Book Review

While I’ve always been a reader, I tend to go through spurts with it. To be clear, I’ve never read highly intellectual books…I mostly enjoy non-fiction, primarily chick-lit novels, haha (the complete opposite of my husband- I’m sure he’s quite proud). Anyways, when I was really young, I was obsessed with the Berenstain Bears and collected their books…which I still have by the way ;)

Everyone in the world needs to read this book.

Fast-forward a few years to elementary school- I’d go absolute ape shit every time a new Goosebumps book came out. I kid you not, I had every single one of those them, which I unfortunately don’t have anymore. MOM???? I also loved these Full House books that were written from Stephanie’s point of view. Does anyone else remember those or was I the only weird kid that read them?

LOVED. Why in the Sam hell did you sell these, Mother?

I’m probably the worst dater ever…hopefully, I’ll never have to again- Tyler says I have no game, haha

During my middle school years, my grandma introduced me to Nicholas Sparks. Yes people, I have read every single one of his books, and I’m not ashamed at all. My grandma loved his novels and would buy the new releases the day they came out, finish it within a week, then give it to me to read. It kinda became our thing, so perhaps that’s why I’ve continued to purchase and read them years later. I must note that I’m a realist, and I know his stories are obnoxious and over-the-top, but I don’t care.

Our favorite book by Mr. Sparks

Over the past several months, more so after I graduated, I got back into reading. The following books are ones that I’ve read recently. Remember- this is merely MY opinion, so please don’t all butt hurt if you had a different view of it. Let me know if so!

1.      The One and Only by Emily Giffin- I’ve been a fan of Giffin’s well before she gained popularity and entered the Hollywood scene with “Something Borrowed” (hated the movie by the way- the book was WAY better). This was by far my least favorite book of hers. In fact, I’ll never read it again (anyone wanna buy it from me?). The main character, Shea, is too flipping obsessed with football, and the story line was just weird. I didn’t like any of the characters, and I kept picturing Red from That 70’s Show as the coach (I know the description is nothing like Red, but I couldn’t help it). I won’t give away anything, but I’d open a gigantic can of whoop ass if my friend tried pulling what Shea did…

Boo.

2.         Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I know so many people have read and reviewed this book, and my opinion is probably very similar to those that did. I really enjoyed the book, and it was a quick read as I didn’t want to put it down (Tyler will attest to this). While it was a little odd at times, I was drawn to both characters. However, the ending was not what I was expected or wanted. Too much for me.

3.       The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- This book was highly recommended by friends and acquaintances, but it really just didn’t do it for me. I honestly thought the two main characters talked like they were 50 year old literature professors with PhD’s, but maybe I’m just not all that intellectual ;) I felt compassion towards the main characters in the book and was moved by their situations and actions…but that was about it. I was actually so “eh” about this book that I’ve waited until it comes out on Redbox to view the film.

4.     What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty- While it took me a bit to get drawn it, I ended up wanting to know what was going to happen at the end. I feel as though it was a bit drawn out, but I give it a B. Try it if you want something new and are a bit bored- it is amusing!

 

So I’ll stop here for now. I’ve read a handful of others that I’ll touch base on soon.

 

Have you read any books lately? If so, any recommendations?

If you have read any of the titles above, do you agree or disagree?

Counting Successes Rather Than Days During a Deployment

**** I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Elizabeth from Elizabeth Loves for helping me customize my blog over the past week! Though I’m slowly learning, I’m clueless when it comes to the back-end of blog design, and she was extremely helpful, made the process easy, and was absolutely wonderful to work with. Elizabeth is also a fellow military wife who writes about all different arrays of life- so check out her blog!

Alright, obviously I’d rather have my husband right next to me, but that simply is not possible right now. Though this is TJ’s third deployment, it’s our first together, and it hit us out of nowhere. This post is not meant to judge, nor to say that that dealing with it one way is better than others. It’s simply portraying how I’m trying to juggle being apart from my husband and, better yet, getting him home safe and sound.

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Late 2011- Visiting TJ at Fort Benning while he was at OCS.

