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Thursday, January 30, 2014

I am A Rainbow

I never knew the term "rainbow baby" until after we lost Logan and I joined several support groups online. After losing Logan I have never wanted a Rainbow Baby so bad. Learning about this term, and all that it means, it has made me look at things through a different lens.

I am a Rainbow. 27 years ago at 2:02am I was delivered by God to my parents, who had previously lost two babies before me, one at 10 weeks and one at 20 weeks. I didn't know the significant of being a Rainbow Baby until recently. I realize now that being a Rainbow Baby is such a huge part of who I am. You see, Rainbow Babies are special-they are placed on this Earth to bring sunlight and joy at a time when it feels like the rain won't stop coming down.

I've always known that I was different...different than most kids and even different than most people in my family. I've always been sensitive and I've always worn my emotions on my sleeve, but I've always always been determined to find a reason to smile through any pain I've ever experienced. From a young age I knew I wanted to be in a profession where I help other people and since the age of 16 was dead set on being a social worker despite the advice from my parents that I should major in business because I could make more money. I know I was put on this Earth to be a social was a part of my destiny, my plan, my purpose. Nothing feels better than making someone who is suicidal and severely depressed laugh, smile, and feel like someone does care enough to listen and to help them. My whole personality is built on the foundation that I was placed on this Earth to bring sunshine and hope to other people. I now believe that God is using my pain, my story, my experiences, my struggles, and my triumphs to inspire other people, to support other people, and to provide hope to other people...people who have been through the same pain and struggles and even people who haven't.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dear Dale

Dear Dale,

First, let me say Happy Birthday to you in Heaven! We've never met, but I know you know me. I know Alex has prayed to you many times about what to do when our relationship seemed to be failing. I know he has prayed to you for guidance when I became pregnant twice before we were married. I know since we have gotten married that he has prayed to you asking for you to look over and protect our babies we were expecting. I have prayed to you also. I have asked you to give our babies lots of hugs and kisses for us, to teach them about me and their dad, to make sure they know just how much they are truely loved.

We've never met, but I know who you are. I know who you are from the legacy you left behind. I know who you are from every person we run into at Ocktoberfest who talks about the good man you were. I know who you are by the memories your children and wife share during the holidays. I know who you are through the pictures I've seen. I know who you are from the man you have taught my husband to be.

I know you would have loved seeing your grandkids growing up. I know you would have been to every birthday party, and every sporting event. I know you would have loved teaching the boys about nature and you would have loved rocking the girls to sleep. I know this because of the man your children have described you as. So I know you are doing these things with your grandchildren in Heaven and I just want to say Thank You, from the very bottom of my heart. While I am sad that our Earthly children, who we hope to have, will not ever know you until their days on Earth come to an end, I am so happy our Heavenly children have a grandparent to cuddle them, rock them to sleep, teach them about nature, throw a baseball with, teach to ride a bike, and to watch them as they grow up.

On your birthday, please know you have the best little babies to celebrate with and to help you blow out your candles:)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Logan's Lovestory

I've always known that there was a possibility that any one of my children could be born with Down Syndrome. I knew it was a possibility because of how many family members I have with Down Syndrome. I never knew exactly why our family had so many of these individuals, but I always knew that they were the most caring, funny, and non-judgmental people in our family. When my nephew was born with Down Syndrome, after my sister was informed her entire pregnancy that he did not have any medical problems, my mom wanted me and my other two sisters to be tested to see if we carried the gene that caused the type of Down Syndrome that runs in our family. I refused to be tested, and so did my other sisters. We didn't care if we did carry the wasn't going to stop us from trying to have children when we were ready to.

