{Infertile Me} Lost Miracle

National Infertility Awareness Week hit differently this year. It came in quietly and then started to sting like a thousands wasps hitting my skin. TikTok was full of stories of hope and happy endings. No matter how fast I scrolled the next video would be a “I beat infertility story.” A story that I would normally cling to as evidence that my turn was coming. As evidence that God grants miracles to the weary. I’d hold their testimony like a blazing torch against the darkness. Except the darkness never broke and my miracle was not granted. God provided a way, yet he held back on the miracle.

On April 17th we were filled with so much hope and in my gut I knew our transfer took. We woke up early and drove to Mayo for our blood test. On the way home I ignored my phone. I wanted to stay in this blissful state of hope. I wanted to continue living in the land of my gut was right. One notification from the Mayo Clinic app ripped us from that land, our beta was less than 0.05, we were not pregnant. Our forth and final transfer had failed. We are the other side of infertility, the side that doesn’t get the miracle that they so desperately prayed for.

This side doesn’t get much attention as broken hearts do not create hope. If you are out of embryos and funds, you are cleared to the side to make way for the deep pockets of the hopeful. IVF is an industry just like any other, selling hope one cycle at a time. It’s a billion dollar business with little to no price regulations. Success stories sell hope and hope + success = profit. To anyone in the outside looking in I am just a mark in the failure column. Yet I am more than a mark in the failure column, I am the story of persistence, strength, and unwavering faith.

We focus so much on the positive outcomes that we forget about the grieving couples. We forgot about the couples stuck in the land of what ifs. We don’t want to discuss the couples who received subpar care or those that didn’t even get to the starting line due to BMI. IVF is not widely regulated and clinics can set their standard, because success is everything to them. Some clinics only take easy cases and turn away the complicated messes like myself. On paper I am a mess. I have complicated anatomy, endometriosis, adenomyosis, with a side of diminished ovarian reserve. I require more care than most clinics want to provide. If you don’t fit the clinics mold of quick and easy cycles you are pushed to the side to find a different clinic.

Mayo was my holy grail. A clinic that was willing to take the extra steps and loaded the deck so I’d have a better chance at success. Mayo was my 4th fertility clinic and the 1st to order an MRI. That MRI is what lead to the diagnosis of endo and adenomyosis. I had excision surgery in October to remove stage IV endo from my body and started a Lupron Depot protocol to prepare for a frozen embryo transfer. Transfer day came in February and we quickly learned that the lab somehow thawed the lower grade embryo instead of our higher grade embryo. I didn’t make a stink, I went with the flow and ok’d the transfer of the wrong embryo. I didn’t want to mess with fate and I felt that fate was a foot that day. We found out on March 4th the transfer failed and we were set for a WTF meeting on the 9th.

I met with a different doctor that day. One I hadn’t seen before. Mayo has a team approach and they supposedly discuss each case at length during lunch so everyone is familiar with all patients. This doctor wasn’t familiar with my case. I had asked for Lupron Depot, he told me it wasn’t necessary. He actually laughed at some of my questions and concerns. When I mentioned vaginal progesterone, he went on to tell me it wasn’t necessary and research doesn’t support it. When I mentioned the other doctor ok’d it he said “oh oh ok, I will write the order then.” I moved forward with the protocol because I assumed he had spoken to the other doctors that were handling my case.

On April 8th we transferred our last remaining embryo and on April 17th we found out it failed. I got a little tipsy that night and fired of an email with a list of concerns as I cried in my bathtub. I’m not proud of it, but it happens. Dr. K responded to my email that Monday and I ignored the response. I had a WTF appointment set for Tuesday and I was still debating whether or not I was going to log on to it. Early Tuesday morning I got an email from billing and that email lead me to open Dr. K’s response. Anger started to boil within me as I read the fist two paragraphs. Fuckery was a foot and I wasn’t having it, not today, not now, not ever.

The doctor I spoke to back in March told Jay and I Lupron Depot was not necessary, Dr. K said it absolutely was and recommended it for future transfers. The reason it wasn’t used this time around was because the doctor told his team that I refused the medication as I wanted to move quickly. Now I’m not an expert but “refused” and “not necessary” are two very different things. I didn’t refuse the medication, I asked about it and I asked for it. He said it wasn’t necessary so I assume he spoke to Dr. K, so I didn’t question it. I went forward on his word. All I know is if my WTF appointment had been handled by Dr. K we’d be on a different path right now. It just sucks that one doctor took it upon himself to make a decision that affected my care and compromised the outcome of my transfer.

