Our precious boys...

Our precious boys...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

BEYOND BLESSED



We are overjoyed to share the news of another precious miracle with all of you.

I am 15 weeks pregnant.........with ONE baby! :)

May 8, 2014 is our due date.

We are beyond blessed.


Baby Vincelli at 11 weeks.

For this child we prayed. 1 Samuel 1:27

It has been quite the emotional year. As you may or may not know, we began trying for another baby in May of 2012, but with no success. So we started doctoring at the Mayo Clinic again and did a FET (frozen embryo transfer) this past February. But I did not become pregnant. We were heartbroken.

But we tried again right away and did another FET in April. I became pregnant and we were thrilled for another miracle. But at just a little over 6 weeks along, I miscarried and we lost our precious baby. (Blog post: Goodbye, Sweet Baby) We were devastated. But still not near ready to give up.

I was all set up to start medications again in September with another FET in October, but we were shocked to become pregnant on our own in August.

ON OUR OWN!!

With no fertility medications or treatments. An absolute miracle!

I was able to call and cancel our appointment in Rochester. I had always dreamed of doing that! Some people we've told have said, "See what happens when you stop trying." Well, I can guarantee we definitely hadn't stopped trying. And I did stumble across some research that said you are most fertile 1 to 3 months after a miscarriage. I had never heard that before. But we did conceive almost exactly 3 months after our miscarriage. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, but it is definitely interesting.

So in less than one year after our miscarriage and losing our third baby, we will hold baby number four in our arms. I could have never imagined we'd go through all we have this year. Even through all the ups and downs, we have always continued to trust in God's perfect plan for our family.

But we have had some scares along the way already:

The day before I was supposed to go in for our first ultrasound at 6 weeks, I began spotting. Just like I did, at the exact same time during my miscarriage in May. I cried and cried and seriously thought we were losing our baby again. I went in for an ultrasound that day, but it was too early to see a heartbeat. So for the next 9 days, I continued to bleed and started mourning what I thought was the loss of another baby. But the bleeding didn't become worse like it did during my miscarriage in May. I started feeling hope, but didn't want to be overly positive. Finally, after bleeding and worrying for those 9 days, we went in for an ultrasound and there baby was with a strong heartbeat. It was one of the happiest moments of our lives! Relieved and overjoyed just doesn't even begin to describe what we were feeling!



Unfortunately, we also found out right away that I tested positive for the Jka antibody. I used to be negative for this antibody, but Nick is positive. (Which is very rare and of course Nick likes to think he's pretty unique because of this!) So this means that Nick passed it onto one of the twins. And when I delivered the twins, it entered into my bloodstream. It's just been floating around me with no problem, until you become pregnant.

To make a long story short, this antibody has a chance of crossing into the placenta and attacking baby's red blood cells and destroying them. If that happens the baby may become anemic. If that occurs, the doctors would either have to give baby a blood transfusion inside of me, and/or deliver baby early. This is called Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn.

But from everything that I've researched, it seems like even if it did cross over to the baby, that it would be very rare for it to be serious. So, I continue to be closely monitored by blood tests every month (and then every 2 weeks after 24 weeks along) to measure my blood titers, which will tell how much antibody is in my system and getting to baby. So far my numbers have been right where they need to be. Praise God!

Excited big brothers-to-be!!

It's still hard to believe this is all really happening. And in this way! We feel so very grateful and blessed.


Besides being absolutely exhausted every day (literally falling asleep when I sit down sometimes!), and other little pregnancy symptoms, I have been feeling wonderful. I really can't complain at all. I am so thankful for that because I know so many women feel horrible for so very long in their pregnancies. I am excited to feel what a singleton pregnancy will be like. I imagine I won't be quite as big as I got with the twins. Ha! And I hope to deliver a full term, healthy baby! :)

Thank you for your continued support and prayers during all these years. We are so grateful for your love in our lives. Please continue to keep our precious baby in your prayers.

Amy & Nick



Monday, November 4, 2013

EMERGING FROM INFERTILITY?


