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2015 in Numbers

When 2015 began, I knew it would be a big year. We had *just* (as in, just just just) started trying for another baby. That alone was going to mean that, if 2015 turned out to be a lucky year, it would end with a pregnancy…or, on the other side of things, it would be spent trying to get pregnant and end with a lot of heartbreak, tears, and defeat if we failed or lost again. We conceived our baby on January 6th(ish) and in that moment when egg met sperm and we were looking ahead at a fresh new year of hope and anticipation (and dread and fear), I could not have fathomed the end of the year would actually mean holding a baby, nearly three months old, in my arms. What an incredible surprise this entire year has been!

It’s been mostly good surprises (and the good ones were really good), with a few difficult ones thrown in just to keep us humble and show us who is really in charge. This is what 2015 looked like in our home:

6 movies watched over the New Year’s holiday, per our annual tradition. (My favorite was Captain Phillips.)

3 times Honey and I had sex the first week of January when my ovulation tests were positive.

2 pregnancy tests taken when I 4 days late and 5 weeks past weaning Skittle…compared to the 5 I took in my first pregnancy.

10 days spent on the Big Island in Hawaii, frolicking in the waves, sipping tropical mocktails, getting sunburned despite the ample amount of sunscreen used, and watching the glorious sunsets:

Hawaii

9 weeks 1 day into my pregnancy when I heard Poppy’s heartbeat with the doppler for the first time, while in a bedroom in a Hawaiian rental house with an audience of 2 geckos.

17 months was how old Skittle was when she took her first steps…right into Grammy’s arms.

3 big prizes won at a local baby expo I attended with my doula-friend Leigh and where I met January Harsche of Birth Without Fear fame. (And for those of you who are curious, the prizes were two diaper bags stuffed full of baby loot like wipes and nursing scarves, as well as an Uppababy G-Luxe stroller, which I love!)

1 dear friend lost this year because she chose to believe the worst of me and decided our personalities didn’t mesh well.

1 dear friend gained because I went searching for a birth photographer and found a fabulous one — and a fabulous new gal pal, too!

36 times vomiting, 31 of them in the first six months of my pregnancy and 5 of them when the stomach flu hit at two weeks postpartum.

58 jars of freezer jam made with Leigh on something of a whim one long Saturday in June.

6 hours relaxing at a spa in Idaho with my mom as an early 60th birthday gift to her.

8 hours spent in a car on a road trip with two kids and a 27-week baby belly when it should have only taken 5 hours. (Wildfires forced us to detour and traffic was crawling.)

2 nights sleeping in a rental house on the beach as our final getaway as a family of 4.

4 crying/screaming fits Cupcake had on said getaway because she’s just that kind of kid.

8 hours of labor to welcome our sweet Poppy boy, 3 days past his due date.

6 other babies welcomed by friends and family this year, all of them boys except 1.

80+ words that Skittle could say by her 2nd birthday, compared to the 50 that Cupcake could say at the same age.

1 birthday party thrown, this one for Cupcake at the local Children’s Museum. (We will be taking turns with the birthday bashes in this household as who has the time, energy or money to do that more than once in a year? Next year, it will be Skittle’s turn. And Poppy’s! Since his big day is so close to his sister’s.)

11 hours spent shopping on Black Friday with my friend Leigh, 4 hours of which I had a sweet baby boy attached to me.

23 allergens I tested positive for during a recent allergy test…the worst of which are dust mites and grasses. Ugh. (In my doctor’s words, I’m “basically allergic to everything that’s green and grows.” Boohoo.)

12 hours that Poppy is now sleeping at night. Ahhh…do you hear that? That’s me breathing a sigh of relief. Now, if only I could get him to take some good naps during the day!

5 times my mom came to visit from Idaho, doing countless loads of laundry, dishes, and other household chores while she was here.

1 fight I had with my mom while she was here during those said five visits and 1 fight Honey had with her because she just doesn’t have it in her to talk about or accept the abuse I suffered as a child.

21 total common colds had between the five of us in this family, most of them in the first half of the year thankfully…plus one round of the stomach flu.

4 BIG, chunky salted caramel chocolate chip cookies eaten in one sitting, just yesterday…because that’s what I do when feeling sad, stressed, bored, or hormonal…and that’s especially what I do when feeling all four of those things!

