Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baby Showers Can Be as Depressing as Funerals Sometimes

                Well, here I am 6 months along in my pregnancy and I still have lots of "I can't believe it's real" moments.  But I know it is real so I am preparing a nursery and getting ready for our baby boy's arrival.  I am also getting ready for the upcoming baby showers my friends and family are throwing for me.  While I am excited to gather with women I love to celebrate the impending arrival of my little miracle, I can't help but remember what baby showers felt like during the 3 years Steve and I were still struggling to get pregnant. 
                Before we decided to start our journey to becoming parents, I used to LOVE baby showers.  I loved the finger foods, loved the cute decorations, loved (and was weirdly competitive about) the cheesy little games, and I loved seeing all the cute presents that my friends who were moms-to-be received for their babies.  But then I started trying to become a mom myself and I guess you could say I "lost that lovin' feeling" when it came to baby showers.  Instead of being an occasion of joy to celebrate a friend, baby showers turned into depressing reminders of the months I had unsuccessfully spent trying to become a mom. 
              If you have never struggled on the road to motherhood, trust me when I tell you that baby showers can be as depressing as funerals sometimes.  I can't help but think of friends of mine who are currently trying to get pregnant who will come to one of my baby showers because they love me but will be struggling with their own emotions the entire time they are there.  I know there were a few occasions I couldn't even bring myself to go to a baby shower and women who are struggling with the same feelings need to hear that's ok.  It's ok to be mad or sad and to choose not to put yourself through the hullabaloo of a baby shower if you just can't bring yourself to do it.  Know that there are others out there who are struggling with those same feelings.  It doesn't make you a bad makes you human.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas 2010 and beyond

            Well, I’ve literally set a reminder every few days on my phone for about a month now to make a post on the blog.  Anyone else feel like time just flies by during the Christmas season and then when school gets going again for 2nd semester?!  If not, forgive me…this crazy schedule I call life got a little overwhelming there for awhile ;). 

I guess the thing that’s most on my mind to share today is that this last month has brought about completely different emotions from the last few years.  Here’s why…
Christmas 2010 – Found out I was pregnant for the first time after almost 1 ½ years of trying.  Elated would be an understatement; however, if you’ve read my blog for awhile you know that Steve and I, unfortunately, lost that baby through a miscarriage shortly thereafter.

January 14, 2011 – The day I lost our first baby…I felt like my world was falling apart.  I dealt with the physical pain and shock of it all, cried a lot, and leaned on those close to me for support.  No matter how you slice it, that day was awful but I know that it was all a part of my journey and I am a better person because of it.
Christmas 2011 – For weeks, I literally dreaded how I would feel waking up on Christmas morning.  Who dreads waking up on Christmas morning?  I didn’t know how I would feel since the joy I felt just a year earlier had been taken away and we were left trying to get pregnant again without success during 2011.  Surprisingly, I woke up that morning and was able to enjoy Christmas without much disappointment or sadness.  God gave me a total sense of peace and I was reminded to celebrate all the good things I have in my life while waiting on His timing for our future little one(s).

January 14, 2012 – Similar to Christmas 2011, I again dreaded the emotions I might experience on this day.  Steve knew I was dreading this day on the calendar so he didn’t plan anything but to be there for what I needed or wanted to do (if you know my husband, you know he can’t just “relax” for a whole day very often so this meant a lot to me).  We woke up and spent a relaxing morning at home before we decided to go check out what would end up being my new vehicle.  Seemed like an odd task to take on for the day, but it was a day like any other as I reminded myself that life goes on and there is a reason for everything that happens.  I thought a lot that day about the baby we lost one year earlier but I also thought a lot about what our future might hold.  I knew God had a plan for us…we were just waiting to see it unfold.
Christmas 2012 – Wow…what a difference a year can make.  I woke up on Christmas morning celebrating the fact that I was officially 20 weeks pregnant.  Due to a schedule change that opened up an appointment for us on Christmas Eve morning at my OBGYN’s office, this year we got to see the details of our growing baby through the ultrasound and even got to find out we were having a baby boy as an early Christmas present :).  Surprising our families with the news made everything seem all the more real and this year I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we’ll be a family of 3 next Christmas morning.

