Monday, November 30, 2009

Need a Fix for BBQ Cravings?

I am going to try and post a recipe every week. The common theme will be family-friendly meals that don't cost a lot. Most of them will require very little work or time. This one is a well-worth it exception. These actually do not take a lot of work. They do, however, take time. This is a great Sunday afternoon meal when you will just be hanging around the house. You don't really have to babysit these, just watch a timer and give 'em a little love. I also love and appreciate any recipes back. I am always looking to add to my cookbook. Oh, and yes, I have made copies of the book which is now in our safe!

• 4 lbs Boneless Pork Ribs (I have used the country style bone-in as well)
• 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar s
• Paprika and pepper (to taste - leave this off if you don't like spicy)
• 1 Bottle of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (I actually make my own from this site)
1 can of coke (or the same amount of water - Coke tenderizes it, but also adds sugar)

1. Mix, salt and brown sugar and place in a pie plate, set aside.
2. Double Foil a 13x 9 or larger pan.
3. Rub ribs in salt and sugar mixture then place in pan.
4. Sprinkle Ribs with Paprika.
5. Add enough water to pan to cover Ribs half way or 1 inch.
6. Bake in 250*F oven for 2 hours, then add one can of coke to pan, turn heat up to 300*F and turn Ribs and Bake 2 hrs more.
7. Drain liquid out of pan and then cover Ribs with BBQ sauce.
8. Bake 1/2 hour longer, then serve.

These were fork tender, but I did have to bake for a little longer (probably closer to 5 hours total in the oven instead of the 4 listed here). I have served these ribs on several occasions and get rave reviews. I also have a crock pot rib recipe, which is a lot easier, but has more of a pot roast consistency. I like making it when I can't be home all day. I'll post that one and an alternative country mushroom rib recipe next week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Would YOU Do?

M and I will be celebrating 10 years since we started dating this Thursday. TEN YEARS. Unbelievable.

Back in September, before separation anxiety had reared its ugly head, we booked spots for our dogs at the kennel and made reservations for ourselves at our favorite hotel (which is in the same town as my MIL). We asked my MIL to watch Will for one night so we could get away to celebrate.

In September, he spent a night with his grandma and LOVED it. I saw video from that stay and he had an amazing time. He was glad to come home, but I don't really think he missed us at all while he was away. It was incredibly freeing to know he was in good hands and also have a night to ourselves. My MIL offered - and we gladly accepted - to make it a monthly occurrence.

In October, we tried again. . . with disastrous results. I drove the hour up there, set up everything (pack n play, booster, changing area), and left him as he screamed and turned purple with rage. I cried as I got into the car, but was convinced he would be okay in a few minutes. Half way home, my MIL called me, in tears himself. Will had made himself throw up and she took his temperature and it was 101.6. I could hear him still screaming in the background. She wanted me to come back and get him. I hurried back, had to pack everything back up, while Will alternatively clung to me or sobbed as my MIL held him and I packed. When I got him home, I took his temperature - normal. The little buggar was so upset that he gave himself that temperature. It was a bad night.

We didn't try in November, but when we walked into my MIL's house on Thanksgiving, he started screaming. It took him a few minutes to calm down and even then, he was clingy and upset the entire two hours we were there. Neither of us could leave the room for even a second without him freaking out. He would have nothing to do with my MIL. We went over to my husband's aunt's house for the actual dinner itself, and he was fine there. He made himself at home, toddled all around, and went to everyone . . . but my poor MIL. He just seems to associate my MIL's house and my MIL herself with being left. This obviously upsets both my MIL and his great-grandma, who love this little boy desperately and would adore having him there whenever we were willing. They LIVE for time with this child.

So, next weekend is our proposed time away. The plan is (was?) to leave him Saturday morning and return Sunday morning. We would be gone for about 24 hours. I was really looking forward to it, M was really looking forward to it. My MIL was looking forward to having him.

I don't want to be selfish. Most of me feels as if this is just a temporary phase. He will not be this little or this attached to us forever. There will be a time that will come only too soon when he doesn't want to be with us. Part of me feels as if we just should change our plans and celebrate our anniversary with him.

The other part of me wonders if I am not just coddling and babying him too much. M is more of this school of thought and worries that we are creating a "Mama's Boy" and that it's not healthy. He also feels that we need some time together to just relax and hang out, which is true.

The other small piece of this is that I don't want my MIL to feel like the "bad" one that he seems to be associating her as. That's not fair to her. She is a kick-@ss grandma that anyone would be blessed to call their own.

I am going to ask our pediatrician when we are at Will's 15 month Well Baby check on Tuesday, but I am also to hear what other moms (and dads, too!) have done in similar situations. I don't want to exacerbate his fears of being left, but I also don't want to hinder his development. What would you do - or what have you done?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lost Treasures

I had a mini-panic attack this afternoon.

You see, I am "famous" for my green bean casserole. I know what you are thinking, it's green bean casserole, how can you be famous for that?

Well, first off, I have the old school recipe, which calls for a "secret" ingredient: worcestershire sauce. Most recipes don't have anything but the soup, green beans, and fried onions and if they do add anything it's soy sauce, which adds the salty element, but not the same richness and depth of flavor. Some recipes leave out the milk and pepper, too. I once saw one recipe that called for water instead of the milk - gasp!

