Monday, February 3, 2014

Home Stretch: 4 weeks and Counting

Home stretch, literally and figuratively.  Just when I think my stomach can't get any bigger it does.   It has a lot to house.

We had our last ultrasound today…the estimations are that #25, baby boy, is 6 pounds and #7, baby girl, is 5 pounds.  That is at 34 weeks.   With a half pound gain estimated per baby per week, OMG, I can't even imagine how I am going to be feeling at the finish line.

That said, I just want to make it safely to the finish line.  We had a scare a couple weeks ago, when a couple symptoms of pre-eclampsia started to show up.  I've tried not to think about it this pregnancy as the high-risk doctor thought it would be unlikely this time, but I've also not slowed down.

The good news is that I am not on bed rest.  Work has been amazingly supportive and now I work from home two days a week, plus try to commute during less stressful hours.  Most importantly, it has made me put my actions into better perspective.   I canceled a girls' weekend away because even 48 hours with my favorite gals wasn't worth a trip to the ER and NICU.

Thank you all for the support and good wishes you have sent our way.  I am so thankful that we have made it this far.   Everyone asks, "Are we ready?"   I think we are more ready to be parents than we were three years ago, but every baby is different and this time we will be juggling two, plus the amazing Mr. F.    The only thing we can be ready with at this point in time is a sense of humor…we're going to need it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

And, it's a……

Who would have thought that I would have waited 14 weeks to blog again about this pregnancy?   In some ways my quietness is a bit of a backlash to being so public last time.  But, the real reason was that I had a new job. 

As much as I like what Sheryl Sandberg has to say with Lean In, there’s also reality.    After the friend and colleague who hired me at my new job was let go, I felt a bit vulnerable.   I waited until the 13 week mark before I told them, and I have to say it went well.  In fact I almost wished I had told them earlier because it might have made the first trimester more bearable.

That’s another reason I didn’t write.   I didn’t want to sound ungrateful.  I remember being part of the infertility community and reading the complaints from the newly pregnant.   I longed to have morning sickness.  Well, I’ve had it and it is overrated.   For me it wasn’t morning sickness, it was all-day misery.    I questioned the wisdom of this last round of treatment—did I really think I was up for another pregnancy?

And, if I’m really being honest, it has taken me this long to feel comfortable about having twins.   Being an only child, having more than one was always a stretch for me.  Did I ever think I’d be the mother of three?  Not in my wildest dreams.    How did we end up with twins?  We put in two “perfect embryos”.  You have to understand the math and logic behind IVF.    As I talked about in my previous blog, the frozen embryo process is far from perfect.  We had four embryos frozen and only two survived. 

Even with the phenomenal fresh success rate our clinic has, their frozen success rate is average.  You have a 50% chance that you will be successful…thus one out of two should survive.   The likelihood of twins is 30%, which meant we had a 15% chance of having twins.    And, if you do have twins, almost 30% don’t make it past the first trimester.  This was my experience last time when I lost F’s twin at 11 weeks.  

But, here I am.  Twenty weeks pregnant with twins.   And, I’m starting to feel normal again.  I’ve returned to working out and have more energy to hang with Mr. F.   I’m keeping an eye on my blood pressure and hoping that the preeclampsia will stay away and I’ll make it full term with these little ones.  

And, now I know why I have two…. I’m blessed with the unmatched pair, we have a boy and a girl on the way!  I was all prepared to have an all-male hockey dynasty, but now I may have a little Cammie Granato too!   

Thanks again for all the love and support along the way….

Saturday, June 29, 2013

PUPO Again

I don't know if it was lack of time or a desire for normalcy that kept me from blogging these last six months.  The problem with infertility is that it mars the happily ever after after dream:  Girl meets boy; they fall in love and get married; and when the time is right they have a baby.   Yet, many times it doesn't work the way it is supposed to.  

I enjoyed blogging about my journey to Mr. F and have been thankful for the many kind words I have received from people who needed to know that they were not alone in their struggle.  Yet, when it came time to think about a sibling, I went 180 degrees the other way.   At first I didn't want to tell anyone.  I wanted to sneak away for our FET [frozen embryo transfer] and then simply announce the a normal pregnancy.   

The fault with that plan, however, is that it would require a great deal of fibbing and orchestration since we do have a toddler to manage.  So, first we told our parents and caregivers.  We were going to need their help for appointments in January and June.   Once I did that, the seal was broken.   I started casually mentioning it to people.   Yet, I still couldn't start blogging about it.

I had many posts in my head.  The decision to try for a second child was not one that we came to lightly.  We were concerned about my health--and that the last pregnancy ended up in what was undiagnosed pre-eclampsia.  We were concerned about energy level and adding to it with a second child.  Bottom line for us, however, is that I felt that it takes science to get us pregnant and a higher force to determine whether or not it is meant to be.  We had four embryos waiting.  We needed to try.

I only wanted to try once.  In the months leading up to transfer I tried to lose a bit more weight, get in shape and have fun.  Because once the shots start again, the fun ends...activity limits, alcohol limits, caffeine limits.  I actually cried after the last game of hockey I played.   Hockey has always been one of my greatest stress reducers.  

