Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Update on life with a toddler

I think of this space almost every day. I love reading other blogger's posts, and sometimes I feel guilty about dropping off the face of the blogger-earth, especially when writing, and your comments were such essential lifelines to me for so long.

I've been busy enjoying life. Feeling contented was previously so elusive, that I wondered if it actually existed.   A huge chunk of this contentedness most definitely comes from life with Babykins, but the other part I am certain is because of the happy pills (antidepressants) that I continue to take.  Love them both, of course in different ways.  I also love not going through the physical and emotional rollercoaster of IF.

Babykins is almost 17 months. He is a very busy little guy, running – hardly ever walking - almost everywhere he goes.  He is so curious about everything.  I enjoy watching him take in the world and babble back at it.   My Dad nicknamed him Tornado Boy, and it’s an accurate representation of what happens when he’s around.  Bucket of toys? Dump it! Mommy’s PJ drawer? Whip everything out, and quickly move on to the next thing.  When I get frustrated with the mess that follows him, I have to remind myself that absolutely everything is new, fun,  and full of wonder for him.  

Our home now looks dramatically different than it did only months ago.  We’ve moved on from baby proofing to toddler proofing.  Bye-bye little plastic cabinet latches, hello to the heavy duty magnet kind!

Love these by the way! They are pricey but worth it.  The only draw back is that he likes to hide the magnets when he gets a hold of them.  http://www.amazon.com/Safety-1st-Magnetic-Locking-System/dp/B004GCJMLG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456251470&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+proofing+magnets)

Before Babykins came around, I naively thought that several hundred “no’s” would be enough to teach a toddler to stay out of certain areas.  No means “Fun! Let’s do it again” to him.  It’s something we’re working on.  ;) 


Babykins is honestly the most smiley and giggly baby- scratch that- toddler (Aaah! Where did my baby go?!).  People at the grocery store, swimming lessons, church, in our family and friends say they have ever seen another baby like him.  His new (2 mornings a week) babysitter said that he smiled "99% of the time" while he was there.  We just love how generous he is with his smiles and how ticklish he is.

He seriously has the most addictive little face.  I always say that he’s cuter than any baby we could have made.  He has a full head of blonde hair and has had 3 haircuts already!

As I re-read where I left off with my last post, I noticed he was 23 lbs at 10 months.  Now, seven months later, he’s only 25 pounds and quite a bit taller.  He’s a pretty decent eater still (although he’s lost his love for certain veggies), but he rarely sits still so he doesn’t gain much weight.

If Babykins were given five supervision-free minutes at home, this is how I know he would spend it.

1.     Run to the toilet.  Rapidly lift the lid and swish both hands back and forth along the bottom of the bowl.
2.    Run to the garbage.  If it was accidentally left unlocked, celebrate by picking things out, touching all of the recycling and maybe having a snack or two.
3.    Go into the closet and get the vacuum out.  Empty out everything from the closet.   Grab the broom and “clean” the floor.  This boy loves all things cleaning.  I have no idea where he got this love from.  He certainly doesn’t get it from either one of his parents. 
4.    Find the cat and pet him gently at first, then get excited and pull his tail. 

In other parts of our life, we’ve been thinking of moving.  We were fortunate to purchase a cottage a couple of years ago near my family, a five-hour car ride from where we live now.   I’ve been debating since before we purchased it, if we would like to live there one day.

Because D works from home, we’re able to spend 6 months of the year at each place.  It’s is the perfect solution for right now.  But of course, when Babykins starts school, that’s all going to change. 

Summers at the cottage are great, but the cold winters aren’t. I love being close to my family and Babykins being near his cousins.   I notice a change in my relationships with my family members when I am there.  We are so much more connected when I am geographically closer.   We don’t have any friends that live there though, and we miss those connections.

We prefer our home in the winter.  All of our friends are here, as well as D’s parents.  Because it’s a bigger city, there is more entertainment, and stuff to do with Babykins.  

