He’s Here!

A really quick update that my son Koen arrived in to the world last Thursday March 19th at 1:40 pm at 8lbs 4oz and 20 inches long.

We did it! Koen is a dutch name that means brave. For me it was a mindset I embraced the past three years while I waited for this little miracle to happen.

I’ll update more later. 🙂

  

The road less traveled: full-term and adoption finalization

There is the parental pathway of having sex and getting spontaneously pregnant.

There is the pathway of years of fertility treatments and getting pregnant.

There is the pathway to parenthood through adoption…

And then there is me (and a few others) who get to experience the trifecta of all three.

Our Sweet P’s adoption finalized on January 5th in a five-minute ceremony where the county judge declared us her parents. I was an emotional wreck as I promised to love her, care for her, comfort her and protect her. In the midst of trying so hard to accomplish my dream of having a child, God guided me unknowingly down a path to parenthood that is not as well-traveled or known. I thank him every single day for unanswered prayers. Had any of my IVF’s worked out or previous pregnancies I would not have my daughter. To get to spend my days with her now makes every painful blistering moment of my journey worth it.

(Moments after the adoption was finalized. It’s also of me looking nice and plump at about 32 weeks pregnant.)

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Today I hit full-term at 37 weeks with our sweet baby boy. I have not come around to the fact that this pregnancy is actually going to produce a living, healthy, beautiful baby.  It feels too good to be true. Even with three weeks left I still worry every single day and every single hour about him. My one prayer and one wish is that he is healthy. (There has been nothing to indicate he won’t be). His baby shower has been thrown, his nursery is readied for his arrival, his car seat is loaded and I’ve stocked our freezer and pantry with enough food to last us a month without leaving the house. I’m physically as ready as I can be. Emotionally and mentally it feels a bit surreal to be welcoming my second baby within 6-month of the last. I am a bit awestruck by God’s grace and am having a bit of a “why me” moment. Not the “why me” of years prior, like “why do “I” have to be the one losing my baby or why do “I” have to go through these fertility treatments. It’s more of a how did I get so lucky to be handpicked by life to have an adopted daughter and biological boy this close in age???? People love using the word “epic” to describe pretty much anything these days, but for me personally the day I get to hold both of my children in my arms will be one of the most epic days of my life.

(Below: still getting after it at the gym with three weeks to go!)

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Is this your first baby?

“Is this your first baby?” and inquisitive cashier innocently asks while peering at my 8 1/2 month pregnant belly as she rings me up. I pause before I answer as my stomach does a quick somersault in to my throat.

When I smile politely and say yes to try to abruptly end the conversation I feel like a liar.

When I smile politely and say no it’s my second I have a daughter at home I feel like a liar.

When I smile politely and say no this is my second child and try to leave it at that I feel like a liar.

Sometimes it is life’s most simple questions that require us to produce the most difficult answers.

What I really would love to say is that I am currently pregnant for the fourth time and with my second son. The baby in my body will be my second biological child born and my third child in total. My answer really should be : “oh no this is my third child. I have a 5 month old daughter and a son in heaven”, but who has the time to explain that to complete strangers?

I also feel there is so much shock value in that statement that it is almost this “drops mic walks away” kind of moment.

I so desperately want to honor all of my babies, but don’t feel the need to be an open book with every well-intentioned stranger that crosses my path on the daily.

Every time the question gets broached (which is increasing more and more as i get further along) I get more uneasy with how I answer. It is a constant and consistent reminder of the loss of my first child. I also wonder how deeply to delve in to my daughter’s adoption as it will one day be her story to tell and not mine.

Deep breath. Sigh.

Seeking safety in my third trimester

*I’m so sorry my picture is the first thing ya’ll see! I tried to hide it below the blog post intro and it’s not working for some reason.*

Tomorrow I hit 30 weeks of pregnancy! For some reason, I’ve held on to the belief that somehow and someway if this pregnancy made it to the 30 week mark it would all be a-ok.  It’s my “safe place”.  one fertility hurdle leapt, another thing to cross off my worry list. There is no logic or reason I chose 30 weeks, it just sounds and seems so… safe.

