Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope writing challenge for the month of February is somewhat a focus on love. It's highlighting the love and kindness shown to you by others during your pregnancy or infant loss that really touched your heart.

There were so many people who reached out to me (even while I was pulling away) to show me that they cared, that they were thinking about me, and that they loved me that I couldn't possibly just pick one so I'll just reminisce about them all.

I'll never forget getting a call from a local florist the Monday following my miscarriage asking for my address to deliver flowers from Courtney.Love. She seemed kinda bummed when I assured her that it was not the famous one she was thinking. Instead, it was a combined effort from two sweet girls I went to high school with. They always had big, caring hearts, but considering we hadn't really been in touch since high school (except maybe through facebook), it really stood out to me as an act of love and kindness in a time when I so desperately needed it.

My dear sweet friend Lisa called me as soon as she found out. There I was, sitting drugged up in the ER when I received her call, and something about just hearing the heartbreak in her voice warmed my heart just as if she had driven hours to see me. At first, I immediately worried something had happened to her little one too since it had only been two weeks since I saw her when she came through town to announce her own pregnancy (after 7+ years of trying!) which thankfully was not the case. It took me a while to get over the disappointment of not getting to be pregnant together, of our children not being almost the same age, of just losing that one shared connection. Her friendship is so very valuable to me and you'd never guess looking at us now that she was once my 4th grade teacher! She is pretty awesome and even let me live with her for a few months while Matt and I were separated which really helped me heal as I got to participate in the joy of her pregnancy and live somewhat vicariously through her. She now has two precious boys (11 months apart!) whom I love so very much and they make me all the more thankful to be in her life.

My mother drove up and just sat with me all night long. We didn't really talk, we just sat there together, in silence, knowing that we both knew this pain, as she had multiple, repeated losses before ever carrying me to term. I was really too drugged up to carry on much of a conversation and usually could only spit out a few words before it melted into incoherent tears and mess.  It really brought us together though after years of angsty teenage years had ripped us apart and our relationship today is still better because of the care and love she provided during that delicate time.

So many women on MDC reached out to me during this time too and their loss section prepared me more for my miscarriage than anything else I had read on the internet. All the personal anecdotal stories about every gruesome detail that they experienced down to the size of clots prepared me for what I was going to see far more than hearing it may be "like a heavy period" which is most definitely was not.

I am glad I will never have to see the person I would have become if not for the love that surrounded me when I needed it most. Our loss ripped my entire life apart and turned everything I knew upside down even with that love, so I'm not sure if I could have survived it alone. It's one thing to feel alone, but an entirely different one to actually be alone.

I also volunteered to be the group leader for the Face2face group for Northwest Arkansas. I hope that by the end of this year, we'll have had at least 4 or 5 meetings with at least that many women. It's supposed to be very informal and laid back so I'm really looking forward to it. It's nice to think I could bring some love and support to a grieving mother in need of some friendship but don't want to go to a for-real-intimidating-on the spot putting-formal support group. Go like it and spread the new to your NWA friends. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thanks to Shona over at her PGD (prenatal genetic diagnosis) blog!

Here are the rules for the acceptance of the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

So we'll start with the 7 things about me now which should be pretty easy since I once wrote a list of 100+ things about myself. I'll try to make it things you might not already know and find pictures for most of them. 

1. One time, I was almost eaten by a tiger. Ok, so maybe not really, but it was still pretty awesome!

2. After one semester of college, I found an amazing live-in nanny job 20 minutes from New York City and moved the day after finals were over. It was very impulsive but I had my flight paid for, a cash salary, no bills, and the invincibility of an 18 year old. It was awesome. I think of the sweet little girl I took care of there quite a bit and can't believe she's in 1st grade this year.

3. I really enjoy hiking. I have a dream of one day hiking the ozark trail and eventually I'd love to hike the Appalachian trail. Of course, doing either of these means getting into much better shape but I'll be working on that all this year.

4. My little brother does professional body building and weight lifting.  When I left for New York in December of 2005, he was this kinda chubby kid and by the time I came back he was a hugely muscled man. And he's only gotten bigger since then. He got 2nd place in the Mr. Arkansas competition this past year and has also won numerous awards for deadlifting. I know technically this is about my little brother, but still, kind of about me. I just like to brag.

