The Start of Something New

I sit in our home office catching up on blogger friends lives, family blogs, and wonder how on earth I use to have so much to write about… And some people actually found it interesting? Maybe because when you’re a RPLer (RPL = repeat pregnancy loss) and Infertile (IF) you kind of band together. Some beat the odds and expand their families and some don’t – some are still waiting.. I struggle with even writing about our story anymore – because, well, we got lucky. I beat IF and RPL. BUT, it’s a vital portion of our testimony. It’s something that has shaped our faith and family. It’s something that I refused to keep too quiet about because well – GOD! He deserves all the glory because He gave us a miracle.

4 years ago (yesterday, actually) I underwent a surgery. Surgery that left me scarred and damaged – not just emotionally – but phyisically.

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When a surgeon “accidentally” drops your ovary and fallopian tube on to the cauterization tool it leaves a mark.. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) it was a scar that no one could see. It’s only evidence was the tears that only the closest people to me saw. It wasn’t until later that I finally spoke out and admitted the struggles this damage caused. And honestly, it’s a hurdle I get to deal with each time we consider adding a babe to our family. For those who may not know – I have a useless fallopian tube hanging out inside me. This same tube was the one that ended up homing my first babe – my ectopic baby (July 24th, 2013). Resulting in immediate termination and emergency surgery. They left it in there, so the anxiety with every subsequent pregnancy remains. There is no way I want to experience that again, but my odds of it happening are much higher than your average Joe Shmoe. As much as I look forward to a positive pregnancy test, it also scares the crap out of me.

After my first loss we endured 2 more miscarriages – one at 5.5 weeks (Sept 24th, 2013) and one at 11.5 weeks (April 25th, 2014), Colton James Brooks. Yes, he was boy, he had triploidy and was very sick. I’m thankful to know and fully understand that this world is not my permanent home and I have 3 gorgeous babes waiting for me. I cannot describe the amount of anticipation I have everyday waiting to meet them. This was the most trying season of my life. In November 2014, after one failed medicated cycle, we attempted a second. Letrozole, trigger, TI, and progesterone + baby aspirin + lots of ultrasounds later we got Crosby. And we got to keep him. He stayed a full 40 weeks in my belly and made his beautiful entrance into this world on August 6, 2015 (my EDD).

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13 months later we find ourselves on cycle #7 trying for a second baby. Here’s what’s the kicker, if it were JUST a bum tube and past RPL I would be fine waiting however long it takes for #2 to join us. BUT, add endometriosis, Diminished Ovarian Reserve, RPL, MTHFR, and a bum tube it makes me scratch my head a little when it’s all of a sudden taking longer than it did in the first year of our marriage. I know God is faithful, cause I’ve seen Him bring redemption into my life before… Hello – I have Crosby! But – If I’m honest, it still stings a little when things aren’t going the way you thought they could go. It still hurts when you get the “not yet” or the negative test. It still isn’t fun to be in a season of waiting, again.

For a while I was feeling selfish – like how dare I even consider complaining. I have my miracle. But then I realized that adding more kiddos to our family isn’t selfish – it is a God-given desire and it’s ok to struggle when it’s not happening the way we thought. It doesn’t make me greedy, it doesn’t make me selfish, and just because I have a babe now doesn’t make my feelings or desires less valid.

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SOO- with that said – because I am still breastfeeding we cannot do fertility treatments. And I am ok with that. I’m not ready for that. I want to trust and believe that I’ll get to experience a naturally conceived baby that I don’t have to say good-bye to. I want that and I believe that God just might give me that desire. I could be wrong, but I hope I am not. To be pro-active we are doing a few things:

Blood work

Lots of blood work.

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9/7/16 – this is what is currently being processed.

  • AMH
  • FSH
  • CORTISOL
  • TSH
  • FREE T3 & T4
  • ESTRODIOL
  • DHEA
  • PROLACTIN
  • LIPID
  • CBC
  • METABOLIC PANEL

Within the next month I will have also completed:

  • CD 21 Progesterone
  • micronutrients panel
  • 96 different foods allergy panel

It was recently discovered in last years food allergy (only 12ish different foods) that I am allergic to wheat. As of last Friday I have been proactively removing all wheat from my diet. I used to be GF/dairy free/soy free/egg free, but when I became pregnant nothing bothered me. Until after I delivered my son I was great – then I went down hill again, but I never re-removed those foods from my diet – except dairy cause my son couldn’t tolerate it for a long time. So, back to square one. It’s an adjustment and knowing I am allergic – makes me even more strict with my diet. I am glad to feel like I am doing something proactive – not only for my fertility and family planning but my overall health and well-being. There ya have it gang – here’s the plan for the Brooks’!

