Staying grateful in the hard times

I’ve found myself in a difficult season. It’s a story that I know isn’t finished being written and I know it’s a story that God will turn into something good. But for now, it’s the season I’m in and maybe someone out there needs to hear my story.

In spring of 2015, Tim and I felt like it was time to grow our family. So we gave it a shot. And then a year passed, and nothing. Then a few more months - nothing. My doctor said that everything seemed fine with me so we decided to have Tim checked out. We were both very relieved to find that the trouble we were having could possibly be solved by a simple outpatient procedure that he would have to have. So he had surgery and then we tried again last October. And we had a positive test. That very first month! We were over the moon. FINALLY. That next week, I called the doctor to find out what exactly I needed to do. It's the strangest feeling to find out something so monumental and not be able to call my mom. But unfortunately, after monitoring my blood work for a week, they found that my HCG level wasn't doubling and that I was experiencing a non-viable 'chemical' pregnancy. I'd never even heard of that before! I was devastated, confused and ready to try again.

Fast forward to March of this year. I had another positive pregnancy test! I cried tears of joy and then I got my HCG level checked again. It was doubling just like it was supposed to. So I left town to my church women's retreat and I was so excited. I secretly drank decaf coffee and it was darn near impossible to keep it to myself.

But that next week, I woke up one morning and I knew something was up - I was feeling some cramps that just didn't seem right. So around lunch time I got up the courage to call my doctor and let her know what was going on. She told me to come to the office immediately - so I left the apple I had just sliced on my desk and ran out the door. Unsure what the urgency was all about, I went straight to an ultrasound where the ultrasound tech told me that my uterus was empty. Great bedside manner. My first thought was, "this was impossible because I had my levels checked and they were doing what they were supposed to do!" Then, I was taken to a room to wait for the doctor where she told me that I had an ectopic pregnancy and I had two options. One was an injection of a chemotherapy drug, methotrexate, that would hopefully stop the growth in my tube. The second was that I could have surgery but I would lose my left fallopian tube. "Which do you choose?" she asked me. I was still in total shock and I just found out that my uterus was empty about 15 minutes earlier and I couldn't imagine choosing either of these options. They checked my levels again and felt comfortable letting me go home and think about it. When I went back to the doctor the next day, she said that she was okay with watching this situation like a hawk and trying to let it pass it's own. She warned me about how dangerous it was if my tube ruptured so I was scared to move too much and felt like a ticking time bomb. But I was also grateful that there was a good chance that this could work out without needing methotrexate or losing a tube in surgery.

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Thankfully, it passed on it’s own, the pain subsided and I was able to put that experience behind me - with both of my tubes in tact. Again, I was devastated, confused and now I felt like there was something wrong with me. Not to mention the guilt that I was feeling from not being able to give Tim a baby. Two different pregnancies that didn’t work out. I started to feel very discouraged and broken.

We took a few months off from trying and I took a break from tracking every little thing in my fertility app.  We said we'd resume in the fall. I was channeling my inner Scarlet O’Hara, "I won’t think about it now, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” I felt at ease. I took the pressure off of myself. But then in July, I had another positive test! "Third time's a charm", I thought.

The day we found out, I spent the day shopping with my sister and it was so hard not to spill the beans. While I was alone, I took a stroll through Pottery Barn Kids and bought something for the baby. I was so excited. I was so sure that this time was different and the baby I was envisioning would be with us in nine short months.

That next week, I was back in the doctor's office getting my HCG level checked. Again, it was doubling beautifully. I let the nurse know that I'd like to continue getting my levels checked because, like I said before, I worry. So that following week, I went back to get the level checked and that afternoon I got the call that it had stopped doubling. Immediately, I knew I was having another ectopic. I went in the next day for an ultrasound and it confirmed what I already knew. Having gone through this before, I learned that it was likely that I could have another ectopic so I really tried not to let it get me down. That was until the doctor came to talk to me and we found out that this time it was in my other tube. I had just assumed it was happening in the same tube as last time. My doctor wanted me to go straight up to oncology and get the methotrexate injection but I was so hesitant. I decided to wait another day to see if my HCG level would go down in hopes that it would pass on it’s own again. And it did. And to me, that’s the important part of this story. The enemy was trying to break me but God fixed it every time

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So here I am. 3 positive pregnancy tests in the past two years and no baby. My story is still unfolding and I don’t know where it’s headed but for now, I do my best to keep my mind focused on gratitude because that’s the best thing I can do. 

While I was writing this post, I kept wanting to delete parts of it. I mainly wanted to delete the parts about how the things I've gone through made me feel. I spent a lot of time throughout these experiences feeling like I didn't deserve to feel sad or upset or devastated because I know that people have had much worse experiences than this. Dealing with failed pregnancies can be very isolating but the times that I felt most encouraged and hopeful was when I was reading the stories of the women who had been through similar experiences. I hope that this post can do just that for someone else.

XOXO,

Di

How I Got Longer Nails, Healthier Hair and More Energy

Coffee. It's everything to me. It's my morning ritual and mid-day necessity. To say that I am addicted is an understatement. I get a headache if I haven't had any by 9 AM. It sounds serious because it is. I have tried to kick the habit but I'm not crazy. So I decided, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So today, I am showing you the life-changing, daily coffee routine that I learned from Living With Landyn, who learned it from Virginia of Your Life Edit. I gotta give credit where credit is due, y'all.

