Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Last Call!

As of today, I have two people (apart from myself) that have told me they are interested in participating in the IF Bloggers Book Club. If you would like to join in the fun, please comment or send me an email  at catchingourrainbow@gmail.com. Remember that you don’t have to commit to one book right now–you can give a short list of books you want to read and just write about one of them. Also, if you do pick one book, you are welcome to change your mind. I know a bunch of the women in this community are so hyped up on fertility drugs that their book of choice may change a few times ;o)

Storkchaser is planning on reading the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I think she’s awesome and brave for actually narrowing it down to one book!

Kristin gave me a short list. She is planning on reading one of these: The Sojourn; What Dies in Summer; Where’d You Go Bernadette: A Novel; or Beautiful Ruins.

I’ve had a  few books on my to-read list. Here are a few: Mysteries of Udolpho; The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman;  and Hinds Feet on High Places (someone recommended this to me after my last mc). I may read one of these, but I’ll let you know if I find something that I have to read NOW (it happens more often than you would think).

Let me know if you want to join! Book posts are due October 19th, and I will post a link to these posts sometime around then :o)

 

 

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Community

Lately I’ve been wondering what role this blog needs to play in my life while hubby and I are taking a break from TTC. I wonder if I am really letting myself step back and take a break when I am still reading, posting, and surrounding myself with this world. In wondering this, I have begun to really evaluate what this community means to me and what role it plays in my life.

I love having support from people who understand (at least on some level–everyone’s story is different) what I am going through, and I love knowing that I can be that support to some other people. It always amazes me how much love and encouragement I can receive just from a comment on a post or an email from someone else in the community, and lately I’ve been trying to make the effort to leave some love on the posts that I read. Every time I read about a BFP or a birth, I get so excited and celebrate for that couple. It gives me hope, and I truly feel joy for them because I know the road that they have traveled to get to that BFP was long and hard.

But being part of this community is also heartbreaking. I feel a connection with some of these couples, and I will cheer and hope and pray so hard for them. But sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes my WP reader is full of BFN’s, failed IVF’s and FET’s, and miscarriages. It’s easy to feel hopeless when you are surrounded by these stories, and sometimes it is so hard to deal with other couples’ losses when I’m already dealing with my own. But you what? That’s what community is all about: sharing joy and sharing pain. It’s about encouragement and commiseration. It’s about letting yourself care about people enough that your heart will break for them. It’s about posting funny stuff that will brighten everyone’s day.

This community is important to me, and I plan on sticking around, even when we aren’t currently TTC.

Speaking of funny stuff, because we want to give my body time to heal and I’m not emotionally ready for another pregnancy right now, we are preventing pregnancy. Believe me, the irony is not lost on us. Anyway, little Miss Molly likes to get into the trashcan in our bathroom, and while we usually are good about keeping the door shut and keeping her out of the bathroom, she still manages to get into to it every once in awhile. Earlier this week, I was outside with her and saw something weird when she pooped. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a condom. Oh my goodness. We are now buying a new trashcan with a lid.

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Progress

Yesterday I completed step one of my plan to take my life back from fertility issues and loss. My poor wardrobe needed to be updated last fall (I only had one pair of jeans that fit…), but I powered through thinking that I would be pregnant soon, and I decided that after three mc’s, I would allow myself to go out and spend the money this year. I had a long list of things I needed, and I went out armed with $260, hoping that I could find some good deals and get most of the stuff on my list with that amount. I bought 3 sweaters, 1 sweater dress, 2 long sleeved shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 jean skirt, 3 camisoles, 1 pair of leggings, 3 bras, and 5 pairs of underwear. The total damage? $240. Success! Now I just need some new shoes…

On to step two! We are in the process of some house updates. Little Miss Molly is almost big enough to start leaving outside during the day, so we are trying to prepare for that. This includes making sure that the fence doesn’t have any escape holes under it, putting lattice under the back deck to keep her from getting into the mud under there, building a doghouse of sorts, and building a wooden gate to keep her from getting on the deck around the pool (I am terrified that she is going to fall in the pool because our friend’s dog drowned in an above ground pool). We built the gate this weekend and will be hanging it tonight. I’ve always had indoor dogs and the thought of leaving her outside makes me a little nervous, but she loves being outside and it is better for her than being cooped up in a crate all day.

