Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It has already been a  week since my last final and I have not accomplished anything. I have been working a ton at Dixie and with the kiddo so I haven't had a single day to just do nothing.

I did get in a couple of hikes last week but just haven't had time the last few days. Check out my pictures of the beautiful trail.

Tonight will be my last dose of clomid and I am definitely noticing a lot more side effects with this increased dose. Mainly just more mood swings than I can even begin to explain with a few hot flashes for good measure. I already feel bloated even, like my ovaries are ready to burst out. Mood swings and waiting tables just don't mix that well but I've
tried to warn my coworkers at least. I do feel like I need a warning sign for the test of the world though. I am still holding onto the hope that this is all we will need and that some how this time is different because I'm 20 lbs lighter and it's twice the dosage. Opks start tomorrow and since we aren't going anywhere for Christmas there won't be any weird sex planning at any family members homes (or the car!)

Stay tuned for my version of a headboard tutorial when I finally get a day to breathe.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Maybe not quite as noticeable as I would have hoped, but you can see more of my belly button and just how pear shaped I am. I will never have a problem with a square torso. Just wanted to post them here to I can better keep track of my progress. I will post more pictures once I hit 179 which will hopefully be by Valentines day. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life has been busier than I knew was possible but it has been so amazing. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, even if it felt way too short, where I got to see almost every family member all in one day. I also got to spend time alone with my sister in law which hasn't happened ever! It was fantastic and I enjoyed getting to know her a lot better. Things are constantly changing so I will take you through the developments, one big chunk of my life at a time, if only I can decide where to begin.

Nursing school sucks time and energy out of every day without any added responsibilities. I enjoy a good challenge though so I fill it up even more. I am serving as my school's Student Nursing Association Vice President this year and then on top of that, I ran for a state office at the Arkansas Nursing Students Association convention in October and much to my surprise, got voted into the position of District 2 Director. It hasn't really changed my time management very much other than driving to Little Rock (about 3 and a half hours each way) one Saturday a month for a board meeting. I am lucky enough to get to carpool this weekend for our December meeting. I also have an additional, optional online class that the school offers so that we can get our full time status and I've really fallen behind with it. I have a paper to rewrite and a presentation to prepare tomorrow when I wake up. I was supposed to have a pharmocology test in the morning but my instructor is sick so she had to cancel until Friday which saves me from having to stay up ridiculously late tonight and gives me time to get a lot of stuff done during the day tomorrow before work (and write a blog post.) My grades are lower than they have ever been this semester but I just have to be thankful I am passing because I know some people haven't been. It blows my mind that in about 6 months I will be graduating! Two weeks from today is my final for the semester and then I can say I am in my last semester!

Matt hardcore made fun of me for going to see Breaking Dawn but don't worry, I went in disguise. I couldn't find any Groucho Marx disguise glasses so I had to improvise with dollar store toy glasses, cardboard, construction paper, and kabob skewers. I even added the blue hat to cover my red hair haha.It made the night so much more fun and we made fun of the movie and the actors for most of the movie.

Matt and I have been awesome. We do such a better job of finding time to just be with each other. A previous doula client of mine took some pictures for us as part of a sort of bartering and we had a blast taking them. It was fun and they turned out super cute. We have been doing so great that I started having second thoughts about pushing forward with adoption plans. I am having to wait for my current CASA case to go through right now anyway and since their next court date isn't until Valentine's Day, there wasn't going to be any movement anyway. I talked about it with Matt anyway and felt so much better afterwards. It was nice to hear that I am not the only one who loves our little life right now with just the two of us. I haven't felt this kind of contentment in a very long time.

With all that said, today I had an obgyn appt to get an always fun pap smear (even the name sounds dreadful.) He immediately commented on my 20lb weight loss since I saw him last and asked me about nursing school which I was impressed by since we have only ever met once before. He went over my ultrasound results and Matt's semen test again, noting their complete normality and we talked about what it was like during those three 50mg clo.mid cycles. He gave me three options: 3 more rounds of clo.mid at 100mg, try 3 months of Femera (two and a half times more expensive, off label use, really for breast cancer), or head towards a laproscopy. I went with option number one so we had a talk about the increased risk of multiples and that if this doesn't work, we will re-discuss the lap or maybe just an HSG. My insurance won't cover the full cost of either of those so they will likely be put off until I have some insurance through nursing job, next summer at the earliest. I am not looking forward to double the ovulation cramps next month but I'm hoping that I get that weird high from it again. I told him about that and he said that he has only met one other woman who said she felt like that on Clomid and she got pregnant with twins during the 5th round. He might have just been blowing hot air but his enthusiasm and confidence that we won't need further interventions was pretty contagious.

I got a new haircut last time I was in Little Rock and though it took me a couple days to get used to having bangs, I really love it now (and all the compliments I keep getting on it.) I have kind of plateaued with my weight loss and can't seem to fall under 199 right now. I am pretty proud of that number though because I started out at 219. I am having a hard time sticking with running now that it has gotten so cold so I am looking into gym memberships for Matt and I in the hopes that we won't let the winter get the best of us. And now, for some sleep before I conquer the rest of the things on my to-do list tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I am not a finisher. I start tons of projects, to do lists, blog posts, etc. but few of them get completely done. Right now I am procrastinating. I should be doing one of the many things on my existing to do lists but I am just worn out. I left my house at 6:30am Saturday and didn't make it home until after midnight. Then I had to wake up at 8 Sunday to work at Dixie. And of course we were swamped. I made really good money but I feel it throughout my body today. I had clinicals from 6:30-3 and then went to a bitch fest at DCFS about my CASA case. I have clinicals again tomorrow followed by a run (weather permitting). Then I am likely to come home and collapse into a heap on the couch. I should study but I doubt out will happen.

This is all further proof that it is all in the timing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big test tomorrow and I am feeling so unprepared. I'm going to just hope for the best and take extra anxiety meds with me. Wish me luck!

Sharing with you what our pups looked like almost a year ago and what they look like now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

 I'm barely keeping my head above the water and my grades are definitely showing that. Long day at clinicals today, more studying to do before bed, and I just want to run away! Ugh, and now rain that just makes me want to climb in bed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today has kicked my butt! We were super busy at Dixie and I ran around for 3 hours straight with barely a chance to catch my breath and since the majority of my patrons were over the age of 65, I do not have much to show for it other than sore legs. I wasn't near as sore this morning as I expected to be after that run yesterday but once I got home from Dixie everything began to ache. I completed a writing assignment very last minute, helped a friends print her wedding invitations, and got the full cd of pictures from yesterday (though I haven't even had the chance to look at them.) I am wiped out and hope to get a restful night of sleep before my first day of clinicals for my care of adults 2 class. Ugh. I hate leaving my house when the sun hasn't come up yet and I really hate med/surg clinicals!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Head some fun pictures taken by a previous doula client of mine, pushed orr bodies running, and felt an earth quake. Now to deal with the muscle soreness of tomorrow...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today the prompt deals with preference between pen and paper. Despite how infrequently I actually write in my journal, I really prefer it for the more heavy stuff, the most private of my thoughts, especially as this blog has grown more frequented by my real life peoples. It is so nice to just go hike out a few miles, find a nice spot by the water for my hammock, and pull out my journal. I've been writing in it on and off for three years now and sometimes, reading back on things helps me feel so much more thanful for the life Matt and I have today. While I enjoy the community of blogging, it lacks the intimacy of journal writing and the openness you can have when you think no one elses eyes will ever read it. 

Tomorrow, Matt and I are going to have pictures taken with the beautiful fall colors as our back drop. Then we plan on a nice hike followed by week 1, day 2 of couch to 5k, even though we are both still super sore from day 1. Basically, I am not going to want to walk at all Sunday when I have to wait tables. Starting the new year off lighter than I've been since jr. high will make it all worth out though.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Todays prompt had to do with listening to music while blogging and I could do just about anything while listening to music. I clean best, study best, and definitely work out best when music is playing. I have to have a couple different things going on at once to function at top level. Maybe it's from being one of four kids but quiet just makes me uneasy. Some of our friends with kids tel me to enjoy that quiet but I just never have. I've always been a multitasker and nursing school has just intensified that. It's almost impossible to get this far into nursing school without figuring out how to be doing fifty things at the same time...guess they are just preparing usa for a job in the real world. I am kinda feeling like I'm barely keeping my head above the water right now and I know things (and people) are being neglected but I can't imagine how much I'd be struggling if I hadn't ben honing my multitasking skills.

And a glimpse into the escape of  my day of flu shifts and calculation homework...

