Monday, February 27, 2012


Today Ticky-boo had her 6 month well baby appointment... it was only 2 months late (We had major issues getting her on our insurance, but that's a whole 'nother post that is shortly on its way), but at least I got her in...

Her stats:
Age: 8 months 5 days
Weight: 15 pounds 9 ounces (10th percentile)
Height:  25.25 inches (50th percentile)
Head Circumference:  43 cm (26th percentile)
Words she can say:  Mama, Dada, Hey, Bye Bye

The doctor is really pleased with her progress and her development.  She said she's a little concerned with her weight since at 4 months she was in the 50th percentile for weight and weighed 13.6 pounds, so she hasn't gained very much at all in 4 months.  She said since I just switched her formula and she's made such a turn around, that she wont get too excited about her weight until she sees what it is in a month or so.

She agreed with me that it was probably a milk allergy the whole time and she's pleased that all of Ticky-Boo's health issues have cleared up.  She said that there's a possibility that she'll outgrow it once she starts regular milk and is off formula, but once I told her that yogurt and cheese do the same thing to her that the regular formula did, she seemed less sure that she'd outgrow it.  I personally think this is something that we're in for for the long haul, but The Husband is lactose intolerant, so I am pretty used to accommodating.  It definitely sucks that as a huge milk lover, I'm now outnumbered in my house 2-1 with the milk allergy thing.  Oh well, I'll just continue to buy different types of milk... I just cant switch to the fake stuff.  And even if she doesn't outgrow it completely, maybe she'll at least become more tolerant to some types of milk products.  Only time will tell.

She had 3 shots today and did pretty well.  She did have a meltdown of pretty epic proportions, but she calmed down as soon as I picked her up!  So far she's done pretty well this afternoon.  Tonight she seems a little peaked, but I'm hoping she'll sleep good tonight and feel better in the morning.

While we were in her appointment, The Husband called and finally, after quite a few phone calls, Ticky-Boo actually "talked" to him instead of clamming up completely!!!  She'll go around all day saying "dadadadada" but the minute he calls, she shuts up completely!  But today, he finally got to hear her say Daddy!  I was so happy (and I know he was too)!

I have to say, technology today is amazing.  I cant imagine if this were 30 or 40 years ago and he was deployed.  When my dad was in the Navy back in the 70's, my grandparents were lucky to get a handful of phone calls an entire deployment!  Now, we get phone calls and emails and we've even gotten to skype from the different ports they've pulled into!  It definitely makes it easier... on everyone!

Monday, February 20, 2012


The other question I get asked a lot is whether or not we're going to start trying to get pregnant again to give Ticky a sibling.  The answer is no.  Both the husband and myself want nothing to do with trying to get pregnant.  Or even getting pregnant spontaneously.  I really and truly feel that I was not ever meant to carry a child and deliver it.  I just dont.  I've felt that for some time.  I had started to have twinges of that feeling leading up to the IVF, but pushed it away in the name of hope and trudged on.  Once the IVF failed, that niggling feeling that it just wasn't meant to be kept coming back.  After the next miscarriage, it came to the foreground and I started to listen.  Everyone told me it was just grief and that I'd be okay and we'd have a baby, but I knew deep down that they were wrong.  I dont know why I feel that way, but I do.  It just is what it is.

And I'm okay with that.  We spent 5 years trying to get pregnant.  5 years.  That is a HUGE chunk of time.  Hell, we've been married for only 6 1/2, so we've spent more of our marriage trying to start a family than not.  I want nothing to do with infertility.  With the doctors and nurses.  The testing, the blood work, the internal ultrasounds (I lost count after 30 of them), the waiting and wishing and hoping and praying only to be disappointed.  I want nothing to do with the hurt and anger and grief.  We've been there and done that.  And like I said, it was worth it for Ticky-boo, but I dont want to go through it again.

We have 2 embryo's chilling out at the Bourn Clinic in Cambridge and their rent is due this April.  We're not going to pay it.  We're going to donate our two remaining embryo's to medical research in the hopes that they can help find answers for something.

There's a blog I read, its actually the only infertility blog I still keep up with, its called Single Infertile Female.  I dont remember how I found her blog, I just remember stumbling across it and becoming completely intrigued and genuinely interested in her story.  She is a fabulous writer!  Well, she wrote a post a couple of days ago about how her view of IVF has changed.  Her opinion is not one that is very welcome one in the infertility community, but it is an opinion that needs to be shared and heard out.

