All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

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Family Ties

My cousin lives in the same town as me, and I don’t see her near enough.  She’s the same age as my younger sister and we all had a great time when we were growing up, hanging out at our grandparents’ house every few months.  Times at our grandparents’ were magical – and the best thing was that we knew it at the time.  They had one of those houses that was welcoming to everyone of all ages, with lots of land and activities for the kids, and they were relaxed about what the kids did.  We really had no limitations – and no responsibilities while there – and we knew that this was very special.  I miss those days.

My cousin and I share a very similar IF history in that we both struggled a great deal to get pregnant.  She tried and tried for years to get pregnant – 4 total.  She was not as aggressive as I was in getting treatment/assistance.  IF treatments really weren’t for her and she figured they’d just keep trying on their own.  I, on the other hand, was a regular at the RE’s office and never skipped a cycle with them.  I took no breaks – that’s just how I am.  She figured it would work out some day for them.  I figured it would only work out if I took control of the situation ASAP.  We are very different.  Where we are similar is that we knew of each others’ struggles and discussed them, and I think we both secretly hoped that we wouldn’t get pregnant before the other one.  We didn’t want to break each others’ hearts.

When I did get pregnant, I didn’t know how to tell her.  I asked my mom to tell her mom (our moms are sisters) and she agreed to do that for me.  I figured the news would be best coming from her mother.  In hindsight, that was so cowardly of me, but I just didn’t want to be the source of pain for her.  When my mom called her mom, she said, ‘Courtney has some news that she’s not sure how to tell K.  Their latest IVF worked and they’re finally pregnant.”  What do you think my aunt said?  “Are you kidding me?  K is pregnant too!  She didn’t know how to tell Courtney!”

My mom called to tell me, her mom called to tell her, and then we called each other and let out a collective sigh of relief.  It felt so good to feel SO happy for someone else when it came to pregnancy – and for that someone to be my cousin!  I felt relief for her, for myself, and for our families.  We both got our wishes granted, and at the same time.  We did it in our own ways though – her via good old fashioned trying and perseverance, and me through modern science.  Different paths but the same result – with the same timing.

Throughout our pregnancies, we were due just 6 days apart.  When I was told I needed a C-section because M was breech, I got very excited because I was allowed to deliver 6 days early which meant that we may have our babies around the same time and be hospital neighbors.  Our babies ended up being… exactly 6 days apart.  I went to see her and her daughter (H) the day after H was born and it was marvelous!  Sitting there holding her miracle, with mine still inside me, was surreal for me.

M and I went to visit them today.  We had planned to go last Wednesday, but our geothermal issue got in the way.  I love watching the babies play together.  M just sits back and watches while H runs the show.  That’s the way it’s always been and probably will always be.  It’s adorable.  H has the sweetest little baby voice I have ever heard.  Her soft, melodic voice almost moved me to tears today – it’s just so precious and something I hope to remember forever.  I could sit there, with my eyes closed, and just listen to her babble for hours – her voice is so peaceful to me.  M lit up at the sight of H and he jumped right in to be her friend, even if that meant letting her climb all over him and knock him around a little.

I feel privileged to have shared a similar path to parenthood with my cousin.  I look at K and H and can’t help but be reminded of how far we’ve all come, and how lucky we were to have each other during such a trying time.  I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful people for family!


Bedtime Routine

Today was a good day – still hot here – but a good, good day!  We went out to see our friends’ new house which is so fabulous!   I am not an envious person, but I have to say that I am totally jealous of their house!  It’s not the house so much (even though, oh my, it is gorgeous) – it’s the setting.  This house sits on 5 acres (I believe) along a small river and it is just serene.  I honestly feel like we took a vacation today just from the 2 short hours we spent there.  We sat out on their patio and ate sandwiches, played with the dogs, watched for bald eagles, went down to the river shoreline, and discussed the new wildlife they’re seeing such as snapping turtles, various birds, and critters in the river.  It was a peaceful way to spend a Sunday!

Some friends had us over for dinner and cake to celebrate… the birthday.  Their 2 year old was very excited to sing “Happy Birthday” and even though I’m not a birthday person, I couldn’t help but enjoy watching and listening to his excitement!  As he led everyone in the singing, I did dream a bit about my birthday two years from now when M will be old enough to sing to me.  That will be fun  🙂

I was adamant about getting home in time for M’s bedtime.  With the house being so hot, and us always being on the go due to that, M has not been getting good naps this weekend which, in turn, leads to an “off” bedtime routine.  We are very regimented about bedtime.  Bath-PJ’s-Books-Nursing & Lullabies-Bed.  All of this occurs prior to 8:30 (a 7/7:30 bedtime was not working for us – I tried!).  Both Friday and Saturday nights resulted in 9:30 and 10:00 bedtimes due to the chaos of the heat and being anywhere but here late into the evenings.  Yikes!  So tonight, I was insistent that he be in bed by 8:30 and that he get as normal a routine as possible.

