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Help!

Does anyone have any tricks or ways to deal with a typical infertile’s reaction to pregnancy announcements, especially those who conceive by accident or never have any problems?

We got a Christmas card from close friends of ours today signed X, Y, Toddler, and Baby. Um, thanks for the surprise! Maybe I’ll be able to congratulate you when my irrational rage dies down and I don’t feel like I was hit in the head with a baseball bat anymore.

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Mourning Amid the Excitement

In the middle of all the joy and excitement of Christmas, I was surprised to get a phone call early yesterday morning from my mom. She asked if I had been on Facebook yet (no) and told me that my cousin S’s house burned down overnight. A and his roommates are all fine but S’s dog was trapped and didn’t make it out.

It is hard to think about the excesses of most Christmas gatherings when someone I love has only the clothes on his back and the car he was driving when he got home and discovered the fire. His dog was his baby, he even signed his Christmas cards with her name.

I haven’t lost a pet like this and I’m sure the pain is horrible but I have known loss and know that the pain fades. Still, we got a healthy dose of reality during a very celebratory time of year.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope your day was as restful and enjoyable as ours was.

We started the day at our normal time, having planned ahead with family to gather after Ben’s typical wake-up. B and Ben got ready to go and I popped my first 50 mg of Clomid for this cycle (today is CD3 and a great present for myself). We drove to my parents’ house and spent the morning with my immediate family plus my Grandma V, her first Christmas as a widow. Mom discovered yesterday that she had never had a Christmas stocking before in her life so I found an extra stocking in our storage bins and we filled it with a bunch of fun and useful stuffers (multi-use body wash/shampoo, foaming hand soap, a tiny jar candle, a reusable grocery bag, individual serving bags of microwave popcorn). Grandma was astonished that there was a stocking for her too! That alone made today extra special.

I LOVE giving gifts and having a big family, I get loads of practice. I put more effort into gifts this year as an outlet to distract myself from everything else that happened in November. Everything was well received! The best reactions were my SIL M when she opened her customized wall art (similar to this but designed by B) and my middle little sister R, who got a pile of college and moving out related items (dust cloths, Lysol wipes, dish soap, hand soap, sponges, a pack of TP, etc). Seeing their faces light up when they realize how personalized their presents were made my morning. After many years of asking, B and I have successfully convinced my family that we don’t need more stuff laying around the house and if they want to give us anything, gift cards are very, very welcome. Anything that we got that wasn’t a gift card was something useful or particularly well suited to our tastes, like the cookbook I got with over 400 canning recipes!

Ben was overwhelmed by the noise and not too interested in opening presents but did get in on the paper ripping several times. He got a toy phone that he loves to carry around the house, several books, a few clothes, a Little People airplane, and his favorite, a small bag of dried apricots. All he wanted was for Mommy to open the ‘tsss so he could eat them! B and I decided long ago to go slowly with our own celebration at home because we wanted it to be an enjoyable memory instead of a stressful one. We opened stockings after getting home from my parent’s and Ben opened 2 gifts before nap time. After nap, he opened 3 more and there is still one waiting for tomorrow. He got a farm animal see-and-say, tug boat that scoops and pours water to play with in the bathtub, stacking cups, a medical kit, and a wooden tow truck and car. Still to be opened is his Duplo zoo set. I shopped for his gifts gradually since his birthday in September and found great prices on everything. The most I paid for a single item was $16 for the Duplos, which is a bargain! The rest were around the $6 range. We’ll see which toys are keepers and which toys stay in the toy box. I have half a mind to start a toy rotation system so he isn’t overwhelmed by choice.

Under all the fun was the knowledge that although this wasn’t the Christmas I had planned, it was the one I got anyway. I am a bit heartsick, as many of us are, when I think about who isn’t celebrating the holiday with us this year. Major holidays always seem to mark the passage of time in a more significant way than a normal day does and an already busy time gets weighed down with the waiting and empty longing. If that is you too, know that you are not alone and we are waiting and praying as well.

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100% of the Time, it Works All the Time?

Today is day 8 after starting Provera and other than some very mild, almost nonexistent cramps, I haven’t seen any sign of my cycle starting again. This is at least the 5th time taking Provera and it’s worked every time but each one was under different circumstances. Maybe this time, it won’t work? I’m probably worrying about nothing and the law of internet inevitability states that if I complain to the internet, the problem will correct itself in short order. At least, I’m hoping it will.

EDIT (4 hours later)
Law of internet inevitability strikes again! Bleeding is light but existent. Guess that means today is CD1!

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15 Months

Jingle bells, jingle bells! Merry Christmas!

I keep thinking of how small Ben was last Christmas and how he was completely content to snuggle in my arms and watch all the action. This year, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a tiny tornado!

It seems like there was a switch that got flipped in Ben’s brain because all of a sudden, he wants to mimic everything we say and is catching on with certain words. He knows our cats’ names (Owie, ‘Tsss, and ‘Gli), can identify foods on the shelf at the store, has conversations on the phone with his Grammy, and starts chatting when he wakes up in the morning. It’s fun to watch him grow so quickly!

One of Ben’s molars came in this past month (lower left) and the other 3 are on their way. His lower canines are pushing at his gums too so he’s been cranky lately. We love Hyland’s teething tablets and Advil and for his molars, the best teether toy we can find is a spare (clean/unused) toothbrush. He thinks bushing his teeth is great fun and loves to chew on the toothbrush while watching a show or wandering the house.

Whatever bad mood isn’t caused by the teething is from his new nap schedule. He has waffled between keeping his two naps and eliminating one for months but we had reached the point where he wasn’t making any choices. He wanted to drop his afternoon nap but even if he woke up at noon from his morning nap, that’s 7 straight hours of awake time which is about 2 too many. Last week I decided to lay down the law and implement an afternoon-only nap schedule. I am super protective of his nap time now; nothing can disturb the nap! The first few days were a hard adjustment for both of us. I wasn’t used to him being awake so long and I missed my solo productive time and Ben was flat out tired and clingy after 11 AM. By the end of the week, things were much calmer and he now drops like a stone after I put him in his crib and stays out for 2 to 3 hours. Hallelujah! We also implemented what my parents call the “boppy cup.” We took a cheap, plastic cup, punched two holes near the top and tied it tightly to his crib rail. We fill it up with all the extra boppies (pacifiers) we can find before bed and he can use them as they’re needed at night. He’s gotten really good about putting himself back to sleep if he wakes up crying because he can find a new boppy if the one he was using went missing.

Ben is still in mostly 12 month clothes but is wearing some 18 month onesies, pjs, and some pants. He’s outgrowing his size 4 shoes so I need to dig through the storage bins and find his size 5s. When I took him to the pediatrician for his 15 month well-child visit, he weighed 21 lb 12 oz (35th percentile), was 31 1/4 inches tall (54th percentile) and his noggin measured 18.5 inches (56th percentile). He’s still a skinny little guy but is growing steadily. The doctor was impressed with his vocabulary and mentioned that many kids who are very verbal at a young age successfully potty train earlier. We’re still ages away from potty training but that’s an encouraging thought. Ben got 3 vaccines today (all repeats) and will only have 1 at his 18 month appointment in March before he’s done for several years! It sounds like we’re hitting all of the expected milestones the pediatrician quizzed me about (bed time, book reading, learning words, using a car seat correctly, naps, brushing teeth, eating a good variety of foods) so I’m pretty pleased with our progress as parents. There’s no way we’d feel this capable if someone had dropped a 15 month old on our doorstep 2 years ago!

He is a bundle of energy and I can barely keep up! He doesn’t sit down very often during the day except for when he wants me to read him a book. He figured out that if he picks out a book and brings it to me, I’ll read it, even if it’s not bed time. We spend a large portion of each afternoon reading through his ever-expanding library. Lift-the-flap books and touch and feel books are a huge hit. He loves playing with balls and a few other trucks and Little People animals but his favorite toys aren’t toys at all. He’s happy playing with an empty water bottle, plastic plates and bowls, a Halloween straw, shoes, silverware, or whatever else he finds around the house. I have to be very careful to keep things I don’t want played with out of reach.

We have been actively working on his listening skills, specifically when we need to tell him to stop. We’ve been telling him, “Hands off. That’s not for Benny,” and he actually listens and responds appropriately most of the time. We know that he won’t always listen well but are thrilled that we’ve found a way for him to understand that he shouldn’t be touching that. We also tell him to “be gentle” when he’s petting the cats or wants to touch something delicate or breakable (like when I’m wearing jewelry).

