All the Sun For You

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



I started this post on Thursday night with just a subject line, and left it in draft mode so that I wouldn’t forget to write about it.  Tonight, I must write about it.

Because I let go a little bit tonight.  I am close to tears over it.

On Thursday night, we went out for B’s company’s holiday dinner.  We got a babysitter, one we trust immensely and who Matthew loves to pieces.  She’s 40 and is the SIL of B’s coworker, the one I wrote about earlier today with the two sweet boys.  “Aunt K” has no kids of her own and is truly what any kid would dream of for an aunt.  She is involved in everything they do, she loves them like her own, and she’s taught them to respect her for the adult that she is.  I think “the boys” behave better for Aunt K than they do for their own parents sometimes.  When Aunt K offered to start watching Matthew for us so we could go out every once in a while, we jumped at it.  We know that she loves our boy as much as he loves her, and tha’s a gift.

We went out several weeks ago and Matthew had not had a good day – he didn’t nap well and then had a complete meltdown when K was watching him.  Bless her heart, she did text us and said that he was a wreck and needed us.  I like that in a sitter – one who doesn’t sugar-coat it and tells you when  you’re needed.  We rushed home as soon as we could and I could not get in the door fast enough.  I found my boy in tears – sobbing tears.

When K came over this past Thursday, I was a wreck, wondering if he’d do OK without us.  I figured the prior time was a fluke, but one never knows.  He did just fine.  I texted her as we ordered (45 minutes after sitting down, which is so irritating to a nervous mother) and said we’d be home as soon as we could.  She texted back 45 minutes later saying not to rush, that he’d gone to the garage door looking for us a few times, but was nicely distracted. That’s all I had to “hear” to rush through my meal and head home.

I told the people near us that I wanted to get home to relieve the sitter, but the truth is I just wanted to get home for my boy.  B’s coworker said to text K and ask her to put Matthew to bed, but I said, “only I can put him to bed.  Even B can’t do it.”  I didn’t say it out of disrespect for B, just out of pure fact.  Putting Matthew to bed after book time (which is B’s time) is my job, and I love it.  I honestly didn’t think that K would be able to get him to settle down.

I couldn’t stand the thought of Matthew crying and wanting us.  I told B to stay and enjoy himself, and he arranged a ride home with his coworker (K’s SIL) and her husband, but walked me out to the car.  I swear, once the doors shut, we both said that we couldn’t get home soon enough.  We played all tough for the people at the table, but both of us just wanted to be with our little boy.  (Of course, when I got home, he was just fine and having a great time with K!)

Matthew is like an appendage to me.  People keep telling me that I need a break from him, that I need to take some time for myself, etc.  But what they don’t know is that he really, REALLY is an easy kid to have around.  I take him everywhere I go, and he goes happily.  He’s my permanent buddy.  We’re best friends.  We talk all day, laugh and play, and talk some more.  I take him to his activities, and he accompanies me to mine.  Being without him would be like being without my left hand – it just wouldn’t (and doesn’t) feel right.  I’m sure some people read this and think, “get a life,” but the truth is, HE is my life right now.  He is my #1 priority.  He is my JOB.  He is my son.  He is my daily buddy.

The three of us are best friends.  Neither of us wants to be without Matthew.  I’m the lucky one in this deal who gets to spend every day with him – and I’m so grateful for that.  I can’t imagine not being with him all day long.  I can’t imagine leaving him for more than an hour or so at a time.  And as much as my friends think that I NEED to have time without him, I can honestly say that I disagree.  Sure, it’s nice to run to Target on my own, on my own schedule, once in a while, but when I do that, I’m lonely because I don’t have my little chatter box with me.  The grocery store is absolutely no fun without Matthew, and I know B would agree.  That’s something the three of us like to do as an activity on the weekends, for crying out loud.

Maybe I would feel differently if I had a high-maintenance child, but when I have a mellow, go-with-the-flow kid like Matthew, it’s just easier to take him with me than to leave him behind.  I WANT to take him with me.  I WANT him in the back of the car yelling at the busses and trucks as they go by.  I WANT him in the grocery cart asking for things like oranges and tomatoes.  I WANT him hugging me from the seat in the Target cart.

It’s no secret that I control certain aspects of our parenting.  By design, I put Matthew to sleep for every nap and every bedtime.  I tell people that I’m the only one who can do it.  Because I am.

Well… at least I thought so.

I found out tonight that B can do it too.

We read a couple final books together and at the point that B usually hands Matthew off to me, he was almost sound asleep on B’s lap.  Without talking about it, I decided right then and there to let B have this.  He deserves to have this time as well.  It’s not just mine, despite what I like to think.

I kissed my boy.  I kissed B.  I told them both that I loved them, and I slipped out of the room.

I let go a little.

And I came out here to write this post.

And I cried.


Life Interrupted

As we get further and further into this pregnancy, I wonder if this is the last time I’ll be pregnant.  I know I’ve talked a lot about this – about trying for a third because of our 5 frozen embryos – but as we get closer to bringing this baby home, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll want to try for a third, or if we’ll count our blessings and be done.

Before infertility, I was very active.  WE were very active.  B and I met via extreme fitness.  I’d decided, in a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve 2005 (going into 2006), that I would sign up with a friend to do a 10 week kickboxing and strength building course.  I went 6 days a week – many times I did two classes a day – for 10 weeks straight.  I ate it up.  I lost tons of weight.  I lost heaps of body fat.  I was FIT.  I was strong.  I was, for the first time in my adult life, lean.

B taught the kickboxing classes I was taking – it was something he enjoyed and it was a side-job/recreation for him outside of his normal existence as a project manager.  We never dated, or even thought of dating, while I was a student, but the night of my 10-week graduation, we got to talking and we dated ever since.  We “met” (rather – got to chatting) on a Saturday night, March 25th, and then hung out again on the 30th of that month – and then only spent 4 nights apart from that moment forward.  It was a whirlwind romance – all started because of fitness.


B was an avid runner – I mean – a CRAZY runner and running was something I had no interest in.  Until I watched him and his buddies run the Living History Farms race the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2006.  I decided that I would maybe enjoy trying a little running.  I did it for the camaraderie of it, but I was quickly hooked.  I ran all the time – at least 4-5 times a week in all weather conditions.  I decided to start running races with “the guys” and that quickly became an obsession.  Hell, I even started a running club that was quite successful for 2 years.

