What Lasts: Carter’s Song

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For years, Angela Bickford struggled through infertility and loss.  Angela is now the mother of triplets, born prematurely, one of whom, Carter, passed away after 49 days.  This song, originally published on her blog angelabickford.com, pays beautiful tribute to the lasting impact of Carter’s short life.

Written and recorded by Jetty Rae
Slideshow photos provided by Angela Bickford

Never thought that it would come to this
I wake up in the middle of the night
And your face I long to kiss
Then I remember looking at you
On the other side of the glass
That night the Doctors said
You probably wouldn’t last

[Chorus]
What lasts is the love left beating
In this Mother’s heart
The dreams all scattered down in tiny little parts
I will love you, I will love you
Sweet Child you are mine
You’re heaven sent and I’m hell-bent
On telling the world you are my little sunshine

Waking up each day without you
Is a hurt I’ll never shake
Leaving your body there was a choice
We never got to make
Carry on, carry on sweet child we all carry on
I see you in your brother’s eyes and I tell your sister
You were strong

[Chorus]
What lasts is the love left beating
In your Father’s heart
The dreams all scattered down in tiny little parts
I will love you, I will love you
Sweet Child you are mine
You’re heaven sent and I’m hell-bent
On telling the world you are my little sunshine

[Bridge]
So many days have come and gone
We’re still standing, we’re still strong
You have stayed where you belong
But in our hearts you will go on

Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business, her job at Hand to Hold, a non-profit dedicated to preemie/NICU awareness and support, and her personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Nichole’s Story: The Path to Adoption

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This story was submitted by Nichole, who blogs about life with her amazing duo at Love at First Smile.

I’m a planner! My entire life is a well thought out, well constructed plan! I think things through. I don’t make rash decisions. I make sure everything is squared away before moving on to the next step! I’ve always been this way and it boggles my mind that there are people who fly by the seat of their pants! Those people stress me out and I feel the need to make a plan for them!

I’m a rule follower! I do things the way you are supposed to. Society tells us the sequence of events for our lives and that’s what I do! I don’t stray from the rules…ever! (I am known to speed, so I’m not a full-on buzz kill.)

I’m also terrified of needles! There, I said it! It’s silly and ridiculous and extremely embarrassing but it is what it is! I’m talking the mere mention of a needle will have me in a cold sweat. Don’t let me see a needle or I’m going down! As a kid, adults would rib me about how I was going to have children and my answer was always, I’m going to adopt!

Before I married my husband, we, of course, had all of the talks about having children and how we would raise them… all of the talks that you are supposed to have. I had always hoped that I would adopt a child at some point in my life. I had known a few people who had adopted and I felt a certain calling for it. I loved the idea of giving a child a chance that they wouldn’t have had.

Boy, did I learn that when you adopt, you aren’t giving them a gift… they are giving you a gift.

My future husband was totally open to adoption too so in my plan I thought the ideal situation would be for us to have a biological child and then later on adopt our second child. I had it all figured out. Can you tell?

 I’ve learned that some of the greatest things in life were discovered by getting off the sidewalk! Infertility led to the adoption of two lovely daughters.

Now that I’ve given you a 10-cent tour of myself, here’s my journey through infertility to adoption!

Remember, I’m a rule follower! I got married when I was 22 and I knew that I wasn’t ready to be a mother yet. I was always terrified of getting pregnant before I was ready. The stars needed to align just right and my ducks needed to be in a straight, non-curvy, no bumps in the road, line! My plan was to be selfish for a little while: enjoy being married, travel, spend money on myself, do exactly what I wanted to do! I knew that for me to be the mother that I wanted to be, I needed to be able to give 100% of myself to motherhood, when the time came. That time was NOT my early 20s!

I’m a planner, remember? Well, according to my well-constructed, I’m-in-charge-of-my-life plan, we were going to start “trying” to get pregnant on our 5th wedding anniversary! That anniversary was celebrated in Las Vegas and we followed the plan. We started “trying” that week in September, 2008.

