Monday, September 30, 2013

A Ray of Sunshine!

My sweet friend, Jennifer, at It's Jennifer Juniper, nominated me for the Sunshine Award! The award goes to those writers who's posts brighten the days of fellow bloggers/readers. I am happy to know that my blog has helped so many women, in so many ways! Thanks, Jennifer!

Here are the rules:
1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post.
2. Link to the person who nominated you.
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4. Nominate10 bloggers to receive the award
5. Link your nominees and let them know they've been nominated.


 Here are Jennifer's questions:

1. What was your favorite vacation and why? Gosh, I have to say it is a tie between our honeymoon and this summer's trip to California. Both trips were equally fantastic and incredibly relaxing! I think California was a bit more tourist type and we saw/did more.

2. What's your 1 piece of must-have clothing? My sweatshirts. I love being in a sweatshirt almost all the time. It is the first thing I put on after work as soon as I strip off the office clothes.

3. When you were young, how old did you think you'd be when you got married? Had kids? I had it all planned out. I was going to be married by 24 and having my first child at 26. I am almost 32...........

4. What is your favorite store ever? Yikes. Um, my favorite stores changes. Currently, World Market, TJMaxx and JcPennys.

5. How many different cities have you lived in? 7 (I think)

6. What has been the most surprising thing in your life recently? I've always had big dogs and thought small dogs were kinda silly- until Zeke. He is such a cool dog and his size makes him the perfect house dog!

7. What is your favorite type of candy? I just finished eating a handful of Sour Patch Kids. YUM! My all time favorite!

8. What hobby do you wish you were good at? Or wish you could learn? I wish I could play the guitar.

9. Do you have an obsession with anything? If so, what? My dogs! I take far too many photos of them ;-)

10. If you had to have one meal every day the rest of your life, what would it be? Do Sour Patch Kids count? No? Okay. I guess it would be anything with bacon. I love bacon!

My nominees.... I want to include some of those who have not already been nominated! 
  1. Lisa at  Amateur Nester
  2. Emily at House in the Heights
  3. Ariel Ocean at The Ocean is a Bitch and I am her Mistress
  4. Traci at The Button's Mama
  5. Melissa Long at A Place Where I Can Be Me
  6. Andy at Sunshine Dreams and Hope
  7. Stephanie at Neubauer Haus
  8. K&A at The Cork & Stork Blog
  9. Amanda at Genuine Greavu
  10. I reserve this spot for anyone who wants to participate... your comments will surely bring sunshine to my day!

 My questions:
 (anyone can answer these if you are willing; I'd love to hear everyone's responses!)

1. Shaken or stirred?
2. What is the greatest movie from the past year?
3. Would you ever consider writing your own book? 
4. Would you rather have dog's ears or hawks eyes? 
5. What's your favorite season and why? 
6. Have you ever hated loving someone? 
7. Do you have any strange habits?
8. Why do people say laughter is the best medicine? 
9. What do you think is the color for happiness? 
10. What will you teach your children? (what values, beliefs, hobbies, skills, etc.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rewind to September 5-8th

I totally forgot to post about our anniversary trip! So let me rewind a bit....

Since I had the entire first week of September off we decided to head over to the coast for a few days to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. We've been back to the coast to celebrate our anniversary this year and last year; since that is where we honeymooned, Our real honeymoon to Costa Rica is on hold; flights are not cheap but I am!

Anyways... we heard the weather was going to be rainy on the day of arrival but we didn't think it was going to pour ALL day long! Our plan was to camp at Tillicum Campground so that we could be close to the ocean but as soon as we pulled into the campground it started pouring and there was thunder and lighting. We decided to make our way up to Newport (a town about 30 miles north) to see if there was a Yurt available. We had no such luck. Our only option was to find a hotel that allowed pets.

We stayed at a Shiloh Inn and we spent most of the day inside watching TV. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my time on the beach. Thankfully, it was the kick off for NFL season and the Broncos kicked the Ravens rears... so I was happy about that!

On Friday we woke up to a little brighter weather. Zeke and Zoie had never been to the beach before so this was a whole new experience for them. I was worried that both dogs would run into the ocean or so far down the beach that we would have trouble, but they loved it! There was little fear of the roaring tides and they absolutely loved running up and down the shoreline.
 
After breakfast we packed up our bags and headed back down to Waldport and to the Camground. There were not a lot of large, open, private ocean front spots so we opted for a more secluded campsite across from beach. When we camp, we like our privacy, and we like to be able to be away from people who may have a problem with an inquisitive puppy and a pit bull. We have never been good State Park campers.


We were lucky to have wonderful weather the three days we were there. Normally the coast is a bit chilly, windy and almost always overcast. We spent most of the days walking the beach or lounging on the beach drinking beer and playing with the dogs or napping!

