Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolutions...

I've never been big for resolutions.  Sure, there are the standards, lose weight, spend more time with God, eat better, and such, which I always try to do, not just January 1 each year.  But last year, I decided instead of really setting a resolution, I would just make myself be more "proactive".  Some people adopt words to live by for the upcoming year, which is probably what I did with proactive.  I decided that when it came to my health, and mine and Dusty's future, I would be more proactive, and I have to say, I am so glad I did.

I got off to an early start with my "proactive" stance.  In January, I had what originally was thought to be a chemical pregnancy or even a fluke, with the very low beta.  I didn't really agree with my local ob who said that, and instead, felt like I was going behind her back, and emailed the APN at my RE's clinic, and asked her for another opinion.  She immediately ordered the saline ultrasound which my local ob did, and which eventually led to figuring out I still had some placenta from Chandler and Paisley in my uterus.  I am so glad I took the step of what, to me, felt like going behind Dr. P's back, and asking another doctor.  I was pretty proud of myself for not shying away from that, especially given the end result.  

Then when we had our failed FET in May, I pushed the doctor, and although there weren't really answers gained, I knew I wasn't left with a what if feeling.  Dusty and I asked the hard questions, and took the steps we needed to feel ok with what the end result was.  

And most recently, I don't think I could have been more proactive once we learned we were having twins again.  Immediately upon learning there were two babies growing, I started calling my ob, basically asking what we'd do differently.  I have to say, I love Dr. H, but as I've posted, I wasn't happy with the "wait and see" approach.  It isn't his fault, of course.  He isn't an MFM, and there aren't many studies on what could possibly help with a 2nd twin pregnancy, however; since I had been proactive, I knew there were options.  They were pretty new and not common, but there were definitely options out there.  I pushed for a referral to the local MFM, set up an appointment with one in Tulsa, and asked for a referral to another in Tulsa.  At the end of the day, none of them had anything else to offer, so Dusty and I made the easy decision that we would make the 3 1/2 hour drive to consult with an MFM that I learned of through a friend online who could offer something more than wait and see.  And that has been the best decision we could have possibly made!  

Do we know if the outcome will be better this time?  Not yet, but we certainly have faith that God is protecting us this pregnancy, that God arranged the path to this MFM, and is guiding us.  As I sit here only a couple of days away from the point where I had Chandler and Paisley, I'm still scared, but I know that God is with us, and I know that God has given me the confidence to be proactive this year and to not settle.  And for that, I am so thankful.  

So what will be my resolve for 2016?  I don't know yet.  I've been thinking about that a lot today, and haven't come up with anything yet, but I'm sure something will come to me.  I do know that I will continue to rely on God more than I ever have before, and I will continue to be proactive.  Once I figure out my new "word", I'll share with you all.  

Here is hoping and praying 2016 is the best year yet!  God bless you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Test of Faith

I so want to blog more about this pregnancy.  But I'm so scared.  And now, I realize, as I'm typing this, that me being scared is showing my lack of faith that God is going to carry me through this pregnancy, which I truly believe he will.  

I've only shared this with Dusty, but I truly feel God's strength this pregnancy.  My body feels stronger.  I feel a confidence that I know I only feel because of God's hand protecting me, and encouraging me, and most importantly, strengthening me.  There are so many people praying for us, and I wish I could tell them all that it is working!  I feel your prayers.  Please keep them up!  

Now, does that mean I never have scared moments?  Heck no.  I wish it did.  Honestly, this pregnancy has been the scariest thing I've ever done.  And these next 4-8 weeks will be so critical, and with that, so scary.  But, I'm going to continue to trust in God. 

How can I do that after what has happened to me?  Well, honestly, I don't know.  It's having faith.  It's knowing that even with what we've been through, God is good.  Even with all the anger I had with God for taking Chandler and Paisley from Dusty and me, I can hold onto hope and faith that he is going to see us through this pregnancy.  It's purely blind faith.  And there are many moments where I falter, MANY moments.  In those moments, I ask Dusty to pray for me, or I stop whatever I'm doing, and I pray, or I reach out to my friends from small group that have continually lifted Dusty and me up for over a year, and I ask them to pray for me.  I stop looking on google or facebook for strength, and I ask God for it.  I stop scaring myself with stories I read online, and instead, ask God to write my story, and please let it be a good one!  

I've held onto this song as well.  We started singing it in church over a month ago, and I have to admit, the first time I heard it, I had a bitterness in my mind, and I thought, what kind of "good good father" takes away my babies?  And I immediately felt terrible for even having that thought.  I can say, I didn't want to listen to it, I didn't want to sing it.  I didn't feel it in my heart.  Somehow, over about a week's time, that bitterness left me.  I've felt healing, and now, this is my song I go to when I'm having doubt, or fear, or just need to calm my anxiety.  God truly is good.  We will never know why he took Chandler and Paisley, but, we are going to see them again.  That is one of the good things, God prepared for us Heaven, and we will be reunited with our sweet babies, and we will see them, and spend eternity with them, and that is so much better than anything we could have here on earth.

Chris Tomlin - Good Good Father

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sharing Some Pics

I'm sorry I haven't blogged too much about this pregnancy.  Honestly, the thought of it brings on some PTSD symptoms.  I think it's because last time, I was so happy, and loved blogging about every single second of my pregnancy, and this time, I'm just so scared.  It's very hard to get excited this time.  Once my pregnancy passes a couple of major milestones, I think I'll feel better.  

