Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sex Makes Babies- Who Knew?

Ok I've had a few requests to update since I've shared our exciting news that I'm happily and surprisingly pregnant with #2- 100% naturally! (Sharing on the interwebs of course, not in real life as it's WAY too early for that!) So here's an update!

I've shared before that we were planning FET for this summer as we have some frozen embryos in storage, but in the meantime we wanted to give the natural way a try. My RE gave me poor (but not impossible) odds given our issues. Age is not on my side either (I'm 37 and I turn 38 this year.)

Given that, I tried to get motivated to use opks and temp but it was tricky since the three cycles I've had since my period returned in November were long. Like 40 days. I'd start opks, forget, get depressed that they were always negative, stop using them, start again. I never found my thermometer. I'm breastfeeding and I noticed a milk drop the last week or so of my cycle especially this cycle and last cycle so I suspected maybe I was ovulating although I wasn't sure since I couldn't catch a positive opk (not that I gave it a fair shot...)

Anyway, I'm cycle day 36 today (of 40 days) and for the past three days I've had twinges in my uterus that reminded me of early pregnancy with J. It's been bugging me and I wanted to get rid of that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I might be pregnant... so I decided to POAS to shut that voice up. So I did. With zero expectations that it might turn positive.

You can imagine my surprise. I immediately went to my husband and told him that I had to tell him something and shared my news but I told him I wasn't sure because it just didn't seem right or possible. So I took another test. And it turned positive. Not blazing but I think it's very early but definitely positive!

It's a strange feeling. I feel surprised, for sure, as our odds of this happening weren't very high and we spent years and years trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully only to finally get pregnant on our third IVF. I'm very happy that I can experience this feeling- what it's like for "normal" people to find out they are pregnant. Without treatments. Without so much awareness that it could happen (because of treatments). Total out of the blue surprise.

I'm also, of course, nervous. I'm nervous it won't stick. I'm nervous that two babies seem like a lot of babies. I'm nervous about how I'll finish school with two children under two. I'm nervous about money and time and stress levels.

But mostly I'm just in total and complete and utter shock that we got pregnant. Naturally. From sex. On our third real "try." We are beyond thrilled to expand our family and give J a sibling that I know he will love.  I'm thrilled that I got pregnant in the private of my own home. I'm beyond excited that this pregnancy will not entail daily shots or nasty crinone (and cleaning it out, eeeew!) I'm thrilled that we will really, truly be able to surprise our family since they know we were waiting til the summer for FET. I'm so so excited (and also terrified) to go through the newborn stage again. Such a sweet stage and it's so fleeting!

I've googled a due date and according to my last monthly period I'd be due 10/31 but I think that I likely ovulated later so I'm thinking more like 11/7. That said, I know I'll have a c section again because of my issues and I now know that my babies are prompt (I went into labor at exactly 39 weeks with J) and so I'll be scheduling that c section at 39 weeks exactly so I'm thinking 10/31 is probably not too far off. :)

Not much else to say except that I'm hopefully and cautiously pregnant and praying and hoping that this is one sticky miracle baby!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello, 2015!

Wow, 2014 went by in a flash. It was a great year, probably one of my all time favorite years of the past 37. It was by far the busiest too. There were some hard moments, like saying goodbye to our sweet dog Wilma.

I've loved watching this sweet boy grow.

Love love loved it. And can't wait to continue watching him grow and discover the world in 2015. This above picture was his 10 month shot. It was hard to get him to sit still and not play with the monkey ha ha!

We had a blast celebrating J's first Christmas. What a special time! Here are a few of my favorites:

Here's a collage of Santa visits and J playing around the tree on Christmas Eve after Church:

J wasn't all smiles with Santa, of course:

Christmas morning was a blast and J enjoyed opening and playing with all his gifts:

I could keep posting pics of this guy forever but I'll stop there. He's such a joy to be with and we are having a blast raising this fun, wiggly sweet pea.

We are hoping that 2015 is the year to get pregnant with baby #2. I managed to squeak in the appointment with my RE to do a mock transfer and saline sonogram before the year ended and we lost our wonderful healthcare coverage. We aren't planning on putting back embryos until the summer but we are trying naturally now. I have had two periods but not sure if I'm ovulating so not sure how successful we will be... and although I want to try harder, I'm just having trouble motivating to put much effort into getting pregnant naturally. I have some opks but keep forgetting to use them. I keep meaning to look for my thermometer but keep forgetting. Oh well- maybe next month. :)

Happy New Year! Hope 2015 is full and happy!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Back to the RE, a fertility treatment plan, and 8 months!

