Infertility is not a temporary condition

All week I have been sharing old posts from my blog back from my “infertile” days.  Each time I share them I think to myself “this is still my life”, less the IVF treatments and uncertainty that surrounds it.  Instead of uncertainty I am surrounded in certainty that unless I get back in the straddle saddle, I will remain the mother to 1 beautiful earth child and 3 amazing angels.  There’s nothing that will change that fact.  I can’t wish it away, I can’t pray it away, the only way to change it is to actively jump back in and fight harder than I have ever fought in my life.  Again.

Infertility is not a temporary condition.  It is forever there and will forever be there to remind me that life is always worth fighting for.  It will forever make me humble.  It will forever make me appreciate everything we are blessed with.  It will forever make me study my son and know every little thing that makes him happy or sets him off.

Infertility led me to some amazing friendships with people I have never met in person.  Sharing personal and raw stories, sharing joy and heartache, feeling the excitement with good news and crying with heart break after heart break.  The first step was opening up and so much support has followed, and flowed, since.

What’s been hitting me hard the last few months, and the reason why I needed to write a new infertility post after such a long time not focusing on it, is Joey’s curiosity.  He knows about his brothers, he knows they are angles that fly in the sky, he knows their names, he asks about them.  It makes me happy I get to share with him that he has angels who protect him but also sad that they never had the chance to play with him the way brothers should.

What’s been hitting me even harder is his questions about “who’s my sister”?  When I explain to him that he does not have a sister he gets upset and angry.  He keeps telling me he wants a sister to play with and it makes me so sad to think that I give him anything and everything he can dream of but I can’t give him that.  At least not without another several years of uncertainty, heartache, huge financial hits, and so much time and energy.  Do you know how badly I want to give my son a sibling?  That I’ve secretly cried thinking that it is something that, right now, is impossible for us but effortless for others?  That although I loved every moment of being pregnant, that time was overshadowed with mental and emotional abuse and I so badly want a do over surrounded by the people that actually care for me?  I want it more than anyone can imagine.  But it doesn’t come without lots of sacrifice and it doesn’t even guarantee anything will come out of it.

The PTSD and Anxiety that surrounds me from everything I have been through as a result of the losses and emotional torture I endured in that time frame is enough to scare anyone away from even attempting to have another go at it.  But it doesn’t mean I don’t want it.  It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it all over again, but in a happier place this time.  It doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week and it is also my 34th birthday.  It’s fitting that today I’ll be making a special birthday wish that I did for so many years before.  The difference this year is that the previous years were filled with uncertainty on whether or not my wish would come true, this year I know for certain it won’t.  Butitdoesn’tkeepmefromwishing.  And that’s the light that needs to keep burning, the desire.

This year’s NIAW has hit me harder than I thought it would.  This is me speaking out.  I am 1 in 8.  If you are, too, don’t be afraid to open up.  It is better than letting it eat at you and destroying your beautiful soul.  You deserve to be heard and you deserve to have empathy.  Opening up is the first step in freeing yourself, emotionally.

Now is your chance to share your story with me, whether publicly or in private.  I am always ALWAYS here to listen because I have been there and I still am there.

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July 24, 2014 & March 21, 2015 – two dates that changed my life forever

I don’t talk about this much ever since it was such a life changing experience, but looking death in the face has changed me.  Many people do not know that right after the birth of baby Joey I had an internal hemorrhage so bad I almost bled out.  They rushed me away and left Joe and my mother in a room covered in my blood that was described to me as looking like a murder scene with a nurse stating they would do their best to save me.

I felt my life pouring out of me.  I kept falling in and out of consciousness.  I was so cold.  At one point I closed my eyes as they were working on me and putting a line in for a transfusion.  I had a vision of my angels.  They were so cute.  My BOB was the exact image of Joey as he looks right now and I keep thinking of how he is just how I dreamed.   My perfect little angel.

Our angels were looking out for us that night.  They told me to go home and meet my baby.  They watched after Joey in the NiCU.

