Visitors After the Baby’s Arrival

I know visitor’s after the baby’s arrival can be a big issue for couples (Iย even googled it and there are a ton of discussion boards with venting wives, lol)ย and I’ve been asked a handful of times my stance on it, so that’s what I want to discuss today. I think it’s super important for spouses to be on the same page regarding and it’s something that should be discussed before the baby is born. The last thing you need is arguing with each other during an already stressful (yet amazing!) time if it could’ve been prevented.

Tyler and I are in a different situation that many couples because we live across the country from literally all family and close friends. That being said, we won’t have the issues with people just dropping by unannounced or last minute which is good in a way because that would probablyย drive me freaking crazy, haha. I’ve written about it several times, but if you don’t already know, I have anxiety issues which have gotten much better, but they’re still there. I liked things planned ahead as much as possible ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyways, this also means that family or friends will be flying in to see us which is awesome but can be overwhelming as well. That being said, I think it’s best that family comes down in cycles and thatย their visits do not overlap with each other.

Tyler and I downsized when we moved to Arizona. Though we have three bedrooms, they’re SMALL. We have our master, baby girl has her nursery and we have the spare room as the computer/treadmill/movie/army room. We physically were not able to have an extra bedroom for guests, but we honestly didn’t have many visitors in El Paso anyways and this time we’re only here for 8-9 months (will be moving again in September/October). That being said, we can’t have anyone staying with us when they visit. My brother and sister will be staying here- they’re young and I’d never expect them to pay for a hotel. Plus, they could care less if they slept on the couch or air mattress for a week! I can also tell them when they’re annoying the crap out of me and don’t feel like I have to entertain them or that they’ll be judging me on my new mothering, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding…kinda ๐Ÿ™‚

They’ll be here from June 25-July 3 which I think is great timing. If the baby comes on time, that gives us a month to get used to being with her by ourselves, learn her cues, etc. And I’m pretty sure that I won’t want to be taking her out the first few weeks. I’m hoping not to be an overprotective parent, but I really don’t see the point of taking a newborn out unless necessary. There isn’t much to do or good places to eat in our town anyways, haha.

My dad and his girlfriend plan on coming down in late July or August. That’ll be nice because by then I should hopefully be catching on to thingsย a bit. My mom is kinda on stand-by- she said she’ll be here whenever I want her to. We don’t think that Tyler will get the normal 10 day leave that you get in the military after your spouse has a baby. This is because Tyler is not in the “regular” army right now (I forgot the technical term)- he’s in Captain Career Course which is a six month school that can’t be interrupted. There may be some way to get around this, but this would prolong our stay here a bit, his graduation date, and I really want him to do what’s best for him. He won’t be deployed or in the field and I know he’ll be helping out as much as possible when he’s home (CCC means normal hours!). I’m thinking I want my mom to come right before or after my brother and sister…but it really all depends on when she makes her debut. If she comes early, then definitely before! Ideally, I’d like her to come about two weeks after she’s born (she’ll need to give work a heads up!), but we shall see.

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I’m eager and nervous to see how the dogs, especially Wrigley, react to the baby…

We’re super excited to have visitor’s this summer and for everyone to meet our new addition! I just want everyone to be happy and feel like they had sufficient time with us and her and not have to worry about “sharing”, lol, if that makes sense. We should find out where we PCS to next in June or July, and if possible, we want to visit home after that move. It all depends on where we are located. If it does work out, I’m hoping we will have her baptized then. My dad’s side of the family is Catholic, and my brother, sister, and I were all baptized and had our Communions and Confirmations. Though I’m not an active church-goer, it’s important to me that she’s baptized, and my best friend’s father is a Deacon at the Catholic church we used to go to. I think it’d be so awesome to have him do it! I’m getting ahead of myself though, haha.

We also bought a camera so that family or friends will be able to see the baby when we turn it on and she’s within range. At first I was super hesitant about this. I thought Tyler wanted it running all the time so family would be able to see her whenever they wanted. That definitely was not okay by me. I mean, what if I was breastfeeding her and my boobs were poppin out? Or she was having a crying fit and I couldn’t get her to stop? Or….I could list a ton of other scenarios that just wouldn’t be cool. He assured me that there will be certain times and we’ll let family know when we’ll be turning it on. I thought this was pretty much the same thing as Skype or FaceTime, but I just let him buy it and set it up if it’ll make him happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll be sharing the nursery post next week so check back! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

What are your thoughts on visitor’s after having the baby?

Did you and your spouse have a plan? Was it difficult to come to an agreement?

Have any stories you want to share or advice for me?

 

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Everybody Hurts….Sometimes

I’ve had bouts of depression and anxiety since high school (maybe longer, but it was at that time that I realized that something wasn’t right). There, I said it. Now I don’t want to act like it’s been absolutely horrible because that’s certainly not the case, but it’s affected me and probably some relationships in my life at some point (and perhaps, still is). Before I go any further, I want to say that I’m obviously no psychologist or therapist, but I’ve seen a handful over the past fifteen years or so. I’ve truly analyzed their perspectives and have taken what they’ve said into consideration. This post is obviously about our path of loss and infertility and how it can be linked with depression and anxiety. However,ย  it can be related to other difficult situations we may encounter throughout our lives.

****If your depression ever gets too deep and you have thoughts of suicide, PLEASE get help. One such number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

We found out about the miscarriage on September 10, 2015. I mentioned many times before that I numbed myself from the pain for many months and used school, working out, and taking on DIY projects and crafts to keep myself busy. Sure, I had days where I didn’t want to get out of bed or times when I cried in the shower, but I made myself switch gears to the “not feeling” mode. It was when we learned that Tyler was going to be deployed within a matter of two weeks in July 2014 that I broke down inside.