I went back to the RE yesterday for an appointment since we are likely losing our infertility coverage this year. It was an interesting appointment, some good news, some things I didn't like hearing but glad to hear them, and I learned a few things about the infertility process that I didn't know. I always appreciate my RE's honesty and the way he approaches everything. I'm glad I went in now.

The news I didn't like: he doesn't think our odds of getting pregnant naturally are very good. He said of course it's possible- if I have eggs and my husband has sperm (which he confirmed we both are good in these areas) then it's absolutely possible to get pregnant. However, he said despite always hearing those stories about people who got pregnant naturally after IVF or fertility treatments, that is not the norm. He said normally what it took to get someone pregnant the first time is what it takes to get someone pregnant again. This was hard to hear but good to hear. It reminded me of the urban myth of someone who got pregnant while waiting for fertility treatments or while taking a break. YES it happens but it's not the norm but people love to tout it to spread false hope! I don't want false hope. I want the truth and I want to plan accordingly. I have precious little time to conceive and I don't want to spend a year or even 6 months wasting my time for 2% a month odds (that's what we were given to conceive naturally.) So with that information, we decided to proceed with a treatment plan when I'm done breastfeeding at a timeline that works for us- rather than wait for it to happen.

Breastfeeding. I also appreciated my RE's honesty and stance here. No, I can't do anything before I wean. I knew that going in. I cannot even consider weaning til a year because my sweet boy doesn't do bottles. My RE actually encouraged me to keep breastfeeding. He said it's good for the baby and for me and it was worth putting off ttc and even worth missing out on coverage for infertility. That was comforting to hear as my gut tells me that breastfeeding is what my baby needs right now. J has never ever been sick- not even a so much as a sniffle and I really think that this is much in part to breastfeeding. It's comforting for him and he's not at a point where I'm comfortable taking that comfort away. My RE said that he would allow me to continue with treatments if I'm still doing a little comfort feeding (like one bedtime feed only) but he doesn't recommend it because a- the meds are not fabulous for the baby and b- the slightly elevated prolactin can still cause issues for some people and could potentially lower my chances of success. He said it doesn't affect everyone but there is no way to know if it will have an impact on me so he recommends full weaning first. I think that makes sense but I'll cross that bridge when we come to it. :)

The plan: FET next summer! My RE was very positive about our chances of success with FET. We have three good quality embryos and we've have had a successful IVF that resulted in a baby which gave him confidence that we would be successful again. As this is something I have not done before- I learned a lot about the process. The success rates for FET are much better than I initially thought. The vitrification process, which is new in the past few years, improved thaw rates drastically and as a result FET has a slightly higher success rate than fresh IVF- which my RE said shocked the infertility world. We have three embryos in storage. We were given 40% odds per embryo. I was concerned about the quality of one of my embryos but my RE assured me that quality of embryo has little to do with success in FET. If it was good enough to freeze, then it's splitting hairs to look at quality.

He also told me something interesting that explained why FET rates might be a little better than fresh IVF cycles. During my last (and successful) IVF, we froze two embryos on day 6. However, these are apparently day 5 embryos- they just grew slower and took an extra day to get there. My RE said that had we put these guys back at my day 5 transfer that they may not have been successful because they weren't ready to implant when my body was ready for them to implant. This is one reason that FET is possible better than fresh IVF- you can time the embryos with your body better. I found that fascinating!

He dispelled a few endometriosis myths, which was a good reality check. I'd heard that endo goes into remission when you are pregnant and breastfeeding (which of course gave me hope of getting pregnant naturally.) Also, I was told when I had a c section that all my endo was gone. Well, apparently although it goes into remission, endo is still there- just shrunk very very small. Almost impossible to see. It never is 100% completely gone- and the toxins can still cause issues when it's shrunk down or even removed. I never got pregnant when it was removed anyway. Regarding the c section and being told I had no endo at the time- my RE pointed out that with laproscopic surgery they go in with a microscope and can see more. With a c section it's a bloody mess, uterus is huge from pregnancy, everything is distorted, and it's hard to see with the naked eye- so it's possible it wasn't really all gone. 

