Category Archives: To Overcome

Hardships are inevitable. Coping is necessary. Silver Linings are there if you look for them.

It was Finally our Turn, Then it Wasn’t

 

Today, March 8, 2017, will be a day I remember for the rest of my life. Not because it was a good day but because it is the day that another piece of me was taken away.

Right now, I’m sitting at the end of the table where we used to have our medications, needles, gauze and alcohol wipes. I’m sitting here at an empty table after putting all those things away. In the Fall of 2016 my husband and I decided to try one last thing in our journey to starting a family. IVF was our last resort at having a child of our own. We have been trying to conceive for the last 4 years and 2 months. We tried naturally for almost 2 1/2 years and then moved on to IUI’s (intrauterine insemination). After 3 failed IUI’s with no explanation why, I had given up. That last negative pregnancy test in February 2016 was enough for me. We decided to get back to living our lives. We traveled a ton and lived without a care. I actually was able to put this baby thing in the back of my mind. I convinced myself that there was so much more to life than this struggle. We decided we would take some time off before making our next move. My husband and I have been together 9 years and been married for 5.  Our life together is nothing short of perfect and I thank God for that blessing often.  We do what we want and we are best friends. He is my perfect match and we are an incredible team. Last year we traveled a lot and we ended up in Italy.  I’ve never really wanted anything more than to go to Italy and see where my family came from. And on our last night there, I couldn’t help but think that I lived an entire year trying to escape from the agonizing yearning to have a baby. I convinced myself that if I did enough, and saw enough and experienced enough, I would realize that I didn’t need kids. We could be happy without them. But on that last night it all came crashing down and my attempt at pushing it all back was met with overwhelming desire to continue to try.

So there we were, back at the fertility office in October 2016. It had been exactly one year since our first meeting there.  We met with the doctor and went over our history. We discussed again how there were no issues with either one of us that should have prevented us from getting pregnant. It’s incredibly frustrating to have no answers. I left that day with new hope though because our chances of getting pregnant with IVF were so high. And I’m convinced that hope is the hardest part of all of this. You lose it and it’s devastating, but it always finds it’s way back to you and then you lose it again. It’s a never ending cycle of disappointment.

We started injections on November 30th and at that point I’m ready for whatever is going to come from this. Multiple injections in my stomach were no big deal. My husband gave shots like a pro. Twelve days and 23 shots later on December 11th I was in the waiting room with a huge belly and a ton of eggs that were ready to be retrieved. We had 16 eggs taken that day. The surgery wasn’t too bad but the aftermath wasn’t pleasant at all. I was in a lot of pain for 4 days. But that too went away. We found out that only 6 of those eggs were fertilized with my husbands sperm and all of them were frozen in order to let my body calm down and prepare for the transfer. I healed and the excitement of being this close to our baby was so overwhelming. There were 6 Aubrey/Chelsie’s in a freezer and we had the best chance yet at becoming parents.

Christmas passed and we started prepping for our frozen embryo transfer. I started Estrogen shots in my butt every 3 days. Then came the progesterone in oil shots every night. The needles are scary long and the first few days were rough. But again, I handled it. On January 31, 2017 we transferred two perfect embryos back into me and for the first time I was pregnant. Now we waited to see if they would “stick.”  On February 9th, my 31st birthday, I saw my very first positive pregnancy test. The lines were dark and it was for sure a positive. I couldn’t believe that this was happening on my birthday. On February 13th the blood test confirmed it and on February 17th the blood test extra confirmed it. We were officially pregnant. It was kind of strange how both of us reacted. You’d think the excitement would be overwhelming but we were both so shocked and maybe still in disbelief. I pinned some things on Pinterest and talked with my sister about plans but other than that we went on with normal living. I obsessed at night with the details and after a couple weeks I was actually very excited.

On February 28th we had our first ultrasound. I never expected what was coming. I should have been 6 weeks 5 days but the baby was measuring 5 weeks 6 days and had no heartbeat. I tried to convince myself that it was just too early. I let other people convince me of that as well. But I knew it wasn’t right. And that night I cried in the bath tub, in bed and while watching TV.  The next day I would randomly start to cry at work as I tried to hide my face at my desk so no one would notice. I grieved for 3 days and then I stopped. I let hope come back in. I read success stories that started off like mine. I convinced myself that the following Tuesday, we’d see something more.