I remember waking up cold and confused thinking I can’t NOT fight for something I’ve worked so hard to get.  I pushed myself to respond to the staff of doctors as they were prepping me for emergency surgery.  I remember praying to God that he allow me to stay with my new little family.  All of a sudden, I felt at peace.  My doctor waited and said the bleeding had stopped and to hold off on the surgery until she could assess the situation.  A few minutes later she was certain they had the bleeding under control and she said how close I was to, at the very minimum, losing my uterus.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of being reintroduced to our last frozen embryo so I felt the need to share why I will fight as hard as I possibly can for my child.  It is not only because he has been the one thing we wanted through 5 years on fertility treatments but also the one thing that made me fight for my own life.  I promise to give this little man the best I can give him, forever and always.

xoxo

Baby Joey Embryo


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

6 days before

3/21/2015 - 7:22pm, our son is born

3/21/2015 – 7:22pm, our son is born

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2 year angelversary 

it is so hard to believe that today marks the 2 year angelversary of our first baby BOB.  We watched him grow, heard his heart beat, watched him move, and fell so deeply in love with him but he was never able to stay with us.  Today was a bittersweet day spending the day celebrating Father’s Day and it being baby Joey’s 3 month birthday all while feeling the sadness of our first angel.  He was definitely with us today, I could feel it.  I miss him oh so much but I will see him again one day ❤️

Mother’s Day reflection – here’s to the infertiles and angel mommies

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the happy Mother’s Day texts, calls, cards, and messages.  It truly is a blessing to be the mom to this little miracle.

One thing I did notice is there were a lot of people wishing me a happy “first” Mother’s Day and while I do really appreciate just the thought I just wanted to let you know that this is not my first Mother’s Day.  I’ve been a mother for quite some time now.  I’ve been a mother since I had the desire to have a child of my own.  If you ask my grandfather, he will tell you I had the word “Mom” written on my forehead for the last 6 years as he knew that is what I was destined to be.  I’m also a mother to three wonderful angels who I think about and feel every single day.  Even though these babies found their home in heaven, I am still their mother…they just were too perfect to be placed here on earth but rather they will play with all the other angel children up in heaven and will be waiting at the gates for me to finally hold them when it is my time.

My little Joey is a true gift and I can’t wait for him to call me mama.  I will protect him from as much evil in this world as I can.  I will teach him the true meaning of family.  I will show him what love is and how you express it.  I have the arms to hold him and hug him, the chest for him to calm in, the lips to give him tons of kisses, and the neck for him to snuggle his head up to but I also have a heart that houses his angel brothers and the dreams they always find their way in to and that is why this is NOT my first Mother’s Day.

Mother’s day is not about physically birthing a child, it’s the emotion, the physical bond, the love, and the fight.  There are many mothers in this world that, although they did physically birth a child, do not deserve to be called a mother while there are so many women who would give anything to be able to do what they did while the bad “mothers” take it for granted and abuse/neglect/take advantage of their child[ren].  These women who yearn to be in their shoes are the real mothers because of their desire.  They dream of what their future child may look like, how they would raise them, and what kind of a man/woman they would turn out to be.  They swear by their last breath that they would give anything, including their own life, to just be called “mommy” by their very own child.  I know this because I was there for five years.  Jealous.  Angry.  Depressed.   All while still dreaming of my future and staying strong because I knew I couldn’t give up on my dream no matter how many times I was knocked down, no matter how many failed IVF cycles and no matter how many times I heard the words “I’m so sorry, there’s no heart beat anymore.”  It takes a strong person to be able to keep on pushing to fight for their dream and while some may eventually achieve it, there are still so many who are left empty handed and broken.  These women deserve to be recognized for their strength especially on a day that many suffer through but put on a strong face so as not to raise attention to themselves because they have never been able to let anyone in on the pain they go through on a daily basis.

I would like to wish all the angel mommies and those trying so desperately to have a child to hold a happy Mother’s Day as well…you have a love that will never be replicated and that makes you a mom as well.  I know today is a sad day for you but you also deserve to celebrate because you ARE an amazing mom.  A strong mom.  A mom that has so much love for something that can’t be seen with the eye…yet.  You are a mom that can put on a strong face for others and help comfort others because you have had one hell of a hard ride and you know real pain.  Raw emotional pain.  Pain that, to me, was far worse than childbirth.  Infertility and child loss are shoes I wish no one to ever have to wear but you wear them…and so do I.  So happy Mother’s Day to you as well.  Celebrate your strength and your love because you deserve to be recognized, too, as a mother in her own right.  A mother of what was, what has yet to be, and unfortunately of what may never be…but still with the same desire, the same love, and the same strength that others should be envious of.

I also wanted to share a special poem with the angel mommies as I read it religiously even when it is not Mother’s Day…sometimes I just need to read it to get through a particularly difficult day.

