I had a miscarriage.

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Miscarriage is such a common thing for women to experience

I know many friends and family members who have experienced miscarriages at varying stages in their pregnancy. I don’t want to compare my experience with anyone else’s at all. I also don’t want to invalidate my own experience because it happened so early on. The truth is that I had a miscarriage.

I didn’t “feel” pregnant and I didn’t feel a baby kick. We hadn’t decorated a nursery or announced that we were even pregnant. For 2 days I went through a whirlwind of emotions from 100% excited to 300% terrified. I asked myself if I was prepared to be a mom and caught my breath when I realized we were actually going to become moms. The experience was so surreal. We made a list of the things we needed to do around the house (okay, we’ve had the list for a year.. lol), we talked about our future and how the dogs would react to a baby, we pictured our family. For two days we held onto the hope, joy and excitement of what it felt like to know we would be holding a baby in our arms.

I tried to separate myself, to protect myself from the possibility of bad news, so I didn’t let myself fully celebrate the fact that we did it. We made a baby. Finally, after 6 attempts, something else happened other than a negative test. I can’t help but to feel a little bit guilty, though. We were SO early in our pregnancy. Had we not been doing fertility stuff, we probably wouldn’t have even realized we were pregnant. I feel like I don’t deserve to mourn because it was so early, like I don’t deserve to say the word miscarriage because I didn’t experience the same pain as other women going through it later in their pregnancies. This isn’t a club I want to be a part of, and I feel guilty for sharing that experience with other women, other moms, other humans who have lost something so dear to them.

I don’t want to invalidate the fact that I had a miscarriage, because I did. It sucks. Waiting for my period for days SUCKS. Getting cramps sucks. But at the end of all of this, I’m still here. My wife is by my side and I’m sure she’s sharing some of the same feelings of loss and heartbreak. We totally both acknowledge that other women have experienced miscarriage differently and I think for now, I’m just trying to sort of cope with our experience in our own way. I’m okay. What I really got out of all this, was that we can make a baby. My body did the thing, and that gives me hope that it can happen again. I’ve decided to try IUI again, despite our bank account. I am trusting that whatever happens, happens. Side note: I didn’t do anything special at all this last time except that we were on whole30 and I was working out (lightly) on the weekends. I didn’t carry the crystals or do anything outside of living my life normally.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any aspect of their mental health, whether it’s PPD, miscarriage or just life, please tell someone and reach out to a professional. Don’t want to tell friends? Feel free to contact us! Everyone’s journey is different, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid.

Making a Baby, IUI 5 – results

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Oh, the feelings.

I think in order to prepare our hearts, we have begun to almost expect a negative test so that when we finally get our positive, we will be able to be surprised and excited about it.

I thought this one was it. I’ve been way more emotionally and physically exhausted than usual and this time just felt a little different. I can’t really explain it other than having a glimmer of hope. It’s definitely discouraging especially watching my egg count dwindle down with each IUI attempt. Samantha is budgeting to make it so that we can afford to try again this month. That’ll be 6 IUI attempts for me and I think I may call it quits if that one doesn’t work. I can say with confidence that this has been the most mentally and physically draining experience of my life.

We have plans to start with Samantha sometime next year (2020), which will give us a few months to save up again.

2019 has been filled with our greatest hopes and our greatest challenges and I’m sure 2020 will come with its own characteristics that challenge us and shape us into the adults and hopefully the parents we will become. This is a learning curve with both of us, but we are here supporting each other and loving each other through all of it and that’s what matters most.

Cost:

Total baby-making cost to date: $9407.70 

Making a Baby, IUI 5 – Part 1, Maybe 5 is our Lucky Number

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I was a bit nervous going into our next IUI cycle after having to skip the last one due to a cyst, but we decided to keep trying. At this point, each doctor’s appointment is pretty routine as far as procedure, so I think our excitement level is down to a normal level. There’s just SO much waiting and wondering and it’s been helpful to have my classes occupy that time instead of stressing and worrying about trying to get pregnant. I am trying not to let this blog be one bummer after the next so just know that we are trying to stay hopeful and excited for whatever the future holds for us. We’ve been going to the gym pretty regularly (I’m 3x/week and Sam is 5-6x) and I’ve been gluten free for more than 6 months now. All of this should be helping my body better prepare for a baby in addition to the 23705 vitamins I’m taking.

CD 2: Ovary Scan

They did my ovary scan and everything was totally normal! We are cyst free and ready to go! We ordered all the medication, Clomid, etc. and we are sticking to the same meds schedule as last time, which was I think Clomid on days 2-6, and Gonal shots on days 3, 5, and 7.