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It is fitting that the day two prompt for NaBloPoMo is about what you eat if your next meal were to be your last because hard core diet time starts tomorrow. Since convention I have gained back 4 of the 16 I'd managed to lose and it is time to reverse that asap. Matt and I have decided to do the couch to 5k program and hopefully run a 5k in January. I am excited to see the transformation in both of us.

We acted like it was our last meal on Sunday night and went to try out the new Five Guys. To me, there is just nothing like a good burger and it was a lovely way to send off unhealthy eating. Of course, I would have loved to have gone next door and filled a huge bowl full of frozen yogurt and delicious toppings but I was still counting calories (besides I was just too full.)

I have to give little kids flu shots tomorrow at a flu clinic and then I'm hoping to take my dogs to a local park to scope out the perfect place for Matt and I to have some fall pictures made this weekend. I am looking forward to taking advantage of these beautiful colors and hoping that it doesn't storm too much over the next 36 hours and tear all the pretty leaves off.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I have decided to use this next month to catch everyone up and participate in NaBloPoMo at the same time. I just got elected into a state board position with the Arkansas Nursing Students Association which will swallow even more of my nonexistent free time. I promise to talk all about the state convention, campaigning, and all that fun stuff on Thursday.

For today, I am going to use the prompt from BlogHer and explain a little bit about why I love writing, especially blogging.

I remember when I first started blogging over 7 years ago in high school with xanga. Like most high school girl blogs, it was full of angst and boy talk. That evolved into a blog I kept through livejoural the whole time I was in New York which chronicled my culture shock and multitude of random dates. It wasn't long after my return from New York that I started dating Matt (which has now been 5 years ago!!!!) and marriage came only 6 months later. I had been blogging sporadically until we realized that we were going to have some issues getting pregnant and then it became my go-to spot for venting that I couldn't do elsewhere. That blog ended up being deleted after my miscarriage and subsequent separation because I had started to just use it as a weapon. A weapon towards Matt to make him think I was just happy, happy, happy without him and a weapon towards myself as I relived every glorious moment of my pregnancy and every trauma of miscarrying. There have been so many times that I wish I had those posts but I'm sure it's for the best. I started it back up soon after we got back together but it was only for me. I never intended for anyone to read it then and still remember how excited (and nervous) I was when I got my first few readers. I almost changed the way I wrote and how much I shared but eventually rounded back to it being more for me than anyone else. This has become such a part of my life now that I can't fathom a time where I won't be blogging.

As we continue to navigate the path of infertility, nursing school, and beginning to dive into foster-adoption, blogging and the community surrounding it is what keeps me going most days.

My favorite thing about blogging/writing.....cheaper tham therapy.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

I had one of those experiences that left me feeling inspired, humbled, and restored all my faith in the world. Every single little moment in an entire series of events fell into place at exactly the right time, in exactly the right place, and I am still in awe of the world.

This all happened Friday evening, after Matt had left to go spend the weekend with his family in Bald Knob (about 4 hours away), and after I had decided to keep a friend's 15 month old for a few hours so she could study. My car had started making some strange noises about a week or so ago but I didn't really think much of it, just another inconvenience. Friday night this noise got way more intense. Had I been driving by myself, I might not have even pulled over, but with someone else's kiddo in the car, I wasn't taking any chances. I pulled over on the next street I came to. It was a small street that you almost miss when driving by. I parked directly under the only street light and popped my hood. I didn't see anything on the dip stick so I immediately assumed that I had just blown my engine up.

Around this time, I heard some footsteps coming up behind me. I turned around right in time to see this big, 6 and a half foot guy walking up. He immediately said, "Don't be alarmed," which is always a great intro. It turned out he was a mechanic and he offered to push my car into his driveway. It was when we were getting it into the driveway that we realized it was definitely nothing to do with the engine, and most definitely something to do with my tire area. After I pulled into the driveway, I got the kid out of the car and we introduced ourselves. His name is Cecil and I met his wife Melissa as well. As we were doing introductions, a very loud Bronco drove by and Cecil got excited and instructed his wife to call Curtis. Then he explained that Curtis was the guy who had just drove by and that he was a technician at Firestone. Just a few minutes later he pulled in in no time at all, had my tire off of my car. He quickly discovered that it was my entire hub assembly that was shot. When he took it off my car, pieces of ball bearings were falling out all over Curtis' driveway. He told me there was no way I was going to make it home. During this whole time, I was just feeling so stressed. Here I was at some stranger's home, with someone else's baby, my husband was hours away at this point, no debit card (because Matt took it with him), only $20 cash,  and quickly feeling like I was going to have a panic attack. I mentioned something about calling a tow truck and Cecil let out a laugh and said, "Why would you do that? We have a trailer right there we could load it up on." He paused for a minute and then asked what time it was. Melissa replied that it was 7:57. Cecil asked Curtis if he thought O' Reily's auto part store would have a new hub assembly for my car and they quickly decided to go check. I explained my money situation and Cecil just shrugged it off like it was no big deal, insisting that he pay for it. I told him that was ridiculous and that I would most definitely be paying them back. They left about 8:15 to get the part and by 9:00, they had my entire car put back together. Cecil has purchased an almost $90 part for a complete stranger with the full faith that I would come back as promised to pay him back. They put in the labor of taking a wheel off and putting it back on without asking for a penny in return.

During the whole time that the guys were talking and working, Melissa and I were talking and sharing about our lives. I learned about her two preemie babies who were now 4 and 5, both with vaccine induced encephalopathy. They were completely bed ridden, nonverbal, and require a lot of care. They receive their food and meds through a PEG tube in their stomachs and Melissa is the one administering these feedings and meds all day long, seven days a week. This family has always just slipped through the cracks, having never received home health care. They were actually living out of their car when their daughter was released from the hospital and had to stop at any place they could to plug in her heart monitor. They only recently finally got a diagnosis for their children after years of testing. Once the children's hospital here decided they couldn't figure it out, the National Institute of Health flew her, her husband, and both kids to Bethesda, Maryland for a week of every single genetic test under the sun. After everything came back negative, the timeline they had to create revealed that about 5-7 days after her children received their shots at 5 months, they started having grand mal seizures. It was likely that these seizures which resulted in large amounts of swelling, led to the brain damage that made them how they are today. I just can't imagine how hard that must have been to watch one child go through this, have another preterm birth about a year later and then watch him go through exactly the same events with no explanation. Thankfully, they may have some sort of end in sight now that a governmental paid medical expert decided that her children's brain injury was definitely directly caused by the vaccines. They were told that their court case will likely be settled outside of court this spring and it will likely be for millions of dollars on top of a yearly medical stipend for each child. She asked if I would like to meet her kids since I was thinking of doing pediatric nursing and of course, I said yes. We went inside and she introduced me to her sweet children. Her son tries to communicate by blowing bubbles with his mouth and her daughter is nonresponsive to almost everything but when any one sings "Amazing Grace" she just lights up and smiles. They both have absolutely no muscle tone and sleep in special beds. They are on so much medication that I was really surprised by their activity and facial response. There was so much love, faith, and strength that just filled that room. It was also amazing to realize just how much I've learned this semester as I talked with this mother who really has become an expert on encephalopathy. Even after my car was repaired, we stayed about a half an hour longer just visiting them (and thanking them profusely while Cecil kept saying "it was no big deal.")

Their incredibly tough lives makes their kindness all the more incredible to me. I have always been fascinated with people who can continue to smile and not become hardened by the constant crap shoot in their lives.  It's a lot of envy and desire to learn from them, to let their attitudes wash over me. It was so awesome to me how every single little detail fell into place just right. Had I turned down any other street, I doubt my car would be in working order today. Also, the part was almost entirely paid for by the babysitting I was doing when I broke down. There is just no way I can do this story any justice with my writing, but I just felt it was a story that needed to be told. Call it fate, coincidence, God, or whatever you want to, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful.

When I returned Saturday to pay them, it was late afternoon and I apologized for not coming earlier in the day. Cecil said that they hadn't even thought about it and it was easy to believe him. I gave them a $25 gift card to the restaurant I wait tables at to give to their friend Curtis, overpaid Cecil for the part, and gave his wife a gift certificate for an hour long massage that I think is likely way over due. I assured them that this wouldn't be the last they heard from me and I hope to help them in every way possible to find home health care. They have received news today that all they need now is to get a prescription from their primary care provider that says home health care. Since my husband works for a home health care agency, I just can't help but feel like there was a reason that we met each other. It's strange, but this feels like just the beginning of something far more than one random act of kindness.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

These past few weeks have been awesome. I attended an amazing (and insanely long) birth that you'll be able to read all about at my doula blog pretty soon. I ordered some awesome business cards that I can't wait to show off. I had some amazing clinical days at an elementary school and a developmental school. Those incredibly precious kids and some great deals on Craigslist have me so much more excited about our foster-adoption journey.