5. Matt and I got married in a very untraditional manner. After only a few months of dating (and an on and off 3 year friendship), we were both certain that we would get married but it had all become a matter of money. Since we didn't even have our own place and had both been staying at my mom's, it looked like it would be a very long time before we would actually be able to afford a proper wedding. So one morning, we woke up and decided we were going to just go elope. After driving to Little Rock (with our awesome friend Celeste letting us use her car because neither of us had one that worked!) to get a marriage license, we found that the closest Justice of the Peace who was available happened to be a some drug store in the itty bitty country town of Lonoke, AR so we headed there immediately. After going in and seeing that the JoP looked like he was in jr. high, we couldn't get rid of the giggles. The absurdity continued when he told us we could do it through their drive-thru if we wanted...and so we accepted. We figured it would at least make a fun story to tell people (and it has!). And now that May 2012 means five awesome years of marriage, we're finally gonna have that big reception that we (ok, maybe just "I") had always wanted!

6. (So, most everyone who's ever let me speak long enough knows this, but oh well) I have a passion. Despite my infertility, despite my miscarriage, despite the real possibility that I'll never experience child birth...I just love birth and love serving pregnant women. I know it's kind of bizarre but I am just so called to it. I'm not sure I can even picture a different path for my life. These books represent a small fraction of the knowledge I've absorbed over the last 5+ years.

7. And lastly, I love this sweet boy. And he loves me. We have such a special bond and it's so much fun to spend time with him. He listens to me so much better than he listens to his parents. I'm not saying that he doesn't throw a gigantic temper tantrum every once in a while, but since I'm not mom/dad, I get to be a little bit more fun and since I'm not with him all the time, I think I'm a little more tolerant.  I enjoy our time together so much and I'd do it even if I wasn't getting paid. I am super excited that he'll be back from vacation this Sunday so I get to spend a few hours with him Monday because I've certainly missed him. And since I know he's been asking for me, I know he'll be excited to see me too. He's getting more and more independent every day and it's hard to believe he'll be going to Montessori school this August. 

And now to award some others! Sorry there aren't fifteen but I had to get to some reading before lab in the morning.
1. Shandi at Adventures in Shandiland (pregnancy, nursing school)
2. Rachel over at Curls O Fred (pregnancy after loss, baby loss mama)
3. Aly at Infertility Overacheivers (infertility, ivf [in progress!], infertility survivor)
4. Lynn at Wistful Girl (infertility, hypothyroid, ttc)
5. Stress Free Infertility (lots of great tips, infertility survivor)
6. Julie at Unbroken World (infertility, ttc, being awesome & loving Harry Potter)
7. Jerrie at Scrambled Eggs (pregnancy after ivf, infertility, pregnancy after loss)
8. Mandie at So this is love... (infertility, attachment parenting, twins)
9. Sara at Reflections of a Butterfly (loss of twins, life after loss, motherhood)
10. Relh at Plans Change (infertility, adoption, now pregnant!!!)

Now to the other blog to see what I remember about fluid and electrolytes!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I've decided to just be brutally honest. I have been struggling for about a week now. Usually, I can keep a pretty good handle on the sad; lock it away some where safe and out of sight. But this week it has crept up on me, into every hour of the day. I even have sad dreams, or worse, the happiest of happy dreams that I have to wake up from. Maybe it's just starting back to school or the fact that my ninja.toddler is gone on vacation still. I am just not much fun to be around for sure.

There are now two people in my nursing class that are pregnant. I am happy for one because her journey has been a bumpy one and she deserves all kinds of happiness. The other one just seems like she's going to annoy the ever loving piss out of me. I have the feeling she'll be the one constantly complaining about how sick she is and how miserable and boo mother effing hoo. I'd give anything to be puking my guts out for nine solid months if I got a baby in the end. One day, this kind of news won't be so full of mixed emotions. I can be happy for people I don't know, people who I've only ever talked to online, but when it comes to people I know in real life, I just want to roll my eyes and go hide away until they're done. It's not that I want anyone to tip toe around me, that's most definitely not the case, but now that my infertility is pretty much common knowledge, just stop fucking asking me if I'm next because it's pretty statistically unlikely that I am.

