Monday, December 30, 2013

Remembering Our Angel Baby.

Today is a special, tender day for us. 
Today is the day we were supposed to have our first baby. 

I knew I couldn't forget it, but I never would've guessed just how…ok, everything would feel.


Since our miscarriage in May, Joey and I tried to think of a nice way to honor and remember the baby that we lost. We were never given an ultrasound picture; all we have of our babe is the pregnancy test that now sits at the bottom of a little drawer in our bedroom. We wanted a simple reminder that he is still part of our family, especially now that we are pregnant again with our rainbow baby.

I thought about making some sort of print to frame or something, but I knew I wanted a memento that would really be part of our family, not just something that would hang on the wall, separate and alone from us. So when we went to Myrtle Beach at the beginning of December, we headed to Build-A-Bear to make a special bear to celebrate our baby.
Before placing the tiny, red, satin heart in our little bear we wrote his name on it. He may not have been with us for very long, but that was still our baby, and 'officially' giving him his name brought us a lot of peace. 

I suppose I underestimated my ability (or inability, rather) to remain cool and composed, because while we waited for our turn to stuff our bear, the tears just started flowing. I looked at Joey and was comforted knowing he was crying too. The woman who helped us make our bear noticed we were quite emotional and after hearing our story, was very sweet, kind, and sympathetic to our tender hearts.
Our little bear is now sitting quietly with the rest of the baby things we have slowly started to collect for our future arrival. I don't know if/when/how we would tell our baby about their angel sibling, but for now, our little one will cuddle this bear and will always have their big brother with them. 


Early this morning I sat at our dining table while Joey finished his breakfast before leaving for work, and I thought about how in the previous months, I assumed today would be a painful, sad day. I assumed it would be a day that I would want to avoid completely. But as I sat there I realized that, more than anything, I feel peace. I feel peace knowing that because Joey and I were sealed, our baby is sealed to us too. He is and will always be part of our family. I feel peace knowing that no matter what anyone else thinks or what they think is or isn't a child, to us he will always be our child, and that he's safe, he's not alone, and he's ok. 

That everything is ok. 

Our second baby is due exactly five months from now. And while it doesn't make us forget the pain that we have felt and the loss we have gone through (and even though being pregnant after miscarrying is a nerve-racking, sometimes scary experience), this rainbow baby brings us so much happiness and even more peace. 

When this baby is born, we will be a family of four, and I love that. 

Our Merry Little Christmas.

A little late, but I wanted to share a bit of our Christmas---
Joey worked Christmas Eve to Christmas day, so things were a bit thrown off, but overall we actually had a very nice, quiet Christmas at home, just the two of us. Different, but nice. We had Christmas dinner with some friends and relaxed with some classic holiday movies, and on Boxing day we had a fun date day with lunch out, a trip to see Saving Mr. Banks (after introducing Mary Poppins to Joey on Christmas Eve first), and a surprise from Joey: the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island! I had wanted to see Christmas lights last year but we didn't make it with his work schedule, so sweet Joey totally surprised me with a free ticket to see them this year.
 We took Remy along--and it was even chilly enough to dress her up in her awesome sweater!
 Not only were there lights, but there was also a place to roast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa, plus other fun activities for little ones.
 After a little barking, Remy got the hang of it and was strutting her stuff as every person under the age of 17 freaked out about the tiny dog in a sweater that just walked by them.
Thanks Joey for taking me to see Christmas lights!

We hope everyone had a lovely, wonderful, happy Christmas holiday!

Now lets bring on 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

121 Days Down: Baby Update.

Confession: We haven't taken a single, deliberate 'baby bump' photo this entire time. I just didn't want everything to be documented with subpar iPhone photos of my reflection in a fluorescent lit, dusty bathroom mirror (as if most of us don't already feel un-photogenic as it is, am I right?), so for the past four months I've told myself 'oh, this Sunday I'll have Joey take one' or, 'I'll just snag Joey for a photo when he gets off his 12 hour shift at 8:30 in the morning'. Oh, me and my silly dreams. And then, all of a sudden, I was at 17 weeks and didn't have a single progress shot. 

