{Infertile Me} “IVF Got This”

A couple days ago I stood in front of the fridge looking for available magnets to pin up Christmas cards. I knew on the side four magnets held our “operation embryo” calendar. September is when we started this journey. It seems like a life time ago where we spent part of our mornings carefully mixing injections and trying to find the least bruised spot on my belly. Five times. For a week I was getting five different shots a day. Three in the morning and two at night. Every prick was in hope that my follicles were growing strong eggs that would turn into our embryos.

IVF is not for everyone. It’s overwhelming and there are to many variables to count. It’s stressful. It’s painful. It’s emotional and though the bruises will fade your body will never really be the same. Fear sits with hope as you struggle to come to terms with all available outcomes. I was afraid that I wouldn’t get any or many eggs. They don’t really tell you how many eggs you have while you are stiming. They just cheerfully say “everything looks good.” I told myself “if we get five eggs I will be happy.” Anything more than five would just be a blessing.

Fifteen follicles lead to eight mature eggs. Eight. We got eight, eight incredible and non-edible eggs. Seven of the eight fertilized and three of the seven made it to blast. We have three embryos waiting for us and my heart is full. The big three leads to a new set of fears. What if they don’t take? How many should we put back? Oh god what if we put two in and get four? These questions seep in at night and I am reminded to follow my heart. Because of my age and the fact I am only doing this once we are transferring two back to me.

Two. December wasn’t meant to be our month. My anatomy proved to challenging for a proper transfer so our embryos were lulled back into a frozen state. It should be noted that the doctor almost put the big two in the wrong place. Thank God the embryologist checked the catheter and saw that we had hitch hikers. Otherwise the big two wouldn’t have had a proper chance at taking hold and growing into our baby(ies). That part scared me and the clinic has reassured me over and over again the big two are frozen with their sibling, embryo #3. No one was lost, my embryos are safe and sound.

January. January is a month of what could have been. Baby E was due in January, a winter baby you were meant to be. But Baby E was never meant to be ours and we are left with a lifetime of wonder. As the snow softly falls and temperatures drop I will be prepping my body for the big two. The big two who will lead to our take home baby(ies).

If you would have asked me three years ago “AJ would you do IVF?” I would have most likely said no. I didn’t think I was strong enough to go through it nor did I think I truly deserved a real chance at motherhood. Some days survivor’s guilt gets the better of me. Both of my children were unplanned, yet they were very much wanted. Our road to parenthood compared to others is very short. Some women try for years and spend thousands of dollars trying for a baby with no luck. Those women are the true warriors for they never give up instead they search for the next thing that will increase their chances at motherhood.

IVF, its a game really. IVF is about stacking the deck and letting God take care of the rest. Our deck is stacked. I grow a beautiful lining, my hormone levels are on point and our embryos are both 5ABs, which translate to “science did everything it could and now it’s up to fate.” Fate and I have a love hate relationship. Without her I am nothing and with her I am everything. She has left me broken, yet she healed me within the same breath. I pray with all of my heart that Fate evens the score, that some how some way the universe will let us be parents to a take home baby(ies).

IVF got this! Faith, Science, and love will get me through the next phase. Our turn, our rainbow, our take home baby(ies) is just one embryo transfer away and Fate will lead us every step of the way.

{Infertile Me} October – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

I have mixed emotions this October. My heart she is filled with hope, but my soul she aches for the two babies she didn’t get to keep. I also ache for those mamas who heard the words “I’m sorry but you can’t get pregnant again.” I’ve heard those words, those words didn’t sink in until I exhausted all of the experts. Each one said no and each one said a natural pregnancy was a slim chance. Baby E was my slim chance, God he had other plans, and my baby went to heaven to be with his brother. Baby E had to many chromosomes and wasn’t meant to be ours, yet my baby you will always be.

Lucia, my sweet Lucia was my silver lining to a very dark storm. He was a surprise, April Fools day 2010 I found out he was on board and I loved him from the first scan. However the love that I had for my son could not bring him back from Heaven’s grasp, so I said goodbye and mourn his absence. Lucia should be in First grade this year, maybe he’d be playing peewee football or take up the cello like his mama. My heart was cheated and it forever aches for all the moments that could have been. My son he will always be.

