About Me

My photo
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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Depression

Click here to see more photos
So it doesn't appear that my mood is improving with the absence of my period. Usually I have to suffer through a little bit of depression, sometimes mild sometimes severe for at least a week with pms and the arrival of my dreaded monthly companion, but then it goes away and I tend to feel better for a few weeks until the next onslaught of mood swings. Sometimes I have a week and a half of bad moods, but some months I don't have any more than a day or two or a moment or two on a couple of days that I feel very bad.

Lately however my depression has been worse and lasted longer, I want to sleep more as well as having a harder time waking up in the morning and I've been having more aches and pains than usual, along with the usual sadness and the anger that is new with this bout of depression, and all those are signs of worsening depression. So with dismay I think it's finally time to turn to the medical community for some help out of my slump. Hopefully if I go back on anti-depressants I can get back to a place where I don't bite my husband's head off every time he looks at me funny.

It's hard for me to go back on anti-depressants because I hate doctors and medicine. Not because I have any fear of needles or anything, but because many times doctors want to prescribe medicine for every single ailment as a first resort, sometimes without looking for the root cause of the problem, and so much as preventative medicine which is often unnecessary. The last time I had to go to the doctor it was for a bad respiratory infection he prescribed me an antibiotic and tried to give me a steroid shot for the symptoms, which I refused. He also prescribed me a GIANT bottle of prescription cough medicine with codeine, which is one reason the entire country is starting to get dependant on pain killers. The time before that I went to him for a Staph infection on my arm that I picked up (twice) from my job at the prison and he prescribed an antibiotic for the staph, and tried to prescribe something for a yeast infection "just in case" I got a yeast infection from the antibiotics which is a common side effect for some women. I said no thanks, and told him if I suffered from that particular side effect I would treat it naturally.

It's also hard for me to go back on anti-depressants because it's like admitting defeat. I feel I'm giving up and I hate that feeling. It's hard for people to admit they need help, and it's hard for me to relinquish control, which it feels like I am if I can't even control my own emotions without medicinal help. I know that it is a medical problem and not something I can control at will, no more than I can choose to ovulate or decide not to have a period this month. But having the head knowledge of these facts doesn't change what I feel, and what I feel is that I'm failing at being an adult. Grown-ups are supposed to be able to handle everything thrown at them with ease, work 40 hours a week, pay all the bills on time, cook dinner every night, keep the house clean, and still maintain happy marriages and raise well-adjusted children. I can't even handle working 40 hours a week without wanting to just curl up in a ball and stay there. I barely get any housework done even on the weekends because I am so physically and emotionally worn out from my work week. I'm always snapping at my husband and yelling at my cats, or crying for no reason. And, again, though my head knowledge that tells me that everyone needs some kind of help and even those who make all that work look easy don't always have an easy time at it doesn't change how I feel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Anger

Click to see my other photos
Today is one of those very rare days where I wake up so fantastically cranky that I sit around all day stewing and feeling like I want to punch someone. On days like this it feels like my only options are to either be angry or cry. In fact I think the reason I am angry is because I am more depressed than usual and just want to lie down and curl up in a ball –but I have to go to work and pretend everything is fine and do my job without interruption.

I am angry because I had to get up this morning when I was still ridiculously tired from hardly being able to sleep due to coughing so much because of this upper respiratory infection that I supposedly should be over by now. I am angry because I woke up a few minutes late and had to rush when packing my lunch and letting the dog out and then drive to work in the rain. I am irritated because I have to walk down more than 90 outside steps to get to my office, and the knowledge of having to take those same steps back up in the inclement weather with an umbrella that keeps turning inside out in the slightest win just ticks me off even more. I am bothered because my boss is so busy all the time and has so many meetings that we usually don't have enough time to go over her mail and the other things we need to discuss. I am cranky because I am hungry, but there is no food being served here today that I will eat, and the tomato soup I brought as my lunch does not appeal to me at all.

