Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Caring for Real People

Today, Election Day, I was trying to stay non-political on all forms of Social Media. I proudly voted this morning, perhaps more proudly today than any other election year, not because of the Presidential Election, but because of so many social issues on the ballot here in Maryland about which I feel so strongly. I am more anxiously awaiting the results of the Marriage Equality Act and the "Dream Act" (its not called that on a State level, but its the State equivalent of it) tonight than I am the results of the Presidential election, because these are results that will immediately and greatly impact the lives of so many real people in a profound way. And so, I will go ahead and be political today, because I want my boys (one almost three years, one to be born in two months) to know that they come from a family that cares about people, above all else.


Dear Ryan and Baby Boy #2,

Today is a special day in our country, the United States of America. It is a day in which we get to vote and voice our opinion about what is best for our Nation, our State, and our Communities. It is a day that many men and woman have fought hard over the years to make sure we all get to continue to participate in. It is a day that makes many Americans feel very proud.

This year is a Presidential election year, which means it is a year in which we, the American People choose who will be the leader of our Country for the next 4 years. Many people feel very strongly about who to vote for. And your Daddy and I are certainly two of those people. And while I won't go into detail, I hope, when you're older, that no matter who you vote for, you will vote for the person who you believe truly cares the most about all Americans. I hope you will vote for the person that wants all people treated fairly and with respect. The person who doesn't want to limit the rights of others because of who they decide to love. I hope you will vote for the person who seems like they will do the most to protect this great Earth we have been allowed to inhabit.  Vote for the the person that you think will try his/her hardest to do the right thing for the most people.

This year in Maryland, our State, not only do we have the chance to vote for our President, but we have the chance to vote on two very important social issues. These are issues that affect the every day lives of many people. One of these issues is allowing people who came here to the United States, from other countries, as children, to attend Maryland Colleges and Universities, and pay the same amount as people who were born in the United States. This is important because even though these people may have been brought to the USA by their parents, and it may not have been legal, they were children and didn't know any better and didn't have a choice. They have grown up here and many of them view America as their Country. As long as they have been good citizens, meaning they follow the laws and are kind to others, then they deserve to go to college for the same price as the two of you. This will make college much more affordable for these young people, so more of them will be able to go to school, and they deserve that opportunity.

The second Social Issue is what is called Marriage Equality. This is a law, that if passed will allow any person living in Maryland to marry any other person they love. Some families have a Mommy and a Daddy like our family. Other families have two Mommies and other families have two Daddies. Currently, in the families with two Mommies or two Daddies, the mommies and daddies can't get married. But this new law will allow anyone, 2 boys, 2 girls, or 1 boy and 1 girl to get married, as long as they are old enough and not related to each other. This is the way it should be. Marriage is a very special thing. It is a celebration of love and a commitment to another person forever. Whether you're a man who loves a man, a woman who loves a woman, or a man who loves a woman, you should be allowed to openly show your love and make it official through marriage. If Maryland passes this law, we will be the first State in the US to pass such a law by voting. And I will be soooooo proud to be a Marylander! Almost as proud as I am to be your Mommy!

I hope as you both get older that you will always remember how important Election Day is. You should ALWAYS vote when you have the chance. And when you vote, do your best to vote in a way that you believe will result in the most good for the most people. No candidate will ever be perfect. But follow your heart no matter what.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

4 months!?!?!?

Yikes, the last time I logged in here to post anything was June 24th. That means it has been more than 4 months since I last posted. I guess when you feel awful for 21 weeks straight (including one visit to the ER for fluids), and then feel COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED for the next 2 months or so, that it takes its toll on one's motivation to blog. I typically blog during nap time, and until recently, nap time for the kiddos has meant nap time for me. I am a little less exhausted these days so I have thought more about blogging.  However, there were SOOOO many awesome things that happened since June 24th that I wanted to blog about and I felt like I had to go back and start with June 25th and catch up. But the number of "Oh! I need to blog about that!" posts kept piling up, and I began to feel like I would never again find the motivation to blog again, if I didn't just start. So, here I am starting again. I may on occasion try to go back and document (for Ryan's sake) some of those great outings/adventures, but if I don't get to it, that's OK too.

So, where does one start when they haven't blogged in over 4 months? I will say that pregnancy when you're not constantly sick is SO much more enjoyable! But man, even when I'm feeling well, its still so much harder this time than it was the first time. Getting up and down off the ground as many times a day as one does with a toddler (I'm a get down and play with my little guy kind of mom) is exhausting. And yet, there are still so many amazing moments that I just want to cherish forever. This little baby moves a LOT! I thought his big brother was a mover, but he had nothing on this kid. I hope that doesn't mean this little guy (yes, we found out its a boy!) will be a spaz when he comes out! No matter what, we'll love him to pieces! In fact, we already do! Every night, I try to lay on the couch for at least a few minutes in a particular position that always makes him move like crazy. I feel like this is our special time in which I can focus solely on him. Matt reads to my belly often, though, sadly not as much as we did with Ryan. (See above mention of exhaustion. Once the day ends we hit the sack and we're ready to go to sleep ASAP!) But the little guy does seem to respond when he hears his Daddy's voice, and that too is a special moment.

Already, watching Ryan as a big brother is a joy. He asks often (though not daily as he had been for a while) "When will Baby (insert name that we're not making FULLY public yet) pop out?" He now understands that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all have to happen before little brother makes his appearance. After today he can check one of those milestones off the list! Ryan has felt his little brother move a few times and now can often be found saying, "Look! I have a baby in my belly! Feel it!" He'll then have you put your hand on his belly and he'll jerk his belly out and say, "Did you feel him?!" I'm biased, I know. But its pretty darn cute! Ryan also incorporates his little brother into our day. If we do something fun sometimes he'll say, "Do you think Baby_____ will like going to the park, too?!" Or "Do you think Baby ____ will like fall festivals, too!?" I love that he already thinks about him and is making him a part of our daily life.

I can't wait to watch the relationship between Ryan and his brother develop. My two older brothers have a wonderful relationship. I am pretty certain they consider each other their best friends. And while that may not have always been the case growing up, they have always been close. I hope that Ryan and his little brother will be able to say the same when they're older. And, I hope that any other children we may have will benefit from their awesome relationship in the same way I have from my brothers' relationship. I am very lucky to have them both.

Well, that's enough of a start for now. Here's hoping you read a lot more from me from here on out (though, who are we kidding, come January, when the baby is due, I am sure we will have another long gap again!).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Want to Be a Part of It....

Last weekend we took a trip to New York for Matt's company's annual Summer Picnic. We had been looking forward to this since last year, when Matt went by himself. It was Matt's first year working for the company, and not knowing what to expect at the picnic, we decided we weren't brave enough to venture there with Ryan who was only about 17 months at the time. But after Matt returned, with stories of amusement park rides, carnival games, amazing food, mini golf, paint ball, and a boat ride out to the island where the picnic is held, we decided a full family trip was in order the following year.

And so, we spent the few weeks prior preparing Ryan for our trip to the Big City of New York. Matt told him about the bumper cars, and the boat, and the subway train. We talked about playing games, minigolf, and seeing huuuuuge buildings. It was Ryan's first trip to New York and we couldn't wait to experience it with him. So, last Saturday morning, we left our house and headed on our way.

We decided to take a different route, through Pennsylvania that would allow us to avoid the New Jersey Turnpike, Matt's least favorite road in the world, which has proven extremely traffic-filled on all of our recent trips North. Well, needless to say (and I won't say whose fault it was...ah hem!) we ended up taking Route 76 outside of Harrisburg instead of Route 78, and guess where we were headed on Route 76???? That's right! Directly towards the New Jersey Turnpike! ARGH! We stopped and bought a map and managed to find our way to Route 78 but not without losing about 1.5 hours. Ryan was a champ the whole time. Either watching a video, listening to music, or napping.

We then finally made it into the city. We announced our arrival to Ryan who was so far less than impressed (he couldn't see too much from his vantage point in the back of the van). We put the address of the hotel into our Garmin and Matt did an excellent job navigating through the city. As we were driving, every time Matt honked his horn, or swerved to miss hitting a rogue taxi, Ryan would pipe up and say, "Are we in New York?" He had a sense already that this was an exciting, busy town.

