To All Who Still Wait…

Pregnancy is a state of flux, and understandably so.  So much is changing that sometimes it makes my head spin.  The night-and-day differences in my life now versus my life a year ago are cuh-RAZY.  Sometimes I can barely comprehend it all.

As an infertile, there was this thing pregnant moms did that always annoyed me – more or less from jealousy, I suppose.  You know when a pregnant lady is in mid conversation and then suddenly her face goes blank?  She takes on this inward gaze, and maybe her hand travels to her belly of its own volition.  It’s just a fleeting moment, and then she’s back with you, but it’s there.  You don’t know where she just went, and it hurts when it’s not you and you can’t understand what just happened.

Now I understand.

There’s this movement inside of you that feels like a little fish swimming around (or sometimes, like a nice hard kick to the spleen), and you subconsciously reach out to still this little being, or feel more intensely so as to be more a part of your child’s movements.  You aren’t seeing what’s before you, but what’s within you.  You aren’t looking at the present, but the future, when that child will be in your arms.

It’s one thing I’ve grown to love, and yet another way that life has changed so immensely for me.  I tell you about that so that I can next tell you about this…

I sometimes think about those dark, intense moments of frustration, sadness, disbelief, anger, fear, and grief during the thick of infertility.  During those times, I would think to myself about the future where I had a child of my own in my arms, and I’d wonder if future me would ever look back at those dark moments and remember what it was like.  Those thoughts were what kept me going.  The thought that in the future, I could be happy and complete, and that the past wouldn’t have impacted me the way I worried it might.

In those dark moments when all seemed hopeless, the future – THIS future – was what kept me putting one foot in front of the other for one more day, one more month, one more year.

And so I say to all who still wait – there is hope.

I can’t tell you that your future will definitely see you with a child in your arms, or if it will, how long it might be, or that you won’t struggle and suffer and grieve on your way to that future, but I can tell you that the old cliché is right: it’s always darkest just before dawn.

I used to hate hearing that… It’s almost like your great-grandmother’s version of “everything happens in its own time, honey”.  It was annoying to think about, but from here I can see how true it is.

The problem with the statement is that we have no idea how close to our journey’s dawn we are at any given moment.  In the first couple of years we tried to get pregnant, I thought I was a month away EVERY MONTH.  I figured one month must equal one hour ticking by on my journey’s clock.

I was wrong.

So maybe each hour that ticked by was a year, but I had no way of knowing that back then.  It was dark all those years, and it got darker as time went by.  The problem is that when it’s dark all around you, how can you really tell if it’s “darkest”?

The truth is that you can’t.  You lose sight of lighter days with which to compare your current state.  It’s all objective anyway, right?  The only way to really know if you are currently in your darkest days is to come out the other side, into the light.  Hindsight.  Ugh.

And so I say to all who still wait – the light is out here, and you’ll find your way through the dark.

I just wish I could tell you how long.

And the truth is that I can’t.

But you know what?  Each of our journeys is unique to us.  I needed to wander in the dark for five years.  Maybe you can do with less, and maybe it will be more.  Maybe your journey won’t end with a baby, but a new take on what a complete life can be for you.  Maybe a child will come to you in a way that you never expected, shining a blinding light in your darkness and rocking your entire world to its core.

The awful beauty of it is that it’s not for us to know.  We each have to live it for ourselves.

All I can tell you is to live.  Survive.  Fight, advocate, and strive for better treatment in whatever way works best for you.

Hope, dream, and don’t let go of that lightness inside of you that still believes.  Ever.

None of us can know what is right around the next corner, nor how the next day, month, or year in our journey will play out.  What we must always remember, however, is that we are more than the paths we’ve walked.


And so I say to all who still wait –


You are more than your circumstances.

You are defined only by the actions you take.

You are strong enough to not let this turn you hard.

You are capable of doing more and being more.

You dream for a reason – do not ever give up on those dreams.


You can choose hope or hopelessness,

but you, your dreams, and your future,

are worth so much more than giving up.

You are worth your hope.


And so I say to all who still wait –

Let your hope shine as a light in the darkness. 

It won’t tell you where you are on the path, but it will allow you to put one foot in front of the other for one more day.

And really, every step forward is one step closer to our dreams.


And so I say to all who still wait –

Keep moving forward.

Don’t ever stop.




Viability and Uncertainty

Monday, September 15th, 2014.  25w4d.

I know it’s been quiet over here, and partially it’s just been because life, as it will do, has become so overwhelmingly busy the past few weeks that it’s taken every last ounce of effort on my part to even keep in touch with people who call or email me.  It’s been cuh-RAZY.

The other part has to do with the fact that there are some things happening that I’ve been trying to process, trying to work through, and attempting to handle completely within the confines of marriage, but I’m finding that I – we – may need help.

And so, as I always do, I’m turning to you, my readers and the wide reach of the interwebs, for help.

First, let me tell you the story of how something totally common I’d never even heard of is currently possibly endangering our precious Jelly Bean…


Nearly six weeks ago at our 20-week anatomy scan, the doctor said that everything looked great with the baby, just that she was measuring a bit small in a couple of areas, including her head measurement.  Since neither the husband or I are particularly large people, we, and the doctor, chalked this up to genetics and were told it likely wasn’t a reason to worry.

Since Jelly Bean fell below a certain percentile in her head circumference, however, we were referred to Maternal Fetal Medicine for a follow-up scan two weeks later.  Every indication was that with the better machines, two full weeks, and a different sonographer, baby’s measurements would probably show up at the second scan well within range.

Well, that wasn’t the case.  Baby’s head measurement was still small, although her brain looks perfect, and there was an echogenic or bright area visible in her bowel.  These two findings can be markers for all sorts of genetic abnormalities, Downs Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or signs of infection, as I was told when I was ambushed by three perinatologists and a genetic counselor moments after my ultrasound ended.

I was stunned that this was such a big deal, but carefully weighed through the options presented to me and ultimately decided to have a more advanced genetic screening panel (Verifi) and an infections TORCH panel done that day.

The Verifi results came back around a week later, and all indications are that this baby girl has an extremely low risk for trisomies and other genetic issues for which I was tested.  This is pretty much in line with what my first and second trimester screening labs showed, as well, so I was relieved.