The plan: FET in the summer of 2015 (assuming weaning goes well). Not sure WHEN in the summer we will do FET- that is still something M and I are discussing. (Sidenote- my husband asked if we did the transfer in June when would we have a baby- ummm, FEBRUARY! Been there done that! Ha ha!) My RE ordered all my testing and meds to be done this calendar year so that we can get coverage for those things and all we will have to pay for is FET- which is $2500. We can find a way to swing that. I'm possible able to finish my doctoral program in the spring of 2016 so it might be better to wait til end of the summer to do FET, which would give us a baby in April or May. Having a baby in February or March would likely delay my graduation.

I'm excited about the plan but all of this is giving me anxiety. I met with my advisor for my doctoral program last week and we laid out a plan that would have my graduating possibly a year early- in 2016. This is of course sparks the whole "what will I do next?" question. If I graduate early- that means my job hunt starts next summer/fall! Do I want to work full time? Do I want a job in academia? Do I want to put babies in daycare? What do I want to do with my life! (Yes, I'll be pushing 40 and trying to figure out what to do with my life!) It's been incredibly easy to have Jacob while working on my Phd. I've been able to spend most of my time with him and have minimal day care. I can't imagine having a baby in May and then going to work full time (potentially with a long commute) three short months later in August. Maybe it's better to delay graduation??? Or look only for part time work. I get paid to get my PhD so I'd lose my monthly stipend if I graduate early- not sure that it's worth it. But how much easier would it be to graduate before I have a second baby???

Anyway, those are the musings of an infertile woman ttc her second baby. I have to stop and laugh because it's not like we've ever been able to plan the expansion of our family. I'm sure the plan will all become clear when the time is right. :)

I'll end with a few pics of my sweet pea who is now 8 months old! He's not crawling yet but so close. He has his first tooth- and a second one is popping in. He's still sleeping through the night like a champ and such a fun, sweet, happy baby to be around. :)

I might be biased but seriously, this is such a beautiful baby. Here he is at 8 months old:

His first hayride at the pumpkin patch:

And of course my sweet pumpkin in the pumpkin patch:

(yea, that last pumpkin got licked...)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

More TTC Thoughts and 7 months!

Ok, so we were presented with a new scenario that may change our ttc timeline. M found out this week that it is unlikely that our amazingly awesome infertility coverage will continue after this year, thanks to some Obamacare changes. Now when we originally set out to do IVF and didn't know we had coverage, I was not a full time student and we didn't have a child so we had the means to scrape together the money for IVF. Not so much anymore. In a few years, when I'm done with school we could do it- but I'll be over 40 and our odds are significantly lower.

So now we are faced with the question- do we try to do IVF before we've given ttc naturally a real go?  As I stated in a previous blog, we ARE ttc, but I don't have my period back and I'm not ovulating. So #tryingbutnottrying. Due to PCOS, it's unlikely I'll ovulate until I 100% wean completely which is frustrating.

I'd love to breastfeed well past his first birthday and let sweet J decide when he wants to stop- but I also know that we are on a limited timeline and we'd really, really like another child. Unfortunately, stopping early because we want to get pregnant isn't exactly an easy option. J, my sweet little stinker, won't take a bottle. So I'm kinda stuck breast feeding him til he hits one year. His pediatrician thinks it's unlikely at this point he will take a bottle. We've been working on a sippy cup and while he adores playing with them, he won't drink from them either (same with bottles!) He just won't latch and suck.

I think it's worth another try to see if we can get him onto a bottle.... especially since if we wean him now (and I'll probably save up as much breast milk as possible in the next month) we'd have a chance of doing IVF covered by insurance. Which saves us 10's of thousands of dollars and gives us a real shot at expanding our family.

Tough decisions. I think it's worth a visit to my RE to check out my options.

Otherwise, mamalife is great! J has been sleeping through the night for over a month now which is so nice! If I go to bed at a reasonable hour I can get 8 hours of sleep. In a row. Which is wonderful!!! J is sitting up and babbling and super smiley and happy. Such a joy and so fun. :)

Here he is at 7 months: 

Friday, September 5, 2014

TTC... Again. Well, sort of.

A lot of people have asked me when we will try to get pregnant again and how we will go about doing it. So I thought I'd write a blog about it.