My recipe is a dog-eared copy that my mother gifted to me when I moved out into my own apartment. She made me a recipe book filled with my favorite recipes and to give it that extra "homey" feeling, she included the original cards, most of which were from her mom or grandma or even great-grandma, and made copies for herself. My grandma also decided to add to the collection and every time she writes me a letter, she includes a "new" recipe. So, it's grown pretty large over the years, with me also adding in some of my favorites.

In addition to my green bean casserole being an older recipe, I also made a "mistake" a few years back. I baked the casserole at home and then put it in a warmer to take it the hour-plus drive to my mother-in-law's. It kept cooking on the drive up (the warmer keeps things very insulated). When I saw the results when we arrived, I was upset, it looked less creamy than usual, and I was sure I had ruined it. Not so. Everyone was diving into that casserole with a vengeance that year. It was creamier, richer. . . just better. Technically, it was "overdone," but it worked.

So, the combination of the two has won me accolades. My casserole is requested at every single family dinner where a green bean casserole would be appropriate . . . and even a few where it might not really fit the menu, but still tastes great.

Today, I got out all of the ingredients for the casserole and reached into the cupboard for my recipe book. And it was missing. Missing.

I looked everywhere that a recipe book might be (and in my not-so-very-organized kitchen that could be a lot of places). As I continued to search, I kept reassuring myself, it would be in the very next place that I looked.

After a half hour of serious looking, I was starting to get worried. I could probably do the recipe by heart, but the thing is, there are a lot of good recipes in there that I don't want to lose. My dad's famous homemade hot fudge sauce that my friend once told me she would marry me for (and I don't think she was kidding), my great-grandma's Swedish white brownies (that have never failed to create a sensation at any event I have brought them to), my mom's apple dapple cake (an easy, beautiful cake that has people begging for the recipe every. single. time) . . . Most of these I do have memorized, but still. They are in my mom's or grandma's or great-grandma's or even great-great-grandma's handwriting! There are thirteen amazing Christmas Cookie recipes in that book! I don't have all of them memorized. And what about the original See's Fudge recipe?!?!? It's not Christmas without that one!

Then, I knew what had happened to the book. And I wanted to cry.

A few weeks ago, I cleaned out some closets and cupboards and I went through my cookbook collection. I remember putting the recipe book aside. But I also remember Will distracting me in the middle of my project and M coming in to finish it. I remember him asking about a few cookbooks, that I just glanced at and said, "Sure, toss 'em in the pile."

That pile went to Goodwill two weeks ago.

To me, a huge part of the holiday season is making so many of those recipes. I was crushed to think that I just threw away what is truly a piece of my family history and a labor of love from my mom and grandma to me.

I had tears in my eyes as I thought about never seeing the cramped handwriting, cramming ingredients and instructions on a pretty flowered recipe card (no plain index cards back in Grandma's day). My grandma also had recipe system with "good," "very good," and "excellent" written across the top. When I was a little girl, I asked her why there was no "bad" written across the top, and she said to me, "Honey, I don't keep the bad ones!"

There were recipes in that book that I haven't even tried yet. My grandma's latest letter included a recipe for her frozen strawberry fluff pie. I remember when we visited them when I was seven and gobbled down my first piece so quickly that it startled everyone when I was done and asking for a second piece before anyone had finished their first!

So, there I was, in tears, wondering what I was going to do. . . and what I was going to tell my mom. I would need to confess in order to get another copy of all of those recipes.

Will was clamoring to be let out of his playroom by this point, so I went and got him. He wanted to be read to. I told him to go get a book, so he did, and toddled over to me with. . . I swear, I couldn't make this up if I tried. . . my recipe book.

How it got into his book pile, I will never quite know. It's a Thanksgiving Miracle. That book will help create my holiday memories for years to come and I am thankful that it isn't lost.

I know that the holidays are not always an easy time. It can be stressful, overwhelming, and, if you are still waiting for your miracle baby, it can be incredibly sad. I remember so many holidays just trying to make it through. I do remember, however, finding even tiny moments of joy and hope, even in those desolate days. I hope those moments find you and bring you peace.

To all of you, my dear friends, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Holiday Season 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Taking Inventory

It shocks me how very few people outside of this blog know about our pregnancy.

First off, our decision to TTC was not "last minute," but it wasn't something that we struggled over for a long time. We always knew we would want to try for another baby, it was the "how" or "when" that was up for debate. We started talking specific timelines when Will turned one. We knew that, ideally, we would want our kids about two years apart, but we also weren't going to be picky. We'd take what we could get, when we could get it. Usually, when I have a big decision to make, I pick and chew at it for days, weeks, and months. I usually hem and haw and discuss the situation ad nauseum with friends. I think it's just what we girls do.

This decision wasn't like that. M and I made the decision to start TTC on our own, I ovulated a few days later, and that was it. Because it was our first month trying, I didn't even get the chance to discuss that ad nauseum. Two weeks later, I was staring at a postive pee stick (don't hate me, please).

So, unlike in previous TTC cycles, where everybody knew we were trying, and I felt like a watched pot, this cycle was so very quiet. Only one of my girlfriends knew it was even a possibility for us this month. Besides announcing it here, we really have told very few people. When I was pregnant with Will, after the IVF cycle, "telling" people was almost anti-climactic, because everyone already knew. If they didn't know, it was because they weren't friends or even acquaintences.

