Saturday, November 14, 2015

When Life Knocks You Down...Breakdance!

That's a line by Kid President.  If you don't know who that is, I recommend you watch his videos on Youtube.  He's a very inspiring kid.  And that's something I needed to hear today.

So much has happened since my last blog post.  Let's do some quick updates...

Work: In my second year of teaching, I have an inclusion class. Which, in the world of education means "including" special needs students in the general class setting, so they are able to learn in the "Least Restrictive Environment."  It was also decided last year that I would be the Grade Level Chair (GLC) for my team of 5 total 4th grade teachers.  ALSO, (there seems to be two too many also's in this update...) I am a co-leader for the Math Content group...for my entire school... WHY did anyone think I could do all of this on top of figuring out how to teach in my probationary years as a teacher?! I don't know. I have no idea.

House: For the past 6 months or so we've gone back and forth with my parents on co-signing to buy a house with them. I think it's finally happening and we'll close sometime in the end of December. We're planning on renting it out so we can save money by staying in our cheap studio. We will move out if something happens that requires that we move...which brings me to my next update.

Baby: Many, many small miracles and tender mercies have been happening lately with this. Sorry in advance, this is going to be my longest update. Simply because this one is of most importance to me, hands down.

Back in May, I successfully ovulated on 100 mg of Clomid.  Mind you, this was my 8th round total of taking this drug. Yeah, I had lost count but once I finally counted, I knew that was SO NOT GOOD for my body. That would be the last time I took it. Anyway, I didn't get pregnant. I was so convinced it would work this time. It didn't, again. I was devastated, again. So we took a break from "trying" over the entire summer. We had a really, really fun summer as I didn't have to work and Josh was pool cleaning, so I'd go with him to "help" (...by swimming in fancy rich people pools and playing with puppies and dogs hehehe).  It was awesome.

August would be a fateful month for me.  Our close friend have a sister who has also struggled with infertility.  She lives in Utah, but she was here for their other sister's wedding.  We got to talking, and she said something to me that completely changed my life, along with my approach to this trial.  She said, "YOU have to fight for your babies to come to earth. Nobody else but you will care as much as you do about them. Not your doctor. Not your friends or your family. YOU."  That broke my heart because I knew that my efforts hadn't been 100% for fear of repeated disappointment and discouragement. I resolved right then and there, sitting on the couch next to someone I had just met, that I was going to start giving 110% of my all, my money, my time, my emotional strength, my spiritual efforts, to FIGHTING for my babies to come to earth. Step #1 was to get referred to a reproductive endocrinologist.  OB/GYN's can only do so much for you, but the truth is, they don't specialize in infertility. It's like going to a general surgeon to have a procedure done on your mouth but really you should be seeing a dentist!  So I fought for that to happen.

I had to jump through hoops to get my RE referral.  I needed to get an HSG test done, which is the one where they use an x-ray and you watch a live image of your reproductive organs as they shoot dye through your cervix to see if it moves through your fallopian tubes easily, thus diagnosing whether your tubes are open and clear, or if they are blocked.  That was probably the most painful test I've had so far. But the results were worth it, my tubes were open and no problems were seen there! I still had a bunch of other blood and urine testing to get done...doing all of that took about a month.

September rolls around and my friend asks me, "Would you ever consider doing acupuncture?" The fact of the matter is, yes I was starting to consider it. So I got an appointment with Dr. Edie Uchida and she said I had an overgrowth of the Candida fungus in my body. So I went on this strict diet and started taking digestive enzymes and probiotics to help restore a natural balance to my body.  I was also getting acupuncture done on me once a week and taking other Chinese herbs.  My goal wasn't to get pregnant just yet, because I was more focused on helping my body be healthy again and to function properly.  Little did I know...

