Monday, December 17, 2012

What happened?

Something.... something happened in my brain or soul or whatever that has made me sad.  It has been a fairly regular feeling for the last three weeks and I just can't seem to shake it.  Last week I thought that yoga or meditation may be the magical panacea, but it just doesn't seem that way. 

Things are difficult because I am feeling pretty alone in the world.  Before Kristen and I got together, my mom and I were very close.  Whenever things got bad I leaned on her.  It wasn't always a good thing because she is not all that great at being supportive, but I always felt close enough to her so that I never felt alone.  Truthfully, I haven't had a really good, reliable friend in my life.  Most of them were nice to my face but talked behind my back or fooled around with my brother (when he was in middle school) or stole my boyfriend.  It has just always been me against the world with my mother to fall back on.

When Kristen and I got together she slowly became "my person."  I could tell her anything, be myself in front of her, allow myself to be vulnerable.  I had never had that before. 

When I started going to counseling last spring, my counselor started talking to me about how I need to have better boundaries with my mother.  Although my mom has always been there for me, she can also be one of the meanest people I know.  My counselor felt that I needed to establish boundaries to avoid being hurt by her all the time.  So, I did just that.  I set up boundaries, made a point to tell her only things that would be non-controversial, and told her that there were some things in her life that I should not know (as her child).  The boundaries have worked like a charm.  My mother has been making me much less angry and hurt over the last 4-6 months and I feel like it was a great step toward growing up.

The downside... My mother was my fallback before Kristen.  Now that I have set such clear boundaries and recognized the areas in which I should not trust my mother, it is impossible to go back.  So, without my mother and Kristen, I am back to being alone in the world. 

Kristen is dating again.  I don't know if it is the girl that she "wanted to explore her feelings for" before we broke up, but she has found someone else.  How does that happen?  How do you go from making mix CDs of love songs and taking your fiancee out to anniversary dinners one month and then fall into bed with someone else the next???  Maybe I am having a harder time without because I am still living in "our house."  Her stuff is still all around me.  Kristen is still a part of me but I have been washed clean out of her life.  I ask again, how does that happen? 

I don't want her back.  I am better off without her because I know that someday I will find a much deeper love.  I do have faith that there is someone that will fit into my life better than she did.  But right now, how do I stop grieving the loss of "my person," our family, and everything we had together?  I feel like Kristen didn't even skip a beat.  How do you do that?  Seriously, I want the secret.

Anyway, now that I have written a long sob story.  I guess I will go read a book and escape for a while.  I am really sorry that most of my entries are depressing.  Someday my life will be happy and exciting and hopefully you guys will still be around to hear about it.  I hope you all have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ethical dilemma???

SO, I posted this comment on facebook last night (after this situation happened):

"Funny story... I came down to CT to visit my aunt and uncle for the weekend. My aunt has been watching the news all day and totally forgot that I was coming. She also didn't mention it to my uncle. So, I came in at quarter of ten and they were already in bed. I went upstairs and started to get stuff out of my bag and I heard their bedroom door open so I went to the top of the stairs to say hi. Standing at the bottom of the stairs was my uncle IN THE NUDE with a gun in his hand. That's right folks, I almost met my maker with my uncle's naked body being the last sight I ever saw. Lucky for me, he recognized me and went to put a bathrobe on. He thought I was a burglar. Ha."

I had 31 friends "like" it, and 14 comments saying how funny it was.  Then my aunt's friend called her and told her that I really should take that comment off facebook after what happened yesterday.  I am deeply saddened by the horrible events that played out yesterday in Newtown, CT.  It is so tragic and appalling and evil.  My comment on facebook was in no way intended to make light of guns or anything like that.  I was just conveying my thoughts on a relatively comical situation that had just taken place.

Anyway, my aunt passed the phone over to me so her friend could tell me her thoughts on why I should take the post down.  I have known this lady for like 20 years (I see her a few times a year at parties and stuff).  I see her point, but I am also very annoyed.  I am 29 years old.  I am not a child.  If she did not like my post, then don't read it, or put a negative comment on there.  I don't care... but I just feel like I was scolded.  It has been SEVERAL years since I have felt scolded by an adult.  So not cool.  I ended up taking the comment down and unfriending her.  I am all set with having her police my facebook page.  So much for freedom of speech. :/   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Intention without attachment

So I mentioned that I have been meditating.  I was doing this "meditation challenge" with Deepak Chopra (who I love).  Anyway, one of his big principles is the Law of Detachment.  Basically, you should have intentions and work toward goals but you cannot have an attachment to the outcome.  I had a lesson in this today.  I found out that I am not eligible for financial aid at USM because I started a semester 11 years ago and then withdrew.  Apparently it made me have poor academic standing and my 4.0 from the last two years of school and my membership in Phi Theta Kappa (honor society) don't count.  The lady told me that I can appeal the decision but even if they approve it I will only be eligible for grants (no scholarships) and I will be on academic probation. 

My lesson in attachment... I was almost sure that I was going to get a "free ride" to USM.  I just assumed that a competitive school like UNE would give me much less than a state school.  I was so wrong.  Although my actions (11 years ago) are the cause of my crappy financial aid situation, I just don't feel like it is fair.  I got really mad and started crying when I got off the phone.  BUT THEN... I remembered that I shouldn't have gotten attached to the outcome.  My desire is to go to school in the spring.  I want to enjoy my education and get my Bachelor's degree, it really doesn't matter which school I go to.  Sure, UNE is three times more expensive than USM but they also are a more competitive school.  It will look better when I try to get into grad school and I think I will be challenged more academically if I am at UNE.  Plus, I wanted to go to UNE; it was my first choice.  The only reason that I was going to go to USM was to save money.  Well, fuck money!  I am going to my first choice school, I am going to enjoy every minute of it, and I am going to make a point to never complain about the six figure student loan debt I am going to accrue.

The other thing that has happened this week that was a lesson in "the universe" or God... I got a job!  About a month ago I told my acupuncturist that I was going to be looking for a part time job once the day care closed.  He said he would keep it in mind.  Although I wasn't getting stressed (yet) about not having any job prospects, I knew that I had to get in gear pretty quickly to find something.  I was dreading the application/interview process and I really didn't want most of the jobs that are typically part time gigs (retail, food service, etc.).  On Saturday, my acupuncturist asked me what my school schedule is for the spring semester.  I told him I didn't know yet.  He then said to let him know once I get my schedule finalized because he wants to hire me.  I am going to take care of his two children starting in January.  He has a two year old and a four week old.  I am so excited to be able to take care of two beautiful kids for a family that I really like and respect.  The best part about it... I put my intentions out to the universe and got a job.  I know that it will not always work like that, but I am really grateful that it worked that way this time.

Another thing that I figured out today is that I feel EXPONENTIALLY better when I do yoga.  I was feeling ok after Kristen moved out.  I was sad, but able to spend a lot of time feeling gratitude for what I do have.  Three weeks ago I sprained my ankle and I have had a cold for the last two weeks.  Having the physical ailments has prevented me from doing yoga and I have slowly begun feeling more sad.  I finally was able to do a full hour of yoga today and I immediately felt better.  It was like I just flipped a switch.  Who knew that yoga could make that big of a difference for me?  So, with this new knowledge, I am going to try to keep up with my yoga practice.  Hopefully my ankle holds out.

Anyway, I hope that everyone had a good day.  I am going to eat a tasty dinner and take Banjo for a walk.  Good way to end my day off.  :)

A quiet Thursday morning

I don't have any place I need to be until 1pm today.  Banjo and I are sitting on the couch in front of the Christmas tree watching the news.  I feel grateful that he is here and that I am in a warm apartment, but I am sad this week.  Don't know if it is the upcoming holidays or what, but it is difficult not to feel kinda sad.  I know that Kristen and I are better off as friends, but it doesn't change the fact that I have spent the last 4 years with her.  I think the loss of the idea of "our family" is hard too.  We had planned on having a beautiful child by now and it's really hard to think about the fact that it's just me.  Banjo is here sometimes, but for the most part, it's just me against the world.

I e-mailed the day care parents last night to tell them that the day care will be closing in a month.  I think that is contributing to my sadness.  I have grown very close to the kids and their families and I feel like I am letting them down.  I know that I need to do what is best for me and my future, but I wish that I didn't have to feel like I am hurting people in the process.  I know that the kids will be ok and that they will probably never remember me or having to transition to a new day care.  It is just sad.

In the process of switching schools, I am going to have to stop seeing my counselor.  I started seeing her because I was the partner of a UNE student.  Then, I enrolled at UNE so I could see her as a student.  Now, I am neither going to be a student or the partner of a student.  I know that I am probably going to be fine without her, but she has been a great resource over the last nine months.  I feel like I have grown so much and I owe a lot of that to her help.  It is going to be a weird transition without her.

Anyway, I am sorry that this is kind of a depressing post.  I have tried very hard to remain optimistic throughout this break up but for now I think I just need to feel sad.  I am sure the sadness will lift and new, greater happiness will present itself.  I feel like I have been blessed in so many ways over the last year and I trust that things will be great!

