Monday, April 30, 2012

What a Monday!

Phew!  What a day!  It started out CRAZY, but ended up being quite productive!

I woke up this morning to the rather alarming smell of smoke.  After enough sniffing and wondering what was going on, I dragged myself out of bed to check on the pellet stove.  The house was not on fire, but due to an electrical problem we're having with the outlet the stove plugs into, the power had been cut to the stove earlier in the morning while it was running, causing smoke to back up into the house.  Lovely.  (The windows are STILL open, and it STILL smells like a bonfire in here. Yuck.)

I got ready for my busy day of appointments while Ben was still sleeping...then got a zillion other things done...while Ben was still sleeping.  Finally at 9:00 I went in to WAKE Ben up so we wouldn't be late.  And as Murphy's Law suggests, today would be the morning when Ben would wake up with COMPLETE DIAPER FAILURE.  Ugh.  Needless to say the kid got plopped into the tub...which we did NOT have time for, and he was NOT happy about. 

After shoveling a bowl of Cheerios into his mouth and rushing out the door, I discovered that the air in my back tire was low.  Low enough that I wasn't driving on it.  So I had to fill my tire before leaving the house, after which we raced to Ben's daycare and dropped him off for a day of play.  I then HAULED it to Portland for my dentist appointment.  Half way there I remembered that they had left a message last week which I assumed was a confirmation call and had never actually listened to.  While I was driving I figured I'd just "check" my voicemail.  Again, Murphy's Law.  My appointment had been rescheduled.  UGH.

It ended up being for the best as I needed to apply for a car loan at my Credit Union in Portland.  So I stopped by Don's office and picked up his car (which had an ACTUAL flat tire that needed to be replaced) in hopes of scooting over to the tire place after applying for the car loan.

I successfully applied for and was even approved for the car loan!  (YAY!!!  New car later this week!)  After that speedy appointment I drove (or crawled it would seem) down Forest Avenue to the tire place we usually go to.  They usually have used tires there (which I was looking for to replace my flat tire, since the other tires are still all fine) but of course, that damn Murphy's Law got me once again.  No used tires.  And I'm pretty cheap.  Cheap enough that I wasn't about to spend $90 on a brand new tire when I don't actually NEED a brand new tire.  And since I couldn't take Don's car on the highway with a was back down Forest Ave I went to get my car from Don's office.

So I raced my car down the highway to Wells for an appointment at York County Community College.  Despite the fact that my car is about to be junked, it still sailed along pretty nicely at 80 mph!  (Yes I speed, and No, I haven't been caught yet.)  I made it to the appointment on time and was accepted to YCCC.  Thanks to my BA degree from USM, I had instant admission and I knocked seven classes off my to do list.  The advisor I met with even signed me up for a $1,000 scholarship.  Yes to free money!!

So after a few more stops for groceries and electrical supplies (no desire to wake up to that much smoke again!) I picked up Ben from daycare, where I know he didn't even miss me the tiniest bit, and came home to cook dinner, finish the laundry and fill out applications for YCCC Admissions and Financial Aid.  Now that all of that's done, I think I'm going to sit on my butt for a while and read a book.  Pretty sure I've earned it!

Here's to a much, much, MUCH, less eventful Tuesday....

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Lucky Mom

Now that I've written several posts for National Infertility Awareness Week, I thought I would just do one more quick one and end it on a positive/hopeful note.

At the end of the day, infertility sucks.  It just sucks.  But it also changes you.  And I can't say that it isn't for the better.  I know now that I have a lot more strength than I ever thought.  I physically survived the pokes, prods, exams, and unpleasantries of hormones and the pain from retrievals.  I emotionally survived the heartache, the frustration, the disappointment, the jealousy and the sadness that goes with infertility.  I am stronger now than I was before.

I also learned how hard it is to go through things alone.  I will always be available for anyone to talk to about what they're going through with infertility.  And I also realize that sometimes, you just don't want to talk to anyone.  I get it.  I have a lot more understanding now.

I know that I also appreciate my child more than I would have had I not dealt with infertility.  I appreciate every moment with him, every milestone, every hug, every kiss.  And I appreciate all the miserable attitudes, the poopy diapers, the temper tantrums and the sleepless nights much more than I would have before.  Because I have them.  And I KNOW how lucky I am to have them, because for a time, I thought I never would.

I'm lucky.  And I know it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Infertility Now

Yesterday I did a little googling about National Infertility Awareness Week and found a few blogs that women had written.  Both of these blogs were by women who had already had children after struggling for years with infertility, like me.  They both wrote about how it changed them, and how even after they had their children and made the decision that they were done trying to conceive, infertility still affected them.

After Ben was born I had really thought my infertility days would be over.  Sure, I'd be affected by the experience, but it wouldn't be the all consuming problem that it once was.  And that's true, to a point.  I also swore after Ben was born (or perhaps more specifically, while he was teething) that I didn't want a second child.  I love my son, but he was a rough baby.  But now that I'm watching Ben turn into a pretty amazing little toddler, I can't help but wish that I could do it all again.