For now, I'll share a couple of the bump pictures that I have taken.

Here is 14 weeks...



Here is 17 weeks...

And lastly...here is our gender reveal picture!


We were very glad to find out we are having another boy and girl.  That is what we wanted.  We feel very blessed, and we hope and pray every single day that we get to bring these babies home in car seats this time!!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

So Far...

I have started to update my blog on what I've done so far this pregnancy, but for some reason, I've really struggled.  I haven't been able to sit down and make myself write.  I think it's leftover anxiety from last pregnancy.  

First, pregnancy after loss is nothing short of HARD!  I've met several amazing women and watched most of them go through it, and they talked about how hard it was, and I thought, yes, I'm sure it is so hard, but I didn't realize just how hard it is!  Every little twinge, every off feeling has me just shy of a panic attack.  I had no idea how hard this would be!

That being said, back to what I've done this pregnancy.  After learning we were having twins again, I called my OB and expected to be seen pretty quickly to discuss next steps.  Well...that didn't happen.  It seems like my OB, whom I absolutely love, didn't really have options for me.  Since it's twins, a cerclage isn't a great option, and really progesterone injections aren't either.  So...as so many women have heard, the first option presented to me over the phone was, we'll start weekly checks around 16 weeks.  That was absolutely not good enough for me.  No way was I going to do this, wait and see thing, this time!  So I asked for a referral to the local MFM (maternal-fetal medicine specialist, or, in other words, high-risk ob).  I got the referral and the local high-risk ob set up my appointment...for 15 weeks.  Again, not good enough.  

Besides my appointment being so far away, I also wanted a second opinion to discuss different options, so I did a google search, and found an MFM in Tulsa, OK, which is a couple of hours from here.  I called, explained my situation/history to the person who made the appointment, and she said I'd need to come over for a nurse's interview, and actually got me in within a couple of weeks.  I was pretty excited about this!  I was ready to get a game plan!

In the meantime, I found out a girl from my high school who also lost twins last year was pregnant again, with a singleton, and also lives in Tulsa.  My mom talked to her mom and got the name of the high-risk ob she was seeing, so I made an appointment with that doctor too!  Couldn't have too many opinions, right?  

The day came for our MFM appointment in Tulsa, and boy, was that weird!  Apparently, it was more of a walk-in clinic (with an MFM???).  The questionnaire I had to fill out asked things like, was I happy about the pregnancy, did the baby's dad know about the pregnancy, was he happy about it, and on and on.  I looked at Dust and apologized and said I had no idea what I had gotten us into!

Anyway, it ended up being a long and rather funny story, that hopefully I will blog about so I don't forget, but, at the end of the day, we figured out that office was not the place for us.  There was basically a huge mix-up and I was set up as a new ob patient, rather than a patient coming over for a consult with the MFM.  The next week, the MFM actually called me herself and apologized several times about it!  I talked to her on the phone and asked her what she could do for my pregnancy.  I didn't get much of an answer.  

The thing with twins after twin loss is, there just isn't much out there.  There aren't a ton of things that can be done that have been shown to really help.  However; I had been doing my research as well, and knew there was a device called an arabin pessary, which has been used in Europe (developed by a German doctor), and has been shown to have success in twin pregnancies.  I asked the doctor about it, and she'd never heard of that, but said she'd look into it, and also said she'd discuss with the other MFM that I had an appointment with in a couple of weeks.  A few days passed, and she emailed me and said she couldn't find a way to get the pessary in, and that the other MFM (a friend and colleague of hers), had no experience with it either. 

Well, that pretty much settled it for me.  By this time, I'd met a girl online through another online friend who lost her sweet twins last year, and had recently had a successful subsequent twin pregnancy and had 2 month old twins at home.  I found her, and we began emailing and texting back and forth.  I learned that she saw a doctor in Kansas City, and that doctor did the pessary for her, and has lots of experience with it.  So, at that point, I decided that was the doctor I needed to see.  We didn't care about the 3.5 hour drive to KC, or however many subsequent trips it would take.  

I truly believe that God orchestrated the connecting of me to my friend Nickie.  She has been so helpful, sharing tips and things that got her through her pregnancy and such.  And the comfort I feel knowing I am being seen by her doctor helps so much.  Now, I say all of this and know that every single person and every single pregnancy is different, but, I also say this knowing that God has a plan, whatever it is, and has led me to this doctor and this friend!  

I called the office in Kansas City to ask about coming up for a consult.  I explained my situation and history, and they set me up with an appointment the following week!  That was awesome!  I couldn't wait!  

Dusty and I headed up to KC on October 16th, just over a month after learning we were expecting twins again.  We had an ultrasound and got to see our sweet babies, and then had a consult with a resident and the doctor and it was amazing!  The resident remarked about how educated we were about the options, and left the room to get the doctor to finish up the consult.  When the doctor walked in, she was funny, as she said, I've been hearing a lot of buzz about you!  Not sure what that meant, but we found it funny!  We concluded the consult with a follow up appointment to have the pessary place, yay!  

