Monday, April 8, 2013

Its been two months...and what a two months they have been

Going through IVF, there are so many moving parts. Its hard to figure out your feelings and thoughts, let alone to put them down on paper...or computer. :)

When I last left you, I was preparing to have a series of tests that would hopefully give us the results we so desperately want and maybe, just maybe, explain why we have unexplained infertility.

Over the past two months, I have had a hysterosalpingogram (or the HSG test) and a endometrial biopsy. Ladies, if I could offer any advice, ask for some happy drugs during these procedures. By far the most painful tests I have ever had done. The good news - everything is perfect. The bad news - well, everything perfect. I of course didn't want anything to be wrong but it sure would have explained why and what was going on if something had come up. So even after these two tests, everything is exactly as it was before - unexplained infertility.

So we prepared for another round of IVF. I did everything I could think of, so did my hubby. We ate nothing with preservatives, no soda, no drinkipoos, had whole food blended smoothies every morning, stayed away from white sugar and white flour - with the exception of my nightly M&M's. :) This seemed to work as we generated the best results of eggs and embryos that we ever had! We had 16 eggs, 12 embryos and 7 are strong and healthy and able to be frozen. I am doing a natural IVF cycle - I didn't go right into a fresh transfer as I was slightly over stimulated.  So in a week from today, we will have our transfer.

I feel better then I have ever felt before and more prepared. I am doing everything that I can possibly think of. And I have my village of support. Its taken a long time to get to this place. For a while, my hubby and I had put our focus and energy on adoption. And although we went as far as completing the necessary classes and paperwork, we just didn't feel like it was the right time. My heart kept telling me that it is more then just being a mom, but I want to have my baby with my husband. This was hard for me to come to terms with. I thought I was a bad person or not being open to all possibilities. But in truth, I wasn't being open to what my true's heart desire was. The option to adopt will always be there. But for right now, I want to be pregnant. I want to have our baby.

In 3 weeks, God will reveal the next chapter of my life. I'm anxious, excited but most of all, ready. Ready as I every could be.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to grow a baby

I have found myself reflecting a lot these past couple of days at the absolute miracle it is to have a baby, or rather, grow a baby.  I fully admit, it seems like an odd way to phrase it, but that is our problem, we can make a baby, it just won't grow. So how do you grow a baby?

I was with two little ones today, putting them down for a nap. The quite lull before nap time is my favorite time with the littles. They are sleepy and snuggly and ready to drift away to a sweet slumber. I was feeding a 5 month old her bottle and was looking at her little fingers and I kept thinking, what a miracle it is to grow these little fingers. The little nails, the little chubby hand...what a miracle it is. Later in the afternoon, I was putting a little 2 year old boy down for a nap, and he likes to twirl hair. That same thought came into mind as I watched him twirl the end of my do you a grow this perfect little person. Or more specifically...why can't I grow this perfect little person?

As anyone who has been through IVF or struggled with any type of fertility issues, the emotional roller coaster we are on is over whelming. The past two days have been unexpectedly rolly.  Which has resulted on this reflection. No matter what your beliefs, having a baby is a true miracle. I have been under the most perfect scientific conditions and it has not worked.  So, after two full years of IVF docs, injections, and tests, and 6 years previously trying to have a baby in a number of ways, we are coming to the end of our journey. I emotionally, mentally and physically can not go on much more. We have what is called "unexplained infertility". The unexplained part is the part that I constantly struggle with. And now, I am struggling with this reflection - how do you a grow a baby? How do I make this miracle happen?  And why can't I? When will it be my turn?

I have Faith, I have the love of an amazing husband and family, the most supportive and understanding friends. One of these friends asked me the other day, what makes me keep going? It was an easy answer. I keep going and trying for my miracle, because it is the only thing that I have ever wanted. In my core, and every cell of my being, wants only to be a mommy.  We have tried so many things and done so many tests, that now, I don't know what else I can do.  So I sit here and do you grow a baby?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A new year, and it begins again

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013!

