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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photos and Flashbacks!

Starting yesterday afternoon I started feeling really sick.  Last night at dinner, Gavin asked me why I was being so quiet since obviously that is not my usual.

I explained, "Mommy doesn't feel well tonight."

"What's hurting you, Mommy?" he asked in a very sincere tone.

"My throat is sore, Honey."

"What does 'Sor' mean?" he asked as if he was honestly trying to diagnose my condition.

"It means it hurts a little."

He looked me right in the eyes and said, "You know what I think will help you feel better?  Rest.  You need to get some rest and you will feel all better soon."

How sweet!  But here's the issue.  Not only am I not feeling well, I also have this to contend with!

This means I am ovulating!

So, I did turn in early but it was a Julia Roberts kind of night.  Remember these and these?  Last night it was...

The Pretty Woman
I have a few more guest posts yet to come and I am still accepting guest posts for pee sticks or gift cards, so if you are interested be sure to submit your post!  I must admit, I am really enjoying taking the back seat and getting to read your posts!  Everyone really has a story to tell and I love how they are all unique and yet have such common threads.  I hope you all are enjoying them too! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Journey Into Faith and Family

Create your own banner at!Mamma Homemaker has a wonderful blog that has tons of fun giveaways, reviews and helpful information for busy mothers everywhere!  Plus she is totally a sweetheart who always seems to be able to have just the right words.  I am so thankful that she has shared her story and excited to be able to follow her journey to become a mother!  

August 22, 2009, It was a beautiful late summer afternoon. My family drove in from NJ to be a part of one of the most important days of my life. At three o'clock that afternoon I became Mrs. Maria Briggs. I also became an instant mom. It was wonderful! My husband has three beautiful boys whom I adore. There is no greater love than that of a mother's for her children, but there is definitely something more here. We're a blended family and to make a bond is difficult but with faith and love we accomplished that. Of course like every newly wed couple we wanted to immediately add to our wonderful family. We were hoping it would happen while on our honeymoon. No such luck.
One of the happiest days of my life

  I was very honest with my husband about having PCOS and what that could mean for our fertility. He understood, he even did research on it; and so we continued to try, and try, and try.

August 2, 2011, It was again a late summer day. It was a Tuesday. I had been feeling “off” for a couple of weeks, and couldn't understand why. I had an extra HPT in my bathroom closet and being the addict that I am I immediately peed on it just out of sheer curiosity. The whole time I'm praying, please God let this be a positive, please, oh please. I found myself staring at it, for what seemed like an eternity. I saw the little box go from white, to one blue line, and then two blue lines! Yes two! It was light, but it was there! I was elated, thrilled, scared, in disbelief. I immediately called my husband, took a picture of it, sent it to his phone. We were thrilled! I prayed that night that this was it, that this was our one. Month after month of waiting, expecting, hoping this will be the one, can definitely take its toll on you, not only mentally, but physically as well, and mostly emotionally.
My Husband actually kept this picture on his cell phone

The elation didn't last. No it was too good to be true. On Wednesday I called to make an appointment at the OB/GYN. That same night I felt a cramp. My friend told me that it was normal. On Thursday I woke up, I thought I had wet myself, I rush to the bathroom, and I had bled through. That “cycle” was the longest I've ever had. I bled for 10 days. I didn't see a lot of clotting, but that was probably because I refused to look. I was just in total disbelief. When I called to cancel the appointment, the nurse or receptionist there told me, “Oh I guess it was a false positive, maybe it just wasn't meant to be this time, call us when you have another positive, but wait first in case you bleed again.” Yes I have been able to quote this word for word. Those words are etched into my brain. It was the coldest and meanest thing I had ever heard in my life. I prayed that I would get through this, that we would get through this. For the first time since my husband and I had been together, I found him praying. I knew then that this was important to him too. I knew that as long as we had faith in God and in each other that we would get through this together.

We had a long talk and decided to just stop thinking about it for a while. To just let it happen and if by the end of December, still no baby, we would make an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Well December 2011 came and almost went. Another cycle another waiting period and nothing. I picked up the phone, sweaty, clammy hands, heart beating so fast I thought for sure it would come out of my chest, and dialed the number for the RE.

January 6, 2012 I find myself and my husband sitting in the RE's waiting room. I see a total of 5 pregnant women, all absolutely glowing, some of them showed some fear on their faces. All of them with their husbands or partners. I felt relieved for some reason. I finally got to see the wonderful RE and after talking for about an hour or so, and a brief exam, she ordered a battalion of tests. All of which I was more than happy to do. I find on on January 27th. I am praying for news that will be helpful and productive an allowing us to complete our journey. We have the faith, and this family is waiting for that little angel to bless us even more.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Post: Cherish Every Minute

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May 4th, 2003: My life completely changed forever! I took the weekend off from work because the next weekend was Mother's Day and I had to work it. So, I wanted to spend it with my Mom, but also my siblings. The day started off as any other day would. As the day progressed, me and my siblings started to argue and fight which is common in between siblings. Mom then decided she was going to visit one of her sisters (Our aunt). I felt so bad for ruining her day. Hours and hours went on without any sign of her pulling in the driveway or a phone call. Our grandpa came to visit, which he always did on the weekends since he lived out of town. He stayed and visited for at least a couple hours. He was waiting for Mom to come home so he could see her before he left. But, it was getting late and he had to head home. So, Grandpa left. Maybe an hour after he left to go home, if that. 

