Hear my story on the Beat Infertility Podcast

The Beat Infertility Podcast is hosted by Heather Huhman, a fellow infertility warrior. Each episode features a success story and an update from a woman who is currently undergoing treatment.

Back in December, I met with Heather to share my own success story. It aired on today’s episode. Listen to it here.

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Rising up through fear during a pregnancy after loss

At our first hypnobirthing class, the instructor asked what your biggest fear about pregnancy/delivery was.

My answer: “That we will lose this baby”.

Yes, I was THAT weirdo. No one else even mentioned pregnancy loss but me.

Fear happens after you endure infertility and loss. It’s inevitable.

I’ve been feeling good lately. I’m balanced and ready. Fear doesn’t overwhelm me which has made me ponder what I did to rise up out of my fear during this pregnancy after loss.

Take it in small milestones

From Day 1, I approached this pregnancy by focusing on the small milestones – first beta, second beta, first ultrasound, etc. My goal was to make it to the next milestone without enduring intense anxiety and fear.

Did I always succeed? Not every day.

But, I always knew that I could start fresh the next day.

Reaching the 20 week mark and having our anatomy scan was the biggest milestone for me. It validated my intuition about us having a boy and ensured us that he was growing and healthy. It also marked the halfway point. If we had made it that far, we could and would keep going.

Remember your blessings, honour your grief

Passing the estimated due date of our Angel was another huge step for me. I dreaded this day from the minute we lost her. I’m still unsure how I will react as we pass the 1st anniversary of her leaving us, but I know we have so much more joy now – knowing that her brother is on his way and she is watching over us.

Be grateful (even if it sucks)

Has pregnancy been easy on me? Hardly. Puking daily even while taking anti-nausea meds isn’t an enjoyable experience. Each negative symptom was a sign that my body was pregnant. And if puking my guts out was the only reassurance I could get that my baby was alive and well, then I was willing to take it.

The past few weeks have seemed more real. As my belly grows bigger each day and my little man kicks up a storm (because since his last growth spurt, he boots me constantly), I have those visual reminders that he’s here with me. He’s growing. I’m growing. We are doing this together.

I couldn’t be more grateful for all the symptoms and pregnancy side effects.

Trust
This one is the hardest step to accomplish. Trust in the process. Trust in the timing. Trust in your body’s ability. Trust that your baby will arrive safely into this world.

One of the easiest ways to build your trust is to surround yourself with positivity and support.

Get off those crazy Mommy boards. Only Google if your gut tells you something is legit wrong. Ditch the nay-sayers and negative Nancy’s.

Use affirmations if it helps. Hypnobirthing offers many great ones. You can even purchase the book/CD without attending the class.

I don’t focus on what could go wrong anymore. I have educated myself on my birth options and am leaving them open enough to protect myself and my baby. For me, it’s been easier to trust knowing that I don’t have any complications right now. It’s also been reassuring to have a calm and confident OB.

Building trust in your body, in your baby, in your doctor, in God, the Universe – whatever works for you – is key to making through each day during a pregnancy after loss.

Enjoy each moment you have

We have loved our baby from the start – from when we simply thought about having him, through all of the treatments, up until we first saw him on the screen at our transfer, right up until now at 30 weeks pregnant. We only have an estimated 10 weeks left until we get to meet him face to face. I just want to make the most of it.

We talk to him. We joke about him. We daydream about what he will be like. We track his growth and progress using pregnancy apps. We share in his movements which is one of my favourite times of the day. My husband loves feeling him move.

Seeing the joy and excitement in my husband has sparked my own joy and excitement.

We deserve to feel happy now.

If there’s anything that pregnancy loss has taught me, it’s that we can’t control the outcome no matter how hard we try. Instead of worrying about it, my husband and I are embracing each moment we have with our son.

Now that I’m in the 3rd trimester, this list doesn’t look much different than the one I created in my 1st trimester. Pregnancy after loss is a journey no matter what stage you are at. What matters is that you rise up through the fear and into love. ❤

Refer to my favourite pregnancy after loss articles for more tips, advice and reassurance from other Angel Mommas. ❤ You aren’t alone on this journey. XO

Last chance to support a film about pregnancy loss and infertility!