I also made some progress on step three: my old Taekwondo instructor did a demo to earn his 7th degree black belt on Saturday, and I went to watch. I got to see a bunch of people that I haven’t seen since I quit, and I realized just how much I miss it. I’m so glad I went because I found out that one of the instructors has started a school close to where I work, and he is going to send me some info on it. So I might be getting back in the game! Wahoo! I can’t wait to put on my uniform and gear and start fighting again–it is the only way to work out :o) Tyler (the instructor who started the school) said that he doesn’t actually do adult classes and his oldest student right now is sixteen, but I would be welcome to come train with him and maybe even start helping teach again. I’ll take it.

It’s amazing the turns your life can take when you decide to start living again :o)

Don’t forgot to send me your book/books for the IF Bloggers Book Club–they are due Friday!

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IF Bloggers Book Club!

So if you read this post, you know that I’m taking my life back, and one of the things I’ve planned to do is replace useless, stressful Google searching with reading real books. I have always loved reading–my mom is a librarian so I was raised reading good books. In college, I realized just how much I love classic literature and I earned a BA in English literature. A couple of my favorites include A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, and The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. Yeah, I’m one of those people. I also absolutely love the Harry Potter series. I read the first book in the fourth grade before anyone knew about Harry Potter and there wasn’t a second book yet, and the last book came out the summer after my freshman year of college. So my childhood was really wrapped up in the series, and rereading the books gives me a comforting, homey feeling.

When I first graduated college, I worked at the local library and read some popular series like The Girl with Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I enjoyed branching out a little, but my heart will always be with the classics.

So, now that you all know a little more about me and my love affair with books, let’s talk about the IF Bloggers Book Club! I’m not entirely sure what this will look like yet, but here is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • To participate, you read at least one book a month and write a post about it on a predetermined day. I’m thinking about choosing a day in the middle of the month? I know the completed pin pictures for Storkchaser’s Lazy Pinner’s Challenge are due at the end of the month, and I don’t want bloggers stressing about finishing pins and writing a book post. So the October post will be…the 19th? Would that work for everyone?
  • You can read any book you want, but the book you choose has to be a book you’ve never read before. Don’t cheat and write a post about a book you read years ago.
  • You can write whatever you want in your post: a summary of the book, how much you loved/ hated it, expand on a theme that means something to you, get creative with some fan fiction, etc.
  • After everyone has posted, I will make a post linking to all of the book posts.

Everyone can send me an email (catchingourrainbow@gmail.com) or comment on this post letting me know 1) That you want to participate and 2) What book you are thinking about reading. If you are not sure yet which book you are going to read, you can list a couple of different books to choose from, and if you change your mind or hate the book you chose, you can always pick a different one. I just would like to have an idea of what kinds of books everyone will read :o) I’ll give everyone a week to make their books choices, so please let me know by the 28th. If you guys want to change anything or if you have a good idea to make this book club awesome, just let me know!

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In the Meantime…

I’ve noticed a trend on the IF blogs lately: bloggers are deciding to stop putting their lives on hold. You make a decision to TTC and make adjustments in your life to prepare for pregnancy and children, but at what point do you decide to stop making those sacrifices and take your life back? Today I am choosing to take my life back–fertility issues may be able to control my ability to have children, but I will not let it have power over any other part of my life. I am going to choose joy, and I am going to enjoy the time I have now. I decided to come up with a list of things I am going to allow myself to do. Some of these things are ideas I acquired from other bloggers and some of them are purely my own:

