Infertility at Christmas

Infertility at Christmas

Infertility in general is just plain hard, at all times. But infertility at Christmas time is so much harder than I ever imagined.

I thought I’d be pregnant by now, I knew I would be pregnant at Christmas and it was going to be so much fun. I was going to get one of those cute shirts saying like “Bump’s First Christmas.”

We were going to get such cute stuff for our baby as presents. We would be able to hang a small little stocking for our baby.

Our Christmas card would be the cutest and let all of our family and friends know we were expecting.

But we aren’t.

Instead we’re fighting back the tears and trying to ease our broken hearts.

We’re forcing smiles while opening gifts and acting like it’s exactly what we wanted. But the truth is, the only thing we truly want is a cheap drug-store test with those 2 pink lines. Every gift we open will be a disappointment, because the only thing we wanted this year, we won’t be getting.

I’ll look at other’s trees and see the “baby’s first Christmas” ornament and hold back the tears because I wonder when I’ll get to buy that for my tree.

When relatives ask about our children situation at dinner, I’ll force a smile and say “hopefully next month will be our month.”

This Christmas won’t be the most “wonderful time of the year” at our house.

 

I know this won’t be our reality forever, but for now, it is our reality. Next Christmas might be the same way and the one after that too. It’s reality. But we know one day our hearts won’t feel broken.

I’m holding onto hope. I’m staying optimistic, but I have to be realistic at the same time. Telling me not to be sad and not to cry isn’t helping. It’s making me angrier. Because it’s ok to be sad and it’s ok to cry. As long as we pick up and keep moving forward.

If you’re battling infertility this Christmas, I’m praying for you. I pray for you daily. I pray you trust your faith and God to help you and guide your journey. I’m praying for you this Christmas. You’re not alone. You’re never alone. It feels like you are, but you aren’t.

 

 

 

where is our infertility journey + what’s our plan?

The two questions we get asked most often are 1. “so where are you at? IVF?” and 2. “so what’s the next step in the plan?” Before I answer those questions, I have a few thoughts though. Why do so many people just assume IVF is the ONLY treatment for infertility? Do you have any idea how expensive IVF is? Go look it up and then maybe you’ll see just why, we’re testing out some other options first.

Question 1, is an easy one to answer, for us. No, we’re not at IVF. That doesn’t mean we’re never going to do IVF, we have no idea at this point, if we will do IVF. Right now, we are going exhausting other (less expensive) infertility treatments.

So where are we then exactly in our treatment? Well, our treatment is at the very beginning, but our journey isn’t. I am currently taking my first round of Clomid. Clomid is a drug used to help with ovulation in women who don’t ovulate or have trouble ovulating (ME!). (I by no means am a doctor, just a disclaimer.) So yes, my first round of Clomid is in the books, and while most people might say “oh, so you’re at the beginning”, it’s not exactly true. Because you see, before I could even take Clomid, I had many hoops to jump through. You can’t just go fixing something if you don’t know what the problem is or the source of the problem. Am I right or am I right? 

I’ve had numerous  countless doctor appointments, ultrasounds, lab draws, etc. to get to this point. Which is why when my husband picked up those sacred little pills from the pharmacy for me, I was ecstatic! Because it’s the most hope (and closest) we’ve had yet to conceiving. It’s taken many LONG months to get to this point and we are over the moon to finally be here.

Question 2, so whats the next step in the plan? Well, I don’t exactly have an answer for this question, even though we have some plans and answers. So why not? Because infertility doesn’t play by the rules. We cannot make a concrete plan because my body is constantly changing. My hormones are constantly changing, so we might come up with a plan, but then in 2 weeks after a blood draw, we might have to alter that plan. My body might respond to Clomid and it might not. We have no idea. The plan for one couple is not going to work for the next couple. Infertility isn’t fair and it doesn’t play by the rules.

So here are some answers to the most common questions we’ve received since we started our journey with infertility and sharing our story with the world. So the only things definitely in the plan are praying, trusting our faith, remaining hopeful, and leaning on each other + our support system. 

If you’re going through infertility, where is your journey at?  Leave it in the comments or shoot me an email. After all, we’re only 1 in 8, we must support and lean on each other. 🙂

what does infertility feel like

“I know EXACTLY how you feel”

For starters, let me say I know you don’t know EXACTLY  how I feel. Or another favorite is “so why are you so upset?” Well, for starters, you asking me that has made it to the top of my list right now.

After I shared my story a few weeks ago, I got the most loving, sweetest messages I could have never imagined. I received so much support and love, that my heart was overflowing and my faith in humanity and been restored. I was trembling as I hit that publish button, terrified the world was now judging me, because I was now 1 of 1 in 8 people who deal with infertility.

On the other hand, I had so many people say “Oh, I can definitely relate.” or “I 100% understand and know just how you feel.” The honest to God truth it, you don’t. Those statements are the WORST thing you can say to someone, when you really have no idea just what they’re going through.

 

So let me just give you a small glimpse into the world of infertility and try to describe just how it feels to me:

Infertility feels like a punch in the stomach from the biggest bully on the playground. That doesn’t apologize either.

Infertility is blood draws multiple times a week, that even drinking a gallon of water a day cant help your poor little veins.

Infertility is being an emotional mess, any time of day, any day of the week, for no real purpose.

Infertility is making multiple trips to the fertility specialist’s office in one week.

Infertility is calling to find our your progesterone level, only to realize you once again didn’t ovulate this month and it’ll be another month before trying again.

Infertility is draining your bank account because health insurance for infertility treatment SUCKS.

Infertility is seeing a cute bundle of joy at Applebee’s and running back out the door so you don’t start crying.

Infertility is being pissed off at your own body.

Infertility is hiding out at home, away from everyone.

Plain and simple, infertility is a bitch who doesn’t play fair.

 

 

my battle with infertility

It’s something you hear about, but you never think it’ll happen to you. I’ve always been relatively healthy, so why would it affect me? I mean I want kids, so I’ll be able to have them, right? WRONG. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We had been trying to conceive for a few months and I just wasn’t regular. I was confused, thinking it was probably just because I wasn’t on birth control anymore. I thought it would work itself out on its own, I started kicking myself for taking the pill for so many years. I took countless pregnancy tests each month when my period wasn’t arriving, assuming I was pregnant. WRONG. I finally had had enough and called my doctor. For them, it was just another patient, but for me, I was the ONLY person in the world, this had ever happened to. My mind was racing, filled with so many questions. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever have children?

We both were quiet on the way to the appointment. Neither of us said a word. Our trembling hands clung together. We walked silently into the doctor’s office and waited for my name to be called. The minutes we waited felt like an eternity. There were many pregnant mothers and their spouses in the waiting room, I couldn’t help but look at them with envy. When the nurse {finally} called my name, we both looked at each other and my heart had never raced faster than in that moment. We had gone through the waiting, the panic, only for the doctor to say “come back in a few days.” WHAT? I had to go through all of the panic, waiting, nervousness again.

The next few days came and went, SLOWLY. I just wanted to know what was wrong with my body. I was on edge. Thursday finally came and it was time to go back to the doctor. I sat in the waiting room, once again, nervous, panicked, and every other emotion possible. I thought I was prepared for what would come of this appointment, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t at all. Because looking back, how could I have been? I had no idea what the doctor was about to tell me, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for what she did..

“Shannon, you have something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.”

My heart sank, I had heard of PCOS, I knew a little about it, but I never thought I would have it. How could I possibly have an infertility disease? She HAD to have my file confused with someone else’s file. I certainly didn’t have it. I didn’t say much that appointment. I left silently and barely broke out of those automatic doors before tears filled my eyes. I was in denial, I was in shock, I was heartbroken.

