Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Trying to Start a Family

Wow. I can't believe I am finally ready to write this post. I never thought this day would come. I have started this post so many times and was too afraid to be vulnerable and share what we have gone through. Several interesting things have happened this week that have led me to this point of wanting to share my story. I hope this helps those who are going through similar issues, I am a firm believer that sharing experiences is one of the human characteristics we posses as a species  that creates connections to keep us thriving. Through this post I am hoping to make some connections and help someone else on their journey.

I always cry in this movie now. Always. 

Zack and I were first pregnant six months after we were married, October 2012. We were on birth control so the surprise came at a time that was very unexpected. I remember seeing that pregnant word on the test and having a whole flush of emotions sweep over. At first I was scared, I had no idea how to be a mom, raise a child, etc. Then I was happy, thrilled we would be parents and we would get to have a baby. Then I was sad, worried I would do something wrong, angry, craving pickles and eating a whole jar at once (I really did this). I was truly pregnant. It was an incredible feeling. We found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks. We called the doctor and set up an appointment four weeks out. Things were going great and then they weren't. 2 weeks before the doctors appointment, the day after thanksgiving my cramps started. I freaked out, I didn't know what to do. I cried, I was scared I would loose the baby. We went to the Emergency Room, they confirmed our worst fears. I had indeed miscarried. I remember looking at the ultra sound seeing a blurb in my uterus that was supposed to be the child but there was no heart beat, no growth. At 8 weeks a heart beat should have been strong, but there was no sound. I cried some more. 8 hours later we left the hospital with a new medical bill and no baby. I was devastated and heart broken. I literally couldn't do anything, it was all I could do to get out of bed the next day and shower. I cried in the shower. The doctor told me what to look for as my period progressed and that if I didn't pass on my own then I would have to have a D & C (a medical procedure not scriptures). When they took my blood levels the HCG (pregnancy hormone count) was pretty high still, so they were concerned my body wouldn't pass the baby on its own. On Monday I was supposed to go in and get blood work done, but I woke up Sunday and  knew it was all over. I just knew. Sure enough my HCG levels were 0 and I had miscarried. 
The healing process began, I told friends and family, let everyone know what happened. I tried to avoid the old ladies at church who kept asking me when we were having a baby, I just smiled and walked away as quickly as I could. I held my husbands hand through it all, I leaned on him. I knew it was my fault, I knew I was a terrible person that I wasn't fit to be a mother. These were all the things I told myself over and over and over. I believed it. (Depression, more on that later). I couldn't get out of the rut. Finally I woke up one day and just looked at the roof over my head, I said "Caitlin, you can be miserable like this for the rest of your life if you want, but pick your self up lets go at it again." For some reason, it worked and that is what I did. 
We tried again, starting in January of 2013 and didn't get pregnant again until December of 2013. Three weeks before Christmas I took the test and there was the sign again, Pregnant. This time i was a little more cautious. I called my doctor, they said to come in the week of Christmas. Again, I never made it to that appointment. I miscarried a week before Christmas. This one was particularly hard for me. My cousin announced to the family that his wife was pregnant on Christmas Day. I spent the rest of the day crying in the other room while my family opened presents. My mom came and sat by me. She cried with me. Again I healed, and right around the time I came to terms with the second miscarriage I was pregnant. Again. 
This was April, 2014. I was excited, I told Zack and he didn't believe me. I don't blame him, after having that loss I was skeptical too. I was around 4 weeks pregnant this time. It was general conference weekend for the LDS church and the first Saturday session started, the cramping began and by the end of the day I knew what had happened. I cried all conference weekend (Saturday and Sunday), and all the next week. I couldn't believe that this happened to me three times in a row. 3. Again I immediately blamed myself, saying God didn't think I was fit to be a mother, saying I made to many past mistakes that he wouldn't bless me with a child, etc. This thoughts were warped, untrue things I often think about myself because of depression. 
When I was younger I never imagined that this would be one of my trials. I always pictured myself having babies and being able to be a mother when I wanted to. I try to make sense of it all. I try to understand why I had to go through this. 
This week I posted on my Facebook that I was having a hard time with my loss, even months after the last one had happened. I decided then that I will never get over it. A dear friend of mine from high school posted on that feed that she had a miscarriage and because of that was able to connect with a woman in her ward going through the same thing.
Tonight I learned that an old coworker of mine had a miscarriage a couple of weeks ago. In that instant I knew why I experienced all my trials. I was able to share my feelings with her, in a small way, help her. But mainly I knew that the reason I went through all of this was to give me experience, It was to help refine me, to teach me to be grateful for the life I have had. To teach me that it wasn't my fault, I did everything in my power that I could.  And above all it was to teach me to love. You truly never know what someone is going through in life and it is important not to judge. Be kind, everyone we meet is fighting a battle in some way or another.
Zack and I are trying to get pregnant again, we have some answers from the doctors, they think it may just be a simple cause do to a hormone imbalance. If that is the cause its an easy fix and that would be wonderful.
I am so blessed to have Zack by my side. So blessed I can lean on him and he is okay with me crying for an entire weekend, he'll be there for me to wipe the tears away. He's so strong due to things he has been through and I love him for that.
For those of you who are suffering from infertility remember its not your fault, you are loved, and most importantly that you are a child of God. I think this is the most important truth to remember during trials, that you have God on your side and he will take care of you.
Thanks for reading and letting me share this with you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Family Pictures