There was some detachment to this process.  Last time I did acupuncture regularly.  This time I did none, feeling that our donor quality was so strong I didn't need to.  Plus, I have a joyful little boy, anything more is a bonus.   Yet, one phone call yesterday broke through my shield.   As we were walking around enjoying Portland before our transfer appointment, the embryologist called us.

"We've thawed the first two and they're not looking very good.  Do you want us to thaw the rest and pick the best?"

All of a sudden our confidence was shattered.  What if we had no embryos to transfer?  What if this time didn't work and we couldn't try again.  I kept saying that I'd only do it once, but with the caveat that I wouldn't know how I really felt until we were in the thick of it again.

We arrived at ORM [Oregon Reproductive Medicine...still in my opinion one of the best DE clinics in the country] and they quickly hustled us to the OR.  I figured that was a good sign.  If they were prepping me for transfer, then something must have survived the thaw.  The embryologist came in shortly with Dr. Hesla.  She was quite pleased that they were able to thaw the remaining her words, "they are perfect".   

So here I sit, PUPO [pregnant until proven otherwise] with hopefully #25 settling in for a forty week stay.  

Back at you on July 10th with the results--most likely on a new blog site.  I'm currently in the process of revamping Marketing Mixology to be about all facets of my life.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Infertility Never Leaves You

Nothing like the start of National Infertility Awareness week to get you started blogging again.  It took more than that actually…. it took an interaction with a stranger in the most unlikely of places.

We had a garage sale today.   Hadn’t really planned on it, but our neighborhood was having one and I had stacks of things to go various places:  the used bookstore, Goodwill, the music store.  

I ended up putting the books out for the garage sale.   In an effort to encourage people to buy more, you could pay a dollar for one—or get five for two dollars.  What a deal.   I hadn’t really expected anyone to buy them, but all my favorite infertility titles were out there:  The Infertility Cure, Taking Charge of Your Fertility,  and even a children’s book I had from my initial bout of infertility with my first husband.

There was a man browsing the titles and I saw him pick them up.  He looked through all the books, I think trying to find a fifth title.  He didn’t find one, so he asked if he could have all of them for two dollars.    I looked at him and simply said take them.  I wish you luck and hope.  And, then I cried.  [And I’m still crying as I write this.]

Even though we are one of the fortunate ones to have had the means to an end, I am still so sad that one in eight people have to suffer through this nightmare.   Most people would be surprised to know that someone in their family or close circle of friends has been suffering.  Often because of shame or guilt, the topic is never discussed.   

Wondering what you can do?   Here are a couple of suggestions:
  • Don’t ask married couples when they are planning to have kids.   Most will mention it when they are ready and need some encouragement for that next step.  
  • If you are in a position to decide on company medical benefits, have compassion and cover infertility treatments.   The cost of treatment or adoption is astronomical.  Couples usually find themselves in debt or without savings by the end of the journey.   Treatment is often postponed, which never helps in age-related infertility.
I know that when many of us cross over to the family side, our infertility warriors who are still fighting can feel left behind.  Just trust us when we say that we never forget the pain, it often surfaces at the most unlikely of times.  

Keep the hope. 

Mr. F, dreams do come true.
Mr. F just weeks away from his 2nd birthday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Keeping the Surprise

I wanted to write this blog post before I left but that would have spoiled the surprise.  I just did one of the craziest things I have ever done, especially since having Mr. F. ,  I flew to London to have twenty-four hours with my husband.

This was important on many fronts.  It wasn’t something I decided to do lightly.  Originally, F and I were going to go on Clay’s business trip, but F didn’t have a passport and it was too complicated to get one in a hurry.  [In hindsight I am happy I wasn’t trekking a stroller around London.]   Looking at calendars, the only logical time was for Clay to be gone over his fortieth birthday.

As I started to think about birthday gifts, it became clear that the best gift I could give him was to be there for him—as he has done for me over the last seven years.  I then started a two-part process:  1) See if my mother-in-law would be willing to take care of Mr. F while I was gone and 2) Did I have enough miles left from my flying days as the tickets were expensive.    I was in luck as I actually found a saver ticket and my mother-in-law said yes.

It is much easier to think about leaving your child than to actually do it.   My guiding premise throughout this is that a strong family is based on a strong marriage.  Eighteen months after the birth of Mr. F, I’d be the first to admit there have been a few nicks to mine.  Free time only comes when the baby sleeps and at that point it’s either errands or exhaustion that takes over.

As I boarded the plane I almost had a full-fledged panic attack.  It’s not that we haven’t left him for a night, here or there.  All of a sudden I was leaving the country, I worried that we hadn’t childproofed the pond yet and what if he decided now was a good time to start crawling out of his crib.  What if something happened while I was on the trip?  I didn’t want to be the star of a made for tv movie.

This is the tough part of motherhood—every day you make choices that affect your child.  What seems like a good one at the time ends up being the wrong one.   I’m happy to say that nothing happened while we were away.   Everybody enjoyed themselves [though Nana might be a little tired at this point].   Clay was truly surprised and I was able to even stay up into the wee hours of the night.

