{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.

{Survivorhood} Year Nine

Nine.

I can still remember exactly what I was wearing on the day my world broke. Gray cardigan, white button down peasant top, jeans, and cranberry ballet flats. The shoes, I still have them. They are worn and raggedy, I just can’t let them go. Those shoes carried me in the ER and they walked me out days later. Those shoes are a symbol that I survived the worst day possible.

Every day I am reminded that four had to die so I could be the one out of five who walked away. I live each day for those who no longer can. I live each day for the women who lost their lives to the Nuvaring. Those women are my battle cry and I will not rest until there are none. Those women have given me more strength than I ever thought possible.

I survived because God, he wasn’t done with me. God knew my strength before I did. God gave me a second chance and I have cherished each day to the fullest. Fate, she’s a funny one and I know that everything I have lived through was apart of her plan. That this plan isn’t mine and only Fate knows where I am going. I cling to every drop of borrowed time and thank God for every day I rise. For I know this second life of mine is an incredible gift.

On October 22, 2009 I made a choice. A choice to not be a victim. A choice to thrive and live a life worth telling. I want a life filled with incredible experiences and stories that will keep me company when I’m old. I made a choice to stand up and be a voice against the darkness. A voice to bring awareness to a cause and educate those around me about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. My voice will not be silenced until there are none. I have work to do and I will not rest until there are none. One day there will be none and on that day I will take off my white hat and rest.

This past year was filled with heartache and joy. I became a mama to my 3rd sleeping son. Emmett James left this world before his feet ever touched my hands. I am grateful for the experience and I am thankful to be his mom. When sadness fades to joy life begins. I got to watch Sophia and Jack turn one year older. There faces bring joy to the darkness of the night. I am grateful that I survived and get to hear their little voices say “Auntie! Auntie! Auntie!” They are my world and I am there’s.

I spent my weekends traveling form place to place with my dad at my side. No matter the destination he was game. We went to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Mackinac Island; The Badlands; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse; Wyoming; Jeffer’s Petroglyphs; Milwaukee; Racine; Hayward; Effigy Mounds National Monument; Crowing Wing State Park; Door County; Washington Island; and the North Shore. This summer we traveled more than most people do in a lifetime. Much wine and booze was bought and we have memories to last us until the end of time.

My dad isn’t the only one who got in on the road trip fun. I traded my dad in for Jay! We made our usual pilgrimage to WI Dells and we ventured west to South Dakota and Wyoming. This year was the year of travel and my heart is happy. I am the trip planner in our family. I plan and Jay just comes along for the ride. That is what I love about him, he’s up for anything as long as I’m involved.

My heart she is thankful. Thankful that I got a second chance at this thing called life. This second chance taught me to live in the moment. Fate has taught me to let the little things slide and stand up for the big things. I have more hope and faith than most people. For I’ve seen God work. Long ago I stopped asking “why me,” instead I stand up and ask “why not me.” I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and God knows what he’s doing. Research, saved my life and it will continue to save the lives of others. We need to believe in research and fund research so that others can have my outcome. So that they too can have a chance at living in a beautiful disaster.

YEAR #9:

For the past nine years I’ve asked for motherhood. This year I am just asking to be HAPPY. Happy with myself. Happy with my work and life. I want to feel joy and give joy. I want to be that person whose happiness is addictive and strengthening. That beacon we flock to on a bad day and the one we laugh with on a good day. I simply want to be happy.

{Infertile Me} Wave of Light

This is my battle cry “I AM A PARENT!” And no one can ever take that away from me. My womb has been a place of life and a silent tomb. Three babies I have carried, their hearts beat in the same rhythm as mine, and when their hearts fell silent, a part of mine died too.

I walk this earth with a broken heart. On May 13, 2010, I gave one piece back to God, his name was Alucious Gregory. On July 7, 2015, I gave a second piece back to God, his name is Baby E. On March 5, 2018, I gave a third piece back to God, his name is Emmett James. I myself wonder how I can still stand, how I can still move, and mostly how my heart still beats. I have one piece left and she beats on, for her sons need her to be strong.