I was asked to be a guest blogger on my friend, Jen's blog. I am honored. Beyond honored actually. You see, this woman is nothing short of incredible. Not only does she work full-time traveling all over, but she lives dealing with a horrible disease named lupus. She is also a mother and step mother to five children, including two sets of twins. She is also a mother to three angel babies in heaven. She buried one of those tiny precious babies named Samuel last November. Her grief after losing her son is unbearable, but she keeps fighting. I truly admire her. Jen is an also an amazing blogger. Her writings are a perfect mix of honesty, hilariousness, creativity, and genius. When she writes about her health stories or her work happenings of chemistry, I seriously have no idea what she’s talking about. No idea. She’s beyond intelligent. Is Jen perfect? Nope. But is she real? You bet. She is many things, but most of all, I think she’s fabulous because her blog reminds me that it’s okay to feel what I feel. Her words give me comfort. Her strength gives me hope. Her will to keep on fighting fills me with courage.

We were RA's together in the same dorm complex back in our undergraduate days 12 years ago. What? 12 years? Seriously? Doesn't feel like that long ago! We were acquaintances, but didn't truly connect via facebook until 2010 when I became pregnant with twins and I bombarded her with endless twin questions. She was so kind and sweet and willing to share advice. I am so grateful for her support. Her personal words of encouragement and comfort during normal "twin life" and after my miscarriage are what I so desperately needed. She has such a way of pouring her heart into her writings and expressing it so eloquently. I am thankful she so openly shares both her happiness and grief with everyone, as she has truly blessed many more than she will ever know.

RA's together in the same dorm complex together! - Jen is on the far left and I am in red!

West End RAs at Southwest State University 2000-2001
{Jen's on the far left side in the 2nd row on couch. And I am two people over from her!} 

You can find Jen's amazing blog here:  & Two More Makes Five
And my guest post on her blog here.

The next two paragraphs underlined are what Jen wrote for the intro about me on her blog for my guest post:

I have this one story, this one reality, but there are as many unique stories as there are individual people in the world.  So, when I decided to start incorporating guest bloggers, it was with the intent to bring together other voices that might touch your particular reality.  The very first person I thought of was Amy, someone I knew my sophomore year of undergraduate.  I’ll tell you a little secret about Amy: I was ridiculously intimidated by her in college.  She was just so well-liked, so competent, so comfortable with herself, so organized, so cool.  She was everything I wanted to be and, so, my own insecurities kept me from getting to know what an incredible person Amy is.  

Thankfully, though, we’ve developed a connection years later, first through our mutual experience of raising twins, then, through my loss of Samuel and her loss of a very desired pregnancy.  But, beyond our similarities, Amy has stories of her own, many of which she shares on her own blog. Today, I'm thrilled to share part of Amy's reality with you below.  Her writing is beautiful, truthful, open, eloquent, honest and - quite honestly - painful.  But there is loveliness in our pain, and Amy shares that with us, as well.

And here is what I wrote for my guest post on her blog:

Back in May, Jen asked me to write about what it's like to have struggled with infertility and what it's like to emerge on the other side. I have been scribbling about this off and on about this for months. And so here it is, five months later, ready to share. Thank you, thank you, Jen, for wanting to share this part of my story.
It is interesting to think of me emerging on the other side of infertility, because I definitely have after the birth of my twin boys. But honestly, I don't think one can ever truly leave infertility behind. Therefore, I know I haven’t fully emerged from it. It’s a big part of me and who I now am. It will never leave me. And I am amazingly okay with that.

Even after the miracles of our twin boys in 2010, my husband and I have been thrown right back into the ugly world of infertility as we continued to struggle conceiving again for over a year. My infertility story is just one of many. And each story is so very different.  Although there are many similarities of pain and grief, there are so many more differences: different doctors, different techniques, different procedures, different results, and different outcomes. For some couples it is the "male factor" because of low sperm count, or low motility, or the shape of the sperm. For others it is the "female factor" because the woman doesn't produce eggs, or she doesn't ovulate, or her fallopian tubes are blocked, or she suffers from endometriosis, etc. For others, the woman can easily become pregnant but cannot carry a baby without miscarrying over and over again. Having a gestational carrier may be an option for some of these couples. And yet for other couples, it is both "male and female factors" and surrogacy and/or adoption may be their only options. For others there are "no factors" which is called "unexplained infertility", meaning doctors cannot find anything wrong. And some have "secondary infertility" which is being able to conceive after you have successfully conceived other children. So yes, so many different factors and each story is so very different.

My story is meant to be shared. I feel it in my heart to do so. It’s a story of God’s perfect timing and God’s perfect plan. I don't share my story for attention. I don't share it for pity. I share it because there are many people out there who desperately need support. They may not be able or willing to speak out, so I will help be their voice. They need to know they are not alone. They need to know it is okay to be sad. They need to know they are supported.