But Friday morning I realized, 'Hey dummy, you have a tripod in the closet, ya know'. So, feeling like a complete and total goober, I stood out on the porch with a tripod and spent forever and a day trying to produce a couple moderately photogenic photos to document how things are looking with this little carrot.

So, uhhh, here we are!

Here are some of the highlights from the past few months:

First trimester wasn't so horrible. I only threw up twice, but had nausea and food aversions out the wazoo. I was definitely tired all the time--did you know your body is producing up to 50% more blood and your poor little heart is having to try to pump it all still? No wonder you get tired!

I'm not as much of an emotional wreck as I was the first trimester, but the hormonal crying has still continued. Some of our favorite reasons that I've cried:
- Remy trying to sit on my lap when I didn't want her to
- Remy sticking her head in my water glass
- The last episode of season 3 of Downton Abbey (begging Joey, 'don't ever leave me!' while sobbing for 30 minutes)
- A gum commercial
- A pet food commercial
- Watching Mulan
- Crossing the Virginia state line
- My shirt was bunching up in my underarms
- A crockpot meal I made that I thought looked yucky (another 30 minute sobbing fest)
- Having to put Remy in her crate so we could go to the ER (I apologized profusely to her, crying, 'I'm so sorry!')
- My feet were hot

Food has been a bit tricky. At the beginning I started craving stuff I would never, ever normally eat, like pb&j uncrustables, bologna and cheese sandwiches (Joey wouldn't give in to that one), and one day I even almost turned around for Arby's. Arby's, people! I haven't eaten there since at least middle school. Luckily that phase is over. I also started having major aversions. Arugula and other leafy greens would make me gag, and even now, I still can't eat a dang salad without feeling like I'm eating dirt. Fresh fruits and veggies, as well as roasted veggies (all of which I used to love) are also no longer appealing, so I've been trying to drink more vegetable juice and smoothies with beets, greens, and cucumbers in them. Its been very frustrating sometimes, not having an appetite for much of anything, but I'm trying to do the best I can. The most recent food fixation: toasted english muffins with cream cheese, tons of tomato slices, and salt + pepper. I've already had it for two meals today….and could still eat more of them.

I've had to learn that you really can't compare baby bump sizes. I have friends who are weeks ahead of me who are still practically flat as a board, and other friends who are due after me that look farther along than I do. I feel self conscious sometimes being in public or at church because I wonder if people comment about my size, but honestly and truly, every body is different. Number of previous pregnancies, position of the uterus, and lots of other things change how you look, and there's no right or wrong way, really, to look while pregnant. My doctor says the little carrot is growing just fine and I'm measuring exactly where I should, so we're all good. I've also come to accept that I'm just plain short, so the baby has to go somewhere!

I've been getting better, but I've also had to learn that shifting from infertility to pregnancy can be a hard transition. I could write a whole other post about this (I've been meaning to actually), but the bottom line is, pregnancy doesn't magically make all of the emotional parts of infertility go away. For instance, in the first couple months of being pregnant I couldn't even go to baby stores or Motherhood Maternity without feeling major anxiety and sadness. It was like my irrational side imagined everyone around me saying, 'Oh look, there's Megan. She's the infertile one, and now she thinks she belongs here with us'. Completely bananas? Yes. But it happens. Like I said, luckily I'm getting better at it, with much thanks to Joey and other similar women I've been able to talk to about pregnancy after infertility. 

Since I hit 12 weeks I've been getting migraines. I guess it just happens sometimes if you've had a previous history of them (this guy over here). So for more than five weeks now, I get migraines about 4-5 days a week, and there's not much to do about it. Tylenol, Coca-Cola, Sudafed, essential oil, massages, every conceivable old wives tale remedy---nothing's working. My doctor has also prescribed me a couple meds to try (including lortab even), and they're not helping either. Its very frustrating not being able to really function when they start up, but I wouldn't trade it for the world if this is what I've gotta do to grow a baby. Here's to hoping they end with this trimester!

