Sunday, September 26, 2010
To all the unselfish moms out there who traded eyeliner for dark circles, salon haircuts for pony tails, long showers for quick showers, late nights for early mornings, designer bags for diaper bags, and wouldn't change a thing. Lets see how many moms post this. Moms who don't care about whatever they gave up and instead LOVE what they got in return. Post this if you love your life as a Mother.
Well, I have finally written my own…
To all the heartbroken women out there who traded flat stomachs for bruised and bloated ones, romantic nights with their husbands for costly inseminations, designer bags for a refrigerator full of medicine, healthy bodies for headaches and hot flashes, their privacy for a chance at adoption, and wouldn’t change a thing… because every one of these trade offs is a CHANCE at Motherhood. Woman who don’t care about whatever they gave up and instead risk everything for the hope of something wonderful in return. Post THIS if you’d do anything to become a Mother.
I am not exaggerating or being over-dramatic. I have never felt time crawl by as slowly as it has in the last fourteen days.
Ryan and I were talking about the next cycle, and he asked when it might start. I told him, best case scenario, I could start in 2 weeks. Even he was shocked that we still have at least two more weeks before we could possibly do anything to work towards our family again. As I said, time just crawls now.
I try not to recognize every lost milestone (today I would have been 7 weeks... I would have started showing by my birthday... I would have been 4 months at Christmas...). I try not to memorialize each sad memory (it’s been 2 weeks since we found out we lost the pregnancy... it’s been 10 days since I started bleeding...).
It’s hard, but I try.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I was surprised by her question, and responded, “Me? You’re asking me if I’m happy?” It just seemed like a random question, out of nowhere.
In a flash, I thought about all the wonderful things I have in my life… An awesome husband, caring family, great friends, the comfort of religion, the cutest kitties around, a nice home, a good job, and the list goes on.
But am I happy? I answered her with a yes. But there is a caveat…
I am happy, but now I know how happy I could be, which makes my current state hard to bear.
After 7 long, agonizing years, I experienced one week of blissful happiness. Suddenly, all that was taken away.
The blessing is that I can finally say I know true happiness. The curse is how much I want it back.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Tomorrow morning at 9:30am, we were supposed to see our baby's heartbeat. Every time I think about that, my heart breaks a little. I am grateful that my boss scheduled a staff meeting for tomorrow, so I won't be staring at the clock thinking about what might have been. I am even more grateful that I found out the baby had stopped growing prior to tomorrow's appointment. As devastating as it was to get that phone call, finding out in the doctor's office would have been even harder.
I am saying extra prayers tonight that tomorrow goes by quickly.
Ryan had a dream today that I was pregnant again. I asked if we were nervous or scared in the dream and he said no. We were happy.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
We are blessed to have so many people who love and care for us. Many people have called, emailed, or left comments. I am so grateful. If there is one thing I can say, I don’t feel alone in all this. A lot of women do, so I am very blessed.
Some people have asked what they could do to help. I know if I was watching someone I love go through this, I would want to do something, find some way to cheer them up or help them forget.
Honestly, I think I need more time. I know it’s selfish, but I just want to crawl in a hole somewhere and hibernate for a while. That is what feels good right now. And all I want to do is something that feels good, anything that takes some of the pain away.
I know many, many women experience miscarriages. I’ve heard from a lot of you who have. I know some of you think I should just put on a brave face and jump back into life. Thank you for encouraging me to do so (including my hubby, who sweetly suggested a vacation). I look forward to the time I can. But every person is different, and this was devastating to me. I waited 7 years to see those 2 lines, got one week to live in paradise, and then had my entire world crash down. I need time. I wish I was stronger, but I want to be realistic about where I am now. And this is where I am.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.
Doctrine and Covenants 98: 1-3
When I started this blog as a journal of this experience, I never thought I would make it to 200 posts. But here I am...
From the very first post in 2006, to the 100th post, written during one of the hardest times of my life, it has been a journey for sure.
And now I'm at 200, and it hasn't gotten much easier. BUT the hope is still there. In 200 posts, I haven't lost hope.
Today, a fellow church member gave me the scripture referenced above. If that's not a promise, I don't know what is... I've read that passage several times in the past hour, and find more comfort each time I read it.
Tomorrow is a big day. It will be the first time I've really interacted with people face-to-face since I got the news. I have hidden out in my home for the last 4 days, reading your supportive and encouraging comments and emails. I haven't had to censor my emotions or try to make others feel comfortable. I can just break down when I want to with no repercussions. That's all going to change, and I'm going to have to look people in the eye again. I hope it all goes okay.