I blogged here and there throughout his deployment about military life and gave updates on how my testing and cycles were going. I did open up in some of the posts, but I didn’t discuss how I was really feeling. You see, I’m an open book when it comes to many things in life, but I have trouble talking about my own feelings and feel as though it’s too personal for me. I also don’t like attention, so I tried telling myself that everything was okay. It wasn’t.

While I never had thoughts of hurting myself or suicide (and thankfully, I never have), I was in a really dark place. I finally allowed myself to feel everything I was holding within. And it wasn’t good.

  • The anger about the miscarriage. I was flat out pissed off that our joy was stolen from us out of nowhere. We heard the baby’s heartbeat twice, and I grew connected to him/her which later on I felt so absolutely foolish about.

 

  • The frustration of time. We had been trying again for 8 months before Tyler deployed. So many people told me that women are more fertile after a miscarriage and/or D&C. Well, what the fuck was wrong with me? Then, my husband leaves for 9 months to a war-zone. Nine months is the length of a school year. The duration of a pregnancy. I was frustrated because we were at a standstill, and my anxiety was sky high as I was worried every day for Tyler’s safety. I thought it was cruel of the universe to have us endure the miscarriage, trouble trying to conceive again, then allow a deployment.

 

  • I didn’t feel strong AT ALL. I’d hear it all the time. “You’re so strong” or “How do you do it?” or “I’d never be able to do it”. Ironically, that year was probably the weakest I had ever been in my entire life. More tears were shed, more alcoholic beverages were consumed (this does NOT help depression and anxiety at all, I know that), and more emotions took over me than ever before. However, I hid it. I was fine at work (in fact, probably more than fine)- I put a smile on my face, did what I had to do, and learned a lot, but behind closed doors in my own home was another story.

 

  • Resentfulness. Once my emotions were unleashed and my misery surfaced, I felt resentful towards family and friends that seemed like they didn’t care. Some may say this is selfish, but when you quickly do a downward spiral, you aren’t thinking very clearly or logically. I mean, I knew the whole world wasn’t going to come to a complete halt because Kim felt sad- I’m not an idiot. And if anyone asked how I was doing, you better believe 9 times out of 10 I said okay or good, so how the hell would anyone even know? My mom, aunt, and best friend knew, but they know me. Often times when you over analyze things too much, you create problems that weren’t even there to begin with. Perhaps this is what I did, but I remember thinking, “What is the point of having relationships if people aren’t there in time of need? Losing the baby, month after month of trying and tests, and now husband is across the world and I’m alone in Texas”. Dramatic, I know ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it’s how I felt, and I’m not going to be ashamed about it anymore.

 

  • Jealousy. It is one of the ugliest feelings, yet I felt it often. When I first started working at my job, I’d feel it all the time as children are around a lot. I’d look at their parents and think, “Are you fucking kidding me? How did these dopes get blessed with a kid and we can’t?”. I’m not sure how it happened, but a few months before Tyler got home, I suddenly stopped being jealous and simply thought about how damn cute (or annoying) they were. Social media is another monster in itself. Some people don’t see the big hairy deal about social media and why people get all bent about it. If you’re one of those people, good for you. But back then, I’d think, “This isn’t Facebook- this is freaking Babybook”.

Pregnancy and birth announcements flooded my feed. Before I go any further, let me get one thing clear: Although these announcements put me in tears (or a sob fest depending on how stable I was that day), I was always, and always will be, genuinely happy for the couple. I may have not been doing well myself, but I’d never wish ill upon others. I truly believe that many people are naive to how seeing the announcements (or statuses bitching about pregnancy all the time. It’s one thing to vent once in a while, and believe me- I want to hear about experiences in late pregnancy. Or holding their belly in every.single flipping.photo- it’s like women thing it’s going to fall off or something for Pete’s sake) can be a trigger. If one has only experienced falling pregnant easily and have a happy, healthy pregnancy, they don’t know any better!

The point is, I felt all of these things while wishing away my days so I could just feel my husband in my arms again. Women’s belly’s and families were growing while my goal was to just try to function like a normal human being in public. I told my doctor about how I was feeling in the midst of it all, and she prescribed me the lowest dose of Zoloft. I took it for a couple of months, but I didn’t really feel any differently and didn’t want to increase my dosage (don’t ask me why).

After my husband returned and we took a trip home, I called Military One Source to get in touch with a therapist in the area. Military One Source offers support to the military community, and one of the benefits they offer is counseling for pretty much anything! I knew that I still wasn’t myself and I realized that while being back in the Midwest. I was connected with a lady here in Texas and did six sessions (you get 12 for free for each circumstance. I also did 12 sessions when we first moved here). Honestly, it was hard with my work schedule and her schedule to fit in sessions, but as I mentioned earlier in this post, this lady opened my eyes to why I feel or act certain ways.

I’ve also learned that instead of trying to fight the situations in life that you can’t control- you MUST come to peace with them. You cannot control other people’s action’s, but you can certainly control how you react to them. This concept is obviously way easier said that done, haha. I’ve had my fair share of outbursts, but I’m getting better at accepting the person or the situation at it is. It’s a work in progress ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Estes Park. So thankful my BFF asked me to join her on this trip.

One more thing I should mention- I was never very religious which you can read about HERE. I started really thinking about religion in June, and it wasn’t until I went to Colorado with my best friend in August that I started opening my heart up to it more. I don’t have to be super religious and go to church every Sunday to have faith. I know some people that are like that but are actually complete turds in real life. We see that type of shit on the news as well. I’m not going to discuss now as there will be another post about this topic, but it’s something I wanted to touch on briefly as it’s also slowly helped bring me a sense of peace. And I don’t get annoyed anymore when people say that they’re praying for us. Instead, I truly believe it and appreciate the fact that they care so much about us to do so (my hubby’s view on religion is the same though! haha).