I'll blog more about the pessary.  Please keep us in your prayers, especially over the next 6-8 weeks, as we are really entering the critical time of the pregnancy, and quickly approaching the point where we lost Chandler and Paisley.  Thanks so much!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Finding out there are two

With Chandler and Paisley, we were able to go to our regular ob for our first ultrasound, but since then, my re clinic has apparently changed their policy, so we made another trip to Little Rock.  I think we both fully expected to see one baby on that screen, and really did not think two was in our cards.  Boy were we wrong!!

Our appointment was on September 15 at 10:00.  We were taken back for our ultrasound shortly after and I was so nervous.  After the last transfer ending in a chemical pregnancy, I was so scared there would only be a sac and no heartbeat.

Once we got settled in for the ultrasound, the screen was turned away from us where we couldn't see what was on there.  This was torture!  Last time, the second we saw the screen, I saw two sacs and knew both embryos had "stuck", but this time, we had no clue because we couldn't see anything.  It seemed like the doctor took 10 minutes before he said anything, but really, it was only about a minute.  The doctor asked me to remind him what happened with our fresh cycle, which I guess should have been a clue, but honestly, he's asked that nearly every single appointment, so I didn't think anything of it.

He finally started pointing out the yolk sac and fetal pole to the resident that was in the room with him.  I still wasn't breathing a sigh of relief until I heard or saw that heartbeat.  Finally my doctor played the heartbeat, and even then, I wasn't convinced!  I honestly thought for a second it could have been my own heartbeat, in some weird way, because my heart was pounding!  Dust was the first to speak, and said, "Praise God!" followed by, "I assume only one?"  To which Dr. M replied, "Well, no."  I honestly hardly remember anything from that point on.  I started crying and think I instantly went into shock.  If the doctor played both heartbeats, Dust and I don't remember it.  I vaguely remember Dr. M saying that there is such a thing as vanishing twin syndrome, but based on how our babies looked, he didn't think that would happen, and that the situation wasn't ideal.  

I honestly stayed in a state of shock for the first 24 hours, at least.  I remember waking up the morning of the 16th and just laying there, feeling caught between reality and this odd case of deja vu.  Obviously we knew there was a chance of twins again, but given the doctor's estimate of 15%, and given my beta numbers, we really didn't think both babies had stuck.  I feel terrible that my first reaction was to cry so much, but it is just so scary.

We instantly went into a mode of trying to figure out what we could possibly do to help make sure this time is different, which proved to be pretty frustrating!  My next blog will hopefully catch us up to where we are now and what we've done this pregnancy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Christian Faith and Infertility Treatments

The social media world has blown up in the past week with the Starbucks Red Cup controversy.  Seriously, people, this is what we have to worry about?  Honestly, I’d love to know which “Christian” groups initially spoke out about it, because really, it sounds like a whole big stunt to just draw attention to something that should be a non-issue.  These kind of things are what gives Christians such a terrible name.  I honestly don’t know a single Christian that has an issue with what Starbucks holiday cups look like.  People, did you look at them last year?  It isn’t like they had a nativity scene on them and said “Starbucks Loves Jesus” or anything!  So why the big deal that this year it is just red?  These kind of things are why the whole world loves to bash Christians, and honestly, if Christians really are pitching a fit over the whole red cup, who could blame anyone for bashing Christians?

This whole controversy was a perfect intro to the next topic that has been on my mind for about a week that I wanted to blog about. 

Christian faith and infertility. 

Infertility is mentioned in the bible, several times, in fact, but you know what isn’t?  IUI, IVF, and any other treatments.  You know why?  Because the bible took place thousands of years ago and these treatments are new! 

In mine and Dusty’s infertility struggle, we were very open.  We didn’t hide any of our forms of treatment from any of our friends, or anyone in our church.  We were an open book.  And, thankfully, we received absolutely no push back from anyone, nothing but love and support.   But, sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone.  In fact, it is hitting pretty close to home for me now, with my sister-in-law.

My sister-in-law and her husband struggle with infertility, and are at the point where the only way they will get pregnant, short of a miracle from God, is through IVF.  This was hard for them to accept at first, as it is for most people that are handed this sentence, but they have accepted it, and have discussed repeatedly, and have a plan to move forward.  However, what’s been even harder is the push back they’ve received from certain family members, who have basically told them that IVF is a sin and they should not seek this treatment to grow their family. 

I can’t accept this.  I can’t figure out how anyone could say that, I really can't.  However; I’ve been through these treatments, these treatments gave us Chandler and Paisley, and the two little babies growing inside of me today.  So, I went to a dear sweet friend, Sarah, who is completely removed from having to make these type of decisions herself, but, has been one of the biggest cheerleaders in my infertility struggle.  Sarah was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, to give me an outside perspective on the topic of religion and infertility.  Here is my interview with Sarah.

1. Have you struggled balancing your faith with supporting friends who have gone through infertility treatments? You always seem to be such a cheerleader, but I realize I’ve never actually asked you this question.

Honestly, my faith has never even crossed my mind in regards to others' fights for babies. Growing up, I always worried I wouldn't be able to have babies. I don't know what made me feel that way, and even though I haven't had any trouble, my heart grieves for those who do because I know how badly we wanted kids and would be devastated had we not been able to have any. I honestly couldn't tell you whether or not we would have pursued something like IVF had we not conceived, just because we've never walked that road. I would say we would probably have tried all options had we needed to. When others are struggling, with fertility or anything, it's just in my nature to be supportive. I wouldn't not support someone who was struggling through a crisis like death, and I don't see infertility any differently as it is a struggle for whoever is facing it.