My coffee isn't just for a jolt of energy in the morning anymore. It has made my hair and nails longer and healthier, gives me even more energy - not the jittery kind - and has become a way for me to get some healthy fat for breakfast.

Here's what you'll need:

-Your favorite coffee brew

-2 scoops of Collagen Peptides - this is what is helping my hair skin and nails. I get the Vital Proteins brand from Amazon and love it.

-1 tablespoon MCT Oil - derived from coconuts, MCT oil gives me energy! I just had some and that's why I'm using exclamation points!! I got this kind on Amazon too.

-Cream of some sort - if you need it - I do half and half.

Combine all ingredients, I use an immersion blender and it makes me feel fancy.

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Look how long my nails are!! And honestly, it took me a few weeks to see a difference in taking the collagen. I was thinking about how I hadn't noticed anything and then I saw a photo of Tim and I at the beach and I was like "wow! my hair looks so healthy and long and awesome." And then I realized that my nails have never been this long. So yea, it works. And apparently its good for joint and bone health too but whatevs.

And that's it! Also, how adorable is the coffee bar that my husband built for me? He knows how important coffee is in my life.

Let me know if you try these supplements! You won't be disappointed.

XOXO,

Di

My Current Skin Care Regimen

I feel like I write this in every blog post, but I'll say it again. I want to delay aging as long as possible. But who doesn't? The main way I stay proactive about anti-aging is obviously with my skin care regimen - my other ways include lots of prayer and a savings envelope for my future botox injections. But since the products I've been using have been working pretty well for me this year, I wanted to tell y'all about them!

Morning Routine:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/philosophy-purity-made-simple-cleanse-smooth-trio-87-value/4619745?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLACK

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/philosophy-purity-made-simple-cleanse-smooth-trio-87-value/4619745?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLACK

Step 1: Purity Made Simple Cleanser - This has been a staple in my day for several years now. It's hands-down my favorite cleanser and it's great for sensitive skin. I use it both morning and night and it works like a charm at removing my makeup! Pro-Tip: I just got an AMAZING deal on this stuff at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I got everything pictured above for $55!! So if you're a Nordstrom Rewards Member (did you know they have a debit card?) you can get early access on this deal. If not, hopefully this deal is still around for you when the sale officially starts.

http://www.sephora.com/rainforest-the-sea-drink-h2o-hydrating-boost-moisturizer-P405599

http://www.sephora.com/rainforest-the-sea-drink-h2o-hydrating-boost-moisturizer-P405599

Step 2: tarte Drink of H20 Hydrating Boost Moisturizer - I have oily skin and I saw on a youtube vlog somewhere that it's best to use a gel moisturizer under your makeup rather than a cream. The gal I was watching used this Tarte moisturizer so I ran to sephora and got some samples of a few different kinds to try them out and this was by-far the best. It's light and wears really well under my makeup.

http://www.sephora.com/your-skin-but-better-cc-cream-spf-50-P411885

Step 3: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream - One of my favorites on instagram Hunter Schleicher posted about this on her insta story one day so I knew I had to try it and OMG IT'S AMAZING. I use this instead of tinted moisturizer and foundation and it has the perfect amount of coverage and wears really well! Y'all need to go get a sample of this stuff.

Evening Routine: 

Step 1: Coconut Oil - I use coconut oil remove my waterproof mascara. 

Step 2: Purity Made Simple Cleanser - I don't just use this in the morning! It's great for taking off the day. 

Step 3: Neocutis Riche Bio-Restorative Skin Balm - My amazing sister-in-law is my skincare guru and she introduced me to this stuff years ago. Before I started using this, I had a lot of redness on my face and over time, it's disappeared and I owe it all to this moisturizer.

Step 4: Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift - This eye mask works wonders for dark circles and puffiness!

Step 5a: Retin-A - I call this 'Step 5a' because I don't use this everyday. I put it on every other day all over to help with cell turnover on my face. I got mine from my dermatologist and I recommend that you talk to yours before using Retin-A. 

Step 5b: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion - I use this on the days when I'm not applying Retin-A but I have a pimple that I'd like to get rid of. I just dab some on each individual blemish before I go to sleep and it definitely helps get rid of them. 

And that's it! Hope that helps any of you who are trying to establish your regimen! 

Comment below with your skincare faves. 

XOXO,

Di

 

 

My New Favorite Thursday Routine

A couple of months ago, I realized that I really enjoyed having someone else blow-dry my hair. This didn't really come as a shock to me because washing and drying my hair are huge pain points in my day-to-day life. And then I realized that I really enjoy sweating, in a sauna. But I don't enjoy sweating anytime I'm not in a sauna. So, when I realized that the Sweathouse was right across from The Dry House in Green Hills, I realized one more thing, my destiny. 

What is the Sweathouse, you ask? Well, you can read about the many benefits here but I'll tell you, it's such a relaxing 30 minutes and I leave feeling so great! I heard about this from another one of my favorite instagrammers to follow - Mallory Ervin. She raves about it so I knew I had to give it a shot!

So I lay in this little pod, turn on a meditation on the Calm app on my phone and just sweat away. I always feel so great afterwards!

Then, when I'm finished sweating I literally cross the street to go to The Dry House for a blowout. Because I'm worth it. 

The Dry House is a great experience from the second I walk in and I always walk out feeling gorgeous. The products that they use smell like heaven and the best part is that I don't have to wash/dry/style my hair for like five days! That's a huge win for me. 

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself?

XOXO, 

Di