This post was hard for me to write as it took me back to some dark days and disagreements I had with others. Depression and anxiety can be so incredibly consuming, no matter how good you think you’re hiding it. A smile only goes so far, and those that know you best or are closest to you will recognize that behind it are tears…Know that it’s okay to feel the way you do, but remember- you have to help yourself instead of solely relying on others to help you ๐Ÿ™‚

Why I can’t Keep My Mouth Shut

Throughout the past two years, I’ve been asked a couple of times (honestly I think it’s like twice, haha) why I blog which was mostly pertaining to infertility stuff. As I mentioned before, I didn’t really know what the heck I was doing when I started blogging, and honestly, I still absolutely suck at the technical side of it all (if anyone wants to help, PLEASEย  let me know. I don’t know how to change anything! We’ll be best friends ๐Ÿ˜‰ jk). When I got pregnant, I thought, “Alright, cool. I’m going to document this so family and friends across the country and world can kind of watch it all”. When things didn’t go as planned, I didn’t know what to do with myself, the blog- pretty much anything. I was at a standstill, and quite frankly, I was embarrassed and ashamed that we had announced our pregnancy when we did at 10 weeks (four weeks later we found out we lost the baby at a routine ultrasound).

Since our Facebook friends and family knew about us expecting, I was afraid that we’d be asked how I/the baby was doing and I knew it would be weird to some as to why I hadn’t given any updates or posted any photos (I’m sure I have a lot of creepers, haha). I mean, people would probably eventually realize why, but I’ve learned that there are a lot of dumb asses in the world so you never know ๐Ÿ˜‰ We decided that I’d write a Facebook status just giving a general idea of our loss. And you know what? The out pour of support I got was amazing. Instead of crying tears of sorrow, I cried because I felt less alone and cared for, by many of whom weren’t even “friends” or family!

Those texts, phone calls, and messages were huge contributors as to why I didn’t do a complete nose dive. People (even a few guys!) that I hadn’t talked to in years sent well wishes, and many shared their stories about their personal losses as well. They made me realize just how many of us suffer from miscarriages or infertility but keep it to themselves. That is totally okay, but I’d go freaking crazy. Perhaps part of the reason why is because we’re here in Texas and I’m nowhere near my close family and friends, so besides Tyler and our dogs, I don’t have anyone. But there’s another explanation….

I kept a diary in elementary school. It went a little like this:

“Dear Diary,

Today I wore bright purple shorts, and white shirt, and a flowered vest. I slicked my hair back (a girl asked me one time if I used cement to push it back, but nope, it was just a shit ton of hair spray) and wore white shoes. I got my braces tightened yesterday and my teeth really hurt. My friends and I didn’t fight today, and [insert the boy I liked that week here] didn’t talk to me AT ALL. BOO ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Maybe tomorrow will be my lucky day! After school I did my homework, played outside, ate spaghetti, and watched Mrs. Doubtfire with my brother tonight.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Love, Kim”

I actually have them all and they’re hilarious to read. Then, In 7th/8th grade, I started to keep a journal. It was pretty much a diary with poems scattered throughout. I was pretty effing deep as a 13 year old ๐Ÿ˜‰ This continued on until the middle/end of my junior year when I stopped completely, but resumed after I graduated high school (my lost or floundering years, haha).

You see, I’ve always loved to write as I like to express my feelings and my truths. Blogging became an outlet to do so. I must mention, I tried keeping another handwritten journal about a year ago which lasted a whole two days as typing is a billion times faster and my hand got super tired ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So this is my objective throughout our journey- I hope to become more actively involved in the infertility community. I hope my posts reach those that are struggling, have experienced a loss, or that know someone who is. I’m sure that it has to be difficult and awkward to watch your daughter, sister, friend- whatever- be on a roller coaster of emotions. I want to go beyond the blog, whether it’s in other virtual communities or in my own here in Texas. Infertility and loss is hard enough in itself, but being a military spouse can sometimes add a few more obstacles to it (I’ll be writing more about this soon). My intentions of blogging may be selfish as I want to express my feelings while taking note of what’s up throughout our journey, but I also truly want to give back. There are people out there that knows what it feels like- you are notย alone.

So peeps, THAT is why I can’t keep my mouth shut ๐Ÿ™‚

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That’s what we got to say about that ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Behind The Scenes

A few days ago, THIS article popped up on my Newsfeed on Facebook. It was posted on one of the many infertility groups that I’m a member of (not necessarily active- it’s nice to feel less alone), and intrigued me so I clicked on it. Please- read this article. I know that everyone goes through difficult times in life whether it be an illness, death, divorce, job loss, depression, or just a sudden crisis. However, this post not only greatly illustrates what a hidden subject infertility is, but how couples often mask the roller-coaster emotions of sadness, hope and despair, and heartache.

This post is opening up some [mended] wounds, but it’s something I wanted to share. It’s been two years since our loss, and though we’ve gotten some answers and a plan set in place, our dreams still are not fulfilled. I’ve put together some photos or thoughts of things we have gone though.

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El Paso Zoo. August 30, 2013.

The photo above is when I was 12/13 weeks pregnant. Obviously my tata’s liked the pregnancy hormones a lot (I went up an entire cup size in a matter of weeks)…Anyways, Tyler planned a date day and took us to the zoo and then to Babies R Us where we started our registry. He was leaving for the field in a few weeks and wouldn’t be back until mid November, so starting it together was important to us. Looking back, it was such a fun and satisfying day, but after we found out about our loss, I couldn’t look at these photos as I knew we had lost the baby around this time or a couple of days prior.

