Magic of Vulnerability… Infertility pt. 2

….when I say all my symptoms went away, I don’t mean all Celiac symptoms. But guys, I could eat food like a normal person again. I didn’t feel like I was getting stabbed in the gut constantly, I was gaining some weight back (it’s not good to be unhealthily skinny), and I had normal bowel movements. TMI but this is a vulnerability post and I did say it was going to be personal.

Okay so after my stomach issues went away (again this was over the course of a year or longer and about $6,000 DOLLARS OR MORE later – yes just for the stomach stuff), back to our fertility issues. After being referred to the local fertility clinic, J and I decided that we would begin fertility treatments. We decided to start with doing IUIs. For those of you who don’t know the difference between that and IVF, you will want to look it up haha.

I had never talked to someone about fertility treatments in depth before and what those entailed at all. Again I think this was my naiveness. So I guess we both went into the whole process pretty blind. I didn’t think to reach out to others and ask for help or advice or support through the process (side note – if you are struggling with infertility, my advice is to get as much support as you possibly can). As I said before, I am not super open when it comes to personal issues unless you’re someone I know super well. But I kind of wish I had opened up more throughout the process.

I didn’t know that the statistics are like 98% of people will not be successful in getting pregnant after their first IUI… so I went into the process super hopeful. You get the procedure done and then two weeks later they do a blood pregnancy test – meanwhile you’re giving yourself progesterone shots, taking chlomid, and injecting progesterone suppositories – so you’re LOADED with all the hormones. This cycle is the absolute worst! I can’t even begin to describe the emotions felt during this process. And let me just start by saying that I recognize how blessed we are to have not had to do IVF and to have it only take us two years vs. five or whatever, because it was that hard for me.

After being loaded with all the progesterone, you develop pregnancy symptoms regardless of if you’re pregnant or not. So after the first IUI and feeling hopeful, I was like ok I’m for sure pregnant. Blood test two weeks later… negative. I cried and cried and then went home and did more research. We geared up for IUI #2, still remaining pretty hopeful and positive. IUI#2 complete… new symptoms developed and I was like ok I think I might really be pregnant this time! Blood test two weeks later… negative. I cried even harder.

When above I said that I can’t begin to describe my emotions – true story. I felt positive and happy at times, I felt sad and heartbroken at times, and then I felt truly angry other times. Angry at anyone who was able to get pregnant fast, angry with God for denying me something I wished for so badly, and then angry with myself for feeling angry with God! Geared up for IUI #3. This was THE one! The fertility clinics tell you that after three IUIs you need to consider IVF because you should become pregnant by the third. So I was like ok, this is our chance or we move to IVF. But by this point I was very negative about the whole thing, which I feel shameful admitting but it’s true. I already was dead set on it being negative – we were already talking about how we were going to possibly pay for IVF after spending $6k on my medical issues and I didn’t mention the $8k we had spent applying for dental schools at around the exact same time. We were both beyond stressed. We were struggling through all of our trials but somehow our marriage was getting stronger and stronger at the same time – we were in this together. We both knew how each other felt… for once there was no “you don’t understand” to be said!

IUI #3 complete…same symptoms as the month(s) before, unsure if I was pregnant and had very very negative attitude as I said before. Blood test two weeks later… negative. Despite how negative I had been in preparing for the third IUI, I don’t think I had ever cried so much in my life as I did at this time I found out it was negative. This was the one that had to work – and it didn’t. Why me? Why us? So many questions, no answers. Nights spent praying and praying, no answers. I was emotionally, physically, mentally drained. By this point we just really didn’t know what to do and we had a decision to make. Do we save up for IVF or do we continue down the same path?

Meanwhile…. J had applied to 18 dental schools throughout the nation. Again, 8k later and we were waiting for acceptances to schools. December 1st is the day they call “Decision day.” Supposedly by midnight on Nov 31st students start getting offers and literally the majority of our friends had received an acceptance that night or within a week or two after. Nothing for us. Hopeless! We were not getting pregnant and we were not getting accepted to schools. I feel like if you’re struggling to find a spouse all you see online are engagement photos, proposals, and weddings. When you’re struggling to have a baby it’s the same. All you see are pregnancy announcements, birth announcements etc. During the time of treatments I found out that one of my very best friends was pregnant and hadn’t even been trying. My sister in law announced her pregnancy to the family at one point during our fertility treatments and of course I was SO happy for them both. Also feel shameful admitting that I was completely heartbroken too, I was feeling very sorry for myself. I just remember bawling multiple times but also knew there was nothing anyone could do for me and nothing that would make the pain go away. I was trying so hard to keep myself together and was so happy and supportive of friends and their situations but was literally dying inside. This is where having a good support system is super beneficial.

