*taps mic* Is This Thing Still On?

Hi old friends!

It’s been… a minute.

Okay, so it’s been more than a minute. I think it’s been almost three years.


So, let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

Since last we talked, Clara has turned into a four-year-old sass machine, husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, and we decided that one little loin-fruit is going to be it for us. He had a vasectomy a year ago, and I had a uterine ablation surgery this fall to help control my out of control periods (which has been successful thus far – thumbs way up!).


Another thing that’s happened in that time – or hasn’t happened, I guess –  is writing. I’ve fallen out of love with a lot of things in my life, including my job, my hair color, and blogging.

I missed writing too much, though, and I’ve decided to make a comeback, although in a bit of a different genre. No longer will I be an infertility blogger, since that’s no longer the biggest part of my life, and I’ve said NO to mommy-blogging as well.

I started a new venture over at Late Bloomer Press, and I’d love it if you would join me on my quest for more in life, more in my career, more adventures in the ridiculous… just MORE. I can’t guarantee it will align with your life the way it is now, but I can guarantee it will be a fun ride.

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Thanks to every one of you who followed this story for so many years and through so many trials and triumphs. I hope you’ll consider following me on this next leg of life’s journey!

All my love to you,


#StartAsking About Little Lives Gone Too Soon


You might have been three years old today.

We planned and wished and prayed and worked hard for you, but you couldn’t stay.  You were gone before we ever had a chance to know you. 

We miss you every day.

You’re inked in our skin, and written on our hearts.

You have a sister now… did you know?  She’s sweet and sassy and crazy and opinionated, and everything I hoped you’d be.  She’s an answer to prayers and the center of our lives. 

We feel like maybe you sent her to us, because she’s exactly what we needed.

She doesn’t replace the love we had for you, though. 

You were our first love, and you’ll always have a place in our lives.



For those who have struggled with infertility and loss, sharing their story and the lives of their lost little ones can help them to heal.  Sharing furthers the message that there should not be a stigma attached to infertility or miscarriage, and it gives us a way to ensure that our lost babes are remembered.

If you know someone who is struggling, ask them if they’d feel comfortable sharing their story.  If they are, maybe they will invite you in to see a part of them they’d never opened up before.  Maybe they will talk to you about the baby they still dream about, who could never be replaced.

Maybe they will do you the great honor of telling you the dreams they had for the little life gone too soon.  The greatest tragedy in loss, and infertility itself, really, is the unfulfilled hopes and dreams of a life that was never lived.  While our lost little ones never knew sadness or pain, the marks they left on us will be there for our whole lives through.

If you ever wonder if you can have an impact on another life, just remember that a tiny whisper of a life can, and has, shaped a heart, marked it with grief, and filled it with hope.  If that tiny life can do so much, be so much, then so can you.

It all starts with you, reaching out, caring, wanting to learn. 

#StartAsking and you never know what might be shared with you, and how you may be changed by what you learn.

#StartAsking now, and the stigma, the fear, and the shame in infertility and loss can be lifted.

#StartAsking about those little lives that have had such a big impact.  Your gentle inquiry means that they live on in yet another heart and life.

#StartAsking because infertility and loss are everywhere.  One in eight.  13% of your Facebook friends list.  At least one of your close friends.  Possibly one of your siblings.  Maybe you.

#StartAsking because the conversation should not stop.  This is National Infertility Awareness Week, but infertility awareness is a year-round issue.  For those of us who have struggled, and are still struggling, infertility awareness never ends.

#StartAsking for your sister, your friend, your cousin.  #StartAsking for those who have resolved their journeys, and those who are still in the trenches.  #StartAsking for the women in your life, and the men.

#StartAsking because no one should suffer in silence.  #StartAsking because the first step in supporting the One in Eight is starting the conversation.

#StartAsking now.  TODAY.  There’s no better time, and no better representative.  You can be the voice for those who struggle.  You can be the shoulder for those who grieve.  You can be an advocate for a change in how we look at infertility and loss.

You can be that change.  Those lives can live on through you.

#StartAsking.  The answers may surprise you, devastate you, enlighten you, and change you.

#StartAsking, and I guarantee you will not regret it.

Why I’ve Been Quiet…

It’s been two years. With over a dozen “graduates” from this group, myself included, four different hosts each next in line for the job because the previous host found success in her journey, and twenty-four months of support, commiseration, and the building of lifelong friendships, we now see how truly important Resolve’s mission is.

If you are not part of a Resolve Peer-led Support Group in your area – join one. Knowing that you’re not alone is SO important. And if your area doesn’t have a Resolve support group, I urge you to consider starting one.

