A Dagger In My Heart

From the moment I had my daughter it was love at first sight.  The bond we shared was beyond what I would have ever expected.  I was a fortunate Mama because my baby took to breastfeeding like a champ and did so wonderfully for her first year.  After that  first year, we slowly transitioned to bottles and sippy cups.  This transition was harder on me I think, then it was for my daughter as it meant letting go of that breast feeding bond that we shared.  That time with her is something I will forever cherish.

With the end of breast feeding, also came the end of co-sleeping. Below is a picture of my daughter and I co-sleeping with the cat of course!

Featured image

My co-sleeping relationship with my daughter was a love-hate relationship.  I loved it because when my daughter would wake up in the night she would easily be able to find my breast and/or soothe herself back to dreams.  There was a lot of snuggling going on and what parent doesn’t like those extra snuggles?  I hated it on the other hand because I like to sleep sprawl.  My body basically needs and desires the entire space of the bed.  When sleeping with a baby I did not get quality sleep.  I literally laugh every time I see this Baby Sleep Positions as this is how it was every night for my husband and I co sleeping with our daughter.  I am sure those of you who co sleep can relate and will get a kick out of this too.  Then, as parents, we let go a little more and decided it was time for her to get used to sleeping in her own room in her own crib.

Featured image

This was a whole new ball game for us as parents and one that was presented with much difficulty.  We tried everything from the Cry It Out Method to noise machines.  Once she fell asleep, she would wake up multiple times in the night which either resulted in me sitting or standing by her crib trying to soothe her back to sleep or bringing her back to our bed for short periods and when she fell back to sleep, we would put her back in her crib.  It was an exhausting time in our lives as parents.  Eventually, we established a pretty good bedtime routine with her where we would read her a few stories and rock her to sleep before placing her into the crib. Again, it was another great bonding time for me and my daughter and it seemed to do the trick.  She began sleeping through the night, with the occasional need for her mom and dad to come in to soothe her back to sleep.  We had no choice but to let go some more.

At 18 months, Etta was bound and determined that the crib was less then desirable as our bedtime routine and sleeping through the night came to a quick end.  We just could not figure out if it was a growth spurt, or what.  It clicked the day I had laid her down for nap while she was still awake in her crib.  I listened on the monitor to her coo and babble to herself.  Then the crying started and then it got quiet.  I decided to wait it out a bit before peeking in on her, except when I turned around there was my daughter.  I was in shock and remember thinking to myself did a ghost carry you out of your crib and into the kitchen?  Obviously not.  What the heck? My baby girl had climbed out of her crib, thankfully gracefully and without any bumps or bruises.  It was this day I told my husband I thought I knew what we needed to do and that was go and pick out a big girl bed for our baby girl. My husband was hesitant at first as she was only 18 months and our baby. With reluctance on both accounts, we ventured out to our local WG&R and picked out a big girl bed.  We were letting go yet again.

Featured image

This picture is our daughter in her crib-doing everything but sleeping!

Once the big girl bed was bought and we got it set up in her  nursery big girl room, it was pretty evident we needed a new bed time routine to go with it.  Our daughter was more then willing to try out her big girl bed and was over the moon excited about it!  So, we started by reading her bedtime stories to her in her bed then we would lay with her until she fell asleep. Unfortunately, she has never been a child who can fall asleep on her own. However, I never have minded because again, I love that time with her.  Low and behold she slept though the night that first night in her big girl bed. Most nights after this, she slept through the night. The picture below is of her at 2 years old taking a nap in her bed with her best fur pal!  This big girl bed was the answer to our prayers.  We still have the occasional nights where she is up in the middle of the night but quickly falls asleep once woken up.  And again, we let go a little more.

Featured image

At now 2.5, my daughter still has a bedtime routine, but here’s where the dagger in my heart comes in.  My baby is a big girl.  She is old enough to formulate some of her own ideas & choices now.  As of lately, her bedtime routine does not include me.  I still do the usual bed time story (when she lets me) but as soon as those stories are over she wants me gone. Her exact words to me usually are “Go Away Mommy, get out of my room.  Only Daddy.” She physically will hit me in my face if I try to stay or cuddle her at bedtime (any other part of the day I am allowed)  Ouch, right?!  I can’t tell you how hard this part of letting go has been for me.  My husband keeps telling me to not get sad or let it get me down and that it is just a phase.  However, this mama is not ready for it.  I know to some degree my daughter will always need me and want me around.  I know this because living 4 hours from my own parents and not being able to see them has made me really miss them and wish they were here daily to be apart of our lives.  But when you hear your 2.5 year old really not want you it just hurts.

