{Infertile Me} Hail Mary

Every IVF cycle I started was filled with hope until the seams started to rip and disappointment seeped it’s way in. Positives were met with negative outcomes. Yet somehow in the darkest moments I still clung to the tiniest shred of hope that my turn would come. That I too would get to carry a child. That I too would finally get to be called “mom.”

As the months rolled on it looked less and less likely that motherhood would be in my cards. I racked up a list of failures no one wants to have. One still birth. Two miscarriages. Three failed IUIs. Three IVF cycles, two of which were canceled due to poor response. The words “gestational carrier” were uttered last spring and I began to look at door eggs/embryos and adoption as my options for motherhood. Yet my gut thought otherwise and she made a Hail Mary appointment at Mayo.

My heart wasn’t ready for Mayo. She had her mind set on donor embryos in Iowa. Yet she entertained her gut and heard her out, because it doesn’t hurt to just see. To just see what Mayo had to say about their fertility. Turns out, I still have viable eggs and all of my hormone levels are on point for a 37 year old woman. Though the odds are terribly stacked against me, Mayo still approved me for treatment.

Unlike the other clinics, Mayo left no stone unturned for they understand this is my last shot at motherhood. For the first time on my journey a pelvic MRI was ordered and the results spoke volumes. I always felt like I might have endometriosis and/or an underlying issue with my uterus due to a 2010 perforation. The other docs dismissed my concerns and told me “research doesn’t support an impact on fertility, you will be fine.” But I wasn’t fine, my body was silently screaming for help and no one listened to her.

I met with Dr. K who specializes in endometriosis removal to go over my MRI results. He first showed me what my fucked up cervical canal looks like and then asked “are you ready to see yourself light up like a Christmas tree!?” He was way more excited about it than I was. He clicked to the next imagine and said “all that is glowing is endometriosis, you have one of the most severe cases I have ever seen.” The endometriosis is wide spread as it is in my abdominal & pelvic cavities. He went on to explain that if it was just the endometriosis he would be in support of me going through with IVF. My heart sank and I was thankful for the mask so he couldn’t see my expression.

The endometriosis wasn’t the worst of my problems. Adenomyosis was my new enemy. Adenomyosis is where the uterine lining growing deep into the muscle tissue of the uterus. It turns the tissue into a cork like consistency and makes it harder for an embryo to properly implant. He went on to explain that embryos that implant in a uterus with Adenomyosis tend to have smaller placentas and poor blood flow to the placenta. My heart sank again, our sweet Emmett’s demise was due to a smaller than normal placenta for his gestational age. The poor kid never had a chance, the embryo most likely landed on a spot of Adenomyosis.

I asked if the Adenomyosis was something new. My heart had to ask that, it needed to be reassured that this wasn’t the cause behind Emmett’s demise. Dr. K said “no this isn’t new, it most likely resulted from the 2010 uterine perforation. I died inside, The previous clinic had transferred our embryos into a toxic environment. Dr. K went on to explain that I was lucky because the Adenomyosis was localized and the bad spots can be cut out. This was good news to me, all be it risky, it was good.

Dr. K was extremely detailed when he explained both the Adenomyosis and endometriosis surgeries and what my odds of a successful pregnancy are. Dr. K explained that I should consider doing a retrieval cycle fist as I have diminished ovarian reserve and during the surgery he will need to cut open my left ovary to remove a few endiotomas which will cause my follicle count to plummet. After he gave me the bad news, he did something no other doctor has done before, he said “now it’s time for AJ to call the shots. People have made choices for you in the past. We are not going to do that here. You dear are in the drivers seat and we are here to help you get to your destination.”

I about cried. It’s true I’ve never had a say in my IVF treatments before. It’s always been “you will do this and that’s it.” In my gut I knew there was only one option so I uttered, I want to try with my own eggs. Can I do a retrieval first, freeze whatever embryos we get, and then do the removal surgeries? “YES! That is a wonderful plan AJ, I like how you think.”

