September 25, 2014

Our Story: The Beginning

Today marks 5 years since me and the Hubs started dating!  So I thought, what would be better occasion than this to tell the story of how we began!

To give a little background, I'm going to wind up just a little bit further, to the springish of 2009.  I was an economics major in my senior year of college.  As an economics major, I knew full well about the economic climate, considering I took classes on the start of the recession, and wrote my senior thesis on it. So I knew that summer of 2009 would be a pretty bad time to try to look for a job.  I decided I should go to grad school instead, though I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do.

I applied to a business school or two, and if I recall correctly got in to one.  I also applied to a Catholic law school.  I had taken the LSAT, more for fun than anything else (I'm a dork, I like test taking) and only applied to this one law school.  I actually distinctly remember finishing the essays for the application on a flight to visit my parents, and rushing to type it all up and submit it before it was too late, because it was the absolutely last day to apply.  So it was decently surprising that I got in, and with a scholarship!  I took that as a sign of where God wanted me to be, and decided that was where I was going.

I hadn't applied myself completely in college, and was determined that with law school things would be different.  I resolved that I would devote myself to my studies completely and not let myself get distracted by anything trivial, like dating.  I remember talking to my confessor at the time and freaking out about it.  I felt called to go to law school, which would mean I would have to study, and then focus on my career, and I would never have time for dating and I would wind up alone.  I remember the priest's response, that if marriage was my vocation, that would come first.  Little did I know that I was about to discover how wrong I was and how right the priest was :).

Since I had just been accepted to a school, I did what any social media addict would do,  I joined the facebook group for the incoming class.  In the group there were some upperclassmen who were offering advice on how to prepare.  One of those upperclassmen facebook friended me, so I wrote him a message and we began to talk about what brought us to that particular school.  He sent a beautiful long message about how he had felt God had also called him to that school and the circumstances surrounding it, and I....forgot to message him back.  I was busy going back and forth between my college (I was taking a summer school class to prepare) and home across the country and kinda let that slide.  Oops!

When I got back the college town, also the same area where the law school was, I hung out with my college friends while I settled in for the law school orientation.  One night, we decided to go out to one of our favorite pubs.  As we're sitting outside talking, I noticed a guy that seemed... familiar.  It was that guy I had been messaging!  He was deeply involved in conversation with his friends, so he wasn't noticing me.  After an hour or two I got the guts and went to go introduce myself.  He was energetic, happy, friendly, and so handsome!  There was definitely something about him!   He told me, long after the fact, that when he saw me, he knew it was something special too.  He says its was like everything went from black and white to color.  At the end of the night I gave him my phone number and hoped to hang out again soon.

We started hanging out little by little.  He was "randomly" assigned as my mentor in a school program that assigned an upperclassman to a first year student (He may have had a friend that was involved in the "random" assigning). He invited me to play volleyball with a group of his friends (where I apparently gave him a look which melted his heart).

Our first picture together, playing volleyball

On Sundays, I started attending the mass he went to (I normally went at a different time) and having lunch with him and his friends.  We started studying together.  Yea, pretty soon we were hanging out almost every day, but always in a group, friendly way (though everyone else could see that there was something going on, haha).

It was at one of those Sunday lunches, about a month after I had introduced myself to him at the pub, that someone mentioned they like sushi.  I mentioned I like sushi, and lo and behold the guy liked sushi too!  So we decided we'd go Friday to get some sushi.  On Wednesday that week, after a study session, the guy asked me if we could "upgrade Friday to a date".  Well of course I said yes!  Little did I know, the guy had called my parents and asked for permission to date me, and was talking to my sister (who I lived with at the time) about good places to take me on our date!

On September 25, 2009, he picked me up and took me to my favorite sushi place by the beach.  We were both so nervous through the entire dinner!  Then we went to an adorable restaurant that made fresh donuts for dessert.  We sat on the second floor of the restaurant, which we had all to ourselves and ate the donuts with our chopsticks from the sushi restaurant.  We were so silly, and I was just so comfortable with him!  After that, we went for a walk on the beach, where he asked me to be his girlfriend, and we had our first kiss!  It was a beautiful beginning to a beautiful relationship!

