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Infertility Manifesto

Mel at Stirrup Queens published a post this morning called the Infertility Manifesto. Even after a successful pregnancy, this post speaks to me and resonates deeply in my soul. I think it’s especially poignant because we’re starting to talk about TTC again. If you get a chance, click through to read that post.

In other news, CD16 (maybe) and no sign of ovulation yet. I’m already struggling to be positive since I have no faith that my body has been healed. If I don’t cycle this month, I’m calling the OB and letting them know. Maybe it won’t take 2 years of frustration before someone is willing to help?

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Here We Go Again!

First of all, ever since I picked this post title, I have had this song running through my head whenever I think of writing the content:

So, here we go again! B and I talked it over and decided it was silly for me to continue bc when we wanted to see what my body would do on its own as far as ovulation. It’s funny how little I remember from that time a little over 15 months ago when I was finally able to stop counting days and taking tests.

We are easing into TTC simply because the bc is still working its way out of my system (2 days without it now) and that can make a difference. We also don’t know if I’ll actually have a period or not since I’m still breast feeding Ben. My mom got pregnant with me when my older brother was 9 months old and didn’t have a period between his birth and my conception but there is no guarantee I will ovulate. Since I don’t know if I’m going to cycle at all, this could take some guessing. My guess is that I’m on CD11 and should start ovulation testing now. We shall see!

We wanted our first two kids close together for many reasons. The first is that since we have all the baby stuff out already, we’ll get twice as much use out of everything. Second, we want Ben to have a sibling he can play with. From about 6 months on, my older brother was my best friend until he moved off to college. Mom swears that having us close together (18 months) was a great choice because we spent so much time with each other. Who doesn’t want a built-in playmate? My little sister K was over last weekend while my parents spent time with Grandpa and Ben LOVED having someone to play with or just watch as he jumped away in the jumperoo.

It doesn’t really matter the reason; I’m just plain excited. I miss the little baby stage that goes too quickly. I tear up while looking through Ben’s newborn photos because BABY! It’s time to start and we pray that it doesn’t take as long this time as last time.

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7 Months

Didn’t I just write a 6 month update? This month’s update came way too quickly.

Ben is dimply and chubby all over, completely different than his first 4 or so months of life where he was so thin I couldn’t find clothes to fit him. He has outgrown all his 3/6 month clothes in sleeve and leg length but torso length for onesies still works. We’ve pulled out some 9 month sleepers but mostly he is wearing all 6 month outfits. It’s been super cold around here so we haven’t gotten much use out of his short sleeves yet and with the rate he is growing, we might not get to use them at all! I went on a hunt for dress clothes for Grandpa’s visitation and funeral and as a note to other parents of boys, Osh Gosh has a decent selection of button down onesies but very few brands have pants below a 12 month size in April. I went to a half dozen stores before finding convertible pants/shorts in various shades of khaki and gray at Children’s Place.

We are still using BumGenius diapers with a 2 snap gap at the waist but will be working on slowly changing the rise to the middle snap instead of the smallest setting since explosive poo has started creeping all the way up the back to the waistband instead of staying in the middle of the diaper. Since starting Ben on solids, we’ve been learning the art of the diaper sprayer. We bought this one from Amazon. I call it an art because there is some definitely technique involved so you don’t spray the diaper with too much force and splash poop water all over the bathroom! We’ve removed the rugs and added a tub of Lysol wipes for quick clean up. B hates spraying diapers and will avoid it if possible but we are both getting better at it.

Another diaper related update was that this month we ordered a sample of Honest Company diapers and wipes. I absolutely love the diapers! They seem to not get too squishy overnight and hold in nighttime poo pretty well with the added bonus of having super cute patterns! We didn’t keep our diaper bundle subscription because we will never make it through that many diapers before Ben outgrows them but I’m seriously considering ordering individual packages for nights and traveling. You should check them out if you are interested in chemical free disposables.

No sooner did I publish the 6 month update then Ben started rolling all over the place. He doesn’t lay still for diaper changes or getting dressed anymore. If we put him in his gym, he will likely be either stuck between the support bars or across the room in less than 5 minutes. He spends very limited time in his gym now because he just doesn’t stay there anymore. Our best bet for playtime is to put out a blanket with Ben in the middle and spread toys around all the edges. He rolls around and picks out the toys that interest him. We are working on sitting up but he usually gets distracted by his feet or the cats and tips over. He loves his Jumperoo (best Craigslist purchase to date!) and will spend hours jumping and playing with the attached toys or toys that I’ve put on the tray if I’ve removed the noisy toys it came with. The jumper is especially great if I’m working on dinner because for the first time, he happily spends time in the kitchen with me.

