Saturday, April 29

1 in 8

Image result for national infertility awareness week\

Sidebar:  It's been so long since I have posted on this blog, I couldn't even remember the web address to get to it ๐Ÿ˜

Today marks the close of National Infertility Awareness week.   I have known about this week for the past couple years. I usually just let it pass and I haven't posted in the past about it, not because of embarrassment or secrecy... but more  because of fear of looking like I was drumming up sympathy or pity.  Inspired by others who have shared... I decided not to pass on sharing too and to help bring awareness. 

 I decided to share my story for a few reasons.   First, to let others know that I am more than willing to answer questions and share my experiences.  I do not usually come right out and share my infertility... I find it awkward to lead a conversation with "oh by the way...I struggle with infertility"... but am more than happy to talk about it if anyone just asks. I know one of the reasons there is a National Infertility Awareness Week, is because many times the topic of infertility seems taboo... and it would be nice for that to change.   

Also, and mainly, I share because  I know through my journey I have found great comfort in reading the experiences of other couples struggling with infertility, so if my story can be that comfort to even just one...then this post will have met it's purpose. 

So let me start way back... like back to the summer of 2004, right after my high school graduation.   My best friends and I went up to send a weekend at my friend's cabin.   We enjoy reflecting on high school, savoring our time together before separating to different colleges, and discussing our futures.   We decided it would be fun to make a time capsule and come back for it later and see how much we had changed.   In that time capsule we made predictions about each other and where our lives would go.   According to ALL of us, we knew that me, the token Mormon girl, of the group would be the first to marry and have kids.  I wholeheartedly believe this prediction.   Well fast forward a few years later and I was married!  We were right... or so I thought.  I could check the "married first" box.   But the "have kids first" box did not get checked by me... I haven't even checked the "have kids" box yet.  

Well Chris and I enjoyed our newlywed bliss, graduated college, moved to Washington, where I got my first teaching job! Life was pretty much how I had planned.  Chris then got in to podiatry school in California, so we moved down there, where I substitute taught for a bit.   We decide that this would be the time to start trying to have a family.  Well... easier said than done.  

After months of trying on our own, we decided to see the world of medicine could help.   At first I was met with resistance... one nurse even told me "you're so young, who cares if you get pregnant right now, you've got plenty of time" (this is the EXACT WRONG thing to say to someone struggling with infertility!).  I had to beg my doctor to even let me try Clomid.  I had high hopes that Clomid could be the miracle pill for me, since it had help many others I knew.  We continued trying on our own and used ovulation tracking and so forth.   Still no luck.

 We moved quite a bit, which meant starting over with new doctors, which slowed  our fertility care down. Also, my crazy body decided to grow many cysts, which either ruptured or grew ginormous (even a cancer scare in there too) and had to be removed. So that of course slowed things down also. During this time a doctor finally gave me the diagnosis of endometriosis.   I'll give you the rest in cliff notes versions...  
  • few rounds of clomid
  • countless ovulation tracking/testing
  • hundreds of ultrasounds
  • 1 laproscopic surgery to clean up ruptured cyst
  • an 11 cm cyst removed through large incision in belly (similar to c-section)
  • 3 HSG tests (beleive it or not have been some of the most painful parts)
  • 2 sonohysterograms
  • 1 egg retrieval with a fresh embryo transfer (IVF)
  • 3 more frozen transfers 
  •  1 week long stay in the hospital after becoming septic becuase I had gotten e. coli in my peritoneum which we think was  introduced through a small hole made from my egg retrieval. This lead to a LONG recovery for months. 
So now here we are... 11 years into marriage and about 8 years of trying to conceive.  Back to my high school time capsule... I did not get to check the box off for having kids first out of my group of friends.   To be honest I think a few of them might have a second before I have a first.   Now don't get me wrong... I am SOOO happy for my friends and their kids are all beautiful.  I NEVER EVER want my friends to feel like I am not excited for their pregnancies and kids... because I am!  It is just not where I thought my life would be at 31 years old.  

Currently we are looking to do another round of IVF with our new doctor in Seattle sometime soon. To be honest though, we've had to move slowly to deal with stressors at work and to prepare financially.   One thing I know for sure... INFERTILITY IS EXPENSIVE!

But the real reason I wanted to write this is to also write about all the blessings that have come through infertility.  Some have come easier than others, but I am grateful for it all.   I have been blessed to get to have some wonderful adventures with just my husband. I also, have gotten influence and be influenced by hundreds of students that I have gotten to teach the past 9 years that I probably wouldn't have gotten to if I had kids right away.   I have 16 wonderful nieces and nephews who I get to be aunt to.  Chris and I have learned how to support each other through tears, sickness, and heartache.   I've learned about and been strengthened by many others who have faced similar trials.  I've learned never to judge others, since many trials we face are invisible to others.  