I love M’s bedtime.  It is the set time of the day that is solely focused on M – nothing gets in the way of it.  M’s bedtime is all of our time.  I give him his bath while B preps M’s room and bed, we both comb his hair and play with him after his bath (before his PJ’s go on), it takes both of us to get his jammies on (wiggly baby), B reads 3-4 books to him, and then I get him for nursing and lullaby time.  As I sat in the basement rocking him tonight on the sofa sleeper, singing lullaby after lullaby to him as he nursed and fell asleep, I thought about how much I’ll miss this time when he gets bigger.  I wondered if I’ll still sing to him every night when he’s, say, 2 and 3 years old.  Will he let me snuggle and sing to him when he’s bigger?  I don’t know – and I think I’d rather not know because I fear that the answer may be, “no.”  My heart breaks a little just typing that.

My day started with total peace out at our friends’ house, and it ended in total peace with my baby in my arms.  A perfect Sunday – and a perfect way to end a chaotic weekend.



Update from yesterday:  We had blood work run again this morning and M’s liver enzymes are still slightly elevated which indicates that he did ingest something toxic.  The doctor today took things very seriously and was very thoughtful throughout our discussions with her.  We need to repeat the blood work until things are back to normal – so there are more needles (hopefully very few) in M’s immediate future.  M is feeling and acting great – you would have no idea that he went through what he did yesterday.  We are very thankful for the way this situation turned out!  Many thanks to you all for your words of support and encouragement  🙂


Today is my birthday.  I’m not a big birthday person, and I know that that needs to change now that I have a child.  I want M’s birthday to be very special, each and every year.  I don’t want him growing up thinking that birthdays aren’t a big deal – because they really should be.

Given the events of yesterday, we did not have big plans.  Well, let me rephrase that.  B did have a weekend getaway planned, which was unbeknownst to me, but called the hotel on the way home from the ER yesterday to cancel.  We had to stay in town in case M got symptomatic again.  We also were prescribed to get a repeat of M’s blood work this morning, so going out of town was not an option.  Honestly, on the way to the ER yesterday, I told M that all I wanted for my birthday was for him to get better and to be OK.  And I got my birthday wish – thank G0d!

B and I don’t do big presents for each other for holidays or birthdays.  Instead, we buy something big for the house, or go on a trip, or make a fun (unnecessary) purchase prior to a birthday and say that’s our present.  This system works out great!  For Christmas this year, we bought the professional family photos for the house.  There is nothing that B could have given me that would warm my heart more than photos of my family throughout our home.  In February when I needed (wanted) a jogging stroller, I said, “this can by my birthday present this year.”  B knows that I’m serious when I say that, and he honors it and then focuses my real birthday on me and not on a gift for me.  The only thing I do ask for on the day of my birthday (or holiday) is a card.  I do need a card!

M’s birthday will not be treated like this at all.  Oh no!  I am already planning his first birthday party for the end of June and just asked my friend tonight if she’d help me practice his birthday cake.  I took a cake decorating class for B’s 30th birthday (3 years ago!) and that cake was the last one I’ve made that took real effort.  The cake was three tiers, full fondant, with support rods and all.  It was massive (heavy!) – and took almost 12 hours to complete with help from B in the final 4 hours so it would be done in time for his big birthday bash.  It was both fun and exhausting – so exhausting that I hung up my cake apron until now!  I have a smaller cake planned for M’s birthday, but it will be two tiers with fondant owls and trees – and I am rusty at cake decorating to say the least.  I need help and we need a couple practice runs at it so it’s perfect for his big day.  There will also be handmade invitations, a custom shirt and hat from Etsy for the birthday boy, and tasteful decorations and balloons to make the house festive.  Even though M won’t remember this at all, I want it to be memorable!

It needs to be special – because he is special!  There were days when we were cycling that I truly thought that we may never have a baby.  I wondered if I’d ever get to plan birthday parties, breakfasts with Santa, and Easter egg hunts.  Now I have this beautiful boy who makes every single day the best day of my life.  He deserves to be celebrated – and he will be celebrated each and every year – for the special gift that he is in our lives.


