It’s My Journey, Not Yours 

I know that I am more open about our TTC journey than others are. I don’t have separate accounts for my every day things and accounts that are just for TTC. But I know a lot of women who share their journeys that way-separately. To protect themselves. And I completely understand. It’s not just privacy they are protecting, it’s the heartbreak every cycle that isn’t successful from being relived as people ask about it. 

So I totally get keeping the journey private. There are times when I wish I wasn’t quite so open with ours. 

Sometimes when a blog post shares to my Facebook profile..,where a lot of our church family is connected…I grimace when I think about how much everyone learns about us. Or when I’m posting positive OPKs to Instagram, not sharing them to FB, but still having some of my IRL church peeps, friends, and family all see it and knowing that at any moment the text I’m not responding to is probably cause hubby & I are otherwise preoccupied. Or the whole world seeing my sperm pen!!! I love that pen. So yeah, I totally over share and get why others don’t want to. 

And I’ve had people who knew nothing of loss or infertility tell me that they appreciate me sharing our journey and allowing them a small insight of what it’s like to live with those words as a part of who you are. It’s always been positive feedback. 

That is until this week. 

When we started our fertility treatments back up, it became a small hobby of mine to collect socks for my appointments. I always had a different pair for each appointment. Took pictures of each pair once I was on the table and covered up with the paper gown. I have plans for those photos. 

Well, when it got close to start thinking about IUIs, I got a pair of very special socks. Not only was the print in glitter, they came with “baby dust”! How awesome is that?! My love for glitter knows no bounds. I love those socks so much. Love them so much, I  got a second pair where the “Baby M……..” was in opposite color of the “Think Positive” part. They’re super cute, right?!

Of all the times I have worried about over sharing, I never imagined a picture of my socks would be considered one of them. But the other day on this picture…I was left a comment telling me how inappropriate it was for me to be posting such a classless picture. I was clearly naked in this picture and about to have some form of exam that no proper lady should be speaking of. I was told that I was contributing to the downfall of today’s society by having no shame or modesty. (I didn’t realize I had so much power or authority.) 

Ok, so now I truly understand keeping “anonymous” TTC accounts. (Even though this was a message I received after sharing the picture in a group. A picture I shared MONTHS ago, so she was going way back in the album to even find that picture!)

So, first off-I wasn’t totally naked. Just the parts they needed to get to. And in that picture, literally every part of me is covered by something. And I wasn’t about to have an exam. That was from the day of our IUI. I honestly wasn’t trying to be improper. I was just sharing my journey. People knew that cycle was our IUI cycle. And with us having to cancel the one prior to that the day of-I thought it was a good thing to let them know that this one was, in fact, going to happen. I was in a room and prepared for the procedure. We were excited. We were happy. We were thanking God, because we had some hiccups that day as well and weren’t sure we were going to be able to have the IUI done. So we were just letting people know it was a go. 

I’m not sure why someone who could so easily be offended by that photo. But as I started to type of message of apology-I stopped. Why would I apologize? I didn’t do anything wrong. I was simply sharing my journey. 

Yes, maybe it was a picture that someone else wouldn’t have shared. Maybe it’s easy to tell the kind of doctor’s office I’m at. But, shouldn’t it be my decision of how much I share of my journey? I mean, you saw nothing inappropriate, me feet were together for crying out loud. 

I would never dream of telling someone else how much or how little of their journey they should be willing to share. And I would never attempt to shame someone for sharing what they’re willing to share. 

I literally “sorry-not sorry”-d her. I told her that I wasn’t going to apologize for sharing my journey. I said it was my journey, not hers. And that she is more that welcome to block me so that she is no longer forced to see my inappropriate pictures. But that I would not change what I shared. Those are cute socks!!! 

I have gained so much from sharing our journey. I have made so many friends who I just can’t even imagine not having in my life…even if it’s only in my online life. I have grown so much through it all. So I won’t stop sharing, even the most oddball stuff. I mean, I’m a dork. That’s what I do. lol It’s my journey not anyone else’s. And I won’t let someone else dictate how I walk it. 

So, if anyone ever tells you to keep quiet about something you truly believe in, something you’re going through it struggling with…tell them to suck it! It’s your journey, not theirs. They can bibbity-bobbity-boo themselves away. They don’t get to make you feel bad. 

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Learning To Face Jealousy 

I can not tell you how many times I have started this blog post over the past couple days. I just kept stumbling over the right words and how to convey what I was wanting to say. Seriously…I have lost count. 

Over the past week, between my Facebook & Instagram, there have been like 8 babies born. With 3 due just any minute and 3 more due within a week. There have been like 9 pregnancy announcements. One that just about broke me…”Guys, I’m pregnant with my 10th! What do you think it will be?” 

So I’ve been fighting the overwhelming onslaught of jealousy, bitterness, and my personal favorite…pettiness. Trying to conceive brings out the best qualities in us, doesn’t it?! 

I do my best to “like” or “love” each post…except the last one I told y’all about. I didn’t respond to that one. (Facebook has not made that particular reaction yet.) Sometimes, no matter how hard I try,  I “like” them through tears. 