Lest this post lead you to think that this has been a negative experience, we really are feeling glass-half-full about everything! I'm sleeping better than I did the first trimester, and while its tricky working around the migraines, I've got more energy to get things done. The nausea is pretty much gone too, which is such a welcome relief! Its been very fun slowly collecting baby items--Black Friday shopping consisted of getting some of our cloth diaper stash and a couple carriers ( and then testing out the carriers with our dog who is conveniently newborn size...), and Joey has just been the cutest about researching baby things, keeping track of the baby's progress with different iPhone apps, and getting so excited about being a daddy. He likes to kneel down by my stomach, give it a little tap, and say, 'Baby? Hi baby! I sure do love you'. Mushy? You bet. But I love that he cares so much! I've also finally found a prenatal yoga video that I really like, which may not seem like a big deal, but man it feels good! It really helps physically but also helps me stay focused on the big picture and the hopes we have for this experience and our growing family. And today's big 'awww' moment: I felt the babe moving around for the first time today! We were sitting in church and that little carrot just started movin' and groovin'! I guess baby Fleshman really likes them Christmas hymns. 

Well once again I have managed to write a novel. It shouldn't by now, but my long winded writing takes me by surprise every time--and leaves me feeling slightly embarrassed. But hey! My blog, right? Thanks for letting me share. Like I mentioned in our announcement post, I don't want to flood you with baby stuff, but I'm grateful to take a few moments every now and then to celebrate our rainbow baby and let the people we care about know how things are going over in our neck of the woods. 

Have a great Sunday--and yay! Its Christmas week!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Late Night Thoughts on Trials, Pain, Christmas, and Hope.

I don't exactly know where to start, so I'm just going to write, because I know I need to say it. I don't often talk about my faith or beliefs, mostly because I just wasn't really raised in my family to talk about them with others, so its not something I'm naturally inclined to do. But tonight there are some things I'd just really like to say----

Tonight I'm so grateful for that hand to hold as we go through the trials we face.

For the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed with the trials we are facing, our family and friends are facing, and people around the world are facing, and today it has all come to an emotional, almost paralyzing head. 

Prototype has been more challenging for Joey than we expected. I am facing physical trials during this pregnancy for which there's not really a cure that is safe while I carry this baby. We are reminded of the loss of our first babe as his December due date gets closer and closer. Today we are mourning the loss of a close friend to suicide. Our friends are struggling with trials of their own, from cancer to miscarriage and everything in between. And every day there are stories around the internet of suffering and tragedy, the pain of which is only magnified by the holiday season and the desire for peace, love, happiness, and family. There are problems in the world that there just aren't solutions for. And I find it all utterly heartbreaking. 

When I was struggling heavily with depression and anxiety, I would read about these kinds of problems and I would feel immense, personal sorrow and guilt. Sorrow that such terrible things could happen in the world, and guilt that I couldn't fix them. I distinctly remember a time during my freshman year of college when I sat at my desk, sobbing, because I had read an article about animals that were becoming extinct, and I felt like it was my fault because their was nothing I could do about it. 

And today, I have felt similar sorrow and an urge so great to fix those pains for people that my legs and arms physically ache, wishing there was something I could do to make everything better or to at the very least ease in any way the suffering, pain, and sadness.

Yes, in my story from college I needed to learn that I needed professional help to combat and eventually overcome my depression and anxiety and the feelings that came with it. But more importantly, and most significantly to how I'm experiencing things today, I needed to learn that I can't be the savior for everyone. I can't take away people's pain. I can't make people make certain choices that would bring them more relief and happiness. I can't fix the world. 

And today, as I think about all of the trials facing our family, those we care about, and man kind in general, I have to force myself to remember that lesson--and further, that there is a savior that can heal these pains. 