But I am thankful that I woke up at all this morning and that I was not late to work. I am thankful that I was able to afford to see the doctor and start the antibiotics I need to kick this cough, even though it seems to be taking too long. I am thankful that I am physically able to walk up and down 90 steps each day, and that I don't need to be on crutches even temporarily. I am thankful that I have a job, a state job that I cannot get laid off from or fired from for no good reason, one that I get 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. I am thankful that I have food in the house that I can bring to work with me, and that at my job I can eat for free, even though it's prison food and not great, it's still food and it's still free.

I am also cranky because my arms are aching for the baby I wish to hold in them. My heart sighs when I think about the Christmas games we could play, and the traditions we could form. And my eyes glisten with tears when I think about the good times our family may never have. But I am thankful that God gave me the heart to want to love a baby so much, and the ability to feel emotions even when they are sad emotions. Most of all I am thankful for my terrific husband, my beautiful dog, and my cool stepson who is coming tonight for the week, because I would be so much more miserable without these forces of love in my life.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Infertility and depression

I need to clear up a little confusion here. I have become aware that it may appear that my entire life revolves around infertility. If you know me only through my blog, or determine who I am and what I am like according to my blog, you may have the same misconception about me. My entire life does not revolve around infertility. Every blog I write is about infertility in one way or another and every topic I choose to write about I find a way to tie it in to infertility, but that is because it is an infertility blog. If I were to write a blog about photography nearly every blog post would be about photography in some way, but that wouldn't mean that every aspect of my life was infected by photography.

Infertility is not first and foremost on my mind every minute of every day. Yes, there are things that come up that bring it into focus, but I don't have the energy to obsess about it all the time. If I spend a lot of time thinking about it, then I will get a little sad. Sometimes I will get more than a little sad, or fall into a depression for a couple of days. However, not every bout of depression I suffer is infertility related. A fight with my husband can cause a short bout of depression, as could money problems, severe stress from work, or anything else that goes wrong. There are also times when there is no specific cause for a bout with depression, because depression is a lifelong battle that isn't yet well understood by doctors, and does not always have to have a specific cause other than a hormonal imbalance.

I have been suffering from depression for my entire life, from when I was a small kid, through my teens, and as an adult. So infertility is not the sole cause of my depression. Because depression is a lifelong battle I will not take antidepressants every time I have a bout with depression. Until my depression becomes so severe as to regularly limit my daily function I intend to stay away from anti-depressants. I have taken them in the past and they greatly benefited me, but I don't think it is necessary to be on anti-depressants for the rest of your life as long as you go off them under a doctor's supervision. I will go back on them if I decide it's necessary. I have also asked my husband to let me know if he thinks I need them again; if I don't recognize the need myself. However, if and when I go back on antidepressants I intend to take them only for a few months, and then attempt to go off of them (under a doctor's care) and see if I can once again handle life without the need to be on daily antidepressants. Most of my bouts with depression last a day or two, though I do sometimes have especially severe PMS at which point it can last for several days at a time.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the causes of my infertility; and, I have learned, can also be a cause of depression and/or mood swings. Many times a woman with PCOS suffers from more severe PMS, depression, and mood swings, than women who do not have PCOS. This can be caused by the imbalance of hormones that causes PCOS. So, chances are, even if I find out that I can never have a baby of my own and I somehow come to completely accept it so that I am never once bothered by it, I will still suffer from depression and mood swings. Of course, infertility isn't something that most people just 'get over'. I think I am pretty well adjusted to the idea of maybe not having a baby of my own, but that does not mean that I am happy for it or that I'm never going to be bothered by the thought ever again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas


My Christmas decorating is done! I love Christmas so much; it is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about Christmas, the Christmas music, the lights, the general merriment and the gift giving. I love receiving gifts, but I am the kind that just loves to give gifts, and I would do so much more than I should if I had any money. When I was a teenager I used to wrap the gifts I was giving my friends over and over again so that when they got through with one layer (after fighting with the massive amounts of tape I put on it) there would be another layer to go through. And another, and another. I still do that sometimes. And with my darling husband being such a snoop and liking to shake presents and feel them and try to guess what they are by their shape I have taken to disguising them by putting them all in boxes or other containers. One year I wrapped a few things separately and then put them into a popcorn container and wrapped that. So when he unwrapped it he thinks its popcorn, then he opened it up and has more unwrapping to do.



