Friday, November 25, 2011

Unexpected home Improvement

Mindi has a home office on the lower level of our split level house. She spends gobs and gobs of hours in said room, yet after living here for over 2 years, we had done ZERO work on it to make it our own. Ok, maybe zero is an exageration- we did mount a tv on the wall, as well as declare war on a spontaneous ant colony, but still... other than that, we were living with nasty stained up carpeting, pukey walls that needed some tlc, and a total lack of character. We decided that it was time to make Mindi's office dreams come true, and so we started formulating a plan. We have a teeny tiny budget to work with, despite the fact that the room needs so much work. We decided that we would remove the gross carpet and paint the concrete floor a shiny white. I have been seeing this trend all over houzz.com, and I thought it would be cool in the room. Mindi liked the idea and we agreed that we would add some throw rugs for warmth- badabing. I went to Home Depot this morning to pick up the floor paint and some scrapers to remove the adhesive that was on the padding. I am going to fast forward just a bit here, and say that about an hour later, after much deliberation, I was driving home with 20 feet of carpet partially sticking out of my trunk...

Install carpet on our own???

You BETCHA!

What happened to our budget???

Total for Super on sale carpet (20 feet worth?) $170 including tax!

Damn- we were going to spend more money than that on 2 big rugs! So, we plopped the kids down in front of a movie (or 3) and got to work removing the old and installing the new! This was completely not in the original plan, and typically, it takes me 10 years to decide on something as simple as a wall color- and here we were, pulling all the furniture out of the room and installing carpet (which we have never done before)- and you know what? We couldn't be happier! Despite the sheer size of our room (12ft x 19ft) it was a very straight-forward process, and the results are spectacular! We are taking a trip to IKEA on Sunday to pick up some furniture for the office, so I will check back with some pics after that is all put together!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For you, my readers

Thanks to you guys that commented on whether or not you enjoy watching vlogs. I have to agree with what most of you said- every now and again is ok, but I also really enjoy the act of reading written words. For this post, I will do both, but I am not writing what is in the video, so the video is like a bonus :).

Honestly, I wasn;t even sure if I was going to tell my blog readership about my latest venture. I suppose it is because I am slightly embarresed. It is about weight loss. Big time weight loss. As in... Holy crap, I can't believe I let myself get so fat, and I have no choice but to do somethign about it type of weight loss. I have done a lot of diets in my life. Atkins, South Beach (a few times), Medifast, Nutrisystem (a few times). Most of them worked, but they worked for about 10 pounds, and then, like a slingshot, I went back up and then some (sound familiar to anyone?) I was getting desperate. It is so frustrating to try sooooo hard for sooooo long, only to have the weight come off sloooooowly. After 7 pounds or so, I typically get frustrated and start cheating on my diet. After that happens, boy, look out! I am always sure I "make up for lost time..." if you know what I am saying.

I downloaded the app for www.myfitnesspal.com to my phone. (it is awesome on so many levels, bit the app and the website). It helps you track your foods, calories, and exercise, along with allowing you to (accurately) scan the bar code of almost every food imaginable to make it easier on you. I was on the tail end of a round of Nutrisystem in October, and had lost about 5 pounds. It was nice, but Nutrisystem is not cheap, and the weight, while coming off, was moving slooooowly. I needed a new plan. I needed a bunch of this weight gone to help me feel motivated enough to keep going on my own. I found the HCG Diet. Now, you may have heard of the HCG Diet, you may not have. I did a lot of research on it and decided to give it a try. It is not really a system that you go out and buy from 1 place, but if you actually want to know about it, feel free to comment, and I will tell you about my experience. All in all, however, I am thrilled with it. I started the diet on Halloween (yup- you read that right- no candy!) and I am down 12 pounds and 23" on this, my 18th day. WOW. Like WOWOWOWOW. I am impressed! Looking forward, I have a plan for my continued weight loss, and man am I jazzed about it!

So, here comes my vlog. It is regarding the HCG diet, and I think it accurately depicts my personality, for those of you that are curious! It was recorded yesterday :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Vlog or not to Vlog

...That is the question!!! What say you oh wise readers? Do you like it when people vlog? Does it annoy you? Would you rather read their text or see their face? I suppose it may also depend on the content of the vlog...

Any opinons? Do you think that vlogging is for people that like to look at themselves on camera? Heh heh!

Friday, October 28, 2011

As of Late

We took a little trip to an Autumn Festival at Remlinger Farms. We had a fabulous time and enjoyed a lot of "firsts" while we were there!

 First Canoe ride for Stella


 First nose-picking session on a train captured on camera... 

First serious interaction with a giant squash the same color as her hair...

 Harris' first mountain climbing expedition...

In other news, I finally took a few pictures of the room that I painted as a reaction to the miscarriage, and I think it looks fantastic! I am thrilled with the result of this accent wall. I am also thrilled with the little carrot bundle that I plucked from the garden today. Sadly enough, these tiny, yet plump carrots were planted this last February... I was expecting some monster carrots after having them in the ground for that long! Ahh well!
 So... here is a great shot that shows some awesomeness in my life... A. My awesome green wall, B. My neat-o curtains hanging over my newly painted white wall, C. My sweet IKEA light hanging in my entryway, and D. My cute almost 2 year old crawling up the stairs!

 I also picked up a new plant for the corner table. I love plants!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preschool Politics

Sooooo, Harris and Stella's birthdays are both coming up in December. I would like to have 1 party for the 2 of them together. I am inviting long-time friends, but I would also like to invite some of Harris' preschool friends. The thing with that, however, is that if you invite some, you have to invite all, but my house is only so big, and I am not sure that I can handle 19 children AND their parents in my house at one time. I would offer it as  a "drop off" party, where parents could literally drop their kids off at the party, but then I am looking at a situation of babysitting 10 kids, while trying to be a good hostess, and paying special attention to my 2 most important guests. So what is a mom to do? I could deliver invites by hand or email to certain families, but I know that the kids at school- mine or otherwise will start talking about the party as it gets closer, which may lead to hurt feelings of kids and other moms alike. So, what is a preschool mom to do? I am really not interested in having the party outside of my home. How would you handle this??

