Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Hurrah

Here's a few of my favorite shots from this year. This has been one of the busiest, blurriest years I can remember, but also one of the best. Watching Eli turn from a hungry, grumpy little butterball of a newborn into a chortling, gleeful little brother chasing Addy around the house has been the most miraculous transformation I have ever witnessed. Addy has turned from a toddler into a nearly-preschooler, learning letters and shapes and how to much more firmly and clearly express herself about clothing, food choices, toy preferences, and her love for her purses, tiaras, and various lucky family members. And Jim and I have learned how to... Cope. Go with the flow. Enjoy the moment. I MAY have had a harder time with that lesson than he has, but I think I'm getting there. I fully believe next year will be even better.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And To All A Good Night

Dear Santa,

My greatest dream has been realized. Jewelry, perfume, books, sweaters, or fancy hand creams would now be only a side note when compared to the Christmas miracle you delivered to our house this evening... My daughter caved to my coaching, cajoling, and outright bribery, and, after much fussing and begging for a diaper and whining that her tummy hurt, begrudgingly pooped on the potty.

I have never in my life felt so excited about another person's bowel movement. I have never felt so excited about MY OWN bowel movement. I nearly cried. I gushed, "I'm so proud of you!" so many times that Adelay finally gave me a consoling, somewhat worried hug and replied, "I'm proud of you, too, Mommy!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Early Christmas!

So guess what arrived out of the blue the other day? A gorgeous handmade carseat cover that I had totally forgotten about winning from Valley Momma! It was like the thrill you get when you discover a forgotten five dollar bill in your pocket, but, you know, a lot BIGGER of a thrill. I mean, LOOK!

And if that weren't enough, she threw in a bunch of other goodies, just 'cause she's nice like that! Lookie!

The top two are little zippered bags; the smaller one is Addy's, with cute little guitars on it, and the brown and pink one is a cosmetic bag for moi. The bottom one is a cover for a travel wipes case. So nifty, right?

Also, she sent a Christmas bib for Eli, very cute, but it's in the laundry right now so I can't show you. AND she sent crayon rolls for each of the kids! Here is Eli's, rolled:

And here is Adelay's, unrolled:

Note the possessive little hand grasping for it. That was literally the best shot I could get of her crayon roll; in all the others, Addy is actually snatching it off the desk, and all you see if a blur of fabric and grubby fingers.

These were all really well made items, in adorable fabrics. I especially love the car seat cover, though. I mean it's so awesome! Beyond the obvious convenience factor, that it is removed EASILY for washing in case someone stains it with juice or um, bodily fluids of some sort, it is just so colorful and fun and SUCH an improvement over the previous, boring navy blue fabric. And it fits perfectly, nipping in at all the right spots to conform to the shape of the car seat. I highly recommend! Thank you again, Beth!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, I had my Clomid consult today, and it served only to totally frustrate me. The doctor I saw today, the "fertility expert" in the new practice I'm going to, thinks that I don't have a luteal phase defect at all, despite what two other doctors have suggested. She thinks I've just had bad luck twice, and that the low progesterone levels I had early on in those losses were just indicators that the pregnancies were failing, rather than being the reason the pregnancies were failing. I've heard this theory online from many different medical sources. Basically, as the doctor today told me, even the top experts in the field of infertility disagree on whether low progesterone is a cause or an indicator of miscarriage.

She said she thinks luteal phase defect is "overly diagnosed" and that if that were truly what I have, a, I wouldn't have been able to carry Adelay without help, and b, the progesterone supplements I took would have saved the pregnancies that I lost. She thinks my problem is that I have a delay in my ovulating process, which is causing the DNA in my eggs to deteriorate before I finally release them, which is then causing poor quality conceptions that can't develop. This delay obviously doesn't always happen, but maybe more often than not it does. I do frequently experience kind of drawn-out, painful ovulation cycles, which seem to go on for days and days instead of being over in thirty six hours or whatever.

She pointed out that several days ago when I had my ultrasound, my follicle appeared just two or three days from being ready, but my cervix was clearly far from being ready. And it's only just today that I'm beginning to feel the pain in my side that always indicates ovulation is imminent. Which means that follicle has just kind of been swelling and swelling, waiting, and meanwhile the health of the egg is suffering. I guess. That is basically what I gleaned from the discussion. Has anyone ever heard of this or had this problem themselves?

She said she didn't think Clomid was strictly necessary in my case, that Adelay is proof that I CAN conceive naturally and not miscarry. But she said that given my history of loss, and especially since I responded so well to the low dose of Clomid I took to conceive Eli, that taking Clomid is probably what she would do if she were wary of another miscarriage. She said she'd have me come in on day fourteen of my cycle, and if I hadn't ovulated on my own yet even with the drugs, she'd give me a shot to make sure I did in time to preserve the health of the egg.

