We Are the Lucky Ones

I’ve been mulling over putting up a post for some time now.  I just wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it, or admit it, but I also wanted to update the few people who still might check this blog.  Yes, that lead in is what you suspect: a pregnancy announcement.  We are thrilled to be having another baby this October.  This time it’s a sweet baby boy.  We could not feel more pleased with how things have worked out.

Since this blog was started as on outlet for the Big Huge Emotions I was feeling while trying, and failing, to get pregnant, I’ve never felt much of a pull to update it with other things.  It didn’t feel right, knowing that so many other women out there are still struggling and wanting and feeling those Big Huge Emotions.  However, I do think updating on the last year and how we got here (26 weeks pregnant) is a part of my infertility story.  Even if it turns out I’m not so infertile anymore.

My fun, charming, hilarious toddler was born in 2014.  After 3 years of trying, one loss, 6 failed IUIs, much charting/temping/opking/crying and one random month of saline testing that for some reason got me knocked me up.  Looking back, I think I know why having an HSG and an attempted polyp removal in the cycle I conceived was helpful (and not harmful).  I think I had endometriosis.  Of course I knew this was a possibility, and our treatment would have been the same as what we were prepping to do, IVF, but in hindsight I think that’s what it was.  I think the polyp removal functioned much like a uterine scratch would have.  It helped prime and maybe clean out my lining to help an embryo stick.  I’d always had heavy, painful periods, but still within the range of normal.  Endo had certainly crossed my mind as a possible issue.  But since you can’t get a diagnosis without surgery, it never made sense to pursue it.  Maybe I would have skipped the IUIs if I’d known, but otherwise I’m not sure what else I would have done differently.

The other big thing that points to me having endometriosis is that pregnancy seems to have cured my infertility.  I know this can happen with some women with endo, and my TTC life post-baby seems to confirm my theory.

I nursed my daughter until she was 9 months old.  We weaned pretty slowly from about 7.5 months to 9 months, but my cycle didn’t come back until I’d stopped completely.  And then it was like clock work.  Two weeks after our last nursing session, I thought I saw signs of ovulation and two weeks after that my period came for the first time in a LONG time.  It was lighter and easier than it ever had been in the past.  We hadn’t been having much sex (nursing and having an infant does that I hear) so we’d only used condoms a few times before she was 6 months old, just in case.  But after I weaned, my body felt healed, and while I can’t say I was ready, I knew waiting for the “I’m ready” feeling was not a good idea.  So I tracked my cycle a bit and we said we’d try once a month.  Meaning, we’d aim to have sex once around a time that might help us conceive.  No pressure, just not wasting time either.  Given our track record, this seemed like a good idea.

I found out I was pregnant again two weeks after my daughter turned 1.  I think we’d had sex once the month prior, kinda around the time I thought I was ovulating.  So I was SHOCKED to get a nice strong positive the day after my period was due.  As I wrote about here, we lost that pregnancy just before 8 weeks.  I was crushed.  It felt like history was repeating itself and that my quick pregnancy would now be followed with years of trying and wanting and failing, since that’s what happened the first time around.

Instead, 2 months later in October, I saw another positive test.  I had tested two days before my period because I’d had a random day of spotting that seemed odd.  I got a very faint positive.  I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t even tell my husband because I wanted it to get darker first.  However, that was not to be.  Each day I tested the line got lighter and harder to see.  I bought a digital out of desperation the day after my period was due, even though other tests were so faint it was hard to see.  The digital came up positive, but 24 hours later my period came.  It was 2 days late, but otherwise normal. A classic chemical pregnancy.

So now I was faced with 2 pregnancies that happened SO much faster and easier than I’d though possible, but also with the fact that I’d lost them both.  I clung to the hope that now I was fertile, so getting pregnant again might not be a problem.  I am so glad I was right.

Two more months, in January of this year, I took another test.  It was a beautiful positive from the start.  I peed on about 15 sticks in 5 days and then stopped.  I knew it was out of my hands and I just needed to wait it out.  I didn’t even call the doctor for 2 weeks since I wasn’t sure it mattered.  Thankfully, it progressed perfectly.  I saw a heartbeat at 8 weeks, had a perfect NT scan at 12 weeks and another perfect anatomy scan at 20 weeks.  When the tech announced it was a boy, I finally felt a huge wave of relief.  Now I could bond, now I could let myself love this baby, now I could hope.  I’m having a son, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I still catch myself wondering about our future fertility.  Though, I have no idea if we’ll try for a 3rd one day.  There were years when that hope felt foolish at best, so we really never made it past planning for 1.  I think there is a good chance this is my last pregnancy and baby.  We won’t close the door, but we also will most likely enter the world of preventing pregnancy after this baby which is CRAZY WEIRD.  It’s also crazy lucky and I feel so grateful I can think like that.

