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How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

I’ve been working on this post in my head for two weeks now, but time really does get away from you when your whole focus is on a tiny little being that depends on you for her every need.  I seriously don’t even know what day of the week it is sometimes, which is not a complaint, but a commentary on how completely my life revolves around hers…

Clara is six weeks old today.  In some ways, it seems like she’s always been here and there was never really a life before she arrived, which is of course far from the truth.  In other ways though, it feels like just yesterday that they were placing her in my arms for the first time.  I’ll share with you all how exactly that came to be in this post.  Just fair warning, I was in the hospital for a full five days, so this is a looooooooooong post detailing all that occurred.

Oh, and as a reward for sticking it out, there are also lots of pictures.  🙂

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The husband and I checked into the hospital on the evening of Thursday, December 4th to begin the process of inducing labor at 37 weeks pregnant.  Our doctor with University of Michigan’s Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic suggested inducing between 37 and 38 weeks because of some intrauterine growth restriction, and because due to the CMV infection, it was deemed safer to see how baby was doing once she was on the outside than to risk any more time not knowing what she was up against on the inside.

Once we were in our hospital room – a really nice room where we were told we could labor, deliver, and recover all in one space – a nurse came to place my IV and hook me up to the baby monitor.  We were told that it was a very busy night in labor and delivery, and that as soon as a doctor was free, they would come and place the cervical softening agent that would start my induction.

It ended up being around 1am that a doctor was finally free, so once the Cervidil was in place, I was allowed to get some rest.

Rest is a very kind term for what happens when you close your eyes in a hospital, by the way.  There is some sleep that happens out of exhaustion and necessity, but it’s not ever really restful.  There are nurses and doctors and residents who come into your room every hour or so – sometimes more – to check your vitals, get you beverages, monitor the baby’s heart rate and your uterine contractions, and sometimes just to introduce themselves at the beginning of their shifts.  It’s necessary I suppose, but I don’t think I truly rested the entire time I was in that hospital.

The next morning, my MFM doctor came by for a visit.  She checked in to see when the Cervidil had been placed, and then checked to see if I had made any progress in dilating.  I was dilated to 3 by that point, and she was happy with that.  She gave the nurses permission to feed me (before then I was on a liquid diet, slowly starving to death on broth and jello), and said she would check back on me in a few hours.

By the time the Cervidil had been in place for 12 hours, I had not progressed any further than a 3, so once the Cervidil was removed, the doctors started me on the IV Pitocin to get my labor moving.  Some contractions had begun toward the end of my round of Cervidil, but once the Pitocin kicked in, I started feeling them.  As the Pitocin level was turned up hour by hour, the contractions got progressively more noticeable.  Some of them started to become painful by Friday night, but my dilation to 3 still had not progressed.

At this point, the doctors gave me a break from the medicine.  It was probably 3am on Saturday morning when I took a shower and bolted down a cold sandwich, yogurt, and some fruit that the nurses managed to rustle up for me.  I felt much more human by the time I got back into bed, and the doctors restarted my Pitocin drip, hoping that the break from the meds would kick my body into a more active labor.

Spoiler alert:  They didn’t.

I spent all day Saturday with my Pitocin level being cranked up hour by hour, and every cervical check would yield the same results: dilated to 3.  I was tired, hungry, in a tremendous amount of pain, and my nerves were frayed to say the least.

Around 6pm, my MFM doc came back to see me before the end of her shift.  She was happy with the progress I had made, but unhappy that it had sort of plateaued.  In a very calming and reassuring voice, she talked to me about how she thought the next 12 hours would go, all the while gathering up an assortment of instruments from a cupboard behind a curtain.  When she emerged, she told me it was time to have my water broken.

It’s funny how often you hear that someone has their water broken, like it’s no big deal – and really, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t – but when it actually happens to you, it’s a very different set of thoughts that run through your mind.  Panic, to start…

It took literally less than a minute for the doc to break my water, and then she was off to enjoy her night.  She said she’d be back in the morning to see me, and she thought I’d have a baby by then.  Funny, because she probably hadn’t even reached her car in the parking garage by the time my contractions started getting REALLY painful.

I mean, I’d been contracting for a solid day and a half at that point, much of the time in a great deal of discomfort, but a few minutes after my water was broken, SHIT GOT REAL.