I believed we would totally have a baby by Christmas, 2009. We probably needed to go ahead and talk about baby names. We should probably pick out nursery colors and furniture. Writing all of this makes me giggle out loud. I just knew how everything was going to go because I HAD A PLAN!

My husband and I continued to “try” to no avail. After a couple of years, the word infertility kept creeping in to my brain. I wanted to be a Mom so much that I would literally ache. My husband and I considered starting out on the fertility journey but I was not on board with being poked and prodded and tested. Remember my fear of needles!

We started to throw around the adoption idea but getting started on an adoption journey is so hard! There just aren’t any resources out there that tell you how to start the process. We learned early on that with adoption, you either have a lot of money or a lot of time, meaning you can either spend a lot of money for a quick adoption or you can spend a lot of time waiting on an adoption opportunity! Well, we had time!

Adoption had always been on my heart and was always part of my plan. I believe that infertility affected me so that I could let go of my plans and the “rules” and go down another, different path than I thought I would. After lots of research, emails, phone calls, tears, and many late night talks, we decided to start the adoption process in 2010. Our home study was completed in 2011 and we began the wait. Since we chose not to go through an agency, we decided we would just let God’s plan be. Everyone we knew was aware that we wanted to adopt and we knew that when the timing was right, God would plant a child in our lives!

I’ll save all of the adoption details for a blog post on adoption. Fast forward to 2012 and we were blessed with not one, but two of the most beautiful, sweetest little girls in the world! They were 4 and 6 at the time they came to live with us, not babies! Remember my plan? I was prepared for a baby, not 2 little girls!

Nichole's very loved daughters. The family was united by adoption.

In August of 2013, the adoption was finalized and we are now the parents to 8 year old Hazel Kate and 6 year old Kellie Caroline and life could not be any better!

God’s plan was so much better than mine! We jumped in head first and we haven’t slowed down since! Life is so full and the biggest miracle! I thank God every day for these 2 little lives that we’ve been chosen to parent!

Our infertility/adoption journey was heart-wrenching, exhausting, sad, infuriating, and confusing. However, that 4 year journey was also marriage-building, motivating, and a bigger blessing than I could see when I was in the middle of it! I learned so many things about myself and my marriage during that time, but most importantly I learned that my plans are not always the right plans.

I needed to let go and get off my path. Otherwise, I would have missed the most incredible gift!

Many times, we have to let go of the way that we think life should be to head in a different direction. I’ve learned that some of the greatest things in life were discovered by getting off the sidewalk! It’s amazing what life can give you if you change the way you think it’s supposed to go!

Everyone’ s journey to motherhood is different and that’s OK! Being a mother is the greatest gift in the world, no matter how you got there.

Whether you get pregnant on the first try (congrats to you, if that’s the case), go through fertility treatments, adopt your little one, help someone else take care of their children, stand in as someone’s mom, or fill any other type of “mom” role, you were chosen for that role.

Make it count!


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Angela’s Letter to Her Infertile Self

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(A version of this post was originally published by HDYDI author Angela on her blog, angelabickford.com.)

Writing a letterDear Infertile Self,

I know it’s hard right now. I know you’re struggling…

You think your body has let you down. It hasn’t. It just may need a little more time. You think you’ll never have kids. You will. Just maybe not the way you think or when you think you should. You wonder why all the people around you are getting pregnant so easily, and you’re not. They may not be, or they may, but you’re really just seeing it more because you want it more, not because it’s happening more. Try being happy for them.

You worry that every time you go to the bathroom, there’ll be blood on the toilet paper and you’ll be miscarrying again. Try not to worry. Find the joy in being pregnant and try not to obsess that it’ll all go wrong again. You stress over every symptom, side-effect, feeling because you ‘just know’ it means bad news. Relax. Let your body do things the way it’s designed to. Sometimes, things happen for a reason. You seclude yourself from friends and family who care because you are too depressed to do anything but read books on how to get and stay pregnant. Spend some time with them, they’ll be the ones throwing your shower and helping you with the baby when it comes, and you’ll need friends to get through motherhood too.