We are outgrowing our winter home.   It also has a pool that we have kept closed for the past two summers.  I planted huge gardens that we now have to pay someone to care for in the summer.   Our next door neighbour who cared for our lawn and the inside of our house is now moving.   All of this means that we feel like it is time to list our house. 

I’m feeling like I can’t take D away from his parents, and that I’m not ready to move to the cottage full time.  So for now at least, we are hoping to move within the same town to a house with very little exterior maintenance.   I would love to build something new near my best friend, but D wants to find a more reasonably priced existing place.  

We’ve met with realtors and have been spending all of our extra time getting our house ready to sell.  Seeing my house perked up has made me love it all over again.

I don’t feel like I can talk with much of this with my real life family or friends for lots of reasons.  I know it’s a good problem to have, but it still weighs on my mind wondering if we are making the right decisions.

Also contributing to the desire to move is that we are feeling ready to start trying for baby #2.  And we don’t have a great place to put baby #2 if we were so lucky. 

Until a couple of months ago, I wasn’t sure if D would ever feel like he wanted a second.  He’s so in love with Babykins, and is a very involved parent, especially because he works from home.   But he’s exhausted.  Babykins hasn’t been a great sleeper since the beginning, and D is a light sleeper.  I am the opposite, thankfully.  D has spent more than his fair share of nights awake.   

D is an amazing father.  I always knew he’d be a really great dad, but he’s truly wonderful.  I am lucky to have him as a partner and co-parent.  I am especially reminded as I read other venting posts on Facebook mommy groups.  My guy is the opposite of so many other daddy duds out there.

But back to baby #2…. We have four normal embryos.  We are going to ship them back to our local clinic from CCRM.  Yes, the success rates aren’t as stellar, and shipping them carries risk, but we don’t want four more kids, so we are prepared to take on a little risk for the convenience of not having to travel half way down the continent and spend even more of our savings.  If we didn’t have to repeat the $4,000 one day work up at CCRM to do a frozen transfer, we’d probably just keep them where they are, but they won’t waive this pre-requisite.

We’re aiming to transfer one embryo in the next month or two before we leave for the summer.   We are only going to try until I get pregnant.  As D says, we know that I can get pregnant, we just don’t know if I can carry.  Emotionally, if I have another miscarriage, I don’t want to do any more transfers.  I think I’ll officially throw in the towel at that time with using my body.

Truthfully, I don’t even want to be pregnant.  Like, at all.  I’ve read about and watched many of my friends have rough pregnancies and recoveries and I really don’t want to experience any of that, especially while chasing after our busy little guy.  I don’t want to miss out on any moments with him. 

If I had someone suitable offering to be my surrogate this moment, I’d take them up on their offer.  My sister generously offered to be our surrogate after she has a second child, but that’s at least 4 years away.  I would be 40 at that time, and given my energy levels now, that seems too far away for me.

I’d love to do another adoption, but we feel like we need to give our little embies a shot at life first. 


That’s all for now… Sending love your way!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Almost 10 months

Life has been good to us these past months. I love summer. Babykins is thriving.  Antidepressants have been the boost that I needed for so many years.  

Seriously- why did I wait so long to take these happy pills? They are so nice! They make me a more content person. I am surprised by how my thinking has changed. Little things that would annoy me (like the sound of a fan- seriously), don't anymore. I am a little lazier and sleepier too, but I feel like it's a small price to pay for better mental health.  My only fear now is thinking about stopping the pills, which I have no plans to do anytime soon. 

Babykins update:

He's a baby that loves to smile when you do, and happily seeks the attention of those around him. He's curiously exploring every aspect of his world, now on all fours, crawling and pulling himself up onto absolutely everything. 

He loves food. On the weekend, after he had breakfast at home, we went to a friend's for brunch. He had another full meal with us, and then when their daughter woke from her nap, he joined her for another small meal. Three breakfasts in about two hours. I love that he loves healthy food so much, and I hope he continues to be a good eater.  He's a big boy at almost 23lbs, and in the mid-80th percentiles for weight and height. 

