Next Steps In the Fight for our Family

December 31, 2013

My Christmas break has been filled with several phone calls, meetings with doctors, discussion, and thought.

After meeting with our RE at OHSU (who was sure this whole thing was a fluke and wanted me to try again), we met with our maternal fetal specialist who took care of us while losing J and B. 

He doesn't think this was a fluke at all.  Although there is no "crystal ball" his best assumption is that I have some form of an incompetent cervix.  This diagnosis shocked me as I thought IC was when your cervix shortens super quick, dilates, and you deliver within hours.  He explained that I might have like a "twitching" cervix-that perhaps it open and closed just enough to let an infection get in...which eventually broke Brinly's sac, which lead to her falling out and things being REALLY open, which let more infection get in that eventually spread to Jude's placenta.  AH. 

None of the doctor's are saying "don't try again" but he was the only one that brought up surrogacy as something to consider, simply because its taking my body out of the factor.  He also warned against ever transferring 2 embryos since we know my body didn't respond well with twins-however, he doesn't think the twins caused the pPROM since it was still so early in the game.  This creates somewhat of a complex because although I don't want to get pregnant with twins again, transferring just 1 embryo seems insane since only 2 out of my SEVEN actually made it past the 12 week mark.  For those that have done IVF you know it's draining and long and emotional and the idea of plopping in 1 little embryo at a time sounds awful.  Anyway...

All this to say, IF I EVER manage to get pregnant on my own, they will give me a cerclage at 12 weeks (stitch my cervix closed) in hopes of keeping out infection/it opening randomly and then give my progesterone shots weekly throughout pregnancy.  That plan supposedly reduces my chances of this happening again.  Scary, I'm not going to lie. 

As of now, Darren and I are thinking for the next few months we might try the "old fashion way" with a twist (drum roll please).  Ok, fine, the twist is basically we try on our own but with both of us on medicine.  All my life I knew I didn't ovulate so when the time came to try to get pregnant, we jumped into IUI's immediately.  For those that have been following awhile, although we did IUIs Darren was never on meds himself to help with his counts-several of the IUIs were wasted because I wasn't monitored, the counts were low, I had gotten a false ovulation surge, etc. 

After we gave up on IUIs Dar got a second opinion and they put him on oral tablets and within a couple months they say improvements-at this point we had already paid for IVF and I wasn't going to stop going after those.  Currently we feel like it might be a good idea to let my body chill out a bit (I've delivered 2 babies in the last 6 and 8 weeks), and IN THEORY, I ovulate on femera, his clomid pulls his counts into the normal range-we might be able to conceive kind of normally.  I'm sure that if a few months pass and it looks like we are headed to the land of nowhere, we will consider other options.  Sigh.

I hate the fact that J and B could have been most likely saved if we had known my lame cervix was crappy, but there is really no way of knowing till after the fact.  I'm thankful there is some explanation other than "it was random, it's a freak thing" because there really is no "plan" for a future random/freak thing.  One day at a time. 

All I know is our desire to have a child has only increased.  The fights not over.  We are moving forward.

Loss and Gratitude

December 27, 2013

Today a blogger friend named Amy, who happened to do IVF (and had success) at the same clinic I go to, sent me one of the sweetest "gifts" I have received over the last few weeks.  Although we have never met, she has truly shown that she feels our ache.  She wrote me two poems.  One is called Loss and one is called Gratitude.  I wanted to share them as they touched me deeply.  Thank you so much Amy.

My heart stops for you today.
You who have lost your child,
your fourth beating heart.
I grieve him with you.
That perfect face,
that nose like yours
little lips and eyelashes,
tiny ears and chin.
You aren’t angry at God,
you say.
I am angry for you.
I am sure that four small lives
finished before they were begun
is not part of some grand plan.
It is bad luck
plain and simple,
dealt to you from that
green-visored casino dealer called

I am more sorry than I can say.
These are just words,
but truth.

For the first time today
I feel real guilt
at being one of those
women who "beat"
who can hold her
child in her arms every night.

Where is the justice for you,
my friend?
I know you are out there
crying your eyes out
until the heavy sedative
kicks in
and you can slip into the
bliss of nothingness,
no feeling,
the void.

I stand beside you in silence.
I hold you in my heart.

