How do you do it?!

And by YOU, I mean WE – we mothers (and dads) out there. We teachers, stay at home moms, and all the jobs in between. How does A PERSON manage it all, especially in that first year of a baby’s life?

And my answer is I don’t know. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and the topic keeps popping up in my day to day life. I guess that means it’s time to write it down. 

I’ve been struggling with this stage in the twins’ lives. Yes, they are 13 months old and therefore we are past the first year, but I’m extending it because this stage comes in second behind the newborn stage as the hardest for us so far.

B is a total walker now, C a complete crawler. They can’t be left alone unless they are in “baby jail” – the play yard made of baby gates – and even if they’re in there, they will bicker and fuss after a few minutes. With B switching to one nap and C still on two, I have babies napping at 9, 12, and 2 and NEVER during my day do I get even a five minute break with both babies sleeping. I’m not complaining, I’m just…whining.

B is still going through a sleep regression with middle of the night wakings and terrible naps. His one nap today was a whopping 40 minutes long. His personality has changed, and he’s become very head-strong, with many a temper tantrum every day. In the same breath, in recent weeks he has learned how to share (still a rare occurrence), he has learned many words he can say on cue (Daddy, Mommy, doggy, ball, spoon, cheese), many signs he can use (more, all done, eat, water, milk) and such random tasks as throwing and kicking a ball, sorting items into baskets, and retrieving anything I ask for (my shoe, the toy pig, etc.) He grins like crazy as he scampers down the hall. He runs full speed into my legs, clinging for dear life as he says “mama, mama”. He has learned how to play “chase” with his sister, a very cute game that sends them both into hysterical giggles. 

And C is no different – she can do all of those same things B does (except walk), with an emphasis on language development – saying the word “more” (“mo”) as she signs it, trying out different words on her tongue such as “purple” and “yellow” that aren’t too far off the mark. She LOVES to sort and will put toys in different baskets for a long period of time. She also loves books and points to each creature with eyes and talks in her little baby language. She’s finally on to the sippy cup instead of the bottle and they both are done with formula. She’s an absolute charmer, batting her eyelashes for people in the grocery store and giving her best toothy grin when the camera comes out.

They’re getting big. They’re just BARELY babies – I’m holding onto that for dear life, but it’s almost over. They’re basically toddlers. And all of that is SO wonderful. And yet, I feel like I can barely keep my head above water!

For one thing, I’m going back to work after 1.5 years of being out of the classroom. One day in April 2013, I told my students I had a doctor’s appointment and would be back in the morning, but I never came back. I was on bedrest from 23 weeks until 35, when the babies were born. When I go back to work in a few weeks, I want to

1) teach our brand new curriculum that I haven’t yet seen, much less planned for,

2) have a classroom that looks decent,

3) NOT bring much school work home, but

4) NOT stay late at school to get it done, as I have a nanny and don’t want to pay overtime.Not only do I want to get home early enough and not do work at night, but I want to

5) have dinner ready in the crock pot 9 times out of 10 because if we don’t, we won’t be eating until midnight and

6) spend quality time with the babies when I get home from work at 4 until they go to bed at 7ish. And of course, after they go to bed, I want to 

7) get my chores done right away (make everyone’s lunches, clean up from dinner, wash sippy cups, walk dogs, straighten the house, etc. – my husband I split these) so that I can make a firm dent in my couch, only to 

8) get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can do it all again the next day.

Now, looking back on this list – it gives me some anxiety. This is CRAZY! But yet, it’s exactly what I want and in a way, expect of myself. Notably missing from my list are 9) QT time with the husband and 10) EXERCISE. Number 9 is important, and number 10 isn’t happening in my near future, so I’m letting that one go right away. 

I just don’t know how to make it all happen. But some moms have this work/parent/dinner thing down to a science, so I want to know – how do they do it?? How do you find the balance, and how do you know what things to just let go?

While being a stay at home mom, the babies have come first. I have had first hand experience in “letting things go” – and the things I chose were exercising, the organization and cleanliness of my house, and our dinners. My nanny has spent a few hours with us, just getting to know the babies and myself. I’ve found myself telling her not to go into the basement yet because it looks like an episode of Hoarders (true story – but not the hoarding). Or opening up the garage to get the stroller and asking her to watch her step over the recycling items pouring out of the bin and onto the floor of the garage. Or the fur balls that C is picking up as she crawls around the floor. Or our lawn that hasn’t been mowed in weeks.  I mean, I’m embarrassed. It’s BAD. I wonder how we don’t manage to find the time on the weekends to deal with these things, but we don’t. And we aren’t taking the babies to the zoo or hanging out watching movies (I haven’t sat and watched a movie since I was on bed rest). I don’t even know what we’re doing, but I can tell you this – it isn’t relaxing. So I let it go.

When does “Don’t worry, you have twins” run its course as an excuse for ANYTHING? Because I’m still applying it, but I think time may be running out.

And if I couldn’t keep my house together and get dinner on the table (or get my husband to get dinner on the table – ha) while being “home all day” – how will I do it when I’m at work?

I’m just struggling here, thinking about how to find the balance. I haven’t found it yet, but I keep assuring myself that when I go back to work, I’ll find it. Likely, the exact opposite is true and I don’t like how that feels. 