The Fates Have Spoken – And They Balanced Out My Week

The Fates decided to make today the opposite of yesterday.  Today was the scariest day for me as a mother.

The other day, I blogged about our geothermal unit needing to be replaced.  Last night, we noticed that we were no longer getting cold air, so I called Bob and he thinks that all of the Freon he pumped in yesterday has leaked out.  FOUR POUNDS OF FREON.  So where did it all go?  No one knows.  Neil (second opinion) told me yesterday that the leak could be in the coils, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I’m surprised I remembered the coils part.  I asked Bob today if he could give us more Freon and he said, “remember your question from the other day about a leak being a health hazard?  It’s become a health hazard.  I can’t put more Freon in for you because it’s not safe knowing that we lost 4 pounds in 36 hours.”  You’ve got to love Bob!  He is a straight shooter, and I love that about him.  So, my house is 80 degrees.  But that is the least of our problems.

I called B to update him and to ask how his call went with the folks who installed the geothermal unit originally (5 or so years ago).  B mentioned the water tasting funny and said that he’d read online that our unit has been found to leak Freon into the water tanks that the coils are submerged in.  RED FLAG, RED FLAG.  I asked, “you mean, the coils that Neil thought are the source of the leak?”  Yes.  OK, no biggie.  We’re not drinking that water, right?  Or are we?  This conversation was at 10:40 this morning.  M went down for a nap 50 minutes later.

M woke up at 12:06, which was a short nap for such a tired guy.  He fussed a bit, but I finished getting dressed.  When I went in to get him, he was soaked.  I figured he had been sweating because the house is hot, but then I noticed that he smelled like vomit.  His crib was soaked, he was soaked – so I figured I’d give him a bath.  As I got the water ready, he threw up on me twice.  I bathed him, he was getting more and more lethargic, so I called B to tell him to call the geothermal people to talk about the Freon leak and the potential to get to our water.  The reason I was concerned was because I’d made oatmeal for M just before his nap – and I made it with tap water prior to B telling me it tasted funny.

As I bathed M, I thought the water smelled different.  I did taste it, and it tasted fine.  But there was a smell to it.  After his bath, he threw up on me two more times (up to 5 times now).  My friend, Denise, was on her way over to bring me lunch so when she got here, I was in a panic and told her what was going on.  As I was telling her, he threw up again.  It wasn’t slowing down, and the volume was not decreasing.  Every time it happened, his eyes would roll to the back of his head, he’d lurch, gag, and then lay limp in my arms whimpering.  It was awful – and terrifying.  What was going on?

B was on the phone with poison control, the geothermal guys, and the ER.  Two different geothermal companies said that yes, even though highly unlikely, that Freon could have leaked into the water supply.  Poison control and the ER said to come in right away.  I waited for B to come home because I didn’t want M in the back seat, throwing up on the drive down, all by himself.  As we waited, M threw up again (7 times now).  I kept wondering if I was wasting precious time for M – was my waiting for B going to be the difference between a long healthy life, and a life of challenges due to poisoning?  B got home quickly, we headed down to the ER while M threw up again.  As we checked into the ER, he threw up down my back (a complete stranger came up trying to help clean me off.  People are so nice to mothers.  That was really thoughtful of her).  It was a sight – M was in nothing but a diaper and socks, wrapped in a blanket.  Brian was in his work clothes.  I was in a random T-shirt that I’d grabbed after I got drenched once before and a pair of running shorts that didn’t match.  We were a wreck.

And then it stopped.  As we waited (only a few minutes) to be called back, M perked up and even smiled and cooed.  What in the world was going on?  The triage nurse asked how many times he threw up.  I hadn’t counted, so I said 6 or 7.  In how much time?  An hour and 20 minutes.  “Whoa,” was the response from the nurse.  I asked if that was a lot.  The answer was yes – that frequency is abnormal even for the flu.  I sat there and counted up the times and came up with 9 times for sure, but I think there were 1 or 2 more.  We got back to see a doctor right away.

Blood was taken (twice, because the first draw was a bust), I had to step out because I couldn’t take it, we talked with the doctor, and waited.  We were allowed to feed M an hour after his last vomit, but he was barely interested.  He was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.  The verdict?  We don’t have one.  He’s perfectly fine now – we were discharged and told to come back if it starts up again, and to definitely go back tomorrow for more blood work because his liver enzymes were just very slightly elevated.  There was nothing in his blood work to suggest poisoning.