Now it's October.  I FINALLY got my referral to see an RE and I did. I was praying that she would be a good doctor, that I wouldn't walk out of her office with more questions than before entering her office, as has happened in the past with OB/GYN's. I was praying she would know exactly what my body needed to help achieve pregnancy.  She was amazing.  She was very kind and caring, took the time to explain everything to us and made sure we understood what she was saying. And, she did an ultrasound! Finally! I hadn't had one in forever and needed to know what was going on. Lo and behold, she did the ultrasound and I had a dominant follicle that had been growing without my knowing. I was about to ovulate she said. WHAAAT?! Me? Ovulate naturally? On my own? Without fertility drugs? I couldn't believe my ears or what I was seeing on the ultrasound screen. I started tearing up.  She said yes, start taking tests on the Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK's) and start timed intercourse.   I left happy but still a little skeptical I would actually ovulate on my own, nevertheless I started doing the OPK's daily.  3 days later, I got a strong positive: the Luteinizing Hormone (LH-the hormone that causes the egg to rupture from the follicle, which is called ovulation) was surging. I called Kaiser and they scheduled me for my first ever IUI, THAT DAY.  I was on Cloud 9 and rejoicing at the fact that I was even given this opportunity to do an IUI, which is what I had been wanting for months.

November 1st.  I am not pregnant. More negative pregnancy tests.  My menstrual cycle starts. The IUI didn't work. I am devastated, again. Disappointed and discouraged, again. I take one day to mourn and grieve what could have been, but the next day I pick myself back up and call my RE and set up an appointment to try again for another month.

Right now, I'm playing the waiting game.  I'll know by the end of the month if I actually conceive this time or not, but for now, I am grateful to even have these wonderful miracles and tender mercies in my life. I've never ovulated two months in a row before, but it's happening! The acupuncture, the Chinese herbs, the chiropractor visits, the RE doctor visits -- ALL WHICH OCCUR EVERY WEEK, have been working. I will keep fighting, keep getting back up when life knocks me down, and breakdance! --- Because I know my baby is just around the corner.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Memoirs of a First Year Teacher

There is one big reason why I am writing this blog post.  Here it is.

When I was completing my undergraduate studies at BYU-Hawai'i, I had a professor by the name of Dr. Buckner who frequently told us that most people who end up burning out and quitting the teaching profession do so around 3 years.  That's the point when they struggled, they stuck it out, and after sticking it out, they realize that teaching is not what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It's probably related to the whole idea of being "overworked and underpaid."  I am now halfway through those 3 years, so I wanted to write down my feelings of this past year.  I don't want to finish my 3rd or 5th or 10th or even 15th year teaching completely removed from these feelings. I want to remind myself of why I chose this profession and why I stay in this profession.  Who knows, maybe the Lord will show me a different path of passion to pursue, but I don't want to ever feel like quitting simply because I have a negative perspective of it and I get tired of it.

I gotta say, I feel really really blessed.  Don't get me wrong, this school year, my first full year as an employed teacher was SO HARD.  I transitioned from 5th to 4th grade, so I had to learn an entirely new curriculum and teach it at the same time.  There were many times in the beginning where I would teach something not having a deep understanding and knowledge of it.  So then I would have to go back and re-teach so that my students could have a deep understanding of the concepts.  I would get to school between 6-6:30, and sometimes stay until 5:30-6.  The days were long, the list of things to do was long, it was draining physically, mentally, and emotionally.  But overall, I felt it was a successful first year.  I know it's because I had a strong support system.

Towards the end of the year, I got really comfortable.  I felt that I knew the curriculum so much better, I worked cohesively with my 4th grade team, and I knew my students individually. I knew their talents, their needs, and their personalities.  I thought to myself, "I'm totally gonna ace this next year."  I was letting myself plateau.  And then Heavenly Father basically said, alright, now that I've got you here, you're ready for the greater plans I have for you.  Which makes sense, because this life is all about progression; it is the reason for our trials and hardships.  This is when everything changed on me again.

In the same week, I received the following pieces of news:

1) I was NOT pregnant, contrary to what I believed due to confirmation that the fertility medication (Clomid) that I took had worked, and I ovulated. I had all these symptoms and was sure I was pregnant. Nope, PMS symptoms again. That was a huge disappointment as I thought my 3 year infertility journey would finally come to an end.