It was fun!

We decided to try something new so took up mountain biking.  This was something that B was much more natural at than I was, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.  I took some serious spills (as did B) but that never got me down – I just got right back up and tried something harder.  Trying something “harder” was in me back then – working harder and pushing my body to its limits is what I did.  It’s what we did.  It’s what we did together.

We then found a new thing to do – something even harder.  We started “Adventure Racing” and we were good at it!  Well – sort of.  This was something we could do together and it was really difficult – I mean – the hardest thing either of us has done.  We did our first 8+ hour race as a co-ed team with a friend of ours – and we won!  I’d never won anything physically challenging in my life – but we won that race.  I was hooked and so was B, so we found another AR to do in my hometown area.  We came in third in that one – and that specific race was, to this day, the hardest thing we’ve ever done.  It was 108 degrees, with a heat index of 115.  People were dropping out of the race left and right due to heat exhaustion.  For some reason, B and I kept on going.  We canoed 11 miles on the open Missouri river against a 25 mph head wind, next to huge barges and cargo boats.  We trekked downtown Omaha and rural areas with nothing but a compass and UTM coordinates.  We biked, and biked, and biked God-only-knows-how-many-miles until we were finally done.  It was a 12 hour race and it took us more than that to finish – but we came in third.  We fought hard for that third place finish.  At one point, neither of us could even get ourselves to start walking from a dead-stop – it was just impossible in the heat and with little fuel in our bodies.  We each went through 9 liters of water that day, and that was not enough.  At the finish line, I collapsed and cried.

Hardest thing I’ve ever done – but the funnest day of my life up to that point (and up to the point of Matthew’s birth).

And then… as I was planning our fall schedule of Adventure Racing?

Then Infertility happened.

And my life was interrupted.

Our lives, even though B would have preferred otherwise, were interrupted.

We were diagnosed in September 2009, just a couple of weeks after placing third in the Omaha AR.  Just a few weeks after doing the hardest, and “funnest,” thing either of us had ever done, we were catapulted into a new phase of our lives that would challenge us in so many other ways.  A phase that would challenge in us in ways that, to this day, I wish we hadn’t been challenged.

B also started his “new job” at the same time we were being diagnosed, so it was just a shit-storm of changes, none of which we were really prepared for.  I tried to keep going to kickboxing, etc., but after being asked on three different occasions why we weren’t pregnant yet (after more than a year of trying on our own), and one time being told that my “eggs are screaming, you need to get B to get you pregnant,” – I quit going.  I just could not take it.  I certainly could not take watching women come and go from class who were newly pregnant, or coming to class to lose the “baby weight.”

No thank you.

I kept running but treatments got in the way of that.  You’re not supposed to exercise much if your ovaries are the size of grapefruits, and without a regular pattern of fitness, I just got out of shape.

And I was depressed.  Depression, infertility, and lack of physical activity will ruin your physical fitness in no time.  And it did.

Once pregnant, I wanted to start running again but it just seemed wrong to introduce something “new” into my life when I felt simply lucky to be pregnant.  I didn’t want to put anything at risk.  Once Matthew was here, I again wanted to start running but my big, nursing breasts made that really intimidating.  I went for a few runs this past spring but never got into a groove.

And now I’m pregnant again.

I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact.  Starting running now, in the dead of winter while pregnant, is the furthest thing from responsible.

But I ache for it.

I ache for it so much that I am trying to sign B up for any and all races he’ll let me sign him up for – road races, adventure races, you-name-it.  I want to live vicariously through him if I can’t do this myself.

Which gets me to the point of this post.

I am happiest when I’m healthy.  I am happiest when I’m fit.  WE are happiest, individually and as a couple, when we feel good about ourselves.  I miss my old self.  I miss my old energy levels.  I miss the fun that B and I had as a couple, all of it related in some way to fitness.  I miss my uninterrupted life.

I know that having a baby would have changed my life regardless, but had we not struggled with infertility, I would have stayed fit up until pregnancy and I would have kept running through the pregnancy.  I know this.  I know this for a fact because I was still running, biking, hiking, and AR-ing as we tried in that first year to get pregnant.  Yes, parenthood changes many things, but it does not need to change that – and it wouldn’t have for us had we not been dealt the hand of infertility.

It is what it is, and I’m grateful for the overall journey and the end result, of course, but I miss my old self.  I want to meet her again, and I want to meet her soon.

I have plans to get back into shape rather quickly after having this next baby.  I will not let my nursing breasts stand in my way again.  I will suffer through it and adjust.  It is that important to me to find myself again.  B is signing up for an AR camp this spring and hopefully an AR for the summer, and my goal is to be back on his team in the summer of 2014.  That will require lots of work on my end, but I’m ready for it.

My life will not be interrupted much longer by infertility.  Even if we do try for a third child, I know that I won’t be stimming again so I can be physically fit up until transfer day, which makes me so happy to realize!

I can’t wait to get back to my fit self, and I can’t wait to introduce physical fitness to our children (childREN!)!

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A Promise

2012 was good to me.  It was good to US.  We started out the year with the plan to start trying for Baby #2 in June.  I figured I’d stop breastfeeding Matthew in May and that my period would return in June.  I delayed ending our BFing relationship, though, out of pure heartbreak – that was by far the hardest decision I made this year.  I finally had Matthew weaned by mid-July and was back at the RE’s office in August planning our work.

I never thought our work would be successful so quickly.  I really didn’t.  After spending 2.25 years of trying to get pregnant with Matthew, and a full 3 years from start to finish before we brought him home, neither of us thought the first FET would work.  Of course we hoped it would, but we didn’t think it would.  We stressed about how much a fresh cycle would cost if/when we got to that point, we discussed how cycling would impact possible vacation schedules, and we talked about not letting myself get so wrapped up in TTC again that Matthew would feel the impact of it.

And then it worked, and all of that stress and all of those unknowns went out the window.


Which is foolish because of course this pregnancy could end tomorrow, but in my heart of hearts, I feel very confident that this pregnancy will work out just fine.  In fact, I don’t even think about it not working out – I just go with it knowing that everything is fine.  This is such a change for me.

So here I am, at the end of 2012, officially in a second trimester that I didn’t expect to happen this year.