Nearly two and a half years after he was born, I see all the people I know with children about Ben's age are either pregnant with, trying to get pregnant with, or have already had another child.  It doesn't affect me like it once would have, when I would have blasted the music in my car crying and singing to my hearts content, but it does affect me.

I always wanted more than one child.  When I was trying to get pregnant, all I wanted was ONE child.  And now I feel a bit greedy that I should want more.  But why shouldn't I?  Someone that didn't have problems getting pregnant wouldn't feel nearly as conflicted as I do.  Sure everyone has to weigh the financial aspects of having an additional child to raise, and the toll it will take on the rest of the family by adding another little body to share attention and time with.  But I have to look at the financial aspects of multiple rounds of IVF.  The fact that it might take several years before we conceive again and the age of not only myself, but my husband and stepsons plays a small factor as well.  And then there's the heart break.  Do I really want to do that to myself again?  More pictures of embryos that never made it to babies?  More days/weeks/months of being sad? 

So no, infertility doesn't stop affecting you once you've had a child.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that it will always affect me when I look and Ben and wish that he could have had a sibling closer to his age.  I'm thankful everyday that I have my son when many women are still waiting for their miracle.  But it still doesn't stop me from wanting, or wishing, or dreaming about another one.  And it doesn't stop me from wishing that infertility would stop interfering with my life...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Pictures

These are pictures of my IVF Babies.  I don't think I've actually shared these pictures with anyone, but here they are.  I'll tell you a little bit about each one.

These two are my first IVF embryos from Boston IVF and the study we did there.  These two were the only ones from the study that developed as far as they did, which really wasn't all that far.  I knew, and I think the doctors and nurses knew as well, that these wouldn't take.  The failure of this IVF hurt.  But I knew going in that this process was experimental.  Although it didn't really make the hurt that much better.

These two embryos were from the shared IVF cycle we did in New Jersey.  These two were pretty much perfect.  One was nine cells and one was ten, it doesn't get much better than that, and I foolishly had my hopes sky high for this attempt to work.  It didn't.  It took a very long time to recover from this blow.  I was a mess for a while.  Perhaps the scariest point in my life so far.  The only little piece of hope that kept me from completely losing my mind was that I had four frozen embryos.

These were the only two embryos of the four frozen ones to develop.  I went down for the transfer with an open mind, but a lot of skepticism.  If fresh embryos didn't take, I had my doubts that frozen ones would.  And when we went in and were told that these embryos were actually smaller than the ones transferred in the previous cycle, I knew better than to get my hopes way up.  But I'm happy to say that one of these embryos was actually Ben.  Feel free to make a guess as to which one he was....I haven't a clue!

It's hard to deal with IVF failures.  I was never pregnant.  I never miscarried.  These were only embryos.  No fetus.  No baby.  So how do you qualify this loss?  It wasn't a miscarriage.  It wasn't a "death."  And yet it was a pretty profound loss.  Because all of these embryos had the potential to become my babies, and they didn't.  They lived in me for a while.  But saying I was pregnant was not medically correct.

It's a lot easier to reflect on this now that I have Ben in my life, but it's still a confusing experience to describe, losing someone that never existed.  For me, I guess, when I think of Infertility Awareness, I think about all the emotions that I felt and how hard it was to explain them.  In my opinion, awareness of the absolutely devastating pain and frustration is as important, or more important, than just raising awareness of the number of couples suffering from infertility, or the causes and treatments for infertility.  Emotions, pain and frustration are often kept hidden because it is so hard to cope with and finding someone to understand is often difficult.  By raising awareness, we should all hope that couples dealing with infertility can find a way to deal with these emotions in an accepting and understanding way.  Only time can ease the pain, but maybe support from understanding friends and family can lessen it in the mean time. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just What Have I Been Up To?

Phew!  Well, I'm back!  What a busy couple of weeks!

The bathroom project I started is going slow but steady.  The walls finally have a coat of paint on them, and the old floor has been removed to make way for the new.  I wish I had more time to focus on getting it all done, but like I said, it's been a busy few weeks!

Don took vacation all of last week and we went to Boston for a few days with Ben.  What a blast!  The weather was beautiful, we stayed right in the city and got in LOTS of exercise walking around, and got to visit some very cool museums.  We went to the Children's museum, which was a lot of fun, but I think Ben will get a bigger kick out of it in a few years when he can absorb the information there and not just run around screaming his head off because he's having so much fun.  We also went to the aquarium, which was fun....but sooooo crowded.  By the end of the morning I think the three of us were about to scream if we stayed there for another minute.  We walked up to Quincy Market and saw a street performer juggle a chainsaw and fit his entire body through a tennis racket.  Pretty impressive....and we were very glad Marcus wasn't with us, because we were both pretty certain he would immediately drop out of high school to start juggling chainsaws.  We also went to the Science Museum which was also a lot of fun.  Unfortunately we were all pretty tired by that point in the afternoon so we didn't get to see every exhibit, but we still had a really nice time.  Ben had fun on the train (we took the Downeaster to Boston...which if you haven't done, I HIGHLY recommend it.) and on the T.  He also enjoyed the novelty of staying at a hotel.  Enjoyed it so much that our last night there he didn't feel the need to go to sleep before 11:00. Ugh.

