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Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007
What Will Saturday Bring
Yesterday, I was telling Kayla that she would be seeing her doctor on Saturday. She remembers him as the one who "took her itchies" away when she had the viral hives. I told her that he was going to test her to see if she could eat dairy. I also told her that he may want her to drink some cow's milk. This resulted in this exchange:

Kayla: Does Cow's milk have dairy?

Me: Yes honey it does.

Kayla: Then I can't drink cow's milk.

Me: I know honey, but that is what Dr. Wach's is going to tell us.

Kayla: Pointing to her cup of soy milk. My milk doesn't have dairy.

Me: No honey, it doesn't.

There are so many unknowns hanging over my head. The future beyond Saturday is a huge unknown. And in these days leading up to find out what Kayla's future holds, I can't help but see the parallels to my battle with infertility. In infertility, the time between ovulation and the day you take that pregnancy test is called the "2ww" (2 week wait). It's infamous among us infertiles. It's that time where you try oh so hard to convince yourself that you are indeed NOT pregnant b/c in some warped way you think it will make the negative test easier to bear, when in reality, nothing makes it easier. But in the 2ww, you can't help but let your mind run away with you - imagining every twinge to be a baby settling in for 9 months, imagine all sorts of ways of sharing the news with your hubby and your family, only to have that crushing reality of yet another failed cycle crash down around you burying you in grief. During the IVF cycle in which Kayla was conceived, I was convinced that pregnancy and motherhood was something so wonderful - that it was something too wonderful to happen to me. I was convinced I would never be a mother. I find myself doing that now. I keep telling myself that there is NO WAY Kayla could really have outgrown her allergy. That is something that is just too good to happen to us. It's a defense mechanism of sorts, to make that crushing reality, should it occur, easier to bear. I know it won't work, but still I find myself doing it. Then I can't stop myself from imagining doing "ordinary" things with her. Taking her to the zoo or the amusement park w/o packing a single food and just buying whatever she feels like eating at the time. Taking her out for real pizza and ice cream on a hot day.

Infertility consumes your life. It's a state of living - the doctor's visits sometimes every day - the tests, the monitoring, the surgeries, the needles and hormones and the financial strain. For years, I took my temperature first thing when I woke up and charted my temps so I could monitor my fertility. This was no easy habit to break. Even while pregnant, I was constantly monitoring my body and before Alysa, I didn't need to temp b/c I KNEW my body so well. But again, it meant paying close attention to everything. After Alysa was born was the first time I could let that go. No charting, no doctor's visits, no worrying about fertility or tests. It was such a strange feeling. I didn't know how to "be". It took me a long time to get out of the baby-making mindset. I know that is how it would be if Kayla really does outgrow her allergy. Will I ever be able to look at a goldfish cracker w/o it sending chills down my spine? Will I ever be able to go to a party w/o feeling the need to carry extra wipes, a bright green epi pen pouch and their own personal cupcakes? I know that eventually, I would "settle" into some state of normalcy. But I also know that just as infertility irrevocably changed me, Kayla's allergy has done the same.

Infertility made me more compassionate. Although I may not understand someones crisis, I feel that I can be a better friend. I may not know what to say, but I know much better what NOT to say. Kayla's allergy has made me more aware as well. I like to think that even if Kayla had never been allergic to dairy, that I would have been as understanding as possible for a non-food allergic Mom to those parents of food allergic children. But I know now, that when my gf with a newly diagnosed peanut/tree nut allergic child comes over - I will not be offended when her eyes constantly dart around my house looking for that one peanut/tree nut morsel that my vacuum may have missed. That when I make a cake that is made with a dedicated peanut/tree nut free cake mix and other safe ingredients from my house and she still won't let her daughter eat it b/c she doesn't trust anyone but herself to cook for her daughter, that I will not be offended. I'll understand b/c I am that person now.

Both infertility and Kayla's food allergy brought some really wonderful friends into my life. And as sad as it may sound, both made family and friends alike leave my life. With this I know that those that would turn their backs on family and friends in need were never truly a part of your life to begin with. Although I would never have chosen to battle infertility or live with Kayla's food allergy, I would not trade her or the friends I've made through these journeys for anything.

I sit here trying to tell myself that the worst case scenario really just means that things stay as they are (well, technically it could get worse if her reaction were to escalate, but I won't let my mind go there). But it's never that simple. Not when you're faced with your child's life getting insurmountably better. So much is riding on these tests. And just as the end of the 2ww can't come soon enough, I am dreading the tests that have the ability to take away the hope that is keeping me going these last few days.

posted at 12:50 PM  

At 1:40 PM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

Sitting and waiting is the hardest part!! I don't think things will be worse (reaction wise) since the RAST was negative. But the unknown is so scary. I know in my heart that everything will be fine, either way. I'm praying for her!!

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I am cautiously optimistic that her doctor's visit will go well. I have also thought about how long it will take me to "let go" of all of the extra things which I must do/buy whenever Kayla comes to the house. I don't think that I will be comfortable NOT washing everything down before her visit to get rid of any evil smudges of dairy.

Prayers are coming her way.

Mom :)

At 4:43 PM, Blogger ColoradoDreaming said...

Thanks for sharing your story of courage and strength through both of these things. Everything will work out. I feel for you as you have to go to dr.s over and over. I have to do that with my older son and it is hard. It will be like that the rest of the time he is at home. I pray someday that he will be able to live without that.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

You are so so SO right about your description of the 2ww! I never thought it would apply similarily to finding out about outgrowing an allergy - but I can see that now. Praying for good news on Sat!

At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

Sue - have you done any research about the tie to food allergies and IVF. My son is 9 months old and seems to be allergic to everything. He rashes everytime I give him a new food. He tested sensitivity to shellfish, peanuts (ugh) and milk. He is on soy formula but now I am introducing solids and his skin is not doing so well.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

I too used IVF to conceive Bryce. Luckily it only took us one try. Just curious because it seems that most of my friends who have had IVF also have children with allergies. It can't be a coincidence.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Hi Michelle - that's interesting. I never really thought about it. My one gf's oldest is IVF and he had reflux as a baby but no allergies. My other gf has 2 IVF babies (technically twins - one was a FET) - her oldest is fine and her 2nd has peanut and treenut allergies. Alysa is not IVF and so far no food allergies. If you want to chat further, feel free to e-mail me - slaferrara@yahoo.com

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Christine said...

I'll be thinking about you two on Saturday, and pray everything will be fine. This is how I've felt the night before Josh goes to the doctor every 3 months. I lay in bed thinking of the worse case scenario. As each visit gets better and better, my outlook has gotten better, but I still sit up all night wondering and worrying about him.

There will be a Sat Scraps this week. The last couple weeks I've been getting the kids settled with Back to School. Hope you can join us.

Take care.

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Jennisa said...

I will be over here tomorrow to find out about the doctor visit! I hope you are able to get some sleep tonight! What an exciting day for you! And, Avery was not a fertility baby and has TONS of allergies, so I don't fall into the category in the above comments! :) But, I don't doubt it for one minute! Fertility made me fat and get pimples, it could for sure cause allergies too! :)

At 10:09 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

Just popping in (I know it's too early for an update) to let you know that I'm thinking about you and praying for Kayla.
Jason is not an IVF baby and the boy is allergic to so much.
Hope all is going well!!


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