Do I have to love this new body?

Truth is, I don’t like the body I have right now.  I am miserable with it 90% of the time.  Right after I had Claire, I dropped a lot of weight very quickly.  I felt amazing, not to mention there was no longer a baby putting pressure in 1000 places too.  I’ve kept most of the weight off, but my clothes have never fit since having her. I am almost at pre-pregnancy weight but my body is different now. I’ve squeezed myself into a few pairs of jeans, but the lack of oxygen was not pleasant.  I wear mostly leggings because I refuse to buy bigger pants.  Then there is the skin changes.  The stomach that was covered in pin pricks and bruises from all of the shots to get pregnant is now a target made of stretch marks.  I made it most of the pregnancy with out them.  Then towards the end my hips and stomach got covered in them.   I used the creams and everything I could have done, it does not matter.  If you’re going to get them; you’re going to get them.  Then there is the beautiful scar from where my daughter was born.  I actually love my scar, it does not make me sad.  It is proof that I went through something tough and in exchange I have the most beautiful gift, my daughter.

I analyze every picture taken of me to see just how “big” I am and how much work I still have to do.  I take forever to get ready in the morning because I try so hard to dress nice but nothing satisfies me.  I take out so many tops and my bed is scattered in them.  Then finally, something makes the cut, but I still do not feel good about it.  Sometimes, tears flow because I do not feel confident with who I am. Sometimes I just get flat out mad that I am not thinner.  It is so hard to feel confident.  I constantly feel like I did pregnancy or life in general wrong.  Some people shed the weight and get their body back quickly, others don’t even if they follow a similar lifestyle.  I honestly never knew how self-conscious I was until I got pregnant.  I worried over every single pound because my doctors brought it up every single time and made me feel that I was not taking care of myself.  I worked hard to get pregnant, there was not a chance I was not going to give the baby growing inside of me the best I could.  But, I still always felt like I was failing her.  I’ve felt like a total let down to my daughter and husband because I do not always feel pretty enough.  My husband is amazing, he has to be one of a kind.  He does everything to make me feel beautiful.  It is a battle in my own mind that has nothing to do with how he treats me.  He is so kind to me when I am struggling with myself and it makes a world of different for me.  He always talks me up and makes me feel like I am worth loving.

The point of sharing this is I read awhile back something in regards to helping your daughter build self confidence.  It said something about how your daughter watches and hears how to treat yourself.  I keep playing that in my head now.  “Claire is watching and she is listening.”  She may only be 4 months, but that does not give me much time to get my act together before she really understands what I say to myself.  My heart would break in a million pieces if I saw Claire looking in a mirror assessing herself to determine if she was worthy enough to step out into the world that day ..  I do not want that to cross her mind. It might one day, but I want her to have enough confidence to brush it off and be herself, the beautiful soul that she is.  I want to show her how to love who you are.  I know if I want her to understand that love, I have to model it.  I cannot tell her one thing and then do another.  I have to figure out how to love this body and to feel confident in it.  I am working out again to hopefully help me make it to the goal of getting into my pre-pregnancy jeans and will hopefully teach her how to keep her body healthy.  I am trying to watch what I vocalize while trying to change what is said in my head too, which I think is probably the most powerful thing I can do.

The changes to my body brought me my daughter, I could never express how thankful I am for that.  Every single thing that has happened is completely worth it all.  I’d stay like this forever if I had to, but I do not have to.  I can exercise, I can eat right and I can figure out how to love who I am so that my daughter never second guesses herself.  Okay…she is going to second guess herself because who doesn’t, but hopefully she will remember how I treat myself and adjust her thoughts about herself. I may never be “skinny” or lose these stretch marks, but I think if I can change how I feel about myself I win either way.  So the answer to my question is “yes, I do have to love this new body.”  It is mine, it is flawed (in some eyes) but it has carried life and nothing is more beautiful than that.  So the battle starts, to change my thinking and to push myself to be a healthier person inside and out.

wild

A Day of Dreams

At one point I could not wait for this day to come.  I was so excited, I put it in my phone, added it to the pregnancy apps, I hoped and I dreamed.  Today is the day our first embryo, had it made it, would have been due.  I was naive, even though I should not have been because I am well aware of what can go very wrong, but I was so full of hope.  I was hopeful that we would get lucky and out first transfer would survive and in mid-June we would have our baby.  I was hoping for the due date to be just a few days earlier in June 24th because I thought it would be amazing for our baby to enter this world on Kevin’s Alive Day.  If you don’t already know, an Alive Day is what we call the day that Kevin was injured in Afghanistan.  It is a day many people refer to when they nearly escaped death, a day of second chances.

