What a year! Covid 19 has rocked the entire world! My salon closed for 60 days, my wife worked from home (and still is!) and my dirty 30 birthday plans were pretty much done for. What else could we do during a pandemic we thought was only going to last until the summer? GET PREGNANT!!!
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is where doctors take a woman’s egg and fertilize it with sperm and then placed back into the uterus and with lots of medication, boom. Now it is a 65% success rate regardless of your situation; heterosexual couple, homosexual couple or fertility issues. Its an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved. Financially alone…this procedure can cost anywhere between $15K – $30K! Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on insurance policies. Which thankfully, more and more insurance companies and places of employment are starting to offer coverage on IVF! So let’s start there on our journey to motherhood!
IVF Journey Beginnings
We are blessed that my wife works for a tech company called Square. She happens to be on the CashApp side of the company. This company is insane in the best way possible! The doors that are open for her as an employee and for us as a family is almost unheard of. At least it is for us! The insurance coverage that we discovered we had made IVF possible for us! Almost 95% of the cost will be covered! 95%!!! Like I said, we are blessed! (I highly recommend for anyone who wants to do IVF but can’t afford it, to check into your insurance coverage. You never know what gets added every year!) I had started a new job at a high end salon in St Louis in January and we had already started the process of calling the doctors and the fertility office and insurance people to figure out how to actually begin. First things first though, I suffer from bipolar 2 and I needed a medication I could take during my pregnancy. I do have manic episodes but I don’t lose my sense of reality or have a form of psychosis during or after an episode. So I had to go see a psychiatrist on top of my psychologist. It wasn’t a bad experience (I’ve had my fair share of them) and I started on Lamictal. It’s been a beautiful medication for me. I had to have my dosage upped but that’s been so helpful! Once we had that taken care of…Covid 19 reared her ugly ass head into the States. My salon shut down for 60 days and it was during that time we decided to call the fertility clinic, MCRM to see when they would be taking new clients and what the process looks like. We got lucky they were opening up the following week and they had an appointment available! Now, while I’m all excited to start this journey…it hits me this is real. And I get this feeling in my stomach like I’m abandoning Samuel. I know he wants me to move forward but I still feel guilty. I don’t think that feeling will never go away so I just have to learn to live with that. The appointment went really well. My doctor was amazing and so gentle and sweet! I instantly felt comfortable with him! Being able to connect with someone whose job is to ultimately get your pregnant in a short amount of time is extremely important. My anxiety is already heightened and he instantly calmed me. This is going to be a PHENOMENAL experience!
So here we are…with the most exciting news in the world!!! 1 IVF round…and this little nugget STUCK!!! I’m officially pregnant!!!! The amount of joy that we have is unreal! Given our history, I’ve been extremely cautious with my emotions. Maybe a little too cautious…but its getting better! I have a lot to look forward to with this pregnancy and I gotta get my head right!
So that’s it for this blog! I’ll be explaining a lot of the process of IVF in my next one so stay tuned! I appreciate you for reading this and connecting with me! If you want my blogs to come directly to your email, please sign up for emails! Tell your friends, your sisters, brothers, whoever!
I’ve been told plenty of times that I’m not a real mom yet, or my personal favorite “you wouldn’t understand, you’re not a mom”. First of all, thanks for the reminder that my child has passed away before I got to know him. Second, they are wrong. I was pregnant with a child who had a heartbeat at the time of my surgery. A living child. Who, unfortunately, got stuck in my fallopian tube and it started a domino effect that could’ve lead to my death. He died the moment we were separated. Waking up from that surgery and feeling no life inside me…the worst moment for me. And that moment lives with me daily. Every time I wake up, I wish for some form of life inside me. Do not tell me I am not a mother. Yes, I may not have the experience of raising a child (another painful reminder) but I’ve been paying attention to the parents around me and the way I was raised, and I know how I want to raise my children in the future. I am still a mother. My child just lives in Heaven.
I’ve never talked about this next part, except to my wife. It’s strange and you may not believe it but I truly believe it. I am a part of a private, spiritual group on facebook and I talked about Samuel this 1 time. Just explained that I lost my child due to an ectopic pregnancy and I hope that this child knows I love them. I didn’t use any pronouns or his name because I don’t know these people and the last thing I need is to be preyed on. This woman sent me a private message and started talking about my boy. My mind is swirling. How can she know that my child was a son? Maybe she found my blog and reads it? Nope, she got PERSONAL! She told me that my son is always around me in spirit and that the little voice I heard for weeks after losing him was in fact him trying to tell me he loves me and he knows I love him. I broke down. No one knows about that part of my experience. For weeks, I kept hearing this voice of a child, maybe 3 or 4 years old and this child was a boy and he kept saying “mommy”. It messed with me and still does to this day. Anyway, I know shes not full of smoke because again…how could she know that I heard this voice? She and I talked a little more about how even though my son isn’t here physically, I am still his mother. And no one gets the power to take that away from me.