I think everyone on this journey knows the tears I’m talking about. They are the small tears. The kind that slowly fill your eyes and quietly roll down your cheeks as you try to remind yourself that you really are happy for these women who have overcome your demon. They are the tears that blur your vision but don’t fall fast enough to wash away the grief your heart is feeling. They are the tears that hit the ground the lightest, but weigh the most. They are the tears you need to cry. And the ones that make you the angriest at yourself when you do. 

There are no tears like the tears from a heart that is filled with grief, jealous of what someone else has, and disappointed in itself for allowing that jealousy a single moment to thrive. They definitely are unique. 

And normally, this is the beginning of a mood shift for me. A time of self-pity and hiding away from those seeming to be so awesomely blessed. 

But, I truly believe my time is coming. And I truly believe that getting lost in jealosy and pettiness only steals away time from me. I have repeatedly said that my husband and I both truly believe that God’s plan for us includes a child. And holding true to that promise is what is getting me through what is normally a very emotional and difficult time. Knowing that our prayers have not gone unheard.It’s only natural for those emotions to take over every now and then. No matter how hard we try to keep them at bay, they will weasel their way in. They will try to take up residence. But, I am doing my best to no longer let them. 

First and foremost I have to remember that the women who are sharing their joys are not doing it to hurt anyone. I can not ask people to share the heartbreak and struggle of the TTC/infertility journey with me and then be upset when they share the joy of what we’re all trying to attain. They are not being spiteful by sharing their joy. (I mean, let’s be honest-I share when I get cake.)

One of my go-to songs when I’m feeling like this is “I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp. 

…Though the questions still fog up my mind, with promises I still seem to bear. Even when answers slowly unwind, it’s my heart I see You prepare. But it’s now that I feel Your grace fall like rain from every finger tip, washing away my pain. I still believe in Your faithfulness. I still believe in Your truth. I still believe in Your holy word Even when I don’t see, I still believe…

I have to remember that whatever the reason for my season of waiting, the Lord is using it to prepare my heart for what’s to come. It’s not a punishment. There is purpose for it. And when my season is over I will be able to praise Him in a way I can’t begin to imagine now. 

I don’t know that I’ll always be able to stay positive during my journey. I don’t know that I’ll never go into another social media blackout because of babies being everywhere but in my arms. But I do know that I am learning how to face those moments of jealousy. I am learning to talk to God more about it, instead of hiding.

Soon, those tears won’t well up, they won’t have a chance to fall. Because the only thing I will feel is happiness, nothing else, for those who are blessed before me. Because I am actively working on sending them packing, removing the pettiness/bitterness/jealousy, and going back to the me I use be before infertility. The me who celebrated the joy that others experienced. I liked being her. 

Let’s Talk Charting

I don’t know why this topic popped into my head tonight, but it has. And I promise, I won’t make it a long one. Mainly cause I’m kinda feeling the munchies coming on. lol Ok, so really it’s only because there’s only a couple things that I’ve seen pop up a few times here lately…that I have first hand experience with that could save someone heart break. 

Over the course of our journey, I’ve learned that it’s best not to ever speak in absolutes. And what I see happen in a lot of groups is women so wanting to be supportive that they tend to give false hope by speaking in absolutes. It’s not done in malice, by any means. It’s done with only the best of intentions possible. But I think it happens because sometimes all we want to do is be encouraging. No one wants to be the one who is like…I think you need to be cautious, when everyone else is jumping up and down in excitement. 

Ok, so here goes…

1. Once you decide to chart, it’s going to take you a while to get the hang of it. It’s going to take a while to get use to waking up at the same time each morning. And your first few charts may not be very reliable while you get your groove down. So don’t worry about waiting for a new cycle to start! Just get a BBT thermometer and start temping, even if it’s mid-cycle. Just gives you more practice. 

2. A BBT thermometer really is a must. They read to the .00 instead of the .0 that a regular thermometer reads to. That matters when you’re looking for subtle changes in your body temperature. BBT thermometers are not that expensive. Seriously, you can get one for less than $5 at Walmart. (Ok, so mine is a $25 one from Amazon. But I started out with a $3 one from Wally World and just graduated from there.) So yes, while you can technically use a regular thermometer…you’re not going to get the full effect of charting using it and isn’t the point of charting to KNOW you ovulated?!

3. You can not, CAN NOT, rely on BBT charting to predict ovulation. You may or may not get a temp dip prior to ovulation. And even if you chart for 15 months straight with a temp dip the day of or before ovulation…your 16th month-you may not have one. Not to mention, a good night’s sleep, the air conditioner working really well, cooler outside temperatures, your foot falling out from under the covers could all cause your temp to drop. Here is my chart this cycle. As you can see, I’ve already had two drops…the first one I think was a good night’s sleep and the second one was the dog just not being piled up on me. lol I am still a few days away from a positive OPK and no fertile CM. So you can not rely on temp drops. Remember that charting is to confirm ovulation, not to predict it. It is used to show a thermal temp shift in order to confirm ovulation only.  

So if someone asks about a temp drop on their chart, make sure to ask about any other signs…OPKs, CM, CP, are they in their usual fertile window-that kind of thing. It may not be time to start BD’ing every other day just because they have a temp drop. 