When I had my embryo Transfer on October 3rd, we were so excited.  For the first time in my life I was considered “pregnant”.  When you leave you are told you treat yourself just like you know you’re pregnant and to take it easy.  You leave with a picture of the most beautiful embryo.  We went home and all I could do was smile because I knew what was going on inside of me and hopefully that our baby was taking shape.

After the transfer you have two weeks of what I like to call hell.  After the two weeks are over, you go to the office for a pregnancy test.  I cheated and tested beforehand.  Day after day was I getting negatives.  I remember feeling like my world was upside down.  The one thing I wanted more than anything I felt like was slowly getting further out of my grasp.  It was painful.

Then on October 16th… the test.  I did not have a lot of hope left in me by that day.  I cried as the nurse took my blood.  It was so embarrassing but my heart and soul knew that I had lost something.   We went home and we waited for the call.  My poor nurse had to call me with the devastating news.  I was numb and in more pain than I thought a body to could experience emotionally.  Our “embaby” as we called it, did not make it.  That due date that I was dreaming of would come with empty arms.  The pregnancy apps had to be deleted, whiteout had to be taken to my calendar, and I had to go on with life like I felt fine.

I will always wonder, if that embaby would have made it would it have been a boy or girl.  Would they be a lot like what Claire will be like or completely different?  The wondering hurts but sometimes you cannot stop your mind from doing it.

I know others have been through significantly more catastrophic pain than I have experienced.  I don’t mean to share my pain to put a shadow over theirs. I am a firm believer that just because one person experiences more pain from another, does not make the others less painful. I only share it because it is my pain.  It is my pain that has made this pregnancy with Claire terrifying.  I struggled the whole way through it with anxiety and sadness as I fear that for some reason she would be taken from me.  Thoughts run through my head because of my experiences and because of the deep wounds infertility has left on my heart. Although it is terrible advice for anyone, trying again right after a loss is even harder with infertility.  It involves shots, procedures, doctors, and extensive amounts of money that we may not always have and really no sex.  I remember after our first one failing thinking how in the world am I going to do this again, especially the two week wait.

Thankfully we did try again.  I am incredibly thankful that we got another chance and that our Claire will be with us shortly.  A part of me will just always ache and wonder for the first one but I know how blessed we are to have Claire. I promise her the happiest and healthiest life I can provide her and that she will always know love.

Baby Jaye Transfer Day

FET = Success!

On November 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving, we transferred one of our frozen embryos.

The Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), is a very different experience compared to the fresh cycle.  The FET involved very little trips to the doctor when compared to the fresh cycle where I went everyday to be monitored.  Before the transfer, I started injections to prepare my body.  These injections are different from the ones I did for a fresh transfer.  They are fun intramuscular ones that go in your backside.  Kevin has become my drug administrator since it is just easier that way for this type of injection.  These injections continued until I was 10 weeks pregnant! Needless to say, I am over my fear of needles!

After the transfer I had picked two days to test, Day 5 and Day 9.  During my last cycle I was completely taken over by the need to test.  I was constantly getting negatives. It completely impacted my mood and general ability to function during those two weeks.  This time, even though my anxiety was pretty elevated, I decided to try and stick to just two days.  On November 30, 2015 I got up early to take my first test.  I was barely awake and was absolutely expecting nothing to show up.  I looked away from the test for a few minutes and when I looked back a faint double line was showing.  I blinked a gazillion times to make sure my mind was not making it up!

I was not making it up.  The lines were there!  I continued to test every couple of days to make sure the line got darker!  It did!

The the dreaded, but very anticipated Beta day!  I was in a much better mood than the last time I went for Beta testing, but still nervous!  Later that day, I got the call.  We are pregnant!  I’ve never heard those words before.  I’ve dreamed about them, but never has someone actually said them to me!

I had to continue with another Beta testing to make sure the hormones were continuing to grow as they should.  Everything was going very well!

At exactly six weeks pregnant, we saw our baby for the first time! Then we saw he/she again at 7 and 8 weeks.  At 8 weeks I was released to the OB.  It was difficult to leave Shady Grove.  I trust them.  I’ve been through some of the most difficult times of my life with them.

We announced our pregnancy to the world at Christmas.  In the world of some, it may have been “too early.”  But to us, we love that baby no matter what happens, he/she is worth celebrating.

I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately with blogging.  I have some catching up to do with what has been going on with us!  I’ll get to that soon!   I just wanted to share this good news for now! We appreciate all the love and support that has been shown.  Please keep the prayers going for our baby as he/she continues to grow!

