Infertility Treatment – March & April

At the end of February, I gave an update regarding what our next steps would be on our journey in becoming parents. March was a neurotic long month for me. In between being frustrated with my employment situation, it was the month of my due date and my period decided to be two weeks late which was not only worrisome for me, but also put a hinder on starting the Clomid.

Thankfully my sister came into town for her Spring Break which kinda broke things up (although this was the time period in which my period was late…a 50+ day cycle). Like always, it was so great to see her and incredibly hard to say good-bye.

Getting ready for some shopping!

Getting ready for some shopping

I got my period the night she left (and the day after my due date…would’ve been creepy if it were the day of). I started my first round of Clomid a few days later (50 mg) and took it on the nights of cycle (cd) 3-7. My doctor warned me of the potential side effects, but despite my normal anxious state, I went into the treatment relaxed. Clomid, like any type of fertility drug, effects different women in different ways. Here is my experience during my first month (I was advised to take it before bed to reduce the side effects):

  • I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme nausea. I never threw up, but I felt really sick a few hours but was finally able to fall back asleep.
  • I felt extremely fatigued most days.
  • Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15 I was extremely bloated. My lower abdomen protruded and it looked like I was pregnant. It was super uncomfortable (and actually  hurt)…to the point of having to lay on the couch/bed all day. I was also abnormally hungry these days.
  • Saturday, March 29, I got a positive OPK which was cd 16. This was GREAT news as I have only gotten a positive ovulation test between cycle days 19-21 the past 7 months.
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Showing how the ovulation test went from negative (cd15) to positive (cd16). The test line must be AS dark or DARKER than the control line.

I had extremely vivid dreams. I don’t know if the medicine itself made me tired or the fact that I possibly slept like shit because of the dreaming. Now, I clearly remember a fabulous dream involving James Franco so they weren’t all that bad, but I’d wake up not feeling rested. And the dreams were bizarre- like people I haven’t seen in years were in them. In addition, I can’t recall ever having hot flashes like this (or ever…). I literally stripped down one day because I was so hot, but was freezing a few minutes later. I’d wake up in the middle of the night because I was so hot too (which never happens- I’m always cold at night and love covers on me).

My moods were up and down throughout the month, but what else is new ;) I have moments when I’m still sad about what happened last year, but I’m more nervous about what is yet to come- when/if I’ll conceive again- and if I’ll be able to maintain the pregnancy. You better believe I’ll have my progesterone checked often and demand to be put on a suppository if it reads low.

I was also monitoring my basal body temperature throughout this cycle (I found mine at Wal-Mart for about $8). It usually takes a few cycles to get somewhat of a pattern (unless you have PCOS or something), but it was neat to see my temp drop them rise right before and after ovulation. I still didn’t know if this temperature deviation truly meant that I ovulated, but I was ecstatic to see the fluctuation! I called the doctor on Monday morning and left a message notifying her of my news from over the weekend, and she called in my labs.

The morning of Friday, April 4th I went and got my blood drawn (cd22). This would test my progesterone levels which show whether or not you have ovulated. Just as a reminder- WITHOUT any treatment- my results last month were, .95, 2.23, 2.32 (I went 2 times in a week and a half- the .95 was pre-positive opk). My specialist called me Monday, April 7 and told me that my progesterone was at 19.05! Yeeee-hawww!!!!

Although we monitored everything closely (basal body temps and opks) with the help of Clomid, I did not conceive this month. However, I’m trying only going to focus on the fact that my body responded well to the 50 mg of Clomid. I’ve also heard that the first round typically isn’t successful, and that that your chances of conceiving are higher during the 2nd and 3rd attempts with the med. Well, Tyler will be gone next month due to work duties (I know he can’t help it, but we’re literally missing my next ovulation window by like 2 days…SO ANNOYING, AHHH!), so there goes that. Therefore, I’ll take time off of the med (unless me doctor advises otherwise which I should find out today if she ever returns my phone call) and resume when he gets home. I’m just hoping my progesterone levels don’t plummet again, but we shall see. I’ll still monitor my cycle with ovulation tests and the basal temp thermometer -it’s important to know when you get a positive as it reflects how long your luteal phase (LP) is.

So simple. Yet some days, patience is easier said than done.

Finally, I’m not sure how big of a role the acupuncture played in my higher progesterone levels, but we’re going to say it was somewhat of a factor :) I will not be partaking it in while Tyler is gone to save some money ($220…yikes). The weather is beautiful here so I plan on daily walks/jogs, meditation, and crafting all in between the great job hunt. I’ll definitely start again this summer though once he gets home.

This week will be filled with sushi, wine, sunny-side up eggs, bike-riding, and turkey/chicken lunchmeat…all things women are advised to stay away from while pregnant, haha. This has become my ritual when aunt flow makes her presence :)

Have you or anyone you know taken Clomid?

What were your side effects?

Was it successful?