When you're in the middle of the storm... when you're knee deep in all the treatments and the emotions of it all, you cant see that there might be another side to it.  That there might be a negative to it all.  All you see is what you want... the end result you hope that you'll get.  And in trying to achieve that end result you will defend every decision, every shot or medicine you take to the very end, no matter what.  But once you're through the storm and on the other side, you can see a bigger picture.  You can see what the drugs did to you.

You can see the physical changes made to your body... its 2 years later and I am still carrying around extra weight from the hormones I injected into my body... of course, I'm also carrying around cheeseburger weight, but whatever.  I carry 2 scars from an exploratory laparoscopy and I even had to cut my hair off to get rid of the "hormone hair" that grew during our treatment... it was completely different than my normal hair (and yes I realize all those things are not life altering changes, but they ARE changes all the same).  And lets face it, we have no idea what physical changes can still take place because of all those drugs.

Along with the physical changes come a hefty load of emotional changes.  Just because we're not going through more treatment does not mean we're not still infertile.  Just because we're on the other side and we have our take home baby doesn't mean we dont still hurt from everything we went through.  I still deal with infertility and recurrent miscarriages on a regular basis.  It may not be day to day or even with the flow of my cycle, but I fight with the repercussions of that hell.

Last year, I spent a few weeks in California visiting a couple of my best friends.  One of them was pregnant at the time and had just hit, I think, 18 weeks, and wanted to go for a 3D ultrasound to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl.  I went with her and the moment we stepped foot into the office, I felt my blood pressure sky rocket and my nerves were shot.  I was absolutely terrified that we would walk into the ultrasound room and they would start the scan and find out the baby was dead.  How fucked up is that?  That is NOT a normal reaction to a 3D ultrasound to find out the sex of a perfectly healthy baby whose mother had had a perfectly healthy pregnancy.  I knew in that moment just how messed up I was and realized that we needed to stop what we were doing and heal.  And we did.  We thew in the proverbial towel and took a step back.  We spent a few weeks really talking everything over, I got on birth control and the ultimate plan was to take at the very least, a year, off and then reassess and decide what to do.  In my own mind, I had reconciled myself to living a childless life.  I had decided that I couldn't do the infertility "thing" any more.  I just couldn't.  And a couple of months later we got the call about Ticky-Boo (we plan and God

And even though its been an entire year since I last took a Clomid pill or went in for an ultrasound to check for follicle growth and its been almost 2 years since IVF, I'm still messed up.  One of my best friends is pregnant with their first child and even though she is almost out of her first trimester, I am still counting down til she hits viability week.  I am still so scared for them that something awful will happen.  They went in for their first ultrasound and I bit off every nail in anticipation and worry until I heard from them that everything looked perfect.  Seriously.  I love them both so much, but dont want to be around them because I'm afraid I'll "rub off" on them and they'll lose their baby.  NOT NORMAL.  And yes, I know that that sounds completely stupid and crazy and rationally, I know that that is not a possibility, but infertility and miscarriages have stripped away a piece of my sanity.  They've stolen a part of me and replaced it with this insane worry wart freak who thinks everyone is going to have infertility or have a miscarriage.  Again, I reiterate... Not Normal.

Here we are, almost a year after our conversation to cease all treatment and give up on the baby thing and while, yes, we do have a child, I still stand by our conversation and my ultimate decision.  I do not, in any way, shape, or form, want to pursue having another child.  To me, its just not worth it anymore.  I dont see the point.  I feel fulfilled by Ticky-Boo and I can say that I dont need a biological child to feel like a mother.  I reached the point where enough was enough and I dont ever want to go back there. Even if we didn't have her, I wouldn't do it anymore.  I've said before that everything... the whole process changed me.  Some for the better, but some for the worse... the worse, the losing a part of myself, that isn't worth it to me.  And I know it sounds crazy and I'm sure a lot of people would disagree and say that once the baby is older, I'll change my mind, and while I have learned to never say never, I feel secure enough in my decision to say never again to IVF or any infertility treatment.  I cant.  I wont.  We gave five years to it all.  There's no need to give any more time or any more of myself.