Ben eats pretty much everything we eat. He doesn’t digest corn or peas very well yet and the last time he had ham more than one day in a row, his diapers were nasty. Those things we limit but he loves to share food with us. This week we’ve had oven pancake with mixed berry fruit sauce, turkey, cheese, and crackers, homemade bean soup with ham, chicken pot pie, chicken fingers, and lots and lots of graham crackers. We visited friends 3 hours away last weekend and it was probably the first time we’ve traveled where I didn’t need to pack separate food for Ben. I’m excited for him to try new things when we go to Disney World in February (we have the meal plan and he’ll be eating off our plates since kids younger than 3 don’t need their own). We introduced toddler silverware this month because he kept trying to steal ours and use it. He understands the mechanics of a fork but can’t always figure out the best way to grip it in order to stab food. I made chicken for dinner last night and he ate about half of it with the fork instead of his fingers. I don’t expect him to master it anytime soon but as long as he shows interest, we are going to encourage it.

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Playing with cups and spoons in water is a fun activity

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Crazy-looking breakfast buddy

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Figuring out how magnets work

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Ben loves to talk to B (and throw things) through the basement door cat door

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B’s mom got Ben a subscription to a Highlights magazine for babies as a birthday present. It is sewn instead of stapled together and the pages are much thicker than a typical magazine. Ben loves reading it and it still looks brand new after a month!

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Snuggling Daddy and watching a show while Mommy sleeps in (yay!)

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An empty wipes box and collection of milk carton caps is Ben’s current favorite toy… and probably the cheapest too!

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Ben loves to help me sweep and vacuum

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Late morning (when Ben is getting fussy) is, surprisingly, a good time to go grocery shopping. Getting a free cookie and getting a penny pony ride at the store might have something to do with it!

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We make toys out of everything Ben finds around the house. He loves those measuring spoons!

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Eating floor food and hiding under his high chair

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Dressed in his Christmas finery, as photographed by our good friend Meghan Mace (www.meghanmace.com)

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And, Action!

Today marks the 6 week point post-D&C. I have been feeling great and cheated slightly by starting Provera Monday evening instead of waiting another 36 hours. If last time is any indication, my cycle should start early next week and I can take Clomid again. I’m mentally and emotionally ready to move forward so I’m thrilled that the waiting period is over.

I’m sleeping through the night for the first time since I was pregnant with Ben so most days I wake up feeling rested. My housework is under control and I’ve successfully moved Ben into a one-nap-a-day schedule. Christmas presents are bought and since it is B’s job is to wrap everything, I’m done for now. I’ve been cooking regularly again and am motivated to work on some of the smaller home repair/improvement projects we’ve been putting off. I think I’m through the post-miscarriage depressive slump I was in. That isn’t to say that I don’t mourn our baby girl or wish things were different but, for the most part, the memory and pressure of the loss isn’t affecting my daily life like it was. I can function as close to normal as possible while TTC.

This cycle, if the Clomid is successful, will be about a week behind the cycle when Ben was conceived, putting a due date at the very end of September or early October, depending on when I ovulate. I ovulated on CD17 for both of my previous Clomid-helped pregnancies so I’m expecting that to be close to the same this time.

Folks, I am so excited to try again!

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Waiting, Waiting, and More Waiting

I had forgotten how much the waiting period between a miscarriage and when it is healthy and safe to try again can chafe. I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of time in cycles or weeks but this is neither (unless I want to count down until 6 weeks post-surgery).

I called hospital billing on Monday and received an itemized statement Thursday. Most of the out of pocket costs stem from two charges of 15 minutes each with some unsolvable clue of a billing code. They are willing and able to give us a discount though since we don’t get any assistance from the insurance company, which is a relief but I’m waiting on clarification of what that will be. We’re waiting on this too since there is nothing else we can do before the hospital processes all of its paperwork.

B agreed that we don’t have to go to his extended family Christmas party that I was dreading. I don’t want to have to answer questions or be around people that would definitely remind me of what could have been. My emotions aside, there are other reasons I didn’t want to make the drive. B’s aunt’s house is 2 1/2 hours from our house, expected to be driven on Christmas morning. Christmas is on Wednesday this year and B only gets that day off. We wouldn’t be able to spend the night like we usually do so we’d spend 5 hours of B’s only day off in the car. That is too much for me and definitely too much for Ben. B let the family know yesterday so we’re off the hook for that one. I am so relieved! We’re hustling to finish our gifts for that side of the family so we can send them along with my in-laws whenever we see them next. I am definitely looking forward to spending Christmas Day with my parents and siblings in the morning and my boys in the afternoon.

What is going on with you all? Any exciting new happenings or are you stuck waiting like I am?