Call me crazy, but I actually WANTED a child with Down Syndrome. I wanted the challenge of raising a special needs child. I wanted to be the parent who could show the world just how much these wonderful human beings are capable of. I wanted to be the parent whose child with Down Syndrome defied the odd he or she was given by doctors, who met every milestone on time, who was on the honor roll and in regular education classes, and who was artistic and athletic. I wanted to be the parent who encouraged my child with Down Syndrome to be the best possible person, student, and employee he or she could be. I wanted to be the parent who taught my child with Down Syndrome that he or she could be ANYTHING they wanted to be if they worked hard enough at it.
November 30th, 2012 changed our marriage. We found out we were expecting a baby. Not our first baby of course, but our first baby after getting married and with the baby that was going to make us parents. We were so excited for our future with our child. Alex immediately started kissing my pregnant belly as if he were kissing our baby. I immediately started planning ways to announce our pregnancy to our families. December 10th we had our first ultrasound. We couldn't see our baby yet, but it was promising since we could see the gestational sac with a yolk sac in it. On our way home from the ultrasound we got a call from Alex's mom who was hinting around to him that he had something to tell her. I had ordered a stuffed stork that said "Special Delivery" on it and had it sent to Alex's mom with a note that read "To grandma and grandpa, From Baby Monnier." It wasn't supposed to get to her until later that week. To our surprise it had been delivered to her that morning! After several minutes of Alex's mom hinting around, Alex finally guessed that she knew and confirmed our news to her. She of course was very excited for us.

Over the next 11 days we patiently waited for our second scheduled ultrasound and prayed we would get to hear our baby's heart beating. The night of December 15th I had a vivid dream I wouldn't forget. In my dream we found out on ultrasound that our baby had Down Syndrome. I remember sharing my dream the next morning over breakfast with my husband and mother-in-law and remember her response was "well let's hope not" and I responded back "I really wouldn't care. It would be fine with me." I know she didn't mean to hurt my feelings but it did, because what if our baby did have Down Syndrome...would she love him or her the same as her other grandkids?? On December 21st I went to my second ultrasound alone because Alex wasn't able to get off work. I couldn't believe that our baby was so teeny tiny, barely seen on the ultrasound, and had a heart beat that I could hear! The ultrasound tech was so nice and let me record the heart beat on my phone even though it technically was against their policies. Alex was ecstatic at the sound of his baby's heart beating! I was so excited to be able to also share the video to the few people who knew we were pregnant...Alex's mom and oldest sister, my boss, my friend April, and a foster parent I had previously worked with who was like a mother to me.
It was a challenge to keep our wonderful and exciting news from my parents and sisters. I lived with my parents and youngest sister during the week for work. I was so tired all the time and wanted to go to sleep as soon as I would get home from work, but they never caught on. I am glad they didn't though because I had something special planned to reveal our news on Christmas Day. I bought my youngest niece a t-shirt that said "This Little Monkey is Going to be a Big Cousin." It fit her perfectly, because she was such a little monkey, always climbing on things and so rambunctious! I had the shirt hidden in the bedroom I slept in when I stayed with my parents. On Christmas morning I found some old scraps of Christmas wrapping paper which I used to wrap the t-shirt with, and put a sticker on the box which said To: Raegan From: Santa Claus in cursive writing. While my dad was in the shower, my mom was in her bedroom getting dressed, and my sister was on her way to pick up Raegan from her dad, I hid the present underneath the Christmas tree that was filled with everyone's presents. Once everyone got to my parents house we began our Christmas tradition-my dad passed around presents to all the grandkids for them to open. When he got to our surprise present my heart started pounding! I was excited and nervous all at the same time. My dad looked at the name tag and looked puzzled. He said "This says to Raegan from Santa Claus" as he handed Raegan the gift. He looked at my mom and she looked just as confused and shrugged her shoulders to say "It wasn't me, I don't know who it's from." My sister helped Raegan unwrap the present and stared at the shirt for what felt like a million years...also looking very puzzled. Finally I shouted out "WE'RE PREGNANT!!!!" Everyone in the room was happy for us and even more surprised when I told them we were 7.5 weeks and had kept our secret from them for over 3 weeks! Christmas 2012 could not have been any happier for us....we had the best Christmas present anyone could possibly have...a life growing inside me:)

On January 29th Alex and I hosted a Medium party at our house. A woman who Alex's step-sister had previously went to for a reading came to our home to provide readings for several of Alex's family members. During my reading she appeared to have connected with Riley but initially didn't catch on that I was pregnant until I told her. Once I told her I was pregnant and was honest about how fearful I was that I could lose this baby too like I had lost Riley and Braylen, she assured me that we would have a healthy baby girl...and our baby girl would have Riley's soul because Riley wants to "come back" and knows how much we want her back. I was skeptical but I also was hopeful that she was right...that I would finally get to hold Riley in my arms forever and not have to let her go. I started sleeping with Riley's baby blanket over my stomach in hopes that it would help Riley's soul to the baby that I was carrying now.

