Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

It's officially that time again, we're saying goodbye to another year! Typically the common consensus is that everyone is thankful for the year to be over and hopeful for the new one to start. For me 2012 was filled with memories I will happily look back on and smile. Here are some of my highlights from 2012:
It was the year of weddings! I proudly watched so many of my friends say "I Do" to the loves of their lives. Eric and I each had the pleasure to stand in one and support our friends along their journey to the altar. I also had the honor to design for multiple weddings which kept me very busy!
It was also the year of babies! I welcomed two new nieces, one nephew and many new little ones to my friends. So many visits, so little time! For the little ones I have yet to meet, don't worry, we'll visit soon! Eric and I are hopeful that our little one will be on its way in 2013, I know he or she will be worth the wait.
Silver Pumpkin Designs was officially established and we're hoping for a prosperous year! I'm very grateful for the amazing support system we have while starting this new adventure!
Those are just some of the major highlights from 2012, Eric and I made sure to create some memories as well. Tried new things, went on new adventures and made sure to enjoy our time together as a married couple. We're not sure what 2013 has in store for us, but we're hoping it's going to be a ride we'll never forget. I'm not really going into the New Year with any resolutions, only the idea that Eric and I are going to live it for all it's worth! You never know when life will throw you curve balls and we want to be prepared. Whether that be the beginning of our family we've been praying for, a new job for Eric, a very busy year of design for me or more construction on the house... whatever the New Year has in store for us, we'll be ready! We're so blessed to end 2012 and begin 2013 with the most amazing family and friends. Here's to 2013, cheers to a great year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today and Everyday

In my last post I said I was going to try to find the true meaning of Christmas. I was going to enjoy the season and try to do something festive everyday to keep my spirits up. Up until last Friday I can honestly say I was living up Christmas for everything it was worth.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementry School literally tore my heart apart and like many dampened my holiday spirit. While Eric and I are not parents, I can't fathom the idea of finally having a child of our own after so many years of trying and someone literally taking that precious gift away from me. My heart breaks for all the parents who are burying their child this Christmas instead of watching them open up their Christmas gifts.
I found my faith being shaken again, as it has in the past with other life events. As many I needed answers as to why killings like this keep happening, why innocent children this time? In the evenings I would tune into the news, which is something I hate doing because it's never good. I found myself reading more news articles than my Christmas books on my Kindle. Praying that something good would come out of all of this, even if it was as small as others being more kind to one another.
As the week continued I searched for good in the world. If you know me well, you know I hate Christmas shopping. My holiday shopping consists of me ordering presents online and having them delivered. I hate the crowds, the traffic and the overall rudeness of people in a hurry. You would think given it's the holiday season and we're all out for the same reason, people would be kind to one another and spread cheer, I think this only happens in the movies, silly me. Little did I know, God had a plan for me, a lesson to be learned. This week I had to go to the stores to finish up some shopping that couldn't be done online. While shopping I kept running into rude people at the stores, I was going out of my mind!! My Facebook post from Wednesday, and I quote: "Going to the stores this time of year drives me to drink!!! Free shipping is my BFF!!" I think I feel the most sorry for people who work in the stores, because I'm telling you, I literally just stared at people, thinking, was there a reason you had to be so rude!? I would give some examples of everything I experience, but I want this to end in a good way, so let's keep moving forward shall we?
Message # 1: Every year I get my brother-in-law a bottle of his favorite wine (his Birthday is New Years Day) and a box of ribbon candy, a guilty pleasure he enjoys once a year. For the past couple of years I've had to search high and low for this candy. For whatever reason I haven't been able to find it at Walmart. This year was no exception, every store I went to, no ribbon candy. My last stop was Target last Tuesday. I searched all the candy aisles, no ribbon candy. Feeling defeated as I stood in line with my one item to purchase something made me look behind me and there was my friend Renea and her daughter Bella. Literally doing a dance of joy, I ran to her and gave her a big hug. We talked for a while and then headed out to our cars. I told her I was in search of ribbon candy, and explained our tradition. Later that evening she called me to let me know she had found my ribbon candy! She went to Michael's after leaving Target and she said they had a whole bunch of it. I was thrilled, the next day I went out and bough Adam two boxes on the off chance I wouldn't find it next year. Granted it sounds silly, it's just ribbon candy after all but as I explained tradition is very important to me, especially during the holidays. I don't like letting people down. Seeing Renea when I was just about to give up reminded me that even though you might get frustrated during the search and the answer might not come as quickly as you want it too, it will come and you can't lose hope.
Message # 2: On my way home yesterday I was talking to my Mom as I typically do. She asked me to stop at my Walgreens because she was in search of a specific item. Not really wanting to stop because I was finally done with my store shopping and I was excited to go straight home, I told her I would. While a friendly store associate was asking his manager about this out of stock item I watched a woman walk up to the register with a cart of items. She rudely asked if I was in line and I said, sorry, no and moved out of her way. She proceeded to ask the next person and finally made her way to the register. All I kept thinking was I need to get the hell out of this store before I lose it! I again couldn't understand why someone had to be so rude. After leaving Walgreens I told myself to stop and get gas so I didn't have to do it in the morning. I also had to cash in my winning lottery ticket (don't get excited, it was only $2.00!) and I thought I would purchase a few more for Eric. I pumped my gas, battling the harsh wind and snow and made my way inside. I made my purchases, ventured back to my car and started to pull away when I noticed a woman running to my car. Thinking this woman was a little nuts, I rolled down my window anyway. (Now thinking about it, this is how people get robbed this day in age, just saying.) I saw her arm raise up and in her hand was my debit card, it must of fallen out of my pocket. I looked at her and said "Oh my gosh, thank you so much!" She smiled and handed it back to me. All I kept thinking was wow, it's storming out and she noticed I dropped it and literally ran to my car to return this to me. All I wanted to do was get home to get out of this weather. This reminded me that there is still kindness in the world and there are those out there that are still willing to go out of their way for a perfect stranger.
Granted what I take as my "messages" are small compared to some life changing miracle, something that confirms your faith to the core... but they're important to me and helped me this week. As my Dad says, when you ask God for help, he isn't going to immediately give you the answer, he's going to show you the way to get your answer. We may not get an "answer" as to why the shooting occurred and why so many children lost their lives too early. One thing is for sure though, in times of darkness this country does come together in love, prayer, kindness and hope. During the last few days of this holiday season, and everyday heading into the new year, hug your family extra tighter, let your friends know how much they mean to you, don't ever lose hope that someone is looking out for you and remember the greatest gift you can give is love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Blanket Making Adventure

