1

Trying to Grow Our Family for Three Years

I never imagined we would still be traveling this journey at this point, but last month was the three year mark of dealing with infertility. And you know what, it didn’t bother me one bit! God has totally transformed my heart and attitude over the last three years. When I go back and read my very first blog post, I can see how much of a bitter heart I had. I was bitter towards people that had children and complained about them. I was bitter towards women that could get pregnant just like that. I was bitter towards those same women that then whined about being pregnant.

But Jesus removed that bitterness and replaced it with joy and thankfulness. He made me see that I just needed to place my faith and trust in Him and He would provide, like He always has before. I understand now that God knew what He was doing this whole time. Why did I ever worry? He moved us to OKC when I didn’t want to and had Jim go through two jobs before placing him in the one he has now at the hospital, because God knew we would need fertility treatments. Bennett Fertility is the best fertility clinic in the state, and compared to the clinics in Kansas we would have gone to, Bennett has better success rates. God also knew that we would need help with the cost and provided that through Jim’s job. We realize how very blessed we are to have insurance that covers the majority of our treatments. Lastly, He knew I would need time off work for these treatments, and I don’t believe my previous job would have been as understanding as my current one. I am so grateful God has me working for someone that cares about us trying to expand our family and is willing to work around my many appointments.

I mentioned that Jesus also gave me a heart of thankfulness. Why would I be thankful that we are experiencing this pain? The countless disappointing months? The waiting and wondering why? The feeling that I am a failure and something is wrong with me? Because it has made me a better person, wife, friend, employee, and, most importantly, follower of Jesus. My character has grown so incredibly much over these last three years. My negativity has changed to positivity. My understanding of how God cares for me and loves me has shifted. And most importantly, my relationships with my Savior and husband are closer, stronger, and more intimate than ever. I see now that God wanted me to experience this so all this beautiful growth could happen. I would not be the same person I am now if we got what we wanted and had a baby right away. I would not realize that I cannot do this on my own and that not everything in my life is under my control. I would not be as thankful for the blessings and good things I do have in my life, with our without a child.

I also would not have met all of my wonderful TTC sisters and would not have been encouraged by them or been able to lift them up! I started sharing our experience publicly so that others would be lifted up by our story and know they are not alone. And God did so much more than what I had planned! He connected me with women that I now talk to daily. We share our struggles and doubts and fears and are able to keep pushing each other to not give up and are praying for each other. The TTC community is one of a kind and I am so grateful that God introduced me to it. I don’t know what I would do without these amazing ladies!

So where are we on our journey now? Well, I’m actually on bed rest from a transfer of one beautiful little embaby we just did on Monday! At the end of last year, we felt God leading us on the path to IVF and set up a consultation with our RE. We left his office that day feeling totally at peace about it. Praise be to God that we were able to get this far in the process with no issues. Every checkup I had was perfect and we were told we were right on track. So now all we can do is pray and wait! I am one that likes to have control (something God is still working on in me), so I just keep telling myself that there is nothing I can do about it at this point. Either it will work or it won’t. IF it doesn’t (I don’t like to think about it, but want to be prepared), I will know that is God’s plan and the He is still sovereign in our lives and still loves us and has what’s best for us in store. But we are BELIEVING this will work and God WILL beat infertility for us!

To be honest, I’m probably not going to blog much anymore. As you can tell (since my last post was August 🙂 ), I don’t do an excellent job of keeping this updated. I have found it’s easier for me to connect with women through my Instagram. So if you want to follow our story there, my handle is @dreamingofdirtydiapers.

Thank you so much for following our journey this far, and thank you to those that have supported us and prayed for us! God Bless!

K+J

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5

My Love/Hate Relationship With My OBGYN

Ok, so hate is a strong word. I don’t hate my OBGYN; I don’t even really dislike her. I just hate what she said.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my yearly check up with her. As soon as I walked into the office, I became super emotional. And I have no idea why. I have really, truly, seriously been fine with not being pregnant the last few months. I have not been bitter or upset. I have not cried at a pregnancy announcement on Facebook. I have not mentally (or verbally, for that matter 🙂 ) scolded parents for taking their children for granted. I’ve really been in a good place. So I’m guessing it was the fact that I was surrounded by pregnant women and newborns. Or because when the nurse asked me if I had any issues, to which I said, “Well, besides not being able to get pregnant,” and just chuckled about it, she responded with, “Well bless your heart!”. Or it could have been because I waited 45 minutes to see the doctor, during which I could hear an ultrasound going on in the next room and I wondered if I would ever get to hear our baby’s heartbeat. I guess it was all just overwhelming.

