Monday, October 15, 2018

October - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is a month dedicated to remembering pregnancies and babies gone too soon.  It's a month when you'll see an increase in people sharing their stories of loss.  October 15th is the Wave of Light Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day; it can be a very tough time for people who have experienced a loss.  

Earlier this month I came across a post on Instagram shared by Infertility Illustrated and I felt compelled to share it in my stories because it really resonated with me.  This drawing with the words "well of course that was only a chemical pregnancy".  I explained along with the photo that for a long time I minimized my losses.  I experienced my first "chemical pregnancy" in January 2014 after an IUI, another in December 2015, and most recently this past July.  From what I've always understood a "chemical pregnancy" to be versus a "miscarriage" is that a chemical pregnancy is one that begins to implant, secretes HCG, but no gestational sac ever forms, whereas with a miscarriage, a sac and yoke are most likely present at the time of the loss. 

There were many times over the course of the years that I didn't feel as though our losses were worthy to be be considered a pregnancy loss.  I would minimize it and say to myself, well my beta was only a 50, or a 20, or an 8, so technically I shouldn't consider it to be an actual pregnancy.  When I shared these sentiments along with the illustration, I got over a dozen+ messages from women who felt or were still feeling the exact same way about their chemical pregnancies. 

What it took for me to realize that my losses DID matter and that they were valid and that my feelings along with those losses were warranted was the birth of my daughter.  I know not everyone who has experienced a chemical pregnancy has yet to or ever will get to this point in their journey, but for me, once I was finally able to see the life that was created, I realized that each one of those "chemical pregnancies" could've been a potential child just as amazing as the one I was finally holding in my arms.  With each message that I received telling me that they felt shameful of their loss, or that their loss didn't matter, I told them their loss DID matter, that every loss does.  

There are so many complicated emotions that accompany the loss of a baby at any time.  I think it's important that we break the silence around pregnancy loss and not worry so much about the definitions and terms as much as we do and focus on the fact that every pregnancy no matter how far along (even embryos in my eyes) could have resulted in a life, and that matters!  I don't think its fair to say that because someone was say in their second trimester vs. their first that their loss matters more or is worse than someone who lost their pregnancy earlier.  Along with the stigma around miscarriage and loss I believe there is also a stigma around how we refer to them; we should not be minimizing ANY loss!  

For me, I'd even like to see it be taken one step further to consider that every embryo transferred that fails be considered a loss.  I'm not sure that someone who hasn't experienced an embryo transfer or infertility would agree, but the 1 in 8 of us who have experienced infertility would probably agree.  Every single one of those was a fertilized egg, meaning that life was being created, the first step & several of the other steps necessary for an embryo to progress to the point of being transferred had taken place, to me that should count for something!  Just because an embryo didn't implant doesn't mean that it too wasn't a potential life, just as one that had implanted.  

I may be rambling and taking my thoughts too far, but after the outpouring of messages that I received after sharing this illustration, my mind started spinning as I realized the number of women who have experienced this and have felt the need to minimize their feelings and their grief.  If you've experienced any kind of pregnancy loss, please know that it matters and that you are allowed to be sad about it, you're allowed to be mad, and grieve over it for as long or as little as it takes.  Regardless if infertility was a factor in your journey to get pregnant, a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage, a stillborn, or the loss of any child at any point in their life is extremely devastating and it's something that no parent should ever have to experience.  Unfortunately, just like infertility, loss does not discriminate.  It can happen to anyone and often times there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.  

What I do see, especially during the month of October are women and couples who gather the strength to share about the loss they've experienced.  Sometimes it's the only they're willing to speak about it, while other share often.  There is no right or wrong way, the memory of those babies live on through their parents, siblings, and family no matter how often their story is shared and their mothers and fathers are constantly thinking about them.  If you've experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a child, please know that you are not alone & that no matter when that loss took place, no matter how brief that life was, it does matter. 

