Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Dinner Party

Tonight I'm hosting a dinner party for 6 friends (was supposed to be 9, but 3 cancelled). I LOVE hosting parties, so I'm excited. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies, but baking is another story! I absolutely hate to bake--one of the many things that Rachel Ray and I have in common! ;) Right now I'm prepping things and wanted to take a quick break to check on my blogworld friends! What are you doing for NY Eve?

Here's my menu for tonight:

-Bacon wrapped water chestnuts
-Cranberry turkey pinwheels
-Shrimp cocktail
-Olive tapendade with cracked pepper crackers
-Roasted red pepper spread on crostini

Salad: Mixed greens tossed with orange segments, parmeson cheese & an amazing orange vinaigrette served with crusty breads and herbed olive oil for dipping

Main Course:
-Grilled filet mignon
-Roasted garlic parmeson twice baked potatoes
-Almondine carrots

Dessert: Lemon berry trifle and coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream

Drinks: X-rated martinis made with ruby red grapefruit juice (these are my fave!), tons of wine, and of course a variety of way too expensive beer to please J

I'm sure I'm making WAY too much food, but that's pretty typical for me. I'd rather have tons of leftovers that not have enough food. I'll try to take some photos later and post them. So, what do you think of my menu?

(Tomorrow I will post my farewell to 2008 and the ringing in of 2009 ... I have so much to say!)

Monday, December 29, 2008

If I could go back in time ...

Last night while J and I were lying in bed cuddling he asked "if I could travel back in time and tell you about our infertility struggles, would you still have gone through all of this?" I sat there for a minute and then asked "would you tell me about Myles?" and J said "yes". I quickly replied "absolutely ... I would put myself through all that we've been through and more if it meant that I'd have Myles for any amount of time." I then said "wouldn't you?" to J. He said "no" and I was shocked! J went on to say that he wouldn't want to put Myles through all that he went through. J said he didn't like seeing Myles struggle and that he couldn't bare to put him through that again. Of course I didn't want Myles to be in any pain either (what mother does?), but the docs assured us that he was always made comfortable by pain meds. I was crying and felt terrible thinking of Myles in pain. J finally agreed that Myles was on a lot of pain meds and probably didn't feel much pain. Honestly I think he was just trying to make me feel better.

As I've said before I wouldn't change anything we've been through in our IF journey because that path led us to Myles. I do wish that I could go back and take away Myles's pain, but wouldn't change having him. The overwhelming sadness, anger, and devastation over losing Myles couldn't even compare to the pain of not ever knowing him! So, if someone could have told me about the last 4 years before we'd experienced them, I'd still have walked each and every step of our journey despite all the sadness because the joy of having Myles for the 26 days we had him far outweighs everything else!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to Myles

On Christmas Eve Josh and I visited Myles grave to leave him a little Christmas gift. When we arrived we found that someone had already shoveled out his grave and left him a cute little snowman decoration with an ornament attached that says "You Are Loved" (pictured below). This little gift was left by my dear friend, D, who herself is currnently going through a divorce. D is an amazing woman and wonderful friend who never ceases to amaze me! Despite all that she's dealing with she still remembered Myles. I love you D and am so lucky to call you my friend!

Josh and I left Myles a small stuffed penguin. I don't like the idea of leaving stuffed animals, which will get dirty and ratty from rain and snow, but I just fell in love with this little guy and had to get it for Myles. There's something about the penguin that reminded me of my sweet little Myles.

Christmas Eve day was horrible for me. I cried all morning, all afternoon, and all night. I literally couldn't stop crying. I haven't had one of these days in awhile, so I guess I was due. Josh makes me cards with stick figure drawings for every occasion and this year Christmas was no exception--you should see all of them for the last 11 years! It was a very sweet card, but reading the note and seeing the drawing of me and Myles on the inside made me cry even more.

Yesterday only one person, my aunt N, asked me how we were doing during this difficult time. She said that she can't imagine how difficult it is to try to pretend to be happy when someone so important is missing. Of course this made me cry, but I was also very appreciative that she mentioned Myles's name. I thanked her and told her how nice it was for someone to recognize this. For the most part I held it together at the family gatherings, but was very sad when my recently engaged brother was talking about his prospective wedding date in spring 2010. His fiance was saying how her neice is going to be a flower girl and it made me sad to think that Myles would have been a little over two at this time and likely would have also been in the wedding. I burst into tears the minute we got in the car and cried the whole way home. J tried to comfort me. He told me how much he missed Myles too and he told me how hard Christmas day was for him too ... watching my cousin's little boy and watching his daddy play with him. I know how much J dreamed of having a little boy and I can't imagine how difficult that is for him. I hate to see my "rock" so sad!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Have a Date!

Well after spending far too many hours at the repro clinic we found out that we are NOT crazy (not even J, hah!) and we have a date for our FET--January 29, 2009! K starts Lupron on Saturday and estrogen on 1/10! I can't believe that we're finally really doing this. I'm so excited and honestly am so happy to be doing this with such a wonderful person!

K stopped by tonight to pick up some of my extra meds and gave me these notes that her 7 year old made.

Keyton is so darn cute and so sweet! Honestly is there anything sweeter than that? I am so touched by Keyton's support and love! J and I are the luckiest people to have such an amazing family with us on this journey!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift Giving in Memory of Myles

Today I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts for a local family in need. This family like all families has a story. They immigrated to this area in 2007 from a refuge camp in Laos. The father was "killed" (not died, but "killed") before they immigrated and the mother is disabled and was recently diagnosed with a terminal cancer. The eldest child, P, is in my 1st period general biology class and the two other children are in elementary school. Due to the mom's disability P is the sole provider for her family. She just turned 18, attends high school full time, does all the cooking and cleaning, and works full time. P is one of the hardest working, kindest, and happiest girls you will ever meet. P suffers from chronic migraines and doesn't have health insurance, yet you won't hear her complain. Every day P greets me with a smile and a warm, cheery good morning. At least twice this year she got up early before getting her two little brothers ready for school and made traditional Hmong foods to bring to her favorite teachers. I can not say enough about P--she's truly an inspirational young woman!

One of my friends and colleagues mentioned that she and her family were going to "adopt" P's family for Christmas. Their plan was to buy them essentials like warm winter clothing and food. None of them had winter jackets, hats, mittens, or boots. However, the gifts wouldn't be bought until after Christmas. My friend is taking P shopping during our winter break. I decided that my family and close friends would contribute non-essentials in memory of Myles and would wrap them and get them to the family before Christmas. I wanted to make sure that each and every one of P's family members had a handful of wrapped gifts to open on Christmas morning.

P told me that her little brothers love playing in the snow, so we bought them each a sled. A friend told me that his son loves the nerf dart guns, so I bought each of the boys one of those too. Friends and family donated other gifts for the boys including action figures, books, handheld games, puzzles, etc... P loves photography, so we made sure she had photo albums, frames, a photo board, and other girly things like pink polka dot pajamas, matching plush slippers, lip glosses, eye shadow, lotion/body wash set with loofah, purse, wallet, etc.. My dear friend, M, and her dh, J, are donating a Canon Rebel 35mm camera to P and I know she'll love it! For the mom we collected lotion/body wash sets, perfume, candle sets, slipper socks, a purse, a winter jacket, etc... Additionally we collected many other items for the whole family including new bath towels, wash clothes, a radio/cd player, kitchen items, gift cards, and money.

When I finished wrapping the gifts and looked at all of them it made me smile and cry. I feel so good doing something like this for a family who I know will truly appreciate it. I can picture the smiles on the little boy's faces when they see their sleds and tear open the rest of their gifts. I can also see P's face light up watching her family on Christmas morning. This will be a Christmas to remember for P's family. Although I haven't enjoyed much of the holiday season, I did enjoy this. I am doing this in memory of my little Myles and it makes me feel good!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Infertility is NOT natural selection at work!

Thanks to all who stopped by to welcome K and to tell her just how amazing she is! We are very lucky to have one another. Honestly I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather be venturing on this journey with! I just know we are in for the ride of our lives and I'm looking forward to it!

Last night was a horrible night. I cried all night as I kept going over and over every single detail of the night Myles died, which just so happened to be 10 months ago yesterday. I could picture Myles's sweet little face as I held him for the last time and the sadness in his eyse when he looked at me as I was talking to him. I remember immediately knowing that things would not end well because the sparkle had left his eyes. I rehashed all that I didn't do, but wished I had. I revisited all of my regrets from that last night. I tried to recall the the feel of Myles's soft skin, but the memory eludes me. With every passing day it seems that I lose more and more of him and it kills me. I just wish that I could hold him again or feel his little hand wrap tightly around my finger. My memories just aren't enough.

