One and Done

The other day on Facebook I posted a link to an article/video about a baby being born and when the baby was held up for the mother to see, the baby grabbed on to the mother’s face and held on for dear life.  The video made me tear up.

A friend commented on the post and said that it made her want another baby. I immediately replied with “me too!”

That is the first time I said it out loud or admitted it so definitively.

Ever since Madeline was born, I mean almost literally from the day she was born, people have been asking me if I want another baby.  And in response Todd and I have always kind of hemmed and hawed and been vague. In part, I’m sure, due to the fact that we genuinely did not know the answer to that question.

Maddie was born in the winter time and as the weather started improving, we started taking her for walks. Many of those walks were filled with talks of what if and should we and can we and do we want to.

On the one hand, when we first started talking about having children together, back in the innocently naive days of having no idea how many years, needles, losses, tears and heartbreak it would take to have just one, we decided that two would be the perfect number of children for us.

I never wanted just one because I was raised as an only child (I have a step-sister and a half-sister but they didn’t come into my life until I was a teenager) and it felt lonely at times. I wanted two children so that no matter what, they would always have each other. And we didn’t want three because that was more of a financial strain and we didn’t want to be outnumbered.  Two kids was the perfect number for our family, the family we hoped we would one day become.

But, now we find ourselves many years down the road from those original conversations and we are faced with the reality and knowledge of what it would take to have another baby.

Sure, I’ve heard the stories, and many are quick to tell me of friends of friends, or acquaintances who tried for years, then either adopted or had a baby through IVF only to then get pregnant naturally on their own. It seems like everyone knows someone or knows someone who knows someone who has experienced this. Listen, that would be a lovely miracle. But, it’s not a likely scenario.

We won’t do IVF again because (aside from the physical and emotional demads) now spending $12,000 feels like I am taking money away from Madeline. So, we’re at the place of if it happens, it happens. But, we were in that place for a long time, and it didn’t happen.

A friend of mine on Facebook asked me if it bothered me for her to talk to me about her tentative plans to try for a third child. I thought that was incredibly sensitive and insightful of her. Most people assume that now that I have the miracle that is Madeline Kaylea Lipps, I am unaffected by talks of people getting pregnant.

I wish I could tell you that was true. And while I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been sucker punched when I hear of someone being pregnant, I do feel something. I don’t know how to describe it. But it’s there.

Last year, I wrote about how it feels to hear that news. And last week I found out that the co-worker I mentioned in last year’s post is now pregnant again. So no, hearing it last week wasn’t as painful as hearing it last year, but there is still something there.

I hate that it’s not my choice how big I want my family to be, that it’s not in my control. I hate that Madeline will be an only child.

But, I do love my sweet Madeline and our little family. I do recognize her for the absolute gift that she is. And most days I focus on that.  Look at this face, how could I not?1396819_10202579242066608_7722409472373892223_o

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Breastfeeding or Bust?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Madeline is 7 months, 2 weeks and a day old today.

I only truly breastfed her for the first couple of weeks. Between my postpartum and her trouble with latching, it just wasn’t working.

But I pumped. For a while, she was eating exclusively breast milk. Then when her needs outgrew my supply we supplemented with formula. But I kept pumping. Every two hours during the day. At night, because she (thankfully) slept, I slept.

I went back to work just before she turned 5 months. At this point she was already eating solid foods along with her bottles. But I wanted to make sure I could keep pumping, and when offered a job, I specifically asked about that.

The place where I work is very accommodating about that. They actually have a dedicated nursing room with a lock, a comfortable seat and a refrigerator. Thanks to a friend of mine, I even have an extra pump that I keep at work so I don’t have to keep dragging one pump back and forth from home to work and back again.

So I have been pumping. But my work days are getting busier with meetings filling my schedule. Accommodating is one thing, but I can’t exactly decline meeting requests by saying “sorry, I need to pump right in the middle of that meeting.”