I am so confused! I mean, I'm kind of relieved that I don't HAVE to take Clomid if I don't want to. I'm not DOOMED to repeated miscarriages without it. But they are significantly more likely, apparently. So what do we do? Leave it to chance and hope for the best one more time? Or say better safe than sorry and take the drugs?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Curious

Do you send holiday cards or write Christmas letters? Or neither?

Do you have white or colored lights on your tree?

Do you do outdoor light displays?

Do your kids get into the Santa Clause stuff, or not seem to care? Do you promote him, or actively discourage him?

What do you usually have to eat on Christmas Day?

We are writing a letter this year, and we did last year, too. It's kind of hard to find the right balance between enough information (children's ages, current activities, adult's jobs and hobbies) and too much information (probably won't begin the holiday greeting by making sure everyone knows that I lost a pregnancy in August, then had hernia surgery in October.) It's also hard to know what tone to go with: fun and breezy, or heartfelt and overflowing with gratitude. But it's fun to include pictures to go with the kids' paragraphs, and it's fun to get to brag about them a little (though again, the balance problem: how much bragging evokes a smile, and how much bragging is just plain, you know, braggy?)

We have white lights on our Christmas tree, and a white-light star. Also, gold ribbon instead of garland. But our ornaments are totally random and mostly kiddy stuff, so it's hardly a stuffy, designer-looking tree. The tree skirt is a Christmas quilt that belonged to my late grandma.

We hung icicle lights around our front porch, and wrapped blue lights around the front lamppost. I also attempted, from atop a teetery ladder, to put lights on a tree, but it was a disaster and we aren't turning those lights on. Half the strands ended up being dead, and the tree is deceptively tall and I could only get lights on the bottom two branches, and... It looks really dreadful. And is going to be a pain in my arse to take down, too, since I decided to wind the strands around and around each branch instead of stringing them gracefully from branch to branch. Yeah, it's just bad all around.

I have mentioned Santa a few times in passing to Adelay, and we have a German Santa (complete with a beer stein) in our living room, but I don't think she has any idea or concept of him, and she already seems to grasp that adults bring gifts. So I think it may be a lost cause.

I usually eat candy out of my stocking for breakfast, and then at Jim's parents there's a traditional coffee cake. My mom usually has brunchy things too. But I have to admit I pretty much just eat sugar nonstop on Christmas. I set a wonderful example, I know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This Is A Long One

I haven't talked much about when we're planning to try to conceive baby number three, have I? Ever since August's ill-fated pregnancy, and my unofficial diagnosis with luteal phase defect, we've kind of been taking it one month at a time, but with the general agreement that we would wait at least until after the holidays.

Also, I am pretty much convinced that I want to be on Clomid when we try again, since out of my last three pregnancies, the only one that went to term was conceived using Clomid. The other two were supplemented with progesterone to try to correct my low hormones, but the supplements alone apparently weren't enough. The new doctor suggested giving it one more go with just supplements, but starting them as soon as I ovulate rather than waiting until I get pregnant. And logically, that seems like a reasonable option. But emotionally, I just cannot chance that it won't work and that I'll lose another baby. So apparently we'll be chancing twins instead! Whee!

I went for an ultrasound a couple days ago to make sure everything was good to go in the ole' reproductive organ department, and then Tuesday I have a pre-Clomid consult with the fertility specialist at my OB's office. Anyways, at the ultrasound, the tech apparently knew that I was there to prepare for a round of Clomid, but didn't know what the Clomid was being prescribed FOR. As soon as she got a view of my ovaries, she got all giddy and exclaimed, "Look at this! You've got a great big follicle on your right ovary! You're going to ovulate this month- you should try to get pregnant on your own!"

For some reason, this made me irrationally angry. "I KNOW I can ovulate," I said a little snappishly. "That's not my problem. If I get pregnant this month on my own, I'll just lose it." What I wanted to say was, "Stick to your job. Measure my uterus, measure my ovaries, take note of my follicle, whatever. But don't give me fertility advise when you have no idea what I'm here for." I think it just made me feel inadequate all over again. I mean, there was a lovely, giant follicle, ripe for ovulation, and I have no choice but to let it go to waste.

Well, sorry about that detour into Unresolved Hostility! The point is, we're getting ready to try again soon, albeit with pharmaceutical assistance. Slowly but surely, I've been feeling the Baby Urge again. I want to the hospital to visit a friend and her day old baby girl last Sunday, and whew, it was so fresh and exciting, yet so familiar and instinctive, to hold a tiny baby again. I forgot how they fit perfectly into the crook of your arm, their heads in your hand and their feet tucked in your elbow. I forgot how you can rock them on your lap and just STARE at them forever and not get bored once. I forgot- but so quickly remembered!- how inexplicably sweet they smell. Especially before their first bath... Oh. It is the smell of newness and innocence and magic. As I watched my friend snuggle her new daughter, wearing that very particular, exhausted but satisfied new mother smile, I felt just like Tina Fey in 30 Rock last week: "I want to go to there!"

It's just the getting there that has me hesitant, still. I know adding another kid would just be more chaos and mess and noise and sleeplessness, but really, once you have two, how much worse could it get? So I'm pretty much over fearing the realities of another child. I just fear the realities and risks of pregnancy. I so badly do not want to experience another loss. And I so badly do NOT want to be nauseaous and tired and weepy for three months, and then bedridden and bloated and dilated and crampy for another two months at the end. Pregnancy is miraculous, sure, but, just like a newborn, it is a miracle that is filled with messiness and complication and major inconvenience.

I wish I liked being pregnant more. It's kind of a sore point with me, because I always thought I would love every second of it. I wish I could walk around the whole time feeling like a glowing Madonna, rubbing my fertile orb of a belly. Instead, I mostly feel kind of like a joke. Like a whale. Or like my regular self, stuffed into a fat suit that I cannot escape. The fat suit prospect is especially scary given that I am finally getting into shape for the first time in my life.

But. I think we will probably try again soon. Or soon-ish. So, um, if you're pregnant, or just LIKE being pregnant, pretty please will you leave me some reminders of why it's special! and magical!?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Tricks

This is, very obviously, not an exercise/diet/self improvement type of blog in any way, shape or form. If anything, I could be called an enabler for such things as chocolate addictions. However, I think it is worth mentioning, necessary to mention, even, that exercise has totally changed my life.

Well. Maybe not rocked it to its core or anything. But it was definitely a big part of what finally lifted the fog I felt lost in for a few months following my last miscarriage. The greatest thing it did for me, even more than the faint but still visible physical changes that are surfacing, was to allow me to see myself in a new way. I got to reinvent myself.

See, I have always thought of myself as somewhat soft, if you know what I mean. A bit of a wuss about things like headaches, colds, menstrual cramps, slight variations in temperature, having to sit in the backseat, etc. Not a fan of anything that would cause me to perspire, and certainly not a seeker of muscle tone. A girly girl, definitely. (I think the fact that I got through childbirth- TWICE, even- without an epidural shocked me more than anyone else. Sure, I had said I really didn't want one, but I said it with kind of the same mindset I am in when I say I really don't want a second piece of cake. Even I don't believe myself.)

I have never enjoyed exercise, and I felt that as long as I watched what I ate, that was good enough. (I'm using the term "watching" very loosely here.) But after that second miscarriage, I was so sad, so conflicted, and more than anything, so flat and numb feeling, that I knew I had to change up something in my life. And I had heard that those endorphins can cheer you up, so... I begrudgingly requested a gym membership for my birthday in September. Aside from a brief hiatus after my hernia surgery, I've been going two to four times a week ever since, kids in tow, and walked, jogged, biked, done the Nautilus circuit, and even tried out the hot tub. Just once, though. Mostly I've run, which is perhaps the most shocking part of it all.

I've always hated running, and more than that, I'm not really supposed to run, since I have weak knees. I've been advised to ride an exercise bike or swim for cardio instead. But I'm a terrible swimmer- I look like I'm drowning when I try to swim laps- and I hate being on the bike. I feel like a hamster on a wheel. So, I'm running anyways. And slowly but surely, I am enjoying it. Looking forward to it, even. Once I start panting, actually getting my heart rate up, it feels good. My body craves it, sometimes. I can feel my pulse quicken when I approach the track, much the way it would in the past upon spotting a box of chocolates. Okay, it still quickens for chocolate. But but BUT- now it quickens for running, too. And that is something I never, ever thought I would say.

I am pretty proud of myself.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jim Halpert No Longer

So I finally cut Eli's hair, with Jim's begrudging permission. I've been wanting to for months, as it was beyond the "cute toddler curls" stage and fully into the "baby mullet/Jim Halpert-type hair sprouting out around the ears" stage. Here is before:

Ahem. And also maybe think "a healthy dose of that kid from The Exorcist."

Aaaannnd... After:

Righteous, dude! My new haircut, like, totally rocks!

And here's one of Addy, since I felt my last post perhaps painted her in a less than angelic light:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Potty NotTraining

The Disney Princess potty, bought in the hopes that perhaps it was a simple aesthetics preference keeping Addy from using our other potty chair, was quickly converted into an amusement park for those swingin' Fisher Price Little People.

Here we have a close up of a few of these stout, long suffering toys. This woman in the headset here appears to be warning the others back from the edges, as though from a volcano. She shouldn't have worried. Nothing more fearsome than dust has been deposited into this particular bowl.

Is it just me, or does the fellow on the right appear to have designs on the wholesome looking chic beside him?