Yes we are still taking a break from actively trying to have a baby, but that doesn't mean I don't still think about it from time to time or wonder if we will ever conceive. It has been such a relief these last couple of months to not have the added stress of trying to make this happen. We have been super busy with personal life and career stuff and honestly it has felt so much more peaceful not wondering and waiting and taking pills to see what will happen this month. This weekend gave me a little time for reflection because Saturday was the two year anniversary of when we lost our baby. It is really hard for me to believe two years have gone by and even harder to believe that we have been trying this long. As I reflected I actually was really grateful. As sad as it seems sometimes and I still wonder what life would be like if we had a toddler running around the house right now, I am almost grateful for the miscarriage. In so many ways it has been a blessing. It has definitely been a growing period for me, both emotionally and spiritually. Also, I know the things we are working on now and the lifestyle we are working so hard to achieve would not be happening. The people I have gotten to meet and relationships I have made even these last few months are all results of taking leaps of faith and diving into areas Andy and I thought we would never get to do. All of the travel and time spent pursuing our dreams and desires would not be happening with a toddler in tow. Some people can make it happen but I know us. We would be all consumed with the day to day of a little person in our lives and not have the opportunities we do to really achieve some big life goals. I know it would be a blessing to have a child and some day I still have hope we can experience that, but for now I am enjoying my time with Andy and all of our adventures! Life is a bumpy road, but in the end it is all worth it. So during this difficult time of year I am grateful. Grateful that for a brief time God gave me the gift of a baby that I do believe I will see again one day in heaven and grateful that he dreamed bigger dreams for me than I ever had for myself.
Welcome to My Story
I hope this can be a place of sharing and healing. I want to share my struggles and surprises on this journey. I want to help you find healing like I did by relying on my faith and pursuing my dream of writing a children's book. Maddy and Scooter: Unlikely Friends is not only my book, but an action response to my grief. I hope you can give birth to your dream!
Monday, August 15, 2011
While Summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school, I am ready for my vacation. Not a real vacation to somewhere warm and tropical, although that doesn't sound too bad either, but a vacation from all of the stress of infertility. Well, that is exactly what we are doing. After this week, no more weekly treatments, charting my temperature, testing my ovulation, assigning days of the week for sex, taking a lot of supplements, seeing specialists, getting blood drawn, eating or avoiding certain foods or obsessing in my head about what else I should do! Just making the decision to stop all of this has felt like a relief and a much needed vacation. We have been actively trying for over two years and weren't preventing anything for about three years before that. For now, I give up. I surrender. I had to wrestle with the idea that taking a break wasn't a form of quitting. I felt if we stopped everything and it all came to a halt I was quitting and admitting failure. I am not there yet, but Andy said to me recently he could be truly happy still if we never had kids. That was a big game changer for me. We are so busy and developing two businesses right now that I thought why am I doing all of this? So, I came to the conclusion it was break time. We may at some time in the future go back to trying and step it up by having a procedure or two done, but not now. We will know when the time is right. I hope this can be a true time of rest and fulfillment for us as we are putting our lives on a new course. I am now headed into a season of vacation and it feels great!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It is hard for most men to understand this process and what we go through on a daily basis. Forget infertility... how about PMS, menopause and everything in between? I always say to Andy I just wish you could walk in my shoes for only one day! That is all it would take! He is extremely understanding and supportive as you may know from my other blog posts. I couldn't ask for more from him. Some don't have it so easy. Recently, a man (not my husband) said to me that I just need to focus my mind harder on having a baby. He explained it is all in my mind and the mind controls the body, etc. I just started sobbing. If only he realized how much of my mind does focus on this. In his defense, he was trying to be helpful and perhaps didn't know how much I think about this daily. My mother-n-law, who is very wise, explained it best like this, telling a woman to "just think about it and focus" is like telling a man he can no longer have sex and not to think about it. Just relax and focus and it will happen...but it doesn't. Would that be torture for your man? Welcome to my world. Relax, sure. Focus, okay. Just let go and it will happen...trying. Perhaps use this analogy for your partner to understand a glimpse of what you are experiencing.
