Wednesday, December 30, 2009
People have referred to my town as "Mayberry" because many of its residents stay in town to raise their families and thus know many of their neighbors for great lengths of time. Many married couples attended grade school and high school together. There is a town plumber, electrician, and pub. Our schools are fantastic. I had some of the same teachers in high school that taught my parents.
I wrote about my neighborhood fruit stand before. These are the types of things you see in my town. Several people in my general area set up skating rinks in their yards every year. There are neighborhood associations with Native American names that have been around since the 40's.
Today I am showing our firehouse's billboard. I have passed by this billboard nearly every day of my life. Sometimes it announces safety courses or when the fireman are checking car seats. It will have death announcement where the flag flies half staff. My friend from high school who was killed at the tender age of 26 and also a volunteer firefighter had his name listed on the board. The billboard tells us to remember to vote and wishes us Happy Fourth of July.
As I get older the landmarks in my community become more endearing. The firehouse sits next to one of the two popular barber shops in town. People ask do you go here or here? There really aren't any other choices. For young boys it is a right of passage to get their haircut at one of the barber shops.
I could go on and on because I am so fond of where I live. We have tree lined streets with huge oak trees. There are so many beautiful and coveted houses that the owners get letters in the mail all the time reminding them "if" they ever want to sell, give a call. I am so glad my grandfather and grandmother decided to move up here from Queens after WWII. I am thankful that my dad and mom met and both wanted to raise their families where they grew up. I love the history. My appreciation for tradition and sentimentality are things I want to teach my son. He may move far away or he may stay close to his roots. Either way I plan on being here for a long time.
Check out the rest of Show and Tell.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I am glad that Mel at Stirrup-Queens asked us to share our Resolution Posts because I have been thinking about something very important. Trying to formulate the post, I just could not come up with a good title. For the first time in a long time I am categorizing the year of 2010 for change in a couple of different ways. Here is one example:
I had a bit of a revelation during December. After visiting with my RE, the thought occurred to me that our infertility journey may have been completely blown out of proportion.(Note- this RE is our second doctor after a few years at a previous practice.) Yes, I seem to have Polystic Ovarian Syndrome. Yes, we have male factor infertility. Therefore, we would have difficulty conceiving on our own. Whether time heals all wounds or not I am not sure. However time does provide clairvoyance. It has been 3 years since I ended my TTC journey through medical intervention. I am not sure exactly when but at some point it became clear that my cycles were rather regular and I am ovulating. Five years ago I was under the impression that I may only ovulate 1-2 times a year. Trying to mastermind that would be worse than trying to win big at the casino. Things seemed pretty dismal. Our "severe MFI" has now turned into moderate to severe. The numbers have varied and are not the best but not the worst either. We did discover that I have ANA and ANC anti-bodies which can now be remedied somewhat.
My point is that I have talked to many, many people in the past year. I have heard different stories of how they ended up in an RE's office. This has forced me to look back on our experience as rushed and done without enough research. At times I get angry because it is possible that if we had taken some time to try and conceive on our own, see what my cycles would be like without drugs, maybe learn about lifestyle changes and fertility in general, we would never have made it to the fertility clinic. I try not to think about what could have happened because there is no changing the past. Every event led us to being parents of our beautiful son. The "What if's" are not worth muddling over. But, they can help us avoid making the same mistake- selling our bodies short.
My Resolution for 2010 is to try and conceive. You read that right.
My cycles are pretty regular. Why can't I buy some OPK's and try to figure out my body and when I ovulate during my cycle? Why can't I make some lifestyle changes such as cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and exercising more to try and make my body more healthy in preparation for getting pregnant? Our last IVF slammed the door of conception in our face. What I realize now is that I allowed that door to close and stay closed. I really believed that my body was broken to the point that I would never get or stay pregnant. I do not feel that way anymore.
