It’s time I spilled the Cheerios….

The pregnancy that never ends…

Wow. It’s been 3 months since I’ve written. How is that possible? Well I could give a number of reasons, pretty legitimate reasons, why it just hasn’t happened…. but the biggest reason is that I was avoiding it. Weird, right? But now it’s time to get real. Get vulnerable. It’s time I spilled the Cheerios.

Since I gave birth to Madison, I haven’t been doing so great. Sure, I’ve found a wonderful outlet with Rodan + Fields, gotten closer to friends, have watched my sons grow into little boys, have watched my daughter grow from a newborn to an infant, bought a new house and much more. Those things have been WONDERFUL (distractions).

Life seems great. Life is great. But something is wrong (with me). I mean it in the most sincerity…. something is wrong with me. Those of you that have followed our story know Madison’s pregnancy was “exciting”. It was full of ups and downs and I was emotionally a wreck. Then we had Hurricane Harvey just a few days before giving birth which made her birth story, crazy and slightly stressful. And really I thought it would end after that. I thought all I would have to do between her birth and now would be trying to keep my sanity and raise 3 kids under 3 years old and trying to lose enough weight before my sister’s wedding at the end of February.

Well, somehow different plans have been drawn and I am scared shitless.

Since Madison’s birth:

1. I have had two D&C surgeries.

2. I have been told I might need a hysterectomy after I woke up from my first D&C procedure.

3. AND TMI, I have worn a pad almost every day since she’s been born.

4. I have tirelessly thought about our future family plans.

5. I have considered surrogacy for our last two embryos.

All of these 5 things have consumed me over the last (almost) 5 months. CONSUMED ME. Now I am busy in my day-to-day so I can’t exactly think about it on and on BUT mentally it’s always there.

So what’s wrong? Well, essentially, I somehow have had retained placenta left in my uterus from Madison’s birth. Yep. I didn’t know it could happen with someone who’s had a c-section (let alone two), but it has. I am just as shocked that I was on day one when the OB told me that was a possibility. I really can’t even explain how it happened because honestly no one can explain it to me and I have seen many doctors. Essentially, I haven’t really stopped bleeding since I gave birth. It comes and goes in waves. But it never really stops. So how can you move on when this is happening? You can’t. Or, at least, I can’t.

To put it bluntly, it’s been a nightmare. A nightmare I don’t think I wanted to face or make real by writing it down. But I’m ready. 

Since my second D&C (that I slightly regret doing), I have changed doctors and received a tentative diagnosis. I have been diagnosed with sub-involution of the uterus. Basically, my uterus was having a hard time healing from the pregnancy. It’s a consequence of having retained placenta (go figure). The diagnosis is hard to come to and doing the D&C’s actually lengthened the time my uterus needs to heal because, hello, surgery just aggravates it. But I praise God for this new doctor. I have actually been treated with two  rounds of antibiotics because it was suspected I also had endometritis (inflammation of the uterus) and now am on an estrogen/progesterone treatment to hopefully heal my lining of my uterus. My last scan does show I have some more scar tissue or possible more placenta particles. But we won’t know the state of everything until I have a hysteroscopy sometime in March.

Curious about the pathology report from the second D&C I had – yep. More placenta. Did I tell you this was a nightmare?   

So March. Madison will be 6 months old before I know what is the outcome of all this treatment. I will be 6 months into this 3 children gig. Definitely not something I have been happy about. Definitely not something I have been able to really come to terms with until now.

The worst part is that I don’t know what’s going to happen. The worst part is that I don’t know how this will affect our future family plans until March and really, maybe not until we are ready to transfer the next embryo. The worst part is that I don’t know if my next pregnancy will be my last or if this one was my last one. The worst part is we just DON’T KNOW.

What I do know:

  1. My body is shot. I definitely need a big break until we try again.
  2. If there is an inch of belief that my next pregnancy could be my last, we will transfer the two embryos.
  3. If there is a compromise to my uterus that could affect me carrying, we will consider surrogacy.

