The Box of Hopes and Dreams

When Josh and I first started trying, I started a baby box. Excited at the potential of getting pregnant quickly, I starting collecting baby items that I saw on sale or that were given to me. In this box there are several pregnancy books, a few neutral colored onesies, pacifiers, and a hat. In this box are my hopes and dreams. This box of hopes and dreams used to sit on my bookshelf to make me smile during the “two week wait” or when I got home from a doctor’s appointment. Sometime last Fall, in an angry rage, I threw the box in my closet. I wanted to throw it in the trash, but didn’t have the heart. I let myself cry alone in my room, angry that this stupid box was still full.

Several weeks ago, I was cleaning out my closet and saw the box. I carefully pulled out each item and laid them on the floor in front of me. I stared at the tiny clothes and shoes. This time instead of feeling sad I felt something that caught me by surprise. I felt hope. I pictured myself putting my sweet chunky baby in these clothes and my heart felt happy. It’s going to happen. One day I will be a momma. I feel it in my heart.

I put the box back on my book shelf in my bedroom. Whenever I’m feeling down, sick, or just tired of it all I pull each item out of the box. I fold, and organize the things inside and remember that one day, as sweet babe will wear those clothes, snuggle the blankets, and cry into the lovey. On the days that it’s hard I hold onto hope.

 

hope

 

 

Finding Joy Through Infertility

It is very difficult to find joy when you have days where you are barely holding yourself together. There are days when the burdens of life feel so heavy, all I can do is go home and lock myself in my room for several hours and cry. It happens. But most days, I feel great. I have this thing about me where I try to find the good in bad situations. I want to find the positive about every situation. It’s how I coped with my childhood, my depression, my anxiety, my grief. I could go on.

However, after being diagnosed with PCOS and being told getting pregnant would be a challenge, it was hard to find the positive. I felt broken, sad, and alone. I distinctly remember telling Josh one day that I felt like I had been living several months in autopilot. Like I was having an out of body experience always. It was pretty scary. And as someone that is in tune with energies, it was terrifying not being able to be in tune with myself. Luckily, 2017 ended on a more positive note and I have been able to ground myself through my yoga practice. * Surprise surprise.*

I decided that for this post, I wanted to make a list of the positive things that have come out of the past year and the joy that I have been able to find through our journey of infertility.

 

26166596_10155166070598513_6614457955666380689_n

  1. Josh and I have been able to connect on a deeper level.  I have heard horror stories about couples struggling with infertility and how it shattered their marriage. I was determined to not let that happen to me and Josh. Needless to say 2017 strengthened our marriage in ways that I cannot explain. I love him so much and honestly, I couldn’t do any of this without him.

 

IMG_2617

2. I found my yoga practice and I started teaching again.  2017 was soul crushing for me not only because of my PCOS, but because I let go of things that I loved. I do this when I’m depressed. I don’t know why and I will never understand it. I stopped practicing yoga and I let sadness take over. I started going to acupuncture because I felt desperate for any kind of “healing” for my body. My acupuncturist looked me in the face and said “You’re a yoga teacher. You should be practicing. I promise you will see a difference.” She was right. Once I got in the habit of practicing regularly, I received an opportunity to teach and it has made all the difference in the world. I no longer feel like I am having an out of body experience. I feel like me.

Stocksy_woman-writing-laptop_476082-57ab432d3df78cf459975331

3. I started writing again.  Writing has always been something that I have loved. In high school I would write short stories and poems. I enjoyed being in honors english classes. Writing was my therapy. Unfortunately, I stopped writing for fun a long time ago. I have always loved blogging and when I was diagnosed with PCOS, I decided to take my passion for writing and become a voice for those that were silently struggling.  I also started writing short stories on the side.