2) My principal notified me that he would like my class to be inclusion next year, meaning I would have some students with special needs spending part of the day in my room. This worried me because I have no idea what to do for students with special needs.

3) After some discussion, my grade level decided that I should be the Grade Level Chair (GLC for short...education has so many acronyms for everything...) for fourth grade next year.  So I would be carrying more responsibility than I did this year. Remember, this will only be my second year teaching. And I'm supposed to LEAD other teachers with more experience than me? AHHHH! I. Feel. So. Inadequate. But I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so I accepted.

4) I found out I would be moving classrooms, next to a 5th grade classroom. This worried me as well, because I relied so much on my neighbor Mrs. Arakawa (GLC this year) everyday to make sure I was on track. I was banking on staying next to her again for next year.

I was doubting myself on so many levels, but today I had a few realizations/epiphanies.  One is that, I know that the support staff did not take class and teacher placements lightly, they spent a long time debating and going over the class lists and placements over and over again before making any final decisions. Which means that they took everything that I mentioned being worried about into consideration, and yet they still believe I can do it. So I should believe in myself.

I also realized that I chose this profession because I was passionate about kids. I wasn't really passionate about education per se.  However, I realized this year that education is empowering.  If I'm passionate about children, I need to also be passionate about education because that is what will provide them with the best possible future life.

Surprisingly, I did not cry today when I was saying goodbye to my kids. I've spent the last 10 months thinking about them constantly, how I could help them more or make them happier (for those who had struggles at home).  Suddenly, they are not mine anymore.  I feel like my life lacks purpose now, and I am so sad about that.  But students will come and go. However, I hope some things I taught them and the memories we made this year will stay with them forever. I know they have made a lasting impression on me.  The student that I considered to be my most difficult ended up being the one I had the hardest time letting go, as I got so attached to this student in the end.  When this student made huge progress and even got ME's on their last few standardized tests, I never felt prouder.  I saw my student's attitude about school completely change from being boring and invaluable, to being a priority and enjoyment in this student's life.  I will never forget these kids. I never knew I could have this much love in my heart for kids who were not my own children.  But, I like to think that this is what it feels like to be a mom.

This chapter of my career is closing, but a new one will begin again soon!  In the meantime, I and my awesome 4th grade team are going to enjoy our summer. :)



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Year, Not So New Thoughts

I was reading through some old blog posts since I hardly update this thing...it's interesting how I'll read something and completely not remember ever thinking or writing it. But anyway, this post is a follow-up of a post I wrote in January 2012 titled, "New Year, New Thoughts."
Well, I changed the name of this blog post to not so new thoughts. The reason being, as I read through that post, I realized...personally, I haven't even changed. I still feel discontent when I thinking about who I am as a person. I still have a lot to work on...and at first, I felt really discouraged. It has been 3 years since that post was written. Have I really not progressed at all, since then???
Let's make a list of milestones in the past 3 years:
-graduated from college, summa cum laude
-finished student teaching
-got hired at a school right away

And that's pretty much it....plug in surfing and dates and family activities in between and that's me in a nutshell.  Yeah, those are things I've done. But what have I done?? My thoughts reflect on a church hymn:

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad, and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed, indeed

Maybe that's why I feel so discontent and unsatisfied at times.  I have felt highs and lows, and at times it seems the lows outweigh the highs. The worst part is, I know. I know that it's all up to me. My attitude, my actions. My choices.

I want to be selfless. I want to feel content. I don't want to be consumed by things I think I want but can never seem to get. I don't want to feel like I'll never measure up to others or my own (un)realistic expectations. This year, I want to change my nature. Does that sound contradictory, or what?

I want to be more Christ-like. I need to stop using the word I.

This is a new question for myself: What are some needs of those around me? And how can I fulfill them?

2015 WILL be different.