very inspiring blogger award

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I am truly honored to be nominated by My Perfect Breakdown and F*%k Infertility for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have tremendous admiration for these two bloggers and am continually inspired by their raw, courageous, and honest accounts of their difficult journeys. I felt quite touched when I first saw my name on My Perfect Breakdown’s post. To be nominated a second time by F*%k Infertility warms my little heart.

(Since writing this post I’ve also been recognized by City Life/Farm Wife, The Cat BedFinding Hope After a Miscarriage, and Hope Anchors the Soul – thank you, thank you!)

I learned of these nominations shortly after getting a negative on that wretched pee stick, the first failed cycle after our last miscarriage. I was in the midst of a very difficult moment; a moment when I suddenly felt the weight of this entire 18 month journey come crashing down around me. A moment when I felt deeply every sting, every loss, every bit of crushed hope, every thud in my gut, every moment of searing jealousy, and every crazy-making moment the constant waiting and uncertainty has caused in the past year and a half. I could feel all of it, all at once. I felt overwhelmed by its magnitude, and by how much energy and stamina it takes to manage emotions that are by definition so untamed. I didn’t feel like I could make it through the day, let alone continue this conception journey. I certainly didn’t feel inspirational.

But receiving these nominations lifted me. And I realized, this is how we inspire each other. The constant support of a genuinely empathetic community. And we watch each other keep going, and we cheer. Despite feeling some of the most intensely crushing emotions, we continue, we keep hope. I know so many of my readers and fellow bloggers have suffered far longer than I have. You’ve lived through more losses, and survived the extreme disappointments of failed IVF and IUI cycles. And no matter what your journey has been, you inspire me. You have given me the strength to continue, and the courage to take a hundred leaps of faith. I see how you all hurt, and how much you struggle while managing the hardest emotions.  But you persevere. And along the way, you find joy and take the time to celebrate the small things in life. You stop to offer support, encouragement and love to others. You are a life boat to so many of us struggling. And I see so many of you make it to the other side, and it gives me hope.

With that I’d like to share my list of nominees for this award. I know many of you have already been recognized, but I’d like to underscore how deeply valued you are, and how much you have truly helped me. Thank you.

Bloomingspiders

Laughter Through Tears

The Cat Bed

My MMC Story

Unicorns and Baby Dust

Preggo My Eggo

My Hope Jar

Dear Noah

Infertile is the New Black

When Dreams Become Rainbows

Pregnancy Pause

Waiting for Baby Bird

A Calm Persistance

Look for Rainbows

The Way I’m Making Sense of Miscarriage

To accept this award, here are the things you need to do:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven fun facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5.  Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Fun Facts About Me:

1. When I was in first grade, I attended a private elementary school in New Hampshire and was the only girl in my class. I have no idea how that happens, but I was desperate for girl friends and was thrilled the next year when three other girls joined my class!

2. I am happiest when I’m creating or working with my hands. Ever since I was young, I could spend hours drawing, building, painting, knitting, decorating, and anything on crafty. I also love ceramics and throwing on a potter’s wheel and have also taken a handful of photography classes.

3. One of my favorite experiences in my whole life was the trip my husband and I took to Morocco, when we rode camels through the Sahara dessert and slept in a tent under the stars. We woke up early the next morning to climb the dunes and watch the sunrise. A truly magical experience.

4. My husband and I got married in the mountains of central Mexico in a town called San Miguel de Allende. Fifty of our closest friends and family traveled with us to watch us get married.

5. I grew up 25 miles away from my husband in Massachusetts, moved to NYC at the same time he did, and worked at the same company as him for three years before we actually met.

6. When my husband was in business school, I joined a boxing club to get in shape for our wedding. Boxing and kickboxing have always been my favorite forms of exercise.

7.  When I was a little girl I was obsessed with cats (I’m now horribly allergic to them). I had three and named them Anastasia Bumble Bee, Jillian, and Whitey.

i should have become a mother today

Another date I will never forget. 

I should have become a mother today. Our second chance, after losing our first baby. Due just days after the anniversary of our first miscarriage. I consoled myself when l learned that I had another growing bean inside of me by thinking how much I would love this baby too. I would never forget my first loss, but knew once I met my baby I would feel so much love that just maybe I could make peace with that loss. Because without the loss, this person I would love so much wouldn’t exist.

But we lost this one too.

Instead, we are spending today with ovulation sticks, analyzing temps, obsessing over timing, and probably most crushing of all, hoping.

Hoping.

Learning to embrace the ambivalent relationship we all have with hope. Feeling afraid to hope, but also clinging to it as the only means to get through this treacherous experience. I had almost forgotten what this felt like. After a seven month long break, we have officially started trying again. Entering our first two week wait in almost 10 months. Facing the wild swings of excitement and hope, to despair and disappointment. 

And these dates stay with me, haunting me. The one year anniversary of our first miscarriage on Monday. Yesterday marked six years since my husband and I first started dating. Today, an another empty due date. 

I find that I veil the grief that these dates cause by overreacting to the other stress in my life. A small argument brings me to tears. A busy day, and I feel completely overwhelmed. Over the last few days I’ve broken down over anything and everything that’s not actually what I’m upset about. And when I do, the grief starts to climb its way out. I’m no longer thinking about whatever small thing triggered these tears. All I can think about are my empty arms.  I’m thinking about how overwhelmed I feel by this struggle, and the yearning for our baby that continually clutches my chest. 

I wish more than anything I was becoming a mother today. It makes my heart ache. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with the intense longing, or the uncertainty that drives this period. It bubbles up, consumes me, tightens and twists inside of me. I think about it everyday. I think about our lost babies, I think about what more we will endure, I think about when it will finally happen. 

Today I say another goodbye, and bid another due date farewell. I wish I could have met you. 

and finally, some good news

We were told we needed to wait 3 – 6 months after my husband’s varicocelectomy to see any possible improvements from the surgery. After exactly 3 months we repeated his SA and eagerly waited for the results, bracing to be disappointed, keeping our expectations low….

“This is the most dramatic improvement we could have hoped for,” the urologist told us. 

The most beautiful sentence I’ve ever heard.

His numbers improved drastically across the board. Like, shot way up. As in, he now has super sperm.

I am fearful of letting myself get too excited or optimistic during this journey, but I couldn’t help but get a flicker of hope that things might start to look up.

Deciding to have the surgery was difficult, scary, stressful (read about our urology appointment here). We got conflicting advice from different doctors. More than one rolled their eyes and said it was unnecessary, we were getting pregnant. Surgery is a big deal, and we shouldn’t jump to go under the knife too quickly. Our urologist, and my own gut, told us differently. His varicocele was causing poor morphology, and slightly elevated levels of sperm DNA fragmentation. High levels of sperm DNA fragmentation have been linked to repeat pregnancy loss. And it remains somewhat controversial what role poor morphology has.

But, in two-thirds of men, the surgery will improve these parameters.

Two-thirds of men.

Statistics have been my enemy lately, offering me little solace, as we continue to fall into slimmest probabilities (your chance of miscarriage drops to 5% after you hear the heartbeat! the chance of having two miscarriages in a row is only 4%!).  Anything less than 100% was going to give me nightmares. 

But we knew we needed to stay to true to the vow we told ourselves. That we would test everything, and do anything we could to possibly lower our chance of miscarrying again. That we wouldn’t try again until we have turned every rock, pushed for every test, seen every kind of doctor. That we would be patient. I knew it was the only way to get the courage to try again. 

And now I’m starting to get courage. I can breathe easy and at least know that nothing on my husband’s end will increase our odds of losing another one. 

Pressure’s on, uterus…

the first doctor i could trust

“You’ve been through a lot,” were the first words she said to us. Despite hearing over and over from respected Los Angeles doctors that all we needed to do was just try again, I had decided to see a fertility specialist. Her response to us was soothing. She understood, as opposed to the shrug we received from the perinatologist, followed by his telling us there was nothing else we could do. Making us feel silly for even asking.

We went over all the testing that we should do. My regular OBGYN had tested us for basic chromosomal problems and blood clotting disorders, but our fertility doctor would fill in all the holes and do a full fertility workup. She decided I needed a saline ultrasound, so she could check for uterine abnormalities. I had asked my OBGYN just a few weeks prior if I should have something like that done. She told me no. The likelihood was low that we would find anything wrong. I had hesitantly believed her. But when my fertility doctor suggested it I eagerly agreed. I wanted to test everything.

While performing the saline ultrasound she discovered I had a uterine septum. A uterine septum causes infertility and miscarriage, she explained. An embryo has trouble implanting on a septum, and if it does, it will not get proper blood supply and you will miscarry. And even if you don’t miscarry and the pregnancy progresses, the fetus is likely to run out of room to grow, and in that case you will have preterm labor. In other words, it needed to be out, and I needed surgery to make that happen.

When she gave me the news I felt an overwhelming urge to cry. Not because I needed surgery. I didn’t care. I knew it was a good thing that they found a likely culprit. No, I wanted to cry because I had been told by 4 doctors already to just try again. Told not to see a fertility specialist. Told that there was no more testing we needed to do. Had I listened, I realized in that moment, we would have been staring straight in the face of loss #3.

I had felt so alone after my second loss. Alone in the research I was trying to do, alone in trying to solve the medical mysteries that so often define recurrent pregnancy loss. I could never trust my doctors, feeling like they were basing their recommendations on probabilities and likelihoods, rather than the thorough, thoughtful approach I was hoping for. Antiquated medical advice based on limited research. I was looking for someone to help me do everything in my power to avoid another loss. But I was constantly skeptical of every doctor, and the generic advice I constantly received.

In working with my fertility doctor, for the first time I stopped feeling alone. I started to trust. I knew she couldn’t predict the future, and I knew there was always a chance of more losses, but she was my advocate. She wanted me to succeed. I finally felt like I could put down Google.