Something Different

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Since April, I have spent the remainder of the year recovering from another pregnancy loss, exploring the reason for my losses with multiple doctors, and trying to get back to a place where I can do this again.  Being on an extended break from embryo transfers brings back openings to my life where I can do some of the things I have had to put on hold, over and over again.  But the many months I’ve had to wait terrifies me too.  If I wait too long, I worry, that maybe I’ll give up completely.

Here I am, still waiting.  So, what do I write about now?  I’m thinking something different.

In my extended break from the vicious cycle of infertility, pregnancy and loss, I had the opportunity to participate in something amazing.  If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed I enjoy photography as a hobby.  Photography brings me a lot of joy and it’s a skill always in development.  This month, I attended Firefly Institute, a photography camp for women.   This was an experience of a lifetime.  Surrounded by fifty women, all with a love of photography, and the ability to see beauty in the little things.  Instant friendships formed and inspiring images were created.  I felt loved and appreciated just by being present and being me.  We each got to take five classes and I gravitated towards classes on composition, iphone photography, social media and writing and photography.

Here’s my something different for my blog today.  In the writing and photography class, one of the prompts was to pick a photograph from childhood and write to my younger self.

I didn’t want to write about giving advice or how to prepare for what is to come.  I wanted to write about our lives in parallel, grateful and fortunate and loved and a knowing from an early age that “I’ve got this.”  I was inspired by this set of images feeding animals with my sister, parents and grandparents.

To My Younger Self…

You’ve got it girl—
happiness
love
family
the best family
sports
art
friends
cute pony tails
a sister
who envies your pink room
She loves you but will always hold that against you (‘cause her room was yellow)
And she thinks you are perfect
But we know we aren’t
You’ve got your shit together
Just don’t say shit to Grandma
Oh, you are only two and it’s too late
Maybe you should apologize
But not for your beautiful life

Here are a few images from my stay at Firefly Institute (located at Westerbeke Ranch, Sonoma, CA)

 

Photos by CJE

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This is Me

31chances_Chrissy2About six months ago when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about putting such personal and emotionally painful experiences into words for anyone to read. I wasn’t sure who else was out there that may be writing about miscarriages and infertility and whether or not connections would be created through the blogging world. It was a new realm of social media for me and I didn’t know what to expect. What would my friends and family think? What would my husband think? I had been writing for a couple of weeks before I even told my husband about my blog. With so much uncertainty, I decided to be an anonymous blogger.

When I started writing, I just knew that I needed this place to put my heartbreak and confusion and sadness. I needed a way to honor the babies that I had lost. I needed a way to tell people close to me what I had been through without having to talk through the story over and over again. I hoped that others would understand why I was writing and how much it helped me to share my story. Writing seems to give me a place to put my pain so that I don’t have to carry it with me all the time.

As I began writing, the connections slowly started with one “like” and one comment. I’m not a blogger with a lot of followers, but I have now connected with enough of you to know that in this journey, I am not alone. What I have discovered is that there are so many of us struggling with infertility, pregnancy loss or both. I have discovered that the stories are different but the pain and heartache are the same. I have discovered empathy and support from people that I’ve never met in person. I’ve discovered an online support group that I wish I had found 3 years ago.   I don’t want to be anonymous behind my story. I’m so much more than the words that I share about this one part of my life.

So, here it goes. This is me.

My name is Chrissy and…..

I am 41 years old.

coastal walk  kaylee coast  polka dot headbandsI love to go out walking with my dog and as you’ve seen in previous posts, I love my dog. She is a rescued pitbull and her name is Kaylee. I dress her up for holidays and take funny pictures of her.

Kaylee red boa

I love photography and I enjoy taking pictures of anything that I think is pretty. I have my own Etsy shop where I sell cards of my photographs.

I hate to cook but married someone who loves to cook (thank goodness).

chrissymike-291  chrissymike-765  wedding 1

I met my husband on eHarmony. I never believed in love at first sight until I met him.

We got engaged 5 months later.

