October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes on Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day

Happy Halloween! I have to be honest though, I’m not a huge Halloween person. Growing up, my parents weren’t huge fans, I think the last time I went trick or treating was around 4th grade. That, along with my having an aversion to scary things (even the most mild of things can give me nightmares, I’m a wimp), has led to me just not being super excited about Halloween. I’m not anti Halloween,  I’m just more likely to buy a bag of candy for myself and hang out at home than to get dressed up or decorate for it (which is probably exactly what I’ll be doing this year).

Back in college, I did tend to go all out and dress up for the school wide party.  I think my favorite costume was when me and two other friends dressed up as a blonde joke.  We had a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead, and went around telling blonde jokes.  It was pretty entertaining.  (In case you’re curious, I was the blonde out of the trio). 

I think my creepiest Halloween was the year I had to fly on Halloween.  I don’t know why, there was just something about the airports and planes while taking a red-eye flight on a half empty plane that was a little spooky, haha. 

While I might not get excited about dressing myself up, I am a big fan of dressing my pups up.  They might have a small wardrobe of their own. Last year I got my poor dog a koala and shark costume, though my favorite was the pig costume for my parent’s pug. 

This year I seriously considered getting these for my dogs:

Wonder Woman Dog

Thor Dog
The Hubs is a huge action hero/marvel fan, and Thor is his favorite, so it would’ve been perfect.  I don't think the dogs would've loved them though, and since we didn’t really have anywhere to take them, I couldn’t really justify the cost for the sole purpose of putting pictures up on facebook.  They sure would’ve been cute though. 

Although my parents weren’t into Halloween, they were into All Saints day. One year I was dressing up as some nun saint (though I can’t remember which one) and actually borrowed a habit from some Dominicans we’re friends with (I may have mentioned before I’m a pretty big fan of Dominicans).  I’ll have to see if I can find a picture of that somewhere.  That was probably the best costume I had for All Saints Day. 

Speaking of All Saints Day, I saw this post by Simcha Fisher and it made me think about which saints I like more or less.  For the longest time, I had a really silly reason for disliking St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  You see, my favorite saint has always been St. Theresa of Avila.  I was born on her feast day, picked her as my confirmation saint, and even was lucky enough to visit Avila when I was younger.  I've always admired that she was intellectual, spiritual, and seemed to have a good sense of humor and balance as well.  I’m a big fan of her writing too. 

Anyways, when I was really young I decided that you couldn’t like two saints with the same name, but that they were rivals and you had to pick one, lol.  So I was firmly pro-St. Theresa of Avila and against any other saints by the name of Theresa.  Even though rationally I know that’s silly, that underlying feeling has stuck with me for most of my life, and I’ve disliked Thérèse of Lisieux for no reason.  This year I’ve tried to learn more about her and get over my Theresa issue, and she really does seem like a lovely saint, but man, deep seated ideas like that are hard to get rid of.

This year I’ve also been doing more thinking about All Souls Day.  It’s a great opportunity to remember and pray for our friends and family members that have passed away.  My maternal grandfather’s brother, so I guess my great uncle, has been on my mind lately.  He passed away when I was very young, like 5 or 6, and I honestly don’t remember much about him, other than that he had some troubles.  So I don’t really know why he’s been on my mind, but maybe he needs some prayers. So if you could join me with praying for him especially on this All Souls Day, I’d appreciate it.  I’ll pray for you and your lost loved ones too. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

October 30, 2014

Hope and Hopelessness

As this cycle seems to be winding down (P+13 and closing in on CD 40) I've been experiencing a little bit too much of these two feelings.  This was our last medicated cycle before the surgery, our last chance, in a way.  It was also my best cycle in a long time, except for a late peak.  I'm not sure if I ovulated, I didn't feel like doing post peak testing (I'm getting a little tired of being poked and prodded), but there were some symptoms I experienced that made me think that I might have. Thanks to all of that, I started to let myself hope.

