Monday, July 25, 2011

Crunch Time!

So we are leaving for Australia on Wednesday. Yes, that's right...two days. We are *very* excited about going, especially because of Veronica having the baby soon (her little IVF miracle after 5 rounds of IVF). Last we heard a day ago, she hasn't yet dilated, but the baby's head is engaged. Corrie (Dan's mom) thinks that Veronica will go into labor this coming weekend. Selfishly, I'd like her to hold on a few days because we won't get into Yeppoon until Sunday (we are spending a few days in Brisbane with friends prior). And while I'm sure that I won't be in the delivery room, we would like to be able to be at the hospital to give our support and be a part of the whole baby excitement-even if most if it involves waiting!

Anyway, we have been crazy busy the last few days. Not only with packing, but getting our house in order so that our realtor (my cousin) can show it while we are gone (i.e. clean, without the dogs or cat milling about and without an obscene amount of baby toys floating around). My mom and dad have very generously come over to help us out with cleaning and organizing. My sister has taken our cat back to her house and my parents are taking the dogs. Now we just have to make sure everything stays neat until we leave!!! Which is tough with a toddler ;)

And packing with an 18 month old has been....interesting...challenging....and an eye opener. I remember going to Australia several times before Alex was born. And I vividly remember all the stuff I used to bring for myself: several pairs of shoes, jewelry, body products, hair products, outfit upon outfit. I mean, my suitcase was packed. And it was all my suitcase. I nixed sharing one with Dan early on. I mean, c'mon. A girl needs her own suitcase.

Well, things have understandably changed in the packing department. Long are the days of bringing whatever I wanted for myself. All my stuff ( a few shirts, 2 pairs of shoes...not much else) takes up about 20% of my suitcase...Alex has the rest. And you know that you are a parent when you *don't mind* this change in the least.  For Alex, we have clothes for every weather situation imaginable. We have books and toys and blankets and stuffed animals. We have 4 pairs of shoes, a sun hat, bathing suit, snacks for the plane, medicines, thermometers, nasal aspirators, sippy cups for the plane. You name it...for Alex...we've got it packed! *Sigh*...I'm not done yet and I already think my suitcase is overweight. Thank God Dan is in charge of packing his own bag!

As I wrote on Facebook, our strategy for preventing meltdowns is giving Alex anything she wants (within reason) for the 48 hours we are traveling. Now, this goes against my grain as a school psychologist...but we will be going into survival mode. If Alex wants to watch the Fresh Beats or Olivia for 24 hours straight-so be it. If she wants to eat an endless supply of yogurt melts-so be it. This momma may be taking advantage of the complimentary wines available on the Qantas flights. Just to take the edge off a bit.

Anyway, this will probably be my last blog until we come back late August. This year, I am not taking my laptop with us because Dan will have his. Plus, we have the tablet that we bought for Alex to watch movies with on the plane. Wish us luck with the flights ;)

 Alex's snacks for the flight(s)...think we have enough?

 Packing for two people for four weeks...

Alex "helping" mommy...In reality, she is cheerfully taking all the clothes I put into the suitcase out...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Only An Infertile...Part 2

Only an infertile would be completely befuddled by the question, "Are you pregnant"? Holy cow! Don't people realize that there are so very many answers to this question?! For us, there is no (well, rarely no) clear-cut yes or no answer. A "typical" woman could answer this without a whole lot of thought. She'd know if she were pregnant and if she hadn't yet missed a period, the answer would be a resounding "no". However, with infertiles, there seems to be many GRAY areas. So no, this is not a simple question resulting in a simple answer.

Why am I talking about this stuff? Wellllllll....I went to the dentist yesterday. They were going to do full x-rays and asked if I was pregnant. Now, once-upon-a-time, I could have just answered with a simple "no" (or "hell no" at some points in my life). Back then, when I was young and innocent, if I didn't miss my period, I wasn't pregnant. If I had a negative pregnancy test, I wasn't pregnant. Clear cut. Straightforward. easy.