It’s taking everything in me to get out of the land of what if’s. To get out of the land of should have, would have, and could have. I cannot go back to March 9, 2021 to advocate for myself and ask questions. As much as I want to I can’t. All I can do is move forward one very slow step at a time. I have to reimagine what this life will look like. One thing I do know is, I cannot imagine this life without children. I have so much love and patience to give to a child. My heart was made to mother. Somehow someway we will complete our family and that child will be so very loved. What’s getting me through the darkness is planning for the child I never imagined. Adventure is still out there and I know in my heart that one day we will have a pint sized sidekick by our side.

Right now I have to believe that God does not turn his back on the weary and that he heard my prayers. He heard every word, yet there was a miscommunication and my miracle got stuck somewhere in the space time continuum. Or just maybe my miracle went to someone who needed it more than I did.

{Cabin Life} Is the Life for Me

She may look weary, but her logs still hold life. Built in 1937 for a sheep herder and his family. Her logs taken from this land. Hand hued and filled with promise. The stories she could tell. Her basement walls guarded the sheep by night and were filled with laughter by day. She saw the landscape change around her, a road punched through in the sixties connecting her to town. Yet she stood tall and held her ground against winter storms and spring floods. That new road caused the family to leave, town life was the life for them. So she sat empty and waited.

She sat empty from 67 until 1985 when a man with a dream came along. Though her roof had a hole, her windows were long gone, doors shot up with shot gun blasts, he didn’t see ruin, instead he saw promise. A promise to bring her back to a brighter day. In which as money allowed he painstakingly did. A new roof was put on, each broken window replaced, a new floor in the sleeping loft, and new doors were hung. This old pile of logs was forever his and she was thankful.

For he brought laughter and childhood wonder back into her rooms. Camp fires were once again lit and stories seeped into the night sky as fireflies took flight. This old home took a breath of relief for she knew this family would not abandon her. This family was different. This family needed her more than she needed them. Her old logs and fields of wildflowers provided refuge from the storm. Out here next to her a little girl’s illness melted away as she became Super Mannie and took on the days adventure. No turtle nor snake, nor toad nor salamander were safe when she was on the prowl. Her logs protected Super Mannie on rainy days as she colored and played connect four by lantern light. An old iron bed, heavy blankets and a breeze through the window lulled her to sleep. This place was hers and hers alone.

Gardens and apple trees were planted. Bikes and roller skates hung from the rafters. Rides to the creek and through the fields to pick wild flowers were aplenty. Forts were setup in the woods and lookouts on the hillside to watch out for bandits. In this place her imagination was allowed to run wild. Day dreams filled the sky as she laid in the field and watched the clouds pass by. Croquet was played on the lawn, wiffle ball in the fields, and kites stuck in trees. Trees to climb, Barbies lost and found, pounds to swim in as honey bees buzzed by. Christmas trees were cared for and cut in the fall. No matter the season, the land around the cabin was always filled with activity.

But just as she had seen before, the child she so loved grew up before her eyes. Yet this time it was different. The child didn’t go into town, this child returned every weekend to run her hands along her logs as she breathed in a sigh of relief. This place, this very place was her happy place. Tears would often stream as the memories of days gone by played in her mind. Her old fort is long gone, but she remembers exactly where it stood. The wild berries are no more yet she knows exactly where they grew on the fence line. This land is apart of her and she will always belong to her. Her Dad realized that she loved this place as much as he did. He realized that Super Mannie saw the promise too and on a fall day he handed her the deed. It was now her turn to carry on her legacy. With tears in her eyes she hugged her dad and said “I will do my best to carry her into the next 100 years.”

She has held on to that promise. A new roof was done and now a new foundation will be laid. A new chapter is being written with her third owner at the helm. It’s a chapter filled with promise, wonder, and love for the place she calls “childhood.” Yet her heart is heavy as she takes in the fresh country air, she holds out hope that one day she will return with a baby in her arms, the forth generation to love this place as much as she does. She dreams of the day that she will walk these fields with a child of her own. Oh the stories she could tell as she shows her child the best spot for catching turtles. For a log cabin like this one deserves to be filled with child like wonder. This land needs to hear the footsteps and laughter of a little one. Adventures are await amongst the pines and campfires are just waiting to be lit. This place is what childhood dreams are made of. A safe place from the outside world to just run free and be exactly as a child should be, FREE.

