Don’t Be a Debbie…

I’m not talking about Debbie from accounting….I’m talking about Debbie Downer, or Negative Nancy, or Sour Sally. Don’t be any of those, or if you’re gonna be, make sure you are far, far away from me.

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This post is 98% for all my infertility warriors or soon to be mamas out there, and 27.4% for the people I keep unfriending and unfollowing on social media. I’ve been noticing a trend lately, and I felt compelled to write about it, mostly because somebody told me once it’s good to get your thoughts out of your head, and onto paper or in an online blog because storing it in your noggin will just make you go crazy. (I added the online blog post part…just go with it)

Moving on! It’s no secret now that I am pregnant, with twins. 17 weeks to be exact. That’s pretty awesome, right? I must be glowing, and just floating around on Cloud 9 ALL THE TIME because it’s everything I ever wanted, right? Girlllll…no. Don’t get me wrong, I’m like beyond happy that I have two little humans growing inside my belly, BUT, this pregnancy does not come without its challenges, its fears (oh. my. god. the FEARS), and it’s moments of complete meltdowns. That being said. I have been soaking it all in. Taking in every moment of toddler type meltdowns, because I am tired or hungry. (It is a STRUGGLE) Laughing through all the challenges (seriously, the stairs in my house will be the death of me), and most importantly, finding the humor in all the fear.

Infertility sucks. We’ve all come to realize that, pretty quickly too, I might add. It turns you into this worry wart, who does nothing but look at the bad side of things, and it makes it almosssssst impossible to find the good in ANY situation. You are so used to let down, after let down, or negative test or setback, that when something good happens, you’re just going to keep on finding those bad things because it’s what you’re used to. (I’m hoping you’re nodding your head right now, because I’m in the ballpark of how you feel)

Let me just tell you the biggest lesson that I’ve learned while going through the last 4 years of trying to build a family. There WILL be setbacks. There WILL be a LOT of hard days and let downs. You WILL get angry at your Doctors, the nurses, your test results, your lack of test results, the scheduling lady, the people in the waiting room, the people who are getting pregnant, Mark Zuckerberg (how DARE he allow all these women to post pregnant announcements), and literally every other person who comes in your path or even thinks about asking you if you have kids or why you aren’t pregnant yet. It’s gonna happen. I PROMISE you. everyone-on-facebook-is-posting-pregnancy-announcements-or-pictures-of-their-children-and-im-over-here-like-heres-a-million-pics-of-my-dogs-and-some-beer-87d9e

But! Here’s the cool thing: you can spend that time, being so pissed off at the fact that your cycle was pushed another month (because God forbid the Doctors want your body to heal), or SO angry at the staff in the office for making a mistake that you decide to blast it all over social media, or angry with the fact that Sally is pregnant and you aren’t. But, if you think about it, like REALLY think about it. What is that going to do? It doesn’t make time go faster, it doesn’t make appointments just magically appear, and it most definitely won’t stop people from getting pregnant. So..instead, try and take every single little let down, and find the good in it.

I had cycle after cycle canceled for what felt like a million different reasons, and every single time, I had my cry, and then I thought of the good behind it. Exhibit A: “Our transfer was pushed back another month, so it won’t be til November now, that stinks but that means that I won’t be like SUPER pregnant in the dead of Summer. YES!” Exhibit B: “Janet at the office doesn’t know how to schedule patients, its literally her ONLY job and she messed it up. So I drove all the way out here just to be turned away. BUT! That means I have a little free time now before I have to be at work, so I’m going to TARGET!”

You guys. I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and I STILL found the good. So I truly understand.

See what I’m saying here. Instead of focusing SO HARD on the shitty things that happen during your struggles, why not try and find the good in them. And if you just can’t find anything good about any of your situations, tell yourself this: Your negative vibes and energy are an entire reflection of who you are as a person, and will continue to be until you change something. If you want good things to happen, you’ve GOT to think of all the good.