It wasn’t long before I got back to work and my fingers pounded my keyboard trying to learn as much as I could about this disease. I didn’t even tell my husband for a few days because I was in denial. If I didn’t tell him, I didn’t have it, right? Or so I thought. I just couldn’t come to terms with I had an infertility disease. I might not be able to have children. It looked so easy for everyone else, why not me?

When I had finally come to terms with I was now battling infertility, I knew I had to take it by the horns. I told my husband, my sister, my mom, and a few close friends. I went back through the sheet from my doctor and her game plan she had written out for me. I found a support group. I embraced it and from that moment, I knew it was going to be okay.

 

the beauty of maui

It’s one of those places everyone dreams of going to, with only a select few ever going there. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, luxurious, warm, perfect, and so much more. But the pictures don’t do it justice. Because you can’t put the culture and the kindness of the native people into pictures. You can’t put the land and the hospitality of the land into pictures, or the simpleness into pictures.

I had a lengthy post written about our time in Maui, but then I realized I wasn’t capturing the true beauty of Maui, because Maui isn’t about the shopping, or the resorts, or the food, or the souvenirs, it’s about the beauty of the land, all of Hawaii is. There is just something so calming and peaceful about Hawaii, I think the ocean air has something do with it, in fact I know it does. Many days when we were driving on the island, we rolled the windows down and just felt the ocean air, felt the breeze in our fingers, and let our worries go.

So instead of writing a lengthy post, I’ll just share a handful of our many (hundred) pictures! Enjoy!

  • P000-391-256-343-02083D3500

 

Hokulani Hotel – Hawaii (part I)

ALOHA!!

In my previous post I mentioned my husband and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon back in June. Today I am sharing about our short time in Oahu! It was nothing short of beautiful and amazing and even though we have only been back for a month, I am eager to visit again! Next time, I will definitely be upgrading our seats to first class (6+ hour flights are not exactly fun). Thank goodness for some amazing friends who gave us a delayed wedding gift which included some cash and gift cards for drinks + Starbucks before our flight took off! We flew Delta and I hands down will fly Delta again! Their app is incredibly user friendly and their in flight entertainment is A+! If you’re searching for an airline, we highly recommend Delta!

We stayed in the beautiful Hokulani Waikiki! Upon checking in, we told the front desk we were visiting on our honeymoon and they sent up complimentary champagne to our room! We had an amazing view of Waikiki (including Louis Vuitton + many more amazing shops across the street + down the road). Our room oor suite was breathtaking! The bathroom was so spacious with an AMAZING shower! (Coming from small town Iowa, we were in AWE of the shower) + isn’t it all about the little things in life?! The rooftop pool + hot tub was stunning, even though we didn’t have a chance to take advantage of it! Make sure to check the hours of your hotel bars, this bar was only open noon to 6 pm. (slight downfall)

Hokulani Avenue in Honolulu

We also had traditional shaved ice right down the road from our hotel, hands down nothing beats traditional shaved ice in Hawaii!

We (obviously) visited Pearl Harbor during our short stay in Oahu. I just cannot articulate into words how powerful this experience was. Hearing our National Anthem at Pearl Harbor still gives me chills thinking about it. Visiting Pearl Harbor is an experience every American needs to have! It was such a moving experience and one I will cherish forever. The tour and video we experienced there were so educational and informative. We left there learning so much more than we thought we would about the events of that day. We spent quite a bit of time + money (of course) in the gift shop there. I think one of the coolest souvenirs we purchased on the trip was a newspaper from the day of the bombings. Just made it so much more surreal.

Highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance of your trip. Pearl Harbor only issues a certain number of tickets each day, so you can wait in line in the morning to get tickets, but you definitely will not be guaranteed in. Pearl Harbor was the one place we hands down absolutely knew we NEEDED to see, so we purchased ours in advance to ensure we were able to visit.

