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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When 3mm is a Big deal

So, I've been absent from the blog world for a while.  This is partly because my camera is broken and the "thingy' I used to download my memory card onto my computer is missing.  But mostly, it is because my life has been crazy and I have been trying to process it all.
When last I mentioned my IVF cycle, I noted that 15 eggs had been removed.  Of those, four embryos were viable and returned to me.  Next followed 2 weeks of feeling lousy while my body responded to the over stimulation of my ovaries and mega hormones.  I was feeling pretty miserable.  I was convinced that the IVF wouldn't work and truthfully, I was beginning to not care.  I just wanted my non-hormone body back.  Then, the day before our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband came home unable to speak.   I called 911 and he was diagnosed with a TIA or mini stroke.  It can't be proved because thankfully, all his MRIs and CAT scans came back normal with no damage.  They also played around with the idea of it being some sort of migraine event since he had a terrible headache and eye pain.  Needless to say, our anniversary was spent at the hospital and not the highlight of the year.  However, we were thankful that the event was minor in retrospect, requiring Brian to now take a blood thinner for the rest of his life, but leaving him with no long lasting damage.  The next day, I went for my blood test.  I assured the nurse that I was NOT pregnant, she drew the blood and I went home.  Around 2 in the afternoon, she called me to tell me that I was most definitely pregnant.  I argued with her for a bit, thinking it was impossible.  When you have struggled with infertility for 15 years, were told the success rate for IVF over forty is about 10%, and had the kind of stressful few weeks I had had, you just are reluctant to believe.  But she was adamant, so I hung up, called the hospital and told my husband the news.  Somehow our anniversary seemed pretty exciting after all.

Just yesterday, I went for my first ultrasound.  I am just six weeks along and the baby is only 3mm.  However, we were able to see it's little heart beating already.  We couldn't hear it because the doctor said it had probably just started to beat within the last 24 hours and it was still so quiet.  But we saw on the monitor the little line go up and down.  So exciting.  Everything looks good so far.  It is still so early and I know so many things could go wrong.  But I am hopeful, praying like crazy and still trying to believe this is really happening.  So now, if only I could cure these dizzy/faint spells.  Luckily, nausea hasn't been too bad yet, I know that it could still come.  But I keep feeling faint and weak.  I guess this is normal?   Anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Remembering Adoption Day

I do not claim to have any sort of ESP, but I will say there have been several times in my life, when I knew, just somehow really knew, something was about to happen.  And I knew this little one was coming.  I knew that the 2 year wait was coming to an end.  Around the 10th of August, 2009, I got a strong feeling news of "our" baby was coming soon.  I let it quietly percolate in my heart.  On Wednesday night, I turned to my husband in bed and said, "The adoption agency will call tomorrow and tell us we've been picked."  "How do you know that?" he wondered.  "I just do.  I can feel it."  The next day I waited for the phone to ring, and when in the early afternoon, the caller ID showed the agency's number, I was not surprised.  I was told that a baby boy was to be born soon and we had been picked by the birth family to adopt this baby.  I called my husband at work and resisting the urge to say, "I told you so!"  informed him that he would soon be a father.   I could say that Austin was mine already, that he had been destined to be ours, to be part of our family, that God had made this match before He hung the stars.  And it would be true.  But not in the sight of the law.  That took place today, 2 years ago.  Adoption Day.

Austin was 8 months to the day on the day we went to the courthouse and he was proclaimed officially and forever a member of our family.  It was a hot day for so early in June and our car had no air condition.  I can't remember complaining, we were so excited and nervous.  Never having done this, we didn't know what to expect.  We were told the Judge would review our home study and paperwork from the agency and ask us a few questions.  Could he deny the adoption?  Would he see something in our paperwork that would be a problem?

Seven minutes.  From start to finish, it took seven minutes.  In about the same time as it takes to cook a pot of spaghetti, a new family was born.  I remember sitting in the witness stand and being asked if I was willing to love and care for Austin as if he were naturally born to me.  If I was willing to take on the responsibilities of being his parent.  Through tears and a huge lump in my throat, I answered, "Gladly".  It is a shame that not all parents get to stand before a court of law and publicly make this sort of commitment.  We take marriage vows but we have nothing similar when a child enters our lives and changes it forever.  So I was glad to have this moment, set aside in time, to remember when we officially became a family.  A memory to share with Austin through the years of when Papa and Mama stood up and told the world that he was, is and always will be ours and we will always love him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

computer glitch

Sorry about the last post, my computer was acting strangely and spaced everything out very oddly.  Hopefully the problem is resolved.

