Saturday, April 28, 2012

Our long journey to become parents...

After much thought and hesitation, I have decided to bring up our story regarding having a baby.  

This post is dedicated to National Infertility Awareness Week.  

All week long I have been thinking and debating about writing a post. It's personal and quite frankly not very easy for me to talk about.  Well, it's the last day of NIAW and I decided to take the plunge.

Did you know 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?  

I sure didn't until I realized that our journey was going to take this path.

Aaron and I got married in 2006.  Everyone knows right after marriage, the next question is..."So, when are you having children?"  We both had decided that we wanted to enjoy our marriage and each other for a couple of years before children entered our lives.  Little did I know how long of a road that would take us.  

Late 2008/early 2009 we decided that we would like to add to our family. Honestly, being naive I thought it would happen the first month.  Well, the first month passed and I thought it would for sure happen the second month.  Each month I would get my hopes up only to see a big fat negative on the pregnancy test. I remembered my doctor mentioned it can take a healthy couple under 35 a year of trying before they considered any red flags.  So, after over a year of no success, I scheduled an appointment to see my doctor.  Once we had a visit, she referred me to another clinic.

My hands were shaking when I called the clinic up to request to been seen for infertility issues.  Those words are scary to say. My emotions were raw. The woman on the phone asked me if I had a preference for a doctor.  I mentioned I would like a female doctor, and the first doctor she said was "Dr. Mericle." PERFECT!  Sold!  I love her name and also believe in miracles, so it was meant to be.

Dr. Mericle instantly made me feel at ease.  She explained the steps we would need to take to get more answers.  After countless doctors visits, blood work, and analysis we had a diagnosis.  We had a triple threat....Annovulatory, hormonal deficiency, and also Male Factor Infertility.  I am not going to go into detail on what all of that means, but essentially we were told we would likely need medical intervention to have a baby.

After finding this out, I was scared, angry, frustrated, and sad.  Aaron was extremely supportive and was a shoulder for me to cry on.  I didn't want to tell anyone.  It was just too hard.  Every time I talked about it I would cry.  But after much thought we decided to share this news with a handful of family members.  I also shared this news to a couple of friends that I knew would be supportive.  No one else knew about what was going on and I wanted it to remain that way.  Why?  Because family planning is very personal and I am an extremely private person.

I quickly learned the ropes of insurance.  My insurance would only cover the diagnosis and everything else would be out of pocket.  Infertility treatment is expensive, very expensive. Aaron's insurance was much better but still didn't cover everything.  I was told that getting diagnosed with infertility is not "life-changing" by our insurances, so I would have to wait until open enrollment to switch.  Well, it sure felt life-changing to me!  We use missed Aaron's open enrollment a month earlier, and it ultimately meant that we would have to wait to start treatments for another year.

In the meantime, I decided to research, research, research.  There had to be other alternative solutions while we were waiting.  Aaron started on fertility vitamins, and I started going to a chiropractor that specialized in assisting woman experiencing infertility.  I also started focusing on my diet and vitamin intake.  I stuck to my plan.  I went to the chiropractor 3 times a week, took my vitamins 2-3 times a day, and increased my protein.  For the first time in a long time I felt as if I was in control of something. We prayed as a couple each day for a family.  By doing all of this it made me feel as if I was FINALLY in control.  After 3-4 months of sticking to this routine, my cycle started to get more normal and I was really hopeful.  But, months kept going by and still no baby.

Now lets fast forward to December 2010.  Aaron and I were hosting the Ugly Christmas sweater party at our house and the night before we were cleaning and getting everything set up.  I knew I would be drinking the next night and thought I needed to be safe and take a quick pregnancy test.  I was prepared to get disappointed since that is what always happens. Well, the digital test kept blinking and blinking and blinking. It felt like an eternity and out of the blue the words "PREGNANT" appeared.  To say I freaked out would be an understatement.   I did not deliver the positive pregnancy test in a cute fashion like many do.  I was screaming, crying, and shaking while yelling for him to come upstairs. Aaron thought there was a mouse or fire upstairs. He ran upstairs and just stared at the test.  He was beaming but saying "Are you kidding me?!?" Nope.  Not all all.  Our prayers were answered. 

I contacted Dr. Mericle right away.  I remember her telling me that we were so blessed and this was a miracle.  She was so surprised this happened without medical intervention. Since I was high risk, I was going to be monitored closely. There was a scare at first, but we quickly realized that I was carrying a healthy little baby!

We were blessed on August 23, 2011 with our little miracle that Dr. Mericle delivered.  :)  Evelyn is the light of our life and we are so in love with this little lady.

Aaron and I would love to have more children, and we have no idea what our future journey will be.  It is very likely that we will have to have medical intervention, but miracles happen and they can happen again.

I know this post is long, but I want to share my story with you because you likely may know someone that is experiencing infertility.  Or, you may not even realize that someone close to you is experiencing it because many of us experience this disease silently. I suffered in silence for so long prior to letting others know.  I still have a hard time talking about our struggles, unless it is on my terms.

