2nd Mothers Day.

Its freaking Mothers Day. Again. A day dedicated to spoiling the mothers in your life. Giving them a tiny break from the daily grind of keeping your kids alive and *mostly* happy. Its a day to thank your moms for giving you everything they possibly could. Moms should be thanked and appreciated every single day. But today is the day, nationwide, that you are expected to make a big deal.

Where do I fit into this? I am a mom. I was pregnant. I carried her for 38 weeks. I birthed her. And she died. I haven’t worn holey underwear so that I could buy a pack of diapers, or walked around with baby puke down my back. I don’t have those humorous badges of honor. 

But I have spent countless sleepless nights, just like other moms. They were awake because of their fussy or sick or just awake baby. I was awake, grieving over my empty arms and broken heart. Either way, we were both losing sleep. We were both exhausted beyond belief, and kept going anyways, because what choice did we have?

Moms walk around with an overwhelming pride. They MADE this child. Its incredible. A miracle. I have the same pride. My daughter was a miracle. But I also have grief. Because I cannot hold her the way most moms hold their little ones.

Mothers day is the chance for moms all over the country to have an afternoon off. Someone else will change the diapers, do the dishes, clean, and keep the kids alive. Mothers day for me brings out my grief even more strongly than a normal day. Because while most moms are begging for a break, I’m begging for my child to come back. 

Spoil the moms in your life. They deserve the break. And most of them probably feel some mom guilt over wanting the break to begin with. And for the loss moms that you know (miscarriage, infant loss and even women that struggle with infertility and have not yet achieved a pregnancy yet), give them some love. NOT a vague “Happy Mother’s Day!” message, because that is thoughtless and hurtful. But a message that says “thinking about you today. I hope you have a good mothers day.” Let us know that we are not forgotten. Because we will never forget our lost little ones. 

Living in the Dark.

The last 18 months have been more painful than I thought I would ever be able to endure. As a teenager, I was a pretty emotionally stable person. Of course I dealt with my own insecurities and heart breaks, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Nothing that was permanently damaging or scarring. The last 18 months have changed all of that. I am damaged and scarred. And will never be the same person I was at 24. 

I lost my daughter. No, I’m “not over that yet”. I held my baby girl while she died. That isn’t something you get over, or get past. It is something you learn to carry. Losing Analiese has broken me. I am broken. Every laugh is forced, every smile is fake. I don’t even recognize myself because all I see in the mirror is a stranger that is struggling to make it through every single day. 

I feel abandoned. Not only did my daughter die in 2016, but my father died on March 25th, 2017. I quit my job because I can’t handle it. I can’t handle my emotions or myself. I quit calling my friends because I have nothing to say. All I can talk about is how much I hurt. How much I miss my dad. How much I miss my daughter. How I’m afraid I will never have children of my own. And my friends must be tired of hearing about it, because they stopped calling. I don’t blame them. The amazing friend that I was? That girl is gone. All that is left is the shell of the girl that called and checked in and cared about the little problems and sent random care packages. The girl that was available day or night for anything her friends needed? She’s gone. 

All that is left is me. This fearful, depressed, broken woman. And I don’t feel good enough for anyone. I don’t feel like I deserve anything good. Because if I did, SOMETHING good would have come my way by now, right? I have my husband, and thank God for him because without him I do not think I would survive. But is he all I will ever get that is good? Because if so, please tell me. I am so tired of trying to only get kicked back. 

People ask daily, “how are you?” And I lie. Or if they have an idea of the grief in my life I say “I’m making it” or “I’m surviving”. That’s all I can do. Survive. But how long can I be expected to survive with no hope? With no hope of having children that will survive, with no funds to adopt? With no hope that things will ever get better. 

I found a quote today that said “when you aren’t able to look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.” I wish someone with sit in the dark with me. I am lost. 

Hope is deadly.

I had a conversation recently with a friend. She kind of called me out on my attitude about IVF. I made the comment “when that doesn’t work, I don’t know which road we will take.” And she asked me why I’m bothering. She wonders why, if I am so positive that IVF and PGS is not going to work for us, we are wasting our time and money.

