Even When There Was Just Hope For You

September 14, 2015

I follow so many ttcers at so many different stages.  Some have happily completed their families, while others are still in the trenches begging God for "just one."  Many are in the middle-they got a baby and dare they hope or try for another?  I recently saw an Instagram post from someone who posted:

"We loved you before we knew you, even when there was just hope for you-we loved you."

Oh. My. Heart.  I loved Noah and Beckom before I even knew they existed.  They were just the random frozen embryos in the freezer at OHSU that I would say hi to when we drove by when I was pregnant with Jude and Brinly, but I loved them for the hope I had in them.  When I lost Jude and Brinly, my love for the remaining embryos increased as I desperately wanted to meet their siblings.

That March morning when we sat in OHSU with Becky (our carrier), Tom (her husband), Darren and I in the transfer room, there was just hope.

My mom had my sister and I pick out Halloween costumes for the kids as a gift and we did pre-Halloween photo shoot this weekend. 

I have a special Magnolia tree a family friend gave me in honor of Jude and Brinly.  For people who are not familiar with the story, I spread a little bit of Jude's ashes in the tree the day after we surprised our family with our surrogate's pregnancy.  The tree has a whole new meaning to me because of what it represents and because it's all I have left of Jude on this earth.

I got this idea for a photo of putting Noah and Beckom standing by the tree.  It would be our first family picture of all the brothers.  The closest thing to a sibling picture we will ever know.  How sweet would that picture look, in our new house of my three boys?  It's not heavy.  It's not sad.  Only close friends and family would realize how deep the picture is.

For the shoot, the boys were sleepy, not smiley, and honestly, probably super confused as to why they were in ridicoulsy puffy lion outfits.  But my brother took the picture, and it is so sweet.

Darren and I were looking at the pictures last night and all the sudden I had a wave of sadness mixed with terror.  I realized that little Noah or Beckom literally could have been Jude.  They could have been the ones that didn't make it and could have been the ones cremated inside that tree.  It was a matter of what random embryo the embryologist selected to implant out of the 9 embryos that had made it to the "blast" stage.  With one flinch of his hand, he could have implanted Noah or Beckom instead of little Jude and Brinly. Because Jude and Brinly went first, they saved their lives. 

Jude and Brinly, I love you so much.  Noah and Beckom do not replace you, but they have filled our hearts with hope and redemption and love and  happiness.  You will always be my first born daughter and son and their older sister and  brother.  I love your brothers with every ounce of my being.  Seeing their faces lets me imagine what your faces would have been like now.  I am sorry that you didn't get to stay and we miss you.  Because of your deaths, we were able to figure out the problem with my cervix and give Noah and Beckom a safer journey to life.  Thank you for that, my little loves.

To all the women still fighting, keep loving your babies, even if there is just hope for them in this moment. 


Pain Inspires More than Happiness

August 31, 2015

Wow! This is the longest I have gone without blogging.  Here is a list of my excuses:

1.  We are living with my parents this summer while we build our new home
2.  Darren hurt his back really bad and is currently getting spinal surgery
3. I have twins

Jessah at  Dreaming of Dimples has been in the blogging world forever and recently brought home a gorgeous baby boy.  She is inspiring and has been fighting this nasty battle for years.  She recently posted something that I could totally "amen" to.  She wrote about how she will never forget the struggles and doesn't want her blog to just turn into another "mommy" blog.  She feels a bit at a lost of what to do with the space.  She wrote "Pain inspires more than happiness."

I never really thought it about that, but it's so true, at least for me.  When I was in my weakest moments of failed treatments, early miscarriages, and then losing Jude and Brinly, I personally could only relate to pain.  I know there are several women with different personality types that are struggling with infertility and are genuinely happy for anyone who gets pregnant, but I was in a much darker place.  For mental health  I had to unfollow blogs of people even going through treatments because it was too much for my heart.  I just needed the mommies who had known loss this tremendous as well.  I know my case was extreme, but I'm so sensitive to those old feelings that I don't want my blog to turn into a place that followers cannot relate to.  So I'm a little lost myself in my own blog.  Here's a little update on our life the last year...