* * * * *


It’s hard being the mom
of a small child.
There are days when you want
to tear out your hair and throw
in the towel on the whole
parenting gig.

It’s hard when you are on your
hands and knees
searching for
tiny shards of
a broken plate that
your baby pushed off the table
during breakfast.

It’s hard when you’re changing that fourth poopy diaper in two hours
and he gets poop on his hand and then on you.

It’s hard when he as a cold
and wipes his boogery nose all over the shoulder
of your last clean shirt,
or when you’ve been shopping
and he refuses to get in his carseat
and kicks and cries
and hits you in the face.

On those days when you’ve read that same book about a little blue truck
all morning and he keeps signing "more, more"
and then you get smacked over the bridge of your nose
with a half full sippy cup,
when you can’t open the fridge
or the oven
or the door to your pantry
without your one-year-old hot on your heels
reaching for anything he can grab
and you hear yourself saying, "This kid is driving me crazy!"
remember this:

Somewhere a mother sits
without a baby in her arms
though she has had
four pregnancies.
Two babies didn’t make it past the first trimester.
Her daughter was born at 18 weeks
and her son came this morning at 21 weeks.
She didn’t hold her daughter at all.
She held her son one time
(one time)
and kissed his perfect face and held the tiny hands
that will never leave fingerprints on anything in her house.

She has a small white memory box
for her son and her daughter
containing a blanket,
a hat
and cards stamped
with the impressions
of their teeny hands and feet.
She would trade places with you
in a moment.
Even on your hardest day.

The next time it’s been
"one of those days"
and your child
empties his snack cup
of granola into your purse
then runs away screaming with
the joy of his new game,
think of that mom
and all the ones like her.
Take a breath,
move your purse
and get your kid some
more granola.

That night
tiptoe into his room
while he sleeps.
Touch his fine baby hair,
damp with the sweat
of deep sleep.
Listen to his slow, even breathing
and try
to comprehend
how lucky you are.

What Am I Now?

December 23, 2013

Darren and I went away for the weekend with some our free miles.  In the airport I spotted them instantly: boy/girl twins, 7 months old. The parents look so overwhelmed and so so  happy.  It stung.  This is my first time "out in the world" seeing twins.  There had to be at least 150 on the plane.  Guess who sat behind us?

We went to see the famous Santa on 34th Street in NYC.  Not sure the logic we put into that one, but I was in "land of the cutest kids and cutest families" line forever.  It sucked.  I should have a 3 year old by now, we've been trying since I was 27.  It cued a lot of emotions and we had to go back to the hotel for awhile.

I hate the unknown and I'm struggling so much with the shock of what was just ripped out of my heart.  I seriously am missing pieces of my heart; those babies were physically a part of me.  The closest one human being can get to another.  At the hotel, I explained to Darren that women have the curse of ALWAYS being aware and not being able to just "turn thoughts off."  I think about Jude, and Brinly, and miscarriage, and needles, and ivs, and ivf, and transfers, and success rates, and blood, and pain, and fear, and hope, and doctors, and pills, and risks, and money, and what if's, and whens, and hows, and how much and how soon, constantly.  Even when I'm happy, I'm sad because in some form, in some shape, I'm aware of the past and future pain.  That's just the start of it.  Often at night when I try to fall asleep my cruel mind replays the horrendous scenes from the hospital room: when I quit denying when I was in labor and went to the ER, the cord hanging out, the spinal shot, the epidural shot, the first loss in the bathroom, the 2nd loss knowing a live healthy child was going to be killed in the labor process, the look on the doctor's face when she removed my cerclage, the look on the doctor's face when they saw my contraction chart, the fear, the audible sobs of my Dad and Darren and my mom and Darren's mom and dad, and my sister and Darren's sister and me.  The insane amount of I-can't-breathe-cries that fell from my face and came out of my gut those days in the hospital.  Darren and my mom in the room watching helplessly as I slowly drowned. 

On the plane ride home I sat by a woman who looked about the size I would be right now.  She wouldn't stop rubbing her stomach. I tried so hard not to look-not to remember.  Why was I next to her?

