Friday, May 31, 2013

"Where you invest your love, you invest your life."

Mumford & Sons
May 29, 2013
Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley

Mumford & Sons ARE my praise music. I find comfort in their lyrics and have cried upon hearing many of their songs as they echo the feelings in my heart. 

Seeing this band perform live is an experience for me. The intensity they bring to the stage is like no other. 

And, no matter how much I hate to admit this...

Seeing Marcus Mumford walk onto the stage for an encore with a cigarette in his mouth was beyond sexy.


Until next time.....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Surrounded by Blessings

A full schedule is overwhelming to me. I enjoy my weekends being open and free of any big, time consuming plans. I am a creature of habit and tend to stick to an exact routine 7 days a week.

Monday-Friday: work; gym; dinner; tv; sleep
Saturday: small errands, gym; light house cleaning; nap; relax
Sunday: sleep in; additional errands; major couch time; softball game; relax

When something comes up in the middle of the week, I try not to panic. But seriously-don't mess with my schedule. I need at least 7 days notice so I can rearrange my week. It is sad but true.

That being said, this weekend is FULL of events and I am really looking forward to it. As I sit around on weekends doing nothing, complaining of boredom, I know there are a lot of fun things I could be doing but just don't feel like it. I like knowing that I had a weekend to wind down and take a load off since my Monday-Friday takes a lot out of me.

This weekend includes:
-A trip to Wine Country with two good friends
-A sleepover
-A BBQ/Baby Shower
-A hike (I hope!)
-A birthday party for my sister

It should be a weekend packed with lots of fun but with enough rest time that I don't feel overwhelmed. But the fun doesn't stop there! The next 2 weeks offer lots to look forward to:

-Mumford & Sons concert on Wednesday
-Lunch with a graduating student on Friday
-An anniversary weekend to a destination we have never been!

Basically, the next two weeks are going to be super fun and the rest of the summer is going to be boring and lame.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Surviving an IVF Seminar

In this post, I will offer some tips* on how to survive your first step into the IVF world:

The Informational Seminar

1. Prior to the seminar, make a trip to your local mall or shopping center and buy something cute. Cute new shirts will make you forget about being barren and childless. I purchased this and this. Just don't spend too much money. IVF is expensive. You don't really need that glow in the dark nail polish.

2. Arrive to the destination early so you can sit in the lobby, play with your phone and jot down questions to ask at the seminar. This will show that you are serious about IVF and the doctors may work harder to ensure you get pregnant. Win and win!

3. When looking for a seat in the seminar room, always chose the front of the room. Don't you know the smartest, most serious students sit in the front? Again, this will help the staff pinpoint you as more serious than those sitting in the back. They will put a gold star next to your name on the sign in sheet and take an extra close look at your embryos when the time comes.

4. If your spouse can't attend the seminar with you (:raises hand:), do your best to wave around your left hand so people know you are married. Get your rings cleaned the night before if that will help. IVF is hard enough without having to worry about people thinking you are a single white female desperate to get pregnant.

5. Since you are sitting in the front like a good student does, you can't really check out the other people in the room. Pretend that you are going to stretch your back and twist and turn in your chair while scanning the room.**

6. In the interest of being proclaimed the most serious person there, make sure to ask a couple of questions. Practice them in your head before speaking so you don't stumble. Remember, you are sitting in the front of the room. There is an expectation that you are smarter than everyone in the room-including the doctors.

7. Don't giggle when a doctor says the word "sperm." That is, apparently, frowned upon in this establishment.

8. Don't drink the free soda that has been set out for you. It is a trap. Everyone knows soda causes infertility and hinders your ability to get pregnant. You can only drink gluten-free, vegan water out of glass bottles. DUH.

9. When the seminar is over (and you have asked 1-2 questions), stay in your seat for a few minutes reviewing the materials. Again, this shows that you are serious about this and not just some person looking to throw away $16,000.

10. When you get to your car and feel like you might want to cry, don't. Just drive back to the mall and shop some more. Or go get some ice cream. Eating your feelings is really the best way to cope with the emotional stress of IVF.  Don't let anyone tell you differently. But remember-only gluten-free, vegan ice cream with free trade organic 80% dark chocolate.

*In case you couldn't tell, I'm joking.

**But seriously, take a moment to think about how you aren't alone in this. There are people just like you going through infertility and considering this huge, huge step to get pregnant. You might not talk to any of the people in the room but it is a silent sorority. Take comfort in that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A New Plan

This post, about a yellow room, wasn't complete. I didn't disclose everything we discussed that day.

Looking back at that entry, I can't believe it was nearly 3 months ago. Where has this year gone? Today, it is overcast with some rain drops so it actually feels like a regular winter day here in Northern California but summer is closing in fast and furious.

And before we know it, fall will be upon us and my shorts and maxi dresses will be packed away. I'll bring my sweaters back down from the rafters of my closet and start using our crock pot for meals once again.

And with one more blink, we will be in the throws of our next adventure....

IVF. In Vitro Fertilization, for those not in the know.

6 months ago (heck, 4 months ago) this was not an option. But things have changed. I had breakfast with a friend this past weekend. She isn't someone that I've ever spent time with one-on-one before but she said she wanted to meet for a meal and a chat. I wasn't sure what the topic of conversation would be but I had some ideas. She herself has dealt with the pain of infertility and wanted to see how I was doing. It was comforting talking to someone who can say, with completely honesty, "YES, I remember doing that too!" Oh the comfort of a shared experience.

