A Simple Crib

A few weeks ago something that popped up on my Timehop App reminded me that it’s been a full year since we found out that if we wanted to conceive, IVF would be our only choice. Believe me when I tell you that this last year felt like a century. There were days, sometimes weeks, that I had no idea if we would ever get to where we are now. There were times that I simply wanted to lay in bed all day and hide from the world. I was filled with so many mixed emotions when that memory popped up. I can remember how sure I was that IVF would be easy for us. I was confident that we wouldn’t be one of those couples who it took multiple tries and multiple retrievals to conceive. Honestly, I was completely naive about it.

But, what a difference a year can make, right? Here we are 16 weeks pregnant with our baby girl and there is something so sweet sitting in our house right now, a crib. This is something that others may so easily overlook or simply go through the motions putting the crib up, feeling the excitement and onto the next thing. But to me, this crib means everything to me. There were multiple times in the last year that I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to walk into one of the extra rooms in our home and see a crib sitting there.

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My husband laughs at me because I walk back there just to see the nursery coming along, just to see the crib, just to open the closet and see all the tiny items we (well mostly, I. It’s been a problem, let’s not talk about it :)) have purchased thus far, and just to squeeze that tiny pig in the cribs tummy to hear our little miracle’s heartbeat. I have loved every single minute of this pregnancy and growing this little human of ours. Even when my head was checking the inside of the toilet bowl multiple times a day, I still loved it because I vividly remember the hurt, heartbreak and desperation we had for this baby.

There is nothing better than having a crib set up in our home. We have felt such an immense joy for the last 16 weeks, and frankly, the last time I felt this joyful and this happy was the day I married my husband (cheesy, I know). I thank God for giving us strength to endure the last year and for putting an army of wonderful people in our lives to get us to this point.

So for the next 24 weeks, I’ll be soaking up the view of our sweet girl’s crib and dreaming of what it is going to be like to have her here in our lives and adjusting to a life of a family of 3.

Two Pink Lines

It’s November 26th and we just found out this morning via a HPT (home pregnancy test) that we are in fact, PREGNANT. I am in such disbelief and SO overjoyed to be able to say, I AM PREGNANT. This has been a very hard, trying, heartbreaking, lesson-teaching, roller coaster of a year, but we made it through and we made it through that storm, hand in hand with a sweet little baby A cozied up inside of me.

This morning I jumped back into bed and awoke my husband by shoving the pregnancy tests in his hands and crying hysterically telling him I was pregnant. I threw the surprise I had planned right out the window, and although I was sad I couldn’t surprise him, those moments we shared are something that I will forever cherish and remember for a lifetime. It was the sweetest moment thus far. It seems like such a dream, I feel like I am in a haze and someone is going to pinch me to wake me up anytime.

Before I took those tests, I had such an overwhelming but calming feeling telling me I was pregnant. Every ounce of my being was telling me that I was pregnant and that our transfer had worked. It was such an incredible but odd feeling to just know that there was life happening in me. Mother’s intuition. (I say after finding out I am pregnant less than 12 hours ago – HA!)

Right now, I want to yell from the rooftop that I am pregnant and tell the entire world. We are only 3 weeks, 4 days along and if this were a natural pregnancy, I wouldn’t have even missed a period yet. Our sweet baby is only the size of a chia seed right now. It is VERY early in the pregnancy stage and we understand that we need to be cautiously optimistic because so much can happen in this fragile time, but for right now we are overjoyed and celebrating this pregnancy and this sweet little baby that is growing inside of me.

