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Our Journey to Josie

My sweet rainbow baby just turned one. ONE year of having her to love and cherish on earth. I always knew she would make her way into our family, but I had absolutely no idea how. Fertility treatments weren’t working and we had lost a child so the deep depression and stress of that was so very heavy. I was doing everything I could to be “fertile” but I now know, my fertility has nothing to do with me.

As our first child, Michael’s, first birthday approached, I was ready for another baby. I absolutely loved being a mom, and I wanted him to have a sibling that was close in age. Mike and I wanted a big family and he was so easy to conceive, I thought it would take maybe a month or two and we would be on our way to a happily-ever-after.

I was wrong to assume I was in charge. 2 years later, and many rounds of IVF needles, countless appointments at the fertility doctor, and days of praying later, Harper was FINALLY conceived through a frozen cycle. We put in our last two embryos and she was conceived. Thank God, we were finally having our baby!

It’s very hard to explain the journey with infertility, except that you are absolutely in love with your child way before they are ever conceived. You are in love with everything about them, deeply, and you beg God for just one chance to be a mommy. Just one. You promise that you will be the best mommy ever, you will follow all the rules of pregnancy, you will put your baby first always, you will be the most amazing mom that ever lived. You pray some more….and you bargain. If you give me this baby, I will do XYZ.

Losing Harper at the end of our infertility journey was like a cruel joke that life was playing on us. Haha, you thought you were in the clear, 38 weeks and 5 days, after 2 years of trying, and BOOM, your baby dies. Just dies. Just like that. Nothing you can do, you couldn’t save them, no one could. Why would God do this to us? Why would God do this to anyone? It’s just torture. I had loved her for 2 years before I got to hold her, and then the deep motherly love set in when I got to see her beautiful face.

Most angel moms I connected with after we lost Harper, went on to have children right away. 6 weeks later, 10 weeks later, 3 months later, they were pregnant and on their way to holding their new baby. Not me. I couldn’t get pregnant if my life depended on it. My fertility doctor actually told me she wouldn’t consider IVF for me until 8 months post- Harper. That crushed my soul. I had been through so much, and now you are going to deny me of another baby? She said it was what was safest for my baby and for me. I hated that I had to put this decision in the hands of someone else. I was angry, again, with God. There was just no one else to be angry with.

So we waited, and we did IVF as soon as she would let us. My body didn’t respond well to the medication. I only got one good egg out of the entire cycle (that’s not good, and not a common response!). So, we put that egg in, and we prayed. Cried and prayed, cried and prayed. Oh and we told no one. The stakes were too high. I couldn’t handle anyone knowing – I needed to do this on my own, which is how I handle most things in my life.

The call telling us we weren’t pregnant was not so shocking. At this point, I knew, anything was possible. Just because we had lost a child, did not get us “off the hook” for other disappointments in life. It wasn’t fair, but life doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t play fair. We have learned that the hard way.

My fertility doctor was telling me I need to do IVF again, that I have a low egg reserve so it’s unlikely I will be able to conceive on my own. I’m saying to my husband that we are completely out of money for this. All fertility treatments were not covered by our insurance and they are expensive. I would spend it ten-fold to hold Harper again, but there’s no guarantee with IVF. The next step would be adoption, which I have always been interested in, but costs more than IVF. We were out of money for this. I hated that money mattered. I hated that we had to base our family decisions on money.

I got really quiet with myself, blocked everything out, and listened to my soul. Deep inside, the place I go that never steers me wrong told me that I was going to have another baby. I could feel it. I could see it. It was going to happen. I have NO IDEA HOW, but it was happening. That I knew for sure. In fact, that same intuion told me I was going to have more than one more child. I had no choice but to walk by faith.

PS – I have to say, that the idea of pregnancy after child-loss is horrifying. It’s not something any of us “want to do.” It’s what it takes to make our dreams come true. Period. End of subject. You just have to do it.

Harper’s first birthday was approaching. The thought of her having a first birthday in Heaven was absolutely horrible. I wanted to celebrate her here. I wanted to celebrate her life, but my grief was so heavy. The first birthday also marked the end of my year of “firsts” which was a big milestone for me. We decided to go away for her birthday, spend the weekend as a family which she would have loved, and also give Michael double the love because we couldn’t love on her.

I found out two weeks before her birthday that I was pregnant. On my own. Naturally, but I miscarried, over her first birthday. Tears upon tears. Why is life so.damn.hard? Why can’t I just have my baby? I had become accustomed to the highs and lows of emotion, so I wasn’t crushed by the miscarriage, I was more annoyed. Really? What’s the point of this? Why now, over such a hard weekend? I don’t need to learn any more lessons this way.

They say after a miscarriage, you are more fertile. I had no idea, until we got pregnant with Josie. Right after our miscarriage, another positive pregnancy test, pregnant again on our own, without “trying.” This time, we didn’t get excited. We had to shield ourselves from the possibilities of our dreams finally coming true.

My belly kept growing, the morning sickness (all day sickness for me) set in and we were on our way to bringing our Josie-girl into this world. My pregnancy with her was picture perfect, if you remove the extreme anxiety, PTSD and daily of losing her. I couldn’t bare another loss.

Now she’s ONE. One year of perfection. One year of tremendous healing. I often call her my saving grace, because she is. One year of knowing when no one else was listening, Harper heard me, that she hand picked Josie for us and that she is so very present in our home and in our lives. One year of dreams-come-true.

Our journey to Josie was long, way longer than I could have ever imaged. It was so windy, but oh my GOD, she is beyond worth every tear. She’s perfection, every baby is. She was born into a family who craved her, who begged for her and who will love her fiercely for the rest of her life. She has an angel sissy that watches over her daily. Josie often waves into the sky in her room, and I say, hi Harper.

I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t let my intuition steer me, if I gave up hope and knowing that I would be a mom again, if I gave up on Josie? I would not be where I am today, that’s for sure. Lesson learned = never give up.

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