Anyone who has breastfed or pumped, or is close to someone who has, knows that the golden rule is use it or lose it. The more consistent you are with your feedings/pumping, the more consistent your supply will be. Do it less often and you will find your supply dwindling.

So now, I am not producing as much. And those 12 minutes I spend pumping, when I can, start to feel a little bit like a waste of time. Especially in the evenings when I am home. Instead of pumping for those 12 minutes to get a few drops of breast milk, I could be playing and interacting with my baby. And isn’t that more beneficial for her?

We are going to Mexico for a week at the end of October/beginning of November and I don’t plan on bringing my pump with me then.

So I find myself torn. Is 7.5 months long enough for her to have received breast milk? Is it ok to stop now? Part of me feels really guilty about the idea of stopping and part of me feels really resentful about continuing on, when the results are so minimal.

I make all her food by myself. We don’t feed her processed things. Yet, I can’t get over the idea that if I stop now, I am being a “bad mom” or taking something away from her.

I just don’t know what to do.

Does mommy guilt ever go away? Have you dealt with something similar?

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Half-birthdays and time flying

Holy crap. At 8:05 p.m. tonight, my baby will be 6 months old.

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of love, laughter, tears and milestones.

We have experienced her first laugh (on my birthday, as if a gift for me), her rolling over (on her 4 month birthday), her eating solids, her first time (and many subsequent times) in a swimming pool, and now her initial attempts at crawling.

You always hear that when it comes to kids they grow up so fast that if you blink you’ll miss it. I cannot believe she is already 6 months old. The little tiny baby phase was over SO fast.

I remember that when I had the postpartum depression in those first few weeks, my husband and my mom were really upset, worrying that I would be kicking myself for missing out on those precious week with Madeline. It was time that I would never get back. They made me “fake it until I make it.” They made me hold Maddie and change her diaper and feed her. And even though in those moments, through the lens of depression, I didn’t feel as if I was bonding with her, I am so grateful to them for making sure I had that time with her.

I’m a little wistful thinking of her growing up. I know that we will likely not experience this ever again and so I want each moment to last as long as it can. I look forward to her future milestones, but I am also a little sad as each one happens and puts her further and further from being my little tiny baby.

But I will tell you this, as someone who has had trouble with doing this, babies really make you understand the importance of being in the moment and being present in the present.

Todd and I often just sit and watch her and revel in her smile, her giggles and her discovery of the world around her.

Happy 6 months to my sweet, beautiful, funny and full of personality Madeline Kaylea Lipps. Mommy and daddy love you more than words can say.

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From postpartum to in love

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

After all the support I got for my postpartum post, I have been wanting to post an update. But I have been too busy enjoying my baby. That’s right, enjoying her.

She is 11 weeks old today.  If you had told me eight weeks ago that I would be writing an update post gushing about her and how happy I am to have her in my life…well, I would have had a very hard time believing you.

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write without sounding trite or using every cliche in the book. I don’t know how to do that. Cliches exist for a reason, especially those about babies.

She is my EVERYTHING.

She can cry for 4 hours straight, have me on the brink of losing my mind, and then she smiles. And it’s like the sun coming out from the storm clouds. I would and will do anything I can to see as many of those smiles as often as possible.

Thank god we live in the digital age. Todd and I would go broke buying film and developing all the pictures we take of her. We try to capture her smiles, wearing different outfits, and most importantly with friends and family. We are trying to capture all the moments that will be memories for her in the future.

I always knew Todd would be a good dad. I love watching him with her. She has had him wrapped around her little finger from the moment he heard her first cry as they pulled her out of me.

I am so in love with her. I cannot keep my lips and hands off of her. She is delicious.

I am blessed with her and I am blessed to be feeling better. I am enjoying every minute with her. I can’t wait to celebrate all her milestones. And if you don’t get sick of it, I will probably post about them here.

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Postpartum…

Monday, February 17, 2014

Remember when I said shit was about to get real? Well, it has.