During our long journey to get to this point, and after our failed transfers, and before this last round, I would BEG God to give me a sign that we would find success and that everything was going to work out for us. Late August, we were leaving our nephews birthday party where it had suddenly poured down rain while the sun was shining. On the drive home, I noticed a double rainbow and right when I saw this rainbow, a voice and a feeling just rushed through my body to tell me that it was all going to be OK. I didn’t tell anyone about this, not even my husband because I really wanted to ponder on it. Instead, I had him take a quick photo of it, so that I’d always remember that feeling.  Secondly, we love The Voice and typically watch every season of it. Last season, we just so happened to sit down and watch it the night we found out our very first transfer had failed, one of the contestants sang the song “Let It Be”. This has always been a song that I loved but it just seemed that hearing that song that night, of all nights, was really what I needed to get through that heartbreak. It felt like a sign that we were going to get through it and eventually blessings would come our way. The night before this last transfer, we sat down to watch The Voice again and yet another contestant sang the song “Let It Be”.  I  was immediately taken back to the night of our first failed transfer, drowning myself in wine, and crying listening to that song but yet, I was overwhelmed with a calm feeling and butterflies in my tummy. I knew that these were the signs I was begging God for, that everything was going to work out and that I would eventually be a mommy and I would eventually be able to give my husband a baby, making him a daddy.

Regardless, the pain, the heartbreak, the trials, the fight, all of the pokes, all of the prods, all of the bumps in the road were so very worth it to finally be able to say we are pregnant.

Beating the Odds.

As promised, here is our update after keeping all of you in the dark.

We finished stims (hooooray!) and went through retrieval. I finally was able to get all the ‘grapes’ I was carrying around in my ovaries out, the bloat was substantial this time and my husband started telling me that it looked like I was wearing a fanny pack because of it – HA!

The retrieval was a little different this time, the University puts their patients under Anesthesia, as opposed to just a conscious sedation that I was under the time before. It was the BEST nap of my life! Upon waking, we learned that they collected 8 eggs. If I’m being honest, this number kind of hit me like a freight train. I had 19 follicles and had stimmed for 3 more days this time than I did previously and yet, they only collected 8 (remembering last retrieval we got 11). I was so upset but tried to remain as optimistic as possible about this number. The doctor who did our retrieval came in to talk with us and he said that he was hopeful that by Day 5, we would have 1, maybe 2 blasts make it. Again, crushed. I couldn’t imagine going through this again (although, I will if I need to but it is a hard road mentally & physically) and all I could think of were none of them making it and having to start all over again. The day after retrieval we got the update that 6 eggs fertilized but only 5 fertilized normally. So now, we were down to working with only 5 embryos and praying for a miracle that we would get a 50% or more blast rate which honestly, isn’t average or normal at all.

The next 5 days were a bit painful and mostly uncomfortable, I found myself lounging on the couch as much as I could to recover from the retrieval. The next 5 days also were anxiety ridden thinking every time my phone rang it was the doctors office calling with horrible news that all of our embryos had arrested and we didn’t have any to freeze/transfer.

But, we made it through that emotional wait and by the grace of God, we were given some of the BEST news we had heard in a long time. We finally felt like things were looking up for us and that there was the light we had been hoping for. One Day 5, we received the news that we had 1 blastocyst that was expanded with a grade of ‘good’. We also received the news that we had 1 blast they were planning to freeze later that day because they wanted to let it grow just a little bit more and another that they were hopeful about that they planned to allow growing time until the next day, Day 6. Again, anxiety ridden for one more day. On Day 6, we found out we had 2 more blastocysts. Both of them are expanded (which is GREAT) one is also graded ‘good’ and the other was graded ‘excellent’. We feel like we beat all odds. 8 eggs retrieved, 5 fertilized and 3 BABY A’s. This was a major blessing to us. We had over 50% blast rate!

Coming up on this IVF cycle, we were back and forth about whether we would go ahead with a fresh transfer or whether we would freeze all and transfer 6ish weeks after our retrieval. Our clinic’s success rate is about 2% higher with a fresh than a frozen but overall, research shows that frozen transfers are better because it gives your body time to heal and return to normal before trying to become pregnant. I will post another update soon on which option we ended up choosing and when that transfer will be or when that transfer was.

