Cupcakes With Pink Filling (Survival of Gender Reveal Take 3)

May 30, 2014

Wow!  It's been almost 3 weeks since my last post.  Here are my top excuses: 

1. I'm a teacher and the end of the school year gets muy loco, I also am teaching a graduate class and an online Spanish course.  Oh ya, I run prom too (here's my BIL, sista, me, and Darren chaperoning our hearts out)

2.  As mentioned, we are on an official break which means there is very little to update.  Although I've been enjoying my runs/gym time, my guilt-free Starbucks, and more spontaneous sex, I've been baby-making obsessed for over 3 years-that doesn't just shut off.  I still feel that first sting when I see a pregnant person, I still cringe at new announcements, I still roll my eyes during diaper commercials, and I still think about Jude and Brinly every breath; and the desire to someday hold their siblings is with me every single second of the day. First official month of "not trying to try" but I still question if I'm ovulating in my brain- although I didn't do any ovulation predicting kits, I'm 99% sure I ovulated on cycle day 18 (I've read this is common to ovulate on your own the month or two after stopping femara).  With that said, I'm 100% sure I'm not pregnant because of A. negative test 12 dpo and B. insane cramps. No surprise here.  I've accepted that unless some miracle randomly occurs, me becoming pregnant lies in our frozen embies on ice.

Holly, when do you plan to go after the embryos you may be asking?  The answer?  It's a little complicado.  I am full of anxiety even thinking about how many to transfer and needles and hospital.  The specialist recommends 1, the RE 2.  My track record (with all great 5 day blasts) is as follows.  First IVF transferred 2-1 implanted but early miscarriage; 2nd FET 2 transferred, nothing stuck.  3rd IVF transferred 3, all 3 implanted and had heartbeats, middle baby B miscarried at 9 weeks and J and B lived healthy little fetus lives till @$@#%@%@ (notice my extra long bad word) hit the fan and I lost them both.  So that is 2 for 7.  5 were probably abnormal to miscarry/arrest.  So do I really want to go through 1 at a time with each transfer about $3,000 a pop and tons of injections?  BUT, I was told that I should NEVER carry twins.  If both implanted, I would be 100% horrified that I would pProm again and kill my children.  Whenever we drive by OHSU I do still manage to shout out really really loud (partly to annoy Darren) "Hi little frozen babies!! I love you!  I miss you!"  I've said this before but the day I said "I do" to Darren I never IMAGINED I would be yelling hello to our frozen children every time we were in Portland. 

All this to say, Darren and I booked a cruise that leaves from Puerto Rico at the end of the month to get out.  I'm assuming I'll make some decision by end of the summer and remain fairly private about it because I don't know if I can handle accepting the reality and horror that may come if it works (scared to lose baby again) and the pain (if it fails).  However, by early fall it's been almost a year.  I want to have a memorial for Jude, let go, and move forward despite the fear.  My desire to have living children is still stronger than my fear, even after this nightmare experience of delivering/laboring 2 babies weeks apart.

On a second note, my younger sister Heidi is 19 weeks pregnant with her 2nd child.  She got pregnant the first month she tried. Again.  I would be lying if that initial announcement didn't kick me in the gut, make me sob,  and force me question my faith once again. Why would God allow something so horrible to happen to me, while making the same thing so easy for her?  I avoid pregnant women like the plague to protect myself but no way on earth would I avoid Heidi.  I would NEVER wish infertility on her, my best friend, my own flesh and blood, BUT, I wouldn't have minded if it took them the normal 3-6 months (and for the record I think even she was surprised they were lucky enough for another 1st month).  It blows my mind that 2 sisters can have such extremely different reproductive systems.  It's not her fault her uterus is amazing and it's not my fault mine sucks.

Before my loss of J and B, I had mastered the "happy for them, sad for me" concept.  But since their loss, I've changed a bit.    In this dark season of my life, I'm mainly just sad for me in all things pregnancy related.  For us.  The voice of the women that have fought so hard and still have empty arms.  It's selfish but it's truthful. 

Heidi just had her gender reveal party.  I knew from day 1 my gut told me it was a girl so I wasn't surprised when I bit into the cupcake and saw pink.  Ahhh Brinly, your sweet little cousin would have adored you like the "cool" older sister.  When I was in 1st grade I always thought 2nd graders were SO cool.  You would have been that to Heidi's little girl.  She would have admired you, looked up to you.  You would be the older sister she never will have-you two would have had slumber parties at each of our houses and been best friends just like me and your Aunt Heidi.  I would have French braided your hair with her and painted your toes with her. 

