Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't ask me how I'm doing...

Don't ask me how I'm doing, it pains me to have to lie.
Please don't tell me to have a great day, because nothing is great about it.

These are two of the worst parts of my day.

Every day I wake and put on a brave face as I ready my children for school and kiss my husband goodbye.
I get in the car and proceed on my long commute to work.

About 3-5 minutes into my ride I let down my front and begin crying. I cry for Jude. I cry for the other 4 babies I lost and never got to grow as close to as I did Jude and that makes me feel guilty. I cry because of the effort I put into this last round of IVF, yet it only lasted a few weeks. I cry because my children keep asking me for a brother or sister and I can't seem to give it to them and eventually they'll change their minds and not want one because I took too long and they grew too old to care. I cry because I see an aging woman in the mirror staring back at me. I cry because of the financial stress I've added upon myself. I cry because I feel alone. I cry because God has left me alone.

I later grow angry because of the judgement so many have placed on me throughout this. I've lost quite a few friends in this painful ordeal. People are so quick to offer advice, a scripture meme, and place judgement on you when they themselves have no idea what it's like. They are fast to assume that because you don't post on Facebook daily a picture of your kids and a hashtag #blessed that you couldn't possibly be grateful for your existing children. They are fast to assume that because you didn't thank God for your trial of losing a fifth child, you mustn't have listened to your conference talks and need to get closer to God. They are fast to assume that because you aren't in relief society on Sunday and instead choose to spend that time with your children in sunbeams, you aren't spiritually ready to receive blessings.

Well that's a crock of shit.

No, I'm not grateful for a trial of losing 5 children, but you know what I am grateful for? The ability to not be a complete asshole who "means well" to someone who has lost 5 children.
I'm grateful that I do not pass judgement on someone who doesn't post pictures and scriptures on Facebook every day because I can assume they too, like myself, are too busy enjoying their children in the other room and doesn't have the time to get on Facebook.

After arriving at work, I try to crank out as much work as I can before people arrive and begin chattering about insignificant personal issues and how much of a burden their wives pregnancies have become. I sneak to the bathroom two or three times a day to cry in the stall and pray for mercy.

At the end of the long and emotionally draining day, I get back in my car and cry as I sit in traffic and get stared at by the surrounding cars.
I arrive to pick my children up at daycare and again are greeted with a "how are you?" upon entering the building with a red nose and teary eyes.
I walk through halls lined with baby seats, multiple seated strollers and windowed doors with views of dozens of babies. I cry again as I remember that I should be carrying a few of those baby seats myself and I try again to suck back the tears and pick my kids up from their 4 month pregnant teacher.

I hug my children and begin the act of being okay all over again as I drive home to begin making dinner and hope that my kids will want to play with me later as they're growing older and need me less and less these days.
It's only a few hours before I have to put them to bed and start this process all over again.

I'll never understand why or forget that God did this to me. I'll never stop hurting for my children. And I'll never be the same. Constant fertility treatments for an entire year and 4 years of trying has taken its toll on me physically and emotionally and it's not fair. Not fair at all. There is no convincing me that God does not hate me. I do not believe he hates others and have a great faith that he helps others and answers other people's prayers. I've seen miracles in other people's lives. However, he does not hear my prayers. He does not hear my children's prayers. He does not accept my sacrifices or fasts. He does not love me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

No Escape

It happened again.

In an attempt to seem normal again while taking the kids out for fun and running errands on a rare Friday off, the sadness crept back and ruined my day out. 
It was while meeting a friend for lunch and seeing a half dozen other moms with children of multiple ages and pregnant. It was while in a clothing store shopping for a few school uniform pieces and finding myself drifting over into the baby section to pick up items for Jude and then remembering that he's not here anymore. It was while talking to the kids about Halloween costumes and realizing that I won't have a bump to buy a silly Halloween shirt any longer. It was while watching Charlotte's Web with the kids and seeing Charlotte heavily expecting. It was when Amélie hugged me while waiting in a line, pressed her head into my stomach and looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry we don't have a baby in your belly anymore. I want one so bad."
Me too sweet girl, me too.