We drove into Yahacts one day and spent some time down on the beach there. It was awesome; we had the entire beach to ourselves and there were hugs rocks that made the beach feel like a maze. We had fun "losing" the dogs and playing hide and seek. On the way back to camp we stopped and bought fresh picked Chantrelle mushrooms and some salt water taffy (cinnam.

I felt horrible because I was in a crabby mood on Thursday (I had oral surgery two days prior) and on Friday I got a horrible headache that l;lingered all day and forced me to lay down for a couple of hours on Saturday. As much as I love the beach and time away from home, all I could think about was my bed and how I wanted to be in it. I kept apologizing to Mike and he kept telling me it was fine, but I think he may have been pretty bored.

On Sunday, we packed up and headed home. I was so excited to be able to wash the sand out of my hair and all the other unwanted places it was hidden! As much as I love the beach- I love it even more when we rent a house; which is what we do from now on!Of course, the headache finally left but not until I was in my pj's and on the couch. Regardless, we had a good time and I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband to celebrate anniversaries with; even with a headache.

Click to play 
this Smilebox slideshow

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Guest Post: Reminders of You

A fan of Where the *bleep* is Our Stork wrote a lovely letter to her child one evening while she was feeling blue and thinking about the baby she so desperately wants. I found her letter to be very sweet and heartfelt and I wanted to share it with you as a guest post. Please enjoy.


Every day, I am reminded of you.

Not every moment, not every hour, but every day at least once I miss you.

You are in the box of onesies I came across the other day, stuffed in the back of my closet
The maternity shirt I bought, when I just KNEW you were on the way.
The lullabies on my Ipod.

You are in the children's books I downloaded on my kindle.
The Disney Movies I saved just for you.
The parenting books on the shelf.

You are here in the stuffed animals I just couldn't get rid of, because they are yours.
The photo albums with empty pages.
The quilts I plan on making, the baby clothes I designed, the ribbons and bows I learned to craft.
You are here in all my plans for the future, the fundamental design of my life.

Every day, at least once, I think of your sweet smile.
I remember the first time I looked into your eyes.
saw the curve of those tiny lips.

I remember your first day of kindergarten, the time we went to the beach, every carnival ride we braved that almost made us puke.

The sparkle of your mischievous eyes.
The way you name every person you know in your prayers at night.
I hear you calling me mommy, telling me you love me.
These are the memories I cherish.

My sweet fictional child.

xoxo
Me

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September

September is a very important month. Not only is it our wedding anniversary, the start of football season (Go Broncos!) and the beginning of Fall, it is also PCOS and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. 

I have been trying to write a post about PCOS in between football games and anniversary trips but have not been very successful in doing so until now; last minute, of course. I wasn't sure what I would write about because I didn't want to write something too informational and scientific; instead I wanted to share my story and how I came to find out that I was a "cyster".

Growing up I was always teased about my "Adam's apple" and my hairy arms. I remember thinking that something was wrong with me because I felt like I was more "manly" than the other girls in school. I remember I phoned a "boyfriend" one night and when his dad called him to the phone he said "Some guy is on the phone for you"; I was horrified! I sounded like a guy?! I was told a couple of times that I had a deep voice but I didn't think that meant I sounded like a guy!

My mom got so pissed at my older brothers and sisters when I was little because they all made fun of me about having hairier legs than them. They embarrassed me so badly that I started shaving my legs before the third grade. But, the ridicule didn't stop there. When I was dating a guy he asked me if I would think about shaving my arms! I did! I had such hairy arms that I had to comb the hair down. It was long, dark and thick. I hated it. I still have hairless arms and I wouldn't grow it back. Ever.

When I was in the 7th grade I got my first period. I don't really remember the first period or when I learned to use a tampon, instead of those gawd awful pads, but I do remember that my period was never regular and that more often than not, it was heavy, clotty and lasted forever! I remember hearing some boys say "If it bleeds for more than 5 days and doesn't die, don't trust it!" and thinking to myself "Oh my gosh... I am really a freak. I hope no one knows that I bleed for 7 days; I will never have a boyfriend!"

When I first became sexually active I thought that I was pregnant every month! I remember buying pregnancy tests and praying to the Lord that they were negative. Although, there were those few times that I prayed I was so that I could "keep" the boyfriend, but that is a different post. By the time I was a young adult I had given up on worrying about becoming pregnant and I figured that I was just "lucky" that I didn't have to have a period every month.

In my late teens I had many annual exams and I had my first "irregular" result when I was 16 years old or so. Over the span of the next 10 years I had several irregular pap smears. I was freaked out the first time and thought that I was going to die from an STD. However, my doctor reassured me that it was probably just irregular due to irritation caused from intercourse or the possible onset of menstruation. I never once had any further testing after those results so I figured that I had nothing to worry about.