The crazy thing in all that is that I feel like I will always have to defend our decision to not pursue more children.  I feel like people will think we didn't try hard enough and go through enough to really say we gave it a go.  And I shouldn't feel like that.  I've asked before when is enough, enough?  Is it one miscarriage or ten?  Is it one round of IVF or six?  When is enough, enough?  How far would we have had to go before I felt like I didn't need to defend my wanting to stop?  How much more would we have had to endure?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is it everything I wanted?

Since adopting Ticky-boo, I've had multiple people ask me (especially in recent months):  "Well, is motherhood everything you wanted it to be?"  And I can quite honestly say no.  Its not.  At all.

Its more.

Its better.

Its more rewarding than I ever thought possible... and that, my friends, is coming from a woman with an almost-8 month old baby who refuses to sleep.  Even though I can honestly say that I am officially sleep deprived and exhausted... I love it!  I absolutely love it.  Sure, there are moments when I'm elbow deep in poop... or more like, elbow deep in trying to help the poor constipated baby actually poop, that I just kind of thing to myself, "Oh dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into?"  And I'm sure there are going to be many moments like that.  But, for the most part, I can safely say that finally becoming a mother is incredible.  Ticky makes everything totally and completely worth it.  All the shit we went through to end up here was worth it.

I realize that its easy for me to say that now.  I'm on the other side.  I can look back and see all along why things happened the way they did and it all makes total sense to me now.  But, like I said, I'm on the other side.  When I was there, in the thick of it, crying my eyes out and losing myself, I couldn't say that it would be worth it.  The pain was too much to even see past it.  But, somehow, we made it and we're on the other side.  And it was worth it.  I would go through it all again... I would walk through Hell again, to get Ticky.  To see her smile at me.  Or reach for ME, her mama, to pick her up.  To hear her say "Mama" in that sing song-y sweet voice of hers.  I would go through all that hell again for her.  And I hope to spend the rest of my life showing her that.

I think she is amazing!  Her big, gummy smile is probably my favorite thing on Earth.  Or maybe its her now giving kisses when you ask... that's pretty awesome too!  The Husband and I have pretty much decided that we're screwed.  We both are just suckers for her and while we both know that she is going to have to be told no... we both know that that girl has a smile that would melt an iceberg.

One thing I have really learned in the past almost 8 months is to listen to your gut.  I was able to breastfeed Ticky-boo for the first month of her life... not exclusively (because I was told by her pediatrician that as an adoptive mom there was no way I would ever be able to breast feed her exclusively), but it was the main, or at the very least, half of what she took in, before my milk dried up.  Very soon after she switched completely to formula she had quite a few problems crop up.  She became chronically constipated to the point where she almost always had to have help going to the bathroom (enter a thermometer and a big ol' tub of vaseline) despite the doctor giving her stool softeners.  I finally started her on juice and that seemed to help a little bit, but she was still constipated.  She also developed acid reflux.  She was put on medication to help it and it did help, but she still suffered from really bad bouts of reflux that even the medicine wouldn't touch.

The entire time I kept asking the doctor if she thought it might be her milk.  That ever since I had switched her to exclusively formula, she had had these problems.  The doctor informed me on multiple occasions that a milk allergy is rare in infants and that it was all unrelated.  I listened.  I mean, after all, she was the pediatrician, not me.  Right?

Three different types of formula, about six different brands of bottles, and a LOT of fighting and trying to just coax her to eat, and she was still constipated and still dealing with reflux.

She also stopped sleeping.  And I mean stopped sleeping.  She would wake up 5-6 times a night screaming and crying.  And she used to sleep!  When she was tiny, she'd wake up to eat twice a night and then when she was about 10 weeks old, she slept through the night.  That stopped when she hit 4 months old and its only gotten worse.

She also had another problem develop where her little cheeks would turn red during the day.  We'd wake up in the morning and they'd be perfectly fine, but by the end of the day, they would be bright red and scratchy like sand paper and they'd be really hot to the touch.  We went to see another pediatrician after we moved to VA and she told us it was dermatitis, again dismissing my thought that it was her milk, and prescribing her even more medicine (hydrocortisone cream) for her face.  Three weeks on the face cream and the rash still kept coming back the way it always had.  I finally said enough is enough and bought her the uber expensive, hypoallergenic lactose-free and soy-free formula.  I figured, if it didn't work, I'd only be out $30 and I could at least tell her new pediatrician what we'd tried.

