This Changes Everything: The Confirmation. Part Two

* Disclaimer: If you follow our story through this blog, please be a friend and keep the following story here. We will transfer this news across the social media boards on our own, at the right time. Don’t beat us to the punch, FB friends, Twitter tweeters, and Instagramers! If you fail this mission, Jenn will be really mad and Husband will smash your house and eat your young. *

I cannot believe this. I’m pregnant. Six weeks pregnant. Like, with a baby. A real baby. Not a food baby, a human one. That Husband and I made.

How could this have happened? (I don’t mean that in a when-a-man-and-a-woman-love-each-other sort of way)

Doctor after doctor, test after test, result after result have all confirmed my infertility and have made it very clear that Husband and I wouldn’t be able to conceive without medical intervention….

… Yet here we are, with a bun in the oven.

I’m so overwhelmed with emotions: happiness, gratitude, fear, concern, worry…

I’m a bit shell-shocked actually.

I sort of put the idea of children out of my mind, because infertility treatments are so expensive and emotionally taxing.

The more I think about it, I believe it’s a matter of nothing but Divine Intervention. Here’s the thing:
1. I’ve been seeing my GYN every two weeks for the longest to try every treatment, supplement, and option she can think of to stabilize my very hostile insides. I mean I’ve been on pills, on liquids, on suppositories, on shots…. The works…
2. In the course of 6+ months, I’ve really altered my diet as best I can, eliminating gluten, soy, dairy, processed meats, preservatives and additives, and I’ve even shed about 10+ pounds.
3. I’ve become very familiar with essential oils and natural organic products, in order to eliminate some of the xenoestrogens from the environment that may be setting of my internal chemistry to worsen my Endo and PCOS.

But here’s the craziest part, because of the painful sex situation, Husband and I have had sex TWICE in the entire month of May.

So you mean to tell me, that 10 pills a day of natural supplements, and estrogen blockers encouraged my ovaries to produce an actual egg this time, that just so happened to be fertilized on one of the TWO days that Husband and I had sex, and that my body was stable just enough to actually support the embryo….

Divine Intervention.

Husband and I are so crazy excited! I just can’t believe it’s even real. I’m so afraid of sharing my news, because my body’s been so fragile up to this point, I feel like I really have to protect this blessing.

I know you should wait until after 8 weeks to say anything, because that’s when you’re relatively in the clear for avoiding miscarriage, but I just had to post. If anything were to happen, I would hate myself for not allowing me to be fully present in this moment, now.

We’re having a baby.

OMG!

The Doctor Helps My Body, But Not My Pockets

I decided today that I’m going to take a break from my Lady Doctor. I’ve been seeing a new OB/GYN who specializes in homeopathic treatments, and although she’s amazing, she’s even more expensive. I’ve been seeing her regularly every two weeks for quite some time now, but I’ve got to stop, at least for a little while.

Husband’s been working really hard to support us on his income alone and these doctor’s visits are becoming a bit overwhelming for him financially, and for me physically. I was scheduled for a follow-up appointment tomorrow, but we’re so strapped for cash, I didn’t really have a choice but to reschedule. Besides our financial situation, I’m honestly not even sure what the point is for all these visits. Nothing seems to be working, but it’s costing me over $100 every time I leave her office, on medications alone, not including the copay!

Two weeks ago, I left her office with a small bag full of medications, all of which I listed in this post, and I honestly don’t feel or notice any difference. Let me just follow up with you really quickly on some of those medications.

I was given a big bottle of liquid silver, in which to consume 3 ounces daily. By the third day of consuming the silver I was in the worst shape ever. I was having terrible migraines, flu-like symptoms, and I even had a mild hallucination one morning! After doing some research, I discovered I was consuming Colloidal Silver, which isn’t even safe for consumption and according to everything I found online, doesn’t have any proven benefits! I immediately stopped taking it!

I was also prescribed a first-aid Silver topical ointment for the painful sex situation, and I’ve only used it a few times, but it has definitely helped! My lady parts were still a bit tender for a day or two after sex, but there was a significant change in the intensity. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I was having sex with a rusty fork. We’ll consider that a WIN!!