 

Human Pin Cushion 2.0

Well last round I thought that I felt like a pin cushion, but that had nothing on this round. Instead of 2 shots per day, I get to be poked 3 times a night. Some nights when the pen of one med runs out and we need to open another to finish the dose, I get to be poked at a 4th time. I don’t remember feeling annoyed or sick of being poked at last time, but this round, I am SO over these shots. And the bloat? It’s major this time. I look like I am 16 weeks pregnant at the current moment and super uncomfortable. Those little follicles are feeling like a sack of grapes in each of my ovaries.


Things are moving right along for us and everything seems to be going great. We’ve had a couple appointments in Iowa City and more to come. At our consult, I made a bit of a fit over not ever seeing a doctor when I was in for appointments at our previous clinic, and it just so happens that every time we have taken the trip over there, we have seen a doctor. I’m not sure if it’s because I was a diva and complained numerous times over this frustration or because they really just run this way and want to make sure you are comfortable with what they are doing and that you understand fully what is happening. Either way, I am all for it and it has helped boost our confidence.

We have decided, well actually I decided and my husband just nodded his head in agreeance, that we are not going to share on my blog when our retrieval and transfer is. We have worked to be as transparent as we can be this past year and are so glad that we made the decision to do so but this time, I just want to feel like I can relax and enjoy the ride without telling the world before I am ready. I feel like I am under so much pressure in our situation and as you can imagine, posting and letting the world know things in real-time makes that feeling of being under pressure increase.

What you should know now is that everything is going so incredibly well and by the end of the year, we will know whether we will be turning into a party of 3 sometime next year or if we need to develop another plan. When we are ready we will let you know all the details of our retrieval, how many potential Baby A’s we have, how our transfer went, and what our future is looking like.

We both are looking forward to how this round pans out and feel like we have some major blessings in our future whether that’s 9 months from now or a little while longer, we know that we are on the right track.

Fear

According to my friend Google, fear is defined as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” I can’t think of a better word to define how I am feeling right now. Fear sums up the emotion that I am consumed with daily.

I am not so certain that I have ever felt fear in this capacity or been this scared of something in my life. Our first round, I was so naive. I naively believed that everyone who goes through IVF gets a take home baby. You can imagine how it felt when I was smacked upside the head with the reality of our situation. This round, I am sick. I  randomly start to obsess, then I feel like I could hurl at any given second because I am so scared of what is to come.

I’m scared of watching another sweet Baby A get put back, but then being left to wonder if that baby would have had big brown eyes like daddy or blue eyes like mommy, or if that baby would have, someday, been running around in a wrestling singlet or a ballet tutu. I’m scared of feeling SO close and feeling that euphoria of having a sweet little one transferred back to us and thinking that this is our time, but then getting completely crushed over, yet, another phone call with news of a negative beta.

As much as I am so fearful of another failed transfer, I am just as much fearful of a positive test. I find myself wondering what kind of mom I will be. I wonder if I will be a good mama to my sweet little Baby A’s or if I will struggle in this role. I find myself questioning whether I will be the mom whose children adore and confide in her or if they would rather find someone else. My husband, he has it down pat, there is no doubt in my mind whether he will rock the role of daddy or not but I find myself questioning whether he will outshine me in that new step and if I will fall behind.

We have a lot of “hurry up and wait moments” that leave so much time on my plate to sit and stew in what our future might look like. It’s so much time to let this fear overwhelm me in some moments but also time for us to really  talk about how we will raise our babes and the life we wish to give them.

I have never been one to be scared or fearful of what a situation may bring. I am very much a ‘yes’ person. I enjoy jumping in with both feet, hoping for the best and figuring the rest out later. So fear has never really been a word in my vocabulary, until now. This journey we are on has conditioned me to be fearful of what could happen especially after that smack upside the head, I now am much more educated in this world we are currently homed in. So while we are about halfway through our second cycle, I am approaching it with aggression but with a side of hesitation, for the blinders I had been wearing before have been removed.

No One Tells You

There are so many things that no one tells you about when going through IVF and there are many more to add to the list when you choose to share your story with the world. Lately, I’ve found myself questioning whether being public about our struggle was the right choice to make or not. Each day, I end the day with a new conclusion and it never seems to stay consistent.

