Sunday, October 12, 2014

BLUE

I just realized that it's possible that you don't follow me on instagram (@thefixits). And, if this is the case, you probably missed a little announcement a few weeks back.


At 15 weeks pregnant we opted for an elective ultrasound. About a week later we shared the news with family. Then, at our anatomy scan we saw - without a shadow of a doubt - the sex of these babies. TWIN BOYS.

The word I kept coming back to was shocked. I was honestly, completely, beyond shocked that these babies are two boys. And now that the shock has worn off, total excitement has kicked in. These little dudes are going to be so much fun.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 11, 12, and 13




Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 8, 9, and 10




Monday, September 22, 2014

Pregancy Week by Week: Weeks 5, 6, and 7






Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 2, 3, 4

Several people have asked me if I was going to document this pregnancy as I did for Little Fix-It. While I knew I wanted to do something a little different, I wasn't sure exactly what that meant. After the miscarriage in March, I felt very reluctant to take weekly bump photos. In fact, I had a lot of anxiety during the first trimester. My OB, who I've mentioned loving a million times, offered to see me biweekly as she knows pregnancy after loss can be especially difficult. Even still, I bad stomach ache had me on the brink of tears not knowing if it was in fact a stomach ache or a miscarriage. So, in truth, I spent a bit of time actively not getting attached. Before every test, every ultrasound, every appointment, I was physically ill. Maybe it was a hint of morning sickness, but really, my nerves were shot.

Lucky for us, at every turn, things looked perfect. My beta numbers were off the charts. (For those of you that know HCG Betas: 1,441 at 12dp5dt. 3,151 at 14dp5dt. 7,000+ at 15dp5dt.) We heard heartbeats at 5 weeks, both above 100. The babies and their gestational sacs measured as they should, if not a day or two ahead. Everything was completely different than it had been a few months before. Even with all that reassurance, I was still scared.

The answer about documenting this pregnancy became "Eventually. Life is so crazy with selling our condo and trying to move!" It was true. But I also felt superstitious. 8 weeks became 12. Then 12 became 15. Time started to disappear.

So here I sit at 19 weeks, with a ever-growing bump. And two babies on the way. And a realization: I've been documenting this pregnancy all along. I wanted to do something different. I'll catch you up 3 weeks at a time!








Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adrift // At Home

It's been nearly a month since we packed up a moving truck with our life's belongings and moved from Chicago to Rhode Island. It's exciting, undoubtedly a new adventure, and also very emotional.

For me, Chicago was where I grew up. Not where I was raised, but the place I went from being an 18 year old college student to an adult. It's where I found myself. I learned independence there. How to make real decisions. It's where I discovered that idiot boyfriends are just that, and if you have to you can pack up your car, sublet your apartment on craigslist, and drive far, far away. Or you can meet the man you are going to marry and start a life together. It was the place that I bought my first car. And learn that even if your parents aren't paying for it they can still be very, very, very mad that you sold a perfectly good car. It was where I had a few different jobs, but spent most of my time in school. Northwestern always called me back. That campus is good for my soul. I certainly made some mistakes. And I grew.

Moving "back home" is simply weird. There are things I am so excited to experience. And there are pieces that give me deep anxiety. Raising our children near my family means the world to me. This time, this phase, this transition is so full of unknowns. It has so much potential to be amazing. But right now I feel adrift. Last night was our second night in our new home. We have moving boxes everywhere. I know that feeling settled is going to take some time.

We officially closed on our new house a week ago. Mr. Fix-It has taken to calling it a shithole. We have to laugh because a 1910 house in New England is a very different thing than a 10 year old condo in the city. Drywall vs. plaster. Character vs. cookie cutter. Old creaky floors vs. shiny and new. Chipped paint. Iffy patch jobs. Dents, dings, wear and tear. We will have a great time making it our own. And probably suffer a few headaches along the way. Ultimately it's our next chapter. It's the first home our twins will know. Likely the first home Little Fix-It will remember. It's where we will become a family of 5. It's where that school bus that stops on the corner will pick up our kids and bring them to school. If Chicago is where we began as a couple, this is where we will truly begin as a family.


