24 Weeks and Reflection

This past week has been a pretty big week for me both emotionally and physically.

 First off the 24 week mark means viability and the milestone point of pregnancy that infertiles’ crave the most.

 When this special day came for me I celebrated in joy and also reflected on my journey thus far.

 I began by reading past journal excerpts of the countless tear filled days leading up to conception of baby R. There were days that felt lower than low, mornings I could not get out of bed, crying fits in my car after having to interact with a random pregnant women and her darling toddler in a store or after reading about another pregnancy announcement on Facebook. Days when I did not know how I would continue to put one foot in front of the other while trying to navigate my childless world. Yes, my faith was tested, my personal resilience pushed to the max, but after reflecting I knew it was all worth it to be able to finally be a momma-to be.

 And oh how my world has changed.

 These reflections have created another surge of gratefulness within me that I cannot describe. At times I feel as if I need to pinch myself as a reminder that this is really happening to me! Just yesterday I was getting a few dresses altered and while waiting for the seamstress to come into my dressing room, I took the opportunity to simply look at myself. And I mean really look and stare at myself in the full length mirror and take in my reality. I studied my whole body from top to bottom side to back and settled back on my growing belly. I was amazed at how beautiful I both looked and felt carrying our miracle child and  for finally being at place that I had longed- for, for so very long, and feeling thankful and blessed beyond measure.

 Truly, I am enjoying pregnancy just as I always knew I would.

_____________________________________________________

 

 How far along: 24 Weeks (VIABILITY) and baby is the size of a cantaloupe!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 124 lbs- up another pound!

Maternity clothes: Yes, but still able to wear some non maternity clothes as well!

Stretch marks: Not yet… but lots of blue veins all over my belly.

Sleep: Better! I think my hips stopped stretching because sleep has been wonderful again.

Best moment last week: Reaching viability- the big milestone and passing my glucose test! By the way, the worst part of my glucose test wasn’t drinking the juice which wasn’t half bad, but having to wait an hour in a crowded waiting room with someone who smelled like oniony body odor. Uggg-  Another wonderful moment and one that keeps happening is when J puts his hands on my belly and talks to baby. It’s the sweetest thing!

Movement: Yes, all the time and brings a smile to face instantly. First thing I do when I wake up now is try and make baby move, once I feel him move I can start my day!

Oh when do I need to start doing kick counts?

Food cravings/Aversions: Lately I’ve been loving oatmeal with bananas, walnuts, and milk for breakfast and maybe because of Easter, egg salad with crunchy celery and hotdog relish has been a lunch staple this past week. Aversions- still not a big fan of Italian food; marinara sauce and garlic.

Mood/Energy: Still emotional! Energy has been ok- although one of my test results came back that I am low on Iron and my doctor wants me on an iron supplement. Alternatively, I am taking Floradix (a liquid supplement) so that I don’t have to deal with bathroom issues- praying it works!

Labor signs: Nada!

Belly Button: Stretched

What I miss: Nothing and the days need to slow down already!

What I am looking forward to: My checkup next week and getting my baby shower announcements out!

Milestones: 24 weeks baby! oh and the glucose test over with!

Bump Picture and my “Lately”:

Bump 25sophieGlucose Juicepaint color

24 weeks

Sophie- a gift from a dear friend- doesn’t she look so happy?

My orange glucose drink

and picking out paint colors for my bedroom and nursery!

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In an Instant

stormy sky

And in one simple instant, the wind beneath my wings is gone. The joyfulness in my eyes disappears and the ache in my heart returns.

When I heard the news this morning my heart skipped a beat, my chest tightened, and tears sprang to my eyes all before I could even process what was being said.

She’s pregnant.

She told me that they were going to start trying after the New Year.

And a little over one month later-she’s pregnant.

How are some people so lucky? One moth trying and pregnant? I would give anything to know what that would be like; the innocence, the purity, the bliss of it all. No strings attached, just having sex and next thing you know- two pink lines.

I’m angry with myself for feeling this way. Embarrassed really.

Will I ever be able to just be happy for these women? Will these feelings of jealousy and sadness ever go away? Will their happiness continue to trigger my sadness?

When I hear of pregnancy announcements, I instantly feel waves of my grief wash over me all over again … I try and push it away.. but the pain and sadness is there forcing me to face my loss-my failure –to remember it all.