I was also prescribed estroDIM, which is supposed to block estrogen production and eat up the excess estrogen in my body. I take two doses daily. I don’t really know if I’m supposed to notice any changes in my body, but the ones I am noticing, I’m not thrilled about! I am breaking out like a teenager during puberty. I mean my skin looks disgusting! I RARELY break out on my back! It’s so gross! My face, my chest, and my back are all broken out and I’m miserable about it! I have always had an issue with breakouts, blackheads, and oily skin because 1) I don’t manage stress very well and 2) because that’s a telltale symptom of PCOS, but as of the past three weeks… I mean, eww. I don’t even want to leave the house. It’s embarrassing.

All in all, I’ve been taking some pretty strong probiotics and vitamins to support the estroDIM, and I’ve got a pretty awesome remedy for the painful sex thing, so I think I’ll just stop right here and take a hiatus from visiting her. Her products cost way too much for me to handle right now anyways. I’ve got enough of the estroDIM and probotics to last me the rest of the month, so I’ll revisit her some time in July. This will give Husband and I a chance to channel that money elsewhere, and I can have a break from pill popping!

There is, however, one doctor that I actually SERIOUSLY need to see…. A colon specialist…

Breathe Again

Heard from Jai this morning.

She said Placement didn’t accept the conditional nomination. We have to wait until Mid-May when the new quarter opens up to see if there are spots available for us, which would make our conditional departure date April-June of 2014. But it’s okay.

I was pretty upset about this whole thing a few days ago, but now I’m alright with it. This gives me a lot more time to get my health in order. I have some “internal” issues that I’m 100% sure would have caused me fail the medical portion. There’s no way we would’ve made it to our January departure date even if Husband were qualified.

This also gives us a lot more time to pay off our credit card bills, pay off the huge amount that’s over due at NYU, and get a place of our own. I have decided to withdraw from NYU (for real for real this time) so that I can focus on my body rehab and not have to stress about it. Plus, what’s the point of moving to NY for just one year, or fitting the Peace Corps into those two years of the program. There are so many amazing graduate school opportunities for AFTER the Peace Corps, I know something will work out for me.

In the meantime, Husband and I will be looking for a place of our own because I cannot handle being in our parents’ homes for much longer. I am losing my mind. We have been living out of our element for about 4 months, and it’s affecting us tremendously. We’ll be moving to Athens, I’ll be finding a job just to pass the time by, help with bills, and spend these next few months getting well.

I have been up to my EYEBALLS in stress, trying to figure out where to go, what to do, how to make it work, what to choose, and I finally feel some relief. Granted, our plan ended up being one of the last possible options we wanted, but in the end it’s leading us to one of our goals that we felt was the farthest out of reach. We have been totally against staying in Atlanta, near or around it, but it’s what’s best at this point, AND we get to go to the Peace Corps some time next year!! So we’re game.

Things are finally looking up for us.

Sounds About Right.

Sounds About Right.

The Wait is Over

We can finally breathe a little easier. We can breathe a lot easier actually, now that we have a direction. We don’t have to spend anymore time worrying and stressing about what is going to happen next for us, because now we know!!

I finally found out when registration starts for me back at NYU. I knew that general registration began April 22, so I assumed I was included because I am technically enrolled as a student. I have a $1,900 financial hold on my account and was told that if I could pay it within $1,000 then they’d work with me and let me register. I was able to go into the registration website and add my classes into a shopping cart until I was eligible to register officially. I was told last week MY registration date isn’t until May 20, which is awesome because that gives me a lot more time to pay on the amount. My OB/GYN is also still working on my letter to get me off the medical leave. Things are working out slowly in that department….

However,

Our Peace Corps interviews were yesterday.

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Our interviews were scheduled at 1:00, and we were there by 12:15!! From what we understood, we’d both have an individual interview, which lasts about 60-90 minutes, and then an interview together. Totaling 3 hours.

At one exactly, our advisor Jai walks over with a laptop in hand, and I go first. I am so nervous my stomach hurts! She asks me 18 questions, then we have a conversation about 8 topics, then the floor is open for questions. As soon as I begin answering her, she’s typing my every word, which makes me so nervous! I feel like a total idiot as I speak. An hour later, it’s Tommy’s turn. He’s not even a bit nervous. He’s as cool as ice.

