Who Am I?

For so many years I was the “infertile” one. The one who desperately yearned for a baby. The one who repeatedly underwent procedure after procedure to finally get pregnant, only to then lose the long awaited for pregnancy. The one who everyone eagerly waited for updates from to see if I was indeed expecting, or “still” expecting. Then, one day, the stars aligned, everything fell into place, and I had my baby. My miracle.

We went through the newborn sleep deprived phase, followed by all the milestones and first holidays. Infertility was not given much thought as life seemed to naturally be a blur at times. Next came the “do we want another”? baby phase, and subsequent fertility treatments. And just like that, I was once again the “infertile” one, the one everyone kept in their prayers and watched for updates from. I was right back where I had been for so long before, it almost felt as if my normal life returned and I had just been on a vacation from infertile me.

When our last ditch effort for a sibling failed, it would only seem suiting then that I seriously began to ponder, “Who am I”? or rather “Who will I be now that I am not trying to have a baby anymore”?

I have spent the last month or so trying to find out. Find the person I was wayyy long ago, before infertility and loss started robbing me of so much of “me.” I have my rainbow, and now I am on the journey to finding me again. Wish me luck.

Is He Your “Only” One?

As she watched her 3 kids tumble around the playground and chatted with me about her growing baby bump, I could sense it was coming. I started to feel a strange anxiety building up to it.

How would I answer this question once she finally spit it out? Should I tell this stranger making small chat with me the struggle leading up to him being my “only” child? Should I say “yes…here on Earth” and leave it at that, making the woman feel sadly awkward for asking what seems like a normal question? Or how about a simple “yes” or simple “no” depending on how technical we want to get here? The possibilities were endless and they were playing out over and over again.

The question was inevitable. And so it came. Is he your “only” one? Can I just say how I hate the emphasis on only here. Like it was no feat to have him. Maybe if I had three it would have been a greater accomplishment without the word only attached to it?

Of course I know I am being unreasonable thinking any harm was meant by asking a common question, but I cant help the fact that it urked me. And although I am quite verbal about my story and the struggles to get my Miracle, my answer that day on the playground was “yes, he is.”

Moving Forward

Today I met with our RE for the complimentary follow up visit after an IVF cycle fail. Commonly known to IVF frequenters as the WTF appt.

Even though we know there will be no more IVF in the future & have voiced it to our clinic already, there were still some things to visit. The start of the meeting was somewhat somber with my RE saying again how bummed she was that the last little one did not make it. I tried not to focus too much on it not working, instead I told her how blessed we are that it worked with Miracle. How many women out there never get even 1 baby here on Earth after numerous IVF’s. Of course we talked about the embryo’s quality, the transfer, my protocol, etc. but it was brief as I did not feel the need to search for answers on why it did not stick.

We went on to reminisce about what a miracle he really is & that day back in May 2016 when we found out I was not only pregnant with him, but also with a baby in my tube. A.k.a. my heterotopic pregnancy experience from FET3. She told me how she shares my success story with other women in her practice often to give them hope. Specifically those who have to undergo a major surgery when pregnant, that it can work out. I cried when she told me that because if there was ever any good to come out of all the loss and hurt and IVF crap other than my son, it is giving hope to someone who needs it the most. From there we somehow got into talking about this blog and supporting women in the trenches.

At one point I actually forgot I was talking to my doctor as it was more like a conversation you have with a close friend. And thats when I realized she is a friend. Im truly lucky to have found a doctor like her.

We will be doing a sperm analysis in the weeks that follow. If you have been following along for awhile, you know we are affected by Male Factor Infertility. Back in 2013, my husband underwent a Varicocele Repair. We did IVF 6 months later and that is the last time a sperm analysis was done. It has been almost 5 years now. We are curious to see what it yields. It is out of our hands now & in His.

And Then There Was None

Miracle will be 2 yrs old soon. Hard to believe it. I mean how cliche is it to say time flies, but boy is it so true. The past year or so I have found myself struggling through stages of infancy and toddlerhood only to blink and see a new stage upon me and miss the old stage like crazy.