Throughout this pregnancy, if you have paid attention to this blog, I have had a really hard time believing and fully accepting that this was happening. I suppose it was a form of self-protection. After everything we had been through on this journey, I couldn’t let myself fully believe that this time it was going to work. That this time we would have a happy ending.

We went to the hospital on Monday, January 27 to start the induction process. By 6:30 p.m. the next night, I still wasn’t progressing. The doctor offered us 3 choices of how to proceed. We went with the c-section option.

Our baby girl, Madeline Kaylea Lipps was born Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 8:05 p.m., weighing 7 lbs. 13 oz. and 20 inches long.

As soon as they lifted her out of me and we heard her first cries, Todd and I started crying. I cried a little and then I looked over at Todd and he was sobbing. And I thought to myself, “why aren’t I as emotional as he is? What’s wrong with me?”

And that’s how it began.

No one really talks about postpartum depression, but we should.

We ended up being in the hospital for 5 days. Having a c-section automatically put us in for an extra day. Then Madeline was losing weight. All kids lose weight after birth, but she lost a lot. Fifteen percent. And she was jaundiced.

Between all the visitors, the medical personnel coming in and out of the room and the pain meds, our stay was surreal and somewhat fog-like.

(There was one funny moment that I’ll share with you. It was about 5:00 a.m. one night, and by some stroke of sheer luck, all 3 of us were asleep. All of a sudden a loud beeping noise woke me up. I had no idea what it was but I knew I wanted it to stop. I couldn’t get out of bed myself, because of the surgery, so I tried waking Todd up to get him to investigate. What happened next was like a scene out of an I Love Lucy skit. Todd, in a fatigue-induced stupor, sat up in bed, attempted to understand what I wanted from him. He then got up, walked over to the corner and proceeded to walk around in a circle 3 times…WHILE SNORING!!! There’s more, but really, isn’t that enough?)

We were finally released on Saturday. With my mom and dad watching and waving, we drove off, taking our little miracle home with us.

Now, more than two weeks later, I don’t remember that night. I do remember starting to cry at the hospital as we were leaving, as sheer panic and terror set in at the thought of having to go home and take care of this little person. I kept crying all the way home.

On Sunday, my mom came over and settled in for a week-long stay with us.

Thank God. No, seriously, thank god. I don’t know how I would have handled that first week without her.

When I woke up on Sunday, I found myself having full-blown anxiety. And sadness. So much sadness.

Here comes the hardest part to type/admit to you:

I looked at this little girl, lying in her mamaroo, peaceful, sweet and angelic. And rather than feeling overwhelming love, I felt like throwing up. The wave of nausea, a manifestation of the anxiety, was the only overwhelming feeling I was having.

And I felt like an asshole. Who hopes and prays for something for 10 years and then when their dream comes true, wants to run far away from it?

These thoughts were terrifying. Would I never love my child? Would I never bond with her? Would this drive a wedge between me and Todd? Would he be so disgusted with me that he would take Madeline and leave me? No seriously, what the hell was wrong with me?

I had been told a few years ago that I was very likely to have postpartum depression and recognizing that this must be the start of it, I called my old therapist right away. I wanted to nip this thing in the bud as fast as possible. I also called my OBGYN, explained what I was feeling, and they called in a prescription for Zoloft for me.

I also decided to be honest when people asked me how I was doing. And I’m glad I did. First off, I found out that quite a few of my friends had been through similar experiences. Some were friends that were quite close to me and I found myself shocked that they had gone through that and I had no idea.

Also, it resulted in a lot of visitors. My mother-in-law came and stayed with us for a few days and we had a steady stream of friends coming to see us for about two weeks. And for that I am grateful. People really stepped up and were there when I needed them.  Having people in the house forced me to engage in life, and distracted me from the negative thoughts. It has been extremely therapeutic.

Now I have been taking the Zoloft for two weeks and have been feeling better. I enjoy holding my baby and taking care of her. I am still scared of taking care of her by myself for the whole day when Todd returns to the office. And of course, if I start thinking too far into the future I get scared about all of the things that might go wrong for Madeline and the sheer responsibility of caring for someone else for the REST OF MY LIFE.