I left that day with a renewed sense of hope and a tiny ping of anger in my heart. Mostly I’m angry at CCRM. Angry because they noted in my chart “suspected endometriosis” and did nothing to investigate it. All of this could have been taken care of in 2017, who knows maybe I’d have my mini me by now. I cannot hold on to anger for long, as anger harbors stress. I let myself feel the anger and then I let it go. Emmett would want his mama to do that, to let that shit go. I don’t have time for grudges. I have no hard feelings about Iowa, at the end of the day I was to complicate for Dr. Young and the last words he said to me were “if anyone can get you pregnant it’s Mayo.”

Mayo is our fourth clinic and I finally feel at ease with the care I am about to receive. Knowing that I have a hand in the treatment makes a big difference. This is our Hail Mary, we have a lot riding on this retrieval cycle and I pray to everything holy that we end up with viable day 5 embryos that lead to a baby in our arms.

{Lucia} Double Digits

How can it already be ten years? Ten years since I heard your heart beat, held you in my womb, and saw you on ultrasound. You my son, have had ten glorious birthdays with the King of Kings. You’ve welcomed your brothers and looked on as your mom continues the fight for a baby she can keep.

My heart, she still aches for you. You are and will always be my first son. You are the soul that brought me hope, the soul that brought me more strength than I could ever image, and mostly you are the soul who taught me to hold onto faith. You are the child that I prayed for, you were the silver lining to my storm, yet God needed your more. He called you home before my heart was ready. A piece of my heart went to heaven and I walk this earth with a broken heart. For I gave my son back to God, he was simply to beautiful for earth.

I often wonder Lucia what you would look like, would you have my curls or your dads black hair? Would your laughter be filled with warmth or would you be a soul filled with quite? Would you be a gamer like your dad or would you have your mother’s wanderlust? Your voice? How I long to hear it. Your smile will always be a mystery to me. These questions will go unanswered until my name is called and I can wrap my arms around you. How I long for that day, the day I get to hold you in my arms and never let go.

Letting go of you was the hardest thing I had to do. No mother should ever hear the words “I’m sorry, there is no heart beat.” Those words killed the dreams I had for you and I turned away from God. I was angry, I was hurt, I wanted my silver lining. Instead, I got brokenness. With time my anger faded and my faith began to seep into the darkness, it cleared the way for the light. The light allowed me to see that I am the daughter of the King and your death was apart of HIS plan. My faith is because of you. Your little soul renewed your mama’s faith and that is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. You are the gift that I never planned for. Your life although short, matters more than you will ever know. My baby, you will always be.

Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen, I love you more than you will ever know, you were desperately wanted and you are deeply missed. You were the child I planned for and I will love you for all of my days. From heaven to earth my love knows no bounds. Happy 10th Birthday Lucia, my son you will always be.

{2020} Wiping the Dust Off

“Walks around dusting of the blog……. wipes her hands on her jeans. Ahhh there we go!” Now we can work with this! I admit, this blog of mine has been collecting dust as I busily live life out loud. I am in the process of learning to live in the here and now, without the sudden urges to document everything that’s going on in m my life.

Yet, my soul knows how much my fingers love to touch the keys and with each stroke my words translate into a hope that I can’t even begin to understand. This blog of mine is a source of comfort, triumph, laughter, and lastly a source of hope for those on their way to parenthood. This is a safe place where I can share and where my sharing resonates with you and in turn you said “damn, me too.” This place will always exist for us and I promise to be better about sharing with all of you.

The journey is forever changing. When I think I am on the right path it switches on me and I end up on foreign ground. The path to parenthood isn’t always a straight line. For some of us it’s a switchback up a mountain with more lows than highs. This summer we were certain foster to adopt would be our path to parenthood. But my heart she wasn’t ready to let go of what her soul yearned for. Deep down my soul knows I am meant to carry a child into this world. To prove that against all odds science and God will triumph.

Somewhere in Iowa a couple went through IVF and they decided that their family is complete. That couple decided that they wanted to pay their blessing forward. Instead of letting their embryos sit in a cryobank for eternity they chose to donate life. The embryos are donated to the University of Iowa’s donor embryo program and we are on list one. List one gets served first (couples with no living children and/or pregnancy) and we are waiting for the day we get the call telling us it’s our turn. With a little luck their leftover embryo will become our take home baby.