Back in early 2014, we had 18 eggs retrieved via IVF with ICSI, 8 of which made it to day 6 blasts. 7 were put on ice and 1 transferred back fresh at that time. 5 transfers total, 6 embryos miscarried, 1 miracle baby boy & 1 embryo that never implanted.

Our last embryo was transferred back to us early this month. We had high hopes that it would complete our family and bring Miracle a sibling. The cycle failed. I sort of knew going into it that it would not work. That sounds awful, and so much for the power of positive thinking. I blame myself sometimes for my ‘mindset’, that maybe if I had been more positive it would have worked. If I would have taken it a little easier after the transfer. If, if, if.

And of course I blame my body. The actual transfer itself was a nightmare. The catheter would not go in correctly which was never an issue in our prior 4 transfers. I guess since I dilated the full 10cm during labor with Isaac things changed down there. Who knows. Finally it worked but the cramping was not ideal. I wasnt exactly relaxed.

And then there was the quality of the embryo itself. 30% of it did not survive the thaw. The inner cell mass was still in tact as it was the trophectoderm (aka future placenta) that died off. We were told that successful pregnancies have occurred with even 50% not making it and to stay positive. Sigh. It was just another sign in my mind that things wouldnt work.

But the truth is none of this even matters because in reality if it was meant to be it would have been right? So now we pick up the pieces and try to move on from life after IVF. There will be no more IVF for us. It has taken up too much of our lives for too many years and I dont want it anymore. This cycle brought back so many ugly feelings that I remembered all too well once they surfaced. And I dont want those feelings anymore.

Crickets

Where do you begin when you haven’t blogged in over a year? From an avid blogger to a ghost. Some people might think you fell off the face of the Earth. Others could guess you have tried to turn over a new leaf, assuming you are trying to put your “infertile” past behind you now that you have a baby….I wish it was that easy.

So many times I have stared at a blank screen and wanted to write. I miss blogging. I miss using my voice & interacting with such a supportive community. Blogging was therapy & a huge part of my daily life for years.

Anyways, so here I am. I am back. I never really left. I silently read posts and commented in my mind on them. Prayed for those hurting, rejoiced with those rejoicing. Why havent I blogged? I guess I feel out of place at times now since having my rainbow baby. I am worried I might hurt someone still in the trenches. I dont want to be misunderstood. It is difficult to put it all into words really. Hopefully as time goes on I find how to put it all into words because writing this tonight makes me feel good and reinforces how much I have subconsciously yearned for it.

I will leave with this thought which has been on my mind lately-Infertility without an earthly child is hard, but so is infertilify after having one. Will the feelings of infertility & loss ever truly leave one’s soul? Until next time ❤️

Being a Stay at Home Mom

So today I officially resigned from my position teaching 3rd grade. I am technically on a medical leave until May 1st, however I figured if I have no intentions of returning then I might as well resign now. Let my administrator find someone sooner than later to replace me permanently.  Im no longer receiving pay or benefits of any sort, so its not like I would be missing out in that department. 

Side note-I just posted about breastfeeding, and now I am posting about being a stay at home mom. Both hot topics amongst mothers I am quickly finding out. Insert sigh here. It would be nice if more moms supported each other instead of judging each other if you ask me but that is a whole other post-

Anyways, back to today…I decided to take LO with me up to my school to resign, might make things a little easier hey? Plus, I know all of my co-workers who have supported me on this journey really wanted to see him. Initially I was a little hesitant to take him to such a germ infested place, but then again I made a point to keep him away from any students and I took hand sanitizer with me to lather him up should anyone touch his hands without cleaning theirs first. He also kept his paci in his mouth so his hands could not go in it. 

It was great to see everyone & it made me feel human to get out of the house dressed and ready (not in a milk stained tank top with unbrushed teeth, just sayin).  This is one of my fears staying home, that I will miss the adult social time. Im sure I will, but after weighing out the pros and cons of it all, I am positive there is no place I would rather be than home with him his first few years. Thankfully my administrator was very supportive, and we left it hoping our paths cross again some day.  

