Just Keep Going

5 May

Overall, I am extremely happy with my life right now. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have to go back to school and pursue my passion. Josh and I are doing well and our marriage is strong and happy. My dogs keep me laughing every single day and I live in the best little town that just keeps getting better. 

BUT. Last night I had a little breakdown. I was already premenstrual and had to watch about a dozen Mother’s Day commercials. You know makes infertility even harder? Having to hear over and over again how magical and wonderful it is to be a mother. Yes, I understand motherhood is difficult which is why we devote a day to thank all mothers. I know it’s not all magic and happiness, but that doesn’t make those commercials any easier to bear. With each commercial my resolve was slowly chipped away and by the end of the evening I felt exposed and raw. 

I then realized that this month makes it exactly FOUR YEARS since we’ve started trying to get pregnant. Four freaking years. And stupidly, I decided to log onto Facebook and the very first post was a pregnancy announcement. And that was it. I spent about 30 minutes crying harder than I’ve cried in a while.

Then I stood up, brushed myself off, and kept going. Because that’s what you have to do. Just keep going.



30 Oct

Have you ever had one of those moments where you get that feeling like something is wrong, but when you try to figure out what it is, you come up with nothing? And then you realize how pretty much everything in your life is really great? And that you’re happier than you’ve been in ages? Well, that just happened to me. Guys, I’m happy. I’m not talking about the happy you get when you are in the middle of doing something really fun. I’m talking about the happiness that comes from a life with fulfillment.

When I left my job to go back to school in August, I was terrified. I questioned whether I had made the right decision to walk away from a job that I’d had for 6 years to pursue my graduate degree. It was such a huge change and it took me a while to adjust. As the weeks progressed I noticed myself feeling less and less stressed. I don’t think I even realized how miserable I had been in my job until I left.

I’m now more than half way through my first semester and things are going great. I’m meeting some amazing people and seem to be excelling in all my classes. It feels wonderful to be doing something that I am passionate about and to have hope for my future. I think at my job I had felt stuck and like there was no real path for me. Now, I see myself as a counselor and I am even starting to look into PhD programs. 

I notice that I don’t find myself searching for something to look forward to anymore. I enjoy each day as it comes. I don’t have to “get through” each day because I LIVE each day. I don’t spend all my time focusing on getting pregnant because there is so much more to my life. Having a baby would be an amazing blessing, not something to fix my life and unhappiness. I’m not searching for something to fill the void because there is no void anymore. I’m content, optimistic and happy. I’m happy.



To Endings and Beginnings

29 Jul

You know how most people who make New Year’s resolutions give up after only a month and go back to life as usual? Yeah, that’s not me. In fact, I’ve taken my New Year’s resolutions to a whole new level and my entire life is about to change. 

I already told you guys about applying to graduate school and I’m proud to say I’ve been accepted into a Master’s of Counseling Psychology program! I start classes in only two weeks! Yikes. (Also, can I just say how insanely expensive tuition is now? And don’t even get me started on textbooks!)

After I found out I had been accepted to graduate school, Josh and I looked into how many classes I would need and how long it would take for me to go part time versus full time. Since I need 48 hours before I can start working toward licensure, we decided I should cut my hours at work and go to school full time. I registered for classes and told my manager at work.

Unfortunately, after waiting for 6 weeks, I was told I would not be allowed to cut my hours and work part time. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement. I have always been a very loyal employee and have worked in my current job for close to 6 years. I have many amazing relationships here and I get to work with Josh. I was so incredibly hurt that they would rather me leave than be flexible with my hours. 

I found out last week that I wouldn’t be able to stay and my last day is this Friday. I bounce around from feeling excited and hopeful to crying and being absolutely terrified. In four days, my life will completely change and guys, I don’t deal well with change. Even really great changes cause my anxiety and stress to skyrocket. Not to mention the fact that one of my coworkers has quickly become my best friend and I don’t know how I am going to manage not seeing her every day.

A couple of my coworkers are throwing me a going away party Thursday night. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very emotional evening. One good thing about this situation is that Josh is still working at the company I’m leaving so I won’t be out of touch with everyone. I will still be able to attend the holiday party and the company picnic in the summer. 

I still can’t believe that this Friday I will pack up my stuff, walk out to my car and drive home from my last day of work. My routine for the past 6 years will completely change. I know that this is the right path for me and that someday all this pain and fear will be worth it, but right now? I’m completely overwhelmed. 


Join the Movement!

23 Apr

I’m sure most of you have already read about or are aware of National Infertility Awareness Week. Many of my Twitter and blog friends have been talking about NIAW for quite some time. The theme for bloggers this year is “Join the movement…” and it’s about what us, as bloggers, are doing to help others struggling with infertility.

Besides offering support on Twitter, before this week, I was not very active in the infertility community. I think I had actually distanced myself a bit in order to give myself a break from the constant thoughts and talk about baby making. I just wanted to think about other areas of my life. Now that I’ve been able to do that and gain some perspective, I’m ready to jump back in!

What I decided to do was “come out” on Facebook. Besides very close family, no one on Facebook was aware of our struggles. Josh and I had talked in the past about me coming clean but he is a more private person than I and neither one of us was ready for that big step. However, after discussing it again, we decided I should go for it! I was extremely nervous and looked to some Twitter friends for their encouragement. Around lunch time I wrote my status update, took a deep breath, crossed my fingers and hit “submit.”

In honor of National Infertility Week, I’m speaking up! For the past three years, I have been unable to get pregnant. I have cried thousands of tears, spoke hundreds of prayers and saw numerous doctors. I have been diagnosed with endometriosis which not only makes becoming pregnant difficult, but it also causes pain. I have gone through surgery which was a temporary fix but not permanent. We still have hope and are not giving up our fight. Because of infertility, I am a stronger person and have a stronger marriage. 

To those of you that have not struggled to become pregnant, please keep those of us that are struggling in mind. There are more of us than you know and we are usually silent about our difficulties. Try to imagine what it’s like to hope and pray for a child and no matter what you do, cannot get there. It’s hard and incredibly painful.
To those that may be fighting infertility, know that I am here for you. Send me a message if you need to talk. A support system is very important and I would love to be a part of yours. 
Thanks for listening guys!

After I submitted my status, I walked away and went back to work. Very soon, my phone started buzzing. The rest of my day was spent trying to keep up with the constant outpouring of love, support, well wishes and infertility stories. I was completely astounded at the number of people that sent me messages or left comments sharing their own struggles. I found myself tearing up multiple times during the day.

I heard stories from women that had miscarried. Ones that have been trying for 5+ years. One woman went through TEN IUI’s with no success. Women that have their miracle baby but never forgot the pain of infertility. Some were struggling with secondary infertility that was unexplained. I even had a woman apologize for announcing her pregnancy at one of the family gatherings because she thought it might have hurt me.

Most of these women were struggling silently and didn’t have any other friends that understood what they were going through. I talked with them at length and they told me how much it meant to them to have someone to talk to. I was fortunate to have a strong support system on Twitter and I can’t imagine finding my way through the hell of infertility without that support. I hope I can be of some help to these women that have reached out to me. I know that I am no expert but I hope just by being a good listener and understanding their pain, I can help in some small way.

That evening another woman contacted me to tell me that she was so inspired by my post on Facebook that she decided to do the same thing. After 5 years, she was going to tell everyone about her struggles. I can’t even begin to tell you how that made me feel.

I went to bed last night feeling loved, hopeful and so incredibly grateful for my friends and family.  If you are considering coming clean on Facebook, I highly recommend it. I completely understand that many people would much rather keep this area of their lives private and that is completely fine. However, if you have been thinking about it and are just scared to take that final step and hit “submit?” Do it. I bet you will end up helping more people that you ever imagined.

Life Changing

5 Mar

Since my last post about a new start this year, I am proud to say I’ve carried through and made some large changes in my life. It’s completely terrifying but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time!

The biggest change that I’ve pursued, is I have applied to graduate school. Assuming I’m accepted, I plan to start the counseling psychology masters program in August. After I receive my degree, I plan on becoming a licensed counselor. I had so many doubts before I applied and changed my mind (AKA chickened out) a million times. Once I made the final decision to apply, it just felt right. I don’t know why it took me so long to do this! I’ve always wanted to help people and now I’m finally following my dream. 

I’ve also gone through six weeks of training for a really amazing volunteer opportunity. I won’t go into much detail because for safety reasons I don’t want many people to know where I’m working, but it’s something truly special. I’m doing real work helping people in really difficult situations. It’s been a huge eye opener and I’m met some remarkable people. I’m so incredibly fortunate to be a part of this organization!

