Her words will always be a part of my memory, “Every year on this day you will eat birthday cake”. That’s what the nurse told my son as she laid him on my chest and we locked eyes for the very first time. “Hello Davis, I’m your mommy” and in that very instant life changed. I tell people that being a mom is one of the easiest but yet hardest things I’ve ever done. Easy because of the love hard because of everything else. I look back on the pictures that were taken in the delivery room and they make me cry every single time. I had a planned c-section so I was prepared, my bag was packed the alarm was set and we were off to have a baby. My girlfriend who is a doula was in the room with us and I’m so grateful for her and for keeping not only me grounded but also John. She knew what moments to capture and because of her we’ll have those memories for a lifetime. There’s a lot of people in the room when you give birth and they were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve been through a lot with my Dr and it was emotional for me to be sharing this day with him because I never thought I would be given this chance. The c-section was fast and I tried to take in as much as I possibly could because I wanted to remember each moment. Surgery has always been easy for me, I think I’ve had 6 in total all fertility related. I wasn’t nervous about the procedure itself, the scar I would have or the recovery time I trusted my decision to give birth this way.
The incision was made and I felt the tugging, I didn’t like the oxygen mask over my face so they took it off and let the air cool my face almost like a fan. I gripped the anthologist’s forearm which helped with my pain, he put a cool cloth on my forehead and increased my pain meds he talked to me trying to distract me from the extra chatter that was going on in the room. The baby was long and was lodged up under my rid cage and if they didn’t use the vacuum to get him out my dr would have had to make the incision longer. More pressure and noise and then in a matter of minutes my baby was being held high above the curtain for me to see and for John to announce it was a boy.
Davis Bradford was born 3/20 weighing 8lbs 1oz and 22″ long.
It’s literally taken me six months to write this post that’s how insane life is for us right now. For the first 10 weeks Davis was colic which was miserable but I didn’t know any different so I just thought it was normal to have him scream all of the time. Two weeks before I had to go back to work a switch flipped and he turned into a different baby. Postpartum reared its ugly head in the beginning and I showed up to my dr appt in tears feeling like I would somehow be a failure of a mom if I admitted defeat and had to take an anti-depressant. For 30 minutes my dr listened to me, gave me advice and reassured me that nothing was wrong with me. He wrote me a prescription and gave me one of the biggest hugs. I’ve learned so much about myself and my relationship over these last few months, all things I’ll share at a later date because I think they’re worth talking about.
Overall life is good, I practically run out of work to pick Davis up because I miss him so much. I feel like I’ve somehow joined this exclusive club by becoming a mom and I want to high five all of the other moms I see. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I’m proud of my mom-bod because it reminds me of the life I grew inside me and I Love Love Love nursing. I have a new found respect for my mom because she always made being a mom look easy and you know what it’s far from easy so if I can be half as amazing as she is I’m going to be a pretty epic mom!
In nine days I will have beat infertility because in nine days I will be checking in to the hospital to have my scheduled c-section. John has called this last month my Victory Lap because it’s not about worrying any more it’s about winning the race we’ve been in for the last eight years. Cue my tears.
Pregnancy is by far one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. Everything just agreed with me and even at 37wks and 4 days I still feel amazing and I’m sad that the pregnancy is coming to an end but I’m excited for what the rest of our lives have in store for us as parents.
As people found out I was pregnant I was more open to share my story because quite truthfully I’m tired of people not talking about infertility and I’m tired of being embarrassed and ashamed of what I’ve had to go through to get to this point. I’m honest and tell people it took us eight years, which included 5 losses, 6 surgeries and multiple rounds of IVF. I sometimes tear up as I tell my story and I’m ok showing emotion because this is one of the hardest and loneliest journeys I’ve ever been through. Last week there was a woman who works down the aisle from me that came over to tell me she had no idea I was pregnant (which I get a lot from work people) and to congratulate me. She then shared that her two children were IVF babies and in that very second of her sharing with me, we became IVF sisters. We compared our journey’s and cried together because those infertility feelings are raw no matter how much time has passed.
