Friday, November 21, 2014

Tomorrow I'm off to get pregnant

Tomorrow at around 1:30pm - I should be pregnant.

Weird sentence, right?

Such is the option of someone going for their embryo transfer. DJ and I don't have to rely on my menstrual cycle, a rhythm method, or the phases of the moon to know when we can/will conceive - we simply have to start our lupron then progesterone shots (which were not missed at all) and then get a call with the date and time.

At this moment, I imagine Baby 2 is somewhere being defrosted. He/She has spent a little over 2 years frozen with his/her other little embryo buddies and like the little alien characters from Toy Story, a "clay" came down - plucked him/her out of their little embryo ice cube tray - and set him/her on the counter to defrost like a chicken breast from the freezer.

Although the pressure is still there to keep this baby in my uterus, the preamble is much less stressful. Shots in the butt are still not - nor will they ever be - glamorous but at least I know what to expect and as long as DJ keeps a steady hand - there are worse things in the world. Also after meeting with Dr. K in July, I wasn't surprised when we were told IVF would be our best bet so I was also able to skip the shock, the wallowing, and the self-pity stage. I think that was a win for everyone.

Also IVF worked for me once and we were blessed with the most amazing little boy (said every parent ever) and he is happy, healthy, and utterly fantastic. Should the powers-that-be decide we are "one and done" then so be it! I mean - just look at that face!


$4555.00...

is what I just spent to start a second round of IVF for baby #2.

Yay......

After Austin I had hoped my body would "reset" and I would begin having a normal period, ovulating like I am supposed to, and have the ability to make a baby the old fashion way. Not so much the case.

At the close of a short lived venture with breast feeding, I waited to get a period but by June 2013 - the date of my annual gynecology appointment - I wasn't even spotting. Dr. B and I talked about my options and since Baby 2 wasn't in the near future, I went back on the pill  - better to be safe than sorry and went on my merry way!

Without sounding too pessimistic, I came to the realization that Baby 2 would also have to be a product of science so this July I went back to IRMS and the wonderful women there to see what my options were. Because I have 5 "beautiful" frozen embryos and a "beautiful" uterus, Dr. K saw no reason why a second embryo wouldn't take - especially since I was not menstruating on my own. Then I was asked the question that most moms-to-be don't always have the luxury of answering:
When would you like to be pregnant?

I know that making a baby - naturally or scientifically - is setting us up for a life long commitment but the ability to choose a date is kind of inexplicable for me - as in one morning I am going to wake up and say "I am off to get pregnant today. Be right back". I guess the same happened for Austin but I was in such a whirlwind of shock, hormones, stress, and panic - I didn't really reflect on the question back in 2012.

Well - I have a wedding the first weekend on September that I do not want to be pregnant for. And a road trip in October....
Oh and I also don't want my baby born in September 2015 - just in case I deliver on the 11th. I don't want that. Is that weird?

As calender-word vomit flew out of my mouth, the nurse nodding along in agreement and followed along on her own calender as a spewed my requests.

So what it we get pregnant in November for an August baby? she suggested. We would start the lupron October 16th and go from there. 

I blacked out after lupron. Shots! Again! Ugh!

Ok. That works I replied. Taking in to account that I would be a fat mess during the hottest month of the year.

Austin's sibs getting defrosted
Great! And she proceeded to walk me through the steps, the medications, and all the other bells and whistles.

For some reason, the figure in my head for Baby 2 was in the ballpark of $800. I don't know where that number came from but its not even a little bit close. Long, mathematical story short - defrosting embryos is not cheap. Neither are saline sonograms, ultrasounds, more medications, and whatever other blood tests, monitoring, and jazz goes into a second round of IVF.  Oh and it is still not covered by insurance unless you work for Google or Facebook. Which I do not.

I also do not work for XXX which is awesome because I hated it there. Even when I tried not to hate it, I hated it. I am now with a much better organization, in a much better place, and life is good!

So all of this said, Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed and headed up to Clark to visit all my friends at IRMS for my morning monitoring and blood work. Wrote a check for $4555.00 and that night, I gave myself 10 units of Lupron in the belly like it ain't no thang.

