An Unwelcome Christmas Guest

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Happy Holiday season everyone! I usually love Christmas time, but I have to say this year I just felt harried and stressed out most of the time. I think being back at work, trying to juggle Christmas, and parenting while working just had me falling behind with all. Last year I was on mat leave at Christmas, so as much as I was busy with, you know, a new baby (well 4 months by Christmas) I did have some extra time on my hands. Overall, Baby Girl seemed to really enjoy Christmas this year, gleefully ripping wrapping paper, playing with all of her new toys, and all of the extra attention that comes with family time.

The family time in itself was not free of drama. I only had three days off work, and this year we were having Christmas day with J’s family, who spend Christmas in the mountains, about a 4 hour drive for us. There happened to be some heavy snowfall the day before we were set to drive down so the roads were not great, and J white knuckled through it. Thankfully BG was a champ in the car (unlike the last time we made the same drive and she screamed for a good lot of it). She slept, snacked, chatted to herself and watched Daniel Tiger on the iPad. There were some miscommunications about how exactly Christmas day was going down as we were blending family (SIL’s parents and one of SIL’s siblings joined in (SIL is married to my husbands’ brother to make that clearer…)), there was upset and hurt feelings (none of which was discussed but was very apparent). All in all, I just stayed out of it and tried to enjoy myself but I don’t like sharing close quarters with so many people for multiple days, so it wasn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

We alternate years with eachothers families, so it was nice to have BG’s first Christmas with my family last year, but she was much more fun and interactive this year. Plus, there are lots of babies in my family this year, and I would have like to have seen everyone (plus, selfishly, I like the cooking in my family better…). Oh well, next year we will be here, and hopefully I won’t be so stressed out, as I will (hopefully) have a better handle on balancing work and life. Or at least know what to expect, and prepare myself by scaling back.

On our drive to our moutain destination, I discovered that an unwelcome guest was making an appearance for Christmas. We stopped for a break and some snacks, when I went to the bathroom to discover Aunt Flo had made her triumphant return. At first I brushed it off as I have had some random spotting over the past few months but in previous that’s all it has been, a very small amount of spotting, for one day and then gone. So at first I thought that’s what it was but after another visit to the bathroom later that day, I found that was not to be the case. It wasn’t full force, but more like a slow leak. I had no supplies with me, but luckily enough it was light enough I managed with wadded up toilet paper for the few days.

It still hasn’t picked up in flow much, but is consistently there. I have an IUD in, that I got around 8 weeks after BG was born, but I just finished breast feeding a little under two months ago (which was a whole other thing, and sad for me, but BG was ready). So, my hopes that the IUD was going to hold AF off indefinitely have been dashed. If it keeps up with this light flow, that is better than average but I feel like junk. Crampy and so sick to my stomach yesterday. I am hoping since this is the first time I’ve had my period in OVER 2 YEARS (so awesome!) that this one is just extra nasty.

With the return of AF, it immediately kicked my brain into TTC, fertility, future children, and a whole lot of emotions from my past experiences. Through years of trying to conceive, blood was usually bad (unless I was waiting for it to start an IVF cycle). I have such a negative stigma with my period (not that it’s such a nice thing in the first place). But it makes my mind jump to counting cycle days, who do I need to call, when do I need to start doing/taking XYZ. That’s where I was the last time I got my period. Heading into our FET, which nearly ended up cancelled due to cysts, which had to be drained, which were raising my estrogen. It was the 7th circle of hell. So it is hard to disassociate that.

Before now, I was just sort of burying my head in the sand about any future fertility type dealings I may have. Trying (not so successfully) to avoid thinking about whether or not we want to try for another baby. But now I feel like it’s being shoved in my face. Not that I have to make a decision just because AF has returned, but it gets me in that train of thought. We still don’t know what we want to do, but at the same time if we were going to have another we prefer some space between them anyways, so there still isn’t really that much pressure to decide right away. But until we decide, the thought is always there.

So here’s to hoping that she buggers off soon, and her follow up visits are mild. But there is no deny that my body is starting to go back to “normal”, which I suppose is good, but creates questions that I don’t have answers for.

I hope everyones’ Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday Season was good, and not too much stress or family drama!

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Struggling to See the Light

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Good evening my fine bloggy friends, get cozy because this is going to be a long one, I have a sort of two-part post tonight. I am now sitting at 12DPIUI, 3 BFN and losing any semblance of hope that this cycle is a success. I’ve been having some more stronger cramps (an indication that AF is going to be a real bitch this time around), feeling a bit bloated and gassy, and I keep getting that feeling like I am bleeding, only to check my underwear, and nothing. I know it’s not over ’till the Red Lady sings, but I have a feeling she is in her warm ups.

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This has been a hard one let me tell you. I have been feeling as though I have a finite amount of strength/courage/bravery/patience to tackle the beast that is infertility and my stores are starting to dwindle. I’ve been reflecting on previous cycles, as compared to this one and it feels like this one is taking a bigger toll. Over the past few days I have been feeling, well, depressed I guess is the best way to put it. I’ve not been sleeping well, when I wake up in the morning I feel exhausted and that I can’t face the day. I have been having a hard time concentrating on important things like work, and driving. I just don’t have the energy to get anything accomplished lately, even small tasks seem like a lot of work. I just have a general sense of malaise settling over me.

It’s not really that surprising that I am in this place now, it has been a trying 18 months. This is the first time that I’ve really felt it hard but I don’t think it is something that I can’t overcome. I have been vigilantly watching for this time to come as depression/mental illness is in my family and therefore I am at a higher risk. I feel good that I am aware of it, and myself, enough that I can tell myself that this too shall pass (and if it doesn’t I have no problem seeking professional help).

I think this blog has helped me in that it is more than just a way to vent, and commiserate with others in IF land, but it forces self reflection and self evaluation. I often find thoughts will be rolling around in my head and I have the urge to pen notes for upcoming blog posts. This has helped me organize my thoughts, realize what I am feeling and release it. Also, I am not the best writer and this is a pretty good and harmless way to try and improve.

In putting my thoughts into this blog I’ve also notice there general tone is not a positive one. Now this doesn’t entirely surprise me, because for one infertility is not all kittens and lollipops, so discussions can turn dark. Also, I am not the most optimistic person, so I can have a hard time seeing a silver lining. But on that note, I’ve decided that I am going to try and include more positivity in my blog (even if my own woes contradict said positivity) because nobody likes a Debbie Downer.

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*For those of you that get this reference, you are awesome.

So anyways, I was thinking of ways I could bring positivity to my blog by focusing on something else in my life that I have more control of, because obviously putting more focus on my empty womb is clearly not the direction I need to be taking this. So it got me thinking about books I’ve read on happiness, and positivity (just because I am a pessimist, doesn’t mean I don’t try to look on the bright side…). The first one that came to mind is “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman. It’s a good book, although a bit hokey, the principle is sound. But then that got me thinking about a book called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. You may have heard of it because I’m pretty sure it was a best seller.

Now I am generally pretty skeptical and reluctant to dive into self help/improvement type books but I did like this book. It played well to my analytical brain as it wasn’t just all feelings and fluff, but organized, tangible things you could do to try and bring more happiness into your life. Gretchen has since wrote another book “Happier at Home” which I didn’t love as much. She also has a website that started from The Happiness Project that has a toolbox with article, tools, ect. to help you on your happiness journey. So I figured that would be a quick and easy way to pluck some positivity out of my life, and maybe bring a little sunshine back. You can visit her website here to check out all she has to offer. She has a daily inspirational quote email that you can sign up for, which I used to, but then grew tired of receiving them…

She also has a section called 21 Day Happiness Project. There are 4 that you have to pay $4.99 for, and one free one, which was the first one she ever put out and based on it’s popularity she decide to create more. The free one is based on, you guessed it, relationships! Though I am pretty confident in my marriage I know it is something I can never take for granted, because we don’t have a baby but we have each other, and that might have to be enough. Our marriage is one of the reasons we’ve waited a few years after our wedding to even start trying. We wanted to focus on us, and making sure we were strong before deciding to take on a new challenge. Anyone who says marriage isn’t work might see themselves with divorce papers in the not so distant future, or find themselves in a very unhappy marriage.

So I signed up for the relationship project, and it consists of one email per day for 21 days that offer me tips and suggestions of things I can implement to improve my relationship. So as it provides me something else to focus on for 21 days, and something else to write about, you get to come along on the journey with me.

As soon as you sign up you receive the first email of the 21, now since I signed up in the evening, this one is sort of a write off, but luckily it is something I already do in my marriage. Yay for me! Todays tip was, “Kiss in the morning, kiss at night”. Now J and I are not hardcore PDA type people but I feel we are very affectionate with each other. He always holds my hand when we are out somewhere, we always kiss in the morning before leaving for work (ok, generally J kisses me as I am still half asleep when he leaves for work), we always greet each other with a kiss whenever one of us comes home, and we generally kiss goodbye in any circumstance. We also always kiss goodnight, even if I am not coming to bed right away, I will “tuck” J in, wish him sweet dreams, and give him a kiss. Yeah, I’m a night owl and like to stay up late, whereas J works early and likes to go to bed early. Not always the best for baby making rituals, but we make it work. We also always finish any phone conversation with “I love you”, and same whenever we part from each other (to go to work, or just leaving the house for a bit). So I think we’ve got this one down.

Is it something you need to institute in your relationship? It’s something simple but makes you focus solely on your partner for those few seconds (or longer…). So as I go through my 21 (well now 20) days I shall share the wisdom among you! Enjoy.