 

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September 2013.

Tyler LOVES the Chicago Bears. We don’t get all of the games down here in Texas, so Tyler bought me a Bears shirt (Amazon!) and we’d go to Pizza Hut down the road to watch. Two days after this photo was taken, we’d find out that we’d miscarried. Every Sunday after that, I’d order a beer while I did my homework and tried to smile and root for our home team.

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On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, TJ and I headed over the the Mendoza Clinic on East Bliss to get an ultrasound done (separately- he had to go to work after) . You can read about our story HERE. What I didn’t write about is how I only told my mom (and asked her to tell the family) and my best friend what had happened. That Tyler got off his work day to come home with me, and that I laid in bed next to him for 18 hours going through intervals of crying and sleeping in his arms. That I woke up the next morning pissed off and insisted he went to work as I went to class. I wore a Chicago Cubs baseball hat and my glasses the next couple of weeks to help disguise my puffy eyes.

601526_10102861679573128_83870456_nI took the photo above on my way to class one day a few weeks after. It was a crisp Fall day which isn’t very common in West Texas, but the view was absolutely beautiful. It was then that I promised myself that I wouldn’t allow myself fall into the deep hole of depression that I had one foot wallowing in…and that I might be an old graduate, but I was gonna rock the fuck out of the last semester. And I did… but perhaps it was for the wrong reasons.

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ย 1240234_10102846395662208_1893510720_nThe photo above shows me happily cuddling with Wrigley and potentially studying. I posted this five days after we received the news (no one knew publicly yet) and I still had not had a D&C (it would take another week and a half- ridiculous). I’d come home from class, do any homework, essays, or study, then shower and change and lay in bed the rest of the night. Wriggles must’ve sensed my sadness as he laid with me all the time.

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My beautiful mom and me ๐Ÿ™‚

December 2013. Tyler and I went home to Indiana for 10 days for Christmas. Based on my OPK’s, I was ovulating a few days before we left (which ended up being a freaking joke as my blood tests showed I had not ovulated but my LH surged enough to cause positive tests). You need to get at it before ovulation because once you drop an egg, you’re dunzo for the month. Long story short, I ended up having a 30 day cycle and starting my period on Christmas Day. With his family. And I just wanted to lay in bed all day, but I had to act strong- like everything was normal. The only thing that brought me comfort was staying at my moms, which isn’t a great thing when you’re married & visiting family. I told Tyler earlier that month that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a baby…

Two weeks later, while blowing out my birthday candles, I made the same wish. Neither came true.

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ย May 2015. Tyler and I went home for 7 days a month after he came back from Afghanistan. I had gone home in October and January for long weekends when he was deployed, but he had not seen his family since Christmas 2013.ย  I mentioned multiple times for him to go home solo, but he wouldn’t budge and insisted on me going with. This was a huge mistake, and the moment we stepped foot onto Midway airport when we were flying back to Texas was when I vowed to myself that I’d go with my gut from that day forth.

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My mom’s place and my uncle and aunt’s home are where I find true comfort and belonging.

You see, a few months prior, my dad and his girlfriend planned to throw a little party for him and his safe arrival home. They even contacted my mom to be a part of the planning, and they both worked together to iron out the details of food preparations, decorations, and inviting family and friends from both of their sides. We didn’t have a wedding, so this was BIG for me. Many family members had not met Tyler before, and a few even traveled 3 hours just to attend! However, I was full of anxiety the whole morning while getting ready and going to my dads.

It didn’t help that I was on Femara that month, but I had gotten my period the night before- and it was FULL on. Come to find out, my progesterone was the highest ever recorded thus far, so no wonder why I was a ball of hormones the whole week we were home to visit.

So, I ended up getting pretty drunk. I was stressed and upset and wanted to let go that day. Doing that the night before an early morning flight wasn’t very smart, but lesson learned ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  Anyways, I asked Tyler to come back after he visited family again….but this was not well received upon some, and I may be deemed selfish. There aren’t any photos of us together during this trip home which is pretty sad. Things may not be what they used to be, but we pushed through it together.

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11811332_10105336307683558_3626875895279024983_nSecond failed round of Femara above. I cried and showered, then got ready. We had the day off together and went to the movies, Blockbuster (get used DVDs and BluRays for cheap!), and lunch, then went home to have wine and make dinner together. I laid in bed that night laughing, joking, and watching movies with my Big, but thoughts of when we’d hold a baby in our arms still entered my mind.

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You see, there is more to life than what is shared on a Facebook status, Tweet, or Instagram photo. We post statuses that portray how awesome our lives are or pictures that show happy times or when we think we look good. I’m by no means saying we should all start airing out our dirty laundry. I don’t want to read negative shit all of the time, but I want people to just be freaking real.ย  I’d get sucked into such a failure mode sometimes that I’d ask Tyler if it upsets him that his exes and friends all have a kid(s). His answer is always the same….Never- and I’m his baby mama that he was destined to be with, and he didn’t choose them for a reason ๐Ÿ˜‰

So please, be gentle and kind to people, especially if they have opened up about their struggles. There are always two sides to every story or picture. If you’re reading this and feel lost- message me. One of the many things I’ve learned is how important and comforting it is to have someone to talk to when you’re feeling down. I won’t have all of the answers, but I’ll certainly try to make you smile ๐Ÿ™‚

Changes on the Blog

Over the past several months, I’ve debated whether or not I should shut my site down all together or continue on. I’ve been super sporadic, pretty much only posting fertility updates (or perhaps I should be calling them infertility updates? Whatever- you know what I mean!). After spending some time thinking about what I want out of my life, I decided to keep on…and go further ๐Ÿ™‚

When I first started blogging, I thought that my blog needed a niche. It overwhelmed and discouraged me as I truly didn’t feel that I fit in anywhere. I wasn’t a healthy lifestyle blogger despite eating and creating healthy meals for my husband and I and exercising. I wasn’t a fashion blogger because I like the sale/clearance rack and get more excited about cute work out clothes (although a few good pairs of nice fitting jeans are a must. And I love shoes!). I wasn’t a mommy blogger because I’m not a mom.