Just a few short nights later I remember having another vivid dream. This time I was miscarrying our baby. I was bleeding out everywhere, crying, screaming for help and no one was responding to my one was coming to help me, not even my husband. It was a nightmare that I prayed to God would not come true. I was surprised I had a nightmare like had been years since I had nightmare like that which started after Riley had died. I told myself I was just anxious and everything would be fine. It seemed to be fine when we had our third ultrasound on January 4th and our baby had grown so much and heartbeat was strong. Our doctor was not worried at all so I thought I shouldn't be worried either. That afternoon Alex and I had our pregnancy reveal photoshoot and included my niece Raegan in some of the pictures with her t-shirt I had bought her for Christmas. We were excited to be getting pictures to be able to announce to our extended family and friends that we were expecting a baby:) It was so much fun! I felt like I was really enjoying every second we had with our baby and couldn't wait to one day share the pictures with our child to show him or her how much love we had from the very beginning.

The days following our photoshoot Alex and I began trying to guess if our baby was going to be a boy or girl. Alex was hoping for a boy and thought for sure that's what we were going to have. I held on to what the Medium had told me...we were having a girl. We started talking about names that we liked and every day we grew more in love with our growing baby. I was taken back when I had another nightmare that I was having a miscarriage. This time the bleeding was much worse, my screaming for help was even louder, and the silence of no one responding to my cries for help was even louder. Why was I having these nightmares?? I was more excited than I was anxious. I had worked through my emotions after both of my previous losses. It didn't make sense to me, but once again I chalked it up to underlying anxiety that I was maybe trying to hide. On January 15th we decided it was okay to announce to our extended families that we were expecting our baby since we had made it 10 weeks with no physical signs of having a miscarriage. My aunts were over the moon with excitement for us!

Our 4th ultrasound was scheduled on January 19th but I changed it to January 21st so Alex could go with me. I wanted him to be able to see for himself how much our baby had grown in two weeks and to hear our baby's heart beating again. We were getting ultrasounds every 2 weeks because of my history of pregnancy loss plus I was considered high risk and was taking blood thinning injections to prevent blood clots which were a risk due to having Homocystinuria. The whole weekend before our ultrasound I felt something was wrong. I didn't know why I felt that way...but I did. I didn't share how I felt with Alex...he was too excited. He even asked the magic 8 ball at Walmart if we were having a boy multiple times always getting the same answer just worded differently each time. One time it would say "The Answer is Yes" the next time "Definitely Yes", but when he asked if we were having a girl the ball would say "My reply is No." He thought it was hilarious! He has always had strong intuition about what gender pregnant women were going to be having and now the magic 8 ball was agreeing with him...we were having a boy!

On January 21st we headed to St. Ann's Hospital in Columbus where our high risk OB was located. We talked on the way there about how we were ready to announce our pregnancy on Facebook today after our ultrasound "if everything is still okay." The first ultrasound tech we had was an intern and she tried doing an abdominal ultrasound at first. When she couldn't find anything I wasn't worried and told her she would need to do a vaginal ultrasound since my uterus has been tilted backwards. She had me undress and tried a vaginal ultrasound but still couldn't find anything. I was getting worried now. She brought in another tech...the one who did my 7 week ultrasound so I was confident she would be able to find our baby. I stared at the screen...kept staring....nothing looked the same as it did 2 weeks earlier. I couldn't see our baby. All I could see was a blobby looking image on the screen and knew the words were coming..."I'm so sorry. There is no heartbeat. Let me get the doctor." I layed there staring at the ceiling, biting my lip, tapping my foot on the bed in absolute anger. Alex grabbed my hand with tears streaming down his face. I started crying too. The doctor came in the room. He matter of factly told us our options. Out of anger I quickly told him I wanted a d&c...I wanted it that day. He said he couldn't do it and we needed to talk to our regular OBGYN and schedule it with her. He said he would call her office to tell them we had miscarried and wanted to schedule a d&c. He left the room after he told me I could get dressed and we could leave when we were ready. Alex and I sat in the room together crying, hugging, questioning why this happened again.

