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Resolve To Know More.

Resolve to know more. The theme of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. This week is very important to me. Every year since I received the diagnosis of “Infertility”, I have vowed to raise awareness and share all I can about this disease.

While I stare at my video monitor at a beautiful, healthy ten month baby boy peacefully dreaming away, I have to pinch myself, as if I am in my own dream. How did I get so lucky that I get to have this baby boy is in my life?

I try to forget about those painful years, but I can’t. All the doctor’s appointments, the tests, the blood work, the ultrasounds, the disappointment. The best way for me to raise awareness is to share my difficult, heartbreaking journey to motherhood.

Children were the furthest thing from my mind when I was in my early twenties. However, when I was married at age 22, I knew that I wanted children with my new husband. We decided the time was right a year and a half after we were married so we ditched the birth control and gave it a try. After about 6 months, I went to the doctor after not having a cycle for a few months, and she basically said, “come back when it’s been a year, here’s some pills to make you have a period.” I was frustrated and felt alone. That is when I started my own research. I used google every day, read blogs, became followers to TTCers on YouTube. I tracked my temperatures, cervical mucus, and any signs of ovulation. That is when I discovered I was not ovulating. After two doctors, tons of tests, 3 rounds of Clomid, 2 rounds of medicated IUI, and $7000, I was at my wit’s end. We were coming up on 2 1/2 years of trying and I had never felt so defeated.

I hated the comments from people. “If you would just lose ten pounds, I bet you would get pregnant” or “If you would just relax, it will happen.” My most favorite was “Why don’t you just adopt, everyone I know who adopted a baby, got pregnant right after!”. I dreaded going to baby showers or doing anything “baby related”. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for those who were expecting children or had children, but the pain and longing for my own was so deep, it made it difficult. I felt so alone, despite the love and support of my close friends, family and amazing husband. I cried almost every day. I prayed and wished on shooting stars. I was angry that my body could not do what it was it was SUPPOSED to do. I was afraid my husband would leave me because I couldn’t give him a child. As I write this, I fight back the tears from all the pain I felt during that time.

After falling into a deep depression after our last IUI failed, in early April 2012, I decided to make a change. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (See my other posts about that horrible condition) which caused my infertility. After some lifestyle changes, I decided to see another physician, an OB that was recommended by other friends with PCOS. He gave it to me straight. I had less than a 5% chance of conceiving even with treatments because my PCOS was so bad. We decided to try 2 more rounds of medicated IUI’s before considering moving on to In-Vitro Fertilization. So in September 2012, we decided to jump in. I was very pessimistic, I had already had too many heartbreaks, why would this cycle be different.

The cycle I got pregnant with my little, I will never forget. I went into my cycle day 12 follicle check and once again, I didn’t have any sizable follicles. I was so disappointed. Then, that same day while I was in class, I found out a coworker was pregnant, and it took every bit of me not to lose it. On the way home, I cried, screamed, and prayed. I questioned God and asked him why I had to go through this! I just wanted a child, something so simple. I had done everything “right”. I had my life together and we were ready to accept the responsibility. It seemed so easy for everyone else. As I went into my last follicle check at 14 days, I was not hopeful. I had done way to many of these already. I know what happens. Then, the words I had waited for came out of the doctor’s mouth, “We have a good follicle, maybe two!”. By day 20, we were ready to trigger and get this show on the road. He reminded me that I still had less than 5% chance of conceiving, but I at least there was a little hope. Ten days later, I took a pregnancy test and for the first time, after over one hundred negative tests, I saw two lines. After over 3 years, I finally got my positive.

Remember when I said I questioned God why? Well, this is why. So I can provide hope. So I could share my story in hope that it may help someone like the numerous blogs I read helped me. The blogs I read, the vlogs I watched, and the forums I followed all helped me cope. When a person in the infertility community found out they were pregnant after 5 years of trying, I secretly celebrated with them. Or when someone made the heart-breaking decision to live child-free, I secretly mourned with them. It’s what got me through the roughest of times.

Resolve to know more. Inform yourself. If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, the greatest thing you can do is educate yourself properly. If you are struggling, seek out the many, many resources. I could have saved lots of money if I would have educated myself more in the beginning. Know your options. There are many ways to achieve the family you dream of. Be your own advocate. If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, do the same. All we really want is someone to listen. We don’t want unsolicited advice. By educating yourself, it shows us you care.

Raise Awareness. 1 in 8 couples are struggling with Infertility, yet we still act like it’s not a disease and it’s something that should be kept hidden. My insurance company told me they didn’t cover Infertility treatments because it was a personal choice to have children. That is so wrong. I didn’t choose to have this disease that prevents me from conceiving. I pay hundreds of dollars to a company, and when I really need them, they aren’t there to support me. Contact your representatives. Let them know that WE won’t be pushed aside anymore.

