I Feel Pain When…

I’ve been quiet lately and my only excuse is that I have been away from home this last week and trying to stay away from the computer.  I rarely looked at the time or a calendar while I was away, so getting back in the swing of things this week is going to be tough and the week will feel long.

For the last 8 years, my husband and I (and for the last 3 years my daughter, too) have gone and spent a week at my parents house over the Thanksgiving holiday.  My daughter gets to spend most of her time with her grandma and my husband and I spend quality time with my dad hunting.

This marked my second year hunting where I shot a deer.  Although this gave me an adrenaline rush and made me very excited, my biggest joy came from seeing how excited my dad was for me and how happy he looked in that moment. I cherish this time with my dad more then anything and I feel so blessed to have been given another year to spend doing something we both love doing, together.

What I also love about the experience is that I enjoy the solitude that the woods bring me.  It’s so peaceful, although at times pretty cold!  I spent many hours sitting in the woods and listening to the sounds of nature.  I saw a handful of deer, I saw two fishers,  two owls flew over my head and landed very close to where I was sitting this year, and I also was entertained by the many birds and squirrels.  It felt like a detox to all the stress that has been building inside me this past year.  It’s amazing how “quiet” time can be true medicine to the soul.

Although, now that I’m back home I must say that I quickly fell back into my routine and that means looking at the time and a calendar again. Sadly, looking at the calendar brought me much grief as I realize we are going on 28 months of trying for peanut #2.  As much enjoyment is to be found in the holidays, I have to be honest and say that the holidays are hard. Although I am surrounded by so much to be thankful for and I know I am blessed in so many different ways, I also can’t ignore the grief inside my heart. I also shouldn’t have to ignore it.  The pain associated with not being able to get pregnant is just too much to handle at times.

-I feel pain seeing my daughter playing with her cousins because it reminds me that at the end of their time together she will be going home alone, while her cousins will be going home together.

-I feel pain when I am asked if I am going to give E a sibling soon because it reminds me that I have been trying everything under the moon to make that happen and it’s not coming easy for us.

-I feel pain when a friend calls and said their IUI worked on their first try, and although I am very happy for them it just reminds me that four of our IUI’s failed this year.

-I feel pain when E asks me if I have a baby in my belly because it reminds me that she wants this as badly as we do and seeing the look of disappointment on her face when I tell her no reminds me that this affects her life too.

-I feel pain when I got home and looked into our spare bedroom because it reminds me of how I feel: Empty and Alone.  It also reminds me of how a nursery should be in its place.

-I feel pain when I hang out with my sisters because it reminds me of how lucky I was to grow up with siblings and E may never be blessed with a sibling relationship and grow up with another person who came from where she did.

-I feel pain when my husband and I are intimate because every single time it reminds me of what isn’t happening.

-I feel pain when my husband and I talk about doing IVF because it reminds me that we don’t have the money to go this route, a route that could be the answer to our prayers.

-I feel pain when my period arrives because it reminds me that my body has failed me once again.

-I feel pain getting into my Traverse and looking in the rear view mirror and seeing all of the empty seats, besides one, because it reminds me that those seats should be full.

-I feel pain when everyone around me is pregnant because it reminds me of what isn’t happening for me and gives memories of my own pregnancy.

-I feel pain knowing that Christmas is right around the corner because just 4 short years ago we were announcing to family that we were pregnant with E.

-I feel pain when a memory pops up from when E was a baby because it reminds me of what I may never get to experience again.

I may never get to experience this again.  Never. Not to mention, infertility is robbing me of so many things, the list is infinite.  It’s really just a hard pill to swallow folks.  From the bottom of my heart I mean no offense to anyone reading this. My heart is just so heavy and I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders right now.  I also feel like I just am not mentally or emotionally well right now because of what infertility is doing to me.