Monday, August 18, 2014

It Will Never Be This Easy


 Life with Baby Fix-It is easy. Even when I am stressed out, frazzled, and breaking into a sweat because I'm trying to juggle one too many things at once I know that our life is easy. We go for walks. Baby Fix-It (momentary pause -- I think it's officially time to upgrade him to "Little Fix-It") points which way to go. We wander and find adventure. We go to the park and he plays happily. He lets me know when he's had his fill by trying to climb in the stroller. There's no schedule. We go with the flow. Shopping trips are a breeze. He happily sits in the cart or helps me get things off shelves. He is generally a cooperative and just plain awesome kid. Of course there are meltdowns. And of course there are times when things don't go his way. But overall? I know I am truly lucky.

When we started down the road of fertility treatments last fall I kept coming back to the same thought over and over: Life will never be this easy again.

It makes me want to pause. Bottle time. Find a way to be as present as possible. The thought that life will never be this easy gives me both an amazing sense of peace and a jolt of anxiety.

A big, crazy, busy household has always been my dream. Little Fix-It is meant to be a big brother. Bring on the chaos, right? I can't wait. But, wow, this is going to be nuts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I always knew

Is there anything you have always instinctively known about your life? I have always felt a connection to twins. I have just always known.


When I was little I loved pretending my dolls were twins. Naming them was always the best part. In 5th grade I wrote a paper on the science of twins. That Christmas I asked for books (for very important research purposes, of course) on multiples and as a result I have a handful of books circa 1992 on the bookshelf outside my childhood bedroom on the topic. By senior year of high school I did a photography project on siblings with a special interest on twins. Friends of mine, who are identical twins, introduced me to other twins. I was so fascinated interviewing them. By college I declared that I was a twin (unlikely, but being adopted I always had that teensy wonder), I was going to marry a twin, or I was going to have twins of my own. I just knew it.

So, when I met Mr. Fix-It I was only moderately disappointed to discover he did not have a twin brother. But, he had twin cousins. I took it as a good sign even though paternity has literally nothing to do with multiples.

And then we got married. Wished to start a family. And learned of our fertility challenges. On some level I accepted our course very readily knowing a puzzle piece had fallen into place: this was how I was going to have twins. It all made sense. No one wishes to have to travel down the path of IVF. But I felt comfort in the universe telling me I was on the right track.

Now that we have shared the news of our twins with the world, the first question is, "Were you shocked?!" Nope. Not in the least. I always knew.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

bAby, baBy

So that IVF cycle in May? It went really, really well.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whirlwind

We have talked about moving for quite some time now. Our condo was never intended to be our forever home. We always said it would survive one child, but never two. We love living in the city. We love stepping outside our door and having access to shops, restaurants, the train, parks, Lake Michigan, our doctors, my office, just literal steps away. But we never had long term plans to raise our family in the city.

In January we were finally feeling ready to put our condo in the market. We spoke to our realtor and decided early March was an ideal time based on market trends. Then in January our condo flooded. By March construction was not complete. Then the miscarriage happened. There was no way we could have left our network of fertility doctors at that point. So, we were completely frustrated that the universe had slowed our plans. We were getting so excited for the next chapter.

Finally May rolled around and we were in the throws of a fresh IVF cycle. The Master Bath renovation was almost complete. We decided to list in June. We were finally ready to say goodbye to our little slice of city living.








And then our condo sold in just 20 days. Last weekend we started looking at houses. I've started to tell my clients that my practice is closing and relocating.

It's the craziest thing. Even when you've talked and daydreamed and wished and wondered for over a year, it still suddenly seems like a whirlwind when it all starts happening.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hindsight on Team Green


Mr. Fix-It and I were really excited by the idea of not finding out the sex of our baby. We made the decision to be Team Green long before we were pregnant. I blogged about our reasons a while ago.

Here's the interesting part, though. I'm quite sure I wouldn't do it again. I've even used the words "anticlimactic" and "tedious for no good reason". It was completely amazing, don't get me wrong, but also something was missing for me.