Earlier, Ryan was joking around and being his normal sweet self. I was laughing along for a while, but then got quiet. He asked what was wrong and I said I was just sad. He seemed disappointed at that. I told him, you know, it's only been 4 days since life changed, not even 2 days since the miscarriage began. He commented that it seems like it's been a lot longer. He said, "I just miss you". I think he misses the wife he had during that wonderful week, the week I finally felt like myself again. The best week of my life.
But that is over now. And I need to work on getting through this, and having faith that I will be in that place again someday.
Even though I never thought I'd make it to 200 posts, I am so grateful for this blog. I am grateful for the support that has come about because of it. I am grateful for the friends I've met. I am grateful for the ability to purge my innermost thoughts and feelings into the universe, which somehow makes it easier to acknowledge and accept my situation.
Mostly, I am grateful that SOMEDAY, whether at post #300, #500, or #1000, there WILL be an ending and I pray everyday it will be a happy one.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Fortunately, as I was trying to decide what to do, God showed me a little mercy and the miscarriage began on its own.
I am grateful for that, as it seems I avoided a D&C (surgery where they basically scrape the uterus). A D&C is rough anyway, and because I am over-sensitive to anesthesia it would have been even tougher. Usually, a D&C is necessary for women who are further along in their pregnancy, but I had been warned that some women on Prometrium need to have them too, even if they lose the pregnancy early.
Because I was missing church, I tried to find some way to feel spiritual today. I was hoping it would help bring me some peace. I pulled out my copy of "Fertile in our Faith", an infertility book written from a LDS perspective. I read the whole book, reading the portion on pregnancy loss twice. I was looking for something (anything!) that could bring me comfort.
The pregnancy loss chapter focused on learning to 'release the hug'. It is said that when a child hugs you, never be the first one to release that hug; always hold on until the child lets go first.
In the book, the author relates this to pregnancy. Pregnancy is your opportunity to "hug" your child and, just as it is outside the womb, you should never be the first to let go. The author encourages the reader to enjoy pregnancy, savor those moments, and hold on to hope.
That is one thing I can say about my brief time in pregnancy, I hugged our baby. Although I was nervous and scared of losing the pregnancy, we still savored each moment we had in that state. We celebrated, gave prayers of gratitude, and spread that happiness to others around us who wanted it almost as much as we did. Not for one minute did I begrudge anything about that experience: the waiting it took to get there, the pregnancy symptoms I was having, the overwhelming feeling that life was going to change. I held onto our baby as hard and as tight as I could. It ended up not being enough, but I tried 100%.
The author goes onto say, if the time does come that your baby releases the hug, it is helpful to acknowledge the loss in a tangible way. This is true even for people like us, who lose their baby so early in the pregnancy. It was a relief to read this because I hadn't really given myself permission to do that. I felt silly, like our baby wasn't "real" enough yet to other people for us to grieve over.
There were suggestions in the book on how to acknowledge the loss. None of them seemed quite right for us, so I researched around a bit more and found something that felt good. This brought me some comfort.
One thing I have learned the last few days is how fleeting those moments of peace and comfort really are. Seems I mostly just try to make it from one peaceful moment to the next, without falling apart in between. But this morning I had the opportunity to feel comforted for quite some time, and for that I am grateful.
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know,
Where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I have always believed that embryos are life. They are sacred. This I know. The question I keep asking myself is, when conception occurs, does that embryo already have a spirit?
In other words, were the few weeks that this baby spent inside my womb considered his or her journey to earth, and sufficient enough for God's purposes? Part of the reason for life is to gain a body and be tested. Well, my baby never really got a body. But did he or she have a spirit?
I don't think anyone out there truly knows the answer. I know I sure don't. I'm not asking for anyone to speculate or give opinions, I'm just trying to make sense of all this. All I know is that deep down inside, I loved this embryo like a child, and the loss is overwhelming. I'm sure most people wouldn't consider me a "mother", but I know I feel the emotions of one. I have never felt my heart break like this.
I read this poem a while back. Every time I read it now, I cry. I wonder if it applies to me. Is this baby a real spirit waiting for me on the other side? Or did this baby not live long enough to gain a spirit? This question just torments me. I wish I knew the answer...
I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard Him say.
"A Mother has a baby"
This we know is true
"But God can you be a Mother,
When your baby's not with you?"
"Yes, you can," He replied
With confidence in His voice
"I give many women babies,
When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for the day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there's no need to stay."
"I just don't understand this God
I want my baby to be here."
He took a deep breath and
cleared His throat,
And then I saw the tear.
"I wish I could show you,
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child's smile,
With all the other children and say...
