National Infertility Awareness Week



This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  It's an opportunity to expose the rest of the world to the social stigma that has been placed on a great number of individuals throughout the world. RESOLVE:  The National Infertility Association shares that one in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age is diagnosed with infertility. I certainly believe that.  Since starting this journey with S., I've discovered two women in my office who have dealt with or are dealing with infertility.  Two of my girlfriends' husband had male-factor infertility factors that caused immense difficulty in getting pregnant.  An associate of mine from my high school days shared her sister's struggle with infertility a few weeks ago and it was so heartbreakingly raw and familiar that I felt an ache in my chest for quite some time after reading their story.

So, just what does this week mean to me?  Well, quite frankly, it means support.  I can't tell you how many blog posts have come across my feed all sharing their infertility stories, successes, failures, fears, etc.  It means a lot to me.  It lets me know I'm not alone.  That day I received two simultaneous pregnancy announcements and cried in the shower for an hour after they left?...yep, the #ttccommunity understood.  That day I was so excited for another #ttc sister on my IG field that I squealed out load while sitting in the bed and said a prayer for immediately? Yep, the community gets it.

Days when I've felt like the lowest of the low for being resentful of a pregnancy announcement, days when I felt on the highest high for the success of others, days when I have cried over announcements of miscarriage, BFN, or some other loss or failure for a woman I have never met even met--this #infertility community understands and relates.

I don't know if I'll be blessed to conceive naturally with S.  Our story may be another adoption.  It may be contentment with our family as is.  Whatever the journey, I'm pleased to know there are others who know, understand, and can relate.  Infertility is real.  It is raw.  It is painful.  I am #1of8.

-K

Weekend Recap: A Night with the Stars

We had an awesome experience at church on Saturday evening.  Our music ministry decided to honor those who have shown faithful and committed service from past and present members.  They decided to do so with a formal black tie affair complete with red carpet and announcer.  It was a wonderful service.  It really was.  It was also outside the norm.

There was scripture and prayer, but there was also video tributes, gospel songs, spirit moving mime ministry.  It was just amazing.

Superbug and I

Honeybee and FatherWinter

Our family
I was even one of the presenters of the evening.  The award I presented honored four seasoned ladies in the music ministry for their grace, nobility, strength, and wisdom.  They had no idea.  There was a video montage and everything.  Again, it was just a great evening.

One of the really cool things about this evening was, in addition to being a great event to praise and worship God, it have me an opportunity to check off one of the items on my 35 while 35 list.  In the list, I wanted to be able to dress for a black tie affair.  I honestly didn't think I would have the chance to do so before I turned 36, but I was so thankful that God gave me the desires of my heart.

I'm hoping I can knock a few other things off my list and create another to knock off in July.  I hope everyone has a very great day and be blessed.

-WinterMommy

Happy Anniversary!!!


Today marks the day I stood before God and loved ones and pledged my life in marriage to S. It’s been an interesting four years. Great moments. Horrible moments. Moments filled with undeniable love. Moments filled with harsh pain. But we have prevailed and travailed together. I’m so glad he is my husband, so glad to be his wife, and so glad I get to spend my tonight with him.  But acknowledging our wedding anniversary would not be complete if we didn't acknowledge the other anniversary too. The other one. The sad one.

Four years ago today, S. and I began the first night of trying to conceive. We just knew it would be an easy thing. We wanted a huge family. S. has a huge family, an extremely fertile full family. Bets were already being made as to how long it would take us to conceive. Most of the family expected a pregnancy announcement a few weeks after the honeymoon. A year later, they were still waiting.

In hindsight, we really should have went to the doctor sooner. We should have pushed the issue harder. I asked our Ob/Gyn and the first time she simply said we were trying too hard. When I went back months later and begged for help, she ran tests and found the Hashimoto’s and the hormone shifts. Those were perfectly treatable she said. And so we did. And nothing happened. In the meantime, we began our journey to adoption which has always been a plan of ours. Still, nothing happened biologically. We then received disappointments when prospective matches didn’t work out. When we were about to lose hope, there was our beautiful baby ready for a forever family.  And though the journey to forever wasn’t quick or easy, she was ours. She was covered in love and has been to this very day. Still, we wanted to try and conceive biologically for additional siblings for the family and our love of children.

