Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A letter to Oscar and Bella

Dear Oscar and Bella,

Today you turned 4. Do the celebrate birthdays in heaven? We sure do celebrate them down here, though not in the way most people would celebrate birthdays. Today your mommy and me took the day off, as we do every year in order to do things to remember you. That was my promise to you some time after you were born, every July 30th would be your day, and I will not break that promise.

Today we shopped for you. Bella I picked out a breakfast, and a snack I thought you would like. Oscar I picked out a lunch and a dinner I thought you would like. It is nice to put myself into what I think you would be thinking about and get you things I think you would like. I hope I got it right and I really did get you things you would enjoy. I wish I had you here with me so that I didn't have to hope and guess. I wish I got the chance to know you.

After we shopped for you your mommy and I donated all of the food we got for you to a food bank. I know at 4 years old it is hard to give away things that you like and things that you want- but it is important to help others. I hope you get to watch the people who got your food enjoy it. I know I would like to see people enjoying the food I got for you.

Mommy and daddy then went to a movie. We picked a movie we think you would enjoy watching. It was Monsters University. Oscar I think you would have enjoyed it more than Bella did. I cried during the movie.

I didn't cry very often before you two were born. Please don't take that as a sign of you having done something wrong. Today during the movie I cried because I remembered something about you Oscar that I had not thought about in a long time. I am so proud of the way you tried to save your sister.

I don't know why you both had to go to heaven and not grow up with mommy and daddy. I don't understand how it happened, or why it happened. I know you both deserved to grow up with your parents, and your parents deserved to get to watch you grow up. I wish I could tell you that after 4 years I was better able to accept what happened but I just can't. I want you here with me. I miss you every day. I love you.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Like a Firefly

We are no longer pregnant. After the blood test on Thursday we feared for the worst. We continued at home testing Friday and saw the line not getting darker, and on Saturday the test barely showed that it was positive. Spotting started at some point on Saturday or Sunday for my wife. I can't honestly remember what day it was. Nor is it important.

I am thankful for the test on Saturday. While it was not the news we wanted, it was definitive news. We didn't have to look at a line and guess if it was getting darker or lighter- it was just negative. Some of the worst parts of infertility is the guessing game. The getting hopes up just to be let down. Well on Saturday we got our let down, and didn't have to spend 2 more days of hoping. Didn't have two more days of ambiguity. We just got to know.

So how do we treat this pregnancy? We both connected to the pregnancy when we had the positive test on Wednesday morning. We both stayed connected Thursday morning when the test was positive again. Then Thursday late morning when we got the blood test results we both started to disconnect. That disconnect is the only way to protect yourself.

This pregnancy was like a firefly. You only see them at night and you only see them for a few short seconds. When you see them it is a brief flash. This was our firefly pregnancy. It was more than a failed cycle, but somehow less than a pregnancy loss. Our firefly.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Feeling like a bad dad

So we are pregnant, but as per our normal- not in a normal way. My wife's HCG Beta came back at just 22.5. This is 14 days post ovulation. That is way lower than we expected, and way lower than the other pregnancies even after you adjust them to line up with just one. It might mean any number of things or it might mean nothing. Here is what we posted on facebook as a family.

The Powvens Family is once again pregnant. While this is normally a happy event with our past it is also scary, and would be, for any family who has gone through a loss, let alone multiple losses like we have. On top of that, we could use some support. While we have a positive home pregnancy test, the confirming blood test came back quite a bit lower than normal. This could mean an ectopic pregnancy, a chemical pregnancy or a, hopefully, normal pregnancy. Please keep our family in your thoughts as we take each day as it comes. We will have a follow-up blood test on Monday to see how things are progressing and will hopefully know more.

Now along with the fears I had before I get to add the new one. We have had a 2nd trimester loss, a early loss of heartbeat with no bleeding, a early miscarriage that we thought was going to take the other twin. Now I feel like we are going to get a chemical pregnancy, or a ectopic pregnancy. I mean why shouldn't we go through all the forms of loss we can? What made us special enough to have to go through losses in every pregnancy we have had so far- why should this pregnancy be any different? I hate having these thoughts.

So why the title of this blog? Well I feel like a bad dad. I hate infertility, I hate trying to get pregnant having to use medical staff. I hate the stress that comes with the watching eggs grow but only wanting one, I hate the IUI process and knowing I don't even need to be in the room to get my wife pregnant, and I hate all of the waiting and hoping and having to know too much about this.

I hate being pregnant. I hate the constant fear that the shoe is going to drop. The constant fear that the next bathroom trip for my wife is going to bring the news of bleeding. I hate the waiting between appointments and not being able to know my child is still growing and healthy. The fear before each appointment wonder if this is the appointment when we will get the bad news that everything has gone wrong.

