When it really takes just one: a story of positivity and hope
Lifting the guilt of wanting another child through IVF
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When it really takes just one: a story of positivity and hope
Lifting the guilt of wanting another child through IVF
If you want to skip the part where I tell you the results and read the story leading up to it, just start with October 2017 over here to the right ---> in the blog archives. And read up from there.
If you want to skip the little story and know how it turned out, Just stay here.
Well I have thought about this blog entry many, many times. How am I going to word it? Well I don't have an outlined plan so it will be all messed up and full of grammatical errors to piss Mike off. I type how I speak/think- mmmkay?
So let's talk about post-transfer. Now I KNOW it is much too early to feel anything or have symptoms. But I do know, when you have a 5 day transfer (embryo was grown out 5 days before freeze) that it will implant in 1-3 days post-transfer. Later than day and into the next I described what felt like a grapefruit in my uterus. It was heavy, and almost a tugging feeling. Of course I had many physical symptoms from the progesterone that can all be wrapped into pregnancy symptoms. Let me break some stuff down so we are all on the same page. Some of you may already know but I don't like to make anyone feel dumb either.
5DT= 5 day transfer, embryo is five days old
#DP= days post transfer
5DP 5DT= 10 DPO or 10 days past ovulation in real life
6DP 5DT=11 DPO
Still with me here?
SO typically when a woman is expecting her period she is on cycle day 28. If her period doesn't come and she takes a test, and it's positive, she is 4 weeks pregnant.
So back to what I was saying above. 1-3 days past transfer, should be implantation. Now it can happen that an embryo implants late. But after it is implanted, by 72 hrs, it is producing HcG (pregnancy hormone). In my brain, by 5 or 6 post-transfer I should be getting even a faint line. And of course I googled everything and watched a billion FET and IVF transfer pregnancy test videos. So I was feeling this heaviness and lots of cramping. This to me was all a good sign because nothing else changed. I was already on the progesterone for a few days so I knew this had to be the embryo. Transfer was on Tuesday, and by Friday I felt nothing. I still took that as being okay. And I had a hard time with implantation pain with Sloan, but just wanted to remind myself that every pregnancy is different.
I actually started to test at 4DP 5DT and KNEW that was crazy early. That would be 9 days post ovulation in real life, which like nobody get positives that early. I had a course on the weekend and I thought I shouldn't test because if it was negative, then I wouldn't be able to hold it together. Well on 4DP it was stark white negative (tested anyways). That was okay, it was still too early.
Somewhere on the Saturday I just started to check-out. I feel like deep down I was really starting to turn all my positive thoughts into negative ones. The amount of Estrogen I was on could bring down a horse. I have been tired for a month. All day, every day and nothing relieved it. I wasn't myself. I wasn't interested in work, Sloan or even Mike. I felt totally checked out and separated from my body. I got back into the clinic in July. It is now November, That is a long time to be in the process. Not to mention, I have now been on two forms of Estrogen for a month and added Progesterone injections. I got into bed the Saturday night after the course and I just sobbed. I was really overwhelmed with all the emotions and fears I had pushed down. I almost didn't want the transfer to happen. Because then I would have a for sure yes or no. When it was frozen and just an idea, it was easier to cope with, I have just been on these hormones for so long and the anticipation was building up. Somewhere in the middle of the night, with a headache from crying, I knew I wasn't completing my course the next day. I didn't go and spent the majority of the day in bed, crying. My mind was spinning. I wasn't even on this planet.
I woke up, and with Mike still sleeping, I did another test at 5DP 5DT or 10 days past ovulation. I knew deep down that if I didn't get a faint line today, I was out. And I just knew in my heart that the embryo didn't take. I would continue to test Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,
And there it was. I remember how quick it came up positive when I was pregnant with Sloan. I would go back to the trash hours later and check it again. I would hold the test up to the window, in the sun, and squint to see if I could see something. I got the same result, day after day. Nothing was there, and I was not pregnant.
I feel like I cannot put into words exactly how I felt. I was in this dark, weird place that only someone would know if they have been here. I know I have not lost a baby. I know I have not miscarried. But I do know I have lost.
I have waited for this embryo for 3 years. I have dreamt about what it would be like to carry them. I wondered if they would look like Sloan and be a boy, or a girl. We always visualized two girls, but I always felt this was probably a boy. All these things we will never know. I am glad we did get to meet. We got to see the embryo alive and I got to have him or her for a short while. I did always feel I wouldn't get lucky twice and this transfer wouldn't work. A part of my heart was prepared for it. I actually thought I would be way more relaxed about the news. I used to tell others and myself "I already have a perfect little girl, it's okay if it doesn't work, we have her" which is all completely true. It's hard to say without sounding selfish for wanting another. We just always thought we would have two. And we deserve two, don't we? Can't we be like everyone else? I am always reminded that I have Sloan by people. Which I thank whoever is listening, every single day. But because I have fertility issues, I just stop and accept that? I want to grow the family we always visualized. We have to try. It's a very uneasy feeling to not have any control over your own future and how you build your family. You feel totally helpless. The how, the when, and all the other details lay in the hands of doctors and chance for us.
(Off topic) One thing I will note is that I have been surrounded by a lot of loss this year. Weather it's people I know, friends of friends etc. And I am talking from a few weeks gestation to full-term. I lost a cluster of cells. But it was our cluster of cells. I told a friend that it wasn't the same. She assured me that it mattered, it was our "baby". And I just cannot imagine the hurt in women and men's lives who have lost an embryo(s), a fetus, infant or child. I'm going off topic a little bit here. And I don't think it's just happening more, I think we are talking about it more. And that was a large reason why I am so open, and started a blog. The more we can talk about infertility or loss, the more we can help each other and get through. I know this isn't my "fault" but you feel this incredible weight of knowing it's because of you. You never really rid the guilt of knowing you aren't getting pregnant because of your body. If you know someone struggling, just be there for them. Forget all the "I hear so and so did this...or if you give up gluten....have you tried acupuncture?" Just ask what you can do for them. Just be an open door and a shoulder to cry on. Bring them a damn casserole, with all the gluten! Don't forget the ice-cream. You don't have to have the perfect thing to say. If you are struggling or have suffered loss, I see you. I hear you. Nothing fills the space in your heart that's meant for a child or children. I have said it before, just please don't give up. And if you are comfortable, tell people. Please open the lines of communication to allow someone to be your support team. It makes a world of difference the people around you know and can support you.
Unfortunately I already had visualized how I would announce. I already brought home this incredible vintage wooden bassinet I found on Kijiji. Don't say it, I know it's presumptuous of me. But I was being hopeful and positive. So I was putting all the positive vibes out there. We didn't tell family or even close friends this time, so I was thinking how I would tell them all. I think that was going to be my favourite part, the look on grandparents faces. We could have surprised our family for Christmas. We never got any of the normal things everyone else gets when they are pregnant. This baby would also have come within a week of Sloan's Birthday.
Funny, we transferred Sloan November 8th, 2014. We Transferred "fro-bro" November 7th 2017. Just worked out that way.
I've had a few days to cry in bed. I have had a little while to accept that I won't be expecting a baby next summer. I have told some friends, co-workers and family that we did transfer. I feel some relief. I just want to move forward. I can't sit and dwell. I have to find the silver lining or the reason. I annoy Mike all the time when something doesn't work out and I say "all things happen for a reason, universe has different plans" and he hates it, haha.
I do believe it will happen, just at another time. There is a reason for it. May all be bullshit but it helps me get through.
Here is where the story takes a serious turn, you ready?
SO I met with my doctor on Friday November 17th, and had blood work while I was there. We talked about the next step and I had told her that right up until the appointment, I had tested negative. She didn't have the results but told me to stay on the hormones until I get the official "okay". We decided to take a break over the next 6-8 months. With a blocked tube, high ovaries and no natural ovulation, I am fighting a serious battle. I want out of the infertility bubble for a little while. We also both agreed, that I should use this time to work on myself, and lose some weight. I wasn't offended- she is right. This can improve my egg quality and MAYBE be able to bring my high ovaries down if I have less adipose tissue/inflammation etc. So I went home, got groceries, signed up for yoga and ordered new workout gear. My mind was shifted into a new perspective. I was supposed to get a call the next day, but after I called them I was told to call back Monday as it wasn't on my chart.
To my surprise, I get a call around noon on Monday. "Miss Abbott, you have a beta level of 57. This is extremely low for this stage but you will need to come back today for more blood work". Wait, WHAT. How is this even possible? I was testing dead negative up until. And I know <5 is not pregnant, and >5 is technically pregnant. You need to be at least 25 for a First Response to pick it up. But 57 is LOW for how far along I am supposed to be. So this means, either the embryo magically implanted over a week late, or implanted and has slowly been growing and giving off HCG. So I rush to the clinic and do blood work and totally freaking out. I immediately google "low HCG transfer, successful pregnancies" and see tons of stories of women with low numbers and healthy babies. My headspace was messed up. I had already mourned this loss. What does this mean now? Well, on my way home to wait on the results, I grabbed two tests at the store. I immediately came home and yelled for a cup. I dipped the tests and let Mike look, I couldn't do it. I frantically paced around the house as the 3 minutes seemed like 3 hours. He went to the bathroom and picked them up. He asked "how many lines is positive?" like he doesn't know. He brings them out, with the window covered with his hands. He turns them around and...
YA. WHAT THE ACTUAL F!?
You should have seen the look on Mike's face. He totally lit up and did that laugh-smile-cry thing. I know this game, and I know deep in my heart that 57 at this stage, is not good. This would be a unicorn baby that it implanted THIS late and has low HCG.
The nurse calls and says "your level is only 133, it did double in 72 hours but still extremely low, we will repeat in 3 days".
So now I have 3 days ahead of freaking out. And to add it it, shortly after my call I started spotting. It would come and go and spotting can be good or bad when it comes to early pregnancy. So the following days were like this:
Now if you have done this many times before, you can see like I did, that 14/15 are lighter than 13 but only by a smidge.
So, on the morning of my beta blood work, I got this:
And just like that, it was gone. Literally over-night. We said hello for a brief second, with a very quick goodbye. The whole week I knew deep down that it wouldn't work. But a small part of you always hangs on to the magical 1% unicorn baby part.
The nurse called and said "your HCG level has gone down to 29, stop all your medication and wait for your cycle to start". And that was it.
At this point, I have told myself, Mike, girls at work (they had to know)- that I was okay. And that was the truth. I had already dealt with this loss. But being completely honest....
I am fucking devastated. To put it politely.
I find comfort in the fact that it did stick at some point, even for a little while. And technically I got to carry him or her for a little while too.
In closing, I could never do it without my support system (Mike), I love you very much. Thank-you to my best friend Alex, for listening and coming to be my injection buddy. Thank-You to my cheering squad at work, you ladies make working a better place. We didn't tell family/friends this time, not because we didn't want to, we just wanted this time to be private. We still love you all. And to my found friend via Instagram, who I will call "Boston"- you know who you are. Im glad we had our IVF girls together 3 years ago, and we transferred a day apart this time. You have no idea how helpful you have been for me. You helped me through a lot of tears. I appreciate all the late nights, kind words and keeping it real with me. Im here to root you on! I am so happy it was at least one of us this time.
This chapter is closed, but the story isn't over. It's all a part of our journey.
We love you fro-bro,
I left off thinking I wouldn't have to do Estrogen any longer than 2 weeks. And the universe was like "HA HA HA ALYSON"- not today. My lining when we checked was 7.6, and it needs to be 8-9. In addition, my Estrogen levels were a tad low. So back on the ol' train PLUS add some new friends- Estrogen patches (2)! and check back in the following week.
Let me tell you. This is an obscene amount of Estrogen for one human. But they wanted it that way so I do what I am told. I also brought home the lovely, and anticipated, PIO (progesterone in oil) injections. I have not been looking forward to this one. I showed in a previous blog, the size of the damn thing. You also, have to do it every night.
The first time we did it, I really didn't feel it at all. It took a few tries for the anxiety to wear down. There were a few shots that did get a little painful. We managed to work-out a system where I would ice the area for a minute or two before, and insert quickly but push the PIO in slow. This seemed to be the best for me.
The days leading up to transfer day were so weird. I had it booked off at work and was just feeling a mix of things. The day before, I cried the whole drive to work. This is a lot of built up anticipation. I think this is where I started to let go of the relaxed attitude towards it and really feel inside, how much it meant to me. I have waited 3 years to know if this embryo would thaw, stick, and become a human being. I longed to see the positive test, and the little flicker on the ultrasound. I can't really say one cycle is harder than the other because they are both hard in their own way. This one was longer. And I knew for sure there is no cushion, as there is only one.
The day of transfer we dropped sloan off at daycare in a shirt for good luck under her button-down.
Most would say this was ballsy of me. To be fair, I made it online and didn't expect it to come before this all started. And deep down I think it would hurt more if the cycle failed and this shirt came in the mail weeks later.
We arrived at the clinic and were checked in. They brought us back and had us get changed. So we know at this point we are transferring something today, but don't know the quality yet. Dr. Jackson pulls us aside and says our embryo is alive, fluffing back up from the thaw and is in excellent grade. To our surprise, a better grade than Sloan (but this one was a 5-day).
We got into the same room where our previous retrieval and transfer had happened. This time we were able to take pictures and videos. The whole transfer went painless and smoothly. One little perfect embryo was on board for us to take home, after 3 long years.
I was told to keep on the same levels of estrogen and keep on with the PIO shots at night. My Beta (blood work for pregnancy) was scheduled for two weeks from transfer. I'll put some of the photos we got below.
I wish I could post video here but I can't. But we have one of the embryo and of transfer. The white blob with the tiny arrow, is our little fro-bro.
Just like last time, I will test on my own. The side effects are mostly from the progesterone, just like last time. I didn't get the implantation cramps like with Sloan, but I know every cycle is different. The hormones are making me feel like I am living outside of my body. This is not like last time. I have checked out from everything. I feel like I am barely myself, a partner, a mom or even an RMT. If I don't get a positive by the end of the week before my beta, which is the following Tuesday, I will ask to move it up or just stop the hormones. I can't bear to take them and inject them for a baby that isn't there. Being on hormones for over a month is a long time to not feel like yourself.
Before I leave, I have been testing, 4DP 5DT (4 days past, 5 day transfer) and 5DP 5DT and stark white, negative tests. I do not have any hope at this point at this cycle being successful. I will continue to test this week, but I meet with my DR at the end of the week. Fingers crossed for a late implant and a miracle.
I'm gonna start here.
It's Sunday, day 6 of taking Estrogen and my second time making cupcakes in 2 weeks. I am so excited for them, Im not even waiting until frosting. And, I currently DGAF that this is an extremely unattractive photo.
This is the part of the blog where I talk about (complain about) what it's like to be taking hormones and in a treatment cycle. This time is for sure different. I sometimes feel very casual and low-key and sometimes get very worried and anxious. I think why I am so worried is my feelings of: why would I get so lucky, TWICE? I already had a perfect IVF cycle, and pregnancy and delivery- why would I get it again? I know it happens to people. But I also this year have been surrounded by lots of loss. Anywhere from a few weeks gestation, to full-term. Now, this also may be women just talking about it more. Which, is totally incredible and the whole reason why I am here, duh. But I am starting to feel a lot of doubt that this embryo will stick and become an actual human being. We are very lucky and thankful for Sloan. But you never think that it will be your last pregnancy or child. And if this doesn't work, that we will be waiting until we are called up for funded IVF next year. I have to take my own advice and understand that it's going to happen the way it should. I just hate I don't get to choose. When you do IVF or a FET you know for certain in 2 weeks time you WILL be pregnant or not. I know it's not different from normal couples who had sex when they ovulated and wait. But it is different. Hard to explain. There is no guessing if the egg fertilized I guess. I know it did.
Alright. Let me explain how I have been feeling since the Estrogen in a series of GIFs to keep you and myself entertained.
That was fun eh? I mean shit could be a lot worse. But this is just what's happening. I'll list it here for ya:
I also feel that I won't go the full 4 weeks of Estrogen. I have never had an issue with my lining and I am hoping I get the green light after my first ultrasound and bloodwork which is October 28th. It's October 15th. It's INSANE to think in a little over 2 weeks we could be transferring. Alright I'm gonna cry.
Fun story before I go. Mike and I ran some errands Friday before I had to work. And ps. I don't have the energy to work. Sorry to anyone I offend lol. I don't want to work more than I have to- Im just so flipping' tired. ANYWAYS. He's driving and asking me what's wrong, as I just look so weird sitting in the other seat. I explain "I just wanna sleep-cry. Ya know? Like I feel like I want a good cry-myself-to-sleep right now. I can close my eyes in this car and just...sleep. That's how I feel. And for no good reason". After which, he proceeded to laugh hysterically at me and said "you're so fucked up".
And it's true.
It's been a while. I thought I would continue to blog about my life and motherhood but really I wasn't too sure if anyone cared- ha! Or if I would have content that would be interesting. It's pretty scary to still throw your feelings and thoughts on the internet and hope you don't offend anyone. I don't care if someone doesn't agree with me, because that's not how life works. But I don't want to offend someone with what I say or how I have gone about things- ya know?
That being said... Hi! Hello. My name is Alyson. You are probably here because you know me. I'm over there in that picture with my incredible little girl.
