Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Thoughts

Fall has returned and I’m loving it!!  Our mornings have been in the 50s and by afternoon, our temperatures are in the high 60s or low 70s.  It’s perfection and if I could keep this weather around for months, I definitely would.  Bring on the cargo vests and booties (who am I kidding, I’ve already been wearing these for weeks).

We’re hoping to visit an apple orchard this weekend.  We went apple picking for the first time last year and both boys loved it.  W has been coughing for the past two days, so as long as he doesn’t get any worse (and S stays somewhat healthy too), we’ll go.  Fingers crossed!

Our Cubs are the NLCS champs again!!  Yay!!  They’ve also been the reason I haven’t gotten enough sleep this week.

I heard that 3 of the Kardashians are pregnant.  I heard it on the radio during some celebrity update because I don’t watch that crap.  My first thought was, “SERIOUSLY, universe?!!?  THEY get to have all the babies??”  And then I got over it.  No wait, I’m still bitter… Seriously, though?!?!?


I’m so ready for October.  Even though it’s an arbitrary date, a new month always feels like a fresh start.  And September has been a tough month for all of us.  October also happens to be my favorite month of the year.  Bring on all the fall and pumpkin spice everything!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(Not) Sharing CF

A's most recent blog post explains why he doesn't tell people that he has CF.  When he first told me about the disease, I'll admit that I didn't understand why he never discussed it or didn't tell more people about his condition.  I remember questioning why he didn't want more people to be aware of the disease itself and the need for further research, better treatments, and a cure.  Now that I've known him for 14 years (holy moly!!), I get it.  And as someone who's very private (with the exception of having a blog... I know, it doesn't really make sense...), I get it even more.  Anyway, this is one of my favorite posts of his (though he doesn't have too many yet)... keep them coming, A!!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Weekend Recap

I didn’t even feel like writing a weekend recap because I don’t have much to report for this past weekend.  I’d say it was boring, but are things ever really boring with two littles?

I should preface this by saying that my anxiety level has been extremely high lately.  So when I learned on Friday that I wasn’t invited to a Monday meeting and everyone else in the department was, I convinced myself that I was losing my job.  Typing that, I realize how drastic it sounds, but with everything else lately, I was sure there was a purposeful reason for being excluded.  I texted my boss and even though he told me it was an oversight and that he was supposed to forward the invite on to me, but hadn’t realized it, I still wasn’t convinced.  And that uncertainty definitely put a damper on the weekend for me – instead of enjoying an uneventful weekend and relaxing, all I could think about was being out of a job come Monday.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  Even though I don’t love my job, I’d like to keep it for now!  If I leave, I want it to be on my terms.

Anyway, we’ve had summer like weather lately – near 90 degrees.  The boys decided to bring out their kiddie pool while I got my hair cut and highlighted on Saturday.  They had a blast.  My hair turned out way darker than expected… eek.  I’m starting to like it, but it’s definitely not as blonde as I’m used to.  My second? cousin (I don’t even know, my dad had 4 siblings and his dad had 5 siblings so I have a large extended family whom I love) sent me a message asking if she could drop off something for the boys.  She came over with a toy garbage truck that she found while cleaning out a closet.  The boys were thrilled.  We finished off the day by heading to Olive Garden where S discovered a love for breadsticks.  Can’t say I blame him.

Even though it feels like summer, we're rocking Halloween pjs


Sunday was our usual.  A and I attempted to watch football and eat way too much taco dip while the boys succeeded in interrupting our football watching at every opportunity.  That’s the way it goes.  W had been asking to make our famous homemade mac and cheese for weeks.  He pretty much makes it all by himself with the exception of cooking the noodles.  I ran out of Velveeta and didn’t feel like heading back to the grocery store so we ended up using some Muenster cheese.  I was certain it wasn’t going to turn out very well.  Surprise, surprise… it was so good that W had 5 (yes, 5!!!) helpings!!!  I think we’ll use Muenster from now on!


Thankful for a “boring” weekend…

Friday, September 22, 2017

Life Lately

Life lately has been difficult.  Both personally and professionally.  I’m confident that this is just a season and things will get better, but when you’re in the thick of it, it’s not easy to see the light through the darkness.

