Blogversary 

Word Press reminded me this week that 1 year ago I started this blog. I can still remember the night I did. I laid in our bed, in the middle of the night, on medical leave from my job, just weeks past our third miscarriage, groggy from all the pain meds I was taking to numb my pain. I was in bad shape to say the least. 

I came across a blog titled “I am 1 in 4” that detailed a womans story through recurrent pregnancy loss.  I read it and it touched me deeply. I almost felt as if I had wrote it myself.  So I thought, hey what the heck, maybe Ill give blogging a try. Never did I imagine it would turn into what it has. With over 400 followers, I am truly humbled and blessed by the support I receive. 

Everyday I log on to read and follow your journeys. I comment as much as I can because I love supporting you. I yearn to blog when I havent in a few days; its like free therapy for me. Writing is in my blood, Ive always enjoyed it. 

Throughout the past year, this blog has taught me many things.

It has taught me patience and perseverance. Good things come will come to those who wait and dont give up. 

It has taught me not to compare my story with others. Everyones path is unique. 

It has taught me to be more empathetic towards others; that you never know what someone is battling on the inside. People can hide a lot through their smiles. 

It has taught me how amazingly resilient women are. Simply amazing!

It has taught me the unwavering strength and love of a mother. Like none other. 

It has taught me what really matters in life and what doesnt. Family is number 1; you cant take your money with you.

It has taught me how to be a more understanding wife. Venting, and seeing Im not alone. 

It has taught me how to cope positively. Writing brings no physical or mental harm. 

It has taught me how you can connect with someone you have never met through a terrible tragedy you share. Sad, but true. 

It has taught me to be myself and not worry if others will judge me for it. Life is too short to dwell on what people say. 

It has taught me that I will be OK, and that I am in charge of writing our happy ending. 

It has taught me many, many things, above all else, that I am not alone. 

Tonight, I am so thankful for all of these things learned, and for you as I reflect on this anniversary. 

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Christmas Mini-Vacation

Hubby & I spent the night at Gaylord Palms Resort this weekend.  We had never been and wanted to experience the much raved about and highly proclaimed ICE! Christmas festivities that take place there annually. 

I love Christmas time, so this was right up my alley.  You will have to excuse the tons of pictures I snapped, I couldn’t help myself!  

We started out the day exploring the atrium, which our balcony overlooked.   

    
Next, we ventured to the arcade (2 big kids at heart).  We played basketball, skeeball, air hockey, and fruit ninja to name a few.

   
 
On to a late lunch/early dinner poolside at the adult bar.  We liked the fact that there was a dedicated adult only pool and spa area. It was a nice getaway from all the families with babies/kids when we needed it.  

   
 
After dining, we made it to the main attractions, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and ICE!  I highly recommend this, kids or no kids. It was unbelievable. The detail of the sculptures was impressive.  I also loved how each room closely followed the classic poem from Clement Clarke Moore, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (each stanza was written).  

A word of advice…dress warmly because it is only 9 degrees in the exhibit since everything (seriously everything) is made of ice.  We brought our own winter gear, but they do provide a coat if you dont have one.  And get the fast pass and skip the wait, its worth it. 

  
    
    

   
    
    
    
   
    

We both agreed our favorite part of the attraction had to be the nativity scene at the very end. It was so nice to see that the meaning of Christmas still shines through! I hope this stays part of ICE and isnt done away with. 

We will definitely go back again one day. I wont lie and say there werent any tough moments with the kids running galore amongst us. We had our moments… we talked through them, shed a few tears, but most importantly we decide to keep our hope for our future.  We CANNOT wait for our next trip with our whole family! 
  

Ohio Trip

It has been a few weeks since I last blogged. I have had a few of my fellow bloggers reach out and email me to make sure I am okay. I found this to be so incredibly thoughtful of them. Thank you!

For the past 9 months, I have blogged at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. If I wasn’t blogging, I was at minimum reading and commenting. But the truth is, I haven’t really been in the mood lately for any of it.  As one of my blogger friends told me, “it happens to the best of us.”  

Anyways, during this blogging break, a few things have happened that I will catch you up on. For one, we finished all of our Christmas decorating, both inside & out. I plan to post all about that sometime this weekend.  

