National Infertility Awareness Week!

Start ASking

Hi beautiful people! I have decided to share my blog with my friends, family, and people I know. For years I have blogged without sharing it with too many people that I knew in real life. This blog started in 2012 as a place I could write about my thoughts and share things I was scared to really say out loud when it came to our struggles with infertility. When I found out we had fertility issues, I didn’t feel like I could talk to a lot of people about it for different reasons. Plus, it’s not exactly easy dinner conversation: “Pass me the bread, oh yeah I’m having trouble having a baby…” What I DID feel like I could do was write about it. So that’s what I did. In blogging I found a really amazing community of people who were in the same shoes. A great deal who had made it to the other side and had given me hope. Some, who to this day, are still struggling to conceive. Ultimately, it ended up being an amazing outlet to share and to listen.

I want to share my blog because when I look back at where we were in 2012 and what we went through to have a family, all I can do is be filled with gratitude and awe at where we are today. And guess what? I take literally ZERO credit for it. It’s all God. Without Him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Yes, we didn’t go through the typical process people go through to have a baby. I’m thankful for how far we have come in the medical world and through science. I’m grateful that God uses doctors, nurses, scientists, and all kinds of awesome people to make things happen. That’s just how good He is. So today what I want to offer others is this:

HOPE.

I share my blog because I believe there is hope for anyone who is dealing with infertility. Anyone who is walking this journey. It can be lonely, murky, unfamiliar, and altogether terrifying. I can tell you this – everything we went through shaped us and molded us in such a unique way. I learned to face fear head on. I learned not to be consumed with anxiety and worry. I learned that I had a choice, I could choose sorrow and depression OR I could choose hope and joy, even when it was seemingly impossible to do so. I thought it would be really cool to share my blog during National Infertility Awareness week.

This week is National Infertility Awareness week.

The definition of infertility is:

 …the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. 

1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. There is an excellent chance that someone around you is struggling with it or knows someone who is. It’s much more common than people realize.

The theme for National Infertility Awareness Week is #StartAsking. The foundation wants people to #StartAsking:

  • Employers for insurance coverage.
  • Your lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
  • Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved.
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about YOUR reproductive health.
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease (all taken directly from resolve.org – edited).

I am going to encourage you to #StartPraying in addition to asking. Pray for your friends and family members who are walking through this. Encourage them. Let them know you are there for them. Pray for the wisdom to be there for them in a way that is helpful, encouraging, and uplifting.

And most importantly, hold on to hope.

 

Going back to the RE.

There’s a lot that’s been happening on my end over here. Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain in my abdomen, on my sides, and in my lower stomach area. It’s been increasing, comes and goes, but has been noticeably present lately. Since I have severe endometriosis, I am assuming that is what the flare up is. I’m not going to lie though, I AM concerned. I went to my regular doctor and since my doctor is out of the country, I spoke with the nurse practitioner. Her response was – “I think it may be acid reflux.”

Um…WHAT? I’ve never had reflux in my life except for when I was pregnant, towards the end of my pregnancy. Otherwise, I have never experienced it. I know that’s not what it is. It’s all over my middle area and my symptoms don’t go with acid reflux. So I called my gyno to schedule an appointment with her but don’t get to see them until next the end of the month. I felt like no one has been taking me seriously at all – no one. I went to the next step, my RE.

After all, he was the one who discovered how severe my endometriosis was during the laproscopy. I need someone to hear me and to help me. My RE has never failed me in that department (and neither has God!) and so I want to talk to him and see what he thinks. I am leaning towards having a hysterectomy. My RE told me that after I had the boys I would need corrective surgery at some point. I think the point is here. Before I even begin to think to deeply about that though, I want to talk to my RE and find out what his thoughts are. My blood work showed that there was some blood in the urine (TMI, I know) and the nurse wants me to retake it, which I will be doing ASAP this week. I don’t want to jump to conclusions and make a big decision if it’s something like kidney stones. BUT….