Here’s to hoping we get to have another babe in our near-ish future!

PS – WordPress also wished me a Happy 2-Year Anniversary of Blogging with them.. Which means I’ve been a blogger for 4 years now (2 with Blogspot.com and 2 with WordPress.com).

OH – and Happy Birthday to ME and my Twinsie (tomorrow!!!)

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When it comes to number 2

And no… I’m not talking about poop. As a momma it’s easy to assume the conversation will always end on a poo discussion.. But this comes to BABY number 2.

I EBF my boy, Crosby, for the 6 six months of his life and then we added solids. He still nursed, and continues to nurse to this day. However, at 7.5 month PP I got my lovely cycle back. During my whole PP phase we never decided to use any form of birth control (for many reasons I don’t think I need to explain). So we definitely were not “trying” but we weren’t protecting either. We are totally ok with the second baby coming whenever (BAHAHA insert nieve thinking here). Well, as you’ve guessed, there’s no “bun in the oven”. Once my cycle returned we jumped straight into actively trying. I am now on cycle number 6.

I can’t say I’m overly optimistic. I’m absolutely terrified of another loss – even after having a perfectly healthy baby. I’m baffled and discouraged that I feel like I am back at square one. But I also have guilt and shame – because – well.. I have ONE baby. I got what I wanted – how dare I be selfish and wish for more and then be heart broken that it’s not happening on my timeline. But, I am clouded with the thoughts of “what if”…

  • what if I can’t have another
  • what if I need fertility treatments again
  • what if I have another miscarriage… or heaven forbid more than one
  • what if I don’t have any eggs left
  • what if…

The list can go on and on.

6 cycles is nothing.. but as a recovering RPLer and fertility treatment junky it’s making me scratch my head.

So, here we go. My first step is going to be a naturopathic fertility specialist. Since I am still breastfeeding and don’t plan on weaning until AT LEAST 18 months I would like to continue on the natural side of things if possible. Once my son is weaned, if we have still not yet had any glimmer of hope for baby number 2, I imagine we will go directly back to SRM – Spokane.

I’ve always wanted 3 kiddos… That’s what our dream was… But the older I get the more I find myself convincing myself and my hubby that just maybe ONE will be enough… My heart doesn’t believe it yet… My heart doesn’t feel complete yet. There are more babies to housed in this body of mine.. I’m just terrified that I won’t get to bring them all home.

 

Crosby Turns One

Dear Crosby,

One.Full.Year.

Unbelievable. They tell you it goes fast. They say that you’ll blink and you’ll be in college. I believe every single word they say. You, sweet boy, are so sassy, stubborn, spirited, funny, wild, loving, determined and crazy! I can’t help but melt every single time I look at you. I never knew my heart could expand the way it has over the last year.

I’m a little late writing this. Mostly because, well you are very busy right now. You do so much. Then during your naps I “reset” our spaces and get a few things done that publishing a blog has been low on the list.

I never knew that God would be gracious enough to let us have you. After our wild journey to have you I’m continually blown away at his mercy. I hope and pray that every day you are continually reminded of His perfect plan and that He is completely FOR you. Always. Never ever does He make a mistake in the plans He has for your life. You WILL do great things. Of this, I am 100% certain.

I’ve loved watching you grow, be challenged with new tasks to learn, milestones to reach, all the while your eyes are filled with wonder. Never lose that sense of wonder. Be a dreamer and while you’re at it… Dream BIG.

I love you more than you’ll ever know…

Love you always,

The Momma

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Weight: Crosby is 23lbs and 31 inches tall – He wears some pretty snug 12m pj’s and then is almost exclusively in 18m clothing and some 18-24m clothing.

Wordsmama, dada, cat (sorta, haha!), up, dog, and we’re pretty certain you said “done” last night at dinner. There is absolutely no consistency with your words. However, you are getting incredibly good at signing “please” and “more”. You will have manners, sweet one.

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Teeth: You have 7 choppers to help you hoarf down all that yummy food you’ve been eating! Your first dentist appointment was amazing, all looks perfect and healthy!

Sleep/Naps: You are taking 2-ish naps a day and sleeping a full-uninterrupted 12 hrs at night. It’s glorious. I’m amazed and proud and momma isn’t so cray-cray now that you are sleeping through the night!

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That belly though🙂

Nicknames: Chobby, Chubbers, Bubba, baby, Crozzy, Dobby, and whatever else comes outta my mouth. But Chobby takes the lead right now.