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Long Time No Write

Thanks to all the folks that have been inquiring about me! I feel as though this ectopic pregnancy, while in numbers is over, and emotionally, I am ok with it, it will physically be sticking with me for a while longer. After that initial stabbing pain episode last month, I experienced 2 more incredibly painful episodes- the last one occurring in the middle of the night, reducing me to such a puddle of delirium on the floor, I could not even muster enough sense to whisper to Mindi that I needed help. She awoke to the sound of small, chattering sobs, and found me on my knees at the side of the bed, shaking. I have given birth now to two children without any pain medication, and I have to say that the pain of this ectopic pregnancy proved to be far worse than the pain of labor. Following midnight emergency phone calls, more blood draws and a few more ultrasounds, my last ultrasound and blood draw were completed this last Thursday. Finally, my HcG level was down to 0.5 (negative-finally!). The ultrasound, however, showed a mass. The mass was of decent size- picture a jumbo marble. That mass, was, or, is, rather- the ectopic pregnancy. I saw it clear as day on the monitor. There was nothing distinct about it really- no detail of any sort, just a solid blob. My RE says that it should simply reabsorb over time. It still hurts. Every day it hurts. Physically, I mean. Like, well, TMI ALERT whenever I have to poop or if I have to pee. It hurts. Bad. But, the numbers show that the HcG levels are down, so it will not get any bigger... that is a relief I guess... sortof. I asked the sonographer for a picture of what I was seeing because, believe it or not, I really wanted to post it here on my blog. It was quite an interesting view, what with a weird blob, pictured right next to my polycystic ovary. They looked so cozy together... Sigh. I left without the picture- she said she would have to clear it with the doctor, and that she would mail it to me if it was approved.

So where does this leave me now? Well, I asked the doc how long he thought it might take for the blob to be reabsorbed, and he said maybe 4 to 6 more weeks. I really hope the pain doesn't stick around for that long- that would, essentially make this whole process last for... 3 whole months.... jeeeezus!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have a Miscarriage? Paint a room!

Well, that is what I do anyway... you might call it "reverse nesting" if you will! Finally, my last blood test came back looking good. After a ridiculous number of blood tests and doctors appointments, my mystery pregnancy is finally resolving itself! How do I choose to celebrate? I paint a room that is looong overdue for painting!! Our dining room wall was painted a blue color by the previous owners. The blue was not unattractive, but it was in need of repair due to some bumps and scrapes, and we did not have the paint to touch it up. Additionally, we wanted to make it ours, so we are looking at new color options! I got on a painting kick, and now I just can't stop! Unfortunately, when I went to Home Depot today to buy more No-VOC Fresh Aire Paint in "Distant Star"for my ceilings, I realized that they had stopped carrying the brand! GASP!! Dearl Lord... now what?! Well, now I will whip out my can that remains, and match a swatch to Kelly-Moore brand, which also has a really great VOC-free paint.The current count is 9 color samples sitting on my windowsill that have been nixed from the color-running! I have a list of about 7 more samples that I will pick up tomorrow!. I will be sure I show some bfore and after pictures when it is done!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ectopic Pregnancy Confirmed

After waiting in the cushy lobby area of my RE's office for an hour and a half (thank God for home decorating mgazines and smart phones) yesterday, I was given the news that despite having 2 rounds of cytotec, and 1 D&C, the pregnancy still existed, and my hormone levels were still going up. My RE told me that, while the level was not going up as they would for a viable pregnancy, it was going up nonetheless, and firmly recommended that I accept an injectable medication called methotrexate. I agreed, and got the shots. How could I not? I have been strung along on this roller coaster of miscarrying a baby that never seemed to exist... at least inside my uterus... I wil never know where the real embryo ended up implanting. It was obviously not in my uterus. It could have been in my fallopian tube, as (95% chance of tubal pregnancy) would suggest, or, it could have been somewhere outside of my tubes, including my ovary, bowel or spleen. This is like an episode of the twilight zone! During my last ultrasound, on Thursday, the sonographer really looked hard. She was unable to see ANYTHING, ANYWHERE. I was certain my HcG levels would go down, and man, was I suprised when they had actually gone up. Incredible. Well, I am going to get stuck again on Thursday to check those HcG levels again. Cross your fingers that they go down if for no other reason than my sanity. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Miscarriage Continues

On Monday, I had my D&C. Mindi came to be with me and drive the car. Both of the kids were with her and so she brought "the secret weapon" aka our portable dvd player. It worked like a charm- my son has fallen in love with the Care Bears. Apparently, his favorite is "Share Bear" how cute!

I digress.