The main blessing that has come is that I have been able to strengthen my relationship with my Savior and my testimony of His love and atonement.  I know that my Savior is aware of my pains, heartaches and trials. He is there for me and can help support me through the hardest times.   

 My favorite story in the scriptures is when the Lord lightens the burdens on the Nephites backs in Mosiah 24 in the Book of Mormon.  God doesn't remove the burdens from them, just like the burden of infertility hasn't been removed from me, but he does lighten the burden. I have felt the lord "lightening" my burdens. He has given me greater faith through this trial and blessed me with patience and positivity (most of the time๐Ÿ˜).    

I have learned to TRY to trust in God's timing and plan for me.   I have faith in this plan and I know I will be a mother someday. 

So if you've read through my blabbering this far... here is my takeaway for you.  If you ARE struggling with infertility, I hope maybe you have found some comfort.  Keep positive, but know that it's okay to be sad sometimes.  Surround yourself with supportive people.   If you KNOW someone struggling with infertility (chances are you do... since it's 1 of 8), be there for them.   One thing I have learned is that everyone handles infertility differently.   So the support you give to one friend struggling with infertility, might be different than what another friends needs.  Usually we just want a listening ear... not to be fixed or advice.But regardless, just let them know you love them, pray for them, support them, and are there for them.   

Thank you to the many friends and family who have been our SUPPORT!  We love you and appreciate you!  So here's to the future... whatever it may hold! 

Sunday, December 1

September 2013

September is one of our favorite months- with it comes Autumn, College Football, School starting, and our birthdays.  So we had a great september!  

We had Chris' parents and his brother Wes' family over to our place. We started off by taking a dip in the pool, well really only Chris and the kids. They we grilled up our own "J Dawgs" hotdogs for everyone and watched the BYU v. Texas game.  It is always fun to get together and Chris always enjoys watching games more with his dad and brothers than just me.  And to top it off, BYU won! 

Coleman, Chris, and Brady in the pool

Tal, Chris and I, Wes, Brady and Coleman watching BYU

I also finally got a Huntington Beach Library Card! I love libraries so much and thankfully there is a big one in HB.  I have been definitely using it! I have been reading A LOT! 

Also the second weekend my Parents came down!  My dad had a stake conference he was assigned to for Church in Valencia, so they made a whole weekend out of it.  They flew in Friday night and we went to King's Fish house for dinner, which was yummy. Then we just came back and watched Shark Tank on TV.  
The next morning my dad had to take off for Valencia, but my mom and us headed down to the beach for a nice long walk on the sand. We then went to TK burgers for lunch, however we didnt have any cash (it was cash only) so poor Chris had to run back like a mile or two to get some. 
We then also headed out to Valencia. That night the stake put on a dinner that we went to and then all attended the Saturday night session. It is always fun to hear my dad speak and my mom spoke too that night.
Chris, of course, was starving afterwards so we headed to the nearby Chili's...surprise, surprise!   We then relaxed in the hotel (in Valencia). The next morning we went the the Stake conference in Valencia and the stake president invited us over for dinner before we headed home.  Chris actually knew the stake president's son from his dorm, so it was fun to catch up with them too.  
We then relaxed for a bit at our place and then my parents flew home. It was great to be with them, even just for a few days!

 Chris' co-resident, Steven and his girlfriend Sophia moved into our complex. Its fun to have them right here. We have gotten to do a lot with them. Its nice to have some friends live right by us.  One night we went to the weekly food truck night. We ate some really yummy sliders and then had a Longboard icecream sandwich!
YUMM! Peanut Butter and Oreo Longboard!

Many people as they get older tend to not care about their birthday, but that is not true for me!  I had another great birthday,  Chris brought me breakfast in bed to start my day off. During the day while chris was at work I relaxed at home. Then at 5:00 I had an interview for a job. It went really well, so we will see. When I got home it was somewhat late so we decided to go to Maraconi Grill down the street.  After that we came back and I opened my gifts. Then Steven and Sophia came over to eat some Birthday Bundts!  We have discovered Nothing Bundt Cakes here by us and we love them. So Chris got a whole bunch of mini Bundts cakes to celebrate with! Overall it was a great day!

Great way to start the day- breakfast in bed from my husband!
Breakfast in Bed

Me with the Yummy Bundt Cakes

The day after my birthday I atucaly had a casting call for HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT.  I love this show (and love all game shows) so when I saw that you could apply online to be on the show I jumped at the opportunity.  I got a call back from them and after I passed a pop culture quiz they set up a time for me to come in and "audition".    So I drove down into LA and tried out.  The try out consisted of me and two other guys being set in a small room with one of the casting people. They filmed us while we played two of the games.   I personally think i DOMINATED the games, way better than the other guys. However, they were both these BIG outrageous personalities.  Anyways,  I didn't get called back, no big surprise, but overall it was a fun experience!
Picture from Last season of Hollywood Game Night

Steven and Sophia took us out during the week to Umami Burger for our Birthdays.  IT was super yummy! 