I’ve only been an army wife for a bit over two years, but I’ve come into contact with numerous spouses. After the basic “get to know ya” questions, they tend to ask whether or not you’re husband has deployed or not. Is this a status thing? For real…I’m asking all the military spouses out there. Did I not qualify to be in the “real army wife” category because I didn’t experience a deployment with my husband yet? Who knows…

I didn’t even know he existed back then, but Tyler did two, 12 month tours previously in Iraq. Long story short if you’re new- He was enlisted from 2001 to 2007 and left as a Staff Sergeant…went to college and got a dual degree in Marketing and Business, then went back in as an Officer.

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TJ in Iraq…

Anyways, as much as I want to lie in bed and watch Netflix or Hulu all day, I know I can’t (but some days I will). I HAVE to focus on the positives of this deployment…Tyler has tried to remind me of some.

  • Our marriage will be stronger than ever
  • Our true friendships will shine through
  • Our familial relations will grow closer together

In all honesty, I am not the most positive person in the world. Ask those closest to me, haha. It’s funny though because I get many comments applauding me for my optimism. I kind of have to force myself to think better thoughts, but you know what? It ends up changing my mindset after a while and relieves so much unneeded stress. Sulking and bitching won’t give me Tyler back. In fact, it would probably damage our relationship to an extent. I have to be strong for myself and him…but I promise you I have my moments (some last longer than others), yet their in the privacy of my home. I’ll write more about this as we get further into the deployment.

Anyways, I stupidly downloaded a countdown app last week and punched in the rough estimate of when he will returning home next week. I seriously about shat my pants when I saw the number that pop up and immediately said eff this. I have no clue why I even did that. Some women may find a countdown to be comforting, but mama just can’t handle seeing numbers in the high 200’s. So, instead of counting numbers, I’m going to count our successes.

The successes don’t really have to be things I achieved. They’ll merely be things that make me happy, get me through the day or week, or that I look forward to. It could be something as simple as relaxing and enjoying a book or trying something new. I plan on creating a “Deployment Bucket List” for things I’m going to do to help me not freak the fuck out stay strong for the both of us. I’ll share this with you all within a few weeks! Hopefully, this will help others gain more light towards deployments instead of focusing on the constant worry and other negative feelings that it causes.

Thought this was funny…

What do you think about counting successes instead of days during a deployment or pro-longed times away from your spouse?

Any suggestions of things to put on my bucket list??!!

The Love of My Life is Halfway Across the World

Soooo…We have some news to share. If you’re familiar with the army, you know what the multicam in the picture below means:

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Multi-cam ACU’s…yep.

My husband deployed a few weeks ago. Although I’m well aware that this is part of the deal while in the military, this deployment occurred very unexpectedly (Tyler was in a non-deployable unit and was individually tasked out to go), and the process of us finding out to him leaving happened within a matter of two weeks.

Typically, army personnel and their families know about theses things months in advance so there is more time to prepare and whatnot. That obviously wasn’t the case, but we are actually both grateful for this. Waiting around is no fun, which is a huge part of the military. Have you ever heard of the phrase “hurry up and wait”?. Starting the deployment asap meant that TJ would be coming home sooner. It’s hard to explain, but it’s kind of like ripping a Band-Aid off really fast instead of slowly and dreading the pain ;)

We were celebrating our second anniversary and rooting that things were perhaps aligned medically to try for a baby again without any prolonged interruptions due to his training….Then news broke loose that he was about to embark on a 9 month deployment. I thought TJ was joking at first…but he wasn’t. Tyler handled everything extremely well- even when they went back and forth about whether or not he was going. Like come on people- he’s not going on a flipping business trip to Cali. This is this third deployment (he did two 12 month tours in Iraq when he was enlisted), but our first together.

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Grasping our last days together- relaxing andwatching the series “Orange is the New Black”. We love it!

Within a matter of days,  we he got shit taken care of- POA, discussing financial obligations, and unfortunately the worst-case scenario details.

Do not tell me that I signed up for this. Yes, I knew this day would come. I’ll tell you though- I’m so incredibly proud of this man that I could burst.

