Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In Regards To The Last Post

There were numerous comments on my last post and I wanted to follow up with some of the questions that were asked and clarify a few things. It is nice to hear other points of view, well with the exception of one of the comments. Also, I had a comment from a reader who I thought was going to be another Jessica. Here goes...

-First question that was asked.
"I know you specifically want a baby girl who is genetically yours. You deserve that. If it just can't be done safely, would you at all be open to traditional surrogacy? Where it's your husband's sperm and the surrogate's egg? Then the baby would at least still be a half sibling to Max.... just throwing it out there since I didn't see you mention it specifically. I hope you are able to find peace and a solution. It's all just unfair :("
-I did comment back with this response, "I haven't looked into traditional surrogacy closely but I am not sure if it is even legal anywhere in the U.S. I guess when it comes down to it we'd still have to find someone to be pregnant for us and give us the baby in the end."
-The above commenter wrote this in response, "Maybe a donor egg vs traditional surrogacy? And in theory you may be able to find a female embryo looking for a home..." 
-I don't know too much about the process of getting a donor egg or even getting an embryo. I do think you're right about the possibility of being able to get a female if we decided to get an embryo though. The thing with both of these options for us, as well with traditional surrogacy, is the big issue in finding someone to carry the baby for us. If we can find a carrier then we'd obviously want the baby to be both of ours. If our issue was just me being infertile, but could carry the baby, then I think a donor egg or donor embryo would be right up our alley. Surrogacy, no matter what form is costly, and if we do it the baby would need to be both of ours, or we'd just assume adopt at that point. I hope that answers that question well enough.

-2nd question.
"What happens if you do get pregnant and it's a boy? It sounds like you've got your heart set on a bio baby girl and unless you're paying for IVF with gender selection and that's expensive, I'm not sure how you'd ensure that it's a girl. If you get a 2nd bio boy would that be enough or would you still be upset because he's not a girl?"
-Okay, Dereck and I have talked about this very thing. Whether we were to get pregnant again or get another carrier (which is more likely), I can tell you right out that I will be a to an extent sad if the baby is a boy. Will I love that baby boy? Absolutely. Of course I would. Ask anyone who has lost a child and not been able to get the same sex child again after a loss. It's hard and as crappy as knowing you can't or should never get pregnant again. Just the thought of getting rid of Evelynn's never worn things makes me want to cry right now. And I already hate so much that I don't get to see that brother sister relationship grow as is. I also know that no girl we have will be Evelynn, just as Max is not Liam. I want my chance at raising a daughter, and whether I get to or not, I'm pretty sure my heart will always ache for the chance, just like it will always ache for Liam and Evelynn.
- Now, if we do IVF again, which we have to do if we go with a carrier, doing the PGD testing for gender selection is out of the question for Dereck. I am all for it, and yes it is quite expensive, but it won't be happening for us. Honestly, I don't even think it'd be something worth hoping to try for anyways. I say this because we talked to our RE already about the possibility of trying to do a cycle and freeze the embryos until we get a carrier and he said that wasn't a good idea since we only ended up with 1 embryo last time. Not to mention he had us do a 2 day transfer, versus a 5 day, to hopefully up our chances of it taking. Embryos need to make it to day 5 for freezing and also to get sent out to do the PGD testing, I believe, but don't quote me. So I guess for us there is no way to ensure its a girl without adopting.
-Also, in regards to the part about it being expensive, well, it is, it all is. The way I see it is that I have known a lot of people that have gone broke or whine about money all the time over less, a lot less. 

Then there was this comment.
-"I am so sorry you are having to face all of this. There is no easy answer. I'm trying to understand why Max can't be enough. You are sooooo lucky to have a living baby after all you have gone through. So many people are still waiting on their baby....it truly is such a miracle that you have Max. As you well know, life is not fair. Why not just focus on Baby Max and enjoy every minute of life with him instead of chasing after what you have lost? You really want a biological baby girl but even she won't replace Evelynn. Many people just want a baby....any baby....and you have that. Just be content in what you have and be happy and thankful for what you have after all you have lost. You are so lucky!!!!"
-Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this comment really upset me. Dereck and I went back and forth on the type of commenter this came from. Was it someone who came across my blog and has had multiple perfect pregnancies, healthy babies, and got to say when they were finished having kids? Or was it someone who has had years of infertility and most likely still waiting for their take home baby, as stated above in the comment? If it is, I am so sorry that you are still struggling, but I honestly can't believe you would judge me when you should understand more than most what it's like to have to work so hard to get a baby. If its been easy for you, then I am pretty certain you would have been beyond annoyed if someone told you to stop at one. A struggle or not, doesn't seem like any good reason for me or anyone to give up on the dream of having more than one living child. In all reality there is a lot of people out there who shouldn't be allowed to have kids or should be forced to stop after one, but they just keep on having them. Sorry for the rant. And lucky, hahahahaha, okay whatever you say, lucky is the person who hasn't had to bury their children. I suppose its easy to say this when you're "anonymous." And to add, yes, we are thinking about future baby plans already, but that little boy couldn't be more loved.
-This commenter gets it and I appreciated reading the comment, so I included it here. "With regard to other commenters, I understand that many who follow your blog have been through years of infertility with zero hope for a bio - or possibly any - child. However, I think it's insensitive for anyone, regardless of their own pain, to come here and call you "lucky" when they see Liam and Evelynn at the top of the page... Max is an amazing and precious blessing but you guys are as entitled as anyone else to pursue the dream you had for your family. I'm sure if a time comes that you need to let that go and just "focus on Max" you and Dereck will be the first to know that. Without suffering anything like your losses, I went through 8 years of secondary infertility, all the while questioning our choices as we had two healthy kids. The fact is, we'd always wanted and planned for at least two more - not unlike you and Dereck. I think your love for Max answers the question of how you would feel about another boy, as well. I will always wish we could have more kids, and have them years ago, but that doesn't take away my appreciation for what and who I've been given."

And finally the comment that I didn't publish but made my day.
-"I've been reading your blog for a really long time & my heart has broken for you. My sister is a BLM. She lost one of her twins. I've wanted to be a surrogate for someone for a really long time so if you do go that route, I'd be very happy to talk with you."
-I could not believe what I was reading when I saw this come through. We have since emailed back and forth, spoken on the phone, and texted one another. She actually lives in Illinois, which is a surrogate friendly state, and one that allows you to buy insurance to cover the pregnancy. It seemed to good to be true once again, but the way its looking it most likely will not work out for us after all.


For now, outside of this blog, Dereck and I have decided to wait until we go back to MN and ND this fall before we engross ourselves anymore in the world of IVF and gestational carriers again. We have decided at that point we will try and talk more one on one with family and friends to see if they would be willing to help us, know of anyone who would, or at least spread the word. If nothing comes of that then I guess there's always posting it on Facebook.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New News, New Hope, New Worries

Sorry for everyone who tried to read this post and it wasn't there. I accidentally hit publish before I was finished and then had to revert it to a draft. Just getting back to it now.
 -------------------------------
This post has been a long time coming. I started it a couple of months ago and a lot of what I had started to write has already changed so much. Here goes.

We have been discussing the next baby for months already. It's just always in our thoughts. How can it not be after all we've been through. We for sure want to have at least 2-3 living babies, it just sucks that after 5 years of trying, 2 surgeries, and lots of heartache, we are at one. Ugh. We are enjoying Max, love him to death, couldn't be more grateful for what Jessica did for us, but hate that are family is so incomplete. It doesn't help having lost 2 babies already and knowing the next is going to be far from easy. The question is, how do we go about adding more children to our family? It seems like every option brings with it risks, stress, and/or financial troubles. How do you decide which is the right way to go? Can we afford it? Can we handle the stress of another pregnancy whether it be ours, another carrier, or adoption? And in the end will it have been the right way to go or will it have left us with more heartache and no baby once again.

I decided to split this into 3 sections; Pregnancy after rupture, Another gestational carrier, and Adoption.

Pregnancy After Rupture

As some of you may recall, after Evelynn died I had Dr.s telling me to never get pregnant again and other Dr.s telling me that they think it is possible for me to get pregnant again. The Dr.s that told me that they did think it was possible for me to carry again were my Ob Dr. and the perinatologist that helped with the fetal surgery. They said that as long as I waited at least 2 years, possibly went on bedrest by 28 weeks at the latest, and we delivered by 34 weeks, they believed everything would be fine. At the time of Evelynn's death hearing a couple of those Dr.s say I should never carry another baby was too much to handle, but the ones that thought it was possible at least gave me something to hold onto through all the sadness.

We were lucky enough to have Jessica come into our loves and for the time being we were happy that we had a chance at bringing home a biological baby versus having to wait a 2 full years to attempt a very stressful, very high risk pregnancy. Again, I will say that we love Max to death, but we do want another living baby and would ultimately prefer our own biological baby, but is getting pregnant again really a smart option? On Evelynn's birthday, exactly 2 years after she was born, I decided to call my Ob and hear her thoughts. I didn't exactly hear what I was hoping to hear, but in a way she said exactly what I figured she'd say, that being that she didn't think it was a good idea. She did say though that when I came in for my yearly that she could order an mri to take a look at my uterus and we could discuss it further from there. When I went in for the yearly appt, it was about a month after the phone call on Evelynn's birthday, and she again said it wasn't a great idea at all and that it would be highly unethical for her to help us get pregnant again when the odds were not in our favor. It makes sense, but was still so disheartening.

After talking to my Ob I decided to call the perinatologist from UCSF, afterall he was the one who suggested the 2 year wait and early delivery. He too was completely against the idea, especially once he heard we had Max. I kind of feel like the only reason that they said I could try again was to not completely crush me when my daughter had already died. I mean, I get it, can we emotionally handle losing another baby or what if I died attempting another pregnancy. Max would be without a mom and Derecks whole life would change. At first, I kind of felt okay with the news because it really would be risky, but also hate that the thought of never feeling that bond from carrying my own child again. It'd be like grieving a 3rd loss. Plus, if we don't try again then we are left with adoption, another carrier, or having only Max-which I feel is not an option. So what do we do? Do we try to get a few other opinions from high risk Dr.s or do we throw the idea completely off the table and try to accept it? If we for sure had another carrier lined up and we knew that we would end up with another good quality embryo it would make the decision a whole lot easier.

Do I sound crazy for even considering another pregnancy? I have been in a uterine rupture group for quite sometime and their have been a lot of successful pregnancies after rupture. Of course, those are usually women that had ruptures during vbacs and on low transerve incisions. The fundal ruptures/incisions, like what I have, tend to rerupture, but now I know the signs. What are everyone's thoughts?

Gestational Carrier

Back when we were in Minnesota, 3 months ago already, I had the chance to visit with one of my old friends. This friend of mine has 3 kids already, the youngest I think is 2 1/2??? She asked me about a future pregnancy or if we are going to get another carrier. More specifically if Jessica was going to carry again for us, which tends to be the question most people ask us. I told her I didn't know what we were going to do. We talked about it a little more and then she told me that she would love to be able to help and carry a baby for us. I was beyond ecstatic! When I left her place I told Dereck what she said and for a moment we felt like this could all work out again. Over the next few weeks Dereck and I talked about it more and more and then were starting to have our doubts about her being a good carrier. First is that she has had 3 c-sections already and then what are the chances her insurance would cover the pregnancy. Their is absolutely no way we could afford a c-section out of pocket and three c-sections scares the crap out of me. What if she ruptured while carrying our baby? I would never be able to forgive myself and she is a single mom with a family to support. I decided to ask my Ob her thoughts at my yearly and she thought using someone with a previous c-section was a horrible idea, especially someone with 3. Ugh!

