Another Spring Has Sprung

How is a girl supposed to get through the in-between day?

The day after beta number one; the day before beta number two.

One year ago, I had two [4 week + 6 days] embryos nestled in my womb.

One year ago, I had Emmanuelle.

What a crazy ride. From then, when I was begging God for something—anything. To now—I reflect on my dreams finally having come true, and it’s already been a year.

Fear consumed me one year ago. My husband told me I didn’t even seem happy as he searched the iPhone app store for pregnancy- and daddy-related apps.

I was happy. I was terrified.

I had to protect my heart. The body does what it does, and it was supposed to absorb a significant [additional] amount of HCG from the day before to the next day.

I remember driving to work the next day after my second beta blood draw. I got a flat tire.

I decided not to tell my husband because who cared anyway? It was beta day number two. It needed to rise by 66 percent. IT ABSOLUTELY HAD TO RISE OR ELSE …

“2,081!”

“… Oh, and I got a flat tire!”

I don’t know why I reflect on these things, but I do.

Rowan is everything and more than I could have ever imagined. She’s impeccable. She brings me so much joy. I love her, my darling Rowie.

There’s someone missing. And I had her a year ago.

Those were my happiest days. I cherished every moment, not knowing my pregnancy would end so soon and abruptly.

When you know this is your one and only season, you cherish every moment—uncomfortable or not. And I was preeeeetty uncomfortable. the. entire. time.

No matter how many times I say it, write it, or think it, “I miss her,” just doesn’t do it.

But we will celebrate her and Rowan in two days—at the March for Babies!

Rowan met Dr. Levens, Nurse Mary, and my donor egg nurse, Pam, last week.

With a bit of muted excitement, Nurse Mary asked if there were any more embryos waiting for us.

“No, my two girls were my only ones.”

We admired beautiful Rowan, posed for pictures, enjoyed each other’s company. We hugged, and I told them I loved them.

And just as he’d told me many, many times before, Dr. Levens made his exit with this statement:

“Well, we’re not going anywhere …”

At Night

It’s passed midnight, and I have obligations.

Some beautiful obligations.

Some insignificant obligations.

I remember one year ago today, I waited for his phone call. He always called before noon with news of my cellular babies’ statuses. But he didn’t rush to call me that morning.

“I know you’re busy. I know you have other patients. But, I just … I just …

I’m calling to ask about my embryos.”

The sweet relief I felt when things were different this time. Among four, there was a 12-cell and a perfect – let me repeat, perfect – 8-cell.

“That 8-cell will definitely be one we transfer.” Was she Rowan? Was she Emmanuelle?

I live a secret life. A life in the late hours when I just need time. I just need space to myself. I need to be imperfect for myself.

What the hell did I do during those three months when she wasn’t home with me? I guess I stewed in fear.

But now – when everyone sleeps – I just. need. space.

Good heavens, it takes a village to care for this child.

I work Monday through Friday amongst an environment that … is lifeless. It’s a job. My joy is arriving at the last metro stop on the Silver Line after a 45-minute nap. My joy is preparing breast milk-filled bottles for her. My joy is reclaiming my status as her caretaker as her grandmothers forfeit it … everyday. Monday through Friday.

Tomorrow, there is my boss. There are customers. There are deliverables.

Tomorrow is her six-month appointment with the pediatrician.

I’m supposed to exercise in the morning. Somehow.

Somehow, I’m supposed to burn some calories; take time for myself; take care of myself. But time may not permit.

… because it’s passed midnight, and I should be resting.

But instead I stir.

This season of spring brings back memories. I remember their presence at first. I remember the refreshingly chilly mornings when I walked with my babies – my four-week old embryos – in my womb.

One of my babies is gone.

One of my babies finally rests in my husband’s arms as I take time.

Life.

It’s an adventure. Is it not?

The gratitude I have for the existence of her is overwhelming.

But – sometimes – I just need time to be imperfect.

Not the perfect wife. Not the perfect worker.

Damn, I don’t care if I fail at times in those areas; it’s all about perspective.

I am learning to give myself a break. But she deserves more. She will always deserve more.

I find myself reaching into my bucket in the early hours of the morning … being selfish.

I won’t ever “get over it”. I will let time do its thing, though.

And I will ride the waves of this grief. I don’t know how else to do it. Forgive me.

Please. Forgive me.

BYOC

Bring Your Own Cooler, and meet me at Starbucks!

I’m an over-supplier when it comes to liquid gold. 

If you live in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area and need breastmilk for your baby/ies, please let me know! I have a refrigerator freezer and separate freezer full of frozen breastmilk, and I would love to donate it to you and your baby/ies.

I’ve been very blessed with my supply, and my intent is to help a sister out who has been struggling with her supply but has the desire to offer her baby/ies breastmilk.

Xoxo!

Breathe

I hold her close ‘neath the covers.

I feel her breathe; her body rises and falls.

I hear her breathe. She’s a top notch breather, my friends! A champion.

It’s hard to believe that this delicate girl required assistance ever … at all.

She breathes in and out. So natural. So involuntary.

*I have a confession to make …

It seems I’ve known her for five months, but – yet – she’s a completely different person from the stunning fetus displayed in her magnificent isolette. 

I stared at her today and almost told her Daddy, “There she is, that face. That look. Emmanuelle.” The resemblance. I did not want to bring him heartache; I kept it to myself. But I saw her.

I saw you, my darling.

I wish I could have her … because she’s my baby. We created her, our dancing Emmanuelle.

I want to know what she’d look like. I want to know what it’d be like … because that’s how it was supposed to be.

Lord, I miss her. 

My Rowan is the light of my life.

Oh, the heart. The matters of the heart.

*Co-sleeping: Something I never thought I’d do.

In 3s

In 3s they go …

I connected with her during our vacation in Turks and Caicos.

It was right before my second fresh IVF cycle. I washed my birth control and Metformin pills down with rum and Caribbean beer.

We vacationed together, introduced by mutual friends.

Three married couples having the time of our lives.

She was a NICU nurse. I asked her an unlimited amount of questions. I was fascinated. What a heart she has.

I told her about our quest for a family – about IVF. She offered me an expression of sincere compassion and gave me a hug. 

She told us that they go in 3s. They don’t lose babies often, but when they do …

This stuck with my husband following the events of October 9. I didn’t even go there. Thank. You. Jesus.

Emmanuelle was number two. You can imagine what consumed my husband’s every thought. 

My beautiful Emmanuelle met Jesus nearly five months ago. 

My husband’s Papa met his Savior three weeks later. His funeral occurred during Rowan’s NICU weekend from hell.

In 3s they go …

Prayer Request for Papa

My lovely ladies, can you please pray for my Papa?

I don’t want to offer specifics right now, as those are not just my business – but my whole family’s.

Please pray that Papa gets to be where he wants/needs to be in order to enjoy his life going forward. Please pray that the logistical aspects are sorted out and do not cause too much stress and heartache on my Grandma and Papa.

It is so incredibly frustrating that we must defend the health and well-being of our loved ones against logistical, financial, insignificant crap.

Why can’t a human being’s quality of life just be good enough?

*I find myself defending certain aspects of Rowan’s care because of the death of her sister. An echo cardiogram ought to be medically necessary for a premature infant whose twin sister just died literally an hour ago.

*I don’t mean to overshadow my Papa’s condition and heartache among my family during this difficult time. I am just offering an example of how frustrating these issues can be, and I do not want to disrespect my family by writing about my Papa’s condition on the Internet.

The point is that it’s bull crap and all about money.

Papa Dearest

When I think of Papa, I think of this fiesty *old man climbing the rocks of Garden of the Gods.

Fearless.

I think of a man who lived. Who was always willing to live.

Yes, Papa has a lot of stories to tell. Let him tell. 

The father of seven boys. You can tell they’re brothers.

I can only imagine my stunning grandmother in the 50s and 60s … with child … for 10 years.

What a treat it’s been to spend time with my Papa. I love you, Papa.

Be well. Please stay. I understand you are stable. Please be comfortable. (Tell your loved ones present if you aren’t.) Papa, be comfortable.

Please stay.

*I don’t mean “old” in a stereotypical (Senile? If you will…) way. But imagine this elderly, fiesty fellow …. hiking for heaven’s sake. Hiking.