And here we go again..............:)

Friday, May 16, 2014

35 Reasons Why Being A Parent Is Awesome

Fort! 
1. There is someone that loves you unconditionally no matter what you do.
2. There is one person in the world that smiles when you wake him in the morning because he is happy to see YOU!
3. You have a reason to play with cool toys from singing dogs to blocks to fire trucks
4. You can build awesome forts on rainy days and it is perfectly normal
5. Its okay to eat Cheerios by the handful on the kitchen floor with your little man at breakfast
6. Pancake Sunday and other small traditions take on new importance
7. Holidays are so much more exciting!
8. You can go to places like Liberty Science Center, the zoo, and the circus and see them through a new set of eyes
9. You have an excuse for having yogurt in your hair.
10. You now have the ability to make up songs about everything
11. You can add poet, chef, architect, maid, and a host of other skills to your resume.
12. You always have someone to hug
13. There is always someone waiting for you to get home from work.
14. You move more.
15. You find yourself eating healthier and taking better care of yourself
16. You can order from the kids menu
Happy Mother's Day
17. You have an excuse to get out of events that start too late, start too early, or have a designated start time in general
18. Mother's Day and Father's Day take on new meaning.
19. You love and respect your parents more - and say thank you more often.
20. You have more dance parties.
21. You discover your inner Martha Stewart
22. There is always someone there to laugh at you, laugh with you, and make you laugh
23. You appreciate the small stuff
24. Bodily fluids gross you out (a little) less
25. You get to buy little clothes for little people
26. You learn life lessons again - like loving yourself and not worrying so much about how you look.
27. You are more patient - or you try your best to be more patient
28. You are a master at the Magic Bullet
29. You appreciate alone time with your partner more and learn date nights don't necessarily have to be at fancy restaurants
30. You make new parent friends
31. You get homemade gifts!
32. You learn the true meaning of selflessness
33. Red wine tastes better
34. You learn the best stain removers, carpet cleaners, and other tools of the cleaning trade.
35. You say "I love you" more.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Muffins!

I have a new appreciation for muffins. Muffins get a bad rep because your mind and your salivary glands often go to the butter sugar-laden pieces of heaven from Dunkin Donuts, bake shops, and diners. I recently had the most delicious blueberry crumble muffin at the bakery in my town and yes, I'm sure I consumed my daily sugar intake for the day by 10am but it was worth every single calorie.

In my effort to eat less processed foods, I have been trying to make my own midmorning snacks and muffins have been my secret weapon. Obviously I can't indulge everyday with a muffin the size of my 18 month old son but with a few swaps, you can find a happy medium.
Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I found the original recipe for these muffins on Pinterest, obviously (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/247557310737623036/) but changed few things in their preparation. First, I'm not sure if the author knows a "t" is for teaspoon and a "T" is for tablespoon. I caught the error when I read the amount for baking soda. I don't bake at all but I knew that was a bit much. Also, the original recipe called for a cup of Stevia - again, I thought that was too much so I trimmed that down.

Anyway, here is the skinny:
1 cup of whole wheat flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup of Truvia Baking Blend
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon (or more if you love it like I do!)
1/2 of unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites OR one whole egg

Preheat oven to 350
Mix liquid ingredients and then add the dry
And add to muffin tins

Now this recipe CAN make 8 muffins BUT I made 10 mini muffins so I could bring two with me to work for my 10am snack.

What I also love about muffins, especially these, are that 1) you more than likely have all of the ingredients in your house so you don't have go to out, 2) they freeze well, 3) you can create new versions by simply adding more stuff like nuts, berries, and chocolate chips without really having to think.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 10.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 81
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g2 %
Saturated Fat 0 g2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 22 g7 %
Sodium 132 mg6 %
Potassium 2 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 13 g4 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g5 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 3 g5 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium0 %
Iron22 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ok so I was angry....

One of my more recent posts was a bit angry. I was angry about my job, angry about winter, angry about being a working mom, and angry about winter. Well, although I will always be angry at NJ Transit and, despite the date being March 27th, I am still angry about winter, I reassessed my life, was victim of a tiny intervention with my husband, and learned to make the most out of my less-than-perfect work life balance. 

Endorphin Party!
It isn't ideal but I have been a champ at getting up early and exercising before work. Not only is this better for my mental health and the mental health of those around me - it is my Me Time before the start of the day, it is my time to be selfish, let out aggression, and keep my waistline in check. Because no one else is a wake, I don't feel like I am sacrificing any family time and it actually helps me stay awake during the day. Oh those crazy endorphins!

