Sunday, August 24, 2008

Peoria Chiefs!

Last night, I took Aireol to the Peoria Chiefs baseball game compliments of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. We are really fortunate to have great opportunities like this. In the past year, we've been to Suessical at the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts, the haunted house, and saw Martina McBride in Champaign. I'm sure there will be many more activities as well!

Aireol and I just before the game started

Getting Ryne Sandberg's autograph!

This little boy was soo cute!! He was sitting right in front of us with his family and smiled all night at us. Aireol and him were having fun - she was getting him laughing so much that he could hardly stop!

After the game, they had an AWESOME fireworks show! This was the last one of the season, and I couldn't believe how good it was.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

New do!

Up until I graduated from college and even while I was working for Snyder, I allowed pretty much anyone to cut my hair. I guess I didn't really think much about since it would always grow back, and it hadn't ever turned out too bad. The only problem was when I would get it cut short, I usually didn't go back soon enough or to the same person. Eventually, I decided that it was time to start getting my hair cut on a regular basis with a stylist! My friend and then neighbor, Mary Beth, recommended Lacy at Station 710. She's been cutting my hair for the past three years, and I always love it when I leave! Today was no different. I went in wanting to do something a little different, and here's what I got:
It might be kind of hard to tell, but I now have "bangs" and it's a little longer in the front than in the back. I love it!! But, we'll see how it looks tomorrow when I do it myself or as time goes on before my next appointment. What do you think?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I found this article...

I have told a couple people about this information I found during my MANY, MANY hours of research on the internet about our infertility situation. I think the following articles might be helpful, although you can take it or leave it, whichever you prefer.

Infertility Etiquette (found here) by Vita Alligood

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. Most infertility treatments involve using hormones, which alter the user's moods. (That statement is like calling a lion a cat-my husband would tell you that the side effect is insanity!) The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Infertility treatments are expensive, and most insurance companies do not cover the costs. So, in addition to the pain of not conceiving a baby each month, the couple pays out anywhere from $300 to five figures, depending upon the treatment used.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Play Doctor

Once your infertile friends are under a doctor's care, the doctor will run them through numerous tests to determine why they aren't able to conceive. There a numerous reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive. Here are a few of them:

  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Low hormone levels
  • Low "normal form" sperm count
  • Low progesterone level
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Thin uterine walls

Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an "expert" on the subject. Let your friends work with their doctor to diagnose and treat the problem. Your friends probably already know more about the causes and solutions of infertility than you will ever know.

You may feel like you are being helpful by reading up on infertility, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the subject. The problem comes when you try to "play doctor" with your friends. They already have a doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating the problem. They need to work with and trust their doctor to treat the problem. You only complicate the issue when you throw out other ideas that you have read about. The doctor knows more about the causes and solutions; let your friends work with their doctor to solve the problem.

Don't Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day

With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

What One Should and Should Not Say To an Infertile Couple... (found here)

By Victoria R. Sweet, R.N. & Craig R. Sweet, M.D. (Reproductive Endocrinologist)

Infertility affects nearly one in six couples. Approximately 40% of the time, the problem is related to the female partner, another 40% is related to male difficulties and 20% of the time both partners will have medical problems. Many times, infertility is a symptom of an underlying disease process, a disease process the couples have no control over. To these couples, infertility can be a crisis of the deepest kind. Every menstrual cycle represents a failure and is a time of grief for the potential child that never came to be.

The infertile couple will often express their feelings through anger, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, depression and guilt. Relationships with family members with children can suffer, marriages are strained and well-meaning friends and family can overload the couple with advice and pressure. Family and social gatherings become a reminder of infertility. Baby showers can be a traumatic experience. Mother's and Father's Day are often very difficult.

We want to offer some tips that provide support to couples who have not yet had the blessing of a beautiful child to love. With your assistance, most couples going though the process of trying to conceive can maintain a positive attitude.

What Not To Say...

Don't ask a childless person when they are going to have a child. They may be going through the process of trying to conceive but have not yet achieved success. Asking them only reminds them of their problem. They need no extra reminders.

Don't relate stories of your fertility to them. Hearing "my husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant" is very annoying. While well-meaning, the statement is insensitive.

Don't give advice such as "just relax," "you are trying too hard" or "take a cruise." All of these very common comments imply that the couple have control of their fertility. Most of the time, these couples have absolutely no control over their fertility. Implying control leads to feelings of failure and guilt when this advice doesn't work.

