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August 2020

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

My Resolve Is My Armor

August 21, 2020

Written by Kimberly Morrison, Guest Blogger

Our story begins with match.com, which is how we met back in 2008. We like to think of ourselves as pioneers of modern dating apps.

I, a teacher, sent a hello message to a hot firefighter. We first met up at Starbucks and talked for hours – far after Starbucks closed.

I thought his jokes were funny and he loved that I liked to banter. Our first real date was to The Comedy Store in La Jolla – hysterically laughing together created a major connection. We shared traits that reinforced our bond and the values we share.

The rest is history. Marriage, world travel, the whole nine yards. Treks through Europe, sailing the Caribbean and Mexico have created incredible memories for us. We then decided that we wanted to start a family. Easy, right? No. Not even a little bit “easy.” Our greatest struggle has been starting a family as we’ve struggled with 3 miscarriages.

We had no idea what “1 in 4” even meant until the second time it happened. The sad thing is, we endured it all alone. We have an incredible family and amazing support network. Our fire family is an extended family. However, we kept it secret. Why?? This is the question that helped drive us in our mission to help make this something that people don’t feel ashamed of. Nobody should endure this alone.

After my second miscarriage, we had our son Logan, our very own Rainbow Baby!! He’s quite literally one of the coolest people we have ever met! We cannot thank our luckiest star enough for blessing us with him. When Logan was 2 years old, we tried for another child and really wanted to have a sibling for Logan. Unfortunately, after almost a year of trying, we had our third miscarriage.

We have now been TTC for over a year after our 3rd loss and still nothing. We won’t give up. However each month that passes unsuccessfully tears us up a bit more.

My husband wrote a children’s book that is a tribute to every woman that’s struggled through the trials and tribulations while TTC. It’s a hero’s tale of triumph in the face of overwhelming suffering and loss. It’s from the father’s point of view, telling his son how his mommy is a warrior and never gave up.

With that story told, my resolve is my armor. It has gotten me through three losses to finally becoming a mother, and it will do so again! I won’t accept no for an answer. Our desire to grow our family is unrelenting, and we know that Logan will be the best big brother, someday! <3

If you’d like to connect with Kimberly or learn more about their story, you can find her over on Instagram, her husband Mark’s Instagram, their Facebook page or their Website!

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

From the Pain is Born a Rainbow

August 19, 2020

Written by Nicole Bronken, Guest Blogger

When you get married, talk about wanting children, and plan for your future family, no one ever prepares you for the possibility of miscarriage. Or fertility struggles. When my husband and I got married in 2015 at the age of 29, we decided to wait a bit to try to have kids in order to enjoy married life. About a year a half later we “pulled the goalie” so to speak. But after about 12 years on birth control my body wasn’t responding the way I expected. I wasn’t getting my period nor was I ovulating. For five months. Finally in the sixth month of trying I got a positive ovulation test and two weeks later, a positive pregnancy test. We were ecstatic. Immediately I was designing a nursery in my head, thinking of possible names, planning on how maternity leave would affect my job. We even told our immediate family members. Fear of miscarriage wasn’t something that even popped into my baby-crazed brain.

Finally at eight weeks, we had our first doctors appointment. I chose to see a midwife and she wanted to do an ultrasound to get an accurate date. I remember joking around that I hoped I was further along than I thought I should be because being pregnant was already not my favorite state of being. The ultrasound technician said our baby didn’t have a yolk sac. I wasn’t quite sure what that was but I knew it wasn’t good. When the midwife rejoined us, she walked in the room and callously stated “This pregnancy isn’t viable” as if she was telling someone they were out of a particular food item as a restaurant. No sympathy. As if she wasn’t breaking our hearts in that room. Nothing prepares you for that gut wrenching ache that goes through your whole body. I cried uncontrollably the whole way home and for days after. I scheduled my D&C for the following week not knowing it would be my first of three in the next three years.

Fast forward about six months in which there were many emotional highs and lows trying to overcome this heart break, and we find out we are pregnant again. This time, fear sets in. Our first ultrasound was scheduled for six weeks. I can recall the technician looking at her screen puzzled saying there wasn’t a heartbeat and the baby was measuring at about four weeks. I was heartbroken, unsure how this could be happening again. She told us I most likely miscalculated the conception date and to come back in a few weeks. I let three painstaking weeks pass before going back. This time I found out there was a heartbeat. I cried tears of joy and I couldn’t stop. I knew we weren’t out of the woods yet, but this was a beautiful first step.

