Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mommy Brain for the Win

I've seriously been having some great mommy brain moments the past few days.  So here's my most recent mommy brain moments, in addition to our little weekend family get away.

This last weekend, we had our very first hotel stay with Ayden and Rylee.  Tony had an overnight work conference on Friday at the coast, and we joined him on Saturday.  It's been super hot here lately, hitting the high 90's to 100, and remember, we don't have air conditioning!  We were happy to escape to cooler weather.  The first thing we did was take the kiddos (it just doesn't feel right to call them the babies anymore!) to the beach.  They loved it!

 Rylee got a kick out of digging her hands into the wet sand and then throwing it everywhere!

We could not keep Ayden out of the water!  Apparently the freezing cold ice water of Oregon's Pacific Ocean did not have an effect on him what-so-ever!  Meanwhile, his Daddy's feet felt like they were about to fall off because they were so cold.  Have you ever been to the Oregon coast?  It. Is. COLD!  Ayden was not a happy camper when we made him get out of the water.

After we were done at the beach, we took the kiddos to the hotel pool.  We would love to get them into swim lessons again, but I can't find a Saturday class around here so that Tony would be able to go to.  I can't take them to a swim class by myself.  Two against one in a pool is not a good thing at this point.  They hadn't been in a real pool since last summer when we did swim lessons.  They LOVE being in the water so much!  Especially Ayden.  He is a little fish!

After the pool, we went to our room and got cleaned up.  Then we went out to dinner.  We weren't sure how Ayden and Rylee would do since they were getting tired and it was well after their normal dinner time by the time we finally got seated.  It was a very busy weekend at the coast, so we had about a half hour wait to get seated.  They did great though.  It helped that we kept feeding them snacks while waiting for our dinner.  I had Rylee sitting next to me and was playing a game with her.  We were hitting our hands on the table and giving each other high fives.  I was just trying to keep her entertained.  Buuuutttttt...... while playing this game, I pulled my hand back really fast so she couldn't hit it and what do you know?  I knocked my entire drink over!  All over the table, onto the wall behind us, into the diaper bag, and all over my leg.  It was literally dripping from my leg.  Gooooood times.  And I couldn't even blame it on the kids!  It was totally my fault.

The good news is that the people next to us didn't even notice!  When they got up and left, they commented on how adorable our babies were and we should be so proud because they were so very well behaved!  haha!  If only the parents could have been just as well behaved.  I guess they also didn't notice the moment during dinner when Ayden had a fairly serious choking incident and ended up puking his dinner up.  I'm sure the waiter was happy to see us go, even if nobody else noticed our chaos.  lol

Getting the kids to sleep in the hotel went pretty much exactly as I expected.  They wouldn't go to sleep.  It took over an hour to finally get them both settled.  Once Rylee fell asleep, she slept like a rock all night.  Ayden on the other hand....  He was awake from 12:30 till 3:00 and was not a happy boy.  He was very overtired and not feeling well.  The only way I could get him to settle down and finally go back to sleep was if I was holding him sitting upright in bed.  Not comfortable, but hey, whatever works!

On Sunday, we took them to the Oregon Coast Aquarium to see all the fishies.

Talking to the fish

Watching a leopard shark swim by.

We had such a great time on our weekend adventure to the coast, but we were exhausted by the time we got home.  The last thing I wanted to do was my weekend grocery shopping trip, so I put it off until Monday.

In Eugene, you have to pay if you need grocery bags so most people just use the cloth grocery bags.  I have some, but almost always forget to grab them when I leave the house! Well yesterday, I was so proud of myself because I actually remembered to grab the bags before leaving.  I even held them up to show Tony that I'd remembered!  It's about a 15 minute drive into town to go shopping.  I got to the store, only to realize I had left my purse at home!  I grabbed the shopping bags, but had no purse.  I would have preferred if I'd forgotten the stupid grocery bags and paid for them, and gotten my shopping done!  Instead, I had to turn around and go home.  But hey, at least the bags are already in my car for when I go back tonight!

