Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Coming this Spring

It started at the beginning of the year. That nagging feeling I was afraid and excited to feel at the same time. I wanted another baby. Anytime this thought popped into my head before now, another child scared me a little, barely being able to manage what I already had. But when the scared was replaced with nervous excitement, I knew I was emotionally ready.

I was excited because I have always pictured another baby in our lives. We had one remaining embryo from the triplets’ IFV cycle, and it’s always been there in the back of my mind while it’s been stored all these years. Most people have more than one to freeze. Not us. We were shocked to hear that the one we had left had survived and been frozen (in the past, our extra embryos, if any, had always died out before that point). I never had much hope of that little guy actually turning into a baby with my track record, but as hard as I tried, a tiny bit of hope always stuck. Either for that little embryo to be our baby one day, or maybe knowing it was there for five years just made me picture another child no matter how it came to us. The triplets were growing up and with kindergarten around the corner, I just felt like it was the right time. At least to start thinking about it. I always said when they were all in school I’d think about adding more and that’s exactly when it hit me.

But I was afraid because baby hunger can be a little scary for people like me. People that don’t get to just decide to have a baby, and a within a few months they have their wish. For IVFers like us, it takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of your heart. Add to it moving across the country since my last IVF cycle, having to choose a new fertility doctor, and really having to start over with them. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I was going to be angry for putting us in this situation again, but there was no denying this was what we were supposed to do. We both felt it and were ready to move forward, but I was putting some serious guards up. My emotions did not do well with IVF failures in the past, and having only one final shot with this one embryo didn’t give me much to hold on to. I really didn’t want to think about the next big step we’d have to take if this didn’t work, and it scared me. Another fresh IVF cycle didn’t seem right for us, financially, or emotionally. I love adoption and am very open to it, but it was just another long process that would require a lot of time and money. We decided to move forward taking it one day at a time.

I know some might think I’m being ungrateful wanting more when I already have three (I mean, every time I’ve left the house since I was pregnant with the triplets, people have gone ahead and TOLD me that I’m done!) , but it’s a unique situation because they are all growing up at the same time, and everyone should be able to decide when they’re done having kids no matter how many they have, and we had that last embryo. I am so grateful I do want more because I am of the opinion that that embryo is one of my babies and I couldn’t see myself doing anything with it other than having it for my own if it was meant to happen (there are other options when people have extra embryos and I was always grateful I never had too many because it would be so hard for me to know what to do with them all. Adoption? Disposal?!)

So after researching, we found a clinic we felt right about, we discovered it was only about four miles from home, and we came to find out that people from all over the country come to them for their fertility treatments because they have such great results. And we were just right here! We made the appointment, filled out mountains of paperwork for them, then talked to our previous clinic and filled out their mountains of paperwork as well. I didn’t have all the time and energy I’d had before to focus on all of this, because of the kids, which was good at bad. I liked the distraction, but I felt overwhelmed and scatterbrained a lot of the time. Every step in this process takes weeks. I remember this about the last time we went through it. Time did go faster with the kids needing me too, but it is annoying how it feels like you’re moving in slow motion to get anywhere a lot of the time.

We finally made it to our consultation appointment, which led to another bigger, day-long appointment, more like a list of appointments throughout the office, where both of us had blood tests and sat in meetings, I had procedures and ultrasounds, and we we paid them a lot of money for all these preliminary things that were just basically getting us in their system. That day, I went from a little excited to frustrated. I could see that KC was as well.  I’m no stranger to this process, but I was in a new place and it felt like a factory, and I was just another piece. You are doing this heart-wrenching thing that determines what the rest of your life is going to be like, and they just make you feel like a checkmark on their list, showing no emotion whatsoever. I started to doubt the whole thing and wished I’d never brought us there. What if nothing came of this? I thought I could go through it without too many emotions because I was realistic about our chances. But after all that, I couldn’t imagine going through all this to come out at  the end empty handed. The only thing that kept me going was thinking about that little embryo. Whether it was going to be our baby or not, we had to do all this for the possibility. And when we were done, that chapter of our life would be over and we could move on. So we pushed through everything and kept going. And we had a lot of pushing left to do.

