Am I “so happy with my choices?”

Waiting for a baby to come into our lives feels like Scheherazade praying her tales of magic and woe will be enough to postpone her eminent beheading. Instead of fighting for my life, we are fighting for “A life” to raise. Truly One Thousand and One nights of watching and waiting for our turn to be parents. Though in reality our number is nearly three times that number of nights.  

When I look back at the timeline of my life with Brent, I see mostly happy memories, which is what makes the waiting worth it. We are indeed luckier than many in the wedded bliss category. 

As a coping mechanism we still often quote Jen Barkley on the show Parks and Recreation, who in reference to children says “I’m so happy with my choices.” She repeatedly informs everyone she thinks children are “gross”, messy, noisy creatures and is glad she does not have any of her own. Although our “choices” for the last eight years add little to nothing to the reasons we do not have children; Infertility is the villain that, so far, chooses the no children route for us.

This update has been a long time coming. A reminder of the tenderness and agony I previously felt of our situation, further manifested in me back in November, in the form of the gratitude challenge given by President Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

As I scrolled through all of the hundreds of gratitude posts that overwhelmed my newsfeed. I saw your posts about your angel children, your wonderful spouses, the glories of nature and your excellent jobs that provide for your families. During a rather difficult year for the world the flood of positive was a welcome change, and yet I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sorrow. 

With Posts of “I’m grateful for this girl who made me a mama.” “I’m grateful all of those years ago when I became a mother and now I’m a grandmother.” “I’m grateful for my children.” I couldn’t help but turn off facebook for a while. 

In saying all this I don’t want anyone who reads this to feel that I am not overjoyed for you and your beautiful families. I am. I love that you received these wonderful blessings in your life. Babies are such a miracle, and the women who raise these children are such strong humans. 

Over the past seven years or more with every new baby announcement, 1st birthday, smash cake, baby milestone, growing family photo I try to be happy for the friend posting but I just turn into a puddle of tears and envy. 

I know all of you experience your own trials and hardships. I am not trying to downplay your hard, simply because it’s different from mine.  So, please don’t let my ramblings be off putting they are more meant to be taken just as a public service announcement to those not burdened with the struggle of infertility. Be gentle with us. I have always had a bias towards saying infertility, rainbow babies, losing a child, miscarriages are the hardest tests life deals out to women. 

Now more specific personal fertility struggles. 

If you are curious and made it to this point- here’s a timeline of our lives. 

I learned a couple of things from our timeline. First: 10 moves in eight years is far too many moves. Thankfully we purchased this time around, which means we hope to stay for a while longer before moving again. Second: We have gone on far too few world adventures. We have made a few trips to other places within the United States that didn’t make it on the short timeline. Third: There are far too many jobs cluttering our resumes. 

What the timeline also does not show is our attempts to start our family. In the summer of 2013 we newlyweds just figuring out our lives together. We were both in school at BYU and working. We decided it might be best to wait a while before throwing kids into schedules filled with time constraints as well as not yet being in a financially stable situation, so I took daily birth control for about 8 months of 2013. 

2014 and 2015 brought some fun health issues my way, which we believed I might include issues both of becoming pregnant and possibly carrying a baby full term. In May of 2015 I then had a laparoscopy for Endometriosis. During the procedure they found only a little scar tissue, but they did find some, along with some other gruesome things: not discussed in public. After that a lot of the chronic abdomen pain (from the previous 7 years), as well as unpredictable cycle issues subsided significantly. We thought maybe we could finally have children. But they never came. 

Life continued on: siblings and friends brought into life their first, second, third or even 4th children into the world. 

In January 2017 as Brent was preparing to graduate from BYU with a degree in Spanish Translation we again came to the conclusion it was time for children. I however was not graduating due to three major things: some of the medical issues above, working at a full time job most of this time, my nearly weekly breakdowns from so desperately wanting a baby.  But again they never came. 

We were working with a doctor at BYU who had helped many start their families. He suggested the FAZST (The Folic Acid & Zinc Supplementation Trial) for Brent. The study essentially studied the effects of the supplement on male fertility. Turns out this study was just what we needed to determine why we could not have children. The details are extremely personal, but the study ultimately told us Brent could not get me pregnant naturally. So, by April of 2017 we knew why they never came. 