I promise you won’t regret it, and I promise it will change lives. ❤

Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...

…And first of all, let me calm those of you who dread blogger pregnancy announcements by saying that NO, I am most definitely NOT PREGNANT.

The rest of the story is a little harder to explain, however.

I’ll be honest, I’ve felt very strange lately.  I mean, I’m still part of the infertility community, but I feel like I’ve lost my mojo.  I don’t feel like writing.  I don’t feel like trying.

It’s not that I feel like quitting is on the horizon, either for blogging or for trying to conceive, but I feel very passive about both right now.  Almost ambivalent.

Maybe I’ve just been on this journey too long… It will be five WHOLE years next month, after all.

Maybe I’m just tired.  Tired of one thing defining me, tired of letting it rule my life… just tired.

Maybe I’m ready to stop focusing on me, and…

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It has been an obscene amount of time since I last posted here…

Like, a really, REALLY long time.

For that, I apologize.  Sort of, anyway…

Life’s been pretty busy these days.

Spectacular and stressful and exhausting and fantastic and insane and terrifying and amazing.  And busy.

I turned thirty-five today.

I’m not sad about it.  I’m not making excuses about it.  I’m not “twenty-nine-again-ing” about it.

I’m owning every one of my thirty-five years.  I’ve accomplished so much, loved so well, experienced such dazzling highs and dizzying lows, and generally just lived, that it would be a disservice to myself to not celebrate my life.

Like a BOSS.

My previous birthday saw me working out the last two days before I went in for my induction.  It was a frenzy of preparing my coworkers for my departure, and preparing myself mentally to make the shift between Work Tracy and Mom Tracy.  Truth be told, I didn’t feel ready for any of it, though I doubt anyone can truly be ready for the dead-stop of childbirth and the subsequent implosion of what was previously “normal”.

The past year has been one of such growth and change, struggle and triumph, wonder and amusement.  Of all of the events of my thirty-fourth year, however, one stands out quite clearly.

I am still in awe daily that I get to be the mama to this feisty babe, my bright Christmas star, my Impossible Girl, Clara Noelle.

She makes my day with her smile and laugh, breaks my heart with her cries, and makes me feel a whole depth of emotions that I did not know to exist before she came along.

Thirty-five years, and every moment has been in preparation to be a mother.  Every struggle, though they cannot be minimized or erased from history, has been worth this smirk.  Every scar has been softened by that gentle swoop of hair and that ear that sticks out just so.

For all that this day is supposed to be a celebration of me, my life, and my accomplishments, the greatest result of all of these is her.




Three years ago tonight. I don’t know how I survived some days, but I know that losing our Gummy Bear made me better able to be the mom our Clara needs now. None of it has been easy, but it’s all been necessary. I see that now, even through the sadness and the lingering ‘what-ifs’…

Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...

Monday, September 24th, 2012.


This post is very graphic, but I need to record it for myself, and for others who may find their way here because they don’t know what to expect of a Cytotec-induced miscarriage.

I was not able to find much information online when I went looking, but the few accounts I did come across helped me immensely.  I want to help others as much as I can, in a completely honest and realistic manner.

It happened last night.

The actual miscarriage happened.

I knew that the only sort-of-heavy-ish bleeding and mild cramping I’d had on Friday and Saturday weren’t enough.  Always trust your intuition… mine told me that something wasn’t right.  I wasn’t in enough pain, and I hadn’t bled in any kind of dramatic way.

Something wasn’t right.  And I knew.

I let myself believe what the nurses kept telling me, however, and fell…

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A Different Kind of TMI…

I know I’ve shared some rather intimate tidbits over the years.  You all probably know more about the inner workings of my reproductive system than the whole roomful (buildingful?) of doctors I’ve seen since the beginning of our TTC journey. 

I saw this on my friend’s blog, Waiting to Expand, and thought it was a cute idea!  I get to share some things with you that actually DON’T have anything to do with my girly bits (and that you may not actually know!), and you get the opportunity to copy and share on your own blog, Facebook, or hey – even the comments section right here!  I’d love to learn your little details, and I’m sure you have accumulated some friends and followers over time that could stand to get to know you a little better too. 

And so, enjoy my mundane little factoids, friends.  🙂


Four jobs I’ve had:

1. Drive-in diner car-hop.  Yes, seriously.  On rollerskates and everything.  I was fifteen.  I looked like a baby deer on ice.

2. Cashier at a pharmacy/gift shop – Hey Cassie, me too!  🙂

3. Bridal consultant.  Yes, bridezillas exist, and no, it’s not as fun as it looks on tv.  Say Yes to the Dress reruns make me twitch.

