Infertility is More than Just the Inability to Conceive…

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Waiting for Baby Bird

Infertility is more than just the inability to conceive (bear)

I am not sure if you are new to infertility or if you have been traveling this journey for months or even years.  But I think we can all agree that it is tough.  Really tough.  And when I began walking this road, I wasn’t prepared. Were you?  Because for me, I was naive.  I thought infertility was simply the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying. And rightfully so. Because isn’t that the definition? But ask me now?  Four years after leaving my doctor’s office numb and confused?  And then going through several failed treatment cycles and a miscarriage?  And I will quickly tell you that the definition Google search gave me years ago, is not even close to being accurate. And maybe you feel the same.  Because infertility, when you break it down, is somuch more than just the inability to conceive…

Because I…

View original post 1,024 more words

Advertisements

Starry Night

We’re sleeping with our bedroom window and shades open tonight mainly because I want to feel the wind blow without hearing the shades flap all night long. The wind is violently gushing around outside. Though it’s 57 degrees right now, it feels more like 40-something because of the wind.

I love the wind. I’ve always said I had a love affair with the wind. And it always reminds me of God’s presence.

I can’t sleep though. I was browsing through facebook and saw someone post the story of their pregnancy and birth from a year ago and a deep longing was reignited within me. Along with the longing came sadness.

I put my phone away after reading that and stared out the open window. The longing and sadness started becoming overwhelming. Again. But as these thoughts started trying to consume my mind, I saw a twinkle in the night sky. I looked harder. Without my glasses on, it was harder to see things from far away, but not impossible. Another twinkle. Stars! After a few cloudy and rainy days and nights, it was such a welcome to see the stars out. I focused and was able to count four of them, fighting through the clouds to shine.

I couldn’t help but be overjoyed. Who thought something as simple as stars could eliminate feelings of helplessness and sorrow? 

Honestly, I think it was God’s way of preventing me from going into a lull that would cause me needless pain and cause me to see my problems as bigger than my God. And praise the Lord that I saw them.

I’m going to try to sleep now. The window will remain open so I can feel the wind with all its might and see the stars in all their glory.

Goodnight.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars. The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.
– Isaiah 40.26 

Sheltering Her from the Storm This Mother’s Day

Waiting for Baby Bird

sheltering from the storm 2

Hey there Sweet Momma,

I know we have never met, but I’m going to venture off to say that Mother’s Day is a time of celebration for you. You wake up to eggs and burnt toast in bed. Flowers picked from the yard next to your pillow. You open gifts handcrafted with love. And read cards made by tiny hands and broken crayons. It’s a great day for you. And how could it not be as you are showered with lots of hugs and kisses from your little’s? Which is great!  You should be celebrated for all the sacrifices you make for your family. You should be recognized.  And applauded.  Because being a mother? It is not always easy.

But in the midst of your celebration this Sunday? Can you remember her? She is the one hiding in the back of the church. Last pew. Staring at her feet with…

View original post 1,358 more words

Mother’s Day

Let’s talk about Mother’s Day. Why not? My heart is raw and hopeful and hurting all at the same time.

I’ve always felt a little “meh” about Mother’s (and Father’s Day). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful time to celebrate mothers and fathers, but just like my feelings towards Valentine’s Day and how it’s deemed as a day to celebrate love, I feel like you should be celebrating mothers and fathers every day of the year. No?

In any case,  my “meh” feelings have greatly intensified this year.

Mother’s Day will obviously be a different day for me now and moving forward, and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it, for myself. I look forward to celebrating by mom and my mom-in-law, but I’m not looking forward to it for me.

Mother’s day is always on Sundays. I’ve always disliked when in church, they do some kind of visual recognition of mothers, like the pastor saying “can all the moms present please stand up so we can acknowledge and appreciate you with applause?” or when people have flowers to hand out to moms. Well what about moms who don’t have visual proof that they are mothers, but rather invisible, emotional longings and hurts of what could have been? Are they allowed to stand? Are they obliged to stand? Are they allowed to reach out their hands to receive a flower? They are moms, if for the mere fact that they carried a child in their womb or in their arms. But will others perceive them that way?

I just really do not like Mother’s Day right now. I’m sure my feelings will change if God ever grants us living children in the future, but for right now, I’m thankful we won’t be attending church that day.