I know I’ve mentioned our miscarriage a few times, but I’ve also been dealing with an allergic reaction for 3+ weeks.  A trip to an allergist revealed that I have nearly every environmental allergy there is.  While the doctor wasn’t confident that the environmental allergies were causing the hives and angioedema I was experiencing, it’s a relief to have some answers.  A high dose of allergy meds and I haven’t experienced symptoms in 4 days.  Hoping that continues.

As for my job, my group underwent a massive reorganization in May and the new management is awful.  Where my previous managers made me feel empowered and valued, the new management takes credit for my work and doesn’t let me participate on improvement teams that are above “my level”.  My job responsibilities changed and a job I used to really enjoy has turned into a job I loathe.  If that weren’t bad enough, rumors are circulating that the area I work in will be sold so I’ve been worried that I’ll be out of a job soon.  I’m trying not to stress too much about the things I can’t control.  Somehow, it will all work out.  I’m hoping a position will open in another department and I can transfer.  Until then, I do have an amazing boss whom I report directly to (even if the upper management sucks).

SO with all that, I’m trying to focus on the good because even in the toughest moments, good can be found…

S is still doing amazing at school.  I keep thinking how hard it was for W when he first started preschool and S is the complete opposite.  I’m so grateful that the transition has been smooth.

On days when both boys are in school and I don’t have any meetings, I head over to Starbucks and work there for a couple hours.  I love it.  Something about the sounds of coffee being made and a change of scenery is so good for me.  I still get work emails and instant messages from colleagues while I’m there, but it seems less stressful when I’m alone with a caffeinated beverage.

I got another Stitch Fix and will share soon!  It’s been 3 months since I received a box so I was excited for fall items.  And new clothes are always a good pick me up!

Speaking of clothes, I won a Gymboree gift card through an Instagram contest hosted by the Bluegrass Mom (check out her cute blog).  I hardly ever win anything and was so excited to stock up on clothes for the boys.  I tried to be practical and picked out mostly shorts and tops for next summer since Gymboree was having a huge sale, but I also found a cute sweater for W.

I started Christmas shopping!!  As I receive sale notifications or coupons, I look for items for the boys.  I've gotten a good start on stocking stuffers and a few toys.

I’ve made some awesome dinners lately if I do say so myself.  They aren’t complicated or extravagant by any means, but they are tasty.  On the days I work from home, I love that I can make dinner.  And it definitely makes me feel good when the entire family (even W!) eats what I make.

Our Addie dog turned 10 last weekend!!  I can’t believe we’ve had her for 9 of those 10 years.  I love our crazy dog.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here?

For starters, I have absolutely no idea.  The way I see it, we have three options: do nothing and accept that our family will remain a party of 4, pursue adoption, or pursue more rounds of IVF.

Let’s start with option number 1.  It’s by far the easiest in terms of effort (obviously) and cost.  And I was certain this is where we’d be post IVF failure.  But it also doesn’t feel right (at least in this moment of time).  Maybe it’s because our hearts are still recovering.  Maybe we’ll get there eventually.  But right now, A and I are having a hard time accepting option 1.

As for option 2, adoption is something A has always been open to.  I am a little more tentative, but my hesitation is fear based.  What if that child doesn’t like me, can we explain why he/she looks different from other family members, what if the child resents us, etc…  And my biggest fear, what if the birth mom changes her mind?  This has happened to a few people I know and I’m not sure my heart could handle that.  Despite those fears, I actually know quite a few families who’ve adopted and I also have a very good friend who is adopted.  All very positive experiences.  BUT there are two major red flags with this option.  One is the cost.  Did you know it costs about $30,000 to adopt, possibly more?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep am extra pile of $30,000 around.  And two, I know physicals are required prior to being approved and I’m afraid that A having CF would deter agencies or families.  And I suppose there is a third hurdle and that would be endless amounts of paperwork, home studies, book preparations, lawyers, and probably tons of other requirements I’m not even aware of.  It seems so daunting and exhausting.  I completely understand why all of these are necessary and I know it would be worth it if an adoption is successful, but it is overwhelming nonetheless.