It took my husband and I over 3 years to conceive. We wed in 2004 and started trying after 2 years of marriage in 2006. After one year of "trying on our own", we started doctoring and had many tests and treatments in both our town and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. We had 5 unsuccessful IUI's (intra-uterine inseminations). At one point, we were given a 3% chance of conceiving on our own, as the doctors came to the conclusion that my husband’s sperm could not penetrate into my eggs. Finally in 2010, we became pregnant with twins on our first round of a fresh cycle ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) IVF (in-vitro fertilization) transfer where they injected 2 embroys. We were grateful, overjoyed, and ecstatic to be doubly blessed and finally hold our own little miracles in our arms, almost exactly four years from when we started trying to conceive!

When the twins were about 20 months old, in May of 2012, we started trying again on our own for another baby, but with no success. We started doctoring at the Mayo Clinic again and had a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) with 1 embryo in February of 2013, but I did not become pregnant. We were devastated. We tried again right away and had another FET (with 1 embryo) in April of 2013 and became pregnant. But at a little over 6 weeks gestation, I miscarried and we said goodbye to our miracle. Heartbroken does not even begin to describe what we felt. But we took comfort in knowing that the first thing our baby ever saw was the face of Jesus. At this time, we still have 4 frozen embryos in cyropreservation. I call it "frozen daycare," because it isn't cheap to keep them in storage!

So yes, we have emerged on the other side of infertility, but we’re thrown right back in it again. And like I said, it never really left us anyway. And now we have a miscarriage to add to our infertility story. Yet another part of my life story that I never thought would happen to me. So, now what? Do we keep trying on our own? Do we do another FET? Or do we see this as a sign that it's time to stop trying? Do we try a gestational carrier? Do we adopt for our miracle? Or do we adjust to a life of no more children and move on?

Infertility is many things. I know a lot about the medical side of infertility. Although most of it doesn't truly make sense to me. Because wow...our bodies are absolutely amazing and there are so many things that have to be absolutely perfect to conceive and carry a healthy baby. I know that each and every baby, no matter the circumstance, is nothing short of an absolute miracle. And I know that medical treatments can only go so far and do so much. Because that is where God comes in and the true miracle occurs.

But I know even more about the emotional side of infertility. I know most people won't understand just how truly destructive infertility is. Just as you cannot truly understand something unless you've been through it yourself. It's like the saying, "For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible."

Infertility kills dreams. It makes you feel like you are losing every good thing about yourself.  It exhausts your body with endless medications and injections. It breaks hearts. It makes you feel jealous. Then it makes you hate yourself because of those feelings you don't want to have, but can't stop. It makes you gain weight. It, along with the medications, makes your hormones all over the place. It makes you angry and bitter. It crushes your heart. It makes you feel lonely. It opens the most private parts of your life to random nurses and doctors, therefore making you feel awkward and invaded. It messes with your hope. It makes you feel irrational. It makes you wonder what you did in your past that was so horrible that now you are being punished for it. It emotionally drains you from happiness you used to so easily feel. It makes sex become a chore instead of pleasure. It steals your money. It consumes you.  And worst of all,  it makes you question God as to what is so horrible about yourself that you aren't good enough to be a mother. It makes you feel unworthy.  Infertility pretty much sucks. Yup, it sucks.

You smile your way through baby showers, births, holidays, baptisms, and birthday parties of families and friends even though your heart continues to break inside. And it's not because you aren't happy for them and love children, because you truly do. You treasure the miracle and sweetness of babies and children. But your heart aches because you so desperately see the parents' joys and want to feel that in your own heart with your own children. You want to hold your own baby in your arms, but never know if you will get the chance.

1 in 8 couples will struggle with infertility. Therefore, odds are you know someone who is suffering. If you know any of those people, I encourage you to pray for them, support them, and just let them know you care. Because if they have told you about it, that is them reaching out for help. Women and men with infertility unfortunately do not usually get the support they need because it is commonly a hidden subject. People are ashamed, but they should not be. Be their support. Help give them hope.