I think part of why it hurts so much is because these last 2.5 years have just gone by in the blink of an eye.  My mom always told me that time flies when you have kids and she was and is completely right.  Never in my life, has time seemed to just whiz on by me.  When I think of not only myself needing to let go, I also know that my daughter is starting to let go.  She isn’t a baby, she is turning into a little girl right before my eyes and with that comes change.  Change is always hard for me.  With this also comes the realization that I no longer have a baby and I may never again get the chance to have one.  It breaks my heart into a million little pieces over and over and over again.  However, I am so grateful each and everyday I have had this amazing experience and a bond so strong with my baby. I realize that with each passing milestone and year it requires a little more letting go.  However, no matter what, she’ll always be my baby.  That is something that I never have to let go of.

Daily Devotionals

Are you a night owl or a morning person?  Hands down I am a morning person.  I love mornings, I always have!  I couldn’t be a night owl even if I tried.  My eye lids start to get heavy around 9 PM most nights and the crank in me starts to come out. I feel more lively in the morning.  I feel I accomplish more in the morning.  I feel most happy in the morning. I feel most energetic in the morning!

One thing I am starting to incorporate in my mornings is time with God.  I talk to God.  I pray to God. I sometimes just sit in silence hoping God can see what is in my heart, especially when I just don’t have the words.  Lately, I’ve been struggling.  I’ve been feeling like God has been silent in my days.  Recently, a friend of mine, whom is struggling with her own battles of secondary infertility and path in adoption gave me a daily devotional book.  I thought this to be a very kind gesture and was overcome with joy to start reading a devotional each day.  I chose to read them in the mornings as it is the only time in my day where I can find an hour of quiet and a time I typically have the clearest mind frame.

As I read in this devotional book, I am struck at how many days the entry for that day feels like it is speaking to me or something I can relate to.  I had an “Ah Hah” moment yesterday while nose deep into my devotional.  I would like to share it with you:

Start of Devotional

Craving God-60 Devotionals for Real Women by Lysa TerKeurst

Day 59- “God, I’m a Little Mad and a Lot Confused

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths strait. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Though for the Day:  God is big enough to handle our honest feelings.

Lysa continued on writing, Kick off your shoes and get ready to get gut honest.  When God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers, it can be hard.  Sometimes, downright awful.

One minute, I’m determined to trust God.  The next, I feel myself questioning God.  The “why” questions tumble in so hard.  My heart hurts.  My tears fall.  And in those raw moments I just feel a little mad and a lot confused.

Ever been there?

I don’t want to oversimplify what to do in these times.  Facing issues that never seem to stop in rough.  Really tough.  Especially those situations where the answers aren’t easy or clean-cut.  But I have discovered three things that help when God seems silent.

1. Press into God when you want to pull away.  

When I really want to hear from God, but He seems silent, I sometimes find I want to disengage from my normal spiritual activities.  Skip church, Put my bible on the shelf. And let more and more time laspe between prayers.  But pulling away only makes things worse.  God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29: 13).  All my heart includes the parts that are broken.  Bring it all to God.  He can handle your honesty and will respond.  But we have to go where truth is.  Go to church.  Listen to praise music.  Read the Bible.  Memorize verses. And keep talking to God.

2. Praise God out loud when you want to get lost in complaints.

In the midst of whatever you’re facing, find simple things for which to praise God.  I don’t mean thank Him for the hard stuff.  I mean thank Him for the other simple, good things you are still experience:  A child’s laugh.  A bush that blooms.  The warmth of a blanket.  The gift of his breath and then the next.

Scripture reminds me that praise leads to newness:  “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:3 NASB).  We can literally find new words with which to process life in a more positive way when we choose to praise God instead of complain.

3. Put  yourself in the company of truth.

That friend who speaks truth?  Listen to her.  Stay connected to her.  Let her speak truth into your life even when you’re tired of hearing it.  As Proverbs 12:26 (NASB) encourages, “The righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”  Stand in the shadow of her faith when you feel your own faith is weak.  Let her lead you back to God time and time again.  It’s ok to feel a little mad and a lot confused.  Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. But don’t let your feelings lead you away from God or away from His truth.  Press into Him.  Praise Him.  And put yourself in the company of truth.  As you stay with God in these ways, you will be ready to receive His answer when it comes.