I am grateful that it happened.  I am grateful that I will never have to do a full IVF cycle ever again.  I am so happy knowing that if we choose to be done with family building with this second baby – that yes it was hard-earned – but it was much simpler than last time.

I am at the end of my IF journey if I choose to be.


I wear my heart on my sleeve.  2012 was apparently my/our year – but it wasn’t the year for so many others.  And you know who you are.  I hate that 2012 wasn’t the year to make all of the dreams come true of the wonderful men and women I follow daily.  I hate that it worked for me, but that it didn’t work for you.  I hate that one of my dearest old IRL friends just started her first IVF cycle this month as I’m possibly finishing up that chapter in my life.

Thinking about the uncertainties that these men and women are going through at this time makes my heart hurt, and it makes me angry.  I remember all too well what it’s like to spend every waking thought on IF and the fear that it brings into your life.  My life was on hold for years due to our infertility, and I know that no matter how hard you try, it often times is just too hard to stop that vicious cycle of halting and starting your life again as each IF cycle comes to an end and then starts over again.  I cannot sit here and be grateful that we are possibly done with our IF journey without feeling mutliple things for those who are not yet done.

I know that many in the ALI community are hoping beyond hope that 2013 is their year – because 2012 stuck it to them in a major way.  I want all of those men and women to know that I am in your corner.  I will continue to support you.  I will continue to cheer for you.  And I will continue to know in my heart of hearts that this will work for you – whatever “this” is.  We will all get there in some way or another – wherever there is.

Not a day will go by in 2013 that I won’t think of my friends who are still fighting to build the families they want.  That is my promise for 2013.




The One That Stuck

I’ve gone down memory lane to share our first IVF experience and our first FET experience – both failures in their own ways – and I think it’s time to put into writing what our cycle was like when we conceived Matthew.

We’d been through the IF wringer (or so we thought based on our own experiences) – 1 failed IUI, another cancelled IUI, a failed IVF cycle that appeared to be picture perfect, and a failed FET that was described as “textbook” to us.  When it came time to do another fresh IVF cycle, I was just not into it.  I’d poured my hopes and dreams into all the failures before it, and I was done.  I had nothing left to emotionally lend to the cycle.  I was ready to quit and move on with adoption, but B wanted to follow our RE’s instructions and give IVF three full tries.  The idea of a second, and possibly a third, IVF cycle made me crazy.

I should backup.  We still had 5 frozen embryos from our first failed IVF, but when we did our first FET, I negotiated with our RE that we would only do one FET and then move onto another fresh cycle if the FET failed simply because I had no faith in the embryos from that first IVF cycle.  I had had some slight OHSS with that cycle and when they triggered me, a couple/few follicles were much larger than their target for trigger – I truly believe I was a little “over-cooked.”  When we went in for our WTF appointment after that failed IVF cycle, our RE said that we’d do things differently if we needed to stim again.  All of the trauma from the cycle, and the RE changing his game plan for us if we were to stim again, made me give up entirely on those frozen embryos.  I went forward with the one FET out of obligation – I mean – it is not really responsible to do another fresh cycle with 7 embryos in the freezer.  But if that FET failed, I was moving on to a new batch of embryos.

And that’s what happened.

So there we were, in another WTF appointment with the RE after our early miscarriage with the FET, and our RE told me the new plan.  I listened like a student, not like an acting participant.  I was so emotionally removed that I just wanted to know the what’s and when’s (not really the how’s) and get started.  We talked stats, but I already knew them.  We talked protocol, and I wrote it all down.  We would stim more slowly this time, and more steadily.  Sounded just fine to me.

With our first IVF and FET, B did all of my shots – even the easy sub-q ones.  By the time we got to IVF #2, I was feeling the need to take some control so I did all of my sub-q’s by myself unless B offered (I usually did them privately so that I could do them, but if he knew I was doing it, he’d ask if he could do it and I’d let him).  I didn’t stress about it – I simply did them when needed.  I checked things off of my spreadsheet as we progressed through the cycle, but I didn’t get wrapped up in it like I had before.  I didn’t get hopeful.  I didn’t think it would work.

The stimming seemed to take forever – because it DID.  I think it took 3-4 extra days to get my follicles to where they needed to be versus the first IVF cycle.  I was nervous about this, but went with it.  I knew the follicle count was much lower than our first IVF, but our RE explained that we were going for lower numbers, higher quality.  I wasn’t sure what that meant because 11 of the 16 eggs retrieved from IVF #1 were described as great quality.  But again, I went with it and didn’t give it much thought.

When we finally triggered, I was relieved to be getting near the end.  I was a little nervous about OHSS, but I already felt better than I did during IVF #1, so I thought that was a good sign.  I went into the egg retrieval emotionless – I expected very little to go well.  When I woke up from the retrieval, I was told they got 10 eggs and I cried.  TEN.  The first time, we got 16.  How could we only get 10 this time?

Because of the number of eggs retrieved, I decided it was best to remain unattached to the cycle and the possible outcome.  I continued to just go through the motions.  We did my PIO shot that night and waited for the fertilization report the next day.

When the phone rang, I was slightly hopeful.  All hope was stripped from me when I was told that only 5 eggs fertilized.  FIVE.  The time prior, we’d had 11 fertilize.  Five is not a lot to work with.  I was devastated.  I was convinced this cycle would end in failure as well and we’d soon be moving on to the third, and final, hail-Mary IVF cycle before calling it quits.

We heard nothing else until we went in for transfer.  I think those few days were some of my darkest.  I dwelled almost every second on whether or not our embryos were growing and surviving.  I worried about the news I’d get when we went in for transfer.  Would there even be 2 decent blasts to transfer?  What if we had to do this all over again, knowing it was our last attempt?

When transfer day came, I went in with zero emotion.  I just wanted to get it over with so that we could move on with our last IVF attempt.  When we got there, we were told that we had 2 perfect blasts to transfer, and that one was already in the freezer.  Hope started to creep in.

Just a little.

We were told that one embryo had arrested but that the final one was looking good and would like be frozen the next day.

A little more hope.