Don't offer advice such as sexual timing, position, herbal medications or other totally unproven therapies. There are literally hundreds of old-wife's-tails that, when followed, can drive an infertile patient nearly crazy. Their physician will have covered those natural aspects of their care that may maximize their chances for conception. Once again, please to not imply that they have a sense of control.

Don't express your derogatory personal opinions regarding insemination procedures, test-tube babies or adoption. Sometimes, these are their only hope for having a child. These are your opinions and uninvited advice is rarely desired nor constructive. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, simply keep it your own. If they ask for your advice, then feel free to state your opinions, but do so in a kind and considerate manner.

Don't place blame by accusing the couple of exercising too much, eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol. These couples may already be blaming themselves. Their physician will have already covered the medical and reproductive consequences of obesity, smoking, alcohol and recreation drugs. Support them in the cessation of these activities and minimize the guilt associated with their consumption. The guilt rarely leads to cessation but often moves the individual to increased consumption.

What You Can Say and Do...

Do provide couples with plenty of emotional support by saying "It must be difficult to go through this" and "I'm here to listen if you need to talk."

Do remember that men can be just as emotional about the problem, sometimes even more so. They may feel their masculinity is at risk.

Do understand the couple's need for privacy.

Do try to understand that if they are your employees, frequent doctor's appointments may be necessary during business hours. Please try to accommodate them as much as possible. Not doing so may also be construed as a form of discrimination and place you at legal risk.

Do understand why they may not make it to a baby shower or a holiday event. These frequent events can become overwhelming for an infertile couple.

Do tell the infertile couple that there is hope.

Please remember that the vast majority of infertile couples have minimal control of the diseases that causes their infertility. Giving them emotional support during this trying time is a wonderful way to assist them. Giving them subtle hints that they have control plants the seeds of failure in the minds of the infertile patient.

Please be kind, thoughtful and always supportive.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beautiful weekend!

It was a crazy weekend at the Patterson house! We celebrated Jason's and my mom's birthdays with the family here. I didn't get any pictures, but we had fun in the pool, playing with the virtual makeover on my MK website, watching the Cubs and Bears games, and just hanging out.

This morning was really special for Jason and I .......... we were baptized! I've been waiting for this day for a long time. I've been ready to be baptized for about a year now, but really wanted to experience this with Jason and today was the day! It was also nice because all of my family was able to be here! My Mary Kay Sales Director, who has been a big part of my spiritual journey, performed my baptism, and then I was able to baptize Jason! We have been so blessed to have great health, family, and friends!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

IUI Update

I got a call today from my doctors office...seems the doc has been on vacation. (Who said he could do that??.......just kidding). He looked at my charts and feels we should skip this month. So, that is our plan - he's the expert, right? He is going to increase the medication a little bit and see what that does next time around. Hopefully, the outcome will be different, but I can't worry about that now. We'll just wait and see.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Each year, Country gets a block of tickets for a Cubs-Cards game (usually at Wrigley Field) and this year was no different! Jason and a friend at work got 12 tickets for yesterday's game. Even though the Cubbies took a hard loss, we still managed to have a nice time in the city!

me & Becky at Slugger's

me & Janell at the game

After the game, we headed downtown to meet up with a few people who left the game early at Ditka's restaurant. Well, it just so happened that Mike Ditka was there!!! He was eating dinner with his wife and another couple, but I was hoping that he would finish before we left so we could get a picture...
We were told by another couple that whenever he is in town, he eats there and it's always at the same table...upstairs! So, if you ever go there be sure to look for him!


Welcome Beckett!!

Beckett Lee was born at 12:04pm on Wednesday, August 6th to proud parents - Brandon & Mande Clutts!! Baby Clutts was 7lbs 4oz and 19.5 inches long at birth and is a healthy baby! Jason and I were able to meet Beckett on Friday afternoon...

Congratulations, Brandon & Mande!!!


