Wednesday, March 26, 2014

And then we were able to sigh (and scream) with relief

Our perfectly measuring, perfectly heartbeating little bug! at 8 weeks

By the time we got to our ultrasound appointment on Monday morning, I had honestly come to terms with the idea that we might *not* be pregnant. If we had a blighted ovum, I was ready to ask about surgery to remove the fibroids and recovery time before we could start our next cycle. 

The nurse practitioner got us all set up in a room and immediately saw "something" on the ultrasound screen. She thought that it might be a yolk sack, but the machine she was using was showing a lot of interference and static. She asked if we would mind switching rooms. At that point, I was so excited to hear that there was anything at all in my uterus, that I would have run to the other room without bothering to put on my pants. Thankfully, The Wife was there to remind me that I should get dressed first. 

We got settled into the other room, and as soon as the nurse turned on the ultrasound, there was our little bean. There was still a lot of interference from my fibroids and my very anterior uterus, but the baby was there. There was no denying that the baby was there. She took a few measurements and decided to try using the abdominal wand instead of the transvaginal.  And immediately we were able to see everything we had missed last time. And a perfect little 164 bpm heartbeat flickering. She turned on the sound and we heard the little wubwub wubwub. At that point, I think the wife and I may have had a bit of built up emotion because we both screamed and started crying. (The front desk staff was greatly amused!) 

So, now, we have a healthy little pregnancy going on! We've been released from care at our fertility clinic and we have our first appointment with a midwife on Friday. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

And then the rug of security was pulled out from under us

On Thursday, we had an appointment to go in for our confirmation of pregnancy ultrasound at 6 weeks, 3 days along. We arrived early to the appointment, and we were both so excited to get our first glimpse of our little "sweet pea" (the approximate size of a 6 week pregnancy).  We checked in and when our nurse came out to get us, we were giddy. We joked about how rare it is to have a successful first insemination and how lucky we were.  I was incredibly nervous excited and my blood pressure was a little on the high side. Nothing to be incredibly worried about, but something to definitely keep an eye on.

The nurse practitioner who did our insemination came in to perform the ultrasound. Right away, I could tell she was having trouble. She seemed to be trying at a number of different angles and never quite bringing anything into focus. After about five minutes, she decided she was going to go get the doctor, because the fibroids that I had prior to getting pregnant were now larger due to the pregnancy hormones and, in turn, were making it difficult to get a good view of my uterus.

The doctor was not our normal Reproductive Endo, which made it very uncomfortable. You really develop relationships with people when they are regularly "all up in your business". She was really digging around with the ultrasound wand and it was absolutely not comfortable. The next bit of time really kind of blurs together and I don't really remember things clearly. But the things I do remember:

  • Seeing the gestational sack, which was measuring perfectly for how far along we are. 
  • The doctor focusing over and over on the sack and measuring it. 
  • Constant comments about the fibroids being in the way. 
  • Not seeing anything inside the gestational sack. No fetal pole. No heartbeat. No yolk. 
And just then, I began to cry. Because I realized exactly what she was saying. We were facing the very real possibility of a blighted ovum.  Essentially, an implanted pregnancy that stopped forming the embryo because of chromosomal issues. She told us in no gentle terms the scan was inconclusive, a lot of the problems were the fibroids getting in the way and obscuring the view of the gestational sack, and then, out of no where, and that if it wasn't that, that it "wasn't my fault" and that "it was a chromosome issue and wouldn't have been a healthy baby". I felt as though I was being punched in the stomach. I was unable to breathe. 

For those of you that know my wife and I in person, you know that we are not a bickering couple. And yet, when Wendy tried to reassure me about not giving up all hope, I snapped at her HARD. To say that I was completely disconnected from reality 

The hardest thing to hear in all of this for me is that there is nothing we can do but wait a week to ten days and then have another ultrasound done. And hope and pray that everything is alright. And prepare for the worst all at the same time. 

We have an appointment for March 24. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A 17 Year Difference

So, pregnancy as a 36 year old is much much more interesting than it was as a 19 year old.

At 19, I stayed out all night with my friends.

At 36, I am asleep by 9:30.

At 19, I drank gallons of coffee, smoked cigarettes, and ate crappy take-out food supplemented by the occasional full meal at Denny's. I truly took "eating for two" literally.

At 36, I drink gallons of water, can't handle the smell of cigarette smoke, and I'm very conscious of what I'm eating and have plans to limit my weight gain as much as possible.

At 19, I didn't feel an ounce of pregnancy until I was about 7 months along.