I'm just sucked dry and I need some rejuvenation. I'm hoping to fit in some hiking Thursday after school because if I don't escape from myself soon, I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up.

Also, I started another blog to help me study for nursing school that lets me recount what I learned for the day. Don't worry though, no post today since I barely paid attention at all. Let's hope tomorrow goes more smoothly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello there ICLW-ers! This is my second month participating and I've been looking forward to it since the last one ended although I doubt I'll make iron commenter this time around since I'm trying to stay ahead of the game with school.

So here's another brief little bio: I'm a 23 year old nursing student, future doula, future midwife, passionate home birth, intactivist, lactivist crunchy lady who would love nothing more than to find herself unexpectedly pregnant. Matt is 24 and we've been married since May 2007 and have been ttc that entire time (minus six awful months after our loss). We managed to get pregnant during the summer of 2008 only to lose that miracle baby at 12 weeks right when I started to think I was in the clear. It forever changed who I am and who I'll one day be as a care provider. There's not much going on with the ttc front right now but that might change once we find out what kind of insurance Matt's job will be offering (he qualifies next month!)

Two pregnancy announcements on today. Hit me like two punches to the gut. I wish I wasn't so bitter.

Looks like I'll get to take the DONA doula workshop about a month from now in Springfield, MO which is like 2 and a half hours from here. I am waiting to hear back from one woman who is due in 7 weeks to see if I'm comfortable committing to being on call while in nursing school. If not, I will hopefully pick up some clients that are due this summer.

In honor of the new year, ICLW, and hope, I offer you my first giveaway. I have an extra copy of an older version of Taking Charge of Your Fertility that I would like to offer up. I know many of my readers have already struggled with infertility and know where they are in their cycle by the look of the toilet paper, but for those of you who don't, or who would just like to learn more, leave me a comment telling me what you would like to learn from this book. For an additional entry, become a follower of my blog and leave another comment letting me know about it!

Looking forward to another great week full of some new blogs and lovely ladies!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First off, enjoy this wonderful song in honor of this post and a great year.

This semester is going to be so much better than the last. Much better instructors, much better coping mechanisms for the stress, a little more confidence, and more financial freedom too. I've only had two days of class this semester and I am already in love with my instructor. I absolutely loved her when I got to spend time with her at state convention last October and had been looking forward to getting to experience her teaching style (which rocks!). I can take such wonderful notes on every single slide pretty much. And I've been actually reading ahead of time (we'll see how long I can keep that up) which has already made me feel on top of things. It's nice to have lecture reinforce what I've already read, not just see things for the first time. Maybe I'll even shoot for an A this semester. I'm still not sure if I'll put up the money to go to national convention this year, but I'm definitely hoping to go next year so that I can make lots of job connections on a more widespread front instead of just local hospitals. We get to do a day of OR observation this semester and explore a few other areas of nursing as well which will definitely help me figure out what areas I do and do not like. With any luck, I'll find something amazing (who knows, maybe I'll get in there and love it) that can help me narrow down what I'd like to do when I graduate while I apply and go to Frontier (fingers crossed).

And don't even get me started about how excited I am about next fall which brings me OB and pediatric nursing class with a clinical experience at Arkansas Children's Hospital! Next fall might bring some sad times too as my toddlerninja goes off to Montessori school and I'm forced to find a different nanny job (or perhaps a job related to my future career). It's just going to be a much better year.

We're enjoying a lazy, snowy day today. I must venture out into this mess at some point to drive across town to get my nanny-boss' dog who I'm keeping for the next ten days (which means my house will be insane for the rest of the month.)

This right here is making it take much longer to write this post. 

And now that graduation and our 5 year anniversary is getting closer and closer (16 months!!!!!), I am starting to think about the lovely reception/vow renewal/celebration that we're going to have. Since we eloped very impulsively, we just signed a piece of paper at a drugstore where there was a justice of the peace. We never even said any vows, but always said we'd have a reception later. And since my graduation from nursing school and my five year anniversary are only a week apart, it seems like the perfect time to gather family and friends to celebrate our love and success with us. I am very excited to find that the location I always dreamed of is a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be and I look forward to going out there this May to meet with the event coordinator and put down a deposit. It also means that I get to start looking for a beautiful dress to wear. I've already found some amazing dresses on etsy that I would absolutely love to have, although it's always scary to spend a couple hundred dollars on a dress that you don't get to try on or return. I have sixteen months to plan the perfect bohemian hippie love celebration. The location is what will make this event that much more special and is the perfect fit for what I have in mind. And we're going to treat ourselves to a mini-late honeymoon after that as well, although that location is not pinned down yet.

