Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not This Time, Girly

I really thought this month might have been it.

There were so many signs.

An old friend I haven't seen in over a year said she had a dream about me. I was pregnant with 6 babies.

I almost fainted during the Our Father at Mass this past weekend. I got really hot and clammy, my face apparently turned green, I had to walk out of Mass with my husband supporting me, just to go sit on the bathroom floor and almost throw up.

I craved cheese. A big platter of cheese cubes. It was all I could think about for days.

I opened a closet and it was incredibly stinky. Though my friend didn't think so. He asked, "Maybe you're pregnant?" And I wasn't even mad. It just made me believe it even more.

And my body was not acting normal.

Everything ached. Every single muscle ached. Especially my lower back and neck and shoulders.

And I made it to P+15. PEAK PLUS FREAKING 15!!! I hardly ever make it to P+13, so P+15 was some kind of miracle.

Two days late, my body was being weird, friends were dreaming about me pregnant, stuff smelled gross, I had a craving, I almost passed out, I almost puked!!!

And then...

I got my period.

*head hits wall*

I was silly for letting myself think anything was going to be different this time around.

Actually, the logical side of me was all like, "It's probably just the HCG injections causing all the weirdness. Don't get too excited." So I didn't. But I still got a little excited. And so did my husband. He said he was happy at work all day yesterday because he thought there was a chance this was it.

His joy just breaks my heart.

Though, in all of this, here's what makes me most sad...


More than anything, I was so scared every. single. time. I went to the bathroom these past few days. Afraid of what I would see. Afraid of letting everyone down yet again.

And I was afraid that even if I was pregnant, I would still feel the same way every. single. day. until that baby was born. That every trip to the bathroom would be a nightmare waiting to happen. Having to say goodbye to our sweet baby long before we even get to meet him.

Fear is so... scary! I don't want to be paralized by fear. I just want to go out there, grab life by the horns, and live the heck out of it all. Screw fear! Who needs it!

design by Emily Schneider

Sigh. Easier said than done.

Anyway, the good news in all of this is:

There's nothing like CD1 to kick your adoption-profile-making-butt into gear. And that's where I poured all my sad, angry, tired, frustrated energy. Our adoption profile. Tweaking every last picture, triple reading every caption, rewording half our blubs, reviewing it again and again and again until it was pretty much perfect. And now it's done. I ordered it this morning and the photobook gnomes are working on it as we speak. Ahhh! Feels good.

Oh, and I ended up finding a coupon for 60% off our order, so that was a sweet surprise too. Just the little pick-me-up I needed.

Oh, oh!! And my March Stitch Fix shipped today, so there's that too!

I'm gonna be ok, friends. Really. I'm a-ok. I just wasn't expecting to ever get that close without it actually being it for us. But maybe it's just a sign that my medications are really starting to work? That we're getting closer? That my body is slowly healing and with just a few more cycles, we'll be there?

Yes, please?!

Whatever the case may be, I'd prefer slightly less rollercoaster-y cycles in the future, thank you very much.

And now that I know my body can make it to P+15, next time that happens, it won't be as exciting. But I'm sure I'll still probably get a little excited. 'Cause that's just silly old me. This girl can't help but dream.

*rolls eyes at self*

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Adoption Profile is...

... still a work in progress.

Just as I feared, it's taking us forevvvverrrr to get it done. And it's not just because we want it to be the perfect representation of who we are as a couple. We also were told we had to change the format after we thought we were almost finished.

A screen shot of our masterpiece-in-progress.

At first we just though it was a typed 2-page letter with pictures interspersed. So I found lots of examples of "dear birthparent" letters with pictures and got to work. Once we put the mostly finishing touches on that, we found out it's supposed to be more like a picture book with lots of captions and little word blurbs. So our agency let us borrow an example from one of their couples (they've already adopted 4 children!!) as a guidline and we got to work again.

We're using SnapFish to make our profile. You like?

Let me give some advice to those out there who are thinking about adoption but haven't gotten this far yet:

Take lots of pictures! Lots and lots and tons and pounds of pictures!

Of all the components of our profile, pictures have slowed us down the most. I happen to love taking pictures, so we actually had a lot to choose from, but we still had "holes" in our story, pictorally speaking.

