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!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Upcoming Event

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

True Love

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

From the beginning...

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!