Viva Las Vegas

I know this is kind of crazy…but I have never been on a REAL vacation with Mr. Big. I’ve been across the country, things like that, but always with others.

Well…Mr. Big and I have been working our asses off. One of our bucket list places to visit before we have kids is Vegas.

So I just booked us 7 days there. And I couldn’t be more excited!!!

Anyone who’s been, I would love to hear your travellers secrets! Places to eat! Things we can’t miss!

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Love…a Marriage Update

For the back story….please see here, here, here, here and here.

In short = Mr. Big, infidelity, marriage counselling, reconciliation.

Some people might be horrified that I’m sharing such personal details…but isn’t that what do in the infertility community? Overshare? Why is it OK for you to know the details of my CM and when we BD…but not that our marriage is struggling? So I decided to share in the hopes that it would help me cope, and maybe help some of you out there in similar experiences.

Because…infertility does more than affect your ability to have children.

Anyway…since it IS Valentine’s Day I thought it was appropriate to share an update.

Things are really good! We are communicating better than ever before. We are on the same page for possibly the first time ever. We are happy, really, truly, happy with each other. We’re dating again (so fun!). We’re making memories. We’re planning for our future. We’re in good spirits. We’re OK with what has happened. We’re ready to move on to the rest of our lives. We’re doing more together than we have ever before. We’re emotionally present for each other and with each other. We’re connecting physically better than before. We’re accountable to each other for our goals.

We still have some bad days, but they are few and far between now…and the way we handle bad days is SO different now. We talk, we support, we listen and we plan together…that has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE and, in the end, is what will safe guard us against something like this ever happening again. Our needs are being met now, by each other and God. We continue to trudge through the hard stuff with our counselor, fiercely determined to overcome our obstacles both individually and as a couple and we are reaping the rewards. Our love is stronger now than ever before and we both have really risen to the challenge to repair what’s broken. Overall, we’re both very positive that not only are we on the right path, but that this love we have is forever.

So there it is. A positive spin on a really shitty situation. It’s been the hardest, most emotionally exhausting 4.5 months of my life. It’s also been the one filled with the most growth, the most positivity and the most development. It’s shown us who we really are, and who we really want to be…and we’re well on our way to the latter.

I don’t wish my experience on any one, it was immensely painful and I don’t want to make it seem like it was all roses and sunshine – it wasn’t. It was painful, messy, angry, confusing, and it almost ended our marriage….but I am so glad it didn’t and now that we are well on the mend I can’t help but be a little bit grateful for the experience. Every day we become better people than we were before, and I know that will only serve us well in the future.

Do you celebrate today? How are you celebrating?

Marriage Ain’t Easy

Hi Friends,

I feel a little guilty for telling you about what was happening with my marriage, and then telling you I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

The reality is: it’s just hard and I was afraid of judgement…so I decided that while everything was so raw I needed to keep it quietly to myself.

BUT… I do want to share with you…because you supported me even when I was sharing my worst, and because you continue to come back even though I’ve stopped talking about it, and it because it really is therapeutic.

So here’s where we are at:

Marriage counselling is wonderful…truly life changing. Our counselor, PL, is amazing and wise and funny and exactly what we need as we navigate this very tricky path.

Our first few sessions with him were about the dirty details. We went through the events, as they unfolded, and how we felt. We went through our histories and our childhoods. We expressed all of our negative emotions and shared how it made us feel. These sessions were so, so hard and so, so emotional (I shed A LOT of tears). He asked us difficult questions, and we gave difficult answers. It was the most challenging time…but also the most relieving: everything was finally out in the open and there were no more secrets. At the end of each appointment he gave us a simple task (go on one date and only talk about your favourite things, go see a movie together and dress up for it, go for a walk in the woods, etc).

Then he sat us down and we had the most difficult conversation of all. He explained that our marriage could not go back to the way it was, it was forever changed and if we wanted to go forward together we would need to build something new together, fall back in love, and start over. He made it so clear that we both had a choice to make – to stay or go, and we it was time to make that choice. This was the most emotional conversation, but we both whole heartedly agreed that we wanted to start over and move forward, together: married.