If our IVF story would have turned out differently, we had planned on giving our leftover embryos to a donor embryo bank. We wanted to pay it forward and let someone else have a chance at holding a baby in their arms. Being on the receiving end of Embryo Donation is a path I never thought I’d go down. Yet here we are, putting one foot in front of the other moving closer to parenthood. Our turn, is just a phone call away and my heart cannot wait to finally grasp that rainbow.

{Boudoir} Celebrating Me

Ten borrowed years have passed since I heard the words “massive pulmonary embolism with infarction and stroke.” My body may be scarred, but she is beautiful. She had to break, before I could shine.

Nine years have passed since the first time I heard the words “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat.” My womb may be broken, but her body is strong. She has created life and swaddled them in death. Her babies they will always be.

I have put my body through hell in the fight for motherhood. She went into battle and carried me on my hardest days. She’s taken 100s of shots to the abdomen and held out hope that the eggs would grow. In the spring she heard the words “your journey is done.” She held her head high. Yet, she still believes in the dream that one day her weary arms will hold a baby of her own.

I was angry with the body I saw in the mirror. The body didn’t fit the mold. It couldn’t carry life to term. It could no longer run or even breathe in the cold. My body is broken and bruised. Yet there I was standing tall in front of a mirror. My body had more faith in me than I did. She believed and so I did.

In July I bought my first bikini in over 15 years. I wore it proudly at the pool. No one made comments or sneered. I found confidence that I didn’t know I had.

Somewhere along the way I must of felt brave and signed on a mailing list to get more info on a boudoir session. In late July I got an email looking for models for outdoor boudoir shoots. In an act of boldness I responded to the email and to my surprise I got chosen. I talked myself out of replying a million times over. Yet I dug deep and before I knew it I was on the phone with Alyssa from Illuminate Boudoir talking about my session. I chose to do my shoot at Wisconsin Point at the end of September.

You may be wondering why did I choose Wisconsin Point? The answer is simple, healing and connection. When I look out at the vast lake I can feel the courage and strength of my ancestors. I am the descendent of Voyagers who crossed the ocean in the name of exploration and progress. I think about the courage it took to paddle their canoes across the mighty lake to the land of the unknown. As I stand on her shores I think about my very Great Grandmother Chief Sky Woman who fell in love and married one of those voyagers. This lake runs through my soul like blood does through my veins. It’s where my family began. Lake Superior will always be apart of me and my soul will always belong to her.

Healing, this big lake of ours has healed me in more ways than I could ever explain. I have cried tears, filled the air with laughter, and just sat quietly on her shores. We stood on her shore and said good bye to our sweet son Emmett as her waves swallowed his stone turtles. She took on the grief that I could not contain. She took my anger, my sadness, guilt, and replaced it with peace. This mighty lake of ours heals me and allows me to come away renewed. So this place was the perfect place to live boldly through boudoir.

Alyssa made me feel safe and loved through out the entire process. She explains everything throughly and goes out of her way to make sure that you are comfortable. I told Alyssa that I wanted my portraits to feel strong yet feminine. I wanted them to capture me as a human and not just me as the survivor. She understood and we planned for the end of September.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weather day. It was perfect, unlike my makeup. When I walked out of the cosmetic bar I was feeling defeated. The girl who did my makeup didn’t do a good job and I head to Walgreens to get supplies to fix it. I did my best, yet I still didn’t feel like me. I contemplated canceling the shoot. But I didn’t, I decided to just go with it and headed to the coffee shop to meet Alyssa. As soon as I saw Alyssa she reassured me that I looked beautiful and that everything was going to be just fine. Those words, her words were just what I needed to hear.

Alyssa = magical. It’s hard to explain but she is the ultimate confidence whisperer. She just makes you feel incredible in front of her camera. So incredible to the point that you kind of forget that you are outdoors on a public beach posing in your underwear. Alyssa puts a lot of thought into everything that she does during the shoot to ensure that you have a beautiful experience. She took the time to show me how to pose and would direct me on where/how to look. My favorite line she said was “ok, now a little smile for yourself.”