Writing about the miscarriage was therapeutic for me. Months of trying to conceive turned into two years (with a deployment thrown in there). THAT became what I was passionate about- being a military wife trying to overcome infertility, molding a career for myself in a border city, and dealing with a deployment.

 

Cheers to this ๐Ÿ™‚

I realized that I don’t need a niche. I’m not doing this for anyone but myself, although connecting with many amazing women along the way has been awesome! Friendships have been created or resurfaced because of this little space of mine, and it honestly got me through one of the darkest times of my life.

So here’s my plan.

  • I’ve been asked on several occasions for recipes for photos that I’ve posted of meals (or smoothies!) that I’ve made. I will be posting a healthy recipe of some sort once a week.
  • I plan on discussing something that I either come across online or that I’m going through with infertility or IVF once a week. I want to share knowledge that I’ve gained because I know how shitty it can be, especially if you’re at a military installation that doesn’t have great treatment in this department.
  • This is more for me, but I want to give a recap of our week or weekend to look back on. I have a 3 year gratitude book where you have a few lines to scribble a few sentences about your day. I don’t know how the eff this is so hard for me to do, but I tend to do it once a week at most and end up scratching my head about what the hell happened that day. I think a quick weekly post about this will help in that department ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I also want to share some of my DIY projects, crafts, or inexpensive small renovations, but I’m not planning on dedicated weekly posts to this. However, I have a few cute things I’ve done and I’m definitely going to let you in on them!

Great quote, but my dreams have been redonk lately and about dinosaurs- not about hope. WTF :/

This change will take place over the next few weeks, so it won’t be sudden ๐Ÿ™‚ Another thing- I tend to have a bad mouth and write as I would speak. This can be a good and bad thing. I try to find a happy medium between the two- I don’t want to deny who I am and try to act all proper, but then again I don’t want to sound like a white trash sailor.

I hope the rest of the week treats you all well. Luckily, I’m off tonight (although tomorrow night at work may be a beast), and I’m looking forward to some Monday night football and homemade cheeseburgers grilled my hubby (93% lean grass-fed, no antibiotic/hormone) and baked sweet potato fries and green beans compliments of moi ๐Ÿ˜‰ He leaves again tomorrow which sucks a huge one ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Have a great night!

 

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes….IVF ????

Well, after a meeting with our GYN here back in June, then having two consultations with different Reproductive Endocrinologists in the Phoenix area, we have ultimately decided to move forward and plan on doing IVF (in vitro fertilization). We will also be doing ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) and more than likely PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) with it. I’ll briefly explain what are three procedures are, then answer a few questions that I have been asked.

IVF- Basically, it’s the process of taking the women’s eggs that she produces out of her body with a long needle and putting them into a lab dish with sperm in hopes that they will combine, then transferring an embryo (or embryos) back into a woman’s body. Now it’s much more complicated that that, haha. There are various protocols for different doctors, but a women is typically on birth control from 2-3 weeks to shut down her ovaries and control her cycle. A few days after the last pill is taken, she should have menstrual cycle (I was told it could be very light), and then monitoring via ultrasound and blood work begins as she starts on medication. Injections are then added to the mix to help produce lots of eggs.  The woman is usually put under during the retrieval of the eggs.

You can either do a fresh or frozen cycle. If it’s fresh, the embryos are put back inside 3-5 days after the retrieval. If it’s frozen, you don’t do the transfer until the following cycle. I’ve heard that more and more doctor’s are doing frozen cycles as they are more successful overall (this is what both of the RE’s we spoke with do), but there’s obvious success with both. The woman is NOT put out during the transfer, but is supposed to take it easy for a few days (and sometimes even be on bed rest) in hopes that implantation will occur.

ICSI- ICSI is simply used in combination with IVF. The meds and montoring are done the same way, but after the retrieval, the embryologist actually directly injects a sperm into an egg instead of just hoping they will combine in the lab dish. This is more effective when you have a male factor involved (as we do) or if the woman does not produce many eggs. Yes, it costs extra, but it’s obviously worth it!

PGS- This is a screening that is sometimes controversial.One or more cells are removed from each embryo to check for any chromosomal abnormalities. When an embryo has a chromosomal abnormality, there is a high chance that it will not implant; thus, the IVF cycle will obviously fail. However, it if does implant, it will often times lead to miscarriage. There’s the whole debate between people on how embryos are already considered a form of life and shouldn’t be messed with. I’m not here to discuss this issue. At first I didn’t think twice about this screening as it’s pretty pricey (about $3,000-$5,000 extra on top of the IVF/ICSI), but Tyler was all for it as it will decrease our risk of miscarriage and increase our chances of a live birth. Only embryos that pass the screening will be transferred back into me.

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Had to insert this little prom pose photo from the ball in July to break up the text, haha.

Hopefully that makes things a bit more understandable about the process ๐Ÿ™‚ You can read about why we chose to go the IVF route HERE.

