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July 2020

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

Hope Became My Rainbow

July 20, 2020

Written by Agnes Mattson, Guest Blogger

Someone once told me that my life would be very rewarding and happy. My life was anything but that the last 4 years.

You see, my husband and I were like every married couple- you get married, travel, get the house and start a family. Easy right? Wrong! The first years of our married life tested us in so many ways where the word hope was on repeat and slowly started to fizzle away.

We started family planning and after 6 months of nothing, I went to my doctor who suggested seeing a specialist and getting some tests done. This is what started the long dark road to infertility treatments.

At first, the doctor had me do IUIs because that’s a cheaper way to start. After doing 5 without any results, I was done and ready to move onto IVF. But wait. My doctor noticed I had endometriosis (which I always had a feeling I had just never properly diagnosed) and suggested surgery to remove it and up my chances of getting pregnant. So in 2017, I went in for the laparoscopic surgery and had my stage 1 endometriosis removed. I was in pain, relieved and “hopeful” that our IVF was going to work.

Once I went back a few months after the surgery, my doctor noticed some polyps on my uterine lining that should be removed…so again another laparoscopic surgery. I was determined to get this done and move forward.

When I started my first round of IVF, I was so happy that 15 eggs were retrieved but was told only one ovary produced the amount and the other side failed. Failure would stick with me. I moved on to see if any embryos would make it and was told none of them made it. I was devastated. I thought my eggs were old, I’m done, it’s not going to happen. All this work for nothing. I was 34 at the time.

At the same time, my husband was switching jobs and this meant different insurance, and a new doctor. I didn’t want to start over, but decided maybe a new doctor would have some answers. When I met my current doctor, she immediately noticed what went wrong from my previous treatments and motivated me to do another round of IVF and be more aggressive. Thankfully, we were able to do the genetic testing on the embryos and the long awaited mystery of why I couldn’t conceive was FINALLY discovered.

When my doctor got the results back, there were some red flags with 6 of the embryos in the genetic makeup in the same area. She suggested we speak with a genetic counselor and get chromosome tested. No one ever thought this or mentioned it. Another 3 weeks after the frozen embryo testing we discovered I have what is known as unbalanced translocation- which means my chromosome at certain parts cause infertility and miscarriage. I was so crushed. I am an only child and my moms side only had only children or miscarriage but no one talked about it.

I asked my doctor if she treated anyone with this genetic condition and she said no. Great. I felt like was never going to get pregnant. We transferred an embryo that was healthy and waited. I was so scared and nervous.

I had started bleeding which was known as Subchorionic hemorrhage. I was afraid I’d lose my baby. Well at 8 weeks I did. Right after telling our family. This just broke me. I couldn’t bear the thought of doing this again. And the worst part was having to see my doctor the day after my loss when I was so broken. She was so compassionate and hugged me and told me “we’re going to try again and figure this out”.

At that point I needed a break. I waited a few months-my husband and I went on vacation and relaxed. I mentally didn’t think I could do it. My 3rd round of IVF after 23 eggs were retrieved and 5 embryos resulted with 2 being normal, we decided to transfer both. This was it. All or nothing.

This time I was super cautious. You see – that’s what IVF and miscarriage does to you – robs you the joy of being happy and excited during pregnancy. Everyday you’re terrified you’ll lose this baby. And well at 8 weeks again, I lost one of the twins – known as vanishing twin syndrome. I cried. When you see the technician leave the room quietly- I already knew. However this time the doctor came in and said I had one strong embryo- let’s see what happens. And my, this little one was strong. I had another subchorionic hemorrhage and was so worried I’d lose this baby.

When I transferred to my OBGYN, I felt normal and a part of the women who conceived naturally. I was so excited to have a stomach ultrasound! My doctor calmed my fears. She went through IVF and said it’s all mentally in your head- trust your body. And that I did. All the pain, heartache, loses and suffering only made my role as a mom stronger. This little embryo never gave up and I knew I couldn’t either.

My son was born Feb. 24th at a healthy 8lbs. 8oz. At 8:08am. He is our lucky miracle. I look at my sweet boy and when I see his smile or hear his giggles , I know it was worth it. Hope which was the word I hated, had become my rainbow. Just when you’re about to give up, push harder and find those answers. You are destined to be a mother however that may be.

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

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

Double Rainbows

July 15, 2020

Written by Caiti Pidd, Guest Blogger

My husband, Phil, and I met after our senior year of high school.  It was my 18th birthday and Phil was in town visiting a friend.  He walked into the room and I immediately felt a connection. Cheesy, right?  Fast forward through college, breaking up a few times due to distance and then deciding to stay friends, I moved out to Utah and decided to pursue the relationship I always wanted (and live in the same state).  A year and a few months after I moved, Phil proposed in August of 2016.  We got married in September of 2017.

We had a few months we needed to put off starting our family due to some travel plans we had in 2018.  When January of 2018 rolled around I said “Okay, you ready?” 
I stupidly assumed that we would get pregnant right away. A few months passed and I actually remember crying in March when I got my period. 
In April I got pregnant. Getting pregnant was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. In a matter of 6 weeks we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. It’s crazy to think how much you can love a little blueberry sized group of cells so much.

I was constantly checking pregnancy apps to see what the fetus was doing everyday. How he was growing? What was she up to in there? We were committed to not finding out the sex of our little blueberry because all we were hoping for was a healthy baby.

I was on Pinterest whenever I had a break at work. I had a board titled “Future babies” and was constantly looking for cute, gender neutral nurseries. “Is our baby going to be having a modern, geometric, minimalist nursery, or a safari theme?” “Should we paint the walls Light French Gray or Sea Salt?” “Can baby Bracken grow into this kind of room?” “Is black baby furniture too much?”