Lucia & Baby E will always be a part of me, because two pieces of my heart rest in heaven. #OperationTakeahome baby is not and never will be a replacement for my children. He or she will grow up knowing that two babies came before them and that mama fought like hell to get pregnant so that they could be here. Part of me realizes that if both my babies had survived I would not be going through IVF. This journey, we never know where it will take us. Because my babies died, because my body never reset itself, I am going through IVF.

All of the loss and heartache I have endured have lead me to this moment. I am grateful, because in the loss I found beauty, in heartache I found strength, and now I have hope that our take home baby is just around the corner.

I am STILL a mother, I am an IVF warrior. My heart she may be broken but she is ready.

{Infertile Me} Operation Take Home Baby

I spent Tuesday working from home and anxiously awaiting the FedEx truck. I poked my head out the door at the sound of a truck, no truck was to be seen. Waiting was harder than I thought. This just wasn’t a regular package, this package had been carefully packed and contained a little over $10,000.00 in medication and supplies. That package was our ticket to a take home baby.

Somewhere between staring at spreadsheets and listening for trucks I noticed Cullen scratching at the door. Finally FedEx had arrived. The sweet delivery woman threw Cullen a treat and asked “where’s your kitchen honey, this needs to be refrigerated.” I showed her to the kitchen and signed for the packages. Overwhelmed is how I felt when I looked at my medicine filled counter. It all sank in that I was going to go through with IVF and that this was my one and only chance for a baby.

Somewhere between the needles and vials lies a seed of hope, hope that I to will get to be a mom. IVF is not for the faint of heart, it’s a journey for the strongest of the strong. It’s scary as fuck. You can put in all of the time, effort and money and still walk away without a baby. It’s literally a crap shoot. It’s left up to God and Science. I start priming at the end of August and with a lot of faith and a little luck the egg retrieval will be in September. If we get viable embryos they will be frozen and in November we will transfer our little thawed embryo that could back to me.

Hope and faith become your fuel, you my dear become unstoppable. Right now I cannot comprehend this process in its entirety, if I did I’d talk myself out of it. All I can comprehend right now is eggs. Once eggs are extracted I can allow myself to think about embryos. Once our embryos are safely frozen I can start to think about transfer. After transfer I can start to think about pregnancy. I struggle with the pregnancy piece, it scares the shit out of me and makes me anxious.

I’ve been pregnant twice before which ended in losses. My babies rest in the heavenly skies and paint the colors of the sunrise. My heart cannot take another “I’m sorry there isn’t a heart beat” or “I’m sorry there is not fetal pole.” Those words cut through you like a knife, you cannot think, you just freeze and the tears begin to fall. Your worst nightmare becomes your reality and there is no backing away from it. A piece of your heart lies in heaven and you must walk this earth without them.

My heart she is wise and she knows that we can only do this once. I pray that my third time and Jay’s second does not lead to heartache. I desperately long for the day where I can feel the weight of our take home baby in my arms. That day, my turn is coming. We are all in and there is no looking back! Because the rainbow we’ve been chasing is finally in our grasp.

{Hearts On 22} Rally For Research

Somewhere in this country a woman is experiencing the worst day of her life. She is in pain, she is scared, and she will never be the same. In the coming days, weeks, and months she will learn that her birth control was the cause of her worst day. That her birth control caused her stroke or heart attack or blood clot or pulmonary embolism. She knows it was her birth control because she survived. Many families never learn why their wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend suddenly died. They live their lives only knowing that she is simply gone.

Gone. If it were not for my fast acting care team, I would be resting in a little urn on a shelf. My mom literally came this close (shows fingers) to picking out my urn instead of my 27th Halloween themed birthday cake. I was lucky, I was the 1 out of 5 who survived a massive pulmonary embolism with infarction that lead to a stroke. Because of research I saw my 27th themed Halloween birthday cake, it had a jack o lantern on it and it was perfect. I survived my worst day possible.

I was weak, I felt cheated, and I was angry that my life was gone. I had to learn how to live in a new normal of Lovenox injections, INR draws, warfarin sodium, to many pills to count, doctors appointments and CT scans. I wasn't living the life of a 27 year old, I was living the life of someone much much older. Yet it was my life to live and I had one choice: "survive or give in." I chose to survive.

