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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fertility Hope – My Frenemy

With infertility, like with any pain, you never get over it completely. You think you are over it and it doesn’t bother you anymore, and then a song, a comment from somebody, a Facebook status, a TV show or a movie sets you off. Whatever set you off brings that pain out of the corner of your heart it was banished to and mostly ignored, brings it front and center and smacks you in the face with it like you’re in a "Shoulda had a V8" commercial. This happened to me yesterday when I was listening to a country singer sing about the good things in life, including babies and grandbabies.

The majority of the time I will tell you that I have made my peace with infertility. I feel that I have accepted the fact that I may never have a baby, and though it is sad and not what I would have chosen for my life, I can accept it and I am okay with it because worrying about it and always being depressed about it does nothing to change my circumstances. I have come to terms with the fact that it may never happen for us, and I look for joy in other parts of my life to lessen the ache of the emptiness infertility dumps on my heart. But sometimes even though I have accepted this course of my life it doesn’t mean that I’m not sad about it on occasion.

The difference between the pain of infertility, and the pain of, say losing a loved one, is that when a loved one is lost you know they are gone and they aren’t coming back. It doesn’t necessarily soften the blow, but for me any time I have some indisputable facts looking up at me I can make my peace a little better with it. But infertility has very few indisputable facts that never change. Sperm count and motility can change depending on what you eat what vitamins you take, smoking, hot tubs, etc. A woman’s ovulation or lack thereof can also change drastically with her diet or for no reason at all. Doctors know very little about why our fertility is so unpredictable, and so many couples end up diagnosed as unexplained infertility leaving them with no specific diagnosis to make peace with. For example, my parents tried for 10 years to get pregnant and there were problems with both of them, and then after 10 years of trying and failed treatments they got pregnant naturally and had 3 babies in 3 years. They even tried to stop after me, the first one, and couldn’t. There are cases where doctors can diagnose somebody with a specific reason for their infertility that will never change, but much of the time there is little guarantee that you won’t someday start ovulating or start producing viable sperm.

Because of this, infertility (at least for me) is a lifelong battle with Fertility Hope. Now hope in itself is not a bad thing, but Fertility Hope is hope that keeps creeping up and nipping at your heels telling you maybe this month you’re pregnant, or maybe redoing that test will yield different results and is not my friend. That Fertility Hope sets me up to be hurt time and again and it is a sadistic frenemy. In case you don’t already know, a ‘frenemy’, according to the online dictionary, is a person who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.

Fertility Hope (known from here on out as FH) is my frenemy. I don’t have any physical frenemies because I have no interested in being friends with someone I don’t like or who doesn’t like me, and I would not continue to hang out with someone who treats me like FH does. Someone who always tells me things that gets my hopes up just to pull the rug out from under my feet is not a person I would keep around. FH always creeps in and starts whispering in my ear that this month is the month, or that I will get pregnant next month if I do everything right this time (as though each month the baby making failed it was our fault). FH never lets me let it go and get over it. As much as I want to make peace with infertility and leave it behind me FH keeps coming around and pushing it right back under my feet so I trip on it over and over again.

What I want, second to my want for a baby of my own, are answers. We plan on getting more tests done now that we can afford the copays and finding out once and for all what our chances are of getting pregnant naturally. It has been over two years since we have had any testing done, so we need to find out where we stand right now. If we can find out that our chances are very low then we can put this behind us and move on with our lives, and I may be able to ditch FH once and for all. I would rather know that I cannot have a baby so that I can start to deal with it than sit around for 10 years harboring my frenemy Fertility Hope. I wish to be able to banish my one and only frenemy and never have to deal with FH again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smiling My Way Through Infertility

There are a lot of little things in life that make me happy. Any time I can glean a little bit of joy from something, no matter how small, I jump at the chance. For a person battling infertility it is a daily struggle to keep their spirits high. I make it a point to enjoy my life and find little things I can achieve some happiness from. Some days it helps soften the blow of infertility. Here is a list of things that make me happy or bring a smile to my face.

Funky socks make me happy. Any socks that are not plain white are good, but if they are any bright color, have several colors or funky designs they were made for my feet. Putting them on and seeing them all day make me smile, and every smile is a step in the right direction.

