Mother’s Day Musings: 2017

“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never come.”
~David Platt

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Mother’s Day is a tricky Holiday, isn’t it?

On the one hand, I am so lucky to have had not one, but four amazing women that have been mother’s to me in my lifetime. I know that I am the person that I am today because of the influence of each and every one of them. Today is a day that I wish to celebrate those great mothers, and great mothers everywhere.

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On the other hand, our infertility struggle is coming up on four years, and this day always fills me with so much heartbreak, as it serves as a painful reminder that I am still not (and may never be) a mom.

And it isn’t just me. This day is painful to so many people for so many reasons.

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Today, I think of these brave women as well.

This holiday is also tricky, because it reinforces some kind of twisted ideal that seems to imply that women are not wonderful, whole, or complete unless they are mothers. I cannot stand when people tell me that, “I don’t understand because I’m not a mother,” or something equally as ridiculous.

No woman is better than any other woman just because they were able to conceive a child. Hell, all evidence would show that for most woman, it isn’t even that HARD to become a mother. You know what is hard? Wanting to be a mother so badly, and constantly being denied. It is hard to put on a happy face every single day and try to live a life that can still feel fulfilling and remarkable even though you are breaking more and more every day.

Becoming a mother isn’t that hard for most people. But I do think that being a good mother is difficult, and today I am so thankful for those wonderful mothers who helped make me who I am; to the fathers who must fill the roles of both wonderful dad and wonderful mom, for those women who will be wonderful mothers someday; and for those woman who are wonderful mothers of angels.

I am also thankful for those woman who may never get to be the wonderful mothers they would have been. Your strength has helped me in so many ways, and the reminder that I am not alone in my infertility makes me stronger every day.

Earlier this week, my husband and I made the decision to partially crowdfund some of our upcoming IVF expenses. It was a difficult decision, not only because we think it is hard to ask for this kind of help, but also because we know that IVF is still no guarantee. However, the love, kindness, and support that has been given to us during our battle with infertility made us both feel that we owe it to those in our support system, to let them help us if they choose.

We have been overwhelmed with the support the campaign has been given so far, not just through donations, but also just through people sharing our story with others.

All of this love and support made me feel a little better about Mother’s Day for the first time in a long time. I had the day off, and so I made the last minute decision to invite my Mother (and Dad) to join me for the weekend.

We had dinner out last night, a nice brunch at home this morning (with mimosas) and an amazing lunch of steak, shrimp, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and salad, before they left to head back home.

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This is a difficult day for me, no question. But I know that this day also means something to my own Mom. Not just because she is a wonderful mother who deserves to be celebrated today, but also because her mother is no longer with us. Spending the day with her seemed like the right choice, and I’m so glad I asked her to come. It sure beats moping around the house all day while my husband works.

To all of you who read my blog, who struggle with today as well: I hope you found some small amount of joy or peace in this day. I hope you know that you are loved, that you are worthwhile, and that you are not alone.

I’m here for you,

~Sam

All I Want For My Birthday…

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.”
~Robert Browning

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The only thing I want for a birthday gift is a positive pregnancy test; the only thing I want is a baby. The only thing I have wanted for some years now, is a baby.

I tried to make a bigger deal of this birthday than I really wanted to, for my friends and family who love me. I told Mark I didn’t care at all if we didn’t celebrate…but he wanted to celebrate me. I guess that’s romantic. And I get it.

Mark’s birthday is one of my favorite days of the year…because it’s the day he was born. That day (that came a few years before I was even conceived) is the day my other and much better half came into existence. I love that he wants to celebrate my life in the same way that I always want to celebrate his life.

I took four days off work (both my regular job and my freelance job), and though we didn’t actually do much, I’ll admit that the downtime was healthy.

We went to Universal Studios on Thursday to meander a bit at Harry Potter World. Traffic was terrible, and the lines were outrageous thanks to spring break, so we didn’t even go on any rides.

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We drank Butterbeer, ate some British food at the Leaky Cauldron, and got the most ridiculous milkshake either of us had even eaten at the new Chocolate Emporium at the way out of the park.