I was so looking forward to telling friends and family about our news. I was also looking forward to putting a stop to all of those annoying people, who had the best intentions, that were constantly asking “When are you guys going to have a baby?” “Well, random coworker, since you asked, we are expecting! Now please go bother another newlywed about his or her family planning.”

The highs of early pregnancy came to a halt when I saw blood one afternoon. My doctor ordered blood work. My hcg levels were high but my progesterone was alarmingly low. I knew this was it.

I went in the following day for an ultrasound and I was supposed to be 8 weeks 5 days along, and believe me, I was tracking everything. I KNEW how far along I was supposed to be. The baby, the fetus, my blueberry was only measuring 6 weeks 2 days. The ultrasound tech tried to assure me that some people miscalculate their ovulation, but I knew I had not miscalculated. Everything about this pregnancy was calculated. Everything. They couldn’t tell by the ultrasound if I was miscarrying or just was not quite far along as I thought I was. 

I patiently waited for calls from my doctor’s office to update me on what the next step was but no one was responsive. It felt like I meant nothing to them and that this little blueberry meant nothing to them either. I felt completely lost.

I knew in a clinical sense that there was something probably wrong with the fetus; probably a chromosomal issue or defect. I knew this was mother nature’s way of making it so we didn’t have to face making a hard decision. You can try to tell yourself that this is natural selection, but your heart and your head don’t always communicate.

Around 4 pm on a Friday, I felt horrible. The pain came on suddenly. It was like the worst menstrual cramps I’d ever had multiplied by 1000. I rushed home knowing this was the real beginning of the miscarriage process. I felt like I was going to die. The traffic was outrageous and I cursed other cars that were in my way. I just needed to get home. This was a pain I had never felt before. I called Phil and was sobbing. He begged me to pullover so he could pick me up. I couldn’t. I couldn’t bare the thought of waiting. I needed to be home.

When I finally got home, I rushed to the bathroom. I won’t get into the details, but I could confirm I was miscarrying. Part of me felt relief that this was finally starting. I kept telling Phil I just wanted things to move along so we could move forward. I just wanted to put this horrible thing behind us.

Most of that weekend I spent crying on our couch or in my bed.  I just wanted to be in a dark room by myself.  I would sometimes spend hours just looking at the wall and wondering if I would ever feel happy again. 
Weeks after my miscarriage, I thought back to the daydreams I had of my future child. It now felt stupid, or maybe “naive” is the right word? I thought about the joy I had telling my sister. I thought about how I had double checked with my dentist that I could get an X-ray when the baby was technically no longer alive. I thought about when I mentioned to my hairstylist that I was pregnant just to make sure that highlights were okay. I felt almost ashamed thinking about these memories.

My whole adult life I knew I wanted to be a mother when the time was right. You make this huge decision to stop preventing pregnancy and you figure it will happen that month and then 9 months later you’ll be greeted with your healthy baby. 

As I slowly started to open up to friends about my miscarriage, the more common I found it was. Almost every person I spoke to mentioned that their mom, or their sister, or they themselves experienced a miscarriage. It’s this odd loss that people feel uncomfortable talking about, so most of the time, they don’t bring it up to you again. They are either not sure if it will make you too sad, they feel like this wasn’t really a loss, or because they aren’t sure what to feel.

I had made the decision after I got my last period at the end of July that I wanted to “stop trying.” I wanted to stop checking my basal temperature. I wanted to stop checking opks. I wanted to stop making sex an experiment. I told Phil that I wanted to stop adding the unnecessary stress to our lives and just see what happens… and look what happened? I got pregnant!

2 months after our miscarriage, I became pregnant again. I was excited, but so, so scared. I was so afraid we would go through this again.

I got a fancy, digital pregnancy test. I could’ve peed and then occupied my mind for 3 minutes, but I didn’t. I stared at the digital face ticking time away… Finally, it revealed one word. One. Glorious. Word. “Pregnant.”

This time around, I felt different. I had more symptoms of pregnancy, although I never let myself get too excited. I was worried I’d jinx it.
Our OB set up an appointment for us to get an ultrasound at 7 weeks just to make sure everything was looking good.
The ultrasonographer kept looking at the screen, almost puzzled.  Due to the angle of the screen, I couldn’t see anything.  “Oh no, I knew this would happen again,” I thought to myself. 
After what felt like an eternity, he moved the screen so I could see what he was looking at.
“Ok, guys… here’s baby A,” he said. “Why did he call it ‘A’?” I thought.”And here’s Baby B.”
I just looked confused and said “What?”
“You’re having twins!” 

Phil and I both laughed.  Phil went ghostly white and then I started to cry.  I have never been so overwhelmed and yet so happy in my whole life.  It took Phil a few weeks to get over the shock of two babies, but he was the most supportive partner in the world.
For a twin pregnancy, my pregnancy was really smooth, although I never allowed myself to really feel happy.  
I knew I wouldn’t feel relieved until I was holding them both in my arms. 
I delivered my beautiful double rainbows at 37 weeks and they were perfect.  No NICU time and both extremely healthy.

 To every mama that is pregnant with her rainbow baby (babies), I understand your fear.  I understand your resistance to fully bond with your baby.  I understand that every OB appointment is scary because you’re expecting bad news.  I understand that you spend more time holding your belly and begging your baby to move.  I will tell you though, there is happiness that happens after pregnancy loss. 

There are rainbows after the storm.  

If you’d like to connect with Caiti, you can find her on Instagram or her website!


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