You are not alone–Bloggers unite!

While we were struggling to become pregnant I was not overly open about our struggles. I was embarrassed, I was ashamed and I was alone. Everyone around me appeared so fertile. All my friends were pregnant, or had babies and I was the odd one who couldn’t do it.

I went to an infertility prayer night at my church (despite my fears) and found 20+ women there who were young, cool and also aching for a baby. There were people at all stages of the journey there and others who just had a heart for us. We were able to share our story and be prayed over, which was an incredible feeling. After that I began to see that light.

I was not alone. I still felt isolated, but at least I felt like there were other people out there who weren’t monsters who struggled to get pregnant. It was then a slow uphill battle as each month passed with my womb empty and pregnancy announcements filled my news feed. I again began to feel like I was alone. I stopped using Facebook because every time I looked at it, I sunk deeper into my hole.

Then in January 2014 I decided to start a blog partially to express myself, but, to be honest, mostly to connect with other people who are in the same boat and have the same feelings I was having. It was AMAZING. I immediately starting following lots of blogs and hoping someone would comment on something I wrote so we could become “friends”. I was so excited when I got to 10 followers and then every time someone new followed me or posted a comment I did a little dance in my head. I found comfort in words others wrote, and others found comfort in knowing they weren’t alone in all the crazy feelings they had. I wasn’t ready to talk about it with people I knew, but it was great to talk about it with people I didn’t know!

Then I was lucky enough to become pregnant with an IUI. For some reason once I became I pregnant I felt like it was ok to talk about it with people I actually knew. I don’t know why I kept quiet publicly why were struggling. I think I wanted to keep it a secret in the hopes that when we did get pregnant it would be a surprise, and not expected by everyone. I know part of it was not wanting everyone to “check in” on me each month. Since opening up I have found many others in my life who struggle as well. There may be more, but they may not be ready to talk to me about it yet.

So I want everyone out there reading this, weather a regular follower or someone who just fell across this blog: You are not alone. Reach out to bloggers wether you have a blog yourself or not. Comment, like and email them. I know it’s scary the first time you do it, but trust me, you will not regret it.

Why I am glad buffer my pregnancy talk with infertility talk

Ok. It’s been a while, I know. I reduced my hours to 3 days a week so now am hoping to get back to writing more. Let’s skip the guilty excuses and just move on. 🙂

I mentioned a while ago that I felt the need to clarify to everyone I told about being pregnant, that it was hard for us and that we ended up doing some fertility treatments to get there. I thought maybe I was being a bit over zealous and that people didn’t really need to know that, but now I am glad I did. Now that everyone knows (or can tell) I’ve got a baby on board, I still will mention it when people start trying to get me to complain about being pregnant (“how uncomfortable are you?”, “are you starting to have sleepless night?”).

A few weeks ago I hear a knock on my door at work and my colleague came in and asked if I had a few minutes, I said yes, and then she came in, closed the door, and started crying.  She told me about how scared she is to start doing fertility treatments and taking drugs with scary side effects. She is 36, and recently married, and had previously told me they were going to start trying and because of her age, had asked me a few basic questions about the fertility clinic I went to and what we did, etc as she was worried.

This was last summer and I didn’t really want to ask any follow up questions other than generic “how are things?” because I knew how it felt when after several months, relatives and friends would ask for “any updates” and I had nothing to give. It made me feel cruddy, like they were thinking “its been 4 months since we last talked about fertility stuff—shouldn’t you have an update by now??” If I had an update I wanted to share, I would have. And if she had good news, wanted her to be able to share it on her time, and not feel pressure.

So when she came to my office, and opened up, it made me so glad that I had put myself out there. Does she have anyone else she can talk to about this? What if I was the only person in her life who opened up about fertility? What if I hadn’t? She would be stressing by herself, feeling like she was the only person who experienced all the crazy feelings/emotions that we all know so well: jealousy, anger, fear, resentment, husband thinking you’re being irrational… to name a few

I told her the shot isn’t that bad, the HSG is no big, that I never even read the side effects page of all the medications (ignorance is bliss…) and a gave her big hug. That was it. She left and then the rest of the day, we acted like it never happened, I continue to not ask her for details and hope that someday soon I hear about an upcoming maternity leave for her.

So if any of you are wondering if you should tell people about your struggles (past or present), know that even if one person hears it who needed to hear it, it was worth it.

x Tally

It’s a….