P.S. My doctor is only going to try Clomid for 6 cycles, perhaps less. The medication can cause the uterine lining to thin, and I was told that if you do not conceive within 6 cycles of using it, then it is unlikely you will conceive on it at all. Other fertility meds (depending on what your hormone levels read), injectables, and IUI are often explored to help with conception after Clomid use is exhausted.

 

 

Posted in Fertility, Life, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Inexpensive Decorating for Springtime and/or Easter

It’s no secret that I’m a bit cheap when it comes to certain things, and home décor is usually one of them. As we’ve been trying to make our house a home over the past year, I’ve found myself browsing stores and thinking no fuggin way gasping when I see that they want 20 bucks for a small, fake potted plant. I’ll do a post on things I’ve recreated myself around the house for minimal cost sometime, but today I want to show you how I’ve done a little price-conscious holiday decorating.

Although I may not agree with all of their company policies, I’ve been going to Hobby Lobby for years (since high school) and I LOVE it. I’ve gotten the majority of my scrapbooking supplies from there (or Michael’s), but have also purchased other odds and ends there as well, such as mason jars, wall décor, picture frames, etc. And while I’d love to purchase so much of their home decorations, sometimes it’s too overpriced for mama so I take matters into my own hands.

For example, I saw something similar to this a few weeks ago, but wasn’t about to spend what the price tag showed. Seeing that mason jars were 50% off that week (I love these for décor as well as to use as glasses for beverages), I purchased a few, stopped by the scrapbooking department (50% off everything), then made a quick stop at the Dollar Tree on my way home to pick up the rest of the necessities. Here is the end product:

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Mason jar, scrapbooking paper, burlap, & Styrofoam- Hobby Lobby; pale yellow grass and speckled eggs- Dollar Tree. Total cost- $8

I need to paint the edges of the Styrofoam, but I’m happy with how it turned out. You don’t have to place the jar on top of the setting- you could put it in front it of. For now, this is displayed on our kitchen table, but it may find a new home :)  Here’s a closer look:

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Don’t mind our water coolers in the background ;)

Seeing that our house is a rental and we basically had a few days to choose our home for the next few years back in 2012, it’s not ideal by any means. However, we’ve learned to work with what we got (aside from the horrific storage situation) for the time being. When you walk into our front door, there is an indention with a ledge and over-light to the right. I have “normal” decorations there that match the front room, but for holidays I like to mix it up. Here is what I came up with for Springtime/Easter:

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Compliments of Target (pink fence-was $3 and I painted it with paint I already had, and light blue pail in the background); Hobby Lobby (baby chick in the fence- $3 with coupon, fabric $2, but I used half of it for dog scarves); everything else from the Dollar Tree (I made the fake potted plant with items purchased from here). – Total cost- about $15 for everything.

I’m Catholic but don’t actively participate in the religion, so it may seem silly to some decorate. Oh well. Growing up, my mom decorated our home for various holidays, so maybe that’s why I’m lured into doing so as well (and crafting helps while job searching, haha). I also love finding inexpensive ways to do things! Here is a closer look:

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I’m probably so lame, but isn’t that chick the cutest?!

I didn’t want to get too crazy, but I found these items at the Dollar Tree as well and it ended up working well in our dining room area:

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I know I need to fill that one frame. Display on top of shelf from the Dollar Tree- $4 total

The final display I have to show below isn’t what I where it to be (I’m just not sure where it should go!), but I’ll show it anyways.

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In between Walter Payton & Jim Carrey- Target- basket, 2 pales, and multi-colored grass- $8, Dollar Tree- eggs. Total- $9

The basket needs to be displayed lower to show the cute multi-colored grass and eggs… Anyways, it may seem pointless and a waste of time and money to decorate (especially for a holiday so deeply tied to religion in which I’m currently questioning), but I enjoy it. Everything I’ve shown cost us about $40 - probably a few bucks less. I have great memories of Easter growing up (and yes, we did go to church on Easter- we were one of those people!), so perhaps it is a comfort thing. At any rate, I hope to pass that excitement down to my future children someday!

 

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The Easter Bunny brought me roller-skates when I was 5. Will he bring me a treadmill this year? ;)

 

Do you decorate for Easter?

Where is your favorite place to shop for holiday décor?

P.S. I plan on writing a post about my Fall, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day décor on a budget, so check back!

 

 

Posted in Crafts, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

30 Before 30 List

Since turning 28 last month, I have caught myself thinking about my future quite often. Though I’m still two years off, I wanted to compile a list of things I wanted to do before my 30th birthday. I’m sure no one besides my family will care about what I accomplish before this milestone, but frankly I don’t care ;) Just kidding…it’ll be neat to look back on and see what I did and didn’t do. It actually took me quite some time to think of things that we actually feasible, yet out of the norm. Some are extreme while others are super simple…

 

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My fifth birthday- HUGE crimped hair and a Care Bear cake (I still love the Care Bears…and Strawberry Shortcake- but the 1980′s/early 90′s version, haha).