All I ask if for you to keep my big sexy in your thoughts.

Thank you…Have a good one! :) XOXO.

Have you or someone you love every deployed? If so, for how long and where to?

 

Life Lessons

Being at the ripe age of 28, I haven’t learned much in my life so far. I grew up in a well developed community, went to pretty good schools, and never went without any physical necessities. However, the funny yet amazing this about life is that we all lead various paths and are all seeking a different journey. I’m no Einstein or Mother Teresa, but I’ve learned a few things along the way that may help or comfort some of you, view a different perspective, or think I’m a complete pyscho path ;)

  • School IS important. Whether  you’re in 2nd, 7th, 10th, or a college student…take school seriously. I got all A’s and a few B’s up until my parent’s divorce. After that, report cards were overlooked. Sometimes I wonder if they would have even noticed if I failed a class! Just kidding,…Not ;) Pay attention in math class, and if you don’t understand ask…then ask again. English is imperative. You can get through life without knowing the Quadradic formula…but if you don’t know the fucking difference between “there” “their” and “they’re” or “to” and “too” or “your” and “you’re”…then please do yourself a favor NOW and buy a phonics book. It irks me when people say that “college wasn’t for them”. Ok, I get that. I was a horrible college student throughout the first half of my degree, but it was more of a personal endeavor for me, and I knew it was something that no one could ever take away from me. If college isn’t for you- that’s totally fine…but have a fricking plan then. Don’t be a bum or expect someone to give you a job or mooch off others. Annoying.
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My mom took a picture of us on the first day of every new school year. This was my senior year…looks like I wanted to throw my water bottle at her, haha.

 

  • Accounting is not THAT important. I honestly wish I were good in accounting as I know it’s a great field in the job market, but don’t get your panties in a wad. I failed it the first time and passed it the second time with an A…but have NOT used any of it since. Just get through the class..

 

  • You will not be friends with everyone forever. I don’t even know how to label myself in school. Maybe others can label me more appropriately…who knows. As mentioned above, I spent most of my time at Valpo and spent my junior and senior year at Wheeler and had an array of friends from various crowds. My best friend since 6th grade is still my BFF now, but honestly, most friends have fallen through the cracks and I’ve either rekindled friendships from the past or made new ones. Things change, people change, priorities change, lifestyles change.

*If things change, try to reach out…and if shit continues to be the same…let it go. TJ, who was my boyfriend at the time, told me a few months into our relationship who he thought was true and not. This initially pissed me off, but I came to realize that he has a knack for reading people, and you know what? He was right! Accept it and move on.

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Love the posters

  • Forgive. Long ass story short- my mom went through 8 years of an extremely toxic relationship, and I wasn’t close with my dad during this time. Time, living with my aunt and uncle, and therapy helped me move past the blame game and resentfulness and into finally gaining ground into acceptance. You will feel better when you understand that you cannot change people or situations, but you can control how you react to them.
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My mom and I.

 

  • You will 98% more than likely not marry your teenage boyfriend. So take a gigantic chill pill. We all know people that have been with their boyfriends since they were like 12, and while that’s great and all, I honestly don’t give a hoot. Life and love is not about how long you’ve been together- the quality and trueness of your relationship is what counts.

If you marry your high school sweetheart, that’s absolutely wonderful. I was with mine for eight years and my husband married his high school girlfriend. We had fabulous times and far from great moments. Nonetheless, we were both so incredibly young (my relationship started when I was fifteen!), and sometimes our outlooks, values, and goals change. Other times they don’t and they persevere. There are couples that stick together because of the comfort and security or apprehension of change, while others choose to go their separate ways. Both decisions are okay as long as you have no regrets.What annoys me is that some people feel as though they deserve a trophy because they’ve been together so long. What does it matter? I actually feel a bit sorry for those who never got to date more than one person (don’t hate me). I met Tyler about a month after I turned 24 (he was 26, but turning 27 the following month). Of course it would have been awesome to meet him sooner so I could love him longer, but I honestly believe our timing was perfect.

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A few months in. It’s now a rare occasion to see Tyler with this much facial hair!

