Tag: infertility

Five Whole Years…

Five years ago today,

I took a new name, a new life, and became part of something bigger than myself.

Half a decade of ups and downs,

big changes and small ones,

new homes, new jobs, new facial hair (ha),

and I’m still excited to start every single day with my best friend and co-conspirator.

Dearest husband,

I love you, and cannot wait to see what adventures await us in the next five years.

All my love,


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Test Your Ta-Tas

As most of us who have pursued fertility treatments have heard, there are studies that aim to prove that long term use of hormonal medications can increase the rates of cancer among their users.

Now, as with anything, there are just as many studies proving that this is NOT the case, but let’s face facts here:  We live in a world where cancer is extremely prevalent, and it behooves us all to be advocates for our health in every way possible.

Did you know that One in Eight women in the US will get breast cancer? 

Those are the same odds as couples who suffer from infertility…

So, you know… It can and will happen to us or someone we know.

That little bit of information is basically a lead-in to tell you all that I freaked myself out recently, and thought I had found a lump in my breast.

I noticed during my last cycle that while I had the usual breast tenderness the last week or so of the month, it did not clear up after Aunt Flo left town as it typically does, and the tenderness that was left over was concentrated to one spot.  Upon further inspection, I also noticed that there was a definite bulkiness to that small area that didn’t feel quite like the rest of my breast tissue.

I have to say that there is no history of breast cancer in my family, so I know that doctors wouldn’t exactly consider me high risk, but the use of so many different hormonal medications on top of the plethora of complete lifestyle changes I’ve made in the past few years is enough to cause at least minor concern.

Luckily, I was able to get in to see my wonderful OB-GYN, Dr. B., and he assured me that what he felt was very normal and not at all worrisome.  Likely just a duct or gland structure that is slightly more dense than other areas around it, and possibly a fibrocystic area, which is quite common (and frequently due to caffeine consumption!  Huh, you learn something new every day!).


Still though, it’s very important that we are all vigilant about our health, even while trying our damndest to procreate.  Dr. B. recommends the usual annual exam, even when seeing a fertility specialist on the side, and he also recommends monthly breast self-exams.

We’ve all seen the little instructional cards being handed out at women’s health fairs and at our lady-parts doctor’s office, but do we really look at them?

I know I hadn’t.  At least not until I was afraid that something was wrong…

And so, the girl who has literally zero experience with breast cancer, breast exams, mammograms, or pink “Save the Ta-tas” bumper stickers, is going to give you a quick tutorial (which I poached from good ol’ Pinterest) on breast cancer in general, and frisking your funbags for preventative medical purposes.

Because it’s important, that’s why.

Everybody got that?

Love your lady lumps, mmkay?

Love them monthly, and don’t hesitate to bring any concerns to your doctor, because as we all know (and as I repeat CONSTANTLY):



*dismount soapbox*



Howdy, friends!

I know it’s been quiet around here (all of my recent posts seem to begin with some incarnation of those same words, I knooooow…), but I honestly just don’t have a whole heck of a lot going on right now!

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Since the last time I posted, there’s been a development.

I’ve AGED.


Another year older, another year wiser smart-assier, I guess.  The thing about birthdays is that they used to be fun for me, a reason to celebrate.

Recently though, each birthday inches me closer to our wedding anniversary later in the month, which just reminds me that it’s getting closer and closer to that FIVE YEAR mark of trying, and failing, to build a family.

I want to point out that while I am feeling physically great lately, and have so much faith in the TCM treatments I’m receiving, there’s only so much confidence can handle before it starts to falter under the crushing weight of statistics and odds…

I guess I wouldn’t really care about getting older if it were just gray hairs and wrinkles I had to deal with, but each birthday I think about my poor, sad, aging eggs, and I wish on whatever birthday cake, pie, cupcake, or plate of bacon that they can just hang in there for ONE MORE YEAR.

Honestly, I just need them to feel all rejuvenated like they’ve been at the egg spa for the past few months, which is how I justify spending out of pocket for acupuncture treatments and gobs of Chinese herbs…  Those pampered bitches probably feel like some desperate housewives up in here, but it’s time for them to earn their keep!

Anyway, I know that thirty-three is not the end of the reproductive road, and as Doctor McStabby keeps telling me, I have time on my side.  At least part of me believes him, but the other, darker side of my subconscious thinks that I started this journey at age twenty-eight, basically on the later end of the average woman’s reproductive prime.  Now I’ve reached the final stretch…

Thirty-five is the point at which you start dipping your toes into the “advanced maternal age” pool.  If we’re looking at odds here, they get lower and lower with each year that goes by, and the more I age, the less chance I have at a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Sometimes it feels pretty bleak to think about the uphill battle I feel I’m fighting.  Sometimes it all feels like too much, as I see childless friends of ours living their lives to the fullest.  Sometimes that seems like maybe not such a bad life…

And then other times I see my friends who had kids when they planned to, friends whose reproductive capacities haven’t dictated the terms of every month of their life, and those friends are seeing their offspring off to school every day, working on their careers and their social lives, and generally just living a whole, full family life.

This is what I see all around me, and I feel like I’m in such a rut.  The worst part is that I feel like I’ve taken people down with me.  The poor husband, our families, all of our friends.  We’re in that awkward married couple tween phase where we’re not quite newlyweds but we’re not quite parents either.