All of these thoughts make me feel like a bad dad. Trying to get pregnant, and pregnancies should not be described by the words hate. And maybe the crap today pushed me over the top. What ever the reasons for the feelings I can't shake them- and they make me feel like a horrible dad. And I hate that feeling.

Thanks for reading and sorry for all the negativity. I try to stay positive but it is just hard when it feels like the world is crapping on you. I'll update when we have news on Monday. Any advice or stories similar to ours that turned out good would be great to hear. Feel free to leave a comment.


A positive test

Looks like the fear I wrote about last time about failing at the IUI was not needed. We had a test this morning that was positive. Since it is a day early we will be doing another test tomorrow morning to confirm it, and then my wife will be doing a blood test in the morning.

I have to guess that it is only one in this pregnancy just by how the test is only turning lightly positive. In our other pregnancies the positive line would come up before the control line. We were REALLY pregnant with 4 and 2. So I am hoping beyond hope that this is just one.

I worried that I would not bond with this pregnancy because of the fear. That worry was just not needed. I am already in this emotionally. When I found out I was hesitant for only about a minute, and then I was in. I had to look up right away the size of the baby at this point and then I had to come up with a nick name for the baby. Right now I am leaning towards the nick name of Solo- as this one will be the only baby to have a solo ride in my wife the entire time. Maybe it is just hopeful thinking, but I am ok with that. Hopeful is what we need.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A long time since my last post

My wife really likes this blog. I think she likes that I write it more than I liked that I write it. I have not had the energy to write on here in a long time- and I felt like I didn't have any thing to say. Well tonight I have something to say- or at least I need to share. You will have to excuse the rambling nature of this post. I just have a lot to get out of my system.

I didn't really want to have another child- for a long time that was my opinion. I thought we had been through enough as parents and I just saw no reason to risk another loss when we had what we wanted- a child at home. My wife never saw it that way. She wanted more at home, and to her the family does not feel complete. It was a source of stress in our marriage for awhile. Until one day I saw my son playing with my niece and knew I was robbing him of a sibling here on earth just because of my fear. So I put my fear away and told my wife I was ready to try. Well at least I thought I put the fear away.

We have started to try again. I wanted to get a natural cycle of trying, but I didn't really get a try at that. I didn't make it clear enough that I really wanted that, and my wife never bought into it thinking it was a waste of time. As it turns out it would not have been a waste of time- my wife had a "normal" cycle (what ever that means) and we really could have gotten pregnant without treatments. I feel like we threw away our chance at normal.

So we said we would monitor while using no meds to see if we were going to get a chance at normal again- and no luck. So we started Femara- no luck... and right into injectables again. I am afraid of injectables, after all our track record with them is not great. First time conceiving with them we got 4, second time we got 2. We really only want 1. We can't easily afford 2 more, and I think from a stress point of view 2 more would be very bad for us. But onward we went.

I think we controlled this cycle a bit better than in the past. I really think we triggered with only 1 likely egg. This time if we get more than 1 it will have to be an egg that split- which is possible.

The IUI's did not go as planned. I have recently lost a significant amount of weight, and this change has made things different for me. Specifically it takes me much longer to "produce a sample" than it used to. So on the first day of the IUI I ended up giving myself a nice rub burn on well myself. The second IUI on the next day was pure pain. I could not even with eventual help from my wife produce another sample. We even cheated and used lubrication. After nearly 2 hours of trying, and 2 hours of pain I had to quit. We tried timed intercourse later that day and I just could not do it.

I think I understand a part of my wife who blamed herself during the infertility, and blamed herself after the losses. I would tell her over and over again that she could not control what her body did so it is not her fault. I could never understand why she put the blame on herself. But that day I understood. I can't even say now that I don't blame myself for the failed IUI attempt. I don't know why it happened- but it did, and it was me that failed.

So now we are in our 2 week wait. Or the 2WW as all the infertility blogs like to put it. My wife tested out her trigger shot, and recorded each one with a number in front of DPO. It took me forever to figure out that was days past ovulation. I should have just asked. Every day since the failed IUI has been horrible for me.

It is not just the waiting to find out if it worked. It is not just the feeling of failure and waiting for confirmation of that failure. Every night I have nightmares about the death of my wife, my son who is here, and the child we conceived. Every single night all 3 of them die in some way. Some times together, most of the time in separate dreams. Plus I get to think about all day how if this comes back negative, and we have to go through treatments again it will be all my fault. It is not about the money- but then again it is about money. It is also about how shitty it is to go through infertility. The appointments, the roller coaster. The anticipation, the possible let downs. I hate infertility and I hate that we are going through it again. My wife's blog spells a lot of this out better than I can here.