In hindsight, I think I would have felt more bonded and connected with our baby knowing if it was a boy or girl. It's not to say that I felt disconnected. It's just that mental picture. Imagining your life with a son or daughter. The moment you meet your baby is phenomenal no matter what; the added surprise of finding out the sex did not make the moment any more powerful. Nothing could. It was the most incredible moment of my life.

When I was pretty far along in the pregnancy, a nurse at my OB's office made a comment about having a little girl. She had my chart in hand, and I was sure she'd seen something. I quickly told her that we weren't finding out and we didn't want to know the sex of the baby. She quickly said she was "just guessing!" and went on with the appointment. I was quite sure she had completely ruined the surprise. But when I left for work that day, all I could think about was having a little girl. It felt like this secret only I knew. As time wore on I convinced myself that she truly hadn't seen anything in my chart. And of course, you know how the story ends. So no surprise was ruined.

I still feel strongly about having gender neutral baby gear to use with future children. And I'm glad I didn't have overwhelming "boy" stuff everywhere. But, I had no intentions of dressing my kid like a neuter either. Little boy clothes wouldn't have killed me.

Next time around, if we are lucky enough to have a next time, I definitely want to find out. If for no other reason than to experience pregnancy both ways. Maybe if we have a third or fourth kid we'll be surprised again. But for now, I hope to have the bond of "knowing". And I like the idea of an additional surprise, another celebration - finding out the sex in a fun way. A cake with pink or blue icing on the inside? It's probably a little tired. But how many times do you get to enjoy a moment like that?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More


When we were undergoing fertility treatments to conceive Baby Fix-It, I thought I appreciated how easy we had it. Our fertility clinic was literally a 5 minute walk from our home. I'd get up for work a little early, go in for a monitoring appointment, and head off to the office. If I wanted to schedule an acupuncture appointment, I was able to swing by on my way home. It was a small, brief, addition to my daily routine.

In the fall we learned that we had to switch clinics. Our insurance had changed. We were now working with a bigger, fancier clinic downtown. With a big parking garage. And long waits. What used to be a quick pit stop is now an hour, often longer, event. And now we have a kid thrown into the mix. If I need to be downtown at 7am, Mr. Fix-It and I are juggling schedules. Sometimes this means we scoop Baby Fix-It out of his crib and PJs, we all head down to the clinic, and then we drop off Mr. Fix-It to his office. Other days I try to head out early, Mr. Fix-It works from home, and I do my best to get back before childcare has cut too far into my husband's day. He very often starts his mornings with an 8am conference call. Other days he is literally standing at the door waiting to run off to the train as I pull back in the garage.

And then I'm trying to keep up with acupuncture. Yesterday was so hectic that I literally dropped Baby Fix-It off at the street corner of North and Clybourn while Mr. Fix-It jumped off the train, grabbed our kid, and took him home. Makin' it work? Yes we are.

I'm not complaining. Trust me, I'm not. It's just so different this time around. It's so much more. So much more work, so much more coordinating, so much more everything. And hopefully, equally worthwhile.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Falling Behind


As Baby Fix-It has just crossed the 18 month marker, I am struck with a sense of falling behind. It's imaginary, and pointless, and serves little purpose. But I still feel behind. I thought I'd be pregnant by now. I thought we would be further along in so many ways.

For so long, we are all on the same track. You go through school, you advance at a steady pace, you move forward. Then you finish college and everything goes haywire. At least that's how I felt. Get a job, continue with more schooling, find onself while backpacking in Europe, plan a wedding, stay single, move to a new city. Or do none of the above. As friends started to choose a path, I started to evaluate my worth. "She's already engaged?" Crap. "He's a VP?" Seriously.


And yet, when I step back, I can't argue that I have failed to achieve anything I've wanted for myself. But a voice inside keeps saying that I'm falling behind. 

They say that people are more preoccupied with themselves than they are with you. That might be true. But when I see a mom with a 3 year old at the playground I wonder if she has a baby at home. Or if she's pregnant. Or if she hopes to be pregnant. Or if she only wants one child. So, while I try to figure out everyone else, I assume people are asking themselves the same things about me. Then I ask myself the million dollar question, "Why do I care?" I could talk about social approval, or fitting in, but really it's about the track. We are not on a track anymore. We are not graduating to the next grade. An A on the English paper doesn't exist. Some of us will get married late in our 30s. Some of us will only have one child. Some of us will have 5 babies. Some of us will be career driven, and others will stay at home. Some of us will go back for a doctorate degree once our children are school age. Some of us will switch our paths over and over.