Lately, I have been doing a very good job about not focusing on my fertility issues. With being on birth control, planning for and having surgery, and school and work keeping me busy, its’ been a really nice distraction.

But in a moment- one announcement jars me right out of “distraction land” and right back into the thick of it-just like that.

My stomach turns to knots, my smile fades.

I don’t want to be like this anymore.

I am done-finished.

The sky is gray today, to match my mood.

The rain will come later and I welcome it.

Thankfully my DH and I have a post op appointment with our Reproductive Specialist tomorrow to ensure that my uterus is healing properly, after the hysteroscopy and to discuss the next steps and to formulate a plan.

A plan that will answer our prayers.   rainbow

kss

It’s H-a-p-p-e-n-i-n-g!

My surgery that is.

Yesterday I went in to have my preoperative appointment with my RE for my Hysteroscopy and Polypectomy surgery which is scheduled for next Friday January twenty-five.

hysteroscopy

He double checked, actually at this point and on my account-quadruple checked my uterine polyp.

He confirmed, that yes, it was still there and yes I still needed surgery.

After the quick ultra sound check, my husband and I went into his office to discuss the actual procedure and listened to step by step descriptions of what will take place next Friday. He also explained all of the risks associated with the procedure and a few “what if” scenarios that I would have rather not listened to.

fingers-in-ears

Our conversation left me feeling slightly more confident about the surgery, with the confirmed rewards (increased fertility and possible pregnancy there after) that agreeably outweighed the risks (possible infection and well “other risks” not to be mentioned, but associated with me not being able to write on this blog anymore…)

After our candid conversation detailing the mechanics of the surgery, my RE asked if I had any other questions. Of course, I had to ask, forgetting about the surgery all together; what our next steps fertility wise, after the surgery -were? He responded by saying, first things first and that we would further discuss the options and our next move at our postoperative appointment. He did at that point, instruct us not to TTC for at least one full cycle after surgery, as my uterus wouldn’t be completely healed yet. This pushes us out until March- Or even longer if my cycle gets messed up from the pack and a half of birth control pills that I have been taking to “quite my lady parts ” before the surgery…uggg…more waiting…. certainly one thing I can do very well.

Sad-Woman-by-Rob-LeeAt this point this journey is starting to blur and blend all together… my miscarriage, the numerous ultrasounds, blood work and tests results, my official diagnosis of unexplained infertility, the months and months of acupuncture, the never ending supply of herbs, the unsuccessful Femara and IUI cycles that we were so very hopeful for, the cysts that were found after the Femara, the many failed cycles one after the other, the second opinion that revealed my uterine polyp, my low AMH and high FSH results, and now surgery…

 

 

 

 

 

What in the world? How has it come to this?

In all honesty, this just makes me more determined than ever! This is our year.

It has to be.

Bring it 2013.

 

bring it on

Hope Faith Love

c3

This cycle marks my 29th cycle since officially starting to TTC- a lot has been revealed during the past few months; FEMARA, instead of helping me conceive, has helped me produce cysts and uterine polyps, my FSH is high and my AMH is low, I will need surgery, and lastly I may not be the best candidate for IVF- What am I left with? Simply me, what God has given me and my husband – praying that our miracle child is conceived through spontaneous conception… feeling at this point, like that will be the only way pregnancy will happen for us…

And despite all of these unnerving revelations, my emotional sanity remains pretty steady and has been the best it has been in a very long time, that is until the following “triggers” bring me crashing down.. Why am I still not OK with the following?

 Hearing about other friends/families/strangers pregnancy announcements

 Seeing a “baby on board” sign magnetized to mini vans

 Seeing Ultrasound pictures on Facebook

 Hanging out in a room full of moms, babies, and mothers to be

 Baby showers and children birthday parties

 Hearing about how fertile someone is (or was… even if it was 25 years ago)

 Getting my period –even though I know it’s coming

 Listening to pregnant women complain about their pregnancy

 Listening to moms complain about how tired they are

 Hearing about how it only took someone “shaving their legs ” to get pregnant

 With going through another Christmas pregnant-less and baby-less…

c2

Will these triggers continue to tug at me even after I conceive or when I become a mom?