I have four close girlfriends that all know, but we haven't told any of our family. Two of those friends have husbands that are also friends with M, so they know. With our history, they also know that we can't be too excited until after we see a heartbeat and even that won't get me too excited. I mean, of course, I will be happy to see a heartbeat, but after losing Gummy Bear, we just know that's not a guarantee of a RLB*.

What is weird to me, most of all, is that two of my girlfriends who I was so close to when I was pregnant with Will don't have a clue. Both of them were women that helped me during the miscarriage times and both celebrated with us during our successful pregnancy. I would have called both of them "best" friends at different times in my life. And now, I barely talk to either of them, and when I do, I don't tend to get into the nitty gritty stuff, like this pregnancy.

There was no fight with these women, no drama, but we have just been drifting apart for quite some time. It makes me sad to see where our friendship has been, where it is now, and to wonder where it is going.

Reflecting on those relationships caused me to take inventory of my friendships in general. I lost a lot of friends while I battled with RPL. Some chose to step away, some I chose to step away from. When I was pregnant and things were going well, some friends came back into my life, some didn't. Since I had Will, I have lost more friends. I have also gained a lot of friends, too. Again, there has been no drama, no fighting, just a sense of different people with different purposes. I wouldn't even say that I have "lost" friends, because just when I think I might not hear from so-and-so again, the phone rings or I pick it up to make the call myself. It's just that people that once made up my friend world are now at the outskirts of it.

It brings to mind that the Reason, Season, Lifetime e-mail that circulates every once in awhile. It makes me feel a bit better to read that because I am not someone who lets go of people easily. I feel badly when a friendship fades and sometimes I try to resuscitate what should just be left to quietly pass. On the other hand, there are friends that I haven't made as much of an effort with as I should lately, and I really want to change that.

It's funny how the individual experiences in your life can make you reflect on the bigger picture, isn't it?

*Real Live Baby

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Easiest Dinner. Ever.

Okay, so technically, the easiest dinner is to call for pizza. Or chinese. Or put a frozen meal in the oven.

But if you want to serve a hot dinner that is super easy, economical, tastes really good, AND makes two meals in one, then you will want to make this.

Black Bean Crock Pot Chicken - TWO DINNERS IN ONE

8 frozen chicken breasts
1 15 oz. jar of salsa (any flavor/brand)
1 15.5 oz. can of black beans (drained)
1 15 oz. can of corn (drained)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese

Place frozen (yes, frozen) chicken breasts in the crockpot.

Add the salsa, black beans, and corn.

Cook on HIGH for 4 - 5 hours or LOW for 6 - 8.

One half hour before cooking, toss brick of cream cheese on top and let melt in. Stir before serving.

Night One: Serve chicken breasts whole with the sauce over steamed rice, with cornbread on the side.

Night Two: Using two forks, shred chicken and mix with remaining sauce. Place in plastic baggie to either freeze or refrigerate for another meal where you can use the meat as a filling for tacos or burritos (I used mine for enchiladas).

*Here are the adjustments that I made:
I added just a dash (probably 1/8th tsp. or less) of garlic salt before I put the lid on the first time.
I also didn't like how "runny" the sauce was, so I did add a TBS. of cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons room temp water. I stirred that in about ten minutes before I added the cream cheese and it thickened it up nicely.
I only used half of the package of cream cheese and used light (not non-fat). I thought it was creamy enough and might have been "too" creamy if I had used the whole thing.
I also used frozen corn instead of canned and it worked great.

This is the cornbread recipe that I used. I thought it was better than the usual "box" mix by itself, but I still prefer making it from scratch. This was a ton easier, though, which is the name of the game with a busy toddler running around.

Will and M both enjoyed this. The chicken was very tender and it wasn't too spicy because I used a medium salsa and the beans, corn, and cream cheese tempered it. You could definitely use a spicier salsa and I might even add a dash or two of cayenne pepper if I wasn't serving a toddler. Olives might be a nice touch, too, or some diced mild green chiles. If you don't like spicy at all, use a mild salsa and you'll be just fine!

Also, to make serving this even easier, I make large batches of rice and then freeze the extra in quart sized freezer bags. I put a 1/2 tsp of olive oil in the bag and then shake before freezing. This helps the rice when you thaw it out to be moist instead of dry. It took me less than five minutes (including getting out the crockpot and all ingredients) to put this meal together and it was a definite hit!

Please share any of your latest favorites! I am especially fond of quick, easy, and inexpensive, but I also don't mind putting in extra time and effort for an especially good meal. Speaking of which, remind me to share my favorite boneless BBQ rib recipe with you soon. Time consuming, but easy, and so good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Normal OB Patient

I remember the first time that I was pregnant. I was shocked, shocked, shocked when they said that they didn't want to see me until 8 weeks and even more shocked, shocked, shocked that there would be no ultrasound until 11 weeks. ELEVEN.

Well, we all know that it ended up being irrelevant what week they wanted to see me at, because I lost the baby long before the 11th week came up. Or the 8th for that matter. Which is probably why the don't schedule people for ultrasounds any earlier, now that I come to think of it.