And we’ve been in that awkward place for almost five years.

That shit gets old real fast, yo.  And not just for us, I’m sure.

Some days I wonder what we would even be talking about if we weren’t on this rabid pursuit of parenthood.  What if we had decided that we didn’t need to have kids?  What would we be doing now?  Traveling?  Climbing corporate ladders?  Spending every last dime on making sure our house is outfitted with the very newest of every Apple product on the market?

Maybe.  Except the Apple part… We’re Droid folks.

And what if we had managed to have a family right away?  Would we too be shuffling a kindergartener off to soccer and ballet and whatever else it is that the kids practice today?  Would we be potty-training and watching Yo Gabba Gabba and child-proofing our cabinets?  Would we spend that precious after-work time helping with homework and making a family dinner rather than cooking meals for two whilst watching Jeopardy in our sweatpants?

Maybe.  Probably.

But that’s the wicked What If’s leaking in… There’s no sense in going there, as it only leads to heartache and regret, neither of which are conducive to fat, happy, relaxed, and mature (but not too mature) eggs.

I suppose the best I can do is try to be happy with the life we’ve made for ourselves while living day to day on this seemingly never-ending path.

And by day to day, I obviously mean in two week increments.


If you’ve been trying, failing, and living with infertility for some time, what are some of the “infertility milestones” you’ve reached? 

How have you dealt with them?  And have they caused you to reconsider your path?

At what point do you just say “Stop.  This is far enough.  It’s time to go back…”?

I’m not there yet, but I can see it in the distance. 

There’s light at the end of this tunnel, but these days I’m not entirely sure it’s the light of a resolved infertility journey, or the light of accepting a childless life.

Where are you in your journey?


Acu-Pros vs. Acu-Cons

People often ask me how being treated with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from being treated in an OB or RE’s office… I usually respond by muttering something snarky about the amount of needle pokes, but truthfully, there are a lot of differences!

I’ve been thinking about and adding to this list for a while now, and I hope it helps someone who is just getting started on their infertility journey and is wondering what path to take, or someone who has been on their path for some time now, and feels that they need a change of direction.


Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Good

Little to NO blood work with TCM vs. Lab blood draws 3-5 times per Western cycle

Acu appointments are as relaxing as lying on a warm massage table with soft music playing while taking a little nap vs. Stressful and sometimes humiliating “get in the stirrups for Dr. Dildocam” RE appointments

TCM practitioners practice open, honest communication vs. Doctors and nurses who sometimes hold your lab results hostage until you blow a gasket over the phone

No nasty drug reactions with TCM or acupuncture vs. Western meds that can cause hot flashes, nausea, headaches, and other even nastier side-effects like OHSS

Naturally guide your body to better all-around health vs. Forcing your body into submission with synthetic hormones

Less risk of multiple births vs. Some Western meds and treatments where multiple birth outcomes are commonplace, risking the health of mom and babies

Acu and TCM influence you to clean up your diet vs. Western meds which make you emotional, irrational, and generally like a narcoleptic T-Rex, eating everything terrible in its path.  And then napping.


Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Bad

Acupuncture and TCM are often not covered by insurance policies, forcing out of pocket costs vs. Infertility treatments with an RE, which are sometimes covered up to a certain point

Acu and TCM require patience, and seeing results can take 3 to 6 months with treatment vs. Western meds and in-office monitoring, which offer immediate gratification (and delicious lab results to obsess over!)

Acu appointments may happen as much as once or twice per week for the treatment period vs. RE monitoring which typically lumps the bulk of the appointments into the beginning of the cycle

Acupuncture and herbs can only do so much for someone with a severe case of whatever-is-causing-your-infertility vs. Western medicine’s ability to diagnose and treat – sometimes surgically correct – issues which Eastern medicine just can’t combat effectively

I’m not gonna lie:  herbs taste gross when brewed as a tea, but some come in capsule form vs. Western meds which mostly come in pill form… Or as injections and suppositories, which are also not fun…


Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  Your Choice

I realize that I threw a lot at you there, but it really comes down to this:

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been around for thousands of years.  They are tried and proven effective for many, many situations and different types of people – especially for fertility.

While TCM can’t be expected to treat everything under the sun, the success rates for fertility, while hard to pinpoint due to erratic research information, are there.  There are no (or very few) side-effects, you’re healthier and less stressed while you’re committed to the program, which helps to enrich your life in general, not just in the baby-makin’ department.

Western medicine is nothing short of a modern miracle with its ability to combine egg and sperm in a petri dish, and create life outside of the womb.  There’s no substitute for what doctors and nurses can do in labs, but Western medicine also isn’t your only option.  Your Ob-Gyn may not know what to do with you beyond a few cycles of Clomid, but that’s no reason not to educate yourself on the choices you have for your body and reproductive future.

If you have Unexplained Infertility, PCOS, or Endometriosis (and other fun diagnoses!) and are tired of feeling hormonal, defeated, and anxious, then Acu and TCM may be worth looking into.

If you’re struggling with a severe diagnosis, a physical abnormality like fibroids or a tubal issue, or are just not capable of giving three to six months to this process, then stick with that RE.