My dear husband, summed up in 2 pages.

So this past week has been spent taking the pictures we wish we had already taken.

We needed to take more pictures of our aparment, which wasn't too hard, but we had to clean it first.

Then we needed more pictures of us doing our favorite things: cooking, playing games together, going on walks, etc. Also, not too hard. It just took time to bake cookies and then play a game together and then go for a walk. Oh, and we also needed to find someone to take the pictures for us. More on that in a second.

Then we needed more pictures of us with babies, which has proven to be most difficult, as we don't really know many babies who are readily available as picture props. You'd think my husband, who works at a children's hospital, would have tons of pics with babies and kids, but (rightfully so) they don't allow the hospital staff to take pictures with kids without written consent. So that left us digging through all our old pictures and just settling with low-quality iPhone pics of the two of us with my niece. It's a good thing she's cute.

And unless there's anyone out there who'll let us borrow their baby for a weekend of photographizing in Memphis, that'll just have to do.

I kid mostly, as our profile is supposed to be an accurate representation of John and me. And baby stealers we are not. But it would be nice to be able to show birthparents that we actually do like being around kids.

Finally, we needed some updated "us" pictures. We have a bunch of beeeeautiful professional pictures from our wedding day, but those are 2.5 years old now. And John wasn't rockin' his hipster glasses, long hair, and beard that day. Plus, I'm sure birthparents would like to see me in more outfits that just my wedding gown, even though it was very pretty.

We didn't want to shell out extra money for new professional pictures. While I'm sure they'd be great, we would much rather save the money for pictures of us with our adopted newborn. :)

So we asked a good friend, Rachel, if she'd spend an hour snapping pictures of us using our decent camera and she said yes!! Sure, we bribed her with Mexican food, but I think it was a fair trade.

We thought a cute little park with a pond was a nice backdrop.

We started our photo sesh around 2pm, so the sun was very bright!

We had to face the sun so that we didn't end up with lots of shadows on our faces. 

You may think he's smiling super big, but really he was wincing in pain from brightness of the sun. Hehe.

After some practice, we started to figure out how to smile and keep our eyes open and look cute while staring into the sun.

Switch sides, stand in front of a tree, smile.

We faced away from the sun for a second to get the lake in the background, but the shadowy faces came back.

So we faced the sun again and came up with this cute pose.

Note the sunglasses.

And then we went for a little walk, hand-in-hand.

And then I danced a little because photography is fun, weather is beautiful, and life is good.

Allow me to introduce you to our talented photographer:

Thanks for your help, Rachel! We heart you!

So we're still not done with the profile. We've got some more picture placing and tweaking to do. And we still have to write a short and heartfelt "Dear Birthparent" letter for our first page. But we're hoping to have everything finished by the end of this week. Mostly because: 1.) I don't like this task hanging over me and 2.) SnapFish has a 40% off coupon for photobooks that expires after Friday. A silly reason to finish our profile? Sure. But at least it's motivating me.

And at least we have more pretty pictures to choose from now. One step closer!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

MYTH: Adopting Will Make You Pregnant Instantly

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that one lately, well, I'd have a bunch of dollars.

As we continue to share the exciting news of our home study approval and our plans to adopt, it seems the average folk just doesn't know what to say. Except one thing. There's this one line most folks seem to have on auto-response.

"How exciting! Once you adopt, you'll probably get pregnant right away, because that happens all the time!"

Which leaves me standing there, distracting them with a pretty smile, so they don't see my eye twitching, as I wonder if I should be the one to break the news to them.  

What news you ask?

Oh, just this news...

Only 3% to 10% of infertile couples go on to have a biological child after adoption.  

And also...

Those numbers are exactly the same for infertile couples who stop fertility treatments, but don't go on to adopt.


Whether you adopt or not, you are just as likely (or unlikely) to have a biological child during your lifetime.

Ahh, it feels so good to say that to someone.

These are the facts, people! Sure, the studies aren't perfect. They're not easy studies to do. But they all tend to point to the same important truth. Adoption or not, your chances of conception stay the same.