Now I’m not totally granola crunchy, and considering the high level of medical intervention I’d already required with this pregnancy, it’s not like I could object to medications,  but I was really hoping to avoid pain meds with labor.

That resolve crumbled within a half hour of my water being broken, and I sent the poor husband scurrying out of the room to get that epidural lady NOW.

Ain’t nobody trying to be a hero.

The epidural turned out to be just what I needed.  I was numb from the waist down by 8pm, and finally fast asleep fifteen minutes later.  I slept soundly for the entire time the husband was watching a football game.  The game ended around midnight, and a few minutes later, a doctor came in to check my cervix.

Oh, side note:  “Check my cervix” is another one of those terms that is taken far too lightly in my opinion.  It’s not like they just look up there with a flashlight… oh no.  You’re basically being fisted by a trained professional, and some of those resident docs have less training than others.  There was one doctor I called Dr. Sausage Fingers that was particularly lacking in experience… She was not my favorite.

Anyway, at around 12:30am on Sunday, December 7th, a doctor checked my cervix which had been at a 3 only four hours previous.  She checked, checked again, pulled the sheet back over my numb bottom half and said, “How about we go have a baby?”

It was go time, apparently.  The combination of my water being broken and the epidural had done the trick, and not only was I fully dilated, but the baby’s head was engaged and ready for me to start pushing.

Things moved quickly after that.  A whole brigade of nurses and doctors came in and started rearranging the room.  The poor husband just stood out of the way and waited for instruction.  Within minutes, a nurse was heaving my dead legs into the stirrups and they were coaching me on how and when to start pushing.

I pushed clumsily through the first contraction.  The baby was moving around too much and the monitors kept losing her heart rate.  The second contraction they lost her completely, and she had moved into a transverse, or sideways position in the birth canal – they want babies to come out face down, apparently.  The nurses moved me onto my side to encourage baby to rotate, and I stayed that way for a couple more contractions.

Once she had rolled to the proper position, I started pushing again.  This time, the doctors were more concerned that not only were they losing baby’s heart rate on the monitor, but also that what they were able to see appeared to be dipping quite low while I pushed.  They placed a monitor on her head to help them keep a better eye on things, but it was apparent rather quickly that her heart rate was dipping dangerously low when I pushed.

The doctors started rushing around the room and talking to me about possible “manual intervention”.  I was covered up and moved down the hall to an operating room in case it was necessary to perform an assisted delivery with suction, forceps, or surgery.  It was a total chaotic whirlwind, and in the midst of it all I remember was yelling at the husband to put on some damn shoes as he stood there in his pajama pants with a mask and gown in his hands, and a look of absolute disbelief on his face.

The operating room was only a few doors down from my room, so I was in there and being moved to a table rather quickly.  There had to be fifteen doctors and nurses present, and it was overwhelming.  Someone put an oxygen mask on me, and the husband was nowhere to be seen.  Eventually he came in, wearing a gown, mask, and hairnet, and stood by me while a doctor asked for my signature on different release forms in the case of surgical intervention.

I was in position to start pushing again a minute later, and after maybe three contractions, a squishy, tiny baby was placed on my chest.  It all happened from the first push to the last in less than an hour.

At 1:15am on Sunday, December 7th – Pearl Harbor Day – Clara Noelle arrived.

There was a whole lot of crying after that.  Her, me, the husband… More the husband and me, really.  Clara was relatively stoic about the whole thing after her initial entrance into this world.

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Of course I was thrilled to finally have my girl in this world, and I was happy to be done with the whole labor thing, but I was terrified of how the CMV infection would impact her.  I knew that there would be some initial examinations right there in the delivery room, and it had been made clear to me a few times that there was a chance Clara would need to go to the NICU.

One of the delivery doctors was talking to me about having to place a stitch because my stubborn little miss turned at the last second and came out face UP, thus tearing a rather sensitive part of my nether region.  (Yikes.)  I only vaguely registered that conversation because I was trying to hear and see what the doctors and  nurses were doing with my baby on the other side of the room.  I had sent the husband to go with her wherever they took her, and he was taking close to a thousand pictures, but no one was relaying anything to me.  Finally, a nurse yelled over that she was measuring five pounds, two ounces, and 17.25 inches long – a petite little lady,  but a very  healthy one!