I am enjoying this phase (he's almost 10 months) of parenting so much more than the newborn stage.  While it's still tiring, (Babykins is still is a crummy sleeper- we've tried lots of different approches but are realizing that this may just be him 😳.), it's sooo much better than those first few months of feeling like a zombie who might pass out from sheer exhaustion at any second.  

This stage of development is so fun and interactive.  I am trying to soak it all in every day, knowing that tomorrow he'll be a bigger boy yet again. 

His smiles and giggles are so awesome, and I'm very good at eliciting both from him.  He's a happy, and very social little guy.  Everyone is always commenting on what a great personality he has. We feel so lucky and proud that he's our boy. 

I am in awe every day of how much he makes my heart explode for him, and how just when I think that I couldn't love him anymore, the next day, I realize I love him more deeply yet again.  I'm trying to soak in all of these innocent moments with him, because I know they are so fleeting. 

Last night, we went to a party where one of the other guests told me about her three losses and four years of infertility.  I think someone else at the party directed her to talk to me about our shared experiences. 

When her eyes swelled with tears, my heart remembered that pain so easily, yet with so much less of a sting. In so many ways every day, I am reminded that we could still so easily be fighting those day-by-day and minute-by-minute battles if it were not for Carla.  I love her more and more everyday too. 

Speaking of Carla, she came to visit us last month at our summer place with her mom. She spent 24 hours with us and we had a great visit. We went boating and relaxed together. They were easy company to host (phew!)

Babykins was teething (he has three little razor sharp teeth so far!). His new mobility and independence has him very uninterested in easily allowing his diaper change/clothing change/bedtime etc. to happen any longer in a relaxed manner.  

Poopy diaper changes are especially a gong show. When D and I are both home, we tag-team them because he is such a squirmy and strong boy.  

It was a little stressful for me navigating all of these new developments with Carla and her Mom around at first. I didn't want it to seem like we don't know what we're doing - even though, admittedly- a lot of the time we don't! (On this note, I am convinced that a lot of parenting is fake it until you make it.) 

I find myself wondering if we meet Carla's expectations on what she hoped for when she chose us.  She told me after her visit that she loves us so much and that we're awesome parents. It was so nice to hear, but I still feel a tiny bit insecure when we see her, even though I know she, and her family are some of the least judgemental people I have ever met. 

D thinks it's good for Carla to see the harder parts of parenting, not just all of the cute pics and giggling baby videos, and well prepped visits. I think she already knows this, and it's why she made the decision she did. 

Openess isn't without its hiccups, such as this one, but I definitely feel so glad that we have been able to build such a strong relationship with Carla and Babykins' extended families. The love they have shown our boy and us, is powerful and makes some of the small sacrifices we make to accomodate them in our lives very worth it. 

Birthdad (who has had no contact with us since the hospital and is no longer dating Carla) recently told Carla that he would now like to see some pictures too. It's a pretty huge step for him to ask for this, and I think it's because he sees how things are working well for the rest of his family and for Carla.  And, maybe he's had more time to process all of this for himself too. 

We're going to text him monthly pictures, and invite him to Babykins' first birthday party (which I do not think he'll attend). 

I can't believe that I'm even starting to  plan his first birthday. My boy is going to be one in the fall...eek!  :)


Thursday, 18 June 2015

8 months, a new nephew and taking the antidepressants

My Nephew

Right now, I'm in a hospital snuggling my newborn nephew.  He is 8lbs of pure bliss.  Ahhh. I am soaking it in. 

I am so excited for my sister to be a Mama, and to be an aunt for a second time.   I am especially happy because I worried about her being able to have a child. 

My sister and her fiancé generously invited me to be a part of her labour and delivery.  It was such an honour to be able to support her throughout the process and watch everything unfold.  It was especially meaningful for me because it's an experience that I may never have. 

