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.

May 2, Past & Present 

May 2, 2016 was the last time I (physically) went to work. At the time I had no idea that would be the last day I walked into my 3rd grade classroom to teach.

I had been bleeding quite a bit over the past weeks since my BFP and figured I was having yet another miscarriage. The pain became overwhelming so I left work and headed to my RE’s office. 

This is what we saw…


Relief. A heartbeat. Followed by horrible news…the other embryo had implanted in my fallopian tube. And it burst. And I was bleeding internally. Things became a blur as I was rushed to the ER for surgery. All I knew is that I had to undergo general anesthesia at just 6 weeks pregnant and was told the chances of the baby in my uterus (who is now sitting next to me) had a small chance of surviving it. I was devastated. I thought not only am I going to lose my tube, but another baby again. 

I came out of the surgery and so did Miracle with his heart still beating. I was told the next 48 hrs were crucial. I was in so much pain I could barely move after the surgery. It was worse than my c-section recovery by far. 48 hrs came & went, and there he was on the screen, still alive. 

We battled subchorionic hemmorages and placenta previa over the next few weeks, with lots of bedrest, but we made it to full term just in time for Christmas. God fulfilled the desires of our hearts as He promised He would.

Here we are in the present, May 2, 2017. If I had chosen to return to work from my FMLA leave it would have been today that I went back. I thought I might have mixed feelings about not being there when the day came, but I feel peace. I even had a cardinal and a butterfly visit my yard at the same moment and I like to think it was Isaac’s twin stopping by for a visit to let me know he or she is alright.

I know here at home with my boy is where I want to be. And might I add that while I always knew teaching was challenging, I had no clue that being a stay at home mom was even harder. Its by far the hardest job I have ever had, yet the most rewarding. Ill leave it at this—Stay at home moms dont get enough credit! Shoutout to my mom who stayed home with my brother & I…I get it now. 

2 Years Ago

A few days ago, Word Press reminded me that I started this blog 2 years ago this March. 


2 years ago at this time I was on a medical leave from my position teaching Fourth Grade. I had just had my 3rd IVF miscarriage at 10 weeks pregnant. I was beyond devastated. I chopped off my hair and got 2 tattoos within weeks. I wanted to morph into a different person but I soon realized that wasn’t possible. 

So during my medical leave, I decided I had to find other ways to cope other than taking scissors to my hair or ink to my body.  With the encouragement of close friends & family, I started this blog as an outlet. Up until that time (March 2015), we were quiet about our infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss struggles. Only those closest to us knew we had been trying to conceive for close to 7 yrs, had underwent both his & her surgeries, failed IUIs, IVF cycles, and miscarried 6 embryos with 2 still frozen. 

It felt SO amazing to come out of what I like to call the “infertility closet.” I decided from the start not to make my blog anonymous, to even link it to my FB page. I wanted the world to know that I was not a mean bitch when I didnt come to your baby shower, or your kid’s 1st birthday…or when I walked away as you gleefully told everyone what gender you were expecting. I wanted them to know that I had just learned we lost another baby, a healthy baby boy with no explanation. That I just had a D & C for the fourth time. That we had just thrown another 10,000 down the drain. That I wasnt being lazy when I called into work sick yet again. I wanted to be understood finally!

And I was. In fact, I had more than one person tell me that they had misjudged me before they knew our story.  To think if I had never started sharing they would have never knew the real me, well I cant even imagine that now. 

To some, I might share too much, but I have found being an open (and honest) book is what works. To ME, it is far better than leading a life no one knows exists.  That said, I found it pretty cool to see how much this blog has been a part of my life…


You can see that when at the lowest point in our journey (March 2015-June 2015), I was sometimes blogging multiple times a day. Sure, things have changed now, but I am still proud to say I havent missed a month. I guess you could say blogging is sort of therapy for me. 

Here’s to another 2 years Word Press! 

Grief

I have been thinking about writing this post all week, but really dont know how to put my grief into words. No, this isnt about our new bundle of joy that means the world to us. He is doing great. 

This is about the struggle that stays with you after you become a mom…dealing with loss and infertility after motherhood.

Two years ago today, I underwent my last d & c at 10 weeks pregnant. It was our 3rd Frozen Embryo Transfer, and we thought we were almost out of the woods (or first trimester). I wont rehash all of the awful details with our loss, you can read about them in our archives back in March of 2015 if you are in a place where you need to relate. If you are, my prayers go out to you. However, I will say that this February day back in 2015 still haunts, or hurts me deeply. 

I sat in the bathtub last night, when I should have been relaxing after a long day filled with cluster feeds, dirty diapers, cries and sweet rainbow baby coos, only to find myself grieving deeply. 

You see, having a baby doesnt replace losing one. Having a miracle in your arms actually makes you wonder even more about what your other child would have been. All the moments you are enjoying now that you lost with them. There is even a smidge of guilt mixed in with the grief. 

We will never know why we lost Isaacs brother that winter day a few years ago, or why we lost all 5 of his other siblings before that. All we can do is thank God for what we have and cherish it even more. Pray for peace for all the babies taken too soon, and for all the moms that became moms the second those embryos were placed inside of them…regardless of the outcome. You are a mother even though many might not recognize it. The love starts way before the baby arrives. Losing many and now having one has made me realize it even more. 

Rest in peace Isaiah William with all the other angels gone too soon 💙 today we think of you 💙