So just 'cause your friend's sister's aunt adopted and then got pregnant a month later, doesn't mean it applies to all of us. In fact, it definitely won't apply to most of us. 

It's the exception, not the rule! 

Plus, what you're really, kinda, probably not meaning to, but definitely implying is...

"Just go ahead and adopt so that you can move on to having that biological child you always wanted." 

Or, in other words: "Biological is best!"

And that hurts my heart.

Like an adopted baby is some how lesser than a biological baby.

Sure, adoption will have its challenges. It's not nearly identical to having a biological child. I get that.

But a baby is a baby is a baby. And our child is our child.

So for us, no matter where that precious babe comes from, he or she is going to be loved, and cared for, and part of our family unconditionally.

No, not my newborn! Meeting my niece for the first time back in 2009.

I feel like I need to add, I have absolutely no idea where our path will lead us. I could be pregnant right now. I could be pregnant 2 months from now. I could be pregnant right after we adopt. I could be pregnant never. Though, the truth is, according to our NaPro doctor, our chances of conception are good. Really good, in fact. But that doesn't change the statistics.

What I'm trying to say here is, even if we do get pregnant right after an adoption, try not to think of us that couple who just needed to adopt to get pregnant. Instead, think of us as that couple who pursued adoption even though we knew we'd probably get pregnant. 'Cause we're really open to both. Give me adoption or give me conception. I'll be happy either way. And I'll be doubly happy if we get both!

Can I ask a few favors?

If you've said "you'll probably get pregnant after you adopt!" to me before, first off, no worries! It's seriously a-ok. Clearly this is a widespread misconception about adoption. So I can't fault you for believing it. And honestly, I didn't (and still don't) know how to respond when it came (comes) up. So I guess I'm just as guilty at spreading the misconception by not correcting it.

But in the future, whenever you encounter someone interested in or actively pursuing adoption, there's probably no reason to bring up pregnancy. Just leave it out of the conversation if you can. Instead, you can help your friend talk through his feelings if he's still on the fence about adoption. Or you can celebrate with her if she's excited and on the adoption journey.

I guess that's all I'm really looking for when I share our adoption news. Excitement! Celebration! Encouragement! Love and joy!

So let's celebrate adoption! Just adoption. Not the possibility of pregnancy after adoption. Just adoption. Because that alone is worth celebrating.

Oh, and let's stop spreading silly myths while we're at it too. ;)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My First Stitch Fix!

(Please excuse me while I go completely off topic for a second and tell you about my recent fashion adventure.)

Have you heard of Stitch Fix yet?


I hadn't either until about a month ago, so no worries. I'll catch you up.

Allow me to explain...

Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service. You sign up on their site, fill out a personal style profile, and then, when you order a "fix", one of their stylists picks out 5 clothing/accessory items they think you'll love and sends them to you in the mail. Once you receive the items, you have three days to try them on, decide what you want to keep, and then send the rest back. And if you decide to keep all 5 items, you get 25% off the whole order! Each time you order your fix, it costs $20, but that money is applied to any items you keep.

Making sense so far?

When I first heard about Stitch Fix, I was pretty excited. You see, me and clothes shopping don't always get along. I have a bit of trouble finding pieces that I really like, mostly because I have a big bust and a small booty. So typically shirts are either too baggy all over or fit perfectly everywhere except my chest. And pants just have a little too much fabric around the zipper area. Sigh.

That's why Stitch Fix got me excited. Because I tell them what styles I typically like, my usual sizes, what issues I usually have (boobs and butt), and what I'd like to spend, and then they do the hard work of picking out the perfect items for me. All without me leaving the comforts of my own home. How's that for personal service?

My first Stitch Fix arrived a few weeks ago. I opened the magical box and was greeted by these beauties...

Gahhh! Love! Love the colors. Love the styles. Love that purse. Just love.

Also love that they include a little insert that gives styling tips for each one of the items.

And then I lovvveddd putting on a fashion show for my husband as I tried the items on.

(Ahem, please excuse the low quality pics AND the mess of an apartment in the background.)

