A Letter To My Husband

I am posting this because it’s something that couples go through and I felt it should be out there.  I sat on it for a while, because I didn’t want to upset Drew or make him seem like he’s not doing anything.  He is so supportive and has attended all of my appointments and meetings with Lindy for Napro.  He’s been positive when I could not be.  He’s seen my lowest of low and craziest of crazy and he still loves me and wants babies with me! The hardest posts to post are the ones that could potentially reach someone who needs it. So here goes!

The thing is – is that I know you care.  But lately I’ve been feeling like you’re not doing anything about it.

You do so much for me.  You make sure that my yard is beautiful, you take out the cat litter, you take out the trash, you do my dishes when I don’t and I know you hate it when I don’t.  Any request of mine, you see it happens.  Sometimes gladly, sometimes reluctantly, but it happens.  When there’s a week when we practically haven’t seen each other at all, you leave me little notes in my office before you leave for work so I can find them when I get home from the gym.  I still cannot express to you how much it meant to me that you wrote the letter for our referral paperwork to Dr. Hilgers in Omaha.  That was truly the most loving gesture ever!!  You are a wonderful husband and I’m so glad you’re mine.

I’m feeling alone in our battle with infertility right now.  Last night – I really felt it.  I feel like it’s me who is doing everything and you think you’re playing your part by not drinking and smoking.  And yes – I’m proud of you for that!  I have been reading. Reading. Reading. Trying to find out what is going to help.  This book is long.  But it’s also very informational.  I think you think books are just stupid.  That it’s not a book that is going to help us get pregnant, it’s a doctor.  But why couldn’t it be both?  What if there’s something in this book that does the trick, naturally, without much intervention.  Of course there’s always the “What if it doesn’t?”.  If anything, it sure has taught me a lot about what could be the problem.  It’s helped me go into doctors appointments and know what the doctor is talking about when she says things like luteal phase, follicular phase, FSH, HCG, etc.  To me – that’s worth it.  It lowers my anxiety knowing that I have some knowledge of what she’s talking about and I’m not relying on someone else to teach me everything I should know about how to conceive.

Last night – as you flipped through Netflix trying to find something to watch and told me about this strange clown story you read about in the news, I was reading about Endometriosis, PCOS, Hypothyroidism.  I ordered baby aspirin because it’s supposed to help build up my endometrium.  I couldn’t help but think to myself – “I’m  glad you have time to read about clowns and watch a couple movies on Netflix. I’ve been reading this book about infertility for over an hour today.”  Everyone needs their down time, and I get that.  I know that I don’t do a very good job of relaxing. I can’t help it that sometimes I see sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours a waste of time.

I guess at this point, I don’t really care how you get the information – as long as you’re getting it.  I want you to be knowledgable about these things too so that you know what the doctor is talking about too. That in itself – makes me feel less alone.  I know it’s my body that’s not working right. I know that you’ll read about things and not necessarily know how it applies because it’s my body and not yours.  I’m doing all that I can in attempts to get my body on track. I’m eating lots of colorful foods, flaxseeds, whole organic milk.  I’m taking 12 pills a day and giving myself HCG shots. I’m attempting a mind-body connection using a program to meditate on my uterus and weekly acupuncture.  I’m doing all that I know what to do.  But it’s still us.  We are still in this together.  And the balance is a little off.

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Birth Control

As a senior in high school, maybe even younger now, it is common to go see your first woman doctor.  So I did.  Everything checked out fine.  No irregular periods, no intense pain, nothing.  My medical history is pretty much squeaky clean.  The doctor discussed birth control options.  I knew my some of my friends were on it and though I wasn’t having sex at the time, she made it seem like a good idea.  I opted for Depo-Provera.  On the shot, it’s typical to have a light period once every three months around the same time you go in for your next shot.  Some women on the shot don’t get a period at all.  To me – at 18, this sounded great!  That time of the month always sucked anyways, so why not just eliminate it all together right?

In order to continue getting birth control, you must see your doctor every year.  I continued seeing a doctor at Lafene at K-State and continued with the Depo Shot.  From what I could tell, I didn’t have any side effects.  I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t think I was moody and my period came about every three months.  At one point, for one month, I switched from the shot to a pill.  I felt like I was hungry all the time and I cried a lot.  Though I’m not sure if this was the pill or life’s circumstances that brought this on, I’m blaming it on the pill.  So I went back to Depo.

Out of college, newly married and relocated, I went to see a new doctor in Beloit for my yearly exam.  I had talked to her about potentially getting off of the shot since I’d been on it for 6 years.  I had heard that it takes a while to get out of your system and although we weren’t wanting to have kids now, I didn’t want to disrupt our future plans.  She informed me that since I still had regular 3 month cycles and my mother had no problems conceiving, then I should have no problems when the time came and for now staying on Depo would be ok.