What Makes a Mother
By Jennifer Wasik 
Written with love for all the Mother’s missing their babies  
I thought of you and closed my eyes
and prayed to God today
I asked, “what makes a Mother”?
And I know I heard Him say,
A Mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a Mother
when your baby’s not with you?”Yes you can!”, He replied
with confidence in His voice,
“I give many women babies,
when they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime
and others for a day
And some I send to feel your womb
but there’s no need to stay.”I just don’t understand this God,
I want my baby here.”

He took a breath,
and cleared His throat,
and then I saw a tear.
I wish I could show you
what your child is doing here.

If you could see your child smile
with other children and say,
“We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here!”
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lesson very quick
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
but I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
on her pillow’s where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
and whisper in her ear,
Mommy don’t be sad today
I’m your baby and I’m here.”

So you see my dear sweet one,
your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
and this is where they’ll stay.
They’ll wait for you with Me
until your lesson is through.
And on that day that you come home
they’ll be at the gates for you.

So now you see
what makes a Mother
It’s the feeling in your heart
It’s the love you had so much of
right from the very start.

Though some on earth may not realize
that you are a Mother until their time is done.
They’ll be up here with me one day
and know you’re the best one.

51_Baby Cutri

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. Then whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth" ~author unknown ~ I love you very much, my angels

An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. Then whispered as she closed the book “too beautiful for earth” ~author unknown ~ I love you very much, my angels

The last 3 weeks …

…have been quite the busy ones!  I have a post in the works…well in my brain at the moment…that I’d like to get written this week about how my first 3 weeks as a mom to an earth baby has been.  The ups and downs, the boobs forgetting how to boob, melt downs and just plain old loving bliss it is to hold my baby.  For now I’ll leave you with a picture I took this morning that just makes me feel all warm and gushy inside ❤️❤️

  

Baby Joey’s Birth Story

What an eventful delivery!  I should have expected this with how UNeventful the whole entire pregnancy was.  Seriously, I had no sickness, I wasn’t any more tired than I was previously, if my belly wasn’t growing I would have never known there was a little guy growing in there!  Towards the end of the pregnancy I developed cholestasis which just meant that my bile salts were building up in my blood and they wanted to induce labor right at “full term” so the baby’s environment wasn’t compromised…this is the point where the benefit outweighed the risk of him staying put in the womb.  I was on medicine to combat the symptoms which worked amazing and was ordered non stress tests twice a week until induction.  All throughout the pregnancy my blood pressure had been perfect, even two days before the scheduled induction.

On Thursday, March 19th at 5pm I had my final meal prior to being admitted for the induction.  We finally got the call around 10pm that night to head on in to triage to get set up for the induction process.  I was supposed to have “ripening” that evening with cytotek as I was not dilated as of Tuesday and was barely thinned out.  At 11:30 that night we discovered that I was already having contractions on my own, was 1cm dilated, and 50% effaced!  The bad thing was, they discovered my blood pressure was starting to rise drastically since Tuesday.

At about 12:30am on Friday March 20th, we finally got settled into our Labor and Delivery room.  The doctor decided that since I was already making progress on my own that they would skip the ripening and start the pitocin drip instead.  Every few hours they’d increase the low dose drip and check my vitals.  My blood pressure was still increasing but it was only being read during or immediately after a contraction.

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At approximately 8am my mother and her fiance joined the forces, my mother in the delivery room with me and Michael patiently awaiting the arrival of “Baby C” in the waiting room.  At this point my contractions are about 5-7 minutes apart and I barely felt them but they were measurable on the monitors.  My first real check since being admitted occurred at about 3:30pm, right after my husband stepped out for some, ahem, waste removal since he was stinking up the joint.  This check showed I was 70% effaced and 3cm dilated and they wanted to break my water…I didn’t want them to do that until my husband got back so we waited.  Right after that my doctor was stuck in the OR for an emergency for hours and again, my blood pressure continued to rise no matter what we did to try to bring it down.  A lot happened around 10pm this evening, I begged for my water to be broken even if my doctor wasn’t able to do it, and it was – I was 4cm, 70% effaced, and at a -1 station, and because my blood pressure continued to rise they decided I needed to be on magnesium to combat potential seizures due to the still increasing blood pressure.  At this point I was tied down, catheterized, hooked up to several monitors, and put on a bolus of magnesium that was just pure torture followed by a drip of it.  They explained to me that because I was on magnesium that the NICU team would be present for delivery and he’d be taken away from me for 24 hours after delivery while the magnesium was still being pumped into my body.  When they started the bolus, I felt like I got hit by a bus, everything got hot, I felt dizzy and sick and just needed to pass out.  The broken waters added pressure that I couldn’t relieve with movement because I was strapped down and my legs were in these walking machines to prevent clotting.  I asked for some medication to help me sleep that night so they gave me some Nubain through my IV and I was able to sleep about 5 hours.

