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A Sign from My Angel Baby

September 15, 2020

Written by Natalie Arndt, Guest Blogger

I had been feeling unlike myself. SO tired and MAJORLY exhausted – a lack of energy that was just so unlike me. I blamed it on jet lag. My boyfriend John (now husband) and I had just returned from an epic vacation in Panama & Colombia. But deep in my heart, I knew something was up. For one, I could not stop peeing. So yeah, pregnancy problems. I had zero intention of getting pregnant. John and I were not in that place in our lives. We had JUST moved to Sacramento (where we met as college sweethearts) from San Francisco. We wanted to be able to afford to travel more. And let’s be honest, paying up the you know what for rent in San Francisco wasn’t fueling that dream of ours. We were happy to be back in Sacramento. It was a new start for us. 

That evening I went and took a pregnancy test. I had one left over from a pregnancy “scare” a couple months before. I missed the stick. WTF?! Really? Fine, I’ll leave it on the counter and try again next time I have to pee. Sure enough, I woke up in the middle of the night during one of my many trips to the bathroom. Half asleep and mid pee, I remembered about the test. I quickly grabbed it, and thankfully peed on it *correctly* this time. “There’s no way”, I thought. “It’s just jet lag.” Two minutes later that POSITIVE blue plus sign popped up. WHAT THE ACTUAL F?!? 

It was September 9, 2016. To this day this haunts me that I actually felt this way, but to be 100% honest, what I felt was sheer panic and disappointment. I DID NOT want to be pregnant. I wanted to travel, explore, and grow my PR consulting business that I had just started. I immediately ran back to bed in tears and woke John up. “JOHN, I AM F*CKING PREGNANT! WHAT THE HELL… HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!” His reaction was happy, excited, and to be honest.. a little annoying. How did he not seem at all worried about HOW we were going to do this?! This is typical behavior from him. He is always cool and calm. Unlike me, a high strung, high energetic, hot mess express. I was scared, like really scared, but I have to admit he did give me a sense of calm in those first few moments. 

Weeks went by and I had barely told anyone. Not even our parents. I was still in shock and disbelief, and I wanted to see the heartbeat and be SURE this was happening. At my 8 week appointment, my husband and I saw that sweet, tiny heartbeat for the first time. I was a mix of emotions. It was so beautiful to see a little life that we created, but also WTF?! How were we going to do this? HOW were we going to tell people?! What would they think? Looking back, I wish I didn’t care what people had thought. John and I had been together for 6 years at the time, and it was pretty clear that we were sticking together. Who cares if we weren’t married?! I wish I had embraced this pregnancy more, because I had no idea how much I could lose at the time. 

Months went by, we told our family and friends. People were SO happy for us. It finally felt real. We found out that we were having a boy at my 20-week anatomy scan. A BABY BOY! Oh, my heart fell so in love with him right then and there when I heard those words, “It’s a Boy!” But what made it game over for me was when I finally started feeling those tiny little kicks. OH MY GOSH, was there ever a more magical feeling?! I was in LOVE. 

I had a follow up scan at 23 weeks pregnant because my little guy wasn’t in a great position at the 20-week anatomy scan. They wanted to get a few more images, so there we were, laughing with the ultrasound technician that he was already a troublemaker. Once we left the doctors office, we drove down to the San Francisco Bay Area where my parents lived. It was the day before Christmas Eve and we were looking forward to spending time with family. I was so excited and happy after this appointment. I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car on the drive down, and decided to post a photo announcing my pregnancy on social media. We had been keeping it mostly to ourselves and our close circle for a while at that point. I was nervous as hell, but I was FINALLY beaming with joy and wanted to share it. The amount of love and support we received was beautiful. It all felt so right. This is happening. We had the best few days celebrating Christmas with the family. Everyone was so happy about the new baby, and I finally was showing a little. My loved ones were starting to rub my bump. Kind of weird, but also cute, and I secretly loved it! 