Grief is a real bitch and this really is a silent struggle.  Except for a few people in my life who are going through this too, I am not asked how I am doing or how I can be supported through this.  I am learning it’s okay to not be okay 100% of the time and I am allowed to feel this pain…and the pain listed above is only a glimmer of the pain I feel on a day to day basis.

I also am choosing to not be quiet about my struggle and am an open book when it comes to talking about it. Nothing has been easy for me this past year.  It’s been a very rough road to walk down and I can’t even believe I am on this road half the time. However, I am here…and I am doing the best I can every single day feeling the way I feel-many days just not wanting to even get out of bed or even wanting to leave my house.

Somehow, I muster up the strength every day to face this.  So, all I ask is for you to cut me a little slack, given all I am going through-especially over the holidays which are hard in and of themselves!

With that said, here is an article I found written by someone else that has walked in my shoes.  This article really touched me and it was nice to hear these words from someone else.  Often times my biggest fear is saying the wrong thing or offending someone else that just doesn’t get my pain. I know it’s happened, but honestly I can’t worry about others expectations of me right now.  This article made me cry because I felt like FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT and expressed words that have been just sitting in my heart, but haven’t found their way out yet.  I wanted to share it with you in case you too, have been searching for something like this to relate to.  You may feel alone like I have been feeling alone lately-but you are not.  I am not.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay This Thanksgiving

Hey there sweet friend,

Have you ever googled Thankful for infertility? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.

Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.

But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.

Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.

And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. And so this guilt and this shame on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.

It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.

It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.

It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.

It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.

It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.

It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.

And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.

It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.

It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.

And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.

It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.

It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store.  Or wipe away a tear.

It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.

It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.

Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.  

So give yourself the gift of grace.  Because you are not a horrible person.  You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache.   Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain.  So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down.  Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful.  Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn.  Seasons always change.  And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow.  But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

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Self Care is not Selfish

 

In a recent post, I had briefly touched on the importance of self-care.  Self care can be defined as actions an individual takes to care for their own mental, emotional, and/or physical well being.  Self-care can be different to each person, but self care is not being self indulgent and does not involve pampering yourself. Instead, self care involves healthy life style changes.  These could be changes in exercise habits, eating habits, sleeping habits, getting appropriate medical care, emotional habits (going to counseling, starting a journal, meditating), and making sure those people in your life are healthy for you and supportive of you.  It is important to remember that self care is not selfish, and if it sometimes feels selfish, that’s because it takes courage-and without courage to start taking care of yourself, you would never become who you really are especially if you are not nourishing yourself.  As a women who takes on many different roles in my life, I can honestly say that I put myself last on many occasions, making self-care difficult to practice. This can be pretty overwhelming and exhausting.  I am slowly learning how important self care is in being able to cope with infertility on a daily basis.   I am also learning what self care involves and what I have been neglecting to do to take care of myself.

One thing I did this month to practice self care was to stop charting and stop taking OPK tests.  This may be a very little thing, but to me it was actually very freeing for my emotional well being.  For the past 2 years, I have charted my symptoms and peed on a stick in my fertile window anxiously waiting to see that darn smile face that would determine for me when I would have the best chance to conceive and so we would then do the BD.  Little did I realize, how stressful this has been on me and how it has been aiding to my anxiety and stress.  Now don’t get me wrong, charting and doing OPK’s are wonderful in determining your fertile window if you are trying to conceive, but when it is just not happening month after month it just starts to become a chore.  This behavior has also become a little obsessive, and not to mention OPK’s are expensive (a 2 month supply for me is almost $40). It was nice to just let go of this and relax a bit. It was nice to do the BD on my own terms and not on the OPK’s terms.  It sure did take the pressure off my husband and I.  This may have been a little thing, but I am so proud of myself for just letting go of it this month.  It was truly an eye opener of how even just a little thing in the big scheme of things has been so consuming and so controlling of my everyday.  I think learning to let go of the little things will help me to start letting go of the big things in the long run.  Learning to let go of the things you can not control will be such a relief.