22550400_10154997000433513_3680340840619469285_o

4. I tried new hobbies. This Summer I fell in love with kayaking! I have never really been into outdoor sports but my in laws introduced me to kayaking and I will never go back. I love the water and have always said I was meant to live in the ocean. being in the kayak brought me more peace than I ever could’ve imagined.

class_journals_iStock_000021675732XSmall

5. I started a gratitude journal.  You’d be amazed at how quickly your outlook changes when you decide to write down what you are thankful for instead of focusing on the negative. I try to write 5-10 things that I am grateful for everyday. It doesn’t have to be in a physical journal. You can write on your phone, notebook, a napkin, etc.  When you start looking for the good instead of dwelling on the bad, your life will transform into something beautiful.

But What About Being 20 Something and Infertile?

One of the most frustrating things about this journey, other than the fact that I can’t get pregnant, is the lack of material for those that are young and experience infertility. Every book I have picked up, every article I have read, and every blog that I have searched are about woman 30+ suffering from infertility.  When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to read everything I could to understand what was happening in my body.  I soaked the pages of every book with my tears and felt alone. At one point, I remember throwing a book across my bedroom and screaming “BUT I’M ONLY 25 DAMN IT!!!!!”

infertility-causes

Like so many other, I believed that infertility mainly affected those that were over 30. I quickly learned that is not true.

Infertility doesn’t discriminate. 

Infertility doesn’t care how old you are, what you look like, if you’re fat or skinny. Infertility does not care what race you are, what your gender is,  how “healthy” you may be, or how active you are.  Unfortunately, infertility can affect anyone. In fact 1 in 6 couples are infertile. Whether it be the male or female or both parties.  I can bet that you know someone that is infertile, even if they aren’t talking about it.

menandwomenequal_forweb

If you are 20 something years old and dealing with infertility….I FEEL YOU. I feel you so hard.  It sucks. It is lonely. I get told all the time “you’re only in your mid twenties you have time.” or “but you’re so young, why are you worried about having kids right now?”

Let me get this straight. Yes, I am young but let me remind you that my age does not define my desire to be a mother. It does not stop my husband and I from wanting to start a family.  And even if I wasn’t trying to have a child, the disorder I have affects my life everyday.

INFERTILITY couple giving a bribe for IVF treatment , Syringe and vaccine with drugs.

If you are struggling with your “young” age and fertility, you are not alone. As I said before, infertility doesn’t discriminate. Keep reading the books and the articles. I would also suggest asking your doctor for reading material. One thing I did was google “infertility for women in their 20’s.” I found a lot of great material that made me realize that infertility in your 20’s is more common than you would think.

download (4)

And most importantly, know that you have a safe space here. How old were you when you found out you had fertility issues? How did you deal? Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

Why Timing Isn’t Everything…

f8efb14bbd3ff3de69c41de614998a6d--infertility-quotes-sad-infertility-sadness

 

The phrase that I hate more than any phrase that has ever existed is “when the timing is right, it will happen.”

GAAAHHHHHH!! Excuse me whilst I bang my head on my desk and scream a furious war cry.

I will admit that I used this phrase quite often during my early twenties. Josh and I married young and people always wanted to know when we were going to start our family. With every question I would smile sweetly and respond “when the time is right, it will happen.” Unfortunately, I didn’t realize just how ignorant this statement was. Please don’t take offense. I know that you mean well when you say this to someone. The point of my blog and these posts is to bring awareness to infertility and the subjects surrounding it. This includes how we think, act, and speak towards woman and their reproductive health.

Moving on…

I hate this statement because it insinuates that woman that, are infertile, are lacking in their judgement for “timing.” I KNOW what you are thinking. “That’s not what I mean!!!” I know you don’t. But the point of this post is for you to be more cognizant of what you are saying to your friends or family members that are struggling to conceive.

Josh and I were confident that we would not start trying until “the timing was right.” I remember specifically when we decided that it was, in our minds, the right time to start trying. We were sitting in an Indian restaurant talking about our New Year’s resolutions. We knew without a doubt that it was right. We could feel it.  There was no doubt in our minds that it was our time to become parents. And yet here we are a year later, still childless and trying to come to terms with the fact that if it had taken us the normal amount of time to conceive, we would have a baby right now.