I know i don't always handle trials gracefully. I've had my fair share of moments during which I've been angry, hurt, and confused. I, like every other human being at some point during their existence have asked 'why me?'. But for some reason, the last few weeks it has really clicked, and I cling to the knowledge that eventually, everything will be made right. I cling to the knowledge that Christ really is a Savior for the world and that He will come again, and when He does, every injustice, every pain, every tragedy, every loss, every sorrow we've ever experienced will be remedied, and we will find such great relief and peace. I cling to the knowledge that in the meantime, the Atonement can also bring us peace and help us get through trials and give us perspective until that time when everything is made perfect and whole again. I cling to what Joseph B. Wirthlin calls the principle of compensation--- that "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which has been taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude". 

I've always felt that Christmas is multifaceted. There is a Christ part, and there is a Santa/presents/silly traditions part, and both are valuable. I think its ok that Christmas has both religious and secular components. I don't think the holiday should be solely one or the other (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's how you choose to celebrate Christmas), but this year I've never been so glad to focus more on the Christ part of Christmas. I find myself so overwhelmed with simultaneous sadness for the pains of the world and joy in my faith in Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, and it just brings me back to how desperately I need Christ in my life and in our family, because we simply can't get through it all on our own. I cannot wait until that day when every trial is righted and our tears of sorrow are replaced with tears of joy. Sometimes I think that truth is the only way I can get through all of that hurt every single one of us goes through. I can get through things (though it may take some time) because of a hope for perfect and complete relief.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. My heart is full of many emotions tonight and I can barely contain it. My thoughts are with friends, family, and strangers alike who are struggling in their own ways, and I hope so desperately that you can find the relief and peace that we all greatly desire. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend in Myrtle Beach.


Last week Joey had his four day weekend for the month so we did an overnight in Myrtle Beach! And the main purpose for the visit: the aquarium. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I love aquariums! Like, you know how filthy rich celebrities have random stuff in their house like bowling alleys, theaters, mini zoos, and roller coasters? Well if I was swimming in dough I'd have my own little aquarium, complete with a petting pool with sharks and stingrays that I can play with. 

But for now, I settle for fun trips to nearby aquariums and sweet dates with my hunky husband. 

Can you believe these are real animals?! I can't wait to find out what the inspiration was for these guys.
 Look who we found! I think they put those two fish together on purpose, just so kids (and maybe a 25 year old woman) can get excited that Nemo and Dory are hanging out.
Once again, I was the only adult that spent far too long at the petting area, playing with the horse shoe crabs and little bamboo sharks. But I don't care!
 Joey got some 'hugs' from the horse shoe crab too.
 And we loved watching the diver feed the sharks and stingrays. And yes, I also pet all of the stingrays. 
 While going through our photos I realized that we seem to have this habit of eating seafood the same day we go to the aquarium---sorry little fish friends. But our big ol' pot of crab legs did not fail to satisfy our several month long craving for them!
 The next morning we woke up early to catch the sunrise from our balcony---best part of going to the beach in the winter? The sunrise is later in the day so you don't have to wake up super early!
 Yup. He's mine. 
 After some delish sweet potato pancakes with maple walnut butter for breakfast, we hit the beach for a little walk and some shell collecting. Ya know, I never even know what to do with the shells, but I just feel this compulsion to pick them up when I'm at the beach. So that's what I do. 
 Pelicans! We also got to see some dolphins too. So yeah, pretty awesome. 
After some time at the beach, we headed out for a little lunch and shopping for the most perfect holiday balsam candle (these are a big deal, people), which is glowing beautifully on the side table next to me right now. Talk about Christmas in a jar.

Our overnight to Myrtle Beach was just what we needed to give us a little refreshment and prepare us for another month of rotating shift work. The demands of Prototype have been pretty rough on Joey, so we're grateful for any break we can get to help him get through these last couple months. And of course, I'm just happy to have some quality time with my Joey.

I hope you have a great Friday and a fun weekend!

Monday, November 25, 2013


We just wanted to take a minute to express our gratitude for all of the friends and family who have extended such love and well wishes to us and our little peach. Several friends emailed or texted to let me know how happy they were, saying they even relayed the news to other friends and they were celebrating and getting excited for us. Its been a difficult journey to get to this point, but its been amazing to have so many people in our lives rooting for us. We certainly have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!

