Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Ive been up to...

Lots of things have been going on lately. After the craziness of the holidays and being sick things started to get really busy. Justin and I are both back to work with no vacation time and Foster is back at school.

Well, he isnt the only one who is back at school. After my nice long fall quarter off (which didnt feel long at all) it was time to resume grad school.  Let me tell you, working full time, being a full time mommy and being in school full time is nearly impossible. I normally wouldnt have planned to have it this way. I would have liked to get to enjoy every moment of Foster at this age and lay on the floor and play all night after work if I could. See, it was after 19 months of trying to get pregnant and failing I decided that I wasnt going to wait anymore to start school. We were spending money like it was free on fertility treatments and building a boat-load of debt. For these reasons I needed to go back to school so that I could make more money. Besides, I am the kind of person who does everything that I set my mind to and I decided that I was going to have a baby and it seemed that may never happened. I needed to do something, and quick, to prove to myself that I could still accomplish things. You can only feel like a complete and utter failure for so long. So, I applied for school, I got accepted, I applied for my loan, and I got the first bill.

I remember thinking to myself "This is really it, if I pay this bill (therefor accepting my loan) I would have to see this through. I cant afford to pay off this school loan unless I graduate and get a new job." So... I paid the bill.......

Two days later, I got a positive pregnancy test. Dont get me wrong, this was the BEST NEWS I HAVE EVER RECEIVED, but oh the timing. Well thats whats on the table in front of me, so all of it I will do.

This is considered to be the "make it or break it" quarter. The one where your head spins the entire time and they give you more work than is humanly possible so Ive been a little busy.

So far school is going well. Work might be changing a little soon hopefully (not any less work just a position change perhaps). Foster is doing great. He is growing fast now and changing every day. He is on the verge of being a serious sitter and he is vocal as all get-out!

Foster's new thing since about 2 days ago is sticking his tongue out ALL.THE.TIME. Such a silly boy!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Xmas 2011- Foster's First Christmas!

On Christmas Eve day we had christmas with my family. My aunt (who I have always been VERY close with) and her daughter came to spend christmas with us. It was SO nice to have them here and for Foster to get to meet them. Its so hard living across the country from the ones that you love (They live in Texas).

Here are some pictures from their visit:
 Justin, Reisha, Isabel & Foster
 The tree and lots of presents!
 Foster checking out his first ever stocking!
 Foster and Grandpa
 Foster helping Grandma open gifts
 Checking out his new bunny
 Grandpa taking the trash out and being silly!
 Foster's Learning Home that he asked for, YAY!
 Grandma and Grandson
 Being a good little boy and helping dad unwrap a gift
 Checking out his new quilt and burp cloths from mommy
 He loved them =)
 Checking out his new steering wheel/car from his grandparents

After a wonderful day with my family we headed up to Justin's grandmother's house, 3 hours away. We went to his aunt's house that night to visit all the people they had over for their annual christmas eve party then went to Gram's and went to bed.... Santa had to come after all!
 Opening a stocking with his Great-Grandma
 There is nothing like christmas at Great-Gram's house <3
 Checking out the goods
 With his Grandpa 
 Santa Came!!!!!!
 The basement tree
 Nana and Foster sneaking from cuddles
 Mommy helping Foster open his stocking from Santa (mommy is NOT feeling well)

 Aunt Sherry is our favorite elf =)

By then it was about 9am and I spent the rest of Foster's first Christmas in the hospital. I was having excruciating pain all across my upper abdomen and was lightheaded and nauseous. I went to the ER in the town that we are in (we went out of town for xmas to see Justin's family). I was there ALL day, without my baby, and missed pretty much all of his first xmas. 

I had to drink a huge dye drink for an abdominal CT scan, get IV contrast also. Got the CT, it showed "an extremely large mass which we think might be an ovarian cyst"... so they wanted to do an ultrasound. They said the only reason it would be causing pain where I described was if it was leaking. There was no ultrasound tech in so they had to call one to come in from an hour away (ugh! MORE WAITING when all I wanted to do was get home to my baby). About this time the meds they were giving me for my nausea wasnt working anymore. They had to give me zofran, phenergan and morphine to help control it. Then I had 2 hours of ultrasounds, both transabdominal and intravaginal. She could NOT find anything on my ovary. She kept leaving to call the Dr at Cleveland Clinic who had looked at my CT scan to get direction. By this time I was freaking out and crying because I was terrified what "an extremely large mass (over 3inches across) could be if not an ovarian cyst..... Cancer?!

