Thursday, December 6, 2012


I feel like I'm in a funk lately. Not depressing and all-consuming, leaving me emotional and fragile like last year. Just ever-present, like a dull annoying headache or something. Last year was awful. I was weepy at the thought of Christmas, and couldn't get excited about anything. I wanted it all over, to wake up in January and start over. Things aren't like that this year. But I still just feel... blah.

My best friend and I always spend our birthdays together. Maybe not the actual day, since she lives 2 hours away, but usually the weekend before or after. This year, for my birthday, I still felt too connected to the anniversary of our MFI diagnosis, and put off our celebration an extra week. This year for her birthday (which is today), even though there's noting IF-significant about her day, I just don't wanna. I feel awful about it, but I just don't feel like celebrating. I'm sure it doesn't help that she's TTC and I just don't feel like I have the energy to listen to any possible conversation she may want to have about it. I don't feel like the sensitivity is there, so I feel guarded. And I'm too much of a pansy to crush her excitement and ask to not talk about it. Point is, my funk isn't just limited to Christmas.

I'm excited to get our tree, and our home is decorated. I'm not dreading or overwhelmed by shopping for gifts, and the thought of coming across a "Baby's 1st Christmas" onesie in a Target doesn't make me feel anxious. There isn't an all-encompassing feeling of not wanting to "do" Christmas. I guess I just feel like I only have so much cheer, and I want to use it with my husband and savor it. My parents are traveling out-of-state to be with my sister for Christmas and they all feel awful and have suggested multiple times we join them. I actually feel relief that I get to spend the day with my husband - we don't have to wake up and be anywhere, cook for anyone, or be expected to be, show, feel, or do anything. So then I feel guilty for that. Don't get me wrong, this will be the first Christmas morning I won't be with my family, and that is sad. It will be different. But for me, it's different in a good way. Buddy and I are a family, and us spending our first Christmas alone (mostly - we will have dinner with both sets of parents as mine will be landing around 6pm) is not a bad thing.

I know it's normal to expect that the holidays would make me feel blah. It's such a kid-centric holiday and it practically begins in October these days, requiring a good deal of mental stamina. Despite the fact that we've come so far from last year, there are still things missing from the holidays of our dreams from only  3 years ago. I know I need to allow myself to feel this way. But I feel like some of the people in our lives have moved on and forgotten what we're still adjusting to. Little comments here and there act as hints that understanding is still lacking, and it just adds to my feeling crappy about feeling crappy. I just hope that as Christmas comes closer, excitement will take over, the funk will subside, and there will be joy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

IUD follow up

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, and someone asked me just this evening how the IUD has been working out for me, so I'm going for it now. As I talked about in my original IUD post, the weekend after the insertion was incredibly difficult. I was crampy and sad and generally just shlubbed around being sorry for myself. Thankfully, Buddy was very supportive and catered to my whininess.

Over time, there have been both physical differences as well as emotional, and I'll talk about them both honestly, despite the fact that I'm squeamish when it comes to talking about cycles. I can do it all day long among other ladies who are TTC, but it's not something I do openly or comfortably, even at the age of 31.

Because I opted for Paragard, which is a non-hormonal copper IUD, my cycles are natural. This is something that really freaked me out. After 10 years on BCPs, I liked the ability to manipulate my cycle by a week here and there if there was a vacation or event that I didn't want interrupted by my periods. I liked knowing exactly when I could expect my period. It was the biggest adjustment to me when I kicked them to the curb. However, I gained weight both when I started taking them at 18 and when I stopped when we started TTC. I'm already heavier than I'd like to be, and the thought of more hormones and weight gain freaked me out. Thus, Paragard was a great option for me. It gives more than 99% effectiveness for about 10 years, and if the time were to come where Buddy and I panic and say "WTF have we done?" it's an easy reversal without the need to wait for my cycles to correct themselves (it took me a full year to become what I considered "consistent" when I quit BCPs).

The downside of the Paragard has been my periods. The copper in the IUD works by creating an environment in the uterus that is not preferable for both sperm and eggs. I can't honestly remember right now how the doctor described it, but the copper irritates or stimulates the endometrium and can cause heavier bleeding and more cramping. That's definitely been the case for me. CD1 and CD2 are much heavier and - for the first time since I was in high school - I have to actually plan my day in 4 hour increments to avoid any unpleasant incidents. The cramping was absolutely awful the 1st cycle. I honestly felt like my uterus was trying to kill me for abut 4 days. The cramping has lessened, but I still have some significant discomfort the day or two before a new cycle starts - certainly much more than I did prior to Paragard.

Alright, now that the physical stuff is out of the way, on to the easier topic. Emotionally, getting the Paragard has been the right choice for us. I feel like I've reclaimed Me to an extent. I had a really hard time dealing with the what-ifs every cycle if I knew just by calculating that our timing could have resulted in that highly unlikely-5%-ever pregnancy (which is actually less now, thanks to Buddy's TRT). We wanted to move on and live life and be spontaneous with intimacy, but my fear of the unexpected (as rare as it is) weighed on my mind. Now, I'm free of that uncertainty. Just recently, my cycles were consistently 28-29 days long. My last one was 35 days. It dawned on me that I'd have been a wreck without the IUD - since I don't chart anymore, I no longer know exactly when I ovulate (though I have a generally good idea thanks to CP and CM). With Paragard, I know I just have to wait it out. It's a very different mentality, and there's a peace to it. I know what life will be like, and I have control over life again. We have control. It's something we felt deprived of for two years, and it's been an incredible thing to have return to our life. I don't regret this decision for a second.

So, that's my experience with Paragard after about 5 months living with it. There are pros and cons, but the upsides have all been emotional, which is most important and far outweighs the physical downsides for me.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hi! I haven't been around, sorry. I haven't really been around anywhere with social media as of late. I took on a new job at work, and I realized how much free time I had on my hands. And how much privacy I enjoyed in my lonely cube. I have no real time for blogging now. But I also realized that I blog when I need to get things out and vent. It's easier for me to write when there's emotion charging me. And, to be honest, I've been doing pretty okay.

Taking a step back from has been good for me. I wouldn't say I was dwelling on IF - because it's not really ever going away - but being part of that particular community seemed to fuel the worst parts of my feelings about our situation, and it didn't always bring out the best in me. However, I'm in touch with most of the most supportive people on FB, so I still have that kinship without all the drama. It's been good. I pop in now and then, but the desire to stick around and pour over every thread is gone.

