Friday, December 07, 2007

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting - 2007

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting will be held this Sunday, December 9th. Held annually the second Sunday in December, The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

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As per the The Compassionate Friends web page, The Worldwide Candle Lighting is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe - It creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

As history, The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. A memorial message board is available during the event at TCF's USA website Hundreds upon hundreds of postings are received each year from all over the United States, as well as dozens of other countries. Some messages are in foreign languages.

Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured in the past in Parade Magazine, Ann Landers column (where my mother found out about it), Guideposts magazine, Annie’s Mailbox, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services is posted on the TCF website at each year as the event nears.

The United States Senate has, for many of the 10 years of the Worldwide Candle Lighting, joined in the remembrance by unanimously passing resolutions declaring the second Sunday in December of each year National Children’s Memorial Day to coincide with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child . . . that their light may always shine!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

13 weeks... And I can't seem to shake the fear

I am 13 weeks today... Officially (or unofficially, if you are a strict mathematician and go by being exact with 13 weeks, 3 days) into the second trimester. Officially "out of the danger zone" for miscarriage.

But, I am still having such a hard time being happy about this pregnancy....

...No, no. I don't mean not happy - I am happy. But, I am still having a hard time being comfortable about this pregnancy. Feeling comfortable... Feeling safe...

I have had repeat betas, all goods one. I have had three u/s's, all showing (and hearing) heartbeats, on-target growth, fetal movement. I cannot wear my regular pants anymore. I have felt what felt like movement already, last week later at night while trying to fall asleep (that percolating feeling, which I know from my PG with Chris is not gas).

But, none of this seems to alleviate the fear that, with everyone knowing about this pregnancy (which is getting rather hard to hide now anyway), something is going to go wrong. That I am going to have to un-tell everyone...again...the hardest to tell being Chris.

Days before each appointment are spent in an anxiety-ridden panic state:
  • Sleep is minimal for days leading up to the appointment, which brings on additional nausea.
  • I begin to make up scenarios in my head of how will I react to finding out the baby has died. Will I cry or be angry? Will I be able to drive home? How will I tell everyone? How will I face everyone? How will this loss end?
  • I get short with the Hubby, nit-picking such little things he does, when he has been so great taking care of things I don't have the energy to do myself.
  • I recoil from Hubby as he touches my tummy, talking to the baby growing in there.
Then, after the appointment ends and we leave with u/s pics in hand, I feel guilty for the things that I am preventing myself from doing:
  • Talking to the baby myself in those days leading up to the appointments, in fear of getting to attached and having my heart ripped out again.
  • Allowing Hubby to have his time with the baby...telling him/her the stories and singing the songs he used to tell and sing to Chris when I was pregnant with him.
  • Feeling the joys of carrying another life with me every day.
After my last m/c in 3/06, I remember feeling such guilt for not praying enough for that baby to stay with us. I talked with my therapist about it - how I always carry this guilt that maybe if I had hoped and prayed enough for that baby, instead of feeling so guarded toward the PG to protect myself from the pain again, that maybe the baby would have stayed with us. I know the guilt is irrational... That there was nothing I could have done to save that baby.

Yet, here I am with that same fear...and that same guilt for feeling that same fear... Even with knowing that up until now, this baby is doing just fine. He/she is growing and thriving...and, has a much greater chance of surviving and being born.

All of the doctors involved are so positive, so reassuring that things are going to progress just fine. Why can't I allow myself to feel that?

I have built such a strong defense mechanism for myself...and it is so impenetrable, that I am having a hard time living one day at a time, enjoying the time I have with this pregnancy.

I miss my naiveness I had when PG with Chris. It was a time when I felt nothing could go wrong...that loss could never possibly factor into my world. When morning sickness, as awful as I felt at times, still meant that I would bring a child home in the end. That m/c could never happen to me.

I know all too well now that anything can happen... That just because God has allowed this PG to happen, the "natural" way, does not mean I will bring a baby home. That just because I felt like I was going to puke at any moment, the baby may not necessarily be alive.

I wish I could find that total optimistic side of myself again... I used to always think the cup was half-full. I feel so different now...always waiting for the world to fall in on me.

Maybe these feelings will change once I start feeling movement consistently...have a little reassurance between appointments that he/she is moving around. That won't happen for a few weeks more...

Until then, what do I do?

I want this baby more than anything... To finally give Chris the sibling I always wanted him to have. To finally give the grandparents another grandchild to spoil. To finally give our family the gift of a new life.

How do I stop myself from fearing the worst?

Friday, November 30, 2007

This baby is finally becoming real...tangible...

I wanted to post these yesterday... but, the NT scan the appointment took a LONG time, then I had to go shopping for a birthday present for a party tomorrow, and then my IL's and I took Chris to the Turtle Back Zoo to see their Holiday Lights Show.

The next u/s went very well - baby's heartbeat is still around 150 bpm, he/she is moving around and measuring right on for where I am. Phew!!

I won't know results from the NT Scan (risk of Downs, trisomy 13 and 18) until the b/w comes back next week and that is compared with the scan. From there, we decide if we need to do an amnio. We met with the genetic counselor prior to the u/s and we basically decided that if my risk of chromosome issues is low (say 1/900, etc), I won't do the amnio. But, if my odds are higher than the m/c rate of the amnio (which is 1/300), then we will do it. So, that is for next week and will be continued then.

Meanwhile, the MFM clinic is checking my homocysteine levels (Dr. D didn't think it was necessary, but the clinic wants it done). I am scheduled for a Level II u/s on 1/10/08 at 18 weeks (they will check cervix then due to induction of Chris and the d&e/d&c history) and after that, I will go back to them for about 2 more u/s's to check fetal growth due to thyroid issues. All the while, still going to Dr. D for normal prenatal checks.

One of the best parts is that according the the MFM clinic scale, I weight 2 pounds less than I did at Dr. D's office 2 weeks ago! YEAH! I am getting worried about my weight (not because of how much I lost, but because I am eating SO MUCH, SO OFTEN!). So, we will see what Dr. D's scale says in 2 weeks!

Here are the u/s pics from yesterday:

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I am still so, so guarded about this pregnancy - always scared of the next u/s, the next doppler check, etc. Thinking the rug is ready to be ripped out from under me... That I am going to find out this baby is going to leave us too.

It has been so hard for me to think be enjoy this time. I want to. And, I am trying. I want to enjoy when Hubby talks to the baby, whispering how much he loves him/her already. I want to be happy when Chris pats my tummy, saying hello to his younger sibling. I want to glow when people start to notice I am growing into maternity clothes.

But, I think it is finally starting to sink in now that this PG may very well work. I am closing the door to the first trimester now - and, it has been very uneventful. I think we are looking at bringing a baby home in June...finally, a sibling for Chris to love and protect.

I want so much to believe...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A bittersweet Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day...a rather mixed bag for 2007.

As we celebrate the beginning of the holidays with both sets of families, we get to announce today the new, unexpected addition to the clan.

But, as we break the news to the family that doesn't know, we are also remembering that two years ago today, we lost Angel #2.

It will be a different experience, getting to tell the bulk of the family at 11+ weeks pregnant, since I was able to hide this pregnancy (for the most part). The lack of the mega-nausea has been nice.

But, while I am very happy to finally share the news, I still miss, very much, my second Angel. Life changed so much for us - for me - two years ago. This loss brought me way down emotionally to a point I never thought I could reach. Losing this baby was my first major fall, followed in March 2006 with the fall even further of losing Angel #3. It has taken me so, so long to recover from losing these babies...

Although I am still having a hard time feeling comfortable with the idea of this baby staying with us, and making it to June, I am beginning to feel hope and faith that my body will do its job. I haven't felt this way since my pregnancy with Chris. It feels's been a while.

I am so very thankful today - for so many things: My Chris, my marriage, this new blessing, my family and friends...and the chance to learn from, remember, honor and cherish always my angels, who I know are watching over us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May this holiday season bless everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prayer request for a friend's son

My friend, C's, son is having surgery tomorrow on the artery on his trachea.

James has been in and out of the hospital since birth - for so many things, including serious, recurring sinus infections. He is such a fighter. And a great little boy (although, because of C living in Florida, we have never met him).

I ask that all of you say a little prayer for him for his surgery tomorrow... He could really use could his family.

Thanks. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful things

In my Women Who Do Too Much calender today, I received this:
"To be surrounded by beautiful things has much influence on the human creature; to make beautiful things has more."
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Well...I am making something beautiful...