Also, here is a good article where Bill Rancic of The Apprentice fame discusses his struggles with infertility that he and his wife Guiliana Rancic from E! News face and how they deal with the issue.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Here is a great article I had to share that I came across on the RESOLVE website...it hit me where I am right now. We are approaching August and that is when my doctor wants to move on and try something else. Medication, IUI, hormones...what to do next? Acupuncture has been great but I seem to be getting worse these last 2 months! I am also on Progesterone if I ovulate after day 14 and it is making me weird...so weird I stopped taking it this month. SHH! Don't tell my doctor! I am very frustrated and super busy with career stuff and honestly wondering about taking a break from it all for awhile. My only issue is I feel like I would be wasting valuable time. What to do? Maybe this article will help you solve that mystery too...enjoy!
Is It Time to Move On?by Penny Joss Fletcher, M.A., LMFT
Published in the Summer 2011 issue of Resolve for the journey and beyond
Whether you have done three cycles of the same treatment or ten cycles of a variety of treatments, when you are not successful in conceiving and bringing a baby home, you will be asking yourselves what to do next. How are you to know when enough is enough?
First, consider taking a break from treatment if you are feeling extremely overwhelmed. This will give you a chance to recuperate from the daily doctor visits and medication injections. It will also allow you to experience what it feels like to not be on the infertility rollercoaster. You may decide that you do not want to get back on it or you may find yourself enthusiastic to begin the next step.
When you find yourself at a crossroads about what to do next, start by assessing how much the treatment process has affected you up to this point. What’s the status of your resources – finances, time, emotional energy, physical energy, social support? Are you morally, ethically or religiously comfortable with the next treatment options offered? Maybe you do not really know anymore how you feel and need to check in with a mentor, a trained counselor or a support group member? Be sure to take into consideration the diagnosis and prognosis you have received from your physician. It is not necessary to have tried everything available but to know you have given it your very best effort respecting your physical, emotional and financial resources.
Research and Soul SearchingSome couples are not going to be on the same page at the same time. Communicating about your needs, opinions and emotions must stay active. If you believe your feelings are not being heard, or you can not understand your partner’s feelings, seek help from a mental health professional who specializes in reproductive medicine.
Who is responsible for saying that treatment should stop? Is it the physician or the patient? The bottom line is that the patient is the one who has to take on the ultimate responsibility. No physician can give guaranteed results – positive or negative. What you should be able to receive from your physician (and/or a second opinion) is what all of your options are and an assessment of your chance for success. Many physicians say that after doing a treatment 2-3 times without conceiving, it is time to move on to something new.
Sometimes people continue medical treatment to avoid the grief and loss of not reaching their goal of conceiving a child. Avoiding painful feelings will not make them disappear. Experiencing the sadness and starting the grieving process individually or together as a couple can be an integral part of the decision-making process about what to do next.
Some questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether you might be ready to stop treatment are:
- Is it difficult to be hopeful as you start a new cycle?
- Are you feeling resentful that you’ve put so much of your life on hold in order to pursue parenthood?
- Has your relationship lost its passion and joy?
- Is the idea of being a parent more important to you than being pregnant?
Many people going through infertility treatment could answer “yes” to many of these questions every now and then, but if you find yourself answering “yes” most of the time, then it may be time to reset your family-building goals.Do research on all of your options – third party reproduction, adoption, childfree living. Talk to people who have taken those routes to find out if you can picture yourself in their shoes. Being open to all possibilities does not mean you have to accept all possibilities. It just means you consider them so that you can make a thoughtful and informed decision that fits your life.
Nothing and no one can guarantee that you will not have regrets because every decision we make leaves the decision not followed open for regret. The goal for this moment is to anticipate, as best you can, what your regrets might be when you look back on today’s choices. Fifteen years from now you might say, “I wish we had done one more IVF.” Or “I wish we had tried donor eggs.” Or “I wish we had adopted.” But you might also say, “I wish we could have had children, but we tried our best.” We learn to live with our choices and build a life beyond them.
Knowing whether to stop infertility treatment is a major decision that cannot be made in an instant. When you take into consideration all of the recommended steps discussed here, you will come to the decision that is right for you.
Penny Joss Fletcher, M.A., is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Tustin, California, specializing in infertility and adoption issues. She has been a volunteer and support group leader for RESOLVE Orange County for over 15 years and is also an active member of ASRM’s Mental Health Professional Group. She can be reached at (714) 730-7996 or through her website at www.infertility2adoption.com.
