2

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

 

4

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 ūüėõ

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

4

The Trauma Of Failed Infertility Treatments

We’ve often seen others talk about the heartbreak & financial burden of failed cycles but not so much the trauma that is attached to them.

Over the past few months, both our IVF cycles have crept up on my Timehop & while I’ve done my best to avoid the reminders, it has gotten to me on occasion. In truth, both Scott & I have talked about how we can’t even bare to look at them. To see the smiles on our faces & hope in our eyes in shattering because we know full well what those cycles yielded…failure. Repeated failure.

Even now, 20 weeks into my pregnancy, these images still bother me. Something I never would’ve fathomed before. I’m not sure if I’d feel the same about them if they would’ve been successful so I can’t speak to that but I do know how much each failed cycle traumatized me.

For one, you had people, medical professionals, (that were “specialists,”) building you up with things like, “oh, this is going to be your time!” “this is gonna be it for you!” “I have a good feeling about this!” “sometimes you have to do it more than once…..” over and over again. Until the end…when we were essentially given no hope (a 1-2% chance) & advised to look into embryo adoption, as well as other forms of adoption.

And then there is the piece of you who wonders who your little embryos would have been, the ones that couldn’t seem to be successful despite good & average grading. Each time I remember thinking about the hopes I had for them, wondering about who they would grow up to be, who they’d look like, & what their interests would be. I remember reading about the cycle of implantation & development into babies based on a 5 day transfer. I think, for me & our situation, I also can’t help but wonder if these embryos would’ve successfully implanted had I ever been asked about/checked for endometriosis then. No one can say for sure I guess but I am angry about this nonetheless.

Then we have the financial burden of all these treatments we are still paying for. We spent around 30, 00 for absolutely nothing with our old RE who we now lovingly refer to as Dr. Dumb ass lol

Not to mention the fact that my body had to undergo sooooo much with every try. I was injected with countless amounts of drugs that could increase my chances of two forms of cancer. I had two surgical procedures (egg retrievals) that were very hard on my body. I was so swollen I looked pregnant at the time, yet another cruel thing infertility treatment does to the body. I got OHSS & could’ve ended up in the hospital with each IVF. It effected my grad school & practicum performance, as I felt like death some days & was unable to go. I also suffered from a great loss of energy after¬†the cycles & can’t say for sure if I’ve ever recovered from that aspect yet (as pregnancy also tends to cause fatigue).

Infertility hurts. It hurts a lot, for a number of reasons. It hits you where it hurts the most, your hopes & dreams, mental health, physical health, as well as financially. It is a burden I would wish on no one.

May we all be a little kinder to one another, we never know what another person is going through.

“You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes & walk around in them.”

How have your cycles effected you?? Are you experiences similar? Different?

2

Pregnancy After Infertility: A Foot In Two Different Worlds

Infertility is such a small¬†word for something that is so large. It encompasses soooooo many things. Emotions (& let’s be honest, ALL the emotions), the stages of grief (on repeat), &, for many, financial hardship. And let’s not forget that one half of the equation,¬†the ladies, are often hyped up on fertility meds while going through this whirlwind. With that being said, it’s no wonder that, in the midst of our struggle, we are much more sensitive people. We are emotionally raw. Drained of emotion, money, &, sometimes, hope.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog written by a blogger friend of mine on the subject of being pregnant after infertility & feeling as if you have a foot in two completely different worlds. What she meant was this: it is difficult to know what to say to others who also happen to be struggling when you yourself have, hopefully, crossed over. Why? Because you know having the perfect thing to say is impossible. Secondly, she shared that she hadn’t blogged much on infertility or pregnancy since getting a BFP because she wasn’t sure how it would effect others who had not yet gotten their’s. How would they react? Would they be angry, hurt, sad? Would followers feel she was no longer relevant in the infertility blogger scene?

I understand all of the those thoughts & emotions because I had them too. While I haven’t shared much on my pregnancy on the blog, I have on my social media, specifically Facebook & Instagram. For me, any feedback I’ve gotten has been positive. I’ve had several people tell me that my story inspires them &, to my shock, that they even loved seeing pictures of my growing belly. I’ve also received some messages & comments asking me questions about treatments, doctors, & the like, which I don’t mind at all to answer because I want this pregnancy to give others hope. I want it to serve as an example that you can do treatment after treatment that is unsuccessful & arrive at this point in the end. I remember the moment I lost all hope. It was at our follow up consult after the second IVF had failed. Our old RE told us he could do IVF again if we wanted him to but didn’t really have much confidence in it as my egg quality was bad &, “science hasn’t caught up to do anything about that yet.” He gave us our chances of getting pregnant on our own, 1-2%. So we left that day, not saying much to each other, & returned to our busy lives apart from each other, all the while feeling numb. I remember the ache of giving up all too well &, if I can help anyone else not feel that way, I so want to do that.