To be a mom who lost their baby in a swarm of moms being celebrated… or to be a child who has lost their mom in a mass of people celebrating their moms…it’s too much. My heart is too raw. I can’t.

April 22nd

As if September 11th wasn’t already an unforgettable day because of what happened in 2001, I miscarried our baby that day. I’ll spare you the details but I’m thankful for the toilet hat and I’m thankful my husband was able to be right there next to me.

We decided to do a mini getaway after the baby passed, just for the weekend. We wanted to get away from the town, from our house, from the baby things, so we planned a trip to Wisconsin — it was far enough away but close enough in case for some reason I needed to see our doctor.

Hiyabel, my high school best friend who was the first person we told about the pregnancy, graciously paid for our hotel and E who had a cousin who lives in WI contacted him and we ended up going to his restaurant for dinner – on him. Such huge blessings.

We spent the weekend driving, taking walks, talking, remembering, crying, trying to sleep, and overall, grieving.

Over the next months, I spent a lot of time listening to music to help me grieve and searching out stories of other women and families who had miscarriages, hoping it would justify what we were going through. A few days after the miscarriage, I ordered this:

IMG_3252

Today, April 22nd was supposed to be our due date. We are supposed to be holding a brand new baby in our arms, instead, we are left with memories and longings and ache…

The loss of our child still hurts, some days more intensely than others. I still tear up every time I think about our baby, and I hope that never changes.

That’s our miscarriage story. Thank you for reading and allowing me to share with all of you. It has been the hardest thing we have ever been through in our lives, but through it all, God has been faithful. Through our discovering we were pregnant, through the bleeding, the ultrasound, and the grief and healing journey – He is there. And looking back, I see how He was at work. One example is how we were able to get an appointment the day the bleeding was its worst. I can’t imagine experiencing that bleeding at home, still waiting for an appointment that wouldn’t take place for another two weeks. Another is how He provided people who wanted to bless us after this tragedy and allowed us to take a trip away to a place where we could grieve. Our God is faithful.

FullSizeRender (3)

I’d be lying if I said I believed it all through this journey, because there were moments and days when I doubted Him and His plan, but He continues to prove Himself faithful, and I thank Him for that, and for His patience. And His faithfulness is part of our miscarriage story as well. That is the story we will tell.

I don’t know what our future holds, but I know that God is in charge. If I’m being honest, it terrifies and calms me all at the same time.

I look forward to the day when we can be reunited with our baby when we reach Home.

Happy due date, Baby K. Your dad and I miss you more than we can say and we wish you were here with us. I hope you’re having a grand time celebrating with our Maker.

FullSizeRender (2)

Aftermath

The next 24 hours were spent grieving and waiting for the miscarriage to happen and the baby to pass. Since I wasn’t able to be very articulate with spoken words, I opted to send an explanation email to my family and a few close friends who already knew the news or who I thought should know from us right away.

Hi family,
Matt and I just got back from an OB appointment this afternoon. We found out on our first anniversary that we were pregnant and it was confirmed with a blood test yesterday.
On Sunday I started experiencing some spotting. It progressed and yesterday the blood was bright red. Today I started passing clots as we were in the waiting room.
In our appointment, they did an ultrasound and didn’t find a heartbeat. According to calculations, we are supposed to be at 8 weeks 1 day. The baby measured at 6 weeks 1 day so they think that’s when we lost the baby.
We’ve opted to not to a D&C or take medicine to “make the baby pass” but let it occur naturally. It might happen tonight or three weeks from now.
Please pray for us. We’re devastated and heart broken.

Thanks,
M&M
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes; blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Matt called his parents and texted his sisters the news.
My family members ended up calling anyway and while we were on the phone, we were mainly silent since we were all in shock. I have seen my dad cry only a few times in my life and that night, as we video chatted, he sobbed for our Little One.
Matt and I held each other closer that night as we cried and pleaded with the Lord – that the ultrasound was wrong, that our baby’s heart would start beating, that He would spare us this grief.
I don’t remember how much sleep we got that night, if we got any sleep at all. I just remember the gripping pain that took my breath away each and every moment I thought of what was happening. It hurt when we were awake and it hurt when we slept.

No Heartbeat

“Baby is there….but there is no heartbeat.”