When Mike and decided that we wanted to kids we knew that I needed to see a doctor. Some how, some where, some time, along the way, I learned that irregular periods didn't mean that you were "lucky"; that "irregular" meant there was something wrong. I won't lie- at 27 years old I didn't have a friggin' clue about ovulation. I had no clue what an ovulation predictor kit was! I just knew that women were suppose to have a period EVERY month! I wasn't. Mike was the one that urged me to see a doctor when my periods were almost three months apart and I wasn't getting any BFPs. I am so glad he did.

I wasn't diagnosed with PCOS until February of 2012; I was 30 years old. Even though I knew nothing about PCOS, I was relieved to finally know that there was in fact something wrong with my body, and that it wasn't just me, and I wasn't meant to be a born a boy! Phew! I was relieved to hear the doctor say that my irregular periods, unwanted facial and body hair, thinning scalp, bloated belly and skin tags were all related to this thing called PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

At first, I was relived and then I was mad. Mad that my mom and my doctor brushed off the irregular results so easily without further research. I was mad that I was so close to knowing what was wrong with me yet it took 17 years to find out. I was angry that we didn't catch this syndrome a long time ago so that today we could get  might get pregnant easier. I was mad that by waiting to address the PCOS and hormone imbalance I was put at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and annovulation. I was angry to hear that I would need more fertility meds to increase my egg production and that those medication could increase my risk of ovarian cancer.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a serious disorder that needs to be addressed. There is no single test to diagnosis PCOS, however, there are common symptoms to look for including but not limited to: missing periods, unwanted hair in unwanted places, lack of ovulation, weight gain, inability to lose wight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, belly fat, and pelvic pain. 

PCOS left untreated can cause diabetes, heart attacks, sleep apnea, anxiety/depression, obesity, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and infertility.

Women with PCOS are highly encouraged and recommended to eat low carb, low sugar, low fat diets that are high in fiber and protein and get plenty of exercise.

Our bodies are designed to work in a certain way, women are created to produce eggs and men are to produce sperm. Women should have a menstrual cycle every 28-30 days (or close to) and we should be able to detect ovulation once per month. If you don't, then I strongly urge you to seek medical help. 


                                                              courtesy of YouTube

                



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Guest Post: Faith & Ethical Decisions

A few weeks ago I received an email from a woman asking if I would consider her as guest post on my blog. I am not sure if it was because she was from Monterey, California; which is where I was raised (close enough) or the fact that she was also hesitant to IVF, like us, but something in her email made me anxious to read what she was hoping to share.

Here is her email...

Hi Teresa,

I saw your post inviting people to guest post and I'd love to be considered.  We've been through 3 failed medicated IUIs and now we're trying to decide whether to do a 4th or move on to IVF.  I have hesitations regarding IVF and it scares me for many reasons.

I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your recent post about adoption and knowing your limits.  I've looked at available children to adopt online and I felt like such a horrible person for not wanting to adopt an older child or special needs child.  Your post is the first post I've ever read that addressed that, and I admire your courage in writing that.
 
 I have a blog about faith and school librarianship (I'm a school librarian).  Obviously, it's nothing to do with infertility, but you can get an idea of my writing style.  www.DeepLibrarian.com
 
Thanks again for your blog. It has been a tremendous help to me this past year.  I wish you continued success

Blessings,

Lisa N.
Monterey, CA
 
Last week, Lisa emailed her post over and I loved it; I knew right away that it was something I wanted to share with all of you! I found both her thoughts and writing style to be fitting for my blog and I felt that we shared similar views. The first line in the third  paragraph completely hit home for me because I have had that same thought, so many times...
 
Please, enjoy.

Faith & Ethical Decisions

I’m a Christian and I believe God promises me good things, but I don’t believe that means he promises me a baby.

I also believe that God can bring about healing and miracles through medical intervention.  I’m so thankful that we live in a time when we have options.  My heart breaks for the millions of infertile women throughout history who didn’t have the options and hope we have due to medicine and technology. 

But because I believe in God, I don’t want to start playing God.  Every step I’ve taken in my journey on fertility has been preceded by prayer and serious thought.  I know that many other infertile women who share my faith have given similar consideration to their decisions.  And women of other faiths (or no faith) undoubtedly seek to make ethically-sound decisions based on their individual morality and conscience. 

Most people believe that is sacred, and there’s something magical and mysterious about creating life.  I think we all realize this on some level, and none of us take our treatment decisions lightly.  So I get extremely frustrated at people who pass judgment on those who are pursuing aggressive treatment.  

This past week I read an article that condemned IUI, IVF, and gestational carriers as unethical.  First of all, it pissed me off that those three treatments were lumped together as the same thing.  It pissed me off that someone who has never been through infertility wrote the article.  And it pissed me off that people some people have been guilted into forgoing treatment. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not advocating a fertility free-for-all.  It looks like we’re headed towards IVF, and I plan on weighing all of our options in regards to how many (if any) embryos we freeze and how many we transfer.  These are INTENSELY personal decisions which my husband and I will make after a lot of prayer and research.  While I may come to different conclusions than other people, we can still respect their decisions if they too are seeking to pursue treatment in an ethical way. 

