Then something wonderful happened

Then something wonderful happened

“Infertility” can really take its toll. I say “infertility” because we never actually had problems getting pregnant. We just had issues with the baby sticking and developing. This was a huge distinction when fighting with insurance companies to try to get some of our tests covered.

After nearly three years suffering through recurrent miscarriage and chemical pregnancies, my wife Janette and I finally decided to take a break from trying and just live our lives without worrying about schedules, drugs, hormones and expensive solutions. During this time, without drugs, with a single tube and an egg that should probably never have managed to make its way to where it needed to be, we somehow managed to get pregnant, and it looks like everything is sticking this time. I never thought seeing a tiny heartbeat would change me the way it has.

My wife wrote the post below in the hope that it can help others suffering through the trauma that we endured for years. You are not alone.


Growing up I was never the girl who knew she wanted to be a mom.  It was actually quite the opposite.  I was going to have the career, maybe get married at some point, but that wasn’t a necessity.  Even after getting married at 24, I was still sure that I never wanted children.  I told myself we were too busy; it just wasn’t that important.

In late fall/early winter 2012 my Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, the bad kind, the kind that you can’t fix and my feelings on family started to change.  I had a pretty large family growing up.  I was raised in a house with my parents, my sister, my grandparents (my grandmother lost the ability to move in her 40s and we took care of her), and my aunt and uncle.  So, when my Grandfather got sick, it made me start to question some of my choices.  Right before my Grandfather left us, he told my husband and I that the only regret he had in life was not having more children, that all of us were what was most important in life.

My husband and I ended up having many a late night discussion on our family, what we wanted and what was important to us.  We decided that we did want to be parents, which came as a huge shock to me.  We wanted to share our lives with someone else, and hopefully help them to become a great person.

I spoke with my doctor in May 2013, went off birth control in September 2013, and we started trying in November 2013.  The week before Christmas I found out I was pregnant.  It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t get pregnant right away, or that we would have any issues.  Yes, my dad’s side of the family had a history of miscarriage, but that wasn’t going to be me.  I was going to be just like my sister, who by this point had two little boys.

Two days after New Year Day I woke up bleeding.  I have never felt so scared or helpless in my life.  After having the sonogram done, we were told that I just must not be as far along as I thought.  I was measuring at four weeks, not six and a half.  The next day at the doctor’s office was the first time I heard the phrase “blighted ovum”.  We didn’t do anything wrong, the baby just didn’t develop like it should.  Being told it was not my fault didn’t make me feel better, neither did all the people who told me “it just wasn’t meant to be” and “it will happen someday”.  I wasn’t prepared for the guilt I felt that first time.  I have a family history, so it had to be my fault.

The next time I got pregnant and lost it was on Memorial Day of that same year.  Same situation, so my doctor felt comfortable sending me to a fertility specialist.  After five months of testing with no answers, I found out I was pregnant in November.  I felt some of the more typical pregnancy symptoms, so I was sure this one would be ok.  We went on a trip to Iceland, and on the way home, I started bleeding.  This time I was told the pregnancy was ectopic and I needed emergency surgery to remove the baby and one of my tubes.

After that we moved half way across the country, I found a new fertility specialist and the tests started again.  I was able to get pregnant twice more, this time with the help of some fertility meds, and both times, we had the same results; blighted ovum.  This is when we were told that we probably wouldn’t be able to get and sustain a pregnancy without help, so we decided to try IVF.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t covered by our insurance, so we would have to come up with $20,000.00 on our own.  At this point we decided we were tired.  Tired, of the weekly doctors’ visits, the blood tests, the sample collections, the biopsies, the HSGs, the sonograms, and the constant schedules we had to keep as to when we were allowed to be intimate.  We were going to wait six months and then go from there.

After two years we still hadn’t been able to keep a pregnancy.  No blog, or website, or well-meaning doctor or friend can help you through the nightmare that your life becomes.  The guilt (my family has a history so it has to be my fault), the anger (why does everyone else deserve to have a baby and not me), the shame (I can’t seem to get right the one thing my body was designed to do) and the self-loathing (my husband is going through all of this because I am defective).  I can’t begin to articulate the depression you fall into or the toll it takes on your marriage.  Even going to the grocery store becomes difficult, everyone else seems to be able to have the child you want so badly.  I remember looking at my nephews and being jealous of my sister.  She had these two beautiful boys, why didn’t I deserve that?

Ultimately I decided to give up.  I wasn’t going to be able to have the child like I wanted, so I would put it aside.  I decided to focus on my house and my marriage again.  So what if it still hurt every time I heard a baby cry a store or how sad it made me to see diaper commercials on TV.  I needed to make my life worth living again.

We flew home to visit friends and family, we had some friends down to visit us and planned a trip to Orlando to see my little cousin get married.  The Saturday before we left for our trip my period started, then abruptly stopped.  By Monday I was tired and snapping at everything my husband said, so even though I was sure I was wrong, I took a test.  I was shocked that it came up positive, but sure that we would be dealing with the same situation.  So, I put it aside.  We went to Florida, visited friends and family, then called the doctor the next week when we got home.