I put up a tree, garland around the doors, mistletoe, a wreath, and best of all, my Christmas Village. This village has been passed down from my grandma to my mom, and then I received it from my mom. When I was a kid I loved the village and I always helped put it up, and later on my mom would let me put it up on my own. There are so many buildings in this village it would cost quite a bit to replicate. It also has a skating pond that plugs in and has moving magnets moving skaters around the lake. Unfortunately I don’t quit have the room to set it all up. Last year I had to spread it around the living room, putting most in the main spot next to the tree and then putting down snow blankets on the end tables next to the couch and putting some there. This year I am short some snow blankets (must have tossed them last year) so I put them all in the main spot and just skipped the skating pond.Of course the instant I put up the village the cats invaded, and when I booted my Romeo off the sewing table so that I could set up the village he decided he was a Christmas gift and placed himself under the tree.


As much as I love Christmas if I think about it too much I get a little sad. While seeing my beautiful tree lit up and my village all beautifully arranged brings a smile to my face, sometimes it’s a sad smile when I think of how there are no kids around to share my love of Christmas with. No kids around to enjoy the magic and mystery of the moving skating pond, or the twinkling tree, or the angel topper whose wings fluidly change color minute by minute. No Christmas stories to tell, stockings to fill, or waking early Christmas morning in anticipation of the gifts and the fun and love the day will hold. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Being Rebellious


See more of my photos
I hate being told what to do. I don’t mind working and having a boss and being told what to do for payment. That’s why they pay you, because you do what they tell you to do. What I don’t like is telling myself what to do, or trying to do something that I HAVE to do when nobody is making me. I’m no good at dieting or exercise. Telling myself I can’t have something bad for me or I have to eat carrots today (instead of chips), or I have to walk around the block today is very difficult to get myself to actually do it (or not do it). I rebel against being told what to do. Like any self respecting 4 year old if you tell me I can’t have ice cream because it’s before dinner I only want it that much more!

The problem that arises from this odd rebelliousness is when trying to make a baby you HAVE to have sex every day or every other day for about 4 or 5 days around your fertile time. Without fail, every time that it’s the baby making time of the month I am less in the mood than any other time of the month. I DON’T WANNA and I have a heck of a time getting in the mood for the baby making process.

I’m wondering if part of the reasoning behind all this negativity is a defense mechanism. If I don’t do the baby-dance when I’m fertile [not that I'm sure I ever ovulate], then I can’t be surprised and depressed by my period showing up. Not that that works. Even when I don’t think I could be pregnant, if my period is late I still get hopeful. And besides, the one month I got pregnant it could have happened only on day 11 or day 19, which means that I ovulated either early or late that month, so even when I don’t have sex during days 12-16 it could still happen. As a defense mechanism it is pretty pathetic. I don’t know what to do about this or how to change my patterns and get in the mood for this process.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dogs and Love


See more of my photos
My dog is really special to me. I always thought I didn’t like dogs, but since we got her I think I’ve been converted to a dog person. I didn’t really think it was possible but she seems to truly love. When she looks at me I can see the love, trust, and adoration in her face and eyes. It’s really awesome, and I finally get the man’s best friend thing.

Cats are great. They are beautiful, intelligent, they do some adorable things, and they are self sufficient. My husband says they are like love camels. They can store up a bunch of love and then go for a long time without needing much from you. Since we feed our cats by leaving the door to the food storage container open (since my youngest cat Seven wouldn’t have it any other way) we can go on vacation for a week and just leave out some large water dishes for them while we are gone and they hardly know the difference. That right there is a pretty cool pet.