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I was in so much shock that I barely understood when they told me we were going back to our room – all of us.  From there, we were left alone to spend some precious moments together as a family.

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At one point, the exhaustion overtook me and I slept while the husband spent time with his girl. And apparently took this picture of the three of us – our first family photo, lol.

Things after that started blending together into brief moments of activity.  A nurse came in to help me attempt to breast feed for the first time.  Someone gave me some yogurt to eat, which I promptly threw up.  The husband called his mom, crying his face off, to tell her that her newest granddaughter had arrived.  I couldn’t keep it together, so I texted my parents, my brother, and my best friends.

At 2am.

Considering nearly all 2am texts are typically drunken texts, it was a great pleasure to be able to send that one after so many years.

We slept a bit here and there.  Eventually I was able to eat solid food.  A nurse helped me to the bathroom, and considering I had very little control over my legs and urinary tract, it was a harrowing experience for all involved.

By the time visiting hours rolled around, our families started arriving.  I don’t remember who was there first… I know that my parents and sister had stayed at a hotel in the hospital since the place we delivered was about three hours from their house.  Oh  yeah – U of M has a hotel IN THE HOSPITAL.  What the what?!  It was nice knowing they were close by!  My best friend had stayed close by as well – she lives in my hometown, too – and she was there that morning to see us.  The husband’s parents came up from Toledo to visit and fawn over our girl.  Another of my besties drove FIVE HOURS to see us, too!  Clara has had a fan club since long before she was born (or even conceived!), and it was so nice for her to finally meet some of them!

Despite the happy visits and surreal firsts that happened all day long, there was still a lingering tension over our little family, knowing that we needed to see a few specialists to determine if the infection had injured any part of our girl’s brain or central nervous system.  Urine testing from her first few hours of life indicated that the infection had passed into her system, as we thought it would, but how that would impact her was yet to be determined.

The eye exam was first, and she passed with flying colors.  We will still need to see an ophthalmologist regularly to be sure her vision isn’t deteriorating, as can happen sometimes with CMV, but initial testing on her first day, and a follow-up visit two weeks ago showed no visual involvement from the infection.

One down…

Next was her hearing.  Again, we will need to monitor this regularly as she grows to ensure that she doesn’t lose hearing as can happen with CMV, but her hospital testing was perfect.

Hearing and vision – check.

The last specialist we waited for was from neurology.  Because Clara came on Sunday, there was no one available to perform the necessary cranial ultrasound immediately, so we were told they would come by to see us on Monday morning instead.  The sonographer was not able to give us any results of course, so we would need to wait until the doctor could interpret the findings and come back to speak with us.

When a resident from neurology did come back, we were told that they saw some calcifications in Clara’s brain.  What that would mean for her was yet to be seen, and we weren’t given much information right away.  The resident said that the head of pediatric neurology would come back to speak with us more, so until that point we had to just wait and try to digest the information we were given.

It was late in the day on Monday when the neuro attending and his team came to see us.  The nurses had arranged for our discharge that day – for BOTH of us to be discharged, together! – but because of the lateness of the neuro visit, we opted to stay one more night to avoid driving home in the dark and snow.

The visit from the neuro team was surprisingly relieving.  He told us that the calcifications seen were small, few in number, and in an area where there wasn’t a whole lot of very important things happening.  All in all, a best case scenario for that particular finding.  He said that he’d seen pediatric patients with worse findings than ours who he had finally had to discharge from his care because there was absolutely nothing wrong with them that they needed to see a pediatric neurologist.

It was recommended to us by our pediatric infectious diseases team that we start Clara on an oral antiviral medication that’s been shown to have really wonderful results in congenital CMV babies.  The newest study shows the benefit of a longer treatment with the medication, so we’ll give this antiviral twice a day for six months, with blood work monitoring throughout that time to ensure the medication isn’t affecting her immune system at all.

An amazing relief, and an excellent treatment plan, although we know that only time will tell if our girl has any lasting effects from the infection and the calcifications.  We have been set up with a full roster of follow-up appointments for the next six months, and we know that we are in excellent care with Clara’s team of doctors.

Finally, on Tuesday, December 9th, the three of us went home as a family.