And option 3, another round of IVF.  I can’t even imagine another IVF cycle given how poorly our previous cycle went.  Nothing went well and even our RE was surprised at how my body seems to have taken a turn for old age.  I loved being pregnant and would obviously love to do it all again, but it just seems so unlikely.  I also love that W and S represent pieces of A and myself – we often compare their personalities and features with our own.  Of course, cost is a major hurdle with IVF as well.  It would likely be $15,000-20,000 to go through the process again.  If it worked, it’d be worth it, but if it didn’t, I’d just be devastated all over again.  We are planning to schedule a consult with our RE because I’d like to hear his thoughts regarding our miscarriage/IVF cycle – I’ve always been one to gather as much information as possible.  I also think he’ll tell me it’s probably not wise to go through IVF again and that will put us closer to option 1.

And of course, even though W frequently tells me he doesn’t like his brother, he asked me if he could “get a girl”.  I think my response was “huh?”.  He explained, “can we get a sister?”.  Break my heart, kid….

So right now, we’re sticking with option 1, giving our hearts time to heal, and praying for guidance.  I’m hoping that my desire for another little one ceases – it would just make things so much easier.  And if you’re willing, send us some good vibes, prayers, whatever you’ve got… we can definitely use them!!

Also a big thank you to everyone who shared kind words in response to our miscarriage!!  Your thoughts are very much appreciated.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Weekend Recap

Such a fun weekend!  We started things off with a Friday night pizza outing with friends.  Good friends, yummy pizza, what more can I say?  All six kids at the table did great, which was really impressive.

Saturday, summer decided to return.  Even though it was in the mid 80’s, we decided to head to a local farm.  This is my favorite farm and it happens to be five minutes from our house.  While so many other farms seem to have gone commercial, this one has remained true to its roots.  The family who lives on the farm runs everything and it’s free!!! (unless you decide to go on the hay ride or through the corn maze and even those are cheap).  The boys loved learning about the many different species of chickens and feeding the goats.  We also enjoyed a hay ride where we learned about corn and gourds (while that may not sound interesting, I really enjoyed it).  We’ll definitely return a few more times this fall.


 





Sunday morning was our usual.  After Starbucks, Jane arrived to watch the boys so that A and I could attend a Cubs game.  Per usual, A found amazing seats and our Cubs played their biggest rival – the Cardinals.  It was such a fun game to be at.  Our Cubbies won (sweep!!) and A and I so enjoyed not having to get up 24,058 times for bathroom breaks and snacks.  The only downside was that the game was really really long.  We initially thought we’d be home around 5:30pm and didn’t arrive until 7pm.  I felt bad that Jane had to watch the boys for so long.  We owe her big time.  It was a little hectic once we got home – we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, the boys needed to be put to bed, and I had several other things to do for work and appointments.  Totally worth it, though, to see a great game and have quality time with A.




Thursday, September 14, 2017

Afterwards


A and I have both had a tough time since the miscarriage.  There have been many nights of tears, many discussions questioning the meaning or the point of all of this.  We were both left feeling deeply saddened and not sure how to recover.  And while we know that time heals, we've been so anxious to feel better and move on.  We both function better when we are distracted, but after the boys are in bed, it's so difficult not to think of the failure and the pain we've experienced.  We even joked that my usual retail therapy and A’s Cubs games weren’t making us feel any better.

I’m obviously heartbroken that A and I had to go through this.  But at the same time, I can’t imagine going through it with anyone else.  A has been my rock.  Most times, I didn’t even have to say anything because I knew A understood my thoughts and feelings.  A asked if I had discussed our situation with anyone.  I hadn’t and I honestly had/have no desire to.  I know people who have gone through miscarriage, but in their case, it wasn’t final.  They still had the opportunity to expand their family, to try again.  I knew they couldn’t relate to me or the sorrow that I felt.

I was prepared for our cycle to fail.  I definitely wasn’t prepared for a miscarriage.  In my mind, it was either going to work from the start or it wasn’t.  I realize now how na├»ve I was.