We've made some more home improvements. We painted our bedroom and fireplace, and have solid plans for a fireplace makeover hopefully before Christmas. I don't have the same dread for the holidays that I experienced last year, and that's been a relief. I expect I will feel something as it grows closer, but for now, I'm okay. I don't think Christmas will ever have that magic I loved again, but as long as the holiday doesn't make me want to run away and shut everything out like I felt last year, I can handle some apathy.

I also took the lead of a Resolve support group in my area and that's been good so far. Tonight is the second meeting, and I expect it will be small, but I'm such a believer in group support and believe I'm doing something good for both my soul and the good of others.

Of course, I still have my days. My high school boyfriend's wife recently gave birth, and that was hard. Not in a "that should be me" way - But in a "why does he get to grow up, find a spouse, and have a baby and I don't?" way. Some babies/pregnancies just hurt more than others, and it's definitely hard when I watch my school peers living dreams I had for myself. I feel so left behind at times. The other night, Buddy and I watched a romantic comedy, and in the entirely predictable ending the couple finally wound up married. I got teary and asked Buddy to turn it off before they showed them having a baby in the next scene (I assume). It is what it is - I have a hard time watching newlyweds move to the next step. I'm thankful Buddy understands and is supportive. He may not feel the same hurt, but he acknowledges that I do and does what he can to mitigate, and that's all I can ask for.

Hope you're all doing well. I try to promise not to be such a stranger. I think there are some interesting topics I want to touch on, and I need to put on my big girl panties and figure out what I want to say.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love letters

When my husband I got married, part of our ceremony was a twist on the candle lighting or sand combining rituals that are common in weddings. We wrote each other love letters and put them in a box that was prepared by my grandmother, along with a bottle of wine. The idea was that if we were ever in a rough patch in our marriage, we would open the box, read the letters to remember why we wanted to join our lives, and drink the wine. The hope, of course, was that we would not have rough times and we would open the box, read the letters, and enjoy the wine in celebration on our 10th anniversary.

Now and again since our troubles having children - and then deciding to walk away from trying for parenthood - the words I remember writing me have haunted me with tiny snippets of memory. My mind thinks of these things I wrote to my husband almost as though I jinxed myself. My letter to Buddy was - in part - about how excited I was to have a family with him and how lucky I felt to have met such a perfect man to be the father of my children. It contains thoughts of our naive dreams. And lately, it's bothered me more and more. In theory, we would be opening that box 7 years and 3 months from now, and it should be in celebration of 10 years well lived and well loved. But knowing that reading the letters will be very bittersweet puts a damper on that vision for both of us.

And so, we've come up with a new plan, just like most everything else over the last year. On our third anniversary, we're opening the box. We're drinking our wine and replacing it with a new bottle. We're writing new letters. I don't know what we'll do with the old ones. I kind of want to read mine, just to remember what I wrote, but I don't know if that's out of lovingly wanting to remember that fresh about-to-be-married excitement or I'm a glutton for punishment. Buddy said I can read his, but doesn't seem to want to read mine, knowing what's in it (I brought this all up the other night after having it on my mind here and there for a little while). I guess we'll know what feels right when the time comes.

Like most everything else since Infertility entered our lives, plans are changing. I'm just glad that we can up with this new plan together, and - if I'm completely honest - it's mostly Buddy's idea. I love that he recognizes that the box and its current contents needs to go, but also that this is something that is important for me to not let go of entirely. He could easily just say "chuck it all in the trash." But he wants to start over, with new words of love, a new bottle of wine - which will still be enjoyed on our 10th anniversary - and new wishes for the course of our life and marriage. Once again, I'm blown away by his thoughtfulness and understanding of what I need, and it always makes me go a big gooey one when he shows that he needs something emotionally from me, too. I have a feeling these new letters are going to be full of love and adoration for each other. I'm happy to be sincerely looking forward to our 10th (and our 3rd, of course) anniversary once again.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My IUD experience

A couple of people have messaged me privately asking about my IUD experience and things have been since. I know there are other CF after IF couples out there who may be contemplating many of the same things Buddy and I did in terms of how to find that peace of mind when deciding to move on to other life experiences, so I'm going to talk about it a little.

Firstly, I chose Paragard, the copper IUD. After coming off hormonal BCPs, it took me about a year to regulate and have some consistency, and I experienced other effects such as weight gain. I personally wouldn't choose to use a hormonal BC again, so I was glad Paragard was an option. An added bonus is that it lasts 10 years instead of Mirena's 5, so I get more for my money. The downside is that it can cause longer and heavier periods and increased cramping because your body is reacting to the copper in the device. I've always felt I was pretty lucky in that department, so for me it wasn't a big concern. I may have made a different decision if I already had heavy flow or bad cramping.

Obviously, the day before my appointment was an emotional one. I never doubted our choice, but it was still emotional. As I stated in a previous post, part of the anxiety came from the part of the cycle the doctor insisted on for insertion. When I got to the office and was called back, I was asked to take a pregnancy test. Um, say what? First, I was still bleeding, and secondly, I had checked in and asked to use the ladies room with no mention from any of the ladies at the desk that I would need to provide a sample for testing. Even if I'd been able to leave a sample, I was not prepared emotionally to be asked to take an HPT. I'm a rare breed in the TTC world in that I've only ever taken 4 pregnancy tests. I always used my temps to help me decide if I should test, so for me to take an HPT was a BIG deal. So, I did the only rational thing I could think of and I ugly-cried at the nurse, told her there was no way I was pregnant and refused an HPT. I had to sign something acknowledging this, and she seemed more miffed than she should have been. When the doc came in, he acknowledged I'd declined and mentioned that I have a history of IF, and seemed understanding and that was the end of the discussion. I share this part of it because I was in no way mentally prepared for the request for an HPT and just want to make anyone contemplating an IUD (or possibly any BC) after IF aware that this may happen.

The insertion itself was far easier and less painful than I'd imagined. The doctor performed an ultrasound to measure my uterus, then talked me through the steps of the insertion. Words like "clamp on the cervix" had me pretty worried about the pain factor, but I hardly felt it. The insertion felt similar to the cramping I'd had when I had my HSG, but less intense. It was over in a matter of moments, and was followed by another ultrasound to confirm proper placement. I was given Motrin for cramping and was told I was free to go and to call if I had any questions or discomfort lasting beyond a few days.