CD 10: Follicle scan

We are the grown-ups that laugh at subtle inappropriateness, so of course, when we walk into the room and the screen say’s penetration, we had a veryyyyyyy good laugh about it.

We have 2 follicles that are each 13mm. So that means another 75 Gonal shot on CD 11 and then come back on CD 12 to see what’s happening. Oh also Sam ordered the sperm today so we didn’t have to pay for fast shipping (same donor as last time).

CD 11

Fun story: CD 11 happened to land on our nephew’s birthday. We had planned on being in Georgia for his birthday and we couldn’t disappoint, so we packed up a cooler full of road trip snacks, and my Gonal pen, which can’t dip below a certain temperature. The shots we always have to do between 6pm and 8pm so, after the birthday party, Sam had to give me a shot in the laundry room so the kids wouldn’t freak out. We were able to store it in their fridge while we were there, then we packed up and headed back home with the rest of the shot pen on ice! Oh, also we forgot the alcohol wipes so thanks to Bath and Body Works for their Marshmallow Pumpkin hand sanitizer coming in handy when we needed it.. “This is probably fine..”

CD 12:

We got home from GA around 11pm after waking up at 5am, and our appointment the next day was 7am, so we were pretty out of it. They still take my blood each time to measure my estrogen levels, but apparently I was a little dehydrated which makes bloodwork way less fun. Props to my blood lady for being on point.

Our next set of instructions are to take a full 75unit dose of Gonal on CD 13 between 6-8pm, trigger with Pregnyl (here’s hoping it doesn’t make Steph throw up this time *fingers crossed*) on CD 14 (24 hours later) and inseminate on CD 16! (three days earlier than last time)

I have 3 follicles now which are pretty good odds. I have a 12 and 16 on my left and a 13.6 on my right. Hopefully all 3 fully mature and that way our chances will be higher. Uterine lining is 8.1 which is basically perfect for implantation. It’s getting close to GO time!

 

Cost:

CD 2:
Ovary scan: $65 (co-pay)

Chlomid: $14.79
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89


CD 10:
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $245 for shipping.

CD 12:
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

Total baby-making cost to date: $9057.70 

Making a Baby, IUI 4 – Results

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I feel like each time we get a negative result, it should be easier, but it’s not. The progesterone kept me from getting my period, which was a huge letdown. I always hold out so much hope, but we took 2 tests, one a day before, and one a day after the end of our TWW (two-week wait) and they were both negative. The doctor told me to stop taking the progesterone inserts so that I can get my period again and come back.

My period arrived about 3-4 days after I stopped taking the progesterone, but it was really light compared to normal. I went back in to do my follicle scan on Friday and we got more bad news..

I have a cyst on my ovary, which could’ve been caused by the change in medication – basically, a cyst kept growing after we triggered to ovulate and the cyst didn’t ovulate with my eggs. The cyst was measuring about 20 and anything over 4-6 could be cause for concern. This means we have to skip this cycle. If they continued with treatment this month, then any medication they give me would cause the cyst to grow, which could be damaging to my ovaries. This was likely the source of my light period. It’ll dissolve on its own, but we have to skip this cycle and try again next month. The doctor said it isn’t a recurring thing, so the likelihood of it happening again is slim.

The good news is that I can eat sushi again! LOL always reaching for that silver lining.

Until next time.

 

Cost:

Ovary Scan: $65

Total baby-making cost to date: $7322.39

Remembering Pulse, 3 years later

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Today has been difficult to say the least.

As I logged onto facebook this morning, and I knew that I would see al the reminders of what happened, reminders of 49 lives taken too soon. I won’t ever forget laying in bed next to my wife (then fiance) getting up at 5am to both of our phones buzzing uncontrollably. “Where are you?? Are you okay?!” At 5am, I woke up confused – what had happened? “There’s been a shooting” – Sam told me – “No that was yesterday.. Christina Grimmie was shot” I said, reliving the events of the previous day. “No, at Pulse – There was a shooting last night at Pulse”.

Not another shooting..

I worked at our other gay club for about a year and knew the majority of the bartenders who would swap back and forth between clubs depending on what night it was.

At 5am my heart sunk. I’m okay, but what about all of my friends and my Orlando community and all the people I have come to call my family? Of course, the guilt and anger came followed by panic over the people we couldn’t get ahold of by noon. Sam’s cousin was out all night for a friends birthday and Pulse was on the normal list of stops for a party. They decided last minute not to go. A friend of mine was trapped in the dressing room while he huddled with strangers and barricaded the doorway to try to keep out the sounds of gunshots. Another few friends were bartenders who escaped while bullets flew over their heads. Another friend was hit in the leg. My friend Ray was the DJ that night. While working the light booth at Southern Nights, I got to know him as a DJ, a father, and a nice guy. I got to know his son as well. Ray saved so many people that night by turning off the music and helping people escape. Several of the victims were students at Valencia and UCF, and a few worked at Universal and Disney, all strong communities that were shattered in a single night, the latin community, most of all.