Our uncle who is married to mom's other sister pulled in the drive way. He came in the house and didn't seem like he was in a good mood. I seriously thought he was going to yell at us kids for something like fighting. But, he told us to shut the television off and sit down because he had something he has to tell us. You could tell something was wrong in his voice. The words that he said was, "There has been a very bad accident." Right then and there I knew it had to be mom. Then, he went on to say that mom was in a very serious car accident and nobody really knows if she will be OK but the doctors are working on her as best as they can right now. My heart instantly sank. I couldn't believe it. Never in a million years would think that something like this would happen to us. He told us to get ready so we could go to his house. Then he went back to the hospital. So, we were at my aunt and uncle's house with our cousins until we got a call or they came back from the hospital. Our local news came on and the top story was the accident that my mom was in. It was still surreal for me. Her car was a total loss. It was horrible. After we watched the news, we found out what had happened and the result of the accident. There was a women who was drunk, got into her vehicle, and was speeding and running lights after lights.  She eventually crashed into my moms car when she was crossing the intersection. My aunts, Grandma, & uncles came back from the hospital and they looked very upset and were very pale. As they came in, they called us into the kitchen and that's when they told us that our mom passed away. The doctors did all that they could to save her life. My heart was broken into a million little pieces! I cried for what seemed like along time. Why did this happen to us? Why? I, to this day, ask myself this. For the longest time, I blamed myself for the accident even though it's not my fault. May 2005, we finally got our day in court. We started the trial. It seemed like the trial lasted forever, but it only lasted a number of days. The women who has caused us so much pain, got charged with three different charges. In June of 2005, she was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison. Unbelievable! I couldn't believe that the women who took away a mother from her 7 children got 8 1/2 years. She showed no remorse what-so-ever! I wrote her a few years back and she doesn't think she did anything wrong. She blames my mom and so does her family. I talk to her youngest daughter sometimes, and she knows that her mom has done wrong and accepts that. I wish that I could get over this, but I don't think I ever could. My mom was not only my mom-she was my Best Friend, Provider, and everything in between. 

Don't ever take anything for granted. Cherish every little minute you have with your loved ones. You never know when the time with them will be gone.

Cagney and her husband have been trying to conceive their first child for 6 1/2 years.   I admire her patience and faith as she travels this long journey.  She will be an excellent mother as not only does she have genuine faith in our Creator, she has a wonderful guardian angel in her corner.  My prayers are with her that she is blessed soon. 

Thank you Cagney, for sharing your mother with us!
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sex Education

Talking about sex has never been an easy topic for parents.  It is a little awkward to dance around the specifics, choose age appropriate vocabulary, and explain the "ins" and "out" of the whole... procedure.  Somehow in the past few decades, the parents tiptoed out the backdoor and relied upon schools to teach kids about their bodies and about sex.  The same teachers who can't discuss religion, faith, or God.  That is like having a baker teach a class on cupcakes without allowing them to use flour.

I remember having my first sex education class in 6th grade.  It was a few weeks long and was a couple of times a week we would meet with the most feared teacher in the school and she would explain the male and female anatomy and the menstrual cycle.  The last class or two we split into boys only and girls only groups.  That is where we were supposed to ask every last question we had.  The only problem is that we didn't really have any questions.  We would ask over and over again about if our periods would hurt.  The boys group would report back that all they asked about was "wet dreams". 

Then, in high school came round 2 of sex education.  This time it was only two 45 minute classes that took place in our freshman biology class.  My biology teacher was a very attractive, young man with piercing blue eyes.  He had us all put our desks in a circle and he talked about safe sex.  We sat stoically looking down at our desktops intermittently giggling as the teacher awkwardly demonstrated how to use a condom, shot spermicidal foam onto the floor in the middle of the circle of desks, and stumbled through a made up explanation to the courageous girl who asked how to remove a diaphragm.  It was an hour and 30 minus of time that I will never forget, but not for a good reason.

So, by the age of 14, I knew that women ovulated, got pregnant by a sperm, and how that sperm got there.  But what did it really mean?  Of course, I am sure it was mentioned that it is for people who are in love.  I am sure that it was recommended that we wait until we were married.  But a 14 year old girl or boy with hormones, peer pressure, and easily malleable hearts don't translate that language very well. 

A girl loves with everything she has.  She falls in love hard and completely even when she shouldn't.  So with the the explanation of, "Sex is for people who are in love," every teenage girl can say, "This is me!  I'm in love!  I will love him forever.  We will be married when we are older!  I am sure of it!  He is perfect and loves me back!  He tells me so all the time!"  She figures that she might not be married to him right now, but she will be soon!  Especially if she gives him the most wonderful gift she has.  Then, comes the crushing realization that she gave her precious gift to some guy who loves her only a little more than he does pizza.  Then it is gone.  It is devalued.  It is like driving a brand new car off the lot.  It will never ever be new again. 