{Podcast} She Had to Break

Last Saturday I attended the Holy Spirit retreat at my church. I went into this retreat with zero expectations and walked out of the retreat with a group of women that I now call my friends. Somewhere between the teaching and the discussion I felt moved, moved to create a podcast. God put me through struggle so that I could one day use those struggles as a testimony of his love. I’m our moments of darkness God does not leave us, he digs in deeper than ever and guides his children to the light. The struggle is where our purpose is birthed and where new life is breathed into our tired bodies. The struggle gives us Strength and it allows us to stand tall in our faith. Without the seasons of struggle, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

Over the years I have let people in and shared my testimony. Somehow someway my words were what they needed to hear and little by little they too were able to stand tall in their faith. I am so grateful that my story has helped others and it will continue to help others so long as I have the breath to say the words, I will raise them up to my King and help others to stand tall in their faith.

So come along with me as I share my story, my story of breaking, healing, and shining each week.

{Charlie} Live Your Best Dreams

Many years ago Charlie gave me a Pendleton coffee cup for my birthday. I loved the cup. I made sure it made the move from the suburbs to uptown. It was the cup I had on my desk at the office. This was my cup and no one could drink out of it, like ever. After Charlie died I brought it home from the office as I wanted it safe in my kitchen. I drank out of it almost every morning as I stared off into the distance muttering “what the fuck,” with the muppet like dog at my side. Until one morning it slipped through my hands and landed on the floor in pieces. With tears welling in my eyes, I swept it’s broken remnants into the trash. I tried to find a replacement cup but it eluded me.

That is until Jay accidentally broke the Pendleton Coffee cup that I got for him in the gift shop at Custards Last Stand in Montana. He was heart broken as it had become his favorite cup. I told him “don’t worry, I can find you a new one.” As I scrolled through the tableware section of the Pendleton website my heart stopped. The cup I had been searching for was there on the screen and in stock. So of course I clicked add to bag and then added the replacement cup for Jay.

In that moment, I realized that Jay was meant to break his cup that night. It was Charlie’s way of giving me a reason to log onto the Pendleton website to find the cup I had broken long ago. He sent a sign at Christmas time from heaven above to let me know that he’s still with me. And knowing me he’s probably like “girl order a couple of them, because you drop things a lot.

This cup isn’t the same as it wasn’t given to me by Charlie. However it makes me smile. Smile because it helps me remember the man who healed my heart and opened the door for Jay. Without Charlie’s leaving there would be no Jay. In my heart I know he’s smiling down on us and yelling “live your best dreams!” ❤️

{Cabin Life} Do we save her or do we let her go?

In 1986 my dad was driving through the Wisconsin country side when a log cabin caught his eye. The cabin had seen better days, her windows and doors were gone, and the roof had a gaping hole. But, her logs were strong. Where others saw a dilapidated building, he saw beauty. And he knew that he had to have her. So he sent my mon off to go find the owner. The owner was more than happy to sell the cabin to them, he needed $5,600.00 for a new pole barn. So a deal was struck and the log cabin was ours.

After purchasing the cabin my Dad learned that it was built in the late 1920s for a sheep herder and his family. The basement is a dirt floor and that is where the lambs and sheep were kept on stormy & winter nights. The family lived on the first floor and utilized the sleeping loft. They lived in the home until they moved to town in the 60s. And there she sat, she sat empty waiting for her new owner. Slusher purchased the 300 acre parcel somewhere in the 70s and had no interest in the cabin, so she sat empty. He rented out the land to Mr. Bathel a Christmas tree farmer and to Mr. Smith a Bee farmer. Eighty acres across the road was sold to a Postal Carrier from Saint Paul and he built a little cabin down by the creek. He was our only neighbor.

When I was a little girl the son of the sheep herder would bring his family and friends down to see where he grew up. He often shared pictures and stories with us. He was thankful that someone was working on restoring the place he once called home. He was glad to see that a new family was making memories in the logs that once protect him.

This cabin of ours is a magical place. Its a place of healing. When I was little I was sick. Being in town meant that our world revolved around doctor visits, tests, medication, and pitiful looks from strangers. I couldn’t even play with the kids in my neighborhood or go to school. I was homeschooled by Ms. Ann and played dolls with my next door neighbor Ms. Cora (she was my 90+ year old best friend). Every once in a blue moon they’d let me go to Sunday school, which was a real treat. As a child I didn’t understand that they were protecting me from getting sicker than I already was. It was torture not getting to be a normal kid. But, as an adult I realize that they gave me an escape, they gave me something most people never have.

