Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

25 Months

Her 25th month started as we entered our summer vacation, with two months off together. 

This month, she developed a love of the "big pool," baby chicks, wearing her backpack, going on the teacups and down slides with her arms up, fostering dogs, riding on the back of Daddy's bike, Playmobil, lobster tail, estate sales, running, Eggo waffles and play-dates with friends.
We started two weeks of Mommy 'n Me swim at a local high school. Dad came a few times, and Grandpa came one day. Every weekday at 9am, she went in the "big pool" with me, her teacher and one other boy. In the first week, she learned to kick her feet while being held horizontal. While she can float on her back in our spa almost by herself, she remains reluctant in the pool. By the end of the second week, she learned to reach her arms out while being held horizontally while kicking. The teacher gave her a certificate of participation, of which she was very proud. She showed Dad, and we put it on the fridge.

Right around Mom's birthday, we bought two baby chicks. Baby A is surprisingly gentle and very loving with "Nemo and Dory." Only a few days old when we bought them, they need to be inside with a heat lamp for 2 months! This means they had to go on our road trip to Oregon! One is a Polish standard, and the other is an Americana, or Easter-egger, which will lay blue eggs.

With the results of our last IVF being negative, I started running again. Sometimes, I ran while Daddy pushed Baby A in the stroller. Instead of just taking off on my own and not seeing them until I finished, I doubled back a lot. Each time I did, Baby A gave me a high five. This also helped me check and make sure she didn't fall asleep. Even a 10-20 minute snooze on our late morning walk will throw off her nap. She was dozing off one day with less than a mile left. So, we asked if she wanted to run with Mommy and she was very excited. She held my hand and was giggling, saying "Running!" Daddy snapped a few pictures of us, which I would like to share but they just look like "before" pictures. I'll wait until I have some "after" pics to put them next to - haha. I'm not always able to run, which is a bit frustrating, because consistency is key. I've been having periodic pain in my arm pit since the lymph node removal. Sometimes, I'm planning to run and can't because of a painful, red bump that lasts days. But we take it in stride.
We fostered two dogs, which she loved right from the beginning. She would wake up and say "Puppy?" and loved carrying BamBam around.

Baby A was a big help gardening this month. A few mornings per week, we would wake up and go outside first thing, while it was still overcast. She sat on her little table with a waffle, scrambled eggs, and fruit while I started gardening. Before long, she was right there helping. I had white flowers in the front planter that completely took over and were awful to try and get out. I softened the ground, put on gloves and pulled with all my might, only to have them snap off at the base, leaving their roots for me to dig out of our clay-like soil. Frustrated, I said these flowers are.....difficult. She looked up at me and clear as can be said "difficult?"

We had a lot of play dates. We Play Loud, Pretend City and the Discovery Science Center with Tommy, Big Air Laguna for Toddler Time with the Kelly's, Huemann's, and Soules, and our local park with Olivia from down the street.

On the 22nd, we flew to Oregon. She requires her own seat now, and is supposed to be in it for take off and landing, which I didn't realize. They didn't catch it for take off, so when the flight attendant told us that on the descent, we were not prepared. She cried and protested as they moved her to it, and wriggled herself free by the time they had moved on. The second flight was much better, because I prepped her for it. 

She is developing such a personality and sense of humor. She kept looking out the window of the plane and saying "Dinosaur! Look Mommy, see it? See it?" But when I asked her if it was real she had a sly smile and sometimes said no. I'm not sure if the mountain ranges below really did look like dinosaurs with her imagination, or if she was just trying to joke me. Either way, it was as cute as all get out.

The week before Oregon, we took away her morning 7oz bottle, leaving just one in the late afternoon/early evening. In typical Baby A fashion, it was as easy as pie. She actually didn't even seem to notice and only mentioned it once every other day or so. I need to nix the second one sometime soon, but am more reluctant because it is another sign that my little baby is disappearing right before my eyes.

We were in Oregon a few months ago, and it was amazing to see her show that she remembers certain things about it like where the horses are, and demonstrated memory of riding them "Mommy, ride horse, peeeeasse?" Her cousins were already up here, and a few days after we arrived, Auntie Bex and TJ flew in from DC. 

Our days up here are very full with the longer daylight. Some mornings she was out exploring the property with me by foot or in the Gator before the house awoke, and ended the night around 9:30 pm with a ride on the back of Daddy's bike down the long winding driveway in the cooling night air. One of my favorite things to do is ask her which way she wants to go, and just follow. When her Dad and Uncle Pat and TJ were dredging the lake and she said "Mommy, clothes off" her way of asking to go in the water, in the water we went. It is only up to my knees at that part, the whole reason they are dredging, and she loved picking up pebbles or inspecting moss. After some reluctance and wining, Trevi even joined in and hopped around in the cool water.