How do I get through this. We find out on Thursday if we are pregnant. Well that is not entirely true, we are still testing every day so we could find out tomorrow if we are pregnant. I think the test this morning said we are, but it is too faint to really believe it. But if we are pregnant how do I get the night mares to stop? How do I put away the fear like I thought I had done. At some point this is going to effect my health in a very negative way. If we are not pregnant how can I go through this all again?

Well I guess thanks for sticking with me to the end of this blog. If anyone has some advice on how to deal with the fear I would love to hear it below in the comments. If you want to catch up on what I have been doing while not writing this blog feel free to check out my other blog all about my journey on weight loss. I have a feeling I will be writing here a bit more often as I have things to get off my chest, and things to say again about loss, and being the type of father I want to be with the crazy path the fatherhood I have had.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The day I became a father

After the birth of Oscar and Bella my life changed. I became a father.

After the death of Oscar and Bella my life also changed. I was still a father, even if my first children only lived for 10 minutes, but it was different.

I should have been learning how to change diapers, a task I had never done. I should have been learning why trying to get a child to burp was so important. I should have been learning how to fish tiny arms through tiny sleeves. I should have had cute pictures in my wallet to show the other guys at work. I should have known the tiredness that comes with late night feedings.

Instead I was learning about death certificates. I was learning what steps needed to be taken to cremate my children. I was finding out about the grieving process. I was learning to read pathology reports. I was finding support groups to help my wife and I find others who knew what we were going through. I learned about the constant tiredness that comes with grief.

I wanted so badly to be the father in a traditional sense. I wanted to come home from work and have my children run up to me and give me a hug. I wanted to go to father-daughter dances. I wanted to go father-son camping. I wanted to be everything my worthless dad was not. I wanted these things so badly that I forgot to be a father to my children. I could not see myself as a father because it was not the experience I had expected, the experience I had wanted.

I think the first time I really understood that I was a father happened a few months after the loss of Oscar and Bella. I was riding in the car with a friend of mine that I met because of the loss. We had just left from a get-together where one of the other guys started telling dead baby jokes. Those jokes were never funny, and even less funny after you have been through what we have. I had frozen though. I could not bring myself to stop this guy from telling those jokes. My friend however was able to, and calmly explained to him both of our situations. So as we were riding and talking about the jokes the topic of being a father came up. I thanked my friend for stopping the guy from telling those jokes and remarked that I guess that is what being a father was for us. It took me seeing what a good father did, and what I should have done, to know that I was one. Even if I wasn't, in that moment, the best father I could have been.

While I am sad that Oscar, Bella, and Tittle are not with me I am not sad that I am their father. I will not get to watch them grow up. I'll never take Bella to a dance. I'll never take Oscar or Tittle camping. I'll never get to see them grow up and find out what they would have become. My job as a father for them is different. I will make sure that no one forgets they existed. I'll make sure that their little brother knows he is not an only child.

The way I see it this blog is a big part of being a good father to them. Over 800 people have visited this blog since I started writing. If even 10% of those visits are unique visitors over 80 people know about my children. I am willing to bet 80 people don't know my living son. 

Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know who is reading these posts. Share this with anyone you think would benefit from reading it. If you are a father or mother who has suffered through loss, speak out and break the silence. The loss of a child will only remain taboo as long as those who suffer do not speak out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The awkward question

Short post today. I have felt guilty about not writing for the last week, and figured the only way to get over that guilt is to start writing more often. I lit the Oscar, Bella, and Tittle candles early today... I hope they were looking down and were proud of their daddy as he chased their little brother all over the house as the brother wouldn't take his nap, and got into everything! Onto the post---

While talking with a coworker the super cute picture of my rainbow son Gus got noticed. I am so proud of it that I just have to share, I hope you'll allow me that.

Of course that triggered my least favorite question. "How many do you have at home?" Why does that question always come up? I stumbled, and muttered some answer about one, but quickly corrected myself with saying "Well only one at home at least." That got me a weird look, and an even stranger reaction once I explained. That caused an uncomfortable silence, one that almost always comes. After the uncomfortable silence I simply started talking about the task at hand and moved on.

I have decided that even with the uncomfortable silence I am always going to mention my other children. Over 2 years out from my first loss and I am just getting there. I really can't explain why that took me so long. I hope Oscar, Bella and Tittle can understand daddy is a work in progress and he is always trying to be a better father.