And, finally, TODAY… January 14, 2013 – Exactly 4 months until my due date, I am actually becoming slightly overwhelmed at all the next few months hold as we prepare for our little man to arrive.  But right along with all those overwhelming feelings is the more and more real feeling that my dream of becoming a mommy is finally going to come true…and for that, I am beyond grateful.  I will never, ever forget the journey that Steve and I have taken to get here or the baby that we lost 2 years ago today, but I look forward to the next step in our lives and I hope to continue helping other women and men out there who have traveled or will travel a similar journey to mine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What now?

                So, to address the question I've been asked by many: what happens with your blog now?  My hope is to continue it in some form or fashion.  Just because it seems that things have finally worked out in my fertility journey (17 weeks along - baby still has a wonderfully strong little heartbeat - belly growing enough that others are starting to take notice...I'll be honest, this one is taking some getting used to!) doesn't mean I think that God's purpose and journey for this blog is over.  As long as I still have thoughts to share or stories from other awesome women (or men) to share, I'll keep posting them.  People are still checking the blog and I'm still getting emails so I know there is a space and a need for something like this.  In addition to now planning for a baby, I'm starting grad school again in the spring so posts might be a bit more spread out sometimes (after all, I am human and there are only so many hours in the day).  But fear not - until God gives me a sign that this blogging journey is complete, Jealous of Fertile Myrtle will live on!  Thank you for all of your continued support over the last 8 months (3 1/2 years if you know me personally)...looking forward to what the future holds :).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Symphony of a Heartbeat

               On this Thanksgiving Eve, I am thankful for the life that is growing inside me…a miraculous gift from God of which I still can’t quite grasp the reality.  Many people have asked me “what did you do differently this time?”  Well, that can turn into quite a long answer.  We changed several things this summer and tried them for a few months.  I’m fairly convinced that it probably wasn’t just one of them that worked, but rather the combination of all the instruments into a symphony of success (yep, that’s the music teacher coming out in me).  It was a completely different mix of instruments than what worked for us in 2010 when we got pregnant, but after continuing to trust that something would eventually work again we finally found our recipe for success.  So here goes…everything that we tried on me (because, remember, every time Steve was tested he was good) in the few months leading up to the glorious positive pregnancy test we got 2 ½ months ago:

1. March 2012 – Had a series of appointments with a chiropractor (and I’m so awesome that I have forgotten his name…whoops) that my mom’s friend recommended.  This chiropractor was not your average chiropractor, but someone who is known to help patients through the unique avenue of frequency testing in addition to his alignment help.  He found that my alignment was off and putting a lot of pressure on my reproductive organs so he fixed my alignment and checked for a few weeks to make sure it was holding.  He also said that I had parasites in my ovaries and got rid of them with what I can only think to call frequency therapy...kind of an energy thing.  Believe in it or not, it couldn’t have hurt.
2. April 2012 – Recommitted myself to eating on the Kaufmann plan.  While this has been my preferred method of eating for years to help with different issues and just for overall health, I (like everyone else) would go through funks where I would say “screw it” and eat whatever I wanted.  I reminded myself that this was an important part of my journey to motherhood so I rededicated myself to cleaning up my diet.

3. May 2012 – Increased my clomid dose at my OBGYN’s recommendation from 50 mg to 100 mg.
4. May 2012 – Changed the enzymes and supplements I took based on my mom’s recommendation (read more about her here).  She learned about some new protocols and was convinced that my liver was toxic which was not allowing my body to absorb all the supplements I was taking to help with my fertility.  My mom said to give her 60-90 days for the new enzymes to make a difference...3 months later I was pregnant so maybe she was right :).  I also started wearing custom orthotic shoe inserts regularly at the suggestion of my mom to help with my alignment and began taking a Vitamin D supplement (I talked about that here).

5. Continued acupuncture.  My acupuncturist specializes in helping people with fertility issues (whether they have a hard time getting pregnant or a hard time holding on to pregnancies) and continues to attend ongoing seminars to learn more about new ways to help those with fertility issues.
6. Continued tracking my BBT and using ovulation predictors to make sure we were timing things correctly.

7. Continued praying like crazy!  You can never discount the power of prayer – it all happens in God’s timing and I know that He hears our prayers when we share the desires of our heart.
               So, I guess when you combine all those different things it was our recipe for success...our symphony of a heartbeat :).  There are so many issues women and men can face on the road to parenthood that there is no one recipe for success that will work for everyone; however, if you are trying to become a mommy or daddy I strongly encourage you to seek out more information about at least one of the things I tried.  You never know what may or may not work for you until you try. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dreams really do come true

                I've been trying to think of the best way to share this news for weeks, but I'm fairly convinced there is no perfect or right way so here goes: I'M PREGNANT.  Words cannot describe the excitement that I have begun to feel as the last several weeks have passed, and yet that joy has always been balanced with the thought "is this for real?"  Well, I'm finally starting to believe myself that it is real so it's time to spread the word that Steve and I are expecting our miracle!  13 1/2 weeks along and all signs seem good so far. 
                As I began to share the news recently with friends who I've connected with due to our shared experiences of infertility and miscarriage, I was continually greeted with excitement and enthusiasm at the prospect of our story shifting from a bumpy journey into hope.  But I know that for some of you it is still hard to hear the news (it always was for me no matter how happy I was for my friends).  With that in mind, I don't want to go crazy and overwhelm you in this one post...I simply say thank you for your support through my blogging journey thus far.  Several people have asked me two questions as I have shared the news: what made the difference in you finally being able to get pregnant and what are you going to do with the blog?  I plan on answering those questions in posts to come soon, but today I'm thankful for your prayers for me and my husband.  I still can't quite comprehend it myself, but I am so grateful that God has allowed me to be where I am right here - right now - in this moment of life...and expecting a baby :).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Venturing into charted territory

            I’m sure most of you have heard of natural family planning: a woman charts her basal body temperatures (BBT) to figure out her most fertile time frame each cycle and then takes precautions during that time to avoid getting pregnant. Well, if you’re trying to conceive I suggest you follow the same procedures…you know, without the avoiding getting pregnant part ;). If you’ve never tracked your BBT before, it’s fairly simple and very effective in helping a woman who has pretty normal cycles figure out her fertile window. It can also help your doctor know if something isn't quite working right when your temps seem "out of whack."  The procedure is as follows:

1. Take your temperature with a high quality thermometer as soon as you wake up in the morning. Don’t go cheap on this…it is extremely important that the thermometer is accurate to the 0.1 of a degree.
2. Record your temps on a chart/graph each cycle until you notice a pattern. Your temps will be lower the first half of your cycle then they will raise and stay elevated post-ovulation. Once you establish a few months of temps, you can see where your temperature typically raises and then establish your fertile window.

Here's an example of a pretty decent chart of mine...notice that after day 16 (when I ovulated), the temps began to rise and then settled in at a higher baseline than earlier in the cycle.

And here's an example of a not-so-decent chart of mine...notice how the temps seem to lack consistency and they stayed pretty high for a lot of the first half of my cycle.  This, unfortunately, has not been unusual for me which was an indication that things weren't quite on the right track.

              I started tracking my BBT app. 2 ½ years ago and have done so (with the exception of a few days) every morning since. Yes, sometimes it’s a pain, but a baby is worth it. I also suggest using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs…those lovely pee sticks all the ladies are dying to use) to help you verify when you’re about to ovulate. My procedure since I started tracking my BBT was to start using the OPKs each cycle 4-6 days before I thought I was going to ovulate to verify when ovulation was occurring so the hubs and I could feel a bit more confident that we caught the fertile window each month.  I should probably own stock in Clearblue by now with as many of those OPKs that I bought over the last few years ;).
              And one more thing before I sign off today - did you know “there’s an app for that” if you have an iPhone? Actually, there are several apps that make it easy to record your temps and chart your ovulation. I’ve used a couple but have found that I like one called iPeriod the most because it can export the information via email if I need to print it and it shows you a line graph with just a turn of the phone (hence the charts above).  Good luck charting!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Make a difference

                Yesterday was Make a Difference Day 2012...and I missed it.  I planned on spending time this weekend writing another post for the blog (as I do roughly every week), but in honor of Make a Difference Day today I've decided to do something a little different.  Yes, I know I'm a day late but it's better than never!  Today I am spending the time I planned on trying to write an entry on sending encouraging emails to several wonderful ladies who, as a result of this blog, have confided in me regarding their fertility struggles.  Remember that it doesn't take some big event to make a difference in someone's life...sometimes all you have to do is remind them that you care.  Hope everyone is able to make a difference for someone else this week :).