When I was pregnant with Will, I thought waiting until 6 weeks, 2 days for our first ultrasound was torture. This morning, I called my OB's office. I explained my situation and requested an early ultrasound.

Nope, no way. My first ultrasound will be on January 5, 2010.

Apparently, my OB is way overbooked and understaffed, and because I delivered a healthy baby, I am now considered a "normal" OB patient.

I know, that's great. Right? Right.

I still don't feel normal, I still feel very scared. I know seeing the baby on ultrasound guarantees nothing, even if we see a healthy heartbeat, it doesn't mean that we will have a healthy baby. I learned that lesson the hard way, when Gummy Bear died. I know that things can still happen, but a quick little peek would have helped rest my worries just a tiny bit.

Well, here's to being normal. . . and to January 5. I guess it will come sooner than I think?

Edited: There is a reason why I love my OB. . . a few minutes ago, his nurse called to congratulate me personally AND schedule me for an early ultrasound on December 9 at 3:30PM. I will be 7 weeks, 2 days pregnant then. We should see a heartbeat and know more about the health of this pregnancy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As If

Well, no spotting or anything out of the norm to report. I have had some mild cramping here and there and I am definitely more tired than usual. Although that could be due to the fact that I am running on a sleep deficit, rather than early pregnancy.

M and I have decided to treat this pregnancy "as if."

As if. . .

...we don't have the history we do.

...this is the "lucky" less than 25% shot that Dr. M told us we had at conceiving and sustaining a pregnancy on our own.

...come mid to late July of next year, we will have two children!

We have not told any family, we have only told three close friends that we know will be there for us if our "as ifs" end up not working.

I POAS'd this morning, because that's usually my first sign of impending miscarriage: pee sticks that fade. The second line came up immediately and is strong and dark.

I will be calling my OB today, and trying to schedule my first appointment. I'd love if we could have an ultrasound at maybe the 7 week mark and not have to wait until 11 or 12 weeks to have a peek.

I am trying to maintain my as if attitude and not ask for a ticket to the Beta Hell Ride. It's hard not knowing how everything is going, but I have learned only too well how cruel that game can be, offering either false hope or a rocky series of ups and downs. Even with Will, we had a wonky series of betas, and he obviously turned out just fine.

Speaking of my Little Man, he is sleeping much better. I took him to the pediatrician's office on Friday. After doing the modified CIO on Thursday, I was wracked with guilt over the possibility that he had an ear infection or some other medical issue that was interrupting his sleep. Though I do believe in the value of CIO, I don't believe in doing it on sick kiddos.

He has another sinus infection. Yuck. This is his fourth one in fifteen months. I feel that is a lot and his pediatrician agreed. She said there could be a bunch of underlying reasons, allergies or a structural issue with his sinus cavities or nasal passages. Or both. The only way to tell for sure is to get a CT scan and more blood/skin tests, so we have been referred to a pediatric ENT and back to our pediatric allergist. I am not so sure I am eager to return to the allergist. We did that when he was 9 months, over his milk sensitivity. The allergist basically told me at that point that skin and blood tests are usless prior to 24 months when it comes to definitively making a diagnosis of allergy. I guess it just seemed like a waste of time back then (why draw blood and poke at him if the answer won't really matter anyway) and it seems kind of the same now. But I am eager to get to the bottom of the issue. In addition to a lot of sinus and ear infections, he also snores quite a bit, which is not normal for a toddler. The visit to the ENT will sort out all of that, so I have scheduled that appointment first.

Even with the sinus infection, the pediatrician advised that we continue our modified CIO. She agreed with me that after so many nights, it was probably more of a habit and would be easier to break sooner rather than later.

Thursday was the worst night, by far, the longest he has ever CIO. It actually brings tears to my eyes to think of it. Friday was much better, with only maybe 20 minutes of crying that still broke my heart, but my resolve was a little stronger after our visit with his doctor. It also was stronger when he "only" cried for 20 minutes and we were rewarded with blessed silence. Saturday night and last night, we have heard only a whimper or two from the nursery. Neither M or I have actually had to get up to check on him. It has been very nice.

CIO is so traumatic and I think it is my least favorite part of parenting. Well, maybe guilt in general is my least favorite part of parenting. The pitfall of guilt is everwhere, even in my as-if pregnancy. I am thinking mostly about how everything will affect Will. If I am very sick in my pregnancy, will he suffer from lack of attention? If I am distracted with the new baby (which I most certainly will be), will he suffer? Will he be jealous? Are we ruining his little life? I wasn't really expecting these feelings, though I am told they are normal. I do worry that I can't possibly love another baby the way that I love my Little Man.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Night Owl

Sleep, ah sleep.

I posted a lot about it during Will's newborn days. It was the angst of my early momhood.

Will has actually been a fantastic sleeper since about 11 weeks on. He did have a touch of the 4-month sleep regression, and of course, we've had the odd night here and there. But for the most part, he is solid STTN guy.

This week, that has not been the case. He goes to bed just fine and then wakes up screaming bloody murder at about 11:30 PM. Since he has never had trouble STTN, I have always just gone in and done a little rocking or cuddles to calm him and get him back to sleep.