Thank you to those family members and friends that were so supportive during our struggle to have our baby.  Your kinds words and listening ear meant the world to us.  

When I share my story many people have said, "I don't know what to say."  Guess what?  You don't have to say a thing.  Just listen.  Be supportive.  That's it.  Advice is not needed unless you are a doctor or you have personally experienced infertility.  

Also, think before you speak.  Next time you want to ask someone, "So, when are you going to have children?"  Think twice.  It is a personal question and you have no idea what could be going on.  I was guilty of asking others this question before, but I now realize the family planning is personal and it is not my business unless someone decides to share it with me.

My advice to anyone that might be struggling with infertility. Don't be a silent sufferer.  You will be surprised by how many people will open up to you regarding their struggles to have a family.  Remember 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Rely on those you can trust to listen to your story and know that miracles happen every day

To be continued....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cousin Pics!

Evie and my nephew, Deacon, recently had a photo shoot.  We actually had 2 rounds of picture sessions due to utter chaos developing while attempting to get their pictures taken together.  

This is what it kind of looked like at session #2...

  • Amy was running after Deacon to get him to sit down (which is not easy).
  • Evie would get so excited to see Deacon she would reach for him and try to rip his face off.
  • Deacon tolerates it for a bit, but then gets upset.
  • Aaron attempts to pry Evie's little hands off of Deacon's face.
  • Evie starts to cry since she could no longer bully her cousin.
  • I try to distract Evie by making obnoxious sounds to get her to stop crying.
  • And repeat.

My how the tables have turned so quickly.  At Christmas Deacon was swatting Evie on the head.  Karma, D, karma.  Poor little guy had no idea it would be for the rest of his life.  :)

Here are a couple of adorable moments captured on camera...

I know these two are going to be the best of buddies.  Deacon is going to watch over her and be her protector.  She will probably gab his ears off.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Live to work versus work to live...

So, I just got out of a couple of extremely long days at work and cannot help but blog about this once again. Life as a working momma is SO challenging.  I know many of you can relate.

How do I balance work & life?   How do you not feel guilty knowing that you can only see your little one for a couple of hours at night during the work week?  Why am I always rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off? These are honestly questions I ask myself every. single. day.  

Pre-baby work defined me.  I was a work-a-holic, and easily put in 60 hours a week. I lived to work.  Was it healthy? Probably not, but I did it.  I stayed late, worked on the weekends, and was always on my work email. The weird thing was I can honestly say I enjoyed it.

Fast forward 7 1/2 months-my focus has completely changed. Why?  Well, because of little Ms. E. and Mr. A. This is an adjustment for me and those that know me.  I now want to work to live.  Will I still give my 110% at work?  Absolutely. Will I have to work extra hours, nights, and some weekends? Of course. Will I always be a working momma?  Without a doubt!  But, will I live to work? Nope, nada, not going to do it.  Why?  Because my time with my family is far too precious.  

This is such a change from the past. Turning my work brain off when I leave the office is tough.  I find myself feeling the need to check my email & work those extra hours, but I refuse to let myself put work before my family.  Time is passing by too quickly, and I need to regain my focus and prioritize.  

The other day at Target I walked by the book section and noticed a book called "The Happiness Project."  

It is all about making the most of your life and focusing on what really matters.  The author dedicated a year to her happiness plan. I am really excited to start reading this book!  So, anticipate to read more updates on my own "Happiness Project!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter fun & a blast from the past...

Last Sunday we had the opportunity to celebrate Easter with many of our loved ones.  Evie did not sleep well on Saturday night, which made me a bit anxious since we had a jam-packed day.

Sunday morning we went to church with Aaron's parents.  Evie was such a good girl, well for the first 20 minutes.  It went quickly down-hill from there.  One thing about my daughter is that she can be the happiest baby one second, but once she decided she has had enough...well she's had enough.  No turning back.  E and I had to exit stage right.  As soon as we were out in the lobby she was a happy camper. I thought, "Perfect, time to go back in."  Well, we headed back in just to head back out in a matter of minutes after another mini-meltdown.  

We headed off to my mom and Don's house in Farmington.  My mom made her usual yummy feast of food.  Evie got spoiled rotten by her auntie and grandma.  It felt like Christmas!  Jeepers, I do not remember getting all of that stuff.  Here is a couple of pictures from my mom's house.

The look on her face is priceless.  She's thinking "Really mommy?!? Too many pictures!"
Evie in her Easter Outfit

After my mom's, we headed over to my aunts in Bloomington to be with my dad's side of the family.  Evie got to hang out with her great-grandpa & great-grandpa, along with tons of my cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Evie was a champ even thou she was exhausted.  

When it was Evie's bedtime she was a h.o.t mess.  So overtired, but she had so much fun!

Blast from the past...6 years ago Aaron proposed to me on Easter Sunday. He proposed in a giant, white bunny suit.  No lie.  