Gorilla!

I know I’ve been very delinquent on posting, I’ve really been aiming to post every week or 2, but now its been 3, almost 4 and that’s in poor form! I think I need to get over this mental block where I think unless I have 30 min or more to sit and reflect and write, I shouldn’t write at all. So now as I’m sitting drinking my tea before bed I thought, hey! I should write tonight!

For those of you regulars who have been following along, we finally got to find out that our little baby is a girl! If we were having a boy I would have been just as happy, but now that we know it’s a girl, I can say I secretly wanted a girl 🙂 We thought we had a girl’s name picked out, but once it got real, we backpedaled and are now back to a top three. We think we might just go into D-day with the list and see what she fits best.

photo 1

Watching the baby on the screen (didn’t know hubby was taking these!)

photo 2

The first pictures we’ll keep of our baby (we are totally bad parents and lost our first ultrasound pics…)

photo 3

Didn’t buy this, just took a picture cuz it was so cute!

 

Just after finding out about our little lady, we went to Chicago for the rugby match between New Zealand’s All Blacks and the USA team. We got to meet up with some friends from Auckland and it was so great to see them again and surprise them with my growing belly! No one expected the Americans to win, but it was just sad they couldn’t even score one try. We were the few kiwi fans in our area but were not shy to jump and cheer for every try they got (and there were a lot, score: 74-6). By the way if you didn’t know: Soldier Field is freaking cold!!!

photo 4

The past 2 weeks have been busy busy (work, church, visitors, and I finally started swimming at the rec center) but I’m happy to say that in January I will start working only .6 (3 days per week), which I am so excited about. I have been pretty stressed between being a speech therapist, wife, Christian and mom (and not to mention a person with my own needs), not feeling like I was fully present in any role. So reducing my hours for the final 10 weeks of my pregnancy will give me time to connect with the hubby, and the baby, relax, pray/study and get the house ready (major basement construction happening in December) for March.

How am I planning to connect with my baby? Well that has been something else going on in our busy month–we’ve just started our Hypnobirthing classes and will be practicing deep relaxation and meditation  to ready myself for a gentle, calm birth. To do this, you need to practice breathing techniques every day before you give birth! If you’ve never heard of hypnobirthing before, or are curious what a hypnobirth is like, here is a link to a video (just found it on Youtube so not endorsed or anything!). So I’ll want some extra time to practice my breathing and relaxation techniques as D-day comes closer.

The highlights right now are being almost 24 weeks and feeling a lot better, getting the baby shower planned for January (not Minnesota’s finest time of year, but with the holidays and arrival month, we have no choice!) and next week we will go register for some items for the shower. We are trying to stick to basics and not go overboard as my husband and I both believe in a minimalist lifestyle.

Have a blessed week and hopefully it won’t be another 4 weeks before I’m back 🙂

Tally

You don’t have to explain

Well I have been home most of the week with the world’s worst cold. I can now say my cold is so bad it makes me bleed! (FYI you can bleed from your cervix from excessive coughing…) And there isn’t a whole lot out there that I can take to control symptoms and seeing as I work in hospital with direct patient care, it’s not ideal for me to be going to work until I’m better. So I’m at home, bored, and unable to breathe—that means I have more time to get caught up on some blogging!!

 

 

In the past few weeks I’ve revealed my pregnancy to a few groups of women (book club, church group, work…) and at each event there seems to be the usual shrieking of excitement that comes with a pregnancy announcement, but there also have been some women who kind of avoid eye contact, don’t really react and stay close to the edge of the conversation.

I just want you all out there who are secretly struggling to know: I get it. You don’t have to explain why you don’t react to a pregnancy announcement with shrill excitement. You don’t have to say a fake “congrats” if you just got your period. I’m sure there are many people out there, whom I encounter every day, who are silently struggling. I usually tell people that we had a hard time getting here, so are really thankful, and hope that at least gives women out there an idea that I’ve been in their shoes. I try to open the conversation door so they can know I’m an open book and can ask me anything you want, or not.

