Writing

It’s January, which is when my blog hosting fees are due. And with it comes the reminder that if I’m going to pay for this blog, I need to use this blog.

Writing is hard work, but it is also therapeutic. It helps me sort through the chaos in my mind and formulate my beliefs. Living in my head isn’t an easy thing, but putting words on paper helps make it more bearable.

So I’m going to try to be a better steward of both my blog and my complicated thoughts and write more.

As for life lately, well it has been understandably dark. Miscarriage is a horrible process to go through; the hormones and the grief feel overwhelming. I knew that all of December would be dark, and I trudged through it as best I could (while loving my little ball of light as best I could as well). And now we are in January, and it feels a little bit better. We are closer to being able to transfer another embryo, and I’m so ready to begin moving forward.

Of course, transferring another embryo is terrifying. All six of our embryos were supposed to be fantastic quality. So have we now gone through the unexpected “bad” ones of the batch? I hope so. We discussed transferring two, and for awhile I insisted that we would. But after having one (glorious but high maintenance) child, I just don’t think I could handle two. Transferring two increases the chances of us having one, but the odds of twins are greater than 50%. And my mental health isn’t what it needs to be to handle twins. I wish it was, but it’s not.

So we will transfer one and hope it works. If it doesn’t, we transfer another. We have four more, all great quality. The idea of going through four transfers terrifies me, but we will take it one step at a time.

I am plagued by our inability to know exactly what went wrong. Since I passed the baby in Texas, we weren’t able to have it tested. I wish I knew if it was a genetic defect undetected by the testing we had done on the embryo (this is most likely) or if it was something that I did. Did I carry Abbie too much? Should I have cut out caffeine completely (how does one do that with a toddler)? Was I on too many supplements? Not enough? Should I have kept up with acupuncture? There is no way to know. So I keep plodding along, trying my best to manage the millions of thoughts that run through my brain on a daily basis.

It is hard being an analytical person. Even at two, I can see Abbie’s brain working just like mine, her mind struggling to take everything in, her eyebrows furrowing at new things. Her emotions running out of control in the same way that mine do when things just don’t seem right (some of this comes with being two, but it doesn’t seem all that much different at thirty five). I hope I can raise her to use her mind well, to love herself even when she drives herself crazy. To know that thinking is a good thing, even when it feels like your thoughts are drowning you.

And I hope I can help her to find a creative outlet for her thoughts so that she never feels trapped or alone in that beautiful mind of hers. Writing is one way I can do that for myself. So I will start writing more, whether people read it or not. But I appreciate all of you who read.

 

 

Our Thanksgiving Loss

(I wrote this yesterday, but it didn’t feel like the right day to post it, so I’m posting it today)

This was not the post I wanted to write.

Last Thursday, we went in for a 6 week ultrasound. Our PGS tested embryo had implanted and the blood tests had been perfect. Though we were nervous, we felt confident because we had so many things in our favor. There was only about a 5% chance things wouldn’t look good.

But as soon as the ultrasound wand was in and the tech started looking around, I knew. Before the doctor could say a word, I said “shit”.

Yes I was early, yes things could change, but I know these things never do for us. I knew she was gone.

We waited a week and found a place in Texas that would give us an ultrasound to confirm. It confirmed the worst.

And so today, on Thanksgiving day, I am losing our baby.

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At times like this, I am thankful that our journey has helped me to find my home in grief. It is no stranger to me. I know how to sit in it, and I know how to stand up in the midst of it and be strong.

I am thankful, too, that my theology makes room for this. There is nothing in me that blames God for our loss. And I know he makes his home in my grief. Those who mourn are uniquely blessed, and I have experienced that blessing time and time again.

I have spent time reading this post that I wrote after our first miscarriage, reminding myself that God is not a spectator in this tragedy and putting myself back with him in the garden to grieve and receive his comfort.

And oh, how thankful I am for the miracle that calls me mama. If it weren’t for her, I would think I wasn’t meant to be a mother. But because of her, I am one. And I know that I’m a good one, because the road that led me to her made me strong and deepened my capacity to love her well.

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This IVF road was supposed to be “easier”. We had Abbie via an IUI, so of course putting a tested embryo inside of me would make this a more simple process. It has not been simple. I feel foolish for even thinking it would be. Having a child will never be easy for us.

But we have four more embryos waiting for us. So in a couple of months, we will dust ourselves off and try again. And I am eternally grateful that we even have that option. 30 years ago, we wouldn’t have. Because of the time we live in, we get a chance at parenthood. Abbie gets a chance at having a sister. And so I pray that at least one of our four embryos would be the sibling our sweet girl deserves.

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This is a horrible time to be losing a baby, on Thanksgiving day. But in a few days it is Advent, and as my friend Kari told me, advent is a great time for darkness. And so I will spend this advent season in the darkness and know that light will soon find us. It always does.

 

Embryo Transfer

Since I last wrote, we found out that all six of our embabies “passed” the genetic screening. They were all chromosomally normal, which was shocking since I’m almost 35. The doctor predicted we would have 2-3 good embryos, so this was more than we could hope for.

Because they look at the number of chromosomes, they can also tell the gender.  So we knew that we had one boy and five girl embryos.

We transferred the boy last Thursday. He was our best looking embryos. I did accupuncture the week before, the hour before transfer, and the week after transfer. I had an abdominal/uterine massage. I ate pineapple core. I took tons of vitamins. I ate low carb. I ate soup. I drank so much water. I did everything right.

It didn’t work.

I am not devastated. Just numb. I have been in this place so many times, so I am pretty strong when it comes to these things. But oh, how we wanted that boy to implant. How we longed for his life to be. How we dreamed of his future.

Particularly Tom. He wanted a son. We had a boy embryo. And I hate so much that it didn’t work.

We are sad and we are mourning, but we will pick ourselves up and do another transfer. And another, and another, though I pray with all my heart we only need one more.

But we will likely not be as vocal throughout it. That’s how these thing work; you share a lot the first time, but if it doesn’t work you go quiet because you don’t want to have to update all the people again that it failed. I’m glad we shared about our boy, but we won’t be sharing again until we have a successful transfer.

Despite the awfulness of this, it is 1000 times easier because we have our Abbie girl. She is so cuddly these days, wanting to be held whenever she is near us. She hugs my neck and gently pats the back of it and she squeals with glee when she see her DADADA. She heals all the broken places in our hearts. So we will keep fighting this battle because she deserves a sibling, but she is enough. She is perfection, and we thank God every single day for her.

 

See? Perfection. So we will be okay.