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Adoption, Infertility, Marriage

The Year That Crushed Me

June 29, 2017

Hello friends.

It’s been a while since I’ve been regularly here at the keys.

Approximately a year since I’ve been able to regularly blog. A year, while chalk full of blessings, was also a year sprinkled with many sufferings.

I mean, even Average Joe struggles a bit with a season of transition, right?

I wager Average Joe would probably be riding the struggle bus a little longer if he compounded multiple major transitions and a few stressful curve balls on top of one another.

And then, I think Average Joe would nearly keel over if he experienced all of the above while having severe mental and physical health issues.

This last year was seriously incredible on so many levels:

A whole lotta good. The above are just some “bigger” things but of course there were countless blessings, graces, smiles, laughter, and memories.

I’ve got my eyes wide open and am fully aware of the gifts I received this year. Just because I see them and an grateful for them, it doesn’t mean tough stuff didn’t pop up. Joy doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of suffering. Sometimes they can exist in the same minute let alone the same week, month, or year. They don’t cancel each other out – they just are what they are. This year was the perfect storm that led me straight into burnout despite all the good that came our way.

I feel the need to really clarify that point, lest I get painted as the Negative Nancy who can’t just gloss over her pain and focus on the good things in life. I admit, I am a Melancholic to the bone. While it can be tempting to get negative from time to time, I try really hard not to stay there and to consistently practice gratitude and choose joy. This isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” blog post. It’s just me admitting that I am not Superwoman and I can still crash and burn HARD even when there are good things going on in my life. Maybe some of my readers will be able to relate. Maybe not. And that’s OK.

So, what exactly happened this year that’s left me limping out of it?

  • Two back-to-back major abdominal surgeries for infertility that may or may not have been successful (no pregnancies yet…still don’t ovulate despite a paper perfect cycle…not really anticipating pregnancy unless God works a miracle)
  • High levels of stress as we discerned leaving an organization we loved
  • Selling a town home while our HOA was in litigation with a contractor (read: way more hoops that usual) followed by a cross-country move
  • Finding a new medical team (Acupuncture, Chiropractor, OB/GYN, Functional Medicine Practitioner) to treat my underlying infertility issues and attending 15-20 appointments a month for health maintenance and taking close to 30 pills a day)
  • Trying several experimental treatments last Fall (requiring 5-7 ultrasounds a month) to induce ovulation that all failed
  • Stressful house hunt with multiple snafus along the way (We were thiiiiis close to having a house with chickens in the backyard LOL)
  • Living with my parents for 10 months with a toddler and eventually a newborn (lot of good living there but some bad since my dad and I both have anxiety and triggered each other repeatedly, resulting in regular anxiety tailspins for us both)
  • Jumping through all the necessary hoops to be adoption ready in under six weeks (Which usually takes like six months…I was a paperwork Zombie occasionally resurrected to life by coffee)
  • Charlotte’s PPHN diagnosis and month-long NICU rollercoaster ride in Arkansas
  • Several weeks of colicky screaming (or maybe just NICU stress detox?) upon returning to my parent’s
  • Launching a business when we literally had no free time…which meant waking up at 3am, pulling all-nighters, and using every single evening after kids’ bedtime to work
  • Progressively worsening luteal phase hormones resulting in PMDD
  • Progressively worsening Adrenal Fatigue no matter what I did to combat it
  • Jonathan’s official ADHD diagnosis and starting of treatment
  • Being hardcore introverted and not making many friends because I just can’t make friends when living in survival mode
  • Jonathan and I developing poor communication habits we let go on unresolved and not prioritizing time together
  • Not officially diagnosed but likely had PTSD after our NICU experience and Post-Adoptive Depression (didn’t even know it was a real thing)

All of that (plus the stress and sufferings other friends and family members were experiencing that I tend to get hit with very personally) just kept compounding and compounding until I hit a breaking point this Spring. And the compounding part was likely the real kicker. Independently, given time to process many of the challenges from the year, they may have merely been minor setbacks. But when delivered one right after the other leaving no time to process, unpack emotions, or reflect – they buried me.