One of the hardest things to describe and express about infertility is the loss each and every month: the extreme grief and despair. I have experienced the loss of month after month of not becoming pregnant. 52 times to be exact. That is 52 months/cycles we tried with not becoming pregnant. And it is a pain like no other. You grieve your baby that could have been. And then you feel crazy for being so devastated for losing something you never had to begin with. But it is real. And it is deep. You grieve the hopes and dreams of yet another child that you so desperately wanted. You grieve time lost and thousands upon thousands of dollars lost with nothing to show for it. You grieve because you never know if you will ever conceive a baby. And every month you wait, for half of every month (during the 2 weeks you wait to find out if you are pregnant), you do just that: WAIT. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. You spend half of your "trying to conceive" life pretending you are pregnant, just in case you are, only to be crushed when it is another negative result.

You tell yourself over and over that "It will happen in time." But did you know that if you have sex at exactly the right time with all perfect conditions, that you still only have a 20% chance of becoming pregnant each time? Seriously! A 20% chance! That is amazing. So, sadly the odds are often against you. Just another example of how each and every pregnancy is an absolute miracle. Also, along with the statistics that 1 in every 4 pregnancies results in a miscarriage. One in every four! You cannot tell me that each and every baby born isn't meant to be.

My miscarriage was hard. I was heartbroken. But I can honestly say that for me, many of the months of not getting pregnant during years of infertility were many times almost as hard as our miscarriage. Imagine grieving a loss every month for years. It tears your heart apart. You stay hopeful and then drop to a low again each month. But it just seems like the next time you get back up, it is not nearly as high as you had been the time before. You feel defeated. But somehow you keep on moving forward. Because we all know that if you want a child, making a family is worth anything.

The pain of infertility is deep: the waiting, the questions, the taking chances, the struggles, the longing, the sacrifices, the statistics, the money, the bills you owe, the crying, the loneliness, the praying, the enduring, the stresses, the planning, the countless medications, the many appointments, the questions, the never knowing if you will be able to conceive, the pain of watching so many around you having children, hearing of abortions, seeing yet another teenager become pregnant who doesn't want a baby, listening to pregnant women complain about being pregnant, and on and on.

By far, one of the biggest struggles for most couples is stressing over the cost. Unfortunately, many states and insurance plans have no coverage for infertility. None. Most people are paying for everything out of pocket. Fortunately, I had some coverage for our first round of IVF, but we used up our lifetime coverage right away, so everything since has been 100% out of pocket. I don't even want to think about how much we've spent this year with no baby in our arms. But, I am truly grateful that we can afford these treatments, as I know there are many people who cannot because of finances. Many do not even get that choice. The treatments are expensive and the medication costs are atrocious. The fertility drugs need to be shipped from specialty pharmacies. I searched all over the country and usually ordered mine from Texas, as they were the cheapest for us. Then when they arrive, you stress over measuring the doses correctly and giving the shot properly because you know if you mess it up, it can cost you hundreds of dollars.

As much as I wish I could take away infertility from everyone, I can't. And who are we to choose why suffering happens, who it happens to, and how it happens as well? We all have our crosses to bear. Yes, the struggle sucks. But your struggle is part of your story. And I truly believe God will not leave us and will give us the strength to carry on even when we feel like we are ready to give up.

When you cannot conceive a child, it is more than unfair. Reproducing is supposed to be so natural and a normal part of life. And as the Bible says, "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him." Psalm 127:3. Children are a blessing, so why can't we all create new life so easily? I know there are people who will argue that infertility is "not that big of a deal." Yes, I know there are much "worse" things in life. So many devastating things that occur to people, from painful diseases, to abuse, to tragic deaths, etc. But honestly, someone will always have it worse. And I do not think it is fair for people to belittle other's emotions or what they are going through just because someone out there has it worse. Like I said, we all have our crosses to bear, and we never really know what is going to be our "worst" or who will have it worse. Suffering is suffering. And everyone needs support. Everyone needs hope.

Perhaps one of the hardest things about infertility is the unknown of not knowing what to do and not knowing what the future holds. You never know how long your journey will be or what the outcome will be.  How many medications do we try? How far do we go? What do we try next? How many treatments are we able to do? How many more thousands of dollars are we willing to spend? How much more are we willing to put ourselves though before we realize we are wasting our time, money, and hearts? If we only knew that by a certain point, we would be guaranteed a child, we know we would do anything. Anything! But it is all a gamble. There are no guarantees. That unknown is horrible. The waiting, the not knowing, is a pain I wouldn't wish upon anyone.