But I recognize that these are fears that most, if not all, parents feel.

I will continue to take it one day at a time. And I will continue to ask for help and lean on friends and hope that they will continue to be there for me.

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Just The Two Of Us

Monday, January 27, 2014

Shit’s about to get real. In the next 24-48 hours our lives are going to completely change.

My husband is my best friend. If you’re a friend, or even a frequent reader of my work, you’re probably thinking “duh, sing a new tune.” (But I mean seriously, did you read his post from a few days ago?)

I can’t help it. We’ve been together over 12 years. And for all those years, it’s been just the 2 of us.

No kids. Just us.

As excited as I am to finally have a baby, to fulfill a wish we have had our entire marriage, a small part of me is going to miss “us.”

Most of our friends who have kids had them pretty early on in their marriages. We obviously didn’t. We’ve had a really long time to establish the “usness” of us.

After tomorrow, we will no longer be the most important people in each other’s lives. I won’t be his #1 girl anymore.

And while I am very excited and happy for the new chapter that is starting, I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge the one that is closing.

Onward and upward.

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They all cry…even the men

So throughout this pregnancy, it has been all about me. The showers, the pictures, everything. But I am not going through this alone. I have a wonderful husband by my side. So I asked him if he wanted to write a guest post, an opportunity to share his point of view about this experience. And in true Todd fashion, he made it all about…me. Read on.

“Let me share with you the secret you heard at your birth…You are my greatest miracle. You are the greatest miracle in the world.  Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry…”  – Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in the World- The God Memorandum

I am honored to have been asked by my dear wife to write an entry to her blog.  When she asked me if I’d like to contribute, of course I said yes, and I immediately started feeling a stirring in my heart and a welling in my eyes.  As I sit here and think of everything related to this journey, especially this last leg, I am sobbing, again.  I have cried more in the last 2 years than I have in the previous 10+ years that my wife and I have been together.  I rarely used to cry, because frankly I didn’t see the purpose,  nor feel the need. Crying gives me a wicked sinus headache.

I’m 43 years old.  Lilia and I met when I was just turning 31.  You don’t have to be my age to understand what I am about to say.  As long as you are over 25 you’ll get it, and if you are over 43, you’ll understand better than I do.  Time is the breeding ground for reality to set in.  The tears I shed is directly correlated to the severity of my reality.

I have shared my wife’s and my journey to parenthood with a small number of people, some close to me, and some I hardly know at all.  I was sitting next to a co-worker the day Lilia and I went public with our news. He gave me the obligatory “How’s it going?”  I told him, “Well, it looks like I am going to be a dad.” It went on from there.  Over the next 30 minutes I shared our journey, and he told me his.   The birth of his first son made him an unexpected father at the age of 21.  He spoke about how getting launched into parenthood changed him, and how the miracle of life and the birth of his son saved him from a life that was heading in bad direction.   Despite the fact that there was no plausible explanation, a couple of grown men had tears rolling down our faces in the middle of our work place.  Until now this memory was only mentally filed under “What the heck was that?”

If you have been following this blog from the beginning you’ll know that over the past 9 or so years my wife and I of course tried the natural method, as well as IUI + drugs for the first few years and then graduated to IVF.  Every time we had a failed cycle Lilia was heartbroken, she would sob to the point I thought she might need an IV.  I just felt empty and terribly sorry for her, but for the most part though, no tears.  I think that what helped me keep it together was that I had a deep faith that what is supposed to happen, will happen.

We ended up having 5 IVF cycles in Akron, 1 fresh and 4 frozen.   We thought we hit the mother lode when they pulled 22 mature eggs from her, of which 19 fertilized. With our protocol that gave us 5 attempts.   Rough statistics and odds told us at the beginning were 50/50 for any given cycle.  We felt very fortunate and hopeful with all of these chances, wouldn’t you?   Flip a coin 5 times in a row and tell me how many of you come up tails 5 times in a row.  The odds of getting it wrong once was 1:2, twice in a row 1:4, 3 times in a row 1:8, 4 times in a row 1:16, and 5 times in a row 1:32.