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Since we’ve been home, it’s been a whirlwind, as they tell you it will be.  Having a baby during the holidays is especially crazy, but we’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  So far, Clara has had her first Christmas, was there to celebrate our sixth anniversary with us, rang in the new year, celebrated her one-month birthday, and enjoyed her first MSU basketball game (on TV of course) with her dad.

They won, in case you wondered.

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Most of our time has been more low-key, though.  A whole lot of this.

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All in all, things have been amazing.  We have no way to know what the future holds for us or for Clara, but we’re optimistic that our girl will have a full, happy, and healthy life.

A few things are certain, however…

We are so incredibly blessed, and so incredibly in love.

I mean, how could you NOT be?  🙂

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A Day That Will Live In Infamy.

This blog, and all of you reading it, mean the world to me.

Not a whole heckofalot can keep me from this space, so you have to know I’ve had a very good reason for being absent these past two-ish weeks…

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This is why.

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Meet our miracle, Clara Noelle.

Our little Pearl Harbor Day baby, born at 1:15am on December 7th.

5lbs 2oz, 17.25 inches

Healthy.

Happy.

Heartbreakingly beautiful.

And most importanly, HOME.

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This is why, guys.

Never, ever, ever give up.

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“Sooo… How did this happen?”

Since dropping my little 14 week bombshell, I’ve had numerous comments and questions, both here at the blog and in real life, to the effect of:

“How did this happen?”

“What finally worked for you?”

“All this time and it was getting drunk that did the trick, huh?”

“Did you conceive naturally or have some kind of treatment?”

“I told you to just stop trying!  See??”

…And so on.  🙂

I figure I should probably let you in on the not-really-so-secret series of events that led to this amazing, if unexpected development.  Here we go…

1.  Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  And not just dabbling with it – full-on hardcore living the lifestyle that meshed best with my Chinese diagnosis, which included reading books, giving up cold drinks and food for months, spending three hours driving round trip weekly to appointments, spending money on said appointments, supplements and herbs, lying on a table with tiny needles sticking out of me at regular intervals, and learning to have the kind of patience that only five years of infertility can really teach a person.

I’m serious about the patience thing.  I gave my life, diet, medicine cabinet, and pocketbook to this process over the course of eight full months of treatment before I learned that I was pregnant.  That’s eight solid months of prepping my body to do something in a healthy way it had never been able to previously; eight months of retraining my hormonal system to operate correctly and release healthy eggs; eight months of helping blood flow where it should, increasing my intake of whole foods, and improving and repairing my body with the right kinds of supplements.

It sounds like a lot,  but spread over the course of time, it was relatively simple to integrate the changes into my everyday life.  The part that wasn’t simple was the part where I had to learn to let go completely, learn to trust a soft science verging on straight voodoo, and learn to let the positive changes come to me over time rather than as instantaneously as taking five days’ worth of Clomid.

So that was the biggest part of what worked.  The conundrum is that the researcher in me may never be satisfied with why it worked, because there are just so many unknowns about TCM.  I’m working on just accepting that things just are, rather than asking how they got there.  It’s a process,  but I’ve got a pretty good distraction to keep me occupied while I figure things out.  😉

2.  Time.  I know, I know… We all hate to hear “good things happen to those who wait!” and “it will happen if you just give it time!”… I hate it too.  Even now.  But I’m telling you that for me, the journey to this point had to happen the way it did for me to arrive at the solution.

Five years ago, you would not have been able to tell me that if I invested in some kooky Chinese voodoo that I’d likely conceive in eight months’ time.  I would have laughed you right out the door and promptly marched over to my RE’s office for pills and shots that would obviously work faster.  It’s funny, but I look back at how much younger I was then.   Not just in years, but in life experience.  I’ve learned more than I can even comprehend, about medicine – traditional and alternative, my body, and myself.

Time gave me a new outlook on life, and taught me about loss, letting go, and still having a full life.  I think coming to that conclusion was so freeing… McStabby might say that reaching this conclusion unblocked some meridians or some crap, and maybe he’s right.  Either way, getting to that point made a big difference for me, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

3.  Heredity?  My maternal grandmother passed away when I was 15, long before I was even thinking about having babies, or about my reproductive system in general.  I can’t ask her the questions I want to ask, but if I could, I would ask if she knows why at her young age, and in the generation of Baby Boomers, it took her and my grandpa five years to have their first baby – my aunt.  I’d also ask if she knows why it took another seven years after that to conceive my mom.

