Monthly Archives: December 2014

On A Funny Note: My Mother-In-Law’s Gift Was Found

The store sent me a huge pile of gift certificates.  As I was opening all of them last Monday, I noticed the names were really printed wrong.  Last Monday, I was waiting to hear from the West Coast about my blood test to tell me if I had good news or not.  As I am getting really really mad, the phone rings.  I am found out that I am pregnant.  So, Christmas Eve, I thought one of the certificates was missing, but I got three saying mom for my Mother-In-Law.  I tore the house apart.  To my embarrassment the answer came today in the mail.   My Mother-In-Law’s actual gift certificate never actually came that day.  It came today.   Don’t mix blood test results with counting gift certificates….  Laughing…   Sadly, I just finished putting up some lights.  My husband still needs to see the Orthopedic doctor to see if his arm needs to be cast or not.  So, needless to say, we are moving this season with delays.  I can not tackle bringing the tree down myself.  I don’t know if I ever mentioned this.  My left arm after the surgeries and radiation therapy for breast cancer is not the strongest.  On a few of the trips, I struggle to put my carry on suitcase above my seat on the plane.  People helped both ways.  The next time I went the suitcase was sent to the cargo bay of the plane.

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Current Pregnancy and My New Year’s Resolution

I have told a few about my current pregnancy. Sometimes, I glow. Then the fear creeps in me every once in a while. It’s a long road to a Rainbow. I did send RESOLVE a email about joining a pregnancy after infertility group. I have those dreamy moments of a healthy baby being born. Followed by the fear of the moments of terror thinking something has gone wrong with the pregnancy. We told a few people, who would be supportive if this pregnancy ends in loss. The RE from the West Coast is allowing me to take baby aspirin in the pregnancy. January 12th, I have an ultra sound with my new OB GYN. I went back to playing loud happy music like I did with Hope, my living daughter. Hope loves music and dancing by the way. My feelings are from moment to moment. Last night, I dreamt I missed my plane to the West Coast. I know I am capable of a Rainbow. Most people would have told the coordinator that they were not available for the holidays. I felt so strongly if I was to become pregnant again that I wanted the pregnancy to follow my living daughter’s pregnancy. When my daughter was born the anxiety was even higher. If anyone knows any good resources, I am listening. My anxiety is high right now because it is school vacation and my husband and I are working different schedules to keep my daughter home. Even through I am home, I miss work at some level. Time does go so fast, I felt like I was pregnant with my living daughter forever. I blinked and she is 9 years old. Plus, we don’t want to tell her. It’s hard to talk about it without her getting suspicious.

    Since I had the cancer four years ago, I have had two goals. I wanted to have a baby. I have also wanted to work towards my career goals. Through out this journey to get pregnant again it has been a struggle to juggle career goals, work, fertility treatment and family. As much as I love both jobs at the hospital and working with the kids, it’s time to take that test and reach my career goals. Studying for this test will keep my wondering mind busy. It’s all about grammar and reading so I need to crack the whip. I am going to try this without going back to grad school. Everyone in my field says it is possible to reach this career goal. For some reason, I tend to fail on the first test and get really motivated then nail the second test.

    My husband said to me the other day the number of holiday cards dwindle more and more every year. This year, I have been reaching out to family on both sides to draw them back.

    I may never see my brother and sister ever again, which brothers me. We had a difference of opinion about my decision first daughter’s pregnancy. Literally, neither one was there until it was confirmed my daughter Hope was a healthy baby. They both just showed up at the hospital, when she was born. Then everyone broke out their agendas during Hope’s birth. It became a power struggle for us to be her parents. My brother and sister had decided Hope should never know about the death of her sister. It was not their decision to make. Then, they inappropriately roped a group of doctors into this. No one had the right to make that decision. I am older now and the problems at Hope’s birth will not happen again (.) the end.