Speaking of some day, I do eventually plan to go back to teaching. It is the perfect career to have once my little one is in school. I have always had a passion for it & am blessed to have made connections along the way that will hopefully help me back into the field down the road. As for now, I feel extremely grateful to my husband that I have the opportunity to stay home with our son. He is such an amazing husband and father who would do anything to provide for us. If you are reading this, I love you! 

While staying at home, I will continue teaching college courses online. My first one picks back up next month. I am not sure how ready I am for this, but will make it work. I want to contribute something, and every little bit helps. 

This morning when I pulled up my Timehop, I saw this image from exactly one year ago today-


Crazy how things change in a year. I deeply questioned then if I would ever be a mother here on Earth. Now my son is here in my arms as I type this. And who knows, this time next year we might be sitting here with our LAST little frostie in our arms as a family of 4 (well, 6 if you count the furbabies). Since I am staying home, we have decided that is part of the future plan. My RE wants us to wait until at least December 2017 to do the FET. We figure we will aim for a January or February transfer if all goes well. Hubby and I do not really see the sense in spacing out the FET much further than that. In all honesty, we are ready to completely close the “IVF” chapter of our lives out. We have spent about 5 years on it (that does not include TTC on our own).  If that little embryo is meant to come home with us, we will be thrilled. If it isnt, we will be beyond content with the miracle we have been given right here in front of us. We will not be doing another IVF cycle should that one fail. 

In the meantime, I have every intention of enjoying every moment here at home with my little rainbow 🌈💙

Old Stomping Grounds

Hubby took a day off this week & we ventured back down south to the ritzy area where Isaac lived for 2 years before he was transferred back to my uterus & we finally brought him home. It is really crazy to think he was frozen in a lab for that long. Mind boggling modern science is. Anyways, we headed this way to visit our RE & her staff. We promised at our last visit back in May of 2016 (when we graduated) that we would return with him once he entered this world. 
We did not call ahead, instead we crossed our fingers & hoped our doc would be in. I chose to stop in around lunch time as I know they dont schedule patients then. One of the things I hated most (speaking as a recurrent pregnancy loss patient right now not an infertile patient) was seeing pregnant people or ones with infants come in. Perhaps if I had only been infertile and not suffered so much loss it wouldnt bother me as much. Maybe I would look at it as hope instead of heartbreak. Instead the loss made me resentful when I saw it. 

Thankfully the waiting area had not a soul and we were greeted by the receptionists we know all too well. They immediately came around the counter & let us know they received baby boy’s birth announcement in the mail. They ooed and awed at him. I should have prefaced this by saying how nervous I was as we drove to the office. Weird right? What was there to be nervous about? Its not like I was headed in for a blood draw, ultrasound, or procedure. For once I was on the other side. I had made it! But still the anxiety lurked. I couldnt help but think of all the times I had made that dreaded drive and all the various feelings that accompanied it. Im happy to say that once we arrived it faded away and I felt more like a conqueror than anything else. 

Soon after arriving, our nurse and phlebotomist came out. Lots of happy squeals and “after all you went through” statements followed. Hubby held baby while I gave hugs. Finally our RE came out with the biggest smile you ever did see. We embraced and then she quickly stole little one away from us. I was able to capture a photo for the baby book of the 2 of them (we plan to be very open with our son about what we went through). What a feeling standing there with the whole staff, everyone full of joy for once. I cant explain it, but it was so surreal. 

We had a canvas with us that we had picked up from our newborn photographer just prior to our visit at our RE. Our photographer was actually referred to us by our RE originally. Well, the photographer loved our baby boy so much that she offered to do a complimentary canvas for our RE’s office. Truly a compliment. My RE was thrilled. 

I cant tell you how many years I sat in that office staring at the beautiful baby canvases and daydreaming. Now our baby was on a canvas and would be going up on one of those walls. Feelings of being incredibly blessed & content overwhelmed me. Again, we made it I thought. I am well aware so many dont get to the other side. Motherhood after loss and infertility that is. It could have turned out differently than it did. And I thank God everyday it didnt. 

Later that day, after we left, my RE sent me a message via FB. It was short & sweet-“thank you for stopping by, it made my day” and my response was “likewise.” As a teacher I used to live for the days when my previous students would come back & visit. It let me know I did something right. I would like to think this is how she felt when we stopped in.