Why is it that so many girls hand over the most wonderful gift, knowing full well that it can never be returned, but guys seem to get it when it comes to engagement rings.  They don't hand those out every time they "love" a girl.  Is a diamond ring really more valuable than a young lady's virginity?  More important than commands God gives us?   Plus, would any girl want a proposal from a guy that had proposed to every girl before her?  What if he got down on one knee and popped the question, "Will you marry me?" as he slides a lovely ring onto her finger that has been worn by 10 girls before her.  Somehow that takes the magic out of it.  It is time that young ladies recognize how valuable they are.  God created them with one very special gift that they get to give to one man, their husband.  To haphazardly give that gift to someone undeserving is very disrespectful to the one that created it. 

When it comes down to a guy choosing our daughter's for forever, don't you want her to be able to show him how special he is?  That she never ever, even when her hormones made her want to, she never gave anyone the same gift she will give him.  Just like the ring he slides on her finger will never have shimmered, shone, and glimmered on anyone else's finger.  I really wish that someone would have taught me how valuable I was when I was young.  I wish someone would have reminded me that having sex was much bigger than just giving in to temptation or not.  This rule is not optional when it comes to the Bible.

I will not be passing this mistake on to my children, no matter how awkward the conversation. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Don't Always Get What You Want...

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remembering the past with hope for the future...

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Tori at Matryoshka Mama must be one of very first blog followers.  Over the past 12 months, I have had the joy of getting to know her, and now, so do all of you!  Her journey in the past 2 years is one that takes such great strength, courage, and faith.  I am honored to know her.  I would be remiss if I didn't give you a little bit of warning.  This post includes tasteful photographs of her precious babies that were born too soon. Thank you, Tori, for sharing your sweet angels with us today.  

January 12th, 2010
I am currently pregnant. 15 weeks pregnant. I have an appointment with my Rheumatologist today. I get the satisfaction of stressing her out with news that I am pregnant, again. She wasn't too happy with that choice last time. I have just gotten up and noticed some spotting. Crap. I schedule an appointment with my GP. I go there first. He does an exam, says "Yes. It's a threatened m/c". I have to come back for an u/s. So, I run to Nashville for my Rheum. appt. She schedules my next appt for the end of July. Three weeks after my baby is due. We go to lunch (my sil is driving me around), and I mentally talk myself in to believing that everything is going to be fine. That it's just a little blood pocket like with my last two pregnancies. No big deal. The u/s shows that there is no heart beat. No live fetus. We call my high risk OB. They won't give me an appt if the fetus is already dead. I am now in the unfortunate position of having to find an new OB/GYN. In my state of mind, that was asking for a miracle. The sweet nurse at my GP found me a dr. and scheduled me an appt. Husband and I see him the next day. He asks for another u/s to verify. Still nothing. Dr. ultimately talks us into having a D&C. We schedule that for the 15th. All I have left is the u/s picture.

April 2010
I am pregnant again. My due date is January 15th., 2011. It took me about half a second to realize the irony of that date. I now was scared to death that I would yet again lose a baby. The last baby had died at 10 weeks gestation. I had started bleeding at 15 weeks. My new date to wait was 15 weeks. Only a small group of friends and family knew I was pregnant. I passed July 5th with trepidation. That was the last baby's due date. I was so relieved to be pregnant at that time to help me get past that date. My relief was short lived. I went in for my ob appt. I was 13wks pregnant. There wasn't a heartbeat. I refused to have a D&C. I waited at home to pass the baby. I HAD to hold my child. I lost him on the 25th of July. We were able to bury him under our Red Bud tree. I missed my appt. with my Rheumatologist. I had just delivered the baby. After a total of 15 weeks gestation.

My Baby, Matthew's left hand, palm side up and both feet.

Groundhog Day
February 2, 2011
I'm pregnant! Fear sets in. I go right in for hormonal tests. We do the qualitative and quantitative's. Dr. says all looks good. See ya in a month.

March 2011
12 week check up. I was sooooo scared to go in. He did the doppler and I started to cry. I had a hard time not sobbing. Then...he found it!!! We heard a heart beat! It was so fast! Like a little washing machine..swoosh-swoosh-swoosh!No need for an u/s since we heard a heart beat. I was elated! My baby was ok! I scheduled my next appt. with a huge smile on my face :)

April 2011
Dr does doppler. No heartbeat. Sends me for u/s. Nothing. Baby died. Made it to 12weeks by gestation size. The baby died right after we heard the heartbeat.

May 10, 2011
I delivered my baby today. At home. I passed out again (did the same thing last time). This time I was expecting it. I laid on the bathroom floor and slipped into unconsciousness. I had a dream. There was a doorway. A man was in the doorway and a woman was standing just outside the door. There was light inside the doorway. Like when you have the lights on in your house and the porch light is out. I couldn't see their faces. But i knew them. That was the feeling I had. I moved toward the doorway. The woman turned her head towards me. She had long, wavy, brown hair. She came towards me at a fast pace, but more like gliding, not walking. She put her hand up in the universal sign for "STOP!" Then I woke up. Very suddenly. I felt like I had just been given a surge of adrenaline. My heart was pounding, my ears were ringing, but, I was weak and couldn't move. I had lost a lot of blood. I prayed that I wouldn't die on my bathroom floor. That that wasn't going to be where my kids would find me. My husband was still at work. I realized that my dream seemed more like a "cross-over" story. A glimpse of the other side. The woman had told me I wasn't supposed to be there. Not yet.