Now I realize that this was a grand gesture and doing these type of things are often once in a lifetime, but what I do think is critical that sometimes we need to be a wife first and a mother second.  Even if you can only get a babysitter for an hour on a Sunday, go to the coffee shop and just enjoy the moments that brought the two of you together.    

Mothers who consider it a badge of honor to never be separated from their child are puzzling to me.  I shed a couple tears on the flight across the ocean.  There was an adorable nine-month old right in the seats in front of me.  I missed F terribly, but I also miss just being me. 

Having had a couple days to rejuvenate I am ready to come back and be super mom.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fifty-Six Days Later

While walking the kids tonight, I saw a father and his young daughter in the cul-de-sac "playing" tennis.   That scene took me back thirty years ago when my dad would play tennis with me in front of our house.  
Besides making me tear up, it also reminded me why health and fitness are so important.

I have never intended to be the parent that is just on the sideline.   Whether it's football, skateboarding or basketball, I've always wanted to have the energy to teach and to participate.   That's the tricky part about being the older mom--that energy isn't as abundant as it used to be.   Yet, this motivation still hasn't been enough to keep me on track.

Over the last eight weeks I've felt better but not consistently.   Some of it wasn't my fault, such as getting sidelined with a cold after our vacation.  Worst possible timing given that we had consumed a year's worth of calories at the Minnesota State Fair.  I needed action not couch sitting.  And, then of course, there's the birthday--who doesn't eat cake on their birthday?  [Me, this year, but that's another blog post.]

According to my fancy scale this morning, I am four pounds lighter than what I was.   That's a healthy loss of a half pound a week.   I definitely have smaller chicken flaps.   Yet, the issue I still haven't solved is energy. As I said in my last post, on the days I do everything right:  get 7-8 hours of sleep, take my vitamins and eat nutritionally; I feel great.    However, it just doesn't seem to be very sustainable or replicable night after night.
I'm working with a start up right now that might actually be able to help me with my dilemma.   I can't say much more at the moment, but I'm looking forward to sharing some secret sauce soon.

Until then, I'll leave you with a trip to the pumpkin patch.  F and I on the "Cow Train."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Halfway to Nowhere

I am almost at the halfway point of my quest to be more svelte and less tired, so how am I doing?   I wish I could be more inspirational, but after 3 weeks I've only lost 2.5 pounds.  I had lost 4 pounds at one point, but a week of business travel and no exercise is a bad combination.   But, that would simply be an excuse.

When I use my food tracker, I manage what I eat much more successfully.   If you are counting the tortilla chips, you are more likely to stop at five rather than ten.   Exercise has definitely improved.  I have found a class that I absolutely love at my gym called Kinesis.  I've done some hard workouts with off-ice hockey conditioning before, but Kinesis kicks my butt.  Essentially it is 45 minutes of interval training.  Unfortunately, it has an additional cost at my gym, but it is cheaper than a personal trainer.

When I do everything right:  eat well, get to bed early, exercise and take my vitamins, I definitely feel better.  But doing all four things often feels impossible. I had one friend write a detailed email to me about how to take care of me.  I've put most of it below as I think she has some great points and I want to share it with my other mom friends.

From my anonymous friend:

First of all, you are now doing at least 3 full time jobs: motherhood, work and everything else in life, not to mention a marriage. Its impossible not to be tired. As F moves into toddler hood , the pure physicality of constantly chasing , picking up, playing, changing , tantrums etc reaches a new level requiring much more energy, often when we don't have any to is what I tried:

One night a week OFF: Every Wednesday for about 5 years, my babysitter picked up my child from daycare or school every Wednesday without fail.  Just this one night that was my own was very helpful, I usually worked out but sometimes met a friend, shopped etc...I never went home before bedtime. We still do this--many years later!

Offload whatever errands/household tasks you can: Housekeeper who does laundry, a gardener, pre prepared meals, grocery delivery..whatever is keeping you so busy at night or on weekends and you truly don't enjoy, off load. This won't last forever but the relief of letting go a lot of household tasks was awesome. Well worth the money

Go go a Naturopath: Due to a bunch of health issues that my medical doc couldn't help with , I started seeing a Naturopath and under her care I am the healthiest I've ever been.

We also used our babysitter for a certain amount of hours every weekend.  This was couple time. Sometimes we did dinner, sometimes a bike ride, sometimes just sitting in Starbucks talking. Purposefully taking time to reconnect as a couple was key.

Know that you don't have to entertain F every minute of every day. I think a lot of working moms fall into this. When we are home we want to be interacting all the time, you don't have to.  Why did playpens go away?  Playing on his own is great for his development and your piece of mind, even if it is just five minutes.

Baby Einstein videos are 30 min of escape.

Get up before everyone else..this may seem counter intutitive as you are so tired, but, I still get up and ready before anyone else in the house. I have my coffee outside in good weather and set my intention for the really helps me to center and focus on my frame of mind for the day. Just a few minutes of peace really helps...

Good luck my friend, remember you are wonderful , fabulous mom!!