Of course after that big appointment, there were missing files, and blood tests that needed to be seen by other doctors, and other things to hold us off, so that wild goose chase began. Again, something I remember well from before. I started a new medication with another doctor. I went and got more blood tests, more and more paper work, some to be notarized. The amount of signatures during this process is insane. Meanwhile we also dealt with the other end. Getting our embryo shipped across the country was crazy. You have to practically sign your name in blood to have it transported, not to mention pay an arm and a leg. I remember the moment I got the call that our embryo had flown all the way from Maryland and it was safely in a facility close to our home. I was more excited than I thought I would be. I felt like it was really happening now. Scary and exciting.

After everything was finally squared away a couple months later, we were given the okay to start our calendar. That is our schedule of medications and appointments leading up the the transfer, and shortly after that, the pregnancy test. So began the injections. Not nearly as many as I had to do during the four fresh cycles I had done before, but more than I was expecting. I did the little ones in my stomach myself, and left the bigger ones that went into my lower hip to KC, just like before. I also started a bunch of pills, and other meds. My phone calendar was filled with so many alerts and notifications, to make sure I didn’t forget anything. There were also frequent blood tests to see how my body was responding.102

The day of the transfer snuck up on me. We made it to the procedure room, and got set up. I hadn’t seen much of my doctor, and it made me miss the one I had in Maryland who I grew to know so well during our year+ of treatments. But this doctor did his job well (he was the creator of the company, had amazing results, and like I said, people came from all over just for him) so we knew we were in good hands, even if they were unfamiliar ones. The procedure was short, though more painful than I remember. But the valium was wonderful afterward.  Just like that, the embryo we’d thought about  for so long was now where it was supposed to be, and there was a chance I could be pregnant. The embryologist  came over and said the embryo looked great and it had already started to hatch (it was in blastocyst stage when it was frozen) so it could implant any time. This information hit me harder than I was expecting. I had forgotten that for a long time I feared they would tell us it didn’t thaw right or something else was wrong and it was all over for us. I was so wrapped up in the procedure that I forgot about those fears until this moment. So this news took me a little off guard that that hope started creeping up again. I was sent home on strict bed rest for the next two days. And then we just had to wait. 053

I hated those 10 days. I had to wait two weeks in the past, so I thought this 10 day wait would be easy. It was awful. I was so tired all the time from the meds, and I would brush off any possible symptom that would creep up as a side effect of the hormones I was taking. I got strep and at the urgent care, I had to tell them I might be pregnant, which almost made me feel foolish, because there was a good chance I wasn’t. I just felt like it was too good to be true and I was dumb to think it actually worked. I freaked out at times, feeling like my whole future was up to this dumb blood test coming up. It really messes with your head.

I was getting tested on a Saturday. The Thursday night before I was having trouble sleeping. I was anxious and a little upset. Unlike my other four IVF cycles, I bought a pregnancy test this time. I’d never let myself in the past, for some reason. But since this was probably my last chance to take a test, I bought one just in case I wanted to use it. It was taunting me. I said I would only use it the day before the blood test for the most accurate results, but here I was Thursday night, not able to sleep at all. I lost all self control, and just did it. I was upset because in two minutes the hoping was over and truth would be out. KC and I just sat there waiting, and I think I just kept saying things like “This in insane.” “This isn’t fair!” or “ Why did we start any of this?!” and then I checked the test. Guess what.

Positive.

I think I said something to the effect of “Holy Freak.” showed it to KC and started to hyperventilate. And just like that I forgot about every test, injection, and credit card payment, and immediately started thinking about the future instead. We were in daze. Did that help me sleep? Not at all. I was up a good part of the night. I was in utter disbelief. 