Actually, no.

Stay with your RE, but find out if they will allow you to solicit the help of an experienced and fertility-specializing Acu/TCM practitioner during your Western treatments.

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from at least some aspect of this process, whether it’s the dietary and lifestyle changes, the herbs and supplements, or the acupuncture-induced zen relaxation.

I don’t think I’ve met one person who has seen an Acupuncturist for fertility that has regretted their pursuit of the Eastern path, whether it worked for them directly, indirectly, or perhaps not at all.


Is there anything that any of you might add to these lists?

What has been your experience with Acu/TCM vs. Western medicine?

Who has a success story – with either treatment option – or both! – that they can share to encourage others?

Who wants me to stop asking questions and just end this post already?  :D


…Fine.  You win.

Happy Hump Day, y’all!


The Unrelenting Optimist

If there’s one thing infertility has taken from me, it’s been my optimism from time to time.

Sometimes it’s been gone longer than others…

I try to keep a positive attitude, even when things are darkest, but it’s just not always possible.  There are times that I succumb to the darkness, and let myself think about all the terrifying what-ifs.

What if I’ve gone through all of this only to be unsuccessful in the end?

What if I’ve wasted five whole years on a process that will never work?

What if I’ve wasted time, money, and resources pursuing something that will never yield the results I want?

What if I’ve put relationships to the test unnecessarily?

What if I never get pregnant?

What if I never have a child?

What if this has all been for naught?

I used to be the ultimate optimist.  Sure, I was realistic about my expectations, but I could find the bright side of any situation.

There have been days in the past few years where I’ve struggled with that.

There have been days where I haven’t even had the energy or will to struggle.  There have been plenty of times where I’ve just allowed myself to wallow in self-pity and pessimism.

Those days, though I know I needed to experience them, are behind me.

I have my optimism back.

The sun is shining for me again, even when it’s a cold, rainy October day.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but at some point in the past few months, I’ve found that hopeful spirit once again.  I can smile and the gesture reaches my eyes.  I believe the positive platitudes that come out of my mouth.  I can encourage others and truly mean what I say about having a sense of hopefulness for the future.

Maybe my internal optimist was never gone… Maybe she just took a backseat for a while.  I can’t blame her; I spent a lot of time beating her down when life wasn’t going my way.  Perhaps she just left me to my own devices while she gathered her strength.

Whatever the case may be, I feel like I’m finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.  Closed doors lead to open windows again.  Things are looking up!

For the first time in a long time, I’ve started allowing myself to consider other, happier what-ifs…

What if this treatment path is the one thing that works for me?

What if my last period was my last period?

What if I’m pregnant by Christmas?

What if I get to share the big news with my family over the holidays?

What if I have a baby by this time next year?

What if I get to attend my own baby shower instead of everyone else’s for a change?

What if I get to mother a child of my own?

What if I actually get to realize my dreams?

I have no way of knowing what the future of my life – or even this cycle – holds for me, but for the first time in months, years, I’m okay with that.

I don’t need to know what’s coming, because I know that no matter what it is, I can handle it.

More than that, though…

I can live through it.

I can learn from it.

I can grieve the past and enjoy the present.

I can have hope in the future.

I can take the bad with the good, and know without doubt that my positivity and my good humor will never abandon me.

I am the unrelenting optimist, and I’ve got my sunny disposition back.

Finally.  :)



This and That.

Hi folks.

I don’t really have anything groundbreaking to say, or any amazing news to share, but I wanted to at least reach out and let you all know that I’m still here.

Life is good.  I’m spending my weekends farmers’ marketing and cooking yummy foods, and I spent all day yesterday in a 24-hour cheat cycle that included all sorts of sweets and fried foods, and watching a tv show that’s been off the air for ten years and only produced one season.  I love it.  And I’m going to probably cry when it’s over, because I will know that it’s never coming back.

I am obviously a glutton for punishment.

So I have that going for me.

Aside from that, the husband is changing shifts this week, so there will be a whole new level of getting-used-to going on in our house for the next couple of weeks.  He works in the auto industry, and his shift rotates a few times per year.  Prior to this week, he was working a combination of day and night shifts, and working Friday morning through Monday night.

Once the switch takes effect, he will be working Tuesday night through Friday night; it will be nice to have him home Saturday and Sunday, even if he does need to sleep half of Saturday…

The worst part of this particular schedule change, however, is that he will be gone for work when I get home at 5:30pm each day, and won’t be home again until probably 6am or so the next morning while I’m getting ready to leave for work.  This effectively means that four days a week, I won’t see the husband for more than an hour in the early morning while he’s dragging himself in the door, and I’m rushing myself out.

This makes the timing of certain *ahem* intimate activities a little difficult.

It’s not the first time he’s worked this shift, though, so we’ll manage.  Mornings during ovulation might just get a little… interesting.

If ya know what I mean.

And I’m bettin’ ya do.

Hmm… What else is new, you ask?

Not much, to be honest.  I’m just living the dream over here, taking my vitamins and herbs at the required times and in the proper amounts, trying to maintain control over my diet in the face of the new Chick-Fil-A that’s opening up a block from my office, and generally just attempting to stay as relaxed as possible.

There are a few things I’ve been mulling over in my head when I think about how I can remove certain stressors.  I’m not sure what will come of these thoughts, but I know I have some stress triggers, and I know I’ve strayed from some things that I feel might help me cope better.

First is church.  I grew up in the church, and grew away from it as an adult.  Partially because logistically I was far away from where I felt comfortable, and partially because I didn’t have much in the way of in-house support (read: the husband doesn’t want to/often can’t attend services on Sundays).  So these days, I’m not a parishioner, but I’m still a believer.  I have my own spirituality, but sometimes I feel like that’s not enough.  It might be time to start seriously making an effort to get back into the fold… Even if it’s just me.

Next on the list is money.  Money stresses everyone out, but I had some major issues with identity theft years ago, and that junk still pops up to haunt me today.  I’ve been working to resolve as much as possible, but it just takes so much time, and of course that time is almost always required to be during business hours.  When I work.  So, boo.  I think it might be time to crank up the professional help on this bad boy, and get this monkey off my back once and for all.

Another thing my life lacks is time spent in nature.  Maybe I just need to go to a park once in a while, but I just don’t know this area well enough.  Since moving in with the husband, what… seven years ago?  Jeez!  Anyway, since then, I’ve lived in the city or suburbs.  Even now, our house is right smack in the middle of the city, in a nice little subdivision.  We have a yard with a garden, lots of squirrels and birds, but it’s not exactly nature.

I grew up in the woods.  No, seriously.  WOODS.  It was amazing.  I was a weird kid with giant glasses and terminal skinny awkwardness (thank goodness I grew out of ONE of those things…), and I was always building forts and bringing home little forest critters, much to the dismay of my parents I’m sure.  I used to know the woods back home like the back of my hand.  I knew where every mossy rock was, and where wild asparagus grew.  I could climb the creepy overgrown apple trees, and pick my way through the wild raspberry bushes to find my own snacks.  I lived for the time of year when the walnuts fell, both because I loved helping to collect them for grandma’s root cellar, and because I loved the tangy, spicy scent of the green skin that surrounds the nutshell.

I miss nature.  I miss following deer paths and sitting in the sun so quietly that a fox wanders by.  I need to get back to that, somehow.  Maybe nature IS my church.  Maybe I can heal myself in more ways than I know just by getting back to my roots.

Ha, roots… see what I did there?  Nature jokes.  ;)

This all leads me back to another thought I’ve had lately.


Do I need therapy?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I don’t often feel like I do, but maybe it would help me cope better with stress.  I’ve never felt particularly manic or crazed when I’m stressed, and I never feel like it’s something I can’t handle, but then again… maybe I need help.  I am learning that I internalize my stress, which is why I get sick every time I am in a particularly stressful situation.  Like my wedding day… sick all day.  Lovely time, that.

Maybe therapy would help me have a better understanding of what I can do to deal with my stress rather than pushing it down so that it infects my whole system.

Maybe.  We’ll see.

So that’s where I’m at.  Still here, still plodding on with my non-treatment “treatment” of acupuncture and herbs, and still trying to figure out who I am and what I’m doing with my life.

It’s not a terrible place to be, but I certainly hope to find my way out of this maze one day…


I hope you all have a fantastic week, and may the coming days bring you some beautiful fall weather!

And cheesecake.  I hope you all also getchasum cheesecake.






One Healthy Month

Sunday, September 29th, 2013.  CD30, 11DPO.


Hello, my friends.  :)

I know it’s been quiet here, and I do feel a little badly about that.

I mean, it’s not like I think there’s anyone out there in Reader-land going “Oh sweet tap-dancin’ Jesus, what’s going on with Tracy??  I haven’t heard any TMI from her in AGES!  I hope everything’s okay!”

Well, in case there really is anyone thinking that, I’m here to reassure you, my one worrisome reader, that yes.  All is well here.

I also feel a little bad for the off-the-radar-ness of late, because I know that sometimes when mouthy infertility bloggers get quiet, it’s because they are harboring a fertile little secret.

Well, I’m also here to reassure you all that NO, I am not harboring any kind of alien creature in the depths of my pelvis.

As a matter of fact, I’m expecting good ol’ Aunt Flo to show up any day now.  There is one hundred and eleventy-nine percent chance that I am not pregnant, so please don’t be suspicious of my lack of communication…

However, let it never be said that I fail to update my loyal readership, and in that spirit, please enjoy the following review of the past month of acupuncture, TCM, and diet and lifestyle changes made per The Infertility Cure:

1.  I feel… better.  My digestion seems to be improved, and I attribute that to eliminating certain things like dairy, gluten, and sugar.  I’m also less bloated, less fatigued, and I wake up feeling more rested.

2.  I’m allowing myself to cheat.  As a rule, I don’t eat the above mentioned items, but I do allow myself to have a little of each thing now and then.  I’ve also taken to having the occasional glass of wine or hard cider (gluten-free, of course!) once in a while.  Nothing extreme, but a little chocolate after dinner won’t ruin all the progress I’ve made so far.

3.  I’m getting my life back.  I really do feel like even though I’ve undertaken some somewhat strict dietary and lifestyle changes, these adjustments are becoming part of my life, and not ruling it.  I’m no longer limited by having to work around appointments for blood work or ultrasounds constantly, and I actually enjoy my weekly acupuncture treatments.  I am able to see friends, and the husband and I can go out and do things when we want to, without having to plan around medications or appointments.

4.  I’m less obsessive.  This one I feel is the most remarkable difference, and one that can’t be contributed to anything but some sort of emotional shift within myself.  I did slip a bit and have been recording my temps again, rather than just letting Dr. McStabby have control over those, but I think I needed the buffer month to get used to the idea of letting it go.  I still write the temps down to bring to him, so it’s really hard for me not to notice a shift after having done this for so long.  I don’t spend all day submitting queries to Dr. Google, and I feel like I have more faith in the process than I ever have before.

More importantly, I have more faith in my body than ever before.  I feel like the changes that I’m making, and the good fuel I’m putting in every day, are really going to make a difference in the output I experience.  I’m already seeing those differences in my digestion and my energy levels, and I think it’s only a matter of time before other systems start to fall in line.  The hormonal system is the one that’s been impacted the most by years of general neglect and abuse, and so it only reasons that it will take the longest to come around.  I know it will, though.

5.  I’m focusing outward for a change.  For the past five years, I’ve been so focused on every little twinge or poke inside of myself, that it became consistently  harder to really have room for anything going on around me that didn’t have directly to do with my reproductive system.  That’s a fail as a wife, a kid, a friend, and as a person.  There’s so much going on in the world today that I can be a part of, and instead I’ve chosen to just focus on my empty uterus for so long.  I want to change that, and I’m trying to make a concerted effort every day.

One thing I’m doing is working with my amazing friend who had an idea to donate to RESOLVE.  You can read my previous post for details, but the gist of it is that if you buy some pretty goodies, all proceeds will be donated to supporting women with infertility.  That’s a direct impact.  I’m part of it, and you can be too.  Simple as that.

I’m also trying to be more involved with the people in my life.  It can be hard not to take things personally sometimes, and depending on your situation, you may feel a sense of personal betrayal when someone else, just living their life, does something you can’t do.

My coworker got a promotion, and I didn’t; dubya-tee-eff, mate?  Why not me??  My friend is pregnant – again – and I can’t even have ONE baby!  I feel so left out!!  My whole Facebook page is covered with pictures of my friends’ 5k races, and I’m told not to do too much because it’s not healthy for me to lose weight!  Why can’t I do what normal people my age are doing??

That kind of attitude has been getting me exactly nowhere but miserable for years.

No more.  I’m done.

Life is short, and if you have good people in it, then you’re one of the lucky ones.  Remember that they are in your life by choice, too.

Didn’t get a promotion?  Oh well.  Did you really want that particular job anyway?  Maybe there’s something else you’d rather be doing… maybe you should pitch your ideas to someone who can help you make a big difference, rather than take a tiny stair-step to middle management hell… Maybe something better is in store, and maybe you can make a difference for all of your coworkers by stepping up and saying something.

Not pregnant – again?  Boo-frickety-hoo.  It’s not like this is your first infertile rodeo, sister.  Get back up on that horse like you’ve done month after month for years.  And in the meantime, maybe that friend with two kids really needs some support, but is afraid to ask for it – especially from you.  You make that mommy a casserole, put on your big girl panties, and go hold that baby while she takes her first shower in a week.  You can cry when you get home, but it’s better to have been a friend have something to feel good about, than to have stayed at home and wallowed in your self-pity.  Plus, you now have leftover casserole.  WIN.

Can’t run a 5k?  Dude, really?  Are you sad about this?  Who likes to get sweaty?  Plus there’s the risk of thigh-friction-burn… Ew.  Instead, volunteer to pass out water to the runners, and after the race, you can take your runner-friends to get cheesecake.  You can always do some low-impact yoga when you get home, and how you’ve not only donated your time, been able to hang with friends while doing it, AND had cheesecake, but you can feel good about yourself, too.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve come to this insane epiphany that life isn’t revolving around ME, oddly enough.  Nor my uterus.  Weird, right?

I’m doing more, giving more, and getting more than ever, just by moving my focus outward.  I highly suggest giving it a try.  :)

So anyway, that’s me.  It’s been quiet here, but only because I’ve been keeping busy with things that maybe have less to do with my reproductive system, and to be honest, it’s felt good.

Whenever Auntie shows up, that will conclude the first full cycle of TCM I’ve had so far, and to be honest, I feel better in so many ways.  I feel good about my life, and about those in it – you included – and while life may take me away from blogging from time to time, it’s really a healthy step for me.

Despite my occasional absence here, I do still read, listen, and observe.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers, and though I’m trying to keep my own fertility-challenged-ness off my radar, your struggles are always on my mind and in my heart.

Thank you all for stopping by, checking in, and thinking of me, too!

I shall love you all forever and always, and if the zombie apocalypse truly does occur, you can all come hide in my basement for at least the first week.  When the canned goods run out, though, all bets are off.  :)

Have a fantastic week, my friends!


Here With Me Still

My Dear Little One,

It’s been a year since you left, and I think of you every single day, but today especially.

You are a part of who I am now, as you have been since the moment I discovered your tiny existence… Since before that, really.  You color my vision both of the past and of the present, and you will forever alter my outlook for the future.

Sometimes the thoughts of you come back unexpectedly, like when I’m digging for some trinket in my cedar chest, and your first photo catches my eye.  There are times I think you have some control over my thoughts of you; it can’t just be coincidence that a feather will find me when I’m upset.

Other times though, I conjure images of what you might look like today, what your laugh might sound like.  I know you’d be a funny little thing – that’s just genetics.  I’d be so proud to introduce you to everyone I know, and many people I don’t know in person who hoped and prayed along with your dad and me.  You’d be my absolute pride and joy today.

Still though, I am proud.  Proud that I have the honor of being your mother, if maybe not in the traditional sense today.  I’m proud that I carried you for however long I was able, and I’m proud that having loved you then exposed a whole side of me that I never knew existed.

I’m proud too that your loss broke my heart, but not my spirit.  When you left, it forced me to rebuild, forced me to be strong in the face of so much grief and what felt like injustice at the time.  Losing you taught me things about myself, and about your dad and me, that I could never have learned otherwise.

And I’m proud and grateful that you helped pave the way for those discoveries.  A helpful child, just the kind any mother would be proud to have.

I hope that you’re proud of me, too.  I know that things weren’t pretty at first; it took me a long time to really grieve you in a way that created any peaceful resolution.  In fact, I am still working through that today.  For the longest time, I put on a brave smile and went about my life all fierce and full of defiance in the face of tragedy, when in reality, what I needed was to truly feel, accept, and let go.

Once I wore myself out with all that bravado, I became fixated on getting answers as to why we lost you.  To say that I was obsessed might be a bit of an understatement, and probably not my proudest moment.  It took me some time to realize that answers wouldn’t bring you back, and that maybe you were part of a greater plan that I would never understand fully.

I’m living in that acceptance now.  I understand that it wasn’t my body that rejected you, and it wasn’t you that failed either.  You just weren’t meant to be my child on this Earth.

And that’s sad, but it’s okay.

You were meant to be my feather on the wind, my accountability, my hope.  My angel.

You were meant to come and go from my life in a way that would teach me what it truly means to be a parent.

You were meant to be the inspiration for many changes that I would make, and some that I am still making in life.

You were meant to be my child – my daughter, I think – who will forever carry around a piece of my heart, while mine is still trying to mend itself.

I think that’s part of the amazing trajectory this journey has taken: a piece of my heart went missing, and you have it; yet somehow, I’m regenerating that loss.  This only proves that becoming a mother, no matter in what way, causes your heart paradoxically to grow and become impervious to lasting damage, while also being more sensitive than ever.

Losing you broke my heart, but having you still has somehow mended it.

I’ll never forget you, dear one, for you’re imprinted in my heart, my soul, and my very skin.  I only hope to make you proud by proving every day that I am worthy to be called someone’s mother, and to use what you’ve given me to be a better person in every way.

I love you every day.

Thank you for being mine.

Yours.  Always…



I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living,

My baby you’ll be.




Maya Abdominal Massage

Hi friends!

Since starting down this road to a more natural way of improving my overall (and hopefully reproductive) health, I’ve incorporated dietary changes, specific supplements, home care techniques like femoral massage, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture.

It’s only been three weeks with the herbs and acu-treatments, and about two months with the diet and lifestyle changes.  So far, so good!

While reading The Infertility Cure, and doing some research on natural ways to help improve fertility, I came across a handful of articles on Maya Abdominal Massage, or Arvigo Massage.

The premise sounded interesting, and complementary with the TCM route I’m already on:  The techniques work to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy.

After reading more and researching practitioners in the US, I found that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of them in the Midwest; however, there is one right here in the Toledo suburbs!  Score!

I checked out the massage studio’s website and did a little review check on the practitioner, and once I was satisfied that I wasn’t going to be seeing a quack, I made an appointment.

By the way… I made this appointment almost a month ago.  It turns out, should you also decide to book an abdominal massage, that reputable therapists recommend having ab massage done right about the time your period ends.  They don’t want to massage too close to ovulation, too close to the first couple days of your cycle, or at all in the luteal phase.

Makes sense.  No problems there.  Appointment made.

I should note that I was sure to run this idea by Dr. McStabby, because his treatments are my top priority and I don’t want to disrupt anything he’s doing with some whimsical South American belly rub.  He said that in his opinion, anything that increases the blood flow to the abdomen in my case is a good thing.  He wanted to be sure the massage would only  be done pre-ovulation, about which I assured him that it would.

The only word of warning I received from the acu-doc was that I may not like someone massaging my abdominal region.  At first I thought he meant that I wouldn’t like the way it felt physically, which I admit was a concern, but he meant something different.  He told me that many times, women tend to push their stress, anxiety, anger, and emotions down into the abdominal region, which is why we see IBS so much more in women than in men.

He said that men tend to only push emotion down to their heart, which is why we see outbursts of temper, fighting, and heart attacks more with men, and IBS, nausea, and nervous diarrhea more with women.

Acu-doc also said sometimes with abdominal massage, the manipulation of that area can cause some of those emotions to become… dislodged, causing a surge of feeling that might come unexpectedly.

Now that struck me as odd, especially as a girl who is so NOT a crier… but I still went ahead with the appointment.