Today started out as a new day, a better day until tonight. I went to Sub.way to get Josh and I a sub. The "sandwich artist" happened to be one of my former students--a not so stellar one. I made small talk with her as she made our subs. When I asked her what she'd been up to she said working and preparing for the baby. I almost threw up, but somehow managed to ask her a series of questions about it. She informed me that it was unplanned. No $hit! She's 20, barely graduated high school, works at Sub.way, and isn't married to the boy who got her pregnant (actually they're not even dating). I left without an appetite.

This type of scenario upsets me, yet it also provides evidence that infertility is not natural selection contributing to the evolution of humans. Some ignorant, scientifically-illiterate people make rude comments that infertiles shouldn't be spending so much time and/or money on trying to get pregnant. These people say we should adopt. They say infertility is natural selection at work ... nature's way of weeding out the "less fit" from the gene pool. It might be hard to believe that people say this, but if you read any of the comments on the NY Times Surrogacy article you likely saw this sentiment reiterated multiple times.

Well my friends I'll be honest and tell you that my pregnant former student is far from being a superior individual in the human gene pool. I can't imagine that nature would select her to pass on her genes over someone like me or any of my other infertile friends. This is actually a detriment to the human population rather than a benefit. I say it's more a matter of luck/chance that some are fertile while others are infertile. The lucky fertiles will make more contributions to the gene pool, but this has nothing to do with selection as it's a completely radom process. This my friends is a mechanism of evolution called genetic drift. So, those idiots who say that infertiles are "less fit" and shouldn't be trying to reproduce fail to understand the mechanisms of evolutionary change and should come spend a few weeks in my general biology class!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hello Niki's friends, it's me "K" here to say hi!

I have to start by thanking you all for supporting Niki over the past year, I can see how you are all bonded and think it's grand that you have found each other, even if your miles apart! Having good friends can make a difficult time, more tolerable!

I suppose you all want to know a little about me, pretty boring really! I'm a 30 year old mother of two little boys and fab husband. I work in the medical field as a surgical technologist (the crazy one who hands the surgeon all their instruments and bosses them around ;-) I am related to Niki via my step-father (he's really my dad, I feel bad saying step) my father passed away when I was nine. My step father has brought me much love... and Niki! My husband and I really didn't spend much time at all deciding if this was the "right" thing to do, we are so appreciative of our crazy boys, and know Niki and J will be superb parents; and I'm healthy and able. I made my lists, pro's and con's, and my con's were so few (heart burn, getting fat) nothing which made me second guess my heart's natural answer.

So, here I am, already on birth control pills, done with blood testing, done with the SHG, getting ready for psych. test and the transfer, thrilled to be able to give my cousin a miracle, Myles a sibling(s) to protect, and Niki and J a good reason to wake up and smile each day, a reason to decorate for the holidays joyfully, and a way to feel as mommy and daddy as they deserve to feel today (being the proud parents of Myles), and guess what.....I CAN'T WAIT!

I'm so grateful for all your kind words about me, but honestly, it's Niki and J that deserve commending, they've forged ahead and not given up hope! So stay by Niki's side, keep her smiling and I promise to do my best to make her (and J's) dreams come true!

Until next time, Happy Holiday's and Peace on Earth!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Feeling grateful today

Last night I went to a Christmas party for my aunt's catering group (I work for her catering weddings in the summer when I'm not teaching). It was a nice time, but everyone of course talked about babies and getting pregnant. Some of the women are older and were talking about their new grandchildren. Others are younger and were talking about having oops pregnancies while on the pill while a few of the others around my age were talking about using multiple forms of birth control, so they don't get pregnant again. Seriously?! Anyway most of it was difficult for me to endure, but when they were complaining about their husbands I felt fortunate. J is such a wonderful man who helps out around the house. In fact our relationship is more like a team--we were together towards the same goal in almost everything we do. Of course we have our differences and disagreements, but all in all we work well together. J doesn't think it's my job to clean the house or do the laundry--actually he does all of the laundry (I never do it) and does his share of cleaning. Sure I do most of the cooking, but that's because I like to do it. J does most of the yardwork because he likes that. This is our house and we both do our fair share to take care of it.

After the party I met J and a close friend of ours to have a drink. This dear friend is currently going through a divorce because her husband had an on-going affair. She tried to work it out with him, but he refused to end the extramarital relationship. Her husband was a close friend of ours too, which makes the situation even more difficult and strange for us. As I sat there listening to my friend talk about her future worries of dating, etc.. I realized yet again for the 2nd time that night how lucky I was to have my loving, helpful, trustworthy husband. I spend a good deal of my time feeling sorry for myself and for all that I've gone through, but last night I spent several hours feeling very fortunate. I am married to an amazing man who always knows how to make me laugh! I love you J and am so fortunate to call you my husband!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From the words of another babyloss mamma

This morning I read Mrs. Spit's eloquent post and was reminded of a very important point that I often forget during my dark moments of overwhelming grief and sadness. As I think of Myles's birthday that is fast approaching and the date that marks a year from his death I need to remind myself of the words spoken by Mrs. Spit as she remembers her son Gabriel:

"There came a point, a few weeks ago, when I realized that if a one year anniversary meant anything, it meant that this was forever. It meant that the days I was surviving to face would pass, however I chose to mark them. I was looking at the rest of my life, knowing that I would always miss Gabriel [insert lost child's name]. If there is a choice to be had, it is how I will live, how I will remember and honour and find meaning." --Mrs. Spit

I think all babyloss mammas need to be reminded of this very thing. Thank you Mrs. Spit for reminding me that Myles will always be missed and that I must continue to draw inspiration from my amazing little boy. I must live my life by Myles's example. I must continue to honor Myles in any way I can and must try to find some meaning, however small, in this tragedy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

K's New Dream & Journaling

Yesterday K told me that she had a new dream about having our baby for us. If you're a new reader, K has always had very vivid dreams. In this dream she saw herself giving birth to our boy/girl twins! In previous dreams she's only seen a little boy. I have to admit that I spent the entire evening fantasizing about the possibility of twins! :D Don't get me wrong I'll be happy to have one healthy little one cooking in K's uterus, but haven't really ever given too much thought to twins. In fact in the last two cycles I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn't get pregnant with twins--too risky with my history of preeclampsia. But now I don't worry as much about twins as I'm certain K could carry them, so I will continue to fantasize about the possibility of two healthy babies to fill our arms and warm our hearts!

K also told me that she started to write in the journal I gave her. K said that she figured that she should record her reasons for wanting to act as a surrogate for us. I was so deeply touched that K started journaling already and that she put this at the beginning of the journal! It's an absolutely perfect way to start her surrogacy journal! I can't help but think about how amazing it will be for our future child to read this journal when he/she is old enough. We certainly will have one very loved little baby! Thanks K--you are such a beautiful person!

I've been tagged--Random Stuff About Me

I’ve been tagged by two fellow bloggers, Lisa and Crystal, so I figured I should give this a try. Lisa and I share the bond of infertility, IVF and miscarriage. Lisa is a strong, caring woman who’s been one of my biggest supporters through all of my struggles and for that I’m so appreciative! Crys and I both know the devastation that is left in the wake of preeclampsia. We both delivered our little ones several weeks early and both lost them way too soon! Crys was one of my saviors in the early weeks and months following Myles’s death. I don’t think I would be here where I am today without the support she gave me! Thanks to both of you for being such amazing, inspirational women!

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

Random Things About Me:

1. I have a Master’s degree in wildlife biology. In the past I’ve worked as a wildlife biologist studying West Nile virus in corvids (blackbirds, crows), I’ve also trapped mice/rats and bats, I’ve collected animal scat (poo) to identify animals, and I’ve necropsied (similar to an autopsy) various wild animals.

2. I’m a very girly girl who loves pink, which you wouldn’t guess if you read #1, but I can definitely get my hands dirty (see #1). I love to get dressed up! I wear makeup including lipstick (okay some days colored lip gloss) and style my hair every day. I love to accessorize and wear heals. I do love skirts and dresses, but not in the frigid WI winter weather!

3. I’m obsessive about plucking my eyebrows—I will pluck almost every day! I can’t stand to look in the mirror and see a tiny brown hair poking through my skin under my perfectly manicured brows. This is the reason that I can’t wax my brows—I can’t stand to go that long with the little hairs showing!

4. My secret guilty pleasure is reading Hollywood gossip magazines! I love them and can’t help myself when I’m in a grocery store checkout. If J is with I won’t buy them, but if I’m by myself the temptation is often too much!

5. I have struggled with body image issues my whole life. Even when I was a size 1/2 (before my infertility struggles) I could not completely love my body. It’s a huge issue that drives my hubby crazy. I blame my mom for my issues as she struggled with eating disorders when I was a kid and always made rude comments about people being “fat”. My mom’s mom did the same thing. I spend hours of therapy working on this issue and am hoping to break the cycle, so I don’t pass this on to my future children.

6. I LOVE dark chocolate! Nothing (well okay almost nothing) is better than a rich, warm, gooey dark chocolate lava cake! YUM!!