4. What is commonly called an “implantation dip”, is actually a luteal phase dip. It is found in both pregnancy and non-pregnancy charts. It typically happens between 6dpo and 10dpo. During the luteal phase, after ovulation and before AF, the dominating hormone is progesterone. (That’s what causes the thermal shift you’re looking for in your chart.) So around 6dpo, you’ll get an estrogen surge which can cause your temp to dip. It got labeled “implantation dip” because it happens around the same time that implantation typically occurs-6-12dpo, and it does tend to happen in more pregnancy charts than non-pregnancy charts. I actually get a luteal phase dip probably 3 out of 5 cycles. And the first time it happened…everyone just knew that I could test in a couple days and get a positive cause that was an implantation dip. Just stay cautiously optimistic when you see your chart do it. Because it could just be a natural part of your cycle. This was not the first chart to do it, but it was a really good example of one, the higher rebound and all. 

5. Last, but not least…when a chart goes triphasic we want so badly to just congratulate right there and then. Because we all know that a triphasic chart can happen in both pregnancy and non-pregnancy charts…but I mean, come on. It’s a triphasic chart!!! It has to mean baby bump pictures will soon be a weekly thing, right?! Oh if only! Only one time did I ever respond to my progesterone supplement through my temps like this. Every other cycle that I took it, I had a normal biphasic chart. Fertility Friend let me know that I went triphasic at 8dpo. I tried so hard not to let my chart get my hopes up. But each morning, the higher that temp went, the surer I was. And then the bottom fell out-literally. I was crushed. And I think my chart actually got a lot of other people excited too. I think too many of us forgot that a really pretty chart doesn’t really count for much until there’s a second line on a test. 

So please, just keep in mind that when you’re speaking about anything TTC & fertility related-absolutes can be very heartbreaking. What’s the line from “Men In Black II”?! “The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie” Who knew a quote from a movie about aliens would apply…but it does! As much as we want to be nothing but excited and hopeful, we don’t want to give false hope. Take it from someone whose journey has taken them more years than there are days in the week…knowing when to stay cautiously optimistic is always a good thing. 

Before I turn in for the night, I would just like to give my deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to my fellow Texans. While we pray for Houston, please do not forget that Harvey demolished Rockport when it came ashore. Please remember that Aransas Bay, Corpano Bay, Galveston, and Padre Islamd were all devastated. East Texas, where I live, is expecting 10-15 inches of rain between Wednesday and Friday as Harvey moves up, finally giving the coast a break. Please keep Texas in your prayers. It is going to be a long, hard recovery process. We have a very long rebuild ahead of us. 

Us Against Infertility 

I think this one has the potential to ramble, so I hope I stay focused. 

As you can imagine, I’m in my fair share of online trying to conceive (TTC) groups forums. (Of course, my favorite group is Love Echoes Forever – TTC After Loss.) So I see a lot of different types of posts. 

One of the more common posts I see is…”I’m not ok with not being a mommy and he can’t give me what I want. So it’s over.” It’s what I’ve named the “When Male Factor Kills a Relationship” post. 

It break my heart to see these kinds of posts. It makes me sad when any relationship falls apart, but it just absolutely breaks my heart when it’s over a medical diagnosis…especially when it’s infertility. 

When I married my husband, of course I had dreams of babies in our future-of little feet ruining through the house. Little League games and principles calling us to the school for a conversation (cause, I fully expected my child to be sent to the pricipal’s office all the time). I envisioned frogs in blue jean pockets and dance recitals…but I always, ALWAYS, pictured the two of us together in all of it. I never once thought of my life without him beside me. Regardless of what else I imagined, he was always by my side. I simply can not imagine  my life without him.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)

Every time I see a new post about a relationship falling apart, I tend to go tell the hubby. Susie & her husband are splitting up…she’s in such and such group…they have male factor too…she said she just can’t stay with someone who can’t give her a baby…I wish I knew what to say…I wish I knew how to help. (You can imagine how happy he is to get sucked into my online stuff. He doesn’t know Susie. He doesn’t know the group. He’s only half listening cause I’m telling him all this while Big Bang is on. And cause, well he’s a guy and he only half listens anyways. lol But he does catch some of it.) Hubby seems to think that part of the reason we’ve been able to avoid this trap that infertility likes to set is because we have a strong faith in God. While I would love to believe that. It’s simply not true. My husband and I have been on this journey together for almost 16 years now. We’ll be married for 15 years in 6 months, but we’ve been trying since our first loss over 16 years ago. While we’ve always had faith, it’s not always been strong. And we haven’t always been strong in faith together. There was a time when the only thing the Bibles in our home did was gather dust on the book shelf. There were times when I went to church without him and times he went to church without me, both of us asking for the other to join us-with no luck. And a time we were in a church home that was more of a compromise for the two of us…but we never really took active roles there. It’s only been in the past year and a half that we have been together and happy in a church home. So while we’ve always been Christians…our walks were not strong. We weren’t always leaning on our faith to guide us through. 

So while I do believe that we’ve made it through some of the hardest parts of our journey…because we found our church home right as we started our fertility treatments…because of our faith in God and His promises to us, I think we’ve also been able to fight together because God gave us one another.Infertility is not the only diagnosis we’ve faced in the sixteen years we’ve been together. I mean, just last week I was the hospital for 3 days. I have put the “…in sickness and in health…” part of our vows to the test. I mean, I have seriously tested that part. (I probably also should have slipped in a shoes, glitter, and Disney addiction clause into our vows as well. But, maybe that falls under “sickness” as well? I’m not sure.) 

