I am stronger than infertility

With this week being Infertility Awareness, my thoughts often return to what Hailame and I have experienced first handed with infertility for so long.

It’s amazing that in the moment of a trial, it feels like that trial is going to last forever, and there were some days that I truly did believe that.

But looking back I’ve learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit.

I fully believe that God blessed me with the ability to have patience and a vast amount of faith to help me take on the hard days we experienced in 2018.

There were multiple days when I thought for sure I was going to give up, but in those moments I always felt peace. Peace that life is still wonderful despite that hard moments. Peace that those hard moments would soon pass, and they always did.

I had many instances where loved ones and friends didn’t fully understand what we were going through and they would state opinions blindly, not knowing the heartache we were feeling, and in those moments, I forgave without question.

I quickly learned that not everyone was going to fully understand what we were going through, and that was okay. I grew a community of support that held me through moments of not wanting to be told what to do, but just listen when I needed it.

But my biggest strength was that of faith. I KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT and had so much FAITH that everything was going to work out.

And everything has worked out. Our life may not have turned out the way we planned or expected, but in my opinion it has turned out better than I could have possibly imagined. Our experience with adoption was EXACTLY what we needed, and I’m thankful that we get to grow our family in such a unique way!

Our time with infertility has opened our eyes to be more understanding and less judgmental. I know that there are so many couples who are still trying to find their path through infertility, and this week, more than any, my thoughts and prayers have been with them.

Infertility is still very much apart of our life, but it doesn’t define us. If anything, we have allowed it to shaped us for the better and to bring out the best in us.

love, hannah jane

the ultra sound

I had the wonderful opportunity to be present at our baby’s ultra sound a few days after Christmas. This ultrasound was such an amazing experience to participate in.

Before this ultrasound, I personally had gone through many ultrasounds when my doctors were trying to diagnose my PCOS and infertility problems.

Each and every ultrasound became harder and harder to go through hearing time and time again what was wrong with me.

My ovaries are covered in cysts.

My Fallopian tubes are clogged.

My body isn’t cycling properly.

One of my fallopian Tubes no longer is working.

Some cysts are gone, but there are still a lot there.

etc. etc. etc.

I started to dread going to ultra sounds because I usually came out crying knowing I had bottled up a lot of frustrations before each ultra sound and all emotions came loose during them (my poor doctors…)

So to have the opportunity to have apart of an ultrasound showing a beautiful miracle inside, a miracle that Hailame and I have as our own and to have the extraordinary woman, who is allowing us to have this child, invite me to be there to see this beautiful miracle was a tender mercy my soul has been longing for.

No words can express how my heart felt the first time see that sweet baby in the “ultra sound cam” (I don’t know the correct terminology.)

After months and years of continuous uncertainty and no’s from doctors, there was a baby girl growing and waiting to see us in a few short months.

This ultrasound was a strong confirmation that God answers our prayers in ways that we don’t expect.

He puts people in our lives that can help us, and we can help them.

Hailame and I are so thankful and humbled to be going through the adoption journey. We have learned so much and have discovered new meanings of love, family, and questions answered from God.

love, hannah jane

This is Us, PCOS Month, & Infertility

****Just so you know…I’m talking about the Episode 1 of This is Us.  If you haven’t watched it, just know I warned you before sharing spoilers!

***If you don’t care, by all means keep reading!

**If you haven’t ever watching This is Us, please go and watch it!

I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts about PCOS all month, but I couldn’t gather my thoughts the way I had hoped.  I’m glad I kept putting it off because last night watching one of my favorite TV Shows ignited so many insights and impressions!  So here I am, two day’s before the month ends, sharing my thoughts about PCOS Awareness!

Enjoy!

I love that one of my favorite TV Shows, “This Is Us”, shared the raw and heart wrenching pain that comes from Infertility and PCOS, especially since September is PCOS Awareness Month.

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The reasoning why Kate was diagnosed with PCOS wasn’t fully accurate because PCOS is not always weight driven.  It is just one symptom of many other factors that are a part of PCOS (and for some, weight isn’t even involved in their diagnosis), but I still love that it was shared in this situation.  This article from Bustle was a great read for appreciating the exposure for PCOS, but wanting to clarify that there is so much more to PCOS.

Kate’s birthday party emotional break down is what really hit home for me in this whole episode.  I felt like Kate was reading my journal when she literally exploded all her frustration of being trapped in a body that wouldn’t lose the weight she worked tirelessly for, and couldn’t make the baby she yearned for.

I’ve been in situations when I’ve tried to explain my frustrations to a friend and I know that they fully care for me and want to help me, but just as Kate’s friends reacted, don’t always know what to say in moments like that.

For me, I don’t necessarily need to be told anything.  Most times, I just want to be heard and loved, but don’t want to be told what do to.  I’ve done so much homework on PCOS, and so I know what I need to do, and I actively try to work on everything I can to thrive in PCOS and Infertility.