I reflect on what 3/20 will hold for me and I don’t think there’s any way for me to comprehend it, put it into words or truly know the emotions that I will feel that day. I’ve been trying really hard to live in the present and enjoy the little and big things that this pregnancy has given me. I’ve been saying this since the day I found out I was pregnant, this is the baby that chose me to be it’s mom and it’s a title that I will never ever take for granted.
Now that people know I’m pregnant I get asked if I’m going to find out the gender. My answer has always been no even before I was pregnant. When you go through fertility treatment everything is so planned, I lived by cycle days, dr appointments and calendars. Everything was written down and there were no surprises so I feel like this is going to be my one BIG surprise. Sure it would be amazing to plan ahead and have a nursery decorated for either a boy or a girl and have a lot of the clothes already bought but you know what is also going to be amazing, not planning. We had 14 eggs that were retrieved. Out of those, 4 made it to day 5 and were biopsied and flown to Colorado for genetic testing. 1 embryo came back genetically perfect and that 1 embryo is who chose us for its parents. Whether it be a boy or a girl does not matter to us what matters is us getting to be its mom and dad and that fills my heart with so much love.
I’ve had my 20wk ultrasound, how can it be that I’m half way there already. I remember all of those 2ww’s and they were some of the slowest possible days of my life and now that I’m pregnant I would so embrace a slow day. It has been 2-months since we’ve seen baby so this ultrasound was a big day for us. Everything looked absolutely perfect but they do want me to come in for another one at 28-weeks because the way the baby was laying we couldn’t see the tail end of the spine. No arguments from me on that decision. I met with the doctor after my ultrasound and we talked about labor and I just casually brought up having a c-section because I was already considered high risk because of my age and he completely agreed and said he was ok with it. I guess I wasn’t expecting him to be on board and now I almost feel guilty for bringing it up. I know I’m crazy but I feel like it’s a cop out from truly experiencing the whole labor experience. I know in the long run I have to do what’s best for the both of us but since this is the only pregnancy I’ll ever experience I don’t want to miss out on any of it.
Next up on my calendar: getting ready for the holidays, patiently waiting for my 24wk appt, registering, house hunting and possibly purchasing and baby showers. March will be here before I know it and with a c-section they will take the baby at 39wks. So much to be thankful for!
I’ve thrown my pregnancy out to the universe and it amazes me how some people reacted to my news. I had 2 people look at me and ask, “how old are you?” I get it I’m not a young mom but come on don’t make me feel bad about it. I had someone ask me, if I’d really been frickin trying for a baby for 7 years. I wish more people were educated about infertility or at least had some sort of filter. The people that I love and care about the most were over the moon happy for me. When I told my family I found this fabulous bakery in the city that makes custom donuts and I placed an order and had them spell out BABY DUE IN MARCH!
I went to my first OB appt, a clinic that I’d been going to for 5 years before moving on to IVF. They’ve seen me on some of my lowest days and were always the ones who picked me up and gave me hope month after month. I went in for my appt and I was greeted with so many hugs and a huge smiley face on my chart. Everyone told me how excited there were to see my name on the schedule. I had an ultrasound with a tech who I absolutely adore, with each loss he’s been the one to tell me there was no heartbeat. We have a connection and I love him for his compassion and the strength he’s given me to continue. Seeing him again was so special for me especially because I knew my day was only going to be filled with happy news. Everything looked amazing on the ultrasound and just as we were wrapping up he asked if he could do something special for us, he said we had been through so much over the years that we deserved something and he asked if he could buy us our stroller. As if I wasn’t emotional already his kindness completely melted my heart, every person at that clinic is part of my story and I’m overjoyed to me sharing my pregnancy with them all!
