Category Archives: #secondary infertility

Officially Saying Good Bye To Being Pregnant: Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

Pregnancy was a Pandora’s box for me.  This is how I explain this to my daughter Hope.  I opened the box and my first daughter Avery died of a rare disease.  Then, Hope came.  The box stayed open and I went on to experience 4 more losses and infertility.  I learned our family was the first documented medical case to carry this horrible rare disease.  A second child Addison died.  If that wasn’t horrible enough, the demon of breast cancer came out of the box and I was diagnosis with in six months of my second daughter’s death.  My mother died 10 months later.  For years, nothing.  No baby.  Then 11 years after the Pandora’s box was open, our last daughter Joy was born.

Joy is two now.  I started the family space cellar a year before our first daughter died.  For years, it nagged me.  After Joy was born, it was finished 11 months after her birth.

For years, I would store everything that Hope had in that cellar.  Joy’s unfinished nursery haunted me before her birth.  Hope would come home in tears. Another baby brother or sister was born at school.  When will it be our turn?

At age 9, Hope asked me to paint the room that is now Joy’s nursery because she felt it was too childish for the playroom/home office.  When I started the trips to the West Coast to start my embryo donation cycles, Hope decided that room was bigger and she asked me to let her switch.  I said, “no.” There are wall decals in that room that were hard to put up.  Two walls were blank.  Upon the news of Joy’s pregnancy.  I decided one wall was to be a rainbow.  At 32 weeks, Hope started one hand print at a time (a color a week) to make that rainbow.  Joy presses her hand against each print.  It’s really going to hurt when the house gets sold.  It’s not on the market yet.

When I decided it was time to have a baby, I kept my eyes on yard sales sometimes.  My babies had a room at this house, I worked on it from the second I found out I was pregnant with Avery.  On the eve before our big trip to England (the belated honeymoon we never got & the last fling before we became parents.), I sit in there weeping.  The baby had multiple birth defects and we had no reason to believe who ever it was would survive.  My anger rose, I pushed all the furniture to the floor screaming no!  My husband was ready to cancel the trip, when I said, “look if the baby is to die, let’s show little one the world.”

I kneeled everywhere at Westminster Abbey begging for my child’s life.  I brought the baby a cross.  We were not of that religion.  This wonderful trip became anxious.  We waited for word from Boston.  Instead of laughing and having the time of our lives, we quietly cried.  I refused pictures of myself the entire pregnancy.  I hope someday, our family returns to England for a happy trip.

Avery saw the world in utero.  We found an expert in Maryland.  We flew down.  I was pregnant with Avery in New York.  Sadly, the week afterwards, Avery was born prematurely, she lived a day and died.  I was a girl of faith and spirituality.  The Pandora box of Pregnancy made me question everything.

Moving from yesterday to today, I kept storing baby items that Joy outgrew.  I see signs of Perimenopause in myself.   Yes, there is no way we could do it again.   All those years of chasing for a Rainbow, it happened.  I was planning to try a yard sale.  Every weekend, I found an excuse.  This weekend we are going to try to have one.  After Joy’s birth, I was asked if I wanted my tubes tied.  I declined. After all those years of trying, it felt like insult to have your tubes tied.  Our family works so hard to pay for her conception back.  I got pregnant with Hope after an infertility evaluation on my own. The babies who never came home had a few things here.  Some outfits, we are keeping incase of grandchildren.  A few years ago, we took the final genetic screening.  It is supposedly, just our generation.  Hope will be fine. So, here’s too hoping.  (Remember Joy was conceived embryo donation.  There is no effect.)  I am skeptical.  It wasn’t suppose to happen after the first lost.

I hope to live to see grandchildren, if my children choose to.  It has been tough to hold each outfit and remember.  Sunday will be a little tough.  When the house is ever sold, I will need consoling.  It was in this house all the babies were suppose to come home to.   After all those years, I am saying good bye.  Hopefully, I will be able to live to see grandchildren.  I have always promised my children if for any reason they end up struggling with infertility, I would be there.  Isn’t strange due to the weather, this yard sale will be occurring on Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day.

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Like The Song: Summer Has Been Cruel

How does one pick up the pieces after you give your own spouse an ultimatum to get into alcohol treatment or leave the house?  I know I haven’t written in forever.  It’s been an act of congress for me to go to the bathroom over the pass few weeks never mind blogging.  I wanted to stop remodeling and put the house back together right after he started substance abuse treatment.  Our house was in pieces.  He wanted to continue.  With tears in my eyes, I packed the cabinets.

Fast forward to the family vacation about 3 weeks ago.  We just finished painting the cabinets.  Everything is in boxes.  This is your idea of vacation?  The cabinets look awesome in beige.  I had a real rotten day right before vacation.  Sleep has been bare minimal prior to vacation.  I ended up sick with a bladder infection because I work two part time jobs around my children’s schedules, there is no sick time or vacation time.  I have spent most of my summer fearing what to financially do as a single parent.  He went into treatment.  Our toddler is a very active girl.  Put her down for one second and it is one second too long.  I am forever joking she is a toddler ninja master.  I think my reflexes have improved since she started walking.  My oldest was a thoughtful child.  You could leave her in her room for hours with only a book.  This one, I had to become a ninja master quick.  I need to predict her quick before toddler finds trouble.