J and I had done more research about the IUI procedures and were trying to figure out the best decision for us. We had spent about $15,000 or more between my medical expenses and his dental school expenses and had spent about $5,000 on fertility appointments and procedures already. If the 4th IUI wouldn’t work, that’s $5k we could have spent towards IVF. So we were down $20k and this was literally one of the hardest decisions i’ve ever had to make but at the same time a very easy one. We both around the same time found articles that stated 4-6 IUI’s with no breaks in between would give the best shot at becoming pregnant (even though the fertility clinic tells you three – and I think this is because they don’t want you to waste money if you’re going to need to do IVF). J found an article that discussed taking a supplement which helps the male sperm, while I found an article that discussed taking a supplement for celiac which can help gain fertility. Decision made. We decided on IUI #4.

IUI #4 complete. Blood test two weeks later… POSITIVE. WAS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? On December 30th we were out to breakfast with friends when I got the call and though I was expecting the phone call, I was not expecting to hear that I was pregnant. I was nervous but also still kind of expecting the worst I guess! I had to take a few mins outside in disbelief BY MYSELF, crying, with all sorts of mixed emotions and things running through my head. I was ACTUALLY PREGNANT. Then I had to go back into the diner and pretend that nothing was going on when all I wanted to do was scream to everyone that I was pregnant. Oh and not only that but I had to text my husband that we were pregnant. What a great way of finding out right? haha! He went into the bathroom and took a video of himself and his excitement. We have a bunch of those documented and hope to get them up on YouTube sometime in the near future.

I share all of this (with whoever is reading this) in hopes that if you or anyone you know might be struggling with infertility, find support for yourself or reach out to those you know! Those few friends who were aware and were there for me will never even understand the impact they made on our lives and our situation. Again, I recognize that everyone has their own trials and struggles and ours probably wasn’t so bad compared to the person you know who never could get pregnant and had to adopt or compared to those that took years and years to get pregnant when ours only took a couple years. But I will tell you that they were the hardest years of my life.

We move to Columbus, Ohio in 5 days because we finally received dental school acceptances. Our first acceptance on April 7th. Four months after everyone we knew had received an acceptance already.  I firmly believe that sometimes we have no control over our own lives but somehow things ultimately work out for our good. I got pregnant at a great time, we received three dental school acceptances and one to a better school than we could’ve imagined or ever have picked for ourselves (a school not even remotely on our radar) and we are off to start a new adventure together.

It is okay to struggle – that’s the beauty of this challenge, we get to see a whole different side of those we might think have perfect lives. We are human, none of us are perfect and it’s important to remember that need to try not to compare our situations to others! We each have our own path with trials and struggles along the way. If you read my whole story… props and thank you!! I do have to admit it was hard for me to write this all out but also felt relieving in a huge sense. I feel super blessed to be pregnant with our baby boy who gets to join us in 3 short months! I can’t wait to meet him and can’t wait to be his mama!

Xo. Nicole

Magic of Vulnerability… Infertility Pt. 1

IMG_0359 2

I’ve decided to participate in my friend’s Magic of Vulnerability challenge. When I was trying to think of something particular to write about, I realized there are a lot more things I could write about than I’d like to admit. I am pretty much an open book when speaking with people I know and people I’m close to, but I generally don’t write about personal things and post on social media for just anyone to see. This alone means I am already killing this challenge right?! haha.

Infertility. We’ve all heard this word, not everyone has experienced this and not that I have any enemies, but I wouldn’t wish fertility problems on my worst enemy if I did. So here’s my story…. I am currently 27 weeks pregnant with my first baby – we have a boy on the way! Words can’t express how blessed I feel to be able to experience this miracle.

Rewind to nearly 5 years ago when my husband and I got married. I would always say, “yeah we will probably wait about a year or so to start having kids” thinking that was a long time. Well, TWO years came and passed and within that time we had many struggles as newlyweds. Marriage was not easy for us! We entirely were not ready to have kids, point blank. After those years passed, things had drastically improved and we began talking more about the desire to start a family together. About 6 months after that, we decided I would go off birth control and we would no longer prevent. Maybe this was just me being naive, but I thought I would get pregnant right away with no issues whatsoever – like oh if you have sex when you’re 16 you’ll undoubtedly get pregnant so what makes this any different right? Wrong! After 6 months or so of it not working, we decided to become more serious with trying. If this is what we want, we need to make it happen! We need to strengthen our marriage and we need to work super hard for this.