This time is really different. Nothing like the last time. Last night, I went back and read my blogs and had a lot of "oh yeah! I forgot"- moments. I also was taken back to a weird sad place where I forgot how crazy all of this is. We have been talking about FET (frozen embryo transfer) for years. We have wondered if it's a boy or girl, what he or she will look like, and if they will be like Sloan. We wonder if they will survive the thaw, if they will stick and grow into a healthy little baby.
We always had a rough timeline in our heads that when Sloan turned two, we would start the process of #2. It all sparked when I had to pay my frozen embryo fee ($500). I paid it late (whoops) and walked in to the clinic and paid in person. It was nice to see the familiar receptionists and toss a few jokes around. I asked what the wait time was to get back in and she said it could be up to 8 months. 8 MONTHS?! The F!?
So with that being said, I made a DR appt and got the referral to get back in. After some waiting I got a call for an initial appt to see Dr. Jackson.
*My timeline is also here -> Timeline if you are interested.
My initial appt was in September, then it was bumped to October. April-October is a long time. I sent a very polite email saying I wanted to be on the list for any doctor. July 7th I got a call that there was an opening that day and I took it. I was in.
I have been VERY light-hearted about this whole thing. Like I walk in and laugh with the staff, and make jokes with the nurses and kinda a "okay-okay" attitude with the Doctor. We have said numerous times that there isn't pressure this time because we have a perfect little girl. So if we don't have another, it's okay. And in all reality it IS okay. We are very fortunate to have her and to have experience a pregnancy. But a part of me (and I think mike too) does get frustrated that we don't get to choose the size of our family or when we have it. I would be completely lying if I said I will be fine if this doesn't work. It's a long time to think about this little embryo and I will be upset if we don't get to meet he or she. It is all up to someone else's timeline and schedule. While we got back in for the work-up and check-in, we also got on the waitlist for funded IVF which is a 12-14 month wait.
Let me clarify something here. After we had Sloan, Ontario will fund one IVF cycle. You are responsible for the payment of the drugs and there is some limits on age/weight and only one embryo will be transferred back. If you pay out of pocket for IVF, you can get in next month for it once you are in the clinic. We can't afford another $10,000 out of pocket. We refuse to use credit so it would take us over a year to save that cash anyways. So we are on the funded waitlist for IVF incase our transfer isn't successful. They will pay for the FET ($2000) but, if that doesn't work, then you no longer qualify for funded IVF. Sooooo, $2000 or $10,000? We chose to pay the $2000 cash and keep our ticket incase.
This time is also different in the sense that we aren't telling anybody. It's nothing personal and I hope nobody takes offence. Some of our friends/family know we are back in the clinic and hope to transfer before the end of the year. Last time we had a handful following our cycle and knowing when transfer was, and when I had my beta etc. We want some of the normal stuff everyone else gets. We want to be able to surprise friends and family. And yes, this includes my mom being in the dark too. Nobody else tells me when they are ovulating, having sex or peeing on the stick- right? So I want that time too. And it takes the pressure off. This is a very delicate, emotional and scary time. If the embryo doesn't survive or doesn't stick, we will tell people that we did the transfer so they aren't left wondering when it's happening. My co-workers know because it's next to impossible to hide it at work. And my bestie Alex knows. We had our first babes together and I need help with the Progesterone injections because Mike works shift work. It would also be pretty hard to keep it from her. Progesterone for a FET has to be injected intramuscular in the upper gluten/low-back area, everyday. It's a large needle and the oil is thick. You need a partner to do this for you. And I have heard that it's seriously not a comfortable shot. Here, I google imaged some things for a visual. I'll toss em in at the end.
So let's breakdown this whole FET thing shall we:
Frozen Embryo Transfer
I know, I know. It's a LOT of information. It's my first time too, so I am learning!
Lastly, this cycle is different because life is different. I just don't have the time/energy to put into it, what I did the first time. I am a mom now and I work full-time. I am not focused on my diet and worrying about every little thing. I will do some massage, and relax as much as I can. I will probably stop in-home massage treatments after transfer for a while. I have blocked off some time post-transfer if I feel it's necessary. I can't carry around all the worry and anxiety on top of life now. But this time, I go about my day and life and actually forget here and there. And then I will have a moment of pure freak-out and cry like an insane person. It doesn't seem real that in a few weeks we are transferring and could possibly be pregnant. I am not doing acupuncture or anything extra besides some massage. So maybe this is a more relaxed approach? Who knows.
Alright, that's all for now.
**disclaimer: these photoshoots ^ are never glam. It takes 50 to get a good one, and 6 minutes after putting this $18 onesie I got at an Etsy show on- she barfed on it. :) BUT. worth it.
As the time approaches where it will be one year since we started our IVF cycle, I decided this will be my last blog entry until the journey to the next Baby J comes, I think it's time to close the chapter on the journey "to" the current baby J. Now we start a whole new adventure with our fav little lady. Again, I want to thank every single person who followed along, supported us and gave us advice and encouragement. I also have been able to help few couples, give my own insight and know before anyone else- a whole ton of pregnancies! That was probably the best part. I got to know as early from 6-10 weeks in some cases. You're all amazing. I am hopeful for the future of infertility as science is constantly evolving and new treatments are surfacing. Very soon, Ontario will be on board for a round of IVF which will be such a financial relief for a lot of couples.
I have done a lot of reflecting and looking back at the past nearly two years, treatment, pregnancy and having Sloan. It has been the craziest time of my life. On a day to day basis I forget about how we even got here. It already seems like a "past life". I do drive by the clinic all the time and just think about our little frozen embryo. As Sloan turns 3 months old, it will be a year since we started our IVF cycle ( October 25th, 2014 ). I have gone back and read my blogs, totally taking me back to the time where we had no idea what was going to happen. I feel like all I have done for years is cry, lol. Cried that we couldn't get pregnant, cried during IVF/pregnancy & since Sloan has been born. I feel like the tears have dried and the clouds have cleared and I finally see what everyone is talking about.
As I go back and read my birth story, I really left a lot of details out. For one, I wasn't sure people cared to know a play-by-play and second, and I couldn't remember it all. The day was all such a blur. I do remember the day we transferred Sloan. I remember how antsy I felt laying on the table doing acupuncture before the transfer. I remember not knowing the status of our embryos or how many we will transfer till MINUTES before it was time. I also remember seeing, just for a second, Sloan as a cell up on a screen, before they transferred her. That was probably the coolest part. How incredible is science? I also remember, making jokes about the doctor not buying me dinner first before she got me pregnant- ha ha. I think Im so damn funny, After I got up, the doctor said "I know you know, but the baby can't fall out". I was like, duh, I know. But then had a second thought- "oh, okay good". haha! Later that day, mom, mike and myself went out to lunch. I said to mom, "do you think anyone knows I have an embryo just hanging out in my uterus?". Obviously not. But she did say- "you never think about how many people in a place are pregnant right now and don't know, or it's happening right now and then don't know". Kinda wild eh?
As hard as labour was, as HARD as bringing home a new baby is, I already miss being pregnant and would deliver a baby again. No wonder women have multiple kids- you literally forget all the awfulness and like psychos, do it again! It's this bananas feeling that there are parts that are so stressful, hard and awful, yet...you would do it again in a second.
The past 3 months have been a challenge- to say the very least. Most of the time it's like this:
When they say you "survive" the first few bits, thats literally what you do. You cannot leave or get out of it, you have to do it. I really think for me, I had to get to know Sloan. I recall looking at this new baby and thinking I was a bad mom. You're supposed to feel so much love for this human (which you do) but I mostly felt frustrated, upset, distance and overall a feeling of "what have I gotten myself into?".
Mike and I worked together to make Sloan comfortable. We have gotten into a routine of how to deal with her and what to do. We know Sloan's cries, times when she will be fussy etc. I didn't read any parenting books or new baby books, I just was hoping the "instinct" would kick in. And to be honest it does. Over time you get better at it and your normal changes. Mike is still an equal parent. He comes home after his 12 hr shift and switches to dad mode (even at 7am after nights). He does bath time and the bedtime bottle if he is here at night. I for some days, have Sloan around the clock because of his work/sleep schedule. He really takes the weight off my shoulders if I need it.
One thing I didn't know was how important a schedule and routine is for a baby. It's a full time job just to watch how much she naps, plays etc during the day to ensure a solid nighttime. When we travel or do activities in the day, she sleeps in the car in addition to her naps already. This can make for a long night for her dad and I. Sloan has slept in her crib since she about a month old. This works for us, and her. She has the best set-up! This dark room with a sound machine and humidifier- the best sleep ever! And we have more peaceful sleeps without her in the room and just have to put trust in the fact she will be okay. The monitor clicks on anytime she makes a good squee anyways. Physically, Sloan is doing great. She always gets a great review from our doctor. She does weigh in a little small for her age, but the DR isn't concerned because she is gaining at an appropriate rate for starting small. She is strong, has held her head up since day 1 practically. She still has her little hernia but it isn't worse or bigger. Sloan still has some issues eating. We are keeping with probiotics and enfamil in the Dr. Brown bottles for colic. She makes a whole ton of sound and is a pretty sloppy eater- but maybe that's just how she is.
Mike has stated that "the colic is over". I am just not ready to let it go. Somehow in my mind I think I will jinx it if I say it. But we noticed after 7 weeks that she started to settle day by day. Now you may think- only 7 weeks? Some parents go months and months dealing with it. But those 7 weeks felt like 7 months. Trust me. A part of it was hating seeing your baby so unhappy, and another part of you just wanted her to stop screaming, I don't know if its a combo of it being over, probiotics, formula or maturing digestive system that is better- but I don't care. Now she is just a regular baby who fusses when she's hungry, tired or needs a change of scenery. She farts like a grown man and it's hilarious. Girlfriend can for sure make some stink, but she is for sure way more comfortable these days. She is a busy, busy little girl. I think we are both in for a very active, independent little lady. She already is so vocal, strong, and always wants to be on the move. She doesn't want to be a coddled baby unless she's tired. She think she's grown, lol.
I finally get what all the moms are talking about. I don't want it to come off as- I didn't enjoy my baby till she was happier or older- because that is far from the case. But I get the love and the crazy feelings inside you have for this little human. I actually tear up (surprise surprise) when she smiles at me and makes the best baby sounds in the world. There is no feeling, in the whole wide world, that compares to your baby looking at you and smiling- because of you. There is no money, place, food ( lol ) that could come close to how it feels to snuggle up and know this little person feels comforted and safe because of you. In the morning when she is ready to get up for day and I come into her room, she smiles and stops crying at the sound of my voice saying "good morning!". Come on. Melt my heart. You totally change as a person when you become a parent. All of a sudden I would do anything to protect this person. I would literally die for her, and that's not being dramatic. I would and will continue to do everything I can to protect her. The whole mama bear thing is real.
Myself and Mike have been challenged for sure. We have had poop explosions, meltdowns in the car, public meltdowns, baby barf everywhere- the works. Ohhh boy, does this baby ever love to barf. I used to get anxious and panic and now if she cries while I'm checking out at costco, I know there isn't much I can do but get her in the car to go home to eat/change/get out of the car seat. Little bugger loves her baby swing, play mats, car rides, loud noises & being talked to. She already has so much personality, and a whole lot of sass.
As for the future, we don't know when we will try for Baby J #2. Maybe we will be just fine with the 3 of us. We will see if nature lines things up magically on their own for a while. There is no pressure for a second baby. We also have our frozen little 'bro to look forward to. We have no age in mind to try for the next one.
In closing, I dedicate the last part to my daughter.
