Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Snuggle Mama Little Bit"

Today I am grateful for my sweet, affectionate, bright little girl- who recently has started cooing "snuggle Mama little bit" to me several times a day, nuzzling into me for long, deep hugs. It absolutely melts me.

My sweet love

Today in particular those hugs are needed. Despite my psychic and acupuncturist predicting that a pregnancy was achieved, despite having 3 eggs release, despite my body playing wicked symptom games with me (which all totally disappeared a few days ago- noticeably so)- I am not pregnant.

This TTC is SUCH a mindf***,  as it really felt like my body was pregnant. The hunger. The sore breasts. The ovarian pinching and pulling. Perhaps something was fertilized, but just didn't make the final journey? I so wish I could have a little camera inside me to tell me exactly WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?

And yes, my frou knows that these kids come when they want to come and in their own time. At least my kids do. Lately it seems everyone else around me sneezes and gets pregnant. I swear that in our toddler swimming class is pregnant again. The idyllic 2 year spacing. It is so hard to keep the envy at bay, and feel peace and acceptance toward a 'greater plan.' Some days I am better at this than others- today, not so much.

Not really sure what my plan is going to be moving forward. I am so ready to be pregnant and welcome another little one into our family. I'll most likely have to take a month off from interventions, and re-boot from there. I so, so wish that our insurance had IVF coverage, as I'd be all over moving to that step; alas, we would be paying out of pocket for that type of intervention and just don't have the means to do so. I AM grateful our injectable cycles do have good coverage, but the fact is that none of these have resulted in a viable pregnancy.

It's a blue day. I am thankful our nanny is with Iyla today so I can be as blue as I need. I'll be having a cocktail tonight, and looking often at this picture of Iyla's hilarious "squish face" to help bring a smile to mine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Adventures & TWW Obsessing

I am loving the cooler mornings here in Austin. Cooler weather = toddler fall cuteness OVERLOAD.

Yesterday I bought Iyla some cozy fuzzy Ugg type boots, to which I was quickly and definitely told "no like these!" However, when I pulled out Iyla's moccasins this morning- fearing a similar reaction- I got an immediate "I like moccasins!" and that little lady didn't want me to take them off, even when we returned home from our morning adventures. Hooray! This kid definitely has her own opinions on style.

Too cute!

Earlier this week I spontaneously took Iyla to a Gymboree "Open Gym" playtime. We've gone to classes two times at the local Gymboree, once when Iyla was around 6 months and again when she was 18 months. She had fun at the last class, but greatly preferred to run free and do her own thing (plus I had a big issue with the fact that the teacher could.not.sing to save her life, and the class was all about songs). 

The Open Gym? HUGE success! I was so proud of how brave and adventurous Iyla was- doing many activities "by self" after only one or two times holding my hand. She still won't go down a slide on her own, but we're getting there.

I am now 5 days past ovulation (DPO) and have had an interesting run of symptoms so far. Most are likely due to the Follistim and Ovidrel meds at this point vs from an actually possible pregnancy, since it is still so early in the game.

I took my Ovidrel trigger last Wednesday, then had IUIs Thursday and Friday. On Thursday evening and into Friday mid-day, I was having some burning in my intestinal tract. 

Here are my current DPO symptoms:

Friday: Ovulation day: Pretty intense abdominal/intestinal pain that night. Breasts already starting to feel sore. Had acupuncture at 11, and likely ovulated (3 eggs!) around that same time.

Saturday: 1DPO: Lots more bloating & intestinal pain, along with lower back pain, resulting in (sorry for TMI) diarrhea. This was different than a stomach virus because I still had an appetite.

Sunday: 2DPO: More bloating & pretty extreme intestinal pain coupled with lower back pain. I was a little worried I might be developing OHSS, but I wasn't gaining any weight and my doctor's office said these were all pretty normal reactions to the meds I was on. Fun!

Monday: 3DPO: Sharp ovarian pains on and off, especially on my right side. I had trouble peeing due to the cramping pain on that side. Bloating went down. Breasts fuller and still painful. Slept extremely soundly & well with vivid dreams- which hasn't happened in a LONG TIME. Started progesterone supplements.

Tuesday: 4DPO: Full and sore breasts, feeling really fatigued all day despite the good nights' sleep. Increased appetite. Have tickley happy energy in my belly & back. Sleep super sound with very vivid dreams again.

