A poem: Hope

Hope wears the cloak
of both black and white.
It leads you into despair
and back into the light.
It keeps your stepping forward
when your soul wants to crumble. It picks up the pieces
and catches you when you stumble.

Hope is divine belief
that everything will be all right.
But when hope has you too high
and the reality is sorrow,
your heart re-shatters;
your soul remains battered.

Each up and down cycle gets harder until the end disappears from sight. You want to hope.
You want to believe.
But, the darkness overcomes your might.
One day you will realize
you made it through
perhaps tattered
but, definitely to the other side.

Hope helped you survive
what you thought you’d never overcome.
It was your nourishment; 
your life force.
Hope was the one.
You could rely on hope
when everyone else turned away.
Hope helped you through it.
Hope ultimately saved the day.

3dp5dt: pleasant distractions are appreciated

It’s so much easier to ignore my current limbo status when I’m around other people at the office or even at home with only my husband. Ensuring that my mind is constantly occupied has kept my anxiety to a minimum.

It’s when I’m alone that the obsessive symptom checking and the “what if” thoughts creep in.

“Grab a handful of your boobs again. Are they sore?” 

“Go pee and see if there’s any spotting…” 

“Am I tired from the progesterone or pregnancy tired?”

“I’m not noticing enough symptoms! What if this…didn’t work…?”

After a few minutes of obsessing, I snap out of it and remind myself of my mantra: one day at a time.

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Last cycle, I was taking an HCG trigger which gave me pregnancy symptoms and positive pee sticks right off the bat. I had implantation spotting, cramping, and ridiculously sore titties.

This time, I can’t even legitimately say I have any signs. So far, I’m only tired, have the occasional boob twinge, slightly bloated and gassy.

My husband keeps reminding me that I’m ONLY a few days past transfer.

I know people say pregnancies can be very different – especially since our last was an ectopic. I just hope that is true for me.

I’ve set a goal of holding out until 8dp5dt to pee on a stick.

5 days to go.

What advice can you offer to make it through the much anticipated 2ww?

The question we all want answered

If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you already know that Jackson and April are expecting their first baby.

SPOILER ALERT: Last episode and continuing into tonight’s, they face the news that their baby may be born with a rare and potentially life threatening condition. April refuses to deal with it, then finally opens up to Jackson. I cried as this scene unveiled itself. Seriously heart wrenching!

April’s biggest question is: why would God do such a thing? 

Immediately, I thought of my infertility and pregnancy loss sisters.

It’s not easy to find solace.

How often has the question “why” crossed our minds?

How often have we begged for answers?

Wanted desperately for things to turn around?

Pleaded for hope?… but even hope itself can be a destructive force (which was another topic covered in this episode of Grey’s).

As much as I like to rely on my intuition, I can’t 100% predict what the outcome of this FET cycle will be for us.  No matter which way things go, “why” actually gives me comfort.

I know somewhere down the road, “why” will unveil itself. It may not be tomorrow; it may not be this decade. But one day, I will understand why we faced infertility, why we lost our baby girl and what positive lessons came from all of it.

Not everyone will agree with me, but I do believe there is a reason for this chaos and heartache.

Strength. Compassion. Community.

Whatever it may be.

There is a why.

Have you figured out your why yet? Or even just a part of it?

The (em)babies are coming home!

Transfer day has come and almost gone.

I woke up this morning, did my fertility yoga and got ready for the day. Since you aren’t supposed to wear scents into an embryo transfer, I opted for my natural wavy hair (translation: pure ball of frizz). My hair straightener is no match for the refreshing sea air mixed with precipitation.

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My husband and I ready to leave for the clinic

Since it’s so cloudy on the coast, my husband joked that my rainbow socks would be the only bit of sunshine we see before we head home.

We arrived early for our appointment to pay our FET fees and stock up on much needed supplies: needles and syringes for my PIO injections. I chugged the mandatory 2 bottles of water and waited for my turn.

When he entered the room, my RE had a good laugh at my rainbow socks.