Things I don't want to forget:
  • Sitting on the front bench and watching the moon rise.
  • Riding our bikes for ice cream. Daddy ordered a root beer and Baby A pointed at the can and exclaimed "Beast!" When we saw a bull dog on the can, we understood.
  • "Big pool!" 
  • She prefers the live action Beauty and the Beast over the cartoon now and will sometimes say "Beast, scared!"
  • Beast! Castle.
  • "Mommy watch! Under!" Going under the stream of water from the hose as I was watering out front.
  • Asking "Scat sound, Mommy?" when she heard uncle Pat doing target practice.
  • Holding my hand while she sat in the passenger seat of the Gator.
  • "My tractor"

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chasing that Rainbow (Baby)

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. A rainbow baby brings light, but by no means replaces the angel baby.

We just completed our 4th IVF, which was negative. Our 3rd IVF before that was supposed to be our last, but with a positive pregnancy and all genetic testing coming back normal at 10 weeks along, we thought we were in the clear. We also knew that it was a little girl, and started talking about names. 

The news of no heartbeat at 17 weeks and the words "fetal demise" came as more than a shock, and still hurt. Being pregnant with that little girl allowed us to dream, and to imagine our growing family. To dream of a sibling for Baby A, of a more chaotic household, of another little one to love.

I find myself dreaming of a last, last round and one more shot at a rainbow baby. While even the thought of a pregnancy is exciting to me, I am unsure. Unsure of so many things. The risk, the failure, the additional cost, the relationship between the two, and how that will pan out. After so many failures and the loss, we are both afraid to hope again.



My husband is more pragmatic, and likes to plan for worst-case scenarios, while I'm more of an idealist. He is mostly leaving the decision up to me, and says that he is good with how things are. There is no doubt we want a second, as we did two rounds of IVF after Baby A and were both over-the-moon with my second pregnancy. But when are we done? At what point do we just cut our losses and thank the lord for our perfect little girl? Not all who go through IVF have a baby at the end of it.

My husband says he likes our life how it is and our little family of three. And I do too. I love it so much that I feel another child would only enhance it. This mom-thing doesn't have me feeling overwhelmed or tired (for the most part..we all have our days), mostly it is just a whole lot fun. His reason for us possibly being done is my reason for not being done. I love being a Mom. No, I relish being a Mom. It is my life's mission now.

And another won't make me more of a Mom, but it will give us a fuller house. More excitement at Christmas and the holidays. And, someone to be with her at my funeral. Wait, what? Yes, this is something I think of; who she will have after we're gone. Our family is extremely small. While having a sibling isn't a guaranteed close friend for life, it is at least someone with your shared history and someone you can rely on. Someone to be there for you, through life's joys and sorrows. Someone who knows you really well and loves you unconditionally.

We have some serious introspection and praying to do. I have a consult set up with CNY Fertility in New York for mid-September; their first available. Until then, it's time to enjoy summer, our upcoming trip to Oregon, and our little family of three.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fourth IVF: Negative


Today was my blood test and official negative results: 

Hello Megan,

I tried calling your cell twice just now and no answer, your HCG level came back at <1 which means negative. I am truly sorry I wish I had better news for you today. Dr. Frederick would like for you to stop all medications and would like for you to set up a consult so she can regroup with you on next steps. Roxy will let you know what are Dr. Frederick next openings. 

But we've known for almost a week that it didn't work, because I tested at home. Four times. The first time, I still held out hope that it was just too early. I kept checking the test and staring at it. If willing a squinter were possible, there would have been that extra line that I so desperately wanted to see. But with each negative test I took, that hope diminished. Last week I was just crushed. In part because I was so hopeful, we both were, and also because this is most likely our last attempt.

As we geared up for this last round, I was all prepared for it not to work. But on embryo transfer day when we found out we had four "good-looking" embryos, I couldn't help but be hopeful. That was the highest number we have ever had. I even found myself slightly concerned it could be twins, and worried because that would mean a higher risk pregnancy. What a good problem that would be to have.

I still went in for the blood test this morning at 7:30 a.m. because you're supposed to, but was so confident in the negative result that I went for a 3 mile run while we waited for the call. 

I also signed up for the Long Beach Half Marathon. These last two rounds of hormones, and one pregnancy (that ended at 17 weeks) have taken a toll on me. I'm up at least 25 pounds since our wedding day, and heavier now than even last summer when baby A was 13 months old.

I waiver about 25 times each day between trying again and being content with being a family of three. My husband said that it is up to me. He said that I enjoy being a Mom so much that he wants me to have that experience again, if I want to. Right now, in this moment, I am not in favor of trying again. Our Baby A has made me a Mom, and she is perfect. We hit it out of the park with her. All of these additional attempts only serve to highlight just what a miracle she is.