At about 5:30am on Saturday, March 21st, I was able to get an epidural.  I knew being tied down was going to only cause things to be more painful so the decision was to keep me as comfortable as possible.  At this point, almost everything in my birth preferences went out the window…and later we’ll see that the only thing I was able to accomplish from my preferences was not getting a C-Section.  The epidural was nothing…Joe was able to stay in the room with me and everything was peachy.  They checked me again and I was 5cm, 90% effaced, and at a 0 station.  The epidural worked like a charm and I was pain free and hoping I’d be pushing before it wore off!  The only thing I felt at this point was pressure…and sometimes it came on hard but it was bearable!  At about 8:30am they said I was in transition – I asked to be sat up so that gravity could help bring him down since I couldn’t walk around and as soon as I did that I got sick.  They checked me and I was 6cm, fully effaced, and at a station 0.

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Contractions continued on strong and at 12:45 I asked to be checked and I was 8cm, fully effaced, and finally at a station 1!  They said with the magnesium it slows down the processes so they would check again in a few hours to see how I was making out.  At about 3:45 I felt like I needed to push with every contraction so I asked to be checked and low and behold I was at a 10!  It was a slow night in L&D so the doctor actually was with me nearly the whole time along with the entire L&D staff cheering me on with every contraction from 4pm on to his delivery nearly 3 1/2 hours later.  With every push I was trying to rest and towards the end I was literally passing out between each contraction and woke up to cheering and coaching in my ears from Joe.  I had Joe on my left and my mom on my right the entire time.  Baby was making progress but getting stuck at the very end.  I was exhausted and my options were keep on pushing, which I didn’t have the strength to do having not been able to eat in over 2 days and on medicine that made me feel so sick, or to try a vacuum.  I asked for the vacuum and said I can do it just a little longer.  The vacuum helped but when he was crowning he got stuck and the vacuum popped off and the doctor had to perform an emergency episiotomy and with one more big push he was out and placed on my chest as I begged to hold my Joey.  It was surreal.  Every emotion I had running through my body just came together right then and there and it was just beautiful.

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After this everything went downhill. The placenta was delivered, the doctor was stitching me up but there was massive bleeding. There was placenta still stuck and the doctor had to manually remove it but there was hemorrhaging that had to be taken care of immediately. Before the baby was taken to the NICU and after he was cleaned he was placed on my chest for a few minutes of bonding but I couldn’t even keep my eyes open because of the blood loss…I was passing out and asked my mother to take him and give him to Joe.

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They cranked the Pitocin up to 100, hooked up a new epidural and continued to manually remove placenta and push on my uterus with all of their might. The bleeding could not be controlled so they wheeled me off to the OR for a blood transfusion and to get the hemorrhaging to stop while applying pressure both inside my uterus and outside at the same time. By the time we arrived at the OR I was in and out of consciousness trying to answer questions the surgical team were asking me.  They were able to get the bleeding to stop because of my doctor’s quick action of applying pressure the entire trip to the OR.  I was told I was lucky to still have my uterus and I was later told I was lucky to be alive.  I remember telling Joe and my mother as I was being wheeled out from L&D to the OR to stay with baby, I needed to make sure he was ok, but they waited for me instead.  Apparently they were left in the room as everyone shuffled to get me and baby out and safe.

Joe was great keeping everyone informed on a group I created on facebook, but everyone started to get worried once the updates stopped at 3:30 and the next one wasn’t until after I came out of the OR and was admitted to the special care unit for constant monitoring.

Joe’s update: Update! Baby “Joseph Michael Cutri, Jr.” has arrived!!! 19″, 7lb 1oz! Mom and baby are both doing well now… Sorry for the lack of updates… Once Erin Michelle was actually 10cm, she was able to start pushing for a natural birth… After 3 1/2 hours of pushing, we were barely able to see his head. We were given the option for use of a vacuum to assist in delivery, which didn’t work out according to plan at all… The vacuum got his head out, but it snapped off and left him crowned and unable to fully come out…emergency episiotomy got him out. They cleaned him up but he had swelling on his head which was a result of the vacuum.