2. If yes, how have you managed to be so supportive? If no, can you tell me for what reason your faith does not cause you to disagree with fertility treatments?

I feel like the decisions each person makes is up to them. It isn't my business whether they do or don't do anything. They just have to feel at peace with the decisions they make, just like I do. God made the doctors who were able to engineer fertility treatments and I believe that God still creates the life that comes from fertility treatments - if He didn't want those lives to come to fruition, He wouldn't allow the treatments to work is how I see it.


3. What advice, or counter point, would you tell others who have faced opposition of those in the religious community regarding their choice in pursuing infertility treatments?

I think that they just need to remember that the decision is theirs and if they feel at peace with that decision, then that's all that matters. Others are always going to disagree with us on almost every aspect of our life - we can't let that dictate what we do or do not do. For someone going through infertility, they may have people who oppose their choice to seek treatment. If they do end up having children, they will most likely face opposition or disagreements with parenting choices, too. What is right for one person may not be right for another, so live for yourself. We each have to give our own account to God and it doesn't matter what someone else thinks, only Him.


4. What is the biggest piece of advice you have for somebody who is trying to balance their religious faith with seeking fertility treatments when perhaps their religion is against fertility treatments?

I think that no matter what religion, there is going to be some aspect that you may not particularly agree with. I doubt there is any one Christian who agrees with every single aspect of their particular religion. I would suggest that if they are trying to balance their religious faith and fertility treatments, they should seek counseling within their church. Our pastors are there to lead us, guide us, question us and encourage and pray for us. We should utilize that. Again, I truly think that in regards to treatments, people just have to follow their own hearts and be at peace with it and not let anyone else dictate how they feel.

Sarah really made some amazing points.  First of all, be supportive.  Whether or not you agree with what somebody is doing, this isn’t a time to not support them!  Second, and YES YES YES, God made the doctors who came up with fertility treatments, and ultimately, God creates that life (more on that later).  Third, and Sarah is exactly right, the decision is ours (whoever is going through it), and what truly matters is if we are at peace with that decision, not what others think.  And what a great follow-up point from an amazing mother of 3, there will be opposition with how parents chose to raise their children, so, that isn’t going to change!  And lastly, I love Sarah’s advice of using the church to guide us, that is absolutely what the church is there for, and sometimes, I think we forget that, and only think of the church as a place to go on Sunday’s, and we minimize its role in our everyday life.

Like I said, I wanted Sarah’s perspective because she hasn’t walked through infertility personally, and as a person who has, it is very easy to justify our decisions to get to the conclusion we want.  When I first began the IVF journey, I had dinner with a girl from my high school who has a sweet little boy from IVF treatments.  This topic came up, and she told me how she justifies it, which Sarah mentioned, and I completely agree with.  The thing is, these doctors can take my egg, and Dusty’s sperm, and that’s the extent of it.  No matter what doctors do, whether or not an egg fertilizes and becomes an embryo, and further, whether or not that embryo actually attaches, grows, and becomes a baby is in God’s hand, and God’s hand only!  In fact, in my opinion, if we really feel like going through IVF is “playing God”, then we are truly only minimizing God.  We are saying that there are doctors here that have the same ability to create life that God does.  And that, in my opinion, is a far worse issue than any fertility treatment we could seek.


*All of the above is my opinion, or the opinion of my friend Sarah.  This post isn’t written to try to start some big religious fight, but instead, to encourage anyone facing the challenge that my sister-in-law is*

Friday, November 6, 2015

More about my FET

To be 100% honest, I was one of those people that over analyzed every little twinge and twitch during my tww.  I am almost certain I can tell you the moments that the embryos implanted, actually.  I’m sure I’m completely wrong, but, that is what I think for now, anyway.  I remember feeling a distinct twinge/cramp in the evening of the transfer (August 21), and telling Dusty that I felt like implantation had just happened.  It was on my lower right side, and I was convinced that was what happened.  Then, in the middle of the next day, I felt the same thing on my left side, and again, told Dusty that I thought the 2nd embryo had just implanted as well.  I know medically speaking, that is probably impossible, but it is what happened, what I felt, and my non-medical theory. 

Leading into this transfer, I literally had no idea how to pray for this.  How do I pray for 1 embryo to stick, when to me, that feels like I’m praying for 1 embryo to not make it.  How do I pray for both, when I’m scared to death of twins?  That felt like I would doom this pregnancy from the beginning.  Maybe for the first time ever, I prayed to God that whatever His plan was, it would be done.  I tried my best to let go, and let God.

So, at 4 days post transfer, I gave in, and tested.  I had some test strips from my TTC Crate order, and they were just too tempting.  I tested the evening of 4 days after my transfer.  I knew evening wasn’t the ideal time to test, but I had had some nausea earlier in the day, and just had a “feeling”.  I googled and found that unless it was multiples, I likely wouldn’t see a 2nd line.  Well…there was the faintest of faint lines.  In fact, I’m still not sure if it was really there or if I made it up.  I didn’t even tell Dusty, because I just wasn’t even sure, and it was my first time using anything except a FRER (those things are expensive!!!).  I remember thinking, there is no way that I really felt both implant, this is too faint, there can only be one, if any.

