So remember how we have been building our own bedroom furniture? We started with the bed and are totally in love with how it turned out. Then we moved on to the side tables and were thrilled with how they tied into the bed, while adding a level of brightness to the room with the white paint. Next up, the dresser! Except for this one didn't go quite as quickly as the previous items of furniture. As in, we were living with this dresser set up for quite some time. Even after the room was finished being painted and we moved the bed back in, our clothes stayed in the other room on the futon for 3 more months. Talk about inconvenient.

We finally finished the dresser the beginning of June and have been enjoying it ever since.

Our problem with the dresser came from not having much time to work on it. Whenever I say "we" worked on the dresser or "we" made the furniture, I'm really saying Dan. He was the brains behind the operation and he did 99.9% of the work as well. He has been crazy busy with work the last 6 months so he didn't have a lot of free time to spend on the dresser. But slowly, very slowly, it came together. (Excuse the crappy iPhone pics)

We didn't realize how incredibly huge it was until we maneuvered it into our bedroom. And then the real size hit us. IT IS HUGE! But there was nothing we could do about it at this point, unless we wanted to start over again, which we didn't. So we just have a huge dresser.

I did help considerably with the painting, which was my contribution to the project. And I kept him company while building the rest of it. That is why I still feel comfortable saying "we" built it.

The drawers are huge and fit all of our clothing easily. With our old set, we used two dressers to fit all of our clothes but were hoping to go down to one dresser with this new set. The plan was to get rid of clothes but instead, we just built a bigger dresser. I still want to go through everything though and minimize.

We used these plans for the Madison Dresser from Ana White's blog and then tweaked them to suit us. That's the way we like to roll, use plans for guidelines only.

The bedroom is really coming together and I love the flow of the furniture with the colours of the wall and bedspread. Basically, I'm totally in love with how things are looking so far. We are still a little ways from completion but we are making good and steady progress. Next up, some decorating!

What do you think of our dresser? Do you love it?

I'm having a hard time lately. Like I mentioned in my last post, the 5 year mark of trying has hit me really hard. As in, I all of a sudden feel in a panic to get a baby. I don't want to wait an indefinite amount of time before it's my turn. I want one now. Heck, if I'm being really honest, I wanted one yesterday. Or 5 years ago.

I hate how infertility steals so much from me. It steals a lot of joy from life. It's hard to be patient and content in ones circumstances when they aren't the circumstances I was planning for. It's hard to remain hopeful when nothing has ever worked. It's hard to be happy for others when my heart is breaking inside. 

I've also been dealing with feelings of guilt lately. It's my body that is failing us. It's my eggs that seem to have issues. It's my uterus that can't seem to hang on to a pregnancy. It's my emotions that are off the wall. It's all my fault. Which I know isn't entirely true. And I know no one is blaming me. But it's how I've been feeling nonetheless.

The wait is absolutely killing me today. Five years feels like too long to wait. And another five may kill me. In fact, another year may do it. How much more can I emotionally take? What will be my breaking point? When will I say "enough is enough"? When should we give up? 

Everything is too much today. I can't handle today.

It's still empty. Our "hail mary" cycle didn't work and we did not get pregnant. I felt like the cycle went really well and that I responded well to the meds, which got my hopes up really high. By the time I could start testing at home, I had myself convinced that it had worked and I was pregnant. So when I discovered that it hadn't worked, I was crushed. I took this unsuccessful cycle really hard. As in, I ate a bajillion cookies, cried a lot and watched Friends for a few days straight.

Another reason why I took this failed cycle so hard, was that it was the last chance at getting pregnant before we hit the 5 year mark of trying. We started trying in June 2010 and here we are, five years later, still with empty arms. It hurts so much. I can't even really explain how much it hurts. Unless you have been here, you cannot know.

So since I have done such a good job at over sharing our journey up to this point, I thought you only deserved to know what is going on. We are currently on a treatment break for the summer and are taking these three months to enjoy each other, enjoy the nice weather and do some serious thinking on what our next steps should be. I will continue to update you guys as I feel comfortable doing so, but in the meantime, we appreciate all thoughts and prayers sent our way! And if anyone sends cookies, I'd appreciate those too.

It's that time of the year again! When the weather is warmer and things start to grow and I become all delighted and share pictures with you weekly. Although depending on how things grow, I might skip a few weeks at the beginning here, so as not to bore you too much.

Last week and weekend were very productive in the planting department around our household and our yard is looking so much nicer thanks to it. My mom visited last week and she lovingly bought some flowers (and a pitchfork) for us. Isn't she the best?

Of course the day after we planted all these fabulous petunias, we had a frost. But never fear, I took care of them all and brought some in and then covered the rest. I didn't lose any, thank goodness.

She also bought me some herbs so that I could get my herb garden started. I took out one of my flower gardens for this purpose and Dan helped me border it with nice stones. We also planted some seeds so while we're waiting for those to grow, it's looking a little empty.

Since we were on a roll with the planting, we planted our vegetable garden too. I can't wait for little plants to start popping up so that it looks less like a giant dirt garden and more like food.

Our hanging herb garden is doing well too, considering I brought them in and overwintered them. I'm not sure if they will last the whole summer but for now they are good.

Rhubarb is producing well and I have been picking it for a couple weeks now. I'm also pretty excited about all the blossoms on our blueberry plants.

Basically, everything is looking great and giving me so much joy. But the thing that has given me the most pleasure over the last month? My new and improved flower gardens!

I really really really wish I had been smart enough to take before pictures, since they looked like crazy wild jungles before I attacked them. You can't really appreciate how good they look now, without seeing how bad they looked before. But I know and because of that, I am totally in love with them. They make such a huge difference in the appearance of the house.

As a bit of a sample of my crazy flower gardens, here is the last remaining garden that needs dealing with. It's getting a little late in the year so I'm thinking that it will be a job for next spring.

Ya I know, it's mostly weeds with some flowers thrown into the mix. Like I said, crazy jungle flower gardens.

So there you have it, a small sample of what's growing around here and how lovely and green everything is. I love this time of year so much!

Anyone else planting anything lately? Whether it be flowers or herbs or veggies?

I had a friend of mine who has gone through IVF write up this post for you guys. I hope that this helps you understand a little more what someone going through an IVF cycle experiences and what the procedure involves.

What is IVF?

IVF stands for In Vitro (= Latin for ”in glass”) Fertilization. What that means is you take sperm from a man, and put them in a petri dish with eggs from a woman, and the sperm fertilize the eggs. The fertilized eggs are called zygotes, and then they become embryos. The embryos are usually cultured (= keeping them warm in a dish) for a few days, and evaluated by an embryologist (who is a PhD, not an MD). In a typical IVF cycle, one (sometimes more than one) embryo is transferred back into the woman’s uterus. This usually happens around day 2-3, or day 5-6. The embryos that are not transferred can be vitrified, which basically means freezing really quickly to a really cold temperature, and then transferred back at a later date.

An IVF cycle starts out by stimulating the woman’s ovaries to produce a lot of follicles (little bubbles of fluid that house an egg). Most cycles, a woman only produces one follicle, but for this, you want lots. To do that, the woman is treated with a cocktail of medicines that is very variable. Usually, though, it consists of something to stimulate follicle growth (sometimes FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, which is what your pituitary gland produces normally) plus something that keeps her from ovulating too soon. 

During stimulation, the woman gets frequent ultrasounds, and sometimes bloodwork, to monitor the process. It’s important that she doesn’t produce too many follicles, because that can lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which results in fluid accumulation in the body and can be dangerous and even fatal. When the ovaries have a sufficient number of good-sized follicles (this number varies a lot, but approximately 10-20), she is given a medicine that induces ovulation. But before she ovulates, she is sedated and the eggs are removed using an ultrasound-guided needle that goes through the vaginal wall into the ovaries and retrieves the eggs from the follicles. The eggs are then put into a dish with the man’s sperm, unless the couple is doing ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). ICSI means that the best-looking sperm are identified, and one sperm is injected into each mature egg.

In some cases, the embryos can be tested for a specific known genetic mutation, or screened for genetic abnormalities. It’s also possible to use donor eggs, donor sperm, or even donor embryos. These techniques are not legal in all countries, however.

IVF is emotionally demanding for both partners, and physically demanding for the woman. It can also be very expensive. And unfortunately, IVF does not protect against ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Statistics and success rates are hard to define, since every clinic is different, and there are so many techniques being used. But the success rate is somewhere around 30% after one IVF cycle. Since the first IVF baby was born in 1979, it’s been a quickly developing field that has helped countless couples have children, and it’s a great option for couples struggling with infertility.