All of this has led my husband and I to many discussions about what our next step is going to look like. He would rather have a healthy wife who is free of pain than more kids, in his words. My heart feels content and happy at this point. I’m just wondering if I will end up changing my mind. Will I feel regret in several years when the boys have grown? This isn’t a decision that I can undo. Yet, I’m so tired and weary of dealing with this endometriosis that I’m leaning heavily towards make that decision. This doesn’t mean we have to be “done” (even though we absolutely feel done at this moment in time)…but it would mean that I can’t have any more babies in my belly. Am I ready to decide that at 28 years old?

My heart ultimately feels peace. I know that no matter what happens, no matter what we decide, God is with us in this whole process. I can absolutely feel Him. But will you guys keep me in your thoughts and prayers? I go to see him this Tuesday morning. Since my husband works and my mom works, I will be going alone about an hour away. I really wanted to have my mom or husband with me as we discuss what’s going on with me, but I’ll be solo. I just want this all to be resolved. Let’s see what the RE says.

Are we ready to say no more babies? Life’s hard decisions.

It’s been a bit since I’ve last blogged. Life is hectic! My husband started real estate school and so our weeks are just insane. I thought, is there a better way to jump back in then to write about something that’s very near and dear to my heart? Something that has been weighing on me heavily lately:

Are we ready to say no to more babies?

And honestly, there is no clear cut answer here. The answer is – I DON’T KNOW. I really don’t. But I feel like I kind of have to know. I don’t feel like I have unlimited time to make this decision. If you’ve read my story in the About Me section of my blog, then you know that I had a laproscopy a few years ago to remove my endometriosis so that my husband and I could conceive naturally. When the doctor went in he found a very ugly scenario in there and recommended that we jump straight to IVF – and we decided to do that. One thing my doctor was very clear about though, was the fact that I would eventually HAVE to have corrective surgery to deal with my endometriosis. It’s all jacked up in there. A colleague told me a story about a woman who had endometriosis that spread throughout her body and ended up in ICU for ten days fighting for her life. I know that’s not the typical scenario, but I don’t even want to risk is. So that begs the question – what do I do?

After I had the twins, I thought and said – we are done. This is it. I said it with so much finality. Part of me believes what I said. But the other part of me asks, “What if…?” I feel like I am too young to make that kind of permanent decision. In short, if I have the corrective surgery I will most likely be unable to carry a pregnancy ever again. I may even have to have a complete hysterectomy. And the problem is, I just don’t know anymore if that’s something I’m comfortable with. What if I regret it?! Can I be even more honest and speak from my heart?

A couple of years ago, my husband dreamed about a little girl. In the dream she spoke some very sweet words to my husband (which I will keep between hubs and I) and somewhere in my heart I wonder if we are suppose to have a little girl at some point. I’m perplexed. Here’s my line of thoughts:

  • Are we suppose get pregnant again? If so, how? “Naturally” or through IVF? And how the heck can I even get pregnant naturally with all of my issues?
  • What if we are supposed to adopt a little girl?
  • What if we are supposed to foster a little girl?
  • What is the timing of all of this supposed to look like? Cause I’m NOT ready for any of this at this exact moment in my life!
  • What if we are supposed to do NOTHING and this really IS it for us?
  • What if I’m making something out of nothing?
  • Do I even want to be pregnant ever again after everything we went through with the boys? My heart says no…

That’s where my heart is. A long list of I don’t knows. Because I don’t. A part of me can’t even imagine being pregnant again. The experience was beautiful and traumatic. The end result is beautiful though. Simply beautiful. But I just don’t know if I could handle all of that again. My husband is supportive either way and his heart is open either way. That’s where we are at.

I feel bad even thinking this at times when I think of all of the people who are still waiting for the one. It feels selfish to ask these questions when I think of friends, both real world and blogger world, who are going through the road of infertility. Nonetheless, these questions float to the surface of my heart. In the end, my life and “my” plans are in God’s hands. I want HIS plans for my life above all.

I will be posting pictures of the boys soon! <3

Yes, I did IVF. No, I’m not ashamed.

unashamed of IVF

As I prepare myself to go back to work, I’m also preparing myself for the questions people will feel more bold to ask me. Questions about if twins run in my family and all of that nonsense. It used to be annoying and I would give people wishy washy answers, only because really it’s NONE of their business (I’m being real – it’s not. period.) However, I decided to use these annoying questions as an opportunity to educate people.