The past 7 1/2 months have been filled with a lot of praying and a lot of bargaining to get me here in one piece emotionally. I still worry, but my worry has shifted. Earlier on in my pregnancy I prayed not to lose him, now I pray that he will be healthy; that he will be physically and emotionally equipped to become whoever he wants to become.

On the day of his birth, the exact moment when the doctors tell me he is healthy,I will finally get to close (or slam) the book of my infertility journey shut. My reality has been that in addition to physically carrying my son for the past 30 weeks, I’ve also carried the emotional baggage of loss, failed IVF cycles, Mother’s Day’s with empty arms, the list goes on and on. I will have a proper cry knowing both he and I are finally safe.

Here’s me and my little guy in all of our 3rd trimester glory!

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Hope For The Diminished

Last year around this time, a fertility doctor told me that I would never conceive on my own. In the same conversation he also told me that IVF would never work for me after he chose a really crappy protocol for my first IVF cycle.

When my son is born in March, shitty fertility doctor will be one of the first people I mail a birth announcement.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve sounds like a death sentence in online chat rooms and blogs. Little hope and big fears of a childless life. I never bought in to the idea that my story was already written. My AMH level was a .60, my antral follicle count always hovered around 12 and I have never had anything but a normal menstrual cycle.

I spent the last year believing that I to could solve this thing with a steady cocktail of CoQ10, Maca, wheatgrass, acupuncture, blah blah blah.

Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe all my holistic approach to health and healing worked. Maybe when I was matched with my daughter through adoption, some magical adoption dust helped me conceive. I personally like to think it was my steady stream of dirty martini’s, an In-N-Out burger and an indifferent attitude about pregnancy at the time. I also think God has a great sense of humor and was giggling about his master plan for me to have two babes under 7 months.

Either way, here I am, almost 6 months pregnant with a baby boy. I am the furthest I have ever been. This past week I actually graduated (I did not know that could happen) from my high risk specialist. The doctor said both myself and baby boy (we call him Ax) are now officially low risk now and she predicts smooth sailing from here on in.

I don’t want to wax poetic about my pregnancy, but I do want to offer hope to those that may find themselves in the same fertility boat that I’ve been in. There IS hope for the diminished. The truth is, part of the reason we Google incessantly is that we all really want to find a story similar to ours where the person did conceive, have a baby or make it out of the fertility trenches in one piece.

So while my sweet son will not be in my arms for a few more months, I have made it this far and so can you!

PTSD – Post Traumatic Sonogram Disorder

Yesterday was an interesting day for me. Had my first son Blake been born full-term his due date was October 15th 2011. So while it’s also Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Day, for me all I can think about it the little blond three-year-old that would be calling me Mama now. I’m a terrible infertile because I didn’t post anything to my social medias. I really should after all I am 1 in 4 and should be using my voice and my experiences to educate.  The only candle I considered lighting was one in my laundry room to cover up the litter box smell.

October 15th is so personal for me. I spent my day quietly reflecting on my first-born and remembering the son that taught me the true meaning of love and made me a mother.  It is and always will be mine and Blake’s day. I have such a grateful heart that he was part of my life.

On Monday (Oct 13th) I had an early 20 week ultrasound. All I could think about for days was the potential of having another loss by the 15th. Every time I’ve had an ultrasound I’ve had an emotional meltdown the day before. It’s almost like I begin grieving a potential loss if I lose this baby too. My husband is now used to this and readies himself to give me lots of hugs and affirmations in my downward emotional spirals.

For most, ultrasounds are an exciting time to see their little one in action. To find out the gender. To see the baby flip and kick. For me, it’s by far the most terrifying of experiences (I’ve now had 6 this pregnancy). When I arrive at the doctor’s office I normally waver between feeling like I am going to puke and cry. Once I walk in to the sonographer’s room my anxiety kicks in to high gear and I begin to sweat; my throat tightens up. My husband grips my hand and I tightly squeeze my eyes close until I hear the sonographer announce “There is a heart beat”. Which at every announcement tears begin streaming down my face.

Today at 19 weeks 5 days I am the most pregnant I have ever been.

I knew that the anatomy scan was a very big deal. My husband thought it was another routine check of the heartbeat so he chatted happily with the sonographer commenting on how active our son was while I sat in very tense silence for the 20 minutes it took to scan every single organ, bone and valve. I would occasionally ask the doctor. “All ok?”