I've recently started a new hobby of sewing baby blankets. With everyone around me having babies and having found a very simple tutorial online, I was excited to start a new challenge. Not having enough time usually plays a big factor in me starting new projects. Usually I'm always busy doing something for someone else which leaves no time for things I want to do. This truth left me even more bound and determined to follow through on this project!
Now I've been to the fabric store many times with my sister so I had an understanding on how to purchase fabric. I'm not completely oblivious, however I did not realize how expensive sewing projects can be! After my initial fabric shopping I've become a little more savvy in taking advantage of sales and using coupons wisely! I completed my first three blankets in about a week. I lovingly gave them out for shower gifts and they were well received. I get so excited when I get to see them in use, my newest niece Natalie used hers at the hospital right after she was born.
Since my first three blankets were such a success I decided to make blankets for the rest of the kids in our family. I made three fleece tie blankets with the much needed help of Eric and I'm going to sew four more baby blankets! Two for Christmas gifts and two for shower gifts.
While posting my successes on Facebook my Cousin and my Aunt have both referenced my Grandma Van Wie and reminded me how special this new hobby of mine really is. It's almost like I was destined to do this. Growing up my Grandma was always making blankets or pillows, I never questioned why, I just figured she loved to sew. Every Saturday my Dad would pick up his Mom to spend the day with her. On occasion she would bring a blanket over that she was currently working on. I remember Jimmy and I sitting on top of our dining room table with her blanket under us spread out over the table. We would help her tie all the yarn threads that held her fabric and batting together. She also taught us embroidering, she would sketch out pictures on fabric and we would use a hoop and trace out the picture with a needle and thread. Now thinking about it, I owe a lot of my creativity to her.
My Grandma always gave away her pillows and blankets as gifts. Our hall closet was always overflowing with her labor of love. We always had enough resources for the tents we would create in our bedroom, enough warmth for guests staying the night or essentials when camping. Now that I have my own home I know how nice it is to have extra blankets. The past couple Christmas's Eric's Grandma asked what we wanted and I answered, we want another blanket. While I don't have any from my Grandma, I have two from Eric's that we use on a daily basis. A blanket isn't just material, it's a gift of warmth, comfort, something that ties you to that person and makes you think of them every time you use it. Now I understand why my Grandma created and gave these pieces away and thanks to my Cousin and Aunt, I'm going to think of her every time I create a new blanket.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's All About Tradition

