You’re Allowed to be Happy

We spent this Thanksgiving in New Hampshire with my husband’s family. It was wonderful! It was big and loud and full of laughter; just how Thanksgiving should be. As I sat, surrounded by family and friends my heart felt like it was going to burst! I felt genuinely happy.

After we stuffed ourselves with turkey and wine, I scrolled through my instagram. Post after post was about how sad it was to be  infertile on Thanksgiving or how it was ok to not be happy that day. I get it. I really TRULY do because I’ve been there. I would be almost 8 months pregnant right now if we hadn’t lost our pregnancy. I would be hanging an ornament for our unborn baby or decorating the nursery. If I think too hard about those things, I can spiral into a black hole. But this year, I chose to be happy. I chose to focus on the fact that I have such a strong support system. I chose to focus on the fact that I’m going to have a brand new baby nephew soon. I chose to focus on the things in my life that are going well. It’s easy to focus on what isn’t going well but I promise you will feel 1000% better if you focus on the good.

I was a little offended that my instagram feed was making me feel like I had to be sad on Thanksgiving because I’m infertile. I decided to leave instagram alone for the rest of the night. So here is some positivity on your feed.  You are allowed to be happy on the holidays.  Infertility does not have to equal perpetual sadness.  Remember that although it feels like there is a lot going wrong, there is also a lot going right. Also,

You are a goddess.

xoxo Kat

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Feelings

I’ve been pretty silent on my blog and infertility instagram account. Honestly, I haven’t wanted to talk about infertility. As weird as that sounds, because I’m so passionate about it,  I felt like I needed some space to heal.  Completely. Without the noise.

When Josh and I decided to take a break from treatment, I decided I would still blog and post on social media. I didn’t want to stop the momentum. However, I was quickly reminded by the universe that I was taking this break to heal and I needed to do it fully.  I stopped researching, reading, or even looking at infertility accounts. Whenever I would open an article, I felt angry and bitter. This is not what I envisioned my life being. I often get the comment “but you’re so young” like it’s an excuse. Like it should make me feel better. It’s not and it doesn’t.  My body doesn’t work properly. Period. It doesn’t matter how young or old I am. My body doesn’t care that I’m still considered “a baby” or “in my prime”. It still betrayed me. It still failed to carry my pregnancy. And it still fails to do what it’s supposed to everyday leaving me with the aftermath. It sucks. Plain and simple it just sucks.

Yes, I am young. And for that I am grateful that time is on my side. However, it doesn’t change the fact that for a year and a half I felt cheated. I felt like life was purposefully screwing me over.  Sitting in the waiting room before our IUI, I broke down. I couldn’t take it anymore and my emotions overflowed. Josh thought something was wrong with me, the nurses rushed to me and offered water, coffee, tea, whatever they could. I wanted to run out of the clinic and leave the world behind. But I went to the bathroom and pulled myself together. I wiped my tears, took a deep breath, and shoved my feelings and emotions down. And that my friends is the problem.

You see, it’s easy to plaster on a smile and tell yourself it’s going to be okay.  Fake it till you make it right? What’s hard is letting yourself feel the grief. Letting your heart break wide open and feel the pain. It’s ugly and raw and so damn uncomfortable. For the past month, I have reflected a lot on the past year and half. Has it really been that hard? Did we start too soon? What are we doing wrong? Why am I so traumatized? These are the questions that keep me up at night. My heart was already weak, and infertility made it weaker. The dam finally broke after my miscarriage. The pieces of my heart that I had left, were ruined. And this is why I am taking a break.

There are women that go through this for years. I can’t even explain how much I admire those women and how I envy their strength. For me, I felt too traumatized to continue. I knew that I needed to really look deep into my soul and begin to heal. Not just from infertility, but from my past. There is so much damage inside that I feel like my soul is stuck together with tape. I don’t want to give my child, or my husband, a heart that is barely holding it together. My family deserves my whole heart.  They deserve my best self. I’m so grateful for my amazing husband who has been nothing but 100% supportive of my journey to healing. He’s going to be the best dad.

I know that when I pick up treatments again it won’t be easy. Believe me I know that. But I want to be more prepared. I don’t want the bitterness to consume me. And honestly, I want to be okay if we can’t have our own biological children. I just want to be okay. Thank you to those that have reached out. Your love and support mean the world to me. I am healing. I am learning to love myself again. It’s going to be a wild ride, but I’m looking forward to the future.

 

 

 

On a Break

There is this saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. In the past couple of weeks, that saying has stuck with me. After a year and a half of fertility drugs, one miscarriage, and a failed IUI attempt we decided that we are taking a break.

I had been thinking about this for a while but kept pushing through. I hate quitting and felt like if we took a break, I would somehow be giving up.  I have seen women go through this journey for YEARS, and here I am complaining after 19 months and “calling it quits.” I want to disclaim that Josh and I are not giving up on having children. We definitely want to start trying again, however  I need a break.