I don’t have a good answer for her. Or for anyone. All I can explain is how I feel. How it feels to me, when I allow myself to imagine that maybe, just maybe, something might work out in my favor. For instance. Stefan and I decided to enter a contest to win a grant for IVF. An amazing youtube couple that has struggled with infertility has put together a way to gift ONE couple with a round of IVF. Its an incredible gift that they’re giving. The way they designed the contest is they will choose a certain amount of finalists, and then the general public gets to vote on the couple they think should win based on the 2 minute video submission.

We did not make the finals. And honestly, I’m not surprised. I was so desperate to enter, and I’m so shattered by what our story is, that our video was less than appealing. You can’t sum up our story in 15 seconds and have the rest of the video showing how awesome and fun we are. Its barely possible to summarize our story in 2 minutes. My desperation showed, and it did not do me any favors.

So here I am, in tears. Feeling completely defeated, again, because I feel like we will never get there. I can’t even get chosen as a FINALIST in a contest. The odds of that was way better than the odds of IVF working for us.

I’m terrified to hope. Do you know what that feels like? To literally be afraid to hope for a good thing because it never happens?

I would love to convince myself that I can do anything through the power of positibe thinking. But I can’t. I can’t bring my daughter back to life. I can’t make my body be normal. I can’t make my story more cute and funny. And I can’t allow myself to hope that IVF will work, because when it doesn’t, it will feel like another child died. My hopes for a biological child will die. And if I dont hope for it, then it won’t happen.

Everything I have hoped for has gone up in flames. I hoped for a healthy baby. I hoped for a non-fatal diagnosis. I hoped for a few months/weeks/days with my child. I hoped we could get pregnant again. I hoped the cause of Analiese’s death would be random and not genetic. And I hoped we would win a grant that could give is the opportunity to try again. Obviously, hope has gotten me no where.

November is here.

You guys, I’m going to be honest. I’ve been having a rough time lately. Not only am I missing Analiese, which is a constant, visceral ache; but I have no path to follow. I very much so feel like I’m drifting, and I just don’t know what comes next.

There are so many options ahead of us, and I’m a planner. I like plans. They make me confident and give me peace because I know what is going to happen. Beyond the things I cannot control, the plans that I make are things that I have total power over. And right now I feel like I have no power over anything in my life.

Stefan and I need to make these plans now, because we need to implement them in January. But we don’t know where to start. Do we save the money for IVF? Or do we commit to paying off massive amounts of debt? Financially, it makes more sense to pay off debt. But that route means that it will be close to 4 years before we can even BEGIN the circuitous path that will lead to eventually having a family. And no one knows how long it will take before we are actually successful in our attempts, be that through IVF, egg donation, embryo donation, or adoption. NONE of these options are fast, cheap, or easy. They all have their own varying degrees of difficulty and time consumption.

Not to mention, which route do we take? Do we try IVF? I feel like I would regret not trying it. I feel like if we skipped that step, I would always wonder “what if”. But is that enough of a reason to flush $15K down the toilet? Because my doctor 100% believes that it is a waste of time. And why am I trying to tell my doctor how to do his job? I haven’t gone to medical school. I know nothing about this except what I can find on the internet. I don’t tell the wedding cake decorators how to do their jobs, so why am I trying to do this to my doctor? Is it worth it? When it doesn’t work, will I be pissed that we wasted that much money that could have gone to egg donation? Or embryo donation? Do we adopt?

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HEART WRENCHING THESE QUESTIONS ARE?!?! So many people ask “well have you considered adoption?” Like adoption is this super easy thing that anyone can go out and bring home a baby. And adoption is a beautiful thing. But being forced into it is not the way I wanted to adopt a child. And unless you have had to face the idea of accepting your own inability to carry a child yourself, you cannot imagine what it feels like.

I want to be pregnant. I want to actually have a full size baby belly, and not a miniature one. Analiese was beautiful, but she was so tiny. I barely looked 24 weeks pregnant when I had her at full term. I see women with their gorgeous baby bellies and I am SO jealous. It’s embarrassing to admit how jealous I am. Because I don’t know if I will ever carry another baby. I don’t know if the “pregnancy” boxes that I have packed away will ever be useful for me again or if they will all get donated to a women’s shelter. There are SO many unknowns in my future. I do not have anything that is solid to hold on to.

