Tuesday, February 26, 2013

planning for our future...

This post could also be titled "why my husband thinks I'm a total nut."  The hubs has been traveling A LOT for work.  This means that the only time I really get to talk to him is on the weekends when he is home.  This can be very challenging as he has ADHD (like for real) and gets easily distracted by just about anything around him.  So, when we had 4 hours in the car together on Saturday, I decided to take advantage and talk to him about everything I had been thinking about.  One of the biggest things I wanted to discuss is our future plans for more children.  29 weeks pregnant and already thinking about what will come next...

When we finally got pregnant and stayed pregnant with Piper, we knew we wanted more kids and were totally open to pursuing fertility treatments again.  Piper was an easy baby and once I got passed the initial mind numbing exhaustion, we set up a timeline for when we would try again.  My OB said not to get pregnant before Piper was 6 months old.  I weaned Piper right around 6 months and we went back to our RE the next month.  I was told that my AMH and AFC both suggest declining fertility and that we really shouldn't take the wait and see approach.  We took that advice to heart and pursued 2 IUIs and an IVF before taking a break from treatments.  Then we flew to CC.RM and my "diagnosis" was confirmed--I don't have the fertility of a 20 something!  And then we got pregnant.  Without treatments. 

To be honest, after having Piper, I was TERRIFIED that I would never get to be pregnant again.  I LOVED being pregnant (for the most part) and just couldn't imagine that I would only get to do it once.  I actually spent a lot of last spring reminiscing about where I had been the year prior (very pregnant).  And then I finally got back into running more seriously and it was awesome having a body that was all mine.  The fact that I started being able to fit back into size 6 or 8 pants didn't hurt either.  After years of fertility treatments, I was able to feel good about myself.  It was hard to imagine having to go through treatments and pregnancy again.  I was getting up at 7am on Saturdays to run 10 miles for fun, something I couldn't do while taking shots and transferring embryos.  And I just felt good both mentally and physically.  Such a stark contrast from how fertility medications make me feel (fat, cranky, and bloated).  Due to how I got pregnant this time around, I felt a lot more confident about letting go of the anxieties I had with Piper.  I mean, I had run 10 miles the day before I got my positive test...  If that didn't "shake" the embryo off, then why would it once I had rising betas and good ultrasounds?  I'm 29 weeks pregnant and still running 15-20 miles a week.  And it's made a huge difference!  I have hardly gotten sick despite MBL and Piper taking turns with head colds and I still have loads of energy!

How does this relate to what our plans for the future are?  Well, the fact that I know now how different a "natural" pregnancy and an ART achieved pregnancy look and feel like, I'm just not sure that I ever want to pursue IVF again.  And, yes, something in our minds has totally changed now that we know it's possible to get pregnant on our own.  I brought this up to MBL during our driving time on Saturday and he is totally against ever doing IVF again.  I think the biggest deterrent for him is the cost, but also the fact that he thinks that because we've gotten pregnant on our own once, we should be able to do so again.  I wanted to talk about this now so that he knows my expectations for the future.  And those are that I want #3.  I know this sounds so very greedy, but I always knew I wouldn't want to stop at 2.  I also know that I want to be done having babies by the time MBL is 40, which is in 4 years.  I told MBL that the bottom line is that I want to "pursue" having a third child.  I may even want a fourth child, but all I wanted was a verbal agreement that he will be open to doing clomi.d/IUIs, if needed, in order to get pregnant with #3.  I also added that if we somehow got IF coverage, then I may even want to consider IVF again if all other options had been exhausted.  He mumbled something that sounded like "maybe". 

So, that's our plan.  No more IVF for us.  I'm planning on BFing this little one until he's at least 6 months and at that point I may wean so that we can start trying again (I don't ovulate while nursing).  Or, I may decide that I like fitting in my pants a little too much and that waiting to ride the TTC rollercoaster again is a better option for our family.  I'm pretty sure that there is at least clo.mid in my future, but I guess we'll see!

How do you think you'll know that you're "done" growing your family?
Did you ever reach a point where you felt done pursuing fertility treatments?
Do you feel like you are on a timeline at all?