“Do twins run in your family?”

Nope. I went through IVF due to severe endometriosis.

::::Silence as they try to come up with their next question:::

I don’t know. Before I would be ambiguous about it or use one of the “lines” that can be used. “No, but they do now..” or “Actually, we do have twins on…” but now I’m feeling like I just don’t care anymore. Do you want to know? Do you really want to know? Okay, I will tell you. I went through the process of IVF, which resulted in an early miscarriage, then moved forward with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) which resulted in a twin pregnancy. Why? Because I had difficulty getting pregnant on my own due to severe endometriosis. My insides are all kinds of jacked up and when I went to have the surgery to correct it, my doctor told me about how severe it was and how he was unable to do a thing, and advised me to move forward with IVF. So that’s what we did. After much prayerful consideration, talking with my parents, our family, our pastors, and each other..we moved forward with the entire process.

I think people need to be more aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily easy for everyone to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I was not one of those people who could get pregnant by simply standing next to my husband (lol)…so this is the road we decided to walk down. I also want to open up a dialogue. I mentioned before that when I was going through the entire process, and dealing with my fertility issues I felt really alone. The blog world and all of these forums became a home for me. A place where I could be honest, hold nothing back, and also connect with others who had gone before me or were experiencing the same kind of things. It was a safe place for me. It STILL is. But I want others to know that they are indeed not alone and if they need any support, and if I can offer it, here I am. I want people to know that it doesn’t make you any less of a person, woman, mom, or even a Christian (because as a Christian, I struggled with this – I wondered if I had enough faith or if God was okay with it..I really did.). I want people to know because I experienced a range of all of those emotions. I had so many things running through my head and did not have too many people to share it with. I want to remove the stigma or the shame from it. You may be wondering, why shame? Because I DID feel embarrassed and ashamed that I could not just go about everything the “natural” (oh how I loathe that word at times) way. I had to go a different route. But guess what? I learned that it was simply part of MY process! Just another thing to add to the list of things that shaped me into the person that I am today. It resulted in the most precious boys ever!

So, I have decided to just be honest about my journey. This does NOT mean that I will go into a detailed, play by play, every single time a person asks me about it. But perhaps it will open the door for people out there who are like me, and who simply need to know they are not alone. I will give you an example of how this has worked for me already.

I went to my school on Tuesday to meet with my substitute, observe a class, and get some paperwork. While I was in the classroom, a colleague who I had not seen in over TWO years (because she got pregnant and took two years off) came into the classroom and was welcoming me back. We were chit chatting and she asked me flat out about our process (I don’t rememeber the exact wording). Normally this would have ticked me off, because in reality like I mentioned it’s not anyone’s business..but I decided to just come out with it – “Actually, my husband and I had to go through the IVF process because I have severe endometriosis and….” and I proceeded to tell her a little bit of our story. Her response? “Wow! I had to go through that too! Because of my age they had to implant 3, and at one point it was twins but we lost one and….” and she proceeded to share with me a bit about her journey and guess what? I had NOOOOO idea she went through any of it! But guess what? There is someone right around the corner of me that went through a very similar road! She is a couple of rooms away! I’m not sure if I would have known that, had I not been willing to just be up front about it…and we were able to connect, share, and so forth. It was cool.

This is not for everyone. I know some people may disagree with my methods. But this is something that I feel pretty comfortable with. I also respect EVERYONE’S process. For some people IVF, frozen embryo transfers, and the like are not something they feel is the road they want to take or feel CALLED to take. Everyone’s road is different. I respect you!

Can I also address the cultural stigma associated with IVF? I’m Hispanic, Puerto Rican to be exact. My husband was born in PR, his mother, all of our family is Puerto Rican, our church is bilingual (99% Hispanic, from various countries) and producing children is something that is a given. Infertility is not talked about and when people find out you went through that, they are very surprised. I cannot speak for the entire culture, this is just MY experience so please don’t be offended! This also gives me an opportunity to let people know about infertility, IVF, and all of that jazz. I see it as an opportunity. I always said that I wanted to use what we’ve gone through for some kind of greater good. If I can let people know they’re not alone, educate people, and also just share about our process…then I am happy with that. I find it to be extremely liberating and freeing. And I love me some freedom!

