Sunday, September 21, 2014

A personal update.

Hi everyone!

I decided to post a little update before things get crazy here in the next few months. And it's going to get personal so beware.

I'm going to start by saying we are doing well. Peyton will be 2 in two months. She's healthy, busy, and a very happy little girl! Husband should be leaving for a 6 week TDY some time soon so Peyton and I will be on our own to celebrate her birthday. Sad but necessary! I'm just grateful he hasn't been deployed as of yet! We will be packing out around Christmas and leaving Ohio right after new years to move on to the DC area. We will be going to DLI (language school) for 6 months to learn French because our next place, as most of you know, is Toulouse, France!!! WOOO! So if you feel like you need a vacation in the south of France any time between summer 2015 and 2017, let us know! It's going to be a big change, but since I grew up in England, I'm excited that I will get to take my little family to see where I lived! And France has delicious bread and escargot, so I'm happy.

Here's the personal part. I get a lot of people asking me when we are going to have our next baby so I figured I'd address this in one place and get it out. It's not something I want to keep a secret anyway. I see no point. If anything, having some added support from friends is nice! Plus, I'm not the only one that struggles with this and some people need to be aware that maybe asking strangers or people that are barely acquaintances personal questions is something you shouldn't be doing. (For the record, I don't mind when my friends ask me. I really don't even mind telling people, which is why I'm posting here, but some people do.)

In March of this year I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I had figured I'd had it for a while, but I didn't start getting a lot of symptoms until after I had Peyton. Weight gain, hair loss, pelvic pain, anxiety... the list goes on. Anyway, I ended up in my doctor's office with some horrendous cramping over my right ovary. My blood work was never normal because I was breastfeeding, but my ultrasound showed a ton of little cysts. No big surprise there. My OB/GYN said, and I quote, that "Peyton was an act of God." (Fertility is something women with PCOS struggle with.) So that was that & I moved on with some drugs that they hoped would help make me ovulate like a normal woman. The drugs failed. But right now that's not a big deal.

In July I went back in for another ultrasound to check things out. My cysts were now on both ovaries and they found some white (cause it's an ultrasound) in my uterus that wasn't there before and definitely didn't belong. They are saying it's Adenomyosis. I didn't know what it was either. It's when uterine tissue grows inside the wall of the uterus. Not good. Very painful. But because my PCOS is so bad, it actually keeps the other symptoms at bay, which is nice! One pro for PCOS! Adenomyosis cannot be fully diagnosed until a hysterectomy is done. It's the only way to get rid of it. So since it's not curable and will just continue to get more painful, I will probably be having that puppy taken out when we're done having babies. Who needs a uterus anyway? They're a pain. Literally.

About a month later I had some exploratory surgery. My OB was looking for anything else that could cause the pain I was describing. We were both hoping he'd find Endometriosis (which also screws up fertility). What? You were hoping for that? Yes. Because then there would be a cause and something to treat. Unfortunately he didn't find anything which was a major disappointment for me. But since my pain is so specific and basically textbook Endometriosis, he is assuming that it is in the microscopic stages right now. It's amazing how painful something can be in the microscopic stage. I have a high pain tolerance, but this has brought me to my knees in the last few weeks. It's also incredible how fast these things can escalate.

All of the symptoms for these things are treatable with the pill! Bad news is I can't have the pill because of my history with strokes and blood clots. My follow up appointment was one of the most depressing appointments I've ever had. He put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eye and very seriously said "Alexa, there is nothing I can do for you." I love my doctors. They are amazing. I have had a lot of doctors in my short lifetime so I'm a pretty good judge. Him telling me that broke my heart. Not because I'm afraid of what it all means for my body or my future, but because I have so much experience being told something doesn't work right in my body. It gets old. All we can do is pain management, but I can't have the stuff that actually works, because that's Percocet and I would definitely get addicted.

It scares me that all of this happened in a 6 month period. It makes me wonder what the next 6 months will bring. More pain probably. Not so fun.

I am not writing about this to get sympathy. I don't need that. I don't want people to pity me. I am writing about this because every time someone asks me when I'm going to have another baby it reminds me that when we do try to get pregnant next, it could be very difficult. My risks have gone way up for when I am pregnant. We will definitely have to have help. I have faith that we'll get pregnant again, I'm not worried about that. But I hate that it's now going to be so difficult. As a woman, the ONE thing your body is supposed to do is make a baby. So it sucks when you feel like you're going to fail at that one thing. And I'm not the only one! There are tons of us out there! I have been blessed with one baby of my own, and if that's all I get, I can come to terms with that and be happy. Peyton is perfect. But there are a lot of women out there that don't even get one. So when someone says "when are you going to have a baby" it upsets me because that woman could be trying but can't because she struggles with fertility.

That's not why I'm not pregnant yet. Our next year is going to be all over the place and we just don't know when the time will be right. But it does suck to know that it could be hard. Yes. It sucks. That's the best word I could think of for it. But other people have it worse. I am blessed. I've got Peyton! And she's the best thing ever!