My last work day before vacation was awful.  The original babysitter took the girls to lunch.  I was hoping for a hamburger about a week.  She took them to a burger place.  I was left with their uneaten lunches.  All I thought was that 20 minutes to pack lunches which could have been used for more sleep or a shower.  Of course the girls didn’t want burgers.  I went to a convent store, which served burgers and sandwiches.  The guy behind the counter comes out to tell me that they are out of burgers.  Our toddler is extremely fussy about food.  I brought her something.  She threw it around the car.  We went to one store to do quick clothing shopping for the girls birthday pictures.   I had to pick through summer clearance.  I had personalized shirts made for the girls.  I wasn’t finding anything that matched for my toddler Joy.  I was pushed against time.  I brought a dress even through I wanted something more.  We couldn’t go to another store.  The dog was waiting.

I get home survey the disaster zone and began to freak out because of course one of the personalized shirts is missing.  I did find it.  I knew the house was a complete disaster.  I literally offering to send my husband with the girls over the few days up North so I could stay home.  I see this isn’t going to be an easy clean up.  One job was threatening not to pay me for the week.  There are still all these little projects to do.  The house has to be perfect by a week.  A new babysitter is starting to care for them at our house.  My work schedule is changing for to accommodate my oldest going to middle school.  The other babysitter decided she wanted Mondays and Tuesdays off to spend time with her husband.  I have worked 6 days a week to pay her wages.  Isn’t love grand when you have it?  I have not been a twinkle in anyone’s eye for many years.  Fear of being a single parent has kept me up many nights.  He comes home from his groups sober and right to bed.  The emotional divorce continues.

Believe or not, I found the personalized shirt with Joy screaming in the background.  It occurred to me to just put the shirt over the dress, because that was the best match.  The other bottoms just didn’t work.  I get in the car picture morning.  He brought me earnings and apologizes.  I am in tears.  Okay maybe this will all work out.  We get the pictures done and grab a quick bite to eat.  The photographer tells me her infertility story no kids.  She is in dept and the mall is being torn down.  Time to put the kitchen back together.  This is when all the problems happen.

My mother was in a horrible car accident, when I was younger.  She was hit by a car and she never walked again.  It ended her life earlier due to medical problems.  She brought us what we needed at the time with her settlement money.  The only item, she brought was a antique piece of furniture called a dry sink from the 1800’s.  I noticed it was deteriorating.  During a small flood, the water almost reached it.  I begged my inlaws to take it.  They wouldn’t.  I live in one of the smallest houses in the state.  All these people with big houses crack me up with, “I don’t have the room.”  How come some how I find the room?  We got this idea to replace the microwave cart with the dry sink.  Dry sink have very fancy tops.  We brought this microwave shelf to hang our microwave.  We took measurements.  It was close.  We were running out of money.  I didn’t know my husband took some emergency money and our helpful friend was getting paid.  He came over to finish the counter top edges.  One still remains undone.  The house was already a disaster zone.  The space just got tighter.  My husband is in early recovery now.  So, I gave him Joy duty.  I gave him all errands after he went to the gym.  The bulk of the work was up to me.  We hadn’t touched the bathroom at this point.  The dry sink makes it so I have rearrange table chairs.  The microwave shelf didn’t work.  After trying to develop options, we end up putting the microwave on the counter.

I ended up with a cold.  I promised myself no late painting jobs.  I have a secret that I don’t share with my husband.   I was in individual therapy and some couples counseling after Addison died and we were consider our options to have another child.  I worked with the psychologist for three years.  I stopped going because I felt the crisis with our daughter’s still birth, my cancer treatment and my mother’s death was over.  I went to her, when my biological father died, my husband’s drinking picked up and he refused a hearing test.  She told me something that I have held a secret.  She thinks he may have high functioning autism.  I am not sure is fully true, because if you ever met my in-laws they are very verbally abusive.  The strange thing is, boy does he love her.  I was begging this woman for help because our marriage was falling apart.  I asked her to help me with his drinking and refusing a hearing test.  She said he didn’t have a drinking problem or hearing loss.  She said the biggest problem was neither one of us met each other’s needs anymore.  She told me if I really cared for him that I need to embrace his high functioning autism and deal with it.  I left in silent tears.  She gave him the biggest hug.    For the record, he failed his hearing test about a year later.  Here we are in alcohol treatment mode.  Damn, you must have missed something rather big there!

I got a cold and stayed up late.  I worked after Joy went to bed with very few hours sleep because he was in group to stop drinking. Here is Wednesday, the last night before we left for NH.  The house is still a disaster zone.  It’s getting better.  I am waiting for the fire department to fine me.  I start in on the bathroom.  Just paint the walls and closet this should be quick.  We had a brown medicine cabinet.  Things are financial tight.  I figure, I will just paint the medicine cabinet white.  We had this awesome surprise for my oldest.  There is a boat that serves ice cream she always wanted to go on.  I got her surprise tickets.  I busy packing, cleaning and finding birthday gifts.  I went to use the spray paint.  I am really sick with the cold.  This cloud of white paint covers the whole bathroom.  It’s everywhere.  I order the evacuation of the house.  I have an asthma attack.  Here I am scrubbing the paint off before it ruins everything.