Baby Ax (as we are calling him now) was perfect and growing about a week ahead of schedule.

The only potential complication they spotted was a low-lying placenta which can lead to placenta previa. All it really means is I may need a mandatory c-section. The low-lying placenta is most likely due to all the D&C’s I’ve had and scar tissue build-up.

I wish I could say that worry and fear is behind me. That I don’t wait to feel him kick or move every single day. That every time I let someone know that I am expecting I worry it could be jinxing the pregnancy. I pray I never have to untell anybody I tell about my second son. I hope they get to meet him and get to know him.

Even though my need for maternity pants happened three weeks ago, I waited until this last appointment to buy anything. I walked around with my pants completely unzipped and unbuttoned. Classy I know, but I could not bear the thought of having to return anything.

We are foregoing any announcement on our social media at this time. There are plenty of unoriginal announcements continually happening so I don’t feel the need to contribute. Every time somebody posts they are expecting I still get my breath taken away. March due dates are particularly the worst for me.

We will announce once he is safely in our arms. Until then acquaintances and past work colleagues can assume I am just getting chunky. 🙂

The Hardest Post I’ve Ever Had To Write

*Warning Pregnancy Mentioned*

 

 

As a pregnancy challenged blogger you think this would be the easiest blog post I’ve written to-date. It is in fact, quite the opposite. I’ve spent several weeks paralyzed by fear in sharing my news with the little community that has supported me in this blog.  Fear that in sharing I would jinx myself. Fear that I would be dumping salt in someone else’s infertility wound.

With a deep exhale I will rip off the digital band-aid and reveal to any readers of this post that I am pregnant.

It fills me with fear  just to type the last sentence. It fills me with worry and it fills me with sadness. Behind my fear, worry, sadness and every other negative emotion I have writing about being pregnant there is a tiny sliver of hope. Hope for myself and this baby. Hope for others that their stories of loss and want will one day be re-written. Hope that in sharing my story, it just may give someone else a renewed sense of hope.

I’ve stayed silent for week’s. Months at this point. I am 13 weeks and 3 days to be exact. My due date is March 15th and thanks to my high-risk VIP status we know that we are expecting  a baby boy.

I’ve flown below the radar for a couple of reasons:

1. In adopting, the last several months have been about my daughter Sweet P and not about me or our potential bio baby to be.

2. I’ve been there. No matter how happy I’ve been for the other women who are part of my loss/infertility community it is still like getting punched in the stomach every time the pregnancy announcements rolled in. The pregnancy announcements seem to come in waves and even though I would thank God for their answered prayers I wondered when my turn was going to come. I have just not wanted to be “that girl” and yet with this post I am “that girl”.

3. In my paralysis of fear – I felt like in announcing would cause me to lose the pregnancy. I still feel that way, which is why I am afraid to share. In the same breath, if I can’t share with you guys who can I? My mantra has become “today I am pregnant, and today it is healthy”.  After losing my first son at 18 weeks, every single week I get closer to that mark weighs heavily on me. I can not wait to get past the 18 week milestone.  I don’t get to be stoked I made it through the first trimester. Oh no, the second trimester just kicks off the fun and excitement of  the deeper seeded “what-if’s”.

So for the background on baby boy. My husband and I estimate we conceived three days after being matched for the adoption of our daughter. THREE DAYS! There were no OPK sticks, no pre-seed, no legs in the air, nadda. Just some good old-fashioned boning. The only thing different in June was that I was equipped with a “I don’t give a shit anymore” attitude. With the adoption progressing I had found my peace. I was going to be a mother and quite frankly I had come to the point of accepting it may never be to a biological child on this earth. I was OK with it and had a game plan. By the time SweetP was to be born I was going to be the fittest, hottest mom ever. I started working out with a trainer three times a week, went on a Paleo diet and was on my way to yummy mummy status. I had not been naturally (or spontaneously pregnant as the Doctor’s like to call it) in 2 years so I wasn’t worried about birth control. I just didn’t think it was going to happen.

4th of July I found myself in bed before the fireworks even began to go off. I told my husband that I had been feeling tired and that my adrenals must have been off. The Monday following the 4th I felt like death warmed over so before I had a glass of wine that evening I dug around in my bathroom for a pregnancy test “just in case”. I peed on the stick and then forgot about it. I took the dog for a walk, I did the dishes and then i remembered my glass of wine and stick so i went in my bathroom and peered from afar at the thing assuming it was going to be negative and I saw two f’ing lines!