The picture below is our baby at 6 weeks! I’m now 14.5 weeks!  baby jaye first picture

Cooking up hope

Even through heartache, life moves on.  I am finding each day to be easier to get through.  When we started the stimulating shots, life was put to a halt.  The only thing that seemed to matter at that time was making sure my body was healthy, being careful to not hurt myself as my body was swelling, and trying desperately to stay awake. Tonight is the first night I have made a nice dinner in well over a month.   I absolutely love to cook.  When I am cooking I feel so much peace.  Tonight I made Porcupine Meatballs (one of my Dad’s favorites).  I even got to bake a pumpkin pie.  I missed it so much!  I was starting to feel like a real live human again.  All of the “false” pregnancy symptoms have started to fade.  I am starting to get myself back after one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.  I hardly remember the last month and half.  My memory is still shot; which is very frustrating sometimes.  I think my mind is so overwhelmed with making our dreams come true, it is having a hard time focusing. However, if I had to choose something to consume me, I would choose having children.  This matters so much. This is a fight I would never be willing to give up.

It was incredibly painful to receive such bad news; especially after the amount of literal blood, sweat and tears that were put into it.  I gave up my entire body just to try to get pregnant.  You get through the difficult parts because you hope for positive pregnancy test at the end.  We did not receive that perfect ending… yet.  I am confident that one day our nurse will call us with news we have dreamed to hear.  My Mom likes to remind me that the bad news was us being told “not yet.”  To be childless is not our final destination.  We have more options and chances.

This entire experience has been very emotional.  I love the clump of cells I saw on our transfer day. I love them more than I could have ever imagined.  I did everything I could to have helped it survive.  It was the most pregnant I have ever been. For whatever reason, that embryo was not meant to be our baby.  I bought a box to put the picture in to keep it as a part of our journey; but to also keep it out of my direct view.  We are ready to use this as our strength to help us fight even harder to meet our goal.

Now Kevin and I are looking towards the future.  We have frozen embryos that were saved from our fresh cycle.  When my body is ready we will transfer a frozen embryo.  While it is not clinically evident at this time, sometimes a frozen embryo transfer can be more successful.  They believe this because the woman’s body is not as stressed.  The hormone levels are at a more natural level.  So let’s pray this next transfer will help us get one step closer to bringing Baby Jaye into this world!

Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin Pie!

The Two Week Wait – Day 5

Today is day 5 post transfer of a 5 day blastocyst. By today our embryo should be completely implanted. If it is not implanted there is little to no chance of a continued pregnancy. What I would give to have a microscope to tell me what is going on in there! Has it hatched all the way; has it implanted? Whatever has happened by today will directly reflect the news we hear next week.

Everyday after the retrieval, we received a phone call that told us how our embryos were doing. They were watched and monitored. One of the highest graded one was chosen for the transfer. It was beginning to hatch out of its shell; which is gave us so much hope. I just wish I could get a phone call to tell me, “hey, I am still growing in here.” Just something to get me through the next week and a half. I have been experiencing twinges of pain in my lower abdomen. Could that be implantation? Sure, it could be. It could also be residual pain from the egg retrieval and some very pissed off ovaries. I am experiencing many symptoms that anyone would when they are pregnant. However, I have no idea if it is the pregnancy or the medications. At this point, it is most likely the medications.  It is a cruel mind game at the most pivotal moment of your life.

 I am consumed.
When we started our journey towards figuring out how we would have a family; I learned about the two-week wait. I thought it would be difficult just from reading about it. Now that I am experiencing it, difficult does not even define it. It consumes you. You wonder all day long; am I or am I not pregnant? How are things going in there, in my own body?  I spent day after day watching my follicles grow at my daily appointments during stims. I saw progress everyday. I was proud of my body for stepping up the stress I was putting it under and providing us with what we needed.  Now, I do not know what my body is doing. I just hope it is being nice to our embryo. I hope it is providing a safe and nurturing home.

Kevin and I have been through a lot in our lives and the past couple of months while planning and implementing this has been just as trying.  Our dreams have always been to have children.  We have a 1% chance of conceiving on our own.  While IVF does not guarantee a live birth, it does significantly increase our odds.  This process is everything to us.  It is our lives; it is our future.  So much planning, money, time, energy, and my own body has gone into make our dreams come true.  This process has been everything but easy. However, it is something we would do over and over again to bring our child into this world.

So today is day 5 post transfer. In the infertility world it is often written as 5dp5dt; meaning, 5 days post a 5 day transfer.  This means our embryo grew in the lab for 5 days and now it has been 5 days since it was transferred back into me. Today is a big day because it should be implanted today and if not, it probably will not happen.  We still have over a week to go until we are able to find out if this actually happened.  We are trying to stay busy.  Last night I went to Paint Nite with some friends; that significantly helped a pretty rough day emotionally end on a good note.  Now to continue to find things to keep my mind busy, my heart happy, and things to laugh about each day!

Please say some extra prayers today that everything is doing what we need it to!  Pray for implantation to be complete!  I bet you never thought that would be something you would read or pray for, I know I did not! Please know how much we appreciate it!

To our Embaby: We hope you are warm, safe, nurtured, and most of all we hope you know how much you are wanted and loved.  Please stick! Love, Your overprotective, worry wort of a Mother and your unconditionally loving Father.

This is my painting from Paint Nite last night! A little heart in the middle for the baby we hope to know soon!

This is my painting from Paint Nite last night! A little heart in the middle for the baby we hope to know soon!

Emotions are high, hopes are higher!

Yesterday was our first appointment with Shady Grove Fertility.   I spent hours researching infertility and some options we may or may not have.  I thought that would help me prepare for everything the doctor was going to say.  It didn’t.  I wasn’t prepared.  I felt like a deer in headlights.  I have no idea what all of the acronyms they throw out mean and I found myself frustrated.  We had to fill out a ton of paper work after the appointment.  It was like purchasing a house… with much tougher questions.  First, we had to decide if we would want our remaining embryos frozen after our first transfer.  Sure…  I think.

Then, there was this question…

“What do you want us to do with you embryos if something happens to two both of you?”

WHAT? I didn’t prepare for that question. It actually never crossed my mind that it would even be asked.   We will have frozen embryos just waiting for us to use them.  If one of us passes away, the embryos’ still belong to the living person.   This just makes me feel weird; I am making plans for my children before they are even conceived.  I don’t know how I feel about it.  I am trying to understand that it is okay to do this.  I am thanking God for giving us such brilliant people who will make it possible for us to have a family.

Then the question, “if you do not want them anymore can we do research on them or if they die what do you want us to do them the remaining tissue?”  Um… okay, it will help other people out right?

Who has to make decisions like this?  Why do we have to?  Why can’t we be like other people who can get pregnant naturally? If he wasn’t injured, this wouldn’t have been an issue.  I hate these questions and I feel bad for feeling them but… I feel them.  Kevin does not deserve to feel like this is his fault, because it is not his fault in the least bit.  I’m very much in love with him and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I know he feels guilty sometimes, but he shouldn’t.  If all of these things didn’t happen, I’m not sure that we would have been brought together.  So I will take the good, the bad, and the ugly because I found true honest love.

Then I think about all the exciting parts of the beginning of a pregnancy and it makes me a little bit sad.  Announcing to your husband that you are pregnant and the excited look on his face, what beats that (besides obviously his face when our child is brought into this world…man I cannot wait for that moment)?  Telling your parents that they are going to be Grandparents, telling your siblings they will be Aunts and Uncles, has to be an amazing feeling.  We won’t get that, people will know we are trying to get pregnant because I will be giving myself shots and going to never-ending doctor’s appointments.  It doesn’t seem like something that will be easy to hide from everyone.  There will be no surprise.   I feel like during the two-week wait I am going to be stared at day after day, everyone will be waiting to see if it worked.  Then we will sit in a doctor’s office and they will tell us if it did work.  If it didn’t work, what do I say? What do I do?  If it did work, it would change everything for us.  More than likely, it will work and all will go well.  I’m trying to stay out of the world of “what ifs”, that world is terrifying and a waste of my time, but sometimes we all visit that evil world.

I know this will get easier to understand and deal with over time.  I’m so thankful that we decided to look into this now; so we have plenty of time to get comfortable and knowledgeable before the actual IVF procedure starts.  It is just hard right now.  Sitting in the doctor’s appointment, hearing things I did not understand, and thinking how I am going to get all of this straight is very overwhelming.  I’ll be okay, we will be okay, and our future children will be okay; I just need to work through the confusion.

I’m excited to start thinking about the real possibility of Kevin and I having a family.  I know he will make an amazing Dad.  I cannot wait to look at them and hopefully see his smile, eyes, and overall love for life in them.  I don’t mean to sound “woe is me” about this subject, nor do I want pity.  I know thousands of people go through this all of the time.  Just right now, in this moment, I am tired, confused, frustrated, excited, and scared.  Most of all, I am thankful, so incredibly thankful, for doctors, nurses, science, and God for giving us the opportunity to raise a family of our own.  Kevin and I are strong, we fought through everything that was supposed to bring us down.  I know we will get through this too.  I just cannot wait for the day when I can spill off all the information about this process without being confused or mixing up terms, or trying to figure out when I am supposed to take what test and where.  It is a whole new world to us, I’m embracing it with open arms, and with a side of anxiety.

Every season brings new beginnings and new life.

Every season brings new beginnings and new life.