The IUI was a long shot. We knew it. By now, we’ve learned that S.’s swimmers aren’t that plentiful and, if not abnormal, are sluggish at best. But we tried anyway. The #TWW was excruciating. The hope that something would work…The #BFN we received wasn’t unexpected. But it still hurt all the same.

Tonight, I sit looking at my husband with the deepest amount of love and affection.  I'm so glad he is who he is and that our lives are so interconnected.  We just watched the video of the night he proposed to me.  It was my first time seeing it.  And it was beautiful.  The entire memory was beautiful.  I'm looking forward to continuing to #ttc, but in the event it doesn't happen.  In the event God has something different planned for us, I won't regret a thing.

Happy Anniversary, S.

-K

An Anniversary Post: Four Years Later

Four years ago today, I stood before God and loved ones and promised to love FatherWinter with all that was in me.  I promised that I would honor him and love him.  I promised I would be an encouragement, a motivator, a lover, a confidant, and a friend.  I had no idea that those words would be tested every single day.

Four years and forever to go...

In writing this blog post, I searched others.  I wanted to see if any of the posts would be like mine, unfiltered, unadulterated, just real.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that several were.

In the four years that FatherWinter and I have been married one to another, we've experienced some really great and amazing highs and some pretty awful and devastating lows.  There have been times when I have been so filled with love, joy, and affection I couldn't stand it.  Then, there have been times when I haven't been sure I wanted to walk the path anymore.  Times when I doubted if the effort was worth the tears.

There have been times when my very faith has been tested, times when I have spent more times talking to God than to my own spouse (not that there is anything wrong with that).  That's just what it is.  BUT, and I emphasis that BUT, we are still here--together.  My husband has been my sounding board.  He's been honest and direct and no nonsense.  He's been playful and silly and annoying.  He's been strong and caring and sincere.  He has been the absolute best and the absolute worst.  He has been mine and I have been his.

Marriage is a commitment.  It really is.  I remember seeing family members who had been married for decades, a century and beyond.  I remember seeing in their elder years how close they were, how affectionate, how sweet and loving.  I remember thinking in passing it would be nice to have that it I ever got married.  As I got older, I remember some of those same family members telling me that their place of serenity wasn't achieved overnight.  They even shared stories of gross inconsideration that I would gasp at in disbelief.  They laughed about it in latter days, but in their youth; those inconsiderate moments were no laughing matter.

I imagine all marriages have experienced that in some way or another.  Mine is certainly no different. I can certainly say I'm blessed to be married to FatherWinter and I love him very much.  So what has four years of marriage taught me?

I am stronger than I was four years ago.  I know that I am capable of handling a lot.  I know that I have the ability to contribute, to motivate, to produce, to succeed.  I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I know the attributes of a Godly woman and a Godly wife and I strive to achieve them everyday.  That being said, I still have a ways to go before I'm satisfied with the process and truthfully pray that satisfaction never comes.

I still get butterflies.  Call it what you will, but when my husband walks into the room with a sleeveless T-shirt and jeans, my heart flips.  When I see him playing with our children and rolling on the floor with his nieces and nephews, my heart melts.  He's still handsome to me.  I still like his smile.  I still want his arms around me. I still get butterflies.

I am more than a wife and mom.  I have learned in the four years that I have been married, and the nine (almost ten) that I have been a mother that sometimes I need me time.  I mean I really need it.  If I don't get it, I get cranky and frustrated and burned out and not fun to be around.  I'm getting close to that mark right now and am secretly planning an early evening escape one day soon so I can just spend some alone time with me, myself, and I.  FatherWinter has told me on numerous occasions that I need to take care of myself and I plan to do that.  It's a great thing when you have a spouse who recognizes that.

