Monday, October 7, 2013

Knock, Knock...

Anyone still out there???

11 WHOLE MONTHS since I last posted! I am such a blog fail. Sorry!

I think about you all often and even still catch up on your blogs/news... Just been horrible about posting my own! A very big part of that has to do with not wanting to hurt any of you still in the trenches, waiting for your little miracles. Survivors guilt. For those of you that this update might hurt... I am sorry.    :(

An update:

Things are great. Just really everything I wanted and more.

Baby A is fun, spirited, crazy and has taken over my life. Lol. Everything is so busy now!

Cannot believe she is turning 1 at the end of this month! Party planning is in full effect right now with only 3 more weeks to go till the big day. We are doing a "Breakfast at Ashley's" theme. Hope it turns out great!

The past 11 months have been awesome although not completely without their struggles. 

My special girl began her life with colic... which was so hard. I was so sad. All I could think was "I wanted her so bad and she's miserable here". It was like the sun breaking through the clouds when her colic mellowed out at around 5 months. OMG. It was tough. I don't wish it on anyone. 

Then came the bottle struggles... she didn't want the bottle at all. We had attempted to bottle train (with pumped milk) around a month old to just give some flexibility in our schedules and allow family to watch her and feed her when needed. That didn't go well so after a bit I gave up and just kept nursing. At around 6 months of age I was planning a girls trip for a weekend and it became necessary to revisit the bottle feeding so hubby could feed her while I was away. I started a month out from the trip. It was absolutely horrible. She would just scream and scream everytime the bottle came near. I tried 10 different kinds of bottles/nipples before I found one that she seemed to tolerate better then the others. After a brutal 4 weeks she would finally take decent amounts of pumped milk from a bottle. I tried to mix up bottle feeding and nursing from then on to keep her in the practice of taking a bottle. It continued to be pretty painful for a while. She dropped from the 90% in weight to the 35% from her various hunger strikes. Such a tough time. Lol. Finally in July, I weaned completely (she was 9 months old at that time). I knew I had enough pumped/stored milk to get her through the next few months to take her right up to her 1st b-day. I had needed to stop breastfeeding to possibly start an ivf cycle for baby #2 in the next few months! Once I weaned her and wasn't toggling between nursing and bottle... It got a lot better. She had finally gotten the hang of it. Through this whole process I realized what a stubborn little girl I had. 

Breastfeeding was simply amazing. For all of our struggles getting pregnant and staying pregnant... This was something that finally came easy. I enjoyed it immensely. The special time with my girl and really feeling needed. It, of course, hurt in the beginning. I expected that. I had to use a shield for about a week on my left side cause it was so raw and sore. But after a few weeks, we were in a groove. I had a huge supply as well. I started pumping to boost it up about a month in and boy that sure worked. Haha. I was up to about 66 ounces a day for a long time (she was only eating about 28). This was a special gift and I took full advantage of it! Filled my freezer, friend's freezers, family's freezers and eventually started donating! I donated to 4 different families! I even shipped it across the country to New York to a very special family. It was such a blessing and I hope I utilized it to its fullest! 

From the beginning she has always been a great sleeper. Even in her crazy colic days when she would cry for hours and hours a day... She still slept great at night. That part was a godsend. We loosely followed the BabyWise sleep training program which worked great for us and her (we started sleep training around 5 weeks old). Currently she sleeps from 7:30pm to 7am-ish with two naps during the day (9:30am-11:30am and 2:30pm-4:30pm).

Developmentally A has always seemed a bit early on things. Holding her head up, sitting up, standing, cruising and walking all happened at the beginning range of when she should be learning those things. She was walking by her 9 month birthday. Full-on walking. I was so unprepared for it! She was such a little thing too! It was so cute seeing this little 16 pounder walking around! Now she is running. She hates being held and always wants to be on her own two feet which makes it interesting when I am trying to get somewhere quickly. Lol. 

All in all... it has been great. Even during the hard times, I was just so thankful my take home baby had finally made it home! 

More updates to come soon! 

Newborn Photo

2 Months Old (with her cousin who is 17 days older)

3 Months 
4 Months
8 Months
9 Months
10 Months
11 Months

Sunday, October 28, 2012

She is Here!!!

Ashley Marie arrived very early today at 3:24am. Right on her due date, lol. She weighed in at a sturdy 8 pounds, 2 ounces and is 21 inches long! She is so precious and worth it all. I couldn't be more in love.

Birth story to follow when the dust settles just a bit!

A few pics for you...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh Wow!

Cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted... seriously nuts.

I do look at your blogs regularly and often have posts swimming in my head. While in the middle of my sabbatical I attempted to analyze why I was having trouble posting...  One contributor is that I haven't wanted to rub this pregnancy in the faces of those still in trenches. Another is... every time I would think of posting... someone I care about in the blogosphere was getting bad news.  :(  Thinking of each of you and am hoping my posts don't hurt you even more. *Big hugs*

As for an update... a long overdue update...