On our way home we didn't say a word. I turned the radio station to The River, a christian rock radio station in Columbus. As he drove I stared out the window with tears rolling down my face as I silently questioned God. I text my mom and told her to call me as soon as she could. She called immediately, but when I answered the phone I couldn't speak. All I could do was cry. I handed the phone to Alex expecting him to be the stronger one for us. He was strong, he told my mom our heartbreaking news and she couldn't believe it. When we got home Alex made the remainder phone calls to his mom and two sisters and I sent a text to my aunts and cousins since everyone in both our families had known we were pregnant by now. I had to return to work the next day and as I drove 2 hours back to my parents house I felt like a stone as I drove, just staring blankly at the road ahead of me. I didn't cry until I was in my bed at my parent's house trying to fall asleep and prepare myself to face my coworkers and clients the next day. I probably got 2 hours of sleep that night and felt like a walking zombie the next day at work.

On January 24th we met with our regular OBGYN to discuss what to expect with a d&c. She asked if we wanted to have genetic testing done and we immediately said yes. I told her about the dreams I had had and about the other family members with Down Syndrome. I was tired of not having answers. I wanted to know why our baby died. As we prepared ourselves for our d&c the following morning, I cried myself to sleep that night. I knew our baby was already dead inside me but I wasn't ready to be separated from my baby. It seemed I was only asleep for minutes before our alarm went off at 6:00am and we had to get ready to head to the hospital. The whole way there I kept thinking this was all a cruel joke...wondering if God really hated me this much that he would continuously take my babies from me. As the nurse prepared me for surgery I tried to fight back the tears...I hate crying in front of people. As the time got closer and closer I couldn't fight them anymore and they came out like a waterfall. I couldn't believe it when the nurse asked me why I was crying. I wanted to slap her in her face and tell her to switch me places and she would know why I was crying. This was my baby...our baby, that they were about to surgically suck out of me. I didn't want my baby torn apart. I didn't want my baby thrown in the garbage can like a piece of trash. I didn't want to go the rest of my life without ever holding my baby. I was asleep before they even wheeled me into the operating room...I couldn't even tell you what it looked like in there. The only thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room and the first thing I asked the nurse was "Do you know if my baby came out in one piece? What did my baby look like?" She either couldn't tell me because she wasn't in the operating room or she didn't want to tell me. I never did see my doctor that day to ask those questions. Of course Alex was only worried about me and how I did through the surgery so he didn't ask those questions when the doctor came out to see him.
Driving home that day was the emptiest I had felt in a long time. It was the same emptiness I felt nearly 5 years earlier when we were driving home from the hospital the day I gave birth to Riley. No mother should ever have to feel that kind of emptiness. I was an emotional wreck over the next two weeks as we waited for the genetic results. When the doctor had told me we had a boy and he did have Down Syndrome I literally gasped for air because the results took my breath away. How is that possible??? How did I have a dream that our baby would have Down Syndrome followed by two nightmares that I was miscarrying our baby?? Who was trying to prepare me for this? The results made me cry even more for our baby, not because they made me sad, but because they strengthened my love for our baby. Our baby was so special...our baby was a boy! Our baby had Down Syndrome! Our baby was Real! Our baby was not just Tissue! He wasn't just a Blob! He wasn't just an Embryo! Our baby was made up of unique chromosomes that he got from me and Alex and those chromosomes made him Real! Our baby deserves to be honored, and he deserves to have a name! I will give him the name he would have had even if he were born...his name is Logan!

Over the last year I have learned to accept that my grief is normal. It is normal because I love our baby boy and will always love our baby boy. I have struggled to accept that our baby died because he had Down Syndrome. It didn't make sense to me at first...not when there are thousands of babies born alive with Down Syndrome and when there are several family members with Down Syndrome. I've learned I have been naive and learned to accept that we will never know what type of health problems our baby boy would have had. I've learned kids with Down Syndrome sometimes do die because of their heart conditions, even though my nephew's heart condition has required no medical care. I've learned kids with Down Syndrome can sometimes have major brain conditions where their brain grows outside their skull. We would have loved our baby no matter how bad the health problems were, but it does bring me comfort knowing that I held my baby his whole life. He knew nothing but love, from the kisses of his daddy and the "I love you's" spoken through my belly. He didn't know pain and didn't know bullying. His life was short...but it was filled with so much love. Tonight I lite two candles, one blue and one yellow, to represent the colors of Down Syndrome Awareness and to honor our baby Logan's life. It has been one year since the day he left my body, and I still love him!