It's that time again, the holidays are upon us! They sneak up so fast and before you know it they're gone again! This year I've decided to slow things down with the hopes the season won't flash before my eyes. I want to take in the true meaning of Christmas and allow time to reflect and appreciate what's truly important during this time of year.
My coworker and I had a conversation earlier in the week and we agreed that Christmas just isn't the same when you're an adult. When you were a kid everything was magical, possible and you had an unlimited amount of hope. If you were anything like my brother and I, we took Christmas traditions very seriously. While Mom decorated literally every inch of the house in Christmas decor, Jimmy and I would lock ourselves in our rooms and decorate. No one was allowed in until our masterpieces were complete! We would go to bed with our rooms lit up and Mom would unplug them while we were sleeping. Jimmy and I also had a big collection of Christmas coloring books that would sit in our bookcase until the proper time of the year. We would spend evenings coloring and Mom would always bring us a new one from work to add to our collection. We loved spending countless hours outside romping in the snow with my best friend Kristin and her sister Kimberly. Eating icicles off the roof, making snow forts, sledding or just sitting in the snow and taking in the winter night. If you can honestly tell me you never laid under your Christmas tree while it was lit and took in all the lights, you need to do this when you get home. Christmas Eve was always a difficult night to sleep, knowing "Santa" was going to bring us new toys. As we got older Mom would always tell us that this Christmas wasn't going to be like last and it was going to be "smaller" to this day we still don't think she knows the meaning of the word. I would often watch Mom make her fudge that she would place in tins or on platters with other assorted goodies and Jimmy and I would have to deliver them to the neighbors. Christmas morning it's tradition that Mom makes her Raisin Bran muffins for breakfast, it's something us kids look forward to every year. When she was done making ours she would continue baking so Jimmy and I could deliver a few more dozen to the neighbors. Always on a special Christmas platter with a few sticks of butter. They were always fresh out of the oven, piping hot upon delivery!
Unfortunately Christmas time isn't quite as magical as it was when I was a kid. Instead of spending a sleepless Christmas Eve in excitement for Santa to visit, you're now Santa. Your sleepless night is now because you're going over everything in your head to make sure you didn't miss a gift. I have come to the realization however that all those years of being a kid during the holidays has prepped me for the kind of adult I want to be. I've been given the greatest responsibility in making sure all the kids in my life enjoy Christmas as much as I did. Even though Eric and I don't have kids of our own to make special traditions with, we have many nieces and nephews to practice on! Eric and I love buying presents for all the kids and watching them get excited, it's even more fun when the parents get excited too! Eric may not understand why I get so excited to watch the old Peanuts cartoons, Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman on TV, but Jimmy does and we still send each other a text to make sure we watch it. Hopefully when Eric sees how excited our someday kids get when they come on TV, he'll understand.
Last month I took the challenge of announcing something I was thankful for, for 22 days. This month I've promised myself that I'm going to slow things down and try to find the real meaning of Christmas if you will. I'm almost finished with my first Christmas book, our house is decorated and my shopping for all the little ones in our lives is almost done! I listen to Christmas music on my way to and from work and enjoy a warm beverage to keep me cozy when I can. No matter how hard I try I can't fight back the tears when I hear "I'll Be Home For Christmas" on the radio, even though I know my sister will be in town before I know it!  I've told myself that I'm going to try to do something "festive" every week to keep my spirits up! I'm going to enjoy my family all month long and let them know how much they mean to me. When you get down to it, Christmas isn't about gifts, it's about tradition, memories and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when your family is surrounding you. I hope everyone enjoys Christmas this year, no matter how you prefer to celebrate it! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

22 Days of Thanks

I was on Facebook one morning and a friend posted Day 1: and proceeded to say what she was thankful for. While I didn't get the private message as to what the new posting trend was, I got the message loud and clear. The past couple of years have been hard for Eric and I emotionally and with that struggle it's easy to lose sight of the many blessings in our lives. So I knew I had to participate in this daily posting to remind myself of the many things I'm thankful for. If you happen to miss my daily posts, they're all below, enjoy!