I was having almost daily panic attacks, regular stress-induced emotional breakdowns, and hormonal rage fits that scared the living daylights out of me (and probably more Jonathan). A couple of times I ended up on the floor in the fetal position just sobbing without really knowing why…just that I felt like I couldn’t handle anything anymore and that I was overwhelmed with anxiety and sadness.

I was so afraid of who I was becoming. I was starting to feel like a stranger to my own self.

That’s when I got my little white flag out and surrendered. Jonathan and I decided I needed to pursue counseling to help process through all the massively stressful things piled on our plate. Looking back, I should NEVER have waited as long as I did to seek out help. Seriously, therapies are best when they’re preventative, not when you’ve gone off the rails like I had.

It’s been a couple of months since I started counseling and it’s really been helpful. I also began some really targeted therapy under the guidance of my Functional Medicine Practitioner to support my adrenals. We moved out of my parents home and into our own last month and are really close to feeling settled. Our business is still keeping us busy but we’ve mapped out consistent times to work (and not work – just as important) on it. We revamped our family calendar and added a weekly date night, weekly family meeting, and weekly business meeting which has kept us feeling connected, communicating, and in the know about one another’s days. I have a few more medical tweaks to implement but I’m hopeful the PMDD will resolve to normal ole PMS.

I am starting to feel like me again, which truly is something to celebrate.

Initially I was embarrassed to admit what’s been going on with me this year (because hello, who enjoys admitting publicly they’re broken) but now I’m convinced I needed to.

I am weak. I am frail. I am broken.

That’s OK. It’s really an illusion to think otherwise. Seriously.

Jesus’ light shines brightly in the darkness and His power is made perfect in our weakness. He’s been my rock and I believe he’s led me to the right therapies and treatments I need to keep settling into our new life and heal. He has and will continue to provide for our family.

While I am journeying out of the woods and can see the light beyond the trees, I know this tough year will prove to be a year that stretched me, grew me, and matured me in ways I can’t quite see yet. It’s in times that bring us to our knees when we grow in strength, faith, courage, and wisdom. While I can’t see the growth, I know it’s there. I feel it under the surface and I will just let the Holy Spirit show me in time.

There really aren’t any big takeaways here. Just felt like I needed to let you all know where I’ve been.

Just in case anyone else out there is approaching a breaking point…seeking out help isn’t bad or weak. Don’t be afraid to admit you are needy – whether it’s needing sleep, counseling, medication, exercise, quality food etc. We’re all broken and have seasons where we need to ramp up the self-care so we can love God, ourselves, and the people entrusted to us in life. If you need encouragement or support, I am just an email away!

As I settle in more and continue to heal, you’ll see me back here at True Good and Beautiful! ūüėČ I haven’t forgotten about our corner of the internet and I’ve really missed you all.

And you’ll be seeing more about our new business real soon too! We’re so so pumped about it!

Infertility

When God Ripped My Band-Aid Off

May 16, 2016

It’s no secret that we’ve experienced infertility for over four and a half years.

It’s also no secret that infertility led me to a dark, desperate, and depressed place. I can see it in certain blog posts or even journal entries. (sorry no link to those!) ūüėČ

I was oh so very wounded and emotionally drowning.

But in time that pain started to evaporate.

Jonathan and I began communicating in healthier ways. We launched into the adoption process. We took a break from medical treatment. I induced lactation so I could breastfeed. And finally Josephine Rose Teixeira came into our lives.

All those changes occurred within a six month window and they left me feeling AMAZING!

It was as if everything that had been wrong was finally redeemed. After a long and dark night, the sun began to rise. That’s where I’ve lived a good majority of the past couple of years¬†and to be honest – it was wonderful. It was good to be my happy self once again, free from the stress and pressure that infertility brings with it.

In January I got my cycle back after discontinuing the medication I’d used to induce lactation and I started to feel the old nerves creeping back in.¬†The pressure began to compound silently.

I started medical evaluation. I made major lifestyle changes. I started having anxiety attacks when I had to go to the doctor.

The ultrasounds showed no signs of ovulation. My hormones were¬†headed in the wrong direction. Then the final death blow –¬†¬†I have a uterine septum that may prevent me from ever successfully carrying a pregnancy. The septum requires me to undergo two extensive surgeries in June.

And just like that I fell back. Way back to that dark and lonely place I used to know well.

