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The Aftermath of 3 Kids (Anonymous)

August 18, 2014

I am a 33 year old mother of a 10 year old boy, a 9 year old boy and a 4 year old daughter. I am including 2 front view pics and 1 side view pic. I feel that this is the best my body will ever be again. I have saggy breasts from breastfeeding. I have stretchmarks on my breasts and on my stomach all the way up far past my belly button. My belly button will always stick out. My stretch marks are as faded as they ever will be. I have diastasis recti which will keep me from ever having an entirely flat tummy again.

Pre-pregancy, my tummy was one of my favorite parts of my body. I had a belly button ring and a gorgeous six pack. I was a size 6 at my biggest. I am now a size 10, and even after years of working out, I will probably always be this size. I struggle with the appearance of my tummy on an almost daily basis….still.

I am thankful for my husband. We have been together since my senior year of highschool, and married when I was 20. He has stuck with me through everything. He is an amazing father to our 3 children. He loves me so much, and still finds me just as sexy and attractive as he always did. I think that I actually believe him when he tells me how beautiful he finds my body….although I have no way to understand how he could.

My hope in posting is to help myself become less shallow and self-focused on the way my body looks. With clothes I am very happy with the way I look actually. :) I have 3 amazing kids and a wonderful husband. There is so much more to life than the exterior, and I want to lay to rest the things that I cannot change and focus on the so many positive things in my life. I can assure you that even if I could have my previous body, If it meant not having the precious babies that I have now, or the sweet bonding moments of breastfeeding each one of them, or the intimacy that I have with my husband that far exceeds an outward attraction of lust….I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wish the same for each person who reads this. May all we all walk this journey together of learning to appreciate ourselves, and those who love and accept us with each curve, sag, and flaw that we have. May we extend that grace to those on this journey with us.

To being our best selves ladies!

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When is Enough Enough? (Kasey)

August 15, 2014

Hello, my name is Kasey and I am 42 years old. I have one precious daughter from my first marriage in her very early 20′s. I am seeking some impartial, independent and heartfelt advice because I find myself in a place of confusion and heartache. I got remarried 18 months ago to the love of my life who is 5 years younger than me. It feels like I have spent the last 2 years of my life trapped in a web of grief, trauma, longing and fear. It started when I fell pregnant to my now husband naturally and most unexpectedly 5 months before my 40th birthday. I was devastated to hear no heartbeat at my 10 week scan which I attended alone. A missed miscarriage. My dear friend had her first IVF embryo implanted the day after I learnt of my sad news. I could barely be around her for months afterward because I felt so envious that it almost destroyed our friendship and she could not empathize with how I was feeling. After 6 months of intensive counseling, I was advised to start IVF immediately due to my age and irregular cycles. I did my first IVF cycle in June 2012. I only had 2 follicles grow after intense hormone therapy and the day of the egg retrieval revealed there were no egg in either follicle….another little piece of me died that day. Fast forward to November 2012 and I am ready to start my 2nd IVF cycle however I am now advised that I cannot because my blood work revealed my Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is too high and I will likely be a very poor responder. I was advised to take a break, focus on my upcoming wedding and perhaps try again in the new year.

Fast forward to June 2013 and I have a new fertility specialist. During this 6 month break, my husband and I convince ourselves that our chances of having a baby with my eggs is virtually nil and the grief and trauma of the previous year weighs heavily on me. We make a life changing decision to go the donor egg route. It is a long process with intense counseling sessions for all parties involved and a cooling off period of 3 months to protect the donor if she changes her mind. Throughout this process, I am advised to keep trying IVF to see if I produce any eggs. After 4 back-to-back cycles of stimulation, all of which were cancelled part way through due to inadequate or abnormally high hormone levels, I was still eggless, suffered a large cyst and 12 days of severe dysfunctional uterine bleeding which required me to be hospitalized. I was exhausted and all my hope had vanished by this stage. Here is the thing….and please find it within yourself not to judge me and if you feel you are not capable of this, I respectfully ask you to refrain from commenting…my donor is my daughter from my first marriage. She produced 15 beautiful eggs and every single one of them fertilized and were frozen on Day 3. At the end of 2013, four weeks after my brief hospital stay, I was implanted with one perfect embryo that had been grown to a day 5 blastocyst. I truly believed that a miracle would occur and that god had answered my constant prayers. Words cannot describe the selflessness and generosity of what my daughter had endured and gone through for us. Two weeks later the joy we felt from a positive pregnancy test was indescribable…it felt like the grief of the past 2 years just glided off my shoulders.

Over the next 4 weeks, I endured bi-weekly blood tests and a rising sense of dread and debilitating fear that something was wrong because the pregnancy hormone HCG was rising slowly and not doubling as it should. I was finally diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy in one of my tubes. Ironically, the same dear friend I mentioned above was pregnant with her 2nd baby…we would have been due a week apart. Needless to say I was absolutely crushed at my news. I felt like I had been betrayed by god and to this day I have not been able to pray, my faith just disappeared in my grief and pain. It has taken me 6 months to recover both physically and emotionally. During this period I asked for space to grieve and heal from my dear friend because I could not face the reality of her pregnancy and my loss once again. She ended our 10 year friendship over the telephone.

Two weeks ago I started estrogen hormone therapy again to prepare my uterus for another embryo implantation. After 11 days of treatment, 4 of which were spent with dysfunctional uterine bleeding again, the cycle was cancelled due to my progesterone being abnormally high. I was told to cease the oral estrogen and wait until the beginning of my next cycle upon which I will have blood tests on day 2 to see if my hormones are baseline before starting anything. Just another disappointment to endure.

Today I wanted to freely express my story and how I am feeling to anybody who is willing to offer any advice or thoughts for me because I am tired of burdening my family and friends with my grief. I am so full of fear. I don’t know if I should even try again? Perhaps I am being punished…maybe I will never carry another baby to full term. I am terrified of another failure. Perhaps god has a different plan for me, no matter how much I long for a baby it may never happen. Not sure how to accept that possibility. Thank you for reading.

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Photos (Anonymous)

August 13, 2014

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