This statement also insinuates that the woman is not prepared enough.  The harsh reality friends is that there is no right time, and you will never be prepared enough. Is there really a right time for any big change in life such as marriage or the birth of a child? I truly don’t believe so.  You can never be completely prepared for these things. For goodness sakes there are 16 year old girls out there having babies that are definitely not prepared. But because I’m 26 and infertile, it’s not the right time? Being infertile does not mean the time is not right. Being infertile means that you were dealt a shitty hand. Being infertile means that you may be 100% “ready” but your body doesn’t work correctly.

It is not your fault. It is not “God’s” fault. It is not timing.  It is just happens and it’s unfair.

So when your friend or family member is upset and venting, instead of saying “when the timing is right it will happen” tell them that you love them and you are there for them. Tell them that no matter how broken they are feeling, they are beautiful and worthy. Being compassionate is the best gift you  can give to someone that is struggling to conceive.

 

download (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infertility, The Gift That Keeps on Grieving

It’s a strange feeling, grief. It’s even stranger when you’re grieving something you’ve never had. I didn’t think it was possible until this past year. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was sitting in the doctor’s office last week. Ironically, it was dark and snowy outside. I stared out the window waiting to be called in for my ultrasound feeling more and more depressed the longer my wait time became. Again, I looked around me at the pregnant women and wanted to sob. A family is all I have ever wanted. I planned my entire life around being a mom one day and the more and more appointments I went to, the more and more angry I became. Why does it have to be so hard for some people? Especially those who want it more than anything. I sat there in pain, mentally and physically. I was cramping from the cyst that burst the weekend prior, and tired from the new medications I was taking. I finally excused myself to the bathroom and allowed myself to cry for 5 minutes. No more than that or I might miss my ultrasound.

After the appointment, I was driving home and I realized that the emotions I had been feeling that day were the exact same emotions I had felt two years earlier when I lost my dear friend. Before you jump down my throat about how grieving the loss of a loved one is not the same as grieving the loss of something you haven’t had, let me explain.

Those that suffer from infertility are experiencing loss. Some of them are experiencing literal loss. Even if you haven’t experienced a pregnancy loss, or the loss of a child, a woman suffering from infertility is grieving the loss of her femininity. Or at least that’s how it feels.  When you are told that your body can’t do what it is supposed to, it is like being told you are dead inside.  I remember thinking vividly a week after my diagnosis, “what is the point of even having a uterus?” Infertility can put your mind in a dark place.

The fact that it’s the holiday season did not help my grief. It’s easy to scroll through facebook and see baby posts or pregnancy announcements and feel worthless. My advice is this, let yourself grieve but don’t let it take over your life. Delete the facebook app for a few days, binge watch netflix one night, go to a yoga class, cry. Do what you need to take care of yourself, but don’t let your grief define you. I found that as hard as I try to make myself stop grieving it doesn’t stop. I have learned that as the grief comes and goes, it is important to acknowledge and give yourself the space to feel it. Feeling it makes it easier to accept and move on.  Allowing myself the 5 minutes to cry at in my doctor’s bathroom gave me the emotional release my body had been craving. Afterwards, I felt better and was able to have a decent conversation with the ultrasound tech and my infertility nurse.

Infertility sucks and the grief that comes with it double sucks. But through it all, we continue to hold on to hope.

 

Image result for infertility hope

1 Year Later….

 

image2

 

Tuesday, Josh and I met with a fertility specialist. We have been trying for a year and are officially categorized as “infertile.” This doesn’t mean that we will never be able to have children, it just means we can’t do it the “good ole’ fashioned way” or how they teach you when you’re in 8th grade and laughing at the plastic diagrams of vaginas. Nope this means we will have the blessing of modern medicine aiding our baby making process. This isn’t really news but it’s still jarring when reality hits you in the face.

Exciting stuff right?