On our first date!

And that's the story of how we met and started dating.... and how we hit all of the major cliches: we met online, we met through school, we met at a bar, and started dating through church :).

September 22, 2014

Little Happies - Five!

Linking up with Stephanie @ Blessed to Be for another Little Happies  Monday!

I've spent a good amount of my time in the last week (and month really) focused on a friend's wedding, which was this weekend, so these are going to be a little wedding themed.


This is kind of cheating because its from two weeks ago, but since I missed last week, I figure I can include it.  I mentioned last time that I was getting ready for a the bachelorette party.  Well it happened and we had a great time!  The five of us girls have known each other since high school, and its always great to get together! We did some shopping, just a great dinner, went to a whiskey bar, and checked out some speakeasies!  All super fun.  Just to show off, here's the loot from the party survival kits I put together for the girls :).


The rehearsal dinner was held on the outside patio of a beautiful restaurant.  While the dinner itself was great, a highlight of it was that Up was playing on a big screen in the plaza next to the restaurant.  Up is definitely my favorite movie, so that was awesome!  Though I'm sure I looked crazy when I teared up, I just can't help it with that movie!


Ok, since this has all been about the wedding events, I should probably mention the wedding itself.  It was beautiful seeing my best friend marry the man she loves.  There was a perfect ceremony, and a reception, with much drinking and dancing!  One really sweet part of the whole day was when my best friend was given a bible that had been passed down through generations in her family:

- four-

Ok, just to have something not wedding related, the Paleo diet is going well. I'm down 6 pounds so far.  Considering the parties I've been going to, and all the cheating on the diet I've been doing  at them, I think that's pretty good!  I'm having fun finding recipes to cook too.  I just made a meatza tonight and it was super tasty!

Hope everyone has a happy week!

September 18, 2014

Embracing my Crosses

This is kind of a follow up from last weeks post about offering my crosses. This Sunday was the feast of the Holy Cross, and the readings and homily really got me thinking again. In the first reading, we heard about the Israelites grumbling against God in the wilderness after God had lead them out of Egypt.

So often I find myself like the Israelites. Although God has led me and continues to do so, I grumble. I forget all that God has saved me from and given me and get discontented with my current state. However, God is using my current state for something, though I don't know what. Another reminder of what God could be doing with my crosses, this email came from Divine Mercy Daily:

"It so happened that I fell again into a certain error, in spite of a sincere resolution not to do so — even though the lapse was a minor imperfection and rather involuntary — and at this I felt such acute pain in my soul that I interrupted my work and went to the chapel for a while. Falling at the feet of Jesus, with love and a great deal of pain, I apologized to the Lord, all the more ashamed because of the fact that in my conversation with Him after Holy Communion this very morning I had promised to be faithful to Him. Then I heard these words: If it hadn't been for this small imperfection, you wouldn't have come to Me (Diary, 1293)."

And also Matthew 16:26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" I'll admit that my spiritual life had been stagnant the last few years. I went to Mass every Sunday and said prayers with the Hubs at night, but that was it. My prayer life had kind of atrophied. In the last few months, what with all the highs and lows of treatment, I've relied on God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints more, and have felt them pulling me closer. I've realized how much I am not in control.

Perhaps if I had a child, if I hadn't had to deal with infertility, my spiritual life would have continued to deteriorate. Maybe God is using my infertility to bring me close to him. If that is the case, I should gladly take this struggle than to lose my whole soul. I should accept the suffering in this life and realize that it will hopefully benefit me in the next.

Yea, that's a bunch of shoulds. Right now, I accept these things logically, but in my heart I still struggle with it. I told the Hubs today, I realize that I have to have a cross, that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Hopefully God can get this through my thick skull and help me accept and embrace my crosses in my heart.

