April 15, 2014

Random on a Wednesday

Beth posted a 20 questions post yesterday and it made me want to play so here we go.

1. What brings you the greatest joy?
my family. Group text messages. girls nights. 
2. What are your vices?
chips. pasta. alcohol.
3. What is on your nightstand?
picture of Hurley/Presley. remote. hair tie. lamp.

4. Do you have a secret talent?
I can burp on command. 
5. What is your greatest indulgence?
a great meal. 
6. What should every woman try at least once in her life?
Going out and not worrying about how she looks. Go in jeans, tee shirt and order a great local NOT LIGHT beer. Dance, get sweaty, laugh, and focus on the fun. 
7. What makes you laugh?
my high school friends. Will Ferrell. youtube.
8. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am really shy when I first meet people. I get really nervous in group settings where I don't know people. Once I get comfortable I will open up but it takes me a little to warm up.  I am bad at small talk. 
9. What is on your bucket list?
Showing my future children Luxembourg and the other amazing European cities I travelled in my early 20's, throwing a fabulous dinner party catered and with wait staff, creating a charity. 
10. What is on your feet right now?
socks- warm feet = warm uterus

11. How did you make your first dollar?
I worked at a putt putt golf course. I handed out clubs and balls. 
12. What superstition do you believe in?
I am not superstitious.  If you carry a rabbits foot around you are not lucky, you are disgusting.
13. What items in your closet do you wear the most?
Calvin Klein jeans. Forever 21 blazers. Yoga pants. 

14. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Sharing my birthday with my Mom is the best. It's not a gift per se but it makes having a cold boring January birthday something special.  Actual gift though would be Joe surprising me with a trip back to college for my 30th. From his planning it all and including my best friends was more than I could ever ask for. 
15. What is on your liquor shelf?
Gin & Wine
16. What is on your kitchen counter?
Keurig. lots of fruit. mail. plants. dog treats.
17. What would you never leave home without?
phone. I usually forget something else. 
18. What movie has the greatest ending?
This Is It.  Backstreet boys in Heaven? Hell yeah.
19. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Kaley Cuoco (I'm obsessed with her). Will Ferrell. Billy Joel. Chelsea Handler. (This is one fucked up dinner party)
20. What is one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?
High school and college are the best years of your life. Stop and smell the teen spirit. 

April 11, 2014

An inside look at infertility

We have not had a lot going on since my sisters came to visit, which has been nice but also boring in the blog world.

So, I thought I would give you an inside "look" into what it's like being a woman dealing with infertility.

There is not one day that goes by that you don't think about getting pregnant
If you are a woman battling infertility then each passing day means something to you. You are either one day closer to starting fertility drugs, one day away from blood work and ultrasounds, one day before testing, one day left of a painful two week waiting period and always one day away from finding out if something worked or that red bitch is going to show her face.. again.

You can't be 100% happy for pregnant people
Sure, you may come off happy for people when they tell you they are pregnant.  You may smile and hug them and say congrats. You may send a card or text wishing them well. You may attend a baby shower and play fun little games. But through all of that you are not 100% happy for them. Why? Because it's not you.  This probably sounds horrible but it is the truth. In the beginning of my fertility journey I was happy for people because I "knew I was next".  But the longer it takes for me to get pregnant, the more I just can't be over the moon for someone else's news.  I am jealous and angry. Not at them, but at the situation.  Don't get me wrong, some of my very best friend were/are pregnant and I am ecstatic for them and am thankful to get to be a part of their children's lives. But when you are dealing with infertility you become selfish in your feelings and it comes back to you. YOU are not pregnant.