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We met my parents for a teppanyaki dinner at a nearby Japanese Steakhouse. This is easily one of my favorite types of food, but the best part is that the meal comes with a show! My husband is always endlessly excited by that part. 🙂

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On Friday, we finished ripping the tile out of our kitchen to expose the remainder of the terrazzo flooring (we refinished what was under the carpet when we closed on the house last March). We won’t buff, wax, or seal the floor until we install the new cabinets in a few months. Though it was hard work, and not the way I usually prefer to spend St. Patrick’s day, it was so awesome to finally check this huge project off the list.

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Saturday (my actual birthday) we had my parents, and few friends over (and one super cute baby) for a cookout. Since I’m not really drinking, we made fun nerdy beverages instead of booze. I made Butterbeer, and my friend Tina made some awesome pumpkin juice.

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Sunday, I hit the local Renaissance Faire for a few hours. It was a bit windy and dusty, but I always love a good Ren Faire. I picked up an awesome hand drawn map of Middle Earth for my office, got Mark a super cool clay shot glass (he was at work), and even bought one of the “Official” shirts.

Probably the best part was catching up with a friend who owns a jewelry company. She travels the country doing Renaissance Faires, and conventions, while making her own jewelry. She is amazing!

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After the faire, I came back home and got a bit of work done once my parents headed back home. I’m a bit bummed to have to go back to work so soon, but the distraction is probably for the best.

Tomorrow morning I have my ultrasound for our fourth IUI attempt. I wish I could muster up some of the optimism that I had last month, but it is failing me. I feel defeated. Actually, I already feel like this journey is over. At this point, I am just waiting on the last two rounds to finish so we can start IVF. I have zero hope left that IUI will ever be successful. I don’t know how we will manage IVF, but it’s the last hope I have at this point.

The positivity didn’t come all at once last time. Who knows, maybe I will find my way back to that peaceful place before the IUI.

~Sam

I’m Still Here

“I’m still standing here for us
still trying…”

~Bleeker Ridge – Still Standing 

 

Gosh! I might just be the world’s worst blogger. 

When I first started this blog, I had so much of our story left to share. I was behind and played a lot of catch up to help get all my feelings out and to make my story current. 

It took a few months, but I finally caught up just in time for my surgery last month. 

Since then, I have not said much. 

Partially because I am working almost nonstop. I started a new freelance job that I love, but that keeps me super busy combined with my full time job. 

But I think I also have not posted because I don’t have much to say. I am still healing post surgery and we won’t start treatments again until late February. 

I don’t know yet what will happen. Maybe the surgery helped and I am now more fertile. Maybe it didn’t and I’m not. 

Either way, it doesn’t make for interesting posts. 

But I’m still here, and we are still trying. 

I’ll leave you with our first photo together of the new year. 

  

You may notice, we are still as in love as ever. 

Thanks for reading. 

~Sam

Hope Rises on a New Year

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” 

~Rainer Maria Rilke 

 
The Holiday Season has officially come to a close, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Don’t get me wrong, I usually love this time year, and I still do. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving  with my family; an intimate Christmas at home with my husband; and a New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day   filled with so many of our friends. 

Even with all of that love and joy, I am ready for it to be over. 

I have realized that it’s incredibly difficult to be a childless mother this time of year. 

You read that correctly: A childless mother. 

No, I don’t mean a childless woman.

Lots of incredible, amazing, badass women I know have chosen to not have children. And I think that’s awesome, if it’s the right choice for them. 

For me, I’ve been maternal for most of my life. I am a caregiver. I love to take care of others; to help them when they are sick; to soothe them when they are sad; to carry them when they are weak. 

I have always loved the holiday season, and have probably over celebrated Christmas because of the joy and happiness it embodies. 

But after years of trying to get pregnant, the season of hope has weighed me down. I am still broken and empty as ever…because I am still childless. 

Amazingly, I find that I do still have hope. Maybe my surgery gave me more of that. The news that I am not quite fully stage two endometriosis has been helpful…it could have been so much worse. 

My husband and I spent this Christmas alone together, and we were both happy for the lazy time we shared together as husband and wife…with the hope that this will be our last Christmas holiday as a family of two. 

I am actually very thankful for the little family I have found from this blog. You all have helped me so much during my struggle, and I am so grateful for your kind words, love, and support. I hope to be there for you all as well, which is why I always try to respond to your comments. 

This terrible reality we all share…the infertility life of we childless mothers consumes much of my existence. I support you. I care for you. I wish everyday for nothing but stories of conception, succesful pregnancies, and live births. 

I hope you all had a very Happy Holiday!  

Even more so, I wish a fruitful and fertile New Year to all of us. 

~Sam

Christmas Traditions for Our Future Children

“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”
~Margaret Thatcher

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My husband and I have a holiday tradition when it comes to Christmas dinner. This is a tradition that was slowly developed over time, and that manifested in a very organic way. This is not a tradition that either of us brought with us from our families.

For Our first Christmas together, I’m fairly certain that I made him a Christmas ham with all the trimmings. I made a homemade glaze and adorned the beautiful half ham with pineapple rings, cherries, cloves, and honey. It was a loving gesture I chose to make because of a tradition that I had brought with me from my family (I used to always make ham with my grandmother). It was also a lot of work for a young couple spending Christmas alone together. We were living in California at the time, and both of our families lived on the East Coast. We spent six (maybe seven) Christmases together mostly alone (away from family) while living as a young couple in Los Angeles.

Things got a bit simpler after that first one and we started making easy Christmas meals like Shrimp Alfredo. After all, it was usually just the two of us. Friends would drop by, but not for dinner, and not often for very long.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, though I think it might have been our first Christmas living together (just under four years into our relationship). I eventually made the connection that lasagna is both my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) favorite meal, and an easy dish to make in advance. In fact, I’ll argue that lasagna tastes better when it is made at least a day ahead of time.

I made him lasagna that Christmas and I don’t think he had ever been happier with a holiday meal.

Ever since then, with the exception of a Christmas where I was super super super sick, we have had lasagna for Christmas dinner. This is a tradition that we also decided early on we would continue when we had children, for one major reason. While Thanksgiving is a sort of “cooking holiday,” where people spend all day in the kitchen eating and snacking (and drinking) while the kids all play together, Mark and I both agree that Christmas is for family time. Once we (hopefully) have children, neither of us wants to be a slave to the stove. We want to open gifts together; spend the day playing with our kids and their new toys; reading them their new books; watching their new movies together as a family.

Lasagna is something that I can make a day or two ahead  of time, and leave in the fridge. On Christmas day, all I need to do is heat it up in the oven, serve it with some warm crusty bread and a salad. I’ll put maybe five minutes worth of effort into an impressive Holiday meal that would even be enough food to feed both of our entire extended families.

Though having that family of “someday children” has never before seemed to be such an impossible reality, our Christmas lasagna tradition will still carry on.

Especially this year.

Our last two years have been pretty much crap. 2015 and 2016 both brought equal amounts of infertility depression, even if I wasn’t officially diagnosed with endometriosis until January 2016…and officially officially diagnosed until my surgery two weeks ago.

So despite the fact that 2016 has seemed to be a pretty all around crummy year for most people…pretty much everywhere…including us…this year was also a really big year for my husband and I in one very momentous area.

We bought our first house together. In fact, we bought our first home, ever. Both first time home owners, and both people who never really thought we would own…ever.

So even though we partially bought this house for our “someday” family (which we still desperately hope to conceive), we did buy a home.

Our first home. 

Our first Christmas in our first home must include lasagna.

I started to make the sauce tonight. It is sitting in my crock pot on low at the moment (it will cook overnight). Just as you can’t make a lasagna you plan to eat on the same day, you cannot make same day sauce. 🙂

I am planing a post for later in the week about a fertility boosting meal plan, (it’s not a diet, so I won’t call it a diet) and my lasagna this year is going to mostly follow that plan. I’ll be back tomorrow to write a breakdown of my “clean” sauce recipe, and talk more about how I am hoping a Mediterranean diet will help our fertility chances for our next IUI attempt.

What are some of your holiday meal traditions? When did they start, and why?

~Sam

Playing Catch Up

“Happiness is often the result of being too busy to be miserable.”
~Paul Frank Baer

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With the chaos that has been November, I only just realized that I have not added to our infertility story in quite some time. Has it really been 21 days? Where has the month gone?

