Trying to conceive part 3

PCOS blog

June 1, 2013: I am officially a married woman!

June 2, 2013: When are we having babies?

My poor, wonderful, understanding and kind husband. He is a SAINT! I have always loved babies and have wanted to be a mom my entire life. I truly believe that I was meant to be a mother. I did not do a great job hiding those feelings from my husband (even at 16 when we met) and he has constantly been supportive and incredible on my road to motherhood.

Something that helped Alex and I in this process was going to therapy. Really it was THE THING that helped us. We both wanted a family but we couldn’t work out the particulars by ourselves. I wanted to start trying the day after we got married, Alex wanted to wait until we were more settled. Having a family is not a simple decision. We fought, yelled, threw low blows and cried for months. We couldn’t work out the best way to start our family. We needed a third person to help us, guide us and not make us feel bad for saying what we really felt. We found a therapist who made both of us feel comfortable and made us feel that we could work this out, even when we felt hopeless. After a few months of weekly therapy sessions we decided on this…

Alex and I knew we wanted to graduate college before we had kids, so we did that (even though it took a while), we knew we wanted good jobs before we had kids (that happened surprisingly fast), then we knew we wanted to get a house before we had kids (again, took a while but we did that too). Now we had our degrees, our jobs and our house. We decided that 2015 was going to be our year!

January 2015 came and I (with supervision from my doctors) went off the majority of my medications, including birth control. My doctors wanted to see if because I had been on birth control for so long my body would just magically start having a regular period. So for three months we waited to see if that happened, it didn’t. We decided to go to an OBGYN and see what she said. We did tests, ultrasounds, blood work, exams and came to the conclusion that I was going to start a fertility medication called Letrozole. We started on the lowest dosage and would slowly work our way up to the highest dosage over five months if I did not ovulate.

Month one-No period.

Month two-No period.

Month three-No period.

Month four-No period.

Month five- PERIOD!

Month five was January 2016, six months after first seeing our OBGYN. So although we had already spent six months “trying” it wasn’t really trying because I wasn’t ovulating. Now I was ovulating, I had to track my cycle. Well, my body decided that wasn’t going to be easy either. Tracing from January to June, I had a 39 day cycle, a 34 day cycle, another 34 day cycle, a 32 day cycle, and a 38 day cycle. Remember a normal cycle is 28 days long, also for some reason ovulating tests were not accurate for me and I was told not to bother with them at all. I was getting my period, but we had no idea when I was ovulating…that part is pretty important when you are trying to conceive a baby.

June 2016 we switched medications to Clomid, another fertility drug. Six months of that and the cycles got weirder; 34, 40, 37, 36, and 38. We went back to Letrozole because I was at least having more regular periods with that drug. My doctor said that I can keep along the path we were on and I might get pregnant, but she also suggested that I should go to a specialist.

That is where I am now, waiting to see a specialist in February and hoping that they tell me something good. Something happy.

My experience is hard and daunting. My experience is sad and depressing. My experience is scary and painful, but my experience is not unique. I am not the only woman who struggles with infertility. It is a long and stressful path and I know that one way or another I will be a mother. My husband and I could get pregnant, we could adopt, we could have a surrogate; we have so many more options to consider. We will be parents one day, I will be able to look back at this blog and say “I am so glad that part is over!”

Next time, a little bit from Alex on the process.

 

Trying to conceive part 2

Adult living, PCOS blog

Well here we are on part 2!

First of all, I want to say thank you! I had a very uplifting response to my first “Trying to conceive” blog and truly appreciate everyone being so kind and supportive!

We left off when I was diagnosed and given medication to help me manage my symptoms. Next I had to be a teenager with weight gain, facial hair, lots of doctor visits and irregular periods all due to PCOS, plus going through puberty. Awesome.

I remember one time I had to get waxed, eye brows and upper lip (again, thanks PCOS!), I was at a salon getting it done and a boy from school came in to get his hair cut. I was MORTIFIED! I had to walk past him with red marks on my face and completely ignored him when he said “hi”. As a young teenager, this was the worst thing that could happen. I still get embarrassed talking about this, but this is part of my PCOS journey and hopefully some girl out there will read this and know that this shouldn’t be something to be embarrassed about. This is part of PCOS and so many women with and without the syndrome deal with it.