Monday, June 6, 2011
I have not posted in awhile because I have been super busy! We just got back last week from New York City for vacation and to promote my Children's book. I love, love, loved New York City and my acupuncturist told me there is something to that New York tap water and baby making!
So we will see...
Speaking of acupuncture, this is what I want to focus on for my blog today. I have been undergoing fertility acupuncture for almost 5 months now at a wonderful place in San Diego called, Galena Acu Spa. My acupuncturist, Jeneanne Paden, is wonderful and the clinic has two locations in La Jolla as well as a great success rate for pregnancy.
I was recommended to use acupuncture as a more alternative treatment for fertility as well as it helps to relax the body and mind. I am someone that hates needles and still cringe and feel light-headed when I go for blood work, especially with all of the testing for fertility purposes lately. I say all this to explain I am not a fan of being poked and prodded, but I LOVE acupuncture! I would have never thought I would actually look forward to the sessions and do not want to miss a single one. For me I go every week and I can't wait to get in there and fully relax. It is like a massage but you relax even deeper. The spa I go to is set up in such a way it is like going to a retreat and not a clinical medical facility. The room is dimly lit with a warm massage table and you lay listening to soft music while the needles are not even noticed, yet they send me into such a deep wave of relaxation my body turns to jello. After about 45 minutes of this the acupuncturist comes in takes out all of the needles, gives me a 15 minute head, neck and then foot massage. If this is fertility treatments then sign me up!
I almost feel guilty that I get to go and be so pampered every week, but I keep reminding my husband it is all for the sake of having a baby! I don't have the space to include it here but there is a growing significant amount of research showing that acupuncture for and in conjunction with other fertility treatments is becoming very reliable. It is not what I always envisioned of the ancient Chinese practice, it is better! It has helped me in so many ways and even gotten me off my thyroid medicine and I sleep so much harder and more restful. If it is something you are considering I say try it!
Here is a link if you want to check out where I go...
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
As I was listening to Pink's new single it struck a cord with me. Today is a rough day for really no other reason other than I thought I was pregnant and the reality is I am not. For once, I really don't want to go into details because I just feel over this whole process. Even with all the good things that are going on in my life and I am truly excited about, I still feel "less than perfect." In the song, Pink asks the listener to not feel less than perfect. We beat ourselves up for so many reasons as women...the way we think we should look, how we should act, or what we should be able to do. I have struggled with all three of these areas at some point in my life. I am still a work in progress. I just struggle with the fact that something so natural and easy that I should be able to do I cannot at this point. It makes me feel less than perfect.Things with my book are going well and I have been given great opportunities to work with kids in classrooms all over San Diego. I have a book signing this weekend. I am going to New York City next week with my husband and friends. While I am there we are also going to this big book/media convention and I am thrilled about the opportunities and people I get to meet. I am going to a breakfast session with Julianne Moore and get to meet her and get her book autographed. On the other hand, my husband and I are starting another business venture together that we are so excited about and also get to do some more traveling. We are really a bonded team right now and closer then ever, even with all of the stresses of a new business and this infertility stuff. I share all this to say one thing. I am blessed way beyond what I should be right now. I am at a point in just about every area of my life where I am content and perfectly happy. Yet I still feel less than perfect. I still wake up some mornings and feel like a huge failure. It sucks. Today is one of those days. So there it is. I am flawed. I need more in my life. I will not feel at peace until I have a child. I always want more and am not satisfied. I am a work in progress.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Myth: Infertility isn’t a disease.
According to the RESOLVE website, " Yes, it is. According to the dictionary, a disease is a “disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body”. Infertility in either the male or female partner is in fact directly due to some malfunction in the body, whether it be hormonal or structural."
So there we have it. Now I realize why I am suffering. A part of me is diseased, incorrectly functioning. What I don't understand is my reproductive organs are the ones not functioning yet why is it my heart that hurts so bad?
I have mentioned earlier in my blog when my doctors tell me I have unexplained infertility they are just empty words to my empty womb. If someone has a diagnosis of cancer or diabetes, do they beat themselves up? Do they cringe when they see healthy people? Do they cry at the thought of attending a birthday for a healthy friend? This is why I hate my disease. Not only do I have a part of my body not functioning, but at times it robs me. It steals my joy. It makes me avoid happy events like baby showers or christenings. I see women pushing strollers in the park and look away. Not because I despise them. I envy them. I long for what they have. I think what is wrong with me?