The morning of December 27, 2016, my life would forever change. My husband left for work that morning. He still worked at his job in San Francisco, even though we lived in Sacramento now. My plan was to head back to Sacramento alone. At the last minute, my Grandmother decided to catch a ride with me since she lived about halfway between the two cities. Thank God she did. 

We arrived at my Grandmother’s house and I was helping her unload her bags and gifts out of the car. Suddenly, my dog ran across the street. He was a puppy at the time, and was not very well trained. I ran after him and suddenly collapsed, falling flat on my face. I was in and out of consciousness and was having trouble breathing. The last thing I remember was my Grandmother on the phone with 911 and then the paramedics rushing me to the ER. 

In the ER, doctors had discovered that a massive blood clot traveled to my lung (a pulmonary embolism). I then went into cardiac arrest several times. The doctors were fighting for my life and made the difficult decision to focus on saving me instead of my baby. Unfortunately and unknowingly to me at the time, my sweet baby boy could not survive the trauma that my body went through. He did not make it. From there, it was days and weeks of struggle and heartbreak as I lost my son and had to fight for my life. I was on a ventilator for three days, unable to breathe on my own. I continuously pointed to my belly asking how my baby boy was, and no one would tell me. For fear of upsetting me while I was too weak. I cried, a lot, even though I was in and out of consciousness. I thought it was ALL my fault. What did I do wrong? Why did this happen?

My doctors were worried about how they were going to deliver my son. My body was too weak to go through any surgery, and all options were dangerous for me and my life. My family, heartbroken and worried, asked doctors to wait. On the second day on the ventilator, December 29, 2016, my body went into labor, and I gave birth to my beautiful son, James Arndt. He was 1lb 10oz and 11 inches long. Thank God I remember those moments I was able to hold him. John, my Mom, Dad, Brother, and my Mother-in-Law were all able to hold him and pray with him. On a ventilator, hooked up to a million machines, I remember crying holding my beautiful son. I felt SO guilty. How did I take this beautiful life for granted for long? WHY didn’t I appreciate him more? He was gone. Just like that. 

The next day, I came off the ventilator. My body started to recover pretty quickly. Doctors were amazed that I did not have brain damage like they had been expecting. My heart and even my lungs were improving. The doctor finally was able to explain to me why this all happened. I have Prothrombin G20210A (Factor II Mutation) clotting disorder, and I would be on blood thinner medicine for the rest of my life. 

 After 3 long weeks in the hospital, with the love and support of my family and friends, the care from the wonderful doctors and nurses at Kaiser, and by the Grace of God, I was able to go home. It was a long road to recovery, physically, but most of all, mentally. I was heartbroken and I did not know how to begin to navigate this loss. The doctors let me know I had to wait a year before trying to get pregnant again so that my body and my heart could fully recover. A YEAR?! That felt like an eternity. Even when it was time to try again, I would be considered a “high risk” pregnancy, would be in blood thinner injections twice a day, and I would be closely monitored. Just a couple weeks before, I was considered a low-risk pregnancy and I was more than halfway through my pregnancy with my baby boy. I felt so alone and depressed. 

Looking back, that time in my life was pretty dark. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but I was so, so broken. Every pregnant woman, every birth announcement, every baby shower, was like a dagger to my heart. I suffered from PTSD, crippling anxiety and panic attacks, thinking something was wrong with me and that I was suddenly going to die or have another blood clot stop my heart. It was rough. Real rough. 

With the support of John, my friends and family and through my faith, I was able to heal. In October 2017, John and I got engaged. I started to finally feel joy again and feel like parts of myself were coming back. Planning the wedding was almost therapeutic for me. I wanted a quick engagement, because we were going to try for another baby RIGHT after the wedding. It’s all I could think about. The wedding was perfect, our honeymoon was magical, but I was ready to get home and get that IUD the EF OUT! 

