About Time

March 24, 2014

This weekend Darren and I rented the film "About Time."  Within 5 minutes we find out the main character has the "power" to travel back in time.  He can't really change anything huge and it mainly only impacts his life.  He is 21 and can really only think about falling in love (I love this as most romantic story lines are about the girl dying to find the one).  Anyway,  I would say it's instantly up there with my other favorite two movies (The Family Man with Nicolas Cage and Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferral).  It makes you think about life and family at a deeper level.  I'm still an emotional wreck between learning how to be a mother to dead children while dealing with my hormone levels as the doctors try to help me ovulate is a dramatic month-to-month experience to my body.  The movie made me cry, in a good way.  Here are some reasons why

1.  The soundtrack.  One of the main songs is called "Mid Air" and they play it when the main character meets Rachel McAdams for the first time.  The 2nd line of the song says "I want to live forever."  I. Want. To. Live. Forever.  This line hit me really hard.  Of course, I have been so deep in sadness, I have days where I don't care if I die.  I feel like I'm waiting.  Every single day.  I do NOT want to live forever at all.  BUT, this line made me cry.  Why?  Because life, although it has recently shown me a dark/cruel side, in the past, has given me these beautiful moments where in that,  I really did want to live forever-I mean things were wonderful.  Of course, things are and will never be perfect till we leave this life, BUT it made me remember that my life hasn't always been this-this pile of filled tissues, day after day of puffy read eyes, flashbacks of my loss, this burning longing, this unrelenting jealously-No.

I had wanted to get married for so long and the journey to the altar was a little rocky itself.  The day Darren and I got married and for a year after that (till infertility became a member of our family), I could honestly say, I wanted to live this life forever.  The lyrics in the song briefly reminded me of that.  This led to Dar and I discussing, if you could relive a day in your past (and not change anything, just relive it) what would it be?  There is something sweet about those moments/months/even years of our lives.  When we are so happy there is no room for sadness.  I'm putting the song on here, listen to it and if your in a rough place try to think of day or experience that made you so happy you truly believed living forever wouldn't be so bad

2.  At one point his dad says "Life is a mixed bag no matter who you are." Although I know this, I need to hear this every single day.  In my own suffering it's hard not to become narrow minded.  Why am I being punished?  What did I do?  Why didn't this happen to ________?  At this point in my grief I almost feel like every family of 5 I see walking around is flipping me off.  Every pregnant person
wondering the earth is sticking their tongue out at me-they are better than me.  Their body is better because it can hold a child to term.  They are better than me because they have the power to get pregnant on their own when they want to.  I find myself angry that I have been dealt these cards.  In the movie someone get's sick.  I hate that I lost J and B at 18/21 weeks AND have to deal with infertility.  But the excited couple who losses their baby full term because of a freak cord accident?  But the mom that has to watch her toddler/young child die of cancer?  The parents who get the late night phone call that their was an accident and their teenage isn't coming home?  Or (I've witnessed this), the sweet mom of 4 beautiful girls after battling cancer for 7 years dies, leaving them all behind?  Life indeed is a mixed bag for everyone.  I have to process this, I have to.  Just as I was celebrating the genders of J and B someone I'm friends with in the blogging world was losing her twins.  While I was in the hospital fighting for Jude's life, another blogger friend texted me she is pregnant with twins.  Highs and lows come to everyone at different points.  Life is a mixed bag.

3.  To live each day without changing anything.

The father and son are very close (the father can time travel too) and as they age, he gives his son some tips with his ability.  To live each day, taking it as it comes whether good or bad, and then to always go back a relive that day again, without changing anything, but looking at it more light-heartedly.  This got to me too.  The movie shows the character just having a bad day-things go wrong at work, it's long, and he comes home exhausted.  He follows his dads advice and returns to that day.  But this time, he laughs a little more, doesn't stress out at much, and comes home and tells his wife "the day wasn't that bad."  I wish I could do this.  Really relish the beauty of each day.  To shake of the little things that sting and to see the good.

