Showing posts from 2017

Infertility Is a Difficult Road to Travel

The thing about infertility is that some days, you’ve come to terms with what’s happening in your life. A friend might ask what progress you’ve made and you have no qualms about reporting that nothing’s changed, but you’re excited to see what comes next. On those days you feel optimistic, goal-oriented, & hopeful for the future. And other days—well, other days you find yourself flooded with unexplained sadness, doubt, & fear at the road you have to travel.
Today, I woke up feeling fine, but mid-shower, a monster of grief overcame me and suddenly I was bawling in bed. Today, I don’t want anyone to ask what progress I’ve made because no amount of progress feels good enough. All I can think about are the years that have passed and the struggles I’ve still got to face.
There are so many possibilities in the infertility journey to have a baby and it is so so difficult to know if we’re taking the right road. No matter what choice we’ve made, it seems there is always someone there to…

Ready for Parenthood

This morning I was reading an entry in my journal from November 2016. This time last year, we had no idea why we weren’t able to get pregnant. We had seen a fertility doctor and they said that it was too soon for us to start worrying. I wrote in my journal, “Heavenly Father must have a plan for us, even if that includes adoption rather than pregnancy. We will have a family.” Fast forward one year, it is everything we want to adopt a baby into our lives.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of our family lately. When will someone contact us about a child & who will that person be? How many “potential” situations will we have before it’s the real thing? I’m excited, I’m nervous, and I’m every feeling in between. Making the decision to adopt is almost like saying, I’m ready to be a parent. For anyone who currently is a parent, you probably know that’s a bold statement. But one thing I want to remember about this stage before parenthood is that I’ve always known that Jk will be a…

Dear Expectant Parent Letter

Dear Friend,
You've probably looked through a lot of profiles by now—faces are blurring together and letters all say the same thing. Or maybe we are the first couple you've come across. No matter where you are at in your journey, we'd love to be a part of it. Here's what makes us, us.

We've been married for almost three years and adoption has been part of our plan since before day one of our marriage. After two years of infertility, we decided it was time to pursue our adoption journey. Finding a birth family match will be such a blessing for us.

As a couple, we try to live a minimalist life. One of our favorite activities is being outdoors. We love traveling, camping, and hiking. We can't wait to add another little adventurer to our crew.

We love Netflix binging as much as the next person, but we spend most of our free time at home reading. We have a huge (and growing) book collection. So if you enjoy reading, we will have lots to talk about!

Although we do no…

Finishing our Adoption Homestudy!

Yesterday my husband and I met with our adoption specialist for the LAST TIME until we find a birth mother. What! I am happy to announce that we’ve completed the final step in our adoption homestudy! 
From start to finish, the process took almost 5 weeks. Although I was anxious to complete everything, the month flew by! Here’s a quick recap of our homestudy timeline:
September 16 - Attended the adoption education event.
September 21 - Met with Calli in our home for the first time. Got an overview of adoption requirements, signed paperwork, & had an interview as a couple.
September 28 - Calli came over to take the fingerprints of every member in the household.
October 8 - Finished our paperwork. Messaged Calli to set up our last appointment.
October 18 - Calli did our individual interviews & home assessment.

Many friends and family members reached out to wish us luck leading up to our home assessment. Afterwards, we were surprised by the supportive & inquisitive messages we …

Adoption Homestudy: Fingerprints and Paperwork

It has been an exciting few weeks around here. In my last post, we had just attended an adoption class and were preparing for the next steps. Now, not even a month later, we are in full-blown homestudy mode!

The first step was to meet with our adoption specialist from Adoption Home Study Services of Arizona. We had already met Calli during our adoption training but we hadn’t spent any alone time with her. For this meeting, she came to our home, the three of us sat on the couch, and it felt very personalized and comfortable. Jk and I were so glad that we had already been to the educational class because it gave us a great foundation for the things Calli discussed with us. She went through the paperwork and steps needed in order for us to get certified to adopt. That part was pretty simple!