We restarted pureed solid food right after the 6 month update. We made it through peas and green beans with some difficulty but he started getting angry every time we fed him, which would in turn frustrate us. Reaching sweet potatoes was his last straw and we decided something had to change. I had heard a little about baby led weaning so I did some more reading and it looked like something our very independent little boy would enjoy more than being fed with a spoon. So far he has had banana (loved it), avocado (indifferent), homemade pureed sweet potato on a rice rusk cracker (messy!), sweet potato on a preloaded spoon (went surprisingly well), raw apple slices with the peel removed (great for teething), steamed apple slices (he couldn’t quite figure out what to do with them), and graham cracker (not sure if he eats it or just gums it up with drool until it dissolves). I am planning on making him thick cut sweet potato fries baked with a little olive oil, baked carrot sticks, and steamed broccoli soon. He hasn’t developed the pincher grip yet so we’re sticking with wedge shaped foods or things with handles (like the stem on a broccoli floret). I love that I can make baby appropriate food out of things we have around the house instead of having to buy special food just for him.

He still loves nursing but has had some issues due to teething. About a week ago, both his bottom front incisors popped through his gums. He’s always been such a drooly baby that we didn’t even notice that they were coming in at all until we could see white. He’s been incredibly even-tempered and generally happy but went back on nursing strike because his gums hurt. He usually won’t eat first thing in the morning, even if it has been 3 hours since his last feeding simply because that is when his mouth is the most swollen. If I get him up and give him some orajel or ibuprofen, he’s usually ok to eat for a few minutes at a time about 30 minutes later. He generally refuses to nurse until the 4 hour mark now but I don’t know if that’s because of the solids or because of the teething pain.

Ben thinks that the sun rises and sets with B. He is always excited to see me in the morning, when I get him up from a nap, or even just peek around the corner when I’ve been in the kitchen but the look on his face when B gets up in the morning or comes “home” from work is something else! Ben is making the da da da sound lately and I’m starting to wonder if he is starting to associate that with Daddy. His favorite combination of sounds is “Ai ya, da da,” and he uses it all the time. Ben is very social and loves to be held by any willing pair of arms. At the visitation, there were two babies, Ben and my cousin’s daughter A. A is very cling and will only be willingly held by her mom, dad, and sometimes grandma. Ben, however, got passed around from person to person the whole time we were there. I had to fight to get a chance to spend time with him!

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This has happened at least every other day since we bought the jumper

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Oh, you know, just chillin’ in the laundry basket

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Look! Teeth!

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Mowgli is never far away from Ben, even during lunch

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He is just so darn happy all the time

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Ben is a goof baby

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Ben has started pulling the gym down on himself so it might be time to pack it away

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Mowgli felt like he had to join in on play time this morning

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Grandpa

My Grandpa V, at 91 years old, passed away a little after 8:00 last night. He was a wonderful inspiration for B and me as to how to live a life following God’s plan, raising a family, what hard work really looks like, and loving your family unconditionally. We are fortunate to live only a few miles from Grandpa and Grandma’s house and have especially loved being able to stop by if we were close.

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He worked hard all his life, even after retirement, which was way back in 1986. In fact, I was born the night of his retirement party. After leaving paid work, he volunteered for disaster relief organizations for about 15 years, going to help rebuild homes after floods, hurricanes, and tornados. He also spent time volunteering his constructions skills with local groups that help the elderly or indigent fix their homes. He retired from volunteer work only 5 years ago at the age of 86!

He had been in hospice for a little over a week, which was a surprising blessing for the family. It seemed like it was a signal to spend as much time with him as possible because the end was drawing close. Someone was with him and Grandma 24 hours a day for the last week. Much of the time, he was asleep and generally unaware of what was going on; however, moments of lucidity popped up several times a day. One of his best days was last Wednesday. My mom was spending the day with him and texted me shortly after lunch to tell me he was awake and asked to see Ben. Of course we jumped in the car as quickly as possible!

Grandpa was feeling good enough to be in a chair instead of bed and even had his glasses on. He was still very lethargic and mostly out of it but two things really stick in my mind as being special that afternoon. My mom was holding Ben at the foot of the chair and said, “Dad, look who came to see you!” He looked right at my little Benny and smiled and clearly replied, “Ben.” Until that moment, he hadn’t responded to any questions or said anything that actually made sense but he still recognized his great grandbaby and smiled. The second moment was when I was holding Ben near Grandpa’s side. Ben was bouncing up and down and kicking his feet. I was holding Grandpa’s hand and maneuvered his tired hand overtop of Ben’s wiggly foot. I told him that he felt Ben’s little foot kicking around and his response was, “Oh, yes.” Just thinking back on that afternoon makes me a little teary and a whole lot happy. We are so thankful we got to spend that time with him.