You obsess over every tip and resource out there to help you get pregnant and resort to bad tasting concoctions and weird sex positions to try to achieve pregnancy. These things aren’t proven to work. If they stress you out more, don’t do them. You’ve started to hate sex – it’s a chore now – a means to an end. Try to enjoy sex with your husband. Forget about the timing, the medications, the charts and restrictions, and the awkwardness. Be spontaneous. You’re going to need to get the magic back after your struggle is over, so don’t let it go completely.

You are scared to reach out, to talk about the curse of infertility, to share your troubles or relate to others who are going through the same thing. It’s such a shameful thing, to be childless. LET THAT GO, most of all. There is no shame in difficult situations, only lessons and hope, if you look hard enough. ‘Let your darkness be a light to others so they don’t hit the same rocks you did’, a great man once said.

You think you’re life will be over if you don’t have kids. It won’t. You may just have to learn to live it a different way. Remember, being a mom doesn’t just mean someone who gave birth. Find ways to be motherly – they’re all around you…

Love,
Self of Now, Mother and Overcomer

Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business, her job at Hand to Hold, a non-profit dedicated to preemie/NICU awareness and support, and her personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress.

Letter to my infertile self. Hindsight is wise.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Infertility: It Still Affects Me

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(This post was submitted anonymously.)

I’ve run the race, and I have not one, but TWO t-shirts to prove it.

I traveled the path of infertility. It was long. It was hard. But I have my twin girls to show for it. I am so very, very lucky.

My girls color my world with love and joy, the depths of which I never could have imagined.

Infertility should be a thing of my past then, right? A chapter I closed, to focus on the happily ever after.

It’s not, though.

Infertility isn't easy to leave behind, even as motherhood takes precedence.

I always said I wanted two children, and that’s precisely what I got…two brilliantly amazing children, whom I love more than life. I could not be happier.

Why, then, do I wince a little when I see a glowing mother-to-be?

Why do I switch to the other side of the mall, to avoid walking past the maternity store?

Why does it sting to hear about the “oopsie” babies…the declarations of “we want a big family”?

Why can’t I bring myself to read the “how do you know if you’re ‘done’” posts?

Infertility still affects me.

I know it will always be a part of who I am, and I hope it at least makes me a more compassionate person. But the pangs of wanting I feel? They are isolating, and they come with a lot of guilt.

Why can’t I just be happy with what I have, content with the gifts I was {finally} given?

I am. I am so very happy. And I can’t imagine feeling more content than I do, walking hand in hand with my girls down the street, or snuggling with them on either side of me, reading books.

Had I been able to have my two children by conventional means, would I still feel this way? I don’t know.

I don’t know the answers. I just know how it feels. I hope I can one day move past the rawness of the emotions.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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A Support System to Help You Through Infertility

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(This post was submitted anonymously.)

I heard her mention it in passing, long before we began making plans to start a family. It was an offhanded comment about her infertility, made during a company dinner, something everyone around her seemed to take in stride.

I don’t remember how it struck me at the time. Did I pity her? Did I think it was strange? Uncomfortable?

For whatever reason, that slight comment stuck with me. And then, a year or so later, when we began to realize that infertility was going to be part of our journey, I thought about it a lot.

A support system to help you through infertility

I wondered if I should call her. Would she mind talking to me? Was I ready to open up with where we were?

I found myself traveling with her on a few business calls, the first time the two of us had ever spent any time alone together. Over dinner one night, I told her I wanted to ask her a question.

…see, we’ve been trying for a while now, and things haven’t happened for us yet.”

She was so compassionate, so supportive. She told me all about her experience, and gave me a general sense for what I might be able to expect.

I was very grateful for the opportunity to talk about our situation. Little did I know at the time how deeply she would support our journey.

Following our time together, it was she who initially reached out to me. She lived 2500 miles away, so I very rarely saw her, but she inserted herself into my life on a very regular basis.

Especially as we delved into the more aggressive treatments, she kept track of my every appointment. “Message me with your numbers!” she’d say. If I didn’t call her on my way home from the clinic, she’d call me. “How did it go?” In the depths of shots and prods and pokes, I looked forward to hearing her voice…she was my cheerleader, my confidante.

