Saturday, February 28, 2009

Re-post

Do you ever get lost reading your old posts? I'm sure I'm not the only one. Every now and then, when I'm searching for something in particular, or just wanting to reminisce, (or in this case, I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep) I find that I could sit for hours reading about past events. I've been blogging for a few years, being pretty faithful most of the time, so there is quite a lot to read. Some posts are informative, some are embarrassing, and some are just good times. I thought it would be fun to do a little something to give a shout out to those posts that have gone before, and maybe you want to join me. Choose your favorite post, and re-post it for fun.

One that I find particularly true and makes me laugh as I remember the actual occurrence is the one you see below. It was in my first few months as a blogger, and I remember really wanting to record this for the future. We were still newlyweds at the time, and it was so funny to me the way he asks questions, and was so interested in the simplest things. And you know what, he is still the same funny guy. Just a couple days ago, he was like a kid in a candy store when he saw the simple pasta with marinara being prepared when he came home from work. My sweetie.

And now the re-post:

Tuesday, December 12. 2006

KC's Appreciation



I know what you're all thinking. Two posts in one day? But I just had to tell of my appreciation, for my husbands appreciation, for me. As we sat down to our quiche dinner, (Or any dinner for that matter. Tonight it just happened to be quiche.) He was commenting on how good it smelled and how he couldn't wait to eat it. Then when we started eating it, he began to comment on the texture of the flaky crust and how much he was enjoying it. When he finished his wedge, I said "a little more?" and he gave me a very long but sweet explanation for why he wouldn't care for any more. He told me about the level of appreciation he had for the quiche right now. He was satisfied to just the right amount. He told of his appreciation for the meal with one hand and the fullness of his tummy with the other. The higher the fullness hand got, the shorter the rises of the appreciation hand became, and eventually started going down. This shows so well the way KC thinks things though and can explain them a way that I don't think I ever could. I think we all know what he's talking about. I know that some great meals can be ruined if I get too full to remember how delicious the meal really was. All I can think is "I ate way too much." Most of our dinner conversations include questions from KC about what it entailed to make the meal, what this flavor or that flavor was, what ingredients I used, how satisfying it is, and even sometimes he comments on how nice the plate looks (we all know when we've made a nice colorful plate). Not because he's picky, but because he's intrigued. Sometimes I'll anticipate all his questions, and try to remember all the things I put in so that I have an answer for him when we asks. I might even answer before he can ask. Some meals are made from whatever I have to use up in the fridge so I really can't remember what to tell him. These nights I just say, "can we just have dinner and not talk about the food?" Then I feel bad because I really should always be grateful for his constant appreciation for the meals I prepare. Lunches the next day usually come out of dinner the day before so sometimes I even get double appreciation for one meal when he gets home from work and reports on lunch. A friends the other day told me that her husband never says anything about the food she makes. She said she asked once, and he just nodded, shrugged his shoulders and said "yeah, it's good." Why would I ever ask my husband not to appreciate me? I'm a lucky girl. I hope this sticks, along with his daily dish washing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm addicted

I hope it's not too embarrassing to do another post about junk food, but this was too good to go unblogged.

Our friends brought their electric popcorn popper to a game night a while ago, and KC couldn't stop raving about the fresh popcorn flavor. I didn't realize how fond of it he was. KC's sister Michelle also raves about it when made in her Whirly Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. So a couple days ago on the way to the store, I just decided to slip into Bed Bath and Beyond and buy it on a whim. It also happened to be on sale. Bonus. We counted it as a late Valentines Day, early anniversary (next week-yay!) gift to justify this little indulgence. And I'm telling you, it was worth it. I'm hooked. No more microwave popcorn for us. We inhaled a huge bowl of it while watching the disaster that is American Idol, commenting how good it was (the popcorn, that is) after every couple of handfuls. We'll try to keep it healthy (since we'll be eating it a lot) by using olive oil and kosher salt for flavor since the fresh popcorn it truly good in and of itself, but we decided, just this first time, to try the butter flavoring packet it came with. Whoa. I seriously could've eaten a second bowl (though I'm glad I didn't-ugh). And after our teeth were full of kernels and our lips were raw from the salt with an empty bowl in front of us, I told KC we needed to round the experience out with one more thing. I pulled out a can of diet A&W Root beer from the fridge (we never have soda, but this has been sitting in the fridge forever after a party of some kind, and it seemed like just the right time use it to it's full potential), and we enjoyed washing down the salty goodness with the cold soda. Thank you Michelle for the excellent recommendation. We owe ya.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just wondering. . .

if anyone else's box of chocolates looks like this a few minutes after they open it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Note to self:

Emily,

You have enough clothes in black, brown, grey, and red. Stop buying them! Although they have a purpose, try some bright colors like royal blue, orange, yellow, purple, or green next time you go shopping. Maybe spring fever is getting to you, but it's time to liven up the wardrobe. 

(Incidentally, I am about to buy a pair of black boots online. Does that count? Well, I'll make up for it when I buy the yellow shoes in my wish list later on.)

Tonight we're gonna party like it's 2003!