Reflecting back I don’t remember crying too often the first, second, third or fourth failed cycle. I cursed our bad luck.  I became increasingly angry at, and intolerant of God, and statistics.  It’s WAY easier for me (men) to choose mad over sad.  When I did cry, it was because my heart was breaking to see my dear wife go through all of the physical and emotional pain. The injections, drugs and complications required of an IVF cycle sent her to the emergency room twice. Over 7 IVF cycles I stuck her with more needles than I can remember, but its worth the time now to figure it out.

insulin

My wife found out that that she has Type 2 Diabetes when we decided to turn to the care of Dr. James Goldfarb and University Hospital two years ago.  Women who have untreated diabetes have much poorer odds of getting pregnant, a greater chance of miscarriage and greater risk of harm to a baby born to a diabetic mother.  The group down in Akron never tested or suggested testing for diabetes.  One would think a competant fertility clinic would screen for diabetes.  Turns out our odds weren’t 50/50 after all.   I’m not going to go down this path, Ill just go back to the needle tally. Above is my wife’s insulin needle.  This cycle has her taking 5 shots a day for 7 months = 1,050 needles.

Single-use-lancet-open

This is the lancet to test blood sugar levels 4 times a day in the finger for 7 months = 840 needles.  Her finger tips look like I dont know what.

Follistim

This is Follistim. Fresh cycles get 1 shot a day in the stomach for about 18 days.  Follistim is a man-made form of a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. This hormone regulates ovulation, and stimulates the growth and development of eggs in a woman’s ovaries. The pain of the Follistim shots paled in comparison to the pain and fright she endured with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Hormone Syndrome.  Over 5 pounds of fluid collected in her abdomen and ovaries over the course of 48 hours. Ovaries which are normally the size of olives became the size of  grapefruits, which sent her to the emergency room.  People die from this.

lupron

This is Lupron. Fourteen shots of Lupron were administered during her 3 fresh cycles to prevent early ovulation of the eggs growing in her (dangerously overstimulated) ovaries.

progesterone

This is for progesterone in oil, in the old gluteus maximus.  This is the big boy, and it sucks. Since it is oil, it’s a really slow, painful injection.  About 20 of these were administered for our four unsuccessful cycles, 90 of these for this pregnancy and somewhere in between the 2 times we lost the baby. I did my best to try to find spots where oil had dispersed well into the muscle.   She would take my hand and say “feel here, and here, and here” so I could get an idea of where the bumpy pockets were.  She would say to me “What if this is all for nothing, again?”  She cried in pain nearly every night, I felt like I was dying inside.

Lovenox

Since I am not the greatest when it comes to grammar, I asked Lilia to proof read my entry earlier today. Both she and I failed to notice that I had forgotten to include the 300 shots of Lovenox she has taken over the past 6 cycles.  Lovenox was a just-in-case protocol we decided upon after our first cycle, which reduces the risk of blood clots which could potentially cause a miscarriage.  So just in case clotting was a factor, she took 300 of these.

ovidrel

This is Ovidrel. Ovidrel provides the hormone (hCG), which stimulates the release and final maturity of eggs, the trigger shot, taken the day before egg retrieval. One of these for the 3 fresh cycles.

Needles not pictured-

Blood work- around 15 needles per cycle.

Egg retrieval- through the vaginal wall into the follicles of Lilia’s grapefruit-sized ovaries on the fresh cycles.  She is knocked out for this, pain meds are administered. Regardless of how it sounds it’s not nearly as fun as you would imagine. We aren’t certain what happened on our 6th cycle, but the pain was bad enough to send her to the ER and get admitted into the hospital overnight.  About 20 needles into the ovaries per fresh cycle.