I can’t help but to feel so overwhelmed with emotions.

Today my friend Danielle was out in the community touching up the paint on one of our many Pulse tribute murals and I sat at work helpless and full of so many feelings.

Sam and I went to the memorials and stood in the rain several times after it happened. We visited pulse while the bullet holes were still visible on the sides of the building where so many lost their lives and suddenly I felt so heavy and helpless. We got pulse tattoos as a reminder (as if we needed it) permanently on our bodies. We cried, not due to pain, but due to immense gratitude that we were all able to be together when so many had that option taken away.

So many people have been affected by Pulse. Our entire gay community was targeted and we lost brothers and sisters and friends. Even if we didn’t know anyone personally, it felt like a personal attack on our family. We have all been to Pulse and to Southern. They are our safe havens and our home away from home. A place where we could go to have a good time and not feel threatened when we hold hands with our partners in public. It is here where we feel most at peace and the most accepted, when we are surrounded by the family we chose, and the friends who we can openly and honestly be ourselves around. We’ve grown up with people from this community and we are here for each other now more than ever, no matter our differences.

I want you to know, whoever you are reading this, that you are not alone in your feelings. Your emotions are valid. It’s okay to feel today. I think a lot of us are still healing and that’s okay. I felt like I needed to share a part of my story today because I can’t seem to hold back my tears anymore. I’ve never seen a community come together like this before and Orlando will forever hold a piece of my heart.

6.12.16

Orlando United Assistance Center offers support and resources specifically for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy.
Call 407-500-HOPE
Orlando United Day about Pulse events happening in the community as well as additional resources and information.

Turning 30 and reflecting on my 20’s.

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I turn 30 tomorrow.

original_by-your-age-30th-birthday-card

Ten years ago I was a sophomore in college wondering what my life would become and what sort of person I would end up being. I remember sitting on the edge of my extra long dorm room bed. I was totally alone for the first time in my life. My 20’s were a time when I truly and honestly lived and experienced every moment of each day. Granted, I slept through many a class and made some not-so-awesome decisions, but overall, my 20’s defined me as a person, as they tend to do for most people, I’m guessing.

When I was in High School, I was taught that the predetermined course for a woman like myself was to graduate, attend college, meet the man of my dreams, get married, have babies, and become a teacher or one of 3 other professions that would allow me to take care of the kids while also providing supplemental income to my husband. (To clarify, it’s okay if you did this – it just wasn’t for me..)

SIDE NOTE: Every year on my birthday from 16 until about 20, a princess movie was released on or near my birthday. Last night Sam and I were watching Princess Diaries 2 on the couch and the soundtrack gave me all the feels. The early 2000’s were so strange and mystifying, but also a time when we din’t have to make life-altering decisions yet. Do yourself a favor and enjoy this throwback.
https://open.spotify.com/user/tylfawpsf7pl5mrtrqc69vwme/playlist/7jX2AeIRoabbtSftFTDYXz?si=N_RKn22FR0mD7a0j3vyr1Q

By 22 I had all but forgotten my “path of life”. I was in film school making movies that reflected my childhood and how it had affected my life. At this point in my life, I had recently “come out” and was re-inventing who I was as a person and not as someone who’s life was predestined. I had choices now and I was going to take advantage of them. During your 20’s, you discover that most of your bad choices pertain to individuals you date and the fact that you didn’t break up with them sooner, but that point is moot.

At 26, I was on my own again and trying to keep my head above water. I met my future wife when I was 26. It was such a different experience than the other people I had dated. It felt so adult. There was no drama. I was so proud to have chosen such a rich, genuine soul that I connected with. I asked her to marry me less than a month in. I knew she was the one, but we waited a few years until I asked her for real, though.

The last 4 years of my 20’s were the most life-changing, I think. I learned a lot in my lower 20’s that I could now apply to my upper 20’s in an attempt to “adult”. I’ve made many huge decisions that would affect the rest of my life. November 2016 I asked my wife to marry me. November 2017 we were married. In the last year, I’ve made the decision to go back to school, have ACED my first semester back to college, and now we’re talking about expanding our family.

Who knows what my life would look like if I had decided to follow that predetermined path. I’m doing things a little untraditionally, but I’m doing what works for me and for my family. I’m not expecting to have everything in my life sorted out by tomorrow or have a sudden realization that I’m adult now. I’m not expecting much to change other than I’ll be another year older. I can honestly say that I’m proud of the person I’ve become and I have a solid foundation and a solid support system. I’m ready for 30. Let’s turn the page on my 20’s and get this party started!

Why I stopped caring about the opinions of other people.

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Okay, I still care a little.. like when I ask my wife if my outfit looks okay.

I’m sitting inside a hardly air conditioned Chick-Fil-a next to a table of preteen cheerleaders. They all have their phones out and are comparing their Instagram followers to each other as if it’s some kind of measure of popularity. Who knows what those girl’s are going to be when they grow up and what part of this will affect their personalities and decisions in the future. All I could think was “I hope my kids grow up to be strong and independent and will stand up for their friends and for themselves”. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to even get to that place.

After announcing my blog and simultaneously stating that my wife and I were starting the baby process, I only (so far) received 1 negative comment.

At some point in my mid-late 20’s I stopped caring about what others thought, especially with regard to how I should live my life.

I stopped caring mostly because I figured out what kind of a person I wanted to be. I want to be someone kind with a huge heart, but also someone who is smart and someone that my kids would be proud to look up to. I want to be the woman who proves everyone wrong.

I realized that the people who tend to give me [unsolicited] advice about the vast amount of life choices I make on the daily, typically don’t or didn’t have ANY idea who they were at my age. Life is personal. Everyone’s choices and decisions are their own and they get to live with their decisions and learn from them – there is a negative connotation to that, so I’d like to clarify that decisions can also be super positive!

Let’s be real. No one knows what they’re doing.

This is the big secret among adults and parents. Everyone tries so hard to come across like they have their lives under control… it’s okay, the truth is no one has their lives together no matter what it looks like on Instagram. Everyone is just trying to “adult” the best they can. I’m not Martha Stewart by any means, but we all excel in different areas.

Life is all about trial and error and figuring out what works for you (and/or your children). Spoiler alert: people look different, act different, make choices you wouldn’t make, and take different risks.

Honestly, I’m all about breaking down barriers and boxes. My wife instilled in my brain to stop trying to fit into a specific stereotype or box in order to please others. I’m a girl married to a girl with short hair who paints her nails and wears little boys size shoes. I’m also going to school to be a rocket scientist and will have finished my full sleeve tattoo by the time I’m 31. I’ll be carrying our child even tho that’s not anyone’s first guess. I’m me, and the world will just have to deal.

Ps. I haven’t started prenatals yet because I had my Final Exam for Precalculus this morning and didn’t want to try something new just in case I had a reaction to it or needed more than a granola bar to wash it down with. I’ll write about it soon!

No Better Time than Now

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I suppose there is no “good time” when it comes to deciding when to start something. Whether it’s asking someone out, finally getting to the stack of dishes in the sink, going back to school, having a baby. The best time to start anything is simply in that moment. I won’t get into the science or prioritizing or procrastinating, but the idea is there.

I decided to start a blog 2 years ago.

I was planning on proposing to my now wife, and it seemed like the perfect time to start documenting our journey as a couple and as a family. You can see how urgently I started that blog…

Since then, I’ve gotten married, returned to school to get my second Bachelors degree (more on that later), learned a TON, spent a lot of time with our dogs, and began to look into the baby making process.

Going back to school has been a journey.

There are a lot of stipulations regarding returning for your second degree and getting financial aid to cover it. My first degree was in Film, and I thought now that I’m almost 30, I’d go back to school for Aerospace Engineering (I know – big change). I graduated from UCF in 2012 and enrolled in Precalculus and Trig for Summer 2018 at a smaller college here in Orlando, thinking it’d be more affordable. Turns out, unless you’re taking at least 6 credit hours toward a degree within a degree program the college offers, you’re not eligible for financial aid and have to pay for everything out of pocket. Sooooo I’m transferring back to UCF starting in the spring so I can officially be enrolled in their “aerospace engineering pending” degree program. Overall the courses are more expensive, but I’ll get financial aid, which will help a TON instead of paying out of pocket each semester. If anyone has any questions about returning to school or financial aid, I have an abundance of knowledge now and would be happy to help.

Overall, this blog will mostly be dedicated to me retuning to school and starting our family. Since we’re both girls, we get to plan, prep, and pretty much dictate how and when all of that will go down. Of course, planning a family at the same time I’ll be taking Calculus, Differential Equations, and Thermodynamics is going to be an adventure in itself, but what’s life without adventure?!