Lastly, the pain of infertility never goes away. Someone recently asked me why I cared so much about this cause, I had my baby, I should be happy. I will fight for this as long as Infertility is treated like it is today. What happens if I want more children? My doctor already told me I have less than a 1% chance of conceiving without fertility medication. That is always on your mind, my friends. A person without infertility is not limited to how many children she may desire to have, why should I be?

Thank you for sticking around and staying with me this long. My Infertility story was the best way for me to share with others the side of this disease that is not revealed very often. This journey will always be apart of my life, and while it was the toughest road I have traveled so far, it made me a stronger person and a better wife and mother in the end. And my journey is not over yet.

Start here by following these links. Educate yourself.
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

~ BelleStarr

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Pinsters- Pinning With Sisters

Recently, I got the new Iphone 5 S and I haven’t had the want to master the settings. I get some notifications and not for others. It’s probably something easy I can fix, but it has lead me to this newest idea of a weekly blog catergory.

Pinsters- def. Pinning with Sisters

Well I only have one Sister, but girl friends just didn’t seem to make a cool name melted with the word pin or Pinterest to me. Of all the notifications I get, the one I love is when I have a new pin sent to me which is often and usually averages about 3 a day. I don’t pin as much as I used to but it is a hobby of mine. FACE IT!!! If you are pinner, you know. It is a hobby.

Here are some of the pins we shared this week:

Too precious.

 

I love getting lost in a great romance novel. Then my husband farts, tells me he loves me, and brings me back to my real life. Awesome.      Not so much with the romance novels anymore but, yeah, I'll be in the middle of a great love story and then *bam* reality! Lol I do love him, though.

 

Daily Odd Compliment
Mmmmm Cookies!!!

 

Lucy
We can relate to Lucy.

 

this will be me and my best friend!

 

CAN'T BREATHE. This is so unfortunate.

Making this into a poster for school...kids don't see that what they do (or don't do) makes a difference when you're moving into the career world.

 

 

Seriously though. .......
Actually it’s Mexican food. Not Applebees.

 

 

Compliments of Little Britches, Belle Starr, Ashley Oakley and yours truly.

Enjoy.
~Kalamity.

My Big Announcement!

Ok, so maybe it isn’t that big, but it is to me! I am so excited about this decision, and haven’t been this excited about anything in awhile (except for every new thing little bit does).

I have decided to join the Younique team and become an Independent Presenter of their products!!

After using their products for just 5 days, I knew I had to get behind them. I had received so many compliments about my longer, fuller lashes it made my heart happy. I used to have very long, full lashes, however, when I hit my early twenties, I began to lose my hair and my eyelashes. This was a side effect of PCOS (male-pattern baldness due to increased testosterone). It made me very self conscious and upset that I had lost the volume in both my hair and eye lashes. It may be something simple to every one else, but to me, it mattered. I spent hundreds of dollars trying out all kinds of mascara, and never achieved what I have with Younique.

In a previous blog post I reviewed the 3D Fiber Lash mascara and the transformation it made to my eyes. If you have not checked that blog out, do it now!

For me, just like Advocare (I also sell their products), I believe in this company and the quality of their products and want to share that with the world. I have more products coming into the mail in the next couple of days, I CANNOT wait to share those with the blog world!

You can check out the mascara and the other products at the link below. Feel free to purchase the products, it ships directly to your home! Any questions, feel free to let me know.

https://www.youniqueproducts.com/JenniferSmith14/party/122005/view

I am looking forward to share all the Younique products with all the followers of the Shotgun Girls. I know you will love them as much as I do.
Stay Tuned.

~Belle Starr

4% Gone!

Good evening all, I have a few minutes before bed, so thought I would throw out an update.

I have lost 4% of my body weight in the month of March, and that is a big accomplishment (10.3lbs)! I am cutting my carb count to 30 a day, and that seems to be working well. My PCOS symptoms have been better, I have been sleeping better, and overall just feel great.

We have been very busy, so we haven’t had actual “meals”. Most of them consist of a salad and a protein (steak, chicken, fish). Tonight I had taco meat wrapped in a low carb tortilla and some fresh guacamole. For lunch, I have been taking meat and cheese, a salad or carrots, and a sugar-free Jell-O. For snacks, I eat on peanuts and string cheese.