Friday, January 24, 2014

We Begin Again

As a couple who has struggled through recurrent pregnancy loss, a form of infertility, we have allowed ourselves time between each one of our pregnancies to process our emotions. We have never been the couple that has a miscarriage and can immediately try to get pregnant again the very next menstrual cycle. Eventually, when we believe we are ready to try again, we always do, because the dream to become parents has never faded. Starting over is an emotional rollercoaster because there is fear that another pregnancy will end in miscarriage again, there is disappointment when month after month the pregnancy test is negative, and there is hope and excitement when the pregnancy test finally does show up positive. Recurrent pregnancy loss has been literally a cycle of hope followed by a cycle of pain and it just repeats itself every time.

We are at that point where we begin again. We have picked ourselves back up following a 4th pregnancy that ended too soon. We have hope and excitement right now that this time, like we do at every beginning, will be our miracle, our rainbow baby.

Today we start medication. First things first-birth control pills every day for three weeks. It's ironic actually-I haven't been on any form of birth control since I was 19 years old, and here we are TRYING to get pregnant and I am required to take birth control! What's the purpose? Well, birth control will slow down the activity in my ovaries and will help my ovaries respond better to the stimulation medication I will take later in our cycle. Alex and I also will start taking an antibiotic medication twice a day for the next seven days. The antibiotic is to kill any bacteria we may have in our reproductive tracts. It's a part of everyone's IVF cycle because bacteria can prevent eggs and sperm from being healthy...and of course we want healthy eggs and sperm!

Although I will be sitting on the edge of my seat the next couple of weeks waiting around to start the stimulation meds, I am very grateful we are one step closer to making our babies:)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A BitterSweet Day

Today is a very Bitter-Sweet Day. On 1-21-13 Alex and I went in for our 11 week ultrasound. It was our forth ultrasound and we expected everything was going to be just fine as it had been the previous three. I knew in my heart the weekend before it wasn't going to be fine-that our baby was gone, but I kept that secret to myself and was hoping I was going to be wrong. Hearing your baby no longer has a heart beat are the most crushing words a parent could hear, even at an early stage of pregnancy. Looking back on that day, and where we are at today, I don't know how we have made it through.

On one hand, today is a sad day because it is the "angelversary" of our son Logan. How ironic-on 1-21-13 we found out our son, who we later would find out had Down Syndrome because of 1 additional 21 chromosome that was attached to one 13 chromosome. Coincidence....or God's plan revealed? We don't exactly know when Logan's heart stopped beating, but if I had to guess it would have been just three days before because that is when I started feeling like something was going wrong.

On the other hand, today is a sweet day because it is the very beginning of our IVF cycle. Starting my period today could have sent me into a downward spiral of depression if we did not have something to look forward to, something to give us hope-because it would have been a reminder that we do not have our sweet Logan with us today. But instead, today-I know he is with us. In fact-I know he has been with us the entire time we have been moving through this process. It is not a coincidence that we received a call from Pamela at Baby Quest Foundation on November 30, 2013-one EXACT year later after finding out we were pregnant with Logan. And it is not a coincidence that on Saturday, January 18th, 2014-one EXACT year after feeling like Logan had passed-that my fortune cookie while having lunch with my nieces said "May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your spirit." And it certainly is not a coincidence that my period came 4 days early in December so it would arrive on the EXACT day one year later that we found out Logan's heart was not beating. I know Logan is helping God with his plan for our lives...I know he is helping God to create our miracle. And I know Logan knows we are not trying to replace him, because we love him so much.

From this day forward-our IVF journey has officially been kicked off into full gear. I know our angels will be guarding us every step of the way:)

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Have A Dream....

In light of Martin Luther King Day, I thought I would share some of my own dreams.

I have a dream that one day pregnancy loss will no longer be silenced. I have a dream that one day society will understand that even a miscarriage in early pregnancy is an unfathomable loss of a baby. I have a dream that one day women and men would be able to share the joyful news of pregnancy with friends and family as soon as they find out and not be looked at as if it is too early to be sharing. I have a dream that one day women would know they do not have to grieve alone after the loss of a baby at 5 weeks gestation or 1 year old. I have a dream that one day men will recognize it is okay to cry and talk about their pain too. I have a dream that one day Honoring Angels support group will be a utilized support service by the grieving families in our community.