Then this morning, I was putting a load of laundry into the dryer and discovered that there was little wet paper pieces ALL over the clothes and washing machine.  Yep, apparently the map from the Aquarium had still been in my pocket.  I couldn't even blame Tony for this one.

Mommy brain won again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

18 Months!

Rylee and Ayden are officially 18 months today.  A year and a half!  Hard to believe we've actually been parents for a year and a half already.  Even harder to believe that we will now be approaching age 2.  Gasp!

Both of them woke up with slight runny noses on Saturday.  By Sunday, they were both complete messes with lots of snot and crankiness.  Oh the crankiness!  Yesterday, they were feeling much better and we actually had a good day, despite me keeping them inside all day. Usually being inside means lots of whining.  Even though they were feeling better, they both had turned into complete snot factories.  Today, their noses are still producing gross colorful snot at an alarming rate.  Being a mom is not a glamorous job when you are wiping snot all day long.  Even less glamorous is when they come up and give you a hug, then proceed to rub their faces all over you before you have a chance to grab a Kleenex.  Ewwww.

They LOVE to be outside!  We go to the park almost on a daily basis.  There are 3 different parks within walking distance, but we also drive into Eugene occasionally to go to a splash park (with fountains).  We sometimes just stay home and play in our little kid pool, the sprinkler, or the good old fashion garden hose.

Where did my baby go?

So happy to be outside!

He LOVES to explore!

They are constantly learning new things that make us laugh.  Tony and I thoroughly enjoy watching them try new things and we practically squeal in delight when they master a new skill.  They are also constantly giving us mini heart attacks with their daring exploits....

They both started standing on their "bikes" hands free, as of yesterday.

She wanted to go higher, but I made her get down!

Their 18 month check up is next week and I plan to write more detailed individual posts with their stats and other fun stuff.  I can't wait to find out how much they weigh and how tall they are!  They haven't been measured since their 12 month appointment!

For now, I will just leave you with more pictures...

Driving (not really) their jeep at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Spying on the neighbors!

Horsey rides!

Hahaha!  Don't most people play with buckets on their heads?

18 months old today

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Story

I'm in a "life after infertility" mommy Facebook group that actually has a lot of my blogger friends.  It's been amazing to connect with this group of ladies that have all struggled with infertility in some way.  It has been a huge support network for all of us in the group, and I now consider these gals very good friends.

This last week, everyone was assigned a day to write and share their biography, detailing each person's infertility journey (this will continue for a few weeks so everyone has a chance to share).  Most of us are familiar with each other's story already, but it's been a great exercise to look back and remember all the struggles we went through to get our precious babies.

After writing my biography last week, I thought it would be fun to share it here as well.  For some of you, it may just be a recap if you've been reading my blog for awhile.  Maybe for others, this will be the first time you've heard my whole infertility story.


Tony and I met our first week of college at Western Oregon University, when I was just 17 years old, in 1992.  He was 19.  We dated for 5 years before getting married in 1997, and have now been married for 18 years this September.  I went off bcp a little over a year after being married.  Another few years down the road, I ended up having surgery to remove a cyst on one of my ovaries.  We went through some testing and were told that while it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant on our own, it was highly unlikely.  At the time, we thought it was mostly due to Tony’s low sperm quality and count.  We couldn’t afford treatments at the time so we spent several years  with me temping and doing timed intercourse.  Eventually we tapered off doing that and pretty much left it in God’s hands.  We definitely weren’t preventing, but we didn’t do a whole lot other than have sex and pray.

We spent YEARS coaching softball together.  We invested our time into those softball girls.  They were our family.  They were our kids that we couldn’t have.  However, once the majority of those girls graduated, they moved on with their lives and other than some Facebook contact here and there, we lost them.  We do have a few that have remained close, but it is just not the same as having your own kids.

In October of 2011, I turned 37 and 3 days later, I had the honor of watching my sister give birth to her third child.  This was actually the second birth I was witness to, as I’d also been there for the birth of her second child as well.  (I missed my niece’s birth because our softball team qualified for Nationals and she came early!)  Between me turning another year older and watching the miracle of my nephew being born, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I didn’t want to end up in my 40’s/50’s and living with regrets that we didn’t try absolutely EVERYTHING to have a baby.  Tony and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact it just wasn’t going to happen for us, but after talking with him about how I was feeling, he said “let’s do it!”