My daughter will be just over 2 years old when her brother is born.  I think she’s going to be the best big sister.  We are the lucky ones indeed.

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And then it was lost

The last few weeks have been a blur.  We celebrated my sweet C’s first birthday mid July.  Everyone kept asking if time had flown by, and I can’t say it did.  It felt right.  Of course she’s a year old!  She’s changed so much from the tiny, mewling infant we brought home from the hospital.  She can play games with us, laugh, throw out some fake tears, and WALK.  It’s incredible.

Having #2 has never been far from mind.  From the second C was born we have known we wanted another.  Since it took us 3 years and many failed treatments to then accidentally get pregnant with her, I was nervous about how it would go.  To be frank, during her first year we didn’t have much sex.  My cycle didn’t return until she was 10 months old, and breastfeeding made sex uncomfortable for me (dirty little secret, this is common! I thought I was broken.  Nope!).  So just before she turned one we were just getting back into it.

In July I bought some OPKs but missed my surge since I wasn’t really doing them regularly and that was ok.  I knew we had kinda, maybe, sorta hit my fertile time.  That was our loose definition of “not really trying, but kinda maybe sorta we are thinking about it”.  I didn’t feel the need to BE pregnant again so soon.  I just knew that with our unpredictable track record, I’d rather not waste months without any chance at all.  So, we weren’t in an urgent rush, but I can’t say we weren’t trying.

Yes all of this lead up is to say that I got pregnant the first time we kinda, sorta, maybe tried.  We were floored.  Shocked.  Put into a stupor.  Delighted! Terrified! All of it.  I had taken a test on a whim since I thought maybe my period was 2 days late, but I wasn’t sure and I just wanted to stop thinking “hmm, where is it?  Maybe I’m pregnant? No way!”.  When two lines came up I honestly didn’t even get excited because I just figured there was no way.  I took like 3 more tests and a FRER before I realized “HOLY SHIT this is it!”.  Having 2 babies twenty months apart definitely scared me.  How would we afford this?  How would we fit ANOTHER nursery into our house?  How will C know what is happening since she’s still so little?  But then there was the side of me that thought: F*cking finally I get to be fertile!  No tears, no stress, no endless charting and timing sex.  Just plain old unprotected sex, ONCE.  It was blissful.  I was going to have a baby!  Without really trying! Awesome!

Alas.  It was not to be.  I started bleeding, cramping and I knew it was over at the first spot of blood.  I had a tiny bit of hope when it slowed down the next day, but the bloated, tight, feeling in my uterus did not feel pregnant to me.  It felt like PMS.  It was confirmed at the doctor last week.  I should have been almost 8 weeks pregnant, instead a sad, empty, 5 week sac showed up on the ultrasound.  I knew it was coming, but seeing the empty sac was still really hard.  My sweet doctor handed me a tissue as she confirmed it was a miscarriage.  I’ve lost another one.  She went on to say that chances were good I’d have a healthy pregnancy, just like after my last miscarriage.  I wanted to blurt out that that healthy pregnancy took YEARS to happen after my first miscarriage.

It just feels so unfair.  I know you all know this feeling better than anyone else, that feeling that This Shit Is Not Fair.  Why do some women get to see two lines and that means they get a baby?  Why can’t that be me?  I know, compared to SO many out there, I have a pretty happy story.  I have a wonderful daughter, I appreciate her every single damn day.  I know snuggling her daily will help me heal from this that much faster.  I am lucky.  But I am also sad.  I feel duped into thinking that I could have gotten just even MORE lucky. And then it just came crashing down.

You guys.  I felt so invincible, so fertile, I’d already bought my C a “I’m a big sister” t-shirt. I knew it was a risky move, but I chose to be confidant about it.  I just printed the return label to send it back and am kicking myself for being so silly.  I just wanted so much to believe that I might just get to be a lucky, fertile lady this time.  I just wanted to believe that my first miscarriage was a fluke and that this pregnancy would prove that.  I just wanted to be able to announce a pregnancy to our families that was filled with a shocked joy, not a hesitant “we’ll see how it goes”.