We should have realized it before we did. But sadly, we didn't. I am not particularly familiar with NYC, and Matt was just focused on not getting crashed into (a minivan in NYC is a challenge indeed!). And so, when we pulled up to the address of our "hotel" we were a bit confused. It was a run down brownstone, with shady characters standing outside. I looked at Matt and said, "Only the best for (insert company's name here)'s employees!" Much to our frustration, our Garmin had taken us to 212 E. 42nd Street in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. So, that meant we had to drive ALLLLLLL the way back through the city practically to the point where we entered the city in the first place. We eventually arrived at what ended up being a very nice hotel a few blocks from Times Square, but this was after we had spent 2 hours simply driving back and forth through NYC. We valeted our car on the company's dime and headed inside to quickly put our luggage down before we headed to the picnic....FINALLY!

Ryan was excited. And despite the 7 hours he had just spent in the car (as opposed to the expected 4) he was still in great spirits. We loaded him into the BOB stroller and headed to the ferry. We got on the boat and he could not stop asking questions and pointing at the many exciting things he saw. "What's dat, Dada!" "Mama! Look! Look at dat big air plane!" "Dada, is the boat going yet?" "Oh wow! Dis is fun!" (when the boat hit some big waves). It was a true joy to experience NYC for the first time all over again through his two year old eyes. This is the reason we came in the first place and suddenly all the wrong turns suddenly seemed worth it.
Looking out the window on the Ferry and loving EVERY minute! 

The ferry pulled up to Randall's island and we headed to the picnic. There were tons of people and we grabbed some food first. The food was great as far as Matt and I were concerned, but a little too gourmet for a two year-old's taste buds. But, they did have hot dogs (a rare treat for Ryan, who has only had one once or twice before). But, they did not have knives. None. Zippo anywhere on the island. So, being the cautious parents we are, we managed to use two forks and our fingers to cut the hot dog in half length wise so as not to be such a choking hazard. But of course Ryan didn't want it in a bun. He wanted a tortilla. We found one. So, Ryan ate french fries and a tortilla wrapped hot dog for dinner. Yuuuuuum! ;) He also thoroughly enjoyed the fresh squeezed lemonade and the strawberries and blueberries we eventually found while exploring the rest of the island.

Sadly, we were disappointed by the activities. They had clearly scaled back this year. Ryan was too short for the much anticipated bumper cars.  But, we were soooo proud of him when we had to break this news to him. He took it in stride and just said, "I just have to grow bigger!" The only other ride he could get on was the carousel and there were no carnival games to play this year or Minigolf. So, we came all the way to NYC to ride a carousel. Well, not really, but to say we were a little disappointed was an understatement. (Though, really we shouldn't complain. We had a weekend in NYC that we didn't have to pay a penny for. So, thank you Matt's company!) And Ryan, true to form, was still doing fairly well, despite the fact that we were bumping up against his bed time. Keep in mind that throughout all of this I was still feeling nauseous and exhausted, but I had not lost any meals in 24 hours, so, VICTORY!

Checking out the big city down below. We were on the 42nd (top) floor of the hotel!
(Why Blogger turns pictures I have already rotated I will never know. But, that is the Chrysler building as seen from our hotel room)

We headed back on the ferry, and back to our  hotel. He was a little tearful on the stroller ride to the hotel saying, "I want to go home, not to da hotel!" But, when we got back to our room, he enjoyed jumping on the King sized bed and managed to convince us that sleeping with us in the big bed was a grand idea. And it ended up being....for Matt. Ryan snuggled his little head against Matt all night, while turned sideways in the huge bed, and managed to kick me in the stomach and head all night long. Did I mention I was exhausted? 

In the morning Ryan woke right at 7:00, as is his usual and wanted to "go downstairs to eat." He didn't understand that there was no "downstairs" in our little room. But we ate fruit and cereal in the room and after we were showered he headed to Dunkin Donuts with Daddy so Mommy could rest a little. We then headed, on the Subway to Levain bakery. Along the way we walked through Time Square and Ryan loved all the lights and people. He was also thrilled to finally ride the Subway train. (He has been on the metro in DC before, but I don't know if he remembers).  If you have never been to Levain and tried their cookies you MUST GO! We stocked up on cookies  and a chocolate brioche (soooo good!) and then headed to Central Park were Daddy and Ryan played for a bit while Mommy sat and rested. After that it was back on the Subway, to the hotel, and to home.

But, of course it wasn't that easy. A train broke down on our line and we waited nearly 40 minutes for a train to come. Ryan was great though and enjoyed the people watching in the station. We then had to take a different train, which meant a longer walk to our hotel (did I mention my exhaustion??) but we finally made it back (after stopping to buy Gyros on the street which were DELICIOUS, and Ryan loved, but um, just a little messy to eat while walking) packed up, and headed out; Only 2 hours later than we had planned.

Looking back Matt and I wondered if it was all worth it. We weren't sure. But with a day or two's distance behind us we decided that yes, indeed it was. Ryan loved almost every minute of it. He was clueless to the fact that we were "late" for much of our trip. And, it was the last time we will be able to go to New York as just a family of three. Ryan deserved to have this special memory with just the three of us. And despite the fact that we didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had planned, I hope he never forgets it!


(If you made it to the end of this novel, you are a champ. I mostly wrote this for the benefit of our own little family's written history. But thanks for reading. And I hope it was at least a little enjoyable). 

I believe in the HSG!

So, as it turns out, when you feel awful pretty much 24-7 and are extremely exhausted on top of that you don't really feel like blogging. Huh. Go figure! And yet, there have been sooooo many things I have wanted to blog about. Seeing as I am starting to have some better days (no day is "good" so far, but at least more days are better!) maybe I will find some time to write. In the meantime, I wanted to share what I originally wrote on May 3, 2012, the day I first saw those two little pink lines on the pregnancy test. It is good for me to re-read this to remind myself of how over the top I was. I can't wait until this nausea is gone so I can feel that pure, uninhibited (by the feeling that I am going to throw up) joy again! 

So, yes, what I was hoping would happen, HAPPENED! I had hoped and prayed that according to the HSG my tubes would be "open" but that the test itself would clear out some minor blockage that had been preventing pregnancy. And well, this morning, our dream came true! Just over 2 weeks from when I had the HSG I had two VERY clear and obvious little pink lines on my pregnancy test. Matt and I are over the moon! Thank you for all your support and love! We couldn't be happier! :) We're going to have a second baby! Woohoo!

Monday, June 4, 2012

FINALLY!

video


More blog posts to come soon.....or not. It all depends on the nausea, vomiting, and most recently an E.R. visit (for fluids) that have consumed my life of late. But don't get me wrong, I am BEYOND thrilled to finally share this news. Now, just keep the healthy pregnancy vibes coming my way!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Update

So, for all those wondering what's the latest in the "Trying to Conceive" part of this blog. I promise to keep you updated. But for now at least, there isn't much to report. I am going to take a break from this blogging topic. If something significant changes I will be sure to let you know. But for now, we'll just keep on keeping on and hope for the best!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friends

I consider myself a very lucky person in that not only am I married to my best friend, but I also have many other wonderful friends in my life. For example, I am blessed that my Brothers and their wives are not only my relatives, but also my dear friends. My mom and dad are also not only my parents but people with whom I truly enjoy spending time, and who are indeed my friends. (However, let's be clear, they were not those parents who tried to be my "friend" when I was in high school. They were always my parents first, but they did it right, and we have, for as long as I can remember, also shared a friendship). I have cousins who are also dear friends. My non-relative "best friend" has been just that since we were 5 (Well, she was 5, I was 6). We have neighbors who are friends, friends from high school and college, and colleagues who are friends. Marrying Matt has introduced me to many additional, wonderful friends that I wouldn't have otherwise known. But all of this is not to brag about how great my life is because of my friends.