7. Despite not really liking football (well sports in general) I have a fantasy football team. My team is so good that they've made the playoffs. I tell J I'm not competitive and that I don't care about my team, yet every week I spend a little bit of time researching my players and asking my students/colleagues who I should play. I quietly cheer when I kick the boy's butts! :)

Surprisingly that was fun! I didn’t think I could think of 7 random things about me, but near the end I couldn’t figure out which one to pick from the list forming in my head! I am tagging a few of my “old” and new blogger friends: Becca, Donna, Nicole, Dora, B, N, and Duck.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Insensitive People

I just got back from the local clinic. I had to go get blood drawn for the long list of infectious diseases that the FDA requires to be tested in order to use a gestational carrier. This in and of itself sounds harmless, right?! To ruin my day a pregnant woman walks into the waiting room of the lab and where does she sit in the near empty room, but right across from me! Grrr! This kind of stuff is what makes me think the universe is always challenging me! Immediately I’m irritated and don’t look up from my magazine as I consider how to move to the opposite side of the room to face away from her, but before I can do that I hear her say “hi Niki.” Uggh! I look up to see a girl who graduated with my brother. Now that she’s addressed me the cordial thing to do is ask her about her pregnancy, which is the last thing I want to talk about, but I’m nice so I say “I see you are expecting. When are you due?” She replies that she’s due on January 5. Again I’m nice so I go on to ask if she’s expecting a boy or girl and she says it will be a surprise. She continues on about how she’s hoping the baby doesn’t arrive until after the holidays because it will be too much stress ... how excited she is to be expecting her first ... how excited her parents are to be grandparents ... blah, blah, blah!

At this point I’ve tuned out and am just hoping and praying that they call my name any second. She then asks “don’t you have two children?” and when I look surprised (okay, maybe shocked is the right description of my reaction) she says “or is it one?” Now I am dying for the lab tech to call me back, but nope they don’t. Frickin’ universe! I say well yes we had a little boy, Myles, who was born in January, but died in February. Surprisingly she says nothing but “oh” (nope not even the uncomfortable I’m sorry) and doesn’t even blurt out the question "what happened?" like most people do. She just uncomfortably stares at me with unsympathetic eyes. B$tch! At this point I want to claw her eyes out! I try to quickly change the subject by saying that we are trying again and finally as I’m saying this the lab tech walks out with my pee cup. Hallelujah, thank you universe! I jump up, wish the insensitive pregnant b$tch well and immediately walk into the bathroom to fill my pee cup. As I prep to fill the cup the tears start rolling and rolling down my face.

I guess I just expect everyone to know and don’t expect to get caught so off guard. And to not express sympathy for the death of our son is plain rude, especially when the girl is sitting there rubbing her giant swollen belly in my face. If only she knew how horrible and life altering it is to watch your child die in your arms! Hopefully she won't ever know, but maybe when she finally holds her child for the first time she will feel the most intense love she's ever felt. This will give her perspective that she currently doesn't have and hopefully if she ever encounters another babyloss mamma she will react with empathy and compassion.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Myles's Christmas Ornaments

I finally decided to put up a tree, but because we weren't sure if I'd actually decorate it we used the fake one. I prefer getting a real tree, but this year is different. We didn't feel like venturing out among all the happy families to select a tree, so the fake one it will be. Anyway tonight I decorated the tree and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I decided that putting up a Christmas tree would be the extent of my holiday decorations.

The ornaments I bought to remember Myles this Christmas:

The ornament my parents bought for us:

The ornament my friend, M, gave to us to remember Myles:

Friday, December 5, 2008

She always knows how to say the right thing

K read my recent blog post and sent me an email about it. She said that she's been wondering how I'd feel about doing a transfer so close to Myles's birthday and wanted to share her thoughts. This is what K had to say:

" ... let it be a blessing, you've been grieving daily, and if it brings even the smallest amount of joy to a sure fire sad day, let it! Maybe this slightly drawn out time line is Myles work, wanting to see his mommy smile close to his birthday rather than be so sad!"

I read this and immediately tears flooded my eyes. K is so understanding and empathetic. She seems to always know just what to say to me to help make me feel better! To think of my little Myles wanting me to be happy warms my heart! Thank you K for making me look at the overlap in the two events in a different way that does make me smile! K, you are truly my angel of hope!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another step closer

We finally got word from my clinic that our FDA paperwork was approved, so the clinic is sending us kits to do the infectious disease testing. My RE's clinic is a little over an hour away, so they're letting us do the b/w locally. They also scheduled the psych evals, new program start meeting with RE, consent signing, and injection training for K. I requested that we do it all on the same day, so they scheduled it for Tuesday, December 23. At this time we will get our IVF calendar, which is what I'm really anxious to see! I do know that we won't be doing a FET until after 1/20 because my RE will be out of the country again from 12/30-1/20. So, I'm guessing that the FET to K will fall around the week of Myles's birthday. Right now I feel okay with that, but my feelings may change as we get closer to the date.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Decor at Myles's Grave

Despite being rather down this weekend I did manage to get into the holiday spirit just enough to make a holiday arrangement to put on Myles's grave. I used a variety of fresh pine, spruce, and fir sprigs in addition to some fun, sparkly embellishments. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Today I took the arrangement and some other holiday items up to Myles's grave. It was super cold and my hands were in pain by the time the basket was wired to the plant stand, so I didn't quite finish. I have to go back this week to wrap garland around the post of the planter stand, but this is what it looks like so far.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I am Thankful For

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I would share with you the things that I am thankful for. Most of the time I feel like I have nothing at all to be thankful for because my baby died and that's usually at the forefront of my mind. I know that I have many obvious things to pay thanks for: my health, my husband's health, a wonderful, supportive, loving husband, great friends and family, two cats who love me unconditionally, a job I enjoy, and a warm house to sleep in. The list could go on and on.

I think that most people would be thankful for all of the things I mentioned above. However, I think that anyone who's lost a child is likely not to publicly give thanks for these things daily. I (and I presume others who've lost children) feel cheated out of the one thing that I wanted most, my son, Myles. I envy all those people who can be thankful for their little ones who smile back at them today.

Despite Myles's physical absence I am most thankful for his very real presence in my life. Myles made me a mommy and filled my heart that was empty for so many years. Myles made my husband a daddy, my parents grandparents, and my brother an uncle. Not only did I get to experience the surreal feelings of Myles moving inside me, but I also got to spend 26 amazing days with my son. I was able to admire my son's resemblence to his daddy, I got to touch his soft skin, I got to talk to him and notice him recognize my voice, I got to hold him close to my skin and feel his heart beat next to mine, I got to see his sparkling, beautiful eyes, and I got to know that with my husband (and Dr. S) I created the most amazing little miracle baby. I am thankful for the inspiration that I draw from my son every single day. Myles is my son and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am also very thankful that I have someone who loves me and my husband so much that she's willing to give up her body to help us bring another baby into the world. K is truly our angel of hope. She is a selfless, loving woman who truly embodies goodness. I can not express my gratitude and thanks for my cousin K and her loving, supportive family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Apparently I'm Now a Scrooge

Today I spent the day with my mom doing some Christmas shopping and now I feel terrible. I used to love the holidays and now I seem to hate them. I told my mom that I didn't feel like decorating the house this year and she proceeded to tell me that she understood that I was sad, but that I shouldn't let it keep me from enjoying the holidays. Of course this made me feel worse because I felt like she was ignoring my feelings and brushing them off as insignificant. I proceeded to tell her that I'll do whatever I want and if I don't feel like decorating my house then I won't. Obviously she can't force me to do it. It sounds childish to repeat that, but I can't even believe that someone, especially my mom, is giving me crap about missing my son this holiday season.

I did buy a silver star ornament that I had engraved with "Remembering Myles" in addition to an ornament that says "Baby's First Christmas" with a place to put a picture of Myles. I already bought a silver "M" ornament. The more I think about it we'll probably put up our tree just so I can put these ornaments on it for Myles.

I guess I'm just finding it hard to be merry and joyful this holiday season. Last year at this time we were excited to be pregnant and were looking forward to finding out Myles's gender. This year all I can do is think about what should have been. Everyone seems to think that I should be enjoying the festive season like nothing's happened, which actually makes me feel worse. Also, after the holidays we're that much closer to Myles's birthday and the worst day of our lives, the day he died.

Despite being a scrooge I do plan to decorate Myles's grave for Christmas. I bought items to make an arrangment that I will put on his grave when I take down the Thanksgiving/fall items this weekend. I bought a neat basket that looks like the black top hat that Frosty the Snowman wears. I plan to stuff it with real pine sprigs, sparkly berries, and other pretty glittery embelishments. I plan to make the arrangement and put it on Myles's grave on Saturday along with the super cute snowman LED light that my mom bought for his grave. The solar-powered LED snowman light changes colors and will look great hanging on the shepherd's hook next to Myles's grave. I'll take photos and post them after I get it all decorated.