Oh! Several friends have asked---and no, we didn't conceive while on our honeymoon in Italy over three months ago, however it looks like our good deed and extra payment to the Trevi Fountain did the trick! We're not superstitious people, but I do love that that's part of our story. So now you know folks---the Trevi Fountain can really work some serious magic! 

I'm sure you've noticed the frequency of posts has diminished over the last couple months, and we're just going to chalk it up to all of that first trimester exhaustion thing and just feeling sub-par in general. But hopefully the nausea, exhaustion, and super emotional-ness will start to fade soon and we can get back to normal! ----I still have some photos from things we did in New England over the summer….whoops!

ps: look forward to a great list of all the ridiculous things I cry about now…

Have a great Monday, and thank you again!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Holy Four-Letter-Word.

When I was a kid, my mom shared a quote with me by a member of our faith that essentially said that swearing is a feeble mind's attempt to express itself. That quote has always stuck with me and I've tried my best to remember that when frustration starts to get the better of me and I think to release a less than ladylike term from my mouth.

But in this case, I don't think any statement could be more true of my reaction on one particular September day and my imperfect, human self to comprehend it all and express everything that I felt.

But first---remember in the last post I mentioned that Joey and I got together with Brinn Willis of BMW Photography for a little project while we were in Virginia? Well awesome, amazing Brinn finished everything up that day, and now we'd love to show you what we were working on.
pssssst…you're really going to want to watch it for the rest of this post to make sense.

I suppose I could just leave it at that, but given our experience with infertility for almost a year and a half, I feel the story of how we got to this point is perhaps just as valuable, or at least to us it is. But be warned, its a long one….

On September 19th I had an appointment with our infertility specialist to touch base after being gone all summer and to see what our next plan of attack was going to be. Those that follow me on Instagram might remember that I had mentioned that this appointment did not go well. I mean at all. It would take far too long to explain the whole meeting, but I can at least share some of the highlights. First, I met with my doctor because I had some questions about my diagnosis of unexplained infertility. I wanted to see if there was anything else we could investigate before we began sinking large amounts of money into treatments. I thought this was reasonable, but every question or concern I brought up was condescendingly shot down and I basically felt like a big idiot. I'm cool with him being the doctor and the fact that he went to med school and all of that, but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to advocate for myself and ask questions so I better understand my health. So I was getting a little frustrated.

Then he brought up the miscarriage. And after dredging up what that felt like and remembering the pain Joey and I went through, I understandably (or so I thought), started to cry in his office. Big mistake. See, according to him, most people get over their miscarriages after a couple weeks, and it wasn't good that I still got emotional after four months. Boy, I could give him an earful about that one.

So lets combine my hesitancy to blindly jump in to treatments without exploring options for answers, the fact that I cried about the miscarriage (you know, the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life so far), and that my medical history indicates I had problems with anxiety and depression years ago (and have overcome and haven't needed medication for in almost three years)…and my doctor tells me that he refuses to treat me for several more months because I am not stable to handle treatments or be a parent and that I need to see a psychiatrist and go on antidepressants. Then to add insult to injury, as I checked out the receptionist completing my paperwork gave me a condescending lecture about how I'm still young and I need to be grateful that I am because some women can't biologically afford to take a break like I can.

Now let me say, I have no problem with mental illness. I'm all for getting help and not hiding it because of embarrassment and social stigma. So that's not the issue here. The issue is that he felt that after one 45 minute appointment, during which, very emotional subjects were discussed, that he is in a position to judge my mental stability and resiliency in every other moment of my life, and that he pronounced that judgment without opening any sort of dialogue about it with me, all because I cried. And that receptionist had no right chastising me as if I was a pouting child---I have just as much right to want a baby as quickly as anyone else---that's why I was at a fertility clinic in the first place!---and frankly it was none of her business. I could go on and on about it all, but I guess the point is: my appointment sucked. Big time.

