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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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36 Week Update

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How far along? 36 weeks & 2 days

Gender: Boy

Maternity Clothes?  Obviously lol I rock my maternity yoga pants most days….even though, confession time, they’ve literally never been to yoga…oops!

Stretch Marks? Yep, on my newfound cleavage & the sides of my hips.

Belly button in or out?  Definitely stretching out but, somehow, still in.

Sleep: I’ve been pretty lucky here. I’ve only had pregnancy insomnia less than a handful of times. Most nights, despite my 4 trips to the bathroom, I still manage to sleep pretty well surrounded by all my pillows.

Best moment this week: Getting to see baby Elijah on the ultrasound yesterday! He always cracks us up since he’s so stubborn, which hasn’t changed. Yesterday, he directly ninja kicked the probe the tech was holding over him….he showed her 😛 Learning that baby is head down & not breech was also a HUGE relief. AND I FINISHED MY LOVENOX INJECTIONS Sunday night!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Symptoms: My chronic, as my OB deemed them, yeast infections & BV have honestly been the worst thing since the second trimester. Other than that, I’ve started to have some swelling in my feet, which I need to keep elevated more often.

I also remain the reigning bathroom champion of the house for pee breaks lol

Through all those minor inconveniences, the scares, & the blood thinners I’ve been on, it’s still so odd to me that, because of the constant infections I’ve had, when nurses or nurse practitioners I’ve seen say, “Man, this pregnancy has really been rough on you.” Thinking back to everything I had to go through trying to get pregnant, all of these things feel so small to me. I would take them all for the rest of my life if that’s what it took to be where I am. When we were struggling, I always vowed, if we ever got pregnant, to never complain about anything because I know the absolute hell & heartache people go through in hopes of getting to the other side. I feel like, for anyone who has battled infertility, our perspective is vastly different from someone who was lucky enough not to have fertility issues.

Miss Anything?  SUSHI, SUSHI, SUSHI!!! I may have eyed the Kroger sushi this weekend & dramatically looked up at my husband to say, “I can’t be strong anymore.” LOL Note: I still have not had sushi 😛 He does, however, have strict orders to go get 3 rolls just for me once Piglet is born.

Cravings? Still ground beef & steak.

Food aversions? Still chicken *gag

Queasy or sick?  I had one episode a few days ago. Other than heartburn, I’ve been in the clear on this for a while now.

Any trips to Labor and Delivery? Not yet. I hadn’t started to dilate at my appointment yesterday yet but she did say my cervix had started to soften.

Looking forward to?  Meeting this amazing miracle

Next Goal: Get rid of the most current yeast infection &, hopefully, pass the group B strep test I had yesterday.

 

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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? 

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Infertility Awareness Week 2017

If you looked through my latest Instagram feed (or any social media really), you would probably never know that, for years, we struggled with infertility issues. Unless you glanced through the hashtags after some of the bump shots & pregnancy updates, you wouldn’t realize what it took to get here & how much this week will always mean to us.

Infertility is such a terrible thing & one major reason for this is because of how isolating it is. You feel it’s just you, for the longest time, because it’s not something we as a society bring up in conversation often. It’s not something that typically comes up in small talk. “Beautiful weather, today!” “Yeah, perfect for another round with the dildo cam to check my follicles!”

The above conversation just wouldn’t happen…& maybe that given example should not lol but I do hope more conversations surrounding infertility do! This year, the slogan for Infertility Awareness Week is Listen Up & I so hope that people do just that.

Not only is infertility extremely isolating, it also comes with a lot of ignorance on the part of those who have not struggled that can only make things more hurtful for those that do. I wrote a blog post a while back on What NOT To Say To Your Infertile Friend & another on helpful things to say instead if you would like to read more on that.

Personally, I am forever grateful that we were so open about our struggles. One reason being is that I, hopefully, educated a few people about the presence of infertility (1 in 8 couples struggle!!!). While many of my followers are from the infertility community, it is my hope that some were not & still read on, learning something along the way.

Secondly, had I not had the support of the blogging community & truly wonderful ladies I found on Instagram that were walking my walk, I don’t know how I ever would have survived it. It was one filled with many tears, breakdowns, sooooo many damn needless, surgeries, procedures, & just plain out grief. If you are struggling with infertility, please, PLEASE, do not go it alone!! Reach out to the wonderful community out there that I am so thankful exists.

Lastly, as we are rapidly approaching the arrival of our own rainbow baby, I hope that our story is a symbol of hope to those who are still waiting. We went through 3 IUIs, 2 rounds of IVF, several medicated cycles, laparoscopic surgery, & two devastating losses. We were told that our chance of having a child was 1-2% & we should look into other options. Despite it all, we are here! Praise the Lord! And I want that to give you HOPE! Anything is possible, our story is a living example of that.

My heart is with all of you still in the painful throws of waiting this week & always. ❤

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What 13 Reasons Why Shows Us About Bullying

In case you’ve, somehow, missed the craze of Netflix newest series 13 Reasons Why, I’m going to insert the obligatory spoiler alert here.