How powerful is that? No one gets the power to take that away from me. From anyone! I’ll be the first to admit, part of the reason I stopped blogging is because I was told too many times that my pregnancy didn’t count or that I am not a mother or that I don’t understand. I gave too many people, including those close to me, that power to tell me. I’m DONE with all that! I understand that some people may not understand what I’ve been through or what anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss has been through, but who gives them the right to tell us any different? Just something to think about from both perspectives.
I had mentioned in my last blog I would let you all know what my decision is for IVF. We absolutely will be doing IVF this year, just after my 30th birthday in September. My body has been through hell with all the hormones and heartbreak over the past almost 2 years. I need to take care of my body better. Also we need to save up some money for a couple of rounds just in case it doesn’t take in the first round. I still want to be pregnant now but I know my body and I know I need to be in the best place and shape possible before I can get pregnant again.
I recently started seeing a new psychiatrist who specializes in pregnancy loss. She put me on Lamictol just last week and I already can tell a difference. It’s so awesome!I still have my manic moments but they are not nearly as bad as they have been. The depression is pretty much managed. And the best part is I can continue to take this while I’m pregnant! A lot of weight is off my shoulders because of this medication. Mental health, check. Next is physical health!
Guys, I have not slept through the night in I don’t know how long. On average, I think we are at 4 hours a night. And it’s always disturbed 3-4 times a night. I decided maybe it’s my bipolar disorder and I need to control that. I am tired of feeling this way. I call my doctor and she starts me on Vraylar and says to report back in a week. No big deal right? Well there are good things and bad things with this. The good news is I feel like it’s helping my depression, but the bad news is my mania is out of control even more now! And my sleeping or lack-there-of has gotten WORSE! I can’t seem to settle down enough to actually relax and forget everything. I call her this week so I’m hoping we can figure something out. I can feel myself unraveling due to lack of sleep and I really don’t think that’s how medicine for bipolar disorder should work. They say it takes a few years to find the proper medication combo for bipolar disorder because it’s not the same in everyone. Everyone has a different trigger and a different response to situations. I wish this mental illness came with a handbook at least. It’s such a draining, terrifying, sad disorder. Even lack of sleep aside, I’m tired 100% of the time. Being a stay at home puppy mom has been helping with that portion because I don’t have to fake a good day for 8 hours straight. I can pour that energy into something different. Lately it’s been making shirts and hoodies, painting, music (playing and listening).
I had another doctors appointment in December. It’s come to my attention that IUI isn’t going to be an option for us and IVF is it. My wife has a great job and all but we don’t have $15,000 laying around. A complete, devastating blow. We go home and watched the snow fall, trying to stay positive but that’s draining. Our best friend, Nathanial stayed with us during the snowpocolypse os 2019 and he and Dee worked from home. I just wanna brag for a moment about Nathanial. He’s one if the most genuine, sweet, kind hearted, selfless, most beautiful man I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And I am forever grateful for his friendship and love that he pours into our lives. He went onto their jobs benefits page and discovered that they have a program that helps you pay for IVF and it’s affordable! There’s a lot to it and I was so shocked hearing about it, I tuned out for a moment but the short version is they pay 90% and we pay 10% at maximum. So if IVF is $15,000, we are responsible for $1,500! How amazing is that?! A true blessing! We are still talking about what we want to do. Part of me wants to continue to work on me and my mental health and really truly heal from everything before I can pour my whole self into my child. But I’m not 100% sure yet. It changes daily. I know I’ll end up waiting though. Gotta save that money up in case we gotta pay for a random drug that’s not covered. The biggest excitement for me is the DECREASE of chances of having another ectopic pregnancy!!! Click here to see how that’s possible. That’s been my biggest fear is I’ll have another ectopic and go through all that again. I’m not sure my heart could handle it, to be completely honest. I will of course post about more about my decision as I finally make up my mind.