He was student teaching at the time and the kids in his class gave him the idea.  We stayed the night at his parents house the night before. Aaron woke me up that morning by calling my cell and told me my dog ran away.  I was in pure panic mode! Stan is my fur baby.  I flew out of bed and ran into the backyard.  When I went into the backyard, I noticed Stan running around like a mad-man, whipping his head, and trying to get these bunny ears off of his head.  Confused, I walked a bit further onto the deck to notice a HUGE bunny stumbling awkwardly towards me and then getting down on one knee.  I think I said, "Shut-up."  Charming, huh?  :) Meanwhile, Kristi was getting it all on video while hiding in the trees. 

I was totally caught off-guard.  It was the perfect proposal for us. I wanted to be surprised and I thought it was fun, cute, and clever.  I have a picture to prove everything...

Check out Stan's bunny ears around his neck!

Easter will always have a special place in my heart. I am looking forward to building so many more Easter memories with my little family.  I wonder if that giant, white bunny will make an appearance at future Easter events...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Bunny!

We will have a fun-filled, busy day tomorrow, so we wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Easter! 

Aaron picked Evie up last week from daycare and she was wearing these sweet ears her friends at daycare made her!  What a HAM!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Last week was a tough week.  Ms E got her first ear infection, which explains her fussy butt, and my sweet grandpa was admitted into the hospital.

It has been a rough week for good ol' gramps.  But, let me tell you my grandpa must have super powers for everything he has dealt with regarding his health. 

We had the opportunity to stop by the hospital last Thursday to see my grandpa.  Grandpa really struggles with his memory right now, and gets confused and frustrated very easily.    Well, last Thursday was a really good night for him.  I honestly think it is the first time that he actually realized he had a great-granddaughter.  He was happy to see Aaron and I, but boy was he so excited to see Evie. 

As soon as we reminded grandpa that Evelyn was his great-granddaughter he became really emotional.  The moment was so pure and sweet.  He reached for Evie from his hospital bed and wanted to hold her.  I was a little nervous since E LOVES to pull and grab anything right now and grandpa was pretty weak.  Imagine the fun she could have with the IV's and oxygen, but she was so calm and just melted into his arms.  Grandpa held her in the hospital bed with tears in his eyes, joy in his voice, and love in his heart.  He was so, so, so proud. There was not really a dry eye in the hospital room.  Such an amazing moment that we got to capture on camera.   She snuggled with him for well over 15-20 minutes (which is amazing) while grandpa got to kiss her and talk to her.  I feel SO blessed and thankful to have shared that moment with them.  Grandpa kept telling Aaron and I, "She's so beautiful" and "She's a keeper." 
Grandpa cuddling with Ev

We stopped by again on Sunday, and grandpa was really tired and his memory was not the best that day.  But, again he was thrilled to see Evie.  I brought grandpa a picture of Evie for the hospital room.  A gentle reminder of who Evie was and also a picture to show off to the nurses.  Here is the photo...

Evie at 6 1/2 months

Grandpa was released from the hospital today.  I pray for him to regain his strength and health while he is resting at home.

Someone I cannot forget to mention in my post is my grandma.  Evie adores her great-grandma.  She sings a fun song called something like...."doot, doody, doot..."  Well, actually I think my grandma made that special song for Evie, but she loooooves it!  This may give her the future name of great-grandma doot-doot.  :) 
Bonding at Christmas

My grandma is my grandpa's caretaker, nurse, wife, best-friend, and so much more.  This is not easy at all and is really hard and stressful.  I just admire her strength, faith, and love.  I think often times we focus our concern on the individual going through the tough time, and forget about their family also experiencing the situation. Well grandma...I love you, admire you, adore you, and you are AMAZING!  I also know that your children & grandchildren love you, admire you, adore you, and also think you are AMAZING!  Evie loves her great-grandma doot-doot.  We all appreciate everything you do for grandpa and our family. You are our superwoman, and we are all here for you!

At Evie's Baptism

We love you grandpa and grandma so much! xo

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time is flying by!

Again, no excuses on the delayed update to my blog.  I have been meaning to update it, but find myself always getting distracted.  Once I get home from work at night my attention is 100% devoted to the couple of hours  (if that) I get to spend with Evie before she goes to bed.  That has been really hard for me lately, but I am trying to focus on the positive. However, I can't is tough and sucks.  My little one is growing up so fast and I do not want to miss out on anything.

My sweet, feisty little munchkin is 7 months old!!! She LOVES to eat her toes, watch Baby Einstein, go in the swing, grab your face while squealing loudly, play in her rock n' roll station, and take baths.  She thinks sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots, and pears are yummo!   She is playful, talkative, and a wee bit of a drama queen!  I think her daycare provider said it best when she said something like..."Most of Evie's days are really good, but if she is having a bad is ALL day."  OHHHH yikes...we are going to have our hands full.

Evie and Deacon recently had a couple of sessions of pictures together with Amanda Jean Photography.  For anyone out there looking to get professional pictures of your children, family, or any other special event call Amanda.  She is so sweet and passionate about her work.

Here is a sneak peek...

I will be posting more pictures soon!