As I sit in the lobby, surrounded by maps and volunteer photos, I’m watching the clock like a hawk. I hear so much laughing coming from the interview room. She didn’t laugh that much when I was in there. It’s past an hour now, and he’s still in there. Oh God, what is he saying to her! He must be stumbling. I bet she’s throwing trick questions as him….

75 minutes later, Husband comes to get me for the couple portion, and as I take a seat beside him I notice immediately that him and Jai are laughing and joking around. Wait… she LOVES him. He’s so comfortable, spitting out answers with little thought and all honesty, and here I am with nerves that are completely shot! Go figure. Husband just cannot meet a stranger.

Our couples interview was short, just a few joint questions and then lots of free time for us to address our own questions and concerns.

Well,

WE GOT NOMINATED!!!!!

I have no idea where we’re going yet, but Jai said she had NEVER nominated a couple right after interviewing them before. She told us she was working on something super specific for us, but the program is actually contingent upon my medical clearance. Husband won’t be bothered about medical stuff until later on in the summer, but I, on the other hand am supposed to be hearing from the Medical Office within 48 hours! This puts the pressure on me, because I am currently having some issues with/within my body and I’m very afraid I’ll ruin everything.

She says I have up until September to be completely medically cleared, which both IS and ISN’T a lot of time. If I am not medically cleared by September, then we could miss the program she’s working on! I was told that because of my medical history, my options for places to serve are limited. If I am not medically cleared, then I will just have to wait for the next round of nominations, which means a country within my restrictions, with spots for a couple, and with our specific skill needs, and who knows how long that could take.

It was all God in this! “It just so happened that with your regional limitations, that I have two spots open in a place you can serve, with both of your skillsets, that leave in JANUARY.” HOLY SHIT!!! January!!!!!! Husband and I have been thoroughly convinced that IF we’d get a nomination, it would be to leave in FALL of 2014…. January is practically tomorrow.

I am just so excited to have gotten nominated! I am BEYOND proud of us! It feels so good to be that much closer to achieving one of my ultimate life goals, and to be able to do this with Husband is a DREAM!! Of course, Husband is completely convinced that his charm alone got us in, but whatever, I’ll take it!! I was shouting from excitement the minute we hit the elevator!

We have a plan! We know what we’re working towards! It feels so amazing to have this huge burden lifted off of our shoulders. Granted, all of this is contingent on my medical clearance, but WE GOT IN!! WE GOT IN! WE GOT IN!!

When a Man Loves a Woman

I was so mad at Husband yesterday. I went on and on for an hour about how much more love I needed him to show me, and how much more I needed him to do. A lot of what I felt and said may have been valid in my own right, but since that conversation I’ve felt terrible. I have never known a man to love a woman, as much as my husband loves me, nor have I ever loved any single person as much as I love him. Sometimes, I don’t realize how much stress he really endures. I also don’t think I understand that despite how calm he acts on the outside, that it doesn’t mean he’s not completely overwhelmed on the inside…

…And I’ve given my husband many reasons to be incredibly overwhelmed with stress, fear, and worry. More than I may realize, and I’m just now suddenly taking notice. My husband is my backbone; he’s our pillar. He’s got to be, and I guess I’ve gotten so caught up in my own stress and my own lack of coping with it all, that I’ve forgotten that he too is a human being.

His wife is falling apart and still hasn’t turned up pregnant, he works with some of the most incompetent people I have ever heard of, our parents collectively are becoming too much to handle, and we’re still in between phases with the Peace Corps and grad school We’re basically in the middle of nowhere and he’s trying to make a run for it, but I can’t keep up.

I only know what it’s like, for me, to deal with news of infertility, trying to get back into the swing of things, trying to find ONE solid day where pain or sickness hasn’t consumed my every hour. I only know what it’s like for me, personally, to battle the fear, day in and day out, of never being able to have children, or being so completely overwhelmed with confusion and concern about what’s going to happen for us next, or feeling so completely powerless to my body and what’s going on with it. I don’t know what it’s like for him…

… I never even thought about it.