Brent walked for graduation in April, then in June finished his last ever BYU course. He exclaimed to me the morning of his final exam “I am never shaving my face again”. In July he started an Internship at MediaLocate in Pacific Grove, California. Six weeks later I joined him just days prior to the start of his first of two semesters for his Master’s degree at Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California in Translation and Localization Management. When we first saw Brent after six weeks apart Muffler and I almost didn’t recognize him with a now fully formed beard. We lived minutes from a beach and the famous, thanks to Finding Dory, Monterey aquarium. I did Instacart (grocery delivery), we were busy and happy. 

In December we flew home for a Texas Christmas. My sister Emily was just coming home from an 18 month mission to Brazil. We gathered with all sorts of family and friends throughout our wonderful 10 day visit. Though we did hear a few comments from old family friends asking about when we would FINALLY have children. With the sting of the FAZST study results still fairly fresh in our minds, we would brush these comments off with a laugh or retorts of “someday” and “we’re still happy just being the two of us”, or the above favorite “[We’re] so happy with my choices”. Then behind closed doors after we would go to bed each night I would cry myself to sleep.

January of 2018. I once again attempted to finish school at BYU. It was an insane time where I would fly into Utah for three to four days, or sometimes a couple weeks at a time before turning around to fly home for a weekend. Needless to say my attempted semester was unsuccessful. Distance learning is much easier these days. Brent Graduated from his Master’s program in May, then we subsequently both started new jobs in the California Bay area. Brent worked for a start up language service provider (LSP) in San Francisco. I worked as a leasing agent for an apartment in Santa Clara, where we rented a small 700 sq ft one bedroom apartment. 

In August, our new health insurance kicked in and we were back at fertility clinics to try to make a baby. By October we were ready to pull the trigger the moment Brent returned from a company business trip to Barcelona, Spain. However, upon his return we determined we needed to be closer to Brent’s job in San Francisco causing yet another move, this time to Foster City, California in November. The apartment was luxurious compared to our previous apartment. A huge kitchen, vaulted ceilings, full size washer and dryer, 850sqft. After we were settled in Foster City we started the process over again with a new doctor in San Mateo. We kept saying after the first of the year we would do an IUI. 

Though once again, timing didn’t seem to be right. January 2019 came and went. I was interviewing for and accepted a new job starting February 13, 2019 The company’s maternity policy, like most, required someone to work a year to qualify for receiving paid maternity leave, consequently we again decided to wait. Mostly because California is too expensive to live on one income for a couple with lots of debt and no savings. The weekend before I started my new job we moved about 5 miles to a new apartment in San Mateo. Many around us frequently told us we were lucky to be DINKS (Dual income no kids). I did not feel very lucky. 

2019 was a hard year for us both emotionally and financially. Brent was out of work for about 4 months of the year. Muffler slipped a disk in his back causing him to need major back surgery, in order to retain the use of his back legs ($11K out of pocket). We argued a lot about money, or lack thereof, and also my feelings that children would NEVER come into our lives. Our marriage suffered a lot that year, but we somehow made it to the other side stronger.  Brent got a new job in August of 2019 working for Linkedin on a 6 month contract, and then another new full time job starting in March of 2020. 

When you’ve been given more of a choice as to when to have children, life gets away from you, and you end up put off having them, or you consciously decide the timing is never right logistically to bring a child into this crazy world. 

Now to 2020! I know this is controversial to say, but our 2020 was actually pretty good on a lot of levels. I do not say this to brag, more as a sigh of relief for us after just how hard 2019 was for us. Brent and I both held stable jobs through all of 2020. We stayed healthy. We paid off our car (purchased in July of 2018), all of our non-student loan debt, including Muffler’s surgery. We established an amazing library of both old and new books (this was our quarantine hobby for much of the year). Saved some money. Visited family in Washington, and just before the close of the year bought a house. 

Back in November, Brent got a new job in Utah, and we miraculously – in the current housing craze – found and purchased a home back in Utah. I quit my job and on the 31st of December we drove home to Utah. 