Tomorrow will probably be horrible too. I'll have to endure my cousin's baby boy and the dreaded "What are you thankful for?" thing they love to do. I think I'll go outside or lock myself in the bathroom for an hour while they do that. Or maybe I'll say something to make everyone feel uncomfortable?!

I'm sure it doesn't help that I had to buy my friend a baby shower gift and gifts for other friends who are having babies soon. I figure I'll buy gifts, but have no intentions to attend the shower or visit the newborns. Visiting the baby section of any store is bad enough, but being immersed in non-stop baby talk at a shower is like torture. Now that I bought those gifts I'm done with baby stuff for this year and hopefully for a long time. I'm hoping that the next baby stuff I buy is for my baby(ies) that K is carrying!

On a positive note the clinic's IVF coordinator called me to tell me that our paperwork was approved! This was a huge relief to me given that I answered a question about marijuana use honestly and said that I tried it in college. I was freaking out thinking that this was going to ruin everything. The IVF coordinator said she's passing our files on to data entry to have them create a chart for K and she'll be calling us on Friday or Monday to schedule our pysch eval and infectious disease testing. I requested that we schedule the consent signing on the same day to avoid multiple trips to the clinic. I'm hoping that we'll get our IVF calendar that day or shortly thereafter. The ball is still rolling ever so slowly ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

For Myles

Today I came home to find an email from a friend and fellow preeclampsia survivor, A. Attached to this email was the above picture. A took the time while on the beach this weekend to make this for me and for Myles. I think it is so beautiful and so sweet of A. Thank you, A, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! You have been and continue to be such a great supporter of me. I am lucky to call you my friend!

The email and picture from A brightened my not so great day. I spent the entire day at the district office in meetings trying to rewrite curriculum with the biology teachers from the other high school across town. We all agree to disagree, so you can imagine how well things went. As if the meeting itself wasn't bad enough one of the guys who I'll call Mr. Teacher asked me about Myles and things got uncomfortable for everyone ...

Mr. Teacher: So, Niki did you have a boy or girl?

Me: I had a boy.

Mr. Teacher: When was he born?

Me: January 21, 2008

Mr. Teacher: What's his name?

Me: Myles

Me: (thinking) Is he trying to be nice by asking about my dead baby? Does he honestly not know what happened? How am I going to deal with this without making him uncomfortable? How do I not draw anymore attention to myself?

Mr. Teacher: How exciting. Your little guy is almost a year old. You must be quite busy with your little one getting into everything.

Me: (thinking) Ouch, that's something I try to avoid thinking about and now he's shoved it in my face. If Myles had survived, he would be 10 months old. :( I immediately feel sick to my stomach and the hole in my heart starts to ache and throb. Clearly he doesn't know and now I've led him to believe that my son is living and now it's going to be even more weird when I blurt out that Myles died.

Me: (trying to avoid eye contact) Um, actually no. Myles died in February. I didn't say anything because I assumed you knew and then when I realized that you didn't know I was trying to avoid making you uncomfortable.

Mr. Teacher: (not even looking at me now) Oh, oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know.

Me: That's fine. You didn't know and were trying to be nice.

Mr. Teacher: What happened?

Me: Myles was born prematurely and developed pneumonia, which was too much for his tiny, immature lungs.

Mr. Teacher: I'm really sorry and I'm sorry that I brought it up.

Me: (thinking) As if you mentioning it just suddenly caused it to pop in my brain after having not thought about it?! Seriously, like Myles isn't always on my mind?! Why do people think that by not mentioning/asking I won't think about my son?

Me: (feeling offended) You don't need to apologize. Myles was an amazing little boy and I'm happy to talk about him. Yes, it's sad that he died, but he's still my son. I had him and enjoyed spending 26 days with him. Honestly I actually enjoy mentioning Myles's name.

Mr. Teacher: (very, very uncomfortable now) Again I'm sorry.

Me: Thank you. Okay, so what do you think about _____ (insert something/anything about the curriculum to make Mr. Teacher comfortable again).

I'm not sure why such conversations cause me such heartache, but I guess they just catch me by surprise. I presume that everyone already knows what happened and don't expect to be asked specific questions about my child who they assume is living. I hate it that I have to comfort others about my son's death. I hate it that I can't just talk about Myles and tell people how amazing he was. I hate it that I have to "hide" my son and the amazing, miracle who he was. I love Myles and wish that it was socially acceptable for me to express this without getting the puppy dog eyes and look of pity. I am a Mommy who loves her son just like every other mommy, but I can't beam and brag about him without feeling weird. Just another thing to grieve.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Makeover

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I really appreciate your thoughts and nice comments. I decided to give the blog a makeover and give it a new, fresh look for the winter. Do you like the new look?

K is going to send me a pic of her sometime this week, so I'll post that on the side bar next to the photos of us, Myles, and our furbabies. Also, per the suggestion of one reader I posted a timeline of our surrogacy journey to this point and will update it as we progress. I deleted my infertility journey/history on the sidebar and replaced it with the surrogacy journey timeline. I put the bulleted version of my IF history in one of my first posts that chronicled it. If someone really wants to know where I've been, they can read back. Any other suggestions on things to change/add?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slightly Revised Blog Title

I decided to add "... To Surrogacy" to my blog title. I felt like it would give my readers and new readers a better idea of what they'd be reading about in my blog. I still want to make Myles a big part of my blog because despite not being with me physically he's a huge part of my life, so I left his name in my blog. However, I also wanted to indicate that my journey continues, but has taken a new path to surrogacy!

I need to talk to K and ask her if she'd be willing to send me a picture, so I can put it on the sidebar. I want everyone to see K's beautiful smiling face so they can have a picture of the amazing woman who's going to help us have a baby! I also thought that maybe I should post a picture of J and I in the sidebar and maybe even our furbabies too. That way I'll have pics of our family on my blog. (So, K what do you think? Can you get all cutesy and have your hubby take a pic of you for my blog?)

I think when I get time I'll make a link to my IF history and remove it from the sidebar. It is long and depressing, but is nice for readers to see where I've been on this journey.

Any thoughts or suggestions on other revisions to the blog appearance?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Children's Remembrance Celebration

Yesterday J and I along with our family and a few friends traveled to Mayo Clinic for a Children's Remembrance Celebration. I expected it to be a difficult ceremony and that it was. The ceremony involved songs, poetry, flowers, balloons, a paren'ts letter and a photo montage of all the children who were being remembered. Myles's picture was the first one in the slide show and I completely lost it when I saw his picture on their giant screen. It's weird because I look at his pictures many times each day, but to see it on a big screen in a room filled with other parents who've lost children was very emotional. We saw a few of the staff who helped us while Myles was at the children's hospital, but none of the nurses or doctors. We opted not to go on the tour of the NICU. J and I don't want to go back there.

I talked with parents of another micro-preemie, Ellie, who was born at 24 wks in 2005and died after a 4 day fight for life. Ellie was a beautiful little girl and her parents were kind, loving people. My heart ached for Ellie's mommy as she told me Ellie's story through tears. She expressed so much guilt of not being there with her daughter in the NICU. Ellie's mommy was 2 hours away in the hospital where she delivered recovering from her c-section. Ellie was flown to Mayo at birth. The day Ellie died her mommy was released from the hospital, but she didn't make it in time. Three years later Ellie's mommy still harbors the guilt of not being there with her daughter during her life and death. I could feel her pain and sadness and wished I could take it away. I can relate to the overwhelming guilt. However, my guilt is over Myles's early birth. My body failed Myles and resulted in his death. As his mommy I was supposed to protect him and I failed. Just as Ellie's mommy is haunted by guilt I will also be haunted by guilt for the rest of my life.

It's been 9 months today since Myles's death. It's weird because some days it feels like a lifetime ago that I held him and felt the life leave his tiny body, yet other days it feels like it was just yesterday. I miss Myles terribly and can't even imagine what my life would be like if he were here. I feel empty, lonely, and broken. I want nothing more than to see my little guy's sparkling eyes again. I want to feel his warm little body over my heart. I want to know what it feels like to watch my child reach milestones. I want the world to think of me as a mommy. I want my son back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Beautiful Uterus

Today K and I made the trip to my reproductive clinic to have her uterus examined via SHG and to do a trial transfer. The worst part about the visit was K's discomfort due to an extra full bladder, which she was allowed to expell in increasing increments up to 12, and the rest of the appointment went really well! First, my RE did the trial transfer and the catheter easily passed through, so there isn't any scar tissue from her c-sections blocking her cervix. Second, the RE did the SHG and her uterine cavity look fantastic! So fantastic that I'd call it beautiful! K's uterus will be a perfect home for our snowbabies!