I held my breath and squeezed Matt’s hand tighter. My entire being sunk. I felt Matt’s hand tighten. She removed the ultrasound wand and apologized that she needed to call in an ultrasound specialist to confirm her findings. Tears started rolling down our faces. I stifled my cries.

Less than a minute later the specialist came to the room and confirmed what the midwife had said.

“I am so sorry,” the specialist said as she left. Our midwife said they would all step outside so I could change and would be back in a few minutes to talk through what’s next with us. When everyone but Matt left, I got up from the table and sobbed from the depths of my soul as I got redressed.

I never knew pain like that existed, soul-piercing pain that left you feeling so empty inside. Matt and I held each other as we cried and cried for what seemed like ages in the dimly lit exam room. I don’t know if our nurse stood outside to listen until it seemed like we composed ourselves a little more, but when we did, she came back in to sit with us. Previously to me needing to go to the bathroom she had started filling out information about me. I could still see the form open on her computer but all seemed so unimportant now.

I’m so thankful for our nurse and I truly believe God placed her as our nurse that day. She exited out of the form on the computer and sat with us as we cried, providing tissues when needed. She wasn’t uncomfortable with our brokenness and weeping, but embraced us and let us grieve. When we came to another point were we could compose ourselves and be more coherent to the information that would be given to us, she went to get the midwife.

Our midwife came back in to talk us through what needed to happen next.

“You are bleeding a lot because your cervix is dialated quite a bit. Your body is trying to pass the baby. Now, we can either do a D&C, or we can give you medication to speed up the process, or we can let the baby pass naturally. The baby is sitting pretty low in your uterus and with the amount of bleeding you have, I don’t think you’ll have to wait very long if you wanted to let the baby pass naturally.”

We talked through our options, the pros and cons of each. Not wanting my body to be affected negatively in any way by any medications or procedures (and partly out of hope and desperation that the ultrasound was wrong), we decided to opt to let the baby pass naturally. Our midwife told us how very sorry she was and reiterated over and over again that it was not our fault. As she was leaving, I asked her if they had taken a photo of the baby. She said yes and I asked her if I could have it. She stepped outside for a brief moment and returned with the ultrasound photo. I cradled it in my hands for a few moments before sticking it in between the pages of my Bible that I carried in my purse.

FullSizeRender

Baby K

When our midwife left, our nurse sat with us again. Looking back, I’m in awe of how okay she was with our sadness. She helped us schedule a follow-up appointment with the midwife in a week and then gave us a bag that the hospital gave to patients in our situation.

“This is a toilet hat,” she said as she showed us the contents of the bag, “place it in the toilet and every time you go, go in it. If the baby happens to pass, the baby will fall into the toilet hat and not into the toilet.” I deeply appreciated getting this because I couldn’t stand the thought of our already dead baby ending up in a toilet.

“This is a little container to put the baby in once the baby passes,” she continued, “and this is a little cloth bag to put the container in.” My tears started again. “And this is a little baby blanket to commemorate your baby, because your baby is your child and you cared for and loved this baby.” I started weeping uncontrollably.

FullSizeRender (1)

After she had given us these things, she gave us more tissues, hugged us, and walked us out. Instead of making us walk through the waiting room full of happy, pregnant women and their families, she guided us down a back hallway used mainly by doctors, that took us straight to the elevators, bypassing the waiting room. We walked hand-in-hand, got into the elevators, walked to the parking garage, got in the car and left the hospital.

Ultrasound

I went back to Matt and told him that we were being called.

We walked through a set of double doors to see our nurse who greeted us jovially.

“Let’s take your weight before we go any further,” she said, genuinely happy.

I let go of Matt’s hand, stepped on the scale, she wrote down the number, and we walked down the long hallway.

“How are you feeling today?” she asked me. I started tearing up as Matt held my hand tighter. Matt answered something on my behalf as we walked into the exam room. Before she was able to start asking questions, I told the nurse that I needed to go to the bathroom and change because I felt the bleeding becoming overwhelming.

She gave me a new pad and I went around the corner to the bathroom. As soon as I sat on the toilet, I felt large clots. When I wiped, I saw some of the biggest clots I’ve ever seen in my life. I started bawling. I wiped and put the toilet paper on the floor as I scrambled to the door to call for Matt. Thankfully, a lady was passing by and I sobbed/asked her to get my husband. Both Matt and the nurse came running as I started crying hysterically and pointing at the toilet paper. The nurse told Matt to take me back to the exam room and that she would clean up the bathroom.