But I would be lying if I said infertility hasn't brought good things to my life. Because it certainly has. My faith and relationship with God is stronger. I trust more, I believe more, I hope more. I'm more compassionate and more giving. My relationship with my husband is stronger. We have always had an amazing, loving, and supportive relationship, but infertility has made our faith in God together stronger than strong. My husband did not grow up in a family who attended church, so to watch his faith grow has been nothing short of incredible. We have become even stronger as a couple and stronger in our faith together.  What a true blessing! We had over 6 years of marriage with just him and I alone before we had our twins. I know him better than I know anyone. I am so grateful for our years together.

Another blessing is that I have supported and encouraged many lives upon starting my “infertility journey” blog. I have "met" people from all across the country who read my blog and so deeply relate to what I write, which has given them comfort and hope. I hope and pray that through my blog and through my story, my heartache will help be someone else's hope. Because I truly believe that with hope, the odds don't matter.

And ultimately, if I hadn't left my job to take time off because of infertility, I would have never started my own business selling crafts online that I design and create. (www.vincellidesigns.com) It is something that has brought much needed confidence and joy to my life these past four years. It is the perfect balance of staying at home with my boys and also having some time away for myself.

Blessings definitely come out of sufferings, even among the pain. This quote describes it perfectly: "Sometimes the hardest storms to get through are the ones your soul needs the most. And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. But, survive you did. And one thing is certain: when you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what the storm's all about." - The Horse Mafia

I know that God has a bigger plan for all of us than we have for ourselves. And I trust in that. No matter what happens, no matter what your struggle is or what your cross to bear is, I pray you find hope and joy in His plan for your life, just as I have. I will continue to share my story in hopes of comforting and inspiring others. And if anything else for YOU, for everyone, to know that no matter what you are going through, to know that you are not alone. You are never alone. God has a perfect plan for your family and for your life. Everything is happening for a reason on your path that was planned just for you. Trust in that. Try not to second guess what you have done or what you are planning to do. Keep the faith. Whatever it is will be worth waiting for. There is always, always, always HOPE.

Looking back, even if I could go back and take away all our infertility, I wouldn't. After all, it’s ultimately given me my beautiful twin boys. And I praise God everyday for my precious miracles, Elijah and Will. I am grateful for what I have endured. I am strong. I will keep surviving. Infertility has helped make me who I am today. It is part of me and will be forever. I embrace that.

Yes, I have infertility.

But it does not have me.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

3RD BIRTHDAY PARTY

All dressed up in baseball gear for the party!

I enjoy party planning. And people have made comments like, "How do you have time for that?" or "I wish I had time for that!" and sadly even, "Why do you spend the time on that?" Well, it's just this simple: You make time for what you like to do. And I enjoy doing party themes for my children's birthdays. So I make the time. 

And this year I decided on a baseball theme!
Go MINNESOTA TWINS!

But, please don't judge me. I've heard it all before. People making fun of the "pinterest" moms who theme parties or make such elaborate decorations. Why make fun of them just because it's something you don't do? It's a hobby for them. It's a hobby for me. For example, I don't watch a lot of tv. So instead of watching tv, I spend some time in August planning their birthday party. Is that so wrong? Not at all. It's something I like to do. It's therapeutic. It's crafty. I like it!

Oh, and I'm actually not a "pinterest" mom. I've only been on there a handful of times. Are you surprised? :) It's true!

Okay, enough of my ranting. Just had to throw that out there to defend myself and all the other party planners out there!



We had Eli and Will's 3rd Birthday Party at my parent's farm in Pipestone, MN this year. We were home for a wild weekend, so we decided to throw one extra event in since many people would already be there! We had FOUR parties in TWO days. On Saturday morning, we threw my sister, Corrie, a baby shower in South Dakota. Then E & W's 3rd birthday party was back at the farm in the afternoon. Then we went back to South Dakota early Sunday morning for my niece, Eleanor's baptism. And then our another niece, Ryder, had her 2nd Birthday Party at the farm later that afternoon. Whew! Makes me tired just typing all that. :)

We had a fun and wild weekend. Lots of planning, prep, and preparing for both the baby shower and E & W's birthday party, but was totally TOTALLY worth it!

Here are the invitations I made to look like ticket stubs. 
So fun to make!