By the same token, as I’ve said before on this blog, I realize that everyone is at a different place in their journey at any given time. I knew this before we ever got positives this year so I prepared myself, once things started to look a little more promising with this pregnancy, that I would likely loose followers on Instagram & maybe even here on WordPress. And I got it. Sometimes, when you’re in a bad place with all of this, you just can’t emotionally handle seeing pregnancy updates & the like. I’ve been there. So if there are those who can’t, at this moment, bring themselves to view such things, I support them in caring for themselves in the way that they need.

I think, instead of judging others for their actions, we as people need to be more understanding in a general sense, not just with infertility.

Friends, infertility is so, so hard. It’s all encompassing & takes so much out of you on a regular basis. Let’s love & support one another, during the holiday season & always. ‚̧

P.S. As we are quickly coming to a close on another year, I want to say THANK YOU again to each & every person who has followed our story. Every person that has hoped with us when we could not, cried with us, rejoiced with us, PRAYED for us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We could not have done this without you. Xo

2

When The Holidays Aren’t So Happy

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A few months ago, I started noticing signs in front of local churches & other public places. They were unlike the other signs I was use to seeing in that they weren’t advertising for foster parents, or asking, “ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW STRUGGLING WITH DRUG ADDICTION? PLEASE CALL……”

These signs read something like, “Are you struggling with grief and loss this holiday season? If so, please call ____ for support during this challenging time.”

Maybe these signs are a new thing, or maybe they’ve always been there…I’ve just never needed to notice them before.

Going into this holiday season, I knew it would be incredibly challenging. It is the first without my very best friend, my rock of our family, our glue, our chef, jokester, stubborn mule, etc, etc. This will be the first year I will buying one less gift, one that was one of my favorites to find in the past. It was the first year a tiny dark skinned woman wasn’t lightly dancing through her kitchen singing, “Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving! It’s the best time of the year!” It will be the first she won’t be following me out to her entryway on Christmas Eve asking me why I can’t stay another night and then, when I tell her I have to spend time with my husband’s family, looking at me perplexed when she asks, “why?” She never really accepted that my marriage meant she ever had to share. It will be the first without charades because those were her favorite &, when people couldn’t guess her not so obvious rendition, yelling, “future, past, you dumb asses!!” She was really sentimental like that ūüėČ

A few years back, I’d heard the statistic that suicide rates sky rocket during this time of year & now I have a clearer understanding of why that is. When you lose someone so close to you, how could anything ever be the same again? Quick answer: it can’t & it won’t ever be. Grief is really teeth gritting hard on a day to day basis, let alone during a season that places so much emphasis on loved ones &¬†people that mean the most to you.

While the holidays are a magical time for many, they also seem to highlight what is missing, what we long for the most. In our season of infertility, I remember being panged with a different pain during this time. I noticed every child in a¬†store, every little one standing not so patiently in Santa’s line, the toy sections that seemed to go on for days. And I remember, all too well, the hurt of knowing that we were facing another year that we thought we wouldn’t without children, or the prospect of having them.

With that being said, I have a few requests from you this holiday season.

  • As Ellen says, “Be kind to one another.” You never know what another person may be dealing with
  • If you’re able to, perform a random act of kindness. It may just get passed on
  • If someone you know may be having ¬†difficult time this holiday, reach out to them
  • And one last thing….if you spot a FB status that you yourself find hilarious that’s a fake pregnancy announcement, trust me when I say it will absolutely NOT be hilarious to someone on your friend’s list. I still grimace when I see these overdone statuses.¬†They seem to come around at damn near every holiday there is. 1 in 8 people struggle with infertility on a daily basis &, to them, your, “joke,” it not funny at all. In fact, it’s downright hurtful. Please think before you post & be considerate of others, especially during this time.

If you’re having a difficult time this season, please take care of yourself & reach out for support.