Tuesday, March 7th came and as I laid on that table and looked at the same very small sac with a very small baby and no heart beat I knew it was over. No progress since last week. The baby had completely stopped growing at 5 weeks 6 days and just when we thought it was finally our turn, it wasn’t.  I would have been 8 weeks pregnant tomorrow. But today I had surgery to remove what was left of our baby. Yesterday I was pregnant and today I’m not.  The dull physical pain is a reminder of everything that’s happened in the last 3 months but the intense emotional pain will continue to be a reminder for longer than I can even predict. I tried really hard and now I’m really tired. I’m emotionally drained. Who knows what physical issues I’ve caused my body by filling it with hormones and other medicines. And this isn’t like any other miscarriage because we can’t just go and get pregnant again. It’s not that easy. There is so much time, money and medicine invested and the thought of doing it all over again is almost unbearable to think about. I am now in a bad place.

I come from a huge family full of cousins with kids. Every year it seems like we are welcoming multiple new babies into our family. And I’ve gotten past the bitter jealous part of infertility and I can now be happy for all those who get to experience such blessings. The announcements on social media don’t cut like they used too. Seeing my pregnant co-workers doesn’t create anguish anymore. But being in this position is not easy. It’s something I think about every day. And everyday I have to move past it.  Infertility affects 1 in 8. I’ve connected with great women on Instagram who are all part of the TTC (trying to conceive community). They offer a sense of comfort that no one else can give me because they understand. No one can understand what this is like until they have lived it. Until they have begged God for it. Until they have laid on tables every week hoping for some good news. Until they have been poked with hundreds of needles. Until they’ve cried themselves to sleep because the one thing that comes so easy to others is impossible for them.

I’ve had such amazing family and friends with us through out this process. We had so many laughs, discussions about the future, cry sessions and pure happiness when we found out it was actually happening for us. I’ve appreciated every talk, every text and every bit of encouragement. Part of the reason I write this is to give you an explanation without having to talk about it. This too shall pass and I am no stranger to tragic endings. I’ll move on and we’ll keep moving forward. As my cousin in Italy wrote me just a few days ago after we talked about her infertility issues… “I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is life for better or for worse.” And it’s true. I hate sympathy and I don’t need it. I haven’t shared this part of us because I don’t really like the comments, the questions or the stupid pieces of advice from people who will never get it.  So after you read this I hope you understand a little bit more about infertility and what people go through. I hope those who haven’t experienced infertility will keep their advice to themselves, because it’s almost always bad advice even though it probably comes from a good place. I hope that the people I interact with every day will understand what’s been going on in my life but won’t ask  me about it. We now have many more decisions to make, and although I’m sad, I’m moving on. The reason I wrote this was so I could have some closure. Writing is my closure. And as I finish this last sentence, I’m wiping away tears and reminding myself that tomorrow will be a brand new day.

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My Writing Break

I’ve been completely MIA when it comes to blogging. My fabulous simple life got a little too busy and complicated and I needed some time.  But I’m ready to start writing again and there are so many things to talk about… Italy, baby making, boss things, U.S. women, moving and continuing to set up a life I’m obsessed with.  So as I update the website and make plans I’m hoping I can properly document all the fabulous things that have happened and all the new things I’ve learned in the last 6 months.  I’m working full time, running a non-profit and getting closer to starting a family. And on the side I’m trying to pick up a few photography skills and learn Italian. Busy and Fabulous yet Simple. Stay Tuned… Xo!

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A Battle He Will Win

So often in life we are faced with difficult situations. Most of them we overcome, some of them set us back and a few of them almost ruin us. But with each heart breaking, soul shattering, life changing event we push forward. On Saturday, we got the news that my best friends husband was diagnosed with cancer. A man in his twenties diagnosed with a disease that devastated their family and friends. After a long week of waiting for those results, my stomach sank when I saw her text message. You never really think that tragedy will strike in your circle. My group of friends on the other hand has faced some pretty serious tragedies over our 16 year friendship and yet again one of us will battle through something so awful that it’s hard to put into words. My friend’s husband is a man you can only dream that your best friend will find. When I gave my maid of honor speech at her wedding I had little flashes of their future as I read the words that came so easy to me when I wrote them. A specific part stands out now… “A girl can only hope that her best friend finds a man that puts her first, treats her like the amazing woman she is and values everything they have together. I know that Joey is that man for Michelle. I admire him for choosing such a spectacular woman to live his life with. And I am so proud of her for finding someone who is just as spectacular.” And now, just 7 months after this amazing day, this spectacular couple will face the biggest challenge of their lives. They will have to fight cancer together and although he is the one diagnosed, she will fight just as hard until he’s cured.

I’m an optimist and I think he is too. He will give everything he has to beat this and continue being the amazing father, husband, son, brother and friend that he is now. This moment in their lives will not define them but it will strengthen them. There is no other option but to get through it and when that happens, the appreciation for life and love will be greater than ever.