I had to let go of being the oldest daughter and not giving my parent's their first grandchild.  When I was in the mist of our first IVF Heidi gave birth to Ryker.   With the bite of the pink cupcake I also swallowed the fact that I will not be the first child to give my parents a living granddaughter.  Minor, small, I know, in the big scheme of things, but still, until that bite it was something I could think "well maybe I'll at least have the first girl."  It's nothing new to me that life isn't always fair, that things don't always go as planned.  I accept it.  I accept, even in my pain and bitterness and sorrow, that He knows better.  That the heart of God is kind and gentle and purposeful although in the valley I mainly just see dark.  I asked Heidi if I could throw her shower-the first shower I attend after the loss might as well be their sweet little cousin's. I will love that little girl the way I love her son.  But, good Lord, I so wish my kids were here to play with hers.  And she wishes that too.  And so does her husband and my husband. And so does my mom.  And my dad.  And my brother.  And all those that love us and care for us and are rooting for us.  I love all my nieces and nephews, but they are not mine.  They cry for their own mommy when they need something. 

On the way home from the "reveal" party we were pretty quiet. This sadness doesn't come from Heidi's pregnancy, it comes from the remembering of our own gender reveal celebration and loss.  I didn't cry. Then Darren randomly asks me "Do you think losing Brinly and Jude has changed your personality?"  This threw me off a bit ("has my personality changed?" I quickly ask myself).  I paused for a long time.  Then said, "No, I still feel like I'm me, but I'm a lot more cynical....Do you feel like it's changed yours?"  He replies, "I don't feel like have as much joy about things any more."  Darren is the stronger/stable one in our relationship.  He rarely discuses the loss and to hear him say this, made my heart feel extra sad.  Jude and Brinly's dad has loss so much too. 

Through all our pain, I at least have had my eyes open to the other pain and suffering around me.  When bad things happen to people I know, I feel it a little deeper.  Empathy.  Sorrow.  Compassion.  Although the pain/scar of J and B will always be there, the fix will be someday, somehow, somewhere be when I meet their siblings.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I bought J and B and book called My Love Will Find You around the 9 week mark.  That love is stronger than ever because I looked in my child's face and knew we couldn't quit.   And I pray that God makes things right. In my scattered prayers I ask, just like He says, that He will make beauty from ashes.  My. Love. Will. Find. Them.

29 comments:

  1. I think about your children all the time. I know they would be do proud of you guys for being who you are. You two sound like amazing people.

    I know what you mean about producing the 'first grandchild". Then producing the 'first girl grandchild'. It seems small in the grand scheme but inside us, it screams. But Holly, Brinley will always be the first granddaughter. Physically here or not, she will always be the first.

    XOXO

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. You are right, although she won't be the first "living" we will all hold her in our hearts as a first <3

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  2. What a beautiful post. Your grief is so heavy, and your loss so big. I can feel it.

    It is so hard to decide on what to do next, and to hear the news of your sister, to go to a gender reveal party (I'm so glad no one I know has had one of these...phew!). This is all so complex.

    You are strong and amazing and your beautiful personality shines through even from the darkest of places.

    Much love to you.

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  3. Thank you Julia!! I think of you and your frosties too <3

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  4. This post was beautiful. I could relate to everything you wrote. Life has so many challenges already and losing a child or children only add to them. I always think why us? I try to avoid the pregnancy announcements, and the pregnant women, too. I know it stings my husband too. When we first lost Tucker, I honestly wasn't even thinking that my husband lost a child too. He was too busy trying to be strong for me through our loss. We finally broke the silence and he opened up to me. I needed to remember that we are in this together and I am so thankful for him..and just as someone said above, Brinley will always be the first granddaughter. Your children live on through you both and they will always be looking over you both. Sending my love.

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    1. I'm so sorry you can relate-not something "fun" to relate too! Thanks for telling me about that group, I'm actually in it! I haven't posted much but I check it all the time. Yes, you are so right, it's easy to forget about the husband's because they spend so much time holding us together.

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  5. You are so brave! I so appreciate your honesty and transparency through all of this. Although we have not had to struggle through the years of infertility- the loss of pregnancy- of the lives growing inside you is so so hard. It brings along with it so many fears of the future, of opening your heart and body to the idea of carrying again. I'm so glad that your desire for more is greater than the fear. And, I related to what you said- my personality hasnt changed, but I'm definitely more aware that you-know-what happens to everyone- and some more than others. I am certain that in all of your hearts- your Brin will always be the first granddaughter.

    Love you dearly!!! xoxo
    Andrea

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  6. Oh guapa. Muy complicado.
    My brother will now be the first to give my dad a living grandchild, too. (Plus, one that lives in the same city, as opposed to the other end of the world...) I can so relate to all of these complicated feelings. And I'm sorry that Darren sees less joy - my husband says the same. I hope that, in time, they can find it again.

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    1. I hope so too!!! You are one of the few people who have truly walked the same route. It's devastating.

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  7. Holly. You're pain is still so palpable. It is not fair. The pain and disappointment would make anyone more cynical. Don't push yourself to move forward your embies until you're ready. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Jessah! Rooting for you!!

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  8. Thinking of you and admiring your grace throughout all this.

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  9. Thank you for the brave post! It's been a 6 year struggle for me with similar process and unfavorable results. I randomly found your post and I just want to say I am thinking about you and all the lost little angels.