The next morning, I took another strip test.  This one was a different brand as the one I had used the night before.  But, there was a line this time, no doubt.  It was faint.  I still didn’t think that both had actually implanted, and still thought I was completely crazy for feeling like I felt them implant.  In fact, now, if I hadn’t actually said it to Dust, I would probably deny that I actually felt that at the time. 

I took another test the evening of 5dp6dt, and the line was slightly darker, although, again, it was a different type of test strip, and hard to compare.  At this point, though, there was a line, so I confessed to Dust, and showed him all three. 

While I'm confessing, I also downloaded an app which “inverts” pictures of pregnancy tests, which, in the IF world, supposedly makes the 2nd line easier to see.  I couldn’t believe there was actually an app for doing that, but, really, I shouldn’t have been surprised. 

After last time, our chemical pregnancy in May, it was really hard to be excited.  We both basically looked at the tests, and thought, ok, there is a 2nd line, it doesn’t mean much.  There were 2nd lines on all my tests in May, and that ended badly.




The next day, I took one of those cheapo $.88 Walmart tests, and there was definitely a 2nd line, although it wasn’t as dark as I expected.  Of course, I frantically googled to see what others had looked like using the same test, and found that really, the 2nd line on those tests aren’t very dark at all, but of course, that did nothing to comfort me.   




Seeing as how I drove myself crazy with tests and comparing lines after my last transfer, Dust thankfully put a halt to that this time.  After taking 4 tests in 3 days, he hid the rest from me, and we decided I’d wait until my beta.  Honestly, I am SO glad we did this.  I went through the rest of the tww knowing I’d had positive pregnancy tests, and left it at that.  I was PUPO, with hopefully no “O” to come. 



On the morning of August 31, I went to my hospital to have my HCG labs drawn.  I think Dusty and I logged into my portal at least 50 times that morning waiting on the results to be posted.  Finally, around 1:30, the results were updated, and the HCG value was 308.  Wow!  I was pregnant, and not just a little pregnant, and my last beta level of 35, I was a lot pregnant.  To be honest, the number caught me off guard.  See, even though I was conviced both had implanted, by the time the beta day came around, I was fully conviced I only had one little embryo growing inside me. 

I quickly started comparing this result to Chandler and Paisley’s. 

With Chandler and Paisley, my first beta was at 11dp3dt (14 dpo) and was 374 (actually, that was what was email to me, but I’ve since then signed up for the online portal through my clinic, and the number was actually 379 per the lab results listed).  With this transfer, I was 10dp6dt (16 dpo) and was 308.  I was absolutely convinced that it was a single embryo at that point, and felt a little bit of relief.  I told myself that if I were comparing this to Chandler & Paisley’s number, it was essentially 150 at the same day Chandler and Paisley’s was 374, so there was no way there were two.

On September 2nd, I had my repeat HCG.  My value at that point was 660.  With Chandler and Paisley’s, my repeat labs was 4 days later (because it was over the weekend), and went up to 2,405.  At this point, I’m even more convinced there is only 1 because the HCG didn’t sky-rocket like it did with Chandler and Paisley. 

Well…I was clearly wrong.


This post has gotten long enough, so I’ll post more about finding out there was two soon!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We've been keeping a secret...

It's about time we shared!  See, we've been keeping a secret since our last FET transfer in August.  It worked!  

And boy did it...


So, if the video doesn't play, we are pregnant, with twins!  

We are scared to death, to be completely honest.  I'll share more about how we found out, our reactions, and our current plan very soon!  

Sorry to keep ya'll in the dark, but we just announced to everyone on Monday, so I wanted to keep it a secret until then.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Something as simple as an s...

I received a text from my husband last night (I'm out of town for a work thing).  His text broke my heart.  It was a screen shot of a comment his mother made, about how she loves all her granddaughters, daughters, grandson...

Grandson.  As in one.  As in, she only has one grandson.  She has two.  One adorable little guy here, and one amazing little boy in Heaven. 

Forgetting Chandler also means she forgot Paisley.  They come together.

Did she mean anything by it? No. But isn't that the point? She so easily left them out. She didn't think anything of it...she didn't think anything of them.


My husband told me how seeing that post broke his heart, made him feel sucker punched, and how he felt like he needed to puke.  I asked him if he wanted me to text her and ask her nicely to change it.  He said yes.  He was too upset to communicate with her directly.

I messaged her and asked, very nicely, if she could simply edit the post to include an "s" at the end of grandson.  I didn't say it, but honestly, if she would have done that, all would be forgotten.  I'd let go the fact that she left out mine and Dusty's babies.  I'd even let her get away with saying it was a slip, that she meant to (even though I'd know it was a lie, I'd still just let it go). 

But could she do that?  No...she in turn, ignored me, and asked Dusty if he was "really" upset.  Like I lied.  And then with the best 4 year-old response ever, said she'd delete the comment and never post again.

Fine...whatever. 

The point of all this is...as angel parents, we face so many things that just plain hurt us.  Intentionally or not, it hurts.  People forget our babies.  They don't get included in counts of grandbabies, nieces or nephews, cousins, etc.  Their lives were so short, people just don't even think about them. 

And as angel parents, that is the worse nightmare ever, seeing our babies being left out, being forgotten, being overlooked.  The one thing we want is for them to be remembered forever, and when we see it not happen, it is a stab to our hearts.