I was pretty crampy and sore for the next 48-ish hours. I had the IUD inserted on Friday morning and felt like my usual self by the time I woke up on Sunday. Emotionally, Friday was pretty awful. I was okay during the day at work (except that it just happened that a coworker was leaving to take vacation to get married and someone else asked her when she was having kids - and then asked when I was having them), but when Buddy got home, all I wanted to do was cry and cuddle up to him for comfort. He was an absolute rock star - he brought me wine and In N Out, along with a Cosmo to cheer me up.

Since I got the IUD, I do feel more at peace. I think Buddy does, too. We now both feel we can heal and have the certainty of what the next few years will look like. I found myself doing things around the house alongside Buddy in those first few days and  thinking, "this is going to be okay" and truly meaning in it for the first time in a long time. I think we're both happier and more at ease with talking about our new sense of the future. It's been good for our love life- I think we were both worried about the off-chance of a pregnancy and the opportunity for miscarriage, and with that gone, so is the hesitation to be intimate. I definitely think it was the right choice for us.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot Button Topics

** This is another one of those posts that people may read it and think "she's talking about me, she's offended by what I said and this is passive aggressive." It's not, I promise. This is an idea that's been kicking around in my head for a while, and by coincidence, a couple instances that fit have come up as of late. I'm not offended by those instances, but they've given me the push I may have needed to broach the topic. **

There's no doubt that in the world of infertility, some things said by other people offend us deeply. Some of them, we're justified in our response, because the comments really are just completely thoughtless. This post is about the reactions I don't always think are justified. Keep in mind, I'm human too. While these are my thoughts in theory, on a rational day, I admit that I sometimes have a "WTF?" reaction to comments like those I'm about to point out.

So what kind of comments am I talking about? Those that are made my pregnant people, mainly. Comments like "I will be sooo disappointed if this baby is not a girl" or "I am soooo miserable being pregnant." Any comment that touches on the less-than-desirable aspects of pregnancy or showing anything less than 100% gratefulness for the pregnancy itself can be huge hot buttons for IF women. And I understand why. I totally do. We have a tendency to feel like anyone lucky enough to be pregnant should be constantly thankful, and have a "how dare you not just want a baby, whether it's a healthy or unhealthy or a boy or a girl?" mindset. However, I don't think it's fair.

We all came into this baby-making business assuming we'd follow the life-plan we were told about: grow up, fall in love, get married, have babies. That's in general - sometimes the order gets shuffled, but you know what I mean. We all figured it was a given that - if that's what we wanted for ourselves - we'd find a partner and have a family. And then Infertility enters Life for some of us, and we realize that the family dream is not a given. And we start to realize that it was something we took for granted. We feel the people who got to live that life-plan don't appreciate it or recognize how fragile it can be. And we get angry when they make comments that display their naivety.

Truly, how are they supposed to know how good they have it when they haven't faced anything but love-marriage-baby carriage? How can we expect them to understand the hurtfulness of their comments when they don't know any other way? I think of it kind of like being a cancer survivor. I'm happy to be alive, and I enjoy my life. But I probably don't appreciate it as much having never had my livelihood jeopardized by disease. In comparison to someone who's had to fight to live, I probably take a lot of things for granted and don't appreciate some things I consider really small. It's probably the same with fertile people - they have no idea what they are so fortunate to have and how easy it could be to be on the other side and have no control over the course their life takes. So while the comments of fertiles may annoy me, I don't think it's fair to expect them to realize the gift in their life. When 88% of the population never has to worry about it, why would they?

Let's face it - pregnancy is uncomfortable. Morning sickness - that apparently lasts all day - has to downright suck. There's a fetus hanging out inside you zapping your energy, sleeping with its head on your bladder and its feet kicking at your lungs. Your hips spread, you leak substances, and everyone and their brother thinks it's okay to touch you. And yet, millions of IF couples fight for the opportunity to experience it, while 8 times as many couples find themselves in the situation relatively effortlessly. Because of my explanation about appreciation above, women who are pregnant and became that way spontaneously are going to say things that piss off someone who would (and/or did) pay good money to trade places and feel all those discomforts. I know it's hard to not be offended by the stupid things they say like "I hate pregnancy" or "I'm so tired of this," when it's something you'd give so much for, but they (meaning fertiles) don't know what they have accomplished - in relation to us IFers - in just achieving that pregnancy. While we'd give so much to be in their shoes, I don't think it's fair to get upset with them over complaining about swollen ankles. While we'd be happy to trade, we'd be pissed off by swollen ankles and an ability to get comfortable enough to sleep fitfully - in between trips to the restroom - too. Because like I said, pregnancy is uncomfortable, whether it was spontaneous or achieved through ART. Complaining about pregnancy isn't an effort to to be spiteful or throw their condition in our face. Could they possibly have the wherewith all to censor their comments? Sure, but that would mean they'd first have to recognize that appreciation I mentioned above. Do I feel they should always censor themselves? Not really.

Comments over a baby's gender also get under IFers' skin. I'm the first to admit, I always pictured myself as the mom of a girl. That was just my vision. There were boy names I liked, but there are girl names I LOVE. I never put a lot of thought into boy names because I was going to have girls. But in the IF world, there's a sort of taboo in hoping for one or the other. The only option anyone is supposed to hope for is "healthy." But again, this isn't fair. Everyone hopes for a healthy baby, because that's part of being a parent - you don't want your child to face illness or adversity or pain. But that doesn't mean it's not okay to have a vision or a preference. Saying you hope for a girl isn't the same as saying you won't love a boy. It's also not the same as saying you'd rather have an unhealthy girl than a healthy boy. It's also fine to truly not have a preference, but it doesn't make you better than someone who does. And again, if you are a fertile person who's never spent nights crying and wondering if you'll ever have ANY baby, the gender of said baby is probably something that you feel free to make comment on without much thought. And that, of course upsets someone who is infertile and maybe does 100% feel they'd have any baby, any day of the week. Again, the fact that fertile people don't have the appreciation doesn't justify the angry response I sometimes see. Is it annoying? Sure, at times. Do I understand why they don't see it as a big deal? Yes.