Like so many fellow sufferers of infertility I have good days and bad days. On good days I pass the moms in the park and smile. On bad days I look away and feel a tear come to my eye. On good days I go with a friend to lunch and play with her toddler. On bad days I stay home or go somewhere with a single friend. This "malfunction of my body" may steal moments from my life, but I am determined to not let it dominate me.
I don't understand my miscarriage and the last two years of infertility. I can't explain why some medicines and alternative therapies work for others and not for me. All I know is this disease may control my womb, but it will not control my spirit! Like I have stated previously, I needed and still need an action response to my grief. That is why I wrote my children's book and that is why I get out of bed everyday and even write this blog. Whether or not I will ever conceive a child on my own is up to God, but the day I stop sharing my story or listening to the heartaches of other women and lift my head high with hope will be the day the disease wins. And for now, it will NOT be this day!
Click Here to learn more about the basic understanding of infertility
Click Here for more on the background of National Infertility Week
Monday, April 25, 2011
Here is a link to a great L.A. Times article out today.It discusses what not to say to women with infertility. I know all of us struggling with these issues have heard various "suggestions" and "advice." I like how the author of this article talks about when people say, "why don't you just..." Like we haven't already thought of that! Like why don't you just adopt? Because it really is that easy. I am sure there is plenty of this "advice" to go around. My favorite one lately is you HAVE to try this medicine...and then the next person I talk to says DO NOT try that medicine it is horrible and you will feel terrible. I guess it is all perspective and whatever works for them. I know people try to be helpful, but not saying anything at all and just giving someone a hug can be the most comfort. I think about the story of Job in the Bible and he had gone through terrible situations losing his family, his home, his health and all of his friends came to support him. For a long time they just sat with him not saying a word and according to Job that was extremely comforting. Then they opened their mouths and told him why they thought all these terrible things had happened, what he should do, and how it was even his fault! Maybe they should have kept their opinions to themselves...as someone very wise once said, "Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, then to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Let's just remember, advice and suggestions may be helpful, but just keeping quiet and listening is a great gift!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Well, it is finally here! My website. It is pretty much an extension of this blog, but with more ways for me to connect and share information about Kristen Lucas for those that need it. I hope you all can check it out and let me know what you think! It is www.givebirthtoyourdream.com. Enjoy and poke around! New blog update to come soon!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. April is Infertility Awareness Month. Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of women and men are fighting day in and day out. Post this as your status if you or someone you know has walked to hell and back for the chance to be a MOM or DAD. I noticed this status on someone's Facebook page and had to make everyone aware. I am just now realizing it is infertility awareness month and I am happy to be speaking at a fundraiser for RESOLVE, the national infertility association this weekend. I tried to look up in my area what charity events are taking place or any other fundraisers I could be a part of. Do you know what I found? NOTHING! If anyone knows of one in the San Diego area this month please make me aware. I am saddened that San Diego and our area is not reaching out and doing more to raise money for fertility research. I am doing my part. If you want to join me contact me via this blog or on Facebook. I have green wristbands, similar to the Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" bracelets, that say "give birth to your dream" that are available for $5. A dollar from each wristband goes to support RESOLVE. I will have a website up soon with my story and the bracelets for sale. Until then you can contact me directly if you want one. As I have said before, I want women with fertility issues to find their creative outlets and whatever makes them feel alive to go and do that! That is my message with "give birth to your dream." My dream and creative outlet was writing my children's book. What is yours?
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Well, I followed up today with my doctor and I am done with this round of fertility testing. We have done lab work and the HSG exam and everything came back normal. So what is a girl to do? My ob/gyn wants to put me on Clomid, but I am not ready for that stuff. I am so sensitive to medicine, I mean Tylenol weirds me out with two tablets! I can't imagine what my hormones would be like. She has given me until August, my birthday, to keep trying naturally. Next step, Clomid or else! Great, another reason to dread my 32nd birthday! I just want so badly to do this naturally. I am still sticking with acupuncture, but today I felt like if I don't get on drugs soon I am a moron. Why does the Western medical community think drugs are the only answer? Unless I try one round of the Clomid she won't refer me to a fertility specialist. I am paying out of pocket for all of this because our insurance doesn't cover fertility issues, but yet I feel held hostage to see a specialist unless I try meds! Ugh...frustration.
