Friday, November 30, 2012

the big reveal!!

So, MBL and I had a very special Thanksgiving day because we got to find out what baby #2 is going to be! My family ended up "rescheduling" the Thanksgiving meal to Friday, so we decided having our ultrasound on Thursday would be perfect. It was actually quite a fun filled day: we ran a 5k, found out the gender, and spent the rest of the day at the zoo!

With Piper, MBL and my youngest sister found out the gender at the ultrasound and then kept it a secret from me until we were back at my parents' house. Once we got there, I cut into a cake with the right color inside and saw pink. Fast forward 2 years later and I decided it was MBL's turn to be surprised. Things were a little different this time around as I didn't have as much time or energy to think about how to reveal it to MBL, especially after we decided to meet the rest of the family at the zoo immediately after the appointment. I actually didn't realize my lack of a plan until the morning of the appointment--whoops! I gave MBL a few options and we decided that after the appointment we would stop and buy two different flavors of slurpees--one representing girl and the other representing boy. Once we got to the zoo, I would give him a drink of the correct one (with his eyes closed) and he would have to guess which slurpee it was. Sadly, the 711 we stopped at didn't have blue raspberry, so we picked orange for a boy and red for a girl.

Once the whole family was together at the zoo and my sister had my phone to take a video, I held up the correct slurpee to MBL's mouth and he took a drink. The only thing was he couldn't tell what flavor it was! HA! So, I let him taste it one more time and the result was...

Baby #2 is a boy!!! I'm not going to lie, I knew it was a boy all along. MBL comes from a long line of one of each and so it just seemed like we were destined to have a variety! The tech who did our scan says she's 99% sure it's a boy and that you only get to 100% when they come out. During the scan she even turned on the doppler over the umbilical cord to show me that what we were looking at was indeed boy part not the cord. We'll get confirmation in 2 weeks at my official anatomy scan, but there is pretty much no way this little boy is anything else!

We are SO excited to be adding a little boy to our family. My mom raised all daughters and, so far, my sister has all sons, so it's definitely going to be different being a mom raising BOTH genders, but I'm really looking forward to it. I think Piper will be a great big sister to a little brother and I really couldn't imagine it any other way!

When/if you were pregnant, did you have an inclination towards what you were having? Were you right? Did you experience any initial disappointment over what you were having? If you haven't been pregnant (yet), do you have a preference over what you would like to have?

Monday, November 26, 2012

what I don't believe about infertility

When you are struggling with infertility, you will come across a gamut of articles and posts and comments all about how people view infertility. Any article written about the advances of IVF or other reproductive procedures brings out the naysayers who all have something negative to say about those who suffer from IF. I have to be honest, I tend to sit and read each and every one of these negative comments. At times they made me cry or hurt my heart, but most of the time they made me so enraged I wanted to reach through the screen and shake the person writing that nonsense. Instead of doing that, I decided to write this post all about what I DON'T believe to be true about infertility.

For starters, I really struggle with the generalization that "everything happens for a reason". I totally disagree with that statement and, unfortunately, it's a favorite among those supporting their friends/family through IF. The statement seems perfectly harmless by itself, but when put in the context of IF, it can be really painful to hear. If everything happens for a reason, then that suggests that even infertility happens for a reason and that stillbirth happens for a reason and miscarriage happens for a reason. I think it's fine if after having gone through one of those circumstances yourself, you have come to that conclusion, but I think it's difficult for that statement to always be true. Every single parent I know who has gone through baby loss or stillbirth has said that they would do just about anything to have the baby back with them... Not a single one has said, "Well, everything happens for a reason." I think that senseless things happen and we won't always know why.

To piggyback on that, I also do NOT believe that infertility happens to those who deserve it. Going back to what I said about the comments on articles discussing IF/IVF/ART, those articles ALWAYS have commenters arguing that infertility is God's way of controlling who carries on the population. Or, if they don't mention God, they say that it's nature's way of controlling the population. Ridiculous. I work as a school counselor, which means that inevitably I get to hear all the dirty secrets that families have and I don't mean that in a good way. The school in which I work has students living with grandparents because mom and dad are too strung out on drugs to take care of them. I meet with elementary aged kids (we're talking 5-7 year olds) who are allowed to stay up until midnight to watch scary movies. I currently have a middle school student who is FAILING every single one of his classes and mom refuses to return a single phone call. MBL and I took Piper to a pumpkin patch back in early October and I stood in horror as I listened to a mom beat the snot out of her 10 year old in the handicapped port-o-potty. The idea that fertility is granted to those who deserve it the most makes my blood BOIL. I have read too many blogs to know that the people who would make the most fantastic parents often have the hardest time reaching that goal and it's NOT because everything happens for a reason.