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My beautiful rainbow socks from MLACS

Then, he proceeded to sing Kermit the Frog’s Rainbow Connection as he prepared for transfer. I wasn’t familiar with this song, but now it totally resonates with me. “Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection”… We made our wish. We are ready for our rainbow baby – or maybe two!

Our beautiful Day 6 embryos thawed at the same grade 17 that they were frozen at. One of the pair was already hatching.

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Our embryos on the screen. Two beautiful diamonds this time.

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Double thumbs up!

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I’m so excited!!!

The transfer went smoothly. My bladder seemed fuller this time as I patiently waited out my 10 minutes before I could pee and move to the recovery room.

In the recovery room, my RE gave me acupuncture and I fell asleep. My husband said I was snoring (which is not a surprise – haha). I rested for just over an hour before we left the clinic.

It’s been grey and cloudy since we arrived, but the sun was shining brightly when we left the clinic. Perhaps another good sign??? We grabbed lunch on the way back to the hotel and then snuggled into bed to watch a movie.

I’m a little crampy and bloated, but otherwise feeling great. My honest opinion is that FETs are SO MUCH EASIER than fresh cycles. I’ve barely had any side effects from my current drug cocktail. I hope that this means pregnancy symptoms will be easier to notice.

Beta is scheduled for February 9th. Yes, I will POAS before then. I set a goal of holding out til February 7th, but we will see how things go. My goal remains the same: one day at a time.

Snuggle in there babies. We are bringing you home tomorrow.
❤ XO ❤  

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We loved you before we ever knew you

A positive send off

There’s 2 days til our embryo transfer. We fly out to our clinic in just a few hours.

I was packing my suitcase this morning. I’m always a last minute packer. My beautiful rainbow (baby!) socks from MLACs are on top of my clothes. Can’t wait to put them on for transfer! XOXOXO

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I just took my Doxycyline and it’s not sitting well in my tummy. Me + antibiotics = love/hate relationship. I often get an upset stomach from them. I only have 3 doses left before I’m done. This is the first dose that has made me sick, so I shouldn’t complain.

I decided to make a cup of peppermint tea and sit down to do a card reading. I chose my Guardian Angel Tarot cards.

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This is the spread I unveiled:

1. Nine of Emotion: This is a magical time in your life when wishes are granted and dreams come true. It may seem that good luck is following you, but actually these happy times are your reward for being a loving and wonderful person. Your angels are asking you to enjoy your life and have more fun!

2. Five of Action: Your angels want you to know that your current challenges pushes you to be assertive and self-confident. Be willing to stand up for yourself and defend your position! You have the right to excuse yourself from those who bring drama into your life. (Boy, isn’t this true!)

3. Three of Emotion: Wonderful news is on its way! Announcements regarding engagements, pregnancies, births or graduations will be revealed. New friends will be made, or communities of like-minded people will draw closer to one another. Exciting new beginnings or happy endings are just around the corner.

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If that isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is!!! ❤ 🙂

Blog Award Q&A: get to know me better

I was recently nominated for the following:

THANK YOU for recognizing me and sharing in my journey.

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My questions and responses for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award:

What would be your dream job (independently wealthy not being an option)?

I have always wanted to be a writer.

Describe yourself using one word, then explain why you chose that word.

STRONG. I never imagined out fertility journey to be so trying, yet at the same time, it’s been so enlightening. I am a stronger person because of it.

What about this TTC journey has surprised you the most?

How drawn out it can be. When started trying to conceive, I never thought it would take years.

Also, how little other people know about infertility and how insensitive they can be.

Do you have siblings? How many? What are they like? (ooh a 3 fold-er)

I have a younger sister and brother who are twins.

My brother is funny. We’ve always had a great relationship.

My sister and I have always had a rocky relationship and currently aren’t speaking.

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be and why?

Paris is my dream vacation. I love French culture. I speak French and I’ve always wanted to visit Paris.

I’d like to visit the tourist spots, but to also immerse myself in Paris life. I would find a cozy cafe, grab a glass of red wine and write in my journal as I watch the people on the streets.

Where did you meet your SO and what was your first thought?