I’m sharing this because it’s a huge stepping stone in our infertility journey. I don’t usually give updates on our journey, but I feel it is important to share my experience so that it may one day help someone else.

I was anxious all morning, and honestly a little defeated. It has been a year since we started trying and I felt shafted by the care I received from my regular OB. She didn’t do a lot of tests or monitoring that she should have and I walked into the specialist’s office feeling like this past year had been a huge waste. I sat in my new doctor’s office and felt numb. Here I was about to listen to the same song and dance that I had a year ago. I was angry, annoyed, and tired. When I had spoken on the phone with the nurse a month before, she warned me that we would be starting from scratch. However, I wasn’t prepared for the anger I would feel when I walked into the office. There were pregnant women EVERYWHERE! They were smiling and crying with joy and I was jealous. I sat there reeling in jealousy and feeling broken. I thought for sure there was a huge sign over my head that read “I’M INFERTILE DON’T LOOK AT ME!”  At that moment, Josh grabbed my hand and smiled. I instantly felt calm and remembered that I didn’t know  these women and what their journey was like. What if the woman crying about her baby girl had been trying for 10 years? I had no idea. I realized  I was being selfish. At the moment the doctor walked into the room and gave me the biggest smile. She was the kindest woman. She asked questions gently, and genuinely wanted to educate both me and Josh on the things we were unsure of.  She took the extra time to explain things to us and the best part? She actually cared. I didn’t feel like just a patient. I felt that she genuinely wanted to help us get pregnant. She even told us so. 🙂

I next met with the infertility nurse after an hour and a half of questions. PS….if you ever need to see a specialist, be prepared to answer A LOT of questions. And if you are shy about your body….you better be prepared to give up the shyness. The nurse was also the kindest nurse I had ever met. She patted my arm and said she was there to take care of me and that I would be a mother and that she would be there the entire time. I teared up. I had never met a medical professional that was so kind. In the same breath she told me I would be getting a shot of progesterone in my butt.  That took me by surprise but wasn’t as painful as I thought. I was grateful because the progesterone pills always made me sick to my stomach. As awkward as it was, the nurse was kind and kept reassuring me that it would be worth it. She showed me pictures of the babies she helped deliver and even pictures of her own children. It gave me hope. And more importantly it made me believe in my body again. Josh and I left the office feeling so positive. We are excited for what the next year will bring us whether it be naturally or through adoption.  We are just grateful for the gift of modern medicine.

To all you ladies out there I have put together a list of tips for you to survive your first appointment to the specialist.

  1. Create a “Badass Woman” Playlist to listen to that day. Of course, my playlist was all Beyonce Songs starting with “Run The World (Girls).” Play songs that will make you feel empowered. It will give you a more positive attitude about the day.
  2. Give yourself time to process the information afterward. Don’t go back to work right away if you don’t have to. You are going to have so much information thrown at you. Take time to breathe, be with your partner, and digest.
  3. Have ice cream in the freezer for later. Whether it’s the fatigue from hormones or just the emotions of the day…a tub of ice cream will hit the spot that night once you have had time to process.
  4. Don’t feel like you have to remember everything. The nurses and doctors will be on call for you if you have any questions. They will also give you packets, reading material, and instructions.
  5. LOVE YOURSELF! Remember that this is not your fault. Do yoga, meditate, read a book, or binge watch tv. Spend that day treating yourself. You deserve it. And remember….you will have a family one day. 🙂

 

image1

5 Ways to Support Your Friend Struggling With Infertility 

One of the many hard things about struggling with infertility is feeling lonely. It’s already hard to deal with the fact that having a baby will be difficult or even impossible, but when you put loneliness on top of it all, it’s downright maddening.

It is not a surprise that those struggling with infertility also suffer from depression. How do you make someone understand just exactly what you are going through? You can’t. Not unless that someone has also experienced it.

I was asked “What can I do to help you feel supported during this time?” I teared up when my dear friend asked me this question. Honestly, just the act of asking meant the world to me. It made me feel validated and not alone. This had me thinking  long and hard about what I needed to feel supported during this trial. I asked some of my fellow “cysters” for their opinions as well and this is what we came up with.

