About Me

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I'm a 29 year old self identifying hippie and amateur photographer. I've been married since Summer 2006, and we started trying to get pregnant the summer of 2007, I have 2 cats and a dog, and I work as a secretary in a prison. This blog is about my battle with infertility and life, love, faith and happiness in the face of infertility. All pictures in the collage and those that I post in my entries were taken by me, unless otherwise stated (or if they are of me of course). Come visit my photography page to see more of my work here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hannah-Love-Chandlers-Photography/282550090053

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Summary

2015 Summary

3 Good Things
1. My shoulder acted up much less this year than last year even though we haven't been able to diagnose what is actually wrong with it. Regardless. this meant less trips to the doctor and less pain meds. It did mean one unfruitful MRI which sucked.

2. I won a photo contest and got one of my photos put in a calendar. The contest was open to Tennessee state employees and their families, and is judged by professional photographers. I was so excited to get the news.

3. I'm getting better in touch with my feelings. Which for me means crying a lot more. It just means I'm not suppressing all the feelings that would make me cry (I always say I only have two settings, crying, and nothing. If I'm mad, I cry, if I'm sad, I cry, apparently I even cry when I'm happy. Who came up with this crap?), and I'm letting them actually make me cry. I'm told this is a good thing. I kind of prefer when I don't cry all the time, but whatever, I guess it probably is a good thing that I'm not pushing down all of my feelings

Bad things that happened this year
1. Migraines. My shoulder flare ups quieted down, but my headaches amped up bad. I started getting them all the time, practically every day with a moderate or minor headache, and at least one severe headache a week. I had a CT scan (which is far less unpleasant than an MRI) but they still couldn't find anything causing the headaches, and the Neurosurgeon said she didn't think the tumor on my spine in my neck was causing the headaches either (or my shoulder pain-wrong location). I'm now taking Topimax daily which is supposed to prevent the migraines. I have headaches less often, less severe headaches and less moderate headaches, which is good, but they aren't all gone.

2. Sleep. This probably goes hand in hand with the migraines, but I also stopped sleeping well. I started complaining about it in the springtime, and couldn't get my doctor to prescribe me anything (she just kept saying the Topimax would work, which for me it didn't) until I finally had to switch to another doctor in the same practice in the fall to get something. Now I take something to help me sleep.

Places I've been this year
1. Disneyworld and a very nice hotel with my sister and nieces. It was a blast!
2. Dallas with mom, visiting my other sister and other niece. We got to see the Fort worth Water Gardens, very cool!
3. Michigan last minute trip to Michigan to see my dad after he had an aortic dissection and almost didn't make it. He's doing better and is expected to fully recover, but he and I had to mend fences and get back on speaking terms. We also got to drop off Kyle's (stepson) Christmas gifts while we were up there and watch him open them which was nice.

That's my summary. We're not trying anymore. I can be happy with my life as an stepmom, an aunt, and a godparent.

Kyle -Stepson
Kyle - Stepson

Gabby - Niece
Storie and Layla - Nieces
Austin, Jeffery, Andrew - Nephews
Olivia - Goddaughter

Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week - You Are Not Alone

You are not alone. That's the message this year for National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW). You are not alone. Do you believe it? It feels like one of those things we all say but a lot of us have a hard time believing it. Feeling it. I don't feel it.

We are absolutely so much less alone than our spiritual sisters that came before us. Think of how alone it was more than 30 years ago? My parents tried for years. My mom says she had every test you could imagine, she read all the books she could find, and got nowhere. 3-4 years in they adopted my brother. As much as they loved him, that didn't heal the hurt of infertility. She still wanted to carry a child, give birth, and nurse a child. So they had more tests. They went through different procedures. She cried a lot. She was alone. She didn't have social media or any support. She didn't tell people because she didn't want to hear people tell her to relax or for them to offer her their kids. She didn't know of any support groups. (Happy ending: 7 years after adoption she went to the doctor with the flu and found out she was pregnant with me. 3 years later she has a 10 year old boy and 3 little girls 3 and under)

Now we have internet. We can connect with people who understand way more of how we feel than the average person. We have support groups, both virtual and physical, and where there may have been some support groups back then, now we have more, and we can find them. We can connect to them. We can find people so that we aren't alone.

