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A Note For My Littlest Valentine

February 14, 2019

Written by Brooke Papp, WTF Contributor

To my littlest Valentine growing in my belly –

Your daddy and I have been waiting for you for quite some time and we are anxiously awaiting your arrival!

After our two losses of angel babies before you, I can’t say we had given up hope but I can say we were slightly defeated so with every single movement or kick or body slam on my bladder, I am amazed at the strong little girl you are. You are definitely the Rainbow we’ve been waiting for after our storm.

I can’t wait to meet you and see who’s features you have or if it’s the perfect mixture of both of us. I can’t wait to be there for your milestones and hear your fears and dreams and listen to your imagination soar.

I can’t wait to be tested in all the steps of parenthood and to grow together in ways I didn’t know were possible. But for now, just finish cookin’ and we will meet you when you’re ready to make your long awaited debut.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the one who is going to change my life and be my forever Valentine, your daddy and I are already so smitten!

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If you’d like to connect with Brooke, you can find her over on Instagram


Babe In My Heart, Blogs, Uncategorized

The Path Less Traveled

February 12, 2019

Written by Marci Thomas, Guest Blogger

Hi Friends! I am excited to share a little bit of my story with you. I am a 37-year-old single and never married lady who is ready to be a mom. I work a full-time job as a paralegal at a large, full-service law firm.  I have worked in the commercial real estate and banking department for almost four years.

When I’m not at work, I am with family and friends, and I am outside as much as I can be. I am family-oriented and would rather spend my Friday nights sitting on my sister’s couch watching Sofia the First with my 2-year-old and 10-month-old nieces than to go out to a crowded restaurant. My enneagram number is 2 with a 3 wing, and my love language is quality time, and I show love by being generous with my time and buying thoughtful gifts just to make someone’s day. I usually don’t care what we’re doing; I just want to be around people, but don’t ask me to eat sushi. I’ve tried that and it was not my favorite meal.

I don’t remember getting my first baby doll, “Christy” (which sounded more like “Fristy” when I said it with my toddler-lisp), but I know I loved her. I loved her so much that she had an identical twin that mom would swap out so she could wash the well-loved cloth-baby doll. I was a mom before I could walk. And then a wonderful person (I don’t know if I know who) gave me a bigger, more life-like doll when my sister was born. I mothered that doll for years. She still sleeps in her cradle in my closet. When I was 8 ½ years old, my youngest sister was born. I traded in my dolls for her. I think it’s safe to say she was my first real baby. And she’ll be 29 years old next week.

Being a mom is the only childhood dream that I still carry with me. I wasn’t the girl who had her wedding planned out before graduating high school, but I had my babies named. I did want marriage, and I still do, but I’ve been a single girl for a very long time, and I’m happy with being single. But not being a mom makes me sad.

There was a restlessness stirring in me a few years ago, but I shoved it aside because I was too busy focusing on my career as a paralegal. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that the restlessness was career-related, and since the next step up for a paralegal is an attorney, I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I researched what I needed to do to get into law school, and I even took the LSAT. I’m proud of myself for doing it, but I didn’t have peace about going to law school.

Around the time that I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do next, a friend of mine was promoting the non-profit she founded to support kids in foster care. I paid close attention to the message she was sharing, and the statistics shattered my heart. And then the restlessness came back. I knew that there was more that I could do. I remember telling my dad that I knew I could do more than financially contribute or volunteer, I could open my home. And so, I began to research foster care, particularly the eligibility requirements. I was excited to learn that my singleness did not disqualify me. My plan was to foster kids and eventually adopt.

The further I got in my research, the stronger the desire to adopt a baby grew. I continued to pursue both fostering older kids, and adopting a baby. I even considered embryo adoption. In November 2018, in the heart of Adoption Awareness month, I had a consultation with an embryo adoption agency, and a consultation with an infant adoption agency. That’s when I found out that my plan of fostering kids while waiting to adopt wasn’t going to work, primarily because I did not want to wait the required waiting time, and also because my agency won’t let a person be a part of two programs at the same time.

On November 8, 2018, I made the decision to pursue domestic infant adoption. I didn’t have to pray about it. I just knew. My formal application was accepted not long after that on November 14th, and I am currently waiting for an approved home study, which I hope to have by the end of March.

Becoming a mom by adoption is not what I imagined. I did have plans to adopt one day, but I was going to do that with a husband after we had at least two kids already. Now that I have so much invested in this adoption journey, I can’t see becoming a mom any other way. I have not experienced this level of peace before now; the decision to go back to college in my 30s comes close, but it is not the same type of peace. I just know that this is what I’m supposed to do, and I’m not going to wait until my life looks like my dreams.

I am choosing to be a single mom, and I know that is not a choice that many people understand. I met resistance from some people, but overall, this has been a fun journey and I would never go back.  

If you’d like to connect with Marci, you can read more about her adoption journey here, or find her on Facebook or Instagram

Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

The Broken Road

February 6, 2019

Written by Whitney Ellis, Guest Blogger

My mother reminded me a few years ago about a conversation we had while I was in Nursing School.  I had told her that my dream job would be to work with moms and babies in their homes.  I was fascinated with breastfeeding and wanted to support new moms.  I ultimately fulfilled that dream by working for 10 years as a Public Health Nurse, visiting first-time (mostly young) pregnant moms and their babies in their homes.  I loved my job and as challenging as it was, it was very rewarding.  I did not have children of my own at that time, but I had no doubt that being a mother was in my future.  

10 years ago this February, my husband and I danced our first dance to “God Bless This Broken Road”. The song was fitting for us and how met and ultimately got married.  Little did we know that a few years later as we began trying to start our family that our wedding song would take on a whole new meaning.  

Our journey to having a baby started soon after we got married. I was 33 and he was 35 at the time and we really had no reason to believe that we’d have any trouble getting pregnant. A year went by and then 6 more months before we went to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist my Ob/Gyn referred us to. We sat in a waiting room with one door on the right for those who were already pregnant and another door to the left if you couldn’t get pregnant.  Several tests later and we had a reality check. 

My husband had “very bad” sperm and I had “old eggs”.  Ouch! Is this how healthcare professionals in this field speak to their patients? We moved forward with hope.  Clomid, IUI, two-week waits, clomid, IUI, two-week waits…and over again.  Finally, standing at the nurses’ station reviewing my lab results, our RE declared that I will not be a mother on my own without donor eggs or adoption.

This was not at all what we envisioned our path to parenthood to look like. Needless to say, even though I still loved my work, it soon became difficult being surrounded daily by pregnant women. We did our best to stay positive.  I joined the local RESOLVE support group where I met so many inspiring women. I heard stories of heartbreak and disappointment. I also learned so much about the world of IF. There were so many paths to becoming a parent.

We found a new RE and I went through more tests and procedures.  I most likely had endometriosis.  This new clinic was a breath of fresh air.  The RE was very positive and felt that getting pregnant through IVF with our own eggs and sperm was possible.  I sought out support from other women who had gone through the rigorous schedule of painful injections and blood tests. I found an acupuncturist who specialized in infertility. My husband was supportive and became an expert at IM injections. I was open about our plan and received nothing but love and support from friends and family.  For us, we wanted to assure that we would be cared for emotionally if the outcome was no baby.

The MDs, nurses, embryologist, and anesthesiologists we encountered at the IVF clinic for the retrieval and transfer were so incredibly kind. I will never forget that. We waited for 2 very long weeks to find out if we could possibly be pregnant. We’ll never forget sitting at our favorite breakfast spot in East Sacramento when we received THE phone call from our nurse.  We were pregnant!

Our smart, funny and sweet boy turned 7 this year. Fast forward 2 years later and our attempts to have a second baby began with a failed Frozen Embryo Transfer and a polypectomy.  Then my father suddenly passed away and we were sidetracked with unimaginable grief. Just months later, to our complete surprise, we saw 2 pink lines on a pregnancy test! We were pregnant and it brought much-needed joy to the family, only to turn to another painful loss when I miscarried at 9 weeks. 

We went on to try one last IVF.  We both agreed that if this did not work out, we would feel we gave it our all and we would focus on what we had…Our marriage and our beautiful boy.  When that cycle failed we were crushed at the thought of our son growing up without a sibling.  Our view began to change though as we saw him creating so many friendships.  A child doesn’t necessarily have to have a sibling to be happy.

It was on a cross country flight as I looked over at our family, the 3 of us, and realized it was perfect.  I let go of my desire to have another baby.  When we got home I packed up the baby gear we had saved up and drove it up the hill to a donation center.  I drove away and the tears started streaming down my face.  I called my mom and told her that I donated all our baby gear and I still recall hearing my grandmother’s voice in the background saying “you know she’ll get pregnant now”. 

2 weeks later, on the morning after my 40th birthday celebration…we saw 2 pink lines!  Today we have a beautiful 2 year and a half-year-old girl.  So yes, that “Broken Road” lead us straight to our 2 precious children. My relationship with my husband was only strengthened as we encouraged and comforted each other.  We received unconditional love and support from family and friends. And it has changed how we relate to others who are starting their families. 

I truly believe we all go through difficulties in life so we can be there for each other. I have since continued to fulfill the dream I discussed with my mother years ago.  I have become an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).  I will never forget the IBCLC that spoke to a room full of us women who went through fertility treatments to get pregnant.  So many of us were unsure if our bodies would create enough breast milk since we had difficulty conceiving.  Some moms were carrying multiples and anticipated some time in the NICU.  We all benefited in different ways from our time with the IBCLC.  Most of what I took away was confidence.  

As an IBCLC, I strive to understand my client’s goals and assist them in identifying and addressing their breastfeeding concerns.  I want to hear about their prenatal history.  I want to hear about their birth experience.  I provide them with evidence based information and tools that empower them to meet their individual feeding goals. I encourage them and let them know that many women who experience IF go on the have long breastfeeding relationships with their babies.  I give them the same compassion I received years ago by the health care professionals that will always be a special part of my family’s story.  Most importantly, I want the women I consult with to walk away feeling confident in their ability to give their babies what they need.

If you’d like to connect with Whitney, you can find her on Instagram

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Surviving the Two Week Wait

January 28, 2019
Written by Blair Nelson, Guest Blogger

THE TWO WEEK WAIT (2WW) could quite possibly be the worst wait of the fertility journey. The 2WW exists for anyone TTC. If you are lucky enough to be trying naturally, this is the time between ovulation and a home pregnancy test. In the infertility world, this is the time between your frozen embryo transfer (FET) or your IUI (intrauterine insemination) and your BETA blood pregnancy test. I can personally speak from the IVF embryo transfer point of view. There is so much hype on the PUPO mindset (pregnant until proven otherwise) – a term widely used in the IVF world. I mean, it is true, there is a living embryo in your uterus so you are technically pregnant. However, if you’ve been burned and let down by this process before, it is hard to get behind this sun-shiny attitude for two weeks straight.

For me personally, I am now in my third 2WW and I have handled it three ways.

ONE, I have been a good little patient and waited until the call after the blood test… “Sorry, the transfer didn’t work.” WELL, FUCK.

TWO, tested early with a home pregnancy test on the 8th day after my transfer and got a positive. HELL YES! Resulted in miscarriage at week 6. Excruciating.

THIRD, I have committed to an exploratory approach to help others in the TTC community, testing every morning, noon and night from 3 days past transfer until my BETA. Still in the process.

The jury is out on which is the best approach BUT one thing is for certain, regardless of your approach to the chaos, you need distractions to keep your mind off of waiting. Below is a list of ideas that I have either done myself or have on my list to do while I wait this time around.

VISIT A LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET

This can be a super fun weekend activity with your partner, your dog or solo. So many advantages to this adventure – being outside, purchasing local, organic and responsibly raised produce and meat and getting to know passionate people in your community that are committed to overall wellness. Visit http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/ to find a market near you.

GET CRAFTY

Have you been putting off a project like scrap booking? Or have you always wanted to find a use for all the wine corks you’ve been collecting like I have? Let’s face it, that is the closest you’re getting to wine during the 2WW. Hunker down by yourself at home or invite friends to a local craft class to occupy your mind. My friends and I are attending a cookie decorating class and I am PUMPED. I also learned how to fold money into origami for my nephew’s birthday card – I mean why the fuck not? Who doesn’t love a leisurely trip to Hobby Lobby or Michaels? So get your ass to the store and get crafty. Don’t forget to brag about it.

GET ORGANIZED

If you haven’t starting watching Tidying Up on Netflix, girl you are missing out! The show is a follow up on the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Marie takes homes by storm in this series, showing them how to de-clutter and organize the shit out of their homes (in her sweet, petite and charming way). Her folding techniques have changed my life. Seriously, I have sent pics of my drawers to everyone.

VOLUNTEER

What is your passion? Dogs, children, low income housing, the homeless? Whatever it is, find a volunteer opportunity and go give back. I love walking dogs who don’t get much love at the shelter. I also recently served lunch to a group of single adults recently brought out of homelessness. There are so many opportunities out there and helping others will no doubt give you a fresh perspective and rid you of some of your anxiousness surrounding the 2WW.

READ A BOOK

Maybe one of the more obvious distractions but get creative with it by joining a book club or reading with friends and family. What I did was ask my mom to read a book that is coming out as a movie in March so we could read and discuss together and then have a mother-daughter movie date. What are we reading you wonder? Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Highly recommend.

SUBSCRIBE TO A PODCAST

If you already follow me, you know I am a HUGE podcast fan. My favorites include The Skinny Confidential Him and Her, The Cabral Concept, Lewis Howes School of Greatness, The Tim Ferris Show and my newest, As a Woman hosted by my fertility doctor. Podcasts are the best way to distract your mind while educating yourself. I listen to podcasts in the car, on walks, while I cook and sometimes even at work. And ladies – they are FREE! Visit my website for a full list of fertility related podcasts.

AMP UP YOUR CULINARY SKILLS

Time to try something new in the kitchen. Have you always wanting to learn how to make pasta or bake the perfect soufflé? Now is your chance. Distract your mind in the kitchen while learning a new badass skill to impress your partner and friends. Seriously, you can find tutorials for anything on Pinterest and YouTube – how do you think I learned the origami I mentioned earlier? For some of my fave recipes, visit my website!

SALON & SPA TIME

Occupy one of your evenings or weekend days by treating yourself to a spa service. I have gotten my eyebrows micro-bladed and hair colored and cut during this 2WW. Be careful with massage as you are not supposed to get them during your first trimester. No Botox either (womp womp). I suggest hydro-facials! They are THE BEST for dry skin during the winter. Mani/pedi – yes please! There are so many options to choose from here. You could fill the 2WW with stuff like this alone.

LOW IMPACT EXERCISE

You do not want to overdo it during the 2WW – my doctor advised against heated classes or anything that gets your heart rate above 120. Try a barre class, a nice vinyasa flow or taking a walk in a local park or on a local trail. Want to try a bunch of new things? Download Class Pass – it is legit.

GO TO THE MOVIES

It is Oscar season, people! So many things to see. I recommend Green Book, A Star is Born, On the Basis of Sex and Bohemian Rhapsody – all out right now. This is my husband and my favorite weekend activity, whether in the 2WW or not; they know us at our “home theater” as my husband calls it. We have a slight addiction to film.

INVEST IN A JOURNAL

If you already keep one, I am talking about one in addition to that. My best friend recently gave me The Five Minute Journal. This encourages you to set intention in the morning and briefly reflect on your day before bed. I absolutely love this because it sets your mood for the entire day and let’s be honest, with all the hormones, we desperately it. You got this Emily Dickens! Find yours here.

PLAN A PARTY

Is there a holiday coming up? A big milestone birthday for someone you love? Couples getting married you want to shower? Find something or someone to celebrate (big or small) and plan a party. Nothing keeps me distracted like party planning. I will admit, I love this kind of stuff way more than most people – right now I am planning my mom’s 60th, my good friend’s baby shower, my brother’s wedding shower and my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party (not along of course). I am telling you the little details involved with parties will take the 2WW worry right out of your mind. I am not saying go ape shit like me. If that scares you, start small.

REDECORATE

Is there a room in your house that you’ve been wanting to change for awhile? Our guest room has furniture in it from when I was NINETEEN, guys. Enter operation guest bedroom. Focus on an area of your house that you’ve been wanting to change and make it happen. No, this isn’t a picture of my home but doesn’t it rock?

GO SHOPPING

I am not suggesting charging up your credit card while you suffer from retail therapy or anything, even though, ahem, I am guilty of it sometimes myself. I am suggesting a responsible shopping trip. This can be for gifts, items for your redecoration projects, for your crafting ideas or just stuff for you. Shopping is one of the best distractions for us girls.

Well lovelies, there you have it! Fourteen ideas for the 2WW. Mix, match, repeat – whatever strikes your fancy. The point is, with all the options out there, there is NO EXCUSE TO SIT ON YOUR ASS AND WORRY. Whether you are hiding out worrying or out living your best life, the harsh truth is you are either pregnant or you’re not. Worrying is not going to change that. When I started looking at it this journey through that lens, I felt empowered to live my life and so silly for all the worry I have poured in my previous 2WWs. I hope this has given you so many great ideas to continue being the badass bitch that that you are. Baby dust and love to you always. Don’t forget, just because fertility is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be fabulous.

Xoxo, B

If you’d like to connect with Blair, you can find her on Instagram and Facebook!

Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

A Different Kind of Waiting

January 21, 2019

Written by Stacy Noskowicz, Guest Blogger

Sharing my journey has been the best therapy I could provide myself, so when I was given the opportunity to put it down on paper, I knew I had to do it.  Writing is not my thing, but I knew this would help me and potentially others.

I always thought waiting would be a part of our journey, so I tried to prepare myself and my husband for the waiting game we were bound to be a part of.  Many of the woman in my family have had trouble getting pregnant, so naturally I thought I would be next.

Waiting has been and still is a part of our story, but not in the way we expected.

April 28, 2018, our wedding day!  May 1, 2018, our honeymoon begins!  June 1, 2018, if it’s going to take some time to get pregnant, let’s start trying! And that’s exactly what we did.

That first pregnancy test in June was negative, exactly six days before my period was due (the box says you can test up to 6 days early– who can wait?!).  I took a few more pregnancy tests over the next few days, until I finally saw (read: imagined) a very dull, hardly visible second line. I was pregnant. I woke my husband up at 7:15 on a Sunday morning to share the news with him.  He took one look at that pregnancy test, looked at me and said, “Where do you see a 2nd line?”.  I assured him it would become more visible over the next few days.  In typical male fashion, he gave me a kiss, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Full of emotion I didn’t know what to do with myself and decided to go on a long walk through Central Park.  On that walk, I saw more than a few baby strollers and thought, “that’s going to be me in nine months”. Feelings of happiness, excitement and fear ran through my body.  My husband and I went out for breakfast that morning and discussed baby names, logistics (where in our 700-square-foot apartment is this baby going to sleep?), and how we were going to share the news with our families!  My husband started believing that maybe we were pregnant and the excitement was visible. We returned home and there it was … my monthly visitor. I wasn’t pregnant. That was the first of many cries I have experienced throughout our so far eight month journey.

So, life went on with the “we’ll try again next month” mentality.  Next month came, we tried, and it was time to test. This time I had the self-control to wait to test until the night before my period was due.  It was positive. I was pregnant. I decided to wait to test again the next morning before bringing my husband in to it. I woke up the next morning (let’s be honest, I hadn’t slept) and tested again.  There was a clear second line. I was pregnant.

I had big plans of how I would tell my husband, but when he woke up about 20 minutes later, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut for long enough for him to open his eyes. I had to tell him.  Rather than telling him, I showed him. I showed him that VERY POSITIVE pregnancy test and we celebrated, just the two of us.

My gynecologist is not an obstetrician, but had instructed me to call her after my first missed period, at which point she would bring me in for a confirmation ultrasound and refer me to an OB.  At 4 weeks 3 days pregnant we had our first ultrasound. What we saw on that screen was no bigger than a poppy seed, but it was our baby. We couldn’t be more excited. Each week that followed I went in for another ultrasound and my gynecologist said she would refer me out when we could see/hear a heartbeat.  At our 5 week 3 day and 6 week 3 day appointments our poppy seed looked slightly larger– even more excitement! There was no heartbeat yet, but the ultrasound technician assured us that we would see it the following week, “it’s just early” she said.

After our 6 week 3 day ultrasound, we had a trip planned to visit my family in Florida.  It was early, very early– we hadn’t even heard a heartbeat yet– but I wanted to have the opportunity to tell my family in person.  This was going to be my parent’s first grandchild, my grandma’s first great grandchild and the excitement was palpable.

When we returned to our home in New York City, it was time for our 7 week 3 day ultrasound.  (I should mention that many people have asked why I was getting so many ultrasounds and the honest answer is, I don’t know.  This is what my doctor was recommending and I didn’t think much of it). My husband and I could not wait for that appointment.  We were going to get to see our growing baby and hear its heart beat! It was also at that appointment that I lost all my hope. There was no heartbeat and we were once again told, “it’s still early”, let’s draw some blood and see what those numbers look like”.

I went home that night convinced were having a miscarriage and I cried and cried and cried.  My husband didn’t really understand me jumping to conclusions, but I’ve heard it said before, and it is so true, woman know their bodies.  The fetus was measuring behind based on my last period and there was no heartbeat at 7 weeks 3 days. Google, both your best friend and worst enemy, was pointing to a miscarriage too.  The next day, my phone rang at 9:15pm and it was my doctor. My HCG levels had increased, but not nearly as much as they should have. She was confirming what I already knew, but recommended I have another ultrasound that Monday (4 days later) to confirm what we were suspecting.

We had a wedding to attend that weekend.  We tried to put a smile on our faces, but we were counting down the hours until our appointment on Monday.  It was finally time. I informed the ultrasound technician that we were just there to confirm there was no heartbeat, so she knew she wasn’t breaking the terrible news to us.  Before starting the test, she informed us that she could not tell us anything, but she would bring a radiologist in afterwards to review the results. The ultrasound was taking what felt like forever and the ultrasound technician said “I want to bring the doctor in while I scan you”.  In walked a radiologist who introduced herself to myself and my husband and then became glued to the screen.

The next thing I heard her say plays over and over in my head to this day, “ok, now go to the other one”.  The other one? I sat up as much as one can while undergoing a transvaginal ultrasound and said “I’m sorry, but what did you just say”.  She looked at me and said “I’m thinking you are pregnant with twins, but please let me finish and we will go over everything”.

When the test was finished, she sat me up and the scariest conversation of our lives began.  “What I am seeing on the ultrasound are monochromatic/monoambionic twins, also known as momo twins, or identical twins in the same sac.  This means they are sharing space and nutrients and this is going to be a VERY high risk pregnancy”. She asked for my doctors information so she could call her right away and instructed me to head to my doctor’s office (this ultrasound was completed at an imaging center).  My husband and I Googled during the entire 10-minute talk to my doctor’s office and what we were finding was even scarier than we thought: bed rest in the hospital at 25 weeks, C-section at 32 weeks, cord compression, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, birth defects, lower than normal survival rate, a long NICU stay.  I didn’t need to read anymore. Again, Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy. At that moment, we were not a big fan of Google.

When we arrived at my doctor’s office, she tried to reassure us and referred us to a high-risk OB.  I could barely get out of her office before I was on the phone making an appointment with the high-risk doctor.  Our appointment was 48 hours later, possibly the longest 48 hours of our lives thus far. I was half excited and half nervous, but 100% ready to make a plan and set us up on the best possible path we could take to TWO healthy babies.  Forty-eight hours finally passed and we were ready for yet another ultrasound. The ultrasound technician did her thing and called in a doctor. The doctor walked in and asked me a few questions, which had me suspicious, and I finally asked (maybe screamed), “what is going on??”.  She informed us there was no heartbeat, or no viable heartbeat at least. A possible 60bpm heartbeat, but not a healthy one. How could this be … Weren’t we just in this same position (with the exception of the possibility of twins) one week ago? Why did I have to be told TWICE that there was no heartbeat?  Why did it feel like we experiencing 2 miscarriages in one week? What do we do now?

The high-risk doctor gave us a few options and told us to sleep on it.  I could be scheduled for a D and C or I could be prescribed a pill that would help my body pass this pregnancy on it’s own.  I didn’t want either of those options, I wanted a baby.

We went home and talked about where to go from here.  The following weekend was Labor Day Weekend, and we decided that I would take the pill at home and give myself the three days to recover, both mentally and physically.  I called my doctor and asked her to prescribe the pill. She called back a day later (Saturday night at 7pm) and informed us she was not satisfied with how the high risk doctor had written her note and was therefore not convinced this was a miscarriage, considering the 60bpm heartbeat they noted.  She wanted to scan me again (?!) before she felt comfortable prescribing. I will never forget how she said it. She said “if you want to terminate this pregnancy I can prescribe, but I recommend you come in for an ultrasound”. If I want to terminate this pregnancy? I want nothing more than for this to be a healthy pregnancy and to hold my baby in 9 months.  I couldn’t shake those words and had to have an ultrasound before proceeding.

It was the Tuesday after Labor Day and I was at my doctor’s office at 7am for yet another ultrasound.  As we suspected, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat and it was clear the fetus had stopped growing. There was a weird sense of relief, like we could finally move on.

My husband and I took that day off of work so I can take the medicine to help pass the pregnancy and he would be by my side the whole time.  I went home and took the first dose and waited, and waited and waited. Four hours later, I was instructed to take a second dose in the slim chance nothing had happened yet (and up to one more dose after that for a total of 3 doses).  So dose 2 went in and we waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Dose 3 went in and we waited and waited and waited. Nothing. I was in contact via text message with my doctor throughout the day and she told me to see what happens overnight.  Nothing.

I went to work the next day and the doctor wanted to see me to confirm it hadn’t passed.  Again, insert Google, which had prepared me for intense cramping and bleeding, none of which I had experienced.  I knew there was no way it had passed. So 2 days later I was in her office for another ultrasound and there was our answer in plain sight on the screen.  She recommended a different medication, followed by the same one I had taken a couple days earlier. FINALLY, on September 7th the pregnancy passed.  It was more than an emotional day.  In fact, I thought I was done crying about it, but here I am crying as I type this.  For me, the mental pain was worse than the physical pain.

My period returned about a month later, and I could not have been more excited.  We could start trying again! However, we were once again told we had to wait. We had to wait for my HCG levels to bottom out before it was safe to start trying.  Weeks went by with many blood draws and my levels were dropping ever so slowly, until couple months later, I finally got that 0 I had been waiting for. We were given the all clear to start trying, and that is exactly what we did.

So here we are, 8 months after this journey began, still waiting for our bundle of joy.  Somehow I have stayed positive through most of this experience. I know our rainbow will come when the time is right, but I never imagined how hard waiting would be.  It was not the kind of waiting I thought we would experience. One thing that has never changed throughout this whole journey has been my belief that whatever happens, it will be WORTH THE WAIT!

Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Finding Hope for the New Year

January 14, 2019

Written by Kateka Goodman, WTF Contributor

We all sacrifice for motherhood in different ways. For me, for a decade, my sacrifice was in using my money to pay for treatments; the sacrifice came when I put my body through hell with injections, hormones, treatments, miscarriages, weight gain, hair loss; I sacrificed my sanity, and my faith, for a while; I nearly sacrificed my marriage. Last year, when I stepped into my 3rd and final IVF egg retrieval (having already experienced two IVF miscarriages before this), I knew that I had to go into it, sacrificing next-to-everything because if it didn’t work, I hoped I’d be able to look back with no regrets. I called it the ALL HANDS ON DECK cycle. We threw every trick, test, and drug into the mix to make sure all our bases were covered.