We visited through a tour we booked which also included visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center (SO AWESOME!), the Dole Plantation (I’ve never had anything better than fresh Dole whip from the plantation), a macadamia nut farm, a Buddhist temple, the North Shore, and more. Our tour was through Discover Hawaii tours and I cannot say enough good things about our tour! Plus by purchasing the tour package, we had transportation ALL day! The tour guide picked us up just a couple blocks from our hotel (which was an easy 2-3 minute walk for us). Be prepared for a long day (12 hours) and a lot of walking (but so worth it)!

The Polynesian Cultural Center was so educational and informative. My favorite part was the cultural and native dancing and singing. We took so many videos and have watched them on replay countless times. We easily could have spent the entire day here, plus more. Our tour guide was awesome and showed us many different activities to watch and experience while we were here.

The North Shore was BREATHTAKING! I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful the North Shore of Oahu was. It truly looks like a scene from a movie. We didn’t spend much time at the North Shore but I would highly recommend spending some time here if you visit Oahu.

North Shore in Oahu

Stay tuned for part II to hear about our 8 days in Maui, including AMAZING food (some of the best I’ve ever had), shopping, and more!

As always, if you have any questions about our trip to Oahu, anything I mentioned here, or wondering about anything I may not have mentioned, contact me!

where i’ve been (figuratively + literally)

it’s really crazy to me just how fast time truly passes. the past 6 months have been a whirlwind for me, which might explain why i’ve been MIA for a few months now. but i’m BACK and happier than ever!!

earlier this year i started the search for a  new job. i loved my current job! i loved the people i worked with, i loved what i did, but there was something missing. for the longest time i couldnt figure out what it was, but once I was able to, i felt i had set myself free. it was an amazing feeling. it just wasnt for me anymore. fast forward a few months to the end of march, i accepted an offer with a new company and i’m still adjusting to life in a new career, a new industry, etc.

and onto the fun news! my husband and i took her honeymoon to the GORGEOUS state of HAWAII in June (full post coming soon + pictures). i cannot say enough amazing things about our trip. i will be sharing pictures and reviews of some amazing spots from our trip. i’m sure by the end of that post you’ll be booking your own trip to the islands. and i would be lying if i said i wasnt already planning our return  trip back 😉

so there you have it: why i’ve been MIA, where i’ve been, and whats coming! be on the lookout for my post about our trip to Hawaii, some new lifestyle pieces coming to the blog, as well as my usual money saving tips + tricks!

thanks for sticking with me, friends! if you’re new, welcome + i hope you’ll be back! 

 

How I’m Treating Stubborn Acne {a product review}

Ever go through a period of stubborn acne that nothing you do seems to kick it? I was too, until I found this amazing product! Check out my article to read my full review and thoughts on my favorite new skin care product!

 

disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, for more information, please view my disclosure page

I’ve been MIA for almost a month now, so if you’re here right now, I thank you for not giving up on me! You see, apparently having a broken finger in a splint makes getting blog posts out just a little difficult. And when I say a little, I really mean it makes almost impossible! Lesson learned: plan out blog posts and type them out in advance. Check!

The good news is (other than my finger no longer being in a splint) I’ve had time to plan out some awesome content for you! Now I just need to get that content from my head to my fingers (so thankful I’m a crazy fast typer)! Anyways, welcome back and thank you for sticking with me!

Today, I’ll be doing a product review of a new facial cleanser I have been LOVING lately! If you’ve seen my previous skin care routine post, you know I rarely ever get acne. I’ve been blessed with amazing skin! It’s a little oily from time to time, but overall, I’ve truly been blessed!

But recently, I’ve been struggling with cystic acne on my chin. {If you haven’t heard of cystic acne before, these are the really red “bumpy” types of acne.} When treating acne, it is SO important to understand what type of acne you are dealing with, because each type needs to be treated differently. I’ve had it for probably close to 3 weeks now and just can’t seem to kick it, which has never been a problem for me. Usually I can just treat my spots for a day or two and then it’s almost gone.  But this time, my oh so stubborn personality leaked onto my skin!