While I field the sense of falling behind and try to answer, "So when are you having another baby?", I try to ignore the sting. I've mastered the kindly polite, "I'm ready whenever it happens" while saying a silent prayer: please let it happen. I know people aren't trying to be rude. Or judgmental. They're genuinely curious. I suffer from the same affliction. I'm saying I get it.

That sense of falling behind is a tough one though. I'm slowly learning to accept that my track is now my own. It's not perfect, or timed as I'd like. There are bends in the road where I can't see what's coming next. Enjoy when the path is clear and easy. Have hope when all you can do is move forward.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

32


The morning of my 32nd birthday there was a package waiting on our doorstep. A cake packed in dry ice? A fabulous pair of shoes? Nope. A whopping-filled-to-the-brim box of fertility meds. I'm taking it as a good sign. The universe is clearly trying to give me a baby for my birthday. I mean, there are just some messages you can't argue with.

Things may be moving a long a bit faster than I had initially thought, too. After my bloodwork and ultrasound on Monday, the nurse called with my stats. Everything looks great - estrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH, HCG. Check, check, check, check, and check. All numbers are excellent. Follicle count at 16. This always gives me a moment of pride. Then I have to laugh at the ridiculousness. I'm pretty sure I have minimal control over the goodness of these numbers. But then I tell myself to celebrate. Celebrate every little, tiny, silly shred of good news. Enjoy feeling hopeful, right? The nurse scheduled me to come back on May 2 and mentioned something about starting Lupron then. Oh! I thought that was happening in early June. Complain, I will not. I'm all for moving forward.

So on Tuesday, I celebrated 32. I want this year's birthday wish to come true more than ever before.


Monday, April 14, 2014

At Peace

I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost
-Avicii


Did you ever watch Ally McBeal? Remember how she had theme songs for moments and life events? I love that. I totally do that. Around college graduation I blasted "99 Red Balloons" on my car stereo. Annie Lennox has carried me through some serious break ups. When we conceived Baby Fix-It my get-pumped-up-for-injections song was FloRida's "Good Feeling". And this winter, during a trying fertility process, I kept coming back to "Wake Me Up" by Avicii.

Last week we met with our new fertility doctor. I liked him. I really needed that boost of confidence. He was kind, responsive, and gave us no sense of being rushed. I especially appreciate that last part. This new fertility clinic we've been using has often left us with a feeling of being hurried and unimportant. Sure, we are one of hundreds of couples they treat each year (maybe more, I have no idea). But also, this is no small physical, emotional, and financial commitment. So taking the time to really understand our history and wishes was deeply appreciated.

I went into the appointment with thoughts on our next steps. And I was relieved the doctor was on the same page. Last Tuesday we signed paperwork to move forward with a fresh IVF cycle. I'm a bit disappointed we have to go through the entire process, but we have done it before, and we can do it again. The thing with fertility treatments that has always stuck with me is this: your eggs will never be as young and healthy as they are today. So no time like the present.


Today I was already back in the stirrups. We still have to wait a bit while my uterus recovers from the D&C, but things are progressing. My body is back on track (if you know what I mean). So today they checked my HCG (it was hovering around 1 last week), estrogen, progesterone, uterine lining and did a follicle count. I'll start birth control today. This means that next month, when we start the IVF cycle, the timing will be predictable. The doctor also explained that birth control helps keep your system calm. Calm is good in the fertility world.

And so calm it is. I'm at peace with where we are in this process. At  peace and simultaneously pumped up. I'm taking the next several weeks to take care of myself. Going to the gym, eating well, sleep, yoga, balance. Calm. And excitement.

I'll let you know when I find my next song of the moment.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Carry On


Life goes on. Recently we traveled to Rhode Island to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday. It was going to be the weekend we planned to tell my family about Baby 2, which was on my mind a bit. I felt a subtle sadness but also enjoyed a few heavy pours of wine. I'm a terrible drinker actually. I would say 1 out of 10 times I feel totally fine and normal. And 9 of the times I end up with a raging headache and a general feeling of malaise. Oh well.