I really try to talk about our difficulty so everyone, not just the struggling ones, hear what its like and know that it is common and should’t be a secret. I feel a little more brave now that I’m “expecting” (I still hate pregnancy terms like that…) and can say to a group of moms how it was really hard, and every time people who already had kids told me how it easy it was for them, ask why we don’t have kids yet or what I should try next or say I could have one of theirs, how it made me really upset. I hope they actually listen to my words and apply the info to other women in their lives. I felt like I couldn’t say those things while I was waiting because then it seemed like more of a personal attack on those women. But now that my friends all include people I didn’t really know while we were trying, I can’t offend them because they weren’t the ones saying it to me.

So you there, sitting in the corner, avoiding eye contact. It’s ok. I won’t draw attention to you or your current circumstance. Just know I am praying for you.

 

xTally

A Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day. I know you don’t like material gifts, so I thought you would rather have a letter. I don’t know how to start it, except to say that on this Mother’s Day I want you to know how much I appreciate you as my mom and want to let you in to my world.

IMG_2348

When we told you we were moving to New Zealand, you were so happy for us. We Skyped often and I was my usual bubbly self, talking fast about all the things we were doing and going to do. I told you everything that was going on in my life. Our first 6 months in New Zealand were great and we felt like we were on top of the world. Then we decided we were ready to have a baby.

I was so excited to fly the nest and do this on my own. I’ve always been very independent and thought this would be the ultimate experience for Will and I to have alone. I didn’t need my mom to be there in the hospital and to help me through my first few weeks of motherhood. I was tough, I would do it all with a smile on my face. You would come visit when the baby was 2 or 3 months old and be amazed at what a good mother I was. The baby was so cute and well behaved. The house was clean and I looked great. I had everything planned out.

We told everyone we weren’t going to start “trying” until we moved back from New Zealand, so we were so excited at the thought of surprising everyone with the news that we were going to have a baby in New Zealand. Will and I had thought that when we came home in April, we’d be announcing that we were pregnant. I was so upset that the timing was off, and we’d probably have to tell you over Skype when it happened. But it just kept not happening.

As the months passed by, as a year passed by, and now as 18 months pass by, there are so many emotions. I didn’t feel like myself. I’ve never been anything but self-assured and happy before. I was sad, anxious, jealous, hopeful, hopeless, excited and nervous. I didn’t know how to deal with myself so I retreated inward. I stopped talking to you, I was awkward when we did talk and just didn’t like life. I know you noticed. You tried to help by telling me encouraging things, but that is just not what I wanted to hear at the time. I don’t know how to talk about how I feel when I talk to you; it just feels weird. There was nothing you could do to make me better. You couldn’t solve my problems.

I’m sorry that my crappy luck has affected you. I’m sorry you’ve lost the daughter who always made you smile for a year and a half. I’m sorry I avoided you. I’m sorry things haven’t worked out as planned. You should be a grandma again by now.

I really hope that soon you’ll get your daughter back. I’m trying really hard to feel like “me” again, but it is not easy. I’m able to fake it sometimes, but usually I just feel phony. So thank you for understanding that this has been the hardest period of my life and the ride is not over yet. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and can get an insider’s view to how I am and what is going on without me having to talk about it. It’s a win-win.

Love,

Tally

Resolve to Know More

So I’m guessing a lot of people’s readers will be full of blogs with this title, but I thought, hey, why not join in the fun?  It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I thought I would capture the theme of this year by writing a letter to myself before we started this messed-up journey with all the things I wish I knew then.

resolve

 

 

 

 

Dear Tally,

I know you are so excited that you and Will have decided to have a baby, but let me tell you, it’s not as easy as the world makes it out to be. I know since a lot of your friends have recently told you they got pregnant on the first month, you thought it would happen right away, but that’s not what God has planned for you.

Your life has been easy up until now, you’ve not suffered much, and you’ve accomplished everything you’ve tried by working hard and having a little luck. Well my dear, God has chosen you to be the 1 in 8 couples that struggle to get pregnant, so get ready to have your world rocked.

Don’t start planning how you’re going to decorate a nursery and pinning maternity clothes on Pinterest. Don’t stop buying new clothes because you think you’ll be too big to wear them soon, or keep clothes in your closet that clearly don’t fit or that you don’t like because they’d be good to hide anything when you first start to show. Wear what makes you look good now, because you won’t always feel good.

Jealousy is going to be a big part of your life for the next 18 months. You need to get a grip on it now and maintain that tight grip. Pray and meditate on the fact that God has a plan for you and nothing you do or don’t do will make it change. It will be hard for you to see so many friends announce pregnancies and have babies while you continue to wait. Some of your best friends will get pregnant easily and you will be happy for them, and smile, but when you get to your car, you will sob, and that’s ok.

Just get off Facebook now. It’s a waste of time and you’ll feel a lot better when you aren’t constantly being reminded of what other people have that you don’t. You won’t miss it.

You should make an appointment with your doctor when you feel like things aren’t right. I know they say you should wait one year, but you will know something is wrong with your cycles and hormones, so don’t be afraid to step out and speak up. Others may try to tell you to relax and not worry, but you know your body well and you know in your gut something isn’t right. And when you meet with the doctor, write down your questions and make sure you ask them. When you are in the room you will be very nervous and end up being a passive participant in your first few appointments because you are intimidated by the process and your lack of knowledge. Speak up when you don’t understand something your doctor says.

Oh and that acne that you got when you were in college and went off the pill for a few months, that was child’s play compared to what you are going to get. Be prepared for it to last for a while and start your preventative scar treatments now. Use your Traumeel cream and a gentle face cleanser, that’s it. No harsh chemicals and expensive products are going to work, so don’t waste your time, money and sensitive skin on them. You’re going to feel ugly and unfeminine. Just know that your husband loves you for you, not for your appearance and don’t call yourself ugly in front of him–he will get angry. Wear makeup even when you don’t feel like it, trust me, you just feel better and more like yourself when you do.

You are going to be so nervous to go to your first pray for babies night at church, but after 6 months of actively trying you will already feel sad, lonely, and frustrated, so it’s worth it to start connecting to people now. Be brave and own your story. Yes, some others have been trying for a lot longer, and you feel stupid for feeling how you do after only 6 months when they’ve been trying for 5 years, but I bet they wish they started going to those groups earlier.

When you start to tell people about your story, you’ll find out there are so many more out there just like you. You are not the only one who cries during diaper commercials or gets excited when you have egg white-like stuff coming out of your hooha. You’ll be afraid to tell people you know, some will have an amazing reaction you didn’t expect (like Will’s brother) and others will disappoint you with their reactions. You’ll start blogging and find there is a great community of support and understanding from people all over the world going down the same path. You won’t be ready to tell everyone you know or broadcast it on social media, and that’s ok. You will someday.

This is going to be hard on Will too, but it will manifest in a different way. You might get frustrated with him sometimes, but be kind to him. He is a gentle soul and that’s why you picked him to be your life partner and father to your future children.

Most of all Tally, I want you to remember that you are loved and cherished by God. He has not forsaken you and He will make you a mother. It may be different from how you imagined it, but it will be amazing. Your story is not finished yet. I can’t tell you how long you’ll have to wait to be called “mommy” but I know when you hear those words for the first time, you will look back at all the money and time spent on this journey and be thankful.

Love,

me

Check out these links to learn more:

How Exciting

This past weekend in my kicking infertility’s butt series, I completed the 20k Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Will and another couple this weekend. We spent the whole weekend in the area since it was about 4 hours drive from Auckland. A nurse from the clinic called to talk to me about my last cycle and next plans while I was in the car with one of them and so obviously I said some things while on the phone that I felt I had to explain. Things like “day 10”, “day 1”, “same dosage”, “earlier scan”…

So I filled in this friend on our situation. Most people we’ve told have reacted in a way that I expect with saying they were sorry or something like that. This friend responded to me explaining that we were undergoing fertility treatment with “How exciting!”. At first, I was taken aback. I was thinking no, not exciting, sad. Sad was the word you were looking for.

Then later on while discussing the amount of wine that needed to be purchased for the weekend, I had to explain that I would not be drinking any, and not for the usual reason women of my age give. His response was something very similar. He smiled and I can’t remember his exact words, but they were also positive.

It really got me thinking. Am I looking at this wrong? I feel like I’m using a ladle to bail out a sinking ship and they think I should be excited. But you know what? I am excited. I am excited about the possibility of using modern medicine and The Lord to grant my deepest desire that hasn’t come easily to me. I’m excited that we’ve been able to do 2 cycles of Clomid before moving home. I’m excited that my turn is coming up. I’m excited that this could actually work.

So that’s where I’m going to be this week, excited.

Here are some pics of my colossal hike this weekend.

IMG_2799

Me in front of Mt. Ngauruhoe. This is the volcano used in Lord of the Rings as Mt. Doom

IMG_2832

IMG_2829