Again, I'm not saying I'm perfect or that I've never gotten upset by these comments. I have. I probably will again. I'm just saying that on a good day - with a clear head - this is my thought process and reaction. There are always going to be people who don't realize or appreciate what they have, and there are going to be people who really do have negative intentions with their comments. But what I've come to realize is that it's not fair to expect someone to have the sensitivity of an infertile person - or to even keep in mind the reaction of an infertile person to their comments - if they've never been infertile.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Tomorrow is IUD Day. I know our decision to not continue TTC or use ART and then to now TTA may not be for everyone. I get that, and I understand and respect it. But I am a ball of emotion today. When I read Sweet Grapes it brought me so much comfort, and so much validation in regard to so many things I was feeling. One of the things the couple who wrote the book talked about was affirming the decision to be CFNBC. And they chose to affirm by going back to birth control. I explained it in a previous post, but for me, I need some control. I need to know what the next couple of years will look like while we do the things we've planned "instead." I hated being "late" and wondering what if. I don't want that anymore.

I want this. And yet, I have a heavy heart. It's truly a closing of a chapter. I know it's what's right for us. I'm anxious though, in part because my OB/GYN insists on inserting the IUD during menstruation. I would have liked to wait until Monday, but the triage nurse scheduling my appointment informed me that since I've never given birth (gut punch), a doctor had to perform the procedure and there were no appointments available on Monday. So I feel icky and sad, and I have to go be naked and icky in front of a man doctor I don't know so I can formally put the TTC nail in the coffin.

Like I said, I know you readers may not agree with our decision. But this has been a discussion for months, and we feel confident in it. If you could spare some loving thoughts, I'd appreciate it.

Ssssspencer meets Clover

Obviously, when I brought Spencer home (er, had him delivered via USPS), I had to consider that I have two dogs at home, with one in particular who likes to eat toys. So even though I plan to keep Spencer in my underwear drawer (what? Where would you keep a plush sperm?) I wanted to make sure my pup, Clover, knew not to mess with my new toy. And Spencer, not being the type to want to die an early death by de-fluffing, was on board.

She looks incredibly intimidated, doesn't she?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Introducing Spencer

After reading a very awesome blog by my pal, Kristy, who suffers from PCOS, I've gone and done something... a little nutty. You see, Kristy got herself a plushie, an ovary she named Olivia (she also has an egg and a sperm, but they've yet to make their true mark). She takes Olivia everywhere, from Bass Pro Shop to her RE's office and Walmart. And she helped me to discover that Olivia has friends, namely a sperm plush. And so, I adopted Spencer.

Don't let the Comic Sans and bow fool you. He's one bad ass sperm doll (yeah, according to Amazon, he's a "preschool toy"). And he's judgy, clearly. But he has a soft side: Spencer enjoys gardening, movies, and dancing to LMFAO.

So, he may pop up now and then. I don't know exactly what role he'll take. Mainly, I'm thinking comic relief. You know, take it out on the sperm now and then. In a funny way.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Last night, Buddy joined me at my therapy session. It was a little weird because my therapist was running about 20 minutes late, and it was kind of awkward to not know how long to wait. I knew I had an appointment - it had been confirmed, but this had never happened before, and she doesn't have a receptionist in the building, so...?  Buddy was about 15 minutes late, so we wanted 5 minutes together and decided we'd only wait 5 more, and she opened the door about 2 minutes later. So, better late than never.

It was kind of strange to be there with him. I had told him a couple months ago about the types of things I've talked about because I didn't want him to be caught off guard by any topic that might come up, but it felt odd to have him there. Normally, the session is just a conversation, more or less, between me and my therapist. She'll ask how I'm doing and if anything in particular is bothering me, and then we just kind of have a conversation until a topic sticks and then she might ask me to elaborate. She basically leads me through talking to a solution or clarity on whatever it is I'm working through. With Buddy there, I didn't have any specific agenda with him there - it was just so meaningful to have his support in the room. It took a little longer to start the conversation, but some really good things did come out of it.

We talked for a bit about how Buddy handles things and how we kind of react to each other. For a while now, I've had a hard time wrapping my head around how this can be such a traumatic thing for me and he can just be like, "it is what it is." The fact of the matter is, he IS sad, but something that's probably as basic as the difference between men and women allows for him to not think about his biological clock constantly. He's also not surrounded by a community (on The Bump, through blogs, on Facebook) of women that remind him of the situation. It's not a bad thing that that community is around me, it just is. I also had no idea that he actually is comfortable telling people that we aren't having kids and indicating that fertility is the reason. I know he has told people we aren't having them, but last night he said that his coworkers know it's because we can't (yes, I realize we chose not to do treatments, but left on our own, we consider ourselves unable, or at the very least highly unlikely, to have them).

In the beginning of our infertility experience, we talked about it often. I mean, it was hard not to. It was on our minds a lot and it was an incredibly emotional time in our home. But it fell out of his thinking much more quickly than it did mine. I don't bring it up much because I don't want him to feel bad because the bulk of our infertility is on his side. What I didn't know is that he doesn't bring it up not because he feels badly or because he doesn't think about it, but because he doesn't want to "trigger" me. From the conversation with the therapist, he's a lot more aware of when I'm triggered than I thought he was. I keep a lot of it to myself because sometimes, I have a bad week and everything gets to me, but apparently I'm far more transparent - at least to my husband - than I thought. So basically, in the same way I'm been shielding him from my emotions, he's been trying to help my in his own way by avoiding upsets. I think moving on from here, we can be more open and communicate more feelings and know that they're not bad to express and we aren't going to hurt each other with them.

Anyway, the very exciting thing for me is that I graduated from therapy. The last couple of sessions before this one have been less emotional and I didn't feel like I had as much "stuff" to talk about. We still talked obviously, but I didn't come into those sessions with a mental list of things that I wanted to cover. So we decided that we'll just play it be ear, and see how it goes. I didn't make my next appointment, and I don't intend to. I know I'm welcome to contact my therapist if I have a small issue that I want perspective on, and she asked me to keep in touch. I feel incredibly lucky to have found her, because I think she was just the right fit for me. I'll be forever grateful for her help and guidance. As cheesy as it may sound, she is a part of this process for me, and she'll always be thought of in kind regards as a big reason that we were able to get through this time. It was the absolute best thing I could have done for myself. It's the end of yet another phase for me, but I'm looking forward to taking what I've learned and reflected on carrying it with me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get me off this roller coaster

For the last 6 or 8 months, my cycles have consistently been 28 or 29 days. I can feel when I ovulate on the left (I seem to O more frequently on that side) and I have my pesky spotting for 3 or so days before CD1. This last cycle was different. I couldn't feel O, my typical pre-CD1 symptoms came and went and my cycle was 32 days with very little spotting on CD31. Not my typical cycle. Basically, for the few days I was "late," I was freaking out.

