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

Sunday, October 30, 2011


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So it’s Halloween. A time when adorable little kids dressed up in delightful outfits come to your door and show you how cute they are and remind you how much fun it would be to do this with your own babies. For me I think Halloween is not as hard as it is for others, because I have never really celebrated Halloween. Growing up we weren’t allowed to go trick or treating because my mom is anti-Halloween, so we usually went out bowling or did something else as a family so that we weren’t home during  trick or treating either. Sometimes we dressed up and went to costumed church events, but mostly it was something that had nothing to do with Halloween. We still got to get candy, if whatever we did didn’t include candy we always got some candy the next day that they bought half off (which I am all for, why pay full price for something one day when you can get it half off the next day, it doesn’t hurt anybody to wait one day).
The first year that we were allowed to go trick or treating I was 15. I guess my mom finally broke down and decided she would let us go (though I don’t think I was the one asking anymore). I dressed up as a gyspy or something and went trick or treating with my boyfriend through his neighborhood. At 15 I was thinking I was too old for this, and I never went again.

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When I first moved out on my own and had my own apartment I considered buying some candy to pass out to little kids, but I wasn’t sure I’d get any kids at my apartment building. The following year I was living at Ben’s house, which was in a very big, very populated trailer park. At this point I figured we would get plenty of people, but I decided not to pass out candy because I realized that a lot of older teens would be trick or treating too, which I don’t understand, because I was too old for it when I was 15. Had I ever gone again it would have  been solely for the free candy. And at barely over 19 years old, I didn’t feel like using my money to buy candy for a bunch of rotten teenagers only a couple years younger than me. Unfortunately when you hand out candy you don’t really get to pick and choose who to give candy to. That’s just asking for eggs to be thrown in your face. In 6 years my opinion hasn’t changed. I have never once handed out candy because I don’t want any part of indulging the rotten 16 and 17 years olds who think I should give them free stuff for putting on a cape or dressing like a whore.                                        

About 3 years ago at a flea market I bought this adorable little dragon costume. It was really cheap and so cute, I figured I could let my sister use it for my niece and then really soon I would have my own baby that could wear it. It was white with a purple belly and these shimmery purple little wings. The bottom was kind of scrunchy, so it stretched open and the little feet could poke out or not, and it would work for a tiny baby or for a toddler who was walking. The bottom of it was filled out so it looked like a little fat dragon with tiny wings. So cute. At that time I thought a baby was still in our future, so I bought it for us, with the intention just to loan it to my sister.

But Halloween keeps coming and going with no baby, so my sister got two uses out of it and with another on the way should be able to use it for two more years. This year my niece is going as a frog. My other niece who lives in Texas never got to use the dragon costume. She is still young enough to be able to wear it but she has both a bear costume and a skunk costume that either mommy or daddy or grandma bought her, so she doesn’t need mine.

Probably the hardest part about Halloween, other than not being able to dress up my own kids and show them off around the neighborhood is that Halloween is like the beginning of the holiday season. Christmas is coming up so soon, and one more year is coming where I will be decorating the house and putting up a tree and setting up my Christmas village and my talking Christmas tree, and there are no children around to captivate with the magic of Christmas. 

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Miscarriage Memories

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Today something happened that brought back my memories of my miscarriage. It almost felt like I was going through it again, and it was so hard to keep on working through the tears that were filling my eyes.

I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant I told everybody. We called our parents, talked to friends and family, and then posted on Facebook. We were shocked because we were on a break from trying, at least 2 months after going off all fertility medicine. We talked all day long about names and I started looking into midwives and

birthing centers. We had even settled on a name for if it was a boy. I scoured my bookshelves and pulled out the dusty pregnancy books I had bought 2 and a half years earlier. I called and scheduled a blood test at my regular doctor (20 minutes from home versus the hour or more it takes to go to the fertility clinic). I took the home test Monday, and my doctor’s appointment was scheduled for Friday.

Friday we went to the doctor and I checked in, paid my copay, and got called back by the lady who takes all the lab work. Somehow the receptionist managed to schedule me for lab work (which is what I asked for) without letting me know that I had to see my doctor first who had to order the lab. I couldn’t just ask for some lab work (even basic stuff like a pregnancy test). I don’t know how the receptionist let me schedule the lab work without going through the doctor, but they did. The lab technician ended up talking to my regular doctor’s nurse who came to talk to me. My regular doctor wasn’t there so her nurse talked to the head doctor at the clinic, who decided he was going to order a regular urine test and not a blood test. At this point my husband and I are getting frustrated with the way this office was giving us the runaround. I didn’t need a urine test, because the test they do at the doctor is not that much different from the home pregnancy tests you do yourself. We didn’t argue though, we just agreed to do a urine test.

After I gave them my sample they had me go back out to the lobby and wait for them to do the test. The nurse came back out to the lobby to get me so I stood up and motioned for Ben to come back there with me. The nurse looked at him and said no you can sit down, like it was nothing. We assumed she just had to ask me another question or have me sign a paper or something… She took me back into the hallway and told me that the test came back negative. When asked she said she didn’t know why it came back negative when I had had a positive early in the week, but that I should call my fertility clinic. I had to walk back out into the lobby and tell Ben that the test was negative, IN THE LOBBY in front of everybody else there, bawling my eyes out so that he couldn’t even understand me.