Anyway, we traveled. We saw family, friends. We celebrated my Grandma. We enjoyed what started to feel like the start of warmer weather in New England. It also rained. I slept terribly the whole trip. My Dad was recovering from double pneumonia. My Mom had issues with her eye (turned out to be a detached retina). And we left with sore throats and head colds. Face it, you're jealous.

I've been so hum-drum lately. But honestly, it feels like we can't catch a break. We have almost fully restored our condo from water damage. Today the marble vanity top arrived for the bathroom. Oh wait, it's cracked. You know when you just feel like you're stuck under a bad cloud? The annoyances are hitting the point of hilarious. And also really, really, really not funny at all.

And about that water damage. We had toyed with the idea of putting our condo on the market sometime in March. That clearly did not happen. More waiting. More sitting in suspended animation.


Baby Fix-It it is definitely the best thing we have going on. He is so sweet and delightful and funny and wonderful. He has so much of my husband's personality, it's unbelievable. I also like to think he's got a bit of me. But then when I try to put to words in what ways he is like me, I'm often left stuttering. "Well...we both...uh" Nevermind, he's all Daddy. And I couldn't love either of them more.


So, we have survived another month of 2014. That sounds like the most depressing and lowest bar - "survived'. Life really hasn't been that bad lately. It's just that we know things have potential to be so much better. And they will be. For now we carry on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's Next


I need a plan. Something. Something to focus on as time simultaneously marches on and stands still. Waiting is the worst. I really, really, really hate the waiting. Fertility cycles are allllll about waiting.

A week from today we go back to meet with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Same practice, new doctor. I need a fresh start. Our previous-new doctor was nice enough, but she has failed to get me pregnant. So there's that. When we met with her and discussed our first failed cycle, she showed little interest in our responses. The message was, "I'm going to tell you what works, and that's what we'll do." I'm eager to have a different set of eyes on our case. I'm sure we'll review our two failed cycles (god, last time we were in that office we left knowing our baby didn't survive...) and talk about ruling out any unknown issues. In my heart I don't believe there are any problems on my end. I think we've just had a streak of bad luck. But I guess better safe than sorry. Sometimes, they say, after child birth there may be trauma to the uterus. I had a saline ultrasound back in November that looked fine. But maybe they'll dig deeper. Lovely.

After that, to my knowledge, it is advised to wait two full cycles before undergoing fertility treatments. After a D&C your uterus is scraped clean. Two cycles is believed to be enough time to "build things back up". This is all what Dr. Google tells me. I'm guessing our RE will tell us something similar. So, best case scenario, based on my half-knowledge and guessing, we'll have another shot in June. That is, assuming my body is back on track.

I had my follow up with my OB/Gyn yesterday. My body has physically healed and the pathology on the fetus and surrounding tissue came back normal. The fetus appeared to be "typically developing". I found this comforting and annoying. Of course, I'm relieved to hear that everything looked healthy and my body was properly developing a pregnancy. But also, what does this mean? The baby didn't have to die? I hate that thought. I'd almost rather know there was a severe issue which meant there was no way the fetus could survive. I also have another thought I come back to: did the baby's heart just stop beating? Like one second it was there and the next gone? Or was it a slow progression? Did it beat slower and slower and slower and eventually stop? Why this swirls around my head, I don't know. I'm guessing the latter.

Mr. Fix-It and I did not opt to do any additional testing on the fetus. We did not believe that we needed any genetic information, and finding out the sex would just make the loss harder. The knowledge that we lost a little boy or girl would always stick with me; I'd always picture our family differently. The part that does stick with me, though, is this permanent mark on future pregnancies. I hate that I'll have to say the words "second baby, third pregnancy" someday. I mean, I'll love that I might have the opportunity to say those words, but you know what I mean. It's as if any future joy will be coupled with the reminder of this loss. In fact, that was one of the first things I said in the room after our ultrasound. "I hate that we'll always remember this".