To help me get through this awkward time I went to the electrolysis regularly and still do because GUESS WHAT! – with PCOS you get continual hair growth! I have been on medication that helps with preventing new hair growth but with trying to get pregnant I needed to be off a majority of my medications, so I am back at the electrolysis. The best part of going to the electrolysis is that I now have a relationship with my electrolysis. I have known her for over 10 years and she works me in, she helps me and works with me through any issues I have. She is awesome and I am SO thankful for her!

So from age 15 to age 24, I took medication, went to electrolysis, visited the doctor once a year and did a lot of blood tests.

After I got married in 2013, baby fever hit in and the insane process of trying to get pregnant started…

Trying to conceive part 1

PCOS blog

Let’s get this part out of the way… I am NOT pregnant and that is not for lack of trying!

My husband and I have been working on getting pregnant since July 2015 (that is 18 months, people)!

After months and months of getting our hopes up and being disappointed, I decided that I needed an outlet for my feelings. I also thought that putting my experience out into the world wide web could maybe help someone on their pregnancy journey.

So I am going to make this into a series of blogs where I can start from the beginning and reflect through the entire process.

Getting my 1st period…(yeah, that beginning!)

I had the sex talk with my mom and sister, diagrams were used, textbooks were brought out and awkward silences had been sat through. So  I knew what a period was and what puberty was and that one fateful day it was going to happen to me.

I remember getting my first period. I was 13 and at a homeschool get together class and was not feeling well. I went to the bathroom and there it was, blood. I wasn’t scared or upset in any way, I stuck some toilet paper in my underwear and went back to class. When I got home, my mom and sister were nowhere to be found. I took it upon myself to apply my first pad…a GIANT overnight pad. That is when I started freaking out! I have to wear this huge thing every month? I have to have this bulky monstrosity stuck to my underwear and still be a functioning person? To me it was the worst thing that has ever happened!

Eventually my mom came home and I had another awkward talk about tampons and pads. Being a young girl is just so fun! The next month I expected to get my period but it didn’t come. Months passed and it never came back. At a routine doctor visit I asked about the infrequency of my cycle and was told that it is totally normal for a young girl to be irregular, eventually my body would start to have a typical 28 day cycle. So I was not worried at all about not having it, in fact when all my friends would complain about their time of the month I was could breathe a sigh of relief because I didn’t have to go through it.

Two years passed and still no second period. One day while watching TLC, a 1 hour special came on about this couple Jon & Kate Gosselin. Since then they have become very famous, but at that time I had never heard their story. The special explained that Kate had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which caused her to have irregular periods and therefore required her to need fertility treatment to conceive. Immediately I went to the doctor and brought up PCOS and I began the diagnosis process.

I am not a physician and I do claim to be an expert in PCOS, this is all my experience and every person is different and experiences different things. My doctor talked me through possible symptoms and when something I was experiencing came up we discussed it further. My doctor was great, she took time with me and referred me to an Endocrinologist who eventually put me on two medications; metformin, a diabetic medication that helped control my sugar levels and birth control to help me get a regular period. She also referred me to an electrolysis to help with the wonderful symptom of excess facial hair growth…thanks PCOS!

I know this is weird but I owe my diagnosis to Jon and Kate plus 8, I wouldn’t have known about PCOS without watching their special. PCOS has caused a lot of frustration, anxiety and tears, but it is something I will always have and being more informed will only help me live successfully with it.

 

Until next time…

My family has had some amazing trips over the years. Even with seven kids my parents always made an effort to plan family vacations. We have taking short road trips for hockey tournaments and other things. Trips to Duluth were frequent but we also drove to Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, North and South Dakota, Colorado.

In high school my parents took my three younger brothers and I to Canada to see Niagara falls and the hockey hall of fame, then we drove to New York for the baseball hall of fame, then to Cleveland for the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Our last stop was Chicago and then home. The next year we flew to Key West, Florida and had the best vacation of my life. Even though I say that is my favorite vacation, it is not the coolest place I’ve been. My parents took my three younger brothers and I to two more places that changed my life.

My dad took a job in The Federated States of Micronesia. You are probably thinking that I made that up, I actually didn’t.

