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

An Open Letter to My Daughter

March 11, 2016

Dear Analiese,

I can’t believe it has been an entire month since I last felt you kick inside me. Today should be a day of celebrating you. Instead I feel like my grief will crush me. It has been a month since the end of those 85 precious minutes. I’m thankful for the time I had with you, and did not take a single one of those minutes for granted. But I want more. I want to feed you and watch you grow. I want to teach you how to dance, and laugh while your daddy tickles you into submission. I want to watch you discover your love for reading, and your love for video games because we all know you would have loved both. I want to teach you what good music is, and see you discover the magic that lives within the Harry Potter series. I want to take you to Disney World and watch as you get swept away. I want to see you graduate high school and college. To watch you meet a man and fall desperately in love, like I am in love with your daddy. I want to help you plan a spectacular wedding that is exactly you. I want so much more than those 85 minutes.

My arms ache with how empty they are. I held you 27 days ago, but it feels like a lifetime has passed. My soul has aged hundreds of years without you. I’m weary and I miss you more than I could ever explain.

I hope you are happy where you are. I hope your grandmother and great grandmothers are spoiling you rotten, while your great aunt is playing tricks on you like she did on me. I hope you are getting into all kinds of mischief with your cousin, and making the angels crazy trying to keep up with you. I hope you’re happy.

Because I’m not. And neither is your daddy. It hurts to breathe without you, but we keep doing it. We don’t have a choice. Please know, we did absolutely everything we could, angel. And we love you more than we love our own lives.

You’re beautiful.

Happy 1 month, baby.

Love, Mommy.

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So Many Thank Yous

There are seriously no words to express how thankful Stefan and I are to have all of you in our lives. You’ve shown how much we mean to you, and how important Analiese is every moment since we announced her genetic condition. And some of you have gone above and beyond by sending flowers, gift cards and care packages. Every delivery leaves us more and more speechless.

Today, however, we are absolutely floored by the lengths some wonderful ladies have gone to to ensure Analiese’s mark on the world. Not only did they have an adorable glass engraved at Disney World with her name, they went through the International Star Registry and had a star renamed after her. I didn’t realize that you could actually do that, and now there is a star that will forever be named Analiese.

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Thank you everyone so so much for making sure that Analiese is never forgotten. Your love and outpouring of support is something Stefan and I will never be able to thank you for, or repay.

What we need

I’ve received so much love and support from everyone throughout this whole process. This is truly the hardest thing I will ever deal with in my life, and while nothing and no one can make it easier, the people surrounding me have definitely helped make it not harder.

The top statement of the day is “let me know if you need anything, or if I can do anything for you”. And I know they mean it. I know absolutely that if I called any one person and said “I can’t face cooking right now but I’m hungry” food would magically appear at my door. And I might be asking for that soon. But right now, that’s not what I need.

I need someone to bring my baby girl back to me. It’s that simple, and that impossible. You see, I had to leave her today at the hospital and go home. And I left her in the best possible hands. But they aren’t MY hands. Or my husbands. And I don’t know what to do with my arms and heart so empty.

My daughter is beautiful and precious, and she has impacted everyone that met her or that has read her story. But she hasn’t impacted anyone as much as she impacted me and her daddy. Our lives will never ever be the same. And we want her back. I want to love on her while I fall asleep. Sleeping is so hard without her kicking me inside my belly, or held close beside me.

I have no physical proof that I carried her. She was so small, I don’t look like I just had a baby. And I want to so desperately. I want people to KNOW that I am a mommy to a beautiful angel. I have no stretch marks. No scar. Nothing to prove she existed except for pictures and her story. Analiese Claire is the best thing I have ever done. And I need her with me. Her daddy needs her with him.

This isn’t fair. But it is my awful reality.

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I love you so much, my sweet angel girl. I did everything I could, but it wasn’t enough.