So, as we remember, and wait, and hope, and look to the future, I wear this. It's just a tiny reminder of better things to come. Sometimes it's just what I need.

{Alex and Ani // "Tree of Life" // Hope, Conservation, Growth}


I have a pile of Alex and Ani bracelets on my nightstand. This morning Baby Fix-It was playing with them. He put two on his own wrist and then handed me one. Which one did he hand me? You guessed it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

At Least We Knew

{photo source: @hidinginhere via instagram}

In the wake of everything that has happened in the last two months, I come back to the words "at least we knew" over and over. We knew, just days after a positive test, that the pregnancy might not be viable. The day my HCG didn't double, I prepared myself for loss. Mr. Fix-It remained more optimistic. I think for him the real loss happened the morning of the no heartbeat ultrasound. Either way, we knew that the worst, a loss, was a possibility. It always is, but this was different. The other words I came back to were "bracing for impact". I was. Week after week after week.

It's funny - well not funny - but when I heard clients talk about miscarriages I always had this feeling. I had thought to myself, many times, that I was sure it was nothing I would experience. I believed in the adage that the universe will never give you more than you can handle. And I believed that I could truly never, not ever, handle the heartbreak of a miscarriage. I told myself that it would destroy me. It would be a level of pain so unimaginable I'd never be the same.

Then this crazy thing happened. It happened. It happened to me. And I survived. I was actually ok. I was sad. So deeply, painfully sad, but also full of hope. The morning of my D&C I felt a profound sense of relief. All the stress, all the worry, all the anxiety of this maybe-hopefully-cautiously-optimistic pregnancy was gone. Hope. Hope told me that our next baby, the one that is meant to be will come in due time. And my HCG will double, and the gestational sac will be the right size, and the baby will grow to be strong and healthy. That is the baby we will take home. And I know we will. We are meant to have more children.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Answers


 In the midst of uncertainty, sometimes the only life raft in the universe is having an answer. It's how we cope, right? When we know what's coming we can prepare ourselves for the future - good or bad.

The last few months have been an exercise in not having an answer. The only thing I had, the only thing I knew was the present. The words that kept me sane were this: "If grief is to come, you will find the time for it. For now find happiness. Today you are pregnant."

On January 29 we underwent another fertility cycle. About 5 days later, I shrieked with joy when I detected an ever-so-faint second line. By February 10, bloodwork confirmed that I was pregnant (and about 7 additional home pregnancy tests).


IT. WAS. HAPPENING. Another baby! Due in October! Visions of joint birthday parties and exactly two year apart babies filled my mind. It happened. It happened. It happened.

And then my follow-up bloodwork didn't do what it should. Instead of doubling, my HCG only rose about 25%. At that point, with that news, I fell apart. I went to the bad place. The best word, the truest word, was heartbroken. I physically felt like something within me shattered. I mourned the loss. I felt the deepest sense of loss imaginable.

But then, two days later, Valentine's Day, my HCG more than doubled. The nurse joked that I was overachieving. She said that "slow starts" happen. Babies can play catch up. If we weren't under fertility treatments and monitoring we wouldn't have any of this information and we'd still be celebrating without a worry. But in my heart, and my gut, I knew I couldn't celebrate. Not just yet.

Days after that we had an ultrasound. There was a little gestational sac. It was still early. The words I kept hearing were "cautiously optimistic". Every day there was a milestone (bloodwork, ultrasound) I sat. I was frozen. Paralyzed with fear. Sure, I can blame a horrible winter. But also, I was in crisis mode. Baby Fix-It and I didn't leave the house much because I couldn't function waiting for the phone to ring. After that first ultrasound the nurse confirmed that the gestational sac was in fact small, and my HCG wasn't doubling again. But hang in there! Once the sac is detected the bloodwork is less important.

And yet, somehow, magically, this baby was hanging on. 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks. We kept going. I started to tell myself that we had a little fighter in there who was going to overcome our initial worries. The small sac, a slow start, it could all be just fine. Week 6 we heard a heartbeat. The nurse showed so much excitement - we were only hoping to confirm a fetal pole and yolk sac. But instead a heartbeat! It was all supposed to be so magical. I started to believe that this could all be ok. I bought a remote for my camera. I decided I'd let myself start documenting the bump.