Still here and still pregnant! 39 weeks and 2 days today. Cannot believe we are getting close to the end of this chapter. Baby girl is measuring good (5 pounds, 15 ounces at our 36 week ultrasound) which should put her around 7.5 pounds if born soon. She is head down and giving me nightly aches and pains. At my appointment last Thursday I was 1.5cm dilated and 50% effaced. Hopefully this has progressed some by now. 

Pregnancy as a whole has been amazing. I am still super active and mobile. Walking 3 miles a day and still doing my prenatal yoga. I find that movement helps with the aches and pains. I have gained 17 pounds total as of this morning which I am pleased with. I started out the pregnancy about 10-15 pounds heavier then my norm (after 3 ivf cycles) so definitely wanted to keep the weight gain under control through eating healthy and not giving in to crazy cravings. Sleeping has been a big issue as of late... Either I can't fall asleep or I wake up in the middle of the night, wide awake. I really am not able to nap either so that has been tough. I have been taking a Unisom (with doctor approval) every 4 days or so to try get a good nights sleep and it really helps. I sleep so great those nights!

Still on my blood thinners for the MTHFR clotting disorder. Switched from Lovenox to Heparin at 37 weeks in preparation for delivery (there is no reversal for Lovenox). The two shots a day are annoying but it is what it is. Can't believe I am still giving myself shots. Lol. I have flashbacks of my IVF cycles every time I load the syringe.

Emotionally I have been having a hard time this week. The anticipation is killing me. It actually isn't even about meeting her or wanting her here right now... more to do with worrying about this all getting taken away from me. We are so close, I can taste it... what if it all went away today? What if it went sideways at this point? I just want her out and safe. Where my body can't fail her. Not sure why I am re-starting the "what if" game at this point but just trying to not let my anxiety get the best of me.

Can't wait to show you pics of the finished nursery and some maternity photos I had taken! Wanted to get an initial update out first. I miss you all!

I leave you with a few recent belly pics (from a few days ago). This thing has gotten huge!   :) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"It Is Time"

"It is time" to start embracing this pregnancy. After 17 and a half weeks of just hoping it would come to me naturally... I have decided I might need to get involved in overcoming this lack of connection, paralyzing fear it is ending at any moment and put hope forward.

Not exactly sure where to begin in this process but I might be starting with opening a pregnancy book(s). And maybe even a journal of some kind. And while we are at it... I might even make Adel open one also (I have a "What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding" book that has been collecting dust for some time now). I have lot of books that have either been bought, gifted or handed down during my various pregnancies that I have faithfully kept on the shelf in an effort to keep me from having to pack them back up when this pregnancy ended far too early... but it hasn't ended... and it's time to start appreciating that.

My Many Pregnancy/Baby Books... Pulled from the Shelf! 

When I was in the workforce... I used to be a training manager. I would manage the training of an organization's employees on all aspects of their job... position training, sales training, customer service training, leadership training, etc, etc. One of my favorite classes (one that I would often facilitate myself) was a customer service class where I would talk about moments of impact with a customer. That every call/interaction with the customer was an opportunity to impact the customer positively or negatively... and how the employee needed to make these moments of impact with the customer an invaluable experience with our company. In a positive way of course. That even a complaint call... especially a complaint call... was an opportunity for greatness... a moment of impact with the customer. You get the idea. This weekend I was watching "The Vow" and they had a different (more in depth) play on the moments of impact. The movie says that life is all about "moments of impact... that these flashes of reality that turn us upside down... change us". It also stated that "The truth is we're the sum of all moments we've experienced with all the people we've ever known... and these moments become our history". "These moments of impact define who we are". So while watching the movie I start thinking of my life's moments of impact... and eventually started focusing on the ones from my TTC (trying to conceive) journey. I can see how I have changed though the years, through the torture of this process. Through all my pregnancies and through the losses. Each one affected me in some way. I am more guarded, nervous, emotional, unsure and crazy as a person for sure, oh and more broke (financially, haha). But maybe, just maybe... I can also find positive changes from this journey... like this stoic patience I have developed, this crazy strength to preserver, a deep respect for the medical advances that make this all possible (regardless of the fact that it's torturous) and lastly (this isn't a change but more of a reassurance... we could all use a little reassurance once in a while) the confirmation that I picked the right person to go through this journey with. My moments of impact have changed me... and I am on the heels of an impact right now. This pregnancy is yet another moment of impact. This baby... however it turns out... will change me/is changing me. And I need to let it. With all of me. And if I take the moment of impact one step further and apply my training vision to it... this moment of impact is an opportunity for greatness and completely comes down to how I handle the impact. From today, I am choosing to embrace this impact... and all the precious moments that come with it.