Day 1: I'm thankful for my growing family! I'm so blessed to have such amazing nieces and nephews, being an Aunt is the best job in the world!
Day 2: I'm thankful for a hot cup of coffee every morning. Odd I know, but not everyone has the luxury.
Day 3: I'm thankful for my time with my husband. After a long week, I enjoy our weekends together. ♥
Day 4: I'm thankful for my amazing group of friends, don't know what I would do without them!
Day 5: I'm thankful I had such a relaxing day yesterday, great company, amazing food and the rest I needed to feel energized today. Thanks again Dave Faron and Kristin, we'll definitely come over again!   
Day 6: I'm thankful for two things today! 1 that my husband is patient with me at the gym and makes me kick my own butt and 2 that I can rock my right to vote today!
Day 7: I'm thankful for date nights with my Dad, looking forward to this evening! ♥
Day 8: I'm thankful there are people in the world that will go out of their way to help another in need. It's amazing what can happen when everyone comes together as one.
Day 9: I'm thankful for weekends, nothing better than some much needed rest and time with family and friends!
Day 10: I'm thankful I get to work on house projects with my Dad.
Day 11: "Salute the ones who've died, the ones that gave their lives, so we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love..." I'm so very thankful for all the men and women who served or continue to serve our country. Also for the families who give a big sacrifice as well. ♥ Happy Veterans Day!
Day 12: At the moment I'm thankful for ice... I just banged my eye on our glass table and I'm really hoping I didn't give myself a black eye. On a more significant level I'm thankful for pictures... when I can't see family and friends all the time I enjoy the pictures that are posted. It makes me feel like I'm not missing that much even though I really am.
Day 13: I'm thankful for my awesome Mother-in-law Tammy Kenney! We always have a great time when we get together and I can talk to her for hours. She always encourages Eric and I to do things that make us happy and always wants the best for her kids. Today is her Birthday and I hope she has a great day! ♥
Day 14: I'm thankful for the unexpected moments when Eric tells me he loves me. He always knows when I need to hear it the most.
Day 15: I'm thankful that I got to spend the evening with my SIL Kim! We always have a great time and we definitely don't get together enough. ♥ Love you Kim!!!! 
Day 16: I'm thankful for cozy nights at home with my hubby! Especially after a very long week! ♥

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Perfect Poem

A poem I found this morning that really sums things up~

Don't let them get too close -
Too close to see my pain.
Because if they look real close,
They will see the tears that fall like rain.
The room is picked,
And baby's things collected.
But, inside that empty room,
Something needs corrected.
Because there's a crib and a cradle -
There are baby toys and clothes too.
But, there is not a baby -
No baby to fill this womb.
I cannot stop the crying,
And my pain won't subside.
I'm lost for ways of trying;
I've run out of places to hide.
The holidays they come and go -
All the years that I look back.
And now I find the future's grim
When I look at what I lack.
I try to hang onto hope -
I try to wait and see.
But sometimes it's hard to cope
When I think it may never be.
I'm not the only one that finds it hard -
Sometimes I wish I were.
But, it's the hurt I see in his eyes
That digs in like a spur.
So tell me where to go from here -
Please tell me where to go.
Things just seem so unclear,
And it has challenged all I know.
It has tested and confused me.
It has brought me to my knees.
And now it's too hard to see
Just what you need from me.
Is it something I am doing wrong?
Is there something I can do?
You see, I've been waiting for so long,
And I've been crying out to you.
Please don't let this be a barren place-
In this place where my child should be.
Let me see your loving grace.
Please bring my child to me.
Rock-a-bye baby...
I hold you so dear.
Even if it's only in my heart
That I'm holding you near.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The 2012 Color Run ~ My First 5K


What a journey, what a challenge! 

On April 26th I had a thought- "Has anyone used the Couch-to-5K app? I'm thinking about doing it!" 

On April 29th I started my training- "I finished Day 1 of Couch-to-5K, it didn't sound too difficult but it was a little rough, not going to lie! That's the most running I've done in a very long time!!" 

Mind you Day 1 was a 5 minute warm-up walk, followed by 8 repetitions of 60 sec running and 90 sec brisk walking, finished with a 5 minute cool-down walk. Doesn't sound too difficult right? Yeah, that's what I thought.. here's what happened in the next two days...

May 1st- "I finished Day 2 of Couch-to-5K... I'm having a hard time believing this is going to get easier. In some aspects it was easier today, but it was definitely hard. I know, I know, it's only Day 2." 

May 3rd- "Finished Day 3 of Week 1... dear Lord kill me. I love the results I'm seeing from the program but I can't keep my endurance up. any suggestions runners?"