I have put a lot of thought into going down this road again; however, I do not feel like I am setting myself up for failure. Us infertiles know what failure feels like. We play the hope lottery all the time. I look at this as something I have to do so that I do not wonder for the rest of my life if we could have done more on our own to have a baby. Do we really need all the drugs and procedures? We do not know because we never officially tried on our own. Some people get pregnant with absolutely no effort. Most women have to figure out when they are most fertile. We will have to do that and then some. For instance, I will have to take baby Aspirin for the anti-bodies, we will have to make sure we boost our fertility with diet and exercise, we will have to be extremely aware of a pregnancy in order to try and sustain a pregnancy that may occur. I can come to terms that staying pregnant will be difficult unless we take the necessary measures. But every woman has to worry about miscarriage. I am no different. I am just a bit jaded.
We shall see what the future holds, but I feel good about this realization. I understand that technically we are infertile. Technically our chances of conception are that much lower than 90% of the population. Screw the statistics and my negative frame of mind. After six years I have come out of the fog of impossibility. I am taking control of what I have left of child bearing years and will give it my full attention. I am taking a stab at thinking of myself like most women- TTC the old fashioned way. Conceiving in private and on our own terms. Something in my heart is telling me this is what we need to do. This is the next step in this extremely difficult and mind-opening journey. It is a step toward closure on our baby making abilities. I won't be left wondering because we will have done everything we needed to do so that we can move on from this part of building our family.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It felt like such a relief to load a tree in our car after looking for thirty seconds and drive the .4 miles to our house. We looked, purchased and had it up and pretty much assembled within one hour. That felt good. Oh, tree farm I do love you and your tractor rides and cute little shop- not sure if I will be returning until my children can cut the tree down for me though.
I usually put a lot of effort into decorating my mantel and displaying my Christmas cards. Finally about 3 days ago I snipped some holly from my parents house and got the candles out, bought a wreathe (now only $9) to hang above the mantel, and things look good.
I purchased outdoor lights about 7 weeks ago. Mind you I had an electrician install an outside outlet in August so I could put up lights this year. The whole exterior light decoration thing lacking at my house has been bugging the crap out of me. My husband doesn't do things for Christmas decor so I knew it was up to me. I passed those unopened boxes for 4 weeks. Today in 22 degree, blue sky but freezing cold weather I put up the lights and am damn glad.
My wrapping is complete, tomorrow is a day for making my favorite cut-out cookies, having Christmas dinner with very close friends, and super excited to see Min man get crazy for Christmas. It took me awhile but I am back, Christmas old friend. Thing is that since I started later this year, I won't want to launch my Christmas tree out the front door 2 days after Christmas because I am sick of looking at it. I will enjoy its presence (gasp) maybe even after January 1. My red lights outside may just stay lit until Valentines Day.
This Christmas procrastination idea might just make my holiday loving self love the holidays even more. Hand me my 25th day of December mimosa and cinnamon bun. I am ready!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Take a look around. I am an adoptive mom to a beautiful and hilarious 2 year old, freelance writer, and founder of the non-profit, Parenthood for Me.org.
Here are 25 random facts about me in two minutes. If you like what you hear, stick around.
Check out PFM Best Post list on the right side bar.
1. My favorite holiday is Christmas.
2. My least favorite holiday/event is New Years Eve.
3. I have made some pretty stupid mistakes when it comes to cooking and preparing food.
4. I am a REALTOR and manager of my father's business, established 1971.
5. I lived in Siena, Italy and Granada, Spain for a semester each.
6. My grandparents moved away from our hometown and I was able to visit Prescott, AZ and Marco Island, FL for many fun summer vacations.
7. I just started wearing make-up daily about a year ago.
8. I am very sappy and sentimental. It does not take much for me to cry although I do try to hide it.
9. I have a dry sense of humor. I actually think I am pretty funny, a quality that I have always admired in other people. One-liners are my favorite part of comedy.
10. I have 2 best friends from grade school.
11. My parents have been sweethearts since they were 16.
12. I love Italian food and prefer meals that are meatless.
13. I am of Irish and German decent.
14. In my CD player: Atonement Soundtrack, Christmas tunes mix, new Phish, favorite mix with Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, and BNL to name a few
15. Favorite line from movie Christmas Vacation: "Are you surprised, Clark?" asks Cousin Eddie.
"Eddie, I wouldn't be more surprised if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet."