 Now, I'll admit, I'm a realist bordering on pessimist, definitely not in the glass half full/ optimist camp.  So for most of this IF journey my default has been hopelessness, because I've learned that hope can just hurt so much.  I'm a math kind of person, and I've watched myself be on the wrong side of too many statistics.  With all the time that has passed and all the treatments that have been ineffective, I know what the odds are and that they aren't in our favor (and now I want to watch hunger games, lol).

I mean, when we first started out, sure I thought it wouldn't take too long, but as the weeks, months, and eventually years flew by, I realized that wasn't going to happen, or at least not easily.  As time went by, I started to talk about our potential future children as more of an "if" than a "when".  And slowly even that has gotten too painful most of the time.  I realized that our hopes and dreams of children seemed to become more of a fantasy than a possible reality. And I tried to just compartmentalize all of that away.  I told (more like broke down to) the Hubs that it was too hard, that it hurt too much to be let down month after month.  So he became our designated hoper, and I stayed cynical.

SoI knew the danger in letting myself hope this cycle. But for some reason I just couldn't help it.  I don't know if it makes sense, but as much as it hurts to hope, it also hurts not to.  As much as I can understand our chances in my head, my heart still wants the hopes and dreams.  So I hoped.  And like waters flowing through a broken dam, all the held back dreams came pouring in. It started with nurseries, after watching a favorite movie and thinking how cute a nursery with that theme would be.  Soon enough I had a whole pinterest board of nursery ideas (secret of course, haha). Then I started to think about names, and how I would fit in the name of the saint whose novena I was praying.  I planned how I would tell the Hubs, and  then my parents, and how perfect it would be to tell the Hubs's parents when we visit them.  I looked at cute little baby clothes online and dreamed of what outfits I could put a sweet little baby in.  So yea, I went a little overboard.  That's what happens when you don't let yourself hope for so long

Before charting I used to take pregnancy tests regularly.  With crazy cycles ranging from twenty to sixty days or more, a monthly test was required to keep me sane.  After I started charting, it was easier not to test, and it became extremely rare for me to do so.  Actually I can only think of once or maybe twice that I have tested in the last year.  That being said, this cycle I just couldn't wait.  So P+11 and P+13(today) I tested.  Of course they were negative, I should've known they would be, but it still hurt, just like all the times before.  Crashing back to reality always hurts.

I don't know if I regret getting myself so caught up in my fantasy.  Being hopeless is hard. Its hard to face day after day that our journey may never end in us having a child, to keep telling myself not to look at or think about baby things because they'll never be for me, that I just want to get all this medical treatment over with so I can know for sure that it will never happen.  A lot of the times that is my goal, just go through all of this so I can finally know we don't have a chance, its so hard to let myself even think of the alternative.

Hoping feels like setting myself free.  I can believe in possibilities, in miracles, in chances.  I feel free for my spirit to soar, but the higher I soar, the further the fall. And when I come back, it makes me all the more bitter, and all the more I try not to again.

All of that is to say, I don't know what is better, and I don't know what attitude to take.  I wish I could strike a balance, but I can't, I seem to take one extreme or the other.  All I know is, this journey involves a lot of both of them.  Maybe one day I'll figure it out?

October 25, 2014

How I Found Creighton & NaPro

I know I've talked about my journey with PCOS and infertility, and my current treatments with my NaPro doctor, but I don't think I've told the story about how I found Creighton, and NaPro.  Its a bit of a long story, and spans more than 5 years, so bear with me.

The story starts back in around 2006, my sophomore year in college.  I had only recently (within the last year or so) been diagnosed with PCOS, though I had figured something was wrong for years.  At that time, I found a naturopathic chiropractor to treat with. She mentioned to me on a few occasions that she worked with a lady that taught nfp, and helped people with medical problems like mine.  The problem with that was that the lady was the wife of one of my professors.  I was mortified at the idea of talking to my professor's wife about my cycles, so I didn't pursue that further, and quickly forgot about that.