It’s now a month and a half later.  I’m eleven weeks and four days pregnant, and we are both doing great.  After two and a half years, we have finally been able to accomplish what the fertility meds couldn’t and the doctors said would be impossible.  We still don’t have any answers as to why we had so many problems getting to this point.  We probably never will.  But, we are here, and while I will never forget the babies that I couldn’t have, I will be eternally grateful for the one I am carrying now.

I’ve been asked what you say to someone who is going through what I’ve gone through.  There’s really no correct script to go by.  For me I hated hearing “it’ll happen for you some day” and “maybe it just wasn’t meant to be”.   Infertility is such a personal thing.  There is no right or wrong thing to feel or think.  It is good to get angry, and ok to be sad.  The most important thing I learned was to not shut out the people who loved me; my husband and my family.  It was easy to forget that I was not the only person going through this.

So, to the woman dealing with infertility I say this; never give up hope even when it seems like all hope is lost.

 

Big Bend

Big Bend

Some highlights from our Big Bend trip.

There is something to be said for hiking many, many miles and setting up camp out of a backpack after ascending to 6700 ft. These are memories I will never ever lose with friends that will always have a special place in my life.

If you’re ever feeling like you’ve lost yourself, take a trip up a mountain. You just might discover more than you ever thought possible. Looking at the stars at altitude you may find you’re staring deep inside yourself.

A thought for November

A thought for November

Given a wide enough window we would see that everything is ephemeral. The universe and even time itself will both one day cease to exist.

The most powerful realization I’ve ever had is that the only thing that is forever is love. Love once given can never be taken back. Sure, you can mess things up or grow to hate someone that you once loved, but those memories, those feelings that love granted to you, they will always be there.

It’s a powerful thing. Though we are not gods, and can not create the universe, all of us have the capacity to love and change others forever from their perspective.

One of our simplest and most basic actions can best the universe and time.

Fitness progress – Fall 2015

Fitness progress – Fall 2015

Since fitness is a big part of who I am, I’ve decided to post a bit more often about what I’m up to, and try to share tips and tricks from what I have learned over the months and years of trying very hard to get in the best shape of my life.

When I make these updates I want those of you who are trying your hardest to get into shape to realize this is a very long struggle, and that I started my routines over 3 years ago when I was approaching 240 lbs. These journeys are slow, they are painful, and they will test you to your limits.

But you can get there. You can achieve your goals. Believe in your yourself. Push as hard as you can and you can achieve anything.

Fitness-Fall-15

I am still struggling with remaining fat around my midsection / love handles (which I just found out is properly termed anterolateral flank). It seems no matter what I do and where I cut so far, that particular area wants to hang around. It is annoying, but I’m not giving up.

Things I’m happy with

  • Shoulder and chest development

Constants

  • I am still on a very low carb paleo-like diet. I do not add sugars to my food. I drink no fruit juices, or eat any high sugar fruits. If I need something sweetened, I use stevia or a combination of stevia and xylitol.
  • I still maintain a very high protein intake. My daily intake is mostly proteins and fats. I try to eat a lot of tree nuts as a snack to get mostly good fats.
  • I am still taking one weekly “diet cheat day”. This is where I’ll go out and eat whatever I want, but only once a week. I’ve found this really helps with cravings and gives you something to look forward to during weeks when eating the same types of foods is getting difficult. You’d be surprised how many of your normal daily foods become off limits when you shoot for an almost zero carb intake.

Changes

  • I’ve been hiking more on the weekends. Taking some time to get outdoors has been good for me, but also helps fill in any missing cardio.
  • I’ve been doing a lot more circuit style routines and AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workouts. The goal is to try to burn more fat while still building muscle.
  • As stated above, I’ve been concentrating on my shoulders and chest a bit more. I will continue doing this as I’m still not where I want to be there.
  • I cut back on running for a bunch of reasons. One of which is that my knees have never been very good (since birth) and I started to feel wear that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be during beach season this year, but I think I can continue to bulk and cut over the winter and try again next year.

Have a happy and healthy October! Send me a message if you’ve tried out some of our newest InShape trails and let me know if you enjoyed them!

Traces

Traces

We walk through life leaving pieces of ourselves scattered about.

Everyone we come in contact with, the people that laugh with us, the people we care for and love, those we hurt, those who are hurt indirectly by our actions, those we care for, and those we would die for.

A piece here, a little piece there, traces of us.

Some of the the pieces we leave are an echo. Self sustaining. Created as a living form all their own requiring no support from us. A smile, a hug for someone in need, a kind word when someone least expects it. These small things can blossom into happiness all on their own and stay with someone a long time. Echos of you, the small things that you’ll be remembered by that have helped others through their day. These are easy to give, require little risk, and often come with great reward. We’re all fighting a battle. We can all use some help. Make a point to leave echos everywhere you go.

The other pieces we give are more complex. They are difficult to part with because losing them leaves us vulnerable. We give these to only our most trusted friends and family. They require effort to support and once we give them, we’re left with an empty space if a time comes when we can no longer put energy into them. Losing the people we’ve given these pieces to can be devastating, as these are the most precious parts of ourselves. It hurts to lose these pieces, but giving them away is the key to wonder and happiness, love and brotherhood, family and fraternity.

Don’t be afraid. Leave a trace. Make it wonderful.

Life is

Life is

Life is pain. Life is joy. Life is the laughs that we have with good friends, and the tears that we share with our closest allies. Life is the loss we feel in our darkest moments. Life is the wonder of a newborn child.

One thing life is not is a plan. Life doesn’t “DO” anything to us beyond the aging process. Life just is. When we want to find someone or something to blame, putting that burden on “life” is misdirected. It is up to us to deal with the events that happen while we’re living the best that we can. Whenever things get really really hard for me, and right now is definitely one of the most difficult and challenging periods of my life, I like to think back to a scene in the movie The Grey:

Ottway: Do something. Do something. You phony prick fraudulent motherfucker. Do something! Come on! Prove it! Fuck faith! Earn it! Show me something real! I need it now. Not later. Now! Show me and I’ll believe in you until the day I die. I swear. I’m calling on you. I’m calling on you!
[receives no response]

Ottway: Fuck it. I’ll do it myself.

Ottway, at the end of his rope finally calls out to life, to a deity, to anything to save him from his situation. In the middle of nowhere, out in the wilderness, all alone, he assumes that if there is anything out there listening, surely it would show itself now when he has nothing to lose.

His cries for help go unheeded. Nothing appears. Nothing speaks to him. We’ve all been here more times than we want to think about. On our knees, out of breath, choking on the tears.

At this point in life we have two choices. The first is to give up. Giving up takes many forms, but the most common seems to be just not doing anything. Sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. Accomplishing nothing and never risking anything again. This route never leads anywhere. Once we’re done moping around, nothing is better and we’ve lost precious time. Our time here is limited. This is time we can never get back.

The second choice is to just take action. Realize that the loss is real, that the problem is real. Realize that nothing is out to get you, this is just the way things turned out. Realize that in most situations there are others making decisions outside of your control that will directly affect your happiness, and all the bargaining in the world can’t stop it.

Life is. It just IS. Nothing more, and nothing less. This life is your one single certain opportunity. Your life happened against cosmically incredible and unfavorable odds. THAT is your gift. THAT is your break, and that is the only break you should ever expect. Do something with it. Make it your way.

Just a box

Just a box

Bring home a box and a cat will instantly be enamored with it. Why? It’s just a box. It’s not a special toy, it doesn’t move around, there are no flashing lights inside of it. There is no glitter, no other cats to play with inside, and no treats.

The shape of the box doesn’t seem to matter, and it doesn’t even seem to matter much how well he fits inside of it. What is it about a new box that is so interesting? Why does a new empty box seem to be my cat’s favorite toy above all else?

To analyze his reaction, it helped me to think of the new box as a metaphor for something new coming into my life. Not just anything of course, but someone, or some thing that changed me for the better.

Viewed from this perspective I again ask why a box, and what did it take to make my cat as well as myself really happy? I’ve come up with a few possibilities, from the perspective of a cat of course.. probably..

A new place to explore

The box presents a new and completely fresh place to explore. The cat has no idea what is contained in the box and has to go inside for a look to see. The possibilities are boundless. There could literally be anything at all in the box. Once you get into the box there is no telling how large it actually is on the inside! Maybe you could spend the rest of your life looking around.

A new adventure

I was pretty bored with my old box, but this one will be different. I can bring some of my toys in here and find ways to play that I never thought were possible. Maybe I can bring my kitty friends with me and we can find new and exciting things to do. Can you imagine all the new things that we can try now?

The unknown

I have no idea what might happen in this box. It is scary, but it is also exciting. There would be little point in life if we always knew exactly how each day was going to go. Even though I am uneasy at first, I really like this feeling.

A place to feel safe

Inside this box no one can hurt me. If I want to be hidden I can stay hidden. If I want to be seen, I can invite my most trusted friends in to share this experience with me. I am safe here. No one can attack me because I can see anything coming at me from here. This box shelters me and keeps me warm. It wraps around me when I am feeling afraid and gives me comfort. In just being there, it promises I will never have to be exposed out in the open and alone.

A place that feels like home

I think I’ll snuggle up inside this box and take a nap. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I’ve left little bits of myself here. I see some of my fur, a couple of my favorite toys. See over there? I made a little mark with my claws once when I was in here chasing a fly. I recognize this feeling and this place. It is so familiar to me.

I’ve been so happy here that it almost feels like home.

But it’s just a box.