Of course my husband was supportive, accompanying me to appointments as often as he could, but her having experienced the trials before me provided an entirely different dimension to my support system.

When I look back on that time in my life, particularly with us having made the decision to keep our journey mostly to ourselves, I see her face. I hear her voice. From halfway across the country, she walked that road with me.

I send her a card on Mother’s Day. Not only is she a beautiful mother herself, but I can’t think of my journey to becoming a mother without thinking about her.

I can never repay her for what she did for me, but I can try to pay it forward.

Not talking publicly about our infertility makes it difficult, but I have served as a resource for a former colleague who approached me very sheepishly, asking if we’d had “help” with our girls. By the incredibly respectful way he asked, I knew he had a reason. I was so thankful to be able to cheer him and his wife on as they trekked to appointment after appointment.  And every time I see pictures of his children, I feel a special sense of joy.

women_support_groupsI share this part of my story to underscore the importance of a support system when you’re going through infertility. Whether that support comes from your partner, your friend or family member…or from someone you rarely see or know only online…reach out. You don’t have to travel this journey alone.

And for those of us who’ve been there, may we remember the things that helped us along our way. May we look for opportunities to pay them forward.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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My Story: Taking Our Infertility One Step at a Time

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(This post was submitted anonymously.)

I got married young, at 23, but the plan was for us to focus on our careers for a while. We worked hard, and we played hard. We loved those first few years of marriage.

As I entered my late 20’s, having been married five years, and having reached a really good place professionally, we started thinking about having a baby. The time was right, and we were ready.

As a Type A person, I had everything planned out. I stopped taking birth control in late 2004. We waited a few months to officially start trying, and in the meantime, I stopped drinking caffeine and started eating by the Food Guide Pyramid. I read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility[although I skipped the chapter on infertility; that didn’t apply to me]. I was charting my cycles, taking my temperature each morning. I wanted to be pregnant by the time I turned 30, in February 2006.

One step

After charting my cycle for a few months, I noticed my cycles were really long…55 to 60 days. I didn’t want to believe anything could be wrong, though. It was just my body adjusting to being off the birth control, right???

The books said that a woman at my age should be pregnant within a year. I vowed to be patient…but after six months, given what I was seeing with my cycles, I made an appointment with my OB/GYN.

He ran some preliminary tests, and my husband had a sperm count done. Everything checked out, so my doctor put me on Clomid. Again, I vowed to be patient, not to stress about it. It would happen, right???

After six rounds of Clomid, my OB/GYN referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist in the nearest metropolitan area, about 75 miles away. I got to know every stretch of that 150-mile round trip all too well.

During my first vaginal ultrasound, I heard the term “string of pearls” said by the technician to the doctor. My heart sank. By that time I’d read the chapter on infertility, and I knew that meant something was wrong. I was diagnosed with PCOS.

My husband also underwent more testing. While his sperm count was normal, an SPA test revealed a low penetration rate. The normal range begins at 5.0, and his was 1.7.

At least we had a diagnosis, though. It was validating to know that it wasn’t just me “not having been able to relax”. (That makes my blood pressure rise just to type it!) Having a diagnosis meant we could move forward, right???

Psychologically, a big part of my coping mechanism was taking things slowly…believing it would happen for us…forcing myself to step back from the calendar, from my biological clock. In stark contrast to my Type A personality, I vowed to be patient, to go with the flow.

Ultimately, we did six rounds of Clomid…then four rounds of Clomid + IUI…followed by three rounds of injectables + IUI…before we considered IVF. I wanted to follow the least-invasive method. We gave it our best shot.

With those options exhausted, we met with our doctor and decided that IVF with ICSI was the next step for our family. It was a huge relief to have made that decision. I felt like we had “paid our dues” through the process (part of the psychological game I played with myself). I felt confident. I felt excited.

We had a couple of setbacks leading up to IVF. A problem was discovered with my thyroid, and then I had an abnormal blood screening. That was my lowest point. We’d taken all the steps, and then made the Big IVF Decision.  I broke down. I went from feeling confident, to feeling defeated. What if this wasn’t in the plans for us???