Self-care is different for everyone, therefore what actions you take will be different.  I think the most important and yet also the hardest part of self care is starting somewhere-especially when you are so used to putting yourself last and are a people pleaser by nature.  Like me, you can start little by little or you can dive right in and come up with an entire plan of what actions you want to start doing to better take care of yourself.  The first step, like most things, is acknowledging you need to start putting yourself in front of the line and realizing you can’t take care of anyone else if you are not taking good care of yourself.  Remember you matter too.  Love yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  It’s so important to pay attention to your own mind, body and soul.

 

Family Time

In the midst of all life throws at you, especially in dealing with secondary infertility, it is so important to slow down and not let your circumstance overshadow your blessings.  Life can get so busy that we don’t take time to slow down and actually experience it.  I am guilty of this very thing.  We also don’t make an effort for quality family time when we allow circumstances to consume us.  This is something I have been reflecting on lately and want to make a strong effort to change. Life really is too short to be anything but happy-to live, to laugh, to love.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, having positive things to look forward to make all the difference in making it day to day and they also shape you into having a better outlook and attitude. When  you  have a positive attitude it makes all the difference in any hard struggle you are going through.  We are all allowed bad days, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t have them a lot lately.  The important thing is, is that we don’t take for granted our blessings and we focus on them instead of all of our stresses.  I firmly believe that when we are grateful for what remains, we allow ourselves to actually look forward to what is coming instead of stressing about what may or may not be coming.  This also helps you experience true happiness, when you accept where you are in life and try to make the most out of your everyday!

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One thing I am trying to do is think of things we can do together as a family on a more regular basis that involves quality time spent together.  All too much, at the end of the day during the week I find ourselves sitting on the couch watching TV or playing on devices such as our IPADs after dinner, instead of fully engaging in one another. It’s much harder too with the time change now and it’s dark outside at 5pm (whereas before we’d be outside playing or taking walks or going to the park, etc).  So much is missed out on because of this.  It really is a terrible thing.  So, spontaneously I suggested we go to the Peanut movie last night.  Although this involved sitting and staring at the big screen, we were all engaging in something together.  It was also my daughters first experience at a movie theater so it was so much fun to experience that together as a family.  We gave her the whole movie theater experience-popcorn and all.  We also watched an entire movie together as a family without the interruptions of iPad or cell phones, which allowed us to engage in conversation about the movie afterwards.  Being fully present during the movie, I also was able to enjoy my daughter-her facial expressions, her cute little giggles and her comments throughout the movie.  We also got some quality cuddling time together-all three of us holding hands and all!  It’s little things like this that just bring so much joy to my heart.  The movie was absolutely adorable, a must see for everyone!  All in all it was just a great evening–I’d say I could really enjoy more like that.

Featured imageMy aunt shared with me that she too went to the Peanut movie and it brought back many memories for her because going to the Peanut movie was one of her first memories when she was about 5 or 6 years old and it was that movie when she was little that started her love for drawing and painting.  If you knew my aunt, she has such amazing talent and does such beautiful drawings and paintings.  I was very thankful for her sharing that memory because it’s so true that it is important to give children as many experiences as possible in life as you never know how it can affect them or inspire them in a positive way.  Quality time as family is so important oftentimes it gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life-and swallowed up in technology time instead.  It is amazing what positive quality time did for my mood, my heart and just my overall demeanor. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t go to bed sad-but I went to bed feeling joyful and I am pretty sure my husband and daughter were feeling the same way.  Who doesn’t feel better when you’re dancing!

This morning I asked E who her favorite character was from the Peanut movie and she said, Charlie Brown.  When I asked why she like him best she said, “I liked his silly dance and that he was a nice boy to his friends.”  Then she randomly said, “Mama, can we go bowling tomorrow?”  Although we may not go bowling tomorrow-that may have to be our next family day spent together and another first experience for E!  …and I am looking forward to it very much!