I read once, and have heard it again since (from my own parents), what I’m finding to be the BEST advice I have heard in regards to what it’s like with a baby(ies). I only wish I heard it sooner and could’ve let it sink in. That piece of advice is this: When a new baby comes into your life, the things you used to do, you won’t do. The things you want to do, you can’t do. You may carve out a little time for a few of your most valued hobbies, but even then, you won’t have the time you used to. Your life will change for the better, absolutely, but you won’t live the same lifestyle that you’ve spent ___ years creating. It’ll be a full year years before you can return to it. You used to be clean, healthy and fit? You prepared elaborate meals while doing your hair and makeup daily? You walked in a patient, slow manner and had time for friends and your expensive hobbies? Well now, that’s over. Really over. But it’s temporary. It’ll all come back, it just may be years down the line. And one day, I’ll have a clean house. But when I do, my babies won’t be babies. They might be entering school for all I know – and they’ll make their beds in the morning and argue over whose turn it is to load the dishwasher, saving me a few chores to do myself. And do I really want to rush to that moment? No, no I don’t. And maybe there’s my balance after all.

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What is “easy”?

As many bloggers have mentioned, it is National Infertility Awareness Week. When I check this blog’s stats, I discover that so many people who stumble across this site do so because they are struggling through infertility, and have questions about the drugs and the check-ups and everything else that comes with infertility treatments. Honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my struggles. I actually wonder what sorts of hoops I would have to jump through if we ever wanted another child. The whole thing is daunting. But having gone through it, I feel just so – positive about raising these babies, and therefore the negativity I hear bothers me.

Which is how I came to this week’s blog topic. What makes a baby “easy”?

When you have a newborn (or two, or more) you really hope you have an “easy” baby. The number 1 reason for this is because you’re exhausted and you just need to sleep. Delirium takes over. So having a child that goes multiple hours in the middle of the night without needing to be fed fits many people’s qualifications of “easy”. Maybe this same baby also takes great naps – clearly he/she enjoys sleeping. Maybe they are great eaters, maybe they fall asleep without you having to bounce on a yoga ball while simultaneously singing 8 nursery rhymes. Maybe they follow a schedule. As a newborn, this baby would again be deemed “easy” by the parents and their family and friends. You’d smile and count your blessings and everyone else would think you really have it together and know what you’re doing. But as a newborn – this wouldn’t be typical. This wouldn’t be the norm. And it probably didn’t have much to do with you at all.

I had this baby. B was this baby. He didn’t cry too often, he stared off into space easily and allowed you time to breathe and think. At the time, I would’ve been the first one to call him “easy”. But really, he just “fit the idea”. He was the fantasy that people have that helped create the term “easy”. But he wasn’t easy. He was a baby – just, the way he was.

I also had another baby. C was the other baby – she had reflux. She was a preemie (they both were, but B was a very healthy one and quickly outgrew that status). She was so uncomfortable from her tummy troubles that she would cry. Most of her crying went from 4:00 pm – midnight. She had a long “witching hour”. She was extremely aware of new experiences and surroundings, which is why for a while, she cried in the bath and she cried in the car. Was C not an easy baby? By society’s terms, she was a “hard” baby (though some people have challenges much more extreme). But she wasn’t a hard baby – she just was a baby. Her own little self.

I did not have an easy and a hard baby. I just had two babies who, even as newborns, demonstrated the differences in their genetic makeup, in who they were. But it wasn’t hard to take care of C, and it wasn’t easy to take care of B. It just was.

Now, many months later, their personalities have stayed the same if not even heightened, but those other details have faded away. B does not love to sleep anymore. He does sleep all night, and for that I’m grateful. But today he took two 20 minute naps. That’s it, all day. He fussed, he even had a meltdown or two. Was he hard today? Well no – his fussing was his way of communicating to me that he was tired, that he was having trouble staying asleep, and that he didn’t know what to do with himself. But he also laughed hysterically every time one of the dogs came near him. He squealed with delight when I held his hands as he stood on his two feet and took some steps with my help (kid doesn’t even crawl, but he does this). He drank four 8 ounce bottles and wolfed down his solids. He flopped his lips with his fingers to make that funny sound. He wasn’t easy, he wasn’t hard. He just was. And C – C no longer has reflux. She eats. She sleeps. She is sleep trained – she puts the pacifier in herself and she strokes the wubbanub’s little legs as she falls asleep. She is extremely aware. She knows where you are when you leave the room, and even minutes later, has her eye on the exact spot you should return to, waiting for you. She watches as you make a sandwich, describing each step. She grabs your face and pulls it in for 5 kisses in a row (once she gets started…). Is she “easy”? No…but she’s not “hard” either. She’s just who she is.

You get the point. Now I want to point out that none of this means I don’t have easy or hard days. I absolutely do. Everyone does, and they should be expected. Today, with those terrible naps, was a bit of a challenge. I might even say it was a hard day. I was tired, I had a little less patience than I normally did. But that was ME. That’s how I was different. My babies were the same as always.

This post comes from a place where other people (usually those who do not have babies and haven’t in a long time, or ever) are so very quick to judge your children and tell you what they think your kids are like. You are free to agree or deny, but denying leaves you feeling defensive and vulnerable – or maybe it’s just me.

Because I have two babies, different genders and different personalities, it is so easy to compare them. There’s nothing wrong in my mind with comparing them on topics that have no emotional value, like how B has great gross motor skills and C has great fine motor skills. But when they are compared as “easy” vs. “hard” – that’s where I have the problem.

Someone recently commented that C “must be the high-maintenance one, right?” because she was fussing. Now, C was being held by someone she had never met before and had done great with him for over a half hour. But finally, she was tired of being in the position, facing out, being held by that person, and she was letting the room know that she needed a change. What is high-maintenance about a child who communicates? A baby who tells you she needs a change? But because I’m kind of a pushover in those situations and not nearly as assertive as I’d like to be, I neglected to say, “She’s fussing because she needs someone else to hold her, or she needs to play with some toys. She’s bored.” Instead I said, “No, she’s not high-maintenance. In fact, neither of them are and I’m very lucky.” I continued, “Actually, C really enjoys seeing and taking in what you’re doing, so I like to walk her around the house and point things out to her. B is usually fine with a few toys by himself for a while.” The response I got back was, “Well, that must be a lot easier for you then.”

