An Impromptu Maternity Photoshoot

Maternity Photoshoot San Francisco

When infertility is part of your story there are moments you aren’t sure you’ll ever experience: showers, baby registries, decorating a nursery and of course a maternity photoshoot.

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For When You Get Pregnant

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Since the fateful weekend where I took five pregnancy tests and discovered I could get pregnant, I’ve wondered how I would address moving from the camp of “infertility” to the camp of “mom.”

There is a solidarity in finding others who are struggling the same way you are struggling. I found my journey to be much more bearable once I discovered I wasn’t alone. And while we are all hoping for our miracle baby, when someone leaves the camp, those still in the camp rejoice but a little bit of sadness still remains.

Most nights I think of all the women (that followed my journey or vice-versa) who are still waiting for their positive pregnancy test and I wonder, “Why me?”

It’s overwhelming to think about, and I want you to know I haven’t forgotten.

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Three’s Company

cute pregnancy announcement

I’ve always been a fan of sitcoms. Ever since I was a little girl… I even imagined what it would be like to star in one myself. One funny, not-so-secret trick that prop people utilize when one of a show’s female stars becomes pregnant is they make the actress walk around with boxes and packages or have them stand behind some obstruction to hide their belly. Well, If I was a star in a sitcom, I would be walking around with a box for nine months because… I’M PREGNANT!

It’s still a bit overwhelming to talk about but I will try!

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Will You Trust Me?

Infertility | Will You Trust Me?

I spend a lot of time thinking of fertility and my lack there of, time spent on trying to not spend so much time thinking of what I want but yet don’t have…it’s all rather exhausting. As the years go on, sharing bits and pieces of our story is difficult for the very reason it’s rewarding: people are invested. It’s a lot easier to keep this part of me internal, but I can’t do this alone so I will continue to share.

I’ve felt unsettled lately. It’s a cross between lack of sleep and this season of busyness we’re in. The aspect of timing haunts me whenever I am required to think too far in advance (which is very unlike my pre-infertility days). This apprehension leads me to avoid forecasting and planning, but I also become frustrated when last-minute things arise which cause Jordan and I to be apart. The job of trying to have a baby is taxing at times.

In August, I finished my fourth round of ovulation stimulation drugs (three rounds of Clomid, one round of Fermara). My doctor was hoping to kick my body into gear, so I was prescribed a higher dose. Thankfully, I didn’t feel many side effects despite the change in dosage. The big difference for the month was I had an ultrasound to check the general status. Lo and behold I had SIX eggs. My follicles and uterine lining were healthy too, which was really nice to hear.

“I’m not sure why you are having trouble conceiving with all of these eggs,”  the technician kindly joked.

“Yeah, I couldn’t tell you.” was the only response I could muster.

I left my appointment with a stern warning about the likelihood of conceiving multiple children. Long before beginning fertility drugs, Jordan and I had a discussion and felt comfortable despite our increased chance (my grandmother had twins naturally, so one never really knows). I tried waiting, but I caved and took a pregnancy test. I felt pretty positive during the five minute wait. When the time was up, I stared at the indicator as one pink horizontal line dashed my hope.

I wrestled for a moment, in the bathroom, on how I would react to the disappointment. I mean, my body appeared to be optimally geared for baby making. What was wrong this time?

My patience gets tested on a monthly basis as there is no way to know if this month will be the month. We were advised to take time off of Clomid so my follicular fluid could fully absorb.

There are only a few more months for the possibility of a 2016 baby,” are the thoughts that plague me.

So much of this journey begs me to answer this question from God, “Will you trust me?”

Will you trust me with your hopes, dreams and desires? Will you trust me in providing for you? Will you trust me in the seasons of drought and plenty?

Trusting in His sovereignty…in His love for Jordan and I, isn’t easy but it is the only way.

What next, Lord? We just want to bring you fame.

Weekend Links / / Allergies and Lady Bites

Nashville Farmer's Markets

On Wednesday, while editing photos for a project, I found this snapshot from a late summer farmer’s market peach run. Finding photos from this day reminded me just how much I loved my first southern summer. Those same markets that were bursting with corn, tomatoes, juicy berries and peaches a mere six weeks ago, have transitioned to seasonal gourds and pumpkins.