I’m continuing with CrossFit and loving it more and more. At this point, I honestly feel like I’m addicted to it. I think it is helping me more mentally than physically, though I love seeing my muscles become more defined and being able to lift more and more weight. Every single time I do a CrossFit workout (also known as a WOD or workout of the day), I hit a mental block where I wonder if I can continue. And then I push through that block and do it. The first few times, I even cried because I was so frustrated. After pushing myself through and finishing the workouts, I have gained so much mental strength. 

In the beginning, if I hit a tough spot in my workout, my self talk was extremely negative. My mind would say things like, “You can’t do this! You need to quit!” Ignoring that talk and pushing through was incredibly difficult but it has helped me more than I ever imagined. Now, when I work out I think things like, “You got this! You can totally do this!” For the first time in my life, I am being kind and encouraging to myself. It’s about dang time.

I’m extremely satisfied with how far I’ve come in only two months. Josh and I are going on a lot of dates and just enjoying each other. It feels great to feel so incredibly close to my amazing husband. If I could do that much in only two months, I can’t wait to see how the rest of this year will go!

New Year, New Start

10 Jan

So 2012 was a rough one! In talking to friends and family, it seems like a lot of people had a tough year. Thank goodness for new beginnings! Instead of focusing on all the difficulties (you can catch up a bit here if you missed anything), I am just ready to move on. Most of the health issues are behind me, thank goodness, so now I can focus on things besides doctors visits.

I’m not a big resolutions person because I just don’t think they help me. This year, I’m making goals but I am aware of the fact that these can change as I grow and learn. I’m not going to make myself feel bad if I don’t meet a goal. Sometimes, the reason for not reaching a goal is because it wasn’t a good goal to have in the first place.

I’ve already started working through What Color is Your Parachute which is helping me figure out what the heck I want to do with my life. I know that my current full-time job is not working for me. I’m not happy and haven’t been for a while. I’m looking into some volunteer positions as well as job searching for something more related to the psychology field. That’s what I went to school for and that’s my passion. I need to step out of my comfort zone and start pursuing that.

I’m also going to continue with my photography business. I haven’t put much work into it lately and I hate that. Now that my health has improved, I can start devoting more time to my business.

The biggest change I’m making this year is I’m going to stop saying “no” to everything. Whenever an opportunity comes up, my initial reaction is always no. I have no idea why I’m that way. I have a feeling my anxiety has something to do with it. It’s easier for me to go about my normal routine and not do anything different. But, I think this actually makes me more anxious. I’ve noticed that the more I push myself to do things after work or on the weekend, the better I feel.

So, in terms of not saying “no” and being open to new experiences I’ve thought of a ton of things I would like to try this year. If I don’t get to some of them, so what? The idea is to try new things, even if I don’t think I will like them (or am scared to try), but there is no pressure to try and cram in a bunch of stuff that doesn’t mean something to me.

Some ideas I’ve had include:

  • Learn a new instrument. I’ve always wanted to play the drums but haven’t had the chance. Josh also plays the guitar and I would love to learn the basics.
  • Volunteer. I’m already starting training for a volunteer position this month and can’t wait to see how it goes.
  • Fitness. Last year, I really missed having a regular workout routine. I want to get a new routine this year that incorporates yoga and Crossfit. I tried my very first Crossfit workout this week (I was TERRIFIED) and had a great time. I can’t wait to go again! Plus, I was proud of myself for doing something I was scared to do. In pushing myself past my anxiety, I found something new that I enjoy doing.
  • Billiards. Yeah, this is a weird one. I have always hated playing pool. I sucked at it and usually when I went with a group of people I choose to stand back and watch everyone else play. I didn’t want to look stupid because I had no clue how to play. When we visited my parents over the holidays, we went and played pool at this really cool Greek bar/restaurant. My mom and dad helped me a lot and I had a great time. There is a place to play pool near us and I’ve asked Josh if we can start going so I can get better. One more thing that I tried expecting to hate it and ended up really enjoying.
  • Art classes. I am completely open here. I’ve never been very artsy but I’ve never tried that hard. If there is a pottery class in the area, sure! Knitting? Okay! I’m open to trying anything and everything.
  • Writing. I’ve obviously been a huge slacker on this blog and I hate it. Not because I feel guilty but because I love writing. In addition to writing more regularly on the blog, I want to improve my writing skills in general. Maybe I could take a writing course at the community college? Who knows. I just want to write more often!