Although that news delayed our progress for a couple of months, we were able to control my thyroid pretty easily, and the abnormal blood screening turned out to be a fluke. Finally, we were ready to take the plunge in May 2008.

We implanted two embryos, and in January 2009, I gave birth to our twin girls.

It was a long, hard road. Not only has motherhood changed me, of course, but that experience did, too. I never would have asked for that to be our path, but I am a stronger, more compassionate person because of it. That long, winding road brought us to our children, and we are eternally grateful.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Angela’s Perspective – Honoring Moms Who Aren’t: Remembering the Bereaved or Infertile

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Whether you yourself are a bereaved mom, a woman dealing with infertility, or a friend of someone who wants to be a mom, read this. Read it. Share it.

For loss moms and infertile women

(A version of this post was originally written by HDYDI author Angela in honor of International Bereaved Mother’s Day, a day set aside in 2010 to honor moms who have lost a child, whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or loss at another time. It’s a day to honor the moms who ache to be moms, but have struggled with infertility and may not have ever been pregnant. Who ache for morning sickness. Who ache for sleepless nights. It’s for ALL moms who have lost a child or never had one she so desperately wanted; who the world may not see as a mom, but who feels like one even though she isn’t holding her child.)

I am a proud mom to my children.  I am a loss mom, too.  And I would like to acknowledge my babies.

Baby Bickford, miscarriage 8 weeks, 2008
Baby Bickford, miscarriage 6 weeks, 2010
Carter Eugene Bickford, infant loss – born 12/9/11, died 1/27/12

carter

And I want you to acknowledge your lost child. It doesn’t matter when you lost them, because they mattered.

A person’s a person no matter how small. ~Dr. Seuss

They mattered. And it’s time the world took notice.

To the moms who lost babies… Don’t be shy about speaking your child’s name. Or the way they left this world. The only way the world will learn to accept the loss of a child as a real thing is if we talk about it. Not just to each other. To any one. To every one. No, I’m not asking you to walk up to a stranger and say your child died. I’m asking you to be proud that they lived, for however small of a time. To be proud enough to make that time count. I’m not asking you to dwell. I’m asking you to remember. To celebrate. To make a difference in the name of your child. To give hope to those who will come after you. To be a light in their darkness.

For those who feel the ache because you have yet to even feel the joys of pregnancy, I’m asking you to be kind to yourself. To take that desire to be a mom and put it 110% into something aside from grief. Mentor. Be a great aunt. Work in your church nursery. Babysit. Find the mothering moments in every day moments that you may be missing. Not because you’ve given up, but because you’re letting precious opportunities slip by, moments that you could be sharing your motherly instincts, your motherly love with little boys and girls who may need a motherly influence in their lives. Don’t miss out on these moments. These are the moments that will prepare you for the motherhood you so deeply desire.

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

For the broken ones that know they will never have a child of their own, at least not from their own body, I’m asking you to find peace. Make peace with your body, your soul, and your partner. Forgive yourself for the feelings you have of guilt, like so many do. Know that you are still a mom in your heart, because in your heart is where that desire first grew, and it never died. You’ll always feel that way, that’s what makes you so beautiful.

For the moms who are moms and have never had to experience the pain of loss, know that it exists. Don’t brush it off. Don’t ignore it just because you couldn’t imagine how it must feel. Or don’t want to imagine it. Don’t ignore it because it’s too hard to talk about. If you do that, you’re telling your friend – the world – that these children don’t matter. Put yourself in our shoes, and just for a moment, feel what we do. Feel it so hard that you hurt. Feel it so much that the next time a loss mom wants to tell you about their baby or their loss, you listen. Hug. Cry. Bond. Because you are the model of what motherhood is. You are what we wish we could be. What we might never be. Remember that. And remember to always be grateful for your little ones, sleepless nights, poop-smeared wall, and all.

Love on yourself today. Love on a friend who’s feeling the loneliness of empty arms. And never, ever take a child – yours, the lost ones, or anyone else’s – for granted.

flowerAngela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business, her job at Hand to Hold, a non-profit dedicated to preemie/NICU awareness and support, and her personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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On Anonymity and Infertility

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(This post was submitted anonymously.)

