Fertility Journey : A year later...

I feel sad that I don't post more on here. I'm always looking for some kind of concise thought or how I really feel about things and I can never hold on to it long enough to actually get it into squarespace.  There is so much I feel from one week to the next. I don't know how to hit publish anymore. I have so many entries that exist only in my paper journal and not publicly. I hope I start sharing again, I hope I share this.

My wonderful and brave friend “A” posted this on Facebook last week.

It’s was a  graphic from @livandhopetothemax
What NOT to say to someone who’s trying to get pregant.
At least you don’t have stretch marks!
I’m so sorry, this is what women were meant to do.
You just have to be patient.
Why don’t you just adopt, that the easy way!
Have you tried … that worked for my SIL neighbor’s cousin.
It will all work out, I know it!!!
You should adopt and then you will get pregnagnt.
We have been trying for a month, so I know exactly how you feel.
Trust me, you’re so lucky you don’t have kids, enjoy your free time.
Be so glad you arent’ pregnant.
But you already have a child, isn’t that enough?
Who’s fault is it that you can’t get pregnant?
If you would relax I bet it would happen

This was her post…..

I have heard almost every line on this list (some from good friends and some from even our own family). Of course people that say these things mean well but unless you have experienced #infertility firsthand or had a close friend or family member you don’t really understand. And people’s words can unintentionally cause a lot of pain when you are struggling to grow your family. Infertility is a MEDICAL condition. Have you ever told someone with Diabetes to “relax and I’m sure it will cure itself”? The causes for a couples inability to conceive or keep a pregnancy are varied and can be complicated. In some cases couples experience “unexplained infertility” where the Doctors can’t explain the reason they cannot get or stay pregnant. And just like other medical conditions there are treatments but being “cured” is never a guarantee. I can personally say that the experience has tested me physically, emotionally and spiritually. Despite the pain I am so much stronger than I ever thought before. It has made me a better mother and person. I wanted to share this since it is #infertilityawareness week. I decided to be open about our story trying for Stella and now for baby #2 (not for sympathy) but in the hopes that it will help another couple going through this to not feel alone. In fact 1 in 8 couples will experience infertility. #niaw #ivf #ivfjourney #infertilitysucks#ivfsupport #ivfwarrior

A’s post put things into a perspective I’ve never been able to articulate.  I also never knew there was an infertility week. I never even thought to use the word infertility. We called it our trials our IVF Journey or our trying-to-start-a-family Journey

Infertility in·fer·til·i·ty

/ˌinfərˈtilədē/

noun

  1. inability to conceive children or young.

I believe so strongly in the power of words. I would never have considered applying this label to Mike and I. Clearly it's true and the shoe fits but it sounds hopeless and final. But now I'm in a space that feels final. I turn 44 next month, so I guess that's pretty final. Infertility. Wow.

My friend A recently went to Prague for IVF.  She asked me for my thoughts before she left she ended up getting a cold and we didn't get to have coffee while she was in town. But I agonized over what to say to her. We even have an episode on Our Creative Uprising where I try to understand how to even give someone my two cents.

  1. I don't want to say IVF was a terrible experience for us because I don't want to tell someone who has had so much disappointment already that it was awful for me

  2. It may not be awful for them.  They might get pregnant and have a baby. I wouldn’t want to discourage them to not try.

  3. If their experience turns out to be anything like mine, I couldn't handle the guilt of not telling them how excruciatingly awful the effects were for me. I would never wish anyone the trauma that my body and psyche endured.

Some stories do end well.  The implementation was successful for A and yesterday the blood test came back positive. I didn't realize I was holding my breath or how scared I had become until the text said “positive”. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Oh my god thank you. Please let everything go as good as it can.  Please let A be safe and supported” I prayed to the universe. “Thank you” I audibly exhaled.

That's the thing about advice, I feel so confused and unqualified. I don't really understand how common my reaction to IVF was. At the clinic the nurse said I may experience pms-like symptoms and I may be a little weepy. That's not what happened though. I ended up in a therapist office off being treated for PTSD. I ended up in what seemed like every therapist - healers office fighting for my identity, my mental health and my sanity. I know that the IRS lists therapy as a line item for IVF.   The IRS isn't exactly a feel-good generous benefactor. I have to assume that my experience is somewhat common. So here I am so far out of my depths asking myself

how do you hold the idea of IVF, PTSD, financial devastation, emotional devastation

against the possibility of a baby?