And then I got pregnant. My numbers were low but they looked better than they ever had before. At my 6 week heartbeat ultrasound, I was told my baby had died. They did an immediate D&C. In that moment, it felt as though the world had swallowed me whole. I had no more embryos. I was no further to having a child than I was when I started this process 10 years before. If anything, all I was was an empty, but heavier, shell of what I used to be. I was bitter, cynical, judgmental, hopeless, numb, angry, stressed, and coping in unhealthy ways (binging on food and tv). I was unavailable to those I loved; my husband, my family and friends, and even, myself. Infertility had turned me into the worst version of myself. Watching your husband mourn the loss of his babies, something that you’ve failed to force into existence, has a way of extinguishing the light you have inside you. What was my purpose? How could I survive yet another failure? What good was I? How could I ever come to peace knowing I’d never pass on my own genetics?

I was purely and utterly lost.

One night, I talked to my mother and told her what a failure I was. She reassured me I wasn’t and told me I was so strong. I sighed and thought, ‘She has to say that.’

That night, while falling asleep, I recalled the conversation with my mom and my mind turned the tables. In my half-awake state, I was suddenly the mom, and my adult daughter was telling me she had her 3rd miscarriage after giving infertility the fight of her life. I could see her pain. I wanted to fix it. I wanted her to understand she was stronger than she understood. She fought every step of the way, even though she had fear riding on her shoulders the entire time. She was not a failure, she was a warrior. I wish she understood how loved she was. I wished she could love herself.

I wrote my strange half-awake dream down and described it to my husband the next day. He told me, if there were such things as angel babies (past or future), that they’d be proud of what we tried to do. In thinking of my angel babies, I had this yearning that they needed me to stop focusing on growing our family for some time, and instead give myself some much needed care; the same kind of care I’d give to any of my loved ones who needed help.

 

(Here I am a few weeks after my D&C in May of 2018, heavier than I’d ever been before)

 

In the spring of 2018, I made myself the priority. Not baby-making. Not scouring online forums and books for “fix-it’s” to my infertility. I worked on giving myself some serious, much-needed, self-care.

My self-care was focused around: getting therapy right away, feeding my body better, getting more exercising, resting when I needed it, finding healthy ways to cope with my emotions, and having some happy things to look forward to (not baby related).

  • In therapy I learned many life lessons, including the importance of self-validation. No one’s words will ever be enough if you don’t first validate from within.
  • I’ve done restriction diets in the past to lose weight or to try to improve fertility and it didn’t help in either way. My endometriosis had done so much damage that changing my diet now would do nothing to improve my already ruined eggs; also, taking away bread and sugar just leads me to binge (and gain more weight). Instead I focused on portion control. I eat a lot of healthy foods, but I still enjoy “bad” foods (in small portions) so that I never feel deprived.
  • When it came to exercise, I listened purely to my body. I started off with light, low-impact workouts, and with time, my stamina naturally improved. If my body was exhausted, I would take that queue and rest on those days. Other times, I was bursting with energy so I’d use that energy to give more to my workouts.
  • Instead of using food to cope with my feelings I paid attention to my body queues. If I needed to chat, I’d either journal or call a friend; if I felt angry, I’d take it out on my workout (making sure to add PUNCHING BAG to my workouts that day); If I was growing obsessive or feeling crazy, I’d work on a craft, puzzle, or meditation to try to distract myself; when I felt like crying, I allowed the rivers to flow, making sure to never stifle any of my feelings; when I needed perspective I would try to serve others.
  • My husband and I planned a trip to Kauai! We were excited for months leading up to our adventure and it really helped us live more presently, instead of in the past, or future. We had a wonderful time there and are anxiously looking forward to when we can travel again.
  • And! I lost 54 lbs. (I have to give my husband a shout out who has also worked on his health and is down 60 lbs right now too).

Allowing my body to purge of all the hormones, eat healthy foods, workout again, and find happiness in TODAY, did so much for my overall wellbeing.

Crazy enough, I feel closer to being the mother I’d like to be for my future children compared to where I was when I had my short pregnancy last spring.

This year, I have many resolutions I am working towards. My husband and I want to get more tests done before we figure out how to move forward next (donor egg, embryo adoption, foster care, or adoption), we need to continue saving money for whatever baby plan we choose, and I want to continue working on my overall health so that if/when babies come into the picture, I can be a mama they’re proud to call their own.

The thing is, whether you have completed the fight, are in the middle of the fight, are about to start the fight, or maybe are taking a break from the fight, we are all following our hearts and doing our best. You are strong. No matter where you are in your journey, make sure this year to take time for YOU. Give the same love that you’d give to your children, to yourself. From one warrior to another, I am wishing you a very happy, and successful, New Year.

With love,

Kateka

 

If you’d like to connect with Kateka, you can find her on Youtube, Instagram, Weight Loss Instagram, or Email!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs, Uncategorized

Taking Back New Years

January 3, 2019

Written by Ashtyn Kalika, Guest Blogger

New years can be a tough journey for the fertility challenged as we reflect on the year that was. The months spent hoping and praying for our arms to be filled, the intense up and down emotional roller coaster, the empty womb.  You can’t help but envision and pray for your dreams to become a reality in the New Year.

I have only been on this journey for two years now. Last New Year’s and Christmas was not a happy time for me. I thought I would be a mom and things were just not leaning that way. Fast forward to now and I’m nowhere closer to the end of this journey. However this year I want it to be a different kind of New Year. I call it taking back “New Years”. I’m taking back the joy that has been stolen this year. I’m taking back the time spent crying and being miserable. I’m taking back control. This journey to motherhood is so out of our control, so I am choosing to spend my energy on things I can control.

My five steps to taking back New Year’s are:

  1. Don’t set deadlines

How many times have you told yourself “I have to get pregnant by my birthday/partner’s birthday” or “by Easter” or “by Christmas”? Let go of these. They put unnecessary pressure on you and emphasize the lack of control you have over the timing of when you will conceive. No one knows how long their journey will be (insert big sigh). We just need to trust that it will all be revealed in His perfect timing.

  1. Don’t play the blame game

Be kind on yourself and your partner. Don’t blame yourself for past actions or hate your body for not functioning the way you want to. Don’t feel that you could have prayed harder or eaten better or had more faith. The negative self-talk is all lies. Don’t believe all the lies and give yourself permission to move on and ignore the lies. Accept the truth instead. The truth is: you are strong, courageous and loved. You are doing the best you can and that is good enough.

  1. Self-Care

Look after yourself. Spend time reading new books, being quiet, meeting new people. Make friends, laugh, and go for a massage or a fresh new haircut. Go for a walk and get some fresh air while enjoying the beauty around you. Spend time doing things with your partner and taking time out to talk and laugh and forget about the journey even for a moment. Try new things together, go on a hike, camp, try a new restaurant, and go on a date night. Just spend time being intentional with each other. Don’t define yourself by your journey. You are more than that. I am not fertility challenged, I am Ashtyn!