My Dad bought a second home, a summer home without electricity or running water. He bought a place where his daughter could truly be a kid. I was allowed to explore and dream. These woods that surround the cabin entertained me for hours on end. These old logs over heard scary stories and jokes told in the dark. Her old logs sheltered us from stormy skies as we played board games on the living room floor. And with time her logs healed a sick little girl and her family. She allowed them to dream again.

It’s more than logs, the land the cabin sits on is magical. The woods were my playground. I often could be found picking strawberries, mixing potions, “hunting bad guys,” playing in my make shift fort, or just laying in a field of wild flowers calling out shapes in the clouds. When my parents weren’t looking I was known to capture an unfortunate toad, frog, salamander, or turtle in my bucket. Somehow my dad always knew, he didn’t even have to look at me and I’d hear him yell “Mannie! You better put that critter back where you found him!!” Snakes? I wasn’t afraid of snakes. I was fearless as a child and my dad had to teach me about poisonous snakes in order to keep me safe. If a snake crossed my path it was a guarantee I’d pick it up and put it down the back of my sister’s shirt. I’m pretty sure I am the reason she has a fear of snakes. I am probably the reason for her fear of the dark, dead fish….. and many other things in life. And yes, she deserved it, she’d cheat at board games and violated my Barbies by cutting their hair. As we grew older we grew apart, she lost interest in being my sister and in her eyes the cabin lost its magic.

Even though the magic faded for her, it grew and grew for me. We are not the only folks who love the land the cabin sits on. As I said earlier Mr. Slusher rented out the land to local farmers. As a child I’d watch Bathel and his crew expertly care for, trim and spray paint the Christmas trees that would be sold in the fall. Yes, believe it or not Christmas trees are spray painted…. that’s why you sometimes get a tree where the needles fall off as soon as you get it home. It’s a pretty neat process to see in person. Anyways, Mr. Smith tenderly cared for over 20 hives and he’d tell me “now Mannie, don’t kill the bee. The bee doesn’t want to sting you, he just wants to get back to the hive.” He taught me to respect the honey bee and to this day I find myself telling people “don’t kill that bee! He just thinks you are a flower. Once he realizes you aren’t, he will go on his way.” It’s true, they will. My Dad used to have an orchard on the land. I’d spend my summer days following him from tree to tree with trimmers in my hand as he patiently explained the delicacy of grafting. When we weren’t trimming or grafting, he made me carry 10 gallon buckets of water up the hill to thirsty little trees. He said “it will teach you character….” I don’t think it taught my character, however I did have really strong arms for a 10 year old.

Sunset is my favorite time at the cabin. My Dad calls dusk “God’s magic time,” because each sunset is a beautiful painting to remind us that life goes on. I spent my summer nights sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows while watching fireflies dance in the darkening skies. We’d tell stories about UFOs and aliens as the foggy mist rolled in through the trees. The sound of bullfrogs singing, crickets chirping, and wind rustling the leaves would lull me to sleep in the old iron bed. I’d dream of another day at the lake and rescuing turtles from the road. The smell of the fire would stir us awake, the morning mist dissipated through the trees as our feet touched the wet grass. Breakfast was always fried potatoes and some sort of meat, if my Mom was there we’d get pancakes + fried potatoes + meat. Breakfast always tastes better when eaten outside under the old oak trees. Those are days that I will always cherish for as long as I have breath in my body.

Speaking of body, this little log cabin of ours is no match for the test of time. She was built back when we knew little about concrete and her foundation is crumbling. Her logs are good, but her base has seen better days. My dad guarded me from her fate all summer long and told me over and over “I can fix it, I just need some materials.” When I laid eyes on her, I knew that this wasn’t a project for him. We needed help. We had to map out our options and attach cost to those options. We needed to make the decision of do we save her or do we let her go?

We chose to save her. All roads pointed to one contractor, we are bringing in Heritage Builders from Menominee WI to restore her. In the spring of 2021 she will be lifted, her old foundation will be removed and a new one will be put in its place. Once the foundation is completed the Jacks and supports will be removed one by one and she will be sat on her new foundation. This project terrifies me. One wrong move and we will end up with a pile of Lincoln logs. I know our log cabin is in the right hands, Troy from Heritage Builders immediately saw what we see, he saw the gem. The gem that my dad saw all those years ago, the one painstakingly brought back from ruin to life.