I feel hopeless. I feel as though I’m never going to have a child of my own. Like I’m barren at 26 years old, because even though I’m capable of being pregnant, I cannot allow it because my heart can’t take it. It is too much to bear to hold your child as they die. I’ve done it once, I cannot do it again.

Yesterday should have been Analiese’s first Halloween. She would have been 8 months old. The perfect size to be Tinkerbell. I’ve been planning family halloween costumes since Stefan and I got together basically. Peter pan, tinkerbell, wendy, captain hook, pans shadow. That was an option that would work with a little boy or girl because there are so many characters. We could do Link, Zelda and the fairy, or Alice, The Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, or the Red Queen. But last year we got a diagnosis that changed everything. And I stopped planning. Analiese didn’t get to wear a costume this year. I dressed in LuLaRoe leggings and a Mickey Mouse tshirt and handed out candy to little kids instead. No family costumes here. Not now, and potentially not ever. At least that is how I feel.

The next few months suck. They mark one year since I underwent tests and saw doctors and hoped and prayed for good results only to have my heart shattered over and over again. The next few months are the reason I don’t hope or pray any longer.

I miss my baby girl.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

It’s October. I hate October. I hate it almost as much as I hate February, which sucks. It sucks because October was a good month for me. It is when I got together with my husband. It’s the beginning of fall. It’s my sister’s birthday. I miss loving October.

My dislike for October is 2 fold now. The first fold is because October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month. It breaks my heart that it NEEDS an awareness month. 1 in 4 women experience the loss of a child. 1 in 4. But there has to be an awareness month for women to feel comfortable talking about it. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell people that our children existed. Support the women in your life, because you don’t know what they are going through.

2nd fold. In 5 days it will be exactly 1 year since my world crashed at my feet. On October 20th, 2015 Stefan and I were completely blindsighted at the Doctor. We thought we were in for a ultrasound to get better images of our baby’s heart, and instead we found out that Analiese would die. I knew, in the pit of my stomach, that things were not okay. But I didn’t want to believe my feeling. I convinced myself that I was wrong, that I was paranoid. That my child was perfect. I was wrong. And within a 20 minute appointment with Dr. Sweeney my world changed irrevocably and forever.

My child existed. Analiese Claire Murphy survived in the womb for 37 weeks and 6 days. She lived in my arms for exactly 85 minutes. She matters. And my heart will be broken for the rest of my life because she is gone.

I’m spending time with my best friend, and it is wonderful being here. But it is hard too. Spending time with her perfect children makes me so happy and bitter at the same time. I love this family, but I miss Analiese. It’s hard to reconcile the contradictory feelings.

My arms are empty without Analiese. My heart is broken missing her. And while I’m functioning again, I’ll never be the same.

Don’t wait for October to be aware of the families everywhere that suffer the loss of a child. Don’t forget about the fathers. They miss their babies just as much as the mothers do. Be kind. Acknowledge that they had a child and are grieving. A person’s a person, no matter how small.

You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be Like Me

A year ago today, my husband and I were reveling in the fact that we knew I was pregnant. We hadn’t announced it to anyone except immediate family and we were overjoyed. I bought Foo Fighters tickets for Stefan’s Christmas gift, and it was a July 4th all day event. And I was miserable. It was hot, I was constantly hungry, and I was so uncomfortable. We had a great day but easily spent over $100 on crappy food. The concert was incredible though, and it just added to our overall euphoria. I remember talking to Stefan about we would tell our child about this concert one day. 

This year, I can’t remember how to feel happy like that. I feel joy, to some degree. But that overcome with happiness euphoria is gone. And I don’t know if I’ll ever feel it again. 

Analiese is missing from my life. From every moment. She should be almost 5 months old. The 11th is her 5 month birthday. And in those five months I’ve cried and smiled and laughed and been angry. And over it all, I feel empty. Like there is a part of me forever gone and a place that will never thaw and be filled. 