Is this stuff easy to think about? HELL NO. I am scared out of my mind but I believe with my whole heart that all of the lives we created deserve a chance. I believe with my whole heart we are supposed to have 5 children. I believe with my whole heart that whatever happens, we will be okay. I will be okay. I do believe that. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared. It doesn’t mean I am not angry about it. It doesn’t mean I’m consumed by it. It doesn’t mean I have all the right answers or know how to fix it.

I just KNOW I have two more lives worth fighting for and that’s all I need to know. 

 

“This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
‘Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.’

He whispered, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.'”

— Excerpt from Footprints in the Sand

 

Until next time,

Rachel

New Online Adventures

What’s being going on in our house lately….

So, I like to keep life interesting. It may not be super interesting comparing it to others but interesting to me, nonetheless. Lately, with all the laying around I’ve had to do and dealing with Little Miss’s misbehavior, I’ve had a lot of downtime to think.

Well one thing that I want to do is DE-CLUTTER. I realize this has NOTHING to do with online adventures but roll with me. I’m not sure I’m in the super nesting mode, yet, but I have this sense of urgency to get this house organized. I mean, we are about to bring another human being in this house. Getting rid of the junk seems more than necessary! In fact, even though she will be little, babies have SO MUCH STUFF! Thank goodness it’s not as much as the twins! At least that is what I am hoping for!

De-cluttering is underway in this house – slowly! Have kids? What organizational tools have you come up with to help with the clutter? Please help this mama out! 

Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping active with my business with Usborne Books & More. I joined this company May 10th of last year and it’s been a great experience. Lots of ups and some downs but I have learned so much! I never thought I would sell anything and then these books just fell into my lap. It has truly been the perfect mix of my educational background and my love for books! It’s been truly a passion of mine this past year and I cannot believe I’ll be hitting my year anniversary next month! Incredible! If you haven’t heard of Usborne Books & More, you need to! Of course, I’d be happy to talk with you about that! In the meantime, check out the website: https://g5484.myubam.com – we have amazing books from infant to pre-teen and I am currently reading one of our teen series, Conspiracy 365 and I LOVE IT! 

In conjunction with Usborne Books & More, I started this blog earlier this month! It’s been so fun and hopefully you all have been enjoying some of the writing. My husband thinks I’ll run out of things to say but I won’t, our life is too exciting for that! 😉 The blogging world is so different but I am loving having this virtual “journal” and being able to express myself confidently! Something I think all mamas need!

In addition to my online adventures, two nights ago I joined Rodan + Fields! Say what! I know. I know. I am either crazy or the smartest person on the planet. Haha! Maybe I’m a little of both! But that’s okay, it keeps life interesting. Now, first off, I never thought I would be apart of ANY direct selling company let alone TWO. However, these two companies are VERY different. Don’t worry, I’m not going to knock down your door with RF but I may politely ask if you want a FREE sample – you should say YES because it’s amazing! You will also get to watch the skin transformations like I did and become hooked! 🙂 I am pretty excited to get these products for the best deal possible and be able to share my skin care story with everyone. Quite honestly, I have been on the hunt (for awhile) to find something that I really believe will work on my face. And the fact that I have watched a few people with varying skin tones and skin types literally roll back time and look incredible, I want in! Who wouldn’t!?! 🙂

Truly, I have been watching RF consultants and friends since last summer make monumental strides to amazing faces. Now, I am FB friends with many people in many direct selling companies and I have seen a lot. There are many wonderful companies out there! But something makes sense with Rodan + Fields. Don’t worry, one day I’ll be able to articulate it! I’ve seen many transformations and I want that too. After fertility treatments, twins and now another rough pregnancy, my face is lookin’ OLD. Plus, just kids! Am I right!? And best of all, I can do this along side my first love, Usborne Books & More. So like my twins, they have to share time but that’s okay, it’s totally going to be worth it! 

