Monday, August 24, 2015

1st Day of School!

Today was a big day… my sweet little Iyla Grace had her first official day of school!

She is attending a small Monday/Wednesday morning program (she is one of only 8 kids!) at a darling Montessori based school, run by a husband/wife team and assistant teacher. The school house and gardens are absolutely beautiful and magical, and I knew within seconds of my first visit that this would be a place Iyla would adore.

Last Friday they had an open house for the new students & parents, and Iyla had so much fun playing! I mean, this place has a mini fairy house in it. If that isn't perfect for Iyla, I don't know what is. There was also a tent filled with stuffed animals, including the entire Winnie the Pooh gang and Curious George- some of Iyla's favorites!

A peek into the magical school house

Discovering new stuffed animals at the open house

A water table for my water baby!

Curious George

A couple of Iyla's teachers in the background- Ms Morgan in the center and Ms Morna on the right (not pictured: Mr. Ben)

A friend of mine posted about how she'd created a personalized book for her daughter's upcoming first day of school.  I thought that was an excellent idea and hustled to write a little story for Iyla over the weekend (thanks for the idea Cheasty!). It was a big hit! She was quite enamored with this new book based on her life, requesting that I read it over and over and over again:

Come this morning, Iyla was totally ready to go! I told her we'd be putting on her backpack and taking photos, which was a sneaky Mama trick… I made it sound like photos were a first day of school rule/routine (which they WILL be!) and my sweet girl- who typically fusses when I pull out the camera- happily posed for me! Success.

This was the first face I got when I asked her to smile. A work in progress.

Then I told her to say "poop," which always brings the smiles

A little first day of school jig

Modeling her new backpack

We arrived early (traffic was surprisingly sparse!) so i took the opportunity to embarrass her further with more photos outside the school

"Geez Mama."

When we arrived, Iyla marched confidently in and promptly found the fairy dollies. She did have one moment of pause when Mr. Ben approached to welcome her and asked if she wanted a hug (this is NOT a kid to dole out affection to someone she doesn't know well!) but recovered quickly. I kept the good-byes brief and let her know I'd be back soon to pick her up- to which she replied: "you go now." ; )

The teachers had set the expectation that often on the 1st day it's good for new kids to be picked up after an hour, depending on how they are doing. I made sure to have several errands to run within 15 minutes of her school, but was happy to receive two text updates both saying that she was doing great and should be able to stay the full morning.

When I went to pick her up, Iyla was beaming, shouting "Mama! Mama! You're here!" Her teachers reported that she was the only new kid to last the entire morning. They also said that she had eaten a great lunch and led all the other kids in a new way to eat it. They had been served pesto pasta and soup (fresh from the gardens there!) and Iyla had started dipping her pasta in the soup and drinking it that way- to which all the others kids apparently followed suit. That's my girl! 

Other updates included Iyla having made up some new moves during yoga time, and sweetly asking permission to play with the water table (she told me that was one of her favorite things!) The teachers said she did a great job participating all morning long. 

I am so proud of my BIG GIRL! And excited for her to have this new found independence and opportunity to make a community of friends. : )

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Happy Rainbow Day" and This Week's Updates

What a week it's been!

Here's a recap in photos.

BC returned from a week long trip abroad and was greeted by two over-the-moon girls (the little one pictured below):

We celebrated Father's Day with dinner out downtown:

Iyla and BC got back to their Papa/daughter morning routine of bike rides & breakfast:

We played a LOT with our Tinkerbell fairies:

Had swim lessons:

Got a new backpack for dance class:

Demanded that hair be put in "buns!" for dance class (a true diva ballerina!):

Continued to be the one kiddo in class marching to her own tune:

I WILL do what I want! BUNS!

Had a lovely date night with BC at the delicious LaV:

Took this kid out to breakfast at Sawyer & Co:

Ha- can't get close enough to the old time TV

Practiced our fish faces in anticipation of visiting the Austin Aquarium:

Saw many, many fish and birds and reptiles at the Aquarium:

And celebrated an amazingly monumental day yesterday with the announcement that same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide! Iyla declared it "Rainbow Day" and was calling out "Happy Rainbow Day!" to all who would listen. : )

I wish I could finish this week recap with good news about our FET, but alas, I cannot. I took my first home test on Father's Day, thinking it would be a fantastic surprise for BC… and got negative tests all the way until my blood test confirmed what I already knew: this cycle was a complete bust. 