As the years went by in college, I heard more about NFP from friends that were planning to get married.  It was interesting, but I had always heard that because of my PCOS, I couldn't use NFP (huge misconception that many people have), so I filed that information away as things to share with other people that I didn't need to look into myself.

In 2009, I was graduating from college.  As I went to a very small, conservative, Catholic college, we usually had catholic speakers at graduations.  For my graduation, our speaker was a catholic doctor who had something to do with helping couples with infertility, Dr. Thomas Hilgers (just the founder of the Pope Paul the VI institute and creator of the Creighton Model).  He gave a great speech about the culture of life that was very inspiring.  But at that time I wasn't thinking about my possible fertility (little did I know that I would meet the Hubs only a few months after that) so again, I didn't really think about that or look into it anymore.

A couple years after that, me and the now Hubs were engaged and went to the engaged encounter retreat required my our parish.  At the retreat, a doctor and her husband gave a talk about NFP, and how she helped people with fertility issues.  This time I was aware that my PCOS could potentially be a problem for us.  However, I was busy with school and I didn't really want to start seeing a doctor right before moving back to my home state, so I quickly put that idea out of my mind.

We moved back to my home state and got married, and as the weeks and months went by, I started to worry.  A friend told me about a catholic ob/gyn she had gone to, and gave me the doctor's card. We weren't quite ready yet to seek medical treatment, so again, I filed away the information for another day.

As months turned into years, I was more and more worried.  I started researching and googling and stumbled across the fertilitycare website which listed  few doctors in my area.  I thought I recognized one of the doctor's names as one my friend had recommended, though by then I had lost the card, so I leaned towards that doctor.  Funny thing is, although that doctor turned out to be the perfect doctor for me, when I talked to my friend about it, she had never heard of that doctor before. Of course the doctor introduced me to Creighton and NaPro.

I realize after writing all of this out, it seems like a whole bunch of random occurrences, ending with my googling and finding my doctor, a pretty anticlimactic story, but for me its something more.  For me its so clear that God was guiding me every step of the way, and continued to guide me when I ignored the not so subtle signs I was given.  So although I'm in a place where there is so much uncertainty, I do know for certain that God has led me to this doctor, and that is something I can be at peace about.

What the outcome will be, I have no idea.  It could be I end up pregnant (best case scenario), but I know that also might not happen.  It could be just God steering me away from doctors that would have tried to pressure me into illicit treatments, or giving me the opportunity to exhaust the moral options before coming to the conclusion that biological children won't happen for us.  I don't know, and probably won't for a while, but I do know that whatever it is will be part of God's plan, and that makes me (at least a little) less anxious about it all.

October 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes: First Post Edition

Since this is my first time doing 7 Quick Takes, I'm counting my introduction as a take.  I've seen all the fun and people joining in on this for a while, so I finally decided to join in myself.  Here's hoping I can actually come up with six more things :). Here goes some random rambling in no particular order:

So I've been a little cranky lately (ok, maybe I'm always cranky, but more cranky than usual).  This morning I was especially...uncheerful.  There were stressful things going on at work all week, I got a text that didn't sit with me the right way (more my fault than the person texting), and I was feeling all sorts of road ragey.  So not a great start to the day.

Well, as I've mentioned before, I've been getting emails from blessed is she with the daily readings. This morning I took some time to read over them. Today's first reading felt like it was directed right at me with God smacking me upside the head:

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Oh.  Well, that's about the opposite of how I've been acting.  So it looks like I've got a challenge. I think sometimes we all need God smacking us upside the head.

So after the flurry of home projects, I kind of got a little burnt out.  And by burnt out I mean stopped in the middle of projects and...left them that way for the last week or two.  Actually, I literally dropped what I was working on... like dropped bags and boxes in our entry way that haven't quite moved yet.  Its getting a little hard to navigate around, and we're starting to look a little bit like hoarders, so I think I have to pick things up again this weekend.