The next day we spent time with friends and went to dinner with some of KC’s family, all of which knew what was coming up the next morning. They had all been praying their hearts out for us. I’m sure if I hadn’t tested the night before I’d be agitated and anxious the whole time. I kept the positive test to myself, wanted to be sure with the blood test, but I was definitely more relaxed, maybe still a little dazed. The kids spent the night at KC’s sister Nicole’s house where KC’s parents were also staying so KC and I could have a little more peace at home. I slept so much better than I had before the other four pregnancy blood tests I had done, having an idea what the result would be.

Early the next morning, KC and I walked into the office with more hope than I’d ever had walking into those appointments before. I told the nurse I’d tested positive, and she was ecstatic. Was this really happening? Telling someone made it feel like it was. The test was done, and we were told we’d get a call by noon. We went to breakfast, did some grocery shopping, and spent a quiet morning together while the kids had fun with their grandparents. This was such a different day than I was expecting it to be. I used to dread those phone calls like nothing else. Three out of four had bad news, so that’s what I was used to. I knew this one was going to be good, but I had to hear it to believe it for sure. And just like they said, at about 12:02 my phone rang. We had bad reception so we had to hang up and wait for her to call back! She did within a minute or two, and said she definitely wanted good reception to tell us that our test came back, without a doubt, positive. I was excited all over again, and it became even more real.

We didn't have an ultrasound scheduled until 6.5 weeks. Even though I knew we only had one embryo, I knew with my luck it would split! As much as I loved our triplet adventure, I would often dream of what it was like to just have one baby. I knew the chances of another one of my embryos splitting were extremely low, but still I wondered. I let out a sigh of relief when we saw that one heartbeat, partly that there was a heartbeat at all (I worried constantly!) and partly because it was just ONE! I am really living my dream.

Here’s our little one at 8.5 weeks. just the size of a grape and wigging away. It’s definitely strange for me to see just one baby in there.086

Here I am, a few months later, still finding it hard to believe it. I have spent many days worrying that something would happen and I’d be more upset that if there was never a positive test at all. I’ve also been sick and completely useless here at home. Poor kids. They really are good at keeping themselves occupied, but I’ve missed playing with them. A few ultrasounds have put my mind at ease,  and this stomach is growing faster than I thought it would (thanks triplets). I still have to pinch myself sometimes. I feel like the luckiest person alive, and I thank my Heavenly Father every day that he blessed our family with another baby. This process really pushed me to trust in him and his plan for our family. Each of us pray every day for this baby to make it safely here to join our family. The spring can’t come soon enough.

My arms already ache to hold my sweet baby girl.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

School Days

Kindergarten is in full swing! It’s exciting and crazy and worrisome all combined. I know every other mom knows what I’m talking about. I do feel like preschool prepared me for this, since it really isn’t much different from last year. There were no tears from this mom. It’s only half day, and let’s face it, I knew I was going to love those quiet afternoons again, but it’s definitely bittersweet. They look and act so much older to me lately, and the little changes in our routine because of that at home get to me more than them just walking into a new school and sitting at a new desk. It’s always been hard to see them grow up so fast, and all at the same time. But I’m so happy to live in a place with great school and loving teachers, and so close by!

The first day was a little getting to know you meeting, just for the kids. So we took them in and found their desks. They were thrilled to find their names around the room.  They were a little confused that it wasn’t their school from last year, the only school they’ve ever known. But they have always been quick to adapt, and I knew the confusion would wear off fast. The next day was a regular day and we jumped into the routine like we hadn’t skipped a beat. 018012016

We were delighted to see some friends from church in our class! 022

I loved the line-up. So cute for some reason. 023

There have been ups and downs as they adjust to this schedule again. I have noticed that the expectations are different than preschool, and they really expect a lot from these kids (mostly the appropriate amount), and while that was also true for preschool, it’s different somehow. My kids are the youngest in their class, a whole year younger than some classmates. I know they’re fine and will adjust well, it can just be tricky in the beginning with emotions and things. Bennett in particular took the first few days pretty hard. Such a tender-hearted, easily overwhelmed boy. But he’s definitely shown improvement, and I’m not worried.  I’m proud of them all, and love what they’ve reported so far. I’m not the biggest fan of nightly homework, but KC does most of that with them and they actually really love it.