At 36, every moment of every day is consumed with feeling pregnant. At 5 and a half weeks, I feel like I've been run over by a Mack Truck.

At 19, my worries and anxieties circulated around things like how I was going to pay my rent and afford diapers.

At 36, my worries are more about future mortgages and shopping for a car that has enough room for a car seat.  

This time around is so very, very different. I'm definitely feeling it more physically, but I have so much more help and support this time.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

This is ridiculously real!

We went in this morning to have another blood draw to find out what our "doubling time" is. And I got a 492. The lab told me that they were expecting a score around 2.5 times the previous result. And we were a whopping 3.152!  I think we win at blood tests.

And this little ball of cells has settled in for the time being. In a week and a half, we'll be headed back to the clinic for an ultrasound to see that everything has settled in properly and to verify just how many balls of cells are floating around inside my uterus.

I apologize if my blog is a bit lacking, as of late. For those of you that have never experienced pregnancy, I am utterly and completely exhausted. I'm lucky to make it to 9:00 at night before I need my bed.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the past 96 hours

These three things happened:

And then we had a blood draw with our doctor. Beta of 156.1

We are officially pregnant!

And I capped it off by barfing in the parking lot of a post office.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Dreaded Two Week Wait

Here we are. In our very first two week wait for our very first insemination. And though I told myself in the buildup that I wouldn't obsess, that I would just go about my life, I still find myself worrying about *everything*.

Did I just cough to hard? 
What if I squatted down to fast to pick up the dog and dislodged anything that could have been happening? 
How did I not know that I cannot drink hibiscus tea if I'm trying to get knocked up? Obviously, that cup of tea I just drank is destroying every chance I had!

My brain just cannot seem to shut off. Right now, if all is going the way we want it to, this is happening in my body:

And really, that could be exact it. Everything that could go well for us, went great. When we went in on Friday for my Day 12 scan, I had two really great looking, "juicy" follicles getting ready to spit out some eggs. I took my trigger shot at exactly 8 p.m. on Saturday night, and 37 hours later, we were inseminated. Our donor vial had a post-thaw, post-wash count of 23 million!  23 MILLION! (Anything over 10 million is acceptable and 15 is the norm. We got 23 Million!) I had absolutely no "regurgitation" or spilling. My acupuncture appointment afterword was relaxing and rejuvenating. 

So, now...we sit. And we wait. Until February 25. (Or more likely February 26, because I'll be too scared to test and would rather just wait it out).  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Swappin' Goodness!

I participated in the Books 'n' Bloggers Swap over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps, and I gotta say it is probably my favorite of all the swaps I've done thus far. I'm so excited to dive into my new books!

So, the premise was that you would send your partner a book you love, a book you haven't read, and a book your partner wants.  Now I'm not sure which order the books I received fit those numbers, but I'll take a bit of a guess.

(A book my partner loves?)

Synopsis: No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablisment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time -- and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever. 

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a riveting dystopian world, a thrilling superhero story, and an unforgettable heroine. 

(A book my partner wants to read?)

Synopsis: Magic is dangerous -- but love is more dangerous still.  when Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform into another person. The Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by -- and torn between -- two best friends: James and Will.  As Tessa is drawn deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, she realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world... and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.  

Synopsis: It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a  thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-- impossible though it seems -- they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quaking In My Boots

I'm a pretty strong woman. If you've ever met me, know my story, know who I am, you know that I'm awfully hardy.  I'm sweet and soft and kind and compassionate. And I'm tough as nails.

But here I am about to approach what I am finding is the scariest thing I have done in a very, very long time. We're making a baby. The Wife and I have been talking a lot about how much of the process we should share with the world. Not because we're shy, but because we don't want to be that couple that over-shares everything.

I'm a little bit scared, because I've been labeled "infertile" before. When I was married to my ex-husband, he had what was essentially a zero sperm count. Anything below 15 million sperm is considered a low count. My ex had less than 500,000. So, technically, my ex was infertile, but I was the one that had to go through all of the treatments. There's not a lot out there to fix a zero sperm count. So, our option was insemination. When you combine that with my polycystic ovaries, and our chances were very, very minimal. We tried naturally for over two years, and then did 2 inseminations with ovulatory drugs, and failed every single time. Each time I got my period, I was pretty sure my heart was being torn out of my chest. I am fairly certain it was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

I met The Wife. I fell head over heels in love. She and I began talking about babies fairly early on in our relationship. We knew it was something we both wanted, though I really wanted to be married and settled in before we started putting a lot of energy into knocking me up. But now we're married and we're very settled. We have a wonderful relationship. We live in a neighborhood we love. The Wife has a fantastic job. I am in a position where I can continue to work occasionally and be at home to care for a child.  We're ready.  It's definitely time!   