Once again starting over after 8 years at a new fertility Center here in Utah was a bit discouraging. Thankfully though this time around we seemed to glide quickly through the preliminary tests, questionnaires and required new client appointments. Rather than forcing us to jump through the same hoops as usual, they pushed us right through to the end. Now two and a half months into the year all the tests are done, normal and everything is ready. So, in the next couple of months we will do our first IUI and with many prayers, fingers crossed and God willing I will be pregnant by summer solstice 2021. 

Infertility: (n.) inability to conceive children or young. 

Timeline: (n.) a graphic representation of the passage of time as a line. A chronological 

arrangement of events in the order of their occurrence. 

Losing Emily

I have long stayed out of the social media limelight, still commenting, and following up with friends, occasionally posting my Monday floral arrangements for work, pictures of my husband and dog. All to avoid my shame and embarrassment. Though no one, except my grandmother would say anything about my weight, but I have felt the judging eyes, so I have hidden myself from the world.

18 months ago, I lost around twenty pounds, and was feeling great. Last March I posted about fitting into a size I had not been in a while. Happy, healthy, and again feeling great. I started interviewing, my husband continued interviewing, he graduated, we got jobs. We moved from an expensive city in Northern California, to a more expensive city in more Northern California.

My job started well, but quickly moved into the realm of uncomfortable, with a lazy and emotional abusive boss who did the minimum work possible to stay under the radar from his boss. (I don’t think he appreciated being called out). And still I worked hard to keep things afloat.

My health waned. Productivity for non-work-related projects crashed to a standstill.  The depression monster terrorized. Additionally, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety approached apathetically from all aspects of my life; Causing constant eruptions in the form lashing out at the small and stupid inconsequential day to day nothings.

I felt like Vladimir waiting and waiting for things to change and yet there was “Nothing to be done.” I took all my anger out on my poor husband, who seemed to be working more hours in a day than the day offered. I dare say a contraband “time turner” may have been in play for several weeks towards the end of 2018. The year came and went. I made large 2019 goals and dreams, but those stood silent for many months.

Finally, after a six-month sentence, and nine months total at my job, heavier than I had ever been, relief came. My new job was a heaven send. I love the work, I love my coworkers, I love the weekly fresh flowers, I love how hard everyone works, I love how productive my days have become.

**SIDE NOTE! It seems like the moment a person mentions weight loss, MLMs and health professionals come like wolves to the fields of lambs. At this time I simply want to lose and keep off the weight naturally. Please do not push your products or try to diagnose me [UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY WORK IN A HEALTH CARE PROFESSION] I’m more than happy to have a conversation about what you bring to the table, but probably do not want to purchase weightloss products. Yes, I have tried many of them. No, they have not worked for me. No, I do not want to spend loads of money on a product that “might” work. No there is nothing wrong with my thyroid. Yes, I eat healthy, mostly. No, I don’t want to 100% give up sugar (I should, but I like it). Yes, my cycle is regular. No, I do not exercise as regularly as I should. **   

Though I still have all the weight I gained from my last stressful environment, I am in a much place emotionally, mentally and back to supporting and encouraging rather than degrading and criticizing my love and have large goals to achieve moving forward. Rather than a New Year’s goal this is a new year long goal to move back to a healthy weight and positive lifestyle.

SIDE NOTE TWO: When did society decide fat was out and thin was in. According to the internets until the late 1800’s extra weight was a sign of wealth and prestige, now thin, fit and beautiful is a sign of the very rich and classy. Either way I too would love to be abundantly wealthy, healthy, and happy. I can at least do one of those successfully this year. **

Are you at your ideal weight? or like me do you have a ways to go? How far? 10, 20, 50, 100 lbs?

This past week my husband and I set a goal to lose a good amount of weight that together equals around the total weight of my sister Emily, so for the next twelve months we plan to lose Emily!

No more hiding!

 

Hide (v.) – put or keep out of sight; conceal from the view or notice of others. Syn. conceal, camouflage. 

Lose (v) get rid of (an undesirable person or thing); be deprived of or cease to retain (something)

A Resolution by any other name…

Today, the last day of the year, is the day that women everywhere reflect on the last twelve months of their own life. And well, that of their men’s lives. Women desire improvement for themselves and for other women. We care far too much about what other women think. Mostly because women are the worst, but more on that later.