But I still feel alone. No matter how many people I meet who have been on this road, we all have different experiences. Different things that affect us. Different triggers that tick us off or make us cry. We all approach things in different ways. We can't really understand what another person went through or how their experiences affected them emotionally. I will never know what it feels like to pay for In Vitro Fertilization and have it fail. One of my regular prayers is that I will never know what it feels like to lose a baby after hearing its heartbeat. Some have no idea how it feels to get pregnant after trying for years, tell the world, and lose it a week later. And you can't untell that kind of news.

Most people I have met seem to eventually get their miracle. Though intellectually I know I'm not, I feel like I'm the only person who won't have a baby. The only person who is filled with motherly instincts, who would give away my (relatively) uninterrupted nights and my late weekend mornings who will never have the option. I know I'm not alone. I'm not the only woman who has wanted a baby this bad but will never get one. But knowing something intellectually and feeling it for me is separated by a huge divide. I deal with it by ignoring it. By not thinking about it. By compartmentalizing my infertility away from every other part of my life. I'm really good at that. I know it's not healthy, but I just put those thoughts in that same box and be on my way.

When it comes to infertility (or any other difficult life situation), the best way to not be alone is to find people that, if they aren't on the same page as you, maybe they are at least somewhere in the book. Find people who can relate to the first time you found out that having a baby, the thing that seems to be the easiest thing in the world for all of those teen moms, was going to be harder for you than for the majority. Find someone who can relate to X amount of barren years. Someone who can relate to an excess number of failed months, of seeing that red stain and knowing that once again, this is not your month. Remember that you are not alone. Even though it feels like it.

As for how to go from knowing you are not alone to feeling like you are not alone, I'm stumped. I suppose that knowing it long enough and well enough and having enough evidence that points to not being alone, maybe the feelings will follow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


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I recently read about a Jewish couple that came up with a ceremony to help them mourn and accept their inability to have a child. I've been following this website www.Kveller.com which identifies itself as a Jewish Parenting website, and it's a forum for several writers to share their blogs. Many of the blogs are about parenting and parenting issues, but several of the blogs are about things that are only loosely related to parenting, like marriage or divorce, Jewish ceremonies and holidays, and infertility. I got turned on to the site because this is where Mayim Bialik (AKA Amy Farrah Fowler or Blossom) posts her blog.

One of the other Jewish traditions that I've read about is the Mikveh, which is a ritual bath that women go to before they get married, and each month after their period, after giving birth or having a miscarriage, and some women go in the 9th month of their pregnancy for good luck. The simplest way to describe it is like an immersion baptism, but you immerse yourself. If you want to know anything about the Mikveh go here. This ritual intrigues me, I guess I like the symbolism of a spiritual cleansing.
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This doesn't really have anything to do with my point behind the post, except to say that I like some of the ceremonies and rituals of the Jewish faith. Anyways I was browsing a blog on Kveller about modern rituals about families, childbirth, and infertility and came across this ceremony created by a Jewish couple to help themselves and others deal with coming to grips with the loss of their dream of having a baby. This couple has decided (or had it decided for them) that they will no longer be trying to conceive. They don't know if they will attempt to adopt or try to find peace at living child free, but regardless of where they go from now they have to grieve the fact that they will never have a biological child. There are many aspects of this ceremony, each step meant to help the couple face and cope with the grief they are dealing with as they choose to stop trying to conceive. At one point they crumble some bread and throw it in the water to symbolize the casting away of regrets and what-ifs. There is a memorial part similar to the cutting of the black ribbon that is done after the death of a close family member, but they cut blue and pink ribbons to memorialize the babies that they will never have. There are foods that have special meanings and specific prayers that they say. In the end it is a way of saying "we're done with this chapter, let's tackle the next" as well as saying that they will no longer let infertility define them.
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It sounds like a nice way to attempt to get some closure after coming to the difficult decision to stop pursuing your dream of having children. Closure is so important. A lot of people have been on this road. Some for only a few years, some for many years before finally getting their miracle. But some of us never see our dreams realized. We started trying almost 8 years ago, and we actively tried for about 3 years, then off and on the rest of the time. We've decided to stop trying (again). There are several sensible reasons behind our decision. But as much sense as it makes and as much progress I have made in the last several years at being okay with all this, it still hurts to think about never having a baby. Sometimes I think about going on Birth Control to regulate things and take the not knowing away. Sometimes during intense cramps and bad periods I even think about getting a hysterectomy (they are that bad). Whatever happens I'm ready for some closure. I don't want to have a ceremony or anything, but it seems like some small acknowledgment of that closed chapter in my life and of facing a very different future than I envisioned would be nice.