  1. Limit the negative words and let go of the jealousy and bitterness

I know it is so difficult not to let feelings of jealousy and hurt creep up when it seems as if a lot of people around you get pregnant so easily. However we just need to be careful as we never know the story in someone else’s journey. The lady you saw in the shops could have fought massive health battles to carry that baby. The woman you walked past could be a surrogate. It’s always harder on us when we hold onto the feelings of jealousy or resentment because we end up being the ones who get hurt not the people we are resenting. Try where you can to replace those negative feelings with positive ones. Replace it with hope. Every day you feel negative or full of resentment or despair replace it with hope. Write down scripture or verses or anything encouraging. Write it on your arm or place it all around your house. Read these anytime you feel you are losing hope.

  1. Keep pushing forward

It’s tough but just keep on moving (as Dory would say: keep on swimming!). Until you choose another option or to give up entirely, keep moving forward. Keep hoping and striving for your hopes. You got this!

I know these are not easy steps to do and I know this journey is tough. My hope is that even one of these steps will make the New Year just a little easier to bear.

Here is to a better, happier, healthier and more positive 2019! May it be the year our prayers are answered and wombs are filled with healthy babies.

If you’d like to connect with Ashtyn, you can find her on Instagram, Facebook or her Blog!

Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

9 Infertility Resolutions for 2019

December 27, 2018

Written by Jessica Hansen, Guest Blogger

I rang in 2017 in my pajamas on my couch. I was recovering from a stomach bug that most of my in-laws had caught (but my husband had somehow avoided, naturally). Still, I was optimistic about the new year. Having tried to get pregnant for six months or so by then, I was confident 2018 would be our year.

I was right – and more so than I even thought. What I had thought was my lightest period ever actually wasn’t, and on December 31st of 2017, I was already pregnant. It would be a few more weeks until a growing hunch prompted me to take a test which would confirm it.

And then, just a couple of days later, I wasn’t. I was just under six weeks, but to say “just” or “only” minimizes my grief. I’ve learned since that we are entitled to our pain, no matter which unique circumstances we face. Still, that loss and infertility as a whole have left me wrestling with some ugly emotions I’m still sorting through.

And, 2018 would bring even more loss for us. As my husband lay his mother to rest in the summer – the second parent he’d lost in 18 months – I couldn’t help but grow angry at the injustice of it all. Weeks prior, my family had to say goodbye to the dog I’d had growing up. Certainly, these losses cannot be compared, but pain is still pain. And it’s been a painful year.

But resolutions can be about looking forward without necessarily “getting over” the past – because we all know infertility and loss aren’t simply gotten over. As I look ahead to 2019, infertility is indeed at the top of my mind. While I may be a bit more jaded than I was back in 2017, I try to look at this year as having made me perhaps a bit wiser – and a hell of a lot stronger. So, here it goes. These are my infertility resolutions for 2019.

  1. Become more vocal.

I mean this in a few different ways. For one, with my doctors and nurses. While I’ve been extremely pleased with my clinic so far and they’ve given me every opportunity to ask questions, I still find myself holding back in fear of sounding stupid or coming across too needy. Enough. I am putting too much on the line to be shy.

I also need to speak up with my husband. He is my biggest supporter, but sometimes I go into “shutdown” mode to avoid talking about the painful stuff. He knows this is when I need to talk most. I’ve always been comfortable sharing my emotions but infertility is a different beast; it’s created feelings and thoughts which I don’t even know how to process. I’m learning how to do my part in opening up, even if it comes out as a jumbled mess.

Finally, I’d like to become more open about infertility everywhere to continue building this conversation and bringing awareness to the challenges that one in eight couples face. My immediate network of friends and family has been outstanding in terms of offering support, but in my experience, many others who are unfamiliar with infertility tend to say the wrong things. I believe it’s because they don’t know what to say – which is because infertility isn’t discussed enough in our society.

  1. Try something new.

On a lighter note, cooking was my “thing” this year. I bought a few healthy cookbooks, learned how to use a pressure cooker, and even tried a couple of meal delivery subscriptions. Channeling my energy into creating something has been very cathartic for me, especially when it feels like the one thing I want to create so badly, I can’t.

What will my new thing be for 2019? I’m not sure yet, but I’m excited to find out. I know distraction isn’t always the healthiest way to handle challenges, but at the same time, I also believe having outlets for creativity and self-exploration are important through this process.

  1. Go on more dates.

Infertility takes up a lot of space in my marriage. We’re doing injections, going for ultrasounds and blood work, and planning for the “what ifs.” To think that I’ll look back on the first few years of my married life and associate it with such stress and heartache is upsetting. In 2019, I’d like to work on creating happy memories and actually dating my husband again. I know it’s unrealistic to think we can be completely carefree, but I do believe there’s room for the pain of not having the family we want yet to coexist alongside joy, love, and lighthearted moments.

  1. Take a vacation.

We’ve taken a couple of vacations while TTC, but all have been slightly marred by the emotional roller coaster of infertility. If a babymoon isn’t in the cards for us, I’d like to plan a trip for a time when we might actually take a break from trying – and purchase trip insurance. You know, just in case.

  1. Take on a realistic workload.

Speaking of breaks, I need to know when to take them at home, too. I’m a freelancer and don’t get vacation days or PTO. On the one hand, this makes me extremely fortunate because I can build my schedule around appointments. On the other hand, I tend to punish myself by playing catch-up until I’m working into wee hours of the night. I realize that this is unhealthy and I’m working on building boundaries into my schedule for 2019.

  1. Unplug occasionally.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. I have found a few support networks that I absolutely adore, which is the reason I started an Instagram to chronicle my own infertility experiences. At the same time, social media is also a place where you’ll find unexpected baby announcements that knock the wind out of you. And, our community has its share of heartache, too. I absolutely love hearing about the successes of other infertile couples, but I also feel the pain behind their bad news, perhaps too acutely at times. I think taking mini-breaks can be refreshing. Plus, there’s comfort in knowing this wonderful network of strong women will always be here when I’m ready to come back.

  1. Control my self-criticism.

This is something I struggle with daily. It’s bad enough to have the flood of thoughts and feelings that come with infertility: sadness, frustration, anger, jealousy, and impatience. But what’s even worse than these thoughts themselves is the way I judge myself for having them.

I think to myself, I should be more optimistic. Then I counter that by telling myself I shouldn’t get my hopes up. I also feel immense guilt, because my life isn’t bad – by any means. I’m fortunate in more ways than I can count.

But at this point, I’ve become exhausted with judging myself for my own thoughts, and characterizing them as “good” or “bad.” For 2019, I’m going to try this meditative practice instead:

I will not judge my thoughts and feelings. Instead, I will simply let them pass, like cars on a highway.

  1. Nourish my body.

I don’t eat poorly, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Instead of eating a granola bar for breakfast because it’s quick and easy, I’d like to set aside time for three whole meals a day. Some weeks I’m good about this and meal-prep in advance; others, not so much. I’m aiming for consistency in 2019. While I know my diet isn’t the cause for not getting pregnant, I do want to give my body everything it needs to support my someday baby.