  • Buy new clothes: I know this is a common thread with women who are TTC, and it is really two-fold: you don’t buy new clothes because (1)  you are trying to save money and (2) you don’t want to buy clothes and then get pregnant and have a bunch of new clothes that don’t fit you. I needed new jeans a year ago, but I didn’t buy any for the two aforementioned reasons. Now I’m getting a little desperate, and I plan on doing something about that. I plan on buying new clothes this fall season–and not just clothes that would still look good if I get pregnant. I didn’t buy any new clothes last year, so I’ve decided that I get to buy two years’ worth of stuff this year. Because I deserve it.
  • Work on home improvement: We bought our house in September of last year and while I would not call it a “fixer upper,” there are some aspects of it that are a bit dated. We’ve done a little bit of work remodeling one of the bathrooms, but we haven’t really dug into a major project. One reason is that demos can be expensive and babies can be expensive, so we were saving for the latter. Another reason is that we didn’t want to get halfway through a project and find out that I’m pregnant and not nearly as useful and helpful as I was before pregnancy. Now, I’m ready to make our home the place of our dreams. I want to remodel our kitchen.  I want to tile the entrance.  I want to paint the extra bedroom that I’ve been waiting to paint because it will be the nursery and I don’t want to jinx myself. Seriously, whether it turns out to be a nursery or not, it will still be yellow, and we already have the paint, so I don’t know why I keep waiting. No more waiting.
  • Start some serious workouts: When we first started TTC, I was going to Tae Kwon Do three times a week. I earned my second degree black belt and had just passed the test to be a trainee instructor, helping teach the kids classes. There were a lot of reasons why I quit, but one of them was the idea that very strenuous workouts and intense cardio can negatively affect your fertility. I wasn’t getting pregnant, so it was a sacrifice I was willing to make, but I miss it. I miss learning. I miss pushing myself to the limits. I miss fighting. I’m not sure if I will join another school because I haven’t found one that I like close to home (another reason I quit was because the school  was so far from our new home), but I will start training again. I may not have someone to spar with, but I can still work on my technique, my speed, my accuracy, and my strength.
  • Go on vacationFor years I have talked about wanting to go up to Washington DC with hubby because he has never been there. It’s such a neat place to visit, and all of the museums and stuff are free. Plus, I have a lot of family up there that I never see. We just never made definite plans to go up there because we are saving money (are you seeing a trend here?), and we weren’t sure when I would get pregnant and how that would affect the trip. Well, we have made the decision to go up there in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom–pregnant or not! Beyond that, I want to go back to Europe. My junior year of college, I studied for five months in Germany, and I loved spending time out there. Hubby and I both have a close friend who lives in Manchester, and we want to go out to England to visit him and possibly hop on over to Germany to visit my friends there. We are still hashing out this idea and figuring out how we will save up for it, but I am determined to make it happen!
  • Read lots of books: Is it just me, or do any of you waste a lot of prime reading time researching infertility and miscarriages? I spend so much time trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and how to become and stay pregnant, and at this point, I’ve decided that time can be much better spent. Useless Google searches are going to be replaced with quality literature. I have the heart of a nerd and reading is one of my great passions. Lately, I’ve been letting all of this crap take away one of my passions, and that is just not acceptable anymore. I’ve actually been thinking about starting some sort of IF blog book club where once a month or so we all write a summary/review of a good book we read that month–would anyone be interested in that?

Life is too short. I’m not going to let fertility issues and loss steal years of my life. I’m going to enjoy time with my husband. I’m going to eat and drink whatever I want to eat and drink. I’m going to make plans.  I’m going to seize the freaking day. What about you?