I explained to her how I look back on the past 4 years and can't believe all we have been through. I never thought we would take the steps we have taken in order to have a baby and wasn't sure what our limit was. Many months ago, the thought of IVF wasn't on the table. To be honest, it was completely off the table. But over time, people changed and grow and come into their own thoughts and feelings about what life is like.

And so the conversation went something like this....

Person 1: "I don't feel right about spending all this money to go to Europe next year while we say we can't afford IVF."
Person 2: "I didn't think you wanted to do IVF?"
Person 1: "I've thought about it and I changed my mind. We should try what we can. I wouldn't feel right about stopping just short of something that is statistically a higher probability of working."
Person 2: "Well, I'm open to it."
Person 1: "Good. Let's plan on it. No Europe next year. We will do IVF."
Person 2: "Okay. So we will either have a baby, no money and no Europe OR no baby, no money and no Europe. Man, life will be either really awesome or really bleak!"

 That is the plan. Save money like crazy, get healthy physically and mentally and prepare to dive in head first into the world of needles, appointments, medicine, procedures, hopes and prayers.

4 months ago, I didn't know where our journey to become parents was headed. 4 months from now, we will be walking down a clear path and 4 months after that, the fate of our future will, most likely, already be decided.

As usual, I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Thank you for following along with me for all of these years, through the ups and downs of our struggle and challenges.

Monday, May 13, 2013

21 Suggestions for Success (via Pinterest)

As I read this list, I was nodding my head. I've printed it out and put it on the wall of my cubicle, hoping to be inspired every single day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day doesn't scare me

Last Sunday was Cinco de Mayo. The teams in our co-ed softball league were struggling with attendance issues due to the holiday. I didn't put the pieces together until a friend reminded me of the holiday.

"Oh, that wasn't even on my radar since I don't really celebrate it."

I feel the same way on Mother's Day. To me, Mother's Day isn't a reminder that I don't have kids. I'm reminded of that all the time. Especially when I get to sleep in until 9:30 a.m. on weekends and drink wine with my dinner and not feel guilty about catching a buzz.

I don't allow Mother's Day to turn into a day when I'm sad. Instead, I turn it into a celebration of my mom. I have the best mom, in case you didn't know. She is thoughtful and nice and funny and loves her family. And my mother-in-law is amazing as well. She has made me feel welcome since day one and I especially appreciate that I can be 100% myself around her and the rest of the family. I hit the in-law lottery and I'm very grateful.

If you are going through a painful time on Mother's Day, there is no greater time to reflect on your life and celebrate what you do have. Us pet owners ARE mothers too! We are responsible for the well being of the pets that we have adopted into our homes. My cat is a part of my family and she loves us, I know it. And since there is no "Aunt's Day" I take Mother's Day to celebrate the positive influential roll I play in the lives of my nieces. I may not be their mother but I hope I serve as a role model to them and that they see me as a major part of their lives.

Mother's Day doesn't have to be a time for you to feel sad. There is no shame to skipping church that day or turning off the television if you feel that the messages being sent out will cause you pain. As females, our worth isn't wrapped up in our ability (or inability) to produce children.

Be strong. Don't allow mass media and marketing ploys make you feel insignificant on this one Sunday in May because you aren't a mom. Celebrate your mom or a person who has had a positive influence in your life. Spoil your pet. Go on a date with your husband. Treat yourself to something nice. You deserve it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Right Now

I walked out of therapy last Thursday with a smile on my face. Better than tears flowing down my cheeks, right? My experience with that wing of my local hospital is that I have often, over the past 3 years, walked into the parking lot after an appointment hiding under my sunglasses, attempting to hold back my loud sobs until I get into my car. I've walked down three flights of stairs after 1) handing over tons of money for a 30 second appointment 2) being violated by a piece of medical machinery 3) hearing bad news. I've had my fill of the medical version of "The Walk of Shame."

My experience in therapy has been a great one. I have meshed well with my counselor, which I know is very important and often shapes the type of progress you make. My first appointment back in October was the start of the healing process I had to do regarding our journey through infertility. When I met with her a second time, it was just 9 days after my dad had a stroke so our focus shifted. Being able to have her to talk to and work through my sadness and fear was vital to me not completely losing my mind during that period.

Once the new year hit, there were some scheduling conflicts so our appointments were spaced out quite a bit. But upon seeing her in March, some things had changed, progress was made and she even questioned my need for another appointment in 6 weeks. I stated that it was important for me to continue seeing her regularly since I'm basically a walking ball of emotion and needed the outlet.

While getting ready to head out the door to my appointment last week, I started to wonder if I did in fact need to see her. "What do I have to talk about?" Things are going well. No news to report. No issues at hand. She stated that in therapy, they don't like to hold sessions just for the heck of it and create problems that aren't there. After a short period of catching up, I did share some things that were weighing heavy on my mind. Some decisions I was hesitant to make, some topics that were causing grief in my house and I knew my stubborn nature was getting in the way.

Everything was resolved after that 60 minute session. Mostly because she said something that I have been repeating daily. "Right now, I have everything I need to be happy." We all want more. We all want something. But right now, in this very second, do you have everything you need to be happy? Yes. For my future is the answer the same? No. But that is what goals are for. There is no reason I shouldn't be thrilled with my life right now, in this second. That wasn't the case on November 10 and for many weeks after that. I didn't have a healthy dad so no, my life wasn't happy. And things could change, life is fragile but that is more of a reason to embrace today. Embrace now.

Right now, I have everything I need to be happy.