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Growth in Learning…

I can’t count how many times I have said this in my blog, but infertility is hard at every corner.  I also can’t put my foot on what the hardest part about struggling with infertility is-there are just too many!  However, I can name a few of the things I struggle with most with infertility.  I struggle with its uncertainty and never knowing exactly what is the best and right decision or where to go next.  I struggle with the heartbreak, stress and anxiety that this causes.  I struggle with the general public I encounter on a daily basis and how to act around them. The lack of understanding and lack of compassion with this subject really upsets me and I don’t know weather to pity other’s ignorance and try and accept it or educate/explain to them when I can in hopes they learn from what I am telling them or just distance myself because they simply just don’t understand and probably will never have the capacity to do so.  I struggle with self care and doing what is best for me and my mental and emotional well being without worrying if I am going to to hurt someone else in the process.  With all the struggles that have come my way with this one BIG circumstance in my life, have come a lot of random things that I am learning along the way too.  I hate infertility, but with anything there has been personal growth in learning from all this struggle is teaching me.  A few of the things I am learning along the way are:

  1.  Self care is important. This could involve taking time to do something you enjoy, taking a break from treatment or even  making choices that honor your own happiness like avoiding triggers that lead to upsetting you. I haven’t mastered self care 100% but I am slowly starting to do things that don’t hurt me further, rather benefit my mental and emotional well being.  For example:  This weekend I was invited to a baby Sprinkle but I kindly declined the invitation.  Instead, I dropped off a gift in advance and had a nice 1:1 visit with my friend.  I originally had all intention of going to my friends sprinkle, but the day before her party I happened to end my week with another failed month. You can imagine I was pretty down in the dumps, yet I was so torn and worried because I didn’t want to hurt my friends feeling or appear selfish by not going to her party. I am really happy for my friend, but I knew by going I would be really overwhelmed and my anxiety would be on full force due to being stuck in a room surrounded by people talking baby talk, playing games, etc. It wouldn’t be fair to my friend or myself to go, so I decided it was best if I simply didn’t go. This had nothing to do with not being excited for my friend or not wanting to be there for her.  I was completely honest with my friend as to why I wasn’t going and to my surprise she was very understanding and very supportive of my decision. I was incredibly humbled by her actions in that she allowed me to do what I needed to do without taking offense or judging me.  She even reached out and said she was in my corner with any decision I made for myself and was there for me in this. I was completely grateful to her for her understanding and support.  The old me would have just went and suffered through her party in fear she wouldn’t understand, but the new me is working on doing what is right for me and learning that those friends that are 100% my friends will be supportive of my decisions, understand and not be offended by the decisions I make to take care of myself. Part of self care is not worrying so much about what others think and letting that aid in your decision in what is truly best for you at this time.
  2. Sometimes being selfish isn’t a bad thing.  Being selfish ties in with self care as sometimes being selfless can be very damaging to someone struggling with infertility. Being selfless can just be emotionally and mentally draining.  Decisions made along the way are between me and my husband with also thinking about our daughter in the back of our mind when we make decisions and we are slowly learning to not think about others.  This is our life and we only get one shot at it and we need to do what is best for us without involving the opinions of others.  One example of this is when we first started our IUI procedure we had to look at the calendar and say would this be a good time to do an IUI-it’s so and so’s birthday or a holiday was coming up etc maybe we should push it back, etc.  Towards the end of our procedures, we wouldn’t take in account any of that.  We just needed to do what is best for us.  I mean for those of you that do not struggle with infertility I’m sure you don’t look at a calendar when you are planning to add to your family you just have sex and if you get pregnant if the due date falls on something “important” you just go with it and don’t have to think twice.
  3. Overthinking is not healthy.  It’s the clutter in your brain that makes decisions hard.  When you start to listen to all of that clutter, you become overwhelmed and can’t possibly make decisions that are best for yourself.  Happiness also can not be achieved when you are fighting the demons in your head.  Stop and think about what you really want or need and don’t let the other things get in the way, and this includes the opinions or how someone else perceives you.  It will be much easier to just keep things in perspective and not worry about all the other crap.  There is no point in dwelling on something that can’t be changed.  To be free from that, you need to just accept that life goes on from this.  Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul.”-Ezra Taft Benson  This is a huge struggle of mine and overthinking things is something I am constantly aware of and a work in progress.