Our spare bedroom is undergoing a radical change. The queen guest bed is gone (well propped up against the wall in our room until someone comes to buy it - hopefully today) and there is a white convertible crib/toddler/full bed in its place. I got a super cute safari bedding set that came with a super plush 5x7 rug, all from Pottery Barn for about a fourth of what it originally cost. It has a pink sheet right now which makes it look acceptable for a girl, but all it would take was a blue sheet in its place to change for a boy.

I still have to find a place for my filing cabinet and all the clothes I have in the closet, touch up the pain on the door frame where my puppies cut teeth, put up these adorable book shelves, and find Matt a comfy chair for him to have story time in. But there is that forward momentum again.

The night that I got the bedding set, I just couldn't help myself. I was exhausted after clinicals but just felt like I had to put it all up so I stayed up way past my bed time putting together the crib and washing all the bedding. I think it looks so inviting and I am just filled with such faith that we are finally going to become parents this next year. The simple act of opening the door to that room makes my heart swell and motivates me to stay on top of this process. Right now, the plan is still to turn in our paperwork in November, attend classes in December, give them about 3 months to get our homestudy approved, and then we'll be open for placement just a few months before I graduate. I haven't felt this way in a very long time. And I can see the hope in Matt as well.

I've started reading books about parenting adopted children, attaching in adoption, and educating myself about all the resources and support in our area. I am trying to be as prepared as anyone can possibly be for parenting. I know our children will face unique challenges simply because they're adopted. No matter if they come to us as infants, toddlers, or small children, by the time they get to my home, they've already suffered a loss so large that no amount of love and attachment could ever possibly erase it. Matt says I'm being negative to think about it in such terms but I've seen it first hand with the children I've advocated for through CASA. I think I have every right to ache for our future kids' heartbreak and be sad that our family will be built on the basis of others' loss. I just feel like our child is out there right now, just waiting for us to get our crap together and it's filling me with emotional extremes.

Extreme joy. Extreme sadness. Story of my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I felt today sneaking up on me like a slow motion cresting wave of emotions just waiting to crash me into the rocky shore. It's always interesting to me the way time feels. All at the same time things can feel so recent and raw but so far away. Three years have passed since I was irreversibly changed by loss. Matt and I spent a little bit of time talking the other night about how it has changed us. He is still so much more determined than I am to have biological children. It seems to me like some unattainable ideal. Of course that's what we want but after over four years, it seems more likely we'll win the lottery (and we don't even play.)

Today brings back all that fear that made itself one with the pain. Irrational fear of Matt leaving me for someone who could provide him with children who look like him. (Rational?) fear of actually getting pregnant again only to lose that baby too.

This day brings not only the grieving of the baby we'll never get the chance to parent, but the loss of naivety that I'll never be able to get back. No pregnancy will ever be as enjoyable and carefree. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't even attempt to rewrite history as this loss continues to play a big part in where we are today. Instead, I would go back to the 18th and I would enjoy that day to it's fullest. I wouldn't have worried about money or work. I would have laid in bed an extra couple of minutes with Matt. I wouldn't have taken a single breath that day for granted.

And I get to spend the evening catering to the complaints and medical needs of postpartum women so today I will further teach myself to leave my problems out of my nursing care, or at least I hope I will. (Though on second thought, postpartum women might be more sympathetic to random crying bouts than most.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It has been a whirlwind couple of days. Arkansas Children's Hospital is such an amazing place and all of the nurses I worked with were incredible. I can't go into specifics (HIPPA and all) but I got to take care of sick kids and babies and really felt like I was in my groove. I tried to keep myself sheltered from the children that are pretty much living there abandoned but just hearing my classmates speak about it really took it's toll on me. It just breaks my heart that there are kids there whose parents either can't or won't take care of them because of their illness so they just stay in the hospital until a medically appropriate home can be found for them. It was all I could do to hold myself together long enough to get back to the hotel room but once I called and talked to the hubz, the flood gates broke open. It was an absolutely overwhelming experience but I'm so glad I got that opportunity.

I got back late Sunday night, printed out some homework, and immediately went to bed. I had to be at the hospital up here at 6:45 yesterday morning (as well as today) to spend some time in the newborn nursery. I really didn't expect it to be that difficult. I'm so used to holding little babies at this point and was looking forward to it. But then that stupid infertility crept in. I held so many sweet little newborns and choked back tears on multiple occasions as I realized how unlikely it is that I'll ever stare at a little face like theirs and try to figure out who they look more like. I'd stare at their little noses and my heart would just drop as I thought about never arguing if it was my nose or the hubz. It has taken a lot out of me and I wish that my day off from lecture tomorrow really meant a day off. I was forced to watch a circumcision as well which is way outside my comfort zone and it definitely solidified my views on the subject. Next week I'm in the postpartum section so I'm hoping I am a little less challenged there as far as my beliefs go and can get some good education time in.

I have to get some studying done tonight as well as watch a movie about Florence Nightingale and make a discussion board post about it. Tomorrow is catching up with a friend, speaking at the Student Nurses meeting at noon, more studying, and then some nanny time. And Thursday is a burn workshop which I am really not looking forward to and more studying. Friday is test day and then hopefully a little bit of relaxation Saturday.

Still looking for a new home but feeling closer every day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I should be finishing packing but I just have far too much on my mind. I have lecture from nine to noon today and then we carpool to Children's Hospital. We only have orientation tonight and then start the clinical portion in the morning. I'm suddenly terrified I won't be able to handle the weight and intensity of very sick little people. I'm worried that this cough and runny nose I have will take away from my experience since I'd rather not be placed somewhere where I could worsen a kid's illness. I am just feeling fragile.

I felt like an idiot for taking a pg test yesterday. I knew in my heart that only one line would stare back at me but I did it anyway. And of course, the evil witch came just a few hours later. I know there are so many other options than Clomid and that most of the people who are this far into their infertility journey would be going with the bigger guns now, but I just don't feel like I could do it, even if things like that were a financial possibility. I think that feeling like this is really the end of the road for our biological journey towards parenthood is really weighing heavily on my shoulders. Admitting, yet again, to myself that I may never again carry life inside me and remembering this time three years ago and the joy that filled my heart.

So we push forward with adoption. We keep looking for a new, bigger home and I'm hoping that everything will fall into place quickly after that. We're ready to put our energy (and money) into something we know will eventually bring children into our home and our hearts.

So send me strength in the coming days as I care for sick children and their families then return home to care for newborn's in the hospital (and not put any of them in my backpack when I leave...j/k, kinda.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So we've been in class for two weeks and I've taken two tests. We've covered over 40 chapters in that short amount of time. Add in that I've been watching the ninja (preschooler!) every single day, as well as for 48 hours straight this past weekend, as well as my Sunday shift waiting tables, and it's been pretty crazy. We are cramming in even more this week and then we go to Arkansas Children's Hospital this weekend for clinicals which I'm sure will be intense.

And due to possible poor timing, I'll be surrounded by very, very sick children while I'm menstruating or newly pregnant (hah, yeah right.) This month, I swear the Clomid has just made me way more crazy than the previous cycles. I wrecked my nanny-boss'es 60,000 Lexus and thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I sat on the couch crying and yelled at Matt "Why do you let me take these drugs?!" which gave us a laugh later on.

I swear to post more substantive posts about pregnancy and birth very soon, when I'm not having fear mongering lectures about it shoved down my throat. Thanks for continuing to care about my ramblings.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Of course, I do have the excuse that it's the first week of school and that a week from today I have a test over 26 different chapters in OB/Peds, but I'm gonna be a total ICLW failure this month as far as commenting goes.

And now that my computer is fixed after weeks of nothing, I swear, I will continue my mini-educational posts very soon! Also, ovulation time from our final round of Clomid is underway right now so stay tuned for some kind of update on the baby making front as well.

Read more about me from last month's ICLW post! Thanks!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

As promised, this will be the first in what hopefully becomes a long line of posts about pregnancy, childbirth, and other issues affecting childbearing women and families. I feel like having years to prepare for pregnancy and birth always leaves us infertiles feeling a lot more educated than the average quickie preggos, so I'm hoping that along with using this blog for share private things about my private parts, I can also help educate those who stumble across my site and spread my passion around even more. I know my blog has already transitioned away from infertility quite a bit and I gave a warning post, so hopefully everyone enjoys this random bit of information. Since there was an article published today in the New York Times about March of Dimes new campaign "Healthy Babies Are Worth The Wait", I figured it was a good time to open up the discussion.

