Monday, August 25, 2014

The Smartest Marriage Advice: Part 2

This is Part 2 of my recap of the Ladies Home Journal article The Smartest Marriage Advice We've Ever Heard. You can read Part 1 here.

This part of the article had the piece of advice that made me laugh out loud. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it was still funny to me.

  • Don't make him the center of your universe. This piece of advice came from the Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage and Eat Pray Love. I loved both books and I love this advice. You need to have guys nights, girls nights, individual interests. You were your own person when your husband fell for you, and it's important to preserve that individuality! I'm a people pleaser and I tend to put myself last so this one is a struggle for me! 
  • Do coddle your marriage--not your spouse. This goes back to the idea of marriage being a living, breathing thing. It has to be nurtured and tended to. If you neglect it, it won't thrive. So do make time for date nights (even at home!) and time with just the two of you on a regular basis. As for not coddling your spouse, I'm not quite sure what the point of that was because it wasn't talked about even in the article! My interpretation--sometimes tough love is needed. Like when hubby wants to buy another new toy and you don't have the money in the budget...or maybe it's you wanting new shoes...or something. 
  • Don't share a bathroom. This is the one I laughed about! Chris and I have really never been on identical schedules to where we have to fight for bathroom space, so this one never even occurred to me! I can see why it would be beneficial, but it hasn't ever been a problem for us!
  • Don't spend in secret. This relates to a previous point I made about tough love. Money is one of the top arguments that couples have and it can really wear on your relationship. Chris and I have really been on the same page financially so we haven't actually ever had a fight about money. Weird, I know! But I think the reason is that we are both really aware of our situation (and watch our accounts!) and talk about things regularly. 
  • Do keep each other guessing. The tip here is to pick out 3 or 4 things that you would like to do (on a weekend, for your birthday, anniversary, date night...) and let your spouse know, asking them to pick one and arrange it. I love this! Some men are just not great at surprises or planning, so this makes it easier for them to do something nice and sweet without the pressure of wondering if you will really like it. 
  • Don't go away mad/Pick your battles/Always kiss goodnight. This is one that I sort of disagree with. I totally agree with part two and three. What I disagree with is the first part. Sometimes Chris and I do better if we step away and sometimes even sleep on it. Often, our disagreements are made worse by being tired, so we tend to do better if we leave it alone for awhile. My opinion on this one is that it totally depends on the couple. 
So what do you think? Individual bathrooms? How about individual bank accounts? And what about stepping away from arguments? 

And next week, we are finishing up! We're talking about marriage being fun, love languages and accepting one another as we are...among a few other things!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Picture of Loss

A copied birth certificate. A condolence card with a tiny square of newsprint enclosed. A headstone in a country graveyard.

That handful of things is all that my great grandmother had after burying her only son. He was born early, and died just a few hours after his birth.

According to the birth certificate, my great grandmother was seven months pregnant when she gave birth to her son on June 23, 1948. She had been in the hospital for three days. She had given birth to two healthy girls years before and as far as anyone knows...it was a fluke. No one really knows what happened or why he came early. At least, not that I've ever been told.

I learned about the birth and death of this baby boy many years ago, when I was too young to understand. I knew that it was a sad thing that happened, and that it must have been horrible. After all, how would I feel about losing one of my siblings? But beyond that, I knew nothing.

Little did I know that a few years later I would be facing a miscarriage, and years of trying to have a baby. Little did I know that someday I would know a little bit of how my great grandma must have felt.

She passed away about six months before I got married. Kids were not even on the radar at that point. But I wish I had asked her about it. Hindsight is 20-20, so they say.

Even so, I feel a renewed kinship with her. Like maybe she's up there rooting for me, because she knows. Who knows about all that, really. Still, it's nice to think about.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TTC Thursday: IUI Prep

So...

Obviously AF showed her ugly face. Boo. It's disappointing, but we are to the point where that just isn't a surprise anymore. Sad, isn't it?

Anyway, this cycle is the start of a totally new chapter for us--IUI.

Many of you are probably familiar with the term, but in case you aren't, IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination. In other words, it is Artificial Insemination.

I wasn't aware of this until now, but IUI can be done in a variety of different ways, depending on your needs. The protocol for someone who doesn't ovulate well will be different for someone who does, etc. It's actually very customizable.

In our situation, we fall in the "unexplained" category. Both of us have been tested and are perfectly normal. Except that we aren't. Because of that we actually have a few options.

1. Basic IUI--the procedure is scheduled based on OPK test results (after a positive).

2. Monitored Cycle IUI--follicle check mid cycle, the procedure is scheduled based on the development of the follicles. An HCG trigger shot is used prior to the IUI.

3. Medicated Cycle IUI--Clomid is used to boost follicle production, 1-2 ultrasounds to check progress. HCG trigger prior to the IUI.

At this point, we are planning on going with option #2, at least for the first cycle because my cycles have been slightly different lately. I'm hoping that it was stress related and things will get back to normal this cycle, but we just never know. So having the mid cycle ultrasound to check on my follicle development seems like a good idea, at least for this first time. Right now, I'm going in for CD 3 blood work tomorrow and an ultrasound on Labor Day (CD 13).

So here we are. Another step. Another thing to be hopeful about. To get used to. To worry about.

I'm cautiously excited and optimistic. I feel like this is the best chance we've had in a long time. But then again, it's likely that it will take more than once so I need to be prepared for that possibility. This is what I was talking about earlier this week. In the last few days we have gone from "We might do this" to "We are doing this!" This new step has given me a boost. A reason to hope. And I'd like to keep it that way, but after so many disappointments it is really easy to lose that optimism. That's one thing that I think all of us always struggle with--hanging on to that hope and optimism even through the disappointment. It's not easy!