The TORCH panel also showed that I am not infected with toxoplasmosis, parvovirus (the human version of this strain is commonly called Fifth’s Disease), or the other infections on the panel.

Except one.  Cytomegalovirus, or CMV, is the one infection for which I tested positive.  The two-part testing showed that I have been exposed in the past, but also that I have had either a recent infection or a resurgence of an old infection.  CMV is one of the herpes family of viruses like chicken pox or shingles, and can lie dormant in your system after exposure for a long time.  Occasionally, pregnancy can cause it to reemerge, and many times without symptoms.

I had never heard of this infection before.  I’ve heard of toxoplasmosis – that’s the one you can get if you are in contact with the cat litter while pregnant, and I’ve heard of parvovirus because our dog had it when I was in high school – although I didn’t realize there were different variations that humans could also get – and not from dogs, from each other.  But CMV?  Never heard of it.  So why were these doctors talking to me like I should be terrified?

Well, upon researching on my own, I discovered that when a woman is exposed to and infected with CMV for the first time during the first half of pregnancy, there is a 60% chance her unborn baby can also get the infection, called Congenital CMV.  There’s currently no real treatment (other than one that’s being done on a rather experimental level), and the infection in the baby can cause a range of things from hearing and vision loss, to profound mental and physical disabilities, to stillbirth and infant death.

It can also cause nothing.  There’s just no way to know.

There are odds and chances and percentages, but again, no way to know if the baby does, in fact,  have the infection until birth, and no real way to know how this infection, should she have it, will impact her life.

At some point, while all this was happening, I reached 24 weeks – viability.  Except, in this case… is it?  It’s hard to say.  Either way, I’m amazed to have made it this far, and I hope and pray every single day that the little lady ninja-kicking my spleen on the regular will be strong and healthy.  She’s a fighter like her mama, that much I know for the sheer fact that she even exists.


So what now?

Good question.  Upon doing hours and hours of research, I found a resource with a children’s hospital in Texas that specializes in CMV in infants and in pregnant mothers.  I found that there is a blood test that can sometimes help determine if this particular infection is more than six months old, or less.  The test isn’t exact, so it may be inconclusive, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.  I had the labs run almost two weeks ago, and the results should be in soon…

From there, if I’m able to determine that I likely contracted the illness prior to pregnancy, I can perhaps worry a bit less.  If the test shows that I likely did become infected during pregnancy, then I will have to move forward.

Forward with what?

I don’t know.  All I know is that I’m currently being seen by a very small hospital Maternal Fetal Medicine department, and not even with the hospital chain I wish to deliver with in this area.  There are some insurance politics at play here, but I may have to force the issue and skirt around my OB’s office to see a more regional specialist.  From there, I hope to secure treatment through a doctor and hospital with a high-level NICU, because my baby will have to go through a barrage of tests after birth to find out if she has this infection, and if so, what – if any – symptoms she may be showing.

Another thing to consider is that there is that little experimental treatment that I mentioned before.  It’s not done regularly – my doctor here had never even heard of it and assured me that no one in this area would attempt it (how he knows that is beyond me…) – but it IS done, and with great success and little risk, actually.  I would like to find a MFM doctor who might consider it, and I’m willing to commit to a hospital over an hour away from my home to make that happen, risky though it may be to consider having to travel that distance in the winter to deliver.

On one hand, I feel like I have zero options – wait until the baby is born, have her tested, and plan your life at that moment around those results and whatever unpredictable events may occur thereafter.

On the other, I feel like there are so many different directions I can go to search for help – and I do feel that I need to search for help, because I feel that I’m very clearly only getting the one “wait and see” option from my current providers.

All of this uncertainty and feeling that I’m left to advocate for myself, and my baby, completely on my own is so reminiscent of what I went through while struggling with infertility.  It’s familiar, and disheartening at the same time.

I blame myself, although the doctors say there’s no way for me to have known I was exposed to this virus.  I think they don’t realize that I blame myself more so for finally, after so long, just being happy.  I forgot all about that other shoe dropping, and when it did, I was completely broadsided.


So here we are.  Like every pregnant mother, I’m hoping and praying for a healthy baby with an easy delivery, but unlike every mother, I’m also hoping and praying with every fiber of my being that this baby will test negative for an infection that could make her little life very difficult, and worse, even very short.

The doctors tell me there’s no use in worrying, and that 60% of babies don’t get the infection.  They tell me that the abnormalities that showed up on the ultrasounds they’ve seen could be things that just correct on their own and may not be directly related to the infection at all.  They tell me that I may end up with a perfectly healthy baby who has a perfectly normal life.

I wish I could just blindly accept that, but for me, as it’s always been, I can’t just sit back and live with those what-ifs.

If there’s something that can be done, even on an experimental level, I’m going to pursue it.  This baby is due in roughly 100 days, which means that I have around three months to do everything in my power as a mother and informed patient to ensure that she is given every chance at a normal life.

So here we are.  A new normal, yet again.

Different, but so familiar.

And yet, there’s so much more at stake now…

But one thing’s for sure – I will never, ever give up.


If you have experience with CMV during pregnancy, or have a child impacted by Congenital CMV, please let me know.  Also, if you have, or know someone who has undergone the experimental treatment for CMV on babies in utero with Cytogam, please reach out.  I am desperate for information on both of these subjects. 

Thank you!


Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014.  20w 5d.

It’s hard not to worry, even now when things seem to be going so well.

This has been an amazing year for our little family.  A surprise miracle pregnancy, a raise and promotion for me, and recently, a raise and promotion for the husband, too.

We’ve accomplished so much, and yet it all feels so delicate, so tenuous.

With all of that good in the air, I still worry over this babe every day.  I really try to enjoy each new day and what it brings to me as far as life and this pregnancy are concerned, but it’s sometimes hard to escape that dark cloud of worry that follows me at a distance.

At Jelly Bean’s anatomy scan, everything looked great according to the sonographer.  She was gracious and talked to me the whole way through, pointing out every part she measured and explaining why that was important.  She didn’t talk down to me, and it was nice to just feel like an observer rather than a test subject for a change.

