My final post

Hi there my fellow warriors and blog friends. You have all meant so much to me for a long time. I carry a piece of your love and strength with me always. I hope my story and my words can help anyone out there looking for support or compassion. If you just stumbled on this blog please look through my past posts if you want to read about one woman’s fearless and optimistic journey through 10 IVF cycles, three losses and a surgery and then, finally, a successful Donor Egg cycle. That may sound like a lot of shit but to me it is the exact amount that lead me to my miracle DE daughter and it is all so worth it. If you want to read about someone who is more than a million percent happy she chose donor eggs you are in the right spot.

This space has always been about finding joy and hope in the pain. About persevering through the hurt. About commiserating through the anger and fear. About plodding along with a scar being etched deeper and deeper the longer it takes.

But here is the thing. I am no longer scarred. I can no longer drum up the pain and agony. I just feel gratitude and love. That may be hard to read and relate to if you are still in the pit of despair. It may make you want to scream or feel even more hurt that yet another person ‘got out’. Or it may make you feel hopeful you can get here one day. I truly hope it is the latter.

This will be my last post because the words in my head and heart are no longer about Infertility. They are simply about life after. It’s not that I don’t still remember the palpable fear and pain. I do. I still get that flash of the fear when I go pee and remember time after time after time I looked for a sign of an impending period or miscarriage. When I read other stories the pain rushes in and my empathy and compassion floods my body. But I’m just not there anymore. I want to live in this moment. Revel in this fortune. That’s hard to write and share because I realize it may sound selfish or lacking empathy. I apologize if it does . I just want to be real here. I want to honor all of you by sharing my truth. The truth is I feel like my role in this community is hopefully a tale of perseverance instead of current commiseration.

I want those of you still clawing to a baby to know that continuing to fight by finding a new path, a donor egg path that could end this hell was one of the best decisions of my life. Living the ground hog day from hell that is Infertility is horrendous. Choosing a way out that you never thought you would have to entertain (donor egg, donor embryo, surrogate, adoption) can often be the best thing you will ever do. That is certainly a personal decision, but if you are like me and knew I HAD to find any way I could to a baby, opening your heart and mind to the HOW can be the most beautiful gift. I don’t know a single person who regrets a child from these circumstances. They are all gifts and meant to be children.

If you are someone who has had to accept a child less or child free life after Infertility let me assure you that life can be so much more than procreation. Two of my dearest friends are in this boat and also happen to be my most fulfilled and joyful friends as well.

So let me leave you with a quote that has sustained me along the way. A quote that kept my tired soul from bitterness. A quote that sums up all of you.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

All my love to you beautiful people,

Mamajo

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Bitterness

In the deepest depth of IF/RPL hell- you all know what this is way to well- the moments after the call from a clinic saying you are not pregnant, the moment in the hope filled ultrasound room when you see the look on the doctor’s face, the moment when your friend posts a cute pregnancy announcement exactly three months after her wedding, the moment you stare down a new batch of IVF meds and wonder how you can keep doing it. In those moments I had one promise to myself: not to become bitter. I was ok with being sad, really sad. With being mad, really mad. With frustration, jealousy, all of it. Just not bitter.

Bitterness grows deep inside you and makes you a different person. A darker person. It ages you and wears you down and puts a dark veil over everything. Avoiding it was my one big promise to myself. It is not easy. Having to sacrifice body, mind, wallet and sanity to claw your way to something so many easily obtain can suck the life out of you. Reading news articles about really terrible mothers with five kids can make you scream. 

But bitterness eats you up inside. It plants a seed of being the victim. It paints a picture of you vs. the world and can make you even more isolated than this journey makes you feel.

Those that procreate easily did not choose this fate for us. A mean God did not pick us to suffer more. The world did not band against us to make life hard. Similar to how cancer does not discriminate, neither does Infertility. We simply were unlucky in fertility. It is not our fault but it is not anyone else’s fault either. Don’t let the way the world around you seems to move on without you make you feel like it is against you. It isn’t. Even your annoying Aunt who keeps asking about when a baby is coming, or your best friend who knows your struggle yet still harps on about how hard it is to be a Mom to three kids are not against you. They are at worst innocently naive and caught in their own world.

So let yourself feel angry and sad and frustrated and just deflated. But don’t let it make you bitter. You are not battling the fertile world, you are battling the shit that is Infertility. You are making yourself resilient and empathetic and compassionate through this fight. Don’t let it take the core of who you are. 

Instead, let it define you as someone who can weather the worst and resurface better. That part is a choice. It may not feel like one and some moments self defeat and sadness is all we can muster. That is ok. But don’t let yourself down the rabbit hole of being bitter. Fight that. You are not Infertility or RPL. You are a simply an amazing woman who happens to be facing IF/RPL. 

Sending my love to all of you.

Why does it feel right?

This post is for those of you pursuing third party ways to have a baby. It talks about parenting after successful DE IVF so only read if it will add to your well being.

I just want to share with you why I am so at peace, well actually so beyond thrilled and happy, to have gone this route. I know it is daunting to wonder what having a baby is like without a genetic link and I want to share how I feel about it.