I never really once considered what HE may be feeling, seeing his wife sick and in pain everyday. I never really once considered the worry and concern that HE may have about our fertility troubles. I never really once considered how overwhelmed HE might be with the not-knowings of my medical wellbeing on top of all that other stuff he gets from every other direction.

But, according to my bitching yesterday, he still isn’t showing me enough.

When in actuality, he does.

He’s been there for every surgery, he’s been there for every stomachache, every pain and cramp, every prescription and every treatment. With every spell of nausea or discomfort, his world stops. He settles my soul after every conversation about the “what-ifs.” He is consistently THERE whenever I need him to be. He’s THERE even when I don’t need him to be. He is firm in his reassurance that no matter what happens, he’ll always be by my side, that he loves me more and more every day, and the happenings of my body don’t determine my degree of womanhood.

That man loves me more than he can express, and more than I can probably ever fathom. I am lucky. Lucky to have found the man that was specifically designed for me, and me alone…

…So yea, he could hug me more, or kiss me more, he could help me out a little more around the house, but my knowing how much he truly loves me will never falter.

I love you Husband, and you love me back, perfectly.

Soul Mates

Soul Mates

You Can’t Take a Baby to the Peace Corps Jenn!!!

With our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away… I should be spending this time going over questions with Husband, and tweaking our answers to make sure we sound intelligent by limiting the “uhm’s” in case a question catches us off guard. I don’t want us to be ill prepared, but let’s face it, I’ve wanted to join the Peace Corps since HIGH SCHOOL, and Husband’s only recently learned of the Peace Corps, thanks to yours truly.

We should be spending this time shooting off any range of questions we can think of at each other and brushing up on our international affairs; the “goings-on’s” of the world… yet and still, with our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away, there is only one thing on my mind….

…I want to have a baby…

Yea, talk about a wrench in the plans, huh!

I am not sure if it’s the hormonal surge because of my cycle this week, or if it’s because of the baby fever I cannot seem to shake. Whatever it is, the want, the desire, is so strong and so real, it’s almost annoying.

The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment, and for a normal woman, that’s not a big deal. For me, for someone with Endo & PCOS, it’s a very long, very big gamble.
What also sucks, is that most days, I can’t decide which want outweighs the other. The pros/cons are equal. Of course on a super emotional day, babies win. But on those days where I’m fed up with my parents or America, for that matter, Peace Corps takes the cake.

Husband is so lovingly unhelpful. “Whatever you want to do babe, I’m right with you.” “I want a baby too, but I would also love to do the Peace Corps, it’s so noble.” “I don’t know babe, it’s your decision.”

Thanks.

One of my sorority sisters is having a baby and although I am OVERJOYED for her, I’m a little jealous. She’s shopping for baby furniture and posting them on Instagram, and every time I run across a photo, it’s like a jab in the heart. I’m not saying she’s purposely doing this to me, I’ve never even shared my infertility troubles with her, but I want a baby! Well, maybe even more than wanting a baby, in the flesh, right now… I want TO BE ABLE to have a baby. Whenever that time comes, I want to be able to give my husband a child.

Perhaps that’s why this upcoming interview is freaking me out a bit. I am just worried that two years after service, my body isn’t going to cooperate. Hell, it isn’t cooperating now.

Then again, I’ve been reading and following so many Peace Corps blogs and with each post, I get more excited to go! I am just so excited to be interviewing with the man of my dreams. Can you imagine it? Living out one of my childhood “Save The World” dreams with my main man, Husband?! I can’t wait. Living in a mud hut, shitting in a hole, teaching students, being immersed in culture and language… what a magnificently, life-changing opportunity.

Yea, see. I want each one just as bad as the other.

How would you choose?