Needless to say I was furious the rest of the day. And after I picked up Joey from work and recounted the appointment to him, he was equally as upset---it was one of the few times I've seen him actually angry. And we both just cried. We were at a complete loss. It had been almost a year and a half of trying and we had nothing to show for it except a miscarriage. We couldn't make our dream happen on our own, and now the one person who is supposed to be able to help us, wouldn't. We really felt like we had no idea what we were going to do.

The next day was Friday and I had an appointment scheduled with my regular doctor at the Naval Clinic because I had been having UTI symptoms all week. I knew this week that I was nearing the end of the "two week wait" and would be able to test, so even with all of the awfulness of the previous day's appointment, I still had a bit of hope that somehow we'd have a miracle and I'd be pregnant anyways. As I got up to get ready for the appointment, I noticed I had some bleeding. And I lost it! I had hoped that everything was going to work out anyways and I wouldn't have to go back to my jag of a doctor again---but no. Now I once again can't get pregnant on my own, don't have a doctor that will help us, and to kick me while I'm down, my period decides to rear its ugly head five days early. 

I went to my appointment feeling absolutely defeated and like I just wanted to get it over with so I could go back home and drown myself in sweatpants and Netflix. Of course any time you might have a UTI, the first thing they do is send you to the lab for a urine sample. So I completed that step and then returned to the exam room and waited for my doctor. 

Fifteen or so minutes passed by when she came into the room, and the first words out of her mouth were "congratulations, you're pregnant!" And, rather frustrated, confident in my infertile body, and matching her tone I replied "no, I'm not!" She handed me the lab work, pointed at a few numbers, and there at the bottom of the paper I saw P-R-E-G-N-A-N-T. So for the second time in 24 hours I cried in a doctors office. I told her I couldn't be because I was bleeding quite a bit that morning, and I had experienced implantation bleeding before and knew this time was nothing like that. Her face turned serious and she began asking me more questions, eventually deciding to put me on progesterone (which my infertility sisters will empathize with--these are the worst!) and fairly strict bed rest until further notice. After one last hug from my doctor, another nurse came in to ask me a few more questions and go over my history. At one point he looked at me and rather surprised (and with a hint of judgment) he asked "So, you really didn't know you were pregnant?". And this still just makes me laugh because I think, no, I didn't know, but not in the same way other women might come in here and say they didn't know. I mean when you're working with a 4% chance of getting pregnant, you're probably going to be pretty confident it ain't happenin' too. 

Oh and the irony of it all? The UTI test came back negative. 

I drove home that morning in complete shock, my feeble little mind unable to comprehend or express what the heck just happened. In 24 hours everything had changed in drastic ways. I repeated an exasperated, surprised expletive in my mind because I just couldn't think of much else to think. I slowly and as gently as I could, climbed the three flights of stairs to our apartment, cozied up on the couch, and arranged for someone to pick Joey up from work. I still didn't quite believe it all, so at one point during the afternoon my silly self even took a couple HPTs, just so I could see for myself. And sure enough, it was there! 

Joey eventually made it home and I got to share the crazy news with him. But you know what? I think part of him already knew. I mean he was hoping this was how the day was going to go anyways, but after watching his reaction and talking about how we felt, I think something inside him already knew. I just love that about him. 

Funny enough, we actually spent the rest of that Friday night at the ER because, though the UTI didn't show up on my lab work earlier that morning, by dinner time it had progressed enough that doctors were able to catch it and treat it. 


So that's the story, and sometimes I still can't believe it. 
That Friday afternoon I reflected on the previous day and that horrible appointment, and I wondered why on earth I had to go through that if we were pregnant all along. And I immediately thought back to one moment that day. I was driving to the base to pick Joey up from work, sobbing uncontrollably and blasting a song that has always been a pick-me-up. I was thinking about how defeated and hopeless I felt. And then all of a sudden it clicked. I gripped the steering wheel tight and sang at the top of my lungs and I thought, NO! My infertility specialist will not be right about me! I am not unstable---I am resilient and strong and I fight back. I may cry and I may have hard days, but I've always gotten back up---the fact that I'm even alive and breathing right now proves that. I will not let him tell me who I am! And come hell or high water, we WILL make our family. And I cried even more (I'm a cryer, ok people. I hate it and I'm always embarrassed by it, but I'm a cryer---and pregnancy hormones have only made it worse). And I think that is why that Thursday, September 19th had to happen. I needed to show myself that I could do this, that I'm capable and strong and can still overcome hard things. I needed to remind myself just how damn hard I was willing to work to make things happen for us. 