Everything isn't for everybody.  I have learned in my four years I can't vent to everyone.  I used to call on mom when FatherWinter would 'wreck my nerves'.  I had to stop.  When the nerve wrecking ended and FatherWinter and I were all hugs, kisses, and compromises, mom would still remember. While she has never been mean or nasty to him, I realized the possibility existed that her opinion of FatherWinter could change based on a miscommunication or simple disagreement.  That would be unfair.  So, I have learned to keep a lot to myself.  If I do need a human outlet, I go to the same trusted happily married friend who can let me vent, but hold me accountable for my part in whatever it is I'm venting about.  And she has been phenomenal.

Finally, the fun stuff....



My favorite moment as a wife.  It's pretty obscure, but I think my favorite moment as a wife was when we were on our way to our first anniversary trip.  We were at Miami International Airport preparing to go through security before leaving for our anniversary cruise.  There were a lot of people in the security queue and the TSA agent was separating people and placing them in lines to attempt to make the queues process faster.  FatherWinter and I were walking through the long line to get to the queue buildup when the guard allowed me to pass, and then very quickly, tried to send FatherWinter to a different line.  FatherWinter stated "no" and continued to move forward behind me. The agent looked ready to get nasty, but FatherWinter said. "that's my wife!"  in a soft even tone I hadn't heard before that brooked no argument.  In that tone, I heard "the woman in front of me is my wife and I will protect her.  I'm behind her because I have her back.  I'm protesting being separated from her because I love her and if I am separated from her, I won't be able to protect her as I desire.  So, I will not be separated from her."  Of course he didn't say all of that, but it's what I felt and it was one of the few times I've ever felt his protection so palpable.  It was a favorite moment.

What I hope our next wedded year will bring.  Pregnancy.  Unity.  Love.  Smiles.  And lots of date nights.

4th Wedding Anniversary Tradition Gifts.  Fruit/Flowers.  This should be easy lol.

Happy Anniversary, FatherWinter.  I love you very much.

-WinterMommy

Weekend Recap: Tears and Baseball

We made it home.  Our family left on Wednesday afternoon to make the 10 hour trek to Atlanta, GA to bury Fatherwinter's cousin.  It was very sad.  I posted about her briefly here.  Seeing the family gathered for her homegoing was more than a little jarring.  She was so young, so earnest in her faith. Now, she is gone.

After the homegoing services, we were able to come back to our relative's home and spend some time in fellowship with them.  I was also able to see some old pictures of FatherWinter when he was younger.  It's always cute to see your spouse as a little person.

After dinner and fellowship, we hopped in the car and drove then ten hours back to our home.
We made it back in home to drop our luggage, change clothes, and then rush off to Superbug's 1st baseball game of the season.  Yep.  Just in time.




The game wasn't that bad.  The kids fought hard and valiantly.  Unfortunately, Superbug's team lost 5-4. They were disappointed as this is the first time scores are being kept. (New league).  The coach gave them all a "proud of you" speech and then we departed.

We came home, ate some thing, and then we all went to sleep....for hours.  It was about 12ish when we lay down.  It was about 630ish when we woke up lol.  And that has pretty much been our weekend.

Nothing spectacular, nothing amazing.  Just catching up on sleep and remembering loved ones.

We're coming up on a busy week, so I'm sure I'll be checking in again.  But until then, you guys have a great evening.

-WinterMommy

Horrible News....

Last night, while watching TV with my mother in law and children, my husband came downstairs and told me he had something to show me upstairs.  I followed him upstairs and he hit me with worst news I could possibly have received.  One of our dear family members had just passed from a heart attack.  She was only 41 and left behind a toddler and a husband of 15 years.  She wasn't sick.  She just...dropped.

My heart was so hurt.  I loved this woman.  She is my husband's cousin, but she became mine immediately.  The love she showed me was wonderful.  When we were adopting Honeybee and I would become worried about some of the legal things, she was the one who would pray with me over the phone.  She was the one who celebrated with us from afar when she found out that Honeybee was officially ours.  She knew that journey.  It was the same she walked with her own daughter.  And now her daughter is without a mother.  My heart weeps and rejoices at the same time.

I know where she is and that she is happy and blessed, but wow.  I am so shocked.  It's hit me in a scary way.  She wasn't old.  She wasn't sick.  I don't want that to be my journey either.