  4. I am much stronger then I originally thought I was.  There are days I feel like I can’t function or the heartache     and stress of this becomes all to overwhelming.  Then somehow, I wake up to a new day and think, “Wow, I made it through yesterday.  I am still struggling, but I did it.”  There is no doubt that this circumstance is overwhelming, but I am living it and learning from it all the same.  I may not be the person I was, but I am stronger because of it. In the back of my mind, I also know someway some how I will get through this.  Why?  Because I am one tough cookie!
  5. Those outside this realm, who have never experienced infertility, will never fully get it.  You can talk about it until your face is blue.  You can write about it endlessly.  However, like any circumstance in life, if others have never gone through something similar they won’t understand what you are going through to their entirety.  With that, I have learned that I can’t expect them too either.  My journey through this is unique and it is important to have a trusted group of people who have gone through similar circumstances.  This type of support is especially important in getting through from day to day.  These are the people who just get it, without judgement or added drama.
  6. It will affect all relationships in your life, including your marriage.  A big part of why this affects relationships is because of misunderstandings of infertility.  Others need to remember to not take offense and what I am going through is complex and affects me to the core.  The hurt is real  and it’s raw and it starts to affect your every single day…because you at times have to be selfish and focus on self care it constantly can make you look like the bad guy to other people who do not understand the grief you go through on a daily basis. Some of these people will walk out of your life and some will be a beacon of support.  It’s those who support and those who stay with you through the ups and the downs that are healthy for you and help you succeed in this journey.  As far as marriages go…you vow for better or for worse and this is testing our every day together.  We have our good times with this and our bad days and I am learning that leaning on each other for support during this time is what is the most important factor in making it through this dark hole. Communication is very important for trying to stay on the same page.  Being honest and open with your partner in how you are feeling is healthy.  They won’t know how you are feeling unless you speak up and tell them.  Infertility will also change your sex life.  Sex becomes something other then enjoyable, which really is sad but it’s the truth.
  7. Having things to look forward to and staying busy help tremendously.  This speaks for itself, but I know the days I have something that keeps me busy or having something on the calendar to look forward to, helps get me from day to day.  Distractions from this are my best friend lately and also just simply enjoying others company is a huge relief to me at times.
  8. Infertility is expensive.  It’s important to know what you are getting into before you start procedures and medications.  Do your research!  There is nothing like being blind sided by a huge medical bill or the expense of a medication because you were not aware of the cost before hand.  This just adds stress to the already growing pot of stress.  There is definitely some big sacrifices that are made if you are going through this journey if you choose to try medications or different procedures.  This makes little things the big things these days!  It has made me get creative in finding ways my family and I can still have fun and learning to budget and cut corners where I can.  It is not easy and it’s not a fun way to live life, but you do what you have to do to get by.
  9. I can find joy in difficult times.  Choosing to focus on the things you can control vs. the things you can’t control makes the world of difference. A good balance is key.  I have my good days and my bad days with this, but a positive attitude makes a world of difference.  At times I feel like infertility consumes my every second, but I know that even though it feels that way…it really doesn’t and I am allowed to enjoy a movie or a date with my husband without having to think about infertility 24/7.  I still can embrace the joy that is in my life.
  10. Infertility changes everything.  When you go from trying to have a baby to struggling to have a baby it is a whole different ball game.  It’s not easy.  Struggles change you and mold you into the person you are.  From all the invasive testing and procedures to medications that have a million different side affects you will never walk out of this the same person that you were.  It is life altering. I know I have been forever changed.