That's what we did last Friday. At least I did. You see, for this party we were invited, as stated in the evite, to "dress as the epitome of your teen years. . . either truly as you dressed, or how you dreamed you could." So, for me that was 2000-2003, and for KC 1991-1995. And this wasn't just any party, it was a real life dance party. Now, I haven't really danced since I was in high school. And I think I did it so much then, that I never had a desire to do it again. I felt like I'd grown out of it or something. And to tell you the truth, I didn't think anyone would actually dance. I thought I'd be humiliated and feel weird. But when that playlist of 80s and 90s songs started to play, people just started to get in the groove. I mean, they were really dancing. KC was getting so into it, it was hilarious. It was like I was seeing a new side of him, since this isn't the kind of activities we usually involve ourselves in. There was serious head banging, floor shaking, and roof raising. I kind of wished I brought my own cd with all the songs from my era. I could've pulled out my Brittany Spears dance moves, or sang my heart out as we danced to Backstreet Boys. But the music was great all the same. The graduating years ranged from 1987-2003. Yes, one of my good friends graduated with I was 3 years old. Weird. At one point I think there were about 30 people crammed in the apartment. But it never felt crowded, and the time just flew by. And if you were into these kinds of events in college, which I never had the pleasure of, the crowdedness was all part of the fun.KC and I dressed the best we could with our resources. I wore a powder puff t-shirt, my student council hoodie, with my favorite jeans and Tevas from high school (yep I still have them around), and though it still looks pretty normal, my style has changed quite a bit. KC did a great job with his slicked hair, silk shirt with sleeves rolled up, and pegged jeans with hiking boots. He even wore a cologne that he'd had for a while. A smell very distinctive of high school.It's amazing, the memories that came flooding back as the night went on. I remember dancing so hard that we girls would go outside for a rest, but couldn't wait to go back in to get our dance back on. We had those kind of breaks at this party too. Or just dancing with KC as I smelled his juvenile cologne was seriously a blast from the past. And maybe that I was in my Tevas that I wore almost non-stop back in the day, or having to yell over the music to talk to anybody (oh, my ears were ringing after), but it was all so nostalgic. And it's even better when you're married, knowing you'll always get asked to dance, and you actually get to go home with your date.So we weren't the only ones that got into the theme. We saw everything from overalls, and flannel shirts (unbuttoned over t-shirts), to black lipstick (on a guy) and cowboy hats. It was a great night, and we stayed well past our bedtime, about 1 am. They were starting a big pot of pasta for the ones who stayed really late (Christian, the host, is from Italy, and maybe this is a custom there or something), and as good as that sounded, my 8 am appointment followed by a ward temple session the next morning was warning me not to. But it was an awesome party that I would've never thought would be as fun as it was. It was nice to see everyone just let loose enjoy themselves. Dancing is such a stress reliever. We really need to do it again soon.

But not too soon. My neck, from the head banging, and calves from the jumping up and down, need a break. I'm totally sore. We were seriously dead on Saturday recovering. Am I getting old? This kind of thing never phased me in high school.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Turn it up!

So, realizing the previous post was little heavy, and not that fun to read about for most, I thought I'd write something a little easier to chew on.

So I have a question. Are you ever in the car, or in the house by yourself (I know, I know, you Moms are all going to tell me that that's not a luxury for you as much as you'd like) listening to music, and all the sudden you just need to turn up the music really loud to distract you from your surroundings and thoughts for a moment? (Of course, I do love driving in complete silence now and then, but it doesn't happen as much.)Well, I find myself in that position quiet often, when alone with my thoughts. Usually at home, I read or watch tv or bake when I need some time out. But sometimes, I decide to put my headphones on, or am in the car, and I can't help but turn it up as loud as I can stand it, and just let it take me away. It's almost like a craving, or an uncontrollable desire to just get lost in the music. There are a few artists that are good for this sort of activity. I like Imogen Heap, The Shins, Rufus Wainwright, or even or Michael Buble, if that is my mood. But I've been craving some new stuff lately. And my new found escapes are Seal (video below), and Sarah Bareilles (wouldn't let me embed the video). I happened to hear Seal on TV once with David Foster talking about this new album, and got sucked in when he started singing. I also heard Sarah live on one of our local radio stations a couple days ago. She is awesome live, completely in tune, and I love that she can play the piano and sing so beautifully at the same time. And they both have a great bluesy, deep-soul kind of sound that I'm drawn to. I must need right now.

I realize these artists aren't new to any of you, but I sometimes get behind with the radio, or in the case of Seal, was too young to get into him when he was new. But when I heard these songs, I knew they, and the rest of the albums they were on, would be added to my list. I'm going to download the mp3 files very soon so I can put them, and any other gold mines I can find, on my Ipod. Anybody else have a song/album that really helps you just get away for a while?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

IVF Documentation

Yes, I know I said I didn't want to become a poster child for these things, but I felt this must be documented, as it was a HUGE part of my life. And this is really such a miraculous process, that I thought it wouldn't hurt to share a bit of modern medicine with everyone. If you haven't done this yourself, I think you'd be surprised at the detail and precision it requires. I did a few slightly different protocols, but I'll try to sum it all up for you.

Note: This will contain reproductive terms, that are otherwise not present on my blog, so they might come as a bit of a shock. But for this purpose pretend it's normal, everyday language for you, like it is for me. I'll leave out the really graphics terms.

When we went to see the fertility specialists, I thought we would start the IVF process immediately. Wrong. After months (about 6) of tests from several different doctors, my body not working, KC's doctors not cooperating, insurance being weird, blood test after blood test, lots of contracts, lots of signatures, and practically signing our life away, we finally began. (I think my nurse got tired of me practically begging to let us start, even though she couldn't without everything in place.)

It starts with old fashioned birth control pills. The doctor does this to get all my hormones in the right place, so he can fill me up with the prescribed meds on a clean slate, so to speak. I still remember when I nurse told me I could take that first pill. I cried, I was so happy. We had been through so much to get to that point. It's a long story about uncooperative hormones, interrupting doctors in their offices, and pleading. I really learned to push my weight around to get things done. It worked.After 21 days of those, I started the "stims" meaning the stimulation medication, to begin the process of growing many follicles in my ovaries. Usually, in a normal woman, one or two follicles are made producing one or two eggs. We needed a lot more than that to create many embryos, hence the stims. Infertility meds are extremely expensive, but we were lucky that our insurance did cover them (though not procedures) costing us only a couple hundred per cycle and saving us literally thousands of dollars.