Now-a-days...this question calls for a lot of thought. So I sat there, in the dentist's chair, thinking about all the possible scenarios.   Yesterday was cycle day 14. Obviously I was not/am not pregnant yet. However, my cycles have only been about 24-26 days long perhaps I could have ovulated a few days ago (although with pcos, you never actually know IF you have ovulated). And if I did, perhaps my egg, by some miracle, was fertilized and making its way down my fallopian tubes. Maybe I will be one of those success stories after all where I don't need meds for baby number two! But then-what if I get X-Rays??? Will that completely obliterate my fertilized egg? Will it be damaged? What if I unknowingly fry my micro-sized offspring???? Talk about guilt!

So I sat there thinking for awhile, while the hygienist was waiting for an answer, probably thinking that I was either slow or irresponsible for not knowing. The best I could come out with was, "Ummm...I don't know. I mean, I guess I could be. But I don't think I am". Then upon seeing the uncertainty on the poor woman's face, I say, "It's probably ok...ummm...just go ahead and do them". How reassuring to her. But really, the chances of me having ovulated are probably pretty nil. Why not get the X-Rays over now, before going back to the specialist?

Feeling that I owed the hygienist some explanation, I say, "Well...I've always had really irregular cycles, so it's sometimes hard to know if I could be pregnant". Now I sound really stupid. The woman, bless her heart, was very kind about it. But just as we were about to start the X-rays she says, "You'll probably be on one of those shows someday about women who don't ever know they're pregnant until they give birth". Now while this could have been insulting, it was not. She didn't mean it that way and I had to laugh at the absurdity.

Absurd because...there's NO WAY in the world that I will ever NOT know I'm pregnant. What this poor woman doesn't know (probably because she has four kids) is that if I had ANY inkling of a possible pregnancy, I would go and test with a test out of my stash of pregnancy tests. Oh yeah, I said stash. I've tested for all sorts of reasons. "Oh, well I have a sniffle, sore throat-might as well pee on a stick". I'm always looking for a reason to test.

Good thing I wasn't further into my a week or two after ovulation...that would have opened a whole new can of worms about HcG levels and the sensitivity of home pregnancy tests, etc! Don't want to go there...especially not with the same woman!

 In the end, my mouth was given a clean bill of heath and I'm sure the hygienist will forget all about our strange conversation-though she may be inexplicably drawn to the "I didn't know I was pregnant" shows for several years to come.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I May be Getting Old and Cranky...

But really?! Rea-lly? Does someone honestly think that I am going to take them seriously if they respond to my ad for child care in such a manner (and I'm not exaggerating):

i would like 2 watch your doughter in september email me back if ur intarested

And that was all. No name. No details (no periods or caps). One sentence, which really should have been two. For all I know this could have been from a 14 year old texting a response-it certainly explains some of the short cut "words". Now I don't expect perfection, I try very hard NOT to be the grammar police...but can you count the errors in the above run-on sentence? Because there are a lot....

*Sigh* Yep...I'm getting older and certainly crankier it appears. But, honestly, how hard is it to hit the spell check button? I think it may be time to remove the ad and pray that the day care works out...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


...Alex is 18 months old! Since she was born, the 18 month milestone has seemed like one of the major ones. I guess, to me anyway, it means she is no longer a baby. Happy thought and sad thought-equal parts. She is at such a fun age right now, learning and exploring and voicing her needs and wants (and frustrations). It's just neat...she's her own little person...her own little entity. I think that this stage is actually more fun (and more relaxing in some ways) than the newborn stage. But there's just something about holding an infant....

Ok, I know. Get a grip. It's not like she's going off to college tomorrow. It's not like she is speaking in full sentences and dressing herself. Yes...she's still a baby in many ways. I don't know. Eighteen months just seems *old*. Remember, we are thinking relatively here. I guess what drives home the point is that in another 18 months, Alexandra will be three. THREE. Some consider three year olds to no longer be toddlers-but preschoolers. I can't have a "preschooler" on my hands in a year and a half, can I? I mean, time goes fast and all...but this is kind of crazy!

Annnnddddd....we have another milestone approaching very in September 6th. Another thing that makes me realize how quickly things are going (as if I needed a reminder). Alex is starting at a day care center when I go back to work for the school year. We decided to make the jump! I'm nervous and excited for her all at once! I think (hope) she's ready. She just so much more interested in other children and in socializing...I kind of feel like keeping her home another year will just hold her back.