Next, we started our interviews. Calli asked us all kinds of questions about the progression of our relationship and our marriage. We were asked how we met, what attracted us to each other, and what…

Making Progress with Adoption

Almost a month ago, Jk and I put the word out that we are planning to adopt. We've been asked several times since then what the next steps are and where we are at in the process. It's been an amazing month. At times I've felt so overwhelmed with happiness and feeling the Spirit, I thought I could melt into a puddle. With that said, here's a peak into what we have learned so far and what we've been up to.

Public versus Private Adoption
Let me explain a little about what kind of adoption my husband and I are looking into (because the wording can be confusing). Initially we looked into public adoption, or foster-to-adopt. The foster care system is funded by the state and aims to ultimately reunite birth parents and their biological children. When a public adoption goes through, it means that the couple who has been fostering a child has permanently adopted him or her. Although we can see ourselves going through public adoption in the future, right now we are pursuing p…

Our Decision to Adopt

The best thing that has happened in the last 20 months occurred yesterday. My husband and I made an actual baby step toward...well, a baby. There is a skinny/chunky, white/black—frankly quite ambiguous child in our future. We have utterly and completely devoted ourselves to adoption!

On Sunday, we arranged a meeting with our new bishop at church. He was kind, compassionate, and had family members who adopted children into their home. He listened to us, didn’t question us, and showed so much respect. We were SO grateful for that. It turned out that he wasn’t very familiar with the adoption process, but he promised to look into it.  Later in the week, Jk went to LDS Family Services to get more information about adoption. For those of you who don’t know, LDS Family Services is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and assists individuals and families with various kinds of counseling and services. They used to be involved with helping adoptive couples but no longer p…

Moving to Arizona & Looking into Adoption

Life update: we’ve moved to Arizona! It’s been exactly one week since we arrived and the only building that I can confidently locate is the library. So here I am. It is 99 degrees outside and I am wearing a sweater, surrounded by books and strangers, and my most prized possession is my library card. Not much has changed.

Jk begins classes for graduate school next week but has already started spending his mornings on campus. He has a job as a research assistant so he gets his own cubicle and a brand new computer to work on. I plan on working just as soon as I can find a job. It is currently my dream to be a stay-at-home mom, but someone told me you need kids for that! We’re working on it. (More on that in a minute.) We are currently living with Jk’s parents, who are so sweet to let us invade their space for a little while. The plan moving forward is threefold: I need a job; we need to figure out our future family situation; and then we can decide on a more permanent living situation.


Deciding Whether or Not to Take the Pregnancy Test

Every month, it is clear that I am not pregnant. The sign comes as expected—on time and no room for interpretation. But every now and then, it is slow to come, throwing a wrench in things. This is when infertility is especially difficult for me… when I need to decide whether or not to take a pregnancy test.

I know that the odds of getting pregnant are extremely low. I also know that it is possible for us to get pregnant. These two polar opposite truths gnaw at me, telling me that there is hope but only the tiniest bit.

In January, I wrote a blog post about the first pregnancy test that I took. After getting a negative result, I made the definitive decision to forget about tests and wait for the obvious sign that will inevitably come. It is logical and effective to just wait it out. Still, every time there’s the possibility of pregnancy, the thought runs through my head, “To test or not to test…”
There have only been two or three times in the last year and a half that I have been expec…

Animals in the Attic

I’m just going to say right now that I think Heavenly Father gets extra creative when writing the screenplay of my life. Things are going along as expected and He’s like, Too normal... That’s when I find wild animals in my house. Cue gongshow.

While Being in Love, Adventure #2

About a month ago, my mom was visiting from out of town. For a few days while she was here, Jk was in Arizona, so it was just mum and me. One night, I came back from work, walked in the door, and was overwhelmed with the amount of noise blaring from every corner of the house. This was in May, before we made the decision to turn our AC on, so all of the windows were open. I could hear dogs barking, music blasting, and lawnmowers mowing. But above all that, I could hear the sound of an animal cooing. My mom was just chilling on the couch, drowning out the noise.