Each appointment after the first ultrasound was perfect. Our baby always had a strong heartbeat and measured exactly as he should. We decided to find out the gender at the anatomy scan but we both were convinced the baby was a boy. Turns out, at the 19 week appointment we were right. My husband was so excited to have a hunting and fishing buddy for life and I couldn’t wait to raise this little boy. I remember the ultrasound technician’s concerned look when she examined his face. Something wasn’t quite right. She called in the perinatologist who explained that our little boy would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. I can’t begin to describe the fear that went through my mind. No blood relative of ours had been born with a cleft lip or palate and we had no idea what this meant for our baby or how it would affect his life. We worried and prayed every single day that he would be as healthy as can be.

Having a diagnosis while your baby is still in utero is a blessing and a curse. Knowing before he was born allowed us to educate ourselves on clefts. We read books, articles, talked to parents of children with clefts, researched cleft clinics across the country and chose the one that would treat our baby throughout his life. But it also meant that we learned the worst of the worst. We saw pictures of babies with severe clefts and read about issues that might accompany a cleft. In the end, we loved our baby so much and we knew we would do anything and everything to make sure he had the best medical care.

Because of our son’s cleft, I had ultrasounds about every two weeks. It was at my 38 week ultrasound appointment that we got two bits of good news. The first was that according to the latest scan, the doctor said it looked like our son had a unilateral cleft lip only. This was such good news because it meant less surgeries and less complications for him. The second piece of good news was that we would meet our baby sooner than we thought. My amniotic fluid was very low and they were going to induce me in two hours. Now, any pregnant woman knows the constant feeling of “get this baby out of me” but when they tell you that you are going to deliver soon, it’s scary. We went home, finished packing my bag and headed back to the hospital.

We arrived back at the hospital at 7:00 pm, I was induced at 11:00 pm, started pushing around 5:15 am, and he was born at 6:11 am weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches long. It was THE happiest day and moment of my life. That little boy makes every worry leading up to his birth worth it. And the doctor was right. He was born with a unilateral cleft lip but other than that he was perfectly healthy.

At four months old we headed to Denver for his cleft lip surgery. It was a scary day to send our baby off to undergo surgery but we knew he was in great hands and those little babies are so resilient and tough. His surgery went wonderfully and he recovered quickly. He is such a feisty little fighter and continues to be two years later.

I’ve had two miscarriages within nine months of each other since having our son. Although at one point I declared to be “done trying”, I’ve since changed my mind. If another baby can bring us the joy that our son has, it will be worth it. Our rainbow babies are special miracles and I can’t wait to hold another one in my arms.

To any mamas out there struggling with conceiving or miscarriage, I hope your rainbow baby comes to you as our son came to us. I can’t imagine not knowing him and for that I’m thankful for the pain we went through before he was born. From the pain is born a rainbow.

If you’d like to connect with Nicole, you can find her over on Instagram or her Etsy shop!

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

Strong Beautiful Rainbow

August 9, 2020

Written by Alana Wilson, Guest Blogger

When my husband and I first started dating, we discussed our goals for the future and both agreed that we wanted to one day have children of our own and raise a family together. The journey to do this isn’t over yet, but it has been a crazy and wild ride so far just getting our first child. (We are hoping for 1-2 more children, but are grateful for whatever God gives us!)

Let me give you a little background on me first.

So, If you don’t know me, which most of you don’t, I struggle with mental health problems and always have. They are worsened by hormones naturally in my body and artificial ones such as in birth control. I started showing some struggles at an early age and after seeing several doctors during my childhood, I was able to get diagnosed and find the perfect mixtures of medications to reduce most my symptoms. I have an anxiety disorder, mild bipolar II, bouts of depression at times (in the last several years though I haven’t had any), and some OCD tendencies.

I was very little and skinny in my teens and I didn’t get my first period until summer before my 17th birthday. Originally because of this and in fear of damaging my reproductive system, with the help of my parents, I tried hard to gain weight as well as began birth control to regulate my cycle. The first pills I tried made me cry, the depoprovera shot made me manic, and nuvaring just never stayed where it should have. I ended up on the mini pill which is less hormones for a few years with less side effects than the others, but I did still have a few. PMS was awful, I was super emotional, migraines came on like clockwork before and after each period and I was basically bedridden the first 24 hours of my period each month. 

I have known since I was a young girl that the one thing I wanted in life was to be a mom. I didn’t know who would father my children, but I had set out to find him from a young age. I had no idea what my journey to mommyhood would entail, but it has all been worth it. 

When I was 22, I thought I found the man meant to be the daddy to my kids. I was wrong and a miscarriage of twins that October after my 23rdbirthday is what showed me his true colors and that he wasn’t meant to be my forever or the father of my kids. I tried dating here and there for a few more years and never felt anyone was the one until I met my husband a few months before my 26thbirthday. We met on an iPhone Dating App while living almost 100 miles apart from one another because I spotted his picture in a Hockey Uniform and the rest is history! 

