Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rock Out in Pink and Blue This Week!

April 21 - 27, 2013 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). It's kind of an ironic coincidence that we joined this club (more fun to think of it that way~ gotta make light of it somehow, right?!) within the last few months and the awareness week happens to be the last week in April every year. I quickly learned that the best way to show support is by wearing pink and blue~ Pink and blue clothes, jewelry, nails, ribbons, whatever. A bunch of the girls I follow on Instagram were painting their nails so I thought that was a fun way to join in and bring awareness to others, so I painted my nails and have been trying to wear pink and/or blue all week... I'm 3 for 3 and as we know, those are some of my fav colors so I think I have enough to last through the week! If not, the nails and some accessories will have to do! I have to say it is a good conversation starter. Some people haven't noticed (I can't fault them, I'm bad at noticing stuff like that myself), but it is an easy way to bring awareness. I'm not trying to send a message of pity for the situation we are in, just want to make others aware of the fact that millions of couples struggle with conceiving a baby naturally on their own. A lot of people are naive to this~ it's not their fault, it's just something many people don't realize until they know someone dealing with infertility or they are experiencing it themselves. 

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples... That's A LOT of people worldwide... and A LOT of people you know. It could be your friend, your family, your coworker, your neighbor, you. Chances are it's a combination of these. Infertility does not just because of issues in the woman's body, it can be male factor as well, both, and sometimes unexplained. It can be a combination of issues. A friend said to me last night she wanted to support me by painting her nails pink and blue too (super sweet, btw!!) but then said "But I'm confused, you aren't infertile." She wasn't trying to be insensitive and I didn't take it at that, but it made me realize I needed to explain it to others because in a sense that may be technically true since our fertility issues lay with Scott. I explained that since Scott is infertile, I am infertile too, by default. If just one person in the relationship has issues leading to infertility, the couple is infertile. So therefore I am as well. It was something she truthfully didn't realize until I took the time to explain it. So I'm thankful for NIAW and the opportunity to get the word out there and make others aware of the struggles that exist. 

I am what 1 in 8 looks like. Infertility sucks. It's VERY emotionally draining and can cause severe depression, mood swings, decreased social life, and negative feelings. You start to question every decision in your life and wonder what you did to deserve this awful sentence. You withdraw from friends and social functions because you don't feel like talking. You know if the topic comes up with anyone that you will start sobbing uncontrollably, so you don't want to go out and you don't want to answer your phone. On some days, you don't feel like doing anything but lay on the couch and eat junk food all day. You start becoming jealous of every pregnant woman or new mother. You feel guilty for this but you can't help it. These are the things you can't ever plan for or prepare yourself for and when it happens, you fall into a dark pit of sad emotions. You feel alone.... I've been there a few times over the last few months and I know there will be more moments like this. The important thing is that you don't stay there too long and you find your way out of the hole and pick yourself back up. Surround yourself with positive people, don't shy away from them. I have a VERY good friend who is going through infertility issues too and we text each other very often to check in because we feel so blessed to be going through it with someone close. We joke and say we are part of a secret underground club because no one understands 100% and we can almost speak in code about all the baggage that comes with this struggle. This person is one of my #1 support systems. I'm so thankful for her and would truly be lost without her. We keep each other sane and balanced. We tell each other things we are feeling that we feel ashamed of (jealousy of others, ways our relationships are being tested, etc) only to find the other is going through the same things and that we are totally normal. We serve as a sounding board for each other when we need to vent, and we offer positivity to each other when we need advice and support. It's important to have people who are supportive and who can relate~ we are lucky enough to have both in a lot of friends and fam. 