All sorts of things went through my head. We'd avoided when I assumed my fertile window would be (since I'm not on progesterone supplements and am worried about the possibility of miscarriage), but if my cycle was long, I was off on that and something could have happened. What if I was pregnant?  I just painted the craft room purple! It would have to be a girl. How would Buddy react? What about all the work I've done in therapy to be okay with childfree? What about financially? We could afford a baby, but not saving for a baby as of the last 6 months has meant more expendable income. Did I want to give up my pricier haircuts and our dinners out? I kind of like having money to spend on stuff for me. What about our plans for remodeling things in our home or finally having a vacation? A baby would mean that would get put off a while. What about insurance? My insurance sucks now, and maternity care would be so much more than before. I know we'd figure it out, but did we want to anymore?

And I realized something. I wasn't sure I wanted to be pregnant with a surprise. Over the last 6 months, I've come to a place where I enjoy life with my husband and we have new things to look forward to. We're having fun making plans to refinish the kitchen cabinets and reface the fireplace. We're enjoying things like gardening, and I'm focused on my side business and he has time to go dirt-biking. Life is good - something I couldn't have envisioned 6 months ago. I found myself incredibly confused. How could I have feelings like this when we'd been so devastated 8 months ago? When my cycle finally ended, I found myself relieved, and I knew it was time to do something.

We've talked about it off and on over the last few months. Hope is great, but it's also exhausting. Suddenly thinking for the first time in 8 months that there could have been a chance, slight as it may be, shot me back to our TTC days of hoping and hoping and then being let down. I hate the feeling. And so, I'm going to do something I read about in "Sweet Grapes," something to affirm our decision. At the same time, it's something that seems counter-intuitive to my grief. I'm going to the doctor and I'm inquiring about an IUD. I realized I'd enjoyed not having the ups and downs of TTC, and after being thrown back into it by three simple days, I wanted my serenity back. Yes, I'm still sad at not having children, but unless I - er rather, we - change our minds about this decision we've made, it doesn't feel fair to me to ride the emotional roller coaster anymore. I want certainty and consistency. If we're going to move on, I want to move on. I want some control. I'm confident that I want to focus on this to-do list Buddy and I have been building and working on. I'm relieved to be letting go of this part of it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Guilt

It's coming, whether I'm ready for it or not. Mother's Day. Once just a day to celebrate my own amazing mom, it's now a reminder of something I'm not celebrating. Actually, it's just like any other holiday over the last year, but this one is more painful somehow.

Holidays in general suck when IF is part of your life. My birthday, for instance, is now associated - at least for me if not anyone else since I don't expect anyone else would remember the significance of the date - with finding out about Buddy's MFI. Christmas, as a family-focused and magical-for-kids holiday, is a reminder that there aren't enough stockings hanging on our mantel. Thanksgiving reminds me there's something missing from my list of blessings. Halloween makes me think of all the cute themed costumes we could do as a family. Valentine's Day? Eh, don't really care about it between me and Buddy, but it was a day that my parents always made special for us and I had visions of pink-and-red-wrapped gifts and heart-shaped pancakes for my little loves. Pretty much any holiday on the calendar brings with it pictures from friends of cute kids in some kind of outfit and "baby's first _______" onesies.

Mother's Day is different. Last year at this time, we'd officially passed the one year mark, but we didn't yet know what was going on. I was down-hearted, for sure. Buddy got me a card from the pups and we got together with my parents. This year, I just want the day to be over with as soon as possible, and that comes with a special kind of guilt because we each have a great mom who deserves celebration and recognition. At Christmas, I felt okay asking for a little consideration - I wanted to be in my home where I was comfortable emotionally, and they obliged me. But this holiday isn't about me. It's about my mom and Buddy's mom. As much as I'd rather plant myself in bed with a pitcher of margaritas for the day, I want so badly to express to them both how much we love and appreciate them. I wish I could just say that we're going to go away for the weekend, but both our siblings live out of state and I can't bear to leave our moms without one of their children on their day. That's just not fair to them.

It's hard to feel so torn. I know what I will do - whatever our Moms want to celebrate their day - but my heart aches just thinking about how I feel left out. Normally, my mom and I would have made our family's Mother's Day plans by now (Buddy's family does things more on the fly). This year, I don't have the balls to bring it up, and I feel bad about that. I don't ever want to take away from anyone else because I hurt inside, but this one just sucks so much.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Last night, I went to my first Resolve support group meeting. I love my individual therapy, but I was really curious to see what a group session was like. So to "celebrate" NIAW, I went. I'm so incredibly glad I did! It was as fun as you could hope for when you're at an infertility support group. There were 4 other ladies there, including the leader. One had PCOS, one was unexplained, one had MFI, and the leader has DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) and eventual POF (premature ovarian failure).

In addition to being a mix of issues, ladies were in various stages of treatment. The unexplained couple had done 3 IUIs and was in the process for their first IVF when they decided it wasn't for them. They've put all treatment on hold until something speaks to them. The MFI couple is in their 1st injects IUI cycle, and the PCOS couple is preparing for their first RE appointment. I carry with me an insecurity (which I know is silly) about not being able to relate to ladies who've been through treatment and its roller coaster of emotions. The leader has actually not been through treatment either - her egg donor backed out at the last moment and any treatments are now on hold. So she related to my feelings of having not been through failed treatments.

We were there for 2.5 hours, just sitting and talking. We covered so much in that time: dumb things people say, how our husbands deal, how we deal, how IF makes us feel like we need something more fulfilling than our current jobs, charting, what we mourn most because of IF, misconceptions from our 8th grade health class, how we're feeling about Mother's Day coming up. I love how I can talk to the ladies on the Bump about all these things, but there was something wonderful about having that face-to-face.

I would definitely recommend attending a group if there's one in your area. You can find the listing here.