 

  1. Learn to French-braid- Yeah, I know…super lame, but my mom tried teaching me a few years ago and I just can’t do it without it looking absolutely horrible.
  2. Finish my HR certificate- One class down, one to go! I hope to take the last class online in the summer, although it’s 16oo bucks because I’m not an Indiana resident anymore…haha.
  3. Go to a concert- I’ve been to a handful with other people, but sadly Tyler and I have never been to one together. I don’t want to spend money on hearing someone that I don’t like a shit ton though. I looked up Katy Perry tickets a few months ago and about fell off my chair at the price.
  4. See the Grand Canyon- Though TJ has already been (of course), we’re only about 9 or 10 hours away from! We’ll probably wait until we get to Huachuca though.
  5. Finish scrapbook- I’m a nerd and used to scrapbook all the time. I know sites such as Shutterfly exist now, but it didn’t 10 years ago when I began getting into it. I started one of Tyler and about 3 years ago and I believe I have completed 5 pages, haha. It’s a pain in the ass to get everything out and situated then clean it up and put it away. Now that school’s over with, I think I’ll be more willing to work on it while Tyler’s playing X-box or in the field.
  6. Visit a museum- I’ve visited a few Holocaust museums, the Field museum and Science and Industry museum in Chicago, and an army museum at Fort Benning (forgot the name) but want to visit more in different cities.
  7. Learn to cut Tyler’s hair- We have a clipper kit, but I’ve only cut his hair once with it and I was scared shitless. I need to get on this one though because it’ll save us moolah in the long run.
  8. Have a picnic- Again, pretty lame but I want to sit outside on a nice day with no technology and good scenery for an hour or so with a bottle of wine, crackers, and an assortment of good cheeses and fruit.
  9. Start learning a foreign language- I’ve started reviewing my Spanish stuff that I saved from high school and college, but for some reason I’m not that motivated in this department. I’ll never be fluent, but I want to at least be able to carry on a somewhat of a conversation. A professor I recently had is currently learning Mandarin, and he simply uses an app and advised to only spend 30 minutes a day on it. That’s definitely doable!
  10. Surprise someone- Last year my mom’s boyfriend flew me home for her birthday (I hadn’t seen her in over six months) and surprising her felt absolutely amazing. Hearing her scream and seeing her face light up was incredible, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget. I want to create more memories like this, but I suck at surprising people solo, so I may need help in this department.
  11. Attend a sporting event- I’ve been to a handful of Cub’s games and I got us tickets to a Bull’s game a few years ago. Tyler’s been wanting to go to a UTEP game since we moved here so hopefully in the fall. *Update- we spent a weekend in Arizona last month and went to a Cub’s Spring training game*
  12. Run a race- This is on my 2014 goal list so I better get it done anyways.
  13. Participate in a 365 photo challenge- I’ve seen a few people do this, and I love the idea! All you have to do is take a picture of anything each day for a year. It definitely helps you appreciate the smaller things in life and gives you a visual documentary of your year!
  14. Start creating my own recipes- One of my favorite things to do is to put a healthy spin on traditional dishes. However, I find so many awesome healthy recipes online that I want to make that I really haven’t created too many solely on my own. I’ll often times change them up to cater to our tastes or depending on what I have on hand, but I want to have a few dishes that I can truly call my own :)
  15. Home decorating- We are planning on purchasing new living room furniture within the next few months, and I want to develop more of a theme for each room. We’re currently renting and opted against doing any painting, so it’s sometimes hard to visualize how everything can be tied together. This will be a slow process as we change things in the living room, master bedroom, and guest bedroom, but I’m excited to make our home an extension of who we are with our decorating. *Update- we purchased living room and bedroom furniture last month!
  16. Get professional photos taken- TJ hired a photographer to capture his proposal, but I’d like to get some nice photos taken of us that aren’t selfies, haha. I mentioned this before, but I feel like a clown asking people to take our picture, so most of the ones we do have are taken ourselves. Has anyone had boudoir photos taken?
  17. Continue adding to Tyler’s our DVD collection- Some may find it to be a waste of money, but I’ve grown to love the extent of our DVD collection. Don’t think we buy the movies all brand new though- we have Blockbuster’s down here in El Paso that have amazing deals! Usually buy 2 get one free, and they’re all under $12.99. We’re also Amazon Prime members so shipping is free.
  18. Write a children’s book- Hear me out. I used to write all the time growing up. When I was a kid, I’d write short stories for fun. Weird kid, huh? I’m hoping I can find some of them and revamp one, take it to Fed Ex (or somewhere similar) and have them bind it together for a minimal cost. Obviously this would be personal and kept within our household for our future child, but it’d be neat to take something that I wrote when I was young and change it up a bit!
  19. Pull an all-nighter- This sounds like no fun at all, but my sister, Kathleen, told me to put it down :) I’d be the biggest grouch alive if I stayed up all night, haha.
  20. Ice skate-  My uncle bought me ice skates when I was elementary school for Christmas one year (I had been asking forever!). I only went a few times, but loved it and didn’t eat shit. I was actually pretty good, but it was probably because I rollerbladed all the time. Last time I rollerbladed, which was a couple of years ago with Tyler, I was praying to God I wouldn’t face plant while trying to stop.
  21. Try yoga- I’m naturally a pretty anxious person, and this has been suggested to me before. While I’m unsure it would take the place of a workout, it will probably help relax me.
  22. Go ding-dong -ditching- I can’t believe I’m even putting it on this list, but this was yet another suggestion by my 20 year-old sister. I’m actually afraid that I’ll be shot if I attempt to do this in Texas, so I think I’ll wait until I’m back home in Indiana and ding-dong-ditch my best friend ;) Just kidding.
  23. Take my sister out- She turns 21 in May and is the last of the siblings to be an “adult”. I’m hoping to fit a weekend trip home this summer so my brother, sister, and I can all go out together…and I’ll invite my dad along to pick up the tab ;)
  24. Paint a picture-  I want to take once of those classes where you paint a picture and drink wine simultaneously! I’m not artistic at all btw…
  25. Put a dent in my student loans- No need to really elaborate on this one.
  26. Create something to remember everywhere we’ve lived/traveled- Since we’ll be moving every few years, I want to make a picture or something (it can be anything) to display in our house to show where we’ve been.
  27. Volunteer at an animal shelter (or anywhere)- Tyler probably won’t like this idea because I’d probably want to bring home a kitten.
  28. Karaoke- Another one of Kathleen’s suggestions….
  29. Try a new foreign  food- Sounds dumb, but I’m scared to try new things sometimes (octopus, alligator, etc.!)
  30. Become a mom- I’ve let go of giving myself a timeline for this. There is absolutely no reason for it as it does nothing but generate negative emotions. Tyler may have three years on me, but our time will come one day. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my 20′s until then ;)