4. Office manager for a large recruitment company.  This one is actually a lot more fun than it may sound like.

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1. Pitch Perfect

2. Mallrats

3. The Princess Bride

4. Army of Darkness

Four books I’d recommend:

1. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.  Yes, the whole book series (and the tv series too, while you’re at it!); the first book is just called Outlander.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry.

3. Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons.  This one JUST came out, and is written by someone I know and admire, and a local blogger at that!  READ IT NOW!

4. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling.  They’re critically acclaimed and beloved by children and adults everywhere for a reason.  Very few writers have this kind of way with words; I’d argue that Gabaldon and Rowling are top on my list of the most amazing writers that have ever lived.

Four cities I’ve lived in:

1. Newaygo, MI.

2. Grand Rapids, MI.

3. Livonia, MI.

4. Toledo, OH.  I’ve been a few places, but I always come back home to the Midwest.

Four places I’ve visited:

1. San Francisco, CA.  Nice pier.  Terrifying bridge.

2. Atlanta, GA.  Nice bars.  Terrifying old lady strip club.

3. New York City, NY.  Nice people (despite the reputation).  Terrifying drivers (live up to the reputation).

4. Chapleau, Ontario, Canada.  Nice fishing.  Terrifying indigenous wildlife.

Four Places I Could Visit Over and Over:

1. Grand Rapids, MI.  It used to be home, literally, and it will forever have a place in my heart.  Over the years there’s been a big cultural boom there, and there’s just so much to DO and EAT, that I could visit monthly and never get bored!

2. Scotland.  No, I’ve never been there.  Yes, I’m sure I want it on my list.

3. Any quaint little wooded Michigan town, preferably on a river, during the peak of the fall color change.  *sigh*

4. Amish country, doesn’t matter where.  I just want to eat your delicious food made seasoned lard and overbearing religious restrictions!!  YUMMMM.

Four things I just won’t eat:

1. Mushrooms.  Boo, fungus.

2. Raw tomatoes.  Give it to me in sauce, salsa, or ketchup form, but no thanks on the fresh variety.

3. Shellfish.   Bad reaction once… too afraid to try again.

4. Artificial sweeteners.  Because I like my brain cells, thank you very much.

Four things I could eat every day:

1. Bacon.  No one is surprised by this.

2. Fresh peas – pod and all – straight from the garden.

3. Wild strawberries.


Four TV shows I used to watch and miss (and watch in reruns as much as I can):


2. Gilmore Girls

3. M*A*S*H

4. Grey’s Anatomy.  Don’t judge me.

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

1. All the ‘firsts’ that are coming for our little Jelly Bean.

2. Spending some time in the sunshine this summer.

3. Visiting family and friends in West Michigan.

4. Turning 35.  Yes, I am actually looking forward to it.  I’m as surprised as you are.

Four things I need right now:

1. A massage.  Thank the lord I have an appointment this weekend!

2. A nap.  Nothing major, just like 6-8 hours.

3. Someone to organize my life, clean my home, and fold my laundry.

4. Oh!  A butler!  What I need is a butler!!

Four dreams I have for our future:

1. To enjoy old traditions as a family.

2. To build some new traditions.

3. To always be sure that what I spend the bulk of my time doing – whether it’s working outside the home, staying home with my family, or some combination of the two – is what is best for us all.

4. To have the kind of marriage that inspires our Jelly Bean to seek out her own kind of comfortable and quirky happiness.


Thanks for reading!  Feel free to copy, share, tag – whatever!  Link back here in the comments if you can, because I’d love to read your little details too!  🙂

On Parental Holidays

So, I just experienced my first Mother’s Day.

Well, not my first, of course.  I’ve been experiencing them as long as I’ve been a daughter, celebrating my own mother, grandmother, and the other mothers in my life.  One a year, every May, until I was married…

Then I spent four Mother’s Days preferring to eat (and drink) my feelings about not being a mother myself rather than celebrating anyone else’s functional reproductive systems.

Mother’s Day 2013 was spent feeling like I was caught in some limbo between motherhood, grief, and infertility.  That was a dark day spent thinking about how I should be cuddling my newborn Gummy Bear.

Last year, I found myself harboring the secret of our little Jelly Bean.  Unable to voice my fears and elation to anyone but the husband at the time, I ultimately chose Mother’s Day 2014 as the day we would tell our families about the little beating-heart life growing in my newly functioning uterus.  I wanted to give Mother’s Day a new sheen, a positive spin meant to dust off the past bitterness and negativity I’d felt toward the holiday in general.