Today: 5DPO: Full and sore breasts (the right side more so) and noticeable fatigue. Feeling hungry soon after eating, and am peeing a lot (though that is normal for me). I may have just ordered a pizza.

I am letting myself feel excited and hopeful this cycle, while still remaining realistic…. I think my odds with each injectables cycle are only about 20%. All of my fingers and toes are crossed!

In conclusion, I bring you Iyla's amazing nap hair. It's been off the charts the last few days, and I like to call it her "Elvis hair:"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

23 Months Old!

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are 23 months old! The last few months have flown by, and soon you will be an official 2 year old. There is a well known expression about the "Terrible Two's," and although I would never ever deem you 'terrible,' you have definitely turned up the FEIST in the last couple of weeks. There is a lot more volume & emotion in your opinions and desires, and more resistance to the status quo. You are exploring your sense of who you are and how you fit into the world.

As much as you are feisty, you are also equally sweet and affectionate. I just love when I walk into the room or come home and you run full speed into my arms, nuzzling and hugging me tight. You'll say things like "Mama here!" as you softly stroke my hair. Heaven.

Here are your 23 month updates!

How old? 23 months today

How big? Next month you'll have an official weigh in at the doctor, but for now- here you are with Sam. All legs like your Papa!

Teeth? This month saw another molar & your last bottom front tooth come in! We have a total of 12 teeth now- 4 top, 4 bottom, & 4 of what I assume are your 1st year molars. Now we await your 4 canines & 4 2nd year molars. No real issues with the teeth- just several days with your hands in your mouth a lot more often. So thankful they don't seem to bother you too much!

Words? Your expressions never cease to surprise and delight me. You often say things like: "we said bye to Papa, didn't we?" or "you went to work, didn't you?" You are adding more small connecting words to your sentences, and your language is definitely growing in complexity. It astounds me how quickly you learn, memorize and REMEMBER new vocabulary!

Potty Time? I was looking back at your monthly updates, and it seems in your 19th month you 'got it' and were essentially daytime potty trained (albeit without undies). You've now been wearing undies almost 2 months and are doing great. We've only had maybe 2 small accidents- and those equate to you suddenly realizing you have to go NOW and dribbling a little bit in your undies before we get you to the potty. I really think the Elimination Communication you've been doing since 1 month old has helped you feel totally comfortable using the potty; I don't feel like I ever had to "train" you- it all came naturally and was just a matter of watching your cues and consistently acting on them.

Favorite things?

The Sofias. You have a "Big Sofia" and a "Little Sofia" doll who are your buddies and go everywhere with you. You make them talk and dance with one another, and say good night to them each nap and evening while arranging them on your bedroom ottoman. You also make sure any person who greets you also greets them by telling them "HI SOFIA!"

Making sure Sam acknowledges Little Sofia

Videos: You ask to watch videos quite often, and we try our best to limit this to 30-60 minutes tops/day. If you hear the word you become ADAMANT about watching… and I learned this month I can't even SPELL the word without your catching on. Right now we'll watch PBS Kids on Netflix, and you like Daniel Tiger & Super Why. You also love to watch Tinkerbell movie clips and still have your weekly Tangled viewing with Papa.

Adventures: Lately you've been such a great buddy to take out. You enjoy going on adventures to our regular haunts- the Driskill Hotel, Weatherup, the Rainey Street District, the Children's Museum, kids' yoga story time, etc. The only challenge is that you don't like to sit still very long to eat/listen/etc, so our outings involve a lot of chasing you around!

Dancing: You have been getting your groove on more this past month, thanks to a toy microphone that plays music. Usually your dancing consists of running back and forth and turning in circles. You totally have your Papa's moves. ; )

Counting: You have memorized how to count to 10! I also often observe you picking up one toy then another and remarking "now I have TWO." Of course I like to think you are a child genius and already understand the concept of counting, but realistically this is just excellent memorizing.

Swimming: Swim lessons are still your absolute happy place, with constant delighted squeals as you throw yourself into the water and swim all by yourself underwater to me. I never cease to be amazed by this!

Coloring: You ask to "play color" several times/day. You know your colors down pat, including differentiating turquoise and maroon from blue and red! You love to color in your Tinkerbell, Frozen, Tangled, or Little Mermaid coloring books, and also love coloring with chalk outside.

Jumping: Well, YOUR version of jumping. I hear stories of many toddlers who hurl themselves off couches and leap fearlessly off playgrounds, but you- you have always been a careful, cautious little one. The other day, however, you started "jumping" off your little chair, and due to your nature it was a big deal! So cute.