No one seems to know, and maybe she didn’t either.  Maybe she struggled like I did, and maybe her five year journey will mirror mine.  There’s no way to know, and that’s frustrating, but it’s a bit heartening to know that despite obvious setbacks – whatever they were – she had two beautiful girls who grew up to have families of their own.  A happy ending to a mysterious tale…

4.  Straight-up Voodoo.  Surprised by this one?  Don’t be.  Something in the universe – besides my fallopian tubes – aligned perfectly in order for this miracle to have happened the way it did, when it did.

There are several factors that I think played into the voodoo aspect of this nearly immaculate conception.  One was the fact that just a few months back, I was speaking with the RESOLVE representative about starting a support group.  One of the questions she asked was how I planned to handle the situation that would arise should a group member get pregnant, and then further, what if I, as the support group host, were to get pregnant.  I laughed at that, but she said “You know, you’d be surprised.  It happens much more than you’d think!  There’s just something about taking this step that seems to launch many women into their path for resolution, even if completely unexpectedly…”  Hmmmm.

So aside from the RESOLVE voodoo, there’s also the fact that a coworker came to me around that same time and asked me to join his soccer team, to which I also laughed.  I mean, have you met me?  I’m not exactly athletic.  Or coordinated.  Or anything even remotely close to what should appear on or near a soccer field.  I also don’t know how to sports, so there’s that.  Anyhoo, he said that all of the girls he’d had join his team typically dropped off within a month or two because they kept getting pregnant.  He felt like maybe if I joined as an “honorary member”, that this would dramatically increase my odds.  I thought it was silly, but I agreed to an honorary membership where I didn’t have to attend or participate at all, and could still say that I was part of this cursed/blessed team composed of men and very fertile women.  I’ve also had to drop off the team since joining.  Another hmmmm.

There were several other hmmm-inducing factors that may or may not have played into this blessed event, including the fact that I’ve loved Christmas and the whole holiday season my whole life, and that I’ve always dreamed of a Christmas baby.  Too many weird little bits all falling together at one time to make me think that this baby is anything but perfectly timed for me, for us, and for this weird little life we’re stumbling through.

So now that you have a little insight into what probably and maybe led to a healthy, happy pregnancy after more than five years of heartache, I’d like to share a short list of things that I know for a fact didn’t work:

1.  Going on vacation.  Yes, I had been out of town for a night just before this happened, but no, that’s not what actually did the trick here.  Don’t be silly.

2.  Getting drunk.  Again, soaking one’s membranes in cheap vodka will not increase one’s fertility.  That’s just stupid.  I did it anyway, but still… stupid.

3.  RelaxingHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Shut up.  Never.  Relaxation doesn’t make your ovaries function any more than taking a nap cures cancer.

4.  The “just stop trying…” tactic.  Come on.  Be serious here.  I may have taken a bit more of a passive approach to things over the course of the last few months, but that was largely because Chinese medicine somewhat forces you into a state of patience.  Changes don’t come overnight, and neither do solutions.  Once I embraced that fact, I was able to calm myself enough to see the positives that were coming to me over time.

That being said, I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.  Even in those last few months where the husband and I had been talking about how fulfilling a life could be without having children, I still knew when I was ovulating.  Even after I had laid down the thermometer and stopped letting temping and charting rule my mornings, I was always very aware of when I was fertile.

The month we conceived, the “encounter” was timed, at least on my part and at least mostly consciously.  I actually felt more pressure that month than I had in quite a few, as I held April’s fertile days as my last-ditch effort.  I had made the decision that it would be my last month of really trying, and that the next month the husband and I would just… be.  I don’t know if I would have been able to just stop cold turkey like that, but as it happened, it didn’t matter… surprising though it was at the time.

I didn’t stop trying.

I couldn’t.

And for all of those efforts – for all of the reasons, both logical and completely illogical above – what do I have?

My little Hail-Mary Jelly Bean, due on Christmas Day.

As much as the journey sucked , there’s absolutely no way I could ever argue with that timing.  It’s completely perfect, and completely worth every minute of struggle it took to get here.

*****

So while I’d love to tell you that this miracle child is being brought to you by booze and irony, do you want to know my answer to the question, “How did this happen?”

 

I never, ever, EVER stopped trying.

