All about how Berkley came to be: Part 1

After losing Cade so unexpectedly, Adam and I wanted to get pregnant ASAP.  Our hearts were yearning to be parents and bring a baby home. While the grief was overwhelming, I think what kept part of me moving forward was the thought of getting pregnant again.  Although the thought of getting pregnant again was also terrifying.  There were so many questions and scenarios that would pass through my mind daily.  Questions like can we even have a healthy baby?  Will I lose another one? etc.  went through my mind all day- I literally almost went insane between the heartbreak and the unknown/scary future.   I was at our fertility doctor’s office within a week of Cade dying.  I am sure she thought I was crazy (I was) but I just HAD to have some questions answered.  The uncertainty around our situation was paralyzing.

Thank God for science.  The fact that doctors can take my eggs out of my body, combine them with Adam’s sperm in a lab to create our embryos & then freeze them for YEARS is pretty unbelievable.  We spent a good portion of 2014 waiting for test results.  After Cade passed, we needed to know if Adam and I were carriers of the disease (we are). Once we had this information CCRM could test some of our frozen embryos for the specific gene.  Little Berkley was thawed last spring (2014), biopsied, re-frozen and sent off to Chicago for PGD testing.  PGD testing is where an embryo is tested for a specific gene abnormality, such as Restrictive Dermopathy.  Waiting for these results was HARD as it took about 3-4 weeks.  When we got our embryo results back last summer- all biopsied embryos that were sent off to Chicago ended up all being carriers….. just like Adam and I…which were approved for transfer (transfer is the process of implanting an embryo inside of me).   This was awesome news.   A carrier means that these embryos have 1 healthy gene and 1 mutated gene (1 copy is passed from each parent). The healthy overcompensated for the mutated gene so they can live a normal/healthy life just like Adam and I. In Cade’s condition both Adam and I passed our mutated copy to Cade. Since he didn’t have a healthy copy to overcompensate- he actually had restrictive dermopathy.

We have been asked multiple times if we could have done genetic testing with Cade’s pregnancy.  The answer is NO.  RD is so rare that none of the testing would have ever caught it, unless the scientists went looking at that specific gene.   The genetic testing you can opt for today typically checks for things like chromosomes and a panel of the more common diseases that your race would carry (such as cystic fibrosis for a caucasian). So no matter what this would have gone on undetected whether we did genetic testing or not. So there is the background information on Berkley and a very small glimpse of what we went through last spring/summer.   And your mini biology lesson for the day… are you still with me?

We transferred 1 embryo on July 24th, 2014.  Given the quick turn-around between pregnancies & the preterm birth I had just experienced, CCRM only allowed me to transfer 1 embryo. Their goal was for me to have a safe, healthy pregnancy.  This made sense but made waiting for our pregnancy test even more challenging since we had just 1 little embie in there!  I cheated this time and took an at-home pregnancy test before my blood test.  I am glad I did because I got two definite positive tests in a row which took the edge off until my actual blood test.  Adam and I were ecstatic!

We found out we were having a girl at 6.5 weeks!  Through the genetic testing we did, CCRM knew the gender but it is their policy that they won’t tell you this information until your first successful ultrasound.   I needed to know what I was having, ESPECIALLY if it was a girl.  After planning for a boy & holding a baby boy in my arms there was a piece of me that really longed for a son. I am going to be honest, when we found out we were having a baby girl- I had a few good cries about it.  It took me a few days to wrap my head around it but as my pregnancy progressed  I became more and more thankful for my baby girl.  I think having everything be so different a second time around- with a different gender really was a blessing for me mentally.

Did you know I was pregnant again? We were pretty hush, hush about this pregnancy.  First off, we were still heavily grieving Cade but we were also just scared shitless about this pregnancy.  We couldn’t imagine making a big “we’re pregnant” announcement only to have something awful happen once again.   I think loss does that to you…. the optimistic part of you is taken away for awhile. We felt like we were walking on egg shells the.entire.time. So much so, that once I was out of my first trimester,  I was already asking my OBGYN their policy on early induction. I needed my baby girl out and in my arms as soon as the doctors would let me. Did I mention I was crazy?!