After the ultrasound, I met with one of the doctors in my OB office’s rotation.  There are four of them, and this one I like very much.  She’s a sweet little lady, but she is very clear in her instructions and explanations.  She doesn’t dote, but has a way of making her patients feel special.

I asked about my second trimester screening blood work that I’d had done the week prior, and she said that it had come back totally normal.  Based on the first trimester screening labs, the NT scan, and the second trimester labs, she says the risk of this baby having any kind of chromosomal abnormality is very low.  That was a relief to hear, as it was yet another thing I’d been worrying about.

The doctor wanted to talk to me about the ultrasound report from my anatomy scan.  It looks as though our little Jelly Bean is measuring a bit petite for her age, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me given that the husband and I were both small babies, and not very large adults, come to that.  Of course this is yet another thing that consumes me, however… I’m told that she will likely catch up and that it won’t be a problem, or that she will just be a petite baby, which again, shouldn’t be a problem.

And still.  I worry.

The what-if’s are terrible.  I try to control the amount of time I spend letting myself go down those roads, but sometimes my mind just gets away from me.  I’ve run these finding past my sonographer friend, who assures me that as long as baby girl is growing consistently, there shouldn’t be an issue.  She may just be a little peanut.

It’s that gray area that’s implied in the word may that keeps me awake at night, however.

Well, that, and my bladder.

And so, after yet another restless night of worried thoughts and compressed organs keeping me awake between short bouts of fitful sleep, I started this morning a little rough.  I was tired and cranky and hungry and I wanted chocolate milk but I’ve consumed the gallon and a half we had in the house in the past three days, so then I was straight-up hangry.

And then something really interesting happened.  I turned on Pandora on my phone while I got in the shower, and every song that played throughout my morning ritual was trying to tell me something.  Gratitude, optimism, appreciation – surprising lessons from late 90s/early 2000s alt rock, sure, but they were there speaking to me nonetheless.

At some point during Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle, I started to get the picture.  I mean, that song was my infertility mainstay, and listening to the lyrics now not only show me how far life has brought me since those days, but also that those lessons are still completely applicable today.

It just takes some time
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right, all right 

Just to drive the point home, the last song I heard before I got out of the car at the office this morning was a Matchbox 20 song, Let’s See How Far We’ve Come. 

Point made.


I figured it was time to indulge the Powers That Be and really truly reflect on where I’ve been, and where I am now.

Over five years, three OB doctors, four reproductive specialists, two acupuncturists, four recommendations to move on to IVF, 60 cycle day ones, and countless moments of extreme doubt that we would ever be parents later, we are just a few months from meeting our baby girl.

After months upon months of medications and Western medicine and feeling like a science experiment, I finally found some peace in the process when I gave in and gave acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine a chance.

Despite the lack of hard science behind acupuncture and TCM, it was the one thing that finally made the difference for me.

On what was planned to be my very last cycle of treatment with acupuncture, during a poorly timed encounter at that, and after several days of abusing my body with poor sleep, food, and beverage choices, conception somehow occurred.

Very faint home pregnancy tests led to a very low beta blood draw, which rose slowly as well.  An early ultrasound showed a tiny speck with a tiny heartbeat, and we were given hope and cautious optimism, but still I worried… and yet – this baby has grown to the size of a petite  banana in the weeks since.

So many times I was given the sad hand-on-shoulder pat, meant to be reassuring while delivering me the hard blows of “maybe it’s time to move on”.  On to another treatment, on to another doctor, on to another pursuit in life besides parenthood. 

So many times I had hopes that were dashed, and so many times I had to talk myself into optimism when just giving up and crying it out would have been easier.

So many times I worried and stressed and lost sleep over what I thought might never happen, over what I thought might be a figment of my imagination, over what the doctor told me was there but I was afraid wouldn’t stay with me.

So many times I’ve worried, and so many times I’ve been proven wrong. 

I may be worried now, and that may never stop, but I do have faith. 

I have faith in my body, I have faith that this Christmas will be the best one of my life, and I have faith that the little lady currently delivering me tiny ninja kicks to the abdomen will come on her own time, at just the right size, and in perfect health.


So, let’s see how far we’ve come?

Miles and miles, and a lifetime of needless worry. 

I’m sure five years from now, I’ll be saying the same thing while looking back on what’s changed from the time I was expecting, to the time I will be getting Lady Ninja Kicks ready for her first day of school.

We’ve come so far, and we have so far to go.

Faith has carried us to today, and will carry us into tomorrow. 

We just have to believe that the impossible can happen, because it can

And it does.


Voodoo, Pt. 2

#TBT – Between these two psychics, they pretty much nailed the details, minus the year – you know, if that kind of thing is important.

Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...

So… In keeping with what seems to be a theme this year

I got a psychic reading.

Well… Two, actually.

They were online, and I know they could be completely made-up crap emailed to me by people looking to make easy money by lying to strangers, but whatever… I got them.

The first reading was a fairly simple one, done by a lady named Sky:

Focusing in on an upcoming pregnancy for you I see the month of April being significant. This can be in reference to the month of April 2013 being conception or positive testing or the month of April 2014 being birth timing. I feel a girl’s presence associated with this pregnancy. 
To simplify things a bit more I see April as conception, positive testing or birth timing with a little girl.
The second reading was far more in-depth and took a bit longer…

View original post 533 more words

What Has Changed… And What Hasn’t.

Monday, July 28th, 2014.  18w 4d.

Obviously becoming pregnant is a situation that is rife with change.  Your body changes, your lifestyle changes, your heart and soul change.  I’ve noticed some of the obvious changes in my waistline and bra size, yes, but there have been other, more subtle changes happening behind the scenes that sometimes sneak up on me.  Some of these are changes in my mindset and the way I’ve come to protect myself through infertility.

I’d like to share some of these changes, big and small, with you now.

If I notice the clock says 11:11, I no longer think “Please…”.  I’ve caught myself instead whispering “Thank you…”.