I was pretty wrecked about it, and the whole experience has made me want to retreat into an even more private place regarding our quest for another child. I know friends and family mean well when they tell me things like "it will happen when you relax! When you stop trying to control things and just trust!" but damn if that doesn't just make me feel ANGRY and isolated. Can I just tell you how many months I HAVE relaxed, gone on vacation, let things 'just be' and NOT gotten pregnant? It's really hard for anyone to understand what this quest feels like, save other women who are also in the infertility trenches. Those are the women I've been leaning on heavily throughout this process, feeling much gratitude to have such an awesome support group.

I hit rock bottom Thursday during a consult with my Austin fertility doc, where 'donor egg IVF' was mentioned to me no less than 4 times, and with each mention the tears would come fresh again. NOT very comforting. So not going there.

Next week I have an appointment for a 2nd opinion at the highly esteemed Houston IVF, where my dear friend had her most recent successful IVF cycle (pregnant with twins & has an additional 3 frozen embryos! This from a lady in her early 40's who had 2 unsuccessful cycles at other clinics prior to this one).

I don't know that I can afford another IVF cycle. I am going to take the next couple of months to regroup, take lots of vitamins, get as healthy as possible, and from there look again at finances & calendars toward a possible "go" date in the early fall for a 2nd round. I am not ready to throw in the towel and accept having an only child yet. I know I may have to get there at some point, but right now, my heart still wants and needs to fight for another baby.

How can I look at this face and NOT want another?

In the meanwhile, I've distracted myself with a new car purchase. My electronic baby is due in about a week, and I am SO excited! I've been driving my 2005 Toyota Highlander for 10 years now and been super happy with it, but it was well time for an upgrade. This new baby (a 2015 Toyota Highlander Limited) has 2nd row captains chairs, 3rd row pop up seats, and a sunroof. A SUNROOF! It's like Christmas times a billion. And a much needed 'something special' to look forward to.

Behold my new baby:

And the quest continues…..

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And Then There Was One….

The roller-coaster of IVF continues.

When I arrived to my transfer yesterday, I was informed that one of my two frozen embryos didn't survive the thaw, so we'd have only one to transfer.


I was devastated. And all alone with the matter-of-fact nurse.

I fought with my emotions as my instinct was to break down and cry, but I'd read so many articles showing that LAUGHTER post transfer actually increased the odds of pregnancy success, so I tried my best to hold my s*** together. I mourned the fact that twins would no longer be a possibility (a crazy thought I know, but still one that was fun to consider), and that our overall odds had likely just decreased.

So now it comes down to our one lone survivor. Of the 17 eggs retrieved, of the 9 that fertilized, of the 2 that made it to freeze, we have ONE little fighter. It was my day 7 blastocyst that had completely hatched… the one that swooped in last minute on day 7 to fill my heart with hope and joy in the midst of an overall crazy IVF process.

Keep fighting little one… please, please, PLEASE keep fighting!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frozen Embryo Transfer

Tomorrow I will have my first ever frozen embryo transfer (FET).

I had my lining check Tuesday, blood work Wednesday, and thankfully all looked great toward moving forward with the transfer.

We are going to transfer both of the embryos we have, which gives us roughly a 30% chance of pregnancy (per my doctor). I am aware that this also means there is a 70% chance this won't work….but my doctor reassured me that even healthy fertile couples only have a 10% chance monthly of conceiving, so 30% is actually pretty good. I'll take it!

In addition to all of the hormone prep (2x/day estrogen, now 2x/day Crinone) I've been pulling in all of my frou-frou community to sparkle up the baby energy. One promising omen: two of the clairvoyant ladies I talk to on occasion each said- no joke- upon first seeing me: 'are you pregnant?' The energy is definitely there. The desire is DEFINITELY there. So come on little one(s), we are so ready for you!