When the doc came in, she sat down across from me and we just talked. I’m used to her just asking her questions and going through the exam and that’s that. But God knew I needed this. She asked how I was doing, and I just lost it. I told her I didn’t know why I was crying, and she said, “Because you want to have a baby! It’s ok!”. She asked why we stopped seeing the infertility doctor, and I told her about the last appointment and how I didn’t feel valued. I said I felt like things weren’t being explained to me thoroughly. She said Dr. Reshef is usually great about taking time with his patients, so this surprised her. She mentioned I have the option of seeing one other infertility doc, but he is known for not spending much time with his patients, so he wouldn’t be any better. She asked what I felt like wasn’t explained, and I said I guess just what our options were for finding out what the issue is. So she went over in detail every test and medicine we have tried, and made sure I understood what we’ve done so far. She asked what Dr. Reshef told me was next, and I said the fertility shots ending with IUI, but that I didn’t really understand what those were. She explained the Femara I took for a few cycles was the pill form of meds to help me ovulate more, and that the shots are the same thing, just more effective. I asked about endometriosis and told her Dr. Reshef said the only way to check for that was to have the laparoscopic surgery. She agreed, and said I really don’t have any symptoms of endometriosis, so she acted like she didn’t think I needed to have the surgery.

After discussing everything, she said, “So, the reason Dr. Reshef didn’t explain everything is because there is nothing to explain. Unfortunately, you fall into the 15% of couples that have unexplained infertility.”

Knife to the heart.

It was heartbreaking to hear that said out loud. No one has said it to us before, although we’ve suspected there was nothing wrong. All I could think was why? Why is this happening? I know God has a plan and I am trusting in that now more than ever, but why does it have to be an unexplained issue? I thought, I would almost rather have something wrong with us so we would know what needed to be fixed! But then thought I would probably be more distraught if we had issues and found out they weren’t fixable.

My OBGYN said since we don’t have any medical problems, that we are good candidates for IVF, which she suggested as our next step. She talked about how this is a big step and we need to mentally prepare ourselves for it, but she believes it would work. I said we weren’t ready for that yet, and she was very understanding. She just said that when we are, we need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reshef and not to leave his office until everything is explained to us.

I left her office feeling better, but at the same time more upset. I loved that she sat down and just talked with me for several minutes about our infertility. I enjoyed talking to someone that understands our options and can tell me the truth about our situation. But it was upsetting to hear our infertility is unexplainable, at least for doctors. God has an explanation; I just I wish I knew what it was. But we don’t get to know everything about God’s plan. We just have to trust Him and believe that His plan is going to rock our world.

That night, Jim and I discussed what my OBGYN said and what we want to do from here. It’s nice to know she thinks we would be good candidates for IVF, but I don’t think we are ready to take that step yet. For me, I think fear is holding me back. I’m afraid that we will try this and spend all this money on it, and then it won’t work. That would be our last option, so then what? We just aren’t meant to have kids? Or should we keep trying more rounds of IVF? I think I’ve just got it stuck in my mind that if it didn’t work, that would be it. Of course we would adopt at that point, but I want to have a baby of our own. I want to experience pregnancy and all the wonderful and terrible things that come with it. I know without a doubt I am meant to be a mom, but that doesn’t mean I’m meant to be a mom to my own flesh and blood child. That might not be in God’s plan, and I guess I’m just afraid that the sooner we try IVF, and if it doesn’t work, the sooner my dreams will be crushed. I realize this all sounds very pessimistic. I try to remind myself to stay positive about it and not let the Enemy put these doubts and fears in my head, but sometimes it is difficult.