I’m not as terrified of babies as I once was.  I used to avoid them when possible, and usually turned down holding them at all.  I walked away from baby-centered conversations if I could, and tried not to look horribly uncomfortable if I couldn’t.  Today I’m noticing that I am warming up to those squirmy little snot-factories more and more, which I suppose is a good thing if I’m to have one running my own home like the tiny, miraculous terrorists I still mostly believe them to be.

As I said above, my waistline is expanding.  Most of my pants now either don’t button whatsoever, or are held up with the help of a giant elastic band worn under my shirts and over my pants.  I even have a couple pairs of honest to God maternity pants that I bought from an honest to God maternity store.  That experience was completely surreal, and to be honest, when I wear those pants, I feel like a supermodel.  Some women aspire to be thin and svelte and curvy… I’ve always aspired to have a baby belly to show off.  It’s nice to finally have that little bump I’ve envied for so long.

Aiding in that growing bump is likely the fact that I’m allowing myself to just EAT.  Not that I wasn’t before, but I was still being rather careful about my choices most of the time.  These days however, I’m just eating what sounds good (which is sometimes not so great for me, I’m sure), but I feel a certain freedom in indulging because I CAN.


I’ve started feeling like a bit of a fraud when talking with my fellow Infertiles.  While I believe that I will always feel like one of them, at the moment it’s hard to feel infertile AND pregnant at the same time.  I’m walking an interesting line… I sort of feel like a college freshman who is attending her high school’s prom with her one year younger boyfriend.  HA.  When I’m with them, I’m not fully a part of their world and we all know it.  When I’m not with them, I’m trying as best I can to immerse myself in fertile culture, which I had heretofore avoided like the plague.  I may never fully come around to mommy blogs and play groups the way some do, but I am putting forth an effort to join the party without distancing myself from those who I will always consider my sisters.

My boobs are epic.  I mean, they’re huge and hard and veiny and kind of gross-looking, honestly, but they ARE huge.  I’ve had to upgrade bra sizes recently, and I can see that I will have to do so another time or two at least.  Fun for the husband, but not so fun for my wallet.

Speaking of money, I’ve begun to think differently in terms of spending lately.  Before, we allotted quite a large sum to pay for infertility treatments, acupuncture, herbs, and all sorts of other business that wasn’t covered by insurance.  Now, because apparently infertility is “cosmetic” and because having a baby is “a normal medical condition” (just, UGH), everything seems to be covered by insurance.  Hooray, right?  Well, it’s not like we have extra spending money by any means… Funds are now being funneled toward things I never thought I’d buy – cribs, diapers, snot-suckers, eleventy billion teeny, tiny babeh socks.  And more diapers.

I’m starting to become more comfortable even saying “I’m pregnant”.   Before it was like a curse you didn’t want to say out loud, risking hexing yourself that it might never happen.  Now, I’m getting used to it.  More so, hearing other people say it is becoming less… weird.  I’m awkward as humans go, and so I might be more likely to say something like “I’m growing a person” or “I’m hosting a parasite”.  Adorable, right?  I know.  I’m awkward.

Something that hasn’t changed is the absolute astonishment that this is my life.

I am so completely amazed that I am able to tell people that I overcame infertility.  I get to share my story and offer hope to others that they too can graduate.  I am so fortunate to be able to walk this line between two worlds of complete love and support.

It never fails to blow me away when I can say those blessed sacraments that Infertiles barely dare to speak in their hearts:

My pregnancy.

My child.

My family.

My baby…


My daughter.




Knocked Up: the Details

July 10th, 2014.  16w 0d.

***This is obviously a pregnancy-related and detail heavy post.***

  ***If you’re not in a place to read this right now, then this is your friendly warning.***

I know that there are those who probably want to know some of the down ‘n dirty details of this pregnancy, and those people are about to be either 1. very happy, or 2. very grossed out.

Here comes the TMI, ladies and gents.

I’m guessing we should start at the beginning.  In the first days, I didn’t feel like I was the walking embodiment of the miracle of life or anything.  The fact is that my only real “symptoms” were pretty much exactly what I would have been feeling had Aunt Flo not missed her bus that month.

Breast tenderness, check.  Wee bit o’ cramping, check.  Bloating, check.  Fatigue, check.  Normal stuff.

The only things that were different from what I’d usually experience happened well after I’d confirmed the pregnancy with the doctor’s office and eleventy thousand peesticks.  One was a very real and apparent need for food in the morning.  I was never nauseated per se, but if I didn’t get something – even liquid – into my stomach shortly after getting out of bed, I’d have a killer gag reflex and just feel sort of woozy until I rectified the situation.

The other fun little gift was far less talked about in the world of early pregnancy symptoms, and came in the form of an ungodly amount of cervical mucus.  I’m talking flash flood warning levels here.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo GROOOOOOOSSS.

I had a couple of teensy bouts of not-quite-spotting that were like beigey-orange mucus that happened at random times, and of course these occurrences sent me into anxiety spirals from which there was little escape.  I was constantly terrified in that first trimester, and things like this didn’t help.

And while we’re talking about gross things that have evacuated my body, let’s talk about gross things that refuse to evacuate my body.  Around 9 weeks, the doc told me to start taking an iron supplement, because I was slightly anemic.  No biggie, and I figured I’d work on upping iron in my diet as well.  Ever since then, I’ve basically been on Poop Watch 2014.  It’s like a blessed event when it does happen.  I figured out that cherry season (thank you, Michigan!!) is my friend, so that’s been helping.  Prunes?  No sir.  Apricots are just overkill, and we shall never speak of the events that occurred after my last consumption of that devil fruit.  Just let it go.

Around week 9 or 10, we went on a trip to California for a wedding.  In wine country.  Where the vegetarian menus were composed of lovely delicious things covered in OMGDANGER!! soft cheeses.  So that was an adventure, ha.  Flying was  a little nerve-wracking for me, as I wasn’t sure if I’d suddenly develop debilitating nausea on the plane, or if flying would cause me to spot… or worse.  It all turned out to be fine, however, and I managed to have plenty to eat at the veggie-events.

Sometime around 1o or 11 weeks, I dug the home fetal doppler I ordered a year and a half ago out of the bottom of my hope chest.  It had never even been opened, sadly.  I watched numerous videos online of women finding their babies’ heartbeats at like 9 weeks, so I was confident that I could do it, too.