Likewise, I’ve put running longish distances on hold for now, and will continue to do so for 2019. Again, I’m not saying running 10+ miles has anything to do with infertility. I’ve always hydrated and listened to my body, and I know there are plenty of endurance athletes who have given birth to healthy babies. But this year, I’m approaching fitness in a way that rewards my body instead of feeling like punishment. Activities like long walks and yoga are good for not just my physical state, but my mental health, too.

  1. Connect with a real-life infertile friend.

As I said before, I have an incredible support network of family and friends, as well as online groups. But I also know how desperately I’m craving a real, human connection with someone who’s been through (or is going through) this.

I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone in the world. But, going through it with someone else might make it a little less painful. I’d love to have an infertile friend to meet up with over coffee, to laugh (and probably cry) with, to cheer on, and to just talk about all of the absurdities of infertility.

Here’s to hoping we’ll both be drinking decaf.

Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs, Uncategorized

Dear Family and Friends, Part 3

December 17, 2018

Written by Heather, Guest Blogger

Part three in our 3 part series! These journal entries share the ups and downs of the roller coaster that is trying to have a baby when you’re walking the path of infertility. If you are also walking that path, may you be encouraged and know you are not alone.

December 22

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here again. For the past three years, every November, Allen starts asking me what I want for Christmas. And for the past three years I’ve asked for one thing and one thing only… a baby. It appears that Christmas will come and go again without the us expanding our family with a sweet new baby. But I do feel like we’re one step closer with everything that we are doing. I wanted to update you on our fertility issues, surrogacy, and the adoption process.

Allen and I met with Dr K again on December 2. We have had this appointment booked for three months. After talking with him for over an hour, we both left with our heads spinning. He showed us a picture of our one grade A frozen embryo compared to the three embryos (all grade Bs) that we have put in me- lots of visible differences.  Basically Dr. K doesn’t think a surrogate (actually the correct term is “gestational carrier”) is necessary. Dr K thinks that as long as we can get my body where it needs to be that our embryo would do great in me. So that left us with a lot to think about. Before leaving the office Dr. K ran several more tests on me, since they were 2 yrs old.

Yesterday I received a call from the nurse and most of the test results came back within the correct range. All except for my “AMG” which is my egg quality. It has drastically gone down since January. It was 2.2 and it is now 0.5. So I have to start taking two more vitamins for the next three months so we definitely won’t be transferring that frozen embryo into me anytime soon.

Yesterday we met with another fertility Dr. to get a second opinion. We also left there with our heads spinning. Basically he doesn’t believe in “unexplained infertility.” His method involves identifying the problem and then working to correct it. So we are taking his suggestion and I have to start “charting” myself everyday for the next three months. I won’t go into details because you wouldn’t even believe me. The charting is so specific that I have to be trained on it and meet with this lady every two weeks. UGH!!!!!!

Moving right along…

As for the adoption process things have been very busy! Allen and I both had to fill out numerous discussion questions about our life. Honestly, it’s CRAZY! Here are some questions that we had to each answer separately….

– What qualities, values, and character would you like to develop in your children and how would you promote these?

– What significant events or experiences have shaped your personality?

– What were the positive and negative qualities of your family?

– Describe your parent’s relationship to each other both while you were growing up and today.

– What are your main areas of disagreement?  Do you and your spouse agree on spending and saving?

– What role does your physical relationship play in your marriage?

– Have you ever physically/sexually abused a child?

Yep, that’s right. Crazy, huh?!?! It’s absolutely shocking to think there all some people in this world who don’t want children or can’t care for their children or abuse their children, yet they have children (and usually LOTS).  Then there are people like us who would do anything for a child.

We are currently in the process of working on our finances, references are being turned in, criminal background check, fingerprints, and the interview process. Last night we had a two-hour interview as a couple, including a 30-minute video on child-abuse. Our next interview is Monday. This is will be separate interviews and more video training.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

XOXO

A & H

February 20

Okay, y’all. I had to share this story and ask for your prayers. Hopefully you can follow it. I have shortened it, but hopefully you will get as excited as we did/are!

Sunday I decided to clean out my closet (it was a nightmare). I then posted several items on a Facebook resale site. I had a lady wanting to try on two of the tops/tunics. She came over after school on Monday to try them on and while we were chatting she asked if we had kids. (Who does that??? We’d only met three minutes prior to that.) I kindly replied, “No. We are in the adoption process.” She said, “No way! I’m an adoption attorney.” As our conversation continued she realized that she had already been told about our plans to adopt. She had actually received an email last week from one of my current student’s parents. Needless to say, I was shocked! Here I was standing in our guest bedroom talking to an adoption attorney who already knew about us!

Well, it gets even better! She currently has a birth mother, age 28, due June 5! Don’t let this next part freak you out….but she is in jail. We don’t know why…but there she is getting prenatal care and supervision. The attorney asked for a copy of our birth parent letter and will be taking it with her on Wednesday. She will also have two other options for the birth mother to look at.

So, please pray! Pray for this birth mother. Pray that our letter and pictures touch her heart. Pray that she is in good hands at the jail. Please pray that Allen and I can stay hopeful.

We know that God in is control and He knows the plans He has for us.

Love,  Allen and Heather

March 28

I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday!

I thought I would send an update on where we are. As I mentioned before, Allen and I have been seeing a 2nd opinion fertility specialist, Dr. P.  He recently did a hormone series test on me which included blood work for 3 1/2 weeks (every Mon, Wed, Fri). The results showed that I had low thyroid, low progesterone, and other issues that led him to believe surgery would be beneficial. So, of course, we jumped on it! Surgery was this past Friday and he did four different procedures. It was definitely worth it.

Four findings:

  1. Both Fallopian tubes were partially blocked. Dr. cleared the tubes by expanding them with a wire then flushed with fluids. Typically an open set of tubes would allow 5 lbs of air through them. Mine took 30 lbs to get through.
  2. I did have some endometriosis that he was able to remove. (Tissue that grows on the outside of the uterus.)
  3. My entire abdominal area shows inflammation. Dr. showed Allen and Mom pictures. The area is extremely red and inflamed. (It should be pink) Dr. said this can be corrected with diet and later with medicine.
  4. He removed two cysts.I am just so grateful that they found some problem areas and corrected them.  Hopefully this will help us! I’m pretty sore and uncomfortable now but resting. Dr. H has been amazing!Several of you have asked about our adoption process. I have had several people reach out to me that have heard our story from your shares on Facebook or from friends sending private emails to their contacts about our story. All the women I’ve talked to have adopted and were so positive, encouraging, and uplifting.We are still waiting for a baby whether that be through a birth-mother or biologically. (Or both!) The attorney that came to my house to buy clothes was not able to get to the jail to meet with the birth mother as she had planned. She was going to reschedule and said she would keep me posted. I have not heard anything.Thank you for your continuous love and support.