Once the movie was over, Darren noticed the tears (he LOVES to catch me crying in movies).  The tears turned to sobs (he doesn't like me sobbing in movies-side note: one time in college I watched Man on Fire with him and cried for like 30 minutes afterwards, he had to set up Nintendo to distract me).  The message of the film was so clear-to appreciate each day and that time does go on.  As mentioned, I feel like I'm living in suspense.  Since we have been trying to get pregnant I feel like I am waiting.  There is such a huge piece of my heart missing.  As a Christian I know that having a baby won't fill that completely but it sure will help take away this throbbing sorrow.

It's easy for women without infertility to judge this.  "enjoy it will happen" "relax, if its meant to be its meant to be" and of course my favorite "you can always adopt."  The majority of us dream about having kids-to not be able to reproduce "on demand" goes against our very biological systems.  It's in our cells this desire to want to carry a child, to experience creating a life.  Heck, God even commands us too.  So here I am having this spiritual, physical, and mental drive to do something 90% of women can do when they feel like it, and it is massively delayed. 

To grieve and wait at the same time is hard.  I feel like I cannot "relish" each day because I'm trying to get through each day just to get to the next.  I don't want to live like this but I accept it's where I am at.  I'm 30.  I can honestly say that in my 3 decades on this earth there have been more good times than bad.  I'm in a dessert, I'm in a valley.  I have to hold on that this isn't forever, I have to try to force myself to not miss out on the days of my life that are passing now, and of course tattoo to my brain that life is a mixed bag no matter who you are, not just Holly Lynn Benson.

4.  Lastly, as so many women going through levels of IF share, the amazing love and support of our husbands.  Some days Darren is the only reason I get out of bed.  Although I feel so alone, I am not.  My best friend, my greatest comfort.  The true therapist who hears me repeat and repeat and repeat what happened.  In the movie a wife whose husband is sick says, "I am completely uninterested in a life without you."  I love this.  I want to frame it. 

A Footprint as Small as Brinly's ♥

March 20, 2014

If you bend your pinky forward notice the length from the edge of your nail to the bend in your finger.  This is about the size of Brinly's footprint, my 18 week-stillborn daughter. 

Last weekend would have been Jude and Brinly's full twin-term due date so we asked family, friends, and followers to participate in a day of random acts of kindness.  Throughout the day my inbox and instagram were filled with awesome, caring, heartfelt acts to honor our sweet babies.  In the big
scheme of things, this little day full of small random acts of kindness is no larger than Brinly's footprint in ratio to the world-but I find a small ounce of solace knowing the my daughter and son were able to leave a tiny footprint of love/kindness because of their short existence. 

So many thoughtful things were done, to name a few:  paying for people's coffee, signing up to donate bone marrow, delivering flowers, bringing a neighbor/friend a treat, sveral different types of donations, handing out homemade burp rags to new moms, volunteering, sponsoring children, paying for people's groceries, large tips, paying for a strangers manicure, giving random gift cards to strangers, handing out free water bottles at swim park, writing appreciation cards to all the teachers at my work (Christian club at the high school I work at did this), giving money, knitting blankets for future mommies that lose their babies and donating them to the labor/delivery, serving people in need, the list goes on and on.  My parents made a point to randomly give to a few different expecting moms.  My mother and father in law made an adorable basket with J and B's name and filled it with goodies and drove it to the hospital I delivered them in and shared with the staff.  A group from the church I grew up in organized a free event for local foster children with over 70 children in attendance.