But it took me a long time to discover that I can do IVF in a way that allows me to keep my Christian convictions.  Most of what I found regarding IVF and faith was filled with rhetoric, guilt, fear, and verbiage designed to sway the reader into choosing treatment the author approved.  What I wanted was a resource that would help me understand the ethical issues, dig into what the Bible says (and what it doesn’t say), and then make my own prayerful decision. 
I finally found this resource when I read The Infertility Companion: Hope and Help for Couples Facing Infertility by Sandra L. Glahn and William R. Cutler.  It breaks down common infertility treatments and medications and help you examine the moral and ethical issues involved with each one. 


I would even encourage women of other faiths to consider this book.  Even though this book is written from a Christian perspective, it addresses objections that are issues in other religions, too. At the very least, it will help you as a person of (any) faith to think through the ethical issues of reproductive technology and decide what you believe and what your limits will be.

Lisa blogs regularly about faith and school librarianship at DeepLibrarian.com.  She also blogs occasionally about her infertility journey and creating a home at AmateurNester.

Monday, September 23, 2013

You've Got Mail

A couple of weeks ago I received an email that read:

Just finished reading over your blog. Happy Anniversary.


I see that you have a place where you list the books you want to read.  I am the author of *Every Drunken Cheerleader Why Not Me which is a nonfiction book all about my battle with fertility.  I wrote the book so that women like me wouldn't feel lonely and crazy the way I did.  I wanted to create a sense of community and I feel that your blog communicates the same message.  Your words are honest, transparent and appreciated!


I was wondering if you might be willing to read the book and review it on

your blog.

Thanks for considering!

My best,
Kristine Waits 

I was taken by total surprise and shock that a published author wanted me to write a review of their book on my amateur blog! When I posted the news on my FB page I found out that I was not the only one who was contacted by the author so I felt a bit disheartened, at first. I thought it might have been spam or a weird marketing ploy... you never know these days; the internet can be a scary place!

I asked Kristine if she would be willing to supply a copy of the book for me, and possibly a copy to give away on the blog; she cheerfully agreed. I gave her my mailing address and the next day she let me know they were on their way.

Today, I received the two signed copies in the mail! I am excited to start reading it and to share my thoughts with all of you. I am not sure when or how I will proceed with the give-a-way but I promise you will all know soon enough.
  

Now, if this blog could only get someone to cover my treatments.... humm. :-) JK! 


by Kristine Ireland Waits

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ICLW and The Stork Secrets

My time management these days has been horrible! I have been meaning to reply to all the comments on my blog, post my anniversary trip recap, finish my post for PCOS awareness month before it's over,  and I need to start my Sunshine award nomination post,  but I can't seem to sit down long enough to get through anything! 

I have been working on a new project that I am currently calling "The Stork Secrets". I have the blog up, the Facebook page activated and I am working on the website. I was inspired to start this project from the comments I received on my post about my secret thoughts; the many women thanking me for putting their thoughts into words. 

The intent of this project is to allow women, men, couples and other effected by infertility, to express their deepest darkest secrets or thoughts they have encountered along the way.  I know that sometimes it can be healing to release the things that are holding you down. I have found that by starting this blog, and having a place where I can "voice" my thoughts, has truly helped me heal in many ways. I also know that I am more open and outspoken than some people are comfortable with so blogging or expressing things that may be offensive isn't for everyone. 

The Stork Secrets is a project designed to be the voice for those still hiding or hurting. People are encouraged to send "The Stork" messages anonymously via mail, email, a blog contact form, and through the website. My hopes are that people will submit things they are too afraid to say out loud or publicly. I am going to take those messages, photograph them and post them to the blog and website. The project is geared more toward a "photoblog" rather than a writing project.

You can follow along now if you would like, however, the pages are still changing as I am trying to get things just they way I like them before I really launch it... but I'd love feedback on this if anyone has any to offer!

Here are the links.... 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letterstothestork
Website: http://thestorksecrets.webs.com/
Blog : http://letterstothestork.blogspot.com/
  
This week is also ICLW so I need to really figure out a schedule so that I can make it over to all the blogs! I honestly can't believe I signed up for it since I can't keep up with anything! If you are here from ICLW, welcome! You can read about us and our timeline in the tabs at the top of the page. I don't have anything exciting to share on the TTC front these days since we are not under going treatments at this time. I am on CD 47 and I have no clue what my body is doing! I got a positive OPK on CD 16 AND on CD 42! The best confusing part is that on CD 42 I not only got 2 positive OPKs, I got 2 negative OPKs, all using the SAME urine sample! I have had a BFN on CD 38 and 43, so I can not tell you where I am in my cycle... other than 47 days into it... UGH! PCOS is a b*tch!