The problem now is that even if I do rock him, the moment that I set him in his crib, he starts screaming. He is ready to get up and play. The first couple of nights, I indulged him. He had been wrist deep into his mouth during the day and I could see a pesky tooth poking its way through. I gave him some Ty.lenol and a "chewy" (our word for teething ring) and rocked and read and sang. . . for three hours. In the past, even if he had one or two bad nights, he was back to his old STTN habits shortly.

We are now on night FIVE. I am afraid a habit has begun. The night before last, desperately in need of some sleep myself, I did do modified CIO. I hate CIO with a passion, but I love the results. I laid in bed and cried while he laid in bed and screamed. I had to have a little pep talk with myself: Teaching my child to sleep is my job. He will not be emotionally scarred from CIO. He is not in there feeling abandoned and alone. I went in every few minutes and, eventually, he went to sleep, but I could hear the hiccups and snuffles on the monitor for quite some time and it broke my little heart.

Of course, as in all times of crisis 'round these parts, I turn to the good Dr. Google. Most of what is recommended to do we already do. And have been doing since he was six weeks old. He has a bedtime routine, we put him down drowsy but awake, he takes a scheduled nap, we use a fan for white noise, etc. He is dressed warmly enough (but not too warm), he has a comfort "lovey," and a humidifier.

The only thing that Dr. Google mentioned that got me thinking was that any change in his schedule or new developments could throw sleep off. We recently started attending church and leaving him in the church nursery. He hates it. According to the reports, he doesn't cry the whole time, but he is always crying when we leave and crying when we return. The women there are kind and lovely and say that they hold him the entire time.

His separation anxiety has been a lot higher lately. I can't even walk away from him to go to the bathroom sometimes. He really freaks out. M thinks that we should force the nursery issue because he has to "learn" to be away from us sometime. I think that if you "force" someone already freaked out about being abandoned to be left with virtual strangers, that might not make for good results.

Now, I really don't know that this is what has caused our recent string of night wakings, but it's the only thing that is different. Last weekend, we went to two church events, and his usual friend that goes with us didn't go to either, so he was truly "alone" in the nursery. The night wakings started then. My concern is that if it's separation anxiety that is causing the night wakings, does doing CIO solidify his fears and just make it all worse.

So. . . any advice? Any strategies? Thoughts?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spot On

First off, thank you for the wonderfully supportive comments. I wanted to check in today and let you know that I am still spotting, but it seems to be less and is all that brown "old blood" stuff that is supposedly okay. I don't trust spotting, it has never heralded good things for me in early pregnancy, but I am trying to keep a positive outlook.

I still haven't called my OB. I am not really sure why I am waiting. I guess I just don't want to go through the hassle of getting a beta if this spotting turns to bleeding. So, if I have still not had any red blood by Monday, I will call in. Until then, I guess I am PUPO.

It's been awhile since I have posted pictures of Will. These make me smile, no matter what! I hope they do the same for you.

Here he is in his monkey costume from Halloween.

Here we are at the mall for indoor trick-or-treating.

Here he is at my parents' house - in the rocking chair that was mine as a little girl.

Here is one of my favorite pictures. Will makes this face a lot. We call it his "O" Face. He does it to get a laugh out of us. . . and it rarely fails. Oh, and he is "driving" a bus at the Children's Museum here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Nose Knows

Well, after taking the test at 13 DPO and not seeing even a hint of an evaporation line (and yes, true to POAS-aholic form, I did dig it out of the trash to check. Twice.), I decided that it really hadn't happened for us this month.

I went about my business, but I couldn't help but notice my ever-increasing need to pee, tender breasts, and vague crampy feelings. Oh, yeah, and no period even though I am very regular. So, after ignoring the signs for three whole days, I caved to the Pee Stick Goddess and bought a two pack of cheapie tests at Tar.get.

When Will and I got home from running errands, I took the test. The second line came up very quickly. The line is clearly there. No squinting, tilting, or taking the test apart.

I am pregnant.

A multitude of feelings washed over me. Excitement, happiness, fear, elation, anxiety, love, and more. I shed a few tears of happiness. No matter how many times you see that second line come up, it never fails to humble you and make you grateful for this gift of new life. I wondered what to do next. Clearly, tell my husband that his nose was right, after all.

But how? The Hall.mark, cheesy "You're gonna be a daddy again!" thing has never worked for us. What is supposed to be a happy moment turns bittersweet and I feel stupid for it later.

But that line. It's so dark.

I decided to heck with it. We deserve our Hall.mark moments and I am not going to doom this pregnancy from the beginning. I am not going to be all woebegone and sad. I am pregnant, gosh darn it.

I took the test and taped it to the inside of a small box. On the inside of the box, I wrote Baby (Last Name) and the Due Date. I wrapped it in Christmas paper and when M got home last night, I had Will carry the package to him. He said, "What's this?"

I told him that Will and I thought he should have the first gift of the holiday season. He opened it up and the huge smile that came over his face was pretty precious. It was definitely our Hall.mark moment as we stood there in the hallway, just the three (wait, now four!) of us. Will loves "group hugs," so he happily engaged in a long one with us.

I served dinner and we talked about a lot of other things, but New Baby kept coming up. When would I call the doctor? When would I have my first ultrasound? When should we tell people? When should we clean out the second bedroom? What projects needed to be done before I get too huge to help?

Will has been having some significant night waking the past week, so I have been exhausted. After getting him to bed at 7, we snuggled on the couch for a few minutes before I decided to head up early, desperate for a chunk of sleep. As I got up, M patted my tummy and said, "Night, Baby."