“Smile for yourself” sums up this entire experience. The boudoir shoot was for me and me alone. I drove away from Wisconsin Point feeling incredible and so full of light. That day is a day I will always treasure. The feelings I felt and the confidence I gained will carry me for the rest of my days.

Going into reveal day I had mix emotions as I was worried about how I’d look with all the makeup. I can hands down tell you that Alyssa did not disappoint. Seeing my portraits for the first time got me right in the feels and teary eyed. It took me a second to realize that I was actually the girl in the photos. My photos were so full of life and light, I could barely believe that they were mine. Each one had a different feel from feminine to serious, to a little naughty and I loved them all. I walked out of Alyssa’s studio with portraits in hand and a new dose of self love in my pocket. She empowered me to view myself in a whole new light and I am going to let that little light shine.

Truth: Boudoir is for everyone! If you have a body, then you my friend have a boudoir body. I went into my session filled with insecurities around my double chin and lovely large ankles. Alyssa knew exactly what poses would work for my body and the end result was beautiful. If I can do boudoir, than YOU CAN do boudoir too!

If you would like to schedule your own boudoir session visit: http://www.illuminateboudoir.com for more information. I promise you will not regret it!

Now for the incredible photos!

{Hearts on 22} TEN Incredible Borrowed Years

On October 22, 2009 my life, it changed forever. I woke up that morning as a healthy 26 year old and within hours I was admitted to the ICU at Woodwinds. I almost died five days before my 27th birthday. This life that I live, is an incredible borrowed gift.

I have lived 10 borrowed years on this earth and it hasn’t been easy. Surviving is the easy part. Living as a survivor is the hard part. To this day I still have immense survivor’s guilt. According to statistics four people had to die so that I could be the one out of five who lived. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Because I know anyone of those four if given a chance would take my seat. This life I live is not for me, it is for the four who no longer have a life. I carry those four wherever I go and thank God every day that I got to be the one out of five.

Ten years ago I asked God constantly “why the fuck me? What did I do to deserve this? Do you not like me?” To this day those questions remain unanswered. Not getting an answer allowed me to flip my perspective and ask God “why not me?” God put me through my darkest hour in order to break me so that I could shine. In that one moment of disaster he birthed my purpose…. “to find myself and to fight for a healthier tomorrow.” I had to break, before she could SHINE.

Tomorrow is not a given. Since October 22, 2009 I have lived 3,665 borrowed tomorrows. Every morning I wake up and face the sun, I thank God. Seeing the sun means he’s not done with me yet. I still have a purpose and we still have work to do.

I have lived 5,263,200 borrowed minutes. Those minutes turned into hours, which turned into days, that turned into years. Ten years of survivorhood. I wish I could say it’s been all rainbows and unicorns. But it hasn’t, I’ve had really good days along with terribly bad days too. It’s the bad days that allow me to dance on the good days. The bad days allow me to heal and savor all that is good in my life. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world.

Life, I have shoved a large amount of life into the past ten years. I am that friend who always says yes to new adventures and days where we just gossip on the couch with wine. The slow moments are where I find my zen. In the busy moments I’m thankful for every beat of my heart. I’m thankful for what my body can still do and savor the smallest of victories.

I am more than a survivor. All to often we forget that survivors are human just like everyone else. We are not invincible nor do we strive to be. I have hopes and dreams just like you. The only difference is, I’ve lived through the unthinkable and came out on the other side. God broke me, before I could shine.

I’ve learned to live in my skin and not hope for what society says I should be. I’m a girl who likes her cheese curds, brats, whiskey and cupcakes. I am more than the number on my waist band. This size 18 body of mine has been through hell and back. It survived the impossible and continues to defy the odds. She may be scarred, battered, and bruised, but she is 100% mine. Every scar tells a story, every bruise has meaning, and we found beauty in the fight. The fight to survive another day in this borrowed life.

{Photo by – Illuminate Boudoir Portraits}

I live this life for my sons Lucia, Baby E and Emmett who went to soon. There leaving changed my life forever and it’s in their names that I choose to live to the fullest. They are with me always, my sons they will always be. They have given me the strength to not give up on this thing we call motherhood. I have faith that my turn is still coming and that one day this weary body of mine will hold a baby in her arms.