May 11, 2011
We buried our baby girl next to her brother under the Red Bud tree.

My Baby, Paislee.

It is January once again. Last week was the dates that I prefer to reflect upon mostly privately. The 15th of January will always be a sad day for me. I pray every day for another chance at having a healthy pregnancy that ends in the delivery of a healthy baby.
Here's to the hope for this new year!
Monday, January 23, 2012

I Shall Pay You With Pee Sticks (or Giftcards)!

Will you post for pee sticks?  I mean there are only a few things that I wouldn't do to build up my secret (or not so secret) stash of things on which to pee.  How about you?  If you are willing to share an original post (cannot be posted anywhere else) with me and my readers, I will send you one of the following (your choice) at no cost!

$6.00 Amazon Gift Card

You are welcome to write about most anything that is related to fertility, infertility, trying to conceive, parenting, loss, or your faith.  I encourage you to write about anything that you feel called to, but I do reserve the right to refuse any post that I find offensive.  I am not saying I have to agree with your post, opinions, feelings, approaches etc. I just will not post or reward any posts that go against my core beliefs.  If you are unsure about your topic, feel free to email me and I'll give you a thumbs up or down!  

Lacking inspiration?  Here are some ideas:

How I survived/choose to remember/processed a loss or losses.
I never thought that having a family (or trying to have a family) would make me .....
The pros and cons of charting.
Big decisions: POAS or PIAC? 
How my relationship with God has changed due to infertility/loss.
Tips and tricks I have used to help me get pregnant.  
Pregnancy innocence: I want mine back.
Herbs and supplements to increase fertility. 
I have used pregnancy tests for experimentation purposes and want to share!
I am thankful for the kids I have...
The most ridiculous thing someone ever told me about infertility or loss was... 
Infertility/loss has taught me...
How I pass the time while TTC
I feel very strongly about...
I wish that every/no woman had to ...

The options are really endless!!!

Posts need to be at least 500 words but not longer than 1200 or so.  Also, at least one related picture needs to accompany your post.  It can be a stock photo or a photo of your own.   You may send me a post up to once a month.  All posts can be sent (with photo attached) to me via e-mail.  Please also include your shipping address and test preference (OPK or HPT) or tell me you prefer the gift card which will be delivered via email! If you are a blogger or have a website that you would like link to, it can be included in a short "About the Author." Please note that this is not just for bloggers!  This is for anyone who wants to share! 

I really look forward to reading your posts! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Can I get pregnant if he puts it in my ear? (Part 4)

These are all questions about trying to conceive posted in the last 2-3 days.  I did edit some of the words using asterisks so that I don't start getting traffic from weirdos.  I didn't change anything that would insult the integrity of their questions.

I'll start with the inevitable young girl wanting to have a baby much too soon just so that we can get that out of the way...
ive had my implant in for 3 years now and im getting it out this afternoon. Ive been with my boyfriend for 9 months and for ages we have talked about having a baby. I really want one and so does he we are just scared of he consiquences. I have recently started a new good paying job.. but if i got pregnant i know would have to give it up. I would also have money issues... but the main problem is, is what my family would think. I know my mam would probably never for give me.. i just dont want to loose any of them but this is my desicion and i really want a baby. what should i do?
Okay.  If you have been together 9 months and talked for "ages" about having a baby, how long is ages?  About 6 minutes and 27 seconds?   

I have been really tired past 3 days i had unprotected sex 3 days ago can i be pregnant?
My guess is that the sex must have been exhausting!

How can i mast**b*te and not have a risk of getting anyone pregnant?
I don't know what to say.  Really? 

Basically on december 29 my boyfriend wore a condom and rubbed his p**** on the outside my v***** and also tried going in for a few seconds but stopped. He did not c*** the entire night. I got my period January 13th and it was regular flow, my breasts were sore but they stopped once my period ended. I went to the doctor the other day and was told I have a uti ;/ and I've been having bad head aches and my back is a little sore but when I bend over it feels fine. Last night I whipped myself and there was a clear discharge with little blood streaks in it, also a bit this morning. Could I pregnant ? Or could the blood streaks be left over blood from my period ( which officially ended the day before). Also I've been very worried about this and it's stressing me out
I know you are stressed out but simply must stop whipping yourself! 

 soo , me and my boyfriend did stuff like three weeks ago . we didnt have sex but ive heard of getting pregnant thru your clothes ? . . well a week later after hanging out with him i got my period . it was a slightly lighter than usual . . then two weeks later ( today ) i got it again . . im not sure if its light or heavy ; but its reddish ? . .
I do "stuff" with my clothes on every single day starting around 7:30 am up until I go to bed at about 10:30.  I would love to get pregnant while being able to catch up on my dirty dishes and folding laundry.  Please tell me more about this "getting pregnant thru your clothes" technique.