After our twins were stillborn, I think we kind of made a resolution…this was not going to tear us apart. Our love was stronger than that. And we owed it to our boys to not let loss take everything from us.

That mentality has followed us into our journey with infertility. We are together for a reason. God gave us to one another for a purpose. For as far back as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to be is a momma. I can not imagine my life without babies somewhere in it. But I can’t imagine my life without my husband either.Both of our tests initially came back with issues. We had factors on both sides. We were able to address and correct mine. Unfortunately, we have not been able to fully correct his. So on paper, we have Male Factor Infertility. However, when asked if I want the Unexplained Infertility diagnosis removed from my chart, I say no because we’re in this together. We consider it just to be infertility. We fight as one. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, we totally have our moments. I tell him at least three times a week to keep calling me crazy so when I kill him I can plead insanity. And I totally have a spot in the woods all picked out where I’ll bury his body. The sad thing is, I’ve threatened to stab him so often, that I don’t even pay attention to where I’m at when I’m saying it anymore…yeah the last time I said it was in Sunday School & the time before that was while we were decorating the church for VBS. 

Infertility has taken so much from me. It has taken so many years, so many happy days, so many opportunities, so many should have beens away…I can not imagine it taking my relationship away as well. 

For those with loved ones battling Male Factor Infertility, you have to remember that he’s not holding back something. He’s not intentionally keeping you from your heart’s desire. This is not something that he’s doing to you. This is a medical diagnosis that he did not want. If he could snap his fingers and change it in an instant, he would. He is hurting, just as much as you are.

I know it’s hard to not place blame. It’s only human to want to say…”It’s all you’re fault!” But trust me when I say, he’s already feeling that without you saying it. He’s already feeling like he’s let you down. He’s already feeling like he’s to blame for your tears. 

Back in February, when our first scheduled IUI had to be canceled the day of, my true heartbreak that day was not it being cancelled. We both cried in the doctor’s office, and as we were walking out. I got called back in for some paperwork. When I got out to the car, hubby looked at me and said…”I’m so sorry I let you down”. I fell apart. That he was so broken over hurting me, just absolutely broke my heart. 

When it comes to infertility, I know medically speaking there are the Male & Female classifications. And during the medical treatments for them, obviously you have to leave the classifications on there. But when you’re at home, living with it, battling it, it’s not a he or she thing. It’s a two of you, together, against fertility thing. 

Otherwise, it will be able to take one more thing from you. You can not let infertility win. I guess that is what I would say to all the future Susies out there who are struggling. Talk to your partner, and talk to God…but don’t give up. 

August 19th Day of Hope 

…I am not afraid to speak about infertility…

I use to be. I use to be very alone in my journey. The only one I knew who experienced loss. The only one I knew who was actively trying to get pregnant. The only who was struggling to get pregnant. The only one who was praying for two pink lines after a loss. Then I realized…part of the reason I was the only person I knew going through all of this was because I wasn’t talking about any of this. I was going through this journey silently. 

Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t have test stash pics readily available to share during women’s fellowship at my church. There was a time when I would have been a little embarrassed for people to see the specimen cup filled with sperm tucked in between my boobs as we headed to the doctors office to have it analyzed or frozen for IUI. Several years ago, I NEVER would have shown off the sperm pen that my RE gave me like a trophy. But…infertility has changed me. (And I’m WAY more open about things now! I mean WAAAAY more open!) 

Before I go on, I should clarify that after collecting a sperm sample away from from the clinic/doctor’s office, the best way to transport the swimmers to the clinic, doctor’s office, or embryologist…according to both my gynecologist & RE…is by tucking the cup into your bra between your boobs. So that’s how the boys ride…all buckled in. And I tell the hubby every time not to get into an accident or pulled over, cause I do not want to have to explain to anyone why my boobs are holding a cup of sperm. And below is the pen my RE gave me that I absolutely love-

Yes…infertility has changed me. And keeping quiet about it wasn’t fair to me. Infertility, sadly had become a part of who I was, part of who I am. But I was allowing it to become my definition because I was allowing it to become WHAT I was. I was afraid of it. So I didn’t talk about it. I tried to keep it in this tiny little box and keep the lid tied down tight on it. But the more I tried to contain & control it, the more power it gained over my life. 

The one question I use to dread so much…”Do you have any kids?” I’d tearfully drop my gaze and meakfully answer no. Then mute out whatever dill-whitted response they said. Because it was always along the lines of, “You don’t want to wait too long!” If they only knew that I would test every day hoping to pinpoint my LH surge to time sex just right. The I took my temperature at the same time every morning to check for a thermal shift indicting ovulation. That I started testing for the slightest trace of pregnancy hormones 6 days before my period was expected. And that I have been doing all of this for more years than I care to count or admit. 

And while I still have those moments, the moments where the fear that my dream will remain unfulfilled creeps into my heart, now that I am so very open about my trying to conceive & infertility journey, I almost begrudgingly “welcome” that question. I meet it, for the most part, head on now. “No, but were actively trying. I’m 7dpo today plan on testing in a couple days. Wanna hear about the Stork OTC or PreSeed? I can give you the link to my China cheapies, they’re my favorite OPKs!” 

The point being…I’m no longer afraid. The question doesn’t stop me dead in my tracks anymore. I have the power over it. Not the other way around. 