I know for me, since pregnancy has been the main goal for so long, it's kinda hard to think about actually wanting it to end early, but having been privy to the most emotional, inner thoughts of many pregnancy women, I know that at some point, it really does start to feel impossible. Between aches and pains, desire to finally meet that baby, feeling like a boat, and all the people constantly telling you how you look like you may pop, asking when you're finally gonna have that baby, and giving you tons of (usually unwanted) advice about how to get labor going, I know it has to get harder and harder with every passing day to resist the temptation your doctor is likely giving you (telling you to do) at every single appointment. Even some of the most popular pregnancy books on the shelves make induction seem like a big, shiny gift where you get to pick your baby's birthday, enter the hospital in a zen calm, and everything will be rainbows and sunshine. Rarely, if ever, does anyone give you both sides of the story, including all the risks involved.

Before I talk about the risks of induction, I'd like to talk about some of the "medical" reasons given by doctors on why you should induce. Very frequently, women consider their due dates to be set in stone. I actually hate that we called it an due date, like it's an assignment and you'll be counted off somehow if it's late. Medically, it's referred to as the estimated due date (EDD), or in older books, the estimated time of confinement (EDC), yet still so many doctors choose to overlook that "estimated" part of it. Only 5% of babies actually come on their due date, so it's really not an accurate estimate at all in most cases. Even the strongest willed of women are scared into induction when that 42 week mark comes along. Suddenly, the doctor won't "let" you go any farther. The book Born in America by Marsden Wagner, MD reviewed research published in the 80s that found "no significant increase in neonatal mortality rates after 42 weeks and only a slight increase after 43 weeks (pg 94)," but still inductions have been on the rise ever since. Another small study in the 90s of 1800 women who went beyond 42 weeks once again showed no increase in neonatal mortality and no increase of complications. Now, only about 3% of pregnancies will go beyond 42 weeks and only about 10% of babies that are more than 43 weeks get into trouble. So all across our country, women are being induced all because of a 0.3% chance that something may go wrong. That is not evidenced based medicine being practiced. That is the practice of convenient medicine.

A major concern has been that the placenta ages, though no one seems to have any research to back this up. I know of women who have had calcifications on their placentas at 37 weeks and some who had huge, healthy placentas at 43 weeks.

That's all I have for now and must return to work again now. I leave you with a lovely 44 week birth story. Stay tuned for a whole post about Pitocin, another on epidurals, and one on books to read and ones to burn (or avoid all together.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm really hoping some of my 49 followers will speak up so that I don't have to make this decision for myself. I am really dying to write some very birth-y political posts but I'm not really sure here is the right place for them. It does go along with everything I hope for, but this really has turned into more of an infertility blog over the years and I would hate to alienate anyone. I feel like infertility caused me to take a much closer look at how delicately our bodies work and how our current maternity care system doesn't seem to take that into account anymore. It's definitely helped me to be much more knowledgeable about the kind of care I'd like to have during pregnancy, the kind of birth I would like to have, and what I can do to make things better for other women.

I know a lot of my doula work and love has spilled over here anyway, but I'm just wondering how much you'll put up with?

I originally planned on posting a bunch to my doula site, but then I'm possibly running off clients and that's just no bueno either.

Please help me decide where to go with my opinions! Should I just make a new blog, add to that facet of my life on this blog, or stick it in the doula biz blog?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am such a nerd. Right now, I am just so ready to be done with summer. It's so hot and I'm super pumped for my next semester of school. I got a course outline from a previous student and even though I don't have all the books yet, I'm already reading up on the stuff in the individual units. I am ready for births and being pushed to my limits again. I finally got a site up and running just for my doula business and it's just so exciting to feel like I'm really moving in the right direction.

I am also ready for how much easier life is financially during the school year. It's no secret that we use loans to help cushion us since I have such little time to work. I'm so ready for that cushion right now.  My ninja.toddler leaves Thursday to go out of town for a month which will leave us even more tightly budgeted than usual. I will be working a lot more shifts waiting tables, but I'm not sure that's as much for the money as it will be to just get out of the house.

It's been miserable hot outside and I am really missing hiking. I need a nice long hike, a nap in the hammock, and some mindful clearing of the bushes in my mind.

Made an appointment for next Tuesday with a new OBGYN office. It's not that I had a problem with the last place, I just feel like this office is more equipped to handle more invasive, aggressive therapies. Right now I just have to get this pain checked out so I'm glad they could get me in so quickly.

I'm feeling so scatter brained today so I apologize for the scrambled post; expect something more coherent next week (I hope.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome those coming from ICLW! I took last month off but totally missed all the new blogs and new visitors. It seems all the more important to find new women to connect with as every one I feel the most bonded with moves on too mommyblogdom. With any luck, once my vacation starts next week, my blog will be getting a nice re-vamp with added pages so that I can just link to our story without giving an introduction every single month. But for now, I'm Rochelle. I'm a 24 year old nursing student, professionally trained doula, aspiring midwife, maternity-care system changer, and most importantly mother. My husband, Matt, and I have been married for a little over 4 years and have been trying to expand our family that entire time. Since we got married so young, we never thought we would have a problem conceiving and it really added a lot of stress to that first year of marriage and has continued to be the main source of sadness in our lives. 3 years ago I finally got pregnant but miscarried and my womb has been void of life ever since despite an onslaught of herbs, uncomfortable ultrasounds, and a few months of Clomid. I have another $90 to pay off from those Clomid cycles before we decide where we go next, which looks like it will be a laproscopy. We are in a not preventing sort of place right now, where it's always there in the back of my mind but I'm not temping or using opks or anything like that. And since that's been the case, my blogging has slowed and turned more towards other aspects of my life. I hope you'll stick around and ride the roller coaster with us. I feel like I'm a safe bet as one of those blogs you can add without any worry they'll get pregnant before you.

Infertility and miscarriage has very obviously impacted every facet of my life but it's so much more obvious when it comes to my dreams (and I don't mean the crazy ones I have while I sleep.) Ever since I witnessed how amazing women are, especially while giving birth, I've felt drawn to pregnant women. I feel drawn to serve them, in every single way that I can, be it prenatally through some education, emotional and physical support, or just helping mop the floors for a mom on bedrest, but my favorite part is when I get to be that support during labor. After doing it purely as a volunteer for so long, I finally took a workshop this past weekend that I needed to get started on certification. It took me a long time to finally get back to a place after my miscarriage and following infertility where I was emotionally strong enough to provide that support and it's definitely an ongoing battle on some days, but I couldn't be more thrilled to feel like I'm finally back in the game. The workshop was absolutely incredible and I am so glad that everything came together so smoothly for me to go. I learned so much, especially about breastfeeding support which is definitely what I felt least prepared for. There was a woman there who reinforced the therapeutic communication skills I was supposed to learn in that first semester of nursing school and seemed to have a way of seeing right to the core of a person. The last day of the workshop was so bittersweet because although we had all just met, we felt so bonded. That bond was reinforced during our last exercise together where we all sketched and described our "ideal birth" which led to a very therapeutic purge. I think most of us cried, if not during our own stories, listening to others. It had been so long since I sat down and went through all the details again. I had forgotten how unprepared I was to experience labor when everything I read said it would be like a heavy period, like menstrual cramps. I forgot that mess of emotion, that terror, being too prideful to call my midwife back and ask her to come, pushing every one away, the horrible treatment from the hospital staff, and the large amounts of drugs that followed. I cried so hard at one point, while still trying to hold back, that I lost my voice for a moment. I definitely felt so much lighter afterwards (well, after the random crying during the first hour of my drive home.) I eventually did get to explain what my ideal birth looks like but it was the first time I'd really allowed myself to say aloud that I may never get the chance to give birth. It sounds so hopeless but I really needed to acknowledge publicly that even if I never experience another pregnancy, I will still be doing everything I can to help others with their experience.

I feel a lot more prepared for my OB/Peds class next semester too after the review I got through the workshop. It made me realize just how much I already know. I only have one of the three births I need to complete my certification lined up and it's not until the beginning of October but I'm hoping that a lot more are going to fall into my lap after that. It brings my soul an almost forgotten kind of happiness to be so close to fulfilling this dream. It doesn't hurt that this certification and experience will help me jump straight into the master's bridge program after nursing school. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks as I build a place just for my doula clients to go and learn about me and my services. It will also be a place where I can share the birth stories too. Wow, I have a lot to do during the month the ninja.toddler is gone to Chicago! By the time he gets back, I'll be in my last year of nursing school!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I had a wonderful birthday weekend! We ended up spending a big chunk of Saturday dealing with car issues (that are still not resolved) and then we split ways so he could spend more time with his friend and I could go see one of my besties (and her super cute 7 month old). I had a lovely evening with good food, that sweet baby, and time to catch up with one of my closest friends. On my birthday itself, we allowed ourselves to sleep in and then headed to my mom's house. We made an appearance, which took longer than it was supposed to, as always, but it was good to see her. Then we went and picked up my Nana and headed to my dad's house. Two of my three brothers and their girlfriends came too. My dad grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and bratwurst and my step-mom, Dawn, made an amazing two level, super crazy moist, chocolate cake with chocolate icing, all from scratch. We spent about 4 hours there (Matt fell asleep after all the yummy food) and it was so great to catch up with my family and not feel like we were being rushed at all. From there we went on and saw an old friend we hadn't seen in a while (she was the only one with us when we eloped). And then I had a drink and some more yummy food with my favorite bestie (who stalks me here compulsively). Matt had to tag along but that ended up being a good thing since it seemed to change whatever his other impressions of her had been. He's just got a thing against people who are too pretty haha.