*Notice the special note at the bottom. I'd thought it'd be fun for everyone to wear baseball apparel. It was so fun to have everyone dressed alike for the party. Thanks to everyone for humoring us!

The menu was of course CONCESSION food. Hot dogs, nacho chips with cheese and jalapenos, and baked beans. (Well, baked beans aren't really a concession food, but just pretend!)


I even found the fun hot dog holders to go along with the baseball plates and napkins.





Yummy!



And how could you have a baseball party without good ol' cracker jack, peanuts, popcorn, and "dubble bubble" bubble gum? You can't! So those were the goodies placed on the tables for munching!






Here are the boys enjoying punch in their new baseball cups with twisty straws. They were in heaven!


We had the party outside because that was the only place that could fit us all. But mother nature played a cruel trick on us, and it ended up being over 90 degrees out, so we all got a tad bit warm. I had planned on everyone playing a game of baseball together out in the field, but none of us really wanted to move in that heat, so we skipped that and just ate. Works for me!


Loved everyone dressed in baseball gear!



Wish we would have taken a group photo of the entire group together, but we just ran out of time!


You can see their "birthday banner" of photos hanging from the canopy.

Every year for their birthday, I make a banner of one photo of the boys together from each month. Here's a close-up of the year 2 to year 3 banner!




For decorations on the tables, we had old baseball bats, mitts and baseballs of Nick's for the centerpieces. 



After getting back to the farm from the baby shower, I barely had time to get birthday party stuff ready, yet alone take the "pretty pre-party" photos I had wanted to. So I didn't get photos of everything. But these were the labels I had attached to the brown peanut bags:






And these popcorn bags, I filled with some treats, balls, bracelets, toys, etc. as party favors for all the kids to bring home.


See the white house in the background of this next photo? 
That's the house I grew up in! Love that place!


Remember when I said it was over 90 degrees out? Well, this is what happens to your cake and cupcakes when it's that hot. Things start to melt....a lot. And when you use red frosting, it looks like a blood bath. It was a bloody baseball bloodbath. Oh well, it still tasted good!

The cake was chocolate for Will, our little chocolate lover. (Which Will pronouces "fock-et." Oh my...our little potty mouth!)

And the cupcakes were vanilla, for Eli, our little vanilla lover. (Which Eli pronouces "'nilla.")



Those on the cupcakes are supposed to be 3's, E's, and W's. But yes, a blood bath did occur. I had planned on making these look like baseballs, but the frosting tip I was using was too thick, so it wasn't working. My cake/cupcakes were a disaster. But like I said, at least they still tasted good. :)



Opening gifts:



Will blowing out his 3 candles!


Elijah blowing out his 3 candles!


An attempt at getting a cousin's photo. (Cousins of Eli and Will!) 
But Max did not want to make an appearance. :)


A few kids ran away but these stayed. :)


Golf Cart rides!


4-Wheeler Rides! Farm life is the BEST!


Even though we were SO hot, it was a fabulous party. 
We made great memories and are thankful for our dear family for helping us celebrate. 

Now to figure out next year's theme! :)

Hum...anyone have any ideas? 




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PREGNANCY & INFANT LOSS REMEMBRANCE DAY




Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today I will light a candle in honor of all the angel babies. I remember and honor all of my friends and anyone who have lost babies through miscarriage and still birth. I remember my friends who delivered their premature babies who too quickly went to heaven. Especially babies: Charlie, Savannah, and Samuel. And I remember those who lost their babies after hours, days, weeks, and months of getting to know them. Especially Hope, Trey, and Drake.

There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

I am 1 in 4. One in four women will lose a child through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or infant loss. Exactly 5 months ago today, on Nick and my 9 year wedding anniversary, we lost our baby. If our baby was still alive, I would currently be almost 7 months pregnant. 

Today we celebrate all angel babies. Today is a day for everyone to remember and honor all of the precious babies gone too soon. Today is a day for many of us to bond together and mourn and honor our precious lost little ones.  

The loss of any child, no matter what age or gestational age, is heartbreaking. And the weight of bearing these scars is with us forever. Please take a moment to honor these babies. 

They were loved. They were real. They will never be forgotten. 

And we carry them forever in our hearts.


Monday, October 14, 2013

THREE YEARS OLD


The twins are 3 years old! THREE!!! How can that be?