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If you are one of the fortunate ones to have a successful round of IVF (or any other fertility treatment) and are now pregnant…let THAT be your good. You are PREGNANT dude. This is what you wanted, this is what you went through hell for. So, now that you’re here, why are you complaining non stop? Do you want your baby or babies to come out and have an instant grumpy look on their face because all they heard for nine months was complaining parents? Nobody wants that.

Now. Speaking to the 27.4% of you who find it necessary to post like super negative or dramatic stuff on social media. Would you just quit? Nobody wants to hear about your crappy ex husband, or the drama that went down with you and your brother in law at Jack and Mary’s wedding, and they especially don’t want to see pics of your post fight battle wounds. C’mon man. However, if  you find yourself scrolling and come across posts like this, do me (and yourself more importantly) a HUGE favor, and go to their profile, then click unfriend. It’s refreshing, and will make your news feed that much brighter and the world needs brightness! You don’t need to post a status warning people that you are gonna delete them (thats just asking for attention, so stop it). Just let those people go.

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In conclusion, (I learned that closing technique in middle school, and I’m proud of it) I would just like to say that you obviously don’t have to listen to any of the wonderful advice I’ve dropped in this post. But I mean, that just shows that you want to keep living that negative life, and you’ll most likely be the one being unfriended or ignored, so don’t get mad if that happens. FIND THE GOOD. Relish every moment of your pregnancy, your successes, and yes, even your struggles. Everything you are going through now is just preparing you for what’s to come. I’m speaking from experience people, so I’m obviously super smart in this department. Just try it, please. You’ll be pleased with how things start looking up.

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If I knew then…

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One year ago today, at 6 am, Matt and I were driving from Oxford to Bloomfield Hills, MI to undergo our first IVF transfer. This was a day that we had been waiting for, for what seemed like 20 years. We had done all the research, endured several days of injections, talked to all the doctors and were ready to become parents. We had 8 perfect embryos waiting for us, 2 of which were going to be transferred that morning.

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The procedure itself only takes minutes, and it was a very emotional one. Two of our embryos were placed back inside my uterus, where they belong, with the hopes that one, or both, snuggle in for the next 9 months. We were in and out within just over an hour, and headed home to relax and hoped for the best. There was no more that I could possibly do at this point, besides wait. The next 2 weeks were the longest and most stressful two weeks of my life.

 

I started taking home pregnancy tests like 4 days after our transfer (which in the IVF world is a big no no, but lets be honest, I have NO self control) They were all coming up negative, and I was letting it get to me. Between the overdose of hormones, and the stress, I was crying pretty much every day, all day. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with the community of women on social media who were all going through the same or similar treatments. I was in a Facebook group, but didn’t really share much at that point, and we weren’t ‘public’ with our struggles with friends or extended family yet. Let me tell you, it was LONELY. Even with my husband right by my side, I felt like nobody understood what I was going through.

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Fast forward to our official blood test at the Dr’s and I got the call that I had known was coming…we weren’t pregnant. This round wasn’t successful. Heartbroken.

The next several months were a blur, filled with Dr’s appointments, more procedures,  more surgeries and more tests. We decided to meet with another Dr. because I wanted a second opinion on our approach, and we immediately decided to work with him, because I felt cared for, and truly appreciated his plan, even though it was going to be awhile before we could transfer again.

After working with the new doctor and his staff for what felt like years, we got the call that I was ready for transfer, and we had an official date. We didn’t tell our families, because we wanted to be able to surprise them if this round worked. By this time, we had opened up about our journey, to the world of social media, and I had connected with SO many amazing people who were and still are some of my strongest supporters.