Is it true that if the partner c*** in his girl last night and if she drink coffee the next day the girl wont get pregnant like that?
I am so about to throw my Keurig machine out the window.  "It way YOUUUUUUU!  YOU did this to me!"  It is like Keurig and Starbucks got together and said, "We shall taunt you with our flavor, ease of use, and delightful bit of energy we deliver to you every morning, but we will also go and undo all of your baby making efforts!  Bwahaaahaaaahaaa!"

Now check out part 1, 2 , 3 , 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thank God for Infertility!

It is day 1 of my 20th cycle of trying for baby #3.  I am surprisingly hopeful for this cycle, but that is a post for another day.  Today I am going to go back.  Back to where this journey began.

I was nursing Joey and at exactly 3 months I got my cycles back.  I won't lie.  I was super excited!  I wanted to be able to try again right away.  Within a week of my first period I ordered my Welcome Womb.  I was sure that it wouldn't be long before I was going to need it.  It took a few cycles for my hormones to get back to normal but we tried anyway.  Then, around that time, I started this blog.  When I was sharing those early posts for my 2 or 3 followers, I was feeling like I wanted to hurry up and tell all of the stories I had so that I could catch up to real time.  So I wrote about trying for Gavin, my first loss, my subsequent losses, finding out I was pregnant again, and my only solution for preventing another loss.  I posted my birthstory of Joey (which is still my most favorite post to re-read).  I was all caught up and ready for the next chapter.  I was ready and waiting to announce a new pregnancy! 

I looked forward to writing about a pregnancy and how tough it is to manage after losing the wonderful innocence of thinking that a pregnancy means a baby.  I was ready to speak openly and share my hopes and fears but never in a million years did I think that I would be sharing a journey of infertility.  I never did.  I was a Fertile Myrtle.  Getting the pink lines was an every other cycle occurance.  Now look at me.  I can't get pregnant for the life of me.  What is different now?  Did my "luck" just run out?  I may never know why this is, but I know one thing...

Even though I am tearing up as I write this, I am so happy that I am here.  I don't know why I am "here" but like I wrote so long ago, sometimes it isn't always about me.  If I would have been pregnant a year ago, I wouldn't have ever had the amazing opportunity to grow so close to so many wonderful women.  I love that by traveling this long and treacherous road, I have been greeted with nothing but love and support.  I have been able to love and support so many others who are right here with me, crying the same tears.  You know the kind.  They are the tears that make your heart physically ache for your sense of another lost opportunity.  The tears om compassion when you find someone else who genuinely has wept those same tears.  And then the tears that sneak in when you least expect it... The ones that can't be hidden even when you say, "Don't cry.  Not now.  Not here." 

But then there are the other kind of tears.  The kind that come when I smile.  When I hear of someone else who gets to experience the miracle that we all desire.  When someone who has cried the tears of a miscarriage or infertility finds themselves doing an anxious and excited happy dance.  I love getting to dance right along with them!

So I kind of feel like I am rambling, but I just wanted you all to know how much you mean to me.  Whether you are quiet and silently cheer me on, comment on every post, find yourself nodding and commiserating, or you think I might be slightly insane, I know God has handed me this path so that I could meet all of you.  You all make infertility worth it. Thank you for coming into my life and thank God for infertility! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

True Love

This video was a birthday gift to his wife who had been diagnosed with cancer.  Get a tissue handy... 

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She passed away 2 weeks ago.  Lets all say a prayer for the Anderson family and for all of the families just like them. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Not Looking Good, Folks.

Yesterday I was hopeful.  I had a light line on my pregnancy test and I thought for sure that 13 days after my trigger shot there would be NO WAY that could be the trigger still.  Joke was on me.  My temperature is climbing back down toward the coverline on my chart, two negative tests, and the cramps setting in first thing this morning well... there is no denying where this is headed. 

Last night I took a nice hot bath.  It was nice but I mentioned to Doug that one day I would love to have big, deep tub where I could soak comfortably.  His eye roll suggested that he was annoyed at my comment.  I asked him why and and he explained that there are so many expensive things on "the list" like needing a minivan.  I couldn't help but break down and cry. 

"It isn't like we have any kids on the way so we don't need a new car."

I stood at the sink crying silent tears as I finished washing dishes. 

I don't know why I was feeling so sure this cycle.  I don't know why I thought this was going to be a start instead of another end.  I know that God will bless me with another eventually I just need to be patient and thankful that he knows what is best for me and when it will be best for me.  I won't lie and say I haven't already calculated what my due date would be if I get pregnant next cycle.  I have and it has given me a little bit of a smile on this dismal and PMS filled day.  If I get pregnant this cycle I will be due just before my beloved grandmother's 100th birthday.  I would love, more than anything, to be due at such an important time as the matriarch of the family's century mark.  I can think of nothing more special. 