*disclaimer - I'm writing this with full knowledge that she will likely read this, and that's fine.  It's my blog, it's my feelings, I'd tell her to her face if she was sitting here.  Is this passive?  Sure.  Do I care?  No.  So before anyone criticizes me and says I'm too passive aggressive, I've tried the direct approach with her, it doesn't work, so...if I want to vent on my blog, I will vent on my blog.  I'll air my dirty laundry for all to enjoy.  Ha!*

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chandler Charles - One Year in Heaven

Our Strong Chandler Boy,

Like your sister has as of yesterday, as of this morning, you have now experienced one year in Heaven.  We can't help but wonder what you look like.  We pray you are still a little baby so we can experience you "growing up" in Heaven.

It's funny, you and Paisley look so very much alike, but at the same time, we see so much of your Daddy in you.  You have your Daddy's nose and your Daddy's enormous feet!  In one ultrasound, you liked to show them off, and stuck your foot right up for us to see just how big your feet already were.  Taking after your Daddy for sure!

Chandler, you were always so chill and calm in the ultrasounds.  You are so much like your Daddy.  How we wish so badly you were hear so we could see the similarities in your personalities.  

Sweet Chandler.  You were such a strong little boy, just like the families you were named after.  How we wish you were here to carry on those legacies, but oh sweet Chandler, how your name is known and spoke by so many people.  You are doing those names so proud.  We are so proud of you, strong boy.  

Mommy & Daddy love and miss you so much, our son.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Paisley Joan - One Year in Heaven

Our Sassy Paisley Girl -

As of tonight, you have spent one year in Heaven.  We can only imagine what a year it has been for you.  One thing we do know is there is no suffering, no tears, no sorrow, no pain for you, our sweet little baby girl.  We know we will see you again.

You are our sassy little girl.  You liked to not show us if you were a girl or not, and then once you were born, your first nurse, Christine, said you were sassy because you liked to keep your legs crossed, with one ankle resting on your other knee.  

You looked so much like your mommy.  We miss you so much.  We miss watching you kick your brother on the ultrasound screen.  One of our favorite memories is when you kicked your own face during our anatomy scan, and then reached up with your little hand and started rubbing your face after you kicked it.  

You were such a strong, tiny little girl.  You made Mommy & Daddy so proud of you.  You have touched so many lives, one of which being your second nurse, Kaci.  She tells us how much you and your brother's precious little lives meant to her.  Know sweet Paisley girl, that while you were only here for a little over a day, you have made more than a lifetime of impact on so many people.

Mommy & Daddy love and miss you every single day, sweet baby girl.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, Our Sweet Babies

Our sweet Chandler & Paisley,

We can't believe it has been a year since we met you.  October 20, 2014, at 3:06 and 3:10 pm.  You both came into this world an immediately proved how strong you both were.  

The amazing NICU team was able to give us time to spend with you, to talk to you, and to learn so much about you in your short time.

We wish so badly that we were planning for your first birthday party in a couple of months, rather than spending the day reading sweet and uplifting messages from friends and family, and crying.  We miss you both so much.  You should be here.  This isn't how your first birthday should be spent.

If we could go back and change things, we'd give everything in the world to have you here.  You made our lives so complete, so happy.  For the first time in years, we experienced happiness.  We could not wait to bring you home.

Sweet babies, you have touched so many lives.  You touched the lives of so many people who never had the privilege to meet you, know you, speak your name, and remember you, not just today, but when you paint their sky a gorgeous blue and pink, as well as other times.  Babies, you are so loved, by so many. 

We promise to live our lives to honor you both, to keep your little memories alive, and to continue to touch others by your memories.

Mommy & Daddy love and miss you so very much.  Happy first birthday, Itty & Bitty.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What's Next, Part 2

I am so sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  I promise I will get caught up very soon and will be posting much more frequently!  

Anyway, where I left off.  I failed to mention in my last post that Dr. M said he thought the chance of twins again was "only" about 15%.  In the grand scheme of things, 15% isn't much.  To me, it's huge.  That worried me.  Then, I thought, but this is coming from somebody who can't explain why their clinic's FET success rate is only 26%, so...what does it really mean.  Honestly, I would have thought it was a little high, but I'm clearly not an expert.

Dusty and I proceeded to schedule a consult appointment with Dr. H, given we didn't want to wait until early July to talk to Dr. P.  I had assumed my next cycle would start in late June/early July, and we'd need to have a decision made by that point.  

We met with Dr. H and it was really nice to talk through things with him.  We ended up talking to him for 30 minutes.  We told him that ultimately, it was our decision, but we wanted his opinion.  Dusty flat out asked him what he would do if it was he were us.  We discussed various things about Chandler and Paisley's pregnancy and delivery, we talked about the clinic's FET success rate, we talked about the other nearby clinic and it's success rate, and several other issues.  At the end of the appointment, after much consideration, Dr. H said that if he were us, he would probably move forward with transferring our two frozen embryos.  

I'm not saying that solidified the decision for us at all, because it was still our decision, but it did help.  We at least had the opinions of two medical professionals.  

So, Dusty and I continued to think about it for several more days.  We were very torn and just really didn't know what to do.  On one hand, do we run the risk of twins again, even with the clinic's very poor FET success rate?  On the other, do we shell out $10,000+ out of pocket to start all over, when we have two perfectly good embryos sitting on ice waiting on us.  Of course, no matter what, we'd go back for those babies.  