2013 is going to be about discovering myself. This means fixing my job situation, finding new hobbies, following my passions, being more healthy, and working on my anxiety. As silly as “discovering myself” sounds, I’m really excited to get started!

P.S. We haven’t given up on trying for a baby. I am deciding that my life will not revolve around trying to get pregnant  I can’t keep putting my life on hold because someday I might get pregnant. It’s time to shift my focus.

Three Years

10 Oct

Three years ago, I walked down the aisle at a beautiful church and vowed to love Josh for the rest of my life. I can honestly say, I love him even more today than I did three years ago. While we have our share of ups and downs, the hard times we have gone through have made our relationship so incredibly strong. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. Not only does my husband vacuum, do the laundry and fix things around the house, but he surprises me with cupcakes! If I ever need help, he drops whatever it is he is doing to help me. Did I also mention how incredibly brilliant he is? He works so hard in his career and never stops learning and growing. When we are together, we never stop talking and we can have fun doing absolutely anything. And I just have to mention this. He’s…well…hot. He’s just a total hottie.

Happy third anniversary baby!


1 Oct

Yikes. So I just dropped off the face of the planet. However, after you read my obligatory catch up post, I think you’ll completely understand my lack of posts.

Starting with our fertility stuff, not much has really happened. We tried IUI three times and they didn’t work. Our specialist told us that we could either continue trying IUI or move on to IVF. At that point, we decided to take a break. I was struggling with depression and my body was completely worn out. I just couldn’t continue on the way we were going. My reproductive organs were running my entire life and it was exhausting. Since then, we’ve continued to try but it hasn’t been the main feature of our lives. I wish I could say we are doing lots of amazing, fun things instead but that’s not entirely true.

Since January, Josh has been taking an extremely difficult online course that is almost impossible to pass. It will be a huge step for his career if he does pass so I’m glad he’s taking it. However, it means I’m alone a lot. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my alone time. I’m an introvert to the core and alone time is a necessity for me. But I’ve been getting lonely. Plus, since he’s so busy, a lot of the housework, meals and taking care of the dogs falls on my lap. Normally, this would be no problem but as you will see in the next couple of paragraphs, I’ve been having some health issues. He took his test (24 hours of nonstop testing at his computer) and we think he passed. He had to get 70 points to pass and he got 100. We aren’t celebrating until he gets the official word though. When we do, it’s going to be a BIG deal for him. I’m proud of him, but it’s still been a challenge.

On top of that, I’ve had some major health issues lately. It started shortly after we finished our last IUI. I started to feel really awful (tired, nauseous, achy, etc) and all the glands on the right side of my neck swelled up bigger than I thought was even possible. I saw three different doctors, had dozens of blood tests, had a fine needle biopsy (horrible), more blood work, ultrasounds, and finally an excisional biopsy where they removed one of my lymph nodes for testing. It was supposed to be a simple procedure where I would only miss one day of work. Um, no. It was horrible. I can’t remember the last time I felt that much pain. I was taking a double dose of pain meds and it didn’t’ even put a dent in the pain. I had the surgery on Monday and didn’t go back to work until Friday and even that was rough. One of the things the doctors were worried about was tuberculosis  The reason they were worried about that? Well, I tested positive for it. You know the skin test they do for TB? I had one and my skin swelled up enough to worry the doctors which is why they pushed for the second biopsy. Fortunately  all my test results have come back normal so far and I won’t need treatment. I am not officially diagnosed with TB. That means I’m not contagious and it was most likely a false positive. It was still a lot to go through for everything to come back normal.

The biopsy was only two weeks ago yet today I found myself back at the doctor for a completely unrelated issue. For the past month I’ve been having horrible lower abdominal pain. I haven’t been able to see my gynecologist though because I’ve had to deal with the biopsy first. I finally made it in today and pending an ultrasound next week, my doctor is pretty sure my endometriosis is back. This means that I will be going through my third surgery in only 2 years. Even worse, I have no clue how long it will take to schedule my surgery and in the meantime, I am in so much pain I can barely stand it. Before I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I never really had the typical symptoms so I wasn’t prepared for this level of pain. It’s completely awful.

Outside of health issues, I’ve had some family stuff that I won’t talk about here but let’s just say it’s been incredibly stressful.  Seeing family members hurt and going through pain yourself is just hard. Really hard.