I wonder- will I forever be tainted by this struggle?

How does one recover? And do we ever?

Something tells me that even after Baby R makes their way into our lives, I will always have a piece of my heart that will remain a cool blue grey etched with the memories and pain from this heart-crushing journey…

I have many things to be thankful for this holiday season, and I am doing my best to acknowledge them and keep them in the forefront of my mind.. My life is beautiful, it truly is. I am going into another Christmas without our child and it will be difficult, but I know in my heart, this will change one day soon.

~Hope ~Faith~ Love~

This is what the Christmas season is all about and remembering these three words is how I will continue to cope even with all of these “triggers” happening all around me… I will continue to dream about a day that the things that I am not OK with now, will be in my distant memory… gone but never forgotten.
c1

~KSS

Two Years Ago Today…

Two years ago today….

I found out I was pregnant with our child.

I still remember watching that second pink line forming and then getting darker and darker.

I could not believe my eyes and immediately my heart started racing and I began to shake.

The immediate joy that I felt upon seeing that second line is indescribable; I still remember the proud look in my dear husband’s eyes when I told him our joyful news after racing down the stairs…Oh… I would do anything to see that look again from him, just one more time.

Two years later, to the day, I sit and reminisce with hot tears rolling down my face. I look up from my desk and see our one and only ultrasound picture placed snuggled amongst other photos on my memoir board.

Yes days like this are bitter sweet.

Sweet because of the fond memory of first finding out that I was pregnant and bitter because I am shook to reality of the reminder that it has been two whole years since my first taste of motherhood.

And still no baby in our arms.

Two…. years.

The longing, heartache, and feelings of loss don’t go away … but today I choose to be happy as I remember the specialness of this date, November thirtieth. Honestly, last year on this day I don’t even think that I could get out of bed, I felt that low. Yes, I have come a long ways on this journey, I still hurt, but today I will smile knowing that I am yet another day closer to our child.

She is close. Very close.

This I know.

~KSS

 

The Magic of Estrogen

This past week has been amazing.

First off, thank goodness for estrogen. Without this “feel good” hormone- I don’t know how I would have come to my most recent revelation.

Quick lesson on estrogen: early on in our cycle, around CD 6-8, estrogen levels begin to climb, this helps stabilize our emotions by increasing serotonin, giving us more energy, making us feel sexier and prettier-more feminine. This amazing hormone increases your sex drive at just the right time to make a baby.

 

I have also noticed that during this time, my creative energy goes into overdrive. I wake up early in the morning, full of ideas. The ideas mostly have to do with my home and the changes that I want to make, for example a paint color for one of my walls or a new plant or tree for my yard … or other times it’s a solution to a problem that I have been pondering. During this time I also feel more connected to people around me, and actually want to make connections rather than be my usual private self.

Yes, this is a time during our cycle of wonderful awakening of our mind, body and spirit.

I never really thought too much about why our body endures this awakening, until this past week when everything became perfectly clear.

I realized that our body is set on automatic pilot,  and for the most part it is in perfect rhythm with what it needs to do…producing estrogen early on in our cycle, to rev up our energy and prompt us to feel the urge to make love, after the sexual glow is gone, our body produces progesterone and takes over our body like a warm blanket… keeping everything warm -just in case an embryo is growing…If pregnancy is not achieved, it sheds the lining of old and gets ready for new… again on automatic pilot not stopping unless we interfere.

Either by what we put in our bodies or what we put in our minds.

I admit, I have been doing both.

I’ve been tinkering with this natural process for a long time now. I realized that after my miscarriage…when I didn’t get pregnant again right away, I started feeling desperate. The desperation  started soon after  I went in for a normal annual exam a few months after my miscarriage. The nurse practitioner who I saw for my appointment labeled me with infertility and recommended that I needed to be seen in their infertility office right away.  I panicked and didn’t question. I wanted to get pregnant again so badly, that I forgot to let my body and mind do their magic and have been trying something new almost every cycle since that diagnosis. The something new could be as small as taking a new herb, or seeing an acupuncturist, decreasing my caffeine or as big as, and most recently taking prescription medication.

And now my dh and I were actually pondering injectibles and IVF.

 

It’s overwhelming to me as I look back on these past two years….and how things started escalating from one new option to the next. It felt like the more that I pushed for an answer or tried a new regime the further I was from our baby.