My dresser turned into a small pharmacy. It later became all about adoption. I guess it's an easy, out of the way place to stash things that I want to keep an eye on.




Here are the specifics:

Lupon/Leuprolide-not actually a stim but taken before them, as a suppressant so that I don't ovulate until they are ready for me to or something like that. On another cycle I used something called Ganirelix instead that I took toward the end of stims to probably do the same thing.
The stims are just done with a tiny needle, right in my abdomen. I'd switch sides. My tummy would get all polka-dotted and bruised. But they didn't really hurt. Except sometimes when the needles were a little dull from measuring. Then you really have to jab. Here's is the process before taking most meds:

Gonal-F-taken usually in the morning and night.
First I have to mix it with this little kit.
Then I pull air to my prescribed amount of medication.
Wipe top with alcohol, and insert the air into the bottle to equalize pressure when the liquid is extracted.
Pull out amount needed, no bubbles, and you are ready for a subcutaneous injection (I chose the abdomen, but there are other places you can do this). I'll spare you the poking.
Menopur-taken in the evening. One mL of water mixed with two vials of powder (or more/less if needed) using this q-cap for easy mixing. The q-cap is twisted off, and replacd with a small needle that like the one above, then injected. This med actually stings a little going in, but it dissipates very quickly.

Remember, this was only one cycle. As they got to know my body, they'd try different things for different results. Every body's dosages are different. So I did about 3-5 shots a day, and took about three pills (mostly vitamins) for about two weeks as far as stims go (we really had to plan social events around this, or bring the gear with us).

So, those shots weren't so bad, right? Just wait.

I also began a series of blood work, and ultrasounds to track the progress of the growing follicles and my hormone levels. They can't see any eggs growing, but they can see follicles-sacs of fluid-that each, most likely, hold an egg. This is how they estimate how many eggs I will produce. In the beginning of the two weeks, I went into the office every 3-4 days, but as they grew closer to being "ripe" as I like to term it, they needed me to come in every other day, and then every day(sometimes 4 days in a row) to make sure everything was on track. My arms also became bruised and sore from getting poked so often, but it wasn't so bad. This office is a 35 minute drive from my house and my appointments were usually at 8 am and lasted about 15 minutes. They measured the follicles, (it looks sort of like a honeycomb, all the follicles squished together) and once they get to a certain size (if they are too small, the eggs won't be mature enough, if they get too big, the eggs with be too mature, and non-viable to make an embryo) I stopped the stims. Then KC gave me the trigger shot, the HCG hormone, triggering ovulation in exactly 36 hours. That must be precise. For example, we were given strict instruction to administer the injection at exactly 10 pm on a Sunday for a egg retrieval scheduled for Tuesday at 10 am. By this time my ovaries were really hurting. It actually hurt to sit sometimes. It's mostly just pressure since they were the size or walnuts. I was also extremely exhausted all the time.

HCG-This is where the fun shots start. Again, you have to mix a certain amount of water to reconstitute the powder, but this one has to be injected with this long needle intramuscularly (in the upper-outer quadrant of the buttox-really my hip). This is a pretty thin solution, so it goes in pretty easily. But it is a long needle, and my muscles don't like it. KC does these since it's hard for me to reach. I'm usually pretty sore for a couple days. Still more needle fun to come.
If I don't get into surgery exactly 36 hours from that shot, I will ovulate before they can extract the eggs, and there is no way to get them once they are out of the ovaries. It's a tense time.

This is surgery, requiring anesthesia, so there is also no eating/drinking 12 hrs. prior, and I have to take this nasty antibiotic, that makes me extremely nauseous. I HATE it. KC also underwent a minor surgery only during the first cycle. He is hilarious when recovering from anesthesia, btw. Also, I love going under. I actually looked forward to that nice nap.

After, we are told the number of eggs I have produced, sometimes different from the number of follicles, and I have ranged from 8-14 in the few different cycles we've done. We are called everyday with a fertilization update. Usually, not all of the eggs fertilize. I usually had about 50% fertilize. The second day after fertilization, we were either told to come into the office tomorrow for a day-3 transfer, or when we got in the office, were told that we could also wait until day-5 blastocyst trasnfer to really weed out the strong ones from the weak. It is hard to tell sometimes, and they really don't like to transfer more than two into someone my age. (Don't even get me started on the scary octuplet lady. My doctors are not happy at all with her and her doctor's unethical procedures and giving IVF a bad name.) About 50-75% of my remaining embryos made it to transfer date. I have transferred two every time-twice on day-3, and once on day-5. Oh, and you have to have a full bladder for this. It's very uncomfortable considering my positioning and the ultrasound pressing on my tummy. I'll leave it at that.

Then the horrifying waiting begins. I turn into a nervous wreck during the two weeks between transfer and blood test to detect the HCG-pregnancy hormone. I have to be on bed rest for about 24 hours, and then light activity for the next few days. But still, even though they said moderate to normal activity after that, I was still so scared that I was doing something wrong, and would hurt our chances of a positive test. It's truly an agonizing time. But we got through it. I watched lots of movies, gave into cravings (since I was pumped with pregnancy hormones, I had the same cravings) and said lots of prayers. Oh, and I had to take new pill and a new injection.