This life that I live is to honor the four who lost theirs, so that I could be the one who walked away. Those four allowed me to become a mom to 3 babies in heaven. Because of their leaving, I got to live to be an auntie to Sophia & Jack. I got to live to love again. Because of them I got to live the life I was always meant to live. A life filled with love, adventure, and more laughter than one soul could handle.

Laughter is what got me through the bad days. Cullen my trusty muppet like dog keeps me laughing. Cullen’s antics and chirp like bark will make anyone giggle. Getting a dog was the best medicine that I ever took. He gave me purpose and was the reason I kept going. Because without me, he would have no one in this world. He got me out of the house and together we broke through our shells to become the souls we were always meant to be. We are an unstoppable team of underdogs with a big bite. This little dog of mine rescued me and for that I am grateful. He is mine and I will always be his.

This borrowed life of mine has filled me to the brim with gratitude. I’ve spent the past 10 years advocating for our healthy tomorrows. I’ve stood on the steps of the capital building giving my testimony to the nation that affordable quality health care should be a right and not for the privileged. I’ve wept in front of congressmen/women asking them to ensure that someone else gets a tomorrow just like I did. I’ve held the hands of survivors as they shared their journey. I have hugged the parents of the warriors who left this world to soon. I’ve been on billboards, in TV commercials, fashion shows, and I will not stop until there are none. I will not stop until there are none, because no woman deserves to fight alone. My one moment of disaster sparked my purpose and I’m not done yet.

To sum it up the past 10 years have taught me one thing: to live boldly. Time is a great teacher, she taught me to be strong and to dig deep for that last little shred of courage. I look back and think “wow, I lived all of it and each stone led me to where I was always meant to be.” The good, the bad, the ugly, and down right funny moments all belong to me. My Pulmonary Embolism and stroke taught me strength. My first marriage taught me to never compromise who you are for a man. Charlie, Charlie taught me that when the darkness fades love finds away in. Charlie loved me until his last breath and he prepared my heart to love again. My heart though broken loves Jay unconditionally and without question. He is my exact opposite yet equal. Jay can calm me within seconds and make me laugh until I can’t breathe. Jay held me during the loss of our babies and believes in my little dream called parenthood. He dares me to push myself into the unknown and for that I am grateful. This love that we live was always meant to be.

If anything my borrowed time on this earth has taught me one thing: I’m not in control. Just when I think I have all my ducks in a row, one wanders off to the bar. For awhile I was afraid to just be in the here and now. That quiet voice would whisper, “this is to good, the bottom is going to fall out .” I wasted so much time waiting and plotting for the good to end. I did this because I didn’t believe that I deserved to be happy and at peace with everything. I found the strength to quiet that voice and to allow myself to just be. I as a human have to do my best to soak in every moment like it’s my last. For this life I live is not a guarantee for my years are borrowed. It’s a beautiful disaster, a disaster that’s mine and mine alone.

My advice:

Be bold and live without fear. Take that trip. Fall in love. Adopt a dog. Drink that glass of wine. Call your parents and check in with your besties. This life is yours to live and you can either do it boldly or you can hide in your own shadow. The choice is yours my friend.

{Road Trip} To Montana You Go!

Back in November my Dad was ran over by a car while walking through a grocery store parking lot. My heart sank when we got the news that his left knee was shattered and that there was a chance he wouldn’t fully recover. It’s been seven months since the accident and he is slowly getting better. He now has a healthy fear of parking lots and a bum leg. Slow and steady is how we move in our new normal. A normal that still contains road trips.

In the past he would follow me anywhere. It didn’t matter how far or how high, he was always there right by my side. This trip was different. I had to think about walking distances and terrain. I had to ask myself “can dad walk to this? Can he climb these stairs? Can we drive up to it or…..” Those thoughts echoed over and over in my head as we drove closer to Montana. I wanted to make this trip accessible for him and not have him wonder if he could do something.

