Terrific Twos

The Pediatricians parting words at our 18 month appointment were “ get ready for the terrific twos”.  It took me a minute to understand his sarcasm because I just could not fathom my girls in the midst of tantrums or showing significant sass before they were even two years old.

I’m sure said doctor would be chuckling at my now as my almost 22 month olds are showing off their dramatic sides.  The drama is here and I, naive mama that I am, stare wide eyed and mouth agape as my little, gentle peanut of a daughter- flails on the ground over wanting snaps on her dress like her sister, not the buttons that her outfit sported.  Or when I tell her she can have water instead of milk. Or I put her in her highchair to eat meatballs and sauce without her beloved WHITE, non-washable bunny.  Miss O has mastered the limp limb approach when I try to put her down after coming in from the car- forcing me to gently pour her seemingly liquid form onto the ground while still holding onto her sister and the diaper bag.  This little lady is also making up for the months of her sister taking her toys, pulling her hair and taking advantage of her gentle nature. She fights for her toys, takes things from her sister and plays a mean game of tug of war over the straw stolen from Hubby’s Starbucks coffee. I hear the word NO frequently and with emphasis. My stubborn little sweetheart knows what she wants and what she doesn’t. There will be no convincing her if she decides the answer is no.

On the flip side, my previously assertive, somewhat rough first born twinnie is not flailing on the ground. Why? Because she is attached to me 24-7. Separation anxiety is here to the max. We get going in the morning and she drinks her milk at my feet in the kitchen as I make breakfast. Lord, help me if she finishes her milk before breakfast is ready. There are tears and wailing and trying to climb up my legs. Belles has figured out that if she asks for hugs or snuggles rather than yelling “up”- my heart melts and I stop what I am doing. How can you deny a teary eyed plea for snuggles? Our day continues and I have a toddler attached to my leg while I clean up breakfast, get dressed, brush my teeth and by that time I take her to snuggle on my lap on the couch while we usually read a book or five. I am convinced that she would sit contentedly in my lap all day and night. Her sister has other ideas of a good time though, and needs a coloring partner or a mommy to continuously get her down from the stool or counter or highchair that she has climbed up. Belles will fight me every time I put her down until I distract her with an activity and that only lasts until she notices that she is not physically attached to me. I do love the snuggles, but I also need to attempt to keep the house livable and have clean clothes in drawers. Oh and if I have to use the bathroom? Yep, I have an audience…or I have screaming children on the other side of the door who only have to push hard enough and then they fall in said door. Isabelle is hopefully on the right track at bedtime after hubby and I went away for two nights. While she slept fine while we were gone, upon our return she would bawl at bedtime as soon as we set her into her crib. 45 minutes of periodic soothing sessions finally got her to sleep. … Until midnight- when she was up calling for me again. To avoid two crying babies, I took her to bed with us where she stayed awake until 2 or 3 happily climbing between hubby and I and snuggling in every possible position until she finally fell asleep. I am assuming this has to do with our being away, but we all need better sleep after the last few nights.

So yes, the “terrific twos” have begun, I try to keep in mind that all of these tantrums and clingy days are due to developmental leaps. They still can’t express their thoughts effectively and this causes frustration. Believe me, I keep explaining this to myself when I want to scream along with Olivia or hide for a minute from Isabelle for just a second of personal space.

While this age certainly has it’s challenging traits, it also has some wonderful changes. Today for example, the girls played with playdough at the kitchen counter for probably 30 minutes with Daddy. They have discovered coloring and Olivia asks for “colors” multiple times a day. That activity will keep them occupied for a good block of time which is a welcome break from needing to entertain them all day long. If only I could accomplish some chores while they do this but Isabelle will not let me leave the playroom and I am not 100% sure they are out of the eating crayons stage. Of course we have had to clean up some crayon mishaps on the island and bathroom door when a crayon escapes the playroom. Magic Erasers are seriously going to be my saving grace for this stage! So with the tantrums comes a bit more independent play and  longer attention spans along with watching the girls begin to play together rather than next to each other.  We are also enjoying hearing two little voices trying out new words, repeating everything we say and  expressing their desires….snuggle, hug, outside, snack, milk, naked, cape, blanket, pillow  are ones we herd most often and yes, Isabelle is not a big fan of clothes when it is hot  so she is known to ask to be naked. That kid is a little furnace and is constantly sweating.  With only two months to go until they complete their second year I am starting to wish time would slow down (when they are not flailing on the floor). I love so much about this age and watching my girls grow every single day is why I know that staying home with them was the absolute right decision for our family.  So let the terrific twos continue…stayed tuned as I am sure there will be some interesting stories to come.

 

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Not so fast…

We thought we were finally at a point where we could start healing from our loss. I mean it’s been over a month since Frosty’s heart stopped beating, weeks since my body let go of him and now we are 5 days past my IPAS procedure. I have nothing left, physically or mentally- I feel raw in both aspects. So when out RE called and started with saying she was following up after my procedure, I asssumed that’s all it was. But after all of this, I should have known better. The real reason for the call was to explain that they had tested my tissue, which I didn’t know they would do, and or came back showing chronic endometrial inflammation.

An infection. I honestly just stopped listening to her after that. HOW? How is it possible to still, after months, after everything- I am still haunted by this loss? I know I have to call soon to ask questions- specifically what this means for potential future pregnancy attempts and am I at risk for more complications down the road? .. but for now I am just going about daily life while adding in an antibiotic. I told hubby after the IPAS that I don’t want anything in that area for quite awhile. I need a break from the pain. Sadly, I will need a biopsy in the coming weeks to make sure the infection is gone. I heard that is painful.

I go back and forth daily about wanting to try again. I thank God daily for my daughters and hubby and have to remind myself when I am especially sad, that the things I used to pray for, I am vlessed to have now. But there are still sad days, there are still tears almost daily and there are still days I think about how pregnant I should be right now. Hopefully this will be our last hurdle, our last step in this loss before we can truly begin healing and find clarity in what comes next.

The final stage

This miscarriage has been so draining, emotionally as well as physically. It has drawn out over weeks. I felt like it was behind us several times only to be knocked down when the doctors and nurses reported that it wasn’t over. Last I wrote, I believe I had gone through the actually miscarriage of the baby and thought that the loss was over. I went in for an ultrasound a few days later to make sure everything had been flushed out naturally. I fully expected to be cleared by our RE to move on with grieving and let my body heal. That wasn’t the case. The tissue and vessels that had connected me to our baby was still intact even though the sac was gone. I was prescribed misoprostol to basically induce a labor of sorts and shed the rest of the tissue. I was given oxy and an anti nausea prescription to take with it and I had heard from a close friend that it was a painful process. To say I was expecting a good deal of pain and a very long night was an understatement. But I should know that my body doesn’t do what it is supposed to and the medication had absolutely no effect on me. No cramps. No bleeding.  The next step was to attempt it again the next night. 4 more pills taken vaginally and again, no reaction. I was hoping there was nothing left to lose and that was why nothing happened. I mean really, how can nothing be working the way it should? Could I not catch a break? The next day was another ultrasound and another blow. That lining was still hanging on. Time was up to let my body handle this loss on its own. I was scheduled for a procedure called IPAS. That brings us to today. I ate dinner at 5:30 last night and was instructed to eat nothing before my 2:00 appointment today.

Hubby’s mom came to watch the girls, showing up 20 minutes early and waking the girls from their naps. She wanted to take the girls on a walk with her friend who lives down the road. All I wanted was to go into my procedure with no worries. I wanted the girls safe and sound at home while I wasn’t there with them. What I did not want was my girls out for a walk with a person I had never met on our windy back road with no sidewalks. I did not want my mother in laws attention divided between caring for my kids and socializing with her friend. I told Hubby I was not comfortable with the walk idea and thought he would take care of it. Long story short, it lead to a huge argument in the car on the way to the hospital where harsh words were spoken and lots of tears fell between my hurt feelings and the emotions of what I was going through emotionally. Those tears turned into sobs for the loss of our baby, for the fact that we were going back to where our baby was transferred back to me and now we were officially ending its journey and perhaps the finality of our attempts to have any more children. It all seemed to be too much.

I was unable to turn off the tears as we entered the unit or when the nurse had me signing consents. I cried through my IV and the doctor explaining the procedure. I waited in the same room where I had waited for my egg retrieval and four transfers. For all of our happy, hopeful events and here I sat waiting to end that journey in tragedy, in loss. I was a mess. They rolled me into the same OR where they brought our Embryos back to me—all 5 of them. What a full circle we have traveled. I waited for the drugs to take effect, to relax me and put me into the twilight they promised. It never came. The speculum hurt. The shot to the cervix hurt. The dilation hurt. Then they began suction and I have never been in so much pain. I bawled and grabbed onto the bars of the bed. It was terrible. I feel like I hadn’t been prepared for the pain of this procedure at all. It seemed to take forever and I seemed to be bleeding more than expected. When I finally got wheeled out I was still hurting.. and crying.  This was not how this road was supposed to end. It was supposed to be a beginning of a beautiful new life. Not such a painful end to a life hardly started. But whether or not this was how it was supposed to go, this is the end of our little Frosty’s story.

I ate some crackers with ginger ale, took both Ibuprofen and an antibiotic and we were on our way home. It’s over. There is no more baby, nothing left of my pregnancy except for a dull ache from the trauma my uterus went through today. I hurt for so many reasons and hope that I can finally start to heal. I worry that I will have to give up on having another baby because Hubby is content with just our two. My heart not only has to heal from losing our baby but heal from the loss of the possibility of becoming a Mommy again, of carrying another life inside of me. I am not ready to mourn that loss yet.  That is a seed for another post on another day. Now I will focus on finding comfort in my bed and in my heating pad. Tomorrow I will find comfort in my little family as we spend the day together.

Now what?

Where do you go from here? That is the question ping ponging around my mind day in and day out. A miscarriage is traumatic whether it is in the first trimester or the last. Losing a child, whether you have held it in your arms or not leaves scars that do not easily fade. Frosty was our last embryo from our first retrieval. I carried him or her- we will go with him because that’s what my dream told me- for about a month and felt every stretch of growth, every night of heartburn and nausea and every craving for cheeseburgers, orange juice and pickles. I dreamed about this baby and his future. Who would he look like, what would he love and hate, who would he become. I saw him running in the backyard with his sisters. So when they could no longer find a heartbeat on that unforgettable morning- my baby died along with all of my dreams for him and growing our family.

I opted to let my body try to handle this loss naturally and it took just over a week. That week was full of cramping and crying. There has not been a day that has gone by in over 3 weeks where I have not cried. I had no idea how my body would handle this loss but I was not prepared for the actual event of my miscarriage. It was not just a heavy period but a birthing process that my girls witnessed because I was the only one home with them and couldn’t leave then unattended for the amount of time it took. I was not prepared for this loss on any front.

It’s been 2 days now that I have not held my baby under my heart and my heart and body ache for it. My mind is racing for way to heal, to move forward and to decide what is next for our family. To grow our family means another retrieval.  It also would mean PGS testing to lower our chances of this happening again. That is not cheap and not covered by insurance. Our biggest question, or at least my biggest conflict is whether I am at peace with having my two girls and no more. I love our girls to the moon and back which is a huge reason I want another. I am struggling greatly with the question of what is best for them. I was one of two children so I can’t attest to having to share with more than one other sibling. My concerns are for them…

My main concern is that with three, one will be left out…

I have 2 hands, one for each of them. With a third, one will have to hold a sibling or my shirt or some other dangling something.

My lap fits two…not so much three at a time.

When they all have sporting events or recitals or whatever they may be involved in…somebody doesn’t have a parent watching them.

Another concern is more selfish. We are finally normalizing our adult relationship. We are enjoying a few hours together after bedtime and cocktails on the deck. We are sleeping through the night. We are well rested and more like our old, energized selves. I can see the future with the girls, growing and enjoying more activities and traditions together.  Do we want to reset the clock and go back to sleepless nights, endless bottles, colic, spit up, sleep training etc. My mind says I love my sleep but my heart says it will only be another year or so of our lives before a third baby will sleep the night through and we will be back to where we are today. Can our marriage survive another go with a newborn?

Then there are the logistics… Finances are balanced well for our current situation. A third might make things a bit tight. We would definitely need a mini van.  I also have Target and Costco trips down with two…three would be a whole new ballgame.

Of course we thought of all of this before our last FET but it was just a natural progression as Frosty was our last embryo and we had to close the circle. This would be a very intentional and big decision to start over and possibly have more embryos left over yet again. Can I leave them there? Can I dispose of them? I am fairly certain three children would be it for us. And finally, do I want to put myself through a retrieval again? Shots, monitoring, more shots, hormone induced emotions, surgery, recovery and who knows how many FETs.

All of these considerations are being balanced with the very strong desire in my heart to carry, birth and love one more baby, one more toddler and watch them grow into whoever they are destined to become. I long to feel life inside of me, for a different birthing experience, newborn snuggles, cooing, first smiles and laughs. I want to watch my girls become big sisters. I want to savor one last time, the magic that is having another combination of hubby and I look back at me from the bassinet beside the bed. I look down the road and see a big family, three kids coming home with their own families.

It is a big decision. One that Hubby and I will make together, hopefully both leaning the same way. What I know is that we are not ready to make that decision today. Our loss is to fresh, the tears still fall daily. But soon we will need to decide and it is honestly looking to be one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.

Heartbreak

I have told start by saying thank you to everyone who thought of us, prayed for us and wished us luck today. Sadly, our sweet baby no longer had a heartbeat today. While I stopped feeling pregnant early last week, you always hope for a miracle. We are devestated and at a loss as to where our path leads next. We kniw we need to mourn and heal this loss of a little angle we gave the name Gabriel. Being out last embryo, we are faced with either going through another retrieval or finding peace with having no more children.

I know the next few weeks will be sad and trying as my body comes to terms with our loss and hopefully naturally takes care of what it needs to.

We are praying for an easy few weeks to come and clarity about whether it not our family is complete.

Rollercoaster

Infertility is a rollercoaster ride. The highs are amazing and the lows can just knock the wind right out of you. I was cautious going into our last FET. I wad elated when I got two lines and a positive Beta. I have felt sick with achy boobs for two weeks now and started cleaning out the nursery. We went in for our very first ultrasound this mornung feeling very optimistic.

We saw a heartbeat…a beautiful strong heartbeat if 135. I felt peaceful and so happy.

Then came the but…

Our baby is measuring small…gut punch number one.

While we should measure 6 weeks 5 days we only measured 6 weeks 1 day. They said that two or three days is okay but four is worrisome.

The sac is also small…strike two.

Finally, the sack is more crescent shaped instead of round.

The tears started falling.

But the heart is beating! Can it still be okay?

The ultrasound tech and nurse gave us their so sorry faces and said maybe. The odds were low.

We were pulled into a conference room to meet with our doctor who gave us a fifty fifty chance. Then we were guided out of the hidden side door as not to through the waiting room of hopeful couples.

I have spent the day crying and feeling helpless. My babies heart could be stopping and I can’t do anything to help. As a mother, I can’t handle not being able to help my children. I feel deflated that all of that joy could be swept away and replaced with so much heartache. I feel like I need to stay positive and not give up on our Frosty but also want to protect my heart for what might come in the next few weeks.

We go back on May 29th to see if baby has grown or if baby has left us. It is going to be a long two weeks.

Prayers needed.

Here we grow again

If you have been following along, you know that we had our final Frozen Embryo (Frosty) transferred on my April 17, my 33rd birthday. I did everything I could to give our last little one the best chance of completing our family. I went to acupuncture once a week for the 4 weeks leading up to transfer, I tried to make healthier food choices and I endured the dreaded progesterone shots.  The transfer was perfect, the smoothest yet. I was confident that we did what we could and there was nothing left to do but to stay nice and warm and stress free. Of course with our ER visit and hospital stay I was sure that my stress and lack of self care for those few days would have hurt my chances, The doubts started raining down on me… lowest quality embryo, it took 3 IVFs to get the girls, 2 chemicals before that… How could this, our very last shot work? Well, my friends… it did.

As I am writing this, I am one month and 3 days pregnant with our little Frosty who isn’t so frosty anymore.

I had planned to test at home on Monday because I just can’t be patient. That was the day post transfer when I was positive with the girls. Those plans got bumped by my sick Belles. On Tuesday I had to pick up her medicine anyways so I added in 2 pack of HPTs. I got home and hubby ran out to get my oil change so I peed on a stick. I put some dishes away and distracted the girls from the dishwasher being open and when I went back…there were 2 lines. I was ecstatic but wasn’t jumping up and down like I did with the girls. It felt different…still  an amazing feeling, just not first time after multiple failed attempts feelings.

I decided to have the girls tell Daddy so I folded up a sign that said

“He or She, we will see…Mommy’s due with number 3”

We waited and waited for Hubby to pull in and when he did I gave Isabelle the sign and Olivia the test and told them to give them to Daddy. He wasn’t even in the door before the girls were delivering their surprise. His reaction was so sweet and honest. This time around is so different. We both recognize the mixed emotions…joy and excitement that we are going to have another little family member but also that ‘oh my God, what did we do…we just got used to sleeping through the night again’ feeling of dread when realizing we are hitting the reset button.  I feel it too and it is amplified by hormones. Occasionally that panic hits me of having 3 under 3, will I give the girls enough attention, was it wrong to do this to them, lack of sleep, pumping, will I be able to breast feed this time? Will the girls enjoy a new baby or resent it? It will slam into me for a few minutes and then it passes. I think of seeing the girls as big sisters and I think they will love it and surely one infant is easier than having two at once. Excitement wins.

I still worried that my numbers would tank, especially when I tested the next day and it wasn’t any darker. My first Beta was on Thursday and I got those results during our nap drive.

115

The nurse sounded confident in that number even though I thought it was a bit low. I have to remind myself of my 40 and 50 levels that resulted in chemicals…this was a whole lot higher.  I was instructed to go back today, Sunday for my second Beta. Of course the nurse forgot to tell me that the lab opens later and instead told me to go between 7 and 9. Well I got there at 7 and it opened at 8 so not a great start. Once 8 hit I was in and out pretty quickly…home to wait for the call with Hubby and the girls. Luckily I didn’t wait too long because I am sure the doctor working on a Sunday wanted to get home. Before 11 my phone rang and I had no idea from her tone what she was going to tell me. To be honest, it didn’t sound great at first.  But she told me my level was 352 and she was very happy with my increase over 3 days. So there you have it, Baby C number 3 is growing away! I have felt cramps and pulls, slight queasiness and exhaustion. I am going to have to find a way to take it easy when the fatigue hits. For now, I will continue with my Estrogen patches and injections and will call tomorrow to schedule our 6 week ultrasound. My goal this time around it to savor my pregnancy. I don’t want to rush it- I want to enjoy it because this is the last time. It’s going to be an interesting 9 months before we meet our Frosty in early January!