It's insane how excited I am about it considering it's so far away right now. I'm so excited that I have pretty much put ttc out of my head this month without any effort. I even put my ff account on hold for now. I'm hoping to do a round of the hc.g diet this next month through a clinic in Fay since I keep meeting people who have had such great success with it. I'm looking forward to this too which helps to keep my mind off of babies (at least momentarily).

TV marathon with the hubby and the puppies today (and I might even do some IV calculations.) It's going to be an amazing year and it's already off to such a great start! Stay tuned next week for ICLW and my first every giveaway!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

After you've experienced loss, any kind of loss, whether it's a baby, a dream, your home, etc..., those dates stick with you. Every year there is dread of certain dates and tomorrow is one of those days. It's not the day I knew my baby had died, it's not the day she was predicted to be born, it was the first of many losses that was thrown out way in 2008. Tomorrow is just a different kind of anniversary. It reminds me how lucky we are and how much we've been through.

I apologize in advance if this is a bit jumbled. This is really the first time I've ever written about the whole experience.

We went to bed on January 14th, 2008, happy and unaware. We were in our first married home together. We'd been there since August and I finally had every thing just where I wanted it. Bear with me while I reminisce for a moment. We had a beautiful green tapestry hung on the wall behind our couch. I had the sewing machine my step mother had given me sitting on my dining room table. We had just bought a $600 laptop that we didn't get insurance on. Our bookshelf was full of books we'd been collecting all our lives, including the $300 in midwifery books I'd recently purchased. We had our gorgeous red border collie, Marvin, who slept in a crate beside our bed. I miss him all the time. We had already had our fair share of ups and downs in our short marriage, but when I look back, we really were happy more often than not.

Our smoke alarms did not go off. To this day, we still don't have a reason why we woke up. We don't know if Marvin barked, or if it was the crackling of the fire, but by some miracle, we woke up when we did.  Even though it was winter time, Matt always had to have that fan on. He needed that white noise in order to get to sleep. If I could go back in time three years ago, I would have started a gigantic fight with Matt about that stupid fan. I would have waited until he fell asleep and turned it off. I would have unplugged it and thrown it in the garbage.

I slept in a tank top and pj pants. Matt slept in boxers. We were entirely unprepared to be out in the elements. I'll never forget the next few minutes. I remember waking up and rolling over. When I opened my eyes, all I saw were flames. Bright orange and red blowing over our heads. I remember waking Matt screaming. There was no time to think. No time to grab a phone. He went into hero mode and we ran to the front door. By the time we woke up, our apartment was already full of black smoke. Matt was quick to push me out the front door and before I had a chance to say anything (not that it would have changed his mind) he ran back inside to let Marvin out of his crate. They both ran out of the apartment (and Marvin ran off into the neighborhood). From here on out, there was chaos. Matt immediately ran around to the other units in our apartment complex banging on the doors. At 3 am, people get pissed when you bang on their doors, even if it is to get them out of a burning building and beg them, while sobbing to call 911. Our neighbors that lived above us had two little boys. Matt hit their door first and while the dad had enough time to get him and the smaller boy out in a blanket, the mom and older boy were forced to go out the window. Matt and the dad had to help catch them as they jumped from the second story window. Someone on the other side of the building finally called 911 and in my mind, it seemed like hours before the fire trucks got there and even longer before they got any water on our building. We were freezing (Matt's still wearing only boxers; neither of us had socks on), huddled together in a blanket a bystander had given us, helpless to do anything but watch every single thing we owned go up in smoke. Someone from one of the surrounding houses found Marvin and brought him back to us. I remember bringing him in the blanket with us and holding him as tightly as I possibly could. Even though we were across the street and way up other peoples' driveways, you could feel the heat on your face. There was quite a crowd, despite it being so early in the morning and someone kindly let us borrow their cell phone. We called Matt's parents and they immediately drove down to pick us up. I remember an officer bringing us socks at some point. Mostly, I  just remember that helplessness. Of knowing that we weren't going to have anything left. I kept thinking, I don't even have a bra, like that was the least of our worries. The sun had started coming up by the time we left and that's when we realized just how lucky we were. Matt's hair and a big part of his beard were badly singed; no telling what a few more minutes would have done to his face.

