Monday, July 13, 2015

Miss.Conception Coach Fertility Conference


I am so excited to share this conference with you! Chiemi from Miss.Conception Coach is hosting an online fertility conference featuring blogs written by women like me (watch for my post!) who are experiencing (or have experienced) fertility challenges. 

The conference started today and will run for 2-3 weeks so don't miss out! For more information on the conference, visit Miss.Conception Coach and sign up!

Instagram Giveaway | By Hand Prints

I have a confession--I'm not a decorator. Check Pinterest. I have the best intentions and I never follow through. But I've been taking baby steps! Chris and I had a big gallery wall project this fall/winter and I've been picking things up here and there. Slow and steady. 

A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway from By Hand Prints and got the opportunity to work with the owner, Marissa, on a custom print for my bedroom. The week before I had spotted a print that said "love conquers all" and I loved it, but it I had to pick between it and another print (that I loved just as much). So of course, I decided to get a customized "love conquers all" print. Marissa did a beautiful job bringing the idea to life! 


Now, I'm teaming up with Marissa for a giveaway for you! One winner will receive a free print, and two others will recieve a print for 50% off! Those prints are your choice of an existing OR custom design! Entering is really easy--hop on Instagram and repost the giveaway with #girlryannebyhandprints for the chance to win! (ends July 16/USA only) Winner will be announced on Friday! 

In the meantime, visit By Hand Prints at the Etsy Shop, on Facebook and on Instagram for a peek at what Marissa has to offer! 

Good luck!

Friday, July 10, 2015

not every day is easy

i'd been feeling so good. i posted about how great it was to be so relaxed, to not obsess about when i was ovulating. and it was great. in my last post, i wrote about how it's okay to not have good days all the time, and how we are so brave because of what we've been through.

the very next day started one of those "not-so-great" days when i started spotting. last night even brought an argument (for the umpteenth time) about iui #4. i woke up this morning stressed and upset. i spent my shower yelling (in my head) about how everything is working against us and how the universe can kiss my butt and stick "the plan" where the sun don't shine because i'm tired of it. i hit a bird on the way to work. i wanted to cry. 

i'm calmer than i was, but today certainly isn't a great day or an easy day. its a day when i really feel like this is never going to end. you know the kind, when you look back on how long you've been at this and wonder if you'll be at it forever. you wonder if anything will ever change, no matter how fulfilling your life is or all the wonderful things you get to experience. you wonder if it will be hard forever. 

this will pass. it always does. but i do have those questions. will letting go ever come naturally? or will it always be a choice and a struggle? will the other stuff ever really feel like enough? when will life stop feeling like its missing something? 

i don't have those answers and i wish that i did. it would make my life so much easier! in the meantime, i'm trying to take each day, each situation and each emotion as it comes. today isn't great, but tomorrow might be, after all. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

brave

i stumbled on this picture today on pinterest and it really spoke to my heart. i needed to share these words with you.

i don't know where you are today. maybe you got frustrating test results. maybe you got a diagnosis that changes everything. maybe you got a negative pregnancy test, got suprised by a pregnancy announcement, or started your period--again. or maybe you're just feeling the weight of your journey and like you're a little bit lost in the wilderness.

it's okay.

you are on a really tough journey. don't feel like you have to be pollyanna every day. nobody can do that!

but you know what? you are brave. you are strong. you are capable of so much love and compassion. you will be a great momma.

so hang in there, and keep on keeping on. we will get through this. and never forget how brave you are.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Journaling Through Infertility {Week 6}


This summer is flying by! I tell ya. I don't have time for anything. In that spirit, this is the very last day of the series. I'm cramming the last two weeks into one so here we go!
6. If you were to have infinite resources, what would your life look like?
Mmm....this is a fun one. We'd have our forever home, exactly the way we wanted it. We would travel, a lot. We would have the money to eat SUPER healthfully. I would work with a health coach and maybe even a life coach to give me some direction. Retirement would be taken care of. And obviously, infertility would be no obstacle.
7. What scares you about your future?
Honestly? Having to figure out how to be happy if we can't have kids. I've tapped into a little bit of that lately, but with the idea that this isn't permanent. I also fear waking up at 40 years old with no savings and no life experience because I spent nearly 20 years trying to have a baby that was never meant to be. I fear waking up with a whole lot of regret for wasting and wishing away my life on something that I should have let go a long time ago.

Bonus questions:
 What sounds give you comfort?
Water. The ocean was one of the most soothing things I've ever heard, and I love it when it rains heavily and the creek at the back of our house starts flowing. The peace and quiet of nighttime in the country. And music. That varies by day and mood, but music can always soothe my soul.
What have you dreamt about this last week?
I haven't a clue. Most of the time I don't remember my dreams. I remember feelings in the dreams more than the actual events, but I don't think I recall any of my dreams from the last week!

And there you have it! Now you know a little bit more about me and my quirks.