On the positive side... I was accepted into the program to go build houses in Mexico for a week.  I am really excited to be part of that.  I have never been to Mexico that that will be cool but I am also really looking forward to helping others.  I have greatly enjoyed volunteering at the local soup kitchen.  I really love talking to other volunteers and the clients.  I feel like I am doing something good for our community and meeting people that I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to meet.

For now, I am going to take Banjo to the dog park to meet one of our good friends.  He is going to be so happy when he realizes that it isn't going to be just a boring morning. :)  I hope everyone is having a great day!    

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A month later

It has been a month since Kristen and I split up.  It feels like much longer than that.  It feels like there has been closure and we are both doing ok separately.  How did that happen in a month?  I still have moments where I miss her presence.  The first two weeks were weird because I kept subconsciously  expecting to walk into a room and see her there.  It was funny because for the first two weeks I only slept on my side of the bed.  I would wake up in the morning and her side of the bed was untouched.  Now, I wake up with all of the covers wrapped around me laying diagonally across the bed.  My subconscious caught up to reality.

I think part of the success in feeling fairly peaceful in the face of a million changes is the fact that I have taken up meditation and trying on faith in "something."  I have been going to church with my father which has been very valuable.  I am not really a God person.  I have come to realize that I have had a grudge against God since I was a child.  I know that sounds weird, but it's true. 

In the interest of full disclosure and complete honesty (it may be too much info), but here is my issue with God... When I was four I was molested by my teenage cousin.  As you can imagine, it really ripped my extended family apart.  I feel incredibly grateful that my parents got me the counseling that I needed then (and several other times throughout my childhood) but it didn't change the fact that my family was in pieces.  Anyway, my aunt (the mother of the molester) is a SUPER bible thumper and she used to say stuff about "God forgiving us for lying if we apologized to them" and made a point to say "God bless" to me anytime she happened to see me.  Obviously, now I realize that God was not the problem, her pathology is the issue, but as a child I was unable to see that God wasn't part of the problem. 

Fast forward to present day... I am trying to figure out where God may fit into my life.  Do I believe that there is a God, like a single entity?  I lean more toward the idea of "the universe," like we are all a part of the higher being.  No matter how I see it, I am finding that going to church with my father is very beneficial.  They are a pretty liberal church and the pastor is kind of kooky so it is enjoyable.  On top of church on Sundays, I have applied to join a group of people going to Mexico for a week to help build houses.  I am hoping that I am able to go as I think it would be an eye opening and mutually beneficial trip.

Anyway, I don't know if meditation, God, the universe, or just a readiness to move on is what is making this transition easier... but I am very grateful.  I am looking forward to starting school in the spring and moving into a new apartment.  For now, I am going to try to nurse the cold I have and try to get back into my daily yoga routine (after a sprained ankle two weeks ago that is still swollen).  I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lots of choices

I haven't written in a while.  I guess I have been putting it off until I knew what direction I was headed... funny, I am no closer to knowing what I should do.  I keep putting it out to the universe or God or whatever is out there.  I believe that everything will fall into place soon enough.  Some days it just feels difficult to wait for things to smooth out.  Although, being in the "in between" is kind of exciting.  There are a million directions I could go in...

I got accepted to University of Southern Maine (as of yesterday).  I was pretty sure that I would get in as it isn't really competitive, but it always feels good to have the acceptance letter in hand.  I am waiting on the financial aid package that they will put together for me.  I am hoping that they can give me enough financial aid so that it will pay entirely for tuition.  If that works, then I think I have enough in student loans to get me through this year without working.  I can close the day care and take on a small part-time job for spending money.  It would be so amazing to be able to finish school without working 40 hours a week.

I know that it sounds weird, but I am used to Kristen being gone.  I love her and she is going to remain one of my best friends.  I have gone through a million emotions over the last month, but I have come to a place of peace and acceptance.  I look forward to meeting new people and enjoying my life with Kristen as a wonderful friend.

I started volunteering at the soup kitchen/food bank last week.  I am going to go once a week to help out.  I am really enjoying meeting other volunteers and feeling like I am doing something to help the community.

Anyway, that is pretty much it for now.  I will try to write more soon.  Hope everyone is well!  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Amended Post

My former boss is currently on life support.  His prognosis is very bleak but he is still alive.  We all are continuing to pray for him and hope that things turn around.  Please send some good juju Mat's way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shock

One of my old bosses died today.  He is one of the most amazing humans I think I have ever known.  He was kind, generous, loving, and a great leader.  Mat treated his wife like a queen; helping her follow her dreams, supporting her with the kids, and being an overall nice person.  He smiled at everyone he came in contact with and always had a corny joke to make you smile.  He took the time to explain everything to his kids.  No matter how late he was running, he always allowed his children the privilege of being heard and respected.  He got down on their level and made them feel important.  He made everyone feel important. 

I am very sad for his wife and three young kids (all under 7).  I have known the oldest since he was a year old and have known the others since they were just little sonogram photos.  I am praying for them and sending them all the good vibes I possibly can.  I don't know if you all in blogland believe in praying, but if you do, can you say a little prayer for Jen, Bryce, Carter and Audrey?  I want them to feel safe and loved through this horrible tragedy.  I wish them the best this world has to offer them. 

As for Mat, you will be missed by the thousands of lives that you have touched.  Goodbye for now, my friend. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fresh snow

Last night we got our first snow.  I woke up at 4am and looked out the window and it was beautiful.  By 6am (the time I would normally get up) it had started raining and the snow had turned to slush and the beauty had vanished.  I am glad that I woke up too early because I was able to take in that moment, before the rain washed the snow away.  There is always something special about the first snow.

Kristen and I officially broke up yesterday.  I had made the decision to end it anyway so when we talked, it was evident that it was what we both wanted.  I think it was time for us to go our separate ways, but losing someone that you love that much is never easy.  She and I are great partners and friends but there was something missing.  There was no spark anymore.  I had to decide what the most loving thing would be for both of us.  Separating seemed to be what my heart was telling me was best.

We were able to sit down for a few hours last night and talk about what we want from this.  Fortunately, we both want to remain friends and it feels really good to know that I will not be losing the most important person in my life entirely.  I think we are going to be better friends than anything else.  I love her like crazy and feel so grateful for having the opportunity to have been with her for the last four years.  She has stood by me through some of the hardest times and supported me while I morphed into a stronger person.  So grateful!

I know this all sounds like sunshine and roses, but that isn't entirely it.  I am feeling sad today.  It feels kind of empty in our home without her, but I know that will heal with time.  I haven't had to take any of the anti-anxiety medicine since making the decision about splitting up.  So, I guess I am moving in the right direction.

Right now, I am relaxing on the couch with Banjo sleeping next to me.  It feels really good to have him with me.  I know Kristen misses him when he is here, but I think the shared "custody" is going to be the best solution.  He and I went for a long walk this afternoon which made us both feel better.  He loves long walks and I was able to be present and in the moment.  Again, I am grateful.

I hope everything is going well for you all.  Thank you for all of your love and support through this rocky time.  I appreciate you all very much. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clearer skies

I woke up at five this morning... huge improvement on the 3:30 yesterday morning.  Luckily I didn't wake up feeling like things were crashing down around me this morning.  I feeling a slight glimmer of hope today.  I am not sure if it will stick, but things feel better.  I miss Kristen, but I know that will take a long time to go away.

Today was a day of being kind to myself.  Surrounding myself with positive people and doing things that I enjoy.  You know what???  There are so many more loving, kind, amazing people in my life than I realized.  I was able to look at what I do have in my life and see that with or without Kristen, my life will be full.  Again, this is how I feel for now... that does not mean that tomorrow I will not be writing how much life sucks.  But for now, I am ok.

This afternoon I had someone that I respect very much tell me that I am "an amazing woman."  I was told that I didn't even know how strong and intelligent and intuitive and kind I am.  Then he said "and you're beautiful to boot."  Honestly, I needed to hear that.  To remember I am so much more than Kristen's fiancee.  I am ready to move forward in my life and make a better relationship with her or accomplish everything that I ever dreamed of without her. 

Someone else told me today "we are banking on you being a doctor someday."  That made me feel really good too because I have been wavering on my decision to eventually go to medical school.  I keep saying that its because I want kids, but you know, I can have it all if I am willing to work hard.

Today I am able to see the sunset and hear the birds chirp.  Today I feel alive.  That is one step closer to getting back to good.  I will try to hold on to this feeling for as long as I can.  I know that there are going to be many more difficult moments, but I know that I am more than capable of making it through. 

Side note... apparently my mom took my nephews to the park today.  She let the four year old go to the bathroom alone because there were other men in the bathroom.  Well, once all the men had cleared the bathroom my mom went in to see if Chase needed help.  She found that Chase had pooped in the urinal and peed in his pants.  Ahhh the joys of children. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Second verse, same as the first

Today was just a repeat of yesterday and the day before and the day before that.  How do you reconcile that two weeks ago we were going to try to have a baby and yesterday Kristen moved out.  And today, she is off with a new girl.  I feel like I just ceased to exist.  Kristen moves on and gets to be happy while meanwhile I (the one with no fault in this) get to have panic attacks.  How does this work in the whole Karma thing? 