13 Reasons Why is a 13 episode adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel about a girl who commits suicide & leaves behind 13 cases tapes explaining what led her to do so. If you received the tapes, you were one of her reasons why.

Not only was the series griping from the start, but it also illustrated how much damage bullying can do to someone. As someone who was bullied themselves, I felt this message was accurately depicted.

Much of what happened to Hannah Baker, the main character, appeared to be subtle bullying/harassment at first that viewers later saw grow into larger ramifications. What seemed small at first became dramatically larger over time because each awful incident did one very unfortunate thing. It made it okay to treat someone so poorly.

Which is exactly what happened in my own life thanks to the girl who thought it was okay to start bullying me. At first, she was on her own having fun with making my life miserable. Soon after, I picked up side bullies that followed in her footsteps. Why? Because it was somehow then okay to pick on me. I was the new girl in seventh grade & it became the thing to do for several girls in my class.

On top of dealing with the bullying every day, something else happened to me as a result. Apart from the cruel ones, there were actually a few nice people in my class but, after being so beaten down, I stopped trying. I stopped trying to form friendships of any kind with any of the kids in my class because (as Hannah says in the series),  “it was open season,” on me, I never knew if someone asked me to sit with them to be nice or because it would be funny/allow me to be a target for one of those girls.

13 Reasons Why had a lot of very important messages to be had & one of those messages I hope viewers take away from it is be kind to one another & realize just how much a seemingly small action from you can effect someone else’s life. We live in a world where we, still today, hear abut bullying all the time. I see the pleas from parents on Facebook asking what to do for their child who is slowly being torn apart by bullying. We see the school shootings & later learn that bullying was involved. But when are we finally going to stand up as a society & say bullying, in any form, is not okay?

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A Sobering Timehop

A year ago today, after 3 failed IUIs, 2 failed IVFs, & a laparoscopy, I had a status update saying something to the effect of we believed, by the next year, we would become parents one way or another. It was a very sobering read as we took our hospital tour today. It’s still so mind-blowing to both of us that we are here &, again, reminds us of how much we have to be thankful for.

It also served as a reminder to me to do a pregnancy update since I haven’t done one in over a month 😛

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How far along? 32 weeks, today exactly

Weight Gain? Around 17 pounds

Maternity Clothes? All of them! My absolute favorite brand is, hands down, Jessica Simpson!

Stretch Marks? On my sides & my girls

Belly button in or out? Still in…miraculously enough 😀

Sleep: Getting more difficult.

Best moment this week: Our hospital tour today

Symptoms: Heartburn, back & hip pain

Miss Anything? Again, I still miss sushi & wine. But, again, I’d happily give that & anything else up for life if it meant I got to have this.

Movement: Reduced a little, which is normal at this stage as baby is running out of room

Cravings? Remains the same as far as sushi, rum, & sweets go but, recently, hot dogs also got added to the mix

Food aversions? Still chicken!!

Queasy or sick? Sometimes

Looking forward to? Finishing up the nursery & breastfeeding class this week

Anything new? Breastfeeding class this week & we recently (last week) met with our doulas to discuss our birth plan-which I also need to blog about (oops).

Complications / Medications? Still taking Lovenox injections, baby Aspirin, & Methylfolate daily. Complications: None

Nursery Update: After FINALLY choosing bedding/curtains (I ended up designing my own on Carousel Designs), we have decor ready to go. We’re hoping to hang the curtains & put the final touches on everything this week!

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Evolving Fears Of Pregnancy After Loss

Early on, I thought if we could just make it to the second trimester, my fears surrounding pregnancy after loss would disappear. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that was not the case when I kept experiencing random bouts of spotting that sent me into my OB’s office in a panic each time.

Once that died down, I thought, surely, now I can relax & trust that all is well. I will be 32 weeks this Sunday &, sadly, I can tel you this still isn’t the case for me. My fears with P.A.L. haven’t gone away, they’ve only evolved.

Early on, there was, naturally, the fear that this pregnancy would, like the others, end in miscarriage. Into the second trimester, I worried about the spotting I kept having, the infections, & the possibility of preterm labor. Now, nearing the end of the third trimester, I keep finding myself worrying about labor & delivery.

Will we go to the hospital when we should? Too early, too late? Will he come out okay, breathing/screaming/blood covered & all? Or will something go wrong?

As much as I try not to let my mind wonder to all the possible things that could potentially go wrong, I can’t help but repeatedly keep finding myself there.

Which brings me to wonder, does the fear that is so associated with P.A.L. ever fully go away? & what does that look like?

Coming upon the close of this pregnancy, I have came to the conclusion that perhaps it doesn’t. It can only be dealt with.

For me, that means coping by making lists & getting as prepared as possible (over prepared more than likely).

I have a list of things that still need to be done before he arrives. A list of things we need to get ready in our home, not including the nursery, & a list of things we still need to buy for baby. I also have a handy dandy hospital bag list ready to be marked off-which will, more than likely, happen this weekend. Along with anything else I can busy myself with in the meantime.

Have you experienced the evolving fears of pregnancy after loss?? How did you cope???