Tuesday, December 14, 2010

fa-fa-fa-freeeeeeezing!

It is SO. FLIPPING. COLD.

Brrrrr!!!

Seriously, my teeth are chattering right now. And I'm sitting in my kitchen fully dressed with the thermostat set at 70 degrees.

Southeastern Wisconsin - and much of the rest of the country - is in the grips of a major deep freeze, making spending ANY time outdoors nothing short of painful. I dread every single trip out the door, no matter what it's for -- taking Super Boy to or picking him up from school, running to the store, taking trash to the bin. You name it, it sucks. It involves wearing no fewer than 2 layers of clothing, and that's not counting outerwear. And hats - don't get me started. It's not even worth doing one's hair when you have to jam your head into a hat every time you so much as run the garbage out to the bin.

And we live in one of those charming old houses (circa 1895) that has a regrettably detached garage, so even just to warm up the car requires getting full-on decked out in outerwear to trudge out to the garage, back the van out of the garage so it's right by the back door, and then letting it sit for a good 10 minutes to get toasty.

I'm not gonna lie: IT SUCKS.

And I've lived in Wisconsin - aka: The Frozen Tundra - my entire 36 years, so you'd think I'd be hardened to the frigid cold winters that last a solid five to six months by now.

Yeah. Not so much.

In fact, my greatest fantasy these days is moving away somewhere warm. I think back to when Super Man was laid off and interviewing with a Georgia-based company for awhile, and how STUPID STUPID STUPID I was not to encourage him to LEAP at the chance to relocate to the south! Of course, at the time, it was July. We were in the midst of a beautiful Wisconsin summer, and the thing I kept coming back to and that scared the bejeezus out of me as I pondered what life would be like in the southern U.S. was the presence of venomous snakes & spiders. All I could think of was that Super Boy and Super Dog would be dead within 6 months once exposed to completely foreign and deadly wildlife that we don't have here in Wisconsin.

As I sit here freezing my arse off, all I can think is ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Given the choice between snowy, -10 degree winter days and poisonous snakes in my backyard, OF COURSE I'll take the poisonous snakes! Hell, I'll even keep one as a pet! This shit is ridiculous!

Perhaps I'd feel differently about winter if I was a big winter sports fanatic. However, in case it wasn't blatantly apparent, I'm NOT. The only thing I enjoy doing in the winter is ice skating, and frankly, we have the Pettit National Ice Center 10 minutes from our house, so if I want to ice skate, I can do it when it's 90 degrees out and I want to cool off in July. Wretched winter weather is not required for me to experience the joys of ice skating. So really, as far as I'm concerned, winter is not required. EVER.

The only time - ONLY time - I tolerate winter is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. See, I'm one of those poor saps who is totally enamored with the whole notion of a white Christmas, having experienced a white Christmas pretty much every one of my 36 years. But up until 12/24 and from 12/26 on, I'm DONE with the cold and snow and ready to move straight into summer.

I think being pregnant this year has made me even more sensitive to the cold. I literally can't stand it. I shiver constantly, deep wracking shivers from the inner core of my body. I can't help but fear that it's going to send me into premature labor one of these days. I find myself dreaming of inventing a microwavable snowsuit that I can ensconce my expanding body in before I venture outside. If only it were that easy!

Anyhoo. Winter. I hate it. I'm dreaming of summer - CONSTANTLY.

Your freezing friend,
SW

Thursday, December 2, 2010

he's growing up!

My sweet little Super Boy is growing up so fast, it's making my head spin. He's 7-1/2 years old, and it happened in the blink of an eye, I swear.

Being pregnant again is bringing back all sorts of forgotten memories of Super Boy when he was a baby, and a toddler, and a preschooler and a little kid. And then I look at him and see BIG KID standing before me, when it seems like just yesterday I was gazing upon him for the very first time. It does NOT seem possible that the last time I was pregnant pregnant was EIGHT years ago.

And yet, here we are. And my boy is magnificent. He is truly, genuinely magnificent.

So, so smart. We just had his first second grade parent-teacher conference 2 weeks ago and his teacher had all great things to say about his progress in second grade. He is reading at an end-of-second-grade level. He's doing 5th & 6th grade-level math. His writing and spelling is great for his age/grade. And socially he's been making me proud among his peers. He's been a good listener and a leader in class, and he works conscientiously and with focus during work times. I love to hear that. I hope he maintains that focus and love of learning for a very, very long time. And I can't say enough good things about his teacher, either. She is fantastic, and such a sweet, nurturing person. It's easy to see why Super Boy loves school so much! We've really been blessed to have great teachers all along the way so far, really.

And my boy is tender-hearted. He has such strong feelings, and really loves his family and his friends. I love watching him with his closest friends, seeing how much he enjoys their company. He's protective of those who aren't quite as strong, and he's not afraid to stand up to those who bully him or others. I admire that in him. He's genuine -- what you see with him is exactly what you get. There's no artifice in him at all. And the love he shows to his family is just so sweet. He can't wait to see Super Girl and keeps track of when she's coming again, counting down the days and hours until she gets here. And when Super Man is traveling for work, he takes being "the man of the house" very seriously, protecting me and helping around the house more. But he's always thrilled when Daddy comes home, and loves to hang out with him for "guy time." That's another thing I hope he never outgrows -- his love of our family.

His sense of humor is well-developed, and his laugh is infectious. He loves a good (or bad!) joke, and is all about laughing and being silly. Despite the fact that he's very emotionally intuitive and sensitive to the feelings of others and can appreciate a range of even deep emotions, he's got such a sunny disposition and a true zest for life and fun. Spending time with him makes it near impossible to be blue for long.

And then there are the obvious signs that he's growing up. He has gotten so long, so tall in the past 2 years. His limbs changed from the plumpish & noodle-like toddler arms and legs to the broader, longer & more defined arms and legs of a bigger kid. And they went from hairless to hairy seemingly overnight, at least as far as his legs are concerned. His torso looks more like his dad's by the day, broadening and becoming less concave. His face is losing the baby sweetness and starting to resemble the future young man he will be. And the faint little beginnings of peach fuzz are showing on his upper lip, bringing tears to my eyes! Granted, some of that could be the fact that he's 50% Italian and is guaranteed to have plenty of facial hair later on, but still - he seems to little to be showing the faintest signs of a mustache.

The very latest development has been stinky pits! I noticed it first over the summer, but didn't think much of it because the boy was constantly on the move, and it was a hot & humid summer in our area, so I think I'd have been hard-pressed to find anyone who WASN'T stinky by the end of the day! I know I reeked at the end of each day, personally (not pretty). Still, his armpits were really smelling ripe, and this was even with showering or bathing on a pretty much daily basis. When we got into fall and soccer season, I continued not to be too surprised by it, because he was sweating a lot in practices and games, and it was still pretty mild for much of the fall, so between gym class and recess, it seemed to make sense. But now, in the frigid temps of winter and showering every 2-3 days, I'm still smelling the armpit stink, so we finally talked about it yesterday and I told Super Boy I was thinking of getting him a natural deodorant to try. He was wary at first, but then when we picked out a Tom's natural deodorant together, he seemed to be sort of excited at the thought of using deodorant like Mom & Dad do. :)

He showered last night before bed and put his deodorant on for the first time. He wasn't sure what to do with it, so I did it for him, and he was giggling and squirming like a worm, since his armpits are by far the most ticklish parts of his body! He said it felt wet & sticky, but it really smelled good! (We went with the apricot scent, which is nice and light.) All the way up until I tucked him in to bed, he was talking about how fresh and clean he smelled, and how he couldn't believe he was old enough to be wearing deodorant. It was super cute. I would bet anything he's sharing his big new news with his class today at school, with as much as he was bursting with pride over it! He even insisted that we call his dad (who is out of town for work ) this morning to tell him about it, since we forgot to tell Daddy about it last night on the phone.

I just can't believe he's at this point already though. I don't remember wearing deodorant until 4th or 5th grade, and he's only in 2nd. But he's a bigger kid than I was, and he sweats a lot in general, so I'm not inclined to be worried about it. I've heard of several other kids his age who are also using deodorant, girls and boys, so maybe it's becoming more common, too. But I felt better about using a natural deodorant for him than a run-of-the-mill commercial deodorant & antiperspirant; I'm not concerned about him sweating, I just don't want him to stink to the point where others can smell it.

Anyway, I know this is only the beginning. Pretty soon, he will be looking more and more like a tween. And that, too, will seem to happen in the blink of an eye. My baby is growing up.

Now, excuse me while I go enjoy a good cry... :)

Super Woman

Friday, November 5, 2010

tis the season

Guess who has a sinus infection now?

ME!

Are you kidding me, Universe??

It all began last week Wednesday when I started feeling a lot of post-nasal drip and had a really weird cough where the congestion was, like, not at the surface (if that makes any sense) so I had to keep deeply clearing my throat to get to it, which was beyond annoying. After about 2 days of that, it was to the point where I had to cough hard to get to the congestion, and my chest felt tighter and tighter with each passing day, like all that coughing was doing absolutely NOTHING. My voice got hoarse, my ears felt plugged, and although I was sneezing like a maniac, it wasn't like a cold where the congestion settled into my head/nose at all. Still, I assumed it was just a cold, and was prepared to power through it with hot tea, cough drops and Robitussin (after checking with my OB-GYN to make sure it was safe while pregnant, of course).