Awwww. Talk about Hall.mark.

I went upstairs to use the bathroom.




Not a ton, but definitely not a little.

I know, I know. It could be implantation spotting, irritated cervix, blah de blah blah blah. And I said I wasn't going to be all gloom and doom.

But still.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

13 DPO

Well, I finally gave into the call of the pee-sticks today. Who would ever have thought that me, the self-proclaimed poas-aholic could wait all the way until 13 DPO? Not me.

And as for the results of my pee-a-thon? Let's just say that I am not going to be that girl who miraculously gets pregnant on her first TTC-again cycle.

I am a bit surprised that M's nose was wrong, but at least I didn't start my "Know From Implantation" Campaign yet. Just think of the mass-recall.

M asked if I was disappointed. I guess that I am, but not that soul-crushing, mind-numbing disappointment that I used to experience after a BFN. After all, we just started trying. I really can't be surprised that it didn't work and definitely can't be truly disappointed. Not really.

So many people don't even have their first miracle, so I feel a bit (maybe more like a lot) greedy if I am disappointed that I don't yet have my second. And we have lots of options and time.

But (she says in a tiny, very small, very embarrassed and ashamed voice) I guess if I am completely honest, I am disappointed. And disappointed in myself for feeling that way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Password, PLEASE!

I have lost contact with three of my sidebar ladies who have recently gone password protected. If any of you are still reading, please let me know how to become a reader of your blog. I miss you!

12 DPO. . . Hands Starting To Itch

Those of you that can remember way back two years ago, might remember that I have my waterloo day, my day of reckoning, my day of I'm either am or I am not. That day is 13 DPO. I have been pregnant quite a few times and I always have had a 2nd line by that magical day. If the line ain't there by then, it just ain't gonna be. Not that month anyway. If a pee stick is still sans two lines at 13 DPO, I don't need it to be digital, because it is clearly saying, "Better luck next time and your consolation prize is your freakin' period, thankyouverymuch."

Well, if you are following along with my oh-so-clever titles, you can see that tomorrow will be that fateful day.

Today is clearly not that day. However. . .

Gah, I want to pee. I want to pee on a stick so badly that my hands are getting all itchy, creepy-crawly. It's occupying a lot of my thoughts. When Will and I were playing with his Jr. Doctor kit this morning, the tongue depressor started calling my name and I had to cross my legs, because it looked just like a FRER.

I really honestly don't know if I am pregnant. M's nose has never failed me and I have some interesting "things" going on, which include vaguely tender breasts, some intermittent cramping, and (one of my most interesting early pregnancy symptoms) more saliva in my mouth than usual. However, I also know that the thought that I "could" be pregnant also "could" be responsible for these so-called symptoms.

I can't promise that I will make it until tomorrow to test, but I have to admit, I am pretty gosh darned proud of myself for making it this far without giving in to the call of the sticks. They are getting mighty loud.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11 DPO

I had a question regarding progesterone use during pregnancy. I will not be using any assistance at all from now until February. Our problem was determined to be likely egg maturity issues. I say likely because all hormonal tests came back as normal. There is no indicator that I have any egg issues at all.

However, when we went through the IVF cycle, I had 23 follicles retrieved and only 13 were mature. This is a low maturity rate, especially for someone who has had no other markers for egg quality issues and was 28 years old at the time of the cycle. Dr. M theorized that my eggs are probably almost aways immature (since so many were immature on a medicated cycle) and immature eggs do not have all of the genetic material needed for a healthy embryo. This would be why most of my losses are of the very early nature. However, she also said that it would not be impossible for a mature egg to make it down the chute and, if that happened, we would be good to go.

So, why try it our own at all, when there is such a low chance for success?

Well, to be honest,we can't really afford to do a FET until after the first of the year. We have no fertility coverage through my husband's health insurance. Even with a cash discount, it will still be close to $4000 for the FET and subsequent monitoring. Although we could take this money from our savings, we prefer not to, so we are saving separately for it and also plan to add some of my husband's annual bonus.

And call me romantic, but I still haven't given up on the romantic notion of having a glass of wine and having S-E-X with my husband. I know, I know. I've always been an optimist!

We figure there isn't much harm in giving it a try for the next few months. We have an appointment with our RE in January, so we probably won't try that month, since that would be the cycle we would want to start everything.

So, that's where we are right now. If we end up going the FET route, we will have all of the normal supportive measures that any other FET would have. I am not sure if my RE would prescribe the Lovenox this time around. That was more for peace of mind than it was for any indicated use last time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

10 DPO - Another Imaginative Title

Not a lot to report around here. I haven't had much in the way of symptoms, except for the fact that I did have some twinges over the weekend, which may have been implantation cramping, and may also have been my overactive imagination.

I do realize that "symptoms" is a strong word for any pregancy associations at 10 DPO. I do think that being pregnant as many times as I have been has made me more aware of the subtle changes that start happening, even this very early on. I also know that my husband's nose has not ever been wrong. There has never been a false alarm. So, I know this might also heighten my awareness of what's going on in the netherregions.

I do find it rather interesting that M is more sensitive than any test on the market. I actually think that I could rent him out and make a profit. Hmmmmm. . . not a bad idea, actually. I can just see it now, "Find out as early as implantation."