All of a sudden pregnancy announcements killed me. Gender reveal parties felt like a mockery. Baby showers brought on glazed over eyes and numbness. I grew bitter, sad, emotional, and began isolating myself.

This was as shocking to me as it was Jonathan, since those wounds were supposed to be BEHIND us. I’ve spent the last two years being happy! How could I slip back into this desolate place once again?

It was in reflection and spiritual direction that I realized somewhere in the past couple of years, I threw a band-aid on a bleeding and gaping wound.

The wound was my refusal to trust in God. The band-aid was the excitement of change.

Let’s examine my stubborn refusal to trust God first:

I have trusted God to a certain degree with our fertility issues but never fully. Or if I did really surrender, I grabbed control back faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle!” Trusting God fully in this area means total surrender to his will. To prefer his will to my will. To trust that he will provide for us and grow our family. To embrace¬†this cross and allow it to make me holy. That even if his will is NOT my will, I choose his instead.

The fruits of a surrender like that involve peace, trust, contentment, joy, and love.¬†When I¬†abandon my heart there isn’t room for jealousy or comparison¬†because of¬†trust that I’m¬†living God’s will for me and “Fertile Myrtle” is living God’s will for her. There isn’t room for depression because yet again there is JOY in knowing I’m¬†in the midst of God’s will for my¬†life. There isn’t room for bitterness because peace exudes from those who trust in the Lord. There isn’t room for self-loathing because of a firmly rooted identity in Jesus Christ that defines me over anything else.

Now before anyone else battling infertility stones me, I am not saying there aren’t human emotions to battle after abandoning infertility to God’s will. Jealousy, sadness, bitterness, and depression will still rear their ugly heads from time to time. Taking those emotions and allowing our intellect and will to direct them appropriately to the Lord is what we have to do. Then we can be filled supernaturally with HIS peace, joy, and contentment in the midst of heartache and loss while seeing others blessed around us.

Now let’s peek at that band-aid sitch:

I am literally addicted to being busy.¬†A full calendar, multi-tasking, getting things done, slashing to-do lists, hectic schedules, thinking about an¬†epic and productive day…those are what get my blood pumping. If I even look at a blank calendar, I have anxiety and must fill it immediately…even with¬†simple things like “Lunch” or “Nap” when Josie was a tiny baby. I just have to have things written in to make my day feel packed.

I love busy, so it makes sense why all my infertility woes sort of faded into the background when we were swept into the momentum of adoption and new parenthood. Busy was my band-aid and busy is what I’ve been for two years. I hadn’t stopped being on the go nor have I had anything disrupt that pattern.

Until major negative medical news smacked me over the head and ripped my band-aid off…leaving the same old wound bleeding and exposed.

I don’t want any more band-aids.

I want healing…and it will only come from reckless abandonment to God’s will for my life – no matter how well it matches up to the life I’ve dreamed up. I want to trust Jesus fully¬†with our lives and without conditions or clauses.¬†This surrender won’t be easy and it will probably take a bit¬†of wrestling with God before it’s just how I see life…but I’ll¬†get there.

I want to exude the fruits of abandonment in my life: peace, joy, love, and freedom. I want to be so confident in my identity as God’s daughter that infertility (or any other suffering) can’t shake me. I want to hear about pregnancy announcements and be filled with JOY at the gift of new life for another family. I want to walk up to a group of moms complaining about pregnancy and be able to empathize and listen to them without getting irritated. I want to stop comparing my infertility to others’ fertility.

I want to stop comparing God’s will for my life with his will for others’ lives.¬†

I surrendered control to Jesus over 10 years ago but it was drenched with fine print that dictated under what situations I would actually trust him. I didn’t know I’d done that…but suffering showed the true colors of my surrender, as I think it does for many.

I’m done. I won’t do it anymore. Band-aides won’t help me become the saint you’ve called me to be.

Infertility is all yours, Lord. Kick me out of the drivers seat and help me contentedly trust that your taking me exactly where I need to go – no matter what the circumstances.

No more band-aids. I give you everything Jesus and I will follow you wherever you call me, no matter what it looks like. Give my grace in my weak moments and transform my desires to match perfectly to your desires. 