Last night I had to go to urgent care to get anti-anxiety medicine.  I have never been on it before (except for like one every three years that my mom/a friend gives me to help in stressful situations).  It is really hard to admit that I am emotionally broken and need pharmaceutical help, but I am not sure how I would do it without.  This whole things is just so confusing.  How do you go from trying to start a family to completely done in less than two weeks... Really?

I texted Kristen a little while ago to see if I could come get Banjo for the night.  The apartment just feels too empty.  She called me back and had a weird little fit about it and asked if she could drop him off tomorrow.  I had another call coming in so I told her I had to go.  Honestly, if it is that big of a deal, screw it.  We can negotiate dog custody in couples counseling.  Again I ask... how did we get here? 

Anyway, I also went to the dentist today for a cleaning.  It was a $200 bill that I didn't really have the money for to begin with BUT I also found out that I have two cavities that need filling ASAP.  So, I will end up spending about $500 altogether.  Money was already tight, but now I am trying to figure out how I am going to pay $1050 per month for rent by myself and buy groceries and pay utilities... now I have cavities too.  Awesome!

So, again I am going to apologize for my Debbie Downer post.  I know that they will probably get less depressing as time wears on so hang in there.  I hope you all had a good Monday.
-Ashley 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Where do we go from here?

...this isn't where we intended to be.  Kristen is moving out today.  Not taking everything, but enough so that she's gone.  I am not sure how to reconcile that in my head considering things felt ok two weeks ago.  I love her so much and I know that she loves me, but I guess this is just not where she wants to be.  Banjo is going with her which is good and bad.  The idea of being completely alone in our apartment is really sad, but I am not sure that I want him here right now. 

Last night I went to a Melissa Ferrick concert and saw some people that I know there.  It was nice to get out of the house.  And it was nice to dress up and feel pretty again.  The past few years have been such a roller-coaster that I kind of lost sight of the "pretty me."  I know that sounds strange, but when I am in crisis mode, buying cute clothes and straightening my hair doesn't top my list of priorities.  I know that probably contributed to the slow decline of Kristen and I, but who knows.  Anyway, it was really nice to go to the concert and get out of my head for a while. 

When I got home Kristen was coming in from work.  We talked and cried and laughed... it felt really good.  It was like we were back.  Then I asked her to stay in bed with me for the night because it was the last night.  She did.  I don't know if it was a good idea or bad idea, but it felt really good to have her cuddle me.  Safe.  I didn't want to fall asleep because I knew that in the morning it would all be over with.  I woke up at 5am with an overwhelming feeling of sadness.  I tried repeating an inspirational mantra over and over, tried watching TV, tried taking an anti-anxiety pill, took a bath... and here I am still crying.

I know this isn't supposed to be easy. The problem is that I have used every imaginable destructive coping mechanism that I could in the past.  You name it...  Now, I am finally in a place where I am emotionally healthier and all of the overeating, under-eating, excessive drinking, being promiscuous (the list goes on) has lost its appeal.  Now I just have to be in my feelings.  Sit there and feel sad.  How does one do that without feeling kinda crazy?

Kristen and I may go to couples counseling still to see if we are completely done.  I also feel like I need the closure here.  I don't know how to just turn and walk the other way without knowing that I have exhausted all of my options.  I don't know if Kristen wants to go to counseling though.  I think she is in a place where she either needs to decide to break a cycle or not.  And the work to stop that ball from spinning is never easy.

For now, I wait for relief.  I know that each day is going to feel different.  One day I will wake up and not feel sad anymore, but for now I am going to fight like hell to feel grateful for what I do have.  And for the person that I have become over the last four years with Kristen.  I have grown and changed and been afforded the opportunity to see life in a completely different way.  Kristen helped me through the loss of both of my grandmothers, my father's break down, my brother disowning our family (then re-owning), my parents separation, living with my mother, trying to get pregnant, my father's motorcycle accident, taking over my own business, having to quit school... It hasn't been an easy time and she probably should have run a long time ago.  (For the record, there was no drama in my family before we were together.  The shit hit the fan about six months after we started dating and the shit storm is just starting to feel like it is slowing down.)  I know that people come into your life for a reason and maybe this was what she was sent to do--make me stronger and help me through the tough times.  It's just hard to imagine her not being "my person."  My best friend.

Anyway, I have rambled on forever.  I am sure that no one wants to read about how sad I am and for that I am sorry.  I know this started out as a blog for support on TTC but it looks like it is going to be my journal instead (at least for now).  I keep wondering if people will get mad at me for changing it all up, but I really just need to write for me right now.  Thanks for sticking with me if you are reading this.  I hope you all have a great Sunday!
-Ashley  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hard telling, not knowing

I know that I had posted last week to say that we were back on the TTC train.  Well, we fell off from it and the train behind it ran us over.  A little over a week ago Kristen said that she wasn't sure that she wanted "this" (our relationship) anymore.  She has said this before, but we have always talked through her feelings and moved on.  I feel that way once in a while too, but I always process it with my counselor and usually find that it is just me being fickle (one of my not so amazing traits).  Anyway,  this time Kristen and I are not doing well.  She can't decide if she wants to stay or go.  It is very difficult for me to try to give her the space to make that decision, but I know it is what needs to happen right now. 

Needless to say, I am devastated.  I go between not knowing how I am going to do life without her, to having hope for our relationship, to not wanting to stick around and wait for her to figure out what she wants.  I am not entirely sure that I know what I want... I just know that we have built a life together and I don't want to throw it away without trying, seriously trying, to fix what's broken.  I know that we will never go back to the relationship that we had (which is probably a good thing) but there is a part of me that feels like we can get to a better place.  I want to put the work in to make it there, but I am not sure that Kristen wants to. 

I know you all read this blog for TTC news, but unfortunately it doesn't look like that is going to be on my radar for a while.  We did have a vial arrive last week while the shit was hitting the fan.  I called our doctor and asked them to store it for us.  So, I have a vial ready and waiting, but I want to get through this first.  Get back to good, alone or together.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I am on my way to a childcare conference... should be interesting.
-Ashley

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Too much fun!

Last night Kristen and I met up with some friends for dinner and then went to see Brandi Carlile (for the third time in four months).  If you have never seen her, I would highly recommend catching one of her shows.  She is an amazing singer, performer, and a supporter of gay rights (and many other causes).  Last night we were able to get about 15 feet away from the stage which was great... but the best part was when she sang "What Can I Say" unplugged.  It was beautiful and the entire audience sang the chorus of the song.  Magical!  I really enjoyed our evening and this morning my body is sore because we danced through most of the show. 

Anyway, in case it isn't obvious, I am kind of in love with her.  Kristen is nice enough to indulge my obsession by taking me to concerts and making me CDs of Brandi Carlile.  Reason #9,421 why Kristen is the one for me. :) 

I posted a couple pictures for you guys to see.  Have a great day! 






Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anyone???

As I said in our post yesterday, we are planning on doing an IUI at home this month.  We have all of our supplies, but I am wondering if anyone that has done it has step by step instructions, pointers, or even resources that we can access.  We have some friends that were taught to do the IUI by a midwife, but I would love as much info as possible. 

Thanks for your help!  Have a wonderful Tuesday!
-Ashley

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bit the bullet

After six months without baby making progress, I finally bit the bullet and bought a vial of sperm today.  Kristen and I have been talking about it for the past two months and we decided that we will try this month.  I should ovulate on either the 30th or the 31st so I am going to have the vial delivered on Friday.  We are going to do a "DIY IUI."  Sounds like fun, huh? 

Anyway, I am trying to remain calm and level headed, but as soon as I hit the "confirm" button on the cryobank website I could feel my body start to get stressed.  I am going to work very hard at meditation, yoga, and trying to stay zen.  We shall see...

I hope everyone is having a great October!  I am pretty stoked about the amazing fall I have had.  I am looking forward to a few more months of relaxation before I go back to school. :)
-Ashley

Monday, October 15, 2012

M.I.A.

Yes, I know that I have been M.I.A. for a while.  Not because I have been busy, rather because I have not been doing anything.  With a semester off from school, things have been incredibly quiet for me... lazy really.  For the first few weeks I was completely miserable.  I haven't had this little to do in at least five or six years.  Recently, I have gotten used to the quiet and have kind of started enjoying it.  I have only been working like 28 hours a week and I have nothing else going on.  At first I thought that I would have to take up a hobby or something, but being lazy has actually been a blessing!  I think I needed it.  I haven't been so relaxed in years! 

The downside to being lazy... I find that the less I have to do, the less gets done.  When I am extremely busy with work, school, etc. I always keep my house clean, stay super organized, and get lots of stuff done.  Now that I am not busy, my house is not getting cleaned as much, my organization sucks, and I have accomplished very little (aside from watching multiple seasons of no less than three shows on Netflix).  There are days that I feel guilty about taking some time off from being "out straight" but for the most part I am looking at this as some much needed rest and relaxation.  I know life will resume its hectic pace in January, so there is no need to waste what little time I have feeling guilty! 

Kristen started her internship this semester which has made her life super busy.  She has 4 classes, an independent study class, 20 hour internship, 16 hours of work, and homework.  She is working very hard and I hope that she feels like I am supporting her.  I try not to complain about not seeing her or cleaning not getting done because I know that she is working her butt off.  I thrive on being busy 12 or 14 hours a day, but Kristen is a little more laid back so I know that this is not ideal for her.  I know that she will do very well though. 

