Family · Uncategorized

Lemons and Lemonade

“I will never walk behind you or in front of you, but always beside you.”

When I first spoke those words on July 21, 2012 I had no idea how important they really were. The sun was near its last leg that day, dancing along the horizon and casting beautiful colors of orange and pink along the ocean of Papa’iola Beach. It had rained in the morning, and despite my fear of ruining my outdoor wedding, it had actually left a sweet scent along the shore as well as beautiful rainbows throughout the afternoon. Looking back, it’s amazing how symbolic that day really was.

I grew up close to my mother. As a military brat and an only child for seven and a half years before my little sister came by surprise, my mom became my best friend all those years my dad was out at sea. Perhaps it’s because of our strong bond that I always knew I’d want a child of my own. For some children their dolls are just toys. But deep down I always knew it was training for me.

As newlyweds, my husband and I knew we needed to get our bearings before we started a family. It wasn’t until over a year later in December 2013 that we made the decision to try. As articles, people and even my gynecologist told us, most couples take about a year before becoming pregnant. However, around March 2014 I had a gut feeling something was wrong. To be honest, growing up I always had a feeling it might be difficult for me to conceive. Call it intuition or just plain paranoia from a self-proclaimed ball of anxiety, but that feeling worsened as time went on. On the day of my annual gynecological exam I took the opportunity to express my concerns to my doctor. A routine checkup soon turned into something much bigger.

On April 28, 2014 I found out I needed a laparoscopic myomectomy. In layman’s terms, I’d have a robot operating on me through keyhole-sized incisions along my abdomen. As frightening as the whole ordeal was, I was relieved to know I finally had a reason for all my inklings and reservations. After a five hour surgery to remove a 63 gram fibroid attached to the back of my uterus, along with some Stage 4 endometriosis I didn’t even know was there, I felt the nightmare was over. My husband and I would finally conceive! Little did I know, it was only the beginning to our journey.

Almost exactly a year later, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I shared the news with my husband and though we were elated, that horrible feeling of doubt reared its ugly head again. A few hours after seeing those two beautiful pink lines, I began to bleed. Chemical pregnancy. Such a sterile name for what it truly is, an early miscarriage. Though I’m sure my husband grieved just as hard as I, he never showed it, always concerned with making sure I was okay.

So continued our painful journey. Throughout all our treatments: medicated timed intercourse, failed IUI’s, two polypectomies, and most recently IVF and a failed FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer), everyone around us seemed to be getting pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, the countless baby shower invites, Facebook announcements and cute Instagram pictures are reasons for great celebration and we are truly happy for everyone, but to us they are also reminders of what we don’t have.

“We have each other.” My husband never fails to remind me of this. Though he’s never once showed me anything other than love, I was always quick to question his devotion. How can he still possibly love me? It’s my fault isn’t it? I’m the one who is broken. It’s because of me we can’t have children.

It’s not your fault or mine. It just is.” With a smile he always wiped away my tears. “I made a promise to you that day in Hawaii, and we’re sticking through this together. If life is just you and me, then it’s enough.”

And you know what? It is enough.

I’ve read stories of how infertility often tears couples apart. Considering the emotional turmoil and stress endured, it’s not hard to understand why. If there’s a silver lining to our infertility battle, it’s this—my husband and I actually became closer. Throughout every battle and every tear, we stayed steadfast, hand in hand braving the next storm together. My husband has been my rock through it all, and I hope he can say the same thing about me. The tribulations of life can no doubt wreak havoc on many relationships, however I found ours only strengthened when we sought each other out instead of running away and dealing with them on our own.

The days immediately after our failed IVF were some of the hardest I’ve had to face. As someone with an avid dislike for roller coasters, I found myself riding the most horrible one of all—the emotional kind. As strong as I tried to be, certain triggers set me off. I was always on the verge of tears, fighting this mental battle within me. On one particular day I rushed to my car on the brink of breaking down. Proud to have held back my tears until I was safely in the parking lot, my first instinct was to call my husband. Like a strong hand shoved into a turbulent sea, he saved me from drowning yet again. In that moment of hearing his voice I quickly realized how much deeper I have fallen in love with him. Despite all the hardships we faced, I love him more than I did all those years ago on the beach. There is no way I can do life without him.

Though our path to parenthood is still unclear, I know whatever storms may be brewing ahead of us there will be even more rainbows to brighten up our day. No matter where we go or what happens in our lives, we’ll always walk side by side.


The Silence Isn’t Quiet…I Will Rise Up

“I’ll rise up in spite of the ache…and I’ll do it a thousand times again for you.”

I’ve been called brave and commended for my strength. As kind as those words are, I feel like a fraud.

How can I ever consider myself strong just for stomaching this horrible card I’ve been dealt?  Is it truly courageous to undergo all the surgeries and medical treatments because I felt like I had no other choice?