The other thing that is holding me back from IVF right now is thinking that going through with IVF is like trying to play God. I would love some feedback from you ladies out there that have done IVF and have struggled with this, or have not done it because of this thought. I just keep thinking, what if God doesn’t want us to do IVF because he doesn’t want us to rush it? What if we are going to get pregnant naturally without any help from medicine or technology? I sometimes say, “God, if I only knew when You were going to give us a baby, it would be so much easier to live with infertility! Even if You told us it was going to be in five years, I would be ok with the wait because I would know it IS going to happen!” Again, I don’t have the right to know what God is thinking. But if that is His plan, I worry that us doing IVF is trying to take His plan into our own hands and force it or hurry it along. But at the same time, I believe that God has given us medicine and technology to enhance our lives and help with situations like this, so maybe IVF is part of His will. I’m probably overanalyzing this, just like I do with every other aspect of my life. But these are the thoughts I struggle with.

So for now, we are waiting. We are going to stay the course with our more natural plan of chiropractic care, acupuncture, and the YLO colon cleanse. We are praying for this to be successful, but that if we are supposed to do IVF, that God will make it abundantly clear.

2

God’s Plan is at Work!

Long time, no update! There just hasn’t been anything to update about…until recently.

I’m still on the Young Living Oil cleanse and have been doing it for a little over three months now. One MAJOR benefit I have noticed is that my cycle is more regular now. YAY!! (Sorry, yet not sorry, if this is TMI for some…it’s a big deal!) No more of this 27-36 day inconsistencies. It’s now either 29 or 30 days. Also, the back pain and pelvic pain I used to experience a week before my cycle has greatly reduced! Another big deal! And I fully believe the cleanse is responsible for this. I felt God leading me to try a more natural route and He is working miracles through it!

The other part of the natural journey I felt God pointing me towards was going to a chiropractor to treat infertility. I was really hesitant about finding a new chiropractor, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I was afraid it wouldn’t work, or maybe because I was comfortable going to the one I had and didn’t want to change. They do give me a back massage for like 10 minutes before every adjustment….who would want to give that up?! But one night, I finally made time to do some research. I contacted five or six different chiropractors by email, since it was late at night when I was working on this. Some of the doctors were on our insurance and some were not, but I wanted the best so I wasn’t going to worry about the money. Some of them were way on the north side of town, but I told myself I wasn’t going to let the drive be a factor in my decision. So the next morning as I was on my way to work, I prayed for God to lead me to the right chiropractor. Before I walked into work, I checked my email on my phone just to see if anyone had responded yet. There was one email from a Dr. M. I remembered that one wasn’t listed on our insurance, so I didn’t have high hopes for it. I read the email and it said Dr. M has treated several men and women for infertility through adjustments and acupuncture, which I was wanting someone that did acupuncture, so that was a plus. Then it said they do accept my insurance and it would only be only $35 a visit! I thought, ok…this is good. When I looked up their address, I realized they were only two miles south of my work. Even better! And they are open until six, which most chiropractors I have found are not, so that meant I didn’t have to take time off work for appointments. Right away, I knew this was where God wanted me to be.

So I made an appointment for the next day, and I absolutely love Dr. M! He is so much like my chiropractor I had back home. Very personable and friendly, and he asked me a ton of questions and really paid attention to me. He has a plan and says he has a high success rate for treating infertility. He takes his time with me and doesn’t rush, like my other chiropractor here did. I just feel at ease with him and believe God is going to work through him to help us get pregnant!

He did x-rays at my first appointment to figure out what specifically he needed to work on. About a month before I saw him, my toes started feeling numb/tingly on and off throughout the day. He showed me in my x-rays how some vertebrae in my low back are really squished together and are putting pressure on my nerves, which gives me that numbing sensation down in my toes. I had told him I have slight scoliosis, which you can really see in my low back, so he said that is causing those issues. He also said my neck does not have a c-curve like it should, and I have some very slight degeneration in my neck vertebrae. But he is positive that he can fix it all, as well as treat the infertility. Right now he is working on my lower back to get the numbness to stop, so we haven’t gotten in his game plan quite yet for the infertility. I have seen him three times a week for two weeks now, and this last week we started acupuncture in my lower back. I was really nervous because I have never had acupuncture before, but it was painless and pretty relaxing actually. I still don’t fully understand how acupuncture works, so I want to ask for more clarification on that. But overall, I believe this along with the cleanse is going to get us pregnant!

The biggest change I’ve seen in the last few months has been in my attitude. I’m no longer bitter all the time. I don’t break down and cry every time I see a pregnancy announcement on Facebook anymore. I don’t curse God when I’m not pregnant month after month. God has really been working on my attitude and patience, and I am just staying positive and believing that one day we will be blessed with a little bundle of joy and poopie diapers. For me, it’s not a question of IF it will happen anymore, just a question of WHEN.