 

  1. Don’t Give Advice  

We know you mean well. Really we do. We understand that you want to help because you feel helpless when a friend drops the infertility bomb on you. Don’t. Don’t try to help or give advice. We are given so much information and advice from our doctors and specialists on a regular basis. We are also given unwanted advice ALWAYS from family and friends. If you really really want to help, offer a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. The thing we all hate hearing the most is

“It will happen” <— Or it won’t. You’re not a doctor or God.

“My friend did x and y happened. It will happen for you!” <– Seriously. No. NO.

” Maybe if you did this…this would happen.” <— Stop.

 

2. Ask How We Are Doing

We understand that you may feel awkward asking. We understand that you don’t know how to ask. Just ask. Some examples could be:

“How are you feeling today?”

“How are treatments going?”

“Is there anything I can do to make you feel supported?”

“Would you like to talk about how you’re feeling?”

These are perfect questions to ask your friend or family member without coming off as awkward or offensive. DON’T ask:

“Are you pregnant yet?”

” Do you think you’re not pregnant because…”

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. We are carrying so much burden on our shoulders, it hurts when we feel like we are carrying it alone. One of the best feelings in the world is when a friend asks “how are your treatments going?” Knowing that a friend or family member is concerned about the physical and mental pain you are going through is better than any gift. (other than the gift of pregnancy.)

 

3. Be Respectful of Our Grieving 

For those that are struggling with infertility, infant loss, miscarriage, etc…please understand that it is hard when someone announces a pregnancy. Please understand that it’s physically painful to go to a baby shower and pretend everything is ok. I know what you’re thinking “wow that sounds selfish.” Guess what? It’s not called being selfish, it’s called grief.  We are grieving the loss of what we had, don’t have, or will never have. I repeat It’s not selfish, it’s grief. Yes, there are those that take their grief and turn it into anger and let it effect their lives for the worst. But remember to be respectful.  Please don’t announce your pregnancy to us in a public place where we are put on the spot to look happy. Please don’t be offended if we opt out of the baby shower. It’s not you. It’s us and we don’t want to upset you with our sadness. We will most likely send you a gift in the mail or give you one in private.  And please..don’t take it personally. Again, it’s not you. 

4. Don’t Complain About Motherhood/Pregnancy to Us

I know that parenting is hard. Really I do. I’ve seen the struggle on my friend’s faces or the tiny taste of struggle I had working as a nanny. I get it. But also please understand that there are women out there that would give anything to be up all night with a screaming baby. As weird and sick as that sounds.  Know that someone would give anything to be in your place holding a crying baby in their arms.  They would give anything to stand in silence as their child throws a tantrum. Honestly, they would.  Some of us don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to hear a child cry out to us in the middle of the night, or hate us for keeping them in line. Most of all, some of us don’t know if we will ever have the feeling of tiny arms wrapped around our necks, or hear the words ” I love you momma.” Some of us will never have the morning sickness or the feel the tiny kicks in our belly. Understand that most of us are sick from our fertility treatments that end in negative pregnancy tests. Understand that some of us give ourselves daily shots of hormones to make our bodies do something it should do on it’s on. Don’t complain to us about how hard it is or how much you hate it because some of us may never get the opportunity to experience it.

5. Remember We Are Still The Same

We are still the friend or family member you have always had, we have just had unfortunate circumstances.  We will still have good days. We will still be bubbly and fun and laugh. Please remember that the good days will be more often than the bad. But remember that we need you on the bad days too. Infertility has changed us, yes, but we are still the same person you came to know and love before infertility. Infertility does not define us. Please do not walk on eggshells around us or avoid us. Treat us normally. Continue to invite us to our regular activities. If we decline, it’s not you. It may be a treatment week and we may be too tired, sick, or sad. But keep asking, keep loving, and keep being there. Your support will mean the world to us.

 

Image result for infertility support