Has anybody ever done anything like this or have any suggestions?

Friday, February 15, 2013


People always tell us to trust in God. He will provide, He promises that good things are in store for you. You may sometimes ask how. How do I trust God through my infertility journey or other trials? This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a helpful, explanatory answer. It’s like asking how to know when its true love. When you know, you know. With trust, you just trust. Trusting doesn’t mean you don’t have questions or that you are never worried. It means that through your questions and your worries, you know that God is working for you, through you, and in spite of you, for His ‘plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Think of it this way. If you’ve ever been on a plane you had to trust that pilot with your life. You probably didn’t even think twice about it. Those that have had fears of flying may have thought more than twice about it, but in the end chose to put your trust in the pilot that he or she would get you from point A to point B with all your limbs still attached.

So you’re on the plan, more than 30,000 feet in the sky. What happens when there is turbulence? Do you storm the cockpit and tell the pilot he’s doing it wrong? Do you try to push him out of his seat and take over? That’s what we’re doing when we don’t trust God when we have problems. When we try to take the controls back from God there’s no burly air marshal to tackle you from behind (for your and everyone else’s safety) because we have free will in this life. That means free will to crash and burn, as surely as we would crash and burn if I took the controls to the next flight out of Nashville. If you don’t let God have the controls to your life you will crash and burn. You cannot get yourself to heaven without God’s help, and you cannot get yourself to motherhood without God’s help. Nothing happens in this world without God being part of it.

So can you trust God to fly your life plane, even during the infertility turbulence? Or will you push God out of the pilot seat to navigate your problems yourself? Can you trust God as much as you trust an imperfect human pilot?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Lessons from the Birds

More Lessons from the Birds

A few months ago I wrote about Polly, a bird with only 1 leg who hangs out by my window at work. Scroll back a few posts if you missed it, I promise it’s worth it.

Today we meet Polly’s friends Donald and Daisy. (No they aren’t ducks, and they don’t wear clothes). All week I’ve been watching this pair of birds plan their family. And they are encountering obstacles! No they aren’t going to their fertility vet or going to the pet store to adopt a parakeet. They are building their nest and having a heck of a time at it. They have chosen to build their nest on top of this metal structure outside that bars the windows (can’t have us rascally employees escaping now can we?). There is plenty of room for our feathered friends to perch up there, but there is not much room for a nest. So twig by tiny twig they build their nest, only to have the wind – or the weight of the new twig, knock free some of the previous ones. I keep cheering on Donald and Daisy because no matter how many twigs fall or what other setbacks they encounter they just keep flying down, grasping another twig, and adding it to the nursery they are building for their future babies.
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What lessons am I learning from Donald and Daisy? Persevere through problems, follow your heart, follow God’s guidance, you name it! These feathered parents-to-be aren’t asking God why it is so hard to build their nest. They are simply doing what their instincts tell them to do, and that is build the nest and keep building until it is done. It might be hard, it might take them a long time, and it might seem futile at times, but they keep on keeping on. That certainly defines how an infertile couple’s journey sometimes goes.

