twice & we ever have another child, I’ll be more equipt in knowing what to do next time

Something else I have to say is I am more thankful than words for our sweet donors who have donated breastmilk to us! & to the women who told me about the FB page for KY & Indianna breastfeeding mamas. They have sweetly given me milk that our baby is use to so his tummy doesn’t get all messed up. As someone who was also strapped to a machine, for hoursssss in a day, I full well know these sweet ladies also put A LOTTTT of time into this donation & we are so, so thankful for that. Something else I have to say is I am more thankful than words for our sweet donors who have donated breastmilk to us! & to the women who told me about the FB page for KY & Indianna breastfeeding mamas.

Breastfeeding is beautiful! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done & I am forever thankful I worked hard to get to have that experience.

I would also like to say if, for whatever reason, breastfeeding just isn’t in the cards for you, it’s okay! FED IS BEST! Say it louder for the people in the back.

Sending love & wishing a beautiful weekend to all!

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You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

-When at your 6 week check up, you keep wanting to refer to the UTI’s you’ve had as IUIs.

-When opening up the discussion of birth control, your OB says, “I’m sure you don’t think you need it since it took you so long to get here.”

As I’m sure some of you are thinking, even if you’ve struggled with infertility before, it doesn’t mean you won’t miraculously get pregnant again. We know, she knows. After that opening statement she also added, “Even if you did get pregnant, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind,”

& it’s true. After all of the heartache & struggle we’ve had to get to this place, we wouldn’t mind at all. Ideally, that wouldn’t be RIGHT away.

SO-my options for birth control right now are limited as it is, as we’re still breastfeeding. I have a choice of the depo shot (which I would never do because I’ve read & heard horrible things) & a low dose birth control pill. Right away, I declined those as I already knew I didn’t want any prevention in the form of medications.

After being on some sort of hormonal medications for the past four years, I don’t want anything else to do with that sort of thing right now. I’m sick & tired of medications that come with side effects. Even before we began our infertility journey & long before I met my husband, birth control pills always made me sick to be honest. I always had bouts of nausea with them. Also, as mundane as this may sound to those who don’t understand, I’m just really tired of having my life revolve around having to remember taking a medication. Eli is 6 & a half weeks old as of today & I am JUST NOW not going into a panic wondering if I’ve forgotten to do an injection (that I haven’t done since 36 weeks pregnant), or take my Aspirin. Just now.

Since I don’t want anything to do with medications right now, our game plan is to use condoms & spermicide for at least 6 months. After that, if we were to get pregnant on our own, then great. If not, that’s okay too. Before infertility, I always thought I wanted at least three kids. In the trenches of it, I always said that, if I could have at least one child, I’d be happy & I am. I know, coming from a 1-2% chance of ever having biological children, we are PHENOMENALLY BLESSED to have Elijah. So blessed! If we go the rest of our lives never having another biological child, we’ll still be happy.

Regardless of whether or not we are able to have more biological children, we’d like to adopt at least one child a few years down the road. I’ve always wanted to adopt &, after going through the fostering classes, both of our eyes were even more opened to the great need for foster & adoptive parents. Likewise, I think there’s also a need for strictly adoptive parents through other avenues (other than through the state).

It’s definitely been a rocky road with lots of twists & turns to get to where we are. We aren’t sure whether or not we’ve left infertility behind as far as battling it again but we do now what are plans are as far as family building goes….what we don’t know is what God’s plans are. & He has some pretty big plans so I guess all we can do is sit back, wait, & see. No matter, we are happy with whatever that is.

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Mother’s Day & Infertility

For those struggling with infertility, Mother’s Day can be one of the most difficult days of the year. It’s a giant, flashing reminder of what you do not have. & it’s everywhere you look. All over social media (even in the weeks leading up to it seems), flooding department stores & your inbox with MOTHER’S DAY reminders/specials, during church services, etc, etc.

It’s a day that brings a lot of sadness for so many & I feel the video I’m going to share below captures that well.

(I’m having trouble copying the link to the video itself but it is the one titled To The Mother With An Aching Heart).

https://www.facebook.com/pg/todayparents/videos/?ref=page_internal

While I do not love that this is such a grueling day for so many (for different reasons), I do love that infertility is being discussed more openly & publicly. I hope that this video brings comfort to those in their deepest struggles & awareness to others about what many are going through.

If you’re struggling, please do not do so silently. For yourself, you deserve to gain the support of others & not go something that is so all consuming alone. For others, you could make someone (or several people you may know) not feel so alone. In sharing our journey with others, I found both of those things to be true & know I never could’ve made it through everything we went through had I not done so.

If Mother’s Day is difficult for you, know you are in my thoughts & prayers on this day & always. Xo

 

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Gifts & Endings

Yesterday, I shared a post on why Infertility Awareness Week would always be close to my heart & touched on how I hoped our story could provide hope to those still in the thick of their struggles.

In doing so, I in no way was saying that is how everyone’s story would end. Just like books, we all have different endings. However, even if your story never ends in a, “traditional,” pregnancy (one with your egg & your partner’s sperm), that doesn’t mean your’s won’t have that happy ending as well.

My friend also shared something yesterday via her personal Facebook account. She’d discovered it was Infertility Awareness Week & stated she was choosing to celebrate infertility because of what it had given her. You see, had she & her husband not struggled, they never would’ve became foster parents & met their precious son. A child that was meant to be their’s & who has given them life, just as they’ve done the same for him. He is their happy ending.

Her post really touched my heart because I feel it’s sooooo, sooooo easy to fixate on what infertility has taken from us. It is less easy, especially in the midst of  it, to acknowledge the gifts we have gained from something so trying.

For me, I can think of a few things, big & small, infertility has given me:

-Courage & purpose to start my own blog (that you are reading now!)

-Community. I have, “met,” so many wonderful women via social media who have also shared their struggles. A few of us have became very invested in each other’s journeys & it has been such a blessing to have. In addition to the women of the #TTCSISTERS & #TTCCOMMUNITY, I’ve also received several personal messages from acquaintances who shared their own struggles with infertility with me. Sometimes, I’ve even been told they had never told anyone else before but read my blog & wanted to talk to me about it.

-A new appreciation for motherhood & children. No matter how many children we end up with, or how those children come to us, Scott & I will both have a new appreciation for just how special each mundane moment is. In the challenging ones, I feel like I’ll be able to laugh a lot more off & cherish my cold coffee & spit up covered shirts, the things I would have killed for for so long. Not to say that we won’t have the occasional meltdown now & again because, from what I hear, that whole parenting thing is pretty hard & we’re only human.

-Patience. Before infertility, I was one of THE most impatient people on this planet. It was inherited from one of my papaw’s I believe & I got called by his name often growing up because I wanted things when I wanted them…well, if infertility taught me anything right out of the gate it’s that life is not like that. Though, if you ask my husband, I’m still a little impatient 😛

What has infertility given you?? If your story has reached a happy ending, what was that for you?