Strong for the moments when she tears up and utters “there should be five,” as she watches Sophia and Jack climb hay bails. Strong for the moment when she walks through the orchard and utters “this should be Emmett’s first trip.” For the moment when she utters “Emmett’s first Halloween costume could have been Dr. Brown.” They need her to be strong when she proudly hangs Emmett’s ornament next to Lucia and Baby E’s on the tree. They need her to be strong so that she can live a life of what could be instead of a life of what ifs.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett need their mama to be strong for they believe that she can. Their deaths cannot be in vain, they to believe that their mama deserves a living breathing baby to spoil and love. A baby that will take the breath that they never got to breathe. A baby that will get to lay eyes upon the women they never got to call mom. A baby that will nuzzle into her neck and dream a lifetime of dreams that they never got the chance to dream.

Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are the tiny voice that whispers, just one more step on silent nights. They are her fuel, her fuel to not give up on this dream called MOTHERHOOD. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett are her battle cry! She is a parent to three boys, her sons they will always be. Their mother she will always be. She will light three candles, one for each of her sons, and a forth to remind her that as long as she is breathing, Hope is still alive. A reminder that she most always follow the light until she reaches the ends of time and never give up for her sons need her.

{Infertile Me} Hope Addict

I am starting to believe that just maybe unicorns, trolls, and mermaids do exist. Lord knows I am pretty much a medical unicorn. A girl with complicated anatomy that prevents her from getting pregnant the natural way. I must have been late when God was handing out the good cervixes. Because I got the broken one that came from the bottom of the barrel. Even though she’s broken, she’s mine and I wouldn’t trade her in. She’s caused me a lot to trouble and now she’s held together with scar tissue and hope.

I’ve faxed and scanned my records to more clinics than I can count. For one reason or another all of them told me no. I drove to Green Bay and was told no. The doctor waited until that morning to look at my records. I was to complicated for him. My BMI was .3 to high for him. So he sent me packing and I was defeated. It stung, the hope that I had instantly left my body and in my heart I was done.

Four hours on the road gives you time to contemplate and to organize a plan. In that moment I wanted to walk away from all of this. Yet something in my gut told me “take one more step, one more leap, we are not done yet. We can go a little bit further.” That little embryo of ours is counting on me, counting on me to bring it into existence. Embryo #3 deserves a chance to become a baby.

You can call me a hope addict. I am addicted to hope with a dash of fear. Do I regret getting fired from CCRM Minneapolis? Nope not one bit. In m my heart I always knew CCRM was not the right place for me. I stayed because I felt held to the wall without options. Did I receive good care form CCRM? Nope, my complicated anatomy and I were treated like an inconvenience. I was a lepar in their books, I didn’t fit the mold, and no matter how much they tried my fat ass wouldn’t fit in their box. CCRM’s lab is all you really need and any qualified doctor can do a frozen embryo transfer.

I think to myself “one day Embryo #3 will read this very blog and will know how hard we fought for him or her.” When you are addictive to hope you do not know how to stop fighting. When life throws you a block you curve to the left and find a solution. Google and I have become BFFs as we search for a clinic capable of taking me and embryo #3. Somewhere out there is a doctor just waiting to put a feather in his or her cap and that doctor will say “yup I will take you on.” I will continue to scan and fax until I find them. Motherhood is something I have always dream of and I am to addicted to give up.

{Infertile Me} Grace

Something told me to find my family before I attempted to transfer Embryo #3. I cannot explain it. Deep down my soul was telling me “find Grace, find your family, and go HOME.

In early September my Dad and I went home. Home to Crow Wing and the White Earth Reservation. There I touched the house my ancestors built and walked amongst their graves. I did what my Grandfather never did, I went home for him. My heart she wasn’t settled, she needed to find Grace. She needed to stand before the woman who never gave up on her children.