I've always had a lot of love, respect and admiration for my sister, but watching the way she has navigated this experience has really made me admire her so much more. She has gone through many difficult situations with so much grace and positivity. 

I am also reminded by this experience, and as I often am as I experience motherhood, that I am so grateful to"be on the other side" and have my little Babykins waiting for me at home. 

Infertility changed so much of me, and I am so glad that I've been able to heal and to experience this without the dark cloud of infertility over my head.  

My sister ended up having a c-section because the baby's heart rate was decelerating significantly during her pushing. She's been recovering well, and the baby  is doing well. 

Tonight, the baby finally latched (on the third day). I was able to watch their breast feeding joirney unfold. Watching him finally latch was such a special moment to share in. 

Babykins update:

He's 8 months old now! 

He's the sweetest little thing.  Well, he's not so little- he's almost 23lbs! 

Many of our friends and family have told us that he is the happiest, most smiley and giggly baby they have ever met. He loves little repetitive games and surprises. A simple "BOO!" can send him into a giggle-fest. 

He started crawling the day before I left to meet my nephew. D has been sending me videos and pictures of him motoring around, leaving a path of toys in his wake.  They make my heart swell. 

He's a busy little guy, who wants everything to go in his mouth. He's also babbling up a storm, loves attention and food! He dislikes diaper changes and  is starting to be quite a challenge to change and dress.  If he had his choice, he would stay naked - probably forever. 

Antidepressants/my mood:

I started taking the antidepressants about two weeks after they were prescribed. They took the full 6 weeks to take their full effect, but they have been amazing. I am so happy that I have decided to take the plunge and see doctor and take his recommendation even though it was scary for me.  I just wish I did it sooner! 

Life is good. 


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Adoption panel, cleaning lady and 7 month (almost) update

Well, I started taking the pills!  I realized that it was anxiety that was stopping me from taking them originally... which probably seemed super obvious to all of you... but when you are living with it on a daily basis, thinking like this has a way of becoming normal.

So, we'll see how it goes!

I took Babykins to the zoo yesterday.  He really was just excited to be out an about, as was I.  It was a nice day with our friend and her daughter.  As an added bonus, she's a photographer so she snapped some nice pics of me and Babykins.

A little update about Babykins - he is a week away from being seven months old!

He's still waking a couple times in the night.    At his 6 month check up he weighed just over 20lbs, which was in the 92nd percentile for weight (wow!) and he's in the 70th percentile for height.  He's a big boy!  Apparently the reflux has not been slowing him down.  He loves solids and will eat just about anything I give him.  I'm noticing that temperature has more of an effect on what he dislikes more then the food itself.  So far, we have done vegetables and protein with some cereals.  I'm waiting until next month to introduce fruits and we'll do dairy after that.

His reflux has been improving.  We switched bottles, he started sitting up, and eating solids.  So, I really have no idea if any of these things were behind the improvement, or if it's just because he's older and his physiology is beginning to mature.  Who knows, but I am glad that he is getting better.

He's a little trooper with puking though - it doesn't even phase him, it's just a part of his life.

We met with Carla last weekend.  We happened to be visiting another friend very close by, so we stopped in (with lots of notice) for a visit.  We also saw his birth dad's family (but not his birth dad, he's not interested, and I respect that).

D was having a bachelor party weekend for my brother at our house, so Babykins and I went on our first road trip.  It was a big success.  He was great in the car and he even slept through the night one night - yay! I'm hoping that's a trend that continues.

This weekend we're speaking at an adoption panel locally about openness in adoption.  The facilitator said many of the people that are in the small group are hesitant about openness in adoption.  It's a feeling I remember well.  It's a full circle moment for us.

We also recently signed our finalization papers.  Now we just need the "rubber stamp" from the courts and he will be officially ours. :))))

He's an awesome little boy with just the best personality.  He smiles at EVERYONE and giggles very easily.  I can't imagine a better baby.  Even though it's been seven months, it's all still hard to believe that we got this lucky.