We chose to share this journey with anyone who would read it because we felt we needed to raise awareness and also put it all on the table so that we didn’t feel so alone on this lonely road. But as it turns out, there are still many lonely situations to face.

No one tells you that you will feel like everyone looks at you with pity, that you have now became the girl that the rest of the world pities because she has been drug through hell and back with nothing to show for it, still. No one tells you that people will have no idea what to say to you so everyone will just ask you how you’re feeling every time they see you, because infertility must make you sick or maybe it’s just a pathway to open the conversation.

No one tells you that you will feel like you are so behind on timing, that you feel like you will never catch up to others in your life. No one tells you that even though you are still the young age of 24, you feel like you should have a couple offspring and a minivan at this point. No one tells you that you will feel like you are running out of time compared to the speed of life others around you are carrying on while you are just stuck in limbo waiting to see what is next on your calendar of meds and procedures.

No one tells you that when you want to lean on someone in your everyday life, it’s a struggle because they really don’t get it. They don’t understand that although you were never technically ‘pregnant’ you still feel like you were and twice for that matter. Along with that you feel like you suffered through losing a baby, twice or that you believe you have 3 Baby A’s dancing around in heaven right now. No one tells you that they won’t understand that you can relate to feeling hormonal because again, although you were never ‘pregnant’ you still got to deal with all of those lovely pregnancy hormones. No one tells you that you will feel like maybe you don’t understand and you are just being a little over the top thinking that you actually do know what they are talking about and can relate.

No one tells you that when you are open, honest and raw about your journey, you will come across family and friends whom don’t want to share the fact that they are pregnant with you like it will send you winding down a dark path or that they don’t want to post on social media about said pregnancy because of your situation. No one tells you that when you experience this and hear these reasonings, it will feel like someone stabbed you right in your heart. No one tells you that these situations will make you feel like sharing your story robbed someone else of celebrating their happiness and their bundle of joy, because of you and your misfortune.

No one tells you that being 100% transparent with anyone and everyone will feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. No one tells you that you will meet some of the absolutely sweetest IVF sisters from all over the United States to share all of the happy, frustrating, discouraging, exciting moments with and they will completely get it. No one tells you that you will gain an army of support behind you that will cheer and pray for you and your Baby A daily. No one tells you that although, there are going to be moments that make you question your transparency, you really did make the best decision in the world by sharing this experience with others.

Time to make Baby A!

It’s finally that time. It’s finally time to make Baby A!!!!!

These last few weeks have been unbearably stressful and during this time, we had been asked to wait, yet again. All of the excitement for this round had vanished and it had turned into stress and anxiety over why we had been asked to wait? I mean, it felt like we have already been waiting what seemed like our fair share of time, it was so hard to understand why do we need to watch more time fly by without working towards our goal?

We thought that our cycle was going to be pushed back and it would be even that much longer until we could start working on Baby A, but as it turns out, God knew exactly what he was doing. We waited with as much frustration as the patience we had, and these last couple weeks seemed to last years. When today came, we found that really, our cycle had not been pushed back but rather, it was coming right on time. It was coming right when it was meant to and it felt so good to be able to text my husband, “It’s time to start making Baby A!!!!!!!”

The last few weeks have been full of mood swings on my end. Happy one minute, sad the next, completely frustrated then happy then mad. I think I felt every damn emotion, every single day for the last couple of weeks. You name it, I felt it. This journey is the wildest roller coaster one could be on.

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Thankfully, our time has came and it is now our turn to start making our Baby A. First things first, we’re back on birth control. We are only on this for a very short time and then we get to head back to Iowa City and meet with our doctor again to figure out exact dates for the rest of our cycle.

We are so optimistic regardless of our past. Walking out of our consult with our new clinic and just the few conversations I’ve had with some nurses there during our waiting period have been nothing short of a breath of fresh air. We hope that you are all ready to take this ride along with us again and that we can take home our Baby A at the end of it.

We’re coming for you, Baby A.