Today a friend texted me about someone else that shares my struggle with becoming a mom. This threw me off guard.  I AM a mom.  According to Angela Miller, I am the "mother of all mothers" because I have to love my child in death.  I had to sign papers for the cremation.  I felt their kicks and kissed his face.  I carried my children to the halfway mark and then had to go through ALL the crap normal moms do-I labored and delivered each twin in the labor and delivery ward. 

I don't know why the need to be acknowledged as a mom is so sensitive to me?  Maybe to acknowledge Jude and Brinly were actual little people?  Maybe because I don't want to forget them?  Maybe because I want to remember that I CAN get pregnant and that my embryos CAN implant? It's such a lose-lose situation. People from the outside will most likely assume our delay to reproduction is because we are "focusing on our careers" or something like that.  If people ask "Do you have kids?" I don't want to say no.  How could I? I want to say "I lost twins at birth but we are hoping for the future; but that's heavy.  Why dump that awkwardness on people?  Maybe I haven't quite earned the "mother" title.  I mean, normal moms get to flaunt pictures of their babies.  I have to hide my pictures of Jude's face.  It's death.  It's uncomfortable. To me he is this precious beautiful face but to others? I cannot proudly show off my baby. My best friend was at my house last week and I told her I made a photo book of every picture of Jude.  She asked to see it.  I asked her like 5 times if she was "sure" and I had to do a long disclaimer "don't be scared, he is just miniature, he is small.  His face is bruised because he was breached and had to be pulled out." 

I turned to the page with his beautiful face.  I turned it around slowly.  I felt so vulnerable for some crazy reason.  I felt like I was getting naked in front of a crowd. She is the first to see his little face outside my immediate family (honestly, if roles were reversed, I would pass.  As mentioned a lot, I haven't even looked at Brinly).  She looks. She smiles. "He looks just like Darren," she says.  I feel my body relax; I smile too.  He does look just like his dad.  This is not the normal situation by flaunting pics of newborns. 

Mother's Day will come.  Where do I belong? What am I now?  I am infertile yet I'm a mother.  I'm a mother, yet I'm childless.  I'm trying to conceive.  I'm a grieving mommy.  I'm an empty armed mother.  I'm a working woman with no children.  I am the mom of Jaden and Isaac (although that seems so distant) and the mom  of Jude and Brinly (this seems so unfair). 

I feel like I have just been totally beaten up at war, I've been in a bad battle, I'm injured, but I have no proof.  No scars to show.  I look normal.  No one would ever guess I was holding my dead baby in my arms just a month ago.  No one outside would ever know that I should be 27 weeks pregnant.   I carried and delivered 2 babies in a hospital room.  My stomach is full of loose skin.  My milk came in full force.  Yet I sit her typing in a very clean house.  No little fingerprints on the furniture.  No screaming sounds coming from the backroom. 

I joined a couple of online support groups and someone posted this video.  I felt like I could have written 99% of the content-the shock, the disappoint, the pain that comes with stillborns; simply posting it for awareness and a taste of what this sad event does to a woman.

I don't want this to be a dark and sad post.  I'm truly going to come out of this some day.  We are working it through.  One day at a time.  I believe it will always hurt but I also believe brighter days are ahead.  I don't know why God does what He does but I know He isn't done. 

Baby Steps

December 18, 2013

Today we went to OHSU (the clinic were we did all previous IVFs) to ask them questions and talk about possible future protocols for me or a surrogate when the time is right.  We have 1 paid for frozen transfer left we have to use by the end of next year.

I was fine pulling in to OHSU but then it hit me as we got out of the car in the parking garage.  Last time I was here I was leaving pregnant with three alive babies inside me.  At the 12 week mark I honestly thought the only reason I would ever pull into that lot again would be to try to give my triplets (then twins) siblings with left over embryos.  It was strange and sad.

Then we got inside the hospital.  The smell of the place brought back so many IVF memories.  The hope the fear.  I could smell that sterile smell only hospitals offer.  And coffee in the lobby.  I remembered oh-to-well to push floor ten on the elevator.  Back to square one.  Again.