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Validation

Throughout our entire journey, I have felt little support from my mom. When we were having trouble TTC, she would always brush it off and even seemed annoyed at my concerns, and when I told her about my first miscarriage, she asked me if I really had a miscarriage or if my period just started. She basically refused to talk about it with me, and she never really acknowledged that I actually had a mc, acting like it didn’t count because it was so early. Whenever I let her know that I was upset, she would get defensive/angry and tell me that I had to stop obsessing about getting pregnant, that I’m only 24. I know that this was her coping mechanism because the subject is so painful, but it was extremely hard for me. I kept telling hubby that of all people, I should be able to talk to my mother about this, and it just strengthened my resolve to be more supportive of my children than my mother is of me. Don’t misunderstand me–I love my mom, but I was very hurt by the fact that she would not acknowledge my mc or the pain and fear that came with it. I was so hurt by her attitude that I didn’t even tell her about the second one after it happened. When I finally built up the courage to tell her about the third one (and the second one), I was expecting more of the same: treating me like I’m overreacting and need to just chill out and stop worrying and wait a few years before trying again. I must say that my mother surprised me. Our initial conversation was fairly uneventful, and while I was saddened by the fact that she didn’t have much to say, I was glad that she didn’t say anything negative. A few days later, however, she called me with stories of several women at her work who had multiple mc’s and now have children and a list of recommended doctors. She also told me that one of the women planted a tree for every baby she lost and that she thinks I should do that. The amount of validation I received from this phone call was staggering. I really needed my mom to support me in this, and she finally came through. I can’t put into words how important that was to me.

Is there an important person in your life who won’t acknowledge your struggle? Did you ever have a moment when you suddenly got the support you needed?

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Birth Control and Humiliation

Yesterday I went to an appointment at a breast center in town for a follow up. Two years ago, we found a significantly sized lump in my left breast. After a little panicking, I went to this breast center for an ultrasound and learned that I have a fibroandenoma in each breast, but only the one in my left breast is palpable. Apparently these are common in women my age and are not considered dangerous as long as they are not growing at a significant rate. I just had to go to two different six month followups and today was my one year followup to make sure they are not growing. Yesterday, I got really good news: the lumps had shrunk quite a bit and I don’t need to go back until I’m 35 and I start my regular mammograms. 

Why am I telling you about my boobs?

First, I wanted to point out that the lump in my left breast shrunk to a quarter of the size it was originally, but it didn’t start shrinking until I stopped taking birth control. That’s right, these lumps were caused by my birth control, and according to the nurses and doctors at the breast center, these lumps are a common side effect. I have a friend who almost died of a huge blood clot in her leg (stretching from about mid-thigh to the middle of her waist) that was caused by her bc, and I have heard women time and time again wonder if their fertility issues were caused by bc. Yet it seems like doctors are passing out birth control pills like candy, without really explaining the very real possibility of some pretty serious side effects. I could go on for quite a while on the subject, but I will just say that birth control pills are artificial hormones that you are placing in your body to prevent it from doing something it is supposed to do naturally. Once I realized what they were doing to my body, I said goodbye to hormonal birth control and don’t plan on taking it again unless I have a legitimate medical problem  (such as PCOS) that would benefit from using it. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not anti birth control by any means, but I feel like it is prescribed much too quickly to girls and women who don’t really understand the potential dangers of what they are taking.

The second reason I’m mentioning my boob appointment is to tell you about yet another reminder of my body’s failure to grow a child. We were going over my medical history, and the girl was going through a list making sure that nothing had changed. When she said “and you’ve never been pregnant?” my heart just about stopped. I told her that I have actually been pregnant three times, but they all ended in miscarriage. Then she said “ok, so no live births?” I know she was just doing her job, but the nonchalant way she said this just shattered my heart into a million pieces and made me feel so very small. One of the many things I don’t understand about mc’s is the feeling of humiliation. Why is it so terribly embarrassing for me to admit that I’ve had mc’s? Logically, I know that there is no reason for me to be embarrassed, but I feel this need to hang my head in shame whenever it comes up (which, thankfully, is not very often). Has anyone else ever experienced this? Any theories on why it makes us feel this way?