So let me tally it up.  I’m sure there are at least 50 needles I am forgetting about, but I’m coming up with 2,100 over this 7th cycle, 850 for her 6th cycle, 120 for first cycle, 100 each for cycles 2, 3 and 4, and 115 for cycle number 5.  That’s a grand total of 3,485 pokes plus or minus a couple hundred.  I’ll be keeping this snapshot below for our daughter’s teen years, and remind her that this is about 5% of what her mother went through to give her life. #warriormom

DSC00643

The emotional pain of each loss was exacerbated as she felt she (her body, her chemistry) was the reason we couldn’t have a baby.  This wasn’t the truth anyhow, I wasn’t the ideal candidate to knock-up her up, nor was she the perfect candidate to get knocked-up (I’m pretty sure knocked-up is the correct medical terminology).

On a number of occasions Lilia would ask me, “What if I can’t give you a baby?”  I would tell her we would deal with that if we ever came to that conclusion, that it’s not her fault, and that she had done everything she could.  It wasn’t until a year ago that my heart and my brain finally acted in concert and the real answer came out, “If I can’t have a baby with you, I don’t want to have a baby”, and with that, we cried together.  If you love someone with every fiber of your soul, you’ll eventually find the right words.

With the theme being tears I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the moments that define these 9+ tough years.

The time we were driving to Akron on  April 27, 2011 for a check up on our first positive pregnancy hoping to hear the heart beat at six weeks.  On the way to the clinic Lilia started to bleed.  We coped by letting go and saying goodbye in letters to our dream. My dear wife’s words:

“…I was terrified and incredibly grief-stricken.  But your dad was a champ.  Although he too was struggling with his emotions, he held it together for me.  He drove as fast and as carefully as he could, and tried to keep me calm.  I looked up at him and saw that he was saturated with sweat.  We got to the hospital and he pulled up to the curb and left me in the car … came back with a wheelchair and a blanket to cover myself up with.  We got up to the doctor’s office and they led me into a room and asked me to lie down.  Once daddy helped me get up on the examining table, he finally broke down.  He laid his head on my stomach and we sobbed together.

There are literally no words to fully explain the grief and loss I felt at that moment.  I felt like someone had come and sucked all the air out of my body.  I felt empty, completely void.

The doctor came in, and although generally speaking he wasn’t the warmest guy on earth, he looked genuinely concerned.  He spoke to me very softly. Then, his voice broke through my fog of despair and he said “Lilia, I’m going to need you to pull yourself together because you have a baby here.”  Completely in disbelief I looked at the monitor, and there you were.  You were a teeny tiny little thing, but you were there.  Not only could we see you, but we could also hear your heartbeat; a strong 101 beats per minute.

I have never before experienced such a rapid change of such varying emotions.  One minute I was inconsolable and the next I was on top of the world.  We were going to have our miracle baby after all!  You were such a little fighter, you were really doing your best to hang on!

Thank you baby for trying, for wanting to be a part of our lives as much as we wanted you to be.

The feeling of this being a miracle really set in when the doctor told us your due date would be December 22.  Daddy looked at me and told me that was the day his mommy had gone to heaven.  It just occurred to me that you are there with her.

We went home and I continued cramping and bleeding throughout the day and evening.  There was one particular moment that I knew was THE moment… the pain was so bad that it made me light-headed.  I started to fall and your daddy rushed over and caught me.

As I went to sleep that night, I placed my hand on my belly and told you how much I loved you and asked you to please be strong and keep hanging on. But you were already gone.

I woke up the next day and felt an absence of those same pregnancy symptoms that had helped me believe in the reality of you.  We went to the doctor for a blood test, but we were just waiting for him to confirm what we already knew…”

In November of 2012 we had our 2nd positive test.  We went in for a check up and they found a heartbeat, but it was slow, only 74.  Dr. Goldfarb took us into his office and said he was sorry, but he was not going to lead us to believe this was going to be a viable pregnancy.   Nonetheless we went back 2 days later, and the technician doing the ultrasound said the heartbeats were still there.  One was 84 and… the… other… was…. 77. The OTHER?  She turned up the volume and I heard one, and I heard the other.  I lost it.