Rather, recently, I have been thinking a lot about how friends change throughout life, while some stay the same. Matt and I have started to make new friends because we now have a child. We have been fortunate to meet a few couples (and their kids) lately with whom we truly click. It is much like being in kindergarten again when the idea of new friend is so exciting and invigorating. As anyone who has had a child knows, having a kid changes your life DRAMATICALLY! And finding people with whom you can share that life-changing aspect of life in an honest and open way is a rare and special thing. Finding people with whom you can share in that way, who you didn't even know a year before is even more special.

 I look at my own parents' closest friends and know that those friendshops grew out of a joint connection with their kids. It is exciting and interesting to think about how our new friends will impact our lives and Ryan's life, and the lives of any future children we have. It is also exciting to think that some of the people who will be our closest friends as we get older we may not have even met yet.

At thirty (almost 31) years old I hope that I have at least 2/3 of my life yet to live. In the first third I have met many wonderful people. I am grateful for the new people we have recently met. And I am excited at the prospect of the many unknown friends we still have yet to meet in the next two thirds of life. It is intriguing to think that many of the people who may have a great impact on my life or on the life of my child(ren) have not even entered our lives yet. And likewise, it is exciting to think that some of the people we JUST met may end up being lifelong friends. Similarly, I am eager to see how the long-term friendships I have shared for many, many years grow and develop. Like much of life with a small child, friendships are ever evolving!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Parenting in the Age of the Internet

As someone who blogs I am clearly a person who uses the Internet a lot. I use Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, Twitter (rarely), etc. I get my news from the Internet, rarely picking up an actual newspaper (despite the fact that one is delivered to our home every day. It is usually gone by the time I wake up, as Matt reads it on the train. And this is fine, because I don't have time to read the actual "paper"). I keep in touch with family and friends via the Internet. I get parenting advice from, yes, the Internet. And this last item has made me think a lot in recent days.

Clearly, the World Wide Web is an amazing resource. It allows me to feel "connected" to the world and to other moms on a daily basis despite the fact that from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. (on most days) my only prolonged interactions are with children 5 years or younger. As Matt and I continue to struggle to get pregnant (fingers crossed this month!) I have found the web to be an amazing source of support. Friends and family, and even people who I haven't actually talked to in YEARS (some a decade or more) have been so kind with their thoughts, well wishes, and love (some haven't been as supportive, but that's beside the point!)

And yet, despite all these "pros" of using the Internet, I am also at times overwhelmed by it. And I wonder, as my generation of Moms and those that will come after, get older, will we be better off because of the WWW? Or will we instead be anxious, strung-out, nervous wrecks after 2 decades of parenting in the age of the Internet?

Only via the instantaneous and easily accessible interconnected web that is the net can one on a daily basis be bombarded with proof that they're not doing this parenting thing "right." On any given day, as a direct result of something I read on-line I may wonder, am I giving Ryan enough whole grains? Should I not be feeding him grains at all? Am I slowly killing him because we don't buy organic produce, much less, grow it in our backyard? Does he drink enough milk (which is organic by the way) or too much? Can he have a munchkin at Dunkin Donuts, or is that slowly killing him. too? Is it our fault he was a terrible sleeper as a baby? Can we actually take any credit for the fact that he sleeps like a champ now? Should he be enrolled in pre-school at the age of two, or can we safely hold off until he is three, and not risk his chances of getting into Boston College? (We certainly wouldn't want him  to have to settle for some sub-par University located in South Bend Indiana! ;) Are we sacrificing his potential musical ability by not yet enrolling him in music classes?

Fortunately, I am able to keep a pretty level head about most of these things and feel confident in the decisions that Matt and I make based on what we believe is best for Ryan and for our family. I am grateful that we have an extremely down-to-earth pediatrician who supports our decisions and constantly reminds us that we are extremely reasonable parents and we make excellent decisions. And on most days I don't stress too much about these things. And usually I am more grateful for the "pros" of the web than I am stressed by the "cons." But I can say with certainty that I worry about the above list of "issues" a LOT more than I would if I did not have the wealth of information at my finger tips that the Internet provides.

So, what do you think? Are we raising healthier, happier kids because of the Internet? Or are we as Moms and Dads so stressed out by everything we read that our stress will eventually rub off on our children and they will in turn end up on a psychologists couch at the age of 19 because of all the "googling" we did??


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Open for Swimming!


So, I had my HSG today, and we got the results of Matt's testing. And, the results are all good! My tubes are open and Matt's "guys" are plentiful and good swimmers! What a relief! They did see something on the HSG that could be a polyp. So, I have to have one more test, a hysterosonogram. This will tell them whether or not I have a polyp. If I do, it could be the reason I am not pregnant yet and then they will likely remove it (through a minor procedure involving light sedation). If there is not a polyp then we hope that there was some small blockage in my tubes that got swept out during the HSG today. Hopefully I will be able to schedule the hysterosonogram in the next day or two. If not, we will do it next cycle, in which case we will hope I get pregnant before then and find it unnecessary.

I am surprised at how relieved I am that my tubes are not blocked. If they were, it would have been because of my c-section (I have no other risk factors) and it wasn't until I found out that all was well that I let myself truly feel all that I had been thinking. I had been doubting the necessity of a c-section when Ryan was born and wondering if I should have pushed harder to avoid it. Obviously, at the time I knew it was the right decision for many reasons, and my doctors agreed. But now, I can move forward, and simultaneously look back without any doubt that it was indeed the right decision and have no regret.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted!

And in the meantime, again, there are a few thank yous that I must send out:

1) My parents for arriving at my house at 7:20 this morning to watch Ryan so I could make it to my 9:10 appointment. And for staying on throughout the morning to watch my nieces.

2) My wonderful sister-in-law, Catharine who drove me to the appointment so driving would be one less thing I had to worry about. We sat in horrible traffic and she focused on driving while I focused on calling the clinic with updates on our time of arrival. And having her to chat with made me far more calm than I otherwise would have been sitting in all that traffic.

3) Shady Grove for still doing the procedure despite my arrival at the clinic 20 minutes late. I was so worried they wouldn't do it! When they said they still could I grew tearful in gratitude. I would have completely understood if they had not. Once again, everyone was so kind and sensitive. From the woman at the billing desk to the nurse, to the radiologist.

4) Matt, for continuing to be my biggest support and the love of my life.

5) Space Shuttle Discovery's transport crew for flying over 495 just as Catharine and I got on the beltway to head home. It was an exciting way to end an otherwise stressful morning! This was a pretty spectacular site:
Credit: The Washington Post. Also, we were no where near this close. But we could still clearly see it (and the  much smaller plane that trailed it) from our view on 495. It was pretty neat!
Again, thanks for reading!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter 2012: In Pictures

Our Easter Festivities started the Thursday before when my Sister-in-law hosted an egg hunt for Ryan and his Maryland Cousins (since we would be out of town on actual Easter). Here are Ryan and Caitlin working together to find eggs. 
Julia was more about eating the treats than finding the eggs. And once she realized the green bunnies weren't that good she offered hers to Ryan. 

We arrived in CT on Friday. Saturday morning we went to an egg hunt at the Mini Golf Course where Matt worked as a High Schooler. There was much waiting involved. But we were with good friends so a good time was still had by all. Here is Ryan off to "find" some eggs. 
Ryan with our friends' adorable daughter, Natalie. Future prom date??? 

Good friends! 

Sunday morning Ryan was off to find his basket from the Easter Bunny. He was very excited until....

We made him get dressed in his Easter Outfit. Then he was less than happy. But he recovered quickly. 

Family photo before Church. 
 
I don't know why, but I really like this picture. 

When we got back from Church Ryan had a blast finding the eggs I hid for him in his grandparents' backyard. 

My little Oliver Twist. 

Ryan showing his Uncle Adam (no, that is not Matt, they just look a lot alike) his eggs. 

Ryan with his Grandparents. 

My handsome boys! 

Me and my baby! 

We ended Easter with dinner with Matt's extended family. Lisa helped Ryan get a cookie (or two). That was worthy of a kiss! :) 

Dancing for Janet and Vanessa. 
 We had a very festive and happy Easter. I hope you did, too!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No One Has Ever Asked Me That Before....