While we were in Boston, my car was in the garage, sadly receiving a terminal diagnosis.  This month actually marks 10 years since I bought my car, and now at 265,000 miles, it's pretty much at the end of its life span.  The head gasket appears to have a leak which is affecting radiator.  And since apparently the head gasket is ridiculously expensive to replace, my car has reached the end of its life span.  We have started some preliminary car shopping, and I've got to say, it seriously sucks.  We have a pretty tight budget for a new car, but apparently car salesmen are big on ignoring that.  Not sure how spending $12,000 on a car is more affordable than $5,000....but what do I know.  Ugh.  Fortunately my car is still "working" for short commutes, so we're not in a rush to buy yet.  Hopefully a good deal will come our way.  Hopefully....

There, now that I have all the updating from the past week or so done, I thought I'd share another interesting tidbit.  This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Bet you didn't know that, did you?  I didn't know that until a few weeks ago either.  It actually just became an "official" awareness week in 2010, so I think it's going to be a while before it gets the publicity it deserves, so I'm going to help out in whatever way I can to spread awareness.  Even if it's only to 2 or 3 people.  So this week I'm going to focus on blogging about my infertility journey from its beginning after Don's surgery to now, since I still find myself dealing with after effects despite having an amazing son.  It seems the "end" of the journey doesn't just end at the birth of a child.

So here's a link to the blogs I wrote a year ago about my infertility journey to start.  I'll be posting a few more times this week with more information too.  Please feel free to share with anyone you think might benefit from some "awareness."  Sometimes Babies Come From Petri Dishes

Happy Monday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

"I Eat Baby!"

((Sigh.))  My kid is weird.  Very, very weird.

He likes to eat babies.

I'm not sure how it happened, or why this is his new thing, but at the moment, everything needs to be "baby."  Baby Carrots, Baby Oranges, Baby Peas, Baby Beans, Baby Grilled Cheese, Baby Ham, Baby Pancakes.

Which means he eats a lot of things in very, very tiny pieces.  "Oh, Baby Cheese!" He'll say.  And then it's "Ohhhhhhh, cute baby cheese!"  And he will cuddle it.  And then he will eat it.

And it's kind of disturbing.

No, I have not caught him trying to eat actual babies.  I promise if that happens we'll get him some help.  Some pretty intense help...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Before...

So I made the decision to redo our upstairs bathroom this spring. When we bought our house it was an abandoned foreclosure that had not been properly winterized.  As a result, the pipes had frozen and burst and the house was pretty dirty.  Fortunately, those were pretty easy fixes.  Before we moved in we did a quick re-paint of the entire house, ceilings and all.  When I did the upstairs bathroom I took the easiest route and painted it the same color as the bathroom in our old house so everything I brought over would match.  Which was all well and good, but I'm ready for a change.

The upstairs bathroom had a ceiling leak after we moved in that we have since repaired, but unfortunately messed up our nicely painted ceiling.  It also appears that the ceiling paint we used was not mildew resistant.  So I'm repainting the ceiling.  The linoleum on the floor is pretty scuffed up and is peeling back next to the bathtub due to some water damage.  So I'm going to replace the floors.  The window in the bathroom suffered some water damage and the stain has worn off.  So I'm painting all the trim in the bathroom white.  The heat duct cover suffered some major rust prior to us moving it.  So I'm painting that as well.  There's no light over the bathroom sink.  So I bought one.

It sounds like a pretty elaborate project, and I'm pretty sure it will be.  It also sounds like it could be pretty expensive, but I'm hoping it won't be.  I'm hoping it will be a pretty easy project, because I'm going to do most of it myself.  This should be pretty interesting!

Here are the before pictures:

Wow.  My bathroom is seriously ugly.  These pictures make it look gross.  I hope the "After" pictures look nice...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Things I Learned This Weekend:

1.  Do not buy the cheapest air mattress at Walmart.  It's ability to hold air is severely compromised when your two year old bounces on it.

2.  Do not ask your dogs to sleep in your sixteen year old's bedroom.

3.  Sixteen year olds don't have patience for dogs at 2:30 in the morning.

4.  When your dogs move on an air mattress, you move on an air mattress.
        4a-Dogs move a lot when they are sleeping on air mattresses.

5.  Don't expect to get any sleep on an air mattress.

6.  Spending 5 hours in the back seat of a car after spending the night not sleeping on an air mattress will leave you feeling car sick.  Very, very car sick.