In the early 90s, Grandpa and Grandma wrote a book for the family that tells the story of each side of the family’s history as far back as they knew, their childhoods, how they met, and recounted numerous stories of the years they were raising my dad and uncles. I grabbed a few excerpts from that book that stood out to me as indicative of the attitude that Grandpa had toward life.

These are the opening lines of the book, setting the tone for the following 100+ pages:

“This is a story about two ordinary people. Their names will never be entered in any “Hall of Fame,” and to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the world will soon forget what they did here once they’re gone.

Both of them believe, however, that one place where their names are entered is in God’s Book of Life. That belief has given meaning and purpose to their lives. It has been, and is, their comfort and joy in all of the experiences that the years have brought them.”

About how my grandparents met 65 or so years ago…

“That was the beginning. Thus the Lord used and impulsive decision made one night in a small Pella, Iowa café, an invitation to my uncle’s house, a casual Sunday afternoon stroll, a drop in visit, and some helpful cousins to bring me to the person who has been such an integral part of my life through the years. What a blessing this has been! I cannot imagine life without her.”

“We were married August 5, 1949. It was beginning of what may be the best marriage ever. It resulted in the best of sons, the finest of daughters-in-law, and the most marvelous grandchildren on earth. Other couples would likely challenge us on these claims, so on with the story.”

Written as a reflection on the year my oldest uncle got a summer job and didn’t vacation with the rest of the family…

“Even our Sunday afternoons at the beach would not be the same. Part-time jobs at carwash create an interference. Perhaps a ‘word of wisdom’ could be said to our readers here in light of the previous paragraphs. Cherish the precious years while children are young and the family does things together. Make the most of them because they will pass sooner than you think at the time.”

All of his 3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, 12 grandchildren, 4 grandchildren-in-law, 5 great grandchildren, and his wife are going to miss him terribly but are thrilled he isn’t in pain or struggling with how little he could do anymore. Someone has to be building those mansions in Glory and I’d put money on it being Grandpa V!

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Spoke too Soon!

I should know better than to say anything to the internet about anything that my son is or is not doing. It is inevitable that something will change suddenly!

We discovered on Monday that Ben is teething, which is both an exciting and terrifying milestone for parents. His two little lower incisors broke through his gums on Monday morning without a fever, much swelling, or too much fussing. He definitely is fussier than normal and he tends to wake up crying around 5 AM but I probably would too if sharp little teeth are cutting through my skin without any way of relieving the pain (like chewing on things) since bed time. Overall, he’s been a champ about the teething except for when it comes to eating. Once again, we’re struggling to nurse, this time because his mouth hurts.

He nurses better at night, like before. The best time is after naps, the worst is first thing in the morning because he hasn’t gotten any pain meds yet. I want to try Hyland’s Teething Tablets but have yet to find them in a store around us. I have to go look today because we only have a dose or two of baby Tylenol left.

He is still enjoying eating (or mashing on his face) solids. He has had banana (loved it), graham cracker (loved it), and avocado (indifferent). Last night he had 1/4 of an avocado, 1/2 of a graham cracker, and then a few minutes with a banana chunk. I’m not entirely sure he ate much, if any, of the banana, but he did put it in his mouth for a while. I bought some rice rusk crackers when we were out yesterday with the plan of spreading homemade sweet potato puree on it like jelly. He’ll probably have that for dinner tonight if the potatoes are thawed in time. I can’t tell if he is actually swallowing any of the food he puts in his mouth or if it all ends up squished on his bib or face. I’ve heard that broccoli does interesting things to a diaper so I’m tempted to give him some just to see if it makes it through his digestive system.

I’m starting to think about getting pregnant again. It’s not a full-blown baby fever yet but it’s getting there. I only have 4 more bc pills left before I have to get a refill so I’m tempted to bring it up to B and go without it to see what my body does. If I do ovulate without meds, I’d be ecstatic!

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Jumperoo

After talking with one of our friends who has a little boy 2 months older than Ben, I got in my head that I wanted to buy Ben a Jumperoo to use up some of that limitless energy he has. I looked at target and was surprised how expensive they were so I took to Craigslist. I found one owned by a really nice family about 15 miles away for $25. I took it home, washed it up, and Ben went to town. He loves it! It’s stimulating in a way that his gym can’t be anymore since he’s grown up so much.