We’ll be ok.  I know this.  My awesome kiddo at home has already done wonders to soother my soul.  I almost feel like she could tell I was sad because she has been giving me some extra sweet snuggles.  Normally she is more “put me down put me down” and this weekend she spent some time just sitting with her head on my chest.  I’ll treasure that tenderness from her forever.  So while I am sad, I am also lucky to be a mama.  So very lucky to be THIS girl’s mama.  I hope I never forget that.

Returned

Well, ahem, hi there!

So I never meant to go ghost right after my sweet babe was born. But I guess most people never really mean to do that, unless they’ve written a send off post.  I have an insanely long, rambling birth story sitting in my drafts folder.  Editing it, and making sure I captured it the way I wanted, just seemed a task I never got around too. I added to it lots here and there, but I’m still a little scared to look at it!  I didn’t feel like I could come back without first putting out my birth story.  And then, well, OOPS, I never did that and now it’s been almost a whole year.  I’m sorry about the drop, I get annoyed at other bloggers who just disappear and now I’m one of the guilty.

Life has been full and happy and hectic and wonderful.  I love being a mama with every ounce of my being.  I think I always would have loved it, but spending two years desperately trying and yearning and hoping and grieving has really made it that much sweeter.  I tell my daughter every day how grateful I am to have her. I find myself whispering in her ears “I love you my angel, more than you will ever know”.  I am more patient that I ever thought I could be with another person.  She is magic, she is joy and she is mine right here on earth.  I still sometimes can’t believe it.

She turns one in just two short weeks.  I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting about this time last year, right before I gave birth.  I had a good friend who just had a baby 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been reliving my early, hazy, hard, fabulous newborn days through her.  I still feel so new at this whole mama thing, so it’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year!  Can I still say I’m a “new mom” because I sure do still feel like one.  Will that ever go away?  I’m not so sure.

I’ve kept reading along with so many of you, even though I was a delinquent poster.  So many of the wonderful ladies I followed while I struggled have welcomed babies.  It’s really amazing and it fills me with joy each time a new birth announcement comes out.  These are wanted, loved, cherished babes who are born and immediately soothe this huge pain their mamas carried around for so long.  It’s incredible to witness.  However, it does make the ache in my heart grow a bit sharper for those who are still waiting.  I am so sorry you are still waiting.  It’s not fair and I wish I could make it better. I can not wait until your pain is soothed too.

As I approach my sweet one’s 1st birthday, I am going to try to get out my birth story.  A year late is better than never right?!  I needed to clear the air first, and put out there that I will do it, so that I actually WILL do it.

Stay tuned and we’ll talk soon :).

She’s here

I’m overjoyed to share that our most precious daughter, Cora, arrived on July 16th at 1:29 am. She was 8.5lbs and 21 inches long and full of sweetness from the start. She is everything amazing I’d ever imagined and even more.

I hope to write about her birth because I’ve always found it so interesting to read what it’s really like. The short version: 18 hours long, barely avoided a c-section but have 4th degree tearing. Baby had the cord around her neck and needed the vacuum to speed her way into the world. I’m mostly just glad she’s safe and healthy, my tears will heal in time. But it was far from the ideal scenario. I am feeling pretty ok with it all though. Percosets help :).

Cora is more than I ever could have dreamed. She is quite honestly so sweet and gorgeous and just perfect. She’s sleeping, eating and snuggling and barely crying. I have no idea how we lucked out with this perfect babe but I am thankful every drowsy minute that I finally found my bebe.

Checking In

I realized that if I didn’t post an update, I’m flirting with not getting one out before this baby comes….so here we go…

I can NOT believe I am mere weeks away from meeting my daughter.  I’m just over 37 weeks now, so she really could come anytime.  I don’t think we’re close just yet, but the fact that my pregnancy days are numbered is insane.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been wrapping my head around labor and delivery and that it’s happening SOON.  It’s been really valuable to spend some head space just contemplating it.  I am feeling more and more at peace about it, instead of nervous and scared.  I’m still nervous and scared, but also much more excited to finally meet her.  

I’m also trying to spend some time savoring our lives as non-parents.  We’ve been having lazy BBQs with friends and throwing impromptu World Cup watching parties.  It’s been wonderful after the craziness of moving and buying a house and settling in, to just have some weekends where our fun list is longer than our chore list.  The chores will get done one day, but I really want to relish this time with my husband.  