Two years later – Drew and I decide we’d like to start a family.  Two years later – we are still trying to start a family.

Last year, I had the opportunity to help teach a Theology of the Body program to our high school students at Sts. Peter & Paul.  From August 2015 through April 2016, we basically talked about not having sex!  At least that’s the main thing the kids got out of it – which is good.  What was great…was the WHY!  Why God made us the way we are and why he says to wait for marriage and why our bodies are amazing.

In February of 2016, Drew and I started seeing a NFP instructor.  Although I really hated doing the charts along with everything else that goes into charting and was pissed off that we had to do them when so many other people just got pregnant instantly, the fact that we learned that at the same time I was teaching Theology of the Body was not coincidence.  God totally planned that.  It really allowed it to sink in for me.

People may say that the Catholic Church is radical when it comes to views on birth control.  I know that birth control in general is a controversial topic.  My view is that if you use your body in the way that God intended, you would not need it.

I think it stinks that it is such a culturally accepted thing and if you’re not on it, you’re weird.  I think it affects your body in way more ways than many women are aware especially when you start it at such a young age when you are still trying to figure out who you are.  It can affect your moods, your happiness, your appetite, your fertility…just to name a few.  And I think it stinks that it seems to be the go-to drug for treating other things like acne and hormonal imbalances.  I’m no doctor – so I don’t know it all.

I don’t blame the doctors that I’ve seen in the past for my infertility.  But I do wish that someone would have discussed the opposite side of things.  Would I have listened? I’m not sure.

I wish that I knew what I know now…when I was younger. – thank you Rod Stewart.

Be Your Own Advocate

Yesterday was the start of another cycle.  I was actually quite surprised with my reaction.  I was not sad or overwhelmingly emotional, but relieved and excited that it came early.  I knew the past cycle was all messed up so I was ready to get on with it!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really tried to have a more positive and research-ive (not a word) outlook on things.  Here is what has come of it.

Vicki kick-started it for me.  After one of my posts, she asked me to give her a call.  I really needed this pep talk!  She told me about her experience with infertility and encouraged me to really be my own advocate when it came to my health and my fertility.  She encouraged me to research and research, because it helps to be informed going into these doctors appointments and if ever I had a doctor who would not answer my questions – he/she was probably not the right doctor.  I am so lucky to have the best friends in the world and even luckier that my best friends’ moms are so awesome too!! This is why we call Vicki the Queen of Heart-to-Hearts!

After that I marched into the living room and announced to Drew that we needed to start doing our own research and looking things up and asking more questions!  He did a typically Drew thing and searched around on the Internet.  I did the typical Shannon thing and found a book on Amazon.  I started with Infertility: Causes & Treatments.  It was a very short book that just skimmed the surface.  It was just enough to not be overwhelming and to give me some additional knowledge of how things work and the steps that are taken to attempt a diagnosis.

We wrote down our list of questions and the week before visiting Dr. Hogan, I emailed them to her.  She responded, but we felt like she didn’t really answer our questions.  This made me even more anxious about going into our appointment.

Side note: Married life sure hasn’t been easy this last few weeks.  Sometimes it just really sucks that so many topics of conversation center around fertility.  Is it peak time?  Will insurance pay for that? Is that in-network or out-of-network?  I read about high-prolactin, have you been tested for that? What about FSH? Should I get tested for endometriosis? EX-HAUST-TING. At one point, I felt like if we weren’t talking about that we were bickering about something else.  Finally we decided to have a no-bitching week.  We couldn’t be mad at each other or act bitchy.  It has been a much happier week!

I also had a couple of people say something to me about acupuncture.  I was curious about it and got a referral to a chiropractor in Salina, so I gave him a call.  I had three sessions with him 8/11, 8/16 & 8/18.  That’s A LOT of driving to Salina.  The first time I was pretty anxious.  It sort of felt like I was laying tummy down on a pile of thorny stickers.  By the 3rd time, I was much less anxious and tried to enjoy it.  It also helped that I asked him not to stick any needles in my feet! That stung the worst!  I think I’ll continue with this, we’ll see.

Our appointment with Dr. Hogan was on 8/18.  Drew and I both felt like it went well.  We revisited the questions in my email.  I had more knowledge of everything going into the the appointment with all of the reading I’d been doing and we both felt like as we left, we at least had a plan.  She gave us the paperwork to start the referral process to Dr. Hilgers in Omaha where they can do more.  We also plan to get a 2nd opinion from Dr. Ablard in September.