But I'm so scared! And I know I'm going to need support and I'm going to need to vent. I will absolutely continue to link to my blog posts on Facebook, but I'm going to try to keep the baby making crazy contained just to my blog so that my friends who could care less about this process don't have to read it. 

So, how can you support us? Honest, I don't know. I do know the things that hurt when I hear them (and believe me, we've already started hearing them).

Things NOT To Say When Your Gay Friends are Making Babies

You can always adopt or foster. 

It will happen when it is supposed to happen. 

Maybe it isn't meant to be. 

Aren't you afraid of multiples?!?!

Have you tried XYZ method of increasing fertility? My second cousin twice removed did that and got pregnant right away!

You can just keep trying. 

It was hard for me and Mr. Me, but we just kept having sex and it happened.

Every time my husband looks at me, I get pregnant.

Why don't you just go have a one night stand? 

Who will the father be? Do you know what the father looks like? 

What will The Wife be to your baby?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I May Be Dying of Withdrawal

Last week, I started the process of weaning myself off of caffeine. I cut my regular coffee 50/50 with a pound of decaf. And I did alright. The first day or two I had a mild headache, but I did okay. And by the end of the week, I was having no problems at all! I was so excited. This was gonna be easy.

So, when I got up this morning, I wasn't even a little bit nervous about making the switch to 100% decaf. I brewed it up in my Aeropress so that it would still have a really strong flavor. Just because I can't get the buzz, doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a good cuppa, right? And it tasted great.

About an hour later though, I was completely out of it. My head was throbbing. I was having a hard time forming complete sentences. When The Wife asked me if I could measure a space in the kitchen for the new table we're considering, I couldn't remember how to work the yard stick.  Really!  A YARD STICK. A stick with inches printed on it. Was I supposed to measure from one end or the other? It wasn't long enough! OH!

So, I went back to bed. And slept it off. And woke up a few hours later much more clear and ready for the day. Around 6 o'clock, I finally started feeling like a human again.

Day one- Caffeine free. ACHIEVED!

This baby had better be awfully cute!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Giving Up "Blogging"

Trying to hard to be a "blogger" and not to just write. I have no desire to be a blogger. I just want to clear my head, get my thoughts out, and maybe occasionally connect with someone else. For awhile, I was enjoying the idea of it, but it's just not what I'm in this for. Sure, the free stuff is fun. But it's just too much work to consistently need to try to "build a reader base" and  remember to reply back to every comment. I enjoy reading your comments, I really do. I just hate responding to them out of obligation! I want to respond because I enjoy the relationships! So, from now on, no more "blogger". Just Amelia. I hope you stick around.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge #2: Skin Care

This time of year, specifically if you live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, skin care tends to come up in the forefront of your mind. Moisture!  It runs from me. It vexes me. And it must be mine! 

For someone with extremely acne prone skin, like me, it becomes a constant war. Right now, my facial skin care routine works about 90 percent of the time, which is the best results I have had in my SCHMIRTY SCHMIX years of life. Obviously, there is room for improvement, but I'm just not up for changing it up right now. 

I've always found cleansers to be far too drying for my skin.  For many years, I used Noxema because it was a good old fashioned cold cream. But it also triggered my acne horribly. I discovered Olay Wet Cleansing Cloths a few years back and I adore them. They get my skin clean, but I never feel like they have thrown off the pH or the oil balance of my skin.

Growing up, we didn't have health insurance. So the idea of visiting a dermatologist about my worsening skin was something that my family never considered. Now that I'm an adult and I am privileged enough to have awesome insurance, I got some prescriptions to try to get a handle on my acne. And it's definitely better than it used to be. I use clindamycin phosphate in the morning and tretinoin gel at bedtime. 

And another Olay product for a moisturizer! I hate to sound like an Olay advertisement, but they are truly the only products that don't irritate my skin. I use the Olay Complete all-day UV moisturizer for sensitive skin with SPF 15. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Has anyone seen my brain?

The Wife and I both started classes this last Monday. To say that our house has dove headfirst into a bit of chaos is the understatement of all time. She's working her way through four classes. I'm working my way through four classes. Essentially from as soon as we finish eating dinner at night until we are ready to fall asleep, we're both working on homework. Thankfully this first week has been pretty simple and it's giving me a little bit of time to ease into it. 

