Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Every New Beginning...

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end..." (-Semisonic, Closing Time)

Here we are... the end of 2014!! I don't know how we are here again; I swear every passing year seems to pass by faster than the one before. Eek! Another reason why I'm always trying to remind myself to slow down, pause, and LIVE IN THE MOMENT... Life is way too short to spend it wishing time away, being upset, or waiting for things to happen. NOW is when things are happening. 

My big theme today is new beginnings. Closing one chapter to open another. Leaving behind the roller coaster of a year that 2014 was, and skipping into 2015 with renewed hope, excitement, and energy. New obstacles, new triumphs, new stresses, new rewards... I'm sure it'll prove to be a crazy one, but hopefully the good kind of crazy. :) 

I know a new year isn't always a surefire sign that bigger & better things are going to happen... but it sure is fun to hold onto that possibility. It's a good reason to start new/redo some things that haven't gone well, yet keep the things going right. I feel like it's going to be a big year in terms of our fertility journey, our marriage, and our home, and other fun stuff. 

~*Our Fertility Journey
   This is kind of an obvious one, I'm sure. I'm HOPING it will be a big year for Team Ricci & our pursuit of a pregnancy. 2014 sure was a doozy- but an eventful one!! We found out Scott was infertile within the first week (UNhappy birthday news to him), finally got to start up with the IUI process, did 2 cycles, one of which took and then we miscarried a week later. Tried 2 more cycles and then decided to take a break from the stress and chaos. 
   Our plans for 2015 are to start up again with IUI at some point (ironically it'll be similar timelines to last year- without giving too much away, those who have been closely following might be able to decode that hint and figure out for themselves when we will start back up without actually asking). Before starting up, I need another HSG to make sure my reproductive system is up to par.... but then hopefully we will be cleared to roll shortly after that. 
   My hopes this time are to not really change anything... Last time I took weeks off from exercise. But that didn't get me anywhere except a first class ticket to depression, stress, and weight gain. The Drs never really said NOT to do anything. I took each cycle and tried to relax 100% while on meds, and during the 2week wait. Although mentally that's nice, and I was worried about shaking things up in there, it really only hurt me in the end I think. I don't want to go crazy at the gym but I DO want to keep doing what I've been doing. There's no reason why I can't do what "ordinary" mamas do- keep going. Most "ordinary" girls don't know they're pregnant or might be pregnant in those early weeks, and continue on as normal. I want that for myself. I've been working out consistently for about 4 days a week lately and want to keep that up. It won't be pushing myself to anything new, or pushing myself to exhaustion, but keeping healthy is not a bad thing. So that's one major change I plan to make this time around. 
    As far as acupuncture, I'm still going on avg every 4-6 weeks, just to keep it somewhat. When we start up another IUI cycle, I'm still a little torn on what to do. I believe in it's benefits whole-heartedly, BUT since we don't know of any issues lying with me, I wonder if it's really helping extra or not necessarily. I have been debating taking one cycle off, or just doing a general treatment and not a fertility-specific one. If anyone has thoughts either way, please let me know. It's a lot of money and cutting back a little wouldn't hurt if it's not imperative that I go 3-4x during a cycle at $100 a pop. Again, thoughts on either end are welcomed (preferably with something to back it up- like being a patient yourself, knowing something about acupuncture to begin with, hehe) :)

~*Our Marriage 
    2015 will be a big year for Scott & I in terms of our relationship/marriage because of his new schedule. Having him home more has been FANTASTIC!! He's home for dinners, and home EVERY weekend. It's everything I've ever wanted. Finally! :) We celebrated our first real Christmas weekend together in 14 years without him having to waste away working retail hours. We went to NYC on Christmas Eve and stayed over for 2 nights, just us. It was great. He was so laid back and relaxed, it's how everyone should feel on Christmas. I love having him home. I feel like we can finally be a real married couple. We can make dinner plans with friends, go to family parties and all kinds of get-togethers, etc. We have dinner plans with another couple this weekend & it seriously makes me so happy because for YEARS it was always "sorry, Scott's working..." for everything. No more! He took a pay cut for his new job, but we knew it would be a positive in the end because quality time together is more important than making more money and never seeing him. We are able to do more together, go places on weekends, and hopefully take some weekend/overnight trips soon (hint hint if you're reading this, Scoot! ;) hehe). Hoping it'll be a fun adventure this year in terms of together time!

