Monday, September 28, 2015

Until We Meet Again....

Today was bittersweet.  To quote my favorite Big Head Todd and the Monsters song "It's bittersweet more sweet than bitter, Bitter than sweet, It's a bittersweet surrender"

I have mentioned before that I have been going to an infertility support group that I found through  I almost cannot put into words how helpful this group has been for me.  Infertility often makes you feel isolated.  You feel like you are suffering through an almost insurmountable difficulty all alone.  Because so few of us are open about our infertility, most of us don't realize that so many others out there are suffering too.

I am lucky that I flipped through a family building options magazine in my RE's office and saw an ad by  And that I checked out their website and found that there are support groups in my area.  And especially that I put aside my fears and went to a meeting.  That was a pivotal moment for me.

The group was wonderful.  Everyone was kind and supportive.  As we shared our stories I felt a kinship with these men and women.  We were all suffering, and we were all trying hard not to give up.

As beautiful of blessing that a child is, and not matter great the dream is to have a child, sometimes the journey to having one can seem too hard, too painful, and too futile.  For many, infertility is resolved by the decision to live child free.

I have at times thought of giving up.  I have thought that if I was meant to have a child that I would have one.  That maybe I am tempting fate and the wrath of the gods by trying to sneak in a child through alternative means.

Listening to the stories of others who were also struggling with infertility gave me hope and gave me to the courage to keep going on my journey.

It was very hard for me to have to leave that support behind once we had a BFP.

Resolve does encourage those who attend their groups to come back to make their pregnancy announcement.  The thought is that we all need good news once in a while.  We need to know that it can work.  We need to know that our struggles may not be in vain.

I was nervous about making my announcement.  I worried that it would be hard for some to hear.  I have cried tears of agony at my empty womb when an ultrasound picture pops up on Facebook, or when I hear yet another pregnancy announcement.  I did not want to be the source of that horrible pain for someone else.

But it turns out that I wasn't.  Several of us have been attending the group for a while.  Each month we hope that we won't see someone at group - that it finally worked out for them.  When we see them month after month we know the sad truth. 

When I went through my story I choked up describing my losses.  It sometimes surprises me that even though now we are very likely finally realizing our dream of having a child that my losses still hurt, and hurt just as much as they ever did.

But the ending to my story finally changed.

We finally had a BFP.....a BFP that was at 18 weeks.....and had gone through prenatal testing that kept coming back good....a BFP that may actually be a real baby someday.

Everyone was happy for me.  They shared that my story gave them hope.  That is a beautiful gift that I never thought I would be able to give.  A bittersweet gift.

I hope that I see all of the members of my group again someday.....maybe at the hospital with their newborn, or at daycare or school.  I hope to see them holding the child that they so desperately want.  I see us looking at each other, realizing how we know one another, looking at each others children and giving one another a knowing smile.

Until we meet again.....


Sunday, September 20, 2015

An Unexpected Benefit of Expecting Via Gestational Carrier

 Is that I can drink this while "pregnant"

We spent a long weekend touring San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma with friends.  It was a much needed break/stress reliever.  While expecting via gestational carrier is a happy event, it is also a very stressful one at times.  I have been very grateful that I can still have my wine :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PALS - Pregnancy After Loss Support

I have been struggling with mixed emotions throughout this pregnancy.  I have been terrified that we were going to lose the baby, or even worse, that something was horribly wrong.  That has been mixed with sadness, since this pregnancy sometimes makes me think of the pregnancies that I have lost.  Every now and again, a little bit of anticipation and happiness pops up.  But that is quickly washed over with fear, sadness and sometimes even guilt.  Guilt that this baby may make it and there were ones who did not.

It has been hard to say the least.

What has also been very hard is that I feel very misunderstood.  For most of the population, a positive pregnancy test equals a baby.  And for most of the population, that positive pregnancy test came without months or even years of trying, without medications, procedures or even third parties.  For many it was even a complete surprise.  For most of the population, pregnancy is a time of joy, and they don't seem to understand how anyone would not also be joyful.

For most women who have suffered a pregnancy loss, their partner also suffered that loss.  So, while people (and often the sexes) process loss differently, the couple is at least processing together.

True, Mark and I suffered a failed transfer and a chemical pregnancy together.  But those happened half a world away and via a gestational carrier.  For Mark they were disappointments, for me they were losses.

The two pregnancies that I myself lost happened 14 and 15 years ago, with another partner and even in a different state.  Mark hasn't gotten the thrill of a positive pregnancy test, only to start bleeding a few weeks later.  To then start having horrific cramps and passing big clumps of things that you knew once were a baby.  To have to go to the doctor to make sure that everything actually did pass and that you don't need a procedure.  To have seen a baby moving on an ultrasound, that later never was.

We have had very different experiences.

Mark has tried to be supportive despite not completely understanding my feelings.  He has been doing a great job, but I really still needed more support.  Thankfully I found out about PALS - Pregnancy After Loss Support, and even more importantly, found a local support group through them.  They have been wonderful so far and I have learned some very important things:

1. My feelings are normal for someone who has experienced pregnancy loss.
2. I have not fully grieved my prior losses.
3. I need to work through my grief and my fear.
4. My grief and fear will never completely go away, but it will be less often and less hard if I work on it now.

I have rationalized my losses for so long, telling myself that "It was for the best".  It has been hard, very hard, but I have been working past the rationalization.  I had never named my angel babies.  I think that I probably didn't see the point - why name a baby that never was?  But, Daniel, Marilyn, Gavin and Grace deserve to have names.  They were are real, even if it was only for a few months, weeks or days.  When our little one is born, they will not be alone, they will have four siblings that  they will meet someday in Heaven. 

This is hard for me to write, or even think about.  I don't know if I ever had a great relationship with God, but it definitely changed after my first miscarriage.  I have been so angry that he would give me a miracle pregnancy....only to take it away.  To give me hope, after hope, after hope, only to take it away.  I know that I shouldn't be.  I have to remember that even through sometimes God may seem careless, that there is a plan.  Maybe our little one needed to have these angel babies to watch over him/her.  That my angel babies are so that Baby S someday will be.  I have to believe that is the plan.

I have to keep working through my pain, so that I can be fully here once Baby S is here.  I will continue to go to my support group and work with our fantastic counselor.  I am very lucky to have found their support.  I will also work on a way to memorialize my angel babies - something very special for my little ones that were too beautiful for here.

Daniel, Marilyn, Gavin and Grace, I will hold you in my heart until I hold you in Heaven.

Friday, September 4, 2015

And I thought Fertility Treatments Were Expensive.....

Now that we've ventured into the second trimester, I felt more comfortable with looking into child care for Baby S (I also think I need transition names since Maybe Baby doesn't feel appropriate anymore since he/she is becoming more and more real with every passing week).

The pregnancy checklists that I have seen say that right now is a good time to start looking.  I have heard, however, that in the Twin Cities, daycare is at a premium and maybe we should have starting looking sooner.  Turns out we may be a little late to the party.

Mark talked to one of his clients who owns several daycare centers in southern Minnesota (unfortunately none in the Metro) to get some pointers from an expert.  What she said generally echoed what Mark and I had already talked about ourselves.  In-Home vs. Center.  Each has its own pros and cons.  Centers are more expensive, and can sometimes feel impersonal.  In-Home is less expensive and is VERY personal.  Some of our friends and coworkers have had not-so-great experiences with in-home, and we liked the convenience and the educational programs that many centers offer.

We decided on 3 centers that are close to our house.  It was recommended to us to "sneak attack" - just show up without an appointment so that you get a feel for what the place is really like.  That gets a little complicated when each center has a code to get in to keep out the creepers.  Each place was very accommodating and each had its own pros and cons.  One I liked more than the others, one all of the kids seemed very happy, one they separated the kids in rooms by age (much more than the others), keeping each group small, one just felt "right".  To the complete shock of my husband I whipped out the checkbook and put down our deposit.

Here's why I said we might be late to the party.  The center has an opening next year, but not until May 1st.  We need an earlier opening.  Unfortunately since I will not be giving birth, I do no qualify for disability, meaning that my leave is unpaid unless I use vacation and whatever my company offers for family leave (six weeks).  Also unfortunate is that we spent all of our readily accessible savings just creating Baby S, so unpaid leave isn't an option.  Thankfully we get a week of backup daycare, the center may be able to accommodate us a little earlier, and both sets of parents would be able to fill in some time.  Covered, but a lot of coordinating.

Daycare favors the fertile.  Apparently we should have booked an opening the minute we found out that we were pregnant, or even when we decided to start trying.  I think I speak for the 1 in 8 couples who experiences infertility when I say that it RIDICULOUS!

Also RIDICULOUS is how much daycare is going to cost us.  I thought just creating Baby S was I know why people with kids are always broke.

Average Weekly Cost of Child Care

Below are some average ranges of weekly child care costs in Minnesota as of June 2015. Rates for part-time and drop-in care may be higher than those listed below.

Metro Centers Family Child Care
Infant $320.99 $178.86
Toddler $274.06 $169.45
Preschool $242.49 $160.45
School-Age $198.05 $140.60
Out state Centers Family Child Care
Infant $199.34 $133.86
Toddler $179.88 $127.69
Preschool $165.51 $123.13
School-Age $143.78 $112.50
Statewide Centers Family Child Care
Infant $283.93 $153.65
Toddler $245.70 $146.14
Preschool $218.83 $139.61
School-Age $181.59 $125.48