Over the course of this week, several writers will be posting anonymously. I am one of them.

In some ways, I feel guilty about staying behind the curtain.

I hate that infertility can seem like such a taboo subject…a subject that nobody talks about, and when they do, it’s often in whispers. My keeping quiet is doing nothing to promote the cause that speaks to my core.

I am so thankful to those who speak on behalf of this cause, but I can’t be one of them.  Not right now.
Anonymity and infertility. The taboo is hard to break.

I am so very proud of our twin daughters, ultimately conceived via IVF, after many rounds of fertility treatments. I am proud of our journey. And I am so thankful for our team of doctors and the medical advances that made possible our family of four. In many ways, I want to shout from the rooftops, “Look what we did!!!

But I choose to keep these details private. Only a handful of close friends know, and a couple of family members.

See, I grew up in a pretty conservative area. One conversation sticks out in my mind, having heard it spoken of a family in my hometown who underwent fertility treatment when I was growing up. She was pregnant with triplets, and lost them when she was five or so months along. “If the Lord wanted her to be a mother, He’d have given her the chance. Some things are just meant to be. We’re not meant to mess with fate.”

That cuts deep. It’s something, even more than 20 years removed from, that I can’t shake.

I didn’t want to open myself up to the judgment.

And even now, having long ago moved from that very conservative area, I’ve still heard people utter phrases like “test tube baby”. I’ve had a handful of people remark to me in the grocery store, “Are they natural? You know everyone is having twins these days because of the things those doctors do.”

I can’t risk having that said of my girls.

One day, I will tell my girls the story of our journey. They need to know, in case there are genetic links to the problems I encountered. And I want them to know how very deeply their daddy and I wanted them…how, when I tell them now, “You were always in Mommy’s heart,” it was that resolve that kept me focused on the prize. I never lost faith that I would hold my children in my arms.

But I want to be the one to determine when the time is right for that conversation. I don’t want them to be scurrying around the playground while some Nosy Nelly whispers to her girlfriend, “Those girls aren’t natural.” I don’t want the next-door neighbor’s kid to have overheard our story and tease the girls, “You’re a test tube baby.” I hope these are far-fetched scenarios…that people have moved beyond such judgments…but I can’t be certain.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to respond to the random, “Are they natural?” questions…the continued inquiries from my uncle, “I just can’t believe it! Twins just don’t run in our family!

My standard line? “Yes, we got lucky. Very, very lucky.” Because we did.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Welcome to Infertility Tales 2014

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Categories Fertility, Infertility, Infertility Theme Week, Mommy IssuesLeave a comment

We have an amazing week of posts lined up, all on the subject of infertility.

Why, you might wonder, is a mother of multiples blog hosting an infertility event? After all, all the writers here have a bunch of kids already.

Stories of infertility on How Do You Do It?It’s because a number of us have lived with infertility. Most still do. Having a baby or two doesn’t usually render a couple suddenly fertile after years of struggle. And those of us who conceived our children spontaneously may not know much about how infertility feels, but we have to answer questions about it all the time. Much of Western society assumes that all multiples are the result of fertility treatment.

Infertility is a touchy, even taboo subject. Fertility is equated with masculinity and femininity. Being diagnosed as infertile can be like being told that you are incomplete, even incompetent. Infertility on the part of one partner in a couple can strengthen or devastate a relationship. Infertility is an intensely personal experience that must be tackled in view of medical staff or adoption agency personnel. As with almost all aspects of parenting, there’s a tendency to think that there’s a right answer, when in fact different answers are right for each person. Bring differences in moral opinion into the picture, and infertility becomes an even more difficult topic to discuss.

Infertility doesn’t just affect the parents-to-be. It can also have deep impacts on the children that eventually enter the family. At what point do you explain to your children what strangers mean when they ask if they are “natural”? How do you handle telling the child who happens to be adopted that they are in your family as Plan B, after conception didn’t work out?

We ask you to be sensitive to the individuals who have braved taboo and laid their hearts and stories bare to us here this week. They may not have made the same choices you would have in their shoes. And that’s okay.