I was wrong.  I failed the first time I tried, and gave up on the grounds that it was too early.  Maybe a week later, in a fit of frustration, I tried it again, and was surprisingly, almost immediately successful.  It was such a great sound to hear – one we hadn’t heard since Jelly Bean’s first ultrasound at 7 weeks.

I’m now a pro at using the doppler at home, and while I know I shouldn’t abuse it, I often listen to baby’s heart before bed as reassurance that he or she is still in there, growing away.  I think that once I’m feeling regular movement, I’ll need the doppler less and less… Until then, it’s my crutch, but it’s helping my anxiety like you wouldn’t believe.

So really, that was it for the first trimester.  The fatigue got worse for a while, and then it got better around maybe 11 weeks.  The weird morning gaggy thing disappeared sometime around then as well, so I’m guessing that was the beginning of my transition into that fabled Second Trimester Honeymoon Phase that people talk about.

Oh, wait.  I mentioned the bloating earlier, but didn’t go into enough detail, clearly.

From about 7 weeks until probably 12, I was so bloated that my pants wouldn’t button – granted, many of them were getting a bit snug before my uterus started to expand, but still…  It was ridiculous and nothing I did changed it.  I was dressing to hide a bump that no one knew about yet.  I  felt like it was obvious to EVERYONE, although the handful of people that knew later on never said anything.

Around 12 weeks, the bloating faded a bit, but by that point my uterus had started its ascent into my abdomen.  By 13 weeks, simply unbuttoning my pants was no longer a comfortable option, and zipping them was becoming laughable as well.  I picked up a Bella Band around 14 weeks, and that’s helped a bit…

Yesterday, just shy of 16 weeks, I bought maternity pants.

Shit’s getting real up in here, folks.

Honestly, I think this little front-pudge looks like more burrito than baby, but I can tell that it’s on its way to a discernible bump.  Soon.  Very soon.

As for the next few milestone moments, what I’m looking forward to most is a tie between finding out this little Bean’s gender, and feeling regular movement.  I’ve noticed a few odd sensations at inconsistent intervals that have felt a bit like rolls I guess, but I have no clue if that was baby movement or sluggish bowel movement.  It’s a little early for that quite yet anyway, as I hear many don’t feel movement until after 20 weeks.

What will be nice is that we should be able to find out baby’s gender before the 20 week anatomy scan.  I had a cervical procedure many  years ago, and because of this, I’m being monitored by ultrasound for cervical shortening every two weeks from 16 to 24 weeks.  My first scan in that series is this Friday, and they’ve said that there’s a chance they’ll be able to tell the gender then.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I’m really, REALLY hoping this kid cooperates and shows the goodies.  I NEED TO KNOW.

So anyway, that’s about it.  I’m not really letting myself get carried away with all the weekly updates and bump pics and that kind of thing because it’s not really me, and because I’m just not in a place yet where I feel I can let myself go with that kind of completely unbridled excitement.

Maybe someday.

I did check out a due date website that emails me things I apparently need to know, and they say that Jelly Bean is approximately the size of an avocado this week.

…Which is appropriate because if one more person asks me what we’ll name this kid, I’m going to tell them Avocado because it’s gender neutral, walk away, and leave them to wonder if I’m serious.



Survivor’s Guilt and the Future of This Blog

July 8th, 2014.  15w 5d.

I’ve been asked – more than once – and I’ve wondered myself for some time now what exactly will become of this blog now that I’m on my way to the “other side” of the infertility struggle.

In many ways, I just don’t know how to answer.

Yes, I want this to remain a resource for those who are struggling – and an outlet for myself, as I still struggle as well.

No, I don’t want to lose readers who just can’t bear to hear about pregnant life at this point in their journeys.

Yes, I want to continue to tell my story, the same way I always have – no holds barred, TMI ablaze.

No, I don’t want to stop writing… nor do I want to start a whole new blog at the moment.

Yes, I want to become a mommy.

No, I do not want to become a mommy blogger.

So that’s where I am.  Halfway between where I’m headed and where I’ve spent the last five-ish years.

Limbo is a sucky place to be.

I don’t want to turn away anyone who isn’t in a place to hear pregnancy updates, and I understand that some will have to back away from my posts for exactly that reason.  I do understand, truly.  I’ve had to do the same at points in my journey as well… It comes with the territory, and I can only hope that my story offers some light at the end of the tunnel for those who are still in the trenches – even if they’re not in a place to read it.

I also don’t want to stop blogging details of my life, because the infertility struggle doesn’t just stop when you become pregnant.  If anything, it can come crashing back as hardcore as it ever was in the beginning, and the need for support and an outlet is even greater than before.

An Infertile once is an Infertile always, despite success or resolution.

I do feel a large amount of survivor’s guilt as well.  I feel it when I post something on my personal Facebook, knowing that I have friends who are struggling.  I try to remain sensitive to that and not blast my news feed with ultrasound or bump pics.  I tried to be sensitive when we officially “came out” a couple of weeks back, emailing those friends I knew were struggling before posting the announcement photo.  I wanted them to have a heads-up, as I know I’ve appreciated having one in the past.

I feel badly that I am allowing myself to be happy.  I have been such a steadfast and reliably infertile confidante for so many over the years, that now when I’ve sort of crossed over, I worry that those who relied on me won’t have the same support I was able to offer before.

Part of this worry comes from being fiercely protective of my support group, and worrying that I won’t be able to carry the torch for them for much longer… at least not without an obvious and growing abdominal-area distraction which could cause discomfort for all in its presence.  I want them to continue, and to be well taken care of by whoever comes forward to take over hosting (or co-hosting) duties.  Most of all, I don’t want to be a drain on the complete openness we’ve managed to accomplish at our meetings and in our little online group.

Basically, I’m a woman stuck between two worlds.

My heart still leaps to my throat when I see a pregnancy announcement.  I feel dread and fear and jealousy before I am able to tell myself that it’s okay, and that I’m there too now.