By Monday of this week, I knew something more was going on. The cough wasn't getting any better, and my chest and sinuses felt far worse. At night I'd have a hard time falling asleep because of the cough, and then I'd find myself waking frequently during the night because the back of my throat was dry from mouth-breathing, which would set of new rounds of coughing. I was waking up in the mornings feeling like I'd barely slept at all.

I called my OB-GYN's office Monday to see if I should come in. The nurse called me back and told me to give it a few more days, since it hadn't been a full week yet. I hung in there another two days, but by Wednesday, I knew things weren't on the upswing, so I called again and they squeezed me in in the afternoon.

Dr. F listened to my lungs and didn't hear any wheezing, but after describing the course the illness had taken and the massive pressure-pain in my sinuses, she wrote me a script for the Z-Pack on the assumption that I've got a sinus infection.

While I was bummed about the sinus infection, it was actually fortunate timing because Super Boy was with me and, since I'd hit the 12-week mark in the pregnancy that day, I asked Dr. F if she could check for a heartbeat while we were there. She got out her doppler, put a little gel on my belly, and within seconds she captured the heartbeat of our baby!! It was so wonderful to hear, all 164 beats per minute. :) Super Boy's eyes got big and a huge grin spread across his face as he heard the sound of his little brother or sister's heart, and I was just breathing a huge sigh of relief to hear that little heartbeat.

Funny thing, I thought back to when we heard Super Boy's heartbeat for the first time, and I remember being so nervous and excited that I kept giggling, and my doctor couldn't hear anything because of all the noise I was making laughing! It took a solid 5 minutes for me to calm down enough for her to get it with Super Boy. I was so embarrassed, but couldn't help it to save my life. At least this time I managed to hold it together with the nervous giggling, because I really wanted Super Boy to hear it!

So, already I'm feeling better on my antibiotic. I hate taking medication when I'm pregnant, but in this case, it was warranted. I'm just praying that the rest of the winter is a healthy one!

SW

Sunday, October 3, 2010

not good

So, I wrote early last week about how Super Boy was diagnosed with his first sinus infection in about three years, and how I was really sad to hear he had one, given that he had ONE BIG NON-STOP sinus infection from the time he was a baby until he was about 3-1/2 years old. And I mentioned that his doctor told me that his cough should be gone by the following Monday, which is tomorrow, even though Super Boy will still have another week of antibiotics left to take.

Well, guess what?

That cough?

Still not gone.

Still sounds awful.

He's taken a week of antibiotics, of AUGMENTIN, no less, and he's still coughing like he was a week ago.

So does that mean it's NOT a sinus infection? Or just that the Augmentin isn't working?

Aaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh. This sucks.

Will be calling Dr. O tomorrow morning. :(

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

not again!

My poor little boy has been sick since mid-last week. It started with a little congestion and coughing that I first noticed last Wednesday. When he woke Thursday, it seemed worse, so I kept him home. I checked his temp and it was normal, but the cough was really bothering him, so I gave him a day of rest with Mom.

I kicked him out of the nest and back to school on Friday... and then got a call from the school secretary at 2:30pm saying Super Boy was in her office with a headache and low fever (99.6). I felt awful! What a MOM FAIL that was.

Super Boy continued to run a low-grade fever all weekend long, and into Monday. It never went higher than 101, but never lower than 99.3 (this was without any fever-reducer, as it didn't seem to warrant any given how low the fever was and the fact that Super Boy wasn't complaining). By Monday, I figured four days was long enough, and I figured it was more likely a bacterial infection of some sort than a viral illness because Super Boy ALWAYS spikes fevers over 102 with viral stuff and almost never does with bacterial infections.

We saw the pediatrician, Dr. O, on Monday morning. I LOVE Super Boy's pediatrician. He is one of the kindest, smartest, most thoughtful physicians I've ever met, and he LISTENS. He wants to know what I think about whatever Super Boy is experiencing, what I've observed, and if I suggest something, he addresses it without dismissing it. I respect him, and he respects me.

I told him I thought it might be walking pneumonia, because Super Boy's symptoms seemed to fit that bill. But after listening to Super Boy's chest, he said his chest actually sounded pretty clear. Unfortunately, after looking in his nose and throat, Dr. O said the words I had hoped never to hear again: "I hate to say this, Mom, but it looks like Super Boy has a sinus infection."

Ughhhhhh.... no, no, no!!

You might remember that my boy had a long and unfortunate history of chronic and recurring sinus infections earlier in his life. He started daycare at the age of 11 weeks, and no lie, from the time he was about 12 weeks until he was 3 years and 8 months old, my poor boy was on antibiotics for sinus infections more than he was OFF antibiotics. It was a vicious cycle: he'd catch a cold, it wouldn't go away and he'd end up with a lingering cough, I'd take him to the doctor, they'd diagnose a sinus infection, and he'd be on 2 weeks of antibiotics, and then we'd be right back there again within 2 weeks for the same thing, over and over and over... and over... again. We were seeing a different pediatrician for the first two years of Super Boy's life, and I grew more and more frustrated as he blew off my concerns that this COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE NORMAL. The one and only useful recommendation he made was that I remove him from the large daycare center he was initially at and move him to a much smaller in-home daycare. And despite that change, he was still sick almost non-stop.

I finally switched to our current pediatrician, and I never looked back. Dr. O agreed with me that it made sense for Super Boy to be tested for allergies, and to see an ENT to have his adenoids and sinuses checked rather than continue to prescribe antibiotics without knowing exactly what was causing the chronic infections or why they would never fully go away.

The allergist did skin testing for darn near everything. Nothing reacted. The ENT did sinus CTs, swabbed Super Boy's nasal cavities to find out exactly what bacteria were growing so he could prescribe the RIGHT medications, and he prescribed 21 days at a time to be sure the infection was totally gone. One of the CTs showed that Super Boy had enlarged adenoids, so he did an adenoidectomy, thinking that might help. Unfortunately, since Super Boy had been having sinus infections for so long, it was impossible to known if his adenoids were huge because they were chronically infected or if they were huge because it was a structural defect, but it made sense to take them out regardless. All of this made some difference, and seemed to help slow down the recurrence of the sinus infections, but only my getting Super Boy out of Petri dish that is daycare ended up putting a STOP to the infections.

And it was just that simple: After 3-1/2 years of nearly constant sinus infections and antibiotics, they just stopped once Super Boy was home with me and no longer at daycare. In fact, in the nearly four years since Super Boy has been out of daycare, he's only been on antibiotics twice: once for his one and only case of strep throat when he was 5, and then again as a precaution after he wiped out on his bike this summer and split his upper lip open, requiring stitches.

But the poor kid has a sinus infection again now. He's on two weeks of Augmentin, and it turns out that it's the one medication Super Boy hates with a fervent passion. He will take it, but it's a gagging, dramatic experience every single time, which means twice a day for 14 days. :(

I kept Super Boy home Monday and Tuesday, but sent him back today. He hasn't had a fever since Monday, and his cough - though still icky sounding - is actually getting better. Dr. O says it should be GONE by Monday. If it's not, the medicine isn't working. I'm praying that it is.

And I'm really, REALLY praying that this isn't the start of another slippery slope of chronic sinus troubles for my little boy but just an isolated incident in an otherwise really good, healthy year for him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

funny kid

As Super Boy and I were brushing our teeth before bed last night, he looked at me in the mirror and - after spitting out his toothpase - said, "Mom... I can't believe you're in your thirties."

Me: "Oh, really? Why do you say that?"

Super Boy: "Because you look more like, um, 39 or 40." (Note: I'm 36.)

Me: "Dude! Thanks a lot!"

Super Boy: "What?? At least I didn't say you look like a man!"

Me: "And this should be a consolation becaaaauuuuuuuse....?"

Super Boy: "Because you DON'T look like a man -- you look like a girl!"

Me: "Gee, thanks."

Super Boy: "Well, at least you don't look as old as your mom."

Me: "Oooooo, I'm TOTALLY telling Grandma you said that! Your Super Cousin is going to be her new favorite grandson now."

Super Boy: "NO! Don't you DARE tell Grandma I said that! I'll give you THREE DOLLARS if you PINKY PROMISE not to tell her!"

Me: "Dude, you don't HAVE three dollars. I'm totally telling Grandma."

Super Boy: "All I was saying is that you're old but you don't look like a boy - that's a GOOD thing, Mom."

:)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

back to school

My beloved little Super Boy started second grade yesterday. :)

He was excited, and a little nervous. He confided to me when I woke him up in the morning that he REALLY wanted JUST ONE MORE DAY of summer.

I told him he'd get it on Labor Day.


He was so cute, getting his carefully selected outfit on. We made tie-dyed shirts together last week, and he wanted to wear one of the more colorful ones yesterday, with the spiral swirl (it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself).

He had showered Tuesday night, so after he ate his breakfast and got dressed, all we had to do was brush teeth, comb hair and wash face. He was ready before me; it was one of those rare school mornings when I opt to shower before dropping him off, which means I have to "get ready" (i.e., dry and style my hair, put on make-up, blah blah) before I drop him off, too, which takes FOR-EVER.