My hubby got me an awesome gift to top off my great birthday. I absolutely love Kurt Halsey. I've been spending way too much on his art for about 8 years now, even have some of his work tattooed on my wrist. Matt has been exposed to him, through me, for some time now and while he's not a fan, he didn't seem to mind that I have decorated our guest room with his art. Anyway, right now he has a coffee table book of sorts that has a small collection of his work from over the years and Matt saw me drooling over it online a few weeks ago. It didn't arrive in time for him to give it to me on my actual birthday (and because it was late, the wonderful Mr. Halsey gave me a few extras too including a bookmark, two postcards, and to adorable little tags) but he gave it to me last night and I am in love with it. I've kept in on the table since getting it and keep just picking it up and looking through it. He knows me so well and takes such good care of me.

And last, but most definitely not least, my super amazing family all pitched in and helped me pay for the rest of my workshop. It's this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and I am almost bursting at the seems with excitement. I get to talk about pregnancy and birth all weekend long! And I have no doubt that I'll be able to attend far more than 3 births this fall and with any luck, I'll be able to put CD (DONA) at the end of my name in the beginning of 2012. That means I'll have a nice big start of alphabet soup at the end of my name by this time next year when I can add RN to it too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I am so very ready for our mini-trip home this weekend since Sunday is my 24th birthday! We'll leave tomorrow night when I get off work and get into the bald knob just before midnight. I'm sure we'll end up staying up and visiting with Matt's friends for a little while before calling it a night. Saturday, I plan on spending a lot of time visiting at my in-laws house before heading to a wedding that evening. I'm hoping to fit in some friend time that evening too (and we really haven't figured out where we're staying this night.) On my birthday itself, we're planning on seeing my mom for a little bit that morning and then my dad is having a cook-out for me around lunch. Sunday night we're going to go enjoy some more friend time, this time with different friends, and then reconnect and head home.

It will be a very quick trip and we always end up spending way too much time driving around and trying to fit in every single person we know so I know we'll be exhausted come Monday, but I'm still really looking forward to it. The only part of this little trip I don't look forward to is dealing with our crazy dogs. We usually leave them with one of our parents but haven't made any arrangements at all this time. I really wish we could just afford a pet-sitter to come check on them here at our house so I didn't have to worry about it, but not right now as we continue to scrape together the funds to send me to this workshop NEXT WEEKEND!

I am very super excited about that workshop, in case you couldn't tell. A chance to get to talk birth for 3 days in a row!

And now for much less exciting housework.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In case anyone has actually been following as my blog shifts to less and less baby-making talk (thanks Candice and Shandi!), I did decide to go for the workshop. The big issue is still money, even more an issue now since I found out the workshop is $400 instead of $300. I already paid the $50 deposit and the rest is due on the first day of the workshop, which is July 14th. I am doing random babysitting for a little bit of extra cash to go towards my workshop fund in addition to an extra shift at Dixie this week which will go into that fund. I've pretty much set pride aside in asking for people to make a small investment in my future career and think about all the women that small amount of money will help.

Monday, I went to my first birth since before my miscarriage in September of 2008. Part of me was so very ready for it, to jump back in and be that support again but there was some definite self-doubt and fear too. I was so worried that maybe I'd get in there and all those scars would bust right back open and suddenly I wouldn't be much use to anyone, but I totally underestimated myself. It was quite different from the births I've been to in the past just because it was induction and that adds a whole new list of fights. My client and her husband both were amazing and she responded really well to the pitocin. She did end up getting a very light epidural (she could still move her legs) and a 4th degree tear but that baby is absolutely perfect and she is happy with her birth experience (which is really all you can ask for at the end of the day.) I am still feeling the exhilarating high from it days later. It was such a great reminder why I am putting up with all the stress and belief compromising of nursing school. It also made me second guess my nurse-midwife plans and re-open my homebirth midwife options.

In addition to the exciting events of getting to be a part of someone's birth again, I also had an amazing opportunity dropped into my lap. I was attending a prenatal with another doula client of mine who is due this fall and switched to a homebirth with a midwife I absolutely adore and we got to talking about how I need some more clients for certification births and how I'd love to have them be homebirths instead of hospital births. She had another midwife that was working with her who unexpectedly quit so she's got a very full load, especially in November and December and was looking for someone to help her out, to be that familiar face to her clients who may end up with her back-up midwife whom they might not have an established relationship with. It also means a chance to flex my skills a bit, possibly checking fetal heart tones and passing her instruments while maintaining her sterile field. I could not have asked for a more incredible opportunity and I am super hopeful that this is going to open way more doors than I could imagine.

Things are good on the marriage front right now too. We're still not back to 100% by any means but we're well on our way. I'm not sure what exactly we should be doing differently, though I just know we're on the right path. No matter what happens in the end, I know we'll both be thankful for this time together making sure that we don't ever have to hope just our love will be enough. We weren't careful this month, not like I have been the past month or so, and unlike I felt last month, I'm just fine with that. I am just feeling so much more confident that we are going to make this a relationship that works for both of us and will do anything to make sure each is as satisfied as absolutely possible.

Thanks again for all the amazing support I've received these past few difficult months. The women in this community never cease to amaze me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yesterday, I napped in my hammock in a lovely park in Bentonville. I am still on-call so my sleep has been a bit light lately but as soon as I got in that hammock, I was out. Luckily, I was smart enough give myself 30 minutes to get 10 minutes to work and I needed that extra time to wake up. I think tonight we're going to go to a local drive thru safari with  a petting zoo which I'm sure the ninja.toddler will absolutely enjoy.

I have Matt's support to pull out the extra bit of money I need for my workshop which is a nice relief. I feel like every day he and I are just a little bit more sound. It helps that I'm realized how much I really do just try and sabotage myself all the time (and really putting in a lot of effort to stop.) We went on a nice walk around a nearby lake the other night and it was like a small glimpse into the life I really want for us, and how tangible it is with just a little work. I wake up every day, that much more thankful that neither of us gave up.

Also, what do you think of the new layout? Simple but still enough of me in it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Anyone who has ever spent any substantive time with me knows what I'm passionate about. They could tell you how excited I get when I get to talk about pregnancy, birth, and babies. I've done my fair share of dabbling as a doula, mostly for friends or people who have gotten my name from friends and I've always said that I would get certified eventually but due to money and the location of the workshops, it's always seemed impossible. There is a workshop the last weekend in July in Springfield, Missouri which is fairly close to here and I've already got a few births lined up this fall for certification purposes, but now there is yet another financial roadblock. I have managed to save up $150 which is only half of what I need to have by the end of this month to pay for the $300 workshop. I feel like the pressure is really on to find a way to come up with this money without really taking away from our family money. I've been putting away my Saturday night nanny money and little bits of my money from waiting tables on Sundays but it just hasn't been enough. And now that I have women depending on me, it makes it feel even more important. I guess if I collect the fee from the one secured client I have this fall, then I'm only $105 away.

I met a woman Friday whose due date was yesterday and after thinking about it for weeks, finally told her that I would be her doula, entirely for free, entirely last minute, with no benefit towards my certification. It's just something my heart longs to do. It's been almost 3 years since I've really been a part of someone's birthing experience. Part of me is terrified, wondering if my scars are well healed enough to handle it, but for the most part, I'm just excited. There will be tears, but that's nothing new and I wonder if there will ever be a day where I'm not just amazed and moved by the miraculous nature of birth. I'll be on call all this week and if he's still not made his arrival by next Monday, she will be induced despite trying to avoid it. I'm excited to get to make an impact during this very intimate, life changing event in their lives.

Anyway, the main conflict I'm feeling is that I'm hopefully going to have this "extra" $300 that could go towards so many things, most especially getting ourselves properly medicated for our crazies and hopefully getting one step closer to regaining the amazing happiness we once had in our lives, in our marriage. Not to mention all the lovely other debts we have that it could pay towards. It makes me feel selfish and financially irresponsible.