One interesting catch? BC leaves today for a week long business trip to The Netherlands and will be gone when the transfer actually happens. With the miracle of modern medicine our next child might be conceived while he is literally a world away. Go figure!

Our family also has a strange pattern that when one life ends, another often comes into being. We lost my dear, sweet grandmother (Nani) on Friday. It was a huge loss for our family, and very interesting timing with the FET. I'm hoping Nani & the little spirit coming to us are communing now, celebrating the life that was and the life that will be. That image comforts me greatly, and I am praying even more that things take tomorrow to bring some much needed JOY to our family.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers in the upcoming weeks… we are SO hoping it!

Iyla and Nani's first meeting- love at first sight! 
We love you so much Nani- your presence here will be greatly missed, but always felt and celebrated.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tiny Dancer

Oh my goodness.

Iyla had her first ever dance class this morning, and it was absolutely adorable and hilarious.

Firstly, as we were about to leave, she suddenly remarked "oh! I need my purse!" and proceeded to grab her little purple Sophia purse and sling it over her shoulder. Who was this child?!

My parents were in town and got to come along to watch:

When class time came, the teacher ushered all the little girls into the studio. The parents sat outside the room and watched the class via TV screen. There were 10 little girls in the 2-3 year old range and only ONE TEACHER.  Just as soon as that poor teacher would start an activity, some little one would run toward the door having to go potty (the teacher would open the door and call out to the parent) or the group would just start running astray.

Iyla's independent personality definitely came out, as she was frequently seen off to the side all by herself while the rest of the class participated! Hilarious.

Yep, that's my kid off to the left marching to her own drum. She was also the only little girl in blue, which she very specifically picked out!

Iyla pretty much spent the entire tap dancing segment doing her own thing, but come ballet time she did jump in for a few group activities:

One of the rare times the non participant WASN'T my child

After the group circle, Iyla and another little girl kept holding hands the! They cruised around circling the group hand in hand:

Iyla reported that she did have a lot of fun in class. I'm hoping that maybe next time she'll listen to the teacher a little bit….

So proud of my tiny dancer!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

To Iyla Grace at 2.5 Years Old

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are 2.5 years old! You have had SO much growth and development in the past few months… it seems almost daily your Papa and I turn to one another and remark how you are growing up right before our eyes.

At 2.5 months, you are sweet, affectionate, empathetic, observant, creative, gentle, opinionated, and a definite girly-girl. You have the sweetest little heart, and are very perceptive to the emotions & energy of people around you. You'll often pat the back of other children who are scared or sad while looking on with concern. You also aren't one to deliberately disobey; you definitely have strong feelings & opinions on things, but if Papa or I set an ultimatum or tell you "no" you take this to heart and usually cooperate.

You are generous and selfless; if another child takes a toy away from you, you'll just regard them with curiosity then move on to do something else. You have no problem sharing your very favorite things with others, and seem to be baffled when other kids have trouble sharing with you (a commonality in the toddler crowd!)

Here are your 2.5 month updates:

How big? We haven't been officially measuring you (you had a meltdown when I pulled out the tape measure the other day!), but you appear to be all legs like your Papa and on the taller side of the spectrum. Most of your 2T pants end up looking like high waters (though they still fit in the waist) and I've begun ordering 3T sizes for everything else. You've caught up in height to many friends who were always taller than you and seem to be gaining height on a daily basis!

Here are a few photos of you and Sam from this morning… it took a lot of coercion to get both of you to cooperate:

Teeth? You have everything in now but your 2nd year molars. You are also very good about letting me brush & floss your teeth 2x/day.

Sleep? You have always been a great sleeper, save your sleep regression last February. However, you've been going through another pretty major sleep shift this past month. It began with your crying/fussing at nap and bedtimes at the end of March, transitioned into our moving you to your big girl/toddler bed, and has now transformed into shorter naps and earlier wake ups.

Lately you've been doing a lot of 20-30 minute naps, often waking up sad & cranky. It is evident you still need more sleep, but for some reason you aren't able to go back to sleep once you wake. Same thing with the mornings- you've been waking earlier than usual (around 6:30) and crying to 'get in Mama/Papa's bed!' We then all snuggle in bed together until a little after 7 (which admittedly is cozy despite the sleep deprivation).