And help me to slow the heck down. Take this Martha of a girl and teach her how to be a Mary from time to time. Bring me into your presence and help me to be still and know that you are God.

Amen.

Infertility

What We’ve Learned After Almost Five Years of Infertility

April 25, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week is upon us and we’re joining¬†the conversation here at¬†True Good and Beautiful.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples at some point during their child-bearing years. While it’s the minority of couples, most people have a friend or family member who’s battled this painful disease.

Jonathan and I have been trying to conceive (TTC) for 4.5 years and we’ve learned a whole lot in that time. Struggling with infertility has hands down been the hardest battle in our marriage. As you might guess, it¬†has the ability to bring couples closer together or tear them apart.

Personally, experiencing infertility cemented us together in a way nothing else could have. We are stronger, more deeply¬†connected, and more compassionate towards one another because of this battle we’ve faced.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t ups and downs. Trust me, there were many! Through the struggle, we had to learn how to fight together.¬†We also learned¬†¬†really powerful lessons along the way ¬†and that’s what I¬†want to share with you today!

In fact, we’re hosting a webinar¬†(more details below!) to spill the beans on the biggest lesson we’ve learned.

Without further ado, here are a few lessons we learned in the hard knocks school of infertility:

Infertility Touches EVERYTHING

So you thought the negative effects of infertility were relegated to the brief moments of seeing another negative pregnancy test or the start of another period?

Think again.

Infertility has a sneaky way of weaving itself into every single aspect of your life and marriage.

Thought you were safe drinking beers and watching the Olympics at home with your spouse? Wrong. One of the commercials sponsored by Visa will be about Mothers of Olympic athletes. Thought infertility would be the last thing on your mind while shopping for groceries? Nope! They sell baby food at the grocery store and every pregnant woman in town will bum rush the store the second you walk in.

Those are extreme (and real life!) examples but it’s still shocking to me at how infertility pain will pop up in the most random of ways. I’ve learned to roll with it at this stage and have developed the ability to briefly acknowledge it and ¬†move on with life. The really painful situations? Those I lean on Jonathan and really good friends to talk it through.

Learn More & Sign Up for Our Webinar

You Need Outside Support

Hopefully, your spouse will be your rock in the infertility journey but they won’t be able to give you everything you need. This is where friends with similar experiences or online buddies come onto the scene.

I’ve unfortunately been blessed with close family and friends who know the pain of infertility. While I hate the fact they too know this pain, I am so grateful I’m not alone. I’m also in a pretty stellar Facebook group for other women battling infertility. They’re a source of comfort, laughter, encouragement, friendship, and inspiration.

Find these essential people in your life ASAP and I promise the weight of infertility will lessen. Joining that Facebook group I mentioned above seriously pulled me out of an ugly depression. I felt so alone, misunderstood, and judged that I was sinking into a dark place. Those friends were the lifeline I needed in addition to Jonathan’s support.

Men and Women Experience Infertility Differently!

This is the biggest and most important thing we’ve learned.

If you asked Jonathan and me separately how the last 4.5 years have been…you would get VASTLY different answers!

Jonathan is a massive supporter to¬†me in the trenches of infertility and we’re closer because of it. However, that doesn’t mean haven’t had¬†some blow-out arguments. We absolutely fought about infertility the first couple of years. Heck, we’d still be arguing about it had we not learned a few vital communication tactics¬†to help us have more productive conversations.

Our arguments found their root in these 3 things: how we think¬†about, address, and experience infertility.¬†It’s not rocket science to realize men and women are different in their responses to emotional situations but we were ignoring that basic¬†concept as we argued.

Once we honed in on that principle, we developed ways to stop the fight dead in its tracks by trying to understand the situation from the other’s perspective. That’s when we started making progress as a couple in this battle.

Since this is our BIGGEST lesson learned on our infertility journey, we want to take a¬†deeper look with you at those differences. Check out the webinar we’re hosting during National Infertility Awareness Week:

How Men and Women Experience Infertility Differently: Turn 3 Common Mistakes into Your Most Powerful Secret Weapons

This webinar is going to explain fundamental differences between men and women while also examining those differences through the lens of infertility.

We’re going to show you some stellar strategies to overcome those challenges and get on the same page with your spouse about infertility. Not only that, you can then use these mindset shifts to your advantage and eliminate the frustrating tension that so often dominates infertility conversations.

Sign up to grab your seat today!

We’re excited to see you in the webinar and hear more about your story!

Infertility

Join Us Live For Our First FREE Live Webinar!

April 20, 2016

Next week is filled with many a good thing.

First, it’s National Infertility Awareness Week and the internet with be swimming with high-qualityand eye-opening content to help those battling infertility.

Second, the Teixeiras are joining in the fun by going live on our very first FREE Webinar:

Men and Women Experience Infertility Differently: Turn 3 Common Mistakes Into You Most Powerful Secret Weapons!

If you would have told me three years ago that we would be doing a webinar about infertility, I would have laughed you out of the room.

At that point we were riding the struggle bus as we came to the growing realization that we indeed were battling infertility. Soon thereafter I was interviewed about the experience of infertility by a dear friend in the Carrying the Cross of Infertility Series: part one, two, three, four.

And just like that we were in the open with our battle against this silent disease.

From that point we’ve come into contact with hundreds of other couples experiencing infertility. We’ve received and given support and encouragement. Most of all, we’ve grown through carrying this cross and matured under it’s weight.

Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

It’s now time to take what we’ve learned the past four and half years and bless others. How we WISH we would’ve had a seasoned couple take our hands and teach us how to¬†live our lives with joy while knowing the pain of infertility.

Join us for our first-ever FREE live webinars next Wednesday or Thursday evenings!

In our webinar you will learn:

  • How men and women think, experience, and process infertility in different ways.
  • Common pitfalls couples fall into because of these core differences.
  • How to leverage these tension spots to actually become your secret weapons for understanding one another.
  • How a few¬†simple tweaks in your mindset can result in successful conversations and deeper connection.

If you are someone who’s battling infertility for eight¬†months or eight¬†years, join us next week for our webinar! Perhaps you haven’t personally experienced infertility but you know someone who has, would you send them an invite to our webinar? Thank you!

Again, we are here to encourage, inspire, and bring much needed comedic relief to those carrying the cross of infertility.

We can’t wait to see y’all live on the webinar next week! Talk with you soon!

Infertility

How We Fumbled Through Our First Week In Business

April 12, 2016

I mentioned a few blog posts back, that Jonathan and I are launching an online business. 

Or rather…businesses.

We can’t let the cat our of the bag on ALL our future ideas but this past week we launched marketing for our first idea.

The Infertility Survival Guide. 

What is that exactly?

It’s not released (yet!!) but will consist of an¬†online package custom-designed for couples facing infertility. It exists¬†to inform, support, caution, encourage, and inspire.

Infertility has a way of weaving itself into every day. It’s not an understatement to say that infertility has the potential to wreck marriages, finances, health, psychological well-being, friendships, work, and relationship with God.¬†Our goal is to help couples experience infertility without it destroying their life.¬†

It’s the guide we WISH we had when we were learning about infertility only a few short months into marriage. We know it will bless the lives of others and can’t wait to get this message into the hands of those who need¬†it.

This past week we launched our first set of Facebook ads letting people know we’re here. It consisted of a blog post, free resources, and Facebook ads specific to our content.

And it was nothing short of a complete disaster!

We’re part of a business-related Facebook group for online entrepreneurs. After seeing our pages getting ZERO traffic on day one, I went to them for advice….

Our ad was the issue and needed to be redone ASAP. After fixing that, our new ad got rejected by Facebook. After that, we got feedback that our free resource wasn’t being sent to people signing up for it. After that, we were told our blog post was information overload and needed to be shortened. And finally after all that, we were told our titles were too generic and lacked emotion and vulnerability.

We tweaked, tweaked again, and tweaked some more and even then, we weren’t seeing any traffic to our page from our ads because it’s really hard to target our ideal audience on Facebook due to limitations about fertility related words on their end.

Needless to say, I was so discouraged….until I realized the truth!

The truth is that this past week was a learning experience. Our free content¬†and ultimately The Infertility Survival Guide are amazing resources. The need is there and the part we have to figure out is how to get our information into the hands of those who desire it. People call that marketing and it’s apparent we are on a steep learning curve.