He patiently waited in the kitchen, watching his cartoons for a few minutes before we had to leave.

I took a few photos, like the one above, before we left the house. And then we drove the short few blocks to school. I had hoped we could walk or ride bikes, but it was raining (boo).

Super Boy could hardly wait to get out of the car when I pulled up to the curb. He was frustrated by the rain, which meant there wasn't going to be the usual level of pre-school day play on the playground, but still oh so eager to find his friends. I was able to snap this picture of him up on the playground. I love this picture, despite the rain.



I knew he wouldn't cry saying goodbye to me this year. He didn't cry last year, or the year before that, either. The only year he cried a little was junior kindergarten, and even then it was just a few tears to go with his big excited grin to be starting school. I'm okay with that. I'd rather it be this way than hysterical sobs of sadness and terror every year on the first day.

And I didn't cry either. This time. I did last year, but I didn't let Super Boy see me - I waited until I got to the car. The year before that, I cried a little, too, but also in private. Junior Kindergarten I really cried. Openly. My baby was going to school for the very first time! It was an emotional day.

So, we both got through it pretty well this time.

We had discussed the night before what he felt was and wasn't appropriate Mom-Goodbye Behavior this year, and he told me I could give him a hug, but no kisses. And I'm only allowed to call him by his full first name or his one self-approved shortened version of his first name in front of his classmates - I'm allowed to call him NONE of my myriad nicknames for him.

Thus, when it came time for us to say our goodbyes yesterday morning, I gave him a hug (not too showy though), told him quietly that I loved him, and bade him good day.

I fought the urge to yell, "Have a great day, Baba/Cute Butt/Poo!!"

But it was itching in the back of my throat the whole time, I tell you.

probably long overdue

I wanted to let you all know that I decided to create a new blog this week, one that is specifically devoted to our struggle with secondary infertility.

I've felt for at least the past year that my AESW blog has become all about this segment of my life, and I wasn't really comfortable with that. Yet, my entire being has been very centered around this particular segment of my life during that time (I mean, literally, my first appointment with the fertility specialist was exactly a year ago today), so it does make sense that it was the thing I wrote about most.

Nonetheless, you can credit the fact that I'm feeling so strange about this being IUI #4 and us only having 2 IUIs left for the creation of the new blog. Despite my strong feelings of hope and optimism that we are meant to be parents to another baby, the fatalistic part of me is making me feel a little compelled to start thinking about what comes next in my life, if our remaining fertility treatments are unsuccessful. And one of the things that I think will come next is that I will be trying to raise awareness of secondary infertility. Maybe not on a grand public scale, but certainly through my writing. And, really, whether I end up with another baby or not, I want to continue to make a difference in this area. Creating a blog specifically about secondary infertility seemed like a good place to start.

If you're interested in checking out the new blog - called My Incomplete Family - I'd love to see you there. That said, I will still post - or at least link - here about the rest of our fertility treatment process, because it is still a component of my normal life.

On that note, thanks again for reading Average Everyday Super Woman!
SW

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

number four

No, I'm not writing about Mr. I-can't-decide-whether-to-stay-or-go Brett Favre.

I'm writing about IUI attempt #4, which took place this morning.

As much as I've anticipated getting back on track with our IUI treatments since the miscarriage in May, I've got to admit that I was feeling really nervous this morning. All morning. And when I arrived at the doctors' office, my anxiety ratcheted up a bit more, which surprised me.

In retrospect, I think it was because today was the first time I've been back in their office since the day I found out my April pregnancy had stopped. Obviously, that was one of the worst days of my life, so I think it's only natural that I'd associate physically being in that environment with bad feelings and anxiety. Still, that obviously doesn't help a gal relax for the impending procedure when she's feeling phantom stress from the last time she was there.

To add to the situation, I had Super Boy with me. I'd forgotten to call around yesterday to see if one of my friends could watch him for 45 minutes for me, so he had to come along. Thankfully he's old enough to hang out in the waiting room and keep himself entertained, and the girls in the reception area were happy to keep an eye on him and chat with him, so I wasn't too worried about that. Still, he doesn't entirely get what goes on there, and given the nature of my doctors' specialty, the office doesn't have a big kid-friendly waiting room with toys or anything like that. As I sat there waiting to be called back, it also occurred to me that his mere presence there might bother someone else coming in for fertility treatment who has not been blessed with a child yet. While there was nothing I could do about it at that point, I was just grateful that he wasn't an infant or toddler still (because I know how hard that is for me to be around babies and toddlers after all this, and I have a child already), and that things were pretty slow while we were there and we only encountered one other patient.

** LITTLE SIDE NOTE **

As I have mentioned before, we've been pretty open with Super Boy about our desire to have another baby, and about the fact that we're having trouble getting pregnant and are seeing a special doctor and having some special procedures to help us. He knows some of what is going on, but obviously not all of it, and we don't know how much he really understands of what we have told him. He's a very smart kid, and inquisitive, so he asks a lot of questions, and we can only hope we're answering them in a way that he can make sense of.

For instance, he gets that in order to make a baby, there has to be a sperm and an egg, but he's not real clear on how they come together under normal circumstances. With our IUI, we've told him that the doctors have to get the sperm from daddy and then inject it into my uterus, where my eggs are, so that they can get together and form a baby. I also have a book called "From Conception to Birth", which Super Boy and I have looked through and talked about a little, so he's seen those awesome pictures of sperm penetrating egg, etc.

Anyway, when I told him he had to go to the doctor with me this morning, he asked what for. I told him that this is the baby doctor, and he asked, "Are we going to see a baby in your tummy?" I told him, no, that we're still trying to get another baby in my tummy, and that's what we were doing today.

He knew that Super Man had his appointment earlier (Super Man left the house later than usual this morning to make his appointment at the doctor's office, and when Super Boy asked why, we told him), and in his head, Daddy's appointment involved needles, which he knows Daddy doesn't like! So he said, "I bet Dad didn't like having to get poked with a needle to get the sperm out!"

I chuckled and said, "Well, actually they don't need to use needles to get the sperm, baby, so I think Daddy was probably okay."

He gave me a puzzled look and said, "If they don't use needles, then how do they get it?"

Oy vey.

I told him I'd explain that later on. Heaven help me!

Of course, as we were driving to the clinic and I was thinking about Super Boy asking me that question, I realized that at some point we are going to have to explain how babies are USUALLY made (i.e. sex) since the poor kid probably thinks that this craziness is just how it's done, with all these doctor appointments and medications and sperm extractions and sperm injections!

To feel it out a little, I just said, "Baby, I know that Mom & Dad have had to do a bunch of crazy stuff to try to have another baby, but just so you know, it's usually a lot easier and simpler for people to get pregnant and they don't have to go through all this. It was a lot easier when I got pregnant with YOU - it's just that this time around it isn't working the way it usually happens. Does that make sense?"

His response: "Mom, I know how people usually get pregnant."

*crickets chirping in the background*

"Really? You do?"

"Yep."

"Okaaaaay... tell me."

"Well, usually moms and dads have to do a lot of kissing to get pregnant, and that's how the sperm usually gets inside the mom. But you and Dad haven't been able to kiss a lot because Dad works so much."

(Oh, if only it were that simple!)

I figured that his version of events will do - for now.

** END OF LITTLE SIDE NOTE **

I brought my iPod along again this time, as I found it helped me to relax the last time, when I got pregnant. I had to wait a few minutes for Dr. R to come in, so rather than sit and fidget, I lay down on the table and listened to my "Mellow Music" playlist. Fortunately I wasn't kept waiting long.

Now, Dr. R was NOT the doctor who did my successful IUI back in April (that was Dr. S), but he had obviously heard about what had happened, so we talked about that a little bit and I was able to ask a few questions I'd had. Dr. R was the original fertility specialist I had seen when I first started going to this clinic back in September of 2009 (hard to believe we've been at this for a year...), and his original treatment plan for me only consisted of four IUIs before moving on to another treatment, namely in vitro (IVF). However, I ended up switching to Dr. S as my main fertility doctor (after having some issues with Dr. R early on), and while Dr. S knows that we won't be pursuing in vitro due to the financials involved, Dr. R did not know that. I told Dr. R that our insurance will cover up to six IUIs (but not IVF), so if #4 doesn't work, I want to exhaust the final two IUIs that insurance will cover since that will be as far as we go with treatment.

He said that he sets four IUIs as the standard plan because if it doesn't work in four attempts, it's likely not the best treatment for a particular patient, but since #3 was actually successful at getting me pregnant and we have no intention to pursue any further types of treatment, he had no problem following through with two additional IUIs if this one fails. That put my mind at ease.

Dr. R had a female med student with him today, and she is the one who started the procedure. Unfortunately, my pesky cervix-of-steel wasn't cooperating when she tried to thread the catheter through it, so Dr. R had to take over. And then even he ran into trouble with it, so I ended up needing a clamp of some sort to help get it in. This is not the first time Dr. R has had trouble getting the catheter in for my IUI, which sucks and is part of the reason I dread getting him for these procedures. The one time I got Dr. S for my IUI - the one that worked! - he got the catheter in right away and without causing me much pain. So I don't know what they do differently, but it's something, that's for sure.