So, when I unload my heart ache and frustration on someone (usually a very close friend, family member of my husband), most of the time it’s because I just needed to get it out because I had been bottling it up for so long and I needed to detox my soul.

I’m so thankful to those who have patiently listened and allowed me to open up.  These moments are not daily, but do happen every now and then and I’m so glad I have family and friends that I can confide in.

PCOS is a part of my life that I’m learning to accept and be actively taking care of, however, PCOS does not define me.

Most days I am spot on in taking care of my self, and I almost forget that I even have PCOS.  Some day don’t go so well and my symptoms are slapping me in the face.

I am 1 in 10 women who live with PCOS.

This 4 letter acronym answered so many questions I had been struggling with and in the exact same moment empowered me.

Infertility is not the end of the road for my husband and me.  It has been a bumpy, long, and emotional road, but we know there are other ways to grow our family and we are working our tails off to get through this Adoption Adventure.

Just like I appreciate Kate’s vulnerable moment of PCOS and Infertility watching this episode, I really loved Randall’s moment of joy when Deja told him she was ready to be officially adopted into their family.

I cannot wait until Hailame and I get to experience that moment of finding out we get to finally be parents through the sweet opportunity of adoption.

love, hannah jane

Some of my other insights and experiences with PCOS and Infertility

PCOS: A letter to the newly diagnosed

Infertility… and a bag of chips

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Infertility Awareness Month

 

Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies

I have been wanting to learn how to be more resourceful with Almond Flour.  It can be difficult to bake with alternative gluten free flours, because they absorb and bake different than regular flour.

Earlier this week I was having a sweet tooth and wanted to try my hand at almond flour cookies.  I have been craving thumbprint cookies (not sure why) and have been looking through Pinterest to find the right recipe that doesn’t involved me going to the store 🙂

I finally found a recipe from #Bakerita, and it was just what I needed! —>Recipe

These cookies were super simple and easy to make!

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The recipe says to roll the dough into a ball and then chill for 30 minutes to 24 hours. However, since I was planning on baking them right away, I rolled them into balls immediately and then chilled them for 45 minutes.

I used my own homemade strawberry jam as the filling and it was perfect (because there is nothing more perfect than homemade jam!!)!

Jam

Sweet Tooth satisfied!

love, hannah jane

PCOS and Lifestyle Realities

A couple of aspects that are hard with having PCOS is accepting that my body doesn’t accept and digest certain foods the way it use to, and “cheat days” are NOT worth it.

I have read and studied 1,000’s of articles regarding eating lifestyles that are beneficial for PCOS, and about 99% of them say that adapting to a gluten free/dairy free lifestyle is best in treating the symptoms of PCOS.

When I was first diagnosed, I went full on gluten free/dairy free.  It wasn’t easy, but I kept thinking in my head, if I follow this lifestyle, I’m bound to lose weight and get pregnant.  I did lose a few pounds, but never got pregnant.

I would get so frustrated because PCOS had put weight on me, and it was hard to lose it, and the way my body holds the weight mixed with the symptoms of PCOS made me look pregnant and so I was regularly asked it I was pregnant….which I wasn’t.

Most who asked if I was pregnant had no idea I was struggling with PCOS and infertility so I couldn’t be mad at them (even though sometimes I wanted to) because they had no idea what was going on.

As a result, I would get down on myself and my situation and eat all things comfort food… which usually involved all things I shouldn’t be eating.

This resulted in my hormones being out of wack, me putting on more weight, and feeling even worse about myself.  Good job Hannah.

So for the last few years, my eating lifestyle has been an absolute roller coaster, to say the least.  Some months I’m proactively following the “PCOS Lifestyle,” and other months not so much.

I’m human.

I’m a human who struggles to take care of myself because it’s hard.

It’s hard to see other eat whatever they want and not gain weight.

It’s hard to look pregnant and not be able to get pregnant.

**Complaining rant over**

So here I am… again… trying to be better about my PCOS Lifestyle, remembering that because I’m human I can keep trying.

Trying to be better about taking care of my body.

Not justifying cheat days…knowing the next day I’ll be regretting it.

Taking it day by day.

Continuing to learn more about PCOS and eating lifestyles.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! (thanks Mom)

Food

So, to start this off right, I am going to share some of my favorite PCOS appropriate recipes that I make.

Quite often when I’m cooking, I think, “oh, I should share this,” and then I completely forget to take a picture and share it’s goodness because I am just so excited to enjoy the great meal I made…. I’m going to try and be better about that!

Please note that I am NOT a photographer, and so most of the pictures I take will look like an amateur took them… because an amateur did!

Happy PCOS eating!

love, hannah jane

 

 

 

 

PCOS… a letter to the newly diagoned

Dear PCOSister,

Welcome to the unique sisterhood and world of PCOS.

You’ve just left the doctor’s office, and received the news that you have PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Something that millions of women live with, and there are a million different versions of it, not just one molding of it.

As you move forward with this news, I wanted to share a few words of advice that really helped me and a few that I wish I had taken and acted upon.