Before I put ANYTHING new on my face I do a lot of research, read reviews, ask friends and family for product recommendations, etc. So you know when I’m trying a new facial product and sharing it with you, I must be in love with it.

I read so many rave reviews over the Yes to products line, especially Yes to Tomatoes products, because they are designed to treat acne. I picked up the Yes to tomatoes detoxifying charcoal CLEANSER at my local Target. I grabbed this cleanser specifically for the reason in the top left corner of the bottle it states “clears up acne”, which is what I was needing.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been using this product once a day, in the mornings and have seen a SIGNIFICANT change in my acne. I only am using it once a day because it does seem to dry out my skin a little bit. BUT it is doing amazing things for my skin! I had never used a Yes to product before, or even a product with charcoal, but I can promise this will NOT be my last time using one.

I have found a new skin care line I am loving!! At times I feel my skin almost becomes “immune” to the products I use, so I do like to switch up my products and brands from time to time. But when something is working, I definitely stick to it!

As always, I am not a doctor and definitely not a skin care expert. I am just sharing a product that worked AMAZING for me! Everyone’s skin is different so everyone should expect different results!

So tell me, what are some of your favorite skin care products to use to treat stubborn acne? I’d  love to hear some at home remedies that have worked too! Leave them in the comments! And as always, if you found this post helpful, don’t forget to pin in, so all your friends can read it too!

7 Habits of Frugal people 

 

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People -- Have you ever wondered how some people are able to stick to their budget so well? How they are so frugal and won't spend a penny on some things but have no problem splurging on other things? I've put a list together of some of the most frugal habits I practice every single day that have saved me a great deal of money.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosures page.

Have you ever wondered why some people are just so damn frugal? Like asking them to spend a penny on something will break their bank? Why they refuse to pay a certain price for something but yet will splurge on something else? I’ve put together a list of 7 frugal habits I practice every single day that have saved me a lot of money. Hopefully I answer some of your questions you’ve always wondered about people who are frugal.

  • They don’t impulse shop

 

Frugal people will ALWAYS do their research before buying. They research everything from price comparisons to quality and reviews. They aren’t going to spend $500 on something if it isn’t going to last as long as it should.

 

  • They live within their means

 

Frugal people live within their means. They don’t buy things they cant afford just to impress others or to keep up with the times. If you haven’t read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, I highly recommend it. He so very accurately explains the idea of living within your means and buying things you can’t afford just to impress others. This book 100% changed the way I thought about money.

 

  • They plan ahead

 

Anything involving money gets planned out, well in advance. Grocery shopping, major purchases, etc. Planning ahead usually leads to more money saved and less money spent.

 

  • They aren’t afraid to say no

 

If it doesn’t fit into their budget or financial goals, they aren’t afraid to say no. They don’t go to every single thing they are invited to if it isn’t important to them. They aren’t scared to say no and walk away if the price isn’t what they want. They’ve taken the emotions out of their money and think of it as a source of survival, not a source of happiness.

 

  • They have goals

 

Frugal people aren’t frugal just for the fun of it. They have goals set and are always working toward their financial goals. They work hard toward their goals and always know exactly where they stand up against their goals.

 

  • They know the importance of maintenance.

 

Keeping anything and everything in good working order leads to less repairs and less money thrown down the drain. Proper maintenance will usually prolong the life of something, whether it be a car or a kitchen sink.

 

  • They double check receipts.

 

I always check my receipts right after I leave the check out line. Yes, I did just watch the cashier ring everything up, but what happens if you get charged for something you didn’t buy or the items on sale rang up at regular price? I go to the customer service counter all the time to get my extra .10 back. My husband used to get so embarrassed when I did this, but he now sees that all the small amounts really do add up.

 

There you have it. 7 of the most effective habits of frugal people.