It worked, and last year was probably the best Mother’s Day I could have imagined, even though the terror of a new pregnancy was nearly palpable.

After the success of last year, I fully expected this year’s Mother’s Day to be a freaking glitter parade with backup dancers and rainbow-tailed unicorns and fluffy kittens singing songs of celebratory joy.

I was mistaken.

It turns out that no matter how many blessings you find yourself in possession of, no matter how things start to go your way for once, sometimes the shackles of the past are really hard to shake.

I thought I would be ecstatic to be celebrating Mother’s Day, but it turned out to be a hard day.  I just felt like an outsider.  I am a mother now, to a living, healthy, beautiful little girl, and yet I still felt despair and anxiety the whole day.

I think TTC PTSD is a real thing.  I am absolutely terrified of Aunt Flo’s return.  I don’t want to think about ovulation ever again.  I hate the thought of a Two Week Wait so much more than I used to.  I don’t want to think about a pregnancy test, like AT ALL.  Mother’s Day just felt like a day I had earned the right to enjoy, but just couldn’t bring myself to embrace.

I’m just not over it.  Any of it.  I still feel pangs of jealousy and old stirrings of bitterness when I see pregnancy announcements.  It’s irrational.  I have no reason to feel that jealousy… And yet, maybe it’s the ease with which some people have their children, and the blind, ignorant bliss with which they conceive and raise their babes.  An ignorance I’ll never have the pleasure of experiencing.

I lament the fact that I may never have that easy-going, anxiety-free experience of conceiving and enjoying a pregnancy.  My pregnancy with Jelly Bean was quiet and easy at the beginning, but tumultuous and fraught with terror for the entire second half.  Even now, we can’t let our guard down because her cCMV infection could bring about a multitude of issues as our kiddo grows and develops.

I keep thinking that one day I’ll breathe easy.

I also think, immediately after, that I probably lie to myself just to get through those moments of heart-stopping fear.

Yep.  Lies.  Lies are good.  They keep the nightmares at bay.

I want to tell you all that Yes! You will get your baby one day! And that baby will solve all of the problems infertility has rained upon your life because finally!  You’ll be a mom, and that’s the answer to all of life’s problems, isn’t it?!

I want to tell you to Be positive, and Remain hopeful because one day all the issues you face now will seem so small and insignificant!  Because you’ll be a MOM!  And moms don’t let old fears bring them down!  Moms don’t let the past ruin their present!  You’ll be a mom and everything will be PERFECT!  You’ll cook and clean and wear makeup and lose all that baby weight and have a perfect marriage and a perfect baby and EVERYTHING WILL BE PERFECT BECAUSE YOU’RE A MOM NOW!!!

But I’d be lying to you, too. 

Infertility changes us.  Permanently.  The damage it does can’t ever be completely undone, though daily life with a cluster-feeding, diaper-exploding, cooing, smiling, social life-destroying infant can certainly make you forget that you ever experienced those things.  For a while, anyway.

But you can’t forget for good.

The scary stuff comes back in the quiet moments.  It comes back when you should be celebrating a new life.  It comes back when the news reports that a celebrity has spawned yet AGAIN.  It comes back when you pass the pee-stick aisle at the grocery store.

It comes back on your hard-earned first Mother’s Day, wrecking what you thought would be your triumphant admittance into typical, normal, everyday family life – FINALLY.

Listen.  Infertility is a bitch from which there is no permanent escape.  She gets her claws in ya, and she hangs on for dear life.  All you can do is live your life, succeed, achieve, march forward, celebrate, experience, love, and feel, and by doing so, you will lessen her hold on your life.  This rings true both for those of you still in the trenches, and those of us who have dragged ourselves out with some divine – or scientific – intervention.

Infertility ain’t no picnic, folks.  Coming out on the other side isn’t always all you thought it would be, either.  As much as I absolutely am in love with my little one, I’ll always carry the scars of my infertility battles.

You will too, and that’s normal. 

That shouldn’t ever stop you from living your life, succeeding, achieving, marching forward, celebrating, experiencing, loving, and feeling.

No matter what hold your past has on you, don’t ever let it stop you from getting every last ounce of living out of the present.  Mother’s Day is just a day, after all, and really isn’t it the small, everyday celebrations that mean so much more than a Hallmark holiday ever could?

Celebrate those days instead.

Celebrate the day you finally made the call to the RE to start getting help.

Celebrate the day you survived your first hot date with the dildocam.

Celebrate the day of your first IUI or IVF transfer.