My allergies have been out of control lately (another reminder that Fall is here!). Friends warned us prior to our move to Nashville that allergy medicine would be a must because Nashville is in a valley. They were not joking! I had a whopping two day+ sinus headache this week which left me sneaking naps whenever I could. In general, I try not to nap as it messes with my ability to go to fall asleep at night, but sometimes they are a welcome treat.

What are you weekend plans? Several friends are passing through town this weekend, so we have lunch and dinner festivities for tomorrow and hopefully lots of football watching on Sunday!

Onto the Links!

Simplify Meal Planning / / People in my life know I cook a lot. Eating home cooked meals is something I enjoy and have made time for in my life. I get asked often how I do it (find the recipes/inspiration, cook etc). My system is a bit haphazard but if you are new to the process look no further than Brittany’s post.

Organizing my Pinterest Boards / / Pinterest is only helpful if you can actually find the information once you’ve pinned something. Kelsey explains, step-by-step, how she cleaned up and simplified her Pinterest boards.

31 Days of Scripture During Infertility / / Lisa participated in an October writing challenge last year which resulted in her creation of the eBook, 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility. She is back again with a new 31 day project. Day two, Learning to Wait, has given me a lot to think about.

Wearing a Dress for Fall / / Everything about Jana’s outfit is perfect and completely something I would wear and have worn. It is reminiscent of this look, minus the hat! I love pairing denim jackets with easy cotton dresses.

Bites & Sips: Ladies Night In / / Kelly attended a girls night in which featured rounds of catchphrase, wine and appetizers. I love this idea for a birthday party or even a “just because” party. Swap the wine for Diet Coke and it’s reminiscent of my sleepovers in high school — I love it!

…One other thing before I sign off. Jordan was on another episode of Vernacular Podcast this week talking all about James Bond songs. You can listen to his episode here!

Happy Weekend, all!

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Family Photos When Nothing Has Changed

© Kate De La Rosa

Jordan and I used to send out yearly holiday cards. The photos weren’t professional — just something fun from the previous year. When we started trying to expand our family and subsequently ran into issues, my desire to send out cards vanished. I envisioned that our yearly photos would serve to document our expanding family.

“It has to be this year, right?” Or “At least by my next birthday.”

With each passing year, I found it increasingly more depressing to send a photo that still included two people. Even though we’ve been making a lot of great changes (moving across the country, starting a new business, traveling etc.) On the outside it looks like everything has stayed the same. Why document it?

Writing this out sounds pretty pathetic, but it’s the truth.

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Joy, Pain and Truth

Lubbock, Texas

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the art of having a blog and what I want to convey to you, the friends who visit this space. We all have influence; our number of Instagram followers might be small (compared to 50K!) but that doesn’t negate the fact that someone is listening to the words you choose to share. I desire for all my words to be sprinkled with honesty and hope.

Here are a few thoughts that have been swirling around my mind. These are my words…

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Our Visit Home + What I Ate

Summertime in Chicago

Leading up to our visit to Chicago, homesickness had really set in; The three rounds of infertility drugs I recently finished, while mild compared to some, took me on more of an emotional roller coast than I cared to admit. Our trip home came at just the right time. Jordan and I finagled our calendar to pack as much as we could into our week. Somehow we managed to accomplish almost all of our plans — including visiting grandparents on both sides!

Jordan and I stayed in Chicago on Friday night, the first evening of PitchforkJordan had a photography session scheduled for sunrise at Millennium Park on Saturday morning. Chicago is a magical place and it wasn’t until we walked the streets early in the morning that I realized how much I missed this city. Nashville is wonderful, but the cultural diversity, Lake Michigan, architecture, and FOOD Chicago offers is incomparable. Thankfully, we’ll continue to visit so I won’t have to ever say goodbye.

mother and daughter

^ My dad’s garden makes for a beautiful background!

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On this trip I decided to give myself a pass on adhering to my gluten and mostly dairy-free diet. My indulgences were few and carefully selected, but they certainly happened! After our photo shoot was over, we walked to Intelligentisa Coffee. We had to wake up extra early to ensure we were prepared for the sunrise, which was a struggle at first, but we also had plenty of time afterwards to enjoy our coffee and prep before leaving for Pitchfork.

Intelligentsia serves my favorite espresso and this vanilla latte was everything I remembered and more!