Survival is not perfect. This second chance I live is pretty fucking messy and hella awesome at the same time. I put on a red dress and never looked back. The American Heart Association gave me a platform to share my story, they put the voice back into the survivor and Now my story is saving lives. I meet women who come up to me and say I heard your story and I decided to talk to my doctor about my risks and what birth control is safe for me. That right there makes my little heart sing. I can't go back and change my story, but I can share mine to change someone else's story.

We know that my massive pulmonary embolism with infraction and stroke were caused by my hormonal contraceptive, but we don't know why. At the time I was healthy, I did not smoke, I wasn't over the age of 35, I wasn't over weight, yet it happened. Further testing showed that I was negative for Factor V along with a whole host of other genetic conditions that lead to clothing. I was genetically perfect, yet some how some way it happened to me.

If scientist can figure out why it happened to someone it shouldn't statistically happen to, we can stop it from happening in other women. In order to find that why, we need funds for research. The government is the largest financial contributor for medical research and if those funds get scraped my why goes out the window. The ability to save thousands upon thousands of lives goes up in smoke. You and I we can make a difference, reach out to your congressman & women and tell them that you support the funding of medical research. Come to the MN capital on Saturday @ 1:00PM central time and stand with us as we rally for medical research. Bring a poster, yell at the top of your lungs and make a difference, help us secure our healthy tomorrows.

Mostly let's face it, without research we are dead in the water, our doctors are only as good as the researchers who stand behind them and without them we have nothing.

{Infertile Me} IVF Is Not For Certian 

There is a misconception that IVF is a given. That  everyone who goes through with IVF gives birth to a baby. Truth is, it’s not. There are so many moving parts that need to connect just right in order for that science baby to thrive. 

First step, Stims. My body could respond awesomely to stims and grow dozens of eggs. Or it could peater out and we end up with a few or none at all. It’s literally a crap shoot and a shoot we only have one chance at winning. If Stims are successful we get to move to step two. 

Second step, egg retrieval. I could go through this process and find out that my follicles were empty resulting in zero eggs. Or we could get let’s say 10 eggs and out of those 5 will fertilize and if we are lucky we will end up with one viable embryo that makes it to blast. Or out of the 10 hypothetical eggs zero fertilaize and were right back where we started. If we’re lucky we get granted a pass for step 3. 

Third step, frozen embryo transfer. The day we’ve been working toward and praying for. The embryo thaws nicely and is ready to return back to me. We wait, we will have to wait two long weeks to find out if it took. It’s not a guarantee and there are so many factors outside of our control and all we can do is hope for the best. 

Before I can even think about step one through three, I have to sit down with a perinatologist and discuss if it’s even possible for me to safely go through Stims. Stims = crazy amount of hormones that could possible cause another blood clot. Blood clots and AJ do not mix well. Lovenox, will be my new best friend as it will hopefully keep the clots away. I’ve been pegnant twice before so I have no doubt that she will let me move forward. After all it is my body and now the question is “is it safe for me to possibly carry twins?” 

Since we are only doing this once and we are opting out of genetic testing it’s crazy expensive and culturally it doesn’t sit well with me our best bet is to implant two. Two little embryos that could. Twin pregnancies carry lots of risks, risks that my body might not be able to handle for she is battered and bruised. In my heart I feel a little selfish asking God for two beautiful embryos, but two is our best chance in conceiving one. If we get twins we will be overwhelmed , yet very happy. 

For now I am in limbo. I meet with the perinatologist on Thursday and once I get the all clear I call the clinic and we start stiming for an August egg retrieval. The plan is to give my body a month to come off of the Stims and by October we should be ready to implant our little embryos, the baby we’ve been waiting for. 

IVF takes a lot out of you. It’s a lot to wrap your head around and to take in. Like who knew there were so many treatment protocols and that you can pick which gender embryos are implanted. Like holy buckets I can pick if I want girls or boys or one of each. Part of me just wants to tell them “put them in and I’ll find out later” and the other part wants to know. I have a sleeping son and one unknown baby, I think those babies would want a sister. My heart wants a girl, Jay wants a girl, we will most likely transfer a girl embryo. With our luck we will end up with all boys, and we will love them just the same. 