16. Favorite movies: Atonement, P.S. I Love You, The Departed, The Bourne series and others.
17. Mentors in my life- my mother and father. Both very honorable and successful people and parents.
18. I have one older brother.
19. My birthday is in February.
20. I took piano lessons for 10 years and was a dancer for 5, becoming a pointe ballet dancer after many dreams as a little girl.
21. I taught myself sign language from a book at age 3.
22. I am generally a tidy person and despise clutter. This is something I get from my mother. I have been known to throw away things that got me into big trouble with certain individuals.
23. I used to be painfully shy.
24.I am smart but a horrible student. I procrastinate way too much and am a horrible at multiple choice tests.
25. I believe that we all have control over our own destiny. Life is what you make of it.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I love vintage ornaments.
I display them different ways. This milk glass bowl was my grandmother's.
I love Len.ox. My Christmas collection started with a beautiful hand painted plate of Santa's sleigh. This Santa was a present last year.
Hubby started getting me an ornament every year. I have the "new house" "the wedding" a train, gingerbread man.
Finally 3 Christmas' ago I received the"baby's 1st Christmas"
These shelves usually have pottery and pictures on them. I love looking at something different.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I had a set back a couple of weeks ago with the smothering news of 3 pregnancies in one day. I was taken aback and all of my sad and angry emotions bubbled to the surface without warning. I could not control the tears- I felt the mack truck hit my heart. I cannot make babies, and so many others can. I could not shake off this news. I have been so much better with taking news of pregnancy in stride. But, this day proved that I have a long way to go before I am at peace with my infertility.
I read about someone who found out she was pregnant after a long struggle, and people were telling her she needed to move on from the past-she is pregnant now. However, this woman says she will never feel the same; infertility has changed her forever. I am always aware that I am an adoptive mom. No one else is reminding me of that except myself. Ultimately I am very proud to be an adoptive mom. I am proud of how my family was created. But, I am acutely aware of how long I desired to be a mom.
If the first pregnancy test I took five and a half years ago came back positive, my life would be so completely different. I would be 30 with at least 2 small children. I would probably be living in a different house, and I know I would not be writing. My love for writing began when I was just a small child. Through the struggle of infertility I have rekindled my passion for writing. Now posting my thoughts and emotions have become part of my everyday life. I have become a freelance writer. I see great things on the horizon for my writing career, and I am extremely fulfilled because I am able to write and express myself. My blogging has also introduced me to so many interesting and wonderful people. I have laughed, cried, and learned so much over the past year.
I have been a business person for quite a while but starting the non-profit has helped me to find my niche. There are so many things I love about running a business- non-profit and for profit. The idea that I can be part of something that will hopefully help many people is thrilling. I am not doing this alone by any means. It was my idea, but I have so many wonderful people volunteering their time because they believe in our mission statement. They believe that everyone is entitled to parenthood.
Right now I have my hands full with my career, home life and being a mom to one very busy two year old. I would not be physically able to make Parenthood for Me successful if I had more children. This is what I mean by saying I can see how things are supposed to work out. The story is not written by any means. Sometimes I fear the unknown. What else am I to face in my lifetime that is devastating and completely unfounded? This is why I try not to take things for granted. Life can change in an instant.
Infertility made me grow up faster. Turning 30 made me realize that life is a huge challenge. There are so many rewards coupled with difficult situations and decisions to make. Like many I have goals for my life in 5 years, 10 years, etc. But, the perpetual planner in me has been left somewhat jaded. We can plan all we want, but that does not mean our plans will come to be. Or if they are realized, they may take on a completely different meaning or happen in an unexpected way. I can live with that too.
Wow. This is big for me. Learning that planning my entire life is not always best and being enlightened, even if it just a little bit, that after all that infertility has put me through, my life is actually better because of it. I guess that is all we can ask for in life. When there are tough times, days and weeks that make you want to hide from humanity, keep the faith. Somehow if we own our challenges and stay strong, we will make it through.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I have not been paid to endorse this product; I am simply spreading Christmas cheer. The Elf is an ingenious idea.
