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!

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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.

 

How I’ve Been….

Happy Sunday ❤

Last night, I was laying in bed, and realized that I haven’t written a post in over a month, and considering the fact that I’ve had a lot of caring and sweet friends send me texts, messages and called wanting to know how I’ve been doing since coming out about our IVF journey…I figured I’ll update everybody.

I’m gonna be honest. I’m not doing fantastic, but I’m not doing horrible either. It’s been a rough couple of months, and as the time gets closer and closer to our first biopsy, my nerves are getting the best of me. I’m taking things day by day, and trying to stay distracted and busy, which isn’t hard right now because our apparel business is getting SWAMPED with orders! (SO grateful for that!)

Christmas is close, and as much as I’m not looking forward to it this year (we had planned on announcing a pregnancy to our families next week) I’m excited to see family and friends and take a break from my normal routine.

I’ve had fun decorating our house, this is our first Christmas at this house, and the first time I’ve had two trees! I got crafty with decor and made some signs, and ornaments for myself and several others! The only thing that would make this month better at this point, is if my hubby was able to be here more often. He works so far from our house, and with the snow, and horrible roads, I feel like I’ve barely seen him over the last couple weeks.

I’ve spent a lot of time working from our bed because I still have days where I’m in a lot of pain; but on the other hand, I have days where I have bouts of energy and I go and see my nieces and nephew, go shopping or take 4,235 packages to the post office. 🙂 I’ve taken up reading again, and have loved it. Reading is so relaxing to me! I received the book thats pictured below as a Secret Santa gift this past week, and I’m so excited to read it!

I hope that everybody reading this is having a wonderful holiday season, and has the chance to spend it with loved ones. Take advantage of this time together! It’s something that I know can seem so stressful, and like such a headache, but time with family is SO important, so take it all in, and enjoy it while you can.

Not quite happily ever after…yet.

For any of you who know my husband, you know that he spoils the heck out of me, every single day, and he has since the day we started dating. He does everything he possibly can to make sure I’m happy, healthy, and taken care of. He works his ass off so that I can stay home and chase my dream of owning my own business. He goes out of his comfort zone to do things that he normally wouldn’t do, just for the simple fact that it’s something I enjoy doing.

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That being said, there has been one thing that I’ve been dreaming about giving to Matt since we got married, and that’s a baby.

I’ve been a nanny practically my whole adult life, Matt grew up around his moms daycare kids..we got this, right? We would be awesome parents!

Well, turns out, its not that simple. In our case at least.

Over the last several months, Matt and I have been going through a LOT, and it’s not something we’ve been public about, like at all. Our close family and friends know, and that’s about it (minus the amazing people I’ve met and connected with online). Recently, I started feeling the very heavy weight of keeping this all in, and after discussing it with Matt, decided that in order to help process it all out, I wanted to write a blog post about it, and share a little about what has been going on. Prepare yourself folks, this post is going to be long, and might not make any sense at all.

In July of this year, Matt and I found out after going through some pretty painful, awkward and stressful testing, that we have less than a 2% chance of having kids on our own. After taking that statistical blow to the face, we learned that our best and pretty much only option at this point, besides adoption, would be to go through IVF. (In-Vitro Fertilization) We wanted to put every effort in to have our own biological child, so after researching every possible thing involving IVF, we signed our life away (kinda literally) during a very intense appointment with the fertility clinic.

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The next couple of weeks, we spent preparing ourselves for what we were sure was going to be one of the most challenging (physically and emotionally) experiences of our lives. I read a lot of books, and spent a lot of time on Google (don’t do that if you are going through this…seriously. Just don’t) Matt surprised me with little gifts of encouragement like my Murtle the Fertile Turtle necklace, and IVF themed socks. The day that our meds were delivered, I was literally pacing by our front door waiting for them (I don’t know that the FedEx man knew the importance of what it was that he was delivering) and then we spent a few hours organizing everything so that it wasn’t as overwhelming. There was a LOT of meds! A LOT.

 

After some more tests, more visits to the Dr. and what felt like 1,000 blood draws, we were finally ready to officially start the process of IVF. For those of you that don’t know in detail what exactly this process entails, I’ll sum it up for you in like one sentence. It’s a lot of injections, a lot of pain, a lot of emotions, a lot of confusion, worrying, waiting (omg the waiting is the worst part) and more tears than I would like to admit.

I had daily injections, in the morning, and at night, and they were not easy to do on my own. Matt became my medication administrator; and let me tell you, there is no way around these injections. You have to do them, typically at a specific time of day, or the entire process is a waste. It’s always fun having to go to the bathroom of a restaurant to give yourself a shot, sometimes two or three. Or to have to excuse yourself from spending time with family to go in a private room so that your husband can help with the difficult to reach spots (booty). It was a long process, and as the days went on, the pain increased (this was a good sign, it meant that the meds were working, odd but true).

 

 

We went through 11 days of this, 11 long days. I was exhausted. I was emotional beyond measure. I was in a lot of pain. The next step takes us to the most amazing place, and thats IVF of Michigan ❤ It is where we had the procedures that would ultimately lead to us (hopefully) getting pregnant. The staff was amazing, and excited for us as we went through each procedure.

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For the first procedure, they put me under, and go in to retrieve the eggs that I had been working so hard to grow over the last 11 days. Some people come out of this procedure with 2-4 eggs, we came out with 20. That number alone made me cry, and was SUCH a relief. That just meant that our odds were even better for this to be successful. That hardest part was over, I was SO relieved. We finally had a chance to rest and take a break from all the meds. We headed home, and I did everything they told me to do. That included drinking 47 gallons of Gatorade and eating McDonalds fries…not joking.