Yes, I went through the IVF process. No, I’m not ashamed of it.

I came out of the infertility closet…a little bit.

So this past weekend, a couple of days after Thanksgiving, I came out of the infertility closet “a little” on facebook. Here is what I wrote, accompanying this picture:

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My greatest blessing, my little family! Last year in October we suffered a chemical pregnancy..basically, it’s a super early miscarriage. This was particularly devastating because we had been dealing with infertility issues for about two years and were SO excited to find out that we were finally pregnant… only to find out that it wasn’t going to turn out the way we had hoped. It was a dark time in our lives! But yet, here we are, a year later with not one..but TWO of the cutest little boys around. I feel doubly blessed and truly grateful! I don’t why things happen the way they do, but I do know that in the end, God is faithful! So this thanksgiving, I am truly thankful because these little boys have flipped our lives upside down for the better. And I would have it no other way.

It’s pretty wordy and I say I came out “a little” because I didn’t go into detail about IVF or everything we went through. I figured I didn’t really need to go there, but if someone asked, I wouldn’t mind saying telling them about it. Why did I feel the need to mention infertility and some of what we went through? Because when my hubby and I were going through it I felt really lonely, isolated, ashamed, and like I had no one that could relate or that I could talk to. Yes, I had best friends, family and all that jazz….but they didn’t necessarily understand how I felt because they hadn’t gone through it. I put myself out there for the people like me, who instead of seeing the 47382479 pregnancy of the day, when you yourself can’t get pregnant…would feel comforted to know that someone else went through it and made it through the other side. Having children does not necessarily “solve” the infertility thing..if I want to have a child again, I will have to go through the process again. Besides a miracle, I won’t be able to get pregnant on my own. So at times it’s still hard when I see so many people who can get pregnant so easily.

So what was the result of coming out? I honestly felt more free. Boom. BANG. There it is. It also opened a door, because right after I came out, I was messaged by someone going through struggles with infertility and thanking me for putting myself out there. That made me feel good. Yes, I have twins..I’m grateful. But I will NEVER forget the road I had to take to get there. As always, I leave you with pics from the best Thanksgiving ever.

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I’m a cutie and I know it! (To the tune of “I’m sexy and I know it)

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Everything’s better when we get to sit on daddy’s lap. Can’t you tell how thrilled we are?

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Mom’s not much better..

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But we love to kick our feet in our crib! Even if Mom DID dress us alike…AGAIN!

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Hanging out with my niece who is about my size…at age 4.

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Lilia reading to Josiah..from a Target receipt.

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“But I can feed him by myself…”

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Micah decided he had enough excitement for the day.

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But wait! We forgot to take a picture with the bibs. Can’t forget the Thanksgiving bibs!

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Hubby, hubby’s brother, best friend, myself. Yep.

And that’s how we rolled Thanksgiving 2013.

Eight Weeks!

So I am officially eight weeks as of Friday! It’s really exciting and feels quite unreal. Every ultrasound brings me a sigh of relief and this Monday is my next ultrasound. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers! I will post a picture on Monday! I decided to use a survey from a fellow blogger (check out her site! click here to check out her blog) about pregnancy!!
How far along? 8 Weeks
s
Total weight gain: +2.8 pounds. And that will probably disappear when I use the bathroom. lol
Maternity clothes? No, not yet! I don’t think I’m showing yet but at 5’0 and 100 pounds I will probably start showing sooner than later.
Sleep: I’m sleeping like a beast.
Best moment this week: Monday I have my eight week ultrasound! YAY!
Movement:Nopers! Too early
Food cravings: Greasy food that’s not good for me! Example, a yummy burger with the secret sauce from a Mom and Pop shop in our town.
Gender:I won’t know for awhile!
Have you started to show yet: I think I popped
Symptoms: Morning sickness, literally..only in the morning. Sore breasts, round ligament pain on and off, and extreme fatigue. Also, I feel very nauseous when I smell certain smells!
Happy or Moody most of the time:Both! My husband would say M-O-O-D-Y. He has reminded me, “Get your hormones in check girl!”
Looking forward to:These next seven months passing quickly so I can have my babies in my hand!
So the people that know so far: Our two best friends, our parents and siblings, some of our work friends…that’s about it! I really don’t want to tell anyone else until twelve weeks! Will I last? Probably not! Tonight we are going out to dinner with some good friends. Let’s see if I will spill the beans or not!
Anyway, just a quick update! I will give a more detailed update this Monday after our next ultrasound. Hope everyone is doing well!