There is a story of a little elf that comes down from the North Pole to stay in your home in order to help Santa watch over the children. Every day he inexplicably moves to a different location in the house to let everyone know he is magical and is always watching.
Another great part of the game is that the child is allowed to name their Elf friend. Ours was named after a dear friend; they were honored.
We have explained to Elf that it is probably best that he keeps his jet setting to one room as Min man is only 2, and we would be waiting forever for him to spot the Elf.
It is quite a joy to come downstairs early in the morning and watch our little boy's face light up as we ask, "Where is he?"
Honestly, Min man doesn't really get just how important Elf's job is. Next year Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to Elf helping us out when someone decides to throw a fit or jump on the couch ;)
Check out the rest of Show and Tell.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
What I love is that his pronunciation is still incorrect, making his words all the more cute.
The other day we got our Christmas tree aka Cranberry Tree. I tried to correct him, but he is satisfied with Cranberry Tree.
My other fave, which he intermittently says correctly now (sigh) is bargage truck.
"Look, Mom. Bargage." When he was with his caretaker, MommyL one day at the grocery store, she was trying to correct him by enunciating the sounds. He ended up yelling Gar-Bitch Truck very loudly in the store. This is like the time he used to say f*ck for truck and would yell in the parking lot,"Look! A f*uck." MommyL puts up with a lot. I love her.
This brings me to a latest zinger. Expression and communicating are keys developmental milestones at 2 and 3. We are happy Min man is doing well. Sometimes too well if you ask me.
At 6 o'clock Mommy and Daddy turn off Min TV and watch the news. The other night this did not going over too well. He marched right up to the TV cable box, clicked the button off (b/c he does not know how to use the remote), turned around and said,"NO show. I don't like a mommy-daddy show."
We were hiding our laughter behind pillows and by turning our head. It just completely surprised us. Classically funny.
There has been an occasional slip up with a swear word around here. I won't say who is at most fault for this in our household. The funny thing is that Min man knows how to use the words in context. He will go weeks without saying a bad word, and then out of the blue he will will recognize a situation where it might come in handy. This is usually after he has been told he is doing something wrong. Kids shouldn't swear, but I cannot at least say he knows how to fire them off.
The other endearing thing about my little chatter box is he has adapted a very cute way of speaking which reminds me of someone who speaks English as a second language.
This usually comes out in his whiny voice when he is unhappy or cranky about something.
"I don't like a no car ride (lots of emphasis on the last word)."
" I don't like a no change diaper." (oh, I love it)
"I don't like a no nap."
Ah, the ramblings and rants of an almost 3 year old. He is really learning to express himself; that is for sure.
On the flip side, he is extremely loving and happy. The second we walk in the door, "Hi, Dad." All smiles.
"Mom, what you doing here?" When I'm brushing my teeth.
I have recorded many of the things he says on a regular basis that melt my heart. I never want to forget how cute his little voice sounds.
When he is a defiant teen-ager who never wants to spend any time with me, I can look back and remember that he really does love me.
I will never forget how he shoves his little body in the chair next to me, puts his arm around me and says,"C'mon dear."
Sunday, December 6, 2009
January and February were filled with numb despair.
The one good thing was that my broken body could repair itself. My lower back was numb for nearly a year. The 4 years of shots had done some real damage. I wondered if the feeling would ever return, in my lower back and my heart.
The decision to pursue adoption was exciting and scary. It took us many, many months to actually move forward and make a commitment to an agency. We made the decision and let it sink in. We were overwhelmed with an entire new set of decisions about facing our fears of making the right choice on a country, agency, and financing.
That summer I did one last IUI. Don't know why really. I guess it was a last ditch effort, a way to prove to myself that my body really is broken and the negative IVF wasn't another piece of bad luck.
I have to take Lovenox shots because of anti nuclear antibodies. They hurt, sting, and are very uncomfortable. Yet again timing was not on my side, and I was on my 2ww during a great friend's wedding. I remember sneaking away to take my shot and seeing a bruise on my abdomen the size of a football- a purple football. I had bruising before, but this was ridiculous. My entire abdomen was a blood filled mess. In a sense I felt like it was a lesson.