Rainbows, obviously. Rainbows are beautiful. They are a rare occurrence (though not in Hawaii, one of the reasons I love Hawaii), and they are so hard to find and to capture. Even when I do get a picture of a rainbow it never shows up as splendid in my picture as it did in real life.

Nail polish. Putting a new fresh coat of bright colors nail polish on my nails makes me smile. I hate when I am not allowed to have my nails painted and in those situations (when I worked at McDonald’s) I rebel by wearing nail decals over clear polish. My favorite nail polish of all time is a bright purple that is called ‘Let’s Talk’ for some reason. It is so bright and deep that it draws my attention during the day and brings a smile to my face every time.

Rain. I love it when it rains. I don’t mean when it drizzles or sprinkles all day, those days are a little depressing. I mean when it Rains with a capital ‘R’. I love it when it starts pouring rain, and thunder and lightning are the whipped cream and cherry on my rainy day. When it starts pouring down rain I want to run outside and stand under my carport and watch the rain, and I am tempted to run right out into it. Many times I just open the shades and the curtains and watch the rain from the inside, but I love it any time it pours, any way I can see it.

A good book. I LOVE to read. I like to take long bubble baths when I have extra time, and I always read while in the bath, I always have a book with me so that I can read on my breaks at work, I read while I eat lunch, and I keep a book on hand so that any time I have to wait somewhere I have a book to read. My favorite author is Dean Koontz, with Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson tied for second. My husband just turned me on to the Harry Dresden Series by Jim Butcher, which is about a wizard for hire in modern day Chicago. I also love many of the Christian series’ written by Robin Jones Gunn. My favorite book not written by any of these authors, and one of my favorites of all time is called The Arena and it is by Karen Hancock. The other things she has written don’t sound like anything I would be interested in, but the first time I read this book in high school I was SAD when it ended. Not because the ending was sad, but because I couldn’t keep reading it. I borrowed it from the library a couple times after that and got my husband and one of my mom’s friends to read it, and then when we moved I borrowed it from the library in my new town as well, in fact I think they had to borrow it from another library just so I could get it. I eventually bought it from Amazon.com with some Amazon gift cards I had saved up, and now I have my very own copy I can read as many times as I want. There are only a few books that I want to read more than three or four times, and this one is one on that short list. I encourage anybody who likes to read to borrow or buy The Arena by Karen Hancock. Another book on that list is by Dean Koontz, called Twilight Eyes. I also recently bought this one with Amazon gift cards, and I read it as soon as I got it only a few months ago, and started it again yesterday. I like reading most books multiple times, but I usually wait a long time in between reads so that I can forget some of what happens and it is interesting to me the third or fourth time around, but not this one and not The Arena.

That brings me to my next point, photography. I love taking pictures of everything. I love taking scenic shots of waterfalls, creeks, fall trees, lakes, the ocean, snow, and winding roads… I also love taking pictures of babies and little kids, of my family (even the grown ones), and of pets and other animals. Every time I take a picture that turns out as well as I hoped it brings me some joy in life. I can look at those pictures and remember the beauty that I have seen. I love posting my pictures online and I hope those pictures bring a little bit of joy to those who view them. I put the link to my photography page on Facebook in my first blog, but I will post it again here. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Hannah-Love-Chandlers-Photography/282550090053

My husband makes me laugh and smile multiple times a day. Sometimes even when I am a little mad at him he can make me laugh. Last night he took hot dog buns out of the bag and then left the bag open on the counter. I didn’t notice until a couple hours after dinner, but when I did I twisted the bag closed and then I went and told him that he needs to make sure to close the bag so the hot dog buns don’t get stale. He hardly uses the hot dog buns because they aren’t wheat buns, so leaving them open wasn’t going to affect him; it was going to affect me. So last night when I am telling him to make sure to close that bag when he’s done he starts looking behind him saying: “I don’t know who you are talking to, but that guy is in trouble.” I followed him in the living room and he goes: “I don’t know why you’re following me, that guys the one that did it,” pointing back in the kitchen. He just kept pointing behind him and away from him, and then he started acting like he was talking to the “guy” he was blaming it on. It made me laugh even when I was not happy that he had left the bag open.

My dog. My dog makes me smile every day with her antics. Getting her was a really great move on our part, from the decision to get a puppy to the puppy we chose from the litter. She is perfect for us and very lovable. We got her when we decided we needed to give and receive more love than our cats can give. Our cats are terrific and I have always been a cat person, but cats are different than dogs and babies, and dogs are usually a lot closer to babies than cats are. Both my husband and I have always preferred cats, and my husband has always referred to dogs as children that never grow up. This was a reason he always used to give for not getting a dog. But with our hopes for a baby continuing on unrealized, a puppy seemed like the answer. We have never regretted our decision to get a dog and we have been blessed to have her be part of our family.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Enjoying Life Before/Without Children

I make it a point to enjoy my life no matter the circumstances. I choose to have as much fun as possible and I choose to love my life. As I stated in my last post when I talked about my miscarriage, my husband and I have such an awesome relationship and so much fun together that we can accept having to live childfree if it is necessary. Now remember I do have a 13 year old stepson so we are not completely childfree, but he does not live with us so most of the year we are childfree and there is little we can do about it.

I like to remember the things in my life that I can enjoy, especially things that I can only enjoy until or if ever I can get pregnant and have a baby. Things like sleeping in late on the weekends, or getting tipsy one night if I feel like it. One time at Mother’s Day I even ran off with my mom to Florida on a whim. When I think about living childfree I think of the vacations we will be able to take, the romantic places we will go. Until now those have all been farfetched dreams, because as much as I would like to go to Hawaii with my awesome husband I have been working in minimum wage jobs with no room for advancement and not even getting 40 hours a week. However, I just got a state secretary job and he just got a promotion so things are going to change. Of course until that money piles up enough to fund these great vacations we have to have our fun in other cheap/free ways. So we have taken to going to the creek every once in awhile and swimming.

This past weekend we went to this creek with some of my husband’s brothers and sisters who were visiting for the weekend. My husband’s cousin and his son who live next door to us also went. One day there were some men jumping off the bridge, and they showed Danny and Nate the right place to jump from where you won’t hit bottom. This time Nate and Danny went back up on the bridge and Nate jumped in the right place and loved it. It took Danny several false starts and a lot of time thinking about it, and his 15 yr old jumping for the second time that day before he decided to go for it.

The next time we went back my husband and I got there later than everybody else, and as we were walking down from the road Nate was walking back up to jump again (after having done it a couple times that day already) and asks my husband if he was jumping. My husband says “no way, I jumped off a bridge once I don’t ever have to do it again.” So I told Nate, “wait, I’m coming”. I gave my husband my camera and told him exactly what time to take the picture, and went on back up to the street with Nate to jump. Nate jumped first and then I climbed over the railing and looked down, and made the jump from 30 feet above the water with very little hesitation. I had done all my debating with myself and deciding long before I went up on the bridge so there was little to think about once I was up there. However, once I was in the air I was TERRIFIED. I was scared to death once I was in midair and I couldn’t bring myself to move my legs into the straight up and down position so that my feet would go straight into the water, and I hit the water in kind of a sitting position smacking the back of my legs hard on the water. Even so I think I would do it again. I would try to be more conscious of the way I went down so maybe I don’t get any more giant bruises on the back of my legs, but I am glad I did it and I think I would do it again.

That's me! My husband got a great shot!
And that’s what life is about. You have to take chances and do things that are fun. This certainly isn’t something I would have been able to do while pregnant, and I probably wouldn’t have even been able to be at the creek that day if I had a young baby. It’s not something I could have done if I had a young child, because what if that child wanted to do it because mommy did it? I wouldn’t allow a young child to make that jump, though while we were there that day after I jumped there was a family with a 4 year old boy wearing a life vest that jumped. I just wouldn’t let one of my children make that jump, and its hard to tell a kid they can’t jump because it’s not safe, but mommy can jump, its safe for her. So basically this is something I could only do because I am childless, and I plan to continue to do fun things like this. I plan ongoing skydiving one day, I have always wanted to do that. I love my life because I choose to, and I try to spend as little time as possible wallowing in the pain and depression that is caused by my infertility. There are times when it bubbles up and consumes me, but I try as hard as I can to push it away and get rid of it. I will not let my infertility control me or make my decisions for me.