We are now over 12 weeks, and things are going swimmingly. Naturally, I've been a little worried every now and then since I've already miscarried before, and we did have a little scare at week seven. But so far everything about baby is healthy and perfect and I no longer have to take progesterone or be on bed rest. And we've felt really good about it too. We've talked about how this is different from our last pregnancy, and we both just feel at peace this time. Last time, while we were happy, it didn't quite feel real, there was always a slightly "off" feeling about the whole experience and we never day dreamed too far in to the future. This time, everything is as clear as day. We're happy, we're at peace, we actually research strollers and bottles and swaddling blankets, and we feel great about it all. Its very refreshing and exciting. 

So how did this all even happen? I can't deny that there are probably greater works at play beyond the two of us. Since talking more about our infertility struggle, people have shared why they think we couldn't get pregnant---or rather, why God wouldn't let us yet, from timing with Joey's schedule to not having a strong enough marriage, to even suggesting I wasn't meant to be a mom. And truthfully, I don't think a single one of them was right. I don't think there's ever a perfect time or a perfect checking account balance to have a child. Especially with the Navy, not one single chunk of time is any easier than the rest of it, really. And the other baloney speculations? That's a topic for another time. No, what I think we needed was the summer we had. I think perhaps God knew how important traveling was to us and that the opportunities to do so would drastically dwindle once Joey starts deploying. I think we needed to take all those trips, check off those goals. I think we needed to do things totally unlike us, like go places spur of the moment, or use a credit card for the first time in years just for something fun. I think we needed to stop putting our lives on hold just in case a baby came or just in case we had to do IVF eventually. 

I also think that we have Preseed to thank. If you've read about Preseed, you'll know that it kind of sounds too good to be true, and that couples often buy it thinking it'll solve all of their infertility woes and they'll be just like the couple in the testimonial that got pregnant after one month of using it. But unfortunately for some people, it won't work that way. And we knew this. However we also knew that $20 for a product that could end up working was a lot cheaper than $1500 for IUI or $10,000-20,000 for IVF. So we figured, what do we have to lose? And it turns out, absolutely nothing. We ended up being one of those testimonial couples that got pregnant the first time they tried it. And maybe it was the Preseed. Maybe it wasn't. All I know is that in the grand scheme of things it was a small price to pay, and I think it was worth the try. 

I know I've written a novel, so if you're still reading, go you! But I just wanted to finish up with one last thing.

Publishing this post was a very scary thing. I have formed some very special friendships with people who are also going through infertility, and I have friends I had known previously who have opened up to me about their private struggle as well. And I know how hard it can be when yet another person announces their pregnancy (I've had six friends this week alone!). I know that, though it is unintentional, pregnancy announcements can cause a lot of pain for others. I hate that I have felt it myself and might now be inflicting it upon someone else that I care about. I've spent the last two months trying to figure out how to do this all in the most compassionate, sensitive way, without seeming condescending or insensitive. And I suppose what I most want to say is that, my dear friends, you have been on my mind. I have not forgotten what infertility feels like or my friends who are also going through it just because our situation has changed. In fact the "infertile to fertile" transition  has been harder than I thought. I want to be supportive and kind and sensitive. But I also deserve to be happy about the challenge we've overcome. And the option I have come up with right now to reconcile those feelings is that I am choosing not to post much about the pregnancy on Facebook, but will update occasionally on the blog and Instagram. I will still post links on Facebook to blog posts I write which puts few details on Facebook, but after my own experience with infertility and social media, I think this is what I'll be most comfortable with. I love you all greatly and want to continue to offer support, encouragement, and compassion, if that's ok with you. But please just know, I still think about you and will not forget the love and support you have extended to me during our struggle. 


