I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Monday, January 7, 2013

After many years...

I finally did it!!!
For YEARS I have wanted a tattoo.  But have always held off.
The biggest reason?  Well, of course, because I was going to have 3 or more children and I didn't want to ruin a tattoo with stretching skin.
And, though I have 5 heaven babies and my earthly miracle Evan...I will say...the stretching skin has not been an issue.
I debated about holding off until our last and final transfer.  But then...I realised...I am so very tired of holding off.  I'm tired of "what if" and "maybe".  I'm tired.
I had finally decided, confidently, what I wanted tattooed on my body.  It is going to be here forever, so it better be right.
After our 13+ years of trying to have a family, after our losses, during the joy of Evan, and then recently in our loss of our baby, Faith...I knew.  I knew what this tattoo was.
And here it is...fresh after being done on January 4th, the day after my brutal post-op checkup...
"Still Standing"...
It has SO much meaning to me. 
Not just because of our struggle to have children.  Not just because of our losses.  Not just because of the gift of Evan. 
It goes beyond that.
Life has tried, on many occassions, to knock me down.  And, on occassion, I have wanted to stay down because fighting to get back up just felt SO hard.
But, I've always chosen to get back up.  Not to be defeated.  I may be a bit scarred along the way, but I wasn't going to let the wounds remain a bloody mess.  No, I was going to get up and find a way to heal.  Yes, the scars remain, but they prove I have fought and am fighting to rise above.
I can't believe just HOW clichè this post is sounding!  ME, of all people, the anti-clichè person...a post filled with them.
But...it's true.  These words are true.
I am still standing.  Through it all.  I refuse to stay beaten down.  I refuse to give up.  I refuse to let disappointments and broken dreams/heart and pains of life keep me down.
Ya, they will remain a part of me...and that is ok.
But they will not rule me. 
The eternity heart was a symbol I had hoped to integrate in the tattoo, and I'm so glad that we did.  She did a GREAT job!  A tribute to all of our babies.  That we will love each and every one of our babies until we all reunite for an eternity in heaven :)
This tattoo is for me.  It's a constant reminder.  It's an encouragement.  It's a kick in the behind when I need it.
That tattoo appointment was more therapeutic than any session with a therapist!
The "pain" of the tattoo itself was nothing compared to the pain my heart has felt. 
I was able to share with my tattoo artist the meaning behind this tattoo.  Our losses, Evan, our recent loss in November, our "journey".  This girl is 21.  I thought maybe what I was saying would be lost...but...she was more amazing than she will ever know!  After her condolences she bravely asked "I hope you don't mind me asking, and if you aren't up to talking about just let me know if I'm overstepping boundaries here but..." and asked questions of our reason of infertility (of which there is no known medical reason), and about our losses.  She was freely discussing with me...and she has NO idea how much that meant to me!!!!!! 
She showed interest, care, empathy, respectful curiosity...but most of all she showed that she acknowledged the lives of all our children.  And it was SUCH a freeing time for me!!!
The whole night was just so liberating and freeing! 
When I got home from my appointment Brett commented that he hasn't seen me this excited in a long time!  And it's true.  OK, don't get me wrong...this is outside of each positive pregnancy test, babies, Evan...this excitement had to do with strictly ME :)  Something I chose to do just for me.
And I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  I keep staring at my arm and smiling! 
I do have one more tattoo planned.  It is my memorial/tribute/closure tattoo.  However, this one I do plan to wait to do until after our final transfer.  Should this final transfer not be successful, then it will definitely be fitting and appropriate...and I will need that.
Last night at my parents we were all remembering when my older brother was the first to come with a tattoo and how my mom thought it was a joke at first, then tried to pick at it believing it was a sticker and then was not too impressed (my parents were not supporters of tattoos back then ;) ), and then calling my dad to "come and see what your son has done". 
However, since it was dad's Clan Crest (my dad is 100% born and raised Scottish for those who don't know us personally)...I think that softened the "blow". :)  hee hee hee
My younger brother carried on the tattoo "trend".
So, thank you brothers for paving the way for your sister :)
This year did not start out the way we had envisioned with planning for our baby's arrival in July.
2012 ended with sadness and loss, and 2013 has begun with heart ache and sorrow, however, we will continue to live in the love and joy that each day provides our family.  We will continue to stive for peace and hold on to hope for whatever may come.  We embrace every moment with Evan and the life, love, laughter and joy he brings to our lives.
Regardless...this will be a year of change.  Whether it be exciting change or closure change.
Once our final transfer is done...it's done. 
Whatever that transfer results, our journey with ARTs (artificial reproductive technology) will come to a close.  7 years of ARTs, 13+ years of trying for children...
After great loss and sorrow, I am choosing to begin 2013...Still Standing.

Friday, January 4, 2013

When everything that CAN go wrong DOES...

I'm going to do this post in color because my morning felt so so so black and depressing!!

And let me explain my post title.  This pertains to my appointment yesterday morning. 

So, I went for my 6wk post-op appointment with my OB/G-Peri yesterday morning.
First horrible thing...I had to drink all the water for a full bladder for my "lovely" ultrasound.

I got to the office and sure enough...it was like it was "brink of delivery day". EVERY. SINGLE. WOMAN. in that office was very, VERY pregnant. I sat there staring at my boots with tears rolling down my face trying to be "discreet", though I know a couple of these fortunate pregnant women witnessed what I was desperately trying to hide.

I was called back for my ultrasound. I was put in the waiting spot, right across from the ultrasound room. The radiologist was doing an ultrasound a woman and asking about was she still bleeding, etc? My heart went out to the woman...until I heard:
"Well, there are TWO babies in there!!" I could hear the dad "what?! No! Really? What?" and the radiologist saying "yes, here is baby one, and HERE is baby TWO! Are you sure there is no history of multiples in either side of your families?" Husband: "these are the first twins ever in either family!" Then I could hear the measurements happening, and the "here is the picture of your babieS".

That was it...I LOST it. I was SOBBING in that stupid little waiting cubicle. And SO ANGRY that I had to hear all of that.
The radiologist needed the door open because the room was so hot and she was having trouble with her eyes.

Then...my turn. Lucky me.
She says "so, what's been happening since your last ultrasound?" Ummmm...obviously had NOT read my chart and had NO idea why I was there.
So, tears again I tell her "I lost our baby at the end of November and had to have a D&C. I'm here for the 6 week post op follow up".
Silence, sullen face and the all too familiar "I am SO sorry!"
We start talking through the u/s. I tell her our story and inform her that SHE was the one who actually told us the day we lost our identical twins 5 years ago at our "routine" 12wk u/s.
Again...more "I'm so sorry" and dropped face.
I tell her I need the results faxed to our fertility clinic before we even consider doing our final transfer of our very last blastocyste.
She asks if we will do IVF again.
I firmly say "absolutely not, I can't handle more of this pain".
Then she tells me about a patient she recently saw pregnant with her first baby. She is 49 years old. Got married 5 years ago. And went to the states for a donor egg...and it worked.
When we are done and I'm off the table she wraps me in a big hug and again tells me how sorry she is. But that it is a new year, and not to give up hope. Ummmmm...I have been saying that EVERY new year for the past 13 years of us trying to have a family. I'm tired of starting every year with that phrase.  But for her benefit I agree, plaster on my perfected smile and brave face and say thank you.  All the while in my head I'm screaming not so nice words.

I then go back to the waiting room. Another woman and her maybe 5 or 6 year old son come in, go back for an u/s and come out and the mom is loudly beaming and saying "A GIRL! How EXCITING hey!!! A sister for you!"

COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously God? Where was the protection in this day?!!!!!!!!
That was going to be US. WE were going to get to share with Evan about the baby growing inside of me.  Our sweet Faith.  And that day will never happen. 
And now...I get told how that physically things look good. No remaining tissue can be seen.
Gee, thanks for confirming that our baby is completely gone from my body.

THEN I get called back to my OBs office. The nurse is so very precious and hugs me and asks if I need any juice or anything (because I had burst in to tears again when she sat me in the room) and tells me to call her if I need anything while I'm waiting.
Here...this is what I need...I need the last 6 weeks to rewind. To hear that my baby is NOT dead. To have been at the office for my 14wk pregnancy u/s. To NOT be facing picking out a memorial plaque for yet another baby.
But I adored her for being so very compassionate.

The final kicker?? I wait almost an hour in the room. And then, I get to see my OB's RESIDENT! I don't even see my own OB! I was a bit offended and hurt. But, apparently she was doing an ultrasound on another pregnant woman. So forget about the barren one sitting bawling in her room. Toss me off to a resident.
I do love my OB, and appreciate that she didn't want me to have to sit there even longer to hear her say the same thing that the resident said to me. It just would have been nice to feel dignified in seeing my OB personally.

Whatever.  I wasn't one of the important ones that day.  My baby wasn't about to be born any day, as apparently every other woman in that office that day seemed to be.

Yesterday marked the final moment of Faith.  Yesterday marked that there is no more trace of our baby girl inside of me... where she should be safely tucked, growing, moving and ALIVE.  It's over.
Well, I'm saying this in the earthly sense. I KNOW she is alive and well with her 4 brothers in heaven. But none of that knowledge is helping my broken heart right now. I know what I SHOULD be thinking and feeling in the heavenly sense...but I'm mad right now. I'm mad that this is our path...again.

Anyhow, that is how my appointment went yesterday.

I'm tired. Exhausted. Broken. Lost. Angry.

I just want to be done trying to conceive but that can't even happen until we do our final transfer. And I'm in no rush right now to do that, no matter how much I want our ARTs road to be done. Right now...I just have to breathe.

So I will be taking a chunk of time to rebuild my mind and body.  I have to feel some shred of distant hope that in this coming time my body will heal enough to allow for a CHANCE for our remaining frosty-baby.  I don't claim to believe this final transfer will work.  I'm not even knowing HOW to pray about this last transfer.  Just that God allows me some dignity of getting through with my head held high and my heart NOT broken AGAIN.
I have NO idea how this will all play out...but I'm sad that I have no comfort in anything anymore.  I used to feel at least confident in the "numbers" of our blood pregnancy tests.  I knew either way without a doubt pregnant or not.  But after such high numbers with Faith...and with losing her...numbers no longer count.  Numbers no longer gaurantee a thing.  Numbers are just numbers.

Right now I need to try to be still in where things are in the PRESENT.

Evan and Brett are my living breath.  What would I do without my guys?!  They give me hope.  They give me strength.  They bring smiles, laughter and yes, even frustration.  None of which I could live without!  They are my heart and soul.  And I adore them.  And I am grateful for the both of them and for the life we have together.  I love love love them!