The transfer was done and we went home.  I took an extra day of bed rest because, well – you know, I could and I wanted to.  I tried not to think about the embryos that were hopefully doing their thing in my uterus, and I was pretty good at ignoring the situation.  In fact, I was great at it.  The first day off bed rest, B’s boss was running his first marathon so we went down to cheer him on.  As we were walking to one of the checkpoints, we heard his wife screaming his name so we knew we were about to miss him – so I sprinted three blocks to catch him.  I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to be running at all (I used to be a big-time recreational runner).  It didn’t dawn on me until long after the event was done, and after I’d sprinted once again with one of the runner’s kids to make it to the finish line to hug his dad, that I had forgotten that I was PUPO.

My body didn’t let me forget for too long that things were supposed to be happening in my uterus.  At 5dp5dt, I had what I thought was implantation bleeding.  I was so positive of it because there was no reason to bleed because I’d taken all the medications that would suppress a period – especially one this early.  Right?  WRONG.  As I thought through this, I realized I hadn’t started my estrogen patches.  I hadn’t consulted my spreadsheet in days.  I quickly pulled it up and realized that I was FOUR days late starting estrogen.  I quickly slapped on my patches and called the nurse and cried and cried my eyes out about my huge failure.  I told her the truth – that I simply forgot that I needed to be taking all my meds.

How does someone in the midst of an IVF cycle forget to start a critical medication?

The nurse assured me it was fine as long as I was taking my PIO shots (I was because who could forget those?) and didn’t even order a blood draw to test my estrogen.  I told her about my spotting and she said that that would not be a period or from not taking estrogen, and that her hope was that it was a good sign.

Three days later, I P’dOAS and I got a faint positive.  We’d been there before so I didn’t get too excited.  But every day, the line got darker and I was feeling pretty positive that this was our sticky baby.

More hope crept in.

The beta was done at 10d5dt (2 days early for our clinic) because the embryologist didn’t want me to have to wait over the weekend – she said I’d been through enough with our first two failed cycles.  At 10d5dt, I was most definitely pregnant with a beta of 561.

Cue even MORE hope!

Three days later, the beta was 1695.

Two days later, the beta was 3224.

This was it!

But how many were there?

We went for our ultrasound at 6w4d pregnant and there was one little baby with a beautiful strong heartbeat – and there was one sad, little deflated sac that had tried but didn’t make it.  I was sad for the baby that didn’t make it, but so happy about the one that did!  Later that night, I did an internet search on “twin pregnancy” images and decided I was relieved to not be having twins after seeing photos of women in their third trimesters with twins.  It did not look comfortable.

At 6w4d pregnant, I finally embraced this cycle!  I finally became emotionally involved.  I finally became excited!

And that’s the one that stuck!


In the Books

Christmas 2012 is in the books.  It’s over.  It’s done.

We I learned a lot.

Back in November when PAIL had their monthly theme post on Traditions, I skipped it.  I skipped it because I had no idea what I wanted our traditions to be.  I knew what I didn’t want them to be for the holidays, but I had no idea what my plans were for the traditions we would establish for our family.

What I knew (and still know) we won’t do:

  1. Christmas morning will never be spent away from home unless we are traveling somewhere special (this does not include my or B’s parents’ homes – I mean real vacations)
  2. We are not religious and we will not pretend to be during the holidays, like many families do  😉
  3. We will not exclude Santa from our traditions, but will try to keep ourselves in control when it comes to gift-giving
  4. We will not spend the holidays with both families – we will alternate between the two families every year so that we can honor #1 above


B and I have talked a bit about what each of our families did for the holidays, but until this year, those conversations were in passing and we didn’t really dwell on anything because we had no idea what we wanted our traditions to be.  This year, we did discuss what each of our families did and we incorporated aspects of each into our own holidays with Matthew.

These conversations were rather short – because B’s family had two traditions besides gift-giving.  They decorated the tree together, and B’s dad opened each ornament and gave it to the child who it belonged to and let him/her put it on the tree wherever they wanted it to be.  And they woke up to the smell of blueberry muffins on Christmas morning.  They ate muffins (and crescent rolls) and opened presents.  Sure, they went to Grandma’s the night before and their aunt and uncle’s every-other year for the holidays, but as far as their immediate family’s traditions go, tree decorating and blueberry muffins were it.


My family’s holidays were a bit more complicated (but fun).  We spent tons of time making Christmas cookies together – all sorts!  Our favorites were the sugar cookies but we also enjoyed the Spritzes my mom would make (they are awesome in milk).  We would spend time as a family wrapping presents together, in disguised boxes so that no one knew what we were wrapping.  We decorated the house together (this was not fun – too much micro-managing from our parents every.single.year) and listened to Christmas music all season long.  We opened presents the weekend before Christmas so that we were free to travel and spend time with extended family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  Santa came to our house (he was a wonderful Santa and he came from the time I was 2 until I was 13) the Saturday before Christmas and brought us a very special gift at that time.  Our grandparents would come over and we’d get all dressed up (ugh), have a huge Christmas dinner, welcome Santa, and then open presents.  It was quite fun and memorable, aside from getting dressed up  😉

On Christmas Eve, we went to my dad’s folks’ house and had a great time with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  This was yet another formal affair (ugh) but it was super fun, nonetheless.  My sister would play the organ and we would sing Christmas carols together.  We had another huge, formal meal, opened presents, and played games together with the sound of traditional Christmas music playing in the background.  My best Christmas memories are of this time, without a doubt.  We would go to Christmas service (not mass) as an immediate family at midnight (my dad’s family went to mass) and we loved that because all we did was sing Christmas carrols and the church had a fabulous choir!  We would come home, snuggle into bed, and then wake up Christmas morning to stuffed stockings (we knew that they were filled by Mom and Dad because Santa had already come to see us the weekend before) before loading up the car to head to my mom’s family’s home 3.5 hours away.  Once there, we spent the next day and night with cousins, cousins, and more cousins!  Even more fun memories there!

So – when you strip out the extended family events, my family had many traditions.  Some worth keeping (cookies, Christmas music) and some worth scrapping (making the decorating of the house a miserable affair).