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I love that they love to learn, and I’m looking forward what this year brings. I can’t believe my tiny babies have grown so fast, but I couldn’t be happier with who they’ve become.

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Here’s to to 2014-2015 school year!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Firework Shirts

School has started and that means a lot of craziness and things to write about, but first I wanted to get one more summer post in. The Fourth of July!! It was really fun this year. I always love this holiday, and it gets better and better as the kids get old enough to enjoy all it has to offer. The night before we got to have some friends sleep over because their mom was having a baby! This was very exciting for the triplets. We decorated bikes for the church breakfast the next day, and they all  looked pretty awesome.074

This didn’t last long. We humored them for a few minutes until Ruby was put back in to her bed.078

Last year Melody suggested tie dye shirts for the Fourth of July, and looks like it will be a tradition over here. The kids aptly named them firework shirts, and we all love making them. The kids designed their own this year (with a little help), and they turned out great!175

We had to take two cars with all the bikes.081090Not sure By Bennett added the bag, but whatever.091094

The breakfast was fun and a festive way to start the beautiful day. The cute girls were picked up by their dad and got to meet their new baby brother! We went home for lunch and relaxing until we met some friends at Centennial park. It cooled down a lot and we played and splashed and talked for a good long time. 100101

We decided this was the year we were going to brave the crowds and take the kids to some real fireworks. We’d heard our town puts on an awesome show and headed over to Salisbury Park for the festivities. I knew there would be a lot of people, but I was not prepared for the massive crowds we arrived to. We braced ourselves, and stuck with the plan (usually I’m a path less traveled kind of person, but it was for the children) and the kids were actually jumping for joy as they got out of the car and saw the fun things there was to do. I love seeing them happy.104113115119

They were so patient as we waited in lines for the bounce houses and slides, and those sorts of things, and were just so delighted to be there. There was live music on a stage, and we even bumped into a few friends. Definitely a happening place.121123

What happens when someone asks how old they are.129

Soon it was time to settle on our blankets and wait for the show to begin. Some crankiness started to come out, including myself from the whining, but as soon as the fireworks started, all was forgotten, and we enjoyed them thoroughly. I haven’t seen a real show like that in a while, and it was fun. The kids were amazed! I loved hearing their exclamations after each burst. 135139150

It was a beautiful night, and we managed to get home in about 20 minutes (it was only a mile or two from home) instead of the hour we were expecting. Benefits of parking in the far lot!

Since we never got a chance that night to do the fireworks we bought, we put on a little show the next day. It would’ve been more fun in the dark, but we wanted a decent bedtime, and the kids didn’t know the difference.

We stated with snaps! What kid doesn’t love those?!180183

Then we moved onto cones and flowers and others. That smell is so familiar from my childhood. So glad to create these memories for them too!193198

Sparklers! They definitely had fun with those. 214217218

An excellent weekend with my family that I love. Already looking forward to making next year’s firework shirts!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dads and Doughnuts

When my boss (have I mentioned a had a little job for a while?)  told me she wanted me to teach a class called Dads and Doughnuts around Fathers Day, I knew I had to ask my  dad to join me as my assistant. He did, after all, make the best apple fritters around when he was younger man working at Winchell’s Doughnuts here in Colorado! He and my mom were more than willing to come, and I was so excited. They brought my nephew Jeff to join in the fun that weekend, and we all had a blast. We didn’t waste a minute. They arrived Thursday afternoon, and the kids immediately stole their attention. They were SO excited to have Nana and Papa and cousin Jeff here. 080082

Brothers BBQ, seriously good stuff. 083

Hail, just one of the many phases the weather went through that day. 084

The next morning we were off to the Aurora Reservoir. They brought the kayak with them, and I thought this was the perfect place to play with it. Well, the wind was ridiculous, and we didn’t ever get a chance to put it in the water that morning. We were pretty disappointed, but we put our chins up and had fun with the many other features that great place had to offer. It really is such a gorgeous, fun place, just a quick 15-20 minute drive from home. 056003008_thumb005013015Love those cute beach bums. 018022_thumb026032