I will fully admit that I was anxious and happy to see 2012 behind me. Although it had many wonderful moments, it had just as much heartache. At any time, it is hard to hear the bad news that the IVF didn't work, but it is especially difficult as you enter the holidays. For the 8 years my husband and I have been married, each year we think, "this will be our year." Especially the past two years because we have been through so many fertility treatments. I remember in 2011 as we headed into the holidays that next Christmas, we will have our baby! Finally we will have that little bundle, that gift, that miracle we want so bad. Finally we can hang on our tree a "baby's first Christmas" ornament. Finally, we would pack our car and head north for the holidays and a little snuggled up baby would be with us for us to introduce to all of our friends and family. But this was not meant to be.  Going into this holiday season, I knew it would be difficult, but around Halloween when we did our last round of IVF, we let ourselves believe that at least we would be pregnant when we went back to Michigan for the holidays. But that too was not meant to be. The heartache and sadness was immense.

I tried to make the best of things. I didn't want to have only sad memories.  So I tried to do 25 days of Christmas fun. My wonderful husband was so supportive and went along with all my crazy ideas. Every day in December, we did something Christmasy.We helped friends trim their Christmas tree, and watched all the Christmas shows and movies, and went to the mall, and drank hot cocoa.

We visited Santa - and I told Santa what I wanted for Christmas this year.

We went and cut down a Christmas tree with some great friends.

We spent an evening making Ninja Bread Men cookies, went to the ICE!, the National Tree Lighting ceremony and the Alexandria Tree Lighting.

All these wonderful moments and memories.

But for most of the holidays, I just felt as if I was just going through the motions. I tried to embrace each experience and it was fun while doing it. But after the excitement of the moment faded, the emptiness crept in and took hold. So by the end of the year, I was done. I just wanted it all to be over and to finally close the book on 2012.

As I woke up on the first day of 2013, it was almost like a relief set in. It was an instant wash that the past was the past and the new year is all new with new hope. It has also brought on new plans and new beginnings. Niles and I have decided to begin the adoption process. We go to our first meeting at the beginning of February. At this time, we are looking at going through Catholic Charities. Simultaneously, we will begin IVF again. I am exhausted with this fertility journey and can say with sound mind and heart that this will be the last go at it. So over the next couple of months I will endure a battery of test from a variety of doctors in many fields. Hopefully nothing will be "wrong" but hopefully someone can finally give us an answer to what is going on other then "unexplained infertility".  And so it begins again.

For anyone who has endured the pain of infertility, my heart and prayers go out to you. I am judged harshly by some for my decision to continue on this journey, which I think is unfair. Unless you are faced with not being able to have a baby, I don't think you fully understand the emptiness and pain in your heart. It is smothering, deafening, makes it hard to breathe the pain and sadness is so great. Since I was a little girl, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a mommy. All I ever wanted was to hear someone call me "mama".  Its been my dream and my desire for as long as I have memories. I believe God gives people gifts and it is this gift of love for children that keeps me going on this journey. It is also this gift that has led us down the path to adoption. This too is a long and delicate process. But as I begin every year, I pray again this year, that this will finally be our year. That this year, we will get pregnant. That this year, we will adopt a brand new baby. That this Christmas, the baby's first Christmas ornament will finally be hung on the tree.

Happy New Year and God Bless. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finding your feet again

Infertility sucks.

Someone told me once that when something happens on your path, on your road of life, that it is detour, or a stumble, but it is not a blockade. After so many do you find your feet again to continue on? How do you not feel like it is a blockade? Yesterday I got dealt another blow. One of those blows that makes you just want to lay down in the middle of the road and never want to get up again. My husband and I had another round of IVF - the transfer was on my birthday - and this is our 6th infertility treatment. And we found out yesterday...that it didn't work. The sadness is so deep. The emptiness is so vast. The tears are so raw. But...some how, I found my feet to keep walking. I got through yesterday, and am walking forward again today. People are using words like strong...graceful...perseverance...but even though i'm walking forward, I still feel like I am just laying in the middle of the road. I feel so open and exposed and vulnerable. But I keep moving forward. I feel so empty inside....but then full too.

I woke up this morning giving Thanks. I know that even though I am going through this terrible time, I know that I am Blessed. And what is picking me and moving me forward? Its my Faith and the strength from family and friends. Everyone is praying so hard for this to happen for me. To know that so many people are behind you and with you on your journey is overwhelming. It fills you up, and lifts you, and helps you find your feet again. Kind of like a balloon. Just filling you up from within and floating you down your path.