Yes, I’m a little over-sensitive. But I’m just going with it. So, is C hard because she likes to learn about her world as I show her around the house? No, that’s not hard. That’s parenting. Is B easy because he can play by himself? No, that’s just B. I don’t like them being compared because my fear is that these stigmas will stick with them. Not for me or my husband, but by others, who remember C’s refluxy days or how B just slept all day. Things have changed about them, things  have stayed the same. But they aren’t easy and they aren’t hard. They’re just my two babies, different but similar, who love to look into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing, bang toys together as they attempt to shake them, grab ahold of any buttons, zippers, or knobs they can find. They’re just babies. They just do whatever they’re going to do.

I feel better having written this, to be honest. But at the same time, I know things won’t change – there will always be people ready to tell you if you have an “easy” or “hard” baby, and of course if you have two babies, you must have one of each. I know better about my children – neither are hard, neither are easy. But they’re mine, and I will always defend them.



















Feeding a dog, 101

You know, there aren’t many things that send me flying right off the handle without any bit of self control of my anger. I get irritated, yes, but I don’t usually want to go strangle someone unless a few buttons are pushed. Homophobia is one, parents of students who make ridiculous requests is another, and the current “pushed button” – when my dog doesn’t eat.


This is Sadie, our first dog. She’s 5 years old and my perfect little creature. I found her myself on Petfinder and fell in love. She was dumped in a ditch when she was a few months old and picked up by a vet, thank god. I treated her like a baby from day one (my bad), carrying her and doing lots of snuggling. To this day she is clearly “my dog” as she follows me room to room, lays in front of the shower when I’m in it, and snuggles up like nobody’s business. This dog (and my other charmer, Riley) mean everything to me. Imagining something bad happening to them sends my brain into a horrible place (stupid pregnancy hormones). I have always put their needs first, I think about them like they are my children, and I do whatever I can to keep them safe. I’m what you could consider a crazy dog owner.

This is why, when Sadie doesn’t eat, I want to do backflips in my kitchen and end with a fist through the wall. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Eating has always been an issue – she will go months at a time eating like a champ (aka, a normal dog), and months where I could kill. They are patterns, and I’ve seen it before. To her credit, she does have a bit of an acid problem. After throwing up first thing before eating in the morning, and hearing her stomach grumble across the room, and watching her eat dust off the floor until she throws up, I decided she has an acid issue. This I don’t blame her for. I got permission from the vet to give her half a Pepcid tablet before meals, and the vomiting has stopped. However. When her tummy is fine, and she has eaten peanut butter off my fingers, pieces of wet food (that I put on top of dry food), pieces of shredded cheese, has gone and sucked the wet food juice off every individual piece of kibble – and then refuses to eat the actual meal (the dry food) I could scream.

I do the feedings, as my husband does literally everything else and isn’t home at dinner time. Here is how a normal meal goes (breakfast and dinner): I start with peanut butter. If she doesn’t want it I force it in her mouth. I disguise the Pepcid in it. I share the peanut butter spoon with poor Riley, who would eat every morsel in my house if she could. I take the dogs out to pee. When we come in, I get their food together. Because Sadie was acting hungry after she used to eat, the vet said to put no salt canned green beans in her dish, so the fiber would fill her up. So, the dogs get their dry food with a few green beans on top. Riley eats from a specific type of bowl that slows her down. I don’t think she even chews her food. Sadie, a few weeks ago, started refusing this concoction of dry food and green beans, so I did what I did last time this happened at least a year ago – I added wet food. I know it’s bad for her but worth my sanity. Not a lot, either. And before I put it in her bowl, I give her a little off the spoon to make sure she is going to eat it. I stir it up. The dry food now has a coating of wet food juice. The past few days, this has now been rejected. If she even wants the wet food chunks (sometimes she doesn’t), she picks them out of her bowl, licks off some kibble, and that’s it. Hence the picture. In the past I’ve had to literally force her mouth open and make her crunch a single kibble, because sometimes after she does, she realizes she does want to eat and then eats.

This has been going on for a few days – the flat out refusal. This morning, we were back to work after vacation and I had already spent 25 minutes on this process. She didn’t eat. We had to go to work. When I got home today, she immediately went outside and tried to eat grass so she could throw up. The poor dog was starving, as I knew she would be. Though I had my own tiring day, I bent over in the backyard, forced the peanut butter and Pepcid, and helped her not throw up due to all that acid. I let it sit, she felt better, I went to feed them, she ate the wet food only, and now she’s grounded, as you can see.

At 23 weeks pregnant with twins, I can’t keep doing this to this extent. It’s insane. So I quit tonight and let her lay there next to her bowl. Currently, my husband just got home and has more patience than I do, so he’s forcing the kibble into her mouth. She may spit it out 10 times, but eventually she may crunch.

So now I’m a total ball of stress. Her stomach is fine, I made sure of it. She ate the wet food. We should not have to keep going and adding things to her bowl to make her eat. We beg, we yell, it’s bad. Sometimes she only eats if I stand next to her.

My husband gets frustrated sometimes too and just says forget it, and that doesn’t work for me. She cannot skip more than one meal in a row. I feel too bad, and I don’t want to deal with the aftermath when she is sickly and shaking at the next meal. So. I need help. There is seemingly nothing wrong with her health except for the acid bit, which I’ve taken care of.