15 Eggs

15 eggs, and no we are not talking about my chickens here.

After many shots, many blood draws, many ultrasounds, quite

a bit of nausea and other side effects, I finally had the egg

retrieval today.  Now, I am resting.  In a few days we will 

know more and I will return to the hospital for the embryo 

transfer.  Meanwhile, I am thankful that this part of the

roller coaster ride is over and trying to catch my breath

before the next ride begins. 

And no, they are not putting 15 embryos back in!  They will

not likely all grow and of those that do, only a small number

will be transferred to me, the rest for be frozen for a future 

cycle or if not needed, we will make them available to another

couple tying to conceive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

chicks on the lawn

This weekend, we all spent as much time outside as possible, enjoying the sunshine.  This includes the chicks.  We've had to keep them indoors as the nights have still been pretty cool. I'm hoping to move them into their new outdoor home soon, very soon.  But in the meanwhile, we have been putting them outside during the day where we can keep an eye on them (and marauding hawks) and inside at night.  Austin felt very protective of them and spent a good deal of time keeping them company.  Daisey really wanted to be IN the pen with the chicks.  She's still not completely convinced that they are NOT lunch.

Austin took the time to explain to the chicks all the strange and loud sounds they were hearing so that they would not be afraid, because, you see they are still babies.   "That's a motorcycle riding by.  Motorcycles are loud.  Don't be afraid baby chicks, it's just loud."  

He brought out a chair and ate his lunch chick-side.  Daisey is always nearby when Austin eats.  She has learned that toddlers are not the neatest eaters and can be counted on to drop, accidentally or intentionally, samples of their meals.

The Bubble Saga


blowing some more

still more blowing

This is a lot harder than it looks

ok, I'll give it one more try...

Hey look, it works,

I'm doing it, I'm really doing it!

Yea, me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In two years time... or how do they get so BIG so fast?

 So we were baking cookies yesterday and I was struck again, not just by how much dough this little guy manages to sneak when he thinks I'm not looking, but by just how Competent this little one is.  I watched as he put all the ingredients in the bowl and spilled none of them.  I watched him maneuver the scooper, which is no easy task, to produce fairly even balls of dough.   I nervously watched him sprinkle each ball with coarse sugar with the confidence that comes with many, many hours of sandbox experience.  I was fairly amazed.  This little person, who less than two years ago sat on this very table in a bouncy seat, unable to grasp an object dangled in front of him, now fearlessly handles the mixer.

 And it's not just baking.  I was sweeping the downstairs and my little helper was in charge of the dustpan and dust broom.  Now, in the past, this was an exercise in futility.  I would sweep together a small pile of dirt and he would use his little broom to push it all back around the room.  But now, just the other day, he GOT it.  He followed me all around, pushing the little pile into the pan, carrying it to the trash can, dumping and repeating the process over and over,  in each room we cleaned.  He didn't get bored, he stayed focused and he was actually a big HELP.  Wow, I thought, this is good, this is real good.   The last few days, he has taken on the responsibility of feeding the cats and dog.  He fills their bowls (with the correct food for each) puts the bags away, cleans up any spills, and puts the lid back on the container.

This morning we quickly sewed up a new bib.  He helped with the pins (a little scary, I admit) and a little with the actual sewing machine (notice the crooked stitches :) )  Every day I am amazed at how much more or better he is able to do things.  Now of course he is two, and ultimately, I am responsible for feeding the animals and cleaning the house.  His jobs are of a voluntary nature at this point but I am still amazed at how much he has learned in his short time on the planet.  Austin has learned to sit, stand, speak 2 languages, walk, climb, slide, eat, handle a fork, knife, spoon and crayons.   He can undress himself, buckle the buckle on his high chair, pour liquids, use a potty (sometimes), sing songs, count, say the ABCs, identify letters, etc....     I look back over those same two years and wonder, "what have I learned  or mastered in this same time???"  I can change diapers in the dark, one handed if need be, I can recite from memory "the little red barn" and a handful of other books, I can make broccoli seem like a fun food to eat, I can reach and find any book that has fallen on the floor in the backseat while driving  and I can make up a song on the spot about ANYTHING if the singing of it will make the task at hand easier.  Still think he's winning.