To make matters worse, my best friend moved to Seattle for 6 months. She should be back at the beginning of next year and we’ve been keeping in touch by phone, but it’s still hard. I miss her so incredibly much. She is the most amazing person ever and being around her for just a minute makes me feel so much more positive. I’m fortunate to even have a friend like her. Another one of my friends made it completely clear that I meant nothing to her. With everything else going on, I think it hurt worse than it should have. I kept telling myself that someone who doesn’t care about you isn’t worth getting upset over. Easier said than done, I guess. It just would have been nice to have someone else to talk to right now.

Ending on a good note, we went to Ireland a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to share our pictures! We had a wonderful time even through the health issues and I’m so glad we went. Stay tuned for those recaps!

Tell Me a Story

7 May

Sadly, this is my last week of Brooke Snow’s amazing class. I always get so sad when her classes end. This week we had two assignments. Part one was to tell a story with only one picture. Part two was to take a self-portrait.

Time for some honesty. A couple of times during this class, I got a little down because I didn’t have kids of my own to take pictures of. So many classmates used their own kids I just had my husband and dogs. But this week I realized something really important. Someday I will have kids. I will either be a mother of adopted children or I will finally be blessed with a child of my own and I will take hundreds of pictures of them. But right now? Right now, it’s my husband and my dogs. They are my family and that is such a wonderful thing. I need to document my life as it is right now because I don’t want to look back on my life someday and be sad because I took this time for granted. So, I had a GREAT time this week. My family completely ROCKS!

My first shot is my story shot. And this? This is my gorgeous husband. I mean come on! He’s so hot. (Click images to enlarge.)

The next shot was where I had to get in front of the camera. I pretty much never do this so I’m really glad Brooke made us do it this week. We had so much fun getting this shot. My remote broke so I had to keep running back and forth and was laughing so hard. And I totally LOVE this shot. Like, I am going to order prints and hang it in my house. I can’t get over how great Josh looks!

Here’s a couple extra I got while we were hanging out by the trains. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is willing to do this. And now I have more pictures of him to swoon over!

Brooke, thank you again for an amazing experience. I really feel as if my photography skills and confidence has grown so much over the past four weeks. And if any of you guys are ever thinking of taking an online photography course, I absolutely recommend Brooke’s classes!

Homework Week 3

29 Apr

So I really struggled with this homework assignment. It felt like all my creativity was gone and I didn’t know how to get it back! I had a photo shoot scheduled with an adorable little girl but that ended up not happening and that threw me even more. I had no plan and was totally lost. I came so close to just skipping the assignment this week because I was getting so stressed. Finally, on Sunday afternoon I thought to myself, “Why don’t you just walk around your house and take some shots of the dogs. Test out the lighting and see if you can finally find some decent lighting in your house.” I used to think our house was the worst house ever when it came to natural light but I think I just wasn’t giving it a chance.

The pictures I took this week are not my typical style and they are just kind of different from what I would normally take. However, maybe that’s a good thing. I started thinking out of box and just relaxed and had fun. Also, my dogs think I’m completely insane now.

For the first part of the assignment we were told to take images of contrasting elements. If you think about it, there are endless possibilities of contrasting things to take pictures of. My brain, however, decided to just stop working. I take pictures of contrasting things all the time but when I was asked to actually be aware of it and plan those things, I drew a blank. I seriously spent an entire week trying to figure out one contrasting thing I could take a picture of. Finally, one day while I was watching my adorable dogs, I realize that hey! They are really different. Piper is bigger, stocky and has this gorgeous black fur. Lexy is shorter but with long thin legs and is a light tan color. So I gave it a shot! (As always, click on the images to enlarge.)

The next part of the assignment was to take an image and capture the much desired “decisive moment.” The decisive moment is basically when everything comes together for a very SHORT instant and you want to capture that. While I was having fun with the dogs, I climbed up on some furniture, got my camera ready and yelled, “OH MY GOSH GUYS! LOOK OUT THE WINDOW RIGHT NOW!” They both sprinted into the room and jumped up on the window sill. I knew they wouldn’t stay there long so I was ready and got one shot. I think it came out pretty good!  (And no, I never do that to my dogs just to laugh when they run into the room to look out the window. Why would I do that? That would just be mean!)

So, all in all, after a week where I felt like my creativity was lacking and I was ready to give up, I am proud of how everything turned out. I guess it goes to show that when you RELAX and just enjoy yourself, creativity will find you again.