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What 13 Reasons Why Shows Us About Bullying

In case you’ve, somehow, missed the craze of Netflix newest series 13 Reasons Why, I’m going to insert the obligatory spoiler alert here.

13 Reasons Why is a 13 episode adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel about a girl who commits suicide & leaves behind 13 cases tapes explaining what led her to do so. If you received the tapes, you were one of her reasons why.

Not only was the series griping from the start, but it also illustrated how much damage bullying can do to someone. As someone who was bullied themselves, I felt this message was accurately depicted.

Much of what happened to Hannah Baker, the main character, appeared to be subtle bullying/harassment at first that viewers later saw grow into larger ramifications. What seemed small at first became dramatically larger over time because each awful incident did one very unfortunate thing. It made it okay to treat someone so poorly.

Which is exactly what happened in my own life thanks to the girl who thought it was okay to start bullying me. At first, she was on her own having fun with making my life miserable. Soon after, I picked up side bullies that followed in her footsteps. Why? Because it was somehow then okay to pick on me. I was the new girl in seventh grade & it became the thing to do for several girls in my class.

On top of dealing with the bullying every day, something else happened to me as a result. Apart from the cruel ones, there were actually a few nice people in my class but, after being so beaten down, I stopped trying. I stopped trying to form friendships of any kind with any of the kids in my class because (as Hannah says in the series),  “it was open season,” on me, I never knew if someone asked me to sit with them to be nice or because it would be funny/allow me to be a target for one of those girls.

13 Reasons Why had a lot of very important messages to be had & one of those messages I hope viewers take away from it is be kind to one another & realize just how much a seemingly small action from you can effect someone else’s life. We live in a world where we, still today, hear abut bullying all the time. I see the pleas from parents on Facebook asking what to do for their child who is slowly being torn apart by bullying. We see the school shootings & later learn that bullying was involved. But when are we finally going to stand up as a society & say bullying, in any form, is not okay?

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& So I Kept Living

Last week was World Suicide Prevention Week &, this year, TWLOHA’s slogan is, “& so I kept living.”

Shockingly, one of the facts I read this week was that suicide is at a 30 year high in America. That is devastating.

When I think about why the numbers are so high one thing comes to mind…and that is the pressing stigma surrounding mental illness. People don’t talk about it &, if you do, you are often shamed. I know I was. I started this blog & hit on a range of topics, one of which was rape and depression I endured from it. An, “anonymous,” person was trolling my blog at the time &, under a blog I wrote on what flashbacks & PTSD had done to my life, wrote: “Wow, you’re so screwed up. You’re so screwed up that you get anxious when men yell at your on the street?? You don’t need kids, no wonder you can’t have them (in reference to our infertility).”

Wow is the operative word…just not in the context that it was used. I say wow that people are so cruel. Wow that individuals love tearing others down & taking the lowest of blows. Wow that, after someone courageously speaks their shame in hopes of encouraging & helping others, someone would make that something so ugly. It also shows how victim blaming is so alive in our society to the point of blaming women for the suffering  they endure post rape but that’s another post entirely.

The point is, I was shamed for being vulnerable when I already had more than enough shame to hold. And so, for a while, I stopped talking about it. I focused on blogging about infertility, foster care, & lifestyle things in an effort to normalize my life. I tried to act as if the crumbing of my life hadn’t happened at all & I had been just fine all along. But you know what, friends? That isn’t true. I skipped over the worst days. The days that last week were all about. I stopped encouraging others in those very dark places I know all too well & that has been the biggest disservice of all.

This summer, I’ve fallen in love with a beautiful lady who speaks her truth. Unedited, uncensored truth. Her name is Glennon Doyle Melton & she blogs about courageous things over at http://www.momastery.com

This week she blogged about her own dark time & the moment she kept living. And she encouraged me to do so as well.

There was this time in my life that all hope was gone. It was very dark, both figuratively and literally as I was sitting in the dark. I was staring down at the dimly lit screen of my iphone writing something in the notes section. It was a letter to my sister explaining why. I was staring down at my exit door after one literal hell of a year. I’d been raped, several times, & lost some very important people in my family as a result. I was having several flashbacks a day & bad dreams every night. Some nights I woke up screaming &/or in a cold sweat. I kept messing things up, relationships, my life. I was failing at getting out of the darkness. In my mind I knew what I would do but I didn’t..instead, the next day, I called my therapist & we made a game plan.

& so I kept living.

I moved to another city that was 2.5 hours away, away from all my trauma reminders. I took some time off work to dive into working on me. I went to a lot of therapy. I saw a lot of my nutritionist. & I did a lot of work.

& so I kept living.

I got married to my best friend in 2015 & graduated with my masters degree in 2016.

& so I kept living.

I started going to walks about things that matter & talking about them, too.

I started being honest with my closest friends & members of a phenomenal group I’m in.

I kept blogging about infertility.

& I learned a lot of things. But I wouldn’t have learned them if I hadn’t kept living.