I remember crying for hours straight; crying until every part of my body ached. Matt and I finally collapsed in his sister's twin size bed for a few hours, only to wake up  and immediately begin to sob again. Later that day, we were allowed to return and look inside our apartment for our car keys but there just wasn't much left. My mom and little brother James came with us on our search and proved to be very useful (although I recently learned just how useful they were...but that's for a post coming this next week.) We received another little bit of luck in that I had thrown my purse on the floor by the door when I had come from work the night before, so we had a set of car keys and didn't have to call to have new ones made. Randomly enough my camera and ipod survived too, even after being drenched in fire retardant and water. One thing that Matt was really sad to lose was a pocket knife that his grandfather had given him. It had only been a few months since he had passed away and Matt really cherished that knife. It had it's own place on our bookshelf and knowing the general vicinity of that bookshelf, my incredibly sweet brother (who was 16 at the time) dug through piles of ash and charred books to find that knife for him. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen him do. Without my knowledge, he grabbed something else from that mess but I had no idea at the time (but like I said, that's for a later post). It warms my heart just to think of the kindness he showed in that one moment.

We received tremendous help during the coming weeks. We wouldn't have made it without it. We had already been living paycheck to paycheck, had no savings, and were barely scraping by each month as it was. Just thinking about all the things we would have to replace (not to mention all the things that could never be replaced) was so daunting and depressing. The Red Cross really helped us out which we didn't expect. We knew they helped in tornadoes and floods and the like, but a single apartment complex fire, we were blown away. They gave us a debit card with about $300 on it, put us up in a local hotel room for 3 nights, gave us small toiletry kits, and later when we settled into a cheap apartment we got on the fly just to have a place to call home, they gave us a bedding set and a set of dishes too. All my coworkers from Dixie Cafe pitched in money and clothing to help us out. People we didn't even know from local churches (and from my coworkers churches) wrote us checks to help us get back on our feet. Our family rallied together what it could too and by the end of the week, we were moving into a crappy one bedroom apartment.

It didn't take the fire inspector long to discover the culprit. That stupid box fan. Apparently it had been recalled in February 2007, but who ever knows about recalls unless you are standing in line to return something at Wal.mart and happen to see it on that board. We got in on a class action lawsuit, but after my mother in law confessed that she had salvaged the fan from behind where she worked and that my father in law fixed it, the case was pretty much in the crapper and we were told to take the settlement they offered. It meant we received a grand total of $3300. That's how much we go after losing every thing that we owned. We still owe money to collection agencies for things we lost in the fire but still owed on when it burnt down. And it took us almost 2 years to actually receive the money.

It was such a awful beginning to the most tragic year of my life (so far.) It brought us closer together, not that we really had much choice, we were all we had left. It was only a few months later that we had to put our sweet dog to sleep. Then another two months before I was finally pregnant. Another two months and that ended. Within six weeks, we were separated. A whirlwind, heartbreaking year that I will never forget. It does pretty much mean that every single year that all of that stuff doesn't happen, it's a better year. And believe it or not, Matt still sleeps with a fan on.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I am finally to the point where I feel like I'm ready to jump back into birth. I keep myself surrounded by all the latest news from the ACOG, ACNM, as well as some amazing blogs that aggregate all that information for me. I get requests every so often from women seeking free labor support and it used to just cause some unwanted pain, but now it fills me with hope and motivation to get back in there, to use that pain to be more compassionate, more understanding, to be able to give a perspective that others might not be able to. There are currently two women I am waiting to meet to see if we're a good fit and this may finally be the year I dip my toes back in the water (or dive head first really). It was a resolution I made last year, getting back into birth, and with some luck (and money) I'll be able to go through with it this year.

