The Clock

I’d say that my two favorite things in Prague are the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock.  The clock dates back to 1410 and is one of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen.  Every hour hundreds of people gather around to see the clock do it’s thing and “perform” it’s magic. The irony of the clock is not lost on me.  My biological clock (clearly time ran out)….charting cycles and time….the two week wait….the wait for doctors…the wait for tests….the wait for ultrasounds….trying to make time slow down as baby boy grows so fast….it’s all about time.  It is ALL about time.

I returned from Prague and called my OB to schedule my betas (HCG tests taken 48 hours apart).  Having moved last year, I started with a new OB and she agreed to support me through this cycle.  She saw me through January, did my betas, performed tests prior to this round in Prague, and when I called to schedule, the nurse called me back and say “Dr. M doesn’t see fertility patience until 14 weeks.” Well okey dokey….the two week wait is stressful….like really stressful…but now I don’t have a doctor.  I called 16 OBs (all who said they will see fertility patients at 14 weeks) and 6 fertility centers (all who said they can’t see patients who are under another fertility center’s care).  Splendid.  This feels stress free. A little lessons for anyone going to Prague: Assure your doctor WILL support you when you get home. Clearly Dr. M has no heart.

I finally found a doctor who would see me and luckily was willing to see me quickly.  I went in on a Friday and he said he’d prefer true 48 hour betas so we decided to wait until a Monday & Wednesday test.  He took my progesterone on Friday, which came back low at 9.  They want it above 15. Sigh.  We’ve been here before.  Prague Fertility Centre assured me I was getting enough progesterone and I finally understood that typically progesterone is low for egg donor patients because they suppress my ovaries during the cycles. They assured me I am getting plenty through the supplements and the shots…yes the dreaded shots.

By Wednesday, my betas and repeat progesterone were back…..I’m PREGNANT!  Baby boy is going to be a BIG BROTHER.

It’s early and we know this should be a cautiously optimistic excitement, but for now I am pregnant and hopeful and excited and scared and ahhhhhh…I’m pregnant.

I know…you’ve waited for two years for a graph….here it is, folks.

hcg-calculator 05 28 17 (2)

My HCG more than doubled in 48 hours.  My numbers are high, but they were high with baby boy.  I know, you’re thinking, “twins?”  Nope…not likely.  I think a mom knows….and my gut tells me there is one healthy little embryo in there growing daily.  At this point, the arms are starting to develop, the neural tube is growing, the liver is developing, ears are developing,….ears?!?!  Wow.

The first ultrasound is a few weeks away.  We are hopeful to hear a heartbeat and be that much closer to feeling like this pregnancy will produce baby #2.  I was filling out forms at the doctor.  It asked how many times have you been pregnant?…five….how many children do you have?….one….I am praying to change those numbers to 5 and 2.

When you’re waiting, the clock feels like your enemy.  But for now, I am going to sit back, smile knowing that today I am pregnant, and focus on the beauty in the clock that represents the city that makes all of this magic happen.  I told Prague Fertility Center that they are really making dreams come true.  I am praying that they can make my dreams of a larger family come true also….thanks for waiting with me.

Transfer Day…Round Three

Monday, May 8th in Prague was a national bank holiday….it was also embryo transfer day. The lovely Hana came to my apartment to do the first round of acupuncture at 9:30. She has been such a steady part of this journey that she feels like family now. Her sweet disposition and calm composure are like rays of sunshine beaming through the apartment window.

I still didn’t know how many embryos we had and it didn’t matter at that point. I was in good hands and she was working to assure I had good blood flow for the transfer.
At 11:00 I made my way to the clinic. The streets were almost empty and the trains were slow and late…a true sleepy holiday for Prague. When I arrived at the clinic, it too was oddly quiet. Veronika, my coordinator, met me with a hug and brought me to the embryologist. As soon as I entered the room, I knew the results were good. The embryologist (same one I met with in January) was beaming and said she was so pleased. We had 7 embryos make it to day 5! SEVEN! We discussed our plan and proceeded to the transfer room to meet the doctor.

In walked Dr. Kostakova and my heart smiled with delight. I actually started crying because she is the doctor that did the transfer that brought sweet baby boy to us. (She is also the doctor that looked to transfer me to a “wheelbarrow ” but this is the face that successfully transferred baby boy). I felt this was a really good sign.

Dr. Kostakova strongly urged me to put in only one embryo or the best and the worst. Prague Fertility Centre tries at all costs to avoid twins. This was the same caution I was met with in January and I didn’t get pregnant even with two embryos, so we proceeded as planned with two.

In the days that follow I walked the city of Prague, visited Kutna Hora, went the to Karlstejn castle, and explored new areas. I ate more yummy soups than I knew existed and enjoyed some other delicious food. I visited the Charles Bridge and rubbed the statues believe to bring fertility and pregnancy….more than once.

This time is a time of fear and hope. It’s a powerful combination that keeps me on my toes. The questions far exceed the answers, but the idea of a little life starting inside of me leaves me smiling.

And now we wait….

Planting Seeds of Hope

There are times when you know God is watching over you. Those times have been abundant lately.

When I last wrote I had just learned that I was not pregnant from my cycle in January. We moved quite quickly towards a decision to try again. We did not have any more embryos from our first cycle. Our previous donor was not able to donate again, so the search for a new donor began. I had many mixed emotions about this. I wanted so badly to give baby boy a true genetic sibling. It took some time but I have come to the realization that he will love his new sibling no matter what because he’s their big brother…just like I love baby bean sprout more than words could ever describe. There is a family bond that grows stronger than DNA.

We planted a garden in Colorado in memory of the three babies we lost. It was a calming and happy place for me. Moving to TX, I had to say goodbye to the garden and hoped my angel babies would follow us to our new garden. As spring began in TX we started a new garden with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, watermelons, herbs, and I finally planted a peach tree and fig trees. I have always dreamed of having fruit trees.

Baby bean sprout LOVES the garden. He very quickly learned to dig in the garden with mama’s tools and runs to it the minute he gets outside. When he is crying, I can bring him to the garden and he finds peace and calm….those little angels are watching over him and I think he likes to play in their garden.

A few weeks ago it was pouring rain and I brought baby bean into the garage with the garage door open. He looked curiously at the pouring rain and pointed asking “dat?” (His version of “what’s that?”) I explained that it was rain. He looked at me quite confused. I went on to explain that rain was water falling from the sky and that God was making it rain to water the garden. “God is watering your garden today. We won’t have to water today because today we are getting a special water from God.” He looked back at the rain, still curious and processing what I had said, and then he looked at me with the largest of smiles and giddily said “oooooh.” Chills…baby bean is just learning to talk and understand some things but the excitement that he had at this concept lit me up.

As the garden continues to grow with God occasionally watering it and our little angel babies watching over, it’s time to plant a new seed.

We returned to Prague last week. Our donor is doing wonderfully. They retrieved 10 eggs and 8 fertilized. Tomorrow will be day 5 and as long as they all did well over the weekend, we will have two transferred tomorrow. So far I’m doing well too. We had some slight changes to our medicine protocol this cycle and my lining (which has been an issue in the past) is thicker and better than ever.

We are very hopeful. I now know 6 other women who have travelled to Prague from the US since we had baby boy and they have all become pregnant on the first try with donor eggs. (Rock on, brave mamas) Prague Fertility Center is truly making dreams come true. Despite our failed cycle in January, we know the odds are better on fresh cycles and all indications are good right now. I’m hoping that God will water the garden and those little angel babies will watch over us in the next few weeks and bring baby boy a new sibling. Please hope with me!

Where is the F*cking GPS?

My dad raised me to always know my plan and always know where I’m heading.  This was for life in general, but especially on the road. This was back in the day before Google Maps and GPS but we at least had maps.  Nowadays, I don’t need to plan.  Road detour?  No problem.  Road construction? No problem.  Accident ahead? No problem . The GPS tells you and reroutes you.  The thing about infertility is that there is no GPS, there are no road signs, and the rerouting takes a lot of thought, energy research, and confusion.  There is no “estimated time of arrival” and there is no guarantee you will ever get there. Some arrive….some never do.  The only thing you know on the infertility road is you have hit a closed road after you already crash head and heart first into the closure signs causing a lot of destruction, pain, confusion, and expense.

I am not pregnant. Our latest donor cycle did not work. Am I sure?  (I truly love you all for asking….your optimism keeps me going) Yes….confirmed on 25 pregnancy tests (thanks to Amazon and their cheap, yet oh so reliable tests, that allow you to buy 25 at a time for $12 and neurotically keep peeing and peeing on a stick) and also through blood tests.  I am not pregnant.

Egg donor cycles have a 60% success rate for a fresh transfer and 50% success for a frozen.  We got lucky to be in the 60% positive the first go around and not so lucky this time.  I am going to regroup and give my baby boy a little extra love….he is my biggest blessing.  I am focusing on him right now….every minute….but every minute with him I am more and more acutely aware of how much more amazing his life would be with a sibling.

So what’s next?  No idea….I will write more when I know more….or when I feel like it.

Thank you all for your support.

 

Grandma, Could I Possibly Borrow Your Panties?

It’s incredibly cold here in Prague….I’ll come back to this thought.

Today I had two embryos transferred into my perfectly lined uterus.  My lining was better than it’s ever been.  According to the doctor the “procedure went perfectly.”  Her English was wonderful so I am assuming that she meant that.  She even called the gurney a bed instead of a wheelbarrow (see blog from last transfer).

The past 24 hours had a large decision involved: transfer 1 embryo or 2?  When I met with the doctor yesterday she strongly recommended only 1.  She said that my chances of success were high and the risk of carrying twins after a c section could lead to uterine rupture which could lead to a forced abortion or death  That’s a lot to absorb.  So I spent much of last night researching this.  It turns out that there is a risk, but it is not large.  Either way, S and I talked and decided to only transfer 1.  We were told they cold refreeze the other and we didn’t want the risks.

Today when I arrived for the appointment I met with the embryologist. Both embryos survived the thaw.  One was considered an A- and one was a B on the grading scale.  The embryologist said that they were going to watch the B for the day but that they only refreeze high quality embryos and that it may not be refrozen.  She also said that if the A- didn’t work, it may not be worth travelling all the way back from America for a B because they don’t always thaw as well.  When I started this journey I committed to one thing only: no kill policy.  If we had 10 embryos, we would transfer all 10 over time.  No embryos would be left behind and none would be killed.  Basically this left us with only one option from an ethical standpoint: transfer both embryos.  If they had called later in the day to tell me it couldn’t be refrozen, I would never have forgiven myself.  Remember this is the start of another baby boy or baby girl. The embryologist agreed that this was the best decision.

All of this decision making was made without the doctor in the room.  When I arrived in the transfer room, I asked the doctor what she thought.  She said she understood why I made the decision and knows it was a hard decision made for ethical reasons.  She also went on to tell me that she had a woman two months ago with the exact same situation and quality of embryos and that she is now pregnant with twins.

It’s out of my hands and what is meant to be will be.

I returned back to my apartment for round two of acupuncture.  There is a lot of research that shows that acupuncture before and after the transfer increases the success rate, so I did acupuncture in the morning and again after the transfer. The lovely Hana, my acupuncturist, is the sweetest fertility angel ever.  She did my acupuncture when I had baby boy and I love her.  She spent some time in the US, so her English is wonderful and she is as knowledgeable as the day is long. She was prepping the needles and giving me information on what to eat, what not to eat, what to do, what not to do, etc when all of the sudden she pointed to the string of my thong and says “you need bigger underwear in the winter….ask your grandma…she’ll know what kind I mean.”  If I wasn’t lying down, I would have fallen over laughing.  She basically went on to tell me I needed more fabric keeping my middle regions warm in the winter. For anyone going through fertility treatments, you will find that it is THE most unsexy thing ever.  I wear cute underwear to keep some sex appeal in tact.  There goes that! (sorry mom, TMI??)

Instead of running to find the nearest pair of granny panties, I decided to  hunker down for the night, eat some soup (the local store had pumpkin soup….my favorite food is pumpkin…pure heaven), wear my cute underwear, and sing to my sweet embryos.  This is quite a site to behold, my friends.

So the start of the two week wait begins….on your mark, get set……wait…and wait.