I changed into my gown and was introduced to the anesthesiologist. He was a very young and attractive guy- mid 30's with 4 kids of his own and very nice teeth. (What?! I am a teeth person!) Anyways... I was pretty relaxed during the prep for the procedure. I am the kind of person who likes to spread good cheer, and if I have a compliment to give, I rarely keep it bottled up. I kept thinking about how nice this guy's teeth were, but for some reason, I opted to keep the compliment to myself. We started talking about other things, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. It was a quick procedure- 20 minutes tops. After a few minutes and a bag of cheez-its, the anesthesiologist came in to see how I was. He didn't stay long, just a few seconds, and then he left. Then my RE popped in with a resident by his side. The resident was a little stud too! Young, attractive, and one of the nerd-chic kind of fellas that could totally make a bow tie look hot. He totally rocked his Clark Kent glasses. Strange I tell you- strange. After the RE told me that all went well, he left. I was just about to get dressed when I blurted out the the nurse- "wow, that anesthesiologist had really nice teeth". She looked up at me and chuckled- "I know, you already told him that"... Huh? Oh boy... the way she was chuckling, I kind of wondered what else I had come up with in my drug induced state!! No, really... I really wonder! :-O

All was well Monday and Tuesday. I wasn't really cramping at all, I didn't have a whole lot of bleeding either, and I was feeling really quite settled. Then, last night the story changed. I was doing a little painting to the ceiling in our office. Nothing strenuous, just cutting in the edges in preparation for rolling. All of a sudden, I got a sharp pain in my right lower back. The pain traveled around to my pelvis and down into my lady bits. Soon after that, it encompassed my entire lower abdomen. The pain was intense- shooting, piercing pain. I walked around the way I did when I was laboring with my children- panting, swaying, blowing air through my lips. I tried to go to the bathroom but the pain of sitting down was so much that I shot up immediately. Mindi was concerned. I was concerned. After I caught my breath, I called the doctor. He asked a list of questions to rule out certain things like UTIs and infection. He then told me to take 3 Advil to see if it helped the pain. He instructed me to call and come in the next day if the pain was still there. The Advil helped, and by the morning, the stabbing pain was replaced by extreme tenderness. I figured that the tenderness was due to the strain on the muscles the night before.

I get a call at about 9am from my IVF Coordinator, asking how I am. I tell her I am just tender. She quickly informs me that she wants me to come in for an ultrasound right away. Why? I asked her, surprised. "The lab was unable to find any gestational tissue from your D&C".

What. The. Fuck.

Ok... I quickly find care for my 2 kids with 2 different moms (Thanks Loren and Lica!!!) and rush downtown. They told me that they were now looking for an ectopic pregnancy. Now, that doesn't make much sense to me, but aparently ectopic pregnancies have been known to "throw off" alternate gestational sacs, similar to the one that they saw on my first ultrasound.

God Damn this is long. Maybe I should have stopped when I got to the part about the sexy nerd resident and the hot anesthesiologist with nice teeth...

The sonographer found blood in abdominal cavity (from what?!) but no tubal pregnancy, and no remaining tissue in my uterus. So trippy. Now I will be going back on Saturday for another blood draw. If my HcG levels go down, then we will play the wait-it-out game. If they don't, then they will have to assume an ectopic pregnancy that they will have to look harder for on ultrasound, or is potentially outside of my tubes and uterus. Man this sucks.

At least my anesthesiologist had nice teeth.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The News

This morning, after waking up, I snuggled with Harris on the couch. He is such a sweet boy with his mamas. He rolled over on top of me, lifted my shirt and kissed my tummy. "Good morning little brother or sister" he said in a sweet, yet completely serious voice. In that moment, I wanted to die.

We haven't told him yet that there is not a baby there. I might not actually tell him, but I feel guilty at the same time. He is so excited, but then I also think that because he is only 3.5, he probably wouldn't notice if the baby took an extra 2 months to bake...

Like many have said before me, I know that this miscarriage is not my fault. I know that there is nothing that I could have done or not done to change the outcome, but I can't help but feel like I have stolen something from my family. Like I took a gift away from Harris that I had just barely handed to him. It actually feels like the same kind of mourning I had right before Stella was born. The feeling that I was taking something away from Harris by adding another child to our lives. I mourned the loss of time and attention I knew he would no longer get, and as much as I knew how much joy a sibling could bring to his life, I felt like I was taking something away instead.

The second round of pills did even less than the first. I took them, and absolutely nothing happened. No cramps at all, no bleeding at all. To think- all of that good vicodin, going to waste. Tisk tisk tisk.

I have a D&C scheduled for Monday morning, bright and early. I just want it to be over. I just want to switch back from "damage control" to "optimistically trying to conceive".

Someone pass me the tissues, eh?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Challenges Continue

I just couldn't shake what Kat said from my head. Misdiagnosed miscarriage? Me? Is it possible? I sat my ass in front of my computer and read for hours. I read over and over again that a blighted ovum is not really diagnosable until at least 8 weeks. I was only 6w 3d. I kept reading over and over that it is much more difficult to visualize early pregnancy via ultrasound in women that have a retroverted uterus (a uterus that tilts up and back towards the spine as opposed to forward over the bladder). I have been told over and over that I have a retroverted uterus. I read medical sites and message boards. I tried to make sure that I spread out my research over a broad spectrum of sites- not just those dedicated to misdiagnosed miscarriages. (Although if you are up for some interesting stories, I highly recommend the site http://www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com/). After doing all the research that I could, I came to the conclusion that, in my particular situation, there seemed to be a 50/50 chance that the doctor was wrong. But, I couldn't help but wonder if there was something else on that ultrasound that clued my RE into the immediate diagnosis of miscarriage due to blighted ovum. I knew, that as the patient, I only had the information that they handed me, so I called the office back that same night and asked the medical assistant to do some sleuthing for me. I wanted to know what other factors went into the diagnosis. She called me back late in the evening, telling me that she was still trying to gather some more information, and that she would call me in the morning, I really appreciated the fact that she called me, even to let me know that she wasn't done with the search yet. Now that is service, I say!

Yesterday morning, I got the phone call. She had taken the opportunity to sit down with 2 sonographers (the one that did the initial scan plus 1 more) and my RE to learn about their findings. On the phone, she reported back to me that the fact that there was no visible fetal pole or yolk sac, coupled with the fact that the gestational sac was measuring at only 5w1d (a full week and 3 days behind) were the telltale signs of a failed pregnancy. That was all I needed to hear. I know how important the measurements are so early in a pregnancy, and because we knew the exact timing of everything (due to it being an IVF cycle), I knew that it was what it was, and I knew what had to be done. I drove to the pharmacy, and picked up the pills that would help my body complete the miscarriage process.