There are stronger, braver people out there. Men and women who lay their lives on the line every single day. How can anyone suggest I’m remotely similar to any of them because of my inability to create life?

But the thing is, I am strong. We all are. There is no competition in how we handle life’s trials because that’s exactly what they are–trials. These obstacles are difficulties we must face and no matter what they are, they do make us stronger. It’s our choice whether to bounce back after each blow.

And I have bounced back and I will continue to do so.

I’ve bounced back from the countless times I’ve gotten my period the same day someone announced their pregnancy…

I’ve bounced back from hearing a pregnancy announcement as I was simultaneously miscarrying my own…

I’ve bounced back from people asking me when we’ll be having kids and that ‘I better hurry up’ …

I’ve bounced back from feeling as if I’m a spectator to an event going on around me and feeling like an outcast…

I’ve bounced back from each surgery…

I’ve bounced back from failed fertility treatments…

I’ve bounced back from continuously feeling like I’m broken…

I’ve bounced back regardless of the imminent fear that I may never be able to carry a child of my own…

I’ve bounced back from letting infertility define who I am…

Bouncing back isn’t just a learned reaction. The ability to rise up is a type of strength, and do you know what makes us strong?  Love does.

Love for your family.

Love for your friends.

Love for your husband.

Love for God.

And don’t forget about love for yourself.

I am not a fraud because I am strong. I will rise up again and again.


Does Feeling Sad Really Heighten Creativity?



Does sadness really equal creativity?

As a Psychology graduate, studies about the link between the two have interested me greatly. Whether due to a cause and effect scenario or basic correlation, there have been many cases of great thinkers and artists who were undoubtedly depressed.

Where do I fit into this scenario?

It comes as no surprise to my friends and family that when writing certain emotional scenes in my books, I often take on the feelings and characteristics of my characters. In such cases my sadness is the direct result of my creativity. Then again, there are other cases when a specifically bad mood may cause me to go on a writing binge (see One and Done) so in that case my mood really did affect my creativity.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, it’s no misnomer that emotions can greatly affect one’s level of creativity. These effects may be for the better or may be for the worst. With me, it’s more of a hit or miss.

It’s true that in exceptionally sad cases I’ve been known to lock myself up and write my heart out. In fact, I’ve come up with many story ideas–most I still have to write–because of this. That being said, sometimes when I am exceptionally depressed there is no budging me. My mind won’t work. I can’t think. All hopes for creativity are thrown out the window.

In late 2013 my husband and I began our journey to start a family. After years of being told that sex=pregnancy, imagine my surprise when I found out that it isn’t always that easy. Month after month flew by and still no bun in the oven in sight. Cut to 2014, I was officially diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis. We had to put “trying” on hold for a couple months as I prepared, had, and recovered from my laproscopic surgery. If you’re interested, you can read about my experience in my blog: Painting with Robots . Anyway, after going through that particularly difficult time, I felt uplifted and we began to try again.

APRIL 2015

I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was ecstatic! I was over the moon! Then almost as if it were some cruel joke, I lost the pregnancy. Chemical Pregnancy – I hate that term with a passion. Regardless of how early a miscarriage is, it’s still just that–a miscarriage. I know it’s the medical term or what not, but calling it a Chemical Pregnancy just rips the emotion from the loss, doesn’t it? It makes it feel sterile and robotic. Trust me, it’s not. Many, many, tears were shed. Feelings of anger, sadness, worthlessness, despair (I can go on and on) flooded through me. In fact, in my despair, I confused the times of an Author Event, which I NEVER do and missed my time slot! Sadness was definitely not fueling any sort of creativity  for me then…

Now here I am.

January 2016 and still on this painful journey. I’m not saying I’m sad or depressed 24/7 as I have so many blessings to be thankful for, but sometimes the smile on my face is definitely just a mask.

So again, why am I telling you this?

For therapeutic purposes, I suppose…

Also, I wanted to let you know that sometimes writing breaks are completely necessary, but not something I particularly like to take. In fact, after my early miscarriage I took about a month to just compose myself and read. That’s not saying I didn’t have many story ideas fluttering in my head. In fact, despite my deep sadness I’ve manage to accumulate about 6 unfinished manuscripts and finish 4 more by the end of 2015.

All in all, writing is my therapy. Reading is my therapy. Daydreaming, imagining and creating different worlds are my therapy.

Writing takes a lot out of you and despite wanting to take a few breaks, amidst the sadness there is no denying the pull towards it.

Writing is my drug.

So, next time you pick up any book, whether it is full of tears or maybe even laughter, take a minute and imagine what the author may have been feeling at the moment it was written. It may be that those characters were exactly what he or she needed to be pulled out of a funk.

Does sadness heighten creativity? I’m not sure. But creativity definitely helps diminish sadness.