It was a little weird to be in my husband's typical spot/role and not on the table getting the dildo cam, but it didn't make me sad at all. I was so over the top happy to see K's perfect uterus on the screen that I all I could do was think about how much my snow babies are going to love their warm, cozy home come January!

Due to the holidays, the clinic's closure for IVF procedures, and all the paperwork we are looking at a FET in mid-January. I would've loved to do a transfer in December, but don't want to rush things and have something go wrong because we are in a hurry. I do worry a little about the transfer being close to Myles's birthday, but also wonder if this will bring us luck. I know Myles would like for us to be blessed with a little brother or sister or both, so he will be watching over us and cheering us on in January!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Surrogate's Dream

My surrogate, K, has very vivid dreams. She's always had them. Awhile back she told me that she had a dream that she delivered our baby--a baby boy. Today she told me that she had a dream that we were doing an embryo transfer in mid-December. I am hoping this is a sign that all is going to be well with the medical tests on Wednesday. I'm also hoping that it's a sign that we will be able to do the FET in December before the holidays! This thought made me fantasize about how amazing it would be to get a BFP for Christmas! (K, BFP means big fat positive!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Aunt Flow has arrived!

Nope not for me! K (our surrogate) called and she got a visit from Aunt Flow today and I'm super excited! I never, ever thought I'd be cheering on the arrival of menstruation for my cousin, but here I am saying "woo hoo"! We scheduled K's sonohystogram (SHG) and the mock transfer for next Wednesday! I'm so excited to take this step and get the show on the road! Okay, so the ball is rolling a little faster now and as it picks up speed I'm getting more and more excited! :D

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Quote Shared by a Friend

You never know how strong you are until strength is your only option.
(Author unknown)

Impressed and Proud

Without getting too political I just wanted to say that I'm proud to call myself an American today. I haven't been able to say that for several years, but today it's true. I am impressed with my fellow Americans and feel fortunate to be a part of this huge chapter in American History. Despite my negative feelings about McCain I must say that during his concession speech he handled himself with grace and dignity--he certainly surprised and impressed me! Obama's victory speech was one filled with hope for a better future. I am hopeful for our future and I am so ready for the much needed changes to come! I'm sure things will be rough at first, but everything in it's infancy has kinks to iron out. Congratulations Obama and best wishes!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Next Step

J and I met with my RE yesterday to discuss the last cycle and our next steps. He seemed really nervous and on edge the whole time we were talking about my recent chemical pregnancy and the possible causes. He very tentatively said "maybe it's time to revisit the topic of surrogacy?" I finally let him off the hook and explained that the last miscarriage was my final breaking point and that we'd already decided to move forward with using a gestational carrier. You could just see his body language immediately change. He was clearly hoping that I'd be prepared for it, but was worried of my fragile emotional state.

I pulled out our contracts and told him about my cousin. He asked me all about her--age, reproductive history, pregnancies, miscarriages, # kids, age of kids, etc... He said the first thing he would want to do is the SHG and mock transfer. His only concern is any scarring from her c-section, which he assured me is likely not a problem, but would need to be checked first. He wants to do this test sometime between cd 4-8 and as luck would have it she is expecting af within the next week! So, we'll be able to take the first step within 2wks! When we get the all clear we will schedule the psych eval and we'll be on our way. We have a phone conference schedule with a WI surrogacy attorney next week too! When I asked the soonest we could do an ET he said if her cycle was where we'd like it then we could probably do an ET in December! If not, we will definitely do a FET in January! :D

We talked for a long time about the quality of my two remaining snowbabies (of the original 8). One of them is in his opinion is the best embryo of the bunch (on par if not better than the embryo that resulted in Myles)--it's a day 5 blast graded 1/1 (A+). The other is a day 6 blast also graded 1/1. Both of these embryos were frozen singly rather than in pairs like the others, which is why we didn't use them in any of the FETs. They were "saving" them in case we thawed the couplets and one died (we transferred 2 every time), so we could replace it with one of the single blasts. So far the 6 frozen blasts have survived the thaw and retained their original high gradings. So, my RE thinks we should go ahead with a FET with these 2 blasts and is very confident we will get a sticky bfp! When I asked him about needing to do another ER he said you won't need to. I feel really good about this and am so ready to go forward with the FET!!

Please keep your fingers crossed and send up some prayers that K's uterus is perfect and free of scarring from her last c-section!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crazy P-T Conferences

Just when I thought I'd made it through parent-teacher conferences without being yelled at I was wrong! I had a very upset mom come to my table tonight to yell at me for about 15 minutes. It was crazy! Her son is great and is doing very well in my biology class. So, why was she yelling at me you ask? Because of an obnoxious kid who's in the class. The kid she was complaining about is always out of line and gets consequence after consequence. She says he is disrupting the learning environment and should be removed from the classroom. Some days I do remove him from the classroom other days I move him to the back of the room. Some days I give him a detention and on and on .... I'm always doing something to try to modify his inappropriate behaviors, but it's tough when someone doesn't acknowledge ANY responsibiilty for their actions! Teaching high school students is great most days, but some days it's extremely challenging. Those people who think they can do my job better are always invited to give it a try, but they have to let me watch!

When I'm feeling less drained and more coherent (I'm on my 2nd glass of wine, which I desperately needed after tonight) I will post an update on my appointment with my RE today discussing our next steps. The surrogacy ball has started to roll ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miracle Babies

I just watched this touching love story video of a little baby boy named Eliot who was born with Trisomy 18 and lived for 99 days. Eliot was featured on Oprah's Miracle Babies program today. This video moved me beyond words. I bawled and bawled during the video and have been bawling ever since I watched it. The tears that are flowing are for my miracle baby Myles, for Eliot, and for all of the other miracle babies and their parents. Although this baby was different than Myles in so many ways, he was also very similar. Myles miraculously managed to nestle into my less than optimal womb. Myles managed to stay active in my womb despite lacking oxygen and nutrients. Myles was not expected to live much beyond birth, but he fought for 26 days. Myles was our little miracle baby who we love and miss more and more with each passing day! Honoring and remembering all miracle babies!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Angel Mommy Blog Award

Many thanks to Nikki at I'll Fly Away for the Angel Mommy Blog Award. We're both Angel mommies who know each other's pain and anguish. This award will be passed on to other Angel mommies who chronicle their feelings in the blogosphere. Please read the following poem and remember that we are Mommies who love our babies just as much as other mommies who's angels are with them here on Earth.


Don't Tell Me Please

Don't tell me you know how I feel,
Unless you have lost your child too,
Please don't tell me my broken heart will heal,
Because that is just not true,
Please don't tell me my son is in a better place,
Though it is true, I want him here with me,
Don't tell me someday I'll hear his voice, see his face,
Beyond today I cannot see,
Don't tell me it is time to move on,
Because I cannot,
Don't tell me to face the fact he is gone,
Because denial is something I can't stop,
Don't tell me to be thankful for the time I had,
Because I wanted more,
Don't tell me when I am my old self you will be glad,
I'll never be as I was before,
What you can tell me is you will be here for me,
That you will listen when I talk of my child,
You can share with me my precious memories,
You can even cry with me for a while,
And please don't hesitate to say his name,
Because it is something I long to hear everyday,
Friend please realize that I can never be the same,
But if you stand by me, you may like the new person I become someday.

Friday, October 24, 2008


This is a gift I received from K, our amazing future gestational carrier, which accompanied a card saying "Dream about a positive experience and an additional member of your family." I absolutely love it and have to admit that I've been doing a lot of dreaming lately!

K and I went out for dinner and chatted about surrogacy. I am amazed at how comfortable and at ease she is with this idea. K makes me calmer and more and more excited about going down this path. K kept making comments about "when she's pregnant with our baby" and it made me smile. Previously I was worried about being envious/jealous of someone carrying my baby and much to my surprise there was not one moment when I felt anything but gratitude towards her.

I find myself at a loss for words to express my gratitude and appreciation to K and her family. J and I often talk about how it's nearly impossible to thank someone enough for providing such an amazing gift. We just hope K knows what a wonderful person she is and how much we love her!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seriously, is everyone pregnant?

Okay, so I'm irritated and bitter today. I'm finally bleeding and cramping, so I think I'm miscarrying.

Today a friend announced her pregnancy to me (she's about 8wks along), so that makes 7 pregnant friends. Yep, 7 people in my close circle to go on and on about their future plans with a baby. I feel like everyone in my world is pregnant and/or has newborns. All I frickin' hear about is crap about the aches and pains of pregnancy, which of course I'd give anything to have. I hear the constant talk about baby names, nursery plans, what life will be life when the baby arrives, etc... It takes everything in me not to shout in their face that there are NO guarantees in life. Getting a positive pee stick doesn't mean that you will have a rising beta. Having rising betas doesn't mean that you will see an embryo at the first ultrasound. Once you see the heartbeat doesn't mean that you are no longer at risk for having a miscarriage. Entering the 14th week doesn't mean that there's no longer a risk for anything bad happening. Starting labor at term doesn't mean you will give birth to a living baby! I wish I could live in their naive world where once I got a + hpt I could start decorating the nursery and picking out baby names. Unfortunately my reality is quite different!