So, I had my "Day 3s" (as I learned they are called by the infertility crowd) today. And man, all doctors offices should run like Shady Grove Fertility. It is truly like a machine. Less so of the soft and gentle machine that I referenced before and more a true machine, but that was ok for what was going on today. I arrived at 7:00 for a 7:15 appointment. I waited maybe 5 minutes and was taken back for a blood draw. After that I was put in an exam room, where I waited about 5 minutes and then the radiology tech came in and did an ultrasound. In her words she "took a few basic measurements" and was done in about 2 and a half minutes. At least that's my guess. Maybe a little longer. But it was QUICK.

Once the ultrasound was done I met with a nurse who chatted briefly to make sure I had all my other needed appointments scheduled, which I did. During this conversation I asked a few questions. One of which was, "When they do the HSG do they use a water based or oil based dye?" She kind of looked at me funny and then said, "No one has ever asked me that before. I have no idea." I then explained that the reason I asked is because in a Harvard journal article I read that oil based dye has a slightly higher success rate of clearing blocked tubes but that it also results in a higher risk of pulmonary embolism. And no matter how blocked my tubes are, I don't want the oil based dye because I don't want an increased risk of P.E. She said, "Wow. What do you do?" I explained and she said, "I thought you were a doctor." HAH! Anyway, she said to let her know when I find out. And I will definitely be asking that the day of the test.

And then, I was out of there and headed on my way home. Total, (including the 15 minutes early I arrived) I was in the office today for 45 minutes). Talk about quick!

Today at 2:00 p.m. I got a call from the nurse who had my results and informed me everything was normal. And while that may sound like good news, I was kind of hoping they would find some easy-to-fix hormonal imbalance, I would take a drug, and all would be well in the world. We could go on to have babies easily again. But alas, that was not the case. So, we'll find out next Tuesday whether or not my tubes are blocked. I'll keep you posted!

And yes, I know, I still haven't posted pictures of Ryan. I promise! They are coming soon! I typically have time to post in the middle of the day (when all the kids are napping) and I only have access to my Ipad (which also explains any typos. I can't find spell check on the Ipad version of blogger. What the heck!?!?). When I am home in the evening, after Ryan goes to bed, I typically spend that time with Matt. But soon, I will be posting more pictures. There are some great ones from Easter!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Little Moments

Last weekend when my husband and I were on a run together (with Ryan in the jogging stroller, probably yelling, "Faster, Mama! Go faster!") we started talking about the little joys about parenting that you don't anticipate before you have children. We both find that there are so many more little moments of joy in our day now because of Ryan. We notice things that we previously took for granted. For example, on Fridays, my day working outside of home, when I go to visit one particular family I drive past what must be a company that sells construction equipment. They have a large parking lot filled with bull dozers, excavators, dump trucks, steam rollers, etc. And every time I drive by it I get a huge smile on my face and a warm feeling inside. I think of Ryan and know that if he were in the back seat he would be saying, "Look, Mama! Look at all doooes TWUCKS! Do you see dem? Do you see da ecavator!?!?!"



Likewise, Ryan has an uncanny ability to spot the moon in the sky, no matter how faint it may be. He can find the moon in the middle of the day, when it is just a tiny white sliver amongst huge puffy white clouds. As we drive down the road, or go for a walk, he will look out the window, and say, "Da Moon!" And then I will say, in a deep voice, pretending to be the moon, "Hiya, Ryan! It is good to see you again!" And then Ryan will reach his hand up to the sky and say, "Here ya go Moon! I have a lollipop for you!" and he will hand the moon an imaginary lollipop. To which the moon (aka: me) will reply, "Oh thank you, Ryan! That is so nice of you to share! I know you looooove lollipops! I love them too!"

See? Little moments of joy that I never anticipated.

But it doesn't end there. Every day when I watch my neices, one of the first things Ryan will do is turn on the music so he and his cousin Julia (who is 23 months old) can have a dance party. I like to stand in the next room, just out of their sight, watching them. I love to hear their giggles as they spin in circles, and watch the way they occasionally stop just to give each other a hug. And then, in mid embrace they will look around for me saying, "Look Mama/Auntie Titin! Look!" Because they know they are just so cute when they hug.

An old photo, but one of my favorites of Ryan with his buddy Julia 

The joy continues when Ryan and I leave his cousins' house and head back home. Without fail Ryan will ask, "We goin back home, Mama?" And I will say, "Yup, we're going home." To which Ryan will respond, "Daddy will come home soon?" Me, "Yup, he'll be home soon buddy." A few hours later when his Daddy does get home Ryan will stop what he is doing, smile broadly at his Daddy, while running to give him a hug, and say, "Daddy! You wide the twain today!?" And just like every day before it Matt responds and says, "Yup! I road the train today, buddy!" Ryan smiles even broade and gives his Daddy a huge hug and again says, "Look, Mama!"


Trucks, trains, airplanes, moons, dance parties, and hugs. They were all a part of my daily life before Ryan was born (well, maybe not the dance parties) but I never fully appreciated these things until he came along. And now, having had Ryan in my life, I don't think I will ever again look at these things in the same way. I will never again see a truck, train, or airplane without smiling. I will never give or receive a hug without imagining Ryan's "look Mama!" I will never be the same person again now that I have experienced life as a mom; life filled with so many little moments of joy. And that change in who I am is just fine by me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who are you????

Every time I post a new entry on my blog I have approximately 100 unique new hits. However, I probably only know of about 25 people who regularly read my blog. If you have never commented (either on my blog or on my facebook page) I would love to know you're reading. Leave a comment. Say hello! Remember, I write this blog because I want people to read it. I won't think you're "stalking" me if I find out you're a reader. And if I don't know you, even better; Introduce yourself and let me know you're following along.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Appointment with a Fertility Specialist

So, the big day was today. After waiting a little over two weeks for my appointmnet with a Reproductive Endocrinologist, this morning, at 8:00, Matt and I had our first meeting on what will no doubt be an interesting and challenging journey with Shady Grove Fertility. And I have to say, the appointment went as good as it could possibly go.

In this post I plan to detail what the first appointment was like, what the next steps will be, and what my feelings are about the whole process. So, if you would prefer not to hear about fallopian tubes, and the such, then feel free to stop reading now :) But the reason I will include the details is so that if someone else googles "What to expect at a first fertility appointment?" or "What to expect when meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist" they will find this blog and find it helpful.

So, Matt and I got to the clinic at 7:40, as we were instructed to get there early so that they could organize the medical records I brought from my OB as well as the male and female questionnaires, and various other paperwork that were mailed to us ahead of time.

The Physician, Dr. Mottla came out at exactly 8:00. I was impressed right from the start because how often does a Physician greet you in the waiting room himself? Not very often. In fact, never in my previous experience. He brought us back to his office and I told him that we, two Boston College grads, would try not to hold it against him that he went to Boston University. He laughed, and we were off to a great start.

He started by saying, "So, what can I do for you today?" I explained (I'll give the shortened version here) that we have been trying for our second child for 8 months now, with no success. And given my history of an appendectomy and a c-section (abdominal surgery is a risk factor for blocked Fallopian Tubes) that I am concerned I have blocked tubes. I explained that I know my body, and that I just have a sense that something is not right. He said, "In the many years I have been doing this I have learned to trust a woman's instinct. So, I definitely think I can help you. We'll talk about some tests that we can run, and hopefully, we will run them, the results will be normal, and that will give you assurance that everything is fine and you just need more time. And if not, then we will talk about next steps." We then talked for about an hour. He was engaging, honest, and soon realized that having spent my working career in medical institions that I know my stuff. He valued my opinion. He was sensitive to Matt who isn't as familiar with the medical world. He took time to not only get to know us from a medical perspective, but also personally. He wanted to know how we ended up going to school in Boston, how we ended up in Maryland, what we do for a living, etc. He didn't just ask. He engaged in conversation. To say I was impressed is an understatement. (And I am difficult to impress when it comes to doctors. I have high expectations!)