The Kickstarter campaign for “Don’t talk about the baby” is in it’s final hours! They will receive a $5000 donation to achieve their campaign goal IF they can reach 25k in in the next 4 hours. They have LESS THAN 2K to go! 

If you haven’t yet donated and feel drawn to support this project, DONATE NOW

I am so passionate about this because it puts a name and a face to each story told. It encourages people to SHARE their stories and eliminate the stigma associated with pregnancy loss and infertility.

AND I’m kinda pissed that Ricki Lake’s Sweetening the Pill documentary raised over 100K. I fully support both causes – in fact, I donated to both. But, I’m a bit shocked that more people aren’t willing to bringing awareness to THIS cause. It may be a marketing issue – I mean Ricki Lake is Ricki Lake – but 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage or loss… and that shouldn’t be a secret.

Even if you can’t donate right now, please share their social pages to bring more awareness to this project.

Reminder: The project gets ZERO funds if they don’t reach their target. Every $1 counts. 🙂 

UPDATE: WHOHOO! THEY MADE IT! A big thanks to anyone who donated! Remember you can also participate by sharing your story! 

5dp5dt: symptom check-in

Wow. My emotions have been flying high.

I cried myself to sleep Friday night and had a major meltdown on my husband Saturday morning. It was like hope had been sucked from my me. I kept telling him I should have symptoms by now and that it must not have worked. He kept telling me to relax and give it a few days, but my irrational, emotional mind wouldn’t listen.

When I finally got my shit together, we ran some errands, then went for supper at my husband’s Aunt and Uncle’s house. After supper, we went to a friend’s to play games. Once again, I had a good time, lots of laughs and no alcohol. I can honestly say that I don’t miss drinking.

Getting out of the house yesterday was the best thing I could do for myself. I worked from home on Friday and being alone all day – even if I was distracting myself with work – just gave my mind too many opportunities to ponder our current situation. We also declined an invitation to visit with friends on Friday night and instead, stayed in to watch Netflix. Lesson learned: when I’m feeling highly volatile, I need to surround myself with my support people to regain my balance.

As for symptoms, this is where I’m at:

  • Cramping during 1-2dpt (no implantation spotting though)
  • Bloatedness that comes and goes; a sense of fullness in my womb
  • Slightly sore boobs (an increase since yesterday though)
  • My nails are harder. I noticed this during my last pregnancy.
  • Chest/back acne – this one is gross! Yesterday morning my chest, back and shoulder broke out in tiny little zits. YUCK! I don’t normally have acne. This is very odd for me.

I keep reminding myself that I can not compare this cycle to last as too many variables are different. I have no fake HCG in my system. Besides Estrace, Prometrium and PIO, my body is doing all the work on it’s own.

I think my breakdown yesterday was most likely hormonal, but also a bit of a protection mechanism. Less connected = less hurt? Well, I know that is a farce. It’s hard no matter what. Last time, I was so connected that I was crushed when we found out our pregnancy was an ectopic. Leading up to our FET, I did lots of visualization exercises, but I haven’t let myself get as connected to these spirit babies. It eases my anxiety to keep myself at arms length right now. I will grow my relationship with these babies when the time feels right.

I’m still staying strong and keeping away from the pee sticks. My goal remains to make it to 8dp5dt – this Wednesday. 3 days to go… Wish me luck. XO

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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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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?

FET Monitoring: Part 1

My outlook for this FET cycle is completely different than our fresh IVF.

Today, I had an ultrasound appointment at 9:30 am and needed to get my Estradiol levels checked before then. Instead of getting in line at the blood lab at 6:30 am, I decided it is counter-productive to go so early. You almost end up waiting longer and lose out on valuable sleep time. There’s really no point to rushing in. From my experience, as long as I get my blood work done by the mid-morning pick up, they always receive the results by end of day.

I got to the blood lab at 7:30 am this morning and waited just under an hour until my number was called. They front-desk recognized me immediately. I’m well known at this location after my need for recurring blood draws during our ectopic pregnancy. Each tech knows whether or not they can success with my difficult veins. You know because as if having fertility issues isn’t enough, I also have horrible veins! 