~*Our Home
   This may be a big news announcement to MOST of you... but we could see ourselves in a new home in 2015!! We plan to put our house on the market in a few weeks (gasp). EEEK!! We plan to move back to the other side of the river, about 30 mins away. Nothing major, still in the Hudson Valley, just over the river and through the woods. This  is a scary thing in a sense because I don't always like change, but knowing me I've weighed lots of pros/cons in my mind. It would benefit us in a few ways, so I'll start with the PROs.

Pros of moving across the river:

- No bridge toll to work ($1.50 bridge toll each day... I have EZ Pass & I think it's $1.25 for the commuter plan, but still it adds up as a minor thing. And I don't always drive over there just for work... LOTS of our friends are on that side of the river, and Dad, so we're always over there).

- No more driving over the mountain, 2x daily... To get to work, I drive over Storm King Mt (a major pain in the winter months, so I often take the longer route across the river), which really kills my car in gas and regular wear/tear.

- Lower taxes (HOPEFULLY)... Taxes are lower in theory, but seem to have sky-rocketed in the last year... hmm. So this one is still debatable. 

- More land... There are plenty of properties over here with more land too, but they're further from work, and some of those taxes are really insane. So where we want to go (Dutchess county, NY), is a little better. 

- Lots of friends nearby... We are often over in Dutchess visiting our closest friends who are like family (and their kiddos!), and we like to go to a lot of restaurants over there... so instead of 25-30 mins, it'll be 5-10 mins :) 

- Closer to work... sort of. Might be about the same commute, but flatter terrain, no mountains or rivers to cross, and lots of coworkers nearby any of us are in a jam. 

- Closer to the fertility clinic... This is more of an added bonus. Instead of 50 mins, it would be more like 30! Score! 

- Not right on top of neighbors, no telephone poles in our backyard, no trailer park behind us with kids constantly cutting through our yard. 

- Looking for a bigger yard for our future child(ren) to play in. 

Cons (whines) to moving...

- I ADORE our house. It's so cute & charming, and I just absolutely love it. I wish we could pick it up, make a few layout changes, and plop it on a bigger lot. If that were possible, and free... haha. I get easily attached to things, and I will really miss this house. It's not my absolute dream house but is really darn cute. So I've been having separation anxiety. But then again I did feel that way when selling my car... and now all is good. LOL... so I know it'll be fine here too. I know a house is what you make it... so no matter where we end up, so will all of our stuff, and I'll still be able to transform that space into our own. That part is kind of exciting & exhilarating actually. A new blank canvas to work from is fun to me. I LOVE decorating. :) So it'll turn into a pro. 

- I'm worried about settling for a house I don't love. I know I won't find the perfect house bc it doesn't exist (wait, yes it does... but it's not in our price range by any means.. haha!). So I'm worried that houses now available which I adore will be sold by the time it's our turn. But new ones will be available, so it'll work out I suppose. Fear of the unknown, drives me crazy... so I have to have faith that an amazing house for us will show up. 

- Moving in general just plain SUCKS... I am kind of dreading the packing/moving process. And the closing process... It's all just stress, stress, stress. I remember. And, actually, we will be moving and closing 2x, so double the stress and chaos. Let's prolong it as much as we can. hehe :) We actually plan to move to an apartment in the area we want to move to once we sell our current house. This will allow us to test out living there, not settle for any house but take our time searching for the right one, AND save some money by downsizing for a little while and paying rent that should be close to half our mortgage. That would be nice and balance costs of IUI cycles and save a nice chunk of change each month. This prob sounds so weird but I'm oddly excited to downsize to a small space with Scott. It might (hopefully) force me to be more organized and clean out things I don't really need. 

- Leaving our friends on this side of the river... But we won't be far! I have been going to the gym 4x a week on average and really love the classes I take there. My workout buddy has been such a good motivator for me, and she teaches Zumba there. We've done training sessions with our fav trainer, also the instructor of another class I take, and I don't want to give that up. (Plus my membership fee is too good to pass up! Not a fan of trading that in for a bigger, scarier gym with higher fees). So I'm trying to think of the practicality of maybe keeping the membership and trying to make 2 classes a week. It would pay for the membership and not be a crazy commute. I can't leave them, I've been doing so well! So that part saddens me, but I really want to make it work.... plus, the house isn't even ON the market yet. It could take forever to sell (but I hope not). 