 I made a collage of images, instagram and text messages

Here is what we did: 

If you have been reading my story for awhile by this point you know the pregnant woman, infants, and twin pregnancies/babies all tug at my heart a bit harder.  I am in constant battle to remind myself "it's not her fault she is pregnant and you are not."  I am constantly fighting feelings of jealously and even anger that other people get to walk this road so easily and joyfully.  Seeing a growing belly or hearing a screaming infant instantly reminds me of what I just lost-flashbacks to how everything went horribly wrong are bound to bounce in my head with so many triggers in a fertile world. It feels so cruel. Boy girl twins are extra painful too because again that selfish inner voice asks "Why me?"  To survive I try to stay away from any trigger as every trigger is a constant bitter taste filling my throat and me having to take every ounce of trying to be a good person to swallow hard and smile.  It's not their fault this happened to me.  It's not their fault they are the lucky 90% that get pregnant within the 3-6 months of trying range and will 100% believe their positive pregnancy test.  It's not their fault they finally got pregnant on IVF and that is that, now they get to carry a healthy baby to term.  It's not their fault their cervix isn't crappy.  Its. not. their. fault. holly.

To fight these negative feelings that have taken a home in my soul, Darren let me take the lead on our random acts of kindness, and I chose to, for the weekend at least, NOT to run in the complete opposite direction when "triggers" popped in my path.

Act #1   We gave 2 different moms of twins a date gift card.  For Jude and Brinly

Act #2  I was at Target and I saw a girl around my age walk in with her mom and her little boy (probably 3 months).  I bought them a "baby" gift card and then walked back through the store trying to find them.  I stopped them and before I knew it I was crying. 

Crying in public?  This really through me for a loop.  I went back to work 2 weeks after holding Jude in my arms and haven't shed a single tear on the job-and I've talked to several co-workers in detail about what went down in the hospital those horrid days and walked away ok.  I have mastered the "I'm-okay-in-public" routine so well I must have even deceived myself because starring at the mom with her baby and the desire to tell them why I was stopping them hit a pocket of sadness I didn't realize would surface.

I quickly told them what happened, today would have been the due date, that I wanted to honor them by giving a gift to a mom.  They were perfect recipients.  They teared up themselves and gave me a hug-it had taken her 2.5 years to have her little son.  I had to get out quick-the tears wouldn't stop and I didn't want to lose it all together.  I cried the whole way home-tears of sadness I'm not holding J and B today.  Tears of injustice.  Tears of love-every ounce of my being filled with love that I wanted to give to my babies.  On the car ride home I was able to spit out one of the few prayers I have had the strength/courage to ask, "God, Make this right"- Even as I prayed I myself couldn't tell if the tone was an angry command or a heartbroken plea.  The gift card-given in love for Jude and Brinly.

Act #3  Latley I've been extra "grr" towards pregnant women.  I saw an "update" on facebook, I saw 349093824 at the store.  "I HATE them" I said to Darren (both of us knowing that I really don't) and he gave me that knock-it-off-snap-out-of-it-look. 

Tonight our young waitress was rocking an adorable baby bump.  After she left the table I scowled at Darren, a legit, true, not happy face right at him.  It stung.  Again.  But, just like the cycle I mentioned above, I force myself to tell myself"it's not her fault that you lost your twins, Holly".  I knew that I had to fight my ache for my own children mixed with jealously, with love for her and the precious life inside her.  We left her a large tip with a note-in honor of Jude and Brinly.

Thank you SO MUCH for every text, every email, every picture, every phone call, every post below.  The love and kindness totally helped us get through a very rough day and myself and my family are deeply touched. 

Here are a couple more images from March 15th.  These ones are extra special to me because they include Jude and Brinly's names.  I love that. Stay tuned for the winner of our first "giveaway!"  We are working on mixing up names of all the participates and for our last act of kindness will randomly draw and name and give a $50 gift card to your restaurant/store of choice

This One's For Jude and Brinly

March 12, 2014

This Saturday would have been the latest day the doctor's would have let me carry J and B so I always told people my due date was March 15.   To make the day less sad I remind myself that any day in March could have been a safe/happy/possible due date; but the 15th is the one Darren and I chose to acknowledge.