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Absence

Laura Bush Quote

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Join the Movement to Show Your Support

A little Throwback Thursday goodness from last year’s National Infertility Awareness Week.
Here are some options to keep in mind while you’re helping to educate, advocate, and “Resolve to know more” this year!

Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen...

Sometimes being supportive isn’t so much what you say to someone who’s struggling, but what you do.

A hug can say more in its simplicity than a whole monologue on how “what’s meant to be will be” and “you’ll be a mother someday, I just know it”.

There are so many ways we can support our fellow Infertiles this National Infertility Awareness Week, and many of them don’t require a word out of our mouths.

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For the intrepid few, sometimes a tattoo shows their struggle and their support.  These are mine.

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You can update the profile photo on your social media accounts with this Twibbon, showing your support.

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You can update your Facebook cover photo with one of these fabulous creations from The Infertility Voice.

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You can help to educate others and encourage sensitivity by posting links on social media to…

View original post 191 more words

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April Is a Promise.

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep.”

I’ve always loved springtime.

There’s just something about the smell of the earth and rain and new green things poking through the decay of fall; something about the symbolism of a colorful rebirth after a long, cold season of gray hibernation.  Thunder and lightning burst open the skies and settle the earth, and warm rains wash the whole scene anew.  The runoff from April showers wind their way in pretty little ribbons and streams down the streets and sidewalks.  Birds and rabbits lend their songs and scampers to a blossoming seasonal backdrop in a state of perpetual forward motion.

There’s something about the spring that just makes me feel at peace in the midst of a great turbulence.

Spring gives me roots, just as it gives me wings.

It grounds me, and gives me hope.

Emerging from the cold darkness makes me appreciate the warm sunshine, and the happiness I feel this season helps me better understand the despair I’ve felt in seasons past.

Gratitude for a warm day or a stubborn crocus poking through the last of the snow does not come from a general appreciation of these beautiful things, however.

Gratitude comes from want, from need, from being without.

I’ve been without.  I’ve struggled.  I’ve wanted and needed and cried and pleaded for things outside of my control.  I’ve been denied, I’ve been angry, and I’ve been on the verge of quitting so many times.

Once I was even given the gift of a wish granted, though it was a short-lived dream from which I was forced to awaken.

Mine was a dream that was meant to be fulfilled in April.

This month is not an easy one for me for so many reasons.  While it may be a month of celebrating life, rebirth, and growth, for me it also symbolizes grief, death, and loss.  The loss of a dream, of innocence, of hope, will stay with one for all of time.  I certainly have not fully recovered, though time has passed by, and life has gone on.

Even being an eternal optimist does not shield a person from a lingering sadness and a strong association with a date, a month, or a time of year.  Storm clouds may bring showers that help the whole world grow, but sometimes it can be so hard to see the silver lining for the rain driving into your eyes.

Spring is that time for me.  Hope and despair marry, and one becomes the other; a tornado of contradictory feelings from which there is no shelter.

April always leaves me confused – sad and happy, hopeful and grieving, warm and cold – but one undeniable fact about this time of year is that it never fails to remind us of what could be, what may be, and what will be.

The rain and the sunshine gently clash, and though one could easily destroy the other, they sometimes strike a compromise and find balance.  Out of that balance comes a rare beauty, a symbol of strength that’s meant to be appreciated, a promise that’s meant to be kept.

I may spend this month feeling like I’m being followed by a volatile spring storm cloud, but I know that hope is still alive, and that the sun will still shine.  As time passes, and we hurtle on toward warmth and growth, the world will explode into a riot of color, I will find gratitude again, and I will know that peace may find me yet.

And if I’m lucky, maybe my dream is still out there in the breeze…

If there’s a chance that April’s promise can still be kept, I will turn my face to the wind, embrace every blustery day, and remain open to whatever the chaotic, ever-changing seasons of life blow my way.

And for all the wild and unpredictable weather of life, one thing is for certain:

I will flourish.

I will bloom.

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Toledo Area Infertility Support Group

This is a project that’s been a long time coming, both for me, and for this area.  Please feel free to share this post, this image, and the Resolve Toledo email address, toledoresolve@gmail.com.

Thank you!

RESOLVE Flier - 2.18.14

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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,

Tracy

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Guess what today is?

Don’t say Hump Day… Don’t even say it…

 

SWEET BABY JESUS, TODAY IS THE DAY!