And so we are working on that. Carefully and intentionally rebuilding our marriage, and our life, and falling in love with each other all over again. PL is exactly right – we are different people now…and our relationship and our marriage is different now. The biggest challenge, for me, was letting go of what was, and past hurts, and moving forward. Through that, though, we’ve learned to speak our minds – honestly and openly, always. Even if it might anger the other. We’ve learned more about each other in the last 2 months than we had in the past 8 years. Open communication has been the biggest and best change we’ve made so far…and comes with just one rule: we are never, ever mean. We say what is on our minds, but only if it’s truthful and not hurtful. Through being kind to each other, I find being supportive, respectful and loving just comes naturally….and those are all the things I want my marriage to be.

I don’t want to paint a rosy picture that isn’t truthful: everything above is true, but it is also incredibly hard, emotional, messy and I am still sometimes so angry. I am working very hard at forgiveness…but it is not coming easily. All of the changes we have made did not happen overnight or easily, and came with immense effort on both of our parts. (Our lack of children has actually been a huge blessing right now, because it enables us to dedicate all of our time to this.) But we have learned just how strong we are, just how capable we are, and just how much we love each other – and those lessons are invaluable. I have learned so much about myself, about Mr. Big, and about us as a couple over the last few months and I look forward to the future so much now. We truly feel like we are on the right path, and that things are looking up.

In all this, what’s shocked me the most is how difficult marriage really is. We watch movies and shows, and it seems like marriage should just be effortless – something that just works or it doesn’t. But that’s not true at all, marriage requires a huge amount of effort – every single day for your entire life. You will always have to work to have a good marriage, but if the marriage is good then it will always be worth it.

Melting Pot Post

Hi!

It’s been a while! Due to the busyness of the holidays, and the work I’ve been doing in my personal life and marriage – I have been struggling to find the words to post.

But I am feeling MUCH better these days – so here I go with a melting pot kind of post to update. Get comfortable, this is going to be a long one.

  • Mr. Big and I are doing well. So well. Our MC (marriage counselor) is wonderful and we are growing so, so much as a couple. I don’t think we have ever felt more connected…and we are really looking forward to our future. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do – but we are so hopeful and determined to make this just a memory in our marriage. Our entire perspective on life, on marriage and on ourselves is shifting and it’s truly a wonderful thing. Again, thank you all for being so supportive and not-judgmental as I shared this horrible experience. It really means the world to me. All my love to you all.
  • I am struggling with a new-to-me condition: generalized anxiety. It came out of no where and knocked me flat on my back – but I am feeling good about the combination of skills training and medication to help combat the panic. The goal is, of course, to not need any medication and just be able to function on my own. I am exponentially better this week than I was last week, and I hope that pattern continues into the new year. My Doctor believes this is just a temporary condition and will alleviate as my personal life settles down – I hope she is right.
  • Our adoption is officially on hold…we’ve notified our caseworker. I was devastated at first, but then I realized – obviously – it was not a good idea to try and adopt when our marriage was in such a messy place. We hope to be back at it again by this time next year…but we plan to take everything as it comes and re-evaluate as time passes. Our marriage is our first priority.
  • On the flip side of that…my last three periods have been completely normal (32 day cycles, 5 day periods, with ovulation mid-cycle). I can only attribute this to the Inositol and vitamin regimen …because nothing else has changed. I can’t help but hope that if I’m ovulating on my own, then I can get pregnant on my own! (I’ve realized that I will never be able to give up on my hope and dream to get pregnant!)
  • For the first time this season, I can say I am really looking forward to Christmas. I am feeling so much better about myself, and my marriage, and cannot wait to overindulge in some good food and family time in the coming weeks. For the first time ever, I took all next week off – so I plan to make some special memories with my nephews and spend some quality time with my sisters and friends during that time.
  • I spent an evening Christmas shopping with my oldest friend – who I had been avoiding because I didn’t want to tell her about what was happening in my personal life. However, as always, I told her everything and felt SO MUCH BETTER instantly. I am so blessed to have a friend like that who has known me since we were 6 – and who knows me better than I know myself. Telling her everything, and her being so kind and non-judgmental was exactly what I needed. I forgot how important those friends are.
  • The pups are rambunctious as always, and the other day Luna brought a dead mouse inside and dropped it at my feet like it was a prize. I almost died, and then spent the next 20 minutes outside in my PJ’s on the deck freezing while we waited for Mr. Big to come home and get rid of it (because I don’t do dead things).

