Tuesday, May 3, 2016

HAPPY 3 MONTHS!

Annie and Bo officially turned 3 months last Friday!




They have been such a joy in our home.
Our house actually feels like we live in it.
It feels warm.
Like a home.
Has a twinge of baby powder/stinky diaper/baby lotion smell to it.
It has been overrun by playmats, DockATot, Table for Two, books, blankets, bottles and teeny tiny socks.

Absolute.
 Perfection.

If you think about 3 months or 13 weeks, it really only boils down to 13 Fridays. 

We have had these little miracles for 13 Fridays.

Seems so much longer than that.
Seems like they have always been here.
Or at least have been here A LOT longer than 13 Fridays.
 (But maybe that's the interrupted sleep talking.) 



I really can't complain.
They are GOOD babies.
They are SWEET babies.
They are FUNNY babies.

They are OUR babies.

My life as their mom finally feels real.

We are a couple with babies.
We have babies.

We are a family.

The past 7-8 years of struggle have now faded.
The emptiness within my heart is now full.

I look a bit more ragged.
I feel a bit more sluggish.
I may eat a bit more chocolate.

But I am, we are, enjoying every minute of these sweet little miracles.
The good definitely outweighs the bad.
The bad doesn't actually exist, it should be considered just "different".

Our lives are different.
Friday and Saturday nights are different.
My workouts are different.
My routine is different.
My priorities are different.

Again.
Absolute.
Perfection.





Here's a bit about the babies.

Annie is my little peanut.
Even though she's twice her birth weight, she's petite, feminine, sassy and can light up a room.
She smiles hard.
She smiles big.
Her eyes are bright.
Her heart is on her sleeve.
And boy, can she be demanding.
Her cry is immediate and tells exactly how she feels.
She demands instant satisfaction. (Like her dad.)
She is a bit more independent from me, but dependent on the binky.
She loves looking at her brother.
She loves to read.
She loves music.
She loves FaceTiming with family.
She's got the pouty bottom lip figured out and uses it often.
She is very routine and is a great sleeper.




Bo is my chunk.
My little man.
A total mama's boy.
He loves to be held.
He just discovered his voice and loves to hear it coo, especially in the middle of the night when we should be getting back to bed.
He is subtle.
He is a thinker.
He smiles more with his eyes and less with his lips (but I think that's changing).
His cheeks are heavy but so so kissable.
He has big hands and loves to play with them.
He loves to read books.
He loves music, especially when mom sings.
His cry is sad sounding, almost borderline pathetic. 
He can get worked up, but takes a while to do so.
He loves to touch his sister, just to know she's there. 
Sometimes he likes to swipe her binky out of her mouth because that's what brothers do.
He can be lazy, but I think his head and cheeks are just too heavy to bother lifting up during tummy time.
He loves to FaceTime and to watch TV.
He also is a good sleeper, but sometimes wakes up just to be held. 


How lucky are we?

Happy 3 months my angels.
We love you.

 



Friday, April 29, 2016

A Serendipitous Morning...

I got to sub a few classes today. I have been slowly getting back to teaching. I try to only teach when Jason can be home or when I know the babes will be sleeping and I can leave them in childcare.

Today a student approached me before class. She was a bit teary. You could see she was carrying a heavy weight on her shoulders. I hadn't seen her in a while. I used to teach the early AM classes and she was more of a mid-morning class goer. But today, since I was subbing, we crossed paths.

It was actually serendipitous. Her first class back, and I was asked to sub last minute.

She told me that she recently lost her son, about halfway through her pregnancy.

My heart instantly broke.
I knew the look in her eyes.
I knew the weight on her shoulders.
I knew exactly where she was and what she was feeling.

She first asked me for leniency. Modifications.
I was happy to give them to her.
After I gave her a big hug.

It was good that she was there.
It was a step in the right direction.
A step....in the LONG road ahead.

And it's a step towards an unknown destination.
And sometimes, it's a place we don't know if we will ever reach.

I, myself, can feel that I am closer to it each day.
Each day as I look at Bo sleep or see Annie smile at me.

The pieces of my heart are melding back together.
But the scars are still there.
Those will never fade.

Those babies, my angels, are never lost from my daily thoughts, prayers, wishes, dreams.

They are my children.

I don't just have 2 kids.

I have 2 on Earth.
And I have 6 in Heaven.

And one day, we will all be together.

When class was over, I could see that my friend, stood a little taller. Felt a little lighter. And was a bit relieved that (it was over), and to see that she came out the other side unscathed.

And that's how it is.
Surviving the loss of a child.

Every day, every hour, every minute is a battle. But you take it little by little, step by step, and eventually you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But you've got to start somewhere.
And you have to have NO expectation of how you will feel or what you should feel or that the pain, the hurt, the disappointment or frustration will EVER completely go away.

Instead you evolve.
You adapt.
You change.
You become a different you.

And eventually, you see the beautifully laid plan Heavenly Father has for you and for your child.

And when you can see that beauty, when you can realize that it wasn't because of something you did/didn't do, when you stop taking it personally and just realize that sometimes life is hard.......
 
You smile again.
You laugh again.
You try again.

You heal.

So to my dear friend, if she ever reads this - I was so happy I got to be a part of this process today. We were brought together for a reason. And I just want to tell you.....

It will get better.
You will get better.
And your sweet boy, is always with you.
He is waiting for you. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A New Demographic

Since Jason and I have entered this new phase of parenthood, we have noticed that there is a whole new world out there.

A world where people are up early, out in the neighborhood, eating breakfast (not brunch because it's like 8am), hanging at the playground - with their kids.

 It's not just early mornings that this club gathers together. It's early evenings, especially on Thursdays and Fridays and especially when the weather is warm. The parks are filled with kids on structures, picnic blankets strewn out on the grass, take out boxes from the local pizza, sandwich places or tupperwares full of grapes and berries with string cheese and salami.


We feel like we've entered this new realm. Like finally we have the password to a new club. And people have welcomed us in with open arms.

It's quite a fascinating experience to stroll through the park pushing the twins in our new BOB and getting looks like, "wow!" or "welcome to the neighborhood" or "she's got her hands full" or (my new favorite) "she looks way to good to have just had twins".

(I no longer advertise the "whole story", only if conversation persists. Usually I just let people believe that I bounced back. It is SO much fun! You should see their faces. But on the flipside, when I do tell them the "whole story", they are moved to tears and just so excited for us. It's a win-win.)

Jason and I never really noticed all these people before. We have our own group of friends that has recently tripled in size due to the births of babies, but they are our everyday. We never noticed this whole other world that exists early in the am and early in the evening.

One night as we struggled to get the twins to stay asleep (they want to keep moving), and eat our dinner, while entertaining Penny, one mom offered to push the kids around the park so we could sit and finish our meal. WOW! She's obviously has been in the trenches and gets it. It was a kind offer, but not necessary.

It's just such an interesting feeling.

To be in this place.

There is a part of me that still is grasping onto the old me. Our old life.

We even attempted our "old life" when we went out for our anniversary.

Nice dinner. Ice cream. The thought of a movie.

We had a great babysitter.

The kids were fine.

But after a couple of hours, we just wanted to go home.

We wanted to feed, snuggle and enjoy the babies.

We missed them.

We kept saying that we could've just taken them with us.

We could have. But it was good that we didn't.

It's good to still hold on to who we used to be.

It's good to step into these new roles, new community and new way of doing "date night".

So we are going to embrace this new social group. Early mornings brunches. Picnics at the park. Strolls in the BOB. More time with old friends, new friends and people in the neighborhood.

Summer is coming.

I can't wait.














Tuesday, April 12, 2016

REBECCA: UPDATE

 I am really happy Rebecca upated us on her story. I am hopeful that some readers out there might be able to relate and/or share some insight on the "answers" she has been given. If you have any advice, thoughts or kind words, email me at stillnotpregnant@gmail.com and I will be happy to forward to Rebecca. 

Thank you again for opening your hearts and minds to her continued story. 

Rebecca loving on Annie

(Some) Answers
It has been hard to not feel resentful this week.  I’m trying. I’m trying hard. On one hand, I’m frustrated at all the doctors and experts I’ve seen for the past 6 years. On the other hand, I’m frustrated with myself for believing them and not pursuing other answers or methods.

I got a call from the fertility clinic Monday afternoon. They received the results of my progesterone draw:

Low.
Super Low.
1.9 Low.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised. My cycle was short this month. It’s never short. I’m usually at 29 days on one side, and 31 days on the other. This cycle was only 27 days. That makes my mind race with all kinds of questions. At the age of 41, on the top of that list are questions about impending menopause. They are probably unfounded, but they kept me awake in the middle of the night Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights.

The clinic asked me to come in first thing Monday morning for a resting follicle count, a culture, and to review the results of all my blood work. I feel fortunate enough to have a job that enables me to do what I love, but that gives me enough autonomy to be flexible on days when I really need to be able to “flex” my time.

I hate morning traffic. So, an hour after I left my home on Monday morning, I arrived in an already-frazzled state at the clinic. Resting follicle count on cycle day 4:

Right: 8
Left: 3

More questions.  Why only 3? In some ways this is good news. 11 follicles total, without Clomid. But the uneven count between the 2 sides worried me a bit.

After the ultrasound and culture, we went over the results with the kindest nurse. After battling miscarriage, after miscarriage, after miscarriage for the past 6 years, I now have a few clues.

Clue 1: I have low progesterone (1.9) at a point in my cycle when it should be high (15 or more), making it hard for my body to build an adequate uterine lining in which an embryo can implant. Suggested treatment: Hcg shots & Clomid to begin next cycle.

Clue 2: I have an inherited gene mutation that makes it difficult for my body to metabolize folic acid. It is estimated that half the population has this particular mutation. It is known as MTHFR A1298C. It is important for the neural tube development of a fetus, as well as for blood clotting. Suggested treatment: See Clue 3.

Clue 3: I have another inherited gene mutation that has the same effects at the first gene mutation. It is the back-up gene that, if not mutated, can make up for the A1298C mutation.  It is known as MTHFR C677T. Again, many people have this mutation. However, being heterozygous for both is cause for concern.  Suggested treatment: a prescription strength prenatal that contains a higher amount, and more broken down form of, folic acid, and add foods rich in vitamin B9 to my daily intake.

Clue 4: My TSH level (3.69), while within the designated “normal” range, is not in the optimal ttc (1-2) range. Additionally, 4 years ago, when measured, it was only at 1.9. So, somewhere along the line, it has crept up. Suggested treatment: Synthroid. (And there, ladies and gentlemen, goes the tiny part of me that was proud to have escaped the thyroid issues that plague many of my family members).

Clue 5: Blood clotting is a possible factor. My anti-thrombin 3 panel came back deficient. Suggested treatment: repeat test and run a few extra tests to confirm results.

The good news is that my Vitamin D is really good (60), and well above the minimum they like to see when ttc (30). AMH levels were also good, which tells us that my ovaries are working fine. My autoimmune panels all came back normal.

Why the resentment? As many who struggle with infertility know, sometimes the emotions just don’t make sense. A part of me is screaming, “If 50% of people have these gene mutations, WHY on Earth did not one single OB, doctor, or specialist every suggest running a few simple blood tests that could have revealed this information YEARS ago?! Why did they always tell me to, ‘just go home and try again’?” Another part is screaming, “Rebecca, why did YOU not ask more questions, seek more answers, or studied more about infertility at the start of this journey?”

Predictably, I am full of mixed emotions. Truly, though, I am relieved to have some answers that go beyond a uterine anomaly that has only been detected once. I am so very grateful for the path that led me to Dr. Albrecht, and the chance it gives us to possibly be a family of more than 2 (okay, 4 if you count the dogs, and we do). I am content to know that, at least for now, we have a plan. 

I am well aware that my age, combined with the MTHFR mutations, puts us at higher risk of having a child with neuro-developmental disabilities. But we are okay with that. I am also aware that this combination may be the thing that keeps me from having kids, despite everyone’s best efforts. I’m working towards being okay with that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just a few of my favs....












Every day feels like Easter

This was the best Easter yet. 

We blessed the babies on Easter Sunday.





Annie wore a dress that my little sister wore. It is almost 30 years old. 
Bo wore a sweet knit suit that we found and that one day we will pass on.
They were wrapped in the blankets knitted by an old neighbor who was unable to have kids of her own.

Everything was perfect.










Jason did a wonderful job blessing them.
Bo cried.
Annie was an angel.

The Spirit was strong.

As I sat and reflected I began to realize that the last year has felt like Easter to me.

The past year an extreme sacrifice was made, for me and for my family.
This sacrifice brought me back to life.
Gave me new meaning.
Allowed me to live my greatest dream.

This gift so selflessly given to us by Rob, Ashley and their family truly matches the pure love that our Heavenly Father and Savior have for us.

And now, we have our whole eternity in front of us.
We will be together forever because of this ONE act of service.

Sunday may have been Easter, but I have been celebrating Easter for the past year.

And I will continue to celebrate this Easter for a long time.


 
And now it is up to me, to us....to teach Bo and Annie about this pure love.

The love not only their aunt and uncle have for them, but the love that their Savior and Heavenly Father have for them. 


Our Forever Began.....

What a whirlwind of a weekend. We were lucky to have our families come out for the sealing and blessing of Bo and Annie. It was an occasion I have only dreamed about. I used to imagine how I would feel, what would be said and the joy that would surround us.

My dreams came true. The exceeded expectation. The joy was SO great, I am still recovering from the emotional overload.

The weekend started out with Bo and Annie's 8 week appointment. My babies are growing! Bo weighed in at a whooping 11 pounds 10.5 ounces and is 22" long. Annie was bigger than I thought at 10 pounds 1.5 ounces and is 21" long.




 



They are starting to sleep a longer stretches and becoming more consistent with our routine. Smiles are starting to show, especially in the early mornings. Annie is more expressive, while Bo has a shy smile. Both warm your hearts and make all of the hard work worth it.

The doctor was very impressed with their size and developmental skills for being twins. I attribute that to Ashley and her excellent oven.

They also had to get 3 shots each. I was more nervous than I thought I was going to be. The babes however, rocked them. One big, but silent cry/scream....then complete silence followed by a nap. After, I needed an ice cream and a nap myself.

I was glad that Jason could be there with me. It was the first of many milestones.

The next day the family showed up.

Rob, Ashley, the kids and in-laws showed up first. We took them to breakfast, checked them into their AirBnB (down the street from our house) and spent time with the babes.



While the babes slept, the family visited the butterfly museum, picked up Uncle Jake and rested. Then my family showed up. First on their list was helping out with the babies. Brody couldn't wait to hold them, sing to them, kiss them...


We had a nice family dinner, spent time playing cards and just enjoying each others company. It was nice to have everyone together.

Saturday was the main event. Our sealing.

We gathered at the temple in the morning. We were surrounded by friends and the Spirit. It was an incredibly beautiful experience.














The weather may have not been perfect, but the day, the moment was. I had only attended one sealing before this, so I knew what to expect, but I didn't expect to feel SO much. 

It felt like the other side of the veil. It felt like Heaven. It felt like the arms of my Savior were wrapped tight around me, around us. It felt warm and magical. 

It felt final.

We made it. 

Our Forever began that day.