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2014 Year-End Review

December 31, 2014

Oh 2014 – what a year it’s been. In the years that I’ve been an adult, there have been some years that have come and gone without much fanfare or surprise. Then there are years like 2014 that when I look back on the cumulative 12 months I’m shocked at what has happened.

2014 was a shocking year in so many ways.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Here’s what I did on NYE 2013 – NYE13

I was at my Lyme Disease Dr. getting an infusion treatment. Fun FUN times.

January – I started off January still working for RESOLVE. I believe over the holiday break of 2013 I made the decision to leave but I can’t remember exactly. I knew that we needed some financial relief for our family and working for a non-profit, no matter how passionate or rewarding the job was, just wasn’t paying our bills. The struggle was real, y’all. So I made the choice to move on and go back to medical sales effective January 31st.

Meanwhile, I was still in the thick of Lyme Disease antibiotic treatment and 2 weeks before Christmas 2013 I had lost my sense of taste. I spent January in a state of depression and hunger – not eating because I couldn’t taste anything at all. It was HORRIBLE. I started wondering if and when I would ever taste food again while simultaneously and frantically looking for any specialist that could answer why my taste buds went MIA and could they be revived.

I also took Kaitlin roller skating for the first time:



February – This was a HARD month. I started my new job and this brought with it copious amounts of travel for training. The first week I was staying in Washington DC while training. It was also SUPER cold here – and we had insane snow storms. The second week of February I traveled to San Diego, CA for my new company’s National Sales Meeting. San Diego was beautiful and we stayed at one of the most popular and well-known hotels in the country – Hotel Del Coronado. It was incredible. I hope to go back with Matt one day.


This is a picture of a sandcastle from one of my morning runs while in San Diego – really amazing.


March – Nothing hugely notable in March except that this is the month I started to gradually notice my taste coming back. We took Kaitlin to see the Circus (never again! So sad to see the animals treated so poorly!) and the Mr. turned 40 so we went out for a night on the town to celebrate.

March March 2

April – I turned 34 this month. Things are starting to slowly improve with my health – I’m feeling stronger and better. I’ve stopped the Lyme treatment with the exception of 2 medicines – Deplin & Low Dose Naltrexone.

We go with friends to DC to Nats Park to see the Braves play – so much fun. We went on a Sunday so that K could run the bases but she chickened out and never did.


May – This was the beginning of all of the changes for the year. This month we did some really fun things. We celebrated my birthday a week late by going to Richmond overnight for a brewery tour with our friends and we had a BLAST.  We visited 4 breweries, stayed out until 1am and just overall enjoyed ourselves. The following week was Advocacy Day in DC and I was able to see my IF friends. Then, over the week of Memorial Day, we spent 7 days in Garden City Beach, SC (Myrtle Beach) with our friends. It was so much fun & it was our first “real” vacation in almost 2 years. We were able to finally enjoy ourselves, relax and drink copious amounts of alcohol while playing in the surf and sun – just was the Dr. ordered.


June – On June 12th everything changed. I mean EVERYTHING. That’s the day I found out I brought home a souvenir from Myrtle Beach – a baby. See that lovely picture above? Apparently that week (and likely on that day) I somehow managed to get pregnant. Miracle of all miracles. I credit it to Low Dose Naltrexone. It was my miracle drug. There’s no way this wasn’t the reason my Endo was semi-controlled for the first time ever. My thyroid was being totally managed (and still is) by this drug without the help of Synthroid. It was the singular reason I was able to conceive on my own – my Dr. and I are both convinced of this fact.

So in June I found out I was pregnant – and expecting – in February 2015. Specifically Feb. 15th. Woah. Talk about the shock of my life.

July – We move forward (nervously) with the pregnancy and celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. Then the morning sickness sets in. Or at least what I initially thought was morning sickness. It wasn’t, though. It was Hyperemesis. Oh my god – the misery. The weight loss. The fear of loosing the baby due to sickness. I don’t remember much of this month – I was alternating between work and bed – trying to live. It was pretty terrible.

August – Kaitlin turned 4 – and we celebrated with a party. I’m still sick with HG & I’m getting bi-weekly hydration infusions at the cancer center. Weight loss is tipping 25lbs. Holy shit. Towards the middle of the month I find a support group online for HG patients discussing the benefits of Gabapentin (neroutin) for HG relief. So I start taking it – and low and behold, a little relief. Yipee! We also find out via Genetic Testing that our baby is a boy! Matt starts to interview for a new position in Richmond – more on that later.

Aug  Aug 2

September – We make our first trip home to Alabama with Kaitlin – and our first trip in 5 years. Kaitlin also starts her first day of Pre-K4. The HG seems to start to subside mid to late September – but I’m still not out of the woods and I’m being monitored by high-risk (Perinatology) physicians to make sure growth is in on track. We decide this month to name our little boy Brandon.