I was reminded several times how risky it was, how tough this would be, but I did not care. I had one dream now, and it was to hold an alive and well baby in my arms. I started on my twice a day Lovenox blood thinner injections and all I could think about morning, noon and night was finally being pregnant.  I was impatient when we were TTC (trying to conceive). I would take a million pregnancy tests the days before I was due to get my period, and with each negative, I would feel frustrated and beyond disappointed. I had a fear in the back of my mind that I was not able to get pregnant after everything. I worried that we would try for a year or even more, and I would be on twice a day injection shots for nothing. I prayed to God, and I prayed to my son. I wanted this baby. 

A week before our 30th Birthdays (John & I were born a day apart), and just before moving into our new home, I found out I was pregnant. It was an out of body experience seeing that positive test for the first time. I think I took about 10 tests thereafter to be “sure” I was pregnant. I was SO shocked, SO scared, but most of all OVER THE F*CKING MOON. FINALLY, I was going to get my rainbow baby after one hell of a storm. My grandmother, who helped save my life that tragic day by calling 911, had unexpectedly passed away. Just days after my wedding. I found out I was pregnant on her Birthday. I cried SO hard, I knew it was a sign from her. 

The wait for the 8-week appointment felt like a year. I was in constant fear that I was losing the baby, my anxiety was high, but I was too excited and told everyone and anyone in my life that I was pregnant. The day was finally here. I held my breath waiting for that heartbeat. Waiting…. and waiting. Nope. No, heartbeat. My doctor told me that it could be too early, and to come back in two weeks. I tracked my cycle to a T, and in my heart I knew there wasn’t going to be a baby. My biggest fear came true. I was going to have a miscarriage. A misscariage. Really!? And I did. I had a miscarrigage. After everything I’d been through, WHY do I deserve this? I was angry, disappointed, and started to think that I was never going to become a Mom. Ever. 

I didn’t give up though, and thank God, by my very next cycle I found out that I was pregnant. Again. It was so hard to be 100% excited after having a miscarriage just weeks before. I didn’t want to tell anyone this time. I wanted, no NEEDED, to see that heartbeat. Another long wait for that 8-week appointment, and I prayed and prayed nonstop. The day came and there I am again, holding my breath while my doctor looked for that heartbeat. Then she said the most beautiful words to any Mama going through pregnancy after loss can hear…  “Anddd there’s the heartbeat!” TEARS. Tears streamed down my face as I laughed and cried simultaneously. After two long years, I finally was able to hear my baby’s heartbeat again. 

Pregnancy after loss is no joke. I was SO scared, SO fearful. I prayed and prayed Every. Single. Day. That THIS baby would make it, that THIS baby would live, and also that I would live. When I made it out of the first trimester, I finally stopped thinking about miscarriage. I was less nauseous and felt like I was going to get through this, but when I was 13-weeks pregnant, I started HEAVILY bleeding in the middle of the night. I SCREAMED and cried and yelled. I was visiting my parents, and my Mom rushed me to the ER. She had no words to comfort me. How was this happening again? I was able to get in right away, and the doctor checked on the baby, who was kicking around with a strong heartbeat. I was in SHOCK. The baby was still alive. Turns out, I had a subchorionic Hematoma. Chorionic hematoma is the pooling of blood between the chorion, a membrane surrounding the embryo, and the uterine wall. It guess occurs in about 3.1% of all pregnancies. I bled on and off the entire 2nd trimester. I used a doppler to listen to the heartbeat to help subside my anxiety, and I listened to that heartbeat as often as I needed to for peace of mind. 

Even though I was scared, I wanted to celebrate this baby to the fullest. We found out we were having a GIRL. I decorated the nursery and took a million and one pictures. I wanted to document Every. Single. Moment. I didn’t want to take pregnancy for granted this time. What I’ve been given is the ultimate gift, and I cherished everything about it. I am one of those weirdos that LOVES being pregnant. The third trimester came. The bleeding stopped. I could feel my baby girl move, and each day, I was that much closer to holding her. Viability weeks came, and I started to feel more and more like this was actually going to happen. I WAS GOING TO MEET MY BABY! At 39 weeks, I was taken off my blood thinners, and I was induced into labor. 