 

Okay… okay.  Bring it down a notch.

Let me tell you about the last 48 hours first…

So yesterday, Tuesday, the husband and I crawled out of bed at 2:30am and got our sleepy behinds out of the house in Toledo somehow managed to arrive at the airport in Detroit on time for our first flight.

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Good morning from 25,000 feet over… Kentucky maybe?

We flew from The D to Music City USA, Nashville, TN, first, and were able to have enough time there to utilize the facilities and score a couple of cookies from an airport cookie stand.  Our connection there left about 40 minutes after the first one landed, so we had just enough time before we were off on the second leg of our journey.

From there, we were off to New York.  The flight was uneventful, though I managed to get a window seat, but all I saw was clouds for most of the trip.  I also had to ask the flight attendant for hot water so I could mix up my herbs.  Pretty sure I looked suspicious with my little canisters of powder in my purse, but no one said anything to me…

Now I haven’t been to the city since high school, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because I know so much has changed over the years.  The airport itself was packed with people, as one might expect in a city as populous as NYC.  We managed to find a taxi and started off toward our hotel.

We had some time to kill when we arrived, though, having sort of forgotten that even early check-ins don’t typically allow you into your room as early as 11:30am.  We left our luggage with the front desk, and headed out to explore the city.

Since our hotel is in the Chinatown/Little Italy/Soho area, we were not disappointed in the people-watching.  After walking for a bit, we got some coffee (tea for me, thanks) and sat in a little park to decide where we wanted to go next.

A sculpture in the park.  I don't know what it is, but it looks like taffy... I'm willing to bet it probably tastes like Hep C, though.

A sculpture in the park. I don’t know what it is, but it looks like taffy… I’m willing to bet it probably tastes like Hep C, though.

Ultimately, we decided that since we could see the new World Trade Center building above the rest of the skyline, that we’d walk over and check it out a little closer.  The memorial site is still being worked on heavily, so we weren’t able to get in, but the building itself was beautiful, and I can see why people say that it’s like a symbol of hope standing guard over the city.

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We walked down to Battery Park and just enjoyed the sights from there.  We took some photos by the water and did touristy things where there weren’t a lot of people around to judge us for being touristy.  Ha.

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Aw, New Jersey… Looking good from here!

The fall colors are beautiful in the city this time of year – I’m so glad we didn’t miss the window before everything turns brown and dies!

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This isn’t the best picture, but the husband really wanted a shot of the spire of the Empire State Building over those pretty trees there.

We walked and walked and walked some more, before we had finally killed enough time for our hotel room to be ready.  As we walked back to Soho, we decided that we were le tired, having been in three different states, two airplanes and a taxi, and having walked a good 10 miles since 3am.  As we got back to the hotel and got our things unpacked in our teeny-tiny (but nice!) hotel room, we made the mistake of sitting down on the comfy bed.

In our defense, there was no where else to sit, let alone stand, at the time with our stuff all over, but we ended up just vegging out in bed, watching Moonshiners, in the most exciting city in the nation.  And then we napped.

This city may never sleep, but we Midwesterners sure do.

Ultimately, we got up and got moving around dinner time, and ended up at a cute little place in Little Italy.  We had rice balls stuffed with sausage and peas, a giant pasta dish to share, and the husband ordered me my favorite dessert, crème brûlée.  It was a great meal and experience, and as we were preparing to leave, we learned that the table next to us had flown in from the Detroit area, too.  We chatted for a few minutes, wished them safe travels back to the homeland, and then went on our way.

It really is a small world, even in a HUGE city.

After traveling, lugging luggage, walking all over, generally stressing out about everything, and a full meal of carbs and sugary dessert, we were wiped out.  Back to the bed we went, and I fell asleep with my laptop in my hands, intending to write this post twelve hours ago.

But, alas, here we are now, and thankfully so, as I doubt I’d have been able to string two words together last night.

Which brings me to The Other Thing.

I haven’t yet written what I want to say on stage tonight.

I KNOW.  I’ve had ALL THE TIME.

I mean, I know what I want to say, but not how I want to say it…

I guess I’ve just been occupied with my dress and shoes and travel arrangements, but as I write this now, cozy in my bed in my tiny hotel room in the biggest city in the US, reality is hitting me.

HARD.