So I’ll be 18 weeks tomorrow and I have to say pregnancy isn’t nearly as hard as trying to get pregnant was. I keep saying this must be God’s gift to me since it was so hard getting to this point. Pregnancy has been so easy for me and I’m loving every single day of it. I’m not tired, I have no cravings, I never once had morning sickness and if it wasn’t for my very tiny bump I feel completely normal. We started stockpiling our diapers a few weeks ago, so far we have 3 boxes. We bought a swing from a friend of mine who also struggled conceiving and that’s all we have gotten. Last weekend we went to Buy Buy Baby and started looking at cribs, that was a little overwhelming but I think we have it narrowed down to two. I’m still taking things one day at a time because I don’t want this time to go any faster than it already is. I want to remember it all because I’m carrying my one and only miracle baby and that’s totally worth living life at a much slower pace.
I never thought I would make it to this point, my glass has been half empty for so many years that this all still seems so surreal to me. I did it…we did it, we graduated from my fertility clinic and I get to see my own dr. I didn’t think I would get as emotional as I got but I formed relationships with these people. The ultrasound tech was with me from transfer to the final scan, she was my absolute favorite and I made sure to tell her. I hugged her hard because she is now part of my story. During one of my blood draws I shared my journey with the lab tech, he was in awe of everything I overcame and he hugged me before I left. I will never forget him either because he’s also part of my story. I realized years ago that if someone comes into my life that has somehow impacted me In a way I never could imagine I tell them. I’ve met some amazing people by doing this.
So here I am, 11wks and l feel freaking Amazing! I haven’t been sick at all, I’m not tired or I should say not any more tired than I usually am. The only thing I struggle with is heartburn and constipation, ugh I can’t believe I just shared that. Lol! That struggle is Real!!!
I haven’t told any of my family yet so that will be happening this weekend. I’ve gone back and forth with how to tell them and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’ll share a picture with you all after this weekend.
I’m truly grateful and blessed for these past 11 weeks and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for me: Telling my family, telling my co-workers, growing my bump, wearing maternity clothes. Exciting times ahead!
I’ve been seeing a therapist for 10 years and he’s Amazing! I wasn’t referred to him I just looked up a clinic that would accept my insurance and Andrew agreed to take me on as a patient. I remember driving to my first appt with butterflies in my tummy wondering if I was making the right decision to open up to a total stranger about some of the most personal things that were going on in my life.
Just a little background on why I started therapy. 6 weeks into my relationship with John he had a massive heart attack, he was only 26 yrs old. Our relationship was still so new we should have been out having fun with not a care in the world but his heart condition put a screeching halt to that. He spent a week in the hospital and had a stent put in. I’m going to use layman’s terms when I explain this, he was born with a heart defect that was never detected and one of his artery’s to the heart was curled so even the most minuscule amount of plaque blocked the artery which caused him to have a heart attack. It was a tough time for us, we instantly went from being carefree in our 20’s to dealing with physical therapy appts, medications, thousands of dollars in medical bills and the emotional toll a heart attack takes on a 26 year old guy who’s been an athlete all of his life. I’m not going to lie it was a lot to take on and it was hard on the both of us but I knew that there was something special about this fella that I just couldn’t walk away from. And that’s how our love story started, with a broken heart…literally.
I typically see Andrew for therapy once a week, throughout the 10 years I’ve taken breaks here in there but for the most part I’m consistent with once a week. Andrew has gotten me through a lot:
the heart attack
losing my job and then finding another one
2 tubal pregnancies
and everything Infertility related
He’s been my go to guy for so long, He talks me off the ledge and lets me shelf things that I’m just not ready to deal with yet. He calls me out on my bullshit and isn’t afraid to call me Teresa when I need to be set straight… just like my mom does. He’s become such an important person in my life because he’s seen me at my most vulnerable. A few weeks ago He told me he’s going out on FMLA and will most likely not be going back to the clinic. I know it’s selfish but all I can think of is how am I going to get through my last hurdle of infertility without him. This is the final chapter doesn’t he want to know how it ends, how can he just close the book and never think of me…maybe that’s how therapy works I don’t know because this is the only experience I have. How can someone know all of my secrets and struggles but yet I only know maybe 10 things about him. I’m embarrassed to write this but he feels like my friend and I’m losing him.