Twenty four hours on the new formula and her face hadn't turned even a little pink!  She slept better that first night than she had in months!  We're now going on 4 days of the new formula and I can tell a huge difference.  She is eating more (she's always been difficult to feed and she's very rarely gone over the absolute minimum amount of ounces she should be having per day) and she's pooping normally!  Its too early to call a victory, but I think we're pretty close to calling this one.  I realize now that I should have gone with my gut from the beginning and pushed the issue.

I realize now that I also should have pushed the breast feeding issue and stood up for me and my boobs.  I have always wanted to nurse a baby and I did a lot of research into adoptive nursing and had the support and drive to do it.  When her pediatrician told us that we had no choice but to feed her formula or she wouldn't gain weight (after being completely shocked at even the idea of my breastfeeding her), it scared us into giving her formula.  I think that that was the reason my milk dried up.  I never had a chance to really get a good supply established... not a good enough one to be able to keep up and get off the medication and herbs I was taking (Domperidone, Fenugreek, and Blessed Thistle).  I really feel like if we'd had her pediatrician's support, I could have done it.  I've even toyed with the idea of trying to relactate, but with Ticky-boo's possible allergy to milk, now that she's finally doing better, I dont know if I want to risk more problems in the name of breastfeeding.

So yeah, that's my little rant/motivational what-have-you for the day... I think that medical professionals are there for a reason, obviously, but I also feel like I know my child and myself better than a doctor who sees her once every 2-3 months and I realize now that its my job to be her advocate with doctors and nurses and fight for what I know is best for her.

Friday, February 17, 2012

In a Nutshell

When you first make the decision to start a family, you never dream of difficulty getting pregnant. People do it all the time. They just have sex and wind up pregnant. You think, it cant be that hard, can it? I mean, teenagers can do it, drunk or high people can do it... surely a happily married 20-something couple should be able to do it, right? Wrong. Well, wrong in our case, anyway.

About 6 years ago The Husband and I lay in bed talking before we fell asleep. We'd recently had a long discussion with our good friends, about getting pregnant before the guys left on a deployment; whether it was worth it for them to miss a pregnancy or even the first months of a child's life, etc. All the things military families have to take into consideration when they decide to start a family. I'd also just been home a few weeks before and had seen one of my best friends' son, who was about 3 at the time maybe, and had baby fever like you wouldn't believe. We weighed the pro's and con's and finally decided, "What the hell" and decided that April would be my last month on birth control and May 2006 would be the start of us actually trying to have a baby.

I had everything planned out; we'd be pregnant within the first month or two and that would make me far enough along when we went home for Christmas that year that I'd show and maybe even be able to have a baby shower! Except, by the time Christmas rolled around that year, we were almost 8 months into trying to get pregnant and weren't anywhere close to being pregnant.

Finally, on February 13th 2007, I took a test and a second line came up. We were pregnant. Our euphoria was short lived, however, as that first pregnancy ended in a chemical pregnancy. With the love and support of our friends and family, we picked ourselves up, dusted off and kept moving forward. Being pregnant for a few weeks only made us realize how ready we were to be parents.

Eight months went by and Deployment number 2 came and went and we were back on the trying to get pregnant wagon. By this time, it had been over 2 years since that fateful conversation in bed and we knew that it was probably time to get doctors involved. We tried on our own again after deployment for a few months and finally started looking into getting tested in September of 2008. The Husband had 2 semen analysis' (we were told his results were "Excellent" and "Border-line Excellent" and there was no problem with him), I had TONS of blood work drawn, an HSG (Hysterisalpingogram--where they injected dye into my tubes and uterus to make sure there were no blockages) and we were told everything looked great with me so far. I had always had regular periods, which tends to mean that there are no ovulation problems. Before we could finish up testing on me, we moved to England. Still not pregnant.

We got settled in England and I went in to see the military nurse practitioner for my yearly girly appointment and for a follow up on all our Fertility testing in San Diego. The nurse practitioner took one look at my chart and said she thought there was a problem with The Husband's... spunk, so she sent him for 2 more Semen Analysis' and made us an appointment with the Urologist at the Military Hospital, and had them run a diagnostic ultrasound on me (which came back clear). The appointment with the urologist did not go so well. He told us that the results were horrible and that if he had to put a number on it, he'd give us less than a 5% chance to get pregnant on our own and IVF was our only option. Needless to say, we were shocked. We were told everything was great by the Urologist in San Diego and now we were being told everything was horrible and there was basically no chance of us conceiving on our own.