On July 23, 2019 at 5:34 a.m. my beautiful rainbow, Gianna Jaymes Arndt, was born. All the praying in the world could not have prepared me for how truly special and beautiful this moment was. Her little cry was music to my heart, and she was so, so beautiful and perfect. She is now 13-months old and it’s still surreal to me that she is here. After she was born, I still had a lot of anxiety about something happening to her. And I also didn’t expect to grieve my son so much during this time. The first year of motherhood is a challenge to say the least, but it’s also so, so beautiful and special. 

I realize now that Gianna is here because of James. He saved my life. Without him, I would never have known about my blood clotting disorder. Without him, Gianna or I might not be here today. For that, he will always be my guardian angel. I know he is looking down on his little sister and watching over her. I feel him with us everyday. I want to make sure when Gianna grows up, she always knows that she has a big brother who has her back. 

The other day, I dropped Gianna off at her first day of daycare and was driving when my navigation took me a different way. Tired, exhausted and in a rush, I am eyeing a Starbucks in the distance, when I realize I am right by the cemetery where James is buried. This is not the first time that this has happened. So I decide to pull in, and go sit with my sweet boy. I started to feel like it was a sign from him. Caught up with the stress and worry of life and motherhood that day, I didn’t realize how much I needed to slow down and have a have a moment with him to reflect and help me see how lucky I am to be here and how truly blessed John and I are to have our sweet rainbow baby girl in our lives. I prayed, thanked him for watching over our family, especially his sister, and Facetimed John as we cried and talked about what he might be like if he were still here today. Later that day, I looked at the date. It was September 9, 2020. Four years ago to the day that I found out that I was pregnant with him. I was rushed with emotions. It’s almost like he needed me that day and that’s why I was pulled there. OR he knew how much I needed him and really needed a reminder of how precious life is. Maybe we both just needed each other. Thank you for the reminder, my sweet boy. Keep sending Mama those signs. I need them, and I hope you know how loved and remembered you are, always. 

If you’d like to connect with Natalie, you can find her on her personal or business Instagram, or over on her website!

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Step Into My Office

September 1, 2020

Written by Not a Fictional Mum, Guest Blogger

Is there some reason my coffee isn’t here? Has she died or something”
The Devil Wears Prada

You can’t have a baby; You throw yourself into your job. 

You get promoted.

You get promoted. 

You buy another handbag. 

Five years down the line, you’re still throwing yourself into your work because it’s better than throwing yourself anywhere else.

Payroll Sharon is telling everyone ‘you’re a hard-faced cow, who doesn’t like kids and just wants to expand her collection of expensive shoes and bags. ‘   (less gossiping, more focus on the accuracy of my pay packet please Sharon.)

Time. is. money. Actually, whilst I’m on this topic can we STOP MEASURING WOMEN’S SOCIETY CONTRIBUTION LEVELS BY HOW OFTEN THEY PROCREATE!!!

Because you could argue (Sharon) that these women are selflessly allowing your gene pool to benefit by not adding to the increasingly, overly- populated planet. (Hi Greta, HUGE fan)

Could. Argue. My belief; You get one life, that’s a fucking privilege. You must do whatever it is YOU want to do.   I can remember the early days, the fun ‘trying for baby days’ when you didn’t have to set an alarm by it or threaten your husband to get back to the house within the next 30 minutes ready for duty OR. ELSE!!!! 

I remember taking a promotion during these days, turning to NFD saying;  *And I quote; “Yea, I’ll take it. Will only be about a year before I’m pregnant anyway, the extra money will come in handy for all the baby stuff.” Let me tell you; the only thing that money came in handy for was fertility bills followed by holidays to soften every blow.  The only part that shames me about this period in my life, was that I used to sodding well go along with it!!!! Somehow, it became easier to play along than tell anyone the truth.