And oh - and I treated myself this week to having a cleaning lady come in.  Yesterday when I got home from the zoo, my house smelled so fresh and clean.  It was ah-mazing and worth every penny.  I might make this more of a regular occurrence.

It's so nice having your whole house clean all at one time.  I find with a baby that I can clean a little bit here and there but it wears on me looking at X or Y that needs to be done.   And, it's very anxiety reducing for me to have a clean house.   Already, I've done a few extra things that needed to be done, when I'd be trying to get basic household things done.

Sorry - this post was a little bit all over the place - but there's no time to edit! Hubby is away on a business trip.






Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Moods

So a while back, I posted something about my moods still not being right.  I've been tracking them on the app called Optimism for a few months - a huge win for me to continue doing this for this length of time.  I'm not the greatest at sticking to stuff like that.

I looked at the pattern and here's what I see.  Several weeks of feeling 8/10 (yay!), followed by a sharp decline around PMS time to 2/10.  I wrote notes about how I was feeling in the app and a lot of my complaints seemed to be directed towards my dear D.  I'm not sure that he deserves all of what I direct at him, it's probably just that he's the closest to me, we see each other A LOT (he works from home and now I'm home way more than I've ever been with Babykins), and I feel comfortable expressing these emotions to him (and not many other people in my life).

Every single month, in the early part of my cycle, I convince myself that nothing is wrong.  That my bad mood the month before was the result of X problem.

I can now see an unfortunate pattern in dealing with problems in my life.  My strategy has been: a) ignore it,  b) then get to the point where I can't stand it, but still don't communicate my needs (desires?) in a healthy way.  I get quiet while trying to stifle my negative emotions.  c) It gets to the point to where D asks me what's wrong on more than one occasion then d) We end up having a discussion and or fight about it  e) I feel better, which often also coincides with resolving the disagreement and my period showing up.

My cycles range from 28 days to 50+ days, which makes things more difficult.  When I'm having a long cycle, I feel like my body goes through weeks of PMS instead of a day or two like I used to have in my twenties.




I decided to talk to my doctor about it.

He was so awesome.  I love my family doctor and always have.  I filled in a couple questionnaires and scored mild for depression and moderate for anxiety.  I feel that this aligns with my judgement of how I feel.

He said some things to me that really made sense.

First, he told me to start taking 2000IU of vitamin D.  I haven't been a good vitamin taker, so note to self - DO THIS!  For reals this time.

He asked me if I feel guilty about feeling this way?  My answer to that is a big YES.  I feel like I have everything I asked for, and I'm upset about feeling this way.  That I have it so much better than a lot of people.  Why can't I just be happy for once?!

He told me that if there was a blood test or something similar to detect anxiety and depression that we wouldn't need to feel guilty about being treated anymore.  That because it doesn't exist that we beat ourselves up.  This resonated with me.

He also said that we've been through a lot in the past couple of years, and maybe it's just all coming home to roost.  I shook my head in agreement.  It definitely could be that too.

Or, it could just be something chemical.

He said that he thinks that I should begin treatment.  He said that most of the time people will need treatment for 9-12 months.

When I came home and talked with D about it, he felt that I should wait.  That I always feel better in the summer time.  That maybe I don't need it.  While I do partially agree with this, I don't think it's the full picture.  I wonder what it's like to have a normal mood AND have it be summer time?  That just might be the recipe for bliss.

So, now as of last Saturday, I have the pills... I just need to get the courage to take them.



Thursday, 9 April 2015

Baby number two?

A recent post helped me clarify some thoughts on trying for baby number two.  It's one of the many things I love about this blog.  I always seem to feel more at ease after going through the process of writing out my thoughts, and reading your comments.

What has been clarified for me is this.  

I really don't think it can get any better than Babykins.  He's simply the best.  However I would love to experience this all over again.  Okay, well, maybe not all of the moments in the first three months, ;) but everything ever since has been so much smoother. 