41Hawthorn Ivy Tulip Print Tab Sleeve Blouse - $68
I threw this baby on right away because I could already tell it was going to be my favorite. I don't really have any blouses in my wardrobe and had been trying to find a nice one for a while. And then, much to my surprise, my person stylist picked one out for me! Win!! It's just perfect. The fit, the flowiness, the adorable tulip print, the rolly sleeves, the weight of the fabric. (Like my fashion jargon? I'm clearly an expert.) Exactly what I was looking for and more! So obviously, this one was a keeper. Oh, and I've worn it at least 5 times since I got it. So yeah, it's great. 

Dear John Sabrina Denim Leggings - $78
You also see me wearing a cute pair of denim leggings up there. Honestly, the fit was perfect. And they looked pretty great on. I imagined myself wearing them with lots and lots of other items I already have in my wardrobe. BUT, I pretty much already own this same item, only in a slightly darker color. AND I couldn't justify spending that much on a pair of stretchy leggings. Plus, I wasn't 100% sold on the faded coloring. So back they went to Stitch Fix land.

41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan - $48
I really wanted to like this one. Like I said, I was in love when I first opened my Stitch Fix box. Everything looked so wonderful! So perfectly my style! But as I tried things on, my opinions changed. Case in point, this cardi. Sure, the color was nice. And yes, I'm kind of obsessed with cardigans and pieces you can throw on top of other pieces. But this one just didn't do it for me. I thought it made me look chesty. And kind of like a sack of potatoes on top. And I wasn't quite sure of the length. So my mind was easily made up. See ya later, cardi.

41Hawthorn Corinna Striped Dolman Top - $48
I reeeeeally wanted to like this one too. The fabric was soft, the color was different than anything I own (so it would have filled a hole in my wardrobe), the fit was oh-so-comfortable. But again, I felt like a sack of potatoes. And no one should wear clothes that make them feel that way. See what I mean? My face says it all. I just looked like I was wearing a parachute or something. Drowning in extra fabric. Which can sometimes be cute and fashionable. But here it was just no. So I sent this one back too. 

Street Level Lana Stud Detail Quilted Crossbody Bag - $48
While I was still showing off the Dolman Top, I modeled this little bag with it. The bag was honestly love at first sight. But then, at second sight I thought, "Do I really need another crossbody bag? I already own like 4. And do I really like the studs? I think the studs are throwing me off. Yeah, the studs just aren't 'me.' Sorry, studs. Sorry, crossbody bag." And that was pretty much that. So the bag got sent away too. Even though I still think it was pretty cute.

Soooo, that was my first fix! What'd you think? 

Here's what I think...

Was it perfect? No.

Was it fun? Absolutely!!

Was it worth it for just one cute blouse? Ummm, most definitely!!

Are you going to do it again? YES PLEASE! Already signed up for my next one. :)

All in all, it was a great experience. After you try on your items and decide what you're going to keep and what you're going to return, you go on to their website and tell them what you liked/didn't like about each item. That way, they have a better idea of what you're looking for next time around. They say each fix gets better and more "you" with time.

You also get to request items for your next fix, if you'd like. I told them I'm interested in a fun necklace and a jacket for spring in my next fix. So we'll see what comes of that! 

If you're loving everything you see here and you're interested in getting your own personal stylist, you probably want to check out their website for even more details: Stitch Fix.

Just want to be honest here, if you sign up using that link, I'll get a $25 toward my next fix. No, no, no... I really promise I'm not trying to get free money from you here. I honestly just wanted to share my fun experience with all of you. But, if you're interested, I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw my referral link out there and give myself the possibility of getting a little bit of extra clothing moolah.

I should also note that my husband and I are not frivolous, crazy spenders when it comes to our wardrobes. Do we buy nice, slightly expensive items from time to time? Sure! I'd say that blouse I purchased from my fix was an example of that. But to us, these pricier-than-average items are investments. By spending a little more for a nicer item, we're reducing the number of times this item needs to be thrown away and replaced. We also set ourselves a clothing budget each month, so when we want these more expensive items, it takes time and shopping-spree-less months to save up. Meaning, you've got to work hard and save for those fashion treats. And that works for us!

Anyway, thanks for joining in this little fashion journey with me. If you'd like to see what comes in my next fix, stay tuned. It should be arriving in early March!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Little Happies

Isn't it the truth that the day-to-day of life can be a little tough? Especially for us infertiles? Especially for anyone with a heavy cross to bear?