Ya'll pray for us.

-WinterMommy

The results....

If you follow my Instagram page, you know by now that my lab blood work came back with my confirmed suspicion of Vitamin D deficiency as well as lower adrenal function and anemia. Essentially, this is the reason I've been feeling like I'm dragging every where I go.  Because some of my blood work and follow-up answers showed hormonal implications (i.e. longer and heavier periods), I was prescribed progesterone. My Vitamin D implications have me taking 10000 IU for a month and then 5000 units daily thereafter.  Because of the cognitive and memory issues associated with the deficiency and also my Hashimoto's, I have been recommended pregnolsone (SP) to aid in that.

Now, I've been at home, at work, everywhere doing as much research as I can about the impacts of Vitamin D deficiency on fertility.  I stumbled across several articles that confirm that Vitamin D can has as much as a 30 to 50 percent risk increase in fertility issues and/or miscarriage!  Wow!
Hopefully, the Vitamin D increase will work and S. and I will understand what the disconnect has been in our bodies.

We'll keep you in the loop!  Love you!

-K

Vacation Butterflies


We are officially BOOKED for our family vacation! This year FatherWinter and I decided to introduce the children to a cruise! Oh my, we thought it was an amazingly awesome idea. So much so that we asked FatherWinter’s sister and brother in law and their kids if they wanted to come as well. They said yes! I have to admit I like traveling together with them. They are not afraid to step out of the comfort zone and try new things. They came with us last year to Florida and I really did enjoy their company. Plus, their children are neck and neck with Superbug and Honeybee. We knew there would be a lot for everyone to do—both separately and together. Not only will this be the kids first cruise, but also my sister and brother in law and their family. So, I’m really hoping for a great time.

Photo courtesy: Carnival.com
I’m really excited about that there are kids camps throughout the day that allow the adults to have some alone time while allowing the kids to play together in all sorts of fun activities. I also love that there are so many different food choices that everyone’s palate will be satisfied. It’s pretty safe to say that I am more than a little excited about this trip. BUT (and of course there are buts), I am admittedly nervous.

I really want the kids to enjoy themselves. I really want FatherWinter and I to enjoy ourselves. So, I’m scouting everything. I’m trying to research everything. We’re riding down in a huge RV that will allow everyone to get there at the same time. We’re proposing leaving late night so that the kids will be sleep most of the time. It should take about 12 hours to get to our destination. Then, we arrive on board, grab something to eat, and then have a little down time before heading to muster station training.

Then we’re off! I can’t wait to see Honeybee and Superbug’s faces as we pull off and wave to everyone. I can’t wait until they have their first realization that they are on a moving ship for a week! I am so extremely excited about this journey!

But, admittedly, I have a few butterflies. I am really searching through these blogs and forums on what to pack for Honeybee. She has eczema. Are there any special extras I should take with us because of the sea air. I want to create a cool “to do” kit for Superbug while on vacation. Maybe a “scavenger hunt” of things to look for on the trip. I want nice pictures and fun memories. What is Honeybee has a tantrum? What if the kids get motion sickness? What if they get homesick? Sigh.

Then I can’t forget Superbug. I really want him to be happy and enjoy his trip as well. Time to sit down with him and ask him what he is most looking forward to? Does he even understand what will be on the cruise? Eeek! Yep, we have about 70+ days to get it together lol….not to mention my weight lol.

Here’s looking forward to great fun and wonderful planning!

Talk to you soon!

-WinterMommy

Weekend Recap: Not just existing...but living

Hello, everyone. This weekend I had the very sad task of supporting a friend at her mother’s funeral. Her mom was in her 60s. She wasn’t old. She was smart. She was well-loved. She was respected. She was gone. In the twinkling. Seriously, she was up and talking to her oldest daughter and then several hours later, she was gone.

The email that shared her passing was so raw, so painful. It read simply “Mom’s gone”. I knew what it meant immediately. My heart dropped when I read the words. Still, I asked “What do you mean gone?” And there was the conversation. A few days later, Saturday, I found myself and Honeybee strapped into carseats and seatbelts and on our way to support a young woman I’ve known for over 25 years.