Cycle Review 3 (part 2)

So picking up where I last left off, I had had a P+4 ultrasound, but Dr. S wasn't sure whether I'd ovulated or not.  Fast forward to today, P+10.  I'll admit, I had started getting my hopes up because I normally start spotting on P+8 or 9, but I haven't seen any spotting yet.  I had started cramping though.

The results of my blood tests weren't great, progesterone was 14 (low normal), estradiol was 6 (too low).  Inconclusive as far as whether I ovulated.  On to the ultrasound.  Dr. S checked both sides, no corpus luteum.  So no ovulation. Again.

Dr. S offered me 3 options: 1) continue with letrezole, 2) try injectibles, 3) proceed to the OWR.  Me and the hubs ruled out injectibles for now, and decided we should proceed with the OWR.  Unfortunately, the earliest I can schedule for is December.  So, from now until then I have the option of giving Letrezole another try, though Dr. S doesn't think I'll respond to it.

I asked for the prescription, but I'm not sure I'll fill it.  after 3 cycles of craziness, it would kind of be nice to be back to myself for a bit.  On the other hand, I do want to feel like I did everything I could before heading to surgery.  So me and the hubs have some thinking and praying to do.

In the mean time, at least I know I'm 100% ok to drink at the wedding I'm in on Saturday :).  Gotta love an open bar!  And I'm comforting myself tonight with two thing I couldn't have if I was potentially pregnant: sushi and wine!

September 13, 2014

Cycle Review 3 (part 1)

Well this was supposed to be cycle review three but things didn't turn out as planned.   Let me back up really quick and recap.  We did everything the same this cycle except we switched to Letrezole (Femera) from Clomid.  All in all, not a bad cycle.  This biggest side effect I noticed was some irrational anger that I couldn't really control, but I'll take anger any day over depression.  The worst day I was upset at my boss about something and ripped up a piece of paper he had  written on for me to type up.  That was  fun to tape back together, lol.

So, because the ultrasounds I have been getting outside the doctor's office haven't been showing her what she needs, I came into her office for a P+4 ultrasound to check if I ovulated.  It was supposed to function as the cycle review too.  On the positive lining was good.  I was worried about that as I had problems with that  my first cycle on Clomid, and my CM really dried up this cycle.  But everything checked out.

As for whether I ovulated, Dr. S wasn't sure whether what she was seeing was a corpus luteum or a cyst, because apparently my ovaries have a bunch of little cysts (no big cysts though, yay) that get in the way.  Soooo... I go back in a week for another ultrasound and to check my blood work.  My boss is so not going to be pleased that I have to take another afternoon off, especially when I promised him this appointment was actually eliminating the necessity of an extra visit.  Oh well... not much I can do about that.

I was grumpy for quite a while after the appointment.  Not only am I nervous about getting more time off (which I'm sure will be fine), I'm also frustrated, mostly just with my body and the situation.  This might seem weird, but I was nearly sure I hadn't actually ovulated and was kind of fine, even almost happy about that.  That would mean we could stop with the meds, schedule the ovarian wedge resection, and hope things are better after that.  Also, after two cycles of not ovulating, I figured it wouldn't be worth it to get my hopes up that something had actually happened.

But now... now its harder not to get my hopes up.  And when I'm being super negative, like I was after the appointment, I tend to see it as a lose-lose situation: either I waste time and emotions on another appointment just to find out that was a cyst and I didn't ovulate.  Or, maybe I did ovulate, which means we keep trying the meds and put off surgery, which puts time and potentially a lot of money at stake, if we end up having to wait till next year only for our deductible and out of pocket max to reset (and likely go up).  I can't even let myself consider the possibility that we could conceive, that's just too difficult and unlikely.

I know I need an attitude adjustment, and that there's a positive side.  I know if I did ovulate that means my body is trying to work at least.  I already see that my body's responding to the things I'm taking by my lining being better.  And I don't know if its the treatment or the diet or both, but I am feeling better than I have in years.  I fall asleep faster, sleep better, and have more energy, which is making a huge difference.  Again, I guess it all comes down to me trusting that things will be ok.  I have to do everything I can and just leave the rest in God's hands.