 

TWO strong heartbeats ! Seven weeks!

ImageHere is a picture of my two babies! We went for the ultrasound yesterday and the heartbeats are 121 and 136 which is considered a normal range. YAY! I was so terrified I could not sleep the night before, anxiety wanting to get the best of me. When they were doing the ultrasound I literally closed my eyes until she told me about the two heartbeats..hooray!! I have never gotten this far before and I’m so ecstatic! So..we decided to tell a few of our close friends and close family (as in parents and best friends).

This is how it went down:

At work I went out to lunch with my two girlfriends (who are teachers who happen to teach in the rooms next to me). I was feeling nauseous again and mentioned it. They were concerned and asked me if everything was okay, did I see a doctor, all of that.
When I told them “Yes” I did see a doctor they asked me, “What did he say? Is everything okay?” and I responded, “Well…he basically told me I’m pregnant with twins. So yeah..I’m pregnant with twins.” I wish I could have captured the looks on their faces!! PRICELESS. Their mouths dropped completely to the ground and they exploded with congratulations. They are going to keep it in for me for a couple more weeks.

My FAVORITE though was telling my mom today. We went to a bookstore to browse and I found a book that was titled, “I’m pregnant.” I walked over to my mom and handed her the book and she started completely freaking out..”OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!” and began hugging me! I said, “Mom..wait..there’s more…look at this..” and showed her a picture of the ultrasound and forget it! It was the waterworks! She literally hugged me and spun me around the bookstore while she was shouting OHMYGOD! I’M SO HAPPY! OHMYGOD!” lol it was the absolute best. What was even more priceless was that she goes up to this lady in the children’s book section and points at her children (who happen to be fraternal twins) and says “You’re going to have those!! Are they twins?!” The women responded (good naturedly…thank God! “Yep, they’re fraternal!” and my mom proceeded to say, “My daughter is pregnant with twins! I just found out!!” The women told me that the first six months are the hardest but that it’s awesome and that I will need my mom every step of the way! She didn’t have to tell me that. I know that for a fact. I told my mom to save up her vacation days. Our due date is on September 6th so I will miss the beginning of the school year.

On a side note…I have still been feeling fear about the whole thing. For those of you going through infertility, you can probably relate to what I mean. Infertility really messes with your mind and makes you very cautious..like I’m afraid to be excited! Yet on the inside..I’m thrilled. I’m throwing all of my trust in God and that He is going to pull us through this entire pregnancy and that I’m going to have two healthy, amazing, beautiful babies at the end of this all.

However, it’s a daily battle. I’m not going to lie. But everyday of pregnancy is a sweet victory. And I’m loving it.

What a week!

It has been a really crazy week when it comes to our vehicle! Two weeks ago we had to replace two tires, last week one of the entire tires literally fell off ! We had to pay $600 to get it fixed! Yesterday, hubby and I were about to embark on a much needed date night. As we got ready to pull out of the driveway and switched the shifter into drive, the ENTIRE shifter broke! Literally, our steering wheel is broken. When that happened, I burst into tears. Blame it on the pregnancy but I just couldn’t take another bad thing happening with our car. It’s the car we depend on  because our other car is CRAP and we can’t take it out of town. So anyway…this is a problem since all of my doctors appointments are one hour away. On topic that, our church is in Delaware (we live in NJ). Attending church and staying spiritually connected is of utmost importance to me. On top of that, I am very involved and sing on the worship team and am one of the Sunday school teachers. I WANT to be there.

Thankfully my dad has an autobody shop and has connections so he brought one of his mechanics over and they are going to fix it this week, but that left us carless. Plus, it’s pricey.