I met him at a small town bar. My friend owned it and I worked there on the weekends for a bit when I was first getting started in my career. Honestly, my first thought was “Who the hell is this guy?” (as he was trying to pick me up and I had no clue who he was). After that, I thought, “Wow! He has nice blue eyes.

Name three things in your handbag right now.

Nail file. Hand moisturiser. Lip gloss.

Who’s the last person you spoke to on the phone and what were you talking about? (if I may be so bold)

My husband. I was trying to get directions through a part of town I’m not familiar with.

What do you love doing the most in the whole world?

Being outside in the sun on warm summer days.

What do you hate the most about your life right now that you have the power to change, and why haven’t you changed it yet?

My relationship issues with family. I need to focus on myself throughout our fertility treatments. I just can’t spend the energy on them right now.

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7 random facts about me for the Versatile Blog Award: 

  1. I have an abundance of black clothes. I swear I do like colour, but my closet seems to be dominated by black.
  2. I always have my toe nails painted
  3. I was the PR rep for my elementary school’s student council. Yes, I was the girl on the morning announcements.
  4. Yesterday, I turned 29.5 years old. There are 6 months – 1 day until my 30th birthday.
  5. I have never been a bridesmaid.
  6. The first time someone told me they loved me, I felt like it was the scene from the Little Mermaid when they sing, Kiss the GirlYes, I even was in a wooden boat except we didn’t have singing birds, crabs and fish. Too bad, eh? 
  7. I play on a women’s fastball team. We won our league championships last year.

Since most of the bloggers I follow have already been nominated for one of these awards, I’m going to change things up.

I challenge you to write an answer to this question:

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your fertility journey? 

Our heals are healing, not healed

I have accepted and embraced what we endured after losing our baby. I have dug deep into my soul these past 3 months to uncover many insecurities, triggers, and beliefs that have been more detrimental than good for me. I have practised immense amounts of self-care. I’ve gotten clear on what matters and where I want to be headed. I’ve released what no longer serves me with the intention of moving forward as the “new” me. It’s been a transformational period brought on by grief and despair.

It’s so true what they say: your life becomes divided by the loss of a child. There’s before the loss and after the loss.

Immediately following the loss, life seems unbearable. You feel alone and broken beyond repair. As you face each day thereafter, it slowly gets easier. The pieces of your broken heart – even if they are ever so tiny – begin to meld back together. You pick yourself up. You learn to cope. You take a step forward, but you never forget what happened and how it’s affected you.

Even though we are just about to do another embryo transfer, I still think about our Emme. I think about what it would be like if I was 22 weeks pregnant, preparing for the arrival of our baby girl in 4 months. I think about how my life would be different, how I would feel and where I would be at.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with people telling me,  “Just let it go and move on“. (Ahem…Mom!)

Yesterday, Yahoo Parenting featured the article, I will always mourn that baby, written by Jaime Primak Sullivan.

Jaime writes, “I wanted to scream at her that the loss of one child is not redeemed by others at home — that the way a mother’s heart works is like having individual hearts for each child, and when one is broken, it cannot be made whole by another. It must heal on its own.

This is exactly how I feel right now. I want to acknowledge my child. I want to express the emotions associated with losing our child freely without a sense of judgement. Our hearts are healing, not healed.

Another cycle, another transfer, another baby (or twins!) does not mean that we have overcome our pregnancy loss. We continue living after the loss, but we will never ignore or pretend it didn’t happen. Our little girl deserves more honour than that.

In time, I hope to transition from healing to healed, but I’m not even sure if that actually happens. The triggers might not affect me as much, but there always be a piece of me that is missing from when our little girl was taken from us.

Even though she’s not with us, Emme will always be a part of our lives. She’s our first child. She’s irreplaceable.

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It’s Always Been For You: An Ever Upward Circle Back

Justine’s book Ever Upward is a great read for anyone facing the challenge of struggling to bring a baby into this world.

She’s brilliant. I’m so proud of her recent accomplishments with her first published book and her articles on Huffington post.

Infertility deserves a voice. Justine has stepped up to ensure hers – a story many of us can relate to – gets heard.