I will try to finish my other posts this week because I have a couple really great guest posts I want share with you as well!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Guest Post: A Little Love For a Room That I Hate

I was so happy when I got an email from Emily over at House in the Heights asking if she could be a guest blogger on my page.  Emily is battling infertility and while most of her close family and friends know about their struggle, she hasn't really opened up about it publicly. I loved her post and I am sure you all will too!


A Little Love For a Room That I Hate....

Heyyyy!! (Imagine that in a sing-song voice, because that's TOTALLY how I say it). I'm Emily, and I blog over at House in the Heights.  Primarily, I write about home decor, DIY, and things that I find generally fabulous. However, there's one part of my home (and my life) that is decidedly un-fabulous, and that is our spare bedroom aka The Nursery That Wasn't.

Yeah. Underneath all that talk of fulfillment through recipes, my love of pop-culture, and making our home beautiful (and I DO find those things incredibly fulfilling!) lies a girl whose been dying to have a family of her own for years.  More than three years, to be more accurate, and we've tried it all except the big one.  IVF. Coming early 2014. I think.  It's kind of scary to commit to that.  And although I haven't been writing about my infertility throughout the past three-plus years, I've been doing a lot of reading.  Because you are my people that GET IT, and listening to the journeys, celebrating the victories, and mourning the losses of people like many of you who are willing to publicly write about such a private struggle is what really keeps me from feeling so completely alone.  So if sharing this post helps someone else who is feeling lost, then I've made the right decision.

I could write for days about the details of our journey, but I'll just sum it up into a string of words that you, my people, will understand.  Annovulation, miscarriage, PCOS, Clomid, Metformin, Lupron, Follistim, Ovidrel, IUI's, BFN's, chemical pregnancy. And let's not forget failure, grief, envy, depression, and bitterness.  Or hope. Because there's always hope.

So anyway, spending the last three-plus years in perpetual 'I'll be pregnant any day now' mode has resulted in The Nursery That Wasn't.  There's no freaking way I'm putting time, energy or money (Hello?  Do you KNOW what fertility meds and treatments cost when they aren't covered by insurance? I do.) into making that room anything other than a nursery when 'I'll be pregnant any day now'.  So instead, we did nothing to that room.  No paint, no purchasing furniture or accessories, nothing. I've basically punished it for not being a nursery by refusing to allow it to be anything else. We just put all our mismatched stuff in there and allowed it to function as my husbands closet, since I dominate the master bedroom closet space. With the exception of vacuuming and dusting, I can literally not go into that room for weeks at a time.  I hate it in there.

Terrible picture, but would YOU want to spend time in here?!

But lately, I've been thinking about starting to move this room closer to the nursery it someday hopes to become.  I even painted the walls a pale gray, and did a striped accent wall (if you want details on that, its coming soon at House in the Heights...stay tuned!)  I have an old desk that I'm planning to re-purpose into a changing table.  I'm learning to accept that I may not be able control if and when I get pregnant, but I can control what this room looks like.  I can control the fact that when our baby arrives, whenever and however that may be, it will have a stylish place in our home.  And right now, not feeling so out of control feels good.



Besides....maybe if I build it, they will come?? 


 photo signature_zps64b784cd.jpg

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lean on Me

Yesterday's post was not an easy one for me to publish; I was really worried that I would be ridiculed for my thoughts and I was worried that I would offend my pregnant friends. However, I had little reason for that fear. The response you all provided me was amazing! Thank you for all the kind comments; you helped me understand that I am not a horrible person for having those dark thoughts and that I am not alone in having them either.

I did lose a couple followers after that post and that saddened me but then I realized that those are only a couple readers. My words and my blog are important to many more than that. This is my blog and I started it to help me down this path. I have to be as honest as I can here. Sadly, that means that I may offend some people and that is something I can not control. I can only hope that my honesty helps more than those I offend.

Losing the followers did sting a bit but what stung more is reading a post from a fellow blogger who was recently "evicted" from a "support group" for being negative and bitter. Reading her post made me heartsick. I don't know all the details but I know that the eviction was uncalled for and it made me think about what a good support group entails and how thankful I am to have readers who offer me so much support during my "moments".

Infertility is heartless disease or disorder. It doesn't care how you feel, what you want, or how badly you want it. I know that when I meet people of that character I feel bitter, angry and hurt towards them. So, why wouldn't I feel that way about something that is causing me so much grief? As you read in my previous post, I am bitter, at times. Am I a bitter woman? No. 

In order to support someone I believe that you must allow them to feel their way through things. I don't believe it is good to enable a person to dwell in the negativity or bitterness but it is good to allow them to feel it, voice it, and then offer a brighter view. Nothing infuriates me more than when someone tries to invalidate my feelings or who make me feel worse than I already do. I am not sure I know of anyone who enjoys feeling bitter, alone and jealous. So to ostracize them for having the courage to voice those feeling has to feel pretty damn shitty.