I had one last appt with him before he went out on leave. Driving to the office I felt just as nervous as I was the very first time I went. I never imagined that he would turn into such an important person to me. I cried hard and ugly in front of him while saying goodbye. How do you sum up 10 years and thank someone for always being there and never judging. It’s only been a few weeks and I miss our standing Saturday appointments, I got so much out of these last 10 years and I will forever be grateful.
It’s in my blood to overthink and it’s just not about one thing or another, it’s about everything. When I went through my first IVF I wrote down that I was going to “Enjoy the Journey.” That didn’t work so well for me because I ended up not being pregnant. This time around I felt like I needed another phrase to focus on and it came to me when I was furniture shopping. I walked into the store and saw a pillow with the words in big black letters, “Don’t Overthink.” I’m not a huge impulse buyer but I walked out of that store with a $25 pillow and you know what, I didn’t overthink that purchase for even a second….the couch and loveseat I also ended up buying did cause me a lot of overthinking stress though….baby steps!
So things are getting real for me as I start the prep work for IVF #2. Leading up to this point we’ve had a few bumps in the road because naturally why wouldn’t we. It started with the clinic experiencing a security breach meaning all of our medical history ended up compromised, this was not a good first impression with our new clinic. I swear nothing is safe anymore. Then I got a letter stating the doctor I had been working with decided to leave the practice. Ugh…Seriously. I felt like she knew our story, showed us the compassion that made me feel good and was going to do everything in her power to help us make a baby and now she was leaving us. I had since met the other doctor who actually opened the clinic and she is just as amazing so I know I’ll still be in good hands. I’m finally at the point where CD1 starts, I have my baseline scheduled for the next day and I swear I can’t even make this up, I wake up with the flu. Like the kind that had me out of commission for 4 days. I was too sick to even cry about it, best diet in the world though. lol! Things get postponed another month only to have the nurse forget to tell me to start my priming meds. Again it’s hard to get mad because really what good would it do and I make mistakes at my job too even though I don’t have a job that affects someone’s life! It sucks that it got delayed but I want to be in a position where I know I’ve done everything possible to be successful. So I’m about a week away from CD1 and I’m hoping for an early April retrieval with no more bumps in the road. In the meantime I’m going to try really hard not to Overthink!
I knew in my heart that when my cycle in July failed that I wasn’t done. I found a new clinic to work with and my experience has been so different with them. I’ve had to start from scratch with all of the testing but it’s been worth it because I feel like they’ve been more thorough and they have a different approach on treating me due to my history. I had an appt earlier this week to talk about all of my lab results so we could determine if my levels were still good enough to use my own eggs or if we should consider donor eggs. All of my lab work came back within normal range which is pretty amazing consider I’m almost 43. This doctor is completely ok with me using my own eggs. The protocol would be a little different than I did last time which may or may not improve the amount of eggs that they retrieve. We talked about the option of using donor eggs and what would be involved if we went that route. I will admit that I was starting to think donor might be the way for us to go because it’s been 6 years and even though my levels are within normal range we’ve either miscarried or had tubal pregnancies. I felt like we had a pretty big decision ahead of us and the dr was very supportive and told us to take the time we needed to think it over. All that changed when we met with the finance person, I feel like once again the wind was knocked out of me. She showed us the pricing for doing an IVF cycle using my own eggs. My insurance will cover almost all of one IVF cycle minus the cost of medications which I would have to pay for out of pocket. My insurance will not cover donor eggs and the breakdown from start to finish would cost between $27k-$29k out of our pockets.
I can’t fathom paying $27k but I also can’t fathom going through another IVF cycle, ending up with one good egg and not having it work. Nothing about this journey has been easy and once again this decision we need to make solidifies that.
Ugh what to do…what to do….
