Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last year

Wow. I have to say I was surprised to see how long it’s been since I last posted. So much has happened and I have tried on several occasions to write about it with no luck. In some ways it feels like too much to write about now. How could I possibly sum up a year in a single post or even multiple posts at this point? But in the last couple of weeks I've realized how much I get from writing this blog and then being able to check back in and read about those things. So I'm going to just jump back in with a summary of last year. (Warning: this is a really long post)

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of finding out that our first baby no longer had a heartbeat. We only knew of her for two weeks and yet it was enough. (I felt in my heart that she was a girl so that's how I refer to her). Up until that point, our year had been fairly normal. We were going to start fertility treatments until we found out I was pregnant. I heard her heartbeat and looked that up on the internet - everything said once you hear a heartbeat you're usually good. Usually. 

After that day in February, the husband and I continued on as usual with work but that was about it. For the next two or so months we did pretty much nothing. The grief was hard and lonely, isolating. I will forever be grateful that I worked at a grief center during that time. The executive director and now my dear friend was a crucial support for me. 

We met with our doctor about two weeks after the miscarriage and we knew it was too soon. In a lot of ways though I wanted to push forward with treatments. A part of me felt like if we were not going to be able to have children, I wanted to get the pain out of the way all in one year. And so at the end of April we started our first round of IVF. I was determined to get through that process and so I gave myself shots for 11 days like a champ. When it was over I remember thinking that it hadn't been that bad. As a result of our fertility issues and the miscarriage, we opted to freeze any embryos and have them genetically tested for viability. 

IVF round 1 - daily shots organized in boxes with all the necessary materials - each day required mixing of lots of meds

On our four year anniversary we found out that of the three embryos frozen, all three had significant genetic issues that would have resulted in unsuccessful implantations or miscarriages. We spent the evening sitting on our back porch absorbing the news. 

About two weeks later, on the first Friday of June, the husband had an interview in Raleigh and about a week later he got the job offer. He had his eye on NC jobs and we were both thrilled to find out we would be moving back later in the year: thrilled and overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we needed to get done before his start day of August 1.

From that point forward, our summer was a whirlwind. Between the day he accepted the offer (June 13) and the day we left Houston for NC (August 15) we:
  • Worked on some areas of the house that needed to be updated before we put the house on the market
  •  Put the house on the market and accepted a full offer on the third day
  • Traveled to NC to house hunt for four days
  • Did another round of IVF
  • Spent time with friends in Houston to say our good-byes
  • Did a frozen embryo transfer which included three days of bed rest for me

I knew it would be hectic to try to do another IVF cycle and possibly an embryo transfer but at the same time I knew that if this round didn’t work, I likely would not do another fertility treatment. The second IVF round was awful compared to the first. I hated every minute of it and instead of pushing through without thinking about it, I spent 30 minutes to an hour every night trying to convince myself to take the three, sometimes four shots. In this case convincing looked a lot like sitting on the floor in my closet, crying. My first round of IVF involved two shots nightly until 2/3 of the way through when I added a third shot. My second round of IVF involved one morning shot and three nightly shots to start with and about half way through I moved to two morning shots and four nightly shots.

We found out that four embryos were successfully frozen on the Friday we were in NC looking for houses. The following week we received the news that three of the four were genetically viable. The last week of July I started the process involved in a frozen embryo transfer cycle which is essentially more shots and more hormones.

We had two embryos transferred on August 11. I was on bed rest through the 13th and we left Houston for NC on the 15th. We closed on our house in Cary on August 20 and found out that day that my hormone levels were high enough to indicate the likelihood of a pregnancy.

Bed rest supplies from Betsy!

Shadow and Gracie during bed rest

Of course, things didn’t get easy from there. The house had some major plumbing issues so we didn’t actually move in until August 29th and once we were in the house we had to wait for drywall work to be completed before we could do much.

We got the early confirmation of the pregnancy the week after we moved into the house, on September 2 at our first ultrasound. That’s also when we found out that both of the embryos were successfully implanted and when I started to feel very sick. There is a lot that I want to write about the experience of this pregnancy but I will save that for a later post.

5 weeks

Most of the fall was a blur with the first trimester essentially kicking my butt and the second trimester starting off about the same. We went from a whirlwind couple of months in the summer to a complete stop in the fall. I literally did the very bare minimum I could to make it through the days.  

We ended this crazy year right where we needed to be – celebrating the holidays with our families and spending time with friends. It was difficult to figure out what to share here and how so I often deferred to writing nothing at all. And yet, the experiences of this past year deserve some space here. While I have more I can write about everything, and I likely will at some point, it’s important to start somewhere.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our first home

I'm not sure what's going to happen to this little blog in the next year or so but for now I think I'll randomly post when I have some time. As many of you know we are moving back to North Carolina. We are both excited and sad. Had we moved a year ago, I think I would have been a lot less sad about leaving but in this last year so much has happened that has made me truly love Houston. I never thought I would say that. Of course, I know I love North Carolina more and we are more than thrilled to be soooo close to almost all of the people in the world whom we love and care about.

Anyways, I'm sure I'll write another post about moving but for now I wanted to post the pictures of our house from the real estate site. The photographer did a really nice job and made our house look pretty awesome if I do say so myself! :) I do love this house - we were so fortunate that our very first house was such a great home for us.

Monday, April 7, 2014


When I first started working in Houston, I made an agreement with my employer to work 80% (4 days a week) so I could have dedicated time to finish my dissertation. Once I finished my dissertation, I considered increasing my hours to full time. But another opportunity opened up in late spring. In May of last year I started working at The Grief Resource Center (TGRC) one day a week. That job has seriously helped me maintain my sanity here in Texas.

Ceramic hearts made by our participants and volunteers.

There are so many reasons that my one-day-a-week job is awesome. It is my first true opportunity to work with other counselors and helping professionals, which I missed more than I can describe. It has really helped me develop more of a community here so I don't feel as isolated. And the people - the people I work with are fabulous. It is such an affirming, positive place which is so good for my soul. Because of those people, it has also been a really supportive place for me when I've needed it. The final bit is that the work and the growth of the organization are challenging in new and fun ways.

One of the new challenges associated with TGRC is that we're trying to increase our business security and viability. We are currently in the process of starting a counseling program where before we were only providing support groups. As part of that process, I am going to transition over the next couple of months to full time at TGRC. I cannot describe how excited I am about this.

An image from our Silent Lights Remembrance Service this past winter.
Sometimes it's amazing how the timing of things seems to happen right when you most need it.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I know you're probably thinking, wait, it's almost April, why are we talking about Thanksgiving? I didn't put pictures from Thanksgiving on this little blog so I thought, why not now? I don't think anyone really cares that I'm 4.5 months late.

We had a wonderful couple of days around Thanksgiving. My FIL, MIL, one of my SILs and our nephew came down. We had a nice Thanksgiving feast where we cooked something like 30lbs of turkey (one very large bird, one smaller bird for day-after frying, and two breasts) and had something like 20lbs of turkey left over. I may not be exaggerating here. I just saw some in the freezer this week. Maybe we should eat it! Anywho, here are some photos from the weekend.

The water was cold!

We make our own snow in Texas.