So after 12+ years of trying and hoping for a baby, then pretty much giving up on it, we had our first consultation with our RE in November of 2011.  We did one IUI, which everyone expected to fail, and it did.  Our fist IVF was the beginning of 2012.  5 eggs were retrieved, and we had 3 embryos that barely made it for a day 3 transfer.  All 3 were transferred.  On the morning of beta #1, I started spotting and I knew it was my period.  Tony didn’t understand why I was still making the hour drive to the clinic for the beta if AF was coming, but I went anyway.  At the clinic, they told me that spotting can be normal.  That afternoon, I got the call that I was pregnant!  I called Tony at work to tell him and he started crying.  He left work early and surprised me with flowers.  This was a Friday.  On Monday, I went back for my second beta.  This time the phone call was to tell me I was NOT pregnant.  I had a chemical pregnancy.

Two cycles later was our attempt at IVF #2.  We did not even make it to retrieval.  At the suppression check, I had 8 follicles.  After stemming, I only had one measly follicle that made it out of the gate, so it turned into failed IUI #2.

At this point, it seemed totally insane to continue wasting money if I wasn’t going to produce enough eggs due to my diminished ovarian reserve.  Donor eggs was something neither one of us ever wanted to consider, but it turns out that when that’s potentially your only path to parenthood, you start looking at things differently.  My sister was willing to be an egg donor for us, but we weren’t sure if using her as a known donor or instead using an anonymous donor would be our best option.  Ultimately, we came to the decision to use my sister as our donor.  It was our best chance and the closest route to getting a little Amber and Tony.  My sister and I look a lot alike.  In fact, we have been asked many times if we are twins, but she is actually 5 years younger.

With my sister, right after my nephew was born.

November 30, 2012 was our baby making day.  Out of 14 eggs retrieved, 9 were mature.  Of those 9, we got 5 fertilized embryos.  Of those 5, one didn’t cleave, so we were left with 4.  We transferred 2 embryos on December 3, 2012.  We were not left with a lot of hope that the other 2 embryos would make it to freeze.  Our clinic never freezes before day 6, and they weren’t optimistic for these other 2 embryos making it.  However, 3 days later, we got a call from the embryologist and one of the embryos was growing strong and met all criteria to be saved.  The other was very borderline and didn’t hit the milestones they were looking for, but they would keep it since they like to freeze the embryos in pairs anyway.

On December 11th, I got my first positive pee stick.  On December 17th, the bfp was confirmed with a positive beta.  Our first ultrasound at 6w3d was disappointing.  We could see the sac and fetus, but there wasn’t a confirmed heartbeat.  A week later was the second ultrasound, the fetus was measuring a little small, but there was a heartbeat of 108.  The third ultrasound however, was excellent!  We had a strong heartbeat of 153 and the measurements were on track.  At the last ultrasound appointment with our RE a week later, we found out that Bob was dead.  (That’s what Tony named the baby, so we weren’t just calling it, IT.)   I had a D&C and chromosomal testing showed that the baby had Trisomy 18.  Ironically, it came from the donated egg, a less than 1% chance of happening.

My sister found out she was pregnant the day after our third ultrasound where we had gotten good news.  Her plan was to wait until after we made our own pregnancy announcement to share her news.  She wanted me to have my moment in the spotlight.  It devastated her when she found out that Bob was dead.  She waited a little over a week to tell me she was pregnant.  Just one month after donating her eggs to us, she got pregnant with her fourth.  They had planned to have a fourth baby, but didn’t think it would happen so soon.  It was a very hard time for us both.  There was no blame.  It was just so unfair that Tony and I couldn’t have kids of our own.  It was also unfair that the joy was sucked right out of their own happy time, when my sister and her husband should have been happy and celebrating their last baby that they had always planned on having.