Yesterday, Ben and I were hanging out in the living room, him in the jumper and me puzzling over a sewing pattern. I realized he was being mighty quiet so I looked to see what he was up to and this is what I saw:

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A Day in the Life, 6 Month Edition

I thought it would be interesting to write a “day in the life” post at 6 months, both for you readers as well as for my reference down the road when I can’t figure out why Ben’s future sibling isn’t sleeping anymore.

5:00 – 6:30 AM: Wake up- Ben’s wake up time varies and I really, really hate 5 AM. If he wakes up at 5 and it’s been more than an hour since he last ate, I’ll snuggle him in bed next to me and feed him again, praying that he drifts off to sleep for at least another hour. He does about 50% of the time. For the other 50%, he is wide awake and wants nothing to do with sleep so I drag myself out of bed. For the sake of this walk through, we’ll pretend he slept “in” until 6:30.

This baby is much sleepier than the one in our room at 6 AM

This baby is much sleepier than the one in our room at 6 AM

Diaper Change: I’ve given up on changing diapers overnight because it wakes him up to where he can’t fall back asleep so the morning diaper change is a top priority. I get rid of the nasty diaper, pop him back in his pjs and we shuffle to the living room.

6:45 – 9:30: Play time- When we get to the living room, Ben is already twisting around and lunging toward his play gym. I set him down, drop my phone off by the couch and go get myself some breakfast (tea and breakfast bar or slimfast-esq shake drink). I check emails, blogs, twitter, news, weather, our bank account, or pay bills on the couch while Ben happily plays by himself on the floor. If the night before was a diaper washing night, I grab the clean diapers from the laundry room and fold/stuff them while Ben plays. He gets tired of this by 7:30 or so and it’s time for a change. Sometimes we snuggle on the couch and read or he watches me do surveys or surf Pinterest and chat. The kid loves the computer screen so this buys me about 15 more minutes of happiness. Other times I’ll throw a blanket on the floor and we’ll tickle wrestle, have tummy time, and play with toys. If Ben woke up really early, I usually can’t make it until his nap time for a nap so I wake B up and he takes a turn playing with Ben while I jump back in bed for another hour of sleep. Sometime before his nap at 9:30 he gets another feeding and a diaper change.

Ben has finally learned to roll and flops all over

Ben has finally learned to roll and flops all over and often gets stuck between the legs of his gym

9:30 – 11:30: Nap time- Naps aren’t always 2 hours but that’s what I hope for every morning. Now that he is napping every 3 hours instead of 1.5 hours, naps have gotten significantly longer. Most are at least 1.5 hours. Morning nap time is my time to write blog posts, clean the kitchen, start laundry, shower, plan out any errands that need to be done during the day, and check on B’s schedule. B works from the basement so we powwow a few times a day to touch base and figure out anything that he might need done but Ben and I generally leave B alone to focus on work. The more we pester him during the day, the later he has to work in the evening and I’m always ready for him to be done before he’s able to quit!

11:30 – 12:30: Errands and Activities- Ben wakes up from his nap, smiling and ready to go. He might need a feeding or a diaper change, depending on when he last had them. I’m showered and dressed and have already figured out if we need to run errands. If we are leaving the house, I’ll grab a quick snack for me and plop Ben in his car seat and carry him out to the car. Pre-lunch is prime grocery getting time so we may be off to Aldi, Meijer or Target, depending on the day. I’m getting hungry and Ben is tired of being in his car seat (can’t sit up in a shopping cart yet) so we go as quickly as we can while still enjoying the novelty of being out of the house.

All bundled up and ready to run errands!

All bundled up and ready to run errands!

12:30 – 1:30: Lunch- I greet B as we walk in the door and give him options for lunch, usually leftovers, quesadillas or sandwiches. Ben goes in his high chair with some toys so I can put away groceries and get lunch ready. We have been giving him pureed baby food at either lunch or dinner but he pretty much hates it. I did some research on baby-led weaning and we really liked what we read. I bought some baby friendly first foods at the store today (banana, avocado, puffs, and graham crackers) so I cut up a banana and give Ben 1/3 of that instead of sitting down with a jar and spoon. There is much less yelling (Ben) and frustration (us) with the banana than with the purees so it looks like we have a new plan. B and I finish our lunch so I clean up the kitchen while Ben plays in the living room until nap time. Ben also nurses again.

Nom, nom, nom banana!