 

I could go on, but I’ll stop here for now. As mentioned above, these things are merely my personal opinion.

Do you agree or disagree with what I discussed?

What are some things you’ve learned in the past ten years?

 

 

 

On Being Your Own Advocate

Just to let everyone know- I apologize for strictly writing about fertility stuff and being so sporadic. I plan on diverting away from this realm a bit and focusing on other things in my posts…but first wanted to address this.

I’m on cycle day 34 and still no period….even WITH doing another round of Clomid earlier this month. I called my doctor yesterday (Monday) morning to leave a message letting her know and she returned my call this morning. I’ve had enough and requesting for a referral for a different physician.

I’ve bitched about her before, but my OBGYN has absolutely no bedside manner and is very curt…but I think it’s borderline bipolar. I never know what personality I’m gonna get and that’s frustrating. I asked if perhaps my follicle size and quantity and uterine lining have something to do with my irregular/absent periods. You NEED to be monitored via vaginal ultrasound to analyze this which I have only been ONCE. I was on cycle day 35 the day of my ultrasound and my lining looked as if it was around cycle day 10. Obviously something isn’t fucking right, doc. Provera did not induce a period for me, but birth control did last month.

I’ve gained nearly 10 pounds over the past few months, and while I know gaining weight doesn’t automatically make you conceive right away, it’s still annoying. I’ve been enjoying indulging in more food, but I miss my intense cardio that I’ve been limiting it for almost a year with no results. (I plan on writing a post about healthy eating and working out soon.

Obviously Clomid round 2 was a no-go. My 21 day labs (although it was day 25 for me as I did not get a positive at-home ovulation test until cd18) showed my progesterone level at 13. My doctor claimed this was good, but on my first round of Clomid my level was at 19.6. I know it can vary every month, but wtf? Seriously…have to have a natural low progesterone deficiency because every month I’m NOT on Clomid my levels are below 3.

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The truth.

Anyways, about my conversation with my doc. In a nutshell and without me being dramatic, she mentioned my age could start playing a factor. I appreciate her truth, but I’m not old…more testing would need to be done to check the QUALITY of my eggs. She also mentioned that my body is probably just more prone to stress and cannot handle it well, and once again, said she can only mention acupuncture, yoga, meditation so much. The thing is- I don’t constantly feel stressed. Yes, I have my moments, but there is no way that I’m just one big ass giant stress ball. If I am, then maybe I should be seeing a flipping therapist then (I’d love to if there were more hours in the day and they were free, haha).

The final straw was that she said that we need to seriously start saving our money for more invasive treatment as injectables are about $1000 PER CYCLE and IVF is about $7000. IVF?! I’ve done TWO rounds of Clomid, girlfran. I’m all about being real and honest, but are you fucking kidding me? I’m all for injectables. In fact, I’d like to go that route as it will ENSURE ovulation occurs. They also HAVE to monitor you via ultrasound to check lining and follicle size and quantity during this sort of treatment (this risk of multiples or OHSS- ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome increases dramatically if not properly monitored). Maybe my lining sucks, or perhaps I’m not producing enough follicles or they’re not maturing enough. An ultrasound can tell you so much more than blood tests.

However, Tricare (our insurance) does NOT cover this treatment. They only cover basic fertility oral medications and procedures. I’ll write another post about the different between Tricare Prime (what I’m on now) and Standard sometime…it can be very confusing!

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I requested not to be put on birth control or Provera to induce a period. I want it to come naturally…as long as it takes. She told me to call back in a few months if I still don’t have it and as long as I have 4 periods a year that I’m okay. This is NOT okay to me. I don’t expect to be every 28 days, but why the frick is there no semi-consistency? And call back in a few MONTHS?! LMAOOOOOO.

Did I damage my body so much from being on birth control for 10 years? After I initially got off birth control in late 2012, my periods were every 5-6 weeks- consistent enough…and I ended up pregnant. I had a period every 30 days or so after my D&C back in September, but starting in December, they have been very irregular/non-existent. I was told gaining weight and reducing exercise can help regulate periods….but it seems to be doing the complete opposite for me. Awesome.

I want more blood work done to check my hormone levels at various points in my cycle (pre and “post” ovulation, although I’m not ovulating on my own). I’d also like a few ultrasounds done to check out everything I mentioned earlier pre and post ovulation. I made an appointment with my PCM (primary care physician- basically regular doc) to put in a referral for a different OBGYN that was highly suggested. My appointment is not until August 19th, but that’s fine. I’m hoping I at least get better bedside manner from a second opinion. Figure out ME before even mentioning IVF and shit, ya know?

Anyways, sorry to vent, but this is what I’ve been hassling with on my day off. Fun stuff ;)

***EDIT*** I literally started a new cycle a few hours after publishing this, haha. Crazy!

What did your insurance cover if you ever went through fertility treatments? How did you finance it? Our (okay, mostly TJ’s) DVD collection may be able to cover the costs, haha.

Have you ever had irregular cycles? Birth control masked mine for way too many years, so I don’t know if my body naturally produces regular periods :(

Any advice on being your own advocate?

 

 

The 2 Week Wait

For those of us that are trying to conceive, I guarantee that we can all agree that the 2ww (2 week wait) sucks major dong. If anyone is confused as to what the two week wait is (men and those that got pregnant “without trying” may not have a clue- it’s the period of time after ovulation is supposed to occur and when your next cycle will start). Basically, it’s when you have no fricking idea whether or not you’re pregnant.

This can make women feel stressed and anxious. I’ve noticed that for me personally, I go back and forth with my emotions. I want to feel hopeful, but the realist in me doesn’t want to be too optimistic as disappointment will hit me harder if it doesn’t happen. For many months, I’d analyze every to see if I had symptoms of early pregnancy. Well people, that is a complete waste of time and energy and I don’t do that shit anymore.

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True dat.

It’s important to keep busy during the 2 week wait as it’ll simply keep your mind off of it. Praise the Lord that I’m working now or else I’d go nucking futs and probably have 287 decorated or painted mason jars and other various crafts taking up space in our extra bedroom. Margaritas the size of my head also seem to be calling my name during this time period, but I know it’s because I’m on edge. I’m obviously no doctor and I’m not going to discuss whether it’s right or wrong to drink during this time, but I’m pretty sure a glass or two of wine or whatever is fine. However, I’m refraining from alcohol (not that we drink much to begin with, but we enjoy cocktails and movie nights every once in a while!) because I want to and the Clomid is still in my system.

I go in Monday to for labs to check my progesterone levels to see if I ovulated or not. As I mentioned before, we are truly hoping for ovulation as that’s a sign that my body at least responds well to the medication. Nonetheless, Clomid thins your uterine lining which was NOT monitored the past two times I have taken it, so I have no idea how things are in that department right now. You need good lining for implantation by the way.

I used Clear Blue Advanced ovulation tests this month to see around what I potentially could have ovulated. I have a shit ton of the Wondoflo cheapy ovulation tests and while they’ve worked for me before, the line never got darker for me this month. Maybe it was a bad batch, but I had enough and stopped using those. I got a flashing smiley on cd14 and a solid smiley on cd17. I was pumped about that as it’s a good sign- the smileys show that your estrogen levels are changing which is essential for ovulation to occur. The Clear Blue are a bit pricey, but I plan on continuing to use these instead of the cheapies. I use the at-home ovulation tests to have an idea when to go in for my 21 day blood draw as I mentioned above (they call it day 21 labs, but you should get this done 7 days after your positive ovulation test as it will be more accurate). I’m actually going in on day 25 or something.

I’ve cut back on exercise, but I didn’t do any cardio except walking this week. This is somewhat hard as I have my brand new spankin’ treadmill staring at me in the face that the husband bought me for our second anniversary (he’s the bomb). Running is a stress reliever for me mentally, but my doc wanted me to chill in that department as she believes it stresses me body out. I’m on my feet walking around for 8+ hours a day at work, so that’s enough for me right now. And to be flat out honest- I wanted to keep all the spermies possible in their home. Sorry, had to say it, haha ;)

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So yeah…my advice is too keep busy and try not to think about it. Finding support in others helps as well. There are SO many online forums and Facebook pages with numerous women going through similar situations. They can offer support, advice, or simply be there to give you a good laugh. I’m even a member of two Clomid groups on Facebook and although I don’t actively participate on it, it’s definitely made me feel better! I was a pissy witch the first time I took Clomid (back in March). I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me and Tyler probably felt like he needed to sleep with one eye opened, haha. But I found out that the medicine can cause your emotional state to sway because of the added hormones being put into your body. I’m happy to report that this round of Clomid did not do that to me :) It did cause major bloating (seriously looked like I was 4 months pregnant…I took a picture, but I’ll try spare ya the image!) and I thought my ovaries were going to pop out of me mid-cycle, so hopefully that’s a good sign.

How do you cope during the 2 week wait?

Do you do anything differently?

 

Round 2 and One Year Later

Last time I posted, I mentioned that I was doing one month of birth control to try to induce a cycle. I’m SO happy to report that it worked just a few days after taking my last active pill! Luckily it landed on a Friday so I was able to call my doctor and she called in a prescription of Clomid as well as a Day 21 lab test (this checks my progesterone levels to see if I ovulated or not). I had to work 9-6, but Tyler’s on vacation still so he was able to pick it up for me :)

I’ll be taking it as I did last time (back in March…can’t believe it’s been that long)- 50mg from cycle days 3-7. I’m on day 5 today and have had no side effects yet aside from being extremely tired although I’ve been getting sufficient sleep. It depends on what my Day 21 labs say as to whether or not we’ll do a third round of Clomid, or move onto Femara. They are very similar fertility meds, although Femara tends to have less side effects and does not thin the lining of the uterus as Clomid does.

In all honesty, I’m just hoping for a normal cycle and for my blood test to show that I ovulated. With the combination of putting on a few pounds, not doing any strenuous exercising, and the Clomid I’m thinking positively about this. Conception would be pretty damn awesome too, but we’ll take what we can get right now ;)

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Random Vegas picture to break up the text… My sister was hungry and asked the bartender for a free snack, so he gave her a bowl of green olives, haha.

Tyler’s been on leave the past week and a half and doesn’t go back to work until next Tuesday. Since having all that time off and me working, I mentioned him flying home to spend time with his family since we will not be going home at all this year. He said no as we had no idea what my cycle would be like, and with our luck we’d miss our window for the month. Thank God he took this into consideration and opted out! While it’s not a huge deal, TJ will be gone again from mid September until the end of October, so that’s another two months wasted. We have roughly 2-3 months or so to either shit or get off the pot with the oral fertility medications before moving forward. However, my cycles are sometimes jacked so who the hell knows! I could very well have another 70+ day cycle, so we are just taking things as they come. We’re enjoying our time together now, and I’m so grateful to be working (although the schedule isn’t ideal) to take my mind off this stuff and make us some extra dough.

July 7th is the one-year mark when we found out we were expecting. Sometimes I wish I were like my husband and couldn’t remember dates for the life of me….I don’t know how or why I remember such weird, random shit. Anyways, I’m actually glad this the past year has fully circulated. Based on the doctor’s calculations, we conceived around our first anniversary, haha. We learned so much during the time I was pregnant- things about pregnancy, birth, baby items, and each other. We got some pretty good arguments out of the way, such as finding out the sex and names. Yes, we will find out the sex. I was weary about it before, but after the miscarriage, I won’t be able to go without knowing. Names have not been discussed since the loss, but this is something we want to keep between us. I think if there is a next time around (I say if only because I’m crazy and don’t want to jinx ourselves), we will be a bit more emotionally prepared as the past year has brought us closer together than I ever thought possibly.

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Love.

It’s absolutely amazing to share your life with someone who loves you in your best and worst hours. While some days were complete shit, it’s made us stronger and definitely more educated in the reproduction and fertility department. And, I’ve been some pretty awesome connections along the way as well. A big thank you to everyone who’s reached out and given me support, advice, and guidance- you all know who you are!