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Reminders

I had two experiences this weekend that caught me completely off guard. There are situations that I expect to upset me. For example, when I found out I was pregnant the first time, hubby’s coworker’s wife found out she was also pregnant, and we were going to be due around the same time. So I expect to be upset whenever I see her because she is reaching all of these pregnancy milestones that I should be reaching too, but sometimes things just sneak up on me.

Saturday night, hubby and I went to dinner with one of his fire buddies. We went to a very popular and somewhat famous pizza place that I’ve only been to one other time. The one other time I’ve been was to celebrate BFF’s pregnancy. Apart from their families, we were the first people they told, and she was only five weeks when we went out to dinner (yes, they starting telling people and celebrating when she was only 4 or 5 weeks along). I don’t even know how to explain why it upset me to be back in this restaurant, and as I type this, I feel like it is stupid that this place somehow seemed to shove my fertility issues and losses in my face. It’s just that when we were there with BFF and her hubby, we were so happy and the mood was so light and everything was so damn easy for them! If we get pregnant again, there will be no celebratory dinner at 5weeks. There will be fear and anxiety and loads of appointments to make sure everything is ok and secrecy so that we don’t have to explain to people that we had yet another mc if something goes wrong. Who knew a restaurant could hold so much meaning and emotion? I didn’t. It’s a shame because they have really good pizza.

I should have expected the second one, but we’ve been so busy that I just didn’t think about it. Sunday afternoon, we went to a family reunion with hubby’s family. Every year they give out little awards to the oldest male, oldest female, family that traveled the furthest, and the youngest child. They also announce all of the deaths, weddings, and births from the last year. I remember sitting there last year thinking that maybe next year, they would be announcing the birth of our child, and maybe our baby would even win the little prize. I assumed that I’d at least be pregnant at the next reunion, but instead, this was just a reminder about how long we’ve been trying without any success.

The worst part of these two experiences? How do you explain to someone who doesn’t know about your TTC journey why you’ve suddenly become sad and withdrawn? No matter how hard I try to change it, I wear my feelings on my sleeves, and I just can’t hide it when I’m upset. I’m not a fan of being the seemingly moody wife who gets upset for no reason.

What infertility/loss reminders caught you off guard? How do you deal with it without seeming like a brooding nutcase?

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All over the Place

I feel like my posts are all over the place lately. I guess that’s fitting because I’ve been pretty all over the place lately. I’ve got so many emotions running around inside me right now, I’m really surprised I can create something that even resembles a coherent thought. It amazes me how comforting it can be to just sit down and throw up all of my feelings on this blog. I keep going from being so devastated I wonder how I can even function, to being sunshine and rainbows and sure that everything is going to be fine, to being really pissed off and not really so pleasant to be around. You get the picture: yet another mc + raging hormones = Danielle is a mess. I will admit that I’m doing a whole lot better than I thought I would, and I contribute that to the support I have.

I’ve already told you all about how wonderfully supportive my hubby is, but I really can’t emphasize that enough. He always seems to give me exactly what I need when I need it without me having to ask for it. I usually contribute this to the fact that we were long distance for almost the entire five years we dated, so we are really good at the communication thing because our only contact for the majority of those fives years was talking on the phone. I know that fertility issues and loss can really take its toll on relationships, and I am soooo thankful that this is only bringing hubby and I closer.

Another blessing? My sister, S. S and I didn’t always get along. We basically hated each other for most of our childhood, but over the past few years, we have grown super close. After I found out I was pregnant and I was pretty much freaking out, hubby suggested that I call my sister, and I’m glad I did. Since hubby and I got married, S has been asking me when she gets to be an Auntie. And not in an obnoxious, I’m putting-so-much-pressure-on-you sort of way. So she has been very supportive and loving, and the only thing that I regret about calling her for support is that I know her heart breaks with ours.

I also had no idea how much the supportive posts (and an email from a special blogger) would impact me. It has encouraged me more than I can say. Thank you all for being so loving and kind towards me. It means the world.