There were many times where I went ahead as he took his time or sat on a bench awaiting my return. My heart broke a little each time I walked away from him. A daughter should never have to leave her father behind. This is our reality now, he is never going to be the same crazy active 67 year old that he was. In this season in life I will enjoy the Dad that I still have and be thankful to God for what he can do.

The internet told me that dinosaurs once existed in Montana. So naturally I put on my dinosaur t-shirt and headed west. We stoped in at the Glendive Dinosaur Museum in Glendive MT. The museum is small yet well executed. The staff is knowledgeable and extremely friendly. Now I should warn you this museum isn’t for everyone due to its religious undertones. The founders of the museum do not believe in evolution and they believe that Noah brought baby dinosaurs on the arch (pretty cool theory if you ask me). The theory of Creation is sprinkled through our the museum in a very tasteful way.

We said goodbye to the dinosaurs and continued westward. Destination: The Battle of Little Bighorn Battlefield. I have watched numerous documentaries on the Battle of Little Bighorn and to see it in person just takes your breath away. As the wind swirls around you, you can start to imagine the battle on the land before you. As you look around you start to wonder “why this land? Look at all of these hills, no wonder the union troops lost.” A single stone with a black shield sticks out among the small white stones. This stone, isn’t a stone for a regular soldier, this stone is Custard’s. As you travel through the grounds you will notice clusters of stones through out the fields. A white stone marks the place of where a union soldier fell. There are also red stones but those are few, the red stones mark where a warrior fell in battle.

The park closes at 6PM each night and with that we decided to mosey on to our next stop. Google told me about Pictograph Cave Park and I was excited to see it in person. If you are an out of state resident $6 gets in to the park. The trail to the cave is a little steep but paved. There are cameras everywhere along with signs telling you vandalism is a crime. Not to mention a sign warning you of rattle snakes.

The Cave was bigger than I thought it was going to be and it was beautiful. If you take a moment to readjust your eyes the pictographs start to pop out at you. Red warriors painted to the left, along with guns, Buffalo, and a funny looking guy with a shield. This land was sacred to them and they forever left their mark that withstood the test of time.

The beartooth pass is something I googled and googled and googled again. I stalked the MTD’s website for any updates about the roads opening for the season. Per the website the planned 2019 opening was Memorial Day weekend and I could wait! I even watched videos of MTD clearing the snow from the pass.

Lucky for us the pass was OPEN! But only halfway open! We didn’t care so long as we got to go. This road is a white knuckle you better pee before you get on it road. And just incase you are wondering my Prius did just fine on the pass. I have no words for how beautiful this road is. Snow capped mountains and vistas that go on for days! My dad even threw a snowball or two, thankfully it didn’t hit any cars below.

From the pass we drove to Yellowstone National Park….. this is where our adventure came to an abrupt end. The below photo is the only thing we saw in Yellowstone. As soon as we paid our $35 fee to get into the park, my rear breaks went out and we had to limp it back to Billings. In which by the grace of God I happened to catch a mechanic on Saturday night and he took pity on us and agreed to fix my car. Top Tech Automotive in Billings MT was amazing and I am so grateful that the owner Darren gave up his Sunday to help us out.

With new rear breaks installed we hit the road and started heading back east. We stopped off at Pompey’s Pillar and I climbed up the steps to look at Clark’s signature. Lewis & Clark stopped at the pillar and named it after an Indian guide named Pompey. The Indians also used the pillar as a bat signal. They would go to the top and send smoke signals to warn near by tribes that the whites were coming.

The walk up the pillar is easy. There are wooden steps that take you to two different viewpoints. There is a park ranger stationed at the signature to make sure no one damages it.

From here we continued on our journey back east and we made a quick stop at Theodore Rosevelt Park, ND Badlands.

Jamestown is home to the sacred white buffalo and the National American Buffalo Museum. The museum was closed on Memorial Day so we strolled through the frontier village which has goats!

We said goodbye to ND and continued east to home sweet home, Minnesota, this trip wasn’t what we expected but even in chaos we found adventure. My dad was excited about taking his first Uber ride and we discovered that MT is filled with a lot of kind folks who take putty on weary travelers.