I have had a really stressful November. We got all moved into our new home, went and visited my dad and family in Aurora, Colorado and managed to come home, finish unpacking and decorating for every day life AND went ahead and decorated for Christmas. As you guys know by now, I am a busy person. When I’m not busy, I feel like I’m wasting opportunities. Well…let me tell you what happened the week before Thanksgiving and the week of:
I had an ultrasound appointment set up to make sure that my left ovary was prepared to drop an egg! I always am prepared for the worst but hope for the best. At this point in the journey, that’s really all you can do. I go in, and they checked and OF COURSE I’m ovulating on my right side instead of the left. I feel so defeated and like I failed again. The entire ride home was a nightmare. I kept thinking all these different scenarios and what-ifs while stuck on highway 270 rush hour traffic. Not the best place to be…and I just wanna cry. But I’m not gonna cry because, ya know, I’m a strong woman. I bottle it up and just push forward, like always. We had some sewer repairs done the next day and it wasn’t completed until the following Monday. So I’m starting to stress because we host Friendsgiving every year and I only have a few days to put my floor back together! And I’m running out of time! I wake up that Wednesday and start out by attempting to put the floor back together. The cement was poured 3/4 of an inch too high and now my boards won’t fit. And I have a party starting in 7 hours. Full panic attack. I’m crying, I can’t breathe, my floor is messed up, my body is a piece of shit, we have a party to host, we are not ready. My brain will not stop. Below…is a picture I took of myself in the middle of this panic attack:
It’s not my most glamorous photo but this is me, raw. 2 hours of a panic attack that I could not come out of. This is who hides behind the mask of happiness and care-free. This is Hannah.
I recently posted on Facebook a long status explaining my hurt and how living with bipolar disorder is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live with. It’s taken me 2 weeks to post this because I’m not a vulnerable person. I have my guard up and I have my walls built thick. I have been hurt far too much in my life…and it’s time to be a little more open about it all. You all have been so sweet with your words of encouragement and thoughts and prayers. They mean so much to me. I am working on myself everyday to pull myself out of this funk. It’ll happen…it just might be after the holidays. And that’s ok.
Hey guys! It’s been a minute! Got a lot to cover so sit tight! The last time I wrote, we were preparing to take a much needed vacation to Florida to see my dads side of the family. Seeing family, hearing the ocean and even feeling the waves bitch-slap me across my chest and face before being dragged under…I survived. The Air BNB we stayed at was super cute! Minutes away from the beach, the owner was this super cool chick who gave us a little history on the house we were staying in. It’s haunted by the lady who use to live there and her children! Slightly terrifying but also slightly cool. You could hear little feet running up above us in an area that doesn’t have guests stay! When we got home at the end of the week, I was ready to start the process over. I felt good, I was a little nervous but excited. We went in, everything looked good…and it didn’t take. That’s when the depression really started. I started really hating going to the salon. I loved the girls and my clients and what I could do for them but there was also this deep rooted hatred and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I started to think about the girls in my former salon and how there was a lot of hurt and anger there that never really healed and that became a focal point for me. I turned back into this monster I was the year before and my anger started to really spiral out of control. I hated who I was becoming; crying most nights after a shift at work, being exhausted all the time, my passion had fizzled out. After a very trying and emotional day in the salon, I decided to end my career. Maybe not forever, but I absolutely needed a mental health re-evaluation. My wife was the one who truly made the decision because I couldn’t make that decision. Since I was 14, I’ve had a job or 2. I’ve never been unemployed. The thought terrified me. But I knew, deep down, I needed a break if I was going to be trying for a family again. (I did however babysat for a little boy for a few months and he brought some joy into my life when I needed it!)
We had already agreed we would try again the following month of August…I wasn’t exactly excited because so far everything has been met with defeat. We go in and I FINALLY ovulated on my left side!! This is what we have been waiting for since I lost my right tube the year before!!! We come out of the room, super happy about this news…to find out I ovulated 4 days before and we missed our opportunity. They also noticed something in my ultrasound that didn’t look normal. They had noticed a little dot on the ultrasound back in January but it was so small, it had no significance. So no worries. Well according to the ultrasound tech, it had grown over 1 centimeter since my ultrasound in July. That’s concerning.
My OBGYN got me in as soon as he could for a few samples and tests and ultrasounds. At my follow up appointment, he told me I had a polyp￼ and it needed to be removed before we continued the process. My face was just my normal RBF and expresses no emotion, but on the inside I’m rolling my eyes and screaming “WHYYYYY???” I hate surgery. I don’t like going to sleep and not remembering when I fell asleep and then waking up somewhere else. And in pain. The last time I felt that, I also woke up not pregnant anymore and my heart just burst all over again. Worst part? I have no choice. We want children so badly, I can’t not have the surgery. We set the date for the following month and then had a random hair up our butts and decided to sell the house. Because why the hell not??? We like to live in chaos and fly by the seat of our pants. Currently packing up our house and we move out in 3 days! Very exciting and very stressful but we are surviving this! I have a follow up appointment from my surgery in the morning. I have no concerns since they didn’t call me in earlier or anything. There’s always a chance but I have a good feeling about it.