Me: What is that?
Mom: What is what?
Me: That animal sound.
Mom: It’s so loud in here, I didn’t notice.
Me: You didn’t notice?
Mom: I think it’s a bird …

Grandpas Say the Darndest Things

The past few days have been a blur of bittersweet exhaustion and celebration. Last week, my husband’s grandfather passed away at the age of 90. We love Grandpa Westphal and we already miss his charming personality and amazing sense of humor. Every night has been a late night, spent with Jk’s parents and siblings from out-of-town. We’ve spent a lot of time at Grandpa’s house with everyone, looking at old pictures, playing games, and celebrating the life and legacy of a wonderful man.
In my family, I never spent very much time with my father’s parents before they passed away. My mother’s parents are still alive and are some of the sweetest people I’ll ever know, but they live all the way across the country. The past few years knowing Jk, I’ve been blessed to observe the sweet relationship he had with his grandfather. I warmed up to Grandpa Westphal immediately. He was friendly, generous, and welcomed me into the family right away. He was witty and straightforward, always speaking his mi…

In Contempt of Court: While Being in Love

Almost 3 years ago, Jk and I were engaged and planning for a wedding. We were constantly making lists: wedding planning checklists, an engagement registry, a guest list. On one particularly boring list of things-to-do, I wrote at the top something like,“To Do #WhileBeingInLove”. At the time it was a joke, but ultimately that hashtag became the mantra for our marriage. We decided early on that whether life was tedious, ridiculous, or difficult, we would do it all while being in love.

This summer has been absolutely wonderful and totally wild for us. Never before have we had so many adventures and faced so many unknowns. Since easing off social media, I haven’t had the opportunity to share some of those experiences that have made me so grateful for that mantra we began years ago. I thought it would be fun to gather our stories together and feature them as a series of blog posts. Consider this the first in a list of Crazy Summer Things That Have Happened to Us (While Being in Love).


Straying Away from Social Media

I was in an elevator, riding up two floors to get to my dentist’s office. Also in the elevator, stood a mother holding her young daughter, surrounded by 3 kids. One of the little girls looked up at me and said, “Hi!” Immediately her little sister (being held by their mother) lit up and said, “Hi!” The big mushy heart inside me melted all over the place and I was reminded, I want!

Dealing with infertility is this really strange balancing act of wanting to be surrounded by children and pregnant women; and at the same time, not wanting to be reminded of a hole in my life. I think that kids are hilarious and babies are perfect and I love being around them. Pregnant women are interesting and their bodies are miraculous and I am fascinated every time I see them. But to be honest, I feel kind of traumatized when I consider the fact that I might never experience pregnancy. My now 26-year-old body could go an entire lifetime and never make a baby—that’s crazy. And depressing.

I used to look…

Infertility from My Husband's Point of View

Let me start by stating this fact: I have zero skill when it comes to expressing my feelings. I write about technical things (and trust me, I get real passionate about them), but I feel like a dummy when I try to demonstrate my emotions with words. Bear with me as I try.
With that disclaimer, let’s get started.
I grew up the youngest in a family of four. If you ask my siblings or my parents, I was spoiled. I don’t deny it. My life was… cushy. And I think that’s what gave me this impression that my family’s life would be similar. Please note here that I’m not attempting to throw a self-induced pity party or encourage harsh judgement. I’m trying to be open.

As recently as two years ago I imagined our future family as large. I imagined that we would have lots of kids, a full house, and lots of food. I had never even considered the possibility of infertility. I don’t think I even knew that infertility existed*. I assumed that when we made the decision to have children, we could have chil…

Another Rejection in Infertility

Man alive, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. In March, we were given hope that our insurance company might change their minds and give us the opportunity to do IVF. Since then, everyone’s been asking for an update and we’ve been like, Join the club!
During the surprise call from our fertility doctor, we were given some instructions for how we could move forward while we waited to hear back. First, Jk would need to do another sperm test to prove that the first one wasn’t a spoof. He would then need to meet with a urologist, or male fertility doctor, to analyze the results. Our fertility doctor and the urologist would work together to appeal the rejection from our insurance company.

So over the weeks, we spent way too much time in doctor’s offices. I met with a female reproductive doctor for an exam to be sure that if we got approved, my body would be good to go. That visit led to more blood tests (always), but eventually I got the thumbs up.