Yes, we are trying to get pregnant again... well, sort of. I am breast feeding and I have not gotten my period back yet. So are we trying? Well, we are having unprotected sex and we'd LOVE to be timing things and giving it a real go but I'm definitely not ovulating yet. So we are #tryingbutnottrying. But not for lack of want.

Some people get their period back while breast feeding. Some get it back when babies start eating food. Others don't get it back til after weaning. I'm sure I'll be one of the *lucky* ones who doesn't start ovulating until after I wean completely. My PCOS body would never cooperate with me when I wanted her to. Why start now?! Also, I'm still about 5 pounds over what I was prepregnancy and when I weighed this much before I've had trouble ovulating. I'm not overweight but my body is really sensitive. So my chance of ovulating any time soon are pretty slim.

I plan to breast feed for at least a year and well, I really don't have a choice at this point since little stinker won't take a bottle anyway. I don't have a weaning plan. I don't know how I feel about weaning- if I want to wean right at a year or if I want to wait and let J decide when he wants to wean (which seriously, with how much he loves breast feeding I have trouble believing he will ever want to wean.) I honestly haven't thought about it and probably won't know how I feel til we get to that point. I know a lot of people are frustrated and want their body's back. I get that. Others are frustrated by pumping constantly- which is not really an issue for me as I'm with J more often than not. M is anxious for me to get my period back so he'll probably pressure me to wean around a year but we'll see how J and I feel about that when we get there. :)

I feel like M and I are ready for another baby- or at least nervous enough about our age and how hard it was to get pregnant with J so we are ready to jump on the wagon and get to baby #2. I turn 37 in a couple of weeks. M is 42. It took us almost four years to get pregnant with J- and three tries at IVF (plus a million other failures.) I'm older now and it will be all that much harder. So no, we don't want to wait. Despite the fact that many people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them I'd love to be pregnant again. I had an easy, pleasant pregnancy. I've had a relatively easy baby. Yea, I could do them both again. In a heartbeat. :)

I'm frustrated though that I feel like I will have to wean even if I don't want to in order to even try to get pregnant. I'm frustrated that it probably won't work anyway. I'm frustrated that we are old and I feel like the clock is ticking and I can't wait as long as I'd like to wait. I'm frustrated that I know our chances of even being able to conceive again are not super high. It's not impossible but it's certainly not a given. I feel like it was a long shot to get pregnant with one baby. Dare I hope for another? I'm frustrated that we are paying a hefty sum to store our future embryos (although incredibly grateful that we have some frostbabies.) I'm incredibly sad to know that I may never be pregnant again or get to go through that newborn stage again. And I'm terrified of jumping back on the trying to get pregnant cycle... it was so awful. All the disappointment. All the frustration. All the failure. Sigh. And we'll just go through it all over again.

But I'm nowhere near as sad as I was when I thought I might never get to experience it at all. I would love to give J a sibling. I have two siblings. So does M. We will be very sad if J has to grow up an only child because we can't get pregnant again but I want to be clear that this in NO WAY compares to primary infertility and what women go through when trying to get pregnant with the first.

As far as how long we will try naturally and what we will do to get pregnant- the plan is try naturally for about 6 months once I get my period back, then straight to IVF. We have three frosties too so we may try those first before a fresh cycle- it will depend on insurance situations.  One of those is not great quality- leftover from failed IVF 2. It's actually the lowest quality that they would consider for a freeze. The other two are pretty good quality and from the third and successful IVF. So the question remains how to put them back? If money and time was no object I'd probably put the best one back alone, then the second best and not so great third one together. But money is an object. And insurance wise it might make more sense to do a fresh cycle first and save the frosties.

While there are more reasons to try to get pregnant now, there are reasons that make me want to wait a little- or not mind that my body is deciding for me that I will wait. I think I can graduate with my PhD spring of 2016. Which means that if we wait a bit, I can just gut it out and finish my PhD with one baby, which is daunting enough. I'm scheduled to graduate in 2017 (the year I turn 40) but I think I am on track to graduate a year early- or at least maybe a semester early.

I also think my body heals slowly from surgery and waiting a bit longer to let my body heal from the c section seems like a good idea. I'm finally not sore as much and I feel like if I got pregnant now that my body wouldn't quite be ready.