Second, we took a trip to chilly Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our trip was great; a perfect balance of R & R and being on the go.  After a long day of working, driving, and flying, we kicked off this trip with 25 of our closest friends and family members at one of our favorite restaurant’s late on Thanksgiving Eve.  We ended up at another local hang out after and Uber drove us home pretty late (guess I am out of the loop with this Uber stuff, first time I heard of it!).  

  
Thanksgiving was spent with our families just relaxing, watching football and movies, drinking wine, eating, and playing games like chess. The weather was perfect, a crisp 40 degrees, ideal for a hoodie and sweatpants to be lazy in! A much needed break from the 90 degree weather we are used to.  

   
 
On Black Friday, I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of my very best friends. We did lunch and shopping, getting completely soaked in the process. The weather was quite miserable, about 35 and raining all day. I love the cold, but not the cold rain. If it’s cold and wet, it better be snowing.  Regardless, it was a good time (as always when we are together) and she helped me solidify my outfit for my hubby and I’s photo shoot.  

Saturday was spent watching the BIG game, a.k.a. The OSU v. Michigan. We hadn’t been home for this since 2002, so my hubby was pretty pumped. Anyone from the midwest knows this game is a major rilvary. Everyone watches it. Period.  Thankfully, OSU won and our day wasn’t ruined! LOL. Saturday night we attended a surprise 30th Birthday party for my first cousin and saw people we hadn’t in probably 10 years. Good times for sure!

  
The remaining parts of our trip were spent going places we miss, love, and cant go to when we are home in FL. We made sure we went to the apple orchard, and got homemade cider and donuts. Delicious to say the least! We also went to the zoo for a Christmas light show which was absolutely beautiful. My hubby surprised me after the zoo and took me to the spot we had our first date over 15 years ago…Subway (we were only in high school). We went in and sat in the same booth we did that night and got chocolate chip cookies. So sweet of him! I am blessed. 

   
   
   
   
On our way to the airport yesterday, we had some very special pictures taken professionally. I will share these pictures soon in another post. I must say the ones the photographer has shared with us so far have left us speechless and I cant wait to share them with my fellow IF/RPL community.  

On our way out, we also picked up a special onesie that we could not resist. It’s the first purchase we have ever made together for our future baby when we are not pregnant. We both know one day our baby will get to wear it! 

  
As for now, vacation is officially over and it is back to reality tomorrow. Today was spent washing clothes, unpacking, grocery shopping, and loving on our dogs who we missed so much.  I had originally planned to get my first of 3 Lupron injections today, but did not. I’ll save the details of that for for another post too! 

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I will try to catch up soon with where all of you are in your TTC journeys. Until then, baby dust to all !!!

Post Birthday Reflection 

I am officially 33 now. In actuality, the day wasnt that bad after all. I totally worked myself up for nothing. 

In fact, the day was pretty nice. I was woken by my husband with 2 sweet cards and a giftbox.  One of the cards was a birthday card, the other a just because card. I must share with you the just because card.  

A little background to the card first. Many of you know that our Chihuahua fur baby, Nacho, passed away over a year ago.  I miss him everyday.  When my hubby was at Walgreens looking for my b-day card, he came across this. 

  
Unreal! What are the chances of finding a card that has your dog’s name and breed, and looks almost identical (see the real Nacho below)?!? Such a sweet reminder that he is looking over me each day. 

 

My hubby purchased a lovely Northface jacket that I can take on our trip up north in a just few weeks. I love it! Then I went on to work as usual after our morning together. There I was showered with love from my amazing team of teachers. They even ordered a yummy lunch for me! This is a big deal in teacherland because we cant leave for lunch. They made it happen though.  I took my class out for recess, even though it wasn’t our regular day to go out, and the kids were like, “but it’s Wednesday!” My reply was “but it’s my Birthday!” Haha. They took it. One of my students even gave me a pretty candle. 

 

When I arrived home from work, my mom had left some things on our kitchen table for me to open. A gift card for a mani/pedi, a fondue set, and an adult coloring book. I cried when I opened the coloring book because I have been wanting a bible verse one for quite awhile now! I have several other types but the bible ones are not as easy to find.  I mentioned it one day to my mom and she remembered, which really made me feel special. Here is a picture of all the spoiling that took place from friends, co-workers, my spouse, and my mom & stepdad…
  
My dad and stepmom also sent me much love from out of state with this adorable Coach clutch, just my style!