This list took me a while time to put together. I didn’t want to put absolutely outrageous things on my list (like go to Europe or pay off all of my student loans), because I know that’s just not realistic to complete in a mere two years.

 

What are some things you hope to achieve or do within the next two years?

What is the best thing you did before you were 30? I’d love to hear this, but if your answer is “become a mom” I may want to punch you in the face. Just kidding…not ;)

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Chicago for my 25th…winter birthday’s blow balls- so cold, tons of snow, and right after Christmas ;)

Posted in Life, Random, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Acupuncture for Infertility- Initial Visit

I started acupuncture about a month ago, and I wanted to give my initial thoughts on the whole thing. I’ll share an update with how it’s been going soon, but for now I’m going to discuss what led up to my first appointment and the process. I know this type of treatment is controversial, but after it was highly suggested by my doctor  a couple of times , my husband and I agreed that it was worth a shot!

*I must note that acupuncture does not make you conceive. It’s merely used as a tool to help cope with stress on your mind or body and is often times used hand in hand with other types of treatment along the way.

First off, I really like the lady that I am seeing. She is sweet, yet to the point and explains everything well. How did I come across her? Well, our fertility specialist recommended two people in the area; however, their hours of operation were a bit conflicting and the price of one was effing ridiculous high. I knew going into it that this stuff is not cheap, but I wanted to see what else was out there. I lucked out (for once in my life- just kidding!) when I called the first number I clicked on in my Google search. I had a brief consultation and booked my first appointment! Plus, without even asking, she asked if we were military as she offers discounts :)

I arrived at my appointment fifteen minutes early to fill out paperwork- legal stuff, history, and current issues. We then went into the back and discussed things further. A LOT was discussed in a mere 15 minutes- my cycles, my eating and exercise habits, past complications (miscarriage and two LEEP procedures- story for another day), stress, current medical conditions (low progesterone and little or no ovulation)- even my bowel movements. All of this has everything to do with your total well-being.

She then explained how she would like to see my cycles shorten by a few days and to see my PMS symptoms decrease (I don’t think my irritability will ever subside around that time of month though, haha). While impressed with my everyday meals as I enjoy eating wholesome and nutritious foods (breakfast and lunch are usually the same- we have something different for dinner every night unless leftovers are on the meal plan), she provided me with Congee recipe. I had never heard of this before, but it is rice-based (brown rice) and is suppose to help with strengthening digestion (mine’s already good aside from PMS- sorry if TMI), improving metabolism (mine’s currently good), warming digestive organs, and removing excess fluids. I got rid of some of the water and made mine more porridge like. Hopefully this didn’t defeat the purpose, but I always drink a glass of water with breakfast so I figured it couldn’t hurt ;) I added a chopped apple, low sugar cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, apple pie spice, all spice, and a bit of maple syrup to my mixture. It made plenty and we had enough for multiple meals.