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  10. This is such an honest post. I am so sorry for your losses and all the pains that you have had to endure. It's so brave for you to have thrown your sister's baby shower. I am going to attend a friend's baby shower after many years of not going to one. It's not easy. Deciding the next step is very daunting. I have gone through 3 IVFs with only 2 embryos to transfer at the 3rd IVF, and had a chemical pregnancy. It took me three months to start thinking about what my next step is. And it feels so daunting to have to start making embryos again and not knowing what will happen. I hope and pray that you and I can trust in the Lord in this process and have the endurance to wait for the reward in the end. Glad to have found you and will start following your journey.

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  11. You did have the first granddaughter! Just because she isn't in your arms doesn't make her any less of your daughter as much as you son! Keep your head held high hunny! I know it's hard I'm dealing with infertility myself at age 26! My husband and I have been trying for 8 years now. I never thought it could be so hard to get pregnant! You have given ms hope, courage and the ability to keep going! Don't give up! Much love your way!

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  12. most days I just want to hug you so hard.

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  13. I think the cruise will be a great way for you guys to kick back, relax and enjoy being in the moment. Always thinking and praying for ya'll.

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  14. Oh Holly, you're so brave. You are an amazing aunt and these kiddos are so lucky to have you. I know it doesn't even come close to making up for what happened to all your precious babies, but you are doing amazing things for them. There's an invite to a gender reveal on my fridge that I should attend, but I haven't responded yet. What your doing for your sister is generous and kind. You are a wonderful person.

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  15. Aww, I pray that you will get that little miracle BFP soon. Please look into getting a TAC. Dr. Haney at the University of Chicago is AMAZING and he will even give you a free consult over the phone or by email. He is amazing! I have PCOS, Endometriosis, a unicornate uterus and a $%^&&* cervix (which caused me to lose my first child). Dr.Haney was amazing. We traveled from OK to Chicago for my TAC and I worked up until the day I delivered, no bedrest. Will keep your beautiful family in my prayers <3

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  16. Losing my son has changed my personality.. in so many ways. It's made me more cynical, more accepting, more deep, and in ways more out of control. There are pieces of me lost that will never come back but there are also pieces gained that are so special.

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  17. I love the chaperoning photo!! I still think of you and pray for you often. Stay strong, my friend. You're going to get your miracle. I know it.

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  18. You are simply amazing! I don't know first hand the feelings of having one of my sisters get pregnant, while we are struggling, but I always imagine it would be so much joy for them, with just as much sadness for me. Heidi is so lucky to have you as her sister. Of course we would do anything for our sisters, but at times even simple things, going to the reveal party or throwing a shower/sprinkle, seem like the biggest of tasks when we are in the trenches.

    It brought tears to my eyes the conversation with Darren, asking about changing personalities. He sounds like a great hubby, and I'm so glad you have him by your side through all of this. I think of you guys often and keep my fingers crossed for you!

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  19. Holly you are an inspiration! I have followed your blog since right before you found out about the triplets. I am very blessed to be on the 'other side' of infertility and have a baby here on Earth. After he was born in October and my life semi-resumed and I read everything that you were so horribly dealt - I wept. I was sick thinking that while I was experiencing the joys of motherhood, that you were somehow coping with the unthinkable. I cried so hard for you and your children.

    I also dealt with the pain/feelings of my younger sister producing the first grandchild (after 1 whole month of 'trying') - grandson. I went through my infertility 'fun' and was so happy to have a son of my own but part of me so hoped it was a girl just so I could have a first too. Now after TWO whole months of trying she is pregnant with a girl. Of course I love my sister with all my heart but there will always be a sting that she was blessed to get pregnant so easily and give our family both firsts.

    SO many positive thoughts and prayers for you, always :)
    - Mel

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  20. This post reminds me of why you are such an amazing person. The love you have for your family, for you babies, for you husband is something to strive for. I struggle with my faith when I see bad things happen to people, especially those that in my opinion, don't deserve even a millionth of that pain, such as you and Darren. I am sorry you two had to, and continue to have to go through all this. I pray for you and think of you often, just hoping your heart heals a little more every day.

    Stay Strong and Brave!

    ~Jenna~

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  21. Holly, I haven't read through my blog feeds in a couple months, but when I was reading my devotional (Streams in the Desert) this morning, I had a strong feeling that I should share with you the poem today. It says:

    Defeat may serve as well as victory
    To shake the soul and let the glory put.
    When the great oak is straining in the wind,
    The limbs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
    Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
    Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
    Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
    To stretch out the spaces in the heart for joy.

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  22. This is such a lovely and heartbreaking post. I too struggled as being the older sibling whose sister had not one but two babies before me. I was supposed to have the first (living) granddaughter when I lost my twins. It broke me to go on as my sis completed her full term pregnancy. She is also very fertile. I remember all these feelings vividly. But I also commend you on not giving up on those frosties. My LAST embryo from my round of IVF produced my son C at 38 weeks. I was also told only a SET and it worked. Lots of monitoring and progesterone shots till the end but a live baby. It happens even after complete devastation. Hold strong.

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