I would be interested to hear from other women what their experience was using Cytotec(Misoprostol) for a miscarriage. So far, my experience has been much different than I had expected. After reading the literature that I was sent home with from my Doctor's office, I expected that I would stick some pills up my lady bits, wait a few hours, and then cramp and bleed profusely for about 4-8 hours, and then it would be done. After that I might bleed like a regular period for a few days, and then I would go in for an ultrasound to make sure it was all out. What I got yesterday, was totally different.

I took my first dose at 2pm, and my second at 4pm. I experienced very very mild menstrual like cramps for about 3 hours until 7pm. It was then that I started spotting and getting the chills, but for the most part, it was just piddly menstrual cramps. I thought for sure, by 7 pm I would have a rushing river down there. But alas- there was nothing more than pink when I wiped.

It wasn't until 9pm that I started getting contractions. The contractions continued every 15 minutes until about 11pm. Then they stopped. The end.

What? The end? What happened to the copious bleeding? Ummm someone forgot to send my uterus the memo I guess... Hey UTERUS! YOU HAVE A JOB TO DO! C'mon lady, we have got to clean it out so as to prepare to try again! Damn drugs. I changed my pad, laughing at the teaspoon of blood at most that was there. (Should I have offered a TMI warning? Yes? oh, well, sorry...) I put on a new pad thinking that maybe something miraculous would happen in the middle of the night. I popped a vicodin and went to sleep. I slept great heh heh.

This morning I called the Dr.s office again and told them of my experience. They called in another prescription and I picked it up right before lunch. It is almost time for my second dose, and I am still having no cramping and no bleeding whatsoever. I hope to God that this second try does the trick because I really do not want to go in for a D&C.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Fetal Pole

This morning I went for my first ultrasound of this pregnancy. I got undressed and up on the table. The sonographer came in and was quite pleasant while we chit chatted a bit as she prepared the ultrasound probe. I talked about my kids and how excited Harris was to have a new sibling on the way. She was taking some measurements and nodding to my stories. I didn't even look at the screen except for when she told me that I had a half full bladder that she wanted me to empty because it was impeding her view. I shuffled down the hallway, covered in my paper drape. Upon returning, she took some more measurements and I kept chatting away, waiting for her to tell me to look at something. After about 12 minutes, she pointed to something on the screen. You know, a blur, a blob, or a smudge. What I saw was a roundish circle. And that was it. She turned to me and said "I see the gestational sac but no fetal pole". "Oh, OK" was my response. She stood up quickly and told me to get dressed- that she would meet me outside. It wasn't until I got to the consult room that I realized what a fetal pole was. THE BABY! Basically, this woman had just told me that she did not see a baby in my uterus.

My RE came in and softly laid it out. There was essentially something wrong with the chromosomes of my embryo, and while it did implant after the transfer, the gestational sac and beginnings of a placenta continued to form, while the yolk sac and fetus did not. This is also (what I found out later after my own research) called a blighted ovum. After a deep sigh, I simply said "ok, what do we do now?" He explained my options. I could either
1. Wait it out and allow my body to go naturally into the miscarriage
2. Take a suppository that would make my uterus contract in such a way that I would expel the tissue within a few hours
3. Get a D&C performed

I am not into really invasive procedures unless necessary, so I new I didn't want a D&C. I also knew that, if this was really the end of the pregnancy, then I just wanted to wipe the slate clean, and be done with it, so I wasn't really into the whole 'waiting 2 to 7 weeks for my body to take care of business' bit. I opted for the suppositories. He saluted me for being a forward thinker, and thanking my lucky stars that we caught this situation early, as opposed to growing more and more attached to the pregnancy, and finding out later.

The medical assistant came in the the prescription and instructions. I thanked her and left, waving cheerfully at all the girls in the office that I have grown to know and like. Can you sense the denial here? I got to my car, and called first my midwife. I had to cancel the appointment we had scheduled for 4pm. The next call went to my parents. I had been speaking to my mom right before the ultrasound, and she wanted to know how things went. After that, I called Mindi's mom. I drove straight to the pharmacy. After dropping off the prescription, I called Kat. Supportive as always (as are all of my friends) she helped me talk it out simply to one last person before having to tell my wife, Mindi.

I got home. Mindi was smiling. I blurted out "there's no fetal pole". She didn't say anything, but the look on her face told me she thought I was joking when I quickly followed it up with "there is no baby". I sat on the couch, feeling drunk and exhausted, and explained it. We had a moment, and then went our separate ways in the house, as she had to go back to work, and I had to be a momma to Stella. I sat on the living room chair in a heap. Kat called me back. She started saying something..."...are they sure..... Dr. Google....maybe a mistake.....misdiagnosis....are you sure..." As much as I love Kat, had she been standing next to me in the room, I might have punched her in the shoulder. You know how it goes- your kid has a runny nose, you run to doctor google, and before you know it, you are convinced that your child has a rare form of hypothermia brought on by the breeze made by a rare bird's wing, last diagnosed in 1875 by some French Doctor whilst visiting Greece. Ok, a little exaggeration- but you get the point. I vowed to her that I trusted my Doctor, and that was the end of the conversation.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camping

Hot apple cider- the drink of choice for the newly pregnant...
We have gone camping a number of times, but this camping trip had to be the best by far. We invited a number of friends to come along with us, and it was simply delightful in every way. The different personalities all melded perfectly, and everyone had something interesting to bring to the late- night adult conversation. The kids all had a blast exploring and playing together, as well as peeing on everything that didn't move... The babies had fun rolling around with the big kids, the food was fantastic, and it seemed as though everyone had a part to play! If you have never gone group camping, I highly recommend it! We ended up having 5 kids and 8 adults. It was the perfect amount of people for the 3 beautiful campsites that we had. Any more, and it would have been too much I think.