XOXO-

Daddy A & Mama A

My Husband Gets The Worst Of Me

It has been brought to my attention that on the outside it appears that my husband and I are just floating through the difficult roads we have been on and that we don’t necessarily let it really dig into our relationship. While we have really fought this battle and are handling the situation we have been given tremendously, in my opinion. It is far from fairytale perfect.

Let’s start off with the fact that my husband and I are teammates. To me, we do make the best team. We take turns riding shotgun. If I can’t take control of a situation, if I’m not up to par that day or it may not be my forte’, he takes the driver seat and vice versa. But on the same hand, life isn’t always rainbow and butterflies and there are things that can throw our groove off. Namely; Infertility and IVF.

I’ve always said that I wouldn’t allow what is going on in my life or the hormones affect my mood and especially not towards him. As shameful as I am to admit, I have done what I said I wouldn’t do. Some days, my husband gets the worst of me. Some days I have worried and stressed over this journey so much that I have nothing left. Some days I feel like I exhaust myself trying to do everything (because I think I’m superwoman). Some days, I simply just try to hold it all together. And by the end of those days, the best of me seems to be gone. I pick petty fights, I’m too tired to cook, the clothes in the washer have been washed 3 times and are still waiting to be moved to the dryer, or I just don’t feel like moving from the couch. Those are the days; he gets the worst of me.

Sometimes we bicker and fight over everything possible because the weight of what we are trying to balance has felt super heavy that day and/or week. Sometimes just my husband getting to do something relaxing and fun for him triggers jealousy in me. Jealousy that my life seems to revolve around the next medication, the next doctor appointment and working. If we are being truthful and I’m not dwelling in jealousy, his life also revolves around those things. He also deserves to be treated and to find relaxation. He may not be the one acting as a human pincushion or rushing back and forth between appointments but he is also battling through this infertility journey right along with me for our sweet Baby A’s.

I think it’s really easy to get caught up in this journey. I think it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves, in our situation, to sometimes just feel sorry for yourself, and to forget that you are not in this alone. All of these things can really make crossing into the angry-at-everyone side very, very easy. Your spouse is going through this too. Your family is hurting for you. Your friends are rooting for you to find success. You aren’t the slightest bit alone, unless you choose to be.

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So while we are not just floating through this winding road and taking every hit with a smile, we still, for lack of better terms, are crushing it. Yeah, the stress may bring on a few more arguments than usual and sometimes it seems like it’s never ending. But when we really reflect, what you are seeing on the outside still stands true. The laughing-until-we-cry, the goofs, the jokes, the smooches on the cheek, the butt slaps, the one million ‘honey’s’ we throw around and the I-love-you’s ARE what our relationship is.

 

Round II.

 

IMG_1891We’re jumping right back into IVF with both feet.

Today we had our consult at the University of Iowa, which is a new clinic to us, if you remember, we mentioned that we were going to make a switch in our medical team and clinic. I don’t remember being nervous when we went for a consult at our last clinic, but holy smokes, I was nervous today. I was sweating horribly and had to lean over and ask my husband multiple times if he could smell me cause I was sure I had sweat through everything that was supposed to make me smell good (cute, right?).

When we finally were called back, we were greeted by such a sweet older lady who explained the ugly financial stuff to us. Next, the nurse came in and right away, I liked her and felt like we were exactly where we should be. She was such a sweet girl and very happy and cheerful. Which was so inviting and showed that she really does love her job. I mean, how could you not? She gets to help infertile couples become parents on a daily basis, that has to be uplifting in itself.

We were given a little room there that had a desk, computer, couch and TV in it to spend the length of our appointment. The consult was a marathon and lasted 4 hours but it helped to have a room to stay in, instead of being shuffled back and forth. We met with an ultrasound technician for an ultrasound where they found a total of 24 follicles
(!!!!!!!!!) (follicles are the little guys that hold eggs, remember?) and had a mock transfer to make sure when the time comes, everything can go as smoothly as possible.