I downloaded an app to track my cycle and ovulation, we timed things… we ultimately tried everything we could think of and after 6 additional months and still not becoming pregnant we decided it was time to see an OB. He basically just said – after a year of trying and you’re still not pregnant… something is wrong and at this point you’re going to need help. He referred us to a local fertility clinic and that’s when the second half of our journey started.

Meanwhile, while all this trying was occurring – I was struggling immensely with some health problems. I had been to my doctor multiple times with stomach issues. I had struggled with stomach issues my whole life (I always just figured I had irritable bowel syndrome and there wasn’t anything I could do about it). But things had gotten worse, things had gotten a lot worse. I had lost 12 lbs in ONE month and for such a small person, I was straight up unhealthy. I couldn’t keep food down. That wasn’t even the worst part about it. No exaggeration, it felt like someone took a knife, shoved it in my abdomen and twisted… the pain was SO severe!

My doctor diagnosed me with “gastritis” which essentially was just her way of saying she had no idea what was wrong with me. Gastritis is essentially “pre-ulcer symptoms.” So, “you don’t have an ulcer, but you’ll get one if you’re not careful”. She prescribed me some omeprazole and sent me on my way. After a while of that not working, I called her and told her my symptoms were getting worse – she prescribed me a stronger omeprazole type drug and when that still wasn’t working, I called in and she explained to me that it was my stomach lining needing to heal and could take months.

Well, after almost a full year of issues and my symptoms continuing to worsen I decided I needed to see a specialist. The specialist couldn’t really pinpoint what was wrong and said he thought it didn’t sound anything like ulcer symptoms but could be irritable bowel syndrome. But knowing how severe the pain was, I knew something else was wrong. I requested a blood panel for Celiac and he wanted me to have a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy done to rule out other things and determine the damage. Well, after all of the tests and procedures – turned out I was right… blood test came back positive for Celiac disease! I immediately went on a strict gluten free diet and my symptoms literally went away.

Will post the rest of our infertility journey tomorrow and more issues we struggled with during this time! Stay tuned.

Xo. Nicole

Baby Update & Nursery Inspiration

Clean, light, mid-century modern, boho, southwestern… all things i’d like to incorporate in baby’s nursery. Obviously when we find out the gender, I will be able to plan a little bit more accordingly and start looking at more ideas for the nursery based on that. I am getting so eager and so excited!!

I am just over 15 weeks now, and have grown a ton just in the last week. It blows my mind how quickly my body is changing – but I love every second of it. We have another appointment coming up next Tuesday (the 28th) to check baby’s measurements and hear the heartbeat. We will also be finding out the gender that day! We haven’t had any strong feelings yet that it’s one or the other. So we’re just in for a surprise!

We are still waiting to hear back about dental schools, so I have no idea where we will be living in the next little bit, but we are hoping for an acceptance! We won’t purchase larger items until we move (crib, dresser, etc).

Xo. Nicole

Family Announcement

Every year my family has an Oscar party. We fill out ballots, play “Oscar Bingo,” and offer prizes for winners. It is something we enjoy doing every year and look forward to! This year was even more exciting because we got to announce our pregnancy to the whole family when we were all together. I thought it would be a fun time to do it and wanted to think of a clever way to announce so this is what I came up with:

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Xo. Nicole

Baby coming Sept 2017!

Well we did it! Yes we got pregnant… but we survived our HARDEST. YEAR. EVER. 2016 was truly the hardest year we’ve ever had… but we made it and with some amazing news December 30th to start the new year right! We are 13 weeks pregnant on Friday (due Sept 2017) and after struggling for a couple of years with fertility issues, we are beyond excited to share this news!!

We have grown closer together through all of the trials endured this past year and are so ready for the addition to our family!! We truly feel so blessed. Thank you to those who reached out to us knowing we were going through hard times and to those who were good friends without knowing. Your love and support has helped us tremendously! Some of you may never know the impact you had on us.

fav-4dsc07226blog-5dsc07242dsc07233dsc07293dsc07224dsc07291dsc07275dsc07218blog-4dsc07246

Xo. Nicole

 

Interior Inspiration

Brown leather couches with Boho statement pillows and rugs are my top picks as of late! I have found that one of my latest hobbies is interior decorating – and unfortunately we don’t have the money right now that I’d like to put into it, but I will purchase bits at a time and keep dreaming of all the things I’d someday like to have!

Xo. Nicole