Friday, February 22, 2013

the picture of perfection

On Monday, MBL and I became the very gleeful owners of a new (to us) minivan.  I've been wanting one for years now and we are finally at a place where it makes sense to purchase one.  The one we got is glorious.  After much debate and research we ended up with this one:

Only ours is black.  It's an IIHS top safety pick and if we were to ever get in a crash it basically explodes in cushions around you.  Buying this van felt weird.  For the last few months I have felt very uncomfortable about how people perceive our family.  You see, I get asked about my pregnancy a lot.  Which is so sweet and people really are just trying to be nice/polite/make conversation, but it almost always turns into talking about how perfect it is that I have a girl and now I'm having a boy and the fact that they'll be the "perfect" 2 years apart.  And now I have the perfect family car--a minivan--all I'm missing is the white picket fence!  Or rather the nice, new, larger house that I have been eyeing for months now.

I walk around with this perfect belly that measures just perfectly on and I feel like people look at me and just assume that everything is just "perfect".  While it is incredibly flattering to look like I have it all together, I want to explode in confessions every time someone makes a comment about how having a boy and a girl is perfect or about how it looks like everything is going well for us.  When people ask about what our plans for the future are, I always have to preface them by saying that we weren't planning on getting pregnant this year, which is completely true and yet sounds completely crazy as we were timing things and seeing doctors and contemplating IVF #4 at THE fertility clinic.  One of the teachers that works here had a late miscarriage (she was due a month after me) and every time I have to pass her in the hallway, I want to pull her aside and just confess everything.  I want to apologize for having to be pregnant right in her face.  I feel awful walking around with my belly.  Heck, one of the first events I had to attend for my current position involved going to a picnic where they made a big deal over the pregnant ladies getting to eat first.  I had just been to Colorado where my decreasing fertility was confirmed and we were looking at having to rob a bank in order to finance pursuing IVF again (not really, but there was no way we could afford to do things on my timeline).  I doubt the DJ at the event could have possibly understood how much that stung.

I don't know why the idea of perfection is bothering me so much, I *know* I'm not perfect, but I still feel uncomfortable having people look at me as anything other than a completely flawed human being.  Maybe it's because I work as a counselor and I want my students to see that the world can fall down around you and you can still be okay.  Or maybe it's because I think we are able to grow the most in our relationships with other people when we are completely honest with where we've been and the mistakes we've made.  Maybe it's because I've felt a lot of pressure from other people who seem to be perfect to me.  I remember my first year of marriage being just one level up from unbearable.  MBL had been single for so long that living with another person and sharing everything with them was super difficult.  We got in a lot of fights, we yelled at each other a lot, and there was definitely a time or two that I wondered if we had made the right choice.  All along there was my "perfect" cousin who chirped about how the first year of marriage was so easy and so wonderful and I just couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  And now MBL and I very happily married.  We went through total crap last year and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but we are on our way up and out and I know life can only get better and sweeter from here.  I saw this quote yesterday and couldn't help but think about how perfectly it fit our situation:

And maybe that is why I struggle with even looking anywhere close to having it together.  I want to share with people that I just don't.  I have crap fertility.  MBL and I sometimes yell at each other.  I sometimes get very frustrated with Piper.  I don't floss.  I don't always get up in time to work out.  I have graduate school loans and a car payment.  I sometimes feed my child Peeps.  My point is, that when people tell me how lucky I am I want them to know how much I've been through, how much I've struggled, just in case they've struggled too.  Just in case they're struggling right then and need to know they're not the only one.  I would love to have amazing fertility and stay home and be the "perfect" parent/wife/domestic diva, but those things aren't a reality for me and I think that just makes me appreciate what I have all the more.  It's because of what I have gone through that I appreciate what I have now even more!  It's because MBL and I went to h.e.ll and back last year that I can look him in the eyes and know that he is my one and only.  It's because of my infertility that I can look at Piper with incredible wonder and awe--this little girl is MINE, she's here after all of that!  I just wish there was a more succinct way to let people know that my life isn't so perfect, but it is pretty darn wonderful.  For now I'll just continue to smile and nod and search for the white picket fence to really seal the deal ;).

Have you ever felt the pressure from other people to be "perfect"? 
Do you ever find yourself looking at what other people have and feeling like they must have it all together?  Do you feel like you've learned the most from the hard times you've gone through? 
And, did anyone else out there have a tough first year of marriage?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the best thing I ever pursued...

I had a snow day again last Friday which meant a three day weekend for me!  It could not have come at a better time as it allowed me to get a ton done around the house as well as eek in a 5 mile run.  It also allowed me to have some much needed time with Piper.  We took Valentine's Day pictures and had a lot of fun playing (until after her nap when she decided to be a needy, needy grouch pants, but I digress...).  Spending that time with her really got me thinking about all it took to bring her here.  All of a sudden I was flashing back to my days of clo.mid induced hysteria where I would just cry and cry over my fear of never being able to have babies.  Or rather, my fear of never becoming a parent.