He couldn’t have a more perfect person by his side as he goes to war against cancer. She is the one you want in your corner and the one whose experience and strength will prove imperative. She will stand when he can’t, smile when he needs a reminder of how important it is to fight and she will love him more and more each day so that he never feels like giving up.

With their wonderful families and the friends that he has had his whole life, this tragic situation will soon only be a memory of a tragic situation. This will be a chapter in the beginning of their book. A chapter followed by so many more that it will eventually be a story told to their grandkids about how this strong man defeated cancer and everything that came with it.

It hits so close to home for too many people and although they didn’t expect it, they will rise to the challenge in order to defeat it.

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I pray for them and for everyone else fighting this same fight.

Xo,

Chelsie

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Second Thoughts…

I typed up the post about our second IUI and then for some reason I had an overwhelming urge not to post it.  After the last post I received so many wonderful encouraging words. But with those beautiful words came a few that irritated the shit out of me! So, I think for the sake of not raising my blood pressure I will save my post as a draft and keep pushing through this intense time of my life without putting it all into words. Sometimes things are better left unsaid anyway.

2015 is coming to an end and it really wasn’t my year but as a good friend and my husband like to remind me… Not all years can be great.  There have to be some that are just okay.  So 2015 was okay and I’m sure 2016 will be better. After all, “I think I can I think I can,” “If you believe it you can achieve it,” “Believe you can and you’re halfway there” and all that good stuff.

So 2015 you were alright and 2016 I look forward to you!

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IUI: I Underestimated Infertility

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It’s been a long time since I started on a not so fun journey. In January 2013 my husband and I decided we wanted to start our family. Who knew 2 years and 10 months later we would have failed horribly on our own and once so far with the help of great professionals and hormones.  I haven’t written about this aspect of my life yet because I’ve battled back and forth with myself about whether or not I wanted to share it with everyone. I’ve talked about it with many but once I put something in writing it becomes really real.

Recently I’ve sat down with two friends who have struggled with infertility in their own ways. One who has a son and now another on the way and one who is going through IVF after not having any luck with IUI.  Infertility shows itself in different ways. We’ve talked about the lack of people who share stories like this and/or the over abundance of negative stories on blogs that surround the process of trying to overcome infertility.  So after some consideration and some emotional turmoil in the last few days I decided to put it in words.  It will be real and in the end this will stay positive. Because there’s just no use in continuing to be negative about it.

I consider myself to be intelligent, rational and one who overcomes tragic life events. So that side of me is trying hard to keep all of this in perspective. The other side of me gets my hopes up, is a sucker for happily ever after and really wants to be a mom.  That side of me is really struggling with life at this moment.  I’m tired of waiting and I’m tired of being the one who waits while everyone else gets what I so desperately want. That’s life right? Not everything always works out the way you want it to… But it doesn’t make it any less shitty!

So almost 3 years later we’ve decided to move onto the next step.  We started at HRC Fertility in September. We have had all kinds of tests done, none in which show anything wrong with either one of us.  So the doctor decides IUI, or intrauterine insemination, is the best option for us as we move forward.  We’re both very healthy and our reproductive parts are working just fine. Unexplained infertility is the issue but we’re not really sure if there is an issue? It doesn’t really even make sense! So on day 3 of my period I started Clomid for 5 days. Then the following Monday I had another ultrasound which showed my ovaries reacting well to the meds. Tuesday I got a shot in the stomach of HCG and on Wednesday I went in for the first of two inseminations. In a future blog post I’ll talk about that day and what I went through physically, but more importantly, mentally. Fast forward two weeks later and I’m staring at another negative pregnancy test.  Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Yes.

So now I wait for day 3 of my period and for this whole process to start all over again. Although I’m very aware that my body failed me for that last few years, I really had hope that this IUI would have magically worked… Hence “I Underestimated Infertility.”  But I’ll put on my positive panties and we’ll try this again.  As my husband said “Our lives are so great already and a baby will be an awesome addition but it won’t make or break the wonderful life we’ll have together.” With perspective and some help I’m still hopeful that this will work for us someday.

P.s.  This blog is not geared towards infertility. It’s not really focused on one specific topic at all. It’s complied of stories, experiences and advice from my life.  I’m an almost 30 year old, passionate, dream chasing woman who is always looking for the bright side even though I can’t always find it. Infertility is a part of me but it is just one of many things that consume my life right now. I hope you find something here that helps you, interests you or makes you want to share. And please, if you have something positive to say about your infertility journey please share. We need all the positivity we can get.

Xo,

Chelsie

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10 Year Reunions: Yes, No, Maybe?

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I graduated from high school 10 years ago and although it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, I am reminded when I think about how much everything has changed. I’ve been talking with friends from high school about our upcoming 10 year reunion.  Some are hesitant to attend, some don’t want to pay for the ticket, some are excited, some don’t know what to expect.  It has me thinking about the days of high school.  Who I used to be, who my friends were, who the people were that I looked up to.  It’s bitter sweet because there were things that I didn’t like about myself.  There were those moments that I wouldn’t change for the world and others that haunt me to this day.  It’s all kind of crazy when you think about it.  You are a different person now.  You have a different life than before.  A reunion is an event that can bring back the good feelings of the old days while combining the reality of your new life.  It’s a time to laugh, reminisce and celebrate the years that we spent together and the many years that we’ve spent building our lives apart.  It’s a time to drink, eat and be merry all while seeing people that you grew up with.  The high school years will never be forgotten and whether they were good or bad they played a huge role in who you’ve become.  There is beauty in that.

The reunion isn’t about the food, the venue or the centerpieces.  It’s about coming back together after a decade apart. Remembering the school spirit, the Friday nights, the teachers, the dreams and the fun we had together.  It’s about re-living the good ol’ days and creating some great new memories.

So whether you’re living your dream life or you’re still trying to figure it all out like the majority of us are, you should go to your 10 year reunion.  Celebrate that you’ve survived the first 10 years out of high school in the real world.  Talk about what you’ve done and where you’ve been.  Find that you have more in common with your past classmates than you think. Laugh with old friends and maybe make some new ones.

To the Fontana High School Class of 2004, I hope that you will be there on October 18th.  I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you and enjoying a great night together!

 

Is your 10 year coming up?  Have you been to your high school reunions?  Would love to hear your positive stories!

Xo,

Chelsie

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Slightly awkward senior picture 🙂

 

 

 

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Why I Raise Money for the March of Dimes

I have this woman in my life who dedicates much of her year to raising money to help families and their babies be born healthy and strong.  She has done so for the past 8 years and this year is no different.  I’ve shared her story on Women You Should Know and I wanted to share a more personal account of her story here on my blog.

Mackenzie Manning-Mogan Schmidt is my cousin, but more like my sister.  She has been by my side through every life event since I was born.  She has encouraged me, given me advice, saved me from horrible mistakes and loved me through the ones I made anyway.  In 2007, she faced the hardest day of her life and while I was able to be by her side for some of it, I wasn’t able to do what I wish I could have for her.  I now try to give her the support that she’s always given me.

In April 2007, she was 3 days away from the due date of her second child.  She found out that baby Dakota no longer had a heart beat.  She delivered a still born baby on April 17, 2007.  She buried him April 27th on her 28th birthday.  Mackenzie, her husband and a few friends and family members participated in their first March for Babies on April 29, 2007.  Since this horrible tragedy, Mackenzie has set her sights on bigger things that involve helping others. Team Dakota has raised over $50,000 since 2007.  Because her son wasn’t able to take his first steps, she has gathered many people to wear his name on their backs and walk for him.  April 17th was a horrible day for our family.  I can remember picking my sister up from physical therapy early and as she ran to the car, she asked with such excitement “Did Mackenzie have the baby!?”  Her facial expression when I told her what had happened, is something that is ingrained in my mind.  My sister, has always been extremely close to Mackenzie and this situation broke her.  Chandra cried hysterically all the way to the hospital.  She couldn’t understand what went wrong and why this had to happen to Mackenzie. She tried to pull herself together as we walked into the hospital room to see her.  That day we saw something in our cousin that will stick with us forever.  We met a new woman, one that was covered in both sorrow and strength.  One who became our hero.

On Sunday, April 27, 2014, which is Mackenzie’s birthday, we will walk for the 8th year in memory of Dakota Everett Schmidt.  Many of us will wear TEAM DAKOTA on our backs with pride.  Mackenzie is an amazing woman who has shown that tragedy can be turned into something greater than all of us.  It can be the motivation to help others.  It can be a reason to gather and represent someone who has left an impact on many.  None of us ever met Dakota, but we all know who he is.  We love him and we show that to his parents and his brother and sister every year.

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TEAM DAKOTA

Below I’ve shared some pictures from the horrible days that followed Dakota’s death. These pictures still bring us to tears but they show the reality of what Mackenzie and her family went through and what many other families experience with the loss of a baby. I’ve also shared the amazing pictures which now represent Dakota’s life.

If you can, please consider donating just $5 to the March of Dimes through Team Dakota.  This means everything to Mackenzie and so it means everything to me.  Here is the link: www.marchforbabies.org/camogan

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