The program continued for 8 more weeks and finally-
July 26th - "I officially completed my 5K training!!! I increased my pace to 14.06 min/mile and did a distance of 2.13 miles in 30 minutes! So proud of myself!! A big thank you to those of you who cheered me on along the way and to my hubby for running with me! Now time to move on to 10K training!" 

When I started my training I wasn't sure if I was actually going to run a 5K, the whole thought sort of intimidated me. Then I saw Eric's cousin Alex did a Color Run, after seeing the pictures he posted I knew I had to do it! I registered for my first 5K, the Color Run in Milwaukee on June 6th! 

Then the day finally arrived, the Milwaukee Color Run on August 24th! My goal was to run the entire thing without stopping. We stopped once for water and took our time through all the color spots, but other than that I ran the entire thing! I'm so grateful for Rhonda and Becca cheering me and supporting me until the very end! The best feeling was seeing Eric waiting for me at the finish line with a big smile on his face. I had done it, I completed my training and my first 5K! I'm so proud of myself, I set a goal and completed it! I celebrated and danced with 10,000 runners including my sister-in-law, my husband, my husbands aunt and cousin and some of his friends! It was a blast, a perfect way to end an amazing journey! 

I've recently starting 10K training and I'm hoping I'll be able to do my first 10K on Thanksgiving! Wish me luck! 

 "Strong is what you have left when you've used up all your weak"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Scared of Success"

While sitting at work yesterday and dreading making phone calls to insurance companies I realized, this is not what I want to do with the rest of my life. Yes, I love working in the medical field and I love medical billing, but it's not my passion. For the past couple of years I've been so busy with side jobs that sometimes I find myself taking days off work to get everything done. I always think, if only I had more time to design and create, I know I could do great things.

When I was younger we took family vacations to Door County and I remember a shop called the Pink Mailbox. It was my favorite store, it had all different types of stationary, stickers, stamps etc. Every year I would stop there and stock up. I told myself I would own a store like that someday, it was my dream! While in college everyone thought I was crazy for not wanting to work for a company and do corporate designs. I wanted to make stationary and wedding invites, things of that nature. I wanted the pleasure of being a part of people's special occasions and events. It's an honor to bring their visions to life.
I have the greatest support system a girl could ask for. My family and friends are constantly encouraging me to start my own business. A part of my fear in taking the big leap is that the market is so saturated with beautiful designs, that I honestly didn't believe my work was unique enough. However it must be since people are coming to me to create their wedding, shower and birthday invites. I was discussing my concerns with a girl at work and I told her that I was just scared and nervous and honestly didn't know where to begin. She looked at me and started to say "so you're scared of..." and just when I thought she was going to say failure, she said "success" I paused and looked at her and thought wow, I've never thought of it that way. I've never really been scared of failing because my mentality has always been, I'm capable of learning anything, capable of succeeding and even if I don't, I can't say I didn't try.
A few years ago I trained for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and completed that goal. Currently I'm training for my first 5K and I have one more day in my 9 week program. In the beginning of that program I thought I was crazy for attempting to be a runner, everyone told me to take it slow and you'll be amazed how far you'll go. I learned while trying to do something physically different your mind is always telling you negative things, "I can't do this, this is too hard, this is impossible." It's when you tune out your brain you realize your body is telling you something different. I'm so proud of myself and I realized if I set little goals and complete them, at the end you've actually completed a big goal!
So I'm finally in a place where I'm saying "it's time!" I'm setting a goal and I'm working for a better future. Wish Sam and I luck as we start a new adventure and get our work known. Thank you to everyone who's supported my dreams and encouraged me along the way! I'll keep everyone updated as things develop!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Pre-Baby Bucket List

I'm a firm believer that if you write down your goals, you have a better chance of making them happen. A to-do list or a bucket list if you wish. When I was single and not really looking for a relationship a coworker told me to write down all the qualities I was looking for in a boyfriend / husband, I would find that person. She said often women don't really know what they're looking for in a partner until they actually make a list and realize the qualities that are most important to them. If you meet someone and they don't match a majority of your list they may not be the right person, why waste your time? This spoke to me because I had found so many Mr. Wrongs. I was more than ready for Mr. Right. That afternoon I proceeded to make a list and kept it in my mind for a while. Soon after I started college I knew in my heart I was going to meet my husband. About half way into my first quarter I met Eric and low and behold, someone who met all the qualifications on my list!