With a little luck and a whole lot of faith we will get a lot of eggs that will turn into viable little embryos, that will become our take home baby(s).  

{Infertile Me} Infertile Mertyle with the old EGGS 

I am a firm believer in second opinions, especially when it comes to the medical profession. In January I settled in to my fertility clinic, I liked the doctor and her staff, they seemed confident that IUI would work. We did 3 IUI cycles and each one resulted in a big fat negative. Heart breaking, that is what the last 6 months have been. In March I learned that my clinic was not covered under my insurance  plan and that I needed to go to CCRM Minneapolis. I kicked my feet, tried to appeal to the insurance company and eventually gave in and scheduled a consult with CCRM. 

Night and day difference. Dr. Hayes didn’t rely on some other doctor’s data and findings. She ordered a slew of tests for Jay and I. Tests that would tell us our over all reproductive health so she could get a better idea of what we are working with. Since the old clinic said everything on my end was normal, I didn’t give it a second though and was confident CCRM’s findings would be the same. I should know by now nothing in my life is easy…….. AJ with the old eggs, yup that’s me AJ with the old ass eggs. 

I spent months doing IUIs that would never have worked. I’ve got old eggs and Jay’s got dumb swimmers. In that moment I felt a little violated by the other clinic and instantly wondered did they know about this and just carried on for the money? I’m sure they knew my resting egg count was low and that only 2% of our swimmers were champs, but they didn’t care, because we paid the bills and so they carried on with treatment. I can’t think about this, if I do it will just cause me more stress than I need right now. I want to believe that they had good intentions but as I’ve learned the IVF industry has a douche canoe around every turn. 

So what happens now? Well our only option of achieving a human of our own is IVF. Each month that ticks by my egg reserve drops, so we need to move quickly. Quick like little bunnies! We already know that we are not going to retrieve a huge number of eggs. At this point we will take what we can get and ICIS will be used to make sure only one swimmer fertilizes the egg. I just pray the our embryos will make it to blast and that will we have one or two to transfer. In my heart of hearts I know my body, she is weary and she can only handle one cycle, we’ve got one shot at this and there will be no do overs. One shot to make CoraLeigh or Oliver a reality. 

Summer. I want a summer. Sophia and Jack need their auntie this summer so IVF is on the back burner until August. In July I am sitting down with a perinatal physician to go over lovenox protocol, when to start it and when to stop it and what dose it should be. We will also be discussing if it is safe for me to carry more than one baby. Once the protocol is determined we will begin the really fun IVF meds and start growing eggs that with a little luck will become embryos.

My rainbow baby is just one embryo away and I cannot wait to have a baby that we can keep. 

{Infertile Me} Three steps closer, Three steps back 

For three months I have tried and failed to get pregnant. My life has been consumed by Femera tablets, ovidrel injections, ultrasounds, IUIs, and progesterone. I’ve taken and done all of those things and I am no closer to motherhood than when I started. It is still eluding me. No matter how much money I throw at it or how much effort I put in the one thing I want most in life isn’t yet mine to have. 

Part of me wants to give up and throw the towel into the pile. I tried and it didn’t work. Then deep down I hear a little voice that says “keep going AJ, keep goin.” I listen to the little voice only to have my heart broken. By now I’ve seen and heard so many negatives that it no longer phases me. I am numb to the words “I’m sorry” and to a pregnancy test with no plus or second line.  If I ever see a positive I will probably throw thing on the floor like I did when I found out I was pregnant with baby E. 

It’s been almost two years since my last pregnancy and 7 since my first. The experts say my body is alright and they could not find any reason for me not to get pregnant. I’ve got good eggs and my hormones are good, it’s just unexplained infertility. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get pregnant on my own. Yet here I am walking in the land of infertility wondering when my turn will come.

Lord knows everyone around my is getting pregnant. Even the weather lady on KARE11 is pregnant, I don’t know her but I can tell you she is having a girl, they announced it on Easter. It’s hard to live in a world where pregnant woman swish on by without a care in the world all glowing and happy. I wonder if they struggled, if it was an oops, or maybe they planned it perfectly. I’ll never know their story unless I ask. I am to polite to ask so that won’t happen.