Then, one day when I was out on a walk with one of my good friends, a friend that was pregnant at the same time as me when I was pregnant with Evelynn, told me that she has talked to her husband about possibly carrying for us. Again, I was ecstatic, but told her I really hope she is serious because I don't want to get my hopes up to only be let down again. She would be a perfect candidate since she has had 2 perfect vaginal deliveries. About a month later she told me that her husband just really didn't want her to do it because he was scared of something going wrong. Double Ugh!

Before I had heard that neither of these 2 friends would work out for us as a carrier, I had contacted our RE to let them know that we are looking into another IVF cycle and what I would need to do to prepare for another round. As you may recall, we only ended up with one embryo last time and luckily one is all it took. Since I am still breastfeeding he told me that I would need to quit breastfeeding and then wait for my period to come back. Ha! Me get my period. He said he would put me on meds to get it and then we would do blood tests to check my estradiol levels, I think, to even see if proceeding with another cycle would even be a smart option. Since, I have a difficult time getting pregnant without the help of clomid and didn't respond well to the meds, the RE thinks I may have diminished ovarian reserve and that my chances of this working again may be slim. Why does life hate me :-(. I wanted to scream. Is he fricken serious? Why? Why? Why? So, now we have to decide if this is something we want to proceeed with and hope we can find a carrier if the numbers come back in our favor or if they don't look into adoption or consider ttc on our own. My main concern is that I will drop the breastfeeding to do the blood tests and they will come back bad. If we have to result to adoption then I kind of want to try and keep the breastfeeding somewhat up so that I can possibly breastfeed that baby without having to go through the domperidone process again.

Anybody want to carry a baby for us or know someone who does?

Adoption

If I am not getting asked about getting another gestational carrier, I am getting asked why we don't just adopt. Apparently people just assume adoption is a piece of cake, worry free, and financially friendly. I find it to be none of those things. I don't know a lot about it, but what I do know is that it is none of those things. I had a friend give her baby up for adoption when she was 19. I know she took care of herself and wanted a good home for her baby. She picked a family, both parents were eye Dr.s and fairly well off. That couple adopted another child a few years later and everything went pretty smoothly for them. My friend still is in touch with them, because it was an open adoption, and got me in touch with her. I spoke with her a couple months back and she told me everything she knew about domestic adoption. Of course that was well over 10 years ago.

As for more recent adoptions I have 2 friends who it didn't end well for and another friend who it did. The first friend and her husband decided to adopt and were lucky enough to get a little boy. The baby was home with them for 2 days when the mother decided to take the baby back. The second friend, who is one of my fellow blms, adopted a baby girl who was home with them for 23 days, and then the mother decided to take her baby back. 23 days! That is messed up and just isn't right! Both of these adoptions were in MN and MN law, I believe, allows the mother to take the baby back up to 30 days. If we decide to adopt it will absolutely not be from a state like MN. This is one of the main reasons why adoption scares the F out of me. I have been through enough heartache, so if the momma took the baby back I would be beyond devastated.

The recent adoption that I know of that did go well was also by a fellow blm. We actually were doing our IVF cycles for our carriers at the same time, but things didn't go as planned for her, so they decided to adopt. She had worries like me. I spoke with her on the phone about a month ago and she told me all about her experience; the cost, the agency, etc. I think if we decide to adopt I would go through A Step Ahead like she did. She said through them you have a better chance of getting a baby sooner than if you went with just a local agency. Of course, the cost goes up with that. She explained to me about all the decisions they had to make as far as what they wanted in a baby. They didn't care about the sex, but were concerned about not having a baby that came from a family with say mental issues. She did say that almost every baby comes from a mom that smoked and it was something they just had to accept or they would never get a baby. One of the big things was deciding if they were okay with getting a baby that came from a mom that had drank or did drugs like meth during the pregnancy. That is a tough one and scares the crap out of me that people would even do stuff like that knowing they are pregnant, but I know it happens. My friend said they were more concerned with having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome than one that came from a mother who did meth or other drugs. When I brought this up to Dereck he was quite the oppoite. He kind of felt that meth is a newer drug and that we don't know all the long term damage that could come from a baby that was exposed to that inutero, yet. Where as people for years drank while pregnant, and although FAS isn't something we would want our baby to have, their a lof of people who turned out fine. Maybe it just depends on how much the mother drank??? They also only wanted to adopt a baby from a state that had a really short take back time, since they were scared of the mom taking the baby back like we are. They were able to adopt from Nevada, where the mother only had, I think, 72 hours. My friend also said that in the end the adoption costed them about $50,000. That is same as it costed for our gestational carrier pregnancy with Jessica and Max. So definitely not cheaper. The nice part though, is that from the time they started the process, they got a healthy, beautiful, baby girl in 9 months. She had 3 other friends adopting at the same time as her and all 3 got healthy baby girls in about 9 months time as well. That does give me hope, but.....

We have thought about trying to adopt a native baby or going through the state and foster with hope to adopt, but I don't know if I am up for that. Why couldn't it just be easy and find some teenager that gets knocked up and just gives us her baby???


So as you can see, I have gone through each option over and over again. I do know that I really, really, really want a baby girl and that adoption is our best chance at that happening, but I also just want my own biological baby girl. I love seeing how much Max looks like Dereck, he has my eyes, but that's it. I think Evelynn would've looked like me, and I miss that I'll never get to see her grow up, same with Liam.

Why does this have to be so hard and so stressful? I wish I felt like we had time, but I don't. If  we decide to adopt we have to first do the entire home study and then who knows how long we'd wait to get picked and hopefully get to keep the baby. If we do a carrier I clearly don't have time. I am 33, advanced maternal age is 35, and I have enough to worry about with my possibly diminishing eggs. And of course what age would be a good age to be pregnant again and stressed out when you have toddler at home that needs you. I don't know about the rest of you, but we are just so tired of being "pregnant" and ready to just be on with the next stage of our lives. What to do, what to do?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Seems Like Everybody's Expecting........Except Us

I don't recall if I have wrote or not about the fact that I have three friends that are pregnant right now, and a fourth that's in the process of joining them. The three that are already pregnant are all due within weeks to a couple months of one another, so pretty much all due between October and December.

When I found out my first friend was pregnant I took it really hard. Hard because she had just gotten married last summer, decided to start ttc shortly after the honeymoon a few months later, and got pregnant right away. It's still so frustrating to me when people can get pregnant on the first or even the second month of trying. And, of course, I still have major issues with pregnancy in general, along with the fear everyone will have a girl. This friend isn't going to find out the sex until the baby is born. I'm almost certain I will not be going to her baby shower.

Then I found out about the next friend being pregnant. This friend was pregnant at the same time as I was with Evelynn. Our babies due dates were within a few days of one another. I always new she wanted to get pregnant again sooner than later, but it's hard to deal with when I just finally started being able to be around her son and not get depressed that my daughter should be here and be the same age as him, also that she could get pregnant again, and lastly because I just finally got a baby here, home, and alive. Just two days ago she found out she was having a girl. I wanted to scream and smash something. Not fair. I want my boy and girl.

Then there is my third pregnant friend. She is one of my closest friends and has been there for me through both pregnancies, both losses, and helped us tremendously with fundraising for our gestational carrier pregnancy with Max. She thought for sure she'd have a hard time getting pregnant after seeing what we went through, but sure enough she was pregnant the first month. I'm happy she can talk to me about any concerns and ask pregnancy related questions. In a way it makes me feel good, useful, and that at least she doesn't think I am like this versus this horrible cursed pregnancy baby killer, that I often feel like I am. She also plans to find out the sex of her baby. I fear it'll be a girl as well. I also feel like I should be the one throwing a "it's a girl/boy!" party and do her baby shower, just as she did for me. I don't think I have it in me to go to a baby shower yet,  let alone throw one. I know she would understand, but she also deserves to enjoy all things pregnancy and baby related with the support of all her friends and family, including me, and not be concerned about how it'll affect me.

The fourth friend I guess we will wait and see if she ends up pregnant or not. She is doing it all on her own and commend her on that. She wants a girl sooo bad.

Having Max here and after multiple years of grieving, it's still hard. I was just starting to feel better about so many of my friends being pregnant, but them having girls is just too much for me. When I was pregnant with Liam,  everyone I knew pregnant seemed like they were having girls. When I was pregnant with Evelynn, everyone seemed like they were having boys. I just feel like this is going to be the season of girls, and I have no idea how I'll cope, whether it's just one or all of them. Girls or not, it's going to be hard. It's making me want to be pregnant again so badly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Return to Zero


The Return to Zero movie premiered on Saturday, September 17th. The babyloss community knew of this film early on as we have all experienced it firsthand and were excited that a film was finally getting made in hopes to help break the silence surrounding stillbirth and infant loss. It is actually the producer and his wife's story of when they lost their son in the last weeks of pregnancy. I wasn't able to see it because I don't have cable, but hopefully I will be able to soon. Since I have not seen the movie I can't exactly give it a review. I have heard comments from both baby loss moms and from friends who have never experienced a loss that were able to see it. From the friends that have never experienced a loss, they all said it was so incredibly sad and just can never imagine. Which is pretty much what they all said to me after my losses. The target group for this film is of course the ones who have never lost a baby in hopes that they can get a better understanding of how painful it is to lose a baby, how life will never be the same, that we will always love those babies, and they will always be a part of our family. The reviews I have heard from a few baby loss moms have been both good and bad. One thing I have heard is that their wasn't enough crying and talk about just how important that baby was. I know everyone grieves differently, although I cried and screamed a lot, but I'll just have to see for myself when I get to see it.

One thing I loved that this movie did was to allow us baby loss moms to purchase a spot in the credits where our babies names would be listed. I love that everyone who watches this film had a chance to see the credits and see my babies names along with so many other loved and missed babies. I was so happy and surprised when I got a few different pictures from friends of the credits, who have not lost a child but watched the movie.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Second Birthday

For so long it seemed I was stuck in a place where time stood still, but everyone else's lives seemed to be happily moving forward. I remember those final days leading up to the rupture and her birth and how excited I let myself get. I was finally going to have a baby at home......and then of course it was gone, again. Having Max here has not only made time not seem like it's standing still, but instead flying by. The worst part about it is that it still hurts so much, especially around this time of year when we should be celebrating a birthday, her second, with her here.

As usual I never seem to know what to do on these birthdays and anniversaries. I want to honor my babies but I still just can't get past the unfairness of it all. I tend to pout, and that's what I did all day until an unexpected surprise showed up. At about 3 in the afternoon on her birthday, April 22nd, the doorbell rang. There was a lady at the door with a birthday balloon and some flowers. The lady looked at me and said, "Evelynn Rasmussen," and the tears formed immediately. Somebody said her name!

It is now 2 and a half weeks since her second birthday and that balloon is still hanging around the house. It was floating around for a long time from room to room and now is just hanging out in the living room as it's lacking in air. I love seeing it and smile thinking of my girl.

I finally got her scrapbook out and am determined to get it done before the year is out. I wish sooner, but I am not going to push myself. Getting that out alone with all of her hospital pictures is progress in itself. I've still barely looked at them since we got them developed. I also still haven't gotten any of her NLMDTS pictures on the wall, but that I hope to get up by the end of the year too. We will see.

Love you forever baby girl.




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