My little miracle DE baby girl is almost 5 months. I have had a chance to soak in the beauty that she is, revel in the fact that she is here and hear lots of comments from others about her arrival. You know, the well meaning “she looks like you” (she doesn’t) or the also well meaning but less tactful “is it weird she isn’t ‘yours?” ( she is). 

Literally all I feel about her is gratitude and joy. The comments about her genetic origin don’t actually really register because it is EXTREMELY clear to me she is all mine and my truly meant to be baby. The comments about her looking like me are just amusing.

It is crazy how what we want and need changes. I now cannot fathom why I tried with my own eggs for so many cycles when this precious gift was just patiently waiting for me. It is hard for me to conjure up why I cared about my eggs being used at one point. Truth be told, I never cared that much but the fact that I even delineated between ‘where the egg came from’ seems silly to me.

As I wait for her to wake up each morning, it feels like I am opening up the greatest gift over and over. I have no clue who exactly she will become but I do know she is truly MINE.
Xo

A moment that haunts me

**trigger warning: threatened ‘P’ loss talked about***
Commenting on another blogger’s post got me thinking about a moment that still haunts me. When I stumble upon this memory, I still get flooded with lingering shame and emotion.

Early on in this donor pregnancy, after hearing a heartbeat and suddenly taking a breath, I was getting ready to head out for some Christmas shopping with my sisters and Mom. I felt a small cramp followed my an intense cramp and sat down on the couch to rest for a moment. As I was leaving, I stopped to pee and suddenly saw the toilet fill with blood. Like lots of dark red blood. I just knew it was over.

I called to my husband and when I saw him I slid off the toilet sobbing and fell to the ground. Between desperate wailing sobs I kept saying “This has to be a nightmare. Wake me up. Pinch me. Help. Please help. I won’t be ok. This can’t be happening.” The look of fear and despair on my husband’s face as he tried to console me is etched in my mind. I was not ok. I did not think I would be ok. It was a terrible awful and horrible moment of weakness. It is also one I flash on when I read about other pregnancy loss.

You see, I was for some reason miraculously spared. I have no idea how but that pregnancy was ok and led me to this baby. My miracle. But so many aren’t. Yet so many women have to still be ok. They have to face a loss and still get up and go to work and take care of those around them and watch the world go on like nothing happened. I cannot fathom the strength it takes. 

Yes I have had previous losses. Three of them. But all were so early I really was never allowed to hope. I knew better than to think positive pregnancy means baby. But I did think heartbeat on a genetic tested embryo meant baby. For me it did. But for others it doesn’t.

As we head into this season of triggers and intense family images everywhere, please know if you have had to face this, I am thinking of you. I am honoring the loss you have to live through and grieve daily. I honor that lost dream and life taken too soon. I am so sorry you have to find a way to move thorough it and past it and so often just sit in it. Sending you my love today.

Family matters

This past Thanksgiving I was home with my Mom and many sisters and all our families. It was so great. The way they reacted to our little miracle DE baby was so heartwarming and beautiful. They all just adore her, tear up just talking about her and fight over who gets to hold her. It is healing and lovely and glorious.

It really got me thinking about this whole IF/RPL journey and the importance of extended family support. I have never known anything different than a hugely supportive and amazing family along for the ride. My Mom and sisters are extremely sensitive and loving and took care of me so well along the way. They were so careful not to say anything too triggering, checked on me all the time and my sisters all continually offered to be a surrogate, egg donor, anything I would need. My husband has an Aunt who is a doctor who helps people navigate grief (and also went through IF/RPL) so I could call her when I needed to for free counseling. She is also the only person my husband would talk to about it at the beginning. The rest of my husband’s family did mostly well throughout the process, even though they have little experience with this pain.   Reading about some of your families makes me realize I may have taken this for granted.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have to go through this pain while navigating a family that doesn’t support you, has triggers and land mines everywhere and is judgemental. My goodness that would understandably put someone over the edge. 

I guess my point in writing this was just to say if you are going through this with a less than supportive family, my heart goes out to you and my respect for the strength it must take is endless. I am happy to be a source of support and a place to vent if you need it. Just comment below and I will give you my email address. Would love to be there for someone who needs it.

Xoxo

Remnants

It is so interesting how this Infertility road leaves random remnants. Emotionally I am so great on the other side. I feel like the horrible lows dug deep ditches for joy and gratitude to fill over. It is truly a gift.

But there are still unexpected consequences. Having to pursue such dramatic methods to have children meant incredible expense and lingering deep debt. We are ok with this. My husband and I have no regrets and feel like it is a million times worth it. But– it means no vacations or added luxuries. Once again- fine with us but it can add a tough dynamic with friends. When our friends plan outings or trips that cost money we have to opt out. We haven’t wanted to share that money is the reason because we felt like keeping that burden to ourself. But I think we may need to share it. I am afraid our friends are going to think we just don’t want to join them for the weekend in Napa. Or we aren’t prioritizing time with them out on the town. I would hate to lose good friends over our current financial situation. My husband is pretty private and has preferred we not make our financial matters other people’s business so to speak.