Right now I am down but I am not out. Because of my insurance I have to switch to what they call a Center of Excellence Clinic. Part of me is hopping that they will find something that the other clinic didn’t find. All I want really is a reason, a reason on why it takes me forever and a day to get pregnant. This new clinic specializes in mini-IVF, I am hoping that they will agree that I am a good candidate and that they will let me try it. Hey IUI didn’t work out so why not try mini-IVF. Why not full blown IVF? Well because it’s not for cool kids like me and it’s expensive as fuck. Mini-IVF costs less per cycle and has comparable success rates to big kid IVF. 

I am taking a break. The month of May is sacred to me. May 13th is Lucia’s 7th angel birthday and May 11th marks two years since I found out that I was pregnant with Baby E. My babies they will always be. Deep breaths, me time, and joy will fill the month of May. I need to restore my soul and get mentally prepared for my appointment at CCRM minneapolis. 

Meeting a new reproductive endroconlogist is scary because you have no idea what they are going to say or what there ideas of treatment are. I am going into this appointment knowing I want mini-IVF, I want a science baby, a better chance at motherhood. If it doesn’t work at least I can take a seat on the bench knowing I gave it everything that I had. That I didn’t fail, because we only fail when we never try. 

{Go Red} My Father will always be why 

In February we focus on women’s hearts. But this month isn’t just for me, it’s for my Daddy too. 

15 years ago I was in college in Ladysmith WI, I called home to talk to my Dad. My sister answered, she said “he’s sleeping.” I pleaded with her to wake him up so I could talk to him. She was persistent and uttered “Dad isn’t here, he’s in the hospital.” My heart sank and I hung up.

When I finally go through to my mom she told me it didn’t look good. His heart was sick. I took to my knees and prayed with every fiber I had. I asked God to spare my father’s life. At 19 I couldn’t imagine a world without my father. I needed him at my side to tell me that this to shall pass. My rock was fading and all we could do was fucking pray and wait.

When my dad arrived at Mayo he had a survival score of “zero.” His heart was beating so fast it just fluttered in his chest. Congestive Heart Failure and aortic fibrillation was to blame. The doctors prepared my Mama for the worst. She lied like all mothers do and told us he was going to be alright. I was a mess and couldn’t think straight in class. My body was in Wisconsin but my heart was in Minnesota. 

Two weeks later that zero walked out of the front doors of Saint Mary’s and he never looked back. Today February marks his 15th survuvior anniversary. With every beat of his heart he steals time from the sandman and keeps death at bay. We know each day isn’t spoken for and that only the good lord knows if we will see the next sunrise. He lives with faith in his heart and appreciates every second of his borrowed time. 

Borrowed years are a gift. My father has lived to see his daughter graduate from college, he was the proudest father in the arena. He walked his daughters down the isle and held me as I cried into his should on the day I found out my son had died. He’s picked up the pieces after our divorces and was the glue that our hearts needed. He stood by my side as I fought for my life and put his arm around me when we found out that I inherited his heart. I’ve watched him hold his second and third born grandchild for the very first time while morning his first. He is the ultimate road trip companion and dinner buddy. As long as a ride is involved he’s game. 

Borrowed time is all but rosy. My father looked on as doctors fought to save my life. Blood clots are no joke and strokes they are even worse. He taught me how to inject myself with blood thinners, “make sure you clean the area real good” he said. Little by Little I got stronger and I never looked back. My dad’s face lit up when he saw me on a billboard and in a TV commercial promoting heart health. He tearfully watched the video of my speech in DC, his surviving heart was so very proud. Those teary eyes looked on as I strutted down the runway and shared my story at the fashion show. All because his heart, it saved mine. 

My father’s heart saved mine. If it weren’t for his broken heart I never would have gotten involved with the American Heart Association.  If I hadn’t gotten involved I would never have learned that women have different symptoms than men and that cardiac events can happen at any age. In one moment I became the very surivivor I advocated for and I’ve never looked back. 

Because of my father I am alive today. Because he lived, his heart saved mine. Because of his heart and the research they are conducting my future looks fucking bright. I’ve followed in my father’s footsteps, he was 50 when his heart gave out, I am 34 and I am not afraid to tread down his path. For I know having high levels of C-reactive protein is no longer a death sentence, it allows us to go boldly into the night and wakeup to a beautiful painted sunrise. 