I am still taking the Advocare products, and doing very well on them. I am currently on the ThermoPlus, Max C, and Catalyst. I also drink the Spark. Due to the little bit higher carb count, I limit my meal replacement shakes, usually eating an Atkin’s Protein Bar in place of it (19g net carb vs 3g net carb). If you are interested in more information or ordering Advocare products, visit the link to the right 🙂

I will have an updated picture next week. I am really hoping to hit a big milestone goal by next week, 35lbs, but that is determined by the work I put in this week. I hope all that are on their own weight loss journey are having great success! I’m here for support if you need it.  

Stay tuned for a new blog tomorrow, I have some BIG news to announce.

That is all for now,

~Belle Starr

My New Favorite Item…

Many of those close to me know that I do not wear makeup often. I always wanted to, just was never great at taking the time to put it on. So when many of my friends started hosting “Younique Makeup Parties” that featured 3D Mascara, I was not interested. Who pays $29 for mascara anyway?!

Well, finally after a while, I gave in and bought my first tube of Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and I AM IN LOVE! Here is my before and after photo (bottom photo is before, top photo is after).

Mascara

I couldn’t believe the transformation! I have always wanted big, full lashes and I have finally found mascara to give it to me. It’s easy to apply, not heavy at all, and they last all day. I also ordered their eye pigments, and I am equally satisfied. Worth every penny! If you are interested, let me know! I will provide you the link to my party.

I ordered some foundation, blush, and lip gloss and can’t wait for them to come in. As soon as they do, I will do a review and post a picture of the before and after!

Just thought I would post a quick review of the 3D Fiber Lashes, and I have never been happier about the way they made my lashes look.

Until next time,
~Belle Starr

Dieting and PCOS

I could probably win the “Worst Blogger” Award due to my lack of posts recently, but in my defense, vacation and illness took a hold of my family and I am finally getting back to a normal routine. Will blog about my cruise to Mexico sometime soon, but for now, lets talk about dieting when you have PCOS.

No one understands the frustration of losing weight more than those with PCOS. I have mentioned before how much I hate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but what I hate even more is trying to lose weight while having this disease. For those that don’t know what PCOS is, google it, as there are many definitions out there on exactly what it is. In order to keep this blog short, I will describe my battle with it. I have insulin-resistance (NO, I AM NOT DIABETIC), elevated testosterone, cystic ovaries, absent or very little menstrual cycles, excessive weight gain, and abnormal “girly” hormones levels (they are non-existent). To be diagnosed with PCOS, you could have one or more of these symptoms.

One thing those of us with PCOS has heard over and over again is “well, lose weight, then your symptoms will go away”. Well, much easier said than done. To PCOSers, the thing to avoid is carbohydrates. Those evil, delicious carbs. I love them, and I admit, I am addicted to them. My body craves them thanks to the excess insulin that my body makes (google insulin resistance if you don’t know what it is). The key, at least my key, is to avoid all excess carbohydrates and sugars. When I do that, I drop weight like crazy. “Why don’t you just do that then?” you may ask. It’s harder than you think…

Well… this explains it the best – http://www.greenmountainhealth.com/insulin-resistance-syndrome
I can give it up, but the cravings are hard to stop. Once I do stop them, if I indulge just a little, they all come rushing back. Yes, I could try not eating carbohydrates for the rest of my life, but who wants to do that? I love cake too much. So, I am getting back on the meal planning train, and really going to get my focus back on track. I am still ahead of the game with the 20 pound loss from the Advocare 24-day challenge, but I am going to continue the Advocare products and use them with a low carb diet. The only concern I have is the amount of carbs that the meal replacement shakes have, but if they hinder my weight loss, I will cut back on them.

Another form of accountability I will have is you guys! I want to prove that a someone with PCOS can lose weight! I want to be an inspiration. Therefore, I will post my weekly meal plans and all my new recipes on here, so I can help those that are searching for help who have PCOS and need to lose weight.

So, here we go. Time to refocus, restart, and get moving! Ready to what I can do in the next 6 months! Lets kick PCOS’s butt!

~ Belle Starr

Advocare Update

Well hello there! Going to post a quick update about my Advocare journey. I am STILL battling the stomach flu, and was really sick yesterday and I am not 100 percent, so this will be short and sweet.

Let me begin by saying, I LOVE ADVOCARE. I have lost 25lbs and not stopping. I haven’t measured or taken pictures this month yet, but will try my best to get that done next week. Granted, I haven’t stuck to healthy eating like I should, but I say I am around 80 percent. Once I get back from my cruise for my anniversary, I am going to hit the gym again and get back to meal planning.

I fully recommend their products to anyone who is looking for a boost in energy, weight loss, or just overall health. I love the Spark and the meal replacement shakes.

