Sometimes you hold off on sharing a story until the end because you don’t want to have to share if the outcome is not what you had hoped for. You stay quiet along the ride just in case things don’t go well and then you don’t have to go through the pain of telling everyone the unhappy ending. Sometimes, when the story shifts, you realize it’s time to talk.
Today is that day for me.
I have shared small details of our struggle to have a baby, but today I want to lay it all out. I don’t want to share this for pity or for you to feel sorry for us. I want to share this because there are so many out there struggling right along with us, or who may end up in our shoes in the future, and I want them to know that they are not alone. We are not alone, even when we feel that we are the only two in this world stuck in the mud, trying to trudge through, there is still someone–many someones on the exact same journey. I want this journey to no longer be a silent one. The more I have opened up about our agony and despair, the more I have connected, the more I have felt supported and the more I have realized there is hope. And there is hope. We are still holding on.
Today was the beginning of the big shift in our story.
On Monday, we found out that our 2nd IVF cycle failed. Our first was cancelled due to lack of response from my ovaries, and then the second did not end up going as we had hoped. Over and over, I can hear the doctor telling us “not pregnant” and seeing all the hope shatter in one instant after all of the pain, the injections, the hope, the anxiety, the longest two weeks of our lives–gone. We thought for sure it was our turn, this would be our big break and yet, once again, it was not.
This was our last straw with fertility treatments which we had decided before going into this round. There was no insurance coverage so the funds were not there for another round and we were certain our nerves would never be the same again if we did another round.
Over 4 years ago, we were pregnant for the first time and it was the most magical thing that had ever happened in our lives. We never thought we could ever be more in love with someone we had never meant. Everything we did, everything I ate, everything we talked about–all of it, was centered around one thing: our baby, our miracle, our joy. Those 3 months with our little Josie were like nothing we had ever experienced. And then, our entire world was turned upside down and things shifted like we never thought they could. We lost our sweet perfect angel at 12 weeks.
To be honest, I never thought I would rise up from that loss. It hit me like nothing I had ever felt. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that one day everything was perfect, and the next day the perfection was ripped away from me. No warning, no explanation. Just an avalanche out of nowhere to wreck everything and I have never been the same, we have never been the same.
We picked up the shattered pieces, and we tried again.
Almost a year later, we couldn’t believe it, but those two little lines appeared and we cried and jumped and couldn’t contain ourselves. I made Anthony go up to the drugstore and get more pregnancy tests so we could be certain. 5 tests later, I knew it was true. This was really happening. And again, the world was perfect. And again everything we did, everything we said, all of our lives were equal to one thing: our perfect miracle.
We sat in the room as the ultrasound tech rubbed my belly to see our little nugget. She said very little, and her eyes began to squint and become serious. Is everything ok? I asked, even though in the pit of my stomach I knew it was not. She told me it was a bit “eyebrow” raising but the doctor would be in to see me. She left the room and I could do nothing but cry. I knew, we knew. My doctor walked in and her face said it all. She walked over and hugged me. Again, our entire world shifted, and again, I thought for sure I wouldn’t walk out alive.
The thing that was different when we lost our second baby was the way the doctor responded and the urgency to get to the bottom of it all.
Every test you can imagine, every poke, every prod, blood work, MRIs–we did it all. And we came up with a big fat nothing. All I wanted was for someone to say that ‘x’ was wrong and you need to do ‘y’ to fix it, and then you will have a baby. But that never happened. Only a few small things that they thought could possibly be contributing factors, but never anything substantial.
So we started working with a reproductive specialist and again, more tests. Even more intricate tests, and still, nothing. So we tried several medications and hormones for over a year with no luck. Month after month, the hope, the anxiety and then the let down. It was the never ending cycle, and it seemed we were headed nowhere. The doctors started to talk more and more about my age and IVF kept coming up. We were reluctant at first, but then a few more tests told us it was most likely our only option.
As we prepped for our first round, the doctors found an abnormally large cyst on my ovary. Lovely, I thought, one more thing to get in our way! Just our luck. Our treatment was pushed back about a month and my patience was once again slim to nothing as I thought we had waited long enough.
We finally started the treatment and things seemed to be going well. But as we got further in, my body was not responding quite as anticipated. The doctors continued to increase my dosage, but in the end no luck. We couldn’t move forward and the cycle was cancelled. Once again, another shift, one I hadn’t seen coming. Everyone else I knew that went through this treatment was sitting at home with their perfect little bundles so why didn’t it work for us?! How can any of this be fair? Again and again, we fell flat on our faces, and somehow we got back up.
As we started gearing up for our next cycle, we started talking a bit more about adoption. We didn’t want to go into this cycle with the do or die mindset. We wanted to know that it didn’t have to be the end of the road for us and even if this dream didn’t come true, there still would be something to pick us up. And so the conversation became more top of mind.
And then, just a few weeks before our cycle, I ran into a woman who used to come to my yoga class all the time. She had come into my work that day looking for a gift for her sister and we of course chatted to get caught up. I asked her what she is up to these days and she said she had gone back to work part time and was loving it. I knew she was a lawyer but had no idea what she did. I asked her what exactly she was doing that she loved so much.
I’m an adption lawyer, she said.
Time. Stood. Still.
I knew in my gut that had to be a nudge, a sign. I told her all about everything we were going through and that if this doesn’t go as planned I will want to sit down with her. I couldn’t shake the irony of her visit after she left, but kept her card tucked in my wallet.
We had a much better cycle the second time around and my body was much more responsive. We transferred two perfect little embryos, but our 3rd did not make it. We lived the longest two weeks we will ever experience in our lives. More shots, more anxiety, more battling the madness of the mind. I don’t know how we busied ourselves enough those weeks, but I nearly burst more than several times.
And then the call. And time stood still. And we cried. And we stared at each other. And we held each other. And we fell flat on our faces once again. And we weren’t sure how to get up, how to pull each other up once again.
But we did. We did get up. We did pull each other up once again.
And that brings us to today. Today begins the biggest shift of our journey yet. Today we completed our application to adopt a child.
Our story is not over, it has just begun. And you are invited along this ride. xoxo
Since this was such a loaded post, a loaded recipe was called for. I won’t say much in regards to these Loaded Chickpea Blondies other than you would never know there are chickpeas in them. They are such an amazing way to treat yourself while also getting some goodness into your body!
Loaded Chickpea Blondies
- 1 can chickpeas rinsed
- 1/2 c nut or seed butter
- 1/4 c - 1/3 c honey or pure maple syrup
- 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 c crushed pretzels gluten free if needed
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor, combine maple/honey and chickpeas.
- Process until smooth.
- Add in all other ingredients except for chocolate chips and pretzels. Process until combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Press batter into a 6x8 parchment lined pan and sprinkle pretzels over top, gently pressing them in as well.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.