If you are new to my blog/story here is the shortest recap to bring you up to speed:

Over the last 3 years we have undergone 11 fertility treatments including: 1 IVF that resulted in an early miscarriage, a failed frozen embryo transfer, and our third IVF treatment in July 2013 resulted in our dream come true:  triplets.  3 perfect heartbeats.  We lost one randomly at 9 weeks but went on with a normal/healthy pregnancy.  At 17 weeks my water randomly broke on the bottom twin (Brinly, our daughter); this rare occurrence known as pPROM happens to .4% of the population.  We did all we could to hang on but I went into labor 1 week later and delivered my daughter.  She was 9 inches and 6 ounces.  Jude, our son, stayed put-this gave us unexplainable hope we would be able to keep our son.  The doctor's sewed my cervix shut to try to keep him in and infection out.  I held on for a week but an infection got to his placenta, causing me to go into labor again.  He was born at 21 weeks, 11 inches, 1.3 lbs.  Both babies were 100% healthy/normal-it was my cervix that was not.   We made this video to recap the journey from finding out we were pregnant to saying goodbye way way too soon.

To honor them we have asked that anytime this week/March 15 be a day of random acts of kindness and paying it forward-to step outside our own deep grief and try to brighten someone else's day.  We would like to believe that Jude and Brinly would have been the type of people who loved and served others.

Thank you so much to all who participate.  Darren and I would LOVE to hear what you did or if someone did something for you.  You can post below or email me directly at hollybenson10@yahoo.com.

Thanks to my awesome siblings Heidi and Robby who made me these little images. <3 you!

Look What the Stork Brought In

March 6, 2014

That is what the flier in my mailbox said.  It was a free gift from Shutterfly for birth 10 free birth announcements because, well, it's March.

This must be how my great grandma felt when people would call and ask for Lyle.

I try to avoid triggers.  I dodge the pregnant woman in the aisle.  I veer my eye's when strollers walk past.  I know I won't be this extreme forever but for now, I am in protection mode.  But today it was as innocent as getting the mail to bring up that deep, heavy sting that physically impacts the body.

I sifted through the mail.  Free baby prints!  Another company, another flyer, 2 in 1 day. 

I ripped them up and threw them in the trash with the flyer from yesterday from Motherhood Maternity, making this mail/formula sample  #5 in the last couple weeks that is somehow congratulating me as a new mom.  I.  Am. Not. A. New. Mom.

Trust me, within 24 hours of losing Jude I was canceling the registry, unsubscribing from the amazing "weekly growth updates" that gave me such delight in what new skill he had acquired that week; removing my name from mailing lists, trying to contact ANYONE in my life who I may have told I was pregnant with twins what happened-all for fear of them approaching me this month and asking how the babes are doing. 

Okay, enough gloom for the month, lets move on.  Lets try to focus on the future.  The next steps.

As mentioned, Darren and I decided to take a small break from FET/IVF land.  The specialist originally wanted us to wait to "try" till April but March was the soonest we could legally try (they deemed the 3 monthish mark healthy enough to continue our grand effort to reproduce).

So March is here.  I did officially ovulate ON MY OWN last cycle.  Sure, it wasn't till CD 27 but hey, that is the first time we have detected ovulation without meds.  The plan is to try the super high stressed timed ovulation sex good-fun-old-fashioned way. We have actually never experienced a pregnancy without the assistance of ICSI (this is when the guy at the fertility lab actually inserts sperm into the egg instead of putting the egg with sperm in a petri dish and letting nature take its course).  All this to say, out of our 4 babies that have implanted, none have been from natural fertilization.  HOWEVER,  a long time ago our RE told us he thought we could PROBABLY (notice all caps) conceive on our own if we gave it time...sigh.  It's been 3 years BUT most of that has been clouded with IUIs, IVF, trying to find right level of meds to make me ovulate, being pregnant, or being restricted due to pregnancy loss. 

I don't expect anything miraculous but hey-.  My gut tells me the hope of a biological child lies somewhere in those 8 frozen embryos but for now, we will give the one-two-punch a try (lol did I seriously just call sex a one-two punch?).  The only thing I know for certain:  I want to meet Jude and Brinly's siblings more than anything  I have ever wanted in my life.

My Bucket List:

My Bucket List: