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.




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Efficiency and How I Use It

DISCLAIMER:
I don't want to hear anything along the lines of, "Girl, if you think life is hard now just wait til ______." Seriously. I don't.

Moving on.

I have felt like a pretty hollow shell of my former self since Cade stopped sleeping through the night at 6 months and the past few weeks I have been pretty desperate to climb out of survival mode and feel like I'm doing well at wearing my different hats. I've done my best to make adjustments where possible to maximize my time and impact with each and yet most days I just don't feel like it's enough.

To mitigate this, I've gone on an all-out quest to find ways to make life simpler and make the absolute most of each minute. The best way I can explain how my head works is that it's a very busy place - I'm ALWAYS thinking about what I need to be doing, what comes next, what I could have done better on what I was doing 5 minutes ago. I swear I spend more time analyzing than doing and that's something I'm trying to change.

ANYWAYS.

Here's a few things I've found that have helped me feel a little better about momming and wifeing and working and schooling(sometimes) and churching. And I hope it's helpful to someone else- and if you have judgement-free tips, please send them my way.

1) Never leave a room empty handed. When there's a kid crying, it's almost like nothing else exists and I stop what I'm doing and run right to Cade. I've learned that he can wait a sec- and I can finish what I'm doing. If I'm downstairs and he wakes up from his nap, on my way up to get him I'll grab a pile of folded laundry and bring it up with me. If it's time to make lunch, I'll grab Cade, the dirty clothes hamper or soap to refill the pump and head downstairs. For some reason, getting rid of extra trips to different levels of the house has been crazy helpful.

2) Clean while he eats. Each morning, I make/give Cade breakfast - which he probably won't eat - and do the dishes and fold laundry while he's keeping himself busy feeding the dog (just keeping it real). This way, I start the day with a clean main level and the whole house feels so much better.

3) Shower at night - I'm iffy on this one, because I prefer to start the day with a shower, but it really makes a difference on hairwash days - this way I can just curl or whatever in the morning rather than spend a half hour blow-drying (which I won't do, again, just being real).

4) Dry shampoo - I was frumpy - and still am sometimes - simply due to the fact that I have an actual crapton of hair and it takes FOREVER to curl or straighten it. So I invested in dry shampoo and now regularly go 3-4 days between washes and the result has been that I don't look like an old hag 7 days a week.

5) Making extra or making ahead. I have been doing some research lately about additives, preservatives, and other chemicals in our food and it has made me ridiculously skeptical about everything we eat. At the very least, I try to buy non-gmo (WHICH I KNOW DOESN'T TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING) and buy organic when it makes the most sense. I also try to make from scratch everything that isn't a vegetable or meat - so sauces, breads, buns, desserts, etc to keep those things at a minimum. I've started doubling batches of things - rolls, hoagie buns, tortillas, etc - and freezing so that the next time I need them I can just pull a bag out of the freezer. Today, while Cade was playing in the kitchen and feeding the dog grilled cheese, I prepped/cooked 4 different meals so that the rest of the week isn't so hectic.

6) Multi-task in weird ways. I have a leg/butt routine that I do when I'm putting on my makeup, brushing my teeth, or cooking. Mostly squats, leg lifts, calf raises, and a few barre exercises. It's obviously not a high-impact workout, but it's something, and it helps me feel a little better about myself. I don't fit back into my pre-preg pants or anything, but my legs are somewhat toned.

7) Work on my own hours. I do try really hard to make myself available during bankers hours, but the reality is that Cade is almost always awake, he is my first priority, and does require a lot of attention right now. If he naps, I'll work, but other than that, I get my very best and most thorough work done between the hours of 7:30 and 10 at night when Jeff is here to keep him busy.

8) Make naptime sacred. I do whatever I need to do to get Cade down for a nap - we usually try to get out of the house and go to the park in the mornings, or run errands to keep him stimulated. We play, play, play, and then by naptime, he's pretty tuckered. If he's not going down easy, I will absolutely put him in the car and go for a 15 minute drive and hope for a successful car-to-crib transfer. These usually result in his best and longest naps. So, DO WHAT YOU GOTTA FOR NAPTIME

Thursday, September 21, 2017

On Baby Number 2

Pretty much since before we even physically had Cade, we had been discussing how/when we will pursue having a second child. Our plan had been all over the place - before he was born, we would go back in January of 2018, then up until he was 10 months old we planned to go back in October 2017, and we began financially preparing from the moment we had Cade. As with all plans, they change. One day, on the way home from family dinner, we had a pretty deep discussion. I had planned to have Cade weaned by his 1 year birthday so that my body could get back to baseline, what I feel is best when having an embryo transfer. I began that process at 9 months only to find that once he began cutting his top teeth, he completely reversed his previous enthusiasm for solid food and went back to almost exclusively breastfeeding.

Well, that wouldn't work.

The doctor says that by 12 months he should be getting almost all of his nutrition from solids, but as with sleep training, the modern philosophies have proven contrary to everything my mother heart believes and hasn't at all been the case for Cade. I can put anything in front of him, and he'll take a couple bites and then refuse. Except for raspberries - and he could eat a whole case in a single sitting. Because of this, he still nurses every 2-4 hours and usually twice at night. He's still fat and happy and almost always game to try one bite of anything, but I can clearly see that he's getting most of his nutrition from me.

So we had this discussion and found that we both were completely on the same page. We don't feel that it would be fair to Cade to force him to stop when he's clearly not ready and depends on nursing for so much of his nutrition. It's also a comfort thing for him. We decided to re-evaluate at the beginning of next year and see a) how Cade is doing, b) how we feel about it, and c) maybe hope that it's happened naturally. I don't want to look back in 10 years and regret that I pushed my first baby to grow up just so that I could have another.

Baby Number 2 is still very much on our minds, and I feel like there's a little girl who wants to come down to be with us. Hopefully we'll get to meet her next year. For now, we're focusing on loving this sweet little boy of ours and help him transition at his own pace from infant to toddler.