When we left the doctor’s office we called the fertility clinic and they said that I could come in and get a blood test, no copay needed because my insurance covers all testing. In truth I should have started with the fertility clinic, because my regular doctor’s office requires a copay even if it’s just for lab work. The problem was I didn’t think about going there first because I wasn’t actively trying and they were not foremost in my mind. So we went in, got my blood test, and got out in just a few minutes. Right as I was pulling up in front of my house the doctor called and said that my tests came back and that I was pregnant, my HCG levels were normal, but my progesterone was too low. My progesterone was only 1.6, and they said it should have been about 20. They told me they were calling in a supplement for me and I went back out to the pharmacy right away to pick it up. I asked if the low progesterone could have been the cause for the negative pregnancy test, and they said no because the urine test checks for HCG levels and my HCG was normal. That means they probably had a dud that they used to tell me I wasn’t pregnant.

I started my progesterone, but on Saturday I started bleeding and cramping. I called the emergency number at the fertility clinic and they said that if the bleeding got heavy (which it did within the hour) then it meant that I was having a miscarriage and there was nothing I could do. I spent most of the day crying about it. I took my laptop up to bed and put myself on bed rest, stayed in bed most of the weekend. Unfortunately Ben has to work every weekend and he couldn’t be home with me most of the day, but he was really great during this. He listened to me and tried to comfort me, and I know this hurt him as much as it hurt me; he was so excited about this baby. He reminded me during this time that him and I get along so well that even if we can never have a baby we will be okay because we are so awesome, just the two of us. That is one thought that keeps me going through all our baby making problems, is that we are great even without a baby.

I was depressed for awhile after that. I had to go back to the doctor on Monday for another blood test. Monday afternoon they called me and said that that test was negative, my HCG was at 0, and I was definitely no longer pregnant. Some people call this kind of pregnancy a chemical pregnancy. I was pregnant and had the chemicals to show for it, but I didn’t have an ultrasound or hear a heartbeat or anything because it was over so quick. I think that people call it a chemical pregnancy in order to make themselves feel better or maybe doctors thought up the term to try to make us patients feel better. If it’s called a chemical pregnancy then maybe we won’t feel as much of a loss if the wording makes it sound like it wasn’t a real pregnancy. For me the loss was real. I have never called it a chemical pregnancy, only a miscarriage. However, I don’t put myself in the same category as women who have miscarriages after hearing the heartbeat or seeing the baby dancing on an ultrasound. For me this was almost as painful (emotionally) as I can imagine, but I know it is not in the same league as miscarriages even just a few weeks or a month further down the road. Eventually the pain faded and it is something that I don’t think about every day. I’m sad that the only positive pregnancy test I have ever seen ended so heartbreakingly, but initially I had retained some hope from the fact that it was possible for me to even get pregnant. Now two years later it is just a sad memory that gently surfaces on occasion. This is the first time that it has ever surfaced so forcefully, but I managed to survive this one without dissolving into a puddle of tears or curling into a ball under my desk. I blinked back a few tears and went on with my day, determined to go home and put my feelings into words. 

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hunting Meteorites

So last night (technically this morning) we did something I have never done. We went out a little after 3:00 am and lay out in my hammock to watch the Orionids Meteor Shower. I hadn’t yet gone to sleep; I was staying up to watch the shower and then go to bed. My husband got some extra sleep during the day and then just woke up at 3 to watch the shower and then get ready for work, since he always gets up for work at 4:30am. It was 37 degrees outside, 36 by the time I finally went in. So we dressed in extra layers pulled the hoods of our hoodies up over our heads, and lay down with our eyes to the heavens hunting meteorites. At first it was a letdown. We saw only 4 from 3:15 until 4:00 when my husband gave up and went back in because he was so cold and wanted to warm up before getting ready for work. At that point, even though we only saw 4 I was glad we had done this. 4 is more “shooting stars” than I have ever seen in my life, so it was worth it, but nowhere near the 15-25 per hour predicted for peak viewing times. From 4:00 to 4:15 I saw none, and I decided I would tough it out until I saw one more, or until I couldn’t handle the cold any longer. Around 4:15 I saw one more, but being the stubborn woman I am I decided to stay out for one more. That’s how it went for the last 15 minutes, during which time I saw 8, twice more than what we saw during the first hour. Finally I could handle the cold no longer, made one last ‘one more meteorite’ promise to myself, saw one more awesome meteorite, which was the best or second best of the night and went in with my whole night’s total coming to 13 meteorites.

Seeing this meteor shower encouraged me to look into other meteor showers that go on during the year, and I have learned some tips and have plans for making this a better experience next time. It was an amazing sight to see, and it makes me think of how most people don’t see this or even know it’s going on. God is performing a laser show several times a year to an empty house that doesn’t even know the show is going on.