    I got a phone call from my aunt the other day. I sent gifts to her for both my sister’s kids and my brother’s kids. My brother and sister will not make direct contact for whatever reason. Usually, I refuse to do this, because it seems ridiculous. The gift certificates arrived late that I ordered. Everything was backwards since I needed to travel to the West Coast for treatment. My brother literally will return any cards to my nieces and nephews for birthdays and holidays with a nasty message written on the envelope. He was taught to be the “dominant male” so to speak. Alateen saved my life as a teenager. I see the dynamic playing itself out. I refuse it.

    My aunt went to give my sister the gifts for her kids and my brother’s kids. My sister refused the gifts for my brother’s kids. She thought my brother would have thrown them at her. So my aunt offered to mail the gifts back to me. Her grandchildren just lost the family dog this weekend. I told her to use them with her grandchildren. I want to function in both families with peace. My mother had to work and I was left in their care, because there were no afterschool programs. If this baby is going to be born, I will never leave Hope to care for the child.

    We plan to hang out at the family gym, working out, playing basketball and swimming. I still need to track down my medical record for the new OB GYN. I still need to make calls concerning the last trip out on the West Coast. I have a whole house to organize. We are also planning to go to Boston’s First Night. Then Friday to Sunday, I work. Next week, we are back to life as usual. Happy New Years Everyone!

Raven & My Christmas Pregnancy Loss

We have been trying to have the family of our dreams for 12 years now. I was 29 years old, when we started the process of trying to have children. This year, I turned 40. Our daughter was 11 months old, when we decided we wanted another child. This was the start of the recurrent pregnancy loss. It was followed by we 18 months of not being able to get pregnant due to male infertility. Our story has a number of complicated factors such as Rare Disease, pregnancy loss, male infertility, breast cancer and then female infertility due to age/the effects of cancer treatment.

Many find the story of Raven, our cat an inspiration. Raven is a 7 years old all black cat with a small patch of white fur on his chest in the shape of a heart. One of the vets said to me that cat is all muscle. He is. Any time he pounces on you, you know. He has accidentally knocked me backwards on the futon by jumping on me. Poor Raven spent most of my breast cancer treatment in the cellar, because he jumps right on your chest.

Before Raven came to us one Christmas. I had two pregnancy losses. I miscarried at 6 weeks. Then at 18 weeks of pregnancy, we learned the baby died at 16 weeks of pregnancy. This was our son Haven, who we never got to hold. He had an extra long cord. There were questions if Haven had a twin at one point in the pregnancy. When he died, two causes were possible. The placenta was very low and the cord look like a clot had torn it apart. We had no reason to believe he had the rare disease our two daughter died from. After his death, I went back to the fertility doctor. (We started having difficulty getting pregnant after our first daughter died from a rare disease. During the evaluation process, I got pregnant with our living daughter named Hope.)

I tested negative for all blood clotting disorders. We decided to try a blood thinner based on the information. I graduated from the RE’s office and I went to the OB GYN at 6 weeks. At 11 weeks, the baby was looking good. Tears of joy rolled down my face, because it was Christmas time and things looked good. About five days before Christmas, I returned for a second trimester ultra sound. I should have been 13 weeks pregnant. The baby must have died at 11 and half weeks. Two days before Christmas, I had to lie to my boss about a funeral. Neither family was aware of what was happening. I started to personalize the pregnancy losses. This was my third miscarriage. Hope was two years old now and more aware of Christmas. When the tears would form, I would run outside and sob on my patio. (It’s also the famous Christmas where my daughter poured the egg into her lap instead of the bowl.)

Hope got sick too. I am getting ready for work. The whole world seemed to covered with joy, excepted me. It was December 30th. I am trying to get the snow off the car. I hear some cat crying horribly under the porch of my neighbors. I kneeled down and said come here kitten what’s wrong? This really young cat came out. He just let me pick him up. I swaddled him like a baby. I knocked on my door and showed my husband. My husband laughed and said bring him in. We will figure out who’s kitten it is later. We have this one neighbor who knows everything. It ended up a family left their home in the middle of the night and they let the kitten go before they left. Remember about 7 years ago, a lot of homes went into foreclosure. Raven had this huge abscess on the side of his neck from some kind of fight.

