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 2.0 // FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)

I’ve been pretty sleepy since the Frozen Embryo Transfer. It’s been a lot of slow movement and rest. I’m so grateful Vanessa is here. I am so strong and steady because of her.

This girl is my soul sister. I met her by chance and a couple of days later we were on a road trip to Napa. She is a beautiful gypsy and from that fateful week, I’ve always wanted to protect her and keep her in my pocket. To me, she is fearless, open and wild. I’m sure she is terrified often, but she pushes through and changes states every year I’ve known her, and most recently, countries. Her address is always in flux.

Recently, she moved home in between Prague six months ago and Prague now. She has seen her mom take her last breath and said yes to a man who loves her. The last six months have felt like someone continually ripping off a bandaid, and yet less than two weeks after saying goodbye to Mama Luna, Vanessa got on a plane to spend 10 days with me in Prague so I wouldn’t be alone.

Everyday we walk around taking pictures, sitting in cafes and at the movie theater. Vanessa reminds me to be brave and just being in her company makes me feel like more is possible.

She was in the room with me for the FET procedure. It’s very clinical, but all of a sudden we saw the embryos on the screen and we both started crying. Maybe I’m pregnant.

Mike has been inundated with text messages of baby names and general excitement in the middle of the night. It’s been hard for him to be at home while I’ve been gone for a month going through this. He’s my hero.

He’s been shooting non stop and working 9-5 to pay for all of this. Some people have sex after a night out and get pregnant, and some people have three days off in a month. Mike has stepped up and fought for us to get pregnant.

I’m excited to have a partner like Mike. We’ve been through so much together and now, we are stronger. I admire Mike and trust him to fight for us.

While our paths to IVF 2.0 have been so different, his support has been unwavering.

I am so thankful for Mike, Maryanne, Betsy, Vanessa and all of our friends at home cheering me on.

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Fertility Vacation // A Heart Full of Gratitude

“No one has friends half as good as mine or loves them half as much.”

I butchered that quote, but the people in our lives astound me and I am wholeheartedly grateful for them.

I often think we must have done something right to have such incredible people in our lives. Really incredible people like Cristina, Vanessa, Jenny and Janna who would fly out and meet us in Prague, Germany, and Iceland.

An amazing group of people in San Diego and scattered all over the world, rooting for us and our 10 eggs. Everyone has been so kind on Facebook, via text, and WhatsApp. It’s been good to share our experience. I feel so safe wrapped in everyone’s collective prayers and vibes.

I like to imagine our little eggs swaddled in a myriad of wishes and dreams; all of us collectively willing life into them. I want them to be safe and healthy and know they are loved. Four eggs growing strong, three slightly slower; seven eggs left in the race. They are small, but mighty.

While my mind is exploding with wonder, I am gently reminded of the song, “Que Sera Sera”.

Que sera, sera

Whatever will be, will be

The future's not ours to see

Que sera, sera

What will be, will be.

I feel grateful for the opportunity to try IVF.  Some people never even have this chance. At the very least I can give it my all in the process and feel grateful for every opportunity. Grateful for IVF, for travel, for Prague, for the lower prices in Europe, for my translator, for amazing coffee, and for my handsome husband.

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52 Weeks, 52 Dates - Come Play!

A year from now, you’ll wish you started today." - Karen Lamb

A new year doesn’t have to start January 1st. Every week is a chance to start something new. We love keeping track of our weekly adventures. It inspires us to try new things, promotes gratitude in our relationships, and it's just plain old fun to remember all of the good times! Join us in celebrating our adventures together, every week of the year!

Here is a free and fun downloadable print to keep track of all your weekly adventures. =)

Download here: 52 Weeks, 52 Dates