However,  I deeply just want to just enjoy Babykins infancy and toddlerhood without the added stress of going through another process, adoption or fertility.   After being stuck on the fertility wheel for seven years I am enjoying the freedom from being  and feeling like a patient all of the time.   

Either way, pursing another baby is going to require a lot of effort and emotional energy, no matter which path we choose.  I don't want to lose my contentedness with being a family of three if whatever path we choose doesn't work.  And while I am grateful (oh, so grateful) that I know it would be different this time around, having Babykins in our arms, I'm not naive enough to think that another loss or failure wouldn't be a blow, and a reminder of everything we have been through. 

Our options for baby #2 are adoption, a known altruistic surrogate (if I could find one) or a DE embie and my body.  What's that sound?  Do I hear you laughing at me, universe?   

Contributing factors: 

First, adoption rocks.  Waaaaay more than I ever could have imagined in my wildest dreams.

Second, I'm feeling more and more anxious about pregnancy and pregnancy loss.  It could be selective perception, but I feel like there have been a lot of people having very difficult pregnancies and births around me.  I'm not looking to be one of them.  And, I've been half-assed trying to loose the 5 pounds I put on since Babykins arrived, and it's not going anywhere.  I don't think I'd be good at all at trying to shed pregnancy weight and I'm about at the brink of not having a good body image.   I feel petty and silly even bringing that up, but I'm just being honest.

Third, we feel an obligation to give our four precious embies frozen in Colorado a shot at life with us or someone else.

Fourth, my moods are still out of whack and I don't want to make them worse.   (I'm seeing my doctor Saturday about them... I have a very busy week coming up but I hope to post again soon on how that goes.  I'm nervous about it!)

Here's what we decided.  

1) Try at least 1 normal embie in my body as a first step. Because yes, I am kind of nuts, but I still convinced that none of my pregnancies have been with normal embryos, except maybe my last DE pregnancy, which was a big painful question mark, which I need to turn into a period.

Or 2)  By no small miracle someone in my life stepped forward and offered surrogacy, then I would skip #1 and officially throw in the towel on my ute.  I'm not sure that's going to happen because a lot of my friends are entering advanced maternal age.  I am going to really have to put some thought into if I might ask someone.  My sister having a baby in June is a game changer... she might be an option down the road.  Who knows.

3) Hope that we get our answer with our embies one way or another quickly, so that trying for another adoption might be possible if it doesn't work out. 

We're taking the summer off to enjoy Babykins and re-starting everything in October after he turns one.  I'll be 36 then, and possibly 37 by the time a baby is born. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Meeting with Carla

We visited Carla this weekend.  As her mascara streamed down her face I couldn't help but feel a big stab in my heart.  She's sacrificed so much for him and for us.  I wish I could ease her burden in some significant way.  

The only way I know how to help is to share her load is to listen to her feelings and validate them. And to share Babykins. Skype, emails, texts, pictures videos and visits. I genuinely tell her that I love her. That she is family to us now.  I tell her how amazing she is and how much she has changed our lives. 

I do everything I can think of, but it doesn't even scratch the surface on how full my heart is for her and this precious, amazing little boy. 

I want to do something special for her especially this Mother's Day. I hope that we may be able to share the day together because honestly there is no one that I would rather bring in my first Mother's day with than her.  And I want Babykins to be with both of us on that day. 

I am going to write her a letter and I am thinking of getting a piece of jewelery made for her.  

There are so many things that I admire about her.  She is so genuine. So funny. So open. So friendly. So nonjudgmental. So loving. So brave and honest.  

I'm wondering if you have any ideas on something special I could do for her?  I'm not supposed to give her anything with significant value because of the adoption process rules. I'd love to hear your suggestions. 

Birth Dad wasn't able to be there.  He bailed at the last moment.  I don't think he's coping well with all of this.  He's an avoider and to complicate things, they are no longer a couple.  My hope for him is that he can find some peace in all of this.