One thing that I have noticed popping up a lot more in my thoughts lately is TTC.  Although the timing may not be perfect and our money is a little bit tight right now, I can't help but think that it would be a great time to try.  Like I said, it has been at least five years since my life was this low stress so there is a very slim chance that I will find another period in the next five years with little to no stress.  Kristen and I have talked about possibly trying in November, but we have to wait and see what the next few weeks bring financially.  I think that if we do start trying again we will probably try every few months.  That way it won't become our main focus.  I have a really hard time putting all of my time and energy into something that doesn't work.  Spreading out the tries will give me a little more time in between to get my mind off from it. 

Kristen and I went out last night for our "anniversary do-over."  It was a wonderful evening and I couldn't have asked for a better day with her.  We relaxed, went for a walk in the woods with Banjo, and had a great dinner in Freeport.  We decided to have a anniversary do-over because we ended up having an argument over dinner on our actual anniversary.  It left us both feeling pretty sad and disappointed, so we tried again.  The second try was much more successful! 

Life is going well right now.  I can't really complain about anything (aside from the fact that I need to do dishes more often).  I am looking forward to the holidays and having the opportunity to start school in January.  For now though, I am going to enjoy the lazy life!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Trying to move past it

Sorry to everyone that read my post yesterday.  Total pity party.  After I wrote that Kristen and I ended up getting in a huge fight and I left for a while and drove around.  While I was gone I smoked almost a half pack of cigarettes and somehow, some of the hatred left me.  Today, I am feeling a little better.  I guess I just needed a day of absolute despair. 

The only thing that is really still bothering me is that I am not sure how I can be nice to my employee at this point.  I had suggested to her that the scheduled date of her surgery was not a great idea and that maybe she should wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas break.  I know that no one wants to have surgery on your school break (especially a 20 year old) but sometimes that is what happens in the land of adults.  Anyway, she decided to go ahead with her surgery and we all see how that turned out.  I am pissed at her for costing me $3,000 for the classes that I already attended.  I am pissed at her for ruining a WHOLE semester of school for me.  I am pissed that she pushed my graduation date back by a semester.  AND I am super pissed that she was able to make it to her classes yesterday while I was working on trying to fill out paperwork to drop all of mine.  F*** her. 

My mother told me that I should be completely honest with her about my feelings, but I also feel like some of this was out of her control.  I mean, she didn't know that it would take her more than a week to recover from a tonsil surgery.  Her surgery was nine days ago and she is still taking oxycodone, zofran (for the nausea), and only eating liquids.  (Just for a reference point, when I had my tonsils out I went to a Deftones concert three days later.)  I also feel like I need to cut her a little slack because she has two kids (a 2 1/2 year old with Autism and an 11 month old).  She has no help with them at all so she has not been able to get enough rest while she is trying to recover.  Now, I feel really bad for her, but the same respect, I feel like she should have planned ahead a little better.  She could have scheduled surgery for December and spent the time in between saving some money to pay people to watch her kids (or send them to day care).  I don't know... I guess what's done is done and no matter how pissed I am at her, it's not going to change the outcome.

Anyway, that is my grouchy rant for today.  Improvement from yesterday but still not 100%.  Hope everyone is having a good Thursday!
-Ashley   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Losing faith

Before you read any further, I want to give you a heads up that this is in no way a "feel good" post, nor is it going to talk about TTC.  It is going to be a major downer and if you do not want your day ruined, you may want to hit your back button.  That being said...

I am really having a hard time believing that there is anything that I can/will do in life that doesn't turn to shit.  I work so damn hard at EVERYTHING and it seems that no matter what something (usually out of my control) fucks it up.

I started classes last week.  It was so exciting to go to a new school (a competitive one at that).  I was pretty nervous because two out of four of my classes are pretty difficult classes for me.  So, I decided to get a jump start and spend 20 hours over the last five days (no exaggeration) reading ahead, brushing up on old math skills, and otherwise preparing myself for this new school adventure.  Fast forward to Monday afternoon, I get a text from my day care employee saying that she will not be able to work on Tuesday (yesterday) because she still isn't feeling well enough (she had her tonsils out last Wednesday).  I proceeded to call and text everyone I know that has the capability of filling in for me at the day care for a few hours.... guess what???  No one could do it.  So I e-mailed my lab professor and asked if I could make up my lab later in the week, he said yes.  Then I begged Nicole (my employee) to come in for two hours in the afternoon so that I could at least make it to one of my classes.  She said yes and came in as planned.  However, she looked like death, couldn't talk, hasn't eaten in days, and is stoned out of her mind on pain meds.  At that point, I made the decision that she can't work until she is feeling better.  Not only do I not want her around the kids/parents looking and feeling like that, but she shouldn't be driving if she can barely keep her eyes open.

Without Nicole (or anyone else to fill in) I had to make some tough choices.  With no other feasible option, I decided that I will take a leave of absence from school until the spring.  While this is the best option right now, it still sucks in the absolute worst way.  After withdrawing I owe the school a little over $3,000 for the classes that I did attend (less than a week) and it has to be out of pocket because I get no financial aid until spring.  Awesome.

I ended up spending all last night crying because I am so fed up with having to always put my stuff on hold.  I am also sick and tired of feeling like NOTHING ever works out for me.  I hit every fucking bump in the road.  Once I finally fell asleep last night, Banjo woke us up every hour and a half to go out because he had diarrhea.  Of course... I wouldn't expect any different in my life.  I am so completely and utterly over it.  This morning I woke up with the feeling that I just want to drive away.  Just get in my car and drive as far away from my life as I possibly can.  I know that it doesn't make sense, my horrible luck will follow me no matter where I go, but it was definitely the most pervasive feeling I had today. 

I love Kristen.  I want to allow her to support me right now, but I can't.  I am so angry at the world that I cannot let her in.  It hurts her that I feel that way, but I can't stop feeling like I want to scream at everyone and I am trying like hell not to be mean to her.  However, I do know that I will eventually blow on someone and I already feel bad for them.

Anyway, I know that this does not sound like a big issue and it's not.  It is just the "straw that breaks the camels back."  I work my ass off every day of my life, try to be kind to others, pay my bills on time, let pedestrians cross in front of me, give money to some of the homeless guys at stop lights and you  know what I get... SHITTY KARMA.  If anyone knows how that shit works, please let me know cause I obviously missed something.  My mother has always said "if something bad is going to happen, it will happen to Ashley."  It is so true.  I mean, I could make a list but no one wants me to go on forever about my life.  Most days, I don't even think about the shit.  Right now, all I see is the shit.  My mom is trying to convince me to go on anti-depressants (because I got really sad starting... last night).  Clinically, I am pretty sure that most doctors would say that wasn't how they are supposed to be used, but who knows, I'm no doctor!  

Ok, I am going to be done now.  I am hoping that no one is reading at this point because I feel like you should have jumped off this sinking ship a few paragraphs ago.  I know that things will improve eventually (or at least that's what I always tell myself).  I hope everyone is doing ok in blogland.  I hope that someday I can rejoin the TTC crew. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

On the one hand...

baby-making isn't even on my radar.

But, on the other hand, I am so ready to have babies. :(

-K

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer

What an amazing summer this has been!  We have gone to four concerts; we saw Sugarland, Marcy Playground, Lit, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, Everclear, Ingrid Michaelson, Andy Hall, and Brandi Carlile (we have a very eclectic taste in music ).  We went camping once, hiking in Maine and in the Rocky Mountains.  We spent nine days in Colorado (and I was ready to pack up and move there).  Went for a bike ride with friends on Peak's Island (a neat island off the coast of Maine).  We are going to a comedy show tonight, camping Sunday night, and whitewater rafting on Monday.  I am sure there are things that I am forgetting, and more to come, but I have to say this has been an epic summer!

This morning I found out that I was accepted to University of New England as a Pre-Med major... yikes!  I am so excited for the new challenge and that I got into the school of my choice, but I am SOOOO scared that I will not be able to handle the work on top of running/working at my own business.  Truthfully, if it ends up being too much, I think I will give up the day care before I give up on school.  I really want to be able to finish my Bachelor's and then hopefully go on to a Nurse Practitioner program, PA program, or med school.  Not sure what direction I will end up going in, but for now, I am really excited to have the opportunity to go to UNE and hopefully ROCK THAT SHIT!!!  (excuse the language... just had to say it!)

As for baby making... Kristen and I are still kind of hanging out waiting until the time feels right to jump back into trying.  It is likely that we will try next cycle (beginning of September), but we aren't locking ourselves into anything.  This month I started using one of those Clear Blue Easy Monitors that tracks your cycle.  Great idea in theory, but I apparently didn't ovulate (according to that machine).  I am going to do my normal test strips next month in addition to the monitor to see if that thing is just a piece of crap or not.  I am a bit skeptical that I didn't ovulate considering I tracked my cycle for 14 months and had very regular ovulation and then month 1 with that machine I didn't ovulate... seems fishy!!!  We still need to buy some sperm and the donor that we were using doesn't have any vials and may not be releasing any more.  I am ok with using one of our 'back ups' but I guess we need to make a decision who the lucky bachelor will be!