So, without further delay, here is what we did, and what will continue to be traditions for our family:

  1. We will most definitely listen to Christmas music in the house (and in the car) from Thanksgiving through Christmas – all sorts of Christmas music as long as it’s peppy
  2. The house will be decorated by the family but it will be fun, dammit!  Any aspect of it that is not fun will be handled by me, myself, and I as to spare everyone the agony of my control issues
  3. We will always have Christmas lights in front of our house, and they will be the type that make our children happy (colored lights, lighted lawn ornaments) – not the ones that make me happy (white lights)
  4. We will go on several drives each week to look at Christmas lights
  5. The year that we spend Christmas with B’s family (they live close by), we will have a Christmas Eve dinner with our closest couple friends and their child(ren).  We did this two years ago and again this year, and it was the best part of Christmas for us both!
  6. Sugar cookies will be made sometime during the holidays.  I made the cookies the day before Christmas Eve and we frosted them Christmas night.  That was not my plan, but Matthew’s sickness made things hard on Christmas day.  Next year, I hope to have them done by the night of Christmas Eve *
  7. Christmas Eve will be spent with extended family before coming home for dinner with our friends
  8. Christmas morning will be greeted with homemade raspberry and/or strawberry muffins and boxed blueberry muffins (for B!)
  9. Christmas morning will always be spent at home unless we are on a fun trip
  10. B and I will wrap the kids’ gifts together – we did that this year and had a great time together!
  11. Christmas day will be loosely scheduled – up in the air.  It was nice being home but we also missed being with family this year.  We will definitely spend time on Christmas day with B’s family the year that we’re spending with them, but it won’t be as much time as we’ve spent in the past
  12. We will ALWAYS have backup food ready to cook on Christmas day in case we get snowed/sicked in.  HA!


So there you go – that’s my plan for our holiday traditions going forward.  I couldn’t have come up with all of that without going through the motions of a holiday season with a real, bona-fide toddler  🙂

Now, much of this won’t apply for next year because my dad has already Bogart-ed all of Christmas (24th – 27th) with a family trip to Colorado, but I’m willing to take one for the team (my family) next year so that I never have to do it again .  This will allow us to re-establish our traditions going forward from there.  Sometimes, you have to give your controlling parents what they want, so that you can ultimately end up with what you want in the end  😉

* B has ALWAYS asked me to make sugar cookies with red hots.  I have never done it.  I’ve never had the desire, until this year.  It made me really happy to do this for him  🙂



I have to admit something today that I have not had to admit yet as a mother.

I admit defeat.

When I posted a while back about the top 10 things that surprise me about myself as a mother, some people mentioned that they don’t have patience and my response was, ‘this could all change tomorrow.’

It changed today.

Matthew is a good boy – a very good boy – but man alive, he woke up before the crack of dawn this morning for no apparent reason.  This would normally not be a big deal because when this (very rarely) happens (5 times since he was 10 months old), we’ve known just what to do and he’s back to sleep in no time.  With the exception of that nasty double ear infection, the other few times he’s woken up have been just brief interruptions to our night.

Not last night.

Matthew woke up just plain mad and standing up in his crib, which cues an immediate dash to his room to try to calm him before he wakes up completely.  Too late.  He wanted to get up.  WHAT?  He pointed at the door and wailed.  I finally hollered over the monitor for B to get us some ibuprofen because what does every good bad mother do when her kid won’t sleep?  Drug ’em!  The firm holler of mine (I had to be firm so that B could hear it over the sound machine – I wasn’t mad) triggered something in Matthew because he just fell quiet immediately.  I was thrilled.  After the ibuprofen, he settled in to sleep.  GREAT!

But he never fell completely asleep.  He cried and tossed all over me every 15 minutes or so.  I didn’t catch a single wink.

I tried putting him in his crib several times to no avail.  So, I brought him into our room and bed.  It seemed like that was going to work but then he freaked out and we were back to his room.  An hour and a half had passed and I was exhausted.  In his room, there were more random fits because I just think he wanted to be up.  I finally changed his diaper (I don’t usually do that because it wakes him completely up – but what the hell because he was obviously completely up?) and that seemed to settle him.  He finally fell asleep around 6:15 and so did I, with him in my arms.  I woke up at 7:30 and put him in his crib while I got the house picked up.  He woke up at 8:10.

I figured the day was salvaged.

But I was tired all day, and he was crabby and fussy.  He fought his nap but then relented and I thought I’d get some sleep.  Wrong.  Just after I fell asleep, my 2-3 hour napper woke up after 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Ready to go again.

I was really upset, to be quite honest.  I almost cried.

But we played and watched CG with Matthew being fussy and crying intermittently the entire time.  I did what I’ve never done out of frustration – I texted B and asked when he would be home.

I had given up.  I was tired.  I was defeated.

Matthew went to sleep just great at 8:10 tonight.  Just like last night.  Let’s hope tonight is better.

Look at that little sweetheart, yelling at me for God-only-knows-what.  This was actually taken the other day, but is totally what I witnessed today.  ;)

Look at that little sweetheart, yelling at me for God-only-knows-what. This was actually taken the other day, but is totally what I witnessed today. 😉


What We Want and What We Get

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want our family to look when we’re all done building it.  It’s no secret – we still have 5 embryos in the freezer and we really want to give them a chance.  At this point, we’re thinking we want 3 children.  But then I wonder – do we REALLY want 3 kids, or is it because that’s the potential due to our frosties?  If we didn’t have those frosties, how many children would we have had?  How many children would we have seen ourselves with?

Before we found out we were infertile, we both said we’d be happy with just 1 child.  ONE!  Then we were told we couldn’t have any children and the floodgate of emotions were opened and I started to think about the things I never really knew I wanted – like the amount of kids I wanted.  At the time, I was feeling very cheated because, “what if we want 2?  Then what?”  We didn’t even have 1 yet, and I was feeling cheated by infertility because it felt like it was taking away my choices to have more than 1 child.

We were at a holiday party last night and a close “couple friend” said that 2 children didn’t feel like enough for them, but that 3 feels like too many.  She wasn’t complaining – she was just stating the exponential addition of work when you go from 2 to 3 children (I hear this a lot and understand!).  That comment made me pause and wonder, “will 2 not feel like enough for us?”

I can already say that 2 doesn’t feel like enough – and we’re not even there yet.  I see us with 3 children – I just do.  How did I go from seeing us with ONE to seeing us with THREE?  How did THAT happen?

Again, is it because we have 5 frozen embryos that we moved heaven and earth for?  Have I just folded the idea of one of them into my vision of our family?

This all makes me very nervous for our future – and not in the way that fertiles would think.  I’m not nervous about providing for 3 children, or having enough time for 3 children, or having enough time for B with 3 children.  What I worry about is this – am I setting myself up for complete devastation if one of those 5 embryos doesn’t turn into my third child?