August 24th marked the 1 year anniversary of when we spread Jude's ashes with the family and then surprised everyone with our gestational carrier Becky for the first time. 

We are nearing Noah and Beckom's 1 year birthday which will be November 14.  I can't believe it.  We tried for 4 long and hard and nasty years to be parents to live babies, and here we finally are 9.5 months into it.  

I have been MIA for so long, I wanted to answer some common questions people ask me (I'm an open book and love helping spread awareness about infertility and options).  Feel free to email me or ask questions in the comments to, I love answering:

Are they identical?
Nope.  2 embryos were transferred.  Beckom has blue eyes and is about 1 inch taller, Noah has brown eyes.

Are they genetically you and Darren's babies?
Yes.  When I did IVF the 2nd time, we had 9 embryos.  We transferred 3 and froze 6.  Noah and Beckom were frozen.  It is literally the situation of our bun, her oven. 

Typically the term surrogate means the surrogates eggs/husband's sperm.  Gestational Carrier is when the woman carries the couples embryos.  Many people do not think the babies are connected to me, which is fine.  It's a confusing situation (specially for older people).  Science is amazing.

Was it hard on you that you could not carry your own child?
No.  If you would have told me when I was 20 I wouldn't carry my babies I would have been sad.  When I held Jude in my arms knowing he would have survived in someone else's healthier body, I wanted so bad to have given him that.  Becky was an answer to prayer in the most amazing way.  I knew my babies were safer with her.  I cried once, feeling bad that I could not provide that for them, but out of love for them, I wanted them to be in the safest place they could be and that happened to be someone else's body.  She worked really hard to include me in their kicks and flips.  It gave me a really unique experience because essentially I got to "feel" like how the husband usually does-excited and out of control watching babies grow in someone else's body.

Did you nurse them?
Kind of.  I was able to induce lactation and got a full milk supply, but wanted to make sure I was dividing it evenly since they were preemies.  I pumped 97% of the time, 6 times a day, and would sometimes comfort nurse at night.  I weaned once the boys turned 6 months, to give my body a break from the 8 pills a day I was taking to keep the supply going.

Do they sleep through the night?
Miracously Noah and Beckom started sleeping in 8  hour chunks through the night at 3 months and are still going strong (about 12 hours now).  We never get up once we put them to bed.  I know we got lucky in this department but we deserved easy babies!

Will you use a carrier again?
I am planning on doing an FET soon.  We are so done with infertility and treatments that we want to move forward and close the door on all the "what ifs" forever.  I always wanted to have my kids back to back.  After much research and thought, I'm going to go an extreme route and get a surgery called a TAC.  Basically, they do a C-Section cut and tie my cervix shut with a thick band.  Apparently my water breaking early is almost impossible with this surgery-which would allow me to carry to term.  I could do a traditional cerclage and was given a 75% chance to carry to term (I could do this cerclage in 1 day); the TAC takes up to 2 weeks to recover and eliminates my chance to have a vaginal birth, but it gives me  95% success rate to carry to term.  Honestly, I would have done IVF this summer, but the TAC isn't covered by our current insurance and costs 7k out of pocket.  Darren and I both felt that patience would be a good choice.  We have 2 babies.  We are not in a rush.  I can wait till January to get the surgery and then a few months after that to TRY.  Notice the all caps on TRY, we know there is no guarantee an FET will work, and we accept that.  Any child now is an added bonus.

Does the carrier see the boys?
As we were friends before we wanted to keep a very close relationship.  Becky and Tom love our children to death and we love them for it.  We see them a couple times a month and Becky will actually be watching them 1 day a week when I return to work. 

Are you afraid to be pregnant again?
Of course.  Its kind of like people that have been in horrible car accidents-they are scared to drive.  This time though the doctors know the issues and precautions will be in place.  When we made the decision for me to get the TAC our MFM said it was like I was putting on a helmet and bubble wrap to be extra safe.  I did love being pregnant and would love the life experience of being able to carry a baby to term.  I never have lost that biological desire.

So many topics I want to write about-their sweet baby dedication at our church, their relationship, my heart, but another day <3

My Bucket List:

My Bucket List: