25 April 2016

Day One of Letting it Go

Monday's are never kind to me, I am thankful to have another day, Monday and I just don't see eye to eye.  Earlier than usual alarm set so that I have enough time to battle whatever Monday morning insanity comes my way and still attempt to make it out the door on time.  That didn't happen.

Dropped O off at school and headed in to work.  I wasn't feeling the day and really wasn't feeling like I could tell my co-worker and boss that I quit grad school.  Their responses surprised me, support, the same kind of support they gave last semester when I thought 18 hours would kill me.  My boss even said it was a good decision. Support.

Later in the day things were looking up and a dear friend text me to call her, she was worried.  I jokingly told her it would be weeks before I could handle a phone call (we have the kind of calls that last hours or until one of our phones die, filled with laughter and tears, empathy and advice).  I sent her the blog link for her to read what happened.  She knew about a lot of what lead up to this.  Again I found incredible support.  She said I was one of her biggest role models, wow.

My mom, who has always been there for me, and even more so when it comes to my degrees said she was proud of my decision and called me a good mom for it. Support.

O and I went to dinner and somehow she managed to eat too much too fast and semi-gagged/choked.  I soothed her as I put my hand out to catch it all, telling her it was okay.  As I was cleaning up, the man across from us says, "mothers always amaze me, you all can do anything." I didn't really know what to say, I wanted to apologize for the scene however he clearly wasn't bothered.  I told him thank you with a sincere smile as to say, "bless you and your mother."

I didn't expect the support and love I received today.  God knew I needed it, and He provided. Sometimes when we stop trying to force our plan, we are blessed beyond our expectations with His plan.

Today was a Monday.  Today I learned that my choices are supported by those who love me no matter what. Today I had dinner with our daughter and didn't have to rush to get home for school.  Today I get to end the night with snuggles instead of saying, "maybe tomorrow."  Today I realized this was the best decision I have made in a long time.

♥ g

24 April 2016

Let it Goooooo!

A little over a month ago someone, who's opinion means a lot to me said, "you make it all look so easy." I laughed. Nothing about being a military spouse with a three year old who doesn't understand, full time graduate student and part-time employee is easy. I don't ever want to give the false impression that it is by any means. Sacrifices are the only constant and reevaluation of priorities keep me up at night. Questioning, "where have I failed today" and tear-filled prayers for strength and perseverance end my day somewhere around 1am. Every. Single. Night. Only two people knew this truth. We make goals, strive for them and understand that sacrifices have to be made. Unfortunately at some point we have to weigh the cost of those sacrifices and make the tough choices of admitting where we must shift our priorities. God and my family come first. If those two are suffering in any way then nothing else should matter. I won't say that grad school isn't for me, I love school, I always will. But in this moment of my life, a little person needs her mama more than she needs to see the back of her head working on school every night. Her daddy will be gone soon for the longest time she will remember. It will be hard on us all. Priorities shift, they don't disappear. Do I feel like a failure as a grad student? Yes I do, until I compare it to being a failure of a parent, that is not something I can live with. Putting grad school off for a little while absolutely will not kill me. We were blessed with this incredible baby that we prayed for for NINE years, what in the world is so difficult about this decision? Nothing when you finally feel like God has given you the solution. I'll have to work on forgiving myself for the damage (that I most likely have imagined) I have done so far by fighting SO hard to juggle it all. Because I can't. You can't. No one honestly expects us to. Being in the moment with who we are is ENOUGH, it will always be enough. Women by nature feel the need to always be more. Today I am enough. Tomorrow it will be enough, I will be enough and the greatest reward will be a happy three year old who has all of her mama. Love yourself a little more, give yourself a little more credit, be in the moment, be enough. ♥ g

03 March 2016

2016 Cycle #1

I wanted to blog more about this adventure but I haven't been keeping up.  School and life has just been more than I have hours in the day for.

We started cycle #1 a week ago, which means I've been on hormone medication for a week and I have not needed bail money, no one has disowned me (not publicly anyway), and I have not had a total meltdown yet.  I feel this is going well.  MMMkay, so I may be sugar coating it.  There was a night when the hard drive in my laptop died. (night before first dose)  I threatened to drop out of grad school when it couldn't be repaired. (morning of first dose) I bawled over some Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey at my best friend's house. (gosh was that the night of the first or second dose) I am not sure but I may have been the reason she opened and finished a bottle of wine that night, by herself. Then there was the night that hard drive #2 started hating on me.  Sweet genius hubby rushing out to buy hard drive #3 for me.  Spending RIDICULOUS HOURS recovering files, transferring them and then reinstalling all my programs...for a second time.  We get passed that crisis and 2 out of 3 of us get sick.  One ER visit because the triage nurse over the phone said we needed to spend all day in an ER have O checked out.  Hubby gets home today and he is getting sick. Mother Nature PLEASE make up your damn mind!!! This weather has got to stop, be warm or be cold, just PICK ONE!  We can not handle this. *cough hack cough*

I am certain I have gained more weight than I want to admit to this week, however I'll get it lost again, I have to.  Just need a kinder, less insane week or so.

♥ g

05 February 2016


We have been down this road before, more than once so we pretty much know what to expect.  Everyone gets checked out to make sure swimmers are focused and strong, tubes are clear and ovaries are good to do their thing.  When you are juggling pretty crazy schedules things start to get tricky.  First task is to get a sample of swimmers tested to see if they can be frozen and revived (I'm pretty sure that's not the medical terminology but this part is all new to us).  Which just sounds torturous but I promise they do this all the time. If you have ever been a part of this process you know that timing is something of the essence on when swimmers can be released and when they need to be held so making this trip can't just be when you have a free moment.  Then there is the whole having to schedule the appointment as well, so you have another schedule to work in.  We originally made the appointment to do this at the lab in February, H being concerned about time asked if there was any way we could do it sooner to work around his currently known schedule. Let me make another call.  I can't tell you how sweet the gal is that has been handling these calls and trying to make it work for us.  Which brings us to the next problem.  She asks if we can do a drop off instead of an appointment, reminding me it would have to be kept at body temperature and be in the andrologist's possession no later than 45 minutes from collection. Well give me the addresses and let me pull up google maps.  Yea, we are 38 minutes away and traffic here is ridiculously unpredictable.  That's too much of a risk.  So I tell her we'd figure it out, she laughs, she knows exactly where this is going.  I explain the situation to H and he's in agreeance that we will make it work and he will meet me there. Alrighty then. I arrive early because we have no approved collection container. I go in to get the container and ask the girl if we really needed to make a different kind of appointment to be able to do this at their office, because otherwise we were going to have to figure this out on some country road less than 45 minutes away. She laughed and said she more than understands and we can come in to avoid breaking any laws in this process. Whew! Step one done!

♥ g

03 February 2016

The Adventure Continues

I have debated for quite some time about whether or not I would write about this publicly or not.  I did not write about it in real time with our last adventure and I slightly regret it.  The parts that I did write about were written in retrospect and a lot of the emotion was lost.  I have no idea what to expect this time other than it's going to be pretty crazy.  I know, I know, what in the world are they doing now??  Well we are trying for another baby!  Eeeeeek! I know that may not sound exciting or even like an adventure to some, but trust me, we never do anything without it being an adventure especially when it comes to reproducing.

Back in August I finally made the appointment that was offered to me at a year post-open heart surgery.  Honestly I didn't know if I want to hear what the cardiology and maternal fetal medicine teams had to say.  Then the conversation came up about having another baby and after several months of a cruel inner battle with it I had to be honest, I was not willing to let it be, I really wanted to at least try to have another one.  If we are meant to be one and done I'm okay with that too, but I needed to put forth an honest effort to appease my heart and mind.

So first step, find out if it was safe to do so.  To my shock the cardiology team said they were going to give it a thorough look over and would give me the honest answer.  When they said this I thought they meant I'd hear back from them. No, they asked if I was in a hurry and they would go talk and research right then and there.  Turns out the ejection fraction numbers never indicated heart failure, not even close.  They said they were more than comfortable in removing the diagnosis of postpartum cardiomyopathy completely.  That my valve, which was leaky prior to pregnancy but functioning and considered "mild", most likely just wore out during the pregnancy. For quite some time the questions of what caused what has been on a lot of minds. They went on to say that all my vitals on and off the medications were great and saw no reason to continue all the "precautionary" medications and that since the bad valve has been replaced I was probably in a better place to take on a pregnancy than I was with O. Whew. Did that just really happen?