Anyway, let me just tell you, folks, this is NOT a comfortable process.

We all know what it's like to have a bruised shin or a muscle ache or even a headache, and those aren't fun, but this particular type of pain - having something forced through your cervix - is really tough to explain. Rather than diffuse pain, such as you get with a headache, this is sharp, deep pain. It radiates outward from the cervix and all I can think of to describe it is that it's like super sharp knives or razor blades scraping something deep inside your abdomen. It's really not good. Not good at all. The only upside is that once the catheter is threaded, the pain ends and I can breathe again. Which is, of course, a good thing.

The other good thing is that apparently Super Man's count of "good" swimmers was 224 million this time, which is off the charts. They say they need a minimum of 10 million for the procedure, so obviously his is a very, VERY good number.

That 224 million is also the highest number we've had yet for all four IUIs. His last "record" was 133 million, and we thought that was great. In fact, Super Man was joking about getting personalized license plates with "133MM" on them.

Thank God he didn't order the plates yet.

Anyhoo, Dr. R injected the good swimmers straight into the promised land without incident. When he was done, I laid on the table for about 10 minutes listening to my iPod and silently chanting my little IUI mantra to the Universe.

I always get teary-eyed when I'm laying there meditating on my mantra, and this time was especially emotional, since it worked the last time I was there.

I couldn't help but think that if my April pregnancy had been a keeper, I'd have been 22 weeks this Friday and wouldn't need to be going through IUI again. I'd already know the sex of the baby and would be planning for its arrival and reveling in the beauty of second trimester pregnancy. Our family would be eagerly awaiting the new baby, showering my belly with love and kisses, so grateful for that little miraculous gift. I get a lump in my throat every time I think about it, and I ache for what was lost, especially because it took us 4 years to get pregnant again and we have no way of knowing if this or the final two IUIs will get me pregnant again.

Still. I still believe we're meant to have another baby. I still feel in my bones that we aren't done yet. So I have to believe that this or one of the final two IUIs will be the one that brings us another miracle.

When the timer went off and I got up and got dressed, I felt such a surge of positive energy, such hope. I went out to the waiting room to gather up Super Boy. He asked me if it worked, if I had a baby in my tummy. I told him I didn't know yet, that we have to wait two weeks to find out.

He grabbed my hand and looked up at me with his beautiful, solemn hazel eyes and said, "I really hope we get another baby, Mom. And I hope it's a little brother."

My sweet little miracle is praying for another miracle, and so am I.

Number 4, I hope you are the one. Universe, we're ready; we're waiting. We cannot wait to welcome another miracle into our family. We're ready.

hopefully,
SW

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebook friend-iquette

OMG, I love Facebook! So much so that I've been known to spend an inordinate amount of my online time on it, much to my own detriment at times. I've vowed to cut back, and I have a bit, but I have a ways to go before I will feel like I've achieved the right balance. (My husband will be so happy the day that happens!)

Given my love for Facebook, most of the time I view it as a really great invention. It has allowed me a much better, more convenient, and more interactive way of staying in touch with my family and close friends who don't live nearby, in that we can look at each others' pictures, chat, send messages and post on each others' Walls. Of course there is still a lot of value in talking by phone and - better yet - face-to-face, but when that's not possible or practical, Facebook certainly comes in handy.

It's also proven to be a really cool tool in that it has helped me reconnect with lost friends and coworkers, and former classmates from decades ago. I've reconnected with my oldest friend, whom I met when I was 4 years old and we lived across the street from each other, not to mention probably 3/4 (if not more) of my graduating class, and it has been so wonderful and fun to renew those connections and see what everyone is up to. I've been out of high school for 18 years now, and our class has only had two reunions in that time, neither of which I was able to attend. With the 20-year reunion looming large, I find myself really looking forward to it now that I've been in touch with so many people from my class through Facebook. How nice it will be to not feel nervous about seeing everyone again, because I can "see" them every day if I want to!

Then again, there are times when I think of Facebook as not so good a thing. I say that because of how easy it is to snub and hurt people in passive-aggresive ways. One of them is by ignoring friend requests, and another is by "unfriending" former FB friends. Given how prevalent FB is in the social stratosphere, having your friend request ignored or being unfriended is kind of a slap in the face.

I know that there are some out there who think it's absolutely INSANE to have hundreds of Facebook friends, and they will roll their eyes and gnash their teeth and grumble about how there is NO WAY that a person is REALLY "friends" with all those people, and say that those people only do it for the numbers, and they themselves would NEVER friend on FB anyone they weren't REALLY GOOD friends with, blah, blah, blah.

Well, sure -- that might be true in some cases. Absolutely. And if that's your personal policy regarding Facebook, that's great -- for YOU.

In my situation, I've got over 400 FB friends. I never set out to hit a certain number or anything like that. All I've ever wanted to do was connect with my existing friends and family and reconnect with old friends with whom I'd lost touch. The latter category just so happens to include childhood friends, former classmates, former neighbors, and former coworkers I had good relationships with, which makes it a pretty broad category, encompassing at least 30 years of my 36 years on the planet! These are people I never disliked or cut out of my life for any negative reasons; just people I drifted apart from due to moves, changes in life, changes in jobs, etc. and it would've been impossible to keep in touch with all of them in the old traditional ways of writing letters and making phone calls, in the pre-electronic age. The simple fact that Facebook now exists has made reconnecting and staying in touch stupidly easy, and for that I'm grateful.

Where I'm going with this is here: When I send someone a friend request, or I accept a friend request from someone else, it's because I have made the thoughtful, conscious choice to reconnect with that person, because I genuinely want to be connected with that person. It has nothing to do with wanting to have a certain number of FB friends or me just being nosey; it has everything to do with continuing or reviving certain relationships in my life. I would never want someone to accept my friend request or to request me as a friend on Facebook simply to snoop and be nosey, or so they can later snub me by unfriending me, although I'm sure it happens.

I've had a few friend requests ignored and I've been unfriended a few times, and bottom line, it never feels good. In fact, it sucks. And when I realize I've been unfriended by someone, I always find myself dwelling on WHY that person felt the need to unfriend me, especially if it was someone I was FB friends with for a pretty long time. And the crappiest part is that you pretty much have to accept that you'll never have an answer to that question, because who is really going to confront someone who unfriended them? Not this girl, that's for sure! No; in the end, I have to shrug my shoulders and figure I'm better off for it.

All of that said, I will admit that I, too, have ignored a few friend requests and unfriended a few people, but I do it very rarely and only for pretty clear reasons.

REASONS I'VE IGNORED FRIEND REQUESTS:

-- If I don't know you personally, chances are very good that I'm not going to accept your friend request. I don't need to expose myself, my family or my life to strangers. This is also why I've got my privacy settings locked up tighter than Fort Knox. The two exceptions I've made to this rule (and only in rare cases) are virtual friends I've made through my writing/blogging, and friends-of-friends to whom I've been virtually introduced and had a great connection with.

-- If I do know you but our relationship is definitely not good or I have reason to seriously question your motives for wanting access to me through Facebook, I'm going to ignore your request.

-- If I know you or know of you but you've weirded me out in prior situations, I'm not accepting the friend request. For obvious reasons.

REASONS I'D UNFRIEND OTHERS:

-- You're stalking me through FB. By this I mean chatting me every single time you see I'm online, or you're being inappropriate in your FB communications with me.

-- Your posts are all spam (like Farmville or any of the other annoying apps) and never personal thoughts or updates.

-- Your posts are creepy and/or disturbing.

-- If I find out that you're only FB friends with me to get information to share with others, not because you genuinely want to be in touch with me.

I don't like hurting other peoples' feelings. Have I done it a time or two in my life? Unfortunately, yes; I'm human. Usually it has happened because I wasn't thinking before I did or said something, and I've felt truly awful when it has happened. (Seriously, no one could possibly understand how much of a toll my own guilt or shame takes on me when I know I've hurt someone's feelings, and those who know me best will vouch for that.) Even in situations where I'm ignoring a Facebook request from someone I don't know, I feel a little bit bad for it because I know how it feels to be rejected in that way. But the bottom line with Facebook is that I have to look out for my own and my family's safety and well-being.

So, AESW readers, I'm curious to know what YOUR personal Facebook policies are, so please share in the comments section. Do you ignore friend requests and unfriend people, and if so, why? How do you feel when it happens to you? I think it will be really interesting to compare notes on this given how big Facebook has gotten and how many of us use it to stay in touch with people in our lives.

SW

Sunday, August 8, 2010

when a leisurely family bike ride goes bad

Oh, what a day.

It started like many others -- us sleeping in and missing Church (shame on us, shame on us), waking to the sound of rain on the rooftop and making pancakes for breakfast, which we ate in our jammies around the kitchen table. After breakfast, Super Boy relaxed and played some Nintendo DS while Super Man and I chatted, played a little Bejeweled Blitz and did a little picking up. Then we ate lunch.

Around 1:15pm, Super Man commented that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining and we should go outside to enjoy it while it lasted. I suggested we take a bike ride.

I suggested this because ever since Super Boy lost the training wheels back in June, he's wanted to go on bike rides almost every single day, and due to Super Man's long work days, he doesn't often get to join us. This was to be a fun family bike ride for 30 or 40 minutes before coming home, showering and getting on with our day. Super Boy had a sleepover planned at a friend's house (it was hopefully going to be his first successful one!), and I was going to see a movie with a girlfriend while Super Man relaxed at home and finished cleaning his office.

We got ready and headed out. I suggested we load the bikes in my Odyssey and drive down to the bike path Super Boy and I have been biking frequently lately, but Super Man thought we should bike there straight from our house. OK, fine. That was a mistake!

The bike ride through our neighborhood went fine. Super Boy made the corners beautifully, and we were all enjoying ourselves. We got down to the bike path, and things started off well. Until.

Super Boy started peddling really fast.

He lost control of his bike.

The handlebars turned to the side on a bumpy stretch while Super Boy was still propelling forward.

And Super Boy went face-first to the ground.

Thank God he was wearing his helmet (we require it EVERY time he rides, and we wear ours, too). As soon as he hit the pavement, he started screaming. Super Man and I leaped off our bikes and were at his side, lifting his bike off him, carefully turning him over.

Blood dripped from his face onto his clothes and the pavement. He was bleeding so profusely it was hard at first to tell where it was coming from, and his lip was hugely swollen. He was screaming, crying, hysterical.

Super Man held him and tried to calm him down while I dug furiously through my little backpack trying to find the little packet of tissues I usually keep in every one of my purses/bags, only to come up empty-handed. As a last resort, I found a stash of panty liners in my little inside zipper pocket and figured beggars couldn't be choosers. I held a panty liner on my son's mouth trying to staunch the flow of blood so we could see where it was coming from.

When I pulled the liner away, it was easy to see that he had split his top lip open, bad. His lip was so swollen already, though, that it was hard to tell if he had also bit it from the inside. He was still bleeding heavily. He was also bleeding from his right knee and right elbow.

We had to figure out what to do, as it was clear he couldn't get back on his bike and ride. Super Man said he'd ride like hell back to our house to get our Odyssey so we could take him to the ER, so I waited with Super Boy. Thankfully, as we were evaluating Super Boy, a man had been biking by and stopped when he saw our son bleeding. He said he was a former firefighter and EMT, and he volunteered to stay with me and Super Boy while we waited for Super Man to get back.

I don't even known the man's name. I was so concerned about Super Boy that I could barely think straight. The man did a great job of trying to keep our minds off the matter at hand, asking Super Boy what grade he's in and what sports he likes, and talking to us about his daughter and other things. He was so kind, and told me that he didn't think the damage was too bad. When the mosquitoes started eating Super Boy and I alive, and I debated moving Super Boy closer to the road and away from the trees, our helper moved our bikes for us while I just got Super Boy moved and settled.

Before we knew it, Super Man was there. I got Super Boy in the car while Super Man and our helper got the bikes in the back, and we thanked him profusely before speeding away to the hospital ER.

We spent 4 hours at the ER. It was apparent that Super Boy needed stitches, but the chief resident was not comfortable doing the stitches himself due to the fact that the split went from the middle of the fleshy part of Super Boy's lip above his lip line (they called it "the vermilion border"), requiring a more precise stitching to heal properly and symmetrically. So we had to wait for a plastic surgery consult, which came in the form of an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor, who handles all facial lacerations at the hospital.

Thankfully, the room we were put in at the ER had a video game cart in it already, and that helped tremendously to keep Super Boy's mind off his pain and what was going to happen. It helped pass the time in a state of less panic and fear, and that was a good thing.

When it came time for the ENT to come do her thing, Super Boy visibly tensed. They gave him some numbing gel to the lip to help take away the sting of the numbing agent they injected before doing the stitches, and he was not liking ANY of it. Still, he stayed calm, squeezed my hand and followed all their instructions. When he was suitably numb, they irrigated his lip, as he had fallen on a paved path and no doubt had some grit in there. When they began stitching, Super Boy became nervous, but soon realized that it was going to be quick and relatively painless.

He ended up with two stitches to the outside of his lip, one at the lip line and one just below it, and another two stitches to the inside of his lip, where it was discovered that his teeth had done some serious damage in the fall. I can't believe he didn't bite right through the lip. Thank God he didn't though.

We still don't know for sure whether he damaged his two front teeth -- they weren't cracked or chipped, but when the doctors pressed up on them or had him bite down hard, he said it was tender. That could just be from all the swelling, but we'll need to keep an eye on that. I sure hope the teeth are okay because they're his permanent teeth!

Super Boy has been such a champ through all of this. When we first got into triage at the ER, the nurse said he would probably need sedation before getting the stitches because of his age and how worked up he was at that point, but by the time he was actually getting stitched up, he was quite calm and just wanted to know what they were doing. So we avoided sedation, which was great. Still, by the time we got home, we were all exhausted. Super Boy took it easy, took a nice warm bath, rested, had a little cereal for dinner, and then had some ice cream later. He had some Tylenol, we dressed his skinned knee and arm, and then carefully brushed his teeth before putting some antibiotic ointment and a light dressing on his lip.

And then my little boy slept.

No parent ever wants to see their child get hurt or suffer. I know that this is small potatoes compared to what some parents endure with their kids. But I hope I never have to see my sweet pea bleeding like that ever again. When we got Super Boy out of his clothes before his bath, and later got out of our own clothes, I was astonished at how much blood was on them. And I was thanking God that the situation was as "good" as it was and not any worse.

with a truly grateful heart,
SW

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

i-ta-ly

I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy today. Super Man's older sister, her three grown sons and my mother- and father-in-law are currently in Italy. My sister-in-law has been on Facebook posting pictures and status updates daily, and just seeing the beautiful pictures and reading her joyful updates warms my heart.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't, Super Man's family is 100% Italian. My father-in-law was born in the U.S. (his father was born in Italy), and he had never been to Italy. My mother-in-law was born in Italy, but her family moved to the U.S. when she was two or three years old, and she had never been back -- until now, 75 years later.

My father-in-law is one of the most laid back and easy-going people I know (Super Man gets it from him), but he does NOT like to travel, especially by plane. My mother-in-law has a far more adventurous spirit in that regard and has always wanted to return to Italy to visit the family members that stayed behind, but she had some unpleasant matters to deal with early on in the past decade and then has been plagued with some moderate health issues for the past few years, so travel wasn't high on her agenda.

But then my sister-in-law -- who has wanted to take a family trip to Italy forever -- finally convinced my mother- and father-in-law to go with her and her sons this year. When I heard the news, I couldn't believe that my father-in-law had actually agreed to go, but I was so excited that he had. I knew that my mother-in-law was thrilled, but I also knew she would be concerned about how she'd do physically, between the long travel days on cramped airplanes and then all the walking and traveling they'd do during their 10 days in Italy. Still, she refused to let it hold her back, and from the sounds of it, she's having the time of her life back in her home country.

The pictures have been beautiful - the weather is gorgeous (although hot), the sites they've seen have been amazing, and best of all was seeing the town where my mother-in-law was born, the church where she was baptized, and the tombstone of her maternal grandmother. I can just picture how happy she is there, among her Italian cousins, seeing the place her parents lived before moving stateside. And I've been relieved to hear that she's held up physically despite the long days of walking and sight-seeing.

I only wish we could be there with them! We thought about going with them, but it just wasn't going to work financially this year. Plus, with Super Boy being only 7, it might've been too much for him with the long flights and all the walking.

Still, though. The thought of Super Boy and Super Girl being able to experience Italy for the first time with their Italian grandparents is incredibly compelling. And while my in-laws are still active and in relatively good health, they're in their late 70s and this could very well be one of the last opportunities - if not the last opportunity - for them to take a trip of this magnitude. We just have to hope that maybe in another year or two the stars will all align again for them to make the trip and we can go with next time.

In the meantime, I pray that the rest of their trip goes as smoothly and wonderfully as the past three days have. I just love the idea of them in ITALY!

ciao-ciao
SW

Monday, July 19, 2010

i'm ba-aaaaaack!

Irony kills me. Post-Miscarriage Period #1 showed up on June 15, exactly 1 month after the miscarriage actually began (May 15). Post-Miscarriage Period #2 showed up on July 14, exactly 2 months after I found out I was going to miscarry imminently (May 14). Hardy har har.

All that unpleasantness aside, I've been given the all clear to start trying again. This makes me happy!

When Post-Miscarriage Period #2 arrived, I called my Super Fertility Specialist (SFS)'s office and spoke to one of the nurses, letting her know it had arrived and I was expecting to re-start IUI this cycle. At first, she tried to convince me to wait yet ANOTHER month, because she claimed that the doctors prefer that a woman wait THREE cycles after a miscarriage. I tried to stay calm and not scream at her that I was SICK TO DEATH of waiting, after FOUR years and FOUR months of trying for another baby and one very sad miscarriage. I managed to calmly explain to her that my SFS had told me on the day we found out the pregnancy had stopped that he just wanted me to wait TWO full cycles, since my miscarriage was simply to expel a fertilized & implanted -- but EMPTY -- egg sac that stopped developing shortly after 4 weeks of pregnancy. It's not like I was 10 or 12 or more weeks and lost an otherwise live and growing pregnancy.