Related posts: Meal Planning, Top 10 Things You’re Wasting Money On

top 10 things you’re wasting money on

By purchasing items we don't need, we're throwing away money every single day. I put together a list of 10 common things people waste money on every single day.

 

As a society, we waste money on simple, easy things every single day. We live in a world where we “just don’t have time”. So to compensate, we pay for convenience. The $5 charge here and the $10 charge here might not seem like a lot, but when you add it up overtime, it really adds up.

I put together a list of 10 things I stopped wasting money on and saw the money really add up!! We encounter these charges almost every single day.

You’re wasting your own money!

  1. ATM fees

Paying to access my own money is just a concept that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. Most ATMs will charge $2-$4 to use their ATM, as well as a charge by the customer’s bank of the same amounts. Paying close to $30 to take out $20 is outrageous. Set out 10 minutes early and swing by the ATM at your bank where you can withdraw your money for free.

2. Shipping Costs

To be honest, I didn’t realize people were still paying for shipping costs. Companies make it incredibly easy to get your items for free. I pay $49 a year for Amazon Prime with my Student membership; however, I order so much more from Amazon than other companies now that I have the Prime membership. The $49 has well paid for itself many times over and over already in shipping costs alone. If you can’t reach the minimum amount for free shipping or need your item right away, try reserving your item online (to save time + money) and picking up in store.

3. Internet Modem Rental

I’m guilty of paying for this up until about 2 years ago. Each month I was wasting $5 + tax on renting a modem from my internet provider. At the end of 1 year, I was paying well over $60 for an item I didn’t own. I went out and bought my own modem and it paid for itself in less than 1 year. Don’t be afraid of upfront costs if the savings is well worth it over time.

4. Monthly Banking Fees

So many banks offer free checking accounts with no minimum requirements. Most of us don’t need anything fancy when it comes to banking, just opt for the free account.

5.Cell Phone Insurance

Cell phone insurance is amazing! It saved me probably close to $1000 in my lifetime of cell phones. So why am I saying it’s a waste of money? Check the benefits of your credit and debit cards. I recently signed up for a Wells Fargo credit card for the sole purpose of cancelling my cell phone insurance. As long as I pay my cell phone bill with that specific credit card each month, Wells Fargo will automatically provide me with free cell phone insurance. Obviously I pay it off every month so I don’t rack up interest charges. I saved $11 + tax each month alone by cancelling my cell phone insurance through my provider.

6. Bottled water

Unless you live in an area where drinking tap water isn’t safe, STOP buying bottled water! I’m not a fan of tap water, but I’m a huge fan of water filters, such as a Brita pitcher or filter. The savings is INCREDIBLE!! I’ve bought bottled water twice in the past 3 years. Once when our town flooded and there was potential for our water to get shut off. The second time, for my bachelorette party.

7. Brand-name Products

9 times out of 10 you’re not gaining anything with a brand name product over the generic alternative. Hardly anything in my house is brand name. Target makes it SO easy to buy generic by placing the generic alternative right next to brand names and their Up & Up brand clearly states on the label *Compare to “brand name product”. Take an extra 30 seconds per product by flipping them over to compare the ingredients of the product.

8. Cleaning Products

I have very few cleaning products in my house. Simply because many general multi-purpose cleaners truly can be used for many different surfaces. For example there are many specailized products on the market for cleaning showers. So does that mean I also need to buy a different cleaner for my kitchen sink? Unless you have surfaces with very specific care instructions, a multi-purpose cleaner can be used for multi-purposes.

9. Warranties

There are very few circumstances extended warranties are a good investment. Extended warranties are incredibly specific on what they will and will not cover and most times, they will not cover much more than the manufacturer’s warranty.

10. Buying Books

I’m talking about novels. Most times you buy a novel to read it one. Why spend upwards of $15 to read a book once? Head to your local library instead where you can “rent” books for next to nothing.

 

I challenge you to try to cut just 1 of these charges out of your life for just 1 month and see just how much money you can save by eliminating one of these items.