Now, some of you may have just laughed as I am not yet 30 years old but it is what it is. It’s how I feel about my face. Just 5 years ago I could walk around with no makeup pretty confidently and now, I’m constantly putting make up on my face to go outside where there are other people around. Ain’t nobody needs to be frightened like that! Ha! I hate wearing makeup – truly. Maybe it’s the sports or the constant training for sports but I’ve just never really liked wearing a ton of makeup! I’ve seen some pretty amazing makeup from other companies and if you are looking for some amazing makeup, I can definitely recommend some. And honestly, I was soooo tempted to buy them but to me, it makes more sense to work on my actual skin, my canvas, if you will, in order for my makeup to do it’s job. Or, better yet, I won’t have to wear as much or none at all! Whoop!

I am so lucky that I have such a supportive husband that has cheered me on the last year with Usborne Books & More and now will cheer me on through Rodan + Fields! Don’t worry, this book lady isn’t going anywhere! 🙂 I’m just going to look WAYYYY better doing it! 🙂 Want to check out all the hype of Rodan + Fields? Check out the website here: https://www.rodanandfields.com/US/pws/rachelwebking

The fact of the matter is that our method of buying products is truly changing to buying from direct sellers and largely online. Come on, you know you shop on Amazon! Some of you may resist and that’s totally okay! However, there are so many AMAZING companies out there that you could be missing out on so it’s worth checking out!

What direct sales companies do you love? Why do you love them?

Here’s to new adventures online,

Rachel

Decisions

The road to IVF

The decisions Nick and I had to make after learning of our failed plan were not easy. You see, I was raised in the Catholic Church and very much still practiced my faith. As a Catholic, in-vitro-fertilization (also known as IVF), among other fertility treatments, are not accepted. In fact, they are considered morally wrong to engage in. I knew this, hence the reason we wanted to avoid it at all costs. And actually, at the time, I was completely against it. However, unless you’ve ever been faced with being told you have a less than 5% chance of conceiving naturally and your body is essentially working against you to have a biological child, please reserve your judgment. I’m not looking for a fight or an argument about “my sin” but merely just sharing how we got to that point.

In the next weeks (we really didn’t have time to make a choice as my condition was worsening by the second), we talked to a lot of people – Catholics, Protestants, priests, and people who went through the fertility process. My wonderful husband was willing to go to the ends of the Earth to make this happen for us and what was important to him was that we “gave it our all”; essentially “tried everything we could” to have a baby. If we still ended up with no baby, then we tried. We would look into other options, like adoption, if that was the path we were meant to be on. While what he said made sense and I just wanted to fall completely into that idea and not look back, I wanted to make sure my heart was in the right place. I wanted to make sure I would have no regrets. This was also an expensive decision and I was feeling super guilty I was the one that brought us to this place. I know it was out of my control, but the guilt was real.

While everyone was super great in listening to our concerns and helping us through this decision (as best as anyone could), we were directed to this great Catholic couple and via email she helped me more than anyone. She said TWO things to me that have stuck with me through these years:

1. Her and her husband made a decision BEFORE the IVF process started that however many children they were blessed with in the process, they vowed to transfer them all in their lifetime.

2. That no matter what they did as a couple, if God’s plans were for them NOT to have children, it won’t happen. Science is great but if science REALLY could circumvent God’s will, then everyone who went through IVF or fertility, in general, would have children.

Let me talk about the impact these two points made on us. The first one was right in line with how I felt about helping create these embryos. THESE EMBRYOS were going to be OUR CHILDREN and I couldn’t bear to not try to conceive them. I won’t go into every detail of the fertility process but many embryos are put up for adoption, abandoned, or given to science for testing. Neither one of these options were the paths that Nick and I wanted to go down so vowing to have however many children God will bless us with was something we felt we could commit to BEFORE we started. Let me tell you, we could have ended up with no children or eleven children, we had no idea! And even now, there are still no guarantees. 

The second point really hit home. We had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into and my naivety about the process led me to just believe we would have children. I mean we were going through all this and paying for it, why wouldn’t we have kids? Well, it’s about a 65% chance of conceiving when you transfer one embryo which is much better than what we were looking at naturally, but still not great. With the twins, we were looking at a slightly higher percentage of having one baby and a 25% chance of having twins. The process of taking all the medications and going through the procedures essentially had to be perfect to even get to the transfer of an embryo. What I am trying to say is that throughout the entire process, ANYTHING could have gone wrong. We could have faced financial hardship and not being able to afford the treatment which is in the tens of thousands of dollars range. My body could have failed to respond to the medications. The procedure to retrieve the eggs could have been unsuccessful. The combining of the sperm and egg could have failed and then the embryos themselves could have failed to multiply and grow correctly. Every single part had to work. Science is a wonderful gift but it’s not fool-proof. 