I learned that, most often, other people have had some difficult moment in their lives. They may have struggled/struggle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, etc, etc. So they get it. Or they want to try to. I’ve learned that none of us has had a perfect life &, even if our stories are very different, we can empathize and relate to other people. I’ve learned that talking about it matters, it really matters.

& so I kept living.

“Life is forever tries.” -Glennon Doyle Melton

 

 

4

Follow Up

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Today, was our followup appt with my gyno for the miscarriage.

Borrowing a line from Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

On one hand, it went really. She was very compassionate about what happened & happy that we were even able to get pregnant so soon after my laparoscopy at the end of April. Being my second miscarriage, she also did a full workup of blood testing. 13 vials worth to be exact!!! I did not pass out…though I came close. She also looked at my cervix & noted the bleeding had stopped so that was a good thing as well.

Surprisingly, she seemed shocked when I told her no after she asked if anyone had given me pain meds while I was miscarrying. NOPE. She also seemed surprised no one did a D&C. I quickly put the D&C concern at bay, I believe, after telling her I was pretty sure I passed anything and everything.

The bad: For one, gyno appointments have never been a high point for me. They’re hard, they’re just really freaking hard. Also, for this appointment, it was re-traumatizing in that I had to relive the whole experience. Being asked about it in detail and going back to that point in time where the rest of my world seemed to crumble away those two odd weeks ago.

We left things with a few high points. We told her we were concerned about waiting 8-9 weeks to come in for a prenatal appointment as I don’t make it to 8-9 weeks and the appointment is virtually useless to me at that point. In response to this, she agreed & said she would see me at 4 weeks next time around….if there’s a next time around. In addition, she feels the sooner we try again the better (echoing what I’d read on my own). The plan is to call when I start my first period post miscarriage & start Femera again at that point. It’s a good plan that we’re both happy with. The only other unfinished business for me is that, next time around, I’m requesting progesterone in oil shots instead of oral progesterone as that obviously did nothing for me this pregnancy.

 

 

 

11

Round ???? With The Dildo Cam

Just finished round I don’t even know with the infamous dildo cam that has plagued my life for a year now.

Just to recap, I saw someone in my new gyno’s office last week after I had been on 2 week period. She checked & told me the blood-old and new-was definitely coming from my uterus. I’d told her I’d been wondering if I had endometriosis as I had a lot of the symptoms and heard it could also cause bad egg quality. After hearing about my symptoms, she told me I definitely needed a surgical consult for laparoscopy with the Dr. I originally couldn’t get in with until the end of July. Thankfully, she told the receptionists that I needed to see her in two weeks so I have that next Friday. Today, she had me scheduled for a vaginal ultrasound just to cover all the bases.

When I got there, they sent me to the basement-not as scary as it sounds I promise lol-to the lab. The lady came out to get me, had me do the standard things they have you do to prep & we were off. It felt like one of the longest ultrasounds I’ve ever had, lasting about 10 minutes. Ultrasound tech had apparently read up on my chart & asked me questions to confirm previous pregnancy, no live birth, all that fun stuff. Then, as she was doing it, she asked me twice when the last time I had taken fertility drugs was. She also asked what kind. Needless to say, that was a little concerning.

I don’t have an info. on how things looked via ultrasound yet as techs aren’t suppose to tell you anything….so now I’m just waiting anxiously to hear the results & hoping I don’t have to wait over a week to get them.

In related news, the more I think about the possibility of endo, the more pissed off I get. I feel like our RE NOT checking me for this prior to the 2 IVFs was ridiculous. If not before IVF was done at all, I do not understand why furthering testing was not done on me to rule out the possibility of other issues. Especially since I had bad egg quality.

The only thing I was ever checked for was to ensure my tubes were clear with that dreaded HSG test. That’s it. So, here we are, 20,000 later with no baby. Not to mention the emotional tole it put on us, most especially me. For someone who has PTSD, any gynecological related procedure is hell. Pure hell. Think of the worst thing that has ever happened  to. Now imagine, for a year, having to relieve that event every time you had a procedure that was very similar in nature. That’s what my year has been like. & now I’m wondering if it even had to be. & lets not forget the physical tole the meds and procedures had on my body.

With that being said, if I end up having endo, our RE will definitely be hearing from me.

& now we wait! 

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Second Opinion

  
I cannot stress this enough in the world of infertility & so wish I had gotten one sooner.

Having PTSD, I loathe going to the gynecologist. LOATHE it! It’s my 10 for anxiety producing situations. But, as I’ve been bleeding for over 2 weeks now, I begrudgingly made an appt. with a nurse practitioner in the office of the gynecologist I wasn’t able to get in with until the end of summer.

When I told the nurse prac. what was going on, she said, “We don’t like 14 day periods, bless your heart.” She then ask me a slew of questions about my periods, did an exam (while telling me to try to relax a handful of times), & then we talked again.

First of all, the blood that has been flowing out of me is def. coming from my uterus. She said that she saw both old and new blood.

Second, she felt that I def. needed a laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis. I have a surgical consult with the Dr. I originally couldn’t get in with until the end of July in two weeks.

&, lastly, she ordered blood work to check my thyroid, noting that could both mess with cycles & play a role in infertility, as well as a vaginal ultrasound I wasn’t able to get today. I have that this coming Monday.

After the appointment, as anxious as I felt having to go through with the appt, my initial reaction was that the nurse practitioner I had just seen had done more for me than our RE ever did. I had informed her and her nurse that he ordered an HSG on me when we first started seeing him & that had been clear but I had NO other testing done. No further testing after 3 failed IUIs, no further testing after 2 failed IVFs. None. I had once asked him about blood work & felt as if he thought it was a waste of time, noting that, “I can order it but I think it’s a waste of money. It would be 200-300$ just for that.” Well, FYI sir, 200-300$ is a whole hell of a lot cheaper than the 20,000 plus we’ve spent up to this point. Just saying.

All in all, I feel really validated from an infertility standpoint & am hopeful that I’ll get some answers from the testing that was done today & the upcoming ultrasound/consultation.

I wanted to share this to stress the importance of getting a second opinion. If you are having second thoughts about your care, there’s most likely a reason. Address & don’t waste thousands of dollars like we potentially did.

Here’s to hoping answers are on the way……

6

What Now Infertility?

After what seems like forever, it’s time for an infertility update.

When we first learned that our 2nd IVF was a bust, I’d thought that my infertility blogging days would be on hold for a while (at least in relation to TTC). Our game plan was & is to take a much needed break from IVF & all the crazy hormones and just enjoy each other. For a month now, we’ve done just that & I have to tell you it feels good. There have been no panicked mornings at ultrasounds/blood draws. No nightly stabbings from various needles. No mood swings Ursula from The Little Mermaid would flinch from. No more surgeries, or painful transfers.

Instead, there has been quiet….well, quiet may be an overstatement while grad school & free work reign but, as compared to adding in the craziness of IVF with it, it’s quiet as can be.

&, while I love not enduring all of the above, for the longest time it felt strange to me…the pursuit of having a baby had become my life. The constant doctor’s appointments and needles had become a norm for us. Regularly reading infertility blogs & searching #IVF hashtags had become what I knew. Even now, over a month from our last defeat, not having those things that had become the norm feels strange to me. Today, I found myself searching hashtags & almost hit the IVF category again…then thought better of it and moved on to our next pursuit.

Currently, while actively pursuing fostering to adopt, I am in search of a second opinion of sorts. A few weeks back, someone had stumbled onto my Instagram account & asked if our RE had mentioned a cause for my poor egg quality. I answered that no he hadn’t & she then proceeded to inform me poor egg quality can result from endometriosis & said a friend of her’s had the same thing happen to her. Once she figured out it was endo & had surgery to remove it, she conceived naturally soon after. Curious, I looked up symptoms of endometriosis as our RE never mentioned testing me for that, or PCOS. I was surprised to find that I had at least two symptoms of it, noting that, apparently, sometimes you can have no symptoms as well. For one, TMI alert, it is sometimes painful for me to have sex. For years, I’d noticed it & thought it be a direct result from my PTSD &/or an injury I sustained during that time…I’ve also noticed for a few years now that I sometimes bleed after sex. Again, I had believed this was just another result of PTSD….but now, after some quick research, I know that both of those things are symptoms of endometriosis.

So, what now?? I spoke to a friend of mine who has been seeing a gynecologist who performs IUI’s (who knew????) & is also a specialist for endo. Unfortunately, I can’t get an appt with her until the end of June. I took the appointment anyway but also plan on mentioning it to my doctor to see if she’ll schedule a laparoscopy.

Am I expecting some sort of miracle even if I do have it? At this point, hell no. I am done with getting my hopes up & believing there is some kind of magical solution to our infertility woes. After a year of hearing the next infertility TX would surely be the answer to our prayers, I don’t want to hear any more promises. What I do want, however, is a greater understanding of why my egg quality is for shit at the age of 26. After reading the symptoms of endo, I want the peace of mind of knowing whether or not I have it.

Regardless, hubby & I are continuing on with our break from IVF for at least 6 months. At the same time, we are working toward finishing our foster to adopt classes that we are so very excited about!

Have a wonderful week, friends!

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Cinderella Time 

Last night, when the clock struck 12, our last shot punctured my skin. It was trigger shot time!  

 
Being an avid Disney princess lover (or addict, depends on who you’re asking), I found the timing especially fitting. I also loved the above quotes from Cinderella that symbolize our journey, most especially the, “Even miracles take a little time.” 

Today, when checking out my very swollen stomach, I noticed I was left with some bruising from this cycle.  

 
If that’s what it takes, IVF, that’s what it takes. 😉

Tomorrow is our egg retrieval!!!!! At 10:15 to be exact. I’m still incredibly nervous & praying I don’t wake up in as much pain as last time (or have any PTSD stuff go on). More than anything, I am praying & hoping for better quality eggs. The pain, ALL the injections I’ve had thus far, the dates with the dildo cam, all the procedures & test, & all the tears will be more than worth it if the eggs are better. If you pray, please send one up for me tomorrow! 

😁🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️