Speaking of that man, I have started to get so excited to see my husband become a Dad.  Obviously, this was always high on my list of perks, but he’s been so nurturing and wonderful with me, it’s like he’s gearing up his dad-skills on me.  As I’ve gotten bigger, and slower, he’s sort of effortlessly been taking over my household tasks, and reminding me to rest, and just being so sweet and adorable.  He is clearly so so excited for her to get here so he can help with the care taking.  I’ve never had any doubt he was going to be a most wonderful father, but these last few weeks are really nailing it home for me just how lucky this little girl is.

I think I’m getting all sentimental and mushy now that pregnancy is coming to an end.  I feel so lucky.  I have no idea why, randomly in October, we were able to conceive after so much stress and trying.  I just feel incredibly grateful it happened.  I’ve had an easy pregnancy which has left me able to relax and enjoy growing my daughter.  I am just so grateful for every day of this last 37 weeks.  In some ways I’ll really miss being pregnant, though I have a feeling I’m going to love being this little one’s mom even more.  

 

My Sister, the super fertile

On this blog I’ve touched a bit here and there about my brother and his wife and their struggle with infertility.  They had a rocky road that finally brought b/g twins into their lives via IVF.  My SIL was such a comfort while I was struggling, and she and I now share a bond that none of the rest of the family really understands.

My sister, on the other hand, is apparently a rare breed of super fertile.  She has an almost three year old son, who was conceived 6 weeks after going off the pill.  She’d been on the pill for 15 years and had no concept of her natural cycle.  At the time she was living apart from her husband and everyone assumed it’d take them awhile to conceive.  Nope!  Happened right away.  My journey didn’t start until after she was pregnant, so of course I was thrilled for her.  I had my miscarriage when her son was just 6 weeks old, so his age has always been sort of a marker for how far behind we were getting.  At one point I thought we’d have kids born within a year of each other.  That became two years, which is now three.  His birthday is 2 days before my due date and he’ll be three years old.

Last summer my sister had told me that they were thinking of trying again in summer 2014 and I tensed with dread.  We were thick in the failure of multiple IUIs with no explanation to be found.  I realized I was staring down the very real possibility she would get pregnant with her 2nd before I could get pregnant with my first. I was filled with a rolling anxiety.  Of course I’d never wish fertility issues on my sister.  I was happy for her that pregnancy had come so easily for her.  But this was mixed with the heavy grief that I’d have to welcome a new niece or nephew while struggling so mightily.  I’d been through it with many babies outside the family, but not within my own immediate family.  The thought was enough to bring immediate tears to my eyes.

Thankfully, as you know, I got pregnant this past fall.  I’m 34 weeks now and staring down mere weeks until I am a mother myself.  So this dreaded family issue was solved for me quite nicely, for which I’m thankful.  My sister was visiting in April and mentioned SEVERAL times that she was finishing her pills and then they were going to try.  She kept mentioning this to me and I kept thinking what a mistake it was to announce to everyone you were going to start trying.  I knew it would make things so much worse if it happened to take her only a few months to get pregnant this time.  My SIL and I kind of chuckled about her fertile-naivety.  You can probably guess what happened next.  My sister stopped her birth control pills at the beginning of May.  She called me on Friday, May 30th and told me she was pregnant, she’d taken a test that morning.

This news went over much better since I am currently about to give birth to my own kid, of course.  But I have to admit, a part of me still stung with grief about the unfairness of it all. We’re so closely related, yet it was SO hard for me and SO easy for her.  I’d never wish her to follow in my path, but I have to say I did sort of secretly wish it would have taken her at least a few months.  Just so she could know what trying for multiple months was like and perhaps get a small window into what my life was like for over 2 years.  I’d never tell her this, of course.  I know she feels a bit of “fertile” guilt, being the only one in the family to be able to snap her fingers and make a baby.  I don’t want to make that worse, because it won’t solve anything.  She’s lucky!  She should revel in her good fortune to actually, you know, be able to control her births.  But obviously this has brought up some conflicting emotions for me.  However I’m mostly trying to concentrate on the awesome side of it all which is my baby will have a cousin within a year of her birth.  I’d spent so long watching my nieces and nephews get older and further away from the stage of life my kids will be, and it made me sad.  My first pregnancy I was so excited would be so close in age to my sister’s baby.  In some ways, it’s a comfort that I’m still getting that cousin-close-in-age, it’s just with each of our 2nd pregnancies.