As shocked and upset as we were, I have to be completely honest with you, I was a little relived. We'd spent the last 3 years of our lives trying to get pregnant and with everyone around us telling us to relax, not think about it, that stressing out was our only problem. So, it was nice (as crazy as that sounds) to know that it wasn't all in our heads... that there was actually something of a challenge there.

We spent the next few months trying to wrap our minds around what to do. The Husband did not take the news well and it took him a while to accept it. We did research, talked over our options, and finally made an appointment with the Bourn Clinic to attend one of their open houses in September 2009. We got answers to our questions and made an appointment for a consultation.

We went for our consultation, had more tests done, made the decision to donate eggs, and began our IVF journey. January of 2010 brought us to that journey.  Birth Control pills, nasal sprays, injections, multiple trans-vaginal ultrasounds, mood swings, sore boobs, exhaustion, bloating, an invasive egg collection procedure, a nail biting wait as we waited for the news of whether or not our embryo's divided or not, an embryo transfer, a LONG 2 week wait, positive pregnancy tests, great HCG numbers, and then the news of a blighted ovum and we were back at square one.

A few months after the IVF pregnancy we spontaneously conceived.  I attribute that pregnancy to a bottle of wine and an old Jewish tradition of eating Pomegranate seeds in between Rosh Hoshannah and Yom Kippur.  Seven Weeks into the pregnancy, I started bleeding.  We went to the OB expecting the worst, but were shocked by the fact that there was a heartbeat and a normally growing pregnancy in my uterus.  Two and a half weeks later I was being prepped for a D&C to remove yet another failed pregnancy when a third ultrasound showed no heartbeat and no further development. 

Countless blood tests and two rounds of high dose clomid (hoping that 2 spontaneous pregnancies in our history meant something good) found us with no pregnancy and no answers... only heart ache and the new found knowledge that it wasn't just male factor infertility, I myself had unexplained infertility.  One month shy of 5 years of dealing with infertility and recurrent miscarriage, we finally threw in the towel.  Frustrated, angry, hurt, and emotionally tapped out, we decided that a childless life would be okay.  That we could be happy traveling the world and not having children.  Oh, but God had other plans. 

On May 19th, 2011 we received a phone call that changed our lives!  A girl I had worked with in the past was pregnant with a baby she knew she couldn't keep.  She asked The Husband and I if we would adopt her baby.  Completely blindsided, terrified out of our minds, but ecstatic just the same, we of course said yes and started the adoption paperwork. 

On June 22nd, The Husband and I stood in a delivery room ready to welcome our  very long awaited daughter into the world.  I was actually able to deliver the baby... once her head was out and the midwife had her suctioned out, my hands were placed on her and I brought our miracle into the world.  In that moment, the world stopped spinning for a moment and it was just the three of us in the room... we finally became a family in that moment.  It was truly the defining moment in my life.  Suddenly everything made sense.  And suddenly, I saw the big picture that God had planned the whole time.  

A Welcome Return

For months now I have contemplated making a return to the blogging world.  I have missed not only the creative outlet that writing awards, but the emotional outlet as well.  So, here we are.  Revelations of an Infertile Mom.

My goal for this blog, this space, is to continue to do what I've always done with my blog... to be open and honest and raw and real about my feelings and emotions and what's going on in my life.  We may not be trying to conceive any longer, but there is a part of me that will forever be infertile.  I identify with that part of myself; after all, I spent nearly 5 years trying to get pregnant.

Being infertile doesn't completely define me though.  I'm also a mom.  Through the adoption of our amazing daughter, I finally became a mom.

I'm also a military wife with a husband who is currently out floating around in the ocean somewhere and so I'm filling both the role of Mommy and Daddy while he's deployed.

My hope and my wish for you reading this is that you dont feel alone.  Life is not all lollipops and sunshine, and while I'll try my hardest not to be too dark and twisty at times, I think its during those crappy times that we all need a hand to hold and a realization that someone else is there.  So yes, I'll be lollipops and sunshine on the days that deserve it but I'll be dark and twisty on the days that call for it... but I'll always be truthful and real and hopefully somewhat entertaining.