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It’s also teaching me a lesson about doing things the hard way. Maybe these guys would have an easier time at if they picked a more stable place, like high up in a tree nestled in between the branches. Maybe sometimes God doesn’t let us have the baby right away that we long so hard for because we aren’t in a stable relationship, or don’t have a stable income or health insurance. That doesn’t meant that we aren’t meant to have a baby ever, or that having a baby should only happen when everything is perfect in your life, it just might mean that we God is waiting a little while for things to get a little more stable. These birds can still have their nest building succeed, it just takes longer to make it stable enough to lay eggs in.
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Where else can we find meaning in the world around us?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

The songs, the garland, the decked out trees,
Bring back happy Christmas memories
Like the annual Christmas tree search
And playing an angel in the pageant at church

Singing carols from door to door
Until our noses are rosy and sore
Braving the cold for every exploit
Warm mugs of cocoa to end the night

Turkey dinner at grandma’s with uncles and aunts
The sight of so much good food makes tight our pants

The glittering lights, ornaments, tinsel and gifts
Step in the house and the spirit lifts
Home always filled with the scent of pine
But first and foremost in this memory of mine
Was the outpouring of love and joy making this season fine

So if I jump into Christmas too soon for your taste
And it seems I am making far too much haste
Remember my goal: to rediscover that feeling
The happy family, love, joy and peace so appealing

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Think Again

Think Again
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For some reason I foolishly thought that since God was leading us to stop trying, that I would instantly be at peace and it would be that easy. I forgot that often god doesn’t call you to do something easy. This became very clear to me a week ago at a women’s retreat. As I’ve said, my prayer is for a baby, but especially for peace. One of the services at the retreat started out with asking a few women what their number one request for God is. My mind would tell you (as it did a couple weeks ago) that I know having a baby would achieve peace, in this part of my life, so the end result is my ultimate goal.
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This is all very logical and makes perfect sense. However when I asked myself this question my heart didn’t let my mind get a word in edgewise. I want a baby. A baby would be my one request for God if my heart had anything to do with it. This surprised me, though it really shouldn’t have. All of a sudden I was crying- which of course is not even close to the peace I am seeking. We were asked to turn to our neighbor and share our one request, and then pray for each other’s requests. My neighbor was my mom (who fought infertility for 10 years).  She asked me what my request was (knowing the answer, and knowing we are not currently trying). For a moment my mind and my heart argued. My mind wants peace. My heart doesn’t care so much about peace; it wants to be a mommy. My heart quickly won and through my tears and in a breaking voice I shared my heart-truth with my mom. She cried with me and prayed with me. The rest of the day I prayed and soul searched. It didn’t appear that my decision to stop trying brought me the peace that my head is looking for. In fact I haven’t cried so hard for my infertility problems since my miscarriage.
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So now I’ve realized that while I still believe God is calling us to stop trying, that this is, of course, not a simple one step path to happiness. I’m more committed to staying away from preventative measures than I was, and I am daily praying for peace and also for relief of this yearning. My desired outcome is to be in a place where I can accept God’s path for my life, that I can be content with my life as a wife and a stepmom and an aunt, for as long as my life is such. A place where I will be thrilled if I ever get my chance to be a mom, however that chance might come, but that I will also be thrilled with my life as it is right now.
This was our forgiveness ceremony, we wrote down something on a special piece of paper that we needed forgiveness for, and then dissolved that paper in some water, and then threw white rose petals in the river. It was beautiful.

This means daily prayer for that mindset. I don’t know why I thought we could just decide to stop trying, make it official by putting it in the blog, and then I would have peace. This is a process. I do know that my emotions cannot be allowed to control my life. Decisions are not to be made based on how you feel during any given fleeting moment. This doesn’t mean my emotions are wrong, never to be trusted, or my feelings aren’t valid, just that when I have a heart moment that says “I want to be mom, who cares about peace” that I have to remember that the heart is fickle, and a not super smart. Do I always feel head over heels in love with my husband? I wish! It’d be awesome if I did, but no married couple feels in love every moment of every day. You choose to love your spouse with the logic side of you, even when your heart wants you to storm off during an argument and never come back. Your mind tells you to love and support your husband even when he is farting and making a mess.
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So is this decision to stop trying going to make my life easy and fun? Not right away, but I’m praying daily for the peace that I know God wants to give me. Please pray with us as we continue down this path that I just realized isn’t as smooth and beautiful as I expected, but which I still believe is the path that God is leading us to take. 
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The first sentence of my last post can be taken wrongly. Especially if you read only the first sentence, and especially if what you know about me personally is taken mostly from what I post on Facebook, for example, if you know me through a friend.  So I’m going to dissect that first sentence so maybe it can be better understood. I do ask that if you read only the first sentence, please read it all the way through, because that first sentence is not the point of the post.

The sentence in question: When I try to look to the future I can’t see us in a place other than where the bills are piling up, sex is a chore, and I’ve got baby on the brain.

Part one: the bills are piling up. This is not to say that we are flat broke, that we don’t have any money, or that we can’t afford to pay our bills. This is just saying that with doctor visits and the way the economy is, we aren’t rolling in the dough.

Part two: sex is a chore. I love my husband; I enjoy sex with my husband. But when sex has to be scheduled, when it is required and must be done on a certain day, at a certain time, it becomes a chore. Not just for me, but for him too. This doesn’t mean we never have sex for fun, but when we are having sex just because it is the right time of the month and not just because we are in the mood, that makes it a chore. This sentiment is common for people who have been trying to get pregnant for several years. But, it doesn’t mean that we only think of sex as a chore.

Part three: I’ve got baby on the brain. This is not me saying that I only think of having a baby every minute of every day. Again, when most of what you know about me personally is via this blog, it’s likely that it appears that I do nothing but obsess over trying to get pregnant or the fact that I can’t. This is absolutely not true. I wish I could have a baby. But it doesn’t enter my every waking thought.

That sentence was supposed to be just a little glimpse into the thoughts that a lot of infertile couples have to struggle with. These aren’t thoughts that we have all the time, but they do cross our minds.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Future

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When I try to look to the future I can’t see us in a place other than where the bills are piling up, sex is a chore, and I’ve got baby on the brain. That is not a bright future. Lately I’ve been praying a lot for peace, at least as much for peace as for a baby. I think having a baby is one way to have peace, but I would be happy if I could have peace another way too. I can have peace living my life child free, if I’m not always waiting for the waiting to be over and my life as a mom to begin.

So in my praying and seeking started to feel God nudging me towards a new path. It’s a subtle feeling (I sure wish God would come out and talk to me like He did Sara and Abraham) but subtle it may be, I feel the nudge to step on the TTC (trying to conceive) rollercoaster and start down what I hope will be a peaceful path side by side with God and my husband.

So I sat down with my dear husband to tell him about what I think God is guiding us to do. At this point I think my husband is mostly along for the ride for my sake. It’s not that he doesn’t want to have a baby with me, but he is content to just let it run its course. For him it’s not so much a roller coaster as a plane ride. There might be some turbulence around the way, but it doesn’t ruffle his feathers like it does mine.

His request for our change in plans is that I don’t start preventing right away, which we are in agreement on. I won’t prevent for at least a few months, but I’m afraid I won’t be truly off the roller coaster until chances of my period being late due to pregnancy are nearly nonexistent. To save myself the monthly heartache we may have to stop the whole ride. But I’m willing to give not trying/not preventing another chance (we did it once, got pregnant and then I had an early miscarriage.) we talked about adoption, and I told him I was willing to look at it with an open mind if he wants to do some research. Adoption is never something I’ve been crazy about, but I’m less closed off to it than I used to be.

Does this mean I don’t want a baby? That I won’t be sad anymore? That another person’s baby news will never again rub me the wrong way? Would I turn away someone who wanted me to adopt their baby? Of course not, the rollercoaster just needs to stop. What if this isn’t from God? What if by stopping, or worse, preventing, I am throwing a wrench in God’s plan for my life? I trust that God can get through any barrier I throw in His way; if He decides I’m gonna have a baby. Maybe He will bring a birth mother to me at exactly the right time, and we all know birth control is not 100% effective. And, God may be nudging me to stop only temporarily. Whatever the obstacle, God can overcome it if He wants. But whatever He decides to do or not do, I will trust and praise Him. In the paraphrased words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, “The God I worship can save me from a life of stress and misery being childless, but even if He doesn’t, I will still praise Him and do the right thing.”

The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace.  But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18