Ok, kind of part of the last one, the biggest project right now is turning the den (which is currently just the dog's room) into an exercise room. The Hubs (I'm not taking responsibility for this idea) decided that instead of paying for gym memberships, that haven't used more than a handful of times in the two years that we've had them, we could buy some stuff for our home with the same money.  We found some good deals online on some basics and ordered them. Funny thing is, my box got here a week ago... and I've been too lazy to open it and put it together yet (hey, the reviews, that I of course read after the fact, said it would take hours).  I was supposed to pick up the Hub's box from UPS (long story), but I also put off cleaning out my car so I could fit it in there for a week.  The plan is to get it today (I finally cleaned out my car and added that to the stuff sitting in our entry way), but I feel like this does not bode well for the actual prospect of exercising...

Fall is absolutely my favorite season.  I like fall clothes, all the pumpkins, leaves getting crunchy on the ground, and cooler weather (though its not quite the same on the west coast as other places).  Unfortunately, fall keeps refusing to show up over here. This week had finally started to cool down a tiny bit after weeks of heat waves, now this weekend its going to be in the high 80s again.  I've had enough of this, its almost November!

I mailed back a wedding RSVP today!  It doesn't seem like a big deal, but I have a really bad habit of never RSVPing for anything and waiting for the poor stressed out bride/host to confirm that I'm coming.  I know, I'm awful.  Especially after getting married and knowing how annoying it is when people do that.  But I did send this one out... only a day after the RSVP by date. (for some reason I kept telling myself the deadline was today).  Maybe next time I'll actually RSVP to something on time.  If people don't stop inviting me to things because of my bad RSVPing manners that is.

The paleo/primal thing.  I keep meaning to do an update post on it.  I really should, as I'm still trying to follow it, and I really do enjoy it.  I just bore myself whenever I start typing up a post on it.  So quick recap, lots of tasty (and/or burnt) food has been made, and much pinteresting has been involved.  Well... except for this week.  This week I declared a cheat week, for no good reason other than all the tasty carbs were calling my name, and stress, and  the previously mentioned grumping.  But I've learned that after all the clean eating, the stomach doesn't really tolerate all the junk again.  Good motivation to get back on the bandwagon!

Thank for stopping by!  See you next time!  For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

October 15, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, today is my birthday!  Its already off to a great start: the Hubs and I kicked off the day by going to Mass, where the priest talked about my favorite saint, St. Theresa of Avila (we're allowed to have favorites, right?),  I got some Starbucks on the way to work (I decided that I'm allowed to cheat on my birthday, especially for a salted caramel mocha), and the Hubs surprised me with flowers! (I apologize for all of my less than stellar photography that follows)

don't mind my messy desk in the background

I've started thinking back over the year and realized what an awesome year it was, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights here:

  • Right before my birthday last year, we closed on our Condo, our first home! Pretty big life decision and commitment!  We spent a few months fixing it up, then got to move in (and finally move out of my parents' house) right before Christmas.  

Kitchen before & after

fireplace before & after (my favorite project)

After we moved in

  • I worked on my first trial, and won on the majority of the legal issues against a very experienced legal team, yay!

           (Working late nights, weekends, and off the charts stress not pictured).

  • We got a new pup!  We are so thrilled to have Jack Jack in our home :). Even our other pooch has warmed up to the sweet ball of fur and energy (She was skeptical at first). 

Little guy's first day home

His favorite spot- on the keyboard

  • We went on some mini weekend adventures to the local wine country and beach town.

So beautiful

I <3 wine tasting

  • We went on a big adventure to Rome for the canonization of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II.  That was a whirlwind three days, but such an amazing, once in a lifetime trip!

Crowded St. Peter's Square during the canonization

At the Trevi Fountain

  •  We had good times hanging out with my nephew and became his Godparents!

I love this little guy

  • I got a new car! (Much needed, after many expensive breakdowns)

  • My best friend got married!

  • We finally started medical treatment on my infertility.  And although we haven't gotten the hoped for result yet, at least we've tackled some issues along the way.