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And, it is amazing.

My EDD is now changed (by one day) to June 10th - I am measuring perfectly from the u/s done on 10/24: 10 weeks, 1 day. I am also getting kicked and punched like a massive soccer ball...might have to talk to this baby about it when I start feeling the movement in the weeks to come. Heart rate is about 150 bmp.

And, I gained no weight from the last appointment three weeks ago - very good, since I am eating like a cow right now!

Everything looks so right.

It is so amazing right now. But, it still feels so, so unreal - two years ago this Thanksgiving Day, I had my d&e for my second m/c. This Thanksgiving, we will be sharing very different - very good - news at just a few days shy of 12 weeks pregnant. It is hard to wrap my head around that. I am having a hard time, still, feeling happy. I am - I am elated! But, I have - and probably always will until this baby is born - that cautious voice in the back of my head. I am trying hard to ignore it...but, knowing how bad things can go now, it is rather hard to ignore it.

I am taking it day by day... And praying day by day...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My IF and RPL Story

From when I was a very young child, my dream was always to be happily married, financially well off just enough that the bills were paid without worry, and to be a stay-at-home mom to several children. As I grew older, most of that dream remained...although the details of it became a little hazy with going to college, getting a degree, starting a job, marrying later than I had hoped to, and starting a family later than I had ever planned on. The attempt to start a family later is when my dream began to really fall apart...and so did my heart. No one ever expects Infertility. No one ever expects Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Why was this delivered to OUR doorstep? What did we do wrong in our lives to deserve this? Why did I have to become a part of that 12.5% of the population experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss...which, statistically, ranks right up there with so many other medical "epidemics."

I have gone to three ob/gyn's in my lifetime - but, only Dr. D (my third and current ob/gyn) was ever concerned about my long, erratic cycles I had lived with all of my life - by Jove! Someone was finally concerned! He did some preliminary testing, but could not really find anything wrong that would be causing them. So, we just waited a bit with the caveat that 1) when we were ready to TTC, that I call him and let him know when we were going to start trying so he could re-run the testing he had done and 2) that whenever we started getting frustrated if things were not happening, that I call him (even if it was under the 12 month TTC wait for someone under the age of 35 years old) so he can really start running the full IF testing. We started TTC in January 2002 - by November 2002, nothing was happening and I had probably 4 cycles in that time period. So, we called and scheduled the TTC consult that month...and testing began immediately. By June 2003, all testing was complete - problem was ovulation, as in I wasn't at ovulating at all and was told that if I did finally ovulate in a very long cycle, that the chances of the pregnancy being viable would be slim to none since the uterine lining would be too old to support a healthy PG, making miscarriage inevitable. Hearing that the chances of me ever conceiving naturally just broke my heart. For someone whose dream was essentially to be a mommy, it was the worse news you could receive. After that, we started our first Clomid/IUI cycle in July 2003 with Dr. D - and, so thankfully, it worked and Christopher was born in May 2004.

Dr. D, after Chris was born, had told us that when we were ready to TTC #2, to let him know immediately - since I have the erratic cycle history and documented ovulation issues, that I would not have to TTC for 12 months before he could intervene. So, we contacted him in June 2005 to start TTC - and my dreams began to crumble when even what worked to conceive Chris didn't work now. Our first cycle in July 2005 of 50 mg Clomid never even produced an ovulation. Our second cycle in September 2005 of 100 mg Clomid finally produced an ovulation - but, so poorly and without warning even on u/s, we scrapped the IUI. But, I ended up getting PG, only to start bleeding a week after my BFP... Three weeks later, a blighted ovum was finally confirmed 100% and a d&e was done on 11/22/05. The Thanksgiving weekend was the worst in history...facing the family was horrible. I couldn't escape the pity in their eyes...and the total lack of mentioning what had happened, for fear I would break down at the beautifully decorated table. In an attempt to "recover" from the loss, we pushed forward into the next cycle in January 2006 - yet again, 100 mg Clomid and IUI. But I never made it to the IUI because I couldn't recover from the stomach virus DS had gifted to me. The IUI was canceled. When I finally felt better, I found I did ovulate (checking OPKs and temping) - Hubby and I made due, and DTD. Two weeks later, I got the BFP. This time, I felt PG - so, although very guarded, we went into the first u/s with joy and laughter...only to be swatted down again when no heartbeat was discovered and the baby was measuring more than a week behind. I had a missed m/c...although I still had all of the symptoms. Of course, my doc did another u/s a few days later to confirm...and I asked for the d&c right away. I was just devastated... This was now my third loss total. How could that be, after having a perfectly normal, successful PG with my DS? I ended up spiraling into anxiety for more than a year...and only with counseling and medication did I finally begin to learn how to deal with it all and accept where my life was going.

The most amazing thing - and I know I am in a very small the minority for this - is our insurance coverage came through with flying colors during all of our experiences of heartbreak and joy. I am a State Employee in NJ - and the medical benefits makes working full time so worth it. The ONLY things not covered by my insurance were OPK's and HPT's. All of my IF testing (loads of b/w, HSG, pelvic/trasnvaginal u/s's, etc.) with the exception of the prerequisite co-pays ($5 in 2002 - $15 now); the IUI cycle that resulted in my PG with Chris, including the semen wash/semen analysis and the monitoring u/s's; all of the prenatal checks and birth expenses of Christopher, again with the prerequisite co-pays and with the exception of the additional cost of the private room I wanted; both the d&e in 11/05 and the d&c in 3/06, along with the genetic testing of the fetal remains removed; all of the recurrent pregnancy loss testing (viles after viles of b/w and other tests); and, finally, all of the care (so far) of this very surprising, high-risk pregnancy - ALL of it was covered. I cannot even fathom how much money all of these tests, procedures, medications and care would have cost me out of pocket. My insurance covered it all, except for the simple co-pays. I don't think DH and I could have come this far without the coverage - coverage that, quite frankly, if mandated correctly by the States of this country, should be available to all of us. I was able to get IF testing done earlier because of coverage - so, it did not take me nearly as long as some women TTC to get PG because the resources and money were there. I was able to get RPL testing done much earlier with my coverage - saving us from longer-term disappointments and heartache, not to mention, allowing me to be TREATED for the medical conditions I have that will affect me later in life. Our coverage, in the end, not only saved us financially...but also gave us peace of mind that we didn't need to worry about the expense of it all during our journey. Less worry = less stress.

It is heartbreaking - and unfathomable - that couples in the US have to risk it all to have a child. Having a child is a natural part of life - or should be made as natural as humanly possible with the appropriate resources and coverage. But, with a statistic of 12.5% of the population experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy coverage needs to step up and start helping people become families. IF and pregnancy loss is not only a physical condition - but, eventually, they become emotional conditions as well resulting in lost hours with family and at work. The coverage I have - which includes 4 IVF cycles lifetime (which I wish I could gift to someone who could really use it) - should be the model for all States to copy from.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Helping out a fellow Stirrup Queen

Mel over at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters sent out the following call for assistance.

Go on over and give Mel a huge assist with this! It is for a good cause we all, unfortunately, share in.

So you're receiving this because you are a stirrup queen and I am a stirrup queen and I need your help. I was nominated for an award and at first, I was just touched and it was really nice. Then, Flicka wrote her post this week (
and it gave me an idea. Do I want to win? Hell yeah. But do I see a larger thing we could do with this? Yes.

This award thing will probably get press and I've certainly seen a rise in hits this week since it was announced. Flicka wrote about drafting a letter that people could use. I'd like to win this and use the glance that the general population will give to the winner to draw attention to the IF/pg loss blogosphere. To our issues (especially in an election year). To the reality of IF. Not a letter about how hard it is, but the reality of what it is like to have to pay thousands simply for a chance to get to the parenting starting line. What we need in terms of mandated coverage or job leave. The facts of IF (in numbers and statistics) laid bare.

And then post this letter if I win. Post it even if I don't win, but the winner will be announced at the end of the week/this weekend (I think) and we would need it ready to go up when the most people would be looking. With the blogroll list highlighted (take a look at 1000 stories if you need faces on the issue).

So the help from you--if you can give it this week--is two-fold. Flicka, if you can spearhead this, can you organize anyone who wants to participate (hit reply to this email and I'll compile the list of email addresses and pass them along to Flicka) and get multiple people to do research at once. And start writing this (I'll help you). We just need to finish it by Thursday-ish.