{Go Red} For Women’s Health 

The  Go Red campaign focuses on women’s heart health which is the number one killer of women. I suffered a stroke, a stroke that came after my pulmonary embolism was discovered. Sure a blood clot is not a cardiac event, but it still is an event. An event that only 1 out of 5 survive.

If you ask me those odds are shitty. Fuck only one out of five people who have a P.E. will survive. That statistic is one I cannot escape and it haunts me to this day. I am the ONE out of FIVE. I’ve lived seven borrowed years on this earth and I’ve done my best to make every second count. I cannot undo the events of October 2009, I can only move past them. 

Five days before my 27th birthday I drove myself to the ER. My chest felt like it was being split open and I could barely breathe. I collapsed as soon as I got inside and woke up to a nurse telling me “well you are not having a heart attack and you can either help me take your clothes off or I can cut them off.” I opted to help. I was confused and gasping for air. Every breath I took ripped through my body. I’ve never been in labor but I imagine the pain I was feeling is on that level. The ER doctor told me that my oxygen level was below 50% and he was leaning towards an infection in my lungs. He was going to run some tests. As he headed toward the door he stopped and asked “are you on a birth control?” 

I uttered yes and he explained about the d-dimer test and that it checked for possible blood clots. He was certain it wasn’t that, he just wanted to check to be sure. The lab came in and took my blood. It would be a bit before the results came back. As I was being taken to x-ray the Doctor stopped us and stated “put her back in her room she doesn’t need an x-ray.” I thought this meant it wasn’t serious and I was on my way home. He calmly explained “the d-dimer came back positive. We need to do a CT scan to look at your chest to check for any blood clots. The contrast dye if you are allergic to it it could kill you. But it’s your best option.” 

I looked at him and said “I might die either way right?” And signed my name to the consent form. The Radiology Tech said it would take about an hour for the results to come back. I waited and listened to the clock tick the minutes away. Thirty minutes went by, I heard a phone ring and the doors voice in the hall. I only made out “shit! You have to be kidding me!” Followed by a page for extra staff to the ER. Then I heard foot steps, lots of them running towards my little room. The doctor popped in and explained “you have a pulmonary embolis.” I stared at him blankly and he explained “you have a blood clot the size of a ten cent gumball blocking the valve from your left lung to your heart. Blood and oxygen can’t get through.” 

Those words were a lot to process. In that moment I did not fully comprehend the shit I was in and how bad it was. He explained I needed blood thinners and that I would be in the hospital for a while. He stepped out for a moment to put in RX orders. And that is when I lost my words. My body felt strange, it felt like I was sinking and I couldn’t get my words out. The heart monitor started beeping and everyone was frantically moving around. My blood pressure was well above 200 and I was fading. Clot busters, TPA to be exact were ordered and given, my stroke was stopped right in it’s tracks and my life was spared. I live with the knowledge that I almost died 5 days before my birthday.

I became accustomed to my new life. A life of blood thinners, scans, diet change, and never ending doctors appointments. I was angry and bitter. I wanted to put a why behind the how. I wanted to know why this happened to me and how I could prevent others from enduring my fate. To this day the answer is still hard to swallow. 

Truth: my pulmonary embolism and stroke were 100% preventable. The blood clot was caused by the progesterone in the Nuvaring, my birth control. One week before this occurred I had my annual check up and I told my doctor that I was feeling unusually tired, had redness and warmth on my upper leg. She ignored my symptoms and told me “oh just go home drink some water and walk more.” Since she didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t either. Boy was I wrong. I now know I had all of the classic signs of a potential blood clot and that a simple d-dimer test could have caught the clot before it reached my lung and brain. My whole ordeal could have been prevented if only my doctor had truly listened to me that day. 

I go Red for women’s health. All of us need to realize that we know our bodies better than anyone. We know when something isn’t right and we need to listen to our guts. It’s time we put our health first and push for the answers that we need. Our symptoms are and will always be different from men, because hello we are not men. It breaks my heart to know that young women are often dismissed. We shouldn’t be, blood clots, heart disease and stroke do not know age and they can occur at anytime. Love yourself! Make a doctors appointment and make sure you are being heard. If one doctor won’t listen keep on pressing until you find someone who does. You only have one life, one heart, and you deserve the very best. 