The very personal nature of reproduction is also why you will see a number of stories this week written by anonymous authors. Whether to protect a spouse’s privacy or a child’s, or because friends and family have never been privy to the details of infertility in the author’s life, some contributors have chosen to remain unnamed. Their stories speak for themselves.

We’ll have stories of infertility with relatively easy and fast resolution as well as drawn out tails of failed IVF after failed IVF. You’ll hear about joyful conception that tragically ends in miscarriage or stillbirth. We’ll talk about healthy higher order multiples, infant loss, and selective reduction. Behind each of these stories is a woman who wanted to be a mother.

While infertility can often seem like a lonely path, there is strength in knowing we are not alone in our travels.  While some of the stories may be hard to read, we look forward to sharing our voices this week in support of infertility awareness, as part of (the National Infertility Association) Resolve’s annual Awareness Week.

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Twinfant Tuesday: On the Clock

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Categories Attitude, Balance, Breastfeeding, Feeding, Feeling Overwhelmed, Fertility, Infertility, Pregnancy, Sleep, Twinfant TuesdayTags , 6 Comments

Hello all-

Our twins are 8 weeks old today, and in the past 8 weeks, there have been countless topics I wanted to write about.  Among them: how it’s possible to have a beautiful birth of your babies even after bed rest, preeclampsia and a magnesium drip, how no one REALLY explains how hard breastfeeding is to you before you have babies (much less, breastfeeding twins), and something about the sleep deprivation (if I had more sleep, I could have said that more articulately).

http://hdydi.com/2013/09/17/twinfant-tuesday-on-the-clock/But, what has been the most difficult adjustment, and perhaps the only thing that has truly surprised me about being a new mom, is the grueling feeding schedule.  Feeding two hungry mouths every three hours was much more challenging than I anticipated.  For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that it would really require two adults to do so, and that it would take nearly the whole three-hour window before the next feeding to complete the cycle.  All this made me start thinking about the timeframes I’ve been bound to in the last two years and how a biological clock isn’t just about trying to have kids before various risks increase.

Pregnancy

  • 40 – The number of weeks all multiple pregnancies strive to get to.
  • 38 – The number of weeks we all secretly could tolerate getting to.
  • 35.6 – The number of weeks I made it to in my pregnancy.
  • 32 – The number of weeks in my pregnancy before being put on bed rest.
  • 28 – The number of weeks in my pregnancy before I really had any complications. (First one was pubic symphysis dysfunction, followed by preterm dilation, then preeclampsia.)

Infertility treatment

  • 16 – The number of months we tried to get pregnant before our successful IVF treatment.
  • 9 – The number of months I was on hormone treatments before getting pregnant.
  • 10 – The number of weeks I took daily progesterone shots during pregnancy.
  • 2 – The number of weeks in a cycle I felt I lived my life on before this: the two week wait to ovulate, then the two week wait to find out if I was pregnant.

Parenthood

  • 3 – The number of hours between feedings.
  • 1.5 – The number of hours I usually have between feedings to shower, feed myself, clean bottles or pump parts, close my eyes for a bit.
  • 1 – The painfully slow number of hours it currently takes my daughter to finish a bottle.

I recall being anxious to get off of the “two week wait to ovulate/two week wait to find out if I was pregnant” schedule. Silly me. I didn’t realize how the scheduling would just take another form.

And I recognize that it will be this way always. It just will be a soccer practice, or school or day camp that is dictating my clock instead of ovulation or weeks of  gestation.

In the meantime, my daily goal is to focus on the moment instead of when the clock will alert me to the next deadline.  To try to appreciate my little ones in this very innocent, sweet time.  To take the time to feel the love and support that has been brought into our house by all the visitors and family support, knowing the visits and support will someday end.  To try to laugh at the things that sleep deprivation has caused us to do (ie, pumping without bottles attached for a good 3-4 minutes before feeling warm milk on my lap).  To open my heart and my life to these two little beings I’m getting to know more and more each day.

What was your favorite memory of being in the moment when you first brought your babies home?

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