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This is Us "Number Two" - My thoughts as a loss mom

Warning: this post contains spoilers!

I’ve held this back to give everyone time to watch last week’s episode of This is Us. Wow – was it powerful. As a 3-time loss mom, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the episode. The week before, in the last minute of the “Number One” episode, they told us that Kate lost the baby. And I immediately started crying. And I was thankful. Thankful because she was a character in a TV show, not a person in real life. But so extremely thankful that they were going to highlight the topic of miscarriage, and I was anxious to see how they did it. I could not wait for the next episode.
And they did not disappoint. I think the episode, “Number Two”, was powerful, enlightening and much needed. I so appreciate the writers of This is Us highlighting what miscarriage does to a couple, and how it makes you feel. Is everyone’s experience the same? No. I didn’t have a spontaneous physical loss like Kate did. I have never been on my bathroom floor crying beca…

IVF Round 2 Protocol

Ready or not… round 2 of IVF is underway. Apparently round 1 was just a “warm-up”. Since round 1 wasn’t successful for us (we had two embryos make it to freeze, but both had an abnormal number of chromosomes), our doctor changed the protocol for round 2. And holy crap, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Here is our protocol for this round: Cycle Day 3 (November 2nd) – Estrace (estrogen) and Birth Control once daily for 21 daysCycle Day 9 (November 8th) – Added Androgel (testosterone gel) which was applied to my stomach for 21 daysNovember 28th – Last day of Androgel. Start Microdose Lupron injections (20 iu in the AM, and 20 iu in the PM)November 29th – Start 5 (yes, FIVE!) injections a day:AM:20 iu of Microdose Lupron300 iu of Gonal-fPM:20 iu of Microdose Lupron300 iu of Menopur.25 mL of Omnitrope (Human Growth Hormone)Injections will continue for 10-12 days until the follicles are hopefully large enough, and then we will trigger with Ovidrel and have the egg retrieval 36 …

The Fight for a Liver

It’s been a little while since I posted about my husband, Reid, and our fight to get him a new liver. Honestly, I think I’ve focused on talking about our fertility journey more because with that I have more answers. And a timeline.
I have been so anxious this week. And while many of you probably think it’s because we’re getting ready to start IVF round 2, it’s not completely. I am so anxious about what is going to happen to my husband. Because without him, none of this even matters. I’m not saying the infertility and pregnancy losses is the lesser of our struggles. I don’t know that there’s a comparison… each struggle has its own significant challenges, and each affects me differently depending on the day. When we first learned of Reid’s diagnosis of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), it was always a maybe he’d have to have a liver transplant one day, and maybe he’d get cancer. But one of those maybes has become a definitely, and the other is now a very likely. It just feels like…

Pregnancy Loss Awareness - Our Story

A year ago today, I shared on Facebook that we had experienced two pregnancy losses, and were struggling with infertility. At that time, we were mourning the recent loss of our 2nd baby, and I was really having a hard time. Through sharing our losses and our struggle, I have found incredible strength.


Pregnancy loss is the hardest thing I have ever had to experience.
The first day I saw two pink lines on a test (April 17th, 2015), I became a mother. At that moment, I pictured our future with that baby. I pictured telling all of our family and friends, I pictured my belly growing. I pictured the first time we would get to hold that baby. I wondered what we should name him or her. I wondered whether their hair would be brown or red and their eyes blue or green. Once we learned the due date, I planned the next 8 months and I thought about how pregnant I would be at each of the weddings and family events we had coming up. I wondered what kind of personality our baby would have, and thou…

Here we go again – IVF Round 2

So I mentioned last week that our first IVF cycle failed. We were so hopeful, and had two good embryos make it to freeze, but the PGS testing came back a week later and we learned that both embryos had abnormal chromosomes. We were pretty heartbroken. This past Tuesday we met with our RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist – fertility doctor). He gave us a little more hope. And answered a lot of questions.
Our doctor believes that the chromosome abnormalities have to do with my DOR (Diminished Ovarian Reserve). We can’t know for sure, and there’s really not many ways to test for that, but that’s the assumption that we’re making. After our 3rd loss, he did some extensive blood work on both of us to see if there were underlying issues, and the only thing that came back was that I have an MTHFR mutation, which is fairly common with infertility. But neither of us have issues that should cause the embryos to have abnormal chromosomes. Also, the chromosome abnormalities have been different each…

IVF Round 1 - Fail

I’m so f-ing tired of sharing bad news with you all. If this wasn’t my life, I wouldn’t believe the shit storm we’ve been through this week. And I’m so f-ing tired of it. I’m sorry, but today’s post is going to be quite raw. If my grandma wasn't reading, I would write out the real f-bombs. Because that’s how angry I am today.
We just finished the first couple of steps for IVF round #1 (which I thought would be our only round, and still may be). We got through the stimming process where I took nightly hormone injections. We got through the egg retrieval and had four eggs retrieved (low, but I high-fived the doctor because it was more than one). We got through the incubation process of the two embryos that fertilized, and they both made it to freeze at day 6. Both embryos were deemed GOOD quality (on a rating system of poor, fair, or good). We were so excited. I was ignorant enough to think that a good quality embryo couldn’t have chromosome issues. We were planning for a transfer…