PIO-Progesterone in Oil. The thickness of this med is the annoying part. You measure it with a really thick needle (easier to extract), making the one that you are actually going to inject with (same as HCG) look less scary, though it still kind of is. I like to ice my hip for about 5 minutes numbing the area. KC swabs, then pokes in a darting motion (I'm glad he has to do this, because I don't want to see that 1 1/2" needle going in), and pulls up on the plunger a little to make sure he hasn't hit a vein and no blood comes out (pretty rare). If he sees blood, he has to take it out, replace the needle and poke again. We had to do that a few times, no fun. I usually watch TV while lying on the floor, or just lay on my bed while he does this so I can relax. (During the first HCG shot, I was standing up, like a lot of instructions say, and I was so stressed about the timing, and that he had seen blood in the syringe and had to start over, that I started to black out from all the anxiety. I started lying down, even though I wasn't nearly as anxious as that instance with the rest of the shots.) Then he covered it with a band aid, and gives me a little massage with a heating pad to distribute the oil. I also like to walk around to help it along. If you don't it can clump up and be really painful. It's weird, I could feel the oil going into my legs sometimes. We had our routine down pretty well. And with this system, it didn't hurt too bad. It was just when I could feel it hit the nerves of that deep muscle that gave a little cringe. But KC always took good care of me. This continued every night for the whole two-week-wait.
And that phone call after the blood test is something I wouldn't wish on anybody. The whole day is horrible, and if you get bad news, everything you had just been through was for nothing, and everything you thought about the future (as hard as you tried not to) was non-existent. Yet, somehow, life goes on.

So, the whole process takes about 2 months from pills to preg. test. We did it 4 times over the course of a year. The first cycle seemed like an eternity, but they seemed faster the more we got used to it. I gained weight (and thankfully lost most of it after I was back on my workout routine), had massive mood swings, and lots of tears (to put it mildly), but I am grateful to have been a part of this. It does work for many people, proving that it is a true miracle. I began to forget that it is supposed to result in a baby because it just became a second-nature, way of life to us. But I am glad some people were blessed to have this be the solution to their heartache. Even though it didn't work for us, we still owe our R.E. and all the dozens of professionals we came to know, a lot for what they did for us. I know for a fact that our doctor really pulled some strings for us and I hope he knows we are grateful, even though I wasn't the easiest patient to get along with during all of this. I guess Heavenly Father just has a different plan for us, since it's really a mystery that someone of my age and health can't find success in this process. But we continue with faith. Our children will come to us someday, and man, that day will not come soon enough.

By the way, here are two of our "cute little embryos" as she put it when she gave us this picture after our second transfer. I like to think of them as my babies. It was weird when I knew we had embryos in a petri dish, I felt like they were babysitting for me or something.

There you go. My IVF experience in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed this little blog webinar. It is quite fascinating what doctors can do these days.

Whistle while you work

There's nothing like a stomach bug to get you into the cleaning mood. I always feel like my house is a ticking time bomb until I have disinfected to my satisfaction. So since it seems I have dodged a bullet (I'm still crossing my fingers and praying to the heavens), I woke up ready, and energized to get the place spic and span. I donned my rubber gloves and by 9 am the kitchen, bathroom, and living room were scrubbed down with a combination of Lysol, alcohol wipes, and a whole cocktail of other cleaning supplies. I'm sure others can relate to my post-sickness ocd cleaning habits. I have also started two of three loads of laundry. KC slept in a little, but I almost wanted to kick him out of bed to get the "sick" sheets off the bed and straight into the washer. Eventually, he got up, and I did.

I also did some mind and body cleaning (I've been driving myself crazy wondering if I'm sick, asking what I can do for KC, making sure everything was cleaned, etc. I needed some relaxation) by working out while reading my wonderful book, stretching well, and letting myself have a nice long shower. I have packed KC a mild lunch, and he will leave for work soon. I'm looking forward to some fresh air while doing some unnecessary errands just to get out for a bit. I can't wait to be in the beautiful sunshine.

Monday, February 16, 2009

We got it too.

So my hopes and dreams of us not getting the horrible stomach bug going around were shattered. KC woke up in the wee hours of the morning, around 3:30, and tossed and turned until you-know-what. But only a couple trips to the bathroom and he was able to get some rest. He seems to be resting well and doing much better now. And since it seems inevitable that I'm next, we are both on the brat diet today (to produce minimal damage should any be present). It seems most of my friends around here have had it, sometimes twice. He must've caught it from one of them. Anyway, we can't point any fingers, since there really is no one to blame except bad luck and reality, and we can look on the bright side. I get my husband here with me on this holiday that he would normally have to work. Plus, I had already planned for this day to be a relaxing one, and to get some good head-way on my book. I have no guilt, whatsoever, that we are both still in our pajamas and plan to keep in that way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

L. is for the way you look at me. . .

We had a grand Valentiney weekend. I love it on Saturday. Then you have an excuse to celebrate all weekend long. (And although, I kind of hate Valentine's Day, or the forcing of love via commercialized and cliche gifts rather, it is nice to have an excuse to do things a little differently than any other day.) So our weekend went as follows.

We had plans to go to a fun place in DC on Friday. ( We were babysitting on Saturday but before you start feeling sorry for us, Jan asked me which night we'd rather have. Yes, she let us choose, and with my minor crowd phobia, I chose Friday, in hopes to avoid them.) But places still seemed to be very booked for reservations, so instead of braving the crowds and traffic that were probably present where we had planned on going, I told KC I just wanted to go out for one of my favorite things. Nachos! Yes, I had a big plate of them all to myself, though I hardly made a dent. I was in Heaven. Can you tell? (KC wasn't really sad, we just liked the shape of the chips and how big they were.) And isn't that what Valentine's day is about? Doing what makes you happy? There is a time and a place for a nice, romantic, candle-lit dinner, and I just wasn't feeling like it at that moment. But I was sitting by my love, with my nachos, so it was all good. We planned on seeing Coraline 3-D, but it was sold out until 10:15. I'd be snoozing for sure. So we said hi to the Turpins, since we were in the neighborhood, went home, ate our chocolate covered strawberries for dessert and fell asleep to a movie cuddled up on the couch. A great night with my love.

