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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My Daughter’s Birthday

Penelope

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.

Buying A Baby

Adoption (noun):

1. The act or process of beginning to use something new or different

2. the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something

The origin of the word adopt is from the Latin word  adoptare, (ad- + optare) which means to choose.

My husband and I have chosen to pursue adoption. Adoption was and has always been part of our path for creating a family. We just always thought our adopted child or children would be brought in to our family after we had our biological children. I’ve never looked at it as an alternative or last resort option. We get to choose to adopt. We didn’t get to choose infertility.

With us moving forward with adoption, we will continue to try for biological children as well, but this is the path we are on at this current moment.

As much as we are choosing to adopt I can not shake the feeling that I am buying a baby. The amount of money we are shelling out to take over parental rights from another human being feels a bit unsettling. Maybe this is a standard feeling amongst those new to the process but it is where I am at mentally. I wish I could feel like I was doing something good or noble. That’s what the word adoption denotes to me. Instead, I feel like I am fortunate enough to have enough cash to go out to the baby market and select what age, ethnicity and background I want to bring in my home to love.

Harsh? Absolutely!

Perhaps it was just the lengthy list of home study paperwork and tasks which we just completed. 

They were:

A 7 page BIOGRAPHY on each of us. (It required us to write about our families, childhood, parenting philosophy, education, relationship history, etc. etc. etc.) LOCAL CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK 

HEALTH STATEMENTS FROM A PHYSICIAN (personal fave) we had to get a physical enclosed forms for additional household members as needed.

FIVE (5) REFERENCE LETTERS (only two could be from relatives the other three must be non-relatives)

STATE/FEDERAL FINGERPRINT CHECK

 CENTRAL ABUSE HOTLINE RECORD SEARCH* & RELEASE OF INFORMATION 

 AFFIDAVIT OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER (which required us to take to a notary).

 ADOPTION DISCLOSURE (more forms and signatures)

 AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION (more forms and signatures)

CONTACT & IDENTIFYING INFORMATION (copies of driver licenses, etc. etc.)

FIREARM SAFETY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (a had to say we had no firearms in the home)

 BIRTH CERTIFICATE(S) 

 DRIVER’S LICENSE(S) 

MARRIAGE LICENSE

INCOME TAX RETURN – provided a copy of the first two pages only of our latest income tax

INSURANCE VERIFICATION – provided a photo copy of the health insurance card (front and

back) that will begin covering your child at placement.

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION submitted paperwork to our tax accountant saying we can afford to buy the baby 😉

FAMILY MONTHLY BUDGET OUTLINED

I wish that all mother’s and father’s (adoptive and biological) had to get their backgrounds crawled through with a fine tooth comb in order to have a child. Regardless of paperwork we are thrilled and excited to be moving in this direction. Maybe, just maybe, it will still be the year of the baby for us. 🙂

I Don’t Want A Baby Anymore

“You’ve never really been a baby person”, my Mother informs me over the phone while I plunge my nightly Ganirelix shot in to my abdomen. As I load up my Menopur injection she says “if this (IVF) doesn’t work, you should give up. You could adopt a two-year old. That way your body won’t be ruined and you won’t have to worry about the sleepless nights”.

My Mother, is 100% correct. I am not nor have I ever been a “baby person”.

When I was younger I never played with dolls, I never babysat and I never planned my dream wedding or dream family. I spent my free time reading about far away places and other cultures. My dream was to travel the world and birthing a baby was a very distant concept. Even today when someone enters a room with a baby, I will oooo and ahhh over it and then quickly escape to adult conversation, glass of wine in hand. My short attention span only allows for me to dote for about five minutes before I move on to something else.  I don’t understand how people are mesmerized by a little person that does nothing more than sleep, cry and poop; unless of course the baby is their own.

What my mother forgot to consider in the course of our conversation is that motherhood,  continues after a baby becomes a toddler. It goes on after the toddler reaches pre-school age. It continues through kindergarten, high school, college, marriage, children and even death. Motherhood is a lifelong commitment.

I don’t want a baby anymore. I want a human.