The hardest thing is right now - is not knowing. How can two people who love each other so much and just want a baby so bad, how can we not create a baby that grows and is filled with love? How can someone who has the desire so deep to be a mother, how can she not become one? How can two people with so much love and support behind them, and so many prayers and people praying for them, how can this pray not come true? This is what I don't understand. This is what I am struggling with. I hear stories all the time about people who don't want a baby and our pregnant. I hear all the time horrendous things that happen to children. And I am so confused why a home filled with such love and desire for a family, can not be filled with children?

These questions may never be answered. It may never be explained. And the prayers continue. That some day, our home will be filled with the love and laughter of a child. I will not give up. I will fight forever to make this happen. No matter the cost.

For anyone going through this or who has gone through this...there is a cost isn't there? How many times can you be knocked down? How many times can you get up from laying down in the middle of the path and just not wanting to get up again? As long as I have my Faith, and all the strength and love and support from my family and friends, I know I will always be able to find my feet again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It Takes a Village

We have all heard the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". For my husband and I, it takes a village to HAVE a child. Our journey is nearing another milestone. And I have been thinking of how many people have been a part of this journey and helped get us to this place.

Our family has been a support for us every step of the way. Whether it has been emotional or financial support, they have been there. This journey has been as difficult for them as it has been for us. A parent wants nothing more then to give their child their hopes and dreams. Well no matter how hard they try, then can't "make" this happen. And that is a terribly frustrating place for a parent to be. A parent doesn't want to see their child in pain or hurting. And this experience has brought on a lot of both. And it leaves a parent feeling helpless. Thank you all of those who are supporting our parents while we are on our fertility journey. I know you have been then to wipe the tears of sadness or disappoint from their eyes and have said prayers for us every day. And thank you to all of our family who has supported us with prayers, support and well wishes.

At first, Niles and I choose not to share what we were going through with friends. We didn't want to bring them down with bad news or burden them with our problems. But everyone knew something was wrong. When we shared what was happening, everyone understood and the outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming. I will get random texts or messages on Facebook that someone is thinking of me. Or I'll receive a wee gift in the mail - like a Mickey Mouse from my best friend so I can hug him every time I get sad. Or an kneeling angel figure from a friend who also went through fertility troubles. It is overwhelming how many people just want us to have this gift - a gift of having a baby.

The most stunning and amazing gift someone has offered to us, is the gift of their body to be our surrogate if it gets to that point. One person who offered this to me is a dear friend who I have known since I was 9 years old. And another, is someone that I don't know well but we our friends on facebook. Can you imagine? There are people out there who care so much and want to help so much that they will give over their bodies to help us? It was a stunning and amazing gift that still brings me to tears.

Support from the unknown has helped us on this journey. By putting my story out there and sharing what we are experiencing through social media has led to an outpouring of support, prayers, and well wishes. I belong to a Disney board. We talk about all things Disney all day! My kind of place!! I opened up and shared with them our struggles and journey. One of the members on the boards shared a story with me. He said that they had trouble having a baby and while walking in the wee hours of the morning at the resort they were staying, Port Orleans Riverside, they ran into a cast member who was on the bridge. This cast member told them a story of making a wish on the bridge by tossing a dime into the river. They tossed in their dime, made their wish, and the next year, they brought their daughter to Disney World and went to that spot on that bridge. Their wish came true. This past September, Niles and I happened to be staying at this same resort and we tossed our dimes into the river on the bridge and made our wish. I shared this story and what we did in a trip report after we returned home. The responses I got to this story was stunning!!!! People who have never met me and don't know me beyond just a person who dishes out Disney advice have started praying for us and sending us pixie dust! One member who is traveling to this same resort in a few weeks with her niece is going to take a dime and make a wish for us. She is having her niece make one too. Her niece is an IVF baby. I get chills just thinking about how remarkable this all is! How many people want us to have a baby and will do anything to help us!!

I have been seeing a therapist since February to help me navigate through this emotional and difficult journey. I can say with out any doubt, I'm a different and the best version of myself now. Its been her weekly efforts that have helped me focus on what is important and put myself first. She has helped me to control the worries and anxieties that this experience has brought up. I am stronger and happier and am ready for the next step of my journey thanks to her.

The medical staff at the fertility doctors office has been so supportive and wonderful. When Niles and I began going to a fertility doctor in early 2011, we were with a different doctors office. The doctor, although amazing, had a staff and office that was anything but. We left them and started with a new office and doctor and have been so happy with their support and their efforts.