Two of my close friends have newborns (and most of the others have toddlers), so I get to hear how perfect their lives are and how absolutely in love they are. They tell me like I don't frickin' have a clue about the love a mother has for her child. This hurts me the most! I fell madly in love with Myles too when I first met him and continue to love him just as much even though he's no longer with me. How dare they treat me like I'm not a mother and that I don't understand a mother's love. I should have a 9 month old baby, but instead I visit my son at his grave. Yes, I am bitter and jealous today (well who are we kidding, most days).

Oh and I forgot to mention that I'm having a dinner party with girls from work. Among the girls attending are two pregnant girls (one who's about to pop and the other is the one who just announced her pregnancy) and two new mommies. The rest of course are mommies too. So, the whole dinner party will be spent hearing about pregnancy, newborns, and motherhood. I can't really "not go" because I'm hosting it at my house. It's going to be horrible!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Myles's Grave for the Fall

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Renting" a Womb

I can not thank all of you enough for your continued support! You women are truly amazing!

Well from the title of my post you can probably guess that we are taking a new path on this journey. J and I decided that it's time to move on to surrogacy--we are emotionally exhausted and want to start living our lives again. Honestly J was ready to take this path after Myles's death, but I wasn't ready yet. I needed to try with my body again. Now after two more losses I'm feeling like it's time and I'm ready. I'm a little nervous because it's something new and completely unknown, but more than anything I feel a sense of hope that has been absent since Myles died.

I really, really wanted to experience pregnancy again. I wanted to feel the special connection to the growing baby moving inside of me. I will mourn the loss of this. However, I will celebrate knowing that my baby is growing in a safer environment. Also, I will hold on tighter to the memories of Myles moving and kicking inside of me. This will be something special that I shared only with Myles. This is one of the amazing gifts that Myles gave me. My future children and I will not have this, but they will have their own special beginnings.

My wonderful cousin, K, her supportive husband, T, and her two boys want to make our dreams come true. They are ready whenever we want to move forward. J and I decided that we are ready to start as soon as we can. We establised that K's insurance covers a surrogacy pregnancy, which was a huge relief, and I contacted an attorney to discuss the legalities of using a surrogate in WI. Fortunately WI is "surrogacy-friendly" and makes establishing parental/legal rights to the baby quite simple. We are hoping that K can get in for her testing at my reproductive clinic in November. In the meantime the four of us will meet to go through the contracts, which should be fairly simple since K and I spent several hours discussing everything this week. She and I are meeting again this week to talk more. K is our angel--our angel of hope!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

Please remember all the babies and their parents who have been lost today. Join J and I in lighting a candle at 7pm tonight to remember Myles.

Mommy and Daddy miss you and think about you all the time! We love you, Myles!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another loss

Beta #4 = 35 = Miscarriage #4

I wish that the numbers hadn't risen. I had my time to emotionally deal with the loss and then the numbers rose. I was given a small sense of hope and I played into it. Why on earth I even considered that this pregnancy would go anywhere is beyond me. I should no better by now. I'm a recurrent miscarrier. My body kills my babies.

The last two miscarriages have made me miss Myles even more ... to think that somehow, some way he managed to stay put in my horrid uterus and then he fought against all odds and died of pneumonia of all things. Myles was my little fighter and he should have made it.

I hate my body and I hate the universe!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pay It Forward

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow blogger, Dora at ISO the Golden Egg, who wanted to do something kind for someone who was having a rough week. Dora had received a nice gift from another blogger when she was feeling down and out, so she wanted to pay it forward. I had just posted about my not so happy birthday and how much I was missing Myles. Dora read my update on Lost and Found and thought I was the perfect person to cheer up. Dora contacted me and told me of her desire to send me a pay it forward gift. I was so touched and brought to tears by the kindness and generosity of a woman who at the time was for all practical purposes a complete "stranger". Now I call her a friend. Dora and I share a common bond, infertility, and unfortunately we know each other's pain. It's easy for us "infertiles" to read posts by one of our own and truly feel the heartache that resonates from their words.

I anxiously awaited the arrival of my special gift and was so excited when it arrived on Thursday. The beautiful bracelet (pictured above) with it's appropriate message was specifically selected by Dora for me. Wow, what an amazing gift! A hand-made bracelet made by Second Sister that says "Expect Miracles". Throughout my almost 4 year struggle with infertility I've gathered up hope only to be crushed over and over again. The death of my son, Myles, almost 8 months ago left me feeling hopeless. Although I've managed to find some hope through my grief journey, it's still very difficult most days to remain optimistic and to think that any future miracle will happen for me. This bracelet came at a time when I need to stay positive and expect miracles.

Thank you Dora for being an amazing, compassionate, empathetic, and generous woman. To keep your generosity going I plan to pay it forward to someone in the blog world this week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beta #3

The beta level today was 230, so it's still increasing. However, I was hoping for a much higher level. My previous beta was 101 on Monday morning. This means that my doubling time is 2.52 days, which is within the "normal doubling time of 48-72 hours, yet I still worry. I know, I know I should just be happy that I'm pregnant and that for all practical purposes the pregnancy is still progressing. My frickin' history makes me over the top anxious about everything!

I called my local ob/gyn clinic to get the results, so I haven't talked with my reproductive clinic yet. I'm sure they will call me later today. I think I'll ask for another beta on Monday. Actually maybe I can get them to call in the beta to the hospital, so I can have it on Saturday or Sunday?!

So far today I'm not having any additional bleeding. I have a very, very scant amount of brown spotting on my panty liner, but didn't see much on my Endometrin applicator when I inserted it this morning. Of course I run to the bathroom every 5 minutes to check for bleeding. Thank goodness I'm at home today and tomorrow! We have teacher's conventions and can opt to work at home, so I'm home doing some grading (well I'm supposed to be) and am planning to work on some new assessments for upcoming units.

My 1st u/s is scheduled for 10/23/08, which seems like forever away! J is going to be out of town that whole week, so I'll have to go by myself. I thought about taking my mom, but she's a huge worry wart and would probably contribute to my anxiety. I may ask a close friend to come or I'll put on my "iron" and go by myself.

I need to do some deep breathing today and need to go get my "Panic attack" aromatherapy oil and my meditation cd. I think this little bean (and Mommy) is in need of some extra prayers, so if you are the praying type please send up some extra prayers today. If you could direct them to St. Anthony, the Saint of Miracles, that would be great!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Well of course just when I finally think wow I'm pregnant again I have bleeding. At a convention today I had a slight amount of pink spotting on my panty liner, but nothing for the rest of the day. I was having mild overall cramping, which I have had on and off throughout the later part of the 2ww. I also had this in my first pregnancy and with Myles, but it makes me worry. Just a little bit ago I went to the bathroom and my panty liner was covered in bright red blood. Not just a drop, but rather the amount you'd have if you had your period. My breasts hurt a lot today, which I was taking as a good sign, but now I'm convinced that I'm dealing with an impending miscarriage. I called my clinic with the spotting earlier today and requested another beta, which they agreed to do to ease my worries (or in my opinion confirm a miscarriage). I am a total wreck and not ready for this roller coaster.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beta #2

Wow, I am in complete shock! Recall my 1st beta was only 19 on Friday. My 2nd beta today came back at 101! My clinic is very pleased with this number and said that they've seen low first betas shoot up with FETs. They also said I may have had late implantation. So, as of today I am still pregnant and it seems to be progressing. :)

It's weird because I spent the whole weekend under the impression that I was having y 4th miscarriage. I went through all the emotions and was prepared for the dropping beta today. The news came as a huge surprise to both J and me. We know that this is still early and anything can happen, but for now we will try to appreciate that we are pregnant again!

Thank you so much for your prayers, support, understanding, compassion, and encouragement. I appreciate all of you who read my blog! ((HUGS))

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ramblings about another impending loss

I appreciate everyone's continued prayers and for continuing to hope for this pregnancy. It means a lot to me. I have heard and do know that others have had low betas and gone on to have viable pregnancies and healthy babies. But, I have a VERY hard time believing that I'll be one of them. Things like that just don't happen for me. When something looks grim it usually ends up being just that, grim.

Last night and this morning my symptoms were/are vanishing. I no longer have the pangs in my breasts, but rather notice they are ever so slightly sore from PIO. No cramping whatsoever to speak of. I'm guessing the first day I felt like I knew I was pregnant (6dp5dt) was when my blood levels reached their peak and now I'm guessing they are on the downslide.