So yea.... In the end it's a good thing, but it kind of stinks to leave something you love. It's bittersweet. I love the house and I'm not looking forward to packing up ALLLLLLLL the stuff we have. BUT I know it'll be rather exciting, give me a good distraction to the fertility stuff, and be a fun new adventure for Scott & I. Hoping only good things will come from it in the end. 

~*Other Fun Stuff
    2015 brings possibilities of seeing people we haven't in a while, and spending more time with them. Kind of ties into Scott's new schedule/free time, but also other stuff. His best friend, Manny, & family just moved back to the states after being in Germany for 3+ years. Manny's wife, Staci, is in the military (We met them while they were stationed at West Point... Scott & Manny both worked at Best Buy and we lived in Highland Falls, right next to WP). They've been besties since then (5+ years maybe??) and they just moved to Maryland. We are so excited to only be a 4-hr drive away and can't wait to see them more often. 

Prob other fun stuff too. Who knows... we'll see what the year brings. 

One thing's for sure... I'm ready to start fresh, have some distractions, spend more time with my best friend/hubby, and just enjoy living in the moment. Here's to a new home, new adventures, new fun, and maybe even a pregnancy along the way! 

My wish for us, and all the other TTC sisters out there, is for peace of mind and a positive pregnancy test... one that leads to a healthy & happy baby/family in the end. Hope, Wish, Dream, Believe. Our time is coming, ladies! <3 

Everyone be safe today/tonight! 


Here's to new beginnings... 

Stace <3

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sometimes Life is All About Balance...

It may come as no surprise that I'm a Libra... My life is all about balance. 

I almost always see 2 sides of a situation and therefore would make a horrible debater. I can never pick sides in an argument, especially when it's between two people I like. I can't make simple decisions on what to eat, wear, etc. I'm so indecisive and am always weighing pros and cons. I'm easy swayed and persuaded. Scott and I are polar opposites in a lot of ways... and the same in others. I love yoga and balance is always my favorite part- especially Tree Pose... Yup, my life is all about balance. 

What does balance have to do with our infertility struggle and journey to a baby? When life kicks me down, I am ALWAYS looking for a reason to get back up. I can't stand being miserable (who doesn't?). I'm always needing a positive to balance out a crap situation. 

December has a new meaning for us this year... but it's well balanced with good/bad so I'm somewhat ok with that.  Some of you are aware that our 2nd round of IUI, back in April, was somewhat successful. If I hadn't miscarried, I would have due on December 27th of this year. Being that this chapter closed in May, by now I have come to peace with it, or so I thought... December 1st hit last week and I was an emotional mess. Maybe not to outsiders, but on the inside I was. This month ALSO marks 3 years since I came off the pill and we decided to start trying for a baby. 3 long years... 3 stressful years... 3 emotional years... 3 tough years.... 3 roller-coaster years. (Yup, more like it!). 3 years and no baby bump. My favorite time of the year QUICKLY turned to the worst and saddest time of year.

... Or is it?

Obviously we are still saddened by the trials and stress of the situation, and I often wonder what I would have looked like being 37 weeks pregnant this week. But in true Stace-fashion, I need a positive to balance it out. I need a silver lining to get me through with a genuine smile on my face and a wave of calm in my heart. So here it is- 

Scott has a new job (as of 2 months now) and the best part is, HE'S OUT OF RETAIL!!!!!!!!!! 

How is that a happy balance?? He's home practically all the same times I'm home! We have NEVER experienced this in our entire relationship. Scott has worked retail since 2001, when we graduated high school. Since then, he's worked practically every weekend, holiday, and night. All of my time/days off became his work time. Holidays were sacrificed for YEARS. The only weekends we would get were typically vacations when we went away in the summer. I can't even go into all the craziness because it just plain stunk. 