Silver lining: when we told our pastor we wouldn’t be able to make it to church he offered to pick us up in New Jersey so that we could go. We’re going to stay over his house and hang with his family (they are awesome and young, relates or pastors..I love them!) on top of that, they are going to let us borrow one of their cars for the week since my pastor is going to be in Puerto Rico for this week. They know we have doctors appointments and that we really want to be there! It’s really nice of them and I’m so appreciative! Both cars are gorgeous so we will really have to take care of them!

Had bloodwork this morning and everything is where it should be! Hooray! Yesterday I slept for three hours during the day. I’m so tired lately! Also trying to eat more and drink more water. I have more bloodwork Monday so hopefully everything goes accordingly! I want me healthy twinsies!

First U/S at five weeks after a scare!

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What do you notice about the picture? There are TWO little beans just hanging out!

Sunday night we had a scare, I started spotting briefly (maybe like three times) and of course, I completely freaked out..had hubby take me to the ER…and then hung out there for two hours around people with the flu and decided to get the heck out of there, get home, and see the RE ASAP. Thankfully they saw us right away and I was SO terrified as we were waiting for the u/s. I was trying to be hopeful but I was definitely having  a battle of the mind (that’s going to be the topic of my next post, btw) and the worst kept coming to my mind. However, when they did the u/s they saw that we had two little beanie babies hanging out there and measuring right where they should be. YAY! That was good news! According  to the doctors, tomorrow I will be officially six weeks. I won’t have another ultrasound until next Friday where we will actually hear the heartbeats. I think I will take another deep breath when I can see some heartbeats happening! But everyday is a victory and I have to rejoice over it! I haven’t had any spotting since.

My symptons have included:

– Increased hunger, tiredness (sometimes it hits me so suddenly and I feel like I can’t even walk! Twinges in my abdomen and leg cramps) and so far that’s it!

I’m not going to lie. I know absolutely nothing about any of this. Google is my best friend along with thebump.com. I try not to get too crazy with it though because then I start to freak myself out and get paranoid. Please let the following eight months fly by!

Also, my husband and I decided to tell our best friends next Friday after our ultrasound where we can hear the heartbeats! I wanted to wait until the first trimester is completely over but since they are getting married and we (bridesmaids) will be purchasing our dresses in early February, I will need to let her know. Plus, she’s my best friend and I’m absolutely dying to tell her!

I have blood work on Saturday. Continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

Beta # 4..yes, this really is happening. Ultrasound time.

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Well today I had Beta # 4. Of course going in, I was nervous as all get out because I had a little bit of cramping this morning, and IF messes with your mind so much that you automatically think NOOOO and check for AF everytime you go to the bathroom. However, my nurse called me back this afternoon that my number is 4,954 from 1618 a couple of days ago. I will be having my first ultrasound this morning. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. LIKE..FOR REALS. Wow. God is so faithful. I am thankful for this miracle that is growing inside of me. I am just in so much shock still. After I have my first ultrasound I think I will breathe such a huge sigh of relief. So exciting. Unfortunately, my husband works 🙁 He is trying to get his schedule switched so that he can be there for the first ultrasound..hopefully it works out! If not, I know that there will be plenty more coming my way that he will be able to attend.I haven’t felt any crazy symptons except for increased hunger (slightly) and extreme tiredness. When the tiredness hits me, it hits me hard. I literally like in bed for two seconds and I am out like a light. I am trying my best to take care of my body and have changed my diet and have been eating “super foods.”

You see, I am not a healthy eater at all. At least, I wasn’t. However, I know I truly need to take care of my body so I have been shopping and trying to make some changes to what I normally eat. I have also been trying to eat more. Normally, I can go for awhile without eating (not days or anything, lol..but I usually skip breakfast and can skip at times and feel fine). Now, I have been eating as much as possible every few hours to make sure that I am getting all the proper nutrients and things inside of me that I need.It’s such a responsibility to know that you are carrying human life inside of you.It’s truly a miracle and again, I’m so grateful. We have told none of our friends or family yet. I don’t want to tell people until the first trimester is over. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Nonetheless, I will bask in my excitement and joy that good things are in store for us this year. My faith has kept me so much during my difficult times. I’m so grateful right now.