We had a lovely woman coming to our house to watch Alex, but she gave her notice about four days ago..she had to find a job with benefits. We loved her. We will miss her...and we sought to replace her for this school year. However, upon thinking about it longer, we decided that another environment would be more enriching/stimulating for Alex (stimulation is a big thing with school psychologists)-another environment where she could be around other kids her age. I mean, it's gotta be boring being home so much-especially in the winter when you can't go outside? I hope she likes it. I hope we like it. I hope it will be good for her. Why the heck aren't these decisions easy to make???

So there you go...Alex is growing up strong, happy and healthy. And I keep praying that it stays that way. I also wonder whether I will have the opportunity to do the newborn thing over again? Did I have my one chance? I know I am incredibly blessed to have that one chance, but man would I do things differently! Not that I did anything "bad" or "wrong". But I think that *next time* I will enjoy it more, stop to smell the roses more, relax more, since I now know what to expect. Fingers crossed....

 Alex loving her "diggy" (we can't quite get that "o" sound), Ivan

And to celebrate this 18 month milestone, a picture of Alex at 3 days old...home for the first full day

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Which Way?

My recent post about "Fertile Frenemies" got me thinking: as someone who is infertile, how would you prefer to hear the news of a friend's pregnancy? Is it better to get a text, an email....or do you prefer the more direct, face-to-face route? How about the phone? Which mode would make it easier to swallow?  Or at least, easier to hide your dismay? Maybe one of the little cute "apology" cards that some stores carry with two sad puppies on the front? And inside-"So sorry to have to tell you...I'm pregnant". I mean, who doesn't like receiving a card in the mail?

Hands down, I MUCH prefer the phone route. That way, the conversation can come to an end if you *need* it to. You can quickly come up with an escape such as, "Oh crap, my mac and cheese has boiled over. Gotta clean up this mess...." So, basically, you can say all the "right" things, express your joy (jealousy), mumble some things for five or so minutes and then hang up and do whatever you need to do to make things all right in your world again (cry, scream, eat chocolate, get into the liquor cabinet...spend money-which was my favorite).  The point is, the conversation can end when you want it to so you can regroup and move on.

As I blogged about with my frenemy, face-to-face over breakfast was just painful. Well for me, not her. I more than half suspect she loved every minute. Not only do you have *say* the right things, but you have to also *look* the part of someone who isn't having their heart ripped out again. So yeah-you need to have control over your voice and your face and your nonverbals. NO THANK YOU. Plus then you have to go through an entire meal rehashing the how's and why's of conception and keep up your game face. Basically, face-to-face lasts FOREVER.

But there are a few rules about telling an infertile about your pregnancy that a lot of infertiles agree upon, at least the ones I spoke with. They are:

1. Don't NOT tell us...then we feel like freaks who have to be pitied
2. Don't tell us after everyone else for the same reason as number 1
3. Don't tell us in a pitying "I figured you should hear if from me first" way. Honest and respectful is the best way-without overplaying the "poor infertile" vibe
4. Don't pretend you aren't thrilled with being pregnant (unless you truly aren't thrilled). Again, we'll feel like you are just walking on egg shells because of us. And that makes us feel like we should be waving a "freak" flag.
5. Don't complain about being pregnant if you don't want to be. The reason should be very self-explanatory. Four words: slap. in. the. face.

Hmmmm...perhaps I should link this blog to my Frenemy and a few other people who don't seem to have a clue???

Alex nicked off with mommy's glasses

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanda VS. TV

My kid loves TV. In particular, Alex loves one show and ONE show only. The Fresh Beat Band. At first we thought it was cute, this apparent obsession. She'd get so excited when it came on and clap her hands and stomp her feet and "dance". Well then we made the mistake of downloading a bunch of episodes so she can watch it whenever. BIG MISTAKE! That's all she wanted. Morning, noon, night. If we didn't break the cycle, she would be in a Fresh Beat coma 24/7. She could care less for any other show-including Dora, whom she used to be vaguely interested in.