I have convinced my head that a third child would be “gravy,” that it would be the cherry on our sundae, that if it doesn’t pan out, that I’d be OK with that.  But would I?  I know that I will never stim again – I know that we will never EVER do another fresh cycle.  If none of those frosties turns into our third child – then we will be a family of 4.

A family of 4 is great – but is it enough for us?  Is it what we truly want?  Or do we want a family of 5 because we have the potential for it?

I guess we won’t know until the time comes to start working on #3 (we will NOT be doing a transfer again on October 12 – HA!) – but I wonder.  I wonder a lot.  I wonder all the time.

What do we really WANT, and will IF, ultimately, decide what we GET?



Who Knew?

We all learn things about ourselves when we move into a new phase in our lives – and parenting is no different.  I, of course, have learned a lot of “deep” things about myself – like the type of parent I actually am versus what I thought I would be, but I want to document the top 10 things that have REALLY surprised me about myself.

10.  I really enjoy being a SAHM.  I never planned to stay home – that decision caught me completely off-guard and made me uncomfortable at first.  But I really, really love it!  I love spending every day with Matthew and watching him learn new things.  I love hanging out with him and talking to him all day long.  I don’t miss much about work because we still get lots of adult interaction with daily activities – and he and I are constantly interacting.  We’re best buds!

9.  I am an incredibly patient mother.  For those who know me IRL, I am not a patient person – at all.  I am not patient with myself, with others, with gadgets, or with certain situations.  But I am so patient with my child.  Very little gets me riled up and even when that happens, I shake it off almost instantly and can laugh out loud about it.

8.  I have no control over so many things.  Being a control freak, this has surprised me a lot.  However, I think our IF experience prepared me for the lack of control I have in motherhood.  Sure, I can control our schedule (for the most part), what Matthew eats, etc., but I can’t control when/how he gets hurt, when he’s fussy, when he can’t sleep, etc.  I accept this and welcome it.  I wasn’t always this way – Matthew’s sleep caused me much distress before he was sleep trained (and B and I had many conversations about how Matthew was not a robot and couldn’t sleep on demand – and I needed to accept that) but once we got past that, the lack of control I have as his mother is a non-issue.

7.  I handle stressful situations much better than I ever thought I would.  Matthew has been hurt a few times (fell down the stairs, fell out of the car, almost broke his ankle, tried knocking out his teeth two days in a row) and each time, I have not freaked out and I have kept it together.  When he started choking twice, I knew exactly what to do and did it, without hesitation.  When he had his ear infection, I knew right away what the problem was and how to help him.  The only time I really felt helpless was when he was having what we think was a night terror and there was nothing to do but wait it out (but it was so sad to watch).

6.  I am not a yeller.  I was raised by yellers – we were yelled at all the time.  I worried this would become a trait of mine because it “runs in the family,” right?  My sisters are both yellers and there were clues early on in my childhood that I wasn’t going to be, but I wasn’t a parent yet so I really had no idea if I would become one or not.  I have not.  Whew!  The only times I have yelled are when Matthew is in danger (about to put a power cord in his mouth that’s plugged in).

5.  I can function on very little sleep.  I am a night owl – if I could stay up until midnight every night, I would.  In fact, most nights, I do.  I’m changing this now because it’s just not healthy – but I like being up at night and sure there are moments that I’m tired after only 6 hours of sleep, but I’m never flat-out exhausted.  Even pregnant, I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.

4.  I still love my cats as much as I always have.  I expected this to change – because everyone told me it would.  But it hasn’t.  I still worry about my old girl, Lily (who is diabetic), every single day.  I still obsess over her behavior and have actually become more regular at giving her her insulin twice a day.  I am just as in-tune to her now as I’ve always been.  I still snuggle with Jackson every night when I climb into bed (sorry, B!).  He and I still snuggle periodically throughout the day while Matthew naps.  I still make sure to seek out Janie who tends to enjoy time alone and not on our laps.  When I seek her out for one-on-one time, we both enjoy it so much (she’s in my lap right now as I write this).  My kitties are still my 3 little besties – I just now have a fourth bestie as well.

3.  I hate putting Matthew to bed.  This is not because he makes bedtime difficult (he does not), but because I just hate the idea of putting him to bed and not being able to play with him anymore.  I struggle with this for every nap and every bedtime – and it’s caused me to be the primary problem in getting him to bed on time.  We are fixing that this week – he needs more sleep and I need to stop standing in his way of it.  But it makes me sad.

2.  I am a softie.  Sure, I have my rules and Matthew is good at following them – but when he wants another Cutie orange, I can’t say no.  When he wants more milk, I always say yes.  When he wants to drive around to look for school busses or holiday lights, I oblige.  I like him to be happy, and I tend to go over the top sometimes.

1.  I love, and I mean LOVE, whole milk!  I always thought whole milk was gross (because I was told it was – HA!).  I always thought it would be like drinking cream.  It’s not.  It’s divine.  It’s wonderful.  It’s the best stuff in the world!  I love to finish Matthew’s cups of milk that the straw can’t reach anymore.  I love pouring myself a little bit when he gets his cup of milk in the afternoon.  I love sipping it from his cup, in an attempt to get him drink more.  I just love it – and I love yogurt that is made from whole milk.

Who knew?


Good With It

I’ve been reflecting a lot on our IF past.  I think this is because it’s starting to feel like it’s more in the past than in the present.  It’s strange.

People have asked me what it was like to lose the pregnancy that resulted from our first FET way back in summer of 2010.  They’ve asked if I still think about it.  I’ve been asked if it haunts me.  I’ve been asked how I mourned it.  I’ve been asked if it will stick with me forever.

It won’t.

In fact, it’s never really haunted me and I don’t think about it much at all (if at all, really).  Not like when we had our first IVF failure.

That’s weird, isn’t it, to not be bothered by a miscarriage?  I think that’s what bothers me the most about it – that it doesn’t bother me and I think it should.

I never had any faith in our first FET.  The 7 frozen embryos were from a cycle in which everything went perfectly until the very end, when I stimmed too quickly over the weekend before retrieval.  That was the cycle that landed me in the ER with minor (but what felt like major) OHSS.  After that first cycle failed, I wrote those embryos off in my mind.  Something was wrong with them – all 7 of them.