Now I'm not saying I'm any good at this, but I try, and my husband encourages me, to find joy in the in-betweens. In other words, we can't just be living for the next big thing to happen in our lives: graduating, getting a new job, engagement, marriage, babies, buying a house, big trips, restored health, retirement. We'd spend our whole lives wishing our time away, just focused on our next "big thing" to happen... and then, after it happens, what do we do next? Go back to wishing and hoping and rushing through life for the next "big thing"? It's so easy to fall into that cycle and live that way, but it's not usually very joyful. Especially during those in-betweens.

The best way to stop ourselves from living life only for the "big things" is to fall in love with the little things. We've got to find stuff worth celebrating every day. We've got to find God in all good things, no matter how small. We've got to take time to savor all of life's little happies.

So, that's what I'm working on now: finding and loving all of the little happies in my life. And that's what I'd like to share with you here from time to time. 'Cause though it's fun to share big, exciting news with all of you, it's important to remember the "big things" are not all that's worth celebrating in life.

Here are 5 Little Happies I've experienced over the past few weeks:

-- one --

It was a normal Wednesday night at our apartment. John was still at work and I was about to start cooking dinner. When I went to the pantry to fetch the olive oil, I found this guy, staring back at me, hilarious as could be. And all I could do was giggle. Apparently John had gotten his hands on some googly eyes at work (he works at a children's hospital -- these things are common there) and decided it'd be fun to use them to bring our olive oil to life. He stuck the googlies on a few days before and just waited and waited and waited for me to come across them. And when I finally did, he wasn't home to see my great reaction, but he laughed his little tush off when I sent him this picture. The googlies are still on our olive oil to this day and they make me so happy whenever I see them. 

-- two --

Sonic alwayyyys makes me happy! I'm pretty sure my love for Sonic is based on the fact that I didn't discover it until I moved away from RI, post-college. I had a lot of slushies to drink to make up for lost Sonic time. That plus I just can't resist their happy hour drink discounts. Ever. If it's between 2pm and 4pm and I'm within a mile of a Sonic, you can be your bubble I'll be there. Even sometimes if it's not happy hour, I'm still drawn to it. Like a few weekends ago. I was having a girly day with my friend Rachel and Sonic was just there. So we just had to go. Diet Doctor Pepper with vanilla syrup is the bomb dot com, so obviously that's what I ordered. And then we posed with our delicious treats, because that's what silly-on-soda people do. 

-- three --

Cuddling with my love while watching the Winter Olympics opening ceremony (U-S-A, U-S-A!!). Oh, and couch selfies. Lots of happy going on there. 

-- four --

Remember that time I mentioned how horrible I am at waiting to give or receive gifts? Yup, happened again. And that's why you see me showing off my Valentine's day gift in the picture above, several days before Valentine's day. Oops! I just couldn't wait to give John his gift, and then he couldn't wait to give me mine! Plus, he felt there were several events I could wear it to before Valentine's day. And he was right. I'm wearing it right now! Love it, love him, and loving all the compliments I've received. He's a sweetie for picking out such a fantastic necklace. It brings me so much happy, most especially because it makes me think of him whenever I wear it. 

-- five --

Discoring new delicious foods is definitely one of my favorite little things in life. Before our date to see Wicked (which was fantastic, btw, but not featured here because it's more of a "big thing"), John took me out for a new-to-us cuisine: bibimbap (translation: mixed rice). It's a Korean dish served in a hot hot hot cast iron bowl. The rice and all its toppings sizzle as you eat your way to the bottom. Mmmmm. I can still smell and taste it now. It was wonderful! Makes for a very happy tummy. 


You know what? That was a lot of fun!! Knowing that I'm going to post about my life's little happies makes me stop and think about just how awesome these every-day little things are. Like I said before, I'm not always great at finding joy in the in-betweens, but I'm thinking this new Little Happies series will help with that. And if you think it'll help you out, feel free to join in!! I'd love to read about the little things you're celebrating in your life too. 

Sharing little happies with each other -- now that's a happy thought! :)

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