There are quite a few workshops coming to the area this next year, the soonest being next month in Springfield, MO (which is only a 2 hour drive!) but it's always difficult to come up with a couple hundred dollars when I need to, $300 to be exact. I'd love to become a certified childbirth educator or lactation consultant too (but the latter may have to wait until after I'm an RN, I'm not sure). I also don't have my full schedule for the semester yet, only the first two weeks, so I have no idea what that last week in February will be like school wise. I will be very sad to have to wait until July, but if that's the only possible time, I'll take it. In an ideal world, I'd go to the workshop next month, find three lovely births to attend during May, June, July, and August, fit a childbirth class series in this summer too, and be totally certified by the end of the year.

All in all, it would probably cost about $500 to complete my goal, which I could easily make back in just a few births after certification (and which I really want to take out of my extra loan money). So here's to beginning this journey again, five years after I first started down this path; and here's to actually seeing it through to the finish this time. I also hope to get more involved with the Birth Network in this area. I've volunteered a few times in the past, but would like to buy a consumer membership to support them and make an effort to help out as much as possible this coming year. Even though we plan on moving after I graduate, it still seems important to make connections with others who will be my colleagues in the future, besides the fact that I long to discuss birth again. I can't wait to feel that passion boiling up inside of me once more.

And in semi-related news, it seems the VBAC ban in my area has been lifted! Many of the local hospitals are now allowing VBACs, even of multiples! What will we protest now?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I finished the first book I've read for pleasure in almost a year, probably since the book Matt got me for Christmas last year, Midwives. This year, he got me a book called The Wet Nurses Tale by Erica Eisdorfer, the tale of a wet nurse in the late 1800s as she struggles to help support her family, at the cost of her own infant son. After becoming an unmarried mother for the second time, determined not to let anything happen to her 2nd child, her father plots against her, kidnapping her baby and she finds herself in a situation where she is getting paid to wet nurse her own baby (although she's the only one who knows that) for a very mentally unstable well to do-er in London. I won't give away the ending, but after all the tears I shed throughout the book, I was glad to end with a smile. The character is so blunt and honest, sometimes speaking directly to the reader which I absolutely loved. And as soon as I finished it, I got a glimpse of what this semester is going to be like by reading a few chapters in my Med/Surg nursing textbook, oh joy.

I long for summer already. We're supposed to get snow Monday followed by two days of below freezing highs. It's pretty to look at but pretty much means I'll be stranded at home if anything at all sticks to the road thanks to my crappy car. It's a good thing I have an understanding employer who tells me to stay home when it gets like that. I also long for more pleasure reading, which won't happen again until summer for sure.

I took advantage of our last "warm" day yesterday despite the winds that just tore through my clothes. I came home from work, picked up Cordi, and we drove 10 miles to the nearest trail. I always write it off in my head when I have more time because I always feel like, "oh, just a mile and a half. nah, I want a challenge." So I chose is yesterday since all the other surrounding trails are 4+ miles and I didn't have that many hours of daylight left. It's never until I'm actually out on this trail that I remember how much it kicks my butt. Cordi and I were the only ones out there so we did a bit of exploring too (off of the leash).

The water level is really low so we walked out into what is usually a lake.

We even climbed some bluffs and just basked in the splendor. It's not until I reach the point where I have to climb back up the mountain that I start to doubt myself. I love that point in hiking, where your body just hates you and starts to sting. I'm still fighting a cold so my chest is tight which only added to the pain. It was just what I needed to top off a long week. And my dog was pretty excited about it too.

So today is just a lazy day. Still in my pjs. Just sitting on my couch with my puppies. I watched an intense indie flick called "The Freebie" which I'm glad I didn't watch with Matt. It definitely shows how taking a night off from your marriage can be incredibly detrimental. It brought back memories of fights that I'd hoped I had forgotten. But also reminded me again of just how far we've come. My hubby is working seven days a week right now while they train a new caregiver and I am missing him a bunch today. What I don't miss is him doing the dishes which I have to tackle again today. 

And now, for a few more pictures of my cute puppies. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

If you know me in real life and do not wish to read about my bitter, infertile life, do not read on.
And onto a new year. There were a few things that made this last month different. That made us feel like we actually stood a chance. And then the rug was pulled out from underneath me. 3 whole entire effing days early. I have an amazing husband who made me feel better with only a few words. So after an evening full of hope, I started right before bed. It took me a while to get to sleep so I just lay there and kept thinking over and over again, "Why do I even let myself still have any hope?" never saying anything out loud. And seriously, as if my amazing hubby had esp or something he pulls me in close and said, "I hoped this month too."  And just like that he stole my heart all over again. So here's to the fortieth cycle on fertility.friend.