We ran out of the house to drop off the ferret at the caretaker’s house.  We did drive through and it took so long.  I told my husband to drive off.  We had nothing to eat.  We drop the ferret off.  I am joyfully teasing Hope about her surprise.  I messed up the time of the boat.  It was for 7 not 7:30.  She is crying hard.  The cruise is telling me that they would try to sell the tickets for me to get my money back.  I was so hurt.  Here I am barely speaking to them because I am congested.  They sold half the tickets.  We had to rebuy tickets for Labor weekend.  I single handedly screwed up the surprise.  The bathroom is still to be painted.  I pleaded again to stay home and let the family go on vacation.  I decided I am going to finish this by staying up all night.  We had problems with the paint.  I ran out of paint at 5AM.  I want my mother at this point.  They all woke up.  It was time to go. I am trying to finish the bathroom closet with ceiling paint.   I barely slept in the car.  My daughter went into these caves in NH.  My toddler decides she is going to walk all 1,000 steps on her own.  Remember, I have a lot of neurological damage in my left arm.  I am struggling to hold her from committing suicide by falling into a crave.  The hotel was awful.  It smelled of pot.  Hope decided to stay up all night talking to me.  My husband left his bag at home.  We had to rush to buy emergency clothing.  I am trying to explain early recovery to my husband, because I have done substance abuse counseling for years.  He is blowing up at me left and right.  All I am thinking is I have to work Saturday and Sunday.  The new babysitter starts Monday.

We had one good day.  Saturday, I finally got an antique photo of the family.  This was very important to me.  Before chemo, we had an antique photo of the family.  I wanted another to include Joy.  My daughter was upset because we never got to go to the mountain she wanted.  The ride home was a drive against the clock, because I had to work.  I went to work.  I came home and started cleaning.  I got a few hours of sleep.  Sunday, I went to work exhausted.  My husband finished painting.  The new babysitter is not responding to answer my texts or calls.  Sunday, I told my husband to make alternate arrangements.  I was up until 3AM the house was done.  7:30 rolled around.  No babysitter.  For the first time in my life, my in-laws agreed to help.  I told the woman she was fired.  I was suppose to train for the new position.  The trainer ended up late and it all worked out.  I texted my original babysitter about the situation.  She treated me as if I dropped the ball somehow.  I was scheduled for job two at night.  I called them crying telling them that I needed to leave work early.  I was so tired that I got lost in my own city.  What a way to start a new position!  By the end of the day, I had three possible babysitters.

I worked on the birthday party for the rest of the week.  This year, we had a joint party/open house.  Again, I invited everyone to bring them back into our lives.  Somehow, we got alienated between the baby death and my breast cancer.  I have been trying to draw our friends back.  All week, I heard all the excuses.  I survived breast cancer.  I know what my priorities are.  Hope wanted to go to this event and hour away.  I know it was birthday hostess suicide.  Life is about enjoying those girls that I worked so hard for.  It was going to rain anyways.  We couldn’t set up for the party.  He had his last group.  There were 8 baskets of laundry to be folded.  He stay for half of the group and came home to help.  I ran into traffic.  We drove around crazy trying to put everything together.  He comes home and says, “I am going to bed.”

Hope made slime in the basement and dropped corn starch everywhere.  The water slide was bigger than our yard.  My husband tried to set it up.  Hope left the chairs around it.  The moment it went on, it drenched all the chairs.  I am trying to dry them up.  I am yelling this isn’t set up right.  I haven’t been able to shower and I have an odor.  I am screaming for her to clean it up.  I get 2 minutes for a shower.  I am literally throwing this together within the last 15 minutes.  The guests come.  I usually like the food out before hand.  At this point, it is what it is.  Fifteen minutes into the party, I get the water slide to work.

I say to him, can you clean up?  I am emotionally tired at this point.  Only a handful came.  I am still getting excuse texts even after the party.  He puts three things in the refrig and tells me, “I am going to the gym.” I worked the next day.  A neighbor is taking the kids for the next few weeks until school starts.  She couldn’t take them that Monday, so I hired a different babysitter to fill in, so my neighbor could get a mammogram.  I go to work Sunday.  I end up cleaning up Sunday night.

I am emotionally drained.  The babysitter no showing the week caused me to cancel my individual therapy appointment to embrace who my husband is.  I think I really need to get back on track with my life.  If you survived child loss, cancer and infertility, you can understand when I say life is short.  For years, I have been making everything perfect.  I am done with the babysitters.  I am in the middle of starting a new position.  One job did not pay me for this vacation.  I could have used my emergency savings, but I didn’t because I don’t know what will happen.  Am I going to end up a single parent.  I have having problems with both jobs.  I saw an official description of my job and I am listed as an unlicensed professional.  I am wondering if they are not paying me the right wage on purpose.  The other job wants more.  I haven’t had more to give myself a shower never mind more time at a job.  Then, it looks like we are owing taxes again.  Actually, my depression has been better, because I quit whining and went out and made new friends.  Those friend have been about the only ones to make sure I am okay.  Several times, I have been almost ready to cut them off.  My husband appears in-decisive about us moving.  The truth is for me to work longer hours, my oldest needs to live in the same town she goes to school in.

I told my husband to get a loan and finish the house with professionals. I am done at this point.   I work so hard for those girls.  My action plan for myself is the following: 1. sleep, 2. shower, 3. go to the bathroom as needed, 4. go back to running & 5. get involved with the 12 step program.  As for the jobs, for $30,000 a year, is it worth it?  The job that may be underpaying me is going to told to other resolve my issue with my job title or I am not available.  The other job needed my office space on the weekdays, which forced me to work Saturdays.  This is an issue due to activities with my kids.  I may have to start looking to get rid of both jobs.  This is going to hurt, because one I have worked since my daughter was 3 months old.  I am important and I deserve better.  It’s time to start living again.  Isn’t that the point of survivorship?

PS-Hope did have a wonderful birthday in NH.  Friday is my new day off with my new schedule.  Joy had a wonderful birthday too!  She keeps singing happy birthday to herself.  We went to a fair today.  Summer is over.  I feel like I am ready for it to begin.