M is hopeful that this cycle will be "it" for us. I really don't know what my thoughts are on it. I mean, of course, I would love to be that girl, who tried so hard for #1 and got pregnant with #2 on the very first actually trying-again cycle. I would love even more to stay pregnant, because, as I reminded M last night, we don't have the greatest stats with sustaining a pregnancy on our own.

He was a little irritated with me, calling me "negative." I don't think negative is the correct term. I think "realistic" is far more appropriate. After everything we have been through, and considering our post-Will loss in May, I just think it is prudent to prepare myself for the worst. I have a little boy who depends on me not to wallow in post-miscarriage-sadness, which means that I have to keep it in perspective.

Now, again, this is all getting rather ahead of things here. We are only 10 DPO, folks. Just things to think about for the future, whenever that BFP might be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It's been quite some time since I have had a title with abbreviations in it. Huh.

So, as it proclaims, it is 9 DPO.

Raise your hands if any of you were around for my crazy TTC cycles two years ago?

Crickets chirping? One or two hands tentatively raised? I know there are still a few of you out there, but I know a lot of readers jumped on while I was in my IVF cycle and may have missed the insanity.

For those of you who weren't around for late summer/early fall 2007, you might want to click back and take a look at how insane I was. If you don't want to take the time to read back, let me just remind you that I could take upwards of five tests in a day. I had been known to take a test apart to get a better look at the strip. I climbed into a window one time to get natural lighting for my test gazing.

Am I proud of that woman? Nope.

Am I ashamed that I wasted all of those pee sticks? Yep.

Will it happen again? That is still undecided.

I saw a therapist during that crazy TTC time. I was very honest with her about how many sticks I peed on. Heck, I believe that I even peed on one in her waiting room restroom once (it was a BFN). I expected her to do some aversion therapy, something involving burning the sticks, or maybe wearing a rubberband on my wrist and giving myself a good snap when I had the urge to POAS.

I was surprised when she actually encouraged my behavior. Her view was that while it was definitely a compulsion for me, it was a healthy one in that no one was hurt by it (unless you count the time that I elbowed a lady out of the way for the last FRER at Wal.mart - kidding, kidding. . . ) and that it was a good way for me to feel as if I was actively participating in my cycles. So much of it was beyond my control, there was nothing I could do to really change the outcome. Not that POASing did that, but it made me feel as if I was doing something.

Many people going through infertility turn to self-destructive habits, like drinking too much, narcotic pain medications, excessive exercise to get through each cycle. So, to pee on too many sticks? Little league.

I do not have any sticks in the house. I really want to wait until I am at least late for my period. Even then, as most of our losses have been so early, it would make sense to wait until I was a week or two late, and then I could just convince myself that it was a slightly late, heavier-than-usual period.

Yeah, I laughed just typing that. We all know it will be a miracle if I make it to 14 DPO without testing.

Especially since M says that I smell.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yes. Yes, It Was.

For those of you that didn't read my last post, it was really a great girls' time away. I highly recommend it. Several people (IRL, not here, of course) kind of made fun of just going less than a half hour away to "get away," but it was truly perfect.

We got upgraded to a suite (in these economic times, people aren't really traveling for leisure) for the same price of our two queen bed room. The suite had a water view and was AMAZING. We watched FOUR girly movies and ate snacks and pretty much camped out in our room all day and night. We did go out to dinner, but we went early to take advantage of early bird specials. Our entire weekend only cost about $80 per person, which included a night in a really nice suite in a gorgeous, five-star hotel with a fantastic meal, snacks, movies, breakfast, parking, etc. Even though we weren't far from our families, we all felt worlds away. We stayed up late watching a movie, but we experienced the luxury of sleeping through the night and sleeping in late. It was a moms' dream come true.

I felt refreshed when I got home today. M and Will had gone to his mom's for awhile and church this morning with friends, so they were busy, and they also enjoyed their time together. I honestly doubt Will missed me at all. He was happy with his Daddy and I think Daddy enjoyed calling the shots for awhile. I think one of the side effects of one parent staying at home is that the parent that is the primary caregiver kind of makes the rules. It's just that I am used to taking care of Will and his needs, so even when M is here, I still assume that role. When I returned today, it was weird to have M telling me when his diaper was last changed, how he slept, and what foods were in the refrigerator for his next meal. But it was a good weird, because M stepped into the role flawlessly and I know Will enjoyed time with his Daddy.

So, here's to a great group of ladies, a relaxing night away, and returning to our precious little ones.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Just What the Doctor Ordered

I am going to away for one night this weekend for a moms' night away with some friends. We have gotten a nice room at a hotel not too far way. We are going to change into our comfy jammies, eat snacks, watch girly movies, and maybe splurge on pedicures!

M will have Will for the first time by himself overnight. I have had Will by myself only a few times overnight, and that was at my parents' house. I think he is a little excited to have him all to himself and "make the rules" for a bit.

I am excited for what is a very much needed rest. I have been sick for over two weeks now. I am past the really sick phase and just in that "can't shake" this part of being sick. I hate this part, since I am no longer sick enough to feel that my messy house is any way justified, but still get tired pretty quickly and don't feel 100%. Will and I had the same virus, but while his went to his sinuses, mine went to my chest. I have a history of asthma, so a chest cold always leaves me with some breathing issues. They are just temporary, but it's annoying in the meantime to get out of breath just from running the vacuum. It does remind me of pregnancy a bit, though!

