National Infertility Awareness Week

The hardest thing about infertility for me was feeling like everyone was moving forward in their life while I was stuck in the same place, wanting that same thing that everyone around me was getting. I watched one of my friends have 1 then 2 then get pregnant with her 3rd before I had Berkley – and we had started trying just shortly after they did.  It was heart wrenching.  At times it felt almost unbearable but I got through it. One step at a time, one needle, one appt, one test result at a time.  I was thinking the other day how many shots I have a gotten since I started IVF and how many blood draws?  I would say a conservative guess is 2oo – 250 shots at home and 50-75 blood draws.   It sounds like a lot! And it WAS/IS a lot.  But its not near the worst part of it.  Its the waiting and wanting and longing and not understanding part.

 

If you are struggling with infertility here is my advice:

  1. Let the comparison go.  If you can stop comparing yourself and your timelines to everyone else your life will be somewhat easier as you go through this.
  2. Get off of social media if you are really struggling. Seeing 5 different “I’m pregnant” posts every time you log on is not helpful on your already wounded heart.
  3. Don’t let it define you. I let it define me.  After we lost Cade I had to figure out a way forward.  I started having panic attacks but once I came to the realization that yes, I had gone through hell and wasn’t out of it yet, but I still am talented in other areas and can focus on those instead.  I essentially had to talk myself off the edge of defeat every.single.morning. when I woke up. What are you good at?  What areas do you excel in? What are you passionate about?  Make your infertility your side-gig vs. your main gig.
  4. Get connected. Other women who are also going through IVF are literally my best friends.  I text with them almost daily. It is so refreshing to not be alone in this.
  5. Get healthy.  Eat right, exercise. Put your best food forward each month or round.  It’s literally the one thing you can control in all of this.

If you think there may be an issue but aren’t sure:

  1. Be an advocate for yourself. How many months has it been- what tests have you done?  My original OB/GYN told me there was nothing wrong and was upset when I asked for a referral to a specialist. It took almost 1 more year to actually get pregnant with Cade because my situation ended up being complex and I ended up needing surgery.
  2. If you think you want to talk to someone go ahead and make the appt. NOW.  CCRM typically is booked out about 2 months for a consultation and that wait can be terrible in itself.  If you get pregnant or change your mind you can always cancel your appt. but better to get it on the books.
  3. Do research.  Success rate vary WIDELY depending on your clinic.

Praying for you all!

 

Honoring Cade

Yesterday, March 13th was Cade’s 2nd bday! His birth feels like a lifetime ago and like yesterday all at the same time.   This year wasn’t necessarily easier like I thought it would be.  Having Berkley this year did definitely take the edge off but as a family we still could barely bring ourselves to talk about “it”.  The baby, the situation, etc.  It’s too much to think about for me so I block it out.

On his birthday I try to MAKE myself think about it.  So I went through some old pictures- pictures that I can’t look at on a normal day.  We have videos of him that I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to watch again.  I watched them over and over and looked at pictures of him 24/7 in the weeks after he passed but then it got to be too much. And I put them away and I really never get them out.   The other week I pulled out his photo book and was flipping through it with Berkley. When I got to his actual delivery – I couldn’t turn the page and put the book back.  It was in chronological order so could only handle the pregnancy pictures and the pictures of me with my big-ole belly in the hospital. For the families out there that have years of memories stored away, I can’t imagine what that is like. Maybe it would have been different if he was healthy.

It ended up being a good day with family.  Kelly (my SIL) is the most creative person ever so made me the box below- thinking we could put his hospital blankets, etc. in it. I think that’s a great idea.  Jan (my MIL) brought balloons over to do a balloon release which was really special.  It’s times like these that I am grateful we moved back to KC. I’m anxious to get past Tuesday which is the anniversary of his death.  March 15th- AKA the worst day of my life.  IMG_8525

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...And every time I am sad, I just look at this sweet face

 

March 11

Two years ago I was in a hospital bed anxiously awaiting the birth of our first baby. Our first son.  I had NO idea what was about to happen in just 2 days.  March 13th is Cade’s second birthday.  After the events that happened earlier this week I wanted to cancel all of our plans but I am feeling much better.  One of the reasons we moved back to KC was to be around family and that’s exactly what I want to do on Sunday. Not only was Cade our son but he was a grandson and a nephew. I want us all to just hang out and remember/celebrate that little boy who literally flipped our world upside down in so many different ways.

