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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You’re Allowed to be Sad

I have found that in the infertility community, people can be NASTY. Not nasty in a gross way, but nasty in a mean and hateful way. There is this unspoken bar that is set that the longer someone else is infertile, the less validated you are in your sadness. I found this out when I joined a PCOS support group. One sweet woman shared that she had been trying for 6 months and recently was diagnosed with PCOS. Obviously she was sad and wanted support to prepare herself for the journey in front of her. Unfortunately, someone took this opportunity to shame her. The woman that was shaming stated that she hadn’t been trying long enough to experience real pain. “I’ve been trying for 3 years. You have no idea how it feels.”

Ok…..

I had a lot of feelings towards this post and eventually just left the group. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time I had seen something like that in an infertility forum/group. I have seen this on facebook pages, instagram pages, blogs, etc. I was so upset that someone took this opportunity to have, what my father would call, a “pissing contest.”At least that’s how it seemed.

Here’s the thing. Infertility SUCKS. It just does. It doesn’t matter how long you have been trying. It doesn’t matter if you just found out 5 minutes ago. When you hear those words, it’s devastating. Something inside you breaks. Something you didn’t know existed shatters. When I was diagnosed, my doctor acted like it wasn’t a big deal but I felt like I was having an out of body experience. My world seemed to slow.

“It will be difficult for you to get pregnant.” Who wants to hear that at 25?! No one.

I’m going to tell you something that you won’t see on your facebook “support groups.”

You’re allowed to be sad.

You’re allowed to grieve

You’re allowed to be angry

In fact, you should feel these emotions. Really feel them. Let yourself feel so that you can begin the healing process. I’m still feeling these myself, but I’m not sorry about it and you shouldn’t either. It took me awhile to get rid of what I call “infertility guilt.” Infertility is hard. It’s like having another full time job. But you don’t have to cut off your emotions because of it. I highly recommend talking to a therapist when you are diagnosed with any kind of reproductive issue. In the long run, it will improve your mental health and overall mood.  And as always, I’m here if you need a friend. 🙂

xo Kat

 

 

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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Two Pink Lines

I debated when and if I should post this. I felt like I needed time to grieve, however I cope by writing.  This blog originally started out as an outlet for me when I was first diagnosed with PCOS. I never anticipated that it would turn into a comfort for many people and  introduce me to a community of badass ladies.  This blog has changed my life and for that I decided that I would bite the bullet and write about my miscarriage.

 

April was a bust. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, however I knew that the chance of getting pregnant on the first round of full treatment was unlikely.  When we started this month’s round I felt a bit more hopeful. A cyst that had given me trouble in March into April had disappeared and I was feeling better with the medication this time.  When I went in for my first ultrasound they saw not one, not two, but three eggs. I was speechless. My doctor had a “special” conversation with me about what would happen if all three eggs actually matured. She went on about the health risks of multiples and my options. She didn’t think all of them would mature but she wanted to be cautious.  The next week I went in for my second ultrasound and two of the three follicles had matured. They asked me if I still wanted to do the trigger shot to which I responded “Hell yes I do!”  In my mind the worst case scenario was I didn’t get pregnant, and the best scenario was I got pregnant. I didn’t care if it was one or two babies. I knew that I could handle whatever was thrown at me. The nurse assured me that my chances of getting pregnant were doubled and we hugged and giggled as I left the office. (My nurses rock by the way.)

Fast forward to two weeks later and I felt seriously depressed. I knew I was going to start my period. I just knew it. I was cramping, tired, and sleepy. It was frustrating and I didn’t feel like myself. I started seeing a counselor about my infertility because I was sure that was why I was depressed. The night before I was supposed to go back to the specialist to have my HCG test, I bought a home pregnancy test. *two weeks after the trigger I have to go in for lab work to check my hcg. *  I knew it would be negative, but for some weird reason I needed to see the negative test. I needed to prepare myself so I wouldn’t cry in the doctor’s office or at work the next day. I wanted to act casual about it all. After dinner, I went and peed on the stick and screamed when I saw it….

Two pink lines. There were two pink lines!

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I screamed and ran into the living room to Josh. He was in the middle of fixing something and had his toolbox spread around the room. I immediately dropped to my knees and began laughing as I pushed the test into his hands. ” It’s positive. Oh my God it’s positive!”

Casually,  he said “I don’t know that line is pretty faint.” After about a half an hour of us staring at the test in different lightings, settings, and under a magnifying glass we were convinced.

We were finally pregnant.

I took 4 more tests and brought them into the doctor’s office with me the next morning. I carried them around in my purse and my nurse laughed. When I showed them to her she said “Yep! These are positive!” She took my blood and two hours later, confirmed I was pregnant.

I was pregnant.

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. She then told me my hcg was low so they wanted me back in 48 hours to make sure it was doubling. She told me not to worry that it was just probably very early. (4 weeks in fact.)

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I can’t explain the joy I felt for the next two days. My dream had come true. I was a mom. This time instead of crying tears of sadness, tears of joy streamed down my face.  For the first time in a long time, I felt pure gratitude. My struggle felt worth it. We thought about how we would tell everyone. With mother’s day right around the corner, Josh and I decided we would surprise our mom’s on that day with the news. I imagined my mom’s face as she has been one of the most amazing people during this infertility journey. Other than Josh, she has been my rock and without her I wouldn’t be able to go through it with the strength I have. I imagined us crying and hugging, however I thought it would be out of joy and excitement.

Thursday afternoon, after my blood work, my doctor called.  I don’t remember a lot about that moment other than that I felt numb. I couldn’t believe that after only 2 days, my dreams were being ripped away from me.  I listened as she apologized and told me

“it’s common,”

“you probably wouldn’t have known”

“it’s what’s called a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage”

“at least we know you can get pregnant, which is a step forward even if it doesn’t feel like it.”

When I realized she stopped talking all I could say was “this is a joke.” She apologized and told me it wasn’t a joke. I quickly thanked her and told her I would take off some time before I started treatment again. She understood and told me to call her on cycle day 35. I was at work when this happened and immediately told my boss I needed to go home.  I didn’t let myself cry until I got to my apartment and immediately called my mom.

We cried.

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Two days later I was on an airplane, in the middle of a miscarriage, on my way to visit my  hometown. It was the day before Mother’s Day.  Josh had planned this visit several weeks before when I was feeling homesick. When I saw my mom, we hugged and cried.  Honestly, if I hadn’t gone home to see my family I don’t think I would be able to function. It was healing to see my mom, my grandma, and those members of my family that have been in my shoes. It made me realize that I’m not alone. But it also gave me the opportunity to see that even though life can be a huge shit storm, I am surrounded by love.

I was only 4 weeks pregnant when I miscarried, but I was pregnant. After almost a year and a half I finally got pregnant. I say that sentence to myself out loud almost every day. It validates what happened, but it also gives me hope. I didn’t know how long it would take me to get pregnant. I didn’t know if I would get pregnant. Everything was a question mark until that moment. I read blog after blog and article after article about what my doctor called a “chemical pregnancy.” All of them said the same thing:

I was pregnant.

There was a live body of cells inside me and no one can ever take that away from me. For two days I carried life and even though the pain of loss is unbearable sometimes, I still hold the gratitude in my heart that I was able to conceive.

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To close this chapter of our journey, we decided to name the baby Amory. It’s celtic for brave. We are hoping to plant a special flower pot for him/her this Summer in our garden so we can always look at it and remember that there is hope. It’s coming. We just have to endure the storm. We have to be brave.

 

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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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