Dear Lord, thank You for understanding me, even when I’m mad or confused.  I pray I would Daily be intentional in coming close to You and praising You.  Help me find a good friend whom I can trust to speak truth into my life.  In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

END OF Devotional.

WOW.  As I read this again it just really speaks to my heart and I can relate to it so much in this hardship I am in.  I trust that God has a plan for me, yet I question it daily.  Something triggers me and I become lost in the confusion as to why this is happening to us. I get mad and I get angry. I am fearful of my prayer never being answered.  I question and I mull over all the bad.  Yet, in the midst of it all I am humbled because I have a God who loves me.  He loves me despite it all.  In this devotional I was reminded that it’s important to focus on thanking Him for the simple good stuff and this is something I just don’t do enough.  Most days lately, I’m so caught up in my struggle I don’t take time to really look around and count my blessings.  When I look around, I have a lot of them-both big and small that I am so thankful for even despite this struggle.

I see that God is not silent in my days, I am just not opening my heart enough to truly listen daily.  I believe that this particular devotional was God’s way to speak to me and boy, did I feel what he was saying. I hope this devotional speaks to you as well and know you are never alone in your hardships.  Find those simple good things in your day and grab hold of them and find delight in them.  Life is too short to let the struggles steal your happiness.  God has a plan for me and He has a plan for you.  I know all I can do is keep believing, praying, trusting & placing my hope in YOU.

On to Round #3

Starting this Friday, I will be on my 3rd medicated cycle. December 2014 was my first medicated cycle in the books.  The fertility drug I have been put on is called Clomid, which is a very common drug to be put on in circumstances such as ours.  WebMD states that, Clomid  “is used to treat infertility in women. It works by stimulating an increase in the amount of hormones that support the growth and release of a mature egg (ovulation). This medication is not recommended for women whose ovaries no longer make eggs properly (primary pituitary or ovarian failure).” To read more about Clomid please refer to this link:

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-11204/clomid/details#uses

In December, I was put on 50mg of Clomid (days 3-7), was told to have intercourse every other day, and do OPK’s (ovulation predictor kids) at home (starting on day 10) and call with a positive as the IUI would be scheduled for the day after. We did end up with a positive at home OPK  on day 12 and our IUI was scheduled for the next day. After a blood draw (day 21) to check on my progesterone levels, it was proven I had a successful ovulation.  With the progesterone test, anything over a 3 means you ovulated.  I was at an 11, but because it was a medicated cycle they wanted to see that number at 15 or higher. So, I was put on progesterone suppositories to help support and increase those levels (without higher levels of progeserone you can not support a healthy pregnancy).  Our first IUI unfortunately failed.  To learn more about an IUI please refer to the following link:

http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/artificial-insemination

In January, I was also put on 50 mg of Clomid (days 4-8), but  was told to stop the progesterone suppositories until further instructions were given to take them.  I had a mid cycle ultrasound that showed I had 2 large sized follicles on my left ovary, but if I did not ovulate within a couple days of my ultrasound, that also meant that those follicles could have been masking a cyst on my left ovary.  Starting on Day 10 of my cycle I started my at home OPK testing, but was not receiving a positive.  If by day 21 I did not see a positive OPK, then it indicates that I probably would not ovulate.  This indeed was my case, with this cycle.  This also indicated then, that it was likely I did have a cyst on my left ovary when I had my mid cycle ultrasound which was the culprit as to why I did not ovulate.  Unfortunately, one of the side effects of being on Clomid is ovarian cysts.  However, I was prone to functional ovarian cysts before I was on Clomid.  So, we do not know if it was a flare up, or if it was a side effect.  Our IUI #2 was then cancelled for January.

Here we are onto my 3rd medicated cycle.  Although, I will not start until tomorrow, my instructions were to start 100 mg of Clomid (days 3-7) this month (they upped my dose this month due to not ovulating on 50 mg last cycle), have timed intercourse every other day, but stop once I get a positive OPK.  We will skip doing a mid cycle ultrasound, but continue doing the OPK tests at home starting on day 10.  Once I get a positive, I call and our IUI would be scheduled for next day.  Unless, by chance I did not ovulate again this cycle then the IUI would be cancelled again.  Here we are in limbo again and this vicious cycle starts all over again.  I don’t know if I am ready for the emotions to come, yet you’d think I would be used to them by now.  Sadly, it’s just something you never get used to.