Later that evening Lilia asked me why I started crying at the office.  I told her they were tears of HOPE.  Slow or not there were two hearts beating in her womb.  Sadly my tears of faith were dashed a couple days later when we went back and there was nothing left to hear.

This final round has been the true test.  We were so very fortunate to have chosen the UH fertility clinic and Dr. Goldfarb.  You see the first round only rendered 7 eggs, only 3 of which fertilized, and as you now know, only 2 took hold for a short time. Compare that to the Akron group, when we had 19 ferilized to make a go with.   Seems natures clock was ticking.

To try again would normally mean another $12,000.  Since I have set all humility aside, Ill let you you know, we didn’t have $12k and we weren’t going to charge it. We would have to save for maybe another year.

UH has a benefactor who funds a grant for couples whose incomes do not exceed a certain amount.   Luckily we qualified for their Partnership for Families grant.  I have cried alone thinking about how absolutely amazing it would be to have the resources to literally make someone’s dream come true.  I have cried tears of hopelessness imagining leaving this world without the legacy of a child.

I knew through friends and thorough research that Dr Goldfarb is a true pioneer in his field and put my faith 100% into his recommendations.  When we only came up with 3 viable eggs in our prior cycle, he admitted it was less than what he had expected and hoped for.  He had done studies and statistics on the success rates for lower protocol.  Remember 22 eggs, no babies?  We had 3 that fertilized and 2 that worked. Despite this, less is more is not what my wife wanted to hear, not when its $12k a pop.

With the grant, the money was no longer an issue.  We went in full steam ahead, hoping for more than 7.  We upped our dosage of Follistim, and if you have been reading along, youll know this time we ended up with ONLY FOUR mature eggs!   How could this happen? More tears, more frustration, more despair, and quite frankly the hope and faith tank was damn near empty. To make matters worse, of the four, only two ferilized.

We looked down at the photographs of these two embryos.  One of them was all funky looking, a fragmented 5 cells. That one was probably like his dad. However, the other looked really nice, 8 cells, all uniform looking, dare I say charming, like her mother.  She looked like a gamer to me. But honestly we had already seen two dozen great looking embryos, and they all gave up the ghost.

The 12 days between embryo transfer and your pregnancy test is the longest 12 days you will ever live.  If you haven’t been there, you cannot imagine. Don’t try to imagine, because it’s a little more than 1,000 times worse for me and 100,000 times worse for my wife.

Something happened the evening before our test this time.  It wasn’t good.  My wife looked at me and said “I dont feel pregnant.”  You are right now trying to imagine… what might 11 days pregnant feel like?  The last cycle my wife “called her shot” that she said she was pregnant with twins.   So I guess I began to trust her intuition, and sadly I agreed with her. I had convinced myself this was it. No kids.   Just you and me, babe.  We cried, and cried and cried, and held each other.   We talked about going on an amazing vacation to celebrate our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary, made up our minds that although it was very sad we would love our lives together.

The next day we got the call late in the afternoon.  The call was always late because we imagined someone drew the short straw and was putting it off until the last minute.  We stood in the produce section of Giant Eagle.  She said, Hello, yes, uh-huh… IT IS? IT IS?!! HOW HIGH?!, OK! OK! I WILL!  Like two crazed nut-jobs we kissed and hugged for 2 minutes straight, right next to the baby spinach on sale.  And we cried.

And the very moment I had given up ALL hope and faith, Someone said “I’ve got this”.

I am so grateful, so proud, so humbled for everything my dear wife has done.  I cannot begin to give back what she has given.

As we get close to welcoming our miracle baby into this world, I’m going to ask you for one more solid week of prayers.

#Happytears is trending.

-Todd

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Wish Upon A…

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So listen, for those of you who know me well, it comes as no surprise that I have had a really hard time accepting/believing that this whole baby thing is really happening.