So, what did we learn and what will happen next? He has ordered diagnostic blood work (to test various hormone levels at a specific time in my cycle, day 3-5 to be exact), a baseline ultrasound (to check for things like fibroids, the thickness of the lining of the uterus early in my cycle, etc) as well as a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which is a procedure done by a radiologist in which they inject die into your uterus and check to see that it is flowing out of the fallopian tubes appropriately. If it doesn't, that means blocked tubes. He will also do a semen analysis just to be sure, but we don't expect there to be any issues there. The best news: All of this testing is covered by my insurance and can start NOW! (Well, as soon as I reach the correct day of my cycle). This information INFURIATED me! When I saw my OB after trying for 6 months she gave me a "there, there, don't worry about it everything will be fine, just keep trying." She then explained that nothing will be covered by insurance until we have been trying for a year....WRONG! I am sure this is the case for some people. But not for us. She shouldn't make a blanket statement. She should have said, "Well, give your insurance a call and see what testing will be covered. And then, we can go from there." Overall, I love my OB practice. And I hope she ends up being right, that everything is fine, and we just need to give it more time. But I will certainly be having a conversation with her about how all insurance policies are different.

But in the meantime, I am panicked that I have blocked fallopian tubes. Not just because if I do it means we probably can't conceive naturally, but because it also can lead to ectopic pregnancy, and that can be deadly for a woman if not caught quickly. So, I am very worried about that, and I simply want the test done to know one way or another.

So, what happens if I have blocked tubes? Well, (and this is the part of the day that was a real downer for me) then we jump right to IVF. This surprised me. I read that there is a surgery that can be done that can open up the tubes. And Dr. Mottla said this isn't typically done anymore because it doesn't result in a significantly increased chance of pregnancy. He explained it this way: Imagine you have stream that is blocked by a huge bolder, and you take a bull dozer in there to clear it out. You may clear the stream in such a way that it now flows easily, but in the process you have also cleared away the small rocks, the grasses, and all the other comforting places where the fish spawn. The water may flow, but no babies are being made. Likewise, they may be able to "open" your fallopian tubes, but the cillia and tissues and other things that make it a welcoming environment for a sperm to fertilize an egg are no longer present (either from the scarred tissue, or from the procedure itself to open them up). So, even with the surgery, pregnancy is still unlikely. The surgery is rarely done now because it doesn't make sense to put a woman through a surgery without much benefit. Where as IVF has a very high success rate for otherwise healthy, fertile couples. Needless to say, I was sad. I would like to avoid IVF at all cost. I would just prefer to do things as naturally as possible, but if that is what we have to do, we will. (I also learned that my insurance has a $25,000 lifetime max for fertility treatments, and we could hit that VERY quickly as soon as we go down the IVF route, and that scares me too...But I refuse to freak out about that just yet.) So, I am definitely hoping my instincts are wrong, and those tubes are WIIIIDE OPEN!

When we finished with Dr. Mottla he shook our hands and said, "It was a pleasure meeting you, and I look forward to seeing you again soon." I said, "It was a pleasure as well. But I hope I never have to see you again. I hope I end up being pregnant this month." To which he responded, "Oh, come on. If you are pregnant let me do the first ultra sound and then I will send you on your way back to your regular OB. I need to get to do the fun parts of this job, too! So, yes, I hope I see you again, VERY soon." I said, "That's fair enough." Did I mention that this guy impressed me?

After meeting with Dr. Mottla we met with Crystal, the nurse who will be our "guide" through this whole process. She will be our primary contact from here on out. She was great and also very personable and kind. I think we can definitely work well with her. Crystal went over in more detail when the tests will be done and how to go about getting them scheduled. She was great.

And after that we met with Darlene, the Financial Counselor who reviewed our insurance benefits.

Shady Grove Fertility is very thorough, and in many ways runs like a machine. But at the same time, they have caring, kind people working for them. So, it may be a well oiled machine, but it is a machine made of soft, smooth fabrics, not harsh metals (if such a machine could exist).

So, that's where we leave off. How am I feeling about it all? Well, I am glad that I got exactly what I was hoping for today. I will have the appropriate tests done to determine if I have blocked tubes or not. If not then great, we keep trying. If I do, then we move forward from there, and at least we can move forward NOW instead of starting this whole thing in August, which is what my OB said was our only choice, as August will mark a year of trying. I definitely plan to look into what Dr. Mottla said about surgery to open blocked tubes. I want to learn more about success rates and such before jumping head first into IVF if we have to go down that path. A path I definitely dread.

And lastly, I can't write this post without mentioning the many things for which I am grateful in relation to this whole process:

1. My sister in law who watched Ryan for us (at 7:00 this morning!) so that Matt and I could attend this appointment together. She is also willing to help out, as much as her work schedule will allow, with watching Ryan as I schedule the various tests. THANK YOU, CINDY!

2. My parents who are already on board to watch Ryan and my nieces so that I can get these tests done. My mom will be having knee surgery. She still said, "We'll make it work." We'll see about that. But her dedication to her kids, grandkids, and not-yet-born grandkids is amazing.

3. Friends and acquaintences who have been BEYOND kind and thoughtful as we begin this journey. So many people have been willing to share their own stories of infertility struggles, and I have been overwhelmed by their kindness. Jessica, Abbey, Casey, Kerri, and anyone else whom I am forgetting, THANK YOU!

4. Last but not least, my amazing husband. Knowing I have the most supportive and caring husband in the world right beside me through this whole process, wherever it may take us, is my greatest source of comfort. I love you, Matt!

So, that's where we are. I will be sure to keep you posted. And if you are a woman who is just beginning this journey yourself, then please, don't hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me. I have been gifted by women willing to share their story, and I hope I can do the same for others.

I'll keep you posted! And in the meantime, I need to get back to posting about Ryan. He is just so amazing these days. So, there will be a post about him soon. But I will leave you with this: last night, as I was putting him to sleep he said, "Mama, I love you! You da sweetest Mama in da woooold!" That, that right there and for so many other reasons is why we want to do this parenting thing all over again! (fingers crossed!!!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Open Apology to My Mom

Dear Mom,

Today I saw a friend on Facebook who had made an Octopus out of a hotdog for her 3 year old son's lunch. She clearly did this with excitement and creativity in her heart. His response was, "I don't want to eat an OCTOPUS!" And this immediately brought to mind for me St. Patrick's Day circa 1987.

I vividly remember that on this St. Patrick's Day you had the creative idea to make our entire dinner (or at least as much of it as you could) green. I remember there being green mashed potatoes, and green lemonade to drink, and something for dessert, perhaps a cake, that was also green. I remember you telling us there was a surprise involved in dinner and I can still hear the excitement in your voice. I remember John, Mark, and I walking into the kitchen, seeing the spread of green foods, and all of us saying, "Eeeww! It's green!" I remember you laughing, but now, I suspect you wanted to cry!

As a Mom, I can now fully understand the effort and love that went into this meal, and the let down you must have felt when your three charming children were less than appreciative of your efforts. Given that I so vividly remember this day, I suspect I felt a tinge of guilt at the time. But I didn't understand it on the same level that I can now. As parents we go to great efforts to do fun things that we think our kids will enjoy. We plan outings, we spend money on tickets and classes, and we make creative meals. Sometimes it goes over with great joy, and other times, well, it falls flatter than flat. I know this kind of frustration now, as a Mom. Like when Matt and I were all excited to take Ryan to the Aquarium for the first time. And he was far more excited by the elevators and escalators than any of the fish, dolphins or sharks. We could have gone to Kohl's and rode the elevators/escalators and he would have been just as pleased.

So, Mom, this is an apology for all the times you and Dad went to great efforts for us as kids, and your efforts were not greeted with adequate levels of excitement and/or appreciation. I hope you know how very much your efforts then and now are so very, very appreciated. And I hope the joy we all experience in regards to the AMAZING St. Patrick's Day feast you serve every year can make up for our less than enthusiastic response to your efforts circa 1987.


Love,

Your humbly grateful daughter, Kristen

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

That Illusive Balance

DISCLAIMER: I know by venturing into the topic of "Stay at Home Mom" (SAHM) vs "Working Mom" I am treading on dangerous ground. Please know that my thoughts in this post are simply MY musings on MY situation with MY family. It is not a judgement on anyone else. Every woman and family must do what works best for them. And we can each only know what is best for ourselves, not for anyone else.