So this month, I'll be documenting my first IUI and everything I'm doing to boost my chances of success!

Readers, if any of you have been though the IUI routine I would love to hear about your experience and tips for a successful cycle!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Of Those Days

I remember being really sad for Mama Elephant every time I watched this scene in Dumbo.

But it's definitely how I feel today. Every birth or pregnancy announcement makes me feel a little farther away from my happy ending. I am completely aware that other people's babies and pregnancies don't have anything to do with me, that they aren't taking up all the baby dust or hogging the stork. But it feels like it.

I'm tired, guys. This thing...it wears on you. Steals from you. Beats you down. I'm more cynical, more skeptical, more pessimistic. And often I'm just flat out angry. The energy and excitement of trying, that's gone. I add exclamation points to my "Congratulations" but that's not how it sounds in my head. In fact that's usually not even what I'm saying.

I want to be excited. I want to be energized. And yeah, every time we try something new I get a little burst of it. But it's not for long. And I wonder how long I'll even have that.

I'm tired of updating family on what we're doing only to have them question it. It's like, are you really asking me that? This is me you're talking about. RYANNE. I read everything about everything. I'm not stupid, and last I checked YOU didn't have to pay someone to get you pregnant. So shut up already. I'd never actually say it, but there have been a couple of times recently when I had to bite my tongue.

It's days like this when I wish that I could just walk away from it.

It's days like this when I wish someone could tell me that it's worth picking myself back up and doing this all over again. That the happy ending is just around the corner if I can keep going a little longer. Just a little more.

Unfortunately, nobody can answer that question. Nobody willing to share the answer, anyway. So...I'm going to keep going. Dust myself off and get ready to try again. Fully aware that I'll probably fail, but giving up isn't an option. Not yet anyway.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Smartest Marriage Advice: Part 1

I don't know about you, but I think that sometimes magazines put some really silly things in their pages. I mean the "10 Ways to Know He's the One" and "How to Have Blow-Your-Mind-Sex EVERY TIME" articles. But every once in awhile you come across a good one.

In May, Ladies Home Journal put out an article called "The Smartest Marriage Advice We've Ever Heard" and I thought a lot of the points were actually pretty good!

I didn't get around to posting anything about our anniversary month because, well, we didn't do much. But this year we celebrated 6 years of marriage and 9 years together! That's a long time, especially for couples that got married young like we did.

So just for fun, this 3-part series is going to be that marriage advice, and my commentary based on my experience (short though it may be).

  • Don't expect to be happy all the time. I totally agree with this one. Life is full of highs and lows, and I absolutely believe that the lows help us appreciate the highs. 
  • Do delete the word "should" from your vocabulary. In other words, don't get so caught up in how you think something should be that you can't appreciate what it is. To me, marriage is a living, breathing thing. It's going to grow and change, and you need to let it be what it is.
  • Don't hesitate to call in a pro when you need one. Chris and I aren't in this place, but I definitely agree with seeking counseling individually or together if things aren't right. It's better to deal with problems early before things get out of hand.
  •  Don't get complacent. This is so very true! Taking your spouse for granted is such a big mistake, because a person can only feel like they are not appreciated for so long. Make sure that you let your spouse know how much you appreciate them! (Sometimes at the end of our lunchtime text conversations I will tell Chris something like "I love you! Thank you for everything you do for us!")
  • Do meet in the middle. Some people think that compromise is a dirty word. That you are letting someone else trample you. That's just not true! Yes, compromise definitely means that you aren't going to get 100% of what you wanted 100% of the time. There has to be room for your spouse's wants and needs as well. 
Next week: Surprise dates, doing your own thing, and...not sharing a bathroom? 

What do you think of this advice so far? Is it the smartest you've ever heard? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

{Currently}

{Searching}
Lately I've been hunting down some new recipes for things that I can make at home to save money and spruce up our meal planning. On the agenda? Homemade pita bread/chips, tomato sauce, and also tips on preserving produce.

{Wearing}
No shoes! The weather has been beautiful and that calls for going barefoot! It's interesting to note that there are health benefits to going barefoot. Of course, that also means pretty polish is an absolute must.

{Needing}
I need to start thinking about a fall garden and even winter prep. And deep cleaning (carpets, ugh) and decluttering. I don't wanna. 

{Moving}
I'll be moving stuff around and out in the basement here before long. IF I could ever get Chris to help...it's a big job. It involves the difficult sentimental stuff and his brewing equipment and I just can't do it alone.

{Eating}
Lots of garden fresh produce! This time of year is awesome for that. I've also been craving pineapple like crazy. It's my favorite fruit.

I don't know about you all, but I have got myself a really busy weekend. Actually, this whole week has been a little hectic. 
Happy Friday! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TTC Thursday: Test Results

Good news yesterday morning! My progesterone at 7 dpo was 17.3! According to the numbers that my clinic goes by, 12-15 is the level needed to sustain a pregnancy so that indicates a good quality ovulation. YAY!

It also means that (provided my CD 3 testing next cycle turns out good) we could definitely do an unmedicated IUI. We could even try it just using OPK results, but I don't think I would want to do that. We have limited funds and so if we are going to try IUI, I want to do it in a way that gives us the best chance of success.

So...that's where we are now. Waiting on AF or a BFP to know what the next step will be. Only 5 more days!