She finally finishes and taked me back to my room in the ER. Then more waiting. The bloodwork wasnt very helpful, the urine didnt help except to for telling them I wasnt pregnant (no SHIT!) and I am on like day 80 of this cycle (no period since october).

Basically they cant figure out what could be causing the issues that I was having. After some doctors conferencing they decided that they think the mass was an enlarged portion of my bowel. They wanted to admit me but I said no, I wanted to go home. Justin had to drive an hour each way to go get me all my meds they sent me home on because that was the closest pharmacy open on xmas night. I went back to his grams and laid in bed dying all night. 

I feel awful that we missed Fosters 1st xmas and cried most of the day in the hospital because I felt so guilty. Because of me Foster was without his mommy and daddy on xmas, Justin had to be in a hospital starving and bored all day. Overall it was awful and I feel awful. They said I need to see my surgeon ASAP so thats the next step. Till then zofran, phenergan and percocets. 

Since then I have gotten back to feeling much better. We never figured out what was wrong but let me tell you; MY BODY HATES ME.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

25 Rules for Moms with Sons

 You are the most important woman in his life, his first teacher, and the one he will look to for permission for the rest of his life.  From "Can I go play with them?" to "Should I ask her to marry me?"  Its a big job, but as the momma, we're up for it.

25 Rules for Moms with Sons

1. Teach him the words for how he feels.
Your son will scream out of frustration and hide out of embarrassment.  He'll cry from fear and bite out of excitement.  Let his body move by the emotion, but also explain to him what the emotion is and the appropriate response to that emotion for future reference.  Point out other people who are feeling the same thing and compare how they are showing that emotion.  Talk him through your emotions so that someday when he is grown, he will know the difference between angry and embarrassed; between disappointment and grief.

2. Be a cheerleader for his life
There is no doubt that you are the loudest person in the stands at his t-ball games.  There is no doubt that he will tell you to "stop, mom" when you sing along to his garage band's lyrics.  There is no doubt that he will get red-faced when you show his prom date his pictures from boy scouts.  There is no doubt that he is not telling his prom date about your blog where you've been bragging about his life from his first time on the potty to the citizenship award he won in ninth grade.  He will tell you to stop.  He will say he's embarrassed.  But he will know that there is at least one person that is always rooting for him.

3. Teach him how to do laundry
..and load the dishwasher, and iron a shirt.  He may not always choose to do it.  He may not ever have to do it.  But someday his wife will thank you.

4. Read to him and read with him.
Emilie Buchwald said, "Children become readers on the laps of their parents."  Offer your son the opportunity to learn new things, believe in pretend places, and imagine bigger possibilities through books.  Let him see you reading...reading the paper, reading novels, reading magazine articles.  Help him understand that writing words down is a way to be present forever.  Writers are the transcribers of history and memories.  They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important.  And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories.

5. Encourage him to dance.
Dance, rhythm, and music are cultural universals.  No matter where you go, no matter who you meet - they have some form of the three.  It doesn't have to be good.  Just encourage your son that when he feels it, it's perfectly fine to go ahead and bust a move. 

6. Make sure he has examples of good men who are powerful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity.
The examples of men with big muscles and a uniform (like Batman and LaMarr Woodley) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he also knows about men who kick a$s because of their brains (Albert Einstein), and their pen (Mark Twain), and their words (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and their determination (Team Hoyt), and their ideas (The Wright Brothers), and their integrity (Officer Frank Shankwitz), and fearlessness (Neil Armstrong), and their ability to keep their mouths closed when everyone else is screaming (Jackie Robinson).

7. Make sure he has examples of women who are beautiful because of their brains, their determination, and their integrity
The examples of traditionally beautiful women (like Daphne BlakePrincess Jasmine, and Britney Spears) will surround your son from birth.  But make sure he knows about women who are beautiful from the inside out because of their brains (Madame Marie Curie), and their pen (Harper Lee), and their words (Eleanor Roosevelt), and their determination (Anne Sullivan), and their ideas (Oprah Winfrey), and their integrity (Miep Gies), and fearlessness (Ameila Earhart), and their ability to open their mouths and take a stand when everyone else is silent (Aung San Suu Kyi).

8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity.
You already are all of those things.  If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything - remember this:  If you have done any of the following:  a) grew life b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body c) taken care of a newborn d) made a pain go away with a kiss e) taught someone to read f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or i) found a way to be strong when that child is are a superhero.  do not doubt yourself for one second.  Seriously.