It’s been incredibly frustrating trying to learn something from this experience.  Right now, there are no takeaways for me.  It just seems incredibly unfair.  I’ve also been very angry, but I don’t have anyone to direct my anger at.  I’m angry at how this cycle turned out.  Angry at my body.  Angry at CF.  (I REALLY hate CF right now.)  Angry that crappy parents can have children so easily.  Angry at the world.  I even told A that it feels like I have nothing to look forward to.  I KNOW that’s not true at all.  But that is how I felt afterwards.  And don’t even get me started on the awful cramps that occurred as a result of the miscarriage.

I thought a failed cycle would bring closure.  I thought I'd be able to accept that a third child was just not in the cards for us, that we tried everything, and that would be that.  Instead, I feel so much worse.  Maybe closure and acceptance will come eventually, but right now it feels so far away.

The way this happened is still infuriating to me and I still have so many questions.  Why did it have to end this way?  Why be pregnant for such a short time?  Why did I feel the need to do this?  Why do I feel like my family isn’t complete?  Why didn’t God protect me from all of this pain?

I hope to have answers some day...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Weekend Recap (A Day Late)

We had such an incredible summer.  One that I’ll never forget.  It was my favorite summer to date.  So I suppose things were destined to seem a bit lack luster after coming off such a high.  But gosh, things lately seem to be a series of two steps forward, one step back.  Or in the case of our miscarriage, several steps back.  I guess the end of the week should have come as no surprise…

For the past almost two weeks, I’ve been getting these itchy spots on my skin.  Mainly on my feet, but I’ve also had it on my upper thigh.  So the spot would itch intensely for hours, then swell up, then be sore for a day and disappear.  At first I thought it was a bug bite of some sort.  Although, the spots were really annoying, they were somewhat manageable.  On Thursday, I got another spot on my foot.  The itching was much worse and so was the swelling.  So much so, that I couldn’t get a shoe on my very swollen foot.  Then the same thing happened with my hand and wrist.  I tried cortisone cream, Benadryl cream, oral Benadryl.  Nothing was working and the itching was making me crazy.  I had an eye doctor appointment that day and when it came time to sign forms and remove my contacts, it was really difficult to do so with my giant right hand.  I decided to head to urgent care after the appointment because I couldn’t handle the itching and really wanted to know what was going on.  The doctor diagnosed Angioedema, which is basically giant hives under the skin.  He said it was likely a reaction to something ingested, but could even be caused by a virus.  He prescribed a short course of oral steroid, but said that if it returned, I’d need to see an allergist to determine the cause.  I should also mention that at the eye doctor, I had my pupils dilated so there’s a good chance the urgent care doctor thinks I’m on illegal drugs…  Anyway, the angioedema did return last night, I still have no idea what is causing it, and I’m hoping it was a fluke because who has time to find an allergist?!?  Uggh.

Then Friday… A and I noticed S had developed a bit off a cough and assumed it was typical back to school germs.  Somehow, while we were at work, the cough got much worse and when S coughed hard, he’d vomit.  He didn’t keep anything down while my mom was watching him.  And my poor mom had multiple puke clean ups.  That night, he seemed relatively normal, a bit of a cough, but kept his pizza down.  And then when we put him to bed… well, let’s just say we had a lot of cleaning up to do.  And cleaning up puke is one of the worst things ever.

The next day, S was pretty much normal.  He still had a bit of a cough, but acted mostly fine.  Thankfully he kept his breakfast down and had plenty of energy.  Garbage pick-up was on Saturday because of the Labor Day holiday and the boys were so excited to see Darren. 

I never mentioned that W got a special hard hat from Darren and he's so excited to wear it on garbage day. :)

And how sweet is Darren?  Always thankful for people who are kind to my boys. <3

After getting ready for the day, I stepped outside to see A, W, and S all running through the yard, playing tag, and having a grand time.  It was so good for my heart.  I’m quickly realizing these little moments of quality time and happy kiddos do wonders for a broken heart.

  

Since my mom had already been exposed to S’s germs and since he was acting fine, we decided to head to her house to watch a local air show.  We ended up having a great time.  The boys couldn’t have cared less about the airplanes, but the weather was beautiful and we had fun playing outside, taking walks, and ordering Chinese food.  It was such a great, uneventful day.

