The infertility community is full of incredible and supportive women with so many different stories. Whether trying for a first, second, third, etc. child, there is someone who everyone can relate to. However, it gets tricky when you’re in a position like me…
“Never give up!”
“Don’t stop the fight!”
“If you’re done trying, are you going to adopt?”
“When are you starting treatment again?”
How about never…
What happens when you’re just tired? Tired of fighting. Tired of waiting. Tired of hoping. Tired of disappointment. What happens when you’ve reached the max number of years you’re willing to hold on to the wait for babies?
You rest. You stop and you rest.
Today, you turn 8. Every day I watch you grow and change. You’ve gone from infant to baby, to toddler, to preschooler, to elementary school-ager, and now you’re a big girl who independently reads, wakes up in the morning to her own alarm, and picks out her own clothes. Not only are you growing physically and independently, but spiritually and in maturity as well. Since your salvation and baptism two years ago, I’ve had the honor of watching you absorb the Word of God, ask meaningful questions during Small Group class, pray for others in your own words, and say over and over again: “momma, we should help that man” or “I just feel so bad for that person”. You’re a missionary in the making and I LOVE it.
As we passed the toy aisle at Walmart, I asked my daughter if she could have one thing for Christmas, what that one thing would be. I fully expected her to say that she wanted a doll or a new game. Or one of those Hatchimal things that are old news now. You know, the thing everyone wanted last year and no one’s kid actually plays with anymore? The thing everyone freaked out over that wasn’t available at any store, but luckily my kid didn’t even notice their existence until the craze was over…
You know, something tangible and materialistic like every other seven-year-old.
Instead, this is how our conversation went:
- Zoey: “Well… (insert long pause)… I think you know what I really want.”
- Me: “No, not really…” (I had a feeling I knew the direction this was about to go in, but honestly hoped I was wrong)
- Zoey: “If I could have just one thing, all I want is a baby brother or sister. Nothing else.”
- Me: “Nothing else?”
- Zoey: “Nothing else.”
Insert spear into heart.
I wish she would have asked for that silly Hatchimal.
Disclaimer: I completely understand that these updates might be emotional triggers for those of you still waiting on your miracles to arrive. I understand if you want to skip over these each month. Right now, I plan to do these updates every 2 weeks because I do want to document this pregnancy. I’m going to continue to honor and bring awareness to infertility as well. I hope you continue to join me on this journey.
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Tomorrow is my first OB appointment and ultrasound, and I’m all sorts of nervous. I’ve never had an ultrasound this early, and I know it’s very unlikely that we’ll see a heartbeat yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what is going on in there. I was originally scheduled for my first appointment to be in 2 more weeks, but it was decided I should go sooner rather than later.
I decided that for this pregnancy, I’m going to take the Mama Natural approach and focus on the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual experience of creating new life. Every 2 weeks, I’ll share how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been experiencing, and what I’m praying over this baby. At the end of each post, I’ll have some sort of extra focus, whether it’s what supplements I’m taking, what I’m reading (and what I think about it), what apps I’m using, recipes I’m relying on, morning sickness remedies, etc.
It has been almost eight years since I got my BFP with Zoey… EIGHT! That means that eight years ago this month, I was going through my 7th round of Clomid, going to follicle ultrasounds, triggering, and praying hard for it to take. So yes, I’ve been pregnant before, but it feels brand new for me. It’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten about pregnancy and how things have changed since then, from the “rules”, to the apps available, to the gadgets and gizmos in the store. Things have come a long way.
Without further adieu, here is my first Pregnancy After Infertility update.
My family recently returned from a wonderful weekend getaway to Cincinnati, and on the way home I couldn’t help but feel like now was the right time to write a post about road trips with kids. I wrote this one back in 2014 and it’s beyond time for an update with some specifics on staying organized, especially since Zoey is older now. If you’re looking for tips with toddlers, that’s a great short post so start there, then come back here and join me for the improved list of travel tips and must-haves for road trips with kids! You’ll find a couple of things that are similar, yet updated here, and some new ideas we’ve picked up along the way. I will say that we rarely (or never) hear the dreaded “are we there yet?” question from Zoey, so clearly these are working!
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1.) Invest in a travel present: I still stand by this… yes, it sounds materialistic, but kids love something “new” and when you have a long road trip ahead, it’s a good idea to invest in something fresh for that trip to keep them entertained for the long haul. We like to do a new movie, special treats, a travel-friendly toy, new coloring book, etc. You can do themed presents (Lego or Disney, for example), or something generic, but it’s a lot of fun for the road. Dollar Tree even has some fun little trinkets you can buy. In the past we’ve also purchased a new game for Zoey’s LeapPad (Amazon often sells $20 digital gift cards for $14.99! Plus, you can get games on sale through the Leapfrog app store). It’s fun to tell her “turn on your LeapPad, you have something new on there!” She’s 7 and still loves her LeapPad as much as she did when she was 4. We have the LP Ultra XDI, in case you’re wondering.
