Tag Archives: infertility
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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 […]

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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…

Mama

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I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living,

My baby you’ll be.

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10.15

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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 […]

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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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Guilty Pleasures

I’m becoming concerned that I may be the only one who does this one thing… or at least, the only one who’s still trying after ALL THIS TIME who still does this thing. It’s sort of embarrassing. It’s just… my thing. It’s maybe a normal thing for any of-age woman dreaming of having a family […]

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Review: Teamotions Brand Loose Teas

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I’ve been meaning to do this for a while – starting a series of reviews of products or services I’ve used for the benefit of others who may be researching whether they will be a good fit in their infertility journey, or in life in general.

Here we go!

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Can we take just a minute to talk about the power of tea?

Yeah.  You heard me.  Tea.

It’s amazing, and I love it.  Black, green, white, red – just steep it and serve it!

There’s something comforting about drinking a hot cup of tea (or a cold glass of iced tea, for that matter!), and there’s something I can’t describe – the comfort of a special morning routine, maybe – about having that moment to yourself to breathe in the steam and aromatics from the beverage you’re brewing just for you.

It’s peaceful, and some days it’s the only peace I can find for myself; having a moment of peace each day can be vital for someone who is struggling with infertility, loss, and the everyday stresses that come along with TTC.

Anyway, not being a coffee drinker, I’ve loved tea for a long time, but last year after my miscarriage, I discovered this company, Teamotions.  They have created specific teas and herbal blends that help assist your body and mind in recovering from different types of stress – grief, loss, tension, exhaustion, etc.

The teas contain adaptogens, which are non-toxic, natural substances that create a nonspecific response in the body.  Basically, they assist your body in doing what it naturally should be doing, and they do it without medication or hormonal treatment.  Adaptogens are our friends!

Besides being an amazing company that participates in many charitable events and whose foundation came from the devastating loss of two dear babies, the teas themselves are well thought out, and most importantly, DELICIOUS.  My favorite is the Achieve Clarity, which is a vanilla Earl Grey (that, sadly, I can’t have right now because it’s caffeinated.  Boo.), and the husband loves the Enjoy Rest, an apple cinnamon chamomile.As far as ease of use, I will say that these are loose teas – not your grocery store tea bags.  If you want to brew a proper cuppa, you’ll need to have a tea strainer or small pot with a straining insert.  You can also buy reusable cloth tea bags in your local home goods store or online, if you want to simplify your life a bit.  As for me, I am a loose tea user from way back, so I have several pots at home.

Here’s my routine:

When I get up in the morning, I fill up my electric kettle and get some water boiling, which only takes a minute or so.  I choose my tea (I have them all.  I’m that obsessed.), and scoop the recommended amount into my tea strainer.  Once the water is hot enough, I’ll pour it over the tea and fill the pot, put the lid on, and let it steep while I get ready for work.

Just before I leave, I pour the hot tea into a big metal travel mug that will keep it hot for the better part of the morning.  Sometimes I add a teensy bit of honey or a splash of almond milk, but the teas themselves are really delicious on their own, too.

That’s it!  Not difficult, and well worth the extra three minutes of effort every morning.  If you’re unsure about brewing your own loose tea, there are directions on every canister and on the Teamotions website.

And if you’re concerned that you may not have the right equipment, everything you need can be purchased on their website, in your local Bed Bath & Beyond, or in a specialty mall store like Teavana (that place is like heaven…).  You don’t need an electric kettle if you have a glass measuring cup and a microwave, and you don’t even need a special tea pot and strainer if you have a fine mesh sieve.  Just place the tea in the bottom of a bowl, pour the hot water over top, let steep for a few minutes, and then strain through the sieve into your mug of choice.

I should mention, and I hesitate to even include this, the only factor that may be a detriment here:  the cost.  These teas are slightly more expensive up front than what you may be used to paying in a grocery store.  For example, a box of twenty Tazo green tea bags goes for around $8 on Amazon.com, which means you’re paying roughly $.40 per cup.  With Teamotions, a canister costs around $15 and brews 32 cups, costing you around $.46 per cup.  You will also probably pay for shipping to get the tea to you, and you may choose to invest in products with which to brew the tea, which would add to the cost overall.

The nice thing about loose tea is that you can usually get two brews out of one teaspoon of loose tea.  I don’t usually have time to do this during the week, but in the evening and on weekends, I frequently brew a pot of tea, drink it all, and then pour another pot of hot water over top of the once-used leaves to brew them again.  It’s a slightly weaker pot versus the first one, but still good nonetheless.  If you do this, you can stretch that canister of loose tea so that it’s a less expensive option in the long run!

Teamotions costs significantly less than loose tea from Teavana, and far less than loose tea from Republic of Tea, even if you factor in the shipping cost.  It may be pricier than your grocery store Lipton bag, but really you’re getting what you pay for here (and for what I’ve gotten from this brand, the price is extremely reasonable).

If you’re looking for something special to add to your daily routine, a way to relax in the evening, or just something yummy to drink that’s not terrible for you, I would highly recommend checking out this brand.  You won’t regret it!

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Advocating For Things About Which I Know (Almost) Nothing…

When it comes to politics, I’m Jon Snow. There are a lot of things I know a little about, and there are a few things I know a lot about. Politics is one of the things I know I should know more about, but I’m afraid to admit that I just don’t. I know nothing. […]

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The Most Worth-It Thing

Most of you have probably heard that late-night TV host and SNL alum Jimmy Fallon and his wife Nancy recently announced the birth of their daughter, Winnie, via surrogate. In fact, a lot of you probably heard it from me.  I’ve kind of been posting it all over Facebook.  I can’t get enough of the […]

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Spleen Qi and Me

In my previous post, I outlined my plan for changing my lifestyle, according mostly to the standards set in Dr. Randine Lewis’ The Infertility Cure.  I’m still researching the many different facets of this new lifestyle, and have realized that I will be constantly tweaking things to make it work for me, but I’m ready […]

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Plan G

Yes, Plan G. Because Plans A through F didn’t quite pan out… I figure that since my last medicated cycle was in May, and since then, I’ve been planning on having a surgery which has now been un-planned, I should probably update you all on what exactly it is that I’m doing with my reproductive […]

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By a Tiny Thread

Sometimes sanity and hope is still hanging on only by a tiny thread. My journey with infertility.

brookemardell

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