I never really bought into the world the acupuncture until it was recommend by a friend I went to high school with who suffered from some fertility issues. And as I researched it and looked into it, I realized the benefits. Then I did it a few times, and I was sold! It has helped tremendously getting through this journey.

Going through fertility treatments is a time consuming and difficult journey. Without the support and love from the families I work for, I would not have been able to do any of this. They have all been understanding, supportive and want this so bad for us!!! They have let me take time off for doctors appointments and have been beyond supportive while I go through the fertility treatments. Being able to share this journey with my families has meant the world to me. They are truly an extension of my own family. They share their children with me and let me into their lives, homes and family every day. Being able to be surrounded by such love and support every day has made this process easier on me. I know I can depend on my families and they can depend on me. They are always there, to give hugs, love, support, and even...shots!

This is my village. A village I love and that I love being a part of. Each member of this village has been a part of our journey. Without you all, we would not have been able to get through this. In a week, on my birthday, this journey takes its final step. Thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, loved and prayed for us. We love you. We love our village.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween "Must Do's" Kids and Family

If anyone has stayed on property at Walt Disney World, you know Stacy and her "must do's". Well this is Carey's Must Do's for Haloween!

1) Trip to Pumpkin Patch! Even if it is your local church patch or a full farm to go pumpkin picking or both - take a trip to The Great Pumpkin Patch! And while there:
  • take pictures 
  • pick out pumpkins to paint
  • take a wagon or hay ride
  • pick out pumpkins to carve
  • enjoy a fall treat - bring a special cookie or fruit treat to enjoy in the patch

 2) Make a painting to mark the size of the kids feet. Check out this great blog for the tutorial:

or this one:

3) Have a fun Halloween party! Make these fun treats! The kids I nanny for love the mummy dogs and witch fingers!!!

 And these ideas from!

And these monster sandwiches!

4) Play Games! Sing Songs! All sorts! There are so many games to play - Halloween bowling, pin the jack o lantern face on the pumpkin, and Pop Goes the Pumpkin!

5) Watch its The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Well, the journey continues. I still don't know anything specific. This has been going on for 8 days. 8 days of tests and monitoring just to determine when the embryo transfer will be. I realized that I have a case of the "I wantsies". I realized this a.m. that I have used the word "want" so many times in the past week that I am actually alarmed!! Its been everything from, I want to know when I will have my transfer, I want to know how is giving me my trigger shot, I want to know when I will find out if the IVF transfer worked, I want to find a pair of skinny jeans, I want organize my closet, I want a new cable knit sweater...Its all "I want".

But what I really want...I want that moment...that moment when for the first time in my life, they tell me I am going to have a baby. I want to know what that feels like. I want to know that joy. I want to know what it feels like to have my most precious dream come true.

Everything just filler. Nervous energy and anxiety as I wait. I am making my Christmas lists, planning on when I can go to Disney again, pinning my little brain out on Pinterest! What ever I can do to use up that nervous energy as I wait...wait for what I truly want.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Practically Perfect In Every Way

In my life, I try to strengthen my strengths, improve what needs improving, learn what needs to be learned and grow where I need to grow.  Basically, I'm a work in progress. I think everyone is. However, I put a lot of pressure on being perfect though.  This goes way back. For as long as I can remember, I felt like I needed to be perfect. I fully understand that no one is perfect so I never was one to strive for "perfect" perfection but more like "nearly" perfect. But in things I know - planning for a Disney Trip, decorating, cooking, etc...I want absolute perfection. I demand it from myself. Last year, for Thanksgiving, I was officially hosting my first Thanksgiving. I didn't want anyone in the kitchen with me. I wanted to pull off a Thanksgiving presentation that would rival Martha Stewart. And in the end. I achieved it. Everything down to the individual gravy boats. A perfect birthday meal for my mom the night before, a perfect breakfast course, a perfect Thanksgiving Day dinner, and a perfect dessert. And if that wasn't enough, a perfect round of left overs the next day.