I hate that I can not go anywhere- not even a quick donut shop run with the kids- without seeing something that reminds me of this feeling this sadness and hurt. I hate that when I open up Facebook or Instagram hoping to see a funny cat video to make me smile, I instead find belly photos for people I want so much to be happy for, but just can't be without feeling sad, crushed, and defeated. I hate that this happened to me. I hate that his happened to him. 

I miss him. I miss the dream of all he'd be. I miss the dream of all the love I'd give him. I miss the two that were lost before him. I miss what my life should be right now. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Month After Miscarriage- A Prayer in Poem

It has been another long, hard day of missing Jude, the baby that he shared a womb with in the first few weeks, and the baby I lost last January. I've lost more babies than I have in my home and that is a tough reality to accept each time it comes into my mind. Everything is a reminder that I'm no longer pregnant. A trip to church, a trip to the grocery store, opening up Facebook and seeing that some one's baby is now the size of a grapefruit or that it's national bump day, and even going to work. A reminder at work is the worst of all of these reminders because there is no fleeing that situation.

The twins have switched from asking when the baby is coming and have now switched to asking me on a daily basis if another baby is in my belly because they've prayed and Heavenly Father should have put it there by now.
Church provides a weekly issue with this because leaders are constantly preaching that prayer will fix everything and they continuously ask me why it didn't fix Jude. I still haven't found the answer to that question.

 When Desmond announced to everyone at school that his mom had a baby in her belly, I was congratulated by many. I now face those parents and teachers on a daily basis and can see them staring at me and wondering where my belly is and why it's taking so long. A birthday party at a pool was the worst of these situations. There's no hiding an empty womb in a bathing suit.

Time passing does not make a miscarriage any easier. Do not let anyone fool you with that advice. I'm not sure what will make this easier, but I can say with certainty that there will always be three holes in my heart where three other children should be and Jude left the biggest of these holes.

In one of my many nights of staying up all night crying immediately after my D&C, I opened my phone and wrote the below poem.

Heavenly Father, place inside me a baby I can keep.
With soft fair skin and golden hair and eyes so blue and deep.
Let me feel it as it grows and wiggles deep inside.
Please let it be a time to smile and not that I should to hide.
Father, give me the time a mother needs to grow a healthy one.
One without issues, one without pain, a daughter or a son.
Give me the time to see its face and hold it next to my heart.
Give me the time kiss its cheeks and say we'll never part.
Let me watch this baby grow and see it learn to walk.
Let me be there at its side, as it learns how to talk.
Give me the chance to answer its questions about life and all the rest.
I'll praise your name and let it know that we are here as a test.
Though it be hard, we must go on, as hard as it may be.
I cried many days and nights alike when I lost my other three.
Please give me the chance again, dear Lord, to grow my family sweet.
I long for the sound of my little home to be filled with baby feet.
I long for the smell of sweet baby skin and their siblings are waiting each day,
For a brother or sister to love and hold, they ask you whenever they pray.
My sweet little children, they plead with you, in every prayer at night.
It's hard for them, they don't understand, how things can never go right.
So send us a miracle, I know it's a lot to ask of thee, but please,
End this sadness, replace it with joy, and and make the pain inside ease.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Story of Jude- Miscarriage