When I was a kid, I was a gymnast, a swimmer and a ballet dancer. I quit gymnastics and swimming almost 30 years ago but I can still do a cartwheel and I can still swim butterfly.

I am a stepmom to a teenage boy.

I’ve had an 18 year career in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Until I started this infertility journey I was very career driven. Now I’m very baby driven.

ParisOn our honeymoon, we got to go to many places including Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Cannes, and Monaco. It was a dream come true. I found out that Pierre Hermé macarons are delicious and it was worth our trek through Paris in the pouring rain to find them.

PeruA few years ago I went on a 40 mile hike through Peru. I left within just days of meeting my husband. I came home with a $1,000 cell phone bill.

I have 3 siblings and I love them so much!

Sometimes I accidentally snort when I laugh.

I am a melanoma survivor.

me and dad2I lost my Dad to cancer in 2008. I’ll never forget the sound of his voice when he said, “Hi Sweetie” and I’ll never forget his laugh.

My favorite flowers are Gerbera daisies.

I have a sweet tooth weakness for dark chocolate, chocolate cake and peppermint patties.

My guilty pleasure is watching “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” TV shows. And by the way, if any of you are in Bachelor Nation, you’ve got to check out the blog, www.Ihategreenbeans.com for the Bachelor Recaps. You will not stop laughing.

chrissy little  childhood photoI had a very happy childhood including an awesome teddy bear collection, wonderful grandparents, loving and dedicated parents, lots of pets, and my Dad rocket launching my sister and I into the air in every hotel pool we visited. My mom has been my rock through everything in life.

I think The Muppets are totally awesome.

“Sixteen Candles” is my favorite movie.

I think I have my mom’s eyes and my dad’s smile.

I love giggle fits with my sister.

Thanks for getting to know me.

Love,

Chrissy

Wedding photography:  Mary Bernsen

Other images:  CJE

Holiday Tradition

picboatlighteiffel tower ornamentI am in a new family with my husband and step-son. Before this family, I don’t even remember if there was a time as an adult that I bought and decorated a Christmas tree. This was always something that was special to me in my parent’s house and I continued to collect ornaments all those years, but it wasn’t until four years ago that I started decorating a tree as a new family event. As a couple, we’ve started collecting ornaments when we travel and to remember special events in our lives, and it’s turned out to be a really fun way to decorate our tree. From our honeymoon, we have the Eiffel tower, a scene from Eze, France and Monaco hanging on our tree. We have the Seattle Space Needle, a lighthouse with Santa from New Hampshire and a cute Hallmark ornament symbolizing the purchase of our home in 2013. Last year, we discovered a local holiday community event – A Boat and Light show at our nearby harbor.   I decided this would be our new family holiday tradition. Boats were decorated in Christmas lights; there were lots of Santa hats, a large illuminated Rudolph and even someone dressed up as Bumble. Dogs were out and about, some of them dressed up too. Boat owners handed out cookies, hot chocolate, and other “special” drinks. There was even a boat with Christmas Carol Karaoke where every participant got to walk away with free crab. After experiencing one of my favorite Christmas events ever, this had to be our new tradition! This year, I made sure all of our calendars were cleared so that we could go again. Then an undesirable holiday tradition swooped in and I quickly realized I had the flu. My very own Grinch was holding me hostage and taking away the joy of Christmas.   I was in bed the entire day leading up to the event. I kept thinking that maybe if I stayed there all day, I would have the strength to go out and see the lights reflecting off the water and enjoy the holiday buzz. My plan didn’t work so well and I had to admit that I was still in the midst of a viral takeover. However, I thought if I could just get over there for thirty minutes and get some fresh air and see some of the event, then I would feel like our new tradition still existed. I bundled up, even though I was too hot with a fever and felt like shorts and a t-shirt would have been more appropriate, and we headed out. As the event followed the West Coast Stormageddon’14, the show was a lot quieter this year, but I was very happy that we made it. My husband had to stay close to me to ensure I didn’t fall over into the water or face-plant on the docks in my flu-fever stupor, but the three of us were a team and while they held me up with the flu, we held on to our new holiday tradition.