We also got to Celebrate our birthdays with Chris' family. We went to Mama Di's in Newport Beach. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend it.  It was fun to be with Debbie, Tal, Wes and Kristy.  Debbie also some delicious cupcakes for us! 

Chris' Brithday was on a Sunday this year. So we went to Church. We came home and he opened some gifts. Since Chris doesn't love cake I decided to do a different spin on it. Instead he had a candy and soda cake!  After dinner we then took our new BEACH CRUISER bikes out for a ride.  
Chris' Birthday Cake

Chris on his Cruiser

My new ride

Sunday, August 4

Girls Trip - August 2013

So my dad gave my mom a "girls trip" of her choice for her birthday.  So lucky for me she decided to use it to come visit me and invited her mom, my grandma, to join.  WOOHOO! 

I picked up my grandma and mom on thursday from the airport.  We headed to our house, it was fun to show off our new place.  Went to Corner Backer next door for lunch and I walked them around the mall.  Then we headed out to Balboa Island. We did some shopping in the fun, cute boutiques and of course enjoyed a famous frozen banana!  We then headed to Laguna to walk around and enjoy the beautiful weather.  We finished the night with going to dinner at Mama Di's.  Chris met us out there for dinner, it was super yummy (as always).  Us girls then went to our hotel next to Fashion Island near Newport.

The next day we slept in a bit then drove to Breakfast at the yummy Rose Bakery cafe and ate outside in the beautiful sunshine. We then went for a walk along the trails and down to Crystal Cove.  We then headed back the hotel for a bit and laid by the pool. Then we headed to Fashion Island for some shopping.  We just ate at Stone Oven in the food court.  And we ended the night last minute at Sprinkles Cupcakes.  IT was crazy busy, but we got in just before they ran out of most things. 

Then next morning we got ready and checked out of the hotel. We headed to Long Beach. We met Chris and also my other grandma (Grandma Christenson) for lunch at Chili's.  The reason we headed to Long Beach was awhile back I planned to meet up with Grandma Christenson for a quilting expo she was coming down to with her quilting club.  So I lucked out and got to have the three most important women in my life with me!  So we headed to the convention center after lunch. We admired BEAUTIFUL quilts and looked at all the fun products.  It was great to be with both my grandmas and my mom!  We said goodbye to Grandma Christenson, so she could head back home with her group.  Then we headed back to our house.  We had dinner and enjoyed hanging out.

ON Sunday I took my grandma and mom to Church.  Then we came home and took a stroll on the beach in Huntington.  We came back and ate and then unfortunately it was time to take them to the airport. 

Overall it was a GREAT trip and I cherish the time I got to spend with these women who mean so much to me in my life!  Hooray for Girls TRips!

here are some pics...

My Grandma and I in front of our new apartment complex

Balboa Frozen Bananas... YUM!

Mom and I on our walk in Laguna Beach

Grandma and I in Laguna

Beautiful Laguna

After eating at Mama Di's- LOVE this place!

Shopping at Fashion Island

Late night sprinkles run...they were almost all out, phew!
Grandma and I- Love her!

Love these ladies!

Feel so BLESSED to get to be their granddaughter!!!

at the Quilt Festival

Wednesday, July 31

July 2013

July was a FUN summer month!

 Chris of course started his new residency. He will be spending the next 3 years at the Long Beach Memorial Hospital. Each month he is on either podiatry or another medical rotation (like infectious disease, cardiology, etc). So his schedule varies from month to month.  He also spends time at the Long Beach VA and other podiatry clinics in the area.

I started the "fun" process of seaching for jobs.  Not so much fun down here in southern california with schools cutting funding, meaning less jobs and lots of competition. Add to that, I think California has the most hoops to jump through for full credentialing.  But I will work hard, keep my options open, and enjoy this "time off"

So here are somethings we did this month...

Went to the Beach with Chris' Family 
 I spent the day with  Chris' Parents, Kristy, Katie, Heather and Francisco, and all the kids at Newport Beach. Kristy picked me up and came to see our new places then we headed down there.  It was fun to be with everyone, especially since we missed the family reunion in Utah a few weeks before.  I always love being with the family, especially at the beach.  
After the beach we did the "usual" by eating at Cafe Rio.  Then some of the rest of the family came to check out our new place too.  The only thing missing was having Chris there.

Libby and I making funny faces-  I sure love being an AUNT!
Me, Libby, and Kallie- what cuties they are!