13

Not Pregnant….Again

I get my hopes up every time, but this time they were especially high. We did everything right this month. I truly, with all my heart, believed it was going to happen. So when it didn’t, you can imagine the breakdown I had. I got mad…I cried…I asked “Why me?”…I screamed “It’s not fair!”. This deep pain and disappointment and lack of understanding is becoming exceedingly difficult to deal with month after month. It is consuming my life and taking over my every thought and action, and I’m afraid the more negative results we see, the more bitter I am becoming.

I find myself feeling bitter when I scroll past pregnancy announcements on Facebook. It is a challenge to be happy for them. I feel bitter towards people in my life that have kids, even though I love those kiddos like my own. I feel bitter towards members at work that bring their kids with them and treat them poorly, and I just want to tell them to not take them for granted. I even feel bitter towards couples, who I know have been dealing with infertility for awhile, when their dreams come true and they see those two pink lines. I’m also beginning to feel bitter towards God.

And when I feel bitter, I have crazy thoughts like…

Why do other people deserve children and we don’t? That is the one question that repeatedly pops in my head. Some teenagers get pregnant and then give their babies up for adoption. Others put them in a dumpster. Some prostitutes get pregnant and leave their child alone at night to go to “work”. Some crack heads get pregnant and abort their babies. Some couples get pregnant on accident with their third or fourth or whatever number and say, oh I can’t handle another one! And I’m just over here watching and waiting and asking God why He can’t share the love!

Jim and I are at a great place in our marriage and are emotionally ready to have children. We both have good, stable jobs and Jim has awesome health insurance, so we feel we are financially ready to support children (although all our money might be spent on trying to have kids and there won’t be any left to feed them!). Last year we bought a spacious house with four bedrooms, so we have room for a growing family. We recently bought an SUV so we could comfortably travel home with two dogs and a baby. And we have so much love already for this baby that it hurts! So what else are you waiting on, God? What lesson are you trying to teach us? Is it patience? Because I think two years is long enough! (I obviously am not patient anymore.) Or are you getting ready to come back for us soon so there is no point in us having kids? Am I going to be diagnosed with some awful disease that is going to kill me in a few years so you don’t want me to bring a child into this world and then have me die on them? Are you waiting a few months because you know I really want to go to the Taylor Swift concert in September with Kelly, and if I got pregnant now I probably would have to cancel?

I really think I’m going insane here.

So I’ve been asking myself what I can do to make me feel less crazy.

The obvious answer to me is to pray. But to be quite honest, I feel like praying is getting me nowhere. Maybe I’m praying for the wrong thing? I’ve been praying month after month to just be blessed with a baby. Maybe I need to pray for understanding. But then I tell myself, I have no right to understand God. He doesn’t have to explain Himself to me. I work so hard to try to figure out His plan and read “signs”, that I’m probably missing the point. What is the point? I don’t know yet. I do know that God loves me and cares for me and knows what’s best for me. I just have to convince my heart to believe all that when times are tough like this. It’s easy to lose hope and be angry, and I think sometimes it’s ok to just be angry for a bit. But I don’t want to be consumed with bitterness.

So I think what I’m going to work on is being grateful for the blessings I do have in my life, even if I don’t have a child. I am thankful that I have found the one I get to spend the rest of my life with. I’m so glad we have awesome families that we enjoy being around. It’s pretty stinking cool that we live just a few miles from our very best friends and get to hang out with them at least once a week. God has always provided for us financially and we have never really had to worry about money. I’m thankful for our health. I’m grateful for movies and books and my TV shows that temporarily transport me to another world and take my mind off my problems. I’m thankful for having things to look forward to, like my sister’s wedding in Florida!

And most of all, I’m so very thankful that God sent His son Jesus to die on a cross to take away MY sins (like feeling bitter) so that I could live eternally with Him. Jesus, please forgive me for losing hope and faith, and for my bitterness. I need You now more than ever.

2

Overwhelmed with Support!