To read past entries, click HERE



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Life Lately

A really good way to describe our life the last few weeks is...hectic. Summer is here in full force, our schedule is filling up and we are about 2 months into both of us being back to work full time. We've been nestling into our routine--the bugs still haven't been totally worked out, but we're getting there. I started a Zumba class with some girls at work. We have something going on every weekend until the first weekend in August. Birthdays, anniversaries, work events, mini-vacations...the days fly by and the weekends aren't any different!

But this is good! It's so good. We still aren't certain what direction we are headed with treatment, and while we're figuring it out it is nice to be busy. 

I couldn't really tell you where I'm at in my cycle, which is a really nice change. I know I haven't ovulated yet, but that's about the extent of it! Starting today we are experimenting with smoothies that incorporate lots of good "extras" for breakfast. The purpose is to increase our intake of fruits and veggies AND give us a good breakfast. And like I said before, I started a Zumba class! I'm going once a week right now, but I plan on increasing to twice a week as I get used to it. When I was figuring out whether or not I could commit to going to class every week, I reminded myself of how much I enjoyed the dance classes I took in college. I was no prima ballerina, but I liked that better than any workout I had tried and I didn't miss a class. I'd love to take a ballet class now, but there aren't any studios close to me! So Zumba it is! Another factor is that I'm going to class with people that I know and am around 5-6 days a week. We keep each other motivated to go and commiserate the next day when we're all hobbling around the bank like old ladies! Once our routine is more settled I'm going to incorporate yoga again, but things have just been in total upheaval lately. Baby steps, yes?

I have a few things coming up around here on the blog that I'm pretty excited about, and hopefully I won't totally abandon my little corner of the internet over the summer. I have no desire to, it's just a matter of finding my way in this new routine.

Hope you all are enjoying these first days of summer! 











Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hysteroscopy | Follow Up

I realized that I never actually posted about my follow up appointment. So here it is!

The short version is that, once again, we have a whole lot of normal.

Now for the long version....

The cyst is cleared up for the most part, meaning that it didn't fill back up after being aspirated. Dr A saw lots of follicles on both ovaries and the tubes look clear.

The cyst fluid was tested and showed no sign of endometriosis. At the time of the procedure, Dr A felt like it could have been an endometrioma, or chocolate cyst.

My blood tests were all normal, and Chris' tests were also good. We suspected as much from what we already knew, but Dr A confirmed it at the appointment.

So what now?

We could do a laparoscopy, but Dr A isn't pushing that because most of the time people like me with no symptoms don't surprise him with full blown endo. We aren't going to do it right now--maybe in the future if I have more cysts and/or start developing symptoms.

We could also go for IUI#4 with different medications: Letrazole and Bravelle. The goal would be about 3 good sized follicles. These medications apparently work differently to develop the follicles than Clomid.

For the moment, we aren't doing anything.

I know, I know. I spent a lot of time being so frustrated by the fact that we couldn't do anything. All I wanted was to be able to stop waiting around. But the decision has everything to do with what I was talking about yesterday. I would like to try another IUI, but we need to at least wait until we have some sick time we can use to avoid taking any more unpaid time off work than we already have. I'm also really enjoying the fact that for the first time in a long time, I'm not worried about it. I'm focusing on other things--upcoming events with family, hubby's company picnic, our birthdays and anniversary, and doing some things for me. It feels so good--a weight has been lifted that has been there for years. So for however long this lasts, I'm going to embrace it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Surrender

Let go. Surrender.

Those words whispered to me for months. Sometimes they got loud. Like when I read this post. It's called: How I Surrendered My Infertility to God...and Got Pregnant. Well, if that's not a straight up sign I don't know what is.

You know what I did? I got angry. Any time I read or heard anything about surrender and letting go, I pictured losing a battle. I pictured failure. I pictured giving up. And then I wondered if I was cut out to be a mom anyway because what kind of mom gives up on her child before they're even conceived?

The whole idea was repulsive to me. I wanted to fight and I wanted to win. I wanted to kick infertility's ass. I am woman, hear me roar.

But then I got an email telling me that my latest test results were available to view. It was like...16 or 17 different tests. And they were normal.  Every. Single. One.

My first reaction was frustration. How could they all be normal? And then? Peace. Suddenly, letting go was no longer repulsive. Surrender was okay. I felt like I had permission to do other things and to love my life just as it was.

I can't begin to tell you how much better I feel. I want to keep looking, keep trying, but I have a different picture of what that will look like. It's going to be more intentional and life is going to keep going. I'm over putting everything on hold, because that has gotten me nowhere.

So what got me here? Honestly, enough things finally just fell into place. The jobs, the tests, the emotions. I'm over day 1 of A Year of Miracles--I use the reflection as my journal prompt for the day. That has been a huge part of all this. And time. It's been years since we started trying. Years. Plural. It's just time.