A January baby. What I'd always dreamt of having. A little Capricorn like myself. I would know exactly how that baby was feeling and thinking and I'd be there for that baby like no one was ever able to be there for me.
The struggle to time it would be tough, but I was going to make it happen. I prepared myself after 3 years of trying to conceive naturally or through IUI due to my husbands infertility issues and made an appointment for IVF + ICSI once again. When I arrived, I found that the process had changed and they no longer performed fresh transfers at the clinic and I'd have to first freeze my embryos and wait an addition couple of months before hopefully becoming pregnant. My careful date planning had failed me and the additional cost of freezing embryos was an even bigger blow after already planning to spend more than we had in our savings. I went home and decided that I'd return to the doctor and beg him to do a fresh 5 day transfer. My begging and fact that my body is perfect for baring children made him agree and I was set to begin a set of painful vaginal prodding and daily injections given by myself.
After several weeks of shots, I had grown a ton of follicles! I felt like super woman! I had done it again! I actually grew so many that I had hyperstimulated and had a bad case of OHSS, which made me gain 10 pounds within a matter of days after my egg retrieval surgery. It was okay though because I had made 21 awesome eggs. 21 chances for perfect babies.
However, once it came time to add my husbands portion to the equation through ICSI, things began to go terribly wrong. Only 10 eggs were able to be fertilized. Within 2 days, we were down to only 6 eggs that were viable. By the 4th day before surgery, we were down to 2 eggs for a transfer and 1 egg that probably wouldn't make it, but they promised me they'd give it an extra 6th day to have some movement before discarding it.
The embryos were implanted and I soon had the best Mother's Day I could ever possibly ask for. Two babies growing inside of me and a set of twins giving me love on the outside. My cup runneth over.
Morning sickness set in and my arthritis symptoms were lessening (an awesome perk of being pregnant with RA). I knew both embryos had taken. History was repeating itself and I was having the same type of pregnancy that I had with the twins.

Several weeks went by as we waited our time to finally go and see the babies for the first time and hear the heartbeats, but in that time my pregnancy symptoms went away completely. In fact, I had no nausea at all and my arthritis was back so bad that I could barely walk and had been using crutches. My husband went away for a business trip in Europe and I was experiencing the panic of losing symptoms and frustration of not being able to rest my foot, but I somehow made it. When our visit to the doctor rolled around I knew it would not be as magical as I had hoped and indeed, when they checked inside of me, only one baby remained with a slow baby boy's heart rate. My little fighter.
Sad at the loss of the idea of having twins again, I quickly moved past and couldn't wait to get to the point where I could share it with the kids and others close to me. Our son Desmond being the thinker he is, managed to put the pieces together and without us knowing, went to school and proclaimed to everyone that his mommy had a baby in her belly with sheer excitement. At 11 weeks, the cat was out of the bag for me at their school. People began approaching me and congratulating me. It felt wrong and I didn't want to feel excitement so dangerously early, I had suppressed it all this time for the fear something wasn't quite right and tried not to let happen, but I started to feel excited inside anyhow.
After 10 weeks we found out the sex of the baby and confirmed that our little fighter was a boy. However, we found out around 12 weeks that the blood tests on the genetic screening they had me do was also abnormal.
 I received this news while sitting at my desk at work one morning. As the doctor called and explained it was Trisomy 13, I was unsure of what that meant, but I knew it was bad. My hand holding the phone was numb and I could feel my heart beating through my chest. Frightened I asked him what this meant and he responded that we had some decisions to make. He explained further that if my baby made it full term, that I would only be able to hold him for a matter of hours or days. They hospital would keep him there with me and give him comfort care and as soon as he passed, we'd have to bury him.
I couldn't speak. The silence seemed like forever. The doctor called out my name and I answered that I was still there. I explained that I had a feeling something was wrong and this confirmed it. He said he could tell I did the last time we saw each other and he said typically mothers always know ahead of time in his experience.
He insisted that I go to the specialist right away for an amniocentesis. I left work without telling my boss. I walked to the car, sobbed for several minutes and called my husband. He left work also and we met at home soon after. I shared with my husband then that we were having a baby boy- a surprise that I had wanted to keep and excite he and the kids with in a special way for 3 years since I obviously would never be able to surprise them with an "I'm pregnant" announcement. We laid on the bed as I cried and he read about Trisomy 13 and convinced himself that nothing was wrong with our baby and all the tests were wrong.
At the specialist's office, we found it full of pregnant women, all there for happy sonograms. They had brought family, children, and friends along with them and there I sat. No family or children, just me, my husband and my sick baby. I sobbed as I waited. People looked at me awkwardly. The longer we waited, the more pregnant moms pushing strollers of very young babies came in for sonograms. They must have gotten pregnant again immediately after having their first. Some people get all the blessings.
Finally they removed me from the waiting room due to my loud sobbing and brought me through a back door to sit in a private office. Eventually a genetics specialist came in to explain Trisomy 13 further to us. My husband argued with her endlessly saying she was wrong. At the end of all the talk, I was moved into a sonogram room to check where our baby boy was laying so they knew were to stick the needle for the amniocentesis. After taking several measurements and oohing and aaahing over our beautiful boy, it was time to hear that magical heartbeat. But it never came. The tech said, "okay guys, I'm not seeing a heartbeat any longer. I'm going to get the doctor." My husband wailed out "No" and began sobbing extremely loud. I froze. This wasn't happening. The doctor rushed into the room and pushed around on my belly for a good while with the sonogram machine and then confirmed that our baby boy had passed.