I just started laughing. How ridiculous. God certainly has a sense of humor. My year of the baby and in it to twin it mantras from earlier in the year really paid off I guess.

So here I am with a two-week old and one on the way (God willing). They will be roughly 6 months apart.

I will say, there will be no belly pics updates from me nor those quiz things where I tell you if I have an innie or outtie for my bellybutton. Sorry, I just can’t do that. I can’t do that to all the women that I am still praying for it to be their turn.

I will however share my fears and positive doctor updates and the fact that the announcement of ANOTHER Royal baby made me royally uncomfortable yesterday.

xo

My Daughter’s Birthday

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Our Sweet P entered the world last Tuesday 8/26… one of the most surreal days of my life.

We arrived at the hospital two hours before the scheduled C-section. The plan was that once the baby was born, and all was ok, she would be wheeled out to us where we would then escort her to the nursery. We were banded by the hospital as her parents which meant we could come and go from the nursery as we pleased.

Anxiously, we sat in the waiting room staring at our phones while glancing for a nurse to round the corner to tell us our daughter was born. My husband, the most cool-as-cucumber person ever, looked stricken with anxiety. For the first time in our relationship I could tell that he was completely overwhelmed with what was about to happen.

At 2:15 pm a nurse appeared and said “she’s here, come with me”. Armed with my infertility PTSD I immediately started peppering her with questions. “Did she come out crying?” “What was her APGAR?” “How much does she weigh?”  As we power walked down the corridor towards our daughter the nurse happily answered that she was 7lbs 4 oz, her APGAR score was a 9 and she had a healthy set of lungs on her.

As I saw her being wheeled towards us I began to cry. I thought it was going to take weeks to feel attached, perhaps even months to feel like she was mine and part of me.

It. Took. Seconds.

I put my hand on the incubator and with tears running down my face I said “hi baby, I am your mommy. You are so beautiful”.

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(Pictured above: the nurse bringing her to us)

On an ordinary Tuesday, my life changed for the better. I was blown away at the emotional connection and bond I instantaneously had with her. It doesn’t take giving birth to bond you to a child, it takes wanting to take care for and give love to a child that creates a bond.

Once in the nursery, they poked, prodded and measured her. It’s the most upset I’ve heard her to-date and was already tough for me to watch and she was only minutes old! Once she was cleared we were allowed to hold her and then eventually feed her. We were fortunate the hospital gave us a nesting room which was a standard patient room but we were allowed to stay with her overnight at the hospital until she was released.

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(Pictured above: my husband keeping a very close eye on his just minutes old daughter.)

48 hours after her birth we were cleared to leave the hospital and take her home. I cried in the car all the way home. What a miracle she was and what a miracle she is for coming in to our life. After years of heartache and tears shed, the tears I got to cry that day were happy ones.

I can not advocate enough for adoption.  From the first day we started paperwork until the day we brought our daughter home it took 6 months. It  has truly been the year of the baby for us. It was our mantra when we started our last IVF cycle this past January. We did not know how a baby would come in to our life, but adoption brought us our daughter more quickly than my own pregnancy ever could have.

There are many roads to parenthood. I’m really blessed that mine led me to our Sweet P.

Flying Towards Motherhood

30,000 feet up, wheels up, hopes up, dreams up. Ready. Set. Go.

My journey to motherhood has been a bumpy one. A ride filled with potholes, flat tires and what has felt like a few hit and runs. I became a mother at 29 when I got pregnant and my son Blake was born still. I will become a parent at 33 when I hold my precious baby girl in my arms for the first time this upcoming Tuesday.

The last three months have been more like a first class flight, with zero turbulence. My husband and I were matched with birth parents in June and our Skype calls and email exchanges have been an adoptive parents dream. The birth parents (we will call them Eric and Kate) are smart, witty and all around good young kids who feel they can not give their little girl the life that she deserves. We lucked out and landed an adoption unicorn. No incarceration, no drugs, no crazy. I could not be more proud to have gotten the opportunity to know them as people and have them pick us to share our love with their daughter.

