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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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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? 

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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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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??? 

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Moving On

As we are nearing the other side of this long road of infertility (as odd as that is to say since I am still paranoid something will go wrong most of the time), I’ve thought a lot about how this will effect my blog & our life as a whole-specifically for those who are still deep in the trenches of their battle.

On one hand, I have been, & remain to be, sensitive to the feelings of others who are still TTC their own miracles. On another, after going through so much & believing having children was something that was never going to happen for me, I am also elated & believe that the biggest miracle of our lives deserves to be celebrated.

With that being said, I full well respected anyone who needed to unfollow me on any form of social media. I get it. There were several times in our struggle where I had to do the same in order to protect myself. Seeing announcements were  incredibly painful. They seemed to be, for me, especially difficult when coming from someone who, A, instantly got pregnant,  or, B, could easily have children & was newly pregnant with their third child, or, C,  from someone who, weeks or months earlier, had reached out to me to ask about infertility & boom became yet another person who was (successfully) pregnant before me.

And while, as a fellow infertile, you are absolutely elated when a fellow battler moves on, there is a part of you that is also a little sad to be left behind. You feel as if yet another person has moved out of the world you are in & there you still are in this scary, heartbreaking, isolating place. To say it is hard will never quite do it justice.

In the past few months, these things have weighed heavily on my mind as I’ve thought about what this blog will be once we do move on. After a lot of thought & consideration, I’ve decided to continue it & I’ve arrived at that conclusion for the following reasons.

  1. When I started this blog, it was never only about infertility. I’ve also blogged on current events relating to mental health & rape culture, as well as a few lifestyle posts here & there.
  2. Infertility, regardless of moving on, is something that will always greatly effect my life. What we went through to get to this point was horrific, not to say that some people don’t go through just as much or a lot worse than we did. Moving on will also never change the fact that we had two losses & four embabies that didn’t make it. I think about them all the time. Quite often, even now, I wonder who my children would have been had they lived. I know how old they would be & look on in heartache at children their age, especially children of people I knew were pregnant the same times I was then. I look at their cute picture of their children from insignificant days & I think, “that would be my child now.” No amount of separation in time will change the fact that we will never get to know those children. With that being said, infertility will always, always be a big part of my life &, fear not, will be something I continue to blog about because of that.

For those of you still waiting, please know that my heart is with you, I am cheering for you, & I hope you never, ever give up. For those who have moved on or are not effected, while you relish in the immense joy, please continue to be cognizant of those who are not getting to do the same. More than anything, the world needs kinder people.

I hope that you continue following along with us in this journey but also know that I completely understand if you cannot.

Sending lots of love ❤

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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?