I find that most people don't actually know that much about our male and female fertility. When all you have to do is have sex and that gets you pregnant, you may not feel it necessary to do any research. If you don't know all that much, that is totally fine! Consider yourself lucky that you don't have to know all the different terms and abbreviations and such. But for those of us who are struggling with infertility, we tend to learn pretty quickly how our systems are supposed to work.

I came across these different infographics and I thought they were a nice overview and could be helpful to those who aren't as familiar with how our reproductive systems work. I have included the link as to where I found them underneath each picture, which will bring you to an American fertility clinic. I apologize but it seems like most facts out there on the internet come from the States, so bear with me!



If those are hard to read (who am I kidding, they're impossible to read!), click the "via" link underneath each one and it will open it in a bigger window.

This post is part of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week. To learn more, click here.  

Back in April I participated in National Infertility Awareness Week and going along with the theme of "You Are Not Alone", I shared stories from different women about their infertility journey. Well this week is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and I am participating! I'm all for helping raise awareness so be prepared for some infertility related posts all week.

Did you know that 1 in 6 Canadian couples struggle with infertility and need to seek treatment in order to build their families? That is a pretty high number, if you think about it. That number means that someone you know could be struggling with infertility, whether you are aware of it or not.

I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would be our story. No one really thinks that they will struggle to get pregnant or stay pregnant. No one wants to be on this road.

It will be five years next month since we started trying and in that time frame we have suffered three early losses, have been seeing a fertility clinic for a year and half, and have gone through three treatment cycles. These have been the hardest five years of my life but I am still here and still fighting.

I am now going to copy and paste some stuff that I wrote during NIAW. I was planning on writing something new but I just couldn't put it into better words than I already have, so I apologize for those who have already read this. It's worth another read though.

Infertility and losses have affected me so deeply, I don't really know how to put it into words.

It makes you feel broken, like your body has failed you. You see everyone else getting pregnant and having babies and you begin to wonder what the heck is wrong with you. Something that seems so easy for others, seems impossible for you. You become bitter and jealous, hating all pregnant people or people with kids. Pregnancy announcements bring heartache and despair. Going out in public, where you might run into baby bumps or children, becomes a huge fear and anxiety. Facebook is no longer safe. Church is no longer safe. Grocery shopping is no longer safe. It feels like everyone is moving ahead of you, winning at the race to have children. People you know who got married after you started trying have now had multiple children. Friends move into different stages of life and you are left behind. Family get togethers are painful, watching all the kids run around and knowing that you should have your own in that mix. Holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. 

It puts a ton of strain on your marriage. Men and women grieve differently and deal with infertility and losses differently. You fight more with your spouse. You disagree about how to move forward, how much to spend, what treatments to try. You place blame where it shouldn't be placed. You feel guilty for not being able to give your spouse a child. You become consumed by stress. Sex is no longer fun and spontaneous, but a chore that needs to be done at a certain time.   

It kills your finances. Pregnancy tests cost money. Junk food costs money. Treatments cost a lot of money. You become angry that you have to spend money to just try and get pregnant. You feel bitter that others get babies for free and you have to pay thousands of dollars and still have empty arms. You fight with your spouse about money.

Infertility changes things. It has changed me in ways I never thought imaginable. In some ways, I am a better person for going through this. I am more sensitive and caring, I have matured, I have made some amazing friendships, I appreciate the little things more, I have become a new "me". But it has also made me a more angry, bitter, jealous, jaded person. I judge others more quickly, I cut people out of my life, I have no patience for pregnant people, I avoid babies and children. Some days, I am okay with my story and what my life looks like. I am okay with who I have become and how I am now able to help others going through similar struggles. I like the new me, probably better than the old me. But other days, I find the grief and pain suffocating. The thought of having to feel this way for the rest of my life is daunting, not to mention depressing. Some days I don't want this to be my story, I don't want to face this every day, I don't want to struggle against all these feelings until I die. It just isn't fair.

So this is my story and I am sharing it with the world, to help raise awareness for infertility and to let others know that they are not alone. You hear that? You are not alone.