Nick and I confidently decided to go forth with IVF. The IVF journey is a beast and not one I will tackle in this post. However, we were blessed with 5 embryos. 5 children. Our children. Our family of 7. But this family of 7 has to wait a little bit.

Many people…..most people, go through this life not knowing how many children they will have but we do. We know. At that moment, when we got the call of how many embryos survived, we knew we had 5 beautiful children awaiting their lives with us. That knowledge right there was absolutely the hardest part for me to emotionally handle. You see, I knew I had 5 children but I could only transfer 2 of them the first time around. I was lucky enough that both the embryos took. But during that pregnancy (it was tough so I had a lot of down time), all I could think of were my other babies. I had a lot of guilt for not being able to have them at that moment. I know in my mind I couldn’t but it still hurt. I am their mommy and needed to protect them and I couldn’t. Now, I am sitting here feeling my little wiggle worm rolling around in my stomach – my 3rd baby. My baby girl. I couldn’t be more excited to have her with us now. But my heart is not yet complete. It hurts a little less this time around then when I was carrying the boys but it still hurts. It’s so unexpected how the pain of infertility continues to creep into my heart and mind. I have no regrets whatsoever.

Although, I am so excited to have the life I have with the twins and soon to be with little miss, there is not a single day that goes by I don’t think about my two children waiting for us. I always say to myself when I start thinking of them: “Daddy and I will come and get you one day. We will. We promise. You won’t be alone anymore. We love you so much.” In a way, it’s comforting because I feel like they are close but in another way it breaks me. And although it’s a pain I cannot even begin to describe and tears roll down my face, I know we will bring them home one day. That day, will be the best day of our lives because our family will finally be complete. 

 

Here’s to the loves of my life in waiting,

Rachel

Fantasy vs. Reality

Accepting change

Over the last 3 or so years, I have been seeing a counselor. Sometimes consistently and sometimes not. Usually when I am not seeing her consistently is when I really should be – funny how that works. In actuality, it’s really not funny. It’s actually pretty stressful for me when I take breaks for extended periods of time. Anyway, my counselor has been key in helping me sort through many of my life changes. I don’t know if it’s HER or if it’s just the fact that I have someone outside of my life to talk to; an objective person helps so much. If you haven’t tried it, you should!

Fantasy vs. Reality is a hot topic in our sessions. Fantasy – what you think or dream up to be in a given situation. Reality – the actual situation at hand. Some people can just roll with whatever happens in the reality even if it’s different from what they thought; whereas, others (**cough, me, cough**) have a harder time coping with the change. I’ve generally had a harder time adjusting to given changes in my life ever since I can remember. As I have gotten older, I’ve coped with some changes and have had harder time with others. I mainly struggle with the ones that have drastically changed from what *I thought* would be how life would work out.

For example, one thing that I thought would be easy would be having children. Isn’t this what we all think? At least, what we all think when we don’t have any perceived medical diagnosis, anyway? You get married, buy a house and have children. After all, it’s the “usual way” people do things. Now, I realize not everyone does this in that order and that’s totally fine. But this is what I thought it would be for me and my husband.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. Actually it was the exact opposite. About 3 years into our marriage and 2 years of no baby, I became suspicious of a possible issue. Nick and I were open to having kids but it wasn’t an intentional act of trying and tracking; however, I felt something wasn’t right. In the summer of 2014, after finally convincing my husband of doing some tests, we found ourselves at the Houston Fertility Institute at their Sugar Land, Texas location. We were told in our initial consultation that couples have a 25% chance of conceiving in their first year of trying (that’s WITHOUT any perceived issues) and then after that the numbers drop significantly: down to 5% per year and it lowers every year after that. Talk about a punch in the gut! We were in our second year of being open to children and BOOM, a scientific kick in the pants.