IVF update.  So the BIG box arrived today just before lunch.   Opening it on an empty stomach may not have been wise.  I admit, I was more than a little light headed as I unpacked the many syringes and boxes of drugs.  But we are living one day at a time, and today is not a medicine day, so I quickly shoved the lot of it in the fridge where I can ignore it until Friday.  A Scarlet O'Hara mindset is taking shape,  "I'll think about that....tomorrow."  or something like that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just a really nice weekend

It was by all accounts, just a really nice weekend.  After the emotional tizzy I'd worked myself into, I really needed to just take a deep breath,  soak up a little sunshine and remember on whom my faith rests.  Mother's Day weekend turned out to be the perfect weekend to do just that.

For starters, there was SUN, real honest to goodness, shadow casting sunshine!  I can't tell you what a difference that makes.  On Saturday, Austin and I headed out to this sweet little place that has a carousel, a tiny train, some rescued animals, a few shops and a fabulous organic, locally produced, over the top gourmet ice cream shop.   We rode the train and carousel,  saw the animals and had some ice cream.    Well, what we really had was the best Belgium Waffle Sundae we've ever had.  We ordered a small ice cream to share, but what we got could have filled a small bathtub!  And oh my!  Chunks of dark chocolate bits on top of homemade whipped cream with a waffle made from dough, not batter.  Austin nearly literally dove face first into the bowl.  Wow, is all I can say.   On the way home, I stopped at a lavender farm which has a small gift shop and bought myself a few Mother's Day gifts of my own.   The farm is so beautiful.  It has been featured in several magazine articles and the soaps, candles and cream they produce are heavenly. 

On Mother's Day itself (another sunny day) we went to Brunch with Brian's Aunt Mary.  Mary never married but is like another mother to our family.  With my mom in Florida, and Brian's mom deceased, it just seems right to celebrate with Aunt Mary.  I know how hard this day is for those who are childless.  For over a decade, it was the worst day of the year for me.  Everywhere I looked was a celebration of the one thing I simply could not have: motherhood.  And now, since Austin, it is truly one of the happiest days of the year as it stands in testimony to answered dreams, hopes and prayers.  I think too, of Austin's birthmom and wonder if she thinks of the tiny boy to whom she gave life, and I hope this day is one of peace and not pain for her.

After a really nice brunch we came home.  Aunt Mary had planned to leave as soon as we got back, but instead, unable to resist Austin's charm, spent the next hour and a half giving Austin driving lessons.

She let him blow the horn, play with the radio, turn the wipers on and off, on and off, on and off.... play with the locks, the air condition and any button he could find.  She even taught him how to put in the key and start the ignition.  (Uh, thanks.  Good thing his little legs can't reach the gas....yet.  Better hide those car keys from now on.)   She had such a blast with him, and he was in heaven.  I was truly surprised the car actually had enough battery power to start back up and drive her home!  Of course, the next day when we had to run an errand, he hops up front and says, "I can drive the car Mama!"  Slow down little man.

Nap time was completely bypassed, but I didn't have the heart to pull him away when they were both having such a good time and Aunt Mary doesn't get to spend a whole lot of time with her pseudo grandchild.  It was the right decision.  As soon as Aunt Mary got home, she called to thank me for such a nice day.  She enjoyed the brunch and she loved the time with Austin.  I was so glad she came.

And here are my goodies from the Lavender Farm:

A really nice handmade broom which has just the right give and squish to make it work really well.

Also a sachet of lavender, some soap and recycled glass soap dish.  I love the way the light shines through it, and the soap just makes you look for excuses to wash your hands just to smell it!

And.... Lavender Honey!  Yum!