2.) Prepare for mess: Pack a cheap towel for the backseat. We figured this one out after making the mistake of allowing Zoey to get a Blizzard from Dairy Queen on the drive home. We were on a mission to make it to a specific location by a specific time, otherwise we would have just had her eat it before driving again. Alas, we did not do that and I’ve since learned (I’ll get back to this later in the post). The ice cream was overflowing because it was melting entirely too fast, so before we could get moving, we had to take a few minutes to let her drink down all of the melted ice cream, and to clean up the cup it came in. That is when it dawned on me that we should keep a cheap towel in the car for moments like that. Something small enough to drape across her lap without taking up much space, but to catch messes. Whether it’s sauce for chicken nuggets, ice cream, or yogurt, no one wants that all over the car or their kid while on the road. And let’s be real, a “no food in the car” rule isn’t practical for a road trip. Don’t even play.
- Bonus Tip: Walmart sells hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, alcohol-free baby wipes for $0.88 (80 ct – look for the white package) and these are GREAT to keep in the glove box in case of messy hands. Even though Zoey is way past the days of needing baby wipes for the bathroom, we always keep these in the car for emergency messes. They are safe for the face and great when you need to refresh yourself in the car.
3.) Prepare for medical treatment: Pack emergency items into the glove box, such as napkins, tissue, and even barf bags. You just never know. I’ve also found that it’s a good idea to keep basic medicines in there, such as Dramamine, Ibuprofen, Pepto, and mints. Notice a pattern? No one wants a sour stomach on the road… it’s the worst. Kids already need to stop for the restroom more frequently than adults… adding a sour stomach to the mix or a bad headache is no good. We always keep extra bandaids, hand sanitizer, and eye drops as well. I use my empty Ipsy bags for little care packages to keep everything organized.
Seven years ago today, I became a mom to a dark haired newborn baby girl.
Up to this point, I had been her mother for 35 weeks as she was forming in my womb. From the moment that infertility treatment cycle started, I was her mother. From the moment those two pink lines appeared, I was her mother. From the moment my belly “popped” and the pregnancy became obvious to outsiders, I was her mother. From the moment we named her Zoey Elizabeth, “God’s gift of life”, I was her mother. From the moment we welcomed her from the womb, I was her mother.
I’ve had a difficult time writing this post because I really don’t know what to say. I know how I feel and what I think, but putting this subject into words has been increasingly difficult. I’ve tried many times to craft the right phrases but always hit delete. Sometimes being so vulnerable is easy, and at other times, it’s sucking the breath right out of my lungs.
I realized recently just how lonely this phase of life is. I don’t think I know a single person in my every day life who is a mother to an elementary-aged child and still struggles with the effects of infertility.
There, I said it.
Nine years ago, when I was first diagnosed with PCOS and introduced to the world of infertility, I had it in my mind that once I became a mom, infertility wouldn’t be a burden anymore. I thought that surely this was only a phase… that trying to cross the threshold into motherhood was the worst of it, and that it was all uphill from there. But then I had Zoey, a vocal little girl who always speaks her mind, and from the very age of two started asking me “mommy, why do all my friends have brothers and sisters and I don’t?” Two years old. I started to feel a sense of urgency and we started trying to grow our family. Five years later, as Zoey is on the cusp of turning seven, and while I’m finally in the best phase of peace that I have ever been in, I find that I often times feel lonely.
I haven’t had professional family portraits taken in two years (see those here)! Fall family portraits? Try 5 years. This is coming from the person who loves to scrapbook and preserve memories as much as possible! And fall is my absolute favorite time of year.
But, you know, life happens… and we sometimes forget to do things.
I’ve never been a fan of photo studios because they feel so forced, so fake, and never truly capture the family members’ personalities. Hiring a photographer and going to a chosen location is way more fun! And thanks to Pinterest, there are endless options for poses and inspiration.
We’re blessed to be good friends with a fantastic photographer who also happens to be very affordable, so if you’re in the Nashville area and looking for someone, check out her Facebook: Samantha C. Photography and let her know I sent you. And no, she didn’t ask me to do this. Hi Sam!
So, here are our fall family portraits for 2016! I am absolutely in love with these and feel like they completely capture who we are and the relationship we have.
All images used with permission by Samantha C. Photography.
This past weekend, I did something that was incredibly difficult for me. Something I had to mentally prepare myself for weeks to do, and physically for weeks to organize.
I sold my baby stuff.
Not all of it… but a lot of it.
The cute little baby clothes. The two different play mats. The toddler plates. The stroller.
While many women are buying new baby items to save away for their future bundle of joy, I said goodbye to mine.
And I hated every second of it.