I think that’s plenty for an update! Thank you for reading this far – and I’d love to hear about what you’re up to, and how you’re feeling about the holidays in your comments below!

Final Reconciliation Update

If you’re not sure what’s going on…see here and here for the back story.

I didn’t realize it’s been 23 days since I last posted (with the exception of one #microblog post). I’m sorry for the radio silence… to be honest, I’m still in the thick of everything and while I sat down and wrote at least 10 posts in that time, I couldn’t make myself post them.

The reality is … I’m struggling with my decision to share on here. I am not really sorry I did it, but at the same time – I am wishing I hadn’t. I am realizing that I wanted this to be therapeutic for me, but it’s actually not been therapeutic at all (for multiple reasons). I am actually now insecure in this space, and that is the very last thing I want because I love this space, and the community I am a part of.  I really, really miss writing here.

So… I think this will be my last post on this topic.

Please know we are working very hard at our marriage, have made some huge strides and are actually at a fairly good place right now. We will continue to work towards a common goal, with the aid of our wonderful therapist. Our family building plans are changing rapidly…our therapist has advised us we should give it a year before we adopt – so that child can have the very best home to come in to. The infertile-in-me is disappointed, but logically, I completely understand his point. In the mean time, we may try the old fashioned way (in a few months) or we may not…I’m not sure yet. Time will tell, and the thing we most need right now is time.

Thank you all for your kind, thoughtful, caring words on my posts. I wish I had a way of showing you how much it meant to me – to receive acceptance and love in such a shitty time has been everything, and I thank you a thousand times over for it. This is another reason to love this wonderful community!

Much Love – Raven

P.S: Happy Thanksgiving American Friends!

#Microblogmondays – This.Is.Us

As per usual, I am one season behind the train on good shows. You guys, I JUST discovered This.Is.Us. Do you watch it? It is changing my world.

Let me rewind …this happened, followed by this. I know – even I can’t quite believe I shared something so difficult and intimate with all of you…but really, isn’t that what blogging is about? Oversharing in the hopes of helping/connecting with someone else? And I needed to write about it because…whether I like it or not this IS my life now, and this blog is about sharing my life: the good, the bad and the downright ugly (and this is ugly!). In the wake of this I was desperately looking for something to act as a distraction while I pieced together what remained of my marriage…and somehow I stumbled upon this show I have heard so much about.

I am in love with it. I love the characters, the I love the writing, I love the way each episodes unfolds to show a deeper, more complex layer of each character. I love how real, and normal, and entirely human they are. I love how easy it is to relate to it, and I love how emotional the show is. I pretty much love everything about it, even the cheesiness. It could not have come at a better time in my life.

Do you watch it? What do you think? What good shows are you watching right now?

Find more about MicroblogMondays here.

 

 

Reconciliation #1

I am sharing these posts with the permission of my husband, as a way to cope with what is happening in my life and in the hopes that maybe, somehow, they will help someone else. 

Reconciliation: that is what it’s called when you have a rift in your marriage (usually, but not always, caused by infidelity), and decide to work it out.

That is what our whole life is about now. Everything we do, we do with the intention to repair and rebuild our marriage. It has not been easy. It’s been miserable to learn the little things we have been doing have actually been hurting the other, and we did not even know it. It has been horrible to feel the hurt and the anger, and yet still love them and want to be with them.

The biggest thing is the way we handle stress. When I am under stress, I retreat into myself and hide behind a good book or TV show that I’m binge watching. Eventually, when I start to feel better, I go back to life as normal without ever needing to discuss it in depth with Mr. Big. My subconscious does all of the sorting out for me, and I move on.

When he is under stress, he needs to talk it out, rehash, look at ways to resolve or handle differently. He needs to go out and visit with friends, have some fun, etc. He needs to be around people and talking about it in order to feel better: and then he can move on.

See where there might be a problem here? Especially given that our whole life is stress as we struggle to build our family.

While I was busy burying myself and my problems in a good book, he was feeling isolated and alone in his sadness and frustration. Months of this = big rift between us and even bigger problems.

I want to add that we genuinely didn’t know we had a problem….we have always had a good marriage. We are best friends, who laugh and play together often. We are very affectionate, and very much in love. None of this changed in the time leading up to, and during, the infidelity…which is why it came as such a horrible shock to me. We have always been good at those things, but not so good at talking about our feelings together…which really is the basis of a solid marriage.