Okay, so onto the actual appointment day…

I showed up to meet the therapist in my work clothes (because I’d just come from the office), but had brought a bag of other things like sweat pants and a tank top.  I wasn’t sure how much I would be wearing or not wearing, considering the very different clothing requirements for a traditional relaxation massage where I’m almost totally nude, and my acu-treatments, for which I am fully clothed in comfy lounge-wear.

As it turned out, the therapist and I met for a bit before the massage started.  We went over the pile of paperwork I’d done, the questions oddly similar to those asked by the acu-doc.  She asked me specifics about my diet and digestion, and asked me for details on my miscarriage, which I provided.

After that, she left me alone to get undressed – the clothing requirements are exactly the same as a relaxation massage – and climb into a soft, heated massage table-slash-bed.  Very cozy.

Once she came back into the room, I was made to feel very comfortable; the therapist said that this was the start of a relationship between her and I, and that I should not feel any anxiety in asking to be more comfortable within the studio.  I was in control of the lighting, music volume, and temperature, and could ask for extra blankets or anything I needed to relax.

She also said that I could talk, fall asleep, or ask as many questions as I liked… which is nice, because I ask a lot of questions.


After we had talked a bit, she placed some heavy towels over my chest and shoulders, and over my abdomen, after which she pulled the bed sheets down to expose my belly, but nothing else.  Before she did anything, she used her hands to feel for any hot or cool spots in my abdomen, saying that she can sometimes feel where trouble areas might be.

…Very interesting.

Once she started the massage, it was very gentle.  She felt around for the locations of my different organs, pointing out where my anatomy was to me.  I liked knowing where things are…  It’s very different from your high school anatomy class when it’s your own body!

She asked me some really spot-on questions, too!  She asked if anyone ever told me I had a tilted uterus, and I said YES.  She said that not only is it tilted backwards, but it’s also tipped to one side, causing one of my ovaries to be sort of out of place as well.  This coincides exactly with what every ultrasound tech who’s ever wanded me has said!

Again, very interesting!

She said a lot of her focus would be on bringing my uterus back to where it needs to be.  She said that having organs out of place can absolutely cause blood flow and circulation issues, so once this is corrected, overall circulation in the body will improve as well.  She did say that femoral massage, and acupuncture and herbs will be a big help in this as well.

So far, so good.  I didn’t mind the feeling of someone massaging my abdomen, and it was actually a bit relaxing once I got past asking a thousand questions.

Some parts were weird, though.  The therapist kept referring to my uterus as a “she”, and telling me that I could talk to “her” and tell her that I am trying to conceive, and that “she” would listen…  Uhh… okay, lady.

She also did this weird rocking motion, sort of rocking my whole abdominal region, and said that it was actually the pulse of my body trying to “unwind” some areas that were all wound up…  Again… very weird.

She also asked me more about my miscarriage – how long ago it happened, how many weeks pregnant was I, the details of the actual miscarriage, did I have a d&c, etc…  She said she could tell that I need to make peace with the loss, and she did this weird thing where she put one hand above, and one below my belly button and sort of pressed down gently.

She said she felt like the baby was a girl… and I said, so did I.

Of course it was too early to really know, but that was always my feeling.  At that point, I cried, even though I am NOT a crier.  AT ALL.  But maybe she was right about needing to make peace…

She did confirm what the AP said about women holding emotion in their digestive region.  Funny, because every time I am super stressed or nervous, I have terrible diarrhea, nausea, and most of the time, vomiting. I lost 10lbs before my wedding, completely because of the stress of it, and I spent the morning of my wedding day running to the bathroom.

Maybe there’s something to that theory…

After that part, she went into a more thorough exploration of my whole abdominal area. She felt around the bottom of my rib cage, along my sides, and down as far as my pubic bone, taking stock of the locations of organs.

Another interesting thing:  while she was massaging, she said she felt a few little bubbles pop, like bubble wrap, that she was sure were adhesions.  I told her I’d always wondered if I had endometriosis, and she said that I might, but that she felt that she had broken up at least 3 decent sized adhesions with the massage.

Part of me doubts this is possible, but then again, who knows…?

Once it was almost over, she said that she felt I’d made great progress, and that my uterus had shifted a lot and felt like it wanted to move back to its natural location.  She also said that my next AF may be a bit strange, maybe with more or fewer clots, or maybe some discharge that looks like coffee grounds.  Apparently that’s completely normal, and just the body’s way of “cleaning house” and preparing for a healthy new start.

Just before she left the room, she taught me some self-care techniques to use at home. One was a way of breathing from the belly instead of the lungs, which I’m having a hard time mastering.  Another is a way to keep better posture in mind throughout the day, so as not to compress the organs and give them room to do their thing.

She talked to me about water intake and said that the naturopathic way is to take in half your body weight in ounces each day; so if you weigh 150lbs, you should be drinking 75oz of water each day.  She also said that chugging water won’t do you any good unless you really like to pee.  The best way, apparently, is to take 5 or 6 glugs every half hour or so throughout the whole day.

She also taught me some self-massage techniques:  one is just a very simple circular massage starting around the belly button and getting wider over the whole abdominal area.  The other is a sort of “scooping” motion that starts right above the pubic bone and is said to help encourage the uterus to come back into position.  That second one is not to be practiced after ovulation.