I am a shy person when I first meet people. It takes me a while to warm up to others, but I'm getting better. I used to keep a lot inside unless I was talking to close family or close friends. I don't do well speaking about tough topics because I'm very sensitive and emotional. I can't always keep it all together and I tend to cry easily in stressful situations. I know this isn't always best or ideal but I consider myself weak in that sense and I can't always help it. So you'd think I wouldn't want to talk about a topic like this that's affected us. A lot of people don't, for various reasons. I totally respect and understand that. Scott was even like that for a while- he was hard to read and would keep things in a lot. I've learned that, for me anyway, it only shuts people out. Others can't help if they don't know what's wrong or that they're needed. So I started opening up~ at first to a few people, and then whenever there was a convenient time that it applied. Now I'll pretty much tell whoever. The more people that are aware, the more people there are to help provide support, advice, or just an ear to listen. Scott has since adopted this theory and he's opened up to so many people at his job. I'm so proud of him for it and he's admitted that it makes him feel better to talk to others about it. By talking about it, you also realize who has been there and who can provide advice from the other side. If we hadn't told anyone about our struggle, this blog wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be so positive about it, I'd be depressed more often, and we would feel sheltered and alone. I also probably wouldn't have painted my nails because I'd be too embarrassed to talk about it. But we shared, we are supported, we've found others like us, we got our of the depression corner, and we are becoming stronger because of it all. 

I apologize for crazy grammar or typos. It's past my bed time but I really was dying to get something up for NIAW. I'm so tired and my contacts are drying out so my eyes are getting fuzzy and I can't think straight. So ignore the bad readability and just reflect on infertility for a minute. Did you learn something? Do you know someone dealing with infertility (other than me)? Not all will be as willing to talk about it as I am. Everyone is different and I completely respect other people's opinions to not want to share this part of their life. It can be embarrassing, it can make you feel worthless and different, so I get it. So you may not know if someone you know is dealing with it, but I guarantee a lot of people in your life have or will face infertility. It's unfortunate but true. I just want to put the awareness out there. So when people are trying to have a baby, the advice of "Just relax" or "stop trying so hard" isn't always the way. Sometimes these things will not make a difference at all; sometimes conception is just not possible without medical assistance. It's ok that you didn't know, but now perhaps you know a bit more than earlier today. <3

In support of National Infertility Awareness Week, rock out with some pink and blue if you want to! If others ask why, feel free to tell them and spread the word. If not, that's fine too. If you're reading this, that's enough for me to know I'm spreading awareness to one more person.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happiness Quote

A dose of positivity... it's who I am on most days. Words to live by. <3
*Fun fact: I'm quote-obsessed. We have quote decals or signs all over our house!

Team Ricci~ Our Story

Hooray!! FINALLY getting my blog started!! I've been wanting to get this going for a while now but either didn't have the time to figure it out, didn't know what to write, or didn't know how to get started. I think I've finally got it (if you're reading this then I guess I got it!). 

     The thing that really pushed me to get going this week is our struggle with infertility. Many of you know by now that we are having issues in the baby-making department. We're coming up on our 6 year wedding anniversary and were constantly asked by friends and fam when we'd be filling up the rooms in our house. The initial thought was 2-3 years married before trying; then we bought a new house at the 3 year mark and wanted to live comfortably here for a year before going there, so that brought us to 4 years. In January 2012 we started officially trying and it took longer than anticipated, bringing us to 5 years (Sorry Dad R (my father-in-law); we had a deal that there would be a Ricci grandchild in the works by 5 years... we kept up our end on trying, it just wasn't in the cards. At the 1 year mark of trying (as recommended for the "under 30 crew"), we went for some initial testing and found out Scott is infertile. I like to say "WE" are infertile because anyone close to us knows that we are a team, so therefore we are infertile. This has become a huge part of our lives over the past few months and we've been on *QUITE* an emotional roller coaster since mid/late January.  I'll post more about that later, but I wanted this first post to be a snapshot about the story of US and why I'm starting this blog. 

    **(If you made it this far without your eyes burning from reading so much, thank you. :) Writing is my preferred form of communication. I'm Super wordy. Short and sweet is not my style. Sorry but that's just who I am, take it or leave it. Close friends joke that if you get a super short text from me, something is not okay. I send mini-novel texts. I stumble over words when speaking and so this is my strength and my comfort zone... deal with it!)** :) 