When our doc wanted to do the FET, I knew it was the responsible thing to do.  I knew it was not responsible to do another fresh cycle with 7 embryos in the freezer, with the very real possibility of adding to that collection.  B and I truly want to give all of our embryos a chance (even those last 5 we still have in the freezer) and the thought of adding more to the freezer terrified us.

But I also knew it wouldn’t work.  Not with those embryos.

The cycle did not go well from the start.  My estrogen wasn’t rising appropriately so I was put on estrace tablets twice a day that had to be administered vaginally.  Ugh.  They were blue and dyed my lady bits blue and made my urine green.  It was terrible.  People who haven’t been through this may think this is a minor inconvenience and you know what – it really is minor.  😉 But at the time, the last thing I wanted to be doing in addition to hormone shots was MORE hormones put up my lady parts.  It was just… humiliating.  Every time I had to do it (have I mentioned I had to do it twice daily?) I would cringe and be on the verge of tears.  I hated it.

My lining got better, but was never better than the minimum/average they wanted.  I didn’t get all wrapped up in that because I knew it wasn’t going to work anyway.  I sort-of didn’t care.  I was doing this cycle out of obligation – not desire and hope.

The transfer went well and the blasts they put in were perfect (again).  I still had little to no hope and had a hard time taking my bedrest seriously.  I did enjoy my bedrest though – that is when I watched the first season of Glee back-to-back and fell in love with all the crazy talent on that show.  We were living in a corporate (furnished) apartment because we’d sold our town house without a new house picked out (only we would do such a thing in a down market – we got freaking LUCKY!) – so I wasn’t even “home” for my bedrest.  After 2 days, it was done and I went back to work, not thinking at all about the cycle.

I had some light spotting at 5dp5dt and got excited for the first time that cycle.  I started testing at 7dp5dt and got a positive HPT – so I took the day off to celebrate with B.  Here I’d been all gloom and doom about the cycle but it was seeming to have worked!  Who knew?

I tested again at 8dp5dt and I got another BFP but it was not darker.  I got a little concerned.  Everyone will tell you that they don’t always get darker – but let’s be honest – they usually do.  Gloom and doom came back and never left.  Day after day, I tested and got faint BFP’s – nothing seemed to be getting much darker at all.  I just knew we were in trouble.

We went for our first beta and I told them I’d gotten a BFP, but that it was rather faint.  The nurse told me not to read into it and sent me on my way to wait for the call.  We went back to our little apartment and waited.  They called before lunch.


The target at 12dp5dt is 100 and more.  I got a 76.  B was happy with it – I was not.  The nurse told him it’s not what they were hoping for but that they were being cautiously optimistic.  I told him it was over.  We returned 2 days later and it was 140 – not quite doubling.  B said it counted as doubling and so did the nurse, and I called BS on them both.  140 is not 152.  But the nurses were still obviously concerned because I was scheduled for another beta to check again.

We actually had a weekend away scheduled so we went to Atlanta and I was a freaking wreck the whole time.  All I wanted was to get back and get my blood drawn so we could stop the charade and move on from what I was calling a chemical pregnancy.  B stayed in Atlanta for work and I flew home alone to keep testing.  at 18dp5dt, my beta was only 357 when it should have been 608.  I knew we were in serious trouble and just wanted someone to call the game.

Two days later, my beta was 549 – far from the 1216 we needed.  It was over.  I asked the nurse to have a doctor call me with the results because I was tired of the song and dance, so the other doctor in the practice (whom I’d only seen once) called me to give me the news.  He started by saying, “I’ve been told you like blunt honesty, so I’ll give it to you straight.”  THANK YOU!  That’s all I wanted.  He told me the number and said it’s most likely going to be a miscarriage.  Dr. C said that he wanted me to keep taking the meds, though, because he’d had a recent patient with similar betas and she was currently 20 weeks pregnant – and that he wasn’t telling me that to give me hope, but to explain why he’s making me keep up with the shots.  We discussed what would be done if it is a miscarriage and he assured me I could have a D&E.


So I kept doing the shots and let me tell you – you don’t truly resent PIO shots until you’re taking them just to cover everyone’s asses, including your own  😉

Doctor C said that we’d have to wait 6 days to do an ultrasound because my betas were still too low to show anything on ultrasound.  That made sense, so we scheduled it for 6 days later (when B would be back, so that was nice!).  The nurse showed us the (empty) sac and said that that was what they expected to see at this point.  I knew that was BS and when she left the room, I told B that she was just telling us that so that the doctor could tell us the truth.  He sort-of scolded me for being negative.

We crossed the hall to an exam room where we waited for Dr. Y.  He came in and immediately said, “I’m sorry guys, but this is a miscarriage.  It’s an empty sac, there is not fetal pole at all.”  God, I love when people are straight with me!  I could have hugged him – truly!  I did not cry – there was just nothing to cry about.  There was no baby.  I felt like I had lost nothing but time.  I was relieved – I got to move on to a better cycle, one that may work (we had an agreement with Dr. Y going into the FET that we would only do one FET before returning to fresh cycles because of my lack of confidence in those embryos).

I was thrilled!

Dr. Y told me to consider my options and I told him I already had and wanted a D&E.  He agreed, saying that the sac was not degenerating at all and it could take weeks for my body to figure things out on its own.  The D&E was scheduled for 3 days later.

The D&E was no big deal.  No tears.  When Dr. Y came in prior to surgery, we laughed.  We joked.  I told him I was ready to be done and move on.  I told him I wasn’t sad at all.  He believed me.  I thanked him for being a great doctor.

And it was over.

I walked out of that surgical center with hope that I’d get my period soon and start a new, fresh cycle.  Because there was no fetal pole, I did not have to wait multiple cycles to start again.  I started the next cycle exactly one month later.

And it worked!

I never think about that baby that could have been.  In my mind (and biologically), there was no baby.  It was an empty sac that was confused.  That empty sac bought me the time to get to the magical cycle that created Matthew, and now this new baby that we’re expecting.  It was part of fate’s plan for me.

And I’m totally good with that.


* Please note that this post is simply about how I felt about MY experience with an empty sac miscarriage.  In no way am I implying that others in a similar situation should feel the same way.   