So as I wait for the impending visit from that wretched Aunt that just can't seem to get off the invite list, I am planning for next cycle.  The wonderful people from will be sending me an OvaCue fertility monitor so that I can optimize my chances this cycle!  I will also be using their supplement called FertileCM and Doug will be taking FertileAid for Men.  Maybe this will be our winning combination! 

On a completely unrelated note: A friend of mine from what seems like a lifetime ago, gave birth to the most amazing, sweet, and handsome little man 8 weeks ago.  He has Down's Syndrome and is in heart failure and will be getting open heart surgery any day now.  Please keep Baby C. in your prayers for a quick and full recovery! 
Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking for Romance?

Happy Mothering
Welcome to the Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering, Mama Chocolate and Purposeful Homemaking! In addition to my green giveaway, there are an additional 40 blogs featuring eco-friendly prize packages. After you're done entering my giveaway, please visit the other blogs, which you'll find listed below the Rafflecopter form. Good luck!

Chapter One Herbs is already ready to get romantic. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about what you and your sweetie might do for each other.  This Romantic Date Night package will help spark some romance all while keeping it green!

This package includes 1/3 ounce of Ylang Ylang that is sure to set the mood in any room of the house.  Its scent is lightly floral, fresh, and fragrant but not overpowering for the men!  It can help reduce stress and anxiety while helping to put both of you in the mood for some love!  Mix the Ylang Ylang with the sweet almond carrier oil in your stunning glass diffuser.  Put some reeds in and place it in any room of the house to lightly suggest that tonight will be a good night!

After a good meal (after all, they do say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach) you can each take some time to yourself and climb into a luxurious tub.  But this bath doesn't have to be the same boring bath you always take.  This tub is going to sizzle with anticipation.  Toss in one of these delicate bath bombs and watch it bubble as it transforms your regular bathwater into a calming lavender retreat.  After soaking up all of its luxuriousness you can offer your husband an opportunity to try it for himself while you set the stage in the bedroom!

Light one or both of these 2 ounce Ylang Ylang candles and put on something special.  When he is perfectly calm and relaxed from his bath you can tell him about the best part.  Using the sensual massage oil made with Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood, you can take turns rubbing and massaging away any lingering muscle aches while letting the anticipation continue to build for what you still have in store.  The massage oil can be used liberally and you will still have plenty for next time!  Chapter One Herbs will let you take it from there!

Want to order your Romantic Date Night package for only $49.50 today?  Shop Now!

Want to see if you can get lucky!  Enter to Win below!   
Saturday, January 14, 2012

9 DPO is the Worst

Of all of the days of my cycle, 9 DPO (days past ovulation) is clearly the worst.  It is just on the eve of knowing if there is good news or not good news.  It is when signs of my period start sneaking in which, in the most annoying of ways, is a mirror image of the lists of early pregnancy symptoms I study every month.  A pinch, a cramp, an ache.  While easy to become obsessed with, they mean virtually nothing.  The only thing that means something is a line on a test.  A silly pink line.  That is the only thing that can tell me if those things I have been trying to ignore all day mean that my heart can begin to beat a little faster as I get excited about the possibilities of expanding our family. 

I daydream the minutes away about what I'll do if I really am pregnant, but every daydream pops like a cartoon bubble when I remember how deflated I have felt the last 19 cycles.  I try to balance every thought of "Maybe!" with "Probably Not."  I don't know if it really makes it any easier but I at least feel like I am not letting myself get carried away. 

This is also the time when Doug starts asking ab out tests.  Somehow Doug does a great job staying positive.  Every time.  Even after I have already resigned to using a preemptive pantiliner, he still gives me a premensrual pep talk.  I love him for it but it hurts when I feel like I am letting him down again.  "Negative.  It is still negative.  Maybe tomorrow."

I know that I should wait to test, but somehow I feel like testing early helps me to ease into the disappointment.  It is like when I was 16 years old and had a dream of a car for Christmas.  I wanted a shiny new car with a big red bow to be hiding in the garage.  I would open every gift one at a time hoping that it was a disguised car key or clue to where I would find some shiny new wheels.  Every gift was okay but it just wasn't a car.  Each day I'm alive is a wonderful gift and I appreciate that every month that passes puts me one month closer to a baby, but a new car would be really nice... I mean baby.  A new baby would be really nice.

Tomorrow I will be using a Detect5 test and I am really hoping to see a line.  Just one is fine.  One that tells me that there is a baby in there.  One line that tells me that it is time to shed a tear of fear wrapped in hope as women who have had losses will understand.  I want to try to fight the urge to fall in love right away.  I want to lose that battle just like I did every other time.  I want to start thinking about how old Gavin and Joey will be.  I want to guess what next fall will feel like.  I want to fall into a deep sleep each night because the hormones of pregnancy force my eyes closed. 

I have said it before and I'll say it again to remind myself.  This life isn't about what I want.  It is what God wants for me. 

That, my friends, is why 9 DPO is the worst.  Here's to tomorrow bringing me one step closer to doing the happy dance in my bathroom... 
Friday, January 13, 2012

When He Was a Sperm

This is not my child but he was too cute and funny not to share! Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Voices in My Head Tell Me I'm Crazy

I have a running dialogue going in my head all day long.  Sometimes it is just thinking about mundane errands I have to run.  Sometimes it is deep thoughts that may one day come together as a really good blog post.  Most days if you were in my head, it would sound something like this...