On March 13, 2013, I went in for a Saline Infusion Sonogram and got the all clear for our May FET.  I spent the next few months coaching softball, while I was also preparing for that FET.  On May 24th, we transferred those last two embryos and I officially considered myself pregnant that day.  It was our very last chance of having children.  After this, we were done.  I couldn’t ask my sister to donate again, and we were at our limit of what we could afford to take out in loans.  It had to work!

At 4dp6dt I took my first hpt and got a very faint line.  Over the course of the next week, I watched that line get darker and darker.  I shared the tests with Tony, but he remained very neutral and wasn’t at all excited.  He was extremely guarded this time around.  On June 3rd, my beta HCG came back at 416.  Two days later, my beta was 992.

I was originally scheduled to have our first ultrasound on a Wednesday, but I started spotting the Friday before, so my RE had me come in that Saturday to check things out.  The good news was we were able to see and hear a heartbeat!   The maybe bad news was that there was also another baby, but a heartbeat couldn’t be detected.  By that Wednesday, at 6w4d pregnant, both babies had heartbeats!  Twins!

I had a relatively “easy” pregnancy.  We had a few things that caused concern along the way, but for the most part, it was fairly uneventful.  I had a rash that covered my stomach and itched starting at around 23 weeks and continued the rest of the pregnancy.  I had pretty intense rib pain that was potentially coming from my liver, which they monitored.  I didn’t sleep almost the entire pregnancy!  I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in BOTH hands that was quite painful, mostly at night.  I had some nausea till about 17 weeks, but it was fairly manageable except for a few occasions.  Despite all of this, I continued to work….

Last bump photo, 32w1d

Until one day at work, at 32w3d, my water broke!  I wasn’t completely sure it was my water breaking or if I’d totally peed my pants.  I called my OB and she directed me to go to L&D, where it was confirmed that it was indeed Baby A’s water that broke.  I was admitted to the hospital and wouldn’t be leaving.  I was given the first of two steroid shots to develop the babies’ lungs and started on a magnesium IV drip to slow labor.  The magnesium made me very sick.  I was extremely dizzy and couldn’t focus on anything.  I could not for the life of me keep my eyes open, but I also couldn’t sleep at all.  It was a very weird feeling.

The goal was to keep the babies on the inside until 34 weeks.  After 2 days, Baby A took a dip in her monitoring so an ultrasound was ordered.  During the ultrasound, she was fine, but Baby B was very sluggish and wasn’t responding.  They were preparing for a potential c-section that night.  However, by that afternoon both babies were doing well and it was determined that the steroid injections and magnesium were starting to affect them, so the mag was turned off.   As the meds wore off, both babies became Kung  Fu fighters and were very active.

My blood pressure climbed more and more each day and I had extremely intense swelling.  From my toes and up through my legs and into my back.  My lady bits were sooooo incredibly swollen I could hardly walk.  I gained a grand total of 26 POUNDS in the final 6 days of my pregnancy while I was in the hospital!

One night, I got up to go to the bathroom and I felt so sick!  I was dizzy and could hardly move because my legs and labia were so extremely swollen.  I was immediately put back on the magnesium because I had developed pre-eclampsia.  The mag was to help prevent me from having a stroke.  They had been doing a 24 hour urine analysis, but decided at that point that it didn’t matter.  It was time to deliver the babies. 

Until that day, I was having a difficult time deciding between a vaginal delivery or a c-section.  I was terrified of both!  However, Baby B decided for us by turning breach that last day.  Turns out it was a very good thing, because Baby A had her cord wrapped around her head pretty good.

On December 23, 2013, at 33w2d, the babies were born.

Rylee Viola, born at 8:27pm, weighed 4 lbs 10 oz and was 16 ½ inches long.

Ayden James, born at 8:28pm, weighed 5 lbs 4 oz and was 18 ¾ inches long.