Jk went alone to a few more tests and then…

What I Think You Should Know About Infertility

This week is National Infertility Awareness week, so naturally I wanted to bring some awareness to what Jk and I have been going through. When I get an idea for writing, it lingers in the back of my mind. Festering and combining itself into words, concepts, and strings of thoughts until finally it is ready to come out. These thoughts happened to form at 3:30 in the morning while I was sound asleep. Like an alarm they rang and demanded my attention until I put aside sleep and typed them into the notepad of my phone. As a side note–why are phone lights so blazingly bright in the dark? Huge apologies to my husband.

I don’t claim to be an expert. All I know is what I’ve experienced, what has been shared with me, and what I’ve read online (always a solid argument). Here are some questions I’ve been asked about infertility and what I think you should know:

Who is affected by infertility?
According to what I've read, one in 8 couples experience infertility. Since coming out of the infert…

I Can't Put My Life on Hold for Infertility

This morning I realized that I’ve been silent on the blog for almost a month. Since the unexpected call from our fertility doctor, we’ve taken just as many steps forward as we have back. Mostly we’ve been in limbo (and it’s hard to send a postcard from limbo). We’re not sure yet what’s next—everything could change or it could all stay the same. The great paradox of infertility is that you can always expect uncertainty. The challenge comes in stepping away and finding other things to occupy your mind. 
In January, after long months of waiting to reach the year mark of infertility, I decided that I needed to get involved with activities that didn’t include worrying. In fact, I wanted to fill my schedule with all things stress-free! Fun, relaxing, life-enriching activities. Anxiety was inevitable; grief was unavoidable. I knew that I needed to counter-balance darkness with light. And so came Yoga, Pilates, and the temple. 
As a university employee, I took advantage of free tuition and e…

A Surprise Call from the Fertility Doctor

Most days, I do okay. But some days I'm just over this infertility thing. For a few months now, we have shared our ups and downs and it wasn’t until recently that I ran out of words. Two weeks ago, we received a phone call and then a letter confirming that our insurance provider would not pay for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I took the news, swallowed it, and let it break my heart. I get that we were put on this earth to grow and all, but lately my prayers have been a little like: Thanks but no thanks, Heavenly Father. I think I’m good on the growing thing.

Today He responded, Nope, and sent another bump in the road.

I was sitting at work when my cell phone started vibrating and my caller ID read, Reproductive Care Center. It’s been a few weeks since we talked with our fertility clinic; I just assumed that because our plan fell through, there was nothing else to follow-up on. Curious, I answered the phone and expected to hear the voice of a nurse or receptionist. Instead, I sp…

Feeling Awkward About Infertility

Recently I was asked the question, "How can infertility feel embarrassing?" Surprisingly, I didn’t know how to answer; I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just a few months ago that I was keeping such a significant part of my life secret. Like many couples suffering with infertility, I thought that my husband and I would keep it to ourselves until we had “success” with pregnancy. But now, after being so open about our infertility journey, I'm thinking more about that question. How can infertility feel embarrassing, awkward, or totally taboo? Here’s what I came up with.

One: This doesn’t feel like my story. I remember the first conversation Jk and I ever had about children. It was summer, bright and hot outside; we sat on the street underneath a shady tree while we sipped slurpees. We were dating and I was hungry to know every detail about his beautiful soul. We curiously asked each other questions for hours, back and forth. Hesitant and wide-eyed, Jk asked me how many…

In Vitro Fertilization and Insurance

About a week ago, I messaged an infertility blogger and asked for her thoughts on IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). Jk and I had just gotten back from our doctor’s appointment where our doctor suggested that we try IVF before our move to Arizona in 6 months. I fell hard and fast for the idea of being pregnant by June. But even after hearing an overview of how the process would go, I had a lot of questions. I turned to the author of one of the very first infertility blogs that I followed.

I expressed my reservations about IVF as well as my confidence in our insurance provider. My exact words to her were, “We have [this insurance], which is supposedly the best insurance provider for infertility treatments. Not too worried about the cost.” As it turns out, she had experience using the same insurance provider and had some great insight to give.
I learned that she was denied IVF coverage because she and her husband hadn’t been trying to get pregnant for a certain amount of time. Immediately, …