If anyone has any questions, please check out my Advocare website on the front page of our blog, or visit https://www.advocare.com/131139019.

I still have a long journey, but I am finally beginning to see the old me slowly coming back. I am becoming confident again, and Advocare has given me the energy to keep going.

Anyways, I better get some sleep. Been a long couple of days. Love to all!

~Belle Starr

Homemade Valentine’s Day Presents

What a long week and a half for this household. Little bit had the flu and an ear infection that led to a ruptured ear drum. Then when he recovered from that, he came down with the stomach virus. He passed the flu onto his daddy and I got the stomach virus. So, now that we are feeling better I can finally get back to blogging. Forgive me of my absence.

I will begin this by saying I am not the craftiest person in the world. I wish I was. I like to think I am though and I get adventurous and try things I see on Pinterest and other sites. I found this idea from this blog:

http://hip2save.com/2013/02/12/homemade-valentines-day-gift-idea/

Anyways, I basically followed that website. Here are my pictures.

IMG_4812

I bought 4 inch clay pots, 3 inch clay saucers, big wooden beads for the top, paint brushes and paint from Hobby Lobby. I laid everything out and started painting.

IMG_4813

This is what it looked like after I painted everything red. I used a sponge brush and it turned out really well.

IMG_4902

I hot glued the glass bowls that I also bought from Hobby Lobby to the pot. I painted white dots on the pots and the saucer. I glued the wooden bead to the saucer, filled the bowl with Hershey Kisses, and placed it on top.

IMG_4904

I then wrapped in a plastic gift bag with a Valentine note, tied ribbon around it, and called it done. Overall, I am pretty proud of the turnout. Like I said, I am not the craftiest, especially not as crafty as my bestie, Kalamity, but I do ok 🙂

Hopefully I will get caught up on blogs this week, as well as doing an Advocare update. I still love the stuff and am slowly getting healthier and losing the weight.

That is all for me tonight, Love to all.

~Belle Starr

10 Things I Hate About…

PCOS.

#10 – Excess Facial Hair. Need I say more.

#9 – Male Pattern Baldness. Yes, I said Male. I have a thinning spot on the middle of my head because of this horrible disorder/syndrome/disease.

#8 – The lack of awareness this disease has.

#7 – Irregular periods. Most women would be like “You only get one or two periods a year?! That would be amazing. Why are you complaining?” Well, my friend, I like to know what my body is doing. I don’t like to be surprised, and I will just leave it at that. Let’s just say,  I have learned to carry something with me at all times.

#6 – Ovarian Cysts – They are painful. Imagine having period-like cramps almost every day of the year. Yea. Last ultrasound I had, each of my ovaries had about 20-30 on each.

#5 – Acne – Not just a pimple here or there, but cystic acne. It hurts and looks horrible.

#4 – The lack of physician knowledge of this disease. Took 2 long years to get a diagnosis. I knew I had it before the diagnosis, but couldn’t find a doctor that would help me.

#3 – Insulin Resistance – Makes weight loss oh so difficult. No one will ever understand unless you have it. I can’t just eat a piece of cake and run it off later. I eat a piece of cake and I gain 5 pounds. It also makes you crave sweets and carbs. Worse addiction I have ever had to break, and I struggle with it every day. No this isn’t diabetes. Google it if you want a better explanation of what this is.

#2 – Weight gain. Yea… I once had someone tell me that if I would just work out and eat under 1200 calories, I would be skinny. Yea, doesn’t work that way for me jerk. Takes a person with PCOS twice as hard to lose weight than someone without it. Not using it as an excuse, I still need to be healthy, but give us with PCOS a break. We are trying.

#1 – Infertility. Because of #7, I can’t get pregnant on my own. It requires doctors and medicine. My doctor actually told me I had a 5% chance of conceiving on my own. This is usually when most women figure out they have PCOS, when they can’t get pregnant. ( I want to add, women with PCOS get pregnant on their own all the time, I just was not one of them).

So, this is my little rant. I once read that PCOS affects 1 in every 15 women in the United States. That is a large group of women, yet many do not know anything about it. When I was finally diagnosed after a year of not being able to conceive, I researched PCOS for hours and hours. I made sure I understood my disease inside and out. I wish others would do so also. I wish there were physicians better equipped to handle this disease besides throwing a pack of birth control at a woman and saying “This should fix it”. I was fortunate to finally find a doctor that cared and listened.

I battle with this disease every day, along with several others that are close to me. It is important to remember to not let PCOS run your life. You can fight it. Do your research. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Find a physician that will listen to you. There is hope. I have proof in the form of a very precious little boy.

Thanks for listening. Until next time.
~Belle Starr

PCOS

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