If I had to do this 10 times over to lead me to you, I would. You have no idea how much you have changed your dad and myself. I look forward to everyday with you, good or bad. Your smile lights up my whole day, and I can't wait to watch you grow, but wish you could be little forever. I know life will be hard, but it also is really wonderful. I know I can't be a perfect mom but there are a few things I hope I/we can teach you that we feel is important. I want you to grow to be a kind, love-with-your-whole-heart little girl. I want you to share, care for others and never be afraid to express yourself. I want you to know it's okay to have bad days, but I hope the good always trump the bad. I hope your dad and I can show you unconditional love, and what a relationship is supposed to be like. I hope you never ever feel "less than" and know we love you very much. I want you to always feel safe and well supported. I hope we can provide the happiest home to the best of our ability for you. Wether you want to be a ballet dancer or a hockey player, we will encourage you to do whatever you love. I hope you grow to love life and laugh every-single-day. I hope you are just as silly and immature as your dad and I are. I want you to grow to be whatever you want to be, and do whatever you want to do. When the day comes for you to choose a partner & have your own kids, I hope you choose someone just like your dad. He is such a good man and I know you two will always be close. He is an amazing partner, daddy and truly my best friend. I chose him just for you. I just want you to know that we did our best to raise you. We promise to you, to always try our best, and that's all we can do.
Love you always & forever,
Pretty darn cute eh?
Well.......the crying.....has stopped.
Psychhhh. ME. I have stopped crying so much. As for Sloan... oh she still cries....a lot. But that's okay. For a long time there the tears just flowed out of me uncontrollably. It wouldn't matter if I was happy or sad, I just couldn't hold them back. I actually had to tell Mike to not say nice things because they would start the water works all over again. Hormones & new babies are a trip.
I am still not sure how far I want to blog for, but I have had lots of feedback to keep going. I don't know if I am informative for new moms, or relatable for current moms, but it's entertaining someone! When you become a mom, you join this special club of women who support & encourage each other. In other situations these women may not connect, but we all have something in common and can offer advice and be a shoulder. It has been pretty amazing all the moms who have reached out and comforted me, given advice and shared their story. So thank-you to all those mamas, you know who you are.
I feel like I am a constant open book. I have no shame in saying- "I hate this, this is hard, help me, I don't know what Im doing." But in saying that, I don't want to come across as always complaining or not appreciating what life has given me. We worked so hard to get here, and I don't for a single second take for granted the fact that life has given us this perfect little lady.
Some days are better than others. Some we both don't want to parent that day. We want to sleep in, not listen to someone cry and coddle a baby all day. But, obviously, you don't have a choice. And most days, we wake up and really, really love the smiles and special time with Sloan. We already have watched her grow and develop so much in 6 weeks. She reacts to things, smiles, coos, makes the funniest faces. She can also be a pretty great cuddle buddy. She has the sweetest blue eyes and chubby cheeks that I love to watch fill out week by week. The littlest things can make me so proud. My baby is swatting at a toy that makes noise when you do and Im like- "MY BABY IS THE SMARTEST BABY ALIVE!". Even though she's not doing it on purpose....it just happens to be in the way of her swinging her arms around. Whatever, lol. We also celebrate every burp, fart and especially poop. Mike and I will yell "YAY POOP!" and clap our hands. It means she's going to be a little more content...maybe. That's what being a mom is. Applauding poop. It's amazing how a 8.5lb meatball that has to poop can run your whole day lol.
We have learned to tune out and almost deal with the meltdowns. Now I won't BS anyone- the constant crying does weigh on you after a while. But we have learned what each cry means and try and make her comfortable. There is no magic cure for "fussy, high needs or colic" babies. All you can do is make her happy (try) and wait. You don't want to wish time away- but literally all you can do is wait for time to pass. I have come to terms completely with formula feeding. I no longer feel the mommy guilt. She got a "physically perfect" stamp from our doctor, and that's all that I need. We are watching a small hernia above her bellybutton and baby acne- both super common and harmless unless the hernia grows.
I think I have had a lot of misconceptions about newborns- hence maybe part of my frustration. On social media it looks like you're inside all day with a baby that "chills". You get to have sweet naps and cuddles while watching netflix. In the early morning, you and baby stroll around the neighbourhood while you sip coffee and embrace the morning. Uh...... not so much. MAYBE some babies are this way. Maybe some babies are content, and "chill" and pose for cute photos and they are actually like that all day and only cry when hungry. Unless Sloan is eating or sleeping she has to be entertained, coddled or bounced around the majority of her awake time. This past week or so has been the best in the sense that she will have periods of being happy, content and awake. Today she spent an hour awake, in the swing. AMAZING. I am very thankful that when it's nighttime, she will go down and only wake every 3ish hours to eat and back to sleep. She is a good sleeper but is still up every few hours to eat.
As hard as it all is, I feel like Mike and I have really bonded over the last 6 weeks. We need each other to take care of Sloan. We are equal partners in every sense. WE had a baby- not just me. Sloan has a mom and a dad who both feed, change, coddle, and wear her in the carrier. Now if I was breastfeeding, obviously I would have more responsibility. While Mike is on vacation, we both get up in the night and take turns. When he goes back to work, more will fall on me. But when he is here and can, he is an equal parent. This is what works for us, and to the both of us, it's how it should be. To each their own in a relationship. We let each other have breaks and take the baby while one sleeps, or even gets out of the house for a few hours. We still find time to laugh & goof around and cuddle. If you can, still try and take a bit for one another- you need each other. I always check in and make sure Mike is mentally alright. Even when she goes down and it's 11pm, its the only time you get together. We are so tired but take a bit to cuddle up and talk, just us. You can have some special time, kiss etc. But I ain't about to write other things you can do- this isn't that kinda blog ;).
Before I close, some things that we have tried to calm the fussiness:
Nighttime routine- bath, lotion, jammies, quiet & dark in the nursery for a bottle before bed
Humidifier in the nursery
Baby wrap & wearing her
Running the vacuum (honestly)
White noise machine that runs continually
Bouncing & talking/singing to her
Formula switching, gas drops & probiotics
Car rides & the stroller
Sometimes...just letting her cry for a bit if she wants to
Each day is different. Each day we will keep trying. I keep saying "it's just a phase" but also remember- the days are long, but the years are short.
As I am sitting down to write this, I already know it will take me a few attempts and maybe a day or two to finish. It's about to rain outside, and Sloan is silently swaying back and forth in a swing next to me in the living room. She is quiet and peaceful...for now.
A lot has changed in 4 weeks. A lot has happened in 4 weeks. I will try to recall it all but I barely can remember breakfast these days ( because it can happen at 1pm ).
To say you go through a rollercoaster of emotions when you have a baby is a serious understatement. Not only are you happy your baby is here and anticipate all that is to come, your mind and body are recovering and your hormones are changing. Oh boy, are those hormones changing. The first few days we had her home were some of the toughest and challenging days. My mom was here to lend us a hand, and we really used her to our advantage.
I left the hospital still not knowing how to breastfeed. I was sure Sloan wasn't getting anything from me as we had never had a good feed in the hospital. The last night we stayed there she just screamed all night, each time with the nurse running in and shoving my boob in this poor kids mouth while she just wailed on it. My milk didn't come in till nearly 6 days after she was born. This little lady was serious starving. When we left, her little 6lb 10oz body was down a serious amount and the pressure in my mind to have her gain weight, "weighed" heavily on me.
I tried all the things. Oatmeal, the milk tea, even a beer (just one!) to get the milk to flow. I tried all the positions, holds & nipple shields. Sloan and I weren't connecting and making it happen. If she did get on, she would never get enough to keep her satiated. The feeding could last up to 2 hours leaving us both tired, frustrated, and some pretty sore nips to say the least. I kept thinking "I know it's supposed to be hard- this is what I have been told/read". I never felt the natural feeling I knew you were supposed to have when it came to breastfeeding. I really didn't feel the bond, think it was beautiful, or enjoy it. This was all a vicious cycle in milk production. I started to pump to give her whatever I had and to increase the supply. We had to supplement with formula to stop the agonizing cries of this hungry little baby. My heart as a new mom was so, so heavy with feeling inadequate, disappointment and resentment towards myself. This is what I was supposed to do- and I couldn't.
After 2.5 weeks of formula and pumping all the time it just became too much to feed her, settle, change and pump afterwards. I was having to cart this pump everywhere just to keep up. Then if we were out and about, I would go 4 hours without doing it and feel upset because I messed up.
I have cried a lot. The most I have ever in my life cried over something. Like baby screaming in the crib, I am in the shower crying my eyes out- crying. Real deal.
I had to let it all go and just go full formula. This was easier or me, Sloan and has let Mike bond with her in sharing the feedings. It does give you a warm, fuzzy little feeling to watch your partner cuddle up and feed the baby. Give you all the feels!
We basically the first two weeks had a routine. She would eat, sleep for up to 3 hours, need to be changed and settled, then back to sleep. Sloan has never been super content to be awake. She squirms and winces and cries. I imagine it's hard to be awake when you can't see anything and it's all new. Nearly overnight as we were approaching 2.5-3 weeks she just changed. This little baby is now not crying, but screaming, for hours on end. She is awake longer, very irritated, gassy and fussy and little episodes of hours of screaming. When she like this, there is nothing we can do. We can bounce, rock, sway, pat that baby and until she's done or the gas passes or gets too exhausted, she will not quit. This was so exhausting for me as it was happening when mike had to do a few day shifts. I was up all night (so he could sleep) and all the next day with this unhappy, screaming baby. When he came home, I was sitting there crying with her and just handed her over. I felt so guilty because I had to feeling of "I hate this". I wasn't feeling the mom thing and just hated this little human who screamed at me all day. You give everything to this little person and they can't tell you what they want. I think I want to stress if this happens, it's okay to feel that way. You have to put that crying baby down in a safe spot, walk away, have the 10 minute shower or take the dog around the block and collect yourself. We have been trying gripe water, gas drops, new formula and now probiotics. Hopefully a combo of time & these things with gas relief methods will make her more comfortable very soon.
I started to panic and get into this weird state of "I will never leave my house and be stuck inside with this screaming baby 24/7". I don't know if she is colic or it's her immature digestive system going into spasm and she's really uncomfortable or what. It can be easy to get to a place of thinking the world will pass me by, summer will be gone and I will be alone here with this baby. But as per the advice of a family member, you have to live your life. I was alone so I let her cry as I showered and got dressed. I loaded her up in the car seat and drove around for an hour. I let the sunny air come in the car, played music, ordered an iced coffee and just drove around. She eventually slept and I felt a sense of freedom. You just gotta do what you gotta do.
Sounds cliche and cheesy but if Mike wasn't so supportive and involved- I would have honestly had a mental breakdown by now. Everytime I tried to breastfeed, he sat up with me, holding down her little thrashing arms, encouraging me and keeping me calm. He has done everything I asked, brought me anything and been my whole support system. I could not, could not, have done it without him. I have been the shitty partner- all I do is cry lol. But he says his job is to make sure I am okay, happy & fed (this surprisingly is important, because you forget to eat). So if you see mike, give him a giant pat on the back, high-five or a beer. Seriously.
If any new mom is reading this I want to send you here:
Coffee & Crumbs blog: When love feels heavy.
You can't get it until you go through it. It was sent to me and I feel I should pass it on. It also says much more than what I will write here. There is a lot of relatable, interesting blog posts under the "new mom" section.
I have had sleepless nights, felt extreme exhaustion in all senses, been pooped at, spit up & peed on. I have gone without showering or bushing my teeth, and very long periods without eating or going to the bathroom. It's a wild challenging yet rewarding time. I already know it will go by so fast, as my pregnancy did and I will sounds like my parents/grandparents soon- "I remember when you were this little/used to cuddle" before I know it.
Nothing will make you ready to be a new parent. You can listen to all the advice, read the books, but until you go through it, you never know how it really feels. And I am gonna say it, but when that little person smiles at you and cuddles into your chest- you forget the previous night where she only slept 2 hours at a time and screamed all night. It's totally worth it.
If I can leave one last piece of advice- learn to let the guilt/heaviness go & ask for help. Let the help in. Someday, you will return the favour for someone else.
As one journey had now ended, another one has begun.
Where do I even begin.
First off, labour & delivery.
Tuesday July 21st I woke up with some bad braxton hicks contractions. I felt like it was an off day, maybe it was just too warm out etc, but I wasn't feeling the best. I had a DR appt at 1 that day. I went in for our usual check-up and mentioned I had been cramping all day so she did a cervical check. I was 2cm & 50% effaced. Basically she said "see you next week!" like I had a ways to go. We went about the day, got groceries etc, but by the time I got home I really wasn't feeling it.
I got into bed around 5 and layed there timing the waves of pain on my phone. There was a pattern, and I had never had that before. They were 10 mins apart, then 7-8, then 4-5 etc etc. So finally around 10:30-11 we decided to go into the hospital. I was still at 2cm and contractions were 2-3 mins apart. I was gripping the rails on the bed the pain was so intense. They gave me a shot of a narcotic and said to go home and come back when the pain is worse or my water breaks........Uh.....WORSE? this could get WORSE?
We went home and I went back to lay in bed for 3 hours. Around 4:30 I felt a pop. I got up and sure enough....my water broke. So back we went to the hospital. By now the pain was for sure getting worse and I was having troubles even breathing through them. I got checked in and was told I was 4cm, so NOW I am officially in labour. Somewhere around the 5cm mark I opted for the epidural. What a glorious drug. I had two more contractions after the epidural and then felt nothing. All I felt as I progressed was pressure. They gave me oxytocin to progress and it actually was very successful. Next time they checked I was 7cm and shortly after I was a 10. Once I hit 10, the nurse gave me an hour to relax before we were going to start pushing.
There was going to be a baby here, very soon. You can say I was pretty emotional and overwhelmed.
After the hour was up it was go-time. We got all set up and ready for me to push. The nurse said I would push with her and when she thought I was a few pushes away from delivery she will call the OB. I felt a contraction, the nurse told me to take a big deep breath and bear down. She said the baby was right there and asked if I wanted to see. I was freaking out, "no no no I don't want to see". Mike and the nurse said it wasn't gross and to just look, that I wouldn't regret it. They got a mirror and there she was. I could see the majority of her head.
The nurse said don't push, it's time to call the OB, this baby will be here on the next push. So as she was doing that I had another contraction and I could feel baby moving down. Mike started to say "baby is coming now!" and within seconds, there she was. I didn't even push the second time. This moment was everything. I didn't feel any pain and didn't have any physical trauma to my body what-so-ever. The placenta was delivered easily and without any pain as well. I had the most ideal delivery I could ever, ever imagine.
She was here. After all the time, appointments, needles and worry, she was here.
Born Wednesday July 22nd at 1:35 pm. She was 6 lbs & 10 oz. Just little but already changed our lives in a big way.
Her name was debated forever. Her original name before we got pregnant wasn't even on the radar anymore. We had a list that was super long and narrowed it down to two about a week or so before she was born. The name Sloan came from my time off during my IVF cycle. I plowed through all 10 seasons of greys anatomy on netflix. The name Jaye comes from calling her "Baby J" for the better part of a year along with my middle name that starts with a J.
It has been such an emotional rollercoaster these past few days learning how to feed and dealing with difficulties that comes with it. We are learning who she is and she is learning who we are. It's a lot to take in. We can't believe we are parents and have already forgotten how we got here.
Just because we did IVF doesn't mean we love our baby any more than someone else, appreciate it more than someone else or deserve anything different than someone else.
So now we start a new journey into parenthood and look forward to every milestone & every smile.
Countdown is majorly... ON. The time is ticking down still, extremely fast. Even in this heat, I still am not all "get this baby out of me!" - yet.
I have had a few tough weeks in regards to how I feel physically. Anywhere from 4-6pm I am so, so, so exhausted. The baby is on the move down and I have had lots of braxton hicks, pelvic pain & pressure and some very uncomfortable moments. It feels like this baby is sitting right on my pubic symphysis. According to our last ultrasound, baby is measuring perfect and still my blood pressure etc is just as great.
The best part is, the time I have had before baby to really enjoy summer, spend lots of time with Mike & do all the activities! We have done little day trips, swimming, beaches, picnics, time with friends, lunch/dinner, movies etc etc. It has really been a special time for us to connect and really enjoy each other. It's not like we have a death sentence coming with this baby lol. I think we both are feeling the pressure (like any new parent) and are anxious/scared of labour & delivery, as well as bringing baby home.
I haven't been physically checked yet, that may happen at my next OB appt coming up in 4 days. Until then, we are finishing the hospital bag, a few baby items and stocking the freezer/pantry. We have been talking about this past year and honestly cannot believe we got pregnant in NOVEMBER. It has felt like forever but in the same breath- gone by way too fast.
I am so uncomfortable, can't sleep, got a serious waddle on but I am really enjoying this time with the babe in the belly. I have had some ups and downs but it hasn't been so extreme that I have been down right miserable this pregnancy. I will miss the maternity clothes! I have never felt more comfortable, confident and beautiful... EVER. I let it all out. First time since I was a kid that I proudly wear a two-piece bathing suit. I have no idea what I am going to wear postpartum. Track pants and tank tops anyone?
The nursery is all done, the baby clothes are washed and hung and the car seat is installed. We anxiously await the big day, wondering what it will be like, and anticipating meeting our little lady!
Aly & Mike
We are young parents trying to grow our family through fertility treatments. We are battling PCOS & a blocked fallopian tube.