Going to spend the rest of the day cuddling my sweet puppies, doing some of the reading for next semester, and enjoying the beef stew that is filling my home with deliciousness.

Much like this which is what my lap looked like last night

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last year I wrote a list of goals so I thought now would be a good time to see how many I accomplished and what I can do complete the unfinished ones this year.

I will learn to cook one new meal a month and return to the meal planning that helped us save so much money. (Well, I learned how to cook chicken coconut currie, chicken enchilada casserole, black bean burgers, minestrone with Italian sausage, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins/bread, guacamole, spaghetti and bean balls, and maybe a few more that I can't remember so maybe not one a month, but I'm sure I'll learn some more this year.) This year, I'd like to learn how to make more slow cooker meals as well as meals that are easily frozen so that they can be thrown in the oven on the nights when nursing school and work has just been too much. I'd love for Matt to learn how to cook more meals too since he's actually home most evenings, but I guess I can't really make that goal for him.

I will return to the couch to 5k program that I had grown to love before catching the flu as well as try to start doing yoga again at least once a week. (Uhhh, yeah, this totally did not happen. I keep looking into doing a hot yoga class around here but I'm just so self conscious, like this fat chick walking in would just be out of place.) In 2011, of course weight loss is on my list again. I'd love to start working out with Turbo Jam again since it actually makes it kind of fun, but when school starts, it's just so hard to find time when I'd rather have that extra hour of sleep. I'm actually going to look into a weight loss clinic here to see how much a round of hcg protocol would cost me. Of course it would mean taking a break for a few months, but for my health, it would be so worth it.

I will strive to recycle more and waste less. (Unfortunately, we weren't able to recycle near as much as I would have liked to this past year, but we have been re-using a lot more and re-purposing or giving to the thrift store a lot.) We now have a special recycling trash can as opposed to the bins they had before. It allows us to recycle a lot more each week and it doesn't have to be sorted. The program doesn't even start until next week and we already have an almost full can. It makes me feel good to be recycling the same amount as we are actually discarding.

I will get into the NWACC nursing program and thrive in their small class size. (I totally did this!!!! I made it into their nursing program beating out hundreds of other applicants to get into one of the 40 spots in my class. And I managed to make it through my first semester with a B.) This next semester I have two classes (Care of Adults 1 and Care of Older Adults) and while I would love to get A's in both classes, I will be very happy with B's. I already have about 15 chapters to read before class starts on the 18th so I know this will be a much tougher semester than the last. Only a little over 16 months until I can sit for the NCLEX and get my RN certification. But that's only the beginning; Fall 2012 I hope to get into the Frontier School of Nursing ADN-MSN bridge 12 month program and then into their nurse-midwifery program. And anyone who knows me knows I won't be satisfied stopping right there, so I plan on attempting to get a post-masters certificate there in family nurse practitioner, and at some point down the road get certified to be a nurse educator as well so that I can pass on my passion about birth to future nurselets.

I will learn new ways to cope with my mood swings, even if that means forking over hundreds of dollars to be medicated. (I feel like 2010 has been a much better year for ups and downs, although it seems to have brought with it a totally new level of anxiety, which only worsens in hospital environments but it really getting better thanks to constantly pushing myself and being surrounded by amazing people who let me tag along with them for comfort.) I actually have a little bit of health insurance now so I could just go to the doctor if it gets too bad and I actually do plan on going soon to talk about this new anxiety that could actually affect my career so in theory, I could talk about the depression as well, but it's just so difficult to bring up.

I will finally get the dental work I so badly need. I hope that by the summer of 2010 no one will be able to wipe the smile off my face and my self confidence will quadruple. (I got this done too!!!! I now have a totally new smile, which I show off all the time, as much as I can, got amazing pictures taken with my husband to show it off even more, and I have so much more confidence and I feel like being able to smile so much has just made me happier in general.) I do need to go to the dentist to have some of my bottom back molars looked at, but I might need to get some additional insurance first. I've been looking towards changing policies, maybe even companies, pretty soon, especially if I can lose some weight and can reapply.