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On June 11th, 2018, we headed to Rochester and prepped for our second transfer. We transferred 2 more of our perfect embryos, this time they were already hatching (coming out of the outer shell, which is a GREAT thing). Although the process was identical to the first time, we just felt different. I chose to remain nothing but positive and relaxed, constantly telling myself that it was going to work, that I was going to be a mom, and that these embryos were going to stick around. IMG_4849

3 days later, ‘No Self Control Shannon’ emerged and started testing, because I’m insane. First test was negative, but I only let it get me down for a few minutes because I knew it was super early. 5 am on day 4, woke up and took a test then fell back asleep. When I woke up, I inspected it (as all of us gals who are TTC know is a MUST) and I was convinced I saw the faintest of faint lines. I took another one, and immediately there it was! Another pink line. WHAT?! The several days following were filled with test taking, comparing, sharing pics with my group and begging the nurses to test my blood early.  (I won that argument). On June 18th, we got the call that we were officially pregnant, with good, strong numbers! This didn’t stop me from testing….I just couldn’t believe it.

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Now….lets jump ahead a few weeks. We had told our families, told our close friends and announced it on social media. It was starting to feel real.IMG_4843

So…lets talk about the real topic of this post. Looking back to way before our first transfer…all the way back to that first drs appointment where they told us we had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally. I had one goal in mind and it was to get pregnant, as soon as possible. That’s all I kept asking the doctors…how soon will we know if this worked?

I wish I wouldn’t have started this process in that mindset, because let me tell you…every single roadblock, obstacle, negative test, bad phone call, curveball…whatever you want to call them…they shattered me. I would get angry at the doctors when they told me I needed to take a month to let my body heal after a procedure, I would cry for days when another thing came up and we had to get more tests done. I spent SO much time angry and depressed. I just wanted to be pregnant. I was counting out the days and months, and it seemed like we were NEVER going to get to this point.

Now…here I sit, in our living room, nearing the end of a ROUGH first trimester, staring at these two beautiful carseats. (I had to buy them because I got a great deal!) Although they are empty right now,  it’s still surreal knowing OUR babies will be in them soon enough.

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We’ve had ultrasounds, where we got to see them moving around, and we’ve seen their heartbeats. In just 2 short weeks, we will find out their genders, and before I know it, this living room will be filled with baby stuff, and two little humans. Two humans, that my husband and I have waited SO long for, and worked SO hard to create.

If the doctor would have told me in the early stages of this process, that we wouldn’t be parents until early 2019, I would have died. We were originally told 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS, from start to finish, and we would most likely be parents, with a STRONG chance of twins. If you are struggling right now, TAKE THIS ADVICE –> do NOT listen to the timeline that anybody gives you! In the world of infertility, there is no such thing as a solid plan, or a calendar that stays on track…you WILL hit speed bumps, and regardless of what they are, if you are set on a timeline, you will be devastated, and it will throw off the vibe. You want to stay as positive as you possibly can in this process, and I PROMISE you, the stress of worrying when things are going to happen, will NOT help that.

You will become a parent one day, no matter how that happens, or how long it takes to get there. Trust me, I’ve been where you are, and I know exactly how you are feeling right now.  Take this novel of a blog post as a sign of hope…we started with a 1% chance, and we are now watching two babies grow inside me and preparing for the biggest moment of our lives. You’ll get here. No matter what.

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The Reason

Hello!

What a month this has been! It’s already almost April..WHAT?! Crazy. Things have been crazy busy again, with our personal and professional lives. Today, I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write more about this thing that we recently started with Nine 16 Designs (which is our apparel business, if you didn’t know already).

When I decided to take the leap and start up this business, I could have never imagined that it would take off as much as it did. What I DID know for sure though was that I wanted to find a good organization, or ’cause’ to work with. Something or somebody deserving, that we could donate a portion of our sales to. The problem was…I couldn’t figure out which direction to even start moving with this. I had no clue who I wanted to help, what company I wanted to learn more about, and how to even approach it.

Then one morning, after chatting with some of my TTC friends (trying to conceive) and hearing about their struggles with affording the costs affiliated with infertility…it hit me. It wasn’t just ONE organization that I wanted to partner with, it wasn’t just ONE cause, or ONE person. It was several, possibly hundreds. I typed this up late at night, and posted it immediately, wanting to get the word out there as soon as possible.