In light of the above two points, I also must add WHY I don't believe that infertility happens for a reason and what I DO believe. I don't believe that I was given infertility because I deserve it. I also don't believe that everything happens for a reason, even though I sit here with a 16 week, naturally achieved bubs in my belly after what has been one of the hardest years of my life. If I were to believe that everyone is given what they deserve, that means that I would also have to believe that children in orphanages who are mentally and/or physically handicapped and will spend their entire lives chained to beds deserve the life they are given.* Or that children born into poverty and drug abuse who will inevitably be neglected and/or abused deserve it. If I believe that infertility happens to everyone for a reason and that it's God's will for some people to have no children, it means that I also must believe that the child I heard beaten in the bathroom deserved it; that somehow it's okay for her to endure that because it's happening for a reason. I've seen too much hurt to know that bad things happen to amazing people and good things happen to the scum of the earth.

What I DO believe is that we can learn from the hard times. I know that because I did not get pregnant easily that I look at parenting in a totally different light. Even without IF, I would have been a good mom, I would have loved my children and been good to them, but I know I wouldn't look at them with the same wonder as I do now. And there have been other things that have happened in my life that were absolutely terrible and I have learned amazing lessons from them, but I don't believe that those things happened for me to learn a particular lesson, instead I believe that sometimes bad things happen because that's the way things are, but we can certainly learn from them. As cliche as it is, it's the simple fact that although we may not deserve the lemons we get, we can still take them and turn them into something sweet.

I know I've said a lot, but this has really been weighing on me. It's been weighing on me because of the job I have and the people I come into contact with on a daily basis. It's also been weighing on me simply because of the judgment I have felt. I know that we all must reach our own conclusions on why we are struggling with infertility or loss, but I just really felt compelled to share my thoughts on the matter. Please share in the comments your own thoughts/opinions.

*This is a fact and most of these children are in orphanages in Eastern Europe. It absolutely breaks my heart.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


If you're here from ICLW, welcome! I have information about our journey to parenthood and our experience with infertility up in the tabs at the top of the page. Basically, we are parents to a one year old after IVF #2 was a success and we are now pregnant with #2 "naturally" after going to CC.RM for our one day workup... It's been quite the adventure!

The past year has been a tough one. Really tough and, at times, I wasn't sure how I was going to keep going along. I couldn't imagine getting to the holidays and having everything be OK. But, miraculously, here we are and everything is better than ok, it's great! I have so much to be thankful for every day...

For one, I am thankful that my marriage has been forced to face ups and downs. I know that MBL and I are in a better, healthier, stronger place because of what we have gone through. I know that we are more grateful for the little things because of the big, hard things that have happened in our life. And while it would have been better all around if we hadn't had to face those big, ugly things, I am thankful that in doing so we have grown closer together.

Every day of my life I am thankful for the gift of parenthood. It was a hard journey getting to this point and I certainly would have loved an easier route, but the end result has been more than worth the pain of our journey getting to this point. Piper is at such a fun age and I just treasure seeing her grow and learn every day. Being her mommy is such a joy and a priviledge!

I am thankful for my family. Not just my little family of three, but my extended family of my parents, MBL's parents, and our siblings. I am thankful that Piper has cousins to grow up with. It's a gift to be surrounded by the people who love and care for you no matter what. And I am especially thankful that I am able to spend quality time with them. Today that included running a 5k and going to the zoo; a day full of great memories!

Finally, I am thankful for the baby in my belly. I am grateful that we have made it this far and that everything looks good. I am so thankful that I get to experience pregnancy again and that Piper gets to be a big sister. I feel very blessed for this amazing gift!

What are you most thankful for today? What are you most thankful for during the every day? How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 19, 2012


This post is a part of the PAIL monthly theme post. To read more about it, please click here.

The timing of this theme could not be more perfect--with the holidays right around the corner, traditions seem to be at the forefront of my mind. Being a parent is such a huge responsibility, and I definitely feel pressured to make good, lasting traditions for our growing family. I want to be diligent about planning out the holidays and making sure that our time together is spent meaningfully. And not because I want to be a perfect mom or the best mom or a Pin.terest worthy mom, I want to have good traditions because it's something I want to be able to give my children.