M is perfectly fine now.  It was 2 hours from hell, and now it’s over.  He’s eaten well since being home (liquid diet only of mom’s milk), has played with all of us – kitties included, and was even standing himself up in his crib without help (a first this morning!).  You would never know he had the day he had.

We’re all sleeping in the basement tonight.  M is down there now, snoozing away.  The main floor is just too darned hot.  I think it will be fun to all sleep in the same room together, especially after the day we had!

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Perfect Day

M and I had a darned near perfect day today!

It all started with a good night’s sleep.  M was asleep by 7:55 and slept a full 8 hours until 4:00 AM.  Now, I know that my almost-9-month-old should be sleeping through the night.  But he isn’t.  I’ve tried many approaches to help him learn how to sleep through the night and he just doesn’t want to do it.  Because he only gets up once a night, I’m totally OK with it.  I enjoy the little snuggle with him each night.  AND, if I’m being perfectly honest – what keeps me from forcing the issue is knowing that he could be our only child.  Knowing that, I am soaking up every moment that he wants to be in my arms.

So he slept until 4, was then up until 5 (I tried to put him to sleep without nursing from both breasts = big mistake), and then slept until 8:10!  This is a big deal.  This is a big freaking deal!  M loves, loves, loves to get up at 5:45 or 6:00 AM, nurse, con Dad into playing with him, and then take a cat nap at 8:00, which throws off the whole day and nap schedule.  The fact that he slept until 8:10?  I should have bought a lottery ticket because I knew it was going to be a great day!

I got to go to the gym since I knew M wouldn’t need a nap or be fussy at daycare for the short hour that he’s there.  He had a MUCH better time at daycare than he’s been having, so that was terrific!  We then went to baby gym without a nap for M, which had me a bit nervous.  No need to be – he was his normal happy, social, interactive self!  He had a great time!  I grabbed lunch and M fell asleep in the car for 45 minutes – not a great nap but I’ll take it.

We got a second opinion on our geothermal unit today – and he is in agreement with Bob that we need a new unit.  This was by far the worst part of the day, but I’m used to the idea now that we’ll be shelling out the money for a new unit, so the news just sort of blew by me.  While Neil (second opinion) was here, M ate his lunch and did not refuse or gag on his peas.  Again – should have bought a lottery ticket (I don’t know why I say that because I NEVER buy lottery tickets – or gamble for that matter.  Losing money makes me cry faster than anything else.  Truly.).

It is so freaking hot here right now (80 degrees today) that I had to get Matthew some shorts in his current size.  I didn’t think he’d need shorts in March so we don’t have any 6-12 month shorts.  We do have 12-18 month shorts (and lots of them), but he looks sort of silly in them because he’s got a long torso and shorter legs – so he needed new shorts.  We bought a few pair, put the cutest ones on him, and headed to the park.

We were at the park for almost 3 hours!  We spent half of that time going for a fast-paced walk in the new jogging stroller – listening to Glee the entire time on the sound system B came up with for our stroller.  M slept for 40 minutes of that walk.  Again, not a great nap, but whatever!  Why fret over a nap when the day was going so well?  We went swinging (him alone in the baby swing, and then with me in the adult swing), slid down a couple different slides, rode on a bouncy car, and looked through tunnels.  Oh so fun!  I sent a photo of our fun to B and he called and asked if he could come by since he was close – and of course he could!  We ended the park outing with a quick nursing in the front seat for all the world to see (because when your baby who refuses to nurse during the day asks to be fed, you do it right then and there!) before letting M drive us home  😉

We did go out to dinner (nothing new, right?) and M enjoyed his first patio meal before coming home to a house with no air conditioning again (what???).  But – who cares about the air conditioning, right?  Because we had the perfect day… together!

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IF Interrupted My Happy Morning

In light of recent events in the ALI community, I’ve been taking a long, hard look at what makes us PAIL moms (I’ll never refer to myself as “a mommy,” in case you were wondering) different from regular moms.  This morning, it became crystal clear.

We bought our house in August of 2010.  We love this house – it is the perfect house for us – down to the geothermal heating a cooling.  However, our geothermal unit is not a good one and the manufacturer actually went bankrupt (and out of business) – so there you go on the quality of what’s running our heating and cooling.  It has been nothing but trouble for us since we moved in.  We have a home warranty that we do keep renewing just because of this unit.  If we didn’t have the warranty, it would have cost us about $2,000 in repairs in 1.5 years.  Instead, it has cost us about $800.  But that’s not the issue.