Have you ever had a baby wrap its full hand around your one finger? I think all of my fears become moot when compared to that feeling.  Who cares how bad your experience is if you get a baby? Not many I guess.

Who cares how awful it is if you don't.  The experience of having someone I care about ask me for advice made me realize that I care. I care about the cost of IVF to my mind, body and spirit. My gut kept telling me

‘tell her to avoid the risk”  and “don't let her get hurt the way that you did”.

I only had fear to offer. A year later it's still too much for me to ask my gut to have hope. My gut is still a little tired and a lot heartbroken.   I ask it to be brave and try some other way for us to have a family and there is no answer. It won't show up. It won't even acknowledge that I'm asking the question. It's worse than a no it's silence.

Maybe it will just take me a little longer to have some perspective or hope.  I'm so eternally grateful that A got a cold I'm so grateful that she took the risk and that it's paying off. I never ever wanted to be that voice of doubt in someone's ear. I hope that everyone in this world goes after their dreams in whatever way works for them. I am made to cheer people on. It's one of the most authentic aspects of my personality. Although I no longer know how to be the brave cavalier risk taker I used to be. I do know how to give this advice.

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Make peace with your fertility journey.  
Learn to really love yourself regardless of what the pregnancy stick says.
See a therapist or find some support.
Process every emotion you can and find every way to take care of yourself.
Make your choices from a place of love and being enough.
Find a way to be okay regardless of the outcome .

I wish everyone a way to make peace with their journey.

Big Hugs Suzanne



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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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

Fertility Vacation 2.0 // Headspace Shrink

I sent this to my headspace shrink. Because I have a headspace shrink. Who am I?

I’m curious if you know why it’s so bizarrely intense when IVF doesn’t work. Is there anything I can do to help myself? I’m fully open to the possibility that it will work. I’m open to the idea that this can be easier and more magical than I ever imagined. But in case it’s not, I want to have the strength to keep trying again. How can I better protect myself for the worst case scenario?

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Fertility Vacation 2.0 // Made to Be Happy

One of my close friends is worried I’m not strong enough to be pregnant or will find parenthood too much.

I’m not worried.

When I’m pregnant I will be so good at celebrating. I am made to be happy. It’s the most honest part of my personality. I will have this peaceful, calm.

Me and the universe will snuggle up to one another, exhaling and basking in the feeling of being “home”.  Finally letting go of the tinge of sadness or fear because this moment of belonging together is much more real than lying down broken hearted.

Of course, being pregnant will be challenging, but I can’t help but believe that the avalanche of joy that I will feel will shelter us. Me full of gratitude and hope is a powerful force.

Parenthood makes so much sense to me. Selflessly loving someone seems to be natural. Finally, my skills of trying hard and having a grateful attitude will be in my favor.

I want to be in this space now. I want to be in love with the world as I am. Even without having everything I want. I want to feel beauty in trying.

How do I live through this barrage of hormones and stay my sweet, powerful, free-spirited self?

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Fertility Vacation 2.0 // How Do I Get Braver?

How do I become braver than I currently am? What is the practice?

I know I’m brave because I’m sitting here wiping away the tears. I’m willing to take risks and I’ve made it this far.

Maybe I keep trying to imagine how getting pregnant would change the rest of our lives? Diapers, pajamas, teenage hijinks; maybe that’s a way.

I feel like I’m lost in the hows and maybes.  

I’m not sure I’ll get on the plane.
I’m not sure if I’ll walk into the clinic.
I’m not sure I’ll give myself the shots.

It could lead to our dreams coming true, but I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do any of it.

My friend Vanessa sent me this text when I needed it most:

“Remember we are not people that allow fear to run our lives. Fear does not control you. YOU control the fear. That doesn’t mean not feeling it, that means not allowing it to make your decisions. This is your choice, and when I say yours, I mean your heart and soul. Choose to enjoy life with the man you love. Do not choose fear.”

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Fertility Vacation // Rest - What is it good for?

This morning feels unlike every other morning. I feel both healed and like I need rest.

Rest, but what kind of rest?

My favorite type of rest is after a long bike ride in Santorini, or body surfing with Maryanne and Gaidin in Coronado in the summer feeling all relaxed and tingly. I love the type of rest that involves sitting in a cafe to write about the day or sitting with my nephew wrapped in a towel watching the water together after we splash around. I think my idea of rest is sitting back, taking in an adventure, feeling grateful and spent in my body.

I knew I would have to shift this year. I knew rest wasn’t in my equation. I couldn’t find the pleasure in it. Rest was an annoying means to an end.

Since we’ve been trying to get pregnant, rest has been particularly confusing. Somewhere along the way, I equated the word rest and relax with failing. I detest failing. I feel like being alive is such a gift and wasting efforts or spending time on a project that fundamentally fails feels like being ungrateful.

When someone says, “As soon as you stop trying, you’ll get pregnant!”, what I actually hear is, “As soon as you trick your brain into not caring if you get pregnant, you’ll get pregnant!”. Or, “As soon as you become an entirely different person you’ll get pregnant!”.  It’s been a painful inner dialogue. What would it take for me to stop my brain from trying to get pregnant? My answer was to banish hope.

Every month I hoped I would get pregnant and every month I wouldn’t. So after a few years I stopped trying. I stopped hoping in every way I could. I tried to put blackout curtains in my mind on hope. It hurt. I was so sad. It hurt Mike too. He held hope for both of us. I’m the cheerleader in our relationship, but when I fall and lose all landmarks, Mike will pick us both up.

We have so many well meaning friends and family members. People see our struggle and want to help. Their kind words were trying to lead me home. Those words “rest/relax” weren’t big enough clues for me. They took away my power when they were suppose to give it back.

Right now, for me, rest is what you do in between rounds of fighting (no pun intended).  In between rounds of giving it your all and being your all. Fighting the good fight, hoping, wishing, praying and then in between, resting in that high vibration. Walk, run, swim, laugh, jump and rest in happiness.

I didn’t know what my post IVF fight would look like, but I’m proud of myself for being willing to go so far outside of my depth to let go of what isn’t serving me. My chi, my chakras, my vibe, my energy -  I’m getting stronger in places I’ve yet to understand.

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Fertility Vacation // Wonderings

#AddingtotheOfeldts

I love that hashtag. It took me two seconds to come up with it. I wonder how long it will take us to pull it off?

I took the second test and it still says not pregnant. I so loved uno and dos. I tried not to name them and not to get too attached, but I still cared and wished for them with everything I had.

I’m plagued with self doubt and grief. I’m trying to feel it all and let it pass through me. My natural reaction is resilience. Sometimes I switch to a more hopeful reaction before all the sadness has gotten out of me. I’m so self disciplined to look on the sunny side of the street that I risk leaving emotions inside of me, trapped and forgotten about, but latent. I’m beginning to feel like it’s a bit dangerous.

I miss them so much. How long am I supposed to stay down and take a knee before I start fighting for them again? Grief seems useless and fighting seems so much better.Although, I’m not sure if I’m moving on to the fighting phase too soon and not letting go enough.  

I guess I can be healing while fighting all at the same time, similar to what we practice in yoga.  Mountain pose is energy to the sky and energy to the ground. Maybe it’s okay if I stumble, as long as I keep getting back up again. Exhale letting it all go, inhaling strength to keep moving forward.

It’s so hard to accept that everything can go so smoothly and yet still not end up with the result with we wanted. How can I be a different, better version of myself in July vs. April? Supplemental changes, additional hormone herbs, a clean house, more conversations with experienced friends, finish projects and feel really good and confident about where I am.

I don’t want to be different than I am on the other side of this journey. I don’t want to be so changed that I don’t recognize myself. That’s my wish for myself on the other side of this journey. Win or lose. That I’m still this girl.

The one that has resilience filling her up while she’s still mid fall.

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