  • And of course, I started blogging again here, and have found a beautiful community of support.

Those are just the highlights I can think of off the top of my head.  There were so many many more moments of beauty and grace.  Thinking back over this all, I'm in awe of how much God has blessed me in this year.  I know I'm not deserving, especially considering the little things I complain about so much of the time.  I need to step back and look at the big picture more, and realize how beautiful and blessed my life is.  And thank you to everyone who made my world brighter in the past year :).  I can't wait to find out what the next has in store for me!

October 13, 2014

Little Happies- Seven!

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


I mentioned last week that we went on an Ikea shopping spree, well, over the last week we slowly got everything put together!  My second favorite project was finally getting some bathroom storage!

I really should've taken  a picture without all of the stuff in it, but I forgot to because I was so excited to get everything in its place.  I absolutely love these things, they're so much more fun than shelves!  My favorite thing is that I can take the little baskets whenever I want, which makes them so accessible.  I'm so glad I got these!


As for my favorite project, it has something to do with the bookcase thing I posted last week :).  Its a project we knew we would be doing as soon as we bought the house, it just took a while to find the right piece of furniture.  It isn't perfect yet, or complete, but here it is:

This is a spot at the top of the stairs that's a perfect focal point. The statue was given to us as a wedding and its absolutely gorgeous.  I still need to figure out what else to put in there, and I kind of want to put something on the back/sides.  Any ideas are welcome!


I know I haven't mentioned much about how paleo has been going, but I am still working at it, and I should be getting a post together about it soon. As a result I've been cooking at least a few dinners a week.  I've been having a lot of fun trying out new recipes, and of course finding and posting them on pinterest.  Definitely a lot of things I wouldn't have tried before.  There have also been some entertaining incidents, like when I set off the fire alarm the other night.  A happy coincidence is that it seems like the more I cook and use the kitchen, the cleaner and more organized I keep it.  A happy kitchen is a happy me :).


So, as is pretty obvious from this post and the last, we've been doing a lot of work on our home.  Along with the furniture, we've been doing a lot of organizing, rearranging, and cleaning.  Although we still have a ton of work left to do, I love how much more comfy and homey our place is feeling!

October 12, 2014

Fish or Scorpion?

Last week I went to daily mass for the first time in a long time.  I don't say this to brag or sound holier than thou, I actually considered not writing this for that reason.  I really can't remember the last time I went to daily mass.  I know the last time I regularly went was in college, over 5 years ago.  Anyways, lately, as I've been trying to work on my spiritual life, I've been feeling like I needed to go, but I've been too lazy to wake up early enough.  Well, last week the Hubs had to get to work early, and wake up at 5 to do that.  One of those days I couldn't get back to sleep after he left, so I decided I might as well make good use of my time.

It turned out that day the readings and homily were just what I needed to hear.  Especially the Gospel, and this part in particular:

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”

This is something I've struggled with for some time.  I've sometimes feel like I've been asking over and over again, and not receiving.  That a lot of my prayers are met with a whole bunch of silence.  And instead of being given a child, its more months of infertility and all the pain that goes with it.  Sometimes it felt like I was getting that snake or scorpion instead of the fish or egg I was asking for.  But isn't it supposed to be the opposite?

In his homily, the priest mentioned something so simple and obvious, but still what I needed to hear.  That God knows what's better for us, and what we need.  I realized that I wouldn't be sitting there in mass if it wasn't for infertility, and the struggles that come with it that have brought me to my knees at times.  Like I mentioned before, I've been trying to understand what God is trying to do with me, and to understand that His plan is what is best.  It seems like God keeps trying to help me understand it too, I just don't listen, or don't know how. But my heart is just starting to understand that God is trying to give me what I need, which might not be the same thing as what I want right now.  Maybe I am getting the fish that I just keep mistaking for a scorpion.

October 7, 2014

Little Happies- Six!