There will be people that just don't get it
I am very open with my infertility but there are always those who just don't understand.  The people that say "Relax and it will happen naturally" or "Just get drunk and have sex" are just uneducated.  And you know what? That's ok!  When my friends or sister talk about baby stuff, I am uneducated. I have not been in that situation so I don't know.  And just because someone doesn't know doesn't mean they don't care.  And for people who are overly sensitive and hopped up on hormones it is hard sometimes to remember that.  I can't tell you how many times I have listened to someone pregnant blab about how they feel or a pregnancy symptom and screaming inside for them to just stop but having to sit and listen because it's not their fault.

The world wide web is a very dangerous place 
When you are trying to get pregnant it's like you cannot get enough information. Hours of my free time have been spent reading up on vitamins, procedures, statistics, forums of successful fertility treatments, etc. But with all the useful information, there is the negative.  The people who are on their 5th IUI, the people who finally go through IVF and then miscarry.. the stories go on and on. It's reality but it's also damaging to the process because you really need to have faith in what you are doing.

Fertility Clinics are strange places
When you first walk into a fertility clinic it will be overwhelming. If you get there right when they open there will be a line out the door. As you sit in the waiting room you will not be able to make eye contact with anyone.  The people sitting there do not want you to see them. Here you realize that infertility has no boundaries; it affects the young, old, rich, poor, and all races.  When women bring babies into a fertility clinic every single woman there is given hope.

As I drink a glass of wine and as the hormones rage through my system those are my thoughts on infertility at the moment.  Infertility is one mean mother fucker and there is no sugar coating that.  But along with the bad, there is the good.  The sun is shining and it's warm.  I am fully recovered from my surgery and we are scheduled to start our first round of IUI next week.  I have so much hope for our future that nothing can hold me down.

April 1, 2014

Uptown Photo Shoot

When my sister was in town she had a couple's photo shoot in uptown Charlotte.  We went down a few hours early to have some drinks and walk around.  While there Kalyn did a photo shoot for us girls to have some pictures of our own.

Here are some of my favorite shots she got of yours truly.

You can check out all the other amazing work Kalyn does at www.kalynmannphotography.com .   She is available for any Ohio photo shoots and is also willing to travel for weddings. Just saying. No shame in my plugging game.

March 27, 2014

Where Art Thou?

Things have been so crazy here in Hawleywood since my surgery I just realized I haven't posted since the day I went in.  Here is what we have been up to.

Surgery- Went good. They did find Stage 2 endometriosis and removed it. While there wasn't a ton of endo, the stuff they found was deep and my doctor said he was happy we went in and removed. I now know I do not do well with pain medications or anesthesia. The full recovery was about 7 days.

The IV was the part I dreaded and ended up being the easiest

Job- Last Friday I was given a huge promotion at work. I have been with this company for over 2 years and am thrilled to now be in a management role. I will have 4 direct reports which is scary and also super exciting at that same time. I love my company and my job and am grateful everyday for it!

Visits- Two days after my surgery my friend Heather's brother Bob and his girlfriend came to visit.  While I was not super fun since I was hopped up on pills and still in pain, Joe had a blast.  I did make it out to celebrate St. Patty's Day for a few hours and even had a green beer.

The following weekend my sisters Kalyn and Drew along with Drew's friend Elle came down for Spring Break.  They were here 4 full days and we had so much fun. Mother Nature did not cooperate but we managed to get some outdoor activities like beach picnics and photo shoots done .  Like typical girls, when the weather was bad we went shopping, got pedicures, watched movies and ate, ate, ate.

Make-over station

Photo Shoot downtown- more to come!!

Rainy Day pedi. Only go to places you can drink.

Group selfie

My dogs are super needy- Sorry Cakes!

I had 2 days off while they were in town but had to return on the day they left.  When I got home that evening I walked into my empty house, saw the remains of their trip and lost it. I cried for 20 straight minutes.  After so much company and spending so much quality time with my sisters I was so sad for it to be over.  Thankfully we are heading home for Easter and I get to see everyone again. 

And while I want my people back, I am looking forward to a low key weekend! 