The other thing I need you to do is to ask you to use your blog to get other people to vote. It's three clicks (click on the link, click on Stirrup Queens, and click off the site) and you can vote once every 24 hours. The link to the voting site is Voting goes until November 8th. I'm posting this letter regardless, but if we want to take advantage of the general population's attention, I have to actually win.

So, um...begging for your help since I feel like my blog is a community space regardless. It is, after all, your virtual living room/bar...minus the pee bucket. If you know of other people who
would want to participate and you're not sure if they got this note (sorry, did a BCC because I'm squeamish about privacy and don't like sending out other people's email addresses unless they say it's okay), pass it along. We just need to move quickly.

Wow...I feel like an activist. Just in time for National Infertility Awareness Week!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

Figured I would have some fun today (since I am half-asleep at my desk...and I can't seem to concentrate on my work anyway...) and post some Halloween 2007 pics.


The first pic in full costume.
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Ahoy, matey!
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Arrrr! Check out my hook!
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Uh, ma? Do you think this is big enough for all the candy?
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Christopher's class party:
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Trick or Treating:
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Visiting the Great Pumpkin:
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Chris and Angelina:
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Chris kissing Angelina:
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All right, ma! Enough of the kissing Angelina pictures!
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Hubby's Cuban uncle as a Sumo Wrestler:
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The "rear view". Smashing, no?
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Sumo with Angelina:
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coincidences...bringing me to acceptance

Today would have been my third angel's first birthday...and today was also the first sign of my second miscarriage.

Amazing how anniversaries sneak up on you...

But, I am not very sad today. So much has changed, it is rather hard to describe the lack of sadness. Sadness seems to have been replaced with calm. With gratefulness. With lessons learned (the rather hard way).

I am realizing this current pregnancy is revolving around quite a number of coincidences...all that refer back in one way or another to anniversaries of all three of my miscarriages:
  1. 9/19/07 was my approximate ovulation date with this pregnancy...and also the third anniversary of the loss of my first angel on 9/19/04.
  2. My second angel should have been due in 6/06...and I find that I am yet again due in June 2008.
  3. 10/30/05 was the day my bleeding started with my second angel, rollercoastering into knowing that I would eventually lose that baby...and I find myself today trying to hold back the nausea from this surprise pregnancy while trying to get Chris to calm down during his flu shot.
  4. 10/30/06 was my third angel's due date as well, rather impacting what the Halloween celebrations became...until now, as I look at the u/s picture of my beautiful baby.
  5. Did I mention that, if we went by Dr. D's pregnancy wheel, I would be almost 2 weeks ahead of where I actually am, putting my due date at 5/28/08? My first angel would have been due 5/28/05.
So many coincidences...I am not sure what to make of it all.

I miss my angels immensely. There is no doubt about that. But, I am starting to believe, with all of the coincidences before me, that all three losses were my angels' way of saying to step back from the whole process...let things happen the way they should...eventually, when I learn to live again, everything will be right.

I have been living again...enjoying my time with Chris and DH again, really like I used to before we started TTC again in July 2005.

Makes me wonder...

- If I didn't go through these losses, how long would it have taken for us to find out about the underlying medical problems that needed to be addressed?

- Would my body have eventually figured out what to do on its own?

- Would I have let go of the idea of another child and stop charting, opening the door wide open to this baby's surprise?

I think I can finally say I have learned from my angels. I finally listened to what they wanted me to hear. I was too set on doing things in MY time to listen to them, or to anyone. When I finally stopped the obsessing, the controlling, the planning - things have happened the way they should have.

And, the joke was on us...with message provided through Chris mentioning something about a baby sister out of the blue on a simple Saturday night.

I am forever grateful for this lesson... I hope I can continue to learn, and to quit the controlling ways that have ruled my personality for so long.

I love you, my angel babies. I always will, no matter what. And, thank you. I know, with all three of you watching, the chances of this baby holding on and making it through are that much greater.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A beautiful rainbow....

We have seen the rainbow...

...And, it is beautiful.


142 BPM.



I go back on 11/14 for another scan (doc suggested doing this to keep my mind at ease). Once that scan is done, I head off to the MFM clinic for check-ups as well. Had all of the bloodwork done. Got my hospital packet. Got my prenatals filled. Got my b/w schedule for thyroid testing throughout the pregnancy.

Looks like there will be a new baby in the house in June 2008.

ETA: Here is the u/s pic:

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**Notes the EDD is off - the 8 weeks 6 days is based on my LMP of 8/23/07, not the approximate ovulation date that it should be.

I am without words right now... That baby is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Heart beating. Head forming. That sight only equals seeing Chris for the first time four years ago at his first u/s.

I am beyond happy... Seeing that heart beating still feels like a dream that I never want to be woken from for anything (well, except for a Christopher hug). I still feel, in some way, that that moment was unreal...

...But, it was real. And, I couldn't have asked for more today...despite the rain...and the headache from crying in the u/s room.

Sorry, I would have posted sooner, but I had to wait 1+ hours for Dr. D to get there. He was stuck in a meeting about a half hour away. He asked that I wait for him...he didn't want to push me off on one of the other doctors. He wanted to make sure he did my u/s personally. And, to finally get good news in that u/s room, after 2 years of disappointment and heartache, leaves me speechless.

I am so happy... Anyone wanna do my work today?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Between 6 weeks, 6 days and 7 weeks, 1 day - Don't care. Just scared.

Tomorrow is u/s day... I have it together pretty well so far, despite the beast that is nausea setting in with force over the weekend. Comparatively, it is still not has bad as I had it with Chris. But, it is getting close.

I can't say I am glad to see it show up - it still gives me no guarantee of a healthy baby. I had morning sickness pretty bad (similar to this) with m/c #3 in 3/06 (bad enough that the anesthesiologist gave me something in the IV line during the d&c so I would wake up without it). Obviously, the nausea didn't indicate a positive, I am not sure what to think.

I figured, to ease my mind a bit - and document things for posterity, if this does prove to be a healthy PG in the end - I would list the milestones I have passed without incident (or, better put, the things I couldn't achieve in past m/c's):
  1. I have made it past 4 weeks 1 day with a natural conception (my 1st m/c was technically a chemical conceived naturally...although my doc is counting it as m/c #1). I am somewhere between 6 weeks, 6 days and 7 weeks, 1 day now. This is way farther on a natural conception I have ever gotten...and only my second one at that.
  2. As I indicated here, unlike the past 2 m/c's, my betas are much better this time - at least in doubling times (who's to say what DPO they really are...and I can't nickel and dime that now. They are still good either way.). So, at least the hormones are doing their thing the right way for a change.
  3. I am between 6 weeks, 6 days and 7 weeks, 1 day today. No spotting. No cramping. Even after going out walking one mile a few times in the past 2 weeks. In m/c #2, I was bleeding at 27 DPO (or, about 5 weeks 1 day) and spotting often afterwards.
The big milestone to pass is tomorrow... The u/s:
In my last m/c in 3/06, I was only measuring 6 wks 4 days on u/s day - not the 7 wks 3 days it should have been.
If I can measure on-target tomorrow - between 7 weeks and 7 weeks, 2 days - and then measure on target again at the next u/s (whenever that is scheduled with the MFM clinic)... If we can finally see a heartbeat tomorrow, which I have not seen since my PG with Chris, then I think I can begin to feel a little more comfortable with the idea of this pregnancy.

There are so many hopes of mine riding on this surprise therapist would have a field day with me if he was reading this!
  • I am so thankful and blessed to have this pregnancy result from no less than an Oops! That has always been my get knocked up the good 'ol fashioned way. And, now that it has happened, I am so afraid of this blessing being ripped away from me.
  • We finally have a real shot of making Chris an older brother...especially after him basically prompting me to test. I so want that for him. Now that we are a step closer, I am afraid of losing it...and him never knowing the closeness and understanding a sibling can bring.
  • We have only told a select few about this...although my boobs are getting a little difficult to hide now, and a few people are suspecting. I don't want to have to go back and un-tell the select few who know, like I have done two times over. And, I don't want those who suspect what is happening to also suspect what happened again.
I know tomorrow's u/s is only the first step of many. I have a long pregnancy ahead of me, if this pregnancy is deemed viable tomorrow: at last monthly u/s's, double the prenatal checks (and time off from work for them), check-in's with the endocrinologist, b/w, b/w, b/w - and, me being on maternity leave during both of the 2008 summer programs I run (not that I feel guilty about that one!). There is no guarantee this pregnancy is going to make it by looking at the first u/s alone...

...But, it puts us one step milestone closer to achieving the family I had always dreamed of having.