A little background on my level of crazy today... I had my anatomy scan this morning. At 3ish in the morning I woke up for one of my many nighttime pees and was struggling to get back to sleep. All I could think about was my impending appointment and realized I wasn't even excited to find out if I was having a boy or a girl. WHAT? Who isn't excited about that? Seriously. I really was indifferent. To me the appointment was another opportunity for something to be wrong. The gender was of secondary interest to the panic of possible bad news. These thoughts stayed with me for the rest of the night and into my morning routine... I started panicking about knowing the gender and fearing the connection that would be formed once I knew... cause then it would hurt so much more when this ended badly. Eventually, cause I am a crazy hormonal chick I start thinking of what a bad mom I am already. That I didn't even believe in the little nugget and didn't care what the gender was. I wasn't excited. That I was using the pain of this journey as an excuse to not even connect with my child. Queue the tears. I became a sobbing mess. When the tears started to dry and the crazy subsided... I decided "it is time". The little nugget deserves it.

Onward to the appointment! Anatomy scan was perfect. Everything looked exactly as it should. Baby has the four chambers of the heart, all digestive organs, brain checked out good, 10 fingers, 10 toes, etc. And we are having A GIRL!!!! Lol. We were definitely unprepared for a girl after being told at 12 weeks were possibly having a boy. I guess this is a prime example why 12 weeks is way too early to be guessing. Halfway through the scan I asked the tech to check again... "is it still a girl?" Haha. Yes, it was still a sweet baby girl. OMG. I don't even know what to do with a girl... I have always envisioned boys! Eeeep! Regardless, we are ecstatic and can't wait to spoil her rotten. Go Team Pink!

So there you have it... a bit of an announcement, an awakening and a promise to embrace this impact.

At 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant, I have made my first big decision as a mom... and that's to go all in...

Please be gentle with me baby girl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh Mai Belly...

My belly has begun to emerge... This is very exciting to me. Definitely helps make it more real. 

Seems I have seen picture after picture for months now of those at the same point (or close to it) in my journey and their bellies are so much bigger! I have been so jealous of their beautifully present bumps. 

My lil bump has literally arrived just this week (today I am 17 weeks, 2 days). I am still in my normal clothes but do need a belly band for some of them. My low rise pants still seem to be ok for now. I have also still been able to sleep on my tummy which is so nice... not sure what I am going to do when that becomes uncomfortable. Lol. 

I am so happy with the development of a visible sign that this is actually happening. I find my hands moving to this little bulge in such an adoring manner and know it is helping me connect in some small way. 

Without further adieu... here's mai belly: 


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Long Overdue Update

Sorry I have been away for so long friends. 

Still in a really weird place with this pregnancy and actually am feeling guilty about it. Things are going great! I have no reason to believe this might not be my take home baby... but I am still holding my breath. I still am not opening any What to Expect books and still don't talk about it. That makes me feel guilty. Guilty that all I do now when I blog here is question what is happening. What I have worked so hard for. I know I will get more comfortable as time creeps on. As we keep passing milestones during this exciting time. Just for now focusing on the little steps we have been making and putting one foot in front of the other each day. 

Again so sorry to have gone missing. Thank you for still being here. 

Now for some fun updates! 