I consider the SAHM/Working Mom balance that I have for myself at this time to be "the best of both worlds" in many ways. And yet, I have on occasion been given opportunities that make me wonder if my balance should shift in some way.

First of all, for those that don't know, I spend 4 days a week getting paid to watch my two adorable nieces while their parents are at work. This means that M-Th I go to my brother and sister-in-law's house and spend the day with Ryan, Julia (22 months), and Caitlin (5 years). I play with the little ones, pick Caitlin up from school (with the two little ones in tow), serve lunches, put them down for nap, go to the park, read books, do crafts, eat snacks, play more, etc, etc, etc. It is a mostly busy, at times boring, but generally great day. On Fridays I work a full day as a Clinical Social Worker for a pediatric Hospice. I provide therapy to kids who are dying and those with life-limiting illness and their families. I also do a lot of work for the Hospice from home on the evenings (writing notes, program development, etc), and on occasion go to see a family in our in patient unit or at home on a weekend. I get paid by the hour, which is actually REALLY GREAT because it means I can clock every minute I spend doing work. Which is a HUGE shift from when I was a full-time Social Worker at a large pediatric medical center. When working full time I would often leave at 6:00, come home, and then have to write notes from home. I got paid for 40 hours a week, whether I worked 40 or 60.

Before I had children I always said I planned to be a "mostly stay at home Mom." Though, financially, I knew I would have to make at least a little money. My current situation is in many ways perfect. I get to continue working in my profession of choice, doing something about which I am extremly passionate, while also getting to spend the majority of my time with my son. Not to mention, I am getting to play an integral role in my nieces lives, and that is an honor and a privilege. Most days, I am very fufilled, and wouldn't trade my set up for anything.

But then, I have a day like yesterday. I was invited to facilitate a parent panel at the first ever Psychosocial Symposium on Childhood Cancer on Capitol Hill. It was hosted by the Mattie Miracle Foundation (check out their website and read about an amazing little boy: mattiemiracle.com). I met the inspiring parents who started this foundation when they were panelists on another panel I facilitated at another national conference. I was honored that they invited me to participate in this very meaningful day.

After making sure all three kids were settled in with my Mom and Dad who would be watching them for the day I headed off to DC. I took the Metro (as the Capitol is nearly impossible to access by car). It was a beautiful day, and as I walked up to the Capitol building, with cherry blossoms lining my walk, I was, to say the least, impressed. I can harp on politicians, and get frustrated with the state of our Government, but there is something inspiring about that gleaming white building with the huge dome. I thought, "Wow! This would indeed be a cool place to work every day!" Before my presentation I sat through various other presentations by researchers, including a woman with a PhD in Social Work, who inspired me beyond belief. Dr. Lori Weiner does amazing clinical work with children with HIV/AIDS and Cancer as a clinician working at NIH. As her talk finished I thought, "I want to do what she does." After my panel presentation I spoke with parents who had less than ideal Hospice experiences with their children and I thought, "I want to REALLY make a difference in this area; Not just one family at a time, but on a National scale."

It was a fulfilling, thought provoking day. I left energized and excited. As I rode the Metro back home I thought, "I could do this type of thing more than one day a week. I wonder if I should look into working more days a week sometime sooner than I had planned." But then I got home, and Ryan was waiting outside with my parents, waiving excitedly, and jumping up and down. Those thoughts immediately left my head. I knew in that moment that with him is where I am supposed to be the majority of the time.

But, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that at night, laying in bed as I fell asleep, those same "Hmmm....I wonder...." thoughts crept back in. And then, another thought came to mind, "I wonder, is any parent ever certain they've found the illusive 'perfect balance?'" I doubt it. But for now, I am content to know that I have come pretty close.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warning: This post is political!

I have never previously posted anything in this blog that is at all political. But, this is one issue about which I cannot keep quiet.

First, go here and read this well-written blog post by Dr. Jen Gunter. Yes, if you follow me on Facebook I have shared a few of her recent articles.

The legislation that Arizona is trying to (and 9 other states have already) pass disgusts me. Regardless of your views on abortion, this type of legislation is scary! It is a perfect example of uninformed law-makers doing what they think is right without knowing all the information. I know so many children who are alive today simply BECAUSE their moms were informed about a complex, life-threatening diagnosis and they were able to seek appropriate care that saved their child's life. Had those mom's OBs been able to withhold that information their children would be dead today. The moms would not have known to deliver their baby at a hospital that would be able to do such complex procedures as exit to ECMO or an atrial septostomy immediately following birth. These laws could kill as many babies as they are hoping to save.  Not to mention, that a doctor should NEVER be able to withhold information from a woman about the baby inside her because they "think" it may cause her to do something with which they disagree. I get so confused when people extol the importance of "limited government" and then they support laws like this.

Monday, March 12, 2012

And So, We Will Try Again....

I am really trying hard not to focus on the negative. But man, it sure is overwhelming to feel like your body is betraying you every single month! I have such compassion for woman who go through this for years and years. It is truly painful. I was so hopeful this month, for so many reasons, and it didn't happen again.

But on the bright side, I called and checked with my insurance, and at the very least a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist will be covered at this point. So, we have an appointment on March 29th. It is possible that some testing (if needed) could be covered as well. The only thing our insurance company puts a clear timeline on regarding fertility issues are the actual fertility treatments (IUI, IVF, etc). To pursue those you have to have been trying for a year. But, I sure hope we don't have to go down that road. Though, if we do, I feel incredibly lucky. Our insurance covers them at 100% as long as it is in network. We are truly fortunate that the company Matt works for has such AMAZING coverage.

We will have been trying for 8 months on April 1st (not that I'm counting! ;) Let's hope we don't get to 9......

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amazing....Really!

This is a follow up to this post, a post I wrote, a few weeks after Ryan was born, in an effort to be truly honest about how difficult newborn-hood can be.



Recently, I have had a lot of friends/acquaintances give birth, and as has become my practice, I have shared with them the essay I wrote when Ryan was a tiny little guy in order to let them know that it is OK to think having a newborn is pretty awful at times. But, I also find myself saying, "It really does get better! I promise!" And so, I want to give equal time to the truly amazing parts of parenthood.

Ryan was not an easy newborn. He did not sleep well at all. For the first three weeks he slept TERRIBLY until we figured out he had a milk protein intolerance and I cut out all dairy from my diet (since I was breastfeeding). After I did that he was like a new kid. But he still wasn't a kid who slept for long stretches of time. In fact, he didn't sleep allllll the way through the night until he was 14 months old. And no, I don't mean that he didn't sleep through the night consistently until 14 months...no, I mean the FIRST TIME he EVER slept all the way through the night was when he was 14 months old. Once he started sleeping through the night I realized how much interrupted sleep affected me! This is all to say that Ryan wasn't one of those super easy babies. But other than sleep, as of about 6 months, he was PRETTY. FREAKING. AWESOME!



For any new moms out there, I know 6 months sounds like such a LONG TIME AWAY! I remember when Ryan was about 4 weeks old and a friends said to me, "Just survive the first 6 months, and you'll be fine." I almost fell over in despair. SIX MONTHS?! I can barely think past the next 6 days. How do you expect me to make it through till 6 months?? I wanted to hear from them that it would be better in a week. But 6 months is when (at least for me and my husband) parenting got really great. As of about 5 weeks (again, for me, Matt, and Ryan) it was MUCH easier than it had been. And from 5 weeks to 6 months things got gradually better.

At 6 months Ryan started crawling. He was interested in and really interacting with his world. He smiled all the time and cooed constantly and even started saying Mama and Dada consistently at around 7 months. Caring for a child who can give back to you through smiles, coos, clapping, and kisses is so much easier than caring for a child who pretty much only cries, poops, pees, and doesn't sleep. Of course I ADORED Ryan as a newborn. I was intensely in love. In love in a way I had never been before. But looking back now, I can see how very hard it was and I can say that parenting just gets better and better.