Unfinished

6.12.14

My booboo babies, I remember when I first started to feel your presence.

And now you look like little, precious humans. You have blessed me! You have brought me so much joy!

Your daddy says I am lighter now. He says that he doesn’t have to carry so much of my burden anymore; he can let his mind wander and question the world just like he always has. He finds it entertaining! I would have to disagree.

You have a good daddy. He does little things here and there for Mommy that just melts my heart—makes my day a little bit easier.

I am so happy you’re finally here. I knew you would bring me happiness. I can’t believe I get to feel this every day.

1.9.15

There’s very little significance associated with today …

… except that it is the ninth of the month.

I just hope she didn’t suffer. I hope she didn’t suffer in my womb. I hope Jesus numbed her discomfort in Room 15.

1.28.15

It’s a blessing to just be … after three years of infertility.

This winter I am not preparing for an IVF cycle. My first began two years ago.

My mother remarked how nice it must be to come home from work and spend time with our daughter … our baby.

No shots. No meds. No IVF.

We’re in family mode now—not at a stand-still. Our life isn’t on hold anymore. Our dreams have come true. Our hearts ache too, but for a very good *reason—she’s worth it.

I still hurt, and **it still stings—but the weight is gone. The heaviness is lifted.

After all the times I asked God, “When is this going to be over?”

I just want this to be over.

It’s over—done. I’m living it now. I’m living now.

It’s quite simple actually. *blessed*

*Emmanuelle

**infertility

Joy wakes me up in the middle of the night—because she’s hungry and is ready for her “diddy” to be changed. She eats well now—rarely turns blue.

Joy welcomes me in the morning and rests with her daddy while I go running. I have joy when I run—she’s mine; I no longer just daydream about her.

My running is going well; four mornings per week, I log some miles. Pumping is a phenomenal work out. *wink* I’ve reached my pre-pregnancy weight; in fact, I’m about five pounds lighter. *confident mamacita* I wear a bit more eye make-up these days; I put in a little more effort. Because I’m a mother, and it makes me feel beautiful.

Joy.

She keeps me on my toes and bursts my heart. There aren’t enough kisses. Her eyes couldn’t be more bright.

Her wardrobe is PINK. We cannot escape it; pink suits her complexion.

She talks about everything—sleeping, playing, stretching, eating—but she’s quiet too. A content little girl with those big eyes. Physically, she is very strong. And her strawberry hair grows—a head of peach fuzz after her baths.

WHICH SHE LOVES.

My little water princess for sure. She belongs in Nana’s Floridian pool.

My Papa is not well. Please, please pray for him. I want him to stay with us; he has lived a long life. I am grateful for his longevity and the memories created, but I want him to stay with us.

I pray for his comfort. I pray that he knows he is deeply loved and cherished.

My sweet Papa.

The Crisis

In a moment of perceived “crisis” I literally ask myself, “Is someone going to die?”

The answer is often no.

But that means nothing, I suppose. It means nothing to those whom I see nearly every day … and they still can’t just say, “Oh by the way, I’m sorry you lost your daughter.”

Heartless.

I don’t expect the world to stop turning because I can’t have Emmanuelle here with me. My world stopped—yes—but life keeps moving.

I started crying at work yesterday. I pictured her sweet face, and it was just too much.

That’s my crisis.

I place my head in my hands, crying, hysterical. “I’m so screwed right now.” My husband comes home from work and—like a hero—rescues his damsel in distress while our baby wants nothing more than for me to hold her. She wants her mother to hold her, but I deal with the crisis. It’s the crisis that must be dealt with—NOW.

I close my eyes and picture Room 15. “I am not in Room 15 right now. No one is going to die. On the spectrum of crises, this just isn’t one.”

And what really ticks me off is that the crisis receives more attention, more tears, more anxiety, more elevated blood pressures than it ought to.

Time is of the essence.

I race against time to solve the crisis.

Her doctors raced against time to save her life.

And guess what—world that keeps on moving? I solved the crisis. I nearly fell apart, but with mascara-stained cheeks, the mother of all crises has been solved.

But I still don’t get to have her.