Anyway, that is what is going on in my life.  I hope everyone is doing well in the wonderful world of baby making!  I will try to start writing more once we jump back on the insemination wagon.  For now, enjoy your summer!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Disenchanted

It's been a while, I know.  Sorry, friends, we're still on a break.  Ashley and I have decided to let life feel good for a little while longer before jumping back into the game.  I've been nervous since our first (7) attempts took so much out of us as a couple and me as an individual.  Taking this time to take care of ourselves and plan our next course of action has really put things into perspective and I was pretty unhappy.  Struggling to keep both mine and Ashley's attitudes as positive as possible was thoroughly exhausting.  

It's been pointed out to us numerous times that it is very likely we've been receiving poor care--that there are fertility specialists/doctors who perform IUIs out there that are better and care more for their patients.  I was under the impression that our doctor was just fine.  From our experiences in her office, she seemed to genuinely care; however, IUI and fertility is not her specialty and I have to admit, now, that there were definitely some areas of improvement.  Namely, not having multiple doctors perform our IUIs. 

Oh, and also cluing us in on the CMV.  To this date not one doctor has talked to us about the relevance of CMV status on each donor.  It was not until hanging around with our friends and they happened to bring it up that we realized.  What the hell?  Someone, ANYONE, should have mentioned this before, during, or after any one of our IUIs.  No one, not one person mentioned it.  

A professor of mine mentioned during the last day of Spring semester that she was trying to get pregnant.  It was a casual, brief thing she threw out as a reason for avoiding coffee.  At that point, Ashley and I were still pretty deeply invested in trying to get pregnant (and I was, for a while, almost always on the verge of crying from all the frustration and disappointment).  So, when she mentioned it, I sort of jumped on the opportunity to ask her how, how long, alone or with someone.  I needed to know what her experience was to make me feel better about where I was.  At that point she'd been trying for about 11 months.  It's been roughly two months since that day.  Today we met to discuss some possibilities brought up in class during summer semester that we may pursue.  Just before wrapping up she asked if we were still trying.  She is now beginning the process of looking for doctors and donors for IUI or IVF.  I asked her if she'd had the CMV testing and she had.

Okay, so maybe the CMV test isn't all that important.  I can only imagine that it plays a small role in this whole process of conception.  But we were never told.  We were never asked.  I've been on the side of the doctors for most of this process, but I'm beginning to think Ashley was right to be so disappointed in the service we were given.  Maybe she wasn't upset due specifically to the stress of trying to have a child.

When we decide to try again--which I'm leaving in the hands of Ashley to decide--I think we'll either be looking for a new doctor or giving at home IUI a try.

Until then,
Kristen

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hey? Hi. Hello.

Hi.  I'm reluctantly writing because I haven't yet decided that I have anything worth saying on the topic of baby making.  Ashley pretty much brought you guys up to date so that just leaves my feelings about the situation.  How do I feel about it?  I feel a little nervous about starting again here soon.  It's been a nice few months off; nice to see Ashley let loose a little again; nice not to have baby making in the back of our minds while everything was blowing up here recently.  We've held it together pretty well but I'm glad we weren't actively working toward a baby at the time.

Still, of course that's what I want.  I'm just a little nervous now.  It's as if I'm trying to decide to date the same person for a second time.  They kinda maybe broke my heart a little the first time around and I'm planning a second go?  Well, not that any of you care but I was always one for second chances.  And unlike the terrible relationships of the past, this actually has a chance of working. :)

Anyhow... we're off to Colorado in a little over a week.  Yeaaaaah!  I can't wait to be away with Ashley in such a beautiful place.

Hope you all are doing well!
-Kristen

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Try again?

Kristen and I have started talking a little about trying to get pregnant again.  We are going on vacation in July, so it will probably be August before we can try.  One of our closest friends is going to be TTC for the first time in August too, so hopefully we can both get pregnant together.  Her wife has a friend that is a midwife and she went over and taught them how to do the IUIs at home.  Last night Kristen and I went out for drinks with Devin (our close friend) and she offered the use of Sarah (her wife) to do our IUIs.  Although it is very nice of her to offer and I am sure Sarah would love to do it (she is a total medical geek like me), I am not sure you can ever come back from that.  I mean, how do you have your friend all up in your business and then go out for a drink together?  Kristen is a little uncomfortable about doing an IUI herself though.  So, I think our options are going back to the doctor or having Sarah do it.  I wish that I could do it myself.  I would love to do an IUI!  Either way, it is a little bit exciting to be thinking about babies again.... scary, but exciting!

Taking over the day care has been really amazing!  I love the babies and spending my day singing, cuddling, and playing with infants.  What could be better?  The youngest baby that I have started at 7 weeks and is now 12 weeks.  It has been a lot of fun seeing the changes over the last five weeks.  The two oldest children are 18 months and they are moving on to another day care on Monday (I only take babies up to 18 months).  I have been caring for one of them since she was 5 months old, so it is going to be hard not seeing her all the time.  I have watched her learn to crawl, walk, talk, and everything in between.  It is a blessing to have these babies in my life.  The only difficult part about owning the day care is that sometimes a few of the parents can be difficult.  My logical side understands that they are just having a hard time leaving their baby while my emotional side second guesses my skills and ability to do the job.  Even with the strange requests from the parents, I don't think I would change it for anything.

Only one more work week and we are leaving for vacation.  I am really excited to go hang out with my lovely girlfriend.  We are going out to Colorado to visit Kristen's college roommate, Julia.  We also have plans to go stay at a resort for two days (just the two of us).  Julia got us tickets for some kind of brewery tour as well.  That should be fun.  Lastly, Kristen bought us tickets to an Ingrid Michaelson and Brandi Carlile concert at the Red Rock Amphitheater.  It is an amazing venue and I am sure that we will really enjoy it.  We are really financially drained at the moment, but we definitely need a good vacation and plenty of relaxation.

I hope everyone is doing well in blogland.  Sorry we have fallen off the face of the earth for a while... hopefully we will be writing more frequently soon.  Happy Summer!

Monday, June 4, 2012

When the smoke clears....

Expect another bomb to drop. 

The transition of buying the day care went off without a hitch.  It has been a process but it is going well.  I have most of the accounts/licensing/insurance stuff set up.  I finally began to breathe a sigh of relief. 

Kristen and I went camping on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend to relax.  It was amazing to have time where it was just the two of us (and Banjo).  We went hiking, spent time reading, and sat by the fire playing cards.  I had a wonderful time.  Then on Monday we went back to Portland and dropped Banjo off at home.  Kristen and I walked downtown to have lunch and drinks on a deck in the sunshine.  It was great until I got the phone call... 

About half way through lunch my mother called to tell me that my father was in an accident.  He had driven out to Ohio to move my mother's stuff out there and then he was riding his motorcycle back.  Apparently about four hours after leaving my mother's house, a deer ran out and tried to jump the back of my dad's motorcycle.  He didn't clear the motorcycle and my father went flying.  He had been going about 70mph when the deer hit him.  Apparently he didn't even see the deer before it hit him.  He was knocked out and the only thing he remembers is waking up to a woman crying over him.  She had been driving behind him and saw the whole thing.  My father was lucky enough to be only a few miles from one of the best hospitals in Pennsylvania.  He was even luckier that he only suffered a broken clavicle, scapula, humerus, 6 ribs, and has a punctured lung.  He has some road rash on his legs and hands and he is very bruised, but all things considered, he is doing very well!  He has a lot of pain and has been in the hospital for a week now but hopefully he can leave tomorrow or Thursday.

So, when we found out about the accident, Kristen and I figured that we should go stay at my dad's house to care for the house and his pets.  We stayed there until Friday morning and then made arrangements for a friend of mine to stay at the house while we went to visit my father.  We drove to Pennsylvania and I have been here since.  Kristen left on Sunday so that she could go and work for me at the daycare with my new employee.  It has been good to be able to spend this time with my father and make sure that his care is going ok.  Everyone in this hospital is great (for the most part) and they have done a good job caring for him.  Once my father is released, I am going to drive him out to Ohio to stay with my mom for awhile.  Then I will be turning around to drive back to Maine.  It has been one hell of a week, but I guess it is just life!

Other than worrying about my father, life is going ok.  I was beginning to relax into my new career and feeling good about the change.  Kristen and I had a wonderful time camping and hopefully will have the opportunity to spend some more time together soon.  As for the baby making stuff... I think we will probably try again in August or September.  Until then, hopefully we can relax a little bit.

For now, I am sitting in a hospital room listening to old men tell war stories.  I am starting to feel a little depressed but I know that this is only short-term.  I just need to keep it in perspective.  I am so incredibly grateful that my father is going to be ok.  I am endlessly lucky that I have a wonderful partner like Kristen.  She has made it possible for me to spend time with my father while she takes care of the day care, house, dogs, etc.  She is truly a blessing and I don't know how I am ever going to repay her for all of her help and support. 

Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing well in baby land.  Hopefully I will join you in pregnancy pain and bouncing baby bliss shortly!  Lots of love to you all!
-Ashley

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the horizon

Ahem...

So, we're taking a break and all things are great.  I can't complain.  I think, even, that some things are improving.  Ashley is happy, less stressed, not feeling broken at the moment.  And as a couple we're working on our stuff together.  This whole baby making business has really brought out our differences in a way that we weren't expecting--at least, I wasn't--and now that we're taking a step back, we're also taking a moment to make sure we're okay as a couple.  