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If you, or somebody you know is currently going through fertility treatments of ANY kind, then we want to hear from you!
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We’ve decided that instead of partnering with just one organization and donating a portion of our sales, we are going to work with couples who are undergoing treatment to build a family and help them with their costs. 🤗🤗
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We will choose one couple every 2 weeks, then we will post your story and info on our social media accounts. At the end of the term, that couple will get 10% of all sales earned in that time frame. ❤️
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Feel free to nominate yourself, a friend, a family member, co-worker, stranger…whoever! Tell us why you would love to take part or why the couple you are nominating should be chosen!
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The struggle of infertility isn’t just an emotional rollercoaster, but also one of the largest financial burdens one will ever have to face. If we can help in any way, even if it’s small, we would love to take some of that weight off your shoulders. 😊
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The response that we got was OVERWHELMING; which just means that there are far too many people out there without coverage or the means the pay for the treatment to help them build a family. We read every single response, and were in awe with how many people are struggling. We recently wrapped up our first round and will be choosing the next partner this week!

I have this feeling of content now, knowing that I’ve found even more of a passion within owning this business. Not only am I able to work from home,  allowing me the time to get to all the medical appointments and have the time to heal; but I also get to literally work with others to help spread the word about infertility, and help them along the way.

We are excited to move forward with this new venture and would love to hear your story if you’ve got one to tell! Send us an email, a message on Facebook or Instagram or just comment below this post!

Being 1 in 8.

“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

1,244 days. That’s how long my husband and I have been married and that’s how long we have been trying to start a family. One thousand, two hundred and forty four days and not one positive pregnancy test. Seems kinda crazy, right?

Never did I think in those moments during our wedding planning, or the crazy fast paced days that followed, would we be here, over 3 years later, still trying. In June of 2017, we were diagnosed, yes DIAGNOSED, with infertility. It is a medical condition. It’s not something that you can just fix with a better diet, or rest. Did you know that? Probably not, because at the time, and the time leading up to that day, I had no idea what infertility truly meant either.

I am writing this to shed some light on what it’s like to be part of this ever growing statistic.

We are the 1 out of 8 couples who struggle with infertility.

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What does infertility feel like?

Let me break it down for you:

  • Infertility feels like the whole world is out of your control. Being somebody that lives off planners, post-its, to-do lists, calendars and planning way too far in advance, this diagnosis threw a HUGE wrench in that way of living. We don’t have a say in anything that happens, we don’t get to choose the dates of procedures, or what kinds of tests need to be done, or what time meds get taken or injected. Life literally revolves around the one thing you want the most. There’s no back burner to set things on, or a light switch to turn it off when we want to.
  • Infertility feels hopeless. Having a doctor tell you that there is a 1% chance that you will get pregnant naturally is a real dream crusher, let me tell you. Having that same doctor tell you that you have a 60% chance of getting pregnant with IVF, and then still not seeing those two pink lines…let’s go ahead and just toss hope out the window. It’s almost impossible to hold onto after that.
  • Infertility feels like the ENTIRE world is getting pregnant. Like…I know that’s not true, but still. Once you are in this bubble of wanting a baby more than anything in the world, all you are going to notice going on around you are the non-stop pregnancy announcements, maternity photos, baby showers, moms and babies walking, playing outside, commercials of babies, movies about babies, songs about babies. Every. Single. Thing. Babies. Babies. Babies.
  • Infertility feels like you are broken. I’ve covered this in a previous post. In a nutshell, let me remind you, how shitty it feels to not be able to provide my husband with a baby as easily as we had planned. I feel like somewhere along the road, I broke, and am now beyond repair.

***Educate Yourself***

I cannot stress this enough. Before you start talking to us about how your neighbors, cousins, ex girlfriends, mailman went through IVF and then had the most perfect twins. Educate yourself. We are happy for that mailman and his family. We are not happy, however, to get ‘tips’ from people who have absolutely NO idea what this process is like, what it entails, what it feels like etc. Here’s what you can do, and believe me, it’ll be worth your time. Turn on Netflix, log on to your friends account if you need to, and look up this documentary:

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This is the most real and honest film about the entire process and all its up’s and downs.