Micronesia is made up of four islands; Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap. As the Chief Litigator for all four states of Micronesia my dad worked on all the islands, but we lived on the island of Yap. Again, I am not making this up, it’s a real place, check out this map to get a better idea!

We lived in the capital of Yap, Colonia, right next to the hospital (which turned out to be very convenient). We lived on a bay and right outside our window was a view of the ocean.

Let me explain a little bit about the island of Yap. It is the most culturally traditional island of Micronesia. While some locals wear shorts/skirts and t-shirts some, especially in the villages, wear their native dress. Men in loin cloths called a “thoo” and the women in wrapped skirts called “lava lava’s” and nothing else, yes, the women are topless. Which turned out to not be that big of an issue.

Yap has many great sights and one of them that you see all over the island is the stone money. Stone money can be anywhere from three feet tall to over six feet tall, and way several tons. Stone money is exactly that, a giant stone that was exchanged for services or products (mostly land). The money was not moved when exchanged, the villages just remember which stone belongs to which village.

Here is a picture of stone money.stone-money-bank.jpg

My family moved to Yap in August of 2006, just before my senior year of high school. While to some that would be the worst thing in the world, to me it was pretty cool. Yes, I did have my moments of anger and I absolutely showed my 17 year old immaturity at times, but overall moving to Yap was a great experience.

I celebrated my 18th birthday on a sailboat restaurant where once the staff found out it was my birthday I was given a traditional flower headdress and free chocolate cake.

My 18th birthday at Manta Ray Resort!

We spent the first few months finding a place to live, trying to figure out how to buy groceries, how to cook meals from scratch (with limited ingredients) and basically just how to feel normal in a scary new place. My parents did everything they could to help my brothers and I feel comfortable and keep our lives as normal as possible. We went to the beach, we worked on school, we went to the sports complex daily. Apart from all of us being homesick we were doing fairly well.

In January I flew back home to Minnesota to finish my senior year at my high school…and to see my boyfriend who I had been away from for five months!

I ended up being away from my mom, dad and little brothers for exactly a year. I made the decision to go back to Yap after one semester in college to finish out the rest of my families stay there. While that decision was tough and meant leaving my boyfriend again this time for eight months, it was absolutely the best decision for me. In the year I was gone my family had made friends, gone scuba diving and truly started enjoying their time there. I had spent my time in Yap being homesick and really needed to experience the island with a better mood. I was 19 and while leaving my then boyfriend was hard, I am proud of myself for not letting our relationship hold me back. I needed to go and even though that could have ended my relationship, I was 19 and it was ok for me to be selfish. Luckily my decision did not end my relationship and I am now married to that boyfriend!

When I got back to Yap I was introduced to so many people in the Peace Corps and they became regulars at our house (especially around dinner time), I got a job at one of the resorts and was in charge of managing several events along with other office duties. I went scuba diving and saw the majestic manta ray cleaning station of Yap, went to vertigo where I saw dozens of sharks and I experienced diving with my parents and brothers. My mom and I played tennis on the regular and after she broke her arm while playing and went to have surgery in the Philippines my  brothers and I managed to get along with my parents gone for three weeks.

My brother Tony and me at vertigo dive site.

In March of 2008 all of us went on vacation to Bali, Indonesia. Bali is a stunning and spectacular place full of temples, cultural statues, traditional dances and performances and what was most appealing to my brothers and I, cheeseburgers. We could eat american-ized food that we couldn’t get in Yap! We went to the monkey forest and two of my brothers took surfing lessons. I got to do some shopping and my youngest brother turned out to be a champ at haggling!

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Just me hanging with a monkey in Bali!

In July we flew back to the States and quickly fell back into the American pace of life. I love to look back on my time in Yap and dream about bringing Alex and our kids there one day. I’m sure it will be so different from what I remember but I know that the smell of the ocean and the red stains of betel nut on the road will still be there. I know that no matter how long I am away I will still think of Yap as being one of my homes. A man that worked with my dad told us just before we left that we are Yapese, and that we are always welcome back.

I am so thankful to my parents for giving me the gift of seeing the world. I know I wasn’t always grateful and I know that my going back and forth from the island and the U.S. was hard on the people I love, but now eight years after being home I know that Yap is a place that I will love forever, and it will always be a part of me. 15My family on our private beach in Yap!

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2016!

Adult living, Healthy living

2016 started out the same as every other year. With me screaming…

I WILL BE HEALTHIER! I WILL LOSE WEIGHT! I WILL EAT BETTER!

Resolution 1:

My wonderful in-laws brought us a treadmill for Christmas and we finally picked it up! (It has only taken a month to find a way to move it into the house and now we noticed that it takes a special outlet…so…crap) While I want to be healthy and fit and my brain has always wanted to be a runner, my body is more like…you know what’s fun…sleeping.

So here is my plan to overcome my lazy girl instincts!

Fitness-NewRunner-printNow I know that this is not going to break any records or impress any fitness freaks, however I think this is the best place for me to start.

I will be treadmill training three days a week and getting back into my Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. The BBG workout is intense and awesome! It is such a great workout and I love doing it when I actually stick to it.

Resolution 2:

I also have a plan for the spring and summer. Last summer Alex and I discovered that our neighborhood had a hidden tennis court. Alex got back into tennis a few months ago with an indoor league and I really want to be able to go hit the courts with him!

Resolution 3:

Have a hobby. Am I going to do more crafts or do more photography? Am I going to get into decorating my house? Am I going to dig into gardening? Should I actually learn to cook? I need to find something that will help me relax and give me time to myself.

This year is going to be so fun! I cannot wait to see the progress I make in my resolutions!

Homeowner painting project

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My husband and I bought a house this past July. We semi-decorated and made it as homey as we could, however it still didn’t feel like our home. Suddenly it is Christmas break and we are both off of work for the rest of the year. Alex thought it would be the best time for us to do some painting, after a bit of pinteresting and talking about what the end goal for our home decor was we decided on our colors.

Alex and I love Santorini, Greece and the color of the beautiful dome roofs that adorn the city. We used this color in our wedding and both of our wardrobes are filled with the stunning blue. That color was a no brainer, our walls are currently a brown/tan/yellow/boring color, keeping that color with our beautiful blue was not going to happen so next we needed a muted color that would make our blue pop. We settled on grey, did you know that there are a million (not just 50) shades of grey?

We finally picked our colors and picked up a few gallons of each. It was time to start painting. Now you may not know this about my wonderful husband, but he is not handy. He is extremely smart and loving and an incredible person…but he cannot build or do any household fixing. So I figured I’d be doing the majority of the painting. Little did I know, when I get in homeowner fix-it mode I turn into a controlling, vicious, micromanaging crazy person and my poor husband had to bear the brunt of my attitude. Shortly after I opened the first can of paint I needed him to leave. Alex running errands and me painting is the best way for us to work together, it’s called multitasking…that means we can get more done in the time we have…right?

So not only can I be my bitchy fixer upper self but he gets to do his own thing and not be bossed around by me. It’s a win win!

I started with the blue walls and got the majority of them done before Al got home. My crazy had subsided a bit and I accepted some help from my husband to paint the vaulted area of the wall. Once we had finished the entire blue area we decided to be done for the day. We both tackled the grey the next day and suddenly our house felt more like home. I was so surprised how “handy” my husband turned out to be! He rigged up a long paintbrush stick to get the hard to reach places and I couldn’t have done it without him.

Alex and I also thought the same this Christmas and got each other artwork! So now we can hang up our new art along with the plethora of wedding pictures we have and really start living in our own space.

The only bad part about painting is that it has created new projects. Looking around we realized that our railing/banister doesn’t go with our new color scheme. So now we need to find a time to paint railings, spindles, and why not throw in the floor trim and maybe the doors upstairs! My husband is going to HAVE to become a handy man!

Here’s to a new year of projects and home upgrades!

 

 

The house is ours!

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22 days ago Alex and I closed on a house!

On July 1st we spent an hour signing papers and chatting with the previous owner of the house, he handed us the keys and it was ours!

We moved in the next day with help from my awesome brothers and Al’s cousin. The boys did all the lifting and I supervised, which is my specialty! Suddenly we were adults and living in our own home…alone. It was and still is weird.

Moving is stressful…always. We packed well in advance so that wasn’t the issue, it’s more of the time and the energy it takes to move and to unpack. Where do I put all my stuff? I don’t have enough stuff to fill an entire house! We have to go shopping again? How much money do we have in the bank!!!?

We have lived on our own before, but it was in a small apartment or townhouse that provided a washer and dryer and we didn’t have room for furniture and we were poor college students, so we were fine with small, mismatched, free stuff. Now we are grown ups and the mismatched stuff is still ok, but the junky free stuff we’ve had for five years isn’t so ok anymore. We bought a shelving unit, a TV stand, coffee tables, a new washer and dryer (that was a headache in itself!) and stupid little things that we needed to make the house livable.

I feel  like things have finally started slowing down though. We aren’t hemorrhaging money anymore, we are doing a few DIY projects and really trying to put our own stamp on the house. All in all moving has been a great experience, it is so great to come home to our house and we are really feeling married now (yes it has been two years since we got married, but we only lived alone together for two months of that, this has been a very big change) and we get to work together to make this house our home. We’ve had a few stumbles along the way, but we are now hopefully through the worst of it and can work to make our home pretty, comfortable and feel like ours. Maybe we’ll even have fun doing it together!

Here is our new house!

Here is our new house!

Anniversary 2015!

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It is June 1st 2015 and that means that two years ago I married my best friend…it also means that nine years ago my best friend asked me to be his girlfriend!

I’ve written before about how Alex and I met and started dating (check out this post A happy ending)

So here I thought I would chat a bit about the last two years.

We got married on June 1, 2013 (I am just realizing I never posted a blog about our wedding day….so that will have to happen soon!) We lived in Duluth at the time and had a great summer together! In September Alex moved to the cities to start working at a job that came up unexpectedly, meaning that we lived apart for four months during our first year of marriage, it was awful and very difficult.  Finally I moved to the cities to be with Alex and since then we have been together, going on trips, being with both of our families and working toward building an awesome future together.

I would say that the first year is very much a romantic period. Even with living apart we were head over heels in love and the reality of the “real world” hadn’t hit us yet.

That brings us to year two…we officially got out of the head over heels phase, don’t get me wrong I love Alex so much and I think that my love for him grows every day, however I don’t need to fall apart when we aren’t together, if he has to go out of town for work it isn’t the end of my world (really this phase is so much healthier!) and I LOVE going to work and being my own person with my own things. We were really so co-dependent that is nice to finally be Alex and Jill, two separate people who happen to be madly in love.

I feel like year two was the most challenging year we have faced in all our years of being together. We both had to find ourselves within our marriage, we both were working and trying to decide what do we want to do for the long term (still not sure on this one), we are looking for a house, we are trying to save money for a house and a family, we are always trying to better ourselves and be good people. Being a grown up sure is a lot of work! This past year has been a year of intense discussions (some louder than others), decisions being made, dreams being adjusted and a lot of change both personally and in our relationship.

Alex and I are huge believers in therapy and the process of talking things out, for some people it might be a sign of failure to go to therapy, but for us we have found that therapy has helped us work out issues that if not worked out would have broken us. Marriage is work and for us therapy is an important part of our work schedule.

All of this being said, I could not have asked for a better partner in life. Alex is such a kind, sensitive and caring husband and everyday I see him working hard to give us an amazing life. I am proud of him and so honored to be his wife.

Happy anniversary my love!

Come what may!

xoxoxo

House hunting 1

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Alex and I moved into his parents house in December of 2013…..and as of May 2015 we are still living at his parents house.

We are however finally looking for a house! I can’t believe it is actually happening but it is!

Our house hunting started the first week of May and the first house we saw was incredible. It had the right location, a quiet street, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a great kitchen, a lovely yard, and a spacious deck, even the laundry room was perfect! It had just gone on the market that day and we were in love! Our only hesitation was that it was the first house we had ever looked at with buyer eyes. Would they all be this great? Would we see another house that was better? Is it irresponsible to buy the first house? Luckily for us we didn’t have to make a decision the house sold the next morning, having only been on the market for under 24 hours.

While somewhat disappointing we were totally okay with that. It was only the beginning of our search and we knew that there was a house waiting for us to fall in love with it.

Hopefully we will find it soon, my Pinterest boards are getting ridiculous!