31 new posts published on this blog this year, after I hit “Publish” for this one…even though, two years ago, I said I was done…but then Poppy came along and I needed the support…and you gave it…so thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

And now 2015 is done. I always find it a little hard to bid farewell to a year when it has been so kind to me, so full of incredible blessings and gifts. Where is there to go from here, but down, you know? And we have no great plan for the year, no huge thing to look forward to. No trip of a lifetime. No new pregnancy or baby. No moment that we will surely remember forever. Well, except maybe buying a new house. I hope 2016 can be the Year of the New (Bigger, Better) House. That’s what I’m hanging my hat on. That’s my “something” for the new year. The thing I can look towards with excitement and hope and anticipation.

That and some more of those chunky chocolate chip cookies. I think I’ll have to make another batch tomorrow.

Happy New Year, friends! Be safe. Be well. xoxo

 

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The 200th: My Life in Numbers

I thought I would take a page from our friend Theresa‘s book and do a “my life in numbers” post as a way to celebrate. Celebrate what, you ask? Why, I’m celebrating that this is my 200th post! I can hardly believe that, somehow, I have had enough to say over this last year and a quarter to warrant 200 posts. I am eternally grateful for and humbled by all the support that each of you have given me every step of the way. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

Now, on to the numbers….

200 is how many blog posts I have written, once this one is finished.

0 is how many blog posts the me from two years ago thought I’d ever write.

12 is the total number of posts that I’m really proud of. (Read them here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)

8 is my favorite number.

2 is the number of men I have loved.

1 is the number of men I have said “I love you” to, slept with, and married.

24 was my age when I married the one I love.

6 is how many houses and/or apartments I have lived in.

6 is how many cities I have lived in.

3 is the number of states I have lived in.

5 is the number of cars I have owned.

5 is also the number of car accidents I have been in.

0 of those accidents have been my fault.

3 is how many continents I have traveled to.

35 is how many states I have set foot in.

1 maternity bathing suit sits in my closet.

0 is how many times I have actually worn that bathing suit.

$500 is approximately how much I spent on maternity clothes this year.

10pm is the time I try to be in bed by, but

11 is the time I usually get to bed.

4 is the number of jobs outside of the home that I’ve had.

0 is the number of outside jobs I have now.

2 is:

  • the age of my oldest daughter
  • the number of daughters I have
  • how many times I have cried today
  • the minimum number of times I do kick counts each day
  • how many dollars I wish a gallon of gas cost
  • how many moles I had removed last week (both benign)
  • how many pounds I had to lose in order to reach my goal…before getting pregnant

30 is how many pounds I have gained since getting pregnant.

12 is the number of months I will give myself to lose it after Skittle is born.

0 is the number of minivans I swear I’d ever drive…or own.

1 is the number of minivans sitting in our driveway, with a registration listed in my name.

5 is how old I was when I lost my innocence to sexual abuse.

22 is how old I was when I told someone for the first time.

28 was my age when I finally told my mom.

6 is the total number of people who know what happened.

8 is the number of family members who have died.

60mph is the fastest I feel comfortable driving.

2013 may just be my best year yet, but

23 has been my favorite age.

2009 and 2012 were my hardest years.

1983 was the year I was born.

30 is how old I am.

15 is often how old, and immature, I feel.

126 is how many Facebook friends I have.

8 is the number of friends I feel close to.

26 is the total number of months I have spent trying to conceive a baby (so far).

13 is the total number of cycles I have taken Clomid.

3 is the number of pregnancies I have achieved.

1 is the number of pregnancies I have carried to term.

4 is approximately how many weeks I have until I can change that number to 2.

1 is how many times I have thought, “I am so ready to have this baby,” today….and how many times I have thought it in this whole pregnancy.

3 to 10 is how many times I pray for this baby’s well-being every day.

1 to 2 is how many times I pray daily for each of you.

And countless are the hopes and dreams and wishes I have for you, for me, and for everyone who is still on their family-building journey.

