Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ahem ahem...

I'm pregnant! The FET worked and went as FLAWLESSLY as I could have ever hoped.

Seriously - I thought our IVF round went well, but this was as stress-free (3 total appointments? really!?) and easy as they come. It was also really helpful to have a busy toddler keep my mind off of time passing and keep my from obsessing as much (there was still too much obsessing and 20 pregnancy tests involved, but still).

We transferred on Feb 9th, and by the 14th I got a clear positive. I knew I was pregnant, because I had some pretty crazy back cramps and my stomach was immediately off. After the first week, all of that subsided and now I'm just crampy on and off and a little tired. It's still early, so I'm enjoying feeling super normal right now.

This whole experience has felt very divinely led. There were a lot of variables that caused a fair amount of anxiety, research and prayer for me. Everything worked out and I just put 100% faith that since we felt very impressed not to waste time and expand our family, even with the absolute craziness of this year (we're putting our house on the market next week, starting a business, and a few other things I'm not at liberty to talk about) that everything would be ok. I can't even begin to describe my gratitude at having this transfer work.

After transfer, I went and holed up in my room for 5 hours. I wanted to avoid hoisting around my son for a while and just give everything a chance to settle down especially since I opted out of vallium. After that, I took it as easy as I could but was pretty much back to normal life by the next morning since Jeff was away working on a project. I carried Cade, went shopping, etc etc. My sweet mother in law had prepared an entire dinner for us on the day of transfer so I didn't have to cook, and we ended up having leftovers for the next two days which allowed me to rest a little more. Such a blessing.

Anyways, this baby is due October 28, which will put almost exactly 2 years between our babies which is super ideal for me. Hopefully, they'll be close enough in age to be friends as they grow older, and it gives us a solid 2 years to have gotten our minds around parenting (will I ever feel like an expert? No. No I will not) and love on our boy. I'm definitely a little emotional when it comes to considering that my boy will have to share my attention but I'm SO excited for another little.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

February FET

In a completely organic sequence of events, we found ourselves in the opportune situation to start an FET protocol so on Tuesday of this week I went in for my CD2 appointment and everything via bloodwork and ultrasounds looked great. The saline sonogram went beautifully, what they had originally thought was a fibroid tumor during Cade's pregnancy they couldn't find a single trace of, so we got the all clear to move forward.

The FET protocol is so simple and straight forward - I started taking estradiol twice a day, today went to get levels checked to see if we need to do any adjusting, and next week I go on Friday to get a lining check and bloodwork to make sure everything's coming along properly. According to our plan at this time, transfer date should be February 9th and then beta day will be the 23rd, exactly 2 years from the day we transferred Cade. SO MANY fewer appointments compared to our fresh IVF that involved going in every day to every other day.

It's a blessing, because the day I should have called to make the appointments I was SO. SICK. Sicker than I've been in recent memory. I was so excited to have the potential to start our protocol but just could not feel good about bringing in germs to share with the staff and other patients, so I made the decision to hold off and see if I was doing better the next day in hopes that it wouldn't be too late. If so, I would believe that it was our sign that we should go for it, and if not, that was a higher power telling us that it wasn't the right time. Miracle of miracles (and after a blessing), I woke up the next morning feeling a million times better, and the doctor was able to squeeze me in two hours later. All in all, I feel like we've been really blessed that we were able to get started.

I'm a worrywart by nature and analyze everything. It honestly feels like I look for things to stress and worry about, so I've already made the decision to just let it be. Worrying about this cycle won't change the outcome, but it will make me a lot less happy. So I'm choosing to be optimistic, give it my best effort, and be hopeful that everything works out positively.

I was really open about sharing information on social media with our previous IVF cycle for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being it was the easiest way to keep our families in the loop since so many of them were emotionally invested with us and praying for us. This time, I've wanted it to be a little more private. There won't be a whole lot of updates, but I'm sure I'll share about the transfer and of course the outcome.

Prayers that I will respond positively to the medications, that we will have a favorable outcome, and that we will be mentally and emotionally "ok" whichever way this goes would be appreciated.

Here's to a sibling!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

We were supposed to start a frozen embryo transfer this week.

And then at the CD1 appointment on Christmas Eve I found out that not only was my doctor's clinical coordinator out of town til January, but so is the doctor, with no gameplan left behind for the people who would be providing our care.

That's a problem, because I absolutely wouldn't have started if we had known he was going to be out of town, and also because thousands of dollars are riding on this which I refuse to let go to waste on a cycle where we're getting shuffled around between doctors. Especially considering that the last time that happened at a different clinic, three weeks in to shooting up with hormones and committed to the tune of $4,000 for an IUI that we'd never get to do I found myself sitting across the desk from a doctor who didn't know my name casually flipping through my chart and asking, "Why don't you think this is working?" and "what do you think we should do?"

Is this even real life? If I knew how to get myself knocked up we wouldn't be here chatting, bro.

Long story short, that treatment ended in a miserable did-not-finish failure that left our bank account and morale on empty.

However - it was a blessing in disguise, because the doctor who did review my chart sat down and explained that it would be in our best interest not to move forward until we did a saline sonogram and determine if the fibroid that caused complications with Cade's pregnancy needed to be removed, and see if others were present. Fibroids are benign growths inside the uterus that can cause failure to implant, miscarriage, preterm labor (which I had) and preterm delivery (my water broke with Cade at 36 weeks). We would love to not have a repeat of the miscarriage scare we had at 7 weeks too, so I'm incredibly grateful that this new doctor did sit us down and explain patiently why this is so important, and laid out our several options to proceed.

We'd rather do this right and give our embryos the very best chance, so this is what we're going to do. The saline sonogram is scheduled for next week and I'm mentally preparing to hear that surgery needs to happen and allow for a month or two to heal before moving forward.

I really had thought that having had Cade the feelings I experienced throughout the years leading up to getting him wouldn't resurface, but I've been pretty surprised with how frustrated I've been this week. I keep reminding myself that there's so many worse trials and I honestly wouldn't want to experience any of the ones I've seen other people go through. I just wish the feelings of frustration, anger at others getting to have kids without being repeatedly violated by other people, and freaked out at the fact that I have absolutely zero control over this or how many kids we'll get to have weren't real.

You all should probably say a prayer for Jeff because without fail, every time these treatments start and with them loads of synthetic hormones, my everyday garden-variety crazy grows exponentially into a kind of crazy you can't even imagine. And he has to live with that - so, yeah - he's a saint.

ANYWAYS. Here's to hopefully trying again in February or March.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It begins: FET

Today I went and got my PIO shot to kick off our FET. It was a little odd being there with my son, surrounded by patients who are still waiting for their baby. I remember being annoyed at those people when we were in the middle of treatment. Oh well - hindsight, right?

I saw women who had clearly just finished their egg retrieval looking like they were wading through molasses, still not fully conscious. Annoyed husbands who were put out, uncomfortable, stressed, probably angry that they were shelling out so much money for what can feel like a total gamble. Then there were the husbands who were every bit as excited and hopeful and invested as their wives. Older couples. Young couples. My heart broke a little for each of them and I said a silent prayer that they would all get those babies that they were sacrificing and hoping for so much.

It felt a little like coming home, though. We had to wait a little longer than normal since they were so short staffed due to the holidays, but Cade was an angel and every clinical person who saw him talked about how perfect and adorable he was and how it makes them feel just so GREAT to meet the babies they were so involved with. To an outsider that probably sounds like lip service, but I can promise that these people meant it. They are 100 percent aware of how miraculous it is and grateful their patients are for the total gift of parenthood. Several of them are/were/will be fertility patients also, so they understand every emotion and worry of the process. We don't take it for granted, neither do they. I love, love LOVE that they recognize just how monumental these babies are and share so much in our joy.

Anyways, I got my PIO shot to kick off the cycle. From there, I call on day 1, order meds, and then start bloodwork, estradiol, and ultrasounds on day 2. I'm not exactly sure how it will roll out from there but it should only be a couple of weeks after that to transfer.

I'm excited. I feel good about getting started again. I've had some worries, doubts, and concerns about doing this with Cade. I've felt a bit like I'm shortchanging him and I don't know why. At the heart of it, though, is that we feel we are ready to expand our family and want so badly to give him a built-in best friend. It just felt "right" to be there today and I know that we're on the right path.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Lose that baby weight"

After having gained 60 lbs during my pregnancy - yeah, I was pretty fluffy - I imagined I would be aching to get back in shape and shrink back down to my pre-pregnancy, pre-motherhood body size and shape. I'd hit the gym religiously at 6 weeks, eat nothing but absolutely healthy foods, and be back in my jeans and lookin' fine by 6 months.

AND, as per usual, I was wrong.

I lost about 35 lbs in the week after having Cade (mostly water weight, I was SO swollen), and continued to drop about 12-15 more, depending on the day, over the next several weeks. I've still got about 10-12 to go.

But here's the funny thing: I'm not bothered. Not at all.

Within the first few weeks after giving birth, I had some people in my neighborhood reach out to me with proposals along the lines of, "I've got this really awesome exercise program that I'd love to tell you about! It'll really help you lose the baby weight, so when you're ready to start getting back in shape let me know!" to "I'm having a shake party at my house. It's really great for breastfeeding and will totally help you drop the baby weight. I'd really appreciate it if both you and your husband would be there."

That last one is actually almost verbatim.

I wasn't offended that people were offering to "help" me get  back in shape. What I was bothered by was that a) what they actually just wanted me to be an income source and participate in their MLM, which I am adamantly annoyed by and opposed to and b) they assumed that I was unhappy with my body and how I looked. That last one was definitely the worst.

I finally snapped and made a thinly-veiled post on facebook that I knew they would see to announce to the world that I was fine with myself. After years of fertility treatments and just wanting my body to function normally, I truly could not have been more in awe of it. Yeah, there's some loose skin, and stretchmarks, and still a bit of chub - but in place of that previously somewhat fit and slender girl was a mother who had a lot more to think about than herself. Rather than pawn him off to Jeff so I could go sweat for an hour, I wanted to spend time together as a family. Instead of using his nap to get a workout in, I was spending it at the computer working to help provide for my family.  Yes, I get a few workouts in each week and I do generally try to eat well, I'm not a stickler and I'm okay with how I look. My priority for the last while was to be eating well enough to breastfeed, and my priority over the next couple months is to get pregnant again. The best course of action, for me, was to maintain strength and general health without an emphasis on being a hard-body.

To date- now almost 14 months postpartum, I don't regret missing a workout or all that extra time snuggling with my kid and hanging out as a family. It went by in a blur.

Also, I just haven't found the energy or motivation to get there. I'm okay with that also.

My plan is to "lose the baby weight" and "bounce back" after this next baby, or whenever we're done having kids. Getting back to baseline is not healthy for me mentally right now.

And I'm okay with that.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Go Ahead and Get Your Judging Pants On

Today was my son's 12 month well visit. "Well" in the sense that it was scheduled to check his height (70%) and weight (70%) and all that stuff but also ironic in that we walked out with a script for an ear infection, poor kid.

During this visit, I had what I had anticipated would be an all-out battle of a conversation with his pediatrician regarding shots.

SPOILER: My mom gut freaked out at 6 months and told me in no uncertain terms that Cade was not to have anymore shots.

SPOILER #2: It was a really pleasant, positive conversation that just made me love his doctor.

As a 25-yr militant member of the "VACCINATE EVERYONE FOR EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME" club, this was a shock to my brain and spurred months of research on both sides of the aisle for two reasons.

1) I wanted to pinpoint exactly what my fear was, what I anticipated Cade's issue being, and weight the pros and cons.
2) I wanted to assuage that fear, because VACCINATE EVERYONE.

What I found just made me more and more uneasy, I have an idea of what Cade may have experienced, and my fear was fueled.

So at least for this child of mine, there won't be any.

The doctor asked if I'd like to discuss why I was opting out of future vaccinations, and I laid that previous information down for him followed by, "Trust me, man. It freaks even me out because like I said - I used to be that person who would argue with moms on the internet who chose not to vaccinate their kids, call them stupid, and then walk away feeling morally superior."

"You know there's better ways to feel morally superior, right?" He said.

I realize this was his good-humored attempt at participating in the de-escalation of a potentially scary moment for me as I was asserting my newly-arrived mama bear and I appreciate it.

He continued with, "You know, I'm a huge believer in parent instinct. I've had several experiences where moms have come in demanding that I test for crazy diseases and I've told them they are wrong - only to do the testing and it turns out they were absolutely right. So there's a lot to be said for Mom Gut and I don't question it. I would hate to give him a shot and have him experience something adverse and then go, "Oh, yeah, that's probably why we shouldn't have done that." And I honestly believe you're doing what you think is best for your child, however, in the outbreak of an MMR illness I would strongly recommend that you reconsider that single vaccine."

And that was it.

So, yeah. Judge me, I don't care - I believe that vaccines have saved a lot of lives and work perfectly well for so many people. I also believe that there have been an unrecorded number of vaccine-related life altering changes and illness in kids, and a whole host of things that still need to be tested, and I just CAN'T give my kid vaccines. At least not right now. So judge me on that front, and also feel free to judge my previously judgy nature.

Just kidding. I still judge people. So maybe judge me for that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What is motherhood, really?

As the first year of my son's life is rapidly turning into the start of his second, I've been reflecting a lot on what it was that I had "thought" motherhood was. When you're waiting to have kids, you feel an intense and all-encompassing yearning for something you haven't experienced but feel so deeply in your bones that you need. How is that possible? How do you "miss" something you haven't had?

I've tried to remember how I used to define motherhood and it blows my own mind how far off I was.

Let me explain.

I think it's something akin to nostalgia- where you can truly only have a hazy, sweet glimpse of something. Of course, I pictured the sweet new baby snuggles, the nighttime waking, the first steps and the adorable mini soccer games. I pictured clapping as he took his first steps, proudly showing him off wherever I went, holidays FINALLY holding some extra excitement again. I pictured family vacations, feeling like I "fit in" at church, identifying so hard as a "mom".

But it's all the things I couldn't possibly have anticipated that is the essence of motherhood.

It's the walking-out-of-the-hospital and climbing into your car with your brand-new baby, all of a sudden panicking that your postpartum nurse Violate is standing at the door waving goodbye and not climbing in the car with you.

It's standing over that same baby watching him breathe for 15 minutes, and then calling your mom to make sure his breath patterns are normal.

It's trying so hard to be brave when you feel anything but, because you need your baby to know it's okay (I'm looking at you, circumcision).

It's so, so, so many more night wakings than you could have counted and being ridiculously desperate for some sleep, but holding on and cuddling a few minutes longer because you can actually see him growing and changing. You can feel more brain cells dying with each moment that you should be sleeping, but those cuddles, man. They're worth more than anything.

It's realizing how self-righteous and just plain WRONG you were about everything you thought you'd never do before having kids.

It's making naptime a sacred event, one that if interrupted, sends you into a genuine rage at the offending party.

It's the unexpected mama bear that comes roaring out of your mouth when someone commits a seemingly innocuous offense, such as not using hand sanitizer before holding your baby. Like you will really wonder where that has been hiding all your life.

It's feeling around behind you while driving down the road, to make sure your baby's head hasn't flopped forward in the carseat.

It's being incredibly proud and profoundly heartbroken with each milestone and achievement - holding his head up on his own, shaking a rattle, sitting up, shutting that door that pops open on his toy.

It's laundry. So much laundry.

It's questioning every parenting decision you ever make and constantly wondering if it was the right one.

It's never wanting to leave that baby with ANYONE because nobody could possibly love him and care for him and understand him like you - and feeling terrible when you do.

It's setting up a sleepover in the living room because your baby is sick, and he needs you, and you don't know what else to do.

It's doing more during a 1.5 hour period of sleeping child than almost seems humanly possible.

It's making silly noises and dancing like an idiot JUST to get a laugh and a smile.

It's looking inside yourself and trying to figure out what YOU need to improve so that your child can be a better person than you.

It's begging for the rarest and sloppiest open-mouth kiss in the world.

It's the anxiety for somebody else's well being that can send you in to a full-on panic attack.

It's getting in bed at the end of the day, and then getting out of bed 5 more times to make sure he's warm and okay in his crib. And then maybe you'll do it a few more times just for good measure.

This is motherhood. This beautiful, messy, scary, incredible thing.