Enough Already!

WARNING: This blog may contain curse words, typos, and heavy emotions not suitable for the faint of heart. 

Enough-Already-That-girl-with-whole-heart

I have never, not once, left the fertility clinic without being completely discouraged. Oh sure, there’s always silver lining if you look for it, but after three years, and a SERIES of disappointments, I’ve lost my inner Polyanna. In fact, fuck you, Polyanna.

It’s my southern upbringing and natural tendency towards being optimistic that continues to cause me to fall flat on my face EVERY time. If I could just stay “Debbie Downer” then it wouldn’t hurt so bad when things go wrong.

Every time I go to the doctor they have to verbally review my chart with me, “History of ovarian cysts, irregular ovulatory patterns, history of uterine septum, history of stage 1 endometriosis, 3 cycles clomid x1, no result, 3 cycles clomid x3, no result, 3 cycles femara, no result, 3 cycles femara with injectables, no result, two failed IUIs with injectables, one chemical pregnancy resulting in loss…”

Well, what a fun trip down memory lane! Next time, I’ll pack a picnic!

Then, yesterday my nurse called me to confirm my day 3 sonogram  and I told her I’d really like to do the injectables this month with two IUIs (increasing my chances of pregnancy up to 50%), but I told her I could only do the injectables if there were any donated ones that I could have since they cost $1300-1500 each cycle. There were! She found some! There finally was a pack of meds and she set them aside for me.

“This is it!”, I told myself. I was pumped. I went in to the office today ready to walk out with my free meds and start a new cycle and finally have a real shot at meeting my baby. But, to quote The Little Rascals movie, “Then the clouds opened up and God said, ‘I hate you Alfalfa!'”

IMG_5605

The right side of my ovaries looked great, but, for the first time in over a year, my left side showed two cysts. So…it’s not safe to do the injectables. Not only do I not get to use the meds, but I get the pleasure of passing on the donation to someone else. Call me selfish, but it’s my fucking turn! I know I should try to feel great about somebody else getting these meds, but I just can’t see it that way yet. Enough already, it’s my turn.

Why not me? Why can’t something in this area of my life just work out? What’s the point of continuous let downs and disappointments?

When I thought my HSG was all clear I woke up to find I had endometriosis.

When I thought my septum was mild I woke up to find out it was super severe and they had to put in a uterine balloon and I was literally in labor for two weeks trying to “deliver” it. Freaky, right?

When I think I’m the lucky one who gets to go home with $1300 worth of donated meds, I find out I have cysts and aren’t eligible. 

Enough already! 

one of three scars from surgeries

one of three scars from surgeries

So, I’ll do femara (lame ass pills) this month with only one IUI which gives me a 15% chance of a successful pregnancy aka I have a shot in hell and I get to waste another month. I’ll get bloated, hungry, exhausted and cranky with no positive end result.

Chelsea Vail with baby zade

Or, maybe after a few days of being negative my southern self will pull through, I’ll channel my inner Polyanna and find some way to be positive again. Ugh, happy people live longer anyway, right? : )

How to Maintain Your Sense of Self

As we get older we add more hats to our head. Growing up you might have just been daughter, friend, sister, but now you may be daughter, friend, sister, aunt, wife, career chick, mom, stepmom, chaufer, chef, launderer, maid, etc. So, moms, I ask you, how do you maintain your sense of self as a woman?

Maintain-your-sense-of-self

This is something I began struggling with when I got married. I instantly felt an enormous pressure to be this whole other person…a wife. Even though my husband and I had been together for nearly eight years something had changed. I could no longer think only of myself.

Chelsea Vail, Cloudy Vail, Caiden Vail

Then, I started going through infertility treatments and became so self-involved that I forgot about my husband and everyone else. In a way, you have to be self-involved to be successful because everything you do, eat, and drink plays a factor in your fertility.

But, the question remains- How do you maintain your sense of self?

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are the most important people in my life?
  • What gives me joy?
  • When do I feel the most energized?
  • What makes me feel good about myself?
  • How do I want people to describe me?
  • Where do I want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
  • Who do I want to be in 5 years? 10 years?