I love peeking in at your sleep configurations

Food? I am beginning to think there is a critical period for food exposure in little ones (or maybe it's just you?). All of the foods you are used to me cooking and serving you LOVE, but you are not hip to try anything new beyond those items. Some consistent favorites of yours lately include: chicken, steak, fish, bacon, pancakes, mac n cheese, apples (you'd eat these all day every day if we let you!), strawberries, carrots, broccoli, breakfast bars, Cliff Bars, and 'suck-sucks' (pouches).

Words? You continue to be very verbal & talkative, coming up with new phrases on a daily basis. Here are some recent favorite quotes of yours:

"You don't know what I'm taking about"
"No, I'm not ready"
"Just an itsy-bitsy teeny tiny bit?" (said when pleading for more food or more time with an activity)
"I know you best" (said while stroking my hand and looking into my eyes).
"Pretty pleeeeeeease?" (said while wringing your hands together for affect).
"What's that?""Who's that?" "What's her/his name?" (You've started realizing everything and everyone has a name, and you want to know them all)!
"Look so hard!" (said while searching for a lost object and assuming the most hilarious position- hunched over, head down, with your elbows in the air)
"Look at your beautiful eyes. Look at your beautiful eyebrows. Look at your beautiful hair." (cooed to me while cupping my face gently in your hands. Melts my heart every.single.time).

New skills?

*Perceiving PLACES. You always ask once we leave a place where it went: "Where is home? Where is the Driskill?" You are also very curious where people go when they leave our house or where we go once we put you to bed.

*Counting! You love to count, and actually have the preliminary concept down further than just memorization. You like to line things up (especially pieces of Cliff Bar) and count them out for us, changing your count as you add or subtract objects to the lineup.

*Singing Reciting your ABC's. You just revealed this yesterday! You have a tendency to incubate new skills until you have them down perfectly, and sure enough, all of a sudden you could recite the entire ABC song with me. You still don't have the 'singing' part down... either you don't quite understand how to sing yet, or you have officially inherited your Papa's voice. ; )

Current favorite things:

*Dancing! For music, you always request we play either The Nutcracker or Bluegrass, and come up with adorable new moves every day. You also have very dramatic facial expressions while you dance- it looks like you are really feeling the music! Next month you'll start your first official dance class and I can't wait to see if you like it.

*Dressing up. All day every day you alternate between 3 dress-up dresses and your tutus, and love to announce yourself by saying: "presenting Princess Iyla!"

*Sam. You adore your kitty and give him constant hugs & snuggles. You'll remark "he's so beautiful! He's so cute!" as you lay your head on top of him.

*Water. Any kind, anywhere! You continue to love swim classes, and haven't met a puddle yet that you couldn't resist splashing and playing in.

*Favorite Toys: Your current tried-and-true favorites are your little Sofia doll figures (preferably played with in one of your doll houses), your white stuffed kitty (who sleeps with you every night!), your Angelina Ballerina doll, & your My Little Ponies.  You also love your books and delight equally in reading them "all by yourself' as you do being read to.

*Favorite Clothes: you are definitely a girly-girl and will always chose a dress above all else. If you had your way, you'd be wearing the most fancy dresses possible on a daily basis. Your two favorite day dresses right now are your star dress and your blue flower dress. You also love to have your hair done! Yes- it helps that you get to watch a little video while I do it- but once it is done you turn and admire yourself in the mirror, and never try to pull the barrettes or pony tails out.

You call this your "garden hat' and wear it when heading out to our backyard. 
Photo credit to your Grandma Lambert, who came to stay with you all last week while Papa and I were away!

On the agenda for summer 2015:

*Dance classes
*Swim lessons
*July family reunion in Houston/Austin
*Starting a part time school program in August (fingers crossed! You are on many waiting lists.)
*A trip to the beach (yet to be planned, but we are committed to showing you the ocean this year!)

And now (primarily for your Grandparents) a montage of photos from the past month. We love you so much Iyla Grace, and are so grateful to have you in our lives!