So I have until August to get this done...no pressure right? I am starting to feel like an idiot..why can't my body just have a kid?Also, starting to consider an IUI procedure, but they want you on Clomid to do the procedure...what to do? Any advice?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Hillary Clinton said it took a village to raise a child, but I am finding out it takes a village to HAVE a child! Most women when they find out they are expecting go to their ob/gyn, get some generic pre-natal vitamins and they are on their way. Not in my case...No I have a team of Dr. Shelia Panda, my naturopathic doctor, Dr. Dana Chortkoff, my ob/gyn, Jeneanne Paden, my acupuncturist, Chantal Russell, my chiropractor, and Trish (sorry don't know her last name), massage therapist. Now you might be thinking um, okay overload! Actually, I want to spend time highlighting each of them in weeks to come because they have all been so supportive and are working together to produce the best, most healthiest environment to have a baby. You might still be wondering about the chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist? Well, the acupuncture experience these last couple of months has been AMAZING! I will devote one whole blog to that someday soon, but she is a fertility acupuncturist who is phenomenal and the positive side effects I have experienced in just two months are great. For the chiropractor care, I am making sure my hips are aligned and I have been seeing her off and on for 4 years and it just helps for overall well-being. Now the massage therapist plays a huge role in helping my body stay out of the fight/flight mode that could possibly reject an embryo. This is just a continuation of acupuncture and I am usually only going once every 6 weeks during the week of ovulation to help my body stay relaxed and "open" to holding onto a baby. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot or maybe an excuse to be pampered. I must admit I feel a little guilty leaving acupuncture every week feeling so relaxed and refreshed and yes the massage is an added bonus I have to sell Andy on that it is really for medical purposes! :) I look at it this way, it may be costing us money to do all of these things, but I want to have a baby naturally. For now I am giving my body every possible fighting chance to produce a kid without the resources of drugs or surgery. I do not at all look down on women who take other routes or use traditional Western medicinal treatments. I commend anyone who puts time, effort, money and love to create this miracle of life. For me having a team is what is working for me now as crazy as it sometimes feels informing them all of updates, changes in my body and lab work. This is the path I have chosen and this is the village I know can make it happen!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Okay...so an update from the HSG exam. I was so nervous as I last wrote and extremely scared. I had to wait a half an hour because they were running behind and I thought I was going to have a full on panic attack!! The nurses and technicians were awesome and the doctor wasn't exactly Mr. Personality, but he was at least quick. I highly recommend Sharp-Rees Stealy medical professionals in San Diego! It was very uncomfortable and I did have to squeeze the nurses hand a couple of times, but overall not that bad. I definitely have worse cramps than this during my cycle so I could handle the pain. I am so glad it is over and the good news is...everything is normal! No blockages and apparently I have a great uterus! Hooray!Now for more testing...I mean I am glad with all of these tests so far they come back normal, but it still feels like okay what is going on? I still know it is up to God and just a matter of time...I am just not patient. Okay now that the test is over I want to hear everyone's horror stories...what was so bad about the HSG exam for you?
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I am nervous because tomorrow I am going in for my HSG exam. Has anyone had this exam and is it painful? Do I need to take the antibiotics? The pain medicine? Stressing...
Apparently in this exam they stick iodine dye up into your hoo-hoo and then take an x-ray to see your uterus and fallopian tubes. They can tell if there are any blockages or issues in your reproductive system. They want you to take pain medicine before the procedure for cramping and have someone drive you home. Is this precautionary or will it be that bad?? I am anxious to find out the results and hopefully everything is normal. I am not however looking forward to this procedure. An update tomorrow with all the details...I am such a wimp when it comes to stuff like this!