Yesterday at 9:00 am:

I really need to get some groceries.  Okay.  What are we going to have for dinners this week?  Hmmm... Wait!  Ouch!  Was that a pinch near my ovary?!  Crap!  That really hurt!  I wonder if it means anything.  Last cycle I think I felt the same thing and it meant nothing.  So... Italian subs sound good.  Maybe some Sausage Sandwiches with onions and green peppers?  I have the veggies so I'll just pick up some.... Crap!  Ouch!  That pinch thing just happened again!  Brush it off.  It is nothing!  So... buns.  Get some buns.   

I pile the kids in the truck and we get on our way to the store.

Don't forget to pick up some cookie dough to bake cookies for Gavin's preschool class tomorrow.  Hmm... 20 kids.  Do I bake 2 dozen and each kid gets one or 4 dozen and each kid gets two and I get more left overs?  I don't need left overs.  I am gaining way too much weight lately.  Is that heartburn?  It hurts!  Ouch!  Totally too early for pregnancy symptoms.  I am only 6 dpo! But wow!  That is definitely heartburn!  So anyway... cookies.  Sugar or chocolate chip?  BURP Uh. Not heartburn.  Just gas.  But gas can be a symptom!  Only 6 dpo.  Stop it, Maria!  

I arrive at the store.

I'll start with the non food stuff then come back and get the cold things.  Speaking of non food stuff... maybe I should pick up a box of pregnancy tests.  I DO have the Detect5 tests at home and really don't need more.  Must say no to pee sticks...  So I should make the cookies as soon as I get home.  I should have time to crank out 4 dozen cookies before lunch right?  

I get home and unpack groceries.   

I have to pee.  I'll unpack the groceries and then go to the bathroom.  Oooh!  I get to use another Detect5 test today to test out my trigger!  So exciting!  Must get food out of car.  Focus, Maria.  Now what on Earth is the Safelight guy doing here?  He isn't supposed to be here for another hour!  I feel weird peeing when there is a stranger outside my house putting in a windshield.  I mean I am sure I could pee and come back before anyone, even the boys, noticed I was gone but I want to use that test.  I'll wait a few minutes.  Maybe he'll be done soon.  On second thought, I'll just make it snappy.  

I get the cup, the test, and head to the bathroom.  

Hold the little cup carefully.  I hate when I get pee on my hands.  Slowly... slowly... but carefully set the pee cup on the floor while I unwrap the test.  What is that sound?  Is that a truck driving bast my bathroom window (a window that has no road anywhere near it)?  Hurry, Maria!  Oh, for the love of pee sticks!  I spilled my cup of pee.  Is there enough left in the cup?  None.  CRAP!  Am I really about to cry over spilled pee?  Maybe I am pregnant.  Wash hands well and repeatedly and then bake cookies.

I start baking cookies.

The theme of the day at preschool is the number 6.  Let me get out the mini MnMs and make little "6"s on each cookie.  How cute am I?  It won't even matter that the dough is coming out of a tub of pre made dough!  I mean, I am going with the theme of the day!  Why is Gavin acting so weird?  ***Editing out the gross part.  Just know that Gavin got sick.  Really really sick. ***  Great.  No one wants the sick kid's mom to bring in "homemade" cookies even if they are cute and have the number of the day on them.  There goes my diet.  

I go to the grocery first thing in the morning to buy pretzels and raisins and take them to the preschool and tell them that Gavin won't be coming despite his begging, pleading, and promises to not get sick anymore. 

Oh my goodness!  Am I getting teary eyed?  Seriously?!  I think I am crying about Gavin not coming to preschool today.  They have to think I am crazy!  I am a nut job!  Can I casually wipe my eyes without a tear falling or will they notice?  Deep breath.  No one can tell.  I'm sure they think I must have allergies because no grown woman would cry over this... unless... I am pregnant!  Maybe I am pregnant and I will be able to share with them 3 months from now that I am pregnant and THAT was why I was a basket case over a stupid snack day and a stomach bug!  Wouldn't that be nice?!  Now focus and get your weepy butt out of here before the other moms notice. 

Am I alone?  Do you talk to yourself too?  Would you cry over spilled pee and 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies with "6"s on them? 
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Painted By God

On Wednesday, I will be 6 days past ovulation which means I get to use another Detect5 test to see if my trigger shot is gone yet.  I am hopeful that it is almost gone so we can hopefully see if these tests work in the other, more positive direction!
Monday, January 9, 2012

Posting Pics of Pee Sticks

Right around the time I fell in love with taking pregnancy tests I also found a new favorite hobby, pictures of pee sticks.  Some people have catalogued files of pictures of their children and while I also have that, I have files and files of pee stick pictures on my computer.  Every time I put the card into my laptop to upload, there is a box that I check that deletes the pictures from the card. 

This morning I caught some precious brotherly love moments on camera!