  • Today I am 15 weeks pregnant! OMG! We passed a huge milestone at 12 weeks when I officially became the furthest along in any of my pregnancies! So glad our little nugget is still hanging in there!
  • I graduated from my RE at 12 weeks! Goodbye Dr. Cold and hello Dr. Confident (my ob - more on him later). The day of my last appointment with them was also my birthday! I brought the staff Sprinkles cupcakes which of course were a hit and even ordered a couple extra for the hubby and I. They even tweeted(?) a pic of us saying congratulations... do I look exhausted or what? Lol. 
The Famous Sprinkles Cupcakes!
Tweet about our 12 week graduation from RE!
  • Along with graduating at 12 weeks... I also got to finally drop the progesterone injections and estrogen patches! Dropped them cold turkey. I was terrified but all was fine. So nice not having to deal with those. Still on my daily Lovenox (blood thinner) injections which are a pain (literally), those will continue the whole pregnancy. The bruises on my belly are so gross. Haha. No bikinis for me anytime soon. Lol. 
  • I had a birthday! Turned 34 on April 20th. It was a nice b-day. Hubby and I went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park on that Saturday and just enjoyed walking around and seeing the animals. That is just one of my favorite things to do. Love me some animals. 
  • We have begun telling people. Not the general public... definitely not on fac.ebook or anything. But we told his mom and siblings (who have no clue the struggles we have been through to make this happen). My mom and dad already knew but we did also tell my siblings grandparents, a couple aunts/uncles and close cousins. So slowly but surely the word is leaking out. I can't say when I will feel comfortable enough for a fac.ebook announcement but we definitely joke about just posting pics of our baby when he/she finally arrives. I am not much of a fb'er anyway so waiting till then would work for me! Haha 
  • I have an OB doctor! This is exciting. Found a great guy that is a part of the hospital we would want to deliver at and have had a few appointments with him already. He is great. I have named him Dr. Confident. At my last appointment with him he got a real sense of my fear and uncertainty about this pregnancy and stated... "Denise, there are a lot of things to still worry about but a miscarriage isn't one of them. Start embracing what's happening here and lets start planning a nursery." Uhmm... did he just say the m-word? and wow did he just tempt fate or what? While I appreciate his confidence... I am still nervous. I do get what he was trying to say and am working on letting go of the fear. The hardest part of transitioning from the RE to the OB is the complete lack of appointments. I was used to weekly appointments for the first 12 weeks (w/ ultrasound) and now get one just once a month (which doesn't even include an ultrasound!) Crazy. 
  • NT scan went great! Had my NT Scan just last week and it went well. Baby cooperated and the (not very nice tech/nurse/whoever) was able to get all the pics she needed and indicated our risk for Down's, Spinal Bifida, etc was low. Like 1 in 17k or so. We had done PGD on the embryos in advance so we had an idea everything would come back negative/low risk but I couldn't give up a chance to see the baby!
  • 70% a boy. At our last ultrasound (13weeks) the tech decided to see what she could see for the sex of the baby and thought it might be a boy! It was of course super early and I am not counting on it at this point but she did say... 70% chance it's a boy. Maybe knowing for sure will help me start connecting with the little nugget. I go in for my anatomy scan on May 24th and should get a more definite idea then! So exciting! We would be ecstatic with either but I have always seen myself with a boy.
I think that is a decent update for now. I really need to get cracking with documenting some of my symptoms, crazy dreams I have been having and other pregnancy related items. Might even be time to do a "bumpdate" (eeeep). We shall see. One step at a time. Haha. 

Again, I can't say it enough... so sorry for my hiatus and thank you for still being here and supporting me during my journey. 

P.S. Congratulations to all the recent BFP's on my blog roll! So excited for all of you!
Alissa at MissConception
Lanie at Unruffled Lanie
Her Royal Fabulousness at Waiting for Little Feet
Belle at Scrambled Eggs
Hope I haven't missed anyone. So sorry if I have!

I leave you with my favorite pic of the little nugget! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Strength in Music

This cycle began with me in such a weird place. 
As you know... it was my 3rd IVF cycle. I had just come off of a miscarriage of twins (one baby lost at 5 and a half weeks and the other a week later) from cycle 2. I was beginning cycle 3 in hopes of creating my 5th pregnancy. 4 previous pregnancies and no babies yet at home. To say I began the cycle unsure and scared is an understatement. I was scarred, terrified, hurt and braced for disappointment. I remember driving to my baseline appointment not even praying for this cycle to work but rather for it not to hurt (emotionally) as the others had when things went wrong. I was praying for my self preservation. 
On the way to my first monitoring appointment I heard a song on the radio. It was a rap/pop song called "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida. It had a really catchy chorus that sang: 
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah
I get a feeling that I never never never never had before, no no
I get a good feeling, yeah
Oh oh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah
I get a feeling that I never never never never had before, no no
I get a good feeling, yeah
The rest of the song is rappy and I couldn't even tell you really what it says... but the chorus is really what struck me. 
I heard it again on my way to the second monitoring appointment as well. 
And again on the way to my third monitoring appointment. This however wouldn't not be considered unusual since it was a popular song at the time and surely was played over and over and over daily. For me though... the catchy chorus over time became a mantra for my cycle. I sang/yelled along with it on the way to my appointments and began to hope this cycle could maybe be different. It gave me to strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and restored my faith in this process. I continued to hear this song randomly played for all of the drives to my monitoring appointments and transfer. This carefree chorus permeated my hardened, battle scarred, uncertain shell and provided hope... or a "good feeling"... about this cycle. 
This week I heard it again played randomly on the radio. I was on the way to my weekly ultrasound for the little nugget. It still has a way of lifting up my spirits and allowing hope to fill my soul. It is definitely still my mantra for this cycle. 
Can't believe I am 10 weeks and 4 days today... and still pregnant. Can't. believe. it. 
The little nugget looked great on Tuesday, measuring where he/she should, etc. 
As I slowly come to grips with this pregnancies progression, I am one-by-one peeling back the layers of fear and pessimism. Maybe this is it? Is my take-home baby less then 7 months away? I surely hope so... and I hope this "good feeling" continues and grows stronger day by day.  
I leave you with the video for my special song. ***Keep in mind... the first 33 seconds is the important part***. Isn't amazing how the right song, at the right time can affect us?