I’ll save our tentative plan for next time, but here’s a few questions that I’ve been asked lately:

 

Does your insurance cover it? No, Tricare does not cover IUI or IVF. Basically, anything that is not being done in conjunction with timed intercourse isn’t covered. However, there are a few military bases across the country that do these procedures at a discounted rate. The closest one to us is in San Antonio, and I was actually referred there by my GYN but was denied as they were not accepting new patients then. There are a few reasons why we chose not to go to a military hospital that offers treatment. First of all, you have to be there for about 3 weeks total. That’s a long ass time and you obviously have to pay for travel and lodging expenses. Tyler wouldn’t need to be there the whole time with me, but still. Secondly, each hospital does the IVF in clusters and they only do the cycles 3-4 times a year. I understand the concept to it, but what the hell. Also, they do fresh cycles and do not do the PGS. So there’s that ๐Ÿ™‚

Hopefully this is true ๐Ÿ™‚

Where will you be doing this? I spent weeks researching RE’s in the Southwest cities that are within driving distance from El Paso and Fort Huachuca, AZ- Albuquerque, Tuscan, and Phoenix. I looked into Colorado Springs, but that’s almost 12 hours from Huachuca and that would be God awful sitting in a car for that long feeling like shit on stims or sick after the retrieval. Plus, I need to be able to do this drive on my own if need be, and I ain’t driving that far ๐Ÿ˜‰ After viewing websites and reviews, I found a few doctor’s in Phoenix that caught my eye and narrowed it down to two. The facility we are doing this at is in Gilbert, AZ- and the ironic part is that the building is literally right next door to the apartments I lived in back in 2008/2009. Like I could see my old balcony from the office, haha.

We dropped off our medical records before we met with another RE in early August and were both highly impressed with the facility, New Direction Fertility. After a mix-up about a phone consultation two weeks ago, we were able to rescheduled for last Friday night. Tyler and I spoke with the doctor on speaker phone, and he answered everything thoroughly and then some. This doctor was the only one that found that I have elevated AMH levels which is a sign of PCOS. I have been told for almost two years that I don’t have PCOS (no multiple cysts, no facial hair, high testosterone levels, not overweight, not resistant to insulin), but elevated AMH levels can make it more difficult to conceive. My AMH was 7.62ng/ML, so while it’s nothing out of this world, it’s not within normal range for my age.

The doc also seems to work well with out-of-state patients making it as easy as possible. IVF is a very time consuming, emotional and physically challenging procedure, so anything that will help me understand and relax is appreciated. Him and his wife suffered from infertility and they now have two sets of twins from IVF which he did himself!

Why are you going straight to IVF and not going to attempt IUI first? I mentioned that in my previous post, but to be more specific, it’s due to success rates and finances. The RE we are seeing does IUI’s for a pretty good price and said he thinks we could get pregnant in 3-4 rounds of it. Key word is “thinks”. While we know that IVF is not a sure thing, the chances of success are about 70-75% (with PGS) compared to the 7% with IUI. We also had to think about traveling to Phoenix for each round and the emotional stress of it. Plus, IUI might not work and then we would proceed to IVF so we’d be paying more in the long run.

Lmao. This should be interesting as I was such a treat on Clomid :/

That’s all I’ve got for now, but please don’t hesitate to ask any questions! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I understand that everyone has their own different views and opinions not only about advanced reproductive procedures, but about our journey as well. While I’m willing to discuss it all as I know it’s a sensitive, taboo, and sometimes embarrassing or shameful topic, I just want it to be known that it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around it all. We are more than ready for the next chapter in our lives (not just meaning pregnancy and parenthood), and I’m both scared and excited about what the next several months will hold for us ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

June 2015 Fertility & TTC Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done an fertility update…or any sort of post for that matter. I’ll be honest- since Tyler got home two months ago, I have really had no desire to blog. With working 40+ hours a week, my free time has been devoted to normal day-to-day activities and spending time with him. It’s been nice to kinda just live in the moment, and quite frankly, I really don’t have much to say at this point in my life, haha. Sure, I could document our meals and work outs and recap our days/dates, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon ๐Ÿ˜‰ For now, I’m just going to give an update on what’s been going on with this whole trying for a baby thing.

First of all, I started taking 5mg of Femara (Letrozole) late April (my cycle actually started the day before Tyler got home, haha. Talk about sucky timing, but it enabled us to start fertility meds quite quickly! I had VERY little side effects compared to Clomid. This time, I only experienced extreme fatique and headaches while on it from cycle days 5-9. I also had a lot of bloating around ovulation and while that was uncomfortable, it wasn’t unbearable by any means. I used OPKs and got a positive around cycle day 15….AND my Day 21 labs showed that my progesterone was 29- the highest it’s EVER been!!!! I seriously listened to my doctor’s voice mail on repeat and cried a little, haha. Unfortunately, we didn’t conceive.

This past cycle we did the same protocol with Femara. My OPKs were positive on cycle day 15 and my Day 21 labs were even better- 37!!!!! Unfortunately, it didn’t work again, but I’m happy with how my body has responded with this medicine.

We got some unfortunate news a couple of weeks ago regarding Tyler’s sperm analysis results. It showed a significant decrease in sperm count (10 million/ml), mobility (40%) and shape (8%). I had an appointment with our doctor a few days ago, and she put in a referral for Tyler to see a Urologist and requested for another analysis to be done. We have a follow up appointment in 3 weeks to go over what the Urologist says after an examination and to compare the two test results. However, she said if the second test did not show an increase, she would higher recommend in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This came as a huge surprise to be as I was adamant that she was going to say IUI. I will make a post about the differences between IVF and IUI within a military setting (somewhat different that a civilian setting) and the pro’s and cons of each, but right now, we are just trying to wrap our minds around this new information. IVF is quite expensive, but it is much more successful that IUI. It is also much more invasive and harder on the woman’s body that IUI, but then again, more successful.