My beautiful friend Kat



Harris applying sunscreen. What goes around comes around...

"Auntie Kat" with Stella


My favorite unscripted moment!


Our friend Ken, Anna (aka Kat & Anna!) Mindi and Stella

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Day at The Faire

Last summer, we packed up our family, and headed down to the Renaissance Fair! We had a jolly good time, and enjoyed all of the people in Renaissance garb. Mindi, being of... hmmmm... non- rambunctious spirit, doesn't especially enjoy dressing up. I mention this because while we were at said Faire, she mentioned on a few occasions that she actually felt out of place in street clothes! I was amazed. I was even more amazed when she actually asked me to make us all costumes for this years Renaissance Faire! Time sped by, as it always does, and the next thing you know, the Renaissance Faire is in a week and a half, and I have found myself needing to sew full costumes for 4 people- and on a budget!

It was the pure excitement that fueled my sewing all-nighters! Now, I must preface this by saying that I would consider myself a beginning/intermediate sewer- I now my way around my sewing machine, I love my serger, but I have only worked with a pattern once, and that was in junior high school. Lucky for me, (I guess) I didn't have a pattern, and instead relied on illustrations and general instructions that I found online. I have to pat myself on the back here, however, because I think that all 4 costumes turned out splendidly! First, I made my dress. It consisted of a "kirtle" or under dress, and an apron overdress. I trimmed it up with some trim and made a belt with some leftover fabric from the kirtle. It was BY NO MEANS an expert job, but I was proud to wear it! Next up, I made Stella's dress. It was a ridiculously simple A line dress with an elastic neckline. I then made her a little apron, bonnet cap, and a little brown pouch that attached to her apron belt for depositing bitty rocks into. Mindi's shirt came next. After 3 fittings, it fit her perfectly, and she kept mentioning how comfortable it was, which totally rocked my world. I made a similar shirt for Harris, but without a collar, and more little pouches for everyone! We geared up, suited up, drove an hour. braved the Burger King in our strange clothing, and then finally arrived at the Faire! We felt totally comfortable in our costumes, and a number of The whole time we were there we saw 1 teenage girl wandering around solo, playing a wooden recorder. For all we know, she could have just come as a patron. It was pretty disappointing. BUT I got some cute pictures of my kids! Wanna see?? Do you??? Well, I do lol.





He was imitating a pirate that he was watching in front of him!




Last year, this guy scared Harris to bits! AMazing how they change...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Show the Girl Some LOVE folks!


Hello readers, my blog (and real life!!) friend Crystal asked me to post this because she needs help getting participants for her dissertation examining grief following the loss of a companion animal. If you or anyone you know fits the following criteria (either A or B) and would be willing to take a short online survey, please email her for further details. Thank you!


Group A)

You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;

  • You have experienced the death of a companion dog within the past 5 years.
  • You have attended therapy during and/or following that loss. (The therapy does not need to have been specific to that loss)
  • You are over the age of 18.
Please email Crystal at cagrief@gmail.com (for more information or to see a flyer click here)

Group B)

You may qualify if you meet the following criteria;

  • You are a therapist licensed either at the masters or doctoral level.
  • You have been practicing for at least a year.

Please email Crystal at cagrieftherapy@gmail.com


Thank you,
Crystal

Give it up ladies! This girl (Crystal) is one of the nicest people I know, and has been working far too hard for far too long to get stuck on her dissertation at the very end!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

About Being Pregnant

I realize that I very much glazed over the whole "getting pregnant" part of the announcement. As I mentioned before, I wasn't going to share at all until I was into my second trimester, but then I felt like I wanted my community (all you guys!) with me the whole time, then I regretted saying anything for some reason, maybe fear? (Of something? Who knows what?) Now I am back to being happy that I announced it. LOL Still with me here folks? Oh, the mind games I drag you through sometimes... I realized that it was important for me to share this part of our journey, if for no other reason than that this is, as I have mentioned before, my online diary for myself- with a public audience. Soooooo... Phew. That made me out of breath!

We did a frozen embryo transfer via IVF. I didn't really feel like it was a big deal- I wasn't jumping up and down with excitement each step of the way- not because I wasn't excited to have another child, but I would have to admit that, being 2 women, our method of getting pregnant is far more lack luster than other methods I can think of! Also, it is number 3. The first through 5th times we went into the doctor's office for our inseminations while trying to become pregnant with Harris were very exciting. We were all giddy with the possibilities, and every new appointment was full of wonder! I even remember being excited to be stuck with the big needles full of the HcG hormone. The novelty wore off pretty quickly after that, however, and getting pregnant had become just a series of doctor's appointments.

I was very stoked when the nice lady from the lab called t tell me that I was, indeed pregnant. After my sleepy haze wore off, I was drunk with excitement. The [hormone level] numbers, however, were on the low end. She followed that up by saying that it was not uncommon to have lower initial numbers (mine was 46) with a frozen embryo cycle. I kept myself pretty quiet about it since I wanted to wait until my next blood draw (2 days later) to see how much my numbers had gone up. She said that they wanted the number to at least double. 48 hours later, my numbers had about tripled to 161. I felt very relieved to say the least. My ivf coordinator requested that I go in for 1 more blood draw to check the numbers tomorrow morning, so Harris, Stella, and myself are going to trek on downtown again. I have my first ultrasound scheduled for 2 weeks from today! I feel relieved. In an effort to help it be more real I peed on some left over pregnancy tests that I had stashed away, and snapped a few token pictures of those beautiful, BEAUTIFUL positive pregnancy tests.