The story of Team Ricci
     Scott & I are high school sweethearts… He asked me out on February 7, 1999 when we were sophomores in high school. We had actually met briefly at a bridge dance in 8th grade, and then had a class together in 9th grade but I was FAR from interested (although Scott would beg to differ!). I thought he was cocky and a class clown, I was the quiet goody-two-shoes...total opposites. I was not interested in the least (yet). Fast forward a year and we had another class together, as well as both being on the JV basketball teams, so we started socializing a little more between practices and eventually became friends. I realized he wasn't so bad and we finally fell for each other. 
      These were the days of AOL Instant Messenger (haha, remember when?!) and we would chat on there or through emails, yet I was too shy to talk to him at school and he was worried about what his friends would think. He asked me out (in a note) and I was coached by my friend to play hard to get and insist if he liked me, he should show it at school. Scott swears I turned him down and said I didn't want to risk our friendship, but that was not the intent. 
      We kept chatting online and the winter formal was quickly approaching. That night was monumental because we danced together for 45 mins (starting with one of our fav songs at exactly 11:11, a time where I always make a wish)... it was a pretty magical night and he called me on the phone the next day to nervously ask me if I would ever go out with him. I said I would, he asked me out officially, and it's been the two of us ever since (2-7-99)! Some call it corny and cheesy, I call it lucky. He was my first and only kiss and I think that's sweet. There's a Sweet Home Alabama quote where Reese Witherspoon says something like "You were the first boy I ever kissed, and I want you to be the last." I know it's Hollywood fiction but it's also my reality and I kinda like it. So high school sweethearts we became. 
      In 0ur senior year, 2001, we were chosen “class cuties” for the yearbook superlative. After graduation, I went away to college for 4 years (luckily only 2 hours away from home) and he went to a community college at home, so we got to visit every few weeks or so, and we talked EVERY night (got made fun of for that by a few college friends but I missed him and it helped us make it through). After graduating college in 2005 and moving back home again, we vacationed in Niagara Falls for a few days (1st trip JUST the 2 of us) and while there, in our hotel room overlooking the falls on the Canadian side, Scott proposed (6-24-05)and we were closer to our happily-ever-after!!! We had a lot of fun planning our wedding and were married on July 6, 2007 here in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of NY where we live. We bought the house Scott grew up in as a starter home, lived there a few years, and then upgraded to our dream home in August of 2010, where we are now and plan to be for a while.
     Some fun facts about us: We are exactly 9 months apart, to the day… and our birthdays are practically exactly the same, numerically speaking (Scott is 01-06-83 and I'm 10-06-83). We started dating on 2-7 and have found SO many ridiculous connections in our lives to the numbers 7, 27, or 207… it's fun being on Route 207, finding 7 of something, or getting a total of $27.27 at a store, just to name a few. 11:11 became our thing with the whole "make a wish" deal and we now always say "I love you" and make a wish whenever we happen to catch it on the clock. We have the kind of fairytale romance that is rare yet beautiful, and I'm thankful for it each and every day. I obviously believe that true love exists but I do know it's hard to come by, so I never take it for granted. Friends and family seem to put us up on some pedestal of “perfect couples” although I don’t know why~ We argue like everyone else and are certainly not perfect in any sense, just truly lucky in this area for whatever reason. We are best friends first and foremost; we have a solid foundation and a strong loving relationship. We’ve been married 5+ years (but together in total 14 years), we own a beautiful home, and have great jobs… There’s only one thing missing (we didn’t buy a 4-bedroom house for nothing!)…
      The reason I gave all the mushy, corny details about us is that we are “that couple” that a lot of our friends and family truly feels is meant to be together; even we feel that way sometimes and I can’t explain why. (Side-note: I feel like I am coming across really bratty here like “ooh look at us we’re so wonderful”- again I say I promise that’s not me… I actually can’t stand people like that, but when it comes to Scott & I, I feel like together we do just create something special)… Now here’s the dilemma: If we are meant to be, why would God not bless us with an easy path to having children? How is that fair? I understand we can’t have everything, but to be honest we have had our fair share of heartaches, family struggles, family sickness/diseases, and lots of other dark things that I’d care not to share or remember (Just because I choose to focus on the positive, it doesn't mean the negative does not exist). So it’s not like our lives have been easy by any means, we just find comfort in each other and we are each other’s strength and sanity at the end of the day; so why throw more grief at us, as if we haven’t been through enough already? It doesn’t seem fair.   It sucks. It's hard. It's depressing. It's emotionally draining. But it's a part of our struggle and it makes us who we are. We can choose to let it defeat us, or we can choose to stand up, be positive, and fight.