Lucky

I am so lucky. Lucky because:

  • My husband goes out of his way to make me feel special and beautiful and valued. For my birthday, he made me a necklace that must have taken forever to create.
  • Cupcake is more than I ever even dared to hope for. She makes me laugh every day, often every hour. This week, she’s been marching around the living room, repeating “Plus sign, Minus sign” over and over — for no reason at all. And today, she asked, “Where’s Burger King?” The only thing is, we have no idea where she came up with that because we never go to BK. Like, never ever.
  • Skittle has been kicking away for days, giving me very little reason to worry about her well-being.
  • Right now, I have a precious puppy dog licking my swollen feet and it feels like an at-home pedicure.
  • When I took a spill on the sidewalk over the weekend, I landed on my hands and knees and not any other precious body parts. The worst that happened was a skinned and bruised knee. Skittle immediately did a few somersaults to let me know that she was okay.
  • My mom just made an appointment for a prenatal massage for me. Her treat.
  • I have some really good friends, one (Leigh) of whom is willing to act as my doula at Skittle’s birth and another (Lillian) whom is my back-up sitter for Cupcake if my sis doesn’t arrive in time when I’m in labor. Us three girls have one last weekend getaway planned for this weekend!
  • So many of my worries end up being unfounded. Worries about Cupcake. About Skittle. About never again conceiving. About our financial security. About my husband’s job security. About my health. I now only pray that my worries about a breech baby, Honey being successful in Sales, and changes that I’ve seen in a mole on my neck (dermatology appointment tomorrow) all prove to be in vain as well.
  • I know God. When I have nothing else, at least I have my faith.
  • My husband was able to find a minivan in great condition at a really good price, and I suddenly have stopped caring that I’m going to be one of those moms. You know…the kind who drives a minivan.
  • My mama is amazing. She has spent the last eleven days with us and, in that time, she cleaned my house, made every meal every day, bathed Cupcake multiple times, let my husband and I have a date night, did five loads of laundry, put away all the groceries I bought, and stocked our freezer with four loaves of bread and countless homemade muffins, cookies, snack bars, and pancakes to enjoy for after Skittle arrives. We also did a number of fun activities together, like the zoo and an amazing little farm and a day trip to a city on the sea, and she paid for it all. I was sad to drop her off at the airport this evening, but am excited for her return in two months or so. It is crazy to think that, the next time I see her, Skittle’s birth will be imminent. As in, I will be nearing my due date, in labor, or our second baby girl will already have arrived. Wow!
  • We have a home that somehow always seems to expand to accommodate new family members and new toys, clothes, and other baby paraphernalia.
  • There always seems to be just enough money to buy what we need to and often even what we want to. Can we be sure money doesn’t grow on trees?

If I was so inclined, I could also tell you all the ways in which I am unlucky. Because many times, in many ways, I feel exactly that. Unlucky. But not today. Not now. Not lately. These days, I am just constantly overcome with a sense of gratitude for my blessings and good fortune. It leaves me feeling very emotional, very unworthy, and very fearful for what might be around the corner. I mean, things can’t stay this good forever, right? But right now, I will just thank my lucky stars and enjoy these days and these gifts and rest assured in knowing that life is full of ups and downs. And even if we do crash and burn, we will rise again.

And if you’re interested, a new bump photo has been posted here.

#OSBlog: An Old School Blog

Well, life has been far too busy and stressful lately, so I was looking for something to force me to take a deep breath and slow down, if only for a moment. So thanks to Theresa for tagging me on this one and *making* me write these lists (and it’s also a nice way for my new followers to get to know me better!):

5 Things I’m Passionate About:

  1. Breastfeeding
  2. Travel
  3. Living a life of kindness, gratitude, and humility
  4. Doing and being my best for my husband and daughters
  5. Animals of all kinds

5 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:

  1. Skydive
  2. Take a cruise around the world
  3. Live in another country
  4. Write and publish a novel
  5. Meet a British royal

5 Things I Say a Lot:

  1. Seriously?
  2. I’m just so tired.
  3. To our dog: [Junebug], quiet!
  4. To our daughter: Use your ‘big girl’ words, [Cupcake].
  5. Do you know how much I love you?

5 Books I Have Read:

  1. The Harry Potter series (multiple times!)
  2. Sing You Home, by Jodi Picoult (just finished this one)
  3. The Twilight series
  4. Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel (reading this now)
  5. The Hunger Games series

5 Favorite Movies:

  1. Titanic
  2. P.S. I Love You
  3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  4. The Break-Up
  5. Juno

5 Places I’d Like to Travel:

  1. London…again and again and again
  2. Australian Outback
  3. Maui
  4. Antarctica
  5. Ireland

And finally…

This is the point at which I’m supposed to tag five of you so that you can take your turn at this, but I’m lazy, have a crazy bad headache, and really? It just makes me nervous to tag you guys because I know some people hate this type of thing. So if you’re up for it, looking for a nice distraction, and/or wanting your readers get to know you better, consider yourself tagged and join in the fun. Okay? Okay!