Milestones:

  • Cruising furniture – took two independent steps (TODAY!!)
  • Clapping
  • Dancing
  • very good listener
  • will bring me objects without prompting
  • has attempted taking an interest in drawing at my Saturday morning momma group
  • loves being involved with the cooking and baking of his food
  • Can identify who people are in pictures (really only himself, momma, and daddy)
  • Is great at a 3 piece puzzle
  • loves matching the shapes in the hole of his toys
  • loves using anything as a hat and attempting to put on sunglasses🙂

So many things my busy-body boy does that I just can’t keep up. I love watching him learn and process. It’s my favorite.

Birthday Picture Camera Dump:

Thank you to my good friend Sue for snapping some pics during his party with our camera.

 

Mommy and Me/Breastfeeding awareness month pics:

Thank you Esther Edith Photography for capturing some sweet sweet moments with me and my boy

The First Year

As we embarked on the expansion of our family I was well aware that so many things would change. That friendships would change. That I would change. I knew there were going to be moments of refinement and transition. That I’ll learn to adapt and find balance.

This year proved to me the hardest year of my life, the loneliest, and also the most rewarding and full of growth.


I found out who my friends were- or lack thereof. People flock to you when you have a new born. Friends and family come to help and hold baby. But, the minute my husband left for work out of town for 4 months, I became so sleep deprived and lonely that I got 2 stomach bugs and 4 colds/flu. And because I was sick, no one wanted to help. But I was crying out for it. I wept multiple times on weekend nights my hubby was home, out of sheer exhaustion. 

But well before any of this – and actually almost a year ago to the date, my very best friend was banned from my baby shower by her husband because they didn’t like one person in attendance.. I was shocked and deeply hurt that the person who’s held my hand through three losses was ok with up and leaving just like that… She was Auntie in my eyes… I haven’t really spoken to her since. I still cry at this loss. I felt abandoned by someone I considered as my sister, my family. This was my first experience of losing part of my tribe.. And my baby wasn’t even here yet.

I cannot tell you how many times I reached out, shyly admitting to PPD/PPA and getting responses like, “this is what it’s like being a mom”, “it’s not what you thought it was huh”, “maybe you just weren’t ready”…

I learned that I am resilient. That I can battle through and even in the worst moments when I am flu ridden, puking, fever, aches, pains, chills and colds I can care for my little one and still stand tall and do exceptionally well with little help. Once my hubby returned, things significantly improved- but I won’t dare say that it solved the need and desire for community. For my tribe.


The calls spread further, on both ends… And I wandered my way through a few other tribes of momma groups… Not really ever feeling like I found my niche. Then I became so full of desire to fill a gap that I myself have been walking through… That this right of passage to motherhood via birth of any form (vaginal, cesarian, medication free or as many as possible to ease the physical pain of labor) was not a road to be walked alone. I wanted to be a momma’s biggest fan, a support in the hard fight of bringing a baby earth side, then the tricky  and sometimes not-so-tricky transition to being “mommy”…. To your 1st or your 10th! 

Crosby’s 1st birthday is just around the corner and as I drove home from worship I couldn’t help but reflect that things have changed so dramatically and my first year of being a mom is defined best in one word.

Loneliness.

I’m definitely not pointing fingers because I’m half to blame. At about 8 weeks postpartum the baby blues hung around…. And once my hubby left town for work it increased and I finally admitted to PPD/PPA… But I mostly struggled in silence. It went untreated, but not unspoken. As the depression got thicker and I struggled with the transition of mommy hood I stopped reaching out.. Because I didn’t want to be “THAT” mom. I already had the reflux/colic baby who was a terrible sleeper and napper. I had, and still have a somewhat “fussy” baby, that’s hard to work around. We struggled terribly with breastfeeding and weight gain, he became mobile and distracted at an early age and nursing him while out was a chore. Not to mention, heaven forbid he has a reflux moment and I’m now wearing all the milk he just ate but he was too and I just… Nothing ever came naturally to me. I fumbled and yes… Was way too concerned while how I appeared to be handling mommy life… So I secluded myself more…

I feel once Crosby grew out of a lot of his hardness my ties had been broken and everyone moved on. I’ve been attempting to reignite, or establish new reltionships. I’m in counseling for PPD/PPA, I’m searching for mommy groups and pursuing my passion as a birth and bereavement doula. To continuously support all momma’s through all transitions.


God has blessed me immensely. But I’ve still felt lonely. Part of it was the lack of intimacy with Him… So I was/am more intentional with my time and spending time praying and in the word…

But, I’m still transitioning to finding my tribe. Finding my people. Maybe they’re right under my nose…. Maybe not… 

Mommy hood is hard. I expected I would be a “natural” because I always wanted to be “mommy”. I don’t regret it, I don’t wish I chose otherwise… But I’ve continually been surprised at the growth required for the first year of parenting. Especially parenting after loss… I know exactly what I’m missing out on, and as hard as it’s been…. I still wish I would have been able to hold and parent each one that was lost.