Not only that, but my world has changed so much since opening up about our journey. I’ve met so many wonderful women. I’ve been able to walk along side them in their journey. I’ve had the courage and support to do my first October 15th Wave of Light Event this year. (Please check it out. I’d love to honor your angel. You don’t need to be there for me to honor them.) 

In talking about infertility, I’ve gained a kind of freedom, a kind of power over it. It no longer gets to rule me, define me, control me. Yes, it’s a part of me. And however my journey ends, it will always be part of the path I had to take, but it no longer gets to lead the dance we’re doing. 

So even when it seems crazy, and I admit-there are moment when even I’m like…WOW!!! I can’t believe I shared that!…I will continue to share my journey and struggles with infertility. Because I’m not alone. And I never want to feel that way again. I am 1 in 8, we are 1 in 8. Please check out Carly Marie Project Heal for more information about August 19th Day of Hope! 

While I’m Waiting

The other day on our way home, a song reached out and grabbed my heart. It hasn’t let go since. John Waller’s, “While I’m Waiting”. 

It’s not a new song. But sometimes it’s the ones you’ve heard again and again but haven’t really listened to in a while that are the ones that speak to you the most. And I definitely needed to listen to this song and process the message. 

The past few months, our TTC journey has had some really crazy twists & turns. And if I’m being honest, I’ve felt broken over it. Well, actually…I’ve felt shattered. Like so far beyond broken that I’ve wondered if I could ever find all the pieces to mend myself. 

I have been so angry and confused, because I honestly believe that God has placed this great desire on my heart so that He could fulfill it. My husband and I both truly believe and have faith that we will have a baby. We truly believe that God has promised us this. But sometimes, when it seems like all you’re doing is getting older, it is so hard to hold to that promise. It’s so easy to question faith when you feel lost on the journey. 

I just don’t understand this wait. What in the world could be the reason another cycle has failed? Why is my heart longing when there are so many daily news articles about babies being abandoned? And don’t even get me started on “16 & Pregnant”! Am I not good enough? Faithful enough? Strong enough?

And then a few scriptures whispered themselves to me. 🎶”I’m waiting…I’m waiting on You, Lord…and I am hopeful…I’m waiting on You, Lord…though it is painful…but patiently, I will wait…I will move ahead, bold and confident…taking every step in obedience” 🎶

I fully admit that I don’t understand the path God has chosen for us. But I don’t have to. It’s not easy, but as long as I still have faith & hope…I will one day understand the journey. I truly believe that.  Regardless of how dark the night gets, the sun will still rise when it’s meant to…when the timing is right, and not a second before. 

This one whispers itself to me quite often. In the quiet times of reflection, during my moments of doubt. After all, aren’t waiting & doubt the highest hurdles hope will ever have to jump? 

I don’t have to know the plans, I just have to have faith and follow the path the Lord lays out before me. Instead of fighting Him and taking this journey into my own hands, I need to obediently lay it down and let God lead me. That is seriously hard for me to do. I over-think, over-plan, and totally over-analyze pretty much everything. So I don’t always handle the unknown with grace. (I typically handle it with Xanax.) But I’m learning, slowly. 

🎶…while I’m waiting, I will serve You…while I’m waiting, I will worship…while  I’m waiting, I will not faint-I’ll be running the race, even while I wait…🎶

I don’t know why I’m having to wait, or what I’m suppose to be learning while I do. I’m not even sure what my purpose is suppose to be while I’m waiting. But I do know that I am to stay faithful. Faithful in prayer, faithful in hope, faithful in the Lord’s promises. Because there is a purpose, there is meaning. With that knowledge comes peace. 

Or maybe it’s more like peacefully anxious. lol I am after all human. And since the whole point of this post is about it beimg hard to stay steadfast & positive at all times…I’ll take peacefully anxious while I learn what I need to learn, while I do what I need to do. While I wait on the Lord. 

So I think I’ll keep this as my prayer during my season of waiting:

Dear Lord,

I know that I can be impatient. I know I often question Your timing and design. I know that I am prone to worry and fear. I know that I sometimes get so caught up in my need for understanding and control that I lose track of who You are. I forget that You are always working for my good. Lord, help me to never lose hope. Keep my eyes focused on the path You’ve set for me. Allow me to stay focused in the knowledge that often blessings can be received only after the trial of waiting. Forgive my moments of doubt and renew my sense of peace in Your timing. You know my heart, and all it’s desires. And Your promises are true. Lord, keep me grounded in Your presence. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen 

It’s Stork OTC Time!

If you follow me on Instagram (AdorkablyHappy), then you saw this pic on the 2nd-Positive OPKs! 

That means Stork OTC time!!! In my last post, I shared with y’all how someone from Rinovum…the makers of the Stork OTC…contacted me about my previous review. And how happy & grateful I am that they contacted me. 

***Full disclosure: This review is made possible by a free Stork OTC that was sent to me. I am not being paid for this review. And I was not asked to give anything other than my honest opinion, once again, on the product.***

So the first thing I noticed right away was that the design on the box changed. There’s now a baby bump greeting us. (And when I shared this pic on my Facebook wall…it was immediately noticed by some of my fellow TTC buddies. lol) But, after all, that is the goal, right?! So I kinda like it. 