Week 7 the heartbeat was confirmed again. Chugging away at 148BPM. Baby Fix-Its was 147 at the same week. I exhaled. We were finally on the right track. The ultrasound tech noted that the sac was still small. It was "getting better", but still small.

I googled. I googled incessantly. A small gestational sac, within a certain range (I never knew our exact measurements) guarantees a miscarriage with 80% likelihood. The fetus rarely survives beyond weeks 8-10 as it runs out of room to grow. We were close. We were so close to getting over this hurdle. I read that hydration can help. The sac is essentially amniotic fluid. I began chugging over 100oz of water a day. I dreamed of ways we would share the news with family. We joked that this baby was a girl, already driving her mama crazy.

Finally, finally I was looking forward to an ultrasound. At 8 weeks and 4 days I was excited to see my hydration efforts finally tip the scales for this nail-biter pregnancy. It was the first appointment that I wasn't sick to my stomach. I was going to go in alone, but in a fateful scheduling shift Mr. Fix-It came to the appointment.

When the tech began the ultrasound I had a moment of pride. I could see that the sac had grown. That little peanut was less cramped. But the silence. The room was so silent it almost hurt. I finally found the courage to say, "Is something wrong?". With a wrinkled nose the tech said, "I can't find a heartbeat".

And that was it. Our answer.

***

I'll share more as I'm ready. This post got away from me a bit, but I'm so glad I was finally able to put words to the last two weeks...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Baby Fix-It wasn't so sure about my attempts to dress him as a leprechaun this morning. At least you can see why he's earned the nickname "Skinny Bones Jones" around here. Man, I love that little goober.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Some Additional Thoughts on Breastfeeding

I was very much a person who hoped that breastfeeding would work for me, but was not so emotionally attached to it that I'd be devastated if it wasn't a possibility. On some level I always knew it would happen naturally. But, as I said, if I was someone who had to supplement, had a baby with an allergy, or simply could not do it, I would have been ok.


In the hospital, we didn't quite get the hang of it. My personal goal was to be able to feel comfortable nursing before heading home. Each time we tried to feed, Baby Fix-It had trouble latching and got all frenzied. I, in turn, started sweating. I'd take a deep breath and the exhale would hit him on the face. This calmed him just enough to focus. Kind of. Every single time we fed in the hospital I was dinging the nurse call button to get assistance. I'm so glad I did. We never had an issue after those initial sessions.

While breastfeeding, I felt like I had a superpower. No matter what was going on, I could calm my baby. Feed him, cuddle him, ease him to sleep. It also meant that at the onset of the slightest fuss he was in my arms. Almost every mother experiences this. It's empowering and exhausting.

We made sure to introduce a bottle so that Mr. Fix-It could also feed our baby. We weren't as diligent about this as we should have been, and Baby Fix-It became a serious bottle-refuser. This means that in the history of my son's existence I have never NEVER ONCE slept through one of his wake ups. I'm honestly not resentful, he's so sweet when he's half awake in those wee hours of the morning, but still - wow. I know that if I worked traditional hours, this would have changed and he would have figured out how to take a bottle. For us, it was fine and in those very early months we were never apart more than 4 hours. Sometimes this felt hopelessly overwhelming and confining, but most times I thought to myself, "where do I need to go?" We introduced solids a tiny bit early, and that immediately allowed me some additional freedom. Baby Fix-It is healthy and thriving, and we found what worked best for us.

I didn't think I'd like nursing as much as I did. It really was this exceptional bond I shared with my baby. I felt comfortable feeding my son anywhere we went. On a plane, in a restaurant, outside Target in the parking lot. It's incredibly demanding, and yet also special and beautiful.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why We Stopped Nursing

We were ready for another baby when Baby Fix-It was 9 months old. Actually, I'd have been willing to start trying when he was 6 months old. I'm one of those people who feels that when you're in the thick of the baby phase, just add more chaos. That's not exactly how things will work out for us, and that's ok too. Since I was nursing, and with our grim fertility diagnosis, I knew the odds of a surprise baby were basically non-existent. (Aside: those people who innocently say, "Maybe it will just happen this time!" are just...wrong. No one would love that surprise more than me. Please, universe, prove me wrong. But really, no. Makin' babies around here involves just a bit more.)