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Surround yourself with support.

I know right now you may think your body is fine and you might be a little in denial of this situation, but surround yourself with support.

Go to the doctor if that works for you.  I know it can be hard to go to the doctor while you are sitting in a sea of pregnant women and there you are not pregnant, trying to find out why your body won’t get pregnant.  I know, it really stinks.  But go to the doctor.

If you aren’t the doctor going type, find yourself a community of support, because you are going to need it.  Some things can’t be explained outside the world of PCOS, and only those who share this can really relate.

Find yourself a listening ear in your mom, sister, friend co-worker who will be there to fully support, listen and just be a positive presence in your life.  There is no reason to go through this alone.

Live a healthy lifestyle.

I wish I hadn’t allowed PCOS to be an excuse to not lose weight, and now I’m paying for it and having a hard time getting the weight off.  Although it may be a factor to having PCOS, you have more power than you think.  Bad health lifestyles will not only effect your weight but your body’s ability to function properly.  Take care of yourself and your body, because it’s the only one you get.

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Be patient.

You are going to tried mentally, emotionally and physically with some of the health trials that come with PCOS.  Be patient.  Learn from these trials and find ways to help those around you.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

You are going to find that family and friends especially close to you will be able to start their family sooner than you, some may even have PCOS and will be able to have kids.  Don’t compare yourself.  Don’t even think about it.  It won’t do any good.

God’s timing for everyone is different, and you are going to grow and learn to appreciate so much while waiting to start your family.  Learn as much as you can and don’t compare.  No one’s life is without trials.

Be quick to forgive.

Not everyone is going to fully understand what you are going through. They may assume different things, judge from what they think they may know, a few may think they have the answers that you’ve heard a million times, BUT no matter what, forgive quickly and endlessly.

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Live abundantly.

Don’t allow the symptoms of PCOS to engulf your identity.  Live abundantly.  You have PCOS, but PCOS does not own you.  Life will go on past PCOS, and you can learn to live a full wonderful life with it.

If you need anything.  I am here.  I’m no expert, but I feel like I’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on living with PCOS.

There are aspects I am great with and others that I still learning to live with.

I’m not perfect.  I would like to say I live the perfectly healthy balanced lifestyle, but I’m still human and I have “cheat” days… weeks… months… and then somehow I find the motivation to start over again and keep going.

You can too.

love, your fellow PCOSister

hannah jane

 

 

 

 

Difficult Roads

On Mother’s Day, I received an anonymous gift.  In side was a card letting me know someone was thinking of me this Mother’s Day, a beautiful necklace and a quote that was just what I needed at that very moment, and still use it to draw strength and encouragement from:

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”

Mountains to Climb

Growing up, I’ve always loved mountains.  Being raised in Salt Lake City, I was surrounded by beautiful mountains.  My parents would regularly take our family camping in the mountains, and I grew up loving Yellow Stone, the Tetons, and other beautiful sites.

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My Family- Mirror Lake- July 2014

But it wasn’t until college, while working at Jacob Lake  Inn, that I really came to appreciate and love mountains.  For 5 fall seasons in a row, I spent 6 days a week working as a waitress and 1 day a week hiking the trails of Zion National Park, Snow Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona and the Kaibab National Forest.  During my 2 hour work breaks, I would go trail running in the forest close to the Inn, and I hiked Rim2Rim of the Grand Canyon 3 times.

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Grand Canyon’s Cape Royal- May 2013

It was in these moments that I pushed myself to do hard things.  These experiences gave me that drive to challenge myself and try new things and see beautiful, amazing and breath taking views and destinations (cue Hannah Montana’s “It’s the Climb” 🙂

I’m continuing to learn that life in its self is a mountain that we are climbing everyday, or maybe more like we are climbing multiple mountains with different experiences we have…. marriage, careers, family,  goals, daily tasks, etc.

Not every experience is a trial, and each experience brings learning and new outlooks on life no matter how simple or drastic it is.  With each trail in life, I’ve learned that my attitude and outlook  has a lot of control in how much I take away from my experience and what I learn.

***BACK TO THE NECKLACE***

As you can see, that small act of kindness from whoever sent me the necklace and quote really helped me remember what I’m capable of.

I love this necklace, and it has helped mold my outlook on the kind of woman, wife, mother, and individual I want to be.

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Colorado River- New Years Day 2018

Just because I’m not regularly plateauing Angel’s Landing, crossing the Colorado River while doing Rim2Rim or running through the Kaibab Forest doesn’t mean I’m not capable of conquering the mountains I have in front of me right now.

I can conquer every mountain I’m climbing right now.

I can take control of how I approach PCOS, and not allowing the symptoms to define who I am.

Hailame and I will be able to have a family of our own.

I am capable of disciplining myself to become healthier.

I will be a Mother… one day.

Why?

Because…

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations…

and my road of life is beautiful.

love, hannah jane

p.s. If the wonderful person who sent me this gift is reading this, thank you for thinking of me, it was and is just what I need.