Here are a few more photos from your past month:

We love you so much sweet girl! Happy 23 months to you.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mama's ME Day

For the last week, I've been feeling worn down. Tired, moody, hormonal- just... off. Throwing fertility treatments and appointments into the mix of an already full work/life/Mama/wife regime has definitely tipped things out of balance, and I was starting to feel like a shadow of myself.

Historically I know that whenever I start feeling this way, it means I am in deep need of some self nurturing.

On weekends BC helps out with Iyla from her wake up through her nap so I can work, get house chores done, run errands etc. Every other weekend he takes a full day for himself to recharge- golfing with good friends then heading out for dinner and drinks with them.

Last weekend was a golf weekend, so heading into this weekend I made the request for a full ME Day- something I don't do very often. It then came to me that if I got a full ME day plus BC taking the wake-until-nap shift the following day, I could maybe get away. As in- go somewhere OVERNIGHT.

Just the thought made me giddy.

After checking with BC (who was completely supportive) I did some quick research and booked one of the last trail side rooms available at Travaasa Resort just outside of Austin. This resort is nestled into a wildlife preserve and features a gorgeous spa and its own farm that provides farm to table meals. And? A daily "activity" menu with things like meditation and yoga:


This morning- on the cusp of my highly anticipated ME Day- I awoke to pouring rain and flashing migraine lights.

Um, Universe? This is NOT how I had planned to start the day.

I was not to be deterred, and happily it appears that this was to be the worst of it.

To start with, I never got the pain that accompanies my migraines over 50% of the time. Thankfully the Niacin and migraine meds I took were effective,  and I was again ready to take the day by storm (pun intended).


I then packed my bags, gave lots of kisses to BC and Iyla, and headed off to a local coffee shop for breakfast. Over the last couple of months I've cut out caffeine in an effort to improve overall health and fertility- but knowing that caffeine can help with migraines, went ahead and got a lovely (one shot) cappuccino with my eggs:

Naughty delicious


I then headed to my doctor's office for a follicle release check. I'd had IUI's the previous two days, and as usual, at yesterday's IUI I hadn't ovulated yet. This is my 4th injectables cycle, and the very first one was the ONLY one where more than one egg released- and the ONLY one where we got pregnant (unfortunately ending quickly in a Chemical Pregnancy). Heading into this cycle, I was pretty adamant with Dr. Vaughn that I wanted to do whatever we could to hopefully have more than one follicle mature and (fingers crossed) release.

So at this morning's appointment the on-call doctor took a look and declared that she no longer saw any of my top 3 follicles, likely meaning that ALL THREE HAD RELEASED.

Cue me to:

ELATED AND EXCITED! Increased odds! Go baby go!

REALISTIC/FROU: If this kid isn't ready to join the family yet, even THREE tempting egg opportunities won't bring him/her here.

TERRIFIED: Dear God, what if more than one actually take?

Overall I left the appointment with my heart singing and hopeful, and proceeded to drive to my own personal Resort paradise.

I began the day at the spa with a massage by a French therapist. As he was stretching my legs and remarking how incredibly flexible I was, I noted that this was quite amazing given I hadn't been working out or doing much yoga lately. To which he replied in his thick accent:

"Zee study show zat zee tight glute eh pas ideal- flat, flaccid glute eh better pour zee ip eh knee."

Pardonnez moi, Monsieur? Did you just call my butt flat and flaccid?

Alas, he was on to me. It's true: flat and flaccid glutes have moi.

But I digress.

I spent much of the rainy afternoon at the spa, partaking in the hot tubs & steam room. I then checked into my gorgeous little nature-perched room, unpacked, and headed out for a muddy hike. I suddenly felt so much gratitude for the rain I'd cursed that morning, as there was not another soul on the trail and the temperatures were gloriously in the lower 60's (as compared to the 90's of the previous week).

I proceeded to wash up and walk to dinner. On my way, I noticed two ladies staring at me intently.

Was it my flat flaccid glutes?

Then one of the ladies called out "Jules?" and lo and behold, it was the woman who had married BC and I over 6 years ago! She was here celebrating her mom's 60th birthday. What amazing small world serendipity!

Bring it on, Universe.