We went on to do some testing. I was having feminine issues with my cycle anyway and during “that time of the month” having a lot of pain. Anyway, the results from my tests weren’t good. I had stage 3 to stage 4 endometriosis. According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis “is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/home/ovc-20236421).

I don’t think I could have been more devastated. This is not what I dreamed up, remember? This is not how it was supposed to be for us. This made our chances of having a baby even less. Unfortunately, if we wanted to do any fertility treatments it could and would make the disease worse as it feeds off estrogen in your body; so, if we did do anything, we would be taking the risk of making this worse for us. We just weren’t ready to take that risk. In fact, we were actually trying to avoid it as much as possible. I was 25 years old – this shouldn’t be happening. 

Nick and I opted for me to undergo surgery to remove as much of the endometriosis as possible so we could possibly try to conceive on our own. Here’s the deal: endometriosis grows microscopically so anything they could see and remove, they would but it didn’t mean I was necessarily in the clear. It’s constantly growing. So following the procedure, I would have monthly injections that would essentially put me into menopause to try to reduce the legions as much as possible. I wasn’t too excited about it. Surgery, in general, is usually pretty rough for me – I’ve had a few in my life to know the general gist of what would happen post-op. My body takes forever to get rid of the anesthesia.

The laparoscopic procedure was slated for 90 minutes. The doctor would blow my stomach up with air so they could see the organs and be able to manipulate them to burn off the legions – hopefully without damaging any other organs. The worse part of it was that my ovaries had huge cysts on them. Taking those out wouldn’t be easy and in fact, it would be so important for the doctor to be precise as to not damage my ovaries further. Every time they take a cyst out, they would be taking part of my ovary (not enough to cause permanent infertility but that was definitely a risk). Then, there’s the whole we “really don’t know what it will be like until we are in there” uncertainty and you always hope it’s better than the doctors expect. 

Little did I know this 90-minute-you’ll-be-back-on-your-feet-in-3-days procedure, turned into blowing my stomach up a second time and a 3 hour procedure. Of course, I didn’t know any of this until I woke up from the surgery. The whole 3 days back on your feet was a LOAD OF CRAP. It took me well over a month to feel “normal” again. You know that fantasy vs. reality thing I was talking about before – yep, I was not happy. In fact, I was angry. Well, let me take a step back – I was very glad the doctor took her time – I had such a bad cyst on my fallopian tube that had she not taken her time, I could have lost it or woken up with a cut open abdomen. So, I am very thankful that. But I was still mad. I was so uncomfortable for weeks! Have you ever had gas pumped in your stomach for any procedure, IT IS AWFUL! Again, this is not what I was expecting. And I had a very hard time accepting that.

Honestly, this whole time I had a hard time dealing with the reality of what was happening and how this was my fault. My body’s fault. Nick, in no way, made me feel this way – this was something I was personally dealing with. In fact, he was amazing during this process. I think if you are the one with the diagnosis in the relationship, it’s normal to have these feelings. But it still sucks, to say the least.

By September 2014, I was on those menopause shots. Okay, again – totally not fun. Talk about a wild roller coaster of emotions, literally. But this, again, was our best chance to combat the endometriosis from growing back quickly and to potentially start trying when all this was over. A medically induced menopause at 25 years old – that was really hard to wrap my mind around it. I wasn’t supposed to have a cycle while on this medicine…..until I did. THAT WAS AWFUL. If you’re a girl, you know an unexpected period isn’t fun at all. Nope. Not at all.

After 3 months on the shots, I had an ultrasound in December 2014 and I was devastated. The cysts had grown back. Not as big but they were there which meant the shots really didn’t help. Maybe they did a little bit but the cysts were there. THE CYSTS WERE THERE! SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL! I was screaming inside on that table. I felt like I had put my body and my mental health through absolute torture the last 6 months! For what!?!

Nick and I ended up right where we didn’t want to be…..

Facing the biggest personal and financial decision of our lives…..

Here’s to everything in between (including the crap),

Rachel