Ryan is now 26 months old (or he will be in a few days). And he is so much fun. He talks in complete sentences and will say things like "I want to help Daddy put da trash in da dumpster," (after a jog during which Daddy picked up errant trash along the way as he tends to do. He is such a good citizen!) 10 word sentences like this that communicate such a robust understanding of the world stop me in my tracks. In only 26 months he has learned so much about the world. It is amazing to watch. He also will be found giving spontaneous tight hugs and saying, "I love you best, Mama!" He is a sweet, sensitive, caring little boy. And he just makes my heart sing on a daily basis.



Don't get me wrong. He can also be a sassy, loud, overwhelming little bundle of energy at times, too. Like at my Dad's birthday party the other night. He decided 2 minutes into sitting down to eat that he was "All done. I going to play now." To his credit, we were eating 2 hours earlier than his normal dinner time and he probably wasn't hungry. But I still wanted to wring his neck and say "JUST. SIT. DOWN!" I tried to contain him, but it was to no avail. So, we let him play. Of course, he didn't just go play quietly in the corner. He was getting into Nee-Nee and Pop-Pops fragile home decor items and sharing poorly with his cousins (who upon seeing Ryan soon decided they were done too). And of course, this stressed me out. Why is it that kids seem to be on their worst behavior when the most people are around to see them? Its embarrassing. My brother lovingly said "He's a handful." He didn't mean any harm, and I know he truly does think Ryan is such a good boy. But I wanted to cry and say, "No! Really! He's not! He is usually so good and so easy!"

And yet, even with these embarrassing and difficult moments being Ryan's mom is still the best thing I have ever done. Matt and I look at each other sometimes and wonder what we did to be so lucky. We truly adore being parents. It is rewarding on a level that cannot be surpassed by anything else. My favorite moments can be found during weekends when it is just the three of us living life: running errands...going for a jog...playing "Ice Cream Shop"...or eating dinner together (yes, most of the time Ryan sits nicely and eats a good meal). We are creating a family. A family full of love and joy and occasional frustrations. But the love and joy overflow in abundance. The frustration is just a little distraction along the way.

So, yes, newborn-hood is pretty exhausting and overwhelming. In fact, it is at times so miserable that I sometimes think, "Seriously? Do we really want to do this newborn thing all over again?" And then I just need to take one look at Ryan, and I can say, without a doubt, most definitely, YES!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Needles and Bling

So, have all of you been on pins and needles waiting for my acupuncture update!?!?! (Yes, pun definitely intended! :)

Well, I had my first appointment this morning and it went well. Though, its not like I can say, "YES! I feel things changing! I am definitely going to get pregnant this month!" But I can say it feels empowering to be doing "something" and it was nice to have a little over an hour just to relax and think of nothing...nothing at all.

So, since I can't really speak to whether the acupuncture is working or not (and I mean, let's be honest, even if I do happen to get pregnant soon, we'll never know if it was the acupuncture that worked or if it would have happened anyway) but I will give you a detailed rundown of what a first acupuncture appointment is like for those that are curious.

I was first asked to fill out some basic paperwork about medical history and any current areas of discomfort/concern. Then I met with the acupuncturist (is that the right word?) who looked surprisingly familiar to me, but I couldn't place her. We will call her Pam.

Pam went into a little more detail during our conversation about my concerns (how long I had been trying, if I had any previous issues, etc) and then she explained a bit about Acupuncture, the theories and evidence behind it. She explained that while there are certain points that address fertility issues (and she will be using those points) that much of acupuncture is focused on cleansing and freeing the entire body so that it can function at maximum capacity. So, in other words, acupuncture enables the body to heal itself. Or, so the theory goes, anyway. After this discussion she went to work.

She had me lay on a table that is identical (at least this one was) to the type of table you lay on for a massage. It had soft blankets and was in a small, cozy room with quiet music and pleasant artwork.

She first asked me to lay on my stomach, and explained that she would be doing a number of points in my back that give the body a general cleansing. Each of the points focuses on one major organ system. As she put each needle into each point she had me take a deep breath in, and as I let it out she put the needle in. She put in about 9 needles and most I didn't feel at all. There were two that I could feel a little pinch. Once they were in I didn't feel them at all unless I moved (at one point I moved my arms from my sides to under my head) and then I could feel the needles as my back flexed and that pinched a little. But it was never painful. Once she finished putting in all 9 needles she left the room for about 25 minutes as they "took effect." She explained that during this initial cleansing the points are left in. But other points simply are put in and then removed. While she was gone she encouraged me to just relax and welcomed me to fall asleep if I liked, which I did for the last 5 minutes or so.

Pam then came back in and removed the 9 (or so, I may have not counted correctly) needles in my back. I could not feel this at all. She then did two points, one in each wrist which are supposed to help with relaxation and stress, which, as you probably know, can be a key factor in fertility issues. For these points she just put the needle in and then immediately took it out.

Lastly, she placed 3 very small (about the size of a pin head) gold magnets on the inner part of my ears (2 on the right side and one of the left. Not in my actual ear canal, but on the cartilage) and she explained that these points are associated with uterine health. The magnets were attached with a tiny bit of glue. So, yes, I left my first acupuncture appointment with a little bling! ;) The magnets will stay there until I return for my next appointment which will be Friday. She said that typically once a week is what she recommends, but for fertility issues, she tries to get things "jump started" by having people come every 3-4 days for the first few sessions. I was lucky that I came at the "perfect" time in my cycle. Yes, I scheduled this to start when it did on purpose! :)

When I got home I was telling my mom about my experience (she was watching Ryan while I went) and I mentioned the woman's name. And she placed her for me. She used to teach at my Middle School. I never had her as a teacher but that is why she looked familiar. Its a small world! Apparently this woman (who my mom knows because my Mom also taught at my middle school) left teaching to become an acupuncturist).

Overall, it was a very positive, relaxing experience. Here's to hoping it works!

So, have any of you ever tried acupuncture? Does this sound similar to your first appointment?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thank you!

I owe a thank you to a lot of people! After my post yesterday so many people e-mailed, or posted comments on my facebook page, and one friend from grad school, who I haven't been in touch with except via facebook and occasional e-mail since we graduated even tracked down my number via the web, and called to say, "I'm here. I've been where you are before. I will listen if you'll let me." Other than being slightly freaked out by the stalkerish-ness of it (JUST KIDDING, KM!) I was touched beyong belief. I had a dear cousin (who shall remain nameless) e-mail me a NEJM article that he and his wife found helpful when they were in their baby making days. So, as much as I said, "No one talks about it!" I was thrilled to find so many people in my life who are more than willing to talk about it. So, thank you!

I also made note of a comment left on facebook in which someone suggested that one of the reasons people may not talk about it is because they don't want people constantly asking, "So, are you pregnant, yet?" And I can completely understand that! That would be painful. I know during the past 7 months, some people closest to me have already known of our struggles. And the occasional "Thinking of you!" or "Keep me posted when you are ready to share," or "You know I'm here to talk if you need to," have been extremely appreciated and not at all painful to hear. It is nice to know that people are thinking of you and sending "babydust" (as a blog commenter/so thoughtful friend said).

So, here's to lots and lots and lots of BABYDUST for Matt and me, and anyone else out there who is trying for a baby.

Stayed tuned early next week for a post on my first experience with acupuncture.

(Hey, if nothing else comes of this experience, at least I will have something to keep me motivated to blog. The community of well wishers has already been very comforting. Thanks again!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mums the Word...Why??

I have been thinking about posting on this topic for weeks. But haven't for so many reasons. Namely, because its something people don't talk about. But then, today, I got a message from a facebook friend/former college band buddy (thanks Abby!) who was openly sharing her thoughts/experiences with me on this exact topic. She said, "it can be so isolating because no one talks about it. That's why I try to be as open as I can be about it." And that, that was the push I needed to go ahead and blog about this.

Matt and I have been trying to get pregnant with our second child for 7 months now. And so far we have not succeeded, but certainly not for lack of trying! (Sorry if that is too much information! ;) So, there I said it. And even as I put it "out there" I wonder why is this something we don't talk about? Well, I can think of a few reasons, because they are all things I thought about when I chose not to write about this:

1) No one talks about it. (Yes, I know, I said that already, but it bears repeating).

2) Everyone feels like "Oh, I shouldn't complain. So many other people have it so much worse!" (i.e. At least I have a chlid already, or "its only been 7 months. Some people have been trying for years.")