Hotlines:

National Hopeline Network
1-800-784-2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255

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13

We Made It

Yesterday, we reached a huge milestone. I milestone that, before, I never believed we would ever get to. I am officially in the second trimester!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday may have started with a bang…more like a shatter actually. After sitting my iPHONE on the end of the bathroom sink it, somehow, managed to LITERALLY do a flip through the air & land face down on the floor. I thoughts surely all was fine until I picked it up…to see the worst shattered screen I’d ever laid eyes on in my life. If I had not done it myself, I would’ve thought someone dropped their phone on concrete. That bad. But, with yesterday being what it was, this didn’t matter at all. Did I still swing by Apple to get it repaired? Yes, because, lets be honest, I have to see my adorable nephew when he FaceTimes me. #Priorities

But after that I did something else I never thought I’d do…I went shopping in a maturity store. My friend & husband forced me in because they were sick of hearing me go on about how nothing fit me every time they tried to drag me somewhere. At first, I really dreaded it because, can I be honest? I was still so paranoid that something was going to go wrong. Paranoid that our Dr’s appt this week wouldn’t go well. Thankfully, once I gave up the fight of not trying things on, it was actually a pretty fun experience. AND I found some things that didn’t look like a huge outdated circus tent.

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After that, we went for a quick Starbucks run to do a picture I’d planned. It was one of the many announcements I thought we’d do countless other times when a treatment finally worked.

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They were out of puppy latte cups for Sophie & Tyson but, thankfully, my friend knew that short cups existed for kid’s hot chocolates so magic still happened. SOMETHING I LEARNED: Do NOT write on red cups with a black marker. You won’t be able to see it well…just photoshop the words on instead. lol

Tomorrow, we have a pretty important scan. My Dr. told us it was a developmental scan so see if the baby was growing as it should, which is standard so we would very much appreciate prayers & good vibes that all looks well.

 

8

Caught In The In Between

As I’ve said so many times before, & will probably say again, pregnancy after loss/losses is one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced.

I’m somewhere in between constantly waiting for something to go wrong & feeling like I’m living a lie in that, every day, I wonder if I’m still pregnant. Despite the symptoms, I still catch myself wondering, are things still okay today, right now? Will they be okay tomorrow, or this evening?

Since we announced, I was so nervous that people would ask me about the pregnancy, how it was going, etc. &, thankfully, they haven’t. Just a bunch of heartfelt congratulations abound. I was afraid of it because I don’t know what to say…I don’t know how others who have never stood where I am would take what I’m really feeling….what I wrote above. I feel like they either wouldn’t know what to say, would think I was bat shit crazy, or ungrateful given all we’ve been through to get here.

&, if you have been where I’ve been, you know ungrateful is the last thing that I am. But I’m not who I use to be…I envy myself before this last loss. I envy who I was then & how hopeful I was about things. I envy the excitement & all the things I had planned so early on that I knew, I knew, I’d get to…..now, I’m in this place where I’m afraid to buy anything. There are a few things I want for more announcement/update pictures at the next ultrasound &, in all honesty, part of me would like to go ahead & buy the week by week preggo updates that women do…..but the biggest part of me is just afraid to even consider doing any of that.

You know that too sweet Worth The Wait onesie we used in our big announcement? I didn’t buy it this time….I’d bought if for last time..&, by the time it arrived, we had no use for it then. It was stuffed back into our closet, along with all the IVF needles, behind clothes somewhere I’d never have to see it.

& there’s also guilt. Guilt that I should feel 100% elated to finally, finally, be pregnant after all this time, after all those awful treatments & heartache…..& I would love to feel that. I remember reading the test this summer & bursting into tears. I was ecstatic. When I saw it this time, the awful truth is I just froze…..I stood there, wide eyed in terror, & just stared. That is not the story I want to tell my child. The first would’ve been much more picturesque lol

Today, I’m 8 weeks & 3 days (wew!!!!) & I’m still so paranoid about every little thing &, at the same time, so afraid to let myself be happy again. This pregnancy seems to be going well….we had much higher numbers, my Dr. isn’t concerned with monitoring my HCG/progesterone anymore, & I still have my beloved (I am NOT being sarcastic lol) morning sickness. So, it would seem that things are fine…I’m so hoping after this next ultrasound, I’ll feel much more at ease that things are continuing to progress & everything is going to be just fine.

Please continue to pray for us, come on second trimester!!!!