She resisted. I insisted she talk to my SFS and get back to me.

And, man, I LOVE my SFS because sure enough the nurse called back and said, "OK, Dr. _____ said it was fine for you to go ahead and start IUI again this cycle."

Ha! Ha ha HA!

I knew he would see it my way. I mean, honestly, I would've been happy to wait if my body had gone through a more traumatic miscarriage, but mine was about as simple and uncomplicated as they come (although it certainly wasn't pleasant going through it), so it seemed silly to wait "just because."

Unfortunately, as Super Man and I were looking ahead in our calendars at the week we'd be having IUI, we realized that the MAJOR-HUGE-STRESSFUL meetings he's spent MONTHS preparing for are all happening that week, and specifically on the day that I would most likely ovulate and need to have IUI.

Nonetheless, I will not be deterred. (I'm good that way.) I'm taking Femara again, as I did for IUI attempt #3 when I actually FINALLY got pregnant, and I'll start taking ovulation predictor tests on Sunday, and hopefully I won't ovulate until after Super Man is done with the meetings and can relax and make it to his part of the appointment for IUI. And, if he can't and the timing just won't work for IUI, then we're going to try like crazy on our own and hope that the pregnancy that didn't make it at least got all the equipment working again and makes it easier for me to conceive without us having to do IUI.

Either way, I'm cool with it. As long as we can try again, with or without IUI, that's good with me. I still believe our other baby is just waiting for the right time to manifest itself in my belly. So, I wait.

wishing on stars,
SW

Thursday, July 8, 2010

bumps everywhere

What the hell is in the water lately? I should say what the hell is in EVERYONE ELSE'S WATER, since it seems like everywhere I go and everywhere I look, there are women sporting baby bumps of varying sizes. I see them everywhere -- except when I look in the mirror at my own babyless belly. And it's driving me nuts.

I'm really not exaggerating this either. I see them EVERY SINGLE DAY, no matter where I go or what I'm doing.

I walk into the grocery store admiring the cute outfit on the woman ahead of me, and sure enough, when she turns sideways there's a baby belly.

I drive down the street and see a woman jogging along on the sidewalk, and as I pass her I see a baby belly. (Never mind that I don't even jog when I'm NOT pregnant.)

I'm innocently folding laundry and watching a t.v. show - not a cutesy-tootsie one, but like a CSI-type show, with blood and gore and crime - and one of the main characters (a serial killer, no less) is hugely pregnant.

I flip the channel and land on a commercial where there's yet another pregnant woman.

I log onto Facebook one night to find that one of my exes and his wife are expecting another baby (their first is 8 months old), and she's due a week before I was.

I go to a 4th of July cookout and find out that a neighbor is pregnant again.

I'm driving to the grocery store and I see a couple walking along pushing a stroller with a toddler in it and - oh, lo and behold - the woman is pregnant with another.

Super Boy and I go to the ice cream shop to get him a smoothie (just this afternoon, in fact) and there's no one in there but us. As we leave, a woman walks in sporting a good-sized baby bump. Oh - and bonus! - I passed another one in the parking lot on the way back to my van.


Honest to God, it seems like just about everyone is pregnant except me. First babies, second babies, third babies, fourth babies. Pregnant, pregnant, pregnant.

And all I can think about is that I would've been 15 weeks pregnant tomorrow, had everything turned out with my April pregnancy. I would've been past the first trimester, showing, and just about 4 months pregnant. I think about that every single day, and I'm sure I will until my due-date-that-was of 1/1/11 passes. Unless by some miracle from God I end up pregnant again by then. And even then.

Why does it have to be so hard???

What happened to me, to my body, that is making this so damned difficult??? It's supposed to be easier than this!

God, I think about all the years I spent trying NOT to get pregnant while I waited for "the right time" to start a family, and I desperately wish I could go back and rethink that whole thing and get off birth control and start trying sooner. What if I missed my window of opportunity by just a year even?

It's maddening, I tell you. I have no control over this, over my own frickin' body, and it makes me furious. Every time I see another baby bump I want to crawl into bed and cry. As it is, I immediately avert my eyes. I can't even stand to look at them because it triggers an actual physical ache in my body and my heart.

And don't even get me started on listening to nearly-due pregnant women who complain about how they feel or how they hate being pregnant. If I HAD a left nut, I'd gladly give it to be in their shoes. Gladly. Any damn day of the week. I LOVED being pregnant with Super Boy. Loved it, loved it, loved it, and truly couldn't wait to experience it again. To hear anyone complain about it makes me want to scream.

This is hell. Everyone has their own version; I accept that. This is mine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

beginnings

I was out of town all last week, on our annual vacation to the northwoods of Wisconsin with my whole family, minus my youngest brother who lives out west and couldn't make it this year. I love that week each year, as it kicks off our summer perfectly. We all spend 11-1/2 months eagerly anticipating it, and then that single week always flies by way too fast. Still, we love it.

When we started doing this annual family vacation in 2005, we rented the lake house of a coworker of mine. The house was big and well-appointed although not fancy, and the lot, beach and lake were all fabulous for the needs of our group. We happily spent our first four vacations there, but eventually my coworker and her husband decided to sell the house as they weren't able to get up there often enough to keep up with the necessary upkeep, so we had to find a new place in 2009.

The house we rented last year was practically brand new and beautiful - but it wasn't right on the lake like the original lake house was, and the beach was shared with other cabins, so we didn't have the privacy we had come to relish either. That meant we all spent less time swimming and boating, and we were all disappointed by that. So, my parents booked a different house for this summer.

This year's house was much closer to town than the other two, and it was big like the original lake house and sat close to the lake like that one, but it still wasn't quite the right fit. Our biggest issues had to do with the water. The water inside, being well water, STUNK to high heaven of sulfur. I'm not exaggerating that one bit either, trust me. Anytime we showered or brushed our teeth, we had to hold our breath or gag through it. And when we did laundry, we quickly learned that the water also had a lot of iron in it, because our whites turned rusty orange. I was NOT thrilled about that, considering I had washed a brand spankin' new white cami and new white t-shirt in that load of whites and they were instantly ruined. Lesson learned! As for the water outside, despite the fact that the lake was just a few yards away from the house and offered GREAT fishing right from the dock, it was NOT good for swimming. The beach was mucky, the bottom of the lake was very silty, and there were weeds everywhere. I suppose we were fortunate that the weather was cold and rainy for more than half the week, and even when the rain stopped it wasn't so hot that we felt compelled to swim much. Thank God for the great fishing, at least -- Super Boy and my Super Nephew (who is the same age as Super Boy) both caught plenty of bluegills and perch right off the dock and were THRILLED by that.

My parents are now struggling with what to do for next summer. We either need to look for another place for next summer or my parents are considering buying a lake place in the southern half of the state, nearer to where they live. While I would really miss the fun activities offered in Minocqua (we LOVE to go go-karting and pony riding while we're there), I think we'd be far more comfortable in a house that my parents own that has the accommodations we value most for our vacations. So, we'll see how it all shakes out for next year.

Regardless of the accommodations, the trip itself is always wonderful. I pretty much only see my sister and her family at the holidays and on this vacation, as we live 5 hours apart, which means our little boys only see each other then, too. That makes us both sad because we were both so excited to find out we were pregnant just 3 months apart, and we looked forward to our boys being close cousins growing up. With the boys in school now and life being busy like it is, it's just hard to make the time to get together more than we do. No excuse, I know - we both ought to try harder - but it is what it is for now.

I see my younger brother more frequently, but the holidays and the vacation are the only times when we're all together, and that's special, too. We spend the evenings playing games as a family. The favorite is Texas hold 'em (my brother taught us all how to play and now we're all hooked!), and we introduced the family to Monopoly City this year, which was a big hit. The boys are now old enough that they can play their own games, or do puzzles together, and they're so cute working together on those things.

Growing up, we never had the money to take vacations as a family, so we really value this time together now. I hope we'll do this always, even after our parents are gone. As I said, it's the perfect way to begin our summer each year!

I had another beginning last week: As I'd half hoped and half feared, my period finally decided to show up, last Tuesday. June 15th: ironically, exactly one month since I started my miscarriage.

I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my stupid period for a change, wanting to get it over with so we could move forward, and it stubbornly refused to show for four straight weeks following the miscarriage. I felt kind of crummy Sunday and Monday, but wasn't sure if I just had a touch of a stomach thing or something else, and then Tuesday it showed up and I realized that's what was making me feel lousy.

Nonetheless, I was glad to get it finally. Now I just have to wait until after my next period to start IUI again, which means we should be on track for July, as I'd hoped we would be. Hopefully that will have given my body enough time to heal and prepare for the possibility of another pregnancy.

On that note, I received a beautiful little note from Sister A from our church in today's mail. She has been praying for a baby for us since we began IUI in December, and was so excited when I'd shared the news of the pregnancy with her. After telling her about the miscarriage, she was very consoling and urged me to keep faith that God has a plan for us. Much to my sadness, she's leaving this week to return to her mother house for 2 months before beginning a new position in Kentucky. I will miss her terribly, but I know we will stay in touch. Anyway, her note this morning was two prayers: One for trying to get pregnant, and one for pregnancy. She is so sweet and thoughtful. Just knowing that she's sending up her prayers for us makes me feel like God is really listening, to her if not to me. I pray that the power of all our praying will bring us the miracle we've waited so long for.