But, after feeling the love that emanates from my puppy (who’s not a puppy anymore); I can’t imagine living without a dog ever again. She is a pain for vacations, since we have to bring her along or find someone to come over several times a day to let her out and feed her. For example, for Thanksgiving this year she was the 13th body at my mom’s. She was the only dog but that’s one dog and 12 people in a 2 bedroom apartment. Overnight there was one dog, one baby, 2 teens, 2 men, and 4 women spread out over two beds, a couch and various places on the floor. It was packed, and clearly adding a dog to the mix only makes things more complicated. To make matters worse my dog apparently HATES my sister and her fiancée. Luckily this is not the sister from Texas who stayed there the whole time, but the two times my other sister came by my dog growled and barked and really worried us. This is the sweetest, most scardy-cat dog I know, but when my sister and her fiancée walked in she acted like she was a drug dog and they were smuggling something.

See more of my Photos
But even with the added complications and with making leaving for vacation a little more work we still love her to pieces. I can’t get enough of my dog, and even though I shouldn’t, I let her up on the couch with me once in awhile if I’m lying down while watching TV. I love her like a kid, because she is my furbaby, and sometimes our kids need to be a little spoiled

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving


Gabby - See more of my Photography
                                    
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and mine is going to be great! I get to go visit my mom, my husband will be there, my stepson, both of my sisters, both of my nieces, my brother-in-law and his little brother, my soon to be brother-in-law, and my aunt and uncle.


Layla

My nieces are the light of my life. They are so beautiful and awesome I just can’t get enough of them. Unfortunately one of my sisters lives in Texas, and like the mean lady she is she keeps her daughter all the way down there with her. My other sister lives near my mom on the other side of Tennessee from me, so I get to see her and her daughter a little more often, but not nearly often enough. Layla is 2 and a half years old and has so much energy. The last time I went to see her I was sitting on the floor and she would run across the living room and jump into my arms, and then run away and do it all over again. At one point she was standing next to me and suddenly just jumped into my arms, luckily I was quick enough to catch her; she just jumped with full confidence in her invincibility and my capability of catching her.




Gabby and daddy - John
My other niece is Gabby almost 2 years old, and I’ve only seen her twice (plus seen her through video chat once). She is also beautiful and does some really cute stuff, but because I haven’t been around her as much I don’t have any stories of my own about her.

It is an extremely rare occasion when the whole family gets together. It hasn’t happened that all three girls with families have been together in over 4 years since we all moved away from Michigan. Both my husband and I love being around kids, so this holiday will be a wonderful one, though it will probably leave us wanting a baby that much more by the time Sunday rolls around. Maybe that will be a good motivator and conversation starter to start thinking about getting this process started again. 

Layla and Ben (My husband)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maybe I Won't Give Up


See more of my photography

I’ve been wanting to give up for a long time. That doesn’t mean I don’t still want a baby. I still want to have a baby, and my hopes still build slightly as the end of the month nears. If my period was late the hope builds exponentially greater each day, and sometimes my mood plummets drastically after a negative test and my period finally showing up.

But today I read the most uplifting blog: Sweetness and Me: We're Baaaacccckkkk. It was about a couple who finally adopted after two years of trying. The joy emanating from the words I read was palpable, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. She is so happy and it makes all the stress and pain and tears they experienced completely worth it. I want that.

I don’t think adoption is for me, because I can’t afford it, and I wouldn’t want to go through all the home visits and all that comes along with applying to adopt. But at this point I might consider surrogacy if I could afford it. I haven’t wanted to do that before either, (like when my sister half offered),  because it can still be a complicated process, and I always thought I would have a big problem with someone having a drink with caffeine while carrying my baby, or having drugs during labor.

But after seeing this woman’s joy through her words at having her baby none of that seems to matter. I’m sure the birth mom didn’t do everything exactly the way the adoptive mom would have, and she had to have a c-section which is also not ideal, but it doesn’t matter. She has a baby now, and she is happy. That’s what matters.

I still want a baby, I do not want to give up, but I just don’t see being able to afford the procedures, or to pay for surrogacy… I have such conflicting feelings right now. It feels good to finally have the drive to try again. But that brings along fears and sadness. If we start actively trying again then I am opening myself up to a lot more hope and a lot more letdowns. I’m afraid to make myself vulnerable again. Writing this and feeling that vulnerability is bringing real tears to my eyes now. I think I need some encouragement. 

Click here to see more of my photos

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Foster Care - Have We Considered It?



Click here to visit my photography page
So my husband brought up the topic of foster care the other day. We were talking about the need for me to go back to the fertility clinic and our plans to get all the tests done to find out our chances of getting pregnant naturally, and the fact that it could come back that the chance of getting pregnant naturally is very, very low. I think I could handle that. I wouldn’t like it, but being able to know something definite would allow us to start accepting it and getting on with our lives. And I’m to a point now where I just want some answers, good or bad.

I don’t think I would like doing foster care. I wouldn’t be able to handle having to send the kids back to their parents that they were taken away from. Even if the kids weren’t going back to their parents a lot of times they go to grandparents or somebody, who we can’t really know are much better than the parents. Even being sure that kids were going back to an awesome home that is terrific for them would be so hard. I want a baby that I can love. Any child I bring into my house would be loved and cared for, and bringing a baby into my house and falling in love with her, and then giving her away to parents or grandparents or somebody else would hurt too much.

My husband is not ready to give up his dream of having a baby with me, and he feels that that dream can be realized to some degree with foster care. I don’t want to give up either, but I’m so tired of trying and caring and hoping and hurting. Counting days and reading so much into each sign and symptom at the end of my month is getting old. I don’t think it should be this much work to have a baby, and I don’t think that foster care would realize that dream.

I just feel like it’s time to start my life. It’s time just to have a baby and start my life as a mother, or not have one and start my life as a childfree woman. Foster children would feel like another holding pattern, constantly waiting for the day when they have to leave.

Click here to see more of my photos
I told him it’s something we can discuss again after we get some answers from the doctor. I may feel completely different about foster care if I find out I can’t have a baby naturally. But right now while fertility hope is still hanging around I don’t think it is something that’s right for me. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Test or Not To Test?


Click Here to See My Other Photos
So I had another negative test yesterday. Having suffered through a miscarriage and having to live with the knowledge that I may have been able to prevent it if I got to the doctor soon enough does not allow me to take a relaxed look at AF (Aunt Flo) coming late. Unfortunately I am not extremely regular so there are many months that I am a few days late. My choice once I am a few days late is to just sit around and wait and see if it shows up, or take a home pregnancy test.

If I take a test I risk wasting the money on a test and wasting some hopes on the fact that it might come up positive when it always comes up negative. If I wait around for AF to show up I take the risk that I am by some miracle pregnant and then losing it because I waited too long and didn’t get the tests done to tell me that I needed to start some supplements. Also each day of waiting around for it to show up only raises my hopes. Taking a test and having it come up negative is one way to dash those hopes early before they become harmful.

I can usually hold off on testing when I am just one day late. This month by the time I got to being a full 2 days late I went out and bought a test with the intention of testing in the morning on the 3rd day if I still saw no signs of starting. My caring husband was worried about me taking the test and having it come up negative and push me off the edge into a depression. When I explained to him about wanting to know right away only so that I could get the necessary tests I needed that might help me keep it he understood and agreed with me. I also explain that the hopes are there and whether the no comes from AF showing up or from a negative test it still hurts. The only difference is it takes longer to get a no (with more time for hopes to build) if I wait around for AF.

The other problem that arises here is that a negative Home Pregnancy Test does not mean a definitive no and neither does spotting. I had both implantation spotting and a negative pregnancy test at some point during the few short days when I was pregnant, and I was definitely pregnant through both of those signs. So even after taking one test I can’t be sure, though it does get me through a few more days. After a few more days with no sign of AF showing up I may take another test. “I may have ovulated late, meaning that I could have got pregnant later than usual and the pregnancy hormone might show up on a home test in a few days.” See how fertility hope won’t leave me alone? There is a way to explain every symptom and negative pregnancy test, building up false hope until it’s been stacked too high and everything tumbles at the first definitive sign.
Click Here to See My Other Photos