I might as well go ahead and reveal a few more personal details about myself, since I am very nearly ready to let those closest to me know about this blog. Why is the thought of going public so scary?

I am currently participating in NaNoWriMo.  It is a writing challenge that occurs every November, but the basic gist is that you write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I am currently at 27,482 words (so yes, I am behind). But given that I have written 27,482 words since November 1, I should probably give myself a break for falling a bit behind on this blog.

I started writing the novel to take my mind off of our infertility for a while, though it is interesting to see that the novel has become about mental health in many ways. That wasn’t intentional, but it is an interesting development.

Next piece of personal information: I work for a grocery store. This is one of (if not the) busiest weeks of the year for us, and I am also in the middle of being transferred. Life right now is a little frustrating, but I can’t imagine how I would be feeling if I were not staying so busy.

I am going to try to post the next part of our infertility story tomorrow. I can’t believe it, but it is actually almost caught up to where I am today. Where we are now in our journey, is a place that I find to be very scary.

Though we may be riddled with uncertainty now, I will try to stay positive as we end the month. We are, after all, in the season of thanks.

I hope to find more that I am thankful for in the days that follow. I am immensely grateful for this blog, and to those of you who have reached out to us on our journey. Your presence in our life has been a welcome gift.

So to start my week of thanks, let me say that I am thanful for you.

~S

This is Halloween…Weekend

 “Something wicked this way comes.”
~William Shakespeare


Happy Halloween!

I hope you are all finding fun ways to get into to some (safe) trouble tonight.

I’m actually spending the evening in. I’m rocking my Halloween leggings, a fun shirt with a quote from Hocus Pocus, and watching the first episode of Westworld with my husband.

I got into enough trouble this weekend, and I was certainly feeling a bit wicked. Ol’ Willie Shakespeare would have been proud. 😉

My husband and I enjoyed an extended weekend (he had five days off, I had three) packed full of activities. On Friday, we joined my best friend and her boyfriend at one of our favorite theme parks. It was my best friend’s birthday, and her boyfriend’s first visit to the park.

Friday night, I had two out of town guests arrive to stay at out house. It turned into a total girls night full of drinking, laughing, and even a bit of crying as we stayed up well into the early morning. Between the three of us, we killed about five bottles of wine and two medium pizzas.

I think we all felt a little worse for the wear on Saturday, but I know how much I had really needed a night like that. These past few weeks have been so difficult, and full of so much pain, grief, and anger. It was nice to have a night with a couple of truly  inspiring women.

We had a nice breakfast Saturday, before taking in a convention for a few hours during the day. Afterwards, we all returned home to nap, before heading out to an after party for the convention. I was still feeling pretty rough, so I didn’t drink, but it was another late night. We made it home at around 2am.

Sunday we were up early for the final day of the convention. My husband and I had a blast parading around in some pretty amazing costumes. They were a huge hit at the convention, and we got stopped constantly to have our photos taken. Someone even just walked up to me and put her baby in my arms. I mean, she was cute as anything, but that was an absolute first for me.

The highlight of the weekend (who am I kidding, the highlight of my life so far) was meeting one of my all time favorite celebrities.

I am not easily star struck. I have actually met quite a few famous people (I used to live in Hollywood), but this guy was probably number one of my list of people to meet. I also have the hugest celebrity crush on him. I was a mess before and after meeting him. I was shaky, anxious, and a bit of a goober. I totally lost my cool.

But hey, he hugged me.

My heart. 😍

I am so grateful for all of the people that helped make my weekend so special: To my best friend and her boyfriend, the girls that came to stay with us, my co-workers who joined us at the convention. Life has been difficult lately, but staying busy this weekend (and having so much fun) was certainly an important part of my healing process.

It was back to work today, back to life.

I know I’m still struggling; still depressed and broken. I had four panics in the last week, so that alone tells me how much work I have to do.

But the last few days have been better, and that has made me feel so much better.

I hope you all enjoy your final October night. It’s beautiful here, and I hope it is wherever you are all as well.


Happy Halloween! 🎃

~S