March 11, 2014

To Take My Mind Off Surgery

As you read this I will be getting prepped for my surgery. In order to keep my mind off things I thought I would get a quick blog post in.

Random Babble

* Dear Justin- I used to love you. Like love you so much that I would defend you and your girly voice and silly hair to anyone.  Now look at you?  Mumbling and asking ridiculous questions in court for one of the 100 stupid things you have done lately.  Where is the drum playing, swoopy haired, alto I used to know and love?  I hate to say it but we are done. I will forever bop my head to your catchy beats but I can no longer keep pictures of you up at my desk for fear of embarrassment.

* The Voice-  Seriously the best singing show ever, if not one of just the best shows in general.  I love the banter, I love staring at Adam Levine for hours a week, and I love hearing stupid good people being discovered.  It is the only singing competition I watch (and if you know me then that is saying ALOT). I even, dare I say, lik Shakira and Usher so much that they should be permanent additions. Gasp!

* Chia Seeds-  do you guys ever eat chia seeds?  I am obsessed as of late and bought a whole box to add to my smoothies and plan on making some chia drinks this week. The seeds when soaked puff up and get all tapioca like. It is an acquired taste but boy is it delicious.

* Sunless tanner-  what did we do before this stuff? Oh yeah, fried in tanning beds.  Well I am so glad to have a tube of this stuff and applied my first coat of it this week. People at the office were asking if I went tanning. Guess it's working.

* Eating small meals a day = even more starving Maran.  I don't know about you but these days I am ravenous! Like possibly think I might have a tapeworm, hungry.   Joe and I started eating smaller meals throughout the day to get our metabolism up and now I am hungrier than ever. I really didn't think that was possible.  You can now find me at any time of the day mumbling about how I am starving and I might die and I can't go on without food.  It's really fun.

* Bachelor Confession- I didn't watch the finale.  I normally go to Kate's to watch it but couldn't this week and when 8pm rolled around I just did not feel like it. I didn't even record it. Instead  Joe and I watched episode after episode of House of Cards. And you know what? I am totally ok with that.  JP was seriously the worst bachelor ever and I am thrilled this stupid hard to understand in so many ways season is over.    As for Andi? Not convinced she is going to help turn this thing around next season.

* Hair cut-  My hair is getting so long that when it is down I feel like I might have a panic attack. Every time I schedule an appointment something comes up. If it doesn't happen soon my idea of a trim might turn into a pixie cut.

*Hale Navy - if you are looking for a new color to paint something try this Benjamin Moore blue. It is dark and dreamy and has totally transformed our front door. We painted the inside and out along with all the trim in our house white and wow, what a difference.  Do I have before and after pics you ask?  Who the F do you think I am? Google it.

While it may sound like I am already hopped up on painkillers, sadly I am not. But I can't promise my next post will not be written under the influence.  

March 7, 2014

Under The Knife | The Fertility Journey Continues

It’s been quite a few months since I first posted about our experience trying to get pregnant  and with so many thoughts in my head about it all I wanted to get it down on paper, err web.

The last I mentioned we were in the midst of our first rounds of Clomid.  During the 3 months I was on the drug our life was turned upside down with some family issues and Joe being diagnosed with epilepsy.  While we continued with treatment, our hearts and our heads were not “in it” and it didn’t happen for us.  The drugs really did a toll on my body and we were just mentally exhausted so we decided to take the holidays off from trying.

2014 rolled around and a new year meant a new passion to get our family started.  I had a consultation with my OBGYN and she basically told me that she had done all she could do and she needed to refer us to a specialist.  A specialist? After only 3 months?  Even though the 3 months we tried were not the best we decided that after all this time we maybe should at least hear what a specialist would do.