I worry more now than I ever did in the past.  I have this precious thing now, and I feel like every time I do something that’s considered a big step in a normal pregnancy journey (like starting a baby registry… YIKES), I feel like I’m tempting fate and waiting for that other shoe to come down on my head.  Hard.  With a pile of bricks in its wake.

I have two baby name books in my possession.  My mom bought me one, and I picked up the other… I’ve wanted to have one for years, but always felt it too jinx-y to actually own one.  Now that I have them, I can’t bring myself to highlight them.  Any step like that feels like a step toward a permanence I’m terrified to look forward to.

People want to plan baby showers, and they ask me about nursery colors and bedding designs and baby names, and it’s all I do to quell that inner voice that’s screaming “OH MY GOD STOP!  THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT THIS, THE MORE I SPIRAL INTO INCAPACITATING WORRY THAT IT WILL NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!”

Infertility is terrifying.

Miscarriage is terrifying.

Pregnancy is terrifying.

Those two pink lines do not in any way solve every problem infertility causes.  While I thank God every single day for the reason that I’m so damn terrified all the time, and while I know how unbelievably lucky I am to be here right now, I still struggle.

I think I always will.

And that’s why I need this space.  Badly.

I need to write, and I need all of you.

I want you to know that if you need to back away at this time, I completely understand.  I’ve done it, too.  It’s what you need, and that’s perfectly fine.

As for me, I will be here.  I will be sharing what I can without blasting pregnancy crap down your throats.  I will struggle and I’ll take you with me, and I will (hopefully) triumph and you’ll be there too.

So there it is.  I’m staying here.

Steadfast, terrified, confused, worried, and so happy in those small moments in between.

You can be here, too.  If you want, and when you want.

I’m here for me, but I’m here for you as well.

Stick around if you can… I get the feeling that this ride’s just getting started.


“Sooo… How did this happen?”

Since dropping my little 14 week bombshell, I’ve had numerous comments and questions, both here at the blog and in real life, to the effect of:

“How did this happen?”

“What finally worked for you?”

“All this time and it was getting drunk that did the trick, huh?”

“Did you conceive naturally or have some kind of treatment?”

“I told you to just stop trying!  See??”

…And so on.  🙂

I figure I should probably let you in on the not-really-so-secret series of events that led to this amazing, if unexpected development.  Here we go…

1.  Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  And not just dabbling with it – full-on hardcore living the lifestyle that meshed best with my Chinese diagnosis, which included reading books, giving up cold drinks and food for months, spending three hours driving round trip weekly to appointments, spending money on said appointments, supplements and herbs, lying on a table with tiny needles sticking out of me at regular intervals, and learning to have the kind of patience that only five years of infertility can really teach a person.

I’m serious about the patience thing.  I gave my life, diet, medicine cabinet, and pocketbook to this process over the course of eight full months of treatment before I learned that I was pregnant.  That’s eight solid months of prepping my body to do something in a healthy way it had never been able to previously; eight months of retraining my hormonal system to operate correctly and release healthy eggs; eight months of helping blood flow where it should, increasing my intake of whole foods, and improving and repairing my body with the right kinds of supplements.

It sounds like a lot,  but spread over the course of time, it was relatively simple to integrate the changes into my everyday life.  The part that wasn’t simple was the part where I had to learn to let go completely, learn to trust a soft science verging on straight voodoo, and learn to let the positive changes come to me over time rather than as instantaneously as taking five days’ worth of Clomid.

So that was the biggest part of what worked.  The conundrum is that the researcher in me may never be satisfied with why it worked, because there are just so many unknowns about TCM.  I’m working on just accepting that things just are, rather than asking how they got there.  It’s a process,  but I’ve got a pretty good distraction to keep me occupied while I figure things out.  😉

2.  Time.  I know, I know… We all hate to hear “good things happen to those who wait!” and “it will happen if you just give it time!”… I hate it too.  Even now.  But I’m telling you that for me, the journey to this point had to happen the way it did for me to arrive at the solution.

Five years ago, you would not have been able to tell me that if I invested in some kooky Chinese voodoo that I’d likely conceive in eight months’ time.  I would have laughed you right out the door and promptly marched over to my RE’s office for pills and shots that would obviously work faster.  It’s funny, but I look back at how much younger I was then.   Not just in years, but in life experience.  I’ve learned more than I can even comprehend, about medicine – traditional and alternative, my body, and myself.

Time gave me a new outlook on life, and taught me about loss, letting go, and still having a full life.  I think coming to that conclusion was so freeing… McStabby might say that reaching this conclusion unblocked some meridians or some crap, and maybe he’s right.  Either way, getting to that point made a big difference for me, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

3.  Heredity?  My maternal grandmother passed away when I was 15, long before I was even thinking about having babies, or about my reproductive system in general.  I can’t ask her the questions I want to ask, but if I could, I would ask if she knows why at her young age, and in the generation of Baby Boomers, it took her and my grandpa five years to have their first baby – my aunt.  I’d also ask if she knows why it took another seven years after that to conceive my mom.

No one seems to know, and maybe she didn’t either.  Maybe she struggled like I did, and maybe her five year journey will mirror mine.  There’s no way to know, and that’s frustrating, but it’s a bit heartening to know that despite obvious setbacks – whatever they were – she had two beautiful girls who grew up to have families of their own.  A happy ending to a mysterious tale…

4.  Straight-up Voodoo.  Surprised by this one?  Don’t be.  Something in the universe – besides my fallopian tubes – aligned perfectly in order for this miracle to have happened the way it did, when it did.

There are several factors that I think played into the voodoo aspect of this nearly immaculate conception.  One was the fact that just a few months back, I was speaking with the RESOLVE representative about starting a support group.  One of the questions she asked was how I planned to handle the situation that would arise should a group member get pregnant, and then further, what if I, as the support group host, were to get pregnant.  I laughed at that, but she said “You know, you’d be surprised.  It happens much more than you’d think!  There’s just something about taking this step that seems to launch many women into their path for resolution, even if completely unexpectedly…”  Hmmmm.