They turned 3 years old on 9/13/13. Friday the 13th this year! It wasn't THAT scary! :)

It's hard to believe our sweet boys have now entered the "terrible three's." Yes, I was informed it's not the "terrible TWO's" but the "terrible THREE's". And with them being 3 for just one month now, I can totally see that. It's like they snapped! We definitely have our hard times. Guess that's what happens when you have two children the exact same age who usually want the same thing at the same time. It's hard to share! And I can't blame them for getting on each other's nerves, they are with each other 100% of the time. 

But then sometimes they are so darn sweet. And they sneak kisses and secrets...


But we have so many wonderful times too. And what a joy it is to see them interact with each other in conversation and imaginative play. They just soak everything in and know more words than I could ever have imagined they'd know at this age. They are smart little guys and ask so many questions. They are very much alike but so different as well. They are definitely their own little personalities. I love to just sit and watch them play together...well, when they aren't fighting that is. :)

As they say, "boys will be boys."



  

They had their 3 year well check a few weeks ago. 
They are as happy and as healthy as can be. We are so blessed.

Our tiny little Will weighs 28 pounds 14 ounces, which is the 19th percentile.
And our Elijah weighs 31 pounds 8 ounces, which is the 45th percentile.

Even though it's just a few pounds difference, it sure feels a lot heavier when we pick up Eli!



Both boys measure exactly the same at 37 inches, which is the 75th percentile. They were exactly the same height as each other at 2 years old as well. So interesting. I wonder if they will continue at the same growth!


Our little cheese balls!



The photos on this post are Eli and Will's 3 year photos we took yesterday. We just decided to take them on our own with our camera at a beautiful park with the fall leaves everywhere. They weren't cooperating all that well, but we got a few good ones. Bribing them with candy wasn't even working that well!

           Will
            

Elijah



 Elijah


Will



Friday, August 2, 2013

GOODBYE, SWEET BABY


Time for an update as a lot has happened since I last posted.

As always, thank you for your support and encouragement during our infertility journey. As you may already know, we had an unsuccessful FET (frozen embryo transfer) in February. (See blog post: FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSFER) We were so devastated, but not ready to give up. And we immediately began the process to do another transfer.

In April, we did do another FET.

And I became PREGNANT! We were overjoyed!

But on May 10th, I began spotting blood which turned to heavy bleeding by the 13th. And on May 15th, we rushed to the Mayo Clinic and our worst fears were confirmed when in our ultrasound, the doctors couldn't find a heartbeat. And so, on May 15th, which happened to be Nick and my 9th wedding anniversary, we said goodbye to our baby at just 6 weeks 2 days gestation. Not at all the way we wanted to spend our anniversary, but it was a true reminder that our love will get through anything together.

We are heartbroken but find comfort in knowing that our baby is safe in the arms of Jesus. It's difficult to say goodbye to someone you loved so dearly but never got the chance to meet. I know there are people who won't think it's a big deal since we weren't "that far along." But it doesn't matter how far along or at what point of development your baby was at when one has a miscarriage or still birth. I know it is only a small fraction of the pain of losing someone (a baby, child, or adult) whom you've known and loved for months or years. But still, these unborn babies are real. The love was real. It is a true heartbreaking loss.

I have a lot of updates I want to do on this blog about these past few months, which will include posts on: details about our April transfer, the joy of our pregnancy, my personal experience with my miscarriage, how to help someone cope who had a miscarriage, and what is next for us with medical treatments. And I will update little by little. But, as you know, my writing time is quite limited with daily life with my 2.5 year old twin boys! And I'm okay with that because as you can imagine, I've been clinging to them a little tighter lately.

Nick and I want to thank you for praying with us, for crying with us, and for hoping with us. Thank you for sharing in our journey. It’s been a long road, but we aren't giving up. We truly appreciate your love and prayers.

I saw an idea online last month about writing a letter to your baby to help in the mourning process. I decided to give it a try. I'm grateful I did. The following is the letter I wrote to our angel baby.


Dear angel baby,

I never touched you or held you, but you were our little miracle that was growing inside of me. You grew under my heart. Right under that heart that prayed for you, wanted you, and loved you. Your daddy and I tried for over a year to have you. We loved you even before you were conceived. You were more than wanted. Even though I never met you, sweet baby, I do know you. And even though I never held you in my arms, I will forever hold you in my heart.

You are a part of who I am.

You will always be a part of who I am.