That’s it. My life since May! I promise, I won’t leave y’all hanging like that again. I wasn’t feeling myself and I can’t write and not be myself. So stay tuned! I’m back and writing again!
Grief is so strange. It hits you when you least expect it and it doesnt hit you when you want it. When it actually hits you, it spills over onto so many different things and people. It’s been a year. 365 days. I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around it yet and I’m not sure I’m going to. I feel like within the past year, I have grieved more than just the loss of our child. I lost myself, I lost people I once considered friends and family and I feel like I’ve caused my wife to lose her happiness…the amount of emotions is weighing on me. I’ve laid in bed all month just lost in thought. Remembering that day and how deep that hurt was. Trying to understand why us?
Thinking back to that whole week, I remember this constant sound in my head. Just on repeat, “Mommy?” I know…super creepy. I couldn’t get this out of my head no matter what I tried. I dreamt it even! I felt haunted. But one day it just stopped. Silence. I could not handle it. I lost my mind in grief. Dee was at work so I only had Luna sitting in front of me, licking my tears away. Or the time I was playing a video game about a week after we lost Samuel, and I couldn’t even get out of the menu screen without falling to pieces. Or the time I was making a schedule for the week of Thanksgiving and going into a panic attack for no reason. Had to call my doctor to get some meds filled. Grief hit me in such weird ways and on random days. I was once told by another mother who lost her son, “It’s not the actual day that brings grief; it’s the week leading up to the event that causes it”. Until this week, I didn’t understand what she meant. My pain is there and I acknowledge it. I feel it and I feel it very hard.
I must say, the love and support we’ve received from our friends and family have been amazing! You guys have gotten us through so much this year, I don’t know where we would be with you! We love you and thank you! 🖤
It’s Mother’s Day. The one day I thought I would be celebrating with my wife an our little, thanking God for our family. Instead I will be working. I will be seeing my own mother today and give her extra love…I just have a very heavy heart. The month of May is a really rough one. Aside from Mother’s Day, it’s also the month we lost Samuel. I haven’t quite processed that it’s almost been a full year. I have been avoiding it since the miscarriage. I’ve been avoiding a lot of things since then actually. But not anymore. Starting today, on Mother’s Day, I’m going to make a change.
Motherhood on my heart
We went to church back on Easter and ever since then God has been poking me. It’s really annoying because He won’t leave me alone! So with Him not leaving me alone, I finally asked “What??”. He said nothing. At first, I was angry. Why bug me and then say nothing?? And then I felt this warm peace just pour over me, head to feet. It has been YEARS since I have allowed that feeling (I’ve been very upset with God…so I pushed Him far from me).I felt like I needed to open my Bible to 1 Samuel and just read. So I did just that.
Dude. I’ve read this story so many times as a kid. I always said “I want a son so I can have a Samuel too!”. If only I knew what was coming…it’s crazy! Anyway, I’m reading this story and I feel my spirit stirring. My belly is HOT. I feel this woman’s pain. I feel it so hard, I’m not sure how to handle it. I re-read chapters 1 and 2 probably 4 times, just amazed how I totally missed this. Yes, the priest thought Hannah was drunk. But she was drunk off pain, not alcohol. I’ve been drunk off both due to losing our Samuel. So I get it. What I didn’t get was how Hannah just kept praying. She never stopped. And kept pushing and going and one day,
theLordremembered her plea,
I instantly realized that God was speaking to me. Motherhood is something that we both want and long for. But we kinda just stopped praying and asking for the opportunity…depression is a serious thing and sometimes it’ll just suck you in and not let go. Why are we not leaning into Him? If the Lord can remember Hannah in the Bible, He can and will remember us. We just have to push through. This is the change I’m vowing to make. I am pushing through. I refuse to let my depression run my life. I also refuse to push my feelings aside and pretend they don’t exist. It’s not healthy for me, my wife or anyone around us. I’m making a change for motherhood.
I am praying for you mamas out there especially hard today. Today will be hard for everyone that has lost a mother, grandmother, aunt or those who have heavenly children. Making a change does not mean today isn’t hard for me too. Just please do myself and YOU a favor and spend some time with your loved ones who are not here. Feel those emotions but do not let it run you. Feel it but then move forward and do something with love! You especially need love today!