Oh, in relation to Resolve Groups but on a kind of amusing note, I was looking at the list of groups in my area. There are meetings for IF, PAIF, and adoption across the metro area, as well as a group for men. The IF, PAIF and adoption groups meet in restaurants and cafes. The men's group? Meets at Dave & Buster's.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


April 22-28th is National Infertility Awareness Week! After much discussion, some talking with my therapist, and compromises with Buddy, he and I decided that I would be participating in a public way, meaning on Facebook. Buddy is private, and I totall understand and respect that. I, on the other hand, feel drawn to speaking out about this, in an effort to both educate and to help other couples like us not feel so alone. I've hinted here and there on Facebook about our frustration, but this will be the first time that I state facts about IF and will openly acknowledge that this is our struggle. Also, Buddy's concern (and a possibly valid one, even if I don't want to admit it) was that I would get hot-headed and get into an argument if someone questioned me on certain topics. I think he fails to realize how often I'm faced with questions, though, and that I feel confident that if I can answer calmly in a face-to-face encounter, I can handle myself from behind a keyboard. Besides, while we may not have made the same choice everyone else would, if my "friends" can't at least respect it, they don't really need to be in my life. I'm fully prepared to do what I can to explain our stance calmly and respectfully and delete people if necessary. Harsh reality.

Anyway, I've been compiling a list of facts and such that I might use for status messages. I don't want to go overboard with them, but I do want what I say to have an impact. Feel free to use any of these for yourself or to feel inspired.

- One in 8 American couples deals with infertility. That’s greater than 10% of the population. Infertility is defined as inability to conceive within 12 months (or 6 months if over age 35). The source is a male issue in 35% of cases, a female issue in 35% of cases, a combined issue in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases.

- Relaxing, adopting, taking a vacation, getting drunk and screwing in the back seat, and not thinking about It aren’t solutions to fertility issues.

- Impatience is not a fertility problem. With only a 20% chance of success in any given cycle, it can take a healthy couple with perfect timing up to a year to conceive. If you've tried for a year without success (or 6 months if over the age of 35), schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor about a referral to an infertility specialist.

- Adoption is not a cure for infertility. While it’s an opportunity to parent, it doesn’t solve the biological problem and the psychological side effects. Telling an infertile couple, “just adopt and you’ll get pregnant” is insensitive. There is no “just” about adopting, and it doesn’t cure the cause of infertility. Choosing to not adopt is not selfish. It’s also not the job of infertile couples to adopt orphans and foster children. So before you say, “just adopt,” ask yourself this: “how many children have I tried to adopt?”

- Deciding to live childfree is an acceptable and positive end to infertility. Choosing to be childfree means embracing life as a family of two. It is not an easy decision, and there is no less grief, but couples who choose to be childfree are worthy of love and support, too. For more about childfree living after infertility, check out Sweet Grapes by Jean and Michael Carter.

- Infertility doesn’t just affect the ability to create a biological family. It puts stress on relationships, wallets, and emotions. Relatively non-invasive procedures can cost $400 each, with IVF costing roughly $15K. And that doesn’t begin to cover the cost of the medication cocktails to make the procedures happen. It also doesn’t address the roller coaster of emotions of that treatment brings.

- Insurance companies often don’t cover infertility treatments, despite the fact that infertility is a health problem. Many sources of infertility are diseases that cause sub-optimal health. Infertility affects quality of life for many couples. Any other disease that caused such physical and emotional distress would be treated and covered by insurance, yet treatment of infertility is an out-of-pocket expense for most couples.

- Clomid isn’t candy, and its purpose isn’t to create multiples. It should be used under proper supervision of a specialist to avoid situations like “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” Likewise, the goal of infertility treatments is to create ONE baby, and even that can prove to be very difficult. Yes, the chances of multiples is always something to consider and more realistic with treatment, but it’s not the goal.

- IVF doesn’t always work. It’s expensive, emotionally draining and physically difficult. It’s a very involved process with many opportunities for things to go wrong. IVF isn’t feasible for everyone, and trust me when I say that you’re not suggesting something an infertile couple hasn’t considered.

- God doesn’t punish couples with infertility. It’s a health problem, not a punishment. Infertile couples aren’t being “tested.” It’s not comforting to hear that God thinks an infertile couple is unworthy of conception, but dead-beat drug abusers and ill-prepared 16-year-olds are gifted with children. THINK about what you’re saying when you suggest to a couple that God has decided it isn’t their time or they aren’t meant to be parents.

- For a fabulous blog post about life and hope after infertility, check this out:

- For information about supporting your loved one dealing with infertilty and to learn more about how it impacts couples, check out

- Infertility is a life-changing, relationship-testing, faith-shaking, sex life-dictating, wallet-draining, dream-crushing, and emotionally- and physically-demanding beast I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

And to the ladies who will not be outing yourselves next week, our silent sisters in this sorority no one wants to be in, you're in our thoughts. Whether you decide to come "out" next week, next month, or next year, we're at your side.

Do you have ideas for status messages you'd like to share? How about a link-up? Let's all support each other in bringing awareness to the forefront and keeping the conversation going.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two years

Today marks two years since we started trying for a family. It also marks a year since infertility has officially been a part of our lives. A lot has changed since two years ago. I remember how excited I was, assuming we’d be expecting in no time. We talked about names and I thought about how we would announce to our families. We thought about how we would decorate and I had a mental list of baby gear I liked. Things are very different now. The room that I once walked by thinking, “that’ll be our nursery” is now part-way through its craft room transformation. I’m working daily at dealing with the loss (even just infertility itself is a big life-changer for couples, much less deciding to walk away from trying anymore) and taking care of myself and my husband emotionally. Still, it’s a sad day for us. I miss this day two years ago when we were hopeful and optimistic for a family. I’m hopeful and optimistic for new things now, but there’s an empty space where a dream once was.

I am thankful that the most important thing - my wonderful husband - hasn't changed. He continues to be my rock, and we continue to be strong and loving. The last year especially has had big challenges and disappointments for us, but if we can get through this, I know we can get through anything life throws our way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Screaming Underwater

Last Friday, Buddy and I made dinner together and settled in on the couch with a cocktail to watch The Descendants. Not far into the movie, there's a scene where George Clooney's character tells his daughter that her mom is going to die. Her reaction is a primal underwater scream so well acted with raw emotion that I burst into tears. Something about that scene was so pertinent, so relevant for me. When he was totally puzzled my reaction, I told Buddy, "that's what I feel like sometimes."