Dr. Hogan is trying to get my thyroid medication just right and now has me on 2 different thyroid medications.  Needless to say I invested in an freakin pill box for the 2 thyroid meds, B6, Mucinex & Fish Oil.  That’s a lot of bottles to open every day!  She also prescribed HCG for my luteal phase in hopes that it will straighten that out.  HCG is a shot I have to give myself! Eek!

I got it in the mail yesterday and was all pumped up to do it!  Drew would be so proud if he came home and I’d already done it!  Plus then he wouldn’t have to give it to me!  Months ago I would have been so afraid of this – but now I don’t even have to lay down to get my blood drawn and I had 60 needles stuck in my body over the last few weeks!  I opened it up and was all confused by how much to draw up into the needle!  Luckily – my backyard neighbor is a nurse so I messaged her to see if she’d come and show me!! She did and I got it done! Didn’t even hurt!

I’m praying that this current cycle is healthier than the last and that it lasts more than 20 days!

I Just Wanna Woo All Day!

I woke up this morning – sleep deprived.  Could. Not. Stop. Watching. Bloodline.  Drew finally turned it off after midnight.  I woke up from my five and a half hour power nap.  HELLO MONDAY!!!

I forced myself out of bed knowing that I’d feel more energetic for my fun-filled morning if I just went for a run.  High school rap songs accompanied me around Cawker City this morning and at about mile 2.5, I stopped right in the middle of the street to STOP, DROP, KABOOM!  I giggled wondering if anyone happened to be peeking out their window at 6:23am!  I kind of hoped so and if so – I hope they laughed!

At home, I kissed my hunky husband goodbye and he left for work.  I shifted my music selection to upbeat Christian and hopped in the shower.  Put my feel good dress on and bright pink lipstick to match!  Then headed off to Beloit.

On my drive over, I put on the EntreLeadership podcast.  My mind drifted as I started to ponder some grateful and maybe somewhat odd feelings.

“Wow! This is so awesome! How long has it been since I woke up in my own cozy bed, went for a nice morning run, showered and made myself all pretty and enjoyed a drive!  Then to top it off – I get to see people all morning! I was SO EXCITED!  I am weird.”

This morning I helped with a program called KidsLead.  Leadership Mitchell County puts on a kids program for kids in the 5th, 6th & 7th grade.  My topic was diversity.  I was the first presentation on the first day of the camp this year.  I was a little nervous considering I’d never been involved with the program before and did minimal preparation.  Not to mention that sometimes I think I feel just as awkward around these kids as they do in their adolescence.  We did a fun ice-breaker activity that went well, talked a little about diversity.  I was so happy that Eric and Ingrid were there to jump in and help me out!

Ingrid did her presentation on strengths & leadership next as I watched and took some pictures.  When the kids were working on writing down their individual strengths, I just wanted to sit down with them and do it too! So I did!  It was so fun to watch from the balcony as they listened, did the activities and interacted with each other!  To see who was more extroverted, who was more introverted.  To hear them talk about what they liked and didn’t like  and how they viewed themselves.  It was just so dang cool! Their youth rubbed off on me a little and  I hope that a little of my positive excited-ness rubbed off on them!

Sitting in the midst of the kids, I thought to myself “I just wanna stay here and woo all day!”

I knew I couldn’t stay there all day of course, so I headed home to work!  I was pleasantly surprised by a customer who I’d been trying and trying to reach. She finally wanted to talk to me! YAY!  And another who was a new contact, super organized and ready to roll with a large order! Woo Hoo!

And I thought again – “Well… I guess I can continue to woo over the phone!”  And so I did.

Because sometimes I just wanna woo all day.

What the heck is Woo?
People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person. – Strengths Finder 2.0

If you’ve taken the strengths test I would LOVE to know what your strengths are!  Mine were so on point that I laughed the whole time I was reading about them!

My Top 5 Strengths
1. Achiever
2. Learner
3. Relator
4. Woo
5. Competition

What More Can We Do?

I woke up crying this morning. That’s fun.  What a way to start a Sunday…or any day for that matter…but especially Sunday.  A day where all I have to do is figure out what I’m going to do all day.  No real structure to keep my mind off of things.

I was dreaming.  Recalling it now, I really traveled all over the place last night with no real purpose.  I was at a lake going up and down windy roads trying to find someone, but not sure who I was in search of.  I was in a busy crowded bar district with Ashley.  We’d found a slightly less crowded bar that served hot dogs and Drew and Jake were coming to meet us.  I’m not sure if they ever made it and I don’t believe we ate any hot dogs.  Later I was in a hospital…not as a patient, but visiting someone. Not sure who, but we were staying overnight and all I wanted was a place to cook some chicken.  For some reason, they had a place at this hospital that looked like a kitchen section from Nebraska Furniture Mart.  No George Foreman though so I had to cook my chicken in a pan.  Then we left the kitchen.