BEHOLD THE GLORY!


P.S. My hand and tummy are totally fine now. I had 100% plans to go to my doctor after a certain amount of time elapsed. Luckily for me, just before said time elapsed, my stings totally calmed down. Thanks for your well wishes and suggestions, and I will definitely be staying away from any wasps that I see! That is, of course, unless they stupidly decide to make their nest under the path of my lawn mower.... grumble grumble... 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Wasp Goodness

Continuing on from yesterday, when I was attacked by the wasps... I thought that the swelling in my hand would have gone down by morning. I was up all night with intense itchiness in my hands and on my tummy. When I say intense, I mean it was severe. I was tossing and turning all night and on the verge of tears. When I got up this morning, my hand was even more swollen, and the red ring of death (as I like to call it) on my tummy was twice the size that it was the night before. Looking down at my hands, my fingers looked like fat little sausages... mmmm... sausages.... up to my first knuckle. I was miserable. We tried vinegar and baking soda (what a surprise!) since we read that vinegar could help to neutralize the venom, and that a paste of baking soda was soothing. I don't think the vinegar helped me much, but I am giving it another try as I type this with 2 cloths wet with vinegar sitting on my sore spots. The baking soda was quite soothing, but after I rinsed it off, the effects were gone as well. I tried taking a little bit of benadryl to help the swelling go down. All the benadryl seemed to do was make me sleepy. So sleepy, in fact, that when I was awoken by the lady from the lab, calling to tell me that I was pregnant, my response was, well, you could say, less than enthusiastic. "Oh yeh? Mmmm yeh, that sounds great. Tuesday for another blood draw? *Yawn* Sure, what time?" Ok, see you then." Click.

...
...
I barley had the energy to text mindi downstairs, the word "Pregnant".

She seemed to have plenty of energy, however, when she came bounding up the stairs, full of love and lots of kisses for my sleepy self!

Woohoo! Cross your fingers that this little embryo sticks!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jolly Good Time

Ah, isn't it nice to finally have a bout of good weather here in Seattleland! While the rest of the country has been having a fretful combination of massive heatwaves, and, in some areas, massive thunderstorms accompanied by flooding and power outages, we have been scraping by on partly sunny, 64 degree days... Finally, this weekend is shaping up to be just dandy in the 70's and sunny! So what is a good little homemaker to do, but mow her lawn! Yes yes, my friends! Ho hum, la la la, I love to mow my lawn... ouch! OUCH! OUCH OH SHIT WHAT THE?! BLOODY HELL! WASPS! SWARMING! OUCH! MY BACK! AH! MY TUMMY! scat damn things! AAAAH! MY HANDS MY HANDS!!!!!! *running to the garage, yelping to my little Boy to get in the house! Get Mommy!* AH! AAH! OUCH! GET OFF ME! *jumping* swatting* shaking* crying* I am fairly certain I have left the swarm behind but my body is on fire and I need Mindi to check for lingering wasps on my clothes. I tried not to yelp too loudly, as I didn't want to frighten Harris who was watching me, and I didn't want to wake up the baby who was napping. Mindi came out to see me in tears, checked my clothes and we ran into the bathroom to assess the damage. Off came the shirt. More tears, more shaking, all the while, trying to comfort Harris who was concerned. 5 stings in all- not too bad, it could have been worse, but the image in my head of looking down at my black tshirt and seeing 6-8 really pissed off yellow jackets sitting there, knowing that there was at least that many on my back as well really had me shaken up all day. My hand is so swollen and painful, and my back and front itch like mad. Like I said before, it could have been worse. So what happened? Apparently I mowed over there nest. Shit.

On a happier note, I am going in for my pregnancy test tomorrow. I do not have any feeling either way. I am not even cautiously optimistic, because I really have no clue. We shall see!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It was soooo romantic- let me tell you!

Ok, while completely unromantic in every sense of the word, today was an exciting day! We carted the whole family down to the clinic for our 12 noon appointment for our embryo transfer! We considered trying to find a babysitter for the kids, but also knew that Harris was really interested in being there. Luckily, I packed every snack item a kid could ever desire, and wouldn't you know it, poor vegetarian Mindi got stuck doling out turkey jerky as the snack of choice for the kids. It was pretty funny actually. She didn't want to touch the jerky, so every time Stella would want another piece, she would ask big brother to get it out of the bag. What a good helper he was!

I was instructed to take 2 Valium tablets and drink 1.5L of water 1 hour before the transfer. I sighed a deep sigh as I started chugging the water because I knew I was in for some torture. I mean, really- making a woman who has experienced minor loss of bladder control after having two vaginal deliveries (don't tell me you don't pee a little when you sneeze!!!), making her drink 1.5L of water, and then giving her something else t "relax" her... My biggest fear was that while the embryologist was watching, and the ultrasound technician was pressing on my bladder with her ultrasound probe, I would end up accidentally pissing on the Doctor while his head was in my junk! Golly, could you imagine?! Luckily, the nurse allowed me to release a little urine before the transfer so that I would be more comfortable.

While we were waiting for the transfer to occur, the embryologist came in to talk to us about our embryo. During my last appointment, I had to sign the consent for them to thaw the embryo(s). We had 12 frozen, and while the Doctor and I agreed that we would only put 1 back in, I also agreed that I would allow them to thaw as many embryos (1 at a time) as they needed until 1 was viable and in god shape. When we froze the 12 embryos, they were all A+ blastocysts. So, when the embryologist came in and told us that she thawed 1 embryo, and it unfortunately did not make it, I was a bit surprised. The second embryo she thawed did, however, make it, and was thriving and growing in the incubator. In all actuality, call me crazy, I was kind of "relieved" that one of the "perfect embryos" didn't survive. Up until this point in the creation of our family, I have been waiting for the shit to hit the fan, if you will. Up until now, everything has been perfect- 2 perfect pregnancies, 2 easy home births, and 2 wonderful children. I am half expecting to have to have an emergency c-section on my front porch, and have the baby I birth resemble Benjamin Button.