Celebrate the day you gave yourself your first shot without fainting.

Celebrate the day you stood up to your doctor and advocated for your own health.

Celebrate the day you dumped your doctor and went the Chinese voodoo direction.

Celebrate the day you decided to pursue an egg or sperm donor, donor embryos, or adoption.

Celebrate the day you helped someone else with your knowledge and experience.

Celebrate the day you allowed yourself to feel the grief and weight of what infertility has done to your life.

Celebrate the day you understood just how strong you really are.   

Celebrate the day you finally saw two lines.

Celebrate the day you heard that first heartbeat.

Celebrate the day your child’s birth mother gave you the greatest gift of all.

Celebrate the day you realized you were a mom after all, maybe not because you have a child in your arms, but because you have one in your heart.

Celebrate the day you realized you are a mom on your own terms, not because a calendar and societal norms told you to, but because you truly felt that you had earned it.

Celebrate those days – the days you realize just how much you are capable of – for those are the only ones that really matter.

I won’t wish you a happy Mother’s Day, because I know that those words are triggers themselves, no matter where you are in your life.

Instead, I’m instituting a new greeting for these parental holidays; one that hopefully won’t come with so much pretense or pressure.

Happy “You’ve Got This” Day, my friends.

On Anniversaries

Today is the five year anniversary of this blog. 


Can you believe that??

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I’m hoping that with the itty bitty baby newborn stuff starting to phase itself out (and with me being back to work and having use of both hands part of the day, lol), maybe I’ll have a little more time on my hands to post here more than every three months.

HAHA, SPARE TIME.  I know.  Don’t laugh.  I’m trying, and that’s what counts.  😉

So anyway, today is the five year anniversary of this blog. 

Oddly enough, today is also the one year anniversary of the day I peed on the very last (expired) pregnancy test in my house hoping it would induce my cycle to JUST START AND GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY, GAH.  That test had a faaaaaaaiiiiinnnnt second line, and I subsequently threw it into the trash, dug it out a few minutes later, buried it in a drawer, said a bunch of really bad words, and set out to call and yell at the test maker’s customer service line for allowing expired tests to produce false positive results.

We all know that the second line turned into my sweet gal Clara, but I wanted to share how she started out:


Early morning.  An expired test.  A faint line.  Swear words.  Disbelief.


Late evening.  A second test.  Freshly-purchased.  More swear words.  Terror and further disbelief.


Next morning.  Phone call made with shaking hands.  Blood work done.  Results received at my desk at work (which is where I came across this note last week, stuck to papers in one of my drawers).

This Post-it will forever live in infamy.

I love that you can see the extent of my mania on this little sticky note, and what you can’t see but is implied is soooooohohohoooooo much Googling and mental preparation.

A beta result of 29 at 12dpo.  Okay, so then if it doubles, it’s all good… right?  Right.  Well wait.  No.  My first positive beta doubled too, but just barely.  I need this one to do more than double.  What did the last one do?  Okay… so if after 48 hours my beta goes up to less than 63, I’ll ask for a repeat in another 48 hours.  The last time, I had reason to worry, and I want to know how much I should worry this time.  If the result is more than 72, I’ll feel comfortable, I think.  Then I can schedule an ultrasound and maybe not worry.  HAHA, of course I’ll worry, but maybe not as much?  OH MY GOD, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!!!!!!!!1111ASDFGAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

And then you can see that the second beta was 87.  Almost triple in 48 hours.  And then the date for the ultrasound, given to me over the phone during that same call.

In the span of five minutes, I went from OMG PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY ALREADY, to HOLY BALLS I’M ACTUALLY PREGNANT!!! 


It was quite a wild couple of days last year, I can tell you that…

And here’s where we are today:


This little ham nugget is four months old.

She has my eyes and my heart.

I still can’t believe she’s mine…

Even now, a full year later, I sometimes have to pinch myself as a reminder that this is my LIFE.


And how sweet a life it is.


How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

I’ve been working on this post in my head for two weeks now, but time really does get away from you when your whole focus is on a tiny little being that depends on you for her every need.  I seriously don’t even know what day of the week it is sometimes, which is not a complaint, but a commentary on how completely my life revolves around hers…

Clara is six weeks old today.  In some ways, it seems like she’s always been here and there was never really a life before she arrived, which is of course far from the truth.  In other ways though, it feels like just yesterday that they were placing her in my arms for the first time.  I’ll share with you all how exactly that came to be in this post.  Just fair warning, I was in the hospital for a full five days, so this is a looooooooooong post detailing all that occurred.