  11. I am emotional all of the time.  I have never been on such an up and down and all around roller coaster ride in my entire life.  I am emotional over every little thing and everything makes me cry-infertility related, or not.  I am learning that it’s healthy and normal to release these tears either by myself or even with a trusted friend and even my husband.  Some of the emotions can be blamed on the medications but other times it’s just a normal release of everything I am holding in, on the inside.
  12. Baby fever is real.  When I was trying for my first I used to say I had baby fever.  However, that was before I experienced what infertility is like.  Now I know that I didn’t have baby fever then, I just simply knew I wanted a baby.  I know I have Baby fever now because I am physically, emotionally and mentally hurting over wanting a baby so badly. This is the worst fever I have ever had in my life, especially because I know trying for a baby is now a struggle and not easy to obtain.
  13. It’s important to focus on my blessings. No matter how much we want to control something or a situation, to a point most everything is out of our control.  As hard as it is, dwelling on what we can’t control only makes matters worse.  There are several days when I’ve been down and depressed where if I just try to revert my thinking to all the blessings in my life, a smile is at least brought to my face and the sadness can be overcome just a tiny little bit.  I try to remind myself that things could always be much, much, much worse.
  14. Opening up about my struggle was the best thing I could have done for myself.  I am always an open book when it comes to infertility mainly because I want to be an example that infertility is not something to be ashamed of.  Struggling silently (although there are many days I still do) is not healthy.  It also allows those around you to become more aware and also then the topic is less taboo.  It should be talked about.  The more we talk about this the more awareness is going to be brought to the table and it is my hope that by talking about it maybe there will be more though about changes on insurance covering infertility treatments.  By opening up, I also can not believe the amount of women, men and couples who have come forth and have shared a similar struggle.  It’s so much more common then one would think.  By opening up, it also takes the weight off my shoulders just that much more.  As much as talking about it doesn’t change our problem, it feels great that it doesn’t have to be kept as some big secret either.
  15. Deep breaths are important. There are countless reasons why deep breaths are important and I found a great article that explains some of these reasons.  http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html
  16. Being patient isn’t a choice.  Patience is something you have to have and stick out until the end.  It’s all about God’s timing and being humble about the cards you’ve been dealt.  It sucks but it helps to continue hoping and having faith in His perfect timing.  Now tell me to be patient and I will literally flip out on you!
  17. No decision is easy.  Decisions in this have been hard especially in deciding how far to take treatments.  It’s a gamble and gambling is something I just don’t do.  There are also ethical dilemmas in our decision making as well as religious ones.  We have to question if we should follow our head or our hearts on a daily basis and ultimately we have to make these decisions.  No one can do it for us.  There is also little guidance, even from doctors.  Infertility related decisions are not easy.
  18. There are no guarantees.  As much as you hope and pray for a positive outcomes there are no 100%’s in life.  Unfortunately, you can do everything under the moon to try and get pregnant and it still may never happen.  This includes treatments.  We’ve had 4 failed IUI’s and none of those failures have come easily.  Try making the decision to do IVF or not with there being no 100%’s…it’s really not easy.
  19. Depression happens in full swing and then there is a little word called anxiety that creeps in too.  I’ve been depressed before, I think we all can say we’ve been depressed at some point in our lives.  However, I’ve never experienced a depression quite like the one infertility has plagued me with.  It’s awful and lonely and dark.  There are days I can hardly put my head above water.  Then there is anxiety, something I never experienced before in my life.  When you have an anxiety attack is is one of the scariest things ever.  I literally feel like I can’t breathe, like my heart is going to beat out of my chest and like the world is overwhelmingly closing in on me.  The worst part of my anxiety is that I don’t always know my triggers and when it’s going to take place.  Oftentimes it happens so randomly.  Trying to find ways to cope with depression and anxiety are important to your health…I’ve been trying to get better about acknowledging this in myself.
  20. There may be more bad days then good, but there is always something good in your everyday.  If it’s the one thing you can do for yourself at the end of a very hard day.  It is to sit in silence and reflect on the good that was alongside the bad.  For every bad thing there typically is a good thing!  For me, my daughter brings me so much pride and joy.  She is the light of my life and is a reminder that miracles do happen…