I want a human with my husband’s blue eyes and my blonde hair.  I want a human with my husband’s laid-back demeanor and my curiosity. I want a human that laughs, cries and feels love, joy and compassion. I want a human that is so full of life and so full of imperfection that it makes them uniquely them. I want to mother my very own human with every ounce of who I am until I take my very last breath on this earth. I want to intimately  know the highest highs and the lowest lows of motherhood. When my human hurts, I will hurt. When my human feels joy, I will feel joy.

I believe my Mother’s advice, comes from a place of maternal love. Something that I  will one day experience. She watches her oldest baby physically and emotionally hurt and there is not a damn thing she can do about it. It has to be one of the most difficult positions to be in as a parent.

So she tries to rationalize the situation for the both of us by suggesting an alternative “if – then” scenario. But what my Mother forgets  is that I am her human. With my Dad’s forehead and her determination. My Dad gave me my love of reading, NPR and healthy eating, but my fight and perseverance, now that came from my Mother.

If I wasn’t my Mother’s human I may have given up a long time ago. She taught me to fight for what I want and for what is right.

So “giving up” is not and will never be part of my vocabulary.  If there comes a time where life requires me to adjust my sails I will certainly consider my options at that time. Until then, eye on the prize. Year of the baby. In it to twin it. I can’t wait to bring my little human home from the hospital come this fall. 🙂

Menopur Meltdown: IVF Day # 6

… And yesterday I had a monumental meltdown.

Hell hath no fury like a woman hopped up on 5 different types of hormones.

The IVF process has a habit of putting marriages under a microscope. Currently, under my marital microscope, my husband is grounded from participating in my injections after he gave me not one but two incorrect dosages.

The first alleged fail was the evening of Day 5 when he was supposed to give me 150 iu of Menopur and only gave me 75iu. I had not been refereeing his dosing so I was blissfully unaware until he mentioned it to the nurse at my day 6 blood work and ultrasound. The nurse immediately gave me the additional 75iu of meds and said it should not negatively impact my cycle.

The subsequent error was last night which was responsible for my emotional tailspin. In an effort to help the growth of my 9 maturing follicles my Dr. added 50 iu of human growth hormone. It was the first injection of the evening which came with explicit written directions from my Dr. After strike 1 on the dosing I made sure to actively participate in my medication prep by read the instructions out loud and having him repeat them back to me. The ONLY thing I did not do was check how much medication he put in the syringe. Moments after giving me the injections he started panicking a bit and announced he had given me double the dose!

And this is when I lost it! Not because the dosing was messed up, but because everything that moment represented. All the what if’s stripped me of any rational thinking and left me standing there emotionally exposed.

I cried. I bawled. I kept yelling how could you? How could you be so careless? How could you mess up again? How could you be so reckless with my body and the potential of our future? I cried some more. And then I had to stop and take the remaining three injections. After that I continued crying and wallowing in my fear that this cycle had been ruined, while my panic-stricken husband dialed the on-call  nurse.

I am not a crier nor am I overly emotional so this type of emotional reaction is reserved for once every three to four years and I was clearly overdue. In that moment, infertility won. What I have experienced these past three years finally got the best of me. It was if all the emotional pain, frustration and anger was funneled to this one particular situation.

All I could think about was how hard I’ve worked for those 9 little follicles to be developing. I have essentially stopped living to create a life. No gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol diet. My free time consumed with yoga, acupuncture, searching for wheat grass and up to 40 pills a day. I haven’t been in a hot tub or sauna in over a year. Gone are the days of running half marathons and doing triathlons out of fear of overexertion. And list keeps going.

So the idea that a few messed up injections could take me out of the running for motherhood this month was too much.

I’ll find out tomorrow morning what negative effects (if any) the dosing had on me when I go in for another round of labs and an ultrasound.

Until then, my husband and I will enjoy the imperfectly perfect spouses we are to one another. 🙂

What Does A Girl Need To Do to Get a Wheatgrass Shot Around Here?

IVF #2 is about to commence. My precisely packed cooler of needles and medication arrived today and it will be any day now that the poking a prodding begin again.

For those who are new to my blog IVF #1 I canceled in September of last year after the epic failure it was. I had an antral follicle count of 12 and after two weeks of stimming my body had only matured three eggs. My protocol was  follistim micro-flare Lupron after a month of birth control pills.  Long story short, my Florida Dr was a dick  (Dear RE You’re Fired)  so I fired him and am back with my RE in Los Angeles for this cycle. My LA RE seems to think my body did not respond because I was too suppressed with the BCP and high dosage of Follistim (600 iu a day).