I so want this to work.

The last time I was in that u/s room, I was confirming my 3/06 miscarriage... Dr. D's u/s room at this new office has nothing but negative memories (all of Chris' u/s's were done at his old office). I am not sure how I am going to react being in that room tomorrow. It has been a long time...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Being Thankful

For Val, thank you. Your comment, I think, is so very fitting right now...and just what I needed:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
I AM thankful:
  • I am 6wks 1 day spotting, no cramping.
  • My betas are the best they have been in the past 4 pregnancies.
  • I am being treated appropriately for the MTHFR and hypothyroid.
  • And, this time, I feel a little more I did with Chris (minus a lot of the nausea)
I think, with all of these positives in front of me, I can begin to trust a little more...and pray a little more...that things will work out okay.

I can rest a little more easily until my u/s on Wednesday.

Thank you. You have put my mind at ease a little. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thinking without "Hope's" and "If's"

Back in early April, Zia and I had a play day in Westfield. Among the places we shopped, we went into was one of those "earthy" stores where they sell spiritual items. As you can tell, we have been in this store several times, where I have bought Oracle cards, incense, etc. I have even gone back with Hubby to purchase things for family too.

When we went in April, I bought a bracelet for "Miracles". Allegedly, you were to wear it and wear it, and when your miracle comes to pass, it will break.

So, I wore it every day from the second I bought it: through the summer programs (where I am assembling materials to distribute, take care of catering, etc.), in the pool at the IL's and ocean on vacation, cleaning on the weekends. Always...except while sleeping (I never sleep with jewelry on). Guess what happened on Friday...

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That's right. It broke.

The cord had been fraying for a while...a couple of weeks, I guess. But, I never took it off.

I felt a snap in the cord before dinner Wednesday night...the night of our anniversary and the night we received the last beta number. But, I left it on.

It finally broke Friday afternoon sitting at my desk at work. Since it is on my right wrist, I guess I put too much pressure on it while using my mouse, and the beads started to come off. So, I grabbed an envelope and put all of the beads in it.

Hubby and I were trying to decide where to go for dinner for our anniversary throughout the week....before the snap in the cord. Since our anniversary was officially on a weeknight, and trying to get out for dinner with a toddler is almost impossible during the week, we opted to wait to celebrate until the weekend. I asked him if we could go into Westfield again for dinner - there is a great restaurant there that Zia introduced us too where we could eat, and we could go back to this store and see if I could get the beads re-strung.

We set out around 4:30 Saturday night to go to the store (meeting Zia and her hubbs around 5:30-ish for dinner at said restaurant - our anniversaries are days apart, and we decided to celebrate together). When we got there, we talked to the lady we usually talk to (we'll call her S). I explained what happened with wearing the bracelet, it breaking, the unexpected pregnancy, my huge fear of m/c'ing again... She advised that, although I could restring the bracelet if I really wanted to, the bracelet has given me the miracle I was looking for. I should just keep it as a part of my past - but, no longer wear it. I didn't need it anymore.

She suggested I buy this one instead and wear it every day of my pregnancy:

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This bracelet is for "protection". And, that is what I really need right now, more than anything. So, I bought it and am wearing it as I type here.

S then mentioned to me how she noticed I was talking in terms of "hope's" and "if's" the entire time I was there.
For example, one of my summer programs was just scheduled for June 8-14th - the week I am due with this baby. When I spoke to my Center Administrator about it last week, I said to her "I haven't had the heart to tell F (my Director) that I may be out during that program."

Yeah, I may be out...if I don't miscarry this pregnancy.
S said I need to make myself talk in terms of "when's" and "will's". I need to be positive about this...make my desire for this pregnancy to hold on a high priority, and not accept the thought of another miscarriage happening. I have to stop statements using "I hope" and "If" because I am allowing fear, doubt and past history rule my dreams.

Do you know how hard it is to not cry in the middle of a store, in front of staff, other customers and your hubby, when you are called out like that?

Very hard...and I didn't quite succeed in stopping the tears either.

She is right....I know that. I HAVE TO start thinking about this pregnancy in terms of "I will be bringing a child home in June;" "I will get to wear my green winter maternity coat again this year;" "Chris will be a big brother very soon;" "We will be a family of four, like I had always prayed for."

But, I just don't know how to do that.

How can I really think like that, having been knocked down three times already? How do I start changing how I think?? How do I start willing this pregnancy to stick, be healthy, bring a baby home in the end?

S suggested I buy this book:

Ask and It Is Given by Jerry Hicks and Esther Hicks:

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As per Amazon:
"Ask and It Is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks, which presents the teachings of the nonphysical entity Abraham, will help you learn how to manifest your desires so that you’re living the joyous and fulfilling life you deserve.

As you read, you’ll come to understand how your relationships, health issues, finances, career concerns, and more are influenced by the Universal laws that govern your time/space reality—and you’ll discover powerful processes that will help you go with the positive flow of life. It’s your birthright to live a life filled with everything that is good—and this book will show you how to make it so in every way!"
Sounds like a little who-ey to me, but, I have to start somewhere, right? So, I bought it...and started reading it Sunday. I will see how it goes...

I just don't know how to wrap my head around being able to say "When we bring this baby home in June...." I feel like I am going to jinx myself into another miscarriage. The last time I started thinking positively about a pregnancy, I was being told the baby had passed the week before.

...I need to be prepared, as best I can, if there is no heartbeat next week.

But, at the same time, the guilt of not wishing, praying, pleading hard enough is there too. That was the hardest thing to reconcile with my last miscarriage....I was so guarded about it after the previous loss, that I felt guilty when I lost that angel because I just couldn't be happy...I couldn't allow myself to become attached, to pray.

...And, I felt like I couldn't love that angel enough to keep her with us... I was too afraid to.

I am afraid now.

This pregnancy is a miracle... I just wish I could allow myself to be happy, to think differently...

...To just accept this gift and enjoy it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day: October 15th

For all of us who have lost our precious angels...

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May we find a little bit of peace today while we remembers our angels.

I will be lighting my candle tonight for:

Angel #1: Lost 9/19/04
Angel #2: Lost 11/22/05
Angel #3: Lost 3/21/06

You are always in my heart, and never forgotten.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reconciling my feelings and beliefs

I have not been quiet about how I feel about my faith here on my blog... My relationship with God over the past two years has been, well, rather stormy - which, I suppose, is completely normal considering how things have been. It is not that I don't believe in God, or a divine being... But, the idea that the God I prayed to would rob me of three angels - babies that I took vows nine years ago to accept in to my life - was irreconcilable.

My faith had taken quite a downward spiral...

...At least, I think, until now.

I have created several posts on this blog about the church signs I see while on my way in to work, like: Quotes with meaning and Change is inevitable, Growth is optional.

The newest on to catch my eye was posted last week, on Wednesday as the trips for the betas began, was:

After the storm
comes the rainbow.

Rather a blatant sign, no? And, I don't mean sign as just a sign you pass on the road, but a sign as in God yelling out to me as loudly as he can:

"Hello? Are you paying attention?"

And, seeing that saying on the church board is not the only place I ran across it, in one form or another last week. I saw it in an e-mail from Di as she was going through the anniversary of losing her Leah; I was it in someone's siggy on FF, whom I have run across before and never saw the saying there before.

I felt like the Pavlovian dog, with God's saying being the reinforcer.

So, the sign got changed this this:

Let Jesus be a part
of that rainbow.

Now, I guess God can't be any clearer on what he's sending, right?

It has been a very long time since I went to mass...maybe since around Easter in April, 2006? But, we are going tonight, right after my counseling session, to give thanks to St. Gerard and to God for the blessing that appears to be holding on tightly. They have a Special Blessing of Expectant Mothers tonight, and I think it is very important I go. Not just because I find myself pregnant and can use all of the help I can get - but, because there is some kind of divine intervention going on here for me - between the psychic readings, Chris' prompt to test, the signs in this post - I owe it to God to say thank you...and to acknowledge that I am finally listening...

...Or, at least trying to.

There are many more hurdles to jump before I am comfortable with the idea of being pregnant again....and of bringing a baby home in June: The u/s on 10/24, making it past 9 weeks (the farthest I have been able to get since my pregnancy with Chris), just to name a few.