'We go to Earth to learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much,
But I visit her every day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow's where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'
"So you see my dear sweet ones,
your children are okay.
Your babies are born here in My home,
And this is where they'll stay.
They'll wait for you with Me,
Until your lesson's through.
And on the day that you come home
they'll be at the gates for you.
So now you see what makes a Mother,
It's the feeling in your heart
it's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.
Waiting for Dessert
by Christine Dallimore
Friday, September 10, 2010
The day started out normal, well as normal as possible when you are walking on a cloud. I was at the lab as soon as they opened to give blood for my second beta test. Afterwards, I came home, did a little laundry and got ready for the day. I told Ryan that morning, there was nothing in my life I could possibly complain about. It was such a weird feeling, that I was completely content, that those 7 years were completely worth it. For the first time in years and years, I felt completely happy.
He had the day off too, and we headed out for a lunch date. I kept glancing at my phone, waiting for the phone call from the doctor's office. After lunch and a little browsing around River Park, we decided to venture into Babies-R-Us for the first time. We were originally going to wait to go in there until we had seen the heartbeat, but I wanted to get my mind off the impending phone call. So we decided to go for it.
Although I had been there before to pick-up gift cards, I had never been further than the cashier up front. As we walked in, we passed the registers and headed towards the back of the store.
I can't explain the awful feeling that came over me. It felt like a feeling of dread or foreboding. I instantly felt like I didn't belong there. I couldn't breathe. Ryan followed me as I looped around the store and headed right back into the parking lot. That is where I started to cry.
I just figured it was because of the infertility. Perhaps after 7 years, I just couldn't imagine that I could really be in a store like that. I felt like I couldn't be one of those happy pregnant women or new moms browsing through the isles; it just couldn't happen for me.
Now I think that God was trying to tell me something.
We headed home and I still hadn't heard from the doctor's office. At 2pm sharp I called. The nurse stated they couldn't find my results and she would call me back. I waited and waited. I started to feel like something was wrong.
At 3:30pm I called again. The girl put me on hold for several agonizing minutes. Finally, she came back and said the nurse practitioner had taken my file home with her, and was going to call me directly about it. My voice started to shake as I asked if everything was okay. She said she wasn't sure, but she would text her right away and tell her to call me.
The next hour was the longest hour of my life. Finally, at 4:30pm, the phone rang. My hands shook as I answered the phone and picked up a pen to write down my results.
I don't remember much about the conversation. I remember her saying she was sorry over and over. I remember shaking and crying. I remember her telling me the baby stopped growing and my numbers went from 147 to 34. I remember writing those numbers down and staring at them. I remember looking at Ryan and watching him stare at the ceiling and rub his eyes. I vaguely remember her telling me what would eventually happen next, none of it sounding pretty.
Since that time, I have been a roller coaster of emotions. I bawl, I get pissed, I cry and I've even laughed a few times. I'm a total crazy person. And completely devastated.
The angry times are the worst. They scare me. I feel like my entire body could explode. I even declared out loud that God hated me, even though when I said it I knew full well it was untrue. And in the next breath, I am thanking Him for giving us such a wonderful blessing, even if it was just for a moment. I feel like a mess.
The last 24 hours have been spent just waiting. Feeling my stomach clench and cramp and waiting for the ax to fall; not looking forward to seeing the evidence of this nightmare, whenever it decides to arrive.
I used to spend time imagining how wonderful it would be to finally be pregnant. Now I know, and it was unlike anything I could ever imagine. I was the happiest I had ever been. I remember driving to work one morning thinking that after years and years, I was starting to feel like myself again. The real me. The 'me' that infertility stole. Now I look in the mirror and she's gone again. I want her back.
I miss the tiny appleseed that once brought joy to so many people. I wanted to see him or her grow and thrive. I wanted to hold this baby in my arms someday. I have to come to terms that this will never happen now. Even though I know it's crazy, I feel like I failed.
In my good moments though, I still have faith. I have faith to try again, and when that waivers I borrow Ryan's, because he has even more than I do. He is my rock.
Somehow, I'll get through this day, this week, this month. I look forward to October. A new season, a new start, a new hope.
here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are
as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when september ends
summer has come and passed
the innocence can never last
wake me up when september ends
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Since we made our “announcement” on Saturday, we have had well over 100 emails, phone calls, text messages, home visits, in-person hugs and congratulations, as well as facebook messages and comments. It is absolutely amazing, and they keep on coming. I sit here in awe of it all.