So what do I do, spend $300 on something I know will make me happier or spend this money getting medication that may or may not "fix" me?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have excuses why I haven't been writing. I have excuses for why I'm so unhappy, why I'm so overweight, why I have no energy to put into changing things, and the list goes on and on. I am so very good at coming up with excuses lately. Sometimes they're just flat out lies I'm using to try and rationalize things to myself.

We're both still unmedicated, still far too broke at the moment to even begin to fathom being able to afford it anytime soon, and not leaning on each other any more than we had been prior to the ceiling caving in, maybe even less.

We obviously didn't go for that last round of clomid last month. To be honest, right now, I can't imagine adding a baby to this uncertainty and worried about it up until my period showed up yesterday. How did we get to this point and how do we find our way out? It's going to be a verge of tears kind of day.

And to make my mood even less acceptable, it's Matt's 25th birthday. I'll pull myself out somehow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

So, I'm a day late but finally getting around to another post. We had a very low key anniversary with some BBQ and a visit to a newly discovered used book store in the downtown area of our town (we spent more there than on food.) It was the first time I'd taken a nap in a very long time. I needed a day of doing very little, especially after the long hike I took Monday before work.

I went on a fairly long bike ride Wednesday morning and spent some quality time with friends until it was time to go take care of the ninja.toddler.

Friday night we left for central Arkansas to drop off our dogs at my mom's house and spent the night with one of Matt's friends. We left early the next morning for Nashville. We went with two of my friends and their husbands but they carpooled together. It left us with a lot of time to listen to new albums from favorite artists. We drove all the way to Nashville just to see Les Miserables and it was worth every mile. It was so nice to enjoy some time with my friends as well since we don't get to spend much time together. It was the first time that all our husbands were in the same place, really the first time that he had spent any sort of quality time with any of them. I'm sure he loved it when it was suggested that all the guys ride in one car and all the ladies in the other, but it really did go well. Matt and one of the husbands even got to really get into a lot of philosophy that I would hate to have to talk about. The drive back tonight was interesting just because we were racing some really bad weather and didn't quite make it which meant going 45mph on the freeway with very, very little visibility at all. I am very glad to have settled back in at home now.

My dad and Nana are visiting next weekend and my guest room is a disaster area right now so that will be what I tackle the next two mornings before nannying it up but I'm hoping to get out on the trail Wednesday. Right now, a tornado siren just went off so this post will be drawn to a close even though it's no where near us, just barely in this county.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I don't even really know where to begin. My mind has been in a huge funk and having the stress of finals on top of it just compounded everything. I took a hike last Saturday in an attempt to clear my mind but instead it just seemed to give me far too much time to let the negative seep in through all the cracks in my mind. It was beautiful though. 

The view from my hammock

It's been no secret that this past year has really taken it's toll on my marriage. It's been such a tough semester as we tried to adjust to how much less time we have together. We both struggle with multiple mental illnesses that have been unmedicated for some time now. It's been a real struggle to keep myself going some days and as selfish as I know this sounds, I just can't even begin to describe how impossible it can feel those days to provide any kind of emotional support to him whatsoever. We slowly take each other for granted more and more until we've drifted apart. I hate confrontation and felt so helpless that I had absolutely no solutions. I knew I was feeling manic. It means not knowing what I feel, it means being so unsure that what I'm feeling is real or just my crazy, chemically imbalanced brain. I get so restless, focus on all the unhappiness, and it all just builds up so quickly. It finally peaked Monday night after I had attempted to avoid Matt all day long after my final. We fought, we cried, he left the next morning for Bald Knob. For most of the day, I was sure it was over. I was sure that I'd be spending the summer attempting to piece my life back together. I spent my day trying to be around people who would encourage me to leave, talk crap about him, keep me intoxicated. I should also mention that Tuesday morning, right as he was leaving for Bald Knob and I was leaving to study for my last final, I started my period. I hate to say it, but I was actually relieved. I thought my marriage might be over and couldn't imagine the complications a baby would add to a divorce. I felt so hopeless. I managed to hold it together until I made it home that evening but then all was lost. I sat in the floor and cried. I cried like I haven't cried in a long time. I cried with every single muscle in my body. Most people know I am not religious. I have a hard time believing that our puny little human brains can even begin to comprehend the vast amazingness of the universe. I only say this as a preface to give you an idea of how in distress I was. I begged and begged God or the vast unknown or how ever you decide to interpret, to give me a sign, to lead me in the right direction. The second I caught my breath, Matt called. Suddenly, I was pouring out my heart, saying all the things I'd held inside for so very long, voicing all of my doubts. And he became every thing I needed him to be. He was stern with me and said all the right words. Nothing could have convinced me more that it was not time to give up. He laid out everything that needs to change and had a plan to achieve all of it. A big part of it is us both tackling our depression with medication as soon as possible. I cried as I finally admitted my fears and how much I hate the way I feel (or don't feel) while on meds. I also sobbed while I reminded him that it also means actively avoiding a pregnancy which I'm sure we should be doing anyway. It's just so hard to switch gears after wanting it for so very long.

Since we didn't make a gigantic mistake we've been that much more thankful for each other. It's like we're trying to out-nice one another. We've just got so much out there on the table and if only we can continue to make such an effort to make one another feel loved, things will continue to go swimmingly. It's also easier since the semester is over and I have a ton more free time.

Friday, I woke up at 5:45 with him and made him coffee & apple cinnamon muffins. I put together my doula client paperwork packages and packed for my overnight trip to see my littlest brother graduate from high school. I rode down with a dear friend and while she took her boys to their grandparents house, I got stuck at my mom's house. It became my job to attempt to hurry her into getting ready since she is constantly late to everything. It's a good thing our last name started with a T or I don't think she would have made it to any of the 4 graduations. Now that my last name starts with a B, we're already planning on giving her an earlier time for my nursing school graduation next year. It was just a night full of way more drama than I had ever planned. It was bizarre and made me feel like a child again stuck listening to my parents fight and feeling the need to take sides. I did get to spend some time with my bestest friend, even if that ended up seeming pretty insane as well as we watched her mom (whom I have never seen drink) get super trashed. I got to spend all day Saturday with my sweet Nana and finally got on the road around 7pm. After a long pit stop in Conway and what seemed like the longest drive ever, I finally made it home around 12:45am.

I'm sure I left about a million things out but I'm exhausted after a day of Dixie Cafe and am about to go cuddle up to the hubz on the couch. All is once again right with the world.

(And our 4 year anniversary is Tuesday! Be prepared to be super jealous of our week!)
This is just a teaser post to the gigantic one I promise promise I will write later this evening.

I am officially half way done with nursing school. And I managed to maintain Bs in both classes which leads me one step closer to graduating but NOT having to take the GRE which makes me just about as giddy as the thought of actually graduating.

It's be a rollercoaster of a week and I can't wait to share every second with you. But for now, I must dress for a day of waiting tables at Dixie Cafe followed by my first real, official doula interview in almost 3 years. I have butterflies already but I'm super excited about it and feel so much more prepared for this than I was when I was younger.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Most people who know me out in the out of computer world know that I'm planning a lovely (late) reception/ graduation party in next May. It will be mine and Matt's 5 year wedding anniversary and a week after I graduate nursing school (unless of course I manage to get pregnant sometime during the next few months). So I've already started planning and browsing tons of different blogs and spending way too much time on etsy.

And for the point of the story, at some point during these hours and hours on etsy, I found this amazing piƱata! If I had $140 to blow every time I got my period, I would so totally buy this, but since I'm a poor nursing student, I think I've decided to just make my own. I know I did it as a kid, so how hard can it be. It just seems like it will be entirely worth it to fill it with all kinds of yummy chocolate and on the day my period shows up, I'll just take it out into the back yard, grab a big stick, and whack the ever lovin' crap out of that thing until it just bursts forth with chocolate. Then, I may or may not sit on the ground crying and eating chocolate but it will have been well worth the effort. Is that effective coping?

Last day of clinicals tonight! I can't believe I actually made it through the semester without letting her make me cry. Others in my group weren't so lucky. I am taking a break from studying to write this post and must immediately jump back into a gross, sputum filled world of respiratory diseases. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 25, 2011

In honor of National Infertility Awareness week, I'm participating in the Bust a Myth Infertility Blog Challenge. Head on over to the RESOLVE website for some support or more information about infertility. They had some pre-made myths to tackle, but none of them really spoke to me so I've decided I'll tackle my own that I've come into contact with many, many times over these past few years. So the myth I'd like to break is "you got pregnant once, it'll happen again soon" or "at least you got pregnant."

