Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty Much Over...

Please keep us in your prayers. I am having some cramping and bleeding and will go in tomorrow morning for confirmation, but we pretty much feel we have lost this baby.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will I Ever Learn?

Learn what?

To trust my gut? (Again.  Trust it again.)

Not to worry about what others think?

That different people present different diseases with different symptoms?


I am so angry.  Luke and I have been suffering with this 'cold' off and on for the last 10 days.  I've called the nurses' line, polled friends with kids who are suffering various ailments, and even polled some friends with strep throaters.  I've done everything that has been recommended to me in dealing with it...which is not fun when you are miserable and pregnant.  Miserable?  Hard enough?  Miserable with a busy toddler running around?  Harder still.  Miserable with a busy toddler who is ALSO sick?  Worse.  Throw PREGNANT in with that mix, and really, I guess I just chalked me taking this 'cold' harder to my weaker immune system and not being able to do anything to treat it.

Not to mention...little bit has been under-the-weather off and on for the last 10 days.  We've both been running low grade fevers that will come and go, days apart. (I've taken 5 tylenol in the last 10 days because I know fever isn't great for baby.)  So, I figured that whatever HE has, I must have.  And it seemed as if he just had this 'cold.'

Even though, in my gut, I thought..."This is some cold."

Even though, in my gut, I thought..."I know they say you can run fevers with colds, but I didn't think that really happened all that much."

Even though, in my gut, I thought..."I should probably just be sure it's not strep, because I know that's going around."

I didn't listen.

I took Luke in this morning.  In addition to the awful cold-like symptoms, he now has some bumps on his face/neck and hands.  Remembering that the boy is a RASHY boy, I haven't paid too much attention until I noticed they were multiplying pretty rapidly from the first one last night.  John freaked me out about chicken pox, Luke has been tugging at his ear, and's visit warranted.

He has an infection in both ears (left one, pretty severe), a sinus infection, and STREP THROAT.
His doctor told me to get tested ASAP, being pregnant, and at such a pivotal developmental time for the baby.

Yep...the rapid came back, "Raging," according to the doctor, with him also asking me how I've been able to eat with my throat as raw as it was.  (Answer?  I'm PREGNANT and this baby needs to eat at ALL COSTS.  I force myself.  It's what mommies do.)

I immediately started crying, because I said, "I should have come in earlier, shouldn't I?" and he said, "Anytime a pregnant woman has a fever, even a low-grade one, they should come in because it could be the onset of a bacterial infection."

*Cue Mom-of-the-Year Award music*

I've been pregnant 3 times.  You'd think I would know that.

And the thing my gut, I DO.

But I don't trust my gut anymore.  My gut told me Matthew would live.

He's dead.

My gut worries about just about everything.

I feel like I can't win.  I'm either too neurotic because I worry about EVERYTHING (and frankly, it takes everything in me, every single day to NOT be like this)...or, I don't worry enough, trust that it's 'just a cold and has to run it's course,' and end up with strep and could kill the baby.

When I started crying, the doctor said, "Woah, woah...woah...don't worry...moms take crack and heroin and their babies turn out fine."  (Comforting or not, I'm not sure how I feel about that statement.)

In my experience, moms do EVERYTHING right and their babies die.

I hate that I do not trust my gut.  I just feel like I can't.  It has lied to me in the most severe, severe way.

I hate that I worry (even though I say I don't) about what kind of mother people think I am.  I feel like my reaction to everything is on showcase—for people to pick at, criticize and condemn. (Of course, I realize that I could remove a LOT of that if I didn't have a public blog.  I know, I know.)

"His paci dropped on the ground...what's she gonna do?"

"He won't eat's she gonna handle that?"

"He's she gonna let him cry or baby him?" (Which is ironic...BABY a baby?  Umm, yes.  When the call arises.)

"She needs to stop worrying so much. Kids get scrapes.  They get bumps.  They get dirty."

"She needs to worry a little more.  Playing with keys is dangerous.  Dog food isn't good for babies.  Why isn't he wearing a coat when all the other babies are?"

More, I hate that trusting God means accepting circumstances I DO NOT WANT.

I don't want that to sound blasphemous.  I am doing a study on James.  I know, I know...count it as joy...

But really, I do not count losing Matthew as joy.
If something should happen to this baby, I will not count losing it as joy.

I will accept.  What choice do I have?

And I know, I am not alone and God holds us.

I just know that even though God is holding me, I still am the mother of a dead child.  And there's nothing to say I won't be the mother of two. Or three.  Or the widow of a military pilot.  Or all of the above.

Trusting my gut and trusting God are often not all that much different...except in obedience I trust God.

But my gut?  Too big a liar.

Except sometimes.  Like now.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feel Down? Give Away!!!!

I really feel pretty ashamed of myself for feeling so "bleh" these last few days.  There is nothing to be that way about AT ALL.  It was early.  I got the ultrasound report back—it was a beautiful little 1.14cm x .043cm x .075 gestational sac with a 4mm yolk.  As much as I love Dr. P down here, his equipment is NOT the same as Shady Grove's so, it stands to reason that not much more could be seen as early as 5w6d.  Like I already said, nothing was seen for either of the boys that early, and when it WAS seen, it was slow cardiac activity, so odds are it had just started.

We are already just so attached to this little one.  Truly.  So I just hate not knowing definitively that everything is fine.