Gratitude For My M.O.M: All I Learned My Babies Taught Me

Mother’s Day is tough.  Many have lost children.  Some face infertility. Others have lost their mothers.   I am very lucky to have my children.  I have been pregnant seven times in my life.  I have two living girls.  In my twenties, I studied hard and worked hard to get a career.  Nothing in life prepare me for what was ahead.

In 2010, we learned we were the first documented case in the world for carrying a rare disease.  Nothing in the universe prepared me to hold my first born child, then end life support the next day.  I had never watched a human die before.  Months afterwards, I remembered over and over.  I became obsessed with is there an afterlife or God.  I tried to reach out to others.  My soul begged, please just hug me and love me.  People misjudged this.  I was told to get over it…  I planned my entire pregnancy.  I brought things.  I took my folic acid three months before hand. I went to the doctors.  I toured churches looking for that perfect family church.  I went to the OB GYN.  I made sure all dental work was complete.  When we learned our baby had multiple birth defects, it tore me apart.  Although not every pregnancy had a happy ending with us bringing home a baby, I appreciate and give thanks for each one.  I am forever their mom.

My first born Avery died a day after birth in our arms.  I wanted to take her place so bad.  Avery barely opened her eyes.  When we spoke to her, her head would turn and she would look for us.  I nicked named her Avery Bravery.  In my darkest moments in life, when I need to be brave, I whisper, “Avery Bravery.”

My first rainbow is 11 years old.  She gets so excited and happy.  She still happy dances.  I have so many wonderful memories.  I am filled with her love and wisdom.  At times, she says things with such great wisdom as if she is 11 going on 80.  Her name is Hope.  I love to see her dance with such gratitude and grace.  Hope fills me with Hope.  Every day, I see a young lady growing up fast.  I am honored that her care as been entrusted to me.  I am proud of her.

I wish a rainbow meant it would never happen again.  Sadly, we lost a pregnancy at 6 weeks and 13 weeks.  I love them from the moment, I tried for them.  My heart was empty.  They were mine for the time they were here.  I desperately tried and lost them.  They are apart of my being.

At 18 weeks, we lost our son Haven.  For weeks, we did not know if we lost a boy or a girl.  We had to name him something either a boy or girl could use.  Years later, unknown to me, I was gathering medical reports.  In the pathology report, it questioned if Haven had been a twin.  I found myself grieving two babies.  I could not hold him because  he had been dead over a week.  We buried a baby without knowing if it was a boy or girl.

My miscarriage at 13 weeks as previous mentioned in the blog was at Christmas time.  Shortly after Christmas, I was outside crying and shoveling snow.  I heard an animal crying horribly.  Under my neighbor’s porch was a all black kitten with a small patch in the shape of a heart on his chest.  He had an abscess on his neck.  We took this kitten in with the intention of finding a new family.  The kitten was estimated with the actual birthday of Haven’s original due date in September.  We named the cat Raven.  When I tried to give this cat away, Hope said, “my cat.”  She was 2 years old at the time.  Raven is like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.  He gets so excited that he pounces on you.  As small as he is, he can almost knock the wind out of you.  It broke my heart, when I had breast cancer, because literally I need to put Raven in a room because he would pounce on my chest or treatment area so hard.

This leads me to my daughter Addison.  She was born still with the same rare disease that the doctor’s said it would most likely never happen again a week before Thanksgiving in 2009.  My heart broke as I watched Hope, who was 4 year old cry.  For many years afterwards, Hope took it hard when she learned someone at school became a big sister.  She asked when it was going to be our turn.

Eight years of infertility and pregnancy losses, I am happy to say it was with Joy that Joy was born.  At 20 months, she has taught me a lot.  She is not sitting in her highchair what so ever until she gives Buddy, our dog, a treat.  She is going to strap herself in.  Joy is still trying to change her own diaper.  She is independent and going to be an outstanding CEO someday as soon as we survive toddlerhood.  She is your classic toddler with a heart of gold.  Over half of my steps on my pedometer are from chasing her.  Keep reaching for that cell phone or keys, because sooner or later when no one is looking she gets them.  Set goals and reach them.  Life is adventure.

I have said this before.  Without seeing all my babies, it’s like I am a painting at a museum half covered.  If you look at my professional accomplishments only, you miss the picture.  If you see me as a breast cancer survivor only, you miss the picture.  If you only see me as the mother to my two Earth girls, you miss the picture.  You see the whole me, when you can acknowledge everything.  Without one piece, you miss the picture.   I carry my love always.  My gratitude is to be alive to see another Mother’s Day and to all my babies, who chose me to be their mom.

A Letter Of Gratitude: To Egg Donors & Sperm Donors #NIAW2017

Dear Egg Donor and Sperm Donor:

My youngest daughter was conceived by embryo donation.  I had gone through cancer treatment and my husband could not have any more genetic children.  I will never be able to thank my daughter’s egg donor.  She went through surgery to give her eggs.  There is open contact with the sperm donor, when my daughter reaches 18 years old.

Thank you for the countless medical tests and procedures you go through.  My daughter was born after a string of losses and after I under went cancer treatment.  It was a tough decision for us.  I didn’t want to end my pregnancy life with the still birth of our last daughter Addsion.  My oldest had a tough time each time someone became a “big” sister or brother.  It was a long journey for us to consider embryo donation.  We could not love her more.  She is our own.  I wanted to acknowledge the options an egg or sperm donor give to an infertility couple.  This choice may not be the best option for everyone.  We are individuals on our own journeys.  For you who choose to donate, thank you so much for this option.