I will strive daily to be optimistic and thankful for the babies and pregnant ladies in my life, while still not feeling guilty for days of bitterness and self pity. (I think I have done a pretty good job about this. I had some dark days where I cursed the world for it's unfairness when two friends loss their precious infant daughters this year. It just brought back waves of grief and it was so hard to see it's impact on my best friend to watch her very close friend lose this very anticipated baby. I have been lucky enough to get to spend a lot of this year loving on my friends' precious sons who I am so very thankful to have in my life.) Optimism is always a good goal, but some days it seems to out of reach when everything starts to pile up. I just have this feeling that 2011 will contain a lot less self pity and bitterness.

I will finish my DONA birth doula certification and finally start charging for births. (I didn't get anywhere closer to this thanks to two jobs and nursing school.) And since none of things are going anywhere in 2011, I'm not sure I'll get anywhere closer. But one day, really, I promise.

I will conceive a healthy baby that will live this time. Although I probably won't get to give birth in 2010, I will get to be a mommy again. (Oh, this one is kind of like a punch in the gut. It's hard to believe another year has passed without anything, no progress at all. We're still in this stagnant, childless rut and while I know nursing school isn't the ideal time for a baby, you can't make a heart not ache for it.) Well, a girl can hope now can't she. If 2011 would bring me a baby, that would be amazing, but at this point it's hard to find hope that it will happen so we'll just bide our time until I have a nursing job with cushy insurance that allows us to further investigate the world of infertility.

I will make sure that my husband knows how much I love him every day and I won't retreat to the bedroom to sleep until any and all arguments are resolved. (I think we both did an amazing job this year making sure we both know how strong our love is and that it's always worth it to work through any problems thrown our way. We were both so much less passive aggressive and actually tackled our problems head on....ok, so we do it through email, but it still gets the job done.) I'm looking forward to celebrating another year with my awesome hubby. I am so lucky to have him and there are so many days where he's the only thing that keeps me going. Every single aspect of our relationship has grown and improved this past year and I know it's only going to get better with time.

I will learn from all the lovely MDC ladies and actively be a sponge. (I actually ended up retreating from MDC a lot this year. It became a place I went just to feel sorry for myself and at one point, I even had Matt change my password so that I couldn't go the any more.) This next year, I'd love to get pregnant of course which would mean relearning a lot about cloth diapers, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and all the other crunchy things I'm so desperate to do which I would definitely do at MDC. Even if that miracle doesn't occur, I'd still like to learn how to make my own soap, learn a few recipes from there, and maybe even try and find some time to knit something new.

I will write for myself. I don't ever expect this blog to get very much traffic but it does wonders for my state of mind. Just being able to get my thoughts out and remind myself that it's ok to struggle from time to time. (It's crazy how far my blog has come in one year. It really wasn't until July that I started talking about my blog and it started getting it's first traffic. Since then, it's had a 1,410 views which just blows my mind. I loved participating in the ICLW this past week which is where a big chunk of that traffic came from, especially most of the last month. It's crazy to me how many people in my real life read this blog and at first, it was really uncomfortable and I censored myself here, but I've become more and more lax about it and most people know by now that if you read this you may get way more information about me (or my uterus) than you ever wanted, but people still seem to read anyway haha.) This next year, my blog may get more traffic, but I want to promise myself to stay honest about my feelings and about what's going on with our lives. 

As for our New Year's eve, Matt's friends came back in but thanks to lots of snow in New Mexico and Arizona, they didn't get here until a little after 1am so we decided we'd celebrate pacific time. We all had a glass of champagne and then watched the most awful movie ever made, The Room, which is low-grade porn quality at best and has the worst writing, editing, acting, and more that I have ever seen. It's so awful that I feel like everyone should have to see it. Look at some clips on youtube if you've never heard of it; you won't be disappointed. 

And now, I would like to share a few pictures of our new puppy, who we did decide to name Boomer. Boomer and Cordi are already the best of friends and love to play hard and nap hard, as long as they're together. We really have just fallen in love with her over the past few days and she is just the most cuddly, sleepy puppy right now so it's super cute...I'll let you see for yourself. 

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