The Never-Ending ‘To Do’ List

** pregnancy post **

I started preparing for Skittle’s arrival when I was 10-12 weeks pregnant, not because I yet had the courage to believe that she would actually be joining our family this fall, but out of necessity. My mom was in town and I needed her extra pair of hands to get stuff done that, otherwise, might have to wait for a very long time. In the time since, I have accomplished a lot. And still, I feel like there is so much to do.

As this second trimester winds down, I feel as though time is speeding up. This whole pregnancy has really disappeared in a flash, but every day seems to pass faster than the last. And with less than three months until my due date of October 3rd, I’m starting to feel like the items left on my To Do List are weighing me down more now than ever. And so for the sake of fully documenting this journey, and so that I can see clearly how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go, I’m putting my list right here for all of you to see.

First, what I have accomplished so far, in no particular order:

  • Cleaned out our Great Room to turn it into my new craft room/office
  • Moved Cupcake out of the nursery and into her new room
  • Found a photographer and scheduled our maternity and newborn photo sessions
  • Planned and threw a Gender Reveal Party
  • Shopped for maternity clothes
  • Began two baby registries
  • Told our close friends and family the news and went Facebook public
  • Sorted through all of my daughter’s old baby clothes and toys
  • Registered with our birth center
  • Shopped for a few baby items at a fancy baby boutique
  • Purchased all the essential items I need for the collage I’m creating on the nursery wall

And all the things still on the horizon (with a few non-Skittle items thrown in), once again in no particular order:

  • Road trip to Idaho for a cousin’s wedding
  • Research finding a new OB and hospital to deliver at…maybe???
  • Family photos in the city this Saturday, July 13
  • Buy some nursing tops because I have just two
  • Buy a new car!!! (my PT Cruiser just isn’t going to cut it anymore)
  • Maternity photos on August 24
  • Pack our hospital bags
  • Research having a natural childbirth in a hospital setting
  • Make a ton of freezer meals — I think my friends Lillian and Leigh will help with this
  • Attend my baby shower this Sunday, July 14 🙂
  • Ask Lillian and Leigh if they might like to be present for Skittle’s birth
  • Arrange childcare for Cupcake during labor and delivery and our hospital stay — I think my sis will do this
  • Celebrate my 30th birthday!
  • Start planning Lillian’s baby shower…because I like to plan ahead and have no idea how I’ll do it all after Skittle arrives
  • Find out what my in-laws’ plans are for Skittle’s arrival
  • Shop for the rest of the items I need for our new baby
  • Finish crocheting Skittle’s blanket (I only have the border left)
  • Shop for Halloween costumes for Cupcake and Skittle because I have no desire to do it in the postpartum period
  • Finish the nursery
  • Refresh my memory on breastfeeding
  • Schedule Skittle’s baptism for the first month after her birth
  • Choose godparents???
  • Have my OB sign FMLA paperwork so my mom can get the time off of work to spend with us after delivery
  • Take a deep, deep breath and know that, somehow, everything will come together and I will complete all of this

Now that I look at it, that is still a LOT to do in about twelve weeks’ time. Maybe I shouldn’t have listed it out after all… But as overwhelming as it is to look at and think about, I know this is what I have waited for so long. It’s so much better than a to do list that includes monitoring ultrasounds and bloodwork and googling myself senseless and two week waits and obsessing over symptoms (or lack thereof) and researching herbs and vitamins and buying more OPKs (and more and more) and worrying about all the things I can’t control. I haven’t forgotten those days, or those of you still in the trenches. My heart is with you all, and I can only hope and pray that, one day, each of you will have a to do list of another kind.

So this list is long, but I’m lucky. I’m blessed. I’m tired, too, so I guess it’s time for a little rest. And then on to making dinner and having a shower and all those things that didn’t even make it onto the list!

Things I Know for Sure

This post may not be for those who are in a difficult place right now. Please read at your own risk. XO

Life is full of uncertainties, unknowns, questions without answers, and doubts. But there are a few things I know for sure:

1. Everything is made better with chocolate on it or beside it.

2. I am happiest when I am eating or traveling.

3. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen was at my in-laws’ on Thanksgiving Day:

IMG_3429

4. There will always be someone better off than me, and always someone who is suffering more.

5. I am never too old to enjoy playing with my daughter’s princess castle and pretending to be Cinderella.

6. A few kind words go a long way.

7. My sister and I are very different, but she is the only sister I have, and I am grateful she is mine.

8. It is better to ask about someone’s loss and grief, and risk saying the wrong thing, than to ignore it and let them believe you don’t care at all.