September 9, 2014

Little Happies - Four!

Its another Little Happies Monday Tuesday! (I didn't quite get this finished yesterday, oops).


I got yellow stamps! Yep, these guys

If you're not familiar with the Creighton model, yellow stamps help deal with continuous CM, which is a problem of mine.  My chart was all white babies (the stickers used for CM).  I've almost been charting for a year, but there were some delays in the process.  Luckily, things finally came together and we've got these!  I'm a little nervous, but I think this is going to help my charts make more sense, so yay!


The Laudate app (for android)(for itunes)!  As it is advertised, its the #1 free catholic app.  I've had it for at least a year now, and I absolutely love it!  Its got everything a catholic needs: prayers, readings, the daily office, rosary and chaplet (with multiple audio choices), a confession guide, and much more! Seriously, look at the menu (stolen from the app page):

Since my car has bluetooth connectivity, I can set up the audio and get some prayers in on the way to work! Its so helpful and great!  Seriously, if you don't have the app, you need to download it now!


The paleo/primal diet.  Like I've mentioned, a week ago I started easing into the paleo/primal diet.  I fit somewhere between the two I think, I'm not exactly sure what all the differences are yet.  Anyways, its going well and I've already felt a difference!  I feel so much more clear headed and energetic.  This weekend I finally had enough energy to do the work my garden needed (I have no idea how any of it stays alive).  I've got a ways to go, but its looking much better!  So yay for being healthy!  Now to buy a scale and see if its making a difference there.


Good friends!  With my infertility and the side effects from the meds, it can be hard to be around babies and pregnant women at times.  However, one of my good friends is pregnant, and I don't really want to avoid her.  Luckily, she's super sweet and could not be better about being delicate about it all with me. I don't feel uncomfortable around her, and I'm so happy that I can spend time with her and be there for her through this.

- five-

Bachelorette party!  No not mine, that was a while ago.  Another good friend's bachelorette party is coming up this weekend, which I've been helping to plan, and I'm excited!  I went to the swapmeet this weekend and picked up the cutest flasks for everyone at less than $10 each!  They all have this on them:

I love it!

Hope everyone has a good week!

September 7, 2014

Offering my Cross

Mass last Sunday had some readings that really hit home and really challenged me, especially this line from the Gospel, which was Matthew 16: 21-27 "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,take up his cross, and follow me. "  In his homily, our pastor talked about how having our cross and carrying it is central to christian life.  Then he challenged the congregation to offer our crosses to God, and that God would make them fruitful and reveal the fruit to us.

Also, as I mentioned in the last little happies post, I've signed up for a daily email of an excerpt from the Diary of St. Faustina. A number of the emails recently focused on the importance trusting God and His will.

Like I mentioned here, I've been struggling with trusting in God and His plan.  Ever since I've been aware of our infertility, my prayers have been some version of, "God please give us a baby", "God why haven't you given us a baby?", and "God, your will be done, but please let that be giving us a baby".  I could never pray an unconditional "Your will be done".  The thought of praying that terrified me.  All I could think was, what if God's will is different that what I want, what if I ask that his will be done and that involves me not having a child soon, or ever.  I know its awful, but I didn't want to let go and trust God.  I don't know why, but the idea of praying that felt to me like giving up, like admitting defeat, and that there was an alternative to us having a child.

But last Sunday, during mass, I thought about it and took our pastor's challenge.  I basically said "fine God, here are my crosses, here are my weight issues and my infertility, take them and do what you will.  Please just let them have some fruit, please don't let this suffering be for nothing."  And during the week I began praying that Jesus and his Mother help me to trust in Him.

I didn't realize it right away, but thinking back over the week, the graces really began flow from then on and began change things.  I felt more drawn to praying the rosary in my car to work, which has really helped my prayer life that has tended to be very stagnant lately.  I've started seeing how my prayers I thought were being ignored have been answered in ways I wasn't expecting.