At the funeral, I sat behind my girlfriend at her request. I willed her my strength and love as she rolled to the front of the funeral attendees and read a poem for her mother. The poem was beautiful. It was absolutely beautiful. But there was a line. One line that stopped me and has stuck with me ever since. She wrote to her mother “You taught me how to live and not just to exist”. That buried itself within me. It really did.

I’m 35 years old and, while I love the life that God has blessed me with, I had to ask myself “Am I living or am I existing”. I have to admit my life has settled into a rather predictable routine despite my desperate attempts otherwise. I get up about the same time every morning. I say my prayer, which is unfortunately not near as intimate as it should be. I get up, wash and brush teeth, and then get dressed. I walk into Honeybee’s room and pop on the light. The same greeting of “Good morning” greets her and she smiles at the routine. I hear Superbug walk toward his room and he gives his good morning hugs. I go through my routine. Making sure Honeybee potties. Making sure she’s dressed. Making sure the children eat. Making sure Honeybee says goodbye to her grandmother and father. Making sure I leave the house at the same time Superbug exits to stand at the bus stop. Sure enough there comes his bus and I wave as it drives by and he within.

The rest of the routine stays the same.  A drop off, an office arrival, email checks and meetings until work day end, followed by a pick up and a home arrival for dinner and whatever extra curricular activity lurks.  It's always the same.  It actually has me thinking...am I just existing?

Last July, I wrote this cool 35 while 35 list of things I'd like to accomplish before I turned 36.  While some of them are a bit outside of my comfort zone, most of them are 'safe' and predictable.  There isn't a legacy with them.  When I pass, whenever God calls me home, I certainly hope I will have left a positive impact on someone's life.  I don't want to leave a hollow existence.

So, I'm hoping to create a vision board.  Several close friends of mine use them and have had very great results with them.  I want to do one for long term goals and one for short term goals.  Let's see how it helps me. Let's see if I accomplish more and live instead of  just existing.

-WinterMommy









Is this the app for that? And waiting...again...


So, I’m not currently on a medicated cycle. I don’t know when I’ll have the ability to once again be on an Reproductive assisted cycle. We simply cannot afford it right now. So, for the moment, all I can do is try naturally. So far, nothing doing.

I was turned on to an app called Optia by the ladies in the Instagram #TTC community. I’d been using the Glow app and, while it captured good information, I’d not seen results in the year that I’d been working with it. The Optia app offered more of a medical insight on everything I’m going through in my body. It also gave me a fertility phase and chance of fertility scale that was more user-friendly (in my opinion) than Glow. So, I’ve been trying it while simultaneously monitoring my stats on the Glow app.

This past week, I was at an extremely fertile. I should have known it because I felt like She-ra, Princess of Power for a while there. I think I scared S. I was so…um…anxious to see him. I looked at the app and realized I was at a 27 on the fertility scale! First of all, I’ve NEVER seen a number that high. But considering how I felt like I could bench press a bus, it matched. So, we baby danced several times, several nights. As is true with my body, I felt She-ra leave and regular me return. Now, according to both apps, I have to wait two weeks before testing. So, here I am.

I really want this to work. I really want to be pregnant. I really want to carry S.’s child. I want to see his face break into a huge grin as he realizes that he is going to be a daddy…again, but for the first time as well. But, once again, I’m not sure it will happen L.

I’ve had cramps off and on all day. At first I thought it could possibly be implantation, but nope. No spotting. I’m doing the same stupid things I do every month, but promise myself I won’t do like going to Babycenter’s due date calendar and calculating due dates and milestones. I’m contemplating when I can #poas and get an accurate response. I’m looking at maternity clothes. I’m a mess. And I do it monthly. UGH!

Today, right now even as I draft this post, my secondary screen is open to forums on Pre-seed and Secondary infertility. The cramps are coming with disappointing regularity and I am ready for another failure. I keep trying to think positive, but it will be four years at the end of this month.

I need something to work. Sigh…

Here’s waiting two weeks….Good luck to us.



-K