I’m like the master of researching and Googling, and this film taught me things that even I didn’t know. So, take some time, and watch it. You’ll be a better human for doing  so, and might just be able to have a conversation with somebody about it and actually know what  you are talking about, compared to just assuming. I used to be that person, til I had to go through this process. Now I just want to share about it, educate about it, and spread the word that infertility is NOT a bad word, a bad disease, or something that needs to be kept secret.

Know this. Matt and I are OKAY. We are happy. We aren’t damaged. We are in love. If I could pick anybody on this planet to go through this struggle with me, it would be him. He sometimes knows more about this stuff than I do, he is by my side, for literally ALL of it, even the not so visually appealing parts, and does it with a smile on his face and his hand in mine.

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Some extra little tid bits of info for you that you might not think about, because I sure as heck never did before this.

  • Please don’t tell us to ‘relax’ or ‘quit trying’ and then we will get pregnant. Believe us, that doesn’t work.
  • When we see a pregnancy announcement or find out that one of our friends are expecting, we are TRULY happy for you! We are SO excited for you! We just might not show it like others do because it’s VERY hard for us to celebrate something that we are wanting SO very badly. We are happy for you, sad for us. But, SERIOUSLY, we are happy for you. Like really, we are. 100%. Don’t let my RBF fool you.
  • We don’t need to hear your thoughts on what diet worked for your friend, or what vitamins to take…theres a 100% chance we know it all, tried it all, and it didn’t work.
  • Don’t be scared to talk to us about what we are going through. We already feel VERY alone, so the feeling of being shut out or avoided just makes it worse. Include us, ask us questions, or simply, just be there.
  • If you don’t know what to say when you know that we are hurting or going through a rough time, just tell us that. The messages I’ve gotten that say ‘I honestly don’t know the words to say except that I love you’…those are the ones that make our day brighter.
  • Understand that our life is altered by this and that we might not be able to do the things we once did…please don’t give us a hard time. Believe us, we miss being carefree with life. Sometimes we just can’t pull it off though.

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We have ALL THE FAITH IN THE WORLD and I know that we will be parents one day soon! God just wanted us to take the scenic route, and I’m using that as a way to help spread the word, to meet some amazing people, to educate, to really be grateful for everything that we have, and I know that when the day comes that we finally have a child of our own…it will all be worth it, and I will NEVER, EVER take that for granted.

 

Seriously Slackin’

Hi! I’m really working on trying to post in here more often, but things have just been out of control busy! Which is amazing, but also, exhausting. I’ve come to love naps, and Sundays, and Sunday naps. AHHHH-MAZING.

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I’ve found that recently, I’ve been posting a lot of my more detailed updates on our IVF journey in this blog, so I’ll keep with the trend, and give y’all an update on that!

We have officially started with a new doctor, and let me tell you, this man is AMAZING. I kind of figured because he’s highly recommended by like everybody. We sat down with him at the beginning of this month, and talked, a lot, about everything. About our first attempt at IVF, about our tests, and procedures, and test results, and lifestyles, and the Stafford’s, and Facebook, and my friend from kindergarten. (Seriously, on all of those)

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We made a plan, and it felt so good. To finally have a plan, which if you are in the TTC community, you should know that a plan is not really ever an actual plan, because there are almost always guaranteed obstacles. BUT! We welcome those obstacles with open arms now, because we know that each one is happening for a reason, and leading us to something that I hear is pretty damn amazing. (ya know, kids).

We started back up with bloodwork and monitoring, and are doing a second round of a couple different procedures, because he wants to see with his own eyes, what exactly is going on, and what we can do about it. He is monitoring me closely, like super close because we don’t want a reoccurrence of the cancer, or any other serious issues.

Today…today was a rough one. We went in for what I thought would be routine hysteroscopy (think colonoscopy, but for your uterus) but turned out to be the most painful procedure thus far because he had to do some extra work. Turns out, I have a lot of extra tissue that’s basically just ‘in the way’ and not needed, so he cut it out and currently has me hooked up to a balloon catheter to help the healing process. It’s been a fun and extremely uneventful day in bed. Shout out to my AMAZING husband for being the best supporter ever.

