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!

 

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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2016 – New Year, New Goals

The name should really be “2016 resolutions” but 2016 is already in full swing! So how are my resolutions going and maybe we should back up with what were they in the first place?

I don’t ever make huge resolutions…. I don’t like to set goals I can’t keep 😉 haha.

ONE.

Be more “green”.  I am SO Colorado 😉

Since Berkley is a real person. She eats real food and makes real people messes.  I noticed myself using SO MANY PAPER TOWELS.  And I hated it! What’s a hippie to do?

We are officially moving to using cloths for about 99% percent of everything.  I ordered a 24 pack of cheap white cloths off of Amazon. We use them for EVERYTHING. Spills, sticky hands/faces, wiping down the kitchen every day, etc.  I have a small laundry basket in the closet next to our kitchen where I toss them after I use them. It makes me geekishly happy.  Adam is fully on board after being somewhat skeptical for 2 seconds. Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.57.54 AMI am also making my own cleaning solutions.  If you are still using traditional cleaning supplies you should first read up on the harms of using chemicals in your house.  I have made my own floor cleaner for a few years now. My recipe is as follows:

1 part boiled (and cooled) water,1 part vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, a dash of alcohol (to prevent the growth of anything gross) and lemon essential oil.

I put this in my Swiffer wet-jet container.  I LOVE it.  I love it the most because I love the smell of vinegar (doesn’t everyone ;)) and I love the fact that I don’t have to worry as our pets and Berkley barrel through it and it soaks into their tiny pores. I went ahead and ordered a bunch of spray bottles off of Amazon and some additional things off of VitaCost so I can make everything from homemade-natural bleach to every-day cleaners!

TWO.

More “me” time.  I want to get back to getting out and about with friends more, actually commit to a Bible study and take a flower arranging class in 2016.   I did the bouquets for my sister’s wedding last July.  It was SO much fun and SO much work (I was Maid of Honor, breastfeeding, being the quasi-wedding planner….. oh! And she had NINE bridesmaids- which made for a total of 10 bouquets!!).    But I loved it so much I think I want to make it a thing.  I am doing another wedding in September that I am so excited about.  So I think I am going to take some actual formal training.  Here are some pictures from Kayley’s wedding. Let’s also take a moment to swoon……

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(These bouquets are hydrangea, roses, dahlias, ranunculus, and carnation- which is possibly my new favorite flower. The carnation may deserve it’s own post at some point.) 

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THREE. 

Baby.  Yep. I said it out loud. We are in full-swing inject-myself-everyday-mode.  It’s so true that you completely forget about the crappy stuff once you have a baby.  IVF sucks so bad. We are transferring just 1. I am super nervous but we are both really excited about the possibility of another.  I am a little more relaxed this round since I know it is possible for us to have a healthy baby.  So many of my fears last round revolved around the possibility that we may not be able to actually make a healthy baby.  I still want to work with a high risk doctor. I probably will still be too nervous to talk a lot about it. But TBD.  We have a good embie, my parts all look healthy and ready so I am taking the stance of mind of matter.  I have never met (or heard) of anyone with 3 successful transfers in a row but my nurse assures me that it happens!  I can’t believe we are on the brink of my third potential pregnancy. When I think of things like that it does make me really, really sad. I so wish that both Cade and Berkley BOTH were here.

Snow, ice, hysteroscopy – oh my!

We drove into Denver last weekend. I told Adam on the way that I was just as excited to get here as I was as if we were going on a beach vacation.  I couldn’t wait to see everyone!  We have been bouncing around, having dinners, catching up on the gossip we have missed out on.   It has snowed a ton but still been so much fun bopping around to all of our favorite places.  I went into CCRM yesterday to regroup and get poked & prodded.  In typical ‘Emily form’ things did not go quite as planned. Meaning, that this ‘well planned’ trip that I purposely planned around my cycle dates and CCRM’s availability all went out the window because I was FIVE days late. So the hysteroscopy that has to be done between days 5-12 got bumped so we are actually just staying out here longer to knock it out.  Kind of annoying but not the worst thing in the world.

Being in there yesterday definitely made me do a reality check.  It’s true what they say- that you kind of forget about the process once you have a baby. To be honest, I think I was so delirious from grief last round that the details are very vague to me.  All of the testing that I was able to do went totally fine but I walked out feeling sorry for myself.  Getting like 8-10 vials of blood taken, a reality check discussion with the doctor where we talked about chances of success (which are pretty decent- but if it doesn’t work then the chances drop dramatically after that). We are just going to transfer 1 again. I honestly don’t think I could mentally handle a twin pregnancy.  And then the punch to the gut as I handed over my credit card to pay $1200 for the diagnostics for the day 😉 Ugh.  IVF is just miserable.  With that being said, everything looked great and if the hysteroscopy comes back normal that we are all set to move forward whenever we wish.  Definitely NOT immediately. I decided that while I was in the waiting room.  I got an overwhelming feeling of “oh crap I’m not ready yet”.

I’m so excited to celebrate Christmas this year with Berkley.  If I don’t blog before then, have a Merry Christmas!

CCRM Consult

Say what? Yes I know.  I set up this appointment in early October.  Lots of questions now that I would be out of state.  After setting up the appointment (which wasn’t happening until late November) I had a lot of weird feelings.  The all-too-familiar stress that settled in my gut. The thought of shots, the heart wrenching waiting for results feelings, excitement, etc.

Then November was here and my appointment came and went so quick.  You know how you build things up in your head?  Well I was pretty much on the phone with them for 10-15 mins max.  I asked a lot of questions like how does it work being out of state? How many times will I go to CO? Do I need an RE or OB/GYN or both in KC? Etc. etc.   Full disclosure here.  I LOVED Dr. Brown. She was with me through getting pregnant with Cade and right after Cade died until I got pregnant with Berkley. She cried with me (a lot) and was just on my team.  She went to bat for me to get by their “6 month rule”.  Anyways, she moved to Vermont and I so I had my consult with Dr. Minjarez which I have always heard great things about.  I have met with her a few times in Dr. Brown’s place and just felt like we never ‘clicked’.  But you don’t need to click when it comes to spending tons of money. I know she is a great doctor. Anyways, this is a long-winded way of saying that she is also leaving CCRM!!  She has been there forever but is moving to Cali.  So as of this afternoon I now am under a third CCRM doctor.  The good news is my nurse is still my nurse. She probably doesn’t remember me but I remember her and she is great and on top of it.  And I trust her. And at CCRM you talk with your nurse tons more times than your doctor.  You need to be with a good nurse.  Did you hear me CCRM ladies?  Make sure you like and trust your nurse.

So what’s my plan? My plan is to go out in December get my diagnostics done.   CCRM makes you re-do a lot.  Hysteroscopy, 3-D ultrasound, blood work. Pretty much the whole thing for just a transfer.  Assuming they go well then I will play it by ear as far as scheduling something in 2016.  Am I ready?  I think so.  What is holding me back? Well…. my pregnancies are VERY nerve wracking. They are high-risk. I know too much and its tough mentally. I also know so many other people that I feel pretty connected to that are still stuck trying for #1. I want them to do this before me. I want them to experience this before I (God willing) experience pregnancy for a third time.

 

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.”

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….