Referrals were put in and phone calls were made.  We ran into an issue that on paper it wasn't clear who I needed to see.  Since we did fertility treatments, prenatal care and delivery with civilian doctors the last time, there was none of it in my medical history that they could see.  After several months of debate the reproductive side decided I needed to be cleared by the maternal fetal medicine side, who had no appointments for what seemed like forever.  Once I saw him he was more than happy to help get things going and even decided that we were on a serious time crunch to make this happen with an upcoming deployment nearing. Yup, I know this, trust me I know this. I already like him, he totally gets it.  His suggestion was to get going on storing up swimmers so that we could do IUI and erase the stress of H's schedule. Um, so we are going to do this without H huh?  Oooookay.  I can do this right?  Surely I won't be the first do try this?  I have searched, so far I cannot find anyone else who has ever blogged about this so that is another reason I chose to write in real time as this adventure plays out.  Aren't. You. Lucky.

Once I was cleared with MFM, the reproductive side said I needed to lose a little bit of weight, so call back when that has happened.  Okay this is where it gets kind of tricky.  I have PCOS, which causes all kinds of issues, weight gain and infertility are the two that happen to be the worst for me.  When I'm on the pill I tend not to gain weight as easily, however when I go off of it, baaaad things happen.  The year we got married and decided to "just go with it" I gained an insane 60lbs in 6 months.  So going off of the pill was scary for me, and I went off of it in August right after I was cleared.  It was December now and I had gained about 7lbs already.  I needed someone to help me treat the PCOS not just say, "call us back when you've lost a bit of weight." My obgyn on the MFM side took me back and we started upping the metformin dose that my PCM gave me but never monitored.  He also put in a referral for a nutritionist. Have I mentioned how much I like this guy?  He listens, he even calls me back so there is nothing lost in translation with nurses. In the meantime we had to get started on H's testing.  This of course can't possibly happen without it being an adventure, but before I write about that, I need to make sure H is okay with my possible oversharing...

♥ g

14 January 2016

A Full Heart

Here it is 2016 and I see that 2014 nor 2015 were very active years for this blog.  To say that the last two years were rough would be making light of just how rough they really were.

Two years ago this week I was told that I needed to have open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve.  That we needed to put the call in to the American Red Cross and get my husband home.  The call.  The call was talked about and prepared for but you never want to have to make the call.  For those who are not familiar with the call, American Red Cross is ready to make contact with military members in the event of an emergency back home 24 hours a day, every single day of the year.  This is not just a blessing to be able to reach them, but to get them home without any expense to us.  A blessing indeed.

The surgery went well and the recovery began.  When you are prepare for the surgery the medical team gives you a lot of literature on what to expect.  Me not being of the "typical age" for valve replacement patients (they REALLY need to work on that, I have met SOO many people my age and younger who could have used some age-appropriate literature) there was a lot of "in your old age..." talk that made me instantly overlook a lot of it as not pertaining to me and therefore not important.  A topic I came across multiple times was the emotional recovery.  Again, I contributed a lot of this to the mentality that I'm young and super excited to be alive (pending the best outcome of the surgery obviously) what in the world would there be to make me depressed??  I could not have been more wrong. Sure there is the physical recovery from having your sternum sawed in half (seriously) and being helpless for a while, not knowing just how long you would need someone else to wash your hair, brush your hair, dry your hair, oh and nearly EVERYTHING else that I took for granted to be able to do on my own. I was frustrated and when I get frustrated over something I SHOULD be able to do and control I get emotional, ah there comes the emotional recovery part.  I also get a bit mean when people help and I'm more or less in denial I need that much help.  Did I mention this all took place on the first day home? Yup, awesome.