Sincerely,

Ellen

 

Today is my Birthday…

In 2009, the unthinkable happened.  We buried another child due to Campomelic Dysplasia.  We become the first medically documented case of genetic Campomelic Dysplasia.  I was loosing my job.  I was able to find another job.  Six months after my daughter died, I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  I had just got another job through a previous employer.  Half way through chemo, my mother and cat died.  I had to get a new car the same year.  A number of appliances had to be replaced.  I worked and my daughter went to kindergarten.  We went to all her activities.  I wore my wig.   The day after I finished chemo and radiation, our ferret died due to cancer.

For many years afterwards, I ignored my home.  I spent my weekday off from work driving our daughter Hope to school.  I would come home and lay in bed until it was time to pick her up.  I no longer cared about the home or housework.  My soul was empty.  As the years passed, it look like we were going to be the couple who never brought home a child from infertility treatment.  My last cycle failed in March with my own eggs.  A friend who helped me so much during my cancer treatment and inspired me died from cancer.  Another friend relapsed, he took his own life two weeks before my big 40th birthday.  My favorite cats died within three weeks of each other due to stomach cancer before and after my birthday.  I painted a smile on my face.  My world was uncertain.  There was the possibility of another child through embryo donation on the West Coast.  I struggled with coming to terms that this child could not be conceived by my egg or my husband’s sperm.

When the embryo donation worked, my youngest was born.  In pregnancy, I realized how much my depression caused our home to become a shack.  I couldn’t fix it.  My oldest grew up in a shack.  Where are you Ellen?  The million dollar miracle child came home to a “shack.”  I promised my children that I would make this old house into a beautiful home for them.  For about a year now, we have been working hard to fix this house.  I am trying to paint the living room.  We are into problems.  Today, I am not painting.  Last year, I cried daily until my birthday.  On my birthday, the oven went causing a stream of electrical problems.  I thought about this.  My father was very abusive.  He never wanted me and he verbalized it.  I am sure my friend who took his own life would not have wanted to not become the meaning of my birthday.  Through it all, I am alive.  I am grateful for my life.

Although, I have done some things that I need to come to terms with, this year, I am not crying.  At some point, I stopped getting angry and crying.  At some point, I realized I need to give myself a life that I wanted.  So, I stopped looking for my family to step up, I took the wheel.  Some would say, I took the car way off the road.  I am coming to terms with myself.  Where are we going next?

This year, I am not staying home to see who calls, who posts on  facebook  or if the oven goes again for another year.  This year, I am enjoying my children.  I have a whole day of errands and activities.  After all those years of hard work to have my children, my best birthday gift is with them!

Semitemental Value

Last night, my heart was cut into a million pieces.  I have come from a tough background.  Last night threw me over the edge.  My birth/marriage family has basically been emotional cold.  Since Joy’s birth, I have been trying to get to a state of acceptance, move on and rebuild.

The surgery went okay on Friday.  I don’t have too much information because the doctor came and I was out.  My husband was called so all I know is Polyps were found and removed.   I don’t know how many etc..  We had to leave at 5AM.  The girls fell asleep.  I woke up with a head cold.  So, I just went anyways.  I asked him to stay with me in case the hospital decided not to do the surgery.  I got a bunch of snappy answers.  My head clicked and I said forget this now.  Our former marriage therapist told me he may be some underlining issues that I need to understand.    I have not shared that back.  I am trying to accept and adjust.  He apologized and all.  I just brushed off.  Let the show go on, I will take care of myself!

I get to the waiting room.  It’s packed with people and their family.  I tried to bottle up my feelings of sadness.  When I had breast cancer, those feelings of isolation resurface.  My in-laws have my name, email address and number.  My well wishes went to his cell phone not mine this time.  Which brings me back to another matter.  I find in this electronic age, my own sister will dictate messages through my aunt.  I address this again.  Auntie, the woman is almost 50 years old, let her call me directly.  A few weeks ago, I called her directly because they was a shooting at a popular teen spot.  In the middle of the frenzy, we didn’t know if anyone was shot or killed.  I called to check on my nieces and nephew.  No one was killed thankfully during the incident just shots.

Maybe it was the combination of my first daughter’s birthday/death anniversary, the fact it was called a “D&C” and the fight I had, I cried hard in the waiting room.  I resented the procedure being called a D&C.  I had been through a combination of 3 D&E/D&C.   Emotions were raw.  I was in and out to the bathroom trying so hard to bottle it up.  It didn’t happen.  I squeezed out one last call to my daughter’s cell phone.  I learned the girls went home and fell asleep.  They pregnancy tested me.  I felt myself even through we are officially done daydreaming about conception.  Oh well, it didn’t happen.

Friday, no pain.  A string of messages perked me up.  It was odd to be home and child free.  Even the cold behaved, maybe I wasn’t really sick.  Saturday, the day was a mess.  My husband needs to manage Joy, our toddler.  I can’t pick her up right now.  Joy extends her arms.  I don’t know how much she does understand.  So, I tried to explain.  I sit down.  Joy go get a book. I will snuggle you and love you that way.  Joy is a persistent little person.  No, I want my mommy.

Saturday, raw anger was boiling.  I wanted to finish that movie about the angels of our rare disease for Rare Disease Day.  Hope practiced Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for weeks on her flute.  Her bedroom is a mess, because we are trying to paint it.  He is sick.  I am sick. Hope is not feeling well.  We went back and fourth trying to finish this movie.  I posted a rough draft up.  I was thanked by the one mother who submitted anything.  Hope made slime and covered the kitchen.  The cramps came and I found myself in a squat position with preteen upset with her failed slime project.  Thankfully, my purse is well stock.  I went to the basement room because I was ready to tear her apart.