This isn't to suggest that we're falling apart.  We're not.  But we may not have been taking as much care of each other as we should have been.  Not through our attempts to get pregnant and maybe, even, not before.

Even though we love each other and have had the best of intentions to be there for one another, there really hasn't been much opportunity for it.  I go to school in the mornings and go to work in the evenings (including Saturday) and Ashley works M-F, 9-5 with a night class here and there.  We rarely cross paths.

So, take that schedule and pretend Ashley's you: you're trying to get pregnant, it isn't working, you want to plan, discuss, cry with your partner and 6 of 7 days you feel like you don't have a partner at all.  This has been our life for the past year.

I've been really pressuring myself to continue to work full-time while going for my MSW, but after a long discussion with Ashley last week, I've come to the realization that it's better for my current situation if I make a few changes.  Namely, Ashley and I need to see each other more in order to have a sustainable relationship  (on all accounts).  So--uh, okay, I have to wrap up--straight to the point then...  I've changed from part-time student to full-time, leaving me more room for Ashley in the evenings, and told my boss I have to drop down to part-time at work starting in the fall.  Big changes for me, but I think we'll all benefit.  Even Banjo.

-Kristen

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two weeks left

The next two weeks are insane.  I gave my two weeks notice at the doctor's office last Thursday to which he replied 'it's really bad timing' and asked me to try to work longer.  I agreed to working out three weeks notice.  Well, we are a week into the three week notice and no progress has been made in finding a replacement for me.  My job is not a 'jump right in' type of position; there is a lot that goes into it.  So, I am waiting to have someone to train.  Hopefully they come up with something soon.  I really think that they are thinking that I will say 'oh, I can work another month' but it's just not going to happen.  I always try to "fix" everything for everyone, but not this time.  They need to find someone and I will be happy to train them.  It is super frustrating!  In addition, both of the other people that work in our office were out this week so I have been buried.  I haven't had a chance to eat lunch until almost 3pm both days that I have been in the office and I feel like I am constantly running and getting nothing done.  I will be EXTREMELY happy to finish this job in two weeks.

I have been trying to get my licenses and everything for the day care to be put in my name.  I have an inspection on Monday morning, so hopefully that goes well.  I also have been trying to hire a new day care employee for when my mother leaves.  That is a daunting task in itself.  It is so hard to find someone that I would trust to care for the day care children.  I think I have found "the one" but I am waiting to hear back from some of her references. 

One more full week of school left.  I am currently trying to memorize all of the muscles in the muscular system.  With everything that is currently going on, I have less than good motivation.  I am sure that I will get it done, but it seems completely overwhelming right now. 

As far as baby making goes, that is on hold.  I think we will probably wait and try in August.  I just cannot even think about adding that to my plate at this point.  Plus, we have a vacation planned in July and I want to be able to enjoy it without wondering if I am pregnant or not.  I also want to try to decompress a little bit.  Oh, and I am working on losing some of this weight that I put on in the past year.  I have lost about ten pounds so far and hopefully can lose at least ten more before we try to get pregnant again. 

All in all things are going well... just very busy.  I am really looking forward to having just one job and school being done.  Maybe I will have a little bit of time to myself!?!?!  For now, just trying to get everything done and make sure that everyone around me is happy.  I hope everything is going well in blogland!  So excited to see all the babies that have been born recently or will be born soon.  Congrats to all the new Mommies!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another month

So, as Kristen said, we are not pregnant.  No surprise.  I pretty much never got hopeful or believed that this was our month.  I think I got over optimism months ago.  Moved passed cautious optimism last month.  Now, it is pessimism that fills me.  I don't really believe that it is going to happen.  I know that sounds really messed up, but for some reason, I just can't bring myself to feel at all hopeful.  I try to say the right things, "I know it will happen soon" or "it's just a matter of time," but I don't think I believe it. 

I know that there are thousands (maybe even millions) of people out there that have struggled with this process for much longer than we have, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a struggle.  I started tracking my cycle and preparing for pregnancy over a year ago now and I have nothing to show for it except an extra 50 pounds that is NOT baby weight or a postpartum belly.  I am just fat and sad. 

I think that the hardest part for me to wrap my brain around is that there is nothing wrong with me reproductively.  Everything is perfect.  My cycles are the same every month, my blood work is on target, I eat organically, I avoid EVERYTHING toxic (except alcohol and a cigarette on occasion)... yet I am still not pregnant.  I know that this has been a stressful year with a lot of changes (parents' separation, two moves, and upcoming day care purchase) but people under a lot more stress than me get pregnant every day.  Blah, blah, blah.

I never really talked about trying to get pregnant this month with anyone.  I didn't tell my parents or anyone at work.  Kristen told a few friends but other than that, it was kept pretty quiet.  I kind of feel like I should just (as Dr. Phil's dad says), "take a good opportunity to just shut up."  I feel like no one wants to hear it.  I don't know if that is true or just that I don't want to hear their responses "I have a good feeling about this time" or "I am sure this is your month."  It almost feels like they are lying to me.  I know they aren't saying anything to hurt me, they are just expressing their support but it no longer feels supportive.  More patronizing than anything.  Anyway, I think another reason I keep everything to myself is because then I won't feel compelled to tell people it didn't work which keeps me from becoming an emotional wreck over and over again.  Oh well.

I am sorry to everyone that read this.  I feel like I am the biggest Debbie Downer in the world right now.  I have been keeping it to myself (even from Kristen) because I feel like no one wants to hear it anymore (including Kristen).  So, there go the flood gates.  I hope I didn't scare you all off.  Anyway, I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Tuesday.  And thank you for your support through this process. 
-Ashley

Monday, April 23, 2012

A rainy Monday morn'


I've been waiting for our chance to write our announcement to the blog world.  The "We finally got a positive!" but, alas, I have to continue to wait.

Ashley has done very well this time around with handling the disappointment.  I'm not sure what has really aided her in that, if it's been putting away her charts and thermometer or if it's just been time.  This whole process really leaves you beaten, bruised, and just damn exhausted after a while.

This past try was our 7th.  Our 4th IUI, but our 7th try overall.  I downplay the significance of the inseminations done at home when talking to others or even when Ashley and I discuss what our next move should be.  I downplay it because there was such a small chance, it always felt like a shot in the dark anyway.  But now that the stress is off (a little) I realize that while those three months of ICIs weren't full of high percentage points, we did invest a lot of hope in them, and Ashley, especially, invested a lot of time, energy, and a little bit of her own self.  I tried to build her up by talking down those three months, but I'm finally seeing that what I was doing was downplaying her struggle.  This, of course, is more important for me to realize than anyone out there in blogland, because a part of me knew this all along.  But there was this other part, the part that said we can't move forward until we have x amount of IUIs ... therefore, logically, the ICIs simply do not count.

Logic doesn't win you brownie points, ladies...

My friend Gabe and his wife just had their first baby earlier this month.  It was a struggle for them, too, as Gabe has transitioned from female to male and his wife spent years trying to get pregnant before they were finally hit the mark with IVF.  I'm so happy for them and know that they will be great parents.  I am also hoping that their struggle is not what Ashley and I have as our future.  Some folks can handle long-term disappointment with stride and, well, I suppose we can too, if we had to.  That's not to say we wouldn't try again at some point, but years of trying?  Maybe Ashley is stronger than I am and maybe all you ladies out there who tried and tried and tried are stronger than I am.  Or maybe I'm just worried.  Maybe I am stronger than I think I am.  But when I think that we've already been in this for 7 tries ... I panic.

Of course, I want nothing more than to continue and hold Ashley's hand along the way until we get a positive.  That's really the bottom line, however, I'm tired and Ashley's tired and WE are tired of being tired.  Last month's break really helped to rejuvenate us and this month's disappointment hasn't hit me very hard.  I was hoping for the best but expecting not to be woken up with happy laughter.  So we're taking another break.  At least a month to regain funds and regain ourselves.

The above sounds so negative but I hope that is not what is taken from this post.  Sometimes it is just important to gather your strength and your energy before you try again.  Our 8th, 9th, or 10th try just might be it and I wanna be ready for it.

In the meantime I'll be thinking of you all and hoping for healthy, happy babies and smooth pregnancies!

Until next time,
-K

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oh blogging, how I miss thee...

I have been a really bad blogger lately. Life has been a little crazy, but mostly in a really good way!

My mother went out to Ohio to watch my brother's kids while he and his wife went on vacation a few weeks ago. When she got back she started talking about how she wanted to move out to Ohio to help them for a year or more (my sister-in-law is in school and my brother works 60+ hours per week). Although I love my mother and will miss her terribly, I think it is a great idea. She and my father have been fighting a lot and I have been put in the middle a lot, so I think space will be a very good thing. In addition, she feels most happy and fulfilled when she is with her grand kids, so why not move closer??? The only thing that was holding her back was her day care. That's where I come in... I will be taking over the day care as of May 15th. This is great news because I love working there, I will make almost double the money I am currently making, and I can quit my job at the office. I am very excited about this change and really look forward to the challenge of owning my own business. Oh, and it will also be great once I get pregnant because I will be able to have our baby with me all the time making breast feeding (and bonding) that much easier.

On the baby front... As Kristen said, I had my follicle check on Thursday and I had a 15mm follicle. Based on the follicle size and my typical cycle, we figured that my ovulation would occur on Sunday. Because the OBs office doesn't do IUIs on weekends, we had our sperm transferred over to Boston IVF and the nurse at our OBs worked out all the details for us to go in for our IUI over the weekend. So, on Saturday morning I had my LH surge and I called Boston IVF to set up my IUI. Long story short, they didn't know anything about it and ended up telling me that I was out of luck this month. I flipped out a little and then, once I had regained my composure, called the on-call doc from the OBs office. After I talked to a few doctors on the phone and explained the issues over and over again, I finally got a call from the lady at Boston IVF who told me that I was all set for a 9am IUI. I was really pissed! I kind of feel bad for that girl because I wasn't super kind to her in the moment. I apologized, but I still feel bad.

Anyway, on Sunday morning Kristen and I went into Boston IVF and had our IUI. It was great! The nurse was so nice and spent close to an hour with us. She even offered Kristen the opportunity to dispense the sperm (Kristen was too nervous, but it was a wonderful gesture). I was very impressed with the experience there.

I have to go back to my doctor's appointment on Thursday for a minute though. While we were waiting for our appointment (for almost 40 minutes) I started to think about how much I really didn't like that place. Maybe it is just the association of trying to get pregnant and failing or the issues that we have had with them or both. Anyway, when we were in the appointment with the doctor she said a few things that made me angry. Kristen mentioned the first one (why don't you guys switch?). I mean, I know that this is an option for some couples, but I also feel like if it is an option then we would probably tell the doctor. If I couldn't get pregnant and Kristen could, I would feel like a failure and really resent her for being able to have that experience. I don't ever want to feel that way about her (or myself). I wish that I was open to the idea of her carrying our baby, but I have had this deep biological need to carry a child since I was very young, so I just think that it is best to honor those feelings.

The other thing that always bugs me when I hear it from our OB is "you know, most heterosexual couples have unprotected sex for a year before they are labeled as infertile." I understand that and I am not looking for an infertile label (really)! We are doing IUIs which is an infertile heterosexual couple's first step in fertility treatments. So although I appreciate her trying to tell me that I am not infertile, it always seems patronizing to me that she says that.

Lastly, she said something about "I read the notes from the Boston IVF consult, but I want to hear what he told you." So, Kristen told her that basically he said it was just a matter of trying more and that the Clomid/Letrozole may have been hindering my ability to get pregnant. My OB then AGREED that indeed the fertility drugs that she prescribed to me can hinder getting pregnant if you don't need them. My question is, why did she never inform us of that? Why did she advise us to take the meds if it wasn't indicated?

So that is it for my rant about the OB. We probably won't go back there. I don't particularly like dealing with them and I feel like they are pretty insensitive to this whole process. Anyway, I loved my experience at Boston IVF, so we will probably stick with them.

The IUI itself went really well. The catheter slipped right in and other than some spotting and cramping, it was great. The nurse gave us the sheet with all of our sperm counts and stuff which was neat to see (the OBs office doesn't do that). Our swimmers were swimming straight and fast (rated 3 out of 3) and our count were good (can't remember the exact numbers). Hopefully this is the month!

Easter was really nice. It was my mother's birthday too, so we had a birthday cake for her and Kristen and I bought her an hour long massage (she loved it). We went over to my cousin's house and had dinner with some of my family. It was wonderful! Typically when we get together with family there is some kind of bickering, but Easter was the exception this year. We played with the kids, laughed, ate too much, and just generally enjoyed each others' company. I feel truly blessed!

Now that I have written a novel, I should probably get back to work. Things are going well overall and I really look forward to the life changes coming my way. I hope everyone is doing well in blogland!
-Ashley

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have to admit, I thought this would be easy.

That's normal, right? Yeah, I think so. Everyone wants to believe that they'll be pregnant right away and when they're not all the wheels feel like their grinding--what's in the way? It's been nice this past month to not worry about the price tag... on Ashley's sanity and of the actual process. We've moved to a new place (which I cannot explain how much I love) without the added stress of trying to make appointment after appointment and pick up meds and test and check temps, etc. I got to watch Ashley relax, smile, reconnect a little. It's been great.

Not sure what's going to happen this month. We've talked about waiting; we've talked about jumping right back in. It's all a little scary. I mean, up until this point every effort we've made has failed, so how do we not assume failure? Isn't that crazy? But no, it's hope, it's faith in the universe!

Anyway, we did have a visit with our OB today just to see how Ashley's doing on her own without the meds this month. Everything seems to be going alright. Our OB, upon realizing the stress growing in the air, said, "Have you ever thought about switching?" I nearly laughed--or maybe I did laugh. People who don't know us well probably wouldn't get it, but for every fabric of my being that doesn't want to carry a baby, Ashley's body wants it that much and more. So, no. This will not be a case where the ladies switch off.

There's not much really brewing on the baby front for me this month but there is a lot of family stuff blowing up on my side that makes me think about family and what it means. I wonder often why I am the way I am with my family, so distant and separate. I've always figured it was because they'd make me implode if I was more involved, but maybe I'm just selfish and can't be bothered. So instead of worrying about my baby I'm worried about those who cared for me and grew up beside me as a baby. It hasn't really gotten me anywhere just yet, but I suppose it adds a bit of perspective to making a family...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crazy week

This has been a crazy week! I have been working insane hours, picking up babysitting, going out to dinner with friends, dinner with family... It has been tiring, but good.

There is no real news on the baby front. I have a follicle check scheduled for Thursday morning. We are doing this cycle without any meds so I am not sure what to expect from the ultrasound. We haven't made a decision on where to have the IUI yet. I am not sure how it is going to work anyway though because I will likely ovulate on Saturday or Sunday. If it is on Saturday, we have to go to IVF for the IUI as our OB is closed. If it is on Sunday then we may have to skip this cycle. Who knows!

Thank you Isa for the nomination for the Liebster award! Go check out her blog . We are very excited about the nomination!


Here are some blogs that we have really enjoyed. Check 'em out!

The Daily Adventures of Two Girls in Love

Crazy Lesbian Mom

thoughts of babies

Two Moms and a Baby Bump

thus far

The Liebster Blog Award works like this:

Say thanks to the blogger who nominated you, and link back to them.

List 5 fab blogs ideally with fewer than 200 followers that you feel deserve the Liebster Award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Copy and paste the award to your blog.

Hope that the 5 people you’ve picked are tickled enough to pass the award onto their 5 Favorites!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I have been avoiding you...

I have avoiding all things baby for the past few weeks. I have pretty much eliminated it from my thought process. I needed time to be me and not let the stresses and disappointments of baby making creep in. I have allowed myself to eat bad food, drink, and even smoke cigarettes. I took time to be the young, wild Ashley. I even had two Bloody Marys at brunch on Sunday... it needed to happen! I feel great and have a relatively low stress level for the first time in almost a year.

I am kind of worried about starting the TTC process again. I just don't want to go back to that anticipation/disappointment cycle. I know that the pay-off will be worth it eventually, but it is pretty difficult in the meantime. Today was really the first day that I thought much about TTC. So, I caught up on reading everyone's blogs and Kristen and I talked a little bit about what is going to happen this month. I just started seeing a counselor and she and I were talking about the TTC process. She then shared with me that she tried to get pregnant for several years before doing IVF and having twins. It was great to hear that because I think that it is very difficult to discuss TTC with someone that hasn't gone through it. I feel very lucky that this lady knows the ups and downs and can hopefully talk me through it. Anyway, I was telling her about how I am not entirely sold on the OB clinic that we are going to. I love my doctor, but I don't usually see her, I get someone else from the practice. Plus, they ordered blood work recently and they never called to follow up with the results. I had a copy sent to my PCP and luckily they called to tell me that my dose of thyroid medication was too high. I just feel like it is kind of irresponsible for a doctor's office not to call with a result, especially if there are changes to treatment plan/medication that need to be made. Who knows, maybe my over-medication has contributed to my not getting pregnant (doubtful, but possible). So, my point is that my counselor said that maybe I should go to Boston IVF for the IUI next time. Although we don't want to spend the extra money ($137 more), maybe I should go to a place that makes me feel more comfortable. Who knows? I wish that Kristen could just do the IUI at home. For those of you that have done IUIs at home, where do you get the catheters? Did a doctor instruct you on keeping a sterile field, etc? I am just curious.

So, our new apartment is nothing short of amazing! It is one of the old, New England style places with the GIANT windows. There is so much sunlight! I also love that it is a large two bedroom place so we have plenty of room to be comfortable. Living in the city is also making me so incredibly happy. Ok, so point is, I love our new home!

I guess that is all for today. I hope everyone is doing well out there in blogland! By the way, this week has been the most incredible March weather ever! Gotta love the sunshine and 80 degree days! I am sure that we will get another snow storm soon to snap us back into the reality of living in Maine!!! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Banjo and I are having a quiet kind of day.

I have class in a couple of hours, but for now it's just me and The Jo (one of many nicknames) on the futon listening to my super old collection of music on my iPod.

I finally finished my paper and sent it off to my professor, even though I'm unsure about how clear my focus and intent was. Oh well, I'll find out soon and can rewrite if necessary.

Where are we at right now? Well, I feel like I'm floating in a much calmer sea than I was last week. When Ashley's stressed, I'm stressed and unless I can give her the support she needs, I tend to get a little aggravated, too. Needless to say, last week was tough for a number of reasons. This week, I think we've made some positive strides. Even though seeing the "miracle worker" didn't go as Ashley was hoping, I feel like it's prescription for calming down. If the co-founder of Boston IVF doesn't think we need to worry... I think, probably, we can go ahead and trust him, right? Obviously, his words aren't a cure for anxiety and impatience but it's support that we need.

So, from here we're going to try a few more rounds of IUI. Unmedicated. Why do I feel excited about an unmedicated round? Probably because doing anything without the aid of medicine makes me feel more comfortable. [I'm the type who won't take a pain reliever for a headache unless it's to the point I can no longer focus.] I like the idea of trusting your body. If it turns out that your body needs assistance, then medicine is great, but starting this with Clomid and Femera always felt a little strange to me. When we met with our OB the first time and she said, "If you want the best results, let's start you on Clomid," I felt like it was a little quick, but if it was the difference between a positive outcome, I was down to try it. After going to Boston IVF and having the guy tell us that in some cases when Clomid is not really necessary, it can have an adverse effect, I feel like it only makes sense for us to try without it. Also, with Ashley's reactions to both medicines, I wasn't in favor of continuing their use, anyway. Blinding headaches, stomach aches, it was all very unpleasant for her, and if she's in pain how can that be good for anyone?

Anyhow, Ashley's working on some self-care today. She's finally going for the massage I bought her for her birthday and then she'll have acupuncture later, so it'll be a super physically relaxing day for her. As for me, I'll be spending a little more time with Jo before heading to class and trying to wrap my mind around writing a 10-15 page paper about gender roles and the impact of our relationships with others. Super interesting, but quite a large topic. If only I had a little more time (i.e. not working/not in class) to work on these papers, perhaps I would feel like I had more of a handle on it.

I hope you and your babies/bellies/ttc are all well.
-Kristen

Monday, March 5, 2012

New plan

The new plan doesn't look a whole lot different. We went to Boston IVF today and met with the "miracle worker." Basically, what he said was I am not getting pregnant because it is a numbers game and "bad luck." He said that he expects that there is no reason that I am not getting pregnant so he wants me to do two more months of IUIs. In addition, he wants me to do them unmedicated. He said that there is nothing concerning about my previous blood work, my age, my cycles... so we just need to keep on keeping on. He said that if I am not pregnant after two more unmedicated IUIs then I should come back and see him. We were told that we can either do the IUIs through them or just go to the OB to do them. He wanted to give us the option so that we can spend less money if we want.

Although, I am happy and very grateful that yet another doctor said that there is no reason why I shouldn't get pregnant, it is a little bittersweet. There is a part of me that would like to be able to move on to IVF just to have the greatest chance at getting pregnant. I suppose I just need to practice patience which is SOOOO hard for me. I need to decide if I want to sit this month out or if I should do an IUI later this week. I don't know if I would benefit from a month off or not. There is a part of me that feels like taking this month off and doing the IUI next month will just give me more time to worry about it. I don't know what I will end up doing. Kristen thinks we should wait a month, but I just am not sure.

I went to the concert the other night which was a lot of fun. I only saw Melissa Ferrick play one song because I was talking with old friends and I met tons of new people. The friend that I went with and I both drank a little bit more than intended so Kristen came and picked us up and took us home. Overall it was a really great night. One of the couples that I met is going through the TTC process. It was nice to meet someone locally that is going through the same thing. Hopefully we can get together with them sometime soon.

All in all, things are going ok. I am VERY ready to move though! I love my mother but she is difficult to take in large quantities. Our lease signing was postponed until this Friday or Saturday, so hopefully we can start moving stuff this weekend.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you had a wonderful weekend. :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Moving forward and going with a plan!

I'm at work, listening to a Madeleine Peyroux radio station on Pandora, attempting to write what should be a simple 2 page paper for my Policy class on Wednesday. I've got to tell you that while I would like to say it's a piece of cake, I've really over thought this paper and it's currently coming out in jumbles. Doesn't really help my case that I can't avoid distracting myself with Facebook or e-mail or music, or anything else! It's alright. I'm clawing my way through.

Ashley wrote about our new apartment that we were supposed to get our keys for today, but that didn't go through. On Thursday we got dumped on by an intense snow storm (about 8 inches or so in Portland) and our landlord-to-be texted me on Friday to cancel, saying he was going skiing for the weekend. I was pretty bummed out. Ashley and I had planned to start moving things in here and there and now we're looking at another week before we'll get the keys. It's not a HUGE deal, but we're ready already! This morning I woke up to a pretty heavy rain storm and couldn't help but think about my landlord-to-be attempting to ski in the downpour... haha.

On the baby front, we've got an appointment with a doctor at Boston IVF on Monday and I'm interested in seeing what this guy has to say. My excitement isn't all that high considering it's just a consultation and considering we won't be working toward making a baby for a while. But, hopefully he'll make us feel better about our situation.

-Kristen

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New month, new beginnings

We found a new apartment! It is in the West End of Portland which is a really nice area. It isn't our first choice of neighborhoods, but certainly high on our list of choices. It is a second floor spacious two bedroom. The living room has a fireplace and big, beautiful bay windows. There are two off street parking spots and a washer and dryer in our apartment. Pretty much the ideal place (if only it had a yard). I am excited to start the process of moving in. We technically don't have the place until the 15th, but we can start moving stuff in after we sign the lease on Saturday. It is about $100 more than we wanted to spend each month, but we will make it work. Kristen and I need to move back to the city and make our own home again. It's time! Banjo is going to be so happy too because he goes for lots of walks and gets to go to dog parks often in the city. It will be great!

On the baby making front... I had a little hissy fit last week about not being pregnant. I think that it is getting more difficult as time goes by. I also feel like our doctor's office is really lax about the whole thing. So, I made an appointment on Monday to go to Boston IVF. The doctor I am seeing is one of the founders and he is known as "the miracle worker." Hopefully he will get the job done. I made the appointment on Monday and I have already had someone from the office call to see if I had any questions and let me know that they received my records. Plus, they have you assigned to a specific doctor and nurse throughout your treatment. I feel like that is a really big plus. We have done 3 IUIs and had three different doctors perform them. I have seen/talked to at least 10 different nurses. Each time I talk to them I have to explain our situation in full prior to asking my questions, etc. I will really enjoy having consistent people caring for me.

One of our friends just called and asked me to go to a Melissa Ferrick concert on Saturday night. I am really excited about it. I need a night out to enjoy being a twenty-something rather than a potential baby house. I have to babysit until 8pm so I will get there late, but it is much needed. Oh, and babysitting will give me the money to go out... works out perfectly. I am also trying to set up a time to meet with another friend for coffee. I have been a bit of a recluse lately so it is time for me to get my butt out of the house.

Anyway, I am going to put on some snow pants and go out into the giant blizzard (biggest snow storm of the year) to do some shoveling. I hope everyone is having a great March 1st.
-Ashley

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yesterday.

I have to admit that all this negativity gets to me sometimes. I've started going out after work some nights just to force myself out of my own head, to take a minute, sit with a friend, have some beer and not think about money, negative pregnancy tests or my brokenhearted wife-to-be. To me, it sounds bad to want to escape, but I need to now and then because all I want to do is make this right, to make it happen for us, and I am helpless in that way.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling supremely guilty because I drank too much while "getting out of my head." On top of that Ashley still felt terrible, her mother needed her to wake up early and cover for her at the day care (like now, now, now, now!), and I was in a rush to go off to acupuncture. I was in such a rush that when I found Ashley crying I had to hug her, kiss her forehead, apologize for having to leave, and leave. I felt like a giant, helpless jerk. Everything felt wrong and deeply uncomfortable.

When I got to acupuncture (Ashley talked me into going because I've been having headaches for far too long now), I thought I was probably going to cry if I was asked how I was. But he didn't ask and I didn't offer. Instead he asked about my headaches and stuck needles in my face. I lay there thinking, feeling my chest grow heavy and my eyes falling shut. When I woke I felt relieved and rested. Who knows if he just treated my headache--or if my headaches are a result of all this stress--but I didn't feel so helpless or lost or jerky.

That doesn't mean I'm any closer to knowing what our "right answer" might be, but it does mean that I'm not about to spend a day in bed, sad. The closest right answer I have for now is that we need a break--Ashley, specifically, needs a break the most.

Today, I am taking little pieces of good news and feeling good about it. Namely: this morning Ashley and I found an apartment that looks amazing. The downside is that the ad said cats would be accepted, but said nothing about dogs. I called the guy anyway and left a message at around 10am. From then until about 8pm, I stressed about the fact that we hadn't gotten a call back. But then he called and I asked him about his pet policy. He danced around a little, saying he was comfortable with small animals before finally saying he'd take a pet deposit and call it good. Whether this apartment is our apartment or not, I take that as a win. And we've needed a win.

- Kristen