One tradition I want to have is to make birthdays a big deal. I was so sad when I met MBL because he couldn't remember how he spent his 30th birthday. I thought that was such a shame, birthdays should be special. Birthdays are the one day we get each year to feel really, truly special and celebrated. Plus, I love a good reason to eat cake, give presents, and have a party. My parents always did a great job of making each of us feel extra special on our birthdays. They didn't go crazy and buy us a million presents, but they made sure we were celebrated. We always got to pick the restaurant for dinner and my mom made us our favorite cake. And they always did a thoughtful job of picking out our big gift. I want to make sure that for my kids their birthday is always celebrated in a way that they will remember and treasure forever.

Another tradition I will continue is to have my children attend our big family Christmas party. My dad's family has been having a Christmas Eve party since the 1940's and I've attended every year I've been alive. I told MBL when we got married that I'm willing to compromise on a lot of things, but not on where we are spending Christmas Eve. It's really important to me that my children maintain relationships with their extended family and get the joy of experiencing a big, special, long standing Christmas tradition.

Along with the Christmas party tradition, another tradition I would like to start with my children will be the idea of giving to those less fortunate. I told MBL that every Christmas, I would like our kids to use some of their own money to buy a present for a child who doesn't have as much as they do. MBL thinks it's kind of mean to make them use their own money, but I think it teaches a valuable lesson about sacrificing for others, especially since my kids are likely to have everything they need. I probably won't start this tradition until the kids are a bit older and have a better grasp on giving/sharing.

When it comes to other holidays, the tradition I care about the most is just stressing the importance of being together. Family is so important and the memories that I build with my kids will be something they have with them forever. Things won't always go perfectly and every day life is bound to be full of ups and downs, but holidays and birthdays and special occasions are a chance for us to get together and celebrate the gift that is family. I know that sounds super cheesy, but as someone who fought like heck to have the family I have, I'm going to do everything I can to treasure the special moments that I have with them.

What are some traditions that are important to you? Are they new to your family or are they things your parents did with you?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

different than before

First off, thank you everyone for your congratulations! I am still in shock that there is truly a baby in my belly, which is partially why it took me until I was 14 weeks to make the big announcement.

Basically, this pregnancy has been so different than my one with Piper. First off, there's the obvious, this was a "naturally" achieved pregnancy. We don't have any pictures of this baby as a wee little embryo... Only a picture of my positive OPK. There were no PIO shots for me and I basically had to beg and plead to just get my beta/progesterone drawn. There hasn't been any spotting (unlike the 6 weeks I had with Piper). I have even kept up running.

With Piper, when we got the "official" word that I was pregnant, I had a whole little surprise planned for MBL and it was amazing to see the surprise on his face. With this pregnancy, I took an internet cheapie test, saw a line, freaked out, took a FRER, and slid it under the door to MBL (who was in the other bathroom). Not quite as special as with Piper.

Now, there are some things that are the same... I've still been totally worried about this pregnancy; I spent the first 8 weeks waiting to start bleeding, waiting for the heartbeat to be gone from the ultrasound screen. I've also been battling nausea and have made friends with zo.fran yet again. I also have crazy cravings and can only think of one food that will satisfy me.

I have a whole lot of thoughts on "natural" or "spontaneous" pregnancy after infertility, but this will have to do for now. The short version is that it's about the same as I thought it would be, as in I'm still totally counting down to 24 weeks and cannot wait until May!

Monday, November 12, 2012

what I got from CC.RM

So, MBL and I went to CC.RM for preliminary testing and an IVF consult in August. We flew out there and had all sorts of blood tests run and left with orders for additional testing to be done at home. All in all we spent around $4,000 for just our one day of testing/consultation, but it seemed to be worth it. We were looking forward to working with them and getting more answers about our fertility struggles. We were also looking forward to getting pregnant again (hopefully!). The week we got back I went in for my HSG which came back all clear (much to my surprise, actually). Nine days after we got back, I got a positive OPK and just happened to be returning from a work trip in time to "be" with MBL.

9 days after that I ran 10 miles and moved across the state, convinced that I wasn't pregnant because I didn't feel any more tired or out of shape. The evening of the next day (or 10dpo), I got this:

And then I got this:

And over the next few days, I collected these:

And at 10 weeks we got this:

I am now 14 weeks pregnant with baby #2. Our "freebie" from one day of testing at CC.RM. We are shocked, thrilled, and oh so thankful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

(mostly) wordless wednesday

It's been a busy few days, but I am still trying to find the time to blog at least every two days. So, here are a few of my favorite things in pictures and a few words.