That's all for now. I'm just so glad that it's summer. This is my favorite time of year, the season I love best, and I want to really make the most of it this year. Hooray for summer!!

Yours always,
SW

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a big day

Today is a pretty significant day for our family. Well, I suppose I ought to include yesterday in this, as well. Let's say it was a pretty significant TWO days for our family.

First off, yesterday: Super Girl graduated from 8th grade! Yes, folks. This means we have a high schooler on our hands.

Lord have mercy.

We live about 50 minutes away from Super Girl's school - and that number is considering average traffic, not rush hour traffic - so naturally with the graduation ceremony last night being at 6:30pm and both of us driving in rush hour traffic to get there, I didn't make it until 6:45 and Super Man strolled in a good five minutes after I did. Thankfully they had barely gotten started yet, so we were good to go.

The ceremony was very nice, very touching, and with her class being fairly small - about 40 kids - it didn't take crazy long to get through. Super Girl looked so nice in her semi-formal dress, as the graduation dance was immediately after the ceremony. We took a few pictures after the ceremony before taking our leave,and when I looked at them last night, especially on of her and Super Boy, I was struck by how much Super Girl has grown up over the past year. She looks like she could be 17. It happened in the blink of an eye, people.



CONGRATULATIONS to Super Girl on finishing middle school and taking this next huge step into high school!!

As for today, two things make it a big day:

1.) It was Super Boy's last day of 1st grade!

2.) It's my and Super Man's 10th wedding anniversary!

We'll start with Super Boy's big day. My little man is done with school today, and next fall he'll be a big 2nd grader. I cannot - CANNOT - believe it. I still swear that it was just yesterday that I was holding my little 8 lb. 10.5 oz. baby in my arms. It is IMPOSSIBLE to think that he's 7 and going into second grade already. And yet, he is. And he couldn't be happier about it.

I asked him on the way home this afternoon how he felt about it being his last day of school. He said he's part happy and part sad. Happy because he's a SECOND grader now, but sad because it was a good year and he's going to miss seeing all his classmates over the summer. I told him that I am determined (you're all my witnesses) to make sure he sees at least one or two classmates a week this summer, not counting the weeks we're out of town or he's in camps. I will admit to doing a woefully inadequate job of this last summer, and I don't want to repeat that mistake this summer. He needs to have that social time with other kids, especially since he doesn't have a sibling around all the time to hang out with in general, and frankly, I need some time to myself to get things done! Last summer was NOT a very productive one for me, and it was my own damn fault.



Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS to my little boy on completing a great year of 1st grade!!

As for us... well. What is there to say? Ten years. TEN YEARS!!

We've certainly had our share of ups and downs, and this year has already been full of them all on its own. That said, I think we've weathered the storms pretty well overall, and we're just grateful and thankful for the life we share together.

Are there things I would change? Sure. I'd love it if Super Man was home more and worked a little less. I'd love it if we weren't feeling a pinch financially with me not working. And, of course, I'd love it if we had another baby joining our family. I'd like our house to be on a quieter street, in a neighborhood, preferably closer to my family. I wish we could travel more together, the way we used to.

Are there things I wouldn't ever change? Absolutely. The way Super Man looks at me. The way he says my name. The feel of his strong, soft, warm hand in mine. The fact that he calls me pretty much every day during his lunch hour just to say hi and see how my day is going. That he says he loves me every time we get off the phone and before he leaves for work in the morning. That he's always willing to do something I want done but can't do myself or help me with something if I ask. I love his patience, his kindness and friendliness, that he doesn't sweat the small stuff or let cruel or insensitive people get him down.

There is no one I'd rather lie down next to every night or wake up beside every morning. There's no one I'd prefer to go through life beside, to grow old with. He's my other half. And I love him.



Happy 10th Anniversary, CH - I love you!!

With a happy heart,
SW

Thursday, May 27, 2010

falling

I had to go in last Wednesday and again yesterday for follow-up blood tests to make sure my hcG level is dropping to reflect a completed miscarriage. It was 193 last week, and fell to 11.4 yesterday. Hopefully this means I'll be at 0 for next week's blood test.

The sooner the better. I want to put this behind me, to have tangible closure. I'm eager to move forward, to get to a good place again, emotionally just because I need to get there again and physically so that we can try again. I don't want to rush things, of course - but I do want to move forward.

I feel like we've spent soooooo much time in holding patterns throughout this whole process. The first year we tried to conceive, we assumed things were fine and we just weren't getting the timing right. We waited to seek help. The second year we tried to conceive, when I was really starting to get concerned, we sought some help but our insurance wouldn't cover ANY fertility testing, much less fertility treatment, so we just kept trying and praying. The third year we tried to conceive, Super Man lost his job due to layoffs, so we stopped trying for four months and waited for him to make his next career move, not wanting to get pregnant if we had no income and no insurance coverage. Thankfully, Super Man accepted a fabulous position at a great company that had excellent insurance, insurance that covered fertility testing and treatment up to and including IUI. Even then, however, we had to wait to see the specialist, wait for more testing to be done, wait for my surgery to remove the uterine polyps, wait to heal from that, and then wait to see if each month of IUI worked.

It's one thing to wait 9 months for a baby to be born; it's entirely another to wait, and wait, and wait just to get pregnant. My patience - already thin and patchy for, oh, my entire life - is virtually non-existent now. I know I can't control this, at all. As frustrating as that is, as much as this body belongs to ME, I have no control over what it does in this regard. The sooner we can get back on track with our fertility treatments, the sooner - hopefully - I will be pregnant again. That is worth the wait. That and that alone.

I can't tell you how grateful I am that this is all going on now, in late spring going into summer. I've always had issues with seasonal affective disorder (undiagnosed, of course - but I hold a degree in psychology and I know the symptoms) in fall and winter, and I know that if this were happening then I'd be in utter despair. At least I have sunshine and warm weather and fun activities to distract me from some of this, and that's huge for me.

Things will be okay. Each day that passes will get me closer to where I want to be. I am holding onto that.

With greatest hope,
SW

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

big boy

This past Sunday was Super Boy's 7th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUPER BOY!!! :)



This child is:

- a miracle.
- incredibly sweet, loving and nurturing.
- funny and charismatic.
- clever, witty and wise.
- very intelligent and articulate.
- a social butterfly and chick-magnet.
- the most beautiful human being I've ever laid eyes on.
- the very center of my universe, the core of my soul.
- so much Super Man.
- so much me.
- truly my little Italian angel.

I never knew it was possible to love someone else so thoroughly and completely and unconditionally until I had my little boy seven years ago. And that's saying something because I adore my husband, have been madly in love with him since 1998. This child, our child, just takes my breath away and he has since the moment I laid eyes on him.


I can't believe he's already seven. I can close my eyes and picture and feel his tiny but sturdy little body in my arms on Day One, and when I open my eyes and behold the big boy he is now, it's stunning to me. The time went by so quickly, and he changed so imperceptibly from one day to the next. Seven years go by in the blink of an eye.

I have been so amazed by everything my son has learned over the years, and especially just by what he's learned this year alone. He's so smart... I can't believe how much he knows, by how inquisitive his mind is.

I'm overwhelmed by his capacity to love and care for those around him, by his intuitiveness and instinct in his relationships. He is so loving towards his family, and towards me in particular. I hope he never loses that. He is so sensitive in good ways, yet strong and assured in others. I'm impressed by him and his character, every single day.

I want such a great future for my boy. I picture the things that will unfold in his life from this point forward, and I just want all his dreams to come true. I want him to live an extraordinary life, surrounded by extraordinary people, and I have every belief that he will. He's a charmed little boy, blessed by angels. I absolutely adore him.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I wish only good things and happy days for you, lovey!!

With all the love in my heart,
Your Super Mom

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

waiting and thinking, thinking and waiting

Well, I think the worst has passed physically, in that my cramping is very minimal and the bleeding is trailing off. Emotionally, on the other hand, I still feel like a train wreck.

I am numb. It takes so much energy to get excited about anything right now, to hold a conversation with someone, to remember details, to even put a smile on my face when I'm spending time with Super Boy so he knows that yeah, Mommy is sad but everything is okay. I feel like I'm going through the motions of my normal life but the meaning is lost right now. I know this will pass, but it's unnerving. If I could give in to my urge to crawl into bed and stay there indefinitely, I probably would. I suppose I'm grateful that my "real life" beckons, and I have to take care of my son and my dog and my house, at a minimum, so I simply can't let myself get sucked into a major depression over this.

But friends call or email and want to get together, and I can't. I just can't. I know it might make me feel better to be able to talk about it with them (especially those who have gone through it themselves) and cry on their shoulders a little bit, but honestly, I feel like my grieving process is the only private thing I have left with this. I realized that I've shot myself in the foot, so to speak, by talking so openly - here, on Facebook, on my mom websites, and in person with people - about our whole struggle to conceive. I felt obligated to tell everyone that I WAS pregnant and then to inform them that now I'm NOT. I can write about what it feels like, what I'm going through, but to actually sit with someone and cry about it with rivers of tears and snot running down my face, my arms wrapped tightly around my middle to keep it from falling apart, and let people see me in the midst of the mourning is just not something I can do right now. This is all I have left.