Oh, and as a reward for sticking it out, there are also lots of pictures.  🙂


The husband and I checked into the hospital on the evening of Thursday, December 4th to begin the process of inducing labor at 37 weeks pregnant.  Our doctor with University of Michigan’s Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic suggested inducing between 37 and 38 weeks because of some intrauterine growth restriction, and because due to the CMV infection, it was deemed safer to see how baby was doing once she was on the outside than to risk any more time not knowing what she was up against on the inside.

Once we were in our hospital room – a really nice room where we were told we could labor, deliver, and recover all in one space – a nurse came to place my IV and hook me up to the baby monitor.  We were told that it was a very busy night in labor and delivery, and that as soon as a doctor was free, they would come and place the cervical softening agent that would start my induction.

It ended up being around 1am that a doctor was finally free, so once the Cervidil was in place, I was allowed to get some rest.

Rest is a very kind term for what happens when you close your eyes in a hospital, by the way.  There is some sleep that happens out of exhaustion and necessity, but it’s not ever really restful.  There are nurses and doctors and residents who come into your room every hour or so – sometimes more – to check your vitals, get you beverages, monitor the baby’s heart rate and your uterine contractions, and sometimes just to introduce themselves at the beginning of their shifts.  It’s necessary I suppose, but I don’t think I truly rested the entire time I was in that hospital.

The next morning, my MFM doctor came by for a visit.  She checked in to see when the Cervidil had been placed, and then checked to see if I had made any progress in dilating.  I was dilated to 3 by that point, and she was happy with that.  She gave the nurses permission to feed me (before then I was on a liquid diet, slowly starving to death on broth and jello), and said she would check back on me in a few hours.

By the time the Cervidil had been in place for 12 hours, I had not progressed any further than a 3, so once the Cervidil was removed, the doctors started me on the IV Pitocin to get my labor moving.  Some contractions had begun toward the end of my round of Cervidil, but once the Pitocin kicked in, I started feeling them.  As the Pitocin level was turned up hour by hour, the contractions got progressively more noticeable.  Some of them started to become painful by Friday night, but my dilation to 3 still had not progressed.

At this point, the doctors gave me a break from the medicine.  It was probably 3am on Saturday morning when I took a shower and bolted down a cold sandwich, yogurt, and some fruit that the nurses managed to rustle up for me.  I felt much more human by the time I got back into bed, and the doctors restarted my Pitocin drip, hoping that the break from the meds would kick my body into a more active labor.

Spoiler alert:  They didn’t.

I spent all day Saturday with my Pitocin level being cranked up hour by hour, and every cervical check would yield the same results: dilated to 3.  I was tired, hungry, in a tremendous amount of pain, and my nerves were frayed to say the least.

Around 6pm, my MFM doc came back to see me before the end of her shift.  She was happy with the progress I had made, but unhappy that it had sort of plateaued.  In a very calming and reassuring voice, she talked to me about how she thought the next 12 hours would go, all the while gathering up an assortment of instruments from a cupboard behind a curtain.  When she emerged, she told me it was time to have my water broken.

It’s funny how often you hear that someone has their water broken, like it’s no big deal – and really, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t – but when it actually happens to you, it’s a very different set of thoughts that run through your mind.  Panic, to start…

It took literally less than a minute for the doc to break my water, and then she was off to enjoy her night.  She said she’d be back in the morning to see me, and she thought I’d have a baby by then.  Funny, because she probably hadn’t even reached her car in the parking garage by the time my contractions started getting REALLY painful.

I mean, I’d been contracting for a solid day and a half at that point, much of the time in a great deal of discomfort, but a few minutes after my water was broken, SHIT GOT REAL.

Now I’m not totally granola crunchy, and considering the high level of medical intervention I’d already required with this pregnancy, it’s not like I could object to medications,  but I was really hoping to avoid pain meds with labor.

That resolve crumbled within a half hour of my water being broken, and I sent the poor husband scurrying out of the room to get that epidural lady NOW.

Ain’t nobody trying to be a hero.

The epidural turned out to be just what I needed.  I was numb from the waist down by 8pm, and finally fast asleep fifteen minutes later.  I slept soundly for the entire time the husband was watching a football game.  The game ended around midnight, and a few minutes later, a doctor came in to check my cervix.

Oh, side note:  “Check my cervix” is another one of those terms that is taken far too lightly in my opinion.  It’s not like they just look up there with a flashlight… oh no.  You’re basically being fisted by a trained professional, and some of those resident docs have less training than others.  There was one doctor I called Dr. Sausage Fingers that was particularly lacking in experience… She was not my favorite.