The issue is this.  It is unseasonably warm (HOT) in Iowa right now.  77 Degrees.  We finally turned on the air last night because the house was at 73 degrees.  Nothing happened.  Well, something happened – it got hotter and hotter and hotter.  It was 77 when we went to bed and 76 when we woke up.  I called our home warranty people first, and then our geothermal guy who I have on speed dial.

We likely need a new unit.  This one is dying a slow, painful, expensive death.  My first question was, “what does it cost?”  but I knew the answer already because we hypothesized this with our repair guy this past winter when we had issues with our heating.  $13,000 – $14,000*

What does this have to do with infertility?  My first thought when hearing this was, “but I need to spend that money on IVF this summer.”  We just saw the RE yesterday and he told us we’d do a FET first, then likely a fresh cycle if the FET doesn’t work.  The total for those two things?  $14,000

It’s a good thing my favorite hobby is saving money.

* Our geothermal guy is awesome, and when he came over to band-aid our unit, he told me that he’d install a new one for $10,000 because he feels bad that we have such a terrible unit that came with the house.  He’ll make no money off of the purchase or installation, but he wants us with a stable unit.  Such a great guy.  Thanks, Bob!



Totally Worth It

We saw our RE today.  I really like our RE – he’s a great guy who mirrors his patients’ personalities.  If you’re the type like me who wants control, control, control – then he’ll do what he can to help you feel more in control.  He knows that I like information – ALL. OF. THE. INFORMATION.  He walks me through everything in great detail and leaves no stone unturned – and I really appreciate that.  If you are someone who prefers to be guided along gently (like B), then he gives you the high-level plan and no more unless you ask.  I find it amazing that he can handle our two personalities so differently, but in the very same appointment and meeting.  He’s very good!  You can see him switch his approach as he moves from talking to me, to talking to B, and back to me, etc.

So – we have resolution on when to do a FET for M’s sibling.  We are scheduled for August.  All I have to have done for pre-testing is a sonohysterogram.  No blood work – just the very uncomfortable sonohysterogram.  I can live with that (which is good because as my RE has said to me in the past, I don’t have a choice).  We talked about the impact of breastfeeding on the whole plan and equation and he told me today that we will do the sono after my first period after I stop nursing M and that it would take 4-6 weeks for that period to come.  OK – so if I stop nursing when M is 1 (in June), then we’ll be all set by August.  This is just terrific!

A side-note:  I think we may be finished nursing sooner than I thought – at least with daytime feeds.  M just is not interested in nursing during the day.  He putzes around and gets distracted.  I end up having to pump because he’s just not eating well during the day.  I think he may be weaning himself a bit.  He is also biting me – no fun.

I did ask what the odds are that the FET will work.  40%.  OK.  Prior to M, this number would have freaked me out but not this time.  I am no longer facing the possibility of being childless – and that removes lots of pressure and angst.  If the FET does not work, it sounds like he’ll want to do another fresh cycle since I’m getting old (my words, not his).  I’ll be 36 on Saturday and as he said, I’m getting into the “advanced maternal age” realm and he’d like to retrieve again sooner than later.  We have 7 frozen embryos so it sounds like plenty, but we will do what he advises.

My experience today was a total 180 from our first meeting with our RE as we kicked off treatments in 2009.  Back then, I cried at the drop of a hat.  I sobbed during our entire first consultation and couldn’t even talk at times.  Today, I spent tons of time laughing with our doctor, making fun of myself, and reminiscing on how much things have changed.  I was so looking forward to going in to see him and the rest of the crew today – it was like seeing a bunch of old friends.

My RE ended our chat by telling us that seeing us made his day.  Oh – that warmed my heart!  I trumped him, though, and said that our visit made my week.  BECAUSE IT DID!  It felt so good to see our old friends who gave us our precious boy, and to truly be able to look back on just how far we’ve come.  I used to say that I would never laugh at our infertile days – but I did laugh at them today – and I’ve laughed at them a lot lately.  Not because they’re funny, but because it’s so amazing to me that so much sadness, depression, and anxiety can be lifted almost instantly with that very first sound of your new baby’s first cry.

Here are some photos of that precious boy.  To steal a line from my favorite blogger of all time, this baby is “worth every jealous moment, every injection, every frustrating month of waiting, every awkward doctor and vag cam appointment.  Totally worth it.”

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