But, it is very hard to try to have faith - even with all of the positive signs being thrown at me - when you have been knocked down three times over. One minute, I want to look forward to buying new maternity clothes (specially from here) to compliment what I have saved from my pregnancy with Chris, digging out the toys Chris enjoyed so much as an infant, moving things around to make way for a new person in the house....and the next, I am sitting there thinking how I am no where out of the clear yet, how I am going to react to not seeing a heartbeat again on the u/s screen, how I am going to un-tell the very few people who know I am pregnant right now.

It is very hard to let go of the past...and allow myself to dream again.

I want to dream. I want to be happy. I want to be able to touch my tummy and say "Hi, I love you more than words can say" But, I don't remember how...and it is making it very hard for me to reconcile my feelings and beliefs.

I know I have to let things happen as they happen... Be grateful for each day I get to carry this baby, which came to us in a way I had so hoped for all of my life... To trust in God that he knows what he is doing, and he will provide what we can handle in time.

I just wish this were a little easier...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy 9th Anniversary, Hubby!

...Looks like it is going to be a GOOD one!

Just got my third beta back...and I am more than ecstatic! I never had such a great third test...and I am very happy right now:

Beta #1 on 10/3 (approximately 14-16 DPO): 80

Beta #2 on 10/6 (approximately 17-19 DPO): 302
Doubling time: 37.57 hrs

Beta #3 on 10/9 (approximately 20-22 DPO): 1737
Doubling time: 28.53 hrs

When the nurse called with the numbers, I asked her to repeat it about 4 times...not believing the number she was giving me. I was just hoping for at least double the 302 - and we got more than that! So, she told me to play the lottery - and I am having Hubby go buy that ticket!

And, the child study team just called asking for the IEP meeting early on October 18th for Chris. We need to make it a little later in the day (Chris has his vision check at 9:45 am that day)...but, we are closer to placement/recommendations for him too.

So much has happened and changed in nine years...or, better than that, the twenty I have known Hubby. Both good and bad. And, today takes the cake on anniversary occurrences...

Oh, happy day! I may have to stay up late tonight. ;)


Here are the graphs from the BabyMed web site, comparing beta #2 and #3:

If I was at/about 20 DPO for Beta #3:

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If I was at/about 22 DPO for Beta #3:
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Makes me happy. :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The betas are in... (Updated at end)

...And, I am just not sure they are good.

Beta #1 on 10/3 (approximately 14-16 DPO): 80
Beta #2 on 10/6 (approximately 17-19 DPO): 302
Doubling time: 37.57 hrs

So, the doubling time is perfect...if only I knew WHEN I actually ovulated. If I am closer to 16 DPO and 19 DPO respectively on the draws, the numbers themselves don't look as good. He said I don't need to come in for another beta since the numbers did double well.

But, I am not happy about that...based on previous history:

Betas for 11/05 m/c (blighted ovum, so there was just no chance for this pregnancy):

27 DPO: 4000
30 DPO: 5000 (doubling time: about 216 hours)

Betas for 3/06 m/c (the shocker m/c, since I had m/s with this one and felt things were going okay):

16 DPO: 123
21 DPO: 1630 (doubling time: about 30 hours)
24 DPO: 4295 (doubling time: about 96 hours)

You can see how the betas started to fall off...

...And, so, I am worried now about this pregnancy.

Especially if I am closer to 16 DPO and 19 DPO on the beta draws.

I have only had a few bouts of nausea here and boobs hurt...I am gassy...I have heartburn at night after eating dinner...I am very hungry all of the time. But, I am just not that tired for about 5 weeks pregnant. I don't have the nausea I had with Chris.

I know I really shouldn't compare PG to PG to PG... I am taking different medications now than even when I had the m/c's, so symptoms could be different because of that. And, I know each pregnancy can be different.

But, I am not really sure this is going to stick...

...And, I am scared half to death right now, without knowledge of a third beta.

All I can do is wait for my prenatal appointment and u/s on 10/24.

I don't feel positive at all right now....and the 24th seems like forever away.


If you look the graph created at the BabyMed web site, my numbers don't look so bad:

If I was at/about 14 DPO for Beta #1:
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If I was at/about 16 DPO for Beta #1:
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But, still, I think a third beta is in order. So, I am going to call the Lee (the nice nurse) at 1 pm when she comes in to ask if I could come in for one more beta (I already called back and was told she won't be in until after 1 pm, and my best chance at getting another beta drawn is with her).

I know there is no guarantees to this...but, at the same time, I need a little more reassurance so I don't go off the deep end with worry.

ETA #2:

Lee (the nice nurse) is humoring me and said to come in for the third beta. I love Lee... She has been there, KWIM? And, she knows I don't bull shit them. So, I will be heading out in less than 2 hours for the next beta.

Thanks, Lee. I owe you one!

While I am waiting for news...

Well, while I am waiting for news on the betas (doc's office phones don't normally come off the service until 10 no point in calling before then), I figured I would post about a couple of other things...

First, I wanted to thank DMarie for the IF awareness bracelet! It came in the mail a little over a week ago (and, honestly, I lost track of it) - it is LOVELY! Much nicer than I could have done myself. Funny thing is, I had DH put it on for me shortly after receiving it (of course, I am not that nimble to put it on myself)...and when he did, it kept coming off. The knot he created to hold it on just wouldn't stay. Now, of course, it could just be him - although, you would think a former Boy Scout might know how to knot things... I have to ask my mom to put it on me this week.

Back in September 2006, I wrote a post on Why do Butterflies follow me?

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It seemed at that time that every walk I took was accompanied by Monarch butterflies, in a specific pattern of play each time (three playing together in one spot, two in another and then one by itself). For a while this year, I have not really seen the Monarch's - only those small white ones, and an occasional (and very beautiful) yellow Swallowtail.

The butterflies are finally back again, but not in the groups the once were. They have been in singles - every day - no matter if I am walking during lunch, or driving my car. Did you ever have a Monarch butterfly play dodge-ball with your windshield on a major highway? I never saw that before, until the last couple of weeks... It is unnerving, thinking you are killing something with your car. But, looking back in my rear-view mirror, the butterflies are just fine, flying happily along.

...It feels as if someone or something is sending a message.

Sunday morning, we took Chris to a street fair a few towns over - met up with my friend K from college (since her DH is a fireman in town and would be with the truck at the fair). We spent about two hours there, and then left for Chris to take his nap. Hubby put Chris down for his nap - I went to the supermarket to pick up some things. When I got home, I put everything away and headed out to the back yard to pick the last of the tomatoes that are coming in the garden.

As I was going through what is left of the garden, I started hearing this strange buzzing, kind of like a Cicada. I looked over, and there was what I thought was two Monarchs mating in the breeze. Now, of course I don't know how butterflies mate...

I turned back to my tomato picking, and I looked over again to where the butterflies were and saw they had landed under a metal chair....and there was a freakin' cat ready to pounce on them! I went screaming at the cat, scaring it off so it wouldn't get at the butterflies.

When I looked again at the butterflies, it turns out they were not two butterflies mating - but one with a badly broken wing.

So, I call my MIL and ask her what I should do - I couldn't just leave the poor thing to be cat-chow to one of at least eight outdoor cats my neighbor's "adopted" and I find sleeping (err, peeing and ruining) in my garden on a daily basis.

Let me add the caveat that I am NOT a cat hater - I am allergic to some (specifically long-haired cats), so to a certain extent, I can't be around them. I adore Zia's cat (Buddy - or, Buddy-Bud-Bud), and had one in my house in college (before the allergy started). What I have the problem with is the neighbors allowing two female cats to have several litters of kittens between them under their back porch - then they feed them, but do not feel they need to spay/neuter them, get them their shots, etc., etc. So, they run rampant, ruining my garden, my MIL's garden and more.

Anyways, getting back to the real story here, my MIL goes on Google and finds out that you can trim a butterfly's wings (not more than 30% of each wing) to remove the injured part and even out both sets of wings to allow it to fly again. She prints out what she found and walked around to my house, while I collected the injured butterfly in a container (adding in a few marigolds so it could eat) and awaited her to get there.

While I was waiting for my MIL to arrive, I saw another Monarch come over...and wondered if I should just release the one I had to it's friend. But, I felt there was just no way this injured butterfly could survive - it could barely fly above the surface of the grass. So, I held on to it.

As per the instructions she found, we put the butterfly in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes to slow its metabolism a little bit, take it out of the refrigerator and bring it outside so we could see where the injury was - the entire top of the left wing was hanging off, as if it had been previously attacked by something with claws (AKA, a cat). So, we trimmed that part off, so the top white spots were no long there - and then put the two wings together and trimmed off the other wing to make the two wings even (the instructions stressed that the wings HAD to be as close to even as possible to create the best ballast for the butterfly to adjust to).