So aside from the RESOLVE voodoo, there’s also the fact that a coworker came to me around that same time and asked me to join his soccer team, to which I also laughed.  I mean, have you met me?  I’m not exactly athletic.  Or coordinated.  Or anything even remotely close to what should appear on or near a soccer field.  I also don’t know how to sports, so there’s that.  Anyhoo, he said that all of the girls he’d had join his team typically dropped off within a month or two because they kept getting pregnant.  He felt like maybe if I joined as an “honorary member”, that this would dramatically increase my odds.  I thought it was silly, but I agreed to an honorary membership where I didn’t have to attend or participate at all, and could still say that I was part of this cursed/blessed team composed of men and very fertile women.  I’ve also had to drop off the team since joining.  Another hmmmm.

There were several other hmmm-inducing factors that may or may not have played into this blessed event, including the fact that I’ve loved Christmas and the whole holiday season my whole life, and that I’ve always dreamed of a Christmas baby.  Too many weird little bits all falling together at one time to make me think that this baby is anything but perfectly timed for me, for us, and for this weird little life we’re stumbling through.

So now that you have a little insight into what probably and maybe led to a healthy, happy pregnancy after more than five years of heartache, I’d like to share a short list of things that I know for a fact didn’t work:

1.  Going on vacation.  Yes, I had been out of town for a night just before this happened, but no, that’s not what actually did the trick here.  Don’t be silly.

2.  Getting drunk.  Again, soaking one’s membranes in cheap vodka will not increase one’s fertility.  That’s just stupid.  I did it anyway, but still… stupid.

3.  RelaxingHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Shut up.  Never.  Relaxation doesn’t make your ovaries function any more than taking a nap cures cancer.

4.  The “just stop trying…” tactic.  Come on.  Be serious here.  I may have taken a bit more of a passive approach to things over the course of the last few months, but that was largely because Chinese medicine somewhat forces you into a state of patience.  Changes don’t come overnight, and neither do solutions.  Once I embraced that fact, I was able to calm myself enough to see the positives that were coming to me over time.

That being said, I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.  Even in those last few months where the husband and I had been talking about how fulfilling a life could be without having children, I still knew when I was ovulating.  Even after I had laid down the thermometer and stopped letting temping and charting rule my mornings, I was always very aware of when I was fertile.

The month we conceived, the “encounter” was timed, at least on my part and at least mostly consciously.  I actually felt more pressure that month than I had in quite a few, as I held April’s fertile days as my last-ditch effort.  I had made the decision that it would be my last month of really trying, and that the next month the husband and I would just… be.  I don’t know if I would have been able to just stop cold turkey like that, but as it happened, it didn’t matter… surprising though it was at the time.

I didn’t stop trying.

I couldn’t.

And for all of those efforts – for all of the reasons, both logical and completely illogical above – what do I have?

My little Hail-Mary Jelly Bean, due on Christmas Day.

As much as the journey sucked , there’s absolutely no way I could ever argue with that timing.  It’s completely perfect, and completely worth every minute of struggle it took to get here.


So while I’d love to tell you that this miracle child is being brought to you by booze and irony, do you want to know my answer to the question, “How did this happen?”


I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.






The Big Fat Confession, Part Two

So where did we leave off…?

Oh right.

Two lines on a non-expired pregnancy test.


Upon discovering that the previously peed-upon expired test may not have been hurtfully wrong after all, I finally told the husband what I’d discovered.  Like me, he was skeptical and doubtful, and basically every negative feeling that comes along with finding yourself in a situation in which you’ve been burned previously.

We didn’t talk about it much.  I called my OB the next day (having discovered that my old RE no longer considered me a patient since it had been over nine months since they’d last seen me) and scheduled two blood draws for 48 hours apart.

The first came back – low, but acceptable at 29.

I actually breathed a little sigh of relief at that; in my previous pregnancy, the one I miscarried after eightish weeks, my first beta had only been 17, which was concerningly low.

I basically held my breath for 48 hours after that until the results of the second beta came back.


Almost triple.

The OB nurse was extremely pleased, and said that the doctor was too.  They’d see me in three weeks for an ultrasound.  Congratulations, bye.

Errmm… Okay?

So then the husband and I were left to deal with that news.  We didn’t share it with anyone initially.  I was terrified that I’d miscarry again, that this little Jelly Bean wouldn’t develop and we wouldn’t know it until the ultrasound.  We rarely spoke of the pregnancy to each other, though it loomed over us like an ominous dark cloud, full of the terrifying unknown.

Aside from the fear that I’d miscarry again, I was also afraid that my support group would find out.  There’s a certain protocol involved in letting your group know when a member is pregnant, and I had no idea how to do that, since our group was basically ONE MONTH OLD.  I also had no clue how to let them know that it was their host, their organizer that was the pregnant one!  I started the group fully expecting to be the old infertile standby, reliable in my infertility and always a shoulder upon which to cry.  I never expected to be the first victim of the group’s rule that pregnant members would leave the group after their first trimester.

That was the biggest reason I didn’t share my news sooner.  That, and the crippling fear.  Fear that this was real, that it might actually work out this time, and fear that it might not.  Again.  So weeks went by and I continued to keep this to myself.

When the day of the ultrasound arrived, three days before Mother’s Day, I was a wreck.  I didn’t think I’d be able to function a full day at work waiting for an appointment, so I scheduled it for first thing in the morning.  My bladder was full, and I was shaking.

The husband was with me when the sonographer put that little wand on my belly, and as I was telling her that I was only technically seven weeks and that I doubted she’d be able to see anything abdominally, there was the little bean, complete with a flickering heartbeat.

All I remember is her saying “there’s your baby, and there’s its heartbeat”, and myself saying “oh God, thank you” with half a sob.  The husband was on the verge too, and he held my hand and kept me grounded.

We moved on to the good ol’ dildocam portion of the interview, which I was much more familiar with, and there was so much more to see.  The sonographer was amazing, talking us through every little measurement she took, and showing us our baby at all different angles.  She printed a ton of pictures for us, including some 3D shots which were very cool to see so early, and gave us some “baby’s first picture” magnets that she said we could give our moms for Mother’s Day if we so chose.

We had a perfectly measuring little bean on board.  Based on the first day of my last period, they said I was 7weeks 1day, but I was measuring 7weeks even.  Based on ovulation, which was a day later than their calculations allowed, I was 7weeks on the dot, and measuring perfectly.