But that’s OK. We’re new at this. It’s actually prideful to assume we would’ve hit it out of the park on our very first online business, let alone our first attempt at getting our name out there.

I totally understand why people quit when the going gets tough. This week was frustrating, sleep-depriving, and infuriating. Who would want MORE of that?

It’s not the end of the story and that’s what I keep reminding myself.¬†“Rejection doesn’t mean you failed. It means you tried. Try again.” is a quote I’ve had to cling to. There are a lot of rejections behind any success story. The difference between a quitter and a success story is simply that the latter kept trying when times got tough.

We’re going to keep learning, crafting our marketing skills, and growing so we can do what we do best – help people thrive in what matters most.¬†That’s what it’s all about for us.

With all that said, we could sure use your help! 

If you want to help us out, please consider private messaging friends and family whom you know battle infertility to “like” our¬†Facebook page¬†so they get all our updates .

We will be hosting a few FREE webinars coming up during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 25-29th) and would love your assistance inviting friends to join us. Our final product, The Infertility Survival Guide online package will be available shortly thereafter.

Thanks, everyone! ūüôā

Anyone else out there starting or running a small business, let’s connect and cheer one another on in the journey!

Infertility

Autoimmune Paleo: Our First Three Months in Review

March 23, 2016

Some of you may remember us mentioning that in 2016 we are going Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) in hopes of addressing possible underlying infertility issues.

Well, we’re nearly twelve weeks into the diet and wanted to share with y’all how it’s going.

Of course on the first day, we had a dinner guest, so it really put the pressure on. Making all new recipes to try out on guests? Not my typical style but it’s how the cookie crumbled.

That evening we served Bacon Wrapped Asparagus as an appetizer, Steak, Sweet Potato Fries, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts for dinner, and Apple Pie as dessert.

Yup, it was a very safe AIP meal to serve but I didn’t think serving our guest a hearty helping of Liver Pate, roasted turnips, and cauliflower rice was the right thing to do.

applie pie

And yes, the pie was de-lish, topped off with coconut whipped cream For a grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, everything-free pie, it hit the spot but let’s not act like it was the real deal since it wasn’t. Very close though!

Since that time, I have basically lived in my kitchen.

We can’t eat anything processed so every. single. meal. is made at home. I’ve undoubtedly cooked more in the last few months¬†than in all our years of marriage…which wasn’t that hard to beat since I’ve never loved cooking. It’s growing on me though and becoming quite therapeutic.

I’ve found a few favorites that I basically make weekly. Chicken and Acorn Squash Soup, Carrot and Sweet Potato Chilli, Cherry Pie Bars, Carob Cupcakes, and Bacon are my go-to foods and for good reason.

pie bar

It’s become obvious that I’m bacon-ing and sweet potato-ing my way through life while in fact I am actually supposed to be vegetable-ing instead. EEP! But this next month I am making a more concentrated effort to focus in on the veggies and get my 8-12 cups per day.

I haven’t noticed too many drastic changes yet which is slightly disappointing when other seem to have a night and day difference immediately. I’ve seen subtle changes¬†in my energy levels and my 15-year-long constipation battle has completely resolved…which is a VERY welcome change. I got my hormones re-tested and they’re still trash…but I am holding out hope that as my body heals, those will respond in time.

Hats off to Jonathan, Mr. Supportive Husband of the Year for doing this diet with me although he has no reason to health-wise. He’s begun the re-introduction phase of the diet¬†¬†and is more or less back to a normal diet with no difficulty.

I on the other hand? One day I was brave and tried an egg…and ended up almost vomiting and passing out immediately after eating it. Then I had a raging headache for a day. So not ready to reintroduce eggs apparently. Another day I ate¬†homemade popcorn and my thyroid was swollen and throbbing¬†for 48 hours straight and I became an insomniac. No corn either I guess. AGH! I am coming to grips that this will take some time and as I heal, I will likely tolerate these foods I am reacting to but not right now.

The plan is to give it several more months and then see what my hormones and thyroid levels are doing and then I will likely begin reintroducing food once again.

Anyone else doing this diet? If so, send your fave recipes my direction! ūüôā