I'm struggling with people's suggestions of trying Lovenox, baby aspirin, etc.. I am already using all of those things. I once said in another blog post that if it's available I've probably already tried it and I wasn't kidding! The only thing we haven't pursued at this point is the "black box" immune testing (e.g., NK cells)/treatments (e.g., IVIG) that my RE won't touch with a ten foot pole. J and I discussed doing a phone consult with a reproductive immunologist to hear his/her thoughts. For $300 the RI will review our records, chat with us for about an hour, and make a recommendation. This recommendation would include any future testing and/or treatments based on those findings. We figure a consult can't hurt anything.

My gut tells me something more is going on. I wonder about the immune stuff, but I also wonder about other problems related to my lining issues. Being a biologist gives me all sorts of hypotheses of what could be going wrong. Since I keep having chemical pregnancies where the embryo is dying after implantation, I think that possibly there could be a problem with blood vessel recruitment (angiogenesis) during implantation. When the embryo attaches and begins to burrow/implant into the lining "it" sends out signals that cause blood vessels to grow to it, which ultimately supplies it's life line. So, if the embryo can't recruit enough blood vessels it will die early on. Theoretically, if blood flow to the uterus is weak (like I speculate it is with me given my linings never plump up huge) then angiogenesis could be poor. (BTW ... in my opinion this could also be connected to my early, severe PE/HELLP.)

So, how do they assess and treat this? I believe they can do uterine artery flow studies to assess blood flow before transfer, but the problem is that there isn't a treatment. I plan to discuss my hypothesis with my RE. If we did the test and it showed limited blood flow, then it might be the information that helps us decide that it's time to move on to a gestational carrier (surrogate). (BTW ... in my opinion this could also be connected to my early, severe PE/HELLP.)

I have been having the worst time with this impending loss. It makes me miss Myles even more and makes me wonder if he will be my only baby. I am struggling with my choice to seemingly "throw away" perfectly good (well superb to be honest) embryos on my horrid, hostile uterus. I'm doing this because I want to carry another baby again and I really think I need to start asking myself what is really important. J and I had a huge discussion about this last night. He doesn't find my desires selfish and thinks it's natural for me to want this, but I keep questioning my actions. If I have a willing and able dear family member and friend with a good, hospitable uterus ready to carry our babies, why don't I step onto that path?! In the end what I really want is for us to parent living children. I'm just holding onto this dream that I can't seem to let go. I have a hard time giving up the amazing experience of pregnancy. I'm jealous to think of someone else feeling my baby(ies) move inside her. I'm envious of that special bond she'd have with them that I wouldn't. I wonder/worry how things would work in the delivery room when the baby(ies) is born. The list goes on and on.

I was hoping and dreaming of getting an opportunity of having a birth story that was much less traumatic and that ended very differently. I am happy and grateful to have had my pregnancy experience with Myles. It is something that I will forever cherish. But, it's hard to think it may be my only experience. I often wonder if I was blessed with Myles to make my dreams come true. To let me experience pregnancy. To let me feel him move inside me. To let me nourish my baby with my body. To let me hold and cuddle the most amazing, most beautiful little person imaginable. To let me become a Mom and let J become a Dad. To give us the strength, inspiration and hope we would need to make difficult decisions in the future.

I often read and reread a quote that a dear friend shared with me and try to figure out what it means for me:

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

I just wish I knew exactly what that "thing" was.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stupid nurse

Well one of the nurses at my local ob/gyn clinic just phoned me at the end of 3rd period (I'm not even sure how she got through to me as our phones go to voicemail during school hours?!) and before I could interrupt her to not tell me she blurted out the results of my beta. My beta hcg is only 19. This is the same level as it was with FET #2 and you all know how that ended. I expect this to be chemical #3 and miscarriage #4. I am now convinced that my body WILL kill any perfect embryo that is placed inside it (well except for Myles because he was an amazing little fighter!). Not much more to say.

Self restraint

Hello to all my wonderful, supportive blog readers,

Despite my overwhelming desire to POAS again I didn't. Ahh, self restraint. Well dh hid the tests too, so that may have influenced my decision. On a positive note I still have all of my symptoms, which is encouraging, and I've noticed another positive symptom, constantly erect nipples. Weird, hah?! I had that when I was pregnant with Myles, so I'm taking it as a good sign.

I'm sure you are waiting on pins and needles for my beta results, but you will have to wait until this afternoon. I am trying to exercise self restraint, which is quite difficult for me, by not calling until the end of the school day for my first beta results. This was my compromise to myself. I can't (okay refuse to) wait until Monday, yet I really don't want to find out smack dab in the middle of the school day. Trying to teach for the rest of the day would be nearly impossible in the wake of devastating news or even with great news. So, I will wait until school gets out at 2:30pm today (we have a 15 minute early release for Homecoming). As soon as the bell rings I'll be dialing the clinic's number and will post my results as soon as I get them.

Thanks for waiting with me, encouraging me, and praying for me!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Many thanks for the congrats and well wishes! I appreciate everyone's continued support and encouragement!

So, being the neurotic woman I am I tested again this morning. I was hoping for a darker line to show up, but was disappointed when the line showed up just as light as last night. I'm trying not to read into this, but given my history of chemical pregnancies I'm having a hard time not. I know a line is a line, but I would expect a darker line at 9dp5dt. This makes me wonder/worry if my beta levels are really low. I still "feel" pregnant and have most of the symptoms I listed yesterday, so I'm trying to think positive thoughts.

I have my first beta tomorrow and my 2nd on Monday, but my RE's clinic doesn't call with the results until they have the 2nd beta results. However, I have the blood drawn locally at my ob/gyn's clinic. Last time I called them the day of the 1st beta because I know that legally they can't withhold my medical information from me, so I just asked them to tell me the results of my bloodwork. Of course the triage nurse knows nothing about my infertility clinic's policy, so she told me the results. I think I'll have to "cheat" and do this again tomorrow. I'm hoping for an average beta (notice I'm not asking for it all), but don't have any expectations of hearing good news. Being a recurrent miscarrier sucks and makes being hopeful very difficult!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I finally conquered the pee stick ...

... at 7pm using way too dilute urine, but I saw a faint 2nd line. My instincts were correct and I am indeed BFP!! I used FRER and immediately ran to my neighbor's to have her confirm the presence of a 2nd line (J was at a meeting). I tried to take photos, but I can't zoom in close enough to see the light line. I will retest tomorrow using FMU and am hoping for a darker line!

Although I am very happy and grateful for the BFP, it doesn't mean that I should start picking out names and getting the nursery ready. I've had two chemicals and 1 late 1st trimester miscarriage, so I'm viewing this as the first step in many. Please send tons and tons of sticky dust my way because I need all I can get!

Symptoms on 8dp5/6dt

Okay, my attempts to remain calm and not obsess about potential pregnancy symptoms this cycle have totally gone out the window over the last two days. I am quickly losing control and my obsession is reaching an all time high! I think J is about to kill me (however I think he does enjoy me asking him to look at and touch my breasts every 5 minutes!). I'm dying to test, but fear the pee stick! I promised J that I would wait until today to POAS. He'd actually prefer that I wait for the betas, which are Friday and Monday. Um, hell no will I wait until Monday!

With FET #2 I got a + on FRER at 8dp5dt and this was a chemical pregnancy with low betas. I do not need to be told that the meds, like PIO, can mock pregnancy symptoms because I am fully aware of that. I'm an experienced infertile and veteran IVFer, so I'm not naive. I am simply trying to think that these are positive signs! Positive thinking won't hurt anything! :)

So, here are my symptoms (not in any particular order):

  • Achy breasts (inside out)
  • Overall cramping
  • Backaches
  • Pinching, lower abdominal twinges
  • Sensitivity to smells that causing gagging
  • Swollen, heavy breasts*
  • Light spotting 7dp5dt (only a small amount of pink/light brown)**
  • An overall "feeling" of being pregnant***

*The swollen, heavy breasts were "the sign" at 8dp5dt that led me to believe I was pregnant with Myles.

**Light spotting in IVF is common. It's also common when using suppositories, when on a blood thinner, and/or when pregnant with multiples. Also, it can be a sign of implantation. Since only a small amount was on my panty liner and on my Endometrin applicator once last night, I'm thinking this is a good sign.

***I've been pregnant 4 other times and I've always just felt "different". I have a similar feeling this time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So much for not obsessing

I've been trying my best not to obsess over potential early pregnancy symptoms, but like the good Type A person I am I keep a journal. I've done this with my past IVF cycles, so I am doing it again. Every day past transfer I journal my symptoms and of course I compare them to the previous two IVF cycles, which both were bfps. I pay special attention to those I had with my pregnancy with Myles even though I know that every pregnancy is different.

Today I am 5dp5dt (and technicially 5dp6dt because one was a 6 day blast). I haven't felt much other than a few uterine twinges, which feel like pinching, sore back, panges radiating from within my breasts out (not sore to the touch though), and waking early. I had similar symptoms with Myles's pregnancy, but all of these could be attributed to PIO and Endometrin.