This past weekend we went up to San Francisco (about a 30 minute drive from where I live now). While standing on the Golden Gate bridge looking out at this great city, I reflected on my life, the last 12 months, the last 29 years, but mostly the decisions that lead to my husband and me moving just outside of one of the most expensive, but culturally rich cities in America. Do I love spending 3-4x the amount we used to on rent, no; but have I loved this California adventure, yes! Besides I get to see this amazing view and eat at Mac’d – the best gourmet Mac and Cheese restaurant ever – whenever I want!!

A view of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge!

Now Back to my end of the year reflections:

Men on the other hand seem content with who they already are. Not that they do not desire to better themselves, but rather that they seem to have a better starting self-esteem to move forward from, and don’t care what the thousands of women they encounter yearly think (like women do), they only care about the few important women in their lives. However, women tend to take it upon themselves to “fix” or change the men in their lives.

This action typically creates a greater resistance; which could have otherwise been avoided if men had been left to their own human instinct of wanting to better themselves, without the excess nagging. Yet, as the new year approaches, I find myself making New Year’s Resolutions for my husband while forcing the pen into his hand. Demanding him to sign his life away for the next 12 months, with threat of extreme annoyance from me if he breaks a single one; while I know full well that I will break my own resolutions by February.

Most individuals, men and women, just need a gentle shove in the right direction. Which will cause their own ambitions will kick-in and they can determine for themselves the best way to improve in the following year.

My husband’s single friend with us for a few days just after Christmas, and I noticed a comfortableness, with a hint of complacency. This complacency made said friend feel no need to change his lifestyle. You see, he works from home and does not see many people in an average day or week. He’s content with where he is at and probably will continue his life in the same manner unless something happens to change that.  The desire to change most often comes when we find ourselves in the realm of the uncomfortable.

So I, in my state of discomfort with my current progression and a self shove in the right direction, set some resolutions. To accomplish, it then requires perseverance and reaffirmation throughout the year to keeps a person on track.

Now a quick word on resolutions: A resolution is, after-all, more than a simple goal. A goal is something you hope to achieve, but a resolution is, rather, a “firm decision to do or not do something with a determination.” Therefore, we tend to throw around the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” in too casual a fashion. Hastily assuming that all goals made between December 25th  and January 2nd of the follow year are resolution, not just goals.

How many people do you know who write a rather ambitious list of New Year’s Resolutions they intend to keep, but do not? Maybe it’s the same list they wrote last year and the year before. Then within days or weeks, perhaps as much as a month or two the creator falls back into old habits of doing or not doing the things they originally promised.

The old adage from one wise Jedi Master “Do or do not. There is no try.” comes to mind. I must pick marks I can reach or not make such lofty goals for 2019 if I am to call them resolutions!

And so as I leave 2018 behind, I also prepare to leave behind my 20s, and this year I plan to resolute with much more practicality than years previous. Only making resolutions that are within my power to control and that I intend to keep. But this is all just one woman’s opinion!

Resolutions for 2019

  1. Find happiness daily
  2. Shrink my carbon footprint/Become less wasteful
  3. Stay within my budget every month of 2019
  4. Blog 2-4x or more a month

Just for kicks I thought I would throw in a couple goals too!!

Goals

  1. Reach pre-marriage weight of ~140 lbs by May 1st
  2. Travel to at least two places on my bucket list
  3. Write at least 50% of the novel I am working on
  4. Clean my house spotless once a month!

For resolution updates check back in throughout the year.

Happy New Year everyone! If you want extra support for your own resolutions or goals, I’m not picky, comment them below so we can help each other accomplish great things in 2019.

Desire (N.): A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

Adulting

Since this is my first post for this particular blog let me… skip with the pleasantries and get right to business. I always looked at Adults as these human beings, much older than I, with kids, mortgages, degrees, jobs, bills. None of those things scream my life right now. Prepare yourself for the next paragraphs of musing from a near adult about being an adult, from this last week.

Though now that I am pushing the 30 envelope I should probably start acting my age. I always pictured myself at Thirty as Jennifer Garner in Thirteen Going on Thirty, you know the line “thirty, flirty and thriving…thirty, flirty and thriving.” Instead I think I ended up as the awkward thirteen year old version from the movie combine with the fat kid from Matilda. [I’ve gained a bit of weight this year, aging is so fun!] I am also in desperate need for a catch phrase, like HULK SMASH whenever I wake up in a mood for apparently no reason. Which is how I woke Friday morning. All in all I wouldn’t say I’m thriving.

This week adulting consisted of grocery shopping at 8:30PM after commuting to work, working 8 hours at a job I’m still deciding how I feel about, being annoyed, for reasons I will explain to those still with me in a moment, and being picked up at the train station.

After hearing all the rage of the Keto diet we (my husband and I) have decided, probably against all of our good judgement to try it. Also, I can no longer sit idly by and watch the expansion of the land around my belly button. What they don’t tell you about nearly thirty is the changes in metabolism, and ease of weight gain.  

So there we stood in the grocery store picking out sugarless, perhaps tasteless health food items to eat with dinner. Which we put on the payout card for switching phone carriers. My husband calls this card “free money.” In reality it is just displaced money, similar to principles of  matter in science. It has to come from somewhere. Rather we just paid off our old contract out of pocket and now use the “magic” card for more exciting things like gasoline and groceries. That’s another thing they don’t tell you is the expensiveness of adulting.

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When we finally arrived home. We took out the dog, pre-heated the oven for cauliflower crust pizza, searched for clean dishes (though I’m not sure the cauliflower pizza sat well with me). All mundane adult-like things.

 

Then, in the midst of paying for life, I received a new cell phone from t-mobile. Why if i have so many many bills to pay would I get a new cell phone. Well let me tell you. The last few weeks I have been riding a little mongoose scooter to work from the train, yes the kind that 10 year olds ride. About a week ago I was scooting across the road at dark, and my beautiful S9+ was secure in pocket or so I thought.

About halfway across I heard the phone hit the pavement. The numbers counting down quickly on the other side of the road. I turned frantically to find my phone but couldn’t with the black screen on the black street. I ran the rest of the way to the safety of the otherside. And waited through the next light in horror as my phone sat in the middle of the road. One car hit it just right and the case went flying one direction and my train card flew in the other direction.

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The back of my S9+ post incident! 

 

When the light finally changed again. I left my backpack and scooter on the side of the road and ran to the center of the road grabbing my lost items. I imagine I looked like the kids collecting candy the moment the piñata breaks. I looked at my phone and miracle of all miracles the front did not have a scratch on it, but the back looks like a gun range practice page. The phone still works, just slightly slower, and I can’t hear phone calls as well. So we put in a t-mobile insurance claim and they sent out a new phone. (t-mobile has been great).

Okay now let’s backtrack to my annoyance after work.

I take the train about twenty-five minutes from home to work and then back again, where the husband of five years picks me up. So I got on the train at 6:14 going north towards home. This week I upgraded from the scooter to the bicycle to travel from the train to work, and back to get a little exercise. As I got on the train, train security watched me struggle to get my bike up the four stairs into the train, instead of offering to help just had a stupid look of amusement on his face.

I strapped my bike into the bungee cords meant for holding bikes and went to sit in one of the 4 benches in the bike room so I could keep an eye on my bike as we travelled. The security guard and train announcer guy came and told he they didn’t want anyone sitting in those seats as they were trying to clear out that area as the night went on. So I respected their wishes and picked a seat in the next car down, where I could still see into the bike room. And low and behold the next stop came and a group of people, with no bikes mind you, sauntered in and sat in those seats, meant to remain empty the rest of the night.

The nerve. I thought the people in charge were going to tell them to move, but they never did. So finally my stop came and I grabbed my bike and instead of ripping them a new one with the line “I guess rules only apply to certain people,” I did the adult thing and smiled. I smiled. (insert eye roll). This is not an attack on race, gender, country of origin or anything else other then rules should apply to everyone equally.

Now flash forward to Friday one day into the diet I sit on my lunch stress eating two day old donuts bought for my team at work, sitting in the back room watching people walk in and out of the package room and rec rooms on our camera from the back desk.

Adulting in my world is merely pretending to do adult things, while wishing I still had the responsibility list of a kindergartener. All while noting the growing list of things THEY never told you, and struggling at paying for adult things (bills, rent, bills, car insurance, and bills), But this is just one woman’s opinion.

ADULTING (v.): The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

(Oxford English Dictionary)