And that’s the very core of our problem: my need to not talk about feelings vs. his need to talk about them.

So…what am I feeling? I’m feeling angry. I’ve moved past the sadness, shock and hurt now – and right into anger. I am furious with him for hurting me, for betraying my trust and our vows. I am furious that he reached outside our marriage for comfort, when I was right there in front of him. I am furious that he did not respect me, and our marriage, enough to talk to me about how he was feeling. I am furious that I cannot trust him any more.

Yet…I still love him. I cannot un-love him for this: 8 years of happiness and love cannot be undone by 1 month of stupidity and selfishness. I am angry and I will need a lot of time (and a lot of effort) to recover – but I will recover, our marriage will recover, and we will move forward.

Thankful for PCOS

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada – so Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your weekend was full of food, friends and family. 🙂

When I first heard of PCOS, all I could think about was women with beards (cue panic attack!). It terrified me, but thankfully I had virtually no symptoms (except visibly polycystic ovaries diagnosed on an ultrasound). I dreaded the day I would wake up to my first, ruthless chin hair… living in constant fear of the inevitability of the symptoms – and with little knowledge about the syndrome, I had no tools to prevent any of them. (Spoiler alert: the day did come where I got my first chin hair, and the world did not end).

The further we got into trying to have a baby, the more severe my PCOS symptoms became. I went from someone without a single symptom, to someone with almost all of them at one time or another.

Here’s the tricky thing about PCOS – it has this way of completely un-womanizing you: making you infertile, emotional, and hairy to boot. I felt like an incomplete woman, an incomplete wife and a failure as a potential Mother. It, literally, took away everything that made me feel feminine (I was growing facial hair!! (although, it was significantly less than I feared)). On top of it all, I couldn’t even do the ONE THING women’s bodies are built for: childbearing. It was a very dark time for me, I was 100% disconnected from myself as a woman and my marriage.

Then it all began to change when I realized that somehow, in spite of it all, Mr. Big continued to love me as fiercely as always. Actually, he loved me more (enough for both of us) because I was too broken to love myself. The need to wax my chin did not even faze him, the extra meat on my bones didn’t turn him away and the lack of baby only made him sad for my broken heart. Absolutely nothing in his actions validated my harsh feelings towards myself, and slowly – very slowly – I came to see myself more as he saw me, and less as the cruel thoughts in my head.

Yes, I was growing facial hair. Yes, I was plumper than I’d ever been. Yes, I was emotional and irregular and annovulatory. Yes, I was infertile. But none of those things were the reasons Mr. Big married me. He did not marry me for my smooth face, my thin frame, my calm, normal periods (haha), or for my fertility. He married me because of the person I was underneath all of that – the person I was in my soul. The same person that my family and friends loved. The same person that my work appreciated, and my friends came to in times of need. Realizing that was what made me a stronger person. My body is just temporary: it will change with time, age and experience. But my soul – that’s permanent – and something I will carry with me always.

From there I realized how very lucky I am: Mr. Big is wonderful. He is such a good, kind, gentle man and I am so very blessed to have him. Knowing that he stuck by me through such a difficult time, and loved me when I was too hurt to love myself, showed me the kind of man he really is. It made me love him harder and more, which has – in turn – allowed him to love me harder and more. The thing about love is, the more you love yourself – the more open you are to be loved. The more he taught me to love myself, the more I was open to receiving love, and the more rich and full my life became. Realizing this is what has made our marriage stronger. 

Without PCOS, I am not sure either of us would have learned all that we have, and all that we continue to, on this journey. Every day it makes me a stronger woman and a stronger wife, and every day it makes him a stronger man and a stronger husband. It is also what has driven us down this adoption path that has been so very fulfilling, already.

So this weekend, while it is a time for Thanksgiving, I have to say I am particularly thankful for PCOS. At times I truly felt it was ruining my life, but it really was just taking it apart and rebuilding me as a stronger, better person…and for that, I am so very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving – I hope you all find yourselves surrounded by love and peace this holiday!

#FridayFavs – It’s September!!

Ah it’s September!! My most favourite month, that begins my most favourite season, that leads into my most favourite holidays.

In case you haven’t realized…I LOVE September.

