Family · Uncategorized

The Unexpected

I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging. Not only have I been focusing on writing, which I am happy to report I’ve finished the second draft (or third draft depending on how you look at it) of my new YA manuscript. It’s off to the beta readers right now, so crossing my fingers for good feedback! I’ve also been focusing on healing and just figuring out what it means to be me again. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, please read my last few entries as I don’t really feel like rehashing everything here.

Long story short, I’ve always grown up with a specific vision of what my life would be like. After the past five years, I’m not sure what that life is going to be anymore. Needless to say, along with grieving, I’ve had to somewhat come to terms with a “third-life” crisis as I like to call it. So, I’ve been focusing on doing all the things I’ve wanted to do, but never allowed myself to do during my TTC (trying to conceive) journey in fear of hurting my chances of becoming pregnant. Truthfully, it’s a bit fun at times, but also scary. As a perpetual planner, what do I do when I don’t know what to do?

Yesterday my mom and I watched the newest movie adaptation of Little Women

 

I’ve always been a fan of the story and LOVED the 1994 version.

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I was curious to see what a modernized take of the classic would be like.

It was cute of course, but there were a lot of one-liners that really resonated with me. One of them had me sobbing in the theater. Think Kim K ugly crying.

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Forgive me if it’s not verbatim, but it was something along the lines of:

“You’re a writer. Don’t you want your [life] story to be unexpected?”

That’s the thing about writing stories, isn’t it? You don’t want your stories to be predictable. The best stories are unexpected–so, why can’t my book of life be the same way?

There is also a scene where Beth mentions how the greatest stories  have some sort of tragedy in them. But these same stories have an abundance of love as well. Needless to say, the past five years have been horrible, but the good thing about them is the outpouring of love I’ve always received.

The reason I love to read and write is because all stories, regardless of what they’re about, have a way to touch their audiences mentally, emotionally and sometimes spiritually. Needless to say, watching the movie yesterday reminded me that life will always have unexpected turns, but my story isn’t over yet.

“We each have our own paths to our castles”

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**Spoiler Alert**

Not that a spoiler alert is needed since the book has been out since 1879 and there have been many movies released since then, but let me say this is the first version where I’m actually happy Jo ended up with Friedrich

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Family

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.

Family

…Numb…

I woke up this morning praying for a day of celebration and joy. Despite the nerves and anxiety I’ve been going through the past two weeks, deep down I hoped and thought today would go so much differently.

Fifty/fifty, black and white, yes or no–that was what today would come down to. Joy or utter sadness. I’ll let you guess which answer I just received.

As most of you know, my husband and I have battled the evil wench called infertility since December 2013. Here’s a brief timeline:

  • December 2013 — officially started trying
  • March 2014 — had a gut feeling something was wrong and went for tests
  • April 28, 2014 — diagnosed with a 63 gram fibroid attached to my uterus
  • July 9, 2014 — Laparoscopic Myomectomy. Fibroid and Stage 4 Endometriosis removed
  • September 2014 — cleared to try again
  • April 26, 2015 — early miscarriage
  • May 2015 — tried everything from fertility diets, exercise, fertility massages
  • Early 2016 — Finally decided to meet with Reproductive Endocrinologist
  • May 2016 — HSG testing. Diagnosed with polyps
  • June 2016 — Polypectomy
  • July 2016 — cleared to try again
  • July and August 2016 — Medicated timed cycles (failed)
  • February 2017 — Ovarian cyst burst. Rushed to ER.
  • April 2017 — Polypectomy #2
  • May 2017 — cleared to try again
  • May and June 2017 — IUI (Failed)
  • July – October 2017 — Accupuncture
  • December 2017 — Husband and I began serious discussions about IVF
  • January 2018 — Met with doctor to discuss procedures
  • Feb – May 2018 — Prepared mentally, emotionally, financially and medically
  • June 2018 — Failed IVF

Wow! I didn’t even realize how much I’ve been through until writing it all down. All the ups, downs, tears and and hope just all sort of blend together. Now, I know (unfortunately) there are many others who have similar or worse stories and I am heartily sorry for all of them. I wish none of us had to go through this.

Sorry if this blog is a ramble, but honestly I just needed a space to air out my feelings. Where do I begin…

Funny thing is, I never even wanted to try IVF. I knew it was an option, but personally it just seemed so scary and invasive to me. It was never on my radar to do despite all my husband and I had been through.

So what changed?

Back in December 2017 I felt at a crossroads. My husband and I spent the last few years trying everything we could to get pregnant and with all of it failing we just didn’t know what to do anymore. For the first time since the journey began I was at a loss.

So I prayed.

Prayer

I prayed for guidance and wisdom, no matter what it may be. Again, IVF was never in our plan. But then something amazing happened. Friends and coworkers began speaking to us about their IVF experiences. We never asked them about it, but they just felt compelled to share with us. Notably, all of them are happy parents. Some with surprise natural births as well.

But the thing is, I was still iffy about IVF. It wasn’t only the procedure that was scary, but I wasn’t sure if we could afford it (unfortunately our insurance doesn’t cover the procedure). So, I gave it up to God and He provided for us financially in ways that I’m still in awe at. With all these signs pointing us in its direction, we finally scheduled our first information visit.

I’m not going to go through all the steps (i.e. meds and procedures) of IVF, but if you want to know about it just shoot me a message. I’ll just say it’s a lot of pills, shots, patches and doctor visits. Anyway, two weeks ago we finally had the procedure of them all – the embryo transfer. Needless to say my husband and I were excited. We were going to have a baby put inside me! It was an amazing day at best and I wouldn’t give up the giddiness and happiness he and I felt. We were full of laughter and smiles as we waited for my turn in the OR.

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Our smiles got bigger when the embryologist gave us a photo of the embryo. I fell in love right there and then. I just knew in my heart that this embryo was a part of us and I loved her immensely. Now, I can’t scientifically say it was a girl, but the moment the embryo was transferred inside of me I just had a gut feeling.

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It was two weeks of nerves, excitement and claiming that we’d finally be parents. Throughout the painful shots that brought tears to my eyes I knew it would all be worth it. I said time and time again, “I’ll walk through fire just to hold my child”and now, I find myself in a fire of a different kind.

The call came around 1pm today. I was nervous and hopeful. The doctor started by telling me my Beta (hcg hormone) level, which really meant nothing to me. I guess she knew it would be a hard call to make and decided to go all medical before she hit me with, “At this level we don’t consider it a viable pregnancy.”

My world crashed. All these months of mentally and physically preparing, not to mention years of trying and exhausting every emotion in our bodies, failed yet again. Now, I know many women go through IVF multiple times before getting a positive, but I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say you always pray that that specific round is the successful one. I really hoped this one would be it.

My husband and I kept the whole procedure a secret as to have some privacy and to settle our nerves a bit. The less we talked about it to other people, the calmer we felt. But I’m so happy the moment I opened up to friends and family, crying once I found out it failed, they scooped me up with open arms with words of encouragement and prayers. I love you all.

Now, I’m sure there will be some of you out there saying, “Why didn’t you just adopt?”  The thing is, my husband and I never took adoption off the table. In fact, we always said regardless of whether or not we have a biological child we will adopt. The thing is, adoption isn’t guaranteed either. Also, most agencies require you to be completely done with all fertility treatments and be okay about it. And like I said earlier, we felt driven to this path of IVF.

So where does this all leave us now? Truthfully, I don’t know. I’m at a crossroads again. But I know this for sure–

Even if the embryo didn’t stay, I loved that baby with all my heart ❤

IVF

Uncategorized

Does Feeling Sad Really Heighten Creativity?

 

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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.

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