Of course, since we were only 19 and 20 when we started trying to conceive, we heard a lot of the very common (and very untrue) "just relax and it will happen" or the equally common (and awful and untrue) "you're young so it will happen for you soon, when it's meant to be." After 14 long months (which seem like a flash at this point), we finally ended up pregnant. Needless to say, we were absolutely thrilled and shouted it from the roof tops immediately. That pregnancy ended at 12 weeks and I saw some of my darkest days during the six months that followed. That's also when I experienced this little phrase repeatedly. There I was at my most vulnerable and grief stricken and people were trying to bring me comfort by telling me it's ok that my baby was gone because at least I could get pregnant. It just felt like all my sadness was being so easily dismissed by others. Soon after, I heard a lot of "well you got pregnant once so surely it will happen again" and all the supposed fertility that one is supposed to have after a miscarriage but none of that rings true for us. Every single book I read said basically the same thing, like every miscarriage has this silver lining. Even my doctor when I went in for my first visit with him, spoke of my miscarriage like it was some great thing.

It's been almost 3 years since my womb carried life and not even a hint of a baby. We're still stuck with no idea why I'm not pregnant, no idea what really comes next when we finish this Clomid up next month but can't afford to move onto injectables. Just be mindful of your words, don't try and provide false comfort, and just let us be sad and pissed off about infertility from time to time. It's far more common than you think.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Of course ICLW this month falls during my busiest week this month yet again but I'm doing my best to keep up with commenting. For those of you who are new to my blog, please stick around as I feel like exciting things are definitely coming our way.

We've been married since May 2007 and although we were both very young, we started ttc right away thinking it would take a few months at most. We finally conceived after 14 months in the summer of 2008 only to lose that baby at 12 weeks that September. It was a very rocky 6 months after that where my husband and I were separated, you can read more about that here. Right now, our marriage still has it's bad days but it's so much stronger after every single one of them. I've got a little over a year left in nursing school and the hubz does home health but plans on finishing up his degree, changing it to something with film studies after I graduate. All our tests so far have come back normal and right now, no one can tell us why I'm not pregnant. I'm waiting to O right now on my second Clomid cycle. We'll try one more cycle again next month if this one doesn't work, and if it doesn't work either, then we get a transfer to a RE. I'd love for it to not come to that (duh, right) since it'd likely mean having to wait until I have a nursing job with better insurance and that the nearest RE is 3 and a half hours away from us. I plan on jumping right into a master's bridge program upon graduation next May on my way towards becoming a nurse midwife. I'm a super passionate home birth activist, intactivist, lactavist, crunchy to the core kinda lady and after providing free doula support since I was 19, I'm finally getting certified through DONA and hope to be able to work as a doula full time instead of getting a hospital nursing job. It really just depends on where we move to, how much money we need to survive, and if we've finally got a baby by then. We do know that we'll adopt out of foster care eventually and if we thought we'd actually get approved, we'd probably be doing it already.

I am feeling way more emotional and tearful this month than I did last month but other than that, I had absolutely no side effects at all. Started opks today but haven't been able to temp this month due to the respiratory infection I've been battling that has had me mouth breathing for the past week and a half.

On the nannying front, I am really hating this week. It's my boss' New York sister, not his California one, and her children are brats. She just seems really negative and reminds me of the witch I worked for in New York. Their presence makes David very easily excitable and crazy and watching all three of them really overwhelms me. I do really well with the older kids I deal with in CASA cases because I already have this established authority with them but these kids don't respect me at all so it's far more difficult for me to figure out  how to interact with them. Yesterday I was coaxed into spinning them around in the back yard and the 4th grader who is as tall as me wanted me to try with her which of course didn't work and I just knocked her feet across the ground a bunch. I explained that I was just too short and she said, "Yeah, you get shorter when you get older" and then while diverting her eyes to my stomach said, "and apparently you get a bigger belly too." I'll admit, I kind of wanted to trip her after that. I have to watch them again tomorrow night but then I'm free of them so I just keep telling myself I only have to make it a few more hours.

Now back to focusing on "The Grass is Always Greener" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr to relax me  before I go to bed. I always love stumbling upon new movies with Cary Grant that I haven't seen yet because there are quite a few of his, I've watched 5 or 6 times but would totally watch again. Even at his oldest, he makes me weak in the knees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It has already been such a very long day and it's no where near over. I got the lowest test score in my nursing school career today. Yeah, it was only an 80, but that's only 2 questions away from not passing! So really, I should have put more effort into listening to her babble on during the lecture today but my brain pretty much turned off the second I filled in the last bubble on my scantron (and I don't really learn from this specific instructor), so I've already resigned to just teaching it to myself. They are cramming all of our respiratory test into these next few days so it's going to be pretty disjointed anyway. I started typing this while I was still sitting in lecture and had actually put ear plugs in about 15 minutes into it because I just can't take my classmates questions and anecdotal stories, at least not today. She let everyone go for a bathroom break and I just quietly and quickly packed everything up and left. I wasn't supposed to get out until 4 which would have meant that I wouldn't see my hubby at all today. I left before he got home this morning and I won't be home from nannying until after he leaves for work tonight. Ducking out of class hasn't really done much for this though because he's still sleeping so I'm not really seeing him now anyway!

Normally I don't mind going to watch the ninja.toddler after tests because with him, things all just come so second nature that my brain doesn't have to do much work, but I'm really dreading tonight. This is the first time I've had any sort of lecture to sit through after the test so my brain feels particularly more fried than usual and I have two extra kids to watch tonight. My boss' sister from Los Angeles is in town with her two daughters and I guess they've made big plans that don't involve the kids. They are also planning on going out to dinner tonight and Friday so I'm there until 11pm! I am getting paid more for it but with all the things I have to get done this week, I really wish it were just me and David so we could just go to the park and he could play, I could string up my hammock, and all would be well in the world. Please oh please don't let them be spoiled, bratty little girls.

Hubz is getting switched back to days sooner than he thought so I think tonight may be the last night we have to sleep apart! I'm super excited about it and it will make everything go so much smoother on all fronts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Well I did have a pretty good weekend, despite a very boring Saturday morning making up clinicals by following the house supervisor at a local hospital. There was pretty much no patient care at all and she mainly just serves as an overseer and liaison between all the different floors. I did get to massage a post c-section fundus in the recovery room just because I happened to be in there (it was pretty freaking neat!) I also got to have a very civil discussion about this hospitals new VBAC policy, which the nurse/house supervisor I was following had no idea about. It was disappointing to hear a nurse chime in and say that Dr. H (my doctor) said that he didn't think it was a good idea and that even though there's only a 1% chance of rupture, he wouldn't want any of his patients to be that 1 in 100. It was just kind of sad to realize that although the policy has technically changed, none of the attitudes have. I was definitely in the minority in the conversation but I got to stand up for a local woman whose article was in a magazine they were reading and it made me feel good about myself. I have a 20+ page packet of clinical paperwork and a big endocrine test this week, plus 3 more tests before the end of the semester so things aren't slowing down anytime in the next few weeks.
As always is the case, once Matt and I rolled things over in our heads and used email as our method of therapeutic communication, things are much better. I missed him so much while he was gone this weekend and I was so happy to have him home last night. He is also most likely getting switched back to days next week which makes me super happy! I miss him being here with me at night! I think a big part of our fight was just how bummed we both were that last cycle was a bust. We talked about it and decided to go ahead and do the Clomid again this month just so we can get through these three required months and have the possibility of pursuing something else over the summer if it doesn't work. I took my last dose of the month tonight and now I just wait. I responded really well to it last month and had that really painful ovulation so I'm expecting similar results this time too. I came out and told my mom and my Nana that we were taking these pills. I'm sure my family has all been aware that something was up, especially since the miscarriage, but it's not something they've ever explicitly asked about so we just didn't talk about it. My mom just pulls all this "it will happen when it's time" and so on so it definitely could have been better, but it feels nice to feel like I have them to talk to about it and know that they'll be disappointed right along with me.

I also think I might have secured a third doula client so I can really, finally get certified through DONA and stop doing it for free! I think it will be such an amazing certification to be able to add to my resume and to my application to Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing! Of course, I'm the absolute most excited just to start going to births again. It really does wonders for my soul.

Also, I know it's silly, but I feel like a bad blogger lately....lost 2 followers in the past week. What did I do? Oh well, maybe ICLW next week can help me make up for it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's been a long week and I'm heading into a long weekend too. Matt left today to spend tonight and tomorrow night in Bald Knob (yep, that's actually the name of the town he grew up in) with a friend of his from high school. I would be more upset about it if I didn't have so much to get done the next two days. I'd be less upset about it if he were seeing a friend who actually liked me and didn't selfishly want us to divorce so Matt would move closer. Mostly, I'm just trying not to think about it.