Welcome thoughts on this lingering financial situation. As always- I have such gratitude that this is a ‘problem’ I am facing when so many are facing the real problem of finding a way to a baby. That is never lost on me.

Quick Check In

Hi there. Just wanted to check in for those readers that are pursuing donor eggs or considering donor eggs and that is why you follow me. **trigger warning** this is about parenting after a successful donor eggs cycle.
My miracle girl is now 3 months and absolutely everything about her feels perfect. Like she was just patiently waiting to be born to us while I had all those failures and losses. Like she was absolutely meant to be in my arms. The donor part of the process matters absolutely zero bit. Except it makes her that much more miraculous. 

She looks nothing like me and everything like herself. Her beautiful, happy, adorable miracle self. 

So for those of you headed down this path. Rest-assured that it is a beautiful one❤️❤️. Any bumps up ahead seem hard to imagine but the joy she brings will outweigh any potential questions or concerns. My goodness she is my heart.

Xo

Milestones 

As I approach another birthday I am oddly having major flashes of my previous three birthdays. One where I was stimming during yet another IVF cycle- feeling bloated and yucky and unable to eat or drink or be fun. One where I had just gotten the call that yet another beta was dropping and I would soon miscarry. One where I was on my tenth round of BCPs suppressing my ovaries and trying so hard to feel hopeful but instead just feeling defeated and silly.

It is tough to relive. Even tougher to go through. Milestones like birthdays and holidays are just rough when you are still in the trenches. Still waking up with dreams unfulfilled and longings deepened. It is a reminder you are still stuck and still left behind. You feel like you need to celebrate the milestone or holiday but in reality you just want time to pass, unmarked until this is all over. You know you should live in the moment. And you try to. Even occasionally able to. But then the weight of it comes down again. Another announcement, a big belly passing you in the grocery store, a comment at a party. And it is all just so exhausting. 

As I approach this birthday my focus is on sending love and light to those still facing milestones with a heavy heart. I know how it feels and I will never forget. Can never forget. Xo

Unfollow Etiquette

A couple of posts recently got me thinking about the etiquette around unfollowing fellow IF/ RPL bloggers once they resolve and are P or have a child. Here is my humble opinion on the matter.

Above all else protect yourself.

That is it.

If reading about someone being P or raising a child makes you feel frustrated or sad or jealous or anything other than happy and inspired it is totally ok to unfollow. That person got their elusive ‘happy ending’ or amazing news we all so desperately desire so one less follower should not put a dent in their happiness. If it does- maybe they forgot about how it feels to get your period then open up FB or WordPress and see a positive pregnancy test or a bump picture. It stings. Bad. And the fact that it stings hurts even worse.

Are you someone who wants to keep following and supporting fellow women who have struggled so hard? Are you inspired by it? That’s truly awesome. I commend you. But I can assure you the women that don’t feel shitty about it so it only adds to their shitty situation. Give them grace and give them space.

I have found myself on both sides of this reaction ( happy and inspired and jealous and sad) so I can speak to both. It is far worse to not be able to rejoice in other’s good fortune. Especially when you want good fortune so much for that person and your feelings of jealousy and sadness confuse and disappoint you. 

So there you have it. My unfollow etiquette perspective :). Sending love to you all- especially if this post spoke to you.

Xo

It really is that hard

As a follow up to my post yesterday ( and sparked by an insightful comment). I wanted to validate the pain that IF/ RPL is. 

If you woke up wondering how and why you have to face it all again today. If you woke up feeling like you must be weak because the fight feels like it is being sapped from you. Just know, it isn’t your weakness or inability to cope. This road really is that hard. 

We often get lost in the turbulence of emotions. The frustration, pain and desperation constantly fighting with the will of the human spirit to find joy, hope and balance. Some days you feel ok and even good, others you wonder how you can keep doing this.

I remember wondering how to gain better perspective. How to let go and just believe it will happen when it happens. I would wonder why it was so hard for me to take it in stride. I eventually ‘gained perspective’ and even felt like I was able to fully be happy in the struggle. But truly being out of the fight I realize it took everything out of me to keep myself going and find happiness. And even those moments were tainted by the deep pain and fear of this pursuit for a child(ren).

When you are out of the never ending Groundhog Day from hell that is RPL/IF you realize that yes it really is that hard. That you held onto the good moments when you could but you were often a shell of your former self. When you are finally out, you feel gratitude for emerging but also sadness for how much the fight took. You feel guilt for those still in it because you know it really is that hard. You refresh your browser ten times an hour waiting for your fellow bloggers beta results because you know how everything can change in an instant. You want that change to lead to the other side for them.

So to those of you surrounded by friends or family that don’t understand why each day your dreams stay unfulfilled is so hard. By society that doesn’t validate this struggle. Even by a partner that doesn’t get why you are hiding out from yet another family function. I get it. We get it. You are not alone in the pain even though it feels like it. It’s ok to be jealous and mad and frustrated and angry. It isn’t because you aren’t being strong enough. It is because it takes everything out of you and just getting through it is a great accomplishment. Sending my love.