We are only allowed by our doctor to do 3 back to back medicated (Clomid) cycles with IUI.  Then we take a month break and our doctor will evaluate our treatment plan once again, and proceed on if we so choose with other options.  We were told though, if Clomid + IUI doesn’t work after the 3rd time that they would like to go strait into doing the HCG Injectibles along with clomid and monitoring along with IUI.  We shall see if that is what we end up having to do, but the thought of giving myself a shot terrifies me.  However, I am more then willing to move past the idea of giving myself a shot and doing it if that means exhausting another option.

I continue to trudge on through our struggle daily, with the help and support of my husband.  Everyday is hard, but not every second is miserable.  There is so much good in my everyday and so many things I am thankful for.  I just wish so badly that we could add to that joy. My heart aches to be pregnant and to have another baby.  There are times I am scared.  There are times I am angry.  There are times I am frustrated.  There are times I am sad.  There are times where I am confused.  There are times when I question.  There are times when I just want to scream.  There are times when break down.  However, there has never been a time where I want to give up.  God just isn’t done with us yet, and I trust in his perfect timing everything will work out.  Sometimes, not being able to see the bigger picture and not knowing the outcome can just be hard.  You sit and wonder what direction to go and just don’t know. No one can truly ever tell us what to do with this, but only guess and we have to choose what path to go down.  I continue to pray for answers, and I continue to pray for strength and hope that we are shown what we need to do next.

As I continue to wait on my 2nd miracle and try and stay strong I must remind myself of this quote by Lessons Learned in Life, “I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse.  I don’t have everything I want, but I have everything I need.  I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up.  My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed.”

I pray the 3rd times a charm.

Sick Baby Bear, Sick Mama Bear

There is nothing worse then having a sick child.  What makes this even harder is I am starting to get sick too.  My sister and her family have been sick this past week and I recently told her that we have been really lucky as we’ve been relatively healthy this winter.  Well, I should have found a piece of wood to knock on because Sunday afternoon, Etta woke up from nap with a fever and it was all down hill from there.

She developed all the classic symptoms of a cold:  Cough, congestion/runny nose, hoarse voice, fever, restless nights, extra sensitive mood, and fatigue. When she woke up yesterday and tried to speak, a little squeek came out and not the voice of my normal baby bear, so I said, “Awh, baby you have a hoarse voice.” and Etta responded very upset, “Mama, I am not a horse, I am Etta.”  I tried to explain to her the difference between hoarse and horse but inside, it really made me chuckle. Oh the minds of babes!

Her cold hasn’t developed into anything serious where we have to see her pediatrician, but I should really find that piece of wood to knock on after saying that!  I, on the other hand, started to feel sluggish yesterday. I woke up this morning extremely congested, sore throat, and a headache.  Moms really can never afford to get sick- Dun, dun, dun.  This probably comes from the lack of sleep due to being up with Etta in the night and taking care of her and not myself.  However, that’s what Mom’s do..put everyone first before ourselves!  I would rather see my baby bear feeling better and she is number one right now.  It’s hard to take care of yourself when you are so worried about another human being.  It’s almost as if you don’t even think twice about yourself because you just want to see your little one well.

I must admit though, I am loving the extra snuggles I’ve been receiving from her the last 3 days.  However, I really don’t like the circumstances.  Hopefully, this cold passes as quickly as it came so we can get back to the swing things again-I miss my active, happy, fun-spirited little girl.  Being cooped up in the dead of winter is really just no fun.  We absolutely can not wait until cold season is over and summer is here.  Summer.  Just thinking about that season brings a smile to my face.  The best part about summer is one rarely catches a cold!

On that note, I’m going to come to a close today.  Sorry for such a brief entry but Mama and Baby Bear have some snuggling and TLC to attend too.  May health be with all of you and if you are battling a cold may the warmth of summer be in your hearts.

My Best Joy!

Secondary Infertility can be all consuming.  However, in the midst of all the tears, heartache, and struggle I know I am one of the fortunate couples who could conceive at least once on our own. I am reminded daily that there is a middle part of my world that is filled with Grace, a virtue coming from God. My best joy, Etta Grace was born at the end of June in 2012.  Her birth, was hands down one of the best days of my life and from that day on my life has been completely changed.  My heart has been filled with a joy I had never known before.  My husband and I are so blessed to have this little miracle girl in our lives.  By the grace of God, she is thriving, healthy, and a happy 2.5 year old.  We couldn’t be any more proud of her and we are so lucky to be her parents.

Since I was little, God placed the desire to be a Mom in my heart.  Maybe it was because I had such a loving, devoted, and nurturing mother myself.  I could always feel how much my mom loved me, how much a part of my life she was, and that she was there.  Like my mom, I also became a Stay at Home mom.  I decided that I wanted to be there for my child.  I wanted to be a part of her daily journey, and I wanted to give her the kind of love and care she deserves that only a mother knows how to give.  I am so fortunate to be able to do this and I may only be able to do it once in my lifetime and I am doing it with no regrets.

There are times when being a SAHM is hard physically.  It’s a very tiring “job”, there are no breaks, and you feel like you are 100 people rolled into one but still only have two arms, legs, ears, and eyes.  At the end of the day, it is just so worth it. There are times where being a SAHM is tough financially.  Lets face it, it is hard living off of one income.  Especially now when we are dealing with Secondary Infertility and our insurance does not cover ANYTHING.  It’s been all out of pocket expenses.  Oftentimes, I deal with the guilt that comes with spending our money on this when I think of all the other things we could be doing with our money instead (Building our savings, putting money away for college for Etta, being able to let Etta take more classes, going on family vacations, finishing our basement, etc.).  There are times when being a SAHM is tough emotionally as I did go to college and I did want to pursue a career.  I always battle with the fact that I could be doing more.  I could be doing better.  I battle with wanting to be a good example for my daughter by having a job outside the home.  Then I remember, I am a MOM and this is the most important “job” I will ever have.  I again think back to my mom and my childhood.  She was (and still is) simply the best and my childhood was the best because of what she and my dad provided us with (loving parents, a home, stability, care, life lessons, etc).  I am so glad my mom & dad sacrificed so my mom could stay home with my sisters and I growing up.  Etta will only be little once.  I will never get this time back with her and once again I am reminded of how lucky I am and that the sacrifices that come along with all of this, I would do again in a heartbeat.

My best joy inspires me.  She motivates me.  She makes life worth living for.  I am reminded daily that by God’s grace, she is in our lives.  I will never take her or our time together for granted.  I love her to the moon and back.  Since she was little, I have sang two songs to her, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Jesus Loves Me” I would sing these to her while breastfeeding her as an infant and while rocking her to sleep.  Now, she sings along with me when I sing them to her or she will be off playing and she will sing them to herself.  It melts my heart.  She truly is my sunshine and Jesus loves her so much.

She recently is learning how to use the potty.  It has been a struggle and by far one of the things I have liked least about being a parent so far (and there are very few things I don’t like about being a parent by the way).  However, with every bad thing comes good and there is something that is finally starting to click with her with using the potty and she is starting to get it.  She’s been working so hard at it and I have been trying to be so patient, yet consistent.  However, when she gets it there is great joy in it for her and for me as her parent.  I can’t even tell you how wonderful it is to share and celebrate milestones like this with your child.  It’s amazing.  Don’t take them for granted.

Joy.  “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” -Marianne Williamson

Now, can I ask you, are you allowing yourself to truly recognize the good in your life?  What is your Joy?  Everyone deserves a little sunshine in their lives. Jesus loves all of us so much and wants us to be happy.  Please allow yourself to recognize the good, even in the rain.  Stay strong in your journey, allow yourself to be sad, but most importantly don’t let your hardships steal your joy.  I am so blessed that I have recognized the good in my life through my struggle of secondary infertility and not let this all consuming disease be all consuming at all times. I don’t want it to steal the joy away that my daughter gives me or the joy I bring to my daughter.  Even on the tear filled days, I am able to do it with a little Grace, take a deep breath and continue to smile because I know how good I really do have it.

The 5 Stages of Grief

We’ve all been there. We’ve all lost a loved one, experienced a favorite team we know deserved to win, end up losing that big game. We try to accept that the Packers will NOT be going to the Superbowl (sadly, that was our household last night over the Packer loss), and/or had something unimaginable happen to ourselves personally, etc. Whatever hardship you are going through, big or small, we’ve all experienced what the 5 Stages of Grief are like.  We’ve all experienced the stages of Denial/Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, & Acceptance.  We know that grieving looks and feels differently for different people & that we all have different coping skills.   Yet, why is it that we continue to advise others because we think we know what is best for them, hold our high expectations of them over their heads, and judge their journey of grief when we truly do not know exactly what they are going through? What ever happened to a good listener and a nice shoulder to cry on, and loving and sensitive support?  It is my wish that more people could show empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding of one another’s journey in grief.  Instead of offering up answers for them, just simply be there for them.  This is a big lesson I have taken away from my grief in coping with and trying to deal with Secondary Infertility.  

Since becoming a bit more open with our family and friends on our struggle with Secondary infertility, I have heard it all. Here are a few sample phrases, some, but not limited to: “Don’t stress, and it will happen.” “Be happy that you have Etta.” “Have you thought about adoption?” “Maybe it just isn’t meant to be” “Maybe look into a surrogate” “Try not to think about it and do other things.” “You’ve lost all hope and maybe that’s why you are not getting pregnant.”…and the list goes on.  Now, I know that all of this “advice” was offered with good intentions.  I also know that most of this advice is offered by others who have either never dealt with infertility and/or are very uneducated about the topic. Therefore, I try to shake it off and not let it bother me.  However, if you are already emotional about an already sensitive topic, the likelihood you are able to shake off other’s comments, judgement and advice is not very good…more so, you will become upset, get hurt, obsessively think about what was said to you, mull over explanations to give to these people in your head, feel isolated and alone, and/or cry buckets of tears either by yourself, or with your significant other. I know because I’ve been there many times, unfortunately.

Now, I would like to address each of the above phrases, so that one may better understand why they get under my skin, why I am sensitive to your unmerited advice and why I have learned they deem inappropriate to say to someone who is struggling with infertility (but will be speaking in terms of why it bothers me personally).

“Don’t stress, and it will happen.” -I am the first to admit I am a high stress, rather worrisome individual.  We know that bad stress can affect the body in a negative way.  However much stress this issue causes me, I do have positive coping mechanisms people.  I exercise, I cook/bake, I read, I write, I enjoy time with my daughter, I spend time with my husband and/or other family/friends, watch a favorite movie/TV, do a little retail therapy, try to master a new hobby (recently, crocheting), and the list goes on.   Typically, Secondary infertility is either unexplained or deals with a physical condition that is out of your control as to why you can’t conceive.  Truth be told, I do try to cope with the stress of it all as best as I can, but stress of this nature is unavoidable.  Another way of looking at it that may seem harsh to some, but the only way I can make you understand what I am trying to say is:  If someone you loved had cancer, would you tell them “don’t stress and it will go away”.  We know it just isn’t that simple.  Well, the cards we have been dealt with are not that simple either. It isn’t just going to go away if we stop thinking about it.

“Be happy you have Etta.” -If you know me…if you really know me, you know Etta is my world.  I love her more then anything and I would do anything for her.  She is one of the best gifts I have ever been blessed with and I couldn’t be more happy then to be her Mama. She truly is a miracle from God.  I have sacrificed so much for her and I am beyond happy to do so.  I am over the moon happy that I have Etta in my life.  I do not take her for granted.  When I hear this phase I hear “You are selfish for wanting another baby because you have Etta”.  Now, to put it in perspective for those of you who have more then one child. Can I ask you,  which of those children that you have could you live with out?  I bet your answer would be something along the lines of, “that is not a fair question, I couldn’t live without any of my children.  I love them all.  They are my world.”  Well, every month that goes by and I am reminded that I did not conceive, is a day I grieve the loss of the child I wanted so badly, but never was able to have.  Knowing the joy that comes from being a mother already, is why I long to be a mother again.  I know my journey in this isn’t done.  God has placed it in my heart.

“Have you thought about adoption?”  -The word adoption has came up. Trust me, we really  have thought of all our options.  Brief conversations between Zach and I have been made.  However, it is not selfish to want our own flesh and blood.  We would like to exhaust all our options we are able to before going down the route of adoption.  At this point, it is an open discussion, one that is left up to much consideration.  However, that avenue hasn’t fully been placed in our hearts yet so we have not explored it more.  Adoption isn’t always an easy journey either and can come with just as much stress, hardships, tears, and heartache.  Nothing in this world is a guarantee.  There are many children in this world that need loving families, and that thought breaks my heart.  It pains me to know that there are women who just throw their babies in dumpsters or leave them at gas stations and never look back.  I often think, why were they blessed with a miracle yet a loving couple like Zach and I would love a second baby and give it the best life, and it is not working for us?  These may be selfish thoughts but I told you I would be real and raw.  So yes, we have thought about adoption before BUT we just are not quite there yet.  The thought of adoption though, will never take the desire to have another child of my own away regardless.

“Maybe it just isn’t meant to be” -This phrase just rips at my core and gets me in tears every time someone mentions it to me.  No, I am not in denial about my situation either.  I firmly believe that this desire to be a mom and have my own children was placed in my heart for a reason and I just simply am not ready to give up on my dreams yet.  Would you give up on any of your children or give up on any of your dreams just because there is a block in the road?  Probably not. You would do what you had to to get to where you need to be.  That’s what we are doing.  Just because a second child doesn’t exist for us and it has been a struggle to happen, doesn’t mean this isn’t meant to be for us.  That isn’t for you to say, or to decide.

“Have you ever thought of a surrogate?” -Simply, no.  This question can be offensive to me, until I remind myself that you have no clue about the physical reason why we can’t have children.  Have you even taken the time to ask us? For your information though, carrying a baby on my own is not the issue as to why we can’t have a baby.  We do have physical issues as to why we are having trouble getting pregnant, but being able to carry a baby is not one of them.  Again, this phrase always shows me how ignorant people are about the topic of Secondary Infertility. I am once again reminded that I can’t take things that people say too personally because the person making the statement really just has no clue.  It makes me sad that it is something that isn’t talked about openly more.  This is where I come in, to educate and to share my story.

“Try not to think about it and do other things.”  Trust me.  I do try NOT to think about it and I am forced to do other things daily. Everyday I have to muster up the energy to face another day.  However, thinking about this is unavoidable.  Even when I’m trying to NOT think about it there is always a trigger.  This could be someone asking us, “when is Etta going to have a brother or sister?”, seeing a pregnant women at the store, seeing a family in public with more then one child, getting a baby shower invite, seeing a birth announcement, being surrounded by pregnant friends and family, having countless doctor appointments, etc.  Even when I don’t want to think about it, it some how creeps up and is smack dab right in my face daily, sometimes hourly every single day…  It’s much easier said, then done to just not think about it.  Plain and simple.

“You’ve lost all hope, and that’s why you’re not getting pregnant.” -Is this a fact, do you know that this is why we are not getting pregnant? If it isn’t a fact, just refrain from saying it to me. The first time I was told this was when we were doing our first IUI procedure and I said that I was basically gearing myself up for disappointment as statistically there is only a 10% chance that it works the first time around (stats vary of course).  I first want to say that I have hope.  I have more hope then anyone or I wouldn’t even be trying for this anymore. I wouldn’t be putting myself through any of this.  We’ve been trying for about 17 months and the only thing keeping me going is hope, it’s been the anchor to my soul.  Without it, I would be completely lost in this journey.  Sometimes though, when you have gone through this much heartache and disappointment you need to be real with yourself, you need to look at the statistics square in the face, and more importantly gear yourself up for disappointment as a way to safe guard your own feelings.  I have hope.  I have very high hope and I believe in miracles.  However, hope can also have a double edged sword.  Again, it’s a physical condition as to why we can’t conceive where facts are facts.  At this point, it would be a miracle.  I have a right to feel the way I do without any judgement.

Now, I am not saying I do not have a support system, because I do.  In the midst of this struggle, I have been working on my relationship with God. My husband has been amazing and continues to be optimistic, patient, and supportive.  We are in this together 110%.  I have made a couple great friends who have been there for me along in this journey and who also have infertility struggles of their own.  I have both family and friends who ask me how I am doing on a regular basis.  It’s just very frustrating when you need empathy, compassion, understanding and kindness and it is lacking in so many when it comes to this topic.  This is a sensitive topic for many women/families, not just us, and it needs to be treated as so.  I just ask, that before you offer what you think is good advice on something you know nothing about, really consider my views on it, take others feelings into consideration and become educated on it yourself if you are not already.  We need your support.

Lastly, the 5 Stages of grief are present monthly for me…sometimes daily.  I experienced the stages again this weekend when we were told we had to cancel our 2nd IUI due to yet another roadblock.  Our first IUI was done in December, and it failed.  We made some tweaks gearing up for IUI #2 that did not work, resulting in us not even being able to proceed with the procedure.  As you can imagine, this was devastating news to Zach and I.  As first we were like, the tests must be wrong, this can’t be happening (Denial).  Next we were upset and mad and wondering why this is happening to us.  Why is something that is supposed to work just not working (Anger).  Then we were thinking, ok…if we do this differently and that differently for this next time it has to work, we’ll be able to still go through with it.  Right? …nope, wrong (Bargaining).  Then, we simply got melancholy over the idea that our hope for this month simply was shattered (Depression) but know this isn’t our last chance at an IUI and hopefully we will be able to proceed next cycle (Acceptance).  This vicious circle is not easy-Physically, Mentally or Emotionally.  Again, something we battle with all of the time.  It just doesn’t go away and this is why being open about it, I believe is the best policy.  It’s my hopes that sharing our story, we will get the support we need, educate others, and possibly help reach out to others in our same situation.  Nobody should have to go through Secondary Infertility alone.

I wanted to end with sharing this great resource link, check it out as it has some great tips:

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/25-things-to-say-and-not-to-say.html

About Me

I consider myself pretty generic, rather vanilla and one who is not a risk taker, plays it safe and follows the rules.  Starting a blog is completely new to me (something I honestly know nothing about) and one may see that my blog reflects my first sentence in my very first post.  I like to say that I am pretty candid, however.  Some may say I can be reserved too though.  I am sensitive, caring, giving, down to earth and very routine.  Notice how I started with what I thought of myself…see what I did there:)  Others, however, have characterized me as stubborn, impatient, a worrier and afraid of change.  I have learned to agree to disagree with those descriptions-haha.  I have no problem with criticism as I have grown from all my critics!   I firmly believe I can always do better then what I am doing, probably why I am always so hard on myself.  I believe there is something to learn and take away from in my everyday.  Therefore, I love the quote, “Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in everyday.”  I am definitely a quote kind of girl.  Words get me.  I believe in God and my relationship with Him is a work in progress daily.  I love my family and friends and my daughter has been the joy to my heart in which I had never known before. I believe that everyone should have a fur-pal as a companion-mine are my best friends.  Life is beautiful, but it can also be raw and I want to share with you that.

A few vanilla things before I continue:  I have been married to my husband for almost half a decade.  We met in college-I like to say it was love at first site, his version of the story differs a little bit *wink*.  We have a beautiful daughter together, who is now 2.5.  We have a cat who is 13 and a black lab who is almost 1 year. My husband works full time and is with a wonderful company.  I have been a stay at home mom now since my daughter was born in June of 2012.   I say vanilla because I am keeping the logistics short and sweet and that may be boring to some.  Our life together isn’t vanilla at all though, rather, everyday is a new adventure, has it’s ups and downs and full of love, laughter, tears.

Featured image

The tears recently come from my husband and my struggle with Secondary Infertility, which we were diagnosed with in 2014. Although, I shouldn’t say recently as  we’ve been trying for another baby now for about 17 months and it’s come with much heartache, struggle, stress, exhaustion, frustration…the list goes on.  You can imagine the buckets of tears we’ve shed in those 17 months.  I will get into our journey more as I blog.  My daily joy comes from my daughter, Etta.  She is the light of my life, the center of my world and the single best gift that God has ever blessed me with.  Going through Secondary Infertility has been a teaching tool for sure.  One thing is has taught me is that babies are truly miracles, everyone a blessing.  It has taught me that I will never take my precious blessing for granted.  It has taught me the depth of my love for my daughter is endless.  It has taught me that time is precious and to make the most of each day.  It has taught me to have faith.  I have learned to be very sensitive about the topic of pregnancy and infertility- as you never know what another is going though. I have learned more about myself as an individual (mostly about my strengths and weaknesses). I have learned from and grown in my relationship with my husband.  It has also taught me to reach out to others as we all have something to take away from each other’s journeys.  Most of all, it has taught me to never be ashamed of life’s struggles as they are part of your story and make you who you are.

It is my hope in writing this blog that A)It provides therapy for myself as I continue through this journey and my life (as writing is a great outlet). B)Provide you something to take away from my journey, openly share with you our joys but also our struggles and possibly you can grow from me too and C)To educate you some, and give you a sense of realism into what it is like struggling with Secondary Infertility and (saving the best for last) D)Share with you my best joy, which is being a mother.

Thank you for joining me in my journey.  God speed.

Nichole