My husband has read my blog postings off and on over the years, much more off than on. The other night, he decided to read some of the comments left on here since the announcement. He only got half way through before telling me to “stop chopping onions” and “take the computer away”. To say all of this has touched both of us is an understatement.
For the first time ever, he actually left a comment on this blog sometime this morning and I found it this afternoon. It is for all of you, so I thought I would re-post it here:
I just wanted to take a moment to thank every one of you who have commented on Michelle's blog here. All of your love and support and well wishes have been so wonderful; and I don't even know who most of you are. Reading about all of your thoughts and prayers for us (for some of you, over the years...my gosh) has been overwhelming for me. You have all given Michelle and I both so much strength and hope - you have no idea. Again, thank you so much.
I think that says it all. We are both so grateful, for everything. It is impossible to express that to you enough.
If you are so inclined, please continue to pray with us that this baby grows healthy and strong. He or she is already loved so much; words just can’t describe it…
Monday, September 6, 2010
On the way to my parents house we sent the pregnancy test picture to Ryan's mom, who lives in Southern California. We thought we'd get a call back right away, but we didn't hear from her.
When we got to my parents house, we sat in the driveway and sent the picture to their phones. We waited, and soon my mom texted back, "Hi". Huh? We knew they must not have seen the picture, so we headed in. I told them I had something to show them. It took them a minute to get situated and find their glasses, but finally I was able to show them the picture. There were a lot of tears and hugs and excitement. My parents have been praying everyday for years for this to happen, and the news was emotionally overwhelming for them.
After that, we went by my sister's house. The whole family was there, except for my niece, Rachel who was babysitting and my nephew Cameron, who is on a mission for our Church. It was fun talking about the news (and also meeting my niece, Leah's "friend" from Santa Barbara, whoo whoo!). It was great seeing everyone so excited.
Next, we had to track down Ryan's dad. We knew that they were at Clovis West's football game which was playing at the Buchanan stadium. On my way there, my niece Rachel called and I was able to share the news with her and talk to her for a bit. She offered her babysitting services in the future. :D
We got to Buchanan and went inside the stadium. We found Ryan's parents pretty quickly, and hid behind them at the top of the stands. We sent the picture to both of their phones and waited. And waited. They weren't looking at their phones!
After a couple minutes, we paid a little girl a dollar to go down and tell them, "Someone wants you to look at your phones". I am sure that was so confusing for them, but a minute later Ryan's step-mom Robin dug out her phone and checked it. We watched as she screamed a bit and started to cry. She showed Ryan's dad and he was excited too. During all the chaos, we walked down the stairs and surprised them both. They followed us out of the stadium and they called over Ryan's brother and sister to share the news. There was more excitement and tears.
After all that, we went to Ryan's grandma's house. We peaked in the window and Ryan's grandma, aunt and uncle were watching a movie. We sent the picture to their cell phones and waited... and again it was a bust. Finally, we just knocked on the door, showed them the picture and the tears flowed again.
That was our last stop of the night. We were exhausted and starving, and very happy.
We didn't hear back from Ryan's mom that night, but we did hear from her the next morning. Turns out, she was using Ryan's step-dad's phone, so she never got the picture. Ryan's grandma, using a huge amount of self-restraint, called her and suggested she call us about a different issue. She called Ryan. He was in the middle of investigating an officer involved shooting, and was literally on the scene. Even so, he was able to talk with her for a few minutes and tell her the news. Then she called me at home and I told her the story of how we found out.
Once we were sure all the parents knew, we announced it here on the blog and on Facebook. My dad has been our canary bird, and has ensured everyone we know within a 200 mile radius is aware of our good news. ;) He's pretty excited, as we all are.
Again, it is a little nerve-wracking announcing so early. But we continue to have faith that all will be well.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
One would be the day I married my high school sweetheart, August 26, 2000. We were married in the evening, after what felt like a very long courtship (4 years). Most of the people we loved were there, and our families worked so hard to make it amazing. I'll never forget it.
Another great day was the day Ryan and I were sealed for all time and all eternity in the temple, September 1, 2001. My family and a few close friends were there and that day was amazing too.
Nine years later, I had another best day: September 1, 2010... the day we found out, after waiting so long, we were finally pregnant.
We were supposed to do a home pregnancy test on Thursday, September 2nd. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, Ryan had confiscated all my pregnancy tests to keep me from testing early. I was a good girl and didn't look for them.
On Wednesday night, I was relaxing at home after a pretty long day. Ryan arrived home from volunteering at our church's grape vineyard. I wasn't planning to, but the minute he walked through the door I blurted out, "Could we try to take a test?"