{Lucia} Happy 9th Birthday

It’s hard for me to believe that you would be nine this year. It doesn’t seem like nine years have past since you’ve left this earth. My heart sings your song daily and I forever wonder who you’d be today.

My love for you has never ceased, my son you will always be. You Lucia made me a mother. A mother to a child I never got to hold. A child I never got to raise. I’ve been cheated out of hearing the sound of your laughter, your first words or watching you take your first steps. I wonder if you would have loved dinosaurs as much as I do or if you’d be reserved like your father. If you would have my curls or your dad’s dark brown eyes. These things will always be a mystery to me. Your life although short changed mine forever. You may be gone form this earth but your light shines bright. Your spirit is strong and you my son are with me always.

Your death consumed more than just me and your dad, it includes your big brother too. You Luica made Nylan a big brother. He was so excited for you and he desperately wanted to name you Kevin. My heart broke into a thousand pieces on the day that I told him you died. Watching the hope and love drain from Nylan’s little body cut through me like a knife. No child should have to learn that not all babies come home. He was yours and you are his. His little brother you will always be.

You had the role of little brother for five years until Baby E promoted you to big brother. I can only imagine what that day looked like in heaven. I bet you are an amazing big brother who looks out for his siblings. That you my sweet son showed Baby E the way and that the two of you welcomed Emmett. That the three of you are as thick as thieves causing shenanigans in Heaven. You will always be my first, my first son who gave me the strength to try over and over again for a living child. You are and will always be the hope that carries me for all of my days.

You my son grew my heart so big that I was able to give three pieces of it back to God. One day I will give the last final piece to Instant kid. Lucia your death did not make me weak, it made me strong. Your death did not break my heart, it made it grow ten sizes to big. Because of you Lucia I live this life. For I know you did not get to live an earthly life. Instead you got eternity before your feet even hit the ground.

Happy 9th Birthday my sweet son❤️

Alucious Gregory Beaulieu Cohen

Born sleeping 5/13/2010

{Infertile Me} Instant Kid

Last Sunday I left for Iowa full of hope. Hope that our mini IVF cycle was going to be our ticket to parenthood. My first scan on Monday revealed six mighty follicles and I was excited. A phone call that afternoon took the wind out of my sails. My estrogen only went from 32 to 41 which means the follicles were most likely empty. Dr. Y gave me the choice to throw in the towel or continue on.

I choose to continue my cycle with a recheck on Wednesday. Cullen and I made the best of our stay in Iowa and enjoyed the warm weather. Wednesday came and I walked in to the scan so full of hope. Hope that somehow some way this was going to work out. My six mighty follicles were still growing and I had one lead at 20mm. I left the office with a mix of hope and fear.

Winter sent her last bast to the Midwest and my 3.5 hour drive turned into 6. The clinic called with my results, my estrogen only went up to 101 and Dr. Y canceled my cycle. I was heart broken. I wanted to give this cycle everything I had and I begged for them to let me go to retrieval. The answer was no. No because my estrogen should be in the thousands and not at 101. The likelihood of us actually getting any eggs was slim to none. In less than two years my egg quality went from great to poor. Poor eggs do not grow to healthy embryos that lead to take home babies.

In my heart I knew it was time to move on to frozen donor eggs. I called the clinic asking about cycle pricing and what it would all entail. Dr. Y recommended that we use a surrogate and denied my request to transfer the embryos to me. He said that with my age and medical history a surrogate was the best way to get our baby. I was heart broken. This man was willing to transfer my own embryos back to me, but when it came to donor egg embryos he said surrogate only. Dr. Banfield laid everything on the table (strain on my body, age, history of repeat loss, and clotting history) and second Dr. Y’s recommendation. In that moment I felt defeated.

All of the hope I had left my body and all I wanted to do was shrivel up and wish the world away. My heart was broken. My body failed me and because of that my chance at motherhood of a living child slipped through my fingers. Sure, I could search for another clinic and go forward with donor eggs. But deep down in my gut I knew I was done. I have exhausted all avenues with my own body and it’s time to move on.