It's actually rough because this year ended up being a worse parallel of last year.  Last year I miscarried early after our first IVF and had a D&C in December; I was then forced to wait to try again for 3 months.  Now, here I am, 1 year later in a worse spot.  I just delivered 2 stillborns.  It's been a month but I still am bleeding.  My stomach has so much loose skin.  Again, we cannot "try again" until I'm healed up from the deliveries.  And trying again is much much harder and much for intense for infertile couples.  It involves drugs, and shots, and money, and vaginal ultrasounds, and blood draws, and a lot of worry and fear.  Having sex to have a baby?? (insert sarcastic laugh here and imagine me slapping my knee).

Hope is a ridiculous thing.  Even in that moment that I was in labor and they had given me the epidural and then pulled out the cerclage, we were still HOPING that for some reason I would just deliver the infected placenta.  After this crazy living hell we have just experienced, we find ourselves deeply saddened but more hopeful than ever that this is not the end for us.  Hope will NOT leave me alone.  It won't stop whispering.  I can't stop dreaming of the future.  Of things going right.  Of our family.  Of Jude and Brinly's LIVING siblings.  I hope for them.

The RE was so sorry (it was the one who had done my transfer) and answered all our questions.  The BIG game changing factor will be when we talk with the maternal fetal specialist next week.  I need answers and chances of this pPROM thing happening again.  I refuse to try to get pregnant if my body is determined some death trap.  I'm 99% sure they are going to say they think I can carry again, that it was bad luck, that "these things happen," that they will monitor me closer.  The 2nd question is can I handle it mentally?  Every twinge, twitch, pull, kick will result in undescribable fear that I'm about to go into labor.  It was good to talk to my RE and will be ever better talking to the high risk people.

Whether we do the transfer, or transfer into a surrogate, based on my age she thinks there is a 50% (people in their 20s at my clinic have a 60%ish chance but she said frozen is a little less).  We have some pretty good embryos frozen.  I'm not overly hopeful for them as my FET last time was the only IVF that had nothing implant.  BUT, it's all a gamble in the IVF world. I follow 3 blogs where they just did their last FET and it worked (meaning like 3 frozen transfers before failed).  I would be sad if the transfer didn't work, but sad doesn't seem the right word based on the fact that I truly know what "sad" means.

I joined a couple of facebook support groups for women who have lost all multiples and for women who have lost due to water breaking too early.  Everyone mourns differently.  I still cannot believe what happened, it all seems like a sad scary dream, but the best way I personally can cope is move forward.  I want to meet their siblings more than ever. 

Please Pray for the Franz Family

December 17, 2013

Infertility is a very hard pill to swallow.  To experience additional pain after "we think" we may have ended our childless days feels so cruel-I know this first hand.

I have been blogger friends with Kristin since the beginning of both our journeys.  We both did IVF for the first time around the same time.  After all the hell IVF offers, Kristin only had 1 embryo that made it. They transferred it but it didn't implant.  After talking with their doctor, they decided to move onto embryo adoption and mourned the "loss" of a biological child.  Kristin was disappointed, but I knew from her story she 100% was ready to be a mom. 

She adopted 3 embryos (the other ones that had been adopted had a very high implantation rate) and transferred 3.  10 days later she was left with a negative test and a broken heart.  They then mourned the idea of pregnancy but nothing would stop them from being a family.  They moved towards adoption in the US.

After months of fundraising, they miracously raised almost 25K for their adoption.  In faith they set up and adorable nursery and waited for the call.  A few months ago they got the phone call that they had been selected by birth parents and that they would have a sweet baby girl around January.

Fast forward to now, their daughter, Rylie was born with complications and too early.  Kristin has just got the news that there is a high chance this little girl will be blind, unable to walk, and on a feeding tube all her life.  Just when Kristin was sure the fight was over, it has only just begun.  They have to know make the difficult decision if they want to move forward with the adoption-if they are prepared or if a different family would be a better fit.  This story is similar to mine-you think you have something, you rejoice, you embrace it and BAM it's ripped from you.  Here story isn't over though.

PLEASE send Kristin some love and prayers.  Pray for healing for their daughter.  Pray for wisdom in the decision.  Pray for guidance.  Whatever she decides, we support her.  Here's a link to her blog 

Any words of encouragment, prayers, etc may comfort her as she is facing fear, disappoint, confusion, anger, and sadness.

