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Second Chances

On February 24th, I became very grateful for one thing – second chances. On this day I got the second chance to be the Aunt I couldn’t be almost 3 years before.

On February 24th, our second nephew was born. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I was only plagued by jealousy one or two times, but generally, I was ecstatic for my sister-in-law and her growing family.

When we got the call our sweet nephew had arrived, we went to the hospital as soon as we were able. We didn’t dread walking into the maternity ward and instead of shrinking into silent invisibility, I became an active participant. We asked about all the details, held, and kissed his precious-ness. We only smiled, thinking of the wonderful time ahead with another little boy to join in for family time.

As we walked back to the car after our first visit with our new nephew, Ryan and I both marveled at what a great experience it was and how great it was that we were able to have a second chance at being there in a way we couldn’t be the first time around.

Infertility seems to grab you so negatively and I don’t think people understand that it’s not just something that affects that particular couple, but every single other person in their lives as well. Although I don’t have any regrets, I do wish the journey of our oldest nephew’s arrival into this world had been happier and less dramatic than it had been.

But this feels like a fresh start and I hope we can be the family we were unable to be before. I hope our son can develop a close relationship with his big and little cousin, and that by putting in an honest effort – the broken bridges between the rest of us can continue to be mended.

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Thy Will and Not Mine Own

In December I found out I was losing my job in January of 2015. I will be receiving compensation and it will help my husband and I be able to pay off a size-able amount of debt.

A while after I found out how much I would receive, my husband brought up going back to the fertility clinic and doing another round of IVF. When he first proposed this, I was so excited! Not only was he now on board with having another baby, he was willing to go through all the hell that is fertility treatments to help us get there.

But as months went on, and the plans I started making kept running through my mind, something nagged in my heart.

And a week ago I received my personal revelation telling me what I needed to do. I had written earlier about a feeling I had gotten in the Temple in September when we had found out our second fertility attempt at expanding our family had not worked. In September, I was given the very strong impression that we would be blessed with another child naturally, when the timing was right for our family.

In the excitement of getting such a strong support from Ryan to expand our family, I had temporarily forgotten that message I had received. But then it came back.

I made the hardest decision by going back to Ryan and let him know I wasn’t comfortable returning to the fertility clinic. Most often, the right decisions are the hardest to make – and this was agonizing. I was choosing to give up the greatest desire in my life to have a big family, with minimal age differences and put my life entirely towards the will of our Heavenly Father.

I don’t know if we will ever get our 2nd, 3rd or 4th baby, but we will always hold that faith. What I do know is that Heavenly Father will provide a way and it won’t be through fertility treatments.

When it comes to my family, there are a lot of things that happen I can’t explain
– I couldn’t explain how I was foretold that during our IVF, I knew the eggs wouldn’t fertilize on their own.
– I can’t explain how I knew I would have a boy the day the embryo was transferred and that I knew what he would look like because I had already seen his face in a dream.
– I don’t know how to explain that my next child will be a girl – I just know.
– And I don’t know how to explain that I know pursuing more fertility treatments isn’t the answer to become pregnant.

The only answer I do have is that the Spirit leads and guides us everyday if we listen to him – and that anything is possible if you have the faith. It may not be the answer you think it should be, or how you think things should end up, but it will be the way it is meant to be. This is what keeps me going day after day.

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The Journey of 1

In August of 2013 we started our journey to expand our family. We had one embryo left. I thought this was it. It was perfect timing to have another baby and our children would be exactly two years apart – exactly what I wanted. Plus we only had the one left so I thought it was a sign – our second child to make our family complete. The timing of the appointments were also falling into place in that I didn’t have to take any additional time off work.

I was so excited all the way there on the day of the transfer. I was going to be pregnant again. I reveled in the fact I could be pregnant with my sister-in-law and our children would be the same age. I excitedly planned all the play dates we could have in my mind because we would have the majority of our mat leave off together.

I anxiously tested, waiting for that second pink line I had been dreaming about. But as each day went by, the line didn’t show up. I was speechless. I knew I would have at least one more child and this was supposed to be that chance, especially because the chances of getting pregnant on my own was virtually zero and we planned on doing only one round of IVF.

In my mind, this was our last and only chance.

On September 5th, our last chance was over. I took my last test that confirmed we were done. Connor wasn’t going to be a big brother. I would never experience pregnancy again. I would never have a newborn in my home to snuggle all hours of the day.

I felt myself slowly slipping into a dark hole that was much too familiar. It was the same hole I found myself in 3 years earlier. I heard myself scream ‘NO!’ inside my head.

And then as clearly as if someone were standing beside me, I heard a voice. The voice told me to go the Temple. I listened and went.

As I was sitting in the Celestial Room, this calm went over me. I knew He had a plan for me. If it was meant to happen, it would happen by His hand and in His time. The darkness filled with light and I had a positivity and surety of this little girl I knew was meant to join our family.

I re-read my patriarchal blessing and now I wait, with faith, for my little girl to join us. Connor will be a big brother, I’m sure of it. Whether it will be in the next year, or in the next 10, that I do not know. Whenever He is ready for our family to grow, it will grow.

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The Journey to a New ME

In April of 2013 I hit my all-time low. My Gramma had been sick for a few months, I was so stressed out and eating whatever I could find. I hit the highest weight I ever wanted to see on the scale – 283 pounds. I had seen the number before, but I was pregnant and so it didn’t bother me quite so much. But this time, it was all me. Too much of me, honestly. I was uncomfortable and didn’t want to go shopping because I was afraid of the size of clothes I’d have to end up buying. So I crammed myself in what I have, lying to myself that I was still okay, and going about day by day. It wasn’t until we took a family picture the day of my grandmother’s funeral that I saw what everyone else saw. My neck was gone and the huge doe-eyes that I regarded proudly were now small and beady, covered by all the cheek fat in my face. How could I have not seen this? My sight was so clouded – I had no idea the damage I was doing. I needed to change something.

I remember calling my mom after we had gotten home, and asked if she would help pay for this diet plan I had heard about on this forum I am part of. This one girl on it had lost over 100 pounds over the course of a year. I did some searching and it looked like it targeted and worked the best for women with PCOS, insulin and diabetes. The plan was called Ideal Protein and it worked by putting your body in ketosis, by following a strict high protein, low carb and low fat diet. By being in ketosis, your pancreas got a break as, instead of making insulin to fuel your body, your body just used the current stores already in your body.

Mom was leary, to say the least. Mainly because, although the diet is over 25 years old, it’s a fairly new concept for North America (it was originated in France). And because I had already gotten sick from a previous diet 6 years ago (Herbal Magic), she was worried it would happen again. But after much convicing, tears and yelling – she agreed to help us out.

I started my journey on April 10, 2013. By 10 weeks, I had already lost over 20 pounds. I could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. I went on a family vacation and watched those around me eat pizza, toast, snacks and all those good things while I stuck to my plan. The pounds seemed to melt off and I was feeling good. As time progressed, I started sneaking other food. I would eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, telling myself that it was okay because it was mostly protein. The weight loss got slower, and I found myself getting out of control again.

I took a break in the summer so we could try fertility treatments again. When they failed, I started eating out of emotion and between the medication I was on and my uncontrollable impulse, I had gained back 20 of the 35 pounds I had lost. The clothes that were almost too big for me to wear were getting tight again. My face was getting puffy and I started not liking myself.

So I sat down and looked at my self – I re-evaluated what I was doing. I got honest and admitted what I had said many times, but never actually confronted. I had an addiction. I analyzed my eating habits and diagnosed my ‘triggers’. If I couldn’t control myself around certain foods, I had to take them out of my life completely. This meant no more Nutella or Peanut Butter in the house as I new I wouldn’t be able to control myself. No chocolate chips for baking, no tantalizing carb-y treats, cookies, chips, pop or juice. My house was on lock-down. I knelt in prayer often, asking Heavenly Father to help me have the strength I needed, for him to take away the cravings I felt.

He did. I was strong again. And after Halloween I got back on track. I don’t have the urge to sneak food. I don’t want the stuff I know I can’t have and I’m satisfied not having it. Since starting again in November, I have lost 40 pounds….and since April I have lost 60. This is the year I will succeed. I will control my demons, my addictions and I will lean on the strength of both my Heavenly Father and Brother because I know they will get me through.

For the first time in such a long time, when I look in the mirror, how I look reflects the image of myself that I have in my head, too. I’m genuinely more happy and my love for picture-taking is coming back. I’m starting to love myself again and I hope by doing that, I can start accepting the love others have for me as well.

Here’s my progress….

IMG_0771 April 2013 at 283 pounds

IMG_1320 February 2014 at 220

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Through my Eyes

When my sister-in-law first got pregnant, everyone was so excited – especially her parents. This baby would be the first grandchild and they couldn’t wait to welcome this little bundle of miracles in the coming year. I tried to be as excited as I could. But all I could think of was, “it should be me”. I was the one who had been trying unsuccessfully for five years to bring my own miracle into this world. We were the older of the two, it should have followed the same birth-order, right? It didn’t.

Our little miracle of a nephew came into this world with great anticipation. The new grandma and grandpa couldn’t be happier. You had to pry baby from grandpa’s arms to have any decent time with them and they always seemed to be with their bundle of joy that their daughter and son-in-law produced. Proud grandparents – as they should be.

Finally, it was my turn. How ecstatic was I that we would finally bring our own miracle into the family and how I anticipated the great things having grandparents close by would bring. I saw what they did for my nephew, and looked forward to beaming with joy as my son got to partake in the same kind of memories. That didn’t happen.

Instead, I watched as my son’s grandpa would barely hold him – how you practically had to just throw him into his arms and walk away just so that he would pay any attention to him. And if my nephew happened to be there at the same time, my son was all but forgotten. Attention was turned to my nephew every time. And we would sit there, invisible. Toys and trucks that were given to my nephew to play with at grandma and grandpa’s house or the trailer were kindly handed down, but no new treasures were given with that special love that I saw the year before.

I thought it would be different. I thought – this is it! We are expanding the family name by having a son! We are finally getting that miracle we waited so long for and he will be so precious and I’ll get to see those great things with my own child that I watched happened as my nephew grew up. I thought the son of a son of a son would mean something.

Tonight, my heart broke into a thousand pieces as my son and his cousin played with each other and grandpa entered the room. Instantly, the attention was once again on my nephew, with a big hug from grandpa and immediate playing in the living room. Not even a hello to his other grandson. No acknowledgement. And I watched as my son watched the interaction on a toy, quiet and unsure.

My mind went back to this last Thanksgiving where my son was playing around the trailer and we got this statement, “don’t expect me to be chasing after your son”. But then as soon as the first-born came, Papa was right there following him around as my own child watched on.

Of all the families I know, I thought the one I married into would be the last on the list to treat their family this way. Especially after experiencing the same thing with their own children when they were young.

Soon, a new member of the family will be joining us, and I’m scared. I’m scared that this will happen a second time over – and that as my son grows up, he starts to understand what this means. I’m afraid he’ll get even more left behind, and I’ll have to watch his heart get broken as he tries to understand why he doesn’t seem as important as his cousins. I hope I’m wrong.

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New Year, New Goals

Like most everyone else, a new year can mean the ability to start fresh. Make some goals to be better. This year, I didn’t want to try for anything too big. Instead, I’ve compiled some small goals that I can make consistent and build on in the years to come. I’m sharing them in the hope that I’ll be held a bit more accountable, and by writing them down, I feel it makes them more permanent and something I can go back to throughout the year to determine if I’m continuing down the right path.

1. Read the Book of Mormon every day I’m  learning that I can’t be an all or nothing kind of person with this goal. So I’m hoping, even if I can only read one or two verses some nights, the act of opening up my scriptures every day will help me build a relationship with my Heavenly Father, will increase my faith and will invite the Spirit to reside with me and in my house more often.

2. Get to my goal weight by the end of the year This is my end goal although I’ve set smaller goals along the way. First, I’m learning to take it a bit at a time, so I’m really only focusing on 10 pound goals. The larger goal for that, is to be 180 pounds by my birthday so I can rock it in Vegas. The third goal is to be at my ideal weight before or by the end of the year. It’s going to be a struggle, it’s going to take time, but something feels different this time, and I can see this. I know this is the right time for me and this time it will work.

3. Make an effort to visit family once a week I think too often we take our family for granted. The large family functions are a convenient way to say hello and forget about the rest of the year. So this year, I’m not going to take my family for granted. I am making the commitment to visit someone – whether it’s my brother, mom, dad, sister, aunt or uncle – once a week. I need to start letting people in, and I think this will help.

4. Have consistent date nights Ask yourself a question – when was the last time you got to go out with your significant other without the kids? Or if you don’t have children, when was the last time you went out as a special occasion – a date? Ryan and I got to go out a handful of times, but it wasn’t enough. Some days, I ache from missing him, because we just don’t take the time out for ourselves and our relationship because our child usually comes first. This year will be different. Once a month, we will go out. Whether it’s supper or a movie or both, we will work on connecting again.

5. Go to the Temple once a month I first went through the Temple exactly one year ago. Since then, I’ve went one other time. And I live less than an hour away from the Temple. I need to go more. I know what a difference going to the Temple has made and the blessings that come forth. I need to take advantage of that. So I will.

6. Start family home evening I’ve made too many excuses as to why we don’t do FHE in our household and it’s time to stop. Every Monday, we will have family home evening. We will have lessons and games and songs. Even if it’s just Connor and I because Ryan’s working, it will happen. Now, I just have to start planning….

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2014

The start of a new year always means saying goodbye. I said some very painful goodbyes during 2013. In January, we said goodbye to Ryan’s grandfather. In March, a painful goodbye to one of the most important people in my life, my Gramma. And then in September, I said goodbye to the possibility of having any more children – something that is still impossible to say out loud.

But with every goodbye, there is always a hello. Sometimes it’s unexpected, other times it’s as comforting and familiar as the sun rising every morning. This year, I get to say hello to an addition coming to our family in March. I also get to say hello to the challenge of finding out what I truly want to be as I come to a close at my time with my current job. I’ll be introduced to new goals that I set out for myself to help my family become closer to each other, closer to our other family members, and closer to Christ.  I hope that I can say hello to a new me as I continue on my path of becoming healthier both emotionally, spiritually and physically – so that I can continue to understand who I am to help build the bridges each person so desperately needs with those around them. I imagine I’ll be saying hello to some hard truths, sorrow, and pai. But I also hope that I’ll welcome in happiness, expanding faith and a few miracles.

I’ve always followed the philosophy that how the new year starts out is a guide to how the year will be. Last year started with a goodbye and those goodbyes just got more painful as the year went on. This year. however, started out much better. It started with positivity, hope, love and laughter. It started with all my important relationships in a positive place and a peace in my heart. I’m looking forward to 2014 and the possibilities that the year holds to myself and my family. I’m saying hello with open arms.

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You’re so Brave

A while back I posted about being fat. But not only being fat, but being the third generation of fat and how that scared me. I also mentioned how I feel trapped because the last option for my mother and grandmother was and currently is, surgery. Surgery is not a bad thing. But it scares me because it means that I have a true problem, that can only be rectified by drastic measures and that’s not something I’m ready to come to terms with. And I hope that I can bread the cycle so that I don’t end up in the position.

But those positions come up, and you deal.

I want to say how much I admire these two women in my life who are tackling and have tackled that decision straight on. Have fought for other options and made the one that was best for them. I feel it is incredibly brave to admit you have a problem and find the solution. Whether it be surgery, a personal trainer or what have you (depending on your own personal situation, of course).

My biological mother is on the road to a new self in the near future and as she works hard to overcome her addictions and roadblocks I am at awe. Mostly because I am not there yet, but hope I can be some day. She amazes me, and her personal successes can clearly be seen in her radiant countenance.

She’s been through much more than this, and in my eyes, I have watched her glide through every situation with grace and end up on the winning, positive side. I believe this journey will be no different.

I hope you’re reading this, M. I love you! And I’m proud of you! And I can only hope I have half the strength you do!

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Throwback Thursday

I have always loved writing stories. The first story I remember writing was when I was about four – six years old. It was only five or six sentences and ran along the lines of most little girls stories. There was good guy, a bad guy and there was a beginning, middle and end. It involved my best friend at the time being the heroine, and I the villianess. It wasn’t much, but it was the basis of many scenes playing in my head, usually mirroring whatever genre I was the most into at the time. for example, I was big into R. L. Stine horror books and so I wrote a few books involving vampires, banshees and things of that nature. In junior high my best friend and  I are obsessed with Archie comics so we wrote a lot of fan fiction. We had it down to an art! We matched up all the characters (and not pairings that were obvious either. I.e. Betty and Jughead) and after we finished the story, we even emailed each other the notes of the stories so they would still correspond, but be in the other characters perspective instead. I know, right?

So for this Throwback Thursday, I would like to Throwback one of my stories. There are no edits, and completely from my junior high self. (I’d also like to mention that my stories are in my Babysitters Club Journal – Classic child of the early nineties). Enjoy.

Betty Cooper

Hi! This is me Betty Cooper. You know the cute blonde in Riverdale? I thought you would remember.

Now that we’re reacquainted let me tell you what has happened in my life. First, I graduated Riverdale High and started dating again after a horrible breakup with Jon, my former datee. I cried for about a week. About in the middle Jughead came and told me that Jon was a real fool for dumpling me. I thanked Juggie. And for the first time in his life, Jughead kissed me. Right on the cheek. The first kiss in his life! I was so excited. Jughead was into girls! This was the chance to really grab him.

“Juggie?” I asked him in my most sexiest voice. “I’m ordering five large pizzas. Would you like to stay for dinner?”

“Would I!” Jughead answered, his voice just starting to change.

I was so happy! Jughead was staying over for dinner! The book Big Ethel wrote really worked! But what about when college started? I had been accepted almost to all the Universities in Riverdale county. But where was Jughead going? I wanted to go to the same one that he was going to. I had to ask him tonight.

35 minutes had gone by after I ordered it. Archie, as usual was late again.

As we were eating, I brought the subject up. “So, Jughead. What college are you going to?”

“Riverdale University. What else? Besides, Archie’s going there, I gotta be close to my buddy you know.”

“Of course. How could I forget Archie? That backstabbing son-of-a…. By the way, you know this is such a coincidence. I’m going to R.U. Too”.

“Really? You know I hear that the whole gang was going there. Except Dilton. He had to go to Oklahoma”.

Okay, enough with the talking. Let’s get to the good business.

R.U. was pretty amazing. I was in a room with MIdge and Ronnie.

One night Jughead came to my dorm and asked if I could put on a fancy dress and be ready in five minutes. I couldn’t imagine what he was doing so I played along.

I met him downstairs. I was so surprised! He was in his tux. He knelt down and took my hand.

“Omigosh!” I though. “He’s going to propose!”

“Betty, ” He started to say as tears rolled down my cheeks. “Ever since I’ve known you I’ve always been in love with you. Even though I looked like I didn’t, I did. Betty Cooper, will you be mine for ever?”

“Of course I will, Juggie! But not until we graduate.”

“Fine with me.”

It took about two more years to graduate and six months later we got married. I began working as a vet and Juggie and I moved to a big farm with an 1000 acre field space. We also have milllions of animals for my practices. Oh and I talk to the gang but usually I’m at my clinic.

Just yesterday we had our school reunion. It was great to see friends and enemies. I was surprised to see that most of the gang married other people from R.U.

Now I am alone at the age of 60. Poor Juggie died. He died by eating himself to death. I guess he died the way he wanted to. It was his favorite thing to do – even when he was a kid.

Here is where I must end my story. That was my life after 16. I have no more to tell. Goodnight.

 

 

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25 Things ~ 21-25

Can it be? Could I actually be finished my 25 things about me series?

21. Attention makes me uncomfortable.

Anyone who has ever paid me a compliment or brought up something involving me knows what I mean here. I shrink away. Literally. I can feel myself hunch my shoulders, move back and put my head down. I don’t like it, it makes me feel uncomfortable and I would much rather just be in the background. I wasn’t always like this, but as I’ve gotten older, I just feel like things should be done because we’re good people who do good things. Not to voice everything for recognition or praise (although, I will admit that sometimes I would appreciate someone saying good job, or that I’m a good mom and leaving it at that), but to just do it because it’s the right thing to do. Being humble is a big thing for me.

22. I’m fair to a fault.

Yep, everyone deserves the same thing. Even at my disadvantage. It’s what’s right (in my head, at least). This was how I was raised and even though I know it’s not always that black and white, it is to me. I’m honest, and fair and I hope these are qualities I can pass on to my child/ren as well. The downside to this characteristic is that I also expect it within my own circles, and am disappointed and sometimes angry when it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes it can cause a lot of heartbreak, misunderstandings on my part and bad feelings, but I’m trying to understand the shades of grey when it comes to this. But it’s taking a while.

23. I’m hypersensitive to negative body-language. Or, I will take sometimes innocent actions of others and make them something negative towards me (usually in the attachment sense).

So if I always walk into a room to join a conversation and people leave (whether they legitimately have something else to do), I will take it as them not wanting to be around me. Rejecting an invitation makes me feel the same way. I try to be rational about it, but sometimes when you’re dealing with attachment problems, rationality means nothing. So if you’re wondering why I stopped responding positively to you, it’s probably because I’ve perceived too many negative reactions and I’m done trying. So be patient. Treat me like that lost puppy you just adopted from the pound who doesn’t come out from under the bed. Be patient, coax me and let me know you’re there no matter what I do. The trust will come, but it just takes a little longer, and it goes away faster than with most people.

24. I would much rather watch people interact that be a part of the interaction itself.

Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean there’s something wrong! I grew up being the baby around a bunch of old people. I’m used to listening and observing what’s going on. I’m not ignoring you, disinterested or upset about something. I’m just taking it in. Especially with a new environment (which, my environments can seem new for a VERY long time!). I’m getting to know the dynamic so that when I do contribute, I don’t mess up and make a mistake, hurt, or offend someone. I love to be the watcher.

25. I’m always trying to be better.

I’m on a life-long journey to perfection. I have a long way to go. But I’m always trying to figure out ways to be a better friend, wife, daughter, employee…. just a better person in general. I’ve learned ways I can do better in some aspects of life, but I always welcome thoughts and criticisms. I think people are taken aback when I ask for what I can do to be better. I try and make it as personal as possible. I wish one relationship had been more open in the past of what my friend wanted from me as I don’t think we would be where we are today, but having that knowledge now I hope has made me a better friend now. So if there’s something that bugs you…please let me know! Sometimes it’s not always just a quirk you have to love or leave and I will try to fix it, or change it. But please don’t stop loving me if I can’t.

I’m finding out new things about me every day. But I hope this small glimpse will help you understand me, or just people in general. We are all different and we should embrace that. We should get to know each other on these types of levels – have an understanding to help us in our future interactions. And love those differences in each of us.

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