After discussion, she put lavender on various parts of my body, instructed me to relax, and inserted the needles. I could barely feel them going in except for the one on my stomach, and it didn’t hurt- I basically just felt it! After asking what I would like to listen to, I told her that I loved the ocean waves that were already playing in the background, so we kept it at that for the first visit. She left the room for 10 or so minutes while I tried to relax (I attempted to stop all thought during this time- didn’t get to a total relaxed state) then came to check on me. She left again for another 20 minutes or so and this time I was able to get go and stop thinking. It was amazing! I don’t nap often, but when I do it’s usually because I’m super tired and fall asleep within a minute of hitting my pillow. I never fell asleep, but was in a constant state of relaxation. Does that make sense?

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One of my favorite beaches (not that I’ve been to a ton, haha). View from my uncle and aunt’s condo on the Gulf in Florida.

It could have very well been mind over matter, but after my session I felt completely relaxed for a few hours. I didn’t mind the horrible traffic on I-10  or waiting an hour and a half to get my oil changed!

I’m for both Western and Oriental medicine- I think they both can help us immensely via different avenues of treatment. I hope together they will help our situation, but will be grateful if acupuncture alone helps me deal with my anxiety and stress better. Acupuncture, a relaxing vacation, and smoking the herb (this was probably a joke) were all suggested to me by an array of people. This method sounded the most feasible financially and legally ;)

Have you ever tried acupuncture? If so, what are your thoughts?

Do you believe in Oriental or Western medicine or both?

Tell me some of your best relaxation techniques!

Posted in Fertility, Life, Miscarriage, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Home.

One of the main questions I get asked about the military life isn’t really about the army at all, it’s about the difficulty of being away from home. Everyone has different relationships with their families and while some people may find the distance easier than others, I have yet to hear someone answer say it’s a piece of cake. This post may be irrelevant if you’ve never moved or are not planning on ever moving away from your hometown or family, but I thought it’d share my views on it.

Throughout my later years in high school, I oddly daydreamed of moving away. I actually wanted to go to college in Florida, but I knew that was out of the question financially for my family and the thought of the amount of out-of-state student loans was a huge deal-breaker. Looking back, I don’t think I truly wanted to move away- I just wanted to run away for a while. And that’s precisely what I did with the stint to Arizona. I was at a very confusing and overwhelming time during my life when I lived those short six months or so in Arizona- and before I even moved. It took me moving across the country to learn that displacing yourself from an environment doesn’t automatically create happiness (although the winter months are a hell of a lot nicer!). In fact, it actually resulted in an abundance of guilt for leaving my younger brother and sister. Anyways, I wasn’t in school and was working full-time at Payless. I’m incredibly grateful that I even had a job (this was in late 2008- right after shit hit the fan economically in America- great timing, eh?), but it was pretty much dead end. I was working to pay bills and eat- nothing was saved. This was eye-opening as it was not the life I wanted to live forever. So I threw in the towel and decided to move back to Indiana. I really don’t know what other choice I had. Yes, I could have been granted in-state tuition after living there another six months, but I would’ve had to take out so much in student loans that it freaked me out. Plus, you’ve gotta have a partner with a similar mindset as you and that I did not ;)

Luckily, my uncle and aunt welcomed me back into their home with opened arms in late March 2009. I got my old job back, worked full-time, and started classes again that Fall. I met Tyler early February of 2010, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Now, when he mentioned going back in the army as an officer I honestly didn’t think much of it. He applied and did what he had to do, but in the meantime graduated and attained a full-time job. When he got accepted and got a date I got a little scared…but I kept going. I thought that he’d maybe dipped out, haha.

You can read about him leaving and our year apart here. Here’s where we get to afterward, and how I’ve dealt with it.

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It’s a long ass way from Indiana to west Texas…

I knew Tyler was in the army until retirement before we moved. It’d be silly to not be given his prior service- the main reason he was going back in. Knowing that we’d NEVER be moving back home was hard, and I still try not to think about it. However, I had just witnessed my best friend’s wedding and my sister’s high school graduation, and it was inevitable to not think about future celebration’s of our family and friends that we probably would not be a part of.

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May 2012.

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June 2012.

When we left Indiana en route to Texas, I don’t think I stopped crying until Oklahoma. Just kidding- we made a detour to Kentucky to visit friends, but if we hadn’t I probably would have :) My mom, dad, brother, and sister each gave me a card or hand written letter to say their good-byes. This probably sounds overly dramatic, but knowing we were never going to move home probably struck a chord (after TJ retires, we will go where work is best). Anyways, I read these messages one by one throughout the duration of the trip. My brother’s letter was the last and I think I cried for 2 hours straight. Tyler must have been in heaven :)

Birthdays and lifetime milestones have been missed on each end. Illness struck my family late last year. Things have happened where all I wanted to do was lay in my bed in my uncle and aunt’s house, or in my sister’s bed, or on the couch in the sun room with my aunt, on my mom’s couch, or having pizza and a beer with my dad. But I couldn’t. I won’t lie- sometimes at night when Tyler is gone I’ll close my eyes and wish I were in one of those places. Don’t get me wrong- I’m head over heels for my husband- but I miss that specific comfort. Lame, huh? I still envy those that hang out with their family and friends on the reg. I don’t want you guys to forget about me!