This show always makes me laugh! It took us a while to get on the fan bandwagon, but now we LOVE it!

MBL and I have been on a total popsicle kick. Fall is probably not the best season to be loving a cold dessert, but I find them totally irresistible (especially since you can get 12 for $1.99).

BOOTS! What's not to love about a shoe that helps keep your legs warm? I love to wear boots with leggings or tights.

One accessory that I love to wear with boots? A scarf! I swear, you can never have too many! And I love it when my accessories keep me warm!

And, finally, I am loving my space heater! I swear my office is kept at 60 degrees, so I absolutely need something to keep me warm during the day (other than my coat). I love that with it I can keep my office as warm as I like :).

What are you loving right now? Any other scarf or boot lovers out there? Do you tend to run hot or cold?

Monday, November 5, 2012

the start of something good

(not me)

Today was the start of something good. It's been working it's way to the surface for a while now, but we finally got solid evidence of the fact that things should start turning around soon. After literal months of dealing with negative thing after negative thing, today we got a bit of good news. MBL got a job. He received the official offer letter via email this afternoon. I was at a conference all day and, therefore, unable to talk with MBL over the phone. I knew he was set for a phone call with the head of the company, but I didn't hear anything from him. I ended up finding out about the job offer because I checked his email to see if he had sent a different email regarding another position. I almost burst into tears. Happy, happy tears. Thankfully, I was with my sister who could properly celebrate with me and give me a giant hug. I really, really needed that hug.

When I finally gained composure, I went back to the email and read through the offer letter. And, it was good. Really good. They are offering MBL a base salary that is right in line with what he had previously been making. On top of that, he will receive bonuses for each week he travels. And, he's required to travel 2 weeks a month. They are going to pay him for work they already expect him to do. So, actually, he will be making more than he was making before. I am in shock. I had accepted the fact that it was going to be years before he got back up to a salary with which we could afford for me to stay home either part time or full time. I had spent the weekend on the verge of tears over this. And, now? MBL will have this new job by the start of the new year. At this point, I feel totally comfortable getting through the next two months with just my income and me working full time. There's no longer this giant unknown out there. MBL can do this job from anywhere as long as he is close to an airport. There are limits on the amount of travel he will be expected to complete and they are going to reasonably compensate him for being away from his family, something his former employer had put off for over a year. Finally, this position will allow him to work into his dream position. They told him they would want 12-24 months of field work and then they will move him into the area where he has the greatest expertise.

I've just been spending a lot of time thinking about what it is I actually want out of this life and I just know that I want more time with Piper. She is at such a magical age. She's beginning to try and communicate in full, albeit incomprehensible, sentences and is learning so many new things. I truly hate being away from her. I want to be at home doing all the homemaker type things. I love playing with my girl, running errands, and making dinner. And, with this new job for MBL, I may actually be able to do the things I love again. I am just so, so thankful.

What are you thankful for today (it can be big or small)? Any new and exciting changes in your life?

**I want to add that I wouldn't normally talk so much about money/jobs, but I felt like I needed to include those benefits in order to express why I am so excited about this opportunity!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the tough stuff

Over the past 6 months, MBL and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. Not really a marital rough patch, but more of a life one. Without going into too much detail, MBL has really been struggling. He has never been great with seeking out healthy outlets for his feelings/frustrations and, unfortunately, that has led to him make some bad decisions. Now, I truly believe that this has been a life long struggle for MBL, but it has never been to this extreme before. During this time of reflection and recovery, one of the most important questions I have asked MBL is what precipitated all of this. Like I said his inability to cope healthily with stress/emotions has been lifelong, but clearly something shifted over the last year or two that caused him to really struggle. I never would have guessed his answer... He told me that he really started to struggle when we went through our first IVF. Wow. I really never knew that infertility was impacting him in such a deep and significant way. Sure, I knew that what we were going through was both personally and financially stressful, but I felt like I was taking on the brunt of that. I was, after all, the one receiving all the shots, getting my blood drawn, and having the vag-cam get far too comfortable with me. I just assumed that MBL had the easy role; all he had to do was accompany me to appointments and hold my hand. Oh, and provide a sample on the big day.