I was living such a lie. Secretly, I was in so much pain. I’d actually lost my voice, my real voice. I know what you’re thinking;  ” She’s got no problem finding it now.” 

I went into work the day after Mother’s Day.

The day prior to this, I’d miscarried.

A colleague turned to me and said; ” She’s not interested in hearing about what people got up too with their kids at the weekend, she’s practically allergic to them” 

I laughed. 

I cried. 

I Cried. 

I Cried. 

*For the rest of my days, nothing will top watching payroll Sharon’s face when I waltzed on in explaining I would be off on Adoption leave by the end of the week.
Drop. The. Mic.

*Payroll Sharon is a fictional character based on . . . .someone else.

If you’d like to connect with Not a Fictional Mum, you can find her on Instagram or her blog!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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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!

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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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4 Ways I Managed My Post-Partum Depression

June 30, 2020

Written by Patricia Monson, Guest Blogger

Post-partum depression is something that’s hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it yourself. During my pregnancy, I understood that it existed, but didn’t think it would ever happen to me. 

How wrong I was. Post-partum depression hit hard, and I was left wondering how on earth I was going to manage my mental health while caring for the newborn I loved so much. It was a tough process, but I found that the following 4 things were key in managing my depression. 

Become Familiar With Your Symptoms & Triggers

Many moms confuse the symptoms of post-partum depression (PPD) with the side effects of parenting a newborn. Fatigue caused by sleepless nights might cause you to feel overwhelmed or cry during the day, but it might also be a sign of depression. 

Get to know the common symptoms of PPD so that you and your loved ones can learn to spot them in your own life. You should also keep an eye out for triggers that might cause symptoms or make them worse. I found that my most telling symptom was a loss of appetite, which then led to guilt about how I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed to feed my daughter. 

Blend Lifestyle Remedies with Professional Help 

PPD isn’t something you should ignore. It can be a very serious problem and will make your first months as a parent extremely difficult. 

I found that the best way to manage my PPD was to combine lifestyle changes and awareness of my symptoms with professional help. Please do not hesitate to seek help from a qualified therapist if you are experiencing depression as a new mother! You may benefit from talk therapy or medication. 

Find Out What Treatments Work For You

Everyone’s PPD experience is different. You might find that you have physical symptoms like headaches (I did!) that go along with irritability, guilt, anxiety, and overwhelm. 

It’s important to take some time to figure out some treatment options and try them out. If they don’t work right away, don’t get discouraged. You just need to experiment and find what works for you. 

Find Support Groups – Personal or Online 

From my experience, I know just how alone post-partum depression can make you feel. By connecting with other moms who have been there, you can get advice and support when you need them. There are lots of support groups out there, whether on the web or in your local area. Don’t be afraid to reach out so you can share stories and ask questions.  

Moms who are struggling: I see you. I know you have your own personal journey for dealing with post-partum depression, but I hope that what I’ve learned will help you.

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To the Momma Hurting this Mother’s Day

May 8, 2020

Written by Ginny Helmer, Guest Blogger

To the momma with empty arms,

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m almost 36 weeks pregnant with our miracle child. Our precious and oh-so-prayed-for rainbow baby boy.

Yes, rainbow. Yes, miracle.

For almost 2 years, my husband and I suffered through infertility. Our reproductive endocrinologist gave us a less than 5% chance of ever being able to conceive on our own. Therefore, I remember Mothers Day 2018 so very well. It was my first Mother’s Day as a married woman, but also my first Mothers Day longing for a child that had not come. It was really, really hard. I felt so alone.

So, when we finally got our two pink lines almost a year later, we couldn’t stop rejoicing. Therefore, I remember Mothers Day 2019 as my first one as a mom. I was almost 9 weeks along and I was on cloud nine the entire day. I dreamed about what it would be like next Mother’s Day when my baby I was currently carrying would be here in my arms.