IUI #1 Results

**I know most of you already know these results, but this is a journal for me as well so bear with me.**

On Friday morning, I had to be at Carle by 7:30am for my blood test for pregnancy. I was so nervous in the morning and just had a gut feeling while I was waiting to have the blood drawn. Luckily, Jason and I had already planned to be off of work (since going to the Bears game the night before - we didn't get home until 1:30am). He had to take the dog to the vet, but I wanted to stay home for "the" call. I heard from my doctor's office about 11:40am that the test was negative. Luckily, Jason was home about 30 minutes later because I'm not sure how much longer I could wait to tell him. When he got home, he knew right away by looking at me that it wasn't good news. After lots of crying on my end, I knew I needed to make a few phone calls and send an email (sorry if you got this, but there is no way I could have called everyone). It was a long day that ended with painful eyes, but we know that this is not the end of the road for us. Luckily, we can do this same procedure again ... hopefully with different results!


Go Bears!

On Thursday, August 7th, we had the opportunity to go to the Bears pre-season football game at Soldier Field!! Jason and I along with our friend, Byron, and his son, Dylan, made the trip up to Chicago for the game. Unfortunately, traffic was ridiculously backed up so we weren't able to make it to the game until the beginning of the 3rd quarter...a five hour car ride that normally takes 2 - 2.5 hours!! This was my first time at Soldier Field, and the seats were great. What a nice stadium!!

Byron & Dylan

Byron & Dylan were very excited that the Kansas City Chiefs pulled out the victory.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Sorry for the absense!

Things have been VERY busy here...I don't have time to put my posts together, but I will update soon!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Terri!!!
Terri and I have probably known each other since elementary school (we used to live down the street from each other), but we became friends in high school. We haven't seen each other since our fun girlfriends weekend to Chicago last spring, but I'm sure we'd pick up right where we left off. We definitely need to plan a get together soon!! I hope you have a great birthday, Terri!!


Monday, August 4, 2008


I didn't take any pictures, but it was a nice weekend. We hung out at home on Friday night. On Saturday, we had my little sister and Jason's work friends over for a pool party. He had been wanting to do that for a while, and we finally planned a day. The weather and water were both beautiful! Aireol had a lot of fun, too! After everyone left, we stopped by a neighbor's house to wish Cara, Chad, Taylor, and Nicholas a farewell - they move to Nebraska tomorrow. We will definitely miss their family!! Hopefully we'll be able to go visit soon!

Yesterday, we spent the morning at church and then came home to watch the Cub game. We also had an unexpected visitor...Matt Feit!!! He called Jason when he got into town - guess he was dropping the girls off and picking up some things from the house. We are so glad he stopped by! It had been a long time since we saw him. Everything seems to be going great for him!

It's a hot one today!! The temp is actually in the upper 80's right now, but they say the heat index is expected to get up to 105 degrees! yikes!


Saturday, August 2, 2008


Happy Birthday, Jackie!!!Jackie and I have been friends since she moved to Freeport in 8th grade. We have certainly had our ups and downs through the years, but I think that is what has made our friendship stronger! We have traveled to Europe and Mexico together and were in each other's weddings. She has always been there for me to laugh and cry with. I know I can't imagine not having Jackie has a friend in my life! I hope you have the best birthday (and get pizza for dinner! ha!).

Happy Anniversary Janell & Steve!!!

It was 5 years ago today that one of my great friends from college got married to her high school sweetheart!! It was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding, and it looks like it will be just as nice here today. Congratulations on your Anniversary! We can't wait to see you guys next weekend!


Friday, August 1, 2008

A new addition (or substitution) to our family!

We bought our Durango in July 2003 just after we were married because I thought I HAD to have an SUV. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Alero. The Dodge dealership was having a great deal over the July 4th holiday so I got my Durango! So, we've had it 5 years - it's been to Freeport, Rockford, & Wisconsin many times and took us all the way to New Orleans! Even though it was paid off, we figured it was time to start looking at a more fuel efficient vehicle. Plus, since we were at 65,000 miles, we assume it could have started having problems or things we needed to fix! So, the search began. Jason and I looked through the lots on Sunday (when they were closed!), went back Monday night to look at/test drive a couple, looked at other lots on Tuesday night to make sure nothing else was out there that we wanted, and finally took the Durango to two dealerships and got quotes on Wednesday night. We walked away from a great deal at one dealership, but I think we made the right decision. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct! There were a couple things they needed to fix (touch up paint on a spot and check the brakes/pulling), but I felt their service went above and beyond the others. So, tonight, we got this beauty:

2007 Pontiac G6

We're very happy with our decision and feel it was the right one for us! I'm excited to have something new to drive and to put less gas money into this one!!! Especially because gas jumped skyrocketed 40 cents today!!