Our OBGYN was so amazing and understanding. Both my fertility doctor and my OB literally have cried along side with me at appointments and have gone above and beyond for me.  My doctor understood my longing for a baby & the fact that being pregnant again was very trying for me so we set an induction date for April 7, 2015…. which put me at 39w2d.

Heading to the hospital!
Heading to the hospital!






Just when everything was going smooth… there is always something isn’t there?!

Berkley was born April 7th (birth story coming soon).  Breastfeeding is something I didn’t put a lot of thought into while I was pregnant. I was so focused on mentally getting through my pregnancy & having a baby in my arms that things like vaccinations, breastfeeding, etc. I literally didn’t really think about until I was asked about both while in labor.

Luckily, Berkley came out ready to eat. Within 20 mins of her being born she was successfully latched and eating (of course, who knows if anything actually came out).   The next day or two, things continued to go well. I wasn’t in pain and she continued to seem to love to eat… all was good.  It did take a full 4 days for my milk to come in so we were borderline on needing to supplement but finally my milk was in and she was gaining weight so no supplementation was necessary.

Fast forward to 8 weeks. Berkley had been especially fussy. Some days better than others but my sweet angel baby was more of a really cute but really challenging baby all of the sudden 😉  Then things got crazy.  It was a Friday night and she lost it.  Crying for 2 hours straight, couldn’t calm her down. It was miserable.  By the time we got her to sleep both Adam and I were beat.  Her 2 month appt was on that coming Tuesday.  I took her temp to confirm she didn’t have a fever and decided to wait to talk to our doctor until our appt because, well, babies cry, right?!

At her 2 month appt, Berkley weighed in at 8lb5oz which was the 1.34% for weight (still 60% for height!).  Mystery solved. She was hungry and wasn’t getting enough from me.   Enter mom-guilt.  I drove straight home, raided my measly frozen milk stash and gave her a big bottle of milk. I watched as she slipped into the most amazing food coma and drift off to sleep.  As I watched her drift off to sleep I thought whoa..this is what she’s like with a full belly.

Since then I have been working with a lactation consultant, supplementing Berkley’s meals and just trying my hardest to get it back up!!! So far, things are about the same but here is what I am currently doing- 1 week into this debacle.

  • I rented a hospital grade pump and am trying to pump as many times as possible/day. I am averaging about 5-8 times.
  • More Milk Plus
  • Fenugreek galore
  • Homemade bone broth from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook
  • Lactation cookies (I ate a ton as well as Adam and my friends.  Adam’s supply hasn’t increased either)
  • Lots of fluids
  • A higher fat/caloric diet (bacon & eggs every day for breakfast!)

So far my output isn’t very different, but I am going to give it a month.  My body has been through a lot in the past 2 years (surgery, 2 pregnancies, grief). My body may just be telling me it needs a break!  The most important thing is that she gains weight- she clocked in at 9lb8oz yesterday. And I totally feel like I have a new baby.

Anyone have any ideas or tips for me?



The start of something new

Another blog?! Yep! This has been a work in progress for quite some time (my previous blog can be found HERE).  After Cade passed away, I started writing and filing my writing away.  I never published them.  I am not sure why- I think it is because I was so depressed I felt I had nothing of value to add to anyone’s day and I didn’t want people to associate me with this dark cloud over my head all the time, even though that is exactly how I felt.

Writing is therapeutic.  And now with a new baby home – Berkley Ann (also referred to as B, Berk, Berkie, Berkley Bear… you get the picture)- I want to be able to document our life and provide a resource (and maybe some hope) for those people currently walking through the trenches of infertility or loss.  I spent last summer just googling things like infant death & infant loss trying to find other people similar to me.  I did find some and they were a huge help to me as I read about their stories and got to follow along in their journey.

I am literally a different person now from the girl in The Adam and Emily Show….although she was kinda funny and possibly witty at times 🙂 New girl, new baby, new stories, new blog!