On a side note, I read on someone’s blog this morning that today is IVF’s 40th birthday and over 5M babies have entered this world after being conceived with the help of medical intervention. It prompted me to google IVF and to read up on the history, it’s some pretty amazing stuff that happened 40 years ago and is still happening today. So if you’re one of those 5M in one capacity or another celebrate it! I may not be a mom yet but I’m still going out tonight to get a cupcake because if it wasn’t for those doctors and the Brown family who took a chance I wouldn’t be where I am today. Maybe this journey is all about taking chances…..and praying that the chance is history changing.
Nothing prepares you for a failed transfer. It was the darkest of days, I closed myself off from my family and my friends. I cried hard and was angry with everyone and everything. I believed with all of my heart that I was pregnant and then the dr called, “I’m sorry you’re not pregnant” no emotion just the facts. It was like a sucker punch. It’s been six weeks since that phone call and I’m healing.
A few months ago I was asked to judge a pageant and I really think being a part of the pageant world again helped heal my heart. The events filled my calendar and no matter how much I dreaded getting all dressed up, doing my hair and putting on make-up at the end of the night I felt good about myself again. I re-connected with old friends, made new ones and was honored to be able to give two lucky girls a title and a crown that they will forever hold in their hearts. The whole experience was life changing and was presented to me exactly when I needed it the most and for that I feel very grateful.
So now the question I keep asking myself is “where do I go from here.” I’m fighting with my insurance company because they denied my claim, they told me that I was out of network so I’m in the process of appealing that. There is no way I’m getting stuck with this $14k bill. The #1 reason we were even able to do IVF was because my insurance increased my coverage to $20k and I never would have used a clinic that wasn’t in my network. They make you jump thru so many hoops in the hopes you get discouraged and give up but I’m in this one until the very end.
I’m meeting with my ob/gyn in 2-weeks for a few reasons. 1) she’s amazing and has a passion for women’s health specifically fertility issues. 2) I’m going to see if it might be beneficial to go in for laparoscopy to get my endo cleaned out again. 3) This last one is my own selfish reason, I just want to go see a dr who actually gives a shit about me. We hated our infertility clinic so much and I want to go back to the clinic, the dr’s and nurses that made me feel safe and cared about me.
On 10/4 I have an appt to meet with a new infertility clinic who I’ve heard really good things about….I wish I would have known about them months ago. We’re just going to be gathering information we’re not sure if we want to go through another transfer or not. That’s where we’re at for now, no decisions have been made we’re weighing all of our options first. Call me crazy I just don’t feel like my journey is over yet.
Sometimes all of the money in the world doesn’t guarantee you a baby. $14k that’s what we spent on this round, we even spent the extra $2400 to ensure it was a genetically good embryo and it was. I took a HPT this morning because I’ve hated my clinic since Day 1 and I didn’t want them to be the ones to tell me one way or the other, I wanted to be mentally prepared. I took the test feeling 90% sure I was going to see a positive and when I didn’t I was in shock. Like seriously WTF are you kidding me! I showed up to the clinic for the blood draw pissed off. The waiting room is small and it was packed like most times I’m there. I had to sit next to a woman who held her 2-year-old boy on her lap. The little boy kept smiling at me, normally I would have engaged in some sort of response back but I just stared ahead cursing in my head the terrible music that was blasting overhead. It’s heartbreaking to see other women waiting to be called back, I always wonder where they are in their journey. I wish I would have the courage to just look up and give them a smile and tell them I get it but I never do. I feel embarrassed even sitting there myself, maybe they do too. No wonder infertility is such a taboo in our society even the ones that should be talking about it like myself are too embarassed to do so.
I honestly don’t know where this news will take me. I’ve said from the beginning if we didn’t end up having children I would need to make some sort of change in my life because literally trying for a family has been my life for the past 6 years. I’m not sure who I am without tracking cycles, taking meds, timing our intercourse and all of the dr appointments that go along with that. I feel like I’ve lost my identity because of infertility, I feel sad and I feel very lost.