When I think back to when we were in the midst of months of medications and treatments and surgeries, I'm more than a little impressed that we survived it all.  I think of going through IUI and IVF cycles.  Needing to constantly drive across town for blood tests and ultrasounds, praying that whatever we were doing differently that cycle would be the key to getting pregnant.  We would stare at the follicles on the screen and be so filled with hope.  Surely with 2-3 follicles we would get pregnant!  Surely with 17 eggs retrieved we would get pregnant!  We faced so many BFNs, so many failed cycles.  I knew I wanted to experience pregnancy, but I never was 100% sure that it would actually happen for us.  I remember being 9 months pregnant and contemplating peeing on a pregnancy test just to see those 2 pink lines again.  I wasn't sure that I would ever get to be pregnant again and I wanted the positive test to be mine one last time.  Waiting on those pink lines was something I had done for so long that even when I was literally on the verge of giving birth, I still found it hard to believe that it had actually happened for us.

But here's the one thing I know to be true above all else from our infertility journey: Piper is the best thing I ever pursued.  Last night I went to put her down for bed and we have a ritual of me singing to her and rocking her for 2-3 minutes before tucking her in.  And as I stood there swaying back and forth, with her arms tightly around my neck and her legs swung over the sides of my burgeoning belly, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Becoming parents was not an easy task for us, but I am so glad we persevered and pursued this incredible journey.  I tell MBL near daily that Piper is the best part of every day and she really is.  Despite the tantrums and messes and chaos that having a small child creates, being a parent is the most incredible thing I've ever done.

I mean just look at this little cutie:

She's using the cord from our heating pad to listen to the baby in her belly!  So cute!

And then a nice little cheese for the camera!

I'm beyond thankful for that little girl!

If you went through IF, did you struggle to believe that it would ever happen for you?  Did you ever want to "give up"?  What helped you keep going?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

the countdown: 100 days to go!

We're here.  The magical place where the countdown to baby gets to enter the double digits.  Today marks 152 days of pregnancy and only 100 left to go (give or take a few).  Last time this milestone seemed so significant, I'm not sure why, but it motivated to me to write about it again this time around.  You can visit my blog post about hitting 100 days with Piper by clicking here.

Apparently at this point in our pregnancy with Piper, we had already picked her name!  This poor little guy has not been named yet.  We have a short list of 3 names that we really like, but I'm not 100% on any of them, so he's just "baby" for now.  I think my goal will to have him named by 32 weeks, which is only 6 weeks away!  I guess we'll see how that goes.

When I got to this point with Piper I remember feeling SO overwhelmed with all we had left to do.  This time around, I'm not really worried.  Part of the reason I'm more laid back is that we will be delivering out of state and living with my parents for a while post baby (and, yes, I swear to write more about this decision soon).  There is no nursery to set up as he will be sleeping with us (in a rock n play) for the first few months.  We have all the baby things we could possibly need and so there's no looming list of what we need to buy.  I do want to get a double stroller still, but I know which one I want and now I'm just waiting on a good deal.

Now, we do have a lot to do that would likely be easier to accomplish prior to adding another little one...  In the next few (6 or so) months, we have a condo and a house to sell and both have projects that need to be completed.  The condo is less complex as it just needs laminate flooring--which MBL has already laid most of--and paint, which we are hoping to pay someone to do.  The projects there can easily be completed during the work week and over 2-3 weekends.  Our house, however, is still the biggest cause of anxiety in my life.  I want it sold.  I want to move into a nice, new house with carpet and plenty of bedrooms and a master bedroom with attached bath.  Our goal is to get our house on the market by August/September.  We still have rooms that need trim, a basement that needs to be finished, a full bath to complete, and lots of painting.  I really want to just hire someone to finish the basement as I feel like that will help us get the house on the market sooner.  I hate feeling like we're not in our permanent home.  Yes, both places are comfy and cozy and have heat/running water, but I want to be in our house.  I just want to have a place where my kids can play and roam freely without worrying about tools/screws/sawdust all over the place!!

So... 14 weekends left until my due date.  Approximately 42 work days.  Out of those 14 weekends, we already have plans for 5 of them.  Here's hoping we can get LOADS of work done before this little guy comes into our lives!

Do you have lots of house projects left undone at your house?  What kind of house work do you try to get done during the week/on the weekends?  Are you in your dream/forever home?