 Septsept 2

October – Nothing hugely notable in October. Trips to the Pumpkin Patch, general Halloween and Fall-type planning. One thing that starts to happen is that my scoliosis back issues (which plagued me during my pregnancy with Kaitlin) start to make an appearance with this pregnancy. Weekly chiropractor visits are keeping the pain in check for the time being, but that soon changes.


November – Matt runs the Richmond Marathon for the second year in a row – shattering his 2013 record by nearly 30 minutes. SO proud of this man. Back is definitely hurting more and more.  Matt is still interivewing for the Richmond job – but a setback occurs and we don’t know whats going to happen now.

NovDecember – Oh this month has been a flurry of insanity. We went to Disney World in Florida for a week. Kaitlin had a BLAST. Christmas came & went with the theme of the year being Rescue Bots and Magnatiles. So much fun.  I rented a scooter so that I could navigate the park without pain and it was a great idea. Kaitlin had a great time dressing up as Snow White at the Bibbity Boppity Boutique. Overall just a fantastic trip & we were so glad to be able to do this before Brandon arrived so that we could create some memories with K before her world is rocked in Feb. 2015.

Meanwhile, in December Matt finished his classes for his BS in Accounting – whoo hooo! Graduation will happen in May 2015 but we can officially say he’s a college graduate. I, on the other hand, still have 12 classes left and won’t graduate until December 2015. But I’m plugging along all the same and am maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

This month we also got our official delivery date for Brandon – which is Feb. 11th, 2015.

Dec 1 Dec 2 Dec 3

So there you have it. What a crazy year it’s been. We took 3 vacations, managed to get pregnant in the mix of things. Celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Illness plagued me all year long. Started a new job and also – school for everyone!

Whew. What a year it’s been!
Now, 40 days until a new baby!

2015 – I think we are ready for you.


Panic attacks

November 4, 2014

For the past week I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night having a full fledged panic attack. This is specifically centered around the fact that I can’t breathe at all due to pregnancy rhinitis and it sucks, bad. The inside of my nose is so incredibly swollen that I am at a total loss on what I can do to make it better.
As soon as I lay down it just closes completely and then, when I can’t breathe, I wake up with a startle and start to panic and then the panic attack occurs because I know there’s nothing I can do to “fix” the problem.

I started having panic attacks about a year after K was born & have averaged about one a month. I was doing pretty good managing them with Ati.van but of course I can’t take that right now. Nor will my OB let me take allegra which is generally helpful compared to Zyrtec that I’m currently taking.

Nothing helps the breathing issues. I’ve tried neti pots, saline rinses, Vaseline, humidifiers. I’ve even mandated that we can’t turn on the heat in our home (it’s been down into the 30’s at night and my husband is about to kill me because of this) as the heat makes the stuffiness worse.

I’ve talked to my OB about this problem before but I can’t keep on loosing hours and hours of sleep because of this problem. I’m calling today. Something has to give.

Why is this pregnancy so much harder than the last? I feel like a miserable complaining walking mess and I don’t like who I’ve become.

#MicroBlog Monday – 98 days

November 3, 2014

The countdown is on. I’m in double digit days for baby arrival. 98 days and counting. And included in that are Thanksgiving, a week long Disney trip, Christmas and New Years.

Definitely ready for the finish line and jealous of those nearing the end. The level of overall discomfort has me so cranky.

Still in awe that I’m doing this all over again, nearly 5 years after the start of my successful IVF cycle. In fact, Nov. 1st, 2009 was when I started Lupron for the IVF cycle that created our daughter. 5 years ago. Wow.

Infertility is always there, in the corner of my mind.

Comparison: Then and Now

October 20, 2014

Nearly 5 years ago I was at this exact point in my pregnancy with Kaitlin, and for posterity’s sake I wanted to compare the belly.


So there you go – the left was Kaitlin and the right is today, with Brandon.
23 weeks.

I’m actually really happy to see that the belly looks similar. My OB appointment today showed that I was able to *finally* gain some weight – and I’m now up to 154lbs which is a 3lb gain from 2.5 weeks ago – yay!!

It’s the little things in life, for sure.

#MicroBlogMonday – Pain

October 20, 2014

I’ve been waiting for the pain. The relentless pain that accompanied my first pregnancy. The pinching sciatic pain that had me on the chiropractic table 3x/week from 30 weeks until the days before I delivered. The pulling pain than had me booked for weekly visits to massage therapy every Friday at 3pm.

The pain – it’s back. It held off, blessedly, until 23 weeks this time. I’m fairly certain it kicked in at around week 17/18 last go around. I’m sure it’s because I’ve only just started gaining weight in the past 2 weeks (and boy, I’m big now!) and putting pressure on my poor curved spine.

Being pregnant with scoliosis is a challenge. My torso is already pretty short, and my spine is curved at a 64 degree “S” curve angle, so things are kind of wonky in my body.

Finding pain relief is at the top of my priority list.

#MicroblogMonday – the Thursday edition: Counting Down

October 16, 2014

Each Monday I hit a new milestone with this pregnancy – another week down, and another week closer to the finish line.  This week I’m officially 22 weeks pregnant – which means based on my c-section I only have 17 weeks left. After such a difficult beginning to this journey, the weekly countdown serves as a reminder that there is an end in sight, and that end is now dangerously closing in on the double digit day mark.

I’m participating in #MicroblogMonday because I hope that it can help me get in the groove of writing once again. Blogs have been so important to my life for so long, yet my own blog has sat neglected.

I’m doing this. I’m going to start blogging again.


Silence is deafening

October 15, 2014

Since finding out on June 12th that I was pregnant again, very unexpectedly, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on how different this pregnancy is, compared to my last, nearly 4.5 years ago.

And it is different – in every single way.

This pregnancy wasn’t planned down to the second. It wasn’t paid for in blood, sweat, tears, money and injections.

It wasn’t cried over, prayed for in sleepless nights.

It wasn’t belabored in stirrups, counting follicles or blood draws.

This pregnancy was everything the last pregnancy was not.

It was created while drunk, on vacation, with my husband IN A BED. With no medical intervention.

This pregnancy was something I thought my body could not do.

…. And it was the pregnancy I had always wished to have. A surprise. Something my body created on its own.

My wish came true.

But it has been so different, in every single way.

My pregnancy with Kaitlin, once it was in place, was the most picturesque pregnancy I could have ever imagined. Never once did I throw up. Never once did I hate the changes my body was experiencing. I gained a “perfect’ 23 lbs. I had a “perfect” c=section delivery, just as I planned. My daughter was a great baby. It was all just as I had hoped – and it was so welcomed after a hellish conception.

There was something that wasn’t perfect with that pregnancy though  — it was WHO I became when I was pregnant 5 years ago.

Because I lived in the land of IF, I found immense guilt in being pregnant when so many of my friends were still struggling, saving the money for treatments or adoption. I felt guilty for finally crossing the finish line.

So I recently went back and read my blog posts on IF Crossroads from the time that I was pregnant. And there was one common theme that kept popping up post delivery. I promised myself that if I ever managed to get pregnant on my own again, I would not spend my time being guilty, worried about every word that comes out of my mouth and feeling as though I had to hide in the background.
I promised myself that I would enjoy the miracle. I promised myself that I would be as “normal” as I could be. I wouldn’t worry about everyone around me. I wouldn’t tip toe around the fact that I was growing a life.  I would remain compassionate and empathetic to those that were struggling but I wouldn’t let their sorrow temper my joy.

Funny how things are so different. I guess my plan didn’t include a difficult high risk pregnancy.

This time around I am not hiding my pregnancy. I’m not mincing every word for fear of offending someone. I’m honoring it in the way I feel honors me best. And yes, because it’s been a hellaciously difficult pregnancy, that honor has come in the form of complaints. It’s really REALLY hard to be gracious and grateful when you are hanging on to your body and sanity by a small thread. It’s hard to have gratitude when you can barely manage to consume 200 calories in one day and you vomit 50 (+) times in that same day. It’s hard to see the “big picture” when you feel like your body is trying to kill you so that it can hang on to sustain the life it is growing inside. All of that is some scary shit. And let me tell you – when you are going through some scary shit, the last thing you want is to be judged for your words.

When you are going through scary shit you want SUPPORT.

Sadly, I will say that support is not what I felt from a large portion of my friends and family.

Instead of being supported through what was one of the most difficult times of my life, I felt judged.

I felt judged because I “should know better” than to complain about a way-wanted baby. I felt judged because I would know better than anyone that there are millions of women that would give their left leg to be in my shoes. I felt judged everytime I complained, shed a tear or even mentioned feeling miserable. The general sentiment I felt was that I should just shut up and suffer in silence.  Essentially because I had the privilege of this miracle pregnancy that so many would die to have, I shouldn’t dare complain one nanosecond.

You might ask why I felt all of the above. How did I know I was being judged.

I guess the answer to that question is that I didn’t know for sure. But I can say that silence speaks volumes – especially in this community. As a community, the ALI’ers are a generally supportive bunch. We’ve dealt with our fair share of shit. We’ve commiserated each other through some horrific ordeals and sorrows. And we are not silent when someone is suffering. We are the first to reach out and support those people.

But I didn’t feel support – I felt silence. Deafening silence.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

I don’t judge those who judged me.

They haven’t walked a mile in my shoes to know what I experienced this summer.

I didn’t understand how debilitating HG could be until I had it. Just like I didn’t undestand how devastating IF could be until I was diagnosed.

So I don’t judge the silence. I’m here to extend an olive branch. I’m here to say this:

Lets support all of those who cross over to the other side of IF – no matter how they get there.

If you have a friend who decides to live childfree after IF – support her – she is struggling. Don’t leave her in silence.

If you have a friend who gets pregnant after treatment – support her – she is struggling. Don’t leave her in silence.

If you have a friend that is struggling after reaching pregnancy – via IVF/IUI or ART or even a blessed “natural” conception – support that friend. She is struggling. Don’t leave her in silence.