Find a grave. com is an amazing tool and it helped me immensely. Fate had a hand in this too. Someone had documented Riverside Cemetery in Seeley WI, Grace Geneviève Beaulieu Cox’s stone was amongst the photos. My Great Grandmother’s stone was staring back at me plain as day on my iPhone screen. When I looked it up I realized that I had driven right by her for years.

Hayward is Wisconsin’s vacation land and it’s a place I try to visit every year. The Main Street is lined with cute little shops and there are lots of restaurants serving down home north woods cooking. If you venture outside of Hayward you will see “canoe landing” signs dotted along the highways. The area is amazing for canoeing. Speaking of canoeing; I AJ canoed right by my Great Grandmother’s grave and didn’t know it. I have driven by Grace’s grave every fall on my way to Bayfield. She was there in Seeley, just waiting to be found. Waiting for us to stand before her and say her name.

She was lost, but now she’s found. My dad and I instantly spotted her grave when we pulled through the cemetery gates. My dad never got to meet her when she was alive. I watched as he laid the tobacco down and said “Grandma you’ve been found.” After Irene died I was allowed to go through their home and pick out items I wanted. Nestled in a corner covered in dust was a statue of an Indian woman with a baby on her back, I was drawn to this and put it in my box. It’s been sitting in my garage ever since and I had no plans to bring it inside. It came to me that the statue was meant for Grace. I held the statue steady as my dad squirted the glue and I stuck it to the concrete. My dad instructed me to push down and give it a little twist so it will stick. We gave Grace her heritage back.

After Grace’s children were taken she did what she had to do to survive. She got married and made a new life for herself all while still holding out hope that her children were alive. Grace reunited with my Grandfather, her son was lost, but now he’s found. I cannot imagine what that moment looked like, when he was taken he was around 5 years old and when he was found Clifford was a middle aged man. Grace was whole, her children were found. Seeing my Dad stand before Grace, his grandma was something I will always treasure. My Dad is now whole too. He got to touch the stones of his ancestors and lay tobacco down to acknowledge that because of their battles he exists.

And now I feel whole too. Whole because I stood before the grave of the strongest woman I never got to meet. The courage and determination she had was beyond measure. I relate to Grace; our lives are similar. Like her, I know what it’s like to have your life ripped to shreds. I know the strength it takes to build a new normal. To never give up fighting for your children. Dead or alive your children will always be yours and you need to fight for them.

Grace once was lost, but now she’s found and we are never letting go. My Dad and I decided that we are going to visit her grave often and I have faith that one day Embryo #3 will stand before her.

{Infertile Me} Emmett James 03/05/2018

I have been trying to will the month of September to move slowly. My heart, she is not ready for the calendar to turn to the 23rd. She is not ready for that day to arrive for her womb is empty; Emmett left this world earlier than expected.

Right now Jay and I would most likely be holding Emmett in our arms and cooing over him as he looked up at us. Due dates are not concrete, we knew that I would deliver early via a planned c-section. Jay should be out in the parking lot making sure the car seat fits just right, while our mom’s are at our house making sure bottles are washed and the crib is ready. I should be posting photos of our sweet Emmett to Facebook as friends stop by to hold him. This time should be about our Emmett, a miracle that defied the odds. But it isn’t. The little embryo that could left this world all too soon.

Life she makes us strong before she gives us what we long for. Fate called Emmett home on 03/05/2018 at 11weeks 1 day, his heart it stopped at 10weeks 3 days. His story was done before the first words were written and our hearts are forever broken. Emmett was the child that we prayed for; the child that we so desperately wanted. He is our boy and we are his.

Emmett’s ultrasound photos sit in a book on Jay’s desk. In the beginning they made me sad, but now they are a reminder that he existed. That he was apart of this world and that he will forever be apart of our story. For 11weeks and 1 day he was our entire world and for that I am grateful. Our heats were filled with anticipation and awe because the little embryo that could was our baby and no one can ever take that from us. He was a 9.4 beta that turned into a heartbeat at 6weeks 1day. Even the fertility clinic was surprised by that.