My daughter just had some type of virus we ended up in the ER that night. The following day on New Year’s Eve, I had to take Raven to the vet. We spent all New Year’s with Raven, who was recovering from surgery. My son Haven was due late September of that year. Raven was born the same time. My daughter said two words, “my kitten.” I tried being brave after that miscarriage. When my daughter napped, I would cry and Raven would always come and sit in my lap. His eyes would look into mine. Raven still jumps to your hand as you go to pet him. I kept telling the vet, we are only going to keep him until we found a good family to adopt him. I never found the “perfect family.” Well, it’s been 7 years. He has a family us. Remember those pictures of Tiger pouncing on Pooh? I swear that is Raven with me. Every time the plane left for the West Coast in December, someone would look out the bay window as if to say where are going with that suitcase? HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVERYONE!

Yesterday Went Well.

In 2009, my worst nightmare came to life.  My daughter was born still.  Six months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Then my mother died from natural causes.  I had to be the one to find her.  My mother-in-law began to loose her hearing.  She has a rare condition with a non-cancerous tumor, which could cause her to go deaf.  I kept hoping for someone to be there.  Many friends were.  The reaction from the blood relatives were harsh.  I have suffered from trying to come to terms with the anger from these events.

When I married into the family, I was told that I was their daughter forever.  It was a promise made and never kept.  When my first daughter died, they promised her birthday would never be forgotten.   Last year was the 10th anniversary of her death.  The phone never rang and nothing was left at her grave.

I don’t want to get too much into this, because I can get sucked in to the anger I am feeling.  When I was told I had cancer, the RE was throwing out options.  One was a relative become a surrogate, so I could undergo cancer treatment.  My sister was not a choice.  She needed bed rest and both children were born early due to preterm labor.  I asked my sister-in-law and I was told “no.”  I understood not everyone could be a surrogate.  There was no way we could afford someone else.  I tried medical menopause during cancer treatment.   It didn’t work.  Why would you save eggs when you could be the carrier?   My eggs are depleted.  At the time we were told we would never know the reason the babies were dying from this rare disease.  Two cycles into chemo treatment, we were told the answer, but what can you do?  I couldn’t up and stop chemo.  My friends were there for me.  I felt forgotten by both sides.  Both sides thought because I was working that I was “Fine.”  No, I needed hugs and phone calls.  Yes, I was an assistant Girl Scout Leader and all my living daughter’s homework for kindergarten was turned in on time.

I said this already in one of my private blogs.  It was like drowning and having the life guard on the beach screaming at you to “keep swimming because you are doing fine!”   I understand that they couldn’t go to my doctor appointments.  How priceless is a hug or a phone call?   It was barely a year since our baby died, when my sister in law got pregnant and named her daughter Madison.  My daughter’s name was Addison.  I was told I shouldn’t be upset at all.  Months and years went by.

Last year, my husband got a new job.  I didn’t want to go to the mammogram alone.  I asked my mother-in-law and I was told “no.”  We are still having arguments over my mammogram last year, which angers me.    They are mad that I asked a friend to come.  She was having car problems, but she could meet me half way there.  They are also angry because I had to drive into Boston, so I didn’t drive my daughter to them.  She was going to summer program closer to the highway, so I sent her there.   My in-laws live a half an hour away in another town without a access to the highway.   They would not drive to get her.   As a breast cancer survivor, I am terrified of mammograms.  When you start adding family junk to the mix, it just increases the possibility of me not going.  In short, they promised me that I would be their daughter.  It was lip service.  It was something nice you say but don’t mean.  It’s 15 years later, I have been hurt enough.  So, I am seeking a functional relationship with them.  Functional meaning I want to be able to be in the room with them and be polite.