  
That evening, my love and I went to dinner. We ordered way too much food! Two appetizers, salads, bread, and our main courses. There was NO way I could do dessert. 

At the end of the night, we booked a getaway to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando. I am thrilled!! We only live a hop, skip, & a jump away from this area, yet we have never been to this resort. I have driven by it millions of times on our way to Disney, but that’s the extent of it. At Christmas time, they go all out. The hotel is an atrium with a massive tree in the center, 22 million lights, and a program they put on called ICE! Its only 9 degrees inside of ICE. Brrrr! I will be sure to post pics of this experience after. 

I seriously havent felt so spoiled in such a long time. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again, I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system in my life!! I think 33 might be my year!!

Welcome November! 

Since my post Halloween rant, I have brainstormed all the reasons why November is going to be such a marvelous month…

  1. We gained an hour of sleep this month. I love sleep.
  2. My birthday is November 4. Must be an awesome month! 
  3. I work a total of just 16 days. Hearing that makes it oh-so-do-able.
  4. By the end of this month, we will reach the half way point of the 180 school/work year…yes, you heard right! 
  5. I get to do fun, yet educational Thanksgiving activities with my students. 
  6. We are going on vacation and will get to kick back and relax while we see great family and friends. 
  7. In honor of prepping for vacation, I am getting a manicure, pedicure, and my hair done.
  8. Such delicious food this month.  I love food.
  9. The stores will put away all of their Halloween crap, and bring out the real Christmas stuff. Up until November, Christmas only gets 1 aisle because of Halloween. No more! This makes me feel like I can really start buying presents. 
  10. I get to start decorating for Christmas. Those of you who know me know I like to go all out. 
  11. Christmas music will officially be on the radios and likewise, the shows will be on TV. 
  12. I get to make my famous fruit turkey (pictures to follow). 
  13. The weather must cool down this month. 
  14. It is the 5 year anniversary of rescuing our amazing dog, Rocket. 
  15. The Ohio State v. Michigan game is this month. This is a big deal to mid westerners.  Might I add, we will be in Ohio for the game, which hasnt been the case since 2002.
  16. We are getting some very special, professional photos taken. I am so excited about this opportunity.  I will do a separate post about this. 
  17. I have 1 more Stitch Fix delivery on its way before I go on my every 3 month schedule. 
  18. Mockingjay Part 2 comes out. Yes.
  19. November will continue to remain 1 of the only untainted IVF RPL months in our history. 
  20. We are one month closer to bringing home our baby. 

I think I could keep going, but I will leave you with the best ones. For each of the 10 negatives I gave you yesterday, I was able to (easily) come up with 2 positives today.  Happy November everyone! 

A Child Free Life?

A child free life.  A life free of children.

We know some people who have chosen this path; but we know more who haven’t.

Some chose it because of their infertility struggles, some chose it just because.

Both sides appear to have a satisfying life for the most part, yet both also seem to have their fair share of problems as all couples do.

Since our 3 IVF losses, my husband and I have been discussing the pros and cons to a child free life.

I think it is important to note that we don’t desire to have a child free life lifestyle.  However, due to our circumstances, we realize this could eventually be the case, just from a financial standpoint alone.  

Pros to Living a Child-Free Life

  • More time (& money!) for just the two of us to spend together (no juggling act between hubby/wife time & kid time)
  • We can pick up & go places that we want very easily now (This could be a vacation, the store, or even out to dinner without having to worry about going to a child centered destination, packing diaper bags full of stuff, or dealing with possible toddler meltdowns)
  • We do not have to worry about our offspring for the rest of our lives in this insane world we live in (this is a HUGE umbrella for which their sickness, safety, behavior, intelligence, education, finances, relationships, & many more all fall under).
  • More dogs to adopt!!!LOL

Cons to Living a Child-Free Life

  • Not experiencing the full love of motherhood or fatherhood (we already know what it is like to love our children, but never got the entire experience)
  • No “big” family feel, something both my husband & I always wanted to have
  • No one to make you laugh at ridiculous things you normally wouldn’t laugh at (for real!)
  • No grandchildren
  • No one to watch grow up and to help grow up
  • No one to be a role model for (I’m talking about everyday at home)
  • Not having them to grow old with us
  • We will always wonder what it would have been like to have them

I am sure there is PLENTY more that can go on each list.  I am curious what my fellow TTC bloggers have thought about this “child free lifestyle.”  Is it even something you have considered or would consider? Why or why not?  To be honest, we never considered it at the start of our journey.  And again, it’s not what our hearts want at all, but we have to at least prepare for the possibility.  

Marriage…with or without a Baby Carriage

Is infertility tough on a marriage? Absolutely.  Is there a flip side to that?  Can infertility actually be good for a marriage? Absolutely.  There is no doubt that being infertile has made our marriage stronger.

Before we struggled with infertility, our life together was fairly easy, and by the book for the most part.  We dated, broke up, got back together, relocated, moved in together, got engaged, bought a dog, got married, bought a house. It wasn’t until we started trying to have a baby that we experienced real struggle in our marriage.  Up to that point, we had assumed we would fall pregnant rather easily and quickly.  We thought having a family was just the next step in a series of events that people embark on as they share their lives together.

We were wrong.  God had a different plan for us.  Little did we know, our marriage would be put to the test.  Initially, upon finding out we were “infertile,” we disagreed a lot.  Neither one of us ever wanted to do IVF & in all honesty, I don’t think we really thought we would need to.  We figured that it would just happen regardless of what these crazy doctors told us.  However, after a while, I knew these doctors were not that crazy.  He, on the other hand, tried to fight it.  And so the arguing began.

We bickered about our lifestyles, and changes that needed to be made due to our infertility.  We argued about timing.  We fought about the finances involved in fertility treatments.  We disagreed about the doctors we saw.  We even bumped heads about what we would tell others when they blurted out the dreaded question, “when are you having kids?” or “what are you waiting for?”  We went back and forth about appointment dates and times, and work schedules.  Looking back, all of it seemed so overwhelming to us.

NIAW

Many couples never have to endure these trials.  Making a baby is supposed to be easy and fun isn’t it? But our fate was different.  We did have to endure these trials.  There were many nights we went to bed angry.  There were many nights we both questioned if we were meant to be together since we couldn’t have a child together naturally. I am telling you the raw truth-all the things many infertile couples think and say to one another, but hesitate to tell the rest of the fertile world.

Finally, there came a point when we realized we had to both be completely united in this journey.  That it wasn’t either one of our “faults.”  That there was no easy way to accept this was the path we had to walk.  The choice now became whether or not we would come out of this journey stronger or not.

Gradually, we started appreciating each other more.  We began noticing that we had been taking each other for granted at times, perhaps because we got comfortable being together for so long.  We were suddenly seeing how we were living, and how we could both do better.  We started growing closer than we had been in years. The decisions started to come easier; no pointing the finger, no quarreling anymore over the many steps in the journey. So, the question is, how did this transformation take place?

Nothing short of giving our relationship over to God.  In the darkest times, we began reading our bibles together daily. We did devotionals everyday as well (there is a picture of my favorite one at the bottom…get it!!). We were praying for each other, and with each other, something we had never done.  We understood we were not alone in this journey, we were together.  Everyday, our marriage was getting stronger.  All thanks to infertility, and God, of course.

It is finally clear to us now that God has been preparing us for our future.  What if we hadn’t experienced this ongoing war with infertility? What if it had just been easy for us? Would we be as close as we are today? Would we have made it? Would we be grounded enough to survive what lies ahead 15 or 20 years down the road?

I do not know, and I wouldn’t change things to find out.  That’s right-I wouldn’t trade the infertility, or recurrent miscarriages to see what our life would look like without it.  Why? Because through all of this, we have found that we can handle any obstacle thrown our way. NOTHING can tear us apart.  In fact, these challenges only make us, and our future family, all the stronger.

I love my husband, and I am so blessed that God is allowing us to walk this road with one another.  I am so thankful that he has brought us closer; closer to each other and to him. More than ever before, we are firmly believing that the blessings he has in store for our future are truly immense.

If I could give any advice to couples out there, infertile or not, it would be to spend time really working on your marriage. You and your husband have to be each other’s top priority, so you can withstand all of the trials that may come your way. Having kids is a true blessing, but it will not protect or save your marriage.  Only the two of you, and God can do that.