IVF - Week 1 update

I keep procrastinating posting about the first week of IVF because honestly I’m so freaking tired. I assume it’s the hormones, but I could fall asleep standing right now. And that’s while drinking a Frappuccino. 
Also… hormone rage is a real thing, y’all. I’ve had my share of mood swings the last couple of days. From what I understand, that’s to be expected when you pump your body full of hormones. I keep trying to remind myself of that fact.
We’ve made it to day 9 of “stimming” (stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs). We started the injections (day 1 of stimming) on Sunday, September 3rd. I have to say, the injections themselves aren’t as bad as I’d made them out to be in my mind. The needle that I use is only ½ inch, and it’s a 27 gauge. The medication burns going in, but I’ve learned that my right side doesn’t hurt near as bad as my left side. Fortunately I was directed to alternate sides each night, so it only hurts every other night. I started the process on 225 IUs of Menopu…

Anniversary of a Loss

One year ago today was one of the worst days of my life. I walked into my doctor’s office excited and optimistic, ready for my weekly ultrasound and to see our baby. Over the past week, my pregnancy symptoms had increased, and I had shared the good news with all of our family and friends. This was finally happening. We were going to be parents and had made it to 9 ½ weeks. And then the doctor started the ultrasound and the look on his face told a different story. He said in a very soft voice “I’m so sorry, but there’s no longer a heartbeat.” I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. Take it back! But he couldn’t.
If you want to hear the whole story of that pregnancy, you can go here. This post isn’t to relive that day… I do that in my head often enough. This post is to say that a year later, I’m a different person. That experience changes you. For me, it has made me a much stronger person. I remember sitting on my couch that day, staring blankly and jus…

IVF... Here we go

After 3 years of trying and 3 pregnancy losses, we’ve decided to take the plunge and go for IVF. Several things played into our decision to finally start the process: 1. My low AMH (ovarian reserve), 2. It’s been 6+ months since we last conceived, 3. All 3 of our pregnancies have ended in heartbreak, 4. IVF allows us to test the embryos (via Preimplantation genetic screening - PGS – testing) so that we hopefully don’t have the chromosomal issues we’ve had with 2 of the 3 pregnancies, 5. It gives us a little more control over the timing (if that’s such a thing) and 6. We don’t know what the anti-rejection medication will do to Reid’s fertility once he has the liver transplant.
At first, I was sad that we got to this point. Last year when we made the tough decision to start IVF, we came to terms with it, and then found out we were pregnant on our own the day before we were to start the process. So in the back of my mind, I hoped and prayed that would happen again. But it didn’t. I thin…

Not Yet

“Not yet”… that’s what we heard again this week. We learned yesterday that Reid did not get the exception points that we applied for on the liver transplant list. One more set-back. I really felt like we were on a forward track, and that he would get the points. I mean, the doctor pretty much guaranteed us it would happen. So we’re disappointed. We had all of our plans set, as much as possible, but of course we go back to Plan B once again. Honestly, I’m not totally devastated. At least not today. I’m disappointed. And aggravated. But I think I’ve become a little immune to set-backs at this point. I think if this would have happened 3 years ago, I would have had a total meltdown. But not now. I guess I can be thankful for the fact that the last couple of years have made me tougher, and I am more able to roll with the punches.
So where does this put us? Honestly, we’re not sure. The transplant coordinator has said that they are going to try to reapply, but unless Reid’s condition cha…

Reality and a Dream

Last week was a hard week. I posted on Tuesday that I was going to be excited, and look forward to all the good things coming. Then the next day, the reality set in and it took a couple of days to get my head unstuck again. I became so overwhelmed. During that time, my mom asked again to start a fundraiser for us, and I knew it was in progress. But it was a super hard reality. The situation we’re in has been quite overwhelming at times, but now we were coming to the realization that we may not be able to financially make it all happen. Reid and I both have good jobs, and we have lived a pretty good lifestyle. I started feeling guilty for going on trips and making big purchases for our house… if I had known and we had saved that money instead, maybe we wouldn’t have my mom asking for money on our behalf. It was a crappy feeling. To top that off, I sometimes feel like our situation isn’t that “big of a deal”… it sounds ridiculous, because I know it is a big deal. But someone always has…

Planning... and more planning

If you know me, or have been following along, you know I’m a planner. I also like to have control. Over the last couple of years, there have been many things out of my control and plans have gone totally awry. Lately we’ve been able to make some plans, and some back-up plans.
Last week we met with the transplant team in Indy. What a great experience that was. As I’ve mentioned, we had a good indication that Reid would be able to get a liver much quicker in Indy than he would here in Houston. The team there gave us a lot of hope, and confirmed that the process would be quicker. Reid’s MELD score is still low, but they are going to apply for exception points. The team in Houston said the same thing, but in Indy they seemed confident that he would be awarded the extra points. So we’ve got two scenarios… Reid is awarded the exception points, and would have a MELD score of 22 or 28. This would automatically put him a position on the list where he could get a liver very soon after.Reid is …