Spending an hour twice a day begging a dog to eat won’t work when there are infants around. I will call the vet tomorrow – maybe there’s something wrong with her teeth? But otherwise, I’m at a total loss and I dread the next doggy meal. It’s not like she refuses all food, it is usually just the dry food. And giving her just wet food is garbage and will rot her teeth, though I’m getting to that point. Oh, we’ve tried different brands of dry food too. She ate two meals of it and has refused again.

Anyone have any advice? I love her to pieces and I get angry because I’m concerned. It seems like she’s just being stubborn.


Snuggle Sadie in a finer moment.


I neglect Riley at mealtimes. Thank god I don’t have two doggy refusals.

The update: my husband got her to crunch two kibble and then she quit. The bowl has been removed and I will stay up until midnight if necessary getting her to eat something tonight. My husband has just offered to take the stress from me tonight and promises that she will eat something before bed. I’ll pick this up again tomorrow morning.

The tragedy of a school shooting

I can’t help but want to bring this topic up, though I’m not sure what there is to say about it. I am an elementary teacher in Connecticut. As far as I know, Connecticut has never had a school shooting, not to mention one at the elementary school level. I can’t seem to stop collecting the facts and details of this horrible tragedy, and I think it’s because I keep imagining it happening at my school, 40 minutes away.

It’s something you never think could happen near you, and I have never imagined a scenario involving an elementary school. But it really could happen anywhere. I think about our security. It was the same as Sandy Hook – our doors do lock after drop-off time, and when you arrive at the school, you have to be buzzed in. At the office, the secretary has a camera in which she can see who’s at the door, and then she lets you in. The thing is – the secretary is going to let pretty much anyone in, at a school. Unless it’s completely obvious they are going to hurt people, why wouldn’t you? They must be there for a student. Or in this case, it was a substitute teacher’s son. I’m guessing it’s possible that the office staff even knew who he was, meaning, of course, they’d let him in. The fact is – at a school, especially an elementary school, the secretary and office staff is going to let you in, because there’s no reason why you wouldn’t.  They had done nothing wrong.

Like I said, I just keep imagining it happening in our building. Our wing is the closest to the office. What if I was fumbling with my key to lock the door and didn’t get to do it in time? What if a student was in the bathroom when I had to lock my door and I’d never know if they were pulled somewhere safe or not?

And then the ages of the kids. I teach 5th grade, one higher than the kids at Sandy Hook. 10 and 11-year olds, like any other children, would be terrified. I can’t even imagine trying to calm them all down, or huddling together. But of course, that’s what we would do. The teachers at Sandy Hook were no doubt heroic, as the stories start to come out. And it kind of makes me feel proud, because that’s the nature of our profession. We are in charge, and fully responsible, of 20+ kids every day from 8:30-3:00. Of course, we would do whatever it took to save their lives. It’s just such a weird thing – I’ve never imagined I’d actually have to put that into practice. And hopefully I never will.

No matter what, it’s scary and horrifying, and my students will probably be all abuzz about it on Monday. It was very close by, and it really could happen in any school.

Anyway, I just can’t stop thinking about it. But in other, happier news, I believe I’m still pregnant. I guess there’s no reason to think otherwise, though I’ve administered some self-control and haven’t peed on a stick for a week. I’m trying to decide how to calculate my beta, for what it should be. It’s on Monday, a week since the last one, which was 338. Should I be expecting it to double that whole time, every other day? Or, I thought as a pregnancy continued, it slowed down? So I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be.

I guess you could say I have some “symptoms”. First, it was my skin. For some reason today and yesterday it’s been a little better, but good lord, it itched. Everywhere. My whole body. And when something irritates my skin, my autoimmune system turns it into a hive, which is what happened on my PIO shot spots. But it’s dry in general around here, and my hands and face are dry as well. I bought a few different lotions, and so far it seems to be helping a bit. Though, my estrogen patches itched too, and putting lotion around them only caused them to move around and leave sticky crap everywhere. But anyway, it’s less itchy today. Boobs are still sore, but that’s just the progesterone. Hey, when you do the PIO shots, is it okay to stick the needle into one of those lumps that form? Because the whole circle is now a giant lump, so I don’t feel like I can avoid it. But I want to make sure the progesterone still flows around. And then, in the last three days or so, all of a sudden I feel like super-crap around dinner time. I’m starving at 5, but if dinner doesn’t happen til 6, it’s like I’m keeling over and dying. Then I eat, fast, and then I feel crappy. And I’m yawning by 7:30-8:00. And finally, last night I had some major cramping and bloating, and I was a little concerned, as the cramps really hurt a lot, but from my little bit of research I’m thinking things are just expanding in there. The cramps hurt like period cramps, but didn’t feel like them. These were lower, almost a heavy, burning type of thing. And they felt better when I sat or was lying down. So I think I’m okay.

It’s been exactly a week since my first beta, and hopefully there will be many more weeks of this to come.

IVF #1 – Cancelled.

Yeah, cancelled. A weird, strange turn of events and I’m a variety of emotions right now. Basically, what happened is, when I started the shots (follistim) I responded too well, and my estrogen shot up way too high, before my follicles had a chance to catch up and grow. Then it was a game of playing with my dose, and in doing so, they lowered it to bring down my estrogen to catch up with my follicles. The estrogen dropped, but it actually plummeted, so much so that even as my follicles grew, my estrogen never came back. I spoke to my actual doctor on the phone yesterday, and he said my ovaries are very sensitive, obviously, and next time, they would start me on a much lower dose and build it gradually.