After that, she brought me some water and a peppermint patty (yay!) and left me to get dressed.

I have to say, I felt pretty good after the massage.  Loose and less tense, in the way that you feel after a relaxation massage, only it wasn’t my shoulders… it was my abdomen.

Some of it was a little strange (okay, some of it was really strange), but I think you have to take the weird with a grain of salt.  It was more good than weird, and I really liked the therapist.  She was very warm and pleasant, and although I have a hard time wrapping my head around some of what she said, I do think it will be beneficial to keep seeing her.

She recommends once-a-month treatment for at least 3 months to see a real difference, and the cost was only a tiny bit higher than I’d pay for a relaxation massage, so I’m going to keep with it.

Will this help me conceive?

I have no idea. 

Will it maybe help me to relax a little, encourage blood flow to my pelvic region, and make me feel like I’m actively contributing my own health and healing?


It might be a little weird, but I’m giving it a shot.

Like the acu-doc said:  If you feel like it’s doing you some good, then it probably is!



If you have any questions about my experience with Maya Abdominal Massage, please feel free to comment below, or email me directly, and I would be happy to help as best I can!



Everyday Miracles

When the husband and I relocated to the Toledo area two years ago, I found myself living in a brand new city, surrounded by strangers (and some built-in friends and family), and starting a brand new job.

The very first person I met on my first day of work was my new boss, Lisa.  I could never have known that day how much she would impact my life, or how much her life had already been impacted itself.  I could tell immediately that she was a wise soul, but I wouldn’t know until later how much her life had been touched by infertility, loss, illness, and struggle.

Lisa became so much more than just a supervisor to me; she became a mentor, a friend, a confidante.  She was someone with whom I could be completely honest about my personal struggles, and someone who really understood and sympathized because she had been through it all herself.  She was an amazing support system for me almost instantly, which is one of the reasons why it was so easy for me to make time for fertility treatments while getting established at a new job.

After time, I found out that Lisa was sick.  She was suffering with a chronic illness called gastroparesis, which caused her debilitating nausea and excruciating pain on a daily basis.  She missed chunks of time at work, and was hospitalized almost weekly, sometimes for days or weeks at a time.  Her life was hell, and she was a complete angel to me…

It was incredible to me that a person who had suffered for years to conceive her daughter, and then received that miracle only to be thrown immediately into chronic illness had enough compassion left in her for other people, but Lisa was one of the sweetest people you’d ever met.  She had a smile for everyone, and was well-known for her shopaholic tendencies.  I began to rely on her to keep me afloat on days when I just wanted to curl up and die; I knew that I might be having a little sad-uterus pity-party, but that she was struggling with pain and illness and somehow still had it in her to encourage me to get up and try again.

I think that if it hadn’t been for her, I would have run out of determination a year ago after the miscarriage.  Lisa talked me through that whole process, and was one of my biggest cheerleaders as I returned to work and took the world by the balls.  She was my inspiration as I tried to get my head  and body right, to get myself ready to fight again, just like she did every day.

One day though, things for Lisa got worse.  She would be out of the office for a week.  Then two.  Then she’d be back for a day or two, and then she was in the hospital for three weeks or four.  Her doctors recommended not one, but two completely experimental procedures to attempt to alleviate her symptoms, but though they helped for a short time, nothing was working…

By early this year, Lisa was no longer working.  She was sick and in pain daily, and in and out of the hospital with regularity.  The doctors were not optimistic about her chances at controlling her illness, and things were looking bleak.

At Easter, she landed in the hospital while visiting some out-of-town relatives a few hours from home, and was soon in the ICU.  At one point, Lisa was being prayed over by the hospital chaplain.  Things were dire.

This is when a doctor she had never met decided to run a very common test, just in case something basic had been missed in the past.

That doctor’s intuition was right, and it literally saved Lisa’s life.

Her chronic illness had been misdiagnosed. 

She had her gallbladder removed immediately, her body began to heal itself, and she is a completely different person today.

I had dinner with Lisa last week, which never would have happened when she was sick because she couldn’t actually eat food, and it is still amazing to me to see the transformation in her.  In the past year, she had gone from a hopeful, colorful person, to a deflated version of herself, and back again.

She’s almost as good as new today, and that, my friends, is a miracle.

Lisa’s story gives me hope, perspective, and the courage not to give up.  It’s also an excellent example of why we should always advocate for our own health, even with the doctors and professionals who are supposed to do that for us, and who are only human as well, and therefore may also make mistakes from time to time.

Lisa never gave up, and now she has her life back.  She is back to shopping, and laughing, and spoiling her miracle baby rotten, but one thing hasn’t changed:

She is still keeping hope alive for everyone whose lives she has touched.

If you want to read more about her story in her words, you can visit her new blog here.  I promise you’ve never met a more spirited, determined, and joyful person, and that all comes across through her words.

Miracles don’t just impact the recipients… Sometimes just being in their presence can change the lives of those who experience them, the same way my life has been impacted by Lisa’s miracle.

If you’re struggling – whether it’s fear, depression, infertility, illness – don’t give up.

Don’t ever, ever give up.



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