Which leads me to this: If you are going to support someone, then support them. Help them feel like they are not alone or that they are not a bad person for feeling that way. We ALL have felt moments, days, weeks, months or even years of complete failure and heartache. To say that we never get annoyed or jealous when we see people who have what we want, well, to me that is just a blatant lie.

I started my PI support group because I know what is it like to only be heard sometimes. I believe that in this struggle we need to be heard all the time. Good or bad. I wanted a place where all forms of infertility: the good, the bad, and the ugly are all welcome, supported and accepted. Of course, I have no intention of letting the group become a complete bitch fest but, I do want people to feel safe enough to voice their thoughts, comfortable enough to do so, and confident that they will get the simple "Hugs" or "thinking of you" comment to help them through the day.

Sometimes it's hard to express how we really feel. Some of us have a lot of pride and don't want to be seen as a "complainer" other's need help on learning how to process those feelings and the guilt that comes with them. Which is why I want to know that...

You can always lean on me.





Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Bitch In My Head

One, after another, the waiting room filled with pregnant bellies and car seats. I sat in my chair trying to avoid eye contact with anyone and everyone. My eyes welled up and my lips started to quiver. I had to close my eyes and and pray to God that no one saw my tears or heard my sniffles.

At first, my heart broke and I felt empty. I sat in my chair, surrounded by beautiful pregnant women, babies and toddlers and all I felt was loneliness and sadness. It hurt to know that I was waiting in the room with an empty uterus and worthless ovaries. I felt bare that my hands weren't juggling diaper bags and car seats, lacking that my arms were not holding my toddler on my lap, and unfulfilled that my uterus was vacant. I felt alone and I felt hollow and so empty.


Then a little boy came in with his mom, or grandma, or whoever. I looked up at him sitting across the room, quietly reading a BoxCar Children book. He was so entranced in his reading that it made me smile. As I sat admiring his behavior, I was impressed with how well behaved he was and that he could continue to read as he walked, slowly, across the room to the front counter, where he stood, quietly and patiently, reading and waiting, for his mother (or whoever). They sat down directly in front of me and I noticed my heart starting to ache again.


Not only was this waiting room full of pregnant women who reminded me of what I am; infertile and empty, I sat in a waiting room full of children of different ages. They reminded that being an infertile not only meant that I was not carrying a baby, but that I may never get the chance to teach my son or daughter how to read or how to sit quietly and play with toys; I won't have people admiring my well- behaved children or even cringing at my ill-behaved children. Until now, I never really stopped to think about all the aspects of parenthood that I may not experience. As I continued to admire him I actually laughed out loud a little when he started making facial expressions as he changed the pages in his book. My mind was saying to him "You are such an adorable young man, I hope that my son is as well behaved as you are... if I ever have a son...."


I always think about what it would be like to conceive and carry a child; I've thought about how I wanted to have a pregnant belly and how I wanted to feel the baby move and see how Mike would react to the baby inside. It wasn't until today, watching that little boy, that I realized there is so much more we miss. We won't get to teach our child how to read, or manners, or responsibility. We won't get to watch our child grow up into the beautiful person we dreamed he/she would be. We won't get to see ourselves in someone else. Pregnancy is not parenthood; it's just the the start of so much more that we may never experience.


Just then a girl came around the corner with long blond hair and a tiny little belly bump. As I saw her face I thought Do I know her? And then it hit me... "Oh my- that's Jeneene- she married to Will. Yep, she married her cousin's ex-boyfriend, that is right! You were always a little snob.You're pregnant again, aren't you!? You already have one! Damnit! Damn you, Jeneene for being able to just get pregnant whenever you damn well please. DAMN YOU!!! Why you and not me? Whhhhyyyy!? I'm still trying for ONE! We've been trying for four years; didn't you JUST get married? Oh sh*t, please don't recognize me, please! I don't want to have to hear about your perfect life and how fat you feel. You. Bitch."


Yep, in my mind I was so mad and jealous that I considered her a bitch. I hated her in that moment; it felt like she was my enemy. In reality, I barely know her!


As they say, when one door closes, another one opens. Today, that phrase was not an inspirational metaphor. As Jeneene left the office, with her perfect little baby bump and her adorable little blond haired, blue eyed boy, a young Hispanic girl walked in ready to explode. She was 18 years old- tops- and was about to give birth any day, as she was picking up registration paperwork for the birthing center. Again, the bitch in my head spoke up "What the f*ck? You are like, 12 years old! How come you get to have a baby but not me? I bet the baby daddy is a jerk and not even around; if he was, why isn't he here with you, instead of your mom?! I wish I could wipe that smile off your damn face!"


She was followed by three full term pregnant women. Of course, two sat directly behind me. One of the three walked in with a little boy and her hand on her bump. The bitter infertile inside my head was saying "Lady, like we don't all know you are pregnant! It is obvious that we can see your perfect round belly; we don't need you placing a big flag on it! Don't worry, no one is mistaking your basketball baby bump for my muffin top!"