Beam Me UP

December 15, 2013

Someone in an pPROM support group posted this song and it's so perfect.  I love the line

"Give me a minute, I don't know what I'd say in it
I'd probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face." 

If I had 1 minute in heaven with J and B, I would hold their face and I would kiss their faces 1 million times each. I know that if I could see Jude and Brinly for just 1 minute-see their smiles, hear their laughter, see them alive-it would heal my soul faster.  What I would give for even 1 minute up in heaven to be with my children.  I would just stare and would be happy just to be there.  

You Are the Mother of All Mothers

December 8, 2013

A quote by Anon states: "She may look young, but inside she has become ancient." On the outside I look the same.  I can carry myself the same way.  But if you could peal back the layers, I am elderly.  I am an old, worn out woman, with wrinkles, and scars and dark circles under my eyes.  I am ancient.

Tomorrow I would have been 24 weeks.  Viability.  Even in the innocence of the beginning of this pregnancy, I didn't even know that 24 weeks was any great "marker."  I just knew 12 weeks was the acclaimed "safe zone."  I'm no fool though.  The phrase viability gives too many close-to-be-mamas a huge false hope.  Only 39% of babies survive that are born at 24 weeks-1/3 of them will have severe permanent brain damage. White males have the worse survival rates. I have come into contact with several moms who gave birth in that 24-25 "viability" zone all to lose their live child in the NICU days later-or who lived but are on feeding tubes years later. Still, the December 9th date stings a bit.  After trying so hard for so long and truly believing that Jude would make it, the 24 week zone is a little slap in my face since I lost him just 21 days ago.

I cannot stop looking at his face.  I love it.  I don't ever want to forget a single detail of it. Not even for a second.  If I feel like I can't fully remember, I look at his face.  I look again.  And again.  And again. 

There is a woman named Angela Miller who lost a child at age 2 and has a HUGE voice among bereaved mothers.  Obviously losing a child at age 2 is far worse than what I experienced.  She is working on a "gift book" where she will have the following written. 

Before the reading I'm also putting her youtube video (it's a minute) of why she wrote these words up top.  It's powerful and it brings comfort. 

I dedicate the following words from her to ALL moms who have loved and lost whether it be a chemical pregnancy ranging from burying your own grown child.  Read it again and again. I cry every time because it validates that I am the mom of Jude and Brinly. You ARE a mother of all mothers.  We are the mother of all mothers.

I have to tell you this.

You didn’t fail. Not even a little.

You are not a horrible mother.

You didn’t choose this. You didn’t want this to happen. You didn’t do anything wrong. It just happened. To you. Despite your begging, pleading, praying, hoping against all hope it would not. Even though everything within you was screaming no, no, no, no, no.

God didn’t do this to punish you, smite you, or to teach you a lesson. That is not God’s way. You could not have prevented this if you tried harder, prayed harder, or were a “better” person. Nor if you ate better, loved harder, yoga-ed more, did x, y, or z to the nth degree—fill in the blank with any other lie your mind devises. You could not have prevented this even if you could have predicted the future like no one can.

No, there is nothing more you could have done. You did everything you possibly could have. And you are the best mother there is because you would have done absolutely anything to keep your child alive. To breathe your last breath instead. To choose the pain all over again just to spend one more minute together. That is the ultimate kind of love. You are the ultimate kind of mother.

So wash your hands of any naysayers, betrayers, or those who sprinted in the other direction when you needed them most. Wash your hands of the people who may have falsely judged you, ostracized you, or stigmatized you because of what happened to you. Wash your hands of anyone who has made you feel less than by questioning everything you did or didn’t do. Anyone whose words or looks have implied this was somehow your fault.

This was not your fault. This will never be your fault, no matter how many different ways someone tries to tell you it was.

Especially if that someone happens to be you. Sometimes it’s not what others are saying that keeps you shackled in shame. Sometimes you adopt others’ misguided opinions and assumptions. Sometimes it’s your own inner voice that shoves you into the darkest corner of despair, like an abuser, telling you over and over and over again you failed as a mother. Convincing you if only this and what if that, it never would have happened. Saying you coulda, shoulda done this or that so your child would not have died.

That is a lie of the sickest kind. Do not believe it, not even for a second. Do not let it sink into your bones. Do not let it smother that beautiful, beautiful light of yours.

