Living a Different Dream for 2017

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
~Susan Sontag

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My husband and I have spent over three years trying to get pregnant. Three years waiting for two lines to appear, instead of just one; three years waiting to become a family; three years waiting for our life to begin again.

We have put everything on hold in our quest to become parents, and I think we sort of forgot along the way that we are more than our infertility. Well, maybe he didn’t.

But I did.

I am more than my uterus; more than my endometriosis.

There are a lot of other things that I always wanted for my life, other than just children, but since having kids is such a struggle for us, I just put all of my other dreams on hold.

Before we even went in for my last IUI, my husband and I made a decision. Either we would be pregnant this month, or we would go to Europe. I have wanted to travel for so much of my life, but I have never really managed to go anywhere outside of the country. After so many years of disappointments, I realized that I needed something to look forward to other than a positive pregnancy test. I needed to pick my life up, take it in my hands, and remember that there is still value in this life, even for a woman who may never have children.

The cramps woke me up yesterday morning, so severe that I knew it could only mean one thing. And sure enough, it was my period.

I cried in bed for a while, but eventually I got up, and I started booking hotels. We may not be pregnant, but we will have an adventure this year. You know what? It helped. By the end of the day, my grief had subsided, and was almost completely replaced by excitement.

We will be heading to the United Kingdom for 14 wonderful days, and I am genuinely thrilled. I hope that I will be pregnant when we go. The doctor has told us he is willing to do two more IUI procedures…so I’m hoping I’ll be pregnant. But if I’m not, I’m glad that I still have excitement in life to look forward to.

Thanks for everyone’s kind wishes during this last cycle. They always help us get through.

~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

This is Us

“Surely the whole point of writing your own life story is to be as honest as you possibly can, revealing everything about yourself that is most private and probably most interesting for that very reason.”
~Judith Krantz 

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I made this little blog public on my Facebook page today, which I guess means there is no more need for anonymity.

I am overwhelmed with the response I received from sharing our story (which I had up until now kept mostly private)

This is what I posted, with a link to the blog below it:

My husband and I started trying to get pregnant about two and a half years ago, maybe a little less. Throughout that process, I have carried the weight of our infertility (mostly) alone. I didn’t even share an inkling of our struggle until May of this year, and even then, began to do so very slowly…and somewhat cryptically.

At first, I was trying to keep everything under wraps so that people wouldn’t constantly ask me if I was pregnant (something that is very painful for someone who is struggling with infertility). Eventually however, I realized that I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I couldn’t do something that every woman should be able to do. I felt broken, useless, and incredibly depressed.

Since going public with my infertility, I have had a few people come to me, thank me, and offer their support of our trials. This has made me realize that infertility, while very common, is still incredibly taboo. People don’t talk about it…and they should.

A few months ago, in the middle of my second IUI cycle, I started a blog. I did this anonymously, so that I could find a bit of a support system. It turns out that knowing I wasn’t alone…knowing that so many other people ache with the pain of not being able to conceive, was incredibly helpful.

So I have decided to go public with our story. I have decided to share the details of our struggle, and share the details that I published in my infertility blog.

I must warn you, that some of what you may read here is incredibly raw. I write when I am feeling hopeful, but more often, when I feel that all is lost. Please do not try to reassure me with false hope or promises that no one can guarantee. Writing has always been my therapy, and it is no surprise that it is in this as well.

If you share my story, or even if you don’t, please don’t hesitate to come to me. Ask questions, offer your support, share your own journey if you would like. I am tired of living in the darkness, and I would welcome the chance to have you walk beside me in the light.

Most of our process so far has been outlined on this site, though I do still have about two posts until we are current.

Thank you, to those of you who have reached out so far and supported us. I hope to help raise awareness to infertility by sharing our struggles, and help to show others that they are not alone.

So..I guess now it’s time to share “me.” Or “us” rather.

My name is Samantha and my amazing husband is named Mark. We have been married since August of 2012, and together since February of 2008. I’ll update my “about” section in due time, but for now I figured I could at least put faces to the names.

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This is us…

I have a million wedding photos, and engagement photos, and other professional photos that I could have shared, but for this first time I just wanted to show us…being us. This candid photo, snapped by a friend on a trip to Big Bear Mountain, has always done a pretty good job of telling the story of our life together. This photo is happiness.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to opening up and sharing more about our lives as we continue this saga.

~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

So Much Love in Such a Small Body

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
~Johnny Depp

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I mentioned in my Halloween post that I have been trying to keep myself occupied, as my husband and I try to traverse the tortuous labyrinth that is infertility. I am proud to say that I am doing a pretty good job in this endeavor.

My mood has been elevated lately, and all of this keeping myself busy has actually led to a few moments of pure joy. At a work event this week, I held a friend’s baby for the first time. This was long overdue, as the little man is approaching 6 months old (I think), but there was just never the right opportunity before. He was always either strapped to mom, sleeping, fussy, or straight up upset with life.

The moment that I did finally hold him filled me with so much happiness. He was in his father’s arms, and we were chatting. I was making faces at the baby, and he was smiling and grabbing at my glasses. After a few minutes he started reaching for me, so much so that he was making his little body almost parallel in his father’s arms. I asked if I could hold him, and he said yes before I took the baby. His mother was sitting behind me, and as I put him in my arms she erupted in a coo of, “aw.”

She told me that as soon as I had the baby in my arms, his face lit up. He was apparently extremely happy that I took his hint, and picked him up. I held him for about ten minutes, as he nuzzled his little face into my neck, and sucked on my shoulder.

I definitely had to force back tears at one point, but the emotions I was feeling were overwhelmingly powerful, and varied by nature. I felt sad for my husband and I, who may never be able to conceive; I felt happy for these wonderful parents and their sweet little bundle of actual joy; and I felt so much love for this baby…and coming from this baby.

I confided in a close friend later how difficult and rewarding those moments with the little guy had been. I told him that ,”he (the baby) made me sad and amazingly happy tonight. So much love in such a small body.”

It is true, though. Babies need so much love, yes, but they are also capable of giving so much love. That is all they are. Just love. They are free from judgments, stereotypes, rivalry, and hatred. Babies are love.

I rediscovered a piece of myself that night. I was reminded of something that I thought I had lost, and this sweet little baby will never understand the impact he has had on my life.

I know my journey isn’t over yet. I still have hope. I know that now.

I am hope…

…and love. 🙂

~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