They were so cute that when my in-laws came over this morning, I popped my memory card into the Wii so that they could see them without making everyone huddle around a computer.  Smart right?

As I looked up at the computer screen I started to panic, but realized it was too late to hide it.  I tried to act so casual as my mother and father in law saw about 30 thumbnail sized pictures of pee sticks.  Well done.  Well done.

But anyway... I wanted to show you guys a couple of other pictures of the Detect5 Pregnancy Test but didn't want to clutter up the giveaway post.  Which by the way if you haven't entered, you should!  If you did enter, don't forget that you can tweet about it everyday for extra entries!  Anyway... I digress... Onto the pee stick pics!

I am playing with Answer/FRER to see how they compare to the Detect 5
Who doesn't like to pry apart a pee stick and see the guts? 
That's it.  Nothing monumental.  Just a couple of my thousands of pee stick pictures. :) 

Feel free to share!
Sunday, January 8, 2012

Detect5 Progressive Pregnancy Test: Review and Giveaway!

On 1/3/12, I received a 10,000 mIU/ml shot of HCG, the same hormone that a pregnancy test is designed to test for.  It's purpose is to trigger my ovulation in an effort to make it easier to time things better for conception.  One of the "perks" of a HCG shot is that it will give you a false positive pregnancy test until it leaves your system. In order to know when and if I get a true and real positive test, I test routinely so that I can know for sure when the trigger shot HCG is gone and hopefully the HCG produced is because a baby is on board.
In the last cycles that I did this, I used simple cheap test strips and watched the lines get lighter and lighter until they eventually were negative.  While this approach works in theory, it was mind numbing to use a qualitative (yes/no) test to try to tell me a quantitative result (how much or how little HCG was in my system). 

So when I came across the Detect5 Progressive Home Pregnancy Test, I was in shock and awe at what this little pee stick could tell me!  It is designed to tell more than just IF you are pregnant!  It tells you, within a range, how much HCG is in your urine.  For many people a simple yes or no will do, but for anyone that has had a miscarriage, lived with infertility, or needs reassurance that a pregnancy is progressing, this test is worth every single dime. 

When the box arrived I could hardly wait to tear into it and start testing.  I opened the box and saw not only the Detect5 pregnancy tests, but cards that very clearly showed how to interpret the results of the test.  There were even disposable pee cups in the package 'cause if there is one thing that POAS (peeing on a stick) has ever taught me, it is clearly label your pee cup or hide it well!  Finding a family member rinsing their mouth out with a pee cup is not cool!  These totally eliminate (no pun intended) this as an issue.

I am pleased with the actual size and width of the test.  Each strip is a thick test strip (not the super skinny difficult to see ones) and the case was easy to handle and use comfortably.  There is a plastic window that helps to prevent the issue of evaporation lines.  Overall, a very well built and quality product!  I dipped the test the full 15 seconds it recommends and waited for the results.  The instructions say to read the test at 5 minutes after the control line showed up but the test was not done processing to interpret the results until closer to 10 minutes.  At 15 minutes it was even easier to see the lines and to see that they had color.  At 60 minutes (well after the time limit) the lines looked nice and dark but there was a questionable line now at the 500 mark. Several hours after the test had been dipped, the line was clear at the 500 mark.  So... I recognize that the directions say to read it 5 minutes after the control line shows up but the results are so different now that the test has dried. Watch the slide show to see what I mean!

Even with the varied results that sort of evolved over time I am still in love with this test!  I love that I can get a much better idea of where my HCG levels are.

I will be using a new Detect5 test every 2-3 days to see the HCG going and then hopefully... coming!  Just for consistency's sake I will take pictures at the 60 minute mark so that the lines will hopefully be easiest to see.  Please note that this is not when the test is designed to be read but, I am kind of a free spirit when it comes to pee sticks!

I think it is safe to say that today's test is negative!  Anything from here on out I think we can call a true positive.  I have loved watching the trigger leave using these tests.  They have been able to definitively tell me that the hcg level was going down.  Hopefully in a couple of days they can also tell me that it is going up!  To Be Continued....
Another clear negative today.  I think it is fair to say that the trigger is officially all gone.  It is still pretty early so I haven't given up all hope on getting a positive test in the coming days.  If I do I will be sure to come back here and post a new picture of a Detect5 Progressive Pregnancy test that shows nice high levels of HCG!  Thanks to everyone who has been following along!  Good luck to you! 

I will be posting my test pictures as I use them over the next week and a half and adding them to this post so check back to see the progression!  In the meantime... how would you like to try these tests out for yourself?!

If you are eager to get your hands on them right away Buy Them Now!

Feeling Lucky?  Two (2) lucky winners will win three (3) Detect5 Progressive Pregnancy Tests.  That is a $53.85 value!  This giveaway IS open world wide and is going to pay for shipping* too!  Giveaway ends 1/22/12 so don't wait!

*If you are outside of the US you WILL be responsible for paying any duty that your government might apply to the shipment, but still... pretty awesome if you ask me!!!  

**Disclaimer** I was provided these tests at no cost for my review.  This did, in no way, sway this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own! 
Good Luck and Happy Baby Making!

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