So I am hoping a weekend of kicking back and relaxing with some good friends will be just what I need to get over the sick hump!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It Just Makes You Laugh

When I read Christy's comment in reaction to my announcement yesterday, where she said not to forget to have FUN as we TTC #2, I laughed. Out loud.

Because, you know, she is right. It's supposed to be fun. And yet fun wasn't even on my radar yesterday. I beat the fun right out of TTC #1. Well, actually the recurrent miscarriages probably did that for me, but I was right behind them with a stick.

I read my oldest posts and I kind of wince when I see the bitterness in those words. I was not a happy girl.

I do not want to go back to those dark days. I do not want to become that girl again.

I am not as unhappy and desperate for Baby #2 as I was for Baby #1. . . at least, not yet. That's what worries me. Fertility treatments become a game, a race, of sorts and what you will and won't do to reach the finish line changes. I can say now, "Well, if it isn't meant to be, it won't happen. . . "

But I also know that once we start TTC and I get more invested, and especially if we lose more babies, I will become more and more entrenched. I just don't want to lose myself in the process.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Which We TTC... Here We Go Again

Parenthood has rocked our world.

The lingering effects of infertility rocked our world.

Today, we take a step forward.

The combination of an amazing 14 month old (if life is this amazing with one, imagine with two?!), all of our friends jumping on numbers 1-2-or even 3), and just our own desire to build our family. . . has lead to this. . .

We are TTC again.

Big gulp.

May it be so. much. easier. THIS time.

We are going to TTC on our own until February. If we have not had any luck/sustainable pregnancies by then, we will schedule an appointment with our RE.

Double BIG GULP.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thoughts of My Inner Subfertile

I can't remember which of my blogger friends used the word subfertile (please shout out and I will credit you). I like the term. When I read it, I thought, "Finally, a word that does describe me!"

You see, I guess I could be considered one of them, the fertile. I am a mother after all. I don't really consider myself truly fertile, however, even if I can no longer fit snugly into the infertile category. My precious son is the product of IVF/PGD. To have another baby, I would most likely have to go through a FET. I have battle scars that run deep from my days in the IF trenches.

One of my best girlfriends (who reads this blog occasionally, and C, you know I love you and am so happy for you) just found out that she is pregnant with #2 today and it reminded me how subfertile I really am. Her reaction was what you would expect: a mix of shock, a little fear, worry about money, logistics, and how her husband would react, and happiness. She immediately put her hand on her tummy and started moaning about the weight she would gain and how could she possibly love another baby as much as she loves her darling daughter. I didn't begrudge her any of these feelings. I was jumping up and down at the news and was possibly even initially more excited than she was.

But after I went home, I thought about my fertility - my subfertility, if you will - and felt a little wistful. You see, there is no doubt in her mind that, come June 30th, she will have another baby. She won't obsessively spot check, she won't add "Well, if it works out" to all of her baby thoughts. I am glad for her, I don't wish my fears on anyone. I am just a teensy bit jealous of her innocence.

Her husband was completely unaware of the fact that she thought she was pregnant. I offered to watch their daughter for them tonight so that when she went to pick him up at work, she could surprise him and they could go to dinner to celebrate. I was a little jealous as she drove off, excited and nervous to surprise her husband. M and I will never have that surprise moment again. There is little surprise with IVF or FETs. It's all calculated to the practical minute of when the beta will be called in. Not that the moment isn't special, but there isn't that element of surprise. Or, if we are taken by surprise with a pregnancy, I do not want to celebrate it. We have done that too many times, had our little Hallmark moment, only to have the pregnancy end just a few days or weeks later. Both of us are too gun shy to even think about celebrating a pregnancy at six weeks gestation. I mean, we are thankful for each and every one of our angels and any more precious ones we might be lucky enough to receive, but we can't really celebrate them as another couple might. Any baby that we have, for no matter how long, will be loved like none other, but we won't be getting out the sparkling cider until much further along in a pregnancy.

The differences continued. . .

She called family and friends with wild abandon this afternoon and evening. Literally all of their friends now know about their happy news. A little envy snuck in at the thought of this wonderful confidence. Again, at six weeks pregnant, M and I were barely telling each other about it, let alone spreading the news. Even when we were finally firmly in the second trimester, with tons of good ultrasounds to bolster our belief in the health of our baby, we still hesitated to tell anyone. . . you know, just in case.

The one part of her night that struck a chord of familiarity in me was when she said that she had called one of her friends who has had a miscarriage and has not gotten pregnant since. She said that she was pretty sure her friend was crying by the end of their conversation. That was the woman that I identified with, the only part of her "finding out" moment that I really felt that I understood.

The happiness, the carefree part of pregnancy doesn't really apply to me. Not that I didn't enjoy my pregnancy with Will. I did, especially as it continued. But the beginning, those days of not knowing and living every moment in fear, yeah, I didn't really enjoy that part. Seeing my friend living that joy made me so happy for her, and yet a tiny bit sad for me. I would not wish her any of my subfertility, but did wish myself just a tiny bit of her fertilty.