I know this is the normal time of year that everyone is getting pictures done. Zack and I haven't had our pictures professionally taken since our wedding. Zack really doesn't like getting pictures done, I mean he really doesn't like it, but he tolerates it because it makes me happy. To make the process easier on him and on our budget I decided to go the old fashioned route and be our own photographer. I think they turned out super cute, what do you think?


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tips to survive the first week of college

Hi Folks!
I realize its been an entire month since I have blogged. I know, I know. Lets just say a lot has been going on and leave it at that. I am here to share with you some tips on how to best survive the first week of college. I went through enough semesters to know what really works and I am here to share my knowledge with you.
1) Get Organized!
This is so important. Make sure you have your school BINDERS all prepared and ready to go, your PLANNER is in your backpack and you have all necessary materials to get you to where you need to go that day. For that purpose I created a brand new printable for you all! Here it is below:

I know the shading here is a little dark so here is a better overall image of this printable.

This is an overview class schedule. I use it as a time block and to write the room number of the class in. I used to stick this in front of my binder, especially if I used those regular white binders I could slip this into the front pocket. Then I have an overview of my schedule for the week and I know the room numbers as well. Here is one I made up so you can see how it would look:

of course I also color coordinated mine all the time so that way I could look and easily see what days I had Math on, etc. This is a great tool to use and you can pick yours up HERE.

2) The next step that I feel is really important is to Be Prepared. 
Make sure you know your schedule, and that you have a plan of how to get to class everyday. If this is your first time at your campus grab a map from your schools website and highlight where all your classes are held. This helps to visualize where you need to go and how to get to places efficiently. 
Along with mapping out your classes make sure you have all your books for each class. At my school teachers would post what books you need for class a couple of weeks before the semester started, the Syllabus would then be posted the Friday before the semester started so I could print it off and get prepared for what I wanted to do with the semester. If you aren't going to be purchasing books make sure you have a plan on how you are going to accomplish reading assignments, you don't want to be behind because you didn't prepare your self properly. 

3) Don't expect the first week to be a breeze.
This is very important, most of the time during my first week of college I had quizzes by Friday. You jump right in, and its important to get your mind prepared for that kind of thing. If you are a Freshman it will be a shock when you get to class and realize you have to read 3 chapters in the book by Friday and you have a quiz on the readings. This isn't unusual to happen so prepare your mind that you are just going to jump right in. 

4) Get Involved
Finding new communities at school is so fun. I joined Marching Band when I was at USU and it was a fun way to gain instant friends, even though I wasn't a music major. At UVU I joined flute choir, again just a fun way to play music and meet friends. Find a hobby and join a club, I know my school had intramural sports where you could play sports you enjoyed on co-ed teams against others on campus, it's a really fun way to meet people. Especially if you are a Freshman I highly encourage you to get involved and meet friends. 

Well those are my tips for now. I know I haven't blogged in a while and I am just getting back into the groove of things but I have a few things coming up that I think everyone will really love.