I have a dream that one day my husband and I would have living children. I have a dream that one day I would feel the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride after giving birth to our baby. I have a dream that one day I will be able to breast-feed and rock our baby to sleep while singing nursery rhymes. I have a dream that one day we will get to celebrate every first milestone that our children accomplish with them. I have a dream that one day we will have birthday parties for our children with our families and will have children to celebrate holidays with. I have a dream that one day our home will be filled with toys, our children's art projects on the refrigerator, and homework papers spread across the kitchen table. I have a dream that one day our vacations will be to Disney World, family resorts, and waterparks.

I have a dream that one day we can instill our values into our children. I have a dream that one day we can teach our children what it means to love unconditionally, to accept people's differences, and to give back to our community. I have a dream that one day our children will know what it is like to feel a hug and a kiss from us and to hear 'I love you' right from our mouths. I have a dream that one day we can teach our children about their siblings in heaven and how much we wanted them that we kept on trying even when it seemed hopeless.

I have a dream that one day I will be able to comfort our daughter's first broken heart. I have a dream that one day my husband will be able to take our sons on fishing trips. I have a dream that one day we will be the proud parents sitting at graduation ceremonies taking pictures of our babies getting their diplomas and degrees. I have a dream that one day our children will find their soul mates and begin their own journey to having a family. I have a dream that their journey will not be as difficult as ours.

I have a dream that one day our angels would be recognized as our children too. I have a dream that one day we will be reunited with our angels in Heaven. I have a dream that one day our angels will feel the warm embrace of our hugs and will finally know just how much they are loved and missed every single day of our lives. 

Last year on Martin Luther King Day it felt as though our dreams were shattered into a million tiny pieces after hearing our third baby no longer had a beating heart. I didn't know if I would ever be able to put the pieces to our dreams back together again after that day. Over the last year I have realized something about myself, something I already knew but had forgotten. I am determined. I am a fighter. I am a dreamer. I will make my dreams come true one way or another.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sun is Rising

I've been wondering when the sun would start rising again. I keep hearing people talking about "the sunshine after the rain" and, to be honest, I just get really pissed off. Our storm seems like it is never ending. It's like the rain won't stop coming down and the sun won't come out. It feels like we are constantly going through a hurricane.

When we received the call from Baby Quest Foundation ( on November 30th shortly after we had our 4th loss, it felt like the sun was starting to peak out just a little for us. We really never imagined that a couple from such a small community would be chosen by an organization in such a big city to receive funding for infertility treatments. Our grant has been a blessing to our lives and has dried up some of the rain that has been falling down on us.

This week I received inspiration on our way to our infertility clinic. I don't get up early enough anymore to ever see the sun rising now that I am working second shift. Even this past week when I worked third shift, I never got off early enough to see the sunrise. But Thursday, when we were on our way to our LAST appointment at the infertility clinic before our IVF cycle starts....I saw this beautiful sunrise. It gave me hope, it gave me faith, it gave me peace...that the sun is rising again and the storm we have been trying to survive is over.

I said last week that we would accomplish a few more baby steps this week, and we have. On Monday we ordered all our medications and we received the majority of them today! We will get the remaining four medications on Tuesday next week. On Tuesday we gave our credit card information to Genesis Genetics for them to keep on file so when they get the call in March that the cells for testing are on their way to them they can charge us for the genetic testing fees. On Thursday we made the trip to Columbus for our final consultation with our doctor to ask any last minute questions, Alex completed his sperm collection for cryopreservation, we paid Reproductive Diagnostics for the sperm cryopreservation and embryo biopsy fees, and we had our session with the infertility counselor at the clinic which was nice to just be able to be open and honest about how we are both feeling.

Next week our cycle officially starts and we couldn't be more excited!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baby Steps

Now that the anxiety has calmed down, it feels like I'm in this twiddling thumbs stage, waiting on the next step to come each day. This past week we have made a few baby steps towards the start of our IVF cycle.
1.) I ovulated on Tuesday so now I know when I should actually start my period, which is the start date of our IVF cycle.
2.) I got my blood drawn on Tuesday to recheck my Thyroid, Insulin level, and Anti-nuclear Antibody level since all have been out of wack in the past-all are GREAT now which helps me feel more positive about moving forward.
3.) We paid off the remainder of our deposit to Ohio Reproductive Medicine today so we can get all my medications ordered on Monday!