Friday, October 05, 2018

FET #2

You guys I have been such a bad blogger lately!  I had a draft waiting to be published with the details of my FET and for some reason never got around to actually posting it.  Life has been so crazy with a toddler lately that it's very hard to find time to commit to writing a post.  I'm actually writing this at 7pm on a Friday night.  We just returned earlier today from our trip to Georgia for our second frozen transfer and it's been an exhausting day to say the least!  

So let me back up and recap a little bit.  After our first FET in July resulted in a chemical pregnancy we were eager to jump into another cycle quickly.  I had to wait for my beta to go down and our doctor was going to be out of the country at the end of August which was likely when our cycle would take place so we had to postpone til September which we were fine with because it gave us some time to save up some extra money and give my body a little recovery time.  I expected my period to come Labor Day weekend.   My cycles are always very regular and usually about 25-26 days long.  Labor Day weekend came and went and I was so disappointed AF hadn't shown because that's all we were waiting for before we could get the party started with FET #2.  I was getting very frustrated and talked to my office about starting provera but I knew that eventually it would come on it's own, it was just going to be making a veryyyy late appearance, and sure enough 15 days later than it was supposed to, it came with vengeance.  It was so late I even took a pregnancy test which was of course, negative, but I just couldn't figure out what the deal was.  Luckily it finally did come and we were able to get our transfer scheduled.

I do not use BCP or Lupron in my protocol so it's basically get a period then start building up that lining with Estrace and Delestrogen injections.  I started with 2 Estrace a day and 1ml Delestrogen every 3rd day, a total of 4 injections.  I had my baseline on September 19th followed by my mid-cycle monitoring on the 27th and my lining was a fluffy 13.6mm in thickness.  My transfer was scheduled for Thursday October 4th.  On the 27th I also started progesterone in oil injections and increased my Estrace to 3x a day + added the Endometrin vaginal progesterone.  Needless to say I'm pumped full of hormones!  

We flew from Chicago to Atlanta on Wednesday the 3rd and hopped in a rental vehicle and made the 2 hour drive to Augusta to our donors house.  It was her birthday that day so her mom watched all 4 kiddos while her and her husband and Joe and I got to have a parents night out downtown Augusta.  We went to a place called Sole for sushi and cocktails and dinner.  I enjoyed my last few glasses of wine for hopefully the next 10 months!  The food was delicious and as always, it was so nice to catch up with Amy and Allen and have some time without the kiddos!  

Thursday morning we decided to take the kids to The Play House in Augusta to let them burn some energy.  Georgia was whiny and cranky pretty much all day, more than likely due to lack of sleep, but they all had a great time running around for a few hours.  Amy took the kids back to her house and Joe and I headed to the clinic for our transfer!  Everything went really smooth.  It was the most painless transfer I've ever had.  My retroverted uterus caused them to have issues seeing the embryo on the ultrasound but I am confident that everything went as it should.   We went back to Amy's house where all the kids were pretty much exhausted and cranky.  We decided it would be best to order pizza and go to bed early since we had to be up at 4am to head back home.

Friday we got up and headed back to Atlanta for our flight back to Chicago.  We spent less than 48 hours in Georgia and was an absolutely exhausting whirlwind of 2 days.  We are so glad we got to see our donor and her family again so soon.  We hope that next time they get to come stay with us and hopeful that this transfer will work.  The embryologist said that the embryo was expanding just as it should and everything looked really good.  This is our last 4AA, we have 3 other embryos on ice still in Georgia, two 4A-A, and 3.5AA.  

On our way home I decided to figure out when my due date will be and it just so happens to fall on Joe's birthday, June 22nd.  He's certain that "Joe JR" will make his appearance on that day and they will share birthdays!  I seriously cannot believe that we just did another transfer.  It all happened so quickly after waiting for what seemed like an eternity for my period to come.  Our quick trip seemed like an absolute haze.  Traveling with a toddler proved to be more challenging than ever this time around.  I'm hoping to get some good rest and hoping the days before beta go by quickly! 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Georgia June - 18 Months

Wow, I have a 1.5 year old child.  I cannot put into words how mind boggling it is to say that; how incredibly sad it makes me that so much time has passed already, how I can't help but scroll back through my photos taken over the last 1.5 years and wish so badly that time would slow down.  I know it's impossible, but I never ever understood the concept about how quickly time moves until I became a mother.  We now have an 18 month old daughter, we have been married for almost 7 years (9/24), we have been together for over a decade! 