So, when Baby Fix-It was 7 months old, we made a visit to our Reproductive Endocrinologist. He informed me that I'd have to stop nursing three months prior to beginning a fertility cycle. I had hoped to make it to the year mark breastfeeding, but then I also very much wanted to expand our family around Baby Fix-It's first birthday. We weaned at 9 months. It was HORRIBLE. The physical pain of that process was...OMG...awful.  

PSA: Do not stop breastfeeding cold turkey. Your boobs will be rocks of feverish pain. 

Funny story from that hellish week: I had a photoshoot during the time I had the gigantic rock boobs. It was summer and I was wearing a sporty tank top. You know those lululemon ones with the built in bras? Yeah. Above all else, I needed those suckers to stay in place. Any bouncing or movement almost drove me to tears. As I leaned down to photograph an 18 month old, the mom stood there with her jaw on the floor. She announces, "I just can't stop staring. Ohmigod. I can't. I'm mesmerized. Your tits are HUGE!". It was pretty hilarious. Yes, why yes they are. And if you try to come near me I will bite your hand off.
 
 "Those look like they still work, Mom"

So around Baby Fix-Its first birthday we picked up the phone to schedule another appointment with our Reproductive Endocrinologist to get things moving. We had successfully stopped nursing three months prior, as recommended, and were ready to make another baby. Oh, wait, surprise! They don't accept our insurance any more.

Cue an ugly meltdown on my part. We now were guaranteed to be delayed in this process a few months. And I could have continued to breastfeed a bit longer. This, my friends, is where the road to Baby 2 starts to get, rocky, if you will...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Think It's Getting Better

I find vague-booking insanely annoying. You know those people who post things like, "Thanks for the support and prayers!" and you're left scrambling to read the comments to figure out what the heck happened? Then that brave person inquires about what's going on, and there's no response. I have a friend who recently did this. I honestly have no idea if her husband got hit by a bus, has cancer, lost his job, or just got a bad case of food poisoning. Sorry, can't send well wishes if you're going to be frustratingly vague. Either share or don't share, you know?

In the same vein, I apologize. I've been pretty tight-lipped about our fertility process at the moment. I'd probably be comfortable sharing more, but my privacy isn't the only factor. I have a husband and child to consider. Said husband is more of a private person than me. For now, we're hanging in there. The road to baby #2 simply has not been as easy and stress-free as it was to #1 (which was no walk in the park). It seems that things are slowly turning around, though, and the bad news, frustrations, insurance battles, and stress are subsiding. Right now, the best thing I can do is take care of myself physically and emotionally as well as pour my love and energy into my child and marriage. Most days this is easier said than done. But I remind myself that it is a healthy body and healthy marriage that nurture healthy families.

So, here we are, just about to wrap up February. Sometimes my mind wanders to that failed cycle in December, and I think about how I'd be just about to complete my First Trimester. That seems so crazy, and also a bit sad.

It's been a long winter. A long, exhausting, cold, snowy, cooped up kind of winter. This past weekend we got a break from it. Some time with friends, sunshine, and warm air really breathed new life into us.




Monday, February 17, 2014

Choosing Happy


At some point you have to choose happiness. Even though it's snowing in Chicago again today, we ventured out. Sure, there was snow blowing directly into my ear. But it was time to get my head out of my ass.

Spring eventually comes.

I often talk to my clients about confirmation bias. Meaning, once you decide something, you subconsciously look for ways to validate your belief. I could quite easily list the ways in which life has been trying, since November really: the failed fertility cycle, insurance battles, our condo flooding, family challenges, a particularly harsh winter. Alas, I'm choosing happiness.

Our sweet little boy is thriving. Mr. Fix-It completed his Master's Degree. My therapy practice is doing well. We have wonderful people in our lives. Photography season is starting up again. Our life is, ultimately, quite good. And even though it's only mid-February, it's starting to feel like spring is just a few more weeks away.