 

Over the next 5 days, our little embryos worked hard in their little dishes to fertilize and grow. We got the update that we had 8 fertilized and healthy embryos on the fifth day (this is good, they want as many as possible to make it to day 5), another AMAZING number. We set the date for our transfer (this is where they put the embryos back in, and hope and pray that they stick). This was the day we had been looking forward to, for what seemed like forever. We headed back to IVF of Michigan at 6 in the morning and prepped for our transfer!

 

The process itself is very fast, but also very emotional. It takes place in an operating room, and Matt got to come in with me. He sat by my side the entire time. We got to see our 2 embryos on a tv screen, and watched as a nurse brought them in the room. Our amazing doctor talked us through every single step, and we got to watch as he implanted them back where they belonged. That was it. The transfer was over. We had 2 beautiful little embryos placed where one or both would hopefully snuggle up and take up residence for the next 9 months.

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Then we waited. We tried to rest and relax and just gave it to God, knowing that there was no longer anything that either of us could possibly do to make this work. 13 days later, I went in for the biggest test of all, and that was the blood work that would determine whether or not we were pregnant. Blood work was at 7 am, I got the phone call at 11 am telling me that unfortunately our first round of IVF had been unsuccessful.

Wait, what?

I had spent weeks planning everything out, we had names picked out, we had plans on how we would tell our parents, and our families, I knew exactly when and how I would tell Matt, we had been so excited and SO hopeful that there was just no possible way this wasn’t going to work. Everything was perfect. We did everything we were suppose to do. We listened to everything the Dr. said. How were we NOT pregnant?

I was absolutely devastated. You’ll notice the pictures stop here because there was nothing more to document.

I didn’t want to have to go through this again. I didn’t want to have to go through the emotional ups and downs that I had been experiencing. I kept thinking to myself ‘what did I do wrong?’ ‘what could I have done to help our chances be higher?’

I cried. A lot. I cried so hard that morning that I could barely get the words out to Matt, who I unfortunately had to tell over the phone because he was back at work and I was home alone. I could barely breath. I had failed. My body failed.

Over the next few weeks, we stopped all the meds (we were still doing a daily injection, and I was taking some oral meds to help keep the the embryos healthy), I lost my job (super great timing huh), we had to tell our parents and the friends that knew that we hadn’t been successful. I looked up EVERYTHING on Google, trying to find answers.

We met with our Dr., who said he was just as shocked because everything had been perfect. He wanted to schedule me for yet another procedure where they would go in and take a look inside my uterus to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong that could have caused the embryos not to implant.

Shortly after, we were at the hospital this time, cool outfits, lots of pain meds and anesthesia and a small sense of humor (hence the gorgeous selfie) all in one. They even put us in room number 9 (Matthew Stafford’s number for those that don’t get it).

Procedure went great, they removed some extra tissue that had built up inside my uterus, and sent us home. We got the news that our 2nd attempt at IVF would have to be bumped back another month, while I healed from the surgery, which brought back the tears, because at this point, I was SO tired of waiting. A week felt like eternity, let alone another month? I’ll push through though, because it’s what the Dr. said is best.

 

About a week and a half later, I was laying in bed at 5 in the morning and got an email from the hospital that had the results from my procedure (they did a biopsy on the tissue) and it came back abnormal. I was barely awake, but I saw the words that I knew couldn’t be good. “Suspicious for endometrioid adenocarcinoma” I’m no Meredith Grey, but that means cancer. I immediately called our fertility doctor and as suspected, he said they found precancerous cells in the lining of my uterus, and also spots of cancer, and that at this point, we needed to pull IVF off the table until we go and talk to a colleague of his.

How the hell did we get to this point? We were suppose to be celebrating being around 10 weeks pregnant at this point, but instead, we were scheduling an appointment with an Oncologist. I was beyond scared at this point, and had no idea what to think, or say, or even feel. I was pretty numb to anything after this. We met with the Dr., well the Dr. and his team of 6 other people who told us what we already knew, but also gave us the gut wrenching news that not only was IVF being pushed back, but that there was no chance of us even trying again for at LEAST another 9 months. Turns out the type of cancer that I had was not rare, and it is easily treatable, but cancer is still just that. It’s terrifying.

So…here we are. I’m taking things day by day, I’m still in a lot of pain, I’m still worried, confused and sad. I have been carrying the weight (literally and figuratively) of this around for far too long, and I needed to get it out there. We go back in January, and then in March for a repeat biopsy to see if the abnormal cells are disappearing. I haven’t taken to Google this time, I’ve stayed away from researching this because I know that every case is different. I trust what the Dr. is telling me, and I am going to go with the plan of treatment, and be patient as we wait for my body to heal.

I’ve been a part of some amazing groups on Facebook that I’ve been able to share our experience with. I’ve gained some friends that understand exactly what this process feels like. I’ve been able to see them get pregnant, and announce genders, I’ve learned to just accept that it wasn’t the right time for us to take what I know is going to be a HUGE step in our life and to just be happy for those that are reaching that milestone before us.

I still cry. I still get mad. I still question every single thing we did and wonder ‘why us?’ but every day is just another day closer to the day when we will get to start round 2 and hopefully by then we will be emotionally and physically ready to handle it. One painstakingly heartbreaking round of IVF behind us, and many more days of struggle ahead, but being able to open up and share this with anybody who will listen, has been like a breath of fresh air, and its something that I’ve needed to do for a long time.

I appreciate those of you who have kept reading, and for those of you who knew before this, thank you for dealing with my madness.

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