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December 2013.

The whole experience has made me grow though. It sounds dumb, but living away from everything and everyone you’ve always known gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons. I got my panties in a wad when I realized I’d had to drive down I-10 everyday to get to classes at UTEP (the people out here drive like they’re in the Indy 500 and don’t know how to merge or move the heck over). Tyler came with me (after I begged, haha) so I could scope out the route and parking situation beforehand. I had to immerse myself into a completely different culture and the military community, all while learning how to be a student, wife, maid (jk), and figuring who I was in the meantime (work in progress). It’s been amazing, but there are times where I still yearn for home.

Tyler must have a massive backbone built in him that makes him more resistant to this stuff, or he has entirely different relationships. At any rate, he’s much better with living apart and goodbyes than I am. I can’t go days without talking to my family, but that’s how I grew up. I want to know what you’re gonna eat for dinner, what you did that day, how you’re feeling, if something funny happened, etc. It’s not wrong that I want to talk or send them pictures to keep them updated- that’s just how our relationships are.

One piece of advice I would give is to try and have something to look forward to, whether it’s a phone call, skype session (this never happens with me, haha), or a visit. Traveling can be expensive which is why I haven’t flown home every other month for a weekend ;) Also, sending random texts, cards, pictures, etc. help keep the connection viable. Again, it all depends on the type of relationship you have and how you communicate.

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My brother and sister’s first visit out- December 2012.

Yes, it’s hard to be away from family and friends. I cry every time I leave. I miss the comfort of the homes I was lucky enough to be a part of, but then I look over at my husband and am reminded that home has a different definition now.

Home is wherever the army takes us.

Home is wherever he is needed.

Home is wherever you are. ALWAYS.

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Posted in Army, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Today Was My Due Date & Choosing Happiness

Obviously from the title you know what today is. In a way I’m relieved that the day has come, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a bit sad. However, miscarrying happened for a reason, and although why it occurred is still unclear, I’m certain that one day it will be evident. Maybe it was to teach us patience, make us emotionally stronger, bring us closer together, or truly understand how precious and miraculous creating a life truly is.

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My mama and me :)

After our loss and deciding to try again after regaining some strength, I felt confident that our time would come again soon. As I mentioned in our fertility update, so many people told me that women are more fertile after a miscarriage or D&C so that gave me hope. That may very well be true for someone without an underlying issue, but it’s simply not always the case. I know it was said to be comforting, but after seeing a big fat negative each month it became discouraging. And while I tried pushing aside thoughts such as what week/month I would be in, it was inevitable to not think such things sometimes, especially as time progressed.

Five out of the eight military wives I knew at the time became pregnant (I know more, but I mean really know)- and I’m happy for them; Facebook/blog pregnancy or birth announcements were a weekly occurrence, and seeing pregnant girls women everywhere was inevitable. This may sound cruel, but honestly I became annoyed when girls much younger than me complained about conceiving. I had to hold my tongue a few times, but after practicing self-control (and venting to my husband- AND this is most often seen at the clinic…girls clearly younger than me hauling other children around), I knew that everyone chooses a different path in life. Hell, it took me damn near 10 years to graduate college! We also chose to put our education, career (Tyler did; I’m working on this!), and financial security first. Some of the women that are younger than me may have prioritized differently, so I’ve been trying to let this go.

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Love this photo of my dad and me! Although those wood walls are kinda scary :/

Life is what it is and how you deal with situations has a tremendous impact on not only your emotional state but also on how others perceive you. Some may think I’m weak or whiny because things I may have said or wrote about; others may find it empowering or strong. Not to sound snooty, but I don’t really care what others think. I dealt with it the best I knew how. Finishing my last semester in college with a 4.0 GPA, graduating with Cum Laude honors, and investing more time into writing were probably attributed to our situation since I had to have distraction, and they’ve all made me feel wonderful! Also, I handle things a lot differently than my husband, and that’s okay. At first I thought I needed to put on my poker face and be strong, but it was exhausting for me. If I felt sad, I let myself feel sad. If I felt jealous of other people’s perfect pregnancies, I let myself feel jealous. If I felt the need to cry to simply let it out, I did. But I didn’t let it consume me- I let myself have my moment whether it was for a few minutes or a couple of hours, then I put on my big girl panties and let it go.

*I should note that the past few weeks have been hard. My doctor said it has probably been a combination of the job situation and the due date approaching. Just being honest as I don’t want to paint the picture perfect. Thank you, Tyler (and my family and best friends) for not thinking (or thinking out loud, haha) that I’m a crazy person.

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Wish I could find a better picture of my parents and me when I was a baby, haha. My dad looks a bit disgruntled, but isn’t my mom cute?! And I had such a head of hair!