Jelly Bean had a heart rate of 148, and is due on Christmas Day.

I cannot imagine anything more perfect.



So that’s it.  That’s my confession.

I’m so sorry I had to hide this truth from you all for so long, and honestly, it was one of the hardest secrets I’ve ever had to keep.  For weeks now I’ve simultaneously wanted to scream this from the rooftops with happiness, and come to my online family for consolation in my moments of darkest fear.

I’ve learned that keeping things like this to myself is not the best way to go for me, but for the husband and I and our situation, we needed to keep this close to the vest for a while.

After our 7 week scan, I was seen again at 10 weeks, where Jelly Bean had a heart rate of 180 and was waving his or her little arm buds around at us.  I spent days and hours feeling terrified in my anxiety that something would go wrong, however amazing the scans have been.  The anxiety has been crippling and exhausting, but things are still going well.

At 12 weeks, we had an NT scan with our hospital’s Maternal Fetal Medicine docs.  Jelly Bean looked definitively more human then, and far less jelly-bean-like.  He or she has a quick, strong heartbeat, and it both soothes and excites me beyond belief every time I’m able to hear it.

Tomorrow I will be 14 weeks pregnant, starting my second trimester.  Surreal.

We’re more thrilled now, and less terrified, though the anxiety overtakes me regularly.  My OB agreed to additional monitoring to help me get through the first trimester without having a panic attack (though there were some close calls), and they’ve been very accommodating considering my history.  I didn’t suffer from much in the way of morning sickness, but I did – and still do – have a very real and pressing need to have food in my stomach at all times.  Oh, and my sleep schedule is now 7pm to 4am with frequent trips to the bathroom, so that’s fun.

No really.  I say a little prayer of thanks every time I wipe sleep-crusties out of my eyes and wonder why I bother to stop drinking water in the evening when my body is obviously turning into nothing more than a super-efficient urine factory.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted, honestly.

Our families know – we told them on Mother’s Day – and they are thrilled for us.  My support group has been informed, and though the feedback has been positive, there will be much to be dealt with in making sure the group members feel supported in their feelings, and in handing the reins over to someone else down the road.

We know that at 14 weeks, we’re out of the so-called danger zone, but of course we’re not fully out of the woods yet (are we ever?); however, we are optimistic about the future and all of the possibilities it holds for the collective “us” that is our family.

All in all, things are going well.  I couldn’t ask for more than this, honestly.  It was completely unexpected, and the shock of it nearly killed me with all of its ups and downs… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There’s more to the story than this, but I’ll leave that post for another day.

For now, please just know that miracles do happen. 

Sometimes when you’re not even looking. 

Sometimes when you’re thisclose to moving on.

Sometimes even when you’re white-girl wasted.

Twerk on, my friends.

The Big Fat Confession

I’ve been sitting on a secret.

It’s kind of a big one.

I’ve struggled with keeping it, but ultimately, I stand by my decision as it kept others from suffering, and allowed the husband and me time to process and deal with some things…

So, without further ado, here’s my confession.


Back at the very end of March, the husband and I attended a wedding out of town.  This was the best kind of wedding, where all of your friends attend and the reception is in the hotel where your room is, so if you were so inclined to drink all the vodka in all of Indiana and white-girl dance till you drop, you could do so, and safely.

Oh, and I did just that.

Apparently all that boozin’ and carousin’ did something to me… Or perhaps I just twerked something loose on the dance floor?  Either way, something definitely changed that weekend.

Fast forward to mid-April.  I’d just completed a hardcore spring-cleaning of the upstairs of my house.  I gutted the cabinets and closets, cleaned and scrubbed, and was pretty happy with the results.  As I was putting away some newly purchased feminine hygiene items in a little basket I keep next to the commode, I found one lonely pregnancy test wedged in the bottom of the basket.

I was kind of angry because I don’t know how that little sucker missed my careful sweep of the area, but I looked it over, found it to be expired (by a full YEAR, nonetheless), and started to toss it in the trash.

Then I had a thought.  Aunt Flo was due to make her presence known any second that day, and I figured based on past experience that the very best way to bring her out of hiding was to pee on a stick.  I mean, it’s a method that’s basically worked every month for five years, so why not now?

I was also getting anxious to start the next cycle, as I was closing out my 60th month – fifth numerical year – of trying to conceive, and I was planning to give up temping, acupuncture, and a lot of other things I’d been devoting myself to for a long, long, LONG time.

This expired pregnancy test would be my savior.  The one time I was ready for a BFN and a glass of wine.  The one time I was ready to get the next month underway, and to explore a kind of freedom I hadn’t known in a long time.

I was ready.

So I peed.

And then I got in the shower, did my thing, and started the process of getting ready for the day thinking nothing of the expired peestick on my bathroom counter.

As I was pulling out the hair dryer, I saw the offending bit of plastic out of the corner of my eye, and grabbed it to toss it in the trash.

Then I looked again.

I squinted.

I swore.  Loudly.  And colorfully.

And I threw that mofo directly into the trash, knowing full well that it was expired, and therefore no result, no matter how faint, could ever be trusted.

I finished getting ready, and as I was about to leave the house, I grabbed that stupid peestick out of the trash, glared at it one more time as if it was offending me with its lies, and hid it in a bathroom drawer where the husband would not see it.

I went to work.  I was productive.  I barely gave a thought to that useless piece of crap sitting all offensive in my bathroom drawer.

Barely.  I may have Googled “expired pregnancy test false positives and evap lines” looking for redemption.

Once I left the office, I stopped by the grocery store for a bottle of wine, a few odds n’ ends, and swung by the pharmacy to grab two more tests.

You know.  Just in case.

I desperately wanted to see those blank, white, one-line tests staring back up at me so I could feel validated in my feelings of rage at that broken test that I knew better than to take.  I also may or may not have been planning an angry phone call to the customer service line of First Response.

Once I got home and peed on that second test, however, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be making that call…

Or drinking that wine.




Quick link to Part Two, for those of you who are impatient.  I know how you are.  😉


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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.