Another thing I noticed…I don’t remember the old box having this, if it did…The side of the box has some helpful information about the use of the Stork OTC. Which is kinda neat. It helps to give you an idea going into it of what is involved. I don’t know if it’s like this for anyone else, but I know the first time seeing the box and not knowing a whole lot about what was inside or what was involved was a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited & I had read several reviews. But the Stork OTC isn’t cheap, and I was worried I was gonna mess something up. 

Again, I got a giggle out of the warning that the Stork OTC is NOT intended for contraceptive use. That makes me laugh EVERY time. I mean, every time! 

So, y’all know I’ve told you that I am a tad strange. That I think/worry/obsess over things that most people don’t. There was a slight hold up in the delivery of my package. And the temperatures were crazy high that week. I worried about what the heat might do to the Conceptacle sitting in a hot vehicle for half a week or being out in the heat if the package was simply dropped off inside my property fence. (I live in the country, my driveway is long & bumpy, they don’t always come to the house for deliveries.) But my mind was eased when I saw that you could store the Stork OTC in temperatures between -22 and 130 degrees F. 

Once you open up the box, everything stayed the same. You’ve got instructions in both English & Spanish. There’s an insert thanking you for choosing the Stork OTC on one side & a code for the Glow app on the other. The applicator with the cervical cap holder inside & the Conceptacle which contains the cervical cap are in a plastic enclosure thing that keeps them separated. I think it is important to note, the Stork OTC is not a sterile device. Wash your hands before handling the Conceptacle at all stages of use. 

If you haven’t already watched the “how to” video, you can watch it here. I highly recommend watching it at least once. It’s very basic, but helpful in getting to know all the parts of the Stork OTC. Because it is a single use device…you can really never be too prepared. 

Putting the Conceptacle on was a little bit easier this time around. Although, it still wasn’t quick and simple. You need to pinch the tip to remove air, just like with a condom and unroll it on to an erect penis. And because it takes a little work to get it on…continued stimulation for him may help keep him happy-therefore making it easier to go on. It may look like a condom, but it’s very different. It’s not made with natural rubber latex, it’s silicone. It is definitely seems thicker than a condom. According to hubby, it seems to have a tighter fit than a condom. And there’s no form of lubricant on it. So it’s “dry” for lack of a better word, and that makes it a little fumbly putting it on. (In my last review I referred y’all to the condom/banana scene in the movie “Never Been Kissed”. That is still a very fitting visual aid. Nothing popped off, but it took a minute to get a handle on it.)

So don’t get frustrated if it’s less than romantic getting the Conceptacle on. You’ll get it. No pressure, don’t stress…just roll with it. Stay patient and in the moment. Keep the mood as light as possible. 

Because I didn’t noticed that much EWCM, I decided to use a small amount of PreSeed. Last time we didn’t use any because in the how to video when it talks about insertion of the applicator, it said not to use lubricant. I understood that to mean no lubricant at all during the process. But after following  the Stork OTC (storkotc) on Instagram and reading more about it, we felt like using PreSeed…a TTC friendly lubricant while we did our thing…was ok. (The FAQ section of the website, storkotc.com also addresses it.)

I don’t normally use PreSeed, but I am glad I decided to use it for this. It definitely made the Conceptacle less noticeable for me. Still knew it was there…but that may have more to do with the fact that the hubby and I have been together 15 years and the only time we’ve used anything “condom like” is when we’ve used the Stork OTC. So there is definitely a different sensation & reaction to it. 

If you decide to use a lubricant with your Stork OTC, be sure that it is TTC friendly! PreSeed is what we chose. But AstroGlide makes a TTC friendly one as well. Just be sure that you’re getting the one designed for TTC The reason for this…most lubricants are not sperm friendly. That is the complete opposite of what we want. So double check to be safe!!!

After we did our thing, getting the Conceptacle off was easier than getting it on. It is easier to take off from a still erect penis, you just roll it back down. You do have to be careful getting the cervical cap out of the Conceptacle. Keep it upright, and only touch the sides of the cervical cap. Don’t put your fingers inside the cervical cap when you’re trying to get the Conceptacle off from around it. 

It was so much easier to place the cervical cap on the petals of the applicator this time. It wasn’t hard the first time, but everything is easier the second and third time around.  The purple thing is part of the cervical cap holder, there’s one on the other side too. The petals are the white pieces that are on either side of the yellow tab. You remove the yellow tab and set the cervical cap evenly on those petals. Once you’ve got the cervical cap on the petals, you click the two purple pieces of the cervical cap holder in place, keep the applicator upright, and pull back the plunger on the bottom of the applicator. That closes the petals around the cervical cap. 

I let hubby hold the applicator while I got my pillows propped up so that I could lean back in the proper position comfortably. And I got situated. Just like last time, insertion was no problem. No issues there. There was a little pressure, nothing too bad, I wouldn’t even classify it as uncomfortable-simply noticeable, once it was placed against my cervix. 

The first time I used the Stork OTC, when I pushed the button with the two dots to release the plunger, that plunger released quickly. This time, I knew not to let my thumb get caught. lol There was a little bit more pressure, just temporarily, when the plunger depressed. I made sure it felt comfortable and then clicked the button with the theee dots to release the cervical cap holder from the applicator. Then I removed the applicator and had hubby throw it away. 

We chose, just like last time, to leave the cervical cap in for the full 6 hours. (It can stay in 4-6 hours.) Since we used this one around bedtime, I set an alarm on my phone to make sure that I didn’t sleep through the 6 hour mark. 

I know you can get up and move around as soon as you remove the wand. But I have to admit, I laid in bed, scrolling on my phone while binging “Friends” on Netflix as background noise for about an hour and a half. Then I got up, finished up some laundry while doing a face mask…there is always laundry to finish up it seems…and then went to sleep. I could feel the presence of the cervical cap holder. It wasn’t uncomfortable, again simply noticeable. No big deal. Once my alarm went off, I got up went to the bathroom and removed the cervical cap & holder by pulling on the pull string. Easy peasy! 

Here’s a pic from the last review showing you what the cervical cap, holder & pull string look like once you remove it. So now we wait. Hopefully I won’t go too stir crazy during this TWW. 

While there is more effort into using the Stork OTC over Soft Cups & PreSeed…I definitely think that the Stork OTC is the one to use. I’ve tried both, I prefer the Stork OTC. TTC is just not what Soft Cups are designed for. Yes, it’s more expensive and maybe I’m overthinking it and relying on a label too much. But seriously, sometimes store brand biscuits aren’t as good Pilsbury. 

I love the Stork OTC. I love that it’s designed for couple like my husband & I. We have male factor issues thrown into the mix. And having the ability to do cycles at home, medicated or non-medicated, either in between IUI cycles, in place of an IUI cycle, or even in conjunction with an IUI cycle…is amazing. It gives us more options. And when you’re looking at a $1200 IUI cycle, gratefully we only pay half that after insurance (but still), you need options! 

For less than $100 (I paid $79.99 plus tax and shipping for my first Stork OTC using my Walgreen’s app), you get a little extra help for the swimmers. When you have motility concerns, that’s a big deal to be able to do. Our swimmers like to freestyle it during the backstroke competition & they apparently get lost easy…they need all the help they can get! 

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about this experience is the customer service. Since getting in touch with them, the people at the Stork OTC/Rinovum have been the absolute best! You can contact them through email at: support@rinovum.com 

*Again, my only connection to this company is as a consumer. I, nor anyone in my family, is employed by them. I am not receiving any financial compensation from them. They sent me this Stork OTC based on my previous review. They did not ask that I give anything other than my honest opinion.*

I’ve Missed Y’all! 

Once again, I have to accept the “Bad Blog Owner” Award! I know it’s been MONTHS since my last post. My blogging mojo took a long vacation. 

So much has happened since my last post. We’ve had an attempt at IUI that had to be cancelled the day of. We’ve done an IUI cycle that left us heartbrokenly devastated. We had VBS at our church…I was the director. (One of the scariest things I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of how it went!) We’ve had to say goodbye to one of our fur babies. Friends moved away. And I’ve been working on my very first October 15th Wave of Life event. 

It’s just been a very crazy, very emotional, very hectic few months. So I hope you forgive me for being absent. 

He was of the sweetest creatures. We miss him terribly. This picture was taken just a few weeks before he passed. He loved that blanket. I washed it that morning and he was just absolutely lost the entire time it was off the bed. About two seconds after I threw it on the corner of the bed, he was on it & passed out. 

On to the amazing and happy things…VBS at First Baptist Church of Murchison was amazing! We had two children accept Christ! I was beyond blessed to have the chance to be a part of it. (Normally I wouldn’t post pictures of other people’s children, but we were given permission to photograph & share during registration.)

October 15th, I will be hosting a Wave of Light event at my church from 7pm-8pm. My hope is to have enough Mason/Ball/Kerr jars to honor at least 100 angels. October 15th is such an important date during Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years, and I’m so excited to finally have a game plan for it. If you’re interested in having your angel honored during this event, please contact me. You can either join the event here, leave a comment on this post, or email me at love.echoes.forever@gmail.com 

And finally, one of the neatest things came across my messages the other day…This absolutely made my day. So, keep an eye for a follow up review! And a possible announcement involving The Stork OTC Ambassador Program! I won’t know if I’ve been selected until later this month, possibly early next month. But I am very excited for this opportunity! 

I Will Not Stop Talking About Infertility…

…so don’t even bother asking me to. 

Wow! The plan for this week’s blog post was SO different than what it has become. I guess I can just save that one for a later time. 

So let’s back up a second. Yesterday I downloaded Resolve.org‘s Listen Up toolkit for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s next month, April 23-29…the 29th is my birthday. After I downloaded the toolkit, I created an album on my personal Facebook profile and added all the photos to it. A little while later, I was “gently” asked to maybe not focus so much on infertility because it may make some people a little uncomfortable. 

So after I calmly removed myself from the conversation…telling them to forget my name and blocking them is “calm”, right?!…I sat and stewed for a while. 

Infertility is a disease. Just like cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Why do we welcome and encourage awareness for those things, and ask people with infertility to sit a corner and stay quiet?

When a friend is going through a divorce, what do we tell them? We tell them we’re here for them. We tell them to talk about it. We tell them it’s natural to grieve the loss of the relationship, the loss of the future. We tell them it’s not healthy to keep all those emotions bottled up. We tell them we are their friends and that’s what friends are for. 

Why do I not get that same level of understanding?! And the…well, I’ve never experienced infertility and that’s why I’m uncomfortable with it…is kind of lame. I’ve never been through a divorce. I still don’t tell my friends who are going through a divorce to leave me out of those conversations. I’ve never had cancer…I still talk to my friends while they are going through chemo. 

My husband lost his mother more than 20 years ago, I lost my father less than 5 years ago. Him knowing what it’s like to lose a parent didn’t make his hugs to me more comforting. It didn’t make his presence by my side more important. Just like my arms, when he lost his father a year and a half ago, weren’t a place of solace because I knew what it was like to lose a daddy. All that mattered was that we were there for one another, we were by each other’s side, when we needed support. We didn’t have to understand in order to comfort. 

Because when you’re going through something difficult, all that matters is that you are surrounded by people who love you. They don’t have to know what to say, what you’re feeling, what journey lies ahead of you. They just need to support you through it. 

I talk about infertility, because so many people don’t even know what it is. There’s this idea that if you want to get pregnant and you don’t get pregnant that very first month you try, it’s infertility. Or that infertility can be “fixed” by simply getting a massage to help you relax or a different kind of underwear. (By the way…don’t talk to your friends about their spouse’s underwear. You want to talk about uncomfortable.) 

Not talking about it, doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it less painful. It doesn’t. And while you may be more comfortable not hearing about it, someone you love is still suffering alone. 

1 in 8…that’s how many people suffer through infertility. 1 in 8 have a disease that’s not contagious, but no one wants to be “around” it. Can you imagine how isolating that can be?

My life is a messy kind of happiness. It is full of loss, full of cuss words, full of hospital stays & surgeries. It is financial worries, broken plans, and plants I can’t always keep alive. It’s full of love, full of faith, full of hope. It’s fur baby snuggles through out the night, a marriage working on it’s second decade, it’s Christmas tree lights hung year round. It’s kisses followed by death threats and some times death threats followed by kisses. It’s beautifully crazy. It’s not easy, but it is amazing. 

It’s not fair to ask me to share only the happy. To only share the inconsequential. If I can share when a recipe goes right, or when flowers are randomly brought home…why shouldn’t I share when I have a bad day trying to conceive a child? It’s not fair to only be a friend during the good times. 

Yes, infertility can be uncomfortable for those that are blessed enough to never face it head on. But that level of comfor comes at the expense of someone you love. And being silent about infertility makes me uncomfortable. And I’m not willing to do that. 

Looks Like It’s IUI Time

Last week was a whirlwind of issues at Casa de Mo. I was kinda puny. Extremely hopeful about this cycle. Got to spend time with the bestie. And had a LuLaRoe fundraising Pop-On on Facebook.

But my chart just isn’t letting me keep the level of hopefulness that I had going in to the TWW. I am fully expecting CD1 to be tomorrow, Thursday at the latest. So, it looks like we are on to IUI. 

And it appears that we will have to do IUI with Clomid instead of IUI with injections. Thankfully, we did qualify for some help for the injections. But I still don’t think financially we can do them. We qualified for a 25% discount. That still leaves us paying about $550 for just one of the 3 medications. That’s about the cost of the IUI preceedure itself. 

I hate to sound like I’m complaining…we *only* qualified for 25% off. I know there are couples out there who don’t even qualify for that. And I am beyond grateful for any help we get. I was always, actually, planning on doing IUI with Clomid…because I respond very well to Clomid. But if I’m being honest, I was hoping to qualify for the 75% off and do the injections. I know my RE prefers IUI with injections over Clomid. And it does give us the best shot at a successful cycle. So I was hoping. 

I just hate how money plays such a major role in this journey. I hate that my insurance company is allowed so much power over my TTC journey. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful they cover the things they do. (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am.) But it’s so arbitrary to me that they will cover fertility treatments up to insemination. Like why draw a line? Fertility treatments are fertility treatments. Drawing a line in the sand and saying they’ll cover everything on this side of the line but nothing on that side…it’s a little soul crushing. This journey is isolating enough as it is. Why make me feel more like a pariah because my journey has gone to the “other side”?! 

Thankfully, with some of our income tax return, donations from very supportive friends, the LLR fundraiser, and my Crocheting to pay for IUI project…we have 2 and 1/3 IUI cycles saved up. Now we just have to figure out if we start IUI next cycle or wait one more. I think hubby would prefer waiting another cycle. But I just don’t know that I can. I’ll keep y’all updated on what we…ok, I…decide. lol I really feel like we won’t wait though. Because I’m hoping to be able to have a third cycle saved up for June. And we will have to take July off because I’m our VBS Director this year. And I don’t think people will understand hubby & I having to leave to go get inseminated. I just don’t see that going over well. lmbo So, since I already know July is an off cycle…I just don’t know that I’m emotionally prepared to take another cycle off right now. 

Leaving on a happy note though…I’m working on an ordered and an available to purchase blanket in my Crocheting to pay for IUI plan. I need a project bag so bad! That will be my next acquisition. Cause right now I’m carrying my yarn, hook and blanket with me every where. I’m motivated beyond belief y’all! 

And autocorrect likes to mess with me…it tried to change precedent to PreSeed in a rather delicate email yesterday. lol I’m just glad I caught it. Normally I don’t until I get the reply. 

So this morning, I hold to Jeremiah 29:11. Because I know the Lord has this.
🌈❤💛💚💙💜🌈