We had said we were done with the failed IVF, and I had to go and try one more time. It is so hard to say there will never be ONE more try.
The negative pregnancy test that followed a week after the wedding was not a surprise, and it did not leave me with heaving sobs or a bigger sense of loss. It was just like hearing everyday news- the bills are paid, put the garbage out, the car needs to go to the shop, your final IUI did not work. Everyday news. 4 1/2 years will do that to you.
As many of you know our experience with adoption breathed new life into our beings and relationship. The entire proces from beginning to end was remarkable and magical. This time 2 years ago was extremely exciting as pictures of our baby boy were posted every where- house, office, family's refrigerators. It was our first Christmas to receive gifts for OUR baby.
Min Man has been home for a year and a half, and here we are experiencing our second Christmas with him home. Every day is a new adventure. Over Thanksgiving we got to see Min Man take care of his little cousin- a boy who is 15 months old. It was wonderful to see him in the big brother role. He is so loving and affectionate. Even though there was some tugging and pulling of his toys in an attempt to not share, he came around quickly and played very well with this little boy visitor.
How will Min Man become a big brother? I believe wholeheartedly it will happen. And from all that I have learned in the past five years, I feel at peace knowing that there are great things for my future.
If I had the money, I would do IVF again. If I had the money.
We have spent $50,000 to have a family. It is upsurd. But, I am mentally and physically ready to try it one more time. We did IVF 3 times but b/c of undiagnosed conditions, only really had a fighting chance on the last cycle.
I suppose that we could figure something out if we decided to go ahead with IVF. But, after adopting the game has changed. One IVF cycle is nearly half the cost of a second adoption. How can I justify paying $9000 for a chance? A chance that has not proven to work out well for us by any means.
This is why I hate infertility. I mean, I hate a lot of things about infertility, but the money obstacles are what really make me bitter. Lack of money is why I might not be able to get pregnant? Money is why I may not be able to adopt again? I want to fill my house full of children, but I can't. I do not have enough money!
Alas, this is something I have accepted. What choice do I have? The decisions we make right now regarding spending money on infertility or adoption could affect our ability to pay for college for our children. We must be conservative about the size and value of our home. We may have loan payments for our babies for many years to come. This is our truth.
I guess IVF is a possbility. The biggest question I have is whether I want to open up my heart again. I know I will recover if it does not work. But, will I sorely regret having spent the money? That will be what makes me the most angry- that I got sucked into ART again and not only will have subjected my body to the abuse, but my bank account, and most of all my heart.
This is kind of a rambling post, which is unlike me, but this reveals how torn I am. What a difficult decision. Whatever we decide, we will keep it to ourselves. The one thing I am beyond is sharing any procedures with others. I simply cannot put my heart on the line in front of everyone anymore when it comes to this.
I will put my heart on the line for others by telling my story of past infertility treatments, current thoughts on dealing with the chronic condition of infertility, the wisdom I have gained through experience, and the moments I cherish being a mother.
But, any chance of pregnancy for me and any decision made to pursue pregnancy with an RE will remain private. I will rejoice in private or I will mourn in private, and find a way to move on again.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I usually start Christmas shopping in September. I look for deals on items and make an excel spreadsheet to track what I have bought for whom. This allows me to at least try not to go overboard. This year I am being the most conservative ever when it comes to spending money. And, I am especially going for quality not quantity. I have a hard time buying one really nice item for someone.
Remember that Parenthood for Me offers some great items to purchase for gifts, and the net proceeds of your purchase go toward the endowment. Click here.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The infamous Willow Series. I am not a big collector of things, but I wanted one to have for myself. I bought this for someone else's baby shower but decided to stow it away at the last second.
This is from a Gallery in one of my favorite places, Key West. My MIL bought it for my birthday when she asked me what I would like. It reads at the bottom, "Someone to Watch Over Me."
I love antiquing. My mother and I found these in Ontario, Canada. I asked her to give them to me when we were ready to have our baby. She wrapped them up for Christmas the year we were waiting for Min Man to come home.