Anyway, at around 12:30am on Sunday, December 7th, a doctor checked my cervix which had been at a 3 only four hours previous.  She checked, checked again, pulled the sheet back over my numb bottom half and said, “How about we go have a baby?”

It was go time, apparently.  The combination of my water being broken and the epidural had done the trick, and not only was I fully dilated, but the baby’s head was engaged and ready for me to start pushing.

Things moved quickly after that.  A whole brigade of nurses and doctors came in and started rearranging the room.  The poor husband just stood out of the way and waited for instruction.  Within minutes, a nurse was heaving my dead legs into the stirrups and they were coaching me on how and when to start pushing.

I pushed clumsily through the first contraction.  The baby was moving around too much and the monitors kept losing her heart rate.  The second contraction they lost her completely, and she had moved into a transverse, or sideways position in the birth canal – they want babies to come out face down, apparently.  The nurses moved me onto my side to encourage baby to rotate, and I stayed that way for a couple more contractions.

Once she had rolled to the proper position, I started pushing again.  This time, the doctors were more concerned that not only were they losing baby’s heart rate on the monitor, but also that what they were able to see appeared to be dipping quite low while I pushed.  They placed a monitor on her head to help them keep a better eye on things, but it was apparent rather quickly that her heart rate was dipping dangerously low when I pushed.

The doctors started rushing around the room and talking to me about possible “manual intervention”.  I was covered up and moved down the hall to an operating room in case it was necessary to perform an assisted delivery with suction, forceps, or surgery.  It was a total chaotic whirlwind, and in the midst of it all I remember was yelling at the husband to put on some damn shoes as he stood there in his pajama pants with a mask and gown in his hands, and a look of absolute disbelief on his face.

The operating room was only a few doors down from my room, so I was in there and being moved to a table rather quickly.  There had to be fifteen doctors and nurses present, and it was overwhelming.  Someone put an oxygen mask on me, and the husband was nowhere to be seen.  Eventually he came in, wearing a gown, mask, and hairnet, and stood by me while a doctor asked for my signature on different release forms in the case of surgical intervention.

I was in position to start pushing again a minute later, and after maybe three contractions, a squishy, tiny baby was placed on my chest.  It all happened from the first push to the last in less than an hour.

At 1:15am on Sunday, December 7th – Pearl Harbor Day – Clara Noelle arrived.

There was a whole lot of crying after that.  Her, me, the husband… More the husband and me, really.  Clara was relatively stoic about the whole thing after her initial entrance into this world.



Of course I was thrilled to finally have my girl in this world, and I was happy to be done with the whole labor thing, but I was terrified of how the CMV infection would impact her.  I knew that there would be some initial examinations right there in the delivery room, and it had been made clear to me a few times that there was a chance Clara would need to go to the NICU.

One of the delivery doctors was talking to me about having to place a stitch because my stubborn little miss turned at the last second and came out face UP, thus tearing a rather sensitive part of my nether region.  (Yikes.)  I only vaguely registered that conversation because I was trying to hear and see what the doctors and  nurses were doing with my baby on the other side of the room.  I had sent the husband to go with her wherever they took her, and he was taking close to a thousand pictures, but no one was relaying anything to me.  Finally, a nurse yelled over that she was measuring five pounds, two ounces, and 17.25 inches long – a petite little lady,  but a very  healthy one!


I was in so much shock that I barely understood when they told me we were going back to our room – all of us.  From there, we were left alone to spend some precious moments together as a family.


At one point, the exhaustion overtook me and I slept while the husband spent time with his girl. And apparently took this picture of the three of us – our first family photo, lol.

Things after that started blending together into brief moments of activity.  A nurse came in to help me attempt to breast feed for the first time.  Someone gave me some yogurt to eat, which I promptly threw up.  The husband called his mom, crying his face off, to tell her that her newest granddaughter had arrived.  I couldn’t keep it together, so I texted my parents, my brother, and my best friends.

At 2am.

Considering nearly all 2am texts are typically drunken texts, it was a great pleasure to be able to send that one after so many years.

We slept a bit here and there.  Eventually I was able to eat solid food.  A nurse helped me to the bathroom, and considering I had very little control over my legs and urinary tract, it was a harrowing experience for all involved.