The next part I remember vividly and I’m not even sure where this scene took place.   I sat at a table with a familiar acquaintance, though no one I actually knew, with a full whiskey diet in my hand.  Young and unmarried, she told me about her brand new baby.  Trying my hardest to love and be light-hearted like I know I should.  Trying my hardest to not judge and wonder why.  I chugged my drink, woke up crying and said to myself “What more can we do?”

What more can we do? What more can we do? Repeating over and over in my head.

I got out of bed and wondered what to do with myself.  I kind of wanted to jump in my car and drive to my mom’s…because well…sometimes I just need my mom.  I wondered if Vicki would be home this morning too.  I would love to see them both right now.  Too bad I have a meeting this afternoon about a presentation Monday that I haven’t worked on at all.

I got back into bed, snuggled with my husband and told him I love him.  I got up and decided to write.

What more can we do?

I’m just not convinced that we’re doing all that we can here.  The first doctor says “Try for a year and if nothing happens come back.”  No real direction. No information on what works. Is this something I should’ve maybe looked more into myself? Yes. But is this also information that should’ve been at least discussed by the professional. Yes.  After that we tried Clomid to get things regular.  That helped to get things regular, but didn’t do the trick.  –Ha! The trick.  I just called making a baby a trick and now I’m laughing.  Thinking about someone explaining to a young kid where babies come from.  “It’s a magic trick! Just poof! There’s a baby!”–

I was referred to Dr. Hogan but before I saw her I had to have at least 6-8 weeks of Napro charting completed.  I cried when I’d heard this..more waiting!  Whatever, I guess. Do what a gotta do.  So we went to Lindy.  Lindy taught us the Creighton Model system. I am grateful for learning this and it came at a time when I was teaching high school kids about Theology of the Body.  I am truly amazed how God designed the body to work and the two combined gave me a whole new viewpoint on birth control.  I am grateful that my husband attends every session with me and helps me with it.

However, there is something that still haunts me.  Before Drew and I got married, we went through our Engaged Encounter in Manhattan. Part of the program is natural family planning and learning about the Creighton Model System because the Catholic Church is against birth control.  On birth control at the time, we walked out of there and I remember us saying to each other “Yeah…we’ll probably only use that if we’re actually trying to have a kid.” And here we are.

I noticed as I was thinking and writing that I keep referring to I.  I need to remember that this is a WE and sometimes that is hard.

We have now seen Dr. Hogan a couple of times and are trying to stay hopeful in thinking of this as our new beginning of trying.  I went alone the first time since I figured it was just a consultation.  After the stress of trying to relay the information to Drew, I decided I probably shouldn’t go to another baby making appointment alone.  She ordered blood work to see if I was ovulating.  Turns out I was too stressed out after that and my body decided not to.  She also ordered a pelvic sonogram which revealed nothing out of the ordinary except two things.  I’m a very hydrated person and don’t need to drink a ton of water before said appointment.  And a $600 bill.  Holy shit.  The price of baby making is really cutting into my debt snowball.  Part of me is grateful that everything seems to be in working order, the other part of me is pissed off because everything seems to be in working order.  The second time we saw her, she sent us over the lab right away and this time I had ovulated, so that’s good news, right?  Also – I am now a professional at getting my blood drawn and I don’t even have to lay down anymore!  Since then, she’s doubled my thyroid medication twice and we go back to see her next week.

I already have anxiety about this visit and it’s a week and a half away.  If I feel like I do now, there’s no way I’ll be able to hold it together.  I’m sick of the trial and error approach.  I want some sort of diagnosis.  But is this just what this process is? Trial and error?  Or is there another way.  I don’t know.

What more can we do?

Where I don’t belong

There’s something about finding where you don’t fit that feels good.  Gets you closer to where you do fit!

This was the feeling I got at 1:15am last Saturday night as I was sitting on the patio at a bar in Westport with my besties.  This was a humbling realization.

The whole last week of July was fun, exciting, adventurous!!  We left Charleston Wednesday afternoon and had a short layover in Charlotte.  I sat down next to a businessman who was probably in his 60s.  The warm temperature near our gate sparked a small conversation.  He was headed home to upstate NY and I was headed  home to the Little Apple I told him.  We talked about different cities and he told me how he really liked Nashville and Greenville, SC.  I agreed!  I wished him well and boarded my flight.