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November & Thanksgiving

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This meme captures perfectly how I feel this time of year!  What ever happened to the classic phrase, “Stop and smell the roses?”  It seems as though we live in a fast pace world where we are not allowed to enjoy one thing at a time to it’s absolute fullest. Instead we are overwhelmingly reminded of what is coming next all. of. the. time.  At Halloween, I was already seeing Christmas all over the stores.  What is wrong with that picture?  EVERYTHING!

May I remind you that it’s the month of November right now, it is not December.  I thought I would just clarify that in case you are confused. I can see where you would be given the environment every time you go shopping.  In many places it’s like walking into a winter wonderland.  For me, this is a complete nightmare.  It down right stresses me out and makes me feel overwhelmed.

It’s amazing the kind of pressure seeing Christmas decor up early puts on a person.  It makes you feel like you are behind in your agenda and need to start your holiday prepping too, whatever that may be. Admitting this myself, I did jump on that train- I must say that is marketing at it’s finest, because I was already suckered in to do some holiday shopping (crap, what is wrong with me!). Every year I vow not to be this person, but it just happens.  I have also already received all the toy land catalogs in full swing in our mail box and my daughter is literally drooling at it’s contents. Although I must say, it’s super cute seeing her eyes light up while she’s looking at the catalogs and hearing her talk about all her wishes for the holiday season. However, I also want to instill in her the true meaning of Christmas but even before that, I want her to understand the Thanksgiving holiday and the meaning behind it all.

Society barely got through the joys of the month of October and many are rushing to see the jingle-jangles of December already making it hard to teach a child the different meanings and concepts of each holiday.  Instead it’s all about greed and wants.  I just don’t think society sets a very good example for our children. I’m doing the best I can as a parent to teach her about each holiday but it’d be nice to have a little help from society to just slow it down a bit and enjoy each one individually.  What about the month of November and the very important holiday of Thanksgiving? It seems like this holiday doesn’t get to be in the lime light much anymore. As the meme says, “Slow Down!  Let’s eat the damn turkey first!” 

I for one, truly enjoy the month of November and the Thanksgiving holiday.  I have many reasons to be thankful for this month.  My older sister and my niece share a November birthday and I am so thankful for both of them.  For the last 8 years, I have been able to spend an entire week back home with my Mom and Dad, and have created the tradition to spend a lot of quality time with my Dad and go gun-hunting with him. Lots of amazing memories have been made during this week.  It is the one time of year we should truly stop and reflect on all we do have to be thankful for and see all the many ways we are blessed.  I am glad this Holiday does force me to stop, and truly slow down.  There is also some great history behind the holiday of Thanksgiving and how it came to be and it’s great to take time to look back at that and be grateful.  I also feel like you are reminded in this month that less is more-an important thing to remember.  The turkey is pretty darn good too!

With all of those reasons, why would one want to rush through this amazing month and Holiday?  Is our society really losing the true meaning of each holiday and what they are about?  I am not quite sure what it is…but I am certain we could all benefit from slowing down and enjoying the moment, especially these moments with our children.  There is so much to teach our little loves over the holidays and so many special memories created in each month. I find when I slow down, I am amazed at how much more I have time for and how much more of life I enjoy.  Life goes by too fast as it is, so my advice to you is to stop living life in fast forward more then you have to because the beauty of life is in all these little moments that we are just rushing through and missing.