I know in my heart God is making a way. This land, this house is my Dad’s heaven on earth. And he gave her to me, he’s trusting me to carry her on to the next generation and beyond. We pray each day that this cabin of ours will hear the pidder patter of little feet within her walls again. That scary stories and laughter will once again ring through her rafters. This log cabin craves life and life is what we will breathe into her.

Because she breathes life into my Dad and makes his soul sing. This log cabin of ours will be where my Dad’s soul rests. As his daughter I made a promise to ensure that her log walls are his final resting place. I will honor that choice. When the time comes his ashes will be placed in an old ceramic Indian whiskey decanter and tucked up in the rafters to watch over the place he loved most in life. And I will spend the rest of my days caring for and protecting his Heaven on earth.

{Travel} The Trip That Almost Wasn’t….

In April I got a call that no child wants to receive. A call from my mom that my dad was in a head on collision. Those words were all I needed to hear and I was headed to Red Wing.

In my heart I knew it was useless because due to Covid no one, but the patient was allowed in the ER. While on my way a nurse called to ask me some questions about my dad and she said she needed me to come in and talk to him. I asked her why and she said “the doc will explain everything to you when you get here.”

On the surface he looked like his normal grumpy old self. He had some bruises and scratches, so to me he seemed ok. Then the doc came in and started explaining his Troponin level was off the charts and that he needed to be sent down to Mayo.

I stood by and watched as the EMTs loaded him up and rushed him away. It broke everything in me knowing that I could not follow that ambulance to Rochester. I could try, but there was no way I’d get in. So I did what my dad always says to do in a time of trial, I prayed. I prayed that he was going to be all right and I headed back home.

My dad had his second sudden cardiac arrest. This time it was while he was driving home from our cabin with Ruby (his trusty dog. Ruby did not sustain any injuries in the crash, she walked away unscathed to chase a turkey for another day). The Doctors figure the impact of him hitting the airbag/steering wheel restarted his heart. There is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening again. So we decided to live life, to live a full life because the next time it happens he might not walk away.

In June we had planned to go to Yellowstone, I had to move our trip to September due to his accident and Covid. September finally arrived and I was excited to get this trip underway. This was his first time on an airplane. As the plane lifted I looked over to see him in his seat pretending to fly the plane. I could feel the tears welling up and I fought them as hard as I could. It was in that moment the reality of our summer sunk in. I could have easily been traveling to Yellowstone alone.

It made me realize that these Daddy/Daughter trips will not go on forever. As much as I’d like time to stop, I know it has to end eventually. And that I as his daughter need to fill whatever years he has left with adventure and make memories. I want to have stories that I can tell to my children. Hell I want to be able to take my kiddo on trips with their grandpa, so that they can have stories to share.

In the end when the drip finally stops, all that is left of us is our stories. And I pray that you have people in your life who will continue to tell your stories when you are gone. Charlie used to tell me that “date of birth and date of death don’t matter on a tomb stone. It’s the “dash” between those dates that matters. Some of us chose to die while living and others my friend, they live while their dying. Your dash is your story, it’s the nuts and bolts of a life well lived or a life well mourned.”

Somewhere between the ghost towns of Montana and the valleys of Yellowstone, I added to my Dad’s dash. He kept saying over and over “I never thought I’d see Yellowstone. This is a trip of a lifetime.” he was right, this was a trip of a lifetime for him. We set out for Yellowstone in 2019, but only made it to the entrance due to car trouble. We vowed that day to come back, to come back and finish what we started. When I parked in the exact spot our trip ended in 2019, my dad looked around and looked at me and said “We completed our task!”

Garnet Ghost Town, Montana
Nevada City, Montana
Norris Geyser Basin

Indeed we did and all I have to say is Yellowstone is beautiful beyond measure and the mountains of Montana speak to your soul like no other place can. I would take this trip with him a million times over, including the tiny cabin with a broken heater that we stayed in.

Tiny Cabin at Pine Creek Lodge
Grand Teton National Park
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park
Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park

If you have a dad don’t take your time with him for granted, for he is not immune to growing old. Take the time today to start making memories. It doesn’t have to be some grand trip, it could be lunch or even just a walk in the park. Memorize his every word so that one day when he is gone you can pass his stories on. Even the highly inappropriate stories. Even the ones that make you cringe a little. When he is gone from this world his words will matter and you will be thankful that you have them to keep you company.

And as for my dad, I thank God every darn day for his third chance at life. I could not imagine this world without him and travel just wouldn’t be the same. He is and will always be my road trip buddy.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
Devil’s slide, Montana
Garnet Ghost Town, Montana

{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.

{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.