IVF 3.0 : Not this time either

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” — Lao Tzu
It's complicated but our lives are still beautiful.  IVF didn't turn out the way we dreamed.  We are not pregnant.  In some ways it's as simple as that.  I don't want a big story about it.  We tried.  It just didn't work.  Our hearts didn't change.  We still want to be parents.  Mike and I have had weeks together in Europe trying to will this dream into existence.  We had a week with Jake Washington at home waiting while every pregnancy test was negative. 

We have each other to keep each other's hearts.  We have Jake to shower in love.  We have one embryo and dream of a surrogate.  We have plenty of dreams for our life and I believe that they are trying to come true.  I'm still a little bit quiet.  I know I'm not communicating the way I usually do.  It is because I'm repositioning myself.  I'm looking for who I might become.  I'm asking myself how can I move forward from a place of hope?  Since I already believe this is going to work out for us, how do I reconcile the failed attempts with what I believe will eventually be a positive outcome.  My only answer so far is to be a little bit quiet. look inside, and pay attention to who I am becoming.  

Mike and I are wildly grateful for all of your love and support. We couldn’t have done it without you.  It feels so good to know that we are trying to make our dreams of adding to our family come true and that we have the love and support of all of you. Thank you. 

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photos by the wonderful Betsy McCue LaVida  http://www.vivalavidaventures.com/    

photos by the wonderful Betsy McCue LaVida http://www.vivalavidaventures.com/

 

Fertility Vacation 3.0 // slowing down and following Mike

My world has been colorful buildings along the river, a blank winters sky, and Mike.

After the embryo transfer everything about me slowed down.  We stayed in more, I felt sleepier. Maybe I had a cold or allergies. Maybe the hormones just knock me out. Maybe the winter finally made me slower.

The last week or so has been slower and full of naps and rain but in between there is beauty. New cities and buildings and art museums. New feels like creation to me. New is allowing me to hold space for hope while I follow Mike Ofeldt around. 

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Fertility Vacation 3.0 // reflections

Lately I’m not writing anything at all. In the mornings, I often ask myself what’s going on? How am I? I usually write until I run out of time not thoughts.  I’ve had a cold for the last week. Maybe that is why I have nothing to say. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly out shooting. Maybe it’s because I’m meditating so often.

I’ve been visualizing my future in so many different ways.  Trying out different scenarios and seeing what could be a happy Fit. I guess I want to be happy no matter what the outcome.  In 8 days I’ll take a pregnancy test. I don’t want that test to decide whether I’m happy or whether or not I’m a mom.  A part of me would like to stay in this space of not knowing for months because if I don’t know the answer can’t be no. 

I’m incredibly focused on my thoughts but have so little to say for now. 

Xoxo s 

Fertility Vacation 3.0 // Thanking you & staying hopeful

Here we are friends. Thank you. Thank you for your generous donations to our GoFundMe account. Without you we would not be here. Our time for IVF would be over. But instead here we are. I’m following Suzanne around in her red jacket capturing her joy and struggle in this undeniably romantic city. Prague has taken unexpected meaning in our lives and so have all of you. We will learn more in the coming weeks. So far we have passed every test but I guess there is only one that matters.

We will keep you updated and appreciate all of your love and prayers. It means everything to us. Thank you.

Mike, Suzanne and the Wanderers

www.gofundme.com/addingtotheOFELDTS

photography specials

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Fertility Vacation 3.0 // staying strong & finding moments of happiness

What is it like to not give up?  Sigh, exhale. 

Today it looks like getting up early, instant coffee, meditation, 3 minutes of yoga and writing in this journal and not wanting to know what's in my mind.  Today we will walk around Vienna and photograph this vibrant city.  We are even taking an airbnb photography tour.  It's confusing.  Is should be a highlight of the year.  I love Vienna.  Vienna is a dream of mine.  I should feel incredibly blessed and grateful to the travel gods.  I am and I'm not.  It is wonderful and it isn't.  Some moments I can forget and some moments I'm terrified.  So for a few minutes I try to drop in, feel it, and hope I can shake it off.

What I want to feel.

I'm exactly where I should be.  The universe is unfolding in my favor.  I am lucky to have someone who would fight this hard with me.  This could be the most beautiful journey we ever walk on.  This could change our lives.  Being strong now could lead to magic.  We could add another Ofeldt to our home.  Wow nothing seems worth more.  

and I do feel that way.