I talked to my counselor about it at my appointment yesterday because I've still been thinking about it and my reaction. Through talking, I realized it's meaningful to me for a number of reasons. First, in the beginning of all this testing and diagnoses stuff, I felt like screaming. Out of anger, out of sadness, out of grief. Infertility sucks - it changes so much and I had and still have many ugly feelings about how it's changed our life. I was amped up emotionally pretty much all the time. I felt like I could cry at the drop of a hat in those early days. I did often sob in the shower. And screaming like that, underwater or not, was probably the cathartic action I needed, had I not feared I would have disturbed the neighbors.

My counselor mentioned that it was interesting that she screamed underwater, rather than just screaming aloud. She asked me why I thought that was. I said because it would muffle the sound and hide her pain. And that clicked for me. I muffle my emotions for Buddy when I'm upset sometimes - I don't want him to feel badly that I am sad. Don't get me wrong, I share my emotions with him often. But sometimes, I just don't want him to feel that I'm mad at him rather than the situation. Particularly when I know I'm being irrational or extreme in my emotions, I tend to work it out alone rather than with him.

I don't only muffle and hide my emotions from Buddy. In the real world, I can't go around showing every emotion, good or bad. I'm "muffled" by appropriateness, for example. If a coworker asks if my husband and I have kids, for instance, I'm not going to get into why not. It's not appropriate in that setting. I might be muffled by my own energy - if someone has ideas of what we should do, ("just adopt/do IVF") I might shut down and discontinue the conversation just because I don't feel like getting into it, or because what I really want to say would be rude. And I'm muffled by the simple fact that people don't know how to handle emotions like that sometimes. I can't very well let loose with my sadness or anger when I walk through the baby aisle at Target. I'm not saying that it's not okay or that I haven't gotten upset in a store, but I think in general, we as humans avoid showing such pain in front of others, particularly those we don't know. I don't feel free in public to show an emotion I may have.

I'm also muffled by the simple fact that Buddy and I don't necessarily agree on how "out" to be. And even for myself, because of the reasons I listed above, I'm not consistent. But when it comes to the difference between the two of us, and what I'd chose if I didn't have to consider his feelings on the matter, I'd be open about it. I'd prefer to educate and offer support and not feel like I'm hiding something that has transformed me from the woman I was a year ago. Buddy, on the other hand. Would prefer to not have anyone know. He's staunchly in Camp Nunya Business. He knows our parents know and that I have the support of both online and some in-real-life friends, but the thought of me being out in a place like Facebook makes him uncomfortable. It should be noted I would never say what our issues are or whose "fault" the IF is, but I don't feel that there is shame in dealing with IF or in making others aware that not everyone grows up, gets married, and pops out 2.3 kids.

A conclusion that my counselor and I talked to is that the thing about infertility is that it's one of those taboo subjects that, unlike breast or testicular cancer or heart disease or juvenile diabetes, people aren't comfortable having it in their face. No one's going to come out with a line of kitchen products and golf accessories emblazoned with a symbol for Infertility Awareness. It's a health issue like any other, but the sensitive and private nature of it leaves many of us struggling with it feeling like we're screaming underwater instead of being embraced with support and understanding.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Today is like a surge of negative emotion. It came mostly out of nowhere and hurts from my brain, through my heart, down to my toes. It makes me want to run away - to pack up Buddy and our dogs and get as far from here as we can. I know better - I can't get away from this, as much as I may want to.

The surge is made up of sadness, anger, bitterness and jealousy. It's faceless and nameless. It makes me feel ashamed and exhausted, like my arms and head and heart are literally heavier.

The surge makes it hard to concentrate. It's hard to think of little else when the emotions are intent on pushing their way in. I don't feel much but sad and empty today. I feel acutely aware of our infertility as I see pictures of babies and bumps on Facebook, and as I hear pregnant coworkers gabbing out their registries.

I feel like no one understands today, and I can only ask for comforting and loving thoughts to be sent my way. I will get through it, and hopefully tomorrow will have me back on track, but today I feel like I need a good cry and a long nap.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tag! I'm it

My beautiful and wonderful friend Kathy (seriously, I cannot say enough great things about this woman) tagged me in a post a couple weeks ago. And ::blush:: I haven't done anything about it until now. I'm bad with this stuff, and I haven't really been here. I get to answer some questions from Kathy, then write some of my own and hope that someone keeps it going. So here we go:

First, the rules
1) First post the rules. (Check, I rule at this already)
2) Answer 11 questions from the person that tagged you.
3) Create 11 NEW questions for the people you tag.
4) Tag people and link them to your post.
5) Let them know that you tagged them.

Here are MY questions:

1. If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Potatoes! I freaking love potatoes - fries, baked, sweet. I could live on them

2. Who was the last person you called and what did you talk about? I had to call a client of my home-based jewelry business and get some info

3. Do you like candles? What kind of scents? Generally, no, but I do like Scentsy - my MIL buys us bricks all the time, and since they're safe and easy, I use them. And I do like flickering light, but I don't like the responsibility of keeping track of a controlled burn in my home. So yes, and no. I don't like anything too floral or too strong. Just something that accents the air, like gingerbread or cranberry or cinnamon.

4. If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be? Emma Stone. I think she's fabulous funny and I love her style

5. What is the last good book you read? I really loved the Hunger Games trilogy

6. Do you collect anything? How did you start? I collect snowmen. My mom and grandmother started the collection for me when I was young. I have about 50 of them.

7. Do you have a nickname? Buddy calls me... Buddy. Or Li'l Bud. Other nicknames are just variations of my name.

8. Zombies are attacking. Do you run or stay and fight? Cry? Is cry an answer. I'd like to say I'd fight, but I'm woefully unprepared for the zombie apocalypse and would more than likely become a human happy meal

9. If you had to spend $1000 on yourself, how would you spend it? Right now, clothes and jewelry. I'm so incredibly tired of my wardrobe and I need to add to my sample jewelry collection for my business.

10. What is your dream car? My Nissan Murano. Truly. I love that thing.

11. What color are your bathroom towels? Brown... boring and practical

Now for my questions:

1. What did you want to be when you were little?
2. If you could have any wild or exotic animal for a pet, what would it be?
3. What's your favorite article of clothing in your wardrobe?
4. Name a country you want to travel too and tell me why.
5. What is your order at Starbucks (or other coffee shops)?
6. What act would you want to perform in a circus?
7. Favorite breakfast food?
8. Describe your perfect date night.
9. Do you like silver or gold jewelry?
10. What is one hobby you wish you had more time for?
11. Would you rather bungee jump or sky dive?