Then again, do we ever?
Sigh. I've been blah.  But that is just not ok with me, especially in light of so many I know of who are hurting and suffering.  So, one of the things that I know doesn't seem natural, but is SO true, is that when one is feeling blah, the best way to fix that is to serve or to give.  So, I'm going to do a giveaway.

I've said it before.  Luke LOVES the PraiseBaby videos.  So do I.  Heck, even John walks around the house humming!

So, I'm going to give one away on Friday.  To enter, just tell me what you think the baby's heart rate is going to be. (Because I WILL see a heartbeat.)  I'll help give some idea...typically at this point, the heartbeat is 90-110.  Matthew at 6w1d was 102 and Luke at 6w2d was 88 (yeah, remember me freaking out about how that was a bit slow???!!!).  I'll be 6w6d on Friday.

Whoever gets it, or closest, wins.  In the event that there are multiple correct guesses, I'll go with the first one...maybe.  Maybe I'll just give more!

In the meantime, friends...thank you for praying for us and sending us love and encouragement.  We are so, so grateful.  Our cups runneth over.

Friday, February 24, 2012

No Fetal Pole...

Don't feel like writing much but know many people are waiting. They saw one gestational sac. No fetal pole or heartbeat. A small yolk. I am 5w6d. I saw Matthew's heartbeat at 102 when I was 6w1d and Luke's at 88 when I was 6w2d. Both of those heartbeats were considered slow. There is nothing slow about Luke, let me be clear. All clinicians involved feel it's early. We return next week for definitive information. So... More waiting. Super not fun. Thanks everyone for thinking about us and praying for us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It's so funny how people who really know me will always call me out when they haven't heard from me in a while.

And I realize I've been a little less vocal.

I do want to thank everyone for sending me so many kind comments and emails and messages.  I really, really, really do feel loved beyond measure and appreciate so many of you just opening your hearts to me and sharing my hurts.  You really don't have to take them on, and yet, you do, and I am honored.

I guess I don't really know what to say.  I probably shouldn't even have written that the other night.  I wasn't looking for anything.  I guess, if anything, I was aggravated with John because I felt like we should have had a deeper conversation after that movie than we did, so I took out my frustrations somewhere else.

And really...completely being honest here... I do NOT blame myself for Matthew dying.  Do I believe that if I had a scheduled c-section (which my doctors would have allowed, though they definitely preferred natural delivery), Matthew would have lived?

I do.

I believe that with my entire being.  While I recognize I am not the one who gives or takes life away, I also believe that we, in God's sovereignty, are given free will and brains with which to make choices, and that as a result of living in this broken world, our choices have consequences.

I don't believe that I was being punished by Matthew dying.
I don't believe that John was being punished.
I don't believe that I was given any medical advice that EVERY.SINGLE.OTHER pregnant woman in my shoes would have been given.

I just believe that if I'd stuck to my guns, it would have been different.

And I won't lie.  I know that a lot of people also feel a bit of that sweet doctors even told me so..."Maybe we should have listened to you..."

For about two-tenths of a second, the human, hurting mother in me wants to scream, "YES!  YOU SHOULD HAVE!  YOU SHOULD HAVE!  I TOLD YOU!"

But I won't.  I absolutely, wholeheartedly believe and know that I received THE BEST MEDICAL care and advice that could be provided for me.  THE BEST.  Period.  For a single person to tell me, "Oh, yeah...go ahead, cut him out...easy peasy!" would have been completely irresponsible and frankly, close to medical malpractice.

I won't allow myself to give that thought more than two-tenths (which is frankly, two-tenths of a second too much) worth of time because it's just not fair or true.

In the end, *I* made the choice I did because I trusted those who could be trusted.  I believed those who knew what they were doing.  I wanted to do what was best for my baby.

I still believe that a natural delivery IS the best, first path.

I'm just aggravated that I felt so, so strongly about something, regardless of the reasoning, and was talked into something else.  That's just not me.

What IS me, trying to maintain faith.  What good are providers if you don't trust them?  Listen to them?  BELIEVE them?  They are worthless, and you are arrogant.

I had FAITH in them.  And I still do.

So...another sticking point for me has been the whole "God's plan" conversation being debated in my heart and mind and even in writing, apparently.  And while I, by pure definition of being a good little Southern Baptist girl, claim that God is SOVEREIGN and ALL-KNOWING...I have to say that I am yet convinced He purposely planned for Matthew to suffer.

I know people mean well when they tell me this.  But what I hear is:

"It was God's plan to make you ache as you saw nurses frantically doing CPR on Matthew."
"It was God's intention to break your heart."
"It was God's purpose to force your husband to do the thing no person should ever have to do...give your newborn and now dead son back to the nurses and leave empty-handed."
"God planned for Matthew to suffer."
"God planned for Matthew to hurt."
"God planned for Matthew to be afraid."
"God purposed that blood vessel to specifically break and bleed the life from your son."

I know that's not what people mean to say.

But that's essentially the nuts and bolts of it.

I know this.  God allowed all of that.  Why?  I'll never know.  And it's futile to ask.

I know that God was merciful with Matthew.  I have no doubt that He was merciful in taking Matthew home instead of allowing him to live a life that might not have been much of a life at all.

I know that God has made beautiful, beautiful things from the devastation in our lives, and has changed the world (and my heart) using my sweet baby son.  Actually, using BOTH of my sweet baby sons.

I know God is Love.

And I know a God who is Love and knows the plans He has for His people (and those plans are not to harm them), does not PURPOSE the suffering of a tiny infant, only hours old.

I know there is evil that scours the earth and seeks to destroy.  And that God allows that.

I know that's the stuff denominations are made of, and I understand there are many who may disagree.

I understand and I'm ok with that.

But at the end of the day, it's me and God.  And we've agreed that He did not purpose Matthew's suffering.  Or mine, for that matter.

Thank you all for commenting and reaching out to me.  I guess it's obvious I've had some difficult days.

I'm ok.  I know all things can be made beautiful...and I am grateful for the many beautiful people in my life.

Monday, February 20, 2012


John and I finally were able to watch this movie tonight.

I admit.  I thought it was an amazing movie.

I guess I just wasn't up for it.

And so, while I think it was amazing (and highly recommend it, and at another time, maybe when less hormonal, I will probably watch it again), and I think John did too, I am not in a great mood.

Mainly because after we watched it, I asked John, "So, what did you think?"

He said, "Well, since Matthew died so soon, I guess I don't have any regrets."

"You mean, you don't regret what kind of father you were to him because he wasn't with us long enough for you to really have any?"



That doesn't really apply to me.

I only have one.

That he died because I didn't have a c-section.  Well, a scheduled c-section.

So, I guess that would qualify as a big one.

He of course said I had no reason to want a c-section and was going through labor the way I did based on sound medical advice.

Sound medical advice that killed my son, of course.

John then threw out that I had no way of knowing.

Knowing that a c-section would have kept a perfectly healthy and amazing and much-loved baby from dying for NO.GOOD.REASON.

And though I had no idea it would have saved him, I still went against my inner intuition...whatever you want to call it...I went against it.  How many times while pregnant (and even before?) did I say that I wanted a c-section?  Needed a c-section? Wished for the days where you were just wheeled into the hospital, put to sleep, woke up and there the baby was?

Who cares why I felt I needed one?

In the last weeks, I caved to peer pressure.  I didn't follow my gut.  I walked into that hospital shaking more than a drug addict on major withdrawal because I was so terrified.

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.  Something was not right.  How much more plainly could it have been?

Even after Matthew died, Dr. Polko told me, "You know...we always thought you wanted a c-section because you just didn't want to tear stuff up down there...maybe you knew something cosmically that we just didn't know."

Too late to put any merit into that thought now.  He's dead.  I buried him.

John said, "You had no control over Matthew living or dying."

To him, I replied, "Would he have died if I scheduled a c-section?"

"Well, no."

Folks, there we have our answer.

I've been accused of being stubborn once or twice in my life. (Ahem.)

Look what caving in and NOT being stubborn about something got me?

A grave.  A dead baby.  Trying to teach my son about his big brother simply by walking by his picture every day and saying, "Matthew."

I should mention again that I don't blame the movie for this mood.  It just was the catalyst for conversation after that I am now trying to reconcile before I go to bed.

People talk about our strength and inspiration and bravery and blah-blah-blah.

I appreciate it.  The human in me can't lie and say I am not pleased to hear that we endure and we try to give honor to God in doing so.

But courageous?  Don't think so.  Because if I was courageous, I'd have kept my foot down.  Regardless of what ANYONE else GUT told me I needed to schedule a c-section.

If I was courageous, he'd have lived.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Wish...

I wish I knew why Luke was running a fever today.  It's the first fever he's ever had.  In 13 and a half months.  Even through teething and H1N1 and double ear infections and sinus infections...not once has he had any fever.

So I'm perplexed and I wish I knew what was going on.  I came across a blog of a woman who lost her son a few weeks ago.  He was adopted from the Ukraine; nearly 9 months here in his forever home.  He had horrible flu-like symptoms one day and the next was dead.

It turns out it wasn't the flu, but a bike accident he'd had the day before.  He'd fallen, damaged his duodenum, and died.  It was such a benign fall, apparently, he'd never even told his mother.  No big deal.

I just think, "If Luke's never had a fever when I expected him to...what does it mean when he has one out of the blue.  For no reason?"  I've been very good about not expecting the worst, but I won't lie.  I do not like his body fighting something of which I have no knowledge.  It takes me back to a very helpless place where control is not even close to an option and ends with many people standing around a small white casket on a cold and icy day.

I know.  It's just a fever.  Not even a high highest, 100.2.  I don't have to take him for urine testing unless it's 101.  Motrin immediately brought relief and the poor sweet thing has been sleeping and really, for being sick, one might never know.  I know my mind is really getting out of control.

I wish it was as easy as people think it is just to turn it off.

I wish we had pictures from Matthew's funeral.  Really, I wish we had video.  We have a cd, somewhere, in the 8 million boxes that are either stored here in the garage in NC or storage in Maryland.  But I'd love to have video or pictures because so much of it is just so blurry.

Some things, like how everyone looked so pitifully at me, scream at me every time I think of that day.

Others, like who was there and what the table with his things looked like and what the church looked like are cloudy.  And get cloudier every day.

I wish, though I know it's such a benign question and truly well-intentioned when asked, people would not ask me, "What do you want?" when we discuss the fact that we do not know if both of these  embryos implanted and are viable pregnancies.

What do I want?  I don't want to have to grieve another baby.  Period.  Whether that means one, two, three or 10...I want to be able to carry and birth and raise and love until I die whatever I'm given.

And really, how harsh would I sound if I said, "Um, just one?"  Of course, one comes with less risk.  More odds of bringing home.  Less stress and chaos with another toddler and two crazy dogs and a house that's not really my house and a deployed husband.

But one also means that a little chance at life ended.  I know that the debate on where life begins is a never-ending one.  But for us, life began the second any of those little embryos' cells divided.  Nothing was making them do that.  No laboratory procedure was forcing the reproduction from two to 4 to 8 cells...and then beyond.  To us, life was in them.  And when I transferred both of those embryos several weeks ago, they were both living...dividing...growing.  So to say I'd prefer a single pregnancy for all reasons listed above makes me sound selfish, cruel, and really...I feel a bit murderous.

So again, I just wish that I'd not have to answer that, and am glad that people nod (sort of sheepishly as if they forgot what we've been through because it seems so far away now)  when I tear up and say, "I just want healthy. I want to bring this baby or babies home."  Once they hear me answer, they realize how frivolous a question it is.

I wish that it wasn't like that, though...that the frivolity and ignorant bliss that many women who undergo fertility treatments have  when they finally get pregnant and anticipate finding out how many 'took' was still a part of my world and that question wouldn't bother me so much.

Dr. P told me that he knew of a patient who underwent several years' worth (and thousands of dollars as well, as we certainly know!) of fertility treatments and finally got to a point where she had 6 embryos from an IVF cycle.  She transferred them all, and he said that was the first set of septuplets he'd ever scanned.  People thought she was crazy for transferring all 6 (I think it's medical malpractice, and wasn't done at this office, of course!), but he could understand after all she'd been through and all she'd spent, how she was willing to risk the chance of multiples in order to become a mother.

I replied, "I understand too.  But once you've become a mother who has to bury her child, you are a lot more cautious in the risk you are willing to take, and frankly, I'd not really be willing to risk the life of one of my children for another in any scenario."

Again, a knowing of those, "Oh, yeah...that's right...I guess I forgot to whom I was talking," and he said, "You are absolutely right."

I know.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Numbers Don't Lie????

I feel like I've had lots of posts in the last few weeks and all of a sudden, in the last couple of days, nothing.

Not because I don't have a lot on my mind.

Just don't know how to put it all to words.

So, the basics are that I am very, very curious about what next Friday's ultrasound is going to show.

I did another HCG test on Wednesday.  At this point, I was 18dpo (18 days past ovulation) or 13dp5dt (13 days past a 5 day transfer).  The number 715 from two days before was great, and honestly, I was wrong about the numbers from Matthew's and Luke's pregnancies.  Though their numbers were high, and their doubling rates were definitely faster than the 48 hours that every RE seems to be looking for (though that doesn't always indicate any problem or super success story), they weren't as fast as I thought.  Jackie told me that I actually tested 3 and 4 days between each beta, whereas with this pregnancy, I tested 4 days and then 2 days later.

All that blah-blah-blah means that when I was 18dpo with Luke, my hcg was 806.

(And that was considered high.)

Wednesday, two days later at 18dpo with this pregnancy, my hcg was 1999.


Again, not looking into double strollers just yet (well, sort of I am since I will also have a two year old!) because my body tends to be an overachiever and inundate my babies with HCG...but, I have to say, this feels more like it could be multiples than I've ever thought.

I was anxious for Luke's 6 week ultrasound because I was terrified there might not have been a heartbeat.  I know that's a possibility next Friday, but I don't feel terrified about not seeing a heartbeat.

I'm just going crazy wondering how many we'll see.

Speaking of that boy of mine...he sure is turning into a feisty one!  He is finally signing "more" (lazy..he doesn't really do it, more a right hand pats the top of his left hand, or sometimes his left forearm, but good enough to get his point across) and "all done," although his "all done" is quite obnoxious and universal for pretty much EVERYTHING he wants to be done with.  Food, drink, mommy.  Being apart from daddy for a month made him awfully clingy to daddy last week.  That's fine with me...of course I want him to love daddy.  It's the fervent and forceful "all done" signs he makes at me anytime John is holding him or playing with him and I come near that are making me a bit crazy, that stinker.  I know, I's me he wants most of the time, and the boy has always loved that daddy...but it's pretty funny how very adamant he is about me NOT taking him from daddy or even when daddy isn't around and he's playing with his toys, if I come to get him and take him for a diaper change or something, he flails and furiously signs, "ALL DONE!" as protest of me taking him from what he wanted to be doing.

Mind of his own that boy has.  Mind of his own.

And totally off-topic, but can I say how much joy I get from hanging his sweet little clothes in the closet?  One of the things that just hurt me so, so, so much after Matthew died was his closet.  His chock-full, perfectly organized, full of love and anticipation closet just mocking me...screaming at me that he was NEVER going to use a single.solitary.thing in that closet.  Ever.  I'd go into his room, when I could get the gumption up, and just stare at that closet.  One of the things I remember very vividly about Christmas after he died was my nephew going upstairs to look in Matthew's room.  Their family was stationed in Germany, but had come out for Christmas, and so this was the first time we'd seen them in a long time (and certainly since Matthew had died).  I went upstairs to be with him, not wanting that sweet 15 year old to be by himself, and just saw him doing the same thing.  Standing. Staring. Stunned.  Just staring at that open closet full of Matthew's things.  I went in, put my arm around him and just stood there with him.  He said, "I just don't get it.  I just don't."  And you know, I didn't (and still don't) either.  But I totally got what he meant.

