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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