Now for my lucky victims friends:
1. btay
2. Jenn
3. Little Wonders
4. Kristen
5. happilyhomespun

Monday, February 13, 2012


- You know that old wives' tale that the number of bows/ribbons you break at your bridal shower indicates how many babies you'll have? Yeah, I broke zero. At the time, I did it semi-intentionally in a "don't pressure me" act of defiance, but now it's just kind of weird.

- Sometimes, I think that maybe if we got married again, we wouldn't deal with IF again. I know it's not true, but I think it exemplifies my missing a time when this didn't weigh on our hearts. IF never crossed our minds on our wedding day, and I think I miss it for that reason (and also because it was a beautiful day).

- I've seriously considered Mirena just because then I wouldn't have the up and down of emotion each cycle. It would hopefully alleviate my PMS and also give me back some control in my life. If we're going to move on, I want to move on and have some consistency in my cycles. I'd also consider endometrial ablation along with Essure to hopefully eliminate menstruation completely at some point down the road. I feel like if my uterus isn't going to be occupied, I'm freaking done with this whole bleeding thing.

- When it comes to The Bump, I never feel like I fit in anywhere. We didn't try and fail at treatment. We're not actively TTC. We're just... done. With no IUI memories or stories of Buddy sticking me with needles or beta counts. My signature is relatively empty. I'm trying to pull away from the groups I know I don't belong to, but it's hard to just let go of all of it when there isn't another place to go where I feel I belong, no matter how welcoming everyone may be.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Trucking Along

It's been an interesting few weeks. There's a lot of drama in our social circle right now. It's been awful and sad, and things are very uncertain for people we love, and that's disheartening. I've struggled a couple of times with our choice and my anger has shown and I've felt some shame over it. I think that's normal considering the gravity of life lately. I've arged with my mom about how her saying she "understands" this is insulting. We've had to set some new boundaries.

On the other hand, many great things have happened in our home. My craft room project is moving along with cleaning and organizing. Buddy bought me a tattoo symbolizing our struggle with IF and the bond it's fortified between us. Most days, I'm still in a good place with my "2012 has to be better than 2011" mindset. I deleted my baby stuff board on Pinterest - I felt I needed to let that go. Sure, there are days I'm sad, but overall, I just feel happy to be in a good place.

There isn't a whole lot to say - not much is going on, but I suppose that's a good thing. A month ago, I just wanted to be happy and live life, and I suppose that's exactly what we're doing. I'm moving away from things that are no longer fulfilling and replacing them with things that make me feel good. 2012 is going to see a very different Brooke than 2011 did, and I'm determined to take advantage of anything and everything that will bring happiness and peace to our home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shit Fertiles Say

I may or may not have spent my lunch break on Friday watching videos on YouTube called "Shit Girls Say," "Shit Guys Say," and their many iterations. Shit White Girls Say to Arab/Black/Asian Girls. Shit Christians Say to Jews. Shit Vegans Say. You should check them out. All hilarious, yet totally cringeworthy because I'm sure these are actually things the targets hear often. And I started to realize that someone needs to make one called, "Shit Fertiles Say." Even though I don't have a video camera and I'm not about to run out to get one, the transcript for such a video has been running through my head all weekend. I'm sure if you watch enough of the inspiration videos on YouTube you could imagine what it would look like. But here's my transcript.

"When are you guys having babies?"

"Are you propping your hips up?"

"You guys are doing it, right?"

"You have to get busy on the 14th day. Otherwise it won't work."

"My sister's friend's hairdresser's aunt's mailman was infertile and then they stopped trying and she was knocked up like that" ::finger snap::

"When are you guys having babies?"

"You should just adopt"



"You're selfish if you don't adopt"

"Maybe God doesn't mean for you to be a mom"

"Are you sure you're doing it right?"

"Ugh, he just breeeeathes on me and I get preggers."

"You want kids? Spend a day with my little terrors, you'll see."

"You know what you need? A vacation. Then you can relax"




"You need to get drunk and do it."

"Why would you do Clomid? It causes multiples. Like Jon and Kate."

"When are you guys having babies?"

"Ooooooh, you know who's pregnant? My 16-year-old cousin."

"Stop trying and relax."

"You can borrow my husband's sperm."

"If you were supposed to have a baby, you'd get pregnant."

"Obviously, it's just not your time."

"You'll never get pregnant if you don't relax."

"My sister tried for a long time. It took her like 3 months."

"Just do IVF."


"Stop trying"


"Worse things can happen."

"Are you sure you're doing it right?"

"I bet I know what the problem is.... you need to relax"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clean Slate

I spent most of the last quarter of 2011 just wishing I could go to sleep and wake up in 2012. I wanted a new start, a clean slate. I needed to be able to put the year behind me - the year that was so full of heartache that it took me doing a month-by-month recap of the year on my family blog to remember that we actually did have some fun in 2011 (and we bought a house!).

And now, it's 2012. And, quite honestly, as cheesy or optimistic as it sounds, my slate really does feel clean. I've never really been big on New Year's Eve. I've never seen it as all that much of a new start. Until this year. I put it in my head that a new calendar year could mean a new attitude, a new set of memories, a new everything. And so far, the whole 4 days of 2012 have been far better. I feel more at peace, more ready to take on what this new view of life will bring. It honestly feels as though, for the first time, I could set my mind to how I could be, and it worked.

I started my year doing my first project for the big thing I'm excited for this year: my craft room. I painted an old dresser of Buddy's a brilliant purple to go with the color scheme I have planned for the room. I talked excitedly with Buddy (as opposed to at him) about the plans for the room and how we would build the workspace. He gets that the craft room is symbolic of accepting a new life-plan and finding a new way to be productive. Also, I think he's just happy to see me truly thrilled about something again and wants to do whatever he can to foster it. I feel incredibly blessed and hopeful for the first time in 6 months. I had no idea how much I'd allowed myself to be weighed down.

I know there are still going to be times when the world feels crushing and unfair. But the success of envisioning and (so far) achieving a new perspective gives me hope and determination that I can give myself a clean slate if and when I ever need one again in the future. I am welcoming 2012 with open arms and know that there's nowhere to go from here but up.