Waiting, impatiently

I am a terribly impatient person. I know this about myself, but it doesn’t make the wait any easier. Lately, I feel like that’s all we do is wait.
We wait on insurance, we wait on the doctors, we wait for another positive pregnancy test, we wait to do IVF.
Sometimes I think God thinks he’s quite funny – making one of the most impatient people on this earth wait so much. I know it’s a lesson. I know it’s supposed to teach me to be more patient. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!
So where are we?
Well, Reid is officially listed on the liver transplant list. Thank God. Big step done. He was listed on June 8th with a MELD score of 11. Which is low. He has not been classified as “low MELD in need” yet, which we really hoped for. We need to set up a meeting with the transplant coordinator to figure out if there’s anything else we can do to get him listed as such. We did get a packet of information with requirements in order to maintain his status on the transplant list. Some of th…

Liver Transplant List? Check.

Oh my gosh, y’all. Where do I start?
I know I’ve left you all hanging on Reid’s liver “situation”. But we were waiting for news. Which I think will be the name of the game. But I’m so happy to share that yesterday we found out he was approved for the liver transplant list!! Great news! First step, done. Now we wait on our insurance company to verify one more thing (a formality), and then Reid will go back in for more bloodwork to determine where he’ll be placed on the list. Then we wait some more.
The last couple of weeks have been full of information. Two weeks ago, we went in for all of the testing and meetings that are required in order to be on the transplant list. During the 2 day process, we met with a financial counselor, a cardiologist, a dietician, the transplant surgeon, the nurse practitioner, the transplant coordinator, and a social worker. All of those were on the transplant “team”. Reid had 20 vials of blood drawn, a bone density scan, an EKG, a panorex scan, a chest …

International Bereaved Mother's Day

I had no idea this was a thing. I wish it wasn’t. I wish there wasn’t a reason to have an International Bereaved Mother’s Day. But I saw it in my news feed today. So there it is – today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.
I’ve been struggling with Mother’s Day approaching, and how I feel about it. I struggle with calling myself a “mother”. A “bereaved mother”, yes. But a “mother”… there’s some grey area there, at least in my mind. I haven’t had sleepless nights due to an infant crying and waking up for feedings. I haven’t set up a nursery. I haven’t nursed a baby. I haven’t gone through labor. But still, I feel like I am a mother. I have planned for a child’s life. I have cried tears of happiness because I have so much love for the tiny human inside of me. I have felt the pregnancy pains. I have taken naps on the couch because my body is working so hard to create life. I have worried about my child’s health. So “bereaved mother” is fitting. And I’ll take this day as my “mother’s…

My Hopes

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like I’m walking around with a backpack full of weights. Literally. I fall asleep on the couch every evening, I am constantly worrying, and I just feel defeated. But I’m working on changing that. I’m trying my hardest to pull myself out of it… to put on my “big girl” panties and deal with it. I know I can. I know I need to remain positive.
I sat down to make a list of my worries. But instead, I’m choosing to make a list of my hopes. After all, “worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.” (Wiz Khalifa)

I hope that my husband, Reid, gets a liver soon. And recovers well from the liver transplant. I hope that his health significantly improves from a liver transplant, and his PSC does not come back.
I hope that I never have to utter the words “Reid has cancer” to anyone. Ever. I hope that he is that 10%... I mean, we do seem to hit the small odds.
I hope that Reid and I are able to have two babies. I ho…

Overwhelmed

That’s how I’ve felt for the last week… overwhelmed. Anytime anyone asks how we are, that’s my response: “overwhelmed”. We knew that with Reid’s PSC, he may have to have a liver transplant one day. We knew that he had an increased chance of cancer. We knew that this could cause some complications and discomfort. But you think, “we’ll deal with it if and when we get there.” We’re there. And it’s a bit surreal. And very overwhelming. I don’t think my mind has rested since I talked to the doctor following Reid’s procedure last Thursday. I wake up and my mind is racing. I go to sleep and my mind is racing. It’s exhausting! I am thankful to have some answers though, and a “plan” (ha, that’s funny).
Reid has been feeling better since we got home. He hasn’t had a fever in 2 ½ days (we were on edge with his fever spiking every couple of hours after we got home from the hospital), and he’s eating normally. He is very tired though. I’m not sure if it’s because his bilirubin is so high, or beca…

Reid's health - Hospital stay #2

When I started writing this blog, it was dedicated to one topic – infertility and pregnancy loss. I guess that’s two topics, but very closely related. I did not think the type of miracle I would be impatiently waiting for would change. We now need a miracle for my husband, Reid. A month ago I shared that we were in the hospital and he had cholangitis. At that time, we knew that it meant his Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) – an inflammation of the bile ducts in his liver – was progressing. But we weren’t sure by how much. So we had follow up appointments and procedures scheduled with his doctors. Next Tuesday he was set to go have a Spyglass procedure so we could see where he was. He had been feeling significantly better after his last hospital stay, and we thought things were looking much better.
Early Wednesday morning he woke me around 3 a.m. with liver pains (yes, unfortunately he actually knows what liver pains feel like). We decided to come into the ER, given his last situa…