Don’t be like AJ, she didn’t push for answers and almost died 5 days before her 27th birthday. 

{Go Red} A Chance at Motherhood is Why I Go Red 

Looking up at my children. The blue balloon is in honor of Lucia and the purple balloon is for Baby E. My babies they will always be

I am the mother of two babies. My babies do not walk this earth, instead they paint the colors of the sunrise. Lucia would be 7 years old and Baby E would have just turned one. I would have my hands full. My arms are not filled with children, instead they are filled with hope. When you are the mother of angles a part of your broken heart lies in heaven. It’s a hard job and it’s one you don’t get to choose, it chooses you instead. 

I didn’t choose to have a pulmonary embolism or a stroke, it chose me and I’ve never looked back. 6 months after it chose me I found out I was pregnant. Like really pregnant, whoops “I was pregnant and I didn’t know it.” I lovingly called the baby little bear. It was a boy, a boy who died quietly in my womb. He was safe, he was loved, he will always be my first. Lucia, my baby you will always be. 

After a baby dies you have this strong desire to get pregnant again. To rewrite history and prove to yourself that you can carry a baby to term. To prove that God found you worthy of motherhood. But what happens when you are told “it’s not wise for someone with your history to get pregnant……” You get angry, you cry, and then you slowly come to terms with it. You pray that science will catch up with you and that this cruel joke will be over and you will have your rainbow.

Five years after my stroke my rainbow came. Again doctors said “you will be high risk. We need to watch you closely, blah, blah, and blah.” We got excited, that excitement just like before dwindled when an empty sac appeared. Our baby, my rainbow was not meant to be mine. Baby E wasn’t meant to be ours. My rainbow slipped through my fingers and renewed my desire for motherhood. Baby E, my baby you will always be. 

Babies are always at the back of my mind. I have names picked out and plans laid out. Jay and I tried for a year with no luck. Who knew a rainbow was so hard to catch. So I started down the path of fertility screening. I am now on a first name basis with the ultrasound wand, needles, and x-ray machine. I am fertile like myrtle who lives down the lane, yet my body can’t get intune. They say the nuvaring is most likely to blame, but we will never know for sure. In the past I was told “fertility meds are not for you.” Which makes sense since it’s recommended that I never use birthcontrol again. Hello blood clot creating hormones! Until now……….Science! 

Science! Finally caught up with me. Medical research is a beautiful thing and now I can has a baby too! In October we tried a combo of Femera and Ovidrel with no luck. In February we are going to the next level, Femera and ovidrel with IUI. I can has an IUI too! Motherhood was a thing I could never touch, it eluded me and now I have her in my crosshairs. Because of medical research it’s within my reach.

My pregnancy (when it happens) will be different too. Back in the day doctors believed in large doses and starting lovenox early. Today we will still be starting as soon as I get a plus sign, but the dose will grow along with my pregnancy. We will start with a shit ton of monitoring and a small dose of lovenox until we build up to the higher dose when I am 7 months along (that’s if my body needs it). There is still a chance that our baby could be born lovenox dependent and that I could have a clot, but for me the risk is worth the reward. 

Because of research and medical technology I will be able to have a healthy pregnancy too. Not all survivors get a chance at motherhood. In a lot of cases the risk is far greater than the reward. My heart breaks for them. I know the ache they feel and I know what it’s like to look up and wonder “why me?” All it takes is one look at a baby bump to make you feel less than. The baby isle and shower invites are a reminder of your inability to have children. They are a reminder of what was taken from you. We did not choose this road, the road chose us and we have to walk it until our time runs out. 

I once belonged to that club, then I got lucky. Science and technology caught up with me. Because of research Femera was found to aide in ovulation by decreasing the estrogen levels without increasing progesterone. The Progesterone in the nuvaring is what caused my blood clot. The likelihood of a blood clot event on Femera is low and I don’t know about you but, I like low. I am a survivor, a survivor who is standing on the cusp of motherhood. 

In my heart I know that this time I will bring a baby home. Heaven has two pieces of my heart and it’s time for a third to live on this earth. One thing I am certain about is that the doctors will learn from my fertility treatments and pregnancy and that information will help other women like me bring home a healthy baby. That right there makes all of this worth it. 

I go Red for the survivors who will never get to be mothers.