 

 

 

 

 

The Longest Escalator Ride

I arrived in Prague yesterday and am preparing for my first frozen embryo transfer. The road leading up to today has been like every fertility journey road…full of bumps and roadblocks. I thought it would be easy this time but the journey always seems to throw out obstacles. I had a very difficult time acquiring the fertility drugs this time. It was mostly because of the fact that we moved and started fresh with new doctors. I typically order all the meds from the U.K. but they prescribed some additional medicine this time that needed to be injected and they won’t ship injectables from the U.K. After the kindness of two fertility sisters, I acquired the meds (expired, but still good enough to use). At Christmas, I got sick with a respiratory infection that lasted a while and I wound up on antibiotics and steroids.  There were many discussions of cancelling the trip, but as time got closer, I got better and we decided to proceed. S and baby boy were supposed to travel with me, but baby boy got ear infections in both ears and couldn’t fly. So, the decision was made that I would come to Prague by myself to try for baby #2.

I had my lining check last Wednesday and things are looking great. I’ve always had a pretty thin lining whenever we’ve done any fertility procedure, and this month it’s thicker than ever. My body is cooperating!

Today I am reminded that fear will stop you dead in your tracks. For those of you that know me, this will sound funny. You know I’ve zip-lined in Thailand and Costa Rica, jumped off of one of the highest bridges in Scotland (harnessed to the bridge), snowboarded (not well), travelled on my own, took a new job and moved to a new state with a 7 month old baby and have very few true fears. That being said the escalators in the metro in Prague are not for the faint of heart. The Prague Metro is actually home to one of the largest escalators in Europe. (Yep go ahead and laugh) The height is not what scares me, it’s the speed. They are really fast. One misstep and you will certainly fall and after seeing someone do that there is a lasting thought that sticks with me: “I don’t want tread marks on my forehead for the rest of my life.” I had a doctor appointment this morning and was admittedly scared. I don’t know why. I’ve been here before. But I felt scared. This appointment was just to talk to the doctor, decide on the path forward, and get an ultrasound. No big deal. So off to the metro I went to take the train to Prague Fertility Centre. When I got to the first escalator I froze in place. It was 8:00am and the rush hour madness was in full effect, but I stood there frozen with people practically pushing around me. I retreated back away from the escalator and paused. In that moment, here’s what hit me: fear will always hold you back. I used to think it may hold me back. I used to think a healthy amount of fear was good to keep me in check. It’s not. It’s useless and I need to let it go. I’ve spoken to so many women going through this journey and they are all scared and sometimes crippled with fear.

There’s a video that makes me cry every time I see it. I cry because I have felt all of the fears in the video. (https://vimeo.com/11214833) It’s asks questions like a lot of “what if” questions about infertility. My own personal what ifs:  “what if I lose myself along the way”, “what if I miscarry”, “what if my baby boy never has a sibling”, “what if I transfer 2 embryos or just 1″(stay tuned in a future blog for that decision).  These are my fears….and today I’m trying to let them go.

The same fear that held me back from the escalator is the same fear that took over next. “What if I never move forward?” In that moment I practically sprinted to the escalator. I asked my staff in a meeting recently “how would you feel if your life was exactly the same in 10 years as it is today?” The conversation starter became a discussion about change and risk and stepping outside of your comfort zone.  That is what this whole journey is about. It’s about stepping outside of my comfort zone so I can have a family and my life won’t be the same in 10 years as it is today.

My appointment went well. The doctor strongly recommended transferring only 1 embryo because I had a c section last time. Twins after a c section can be very risky…not impossible, but highly risky. S and I will discuss that today and figure out the right path. It will also depend on the quality of the embryos when they unfreeze tomorrow.

I left the appointment and went for breakfast. I sat next to an American couple and we chatted for a while. They asked why I was here and I told them why. It turns out the girl is from an egg donor as well. She said she loved growing up knowing that her parents tried so hard to bring her into the world and that her egg donor/biological mom was so generous to give her parents that gift. Listening to her talk felt like magic. I truly hope baby boy feels like that some day.

My embryo transfer is scheduled for 12:40 tomorrow. I have acupuncture appointments before and after the transfer. Today I will work on releasing my fears. I will wake up tomorrow and embrace the gift that I have on this journey. Many women run out of options…I know I can get pregnant and carry a baby and for that I am blessed. I know that when I get home, no matter what the outcome, there will be the pitter patter of baby boy’s chubby feet around the house and his silly giggle will always light my heart. I also know that when I get home baby boy will coming running to me for a hug and smile when he sees me…for two reasons: 1)because I am his mom and 2) I don’t have funny, escalator treadmarks on my forehead.

 

Fa la la la la la la la la

Happy holidays! My gift to all of you is my latest egg donor cycle in song….see below.

It’s been a wonderful and yet crazy stressful holiday season.  Baby boy turned 1 a few weeks ago and we are gearing up for his first Christmas.  The magic of Christmas seems even more alive as we build new traditions, read Christmas stories, introduce him to Santa, and get ready for his first magical day. As we get gear up for our next cycle in January, this magical season brings to light how much we want to add to our family so baby boy can have a sibling to share in the excitement.

I wish I could say this has been easy.  Truthfully it’s been road block after road block.  I found an OB in November (remember we moved to a new state, so all new doctors) who said she would work with us for the new cycle.  Typically we don’t need a ton from the OB because we get our meds from the UK (Fertility2u), but learned sometime mid December that we cannot get injections from the UK.  Unfortunately the OB wasn’t comfortable to prescribe everything.  We spent countless hours trying to find a doctor that would work with us and that proved to be more difficult than you would think. After many hours, discussions of ordering meds through the black market, ridiculous calls to places like Planned Parenthood who offered me birth control, etc, etc, etc, we think we finally have our main meds coming from the UK and all injections shipping from the Czech Republic.  The should arrive precisely 2 days AFTER we need them….sigh.  It’s the best we can do and we have a plan B if all else fails.

In the happiest of news, I have two friends who just completed egg donor cycles who found out they are pregnant and one more brave and awesome friend in the middle of her two-week wait after a trip to Prague.  We are spreading the word on the awesomeness of egg donor cycles and making mamas out of these strong and amazing women who have fought long journeys of infertility.   Many thoughts and prayers go out to these ladies for healthy and wonderful pregnancies.

I wish you and your families the healthiest, safest, and most merry of holidays. I am feeling festive….I am feeling hopeful….but I am also feeling stressed…let’s sing about it.

On the 1st day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Hope for a miracle baby

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 4th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 5th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 6th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 7th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 8th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Stress and anxiety
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 9th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Crazy hormone pills
Stress and anxiety
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 10th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
Lots of injections
Crazy hormone pills
Stress and anxiety
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 11th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
A beautiful trip to Prague
Lots of injections
Crazy hormone pills
Stress and anxiety
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

On the 12th day of Christmas, my egg donor cycle gave to me
A long two week wait
A beautiful trip to Prague
Lots of injections
Crazy hormone pills
Stress and anxiety
Acupuncture sessions
Booked hotel rooms
Purchased plane tickets
Impossible to obtain prescriptions
Confusing medical orders
A trip to the OB
And hope for a miracle baby

Baby Steps

The truest joy of motherhood so far (besides the love and snuggles) is rediscovering the world through your child’s eyes. It’s magical to watch him discover new objects, foods, places, and people. Baby boy is WALKING and almost running everywhere. The timing of his walking coincided with a very big decision that left me filled with fear, excitement, wonder, hope, sadness, a lot of soul searching, and endless reflections. As I stood still paralyzed in emotion for what I believe was a few days fearful to take my next step, baby boy began taking his first steps…heck if he can do it, I can too…so together we are taking baby steps.

The first step is the hardest. He stood and watched others walk. He walked with the help of walker toys. When the moment came to take his first steps his body betrayed him. His legs weren’t ready and his feet awkwardly turned in and he fell and cried. Those memories. The notion that your body has betrayed you. That your body ended three pregnancies. That your body won’t produce children the natural way.

But just like his mama he kept trying and trying again. Sometimes he laughed. Sometimes he cried. But he kept trying. I will stand up again. I will try again. 

Pitter patter. They were the sweetest three steps I’ve ever seen. Filled with hope. The smile of glee across his face when he realized he was actually walking. His sweet eyes looking around with excitement deciding where he would walk to first. When you finally stop standing still and take that first step forward the excitement is endless. When, where, how? The possibilities and the hope and excitement know no bounds. 

Where do I go next? I must go everywhere. The next stage is pure exploration. Baby boy bounced from one place to another. Checking out his new freedom, falling frequently, and sometimes scared as he lost his balance.  We moved to another state this past summer and left my “dream team” behind. So, where to start? Find a new reproductive endocrinologist, find a new OB, find a new acupuncturist, find a new hematologist, perform lots of interviews, figure out who will do my monitoring, figure out who will prescribe meds, plan the cycle, pick a date, plan flights. Explore, research, explore, research.

One foot in front of the other. Each step is so deliberate. When we put shoes on baby boy’s feet he wanted to look at his feet. He quickly found he needed to lift his head, look forward, and take slow, deliberate steps. Usually walking to his next toy, often his legos. And so I move forward, one step at a time, trying not to look backwards, trying not to look down. I’m looking forward with my eye on the end goal….the building blocks of my family…my Legos. The next two months will bring countless doctor visits, acupuncture appointments, ultrasounds, pills, shots (oh the dreaded needles), tests, hope, and fear. 

Baby boy loves other kids. He stops in his tracks every time he sees other kids, smiles and giggles with joy, and runs to play with them. In January, we will return to Prague in hopes of bringing a brother or sister into the world for baby boy…a lifetime playmate, friend, and sibling. 

I’ve walked this path before. I’ve felt this fear before. The first year of baby boy’s life was a welcome distraction from “infertility”, miscarriages, fear, and heartbreak. It’s been happy, joyful, and the best blessing in my life. It’s time to start to try again, to put one foot in front of the other, to place my eyes on the end goal, and walk. 

Baby boy’s freedom came when he learned to stand up again on his own after falling down. He walked, stumbled, fell, and picked himself up again. Sometime he still needs my help but mostly, he’s got this. I don’t know what this phase of the journey has in store. I am sure I will fall down, I am sure I will pick myself up again. Sometimes, however, I’ll need some help. I’ll need the love and support that you all gave me on my last journey. Your strength is my strength and I am blessed for all of you.

The last journey was filled with a constant question: “will I ever be a mom?” This time will be different. I will walk this path hand in hand with baby boy and know that yes, I am a mom. Our home is filled with the pitter patter of his feet, the giggling in his voice, the love in his hugs. That cannot be taken away. Whatever this next phase brings, I have my baby boy and he completes me.

Rubber Ducky You’re the One

Where does the time go? I feel like I’ve asked this more in the past 10 months than ever before in my life. Baby boy is 10 months old! He’s been outside of my womb longer than he was in it!

It has been the most rewarding year of my life and nothing could have prepared me for the joy he would bring. My favorite part? Yes. All of it. The cuddles, giggles, sweet bonding during nursing, smiles, playtime, and even the cries and sleepless nights. He is crawling, curiously exploring, trying to walk, eating everything he shouldn’t, growing, growing some more, making friends with everyone he meets, teething (he has two bottom teeth), and he is generally just a happy little cherub. His favorite foods are hummus and peanut butter (yep he must be my kid) and his favorite toys are the tv remote controls, rubber ducks, and a small disk rattle that he loves to bang on everything. He loves baths and water. I personally love bath time because I get to sing the rubber ducky song and honestly I’m singing it to baby boy.  He’s the rubber ducky in the bathtub of my life. He’s “my very best friend…it’s true.”

So who is this beautiful little creature? He’s my son. I don’t know how anyone can ever question that. I know many women struggle with the idea of using donor eggs but having now experienced it, I simply don’t understand it. I’m not trying to be insensitive to the big decision of giving up on your own body and relying on someone else’s courageous generosity. It’s a huge and scary decision. What I can say is that once you take that leap, you will never look back or think twice about it. There is not a second of any day that baby boy isn’t 100% my son. I don’t know what he’ll grow up to be like but I know that when I sing he lights up, he coos when he nurses, he looks for me to put him to bed every night, I’m the one who can comfort him in the middle of the night, and in the morning he smiles so big when he sees me as though we’ve been reunited after years apart. He warms every bit of my heart. DNA has nothing on this bond we share.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not so thankful for the gift of my son. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of this wonderful woman that gave us the best gift a person could give…the gift of life, the gift of parenthood.

The fertility journey was hard. I mean really hard. It was full of sadness, fear, doubt, pain, crazy meds, doctor’s offices, isolation, research, more research, anger, disbelief, miscarriages, and enough tears to last a lifetime…did I mention the crazy drugs?

In the end it was the road that led me to my sweet boy and in every sense of the word it was worth it. I am a better mom to him because of it. When he cries, when he didn’t let me sleep more than 2 consecutive hours for 6 weeks, when he fusses, when he changes my plans, when he poops everywhere, when he spits up in my newly washed hair, it’s ALL ok because this baby boy is everything I dreamed of. 

Would I erase all of the struggle if I could ? Probably. But I am so thankful for the outcome and I am so grateful for the many courageous women I have met through this journey. I admire their strength. I look at them and wonder how they keep going. Several of them are walking the same path that I walked and I am blessed to be a part of their journey. All I can say is keep going…because it’s worth it.

What Do You Call a Women Who Delivered Via C-Section?

What Do You Call a Women Who Delivered Via C-Section? Answer: Mommy.

It doesn’t matter how you delivered, how you conceived, if you adopted, if you used a surrogate, if you are of the same DNA, or not….once you’re a mom, you’re a mom. The rest is history.

This is the best advice I received in my pregnancy. The best. (And thank you dear friend, J, that gave me this advice). After struggling to get pregnant and stay pregnant I feel like going the egg donor route bordered on sci-fi technology. As a result I wanted everything else natural. I was adamant on a natural delivery but then we were told we would likely need to deliver via c section due to little peanut’s position. I was devastated. I had just finished reading the last chapter of a book on natural birth and was beyond excited for my body to do what nature intended it to do…for once. I had also read the chapter on risks of c sections….no thank you, not for me.

Everyone asks me about our birth story. Ours isn’t pretty but I’ll tell it anyway. My water broke at 10:45 pm and my contractions STARTED (yes the first one) at 11:00 pm and were immediately 4 minutes apart. We went to the hospital (4 minutes away) and were at 3 minutes apart by 11:30. Little peanut was already making his way out but we still had to have a c section. It would have been a quick and easy delivery and I was so bummed to not experience natural birth. I was prepped for a c section and my beautiful baby boy entered the world at 2:19am. We had taken the hospital birthing course and were told we would hold the baby immediately. Not true. They immediately took him and started weighing him, checking on him, etc. I kept asking to hold him and after a few short minutes (that felt like an eternity) did finally hold my sweet baby. So far so good, right? This is when things took a turn. I lost way too much blood, my blood pressure went to 220/180, my oxygen went low, and those post natal shakes turned into full convulsions requiring me to bite down on towels. The baby was taken from me and my husband tells me there were roughly 8 doctors working on me. Thankfully they got things under control quickly and then I was once again reunited with my baby. In the days that followed I lost more blood and ended up in the hospital for 6 days and needed blood transfusions…the one thing I adamantly said “no” to at the beginning. So basically the birth was full of medical intervention and nothing natural at all.

Here’s the thing: NONE of it matters. Not one bit. I remember spending so much time and energy thinking about our birthing plan. Then a lot of energy lamenting the idea of not being able to go natural. I’m the mom of an egg donor baby and was somehow worried I’d be judged for not having a natural birth. How’s that for irony? This is hilarious to me in hindsight.

What matters is our healthy, baby boy. I think people spend so much time trying to control what can’t be controlled related to their delivery. I like to be in control so I’m totally guilty of this. For women who have done IVF, gone through fertility treatments, etc. this seems to become even more important. Remember we didn’t get that sexy story about how our baby was conceived…we need to make one part of it what we want.

I’m a mommy. That’s all that matters. Once you finish recovering from whatever your birth technique is, all that matters is that your baby is healthy. You can weigh the pros and cons of different delivery techniques all you want but the baby has a bigger plan. I know that postpartum depression is higher in women who have c sections. I know that many women lament not having their birth go as planned. Here’s how I see it…no matter how long that lasts it will all be gone when that baby starts laughing at your silly songs, giggling at his cute feet, and snuggling with his mommy because he’s so in love with you.

I don’t care that I have a scar, I don’t care that I don’t have a magical birth story, I don’t care that our skin to skin contact was delayed a few minutes. I care that my baby is happy, healthy, giggly, loving, and growing.

I’m a women who had a c section for my egg donor baby. My name is mommy.