We will keep moving forward, and are taking this round one day at a time. No jumping ahead, or overthinking, or over-analyzing. Staying hopeful and optimistic.

Also. I think I ate like 52 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this past week…so thanks, Elise.

 

It’s been like, forever.

Hi, hello, I’m sorry. It’s been like 82 days since my last update, and that last one was, well, let’s be honest, it was a depressing doozy. Not like me, but I had a lot on my mind and needed to get it out.

Flash forward a few weeks, it’s a new year, I’m in a better place, and things have been crazy. Here it all is in a nutshell:

  • It snowed. Like a shit ton. That sucked, but thankfully I work from home, so I didn’t have to deal with it too much. Hubby on the other hand, I’m surprised he hasn’t rented an apartment Downtown at this point.
  • I emptied my office, and then redid like everything. It’s still not done, mostly because I don’t know how to hang things on the wall properly, and also, because I can’t seem to pick out frames for some art work. That means no ‘before/after’ pics until everything is done. We all know I’m a sucker for those pics! For now, this is all I’m showing, and to be honest, it’s one of my favorite little spots. I love floral and obviously love that cutie in the pic!26196460_10160064210035268_8934391849286081830_n
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    I set a goal to read 3 books a month, and I’m off to a good start! I read Wonder (which was amazing!) and I’m finishing up Still Alice this weekend!

     

  • Since opening up about our struggle with infertility, I have connected with SO many amazing ladies who are going through the same thing, and it’s been amazing hearing so many stories and knowing that we are not alone. I’ve been able to make ‘lucky shirts’ for so many women and it’s amazing knowing we are also helping to spread the word. 26730608_10160110995005268_4005322614497904038_n
  • Most importantly. All of our animals are still lazy AF.

 

This month has flown by, and I’m honestly surprised because we are in this ‘waiting period’ for everything baby related. I thought time would move super slow and these months between tests would take forever to get through. We had our first biopsy earlier this month and we got the results back last week saying that it was NEGATIVE for cancerous cells. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s all we know for now, we have no idea what is next; whether its more waiting or more tests…we should know more in the next couple of weeks.

Anywho. That’s all I got for now. I know you were worried about the animals and if they were getting enough sleep or not. You can rest easy knowing they sure as shit are.

 

Happy Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s snowing and beautiful outside. I just spent the weekend with my in-laws, and we are spending tomorrow with our nieces and nephew and more family. Matt and I are relaxing at home, surrounded by piles of presents from family, 3 sleepy animals and a perfectly decorated Christmas tree. Life is pretty great right now.

You would never know that every now and then over the last couple of weeks, my heart has been breaking more, and more. Why? Because today/tonight and tomorrow were the days that we had planned on announcing a pregnancy to our families and friends. We planned on opening gifts for our future baby, we planned on epic surprises for our grandparents and friends.

Instead, we were surrounded by family, and overwhelmed with the love and support that I didn’t think I would need. The support didn’t come in any specific shape or form…it just came in the glances across the room, the laughter between us all, and the extremely thoughtful gifts that we received.

I’ve seen SO many baby announcements on social media over the last couple of days, and as happy and excited as I am for those extremely deserving couples, it always stings just a little bit to see, because that was suppose to be us.

As I write this, all I can think is that is WILL be us, hopefully sooner, rather than later. I can’t wait for the day when we get to surprise our families and friends with what you know is going to be some kind of Lions themed baby announcement.

For now, I’m looking around at all that my husband and I have, and I am thankful, amazed and literally in awe. In a time where I’m feeling a lot of hurt, I’m feeling SO much more love and that is exactly what everybody should experience during the holidays.

I hope everybody has a perfect Christmas, and if  you can relate to this entry in any way, just know that you are not alone. Take a minute and look at all the things around you, take it all in, and give grace for every. little. thing.