Ok, maybe that is a little unrealistic...
Either way, I want to leave you with our potential baby to be's first picture!!

Aww, look at those plump little cell clusters! How cuuuute!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flat Travel

I read a very witty blog that I am sure I have mentioned in the past. Leslie, the poster, decided to send her family around the country with the goal to visit every single state over the course of the next few months! Each member is currently in a different state, including their baby daughter! Ok, well, maybe not the REAL baby daughter, but the flat versions! We are currently hosting Lucy, their middle daughter (of 3) for a few days. I want to keep her long enough to show her a good time in Seattle! You can read more about their adventure here!
Lucy is here! Lucy is here! Ain't she cute?!

Harris shares his dinner.

Stella trie to give a finger high five!

Look Mom, someone smaller than me!

watching a movie with the girls

dropping Harris off at school!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sharing is Caring right?

So.. let's see. I don't even know where I left off in life since my posting has been somewhat sporadic lately! We just got back from a week long cruise on the Allure of the Seas through Royal Caribbean cruise lines. The cruise was amazing, the ship was amazing, the kids activities and programs were great, and we got to know some new relatives a lot better. It really was a fantastic vacation. I would like to round up some photos to post in the not too distant future.

There was another camping trip thrown in there for good measure before the cruise vacation, and I would like to write about that too.

I just read about the DHA put in baby formula being bad. I am not going to go into it here, but here is the link if you would like to read more... http://www.safbaby.com/false-claims-that-dha-in-organic-and-non-organic-infant-formula-is-safe

And last but not least, I wanted to share something else that is personal in nature. Now, when we started this whole "thing", I decided to keep it mostly under wraps. I didn't feel like being as outward with it. But as the time grows nearer, I am finding myself desiring to share. Next Thursday, we are going in to do an IVF frozen embryo transfer. We have been "working" on this cycle for about a month now, and it is almost time! Thinking back to the last time we did IVF and got Stella out of the deal, I was never nervous or concerned (minus that little 8 week spotting incident) that there would not be a baby at the end. This time, however, I am nervous that an embryo might not "take" the first time around. Frozen embryos aren't quite as strong as fresh I guess. It would totally bum me out because 1. I want to get pregnant now 2. this shit is expensive man! and 3. The suspense is killing me! After 2 labor intensive efforts at getting pregnant with my last 2, I am ready to just be pregnant already. But, good things come to those who wait I guess, right?

Anyone else out there going through an IVF cycle now or soon?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well Holy Crap

One could argue that I am about to post this video of my firey redhead because she is butt nekkid. While I do not deny that I think it makes her all that much cuter, I am really posting this video to show the world that FINALLY my 18.5 month old girl is walking! For real! Really walking! Holy Moly! I was convinced that she would be in college, crawling around the carpeted floor of some skanky frat party... ok, well, maybe I just thought that up right now... ewwww. Ok, I need to stop thinking about that altogether... Anyways- I managed to grab the camera as soon as I saw my little lady stand up and decide that she wanted to be a big girl, and walk to the bath! I love miraculous timing!

Untitled from Lynn L on Vimeo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

We decided to kick off our summer with a camping trip! Mindi was really busy with work the week before the trip, and so it was up to me to pack everything up. Considering I had to take care of the 2 little ones whilst packing the gear, the clothes, the food, etc all myself, I think I did a pretty good job. The only notable thing that I forgot were our pillows (d'oh!). As you can see, it rained. No, I mean, it rained big time. We were prepared, however, as we had 7 tarps with us, and we utilized every one of them! Our campsite looked like a squatter city. It was awesome. In all reality, the use of tarps allowed us to create quite a cozy atmosphere. Almost like a real house with individual rooms. Truly! We had a bedroom (the tent) a living room (the covered screen room) and even a bathroom! We always bring the port-o-pot (what an awesome thing) and the tarps really allowed for a lot of privacy. The whole time I was setting up the tarps, I was feeling a little....mmm... dizzy. I chalked it up to over-exertion. No biggie. I moved on. Mindi rocked it out by keeping both children busy for the whole 2 hours it took me to finally set up camp.

That first night was interesting. It was about 43 degrees. We have some good sleeping bags, and the biggest challenge was trying to get Stella to stay in her bag. Luckily, we bundles the bejeezers out of her with the knowledge that she would wiggle out in the night, and she seemed perfectly comfortable. Harris looked cozy and Happy, as did Mindi. I, on the other hand, was freezing. I had the same bag as everyone else, I had on my layers- I was prepared, but holy crap was I cold! I had a chill I just couldn't shake!

The next day, we visited the Train Museum. Needless to say, it was the absolute highlight of Harris' camping trip. He loooooves Thomas. I try to avoid Thomas for the sake of my own sanity, but I can dig some good ol' fashioned history!


Stella is still not walking. She will walk while holding a hand, but if you let go, she is down with the count. Mommy Mindi and Stella got some good practice while we were waiting to board the train!

Harris was really excited about his first pressed penny!

 
The train car that we sat in was very cool. It was originally made in the early 1900s and modified many many times. There was a little poster detailing it's history.



Below, you can catch a glimpse of our bathroom/ tent entry! We stayed nice and dry the whole trip!


