Infertility…

agony hopeI’ve been writing this post for months, hell…nearly a year.  I’d put my thoughts down, save it as a draft, and then decide to delete it a few days later.  Then, a month or two later, I’d go through the exact same process:  write down my thoughts, save it, then delete it.  Again and again, over and over.  And I realized that cycle was a great description of my struggle with infertility.  Each month, we’d go through the same process:  gear up for another cycle, schedule our time together to maximize our chances of conception, wait to find out if it worked, then start all over again.

Why?  Why did I write this post, time and time again, only to turn around and delete it?  Was I ashamed of our infertility?  Was I scared of people’s reactions?  Was I scared in general, of how writing it all down would solidify it in reality?  And I realized it was all of that, coupled with a hundred other emotions.  As much as we think we’re an open society, there are still some things that are far too personal to really talk about.  There are still some secrets that, no matter how much we want to tell them, there’s a small part deep inside that’s worried about how others will react.  We’re worried that we’ll be treated differently.  Or, even more, too scared to say anything, because the minute you put it out there for the world to see, it becomes real.  It’s public now, “FB official.”  And infertility is one of those things.

And that’s the shameful honest truth about infertility.  It’s sad, because I know that if I had cancer or epilepsy, I wouldn’t be scared or ashamed to speak out about it.  I wouldn’t try to shield my family and friends from our difficulties, and I’d be receptive to comfort from others.  Infertility is not any different, so why the different response?

And maybe THAT is the shameful truth.  The fact that, as women men HUMANS, we feel we can’t talk about something so deeply personal with others, for fear of their reactions, their well-meaning advice, or worse, their indifference.  We can’t talk about the grieving process as we continually yearn for something that might never happen for us.  The ups and downs, the moments of excitement that plummet to crushing despair month after month of failed cycles.  The feeling of being broken, so irretrievably broken, and feeling like there’s never going to be a fix for you.  And feeling like a failure.  Failure as a woman, as a wife, and as a potential mother.  Over time, it’s like these feelings just compound, one on top of the other, and with each failed cycle it just gets worse and worse.

We’ve been trying for two years now.  28 long, hard, cycles of hope, disappointment, and commitment to a dream that (at this point) is nothing more than an idea in our heads and our hearts.  We’re two IUI cycles in, with the potential for IVF looming in our future.  Tests have come back fine for us, so we have been diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility.  While I don’t wish for something wrong with us, I do wish there were something to fix.  Not knowing what we could do more of, what we could do better, what we could change, has really been one the hardest things for me.  I struggle with knowing that there is no medical reason why we haven’t conceived a child yet, and each month is just more and more of the same.  I’m a fixer by nature, and not having anything to fix has been incredibly frustrating for me.

I’m ready to come out and talk about this now.  I’m ready to put aside the stigma of shame and heartache, and be open about our struggles with infertility.  I don’t plan to make this blog an infertility blog, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I probably will post on it from time to time.  I want others who are struggling with this to know that they’re not alone, no matter how LONELY this journey feels at times, and I want to be available to others as someone to lean on, when it feels like all you can do is stand alone.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples.  I am 1 in 8.  You are not alone.

Much love,
K.

Changes…

Life is always full of changes, some good and some bad.  I try to remember that change, by itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even though it can have bad results.  However, change always seems to catch me off-guard, even when I’m the one seeking out the change.

Recently, I’ve started re-evaluating my life.  We’re going through fertility treatments, which brings about a lot of stress, and work piles up on top of everything.  I love the people who I work with, including my boss, which is what has made this job as tolerable as it has been for as long as it has.  But, I’m quickly realizing that this isn’t a sustainable job for me, and I would like to look for a new role where I could be happier, more effective, and more valuable to our company.

Last week, I was approached by a colleague regarding a job opening.  She is looking for someone to work in sales and marketing, covering our Asian accounts.  It would involve international travel, and it would be more in line with the work that I did while living in Europe (which I was quite comfortable with and enjoyed).  It would be a good career move for me, and I know that I’d enjoy the work (as well as be good at it), but initially I still wasn’t sure.  I spoke with my current boss and with J, and they both encouraged me to go for it.

Yesterday, I applied.  I’m on pins and needles wondering if I’ll get the job or not.  I hate feeling emotionally invested in something, because it only lets you down if you don’t get it.  I need to stay positive and remember that the manager approached ME, not the other way around, which has to mean something.  I’ll keep you all updated, but I’m hoping that this is the first of many changes coming up for me!

Much love,
K.

Inked! My First Tattoo

IMG_0189For the past decade (at least!) I’ve been wanting a tattoo.  While the ideas have shifted on what I’d get, the desire for body art hasn’t disappeared.  J has three tattoos, so I knew he’d be supportive, and his advice was to find something that meant something to me, so that I wouldn’t get tired of it.