Herrara's spend the night
We wanted to soak up our time with the Herrara's while they were in town, so we invited them to stay with us for a night or two. That night just us adults went to dinner and saw the movie "Now you see me". It was wonderful to be with them. The next day I headed with them to Huntington Beach.  We rented the fun surrey bikes and rode around for an hour. Then after that we hung out at the beach for a bit.  That night we all went to dinner at Cheesecake factory.

Heather, Collin, Francisco, Davis, Kallie, and I peddling away!

Collin-insky and I... all smiles!

4th of July in Corona
We headed down to Corona for the 4th of July celebration with everyone.  We walked over from Wes and Kristy's with everyone to the park. We enjoyed playing catch, wiffle ball, and hanging out.  We also celebrated Kallie's birthday there too.  Then we laid back and watched the fireworks. 

enjoying the fireworks!

Enjoying the benefits of our new location
WE are loving where we live for all that it has to offer.  Don't get me wrong, I still miss Seattle, but I cannot complain to much.  Our complex we just moved into is brand new and has great amenities. We have a beautiful pool, beautiful shared spaces, and a great gym.  It is right next to a mall with tons of restaurants and a movie theater. Costco is literally in our backyard.  We are right by the freeway, for easy access to work and other places, but are only 5 miles from beach.  So within the first month of living here we have walked to the movies 4 times (and bonus that we can go into Costco on our way for the discount tickets).  Whenever I don't feel like cooking there our countless places in walking distance to eat.  

We went for a run and a workout on the beach one morning!
waiting outside to try Slaters 50/50 Burgers
Slater's famous Vampire Dip... YUMM!

Every Thursday, down the street there are food trucks that come. Here is Chris enjoying his LONGBOARD ice cream bar.

Chris' mom, Debbie, was watching Katie's kids so she brought them down the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and invited me to join them. It was a fun day.  We also go to hear Katie and Chris on the radio on the Dave Ramsey show! 

Dodger Game and Sawyer time
While Chris and Katie were in Tennesee we watched Sawyer for them.  It was fun to have him as a house guest again, like we did a few year ago.  While he was here Chris was able to score some Dodger Tickets from a Doctor he works with. It was fun, especially since the Dodgers are hot right now... especially my new favorite, PUIG!  After the game they had fireworks. So they let everyone down onto the field to watch them. We made our way down, laid out our blanket, and hung out until the fireworks started.

Dodger Stadium

Chris and Sawyer (with his new "hat" and bat)
Sawyer and I down on the field

All smiles

Chris was excited for the grass... he was amazed at it! :)

waiting for the fireworks

My new PUIG shirt!
Chris and his make shift batting practice... almost a homer!
WE also headed to the beach one day with Sawyer to play some smashball and catch

Bonfire with Jones'
Wes and Kristy invited us to join them at a beach bonfire with some of their friends.  It is fun to be able to have these options living by the beach now.  Parking was pretty nuts, since it was during the huge US OPEN surf competition. So we parked far away but rode our longboards the rest of the way.  WE grilled hot dogs and hung out.  Then they came over to our place for a bit.  

a little smashball

Sunday, June 30

June 2013

June went by really fast and was a busy one. 

Chris drove down to califonria at the beginningof the month to move all our stuff out of storage and into our new place in huntington Beach. I, of course, was still teaching and wrapping stuff up in Seatte. 

In our last few weeks in Seattle we tried to enjoy our time with friends and family.  We went to one more Mariners game on a sunny day. Also, We had our friends from the ward come over to the house for Cafe Rio inspired dinner and some croquet.  The boys played a Fierce game!  Then we ended the night with smores! Then our last weekend my parents took us out to a nice dinner at the Palisades looking out over the Puget sound. It was a beautiful night and we took a nice walk afterwards.  Then we headed to Fremont and had some yummy mini pies at PIE.  We also squeezed in some games of tennis, since the weather was nice! 

Mariner's Game

Boys (Reggie, Chris, and Andrew)  in their Croquet Poses... So cool {photo credit to Reggie}

After Dinner, outside of Palisades

at PIE, not sure what that face is from Chris, but the mini pies were good!

On my last day of school, I said goodbye to my cute students and the wonderful staff at Clark Elementary. I almost made it out of there that day without crying, but as I said goodbye to my teacher buddies I couldn't help it.  It was crazy though.. in order to get Chris down to califonria on time for his residency orientation we had to leave right afterschool got out.  So the bell rang that day, I sent the kids out for summer, and tied up a few loose ends and then I left like 30 minutes later to get in our car and start our drive. WHIRLWIND! 

We drove Sstraight through (18 hours) to california. WE came home to everything sprawled out in boxes and piles.  We immediately laid down on our couch and took a nap.   It was great to see all our things that were in storage for the last year!  It was like FREE shoppping. So we spent the next few days setting up our house and settling in. 

SEATTLE-------> Huntington Beach