I am not brave enough to test this early. With Myle's pregnancy I didn't POAS until after my beta, but with my last cycle I POAS'd at 8dp5dt. I am considering testing at the same time this cycle, which would be Wednesday, but I'm terrified of a bfn.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hoping my snowbabies are doing this today--2dp5dt

The day 5 blastocyst could be attaching to a site on my uterine lining.

The day 6 hatching blastocyst could be implantating and burying in my lining.

Please keep crossing your fingers that my snowbabies are finding my uterus warm and inviting!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well as we like to say in the IVF world I am officially Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (PUPO). We transferred two day 6 blasts this morning. The transfer was relatively uneventful and quite easy. The embryologist talked to us about our embryos and they are still graded high (1 and 2 on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the best). I thought both blasts were hatching, but only one of them was (the one on the left above; graded 1). The other blast that was graded 2 was still expanding from the thaw (on the right), which is why it looks a little "deflated".

My RE was very optimistic about the transfer and said that my lining had an area that was nice and thick, which is why he thinks I keep getting pregnant. He said with these great embryos and my lining he'd be surprised if I don't get a bfp! I'm hoping he's right! Also, my acupuncturist said that my pulses and tongue looked a lot better this cycle than they did with the last transfer. I left feeling optimistic about this cycle.

My 1st beta is scheduled for 10/3 and my 2nd beta is scheduled for 10/6. My clinic won't call with the results until both betas are in, so I'll probably POAS next Friday. I'd test on Wednesday, but I'd rather wait for the weekend to get the news. Please send some sticky baby dust my way!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not so happy birthday

Today is my 32nd birthday and not one part of me felt like celebrating! I have been ttc since I was 28 and with every passing year I am starting to hear my biological clock ticking louder and louder. I know that 32 isn't that old yet, but I guess I just envisioned that my life would be very different by now. I thought I'd be having my 2nd child by age 32. I didn't think that all I'd have was a horizontal scar on my belly, a dead baby, a broken heart, and aching arms.

As I blew out my candles on the birthday cake my wonderful husband made for me I couldn't help but be irritated by people saying "make a wish." My wish is for Myles to be here with us and we all know that wish will never come true.

Two years ago today I discovered that my baby didn't have a heartbeat at 12wks and had a D&C the next day. This was the first of my 3 miscarriages. Last year I was pregnant with Myles and ever so hopeful. This year I have a dead baby and little hope for my future.

Myles was born 8 months ago today. I sat at his grave today and cried for a long time. I am trying to be optimistic for my FET this week, but have been finding it difficult to want any baby other than Myles. I know that when I get pregnant again I will love the baby, but right now I just long for Myles. I miss my handsome little man and would give up every birthday wish for the rest of my life to hold him one last time!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're a go for FET #3

After my 3rd lining check FET #3 was confirmed for 9/23. My lining is very similar to what it's been in the previous two FETs--it's in the 6mm range. Of course I'm not thrilled, but also didn't expect anything different. By the time the transfer rolls around my lining will be in the 7mm range, so I'm content (not happy) with it.

I stopped the Viagra suppositories today, which makes me happy, but I'm to continue all the estrogen. I started Lovenox, PIO, and medrol today. I don't think my butt has recovered from the previous cycle's PIO shots, so I'm sure in two weeks I'll have a very sore rear. I somewhat forgot how much the Lovenox burns, but after the first few days I'll be used to it.

So, on Tuesday at 9 am I'll go to the clinic for my pre-transfer acupuncture session and will have 2 hatching day 6 blasts (assuming they both survive the thaw) transferred to my uterus at 11:15am. Please send some positive thoughts my way!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lining check #1

Yesterday I went for my 1st lining check. After 9 days of estrogen my lining was around a whopping 6mm, which believe it or not is ahead of schedule **for me**. When I got pregnant with Myles my lining was this thick after several more days of estrogen and last cycle it wasn't even this thick (if you call it that) at this point. So, my RE says he thinks my lining will get between 7-8mm by transfer and we're fine with that. It was just under 7mm at transfer when I got pregnant with Myles.

I decided before going into this cycle that I wasn't going to obsess and fret over my lining. This is what my defective body can do and fortunately it's good enough for my embryos. Linings like this and even much thinner got be pregnant 4 other times, so I have to believe that it will happen again.

I added two Vivelle dots, which I am to change every Friday and Monday, and am to stay on 0.3cc delestrogen IM injections every other day, estrace pills vaginally inserted 4x/day, and Viagra suppositories 4x/day. I go back on Tuesday for another lining check and unless some strange thing happens where my lining starts shrinking (I don't count this out as stranger things have happened to me with IF) I will be doing the FET on 9/23. Hopefully one of the two hatching blasts we transfer will find my uterus warm and inviting and will nestle in for the long haul!

(I should add that I'm not looking for any suggestions on how to get my lining thicker because I've probably tried them all at one point or am currently doing them! ;) My RE and I believe that this is what my body can do and I'm trying to learn to accept it and hopefully embrace it.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The things I do in my quest

Three years ago had someone told me that I'd be paying a boatload of money to have someone stick needles all over my body, stick small titanium balls inside my ears, and tape a packet of wet, stinky herbs to my back I would have laughed in their face. Today this is normal for me. No doubt that I'd do almost anything to have a healthy, living baby, but some of the things I'm doing seem almost comical to me!

Me, the science nerd, is doing complementary treatments that aren't "scientific" and I'm paying big bucks for it. When I tell people that I see an acupuncturist I'm often met with strange looks. I researched and read all the research regarding acupuncture used in conjuction with IVF and it sounded promising, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Who would've guessed that I'd be hooked?! I find it to be very relaxing, so if nothing else it helps to keep me centered during the emotional roller coaster of IVF. Plus, I got pregnant with Myles using acupuncture, so I'm hoping it will help me again.

My traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments consist of needling, oral herbs, titanium balls on acupressure points in my ears, and as of late an herbal paste on my back. The herbal paste is by far the strangest thing. My acupuncturist mixs up some paste that he puts on a guaze pad and tapes to my lower back. I leave it on for 8 hours. It smells like Icy-Hot and feels similarly tingly. My husband likes to joke that I'm paying $65/hour for someone to poke me and rub "poop" on my back. It is official I will do anything in my quest for a baby!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One of those days

Although every day for a baby loss mama is difficult, today is just one of those extra rough days. I miss Myles so much today and wish I could see him, talk to him, hold him, and kiss him again. I saw so many parents out with their little ones today, which made me think about what we'll never have. I looked at the photo album my parent's have of Myles on their coffee table in their living room and can't believe that this is all they will ever have of their only grandchild. My mom gave me my baby book, so I read through it today all the while thinking about all the milestones we'll never experience with Myles. J told me that he'd be taking Myles to a Packers game if he were here and it made me horribly sad that he'll never get to do that. J won't get the opportunity to see his little guy wearing the Pakcer's outfit that he got for Christmas and he'll never get to take his little boy to a football game. I want so much for J to have that with Myles.

I'm feeling guilty and responsible for Myles's death today and can't understand why my husband doesn't resent me for it. I feel like I brought all this pain and sadness on us. I took away the happiness we once had and pushed us into this nightmare.

Today is just one of those extra rough days.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

FET #3 is underway

I started estrogen today, so FET #3 is now officially underway! I have been on Lupron for awhile, but that never makes me feel like things have started. I'm doing IM estrogen injections every other day, vaginal estrace 4x/day, and Viagra suppositories 4x/day. The Viagra is to help increase blood flow to my uterus as I have a history of lining issues. I'm also still doing acupuncture.

I go next Friday for my 1st lining check and am tentatively scheduled for my FET on 9/23. We plan to transfer 2 of our 4 remaining snowbabies. All 4 are blasts. The two we decided to transfer are hatching day 6 blasts that were graded high when they were frozen.

I promised myself that I won't get too upset if my lining does what it normally does. I know that by transfer my lining will be 7-8mm and that seems to work for me (I conceived Myles with a 7mm lining), so I've decided that this is what my body can do. This is "normal" for me, so I have to let it be and think positive thoughts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thoughts of Myles ...

A dear friend of mine came across this poem and sent it to me. It brought her to tears as she thought of Myles and I. I read it and could not believe how perfect it described my feelings. Of course it similarly brought me to tears! Thank you J.C. for sharing it with me! You have a giant heart and a wonderful soul!


I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday and the day before that too. I think of you in silence, I often say your name, but all I have is memories and your picture in a frame. Your memory is my keepsake with which I’ll never part. God has you in his keeping. I have you in my heart. I shed tears for what might have been. A million times I’ve cried. If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died. In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still. In my heart you hold a place no one can ever fill. It broke my heart to lose you, buy you didn’t go alone. For part of me went with you, the day God took you home.
--Author unknown