So the fun continues on Saturday. Since I was babysitting later on, I decided to make them a little Valentine of my own. Chocolate cupcakes with pink buttercream seemed fitting. KC came home on Friday with a "candy tower" he had won at work. The gummy hearts were a perfect garnish for the cupcakes. I decided to make enough for all my young women too. KC did some church business in the morning, but came home a beautiful bouquet of roses for me. What a sweetie. It was a lovely day, and it was especially nice to have KC's sweet guitar playing in the background as I was baking. It was also nice to eat as much candy as I felt like eating all day for this specific occasion. We got some chores done around the house, the kind of gift that I love to get, and just sort of lounged.

It's so nice to have KC come when we babysit at night. He is so great with the kids and indulged them in many games of hide-n-seek, which they seemed to think was the best thing every. They worship KC. Iris has quite the crush. The kids were just in bed when we were surprised by them coming home only a couple hours after they left. They were too tired, just like us, to hit a late movie and decided to just come home early. So we had the night free after all.
It was a nice weekend, and mostly nice because we just spent it together, with only each other's happiness in mind. There are a million things I could list about what I love about him, and about us together, but I'll just say that KC is so perfect for me.Happy V-Day everyone.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Utah hair, here I come.

I will revisit that disturbing news below at a later date when I have come to grips with reality.

But right now, for your enjoyment and pleasure, I want to introduce you to "Bumpits". That's right, your answer to flat hair. Casually watching TV just now, we were graced by this infomercial. And to tell you the truth, I was quiet horrified. I mean, do people really need THAT much volume? It's outrageous. I'm pretty sure the more natural look is in right now, or maybe that's the "Marylander" in me talking. But still, that infomercial is the best and had me laughing the whole way through, mostly in disbelief. And the website is just as good. Under the "Happiology" link, the creator Kelly (signed with a smiley face) calles herself the "Cheif Executive Optimist." I'm feeling happier already. I wonder what gets into people sometimes. All I can say is I wish Kelly luck. I wonder where her biggest sales will be from. Nashville? Utah? Texas?


Friday, February 13, 2009

It can't be

I do not like this one bit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Infertility Ettiquette

While in my sister's ward last week, I was struck by something during Good News Minute. (That silly phrase makes me shiver as I write it. I think it's actually a ridiculous tradition.) One girl politely announced that she had her court date set to finalize her long-awaited adoption. I was rejoicing for her! There were a few quiet "awes", but they were short-lived when a more vocal, and very pregnant girl announced her induction date set for Tuesday, inviting everyone to bring cookies etc. to the blessed event. There was much laughter and attention brought to this comment. I was a little disappointed. Maybe that ward had already given their congratulations when the adoptive mother received the baby, but every step is huge. Until the court date, that baby could be taken away from them, so I can only imagine the surge of relief they will feel when that is over. I was a little taken aback by that whole scenario, so I thought it would be okay to add this little gold mine of information.

I found this article through a string of blogs, posted originally from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. It's a great association that I have become quite familiar with over the last few years. I am hesitant to post this article because: 1) Though I think it could be beneficial to most everyone, I don't want my blog to become a poster for infertility, or adoption, even though they consume my thoughts almost 24/7. But I do want to try and focus on my life as it is right now, as opposed to what I wish it would be. And 2) I don't want to make people uncomfortable around me just because they have a normal family. I would hate it if my friends or family felt like they had to hold off on conversations just because I am in the room. After all, it's their life, and the most important thing they are involved in at the moment, so who am I to not let them live it. But in the end, (only some of the time-I'm doing better) I do leave feeling isolated, and annoyed, and even bitter that conversations all lead to labor stories, breast feeding, first words, and passing babies around for everyone to giggle at. (See even now, I'm feeling bad for saying this for fear of hurting feelings.) But I don't mind it mostly because of the fact that I'm not letting anyone feel sorry for me. That's definitely something I don't want. And I know that someday I'll join those conversations as well. Though it will be a difficult transition, since I've been ignoring, uncomfortably enduring, or rolling my eyes (only at certain baby shower games and stuff like that- I don't rolls my eyes and regular, valid conversations), for so long.

But I decided that I myself am not following this infertility etiquette for me, not allowing myself the true attention and courtesy that this trauma deserves. I mean, I don't want extra attention because of it, and I feel almost equally weird when the conversation turns to me and my situation, instead of other peoples' happy families, with me being a minority. (I am starting to sound like such a hard persons to be friends with.) It just makes me feel weird to compromise a conversation with my problems while they probably have much more important things to discuss pertaining to their lives. But I'm finally deciding to take care of myself and let these things be known, even if it might make things weird with those around me. And I also think it's therapeutic for me to itemize the things that are making me so depressed, and feel so much anxiety, instead of just wallowing in despair. So this list is for all of us.

I admit, being subjected to comments that might be hurtful is mostly our own fault for being so open about our situation, but only so much time can pass before you almost explode and have to tell someone. Especially when things like "I wonder when their going have kids" start circulating. You kinda just want to yell that you're working on it. But to prevent that outburst, it's probably best to say it in a composed and professional manner before you get to that point. Which is what we have tried to do.