Move on to an instant kid. I have always felt called to adoption. To raise a child that wasn’t of my own flesh and blood. A child that needs a home filled with love and adventure. When I was little I was obsessed with cabbage patch dolls. I loved that they came with names and adoption certificates. Edith May and Thelma Louise are safely tucked on a shelf in my childhood closet. My parents kept them for me. They had hope that one day I would hand them down to my daughter. That hope is still there and in my heart I know that our child is out there just waiting for us to bring him or her home. Jay and I are moving forward with foster to adopt.

{Infertile Me} Age With A Side of Eggs

We started February’s cycle filled with hope. A hope that was quickly dashed when I heard the words “Dr. Y thinks it’s best to cancel this cycle and start over.” My body which is now two years older than before was not responding to the meds. After four days of stims I only had two lead follicles and Dr. Y didn’t like those odds. The nurse told me that Dr. Y wanted to try a different approach on my next cycle. We trusted his decision and appreciated the fact that he called it instead of having us go through a retrieval that could have resulted in zero eggs.

Hearing the word “canceled” made for a long drive back to Minneapolis. In my heart I felt defeated and in that moment I lost hope. Tears fell as the miles ticked by. I was angry at my body and I felt like I failed Jay. This was suppose to be our turn; our Hail Mary and it fucking failed. Somewhere between Iowa and the MN boarder the tears stopped and hope bubbled through. I was down; but I was not out. We still had options and I let my heart turn to donor eggs.

When I got home I of course cried some more and then I ate some Tasty Tacos with Jay. We discussed the what if’s and I muttered the words “donor eggs” to him. I wanted to ask the doctor if it was the right fit for us and find out the cost. Jay and I were in agreement that it didn’t hurt to ask. We both realized that we want a life with a child who will come visit us when we are old. So if donor eggs got us that life then that is what we would do.

When I asked Dr. Y about donor eggs he was upfront and said “we are not there yet.” He went on to explain that my age caught up to me and that older women respond better to less meds. Which seemed strange to me but I trust his over thirty years of expertise and so less meds it is. I will be on a mix of Femora and Menopur with a little Cetrotide to prevent me from ovulating on my own. And of course my old pal Lovenox will be involved in this party. Even though I am on less meds the risk for blood clots is still there and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take on. Hopefully this combo will lead us to many follicles that will contain mature eggs.

It’s a crap shoot that’s for sure; but we are not ready to give up. If this protocol doesn’t work we will then move on to donor eggs. Which for some it isn’t the right option; however for us it maybe our only option for parenthood. I have given it a lot of thought and I am at a place where I can accept that our baby will not genetically be mine. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make for our take home baby. For now in this place it doesn’t matter what egg the baby comes form so long as it’s born alive and healthy. We just want a good egg that will turn into an embryo that leads to our take home baby.

{Emmett James} Asleep in Heavenly Peace

In my heart I knew this day was coming. I watched the days tick by as the months moved forward on the calendar. March 5, 2018 you were born into this world sleeping and my heart was broken once more. Emmett James you left this world with more love than your soul could ever handle. You were wanted. You were needed; yet God our God needed you more.

My heart still wonders who you would have been. Would you look like your mama with a head full of curls or would you have your dad’s eyes. Would you giggle at your muppet like dog or would you frown when Dexter’s tail crossed your face. Would you have your Grandmas wrapped around your finger or would you be toddling after your Papa with eyes filled with wonder. I dream of the outfits you never got to wear and the steps you never got to take.

I dream of the life you never got to live. Emmett my dear you were cheated and so were we. We were cheated out of a lifetime together and because of that our hearts will be forever broken. Your life though short taught us to have faith and to believe in miracles. You my son were the child that we had prayed for and you were worth the struggle. Our baby you will always be.

Emmett’s turtles were thrown in Lake Superior

I walk this earth with a broken heart; because three piece of it rest in heaven. Apart of me was jealous when you left. Jealous because you got to meet your brothers before I did. I have no doubt that Lucia and Baby E were waiting for you and now you are the big three causing trouble in heaven. I can only imagine what you three are up to. This life I live is for you and I will carry you with me for all of my days. My babies you will always be.

Emmett’s beach

If I had to do this all over again; we would always choose you Emmett James. You are ours and we are forever yours. Our baby you will always be.