Next week we will take a few more baby steps...and every day we will be one day closer:)

Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Perspective

Two of the strongest emotions I have felt towards our choice to move from natural conception to IVF is guilt and fear. I've been so worried about God's plan for us that I've looked at IVF as defying God and playing God. I look at our ability to concieve naturally and honestly sometimes wish we couldn't...because then this choice would sit easier on my heart.

It's not necessarily the IVF part that gives me's the preimplantation genetic screening. I cannot stop thinking about those babies we won't choose to carry, all because of their genetic makeup. It makes me feel like I am being selfish, but even more it makes me angry. It makes me angry that the only explanation the doctors can come up with for our miscarriages is genetic "abnormalities." It makes me angry that there are thousands of babies BORN with Down Syndrome who do SURVIVE to be well into their 60's, but mine died before they had a chance to be born. It makes me angry that because I was born with a translocated chromosome I not only have a chance of concieving a child naturally who could have Down Syndrome, but I could also concieve a child naturally who could have Trisomy 13 and that child would also most likely die from miscarriage, still birth, or before its first birthday due to the massive amount of medical issues it would have. It makes me angry that their is a chance I could naturally concieve a perfectly healthy baby, and after four pregnancies haven't. It makes me angry that I've prayed and prayed to God to just give us a baby and instead we are given heartache followed by more heartache. Because I have the ability to concieve, because I have concieved, because Down Syndrome babies often do survive, and because there's a chance of concieving a healthy baby and we haven't-it makes me believe we aren't meant to raise our biological children...if we have to go to such extremes to have them.

HOWEVER, after a conversation that I had with my husband and a very wise woman (my 1st grade teacher Mrs. Triplett) on Saturday, I've gained a new perspective. If there was only one path to get to where we should be, why are their so many options available to us? This is not the path that we wanted, but we were lead to amazing and caring doctors who could help us. We would not be able to do this right now without the help of Baby Quest Foundation, and I truely believe that God placed us in the hearts of the board of directors who chose us...out of hundreds of couples. If someone is born with a congential heart condition that could kill them, and that was their destiny, why are their surgeries available to prolong that persons life? If someone is diagnosed with cancer and has been given a small chance of survival, why are their oncologists and procedures that can remove and kill the cancer? If someone has a stroke and could have died within 30 minutes of it, why are their emergency medicine nurses and doctors available to save the person from dying? I could go on and on about all the medical conditions that could limit someones life, or even kill them, but with the medical advancements in our society they end of surviving and thriving.

I guess what I am trying to say is, there might always be obstacles in our lives but that doesn't mean there isn't a way to survive those obstacles. As Miley Cyrus puts it, "its the climb" that matters most. Although I don't always believe that God only gives us what we can handle, I do believe he can show us signs that there is always hope if we just have faith. My goal over the next three months is to let my faith be bigger than my fear.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Last Heartbeat

January 4, 2012 was one of the most happy days of our lives. It was the second time I had heard Logan's heart beating, but the first time that Alex and I were together at an appointment where we could hear it beating. He was not able to make it to my 7 week ultrasound which was the first time I heard his little teeny tiny heart beating. There was so much excitement, so much joy, so much hope, and so much love on that day one year ago. Following our ultrasound appointment we took our pregnancy reveal pictures that same afternoon. We didn't know that two weeks later Logan would no longer be with us. I am so glad we have the pictures to hold on to now, since they are the only thing that is left of Logan and his memory. While they were very difficult for me to look at last year, they are so easy to look at now. And when I do look at them, I remember that excitement, that joy, that hope, and that love that we felt for Logan. I will always love him, no matter what my life brings.

The last heartbeat we heard is a memory I will never forget, a memory I will always cherish.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Repeat.

Today was my first appointment with our infertility doctor since May when we were just considering IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Screening as a possible option for us. After initially deciding against it, having our second miscarriage this year (4th pregnancy loss all together), and then being selected for a grant from Baby Quest Foundation, it is now something we are moving full force ahead with. There are so many conflicting emotions I am feeling right now-hopeful but doubtful, excited but scared,contentment but guilt-stricken.

On my way to the clinic in Columbus, I started out with so much energy and ready to take on this new journey. Then as I got closer to the clinic my mind began racing and I began to cry. My heart just aches so much for the babies we have lost and I don't ever want to feel like I am replacing them. My heart aches for our rainbow baby and just thinking about the possibility of giving birth to our biological child who is crying at the top of its lungs brings me right to tears! My heart aches even more for the babies who are going to be created but will not make it through the process of development and even more so for the ones we won't be transferring because of their chromosome arrangement.

Once I got to the clinic I had to put these emotions aside and remind myself we are doing this for good reasons. I had my sounding orientation with the doctor and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be-just like a pap test, quick and simple. After this I met with one of the IVF nurse coordinators to go over my projected "protocol." There was so much information, so many unknowns that will get figured out once my next cycle starts and we begin the medication that it made me feel anxious. I hate when things are not in my control, even though clearly I've been through so much in the last two years especially that has been out of my control! The nurse was so thorough and patient with me, and that was so much appreciated. She showed me how to mix the two medications together that I will be having to inject at the end of February and gave me tips on how to inject them.

So whats next?? We meet with the doctor again on January 16th for our final consultation to ask our last minute questions. We will also do Alex's sperm cryopreservation that day since it's required to do a sperm freezing before we start the cycle, and we will have our counseling appointment at the clinic which is required of all couples proceeding with infertility treatments. We will pay off our deposit to the clinic that day and also pay the lab for the embryo biopsies that they will be doing come March. Once I start my next period a few days after that appointment I will start birth control pills and we both will start an antibiotic. The downfall is-my first injectable medication will be started when we are on our cruise:( The good news is-she said I'm still allowed to drink on the cruise while taking that medication! Everything after that is still up in the air as fair as dates go.

For now I will just breathe in, breathe out, and repeat. I will try to remain calm, confident, and courageous. I will continue to be grateful for this opportunity.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Broken Hallelujah

The most upsetting words people have spoken to me after each of my losses have to do with God. I've always hated hearing words like "Everything happens for a reason," "It wasn't God's Plan," and "Trust in God-he is so good." When you are going through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, there is nothing anyone can say or do to make you understand why it happened. It's natural to be angry at God.

I never grew up attending church, other than the occasional here and there with friends. But I was honestly never interested in church-it was boring to me. When we lost Riley, it was the first time in my life that I felt I needed to attend church for any sort of closure. I thought if I went to church it would bring me closer to God. As an adult, I found churches that kept my interest...but the part that always kept my interest was the worship music. I loved praising God with put words to how I felt when I couldn't come up with the words myself.

Throughout my times of loss, I've questioned if there really is a God. I've questioned his ability to make miracles. I've questioned why he would cause me so much pain. I've questioned if there really is a set plan for our lives. I've questioned if my babys are really in Heaven waiting on me, or is Riley just laying cold in the ground and are Braylen,Logan,and Audrey just pieces of trash that were flushed down the toilet and thrown away.

Somehow I always go back to believing there is a God, my baby's are waiting for me in Heaven, and he can make miracles happen. I always go back to worshiping God through music. It's the kind of music I listen to most frequently. It has helped me through times of feeling defeated and has helped me to always regain hope. I am by far not the best Christian-my faith wavers often. My spirit feels broken the majority of the time. Yet in my brokenness, I still pray for our miracle and seek guidance from God on a daily basis.

This song has been one of my favorites over the last couple of months. These are my favorite lyrics in the song. We don't know what God's plan for us is, and I question myself everyday if we are making the right decisions. There are days where I am overcomed with fear that we are making the wrong turn and God will once again show us this is not the path he paved for us. So as we continue down the road we want to travel over the next year, I will be praying to God every day that this is part of the plan, and that he allows us to have our miracle. No matter what happens-I know he is making something beautiful out of our pain.

"You know the things that have brought me here.
You know the story of every tear.
‘Cause You've been here from the very start.

Even though I don't know what your plan is,
I know You're making beauty from these ashes.

I've seen joy and I've seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here's my broken hallelujah."

This link will take you to the video for this song: