Saturday, December 24, 2011

And So This Is Christmas...

She's here... no matter how much we've dreaded the Holidays this year or tried to make ourselves get into the spirit. The big day is upon us.

We'll be leaving shortly to head to DH's grandma's house where his whole family will gather. We are the only ones who don't have kids yet so it's a tough group with alot of small kids running around. We'll put on our smiles and happy faces and make it through another Holiday season.

One of DH's cousins bought his grandma a digital picture frame for Christmas. Now this is an 82 year old lady who is certainly not into any sort of technology. But, cousin emailed the whole family several weeks ago and has loaded it full of pictures so it will be all set up for her (great idea)! When she emailed me and asked for pics of DH and I, I automatically went to the vacation files on my computer! "We may not have kids but we'll show everyone how much fun we have and where we've been!" Isn't that awful?! :) Oh well! I sent vacation pics from different locations, us at sporting events, etc. Let them be jealous of us for once!!

But, I am thankful that today has turned out to be pretty quiet and peaceful. We slept in, made pancakes for breakfast, ran to the store and then mixed up some homemade salsa to take to our gathering tonight, had lunch together... and had alot more fun than I thought today would be.

It is certainly not the Christmas that we had imagined it would be but we're making it. Praying that all of you find some peace and comfort in this season and bring on the New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hard to do...

I know I've shared before that my little sister is pregnant with baby #2 and as hard as that is, it brought up another dilemma recently.

You see, we started our first IVF cycle in November of last year and that's the same month my nephew was born. My sister has always been very supportive of us and our decision and was excited for us. When we got our BFP on January 3 she was ecstatic right along with us! She quickly offered to let me borrow her maternity clothes, pregnancy books, body pillow, etc. I remember having a little twinge of something (maybe jealousy) because I should've experienced all this before her. But still, it was so fun to finally be having these types of conversations and sharing this with her.

Within the next few days I had everything laid out on the bed in the spare bedroom, the soon to be nursery, and was so excited at the thought of what was ahead. The cute little t-shirts and dresses... I was going to be so proud wearing all this stuff. I did get some use out of the "belly band" because some of my jeans got a little snug. I immediately started reading several of the books she gave me and tracked our baby's progress daily.

Sadly, I never got to wear those maternity clothes. On February 22, just two days shy of 12 weeks, our world changed forever. Unable to even go in that room for quite some time, those clothes continued to lay there... for quite a while. My sweet hubby cleaned up some stuff that had piled up in there, but I couldn't bring myself to even look at those clothes. They stared at me like a ghost of what should have been. They haunted me.

I really don't remember how long they sat there before one day while I was home by myself, I went in that room and in between sobs, I just threw everything into plastic bags and shoved it all into the top of the closet. "I'll need it again one day." That was no comfort at all then but as the months passed, I could begin to see myself in those clothes one day.

That was, until October 9. The day that little sis told me she was pregnant. Again. I cried, just like the first time she got pregnant. I had no idea they were even trying for #2 and now she's pregnant?! She cried too and apologized because it all just happened so quick...! Really? I'm sorry that good things like pregancy happen so quick... we've been on this road 4.5 years... nothing quick about that! I know she just didn't really know what to say... no one does. And there's nothing in me that would wish any of this on anyone, let alone my sister.

Within the same day that she told me, my mind drifted back to those clothes hiding in the shadows of my closet and it hit me, "She's going to need those clothes back before I ever get to wear them." And it was like someone kicked me in the stomach all over again. I never thought about that happening. Or maybe I just never let myself go there...

I mentioned it to my mom one time thinking maybe she'd offer to come get them but she never mentioned it again. I haven't had a conversation with my sister about them, I couldn't. So those clothes have continued to haunt me from their perch in the closet. But I knew I couldn't wait for her to ask for them back, I couldn't handle that discussion.

Every time I thought I could muster a little courage and deal with it, I would wimp out. Until yesterday on my way home from work it hit me... "I'm taking those clothes over to mom's and then sis can pick them up from there." I came home, grabbed them all in one big armload and threw them in the trunk. I didn't even stop to really think about what I was doing or I would've wimped out again.

I visited my mom for a while and then told her that I brought all those clothes over and sis could just pick them up from her house. "I won't be needing them," I said. To which she replied, "Yet." What I really wanted to say is that I never imagined she'd need them back before I ever got to use them, but I didn't. Why couldn't I just say that? I probably would've started crying but who cares? I have a bad habit of censoring what I'm really feeling, even if it's when talking to someone close to me.

My mom keeps telling me that I need to try and focus on myself and not on what's going on with other people. While I understand there's some truth in that, it's hard to completely ignore everything around you... I'm excited for what's ahead for DH and I, but there is grief and extreme sadness to deal with on a daily basis too. Of course it bothers me that sis is pregnant again but more than jealousy, it's bitter sadness for us and our empty arms. I don't want her babies, I want mine.

She made the big announcement on FB yesterday (a friend called and told me, I deleted my account over a year ago) and it just breaks my heart. How many people will contact us just to say they're thinking of us? My guess... very few, if any. Don't they understand they can be happy for her and sad for us at the same time? It's hard when our lives are so intertwined with alot of the same people. I feel like there's very few people I can share my true feelings with because they know her too.

This whole ride is just so emotionally draining. So thankful I have this outlet and new found friends that I can share with... and you guys get it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Discount to Pass Along

Hey ladies - this is a new thing for me but I've heard so many of you talk about Circle and Bloom that I had to check it out. I'm still not sure about how all of it works but it can't hurt to try it, right? I could certainly use some relaxation and some positive thinking!

So, in my researching it I came across a discount code that I believe is good through the end of the year. Just enter HOLIDAY35 at checkout for 35% off any product! The IVF/ IUI one is normally $59.99 for download and it came down to $38.99 with the discount.

If anybody has ever done it before let me know... although I already bought it so if you didn't like it it's too late to warn me! :-) But seriously, let me know your thoughts about it if you've used it. And if you haven't... check it out... especially with 35% off!

I can't keep up my normal workout (which I love) after the first of the year when we start IVF so I also bought Strong Yoga for Fertility. Didn't find a discount on that one though. Anybody tried that one? I've never done yoga but I have friends who love it. Again, a little quiet relaxation and postivity certainly can't hurt!

Just wanted to pass this along to you girls... best wishes!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tears and Hope

Not sure if all you ladies are following Denise over at This Blondie Wants Babies but she posted the most beautiful video I think I've ever seen. I just sat and cried as it played and I thought about everything that we've been through the last four and a half years.

Check it out when you have a minute to sit back, reflect and cry.

Empty Arms, Broken Hearts

I'm really thinking about sending a link to this video out to some family and friends who may not be aware the extent of our struggles. For the last several months I've been thinking about sending something like this but nothing really seemed to fit. I think this video says it all.

Up to this point and prior to IVF #1, we were very private about our story and doing IVF. There are alot of people who knew we were "trying" but only a handful who know the extent and about IVF. We thought that it was really no one's business what we did and so they didn't need to know. We've been through so much and at this point we don't really care who knows. I'm not sure what we expect to happen if we share our story but maybe it will at least be at start towards creating more awareness in our little corner of the world.

What do you guys think? To what extent have you shared your stories with those around you?

Doing Our Part

Hey Ladies - not sure how many of you have checked out Resolve's website but it is a wonderful place to find information on infertility, treatment, coping, etc. They also do some political action type stuff and largely due to their efforts, a bill has been introduced to the House and the Senate known as the Family Act of 2011. Now before I lose you, I'm not getting all "political" on you! Check this out:

Key provisions of the House and Senate bill:
  • The Family Act covers the out-of-pocket costs associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) including diagnostic tests, laboratory charges, professional charges, and medications for IVF.
  • The Family Act covers the out-of-pocket costs of fertility preservation procedures if the man or woman is diagnosed with cancer and the cancer treatment or disease itself may result in infertility.
  • The Family Act has a cost sharing provision allowing 50% of all applicable medical expenses to be  covered up to a lifetime maximum of $13,360. You would need to have out-of-pocket costs totaling $26,720 to claim the entire credit in your lifetime.
  • If you do not owe taxes in a particular year, do not owe enough taxes to use the whole credit, or do not reach the max amount in one tax year, it carries over to the next year for a max of five years after the first year you use the credit. 
  • The Family Act is available to couples filing jointly with adjusted gross incomes of less than $222,520, but the credit is smaller for those earning between $182,500 and $222,520. 
Now if you're like us, this would make a serious difference in your lives! With absolutely no insurance coverage for IVF, we have paid completely out of pocket, as I'm sure alot of you have. If you click on this link Family Act of 2011 you can send a letter to your Congressmen and Senators, all through their website and it only takes about 5 minutes! Don't wait on someone else to do it! If we all do our part we can begin to change things!

It starts with us!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dum spiro spero (While I Breathe, I Hope)

While I breathe, I hope (dum spiro spero). I came across this quote the other day and it stopped me in my tracks. I thought about how much that word "hope" has been a part of my life for the last several years. I hoped we'd have kids, I hoped we'd have kids on our own, I hoped we'd have them before my husband was 30, I hoped we could do IUI, I hoped the IVF would work, I hoped we'd only have to do it once... I could fill in a lot of blanks between all those phases I've listed but that could take all day.
We all hope for things in our everyday lives, alot of times subconsciously even. We hope we won't get caught in traffic, we hope we'll have a good hair day, we hope our team wins, etc.
But that's not the hope I'm referring to. The hope that has been in my life is deep-seeded, passionate and all-consuming. More than an off the cuff remark about something we want, this hope drives us to do things we never thought possible. It's that burning desire to fulfill our dreams and achieve our goal of family. Not willing to take "no" for an answer.
But after over four years battling IF, hope and I have a love-hate relationship at times. You see, I feel that I've been betrayed by hope. All the hope in the world didn't change that fact that we have to pursue IVF to concieve. That same hope couldn't bring me a baby before my little sister. And every hope and prayer I could whisper, cry or scream, couldn't save the baby we did have.
Hope deceived me when I thought this would be our year. Abandoned me on the way to the doctor's office that cold day in February when I tried to convince myself that everything would be ok. Stabbed me in the back in the weeks and months to follow the loss of our baby as I sat and reflected on how perfect this all "should have been." And as another year's battle with IF draws to a close, I'm left wondering where hope really fits in to all this.
If I sit back in self pity and allow myself to sink into those awful depths of emotions too frequently, I might never hope again. With my heart safely locked away behind closed doors, I would keep everyone and everything at arm's length, never to be hurt that way again.
Dum spiro spero. Those words kept resonating in my mind. While I breathe, I hope. And I'm realizing that if I'm truly going to live, I have no choice but to hope. Our souls long for something more than we have. Our hearts continue to dream of the day that we hold a child of our own.
Hope seduces me back one more time and I realize that even with our tumultuous relationship, it's hope that keeps me going every day. It's hope that pushes me to get out of bed and believe that something good can happen. It inspires me to believe that this next IVF cycle could bring us the baby we've been praying for. It's hope that persuades me to trust once again that the end of this roller coaster is near.
There's a new song by Matt Hammitt, "All of Me" that I fell in love with the very first time I heard it. Actually I was on my way to work and about two lines in I was crying uncontrollably driving down the interstate. I would recommend listening to it at home first! Here is a video for the song:

What an amazing song! With an upcoming IVF cycle beginning in January, we've been scared. What if this doesn't work? What if it works but we lose this baby too? What if we spend all this money again and we're still empty handed? Like the song said, we've been afraid to love something that could break. We're so close to what we can't control and it's exciting but scary. The words of verse 2 made me think alot of the baby we lost and at the same time still pursuing our dreams and IVF again. I cherish every minute we had with that baby and "she" changed our lives and will forever be a part of us.
The child we lost is worth all of me and yet the child yet to come is worth all of me too. They are worth every tear we've cried and every thing we've been through. They're worth facing all our fears and putting ourselves out there again.
We're not entering this cycle innocently like we did last time, we know the worst. But we're choosing to "trade the fear of all that I could lose, for every moment I share with you." Every shot, every ultrasound and every blood draw will be approached with a new appreciation of life and enjoying the moment. As emotional of an experience as IVF is, it is wonderful and beautiful as well.
Through the words of this song I'm realizing that maybe it's fear that causes that love-hate relationship with hope. We're so afraid to put our hearts on the line again. We're afraid to believe that something good could happen to us because it hasn't so far. Fear stops us in our tracks and makes us timid and apprehensive. Makes us question our decisions and our future plans.
I've decided I'm tired of being bullied by fear. We know what we want and we're going for it! Will there be times that we're scared? Of course! But I refuse to let fear control my life. I choose to nurture my relationship with hope and let her lead. I trust that she knows the path better than fear does and we're following her.
As long as there is breathe in this body, there will be hope. There's a french proverb that says "Hope is the dream of a soul awake." I'm still dreaming... will you join me?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Withdrawals

I'm having withdrawals! We haven't had internet service at our house all last week and won't have it until Wednesday this week. :-) We kept debating on whether to get rid of our home phone or not (I wanted to cancel it, DH thought we needed to keep it). So we compromised... we bought and installed a majicjack last week.  I think it will work pretty good.

However, they take care of canceling you'r phone service so they can take over your number. So, when that happened, our internet also got cancelled too because its DSL through our phone line! So crazy! We've got it all straightened out now but our new internet won't be activated until Wednesday.

Normally I wouldn't be too worried about it being down for a few days but now that I've met so many new friends in this blogging community its driving me crazy! Thankful for smartphones and I've been able to keep up with most everyone but its not the same. :-) Hoping everyone enjoyed their weekend I'll be back up running in a few days!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just a little sad...

Back in October, my sister told me that baby #2 was on the way. We've been sad, hurt, upset and the whole gamut of other emotions that some of you have experienced too. We've been TTC since they began dating four and a half years ago - and now they are expecting #2. Somehow, we've been better with it than what I expected we'd be... I'm not sure how or why. We're close and she's been very supportive of us but it still strains our relationship.

This morning, I text her about some concert tickets for next summer to see if they wanted to go. Two of my favorite artists, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, are in concert together and some of us are going! :-) Now, I figured that her due date was close to my birthday, June 17 but I had never asked. Is that terrible?? She said they would pass on the July 1st concert since it was only about 2 weeks after her due date... so I asked. She's due on the 18th. One day after my birthday.

I know it's silly but it bothered me. With her first pregnancy she found out the sex of the baby ON my birthday! Now baby #2 is due practically ON my birthday! Is this really happening? I feel like this can't all be coincidental even though it probably is. But seriously, what are the chances?

I'm just hoping that this new year brings good things for DH and I and the events in other peoples lives won't bother us so much because we'll be so distracted by the wonderful things happening in ours... it's just so hard to stay positive for ourselves with everything happening around us.

Just a little sad this morning... but we'll make it. We always do.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Beautiful Evening

Last night DH and I were part of a beautiful evening to honor the child we lost. We are part of a group known as HEAL (Helping Endure A Loss) and they held their annual tree lighting ceremony last night. First off, let me say that the lady who runs the organization is an angel. She had a son who was born sleeping over 25 years ago and has started this group to help others through the most awful time in their life. The group is open to anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, neonatal death, infant loss, etc.

Registration began at 6:30 but when we arrived, the church was packed. If I ventured a guess, I would say there were close to 500 people there! What an amazing event! If you had RSVP'd, which we did, there were Christmas ornament personalized with your babies name as well as a small gift bag for each family. Each person's story was different but for one night we came together to honor our children and tell the world that they matter and have forever changed our lives.

Each child's name was read and the parents came forward, lit a candle and then placed their ornament on a gorgeous Christmas tree. At the end of the reading, the tree was illuminated and it was absolutely splendid! I've got pictures that I promise I'll post (hopefully later today).

My family went with us to show their support, it was so nice to have them there with us. There were siblings, grandparents and friends who came out to stand arm in arm with their loved ones as they honored the children that we lost too soon.

What an amazing event that in the middle of this Holiday Season that can be so tough, we found some comfort, some peace and some "validation" in these losses that so few people can understand.

The courage of one woman to start an organiztion such as this one to help others through their grief is absolutely amazing. Not all of us will do something of that magnitude, but it goes to show that if we're willing to do something we never know the difference we can make in someone's life.

I wish you could have all been there with us last night and I pray that you find something that brings you some comfort this Holiday Season!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I just can't do it today...

I'm supposed to be on my way to the last of five Thanksgiving dinners that DH and I were to attend. Supposed to be... I thought I could do it. I even made my cheesecake last night and was going to put the hash brown casserole in the oven this morning.

I got up like any other Saturday morning and went to the gym at 9:30, had a great time and was in a pretty good mood. When I got to the car and checked my phone, I had a text from my mom, "Hey, just a heads-up, your cousin "R" may be coming with her new little boy. Just didn't want it to catch you off guard. Love you." I guess that's what turned my day. Now let me explain, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw R and had no idea she was pregnant. I believe this is her third. I wasn't too excited about going anyway, but that kind of sealed it for me.

We've held it together pretty good this week through the other four dinners but I knew this one would be rough. My mom is one of six kids and all of them have several kids each. Which translates into alot of cousins with a lot of little kids. If I've counted right there will be at least a dozen kids about 6 and under there today. At least half of whom have been born since we've been ttc. (There are more than that in the family, but they won't be there today). Two cousins and my sister have one year olds and my sister is pregnant again. I don't think alot of the family knows that so I'm sure they'll find out today.

I text my mom back and just said "Thanks Mom, but I don't think we're coming. I just can't do it today." I was a little worried she'd be upset but she was supportive and just said, "Ok honey, do you want me to let you know if she's not there?" I just said no, that we weren't really up to it either way.

I can't take the pictures with grandpa showing four generations. I can't take the discussions about who's kid is walking and who said their first words. I can't take the pregnancy announcement again. I can't take all the adorable little kids running around having fun and getting in trouble.

The question comes up, "What's new with you guys?" What are we going to have to share... The child that should be at this dinner with us? Our next IVF cycle? How we've been saving money for months years in order to have another chance at what you so easily achieved?

My grandpa is in from out of town and I haven't seen him in months - I feel guilty. Why is this so hard? I know we did the right thing for us and I'm glad we didn't put ourselves in that position, but it makes me crazy.

I'm trying to think of something for DH and I to do... maybe we'll catch a college basketball game tonight. I wan't to do something fun and get out of the house. I feel worse when I just sit here... I need a little distraction sometimes...

Does this ever get any easier?

Friday, November 25, 2011

My First Award!!

Given to me by Cristy at Searching For Our Silver Lining! Thank you!!                           

Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers 
with less than 200 followers.
Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

The 5 Blogs below are the ones that I want to pass this award onto:
BW at Mummy, are we there yet?
Ally at Praying for a Pregnancy
Lady Bug at My Journey to Conception
Emily at A Blanket to Keep
Megan at Infertile Myrtle  (I know you have alot of followers but I like your blog!) :-)

Much love ladies and thanks again Cristy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First ICLW

So I'm still pretty new to the whole blogging world and this is my first ICLW... I love it!

It's so nice to be able to connect with other women in this community, share our stories and in turn, hopefully bring a little encouragement to each others lives. I've been so busy trying to comment and find new blogs to follow that I hadn't taken the time to post myself!

When I finally decided to start a blog, my original intention was to send a link to some friends and family members and use it as a tool to tell them about what we had been through. Very few know the details of our situation, and even fewer know that we did IVF. The more I thought about it, I didn't send that link out because I knew I would forever have to be careful and censor what I wrote on here.

After my first couple of posts, I quickly realized that this would be an avenue for me to express my true feelings. As I started getting my first comments I understood how powerful this could become. For me, blogging was not about telling family and friends our story, that can come later. This is about community. It's those of us who are part of a club we never would've asked to join, but trying to make the best of it anyway. We don't even like the criteria for membership, but the shoe fits. Sharing our feelings, the good days and the bad, and reaching out to those around us to lend a helping hand through a difficult time in their lives.

I've realized through my own journey that no matter where you are in life, there is always someone out there who can use your help. Be ready. Listen. Support. Care. Reach out. Be the person for someone else that you need someone to be for you... it will come back around.

Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog and those who have commented. It's already making a difference in my life after only a few short weeks.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Holidays Start Today

Well today marks the unofficial start to the Holiday Season in our family. DH's family is big and everyone gathers at Grandma's on Thanksgiving Day. So big that we may barely see or speak to his parents and sister since there are so many people there. In turn, his mom decided to have Thanksgiving Dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving so that we can all spend time together.

Don't get me wrong, I love his family and we all get along great. And this will actually be one of the easiest dinners we attend (his sister started having kids before we got married). But it's still the beginning of a season that I'm not quite ready for.

I just can't help remembering that this time last year we were just beginning our first IVF cycle and were due to start our shots Thanksgiving week. Even with the huge unknown that it represented, it brought with it a level of excitement we had long been missing. We dreamed about how it would be the last Holidays with just the two of us and how different things would be this year. Thanksgiving dinners were hard last year, but they were just a little easier with the special little secret that we shared (gotta get home to get the shot done on time). What an exciting time it was!

Things are different this year, but certainly not in a way that we expected. More family members are pregnant (again), and we'll be joining the Thanksgiving Feast with just two (again). We'll put our strong faces on this year too and try to make the most of it.

Who knows what emotions tomorrow will bring but I guess we'll just wait and see... Waiting is something we're all accustomed to by now! Stirrup Queens had a great post the other day about getting through the holidays . Check it out if you have a chance. I know I picked up some great tips from her list.

Best of luck to you all as the holiday season rolls upon us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear Similac

Maybe some of you can relate to this as well...

Dear Similac,
I was having a perfectly "fine" day until I came home and checked my mail. As I opened the mailbox, the contents nearly fell into the road because there was little room for them after the box of formula samples you sent me. Now I've gotta tell you, this is not the first disturbing delivery I've received from you, I receive your coupons on a regular basis. I'm not even sure how I ended up on your list.

However, the problem is that I don't need your coupons or your samples. You see, back in February we suffered a miscarriage. I'm sure that our baby would've loved your wonderful product and I would've appreciated the coupons. On several occasions, I've thought about writing you to ask you to please take me off your mailing list because it still hurts to receive these items. Then I wonder about the future and think "maybe someday we'll want to receive these things again..." and then I'm a mess.

I'm sure your deliveries are normally received with great pleasure by it's recipients. But I just wanted to bring to your attention that there are those of us out there who dread them. We understand that things don't always work out how they should.

Maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive, but it still hurts, almost 9 months later.

P.S. This goes for you too Baby Talk Magazine, Enfamil and Pampers!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hope Deferred

Proverbs 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope deferred has been the story of our lives for the last four years (we're still waiting on that "desire fulfilled" part). In July of 2007 we decided that we were ready to start our family. Neither of us were in a big hurry so when things didn't happen immediately, we weren't too concerned. About a year and a half into it, we followed up with my gynecologist who ordered some tests but didn't seem too concerned.