The hours of this day are going to fly by as we have so much to do.  This event starts at 6pm, but I need to be there by 4:30.

Somehow I need to get breakfast, lunch, herbs and vitamins, showering, primping, and acceptance speech writing all into that short period of time.

I can do it, I know, but it’s still just as intimidating as when I thought about writing it two months ago…

With that, I better go and attend to my many responsibilities.  As well as wake up the husband, who is somehow still asleep while I click-click-tap next to him.

Speaking of him, here’s a cute picture I took of the man in question yesterday.  What a sweetie.  🙂

He said it would be chilly in New York, so he wore a coat and grew a beard.

He said it would be chilly in New York, so he wore a coat and grew a beard.

I better get going, but I wanted to keep you all updated as much as possible because, after all, you are the reason I’m even HERE right now.

So for that, and for so many other things over the past four years:

Thank you.

Thank YOU.

THANK YOU.

Now wish me luck so I don’t fall down onstage or say vagina in my acceptance speech.  🙂

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Acu-Believe It!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013.  CD17, 1DPO.

Have you guys seen the movie Pitch Perfect?

Because if you haven’t, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore…

 

Anyway, this post is brought to you by my love for this movie.

And acupuncture, herbs, and all things TCM.

So really, a very strange combination of things…

Aaaaaaaaanyway…

Here’s the haps, gurlfrands.

Progress is being made in a big way over here, and I am about to get all OMG YOU GUYS HAVE TO TRY THIS on you for a minute.

So the first cycle I met with Dr. McStabby, I was about halfway-ish through the month, so his treatments couldn’t have had much of an effect on my cycle length at that time.  That was my August cycle, and I ovulated on cycle day 21 that month.  Auntie Dearest showed up ten days later.

September, the first full month of treatment, I ovulated on cycle day 19, and had an eleven day luteal phase.  Still not the greatest, but you know… progress.

And here we are in October, the second full month of my TCM treatment, and I just ovulated.

On cycle day 16, you guys.

SIXTEEN.

That’s amazing, right?!  I mean, in two months’ time, acupuncture and herbs, along with some dietary and lifestyle changes, have effectively moved my ovulation date up almost a WEEK!!!

Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked, both that this treatment path that I regularly refer to as “Chinese voodoo” is a legitimate, medically effective way to impact infertility, and that my body is responding – and responding well!

Now, I have to point out that many women need to follow the dietary and lifestyle guidelines, take their herbs consistently, and see their acupuncturist at least once a week for a good three or four months to see noticeable changes like this, so if you’re considering trying out the TCM lifestyle, plan on committing to at least six months of treatment.

Some women notice changes right away – there are several women in my FertilityFriend acupuncture group who became pregnant within a month or two of starting treatments!  That’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the norm by any means.  The average woman in that group who has gotten pregnant using only acupuncture and herbs, has done so in the third or fourth month of treatment, sometimes later, but noticed some differences, even small ones, sooner.

The fact that I’m in line with the rest of the class as far as noticing these differences makes me feel pretty spectacular.

Oh, and you know what else makes me feel spectacular?

NOT BEING LOADED UP ON HORMONES.

NOT EATING ALL. THE. THINGS.

NOT BEING HATEFUL AND RESENTFUL OF PREGNANT WOMEN.

FEELING SPECTACULAR MAKES ME FEEL SPECTACULAR!

Sorry for the OMGALLCAPS type-yelling.  I’m just excited.  You can’t be mad about that, right?

Right.

And if you are…

So really the reason for this post was to let you all know that if you’ve been banging your head against a wall with infertility treatments for a year, two years – God, four and a half years – maybe it’s time to give this a chance.

If you’re like me, and you have the horrifying plague known as Unexplained Infertility, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are very real, very effective treatment options.

Infertility isn’t always the end of the world…

…And Western medical treatment options aren’t the be-all end-all, either.

Look around, call around, and see what else is out there, especially if you feel like you’re not making any progress with meds and ART.

This could be the “silly little thing”, the “Chinese voodoo” that works for you!  You could be the girl in that story about “The Girl Who Tried Everything, and Then She Turned To Black Magic…”  

YOU COULD BE THAT GIRL.

Yes, ma’am.

Give it a shot (pun. intended.)… You could be a TCM success story!

And as always, thanks for reading!

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