I mean logically, or intelligently, I know it is happening.

I go to the (now weekly) ultrasounds. I even put together a flipagram of all the images from these appointments. http://flipagram.com/f/XLLgMTuIGh

We have put together a nursery, which I am in love with.

I had two lovely showers.

And of course, there is all the peeing, the heartburn and this little girl kicking me and doing barrel rolls inside my body.

Yes, all these things make it real. But still, I have a hard time believing it.

One of the first things that made it really real was a much smaller little thing.

You know all those occasions on which you can make a wish? Like throwing a penny into a fountain, or on a shooting star, or at 11:11 or on a fallen eyelash? Well for years now, every time one of these opportunities presented itself, or we manifested them, we both would wish for the same thing: a baby.

We never wavered from that wish. It didn’t sometimes switch to the shiny new cell phone or designer purse. Or even, in more serious times, for a new job.

No, our wish was always the same. We just wanted a baby.

Well, the first time we got a chance to make a wish, after accepting that this baby was happening, we both looked at each other like what now?

It hit us that we were finally getting what we had spent over 9 years wishing for.

I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and tell you that all of your wishes will come true. But, it never hurts to make a wish and blow on an eyelash. So, no reason to stop wishing!

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What a difference a year makes

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We will return to regularly scheduled programming (publishing earlier posts) soon, but had to push this one out now.

One year ago today was one of the darkest days of my life.

After achieving pregnancy through my 6th attempt at IVF, we went to the doctor for our fourth ultrasound. The first two had been disheartening. The third one was uplifting. This one, we were hoping, would reaffirm our newfound hope and give us reason to keep moving forward.

Instead, we were told that both heartbeats were gone.

Our appointment was at 9:30. By 12:30, we were leaving the hospital having had a D&C done.

That was last year.

This year, on December 7, I find myself 31 weeks, 4 days pregnant.

Tomorrow is my first baby shower.

Truthfully, I still can’t believe it.  If you had told me a year ago today that I would come full circle, I would have probably sworn at you. If not at you, I would have definitely thought “oh, fuck off” while you were talking.

And yet, here we are. My little girl is moving and kicking and punching and making sure I am ever so aware of her very real presence in my life. It’s a miracle.

Earlier this week, I lost my job. That is definitely putting a damper on my mood. When I let it.

But, I need to stop and remember that I truly have a miracle inside of me.

What a difference a year makes.

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Finally Facebook Official

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So, as you saw, telling our parents was an emotional, completely fulfilling experience. These were the people closest to us that we wanted to share our joy with and it felt amazing to be able to finally tell them.

But, there were also others that we wanted to tell. We have several close friends who have been by our sides throughout this almost decade-long journey.

Before being able to share the news with anyone outside of our immediate family, we wanted to get to a milestone. We decided to wait until we had our 12 week check-up and the nuchal translucency (NT) scan.

This prenatal test (also called the NT or nuchal fold scan) can help your healthcare practitioner assess your baby’s risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems. Read More

We went for our appointment and were basically told that based on the ultrasound everything looked good.  A few days later we got a call from the doctor with the blood test results. He said that prior to running the test, due to my age and risk factor, our chance for Down’s was 1 in 110. But after reviewing the blood work, it was now 1 in 500.  All good news.

We were now free to tell our friends. I sent text messages to some friends that went something like this:

photo After exchanging that type of message with some friends who I needed to let know before posting on Facebook, I was ready to make it Facebook official.

But I needed to think of a cute way to do it. I didn’t want to just say, hey guess what, we’re having a baby. And I didn’t want to post an ultrasound picture yet, because I know how loathsome come people find those to be.

So after some pondering, and consulting with Todd, this is what we came up with.

Baby FB
That is what I posted. Then, my sweet, sweet husband posted this.

photo To everyone who “liked” our posts and commented with congratulations and heartfelt joy, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We are beyond thrilled to finally get to share some good news with you.

Keep us and our little bebe in your prayers.

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