I felt surrounded. My heart started to pound and my throat got tight. I clenched my keys hard enough to cause pain. I was looking for a distraction. I wanted to scream. I could feel myself sinking deeper into my pity. I felt myself fill with hatred and envy. And then they called my name.


I told the medical assistant that it was cruel to leave an infertile in the waiting room for a half an hour, full of pregnant women and newborn babies (I was only half way serious) and she apologized. When my regular nurse came into see me, I busted into tears. She knew how hard it was for me to be surrounded by all this fertility. I knew she had no words that would make me feel better and I know that she knew that an "I'm sorry" just wasn't enough. I cried so hard I couldn't speak. I was hurting, I was mad, I was jealous, I was weak. I felt so defeated in that waiting room; I felt like a loser; I felt like everyone knew that I was broken.


Leaving that building was a huge relief! I felt like I had just escaped an angry mob or something; I could breathe again. In less than an hour I had experienced a wave of emotions; I was sad, happy, amazed, angry, jealous, defeated, broken, alone and empty. I called Mike, and immediately started to cry as he said "hello". I told him what had happened and I could hear the sadness in his voice. I could tell that he would have given me the biggest hug if he could but even he didn't have any words to say that would make the emptiness go away. I had to process this one on my own.


As I was reflecting on today's events prior to writing this post, I realized that obviously I am not a peace with my situation. I am not as accepting of this infertility card as well I thought. No, I don't really hate Jenenne or think she is a bitch because she is pregnant. Again. Of course, I would never say those things to the pregnant woman holding her baby bump or try to wipe a smile off another's face- God knows if I ever have a bump I will be touching it all the time and I would be grinning from ear to ear 24-7! Their pregnancies are not to blame for my infertility. It's not like the stork chose them over me... even though it sure does feel like it sometimes. But thankfully, feelings and reality are not the same thing.


Even though I am trying really hard to accept the fact that our lives my be child-free for a lot longer than we ever wanted, it isn't always easy. I have dark moments and sometimes, I have dark days. Today was one of them. I was angry. I felt really cheated after seeing so many pregnant women, and so many pregnant women who already had children. Not only did I feel cheated and robbed, I felt isolated and alone. I felt plagued.


Today proved that even though I say I am alright, this path isn't something I want to accept and I might always carry some jealousy in my back pocket that rears its ugly head when I see women or couples who have what we don't but, that is okay and as long as I don't carry the envy for long, I will be just fine. Jealously is a natural emotion; all humans experience it. Experiencing it from time to time is what we do. But letting it control me isn't what I do.


I will not deny that pregnant bellies are absolutely the cutest thing ever and no matter what pregnant women look like, or what they wear, or their age- if they get to sport a baby bump, they've got the best accessory ever; and I will always feel like a little stab in the gut when I see it. And that is okay.


**In my attempt to distract myself I also posted to Facebook; I was hoping some light sarcasm would help but, it didn't. What did help me though was this wonderful piece of advice from a reader....**


"'... draw a smiley face on your palm and when you feel overwhelmed, squeeze, that will be us behind you giving you strength when we cant be there in person."




*names have been changed*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

9-10-11

Mike-

Marriage. I won't lie, it's not easy. Our first year was a hard one. Shortly after we said "I do", we lost your dad. We had been married for 41 days when he left us. I wasn't as supportive as I should have been looking back, and I want to apologize for that; I was more focused on our new marriage than on the loss of someone so important. I miss your dad and his silly jokes, and I really miss giving him a hard time about the A's!

Our first year also brought us many failed attempts at starting our own family. As much as it hurt to get BFN after BFN, it brought us so much closer than before. I wasn't sure I ever wanted kids but, after connecting with you, I knew they would be apart of our future. I will never forget your "proposal". We were lying in bed one night and you whispered "I want you to be the mother of my children." From that moment on... our story began.

In our second year we experienced 12 negative pregnancy test, spent thousands of dollars were trying to expand our family, we said good-bye to Jobe, and hello to Hans and then good-bye to him as well. We traveled to California, we spent time camping, we even added to our family again with Zeke. While we still don't have our child, we do have one another and two dogs that love us to pieces and that we love to death.

We are not that couple who has it all; we live within our means, we prefer quite nights at home instead of out on the town. We ARE that couple who is honest all the time, we are the couple that laughs at stupid jokes, we are the couple that expresses our love through actions and compassion.
We are the couple that makes the best out of bad situations, we are the couple that can find comfort and peace in the quite, "boring", moments at home, we are the couple that makes memories in every day moments instead of waiting for moments to happen and we are the couple that loves unconditionally; no matter what we face.

While we may lack "romance"; we don't lack honesty or trust. Without a doubt I can say that in the four years we have been together, and the two years we have been married; there has never been a single moment where I have doubted you or your loyalty. You, Mike, are an honest, loyal, loving, committed man and you are my husband,And for that I am forever grateful and undoubtedly blessed.