Right after my miscarriage, my mental health was not in a good space. And when I say that I mean it took everything for me to get out of bed, shower, go to work, or even answer the phone. Every little task felt exhausting. I was not okay.

In the past 6 months, I have gained 20 lbs. Right?!  I know what you are thinking. But, depression does that. I was already at a scary high weight and then my mental health went to hell and so did my weight.  When we were sitting in the waiting room before our IUI, I felt the intense emotion of the past year all at once. It was like my uterus slapped me in the face and I just started crying. I couldn’t stop. It was like someone turned on the crying switch. One of the nurses came over and asked if I was ok and I couldn’t even answer her. It was then I knew, I needed a break. If it had been a regular appointment, I would’ve told my doctor that day that I was going to take some time off. However, Josh and I were sitting there with our “specimen” so it was too late to turn back.

When we didn’t end up pregnant, I was upset obviously, but felt relief when I decided to take a break. Don’t get me wrong it’s still hard and it took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with it.  I have been so busy trying to get pregnant for the past 19 months that I have completely forgotten how to live normally. Now that I don’t have the fog of fertility drugs clouding every aspect of my day, I feel human. For the first time in over a year, I feel like myself again.

I decided that treatments would be on hold until I could get in a good space physically and mentally. I want to be able to tackle infertility with more strength the next time around. I don’t want it to take over my life the way it did. I know that infertility will always be a apart of my life and it will be hard. But I have to do this. For me, for my husband, and for our future family. I feel good about my decision to put everything on hold for awhile. As hard as it is, I feel in my soul it’s for the best.

I’m still going to blog, vlog, and talk about reproductive health and infertility. I’m not going to go on birth control or decide to live a child free life. I’m simply shifting my perspective and focus to myself and my health. Whatever happens happens and when we decide to jump back on the horse, I will be in a much better place.

 

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The Importance of Self-Care

Have you ever found that it’s so easy to take care of other people, but super hard to take care of yourself? Well don’t be because it’s pretty common.  I think that society has taught us that self-care is considered selfish. It’s selfish to think about yourself when there are others that are struggling.

THIS IS FALSE.

Have you ever flown on an airplane? What do the flight attendants tell you about the face mask? Put it on yourself before you help other passengers.

Self-care is especially important when going through infertility and the treatments that come with it.  Infertility is stressful, emotional, and draining in all aspects.  It is CRUCIAL that you practice self-care during this phase of your life.  For me, self-care means doing things that bring my soul happiness and peace. I have put together a list of the things I do to practice self-care.

 

  • Listen to show tunes ALL THE WAY UP
  • Take long baths
  • Practice Yoga
  • Binge Watch FRIENDS or Supernatural (or both)
  • Blog
  • Meditate
  • Go to the beach
  • Put on a full face of makeup (weird I know, but it seriously makes me happy)
  • Bake
  • Drink a glass of wine on the porch with my super hot husband
  • Read a book in bed

 

 

What ways do you practice self-care? Leave a comment below!

 

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Fluff Break

I’m a nerd. A HUGE NERD. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Supernatural…those are my peeps. Fluff is a term in the fanfiction world that basically means sweet, little plot, no angst, etc.  So today I am taking a fluff break from all the anger, grief, and sadness of infertility. Today I’m going to talk about this guy…. (not a caveman.)

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This is Josh aka my boo thang, aka my ride or  die, aka my hot husband. He’s pretty stellar and without him I would be a WRECK. More than I am already. But I digress.

Josh and I met in college and it was NOT love at first sight. Obviously, I thought he was cute. In fact, I remember texting my friend a few minutes after I met him saying”Damn I just met the finest looking man.” However, he has a big personality. If you have ever met Josh you know he lights up a room the minute he walks in and he owns it. It’s one of the things I love the most about him, but the 20 year old introvert that met him was scared by it.

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We became friends quickly and would hang out every.single.day. The longest I’ve been away from him since the day we met is a month. And that entire month we were on the phone or on skype 24/7. He quickly became my best friend. I never anticipated it growing into more because I was so self conscious. I had the biggest crush on him but never in a million years thought he would like me back. I mean look at that face! HOT. STUFF.

However, one night he kissed me and told me he had feelings for me. “Deep feelings.” To quote him.  Instantly, going from friends to more felt natural. Like breathing. It wasn’t awkward or weird. It felt like I was home.

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Josh and I were engaged quickly and married even more quickly. This year, we’ve been married for 5 years and they have been the greatest of my life. Although we have been through a great deal in the past 5 years, I believe we have grown stronger and loved even deeper through it all. We have lost friends and family tragically, moved across the country, changed religious idealizations, lived pay check to paycheck, and now suffered through infertility and a miscarriage.

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Life is hard, but without Josh I honestly don’t know what I would do. He has made my dark days bright, my tears of sadness tears of laughter, and my struggle seem worth while. Through the hormones, weight gain, weight loss, tears, anger, bitterness, self-loathing, he has been my rock. My light in the dark. If infertility has taught me one thing, it’s that Josh and I can get through anything together. I would literally live in a box off the land with him and be content. He’s my favorite person in the whole world, and I feel extremely blessed to call him my husband and *future* baby daddy.

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What Infertility Has Taught Me

Yesterday was the last day of infertility awareness week. If you follow me on instagram, you have seen my multitude of posts. This year’s theme was “flip the script” which aligns with the purpose of my blog beautifully.  I so badly wanted to post a video to describe my final thoughts on infertility awareness week, but the words escaped me. And honestly, I couldn’t get through it without crying.

Infertility is hell.  It is a pain that has no words to accurately describe it. It is a pain that you feel at a soul level.  However, infertility has taught me beautiful things.

Infertility has taught me compassion. 

Infertility has taught me patience

Infertility has taught me to love myself 

Infertility has taught me humility

Infertility has taught me that I am worthy without a baby

Infertility has taught me how to speak to others

Infertility has taught me to reach higher

Infertility has taught me the true meaning of hope 

 

The past 15 months have really forced me to look deeper. I have been forced to ask myself questions that are difficult and I have been forced to make decisions that are difficult. But I have also found a wonderful community of women that I never would’ve found otherwise.

My intention of starting this blog is still the same now. It’s time to change the conversation about infertility and women’s reproductive health. It’s time to start talking about it. It’s time to bring awareness to the silent struggle that millions of men and women are faced with. It’s time to stop feeling ashamed, lonely and lost. It’s time to flip the script.

 

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How to Survive Fertility Treatments

 

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Fertility treatments are the worst. Literally the worst thing ever. Taking fertility medication makes you feel like you are pregnant 24/7 yet your womb is empty. It is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Let me describe to you what a typical day during treatment is like.

 

*Disclaimer* Treatment is different for everyone. Whether it’s different meds, protocol, and how your body reacts to each. My experience is not everyone’s experience.

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Wake up – killer headache, can’t button pants from bloating

Go to work, school, etc – killer headache, now the nausea kicks in

Work, school, going about the day – nausea, headache, on 3rd cup of coffee but feel like if I closed my eyes I would fall asleep at my desk

Go home – headache has dulled, no nausea, still can’t button my pants, now exhausted on a level I didn’t know existed.

Home -eats dinner, sees cute commercial and begins sobbing then laughing at the fact that I’m sobbing. Sobs some more.

Falls asleep at 7:30 and sleeps until 7 am. Repeat.

Super fun right?

Right…..

But wait there’s more! I have put together a list of things that helped me survive my first round of treatment. Keep in mind, my cycles are completely absent so I have to have a medically induced cycle. From starting my period, to producing an egg, to ovulation…it is all timed and monitored. Like I said, super fun.

Rest When You Are Tired 

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I know this is hard, but you will thank me later. Your body has just had a major dose of hormones and is in overdrive to keep up so you may feel exhausted. It caught me by surprise just how tired I was. One day after work, I came home and slept for 14 hours and guess what? I felt amazing afterwards. Listen to your body and give it what it needs otherwise, your treatments are going to be pure hell.

Practice Mindfulness

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Being mindful of what not only your body, but your emotions, is very important during your treatment cycles. Take walks, practice yoga, meditate. It is key that during your cycles, you are calm and as stress free as possible. Because your body is so sensitive during this time, it is important to take a deep breath and relax. Believe me, I know that’s the hardest thing to even think about doing during treatment. However, it is important to practice. Chances are, with all of the hormones, you will have days where you are an emotional wreck. That’s why it’s called practice. Be patient with yourself.

Peppermint! Peppermint! Peppermint!

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I am 100% convinced that peppermint oil is the elixir of the Gods. I am always so nauseous during treatment. Especially during the first round of meds. I always keep a bottle of peppermint oil in my purse. I diffuse it in my office, rub it under my nose, or just sit and sniff the bottle if I feel sick. It’s a miracle. Also, peppermint tea. I have a box of peppermint tea in my desk at ALL TIMES. It comes in handy on the days I’m really not feeling well.

 Stretchy Pants

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Yoga pants, leggings, sweatpants, pajama pants, even maternity pants are going to save your life. During fertility treatments, especially women going through IVF, it is normal to be bloated. Some women actually look like they are pregnant because their ovaries get so swollen. I found that instead of being upset about it, I prepared by picking out stretchy pants or dresses to wear the week I knew I would be on my medication. Believe me….you will thank me later.

Journal

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I recently started an infertility journal to help me with all of my feelings during treatment. It’s hard to describe how you are feeling to your friends and family and sometimes you feel down right crazy. Write down what you are feeling. It will not only be therapeutic, but one day you will look back on it and realize just how much you went through to get your little miracle.

 

Finally….love yourself. Realize that you are not broken and none of this is your fault. You are beautiful and you are a warrior. Love and baby dust to you this month! ❤

 

 

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