Watching for airplanes

Sunday was our usual.  I made nachos for the Bears game (no surprise that the Bears lost)… A and I have gotten into a routine of creating yummy snacks instead of lunch during football season and I was happy to resume that tradition.



His expression says it all

I packed up a lot of S’s too small clothes (always a really depressing and difficult task for me – I get so attached to their clothes).  We played tennis outside, which felt so good!!  I miss playing and W was getting really into it, which I’ve always hoped for (but never wanted to push him into J).  All in all, it was a good weekend after a not so good end of the work week.  Thankful S is feeling better and hoping this week is a good one.

We're already wearing Halloween pjs

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Miscarriage

A and I decided to try one final round of IVF.  It was a decision that was not made lightly.  I thought about it daily and agonized over the decision for weeks.  When I thought about my reasons for not proceeding with IVF, they were all centered around the IVF process itself and a fear of failing.  My desire for another child hadn’t changed (and neither had A’s).  A and I talked through it and I came to the realization that even though the process was incredibly stressful – physically and emotionally, it was roughly 2 weeks and I could handle 2 weeks of stress.  I also thought I could handle failure.  Yes, it would be difficult, but I’ve already experienced it.  And if we didn’t try one more time, I thought I might regret it later.  At least if we tried and failed, we knew we had tried everything and it just wasn’t meant to be.  After discussing several times and finally deciding to proceed, I felt like a huge weight had lifted and I knew it was the right decision for us.

This IVF cycle was the most difficult I've been through.  There were more injections, more appointments, and lots of disappointment along the way.  I started out with only 8 antral follicles.  Down from the 11 that were observed just a couple months ago and way way down from the 29 I started out with during my last cycle.  Only 6 eggs were retrieved when my previous cycles had produced 19, 20, and 18.  It was so discouraging.  Nothing was easy (not that any part of IVF ever is) and nothing went well. We only started with three embryos.  We later learned that a fourth egg fertilized late.  We had started with 11 embryos in each of the previous cycles.  This all should've been an indication of what was to come.

Imagine my surprise when I took a pregnancy test and got a positive result.  I was shocked.  I took several more because I just couldn't believe it.  So many positives, each test line a little darker than the one before.  I thought maybe, just maybe this was my silver lining after such an awful cycle.  The night I told A, we both cried.  We were so excited.  Cautiously optimistic, but excited.  And then, days later, I learned that my HCG levels were low.  Too low for a healthy pregnancy.  Three days later and that level had decreased.  And just like that, our elation turned to grief.  A and I cried again.  It's so difficult to carry on with work when you feel like your heart is shattering in a million pieces.  It's so hard to be a good mom when all you want to do is hide under the covers never to emerge.  It's so difficult to carry on with life, when there's a pregnant woman around every corner, a commercial showing a new baby every time you turn on the tv, and a pregnancy announcement every time you log into Facebook - women my age seemingly having no trouble conceiving.  It was agonizing knowing this was our last attempt and it ended so very painfully.  Like some cruel joke.  There are no more chances; there is no next time.

I kept wishing that low HCG level was a mistake.  That the clinic would call back and tell me the numbers were wrong.  That the sample was contaminated, that they failed to report a digit.  That it was all a bad dream.  But that doesn't happen in real life.

I find it difficult to give up.  I'm a go-getter, a hard worker, a fighter.  I'm determined to achieve my dreams, persistence is my nature.  And having to give up the desire of another child is perhaps harder than the miscarriage itself.  I don't want to let go, but I have no other choice.

Slowly, with time*, the broken pieces of my heart are being stitched back together.  One day at a time.  One foot in front of the other...


*Our 4th and final cycle began in late July and I miscarried in August.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weekend Recap

Why, why, why aren’t there more three day weekends???  The end of Labor Day weekend is always a sad one.  Even though fall is my favorite season, the end of summer is a bit depressing and I don’t have any more days off until Thanksgiving… whaaaaaa.  With that said, we had a great weekend.