9. Teach him to have manners
because its nice.  and it will make the world a little better of a place.

Source: via Adriana on Pinterest

10. Give him something to believe in
Because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won't be able to be there.  Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone, so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never.

Source: via Chris on Pinterest

11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle
like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people's feelings.

12. Let him ruin his clothes
Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes.  You'll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing. Don't waste your energy being angry about something inevitable.  Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes.  Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course.

13. Learn how to throw a football
or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw panda bears (or in my case alpacas), or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference betweeGryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song.  Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant.

14. Go outside with him
turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away.  Just go outside and follow him around.  Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions.  It's like magic.

15. Let him lose
Losing sucks.  Everybody isn't always a winner.  Even if you want to say, "You're a winner because you tried," don't.  He doesn't feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed.  And that's a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids.  This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again.....)  Instead make sure he understands that - sometimes you win - sometimes you lose.  But that doesn't mean you ever give up.

Source: None via Emma on Pinterest

16. Give him opportunities to help others
There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help.  Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities.  Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together. 
Source: via Meagan on Pinterest

17. Remind him that practice makes perfect.
This doesn't just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life.  You become a better writer by writing.  You become a better listener by listening.  You become better speaker by speaking.  Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks - they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing.  Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip.  Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier.  Practice, practice, practice.

18. Answer him when he asks, "Why?"
Answer him, or search for the answer together.  Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches).  Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself.  Someday, when he needs to ask questions he's too embarrassed to ask you - he'll know where to go to find the right answers.

Source: via Maegan on Pinterest

19. Always carry band-aids and wipes on you.
especially the wipes.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

20. Let his dad teach him how to do things
...without interrupting about how to do it the 'right way.'  If you let his dad show and teach and discover with your son while he is growing up, some day down the road (after a short period of your son believing his dad knows nothing), he will come to the realization that his dad knows everything.  You will always be his mother, but in his grown-up man heart and mind, his dad will know the answers.  And this will be how, when your son is too busy with life to call and chat with his mom,  you will stay connected to what is happening in his life.  Because he will call his dad for answers, and his dad will secretly come and ask you.

Source: via Kate on Pinterest

21. Give him something to release his energy
drums, a pen, a punching bag, wide open space, water, a dog.  Give him something to go crazy with - or he will use your stuff.  and then you'll sorry.

22. Build him forts
Forts have the ability to make everyday normal stuff into magic.  Throw the couch cushions, a couple blankets, and some clothespins and you can transform your living room into the cave of wonders.  For the rest of his life, he'll be grateful to know that everyday normal stuff has the potential to be magical.

Source: None via Tabitha on Pinterest

23. Take him to new places
Because it will make his brain and his heart open up wider, and the ideas and questions and memories will rush in.

Source: None via Anne on Pinterest

24. Kiss him
Any mother of sons will tell you that little boys are so loving and sweet.  They can be harsh and wild and destructive during most of the day.  But there are these moments when they are so kind and sensitive and tender.  So much so that it can cause you to look around at the inward, reserved grown men in your life and think, 'what happens in between that made you lose that?'  Let's try to stop the cycle by kissing them when they're loving and kissing them even more when they're wild.  Kissing them when they're 2 months and kissing them when they're 16 years old.  You're the mom - you can go ahead and kiss him no matter how big he gets - and make sure he knows it.   p.s. (this one is just as important for dad's too). 

25. Be home base
You are home to him.  When he learns to walk, he will wobble a few feet away from you and then come back, then wobble away a little farther and then come back.  When he tries something new, he will look for your proud smile.  When he learns to read, he will repeat the same book to you twenty times in a row, because you're the only one who will listen that many times.  When he plays his sport, he will search for your face in the stands.  When he is sick, he will call you.  When he really messes up, he will call you.  When he is grown and strong and tough and big and he feels like crying, he will come to you; because a man can cry in front of his mother without feeling self-conscious.  Even when he grows up and has a new woman in his life and gets a new home, you are still his mother; home base, the ever constant, like the sun.  Know that in your heart and everything else will fall into place.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The unfortunate end of 2011.... the best year of my life.

Sorry that I have been away from blogging for almost 2 months. I will update on whats been going on but not in this post!

