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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?

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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