I had to go in for a follow-up hcG test this morning. My doctor didn't mention that when I was in his office last week, but when I spoke with his nurse Monday, she gently told me that I will have to go in weekly until the number is below 5 again. I sat there in the blood draw this morning thinking that the last time I was there, I got the best news ever a few hours later, that my hcG was 99.6 and I was definitely pregnant, at long last. I know the news this time will not be happy. My hcG should be dropping. While that is what is "normal" in this situation, it makes me miserable to imagine it.

I'm restless. All I can think about is getting back on track for IUI #4. If my hcG goes down fast enough, there is a possibility that we could try again in June, but then again the rational side of me knows that I should let my body rest, and wait until July. There's also the pesky matter of getting my period again at some point. Must have that before I can have another ovulatory cycle. I know my more practical side will prevail, but I'm not a patient person by nature, so the next 6 weeks (or more) of waiting will be torture.

And then I find myself trying to caution my heart into not getting its hopes up that IUI #4 will be our salvation. Just because #3 technically worked doesn't mean #4 will. I may end up disappointed again when that cycle comes to an end. Still, I can't help but hope. And - as stupid as it might sound - I hope that now that my body has finally accomplished getting pregnant again, maybe the skids are greased to make it easier to achieve again on one of our future attempts, you know? You hear about that happening sometimes.

Hell, I just read this morning that Kelly Preston and John Travolta are having another baby -- she is pregnant, and she's 47. If she can do it at 47, surely I can manage it at 36 with the helpful medical intervention of my fertility specialist! Right? Right?

aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh....

And then I have other situations that I don't know how or whether to deal with. Rather than go into detail about the situations (trust me, I've learned my lesson with that), I figured I'd post a few tips for people on how to help someone around you who is going through or has recently been through a miscarriage, now that I'm living it first-hand.

-- No matter how early the miscarriage happened or whether it was a blighted ovum or not, don't ever tell the person that they weren't "really" pregnant. If the person went through some form of fertility treatment to get pregnant and then miscarried under any circumstances, don't tell them that the treatment didn't work. If you've ever been pregnant before, you know that - deep down - when you see that positive pregnancy test or hear the doctor or nurse speak the words YOU'RE PREGNANT, you are all-in. There is no "kind of" or "not really" or any middle ground. Pregnant is pregnant, whether it continues to a healthy baby being born or not. And when it doesn't result in a healthy baby being born, you need to show compassion and respect for the pregnancy that failed. When fertility treatment is involved, saying the treatment didn't work only discourages the person from trying it again, which is not helpful because a person going through that needs all the faith they can muster to get through those treatments, and the reality is that the treatment DID work; the pregnancy didn't.

-- Everyone is different, so just because you may have been through a miscarriage yourself doesn't mean that the person next to you going through it is going to have the same exact experience with it that you did. They might be in more or less physical pain than you were (pain is a very subjective thing), it might take longer for their miscarriage to wrap up than yours did, they might take longer to heal or "get over it" emotionally than you did. You shouldn't judge them for their experience, nor can you push them into getting through their process any faster than they can get through it. You're only going to make the person feel worse - and angry - if you try to force them to "perk up" or "move on." Just let them be and be supportive.

-- Don't talk about the miscarriage behind the person's back. She may have told a million people already, but it's not your place to tell anyone else about it, or to discuss it with other people regardless. This is a heartbreaking situation, and if you're truly a friend, you've got to show respect and care.

-- Don't use meaningless platitudes like "I guess it wasn't meant to be" or "it's God's will" or "I'm sure you'll get pregnant again" when offering your condolences. If you don't know the "right" thing to say, just tell the person that you're sorry for their loss and will keep them in your thoughts or prayers. Really, just that means so much to someone who is hurting and mourning that loss.

-- Don't bring the person's age or other qualifying factors into your condolences. We know how old we are and the rates of miscarriage for our age groups, we know that we may have had fertility problems, and your bringing them up isn't making anyone feel better. Just say you're sorry for the loss and leave it at that.

-- Be gentle. Be respectful. Give us time to heal.

I'm going to take my dog for a walk somewhere today to enjoy the sun and clear my head. And then I might do some weeding in my yard that's LONG overdue. I'm in a very solitary place right now; I really need this time to myself. I'll be better soon enough, I'm sure. But right now, this is what I need.

Introspectively yours,
SW

Monday, May 17, 2010

miscarriages suck

There's not much else to say besides that, but you know I'll say it anyway.

Friday was a nightmare. Never in my life have I gone into ANY appointment thinking it was going to go one way only to have it veer off in completely the opposite direction. Hearing the news that my baby wasn't there, that my pregnancy stopped at some point and I would miscarry imminently was quite literally the biggest shock I've ever had in my life. The wind was instantly out of my sails, my big giant red balloon of happiness and love and hope was instantly popped, and my heart literally broke into a thousand pieces as I stared at the empty circle on the screen.

Worse than that, when my doctor left the room so I could get dressed and get myself together, I tried to call my husband to tell him the horrible news -- and I couldn't get a hold of him. He knew what time my appointment was at, and he has his work cell phone on him at all times, and I kept hitting redial redial REDIAL and he wasn't answering. (Turns out, he was in meetings all morning in a conference room where he had no cell signal.)

I was furious. Furious and heartbroken and stunned by the whole situation. I called my mom instead, and from two hours away she had to listen to me sob about how my baby was gone.

The rest of the day passed in a blur of crying, disbelief, phone calls, well meaning family and friends sharing their condolences. Eventually, a phone call from Super Man, who hadn't heard my message yet and still thought everything was fine. He was shattered by the news that it was NOT fine.

I was numb. I still didn't believe it. I had no bleeding. No spotting. Everything still felt the same inside.

Saturday morning, Super Boy had a soccer game. I had started spotting that morning, but didn't feel too bad just yet, so I went to the game. He played so well, my little guy, and even though they lost their game it was just so nice to do something NORMAL. To be living life with my beautiful boy and my husband. We went home and had lunch. And then the pain and cramping started.

I was curled up in bed all afternoon and evening. I was told it would be like a slightly-heavier-than-normal period. It is definitely like that. Times ten. The cramping is awful. Not just in my uterus, but in my lower back. It feels like back labor, and I'm still having it today, two days later. The bleeding hasn't been so bad - I was told that if I was soaking maxi pads within an hour to go to the ER, but it's nowhere near that bad. And while I've passed a few clots, they're small: nickel- or quarter-sized, and only a few. No, the pain is by far the worst part. Tylenol will work for a little while, but it doesn't keep it fully at bay.

I literally spent the entire day in bed yesterday, moving my electric heating pad from my lower back to my belly and back again, all day - and all night - long. I woke up Sunday morning at 5am feeling sick from the pain, and nearly passed out. My stomach has been upset and I've had ZERO appetite. I keep drinking fluids and Gatorade, but I don't want to eat, feeling like this.

I can't tell you how much I want this part to be over. I pray for it to just be done. It's such an insult to injury to have to find out you've lost a pregnancy and try to process that emotionally and THEN have to physically endure the loss of what was. I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up in 3 days and have it be over and done with.

Clearly, this is the first time I've experienced this. Knowing now that this is what it is like, I think about the women whose fertility problem is repeated miscarriages, inability to maintain a pregnancy, and it makes me feel a little bit grateful that my fertility problem has been a sheer inability to get pregnant again. I cannot imagine going through the emotional and physical pain of this over and over again. That thought makes my heart absolutely break for women who have and do struggle with recurring miscarriages.

Someone on one of my local mom websites said to me after I shared the news of my miscarriage that she thinks it's admirable that I haven't wallowed in asking "why me?" over the past 4 years of trying to conceive, and especially now after this. She's only partly right, because of course I think that from time to time. Of course I've thought that in the past 4 days. But I don't voice it, and I don't allow myself to linger on that thought when it does cross my mind. Because as bad an experience as this has been for me, I know it could be so much worse. I know that millions of other people in the world have it so much worse than I do. Is this sad and frustrating and "unfair?" Sure; yes. But there are many sadder, more frustrating and infinitely more unfair things that happen to good people every single day. No matter how low I feel, I know that to be true.

And the truth is, I'm BLESSED. I am married to a wonderful man who loves me and provides for our family. I have a beautiful, smart, funny little boy, who I have come to see as even more of a miracle because I haven't been able to give him a little brother or sister and I now FULLY understand just how miraculous it is that I was able to have him. I have a loving, wonderful stepdaughter who has become like my own daughter over our years together. We have a roof over our heads, food on our table, beds to sleep in, families and friends who love us and care about us, and we enjoy a life that many, many others in the world do not. Things could be so much worse. For that reason, I'm grateful that this is the worst thing I've ever experienced.

Things will get better. I will feel better physically. I will make peace with it emotionally. We will move on. We will try again. And I believe that, eventually, we'll have another miracle. And we'll appreciate it that much more for having gone through this.

One day at a time.

With my heating pad on my back and hope in my heart,
SW