When we found out that Emmett died I asked Jay if we could do a bucket list of things that we would have done had he lived. One of those items was a trip to the North Shore. On a beach just outside of Duluth we said goodbye to our son and threw two small stone turtles into the turbulent waters. The power of the lake washed over us and as tears flowed we said our goodbyes to the baby we never got to hold. I have faith that one day we will find Emmett’s turtles on the shore, the lake she will return him to us.

We chose to have Emmett James cremated and his ashes were spread in BabyLand at LakeWood Cemetery in Minneapolis. When I moved to Colfax Avenue in 2010 I had no idea that the cemetery just down the street would be the final resting place for two of my children. I walked by it and through it quite a bit. It’s a beautiful place and BabyLand has a view of Lake Calhoun a place that is near and dear to my heart. Emmett is not alone here, Baby E’s cremains we’re also laid to rest in BabyLand. I cannot bring myself to visit BabyLand it’s to painful right now but one day I will have the courage to go and put tobacco down for my sons.

The memory of my children is alive and well in our home. We have 3 Jizo statues one for each of my sons. Red for Lucia; Yellow for Baby E; and Purple for Emmett. A sign in our hallway reads “because someone we love is in heaven we have a little bit of heaven in our home.” My Dad is working on a memorial garden at the cabin with three dogwood bushes, a plant that is sacred to the Ojibway. Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett will always matter, our babies they will always be.

Emmett was proof that against all odds miracles do happen. I have no doubt that all three of my son’s will be watching over Embryo #3 for they want him/her to live the life that they never got to see.

{Infertile Me} She was lost; and Now I’m found

It’s been a stressful past few weeks. I found myself in a place I never thought I would be in. I’ve called more fertility clinics than I’d care to admit. All of the clinics in MN will not take our embryo. Between you and me; I feel like Dr. B put the word out that I am a terrible patient. Several of the clinics said it’s a liability after they found out who I was. After the last clinic said no I felt defeated. I was ready to throw in the towel and face a childless life head on.

Yet something in me was tugging away. Something in me told me to pick up the pieces and continue the fight. Geneva is a name that I carry. I carry my Great Grandmother’s name as my middle name. Now she was a warrior. Geneva’s children were taken from her during the relocation and assimilation period. That woman, that strong woman never gave up on finding her children. Even when authorities told her that they had died in transport, she never gave up hope. Geneva picked up the pieces of her shattered life and never stopped searching for the missing pieces. Geneva lived his life knowing that pieces of her were scattered and she rode the wind until they were found.

Geneva was reunited with my Grandfather Clifford. Life came full circle. June was found too, along with her other son. This woman, this patient woman was finally whole. I thought to myself “Geneva didn’t get you this far for you to give up. She fought like hell for her children and her battle paid off; she died whole.”

I need to honor this woman’s legacy of determination and grit. Knowing she walked this road before me and that I would not be walking this road alone I turned to Wisconsin. Wisconsin is in my blood and is my second home. My mom, she is from Wisconsin and Geneva is buried outside of Hayward in a sleepy little cemetery. My roots run deep in Wisconsin, so it’s the perfect place to bring our embryo. I called a couple clinics in Wisconsin and they will take Embryo #3! I got ghosted by one doctor in Johnson Creek, which is ok. My gut is leading us to Green Bay. With a little luck and a lot of faith Green Bay will be where Embryo #3 is transferred back to me. Our little embryo, this little fighter of ours will be made in Wisconsin and with a little luck born in Minnesota.

Call me crazy but, I deeply believe that Geneva is leading the way that somehow someway she is going to make this work for us. She’s been in this fight, she brought me this far and now it’s up to me to bring it home. Her blood, her fight runs through me and I know IVF got this.