 

I am finally at a place where I have stopped and am coming up for air.

 

After my revelation a new word has popped in my head and it won’t leave.

 

The word is TRUST

 

Every time my old doubts or fears come in – I take a breath and hear my inner voice say:

 

Trust.

 

 

I know deep in my heart that my body knows what it needs to do. I have altered the process both consciously and unconsciously… to a point, that I ended up with a large 23 mm cyst on my ovary, a uterine polyp; that may or may not need to be removed, the diagnosis of unexplained infertility and still no baby.

 

I gave myself these things. Not the drugs or the doctors that examined and tested me.

 

No, it’s me. I take full responsibility.

 

I made this discovery this past week, while my body naturally produced estrogen throughout my body, yes the “feel good” hormone rushing through my body allowed me to be present and hear what I needed to hear.

 

I have been giving away my power through all of this and I am taking a stand and pulling it back where it belongs, with me.

 Trusting

Knowing

Allowing

Creating

I’m back!

kss

The Big Leap

Today is cycle day three of my twenty fourth cycle of “officially” TTC our healthy take home baby.

I never in a million years thought I would reach the two year mark.  Two Years.

I remember when I thought five months of TTC was a long time. I remember the excitement of using a BBT thermometer and charting my cycles for the first time and thinking that the next month would be it. And then another cycle goes by and then another.  Naturally my perspective has changed since then.

So, the big leap is what I am calling our (my husband and I‘s) decision to move forward with both Femara and IUI. This plan had been recommended to us as a first step, by my RE last December of 2011. I remember that day so well, a crisp cool, sunny December day- the discussion went smoothly, and our RE went through the four options that were available to us.  With each new option revealed he would release a long finger from his clenched fist, just going down the line- starting with Clomid and the last option being the big daddy- IVF. Being that I was only 31 and had been pregnant (although resulting in a loss) before, he was optimistic that we just needed a little extra help for a viable pregnancy. He said the first step would be to try a few cycles with Clomid, but when I told him of the vision issues that Clomid had caused me, he said there was no way he would prescribe me Clomid and instead suggested Femara. The medication, Femara, is in a class of drug called aromatase inhibitors and has been mainly used, and originally created, to treat certain cases of breast cancer. The thought of taking a medication used to treat breast cancer for creating a baby both confused me and scared me.

I remember leaving the appointment full of disappointment, after waiting so many fearful months of not knowing what was wrong with me, and then to leave my Dr’s office with the official diagnosis of….drum roll please…. ‘unexplained infertility”, and a prescription for a drug that treated breast cancer, I just felt I was at a loss and wanted to crawl in a far away cave and never come out.  Medically speaking my husband and I were perfectly healthy and by our RE’s perspective should have no problem conceiving.  I decided not to fill my Femara prescription that day. I am not sure if it was because I was angry we didn’t have a solid answer of why we hadn’t conceived yet or disappointed with the first step solution or both. Walking out to our car, my super supportive husband turned to me and told me he would back me with whatever decision I made. I wasn’t ready to take meds, or anything else our RE had suggested, so I just decided that we would just keep trying naturally. Because at that exact moment standing in the hospital parking lot, and looking at my husband, I really had thought that we could conceive on our own and would shortly thereafter.  But we didn’t.

Fast forward seven cycles later. We made the leap.

I contacted my RE on cycle day one (two days ago). I told him I was ready for both Femara and IUI. Pleading with him now, I was ready for the help. You know how sometimes people say, admitting you have a problem is the first step to healing? That is how I felt by contacting my RE and saying we were ready for the next step. It was like I finally was admitting to myself that having our healthy baby wasn’t going to happen the way I had once thought. No friends, perfectly time intercourse for months and months on end does not always equal a baby and I finally am coming to terms with this.

So today I start taking my magic pill to help my body “super ovulate”

superovulation, or controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.

I am scared, excited, nervous, and hopeful all at once. My emotions are running high. There is excitement in the air- a new energy that has filled my household and I am even feeling a little frisky- and on cycle day three- this never happens!

Yes! It has been a long road thus far, and I know the road is yet even longer, but we made the leap and I am so very happy we did.

Chow.

K Sirah Sirah