Nom, nom, nom banana!

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Eating a banana in the mesh feeder

2:00 – 3:30: Nap time- Afternoon nap is usually shorter than the morning nap but no less necessary. I try to give myself a few special chores every week like dusting and reorganizing the book shelves, washing the cat beds, or washing and rehemming curtains. Afternoon nap time is a good time to get going on those things. If I am running around the house, I have the monitor clipped onto my pants so I can hear Ben when he wakes up. For some reason, his afternoon sleep is much more disturbed with more wake ups than the morning. I know he isn’t ready to get up when he wakes up crying, trying to find his pacifier. Today I’m reading instead of doing more around the house because I need some rest time too.

3:30 – 5:30/6:00: More play time and dinner prep- Ben wakes up from his nap happy again so he is unwrapped from his swaddle blanket and taken out of his crib. I try to have a dinner plan by afternoon nap so I can do any extra veggie chopping or get meat out to thaw while Ben is sleeping. If the weather is nice, we go for a walk to the library or just around the neighborhood. Winter has been lingering in our neck of the woods so we have only gotten to play outside a few times. Sometimes we go visit my parents (Grammy and Grampy), my grandparents, other friends with babies, or go walk around the mall just to get out of the house. Most of the time, we get another feeding in during this time.

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Sitting in the Bumbo and trying to pull his sock off. Guess who discovered that he has feet?!

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Ben always wants to hold more rings than he has hands

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Staring Contest with Mowgli

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If I need Ben off the floor for vacuuming, he loves to play in his crib

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Yes, he is almost always this happy

5:30/6:00: B “comes home” from work and Ben gets very important daddy play time. B and Ben wrestle, snuggle, play video games, play toys, read books, or just lay on the floor and talk to each other. My heart melts a little every evening! I get to hit the kitchen solo and get dinner ready. My goal is always to have dinner finished simmering, baking, or roasting at 7, right after Ben is in bed.

Reading before bed

Reading before bed

6:30: Bath time- Ben gets a bath about every other day during the week or as often as needed after smearing food in his ears and through his hair. One of us strips the baby and the other gets the bath ready. Since Ben has outgrown his baby bathtub but can’t sit up by himself yet, I’ve gotten into the habit of getting into the tub with him and resting him on my legs while he plays. He LOVES splashing in the bath. The cats have learned to keep their distance because if they sit on the edge of the tub, they will get wet!

Mowgli is always excited to participate in bathtime

Mowgli is always excited to participate in bath time

6:45: After washing Ben and letting him play in the tub for a while, I hand him over to B who dries him off, puts on lotion, a diaper, pjs and a swaddle blanket. I get dressed and ready to feed Ben. B brings Ben to me in his room, I feed him and carry him off to bed.

Ben fell asleep during his bedtime feeding. Today was tiring!

Ben fell asleep during his bedtime feeding. Today was tiring!

7:00 – 8:30/9:00: Dinner and entertainment- B and I sit down to dinner and usually watch an episode of our Netflix tv show of the week. It’s nice to sit and relax together for a while. I pick up the minimum of dinner stuff and stack everything to be washed the next morning. I wash diapers every third evening so if tonight is a diaper washing night, I put the load of dirty diapers in for a rinse cycle (cold rinse, vinegar added) and then wash cycle (laundry soap, heavy soil, presoak, extra rinse on hot). I’m usually exhausted by 9:00 so my goal is to have the diapers done washing between 9:00 and 9:30 so I can hang the covers and throw the inserts into the dryer before bed.

9:30: Bed time- Diapers are done so I can wash up and go to bed. I generally check email, twitter, blogs, and news one more time from bed and make sure my Bible reading is done for the day (I’m reading through an annual reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app). If Ben wakes up fussing, he might earn himself an extra feeding before I fall asleep but we haven’t noticed that he sleeps longer if he gets this feeding so I don’t make a point to wake him up to eat.

Sleepy, snuggly Benny-baby

Sleepy, snuggly Benny-baby

10:00- Lights out, if they aren’t already. B is usually reading in bed so we pray together and I pass out.

Overnight: If I’m lucky, Ben only wakes up twice to eat overnight. If I’m not lucky, he is up hourly. He’s been doing better this week and only waking up between 2:00 and 3:00 and then 2 hours after that first wake up.

Then the whole thing starts over again! Honestly, this typical schedule doesn’t happen very often. We have to adjust naps to go to appointments. We travel somewhere and Ben sleeps in the car. Even the weekend changes things since we like to do things as a family. Ben likes to throw us curveballs so no two days are the same!