It was love at first sight and I JUST knew. (He knew I was “The One” too apparently because he called his mama on the way home from our first date to tell her he was gonna marry me one day and he did even though it took 6 years!) 

After I had been dating Cory for over a year, we came to the conclusion that the birth control wasn’t helping me at all, and causing more harm than good; it made me cry easier, moody, and my cycle was off a lot of the time. We discussed me getting the copper IUD because it has no hormones and has seemingly good reviews. We knew that we wanted kids though in less than the 10 years the IUD is good for and didn’t want me to have to deal with the pain of insertion and removal in a short period of time. We ultimately decided that we would use natural family planning and pull-out method as back up. (FYI: I do not recommend pull-out for anyone – especially as only form of birth control! It is risky and not proven to be effective, but it worked for us!) This “method of birth control” worked for us for over 5 years and after our wedding in April 2017 we actually began to discuss trying to conceive. 

We started “parenting” by adopting a doxie named Buster and seeing him with Cory (and our friends human kids) confirmed to me he would make an amazing father one day! 

We began trying a few months after we got married. Basically we pulled the goalie if you know what I mean…Nothing happened and the following January (9 months after we got married) we began using an AVA bracelet, ovulation tests, tracking my cycle and getting a general idea of when I would ovulate on a cycle tracker app. We tried different TTC methods such as SMTE and every other day during fertile window and more tricks of the trade like elevated hips, using Preseed, and taking supplements to improve our reproductive health. 6 months into trying we began working with my OBGYN (who I love and am so grateful for!) and he did a work up on both of us. He told us that tests showed some issues with both of us that could make it difficult, but to keep trying another 6 months and we would address it again.

6 months went by and we ran some repeats of some tests, and were surprised when we finally got a positive pregnancy test 2 days before my birthday October 7, 2018. Sadly on my birthday, October 9th, I began bleeding and when I saw the doctor they diagnosed it as a chemical pregnancy or missed miscarriage. We were devastated, but also had glimpse of hope that maybe just maybe we could conceive again. In early January 2019 after nothing had happened again, we made an appointment with a highly recommended local fertility clinic. We went to see them at the end of January and an ultrasound confirmed I was getting ready to ovulate. At the same appointment, they went over our history with us, we gave them our medical records, and they told us based on everything including how long we had been trying we would most need IVF (in-vitro fertilization) to get pregnant because we had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally. It was difficult to process and we decided to return to everyday life and thinking about how we would go about affording it. Luckily Cory’s health insurance at the time covered one cycle, but it would still be expensive. Two weeks later, the night before Cory was scheduled to have his gallbladder removed, I threw up my late lunch at work and was over come by extreme nausea due to smells in the break room in my office. I figured it had to be all in my head, but four, yes four, pregnancy tests confirmed I was already pregnant!

Just as it brought us together, We announced with a (LA KINGS) Hockey theme! Our little hockey family was growing! 

My bloodwork was coming back perfect and rising like it should. We saw the little bean at 6 weeks with a fluttering heart that made both of ours melt. Baby was growing and so was my tummy! 

I was overjoyed my dreams of being a mommy were coming true!

We found out at 11 weeks we were expecting a baby GIRL!

My due date was also crazy and amazing – October 31st 2019. Rainbow Baby Month and the Month I lost two pregnancies before!  Not only that, but My grandpa passed away shortly after my wedding and told me one day I would make an amazing mother and his birthday was in October as well as mine, my grandma’s, my father-in law’s, my aunt’s, and my grandparent’s anniversary!

My only real complication was that I suffered from the worst itching from a condition known as Cholestasis of Pregnancy or ICP. (Looking back I swear having ICP was way worse than even my delivery and recovery!)

We scheduled my C-Section for 10/18/2019 which was my dear grandma’s 93rd birthday. 

Baby girl had other plans and wanted her own birthday apparently!

My water broke on its own on the afternoon of October 15th, at 330pm. We raced to the hospital where they confirmed it and in the blink of an eye I was prepped for surgery with my husband and mom by my side.

Kelia Linei Wilson was born at 37 weeks gestation on October 15, 2019 at 8:21pm. Kelia means strong beauty in Hawaiian. She was 6lbs 10oz and 19.5in long. She had some curls of peach fuzz hair and was/still is her daddy’s mini-me.

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

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

His Plans Are Better

August 2, 2020

Written by Rachel Roth, Guest Blogger

As a birthday present, I once sent my husband on a trip without telling him the destination. I set up his GPS, put envelopes with instructions in the glove compartment and sent him on his way to see a professional soccer game with a friend. He would tell me later that he had NO idea where he was headed until he got closer to the destination. He kept trying to guess what was going to happen throughout the day and who he would meet.