I may have jumped the gun with my professional angst in some ways because I seemed to have forgotten than I haven't been a "new" employee since 2008. I was so used to having accrued vacation days, having a strong relationship with my boss, and a firm understanding of the organization's culture that I forgot how to adjust and adapt to a new company. Once I remembered that I had to earn my stripes, I found myself more at peace with the do's and don't of the Employee Handbook (however asinine some of the bullet-ed points are). I needed to be patient and see what responsibilities developed as I grew into my new role and met more people in and around the office. People I would be working with directly or indirectly. I needed to be trained before getting my wings and, it is slow going, but I am beginning to see why they needed someone for this position. 

I also found that I wasn't the only working mom. I may be the lone wolf in my department but there are a few of us that have Proud and Not-So Proud Working Mom moments and want to vent about them. These moms also want to advocate for change in policy, management support, and the earlier mentioned bullets in the handbook. Some, but not all, managers realize times are changing in the workplace and creating an environment of work/life balance is a huge retaining feature. Since I am new, I kind of skulk in the shadows of these meetings and offer my vote, but I love the way that the talks are going - and even that such a group even exists in my office. 

My commute is still gross but a little less gross than it was thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Walking out of the office, on to the train, and even into my house(!) in the sun has done wonders. I feel like I have more time and that is all I want - with my son, my husband, and in sweatpants. 

I know there are a lot of Proud Working Moms out there and I would love to know their tricks of the trade. Personally, I now leave any frustrations I have with my commute on the train. I make sure to listen to my husband's day and even though I don't get the quantity, I make sure each minute I have with Austin during the week is quality!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Proud Working Mom

As a working mom, I am proud of many things but one of the top three is that we have a home cooked meal for dinner at least five nights a week. Usually by Friday, I am spent and take out seems like a fantastic option but since I have the ability to spend Sunday's prepping for the upcoming week - things usually work out okay.

I am not one to create my own recipes and Pinterest has become a close personal friend of mine but the other night I was craving meatball subs and decided to take a stab at creating my own. I also had some random items in the fridge that I was looking to use and this is what I came up with:

Pesto Meatball Subs, serves 4 or 5; 
1 pound of ground meat ( I used
http://www.laurasleanbeef.com/products/ground-beef
but you could use anything from beef to turkey)
1/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon of pesto sauce 
1 egg
Fresh Mozzarella
Tomato Sauce
Buns (we used whole wheat hot dog buns)

Preheat oven to 375*
Add the first 4 ingredients into a bowl and mix well, but don't over handle, and make into mini meatballs. I was able to make 14. 
Bake between 20 and 25 minutes. 
Meanwhile slice mozzarella into thin slices and place buns on another cookie sheet. 


Once the meatballs are done, place 3 in each bun and top with cheese. 
Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts to your liking.
(Make sure this step has your undivided attention and you don't start playing magnets with your 15 month old or else you might have crispy buns)

Once out of the oven, top with sauce and serve! 

What I like about adding the sauce last is the bun doesn't become soggy and the flavor of the meatballs isn't lost. 

This meal can also, easily be made ahead, frozen, or adjusted to meet the needs of your eaters. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Little Valentine

About a year ago today, I went for my IVF transfer and walked out of St. Barnabas Hospital with a bun in the over. As magical as October 28, 2012 was, this day is a close second because it was the day that ALL of our hard work paid off. Every shot, every alcohol swap, every dollar was not a little embryo in my belly. Amazing.

Every day I think of how much our lives have changed and every now and then I have a "mom" moment when I think - "my parents did this for me too!" Yesterday afternoon, as snow (once again) barreled down on the North East, I found time to write out Valentines for Austin to bring to school. It was obviously something I had never done before, this being my first time sending a child, a child of mine, to a Valentines Day party and I realized my parents must have done the same for me. It is little things like this that really make you appreciate all the "behind the scenes" things parents do for their children without being asked.

Of course, filling out Valentines and getting him ready for a party is nothing compared to other life events and milestones, but it is still something that reminds me that parents are such unsung heroes.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have been on our TV, mostly as background noise, all week and every time I see that Proctor and Gamble commercial, I stop and watch - frozen. I think of all Austin's stumbles, falls, trips, and tears.  Genetically and athletically, I don't know if he will find himself on slopes, skates, skis, or bobsleds in the future - but he will learn to run and bike and jump and climb - and he will fall. But as long as we are there to pick him back up, in every sense of the phrase, he will do fine.