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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No, This is Not My First

As this belly of mine keeps getting bigger, it is obvious to other employees around the hospital where I work that I am pregnant, not just fat anymore.  Those that have never heard about our story and really don't know me outside of being "the crisis worker" have been asking questions and taking an interest in the baby bump.  As innocent as the question is, and a normal question to be asked at that, these questions make my cringe on the inside.  My least favorite and most frequent question by far has been "Is this your first?"

What do I say to that? How do I explain to these familiar faces but complete strangers that I have other children who I cannot raise?  How do I explain that I have 4 beautiful angels in Heaven that I got to carry inside of me but never got to bring home with us? How do I explain that I held our lifeless daughter in my arms for only 5 hours before we buried her?  How do I explain that this wasn't a spontaneous pregnancy and I don't get to have a normal pregnancy where I complain about every little ache and pain but have the ability to be naive that "everything will be alright" because I haven't had a reason to believe it won't be?  How do I explain this baby wasn't created by me but is being grown by me to become me and my husbands child? 

These questions swirl through my brain every time I hear that question.  Sometimes I don't feel like explaining it. Sometimes I don't want to have to "yes" and then walk away with a God awful feeling in my gut that I'm not only lying to them but I am lying to myself.  It's a dilemma that I am starting to face Every.Single.Day. 

So sometimes I reply "this isn't my first pregnancy."  Sometimes people get it just by keeping my response simple, yet complicated.  Then other times I get asked "how many times have you been pregnant?" and I respond "this is my fifth" to which the response then is "you have that many children?" The only way to respond to the last question is by saying "I have no living children." Thankfully, the continued question and answer session hasn't happened more than once or twice.  And when it did happen, I finally told the nurse "I really hate that question" and she understood completely why. 

The reality is this baby is not my first.  I became a mother in September 2007 when I got pregnant for the first time.  I became a childless mother when Riley was born an angel on March 1, 2008.  And I've remained a childless mother through three additional pregnancies.  I am not a "mommy-to-be" because I am currently pregnant and have no other living children.  I am already a mother.  I just don't get to hear anyone calling me "mommy" yet and needing me to kiss bruises and read them bedtime stories or help with homework.  But my job as the mother that I became on March 1, 2008 is much harder than any of that.  My job is to keep my baby girl's memory alive and spread messages of hope and healing and understanding to other mother's who were placed in this role too. 

I am forever thankful that I have been given another opportunity to be called "mommy."  A better opportunity.  One that wasn't looking likely if we continued to use my own eggs.  There is no doubt in my mind that I already am this baby's mother.  And there is no doubt in my sister's mind that she is the aunt, not the mother, despite the baby having half it's chromosomes from her.  And there is absolutely no doubt in my husbands mind that this baby is ours and no one elses. 

We were blessed today with an ultrasound that showed Baby M is three days ahead of its due date! We were blessed to be able to share that moment with my sister and niece today at the doctors office.  We are blessed that Baby M's heart is still beating strong at 156 beats per minute.  I am blessed that I have started feeling little fluttery movements and sometimes a good kick within the past couple of days.  Today, I count my blessings and cherish the news that me and Baby M are so far "normal."

Our next ultrasound will be February 19th and is a big one.  It's the anatomy scan.  But just as we told the sonographer today, we will not be finding out the gender at that ultrasound either.  For the first time, the gender doesn't seem that important to me.  I just want to know if the brain and the heart and the essential organs all look healthy.  I have no strong desire one way or another for a boy or girl.  I just want a baby.  We will eventually find out the gender towards the end of the second trimester so we can prepare better, but for right now...I am also protecting our wallet and hearts from breaking.  I know once we find out the gender I will be on a mommy shopping spree buying all sorts of cute outfits and I did that once already and had to return everything I had brought when two weeks later our daughter was stillborn.  I won't do that to us again.  So I will wait patiently until we are closer to a "safe zone" (if there really is such thing) where if something goes wrong the chances are higher for being able to save the baby.  Until our next ultrasound, I will enjoy playing with my sister-in-laws at home doppler that she is letting me borrow!

Wishing everyone a happy week full of positive news:)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Circle of Life

I've been debating about writing today's post for the past couple of days.  It doesn't have much to do with me at all, but in a sorta does.  This past weekend one of my family's welcomed a new baby and another one of my family's almost lost one of it's adult members.  With these two events, it got me thinking about the circle of life...or at least how the circle of life is supposed to be.

Birth and Death.  They are two opposite, naturally occurring events.  If you are born, one day you will die.  Birth is a celebration while death is usually a time of sorrow. 

On Friday, February 13th my sister-in-law gave birth to her second child, Isaac Edward.  And on Sunday, February 15th we were told my paternal uncle would most likely not make it through the night.  My sister-in-law and her husband battled infertility issues with both of her children and my uncle has been battling cancer since last summer.  Both battles are difficult ones. With infertility you are fighting to be able to create a life and with cancer you are fighting to stay alive.  With either battle family members and friends don't really know how to support you.  People say stupid things.  They say things they think are helpful but aren't most of the time.  I guess that's part of the reason I struggled with rather or not I should even write about this today....because I haven't been in either of their shoes and they haven't been in mine.  My thoughts are only an outsiders interpretation. 

But as I have thought about this past week's events and thought about both birth and death, I started to realize how similar both events really are for most people.  My nephew was greeted by his mother and father when he entered the world. And when my uncle dies (because even if it's not this week, next week, next month, or next year....he will eventually die because we all do) he will be greeted by his mother and his Heavenly father when he enters into Heaven.  That is the ultimate dream, isn't it?  To feel your mother's embrace when you are born, and then to feel your mother's embrace again when you pass over into Heaven?  This is how it is supposed to be in the circle of life.  You're parents give you life and show you how to navigate the world around you, and they are supposed to die before you so they can show you life on the other side when you join them.

There are so many people around the world whose circle of life is broken.  They have children they were never able to give birth to because of miscarriage and stillbirth.  They have children who passed before them due to childhood illnesses, suicide, tragic accidents, addictions, and deadly diseases in adulthood. My circle of life was broken 6 years and 353 days ago.  My children had no mother to embrace them into the Heaven, but it will be the first thing that I do when I do make it there. 

Where was I going with all of this?  I guess just that I hope my uncle can find some comfort in knowing that when his time is done here on this Earth, his mother is waiting on the other side to swoop him up into her arms just as she did the day he was born.  He is still hanging on but doesn't look well at all.  And if I know my grandmother at all, she will give him a sign when it's time to let go and join her in his forever home. 

So this week instead of asking for prayers for me and Baby M, I am asking for prayers for my uncle, his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.  I pray that either a miracle would happen and my uncle would be cured from his cancer which is throughout his entire body, or I pray that his pain and suffering would be taken away from him and that his family would have peace in knowing he fought as hard and as long as he could and that he will be healed when he gets to where he is going. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Helloooo Second Trimester!

Hello Second Trimester! It is so nice to FINALLY meet again.  I can't believe it's been so long.  7 years....did you know it's been 7 years since you and I have been friends?  Can we never, EVER, take that long of a hiatus from each other again?  Do you think since First Trimester has finally stopped keeping us from each other that maybe in about 13 more weeks you could introduce me to your friend Third Trimester?  I would really, REALLY love that! 7 years ago you abruptly ended our friendship three weeks short of letting me meet Third Trimester.  Will you please never, EVER do that to me again?  Can't we all just be friends this time? 

So here we are. 14 weeks pregnant.  Starting the second trimester.  For the second time in my life.  I couldn't be more amazed with this precious baby growing in me.  It's starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, this baby is meant to be born into this world, with me and Alex as its parents.  I'm starting to actually allow myself to complete our baby registry (I know it's still early....but I'm a planner by nature), and get excited about how we could potentially find out the gender of our baby, and imagine a successful birth of our little miracle.  But even though me and Baby M have escaped the "danger zone" of pregnancy....there will always been some anxiety, minor now compared to several weeks ago, that we are going to be told the worst news a parent can be told at some point before we get to the point of bringing our baby home and rocking our baby to sleep.  I can't help it.  The image of giving birth to our stillborn daughter 7 years ago at 24 weeks will forever be ingrained into my brain.  You can't just make that disappear.  It happened. And the unfortunate part is it can happen again.  But, the good and relieving part is that we know so much more about my body now than we did 7 years ago and we are treating and trying to prevent issues that are within our control this time.  And we know genetically Baby M is healthy, with less than 1 in 10,000 chances of having a chromosome abnormality! We never did any genetic testing on Riley because she was born with her cord around her neck, so we can't say for certain that she didn't die because she had Down Syndrome like we know two of her younger siblings died from or Trisomy 13 which we discovered several years later is a possibility with my own eggs.  So with all the information that we have now, and with everything we have done differently this pregnancy compared to my pregnancy with Riley, the chances of this baby coming home with us in less than 26 weeks (HOLY CRAP!!!!) is more of a possibility than ever before! And that is what I will focus on repeating to myself over and over.

Today we had another successful appointment with my OB.  The nurse got to use the doppler on my belly for the first time and Baby M still has a strong beating heart.  Even though it looks like I'm carrying high already, the little nugget is still hanging out down lower on my left side. The OB nurse is still very intrigued about our little donor egg baby and tells me how sweet and awesome my sister is for giving us this opportunity.  I can't wait for our next ultrasound on February 24th when I get to introduce my amazing sister to the staff at my OB's office and share another amazing moment with my sister when she gets to sit in on the ultrasound with her daughter:)

I hope everyone enjoys Valentine's Day with their special someone (a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, or kids) this weekend! My husband and I will be spending our day cleaning and fixing up our second home in Columbus so we can put the For Sale sign in the yard and then will be spending our night at a hotel and going to dinner at a Japanese Steak House.  We were supposed to go to Columbus last weekend to get the house done but I was stuck in the bathroom all day Saturday with a stomach bug that was tearing me apart and stuck on the couch all day Sunday because my body was so sore from Saturdays puke fest.  So I'm hoping the bug is gone and stays away so we can celebrate Valentine's Day AND our entrance into the Second Trimester! OHHH....and we are getting our wedding rings redipped and cleaned since we are going to be in the area of our jeweler.  Sounds like a perfect Valentine's Day to me!

I will leave you with these pictures of our first trimester (12 weeks) photo shoot! Enjoy:)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Adventures of Alex and Lindsay

Our life is so hectic already! It seems like something is always happening.  Just when we think we are getting ahead, BOOM! Shit hits the fan again!

I will start with baby news first.  We made it to 13 weeks!! Second trimester, I'm coming after you:) In less than one week I can officially celebrate being apart of the second trimester....something I haven't been able to do for 7 years.  It feels pretty surreal right now.  This week I've experienced more nausea than I probably have the entire first trimester.  And I even threw up a bit, twice.  My sniffer has been super sensitive to the slighted smell....and foods, Oh em Gee! I had such a hard time eating this week because anything and everything smelled, looked, and tasted horrible to me. I remember having these issues when I was pregnant with Riley but I don't remember having food aversions until later in the second trimester.  The smell of chicken was horrendous.  We could not have chicken in the apartment.  It's funny how some of your favorite foods become your worst enemies during pregnancy!

In other pregnancy news, we got our professional first trimester pictures done over the weekend and I can't wait to share them with all of you! Hang tight for next weeks post....I will have the CD with the copyrights by then:) 

Now, besides making our way through each week of pregnancy, we've...well, my husband and dad, have been working hard on getting our upstairs renovation completed.  Over the last weekend we got our ceilings sprayed and bought the majority of the tile we need for our bathroom project.  I'm now working on picking out paint colors for the bathroom, master bedroom, and nursery.  We've been working on getting our taxes done and hoping we'd get enough back to be able to buy the furnishings, carpet, doors, and trim to complete these three rooms that we have to get done before the baby comes.  But of course....before we even finish our taxes our furnace decided go out on us, again.  And after some discussion with my husband we decided to bite the bullet and replace our 28 year old furnace with a new energy efficient furnace because this is the third time in two winters that it's gone out on us, plus it doesn't heat our house that well and uses an insane amount of gas every month.  We certainly were thinking about the baby when we made this decision.....we can't have our heat going out for days again when an infant in the home next winter! So before we could even submit our taxes...our entire refund has already been spent. 

Sometimes I get really down about how much debt my husband and I have from all our medical expenses and college tuition and credit card bills.  I get really discouraged when it feels like we are finally coming into some money and before it even lands in our bank account it's already spent.  I bitch and moan about how we are barely surviving and how as soon as we start to get ahead and make good decisions with our finances, something happens and we get set back again.  But a co-worker said something to me this week that made me take a step back and analyze our financial situation differently.  He said "at least you have had the money to spend."  It made me realize that God really is taking care of us.  He is providing for what we need when we need it.  We are getting just enough back from our taxes to cover the majority of the cost of our new furnace.  We had just enough room on our credit cards to pay for our first IVF cycle along with the grant we got from Baby Quest to pay for all the medications.  My husbands new job allowed him to pull out of his retirement early and it was just enough to pay for the remainder of our second IVF cycle along with the money we raised through our golf tournament fundraiser.  We found out three weeks ago that our tenants are moving out of our home in Columbus that they have been renting for the past two years. They bought a house this week and we have to meet them tomorrow to get the keys from them.  I was really upset at first because the thought of paying two mortgages and losing $500 a month in income was scary to say the least.  But my husband got a pretty nice bonus from work today and it's enough to cover the second mortgage and utilities for a few months while we try to sell the house.  So tomorrow we also meet with a realtor and put our Columbus home on the market.  We hope to make a nice profit off the sale since we did a lot of remodeling to the home when we lived in it. Of course it sucks to once again use the bonus money that we had other plans for on something we weren't expecting to have to deal with right now....but in the end we may come out on top if our house sells rather quickly. 

I guess the moral of today's post is that I am grateful that we've never really been in a situation where we couldn't pay for what we needed.  We've questioned our ability at times, and our adventures aren't usually fun ones to sort our way through....but somehow things always fall into place.  God always delivers, and for that I am thankful.