My follicles grew, though. Yeah, they’ve grown. And I’ve been in to see them for ultrasounds..let’s see.. like 10 days in a row maybe? Something like that. And the past few days, the nurses were blown away by the amount of follicles. I had a total of somewhere between 60-80 eggs between both ovaries, though the amount of those maturing was probably more like 25-30. Either way, I was at high risk for OHSS, and they wanted to watch me so carefully. As of this morning, before I knew it would be cancelled, my biggest follie was 19 mm. So close. Because of that, I’m sore, crampy, slow, bloated, etc. Is it the worst pain I’ve ever felt? Not at all. But it’s enough so that lifting things is not a good idea, not to mention any sort of exercise. I had to actually wear sweatpants to work yesterday because regular pants were going to be too uncomfortable. That was just embarrassing – luckily it was a Friday, but still. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been late to work the last 10 days in a row, too. I’ve had people covering for me. I’m pretty sure the whole school knows, as a teacher who shows up late to school every day for a week and a half gets pretty obvious. I’ve been getting up at 5, leaving the house at 6, waiting there at 6:30 to be the first in line for blood, then the ultrasounds, then speeding to work and getting there around 8:45. It’s been stressful, to say the least. My job had taken a back seat for sure. I was just putting in enough effort to make it through the day. And I’ve been emotionally distant at work, too. I’m well aware. And you know what? It would’ve been worth it. Definitely. If it wasn’t for the fact that my cycle was cancelled a day or two before trigger and then retrieval and I have to do the entire thing again from scratch next month.

And so yeah, I’m kind of pissed about that.

So now I’m on the pill. Ha. The pill. I haven’t been on the pill since…two April’s ago. It’s been a long time, and I was hoping to never do it again. The only reason I am, other than following orders, of course, is because they will shrink the follies, bring me back to home base. I’m sick of sweatpants and being fat and bloated. Silver lining…maybe my acne from the drugs will clear up.

Yesterday, I was really pissed off. Today, after finally, for the first time in weeks, sleeping eight hours and not rushing to the doctor’s (I did go, but at a slower pace this morning), I’m in a weird place emotionally.

My current emotion is one I wouldn’t have expected – relief. I guess this is a point that a lot of people get to – where it’s just…it’s so much, so much on your mind, takes up your whole life, and then you catch a “break” from it – in this case, forced upon me. And this break, there’s nothing to overanalyze. I’m on the pill for a while. What’s to think about?

And it’s almost this big thing lifted off my shoulders. Today was the big marathon in our state, and two years ago, I did it. My first marathon. This morning, as I literally drove past the runners on my way to the doctor’s, I thought about that day. It was a horrible race, actually. But I was proud. And I had a goal – to finish a marathon. When is the last time I have had a goal that I have tried to reach that wasn’t baby related? I guess two years ago. That was my last goal. And today, I miss that. I want a normal life again. I want to have goals that aren’t baby related. And no, not like “losing weight”. But like, maybe running a half marathon again, and losing weight in the process. Or re-decorating our house. Or getting in as many dates with my husband as possible, and do a little traveling like we used to, when the goal was to enjoy each other fully without thinking about other people, like future children.  To love like teenagers. I miss my old life, when there was more to it than simply receiving fertility treatments and wondering why I’ve been dealt these cards.

So, I’m not sure how long this mood will last before it turns bitter and very unpleasant, but until then, I’m trying to embrace this “gift” of a break I’ve just received. We are going to pumpkin pick, do a little hiking (as soon as I’m physically able), spend time with each other, go to the movies, start on our house projects…who knows. I’m going to invest in my job again. We’ll do what we normally do, without thinking about babies. Supposedly, those babies will come eventually. But until then, right now, I need a new goal.

A senior moment

I just can’t stay away from these daily prompts, even though I just got home from school (an ice cream social fundraiser) and have one million things to do. This is more fun.

October 3: What is your most embarrassing moment?

I tell my students all the time – whatever comes to your mind first, is probably what you have the most to say about. This worked for me too, and my most embarrassing moment immediately came to mind. I tried to think if there was anything worse, but nothing stands out without further thinking, so this is the one.

High school graduation. A stressful night as it was, what with the actual graduating, not to mention I was singing the national anthem with a few other girls, and Nate had my car keys, which he dropped in the parking lot and we were racing around trying to find.

But right before it was time to walk out, the entire class (about 300 of us) met in the auditorium with the school principal, who was giving out the cords. There were cords for honors, certain clubs, etc. I received two cords, I think, but the first one I received was class musician. When I was called to the stage, the entire class was sitting there, watching me. My principal had already given out a few cords, and was putting them around the students’ necks. Well, I forgot this fact, and when I went up there, I looked up at him and he started to put the cords around my neck. I didn’t realize what he was doing, and wasn’t thinking clearly, and thought he was reaching out for a hug – and so I threw my arms around him and gave him a huge bear hug.

The class burst out laughing, and a small part of me died that day.

Now, I laugh. Wow, I hugged my principal in front of my entire class. Me, the slightly nerdy, quiet, band geek. How totally uncool. But at the time, I could’ve crawled in a hole. And I still had to go out and sing the national anthem! It has taken many years since for me to remember that moment without that same feeling of unimaginable embarrassment. Now, I’m over it, but it still sticks out. Thanks, Jenn, for bringing it back!

An update – even with two more Provera pills to take, I got my period today. Day 1. Going in for my baseline ultrasound in the morning (and missing my staff picture!), and starting follistim tomorrow night. Haven’t even unpacked the meds box yet. Let the IVF games begin.

Teenage Dream

I’m back with Jenn‘s second prompt of October. I’m loving these prompts, and try to find time in my evening just to sit down and answer the day’s question. By the way, my IVF meds have arrived…and a picture will be following in the next post or two. The amount of drugs is out of control! But anyway…

October 2: How did you husband/spouse/partner propose?

As others of you have done, I figured I’d back up a bit. I met my husband, Nate (why have I not used his name yet?) when we were 12 and in the 7th grade. It was October (and I know this sounds crazy but it was either the 16th or the 17th…no idea how I remember that), and we were on a nighttime band field trip. Yes, I was a band geek. I played clarinet, and Nate played trumpet. We had come from different elementary schools and didn’t know each other. We happened to be sitting in the back of the bus on the way home from the symphony that Friday night, and while I was “dating” a very good friend of mine (who ended up being in our wedding), I took one look at Nate and, in a totally 12-year old way, completely fell in love. Except, I didn’t know it was love. All I knew was that I was completely obsessed with him – the way he talked, how he looked, the way he carried himself. I went home and wrote in my diary that night (which I still have) that I met a new friend, and that even know I was still “going out” with that other guy, I couldn’t stop thinking about this new kid.

We “dated” – aka, talked on the phone, that year for a few months, broke up, and did it all over again in 8th grade. We went to the movies once (with his mom, ha, saw Batman) and to our local amusement park. I remember clear as day that at the amusement park (this was in 8th grade), we were standing in line for a roller coaster and he grabbed my hand and I nearly passed out.

We broke up again in 8th grade, and did not date our freshmen year of high school. However, we saw each other constantly, because we both continued to stay in band, which meant tons of weekend trips and a yearly vacation trip, etc. Our friends were the same group. In 10th grade, we started “dating” for real, and I was allowed out of the house and completely in love, and to be perfectly honest, nothing has changed – we never broke up.

That’s not to say there haven’t been bumps in the road. Freshmen year of college comes to mind. But towards the end of that first year of college, we sat down and had a conversation, where we talked about how to solve our communication problems maturely, without insult or sarcasm, if we wanted this to work. And we did, and it worked. We both changed over the years -neither of us are our 15-year old selves, but I have to say, we got lucky, the changes we made were still very compatible, if not more so then when we were young. He is hysterically witty and extremely intelligent, two traits I admire tremendously. He’s also very outgoing, loves to laugh, and has a wicked soft spot for dogs.

Did I ever post this video I took of him singing Disney songs in the shower?

I don’t know if it’s possible to feel real love at age 12, but I felt something, and I’ve been lucky enough to have shared all of these years (almost 13 of them) with this guy, my best friend.

Okay, now on to the proposal. We had already been living together for a year – we got an apartment right after college. We had a dog, we acted like we were married. We knew we were going to get married. But I knew Nate was nervous about an actual proposal. We decided on our first big vacation together that summer, a cruise to the Bahamas. I just had a feeling this might be it. Nate managed to sneak the ring in his backpack, through security and all of that, and on our first night, right after dinner, he asked if we could go for a walk on the ship, and just in his tone – I knew it was going to happen. He didn’t sound like himself! He took me to the front of the boat where no one was around, it was dark and windy in the middle of nowhere, and he got down on one knee and said some things – honest to god, I don’t remember what they were. I couldn’t even listen. I believe I was hyperventilating and jumping up and down. It was an amazing moment – one that, honestly, I had been waiting for and hoping for since I was 15. Three years married now, we’re both 28, we’ve got the two puppies, our house, and just waiting on babies…

That’s the oldest picture I have on this computer. I do have older ones, but my scanner is broken. This is us at age 15, sophomores in high school; we had just started dating “for real”.

This is a college picture, towards graduation (or maybe soon after).

And finally, married life. Two years in, when I started this blog, on our cruise to Europe.


October Prompt 1: What’s Your Sign?

I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled programming of endless infertility chatter to attempt to complete Jenn‘s October writing prompts! I get very excited about free writes – as my fifth graders know. It is my favorite subject to teach, as well as participate in, hence the blog. I really enjoy writing – especially free writes. So Jenn’s prompts were made for me! I don’t know how many I will get to or how often, but we’ll see what I can do.

Today’s prompt: What is your astrological sign and do you feel it’s accurate?

I am a Virgo, with an August 29th birthday. Interestingly enough, I was supposed to be born on August 6th, and was three weeks late. Had I been born on August 6th, I would’ve been a Leo, and by definition, I am the exact opposite of a Leo.

I’ve gone from believing in this whole astrological sign thing when I was young to thinking it is utter crap, and now I’m at a place where I don’t really buy it, as I don’t buy into much, but at the same time, it’s just so true that I can’t help but follow a Virgo twitter feed and read about it occasionally, because it is right. on. target.

I know it’s a little blurry. Google images tell me these are the great things about being a Virgo. First – ha, the Virgin. I am in no way a Virgin, but I sure do act like one 😉 It is what it is, I can’t help it. I also consider myself very dedicated, extremely observant of people and the world around me, decently organized, somewhat witty, etc. I’d say the traits that I definitely agree with are observant, analytical (in a non-mathematical sense), kind, reliable, efficient (again, not in a math/science kind of way), helpful, thoughtful, and compassionate. “Sexy as hell” makes me cringe just reading it.  And being creative isn’t my strong suit. Otherwise though, they’ve got it!

As for the negative qualities, yeah, they’ve got this down, too. I can’t highlight enough how overcritical I am – both of myself and others. I come across as quite bitchy sometimes, with little patience for people’s flaws, which is really not an endearing quality. The only thing I can say about it, in apology, is that I do the same thing to myself. Constantly scrutinizing my every word, comment to others, look I might have given off, etc. Very overcritical. I’m also fussy, and good lord, can we just highlight “always worrying”, “anal retentive”, and “obsessive compulsive”? My real life friends are laughing – stop laughing at me! You try it! Everyone knows these traits are true, because I wear them on my sleeve. I don’t hide a thing. All of my good qualities and my bad ones are there for the world to judge. And I don’t know what quality this would fall under: but I have no problem highlighting all of my flaws, but oh, when someone else does it, it drives me crazy! I know my weaknesses, don’t point them out, thanks.

I could get into more but I’m nearing the bedtime preparation activities (hmm…anal retentive? Or just enjoying a schedule?)

Hey real life friends – don’t have a blog? Do this for yourself – post as a comment on this post! SS – I just know you scream “Aries”. EA – Scorpio’s traits were created with you in mind. AV – aren’t you a Leo? 😉

Astrological signs are kind of ridiculous, but yet…so true. What traits do you have that match your sign?

A Natural Mother

What happened to me on Clomid is appearing to be happening to me on follistim. I’m sensing a trend, and it’s really the most bizarre thing.

As a recap, when I was on Clomid, it would work (get me to ovulate by growing my follies) the first time I was on a new dose. So, when I started on 50 mg, it worked. But then, the second time I would use Clomid and start on that same dose I finished with last time, it wouldn’t work, and the doctor would have to up my dose. This happened while on Clomid three different times, and my doctor would just let me stair-step my cycles (not get my period and just keep going instead). Out of the six rounds of Clomid I took, three got me to ovulate. And yes, those three were every other time.

The first round of follistim got me to ovulate. They had to play with that dosage a bit because 50 iu’s weren’t working after a while. So, a week and a half into the shots, I was upped to 75 iu and bam, I grew 3 follies and ovulated. Guess what. I’m on my second round of follistim, and the doctor started me off at 75 iu, since that’s what worked last time. It’s been over 2 weeks now – that’s a lot of shots, and I have one, count them, one small follie, barely over 10 mm. Why am I not surprised? It’s like the first time I use a drug, my body hasn’t seen it before and responds appropriately. The second time, my body fights it off like it’s nobody’s business, daring me to try yet another drug or procedure.

That whole, don’t go on vacation because your estrogen is too high not to see us 3 days in a row thing, was crap. It’s been a week and a few days since then and it’s not looking good. That said, the doctor wanted me to continue this cycle. It’s not as if he gave up on it. But this cycle is going to be one follicle strong. Just one.

I’m not begging for multiples here, and I don’t mean to imply that. However, there’s something about going through all of this, both physically and mentally, where I get to this place where my brain says – you know what, if I’m going to ovulate, it better be more than one egg. When only one grows, I just joined the rest of the population who releases that one egg on their own and gets pregnant by having sex. Ha! Clearly these three-times-a-week jaunts down to my clinic and multiple stomach bruises do not put me in the same place as everyone else, and I would appreciate my body providing me with more than one large follie in order to say, “Thanks for putting up with my crap. Here’s two (or three) eggs for your effort and well-being.”

Plus, this is my last IUI. Yes, it really is. We’ve made up our minds, and have the luxury of being able to do that with our wonderful insurance. I can’t believe I’m getting very close to pulling out the big gun, IVF. It’s scary. Terrifying.

The funny thing is, I’ve recently mentioned IVF to a few people, especially those who I’ve not updated in a while. I don’t mind updating them when they ask, I really don’t. Talking about this has never been an issue. But it’s the funniest thing – the way people react. I’ve learned that most people do not know what IVF is. I guess I shouldn’t expect them to. But I feel like I always knew. I suppose that’s not the case. Anyway, the trend in comments is basically a congratulatory one. Yes, good for you. You’re doing IVF. Yay!

No, you don’t understand. This is the next step, yes. But it’s the last step. Not last last, like there’s no other options. But last as in..the last “common” type of fertility treatment. If that doesn’t work, to my knowledge my options are: surrogate, donor egg, adoption. And those will be done, if need be, but I mean – that’s, well, extreme. It just is. But as for IVF – I’m not happy about it. It’s not a “yay”. This is a step I’m not happy about doing. It’s a huge deal, and it’s scary.

Of course, people also don’t know what IVF entails. They seem to realize the severity of it once I get to the part where they go in and suck out the eggs, one by one. (I try to make it graphic for added effect.)

I’m jumping the gun, I know. I can’t help thinking about my next cycle after this one. Surgery, OHSS risks, and what if none of the eggs are viable? What if it doesn’t work?

One cycle at a time, and I’ll find out the progress on my little follie at yet another ultrasound tomorrow morning. I did start Ganirelix and as far as I know, that means ovulation might be..getting close? Or something? Had to order another round of follistim – blew through that first 900 iu pretty quick!

School is starting soon. My main reaction to this is happiness. I have a regret about this summer – I did nothing with it. I told myself I needed to do some projects, or something. Read some good books. I don’t know what the hell I did do this summer, but I know what I didn’t do. Anything. I wasted it. But then, I suppose the whole past year has been somewhat of a waste, and the only thing that got me through it with actual happiness was my last class. They were so wonderful. I laughed every day. Now, it’s back. Granted, I’m just starting to put my room back together again, and I’m getting a whole new round of kids, but having something to focus my mind on is such a relief. I almost forget this pregnancy mess.

But then today was a reminder of what is so far away. One of my most dedicated, happy, well-rounded 11-year old students from last year has come back to help me set up my room. He is actually one of a few students helping me out in my room this week, for which I am so grateful. But he was the first. We got a lot done; bulletin boards, attacking the closet, etc. I knew he was coming in advance and I told his mother I’d make him lunch as a thank you. Nothing much – just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, a Gatorade, and chips. Well, he wolfed that sandwich down like it was his first meal on earth, and he raved about how delicious the bread was, how much he just loved the sandwich. He was also grateful for the rest of the food, and it’s not like he doesn’t eat at home! He has a wonderful family. I felt this sense of motherly..I don’t know, pride or something. Longing. That I could do something for him that he appreciated. Because he is coming back later in the week, and because my house is running out of food, I went to the grocery store after I left school. Bought more of that bread he loves (it’s my husband’s – with gluten), more jelly since we were out, Gatorade, etc. It made me happy to buy this food, and I will be even more happy when I go to make his lunch.  I realized how badly, how truly badly I want to be a mom. I want to be that mom in the store, thinking about my kids and remembering their favorite snacks, and bringing them home to make the kids happy. Such a simple little gesture but doing it for this student felt so good, it must be what mothers feel. I won’t go this far because he’s a student, not my kid, but I can’t wait to sneak a few m+m’s into a sandwich, or write a note that s/he finds at the bottom of his/her lunchbox that says “Have a great day. Love, Mom.” That’s what I want. That is the dominant feeling I am lacking most, the one that seems so very natural to me, and I think I do it well, but never have a chance to use it. I really do think I’m a natural mother. I’ve thought that for a very long time. Which is what makes this all the more difficult.

Like I said before, teaching is on the brain a bit now, and I’ll start updating my new teaching blog more often. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here. I’m a little confused with wordpress – a lot of people who read this blog are reading my new blog and getting the emails, but my new blog doesn’t say I have them as followers. I don’t get it!

Two sides to every coin

I’ve moved on. And it didn’t take long – less than a day. It was almost the quick flip of a switch – frustrated, angry and down one minute, and the next was an epiphany. I am going to get pregnant, and I think it’s going to happen soon.

I’m simply saying – this is my last IUI. What will be will be, in regards to this new round of follistim. But after that, I’m moving to IVF. Assuming there is nothing else wrong in my body besides what I already know about (including eggs that just don’t grow on their own, autoimmune issues, and all that fun stuff), there’s no reason why I can’t actually get pregnant. What happens once I’m pregnant is a different story, and I’ll cross that bridge when it comes. Until then, I have to assume IVF will work. It’s going to work. And maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised by this last IUI.

When you do a coin toss, it’s basically impossible to know which side of the coin will be facing up. Calling it in the air simply locks in your luck at that moment, and that’s it. The flipping of a coin is how I sometimes feel in regards to trying to conceive.

I’m getting to that time in my life where my friends will soon have living, breathing children in their arms. Leading up to this point, I could still say, most of us are without children. But with the future baby boom lingering on the horizon, I feel I have to put everything in perspective.

How awesome it is, how amazing, that all these little life forms were created. I mean, really, they are all little miracles. And I can’t wait to meet them, get to know them, and shower them with love. As the days pass, excitement grows. Yet, on occasion, the other side of the coin flips up that morning. It doesn’t change a single thought I have for all my pregnant friends, but it simply adds another one on top of the pile: I sometimes feel like I’m frozen in time. Have you ever seen on TV, where they speed up something that took a long time, like a flower growing, so that it happens before your very eyes in seconds? Or a forest scene, going from sunrise to sunset? That’s what it feels like watching the world around me change. But I imagine that if you took my life in the past year, and sped it up to show my “growth”, nothing would change. I would remain exactly like I was a year prior – physically, anyway. Mentally, I suppose I have changed, though not necessarily in a good way. I’m frozen in time.

Flip the coin again, and I realize – there is so much more to my life than this stupid battle with fertility. Day to day, it’s hard for me to realize this, and I can’t find my own way. But when I step back and read the heartaches and successes of other bloggers, or hear stories about people’s achievements in hard times, or any number of other things that crop up in a single day, I have to know, there’s more to life than having kids. Right now, it’s probably the last thing anyone wants to hear, including me. But isn’t it true? For me, there’s the big things: a marriage, a home, puppies, a wonderful career that is very fulfilling…family, friends, etc. There’s the little things: a room of smiling students, getting a card in the mail, watching an awesome movie, or, my favorite, eating ice cream. There’s more. I’m so glad my “down” day from this failed cycle was short-lived, so I could move right along and flip that coin again.

That’s the funny thing about flipping a coin, though – there will be times it lands on heads, and other times, tails. Expect both, if you’re planning to conduct multiple flips. I’m feeling positive tonight, as I’m sure you can tell, but I’m not forcing myself to always feel this way. There will be bad days, and maybe they won’t have anything to do with babies and pregnancy. Or maybe they will. Either way, it’s all good. This is part of the journey. A part I truly wish was over, mind you, but regardless. It’s here, and I do think it’ll be over soon.

I’m four days into my next round of shots, and this time, I’m avoiding the blood vessels. Though my arm is starting to look like that of a drug dealer, I’m loving the fast pace of this round. I get my period and I actually get to start gearing up for the next round. By the way – this period was by far the worst I have had in 10 years. I thought I was going to throw up. Crazy! Luckily it’s almost over. In a few days I’m going for my next ultrasound, and check in on how many follies are growing in there.

I was too hard on myself in my last post, and I forget that fact. I always am – it’s definitely not my best trait. Along with that, I can get slightly obsessive about certain topics, and the Paleo diet was starting to head down that road. I must move on. I’m happily enjoying stevia again.

And finally, to prove that I really have turned over a new leaf tonight, I’m inviting you to check out my new blog. Yes, another one. This is a teaching blog. I’ve been wanting to write one for a while, and I even wrote up a few posts and left them on this blog. But as my mind starts to wander to other topics other than babies, which I think is a healthy thing for me, I realized that I need a new space, where I don’t even touch the subject of TTC. It’s almost liberating – I can write about other things, focus on other aspects of my life. So, it’s brand-new, obviously, but hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging and can get going on it quickly. I’m hoping it becomes less of a diary (as this one has turned out to be) and more of a place to share creative ideas and activities related to teaching. There’s a lot out there – a whole other planet of supportive adults, reaching out to each other along the lines of the same topic. I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons. There’s more to life.