I got out of work a little early on Friday so the boys and I decided to head to the park near A’s school (this was our plan for last Friday and it didn’t happen so I’m glad we could do it this Friday).  After an hour of playing, we headed to A’s favorite pizza place where S discovered mozzarella sticks and was a big fan. J  It was the perfect start to our long weekend.





Saturday morning started slowly… I had planned to head out of the house around 9am to get a much needed oil change for my car.  But we were so enjoying a relaxing morning and even decided to pick up bagels and juice so I think I finally headed out of the house a little after 10am.  W had been asking to go to Cheddars for lunch so we decided to go there after the oil change.  I love that place so much!!  The food is yummy and the price is right!  W was super cranky on the way there and after eating he made a comment that he must’ve been crabby because he was hungry.  Haha.  That boy is the perfect example of hangry!  After lunch we ran a few errands and I think we ended up playing outside for a bit once we got home.

Sunday was our usual.  After church and Starbucks, we headed to Chicago to see Luzia.  I have never been to a Cirque du Soleil show and I loved it!!  It was so good.  And W absolutely LOVED it too!!  I so enjoyed looking over at him and seeing the happiness and amazement on his face.  S was a little young for the show.  There were definitely parts he enjoyed and he made it through the long show, but he was restless and had trouble sitting still, which is not at all surprising for a two year old.  To give you an idea on how different these two are in regards to interests, as soon as we left the show, W asked when we could go again and S asked if we were going to a Cubs game. J  I’m really happy we found something special for W to enjoy and I’m looking forward to encouraging and cultivating their different interests as they grow.  This was such a fun day!!






Monday was another lazy morning.  S was my little sidekick all weekend.  He wanted to be near mom at all times.  So when he asked me to read books with him as we cuddled in bed, I was totally for it.  We never have lazy mornings so to get two in one weekend was such a treat!!  



I finally got ready for the day and we went grocery shopping.  A and I worked on cleaning and organizing the house.  We got lots done and W helped A hang some hooks in our mud room.  This is how he reported for duty…



The boys were both a bit irritable in the afternoon.  It seemed like they were constantly bickering – I think just a result of such a busy Sunday.  I attempted to make cream of chicken soup and it didn’t turn out very well… it was way too garlicy for me even though I followed a recipe.  I think I’ll attempt it again without garlic.  Luckily A also grilled (that seems to be a requirement for Labor Day weekend) and I made bacon and cheese dip, which did turn out well (you win some, you lose some…) and that was our long weekend.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Thoughts

We have a full week of school in the books!!  It was the first time I left S alone at school and it COULD NOT HAVE GONE BETTER.  This is HUGE considering W cried for about 3 months straight EVERY SINGLE TIME I LEFT.  Ok, I’ll stop using all caps now.  I know things could still change, but this is definitely worth celebrating.  The first day I left S, I asked W to check on him knowing that their two classes would be outside at the same time.  When I arrived, W ran over to me and told me he checked on S because he loved him.  His teacher confirmed that W had checked on S right away and the two boys had been running around, playing together.  Melt my heart.  Nearly every day, W’s teacher has approached me to tell me how sweet and helpful he is.  So proud of both boys!!

Loving these cooler temperatures!!  A perfect excuse to get out our comfy clothes (not that we need an excuse)!

 We’ve discovered bath bombs and they are the bomb.  So my boys have a love/hate relationship with baths/showers.  One minute, they want to take 5 showers a day and the next, they never want to shower again.  I discovered bath bombs (I know I’m way late to the game) and the boys think they’re pretty cool (I do too!).  The bath bomb turns the bath water a different color, it fizzes, and it smells amazing.  Win!!  I’ve purchased a bunch more for their stockings.  That’s right, I’ve already started Christmas shopping and I regret nothing!!

We’re taking the boys to Luzia this weekend.  It’s a Cirque Du Soleil show.  I got discounted tickets through work so we decided to check it out.  I’m not quite sure what to expect.  W does not like loud noises and neither of the boys sits still for very long so this will be interesting.  Hoping there’s popcorn and the show will keep their interest!

We almost always go grocery shopping as a family, but there have been a couple times lately where A has taken the boys. He’s started letting them choose a small bouquet so we have fresh flowers in the house.  I LOVE it!!