I was pretty determined to overcome every obstacle within my allowed limits to be as self sufficient as possible, as soon as possible. I managed to figure out how to wash my hair without over extending my arms, as well as other little things for myself.  I managed to just give into other obstacles telling myself, "this is only temporary, be thankful" but it was hard.  I couldn't do simple things like wipe down a counter after my mom or husband cooked and did the dishes.  The motion of my arm was too great.  I felt useless to everyone else.  My biggest limitation was picking up our daughter O.  I don't remember the exact amount of weeks I wasn't allowed to pick her up, but it was too many.  She was 14 months old, had just moved halfway across the country to a new home and gotten her daddy back from his first deployment.  Now she had a mommy who could not pick her up when she cried, when she fell, when she was frightened or when she simply wanted her mama.  I had previously thought that the night before the surgery was the worst moment in my life.  I had a heart to heart with God asking Him to allow me to live through the procedure to be her mama, pleading not to take me away from her, wondering if she'd have any memory of me if I died.  It was a low point, but the worst part of this whole experience was still to come.  About a week after being home it was no longer a painful moment of having to let someone else swoop in for O, or even me having to tell her I couldn't pick her up.  It was when she stopped wanting me when she fell, got scared, or wanted to cuddle.  It was like having my heart ripped out without the precision of surgical tools.  I became angry, not at her, not at anyone, just angry.  I spent time with my back turned to those who were here so I didn't have to watch.  I worked on projects to avoid the reality of it all.  No one around me understood what was happening, except those I had met online in support groups for heart patients.  My phone became my escape and my therapy.  The friends I met online from the beginning had called me, text me, sent me flowers at the hospital and would have surrounded me physically if they could have, they understood, they really got it.  So how about that emotional recovery?  Well it was far more than I ever imagined it would be.  I would not have made it through if it weren't for those friends who understood and the family that tried their best.

To say the least the next year was very, very, very difficult. I had read and was told it would take a full year to recover, I thought that was ridiculous.  Physically it was around 6 months, Emotionally and cognitively it was at least a year.  There is still a lot of things I have no memory of, things I should remember.  They say it's a side effect of being on a heart and lung machine and the tiny air bubbles that go through to the brain.  It could be worse, just don't be surprised when I really can't recall something that happened right before the surgery or shortly after.  I had gained weight in my "inactive months" and was even more miserable with myself trying to become active again.  I had anxiety about overdoing it, pushing too hard too fast, and just generally scared of everything.  It was very hard to just live and find my place again.  I soon decided I had to let go some and made new friends who now mean the world to me, found a great babysitter for O so we could have date nights and went back to school.  It was a lot at the time but gradually balanced out and evolved to more of the normalcy I missed, which I needed, we all did.

In 2015 I continued school, became more active in the FRG and even went back to work part time.  I was accepted to grad school in September and graduated undergrad in December.  The university doesn't hold December commencements so I will "walk" in May.  Pretty darn proud of myself.  I couldn't have done it without my mom or husband who never stopped believing in me.  Thank you.  I love what I do and know that it is not what I am meant to do forever but I am definitely meant to be there at this time in my life.  When your daily conversationalist is a growing toddler you really forget the value of adult conversation and feel a little disconnected from the professional world.  God really does know where you need to be, putting full faith in Him had been a hard lesson for me for the last year.

That pretty much sums up the major events since 2014, hard to believe it's 2016 already.  It really is true, that which does not kill you, WILL make you stronger!  I'm proof, what more do you need?

Cheers to a new year!

♥ g

15 May 2015

It is all done out of LOVE

I sit here with tears in my eyes once again, yet this time I can provide a list of reasons they are present.  Finals week has been anything but easy or productive, I have 2 large dogs having tummy issues that I pray is nothing major, a 2 year old princess who is just not getting enough of my time right now, a house that is anything but up to my standard of organized, a schedule that has our family disconnected and my heart hurting and missing family and friends that are so far away from us.  And yet I keep going and retain the belief that I can do this, I can do it all because it's all done out of love.

My brother once told me something along theses lines that doing something is how you know you are doing a good job at being a mom, doing nothing is when you can question yourself.  I was a really new mom with a sick newborn who kept me up all night worrying about her breathing and he drops by and finds me in a bathrobe in tears.  I held on to what he said and 3 years later still do.

I know this will pass, but I need to remind myself all the tears, late nights, worrying is done out of love.

♥ g