Your story is very special. Your daddy and I are unable to get pregnant on our own unlike most other couples. I was on many medications and we did many treatments and procedures for years until finally 4 years after we started trying for a baby, we held your big brothers in our arms. It's incredible to know that you became an embryo over 3 years ago back in January of 2010 right along with your twin brothers. One of my eggs and one of your daddy's sperm were put together by an embryologist to make you. Isn't that amazing? Not many people can say they were made outside of their mommy and then put back in to grow! It was a hard, long, stressful, trying, and expensive process. I had to take a lot of medications and give myself a lot of shots and fight through the side effects and hormones. But we know we would do it again in a heartbeat just for the chance for you.

After you formed into an embryo, you were frozen for over 3 years with 7 other Vincelli embryos. Two other embryos were put into me for my first fresh transfer (IVF: in-vitro fertilization) and they grew into your beautiful twin brothers. They were our first two miracles.

And then over 3 years later, you were thawed out with one other embryo. Unfortunately, the other embryo didn't survive. But you did. And on April 18th, 2013 we then watched the ultrasound screen as you were injected into my uterus. That was the only time we would ever see you. I will remember it forever. Just the possibility of you made my heart overjoyed.

I don't have a beautiful ultrasound photo, I don't have something physical to remember you by. But I do have the memories of watching the miracle of you happen. Not many people get to experience something like that. Words will never be able to truly describe it. But your daddy and I feel it in our hearts. It is one of our very few memories of you. We will never forget that moment.

Then, we prayed and prayed that you would grow. And grow you did. I was pregnant! You became our third little miracle. We praised God for another little baby to love. In just those 6 weeks, your brain, spinal cord, heart, and other organs were forming. Even your facial features were already beginning to appear. The neural tube along your back was closing and your heart was pumping blood.

God was at work in your tiny little life.

You were real.

Our love for you was very real.

But your heart stopped beating.

You were ours, precious baby, if only for this short time. I wish we didn't have to say goodbye. I don’t know why you were taken from us. I have a lot of unanswered questions. But one thing I am sure of is that God had plans for you even before you were conceived. I may not ever know or understand the reasons why, but I choose to trust that God’s purpose is good and perfect.

I choose to trust.

I choose to keep the faith.

I choose hope.

Daddy and I know that God will keep you safe until one day when we be reunited with you in heaven. Even among our pain, we know it is a joy that you will only know a perfect place. And as much as we want you here with us, we take comfort in knowing that you will never have pain or tears or suffering. You will only know heaven. I can only imagine what perfect lullabies you must be hearing now. And I will smile when I think of you dancing in heaven with Jesus.

My heart aches. I know it will get easier, but I will always miss you. I ache to have you growing again. I ache when I wonder if you were a boy or a girl. I ache when I think of what your personality would have been like. But I feel happiness too. In fact, each time I think of you, I feel a pull on my heart. It tightens and feels a sense of warmth. I feel that every time...each and every time. Even though there is a lot of sadness, I feel so much joy when I think of you.

Your tiny, short gestational life holds a big place in my heart.

You were our hope and you will continue to be our hope.

I will always love you, sweet baby. You will never be forgotten.

Your mommy

Friday, April 26, 2013

NATIONAL INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK





It's National Infertility Awareness Week.

National Infertility Awareness Week is a project of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. The goal of the week is to raise awareness about infertility, to encourage grassroots advocacy, and help couples with infertility cope with their disease.

Infertility affects 1 in every 8 couples.

Nick and I are one of those eight.

7.3 million Americans are diagnosed with infertility.



There is too much negativity, fear, and shame regarding this disease. I wish we could make it disappear, but we can't. However, I can and will continue to share my infertility story. I thankful for what I have endured and extremely grateful for my twins, my IVF miracles. I am not ashamed of how my children were conceived and I will always make sure they and the rest of the world know it.

National Infertility Awareness Week is also needed to spread awareness of infertility to the general public. With infertility affecting 1 in 8, it's likely that everyone has at least one friend or family member living with infertility. When the general public understands infertility better, fertility challenged couples will be freer to talk about their condition, possibly experience less shame, and receive more support.



I don't share my story for attention.

I don't share it for pity.

I share it because there are many people out there who need your support. They may not be willing so speak out, so I will help be their voice.

No matter where you may be in your infertility journey, know you are never alone.

And remember that there is always, always, always HOPE!



For more information, check out the RESOLVE website.