We put it back in the container, to see if the wings were even enough (and so Chris could see it up close - he woke up in the middle of the butterfly drama, and I thought it might be a good learning experience for him) - when we did that, it flew a little bit to the front of our neighbor's house and landed on the Creeping Myrtle. It sat there for a while, flapping its wings, but not attempting to fly. My MIL picked it up again so we could look at it, and we noticed the wings were not totally even. We had to trim the good wing a little more. After doing that, my MIL had it on her finger....and it flew off, perfectly, to the tree across the street. I think it needed to get over the chill from the refrigerator, and get adjusted to its new wing span.

We sat on our front stairs, watching it fly as if it gained a new life. It was actually so fulfilling, helping out a little creature - especially one that has been very dear to me for a while now - who needed a little protection.

Thanks, Google, for allowing us to help it not be cat-chow.

I saved the part of the wing we had to trim off to help it...kind of a reminder of the miracles that surround us every day, and to give me a little bit of hope that maybe this PG might work out.

Here's hoping for some good news over the next few hours....

Monday, October 08, 2007

Freakin Columbus Day... preventing me from getting my beta numbers.


I have been trying to call the doc's office since 1 pm to find out what the beta's were (as per Dr. D, who, on Wednesday, said to call around noon today) - and I kept getting either a busy signal or the answering service. By 3:15, I couldn't get through - so, Hubby took a ride (since he's "unemployed" at the moment - although doing per diem work for the firm that just had to let him go) up there, and found out they are closed today.

What doctor's office really takes off for Columbus Day?

I mean, really?

So, now I wait to get the results tomorrow...and make the trek out in the afternoon for beta #3. I need some reassurances here that things are going okay...and POAS is just not doing it.

Damn Columbus Day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I don't think I am ready for this

Saturday night, Hubby and I were getting Chris ready for bed. Bath was done, pajamas were on. We were all snug on our bed with his binky, his drink and his book.

Out of the blue - mid-story - he says to us "baby sister".

Hubby and I stopped and looked at each other, not sure what to say or think. The words had absolutely nothing to do with the book we were reading... And, any time you ask him if he ever wanted a baby sister or baby brother, he always - always - answers "baby brother."

We paused reading and asked him if he wanted a baby sister or baby brother. She then immediately answered "baby brother" like he always does.

So ,we let the comment pass because, quite frankly, we didn't know where it came from. We finished the book, he finished his drink and it was time for sleep.

...But, those two words just wouldn't leave me Saturday night. They made no sense...

Although, I think he knew what he was saying.

So, Sunday morning, I decided what the hell. I will do a HPT. I had them left over from the summer (I did throw out the OPK's because I was no longer going to chart because of the stress it was causing...and with Chris' diagnosis, we still had not made any decision on whether to continue on the TTC road or not), so it wasn't like I was spending unnecessary money on them:

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As you can see, three days worth of tests (or four if you count the digital one I did this morning that I have not taken a pic of yet - and, yes, I did go out and buy two additional boxes of HPTs on Monday to get the tests on 10/1, 10/2 and 10/3!) make it pretty clear what has happened...

...With no meds.

...No ultrasounds.

...No IUI.

...No OPKs.

...No charting.

I am scared.

This is always what I had hoped and wished for - to get pregnant, the old fashioned way. Now that it is here, I am having a very hard time with the reality of those positive HPTs I am starting at.

I keep thinking, if I look again at them - all stored in a box in the bathroom - the lines and the "pregnants" are going to disappear. They are not going to be there. It was all a dream or wacky sense of reality.

And, I am very scared.

This is not what I was expecting to happen right now...although, maybe the $20 spent at the Boardwalk psychics' wasn't a waste after all?? I should have really listened to them?? And living life again without the stress of TTC actually did prove to be the best advice I could have ever listened too??

Uh, I am rather scared.

So, I am already going in for my first of three betas what I think is 14 DPO (not 100% sure of that since I was not charting steadily or to detect an ovulation). My Levoxyl is upped in dosage as of this morning (I called my endocrinologist yesterday with the news). I am coming off Lexapro - again, and quickly. My first prenatal appointment - my scheduled annual now changed in diagnosis code - is on October 24th. Dr. D's office is lining up the MFM stuff.

And, I am scared as hell.

Chris is not placed in an appropriate program yet - hell, we haven't even gotten close to IEP yet! I need to make sure he is in the right placement - and soon - for his best possible chance succeeding in his life.

We still have to contemplate moving, based on what happens with Chris' progress - and we have so many things yet to fix up in our house.

Hubby just found out he has to look for a new job again (his new job in July decided he didn't have enough experience for the position - after telling him he was doing a great job and had such potential at the firm just a few weeks ago) now he is hooking back with his previous boss for a while - with the lousy commute - until he can find something new.

Our new associate director is stirring up trouble again (more on that later - although University Human Resources told her yesterday in a meeting with my Director that if she is not happy with her job, she should look for a new one!).

And, I am scared beyond words.

Hubby knows about this... My Director and Center Administrator know (so I can get the time for the betas - they are thrilled and praying for us). One friend will know tonight when I call her.

No one else knows yet...not even the grandparents. And I feel like a heel for not telling at least the grandparents. I really need the support right now - but, I am so afraid of having to un-tell everyone.


I am too scared to let this news out.

To scared that this will be another false alarm.

To scared that my ovulation - whenever it was - was not good enough.

To scared to hope that these tests will result in, finally, a sibling for Chris.

To scared to allow myself to dream and be happy about this.

Thank goodness I go for counseling next week! What a shocker this news will be to my therapist!

I am trying so hard to be positive about this very big surprise - and wrap my head around the fact that maybe this was just meant to be (although I am extremely hesitant to even write that out, even here on my own blog).

I am emotionally numb...and every twinge, ache, and feel of any CM (normal CM!) makes me fear the worst possible outcome...and prompts a run for the bathroom, waiting to see something on the TP. And, it has only been 4 days of knowing.

How I have been robbed of the joy I felt when I found out I was PG with Chris... The blissful ignorance that nothing could go wrong.

I wish I could have that back...and enjoy the sight of a positive pregnancy test.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update on Chris' evaluations

Well, Chris' child study team evaluations are finally done - one more step to go (the child study team observing Chris in his nursery school setting this coming Wednesday) before the IEP is finally formed and we begin to review it.

Finally, some progress!

Chris has the child study team evaluation done of Tuesday. In sum, they requested that he have a occupational and P/T done (which happened yesterday) because 1) we had some concerns about some things he does (like how he walks up stairs) and 2) they were afraid that with their findings alone, he might not qualify for services.

Not what we were expecting after weeks of delays and frustrations.

We were told that he is very advanced IQ wise (he was identifying several words on a page and saying what they were; counting above 22; identifying all shapes, colors, etc.). The psychologist said she needed to add the numbers up because he was just getting things correct left and right (and answering quickly). But, he was showing deficits in language that we have been seeing at home (not in vocabulary, but in receptive-expressive language, although there is major improvement from the neurologist and speech evals in August). Of course, he did minimal hand-flapping for them (figures!) - but, was covering his ears at several points. The ear covering is very new (in the past 2-3 weeks) - and we are not sure if that is a noise sensitivity or a "I don't want to listen" sensitivity. They gave us flash cards to use with Chris that shows how actions work (like putting a hot dog on a stick, heating the hot dog over a fire, then eating it) to help him, since that seems to be the primary speech deficit area.

The occupational and P/T eval done yesterday also showed very borderline for needing services - basically, he cannot cut with scissors, string beads, button buttons, open a Tylenol-like bottle...but, I never thought a three year old should be doing that stuff anyway! I don't recall learning how to use scissors until I was in kindergarten. And, quite frankly, I am not sure I want him knowing how to open bottles like that yet! It was really up to us on whether an occupational and P/T recommendation got in to the report - and, I told them to add it. He is a total of 6 months behind for his age - which is something he could easily catch up on with just increasing our home time of them. But, I would rather see things addressed now, instead of using a "wait and see" attitude. I was given recommendations to help - mainly, bring him to as many parks as possible to play and to use some simple which I copied for the grandmas'.

Oh, and we did find out how much Chris LOVES trampolines!

We're in trouble with that one!

He does need some help - but, it does not appear to be that least, that is what the child study team is letting on.