Linking up with Stephanie @ Blessed to Be for another Little Happies  Monday Tuesday (I got too tired to finish this yesterday)!


Although we moved closing in on a year ago, we've only been slowly decorating our place.  The majority of our budget (and then some) went into more major projects, like painting and flooring.  Luckily, we were able to get most of our furniture from my parents. However, our walls have been bare, which made our place feel a little cold and sterile.  Last week my mom was moving around a few of her paintings and gave a few of them to me!  They perk up the house so much and make it feel so much more homey!  And I love having things my mom painted herself in my home!

I wish I had some of my Mom's talent!


On the same note, we also had some furnishing needs that we'd been put off, like lamps, bookcases, etc.  The Hubs went crazy was super sweet to me this weekend and decided to take me on an Ikea shopping spree!  And we actually didn't fight/ want to kill each other the whole time!  Hey, its not just us, even 30 Rock featured the Ikea effect on relationships.  So all in all it was a fun time and we got  a bunch of fun stuff. Building everything on the other hand is going to take a while.  But I've got one project I'm excited to post here when its done!

This looks way better than the pieces scattered around my living room


After years of racking up airline miles, and months of debating and watching prices, we finally made some travel plans!  We're going to visit the Hub's family for Thanksgiving!  They live on the other side of the country, so its hard for us to get the time and money to visit, and they have difficulty traveling, so I haven't seen them in two years (I know, I'm an awful daughter-in-law).  Luckily, everything fell together this time, and we'll be able to stay a whole week with them!  According to the Hubs, there might even be snow, which I'm excited about as I've only seen snow fall twice in my life!   It would be awesome if I finally get to make my first snowman!

I totally do


I don't know if this counts as a happy, but my ovarian wedge resection has been scheduled.  Its a huge relief that the surgery has been scheduled for this year.  If it hadn't been, I wouldn't have been able to afford it, so I was .  My doctors staff had said things were busy, and weren't ready to schedule at my last appointment, so I was patiently anxiously waiting for two weeks to find out.  I'm glad they were able to squeeze me in, even if I'm nervous about the surgery itself and the timing with work.

That's all I've got for now! See you next time.

October 2, 2014

Waiting It Out

So I haven't been feeling super cheery lately. In my last cycle review post, I mentioned we were deciding whether or not to take another round of Femera.  We ended up deciding  that I would go ahead and take it.  

Soon after I took the meds, this cycle took a less than positive turn.  I mentioned a while back that I had tail end brown bleeding (TEBB) that one round of Biaxin for both of us had knocked it out.  It stayed away for three months, but now its back.  I don't think its from low progesterone, as my levels were ok last cycle, and my post peak was the longest I've had yet (if post peaks in a non-ovulatory cycle count).  I know it could be quite a number of other things, but I'm guessing it means whatever infection it was is back.

I hope it'll be as easy to get rid of as it was last time, and I know the treatment isn't that difficult (at least for me, the Hubs didn't do well on the Biaxin, poor guy).  It just is such a disheartening sign. Even if we weren't getting pregnant, at least every cycle there was some sort of positive development.  I hate that now one of those positive developments has come undone.  

Also, a couple days ago the side effects of the Femera started to set in.  Its funny actually, I started drafting a post (that never made it up) and was talking about how the side effects hadn't hit yet.  Just a couple hours after that I was angry at everything and started to realize that maybe I wasn't being completely rational.  

This round the side effects have been hitting a little harder than the last.  Last month I was just irritable (though I had some pretty bad moments).  This time I'm super angry almost everything and everyone, sad, anxious, and overwhelmed too. That combined with some trying situations with my family and work that have come up in the last few days has made this week super fun (note the sarcasm).  

My moods change so fast poor Hubs's head is spinning.  I don't love it either.  I'm used to being much more rational and level headed, and being this out of control of myself bothers me.  You'd think by my fourth month of meds I'd be more equipped to handle this... but you'd be wrong.

So right now I'm just trying to wait it all out....this too shall pass right?