Then, came this critique  about the movie from a friend about the music and text.  I was having serious cramps and my nose is burning.  So, I practice a type of coping skill, which is like putting the ball back in her court politely.  Okay, you have these ideas, so help me fix it.  I watched the wording.  Of course the answer was “I can’t do these things.”  She texted me with an apology.  For a month now, I have been trying to pull this off with little invested interest from the group.  Again, I watched how I said this, but this one hurt.  I have been there for years.  I sent her messages when she was pregnant with her baby who didn’t make it and during her subsequent pregnancy, which was a healthy girl.  I was heated.  I sent a message explaining these things.  I accepted her apology.  You know she was one of those messages after the surgery.  So, we are good today.  She is still my friend.  All fixed.  It was a very thin line because I wanted to loose my cool.  The answer is we are all living beings.  To use old 12 step wisdom, I was a proud member of Ala-Anon for many years.  I am grew up into a substance abuse counselor.  “It’s about progress, not perfection.” The more I live. The more I understand, you need to be flexible in life.  Perfection is something for TV show.   In the real world those perfect plans are not always realistic.

Next year, just one movie for Avery and Addison.  (Period the end.)  I am done with my co-dependent slip.  I am feeling better today.  I hope we finish painting Hope’s room.  Funny enough, she wanted this different color.  I braced for it, because the room was originally painted for Avery’s nursery.  It ended up, it’s the same color.  It was a string of communication errors.  One could say it was like the angel Avery just said no to Hope’s color choice.  My husband has hearing loss.  I am still trying to adjust.  He swears I told him to buy the paint last week.  What I really said was for Hope to think about it.  He just saw something circle and brought it.  Hope is saying it’s okay.  It may be a few years before the house is sold. Let’s end it with, it’s about progress not perfection!

 

 

Thinking About Summer

So many summers were ruined by my diagnosis of infertility. I learned before a family vacation to Lake George NY that my eggs were… How to say this? First word was that comes to my mind was the word Bad. So let me try this again… My eggs had low chance of conceiving a viable pregnancy due to my age and chemo treatment. That sounds better.

I took it really hard. We had been trying with donor sperm already. It came to a head on our last day of vacation a few years ago in New York. Our cell phones were struggling in Lake George. I couldn’t find a pen, we were at a pool. Literally grabbed my lipstick and wrote the number on my hand. Insurance declined the doctor’s request to do a procedure called ICIS. (The sperm is shot into the egg instead of it being allowed to swim around in a petri dish.) First, I am frantically looking for paper and a pen. I am thinking people at the pool had several thoughts about me. Look at the woman at the pool writing a number on her hand in lipstick. Hot date? No, the fertility accounting department called me. The vacation got even worst. I decided to let my health insurance have it. Of course the signal kept dropping but I tried from Lake George, NY to Massachusetts. Of course, my heart was broken.

My husband and I had years to prepared and come to terms with donor conception. We grieved it couldn’t be his sperm. I felt myself grieving every pregnancy loss, negative pregnancy test and my genetic self. I also had agreed to medical menopause during chemo treatment. The genetic test was drawn for us and lost during the time I was diagnosis with breast cancer. Later we learned we could have used my eggs. Insurance will not pay for fertility saving treatments for cancer patients. There was no guarantee it wasn’t my eggs fault for the rare disease. So, I knew the results were not good but I choose to try Lupron before chemo for medical menopause. The theory is.. If your ovaries are shut off, chemo will not attack them. I found myself grieving I had gone through months of hot flashes during chemo. I was hormonal 36 and I turned 60 something over night. Not a pretty picture. Then we the chemo ended, it was a rough hormonal journey back to 37 (I had a birthday.) It was all for nothing. I walked through the park sobbing. It was over.

We went home. I woke up in the middle of the night in tears. My daughter had asked to go to the Red Sox game. My anxiety was so high. I was grieving it all… The deaths of our daughters, the loss of using my husband’s sperm, the loss of my eggs, the miscarriages, breast cancer and every negative pregnancy test. At this time, I belong to a breast cancer support group for young women. It happened one of the younger women in the group got pregnant. In my grief, I was struggling. I did say congrats. It was the third text about morning sickness that I lost my mind. They honestly couldn’t get it. I texted them and told them about my grief. I told that I felt I couldn’t be apart of the group anymore. One member texted me that I was “selfish.” My anxiety rose. Then the snoop/friend at my job started texting me. We were in the bleachers. I am not a fan of any sports. I wanted to cry and scream. Here were all the happy people because the Red Sox were heading to the world series. Here I am asking, is it over yet? My husband said, they just played the national anthem. I drove them nuts…. What’s and inning and how long does it last? How many inning are there?

I struggled with smoking after bad news about pregnancy tests and fertility treatment. I felt like everyone in the bleachers were caving in on me. Finally, I left to have a smoke because my anxiety was almost to hospital level portions. I was fighting the tears without little success. I don’t know who the boss is at Fenway. I asked for them to show me where to smoke and he was kind enough to let me smoke with the employees.

Thankfully, Maria, my good friend was around and we were private messaging each other. We have never met in person. We had a pregnancy loss at the same time in 2007. She lives in Michigan and I live here. We follow each other in social media.

I survived and left the breast cancer support group. There were other issues with the group. Hope was five when I had breast cancer. One woman had breast cancer before her daughter and decided to never tell her daughter. She told her daughter we went to school together. My daughter just had to ask tons about going to school with this woman. It put me in a uncomfortable place, because I try not to hide anything.

Another summer later, we never knew when we were leaving for treatment to the embryo donation program on the West Coast. Last summer, I was pregnant due any day now. I am telling you the Red Sox story for a reason. Hope asked to take dad to the Red Sox game again. Like I didn’t ask when was it over enough? I decided I owed them that. We are going.

This year is different. We are scrubbing walls and finishing the family room. I have been doing this since February. I haven’t gotten much sleep. I started the family room when we were getting ready to try in the summer of 2003. No history of any problems. I was glowing about pregnancy not even trying. I was buying things for the baby. Rare disease? Never heard of it. Sadly, Avery died a day after birth from rare disease. I blamed myself. I blamed the paint and chemicals. I refused to ever finish the family room. We are getting close to being done 12 years later. At points, I hugged the painted walls and cried. It wasn’t my fault. We were the first family in this world to be carriers and not have the disease ourselves. Lately, I have been trying to work on forgiveness for the psychological harm I did to myself. I want to name the room after her. All this cleaning and remodeling is tearing me up.

I long for summer. I am hoping to be done with the house soon. We didn’t know the toilet was leaking in the bathroom. The plywood to the floor was replaced. I am cleaning the walls in case the mold traveled. I just wanted new floors. I am excited about the family room soon to be done. Joy is our last child. It’s a full circle of 12 years of our lives. Lately, I have been feeling sad about selling the family home next year. Hope is entering her last year of elementary school. There is no afterschool programs after next year. This city is not safe. Hope was lucky to have a chance to go to school in the next town over. It’s time we live there. This was the home all my five babies that I lost were suppose to come home to. I love the new floors. Joy’s room was painted in murals. It’s going to hurt saying good bye.

I have luggage already with Father’s Day. My father abused us and left. I will be displaying my mother’s picture again as a symbol to honor her again. She did the job of two parents as a married single mother. Yes, I typed it that way. We are talking about trips. I look forward to days with both my girls. I don’t like sports. We are surprising my husband with a Red Sox game. Hopefully we enjoy it! I just started a new job so we plan to do things here and there. We won’t be taken a whole week off together as a family. My husband and I grow stronger as a couple.

The Afterlife Of Infertility Treatment

It was about 13 years ago, I started prenatal vitamins.  I went to the OB GYN, my regular doctor and my dentist to ensure I was healthy.  I had just reach a huge career goal after not passing the first time.  I looked at churches, I found one that I liked.  Yes, I was 28 years old and ready to have our first baby.  It’s like watching the Titanic victims line up to board the Titanic.  We opened this Pandora’s Box called we want children.  We found recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, rare disease, male infertility, breast cancer and female infertility.  Somewhere deep in that box as the demons were freed our Hope and Joy stayed.  So, we got our dream.  For many years, my hobby was to plan and try again for another cycle.  My favorite motto: Everyday I am googling for a baby.  Maybe next month, next year?  Just keep praying.

One year went into another year and another year.  We broke medical history by becoming the first family to carry this awful disease onto our beloved babies.  We kept loosing babies late into the second trimester.  I spent 70% of my time trying to stay and get pregnant.  Now that our dream has come true.  I see the damage to my life.  I took jobs that I could take time off to get infertility treatment.  I put our daughter into daycare to have child care for  infertility treatment.  I work during cancer treatment because I didn’t want to loose money.  Sadly, we owe years of bills for fertility treatment.  Embryo donation was not covered.  Our daughter Joy was conceived embryo donation.  Our neighborhood has turned violent.  We never updated the house, because we needed the money for infertility treatment.  When my beautiful baby came to the world, I had to put her in day care to pay off the bills caused by infertility treatment.

I am still waiting to hear about the new job.  I have been waiting for this new job for months.  Last week, I went to my inpatient company’s party.  I worked full time at points over the past years and per diem.  I still work with kids commission style.   I am starting to wonder about this new job.  I am not getting Saturdays off, which is important to my daughter, who is on a dance comp. team.  I have no benefits.  I literally could take today off because my husband got his bonus.  I wonder are you settling for less?  Two weeks ago, I stop taking prenatal vitamins.  My baby daughter has been very sick with a chest cold.  She threw up repeatedly these past two weeks. We ended up seeing a GI specialist for her.  The GI specialist thinks it’s the cold and the baby is gaging herself, when she coughs.  She just got a nebulizer last week and she not coughing at night anymore.  I don’t know what the job answer for me is.  I worked so hard to get here.  I do have career goals, when I looked into both my daughter’s eyes.  I just want to be with them.  I want to be the mom that is there.

Today was an interesting.  It was the first uterine ultra sound without being pregnant or trying to become pregnant.  Thankfully, no Fibroids were spotted.  I have been having heavy bleeding during my cycles since having the baby.  My OB GYN thinks I will need meds to control the bleeding until menopause.  Every time I enter the state of Rhode Island, I see a sign that makes me sad.  It has a picture of a baby as a sign that there is a God.  I remember being infertile and burying our children.  If you are bereaved, some question God.  I love my babies Avery, Haven and Addison.  A piece of me died with them.

After 13 years of trying and hoping, I had a baby.  The roads of my life are open.  I see how much I gave up in my life in my quest for a baby.  I don’t know where to go.   I am keeping myself open to all the possibilities.