Well that was a longer introduction than I had anticipated, but when I start talking on the subject, there's no stopping me. So, even though I could tell stories about how everything in this has affected me, here are some parts of the aforementioned article that I feel have hit me the most. But the rest of it is also very true and helpful, so go ahead and follow the RESOLVE link at the top of this post for it's full contents:

Infertility Etiquette

By Vita Alligood

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. Most infertility treatments involve using hormones, which alter the user's moods. (That statement is like calling a lion a cat-my husband would tell you that the side effect is insanity!) The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Infertility treatments are expensive, and most insurance companies do not cover the costs. So, in addition to the pain of not conceiving a baby each month, the couple pays out anywhere from $300 to five figures, depending upon the treatment used. . .

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child. . .

Don't Offer Unsolicited Opinions If They Are Trying IVF

On the flip side of the coin, don't offer unsolicited advice to your friends who do choose to try IVF. For many couples, IVF is the only way they will ever give birth to a baby. This is a huge decision for them to make, for all of the reasons I outlined above.

If the couple has resolved any ethical issues, don't muddy the waters. IVF is a gray area in many ethical circles, and many of our moral leaders don't yet know how to answer the ethical questions that have arisen from this new technology. If the couple has resolved these issues already, you only make it harder by raising the ethical questions again. Respect their decision, and offer your support. If you can't offer your support due to ethical differences of opinion, then say nothing.

A couple who chooses the IVF route has a hard, expensive road ahead, and they need your support more than ever. The hormones are no cakewalk, and the financial cost is enormous. Your friend would not be going this route if there were an easier way, and the fact that she is willing to endure so much is further proof of how much she truly wants to parent a child. The hormones will make her more emotional, so offer her your support and keep your questions to yourself.

Don't Play Doctor

Once your infertile friends are under a doctor's care, the doctor will run them through numerous tests to determine why they aren't able to conceive. There a numerous reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive. Here are a few of them:

  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Low hormone levels
  • Low "normal form" sperm count
  • Low progesterone level
  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility
  • Thin uterine walls

Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an "expert" on the subject. Let your friends work with their doctor to diagnose and treat the problem. Your friends probably already know more about the causes and solutions of infertility than you will ever know.

You may feel like you are being helpful by reading up on infertility, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the subject. The problem comes when you try to "play doctor" with your friends. They already have a doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating the problem. They need to work with and trust their doctor to treat the problem. You only complicate the issue when you throw out other ideas that you have read about. The doctor knows more about the causes and solutions; let your friends work with their doctor to solve the problem. . .

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized. . .

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.


Other topics in the article include:
Don't Tell Them to Relax
Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
Don't Be Crude
Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Let Them Know That You Care
Remember Them on Mother's Day

There you have it. I couldn't have said it better myself, though I have had these thoughts rolling around in my head for years. I happen to be blessed with very caring friends and family that always seem to have my best interest at heart. But we are all human, and all need reminders now and then. In fact, I say dumb things almost everyday, and I'd love it if someone helped me to understand what I can do for them in their individual hardships and trials.

Thanks for enduring again in one of my infertility rants. It's my therapy of choice, I guess, since I can write to my heart's content and no one has to read it. But in case you did, thanks.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just another manic Monday

I have had a rather productive day today, if I do say so. It was nice to check so many things off my list as the day went on. I think when I have a lot of things to do, it's easier to motivate my self to get the little things done in between because I can't rest yet. So let's make a list:

  • It started by leaving my house at about 8:15 am, to go to a doctors appointment in Columbia. Now if you don't know Maryland geography, you wouldn't know that Columbia is a bit of a drive from where I live, so I tried to get as much done in that area as I could. (I used to live there, so it's like a second home to me. I know where everything is, and it's such a nice place to be.)
  • Then, lo and behold, a couple of my friends decided to make a trip to the Columbia Mall (a rare thing for them to do), which is, very conveniently right across the street from my doctors office. They called me and asked if I wanted to come along. I told them I already beat them to it. (This mall is one of the best in the area. I happen to be very familiar with it, against KC's wishes.)
  • While my friends were making their way, I went to get an oil change. KC made it very simple with a coupon ready for me as I was leaving the house this morning. I plugged the company name into the GPS and found one a few miles away from my dr. There was a shopping center across the street. It's much nicer to peruse some stores instead of waiting inside car shop waiting rooms.
  • My friends and I met up for lunch and had a good time chatting it up.
  • We finished just in time for me to get to my appointment with the oral surgeon to talk about these annoying wisdom teeth I still have. Looks like a quadruple extraction is in my near future. Hooray.
  • Then I wanted to go see Cami. When I got to her house I was greeted with a very smiley, and chatty Jane, and a nice big slice of d.o.c. dark chocolate cake. It was gooooooood. I stayed for a while, and was able to see the boys as they came home from school. Ethan kept calling me Melody for some strange reason. I mean, he's only hung out with her a handful of times, while I used to live with him. Funny boy. I snacked on some yummy spiral-sliced ham from the fridge, and went on my way.
  • While on the freeway, I was stuck in a bout of traffic, which is annoying, but my frown turned upside down when I was inching along next to this Uhaul. Look closely. Yep, that is my mom, Lili, and me advertising for Uhaul. I knew that it existed, but I've never seen it in person. Luckily, my camera was readily available for this momentous occasion.
  • I had to make a return at a store that was on my way home. Of course they only gave me store credit, even though their product was defective and it broke after only a few weeks of use. But it was about a week over the 30-day return period, so what do you do. Store credit it better than nothing.
  • After a little window shopping, I went to my last stop, the library, to return some things, and I was finally on my way home a little after 5 pm.
What a day. And it was a gorgeous one at that. I thoroughly enjoyed opening the sunroof and letting the sun pour on me.