It is not all that different from our journey to growing our family. We thought we knew where we were headed only to end up somewhere completely different. 

Since it has been 2 years since my last WTF post, here is a quick recap: my husband and I went through 4 years of infertility that included 8 IUIs and IVFs, 2 miscarriages, and no babies. We stopped fertility treatments and partnered with an adoption agency to pursue a domestic infant adoption. 12 hours after committing, we found out we were pregnant naturally with our son, Ben. As of my last post, we were waiting to be chosen by a birth family. 

You might assume that this post is going to talk about how we finally got chosen by a birth mom and the adoption process, but you would be wrong. We were never chosen and never adopted. So what happened? In the fall and winter of 2018, a few months after my last post, my husband and I began to feel as if the adoption agency we had partnered with was not the right fit for us anymore. We were not thrilled with how things were being managed and decided to part ways with them in January 2019. 

Around that time, we met with a coordinator for CYS (Children and Youth Services) in a neighboring county. A couple from our church had adopted two daughters from foster care in that county. We had not originally considered fostering to adopt because when my husband and I initially discussed adoption in 2015, we were childless after 4 years of infertility. We worried that after years of enduring heartache after heartache, it might be too difficult for us to handle the uncertainty of foster care. Honestly? We were scared. After we had Ben, we moved into a bigger house that happened to be within ONE MILE of where we had to live to foster with the neighboring county. We researched, prayed, discussed and ultimately decided to move forward with fostering to adopt.  

In May 2019, just 3 weeks after getting licensed to be foster parents, we got a phone call that changed our lives.

“There’s a baby girl getting discharged from the NICU. Do you want her?”

My heart raced and I told the woman who called that I would have to speak to my husband. When I called him, I had one hesitation about saying yes: two weeks earlier, I found out I was pregnant again.

On the surface, this may not seem like it should cause hesitation. Isn’t that an exciting and happy thing? To be pregnant AND get a call about a baby in need? Yes, absolutely! However, it is important to know the complexity of our situation. 

Before the phone call in May 2019, I had two more miscarriages in August 2018 and April 2019.  So when I got the phone call about Baby Girl needing a home while I was 6 weeks pregnant, I was terrified. This was pregnancy #6. I had JUST miscarried pregnancy #5 a month prior. Only 1 of my 5 previous pregnancies had resulted in a live birth. I had no idea if pregnancy #6 was viable. Could I really say yes to a foster child while pregnant and worried about miscarrying? Would I be able to give the foster child the attention and love she deserved? Doubts and questions swarmed in the 10 seconds it took me to hang up and call my husband to get his take. 

His answer was immediate and succinct: “We wanted children. There is no WAY we’re saying no.”

6 hours after the phone call, our 2.5 year old son got to hold his 2.5 month old foster sister and my heart melted. As I watched his smile bloom at this precious child in his arms that he had only known for a few hours, I knew Baby Girl was where she belonged. 

6 weeks later, I was in the Gynecologist’s office waiting to get news of my pregnancy. I had not miscarried yet, but the odds were not in our favor. The nurse got the ultrasound set up and searched for the baby. After a minute of searching, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world: the heartbeat of our unborn child. I immediately burst into happy tears. 

The next few months were crazy and passed with a blur. It was filled with twice a week visitation for Baby Girl with her birth parents, doctor appointments for baby #3, four hearings, and keeping up with my rambunctious toddler. 

In January 2020, Jacob Thomas was born, 10 months after his foster sister. We picked the middle name Thomas, not just because it is a family surname on my side, but also because it means “twin.” Two siblings that are less than a year apart are often referred to as “Irish twins.” We wanted Jacob to have a tie to his foster sister, no matter what happens. 

It has been nearly 6 months since Jacob was born and over a year since Baby Girl came to our family. We have not adopted her yet, as her birth parent’s rights have not been terminated.  However, her case has moved to the adoption unit at CYS, which means the county is moving forward with terminating parental rights. Baby Girl’s story is a tremendous one all on its own, so be on the lookout for another post detailing the whole process!

We know we are truly blessed by our three children. The pain and sorrow of infertility never truly goes away, but the rough edges are softened by gratefulness. Each child is a miracle in their own way. Both our sons are double rainbow babies (born after two miscarriages) and basically medical miracles for being conceived naturally when given less than a 1% chance of that happening. Baby girl was born at 27 weeks weighing a mere 2 pounds. Today, all three are happy, completely healthy, and they remind me daily that my plans are not His plans and that is perfect because His plans are BETTER. 

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

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