My body decided to give us plenty of time to get comfortable with what ultimately was our decision.  Thinking my cycle would start sometime in late June or early July, it decided to take it's sweet time.  Finally, around cycle day 55, I was prescribed provera.  My cycle finally started on July 30th.  We were off to our next round.  

I'll be posting to catch everybody up on what we decided and update everyone on that round very soon.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

So What's Next?

After our FET failed, Dusty and I were at an absolute loss for what the next step would be.  We had hoped and prayed so hard for that FET to work to keep us from having to make this decision at this point.  See, what has us torn right now is we have two remaining embryos, great, right?  Well, they are frozen together.  Not so great. 

We had a phone consult with the RE, commonly known in the infertile world as the “WTF Appointment”, which stands for, well, you guessed it.  I saw a more “family friendly” definition the other day that said it stood for “why the fail”.  Sure, let’s go with that. 
What did we learn in that appointment?  Not much, that’s for sure! 

Our RE basically said, we were almost there, and the embryo implanted, but didn’t continue to grow, and they just don’t know why.  Not much of an answer.  I’m not sure I expected one.  I’ve learned that infertility is full of “We don’t knows”.  Why am I infertile?  We don’t know.  Why didn’t think work?  We don’t know.  Why did the embryo implant, but not grow?  We don’t know.  Why is your clinic’s frozen success rate so low?  We don’t know.

That last one really gets me.  I hesitated to ask our RE that, but you know what, those rates are published, and that is just something they need to learn to answer.  When looking at my clinic’s frozen embryo success rate for my category (under 35, non-donor eggs), it is a miniscule 26.8%.  That’s awful!  That’s barely above 1 in 4!  When I compared that to another clinic nearby, but in a different state, their success rate for FETs is 55.6%!  That’s double my clinic’s success rate!  I specifically asked my doctor about it and he had no answer at all.  He did say that 2 years ago, my clinic’s success rate was close to that of their fresh cycles (47.8% for pregnancies, 42.6% for live births).  Well, rates from two years ago don’t help me now.  My RE said they are constantly trying to improve their results and it is something they watch.  Again, doesn’t help me much now. 

So, we ended our phone call with the decision that I would return to their clinic (2 hours and 45 minutes away) for another saline ultrasound.  Yay, third in the current year (catch the sarcasm there?).  That was an experience.  They should have paid me for that!  The doctor let a resident do it, and she lost part of the catheter in me, yes, lost, in me.  Words that should never go together, ever!  But, we did get good news, as my uterus looked fine.  And all for the bargain price of $350.  *sigh*
When we returned to the fertility clinic June 5 for the saline ultrasound, we asked the RE what he would suggest given our history, and whether or not he thought we should move forward with transferring our two remaining embryos, or start all over with a fresh cycle and only do SETs (single embryo transfers).  Dr. M said he saw no reason for us to not do a frozen and transfer both.  We did ask about “refreezing” one, but he said that once they had been “thawed”, the chances of the embryo surving another freeze and thaw was very low. 

To be honest, we didn’t feel very good about that when we left there.  I think we were both thinking we’d move forward with a fresh cycle at that point.  We were honestly sick to our stomachs weighing our options, and felt the clock ticking.  Assuming I had a normal cycle, we’d have about three weeks to figure out what we wanted to do.  Not much time. 
We wanted another opinion, so we called my local clinic to book a consult with Dr. P.  Well, her and her husband, Dr. H, were going out of town for vacation towards the end of June, and so my appointment with her was not going to be until the first week of July.  If my cycle would have been a normal cycle that month, that would have been too late, or very close to being too late.  But, not knowing what else to do, I went ahead and booked that appointment. 

I let a couple of days go by, and decided I would call back to see if she’d had any earlier cancelations.  She hadn’t.  I decided to see if there was any way I could get in with Dr. H any earlier.  They squeezed us in for a consult appointment on June 9th.  Thank goodness!!
So, I’ll continue from there in another post, given this post is pretty long as it is!! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

March for Babies - The Details (Finally)

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about our March for Babies in April.  That’s so sad.   So!  That being said, I’ll finally post about it!

We had our March for Babies on April 4th.  I can’t even begin to express my appreciation and gratitude to all of our friends and family that joined us at the walk, both in person, or in spirit!  We also had an amazing turnout from coworkers from my company who participated in the walk and helped fundraise.  Then, in addition to the walk itself, so many amazing friends donated, either directly through our fundraiser page, or by buying t-shirts we had made, or through buying jewelry through my sweet friend’s online party, in which she donated all the profits to our team.  The response was honestly, overwhelming and touched me so much! 

 
(Here is a picture of all of the Team BKD C&P members at the walk.  It was quite funny, as the photographer's assistant was trying to count the team members for the award for most walkers present, she just gave up and said we had it by a long-shot!  Haha!)

As I mentioned, we sold t-shirts and a friend did a jewelry party with the profit from both being donated to our march team.  We sold nearly 100 shirts and over $300 in jewelry!  The response absolutely blew us away!  We ended up shipping shirts all over the US, from California to Maine to Florida, and so many states in between!  Our friends really are awesome! 