Looking back, I feel bad that I was so selfish about the whole thing. He's always been a good provider and a good supporter, I just assumed that he was okay with everything because of how well he supported me through it all. We went to see a therapist after our first IVF failed, but we ended up talking far more about other issues and the stress of TTC/IF/IVF kind of fell to the wayside. And all along it was still an underlying stressor for MBL. I know that I fell into a depression after our first IVF failed and I coped with eating too much and being cranky. I eventually pulled myself out of that funk and tried to get back into running and making healthy choices. I felt good when we went through IVF #2, both mentally and physically. I just never thought to check in with MBL to see if he felt the same because it just seemed like he did. And the reality was that he continued to let various issues pile on top of the stress of 21 months of infertility, $30,000 worth of medical bills, and, then, the anxiety/increased responsibility of expecting a new baby. And I guess he reached his breaking point.

To be completely honest, up until recently (as in the past 6-9 months), I really did not know that MBL was in such a bad place. I had no idea how deeply he was hurting. I've always been able to cope with hard times/stressful situations by turning to friends and family around me and by running. When faced with tough times, I try to buck up and make things better as soon as I can. Even if that means just the rush of endorphins from a good run. Now, MBL should have been verbalizing how he was feeling long before getting to rock bottom. We were seeing a counselor on a regular basis for over a year and none of this was ever brought up. I wish he would have just shared with me or someone else what was going on. How much he was struggling with everything. It's too bad that he didn't have his own version of the ALI/blogging community to turn to. I feel like I have support on every side and MBL doesn't have that. He hasn't built that for himself. So, now we're trying to do that. We're trying to build up MBL's support system and trying to build up our marriage so that he feels like/remembers to share what is going on in his head before it comes out in an ugly way. With all that's been going on and with all that we went through prior to this, I've been saying that something good better be coming our way... I'll have an update on what that is in the next week :).

How have you and your spouse dealt with infertility or any struggle? Do you draw closer together? Do you have any strategies or great resources you want to share?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blogging for Blogging's sake

I have decided that this November I am going to do my darndest to participate in NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month. It's basically a challenge to post every day during the month of November. I've seen other people participate and as I still feel like I'm in a blogging routine funk, I think it just may help pull me out of that! I am also going to participate in ICLW again this month as I really feel like it better connects me with the ALI community and I LOVE getting a chance to get to know new blogs/bloggers.

I like the start of a new month because I feel like it lets me start all over again. There's something refreshing about it being the 1st. And my goal for this month is to get back into blogging. I love connecting to other bloggers and I love having people connect with me through my words, so I'm doing this more because I want to rather than because I feel like I have to. Make sense? I'm hoping to post more about daily life as well as more about my thoughts on what it's like going through secondary infertility and TTC #2. And I will DEFINITELY be posting all about how I don't believe in the myth of fertility fairness. I meant to post about it during ICLW, but I failed at that miserably. It's a post that means a lot to me, so I WILL get it out there.

In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about where we were a year ago... This time last year we were in NYC. MBL was there for work and Piper and I tagged along. I LOVE the city and I had a great time even with an infant in tow! It was the second time MBL had been sent there for work and the second time that I got a chance to waltz around the city. Visiting last year involved eating several Sprin.kles cupcakes, taking our time walking through Grand Central, and eating a very fancy, schmancy dinner out with MBL's coworkers (the restaurant hostess literally threw a fit when we brought our stroller in!). This year, NYC was in the midst of frankenstorm and, after 12 years, MBL no longer works for that company. It's funny how seeing NYC front and center day after day (due to the storm) made me reflect on all the feelings I have pent up from MBL losing/leaving his job. There is a lot of hurt from both MBL and I and I don't think we've even begun to fully process through why we feel the way we do. Or, how we can start to feel better. I'm sure it's how a lot of the storm "survivors" feel. Everything they know has changed. And that's a lot of how MBL and I feel. After 12 years working for and with the same people, everything MBL knew has changed. When he gets a new job it will be different. Our lives are remarkably different from where they were a year ago, just like NYC and the surrounding areas have changed from last year to this.

Change is hard. Oh so very hard. Especially when the rebuilding is just in its beginning steps. My biggest hope is that a year from now I will look back and think that I'd rather be exactly where I am rather than looking longingly back on the past. I'm optimistic that will be the case.

How did everyone fare in the storm? Any NYCers out there? Anybody else hate change or weathering the storms of life?