The Wife has been doing this for a few semesters now, and between working full-time and her class load, she's been pretty exhausted, but successful. And I'm sure that once I get a handle on the overwhelmed feeling and get myself on a better schedule for my day to day household management, I will be successful, too!

Until that household management schedule gets put in place though, if you come over to visit, don't mind me. My hair is never brushed before noon anyway! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Books N Bloggers Swap

So freaking excited about the new swap that I've joined over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps!  This time around we're swapping books! I absolutely have no reason to add more books to my collection and absolutely no reason not to. Bring on ALL. THE. BOOKS. 

The guidelines are pretty simple. Send your partner THREE books:

  1. A book you love
  2. A book you haven't read but are interested in
  3. A book from your partner's wish list

Monday, January 6, 2014

Family Friend Low-Carb Part 5: Spicy Cauliflower Casserole

We have quite a few nights every month where there are multiple appointments, errands that need to be run as soon as The Wife gets home from work, teenager crisis that need to be handled, animals that need to be fed. It can get a bit chaotic.

This is another one of those quick meals that is super easy to prep. Because it's an oven casserole, it takes a hour to bake, but the prep literally takes about five minutes. We use it on nights when we have a ton of other things happening around the house that takes up. (This recipe also has a slightly higher than normal carb count than we would normally consume at dinner. So, when you make it, make sure the rest of your day allows for additional carbs.)

1 lbs spicy breakfast sausage
1 can/box condensed cream of chicken soup (we like Pacific Naturals Organic)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 small head cauliflower
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Season to taste (I generally use sea salt and black pepper, but that depends on which soup we use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage and drain. Chop cauliflower into to bite sized pieces or finer. Layer cauliflower and top with sausage. Combine soup, cream, and water in a bowl and pour over cauliflower/sausage. Bake in foil covered casserole dish for one hour. Remove foil, top with cheese, and bake for five additional minutes to melt cheese.

So easy. So delicious!

Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 452
Protein: 20
Fat: 36
Carbs: 11
Fiber: 3
Net Carbs: 8

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge #1: New Year Inspiration

So, I joined up with the other folks over at the 2014 Blogger Challenge. That essentially guarantees all of you that I'll be posting at least twice a month.

The very first challenge of the year is to talk about our New Year Inspirations. 

Instead of making resolutions, I make a commitment to one word. But while I was narrowing down my words, I stumbled upon a number of beautiful quotes that are really inspiring how I want to live my life this year.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014 and One Word 365

I tried the resolution thing for years.  Each New Years' Eve I would start obsessing. What in the world was I going to do about my life? What tiny little thing was I going to focus on that was going to change everything? Before midnight, I'd come up with a horrible list of goals and obligations that I would stress out about for the entire month of January. By the second week of February, I would have a list of excuses just as long as my list of goals. And a year later, nothing had changed.

A few years ago, the beautiful and genius Regina over at Soul Composting introduced me to the concept of a choosing one year to focus on throughout the year.

I recently discovered the One Word 365 community and I'm pretty stoked about connecting with other folks who are committing to the same word.

Last year, I chose to focus on Balance. And it was such an affirming selection. I learned balance in my world view. I applied balance to my parenting style. I found balance in my daily schedule, and in the time I devoted to my home, my relationships, and my self-care.

This year, I spent most of December thinking about the word that I would concentrate on for 2014. There were a few really close runner-ups;

  • Present (to BE present and focus on the present)
  • Grace (to do honor or credit to, and, of course, God's Grace)
  • Faith (in myself, in God, in others)

But none of those words felt exactly etched into my heart. I prayed. I meditated. I word-clouded. And nothing felt right. Until I woke up this morning, and the word slid into my thoughts as though it had been waiting, a little epiphany and blessing.

For 2014, I will CONNECT

Connect to other people- New people, old people, current relationships, family, friends. I want to foster relationships with authentic connection.

Connect to myself - Pay more attention to what my heart and soul truly need. I want to listen to my inner guide. I want to connect to who I am behind everything else.

Connect to God- My focus will be more on my relationship with God this year. More prayer, more listening, more reflection. A deeper connection.

Connect to community- Finding a church, taking more classes, joining more groups, establishing true community connections. 

Connect to nature - Spending more time doing the things I truly love outdoors; hiking, camping, kayaking. And while I am doing those things, truly taking the time to appreciate the connection  of everything. 

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