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Monday Munchies

In the wake of this drastic dietary change… I’ve had to sacrifice some of my most FAVORITE foods and settle for some pretty lame alternatives. Because I have failed to learn to cook, I have been very overwhelmed with the ever-growing list of what I cannot eat. My mom has graciously decided to join me on what she calls a “lifestyle adjustment.” While she’s having a ball, I simply want to die. Thanks for her though for keeping from starvation. Unfortunately, we’re about two weeks in so far and I’ve had two secret mess-ups. ONE: I went shopping with Husband, and I nearly threatened his life for a slice of pizza. I had two! TWO: I ate the SHIT out of a Big Zax Snack Meal the next day… in the car… at a gas station… far from the house.

As hard as it’s been, these are a few of my personal triumphs so far:

1. Homemade fruit pops: I am craving ice cream but I can’t have dairy anymore…so… I made my own popsicles with fruits and veggies in our juicer. I juiced cantaloupes, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, apples, and pears and froze them. They taste so amazing! Definitely a WIN!

Found these at Publix. Less than $5.

Found these at Publix. Less than $5.

2. Trail Mix: I absolutely, positively, whole-heartedly HATE(D) Trail Mix aka Bird & Squirrell Food. I hate nuts. Peanuts, specifically, give me heartburn like you wouldn’t believe. BUT… since I cannot eat processed sugars, chocolate, and gluten… I have learned to appreciate trail mix. They are jam packed with protein, which helps because I have limited my protein intake from meats that I cannot eat.

3. Almond/Coconut Milk: Holy Shit!!! This stuff is amazing! I prefer almond milk to the coconut milk, but they are both really great alternatives to dairy milk. I don’t have to worry about whether my milk is full of antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. These two alternatives also have WAY more calcium than cow’s milk. AND no tummy aches! SCORE!

CRACK!

CRACK!

4. Brown Rice: We all know that I, Jenn, am QUEEN of burnt rice. I can’t cook white rice to SAVE my life. It’s also pretty embarrassing considering I’m Hispanic and all!! Well, since I cant consume anything made from enriched flours or white bleaches, I am happy to say that I am a brown rice cooking master chef! I am cooking brown rice without a problem. Weird because I’ve always heard that it’s harder to cook brown rice than white rice. Whatever! At least I still get my rice & beans. PRAISE!

5. Coconut Oil: Cosmetic products like make-ups, lotions, shampoos, etc. and even processed foods we consume contain these things called xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen) that are setting my endometriosis awry. So, I’ve been on the hunt for some all-natural products that I can use daily in place of lotions and shampoos. Well, I stumbled across coconut oil and I am completely OBSESSED! I use it as lotion, scalp treatment, and facial moisturizer. What’s even more amazing about it is that I can turn right around and use it as a vegetable oil substitute, in place of butter, as a jelly spread and the list goes on. There are some incredible health benefits to this stuff like it’s anti-bacterial and digestive healing properties, and it aids in weight loss by assisting your metabolism.

This stuff is LIFE CHANGING.

This stuff is LIFE CHANGING.

6. Drinking my veggies: Because I have to be so tedious in intaking the good stuff, I have been juicing my veggies. I’ve been consuming (1) way more than I ever would have eaten, and (2) vegetables that I NEVER would have eaten. I can see a change in my body already. I’ve shed two inches from my waistline and my skin is much clearer.

7. Flax Seed/Konsyl: I have been eating flax seeds in my oatmeal and have been adding a bit of the Konsyl fiber supplements into my vegetable juices and have noticed a change in my digestion. I also do this to be sure than I am getting a good amount of fiber each day. Because I am juicing my vegetables rather than eating them, I am losing out on the necessary dietary fibers that those foods provide. Insert Konsyl.

Good stuff but it cost about $20.

Good stuff but it cost about $20.

8. Carob: I am a choco-fiend. I love chocolate sooo much, ESPECIALLY in those few days right before my cycle comes. My love of chocolate results in breakouts, and weight fluctuations. Though I have only had a little bit of carob, I am thrilled. It’s a great chocolate substitute that tastes very similar. I can’t wait to get my hands on some. I am so glad I get to have my chocolate fix without all the breakouts and stomach aches.

9. Salmon: I hate seafood. But, we found this almond crusted salmon recipe on the Whole Foods website and as reluctant as I was to try it, it turned out pretty damn good. I was pleasantly surprised to see how un-fishy my dinner was, and was even more excited to have a new alternative to meat.
10. Sweet Potato Fries: I love my French Fries. Mom and I fried them in cold-pressed Rosemary Oil because I have to be very careful what types of vegetable oils I am consuming. Anyways, they were… AMAZEBALLS.

I am finally starting to feel like this gluten/dairy/soy/meat intolerance thing can become something manageable. I’m starting small, making minor adjustments and not punishing myself for my slip-ups. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions…

It’s time for me to make one of the most bittersweet decisions of my very young life; a decision that I have been battling internally with for months now. One that is taking me a lot longer to come to terms with because of the circumstances. I am not one for being still, not one for moving slowly or taking time off, or “giving myself a break.” Truth is, I love living fast. I love having a million commitments all at once, stretching myself just thin enough to accomplish a world of things while remaining relatively in tact. I love being involved, and I love being busy. I love those really late nights and super early mornings. I guess in my mind I always equated busyness with successfulness, or productivity. I always had to be doing something. I could never just sit down, because when I did sit down, I crashed. My body would fall apart, I’d sleep the days away and I’d just feel like I wasn’t being a contribution to society. So… I just kept moving.

I graduated from high school in May of 2006 and went to college early that June. I did what every freshman/sophomore does… I partied my ass off. I became such a social butterfly and kind of forgot about the college part. But, I paid the price: fully loaded summer terms every single summer with no spring breaks in order to graduate with my peers. I brought my GPA up from waaay down in the dirt to an above 3.0 GPA, joined a sorority, landed a dope internship and graduated in May 2010, exactly 4 years later. From May to August I did my internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and by the end of August, drove from Georgia to Washington to join a 10-month AmeriCorps program. During that program I had 3 jobs. I worked in an elementary school from 8-3, then an afterschool program from 3:30-6, and during the nights I worked at “Latino Night School.” I did this all the while participating on community chapter sorority events, maintaining my gym membership and again, partying my ass off with my teammates. On average, I was clocking in over 93 hours of service each paycheck from AmeriCorps alone. I drove back to GA in August 2011 with my then-boyfriend Tommy (who was living in GA) after the program ended and we got married that December. I started working at Old Navy during those months. What was supposed to be something just to keep me busy, turned into the primary household income, as Tommy was still a college student and stopped receiving military student aid. I was driving an hour to Savannah to work minimum wage, trading shifts to make rent & utilities. He was supposed to graduate that May, but things just didn’t work out. We couldn’t afford his summer tuition, and I ended up cashing in my AmeriCorps education award just so we could make it.

Earlier that year, in April I believe, I was standing with Tommy in line at Old Navy, when I got the email that nearly made me pass out. I had been accepted into the Master’s of Social Work program at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY!! That school has been my dream school since I was a child. NYU was everything to me. So, it was settled. Tommy and I decided that I would go and start at NYU during the fall of 2012 and he would stay behind to finish his last semester at Georgia Southern. It would just be one semester apart, I have family in New York so no big deal.

Then I got sick.

Actually, I had been sick all along. Sick for years, but I was too busy to really notice. Or care. It’s an addiction, the fast-paced moving and shaking. If I had a pain, I’d pop an Ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d pop a NyQuil. Stomach ache, heartburn, skin rash? Tums and Neosporin. NEVER a day off! I wasn’t listening to my body.

I was spending the summer preparing myself for my move to New York since school started in September. UW had denied me, and George Mason accepted me… but come on, there was NO way I wasn’t going to my DREAM SCHOOL. So here I am going to my OB/GYN for a bladder infection & routine pap in July suddenly I’m having surgery in August. I had a laser laporoscopy on August 17th, stitches removed (early) on the 24th and I was on a plane on the 26th. During that time, it was suggested that I consider having babies really soon because of the endometriosis and the PCOS. I also needed another procedure for an abnormality on my pap smear, but that shit had to wait because I WAS GOING TO NYU!!

Yea right. I was an NYU student for all of two weeks before I had to take a medical leave of absence. I’m on a plane back to GA and in another surgery just days before Tommy graduates from college in December. We’ve been here in GA ever since. I was supposed to submit my paperwork to come off the medical leave in January of this year, but I haven’t yet done so. I’ve been trying really hard to get my health in order but just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Tommy isn’t too keen on being in NY while trying to start a family, and honestly, neither am I. My NYU dreams are toast!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m having to choose between two very important things. Do I try and start a family now, because I may not be able to later? (This includes fertility drugs, treatments, tests… the whole nine.) Or do I continue to follow my dreams? (Go to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, save the world and try for babies later when it MIGHT be too late.) I get so frustrated because everyone else gets to have their cake and eat it too, but me… I’m falling apart. While I was walking all over the city post-surgery, doped up on painkillers… I was damaging myself. I was in so much pain and developed internal hemorrhoids. I was being incredibly irresponsible and reckless.

I’m taking the time now to really take care of myself. I’m eating better, working out, actively listening to my body. It’s telling me that NYU is a no-go. More so then my body, my marriage is telling me NO. Neither one of us, at this point, want to go to New York anymore. I don’t want to start a family there, it’s so damn expensive, and I wasn’t really crazy about the curriculum anyways, but still I get caught up on what NYU symbolizes. NYU is fast-paced: it’s grad school classes and internships, papers and busyness, late nights and tears, stress and accomplishment. NYU needed single Jenn, able to run around like a crazy person with no commitments Jenn. But I’m not her anymore. I’m married, ready to have a home Jenn. Ready to start a family with the man of my dreams Jenn. Ready to live life slower, because not only does my condition require that, but my quality of life does too.

I mean, we haven’t ironed out the details of our “baby-making” timeline because we still have so many other possibilities out in the universe. We’re still waiting to hear from UW, did I get in or didn’t I? We’re still waiting to hear whether we can move forward with the Peace Corps. We’re in between the references and interview phase. We’re still trying to figure out what state we want to make home base, and while all of those possibilities will iron themselves out one by one, I know there is one thing I can actively eliminate. My medical leave is turning into an academic withdrawal, and I am okay with that. One decision made, a million more to choose from.

NYU SIlver

NYU SIlver

-Jenn

Like Mother, Like Son

Whenever I’d see those people walking around with their pets in dresses and bows, and really lame bowties and booties, I’d roll my eyes and swear those people were nothing short of bat shit crazy! I mean, a pet…is a pet. There is really no need for nail polish and sparkles, tutus and engraved collars, or super lame nicknames like Mr. Snuggle-Wuggles and Diva-Darling. How completely obnoxious!! The worst has got to be how these crazy people talk to their pets with those relentless baby voices, how painfully annoying….

…Yes, I definitely thought those people were a little douche-y, until we bought Apollo….

Today was Apollo’s doctor’s visit. I knew he had an ear infection. We’d been down this road before thrice over. I’ve been extra careful not to get water into his ears during bath-time, seeing as how my previous dumping water over his head technique caused ear infection #2. I’ve been blow-drying his ears out after baths, and occasionally I swab his ears, although I’m terrified I’ll have a sudden slip of the wrist and BOOM, we’re deaf! I’ve known he’s had an ear infection for quite some time; I’ve noticed each tell-tale sign: shaking his head, scratching (and moaning), he’s even started sliding his head across the floor! I suppose I’ve been so caught up in getting my life in order, that I’ve become quite irresponsible in regards to Apollo.

The nurse isn’t convinced by my confident diagnosis in his ear infection because, “his ears look nice and healthy so far.” Again I reassure her, it’s an ear infection. “Well, let’s get a swab and see.” I don’t know why she won’t believe me. She grabs a long ear swab and digs up some brown muk, smells it, and shouts, “Dear God that stinks!! Yep, that’s an ear infection.” I really didn’t need the theatrics or the faces.

So, we’re standing there him and I. Him on the cold, silver table, and me, heart sinking into my shoes as the vet informs me that Apollo’s got a severe yeast infection in BOTH ears. I’m certain I’m going to be whisked away for child endangerment. I mean, puppy endangerment. Not only that, I’ve apparently been feeding him the WRONG dog food. He’s got a gluten/soy/dairy/meat allergy, which in essence explains the eye leakage, sneezes, and possible ear troubles. Great. I should be shot.