We will all go through difficult times throughout our lives at some point- some circumstances we will endure will obviously be worse than others. I believe that happiness is a choice to a certain extent. There are unimaginable things in life that make this seem impossible. Our situation is difficult, but I keep telling myself that it could always be worse (I hope that doesn’t sound bad. However, people bitch about life and need to be reminded that it can probably be a whole lot shittier). I remind myself of the positives, and it makes me appreciate the days so much more.

I might not have all the answers, but that’s alright.

I might not be perfect, but I’m only human.

I might not be a mommy today, but someday I will be. And it will be the greatest day ever.

Instead of holding my baby, I’m holding a glass of wine and proposing a toast.

Cheers to life and the rollercoasters we ride along the way.

To the lessons we learn by the mistakes we make and the situations that fall upon us.

And finally, to the people that are truly there for us, love us unconditionally, and make this awesome journey worthwhile.

P.S. My little sister came into town last Thursday and tonight is her last night visiting. My heart may be heavy today, but I’m so, SO happy she is here with me today. I love you beyond the moon, Little Root. Thank you for flying in last minute to be with me- it means the world to me. XOXO.

Posted in Fertility, Life, Miscarriage, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Long Distance Relationships

Before I begin, I just want everyone to know that this post is NOT directed toward handling long distance relationships during deployments. That is entirely different for obvious reasons. Also, I’m no expert; I simply just want to share what has worked for us. Tyler and I did the long distance thing for a year and continue to do so while he is in the field for weeks/months on end (army training literally in a field, lol).

Here’s a quick breakdown of our time before the LDR (long distance relationship) began:

  • Tyler graduates college in December 2010 with two degrees- Business Management and Marketing. He got out of the army in March of 2007 as a Staff Sergeant after serving six years, takes a cross-country road trip with an old friend, and begins school soon after that. He actually graduated in 3.5 years while working full-time (an internship was always thrown in there for a semester as well). Obviously my college career and mindset was much different than his, haha (I don’t know how I didn’t scare him away…but anyways!).
  • We had only been dating for about 10 months when he told me he wanted to go to Officer Candidate School (based at Fort Benning, GA). Naturally, I asked why- there had been talk about grad school, and I pictured him getting an awesome marketing job in Chicago. It was simple: his prior service counted towards his retirement and pay (he can retire in 10.5 years with full benefits if he chooses to do so to pursue other business endeavors) and it provides awesome health care coverage. There are other perks such as 30 days paid vacation which can rollover (however, you typically have to take them when your assigned unit’s block leave is scheduled), 3-4 day weekends every month, having the opportunity to travel, etc.
  • The process from submitting his request to go to OCS to the time he left for school was about 8 months or so. I honestly can’t remember exactly, but it did take a while to get a date. During that time he got a full-time job and we continued onward. I never wanted to talk about him leaving or think about what would happen. Of course I was scared and nervous, but I didn’t want to think about it and wanted to enjoy our time together while we could.
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Hiking in June 2011 at the Indiana Dunes. Tyler decided to take us off trail, and literally 10 minutes later this picture was a huge storm came plowing through. I thought I was going to get struck by lightning in the middle of the woods- SO mad at him. haha

  • Tyler and I took a quick trip to Vegas in early July. The day after we got back, he hopped on a plane and traveled Europe for almost two weeks with his mom. I remember saying goodbye to him before they left for the airport. It was a hot, sunny day and I had to work that afternoon. I pulled over to cry for about ten minutes after holding it in for so long, put on a baseball hat, and ventured into work for the night. Those two weeks he was in Europe were emotional for me. I was crying because I thought he’d meet some broad and dump me. I’d cry because I thought he might want to be a play boy bachelor again after being apart for a few weeks. I’d cry because that’s what I do when I’m sad (I’m sure all of the men reading are thinking what a psycho right now, haha) I had moments of being pissed off about it to. Why would he string me along for a year and a half if he was ultimately going to leave? Why would he even want to back into the army after two tours in Iraq? This took week period with him gone but not really gone helped. Towards the end of his trip, I got over my bipolar state and gained some logic and clarity: only time will tell and instead of agonizing over it I knew I needed to focus on continuing to better myself.

Vegas is hot as balls in July

  • A few days after he got home he left for Georgia (late July 2011). I went with him and his parents to eat at Maggianos’ near O’Hare Airport and we dropped him off at his hotel after dinner. I knew his parents had heavy hearts as well on the drive home (I can’t imagine all of the worrying they had to endure during his deployments…and now they had to say good-bye to their son again?!); however, they made me laugh and I went home feeling happy.

So there’s the lowdown. TJ and I were not able to have any sort of communication during the first 3 or 4 weeks, but I emailed or Facebook messaged him a few times to keep him updated with my extremely busy and glamorous life. We wrote a few letters  to each other (I believe it was a grand total of one, haha), but pretty much stuck with technology. As romantic as hand-written letters are, they’re a pain in the ass to write. Sorry, but true :)

I sent him care packages while he was at OCS and BOLC (additional training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for his current branch which is Field Artillery- he will be switching to Military Intelligence in about a year and a half for the remainder of his army career). The items they were allowed to have at OCS were very limited, but I sent him a Valentine’s Day, Birthday, and random packages while he was at Sill. He randomly sent me flowers and gifts from Amazon (a Canon camera was my favorite). It felt good to send things to him, and it was nice receiving as well ;)

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Aren’t these flowers the cutest?! Sent while T was at OCS.