Especially Thankful

I’ve never been one to reflect much on what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving because, well, I think that’s something you should do regularly and not specifically on one day.  I was always annoyed as a child and young adult when we had to go around the table to state what we were thankful for, because in my mind, the list was endless and how was I supposed to pick just a few things to focus on?  Once infertility entered our lives, I began to resent that table-talk even more as everyone would talk about how thankful they were for their multiple children, as we sat there wishing that we could have just one.  It was awful.  I think that I’ll always resent that conversation because of those 2 Thanksgivings of wishing for the opportunity to be thankful for a baby.

With that said, I do have one thing that I am especially thankful for this year.

Of course I’m thankful that we have Matthew.  I am thankful of that every single day – multiple times a day.  When he gets to be a little difficult at times (few and far between), I still always catch myself thinking, “I’m so thankful for this little boy.”  He may get away with a little too much because of this.

Of course I’m thankful for my husband.  I never thought I’d meet someone like him – and I certainly never thought someone like him would want to marry me.  I thank my lucky stars all the time for him being a permanent fixture in my life.  B has brought so many wonderful things to my life (babies, fitness, happiness, challenges, love) and I will always be thankful for him!

Of course I’m thankful for my family.  Sure, they can be crazy, but without them, I wouldn’t have my best friend (my little sister) or my big sister who has helped me navigate some of the hardest moments in our family.  My sisters keep me sane – and I am so lucky to have them.  They are the reason that we really want a sibling for Matthew, because we know how much love and fun can come from sibling relationships.

Of course I’m thankful for my pregnancy.  We had our 8w ultrasound today and all is just great!  I still can’t believe that we’re here – that it worked the first time.  I don’t think it’s sunk in yet and I find it hard to be excited  because it just doesn’t feel real.  But I’m very thankful for it.  I’m thankful that we finally had an easy road when it came to TTC.  I’m thankful that Matthew will have his own little friend in seven short months.

Of course I’m thankful for my friends – online and offline.  I love them (you) all and I know that I’ve hit the jackpot when it comes to friendships.  I have so many people I can count on for fun, support, idle chit-chat, gossip (gasp!), lunches out, and play dates for our kids.  Because of my strong, wonderful friendships, Matthew is making strong friendships already at the age of 17 months.  I could not be more thankful for this!

Of course I’m thankful for the life we live.  B and I worked very hard, together, to get to where we are and we know that individually, we would not have gotten to where we are together.  This is just a fact – we are a strong unit that makes great things happen when we work hard and focus on our goals.  I know that we are fortunate, but I also know that we’re fortunate by hard work and not by luck.  I am so thankful that we’ve made our life wonderful together!

So what I am particularly thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I’m thankful that I am done with IVF.  I am thankful that I am done doing fresh cycles.  I am thankful that I am done with the fear.

One of my latest posts talked about the cycle in which we flat-out failed.  I was surprised by the support I got in the comments not because I wasn’t expecting support, but because what we endured was just part of the deal.  It was what it was.  It was hard, but we survived it.  It still makes me sad, but it’s over and done and I’ve had a great outcome.

What makes my past failure so hard for me to think about now, though, is the many people still going through it for their first baby.  So many commenters said that they couldn’t imagine going through IVF and the truth is – they’re right.  Until you’re there, until you’re told that this is the end of the line for a biological child – you just don’t know what that’s like.

We didn’t know what it was like until it happened to us.

This is what it was like from our perspective (I just added these last two sentences because they should have been in my original post to clarify my intentions.  This is the only edited part of my original post).

Many people get to start out with clomid, natural IUI’s, medicated IUI’s, stimmed IUI’s, etc. before moving onto IVF.  We were not so lucky – our diagnosis landed us with trying one IUI as to “not waste the clomid needed for pre-IVF testing.”  After that one attempt, we were told to move straight to IVF.  We tried one more IUI because of the clomid challenge test but they wouldn’t even let us go through with it because it was a waste of time.  We went in for the IUI, and we were benched that day.  No surprise really.

So no – we didn’t get to move through the phases of IF treatment.  We went from trying naturally to being told that we had one shot at having a biological child – and that one shot was IVF (in all fairness, we were told that we would try it up to 3 times but after 3 times, there’s no point).  All of our eggs were in the IVF basket.

When we went to the RE, I thought we’d start with clomid, then IUI, etc. and I found peace in that.  There was always something else to try if the first, second thing didn’t work.  That peace was ripped away from us after a few tests, before our first IUI.  We were never just put on medication and told to go home and try.  Our diagnosis was straightforward and all we could hope for was success with IVF with ICSI.

That was it.

We were told that if it didn’t work in 3 tries, that it wouldn’t work.


Scary stuff.

After our first failure, I started to worry.  What if the next one fails and we only have one try left?  What then?

Stimming for IVF is hard.  It’s hard work for all involved, but super hard on the female partner.  Your ovaries get to be the size of grapefruits and they hurt.  In my case, I had some OHSS which was not fun – it landed me in the ER because I couldn’t breathe.  After retrieval, things got worse when I thought they’d get better.  All I wanted was to feel normal again.  And then we failed.  There was no longer “normal” in our lives.

I know that many couples are limited in IF treatments because of finances or religious reasons.  I get that.  But honestly, it’s not the same thing.  You can always try to find an IF grant (I’ve seen many gals get these), you can join an IF trial, you can take out a second mortgage on your house, you can save the money the old-fashioned way, you can borrow the money from family (if possible), you can change jobs to one that covers IF coverage (a friend of mine did this), you can move to a state where IF coverage is mandated, you can finance your IVF, you can join a shared risk program.  THERE ARE FINANCIAL OPTIONS to extend your family.

But when you do IVF – you are at the end of the biological line.  If it does not work – you are done.  You can’t wish to win the lottery to pay for more treatments, you can’t borrow the money for another type of treatment, you can’t mortgage your house for the next option.

You are done.

And that is scary stuff.  There will always be the person who can’t get to IVF because they don’t have the money – but it’s just not the same thing.

It isn’t.

I have a child now, and one on the way.  I am so far away from that fear of, “what if this does not work?”  But that fear still creeps in.  I feel it now for others.  I feel it for my online friends who are still trying for their first baby.

It makes me feel cold.

It makes me feel helpless for my friends.

It makes me sad.

And it makes me thankful that I am done with that phase of my life.