Anyway, I usually like to be home a little bit earlier, but I was happy that I got so many things done, so I didn't mind. Anyway, going to Cami's is like being at home, so I felt quite rejuvenated. And I'm realizing now that this post probably makes me sound kind of lazy, and a bit agoraphobic, like leaving the house is a huge deal, when in reality, I do leave quite often, and have plenty to do. But I was just glad I was able to get so many planned/unplanned things out of the way in a low-key, things-just-fell-into-place kind of way.

And the best part is, we are having leftovers for dinner.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Home again.

So I am back in Maryland and am unusually busy! I mean, I like having things to do, but it's hard to believe that I was still in Utah just two days ago. I've been babysitting, cleaning, store-running, and catching up on my church and other responsibilities. But I had the most wonderful time, and loved every second that I had with everybody. It was the kind of trip where we could plan things, or not, or do things, or not, and no matter what, it was fun. It was great to just get to see my family, and act as if we actually lived near each other.

So of course, it wouldn't be a trip without a long, descriptive, day-by-day post, with a plethora a pictures and videos, so here you go.

Sunday 1/25
  • Caught a 5 pm flight without a hitch.
  • Enjoyed two in-flight movies that really helped the 5 hours pass.
  • Was picked up by Drew and Dad and was warmly greeted at home by the Rejholecs, Pecks, and Ribeiras.
  • Melody, Julia and I slept there are Mom's.

Monday 1/26 (My camera had just died and I had to wait until the evening when we went to Melody's the charge it, so no pics, of this day, unless someone else has them on their camera.)
  • I finally got to see Jujus when she woke up, and watched in amazement as she fed herself humongous bites of oatmeal.
  • I accompanied Melody and Julia to Julia's doctor appointment.
  • We met up with Amber and did some great clearance shopping at Old Navy, and Target, and found sales way too good to pass up (even if I had to get creative when I was packing to go home.)
  • At Amber's we enjoyed Cafe Rio for lunch, watched Ghost Town (during which I snoozed a bit), and latest episode of The Office.
  • Some other family came over for an old fashioned spaghetti dinner, and a huge plate of doughnuts (hey, we had a craving).
  • I went home with the Rejholecs to stay the night. This was my usual sleeping place, though I moved around quite a bit.
Tuesday1/27
  • I joined Melody and Julia on the routine track walk.
  • While Melody was teaching preschool, I went to get my haircut in Amber's neighbor's house. She did a great job, and it as half the price of my Maryland stylist (who I love and deserves every penny, but still.)
  • Dad came to pick me up because I was sleeping at there house. Mom made a great dinner of soup and salad.
  • Mom and I had a night of pampering. We started with some yoga, did facials, our eyebrows, and highlighted her hair.
  • We rounded out the night with a much-needed trip to Purple Turtle with Lili, Jeff, their hat, and Drew. I was in Heaven. They don't make shakes like that where I come from.
video
(Here is a little video of one of Todd's masterpieces.)


Wednesday 1/28
  • Went to BYU with Mom, Dad, and Drew.
  • Saw mother-in-law Janice at her office on campus.
  • Caught up with Drew between classes while we shopped at the bookstore, had bagels in the Wilk. and saw the new exhibits in the art museum.
  • Ate lunch with mom and dad in the cafe of the Art Museum
  • When we got home, I showed mom and dad how I relax in the afternoon with a couple episodes of SVU. I think mom is hooked.
  • Went to a wonderful and delicious pizza party at the Robinson's with lots of family. We even had a webcam visit with KC. You really need to try out these pizzas. They were awesome.
  • Kristy, my childhood neighbor, turned cousin-in-law, lives right by melody, so she offered to take me home. My parents were thankful for the hour less driving. Thanks again Kristy!
Thursday 1/29
  • Melody and I, after sharing and enjoying a Maverick biscuit sandwich, met dad and went up to Salt Lake to see my grandpa where he was having chemotherapy. We were able to visit for a good amount of time before we had to go back in time for preschool.
  • We had awesome Japanese food for lunch at the Pecks.
  • I was able to catch up on LOST while Mel was teaching. What is up with that show?
  • Later when Jonny came, home we weren't really hungry, so Melody and I had cereal for dinner, and then we watched American Idol. We also played a little Wakee Six. We may have tried to watch Bleak House, but promptly fell asleep. This happened on a few occasions.
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(Enjoy Julia's animal sounds. The bunny kills me.)

Friday 1/30
  • We met up with Matt, Jonny, and the some of the Pecks for breakfast at Kneaders. Whoa, it's so good.
  • We girls did more shopping, and found more awesome deals. And we went to Costco.
  • We relaxed in the Pecks theater room while we watched The Forgotten.
  • Amber made her awesome stuffed mushrooms that we snacked on while we played games.
  • Mostly everyone came over for biscuits and gravy that we prepared at the pecks.
  • Mom, Dad and I picked up Cami from the airport and drove straight up to Logan for more time with Grandma and Grandpa. They were already asleep when we got there.
  • I was REALLY missing KC by this point, but it helped that my dad tucked me in like old times.

Saturday 1/31
  • We had a great day morning in Logan spending quality time with two of my favorite people. I loved cuddling with my grandma on a chair as we tried to warm up in the morning
  • Grandma gave us a few chores to do. She needed a little r&r with all that she does for Grandpa. We were more than happy to oblige.
  • Their house has such a wealth of memories for me. It was so refreshing to be up there.
  • After a wonderful lunch of hot soup and bread, we headed home.
  • We met up with EVERYBODY (that is a lot of people) at 5 Guys-one of our faves here in the East, and new to those in the west-and indulged in burgers and fries.
  • I went home with the Rejholecs, and watched Vantage Point. (Which I slept through completely. This time change, I'm telling you.)
video
(This is a trick Melody and Jonny taught Julia-to pretend they are asleep so she kiss them.)
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(I learned this trick my resting my eyes, and opening them to Julia's puckered lips. I was so happy she did it again for the video.)