Just like that. It was over.

He explained that my body didn't even know it was miscarrying. Things should be collapsing down there and I should have had more progress at this point. "In two or three months it should pass" he told me if I wanted to do it naturally. Still frozen, I asked him what I was so do with my baby when he came out. Where do I put him? How will I know? I had so many questions and the only answer I can remember him saying was that I could put him in a jar and bring him for a further autopsy.  Bottle up my perfect baby boy in a jar in a few months after carrying his lifeless body in my womb and drop him off at a doctors office? How could I? Who could do that?!
I opted for the D&C and they rushed it in for the very next morning.

I arrived at the hospital, already sobbing, with my sister helping me along the way. My husband was home with the kids taking them to a dentist and doctor visit. They put me in a room and nurse after nurse came in to get the entire rundown of my miscarriage again and again- all while saying "everything happens for a reason." I hate that phase now. What is the reason other than God hates me? No one ever has a reason. Not even the nurses that said they had experienced miscarriages themselves figured out the reason. Things don't happen for a reason, God hates your or he doesn't. God hates me. How could he create a life inside of me that would die? How could he hear my pleas for a bigger family for years and do this to me?
The doctor arrived for the surgery, held my hands and said to me, "Tiffany,  it's truly better this way." And although I trust him, I still feel upset that I didn't get to hold my baby for at least a few seconds- no matter how deformed he may have come out looking. Why couldn't God have at least given me a few seconds? Why couldn't he have let it be perfect from the start?
I awoke from surgery hours later and quickly rose up from my bed in recovery. I was drugged heavily, but it wasn't helping. I was wailing that I wanted my baby back. I hadn't clear vision due to the drugs, but a woman was hugging me from the side of my bed, rocking me and telling me I'd be okay and I kept arguing with her that I'd never be the same. They gave me morphine every 5 minutes and I wouldn't pass out. They removed all other patients from the recovery room because I was so loud. Eventually they gave up on making me sleep and took me back to my room to cry. After about 8 hours, I was getting dressed again and going home- without my baby boy. I was empty.