I should have started this blog a long time ago! I was just scared to put such personal information out there for the world to see. And I won’t lie, it sill makes me nervous that our story is available for anyone to read. I guess I feel vulnerable and completely exposed. Also I just feel like society sees and treats infertility as a disease, and I’ve been fooled into believing that it is, and it makes me feel ashamed of my “disease”. I realize this is a crazy idea and am trying to work through that. Bear with me.

Anyways, enough with all the feelings.

God works in amazingly wonderful ways! So many of you have reached out to share your experiences with infertility, whether it was in the past or you are currently going through it. I had no idea most of you could relate to our situation. I truly hate that infertility is a common issue and that others have had to deal with this too, but it makes me feel less alone. That’s exactly why I felt (here we go with the feelings again) I needed to blog about it. God knew I would get the support and encouragement I needed after sharing. I’ve even had some people tell me they had a feeling that we were going through this difficult time and they have been praying for us. Now that is totally a God thing! He’s always looking out for Jim and I and making sure we are covered in prayers. I also love hearing about your success stories! Those give me hope for the future. So don’t be afraid I’m going to lash out and judo chop you if you tell me you are pregnant after struggling with infertility. I want to be able to celebrate with you in your joy! 🙂

In conclusion (I feel like I’m writing a paper for Ms. Hall’s class) thank you so very much for the prayers and support! We love you all!

9

To Catch You Up on Our Story…

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I’ve decided to start a new blog for some selfish and unselfish reasons. Jim and I have been trying to have a baby for 1 year and 10 months. Some people will say that’s not a long time, but when it’s happening to you, it is FOR.EV.ER. Jim’s idea was to start an infertility vlog to document our journey. I liked the document part, but not the vlog part. I extremely dislike seeing and hearing myself on camera; I prefer to type.

So here we are and this is why we are doing this:

  1. I’m super duper tired of people asking me, “When are you going to have kids?”. Surely this should clear that up.
  2. I don’t want to feel ashamed or embarrassed anymore about not being able to get pregnant. Not many people know we have been trying, because I feel like a failure and don’t want to discuss it. My thought process is that blogging about it will help me open up more and not be so uncomfortable speaking about our struggles.
  3. I really hope and pray that this will encourage other couples out there that are experiencing our same pain.
  4. I have no one around me that understands what I am going through, so I want to connect with other women on here and create a kind of support group for each other.
  5. I want this to give some insight to people that don’t know what it’s like to not get pregnant easily. I would never wish this experience on anyone, but I want people to understand how we feel and realize how some things they do and say can make it worse.

See, I told you those were mostly selfish reasons. Don’t judge.

One reason I am NOT doing this: To throw myself a pity party or make people feel sorry for me. Please don’t. The best thing you can do for us is just pray!

What have we done so far, you ask? Well before we finally saw a reproduction specialist, we tried everything you could think of and more. I researched and tried different herbs, I tried charting, we tried “relaxing” (yeah right), trying every night, every other night, ovulation predictor kits, and so on. You get the picture. After a year of trying, my OBGYN referred me to Dr. Reshef at Baptist. She said he is the best in the state, but that is yet to be determined. 🙂

So here is what we have done medical wise:

  • Jim’s sperm count has been tested and is within normal ranges.
  • I had a blood test performed to check my progesterone levels, which indicated that I had ovulated that cycle.
  • I had an HSG test, which, to put in layman’s terms, is where they shoot dye up your tubes to make sure you don’t have any blockages and are all connected right. If you haven’t done this and are thinking about it, just a couple of warnings: It is pretty pricey. It took up the rest of my $1250 deductible so I’m not exactly sure how much it was, but over $1000. Also, it hurts like heck! It feels like cramping but also like you have a porcupine in there. But, it is a great test to do before you try fertility treatments. Mine showed that I was all connected and had no blockages, so we could rule out some treatment options.
  • I had a post-coital test. Excuse me for getting detailed, but this is to make sure that your cervical mucus isn’t killing the sperm. Good news, mine isn’t.
  • I have taken Femara for two cycles now. Femara is like Clomid, but is supposed to have fewer negative side effects. I have honestly not experienced any from taking this. Before Dr. Reshef writes me the prescription, I have to go in and have a vaginal ultrasound performed to make sure I don’t have any ovarian cysts. I guess if you have cysts, they would not want to put you on Femara. I’m not sure why because thankfully both times now I have not had any cysts, so we haven’t had to cross that bridge. Femara is supposed to help stimulate ovulation and make you more regular so you can predict ovulation. This has done just that for us, but yet we are still not pregnant. We took December off of me taking the meds because we just needed a break from everything. Then this week I went back and got my third round prescribed, and that brings us up to date.