It's with this experience that I believe it's time to make a new list. This September it will be two years that Eric and I have tried to start a family. While I still have my difficult days, I believe we are on this journey for a reason. That's why I've decided to make a list of things I would like to accomplish / complete before God blesses us with a little one.
My Official Pre-Baby Bucket List:
Start a family
Finish my Couch to 5K app (3 more days to go!)
Run my first 5K (scheduled for August!)
Start a Yoga class (already have a place picked, just need to go!)
Complete the bedroom renovations in our house
Organize my office / craft area

Organize the house and get rid of more clutter

Go canoeing or kayaking

Go hiking at Starved Rock

Start my side business, officially, website and all!

Go to Boston, MA (not too realistic, but hey, you never know!)

Pay off some more debt

For now these will be my goals, once completed I will start a new list! As you can see I have my work cut out for me, wish me luck! :0)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'll Just Shake My Magic 8 Ball... It's Cheaper!

And... the latest, Eric went to the doctor on Tuesday and he was told everything looks good! The doctor said, if I don't see anything wrong then I can't fix anything. Told Eric that he should watch his diet and continue taking his multivitamins everyday and "it will happen." You have to love that statement, after almost 2 years of trying, you just want it to happen already. As if I wasn't confused enough about what direction we should go in, we might not have a choice. Conditions have to be right for us to do an IUI and with the way things are currently, we can't do one. I'm definitely not looking to do IVF so if that's the direction our fertility doctor advises us to go in, I'll be walking the other way. I think I'll just shake my magic 8 ball and ask it what we should do... it's cheaper than all the doctors we've been seeing!

I'm the type of person that needs to focus on a goal and I can't stop obsessing over it until it's been completed. I'm lucky to say that many of my goals have been met. Unfortunately starting a family has thrown me quite a few road blocks, but I'm determined to bust my way through them! In the mean time I've been focusing on getting into shape and improving my diet. Eric has joined me and we're hopeful that this will only improve our situation. As of right now I think we're determined to continue trying naturally, there's nothing saying we can't conceive on our own.

I have to say it wasn't until I became open with all of this, that I realized exactly how many people are thinking about us. I was debating purchasing the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor because I've been having trouble using the ovulation strips since I did Clomid. I want to be able to accurately track what my cycle is doing. I mentioned to my sister-in-law Andrea that I was thinking about buying one of these. They're costly, we're talking $200-$300!! Andrea mentioned that her friend just got one but ended up not using it and she's been wanting to see if I was interested in borrowing it... ummm.. YES PLEASE! I was so excited, I claimed it as my tiny miracle of the day. I'm hoping I have better results with this monitor and hopefully we'll be successful soon! The phrase that kept running through my head this week was, sometimes when it feels like everything is falling apart, it's really falling together. I know one day I'll look back on these blogs or ponder our journey and it will all make sense. :0)

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Step Forward... Two Steps Back

I'm going to start this post off by addressing my last post. I think it definitely shocked a lot of people both in a good way and a bad way. You have to understand a person can only hold so much information in until they want to explode!! While on most days I feel like we're alone in our battle, we most certainly are not. This affects our family, friends and my mood on any given day. Also for those who know me really well, I'm not one to not share. I love learning from others and getting different points of view on any given subject. With that said I definitely shared a lot of information and mentioned some things about Eric. So to clear the air, yes Eric knew I was creating this blog, did he read it, no, but by choice. I explained that I would respect his privacy and only say what I need to, to get my point across. While Eric's condition isn't the best, we're certainly not looking for donors folks! :0) It takes two to make a baby, my issues are his and his are mine.

Moving forward... on Tuesday May 8th we had our first appointment with the fertility specialist. Upon turning in all of my paper work (12 pages) Eric and I quickly discovered with the receptionist that I don't have infertility coverage with my insurance. While I had a feeling that was the case, my heart went into my stomach. Since I work in the medical field, I knew this was going to be expensive. Eric immediately noticed my panic and simply said, we're here, we might as well see what the Dr. has to say. I kept thinking, I'm going to lose it before I even make it through the doors. Luckily I held it together! Dr. Uhler is very nice, as Eric says, she talks very quickly but she's very knowledgeable! After discussing our medical history / records we came up with a game plan that we were all comfortable with. Eric will being seeing a Urologist next Tuesday for a consultation and in the mean time we're supposed to get a complete blood work up. A complete blood work up for me would be over $2,000, yep, believe it! Thankfully I've had a majority of the tests done already and while I haven't added up the new cost, it's still not cheap. When all of that is done and we've hopefully addressed everything on Eric's side we'll be ready for our IUI (artificial insemination). During that cycle (June or July) I will start on Clomid again and will be monitored by ultrasounds to see how many follicles I produce. Once it's time for me to ovulate I will be given a "trigger shot" of HCG which triggers the release of an egg. When the time is right Eric's sample will be collected, they will isolate the good sperm, wash them and concentrate them. then they will be inserted into my uterus. The idea behind IUI's is it places the sperm right where it needs to be to meet up with an egg. It eliminates the traveling, which believe it or not isn't a short distance. If I'm able to release more than one egg, our chances of conceiving are of course higher.