But just a few weeks later, even after hearing a strong heartbeat at 8 weeks, our baby died and I subsequently and traumatically miscarried at 12 weeks pregnant. Suddenly, I no longer wanted the flowers I had received as gifts for my first Mothers Day and threw them all away. I no longer felt like a mom at all. I no longer saw myself as someone worth celebrating. I was so broken and so hurt. There is no pain that can ever equal to the pain of losing a child.

Now, even though I know how blessed I am that this Mother’s Day is the greatest one yet for my husband and I, I am hurting.

I hurt for the momma who is missing her baby/babies who never made it earthside. She feels so confused. She is a mom, but her arms remain empty this Mother’s Day.

I hurt for the momma whose embryos didn’t stick, or whose IUI didn’t take. She spent so much money for a shot at achieving her dream. She is broken this Mother’s Day, and maybe questioning if she’ll ever get the chance to truly be a momma.

I hurt for the momma who has been trying to conceive for such a long time. She wants to be a mom so much it hurts her so deeply. She just keeps getting negative results, and no one can tell her why…at least not yet.

I hurt for the momma who just found out someone, or maybe more than just one someone, in her life is expecting. She wants to be happy for them and she puts on a smile and tries her best to do so, but when she gets home she is devastated and the tears won’t stop coming. She wonders, “why can’t it just be my turn?”

I hurt for the momma who has a little kid or two already, but is longing to complete her family. She is so confused on how she should feel. She is so thankful for the little ones she does have, but heartbroken that she’s not been able to conceive again. Maybe she doesn’t think her pain is valid.
I hurt for the momma who just got told her levels didn’t rise.

I hurt for the momma that just got told that there is no longer a heartbeat.
I hurt for the momma who doesn’t even get the choice to really try for who knows how long, due to COVID-19.
I hurt for the momma who woke up to a new cycle starting and is facing great disappointment.
I hurt for the momma who is overcoming her fear of needles and injecting herself with medications day and night to hopefully bring herself closer to a baby.
I hurt for the momma who feels like she is the only one in the world who is going through this.
I hurt for the momma who is suffering harsh side effects from her fertility medications and hoping and praying that they will work.
I hurt for the momma who just got her infertility diagnosis and is so confused on where to even go from here.
I hurt for the momma whose friend or family member made a comment or two that pierced so deep, yet she tries with all of her might to have grace, knowing they just don’t understand.
I hurt for the momma who can’t walk by the baby section without tears filling their eyes.
I hurt for the momma whose adoption fell through.
I hurt for the momma who was just told she has no chance of ever conceiving a child.
I hurt for the momma who is waiting on foster placements.
I hurt for the momma who feels like she’s letting everyone around her down. She wonders why her body is failing her. Did she do something wrong? Is this her fault?

I hurt for the mommas who don’t feel that they are worthy enough to be loved, celebrated, or remembered this Mother’s Day.

So, to the momma with empty arms, I want you to know this:
If you are struggling through infertility or miscarriage this Mother’s Day, know that you are seen. Know that you are important. Know that your worth is not and never will be defined by your ability to have children. Know that you are not alone. Know that you can reach out. Know that you can talk about it. Know that you are brave. Know that you are strong! Know that you have so much courage. Know that your baby’s life matters. Know that you ARE A MOM even though your baby isn’t with you today. Know that you are still just as much a momma even if you don’t feel like one and your arms are empty.

Momma, cry if you need to. Scream. Punch a punching bag. Feel the pain, the hurt, the confusion. Deactivate social media. Vent. Bake. Eat ice cream. Drink wine. Binge Netflix. Watch a movie. Skip the family gathering if you need to. Protect yourself. Love on yourself. Take care of yourself. These things that you feel – they are VALID. It’s okay to cope and heal the way that you need to.

I hope you know how amazing you are and I pray that your time is coming, babe. Until then, keep fighting. Don’t give up. Hold up your head and lean into your support system. One day at a time.

You got this, momma. And know that I am cheering you on!

If you’d like to connect with Ginny, you can find her over on Facebook or Instagram.

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