I mourn our losses and I really wish that I were having a baby this month. I would love to take a magic pill that would just make this infertility nonsense a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that's not what my life looks like. And rather than wish my life away, it's time to just embrace it for what it is. It's a hard choice to make in a lot of ways. But it's healthy and good. It has been a long time coming.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Promises

This morning I opened up "A Year of Miracles" to read and journal, and I read these words:
"A moment of crisis can be a moment of growth, as the wounded self prepares to transform. From the chrysalis of my pain, I will forge my healing--the wings of my newborn self."

The title of the reading is "I do not shrink from the pain of transformation". I thought it was timely, with everything happening this week--follow up with the doctor, baby shower for my brother and his girlfriend, my second "un-due date" coming up, etc.

As I was reading, my phone lit up. My sister had texted me this picture:

She said she saw it and thought of me. It's a funny feeling when things like that happen, isn't it? I absolutely felt like I was supposed to hear a message today: that everything I've been through isn't for nothing. That this pain and struggle will bring forth transformation.

This is a very bittersweet month. I had so many, many hopes for what it would be like that didn't come to be. I have still been finding so much joy in it...but there is something missing that makes my heart ache.

Hearing that promise obviously brings up a torrent of emotions. There is comfort in knowing that it isn't for nothing, but there is a lot of sadness as well because I'm still waiting and missing the little ones who weren't intended for this world.

So this is about trust. Trusting that the promise is true. Trusting that it is intended for good. A reminder to keep hoping and hanging on, because something is happening. I don't know when or how, but I have to trust that it will.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Journaling Through Infertility {Week Five}


So...picking up where I left off! 

5) Describe yourself: What do you not like about your personality? What part of your personality do you love? How can you embrace that more? When you think of your body, what comes to mind? If you dislike what you can see physically, why? When did that dislike start? What do you have to offer to your friends and family?
What do I not like about my personality? I'm indecisive, and I am (situationally) not nearly as assertive as I could/should be. I'm a people pleaser--I would much rather keep my mouth shut than rock the boat.

 What I DO like about my personality is that I am very empathetic and can be quite emotional, I can be very passionate and very driven. I also like that I'm comfortable with a wide variety of people and ages, but I prefer the company of older people--I guess you could say I'm an old soul. 

I have really been working on embracing the qualities I like while also trying to improve on the ones that I don't. Some of that means digging through the past to work on healing in some specific areas so that I CAN be assertive. It means recognizing myself as my own person and acknowledging that it's okay for me to think how I think, believe how I believe and be who I am without worrying so much about how that looks to other people.

My body and I, like most people, have a love-hate relationship. Honestly, I think of my body and instantly think of all the ways it could be better. For instance, it would be better if I were more athletic because then I wouldn't have so much trouble conjuring up the motivation needed to tackle the trouble areas. And speaking of those...when did that even happen?? I don't HATE my body. I just see a lot of room for improvement. But on the other hand, there are moments when I physically feel like a freaking goddess and that's awesome! I want to feel like that all the time! So...baby steps. 

My whole life I've been made aware of (supposedly) less than desirable genes in certain areas of my family, and I remember being told as a young teen that I will probably always struggle with my weight/fitness. I think that really set me up for frustration as I've gotten older! So I'm trying to shift that mindset, but old habits die painfully hard. 

(For an EXCELLENT article on this very topic, check out this post by Elle Griffin at Over the Moon Magazine! It was posted this week and I just love it!)

What do I have to offer? A few months ago, I wouldn't have even known how to answer that. I felt like I couldn't offer anything and MAN was that frustrating! But then, I got a job offer--it's not a dream job or something I see myself doing until I retire, but they wanted me back really bad and that felt amazing. It reminded me that I do have a lot to offer. So of course that has snowballed into other things. As the oldest of my siblings, I can be there to talk them through their challenges and give them a different perspective. I also feel like it falls to me to keep us "together". Not that we're drifting apart, it's just that someone has to be the one to step up and make plans and keep people connected. In that situation, I can definitely be assertive so I use it to my advantage. Those are just a couple of examples but they are the ones that are really relevant right now. 

Remember the time when you were the happiest.
The time when I was the happiest. That's actually a really hard one! It's not that I've never been happy, content or at peace. It's just that there isn't one time that stands out, if that makes sense. If I had to choose, it would be when I was teaching and going to school. Looking back, I thrived in that situation, even though a lot of things about it were stressful. I was really happy at that point. But I will say this too--I am happier right now than I have been...probably since I left the studio. Since then it's been one source of stress after another! I wasn't thrilled with my job (and Chris' wasn't happy in his), then Chris had his accident and we spent a year getting back to normal, we had two miscarriages in 18 months and all kinds of fun tests/treatments for infertility, we bought a house in there somewhere, I've had waves of family drama, we lost my grandpa...it was just nonstop for awhile. But now, things are falling into place left and right and I am in awe. Which is crazy because there's a part of me that wonders how it's possible to feel so totally content when there is a big thing missing in my life. But the rest of me is embracing it and enjoying the ride.

We're almost through! Two more weeks and I'm really excited about these questions!