Last September, my sister-in-law announced her divorce.  Her former spouse is given refuge at my in-laws.  I have held and loved your grandchildren as they died from horrible deaths due to a rare disease.  I sent them an email from Yosmite, during the first trip.  I told them how lonely I was.   So, I went to Christmas this year.  The anxiety was as high as having a second mammogram, but I survived.  I sat in the same room as all them.  My husband was suppose to have called my mother-in-law on Monday and told her.  He did, but she didn’t quite hear it.   Last night, I was both tired and feeling sick at times (not complaining.) I love chocolate, but I had one of those moments.  They gave me chocolate cake.  Slowly, I ate it, because I felt like I was going to throw up at times.  My mother-in-law told me I didn’t have to eat it.  I have survived chemo.  You start slowly, because you can stop if needed to.  My husband made a copy of the ultra sounds of the embryos and handed it to her.  He told her to look at it at home.  I was half way to sleep when the phone rang.  I guess Grandma got it yesterday.  She sent me emails and I started to respond, but I deleted it.  The anger is there this morning.  I am impress I was able to be social.  As much as I am angry at them, I do not interfere with their relationship with my daughter and my husband.  Next mammogram, I learned to say nothing and deal with it myself.

My daughter was given a bunch of gift certificates for Christmas.  I am spending the day with her.  I told my aunt too.  We are going to see her.  I don’t want “close” relationships with them because I don’t think it is possible.  I learned how strong I could be by myself thanks to the death of daughter and mother and the breast cancer.

The Test Results:

I misplaced a bunch of gifts.  I found most of them.  I never found my mother-in-law’s gift certificate.  At this point, we brought another.  It will show up maybe for Mother’s Day.  I had in my hand the second the call came in confirming the pregnancy.     I see the forgetfulness of the first trimester setting in.  The reason I jumped to do this fresh cycle was it follows my living daughter’s pregnancy.    I need that association.  The blood level didn’t just double but they trippled.  Yesterday, I wasn’t as tired it must have been what I was eatting.  I am packing natural ways to fight feeling of being exhausted like apples and yogurt.  I haven’t been that good on my low carb high protein diet due to the holidays.  I am working out on the elliptical.  They said that was okay.  My ultra sound was scheduled for January 12th.  I have to get all my medical records again.  I feel I made the right choice choosing RI for a birth place.  I had a few emergencies in my living daughter’s pregnacy and it is a long drive from the Rhode Island border to Boston.  Our home is exactly in the middle.  My husband’s job is in Boston.  I learned my lesson from my living daughter.  All my losses occurred in the mid phase of the second trimester.  I finally wrote my local chapter of RESOLVE.  I am going to try an pregnancy after infertilty support group.  Many do not understand the connection for families with recurrent pregnancy loss issues or infertility issues!  My 9 years old is too smart.  When she isn’t busy wondering what Santa is bringing tomorrow, she wants to know why we are talking in code. I may need to password protect all blogs.  Remembering pregnancy after loss is one step at a time.  I made it before I can do this!  Happy Holidays Everyone!

Yes, I Am Pregnant:

Today was anxiety provoking each step of the way.  You know you have been through too much in life, when you are getting your blood drawn and looking at information on failed cycles on the web.  I started to cry, when they drew the blood.  I covered it well.   The coordinator was hinting about this since 12:30PM EST or 9:30 AM PST.  So, I had my big excitement moment then, while  I was at work today.  I had a meeting at 3PM, which was noon their time.  I missed the call.  I also shut off my cell phone, because it would have been so tempting to answer it.  I can’t seem to do justice to this blog.  It was five years ago, I gave birth to my stillborn daughter.  This is my 7th pregnancy from my 7th embryo transfer.  It feels like midnight to me.  I am hoping this means I can go back to living in EST.  It’s way too confusing to live in two!  Please also realize how many times I have heard, “I am sorry the baby died.”  I don’t mean to be cold.  I have my poker face on.  Every now and then I glow!  Other times, I wonder if someone will wake me up.  Sometimes, I worry something will go wrong.  I lost most of my pregnancies in the second trimester.  Tomorrow it will be the 7th anniversary of my Christmas miscarriage at 13 weeks of pregnancy.  It’s not being negative.  Today’s reading was high at 120.   It needs to double.  It doesn’t indicate multiples because I asked.  Immediately, I had to order meds because I refused to do so would have jinx everything.  The meds are coming tomorrow.  More blood on Christmas Eve…