Entering my second trimester, I had felt secure in my pregnancy and ordered the cutest "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" shirts for pregnancy announcement photos. I had even ordered our baby boy a few things too. I spent weeks picking the items out and waiting the chance to order them and I had finally gotten to place the order. As I sat at home grieving on my bedroom floor alone for days after the surgery, the mail would arrive each day. Each delivery brining more and more items for my baby boy. It was salt to my wound. I'd quickly wrap up the items for shipping and return them while sobbing in the post office. I had to get them away. They were pointless now.
A matter of days before, I was daydreaming of what color hair my baby boy would have and now there were no signs anywhere- even on my body- that he had even existed. All I had were some sonogram pictures, my weekly bump progression photos and a picture of he and the other embryo that we lost. That was it. How would he be remembered? No one even knew he existed. I couldn't keep my sweet boy a secret from the world. I needed him to live on. I panicked. I gathered my few remnants of my baby boy and ran to Target to get frames. I had to frame him and make him visible to the twins. We had to use his name. We had to talk about him. Sadly Target did not have a single picture frame that fit a sonogram photo. I sat on the bottom shelf in the home accent section and again sobbed uncontrollably. Not one tender mercy, God? You can't even let there be a frame left in the store to hold my dead baby's photo?
I went home and poured out my soul to God. I yelled at Him. I cried to Him. But I never felt His presence. I read my patriarchal blessing and looked for help. I found nothing. I had done everything I was blessed to do. Where are my rewards? I'm not asking for much- just a bigger family to love. Why doesn't he care?
My husband and I discussed my panic of him being forgotten and he agreed we should start using his name. I had picked out twin boy names when I had my embryos implanted and we decided this one should be Jude. Kingston Jude. My husband took me to Tiffany's to have him added to my necklace that has the twin's initials on them. When I arrived with Amélie in tow, the sales associate could tell I wasn't well. As I explained what I was there for, Amélie interrupted several times to ask when she was going to get to hold Jude. The situation wasn't setting in for the twins. The sales associate took me to the back, sat me down to rest, took my necklace, cleaned it and put it together for me and brought it back to me. Finally, someone who didn't tell me "everything happens for a reason" and just helped me on my way. I felt better to have a memento of him around my neck, but my sadness remained.

The day I arrived from the hospital, I found I had lost my appetite. After a few days, I realized I hadn't eaten since the morning I received the call from the doctor.
It has been over a week since I lost my baby boy and I still haven't eaten (just water), yet I'm fully functioning and able to feel every ounce emotional pain this loss has dealt me.
The physical recovery from my D&C lasted a day, but the pain of this miscarriage will not go away for a very long time.

I'm still struggling to figure out why this happened and what I did wrong to deserve such a horrible experience. I read and read stories and scriptures to find insight, but I'm still left confused. Why Jude? Why me? Haven't I been given enough trials? Why do babies come so easily for bad parents and irresponsible teenagers and not for someone who wants to raise their children with love, comfort, and give them everything they can? I'll never understand this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And Then There Were Four...(Part 2)

Although the babies were now born and stable, the next several weeks began a giant emotional rollercoaster for me.
Each day I had to look at my sweet, tiny babies attached to all kinds of wires and tubes and all I wanted to do was hold them in my arms and comfort them.

 I could only see my babies at certain times of the day and each time I went to see them, I was faced with having to pass by dozens of other tiny babies, beeping monitors, and the sounds of conversations about babies that are not doing very well. It was beyond troubling.
All I wanted to do was care for my babies and comfort them and all I could do stare from afar and provide breast milk which was almost impossible since the hormones that it takes to produce the milk were on stand by since I had never held my babies or heard them cry.
I felt like a failure.
I failed to carry them to term, I was failing to comfort them, and I was failing to produce food for them.
I spent weeks beating myself up.

Finally the day came when the nurses told me I could come in once a day to hold the babies and from then on my life was complete. I finally was a mom.
Baby Des

 Baby Amélie and tired mommy
Desmond during his bili light treatment.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

And Then There Were Four...(part 1)