We are researching IVF and talking about our options in case this is the route we decide to go. The military hospitals do IVF in cycles- there is one currently going on now and the next cycle should be in September/October….so our doctor said we could potentially get things going quite quickly. We will see what we find out over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I will not be doing another round of Femara this cycle (doc said it would be pointless) so it’ll be interesting to see if my body ovulates on it’s own. I’ll continue to take Pregnitude, a prenatal vitamin, and will be taking Vitex as well. I ordered TJ Fertilaid and Motility boost off Amazon (doctor suggested this although I had already bought it prior to our appointment), so we shall see if that helps.

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We are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary next weekend, and I can’t wait! Though things may not have been picture perfect compared to some marriages with this whole trying to conceive thing and the deployment, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

My Big Sexy is HOME… and a Few Life Updates

I’m SO incredibly happy to announce that Tyler is home! Though he spent a few days traveling and stuck in airports (DFW and AA suck…sorry, but I’ve had a few bad experiences myself), he finally landed in El Paso last Saturday afternoon. Words can’t describe what it felt like to see him again….Honestly, it felt surreal, and in a way, it still kinda does. I guess that’s what nearly 10 months apart does to you, haha.

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My heart is home.

I was off Saturday, Sunday, and Monday but it was a whirlwind. We spent our days just being together and doing shit that needed to be done, in addition to some fun things such as activating our new phones (I love you iPhone 6) and buying new bedding (still need to get some accent pillows and make some dรฉcor). Papa Murphy’s pizza and wine was his choice of meal upon his return home, so I had that waiting for him ๐Ÿ™‚

We put together this TV stand (this bitch weighed like 70 pounds so I couldn’t do it solo) and he installed a few other things he ordered while he was gone. His army room/our work out roomย (our 3rd bedroom) looks like a tornado went through it, but I honestly could give a rat. As much as we may butt heads sometimes, it’s amazing to look over and see him next to me or hear him call my name.

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Yes, that is indeed Nintendo 64 ๐Ÿ™‚

On a different note, I started my period the day before Tyler got home (well, on Thursday the 23rd- he was supposed to be home the following day but came home the 25th). It was the first time in 7 months that my cycle was relatively normal (33 day as opposed to 45+). That was pretty awesome timing ๐Ÿ˜‰ As much as the timing sucked, it was nice to get things rolling early.

I started Femara (Letrozole) a few days ago… today was actually my last day taking it which is cycle day 9. I’ll write another post comparing my side effects of this medicine to Clomid. Tyler got his blood work done yesterday and will go in for another sperm analysis within the next 2 weeks.

I’m cutting this post short, but for those of you that keep up with my blog- I apologize for such infrequent posts. My life was honestly work, cleaning, working out, Netflix, playing with our dogs, and grocery shopping/meal prepping the past several months. I was just in survival mode without him, haha ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully now I can add something more and be more motivated to upload my crafts and recipes. If you don’t already, you should follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Cheers to a great weekend and my husband returning home safely from his 3rd deployment ๐Ÿ™‚

Focusing on What I Have, Rather Than What I’m Without.

So we are in the last stretch of this deployment…Things have slowed down a little bit at work, I made my last quick trip back home to Indiana in January, and now things are just kinda whatever.

Throughout the past week or so, I’ve seen three Facebook pregnancy announcements. Before I go any further, I want it to be known that I’m truly happy – for real. But part of me still gets emotional. I get pissed that we are losing out on 9 months of our lives not only trying to make a baby, but making memories together in the meantime. Then I get ashamed that I’m mad because I’m scared and worried for my husband and his safety.

I cannot control any of this. I CAN control what is in my life now, and I want to write about what I’m grateful for in the present moment.

  • ย Family- Tyler and I both have awesome families. My familial situation transpired into a much happier place, and I honestly couldn’t have married into a better family. My brother and sister are my best friends (as is Megan P), and while I don’t talk to my parents all the time, our relationships are better than ever.
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Bad photo, but all of us kids with our parents together…and TJ ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Me with Tyler’s parent’s, nieces, and grandma…and their dogs, Molly and Mike! My sister and brother-in-law were out of town that weekend I flew home ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Old picture, but one of my favorites. My MIL with my SIL, BIL, and their two girls!

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My uncle and aunt. I can’t talk about them without tearing up…they gave me a true home, support, and unconditional love. I was ashamed and bitter about my immediate family situation for a long time, but I realized had that not occurred, I may not have been blessed with getting to know these two amazing people as I did.

  • ย My Best Friend- I don’t talk about my social life on my blog much…but I want it to be known today how absolutely thankful I am for her friendship. I met Megan in 6th grade, and while we’ve had our fair share of turbulence, she is the one thing that has remained constant in my life over the 18 years. Together we’ve endured obnoxious arguments, fun vacations, personal challenges, life lessons, and just everyday bullshit. Megan…I’ve told you before, but you’ve picked me up when I’ve been down, and never judged me. We may have sucked at being roommates, but our friendship is one thing that I have never doubted. You’ve been there for me during my darkest hours and brightest days. I hope that I have reciprocated this friendship. I love you and your family…and thank you for being a part of my life.
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7th grade!

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My best girl a few days before we moved to Texas. June 2012.