They had to put him into nicu because of this swelling and the magnesium sulfate they had to give erin for her blood pressure…

Then, things went a little further downhill ….erin was bleeding internally and sent for an emergency D&C to scrape the uterus for remnant placenta particles and to try to stop the bleeding.

I was suddenly left in the room filled with blood and soiled linens and Joan Kaub… In a panic, they sent us to the waiting room to get us somewhere until they had a clue to what was going to happen next.

On a definite upswing, the bleeding stopped on its own and her uterus was clear of placenta…she was given a unit of blood and properly stitched up.

Baby C was supposed to be 5lb 15oz and about 16″ on Tuesday….little Joey came out quite large!

Spending his first night in nicu tonight, he’s doing well. The girls there are monitoring him closely. He had an apgar score of 9 out of 10!!! Dude is something else! Wishing him luck his first night out of momma and on his own, we are sending him our love and kisses!!!

Because of the magnesium I wasn’t able to see little Joey until the following night.  I had massive swelling from the pitocin and magnesium and had to be wheeled to the NICU but I was finally reunited with Joey!  His faces are just precious.  He had a bout of jaundice which kept him in the NICU a day longer than my stay, we took him home on Tuesday, March 24th and after a home care check on Thursday, March 26th they needed to re-admit him to the NICU as his bilirubin score went all the way up to 19 and they wanted him monitored there under phototherapy in case alternate means needed to be taken.  Luckily that was the highest it went and we were finally able to take him home on Saturday, March 28th (our 6 year wedding anniversary!) where he was finally able to meet his grandma who hadn’t taken her NICU bracelet off because she hadn’t gotten to hold him yet.

He’s been nothing but an angel since being home and even now he is sleeping in his bassinet next to me while I write this making the cutest faces and noises.  I am so in love and would do it all over again for him.  It’s true what they say that it is one of the most painful things you’ll ever go through but you quickly forget that pain once you have that babe in your arms.  The pain is a distant memory, so is the gravity of the situation.  I’m healing nicely and he is healthy and that’s all that matters.  His blood recheck came back better than expected yesterday and he’s already passed his birth weight!  My blood pressure has gone back down and doesn’t need to be re-checked and am already almost at my pre-pregnancy weight again only 10 days postpartum.

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family

Mama and baby

Mama and baby 2

Joey 1

Joey 2

Joey 3

Joey 4

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

I wanted to take a few moments of this crazy day aside to write a little letter to you to let you know how excited we are for you and how loved you are by not only your mommy and daddy but by so many people.  You see, you are something we have longed for for a number of years.  Your daddy and I wanted nothing more than to have a baby and for years it seemed impossible with all the medications and surgeries and devastating miscarriages…but finally, on the day before your expected arrival, you are kicking away like a mad man telling me you are excited to make your grand entrance!  Finally, we will have our baby to take home and love here on earth.

There are so many people excited to meet you.  They shared in our joys, heartbreak, desperation, and excitement over the last 5 years.  Even though they don’t know your name yet (daddy and I have kept it a good secret!), they love you right now as “Baby C” and will soon be able to call you by your real name that daddy and I just love.  Grandma is so excited to travel to see you.  She will be on her way tonight so she can experience your birth and meet you as soon as you make your way into the world.  Your uncle Billy, and godfather, is trying so hard to be here for your arrival as well…he’s just trying so hard to make sure he is not sick so he doesn’t spread any germs.  He’s such a worrier…that’s why they make sanitizer!  He sent you the cutest outfit with batman on it.  The rest of your aunts and uncles are taking care of their children and anxiously anticipating the news that you have made your way into this world so they can breathe!  There’s a number of people on your daddy’s side that are so excited to meet you and will be visiting you very often…your poppop has even committed to bringing me an Italian hoagie as soon as you are born since its something I’ve wanted to eat for the last 9 months but because it could possibly be harmful to you I refused to eat it.

My one wish for you, baby, is that you live a life of love.  You are coming into this world with so much support and excitement and love from everyone who has followed our journey.  You are a miracle.  We can’t wait to meet you and love you and although I am excited to see what kind of a man you turn out to be, I wish that life just slows down so we can savor every moment with you.

I’m so excited to finally meet you.  You have 3 angels looking after you now and always and they will be by our side waiting for your arrival.

We love you so much!