We took him to a new speech therapist on Tuesday - she is much closer and also specializes in autism-spectrum disorders (she works at a specialized school that ranges from K-12). She knows what he needs (how to categorize actions and how to help him play with others in a more "natural" fashion - right now, he seems to have "rehearsed" ways of communicating). He really liked her - and so do I! She actually answered on question we could not find an answer on: What do we do with Chris' hand flapping? She suggested that not to stop it completely, but try to get him to modify it to something more socially appropriate (which he is doing already - flapping with his hands at his sides, more out of view) - and, once he gets that idea of adaption, then we can begin to get rid of it completely through speech. Since he has already made one modification naturally on his own, he is getting the idea - and using his speech more.

So, this should be a good fit for him.

Now, the child study team wants to observe him in his nursery school setting to see how he responds in class and with the other kids, especially because his teacher there has noted a marked improvement over last spring. So, that will take place this Wednesday.

After that, we hope to have the recommendations and an idea of placement and IEP.

I am just hoping that part of the process goes a little smoother than the first. If not, we have a friend who is an attorney who specializes in education - who knows the background of all of the delays and is willing to help us out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

And, why were we pushing for an eval for Christopher??

Sunday morning:
Chris: "Take the drink out of your ear." (If you watch the Wonder Pets, you will get the reference)

FIL: "Take the drink out of your ear."

Chris: "Uh, what'd you say?"
Mom: "Chris, I made your noodles for lunch. After that, we will have dessert."

Chris: "Oh. the suspense is killing me!"
....And, why exactly have we been pushing for the Child Study Team evaluations, finally set for tomorrow morning??? They are going to think WE have a screw loose!

Wish us luck tomorrow... Tomorrow morning's eval will determine the program he will be in.

I will be back to finish the vacation posts...and a great post about our Day Out with Thomas trip over the weekend...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My, my, 20 years flies!

Well... I met my hubby 20 years ago today...

My, my, my.... How 20 years flies!

I can't believe we have known each other for that long...and I owe it all to my friend, C (yes, I know I still owe you a phone call...and a package! It will be out this week).

In keeping with Mel's (Stirrup Queens) Happiness Challenge: Here is how we met (documenting something that led to Chris):

C and I met on the school bus, I believe, the third day of school (she believed I was a senior, and I believed she was a senior - too funny we thought the same thing!) and she talked me in to going to the Freshman Welcome Dance. I was not planning on going - I willingly decided to attend an all-girls Catholic high school because I hated boys at that time (when guys don't know what developing boobs are supposed to be when you are 12 years old, you get made fun of - A LOT!), and guys were not on my priority list. But, she asked me to go - and I decided, what the hey! I might as well have some fun.

We met at the high school that Friday night (I am very sure it was a Friday night - who remembers 20 years ago anyway???) and C brought a friend who did not attend the school. We danced and talked for a while, the school gym smelling of Aqua Net holding up all of the hair, the school gym blaring the liked of Janet Jackson, Madonna, Human League, Bananarama, The Bangles, and so on, and the guys we thought were cute or hot scoping out the pickin's of an all-girls Catholic high school...

And, I was in the outfit I bought for the dance: A white miniskirt and white matching shirt (quarter-length sleeves, sweat-suit material, since it was WAY IN for 1987) - the white shirt had a silver/black leopard print on it (and shoulder pads too!). I got the outfit from Mandee's - the "hip local for clothes here in NJ in the '80's. Did I mention the green eye shadow too boot (very Human League-esqe)? Of course, I had my jelly bracelets and as big hair as I could get for someone who has thin blond hair!

C noticed this guy (J) towards the middle of the night - she HAAAAAAAD to meet him and dance with him! We watched him for a little bit... C just couldn't go up to him herself - we, being so mature at the time, needed our "representative" to do the job - so, she asked if I would go up to him and ask him to dance at the next slow dance...

...Almost all meetings had to be done during a slow dance...

So, since this WASN'T for me, I agreed and went up to him and asked him. I explained my mission, showed him who she was - he, being rather happy at being scoped out, fluffed himself up and agreed --- if, that is, I and our other companion would dance with his two friend.

...And, then I thought, of brother! What did I get myself in to!

But, I agreed and I went back with the message that yes, he would dance with her at the next slow dance.

We waited...

And then Survivor's "The Search is Over" began...

Then the armada of J and his two friends arrived.

C and J went off to dance - and that left me, C's friend who I didn't really know, Hubby and J2 standing there like a bunch of dorks. Finally, after a few awkward moments, Hubby grabbed my hand and asked if I want to dance. I said sure - he was much cuter than J2 (and more talented in the dancing department as well) - and we went off.

From there, Hubby bought me a soda, showed me pics of his cousins (then 6 and 4 - NOW 26 and 24... YIKES!), talked. The talk was rather easy - especially for one who was rather turned off by guys at the time. We danced and talked some more.

....Then, I made the BIG confession...

...Told him what I didn't want him to see...

Horrors! I wore glasses!

Of course, he could care less - especially because I could actually SEE him with my glasses on. Actually, looking back at that, I am surprised I didn't scare him off with that move. But, we danced and talked some more.

At the end of the night, Hubby gave me his phone number - and, me being the traditionalist I can be, told him that I would prefer he call me (DORK!) and gave him my phone number. I said goodnight to C, Hubby walked me to my parents' car, introduced himself to my parents, patted me on my shoulder (double DORK!) and said he would call me.

...And, the rest is history.

So, in honor of him (and the nice flowers he sent to me today - pics are coming) - here is a special song we dedicated to each other at our wedding almost 9 years ago... It sums up our relationship - and how we are truly happy to be stuck with each other.

Stuck with You
Huey Lewis and the News

We've had some fun, and yes weve had our ups and downs
Been down that rocky road, but here we are, still around
We thought about someone else, but neither one took the bait
We thought about breaking up, but now we know its much too late
We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me

We've had our doubts, we never took them seriously
And weve had our ins and outs, but thats the way its supposed to be
We thought about giving up, but we could never stay away
Thought about breaking up, but now we know its much too late
And its no great mystery
If we change our minds
Eventually, its back to you and me

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me

We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me
(yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
Im happy to be stuck with you
Happy to be stuck with you.

Have had it up to here with incompetance!

You know, we have been working so, so hard to get the things Chris needs for his PDD-NOS diagnosis, I feel like we are just banging our heads against the wall - and no one is listening.

I have just about had it.

When we returned from vacation, Hubby called the CST on 9/10 to find out what the hell was going on - from the post Our progress with getting Chris into the correct program, we all know our town is in violation of state law for getting this process done. We thought we were making progress - we had our initial meeting with the CST on 9/13. We went over our concerns, what eval tools would be used, what kind of program we were looking for, inclusion for Chris with peers, etc., etc. It seemed we were all on the same page - and we were told that Chris would be the first child evaluated, and it would be either 9/18 or 9/25.

Then, we heard nothing about 9/18...

And, our town is not closed for Rosh Hashanah...

So, Hubby called again yesterday - and the eval date then turned into either or about 9/25, 10/2 or a little later in the month of October.

Uh, excuse me???

So, I told him to call them back and ask why??? I told him that 1) NO WAY is this eval going past 9/25 - why are we waiting after their fuck-up; 2) I want to know WHY the date got pushed back and 3) make it clear to them that if something doesn't happen soon and if Chris has to wait until January to be placed, there will be legal action.

Their response?

Well, they are in the middle of moving their offices (which, I would have LOVED to have seen any signs of that since I saw no boxes packed or things down from cubicles when we were there last week) and some budget issues with the state.

Know what???


So, I am waiting for a call back from the Interim Director of the CSTs in our town - if I get no response this afternoon, I am going above her head, and so on.

This is just ridiculous - and Chris is the one waiting for services. I can't believe what a mess this is turning into.

Chris started private speech therapy last week - and, although he is doing well in it, I am rather concerned about the place and the therapist. Apparently, they have a neurologist in the practice now - and her group is making LOTS of noise, right through his therapy session. My MIL called me earlier to say how unpleased she was about it because the therapist said he was distracted by the noise.

Uh, wouldn't you be too? Without PDD-NOS???

So, my MIL is going to sit in on the session Thursday - and, if it just as bad, I will be calling the therapist while looking for a new place.

The good thing is - Chris' hearing is 100% fine. We had the test done on Thursday, which he was not really pleased with. What a test THAT was!

Is it really, really that hard to do a freakin eval??? Really?

Hubby is calling a friend of his - who we forgot was an education attorney. We're going to see what he says to do now...