Let's face it- marriage is hard. It takes work. We don't have the "perfect" life but it's perfect for us because we have found the perfect love.

2 years, 730 days, 24 months, 104 weeks, 17,531 hours later... and still so much in love. 

Happy two year anniversary!

 
^ this reminds me of Mike (remix)


^ this was the song I walked down the aisle to

*I promise to expand on this later... I ran out of time!*

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Blogger: Childfree- The Life For Me

My sister is happily married; happier than most couples I know, if I can be completely honest. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years now, and they have no desire for children. She told me once that if kids came out looking like puppies- she would have a whole litter. I don't doubt it!

I appreciate the fact that this couple KNOWS exactly what they want. I never stopped to think about the stuff she gets told about having a family. Just like infertiles don't want to hear "Relax, it will happen", people who truly have no desire for kids don't want to hear "Oh, you will change your mind". 

I want to thank my sister for being so open and willing to post her view on my blog. And I also want to thank everyone in advance for the kind comments that will be left for her.

Childfree- The Life For Me 
by: Princess Peach

 I am almost 30 years old, have been happily married for over 11 years and have absolutely no desire to have children. None. Zilch. Nada.

I didn’t always feel that that way. I grew up thinking I would have four kids (when you grow up having nine siblings, four seemed like a small family). I always wanted to be a young mom, so I could be the “cool” Mom. I got married young, at the age of 18, and all of that desire to have a child, went away. I honestly think that most people grow up thinking that the way of life, is to get married and then… have kids. I didn’t know anyone growing up that was childless, by choice. 

When I really stopped to think about it, I realized there was nothing wrong with being unconventional and not having children of my own. I think if more people stopped to think about what they really wanted and didn’t rush into having babies, then more people would be childless, like me. 

I like being married and having it be just the two of us. We have fun together and it is stress free. There is no fighting over who is going to watch the kids. Who is going to clean up after them and frankly, we have a lot more money in the bank then we would if we had children. I like having my alone time and quite time. I cringe at the sound of children crying or toddlers whining. The constant running and moving and tugging- it’s just not for me. I would much rather have a house full of dogs and cats. Meowing and barking don’t bother me.  

I know that last paragraph probably made it sound like I hate kids, which I don’t. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I love each and every one. Do I want to baby sit them all the time? No. However, it feels great to get a nice, soft hug from my youngest nephew and the handmade card that my 6 year niece made me, when my dog died, is one of my most cherished possessions. I do love them… but I may only like them when they are on their best behavior. ;)

Over the last couple of years, I have read many, many lists of what not to say to someone with infertility. If you are wondering why I follow the infertility world, it’s because my sister struggles with it, which is unfortunately why she is currently living childfree. Yes, while my sister does everything to try and have a baby… I am doing everything to make sure I don’t! Back to my point- I thought this would be a great time to make a list of my own. So here it goes…

                                       “What NOT to say to someone who doesn’t want children”

1- “You will change your mind.” People would be offended if I told them that
they would change their mind about wanting kids. Just because you want
them, doesn’t mean that I do.

2- “There will be no one to take care of you, when you are old.” Listen up
people! I have worked in a nursing home before and majority of those long
term residents rarely had their children visit them.
3- “You are selfish.” Why? Because I am not stimulating the economy by
creating more taxpayers? Sometimes the reasons that people have children
are more selfish than the reasons why people don’t. People have kids for
tax write offs, to save marriages, to fill a void in their own life.

4- “You have no compassion.” No, I don’t ooh and aww over babies. That
does not make me a bad person. I ooh and aww over puppies! I volunteer
walking dogs at the shelter. I also give money to the homeless guy on the
street, help out people who look like they are need and make sure to spend
that extra time talking to the kids at school, who look like they don’t have
many friends.

5- “Your life will not be fulfilled.” Obviously my life is so incredibly fulfilling
right now, that I don’t need or want a baby to make it better.

6- “Dogs are not kids.” Bulls***. Until you have experienced the bond that I
had with my dog, then don’t even try to imagine what it felt like when I lost
him. He was my baby. I loved him, worried about him, hated leaving him
when I went on vacation and was devastated when he died. It’s been 9
months since I said goodbye and I still cry when I think about him.

7- “Why don’t you want kids?” I don’t think it is fair for you to ask me to
justify my own personal feelings. Do you really want me to tell you that I
don’t like crying babies? I think this is a better question to ask someone
who wants to start a family, because it is a bigger choice to bring a child
into this world, than to not. Why do you want kids?


I understand that I am the minority when it comes to my choice. That’s ok. I am not looking for anyone’s approval or acceptance. I am just asking that you do not judge my character, based on the fact that I choose to live childfree. I don’t judge women for their desire to want to be a mother. I do, however, judge you if you bring a child into this world that you cannot afford, or into an unstable household, full of hate. That my friends, is selfish. 

Photo added by me
 
Again- added by me for flair!