Think carefully about the answers to these questions and WRITE them down. If you want to go the extra mile, create a collage of images that answer these questions.

Then, create an action plan related to these answers. For example, sending a card to the people you care about or clling them and setting a date to catch up. Schedule a time to do the things that give you joy every day, week or month, depending on how reasonable that would be. Make an effort to do the things that energize you more. Research people you admire and find out how they go to where they are and decide what you can change about your life to become who you want to be again.

Me with my role model, Carrie Contey, PhD

Me with my role model, Carrie Contey, PhD

Every Sunday night I look at my calendar for the week and I schedule:

  • Time to shop for, and prepare clean, energizing meals
  • Time for a run around the lake, zumba, and hot yoga
  • An evening date or happy hour with a girlfriend or group of friends
  • A meal or two with just my husband
  • An afternoon by the pool reading and relaxing

Bonus: if I can fit in a glass of wine or a bubble bath, I’ll add that, too!

This is often easier said than done, but there was a time when I allowed my want for a baby to become the only focus in my life and I don’t want to do that again. When all your energy is focused outside yourself its easy to lose yourself. As a mother, it’s easy for you to focus only on your to-do list, potty training, appointments, bills, what’s for dinner, etc. But, it’s not good for you or your child for you to lose who you are.

How do you maintain your sense of self?

Making time to enjoy the beauty of nature with Cloudy

Making time to enjoy the beauty of nature with Cloudy

Who is that Kelli girl?

Did you catch the viral video set to Uptown Funk motivating kids getting ready to take the STAAR test? That was my dear friend, Kelli Hauser! She’s a dynamite chick living life with a whole heart; raising a family, inspiring young minds, and being true to herself. That Girl, Kelli, has joined the Whole Heart team. Check her out…

Kelli-Hauser-That-Girl_Whole-Heart-Blogger

In order to understand the voice behind a blog I think it’s important to understand the person behind the computer. Here is a little about me and why I have chosen to begin the blogging experience.

I was born and raised in the once small town of Burleson, Texas. Yes, the home of the first American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson. I grew up with loving parents, went to church every Sunday, and was blessed to have a younger brother and sister to keep me entertained.

I went to college at the University of North Texas in Denton, about an hour from where I grew up. Far enough to get away, but still close enough to go home when I needed my momma. I met my amazing husband my senior year of college. He and I connected from the moment we first met. We both loved music (he plays guitar and I sing), and we began playing music and performing together and quickly fell in love. Within a year we were engaged and and six months after that we were married! We both became teachers after graduating from UNT, and stayed in Denton.

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Two years later, I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis. I had to have surgery and with only one ovary left my doctor told my husband and I that if we wanted to have children we had better start trying. Fearful we wouldn’t get pregnant we began the journey of trying to conceive and after four months, I was pregnant with our first baby girl, Kinley. Our little miracle was born happy and healthy in May of 2011, and when she was only four months old, despite all odds, we found out we were pregnant again! We had our second baby girl, Khloe, in June of 2012, only a year and month apart from our first. Needless to say I was thrilled but also overwhelemed!

The summer after I had Khloe my body began to turn against me. I began getting ill on a constant basis, had skin problems, and my hair began to fall out. My skin would get hives, my eyes were red, burned all the time and were light sensitive. For weeks doctors battled to calm down what I learned to be vasculitis of the eyes and skin. After many tests, doctors confirmed I had systemic lupus, an autoimmune disease. I was absolutely devastated. My family, career, and health had finally seemed to be on track and I was so scared about how this disease would affect my life. My doctor has me on meds for my lupus and I have good and bad days.

I currently teach 6th grade reading at a middle school in Denton, Texas. I am a cheerleading coach as well. I am pursuing my masters degree in School Counseling. My husband is an assistant principal at at high school in Denton, and my little girls are now 2 and 3.

family christmas pic

A lot of my posts will be about living with an invisible illness and still trying to be a good wife, daughter, mother and teacher. I have a lot to say as well about teaching, marriage and motherhood to anyone that will listen.

xoxo That Kelli Girl

What are some things you’d like to know about me? What would you like to hear me discuss in my blogs?