Since my canceled cycle I took several months off to enjoy the holidays and shower my body with love and kindness. In last several months I have kicked it in to high-gear to prepare my body for this cycle.

This is what I have done thus far:

– Weekly Acupuncture since September

– Chinese herbs that taste just awful twice daily since September. My acupuncturist said my kidney line was shut down or something like that and to drink the herbs. I have no idea what I’ve been drinking but she has a wall full of birth announcements from past patients that she has helped so I believe her.

– 600 mg CoQ10 Ubiquinol daily ( 200 mg morning, noon and night). This was a recommendation made by my Los Angeles RE. I’ve taken them since September.

– 3mg to 6mg Melatonin nightly since September

– 5000 mg of Vitamin D since September ( It was found that I was deficient)

– a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night since September

– Gluten free since September

– Daily 2oz shots of wheatgrass (last two weeks). Let me tell you, getting wheatgrass shots in Orlando is difficult. Some days I drive an hour round trip to drink this stuff. The only reason I added this to my regime is because Dr. Google tells me so.

– No caffeine, dairy or alcohol since January 1st. Actually, no. That is a complete lie. That is what I should have done. I have snuck in four glasses of wine in the past 15 days and I ate Cheese Puffs which surprisingly actually contain dairy. Yes, I know they have cheese in the name but I assumed they were so processed it was just a dusting of faux cheese flavoring. If there is such thing as infertile guilt I have it. But with everything I am trying to do to have the best odds at IVF #2 working I feel like I am going to lose my mind.

– Yoga 3 times a week since January 1st. My knees are killing me from kneeling so much on the hardwood floors of my gym’s yoga studio.

We will see if any of my crazy will make a difference. I will post my protocol as soon as I receive the official one from my Dr.

Ignoring Infertility

I am too busy to be infertile. You see, I don’t have time to be infertile so therefore my fertility issues will just disappear, right? I have hoped that my pregnancy pause problems could be lost on one of my many cross-country flights from Florida to Los Angeles. Infertility only happens to “other” people so between hosting my friends and family for Christmas, running a multi-million dollar company with my husband, working on applying to grad school and a slew of other busying tasks my hope was that I’d fall pregnant and I could close the book on the last three horrifying years.

NOPE! Unfortunately, ignoring my non-pregnancy status did not help me achieve pregnancy, therefore I can not recommend it as a successful procreation method. 

When I lost my son two and a half years ago I read the book On Grief and Grieving by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The book covers the  five stages of grief a person will experience when a loss or major trauma occurs.

They are:

Denial – When you deny the reality of the situation. Example: In keeping myself so busy in life, maybe my Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis will go away and I will magically get pregnant, carry full term, and all will be right in the world.

Anger – As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. Example: It’s my parents fault that I have been unable to achieve a healthy full-term pregnancy because they fed me processed foods growing up.

Bargaining – The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. Example: If only I had sought medical attention sooner… Are you there God???? It’s me, Jenna. If you just answer this ONE prayer request by allowing me to birth one living child (not trying to be selfish it only has to be one) I promise I will go to church every Sunday the rest of my life.

Depression – Sadness and regret.  Example: Crying all the time

Acceptance – I am soooo far from this stage and have no clue what to tell you outside of the definition of the word itself.

I am currently cycling between the first four, with denial being the stage du jour.

The reality is: my infertility is impossible to ignore. Until I cease having periods, ovulation symptoms and PMS my fertility is on display in my body throughout the month. My mother swears if I just “relax” and go about my life it will happen. I have explained to her, that for me, it is physically impossible to do. I have regular periods every 30 days. Around day 15 in my cycle my boobs get sensitive, I have dull aching, etc. etc. Ignorance would be bliss, if there were not constant reminders that Darwinism may be trying to weed me out. It’s something that I think about everyday. Multiple times a day. I am doubtful that will change until I get what I want.

So beginning next month, I will fully embrace the war that is being waged in my body and begin cycle # 2 of IVF. I have pulled out the arsenal of eastern medicine tactics in the last two months to ensure this rounds results are a success.