Now that the biology course is over.. (aren't you glad you're more knowledgeable on the subject!?) we can move on. Yes, the name of this post is One Step Forward... Two Steps Back. Allow me to explain. Any fertility treatments are not cheap, especially when you are considered a self pay patient. ONE IUI is about $1,800, granted when I was trying to add the numbers in my head and I saw this on paper I honestly thought, well that isn't so bad. Now remember, add the cost of the blood work roughly $1,000 and then Eric's appointment and treatment which is undetermined right now.... things start to add up quickly! For the past couple of days I've been thinking things over and over... can you really put a cost on starting a family?, if things work out well with Eric maybe we can continue trying naturally? Do I just bite the bullet and try it once? So many thoughts and not enough answers. Again, feeling slightly defeated, but reminding myself the battle has just begun!

Here is where I am with things currently... I'm going to support Eric's journey as he has supported mine when I went through my HSG and praying for excellent results! Once that piece of the puzzle is in place I think we'll be able to make a much better decision and plan to move forward. My gut is saying everything will work in our favor and hopefully we'll be able to try naturally for two months with some assistance and if worse comes to worse we do one IUI. Despite the battle and bad news along the way, I'm determined to keep a positive attitude during our journey!

To end this post I would like to share a story from my life this week. Our receptionist at work, Luba has a daughter who lost her job right when I started in December. She would share with me her daughters struggles to find a new job and how she would go on interviews to only be disappointed when they hired someone else. I would tell Luba that she just didn't find the right job yet, but it would come along, stay positive and it will happen. She would leave our conversation with, "Girl, if you pray, send one up for me!" This week her daughter had an interview and she was so nervous and swore it was the perfect job. She gave a presentation in front of 7 men (she's in marketing) talk about nerve wrecking! While driving into work one morning I decided to pray. I thought there are so many people praying for Eric and I these days, I need to start returning the favor. I told God that I hoped she would find a new job soon or at the very least point her in the right direction. Today Luba told me that her daughter got the job and couldn't be happier. The first thing that came out of my mouth was "Girl, I prayed for you!" and the smile on her face was priceless, she was so happy and touched. My Dad told me that prayer doesn't work like most people think... prayers don't make things happen, they set the conditions right so YOU can make things happen. Today made me realize and understand that prayers are the strength you need when you're most afraid, the courage you need when you think you can't go any further and the hope you need to believe that dreams can be a reality. Thank you to all of you who send a few up for us, even though I don't hear them, I feel them everyday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

It Always Starts at the Beginning...

I find it kind of ironic that I'm finally getting in a better place with our situation and I come to find out it's National Infertility Awareness Week. How appropriate! That's when I knew I had to document our journey thus far. As my title states, it always starts at the beginning...

Eric and I got engaged in 2008 and got married in 2010. The long engagement allowed me to finish school and allowed us time to save for our wedding. Before we even got engaged we both discussed our expectations in starting a family. I wanted kids right away, after all we weren't getting any younger. I also wanted to ensure that our parents would be able to enjoy their grandchildren for a long time. Eric agreed and whenever anyone would ask him, so when are you having kids, he would simply reply, "whenever, it will happen when it happens." Out of the two of us, Eric is a lot more patient than I am.

Shortly after our wedding, September 2010 to be exact we started trying. That first month of trying I was so nervous, the dream of having kids was becoming a reality. If everything went as planned we would be parents and our lives would be changed forever.

Unfortunately things didn't go as planned... October 2011 I found myself sitting in my doctors office feeling defeated and broken. I couldn't understand why after a year of trying we were unsuccessful. My doctor decided it was time to run some tests. Needless to say I was scared, I'm not one for pain or being poked, but I knew this was the only way we were going to figure out what was going on. In November I went for an HSG which is a procedure that is done to make sure your fallopian tubes aren't blocked. A catheter is inserted into your cervix and dye is inserted into your uterus which is then pushed through your fallopian tubes. While this doesn't sound all that invasive, it was one of the most painful procedures I've ever had done. Luckily I was able to watch everything on a monitor while it was performed and I knew before leaving everything looked good. Even though I was happy about the good news, I was feeling awful and just wanted to break down.

Eric took care of his tests (oh the ease of being the guy) and his results were given to the doctor. We met with the doctor a week after all the tests were done to figure out our next step. Our plan of attack was for Eric to give another sample so the doctor had two to compare and for me to start on Clomid. I started at the lowest dosage and I would have to take it for the next three months. I had many reservations about taking Clomid, the risk of twins, the side effects or being over stimulated by the drugs. After a few conversations with Eric we decided I was going to hold off for a month on taking the Clomid. The HSG procedure not only looks for blockage, it's also known to enhance fertility up to two months. With this in mind I thought it was best we tried naturally one more month. After receiving the same results in December I stared the Clomid in January.

In November I had already scheduled my next appointment for March, with the idea that I would be done with the Clomid and we could continue had it not worked. When I met with my doctor he seemed upset that I hadn't finished the Clomid as discussed and Eric still hadn't given his other sample. Immediately he said, well the best thing I can do for you is refer you to a fertility specialist. As soon as the words came out of his mouth I broke down, I felt as if someone just sucked all the air out of the room. He was shocked I had such a reaction and couldn't understand why I was so upset. I told him I felt like he was giving up on me and I wasn't ready to stop working with him, we had a plan and I wanted to finish it. He explained that Eric and I really didn't stay on track with our course of action and that he couldn't only work with the information he was given thus far. After calming down a bit I told him I would make sure Eric gave another sample as recommended and I would finish my last round of Clomid. I also explained that since I had started the Clomid I wasn't able to get a positive ovulation test. I've read that while on Clomid the drug can actually interfere with the ovulation tests and give a false negative. Not only that but I was experiencing the side effects, hot flashes, cramping, mood swings... it wasn't pleasant. I insisted that I was tested during this cycle to make sure I was still ovulating.  He agreed that we would finish what we started and I would get a blood test done on the 21st day of my cycle to ensure I ovulated. All with the understanding that after this we were going to have to seek other options if we didn't get pregnant.

On the 21st day of my cycle I went for my blood test and Eric did give another sample and our results came in. Luckily I had ovulated so my body was still on track. Eric's results were not the best and were consistent with the previous sample. Typically samples will vary, while one may not be the best, the next one could be. The fact it stayed consistent, we knew there was a problem. I had my yearly exam scheduled and this is when the doctor gave me the results of Eric's tests. After knowing my first reaction to seeing a specialist, he wanted to make sure I was prepared to hear it again... this time I was. On May 8th we go to see the specialist.

When I dreamed of starting a family with Eric, I never in a million years would of thought we would have problems. Automatically you believe it will happen right away, you never expect to be that 1 in 7 couples that will have to deal with infertility. For a long time I didn't want to talk about my concerns or disappointments with anyone. I always thought there's only so many times you can deliver bad news or so many times you can cry to someone over the phone or complain about your frustrations. I believed it was so hard to understand how I was feeling if you yourself hadn't experienced it. I had so many people tell us to just relax, forget about it and it will happen, go on vacation and it will happen, don't try so hard, etc. I knew in my heart something wasn't right and I wanted answers as to why. Every month started with hope and would end in heartbreak. There were a few month when I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe, Eric just held me until I was done and would remind me, it's going to happen. Through out all of this Eric has been my rock, especially since I'm emotional for the both of us. :0)

It wasn't until I started being more vocal about our struggles that I realized how many people were praying for us. I recently started doing some soul searching and praying of my own. My attitude about everything has completely changed. I'm very hopeful that our baby is on it's way. I'm hopeful that the specialist is going to be able to help us while understanding I'm a less is more type of person when it comes to treatments.

In the mean time Eric and I have been working on our house, taking short trips, doing things we enjoy to take our minds off everything. We also enjoy spending time with all our nieces and nephew and all our friends kids. I call it getting our kid/baby fix. Someone said to me, enjoy the fact that you can enjoy the kids and then give them back... I simply said I'm waiting for the time when I don't have to give them back, when we can spend Christmas morning with our kids, or Sunday afternoons in the yard... many would consider this the norm, I consider it a blessing.