I visited him twice during his 3 months at OCS from the end of July until the beginning of November (just weekend trips) and three times while he was at BOLC from the end of December until early June. These quick trips gave me something to look forward to, and I can’t even begin to describe how exciting it is as the days get closer until you see the one you love again. Some people say things such as, “I don’t know how you handle the distance” and “I could never do it”. Uhh, yeah you could. What you do is put your big girl panties on and take things day by day. Of course I’d be sad knowing I wouldn’t see him again for a few months, but I wouldn’t let myself think, “Oh shit…I’m not going to see him again for 76 more days”. That thought process is a disaster waiting to happen!

So here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with LDR’s:

Don’t stress about it before it actually happens. Take advantage of the time you have together instead of being a no-fun grump. This will only make the situation worse and you want to be strong.

When apart- COMMUNICATE. I used to be one of those girls that when asked what is wrong, I’d say “oh nothing” then act like a complete bear. Not smart, haha. We don’t know what each other are thinking because we’re so different- and that’s okay. But if Tyler hurt my feelings or pissed me off, I’d tell him (I’m still working on the tone of how I say things…always a work in progress I suppose!). I expect him to tell me the same thing (which he does). Set up time that work with both of your schedules to actually talk on the phone, Skype, or instant message. TJ and I texted throughout the day when we could which was awesome, but actually having real conversations is imperative.

Jealousy is inevitable and trust will be tested. I can’t speak for Tyler, but I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t think twice when he’d go out with fellow students to the bar (this didn’t happen that often though). The guys were about 5 years younger than Tyler- basically fresh out of college- single, and still in party mode. I know girls can be huge skanks, and just from the few times I’ve visited Oklahoma, I learned that it is not fun (I know some girls that love Lawton, but I definitely do not- plus they have tornadoes) for me and I’d probably hang out at bars every weekend if I was stuck there as well. My only advice is to let it go. Sure, if he doesn’t text you all night long then that’s shady, but in all honesty, if a guy’s (or girl) gonna cheat, he’s gonna cheat, and he could do it anywhere- doesn’t have to be on a Friday night after the bar. Ya know?

Send care packages, cards, etc. This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s fun on both ends- giving and receiving. It lets the other person know they are being thought of, loved, and missed.

Birthday flowers. January 2012

Birthday flowers. January 2012

Flowers for getting straight A's Spring semester. May 2012.

Flowers for getting straight A’s Spring semester. May 2012.

Look forward to the next time you’ll spend together, but take things day by day. Counting days until the next visit may work for some, but it didn’t for me. I remember counting the days after he went to OCS and it was 60 or 70 something and it was like a punch in the subject. Needless to say, I quickly made myself forget that number :) Don’t agonize over it and keep reminding yourself that what is meant to be will be.

Keep yourself busy. I didn’t go out much at all for the first 3 months he was gone. In fact, I didn’t have one sip of alcohol either. As mentioned before, I completely stopped taking Adderall when he left. My body and mind needed to reset itself, and going out drinking and socializes when I was trying to overcome some personal demons just didn’t seem smart or even fun to me. However, I started spending a lot of time at my mom’s and hanging with my brother and sister. I threw myself into my school work and excelled. I started working out again. I’d hang out with my aunt and talk about life for hours. I’d watch crappy television or go hang out or have dinner with my best friend. Very low-key, but I was happy. My best friend was planning her wedding for May 2012, my sister’s senior prom was in April…so there were fun things that I helped out with. I started venturing out more after I began trusting myself to not fall back into old habits, but it wasn’t very often.

Kathleen's senior prom- April 2012.

Kathleen’s senior prom- April 2012.

Think of how amazing it will be to finally see each other again. If you’ve never been apart from your significant other for more than a week, I kind of feel sorry for you. For one, you may never become okay with being in your own company. Two, you won’t get to experience the first hug, kiss, and feeling as though as if your heart might burst with happiness after not seeing each other for a while. Goodbye’s suck, but saying hello is so, so good.

The day we picked him up from O'Hare after BOLC was complete- no more goodbye's for a few months!

The day we picked him up from O’Hare after BOLC was complete- no more goodbye’s for a few months!

I probably left a few things out, but things are a few things that helped me. Of course I still have my days, but I try to keep to myself when the mood arises ;)

Have you ever experienced a long distance relationship? Tell me about it!

If so, what other words of advice could you provide? What worked for you?

What’s the longest you have gone without seeing your significant other?

Posted in Army, Life, Relationships, Uncategorized | 8 Comments