I always said that when I have children, I would have a natural birth. Why? Because my tolerance for pain is so high- it would be a snap!
However, that high tolerance for pain is what landed me in the hospital at only 30 weeks into my pregnancy.
For a couple of weeks I had been working long hours at work and going to meeting after meeting after meeting. I was exhausted and noticed that the long hours were taking a toll on my body. I also noticed that I seemed to be losing control of my bladder (or so I thought) because I would often find that my pants felt wet while going to my next meeting. It was totally embarrassing- so I never mentioned it.
Around Memorial Day weekend, we found ourselves still unpacking and moving into our new home and also putting together nursery furniture. It was a lot of work and by the time the nursery furniture was built- I found that I was so uncomfortable that I didn't think I'd sleep again until I finally got the babies out of me. Luckily, I had a scheduled visit to the doctor the day after Memorial Day- so I could ask the doctor then for something to help me sleep.
Once I arrived at the doctor he came in the room, took one look at me, and told me that I was having extreme contractions and that I was not wetting my pants- I had been leaking fluid! Here I had been going weeks thinking that my tight belly and loss of bladder control was just a part of being pregnant and instead I was in labor!
Thus began Desmond & Amélie's Wild Ride as Matt called it.
From that moment on everything was in fast forward. I was sent to the hospital, had a sonogram to confirm that Amélie had indeed ruptured her sack, admitted, and put in a room in L&D where I was strapped to all kinds of equipment for hours and hours until they were able to make the contractions stop. I was asked time and time again, "Didn't you feel the pain of labor?" and all I could say was, "Well...I've never been in labor before...I guess my pain tolerance is pretty high."
I was told I would spend the following month on bed rest until July 1st when they'd take the babies early at 34 weeks.
I was beside myself.
I spent all of my time looking up 34 week old babies on the internet and seeing how long they'd be in the N.I.C.U. I researched every abbreviation I'd see on my sonograms. I researched head growth and the chances that my babies would have to wear helmets. I made myself sick, but eventually convinced myself that my babies were troopers and would come out ready to come home and not have to spend time in the N.I.C.U. It's amazing what you can convince yourself to believe when you're sitting alone in a hospital room for days and days.
When I wasn't researching premature babies, I spent my time reading People magazine, doing crossword puzzles, and educating the food staff on food allergies. It's puzzling that I was the first person to enter the hospital that is allergic to dairy... (this is what they told me after poisoning me several times with's obviously not true).
Every 2 or 3 days I'd once again go into labor and have to get shots that would make me forget practically everything to get the contractions to stop. It was a long vicious cycle, but finally on June 17th Amélie rolled over and unplugged the hole she had poked in her sack and the rest of my water broke. Once again things were in fast motion and I found myself hooked up to all kinds of machines in L&D to try and get the labor to stop, but eventually at 5am on June 18th, the on call doctor made the decision to do a c-section and take out the twins.
The sweet relief of not having babies rolling around in your stomach without fluid was great. I know now why women scream like crazy down in Labor and Delivery- their water had to of broke.
I mustered up all the cheer I could to pose for a few pictures so that Amélie and Desmond would look back on these pictures and think that it was a happy and easy experience.


Matt really liked his scrubs.

First came Amélie.
3 lbs 13 oz
16.5 inches

Then came Desmond
4 lbs 2 oz
17 inches

One glance at my babies was all I got until the next day. I only thought the hard part was over. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twins Belly Progression Part 2

I'm very behind on posting these pictures due to moving into a house, being in the hospital on bed rest from May 31st through June 22nd and then living at a NICU nursery with the twins from then until July 27th.
Below are the rest of my belly progression photos!

19 Weeks
20 Weeks
21 Weeks
22 Weeks
23 Weeks
24 Weeks
25 Weeks- Look new background! We moved!
26 Weeks
27 Weeks
28 Weeks!
29 Weeks
30 Weeks- Officially on bed rest at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas due to Amélie rupturing her sack.
31 Weeks
The babies were then born at 32 Weeks, 4 Days.
Ending pregnancy weight: 129 pounds
Maximum weight reached during pregnancy: 134 pounds
Time it took to lose all of that weight afterwards: 10 days

Being pregnant was a lot of fun. I wish I could have done it a little longer, but I have a new found appreciation for the human body and how well it goes back to normal afterwards.