Like I said, all in all it was a lovely weekend.  I loved having that fun afternoon on Saturday, just Austin and I, just a mama and her little boy (and a whole lot of ice cream!)  but I also loved the family time with Brian and Aunt Mary on Sunday.  I am feeling so much better, so much calmer.  Which is good, because  tomorrow, a Fed Ex truck will deliver an absolutely scary amount of medications to my house.  I meet with the IVF doctors on Thursday for preliminary blood work, etc. and on Friday, I start the cycle with my first shots.  I still have some concerns, but I am taking this, and all of life, one day at a time.  I guess that's the only way to take it because that's how it comes, in one day installments.   I will  see how it goes, one day, one shot, one prayer at a time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Clouds Hang Heavy

I've had a rough past few weeks.  The weather has been glum and so have my spirits.  I've avoided writing because I just wasn't sure I'd have much positive to say.  I've been busy with doctor's visits, a trip to the ER, a digestive system that doesn't like me (it's mutual at this point), a broken lawn mower and a rapidly growing lawn, a landlord pressuring me to cut said lawn, a toddler with a fever, numerous panic attacks, the scare of a discovered lung nodule (doesn't look like anything to worry about) and a whole lot of doubts.  As the clouds have been pressing down, always gray and dreary, so have my thoughts.  And as we get ready to start our first IVF cycle in a matter of days, I wonder, "Am I too old to think of getting pregnant?" "What if my body just can't handle it and my lupus comes back?"  "What if I get pre-eclampsia and die?"  "Am I crazy for trying to have a baby?????"   "What if......."   and then the fear takes over and what should be an exciting and hopeful time turns into Fear Fest.  Mind you, I have talked to my primary doctor, and a cardiologist and a high risk OBGYN and they all say, Go for It.  Yes, my risks are higher, yes, there very well may be complications, yes, I will probably have a rough trimester (or two, or three) but as my cardiologist so delicately reminded me; "Hey, you can't live in a bubble!"  I don't want to make decisions out of fear, but I don't want to be foolish either.  It's a tricky dance between the two.  And so I find myself dreaming of knitting tiny booties one minute and imagining my son growing up without a mother the next.  Yup, it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  I was fine until I read an article on the "hidden risks of pregnancy after 40".  I am kicking myself for reading it.  Had I known what a scary, one sided review it was, I would have deleted it right away.  Too late.
Sooooo....... to try to refocus my brain on the positive, I turned to a few projects.  Not feeling like I had the mental energy for anything new, I decided to finish up a few languishing projects.

Here are a couple of toys for Austin.  I had made the small squishy ball a few weeks ago, and it was such a hit, I knit a big ball to go with it.  And the small gnomes I knit for Austin's Easter basket now have parents.

A fabric pile with the makings of a few new bibs and summer pants and jacket.

 Here is a pair of pants I made for Austin last year but never finished with the elastic.  He has grown but they are still usable as a bit shorter pants, I believe all the trendy catalogs refer to them as "beach comber" length.  Whatever works.

 And a sad neglected sweater that almost got outgrown before I put the hidden snaps under the decorative buttons. I knit this before Austin was born and then when he was, I thought, it's HUGE, I have plenty of time before he's THAT big.  Ha ha.   I think we can still get some use out of it this spring.  Luckily, wool stretches.

And those little fluff ball chicks are growing up.  My little Polish ladies are starting to sport their tres chic hairdos .  I am falling in love with this breed, they bring such a smile to my face.  They truly do look ridiculous while at the same time somehow remarkably fashionable.

 And this is buttercup, a new comer.  She is a buttercup breed and so my husband decided to call her:  "I can't believe it's not butter - cup" or just buttercup for short.  Hey, I'm looking for laughs wherever I can get them these days.

And this is just my happy, hopeful picture.  A reminder to live in the moment.  Something Austin does very well and something I am trying to learn.  Because really, all we have is this moment.  No one is guaranteed the next breath.
And while I may not control the future, I am loved by the One who does.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stick Garden

About a week ago, we finally got around to planting the little seed kits Austin had gotten as a gift for Easter.

 The little dirt mounds looked more like mini doughnuts than anything we'd plant in the garden.  I put the seed boxes on the bathroom windowsill.  The baby chicks are also in there, which means the teeny tiny bathroom is like a hot house, 24 hours of heat and light. Wow! Did those seeds grow fast!  The next day, there were sprouts!  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperative for planting most days so by the time we took them outside to transplant, they had become very tall and leggy.

They needed support, a lot of support.  And so, we planted a stick garden.

And you would seriously think that with all those sticks poking up, it would not be the most comfortable place to hang out.  But apparently, fragile seedlings make the best of bedding.

For Dogs:

 and chickens.

Well, we'll see what survives all this animal lovin' and the threat of  frost.  In the meanwhile, wishing you all a restful weekend.