Welcome to the Infertility Party

I consider myself a bit of a veteran in the infertile world and I’ve found that only humor, faith, and a kick ass group of friends can help you navigate it without losing your mind entirely. This post is dedicated to the newbies wondering how they’ll make it out alive.

HUMOR 

I was post anesthesia

I was post anesthesia

1. The fertility center is a “fork in the road” (emotionally) EVERY single time you walk in the door, whether it’s the first time or the last time. You can choose to break down, because you despise the fact that you’re there, or you can smile, laugh, and find the humor in each awkward situation. I remember one day being spread eagle in the stirrups, my lady parts exposed, and a tech intern (who looked 12 years old & very uncomfortable) walked in. I awkwardly found a way to meet her eyes and said, “Welcome to the party!” She laughed, but more importanly, so did I! Humor helps.

2. I used to hate getting sonograms because for awhile there EVERY single one was bad news. I’d leave in tears, call my mom, consider driving off the 360 bridge, and go home to curl up in fetal position and watch bad daytime TV. So, one day I asked my husband to go with me. When he saw the 2 foot long vaginal wand next to the computer screen his eyes got huge and he asked, “Where does that go?”. I laughed and said, “I’ll give you one guess”. He said, “Chels, I beg you…when the nurse goes to insert that, lift your ass off the table and yelp, ‘Whoa, wrong hole!'” Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, I didn’t have the balls to pull that off, but I did giggle through the whole exam.

3. Our first IUI was extremely stressful. The doctors & nurses gave us ZERO instructions regarding the process and we had no idea what to expect. All we knew is they’d take our “sample” (aka sperm), spin it in a machine to whip the lil guys into action, and then insert the juice via a catheter. Well, I made a playlist for our first IUI and included songs like, “Whip It”, “Spin Me Round”, and “Whip My Hair” to make us smile.

FAITH

first prayer as man and wife

1. It can be hard to keep the faith when you experience a disappointment every 28 days. When you were a teenager, your period meant you couldn’t wear your fave white shorts to the party Friday night, but as an infertile adult, every period is like being punched in the gut and hearing God laugh, “Ha ha ha, not this time!” I had to stop looking at God as the evil one reframe my thinking to remind myself that it was not Him doing this to me. God was the one in charge of the process as my protector and provider. Only He can decide when the time is right for your baby to be born. It’s your job to take the tests, swallow the pills, follow the schedules, but ultimately He is still in charge.

2. I also went through a period of wondering if using infertility treatments meant I was playing God. Was I creating a “synthetic baby” as portrayed in the media? My baby sister, Skyler, said “Science only goes so far. God decides if life gets created”. She was right. The medicine may assist you in the process, but life does not form inside you without God’s consent.

3. My one and only pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage after 6-8 weeks (estimated gestation). The grief experienced there is a whole other level (and another blog post), but it nearly killed me. I was PISSED at God before I decided that maybe this was God’s way of saying, “Don’t give up. It’s still not time for your baby, but here’s a glimmer of hope that this is possible for you one day”.

Kick Ass Friends

The day I found out I was pregnant…before the loss

The day I found out I was pregnant…before the loss

1. My girlfriends and their husbands have been amazeballs! They’ve been an ear to hear me, a shoulder to cry on, and bartenders when I needed a cocktail or a glass of wine.

2. They have NEVER tried to give me unsolicited advice or tell me what they think I should do…not once, which is awesome! I get so sick of people telling me, “use this oil”, “drink this tea”, “gain weight”, “stop running”, “don’t stress”….AHHHHHHHH!

3. They also gladly engage in my monthly, “I’m Not Pregnant Party,” which is how I avoid the 28 day mental breakdown. Instead of falling apart, I’d try to focus on what I could do since I wasn’t pregnant at the end/beginning of each cycle. I’d go for a run, eat sushi, and drink martinis.

Chelsea Vail, Deep Eddy vodka

PS: Don’t let the posts in the media about the 65 year old mom of multiples or the she-man who got pregnant discourage you…those should be signs that the science is strong. If those peops can get preggers, so can you. It may just take awhile. Keep heart.

Mom, You are Important Too

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mom friends and realizing that very few of them make time for themselves on a regular basis. They barely eat, they never get out of the house (or they work long hours), they’re overtired, and they don’t utilize the support they have around them. Remember…

Mom-you-are-important

Moms, you must make time for yourself! Remember you? What do you need? What do you want? And, how can you make it happen?

I know many of my readers may not have the funds to get regular massages or even a massage once a year- I’m sensitive to that. Trust me, I totally understand budget issues and this isn’t about that. It’s about recognizing that you have needs too and you need to make yourself a priority.

Chelsea Vail with baby

Moms need:

  • An uninterruped bathroom break
  • A massage monthly, every 6 months or AT LEAST once a year
  • To eat sitting down using utensils (not eating only what’s left on the high chair trays)
  • Yoga, pilates, or meditation at least 3 times a week
  • A ladies night out occassionally
  • A vacation sans kids
  • A spot in the home that is just their’s

I can see you rolling your eyes and I hear your huffiness, but these things are possible, chick!

Place value on a potty break. Shut the door! They may knock and scream, “Mommy” but politely respond, “This is mommy’s private time.” and do NOT give in. They’ll eventually figure it out.

Are you married? Do you have in-laws? Do you have any friends with kids? Neighbors with kids? Okay, then. Take them up on their offer to help and let them watch the kids for an hour. GET a MASSAGE!

If eating as a family without getting up 1400 times is damn near impossible right now, then eat while the kids are napping or in bed and schedule a night out to a restaurant without children from time to time.

Meditation could mean waking up 30 minutes earlier or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Download a free meditation app & get lost in your thoughts. Many yoga studios and barre classes have online programs that allow you an escape from home while kids are napping.

Schedule a monthly ladies night. Your husband or family can watch the kids one night a month and if you have to get a sitter- do it! You can cut out a few lattes, magazines, and other miscellaneous things to spare one evening with your ladies.

Chelsea Vail, That Girl

 

A vacation without your kids is really difficult depending on ages of your kids and finances, but we can dream, right?

Create a spot in your home that is just for you. Maybe you have a large closet & convert it into a craft room. Maybe you create a sitting area by your bedroom window with fashion magazines or your kindle. Claim your sanctuary.

Being a mom is tough, but giving up your sense of self, and your health, for your kids is even tougher!

Stupid Easy Sunday Brunch

I had a BUNCH of girls over to my house this morning for a work thang and I knew it was going to be a looong day. I needed stupid easy brunch things to keep these mamas fed so I looked no further than Trader Joes, aka mecca.

Major blogger mistake: I totally forgot to snap pictures today! We were too busy stuffing swag bags (and our faces) for photos, lol.

1. Danish Pancakes

  • Pick up Danish pancakes in frozen section at Trader Joes
  • Pay for them at the counter ($5)
  • Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
  • Sprinkle with podered sugar
  • Set out syrup, honey, nutella, and/or lemon curd

Photo credit: bloatalrecall.blogspot.com

2. Sriracha Deviled Eggs

  • Boil a dozen eggs (smart chicks do this the night before)
  • Dump the cooked yolks into a bowl and add 2-3 tbsp of sriracha, 2 tbsp of mayo OR sour cream, 1-2tbsp of dijon mustard, a splash of white vinegar and salt, pepper, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, and paprika.
  • Top with bacon! Or chives!

3. Fruit Salad

  • Buy fruit
  • Dump it in a bowl

Serve mimosas or bellinis! Trader Joes has awesome peach juice and great deals on champagne. Keep the coffee hot and fresh too.

Ta-da! Stupid easy (and cheap) brunch for 6-8 hungry mamas!