Sunday 2/1
  • I attended Church with the Rejholecs. I got some new ideas for Young Women, and had a nice chat with one of the YW counselors (Mel is Pres.) about her recent adoption.
  • We met at my moms for delicious dutch oven fajitas, where everyone, again, was in attendance.
  • We went on a vigorous two mile walk to Matt and Courtney's house, in the freezing, though, refreshing air.
  • We speed watched the Superbowl.
  • We played this fun game called Who What Where, and ate way too much caramel popcorn. (I did anyway.)
  • Someone broke out the 5 lb. bag of gummi bears (that house never seems to be without it) and we watched (in horror) the Office special. Whoa, that was an uncomfortable episode.
  • We just sat around and talked well into the night, while mom, wrapped in a fitted sheet because it felt warm out of the dryer, was doing her homework. Melody, and Amber slept over. We were only missing Elise for our girly sleepover. Bummer.
Monday 2/2
  • Amber, Cami, Melody and I went to breakfast where Mel treated me to her favorite Gandalfos breakfast sandwich. She was right, it was good.
  • A little more shopping, and then Melody and I left for her house. We really needed a nap. Of course, Julia didn't need a very long one, but I enjoyed lounging with her on the couch as she quietly watched her shows, and I rested my eyes.
  • We went to get some groceries for the coming dessert night.
  • We did a little work on the desserts, and then had a delicious dinner that Melody and Jonny made.
  • Melody and I went out for dip cones at Arctic Circle, where we made come fun plans coming up.
Tuesday 2/3
  • In the morning we made a little more progress on the desserts, and left for preschool. I picked Cami up and we went to Grandmother's for lunch. My dad came along too. It was delicious. I've always loved my grandmother's southern cooking.
  • Cami and Dad left for Jane's nap time, and I got to stay and visit for quite a while. It was so fun to catch up and chat.
  • I stopped at Target and ran into one of my best friends ever, Ashley. What are the chances? Great timing, I say.
  • After preschool, Melody and I went back to her place to get ready for the pizza, dessert party that the whole fame came to. We make Macaroon Mousse Cake, and deep dish Key Lime Pie. We all enjoyed ourselves, and I was feeling sad that this would be the last time I saw all of these people for a while (hence the millions of pictures).
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(The family get-together.)

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(Julia is learning to jump, and like a doggy doing a trick, she gets a treat.)

Wednesday 2/4
  • I had to say goodbye to Melody and Julia, which is a very, very, VERY hard thing to do. I didn't like it.
  • Jonny drove me to the park-and-ride, where we were meeting Dad and Cami to go to the airport. On the way, we derived a 5-year plan for our families. Hmm. . .maybe I'll be in the west pretty soon.
  • Cami and had I a pretty uneventful flight. Janey was great considering annoying traveling conditions. And we had another in-flight movie. I love those.
  • My love picked us up. I was so happy to be reunited with him.
  • We dropped Cami off, went home and vegged. I was completely exhausted. What a trip.
So, that's it. There were some things that didn't make it into the daily details, but I'll mention them here:
  • I loved hearing Julia's new words. She learned "Mimi" while I was there, and it really melts my heart to hear her say it as she points to me and smiles. It was is also hilarious (but naughty, so I tried not to laugh) when she would say "no" in so many different ways, and "STOP!" even when you weren't even doing anything. I also loved when she would come in my room and help me with my hair, play with my jewelry, or help me pack. I loved getting up early and getting her out of bed. She is so funny and talkative right out of bed. And I couldn't get enough of her kisses. I'll miss you like crazy, Jujus.
  • All the Peck kids have changed so much. Allyson still has her little pixie voice, but she is getting older so fast. Jillian has become this hilarious drama queen, and puts on quite a show. Katy, is practically a teenager, and is so smart, telling us stories about how she sticks up for her political beliefs in class. And Jordan, he IS a teenager. I can't believe how grown up and mature he is with all his responsibilities. I keep waiting for him to act like a brat, as teenagers do, but he never does. I love those kids.
  • Mom was always either in class, or doing homework. She is such an amazing student. I'm sure she works harder than she needs to. I'm so impressed.
There is so much more I could write, but my legs are numb from sitting here too long, and I doubt many are still reading. So now it's back to life, responsibilities, and most importantly, KC. It's always a bittersweet experience when I leave. I was really missing KC when my trip was nearing the end, but every time I looked at little Julia, or any of the kids, it made me so sad to know that I wouldn't have the luxury of seeing them everyday and watch them grow. The kids are always the hardest to leave because the change the most, and I don't talk to them on the phone everyday. Although, Melody and I are going to try to get some regular webcaming going on, so Julia will continue to know her aunt "Mimi." Thanks to everyone for letting me disrupt your lives and letting me stay with you. I always feel like I'm whole again when Melody is with me. It just makes me happy to be with her and the rest of my family. Now, if only KC had just been there to make it compete. Well, we have plans for a summer trip, so I am definitely looking forward to that. Until then, enjoy a few more videos. The last one if my absolute favorite. (Oh and Cami posted some great pics of Logan, and other family gatherings here, if you hadn't had enough yet.)
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(This is Julia's language.)


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( I really couldn't get enough of this little girl.)


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(It makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it.)