I'm also dragging my feet getting back on the horse because I swear I have ttc PTSD. I'm so, so not looking forward to all the disappointment all over again.

So, there you go. We are trying to get pregnant. Well #tryingbutnottrying. But I wish my body would let us try right now. For now, we'll just hang with this guy. :) He's a blast and we are loving life as J's parents.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

6 months!

My sweet boy is 6 months old! I can't believe it. He's so much fun and I'm having a blast maneuvering mommyhood with this sweet guy. We've recently done some sleep training and WOW what a difference it made!

I go back to school/work full time starting next week so I hope to blog more but who knows- I've taken on a lot this fall and it's going to be crazy. And although I've been back to work/school (with no breaks, grr...) since J was 6 weeks old (and truth be told, I had to do some work when he was 10 days old), this is the first time he will be watched regularly by someone other than me, M, or our mothers. I'm going to try 10 hours of care a week and I'm hoping that is enough- I want him to be with me primarily. 

Here's his 6 month progression of pics:

Photo: Happy 6 month birthday to the sweetest boy a mama could ask for. :)                                              

Here we are at the beach right before his 6 month birthday:

I just love those blue eyes! And his super serious look (truth, it was way past bedtime and he was not his super smiley self.)

We are doing baby led weaning in addition to purees. Little love here doesn't do bottles so purees and rice cereal or oatmeal with breast milk get him by when I have to leave him (and this has worked GREAT so far!) But J really prefers to feed himself. Here he is eating pancakes and scrambled eggs:

And here he is eating watermelon. Watermelon is his absolute FAVORITE!!! He could eat this all day long. He gets upset when I eventually take the rinds away. And of course this is home grown watermelon. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

5 and a half months. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!

Ok blogging world, I've had many requests to blog and so I'm carving out the time to make it happen. Life here is GOOD but just so, so busy... I've gotten behind! I will try to be better, I promise. :) I managed to finish the semester- while having a baby midsemester- which was a feat! And now I'm into summer work- teaching, conference proposals, preparing to deliver PD to teachers in August and it's so busy! Plus my garden overfloweth. I feel like I'm 10 steps behind in everything.

So J is now 5 and a half months old- how in the world we got here I have no idea! Mama life is amazing (and tiring). I feel like every week I have a new baby! People tell us we got "lucky" and have an "easy" baby. Easy baby sounds like an oxymoron to me- but J does seem to have a pretty easy going personality and responds well to things that books and articles suggests, making him pretty much a textbook baby. He's a BIG guy too- at his four month appointment he was in the 99th percentile for height and 93rd for weight. He's over 21 pounds now and wears clothes for a 12 month old baby. Literally he is growing too fast. And he's exclusively breast fed- no formula here!

We started solids a month ago... J doesn't like bottles (sigh) so our pediatrician suggested starting purees so that I could leave him with someone and he could eat. I've been making my own purees and I use breast milk so I feel like he's getting some breast milk if I have to leave him. I just give him a little once a day- next week will be his first day being left all day and he's been taking well to food so I'm hoping he'll not be too unhappy (or make my poor mother in law unhappy by crying all day because he's hungry).

Here he is with sweet potatoes. :)

How can you not love that adorable face?!

J started sitting up- well, trying to- around 4.5 months. He seems to have mastered it now! He falls over a lot but he no longer face plants and doesn't need to tripod sit anymore. 

Here he is on the fourth of July, practicing sitting up:

Sitting up has opened up a whole new world of toys and playing. He loooves his toys! His favorite toys right now are a jack in the box, this horrible zoo toy that plays these god awful songs (M wants to hire a hit man to eliminate the woman who sings these songs), and one of those stacking toys with colorful rings. Oh, and he loves Sophie the giraffe and a ball that he can grab easily. Although he'll also play with tupperware or pretty much anything he can grab and put in his mouth. :)

Here he is on the deck playing with the horrible zoo toy last week:

And here he is at my alma mater sitting up for real earlier this week:

J had his first vacation at the beach this past month and he loved eating sand.  He tolerated standing in the water and letting the waves hit his feet.  And of course M bought him a cowboy hat to wear at the beach:
Photo: Ride 'em cowboy

And I'll end this post with a promise to post again soon- and a picture of our little family at the beach two weeks ago. This was M and I's 5 year anniversary and J's five month birthday. :)