I thought about Charleston and how I didn’t particularly fit.  Several things about my five days there made me grateful for random things.

Each morning, we had a short drive to the convention center.  Just a few miles…but in five lane traffic.  It’s crazy to think that this is someone else’s normal.  I am grateful for my 10 second commute to my office and the 20 minute commute with light traffic and minimal stoplights while in Manhattan working in the office.

One evening, I ventured over to Shem Creek for dinner following a suggestion from a local.  As I arrived in my shiny rental car, the parking lot was packed full and there was a valet line…I don’t even know how to use valet.  I wondered on past Shem Creek to Sullivan’s Island and ended up in a little joint called Taco Mamacitas where I ate delicious tacos in peace and drank a $10 margarita.  I am grateful that I never have to think about where I can and cannot park and if I have to pay for it.  I appreciate making my own damn margaritas. Jose Cuervo. Lime. On the rocks. With salt. Thank you.

There were no sidewalks near where we stayed in North Charleston.  When I was in Greenville for the same clinic last year, I found these cute little trails close by to run on in the morning.  I couldn’t find anything right around the corner like that here and I get claustrophobic in hotel fitness centers.  On the 4th evening in Charleston, I found Wannamaker County Park.  I went running/exploring and it was nice, though they charged me $2 to do so.  I appreciate the fact that Abby and I can walk all over the streets of Cawker City and along the dike by the lake and I don’t even have to worry about traffic.  I am grateful for the Linear Trail in my 2nd home city of Manhattan.  I appreciate that both are free to use.

This brings me back to the beginning.   The Saturday night in which this humbling realization popped into my head.  There’s something about finding out where you don’t fit that feels good.  Get you closer to where you do fit. 

I sat at an outside patio table at a bar in Westport drinking “the worst Moscow Mule I’ve ever had”. (said in a very high pitched voice)  I was people watching…practically mesmerized simply by the number of people out and about…getting their party on.  I thought “Is this their normal Saturday night thing?”.  I looked at the people sitting across from me.  This was a special occasion for us.  Great concert at the Uptown Theatre, then continued fun in doing something much different than our ‘normal’ and back to our one, shared hotel suite.  I just couldn’t imagine that Saturday night being my normal.

I am grateful for my simple life right now.  I’m not sure that Cawker City is where I want to stay forever, nor do I know where I would want to be if I was not here.  What I do know is that I appreciate it now and I’m closer to knowing where I might be later by recognizing where I do not fit.

 

Interactions

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It’s the little interactions that I miss most.  You just don’t get those when you work from home.  My typical interactions this summer include kissing my husband goodbye as he grumpily (is that a word?) takes off to work in the 100 degree weather. I ask Abby if she’s ready for her breakfast.  If I could figure out how to record that for you and post it here, I would… It’s definitely ‘dog talk’ with a high infliction toward the end.  As I head back into the bedroom, Opie bites my leg to remind me that I forgot to feed him.  I guess he should have breakfast too.  I half-ass get ready for the day by deciding which workout pants and tank top to wear, throw on a little makeup and make my hair not look like bed head.  I make myself breakfast and head into my office.

This morning was different.  I woke up at the Hampton Inn in Manhattan.  I LOVE this hotel.  The beds and the pillows are so nice and fluffy.  I love that they put the coffee maker on the desk and not in the bathroom.  I like that they have a cute little towel rack with rolled towels  instead of folded towels.  I’m all ready to go so I exit my room toward the elevator and a gentleman carrying American flag cowboy boots says “Good Morning!” I return it with a “Good Morning!” He asks why I’m all dressed up.  I responded that I was just headed to work and he says “Well you look awfully pretty today!” in a very simple and kind tone.  How could this not boost my mood?  Especially because I was debating on what to wear, not feeling my best because I haven’t been working out or eating well at all and I can feel it.  I can see it.  I feel self-conscious about it.  His kinds words brightened my day.  I sat down to eat my eggs at breakfast. By the way,  The Hampton Inn also has great breakfast!  The mustaches on their cups also hint that they’ve got a sense of humor!  Three men, I’d say about my age, were talking about Starbucks and trying to find one.  I told them that Dillon’s right around the corner has one or Redina’s Bakehouse, a local shop, was close.  I head to work in the office and make my rounds saying “Good Morning!”  Some faces I recognize, some I don’t.  Either way – just smiling and being smiled back  at boosts my energy.

These are the little tidbits of joy and happiness boosters that I miss and greatly appreciate. Though working from home does have perks, it’s these little things I miss most.  Short and normal interactions with others.