On a different note, I’ve also had to end ties with a friendship or two. Relationships are a two-way street, and if efforts are reciprocated, then really…what’s the point? In addition, people simply grow apart. Instead of dwelling on on the relationship, it’s sometimes better just to face reality and accept that things have changed. And that’s okay ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Our Dogs- Stiffler has been Tyler’s light and joy since the day he got him (before my time). He’s gone through a handful of mommy’s, but it makes me feel good knowing that he will finally come to me when we are out at the dog park. A few years ago, he basically would look at me say say “F you” and run away ๐Ÿ˜ฆ As far as Wrigley goes… Tyler asked me what kind of dog I wanted a few years ago. I know we could’ve gone to the pound, but we didn’t. I knew what I wanted. Long story short:

My mom and her ex would go through wild breakups, and in the midst of one, she said we could finally have a dog. I liked my ex’s dogs, which were Weimaraner’s, but wanted something smaller. It was between a vizsla or a German short-haired pointer. We found a breeder in Michigan that had vizsla’s up for adoption, so that’s what we went with. We all drove 4 hours to pick out/up our pup…Chris and Kath were playing with the puppies, and while I stood in a corner and one little guy ran up to me and just sat there, starring at me. I scooped him up and he was the cutest, most loving, and calm puppy ever. I promptly went over to the kids and my mom and said he was the one. And his name was Charlie.

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I can’t go through old photos, so here is one I found on Facebook of CharChar.

Much more goes into this, but I couldn’t have Charlie, so my ex took care of him after we broke up. I’d still go to see him from time to time or we would meet at the dog park, but it wasn’t the same- and it broke my heart. I was working and going to school, trying to get my life on track. I vowed NEVER to get a pet again until I was financially secure. Then enters Tyler. It may sound effed up, but I wanted another vizsla. I loved Charlie (he was unfortunately aggressive towards some women and children, but NEVER towards me), and TJ and I even tried to figure out how we could go get him (unfortunately, wasn’t possible). I found a breeder outside of San Antonio, and TJ didn’t hesitate. We drove there and back to verify and pick out our pup, then there and back again after he was ready to come home. Although we knew we wanted a male, I couldn’t decide which puppy, so I made Tyler. And he chose the fattest….Wrigley was seriously pawing and making noises at his brothers and sisters in the fenced in area, haha.

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Cutest little disaster ever!

This little guy is the light of my life. He follows me everywhere- even into the bathroom. I’ve taught him to sit, lay, and shake….woo! He sleeps with me at night- HAS to be laying on me somehow- his head, legs..anything! On a side note, I truly do love Stiffler, and I’m happy that Wrigley can help keep him young. Stiff is well-mannered, isn’t a lunatic, and comes when I call him. We’ve come a long way ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A few weeks after we brought Wrigley home. One of my favorite photos.

  • ย My Job- Keeps my busy and I work with some awesome people. I’m not a field I’m educated in (in certain aspects), so it can be challenging, but I’ve learned a lot thus far. I’ve also made peace with not beating myself up over where I’m at in my life career-wise. But you know what? I have an amazing husband of over two and a half years who would do just about anything for me and supports me. We have some future endeavors in mind that I’m excited about, so I know this chapter in my life isn’t forever. It’s merely just a stepping stone ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t freaking wait until Tyler comes home. I’m excited and scared and nervous all at the same time…Until then, I’m going to get our house in order. I’ve already filled two huge garbage bags of stuff we don’t need/want anymore (we meaning I, haha), and started deep cleaning. Cleaning blinds is a bitch BTW.

* What are you thankful for?

* Have you ever had to pull the plug on long-time friendships?

TTC and Religion…????

Trying to conceive and religion. Yes, this is a touchy and taboo subject, but I’m going there. More specifically, gearing more towards miscarriages and infertility and trying to conceive. This post is coming from my heart- what’s been on my mind lately.

Iย  very recently came across a blog post with a pregnancy announcement which is awesome news. I want to make it clear that although these announcements tug at my heart and sometimes make me shed a tear or two, I’m genuinely happy for the couple. However, this announcement made me slightly cringe for the following reasons. She was bitching about not conceiving although only trying for a mere 4-5 months. Yes, weeks and months drag when you’re TTC, but come on now. I know blogs are a place for people to express their thoughts and opinions…but some peopleย  may give the side eye when hearing others complain about bringing a second/third child into the world is taking too long on their specific timeline.

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What irked me the most was the comment “God is Good!!!!” and “Everything happens in God’s time!” when conveying the announcement. Alright lady. So God is good to you…but what about me? Or the thousands of other women who have experienced a loss or infertility or just simply trying to drop a damn egg and ovulate on their own?

Is it because God doesn’t feel like the time is right? Or because he doesn’t think they’d be good parents? Or because they aren’t suited for each other?

I’m sorry, but I think it’s downright rude. Would God like you to be rude and condescending? I don’t think so.

It’s simply a matter of freaking science, although many may disagree. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be spending so much time with doctor’s appointments and monitoring my hormone levels while my husband is thousands of miles away (in a warzone), so we can approach things the best way possible when he gets home as I’ll be hitting nearly 30.

I didn’t grow up extremely religious. I’m Catholic. I went to CCD every Wednesday; was baptized,ย  made my communion, and confirmation. However, we typically only went to Church a few Sundays out of the year and on holidays (occasionally). After my parent’s divorced when I was 12, I went to church with my best friend when I’d spend the night with her on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings.

I’m by no means discounting religion. I’d like to believe in a higher power, but that’s it. God didn’t make me meet my husband- I was simply at the right place at the right time. God didn’t pull my head out of my ass and help me graduate college- I did. I simply feel that it’s not fair to solely base God’s timing on conception. Yes, I believe things (sometimes) happen for a reason. What about those who simply cannot conceive on their own? That either need scientific intervention or resort to adoption? Both of these circumstances can result in absolutely beautiful outcomes…

This is a short post, but it’s something I had to express. I don’t like clinging onto bad moods and sometimes writing about it makes me feel better…

Do you think it’s all in God’s hands whether or not someone will conceive or not?