Also staring up at the night sky and watching as my night vision improved until I could see countless stars put my problems into a little perspective. Observing the millions of stars and the few shooting stars draws my attention away from inside myself, reminding me that I am not the center of the universe. Also seeing the shooting stars reminds me that God can do anything, and that He has a plan for everything. Just because His plan doesn’t line right up with mine doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a plan. He knows what He’s doing.

P.S. The main point of today’s entry has been what I have already posted. But I feel that to be a responsible infertile sharing my struggles with others, some of whom haven’t been here and can’t understand, I need to clarify some things. Me (or another battling infertility) saying that God has a plan is not the same as somebody not in our situation saying “it must not be God’s time for you” or “maybe God has different plans for you” because we infertiles know this. Just because we are having fertility problems and that this month wasn’t in God’s plan, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be trying, that we shouldn’t be exploring our options, or that we can’t be sad, nor does it mean God doesn’t want us to have a baby. Saying that we should just have faith or that it wasn’t God’s time for you yet usually isn’t comforting, nor is it very sensitive to our needs. What we need is just for you say you are here for us. Here is a blog with some things to say, and some things not to say to somebody who’s been trying. http://www.redbookmag.com/health-wellness/advice/infertility-help

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baby Talk

Yesterday I had a rough experience. Right in the middle of my day as I was sitting at my desk, where I work as secretary in the school in a state prison, my boss and one of the teachers came into the office and were discussing the teacher’s upcoming baby. His wife is expecting their second baby in February, and they just found out it will be a boy. Their first is a girl so they are just tickled at being able to have one of each. My boss and the teacher talked for about a half hour about their babies, the new ultrasound system that measured every inch of the baby, and how he was not willing to have only one child because he didn’t want to have an only child (good thing they didn’t suffer from secondary infertility). He talked about his daughter who is turning 3 and the cute things she does, and they talked about the little machine my boss bought the teachers daughter so that she can listen to the baby in mommy’s tummy.

I am not super sensitive about hearing about others babies and pregnancies. I don’t burst into tears at a pregnancy announcement on Facebook. Some people do and I feel for those who are in a place where just hearing about babies pushes them over the edge. But I am pretty okay with it. During this same week a different teacher came in my office for the sole purpose of showing me pictures of his newest granddaughter. I looked at them politely and gave them back to him. I can handle that stuff. When I look at pictures like that I do it in a way where I am learning about ways to photograph babies, since photography is my passion. So while I can hear about new pregnancies and new babies being born without it pushing me over the edge, I have a hard time listening to a half hour of nonstop baby talk in my office where I can’t get away. I didn’t cry but I felt sad and I got kind of sick to my stomach that I think was related to the sadness.

It’s really hard hearing about what it seems like I will never have…

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Birthdays and Phones

So I have finally joined the 21st century. One of my phones on my family plan was ready to be upgraded so I used some of my birthday money and bought a Smartphone. I got the HTC Inspire Android phone for At&t. It does so much cool stuff that I have never been able to do before and I really love it. I have never had a cell phone before that wasn’t free or free after rebate with the upgrade or contract. Therefore I am severely lacking in skills with using a Smartphone. I am learning and trying to figure it all out. Today I had to get on the At&t website and do instant messaging with a rep to ask some questions and get some stuff figured out, and last night I had to use the online tutorial to be able to figure out how to set the alarm.

I turned 26 this week. Upside: we got to go out and have dinner and I got a new phone plus I still have some money to spend on whatever I want. Downside: I think I thought by this time I would have babies. I would be posting on Facebook about the awesome things my kids were doing instead of the awesome phone I bought. I had one person tell me this week that I should be happy with my dog and not worry about kids because I was young, and another person who I just started working with ask me if I had kids and when I said no she said you don’t need kids and told me to get a dog. I don’t agree that I am so young that I don’t even need to be trying to have kids, but I am still young and at this point my age is probably not a factor of my infertility. Another person present during the first ‘you should enjoy your dog’ comment said that she was a better mom when she was 30 than she was when she had her first and nobody very young should be worrying about having kids. I told her that a woman’s fertility starts going drastically down after she is 30 and it’s really not good advice to tell people to wait until they are 30 to start trying. My other point is that my husband is 35 already, and we have been trying for over 4 years. We don’t want to be having kids when he is 40. Tons of people have kids at that age and older, and that is fine for everybody, but for us it is 2 things. First is the age thing, we just hope to have kids before he is 40, and the other is the time spent trying. We have been trying for 4 years, and we don’t want to keep trying forever. We need to move on at some point and get past the stress of having it all up in the air.

I’m not mad at the people this week (or at any point in the past 4 years) who have offered this unsolicited advice. I’m not mad at them because they were well meaning. They didn’t offer this ‘advice’ maliciously, they were trying to be helpful and because of that I can’t hold a grudge. People that have kids, and have been able to have them easily, without trying and even on accident don’t understand what it’s like for those of us who have put years into the effort and failed at every junction. These people have no idea that what they are saying might hurt because they can’t even comprehend wanting a baby the way we do. So I understand that it is different for people who haven’t been in our situation, and I don’t blame them for trying to help us. But good intentions don’t really change the sting of the comment.

Happy note to end today’s blog: I love my new phone and all the free apps I have already added to it!