Logically, it was a dumb idea. Not only were we early, but I had already gone to the bathroom three times that night. Even if there were pregnancy hormones, they probably would have flushed away by then. It's best to test first thing in the morning. So imagine my surprise when Ryan immediately said yes.
He got the test from his secret hiding spot (which I could have easily found, by the way, haha) and sat next to me while I peed. Very romantic.
I set the test on the ground and we both stared at it. We watched the dark control line appear. In the test window, there was nothing.
Ryan was the first to say something, "Round three!", meaning we would start the treatments over again. I started telling him I was actually surprised by the result. After the spotting on Monday, I had become so tired, not just 'Prometrium' tired, but tired like I've never felt before. It was weird because here was a negative pregnancy test right in front of me, and I wasn't crying. I felt more confused than sad.
As I was rambling on, I looked down at the test again and said, "Wait! What is that?"
I held the test close to my face and I saw it. A faint line in the test window.
I don't remember much after that. At some point, I got off the toilet and began pacing around. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of trying to convince Ryan that the test was positive, even though the line was really light. I even looked up the directions on the internet.
For a tired and pregnant woman, I stayed up late that night, past 1am at least. I just couldn't sleep. I kept looking at the test, putting it down, and looking at it again. I probably would have fallen asleep holding it, but I was sane enough to realize how weird that would be. ;)
Just to be sure, Ryan went out and bought one of the digital pregnancy tests. The next morning, I woke up at 4am and took it. I crawled back in bed holding it and a few minutes later, by the light of my cell phone, I saw the most beautiful word ever written on a computerized pee stick:
(Ryan took this picture later that day. Oh, sweet kitties... life is gonna change... :D)
I called the doctor's office at 9:00 sharp. They sent me in for blood work. Ryan had to go to court that day, so I waited alone for the results. I shampooed the carpets to keep myself busy (which is a lot more tiring than it looks!). Finally, just before 2pm, they called with my number.
147! The nurse said they like to see anything over 50, so that number left me feeling pretty good.
The next steps are 2 more blood tests (Thursday, Sept 9th and Thursday, Sept 16th) and then we see the heartbeat (Monday, Sept 20th). I will feel so much better once I see that little heart beating.
I have read enough information to know that not all pregnancies make it to the end, but we are trying to remain optimistic and excited. I am just trying to enjoy the moment. This is my first confirmed pregnancy, and the whole experience is just surreal. It's embarrassing to admit, but I have literally pinched myself a couple times. I have this fear of waking up and it was all a dream.
We continue to pray that this pregnancy is the baby we will hold in our arms someday...
Why we told so soon:
When we first decided to start a family, I think we were like most people. We planned to keep our pregnancy a secret until after the first trimester. We had dreams of showing off ultrasound pics and announcing that in 6 more months, there would be a baby in our home.
Infertility changed all that. I had started this blog as a journal of our experience with the hopes that our future child would read it someday. Along with this, it was a place for friends and loved ones to keep track of our progress. It helped me avoid answering a million questions from everyone about where we were in the process. Writing was cathartic, but talking about it was sometimes painful.
Through the blog, I also found support from an awesome community of women who were experiencing much of the same things I was. In the first few years, Ryan wasn't as involved in the process (although he was very supportive), and it was nice to have people to relate to.
Fast-forward several years, and I am writing about our treatments on this blog. Most people in my personal life were are of what we were doing, some calculating the exact day we would test. Although they were respectful of me, I know they were wondering, asking questions of others, waiting for the news.
Quite quickly, it became very clear that we had two options, avoid people altogether and lie when asked directly about the results OR come clean and share our news openly. Although the chances for miscarriage are there (just like any other pregnant woman), we've decided to rejoice in this pregnancy and be optimistic that this is it for us, that this pregnancy will result in a baby in 8 months.
If not, than everyone will be along for the ride. Just like you have been a part of this process in the past, you will read about what awaits us in the future. We've accepted that gladly, because it is worth all the love and support we've experienced over these last 7 years.
The final reason we decided to tell was pretty personal. I have a pregnancy-radar that is unbelievable (as I'm sure most women who have experienced long-term infertility do). I went through 7 years of knowing that women were pregnant weeks or even months before they announced it. I am not faulting them for that! That is their personal decision and they have every right to decide when and how to tell (just like I do). But there was some pain in wondering what was coming and waiting to see if I was right. Let's face it, it is really hard to hide a pregnancy when you are excited and joyful about it. I don't care how good you think you are at hiding it, someone with my kind of radar can always tell. And I know I would be the same way if I tried to hide it. Those who carry infertility would be able to tell. And I didn't want to leave anyone wondering.