You’ll never hear me say that my pain is worse than others. I’ve never lost a sibling, a spouse, or even a friend. I’ve never had a miscarriage. But I’ve lost my child. And while I won’t say it is worse, I will say it is different. And unless you have held your minutes old baby while they die, you don’t know what it’s like to be like me. 

Have you ever had something horrible happen to you? The kind of horrible that it would be a relief to feel like it never happened? That’s this. But I refuse to allow myself to fall into the lie that makes me feel like it never happened. Because that means my daughter never lived. And that is my worst nightmare. My daughter is Analiese Claire Murphy and she lived for 85 beautiful minutes. And even though thinking about her shatters my heart over and over, I will continue to do so. Because she deserves it. 

I miss her so much. Every second of every day. 

Moving Forward

Every day that passes is another day that pushes me farther away from Analiese. I carry her, every moment, inside my heart. Inside my mind. She’s all of my dreams, and wishes, and pain. And the decisions that must be made now are hard. Just as hard as the decisions we had to make while I was pregnant with Analiese. Because the emotions that surround the decisions are so potent. The guilt: are we betraying our daughter? The uncertainty: will we ever be successful in having a biological child? The never ending question of “are we doing the right thing?” And honestly, I don’t think we will ever have true answers for any of these questions. Whether we wait a week or ten years, I think all of these questions and emotions will be a part of the decision. My own opinions on these things is fluid. It changes with the minute on how I feel at that particular moment. But all we can do is move forward, because if we stay in one place we will drown in grief. All I know for sure is that I am ready to be a parent. To have a child to nurse, and teach, and watch grow.

We had our first appointment with Shady Grove Fertility on Thursday, June 2nd. I am working with Dr. Mottla, and I love him. He’s an amazingly nice and understanding man, and the fact that he is super good friends with Dr. Sweeney says a lot about his character. I’m so incredibly thankful that we are here, and have access to the amazing doctors in the area.

One aspect of the decision we have to made about moving forward in attempting to start our family is whether or not to use donor eggs. Dr. Mottla is encouraging this. He understands that with my particular chromosomal abnormalities due to my 3 translocations, that successfully creating a viable embryo with my own eggs is going to be near impossible. And, Stefan and I understand that too. I know how difficult it will be to successfully create a biological embryo that is viable.

But hard situations have never stopped me before. And we have to try. We have to attempt, at least, at getting an embryo that is viable, that is made up of me and of Stefan. My goofy gene and his quiet one. I need to see how we will mix, and what kind of personality will come from it. I need to at least try. And I know exactly how long of a shot this is. It’s such a long shot, they can’t even give me numerical figures for statistics. Dr. Mottla has never encountered someone with 3 translocations, and he has been doing this for decades.

But I’ve always been an overachiever. And all the other aspects are in my favor. I’m healthy, and fertile. We have no issues getting pregnant, or carrying to term. So we are trying. And I don’t want to hear any more about donor eggs. Or considering adoption. Or anything else. We know our options, and we hear them at every single appointment we go to. And I do not want to feel like I need to defend my right to try and have a biological child. No one else has to defend their rights, so this will be my only defense. Support us. Encourage us. And pray for us. ┬áIf the time comes for us to consider other options, we will cross that road then. But we are not there. Not yet.

My First Mother’s Day

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been dreading this day for weeks. Even though I have the best support system, and the most amazing husband, I just kept wishing today would hurry up and be over. Mother’s Day is designed to honor our moms. To give them breaks from the daily parenting grind, and to make them feel appreciated. But how do you honor a mother with no child to parent?

All over Facebook, I see graphics and memes. They all say a variation of the same thing, “the best day of my life is the day I became a mom”. I see pictures of my friends with their children with captions that say “me and my world”. And I’m jealous. Jealous and bitter. Because the day I became a mom was equally the best and most devastating day of my entire life. My world died, 85 minutes after she came into this world. And there was nothing I could do to stop it, or change it.