So, I admit.  When I hang outfits that I have put on Luke several times up each time I do laundry, I just give thanks that I am able to have a closet full of things that a dear little boy DEFINITELY makes use of.  I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to use that closet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Message From Matthew...

So, I got an message in my inbox on FB yesterday.  It was from an old friend (NOT a friend who is old, haha!) I used to teach with years and years ago.  We probably haven't seen each other in eight or nine years, maybe more, but through the magic of Facebook, have connected in the last few years.  With her permission, I am sharing her message.

"Your Matthew was in my dream last night. In my dream I had gone to pick up my daughter at daycare and the kids were all seated at a table coloring Valentines. Matthew was sitting next to B and they were talking about their work and sharing crayons. I knew it was him in my dream and I was surprised he was there but it was a good surprise. His Valentine was a big red heart and he had written "I love Mommy" and then his name, Matthew. I woke up feeling so driven to tell you about this dream. I think Matthew wants you to know he loves you. Your son has touched so many, Lori. Thank you for sharing him with us."

I have to say this took me by surprise.  I have yet to have any dreams that were specifically about Matthew.  I've had two or three nightmares, that I know were connected with losing Matthew, but none that have given me even the slightest sense about him.  What he's like.  What he'd be like.  That he is even cognizant of me.  Even without the hormones raging through me, this made me weep.  And weep some more.

Selfish as I am, I had to ask if she remembered anything about him.  What he looked like?  What he was wearing?  What his voice was like?  Anything.  Just anything.  Again, with her permission, here is her response:

 "I feel so blessed at having Matthew appear to me in a dream but I also feel almost guilty at having seen him as a young preschooler, at possibly having a glimpse of him that you have not seen. I wish I could take a photograph of him in my dream. 
I remember, in the dream, walking into the classroom and not recognizing the boy next to B but noticing how sweet he was and how cute the two of them were sitting side by side chatting and coloring. I remember his little hand holding the crayon and being impressed that he had written all the words on his valentine at such a young age. 
He was looking down at his valentine so first I saw this head of dark waves. Lots of hair. When I said hello to B they both looked up and I caught my breath. His eyes were dark brown with long, long lashes. His face was round, almost heart shaped, and came to a little point at his chin. His cheeks were full and his little red lips and pearly teeth formed the sweetest smile that was so kind and gentle. The expression in his eyes was wise beyond his years. He was alert and aware and he just knew. I wish I had the words to describe this more clearly. I can still see the two of them sitting at the table together I just don't have the words to describe it well enough. 
I hope my lacking description does not cause frustration or despair. I hope you hold Matthew's message close to your heart and let it soothe the aching you feel for him.

Though obviously I have no idea of how accurate this would be, I do have to say that it's just as I'd imagine him to be.  Just before we went up to bed last night, I was looking at Matthew's picture, as I always do, and noted to John how Matthew had more hair at birth than Luke does now.  And commenting about how it was so much darker than Luke's.  I know from that small glimpse of the back of Matthew's head I had that there were definitely swirls and waves to the the texture of his hair.  I know that his eyes were brown at birth and the nurses all told me that if babies are born with brown eyes, they usually stay that way.  I know he probably could have had long eyelashes because John and his little brother do.  I know that pointed chin because it's mine.  And my mother's.  And my grandmother's.  I know that gentle heart because he was so, so good to his mama while I was pregnant. I know he would have been driven as first-borns usually are to be over-achievers, and knowing his mama, he probably WOULD have known all his letters then.  (John and I laughed sort of, at how different I am.  Had Matthew lived, I am sure I would have continued my highly-strung, Type A personality traits and that baby probably would have been reciting the Gettysburg Address at 12 months.  Luke, on the other hand, now has the mama who thinks that Valentine's Day cookies are just a great treat at breakfast, and the kid STILL can't clap, ha ha!) I know that those little lips were perfect and plump at birth and looked so much like his brother's did when Luke was born.  I know that boy would certainly have been alert because like his brother, he'd take after his (very active and alert!) daddy.

I know that boy. 

Or, at least I think I do. 

And I know that boy would love his mama because his mama so loves him.  With so much joy and aching mixed together, I love him.  I miss him.  I wish I could have every single thing this dream embodies with that sweet little precocious boy.  

Until that day...I'm grateful for the dreams and messages from others.  What a precious, precious Valentine's Day gift.  Thank you, H.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Answers I Won't Find...

There's a song (that I love, by the way) by Building 429 that is called "Where I Belong."  When that song comes on, and it does pretty regularly on my iPod, I turn it up and just sing at the top of my lungs.  Yes, Luke loves it.

(Really, he does.  He's a singer!)

Anyway...there is a line..."I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find."

I think I decided that myself about two years ago.  More like two years and two months ago.

To ask questions that I just won't find the answer for is really futile.  There are just no good answers for too many questions.  Or good enough for me right now.  Or ever.

But I can't help wondering why it couldn't be different.

I am over the moon thrilled that this cycle worked, and that so far, things are really great.

But having Luke toddling around and being pregnant makes me wonder why it couldn't be Matthew toddling around and me being pregnant with Luke.

Why I might be blessed to raise two children on this earth, but it's not my first two.

I imagine this may come across as ungrateful.

I'm not.  I know this little one (or ones?) inside of me right now is amazing.  I already know it because he or she is such a miracle.  There's a little soul and spirit with a life planned for it before *I* was even born. Like Matthew and Luke, I know this little one or ones was meant to be.

And I won't ask an unanswerable question.

I just can't promise I won't think about it.

My beta on Thursday was 54.5.  I was 7dp5dt (seven days past a five day transfer).  Pretty early, but still, pretty great number and we were thrilled.  Today was my next beta (my official one was supposed to be tomorrow, but since we've already had one last week, we went ahead and are doing them today, Wednesday and Thursday) and it was 715!!!  Doctors hope for numbers to double every 48 hours, and these are doubling approximately every 25 hours.  That's great.  Though it's a high number, it's not uncommon for me.  Luke's first beta at 15dp3dt (I am now 11dp5dt, so two days earlier than when I tested with Luke) and was 806.  Two days later, his numbers were 2971!!!  That's when everyone started screaming, "TWINS!" and yet...not.

So I'm not buying two bassinets just yet.  I am saying that the numbers are high.  And really doing a fabulous job of doubling (or even quadrupling!).

But that's just how my kiddos (both singletons!) roll.  So we test again Wednesday and then Friday...but the real way of knowing if there is one in there or if there are two will be in the way of the ultrasound on February 24th.

Yes, more nail-biting.  Guilty!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No More Nail Biting...

Well...the OHSS symptoms were getting worse so I called my nurse.

Yep, she agreed.  I was dealing more with OHSS than effects of the medicines.

Doctor's orders?

1) Get in and get an ultrasound.  Get there stat. (Going tomorrow.  Earliest I can.)

2) Take a pregnancy test.  It's early, and it may be negative and I still could be positive because it's just so early but she has a feeling that I'm pregnant and that's why it's getting worse.

So she says.

And though I don't want to, I do.


I did it.  And was crazy nervous.  I was not looking forward to bad news (even if it is a false negative) today.

But I did.  My dear friend Karie stood and watched the monitor with me.

Control line?  Immediate and dark.

I thought the white space beside it was looking very, very stark.

I looked at the clock.  Not even a minute had passed. (I had to wait for three.)  White space was still stark.

And then...I thought I saw a faint pink line.

But then I thought I was imagining it.

And then Karie said, "I think I see something."

And so did I.

It was faint, but it kept getting ever so darker.

And then the three minutes were up.

It's faint, but it's definitely two lines.


A baby brother or sister (or two?) is on his or her (or their?) way.

Thank you, Lord.  What precious gifts you give me again and again.

Now, if we can just keep the OHSS away...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nail Biting.

You know, I did not think that by any stretch of the imagination (especially with just a so-so cycle and everyone telling me, "Well, it only takes one!") that I'd get pregnant with Matthew.  Our first try.  No way.  Not after nearly 11 years.  So I didn't find any reason, whatsoever, to bother with a home pregnancy test.  Why waste the money?

Well, I sure as heck spent the money after I got that blood test!  I had waited too long NOT to see "PREGNANT" on that stick. (I know a few of you even remember that was my header for a long, long time!)

After Matthew died, and we did the frozen transfer, I DID take a test.  The morning of my beta.  I just didn't look at it. (Seriously.  I covered the window part before I did it and didn't look at it again.)  I just knew that if I already knew it was negative, I'd have NO motivation to drive to Annapolis and take the beta.  I had to wait until nearly 4:00 with Matthew's results and I did NOT want to do that again, so I had the test ready for me as soon as I got home.

Of course, I didn't need it.  Jackie called me before I even got halfway through the ride home with the bad news.

I didn't test with Luke, either.  I DID take a test to see if the HCG was out of my system, and it was.  I was *thisclose* to taking one.  Seriously...I had one and was planning on taking it about two mornings before my beta.  That night, I could NOT get the song lyrics, "Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord...we will wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord," out of my head.  Literally.  All night, just rattled through.

Now, I have no idea of what that was supposed to mean.  What waiting on the Lord I was supposed to be doing (as opposed to waiting for a beta blood test), but I figured the key parts were the instructions to "WAIT!" and I did.

And obviously, was not disappointed.

I have taken two tests to ensure that the HCG was out of my system this time.  It is.  I figured it would be since it was only a half trigger for the OHSS risks, and so I KNOW that if I took one now, and it was positive, I could trust it.

Yes, biting my nails.

But John wants me to wait, so I will.  Not sure why, other than he doesn't want it to be negative and me by myself?  Whatever it is...I'm waiting.

Excruciating.  Mainly because as I've said before, the progesterone and estrogen of course make my body FEEL pregnant.  Not to mention, the OHSS symptomology is getting worse.  I'm really trying to take it as easy as one can with a busy little boy, but definitely feeling some of those old feelings that remind me of when I was hospitalized with OHSS several years ago.  Not to that extreme, yet...still mild, but uncomfortable.  More increasingly so.  Which of course sets my mind spinning. "Is it getting worse because I'm pregnant?" (Because that's what typically happens, ironically.  Pregnancy, the desired result, makes it worse!)

Don't know, but increasing the efforts to 'take it easy.'  Like I said, as much as I can with Lukey-Luke on the go!

And he on the go!  But so, so, so much fun.  He is such a little character!  Such personality.

I don't know where he gets it.

Monday, February 6, 2012


So, today was a take-it-easy day.  Though I didn't do much but drive yesterday and had help with loading and unloading, the house was in somewhat abandoned state and needed at the very least, some surface work so Luke could crawl around some!

There are tons of studies that actually refute the whole 'strict' bed-rest agenda for post-IVF transfer.  The studies say something about the way the uterus is horizontal vs. vertical, and that pregnancy rates are often even better than when there is such rigidity in bed rest.

Which is not to say that I did not spend 24+ hours after the transfer in bed with Mom taking over and not letting me do anything.  Even the next day, didn't do too much more than pick Luke up some.  Yesterday was busier loading and unloading, with a bit of cleaning, but the bottom line from pretty much all sources say that it's the inherent health of the embryos that really decide the pregnancy rates and they will either implant or they won't.  In fact, light activity may be helpful.

But...I DO have to worry about OHSS still and can definitely tell my sides are sore!  They get more sore when I do stuff, even just little bits, so I really decided to take it easy today.  We got up to get ready for church, but Luke went back to sleep and after the traveling and stuff, I couldn't bear to wake him.  Then we just spent the day playing (more him than me) and straightening up (more me than him) with loooong rest periods (that sweet boy napped for 5.5 hours today (one nap was 3 hours and the other 1.5 hours!) and I took all those hours to rest/nap too!).

At lunch, I put Luke in his chair and let him have some snacks...Cheerios and Pirate's Booty.  Then I popped a new video in for him.  Right now, he still only watches about an hour of tv a week, and it's pretty much Wonderpets for two episodes!  I thought I'd shake it up a bit and see what he thought of Praise Baby, because I'd heard so many rave reviews of it.

He was mesmerized. Even when Wonderpets are on, he doesn't pay total attention to the tv (which is NOT a bad thing!) but he was mesmerized.

So was I.  Praise Baby is basically a whole bunch of worship songs sung to babies playing and nature naturing and letters and numbers and colors floating in and out too.

I'm sure it's not helped by the hormones, but as I sung with Luke (many songs he already has heard me singing to him!) I started bawling. I realized that every single song was on a playlist I had when I was pregnant with Matthew and played at least twice a day.  Every day.  On the way to work and on the way back.

I was so, so happy then.  I was so grateful for the miracle that was Matthew.  I felt so honored to carry him.  I just felt like I couldn't do anything but sing out of gratitude to God for Him FINALLY giving us our son.  Our gift from Him.

Listening to those same after another... (and I kid not.  EVERY.SINGLE.SONG was on Matthew's playlist)...watching Luke happily munch cheerios and wave his hands watching the babies wave their hands...just got me.

I cried and cried so much.  Like serious crying.  The kind you don't even call anyone and cry to about because it's SO much they couldn't even understand you.

Instead, I just got down on my knees in front of the sink and looked out the window and prayed.  Prayed for God to take the rawness of losing Matthew away.  Thanked Him for the amazing little boy sitting in his high chair.  Begging Him to let this cycle work, but telling Him again (and meaning it) that Luke would be enough.

But mostly just asking Him for mercy on my heart because it's been so, so raw these last few weeks.  I know it's early, but I'm feeling like this is going to be a negative.  That there's just NO way that it could work for us not once, but twice and now we are asking for three times????  I look at 'odds' of success for women and obviously, their 'take-home baby' rates are higher when there is a higher number of cycles because many people take a few before they achieve success.

But not us?  Why not us?  It's our turn.  It's our turn for the negative. (I know I got a negative with the frozen transfer of our Little Yellow Fish, but really, I sort of expected that so soon after losing Matthew).

Like I said...I'm sure it's the hormones.  I'm really trying hard to compensate because I know they are coursing through my veins and I want to maintain Luke's Jolly Mommy Mode (and boy, he makes that sooo easy!) for him and anyone else who's had to deal with me for the last month (again, thanks, Grandma!  You're a saint!).

Hormones or not.  Grief or not.  Dreary winter day or not.

It's raw.  I miss him.  I miss that little boy I sung to before he ever took his first breath.  I miss not knowing what his personality would be like or what words he'd be saying or foods he'd like (or not, as in his brother's case!).  I miss that dimpled chin.  I miss him.

I miss him.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Guy's 13 Months!

Our attempt at a picture at his birthday party last month.  He's Senior Squirmy these days!
If you click on the picture, you can see it better.  I have no idea how to do anything with sizing.

Do not know how time literally flies before my very eyes.  I know I have so much to tell about the last few months with Luke, but for today... (well, technically, yesterday by three minutes) just can't believe this amazing boy has been my sunshine for 13 months.

He busted his lip today.  Long story short, (and there is no blame on the dogs.  No blame on the dogs.  No blame on the dogs.) he slipped on something on the floor as he was crawling, lost the 'footing' under his forearm, fell flat on his face and popped his lip with one of his teeth.  Swelled up immediately, blood everywhere...mommy was actually very calm.

And about 10 minutes later (and a popsicle for the swelling and some splashing in the bathtub), and one would never, ever  know.

He's such a trooper.  Just amazing.

Samuel Luke, your mommy loves you so much!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


...G-Hog and V-Tine.

Yes, those are some names, aren't they?! Rest assured that I've been in conference with a great mind for just the right call signs for these little guys!  We transferred today, Groundhog's Day, and will take our pregnancy test on Valentine's Day.  ( proofing this post before publishing, I realize what a Pilot's Wife I am..."just the right call signs."  Ha ha!)

Dr. K called with the report this morning and said we had two beautiful fully expanded blastocysts to transfer.  Shady Grove uses a different grading system than (from what I've gathered from the web) just about most other fertility clinics—most of which use the Gardner system.  Shady Grove is such a large practice, with such an extensive embryology lab, they've developed their own.  Anyway, according to their scale, we transferred a 1AA and a 1AB blastocyst—which are both top grade for their scale.  Their scale is basically 1-4 (one being best); A-C (A being best), so we essentially had an A+ and an A blastocyst to transfer and that rocks!  The picture above shows that both are hatched (we did employ assisted hatching, but the lab noted they were beginning to hatch on their own, as would happen naturally) and so the blastocyst is actually the bigger part of the figure 8, with the embryo/shell the smaller part.  Of course I've spent hours looking at images of blastocysts.  I can't make heads or tails, but I do know LOTS of women who've gone through SG and didn't have those to transfer, so I am going to take them at their word when they tell me the blastocysts look beautiful!

Transfer went well, though they were running behind and with a FULL bladder...well, let's just say that really, that's the most uncomfortable part of the WHOLE IVF process, if you ask me!  The doctor was not one I'd had before, but my friend Lindsey loves her and I now know why!  Bubbly, cheery, calm and skilled.  Hooray!  I also did the German protocol acupuncture treatment pre and post transfer (as I'd done with Luke) and was surprised that after the pre—treatment, which was very relaxing, my blood pressure before the transfer was 150/100!!!  That's MEGA high for me (usually about 90/60!).  Guess we can tell ourselves we are not anxious or worried, but our blood pressure doesn't lie, huh?

Luke has been at Aunt Pretty's and Grandma has been taking fabulous care of me.  Kind of weird to just rest.  Purposefully rest.  Nice, but weird!  I miss Luke, but really, I know he is just fine and I get him back.  Not to mention, but he's probably having a ball with his cousins—cousins he adores and who adore him!  So,'s all been super easy and smooth.

They froze one more blastocyst today (not sure of the grade) and the other 5 seem to have either arrested or are now slower-growing and expected to arrest.  Again, our instructions are to allow whatever can, so we will see tomorrow if there is anything else to freeze.  Odds are not, but it's been known to happen, so I'm not calling anything just yet.

Someone made the comment that 'they looked just like their brothers' and someone else commented about how different these blasts look from Matthew's and Luke's embryos.  I agree on both counts!
They are all beautiful, tough!!!

Matthew (Redfish) and Bluefish! (Don't know what the deal with the date on the pic is...their machine was not working right that day, so they said.  Think Matthew is the one on the left/top because it has less fragmentation.  No way of knowing.

Luke (Miney) and Moe!  Think Luke is on the right because that's the better looking embryo but who knows?

Twelve days!  Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Quick Update...


Today, the 6-celled embryo from yesterday arrested.  What a harsh, clinical word.  It stopped growing.  Frankly, I expected it.  This happens in In Vitro.  Heck, it happens so often in natural fertilizations of embryos—they fertilize, but don't make it down the tubes, or implant, or stop growing, or whatever.

Expecting something doesn't mean you like it.

The other EIGHT, though?  Amazing.  They are all either morulas, early blasts or cavitating blasts.  Really, I've never gotten this far with either Matthew's or Luke's cycle, so all of that is a lot of gobbledy-gook for just exactly what the clinic is looking for and a situation they couldn't have planned more perfectly.  Even though that's what they were planning.  It NEVER happens like this for me.  Jackie said the whole office is just laughing (good-naturedly) at all of this...the surprise of SUCH success.  The CRAZY different cycle.  Just all of it.

Between my endometriosis being pretty much zapped thanks to Matthew and Luke, and two cycles under our belt to know that there needed to be some pretty significant medicine adjustment for better egg maturity, apparently, they weren't lying when they said I had the fertility of a gal in her 20s.

I have had so many wonderful people email and call and text encouragement and advice and prayers and good thoughts and I am grateful.

We've decided that we will transfer two tomorrow morning at 10:15.  The embryology lab will obviously pick the best, and the others, provided they have not arrested, will be frozen.  Our instructions were to freeze if they were able to, regardless of quality.  If they don't arrest, they will be given the chance I believe they were meant to.

When, how...crossing those bridges another day.  Heck, there is NO guarantee this transfer will produce pregnancy, and we may very likely end up using those little snowbabies very soon.

Today, we have 8 amazing blastocysts and a really great chance at having another sibling for Matthew and Luke.

Grateful.  In my wildest dreams...never expected this.

But grateful.

Luke is staying with his Aunt Pretty tonight since we have to leave so early tomorrow.  I haven't even cried.  I teared up some earlier, before I even took him over there....but none since.  John said he was proud of me taking that big step...doing ok without my boy sleeping in the next room over.

I'm proud of me too.  But then again...I've had to sleep with my boy not in the next room over...or the same house...or even on this earth.  Luke is living it up at Aunt Pretty's.  I can deal with that.