Instead, breathe in this truth with every part of yourself: You are the best damn mother in the entire world.

No one else could do what you do. No one else could ever mother your child as well as you can, as well as you are. No one else could let your child’s love and light shine through the way you do. No one else could mother your dead child as bravely. No one else could carry this unrelenting burden as courageously. It is the heaviest, most torturous burden there is.

There is no one, no one, no one who could ever, ever replace you. No one. You were chosen to be your child’s mother. Yes—chosen. And no one could parent your child better in life or in death than you do. You have within you a sacred strength.

You are the mother of all mothers.

So breathe, mama, keep breathing. Believe, mama, keep believing. Fight, mama, keep fighting for this truth to uproot the lies in your heart—you didn’t fail. Not even a little.

For whatever it’s worth, I see you. I hear your guttural sobs. I feel your ache deep inside my bones. And it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to put my fingers as a makeshift Band-Aid over the gaping hole in your heart until the scabs come, if and when they do.

It takes invincible strength to mother a child you can no longer hold, see, touch, or hear. You are a superhero mama. I see you fall down and get up, fall down and get up, over and over again. I notice the grit and guts it takes to pry yourself out of bed every single day and force your bloodied feet to stand up and keep walking. I see you walking this path of life you’ve been given, where every breath and step apart from your child is a physical, emotional, and spiritual battleground. A fight for your own survival. A fight to quiet the insidious lies.

But the truth is, you haven’t failed at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

You are the mother of all mothers.

Truly, the most inspiring, courageous, loving mother there is—a warrior mama through and through.

For even in death, you lovingly mother your precious child still.

She Smiles Yet Her Heart Throbs

December 6, 2013

It's been awhile so I thought I would give an update.  This post will most likely be random as my emotions are obviously a big huge twisted random piece.

I'll start off with the "tougher" stuff.

1.  intrauterine fetal demise, the subject line from my OB's office.  I had to email my doctor to send a note to HR verifying I had a stillbirth for my bereavement days.  They sent me a copy and Jude's death was listed as this.  I googled it and it said "a pregnancy that died in the womb."  This caused a HUGE wave of "NO HE DIDN't"  one of the hardest things I've been dealing with is the fact that I had to hear Jude's strong heartbeat daily and I felt him moving around as they gave me the epidural.  He was killed because I was forced to deliver-he died as he came out because he was too young.  He didn't just randomly "die in my womb."  One of the hardest pills for me to swallow with this is that he was so perfect and so ALIVE.

2.  the phrase "I couldn't have handled that."   When people ask to hear what happened, I tell
them.  It's therapeutic.  I don't want to act like nothing happened.  Yesterday a mom of twins was talking to me and said the phrase with a shutter.  I looked at her and said "neither could I." If you would have told me at my gender reveal party that I was going to vaginally deliver my babies, at 2 different times, and go through all the contractions/pain all to have them die, I would have said "never in a million years could I do it."  And guess what? Life had other plans and when it's in your face, you have to.  I loved this idea-losing a child is something you can never imagine before or AFTER it happens.  It's so true. I have now done it twice yet I cannot imagine it. 

3.  Pregnancy.  The last 2.5 weeks have been 2 steps forward, one step back.  However, as a ttc blog, I follow tons of people trying to get pregnant and it happens; I'm also 30.  I'm right in that zone of people that are starting their families.    I have been so drowned in sorrow over the loss of my sweet and so-longed-for babies that I simply forgot that people around me are totally going to get pregnant all the time.  Where weeks ago, since I thought I was in the "safe zone" it was so easy to "root" for people since I FINALLY was in that zone, but now I am so angry at pregnancy.  Realizing that this could have been my only one, I embraced it.  I LOVED being pregnant.  I loved my stomach growing.  The kicks were out of this world.  The celebrating and anticipating.  And the BAM pregnancy played a cruel trick on me and robbed me of my dreams.