Well I think I've said more than enough. We're happy and excited and grateful for our rainbow baby, and so glad we could share this video and story with our friends and family. And this couldn't have been published at a better time because I have become distinctly more round the past couple days. So now you know--I'm not getting chubbier, I'm just pregnant! ;)

Much love!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oh Shenandoah, I Long to See You.

Hello again!
Boy, I'm just not keeping up with this lately (and my ability to write even remotely effectively has quite  clearly suffered from it). But we'll talk about that another day..

Now that Joey has started the on-crew phase of Prototype, life is a little bananas sometimes. The gist of it: now the work week is seven days long (but still 12+ hours each), and every nine days he switches shifts. So one "week" he works regular day hours, the next noon to midnight, the next all nights, and then another fourth schedule the final week. At the end of this four shift cycle he gets four days off before the cycle starts all over again. It has been a bit of an adjustment, but at least its not forever. 

We had really been wanting to get back to the Shenandoah Valley and visit our alma maters, particularly during that gorgeous fall we've been missing so much. Luckily, Joey snagged just the right crew that allowed us to head up to Virginia two weeks ago for his first four day weekend. So we left Charleston at three in the morning on Friday and spent a too fun weekend back home in Virginia!

Because our time was limited we made our best effort to squeeze in as many visits with friends and walks down memory lane as we could. We first stopped by SVU when we got into town to see old friends and professors, plus a little lunch with our dear friend Mallory and her little Jane. 

Next stop was VMI for Parade with the Rasmussen family---it was so good to see them all again! 
The kids had fun learning about Parade and some of the VMI traditions.
Following Parade we said goodbye to the Rasmussens and met up with some of Joey's Rats for dinner at one of our old favorites, Macados. We've missed those spicy thai peanut wings!
After sleeping for nearly twelve hours (remember that whole leaving at 3am thing?), we spend Saturday in Lexington window shopping and visiting more of our old haunts. We also got to see the helicopters take off from the VMI parade deck for FTX!
I didn't have many specific requirements for our trip, except for one: we absolutely had to have lunch at the Bistro on Main. Its where I had lunch with my friends the afternoon before Joey and I got engaged and their four cheese lasagna is to die for---I get it every time! And the parmesan artichoke dip is a great way to get that appetite going too. 
And what's a trip to Lexington without Sweet Things?!
Behold, the most amazing waffle cone ever created. All others pale in comparison. Truly. 
After a walking off a little of our honeydew sorbet from Sweet Things, we headed back to Buena Vista to spend some more time with Mallory, Andrew and little miss Jane before meeting up with more friends for dinner, plus a great engagement story from Marty and Amber. Hooray for weddings!
Sunday was our last full day in Virginia. We tagged along with the Brandts for church (during which I put a screaming, wailing Jane to sleep, pretty much making me Wonder Woman) and some afternoon lunch and napping. We just love them!
And the Rasmussens were so kind to invite us for dinner which meant more time playing and yo-yoing with those four adorable peanuts. We loved listening to their stories and seeing how much of a chatterbox Ewan has become!
On our final morning we got together with Brinn Willis to work on a new project (more on that later!) and then visited Mal and Jane one last time--we just can't get enough of our darling "niece" and love being her "Aunty Meggles and Uncle JoJo". 
Joey can attest that I am obsessed with decorative cabbages--so gorgeous!
We took one last walk around SVU before getting on the road again. Boy I miss those gorgeous trees and mountains and weather and…and just all of it!
Oh and the rooster tree! Five years in BV and I could never remember to pull over and snap a picture of the rooster tree. So check that one off the list!

Goodness you guys, I just love Virginia! I maaay have cried intermittently for the first couple hours after we left. We both have so many great memories there---the halloween dance where we first met three years ago, the steps of Main Hall where Joey proposed, the countless nights spent studying together at VMI, the first home we had together after getting married….Lexington/Buena Vista really is our home and where we feel absolutely and completely happy, and we can't wait to go back again.

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