UPDATE: The CST finally called and we are a go for Chris' eval on 9/25 - finally!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vacation Chapter 1. Psychic Watch 2007: A "surprise" in store for 2008

Back in September 2006, I posted my first vacation chapter about the visit to the Boardwalk psychic. Well, since we were at the shore - and, at what other time am I going to waste $10 to do this - I had to go back to the boardwalk psychic.

To recap my 2006 reading, psychic #1 (Diana - I am distinguishing here because, well, I wasted another $10 later down the boardwalk to talk to psychic #2, Christine. Sorry, I wanted two opinions here!) mentioned several family things outside of children: long marriage, issues I needed to help my mom with, etc. She then went on to ask me "You have had several pregnancies, right?" I responded yes. She asked, "Several were not successful?" I responded yes. She asked, "How many living children do you have?" I responded 1, out of 4 pregnancies. She then said, "You are meant to have 3 living children. Don't give up, as you have the best care you can get."

At that point, she never mentioned a time frame - just that I would have three living children. Obviously that has not happened... least not yet.

Hubby and I went out to dinner on Friday night, September 7th while my IL's took Chris to an ice cream parlor where they do a musical show as you eat. So, we had a lovely seafood dinner at one of the popular spots in the area and then headed to the boardwalk to walk around like we used to prior to having Chris. Of course, Hubby knew I wanted to get another reading done - as did he. So, Diana was the first stop.

I went in first. The reading started as it did the last time - she took my hands and begins to examine them, front, back, front, back... The first words out of her mouth is that I have a nice, long life-line - and a long life ahead of me. I would also be married a very long time, happily, to the same man.

So, that's good for stability for me - and consistency for her.

She then went on to say that my husband, however, had some "troubles." He has - but nothing too terrible. So, I mentioned that he just started a new job and is trying to sort some things out financially for us. She said, okay, but that was not what she meant. She said that we had some tension between us - not anything wrong with our marriage, but stress from the events of the past couple of years that has been taking a toll on us. She said we are moving past that now, and that happiness is coming.

The big thing is she sees another child or children in our future (she vacillated between 1-2 more children for us) - very future. She said that I needed to stop trying - needed to stop asking for doctor's intervention, or asking for any intervention at all. She said I will be calling her around November to say she was right - I will be pregnant after a happy 'oops' event. She felt so strongly, she gave me her card and told me to call her when it happens...

...Now, of course, this could be the carrot to get me to spend more $$$ at her winter digs NW of where we live. But, I suppose, if it happens, I will give her the call she said I would be making.

Hubby decided to go in after me - about 10 minutes later. She said very similar things to him - and more - in his session (he paid a little more $$$ for more than a standard palm reading). So, at least she agrees among our readings.

Then again, she could have figured out we were together. She was sitting outside watching for people walk by...and could have seen us walking together.

Anywho, after the reading, we compared notes while we walked down the boardwalk, trying to decide what we wanted to do next. We headed in to Luck Leo's to "gamble" for points. After a little while, we got board and walked the boardwalk again...

...And then came to the next psychic's storefront (uh, there are three on this particular boardwalk). I told Hubby I wanted to do another reading - this time with the Christine (I am fond of the name - could you guess?).

So, I went in and she was standing in the doorway of the storefront, as if she were just waiting for me to come in. It was weird - unlike Diana, who was just sitting there waiting for a patron. It felt like she just knew I was coming in.

Her reading started like Diana's - she took my hands and begins to examine them, front, back, front, back... I guess this is part is the same with all psychics.

First, she asked how long I was with my partner. So, I asked her did she want years of marriage or years together. She said she wanted years together. So, I mentioned we would know each other twenty years this month. She, too, said I have a nice, long life-line - and a long life ahead of me. And, she said based on how long we have been together, Hubby and I would also be married a very long time, happily. I was kinda "stuck" with him. She laughed at that.

She, too, mentioned the tensions between us - again, not anything wrong with our marriage, but stress from the past couple of years that has been taking a toll. However, she sent on to specify that I needed to start keeping things to myself - that, in sharing how I felt to "all of the world," that I was being talked about and in a round-about way, sabotaged. She then went on to specifically mention that I needed to stop sharing so much of myself with my IL's - really, my MIL. Not that she is a bad person or using the information in the wrong way, but she does talk to other family and to my husband - and that she butts her 2 cents in too much. She felt that if I filtered what I told her and kept some things more private, life would be a little less stressful for me.

Now, I know she does talk - based on how she talks about everyone else. Again, it is not really in a malicious way, but just to put her 2 cents in. So, I know Christine is right on that.

She also mentioned that things regarding an immediate family issue would be resolved in about 2 weeks of the reading she was doing. When she said that, I immediately thought of the evals we are trying to get done for Chris and getting him placed in the right program.

** The ironic thing from this is that 1) Chris had a great first speech therapy session yesterday - the therapist told my MIL she wanted to know where the child in the eval went because he was so greatly improved in a month without therapy and 2) We have made a lot of progress this week with the child study team in town (we meet with them tomorrow) and other private services we have inquired about in two days of being home from vacation. We seem to have a good handle on what is going on for Chris and hope we will know what he will be going into over the next two weeks.

She said I had a rough summer at work - and that I handled myself gracefully and everyone knows the truth of what happened. But, I need to learn to stand up for myself and stop being everyone's go-to person - i.e., I have to stop allowing myself to be used. I need to get my confidence back in my work and learn to say "no" to things.

Also, she mentioned that financially, we have been working to really get things stabilized for a better future. She said that would happen around February 2008 - and that there would most likely be property transaction in the mix.

She said an unexpected trip in November is going to be taken. No mention of where or how far. But, I'm up for almost anything to get out of work!

And, she said that 2008 and 2009 are going to be very happy years - the sorrows of 2005-2007 are all in the past now, where they need to be, and things are lining up nicely for a happy family and financial future.

Last, but certainly not least, she mentioned the issue of children.

She said that she saw four pregnancies - and asked how many children I actually had. I told her I had one child - and three miscarriages after him. She told me that she sees me very, VERY pregnant come this spring. She specifically sees one boy (Chris) and one girl (the child I would be pregnant with in the spring) - I was meant to have two children: no more, no less. She was so matter of fact about it, I felt like she was reading it in a history textbook.

She, too, said that I needed to stop trying to conceive - I needed to stop asking for doctor's intervention, stop trying to monitor my cycles, stop adding stress on myself to make the timing perfect and allow this to happen when it should. I wouldn't need any help - I will be pregnant all on my very own.

I need to stop trying - and start living and let this happen.

That is one of my biggest wishes in this world - to get PG all on my very own. To prove that my body is capable of doing what it should.

When the reading ended, I gave her my $10 and she wished me the best of luck. She hoped that

I walked out to meet Hubby. He asked me if I thought she was right on her reading - but he didn't even give me a chance to tell him what she said. I told him, yes, I did think she could be right. She, after all, agreed with and elaborated on things Diana mentioned earlier in the night.

So, he decided he would go in too (of course, not just for a palm reading but an aura reading - SUCKER!!!). About twenty minutes later, he came out absolutely astonished. He never spoke except to say what reading he wanted and to pay her - she told him all about me (details about my m/c's I just never shared with her - I only told her I had three total) and how my sorrow had ruled me for so long. She told him about how well our futures looked - both family wise and career-wise. She told him how the things he has been working toward will finally pay off - as long as he doesn't lose confidence in himself.

She basically agreed with three other readings in the same night - and then some.

Of course, again, she could have figured out we were together. But, I am very, very sure she didn't see us together - and there were a few people waiting to see her that night, which made it hard to tell who was with who.

Do I believe what two psychics are agreeing on? That I might get PG on my own, without trying? That, if I stop planning - which is how I spent my entire TTC life, including when TTC Chris - the right time, around events in my life, that this might happen finally?

I don't know. I don't think I can live my life fully based on $20 worth of storefront psychic readings.

But, they are right that I need to start living and stop planning - which is really soooo my nature.

So, maybe - just maybe - they could be on to something.

For now, I am going to take these "insights" - that two independent women agree on - and use some of it for positives in my life. I am going to live for a while, focusing on Chris and the things I am interested in; I am going to stop charting completely (I threw out my left over OPK's this morning) and only chart periods; I will re-evaluate the whole TTC thing in the new year, once we know Chris is progressing well; I will stop focusing on the fact that I will be 35 in January and that it is not the TTC time-bomb I keep making myself believe it is.

Maybe - just maybe - living my life happily will bring what I am supposed to have into my life...

...Our lives.