They played on this awesome spinning web thing for so long. Jeff didn’t even want to get off. I might have taken a few spins myself. 038_thumb042_thumb

While the wind wasn’t great for boating, it was PERfect kite-flying weather. I grabbed them as an afterthought while walking out the door and was so glad I did. We got those things SO HIGH. I really love flying kites, and the kids are getting pretty good at it. A perfect way to end our fun morning at the “beach”. By then we cold really seem a storm coming in quickly. We get a lot of summer storms around here.046_thumb048_thumb049_thumb

After lunch, the storm, and a little rest, we noticed how the winds had really calmed down, and decided to put our day pass, and watercraft access pass to use and take advantage of the “glass” water. It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of their trip. There were hardly any people there, it was such a beautiful evening, and we took turns taking the kayak out in small groups. One time it was all the kids with Mom and Dad (Jeff stayed home for a little teenager time) and it was just me on the sand enjoying the absolutely perfect weather. I laid down, put my hat over over my eyes, and just enjoyed that wonderful quiet moment.154_thumb 156117_thumb176185

I also enjoyed when it was my turn to do some paddling. So glad we made the choice to go back.172169149

As if that wasn’t enough fun for one day, the adults hit the movies that night. Edge of Tomorrow didn’t disappoint, and it was fun having a little double date with Mom and Dad. The Mexican Food we snuck in was a highlight as well.

The next morning was the doughnut class. After a little morning prep, Dad and I headed over to Al Dente to set up. It was a full class, and so fun to see kids of all ages with their dads. We made glazed, Bavarian cream, and apple fritters, all my favorites, but really any doughnut would make me happy. I had done a couple practice rounds to make sure I liked my recipe choices, and I really loved the results. 072075077

Heaven, right there. 092105

I sent most of the test batches to work with KC. Phew. 110115

Dad and I had such a great time and everyone in the class looked like they were doing the same. I’m so happy and thankful my dad was willing to make the trip for this. It really made the class, and I think I got a lot of my passion for baking from him. A memorable day for me.205206_thumb207

(That was actually my last class at Al Dente. It’s a little shop about a mile from home. A friend told me they were looking for instructors, and I decided to give it a try. I truly enjoyed teaching there for a few months, but I decided I’d had my fill and asked them not to schedule me until further notice. I really hope to teach again in the future, hopefully out of my home, maybe kids classes? We’ll see. I really, really did love this experience, and it felt wonderful to brush off my chef skills for a few months.)

We had a lot of the day left since were were home around noon, so we packed up a couple cars, loaded the kayak, and headed for Evergreen, a  beautiful mountain town about an hour away. 218222223225226

Evergreen Lake is stunning.227230233235240245246248252259261263

We enjoyed an awesome local restaurant near Red Rocks on the way home and ice cream of course.

We had slower-paced Sunday, during which I gave a talk, and KC taught Gospel Doctrine. On the way up to Evergreen I bounced ideas for my talk  off mom. I always love her insight and felt much more prepared after talking to her.  We had a delicious roast dinner to finish out the day. At some point it looks like the kids attacked my dad.322

The next morning we couldn’t resist a little thrift hunting while Jeff babysat. They are fun to do it with. I’d say I was successful? There were some really good finds that day.325_thumb

Later that day, we made stop at Sonic before heading over to Centennial Park, always a hit with the kids, and everyone else, really. Perfect day for splash-padding!337341343350356_thumb

The kids were so beat from all the fun, this one fell asleep in the car and it was almost impossible to wake her. I call that a win.361

I was sad to have to say goodbye early the next morning, but loved that we were able to pack so much fun in for the long weekend. It was the perfect way to begin our summer, and I always enjoy a visit from my parents that I love. The kids were also sad to see their playmates go, but we know we’ll see them again soon. After all, Utah is just a quick 8-hour drive away.