I guess the take away here is that the wounds of infertility run deep.  Even though I’ve felt so healed and content during this pregnancy, there are still things that can remind me of my past pain.  And, I think this is obvious, I am SO grateful that I was hearing this news while big with child.  Pregnancy might not erase all wounds, but it sure as hell does help…

 

30 weeks (?!) and new homeowners

I can not believe that I am here, 30 weeks pregnant.  I have to say, after the long first 16 weeks or so, once I hit 20 weeks things have been FLYING by.  Part of that is because we have been so insanely busy.  We bought a house, did a bunch of work to it, and moved in last weekend.  Moving while 29 weeks pregnant wasn’t so bad, mainly because I didn’t carry a thing but the broom, but *packing* while 29 weeks pregnant was not fun at all.  Repeatedly bending over to put all of our stuff into boxes really wore me down.  I have been SO tired for the last two weeks and I think it’s a combination of being so busy and of officially slamming into that 3rd trimester wall everyone talks about.  I didn’t even realize how much energy I had in the 2nd trimester until it was gone.  I have never felt like running a marathon, but I used to be able to keep my eyes open past 10pm.  Those days are long gone.

However, life is truly, really, wonderful.  We run errands non-stop on the weekend trying to get our house in order.  It’s a million little things like new shower curtain rods, towel racks and a nice new kitchen trashcan combined with big things like buying a dining room table and chairs.  We are bleeding money at an alarming rate.  We’ve been saving saving saving our pennies for this very time in our lives, so we have the money to spend, but it’s still disconcerting to spend almost $1000 at Target in one week (EEEKK!).  I mean, yikes.  But we need stuff!  And for so long I’ve put off buying anything new for our little apartment in the city because I knew one day we’d have a house and I’d want to choose something that worked in the house, not our apt.

On that note, I think that’s something that contributed to my infertility depression.  I knew it at the time, but just didn’t see a way out of it.  We really put our home life on hold.  We stopped house hunting once we realized a pregnancy wasn’t coming as easily as we thought it would.  That put a huge portion of our lives on hold.  We loved our city apartment, we loved living in our awesome neighborhood, but I did feel stalled in that place for 2 years.  I wouldn’t even buy new throw pillows because I knew we’d have a new couch one day and I’d want to buy new ones for that.  Plus, I had no where to store the old ones, and I didn’t want to get rid of them completely.  So we lived, for years, with throw pillows I pretty much hated.  You can see how stacking up things on the list of “Things We Can Only Do Once We Are Pregnant” is not a wise move.  Alas, over time, that list grew and grew and grew and month after month the unhappiness about it grew too.  In some ways, I’m glad to get it all done now that we do have a house.  But in other ways, looking back, I wish I’d allowed myself a bit more peace in the space we occupied for so long.  I’m not sure what I’d do differently, but I know I am so happy to finally be moving forward with these parts of my life.  It’s a bit like things are on *fast* forward, but that’s okay, I’ll take it.

Things with the bebe are fabulous.  I had an ultrasound last week and she was looking so big!  She’s head down currently, which is where I’m hoping she’ll stay.  The tech estimated her as about 3.5 lbs.  I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how she will (most likely) more than double in size over the next 10 weeks and it’s blowing my mind.  I feel pretty big already!  I sort of love it though, getting to this stage where I am perhaps saying good bye to my cutest pregnant days.  I have been waiting for so long to be huge and pregnant, I’m ready for it.  Even if my booty seems to be growing at a similar rate (scary) I am still pretty in love with being pregnant.  I’d read it a million times before I was pregnant, but there is nothing more amazing than being able to feel your little one move inside you.  When I wake up at night to pee, I usually wake her up too, and when I lay back down she does a little jig for me.  It’s annoying because I am trying to sleep, but I really do love it.  It lets me know she’s thriving and growing and getting stronger, and I’d gladly lose sleep for those reasons.

I am so thankful to be where I am.  I feel beyond lucky to have landed the amazing husband that I have, to have the family that I do, to be in a charming house we saved so hard for and most of all, for the privilege of bringing this little girl into the world.  While I’m nervous about labor, I am mostly starting to get so so excited to meet this awesome creature we made.