I also feel this way.

I'm cold.  I'm hungry.  This airbnb only has one chair and no hair dryer.  I keep ordering the wrong thing.  Mike and I are tired and bickering.  I hate being home at 8pm for shots.  I hate injecting my body with hormones.  What if we aren't able to retrieve any eggs this time?  What if we can't make any embryos?  What if I put myself through all of this anguish because I'm too greedy at this game of life?  What if I can't accept a clear no from the universe.?

So enough.  I think I need to accept that it's ok if we don't create perfect embryos this time.  I will heal, I will let go, I will find another path.  I need failure to be an option I can live with.  I need it to not matter.  I feel like it's the only way to take my best shot, cut out the noise in my head and be peaceful.  I know that peaceful is a place we can move forward from.  A peaceful knowing that our family is steady, stable and strong.  We have time to make our way to each other.

So today we will walk around on this finally sunny day and take pictures.  We will find moments of happiness in between our moments of doubt and that will be our best effort.

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Hard Truths

This time last year we were in Prague attempting IVF for the first time. What an extraordinary year. Nothing could have prepared me for any of this, and I am so grateful. Although I’m crazy proud of how Mike and I sailed the storm, if I could go back now, I wouldn’t have chosen this path. That is such a hard truth to admit to myself.

I’ve never considered myself someone who backs away from a challenge, but out of sheer love for the Suzanne I used to be, I would say no to putting her through that. It’s too much and ultimately I feel sorry that I hurt her. But life isn’t 20/20, and there was no way I could have talked myself out of it. So, instead I’m left with pride, gratitude, and the most creative 12 months of my life. Like everything in my life I find what I truly feel in the words of a song.

There’s a song by Alanis Morissette, “Thank You”. She has a rampage of appreciation and thanks to the good and the bad. I remember hearing it in the 90’s and thinking, how powerful would I be, if I could thank the experiences that hurt me as well as the ones that made me feel blessed?

Now, I understand the power I wanted to feel all those years ago. Since I can’t go back in time, and safeguard my heart and mind, I will thank this year for sculpting me into a much better version of myself.

Thank you, IVF 1 and IVF 2. Thank you, brave and fearless girl who wants to be a mom. Thank you, strong and compassionate woman for rising to the occasion. Thank you, childish ways for burning the house down. Thank you, new version of me who said, “Enough. Get off the floor.” Thank you, broken mind and hopelessness. Thank you, to the hours I spent on my knees crying and praying to I don’t know who.

Thank you, photographer friends for picking me up and reminding me what feeling supported by the universe looks like.

Thank you, for the unfolding that I have autism. Thank you, for the knowing that it will add to my understanding of myself and my creativity.

Thank you, Prague for giving us a safe haven where IVF is more affordable. Thank you, PTSD for showing me what I can overcome and that my mind and spirit are separate. Thank you, failure for letting me know how proud I am that I tried.

Thank you, to all the self doubt and confusion, because it allowed me to lean on Mike and trust him in a way I probably would have never figured out. Thank you, needing help and to my friends who checked in so regularly just to make sure I was as ok as I could be. Thank you, to Vanessa and Jen Morrison for never asking me to be happier than I could be.

Thank you, to credit card debt. Thank you, that so many people we love can’t relate to this experience at all, because I certainly wouldn’t want them to. Thank you, to heartbreak and fear. Thank you, to all the people who know what we are going through - who fight their good fight, and have shown us the way - we are following your light.

Lately, I see the last year in a different way. Somehow. I have some perspective. I have received so many gifts . . .

I am insanely creative. Photographing gives me a high that’s greater than it’s ever been before. Weddings make me feel down right euphoric.

I get along with Mike in a whole new way. I’m more accepting of who he is. I am capable of giving him more space to find his own way.

I can relate to people in so many more ways. I can see deeper into them.

I find power in gratitude and always focused on the good. Without knowing it I adopted Jess Lively’s mantra of “Yes, thank you and More, please”, to all good experiences. Yes to amazing friends. Yes to creative  jobs. Yes to paying rent, and buying groceries. Yes to art. Yes to love.

I love myself in a way I’ve never known. I’m learning to be enough for myself. I’ve learned to play outside my comfort zone. I am excited for how expansive I’m becoming. I know I can go to hell and eventually find my way back to myself. Back to feeling stable, steady, and strong.I am becoming a more beautiful version of myself.

I can add more peace to the world by speaking to myself in a more compassionate voice. I am capable of learning so much. I am meant to be an artist. I can make art even when I can't find myself. I feel powerful that I am connected to all of the other artists in the world even when I can't quite find Suzanne.

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Fertility Vacation 3.0 // Why I Tell You Things

What if I collected images of when we were young, and now?

It’s been ten years, my love. We were young. The world was at our feet. One year, we traipsed around the globe so often, I begged you to leave me home for a trip to Australia, because I was too tired to go to the airport. Days later, we ran through the bush together, and marvelled at how wild the landscape became the second we got off the path. We were laughing, euphoric, and blissful to be in nature.

We realized, as dusk approached, that we didn’t actually know where we were. Eventually, you found our way back to the ocean while I came up with newspaper headlines about two dumb Americans who got lost on vacation one mile from civilization, and died.

The ocean was so loud and the moon lit our path. The strength of the wind made me grateful we had found our way back.

You couldn’t stop smiling, and kept hugging me so tight. We made out under the moonlight as the tide rose, and realized we were risking our lives for these salty kisses. We held hands, and continued on. It was one of the best days of my life.

We squeezed every last drop out of the day. That feeling of euphoria, gratitude, and wonder is the magic of falling in love with Mike Ofeldt. It is the grand adventure that is us.

I was at a party this weekend, and a friend of mine said he didn’t want to say how amazing his relationship with his wife is on social media. He just couldn’t see the point. It felt like bragging. What if instead, it was like shining a light on being wildly grateful, a snapshot.

Our fertility journey has taught me a lot. That life can be a mess, and there’s beauty in that too. This is our story. This is our heartbreak. There is an extraordinary beauty in telling people who you are, so they call you by your name. It’s tremendously difficult, but freeing. It helps me accept myself.

There is so much connection to the people who have read my story. I’ve shown them my heart. I’m wildly grateful for the outpouring of kindness and connection that I’ve received. For the friends that give me hope and strength to not give up.

This present moment holds an uncertain future, but ultimately some kind of knowing that we will survive it. Ten years worth of photographs of who we used to be when we were young. After awhile our memories fade, and then you might hear a song, and suddenly it’s like a movie is playing in your head. Falling in love with a man, and the whole world.     

Mike Ofeldt, you still look like a movie. You still feel like a song. Your voice is home to me. 

I love the things you do, the way you talk, the way you move. 

Let me photograph you in this light in case this is the last time. That we may be exactly as we were when we were young. You’re like a dream come true

Can I have this moment? 

I want to take this picture of you and I and Jake so later I can look back at it remembering when we were young, and scared, and planning our IVF dates. 

Wondering if there would still be eggs, wondering if we could ever finance a surrogate, wondering if we are completely insane, and preparing for the dunk tank of IVF hormones to come. 

Hoping I’ll still come back to you, to me, and still holding hands wildly grateful for each other. 

Wondering if we know anything at all other than fear and gratitude.

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We are happy to offer three photography specials as a heartfelt thank you to those who support our GoFundMe fund to add to our family. We don’t know how we are going to get there or make this happen but we are going to walk confidently in the direction of our dreams and try with everything we have.  Thank you from the bottom of our hopeful hearts. Please check back for regular updates to our progress. 

Held. Thank you. #addingtotheofeldts

Held

Here we are wrapped up in your arms.  Grateful and overwhelmed.  Every day we are so much closer.  The sun is rising over our fears.  

I love this community.  It’s always been fun and collaborative with so many like minded artists/entrepreneurs.  But something shifted for me in 2008.  I stopped by my friend Peggi’s floral studio to say hello and she told me something that stopped me from breathing.  She said I have cancer and it’s a serious diagnosis.  She said more after that but I couldn’t hear her.  I just don’t know what she said after the word cancer.  She was calm and explained the situation in her soothing Peggi-like way but I couldn’t hear her.  I was too busy assessing the situation.  I understood….

  1. It was bad.

  2. She’s still standing, she seems strong somehow.

  3. I didn’t want to let her go.

  4. If she’s willing to be brave than I am willing to be brave.

  5. She’s a florist in the wedding industry she can’t afford to have cancer.  

  6. I want to help.

She was still talking and I probably interrupted her - I asked “Can I help?  Can I rally people for you?  If I do this people will know, are you ok with people knowing.?”

She said yes.  I exhaled.  OK good. I couldn’t deal with my feelings of losing her but I could fight for her.  I hugged her tight and said let’s fight this.  Let’s give it our all.  I didn’t know how but I knew why.  If you knew Peggi it was easy to know why she was one in a million and I was lucky enough to call her friend.

You wouldn’t believe what happened next.  Three people who didn’t even know Peggi offered to spearhead the team with me.  They didn’t know her but they knew they wanted to support her. Megan, Kate and Sabrina put in hundreds of hours and created a mini revolution (REVO).  My incredibly talented big hearted friend Nina had already created a non profit called REVO and we worked closely with her and used her platform to raise money through an auction.

The whole community rallied behind this auction.  People who loved Peggi and people that just knew of her and that she was one of us.  It was a miracle.  So many people donated that I often fell asleep emailing Sabrina and woke up to her responses.  Mike took over more duties at Shewanders and gave me the freedom to help.  The community rallied like no other.  Ultimately we lost Peggi but she left being held by all of us knowing she had touched so many hearts.

I’m reminded again how great this community is.  We are feeling held by you.  Infertility can feel like such a lonely and disappointing path.  It’s so hard to want a child and not know how to stop wanting one.  The last year and a half since we found out IVF was a possibility and that we were on a timer has been intense.  We have been trying to so hard to figure it out and keep running into negative test results.  It’s so heartbreaking.  Mike and I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for rallying behind us.  Thank you for your support.  I’ve been in a bit of a daze trying to figure out how to verbalize  what it feels like to be us being supported by all of you.  I’ll probably never have the right words - for now, from the bottom of our hopeful hearts just Thank You.  You’ll never know what this means to us.

Thank you for following our story and donating and sharing to our campaign

I just wanted to share some old blog posts down memory lane.

San Diego Style Weddings   Wynn Austin La Dolce Idea REVO weddings  Bob Hoffman Shewanders Jacqueline Ashley Events Rae Florae REVO love

and the REVO heroes

Our Vendors

REVOweddings was founded on the premise of community and commitment to the Wedding Industry.  The following Vendors have generously donated their services to REVOweddings in support of this year's sponsored member, Peggi Walker.  We're proud to share our Vendors with you and hope you'll take some time to get to know them as the leaders, and givers, that they are!

Coordination & Planning

A Diamond Celebration

A.R. Affairs

Bella Sera Events Design

Bliss Events

Darin Dietz Events

Elite Events Management

I Do...Weddings!

Joyful Weddings

La Dolce Idea

Le Chic Wedding Consulting

Leslie Miller Events

Memorable Days

Red Letter Days Events, LLC

Resolusean Events

San Diego Weddings by Gina

Simply Exquisite Weddings & Events

Sweet Ribbon Events

Thomas Bui Lifestyle

Waterfront Weddings

Wedding Elegance

Weddings By Design

Weddings Made Splendid

 

DJ's, Music & Entertainment

Advanced Entertainment
Artistic Productions
Austin Hendrix Productions
Elite British DJ
Jewell Entertainment
Tim Altbaum Productions

Florists, Décor & Design
Adorations Botanical Artistry
Branches Floral Studio
Classic Creations
Elegant Touch Floral Design
Embellishmint Floral Design
Organic Elements
Rae Florae
Sweet Pea Flower Company
The Magic Flower
White Wedding Day

Food & Catering Services
Anette Farrel
CAKE
Continental Catering
Dining Details
Joe's on the Nose
Mike Hogan Enterprises

Hair & Makeup Services
Mayer Studio's Inc.

Miscellaneous
Legacy 4 Life
Pamela's Parasol's
A Squared Roxs

Officiants
A Forever After Wedding
Ceremonies by Bethel
Deborah Davis, Custom Wedding Ceremonies
Elegantly Spiritual Ceremonies

Photographers
Aquario Studio
Carrie McCluskey Photography
Cool Cake Photography
Emilio Azevedo Photography
Evan Bishop Photography
Journey of the Lens
La Vida Creations Photography
Nina Brav Photography
Resolusean Photography
SheWanders Photography
Theorie
Wonderstruck Photography

Press & Publications
Exquisite Weddings Magazine
SanDiegoWedding.com
Sitting in a Tree
The Wedding Chicks

Rentals
Concepts Event Design
Dreams Do Come True

Shows & Events
Bridal Bazaar
The Wedding Party - Bridal Show

Stationery
Brightly Designed
Paper and Thread Studio
Pink Star Design Invitations
Vertical Printing

Venues
The Crosby Club
Villa de Flores

Videography
Bob Hoffman Video

Dear 2018,

Dear 2018,

Please don’t break my heart. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. I’m looking at you. I’m staring at you right in the face. I’m begging you not to break my heart.

We are going to try iVF again.  Is three times the charm?  I guess we are about to find out.  I want to know, will our hearts be broken again?

Some questions aren’t necessary.

Will it be worth it?  

Is it worth having our hearts broken?  

Yes, it’s always a resounding yes.  

Of course it is.

Because what if . . .

What if  . . .

We have a little babe come safely into this world?  What if we are those people wearing matching pajamas by the Christmas tree.  What if we get to call our parents and say the baby is coming . . . The baby is here . . .  It’s a boy or it’s a girl . . .

Every year I wish for the same sort of things. To hold Mike’s hand as we walk around new cities and small towns taking photographs, finding the best cappuccino, exploring museums and the outdoors, listening to music and having good times with our loved ones.  It’s always the most important aspect of my life to celebrate our lives together - to be grateful for what we have.

But lately I’m not myself. Lately, I’m so focused on the baby we don’t have instead of all the blessings we do have. It’s such a painful way to live.

Maybe there will never be another Ofelt, but 2018 will get us one step closer to knowing - yes or no. I hope I find myself again at the other side of this journey. My greatest hope is that there are three of us, but if everything fails I hope there is at least two of us.  Not the scared reaching version of myself I’ve become, but the vibrant grateful person I used to be.

So 2018, let me be her again. Let me find myself. Let me be grateful, kind, and healthy. Let me rally the strength, hope and beauty in this world. It’s such a worthwhile cause. It’s our most beautiful life.  Let me lift myself up. Let me be the Suzanne that began this journey.

xoxo

Change me Universe into one who is willing to receive all the right help, knowing each person, animal, thing is a form of you.  Let me feel deserving of Divine assistance in every way.  Open me to receive.  -Tosha Silva

 

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Fertility Vacation 3.0 // What if it works out?

If I could read your mind love,

What a tale your thoughts could tell

Just like a paperback novel

The kind the drugstore sells

When you reach the part where the heartaches come

Come the hero would be me

Heroes often fail

And you won't read that book again

Because the ending's just too hard to take

-Gordon Lightfoot

Some people wonder why we keep trying. Why, when we can do whatever we want with our lives, would we choose to keep putting our hearts on the line?

That’s such an odd question to me. I think of our friends with kids, and the families we photograph, and see certainty there. Of course we would dedicate our lives to these little ones. We would do whatever it takes.

This is our third and final swing at the ivf game. Here we are - our lives still in tatters from round one and two and here we go again. Here I am knowing this is our last shot down this path.

I’m asking my spirit once again, help me be strong enough to make this happen again, and let it be ok regardless of the outcome. We are looking for hope, faith, belief in trying to be steady, stable, and strong. Searching for the how, but clear on the why.  

I’m sadder and more afraid than I’ve ever been, but what if ultimately there’s a baby to have breakfast with, and someone to share in the delight of life with?

What if it works out?  Would you still think we are crazy for trying?

 

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Fertility Vacation 3.0 // Stronger

IVF is hard. This is not what I thought it would be like. It has made me examine so many aspects of myself, and redefined my place in the world.

I used to trust I would be a mom, and there would be three Ofeldts living in our house. I don’t have faith in that idea anymore. Now, I have faith in myself to accept that I can find peace, and joy in my life regardless of the outcome.

I am getting stronger. I’m healing. Finally.

It took awhile. I had to allow space for grief. It felt endless, and I wasn’t sure there was another side. I was shaken to my core, but I reached out for help and so many people held me up.

Above all, I reached out for Mike. He is always a steady, and magical part of my life. I met him and the word home came to mind. It was loud, and clear. I trusted that voice in me. I’m glad that after a decade my intuition and mind have finally got on the same page. Win or lose it’s ok to try, or give up, because Mike and I are going to stand by each other, and that’s a safe place to be.

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