I found out later that I had hemorrhaged during the c-section.  Apparently, I also developed sleep apnea, because I stopped breathing every time I dozed off while they were cleaning and stitching me up.  It seemed like I had to stay in recovery forever, but they eventually wheeled my hospital bed to the NICU so I could see my babies.  I was only able to see and hold Rylee because Ayden was on a c-pap at the time.  I was only able to stay for about 10 minutes.  Tony stayed with the babies all night while I had to go to my own room, where they continued to monitor me for the pre-eclampsia.
Thankfully, Ayden only needed the oxygen help for about 5 hours and they were able to remove the c-pap.  He had an IV for a few days to help regulate his blood sugars.  Rylee was a rockstar and only needed an IV for a little bit.  Both had feeding tubes for about 2 weeks.
The day after they were born, the doctor finally approved for me to be wheeled back to the NICU in my hospital bed.  I was only able to stay for an hour, but I did get to hold both my babies.  I barely got to see them for the first 2 ½ days.  Tony was the most amazing daddy and husband during this time.  He spent almost every minute with Ayden and Rylee doing skin to skin and learning how to care for them.

Holding both my babies for the first time
Kangaroo care with Daddy
Ultimately, we had 19 days in the NICU while Rylee and Ayden learned how to keep their body temperatures up and learned how to suck, swallow, breathe so that they could eat.  From the time I was admitted until the babies were discharged, I only left the hospital once.  It was the longest month of my life, but we came home with the two most precious bundles we could have ever imagined!  Now, we have two toddlers ruling our lives and we are so incredibly blessed beyond words!  We thought we would never have the opportunity to be parents, but we just had to be patient, for many, many years….
The day we brought them home

This past weekend.  Almost a year and a half!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Microblog Monday: A Bunch of Turkeys

We've got our first garden this year.  I've always wanted one, but have never actually had much space for one.  When we moved in here, there were already two garden boxes in the backyard!  Yay!

One box already had strawberries coming in and two blueberry bushes.  I added more strawberry plants and another blueberry bush.  We filled the other box with a variety of tomato plants.  There is absolutely nothing better than garden fresh tomatoes!  Mmmmm.

When we first moved here to the little town of Veneta, the kids and I encountered turkeys on our walk one day.  It was a little weird, but kind of cool at the same time, to be sharing the sidewalk with turkeys!

I knew it would be a possibility for the critters in the area to get into our garden.  We often see squirrels on the back fence and sometimes see deer in the field next to us.  One day, there was a deer literally at our front door!  By the time I ran to get the camera, the deer started to walk away, but it had been right up the sidewalk to our front door.

Last week, I saw a turkey sitting on our back fence.  I thought it was pretty cool and even ran to get Ayden over to the window so he could see it.  I mean, how often do you have a wild turkey sitting in your backyard?  Later that same night when I went out to pick the berries, I discovered all the ripe berries missing!  Not only that, but a few of the strawberry plants had been dug up and gone missing.  I had holes in my garden bed.  Literally the night before, there had been a good dozen strawberries and a few dozen blueberries ready to be picked.  I was so disappointed when I went out with my bowl and there was nothing left.  I just KNEW it was that damn turkey!  Tony was convinced it had to be a deer.

But then Friday night, we were sitting in the living room and Tony started to get all excited about all these strange birds sitting on our back fence, not really sure what they were.  Then he stood up and saw a big turkey eating away at our garden!  Turns out we had 2 full grown turkeys and 9 babies in our yard!  An entire family of turkeys eating away at my garden.  Tony now believes me that it was a turkey.

I chased them away.

If they weren't eating my garden that I have invested so much time and money into, I would think these turkeys were pretty darn cute.  I mean, we had an ENTIRE wild turkey family in our backyard!  Whoever has heard of such a thing?  Not me!

Now I need to invest more money into buying some netting....  It might just be cheaper to buy from the store instead of having a garden.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Microblog Monday: Backyard Fun

We had such a great Saturday afternoon!  Ayden and Rylee got to play in their very first backyard pool and also got to have their first popsicles.  Rylee tends to be very hesitant and cautious with new things.  She was a little unsure of the pool and stayed perfectly content just standing in the water.  Ayden on the other hand, had an absolute ball!  He was all about trying to climb up the slide and trying to stand up on it.  Doh!  He also was a little fish, laying down in the water.  I tried to show him how to blow bubbles, but he wasn't really into that yet.

Checking things out

Fascinated with the water spray

Ready to try out the slide!

Daddy joined them in the pool

"Hi Momma."

He got pretty good at climbing up there

Popsicle's in the pool made for very easy cleanup!  They thought the Popsicle's were the best after dipping them into the pool water.  Needless to say, the pool ate more of the Popsicle's than Ayden and Rylee did.  haha!

If you'd like to read more of this week's #MicroblogMonday posts, click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Interview

There's been a questionnaire floating around Facebook the past few days.  It's a list of questions to ask your kids and to list their unprompted answers.  Ayden and Rylee are obviously too young for me to do this, but then one of my FB friends did the same questionnaire with her husband.  I love these sorts of things!  With kids, it's just downright fun to hear/read their honest answers.  With adults, I think it's just a really fun exercise to do together.

So last night I asked Tony if he would let me interview him and he agreed.  When we were almost done, he asked me if there was an answer key or something.  lol.  I told him it's just a game that's been floating around FB and I thought it would be fun.  Well, he did NOT want his answers posted on FB.  He said I could post it as long as I didn't tag him, but I know he didn't really want me to.  As much as I wanted to share it because I thought it was fun, it was MORE fun just to do this exercise together.  He tends to be a fairly private person and I respect that.  I know this is still the internet and puts it out there for people to see, but unlike FB, the people we know in real life won't be reading it (or very, very few anyway).  I personally happen to think this is worthy of documentation.

Without further ado, here's the interview:

  1. What is something your wife always says to you?  Do it like this.  Okay.  I don't ever actually say THOSE exact words, but I got his point...
  2. What makes your wife happy?  When I'm happy.  Or when we are happy together, let me put it that way.  You know what I mean.
  3. What makes your wife sad?  Not enough sleep.
  4. How does your wife make you laugh?  She becomes full on dork.  Yep, I can be pretty dorky sometimes!  lol
  5. What was your wife like as a child?  What are my choices on this?  That's a tough one to answer.  Grown up.  I think he nailed it.
  6. How old is your wife?  40 1/2
  7. How tall is your wife?  5'3
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?  Show people new experiences.  I wasn't at all sure what he meant by that.  He explained how I like to show Ayden and Rylee new things.  Or how we got to take softball players on their very first plane trip, or on their very first roller coaster ride.  I never would have thought of this, but he is right.  I do love to make new experiences happen for other people and share in that.
  9. What does your wife do when you're not around?  Wear underwear.  Hahaha!  I think you do the same things when I'm home!
  10. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?  Writing a book.
  11. What is your wife really good at?  A lot of things.  She is really good at accomplishing things she wants to.
  12. What is your wife not very good at?  Getting started on doing things.  Procrastinating.  True.
  13. What does your wife do for a job?  Manages our house.
  14. What is your wife's favorite food?  Popcorn.  That wouldn't be my answer, but it's interesting that he thinks so!  I do like it, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite.
  15. What makes you proud of your wife?  What she's accomplished and what she's had to go through to accomplish that.  Perseverance.
  16. If your wife were a character, who would she be?  Monica.  From Friends.  Although I am most definitely not obsessed with cleaning my house, I suppose he's pretty accurate otherwise.
  17. What do you and your wife do together?  Big difference between pre-kids and now.  Pre-kids we coached softball and played games.  Now, we survive.
  18. How are you and your wife the same?  Both get a lot done but it takes us a lot to get going.  But once we start, we're pretty dang... You know.
  19. How are you and your wife different?  I'm more laid back.  True.  Sigh.
  20. How do you know your wife loves you?  She tells me.
  21. What does your wife like most about you?  I don't know.  Kind of makes me sad he doesn't have an answer for this question.  I told him that I like his sense of humor, how easily he can talk to other people, and that he is a great Daddy.
  22. Where is your wife's favorite place to go?  Softball coaches clinic.  Haha!  Yes, we both really enjoyed attending the National Coaches Clinic every year!  It was incredible to hear from the top college coaches from around the country.