We began to really feel the effects of infertility in 2009. Everyone around us seemed to have no trouble starting or growing their families. Friends, family, people at work... the list just kept growing, but our names weren't on it. Every time someone else made an announcement, the obvious question followed... "when are you guys going to have kids?" While meant innocently, it was salt in a wound for us. Those emotions flood in every time the pregnancy announcement is for someone other than you. It's happened more times than I care to count in the last four years. We waited and prayed, thinking that it was bound to happen eventually.

2010 followed in that same pattern and we realized that we had to do what we could. During that year, we asked our doctor to refer us to an infertility specialist. We were given three names but quickly realized that we were at the right place with the first one we visited. In a world where we had no idea what to expect or even what to ask, these people were angels! Once we got the ball rolling there we both felt we were on the right track. It took a while to come to grips with the fact that this is where life led us, but with a slight delay during the summer due to a car accident Fourth of July weekend, we continued moving forward towards IVF. We had been through so much and waited so long, we were ready to move forward.

This time last year we were starting the process and things progressed along quite well. At the same time every evening DH would faithfully give me shots (I was too wimpy to do it myself); we were so excited at the thoughts of what this could bring! Doctor's appointments followed, typically 1-2 times a week, to make sure everything was going as planned. A week before Christmas we had our transfer and that started the longest two weeks of our lives. Two healthy embryos were transferred back to us and the rest was out of our hands. It would be two weeks before we knew if the transfer was successful but those fourteen days, while scary, were some of the best days we'd had in a long time... this might be our long time dream fulfilled!

On January 3 we went for bloodwork for our pregnancy test and within a few hours received the best news we'd ever heard... the words, "You're pregnant!!!" Words cannot describe the pure joy that came over us in that moment. The nurse on the other end of the phone kept talking but neither of us could remember much of what she said because we were both crying and laughing by then. We quickly started making phone calls to the few people who knew so we could share our news with them. While we wanted to shout it from the rooftops, we waited until our first ultrasound to start telling other people. Our entire life was turned upside down as we started looking at nursery decor, paint colors, etc. and were finally able to walk into Babies-R-Us with a smile instead of avoiding it like the plague as we had for so long.

After several appointments with the specialist, everything looked great and we had been released to go back to our regular doctor. Of course, I scheduled that appointment for the end of February and couldn't wait for it to get here. Sadly, we never made it to that appointment. On February 21st, I started to have some pain and cramping and immediately called the doctor. They advised me to take it easy and stay off my feet but to call if I didn't get any better. By the next day I was worse so they got me in for an ultrasound where our worst fears were confirmed. I don't remember much of what the doctor said that day except the haunting words, "I can't find a heartbeat." The next days and weeks were just a blur as reality began to sink in. After everything we'd been through already, I never imagined that this would happen to us. It wasn't a thought that had even entered my mind. We had come so far!

I know some of you reading this may have different emotions and opinions about our choices. Maybe you've faced similar things in your life and you can relate to us. Maybe you haven't and you question the choices we made and think, "I would never do that." Let me share one thing I've learned in the last few years, you don't know what you'd do in someone else's situation because you've never been in their shoes.

There are some of you that know us but had no idea about any of this. It's been a long hard struggle for us and a very personal one as I'm sure you can imagine. We made the decision early on to only tell a very few people that were closest to us. It was the safest thing to do. And while we don't regret that decision, we both feel that moving forward we'll approach it a little differently. People struggling with infertility need a voice. They need an advocate. They need a shoulder to lean on. What if that awareness starts with us?

I'm sure that this post will get some people talking, and maybe that's a good thing. Educating and making people aware is the first step towards changing things and bringing this disease out of the shadows. I guess that's the whole point of this post and hopefully this blog. If our story can help a few other people, create awareness, open minds and plant a seed of hope then we've succeeded.

Here's hoping for better things ahead...