Matt took me back to the room and we sat down as he tried to calm me down. The nurse came in a few moments later, clearly shaken up. She comforted us and told us the midwife would be in soon with the ultrasound machine to take a look. She lovingly told us we don’t know what the clots were and not to draw any conclusions, but to just wait to see.

A few minutes later, the same lady I flagged down to get Matt came in with a machine and someone who was in training. She introduced herself as the midwife, asked us a few questions, told us what she would do, then stepped out so I could get ready. When she came back in, she did an ultrasound. Matt stood by my side and held my hand as she started the ultrasound.

“Okay, I see baby there,” she said.

Joy shot through my body as I let out a sigh of relief. I looked at Matt and back at the ultrasound. Good, I thought, the baby is still there. That’s wonderful news. Naively and in all sincerity, my thought was that the baby still being inside of me meant that the baby was still alive.

A few seconds passed as she moved the ultrasound wand around. The room was silent. I squeezed Matt’s hand as hard as I could, hoping that that would make something move on the monitor.

Waiting

The bleeding had gotten worse and I was thankful that we finally could figure out what was wrong.

We made our way through the maze of parking ramps and hallways, to the floor where our doctor’s office was. Before we checked in, I told Matt I needed to use the bathroom. I shouldn’t have done that. As I went to the bathroom, I noticed that the blood clots were getting bigger. I tried not to cry as I finished up and went back to Matt. We checked in, were given a pager, and went to sit by the big windows in the waiting room. As we checked in, I read a sign that said “if we haven’t called you in 30 minutes, please come back up and check with us” or something to that effect. How horrible would it be, I thought, if we had to wait that long in this state. The waiting room was full of pregnant women, some with people to support them, others waiting alone. One couple had already had an appointment and were adoring their ultrasounds, smiling and talking quietly about the different features of their unborn child.

10 minutes passed.

A little boy was sitting over by the TV and was acting out. His dad, who was not very patient, was with him. The boy would act out and the dad would try to patiently tell him no. You could tell that if they weren’t in public, the boy would have been in very big trouble.

20 minutes passed.

A couple and their newborn baby walked into the waiting room. The baby looked younger than 2 months old but the mom looked like she was still pregnant. I tried to occupy my mind by analyzing whether her belly was still big from the pregnancy or if she was pregnant again.

The cramping worsened. I could feel the bleeding get heavier.

30 minutes passed.

“Something is very wrong,” I whispered to Matt. He held onto my hand tighter and tried to reassure me that everything would be okay. I couldn’t stand to look at people anymore so I stood up in front of my chair and faced the other way, out the window. It was a cloudy day out. The pain got worse.

40 minutes passed.

“I’m going back up to the check in desk,” I told Matt. I made my way past people and to the check in desk.

“Excuse me,” I told the nurse, “we’ve been waiting for over 30 minutes.”

“Tell me your name again,” she said. She then proceeded to look up my name and just as she said they were ready for us, the beeper in my hand went off.

September 10

The day of our appointment, I had to do a presentation on Madagascar for the city’s international club. I couldn’t get out of it because it was something I scheduled months prior. It was a cool opportunity to teach people about my country, and my in-laws – mom, grandma, and aunt – and a dear friend, E, were all coming to join Matt watch me present. What made it all the more wonderful was that they had a company cater a recipe from Madagascar that I sent to them, so everyone could eat food from Madagascar as well.

My cramps were more intense that day, as was the bleeding. I wore all black in case things got messy, drank a lot of water, and went on with the day. The presentation went really, really well. The food was good and the people were awesome. I was so thankful to see family on that day.

At the luncheon, I whispered to E that I had something to tell her after the luncheon was over. She smiled really big. She later told me that she knew what the news was because of how I whispered to her. After the luncheon, Matt got a ride back to work with his mom and I went with E to fill her in about what was going on. I’m so thankful for E and her joy and patience and wisdom with me during those minutes I spent spilling my guts to her. I told her about the cramping and bleeding and she told me she would be praying for us as we went to the doctor and to let her know the results afterward.

After saying goodbye to E, I went to pick Matt up and we headed to the doctor’s office.