Monday, March 7, 2011
So I was at the gym on the treadmill today trying to get "into the zone" and let go of the stresses of the day and all I still needed to accomplish. I was listening to music and the song "Dead and Gone" by T.I. and Justin Timberlake came on my i-pod. For the first time in a long while I focused in on the words and I realized this was the song for me for today. You see I was feeling overwhelmed and grateful all at the same time. Overwhelmed because I have a lot going on this week with the book and in my personal life. Grateful because I am so excited and very content with where things are in my life. I am someone who has spent most of her life looking forward to something and not enjoying what is happening now. I am enjoying what is happening now. I do feel as if the old me is dead and gone. I am trying to find my way back home and I have traveled on this road far too long. I was tired of traveling that road and trying to control the outcome of everything. In the song they sing about turning their head to the East and West and no one is by their side but they look to the North and swallow their pride. Lately I have looked North and found I have had to swallow my pride and surrender it to God. Through my surrender I have given up control. I have tried to stop controlling my life and where this book and speaking thing is all headed. For the first time I can remember I am trying to not control the results. Let go. Breathe. Work hard. Repeat. That is how I start each day and surrender my struggles, ambitions and relationships. This is huge for me. Three months ago I had given up the ability to even pray and talk to God anymore. Now I pray by the minute. Something comes up and I feel my need to control and manage it. I pray to let go. The old me is dead and gone. I have traveled this road too long and it is exhausting! Now who knew T.I. and Justin Timberlake could be so profound...Check out the song here if you want.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I long for the day when I do not have to test my pee. I am not speaking of the random drug test...oh no! I am speaking of the ovulation pee tests and pregnancy tests. You see because we are still trying to determine when I am ovulating, I start testing on day 10 of my cycle until the day I get a positive reading...which this month wasn't until day 24! The good news is I am ovulating. The bad news is it is never the same day every month. Ugh. So...here's how it goes. Every day around the same time, usually 4pm for me, I go in the bathroom to pee into a little plastic cup. I then take a small thin test strip and stick it into the pee, but not past the black line and wait 3 to 10 seconds. I then lay the strip flat and wait for at least 5 minutes to hopefully see two dark pink lines. Now here is where it gets tricky. I must wait to see two dark lines, not one line or one dark and one light line. No, that would be a negative reading. Fortunately, the outside of the package gives you a diagram to look at that helps. So you repeat this process day after day until you get a positive reading. Then you obviously follow up with 3-4 days in a row of timed "romantic interludes" to make a baby. Then you wait another week and start testing your pee again in the same manner with early detection pregnancy strips. This process continues until you hopefully get a positive reading or start your cycle. Now remember the fun part is I do this day after day and month after month no matter where I am. So yes, I have been on vacation and even staying at people's houses and follow this process and carry all of the supplies with me along the way! Some of you may be thinking, wow that is a little too much information! But remember from the beginning I promised to be transparent and share ALL! So yes I long to just be able to use the restroom, not have to think about what day or hour it is...
I promise to also not totally sell out this blog to advertising, but if I find something useful or that I use I will share. These are test strips I get off of Amazon.com and they are way more affordable then going to the drugstores! Check them out...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I want to let everyone know about an upcoming event on April 16 where I will be speaking. The event is to raise money and awareness about fertility issues and is being hosted by an amazing friend who has put all of this together. The event will be held at her home in Oceanside, CA and everyone attending, for the cost of $20, will receive a copy of my children's book, a goodie bag, and the rest of the proceeds will go to RESOLVE, the national infertility association. If you are interested in attending please contact me via this blog or email and I can get you more information. I would love to have you come and hear my story and meet with you! Stay strong and give birth to a dream!!
Monday, February 14, 2011
On this Valentine's Day when card companies and florists are making a fortune, I want to share my story of true love. I promise not to be too sappy, but I have to give gratitude to my true love, my husband. I have to share a tale of when I really knew I loved him. Now you may be thinking this is sweet and all but how does this relate to fertility issues? Well, stick with me and you will see.
Andy and I met almost exactly seven years ago at a Superbowl party hosted by a mutual friend. I wish I could say it was love at first sight and we have been inseparable ever since...close but not quite. You see, at this party he was drug there by another friend and did not want to come and I was there with my current boyfriend. I actually talked to one of my roommates that night about dating him because he seemed nice but a little quiet. To make a long story short, I broke up with the other guy, Andy started hanging out with our group of friends and yes from there it did move kind of fast! We all hung out for a few months together, but one night Andy asked me out on a date aside from the rest of the group. It was new and different to not have everyone else around and be in a big group, but we thought we liked it that way and so we decided to date exclusively that night. A week later he told me he loved me, a month later he asked my dad if he could marry me, two months later we were engaged and roughly eleven months after our first "official" date we were married.
Yes, I was in love with him then and of course we when said our vows in front of our family and friends in the middle of Balboa Park in San Diego. But I later realized that is not when I truly knew I loved him. Of course there have been moments and glimpses of true love in romantic gestures and kind words and in all of the heartfelt cards and letters he has written me the last 6 1/2 years...and I thought I loved him then. I realized October 1, 2009 I was truly in love with this man. I realized true love when it stared me smack dab in the face in the middle of an emergency room during my miscarriage. I had gone to urgent care that afternoon when I realized it had started and I had lost a lot of blood and was really light headed. I was fighting passing out at home and Andy took me to urgent care which then called an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital. I had never been so frightened and calm all at the same time. I had a peace because I knew Andy was there taking care of me and with me through this ordeal. They were speculating whether or not to give me a blood transfusion and started me on an IV drip. I was scared and grieving, but Andy was my strength, my rock. He calmed me and made me feel safe. It was in the middle of the room with just the hospital curtains drawn around my bed I was hooked up to an IV, a pulse monitor and had other cords wrapped around my arms. I was still miscarrying and they would not let me go to the restroom because I might have passed out so I had the humiliation of relieving everything in a stool/potty contraption next to the bed. I was so embarrassed and did not want Andy to see or hear any of that and I just kept apologizing to him. Do you know what he did? He just kept helping me onto the potty/stool and held up all of my tangled wires and IV and my hospital gown while I got rid of what was coming. He stood there and kept telling me it was all going to be okay and gave me that look of calmness he always has. That was the defining moment that I realized I was in love.
The following verse from The Message was read at our wedding in 2005 and I still love it today. I love it because I have witnessed it. I love it because I have experienced it. I love it because I see glimpses of this kind of love in Andy and the way he treats me. I love it because I feel God's love for me in the way Andy loves me. I am truly blessed. I leave you with this verse and the hope that you experience this kind of love in your life. Happy Valentine's Day!
1 Corinthians 13: 3-7 from The Message
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
After several requests from friends I have decided to embark on this blogging journey! I am both nervous and excited because I promise to be transparent with my emotions and feelings. For those that know me well they know I have no problem with this. For those that know me a little you may be surprised. I cannot be embarrassed because this is my story, my journey thus far-- the good, the bad and the ugly. I am sorry if this is too much for you to handle, but this is true and what I am dealing with everyday.
So...I share with you an article I wrote and am shopping to magazines about my path from the beginning. I feel raw sharing it because for some it may be a surprise because so many of us suffer in silence. But I share it for all of you who do suffer from fertility issues. I hope this can be a path we go down together and through my transparency you can have hope that others are sharing your struggles too!
Healing My Grief: The Birth of a Book, Not a Child
In the Fall of 2009, my husband and I were ecstatic to learn we were pregnant with our first child. I remember getting up at 3 a.m. that September morning to use the restroom and groggily thought I needed to take a pregnancy test. I had always heard to use the first pee of the morning to get the best results and I figured this was it! I had taken a couple of other pregnancy tests a week or so prior with a negative result but my monthly “visitor” was still a week late and so I thought I should keep trying to test, but not expecting a positive result at the same time. My monthly “visitor” was very irregular with her comings and goings so a week late did not mean much in the whole scheme of things. We had only been officially trying to conceive for a couple of months and I had always thought it would take much longer than that, but what the heck, pee on a stick and go back to bed. As I sat there for the regulatory 5 minute waiting period after testing and reading the backs of shampoo bottles, I contemplated how great it would be to have a kid. My best friend was pregnant and we had always laughed about how we wanted to be preggo at the same time. I glanced at the little stick and was shocked to see two double lines! I grabbed the box and double checked that yes that was indeed a positive result. My stomach quickly became full of butterflies. I opened the bathroom door and said, “Honey, guess what?” My husband sleepily responded, “You’re pregnant.” “Yes!” I exclaimed. I climbed back in bed and we laid there for the next two hours dreaming of baby names and all that we would need to do in the next couple of months. I called and woke up my parents and spent the next few weeks in a whirlwind of excitement and making tons of plans. Some people say this is bad luck to do and not to tell people until after the first trimester. I never felt that way. I am a planner and need at least 9 months to get my act together! Plus, I couldn’t keep the excitement in. If given the chance again, I would do it all over and scream it from the rooftops.