By the time visiting hours rolled around, our families started arriving.  I don’t remember who was there first… I know that my parents and sister had stayed at a hotel in the hospital since the place we delivered was about three hours from their house.  Oh  yeah – U of M has a hotel IN THE HOSPITAL.  What the what?!  It was nice knowing they were close by!  My best friend had stayed close by as well – she lives in my hometown, too – and she was there that morning to see us.  The husband’s parents came up from Toledo to visit and fawn over our girl.  Another of my besties drove FIVE HOURS to see us, too!  Clara has had a fan club since long before she was born (or even conceived!), and it was so nice for her to finally meet some of them!

Despite the happy visits and surreal firsts that happened all day long, there was still a lingering tension over our little family, knowing that we needed to see a few specialists to determine if the infection had injured any part of our girl’s brain or central nervous system.  Urine testing from her first few hours of life indicated that the infection had passed into her system, as we thought it would, but how that would impact her was yet to be determined.

The eye exam was first, and she passed with flying colors.  We will still need to see an ophthalmologist regularly to be sure her vision isn’t deteriorating, as can happen sometimes with CMV, but initial testing on her first day, and a follow-up visit two weeks ago showed no visual involvement from the infection.

One down…

Next was her hearing.  Again, we will need to monitor this regularly as she grows to ensure that she doesn’t lose hearing as can happen with CMV, but her hospital testing was perfect.

Hearing and vision – check.

The last specialist we waited for was from neurology.  Because Clara came on Sunday, there was no one available to perform the necessary cranial ultrasound immediately, so we were told they would come by to see us on Monday morning instead.  The sonographer was not able to give us any results of course, so we would need to wait until the doctor could interpret the findings and come back to speak with us.

When a resident from neurology did come back, we were told that they saw some calcifications in Clara’s brain.  What that would mean for her was yet to be seen, and we weren’t given much information right away.  The resident said that the head of pediatric neurology would come back to speak with us more, so until that point we had to just wait and try to digest the information we were given.

It was late in the day on Monday when the neuro attending and his team came to see us.  The nurses had arranged for our discharge that day – for BOTH of us to be discharged, together! – but because of the lateness of the neuro visit, we opted to stay one more night to avoid driving home in the dark and snow.

The visit from the neuro team was surprisingly relieving.  He told us that the calcifications seen were small, few in number, and in an area where there wasn’t a whole lot of very important things happening.  All in all, a best case scenario for that particular finding.  He said that he’d seen pediatric patients with worse findings than ours who he had finally had to discharge from his care because there was absolutely nothing wrong with them that they needed to see a pediatric neurologist.

It was recommended to us by our pediatric infectious diseases team that we start Clara on an oral antiviral medication that’s been shown to have really wonderful results in congenital CMV babies.  The newest study shows the benefit of a longer treatment with the medication, so we’ll give this antiviral twice a day for six months, with blood work monitoring throughout that time to ensure the medication isn’t affecting her immune system at all.

An amazing relief, and an excellent treatment plan, although we know that only time will tell if our girl has any lasting effects from the infection and the calcifications.  We have been set up with a full roster of follow-up appointments for the next six months, and we know that we are in excellent care with Clara’s team of doctors.

Finally, on Tuesday, December 9th, the three of us went home as a family.


Since we’ve been home, it’s been a whirlwind, as they tell you it will be.  Having a baby during the holidays is especially crazy, but we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  So far, Clara has had her first Christmas, was there to celebrate our sixth anniversary with us, rang in the new year, celebrated her one-month birthday, and enjoyed her first MSU basketball game (on TV of course) with her dad.

They won, in case you wondered.





Most of our time has been more low-key, though.  A whole lot of this.



All in all, things have been amazing.  We have no way to know what the future holds for us or for Clara, but we’re optimistic that our girl will have a full, happy, and healthy life.

A few things are certain, however…

We are so incredibly blessed, and so incredibly in love.

I mean, how could you NOT be?  🙂


A Thousand Years

So I made this little video.

Really it’s a photo montage of the year, focusing on the most important events…

I chose the song because for a long time now, it’s been a sort of aspirational anthem for me.  I always envisioned humming it to my baby, and when I learned I was pregnant in April, it became even more important to me.  The lyrics are so spot on, it’s hard for me to imagine my Clara having a more perfect theme song… The lyrics even hang in her nursery.

a thousand years

Thank you all so much for being with me this year, and may 2015 bring us all our hearts desire and more.

So much more.

Click here for the video (sorry… not able to embed Flipagrams at this time.)


A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid
To fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died every day
waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

Time stands still
beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath,
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid,
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more

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Summertime Sadness

A safe space where I discuss the racing thoughts in my head, personal struggles, and day-to-day activities while struggling with mental health and mood disorder issues. My personal goal is to reduce the stigma that comes with mental health and mood disorders, by talking more about it.