Georgia's 18 month birthday happened to fall on the FIRST EVER Rainbow Baby Day which I thought was pretty special.  As most of you know, we suffered 2 chemical pregnancies, one in 2014 & one in 2015 before we got pregnant with Georgia.  We are so thankful for her every day; she certainly is the rainbow after the storm in our lives.

Speaking of storms, that word would be a good way to describe Georgia's current personality.  A little storm.  Or maybe a hellion, or a sour patch kid??  Georgia has 100% become a toddler.  She is VERY strong willed, very stubborn, and very independent.  She is not shy and has no fears whatsoever.  I know one day that these personality traits will help her become a powerful, strong woman who holds her own and takes on the world, but right now, she's campaigning for mama to be the mayor of Crazytown. 

Her likes include food, food, and more food--seriously this girl is a bottomless pit like her dad and eats constantly!  It's insane the amount of food she eats & she likes it ALL.  She loves her kitty and her puppy, she loves to play outside, she loves bath time, she loves to explore everywhere we go, and she loooovvvess her daddy most.  I'm very thankful to Joe for being super involved and helpful with her, especially right now when she is awful to me.  Joe gets Georgia dressed in the mornings so that I can get ready which is super helpful, he also takes her in the evenings down to the basement and they listen to old records on our record player and watch music videos on YouTube which gives me time to cook dinner & take care of the house.  She absolutely loves the time she gets with daddy which is so wonderful for us ALL.

Georgia is really starting to try to communicate which is so cute but also I think frustrating for us all too sometimes.  She can say lots of words such as kitty, potty, frank, open door, close door, hi, bye, shoes, banana, pouch, milk, bath, blankie, mama, daddy, & more.  She has lots and lots of her own words which she will say constantly but we never know what she's saying.  The girl never shuts up sometimes but we honestly have no clue what she's talking about. 

She's started to climb ALLLL the furniture, literally climbing onto the wooden trunk I have behind our couch and throwing herself over the back of the couch  (insert face palm emoji here), she can open doors, and she can run & move fast.  We definitely have to tag team when we take her out to eat because sitting in a highchair at a restaurant does not  interest her at all unless there is food in front of her. 

Overall I think we are dealing with totally normal toddler behavior.  Despite all the challenges she presents to us regularly, she is also such a sweet and smiley little girl who makes us laugh constantly.  I'm guessing she is about 25 pounds now and probably about 31-32" tall.  She is just now making her way into 18m clothing, but she can still fit into 12m especially in bottoms.  She is in a size 4 diaper.  She's still wearing about a size 4-4/5 shoe, her feet are so tiny.  She had her first hair cut on August 9th & she did great once we gave her a sucker! 

Lately we have been dealing with what we believe to be eczema and have worked on treating it but not much is helping.  We have tried Eczema Honey Co, Cetaphil, and Aveeno, nothing seems to be working real well, but it's not as bad as it was before we started to treat it.  We are also working on cutting out dairy or at least cutting back.  We have switched her off of as much dairy as possible, but girl loves cheese!  We have an appointment with her pediatrician soon so hopefully we can get some answers then. 

Lots going on inside that tiny little body and it's truly amazing to watch.  Although she has been a little harder these last couple of days, I try to remind myself that she just doesn't know how to communicate & express herself yet.  I know she's getting angry and frustrated and doesn't know how to deal with those emotions yet.  For anyone else who might feel at a loss or that they're really struggling with how to deal with their toddler, a good friend of mine recommended this book The Whole Brain Child which I haven't started yet, but definitely need.  I've never parented a toddler before, this is my first go-around, so I'm just pretty much winging it right now and trying not to mess up my kid too much.  If anyone else has anything they recommend, please leave it in the comments below too so that I can try it out and also share it with others!

Happy 18 months to our sweet peach!  We love you to the moon & back!

Blog Design by Imagination Designs
Graphic by OctopusArtis