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A Hard Path to Walk Down

There is nothing simple about infertility.  However, to simply put it, infertility is a hard path to walk down.  My husband and I have officially tried for our 2nd child for the 3rd October in a row.  I am dumbfounded that it is now November 2015 and this has turned from trying to conceive to struggling to conceive.  I am really having a hard time with this.  The heartache associated with our struggle has been overwhelming.  It has caused me to be depressed, along with causing me to experience anxiety and finding ways to try and cope with the grief of it all month after month. After a while, it just all really takes its toll.  According to Psychology Today, “Current research has shown that the stress levels of women with infertility are equivalent to women with cancer, AIDS or heart disease, so there is no question about infertility resulting in enormous stress.  

With that said, I often hear women saying that they “Don’t let their infertility define them”.  I used to be one of these women who said that-but I was at the beginning of my journey then.  However, after trying this long I have to be honest and say that it really is starting to define me. I don’t want it to, but it is. Part of this I blame on the stress of it all.  How can something that is so overwhelming not define you when it’s all consuming? It’s become a huge part of my life and my marriage.  It’s on my mind 24/7 and there isn’t a day that goes by that my husband and I are not affected by it or that we don’t talk about it. Infertility has also changed me. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this.  In some ways it has hardened me around the edges and in other ways it has softened me.  I can’t help but admit that I am bitter and angry that it’s been so difficult to conceive another child and to give my daughter a sibling, yet on the other hand I know how truly blessed I am to have been able to have my one and only daughter at all.  So not only am I dealing with the stress, depression, anxiety and coping each month over another failed month, but I deal with the guilty feelings associated with wanting another when I am blessed to have one already.  The song, Beautiful by Mercy Me really touches me right now:

Infertility is truly a personal battle for each and every single person.  There is a unique pain that is associated with each person struggling with it.  Although, I can relate to a lot of the women in my support groups and it is such a relief to do so with a small population of people who understand and do not judge me, I still feel alone.  I know that this pain will not ever be relieved until I am holding a healthy and beautiful baby in my arms that my husband and I conceived together.  Yet, I fear that even if that happens I am going to carry this pain with me because it is truly so much a part of me now.  I feel scarred somehow.  I am also scared that this pain is something I may have to live with for the rest of my life if we can never have a healthy pregnancy again.  I have been contemplating going to a counselor lately, but have not worked up the courage to make that phone call.  I also wonder if it would really even help me?  I feel like infertility in many ways has just messed me up completely.  I will never be the same person I was.  In some respects that is a good thing as I have found a new compassion and sensitivity to this topic as well as I have connected with a lot of wonderful people in the process BUT in other respects I don’t like who I have become because of it.

Infertility is no joke.  It’s a real illness.  Please treat it as such.

A little update on our personal journey:  My husband saw the urologist recently so that we could cross all our T’s and dot all our I’s before making a big decision on going the IVF route.  His appointment went well, although probably a tad bit uncomfortable for my husband.  We are thankful that nothing else is wrong with him and that no new issues came up in his test results.  However, it appears his low motility is just that.  We are now left with the option to keep doing what we are doing and hope and pray that the 10% chance we were given to conceive on our own will one day work OR we can try IVF w/ICSI which we knew was our only option left after all we’ve tried already.

My husband and I are both left just feeling defeated and greatly stressed because IVF is very expensive.  We are torn on the decision, although if money were not an issue we would try to do IVF in a heartbeat, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  We’ve come to that fork in the road and we need to make a decision.  A hard decision, which does not come by very easily to either of us.  I feel like we’ve just been in this stand still in our journey and it’s been extremely tough to swallow.   Like I said, infertility is not simple, rather it is very complex.  I’m doing the best I can to put one foot in front of the other each day, but a change of pace in a positive direction would be nice or just a positive distraction would be nice.

However, I am in my TWW which has made me a crazy lady (which is normal every month) googling every symptom that seems to come on.  Your body is evil that way, in tricking you into thinking you have pregnancy symptoms…ugghhhh.  I am pretty certain though the symptoms I am experiencing are pretty much gearing me up for AF.  This is probably the hardest part of the month for me and most likely results in me ugly crying.

All I can do right now and pretty much ever,  is continue to have hope and continue to pray.

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