After we were matched with Eric and Kate I was apprehensive in having them get to know us and for us to get to know them. For me, it was such a vulnerable place emotionally when NONE of the control rests in our hands but only in theirs. I fought to stay emotionally unattached to not only them but also baby girl. What if they decided they didn’t like us? What if I emailed something wrong? What if they decided I was not the person they wanted to mother their daughter? That could have happened and technically happen up until three days after her birth.

And then… I got over it.

I decided to have a change of attitude and a change of heart for my daughter.

I would have missed out on all the joy and growth the adoption process has brought me had I have remained guarded by fear. My heart has been pulled wide open. The relationship that has unfolded in the past 63 days with Eric and Kate is one of friendship, trust and mutual respect. The magnitude of four people coming together with the common goal of having one child taken care of for her entire life has not been lost on me. I would have missed that. Eric, Kate and baby girl are and always will be my family now.

I can’t wait to share the story and this journey with baby girl when she is older. I can’t wait to tell her about her birth parents, our friendship and how she became our forever family. I can’t wait to tell her about the tears that were shed, the smiles that led to laughter and about how four people who lived across the country from one another came together to take care of her. I hope she is proud of her roots. I hope she is no stranger to this part of her story when she is older.

The pilot just announced we are on our initial descent. Time to put our tray tables away and seats in the upright position, we are landing to go get our baby.

From Another Mother

I am going to jump straight to the good stuff. I HAVE NEWS! I’M EXPECTING!

Not a biological baby, but a baby nontheless. We are cautiously expecting a precious baby girl due from another mother on September 2nd We were matched with a birth mother in a record time of just two weeks.

Our adoption home study was approved June 6th and we received the news on June 20th that we had been matched (which also happened to be my husbands 35th birthday).

After meeting with the adoption agency we were told we would be placed on a 6-month wait list before we were even shown to prospective birth parents. We were told it would take roughly a year after that to be matched. I don’t do lines. I never stood in lines waiting to enter a club in my early 20’s and I certainly wasn’t about to wait in line for my future child. So I took matters in to my own hands.

We started a Facebook page at the end of May announcing our plans to adopt. We asked our friends and family to share our story with everyone they knew. In the first week our Facebook page was up we had over 1,000 fans following our journey. The outpouring of love and support was tremendous. Even overwhelming. We had people whom we had never met reaching out to us to offer advice, support and potential birth mom leads. A college friend of mine who saw our story and connected to the page connected us with her next-door neighbor (whom I now call my adoption angel).

She connected us with the adoption attorney she had recently worked for her baby. Within two weeks of our page being live we had already been presented with 8 potential birth moms.

The past several weeks have been the greatest mind-fuck in the history of my ever. Nothing I experienced with my infertility traumas have come close to this.

I am in the process of preparing my heart and my home to be a mother to a little girl in just over two months, while simultaneously guarding my heart and my mind because there is always a chance that the birth parents decide to parent. In the infertility world I equate this to having to set up a nursery before embryo transfer.

A match does not guarantee a child. It is only a very promising and strong step towards parenthood. The birth parents have until 72-hours after the birth to change their mind. While I’ve quickly changed my Googling habits from searching for the meaning of my ovulatory cycle and twinges to baby swaddling and the best PRAM to purchase, it’s very difficult to remain indifferent to my current circumstances.

There is a huge part of me that wants to immediately set up a baby registry, start decorating the nursery and pick out a name. I’m in love with the idea of my potential daughter and think about her and the birth mom all day everyday. I desperately want to go shopping for little girl clothes and post something on Facebook about expecting. The problem is, she isn’t mine to claim quite yet.

The flip-side of the emotional excitement is the reality. We’ve already shelled out thousands and thousands of dollars for our attorney’s fees, the birth parents attorney’s fees and birth mother living expenses with the knowledge that should they change their mind we are stuck with a bill and get no baby. We could plan and read and love and end up empty handed.

So I have decided to approach the situation like a marriage. When my husband and I got married we eloped in France. We wanted to focus on the marriage and not the wedding ceremony. For this, baby girl is the wedding ceremony and parenting is the marriage. So I am spending the next 64 days focused on the marriage. It looks like it IS going to be the year of the baby after all. 🙂