After living in Japan and the Netherlands, I knew that I wanted something to commemorate our love of travel.  J and I LOVE traveling and take the opportunity to see someplace new any chance I get.  With that in mind, I started researching tattoo artists that had styles I liked.  A dear friend, A, recommended a place named Firefly Tattoo, and a tattoo artist, Dina.  As soon as I saw her work, I knew that this was who I wanted to do my tattoo.  Her style was so feminine and colorful, and the designs were so well executed.  I contacted her and we started putting together ideas, and a few days before my appointment she sent me a sketch of what we talked about.  It completely blew my mind away!  It was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t wait for her to do the actual tattoo.

Yesterday was my tattoo, and the actual tattoo time was a little over an hour.  Dina was so funny and put me immediately at ease (I was a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect).  We got down to business and before I knew it we were finished!  I’m going to add the coordinates of where we lived in Japan and the Netherlands to this tattoo, once it heals up, and then I can add to it if we ever move again!  I love the idea of having a little piece of where we’ve lived to show the world!  I’ve heard that once you get one tattoo, you’re hooked, and I can totally see why.  I’m practically planning my second one already!

Much love,
K.


Vegan Alfredo…So Good!

IMG_0193Last night I decided to try my hand at vegan alfredo sauce.  J and I have a brand that we really like (Victoria), but we don’t have a grocery store in town that sells that brand, and it’s pretty hard to find, not to mention it’s expensive.  So, with that in mind, I set out to find a vegan alfredo sauce recipe that would stand up to traditional Pasta Alfredo, which is  a favorite of ours.

I won’t lie, I poured over Pinterest, for at least 5 minutes 30 seconds, before quickly realizing that most of the posts used Cauliflower as a thickening agent instead of butter and flour.  Plus…hey…another way to get in a vegetable?  I’ll take it!  I pretty much gave up after that point and decided to make up my own recipe and see how it went.   So, here you go!

The ingredient list is pretty simple, and probably already in your pantry if you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet.  Olive oil, garlic, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, milk/milk substitute (we use whatever we have on hand, typically either rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk), sun-tomatoes, salt and pepper, and lemon juice.  We happened to have everything in our pantry, and had picked up some cauliflower at the grocery, so we were set.

Start with sautéing the garlic in some olive oil.  I used a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of garlic.  What can I say…garlic is heavenly!  However, this is one of those areas where you can go with how much you like.  You want alfredo with 40 cloves are garlic?  Then get on with your bad self!  You want less than that…feel free.  I sautéed the garlic for a few minutes, taking care to not let it burn.  Burnt garlic tastes terrible.   While that was going, I cut up a half a head of cauliflower.  I figured I could have used the whole head, but it was just the two of us, and I had plans for the other half of the cauliflower (roasted cauliflower with turmeric…that’s for tonight!).

Once the garlic was ready, I added a cup and a half of soy milk (use whatever milk you have on hand) and the cauliflower florets, along with salt and pepper (to taste).  Then, you let the cauliflower cook until it’s soft.  It took about 10 minutes for mine to soften, mostly because I was lazy and cut it into big chunks.  The smaller your cauliflower chunks, the faster it will cook.  Keep and eye on it and when it will break up easily with a spoon, it’s good to go.

After your cauliflower is soft, pour the milk/garlic/cauliflower mixture into a blender.  Add in nutritional yeast (I put in 2 Tablespoons) along with lemon juice (1 Tablespoon).  Blend away!  Here’s where it really becomes your preference…the thickness of the sauce.  I personally like a thicker alfredo sauce.  However, while blending, it was a tad too thick even for me, so I added more milk.  Don’t be afraid to add more milk if you think your sauce is too thick!  This is all personal preference here, folks, make it how you like it!

When you’re done blending…taste it.  I decided that mine needed a little something extra, so I added nutmeg to the sauce.  I used to add nutmeg to my regular alfredo, so why not this?  It really made all the difference!

For dinner, we paired the alfredo with whole wheat pasta, roasted asparagus, and roasted carrots.  So good and healthy!  Hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we did!

Much love,
K.

Baby G’s Blanket, Finished!

IMG_0767Yesterday was my dear friend, M’s, baby shower for little Baby G!  This was actually the first time I have EVER finished up a baby blanket not only before the baby was born, but before the actual shower!  I’m on a ROLL!  I was really thrilled with out it came together, as I showed in previous photos, it was a pattern of single color granny squares connected together.  I backed it with cream fleece, and then crocheted a scalloped edge to finish it off.  M really liked it, so that’s what matters most!

Here’s the finished product!  So happy with it!

Much love,
K.