Allen and Heather

April 8

Today as I was driving home from school I received a phone call from an attorney. This is the attorney that found out about us from one of my current student’s parents and the lady who came to try on clothes I was selling online. Remember as she left our house she said, “This is a God thing.”

Well… It was a God thing. She called to inform us that the birth mother picked us!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, can you believe it??!?! She picked us. She was given three birth letters and she chose us! We are still in shock and trying to process the whole thing.

The birth mother, A, is in her mid-20s and is having a baby boy via C-section on June 8. So I will get to spend my summer vacation with our baby! “It’s a God thing!”

She has asked to meet us, and we want to meet her very much. So our attorneys are finding a time for us to visit her in jail. (It will be my first time ever in a jail!)

Please continue to pray.
Pray for this baby boy.
Pray that he is healthy.
Pray for Mama A.
Pray that she will continue to do what is best for this baby.
Pray for her strength and courage.

Pray for our patience and faith.

Much Love,

Allen and Heather

May 9

Allen and I just left the jail from our first meeting with birth mother, A. Both of our attorneys were present. She seemed at peace with placing this baby. She is concerned about how she will feel after the delivery. She only wants to see the baby after he is born but does not want any other contact while in the hospital. She said she wanted to make sure we would be in the nursery with him. Which I assured her we would be.

Please pray for Mama A and for her to have peace with our meeting and knowing she’s making the best decision for this baby. Please pray for this baby boy. Pray that he is healthy. Please pray that the attorneys can find the father and get him to sign over his rights. Please pray for Allen and me as we anxiously await every single minute of every single day.

Much love,

Allen and Heather

June 2

It has been three years and three months since Allen and I started to grow our family– that’s 1189 days. As you know our journey has been a long and emotional one. With that being said, I can honestly say that Allen and I have grown in our relationship and know that we can pretty much handle anything together.

A BIG thank you to each of you—thank you for your continuous love, prayers, and support throughout it all! Allen and I are in awe of the kindness and compassion we have seen from so many people. It has been so comforting to receive random calls, texts, flowers, and emails from friends and family just letting us know that they are praying and thinking of us.

Baby boy is due in FIVE DAYS.

(the adoption failed, the birth mother was able to give the baby to a friend until she got out of jail)

July 13

Good Morning Family & Friends,

As you know on June 6 we found out that we would not be bringing “baby boy” home. It was beyond devastating for us and still hurts to this day. I find myself thinking about him daily and wondering how he is doing, what he looks like, and what kind of life he will be given. I pray that the Lord watches over him and keeps him safe, happy, and loved.

At the end of our adoption process (June 3) we found out that I was pregnant. It was actually two years to the date that we lost our first baby. For a few days we thought we were going to welcome two babies into this world. We couldn’t believe it! We were blessed with this miracle and prayed that we would one day hold that baby in our arms. On June 15 we lost that baby also. (At six weeks, for reasons unknown)

Allen and I struggle with the Lord’s plan for us. We continue to have faith and hope, even though there are days (or hours) that make it challenging. We know God is good and we are trusting in Him.

We are thankful that the month of June is over!

Which brings us to where we are to date… After much research and consideration, Allen and I have decided to sign with an adoption consulting firm.

Heather and Allen

November 22

Can I be honest?

This time of the year is very hard for me. I mean really hard! I dread the holidays. I know you are probably thinking, “How can Heather not enjoy this time of year?” For the past four years, I have prayed that Allen and I would have a baby to celebrate Christmas with and that has not happened yet. It’s looking like 2016 will come and go without a baby for us.

I know we are waiting on His time.

I know that He has a plan for us.

I know that I am not in control.

I know that I need to be patient.

I know….

But y’all it’s hard. It’s more than hard. It’s exhausting. It’s mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially exhausting.

(Ok, deep breath) Thank you for letting me express my true and raw feelings. Now for an update.

Allen have I have been active with the consultantung firm for three months today. During this time, we have received 46 birth mother profiles. Some profiles are full of details; some have very little information. We are starting to learn that “less could be more.” It is very overwhelming reading 18-22 pages worth of material on a person. Then we struggle with being judgmental. Here we are wanting a baby more than anything, but we are given the choice to present to them or pass. Who are we to judge? We have no idea what type of child we would receive biologically, so why should we be so picky with these birth mothers? All that to say, we have now presented to 7 birth mothers and 6 of them have chosen another family. (yes, heartbreaking to say the least)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Dec 12

We are pregnant…no treatments, no meds, nothing but God’s timing! Please pray for our baby!

Dec 18

Tonight we recieved a call and we have matched with a birth mother! Baby Boy due in May!

As many of you know, I have always wanted twins. In high school I wanted to name them McKinsey and MaCaulay. Then in college, it was Taylor and Tyler. Always one boy and one girl. Well the Lord is writing our story and it looks like he’s answering my prayers after all these years…” twiblings.” I can’t wait until we have both of these babies home and in our arms. Allen and I will have an amazing testimony to share of God’s grace and faithfulness.

William was born on May 12 AND Phillips was born on August 23 ….3 months and 16 days apart. We are so blessed and thank the Lord for our “little blessing” and our “little miracle.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

We’re Finally Sending out Christmas Cards

December 15, 2018

Written by Alyssa Hustedt, Guest Blogger

If you have ever been associated with the word infertility, you know that the holidays can be one of the most difficult seasons of the year.  Everywhere you look it feels like there is a reminder that something or someone is missing.

During our first years of marriage, my husband and I briefly talked about sending out Christmas cards.  “Let’s just wait until when we have kids.”  We’ve never used any type of prevention, so we assumed kids would be in the near future, right?  Well, Christmas #1 no kids, Christmas #2 the same, Christmas #3 and so on.

Seven Christmas’ later (still no children) and we are finally sending out Christmas cards.  Seven years later–through the valleys of darkness, sadness and doubts—I’m choosing to believe the truth over the lie…

The Lie:  We will never be a complete family until we have children.

The Truth:  The day my husband and I took our vows to become man and wife, we became a complete family.  Any children we have, whether by birth or adoption, enter into the family we have created with just the two of us.

The Lie:  I will not be complete until I have children.

The Truth:  If I am looking for children to complete me, I’m going to be disappointed.  Becoming a mother is a gift but it should not be my identity or where I find my worth.  If you feel like you’re walking around with a deep hole inside of you longing to be filled, I challenge you to do some soul searching and find your true identity outside of having kids or the desire to have them.

The Lie:  Something is wrong with me if I can’t have children.

The Truth:  Something may not physically be working quite like it should, but it requires two to make a baby and it takes Divine power to breathe life into that little soul.  And maybe God’s plans are greater and bigger than our own.   Faith, no matter how small, can go a long way.

Seven years later, seven years stronger, seven years of a marriage that has remained faithful, grown deeper through trials, and IS a family with hope and a vision for the future… no matter how much longer or how many more tears it takes to get there.

Be blessed this Christmas season and enjoy—even celebrate—your family, no matter how small or big it is.

With love, Alyssa

What The Fertility

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