We also met with two doctors while we were there who helped explain how they do things, what their thoughts were on our IVF history and also to answer any (about 100) questions that we had. While they can’t give us definite answers on why our embryos did not implant the last two transfers, they reassured us that it was not our fault and that we could become pregnant via IVF. It wasn’t long into the marathon that I broke down crying and said that I wanted to do anything possible to not go through what we’ve already been through, again. Everyone we met with were so sweet and kept saying that they know we have been through a lot this past year and helped to pump us full of hope and belief in what they do.

We actually get to start our IVF cycle very soon and we both are eager to jump back into it. It sounds like the doctors found some things that they believe should be changed in our protocol but will let us know what is going to be our concoction of meds soon. We only met with 2 of the doctors today but they have 12 doctors who help with IVF at the University of Iowa. They meet all together every Tuesday and discuss cases. They said that they would bring our case up at their next meeting and make sure everyone is on board with the decisions they made today and what our protocol should be, then call and let us know what they find.

It also turns out that the University of Iowa is nationally known for how good they are at In-Vitro Fertilization, so I believe we will be getting the best of the best care. If they are half as thorough at every appointment as they were today, we are in such good hands.

After today’s marathon, I think our heads will be spinning for a week with ALL the information that was thrown at us, but the most important thing that we gained today was hope. We feel like this was the best decision we could have made and that we really are on the path to our sweet Baby A.

A Green Little Monster

Someone very near and dear to me who has had a long infertility journey themselves, sent me a message today asking me how I don’t get a jealous green monster on my shoulder when I see others who have been blessed with what I’ve been begging God for. Truth be told, at first I was proud. I was proud of myself that I have not shown that side of me and proud that others have not recognized it either. But quite frankly, it took me a bit to think of an answer and to really ponder, how I hide that side and  how I get past that awful feeling.

If I am being 100% truthful and showing the world my real, raw self, I do get jealous. I do find myself feeling bitter. I do have an awful, ugly side. Every once in a while, that jealous green monster does show up on my shoulder.

Almost daily, I have to remind myself that everyone’s story is different. What someone else’s story looks like is always going to be different from yours. When that jealousy creeps up sometimes, I have to remind myself that we can only see what others choose to show. Although, I may be focusing on the fact that someone is expecting and I wish I could say the same, they may be fighting another battle in their life that no one knows anything about and maybe that battle would be something that I couldn’t get through. I also remind myself that this infertility journey we are on was God’s plan. I whole-heartedly believe that we were chosen to conquer this and to be open about it to help others.

I would never wish infertility on anyone. If I had enemies, I would not wish this on them. As positive as I have been throughout this, this is really an awful, horrible winding road. The amount of heartbreak you face, all of the medicine, all of the pokes and prods, and all of the times that you lose ALL modesty is so incredibly hard to learn how to maneuver. When I find myself feeling bitter or feeling a little jealous towards a person, I have to remind myself of what we have been through and how I would never wish this to be someone else’s journey. This has been a very hard hand of cards that we have been dealt, and quite frankly, when people find out that they are going to be joining us on this road, my heart breaks a little bit for them and my husband and I both feel so horrible that this hand is also the hand they have been dealt. So, while I may feel a bit of jealousy every now and again, I would never wish for anyone to be given the news that they cannot conceive on their own.

This road has definitely shown me how ugly I can be and how bitter and angry I can get. But at the same time, it has shown me how kind I can be. It has shown me that although jealousy may creep up on me, that is not the person I want others to think of me by. This road is a complete mental game. You have to keep yourself looking towards the positive aspects because it is SO easy to slip and fall down to a point that is hard to come up from.

At the end of the day, having a baby or not having a baby does not define me or us. At the end of the day the things that define me is whether I showed off that little ugly, jealous green monster or whether I showed someone just how supportive and kind I can be. At the end of the day, the choice is mine whether I will let this road we are on define me or if I will overcome what has been laid in front of me. Honestly, I want to be able to lay down at night and know that I was the best version of myself that day and that I did not use my struggle with infertility as an excuse for any negative actions.