And now I bring you my first ME Day in photos:

Home sweet home for the night

The view from my private patio

Equally as rejuvenating? The photos BC texted me of his day with Iyla. Cue my heart melting:


And now my cup runneth over.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October… Why Not?

Fall is finally in the air! And in Austin, that means temperatures are only in the mid to upper 80's, with predictable relief in the shade. A huge shift from months of relentless 100+ degree weather!

The seasonal shift always energizes and inspires me. This year, it may also cause some short term debt, as I find myself unable to hold back from buying ALL THE CUTE SWEATERS AND JEANS for Iyla. And this kid already has definite opinions on her clothes. When I pulled out a pair of jeans for her to try on yesterday, instead of saying "no like jeans"- which is what I'd expected she'd say- she exclaimed "I like jeans!" And wanted to leave them on That's my girl!

Also a hit? This little yellow sweater, which was immediately declared "COZY!"
 Sadly a cute jean jacket received the dreaded "no like this!"

I've decided my motto this October is "Why Not?" Specifically, 'why not' go ahead and march onward with another injectables cycle? This was a very, very last minute decision on my part- as I had intended to take several more months off from interventions- but …. why not? Dr. Vaughn definitely had a strong opinion on my fence sitting when I saw him yesterday, flat out saying "well, you've been having sex and not getting pregnant." Very astute observation, Dr. Vaughn. Indeed. He also likes to remind me that I will be turning THIRTY NINE soon, and with fertility, time isn't really on my side. 

How we feel about Western opinions

My mom? She says the babe will come when he/she is ready, just like Iyla did. No matter what I do or don't do to help out.

All is true.

And so I take the western opinions and tuck them into my frou-frou pocket. My intuition feels like another babe is definitely coming. Having that babe while 39 feels right (vs 40, so that would be getting pregnant in the next 4-5 months or so). I acknowledge that in the 3 years trying to conceive Iyla I had a LOT of hopeful intuitions month to month about when she would come, and many were wrong. I had to keep that hope alive to stay positive, which is what I intend to do again now. 

The frou doesn't fall far from the tree

And I AM hopeful. And desiring. And realistic. And yes, Zen. This month I am an energized, motivated, inspired Zen Master who'd like to officially put in an order with the Universe: 2015 baby, please. 

October, you've always been an inspiring month… here's hoping great things are in store!

Friday, September 12, 2014

22 Months!

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are 22 months old! You've had a fun-filled month with lots of adventures & family visits. Words I would currently use to describe you include: generous, affectionate, determined, easily frustrated (if you can't do something the way you know it is supposed to be done, like putting a book back on the shelf), creative, & so smart. This month you have started to really have opinions on how things are done, and started experimenting with what happens when you decide NOT to do something requested (like putting on shoes, taking a bath, etc). Your favorite phrase with this new development is "no like that."

Adorable feist

Here are your 22 month updates!

How old? 22 months today

How big? I put you on our home scale the other day, and it read 23 lbs, 8 ounces. It usually measures lower than an actual doctor scale, so my guess is you are now in the 24 pound range. Here you are next to Sam:

Teeth? Lo and behold- right after I completed your 21 month updates, I spied something very white and very large on the back of your gums. Sure enough- this month you have had THREE molars come in! Two on top and one on the bottom. And still no sleep disturbances or big to-do about them. From what I hear we are very lucky there. Ten teeth total now!

Sleep? No changes there- though I am trying to do a MUCH better job at brushing your teeth AFTER you have milk. This was prompted by my observing there is seemingly permanent gunk between your bottom 2 teeth (tartar?), which prompted a strong flood of Mama Guilt.

This picture is hilarious- you almost always wake happy and cheerful from your naps, but occasionally I get a sleepy grump who needs some time to acclimate to the world again.

Food? You continue to be a great eater! You are always willing to try new things, and consistently respond by either spitting the new item out with a "no like that" or immediately requesting MORE! You are still getting your milk in bottles. Three a day. I'm at peace with it, especially with our amped up oral hygiene routine.

Potty Time? This was a BIG month for that… as just this week I pulled out your BIG GIRL UNDERWEAR (Tinkerbell, of course) to give them a whirl. You have been doing so well wearing them! We've already ventured out on many excursions, and I make a point to frequently sit you on any nearby toilet in regular increments. If you have to go, you'll go. Definitely not night trained- that is something I'll start researching and learning about in the next few months. No rush! I am just so proud of you. You seem to like wearing the underwear much better than diapers.