 

Signs Of Stress In My Body: Renewed Grief

I had some fun during the holidays. May I please be the first to say that I am glad they are OVER! I went back to work way earlier with Hope, my oldest daughter. That return was way easier. This return to work has been the toughest ever. With my daughter Hope, my mother was around. I had the only grandchild on my husband’s side of the family, so the in-laws were willing to help out at least one day a week. I am a different person. Over these years of struggling with infertility and breast cancer, I had to learn to become a one woman cheerleading squad quickly at times. I also had the love of some family and wonderful friendships to give me my daily strength.

I had to get use to dropping my rainbow, miracle, million dollar baby and one cherished daughter to daycare. I believe she is in good hands.

Joy Mary Julie is named after my dance school teacher Julie, who battled cancer since her teen years. Julie never gave up her dream to have a dance school. Her death didn’t stop that. The dance school lives on. Joy was my dream. I was having that baby. Period the end. I stopped talking to everyone over it before I got pregnant. Because if I had to listen to people tell me my answer again, I was going to get angry. Julie’s mom teaches at one of the daycares. The daycare has not been my source of stress lately.

I have had difficulty returning to work at the kid job. I set boundaries. After 8 years of working so hard for a baby, the last thing I want to do is say, “Sorry Joy. Stop crying. I have paperwork to do.” Especially with Joy, she has acid reflux. She is growing at a rapid rate. I may spend the morning just feeding her. I got a different part time job that pays for daycare. This summer it was tough to work a bunch of hours commission style and not make any money. I was in the later stages of pregnancy working two jobs. One job appeared to financial support the other job. Ironic a little? The time I wanted to give to Hope was spent on bed rest due to the swelling or working on work without pay at home. I was welcomed to return one day a week. Immediately, the computer failed. I could book getting “paid” because of it. It’s a lot of money to infant daycare. We had to upfront the money after a unpaid maternity leave during the holiday season. I was assertive with them. The response was to make me feel like I was going to be fired. Then, they left it that way in time for the holidays. No words of comfort. I cried very hard. Now the emails have turn back to business as usual as if this was a poker game.

Our house was falling a part. The electrical problem in the kitchen returned. The wash machine broke. I got a cold of major portions. There was barely time for anything including breast feeding. The new job was not able to clear me on time to start as plan. Lucky for me, I have the per diem job in a inpatient setting. I was able to work the entire month. Christmas Eve, I get the big idea to use the fire place. We ended up evacuating due to the carbon dioxide alarm sounding. I had to wake up both children to get them out of the house. At the time Santa should have been arriving, the fire department came instead. We were lucky and we could return to the house. So many people don’t have a home during the holidays.

Joy had her first cold right after Christmas. She has been teething the entire month. She was sleeping through the night, then she stopped. Last week, she was coughing herself awake. I worked New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We had to take her to the ER. She is okay. There was nothing they could do.

Saturday, Joy was still not 100%. We had plans to go to Boston and we needed to shorten the day. We drove in to go out to eat, see some Christmas lights and come home.

My body has been under a lot of stress. The house is at maximum storage capacity. There has been barely time for housework. We are also working with our new dog Buddy to get him house trained. This weekend, I am teaching my oldest to organize her room, which is always a painful process. She was telling me how this is all a sign that I don’t love her for the 9th million time. I went to the bathroom and the worst fear of a cancer survivor occurred. I saw a small lump on my throat. Cancer survivors live in fear of the cancer returning. I grabbed my husband as my oldest was giving me her speech. Somewhere in the late afternoon, we finally organized her room. I decided let’s go shopping and eat out. I am starting that new job this week that I got 3 months ago. I was having anxiety attacks. Yesterday, I called my doctor first second I could in the morning. It was a long day. Joy had her physical too that day. The doctor thinks it’s a calcification. I need an ultra sound and may need surgery. It looks like my breast milk may have rapidly decreased or it is drying up completely.

If you have been following me for years, you may remember this. After a few miscarriages, I began to have cycle problems. I had to be persistent and write it down for months for the doctors. This was before the breast cancer. They couldn’t figure it out. A biopsy showed an uterine staph infection, which I could have gotten from anything like ultra sound machines or having a D&E. Well, I am having problems with my cycles again. I know it could be anything from the breast feeding to menopause. I got up and I realized I had to change my clothing and wash the stool that I sat on. It happens that fast. At this point, I am calling the OB GYN. I called my husband at the gym to return home and went to bed, when he came home.

Today, I am up. I need to clean the house quickly. I am having our pet sitter walk our dog until I can establish a schedule with the new job to come home during the day. The accidents with Buddy are due to the fact he is almost 2 years old and not neutered. He can’t be neutered until obedience school is over due to risks of infections. We have 3 weeks of obedience school left.

My plan today is to get done what I can and rest/relax. I am going to try to fix my low breast milk supply by pumping more. Tomorrow, my work week starts with the kid job. I start the new job on Thursday. At this point, if I have to, I am leaving the job working with kids. Every week, I am starting to wonder what are they going to do to me this week.

I also don’t want anyone to misunderstand me here. I am so grateful for my two daughters on Earth. We had a son, who died 18 weeks into pregnancy. I don’t want to continue to try to have any more babies. It took years to get here. There are a lot of bills due to going out West for embryo donation. I want to sell the house and move to another place. Maybe get a bigger house? Lately, it hurts about his loss. My oldest daughter and I have been joking about how Buddy, the new dog is my Beagle son. It’s a sore spot, but I am closing the book on pregnancy and having more children. I have been doing this since I was 29 years old. I am 41 years old now. I have been pregnant 7 times and I only have two daughters on Earth. I am done!