Shake Shack opened two locations in Chicago last fall. I forgot about it until we walked right past one! Jordan and I decided to eat lunch there Saturday before making our way to Pitchfork. I didn’t want to go too crazy with gluten and dairy (I wasn’t entirely sure how my body would react) so I chose a Chicago style hotdog and ate it without a bun. It was delicious!

My skin didn’t immediately freak out, but I currently have a few breakouts on my face from this trip.

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^ His and hers.

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On Tuesday, Kate (one of my favorite people!) took family photos of Jordan and I. I’ll share more about that later, but after the shoot wrapped, we had time before we needed to head home. At this point, we still hadn’t eaten any pizza. Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza, but most of the time locals eat thin crust cut into squares. Don’t get me wrong, deep dish pizza with a corn meal crust is something to seek out, but it’s a lot of commitment for an average Tuesday. To get the full experience, you really need to dine-in.

Our favorite pizza place downtown is Pizzeria Uno, but the cooking time is a solid hour — event dining at its finest. We didn’t have that amount of time, so we chose Lou Malnati’s instead. Their pizza isn’t as thick as most deep dish, thus the wait time is closer to 25-30 minutes. I do love LM. The sauce is sweet and their crust has just the right flaky texture.

Chicago

We celebrated birthdays and new beginnings, reconnected with friends and family over Dairy Queen blizzards and rounds of Scattegories. There will never be enough time to do it all, but I couldn’t have asked for a better visit.

Until next time, Chicago!

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*All photos (besides the one in the garden) taken with our iPhones.

Weekend Links / / Homeward Bound

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My weeks are organized in three different ways: Monday-Sunday (work schedule), Sunday-Monday (the technical way) and Friday-Friday (Weekend Links). When I sit down to write these posts, it always takes me a moment to get my bearings on where I am in my week. Ha. Ok, I’m ready to go!

Jordan and I were quite the busy bees the past few days: impromptu dinner dates with friends were mixed in with preparing for a quick trip to Chicago. I am SO so excited to see our families. This trip will be split between work events and family time and I know it will be too short. I’m realizing now there never will be enough time to see everyone we want to see on our visits home. I’m looking forward to spending a little time in one of the best cities in the world. I’ve missed you, Chicago!

And lest we forget about the food: You better believe I’m going to risk any potential breakouts for a slice of delicious pizza. When in Rome, or in our case, when in Chicago! Haha.

On to the links!

/ / The 5 Secrets of People Whose Homes Are Always Clean. I was so encouraged by the five tips Brittany shared. Jordan and I deep cleaned over the weekend and several days later, when the filter on our air conditioner unit was replaced, I was able to tidy up in no time. Over the next several weeks, I’d like to dive into our storage unit (which holds our christmas decorations, out-of-season clothes, extra books, luggage etc) and purge even more.

/ / You Are Not Forgotten: A Guest Post. This is one of the more beautiful pieces I’ve read on infertility. I’m so thankful for the women and men who are honest about their highs and lows.

/ / Fudgy Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake. I went searching, with no luck, for a gluten and dairy-free cinnamon coffee cake recipe this week. They all seemed to involve 30 weird ingredients, but I stumbled upon a flour less chocolate cake that I can’t wait to make!

/ / Rebooting Your Productivity. I can procrastinate with the best of ’em. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you are being productive, but it’s just as easy to waste a lot of time watching Netflix. Haha. The steps Kate took to get back on track are practical for anyone.

/ / Snapshots of Japan. Daisy and her husband traveled throughout Japan last month and their vacation photos are beautiful!  Asia in general hasn’t been high on my travel priority list, but my mind has changed after following along on their journey!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan & Kendra & Katie.

Hey Natalie Jean

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“Over time the balance started to shift. The big obstacles remained — I still couldn’t get pregnant, I still hated my job, I couldn’t move those obstacles with all the tractors in all the Palouse — but my days had become so populated with all these little miracles that I had run out of room for the rest of it. The good had caught up to the bad and eclipsed it altogether.”

I began reading Natalie Holbrook’s blog in 2010 right after the birth of her son, Henry. Up till that point, I had mainly read food and home decor blogs. Discovering the lifestyle genre opened up a whole new world to me and I fell in love with Natalie’s voice right away. Her writing is descriptive, honest and funny. It really resonated with me. Natalie is my spirit animal.

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