It's partially our fault. We were trying to get her to "like" TV a few months ago (I believe I blogged about it). Sounds weird, right? Well, I don't call it weird, I call it survival. As in, surviving a 24+ hour flight to Brisbane in two weeks, with the help of a Tablet and Alex's favorite shows. That 24 hours, yeah, that does not include layovers. Ok, maybe not so much survival as being desperate.

So our solution to the dilemma has been to limit Alex's TV time. I refuse to have a couch potato toddler on my hands. She gets to watch two 20 minute episodes in the morning while we are both waking up (we ladies are NOT morning people) and an episode at night before bed. It works out. She gets her fix and mama gets some down-time. The TV is completely off the rest of the day. Yes, even I go without. And Alex is good with the routine now.

Which brings me to another related topic: I think TV gets a bad rap. Sure, I get that some kids sit their butts in front of it day after day and never learn to entertain themselves or learn how to use their imaginations. I get it. Unhealthy. Definitely. I know some parents who use the TV as a babysitter. They don't want to deal with their kids. And it's for these reasons that I think TV gets a bad name...because we see the outcome: obese/overweight kids with no social skills or interest in the surrounding world. Kids who can't entertain themselves or worse, expect to be entertained at all times.

But what about moderation??? I'm a middle of the road kinda girl. I'm not one for extremes so, for me, most things are ok in moderation (sweets, TV, video games *in the future*, etc etc). I figure as long as the kid has a balanced day, who cares about a little TV? Alex, for example, is on the go from morning till night. We run errands together, have play dates, go to the pool, go to the beach, etc. Who cares if she has a little TV in the morning when the rest of her day is jammed packed?  Moderation.

And perhaps this is a good way of teaching our kids about moderation? "Yes, you can watch TV, little Johnny, but you'll have to turn it off after one show". Why isn't that ok? Isn't that a good skill for kids to learn-how to limit themselves, how to use self-control? And to learn a lesson like that at a younger age should be invaluable. Completely cutting out TV won't last forever. Sooner or later a kid will be around TV. Why not teach them some self-control? Such a lesson could be applied to so many different areas.

Anyway, I'm off my soap box now. I guess this blog post was partly in response to the AAP's guideline to not let kids under two watch any TV. Just seems kind of extreme to me. I am definitely *not* trying to criticize anyone who says no to TV. Although I don't get it (admittedly, I don't get either extreme-cutting it out completely or letting the kids have limitless access), I know that parents do what is best for *their* children. Just trying to stick up for the poor ol' Television...

 Pool'ing it again

 A pic from the 4th of July...check out Alex's patriotic shirt and her new alligator chair ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fertile Frenemies....

I'm pretty easy going. Live a pretty drama-free life. I don't argue with my friends much, nor my husband. I mean, we have our moments, but they pass quickly. So I never thought that I would have a "frenemy". Aren't those reserved for people with drama ridden lives??? And I certainly never thought I would have one at 31 years old. And I never thought it would have to do with fertility. Yes, we all know that I'm a jealous infertile...but I try so very hard to keep the green eyed monster under wraps. And I'm pretty successful, I think.

Ok, so here's the story. I have a friend named "Joy". Joy and I had an on/off relationship for years. Not because we fought, we usually just lost touch of each other during college and grad school. Anyway, we reconnected when she was out of grad school and I was still pursuing my school psych., degree. You see, we owned a two unit complex. We lived in one unit, she and her husband lived in another. Let's just say, being friends with your tenants can really complicate a simple relationship.

They were mad because we charged them a security deposit for their dog, we were mad because their neurotic, maniacal dog trashed the unit (stained carpets, stained hard woods, a complete mess). And then they moved out without giving us notice (as friends, we didn't give them a lease-BIG mistake). They also did not clean up the unit prior to leaving. It was gross....smelled like dog excrement (to give Joy the benefit of the doubt, she did try to clean up after him, but the dog was seriously neurotic and had "attachment issues" and would defecate every time they left the apartment). So we kept in touch, but things were never the same. The relationship was always a little bit strained. Lesson to all-DON'T RENT TO FRIENDS OR least not without a lease!