Today, a tech decided to try me even though she often passes. Well today, SHE GOT ME ON THE FIRST POKE! We both were so excited! This was my first ever positive experience when getting my blood drawn. The tech commented about how this was the fastest they had ever done me. I told her she completely made my day!

I arrived 15 minutes before my scheduled ultrasound. As I waited, the room slowly filled up with more and more pregnant couples. Instead of focusing on “what they have and I don’t”, I decided to enjoy the music and look at the art on the walls. A few deep breaths brought me back to a mindful state and I was called in for my scan right on time (I swear that NEVER happens!). 

It’s a well known fact that most techs at the ultrasound lab are complete morons when it comes to fertility treatments. Today, I actually got a tech who knew about IVF. She was curious about my FET protocol, so I explained it to her as she did her inspection with the dildo wand. It’s also standard that the tech DOES NOT relay information to you, but she was kind enough to tell me that my largest follicle was in the 10mm range. She said my lining looked great and was well on it’s way to being ready.

I’m relieved at how well this morning went and hoping it’s a sign for good things to come. 🙂

I always ovulate later on a natural cycle. My clinic has tentatively scheduled my transfer for January 27, but I’m guessing it definitely be a few days later.

Right now, I’m just waiting for them to email me confirming today’s results and my next steps….

Happy Monday!

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Hope is my fuel to keep going

I’m kinda, maybe a little bit, alright… I’m fully Netflix obsessed.

Right now, I’m watching Call the Midwife: Season 3. If you are a fan and have not yet watched this season, it’s an emotional one!

In the episode I watched tonight,  one woman said to another while she was grieving the loss of a loved one,

“You keep on living until you are alive again.” 

Having experienced a pregnancy loss only 3 short months ago, this statement rings true to me.

I felt lost, alone and without purpose immediately following our ectopic pregnancy. I was an emotional wreck for an entire month.

Tonight, I realized it was my husband’s hope that drew me out of my darkness and back into the light. In the days following our loss, he was focused on the next cycle. Yes, I see this may have been an avoidance tactic. But honestly, his hope for something good to come gave me hope and drive to keep on living until I felt alive again.

So, here we both are. Our marriage is stronger and more intimate. We have overcome fears, found our greatest strengths, and now we are ready to take the next step into parenthood.

Does this mean we weren’t ready before? No, it just means we have found a different sense of readiness. We have become different versions of ourselves through our grief and sorrow.

Even with our loss, I am grateful for the blessings that have come from it. I have no regrets over the past 6 months. Each step we took on this journey led us to where we are today. I can’t dwell on the what ifs and the if only’s. I have to release what is behind us and embrace what is to come.

My embryos – soon to be baby(ies?) – are my purpose. I am alive and well because they – and their Dad – give me hope.

I can’t predict the future, but I sure can hope and dream of better days to come. ❤

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FET cycle – CD1

CD 1 – Frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle has begun!

The details:

  • This is our 1st (and hopefully last) FET following a fresh IVF cycle that resulted in an ectopic rupture
  • We are transferring our 2 embryos. I’m super excited to see them! 
  • It’s a natural FET
  • Tomorrow,  I start 400 mg of Estrace 2x daily + 1 Asprin
  • First monitoring appointment is Jan 19th – blood work + ultrasound. Welcome back Dildocam! It’s been a while… 
  • When I get the go ahead, I start Prometrium + Doxycyline and BOOK OUR TRIP back to the clinic
  • Transfer is tentatively scheduled for January 27. My guess is it will be a few days later as I typically ovulate later on a natural cycle

This afternoon when I heard back from the clinic, I felt a bit anxious. I reviewed my medication schedule. I counted my pills (yes, I’ve got some left from when I was pregnant). I went on Expedia and looked at travel options…

Then, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that:

My goal for this cycle is to remain calm, go with the flow and feel at peace with the process.

The only thing that mattered tonight was whether or not I had enough Estrace and Asprin for tomorrow. Answer = Yes.

There’s nothing to worry about.

One day at a time, one step at a time…

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We are coming back for you babies! Your Daddy and I are so excited to see you. We love you and can’t wait to bring you home. XO