That may not seem like much we have tried yet, but God-willing we won’t have to go through much more. I realize some people have gone through many more medical treatments and many more years of struggling. And others are just starting and are disappointed after a few months of negative pregnancy tests. To those that can relate to this, here is what I have recently learned: Don’t think people aren’t going to care or don’t want to hear about your struggles because you’ve been trying for “just” a few months. Don’t think that people are tired of hearing about your issues after you’ve been trying for a few years. No matter what your time frame is, your pain is still just as real and significant. Plus, you never know who is listening that might be going through the same thing and is just afraid to say it out loud. You talking about it could give them some encouragement and strength.

What can you do to help couples dealing with infertility? Here are some things I would love to scream in people’s faces sometimes, but I’m passive-aggressive so I’ll just blog about it:

  • STOP TELLING US TO RELAX. If I had a dollar for every time….That is just the absolute worst thing you can say to someone trying to get pregnant. You can tell yourself to relax, but it doesn’t work. The pressure is always there in the back of your mind. Even if you are on vacation. Even if you aren’t charting. Even if you both say out loud that you aren’t going to “try” this month. It doesn’t matter.
  • Stop saying cliche crap like, “It will happen when it’s supposed to.” or “It’s all in God’s timing!” Yes, I am a Christian, and yes I believe that God has a plan for everyone’s life because the Bible tells me He does. But that doesn’t make the waiting and the anxiety and the pain any better. And maybe it should if I really gave this burden to God and let Him carry it, but you try it when you are in my shoes and let me know how it turns out. I’ve tried to give it up to Him and I do feel I’ve gotten less anxious about it, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.
  • Please please PLEASE don’t complain about your kids on social media. I’m sure parenting is full of challenges, but this is so annoying. I’m tired of seeing people say that they didn’t get any sleep last night, or their kid is in the terrible twos stage, or their baby won’t take a bottle. There are people, like me, that would give anything, and I mean ANYTHING to have children. I would love to not get any sleep at night because I have a baby to care for. So just think about that before you post on Facebook that your kid just had a blow out up his back, because I’m dreaming of dirty diapers and can’t wait for that day to come.
  • To go along with the previous, please don’t complain about being pregnant. Again, I would give anything to experience those pregnancy pains.
  • Don’t tell me you’re tired of your kids and ask me if I want them. My answer will always and forever be, YES. I do actually. Don’t take your precious children for granted.
  • When I tell you about the issues we are having, don’t tell me your fairytale story about how you have never had trouble getting pregnant and the most you’ve had to wait is three months. That’s fantastic. Exactly what I needed to hear.
  • Don’t utter these phrases: “You’re so lucky because you get to sleep in on the weekends.” “You’re so lucky that you don’t have kids because they are expensive.” “You’re so lucky because you get to go poop alone.” Well actually, I’d like to say that you are pretty darn lucky because you have offspring and I don’t. I know this is all in perspective. Some people are going to say, just wait until you have kids and you will be saying these things! But honestly, I don’t think I will. We will have waited and tried for so long, that I really think we will appreciate parenthood more. Feel free to call me out if I do any of these when we have kids one day.
  • DO listen. You don’t have to give me advice or keep telling me you are sorry (like it’s your fault). I just want you to listen to my situation and just be there for me when I’m having a bad day. You don’t have to pretend that you understand, just tell me that it sucks.
  • If I don’t want to attend a function that is full of children or centered around your child, please don’t be offended. Sometimes it can be really painful to be at a kids’ birthday party surrounded by couples that have kids and you are the only adult there without one. All the other adults do are talk about their children and what they did that week that was cute or disgusting while you just listen and smile. Then they ask you which one is yours and it’s awkward when you say none of them.

None of the above was directed at anyone in particular. Just things I constantly see/hear people do. If any of it offended you, I’m not sorry because that is honestly how people struggling with infertility feel.

I have much more I could share, but if I blog it all now, I won’t have any content for future posts. 🙂 So I think this is a good enough introduction. If you made it this far, kudos to you and thanks for reading!