9. “The Wheels on the Bus” has endless verse possibilities…and yet, every one of them gets old very fast.

10. The best day of my life was the day I first held Cupcake in my arms, and the worst day was the day I learned Teddy Graham was gone.

11. It is never too late to say “I’m sorry.”

12. The best thing I ever ate (or drank?) was a toasted marshmallow milkshake at Strand in New York City.

13. Life is full of surprises, some of them horribly horrible and many others wonderfully wonderful.

14. You often get what you want the most when you least expect it.

15. Miracles can happen.

16. I don’t want to cause more damage or brokenness to any of you, my friends and followers, you who have lifted me up, who have handed me peace on a silver platter, who have hugged me across the miles, who have taken the loneliness out of my infertility, who have offered support, advice, and love. I know, truly, I just want all of you to be okay.

17. My husband’s semen analysis was either wrong…OR sperm morphology just really doesn’t matter much.

18. Clomid is still my best friend.

19. I have  $400 worth of injectables stuffed into my fridge that hopefully I will never have to use.

20. I am scared. Scared witless or scared sh*tless, take your pick.

And finally, I know for sure that…

21. In one instant, everything can change….hope and fear can combine and combust…my future can be laid out for me in a million wondrous and awful ways and the only thing I can do is wait to see which way it will go…all because of one little test taken yesterday morning that has made it perfectly clear why my period never came :

IMG_5072

10 Things, Part 1

Well, in an effort to keep my word and be more open about who I am, I’ve decided to share ten things about myself that are not related to my infertility or loss (mostly). But I’ll do it in two parts so that I don’t monopolize your time with an ultra-long post. So, my new blogging friends, here I present to you the first five:

1. I grew up in northern and north-central Idaho in a few small towns, where everyone knows everyone and your best friends in high school are the same ones they were in elementary school and homeowners (or at least, my folks) don’t lock their doors and parents let their itty bitty kids walk through downtown alone. My mom and dad still live in one of those towns, but Honey and I moved to a neighboring state after his college graduation. We went in search of opportunities and we found them. We love our new city, but I still miss that small-town atmosphere that I enjoyed for so long. Sometimes, I lament that my daughter will never call a place like that home.

2. I love animals. Sometimes even more than I love humans. Because of this, you will rarely see me kill a bug and you will often see me close my eyes to say a prayer when we pass roadkill on the highway. I’ve been a Vegetarian Lite (I still sometimes eat turkey, chicken, and fish) since I was 12 and have been making regular contributions to the World Wildlife Fund almost as long. And if I could take in every lost, injured, or abused animal in the world, I would. I just love all of God’s creatures so much.

3. My husband was my first serious relationship.  While I have been boy-crazy since I was six and have had plenty of crushes and a handful of dates and even a first love who wasn’t my Honey, I was just much too shy, guarded, and insecure to ever really put my heart on the line for anyone. It was only after a lot of persistence from my Honey in college that I finally agreed to a date and, from that day on, my heart was lost to him.

4. My favorite number is 8. I’m not superstitious by any means, but I do consider eight to be my lucky number. I was born on 8/8/83, so it’s only natural.  My love for the number is one of the reasons my Honey and I chose to marry in 2008 and chose March 14th for the big day. (3/14 = 3+1+4 = 8) It was also exciting that my daughter was born 11/21/2010 because all of those numbers add up to…you guessed it…eight!  Like I said, I’m totally lame and maybe slightly obsessed, but I do so love that number.

5. I was sexually abused. I made brief mention of this before and debated whether I wanted to add it to this list because it’s such a sensitive topic, but the truth is that it is part of who I am. I hate it, but it is. However, not many people know this about me and I do still have contact with my abuser, so I will protect his identity for now. This abuse, however infrequent and mild it may have been compared to so many other horrific stories, has wreaked havoc in my life and a number of my relationships. It is only recently that I have started dealing with it and talking about it to those who are closest to me. I am healing, and still trying to forgive.

Are you now just hanging in suspense, waiting anxiously for the next five things about me? I’ll post them later this week. Stay tuned!