I think the thing that has rocked me the most this week is all of the feelings that I keep just under the surface bubbled up on Monday after I talked to my nurse.  I couldn’t sleep at all on Monday night. Tuesday and Wednesday I tossed and turned and worried all night about me & about some of my friends going through IVF at this very moment (4 super dear friends- all within like 6 weeks of each other!!). I also got contacted by a couple this week who lost their 4 1/2 month old to SIDS and they have been weighing heavy on my heart.

Tuesday morning I had tentatively planned on taking a sick day. I’m pretty sure miscarriage = sick, right?  But I woke up, I put my game face on. I had a super productive day and just kept thinking how I am so lucky, so blessed to be Berkley’s mom at this very moment. She is my little anxiety pill 🙂

She is ELEVEN months and I just can’t get over her sweet little face in this picture.  We are busy planning her bumble bee (“B”) themed party!  I cannot believe ONE is right around the corner.

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Heavy Heart

With loss there is almost an unspoken order of events that should happen. Someone that lost a baby before me should have their rainbow baby before me.  This is how I have felt ever since meeting so many amazing women that have also had heart breaking losses.  For some reason this order of events just doesn’t play out all the time.  There is this one girl that I have become close with- we text a lot. She lost her baby girl in August 2013. It was a full term pregnancy & freak thing that happened during delivery that caused her baby to live for a week after she was born. I connected with her instantly because she had also held her child…spent time with her and made the heartbreaking decision to take her daughter off oxygen and held her as she passed. Just like we did with Cade.  It all may have gone down in the same room at the same hospital actually.

Since meeting her I have wanted her to have a healthy baby as badly as I wanted my own healthy baby.  Sadly, she has had 3 losses since (one all the way at 14 weeks of pregnancy).  Her and her husband have started to go to CCRM for help and answers.  She had started her meds and things were actually moving forward for an IVF cycle this month.  Anyways, I got another heart breaking text this afternoon. A cyst was detected in her ovary so they are canceling her cycle this month.   I am just sick about it.

I remember being stuck in that place. I too had random things happen that delayed my first IVF cycle. But then it happened and we had Cade.  And then 4.5 months later I got pregnant with Berkley who is just about 7 months.  And here is this amazing women- who is STILL stuck in the same place as when I met with her the first time over a year and half ago.  Women struggling with infertility, I know you know the pain of waiting and waiting.  Time passes so slowly.  A simple 1 month set back feels like being punched in the gut.  It’s really the worst.

So my ask for all of you is to say a prayer for her.  There HAS to be light at the end of the tunnel for her soon.  I have gotten fairly blunt with God since losing Cade and for this friend my prayer has turned into something like “give her a healthy baby… as soon as possible.”

Remembering Cade

Between the move to Kansas City, working, getting the house set up, etc. life has been busy busy (and this blog has not been a top priority).  I want to take a moment to reflect and level-set.  A year ago I was about 8 weeks pregnant, still extremely upset and sad about losing Cade and just out of my mind with grief.  I remember days at the office where I could feel the tears welling up and rushing to the bathroom before people noticed me.

I felt so honored to be asked by DenverMetroMoms to write a post about Cade and our story.  It went live today.  In every moment of extreme joy and happiness there is an opposite emotion being experienced by families around the globe.  Today, there are babies being lost and families experiencing what we went through March 13-15, 2014.   They are literally always on my mind.

Emotions

On Friday I was sitting at the coffee shop with my youngest sister and Berkley.  Of course we were playing with Berkley, sipping on coffee and chatting.   There were 2 women sitting at a table close by and my ears perked up when I heard the word “IVF”.    I continued to eavesdrop (I know, classy) and this women was telling her story of multiple IUIs and failed IVF cycles. I literally could barely breathe because I started feeling so awkward and so bad about having Berkley right there in front of her.   I remember being in that place and feeling jealousy when I saw other moms with their babies. I HATE that having Berkley out and about with me can sometimes cause those same sort of feeling in other women.

There are so many couples that have been in my thoughts and prayers recently.  Lots of heart breaking stories. It’s just so crazy how many couples struggle with infertility these days.    I think one thing that got me through infertility and losing Cade was completely trying to change my mindset and not letting those things define me as a person.  I remembering brainstorming what I was good at and really trying to make a difference in those areas- just put the focus elsewhere for awhile.   Infertility and loss doesn’t define someone, they just add to the overall story.

To the woman at the coffee shop- I’m so sorry you are going through this. I so badly wanted to come up to you and let you know that although I probably looked happy and stress-free with my little baby that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies….