Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Mary Did You Know?"

Photo: www.deseretbook.com
Liz Lemon Swindle art

At our Church's Christmas party this year, a guy sang this beautiful song by Mark Lowry that I have only heard a couple times before. The lyrics are so amazing and makes me think about motherhood and how awesome Mary must have been to have the task of raising the Savior of the world.

Mary did you know...
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know...
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know...
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know...
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know...
that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know...
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know...
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know...
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know...
that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am.

The Church put out this nice video about remembering the true Spirit of Christmas:

Christmas Dinner 2009

This is the second year I've made Christmas dinner! I think I'm going to make it a permanent tradition every Sunday before Christmas. That's the way it was with our Christmas dinner at my Granny's house growing up. I want our place to be the gathering place for our family. Granny's still holding her event back in Georgia for a little while longer, but all the individual families are starting to break off and spend more time doing things on their own. I've decided that I'm gonna be the "Granny" of my family. :) Our family is still in small numbers, but for the time being we invite lots of friends. This year was lots of fun, talking and joking around. We kept it simple: lots of food (including some Southern food - fried okra and honey cornbread), video games for the boys, and coloring Jesus pictures - for kids of all ages (don't you still love coloring?!).


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fertility Game Plan

Photo: www.ovulationsigns.net

The year is almost over. 2010 is just around the corner. For me, it's a huge blank slate. A fresh start, a new beginning, and all that jazz. So, I feel like I need to make a timeline and a game plan for my fertility. Instead of thinking about things month-to-month, I'll just follow the plan and try to look at the big picture. I think I'll go less crazy that way.

Cycle #1
2 850mg Metformin/day
4 50mg Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #2
2 850mg Metformin/day
4 50mg Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #3
3 850mg (MAX dose) Metformin/day
4 50mg Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #4
3 850mg (MAX dose) Metformin/day
4 50mg Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #5
3 850mg (MAX dose) Metformin/day
5 50mg (MAX dose) Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #6
3 850mg (MAX dose) Metformin/day
5 50mg (MAX dose) Clomid/day on days 3-7
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

Cycle #7
3 850mg (MAX dose) Metformin/day
HCG injection around day 13
Did I ovulate? Yes/No
If so, take pregnancy test on day 35: Yes/No
If not, take Medroxyprogesterone on days 28-32 to start next cycle

And I'll take it from there...

I talked with Zay about what he felt comfortable doing - how far he would be willing to go to make little biological babies with me. I'm pretty confident in saying that we want to eliminate in vitro as an option. Too expensive, too risky (both financially and the risk of getting pregnant with high multiples), and too ethically shady (for me - I feel weird about creating a bunch of embryos, freezing them, having a lot of them die, etc.). Artificial insemination (IUI) also makes me feel weird, although it's pretty much the next step if I can't get pregnant on my own with just the fertility meds. I think I just don't like the idea of conception occurring without having to have sex. And Zay is not happy about putting his swimmers in a cup for the semen analysis we're doing next week, so this one time might be all that I can get outta him. I'm a pretty conservative person and I haven't figured out yet where I want to draw my own personal line. I know what Zay's uncomfortable with now. I'll make another plan in 6 months or so, if necessary. And I'll make adjustments along the way if something else comes up (like if Zay has issues too or if I get a cyst and have to take a cycle off).

I saw the fertility specialist this morning. I asked him lots of questions and he helped me figure out my timeline. If I go through all 7 of the cycles on my game plan plus maybe a couple more of the HCG injections and nothing works, that's when he'll refer me to a reproductive endocrinologist. That's where things start getting iffy for me and I can't know how I'll feel about everything until I get to that point. But for now, I'm sticking with the medicine.

P.S. - Dr. Saunders talked me into taking Clomid on days 3-7. He says that 5-9 was the standard maybe 20-30 years ago, but clinical trials showed that women who took it on days 3-7 had a slightly increased chance of successful ovulation. I guess I'll just do what he says! I'll keep it constant at days 3-7. That way I can eliminate that as a factor and focus on other things.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Lights in Salt Lake City

It's a common tradition for folks in Utah to go see the "lights at Temple Square" during the Christmas season. It's our 6th Christmas spent here, but this is the first year we actually got up there to see them. They were so pretty! But for some reason we picked THE most bitter-cold night to do it! Geez! We went with a friend of Zay's and his singles ward (congregation full of single people - or what some people jokingly call a "meat market" because everybody's trying to get hitched... ha ha ha). They fed us chocolate (mmmm...) and we toured around as a group. It was great. Mainly I just liked having an excuse to cuddle so close to Zay in public... I am pro-PDA, by the way. Ha ha! :)


mini model of Jerusalem

Nativity Scenes

floating candles

SLC temple at night

The only pic we got of ourselves. It. was. so. cold. I think I'll put up my own Christmas lights next year and call it good, ha ha.

There Was No Room in the END

Photo: www.wallpaper-s.org

Speaking of being Primary Teachers... man, do kids say and think the darndest things. Ha ha.

Last week in sharing time (where all the Primary classes come together to sing songs and have a short lesson all together), the kids were being taught about the stories of Jesus. They got to the Christmas story. The teacher asked, "Now where did Mary and Joseph have to go when they came to Bethlehem?" She was looking for "stable" and was holding a picture up of the Nativity. The kids looked confused for a moment and then one girl yelled out, "The hay house!" Ha ha ha. Close!

Our Christmas program was today in Sacrament meeting. The Primary kids got to sing some songs. It was sooooo cute! One boy acted like he didn't want to sing, looked at all the other kids singing, and then yelled, "This is awesome!" into the microphone. Another boy started singing louder... almost like he was trying to drown him out! Ha ha. They did surprisingly well, though. The second boy even sang a duet of "Away in a Manger" with the sharing time leader. All by himself! It was the cutest thing!

A guy I used to work with told me a story about how when he was little his dad would always struggle trying to keep him quiet in church. One time he just couldn't sit still, he couldn't take it anymore. He jumped off the pew and ran out of Sacrament meeting, but not before yelling, "I hate church and I hate Jesus!" Ha ha ha ha. Wow.

I was talking to my brother once about things that we used to think and say when we were kids. One story that sort of became a legend in our home ward (congregation) was when he was being loud and rambunctious during a very quiet moment in Church, so my dad reached across two or three of us kids to grab a hold of the back of Josh's neck. He gave him a gentle squeeze just to get his attention, but Josh yelped and said, "Daddy! You're CHOKING ME!" Everybody turned to look! It was a trip. I'm sure my dad was even more embarrassed than when my brother was just being loud. Another time, me and Josh got into an argument and for some reason he tried to end it by yelling at me, "I bet you don't even believe in God!!" Umm... what was that all about?? Ha ha.

And for me, there's a couple stories that stick out in my mind. I remember that I incorrectly learned the lyrics to the Primary song "Book of Mormon Stories." They have little hand gestures to go along with the song to make it fun and help you to remember it. At the very end, the lyric is "righ - teous - ly"... fold one arm, fold the other arm over it, and bow your head. I could have sworn that it was "right - to - sleep" and that's why we were laying our heads down. Ha ha. Another time, my mom was reading the Christmas story to all the kids at Christmas time. Obviously, I'm like 4 or 5-years old and I have no idea what an "inn" is. Maybe I would have recognized the word "hotel"... but definitely not "inn." When she read that part of the story, this is what I heard: "There was no room for them in the END." I just sat there with my mouth hanging open, trying to comprehend this deep, philosophical idea about there being no room in the END. I started freaking out a little bit. There's no room for Jesus in the end?! *tears* I imagined something like the end of the world where nothing existed anymore and there was nothing but a big black hole. And no room for Jesus. Confused my little soul! HA HA.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Being Primary Teachers

Photo: www.letmetellyouaboutjesus.com

Quick explanation for my non-LDS readers out there: Each member of the LDS Church is assigned to a congregation based on where you live and each member is given a responsibility or "calling" within that congregation. Some callings have more responsibility than others, but all are supposed to be seen equally in importance and carried out reverently. Even the leader of each congregation (the "Bishop") is a volunteer position or calling, not something you seek out really. You can deny a calling, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority of members accept their assignment humbly as a position the Lord wants them to take, contribute to the congregation, and learn from it. When you move and change congregations, you get a new calling. They also rotate them out every once in awhile - it's not a lifetime gig.

I've never had a calling at Church that I absolutely fell in love with. I think that has changed! Zay and I were called together to teach the 4-7 year old Primary (Sunday School for kids) class. That sounds like a big deal, but so far there have only been two kids in our class - two girls who are sisters. Ha ha. There's not too many "older" kids (older than babies) in our branch. But I love that the class is so small and we can interact with the girls on such a personal level. It's much easier than having a large Primary class. I especially enjoy not having a bunch of rambunctious boys running about uncontrollably. Girls are much easier to handle. And I love these girls to death! I actually saw them walking with their parents when I was leaving Walmart earlier today and the older girl screamed "HEY! HEY! HEY!" at me. Ha ha. She was so excited to see me, but I don't think she remembered my name! It was so cute, and I enthusiastically waved back to her. It made my heart feel so good! Ha ha. I can totally see how teachers can bond with their students.

Zay is so precious when he gets around kids. You should just see him! He's a teddy bear. He's always told me that if he had his way, we'd have 13 little daughters. Ha ha. He does so well teaching and making things fun. Every once in awhile, he busts out a magic trick just to keep the girls' attention. He's so silly! He's been learning how to make balloon animals, so the girls are gonna have to watch out for that! Ha ha.

One of the main reasons that I love working in the Primary is because of what it's teaching me. I love learning the basics of the Gospel all over again, the way a child learns them. They're so simple and pure... Faith, Love, Service, Repentance, etc... So beautiful! I don't think the girls realize how much we get out of the lessons as their teachers. God is the ultimate teacher and I really think He uses our humble attempts to teach to uplift all of us.

I also love the practice. One day we'll both need to explain simple truths to our own kids. It's preparing us for parenthood. Since we obviously have more time to prepare than most (BIG sigh...ha ha), we might as well be preparing as much as we can. And I'm sooo enjoying it! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

On Which Days Do You Take Clomid?

Photo: www.connecticutfertility.com

I'm just throwing this question out there for anyone who actually would know this information...

I've seen two fertility specialists so far. The first one prescribed 50mg Clomid tablets to take on days 5-9. The second one told me to take them on days 3-7. There was no explanation given and I didn't think to ask about it at the time. I figured there were reasons. Maybe taking Clomid earlier was a more aggressive measure? I don't know.

But now I'm confused.

I tried taking it on days 3-7, but that cycle didn't pan out. I tried taking it on days 4-8 this month, but it doesn't look like it worked either (I'm not 100% positive yet, but my temperatures are looking kinda funky). But inbetween those two cycles, I had three cycles that worked just fine while taking the pills on days 5-9. Could it be possible that taking it earlier caused me to not ovulate???

The Internet doesn't seem to agree with that logic. Many forums say that the prescribed days are just a doctor's preference... and Clomid could actually be taken from day 1. The later you take it, the later you end up ovulating. But that's it. It just moves your ovulation date around.

Soooo....what's my body's issue? Could my anovulation have been caused by other factors that just happened to coincide with the times I decided to switch up the days? Should I trust my old doctor or new doctor?

Well, just to make sure... I think I'm going to stick with days 5-9. I don't want to waste another cycle on this anovulatory mess. If anyone is aware of any good research out there on this topic, please let me know! It may just all be coincidence. Just the fertility gods messing with me.

I'm Not Bitter

Photo: http://www.progressive-charlestown.com

I'm fairly new to this blogging thing and I wasn't sure if anyone was really reading, but apparently there is. Ha ha.

I got this comment on my last post "White Couples Who Adopt Black Kids":

Honestly, I came across your blog by mistake. I dont know you but I think this is horrible. I dont think anyone REALLY adopts a child to be "trendy" as a white person with a white husband we tried for 5 yrs to have a child. 3 failed IVFs. We invested emotion, time, money and everything else that goes along with the aching of wanting a child. ANY child! We adopted our son (who is black). As you know when completing your forms it asks you everything as though you were picking a car! All we wanted was a child to love we could care less what color their skin was. We even were willing to bring a child into our home with a disability. We live in Utah, my husband is Mormon I am not. The sad and harsh truth is there aren’t many "white" babies available for adoption that is why it may appear to be a "trend". I can tell you are angry, bitter and hurt about not being able to have your own right now because I was there too. You need to come to terms that this is your path and not look for reasons why "other people" or "mormons" can have kids and you cant. It happens to all races and religions. It may be hopeful for you to know that after we adopted our son two yrs later I became pregnant by much surprise! We now have to beautiful sons who have both white, black, hispanic and all sorts of other races and nationalities as friends. We have brought up both our sons (now 6&4) to know about both of their heritages. We did not go into blind, infact our adoption agency even gave us the resources on how to explain and teach our son about his biological background. You need to have a better outlook on this and not be so judgmental and jump to outrages conclusions because you yourself are struggling with "why me". Its rude, mean and untrue to accuse people of wanting a child to be “trendy".

Thanks for your comment, Leigha. Here's my response:

Honestly, I came across your blog by mistake.  

~~ Wow - I'm getting random readers already? Must be hitting a nerve.

I dont know you but I think this is horrible. I dont think anyone REALLY adopts a child to be "trendy"  

~~ I don't know you either. Nice to meet you. And this may be true in your circles. I was talking about a very small minority, I hope.

as a white person with a white husband we tried for 5 yrs to have a child. 3 failed IVFs. We invested emotion, time, money and everything else that goes along with the aching of wanting a child. ANY child! 

~~ I'm sure your experience was a very long and troubling one. I sincerely wish no one had to go through the trials of infertility. I completely understand the pain and emotions that come with infertility and I'm pretty sure you're not the type of person I was talking about.

We adopted our son (who is black). As you know when completing your forms it asks you everything as though you were picking a car! All we wanted was a child to love we could care less what color their skin was. We even were willing to bring a child into our home with a disability.  

~~ You must be an amazing couple to be willing to open your home and hearts to a child with special needs. I applaud you. You're definitely not the type of person I was talking about.

We live in Utah, my husband is Mormon I am not. The sad and harsh truth is there aren’t many "white" babies available for adoption that is why it may appear to be a "trend".  

~~ Yep, it appears to be a trend. Hence, my first paragraph. And the jokes.

I can tell you are angry, bitter and hurt about not being able to have your own right now because I was there too. You need to come to terms that this is your path and not look for reasons why "other people" or "mormons" can have kids and you cant. It happens to all races and religions. 

~~ I wouldn't say I was bitter. I'm angry sometimes, but not nearly as often as you'd think. It's a trial. It's supposed to be painful and I have a right to feel those emotions. I came to terms with my infertility years ago. I'm just now writing about it. Also, I'm pretty sure I said "morons," not "Mormons." There's a world of difference.

It may be hopeful for you to know that after we adopted our son two yrs later I became pregnant by much surprise! 

~~ Good for you! No, that's not really helpful. My story is my own and I'm not adopting so that I can trick my body to get pregnant. I'm adopting because I want to adopt. But that is something people like to tell infertile people - that as soon as you adopt, you'll get pregnant.

We now have to beautiful sons who have both white, black, hispanic and all sorts of other races and nationalities as friends. We have brought up both our sons (now 6&4) to know about both of their heritages. We did not go into blind, infact our adoption agency even gave us the resources on how to explain and teach our son about his biological background. 

~~ Not every agency offers a lot of resources. And if they do, sometimes couples don't take them up on their offer or don't see their importance. I'm glad you took advantage of the resources available to you. That's exactly the point I was trying to make - make sure you prepare yourself, because it's a different journey when you adopt a baby of a different race.

You need to have a better outlook on this and not be so judgmental and jump to outrages conclusions because you yourself are struggling with "why me". Its rude, mean and untrue to accuse people of wanting a child to be “trendy".  

~~ Rude, mean, and untrue? Wow. I'm just being real. Did you read my whole post? I'm not talking about people I don't know. I'm talking about people I've actually met. They're a minority, for sure... but they do exist. Let's hope the apparent "trendiness" of it eventually fades away and more couples go into interracial adoption being prepared for the obvious cultural and physical differences they will face.

Friday, December 11, 2009

White Couples Who Adopt Black Kids

Photo: www.gaadoptionlaw.com

This seems to be the new trend, doesn't it? Especially in Utah. I sometimes wonder how many of these parents do it because it's trendy...? I don't like the idea of using children as accessories. Like, "Look what I got! A black baby! Ain't I such a humanitarian?" That's the impression I've gotten from some, but I sure hope that's not the case with most. Even movies have started to make fun of the idea (i.e. "Bruno"). Did Angelina Jolie start all this? Ha ha.

I'm not trying to generalize, because I personally know more amazing white couples with adopted black kids than the type of people I've described above. And... of course... I'm white myself (ha ha). So, that's not my point. It's just that I've talked to many a black person who has been wary of the idea in general, and their concern is for a reason. The consensus tends to be that it's good if you're taking the kid out of a bad situation. And race shouldn't matter in general when it comes to who is a part of your family. But there are obvious differences that white couples need to consider before taking that leap and bringing a child of a different race home. Cultural and physical differences are two that come up a lot in these conversations.

If you're going to take a child out of the culture they would have been raised in and try to raise them in another, there's obviously going to be some different challenges with making sure he/she grows up knowing about their heritage. They'll need other black friends and adult role models in their lives – they can't rely on the media or their white friends to tell them what kind of person they're supposed to be. If you adopt a black kid from Africa – teach them about Africa, expose them to other Africans... if you adopt a black kid from New Orleans – teach them about New Orleans, expose them to New Orleans natives. It's a part of who they are and it's important. Adopted kids may already have a hard enough time knowing that they belong. If they look differently than anybody else in their family, neighborhood, and school... they're going to have an extra hard time both feeling comfortable in their own skin and fitting in. At the same time, don't try to make them the same as all the other kids in their classes either, because they're not. Teach them to love who they are, and don't make them solely into who you are.

And don't even get me started on the physical differences! I already talked about hair, but holy cow... let me say it again. Please don't let your child go around with a head full of unbrushed hair. When other black people see it, they are embarrassed for them. I'm embarrassed for them. I see so many little black kids out here going around with natural dreads in their hair – not because that's the style that they wanted, but because their white parents didn't know how to teach them how to take care of it and it matted up that way. Before you adopt a black child, learn how to take care of their hair. Or find a salon that you can take them to every other week. It's a big deal... and a lot of these kind-hearted, let-me-reach-out-to-this-poor-colored-child white parents don't give their kids' hair a second thought when they accept them into their family. That's a problem. And while I'm on the topic, black kids need lotion. Ha ha. It's sad that I have to tell people that.

The point is, don't be hesitant about adopting black children. Just like I was never hesitant about marrying my husband or wanting to adopt black or biracial kids myself. If a child is up for adoption, they need a good home and you just might be the one to give it to them. Just be prepared. That is all. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pregnancy vs. Adoption?

Photo: www.forbes.com

Ever since that moment when I knew we were supposed to adopt, there's been a battle inside me to decide whether I wanted to stop trying to get pregnant or not. If I get pregnant in the middle of our adoption journey, what would we do then? Keep going? What if trying to get pregnant is taking away from focusing on adopting? Should I be doing both? What's my goal here? I think I'm just trying to maximize the possibility of bringing a child into our family.

It's hard not knowing what's going to happen in the future. My fertility issues might not be that bad, or maybe they're worse than I thought. I could get pregnant this month, or never. I don't know. Time will only tell. That's what's hard about trying for adoption. It's not that I wouldn't want to adopt if I got pregnant. It's more about what seems fair. Do I deserve to adopt a child if I am capable of having my own biological children? Would I theoretically be taking away some infertile couple's opportunity at parenthood? Will birth mothers look past us and place their baby with a couple who can't have children or had a harder time conceiving than we did?

Ugh. It's confusing.

Right now, I really do feel like I'll be able to get pregnant. I have a lot of hope. I'm pretty sure I'll get pregnant way before we would ever finalize an adoption. Right? Adopting seems so hard. My fertility meds have been "working" as far as anyone can tell. So, when I get pregnant - then what? Should I thank my lucky stars and stop trying for adoption?

And how will Zay react to my pregnancy? What he thinks will be a major factor in what we decide to do as well. He may be all about focusing all our time and energy on the little one I was able to conceive... or he might think one baby is cool, but two babies are cooler. Ha ha. I don't know! I do know that he's always wanted me to be able to get pregnant and I hate the idea of pushing adoption if he really wanted me to get pregnant. It's so hard to know what the right thing is today when I'm in the middle of all this and I don't have much to go on.

Sometimes I think we should have started this adoption thing earlier... but then again, we should have started seeing a fertility specialist earlier too. Sooo.... catch 22?

If only I had an inkling of how things are supposed to work out for us. Just a tiny peak, God! Please! I won't tell anybody, I promise! Ha ha. I'm sure once things do "work out" - however that will be - hindsight will be 20/20. Right in the thick of it, though..... ugh.

I'm always worried I'm doing the wrong thing! (whatever that even means...)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Getting in Shape Before Getting Pregnant

Photo: www.multiathlete.com

 So... five years of marriage, stressing out about school, not having time to exercise like I used to (I used to loooove playing soccer in high school), and finding comfort in chocolate (ha ha) left me about 25-30 lbs over what my ideal weight is (and what I was in high school). I don't necessarily miss being stick thin like I was - I like my curves. :) But I miss being able to climb stairs without getting out of breath. Ha ha. Well, actually I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt - partly that's because the Utah air is much harder to breathe in than the Georgia air. So, my breathlessness isn't all because I've gotten chunkier. But...no more excuses, right?

I've really wanted to get back into shape before getting pregnant. It's important to me to have a healthy body if I'm aiming for a healthy pregnancy. And extra weight can contribute to infertility problems (for both men and women), so it's super important that I get on the ball with this. I've eased back into exercising since I graduated in April. I've had 7 full months to get back into the habit. And... ta-da! I've lost a measly 10 lbs. Ha ha. BUT, if I'm really analyzing it - I've gotten way better in the last 2 months and I've lost 6 1/2 lbs in the last 2 months alone. So, I'm getting closer to losing a pound a week and I'm happy about that. That's been my goal.

I'm actually proud of myself for not rushing into vigorous exercise. My slow-poking has actually been beneficial. It's allowed me to make exercising a habit and a daily routine, rather than it being overwhelming. Vigorous exercising isn't that great for babymakin' anyway. It's more about consistency and moderation. I feel much better now that I'm 10 lbs lighter and I'll keep on working on whittling that number down until the day I find out I'm pregnant. Then I'll readjust my exercising accordingly.

What's helped me the most has been (1) Wii Fit and (2) the P90X Extreme Home Fitness DVDs...

I love the Wii! It's fun, addicting, and you're up moving around instead of sitting on your butt on the couch playing video games. It's family friendly. I think all wives should allow (or encourage) their husbands to get a Wii! Wii Fit has yoga, strength training, balance games, and aerobics. It weighs you and tells you your BMI. You can set goals and track your weight and BMI on a chart to see your progress. I love it. They just came out with a Wii Fit Plus that I'm definitely gonna have to pick up.

And oh, boy - P90X is not for the weak. Ha ha. It's definitely high-impact. There's 12 different DVDs that focus on different parts of the body and/or different types of exercising (Plyometrics, Kenpo, etc.), so you never get bored. I haven't even gotten through the whole thing yet, although I've been using it for months now. I've broken it up into 15-minute increments, because that's all I can handle. Ha ha. And some days I repeat the yoga DVD. And some days I go back to the lighter exercising Wii Fit offers. I like that I can clearly see how much room I have to grow. Some exercising DVDs I've mastered and they don't feel like they have any effect after awhile, but I will never master this one ever. It's impossible. Ha ha. So, I improve at my own pace and I love it.

I'm gonna start doing some research about what kind of exercising is best during the different stages of pregnancy. That way I won't have any excuses about continuing my fitness/health goals even after I manage to get a bun in this oven. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Finding Joy in the Journey

Photo: www.ldschurchgifts.com

A friend of mine pointed out a quote recently that I definitely needed to hear. It was in a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled, "The Tongue of Angels":

"...no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won't make it worse."

Ha ha. It's true.

And with Thanksgiving and gratefulness and my ever-present worrying on the brain, this past Sunday I felt like the talks given at Church were specifically written for me and Zay as well. The topic centered around "Finding Joy in the Journey," which is also the title of an amazing talk given by Thomas S. Monson, the president of the LDS Church.

The topic was so relevant for us at that moment, and I really appreciated it. Zay and I kept shooting glances at each other every time the speakers would say something that hit home. Sometimes Zay and I both get into a funk where we have a hard time enjoying the now because we're hoping for something in the future. Hoping for things in the future is fine, but not if it clouds your vision so much that you can't enjoy the moment. We may never know what kind of opportunities we let pass us by or what kind of relationship we could have developed if we can't focus on what we can do today to enjoy today. I definitely don't want to sound like a whiner! So, I'm working on that.

My favorite quotes from "Finding Joy in the Journey":

"I am what my wife, Frances, calls a 'show-a-holic.' I thoroughly enjoy many musicals, and one of my favorites was written by the American composer Meredith Willson and is entitled The Music Man. Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he, 'You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you've collected a lot of empty yesterdays.'"

"My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don't do something today."

"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."

"The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, 'Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.'"

"Said the Lord in a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, 'In nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.' May we be found among those who give our thanks to our Heavenly Father. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

Friday, December 4, 2009

The First African-American Disney Princess

Photo: www.disneylicious.com

I'm soooo super excited to see the upcoming Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog." (Check out the preview HERE.) Since the early '90s, Disney has been adding "princesses" who are races other than white. They've had Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan so far. And it's about time they had a princess that little black girls can relate to - Princess Tiana! I honestly don't know what took them so long, but I'm still super excited. :)

I absolutely love all the classic Disney movies and plan on having a good collection that my future little girls can enjoy as well. My biological girls will be bi-racial and I've always imagined adopting African American daughters. I love that there's now a heroine that they can look at and say, "Hey! She looks like me!" I'm sure it'll help them understand that "princesses" come in all colors. I want them to understand race early on and how it ultimately isn't about who is better than another – we're all just different shades of beautiful.

On a personal note, I actually had a black Barbie doll (or some off-brand doll) when I was a kid, and I didn't think anything of it. Most of my friends at school were black. So my doll was friends with all my other white Barbies. It made perfect sense to me. Unfortunately, I have some extended family members who are unapologetically racist and I remember some of the comments they gave my mom for letting me play with a "nigger Barbie"... Sad. I'm sure there are some people still out there who aren't too happy about a black Disney princess. Ugh. Makes me sick. It makes me wonder what kind of world my kids will grow up in if I was still experiencing overt racism in this day and age.

Hopefully, this step from Disney is a good sign for things to come.

Photo: www.fanpop.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You Were Born in Your Mama's Heart

In the adoption community, there are a lot of people who use the expression "You were born in your Mama's heart" when explaining to their child their adoption story. Some people think it's cheesy, but I love that expression.

There was a seed planted in my heart about adoption and I can feel it every day. I think about it all the time and I know it is something we are supposed to do.

When I adopt, I'm gonna be sure to let my child know as early as they'll understand that they were adopted and that they were born of my heart and not my body. I think it's important for them to know that it took a special love for them to come into my life. A different love, but an equal love. That we spent years trying to bring a child into our family. They need to know the love I have for them and the circumstances of their birth and adoption as early as possible, so that they're not confused about their standing in the family. They need to know that they came into my life differently than most children come to their Mamas, but that they belong. :)

And I'll definitely have to get this shirt, because it is just TOO cute!:

Photo: www.babybrewing.com

My Kids Will Never Have a Bad Picture Day

I was reading a blog that made me laugh so hard the other day. Go take a look at it. You'll laugh too.

Everybody has a bad school photo or picture from their childhood, right? It's not just me. I'm not even going to post the worst-of pics, lol. They are a mess!

It's amazing to me that so many bad photos from our childhood exist. It seems like parents should be paying a little bit more attention to the way their kids look before they leave the house, ha ha. My parents did the same thing to me. The awful haircut... the mismatched hand-me-down clothes. Have mercy.

Here's one example:

I remember being so excited to take a picture with the Power Rangers with my brother, but this picture turned out to be a snapshot in time of a *horrible haircut*! Lol. There are many other things wrong with this picture (why are the Power Rangers' heads so big??), but that haircut is horrendous. My parents should have been taken away in handcuffs! 

And I know my mom couldn't have possibly liked her straight-across bangs in 3rd grade either!:

Hers wasn't as bad as mine, but it's similar. At least her bangs were pretty uniform. I don't know who started this style, but like Melissa over at Dear Baby says, "It ends with me." I won't repeat it on my children. That's a promise.

And I promise I will make every effort to make sure my kids look presentable before they get pictures taken. From head to toe. To all my future babies - you can count on that. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Photo: www.zazzle.com

I tend to be a huge worrier lately. I haven't always been like this. When I decided to pack up an old, run-down 70's Chevy van and drive across the country to a state I'd never been to, I didn't have a care in the world. Now that I'm older... and adult life has set in... and I know more about life and struggles and consequences... I've started to worry a lot more.

And, of course, the thing I worry about the most is having kids. If I was popping out babies left and right without any time to think about it, I probably wouldn't be worrying so much (or maybe I would, for different reasons). It's the fact that it's such an excruciatingly slow process for me that I think about it day in and day out until I start to worry about every possible thing that could go wrong.

I try to take my mind off it - going out and having fun, spending lots of time with the hubby, etc. Also, I've grown to love yoga and meditation. It helps to clear my mind and focus on what my body can do rather than can't.

And I like to read the Scriptures and try to find answers. Here's a couple that stood out to me today:

Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (New International Version)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On My Bad Days...

Photo: www.borrowingwisdom.blogspot.com

This infertility journey is a rollercoaster of emotions. One day I'm just fine, the next day I can't stop crying about it, then I'm good again and actually find some amazing perspective, and then I find myself super angry at the world. Yeeeeah, I don't know how much longer I can handle the ups and downs.

Everyone in Utah is pregnant, I swear. It's a joke that LDS people have babies every 6 months rather than 9, but sometimes it doesn't feel like a joke. Ha ha. Actually, judging by the number of bad little kids I see running around at Target all the time, I'm pretty sure that it's actually true - women are popping out babies at record speed... This has to be the state with the highest reproductive rates, given that having big families is a part of Mormon culture.

It's not that I'm jealous (which I am... ha ha... I'm working on that!!)...

But when I'm feeling frustrated about it, it's more about the type of people who have kids that stresses me out. Now, I know lots and lots of good, intelligent, Church-going people who are blessed with children... and I have nothing against these people. If I like you as a person, I'm sincerely happy for you. I swear. But what bothers me are the complete - what's a good word? morons? - who are blessed with children. People who don't know how to hold jobs, stay out of jail, stay off drugs, not cheat on their spouse... people who don't have a lick of common sense or gratitude... people who will procreate with no end in sight and then raise those kids to be morons in their own image. THAT'S what gets me a little angry.

Just typing this out make me feel like a bad person. I shouldn't be judging others. But let me have a woe-is-me moment for a second.

When someone who easily popped out 10 kids has the nerve to ask me why I'm waiting so long to have kids, I don't know whether to burst into tears or give them the death glare and yell, "Stay outta my uterus, for crying out loud! I hate you and all your stupid kids!"

On my bad days, I ask myself why God would do something like this? To allow such unfairness... The only answer I can come up with is that He strategically does this so that humankind will always have trials. There's the trial that good people can't have kids (infertility sucks!). Then there's the trial of having lots of kids to raise. Then there's the trial of idiots struggling to raise their idiot kids. THEN there's the kids who grow up to be idiots that the rest of the population has to deal with on a daily basis. If there weren't idiots procreating more and more idiots, the world would be a much more peaceful place. And not the kind of world we need in order to learn and grow. Am I right?

Yeah, that's me on a bad day.

On my good days, I find the humor in it all. I understand that the world isn't always fair, but if I work hard and try to always point my life towards Christ... things tend to work out, even in ways I didn't expect. I also try to wrap my head around the fact that everyone is trying to do their best, I'm sure. And children aren't a direct blessing sent from heaven for righteous living. And I shouldn't judge anyone. I'm not perfect, goodness knows. I'm just angry, but I need to get over it.

"Baby Mama"

Photo: www.babble.com

We've recently made friends with a couple who lives nearby and goes to Church with us. Over the years we've realized that that's what married couples do - make friends with other married couples. Ha ha. Well, the wife is pregnant, so while Zay and the husband play basketball on Tuesday nights... we girls like to gab about all things baby. I told her about our plans for kids and she told me about her experience being pregnant. Those type of things. I'm fascinated by all of it.

At one point she brought up the movie "Baby Mama" and thought I'd like it, so we ended up hanging out late that night at their apartment watching it. It was a TRIP. Ha ha. It's a comedy about a well-to-do infertile woman who tries and fails at getting pregnant through in vitro fertilization, so she decides to use a surrogate. The surrogate mother is this hilarious white trash type of girl (my kinda person!) who cracked me up the entire movie. She actually reminds me of a friend of mine back in Georgia. Ha ha. My favorite is when she can't get the baby-proofed toilet seat open, so she pees in the sink. Ridiculous.

Under all the humor though, it really dealt with some tough issues that got me thinking. Personally, surrogacy is sketchy to me and I don't think I could handle all the complex emotional issues that would come with another woman carrying my biological child. That actually kind of creeps me out. But I can see why some women would do it. I can't tell you how I'll feel if I was ever in that position, but right now I'm saying I would never get a surrogate to have my baby for me.

The same with doing in vitro. I don't like the idea of creating a baby in a lab. Period. If you remove the process that naturally makes babies - ummm, sex - from the equation, it just makes the creation of that life seem sterile and cold. I don't know. It's hard to think about and I couldn't say for sure how I'd feel if that was my only option. That's just my initial reaction to it right now.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that there are amazing ways to make it possible for women to have biological children. I'm not knocking the women who do it - more power to them. I just feel like I couldn't handle the complexity of Assisted Reproductive Technology. Anything past medication scares me too much. Hmmmm, we shall see.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

When Zay was being taught by the LDS missionaries back in Georgia, it took a little while before he converted and was baptized. I was there by his side, but I didn't want him to convert solely based on me and what I wanted. That wasn't the point. He was smart about it and took his time... really thought it out. Missionaries moved around and got assigned to different areas, but there were a few who stood out and really made an impact on Zay and he remembers them to this day.

One missionary, Dustin, was one of the last missionaries to come through before Zay got baptized. We loved Dustin! He helped Zay so much and really connected with him. His family was from Utah, so when Dustin heard we were moving out here, we were immediately invited to Thanksgiving dinner at his parents' house. We met his family and they were so welcoming and we felt like we had known them for years. This year has been the 6th year we've spent Thanksgiving with their ever-growing family. Dustin got married, so we got to meet the wife and her family... and then they had a little girl... and now she's pregnant again! It's been fun being an honorary member of their big, loving family. Families like his make me want to create a huge, loving, supportive family of my own. I pray I can have that one day.

It's been so amazing to have this family reach out to us and take us in as their own. We don't have any extended family within a 2000 mile radius. So, we've created a network of people here who love us. I'm so grateful for that!

Here's a really good video our Church put out about living your life full of gratitude...

Video of "In the Spirit of Thanksgiving":

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Grateful

Photo: www.lallystore.com

At this point in time, I'm trying really hard to be grateful. It's Thanksgiving this week and I don't want to mope around feeling sorry for myself. So, I'm not. I'm focusing on the things that are beautiful in my life and temporarily forgetting the things that I cannot control.

Things that I'm grateful for right now:
  • Zay - He's the sweetest man on the planet when he wants to be... always serving others and being so nice and selfless. Despite his tough exterior, he's a teddy bear! He loves me and makes me feel so comfortable. He teaches me so much. I tell him he's my soul mate and he laughs at me, because he loves me more than he can say and I throw out every cliche in the book. Ha ha.
  • My younger brother and his family - I love having them so close to us. I missed my brother soooo much when Zay and I moved 2,000 miles away from our families so that I could go to school... but he decided to follow suit a couple years later, and I'm so glad he's here. And I love my nephew! Family is everything. My nephew is who made me realize I wanted kids. He is amazing and I felt a different kind of love when he came around.
  • My kitties - I love their companionship, even though they think they're here to be worshiped. They're so arrogant and stuck up, ha ha. I love them to death. Sometimes Felix will lay down beside me on the couch and reach out his little paw to touch my leg. Awww! He loves me back.
  • My education - I'm pursuing a few different jobs right now, still trying to find the right fit... but I'm so grateful that I have my degree and I know I'll always be able to get a job and help provide for my family. BYU changed me for the better and is a huge part of who I am today.
  • Friends, especially those who are/were on similar paths as me - They give me hope that everything will work out how it's supposed to. Without my support system, I'm sure I'd be swirling around in a dark corner of my mind. The path to Baby #1 is hard, but I feel supported.
  • Thanksgiving - Family, friends, and food. Mmmmmm.... There's nothing better.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Lord's Timing

Photo: www.kswpgoodfriends.wordpress.com

The hardest part of trying to have kids (for a control freak like me) is the fact that... when it comes down to it... it's all about the Lord's timing. You can do everything perfectly, but that won't guarantee you a pregnancy. Or you could be on birth control and you get pregnant anyway. Or you can adopt and then get pregnant as soon as the adoption's finalized. Or you can think about giving up trying and then you get pregnant. Or you could have a healthy pregnancy, but deliver your baby prematurely... or have a miscarriage or a stillborn. Okay, I'm freaking myself out here a little bit... but the point is that the timing of bringing a life into the world is not something that we can ultimately control... even with the best caution (to avoid pregnancy) or preparation (to get pregnant and stay pregnant), most of the time our fate is up in the air and God really is the only one in control.

And sometimes the Lord's timing can seem sooooo slooooooooooow! Ha ha. I'm trying not to let it drive me nuts. I wish I could get a glimpse at the timeline He has for me, just so I can stop worrying and wondering. That way I'd be able to make plans for the future and have a general idea of where I'll be in 2 or 5 or 10 years...

I am happy that I got all the way through school first. I didn't always see that as a blessing, but I know now that I wouldn't have been able to handle kids while going to college. It would've been too much for me... and I probably would've dropped out... or pulled a Britney Spears and shaved my head bald. Whichever came first. I just don't see how so many girls at BYU get pregnant year after year without having a nervous breakdown in the testing center during finals week. But anyways, now I've got a great degree to fall back on and I'm proud of myself for accomplishing that. God knew what He was doing.

I'm also happy that I've had so much time to get to know Zay (we dated for 3 years, but that wasn't good enough!). Our 8-year relationship has given us plenty of time to know each other through and through... without the added stress of trying to work together to take care of another human being (except for the time my brother was living with us... ha ha). We're in a much better position today than when we first got together. Much more mature and ready. I think God knew that and has been very merciful to me by not giving me what I want when I want it. Zay too! He's wanted kids with me since I was 16! Ha ha. Hold your horses, buddy. It's not time yet, obviously.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Photo: www.health-res.com

Once I started seeing a fertility specialist, a review of my menstrual history and some blood tests led my doctor to believe that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It's one of the most common causes of infertility in women. No one is 100% positive about what causes PCOS, because it's hard to tell which of the conditions that are associated with it are symptoms and which are causes... and not all women have the same combination of conditions. Once one hormone gets out of whack for whatever reason, it causes a chain reaction of other hormones not working. From what I've read about it, women with PCOS can have any or all of the following:
  • Anovulation (lack of ovulation)
  • Acne
  • Excessive amounts of androgenic hormones (particularly testosterone)
  • Insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cysts (immature follicles) on the ovaries
  • Depression
And I'm sure there's more I'm missing (I'm not an expert), but that's the gist of it. I have the first half of the list. Geez! But I am SO thankful that I've never developed large cysts, because I've heard from friends that they can be extremely painful and there's not much you can do for them except wait until they resorb into your body. Ew.

The medications I'm taking for treament (Clomid and Metformin) have helped my hormones not be so out of whack. And they appear to be working now after a year of taking them in increasing doses. So, unless there's some other problem that we haven't found out about yet, this is my issue and is the only reason I haven't gotten pregnant in over 5 years. Hopefully this means that it'll only be a matter of time.

Doctors encourage you to see a fertility specialist if you've gone one full year with regular (frequent) unprotected sex and not gotten pregnant yet. Yeah... I waited way too long.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today is NOT the Day

I mentioned I was in my two-week-wait after TTC (trying to conceive) this cycle.

As much as I would love for this to be the day I announced a long-awaited pregnancy... alas, it is not. As if periods don't suck enough! Add to it the fact that it's the ultimate sign that you didn't get pregnant and it's just a big Mother Nature joke. According to my basal body temperature chart, I ovulated and timed everything just fine. Maybe. It's kinda hard to tell.

I'm disappointed. It's hard to go through the ups and downs of thinking and hoping and praying and wishing you may be pregnant and then having your body give you a big fat "NOPE!" in response. But, I've learned over time to somehow shake it off and move on... and try again. It hurts, but I try not to think about it too long or it'll just drive me crazy. When it's something like this that you cannot control, over-analyzing things and getting depressed just does NOT help the process.

I have to look on the bright side! If I had gotten pregnant this cycle, my due date would have been July 25th, 2010. That's a horrible time to be due. It's hot and sticky and gross outside. I wouldn't enjoy waddling around in weather like that. Eek!

Plus, there are so many women out there who have been through many more years of disappointment than I have... and many who have faced much worse fertility situations than my own. So, I would feel guilty if I got ridiculously upset about my current bump in the road.

AND, I have one more cycle before I go back to the fertility specialist to discuss the future of my treatments... so I totally have one more chance this year to get pregnant.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adoption Orientation Meeting

After choosing an adoption agency, the first step in our adoption process was to attend an orientation in which the caseworkers give us a quick overview of the entire process, the steps that are involved, and the requirements we have to meet. They try to answer general questions and help us become more familiar with adoption. Adoption is not an easy road to take, yall!

They told us about Families Supporting Adoption and their chat nights in which they discuss particular topics relating to adoption. They go more in depth about all kinds of things and what to expect.


We've been to this orientation meeting twice now. The first time was back in February. At the first meeting, I felt good... but Zay felt like we needed to wait. So we did. Then I graduated from BYU, we moved to a better apartment, we talked about adopting some more, and then we went again at the beginning of this month. It wasn't required for us to attend again, but we thought it would be a good refresher on what we were getting ourselves into.

Somehow this time around it felt much more focused on the financial requirements than anything else - something Zay's been having some reservations about. I kept thinking, "Oh geez - just what Zay needed to hear!" Most guys tend to be like, "Okay - how much is this gonna cost me?" So part of me worried that he would hear the numbers and think it would be impossible for us to pull it off. But in reality, I think it was a good wake-up call for us to do better with our savings... and something we both needed to hear, despite my disappointment that we suddenly didn't feel on the same page anymore. But we left with a thick packet of paperwork to fill out - something we're still working on a week and a half later! So, despite some concerns, I feel like the process has officially begun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Kitty Love

We are cat people around here.

It's not just me, I promise - Zay loves the kitties too, no matter how much he tries to deny it. Because I'll come home and find him like this:

Zay with Zeus & Felix
He can't fool me!

I grew up with cats and there's something so comforting about a cat jumping up on your lap and purring. The simplest, happiest memories of my dad growing up was watching him with our cats. He was super gentle and I loved that. He's still that way.

Zay had cats growing up as well. His favorite cat was run over and it made him so sad. It's one of those memories that always stuck with him. He tries to say that animals are nothing but trouble, but he's the one who brought home both of our cats that we have now. He saved them from most likely being killed or living as feral cats out on the streets. And he did this totally without my knowledge. He just surprised me with them.

I know he wants a dog. And I imagine when we finally settle down somewhere and buy a house that we'll eventually get a dog. College life and apartment-living keep us from taking that leap into dog-ownership just yet. We want a yard and a fence first, I think. One day.

Anyway, a good side benefit to having our kitties is that they are so good with kids! Especially Felix, who just lays there and lets you pick him up and toss him around like a ragdoll. He's so cool with it. Zeus is still a wuss, though... he tends to hide under the bed all day and run away from kids. Still a benefit! They're not going to be sneaking into any cribs at night and attacking babies' faces. Ha ha ha. Especially since they don't even have claws... They couldn't paw a baby to death, could they?!... Just kidding!
Here's Felix, totally docile and limp, as my neighbor's kid grips him tight. He's such a good cat! He's probably thinking, "Oh my gosh! Put me down! What are you doing??" But he never lets on. Such a good little kitty witty!

Pets are good for kids, I think. It teaches them responsibility and lessons about the circle of life, since they give birth and die at a faster rate than people do. It teaches them compassion and respect for life. To me, there's no downside to having well-behaved, trained, clean animals as pets. They were a big part of my childhood and I want that for my future kids as well. :)

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