 

*                              *                              *

 

So keeping in my apparent theme of being all over the place, let me tell you about my appointment yesterday:

It was fairly short and uneventful (in a good way), and the midwife we talked to, Laura, was very sweet and a great listener. She had them draw blood to check my hCG and my antibodies because I’m A-. She originally wanted to give me rhoGAM, but I told her that hubby is also A- and there is no possible way that the baby has a different father. After I told her that, she agreed that I wouldn’t need it but said that she would like to check my antibodies just to legally protect the birth center. I’m ok with that. She was also going to run more tests to check my thyroid, my clotting, and other stuff, but I had all of those tests run in June and they all came back normal, so we didn’t run any of them again. She also told me that she is willing to refer me to either an RE or a high risk OB, but we have plenty of time to decide because she said that we should wait six months before we start TTC again.

Six months. Six months is a long time. In six months, we will pass two of my due dates and the year and a half mark of TTC. If we wait six months, the very earliest we could have a baby is December of next year. This means there is a very good chance that I won’t have a baby until 2014. There’s also a good chance I won’t have a baby before the year anniversary of two of my due dates. I probably won’t have a baby until I’m 26, which is a little daunting considering I’m 24 right now. In my heart, I know that we need to wait–that it will be good for me both physically and emotionally, and I was already planning on waiting at least three months, but damn that is a long time.

What is the longest break you have taken from TTC? Have you seen an RE or a high risk OB? Who was the biggest source of support on your journey?

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What now?

Hubby and I had a talk yesterday, and I told him that I needed to know how he felt about all of this. He said that he knows this journey has been very stressful and painful for me and that makes him want to stop TTC, but he still really wants a baby. So we are in the same place. We both really want a baby, but we can’t handle the stress and pain of TTC right now, and we are going to take some time off for awhile.

I’ve not really told you much about hubby. Hubby and I have been together for over seven years, and he is my very best friend. He is so kind and considerate, and he is the funniest person I know. Hubby grew up in a very close, loving family, and he has always wanted babies. Some of you may remember how I have written that having children was never my life’s dream and wanting to have a baby kind of hit me out of nowhere, but I feel like you should know that it has always been hubby’s dream. He wants this just as much, if not more, than I do.

Yesterday hubby said something that brought back the hope. He starts fire academy on Tuesday and will be done at the end of March. After he is done, he will be a state certified fire fighter, and he hopes to get a full time job with a fire department. This means he will be making more than we make combined right now and he will be working 24 hour shifts with a 48 hour break in between them. The original plan was that I would be able to quit my job and stay home after I had the baby, and he would be home enough that we could raise our baby together. But we no longer have that baby. Back to the hope: last night hubby said that if we don’t have a viable pregnancy before he starts a full time fire job, we can start the adoption process. We aren’t going to give up on having our own biological child, but we are going to start taking the steps needed have a baby–even if it isn’t genetically linked to us.

This might seem like a huge step that came out of nowhere, but I’ve actually said from the beginning of TTC that I like the idea of adoption, and even if we can have our own biological children, I would consider adoption. We are going for a mc follow-up appointment with my midwife this afternoon, and I have a sickening feeling that we are about to enter into a world of expensive tests and procedures that aren’t covered by insurance and won’t guarantee us a child. As much as I long to carry our child for nine months and give birth to a tiny human who is part hubby and part me, I would rather put all of that money towards saving a child’s life and know for certain that the time and emotional energy that I am investing will lead to me being a mother. We are considering international adoption which can take up to three years, so if this is the route we have to take, we want to start the process as soon as possible.

I know that adoption is a big deal. It is expensive and emotional and long and not an easy undertaking. We’ll cross that bridge when/if we get there. Nothing is set in stone right now, but I feel a lot better knowing that hubby and I are on the same page, and we have a plan. We will be parents. And if we get halfway through the adoption process and I actually get pregnant with a sticky baby? Then my heart might just explode because I will be so happy that we will get two children.

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