I hate it now.  I hate it because I still want it because I want children but it scares me.  I hate it for scaring me-if I ever manage to do it again I will be horrified month after month.  I hate it because i don't trust it.  Most of all I hate it because most women have the luxury of getting a positive pregnancy test and then believing it.  They become so excited and they go on to have a normal pregnancy.  I envy that un-jaded joy that new-moms get.  I will never ever have that.  Pregnancy really really let me down.  With 3 years of infertility I mastered the skill of "happy for them, sad for me."  Obviously right now I'm not "happy for them" because it just causes all of these flashbacks of things going wrong.  I know I will get to that place again, but I am so scared for the future "surprise" announcements from friends and family-I also accept that I am dead center in the zone of people who are getting pregnant and I know with time, I will again learn to cope-I'm mad at pregnancy because of the sadness it causes me when other people are expecting and I feel so guilty.

*Side note for people who get pregnant normally-more than likely you know someone infertile struggling/fighting to get pregnant.  The best thing you can do for her is to tell her when you get pregnant in an email or text.  It is the most sensitive and sweetest thing you can do as a friend-allow her to process it how she needs to.  It stings very bad initially and we do not want to cry in front of you (or worse in public when you do a surprise announcement) or have to respond instantly.  We eventually decided to be truly happy for women who achieve this and who don't have to struggle-we just have been so hurt.  I promise you don't have to tip toe or "hide" it from us.  Both my sister and sister in law did this for me in a gentle/distant way and it was so kind. 

4.  Why?  They have done several tests and so far haven't found where the infection was.  I hate that.

In other news:

1.  Grieving.  How do you grieve?  I have never in my life been faced with such sorrow.  Oddly, one of the greatest comforts has come from other moms who have lost multiples.  I have really struggled with the fact that I had to deal with stillborns TWICE.  To do it, and then have to do it all again has been overwhelmingly painful.  Another mom of lost triplets contacted me and she had to do it all too, but three times.  Two out of 3 of her babies lived for awhile.  She had it worse.  Other moms have lost twins at 30 weeks.  They have it worse.  We know someone who lost their live baby to SIDS.  If I constantly remind myself that it could have been worse, that bad things happen and life truly is "unfair" I can breathe.  Although I hate with my entire being what happened, I also "accept" that life has no promises and that just because I'm a Christian doesn't guarantee a pain free life.  I read a quote I LOVED:

 I can function.  I started back to work just 2 weeks after I kissed Jude's forehead goodbye.  I can smile.  I can laugh.  The students have no idea the level of pain I'm dealing with.  But then one thing happens and I can go into sobs.  I saw a picture of Brinly's hands for the first time.  I saw a woman with a huge stomach unexpectantly at the store.  I see the blanket I held Jude in, his one earthy possession.  I realize I just went through a crazy blender and have been shoot out asked to wonder what just happened? Yes, I can function.  But as mentioned "she smiles but her heart throbs." I feel like a heavy wet blanket of deep deep sadness is on me all the time.  I know it will get better with time but what a non-fun thing to carry.

2.  Next Steps:  As mentioned, despite the living hell we just experienced, we are not done in this fight.  We were too close to quit.  I want to cross that finish line.  I get to meet with our specialist at the end of the month and we will go from there.  What are the odds of this happening to me again (pPROM)?  If it's higher than 10% I'm almost 100% we will continue to knock on the door of surrogacy.  If it's lower, I'm still scared.  They suggest I get a cerclage no matter how many embryos implant since I had one before BUT when you sign the cerclage consent form it says there is a chance of water breaking, pre-term labor, and infection (all words that cause massive anxiety because those are all the reasons why Brinly and Jude and NOT in my stomach as I type).  I'm not sure if I can mentally handle another pregnancy and if there is risk, I don't want to send another baby to heaven if my body continues to be a "war zone." 

3. The human spirit:  It is amazing how kind "mankind" can be.  Someone anonymously sent us $100 and said it was on their hearts-Thank you to that person.  Just today on my doorstep was a little pink box. It didn't say who it was from but there were 4 charms with the letters "J, B, I, J"  I instantly knew it was for Jude and Brinly but I had to stare at the I and J again.  Then it hit me "Isaac" and "Jayden" our earlier miscarriages. How incredibly and overwhelmingly kind-I cried and cried holding it in my hands looking down and missing my 4 could-have-been and should-have-been babies and I cried because someone is so intertwined with our loss.  Those 4 letters on that necklace are more than any 4000 words of comfort. Thank you to you too.

My Bucket List:

My Bucket List: