Even Before

I’ve struggled.

I’ve struggled to know the realness of God even before my baby died right in front of me.

Believe me, I begged Him. Real, fake, compassionate, cruel – I begged Him.

I begged Him. “Please, God, I’ll do anything. Dear Jesus, please heal my baby.”

How do you recover from that? I mean; you don’t I guess.

“I’ll go to church every week; I’ll stop saying Your name in vain out of frustration; I’ll be better for You. Whatever you want; just please save her.”

How do you invite Him to coffee for a little chat? I hate you. You are mean. You took and took and took from me. What did I ever do?

What did I do to deserve any of this?  I don’t understand the workings of the world sometimes.

Life’s problems are so trivial. I CARRY THAT. Misunderstandings, pinched feelings, logistics, political correctness, hierarchy, pride. Don’t bring me your pride; my daughter is dead.

I could not imagine a life outside of the hell I was living. I thought I’d lived it. But I suppose there is an elevator – or descendator – in hell, and I guess I arrived to a lower tier of hell in Room 14.

I don’t understand. I never will. And science does not understand. And now she rests in our home. I have a lock of hair and her ashes.

But maybe she lives …

I have never doubted that I will see her again.

But that is because she’s with Him.

So, where do I go from here?

I can’t do it on my own anymore.


Off the Record

I would like to meet up for tea with her nurses and ask if the state of a premature infant can be glamorized.

I would like to whip out Emme’s doctor’s business card, send him a quick note, and ask if it’s appropriate to have mentioned her #preemiepower on photos of her I shared with loved ones on social media. I wonder if he would think I was glamorizing her condition.

I’ve been accused of glamorizing Rowan’s prematurity. This hurts my feelings; on behalf of my friends who’ve walked – and are still walking this journey … this hurts my feelings.

When a baby is born, and baby looks like a fetus – it’s serious. And it’s a reality for the #nicumom. (Crap, I really shouldn’t use that hashtag either. Being a NICU parent does not present its own emotional challenges. Why would I glamorize it? *insert sarcasm*)

To be honest, I have felt bad for my crappy attitude. I have felt very vulnerable sharing my feelings with others. Because my feelings are a bit harsh, and my language – well – it can be a bit much. In my heart, the f-word is the least of my worries, but I suppose it’s shocking to some.

There’s this idea that the happenings in one’s life can create a very bitter person out of the tender-hearted girl she once was. That’s my story. One year ago, I could not have guessed the happenings of my life today – both incredibly joyous and perfect (Rowan) and incredibly heartbreaking.

Mark my words, I do not seek a trophy or sympathy points. Some people suffer. Some people suffer a lot. I just express my suffering. How dare you scrutinize my daughter and her #preemiepower? What’s inside your heart that allows you to critique my every move, de-throne me as my parents’ daughter, even have the audacity to be jealous of the love and support my loved ones offer my daughter?

I trusted you because I thought that was a given. I should not have trusted you.

And – pardon my language – but you’ve officially fucked with the wrong mama bear.

It Begins Again

Today is kinda sorta the start of my next stim cycle. This protocol is so different from my other two, so it’s hard to declare a day 1, but today is as good as any.

I explained in this post that I did not ovulate this month (surprise, surprise). Well, an important component of this protocol is a normal luteal phase. But since I did not ovulate, I did not have a normal luteal phase. After waiting until day 30 (yesterday) to evaluate whether or not I ovulated between last Wednesday (day 25) and yesterday, my blood draw revealed that I still did not. How surprising.

Backing up a bit, I was discouraged last week when I learned that I could not start the luteal phase stim meds as planned. I was worried that I would have to wait another cycle. What if I don’t ovulate again? I mean, that is common for me—not to ovulate. I spoke to my Shady Grove doctor later in the week, though, and he explained that we can mimic a luteal phase with Provera. He explained that I’d start the Provera around day 32 after a re-blood draw to determine whether or not I’d ovulated yet. “But what if my period starts?” I asked. He chuckled and said we would figure something out. I don’t know about you ladies, but God bless the healthcare providers who put up with my one-step-ahead, glass-is-half-empty, neurotic behavior. Seriously, most people just say, “Allison, calm down. You need to relax; let go of the control.” These people? They get it. They know, understand, and choose to oblige. Much like yesterday, when I waited alllll day (okay until 5 p.m.) to learn of my blood draw results from a fellow. I emailed my nurse from Shady Grove and asked if she or my doctor had received the results. Instead of telling me to “chill the f*** out; there are other patients besides you; he’ll get to it when he gets to it”—she told me to give him a call and was ready to know the results right along with me. Seriously, though? You’d of thought it was beta day. I was kind of a hot mess. God bless ’em.

Anyway … I learned yesterday that I still hadn’t ovulated, so the plan was to mimic a luteal phase with Provera. I’d been kind of anxious all weekend—worried that I’d start my period. That’s the other thing: I don’t know when my period is going to arrive. It literally has a mind of its own. My pre-menstrual bitchiness is symptoms are only obvious to my husband. I have no signs; it doesn’t matter if I’m on cycle day 29 or 37, it just starts. So, I was worried that good ‘ol Murphy’s Law would prevail once again, and I’d have a perfect, 28-day cycle—and my world would come crashing down, obviously.

Sooo … the doctor told me to start Provera on day 31 (today). “Phew” but also, “I hope my period doesn’t start between now and 12 a.m. on day 31.” And—so what if I set my alarm clock for 12 a.m. this morning to take my first pill? Day 31 is day 31, people! And what’s really special is my husband even suggested the little scheme. We are devious. So, thankfully my period didn’t start. Lord knows I’ve thoroughly inspected every. single. wipe. after my trips to the ladies’ room for the past few days. No more of that, thank God.

Moving on: I will take Provera for 10 days, which—again—is my luteal phase. On days 6, 7, and 8 of my Provera days, I will take Gonal-F. Then I’ll finish out the Provera and expect my period. On day 3 of my cycle, I will start Gonal-F again, and the rest is history. For some reason I’m not taking Menopur this cycle; apparently I don’t need the LH…?

So, this protocol may help the quality of my eggs to reduce the vacuolization. I don’t know how except for the fact that perhaps recruiting follicles during a different phase of my cycle may help. I am nervous and just really want this to work. I want much progress to have been made after my egg retrieval. I don’t want to stop before I start. I’ve been treating my body well. But does that change this? Are my eggs just my eggs? I think this is the first stim cycle I’ve started with a feeling of doubt. Okay, that’s a lie. But this is the first one I’ve doubted due to a real concern—not just due to fear. And these concerns are real. They’re my eggs. They’re half of my baby. If my eggs don’t work, then … well … you know where I’m going with this. And feelings regarding that are reserved for a different post that I pray I’ll never have to write.

Also, I am worried about the timeline of this cycle due to my long-awaited, very-needed family trip to Massachusetts (Hey, Aubrey!). My nurse has assured me that everything will be done by then … but the days don’t add up to me, unless I’m missing something. But—I’m just going to try and bury that worry; she told me it’s all good, and I don’t feel like carrying that extra worry.

And—the greatest news of all! I won’t feel an ounce of temptation to partake in alcoholic beverages during my trip with my Irish clan because I’ll be (drum roll, please) PUPO!

I’ll be PUPO because this will go my way; I will have good eggs; they will produce good embryos.

Please pray for me! Last cycle the power of prayer turned five fertilized eggs (out of 13) into one blastocyst and one 9-cell embryo on day 5. That’s pretty good considering the day 1 fertilization report. I let go of my “secrecy” obsession and finally asked for help, and it helped. Please pray that, step one, God will give me good eggs.