I had great plans to get busy when I got home and tackle the giant to-do list I have to complete before Monday. But instead, I put some tv on and here I am on my blog now. The housework and clinical paperwork will just have to wait for now.

In the morning, I have to make up a clinical day that I missed for convention at a hospital I've never worked in with an instructor I've never worked with. She'll be working as house supervisor so I'll just be pawned off to some other nurse but I'm sure it'll be pretty interesting. I just hope the weather is better than it was today so that I can escape to a trail tomorrow afternoon with my dogs and my new light weight travel hammock. Can you tell I just really don't want to do this much needed housework?

Whether he believes me or not, I do miss my hubby when he's gone. The house is pretty boring all alone and I keep looking over to see if we're laughing at the same jokes. I sure hope he comes back early Sunday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mental crisis may be the only time I ever post this often. No time for us to talk this morning, no desire to talk when I get home tonight after a long day of lecture followed by nannying, and no idea what a solution would even look like.
So we'll put it off for now. We'll kiss goodbye at night and in the mornings. We'll keep our words close to our chest. I'll continue to go over and over our most recent conversations. I'll dwell on every little thing we've said, pick it all apart, try to interpret what we actually meant. I'll feel hurt and dismissed all over again. And I'll be tired again all day tomorrow because I know as soon as I lie down tonight, I'll just lay there, stuck in this same cycle until I decide to just get back up. The only perk to all the sleep I've been missing out on lately is that I've been getting a lot of studying done.

And as if it even needs saying, we're not doing Clomid again this month. Who knows,  maybe we'll actually be avoiding pregnancy. And when I think about that, my heart and my head both sink into this pit of despair, my eyes well up with tears, and I just want to run, run, run.

I just bought myself a gift to boost my spirits and I already can't wait to get it in the mail and start wearing it. And now, I guess I'll go back to paying attention to lecture for the next hour before I go straight to work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sometimes you get an email with an article in it that seems like it was written just for you. Tonight was one of those night and I needed it so very much. This article is titled An Intimate Look at Intimacy and focuses on intimacy and infertility in particular.

I am so very tired of this endless circle.

How my mind goes in circles. My relationship goes in circles.

Would we just fight about something else if we didn't have nursing school or infertility to wedge between us?

Things always seem so good until suddenly the floor drops out from beneath me. As you know, I've been super busy lately and that has meant that Matt has not been at the top of my priority list. We both have our fair share of mental health issues so it's easy for each of us to blame the other. I use his behavior to justify mine and he uses mine to justify his. A vicious circle. It leads to a head full of thoughts that just bring me down.

It sucks to go from such a high from convention to crying in a parking lot. Tonight we went to see David Sedaris do a reading/signing in Fayetteville. I bought the tickets yesterday as a peace offering of sorts. Other than being annoyed with a lack of parking and being late, the show itself was great. I love his writing and his voice is so soothing to me. But apparently I was worn out because as soon as I got into that nice cold, dark seat, I completely dozed off! All was well with the world for a brief period of time during that show. We took two separate cars there since Matt had to stay in town to work so he walked me to my car after the show to tell me goodnight. I don't even really remember how it started, but we ended up delving right into all our recent problems. 30 minutes of trying to provide rationals for each other, he says the words that always throw my heart into chaos, "we should just table trying to conceive right now." I don't have time for him so how would I have time for a baby. The problem with this is that it makes my brain jump to thoughts that I feel like so few could possibly understand. It makes me question everything. It makes me a sleepless, anxious, emotional, crying mess.

And right now, I'd give anything to run away. I get to this point every couple of months. So who knows, tomorrow may be just fine, but some how, I know we'll end up right back here eventually.
Beautiful views everywhere
It has been a crazy month so far. I left early last Tuesday morning to drive to Tulsa to catch a plane to Salt Lake City for the National Student Nurses Association national convention. We had a group of 6 students, a spouse, and two instructors. We used money from our local chapter to rent a house about 2.75 miles from the convention center and one of our instructors was nice enough to rent a van to get us back and forth. We raised a good bit of money while we were there and I had a great time being a delegate. I'm kind of a nerd for some parliamentary procedure. There was a great resolution put forth that would require an extra consent form for Pitocin (and it passed!) that I was really passionate about. It will now be sent on to multiple other higher up agencies (like the American Nurses Association). I went to about 500 different booths in the Exhibit Hall where I talked to countless numbers of hospitals, schools, and study agencies around the country. I got probably 75 different kinds of pens, a few penlights, a few free water bottles, two t-shirts, 4 bags, and more paper and journals than I've even unpacked yet. There were lots of  really long days but it was so very worth it. Nothing fights nursing school burn out like being surrounded by some amazing people who fill you with inspiration and faith in the future. I also found out that my doula experience counts as pertinent experience for immediate application to Frontier School of Midwifery (one of the schools with a booth in the exhibit hall) as soon as I graduate! I am already super pumped for state convention this fall (in my current town!) where I will be running for a state board position as district two director. I am pretty sure that every single Arkansas person at national convention knows who I am now and what position I will be running for. Next year, I am in charge of getting every one to nationals and I'm already starting to look for places for us to stay in Phili, though it will be hard to top the house we rented in Salt Lake. It was built in the 1930s and had been restored beautifully. Two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, and then a totally refinished basement with a huge tv, a wii, a pull out couch, a separate bedroom with a full size bed, and then one more bedroom with a full size bed and bunk beds. The bathroom down there was really nice too with heated floors even. There was a beautiful view of mountains all around no matter which direction you looked (and even though it was really in downtown.) It also had a hot tub out back which we
From our front porch
The model of the temple
enjoyed one night while it snowed. Earlier that evening, once the first part of the resolution hearings closed, we got to go explore Temple Square. It was snowing pretty heavily and I had on Toms so I was slipping and sliding everywhere (with wet feet.) We got a very thorough history of the Mormons from some girls there doing mission work. The Temple was gorgeous and I loved the model of the inside of it (though I still don't understand the room in the basement with the cows.) I definitely learned a ton though while I was there. We also got to watch the Tabernacle choir practice for free and it was beautiful but gave me flashbacks to having to sing the same part of a song five times in a row. I slipped and fell in the snow outside the Tabernacle, busting my knee into the sidewalk and letting slip an obscenity. Everyone gave me a hard time about it, all in good fun.

Loved this lady from the ACNM

I got to sit in on a session on today's nurse midwife with a wonderful woman from the American College of Nurse Midwives as well as one called "Why getting a PhD in nursing is fun! Changing clinical outcomes for high risk mothers and babies" which was amazing. I left entirely inspired and so ready to be in school for the next 7 or 8 years! I found out about how they do oral care for NICU babies with colostrum and cried as I watched a baby who spent 45 days on ECMO and wasn't expected to live be put to the breast for the very first time. The pure emotion in that video gives me goosebumps to think about. I loved every single second of it.

I finally got back into town around 10:30pm on Saturday after two really turbulent flights. The one from Salt Lake to Denver was insane. I might have slept through it had my butt not left the seat (and had the idiot girls in front of me not squealed and screamed.) I get sick when I fly on the most calm of flights so I was feeling pretty green when we got off the plane. I passed out on the couch not long after getting home that night and then worked at Dixie on Sunday. As soon as I got off work I had to go meet with my group for a school assignment and then come home and work on my clinical paperwork that I didn't have time to even look at this past week.

Then it was straight back into clinicals yesterday evening for a full night of hands on learning. I have a teaching project this morning where we go teach memory boosting techniques to a group of older adults at an assisted living place followed by a simulation lab about same day surgery. Then I get a quick break to run home and change clothes since I have an interview at 4:30 for a student nurse internship at the hospital where I have my clinicals this semester. I really, really, really want the job (mostly just to be able to put it on my resume so I can be one of those who gets hired before graduation.) I'm generally really good at interviews but I'm worried about the competition from my classmates.

As for my stupid lady parts, it was a no go this month. Day 2 today. Not quite as depressed and angry as I was yesterday or when I started spotting Sunday. I guess it did regulate my cycle. I don't know when the last time was that I had a 29 day cycle. That in itself almost makes me want to go pick up my refill. These next 6 months would all make incredibly inconvenient babies but like I've said before, I just don't think we'll get pregnant with Clomid so part of me just wants to do the two more rounds that the Dr. wants to do so that I can get my referral to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist- for all my non-ttc friends.) I was so upset and angry Sunday night. I said that I never wanted to try Clomid again. I said that it was just a waste of time and increases hope in months that always end the same way. It was a really crappy night. Things were better yesterday and today feels even less heavy so who knows.

Wish me luck with my interview today and with the pharmacological decision I must make today as well.

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