On the weight front, I felt inspiration to start eating better.  The willpower I'd been struggling to find in the last year finally showed up.  Even though I haven't been sticking 100 (or even 80)% to Paleo, and I totally cheated all today, I have been making marked changes in my diet, and I'm already feeling better. 

I started to see, in subtle and not so subtle ways, fruit of my infertility.  I started to see the many things we've been able to do and learn that would've been impossible if we had a child at this point, how it brought me to creighton which has allowed me to tell other people about it, and to see what other ways I could help people due to my infertility.  Today, that last one really started to become clear, and doors have started opening to have that happen.  Its nowhere near cement yet, its really only some ideas, but I'll write about it if any of it does become more clear or come to fruition.

Most of all, in starting to let go of my death grip on my will, and becoming more open to His, I have felt peace and a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders.  My eyes started to open to the fact that God knows infinitely more than I do, and knows what will be best for me.  I know its elementary, but sometimes my pride gets in the way of admitting that. I've started to understand that there might be alternatives to what I want, and that might be ok.  

I'm not saying everything is perfect, I had plenty of bad, frustrating, weak, and fruitless moments this week, I haven't had a 100% turnaround, and I'm not saying all (or even most) of the difficulty of my infertility is gone.   All I'm saying is that God is merciful, and will do His work in our lives when we let him, no matter reluctantly that is.

September 6, 2014

So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

I haven't blogged much on the weight journey front, so I think its about time I gave an update on that lovely topic.  Well, on a kind of positive note, between April and July the rapid weight gain stopped and I seemed to have leveled out around 206.  Yes, that is still very far from a healthy number.   Dr. S tested my Insulin, and the number has more than double from last year.  It more than likely is a big factor in why I'm not responding to any of the meds and not ovulating.  I started googling around and really scared myself about what could happen if I don't get my weight under control.  Also, I have a wedding coming up at the end of the month, and I'm scared to try on my bridesmaid dress that I bought mach in February/March.

All that is a lead in to say, I've decided to try  something new.  This week I started easing myself into the Paleo diet.  In case you're unfamiliar with it, this chart, which I found here, sums it up pretty well:

Okay To EatAvoid
Lean MeatsProcessed Food & Sugars
Nuts & SeedsStarches
Healthy FatsAlcohol

I can't tell you how many people have told me its helped someone they know with PCOS (which bugged the daylights out of me at the time) and even two of my doctors have suggested it.  For a while I dismissed the diet as ridiculous.  I still don't believe in the premise really, that we should eat like cavemen, but I've come to be impressed by the results, and the general low carb/ fresh food thing is attractive to me.  So I've caved (almost pun intended).

So far this week it hasn't been bad.  I've got a freezer full of proteins thanks to Costco, and I went back there to stock up on fruits, veggies, nuts, and coconut oil (part of me hated buying something so trendy). Luckily, the Paleo Diet is super popular right now, so finding guides and recipes online is super easy.  So far, I adjusted the blue apron poblano pepper recipe to be more healthy/Paleo friendly, which turned out great.   I also made myself a frittata from here which is amazing!

My biggest problem is dairy. Yes, dairy is on that avoid list, but I looove  dairy.  Seriously, since I was a kid I've usually had at least a glass or two of milk a day, cheese is my best friend, I'm a huge fan of Greek yogurt, and cereal (with milk of course) is my go to snack.  This was also one of my biggest reasons for not trying the Paleo diet sooner.  I tried to research whether dairy is actually good or bad for you, but the studies made my head spin.  There are so many contrary findings and opinions, I have no idea what to think.

So I've decided to make a compromise on the issue.  I'm going to limit my dairy the best I can, especially when it comes to straight up milk and cheese, though that makes me sad.  Yogurt gets to stay for the time being though, considering I've found some articles (like this one) that seem to indicate yogurt might not be all that bad.

That's my summary of starting up!  Here's hoping I can stick with it and see some results!