Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome to Heaven...

The post embryo transfer instructions were strict - bedrest for two days, no lifting, no exercise (that one was easy)...blah blah blah. The first two days I spent in bed, as you know. I had Ed buy a truckload of pineapples and ate them day and night - hoping to help with implantation of an embryo or two. I tried to do every thing by the book to protect these two little "so-so" embryos that we worked so hard for.

But then, I got the call. And we all know what happened next. I spent day and night at the hospital. I tried hard over that weekend, as my Dad lay dying, to remember to sit...to eat...to drink. It was suggested that I go home several times...that I rest...that I calm down. But for me it was about weighing my regrets. And potentially sacrificing the IVF process in order to be there with my Dad was a no brainer. My greatest regret would have been not being there for him in his final hours.

In order to tell this story properly, though, I must backtrack a little. My Dad had his massive stroke before the sun came up - early on Friday morning, November 4th. That same morning in my house, I got up at my usual time - around 7 - and took a pregnancy test. It was way earlier than the suggested test date, but I'm an addict. I looked down and, much to my surprise, it was positive. I called the fertility clinic and spoke to the IVF nurse - "Could it be?" She didn't get overly excited - just told me to stop testing (yeah, right) and wait a week and a half for my blood test.

But then I got the call. When I got to the hospital and we found out that my Dad was not going to survive - it was hard for me not to think, "Could it be...?" There were so many distractions in the days after, but I tested every morning until today. And I remained...

I went in for my first blood test to confirm pregnancy today. They count the day of egg retrieval as ovulation day so today I would be considered 17 days past ovulation. At day 17, the average beta is 132 with a typical range of 17-249. My beta number came back at 89. The important test will be this Thursday when they will check it again. If it goes up, we're good. If it goes down, I will stop all my medications (progesterone, estrace, baby aspirin) and we'll be back at square one. For some reason, I really don't think that will happen this time.

I swore I wouldn't go here...wouldn't do this...wouldn't admit this...or write this. But I can't resist. It's really hard to not see this as something my Dad orchestrated. This is how I can totally see it happening:

"Mr. Gallagher, welcome to Heaven! We've been waiting for you. We got the message you sent ahead of time...asking for a favor for your daughter? Please be assured we have our angels working on it. Now, can we take you to your orientation breakfast?"

"Maybe later...can I speak to your supervisor?"

"Mr. Gallagher, we have your parents...your brothers...your sister...your nephew...your granddaughter here. Would you like to see them?"

"In a minute - promise - I have something important to do."

"Mr. Gallagher, Jesus is right here waiting to see you!"

"Ah...just the man I want to talk to. Before I fully commit to death, can I ask for one special favor?"

I'm kidding, of course, but if you knew my Dad - you'd know that he would move Heaven and Earth for his children. Sometimes I thought he was magical - he could make anything happen for us! It just didn't surprise me that with "so-so" embryos...extreme stress and a tragedy that I got pregnant at all. And then spending hours on my feet greeting people in a viewing line - getting little to no sleep for a weeks time...that I remained pregnant.

I knew the day of his funeral would be long. I decided at the last minute to pack a change of clothes, which I haphazardly threw into a beat up plastic grocery bag that I grabbed from our pantry. We had a big luncheon after the funeral mass and when we finally got back to my parent's house, I was exhausted. I went up into their bedroom to have a little cry and change into jeans before I went back down to face more people. I pulled my clothes out of the ripped up bag and went to set the bag back down on a wooden chair.


I lifted the bag back up - what was that? I set the bag back down.


I looked in the bag and didn't see anything. I was about to write it off - I didn't really care about much that day (or the day before - or the day after). I set the bag back down again.


Curiosity got the best of me. I reached into the bag - saw several holes at the bottom - put my fingers into the folds and felt something. When I pulled it out and saw what it was I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a Saint Gerard Medal.

In the Catholic faith, Saint Gerard is the patron saint of expectant mothers. I know I have ONE medal in my home...and it's hanging on a paper clip on my refrigerator at all times. It was given to me by my neighbor, Anne. But I knew there was no way it hopped from the paper clip to the bag. And when I got home, with my newly found medal in my hand, I immediately checked the refrigerator and there was my other medal...just where I left it. So how did that medal get into a beat up shopping bag with holes in the bottom that had been shoved with a hundred other bags in my pantry because we haven't gotten into re-usable bags yet - don't judge??

Ask my Dad.

So...in conclusion...please, please pray for this little baby of mine. I can't help but have a bit of caution after countless miscarriages and a stillbirth. So when I have doubt, please keep hope. The last several weeks have been a complete and total roller coaster of emotions for me. I don't think I have to tell you this - but if this doesn't work out...well, you know. It would be pretty awful.

So there you have it. You're all caught up.


  1. That medal is a wonderful sign. Hoping for you! :)

  2. I've been wondering about the pregnancy - so glad to see a positive update. We'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers! - Geoff, Elayne, Ali, Drew - and Lucy!

  3. Whoa, and wow. What you have been through, these past few weeks. And now, this. I am doing a happy dance for you (OK, in my head).

  4. Amazing story. I have chills from the found St. Gerard medal. I am sending positive thoughts your way, Kate. I hope this pregancy stays put!

  5. So happy for you and those sticky babies! Many continued prayers...

  6. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!! The day you posted your father had passed, I prayed and just knew you would be pregnant. I hope and pray everything works out this time. Wonderful news:)

  7. Sticky stick vibes for you!!

  8. Holding on to HOPE and praying furiously and fervently for you!! Keep us posted!! :)

  9. We lost my dad suddenly just as we were beginning our IVF journey as well. My dad knew that what I wanted most in the world was to be a mom, and like you I had a very special bond with my dad. As we were going through our first cycle all I could think about was my dad, I was so devastated after the loss that I couldn't imagine the cycle would go well. When we were successful and wound up pregnant with our boys, I knew that my Dad had something to do with it. As sad as I was not to have my dad with me, I knew he was watching over me and my boys. I am keeping you in my thoughts and looking forward to reading good news later!


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