Good News: Cholesterol

I have the best regular doctor, who I feel has been there through so much with me. My regular doctor’s office has been helping with the embryo donation cycles at home. My husband handed a letter from them. My cholesterol dropped 50 points in a month. It ends up some of the fertility meds may be causing the cholesterol to go up. I am laughing this test was drawn after a difficult trip to the West Coast due to plane delays. It was a long weekend of no sleep. Everyone knows how I love the breakfast bar at the hotel. Hopefully more good news tomorrow. Hopefully, he does not hit me with another cholesterol test, because I have been bad especially yesterday…

Quiet Sunday Morning:

For the first time in two weeks, I am neither chasing a plane of baby dreams or recovering from a Red Eye flight home! Since returning home my thoughts have been all over the map. Am I pregnant or not? I came home to the holidays, work and my car trouble over the past few days. The car fixed itself. The repair shops couldn’t find the problem. Tomorrow is the test. Due to the holiday vacation, I am working a different schedule between the hospital and kid job. My husband is too. The only one who gets to stay home for two weeks is our daughter. Summer was tough because we didn’t know when the embryo donation cycles were going to start. Our holiday traditions went up in the air. Somehow, I am keeping to them.

The day flights were much easier than the night flights. I was tired but not to the extent of the red eye. I will never do another red eye as long as I live. Our family does not travel on a plane on a regular basis. I can’t sleep on a plane. We found an embryo donation program on the West Coast that cost significantly less than any other. The flight crew is starting to recognize me from 4 different flights this month. I am starting to know that airport on the West Coast like my home airport. I missed seeing some holiday activities of my daughter to make the trip.

I came home and I still haven’t mailed a card yet. Life continues in difference to a fertility cycle. My husband fell. He injured his elbow. The car failed to start a bunch of times. A plane was delayed. The bus was late. Work is work. A friend and my cousin was hospitalized. Housework? That is what those days off are for. Last night we went to a local shrine known as La Sallete. (I am not of the religion, but religious.) I was reviewing all the trips to La Sallete, which follows our infertility journey.

I was 28 years old and I had been married 4 years, when I decided I wanted a baby. We didn’t try right a way. I needed everything to be perfect. I wanted my professional license. I wanted to find the right church to raise the children in. I went out of my way to make sure I was the healthiest. I went to La Sallete, My pray was “please help us get pregnant.” The following year, I refused to go, because our first daughter died from a rare disease a day after birth. I was pregnant and an emotional mess, because I kept thinking this baby may not make it. My Aunt went and she brought me something St. Gerard from La Sallete. Our living daughter was born the following year. We went to the shrine to have something blessed for one of our friend’s ailing grandfather. The priest blessed her too. Years passed. The miscarriages started one after another in the second trimester. One day, we took our daughter there. Each candle we lite has the same prayer, “please help us add a healthy child to our family.” I accidental said it has been 11 years of this infertility journey. It has been 12 years in total. We have been trying to bring home another baby for 8 years. I am tired. The mountain keeps getting higher and higher. Last night, I lite another candle. God did you hear me? Since cancer treatment, I have had 12 different IUI’s, 4 IVF’s with my own eggs and now two embryo donation cycle. I swore up and down a lot that I was pregnant. (I am starting to cry again.) I miss being innocent the most. I am tired of being treated as if I have some form of social Leprosy because our babies died from a horrible rare disease, which is genetic. No I will speak their names, because they lives did matter! I don’t come from this big loving well to do family. We are infertile. Yes, I had breast cancer under the age of 40 years old. Do you know parents from my daughter’s activities will talk around me? People when I mention my children’s names will quickly shut up and tell me to be grateful for my daughter, who is alive? People don’t want to hear about the genetic rare disease because there is no easy answer… It frightens them.

I could go on forever about this… Today, my daughter is playing the tone chimes at church. I will go to the babies grave. Then, I am driving an hour to put a wreath on my mother’s grave. Yes, I am grieving, but I hate it when people tell me that I am negative. Would a negative person fly so far away to have a baby. I think they see the grief I have. Grief is not a negative emotion but a healing journey that never truly ends. Tomorrow, I work. I did not sign up for meditation class yet. I am waiting to hear the answer first. My stomach is in knots about this…. God, please! I hope that pregnancy test is positive.