3) Its embarassing. I kind of thought that at first. But then I decided, no its not! Its not like either Matt or I have done anything wrong. What is to be embarassed about? (Feel free to fill me in here if I am missing something).

I am sure there are many more reasons why this is a topic about which people don't talk openly. And, I for one am not going to continue keeping mum. I know getting the e-mail from Abby (and talking with others who I know have shared similar struggles) has meant a lot to me. It is wonderful to hear from people who struggled and still made a beautiful baby as a result. So, if sharing my thoughts and experiences can help someone feel a little less isolated, then so be it.

And so, there you have it. We want another baby. And so far we don't have one. For those that think, 7 months is NOTHING! Well, its not "nothing" to me. Matt and I got pregnant fairly quickly with Ryan, and so, when we decided to start trying for #2 we were ready. We expected it to happen fairly quickly, and have been rather shocked that it hasn't happened yet. It is frustrating that even insurance companies have something to say about it all. You can't start any testing of any kind (and expect it to be covered by insurance) until you have been trying for a year (if you're under 35. I believe if you are over 35 you can start testing at 6 months).

Matt and I want our kids somewhat spaced apart, but not too far spaced. The longer it takes, the more that "perfect" spacing I have imagined in my head gets swept down the drain. And yes, we already have one child, and we should be grateful, and yes, of course we are. But as a mom, and as a sister, I have always pictured childREN in my life. Not one child. I know the wonderful relationships that are shared between siblings, and I want that for Ryan. I want him to know the joys and the struggles and the lessons involved in being a sibling, not just a son.

And yes, I know, in the grand scheme of things 7 months is not that long. But it sure can feel like an eternity when your heart aches every month when something you desperately want does not happen.

And so, I am trying to do "something" about the whole thing. I am a doer and feeling powerless just feels awful to me. So, I am going to acupuncture starting next Tuesday. I have never been before but I am anxious to see what it is like. I have read a lot, and know from various friends that acupuncture can be very helpful when trying to conceive. I'll let you know how it goes.

And in the meantime, send fertile vibes my way. And here's hoping that in a few months I will share that we are expecting. I can't wait!

Wonder....

I wonder what it is like to have one of those blogs where people actually notice when you haven't blogged in less than a week, much less over a month and e-mail you and say, OMG! Are you ok? What happened?

Well, I wouldn't know.

But for any of you out there who have noticed my absence, I have no excuse. Except to say that I have a post coming very soon. Until then, enjoy a recent picture of me and my little man that my husband captured of the two of us using my iPad. Which reminds me, if the new iPad comes out and has a better camera, I am going to be sooooo bitter! I just got this iPad for Christmas after pining over it for at least a year (Thank you, Matt!) and I am frustrated that the camera is so crummy....

Anyway, here is the picture....ok, never mind. I just tried to upload it from the Ipad, and apparently that is not possible on blogger....well, most people who read this can find me on facebook and the picture is already there.

Wow, this post sure is a whole lot of nothing! Sorry! Better post coming soon!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2 Years

Dearest Ryan,

2 days old 
You turned 2 years old today. As I have said so many times before, it feels like just yesterday that you were born, and yet, I can't imagine life without you. It feels as if you have always been a part of our life. But when I look back and think of the day you were born it is so vivid. I remember seeing you for the first time when they held you above my head, and I remember that first sweet kiss. I remember watching your Daddy proudly hold you. He was a natural, as if he had been holding new born babies all his life, when in reality you were the tiniest person he had ever touched. I remember nervously and excitedly bringing you home. I remember the early sleepless nights when we wondered what we were doing wrong. And I look back now, on all of it, and I know we didn't do anything wrong. We loved you fiercely from the moment you were born, and every minute of it has been so very right. You have blossomed into a beautiful little boy (yes, you truly are a little boy these days. You're not a baby any more) and your Daddy and I are so very, very proud of you. We know you will change as your grow. You will have your less than perfect moments (as you do now at times) but we will always love you. And we will always be proud of you.

As I said in your 18 month letter, you are a kind, gentle (except when wrestling with Daddy or me), sensitive, funny, out-going, fun-loving, smart, and sweet little boy. Right now, one of the things that people most seem to notice about you is your language. You talk up a storm. You speak in complete sentences and you try to repeat everything we say. You excitedly point out trucks as we drive down the road ("Look Mama! Dat an ec-a-vator [excavator]!" Or "Mama! Dat a fire twuck??? I hear it, but I don't see it!") you tell Nee-Nee and Pop-Pop every single time you talk to them on the phone that "I want to go get Iiiiiice ceam!" When Daddy comes home from work you ask him, "How was your day, Daddy?" and then you go on to tell him about your day, "We go to da libary and da sore [store]. It was fun." At night, when you're stalling and don't want to go to sleep right away you will call Daddy or I back into your room just to say, "I love you sooooooo much!" It's cute and manipulative all at the same time. Lately, when someone asks you, "How old are you?" you will usually answer by proudly saying, "I twenty-seven." I have no idea where you got this number from, but you consistently tell anyone who asks that yes, you are indeed 27.

Speaking of numbers, you can count consistently to 16 and sometimes as high as 27! You know all your colors and shapes, all the uppercase letters of the alphabet and most of the lowercase letters. You love trains and trucks, and you know all the different kinds of each: freight train, tender, caboose, engine, cattle car, and excavators, dump trucks, fire trucks, cranes, bulldozers, etc. You're a sponge when it comes to taking in new information. It is amazing to watch you learn every day.
1 year old 
You are still a very active little guy and would prefer to spend your time outside more than anywhere else. Though, with winter here, you are adjusting to spending time inside and are lately enjoying playing with trucks, cars, blocks, trains, your ice cream parlor, kitchen set, helicopter, and yes, my Ipad. You figured out how to use it almost immediately and I made the mistake of downloading a few apps for you. You would play with it alllll day long if we let you, but of course we don't. Though, I can credit a neat little game called "Zoo Train" with teaching you your lowercase letters. :) But when you’re not playing with the Ipad, which usually you’re not, you are using your imagination like crazy. I love to hear the conversations you have with yourself while playing. You imagine going to the moon, riding on trucks, and fixing things. Sometimes you do all these things at once. Watching your imagination soar is a joy!

I realized as I went back to read your 18 month letter that I didn't mention sleep, and that really isn't fair considering I spent the first year of your life (and then some) complaining about your poor sleep habits. BUT! I must commend you! You slept through the night for the first time EVER right around 14 months. You went back and forth for a while there, sleeping through sometimes and others not. Well, right around 18 months we decided, ENOUGH! We were going to let you "cry it out" if you woke up. Well, you cried one night for 6 minutes, and you have slept through the night every night since then, expect on the few occasions when you're sick or we're out of town. You fall asleep on your own around 8:30, and typically sleep till 7:00. You nap for about 2 hours every day. We couldn't ask for more! If we knew "crying it out" would be so painless we would have done it MONTHS ago! One of the things that seems to help you go to sleep is that you have finally adopted a “lovey.” Your “little duck” is your must have go to sleep animal, and your “Big Duck” is a close second. We actually have three little ducks: one at home, one at Auntie Cindy’s and Uncle John’s, and one at Nee-Nee and Pop-Pop’s. As long as you have one you’re happy! So, congrats on now being a fabulous sleeper! Your Daddy and I are new people now that we know we too can sleep through the night. THANK YOU!

And Ryan, THANK YOU for so much more! Thank you for bringing immense joy to our lives and to the lives of all the people who love you. You truly are a pleasure to be around. You give life a new and deeper meaning. As I have said before, you have made me a better person. Being your Mama is the best thing I have ever done. And doing it together with your Daddy makes it even more amazing. We have a special little family the three of us. And we hope (fingers crossed) that sometime before you turn 3 that we will be able to announce that you're going to be a big brother. When that day comes, I have no doubt that you will indeed be an amazing big brother! But until then, we will cherish the family of three that we are. For it is indeed a very special family.


2 Years Old and very excited about your birthday party! 

 Happy 2nd Birthday little Bubba!

Love always and forever,

Mama

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