Words? Your memory just astounds us. When we visited your Mimi and Grampy 2 weeks ago, you were slowly reintroduced to each of their 5 kitties. You memorized and knew each kitty by name almost immediately. I still don't know them all! Just yesterday you said you wanted to go to Mimi and Grampy's house to see their kitties. I named 3 of them and you proceeded to name the remaining 2. Amazing.

I love hearing you playing make believe scenes from movie clips you've watched, recalling things I had no idea you noticed. You'll say things like "go to the Mainland!" or "meet at the border, get pixie dust."

You also can recite every single animal in your Animal Alphabet deck of cards (A-Z), and have memorized counting to 5.

Favorite things:

Tinker Bell! We have several little fairy dolls and you love watching the movies (we watch them over several days in 10-20 minute increments).

Coloring! I waited a long time to officially introduce coloring, as previous attempts inevitably led to crayon eating. However- insert one Tinkerbell coloring book and a pack of toddler friendly triangular crayons, and voila! We have a little artist. You love to color, and interestingly enough- your very favorite crayon color right now is brown. I am planning to get you a little art table and chairs for your 2nd birthday, so you can have a separate designated space to create things at.

Swimming. You have really turned a corner in swim lessons! It is your confident, capable space, and you will often shriek with delight as you kick about in the water. During lessons I stand about 4-5 feet back from you in the water and you'll jump off the steps to me, swimming underwater and kicking until you reach me. You can hold your breath for 10 seconds consistently, which is the maximum amount of time they train you to hold it. You are such a little fish!

Swimming at Mimi and Grampy's

Breakfast out with Mama. Once a week I take you out to my favorite coffee shop for breakfast. In the car you immediately start asking"maybe eat muffins? eat eggs?" and wondering if we'll "see Laura or John?" two of the regulars who work there.

Having me sing to you. You LOVE to request songs- especially from Tangled or Frozen- and will often say "not that one, want different one" when I start singing. Last week you attempted to sing by yourself for the first time! As in- instead of just reciting and saying the words, you experimented with singsongy vocalizations that sounded darn close to what I was singing. Your personality is such that you seem to wait to break out a new skill until you are completely confident you can do it (like crawling and walking)- so I wouldn't be surprised if one day soon you just started singing full songs back to me completely in key. We'll see!

Singing with Cousin Heather

Books: You have started to read "by self" a lot more lately, and it melts my heart every time I find you quietly turning pages of beloved books.

You also still love to be read to

The Children's Museum. We go every Monday morning for their "Baby Bloomers" program- which only allows children under the age of 3. We start by finding the ducks & geese at the lake, proceed to play at the park, and then take the museum by storm- complete with their story and music times.

Not so favorite things:

Your first shiner. While playing with your nanny, you took a tumble trying to climb onto a chair and got your first significant boo-boo! It looked bad but didn't seem to bother you much at all, and thankfully healed quickly.

Being told what to do. Inevitably if we ask you to count, name something, or perform an activity for someone you are not yet comfortable with, you will remain silent and stoic. Then you will do the thing requested several minutes later when you are good and ready to do it!

Baths. It has become more of a struggle to get you INTO the bath lately ("no like bath")- but once you are finally in you have a great time and have to be coaxed out.

I think a lot of what is going on lately is your exploration of SELF, and of having control over your own ideas, opinions, and actions. You are just starting to test boundaries, and my instinct is that in the following month we are going to have to come up with some gentle discipline techniques surrounding non-negotiable routines & rules (like sitting down for meals, putting on shoes, putting on underwear, etc). It's a new era of independence for our already independent little girl! One of the funniest things (to me) is when you are feeling frustrated you will spill out a string of unintelligible consonants- like "ninininini!" or "picapicapica!"

One thing I admire so much about you is your intrinsic generosity. For example, this week we visited a little friend of yours named Sabine whom we haven't seen in a long time. You brought your beloved Tinker Bell doll with you, and Sabine was equally enthralled by it. You had absolutely NO problem handing the doll to her and letting her run off and play with it. It seems to enchant you more when others love your toys as much as you do and never elicits a sense of possessiveness or jealousy. Very unusual for your age! Sabine had a very 'normal' toddler reaction with Tinker Bell- in that, once it was in her possession she did not want to return it, resulting in a meltdown when it was time to go.

Iyla and Sabine

Here are a few more photos from your last month:

Happy 22 months sweet girl- we love you so much!