I think that the best way to start out my "Goodbye to 2011" post is to start by pasting in my blog post at the end of 2010. So here it is:

"2010 has, by far, been the most difficult and painful year of my life thus far. Thinking back this year alone we have been through 7 attempted IUIs, a failed IVF w.ICSI and an FET. We have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant. I NEVER in my wildest dreams imagined that I could have such a tough year. The tears I shed in 2010 are uncountable. There was so much hope and so much failure. So much hurt and so much anger. I think that I almost lost myself last year and I know that because of 2010 I will never be the same. I will never be able to think of babies, pregnancy and life the way that I did before. I will never be able to relax and trust that things will work out. I will NEVER take things for granted. When I look back at 2010 I remember the bad, painful things first. Happy memories dont stick out in my mind, I know they happened but I dont think I was an "active"participant.
Just a week after we got our first +HPT I was with a friend and she said to me that she doesnt think she has ever seen me so happy. It occurred to me that I didnt know this friend before we started TTC back in april of 2009. It made me happy that she said this but I really didnt know what she meant. I felt like I did such a good job of pretending to be "ok", pretending to have fun, pretending to live when I didnt feel like I was living at all. I later told Justin what she said and asked him if I was really that different and he said something that broke my heart. He said that he cant remember the last time that he heard me really laugh (sober) and that I was miserable, that he thought that maybe he had lost me (not that I was going anywhere but that I wasnt the person he knew before) and that I seemed to be on autopilot. This absolutely broke my heart. I know that I felt miserable, I know that some days I didnt want to get out of bed or even face anyone and pretend to be ok, I know I felt that way but I didnt know how much it showed. The sad part of all this is that I LOVE TO LAUGH, I love to have fun. I have always been the non-serious type who likes to make people laugh and have fun (maybe too much). I cant believe how unconvincing my performance was, I guess.
Here I am, on december 30th 2011, and I will be 7 weeks pregnant tomorrow. I am so happy and I feel like I am becoming "me" again. I laugh and I mean it, I smile and I mean it, and I live and feel like I am living. In 2011 I want to treasure every moment of this pregnancy because I may never be pregnant again. I want to treasure the friends who stuck by me through the worst year of my life because Im sure I wasnt fun to be around of talk to. I want to LIVE, unafraid and happy.
I am so thankful for the baby that is growing inside of me, the husband who went through this with me, the friends who stood by me, the family that supported me, the girls of the board and bloggers that inspired me and kept me going, and everyone who continues to be here with me. I want 2011 to be the best year of my life."
Reading this makes me realize how right I was. 2010 still sticks out in my mind as the year that changed me forever. Now, most of 2009 was spent trying to conceive but there was so much more hope and so much less pain that year. We were just beginning. While most people would think that 9 months of trying to get pregnant and failing to, even after 5 of those were medicated, would be insanely depressing it really felt like we were still thinking it was just a matter of time and not science and money (which is what it really was).

At the end of 2010 I said that I wanted to enjoy 2011 as much as humanly possible. Let me tell you, I DID! 2011 was the BEST year of my life.

In 2011:
- I was pregnant for almost 7 months
- Gave birth to my miracle baby
- Spent 12 weeks at home being a "stay at home mom" on maternity leave and living every day as a mommy (this time will always be the most special 12 weeks of my life).
- Spent 5.5 months being a mom to an amazing little boy

How could that not be the best year of someone's life?!

When I told my husband that 2011 was the best year ever and I was so sad that it was coming to an end he was a bit surprised. He was surprised that I could enjoy the year so much when physicall I kind of fell apart. The pregnancy was one issue after another, abnormal NT, possible down, polyhydramnios, fetal echo, HUGE bleeding scare, severe preeclampsia, etc. Then came a failed 28 hour induction, c-section, NICU admission, being on mag after delivery and not getting to see my baby. After coming home we got readmitted to childrens. After that came my liver and galbladder issues. Then came the gallbladder removal and its ensuing bought of pleurisy and hospitalization. Then came a possible cysts/mass and hospitalization on christmas. Sounds like a mess doesnt it?

Well, I loved the year anyway. It was all ok because I had my little boy growing inside of me or here in my arms for the entire year. I dont care that all the bad things happened (although it really sucked and I would have prefered to not have them) because I am SO THANKFUL that this year was a MIRACLE. I, unlike many others, got to be pregnant and have my baby this year. I know after all that I have been through how lucky I was. Many people, heck most people, take for granted getting pregnant and having babies. I DONT. I know I was lucky, I got a gift, a wonderful amazing gift. I got to be a mom this year, and for that I will be forever thankful.

I cried at midnight when I saw the big 2012 light up. I am sad to see this year go, cant I stay here forever?! I hope that someday, somehow, I will have another year like this. One where I get to be pregnant and bring another miracle into this world. It wont be the same as this time.... it wont have the impact that this one did, but I hope it happens again somehow.

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