Five prescriptions, an insanely expensive organic fish-based dog food, and $200 later, we’re on our way home and I feel terrible. Apollo is watching me from the passenger seat with those sad, sullen, how-could-you-let-this-happen-to-me eyes and I’m doing my best to avoid eye contact. Oh god, how am I going to explain this to Husband! (Whose response later on was a mere, “it’s just an ear infection, you’ve got meds, he’ll be fine.” He didn’t get it.) He’s the love of my life and I’ve just been so caught up in my own dietary restrictions and medical shenanigans, that I’ve been neglecting him. What a wake up call, it’s not like he can tell me that his ears bothering him, or that his food makes his stomach hurt. He can’t tell me that his eyes are itchy or that he needs a tissue. I love this dog with all of my heart and I feel like absolute shit.

So, I’ll be spending the next two weeks pampering my baby, cuddling and snuggling with my baby, using the best pre-mommyhood mommy voices I can muster up to make sure he knows how sorry I am and how much I love him. He’s my son. No doubt about it. I say this all the time to Tommy: “That’s your dog, but that’s my son. He was supposed to be my child, I swear he’s me in a pooch-body,” and I mean it! I mean how else do you explain the frequent infections (his ears & my body), the sudden gluten/soy/dairy intolerance (both him and I), the extra-loving, sleeps-with-his-head-propped-up-on-my-feet, early-morning-nose-kisses, joined-at-the-hip, follows-me-everywhere-I-go, responds-to-the-secret-language-only-he-and-I-understand, completely connected type of bond we share!! Exactly! He was meant to be my son, and I, his mama!

So coo on you strange, smothering parentals… I totally get it…

-Jenn

Apollo, my son.

Apollo, my son.

Heavy Duty Shizz.

Heavy Duty Shizz.

The End is Only the Beginning

Today was the last day. The last day for the junk food, the last day for the bullshitting around with my exercise regimen, the last day for processed, packaged foods & products; the last day, I swear to everyone’s gods, to actively and willing sabotage our plans for having babies and living ‘til we’re old enough to die laying in bed together, wrinkled & crinkled, holding hands & gazing into each other’s bifocals. We have to, and by have to, I mean HAVE TO change our lifestyle habits: everything from what we eat, to the products we put on our skin, to our stress management, the WORKS. It’ll be a slow and frustrating process, we know, but we don’t have a choice.

I was recently diagnosed with Endometriosis. It’s a condition that basically means my uterine tissue grows on the outside of my uterus, implants on my organs and causes internal bleeding, INSANE menstrual crampage, lots of digestive issues and worst of all… infertility. I’ve also got PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which basically causes a host of other issues like imbalanced hormones, weight gain, irregular periods, oily skin & acne and keeps my eggs from maturing into eggs. My body is extremely out of whack because I’ve spent the last 8 months on bottles of prescriptions and antibiotics from surgeries, biopsies, infections, and digestive troubles. It is more important than ever, to get my body chemistry in order, and I want to do so naturally.

So… that’s it. No more fast food, no more freezer bags and pre-made dinners, no more preservatives, additives, artificials, no more, no more, no more. Those things are full of chemicals that are offsetting my hormones and really making living with endometriosis are real B-word. So we’ll see… we’ve been juicing for the past few weeks and although I personally think veggie juice tastes like dirty water, I can definitely tell a difference in my body and my skin. Tommy loves it, which is weird because he turns his nose up at veggies like a 3 year old!

I guess in order to make a drastic change in your life you’ve got to draw the last straw. That’s pretty much where we are these days: The Last Straw. And we’ll cover it all here! This blog will be about more than just our journey to healthy eating. It’ll be about our battles with infertility, our struggles with our parents, our decisions about jobs and grad schools, our successes, our marriage, our travels, our pooch Apollo (who I promise was supposed to be my son), our Peace Corps process, and our lessons along the way. We’ve got a lot going on, and we’re just trying to figure shit out.

Juicing: Tastes like dirt, smells like shit, yet does the body GOOD!

Juicing: Tastes like dirt, smells like shit, yet does the body GOOD!