We were referred to REACH, a leading fertility clinic in the Southeast.  I have talked to some people who have been to REACH and hated it and I have seen from some that they loved it.  We decided to go and at least get a consultation and find out what they had to say about our situation before jumping into anything. I was set up with the same doctor who performed my HSG so I at least knew who we would be meeting with. After our first appointment it was safe to say that both Joe and I were smitten.  Joe was very skeptical going into the whole thing as he felt like we hadn’t really given it our best try with everything we had going on.  But after meeting with our sweet nurse Melissa and then Dr. Katz we both agreed we are in the right place.

Dr. Katz sat us down, listened to our story, and gave us advice.  He didn’t push anything on us which we were thankful for. It was a lot of information being thrown around that we needed to sort through. The first course of action was a ton of blood work for me and some re-testing for Joe.

I had a follow-up appointment yesterday.  My ultrasound looked great, egg reserves healthy and major genetic and hormonal tests all came back normal.  But there was one blood test that was off.  The test is called CA-125 which is used to diagnose ovarian cancer but has been found that 30-60% of all cases of Endometriosis can have an elevated level of this blood test.  

Endometriosis. A word I have heard for years and have always thought deep down that I had. Painful and heavy periods have plagued me my whole life and here I am, at 31, being told this could be preventing me from getting pregnant.  All of Joe’s testing came back looking completely normal which was a relief but now here it is.. I am the one that is the problem. My body is the one stopping us from having a family. 

Dr. Katz laid it all on the table, I have 3 options at this point.  1) Start fertility meds again and schedule IUI  2) get a shot monthly which will force my body into menopause but will get rid of the endometriosis or 3) have surgery to remove the endo.

I have never had surgery. Not a broken bone, sprain, nothing.  I wanted to badly to say “let’s go with option 1”!   But in my heart I know that surgery is the only option right now.  We won’t even know that I actually have enometriosis until they go in and check things out but if this is the one thing stopping us how can I not do it?

So while this all sounds like bad news, it really isn’t.  I will be scheduled to have the surgery next week.   My sweet Dr. Katz will be the one to do the surgery so I already feel comfortable with that.  It is about 4 days of downtown and the best part?  Next cycle we can immediately start our first round of IUI and the chance of it being successful will greatly increase if the endo is removed.

So that is where we stand. Surgery next week and a bright looking April!

February 23, 2014

Shaping Up

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and now with warmer weather I find everyone pinning spring outfits, sandals and the dreaded bathing suits.  

Be still my heart

I mentioned how I put on about 15-20 pounds late last year (thank you fertility drugs) and I am still trying to take them off.  Just the thought of putting on a bikini gives me anxiety.  Living in Ohio you don't really need to be "bikini ready" until about June; unless you are going on vacation before that. But living in North Carolina, March is pretty much when the winter wear is put away for good and the skimpy shorts and dresses come out.  I will be back on fertility drugs this spring so I know I will be gaining more weight again soon so it's time to step up my game.  

I tried a yeast free diet after the new year. If you aren't familiar you pretty much eat meat and vegetables. No fruit or booze for the first 2 weeks.  Want to know how long I lasted?   5 DAYS.  I didn't realize how much fruit I normally eat until I had to cut it out completely.  And eating a diet mainly of animal protein made me sick to my stomach.  This diet works great for many but it just was not for me. 

One quick convo with Joe and we decided to go back to a mostly pescatarian diet.  We did this for 2 years. We understand what we can and can't eat.  We cut out animal protein and most dairy.   I found that I made better choices on this diet and felt better.  I never cheated during that two years but I also didn't make myself either. I just did not want any type of meat AT ALL during that time.  I find that when I prohibit things I just want them more. So if there is a meal that I want meat, I will eat it.  But that will be a rarity.   I will not cook meat at home.  Thank goodness I have a very willing husband who will do this with me. Makes meal planning so much easier. 

I am going to bump up my exercise as well.  I normally do spin twice a week.  I am going to add two weight training sessions (either at the gym or at home).  We also are trying to incorporate a weekend hike with the pups as well.  I love finding great workout motivation on Pinterest too.  

Let's do this!