The past few weeks have been exhausting. Experiencing everything from high anxiety to anger, uninterested to overthinking, etc. Attempting to be the happiest human in the world and smile daily is exhausting and quite annoying to be honest. I just wanna break down and have this massive melt down but I can’t. I haven’t fully grieved this loss. I have been very “busy” by expanding my reading list, making wreaths and trying to figure out what do I do now? The idea of trying again hurts my heart so much. And the idea of not hurts even more. I wake up daily, sick to my stomach. Knowing that twice now, I have to wake up without life inside of me. I haven’t adjusted yet and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust. I’ve lost interest in so many things that I enjoy doing; yoga, meditation, learning to play the guitar, etc. I just want an easy escape from this world and I cannot find it. If you’ve ever read Harry Potter or seen the movies, you’ll understand what I’m feeling; In Order Of The Phoenix, Professor Snape has to teach Harry how to block Voldemort from reading his mind, see his past and his present, Harry has a very hard time keeping both Snape and Voldemort out of his mind. It starts to drive him crazy and makes him very irritable. The constant battle of keeping someone out of your mind is exhausting. That is a daily battle I currently face. Scrolling through Facebook, seeing more and more pregnancy announcements and family photos with children…walking through Target and seeing a mother and daughter shopping. No matter how hard I try to keep these thoughts from flooding my mind…I can’t stop them. Unlike Harry though, I have the option to take a break. Being able to actually sit down and breathe without a laundry list of things I should or should not be doing…sounds lazy but Lord…I need it. Since January, I’ve taken hormones and gotten off them. My blood has been drawn too many times, the amount of ultrasounds and the pressing and the poking and the prodding…I feel more like an animal about to be butchered than a mother to be…
I know that in the end it will all be worth it. I know this. My wife knows this. My mental health is probably the most important thing right this moment. Already being bipolar and dealing with my “normal” brain on top of the up and downs that come with trying to conceive and having some troubles isn’t going to help. I feel like a break is the answer for right now. Once we return from our Florida trip in June, we will figure it out from there. I’m just tired of feeling pain and torment constantly and never getting relief from it. I’m searching for my light…once I find it, It’ll burn so brightly! I can only hope!
Waking up Thursday to go to our ultrasound greeted me with so much anxiety. Being 4 weeks pregnant and getting an ultrasound might sound strange but we gotta make sure our baby doesn’t implant in the wrong spot! Typically after having an ectopic, you get ultrasounds until they confirm there is implantation in the uterus. My poor wife was having PTSD while we walked back to the ultrasound room. Last time we were here, we had our world shattered. The ultrasound tech started and as we figured, couldn’t see anything BUT she did say she knows somethings happening! “Your uterine walls are nice and thick!” she kept saying. We leave, satisfied. Danielle goes home, and I go off to work.
I get an email from Parints about my blood work from the day before. They like to keep an eye on HCG levels and progesterone levels during the first week. The blood work absolutely devastated me. On Monday, my HCG level was 11, which is low but I’m also testing earlier than most people do. Wednesday’s blood test show I dropped to a 6. Anything 5 or below is considered a negative. Typically, your HCG levels will double every day…dropping levels indicate a miscarriage of pregnancy. Friday’s blood work showed I was at a 2. Officially lost the baby.
There’s something to be said about the pain you experience after a loss. Especially after another loss. It feels like all we do is experience loss. Whether it’s ours, our friends and family around us. Miscarriages and pregnancy difficulties are happening too frequently…how can we stop this from happening? Please, keep us in your thoughts and prayers while we process this. The hurt we are experiencing is really tough.
I have been an absolute nervous wreck all week! I cannot stop my brain for going into overdrive! “Was that normal?” “Why do my boobs hurt so much?” “Am I pregnant or just gassy?” It’s a never ending cycle. I keep looking at the clock or my period tracker app…and a lot of peeing. Is it because I’m staying hydrated? Or am I pregnant? Or is it the progesterone? My boobs hurt so much, I feel like my nipples could shatter into tiny little pieces! And the nauseas unreal! I’ve been through this a few times and the first time was because I was pregnant with Samuel. The second was all progesterone and I wasn’t pregnant. So what do you do in this situation? You don’t wanna get your hopes up but you also don’t want to be completely void of emotions and feelings of attachment. I woke up this morning super early and super anxious. I took a test…and well third times a charm! We will find out more this week! Just stick with me! Thanks for checking in on me! Your support means everything to me! 🖤