  • I love the way the evenings cool down, and the mornings become crisp.
  • I love the way the leaves begin to change colour.
  • I love the way the grass and leaves crunch under my feet when I walk.
  • I love the reprieve from a hot summer (although, it wasn’t hot this year).
  • I love the entrance into Fall (my fav), and all it entails – Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas!
  • I love the first snowfall, when the season is new.
  • I love cuddling by the fire in the evenings, catching up on our TV shows.
  • I love the calm that comes from back to school/summer vacation over (I live in Cottage country = major traffic during summer).
  • I love hot coffee on cold mornings.
  • I love pumpkin farms, and Christmas tree hunting.
  • I love that our anniversary, and my birthday, are this month.
  • I love curling up under an afghan, by the fire, reading a good book.

I look forward to this season all year long. I just love it so much (the way most people probably love summer). So much fun happens in the Fall, and the early Winter, and I just can’t wait to get started.

How do you feel about September/Fall? What is your favourite season?

Vacation 2017 Recap

This summer we have not been able to carve out much time at all for Vacation (busy around the house!) – but we finally managed to squeeze 9 days at the lake with my in-laws.

Due to Mr. Big’s parental sit-ee-a-shun, the trip is always broken into two halves – the first half with his Mom and Step-Dad and two brothers, and the second half with his Dad and Step-Mom and two brothers.

Part #1 – With Mom (M) & Step-Dad (SD):

This relationship is very complicated – we love M & SD very, very much – but their life is VERY different from ours, and visits with them are often stressful and exhausting. Mr. Big was raised by his Dad (for very good and real reasons), which adds a bit of complication to this equation as his Mom has never quite moved on from that. Regardless, we all love each other very much and work hard to maintain as good of a relationship as we can.

  • Sat/ Sun: The trip started on a sour note – our flight was 1.5 hours delayed – which isn’t so bad except it was midnight, the airport was mostly closed, and the flight (when it finally boarded) was so packed that Mr. Big spent the entire time leaning forward to prevent squishing anyone with his Neanderthal-like shoulder span. Neither one of us slept a wink, but thankfully it was a short flight (2.5 hours).
  • Mon – Wed: We spent the next few days visiting with all of the family on that side, and their friends. It was nice to see everyone, but very loud and long days with lots of booze, heat and not much else. We really enjoyed getting to visit with everyone, though, and it was nice to finally see their house – they’re surrounded by the most beautiful country.20170823_183435
  • They live near a pen of Bison, which was really cool to see – we got really close! P.S: Bison are HUGE and smelly.20170823_150246

Part #2 – With Dad (D) & Step-Mom (SM):

  • This relationship is much more solid. We have a very close relationship with D & SM – and we always look so forward to seeing them. Mr. Big was raised by them, so hearing the stories of him growing up is so much fun. I also love to see him with his Dad and younger brother – they are like three parts of one whole, so similar and so content in each other’s company!
  • Thurs – Sat: We drove to their Lakehouse – a beautiful cottage on a quiet lake, perfect for relaxing! We spent these days lakeside relaxing and getting ready for their 25th Anniversary party. Check out this fruit tray we made:20170826_162754
  • Every day I got to wake up and sip my coffee to this view:20170825_092525
  • It was so relaxing and just what I needed! 20170825_092559
  • Sat/Sun: The 25th anniversary party for D & SM could NOT have gone off better. We surprised them with custom built Adirondack chairs, with designs on them for their beautiful deck. 63 friends came to the party and it was a beautiful, fun, gathering that lasted until the wee hours. It was the kind of party where everyone is respectful, kind and just has a really good time (complete with Tiki Bar and Margaritas!) – no drama of any kind (my kind of party!). They truly have the best circle around them – probably because they are the very best kind of people!
  • Mon: We were all weepy when we parted. We are so close to D & SM, and I hate that we don’t live closer…but we cherish every moment we have with them. I cannot wait to finally have children, so we can share such an amazing Nana and Papa with them.
  • Our flight home was WAY better. We paid the extra $100 for the Plus seating and were so glad we did – the seats were roomier, the middle seat was empty, and Mr. Big was thrilled with the unlimited snacks!

Overall, it was a really good trip. We made some wonderful memories with both sides of the family and had a blast. As always, we were sad to leave, but are very happy to be home.