The trip was overall, a a good one. We had a little trouble in the toddler enthusiasm department, at times, but it was all good in the end. The second night, the chills returned with a vengeance. I was miserable. My teeth were chattering, my body was shaking. My throat was raw. I was drooling myself dehydrated. I had gotten the flu. Fuuuuuuuuudge. We had planned to stay for three nights. I am not a buzz killer. I am a borderline martyr. I don't quit on camping trips. That second morning, after the realization that I had forgotten a mixing bowl and cooking spray for our pancake breakfast, we quickly decided to run off to Micky D's for some nuked pancakes. While we sat there, we talked about the enthusiasm level of the boy, coupled with my flu (you have be KIDDING me!), and decided to call it a day. We went back to camp and closed up shop. We were home by about 2p, and set out all of our gear to dry. We learned some good lessons on this camping trip, and we can't wait to go again!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We Love You Bob

As you may know, Harris received a beautiful Betta fish for his birthday from a good friend back in December. We knew he liked Bob, he would say hi from time to time, and Stella would say hi to him every day as well. We enjoyed caring for him, with his lively personality and flashy fins. We made sure he was well fed and that his 1 gallon bowl was clean. That was my main job. Every week, I would do a bowl clean. It was pretty easy to tell when it was time to clean it, and I enjoyed the job.

1 week, it was bowl cleaning time (on the calendar) but the water didn't look especially dirty. I decided to wait a few days. It was sunny outside. We did some gardening, and enjoyed our time outdoors. Little did we know that the combination of a few warm days outside, resulting in a warm house, coupled with a delayed water change would result in something so terrible. Bob became sick. He was bloated and constipated. His fins looked less-than perky. After about a day, he wasn't swimming so straight. Mindi jumped online to try to figure out what was wrong with our fish. We were able to pretty much self diagnosis him with Dropsy, a bacterial infection directly linked to water quality. You can imagine I am pretty much flogging myself emotionally right now. How could I have been so lazy? How could I have been so inconsiderate? This little fish was depending on me for a healthy living environment! I am a Pisces... can you tell? We knew we had to do something to help Bob or he would die. I went to PetCo to try to find a fish medicine. I came home with a heater for his bowl after realizing that his ambient temperature was far to low for a Betta (on average 67, while the optimal temperature for a Betta is 78), and a bottle of medication that I thought would help him. A day passed and he looked worse. I did more online research, and then rushed him to the PetSmart. The fish lady examined him and offered me the right kind of medication. She was optimistic, and so we were as well. We treated him for the full recommended week. He did look better, but not even close to healthy. I started another round of medication. Today was the last round of week 2. He looked horrible, It seemed as though his Dropsy was cured, but his belly was all distended because, believe it or not, he was constipated. We researched how to relive that and had no luck with the recommended treatments. I realized that the chance of a cure was slim. I knew it was time to help him in a different way. He was suffering. I am sure that there may be some folks out there that are half-chuckling with the thought that fish don't have feelings. Think what you want people. They can feel pain. I digress. I did some more research. Research on the most humane way to euthanize a fish. I found a wealth of amazing and thought provoking information. We chose this method, rated the second most human method of euthanization second only to the anesthetics that only vets use. I did the legwork to prepare the scene. I asked Mindi to do it for me, and I left the house like a coward. I cried on the way to the grocery store. I whimpered to the nice checkout lady who "felt my pain", and I nearly fainted on my way back to the car. Bob is no longer in pain. Taking a life is profound, even if it is "just a fish". We love you Bob.

If any of you ever find yourself in a similar situation, in that you feel that your fish would be better off not suffering, please follow the links above. On a quick side note, do NOT EVER flush a live fish, freeze a live fish, crush a live fish, or boil a live fish. That is inhumane.


I hope that you all give your pets an extra belly rub or scratch behind the ears tonight. Tap the tank and tell them that you love them, or give them a bubble making scuba diver to keep them company. We talked with Harris about it tonight and we will all bury Bob together in the morning.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No, The Sickies Will Never End...

Friday afternoon there was a Marathon Fundraiser at Harris' school. He was very excited to participate, and there was a fantastic theme! It was called the Earn Your Stripes! Marathon. All of the kids wore white shirts, and every time they would complete a lap, they would get a painted stripe on their white shirt. In the end, they all looked like zebras, and man, what a great incentive that was for the kids! As you will note below, there are no pictures of Harris' Zebra shirt. He woke up that morning with a fever of 104 degrees. We gave him Ibuprofen. It helped the fever, but obviously, we had mixed feelings about bringing him to the marathon. he had trained so hard, and was so excited about the marathon, and the ice cream afterwards. We gave him 3 options.
1. Stay home.
2. Go to the Marathon to cheer on his friends and eat ice cream.
3. Go to the Marathon and run.

I knew he was in no mood or shape to run, and so I was not surprised when he picked number 2. With a sigh of frustration at the overall situation, Mindi and I agreed to keep him away from the other kids, and to be on guard for whatever happened. We went, he got his number, and for a moment, I saw the pride in his eyes.



The pride was quickly replaced by misery, and he asked to go home before the Marathon even started. I felt so bad for him, and we went home. By that evening, his fever peaked at 104.9. He was complaining of on again/ off again leg and foot pain. He has been battling fever all weekend.


Tonight the fever hit the highest we had ever seen it go. Just 30 minutes after his Acetaminophen was "scheduled" to wear off, he weakly called for Mindi. His temperature read 106.1. We both jumped into hyper speed. In a whirlwind, Mindi administered another dose of Ibuprofen, I got him cold cloths and water, and she started up the bath. I swooped him up from his bed and jumped in the tub with him. I didn't even take my clothes off.


I eventually got him turned around and practically laying in the water on his back while I sponged tepid water over his torso and forehead. Finally, the Ibuprofen and bath did the trick and his fever came down to 102. I will be taking him to the Dr. tomorrow (Monday). Cross your fingers his temperature doesn't skyrocket again.
Have any of you dealt with ridiculously high fevers before?


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