Things like that make me feel like less of a mom. The little things that mom’s of toddlers are looking forward to escaping from for a few hours are things I’ll never experience with my daughter. I don’t get to complain about sleepless nights, or potty training woes.

But I’ve realized, I’m not less of a mom. I only had 85 minutes with my daughter, but she was loved every second. I carried her, I nourished her, and I did everything I could to give her the best chance she could have. I am a mom, and I deserve to be recognized, even though I am heartbroken.

This day is not easy for me, or for any parent that has lost a child. But don’t ignore us for fear of upsetting us. Acknowledge us. We’re already sad, we’re already thinking about our loss. The thing that will upset us more than anything is feeling as though our children are forgotten.

2 Months Later

The aftermath. How has it been 2 months since I held my baby girl. Since she breathed her last breath? Some days it feels like yesterday, and some days it feels like an eternity ago. I don’t know which of those days I hate more.

We continue to survive. Not thrive, but survive. We miss our angel constantly, and we still have a lot of terrible awful days. But we have some okay days too.

I’m not back at work yet, and won’t be until June at the earliest. I’ve been honest with them because I’m not okay, and this is what they’ve decided. So be it. I’ve been out of work for 3 months now, and Analiese’s FSGLI is being held up somewhere in the black hole that is the military’s system. So it’s been a rough few months, even aside from our grief.
I’ve decided to become a Younique presenter, and I’m launching my business right now. I’m hoping that everyone will come support it, because quite frankly we need the support. My grief counselor is not covered by our insurance, as of right now. And it’s expensive but I need it. I need all the help I can get.

So come, click the link. Support my family. Help give us the financial stability so that we can grieve the way we need to.

Has it really been 2 months since I heard that little squeak? Since I held my 3 pound little girl in my arms? Why was she taken away from us?

“Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.” – Stephanie Meyer

https://www.youniqueproducts.com/JaniceMurphy/party/3905649/view

The Whole Story

All of Analiese’s story is already written. It is here, on my blog, for the whole world to see. I’ve been open and honest about every moment of my heart break. But it is not my entire story. There is more that I haven’t shared, because I’m fearful of the reactions. I understand that this is the Internet, and that people are free to say and think what they want. But please, be mindful of my family and others in similar situations. No part of this is easy.

When we received the diagnosis of Trisomy 10q, the genetic counselor recommended that my husband and I undergo testing to see if we are carriers of her condition. It was a simple blood test, and we agreed. 2 weeks later the results were in. My husbands results were perfectly normal. I however, was not so lucky. I am the carrier of her condition.

You might be wondering how that is possible. Afterall, here I am alive and perfectly healthy. It is a little complicated to explain, so I’ll do my best. Basically, Analiese had too much genetic material. I have the right amount of genetic material but it is in the wrong places. That is called translocations. When a parent has translocated chromosomes like I do, that puts the babies at risk of too much or too little genetic material. I have 3 translocations, which means there are dozens and dozens of potential outcomes for our children, all of which are equally deadly and devastating.

This leaves us with two options. Option 1 is to continue to get pregnant naturally, and do the genetic testing. If the genetic test reveals that the baby has genetic problems like Analiese then we will be in the same nightmare cycle that we just lived through. I can’t continue to feel and watch my babies grow, only to hold them while they die.

Option 2 is IVF and pre-implantation genetic screening (otherwise known as PGS). PGS allows us to create an embryo and test it for these chromosomal disorders before it is implanted inside me. We don’t know how long it will take to get a viable embryo, and it is expensive. Very expensive. And of course, our insurance doesn’t cover any of it.

So this is the rest of our reality. We’re mourning the loss of our precious baby girl, and we don’t honestly know if we will ever be able to bring a baby home. It all depends on when we’re able to save enough money (well over $30,000) and how many embryos it takes to get a viable baby.

We don’t consider this lightly. It is heartbreaking either way. But at least with IVF, I have a chance to bring a baby home. The agony I feel over this cannot be explained or truly understood. My daughter is dead because of my genetics. It is my fault, even though I would do anything to change it. Even though I never asked for this, the blame lies with me. I miss her more than I could ever put into words.