During the course of our friendship (when we were close), I told Joy all about my pcos and how we wanted very badly to have children. I told her my hopes and fears.  After the apartment fiasco, Joy and her husband moved to a townhouse. Dan and I moved out of the city when I landed my job as a school psychologist. We lost touch for awhile. For about one year, in fact. Then I get a call out of the blue. Joy wanted to meet for lunch (she was home visiting her parents; we are from the same hometown). I guess it's the fertile-radar. I knew what she was going to tell me. And sure enough-she was PREGNANT!!! And on her first try no less.

I smiled and said all the correct things. But I'll tell you, she was almost *gloating* when she told me the news. Now, I wasn't just being bitter. I have had many friends tell me about their pregnancies. But this was different. She called me after a year of me hearing nothing (when I tried to keep in touch), just to tell me the news. I was one of the first she told too. Weird, yes. A deliberate decision, yes. Then she went on and on about how she couldn't "imagine" being in my situation, yada yada yada. Pissed me off. If there's one thing most infertiles don't want-it's pity! Especially after getting that type of news.

Now Joy is a lot of things. She's brilliant, clever, crafty, well educated and kind (mostly). But she can also be very catty and competitive. Joy had a rough relationship with her generally well-meaning mom growing up and, because of that, has zero self-esteem in a lot of areas. But I won't go into that. Basically, Joy has a tendency to "one-up" people whenever she can. It makes her feel better. And that time was my time to be one-up'd. Really sucked though.

So Joy went on to have a beautiful baby girl. After giving me the news about her being pregnant, she didn't bother to get in touch with me again (and I REALLY was polite and happy for her). I got pregnant with Alex right around when her daughter was born, which would make the kids 9 months apart. I've tried to keep in touch with her here and there, sent Christmas cards, said hi on Facebook, suggested we get the girls together when she was back in town visiting her parents. I never heard anything (for two years now).

Until I get the call. Can you guess. Seriously. She's pregnant again. And she, "Just couldn't wait to tell me". B!tch. No, I'm not calling her that because she's pregnant. I'm calling her that because of the obvious glee she takes in telling me. And to compound the situation...she tells me that I "better get going on number two" because it would be "too bad if Alex were an only child". Really? Because I could think of worse things.

So there you go. It's official. I have a frenemy. And a fertile frenemy at that. That pretty much has to be the worst kind. And yet, I'm not jealous, even of the pregnancy. I'm a mom. I'm a good person. I like myself. I love my life. Apart from being a mom, I don't think she can say any of those things. Oh, also, I'm still crazy about my husband. Her's is a dud.

So here's to cutting the frenemy out of my life for good. I don't have time for that BS!

On the topic of friendship...a pic of my two awesome, supportive friends. Love them!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

They're Here!!!

The twins that is! My cousin, Amy, had her boy/girl (IVF) twins on Sunday!!! After four days of induction, she was not responding to the medication and they had to do a C-Section. Colton Thomas weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces & Reagan Elizabeth weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Both babies are healthy and beautiful. We are giving her a few days of recovery and then going to visit-can't wait to see them!

As I wrote before, Amy is 37 and she and her husband have been trying for a baby for about 5 years. Amy has mild PCOS and her husband has severe male factor issues (as in, needing a fine needle aspiration to get any seamen). Their only hope was IVF and the first round was a success. They were originally pregnant with triplets, but sadly one did not grow past 10 weeks. I'm so happy for Amy and Tom, especially knowing what they went through!

And another infertility miracle is close to be on his way as well. My sister-in-law in Australia is due on August 6th with her son. Veronica has pcos, severe endometriosis and her husband has male factor issues. Talk about a triple whammy! Veronica went through five, yes-I said FIVE-rounds of IVF before getting pregnant. Even more unbelievable is that they canceled her cycle because she only had one follicle! Looks like it was "the one"! We are going to Australia, leaving on the 27th of July, to make it in time for the baby's birth...cannot wait :)

Keep the faith. It will happen. Something will work. Keep going. These two ladies I just told you about never thought it would happen for them and now look. Things can change in an instant. It's normal to think that it will never happen. But that does not mean that it won't!

 Cheesin' for the camera 

 A day at the pool. Why can they never look at me?

 Up at camp for the Fourth! Alex is wearing her Aussie life guard hoodie :)

 Beach day!