Check her out. Support an amazing woman. Be inspired.

Ever Upward™

Admit when you are wrong.

Understand the mistake and make it better.

Learn from it.

Circle back.

I was wrong. I tried my best but now realize my misstep and want to make it better. So here I am circling back.

Ever Upward has started to gain some major traction. The universe is churning, my hard persistent work is paying off and I am trusting it all.

Between my HuffPost Parents piece, Acceptance in Infertility, my Twitter becoming more active especially because of my fellow warriors and more and more people reading, loving and talking about the book I am feeling and actually trusting that this bright shining light of ever upward is making change. And, that it will get the attention it deserves so it can grow.

All this churning means more and more conversation, which is the entire point of Ever Upward in many ways. Through…

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Proceeding with 2 – everything is on track!

Whew.

Why do I always let my fears encompass me? 

I just got off the call with my RE. He said our Day 6 embryos are grade 17. Even though they are graded above average by my clinic’s standards, they have slightly less potential due to their slower start. He said that even thought they don’t like to transfer 2 for women in my age range,  they will agree to transfer 2 for me. He wanted to ensure that my husband and I understood the risks associated with a twin pregnancy.

My answer…

Yes, we understand. My mom is a twin. My sister and brother are twins. I never thought I would have ever wanted twins until everything we have been through over the past 3+ years. With my high ectopic risk, one pregnancy with either one or two babies could be enough for us – the end of our fertility treatments.

If we have twins, we will definitely be satisfied.

If we have one child, we may even be satisfied – at least for now. The discussion of IF we pursue treatment for another child would be one that we would have to think long and hard about.

I’m crying as I re-read what I just wrote.

I feel like we have such a chance to finally reach our goal of building our family, welcoming our children home.

I’m excited, but I’m also scared.

Thank you to everyone for your opinions yesterday. You helped to build my confidence to advocate for what we know – in our mind, body and spirit – is right for us.

XO

Lindsey ❤

A change in plans: UGH! Really?!?!

To recap from our post-ectopic and FET discussion with our RE”

Our RE prefers singleton transfers, but he is open to us transferring more than one, particularly because we have Day-6 embryos frozen. He said since they were slower to grow and are likely to have a lower survival rate. The choice is ours to transfer one or two. My husband and I both agree we want to transfer both embabies.”

My logic for transferring 2 embryos is:

  • Increased success rate: Less survival rate for Day 6 embryos. Put two in and you increase the chances of one or both surviving.
  • Determine embryo quality sooner: If it’s not going to work, it’s not going to work. We will know if it’s an embryo issue sooner, rather than after 2 transfers.
  • Cost-savings: Transferring two is a safe guard for in case we need to do another round of IVF. We only have another 5 cycles before our Premier Plan expires (meaning another fresh cycle at 1/2 price). There is a slight possibility that we could squeeze it in before the cut off. At that point, we also would have incurred the cost of 2 FETs. :/
  • Two and done: Twins. My Grandma had ’em. My Mom had ’em. They survived… I will too. One pregnancy = DONE! This may seem selfish as twin pregnancies are high risk, but I honestly am ready to move forward and leave the (in)fertility crap behind me.

In December, we sent our signed FET paperwork to the clinic stating that we would be transferring 2 embryos. Last night, my nurse coordinator contacted me to let me know that my RE had me down to only transfer 1 embryo.

SAY WHAAAAAAT?!?!? 

Now, I have a call tomorrow morning with him to plead my case.

I just really want to bring both of our babies home. I hate the thought of them being without us. Yes, this is a very intuitive and connected Mother speaking here. ❤ All of my pre-transfer visualizations and meditations have focused on BOTH embryos being transferred.

I know he is going to say, “But Lindsey, you are young. You did get pregnant. You will again. Let’s take a safer route for you and the babies.

I’m open to hearing what he has to say. I just wish I had more of a final say in it.

I currently don’t know the grade of our frozen embryos. We won’t know what grade the embryos will be post-thaw until we get there.

What are your thoughts/opinions?