Sunday, May 12, 2024

Road to Parenthood

I wasn't sure when I wanted to share this post, but Mother's Day seemed appropriate.

I wanted to share this because it was a big deal for us. I alluded to some of this about a year ago, but wasn't up to sharing yet.

Our close friends and family know, but I will share with everyone now that it is all in the rear-view mirror for us.

We were having difficulty conceiving. It was very discouraging and frustrating. I think it made me a little depressed for a while there. (That is actually why I was listening to Boyfriend Material ad nauseam last year; I found it funny, light, and comforting so I just kept re-listening to it over and over and over.) After a some time, we were referred to a fertility clinic in our area.

We had some testing done and I had to go through some procedures to see if any issues could be identified (nothing obvious was found). In the end, we had an IUI (inter-uterine insemination) done. We are some of the lucky ones because that procedure worked for us and worked the first time. We didn't get a solid answer as to why we were unable to conceive on our own, but top suspect was the normal timing of my cycles. I had long cycles, but my ovulation came late in my cycles and may not have been giving my body enough time for an embryo to implant before menstruation started. Sorry if that is TMI, but I wanted to share for others who may have a similar problem.

I wasn't ready to talk about all of this until we made it through. I guess I felt like I might jinx it.

But I knew that I wanted to share because it was difficult and isolating. I think a lot of people who go through these things feel like they are alone in their journey. And that just isn't true. There are so many people who need to use fertility services for one reason or another. It seems like everything online is meant to look picture perfect, like no one has problems like this, but that isn't real. So if there is anyone reading this who has gone through or is going through something similar, know that you aren't alone. And just because people don't talk about it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

I was lucky. While I felt really discouraged and down for many months, I had good support from family and friends (some of whom had or were having similar experiences). That helped me a lot, to have all of that love and support. I know not everyone has that, either. Which makes it even more important (in my opinion) to share these stories and provide support and maybe some hope.

Thank you for letting me share. And know that I am here if anyone is going through this and would like someone to talk to.

Gabriel ~1 week old in the first onesie we were given. It came from the fertility clinic we were at once we had confirmed pregnancy.

Friday, May 3, 2024

March and April 2024 Wrap Up

Hello and welcome back to my (hopefully) regularly scheduled blog posts.

Some little updates.

Parenthood has continued and is challenging but can also be lovely. Gabriel has the best smiles and giggles and he makes the cutest noises and I can never get enough. However, getting anything done is difficult. Once he is resting or entertaining himself, I need to do dishes or laundry or take care of the pets or shower or any number of things. It never ends, but Gabriel is worth it.

I had to return to work in March. That was difficult. I wasn't as upset about leaving Gabriel home as I thought I might be. It is hardest to say goodbye in the mornings, but once I am at work it all just feels like it did before. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. Part of it is that Kevin is home with him for a couple months so I know I don't need to worry about him. Once Gabriel is in daycare I imagine that will change.

But anyway, work has been... interesting. And not in good ways. Some changes were made while I was out that put me in a not-so-nice position. It is frustrating because I actually love my job, but the favoritism in my department is so extreme. It is insane. A couple of things did change for the better and I was so happy to see my work friends again. I actually work with a lot of neat people who I really enjoy. But I am not going to hold my breath on things getting better. I am trying to make sure that I don't overwork myself like I used to, since it doesn't result in any rewards or appreciation. It has actually been nice taking that step back. And I have only been working my regular 40 hour weeks and trying to focus my energy on things that are more important to me.

I do get to go on a little vacation soon without Gabriel. I am looking forward to it, but I also know that I am going to miss him like crazy!

I think that covers most of what is going on these days. So here are the books I read in March and April.

Title: The Son of Neptune by 
Rick Riordan
4 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Dragonwatch, Wrath of the Dragon King, Master of the Phantom Isle, 
Champion of the Titan Games, and Return of the Dragon Slayers 
by Brandon Mull
Synopsis/Thoughts: This series follows the Fablehaven series. I had actually read the first three books a few years ago, but never finished the series. And I didn't remember it well, so I started from the beginning. After the demons have been moved to their new realm, the dragons begin to rise and turn the table on the humans, wizards, and other people who wished them confined to sanctuaries. Kendra and Seth are called on to help by becoming caretakers of a dragon sanctuary and later joining in the war against the dragon king. Many things converge and many adventures are had. I love the Fablehaven series and I really enjoyed these, too They are a very magical story, but still take place in our world. I liked seeing Kendra and Seth developing more and stepping into their powers and having such a big role to play. It was nice to see old favorite characters return and go back into this world.
4 stars out of 5 stars 

 Title: Heartless Hunter
by Kristen Ciccarelli
Synopsis/Thoughts: This is a sort of Scarlett Pimpernel story (and yes, I had to look up what that was). In case you don't know, the Scarlett Pimpernel is a hero rescuing aristocrats sentenced to death during the French Revolution. But he leads a double life as a wealthy, but generally worthless gentleman and in secret is resourceful and quick thinking. In this story we have the Crimson Moth who is saving witches from being put to death by the new regime. Some of the officers (including high ranking officer Gideon) of the new regime suspect that she is hiding in plain sight. Rune plays the part of a shallow, flirtatious, and patriotic lady, but is secretly a witch helping to set other witches free. When she becomes a suspect, Gideon pretends to court her to find her secrets. Rune, knowing she is a suspect, pretends to let him. Until it stops feeling like pretend. There are a lot of layers and little things going on in this story and it kept me guessing and surprised me. I really, really loved reading this book and I am looking forward to the next book. I think I read that it was going to be a duology. This was an Owlcrate book and I participated in the read-a-long, but kept getting ahead because I couldn't put it down.
4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The King's Men
by Nora Sakavic
4 out of 5 stars

 Title: The Sunshine Court
by Nora Sakavic
Synopsis/Thoughts: This is the first book in a duology (I think) and the fourth book of the All for the Game series. The story picks up from the time Jean was rescued from the Nest by Renee and how he transfers to USC and starts to recover from his experiences. I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I was originally so invested in the characters in the first three books that I wasn't sure that I would be as interested in these. But I really liked Jeremy, Cat, and Laila. And I was really rooting for Jean. I am excited for the next book, whenever that will come out.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

I'm not sure if I had a favorite read this month. I really enjoyed the Heartless Hunter and the Sunshine Court.

I have now read 23 books towards my goal of 75 books. I'm a bit behind according to Goodreads, but I hope I will pick up soon. I especially need to work on reading my Owlcrate books. My slow progress there sometimes frustrates me and I need to find a way to make a better effort. It would be helpful if I stopped re-reading books, I think.

Oh well. Thanks for reading. Until next time!