(Here are our team t-shirts.  I absolutely love how they turned out!  They have their actual footprints included on the back.) 
Anyway, I digress, but wanted to point out that we have AMAZING friends!  I’m so thankful for them!
Back to the walk!  My offices joined as a company team, and named our team, Team BKD for C&P.  Nearly everyone from my offices joined the walk, and we had a very successful fundraising effort!  In fact, we won several awards at the walk for Top Fundraising Team, Top Online Fundraising Team, Top Fundraising Individual and Most Walkers Present. 
 
I couldn't be more touched by the donations we received for our team.  It absoluely means so much to me.  All of it to benefit such an amazing cause!  Although my babies were born too soon, I know the day that we had with this was a direct result of premmie research conducted through March of Dimes efforts.  And that day means so much to Dusty and I!
 
Also at the walk, I got to see for the first time since leaving the hospital, Paisley's nurse Kaci, who was such a God-send to us during that terrible time.  She and I had messaged back and forth on facebook some, and she also bought a shirt.  She asked me if we made the blue on the shirts bigger because Chandler was bigger and you know, I hadn't thought about that, but I like that thought!  I wish I had taken a picture with her!  It was so nice to see her again!  She also snapped these pictures for me, of Chandler and Paisley's names in the Garden of Hope at the walk, which sadly, I completely missed, as it was set up near the Easter egg hunt (since it was Easter weekend). 

 
I'm so thankful for all Kaci has done for us and I'm so glad to call her a friend!  Her kindness has touched me so much.  She was the one behind the sweet shoes and card that we received at Christmas time, and she also reached out to me at Mother's Day and sent me a beautiful package of such touching gifts.  I honestly don't know what Dusty and I have done to be blessed with such amazing people in our lives, but I am so incredibly grateful for them!
Lastly, our team also had a sign on Mission Blvd, which was the last stretch of the walk, and included signs telling stories of sweet angels and of sweet survivors.  We were very touched to have Chandler and Paisley story and name told on one of these signs. 
 
 
It truly was an amazing day.  It made mine and Dusty's hearts feel good, for the first time in a very long time, to be able to do something to help honor and remember our sweet children.  
 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our Limp

I’ve often thought about how mine and Dusty’s lives will never be the same after losing Chandler and Paisley.  I think about how our lives have shattered, broken into millions of pieces, and impossible to find all the pieces to even begin to attempt to glue it back together. 

The missing holes are just too big.  There is too much gone.  Pieces from mine and Dusty’s hearts have been torn out; leaving a gaping hole that will never be filled. 
Perhaps our pastor said it best when he compared our life to that of Jacob after Jacob wrestled with God and from that point on, walked with a limp.  God crippled Jacob and caused him to walk with a limp the rest of his life.  Dusty and I will always carry this, like a limp.  At times, it isn’t visible to the outside world, but at times, it is painfully obvious.  When we see that newborn baby, or that pregnant woman, or hear that newborn whimper, and our natural, guttural reaction is to cringe and we have to fight tears.  Those are the times when our limp is on display for the entire world to see. 

And I don’t mind that at all. 
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t understand our limp, and often times, it is misinterpreted.  That cringe reaction to a newborn baby at a restaurant is often met with judging looks, and I know what those parents are thinking, it’s a baby, it will cry.  Oh how they misunderstand why they see the pained look on our face. 

Three weeks ago at church, we took our seats, and in walked a couple, and the woman was several months into her pregnancy.  Then, in walked two more couples, with big round pregnant bellies.  Then, lastly, in walked a couple with a newborn baby boy.  And every one of those sat on the row in front of us.  We were on the 2nd row.  I’d hate to even imagine how many reminders I would have seen if I’d turned around.  Every single time, I felt this pain deep in my chest, and I thought to myself, this must be what it feels like to have a knife stab your heart.  And every time, I’d feel my husband cringe, and wrap his arm around me a little tighter.  I know my husband hurts as much as I do, and though my PTSD symptoms at times seem stronger, I know he has the same triggers, and feels the same pain, he just hides it better.  (I’ll eventually do a post on PTSD as it relates to pregnancy loss)  Dusty and I nearly walked out of church.  Neither of us said anything, but there was this almost physical pull that I could feel.  Here we are, 9 months after losing our babies, still without a pregnancy of our own since, and the pain is just as real as it was months ago.  The pain of infertility compounded with the never ending pain of loss.  Our limp. 
Just today, at work, two coworkers were discussing one coworker’s newborn grandbaby, right next to me.  It amazes me how people come across so insensitive.  I try to remind myself that they don’t know, they aren’t trying to be insensitive, they just don’t think.  People really don’t understand the severity of how it feels after losing children, and compound that with the pain of infertility.  At times, it is just too much to bear.  I compared today’s event to lighting fireworks in the living room of an army veteran with PTSD.  There are physical responses to these triggers, and I will go into it more later, but it amazes me how people walk through life so blissfully ignorant to these things.  I know I never will again. 

I’ve found several friends through the child loss community on Facebook and Instagram.  Often times, especially in the early days of loss, I see many people ask, “When will I feel like I used to?”  I know I will NEVER feel like I used to.  Nor would I want to.  What kind of person would I be, or would Dusty be, if this did not change us drastically?  How meaningless would our children’s lives be if we were somehow able to become who we were before them?  Of course we will never be the same.  So, because of that, I am perfectly ok with the person I have become.