But for now, I don't go to baby showers (mostly because my pregnancy was not the happy thing that a first pregnancy should be), and I don't get overly happy for other people when they announce they're pregnant. I get jealous when it's so easy for people to get pregnant and they didn't have a lot of pain beforehand. "Must be nice" is all I think, which isn't healthy. I want to be happy for you guys, really I do. Especially since I was one of the people it was easy for before! But it's hard. All of this hasn't helped my depression at all. I have serious insomnia and anxiety. Sometimes I need help because I am so exhausted I cannot function, and I've got several women around that have been more than happy to help, which is a real blessing at the moment.

I don't mind telling people about this. I really don't. It's therapeutic for me to talk about it actually. I have major breakdowns about it. You can ask Gabe, or my best friend Lindsey. It sucks. But I will be okay! But maybe before you ask someone you barely know when they're going to have a baby, consider not doing it because there could be some underlying issues. And when you think asking me is a good idea, remember that not only will I be struggling with fertility, but I also genuinely don't know when we will be having another baby. But for now I've got this chick, and I love her to bits.

That is all.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A brief summary of the last 10 months.

I haven't updated in a long time. A really long time. Peyton was 9 months old the last time I updated. I used to be so good at this! What happen?! Oh yeah. I'm sleep deprived.

Okay. Let me sum up.

Peyton is now 19 months. She weighs about 21 pounds. She's a very happy, independent, and stubborn, little girl. She knows what she wants & even though she doesn't talk, she makes it very clear. She walks now & is incredibly busy figuring things out. She loves Mr. Moo (her stuffed cow) still, & desperately wants to snuggle with the dog. She loves nursery & going to the childcare at the Y while I work out. She's very social & can often be spotted holding hands with complete strangers wherever we are. She loves books & pushing things like carts. She prefers cars over dolls. She loves to play the piano & listen to music of any kind. Her current favourite song is Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay. She dances like nobody's business. She hates wind & rain, or anything else that splashes her. She is still nursing & pretty much just sees me as a walking boob. She loves her daddy & gets very excited when he comes home.

Gabe was recently promoted to Captain. He's a busy man & we are so blessed to have him. He is currently working on some VERY big projects that he is really excited about. When he's given me the okay to publicly share, I will. It makes his nerdy side seem almost cool. ;)

I have spent the last year trying to find some talents. I like hand lettering! Love actually. It's not easy & takes a ton or practice. Calligraphy is even harder. But I'm working on it. I also have taught myself how to use my sewing machine & have made a few things, including a pin tuck duvet cover. I crochet now too. It's been a while since I sat down & did that, but I can. I also had a body part removed in April. The gallbladder. It's a stupid body part anyway! & here I am one ounce light. ;)

The exciting news is that we're moving to France next summer. Pretty cool. Gabe was accepted for a program through the Air Force that is allowing us to go live in Toulouse in the south of France for two years. We leave Ohio in January for the DC area. We will be doing language school there. There are no bases in France so we have to learn French. I believe that is a 6 month program, & then we're off to France! I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I'm thrilled! I miss Europe like crazy, but France (mostly not having a base) is going to be a whole new experience. HOW AM I GOING TO GET MY PEANUT BUTTER & MACARONI & CHEESE?!?! I stress about the important stuff. Obviously. Anyway. It's a really exciting opportunity for a family, & it sounds like we won't be doing something like this ever again. I don't know what the future holds for us beyond 2017, but until then, we will be eating escargot & crepes in France. Plus, we probably get to spend some time in Paris when we first arrive there. The guy that Gabe knows who did this exact program in the same place lived with his family in a hotel in Paris for 6 weeks. Uh. YES PLEASE!! "Paris is always a good idea." (Thank you Audrey Hepburn for the wise words.)

Anyway, on we go. Things have been a bit stressful this year, especially at the moment for myself. We are doing a lot of praying & hoping (or at least I am, I can't speak for Gabe) to know what to do with the information we have been given. Let's just say I have bad luck & a large majority of my body thinks I'm at least 40. It wreaks havoc on health. Of course, it could be a ton worse & I'm very blessed to have the body that I do. Fortunately I am always prepared to hear that something else doesn't work as well as it should. Which may sound sad, but to me it's kind of funny at this point. At least for the most part. I don't have cancer & I don't need anymore heart surgery, which is fantastic! (Speaking of cancer, my dad beat lymphoma for the second time this year & I think that deserves a mention cause that's awesome!!!) Life is constantly throwing random things at you & you just sort of have to roll with the punches. One of my absolute favourite quotes is from Neal A. Maxwell who said "Faith in God includes faith in His timing." I find that constantly applying to my life and now is no different! We are very blessed & really can't complain about the things we have.

Life is good. We have some very exciting things happening & that's what matters! I love my family to bits & I'm so happy I have them.

See you in 10 months. ;)