This year, Scott didn't have to go to work on Thanksgiving or at the crack of dawn Black Friday, or even for the whole weekend. He worked 8-5 office hours on Black Friday and had the ENTIRE weekend off!! He's home every night well before I go to bed. He's home the entire weekend. He gets to celebrate/enjoy holidays now. Did I mention he's off for the ENTIRE weekend??! (Ok he has to do 1 half day Saturday a month, but that's a piece of cake! Who cares!). We have never celebrated a true Christmas season together. I always have about 10-12 days off from school for holiday break and in the past Scott would be home on Christmas and MAYYYYBE 1 other day, but that was pushing it. This year, he's home for 8 of my 12 days off.... 

Talk about a true Christmas miracle! We actually get to spend it together, like never before. The last Christmas when he wasn't working retail, we were 17 and dating. So it wasn't even real because we had to go to separate homes at the end if the night. This year, when we need each other's love and support the most, we get it. So to me, I truly think that's a fair balance and that's my Christmas miracle. We would have loved to be expecting a baby any day now, but the fact that I FINALLY get my best friend/husband back for the holidays is a fair trade balance and I'm over the moon thrilled about it. I feel just as giddy as when we got married. I'm so excited for more quality hubby time, and to see Scott happy and relaxed on Christmas. 

One of my FAV Christmas songs is "All I Want For Christmas is You".... and this year I've got it. 

We will always wonder what could have been if the little miracle had stuck around until now, but I also have to believe he/she gave us an equally awesome gift at the time we need it the most. 

It'll still be a tough day when my would-be due date rolls around in a few weeks, but it's definitely more bearable with Scott by my side. Team Ricci, in it to the end. 

On another note.... My dear friend, Linzy, now has a photography business and was recently back home. I somehow convinced Scott to let her do a photoshoot for us, and here are just a few of the amazing pics she took. 

If you're near Kileen, TX, check her out!! If you're near me, she comes home occasionally to the Hudson Valley area. Check out her work:

**Amazing side story regarding Linz below the pics. <3

Life throws you curveballs sometimes...
A few days after I received our photos from Linzy last week, I received another package from her. Super confused, I opened it and found an envelope and a cute wooden sign with a fun quote (the girl knows me ALL too well!), a wine quote (even more up my alley) that says "Santa stops here for wine tasting". Cute, I thought! Then I went to the envelope/card and inside was a donation for our baby fund and a sweet, heartfelt note that made me cry. Linzy had started a secret fund for us a few months back, trying to raise money to help us with fertility costs. *(Even though insurance currently covers IUI and Dr. visits, it doesn't cover all of the additional costs involved in a cycle and we were paying about $1000 a month for sperm, meds, etc.... IF we need to move to IVF in the future, insurance doesn't cover any of that, so it'll be about $10K, per cycle, on top of the $1K a month I've already mentioned.) The fact that she thought of us just blew my mind and I was speechless. Full of appreciation. And just plain blessed. We've been very fortunate to have some great support around us, and I just had to give her a shoutout on here. Thank you, Linz!! You rock and I just am so completely grateful for you and our friendship. *Note- This is not a pitch for people to donate to us. I am so weird about asking people for things, even favors. We've tossed around the idea of starting something if we need IVF, because we won't be able to cut it. But we can handle the IUI treatments and although much appreciated, this is not a sales pitch! Just spreading awareness to the realities of the underground infertility world. Many don't have any insurance coverage for even IUI. We are lucky to have at least that.

Fertility Treatment Update: We are still on a break. Honestly, I'm kind of loving it, for the moment! I'm finding time to get back to the gym and take classes I love (Zumba, Yogalates, Circuit), and even signed up with a friend for a few personal training sessions. I'm finally getting back in shape and gaining confidence again. I've got more energy and I'm happier. Scott's home more and I'm loving that daily! I don't miss hormone pills that make me crazy, I certainly don't miss blood draws, ultrasounds, and self-injections, OR inseminations. I don't miss waking up at 5am to drive an hour to the clinic THEN an hour to work. I don't miss any of it. It stinks we can't get pregnant without going back... but I'm honestly enjoying the break. We'll get back there soon- maybe in a few months or so.

But until then, thanks for sticking with us!!
And always remember...

P.S.... It's late & I'm tired, so not editing or proof-reading. Sorry! :p