Fast forward to a month later and I am sitting in an ER room after my miscarriage. I noticed that when I was pregnant I always said we’re pregnant or we’re having a baby, but now that it was over I felt like I had the miscarriage. Somehow I failed and I felt empty inside. Of course, we were initially sad and went through the usual emotions of grief. I missed my best friend’s baby shower and generally tried to avoid all things baby if I could. We still felt hopeful because the doctors said it happens a lot to women in their first pregnancy and at least we knew I could conceive, blah blah blah. Empty words at the time to me for my empty heart and empty womb.
After a couple of months had gone by I felt the need to give action to my grief. I had decided not to go back into teaching, my career, when I got pregnant because we had decided before we were even married that I should be a stay-at-home mom as this was a high priority for my husband and me. So here I was, sitting at home, with all this time on my hands and I needed a release, an outlet. I struggled with my new identity. Could I be a housewife and stay at home if I didn’t have kids? I knew that well-off women do this sort of thing all the time, but we were far from rich and this took a bit of sacrifice to get by on my husband’s income. Anyone in the education industry knows it is hard to get a job mid-year and so I felt like it would be an eternity before I could apply for teaching jobs. Honestly, my husband thought it was great to have someone at home all the time doing the cooking, cleaning, and being the secretary who runs the household. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great gig and not as easy as I thought, without any kids. There was still a void. I needed an outlet, maybe even a distraction. I started journaling a lot and tried putting thoughts on paper, even contemplated starting a blog, nothing seemed to heal me. I had supportive friends and family and even my faith to rely on, but I kept wanting a creative outlet to pour myself into. My dream in the whole grand scheme of things was to be this wonderful stay-at-home wife and mother and to write children’s books on the side for supplemental income. It was a grandiose idea, but I had always been a big dreamer.
One night as I was sitting in bed journaling, trying to find some reprieve, my husband turned to me and said, “Write your children’s book. Treat that as your full time job and research how to get it published and what to do as a children’s author.” So, I did just that. I would rush through my household chores everyday, and then sit at my computer all afternoon. I already had the idea in mind for my book for years. It was loosely based on my first child, my dog Maddy. Maddy was my schnauzer who was vocal and gave human-like looks and always seemed to get herself into funny situations. I wrote a story about her and a rabbit my roommate had when I was single and living with friends. The story is about the two animals not getting along and then realizing through their differences they can actually help one another and become the best of friends. A great lesson for kids to learn and for all of us to not judge a book by its cover.
I spent the next few months writing, editing and contacting literary agents and any publishing house from here to Timbuktu that would accept a manuscript. Maybe I was distracting myself from my grief, but either way every day it gave me purpose and helped me get out of bed and be able to breathe. I did treat my experience as a full time job and decided that success did not lie in getting published, but instead in just going through the process. Whatever came of it was all a learning experience and it gave me hope and a sense of completion that I longed for. I was finally picked up by a small publishing house and began the process of working with editors, an illustrator and layout people to see my story come to life. At the beginning of the publishing process a friend said to me, “You may not be birthing a child, but you are birthing a book.” How profound that statement was and still is to me. That statement made me think about my book and my miscarriage in a different light. I could go on living life excited about what was to come instead of dwelling on what happened.
My book, Maddy and Scooter: Unlikely Friends will officially be released in March and I have mixed emotions. My husband and I are still trying to conceive a year and a half later and so the pain and discomfort of unexplained fertility issues still linger, yet on the other hand I have this wonderful gift of a book and possibly a new career. I realized that by seeing this book through the publishing process I gave birth to a dream, but I still did not have a baby. The day my proof book came in the mail it was like holding my sorrow in my hand. I had come through this tunnel of grief and emptiness and my end result was now staring me back in the face. I felt relief, sadness and hope all at the same time. My journey of searching for my outlet was over. I cannot say my grief process is over as I believe that journey will never truly be over, but I can say that I am healing. My emptiness is filled with my faith and my joy of this dream coming true. What is your dream? It may not be writing, but it could be painting or singing or cooking or running or something that brings you joy and peace. For all the women who suffer in silence with miscarriage and fertility issues I want to say to you find your creative outlet. Find your book to write, your marathon to run, your voice to sing and you may not birth a child but you can still give birth to a dream!