It hit me by dessert though... this feeling of absolutely defeat. I missed it. I missed Thanksgiving. I missed it because I was so focused on the turkey and the stuffing and all the trimmings, I missed the laughter and watching football and relaxing. I missed an opportunity to cook in the kitchen with my mom and my brother's girlfriend, Emily. That was the "perfect" Thanksgiving. Everyone's hands full of flour, and butts bumping in the tiny kitchen. And the thing is...I actually know this. I just get so wrapped up in making the perfect moment for people. Making the perfect environment. I know that. I can do that. And in some ways, that is one way I show love. I show people love by creating the perfect setting for them and the perfect environment. If asked, everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. The word perfection was thrown away quite a bit! I was proud, but deflated.

Whether I've held on a little too tight to Mary's words "Practically Perfect In Every way" or I watched too many Martha Stewart holiday specials, I, for as long as I can remember, have been like this. I remember back being 9 years old feeling this way. Feeling like I had to be perfect. Over the past year, through prayer, faith, friends, family, and my therapist, I have really focused on this idea of "perfection".

Last year when I went through IVF, I wanted to go through it perfectly. I didn't want to burden anyone with "my problem". I felt like I was thinking about it all the time, I certainly didn't want to talk about it all the time. I put loads of pressure on myself to just go through it with a smile. Every time I heard a "we are very sorry Mrs. Larson, but the cycle was unsuccessful", I would give myself 3 days to get over it and then back up to try and do it again. Towards the end, i'm certain that this played a roll in why things were not successful. I was grieving and sad and lonely, and found myself putting so much pressure on myself to control what I could - like creating a "perfect" Thanksgiving - that I wore myself down, physically, emotionally and mentally. I should confess here that I worked so hard over Thanksgiving, I got laryngitis.

One "imperfection" I have is that I struggle with patience. If I know something is coming up, anything from paying a bill to a Disney vacation, I get so wrapped up and anxious about doing what ever needs to be done, I usually make myself sick. Now there are two kinds of patience. I can listen to a 3 years old temper-tantrum for days. It doesn't bother me. Or I can have 18 children pulling on me vying for my attention and again, it doesn't get to me. The screams and yells of children is music to my ears. That kind of patience - I have ten fold. But the kind where I have to wait for something to happen in my life - well, i'm working on it.

Going through IVF is like a "hurry up.....and wait" experience. You have to hurry up....and then tell you to wait a couple more days. Hurry up...and we will call you tomorrow. Hurry up....wait a week. Its all hurry up....and wait. And its maddening. It tests my patience to its limits. Yesterday, I was all set to find out when our transfer would be. So I hurried to the doctor, had my tests, and then was told...wait to Sunday and come back. I would like to say this doesn't bother me any more. Over the past year, it has gotten so much better...but it still unsettles me.

So I wait...until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A True Love Story

I get teased a lot for my Disney "enthusiasm". I'm a girl who is 36, still watches Disney movies, and goes to Disney World every year! I think some people don't give Disney a fair chance and just think its for the kids. What if I told you the most romantic story every told is in 5 minutes of animated silent film? And Disney.

Since I love Disney movies so much, my wonderful hubby took me to see Up!. I expected to laugh and giggle and just have a wonderful time at the movies with my buttered popcorn and junior mints. What I didn't expect was to have a story resonate so deeply and have such profound meaning in my life.

Here is what changed me life.

With no words...this is the love story that parallels my life.  I never anticipated being in this position. I knew marriage would have its own set of complications and problems coming up but never did I think it would be to start a family. If you were to ask me, from the time I was 5 to the present, what is the one thing I want to be when I grow up? I would answer then as I answer be a mother.

When we started this fertility treatment journey, Niles, that wonderful husband of mine, surprised me with this on my lap top as my wall paper.

The similarities in this love story go beyond just the struggles to have a family. I'm the chatty one...Niles, not so much. We love fixing up old houses and making them our own. And when we met on, we talked about our adventures. And that has been a theme of our marriage. What adventures would we go on together and that we would always be okay as long as we had each other...and packed snacks.

When you struggle with fertility, there is so much pain and confusion. I am blessed and thankful to have a husband who has held my hand on every step of this journey. It hasn't been easy, but he has been there holding my hand. So the hand prints, displayed on the mailbox, is another theme we share with Ellie and Carl.

Tomorrow we become one step closer to our dreams and another step on this adventure. I know now that what ever happens, Niles and I, like Ellie and Carl, will be okay, because we have each other.

I love you, Niles.