Moving Forward

There was a time not that long ago that all I wanted was to be a mom. I was already a stepmom but its not the same. My stepson already has a mom. I wanted a child that would call me mom. And now here I am, with two beautiful girls. Before I got to this point I never really thought about what I would do with this space where I have shared so many personal and emotional moments of my journey to get here. Having this space was a huge part of my journey. It brought me a lot of positive things. An outlet, a support system, and even new friends. I hope it is a resource for other people who are struggling with infertility.

I may be a mom now, but I am still infertile. With the help of science and the grace of God I overcame infertility but this part of me didn’t just disappear because I had my girls. I am still one in eight. I still feel it in my heart when someone says something insensitive or ignorant about infertility. My heart still hurts for those still struggling and waiting. I know how I feels. I didn’t forget that five years of waiting and praying hurts. I didn’t forget how it feels when everyone else seems to get pregnant by just looking at their husband.

All of the years of infertility are still a big part of who I am as a person and as a mother, but my day-to-day focus has now turned to something completely new. Being a mom. Actually, more specifically, being a mom of twins. I feel that this space I created to document my journey with infertility isn’t the right place to document my journey as a mom of multiples. Lately I feel like I have a lot to say and share, but I have had a hard time doing it here. I want to be sensitive. I have always loved reading about the success stories of others. It gave me hope. I also recognize that not everyone feels that way. I am so grateful that I have finally gotten to this place, and there is a whole new kind of crazy wonderful part of my life I want to share, but I have created a new place to do it. If you are interested in following the next chapter of my story please follow me here

 

www.ThatTwinMamaLife.wordpress.com and/or

Instagram at ThatTwinMamaLife

Just a heads up I’m still working on the content so it may be a week or so before things get totally up and running!

Thank you everyone for following me here and offering so much support.

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Three and a Half Months

The girls will be 15 weeks tomorrow.  That is absolutely insane.  I cannot even believe how fast this has gone.  I am treasuring every single second with them this week because next week I will be back at work.  I am not complaining because I know how absolutely blessed I am that I have a good job with EXCELLENT health insurance.  I am not complaining because I was able to take 5 months off including what I had to take beforehand due to the risk of preterm labor.  I am not complaining because the girls will be in excellent hands with our Au Pair who has already spent the last 6 weeks helping me take care of them.  I know how insanely blessed I am to have all of this but going back to work is going to be hard.  I just can’t imagine not being with them all day.  Even when they are grouchy and crying I don’t mind.  I just have this huge ball of anxiety in my stomach about what Monday will be like.  And Tuesday……Tuesday will be torture because on my second day back I have to fly to Souther California for a mandatory meeting.  IF everything goes on schedule I will be gone for 15 hours and I will hopefully be home to put them to bed.  HOPEFULLY.  My heart is breaking just thinking about it.  

The girls are doing awesome.  As long as they are on their schedule they are very happy easy babies who rarely cry.  They sleep about 11 hours straight at night. We always put them down awake and they are able to put themselves to sleep with out crying.  Occasionally they wake up in the middle of a nap.  Baby K just needs a binky and she’s right back out.  Sometimes we have to let baby T cry but she puts herself back to sleep in less than 3 minutes (I set a timer and go in to soothe her if she cries longer than 3 minutes which is RARELY).  

One week shy of 3 months my struggle with breast feeding ended.  I won’t say I gave up……more that I fought like hell and one day there was just nothing.  It was extremely difficult and emotional and honestly I don’t really want to rehash it.  It is probably the only thing that has been disappointing these last three months.

Both girls smile and laugh regularly.  Baby K is much more sensitive and serious but still gives huge smiles.  Baby K is also about a pound heavier and a much better eater than baby T.  They both still hate tummy time.  They are starting to really enjoy playing with toys and they LOVE their Jellycat bunnies that a friend gave them shortly after they were born.  I think these will end up being their “lovey” so I bought a second set just in case (we lost my stepson’s favorite stuffed animal when he was 5 in a hotel…….I searched for hours on eBay and ended up finding a replacement for $60!).  

They went on their first airplane a few weeks ago to Colorado to visit my mom and grandma.  They were excellent on the plane and in the airports.  The hard part was all the stuff we had to haul with us!  I was afraid there schedule would be destroyed and they would stop sleeping all night while we were there.  Napping while we were there was challenging for them but they still slept all night and got right back on track when we got home.

I am currently working on transitioning out of a swaddle.  We still swaddle at night but they have been napping in transitional swaddled.  T uses the Sleep suit which looks ridiculous but she has taken longer naps since using it.  K uses a Halo sleep sack swaddle with one arm out.  They still sleep in pack n plays in our room at night but nap in the cribs.  Honesty I think they would be find to sleep in there room at night but it’s more that I’m not ready.  

They wear size 1 diapers and some 0-3 month clothes and some 3-6.  T is smaller so she fits in more 0-3.  They both wear 3-6 Jammies bc they are so tall.  

The new list of funny things people say:

They are shocked that they don’t look alike even when we tell them they are fraternal

They always want to know if we always put then same one on the top part of the stroller or the same spot in the car (um no).

Older people especially like to tell me how full my hands are or act shocked when I am out with them by myself.

Baby gear must haves:

Lilliebaby carrier and Solly baby wrap

Honest healing balm

Twin Z Pillow

Fisher Price Sit Me Up Seats

City Select Stroller

Jellycat Bunnies!

Baby Brezza (NEWEST LOVE)

Dr Browns Wide Neck Bottles

4Moms Pack n play

Ubbi Diaper Pail

Munchkin Sterilizer

Boon Drying Racks

Two Months!!

Pretty much forever ago I thought….I should write a blog post on how things are going. And then I realized I have twin infants and I would need to substitute sleep to make that happen…and that just wasn’t an option at the time. So fast forward a few weeks and here are a few snippets about how life is going…..in no particular order.

  1. Sickness- So this is cold and flu season….also known as the scariest time ever to have an infant (or two). I also have a 9 year old stepson bringing his germs he gathers at school into my house multiple times a week. I would say 90% of the words out of my mouth to him are “WASH YOUR HANDS!” He actually does a pretty good job when I remind him. And then there is the rest of the world and there germs. I don’t want to be a shut in. I will loose my mind if we don’t get out into the world every now and then, even just to Target. I would love to just take them on a walk….but its rained about 85% of the time since we brought them home from the hospital. So yesterday where did we go on our outing…..THE EMERGENCY ROOM. One of my poor sweet babies spiked a fever over 101 and the pediatrician sent us to the ER. After we waited for 2 hours just to have a nurse take her temp it had of course gone down and she was acting totally normal. We then waited another 2 hours to see a doctor just to be sure. I was feeling super silly (and the nurse made me feel like I had done something incorrectly taking her temp), but after they ran some super traumatic (for me) tests they found via chest X-ray that my brave little 11 week old baby possibly has pneumonia! We won’t know for sure until the cultures come back in 3 days but they started her on antibotics anyway….and today she’s acting normal with no fever but she has a cough. UGH.
  2. Sleeping- So people constantly say to me “Oh wow Twins! You must be so tired”. Except I’m not that tired….anymore. Around 5 weeks they got on a pretty solid schedule. They would wake up twice at night around 1 and 5 am. Then around 7 weeks we would put them down at 9pm and they would wake up around 3 am and then sleep til 8 am. They seemed to really understand bedtime and for the most part would go right to sleep after our nighttime routine, and then go back to sleep right after their middle of the night feeding. We started doing naps in the cribs and those could be a little hit or miss, but once I started using the Ollie Swaddle + the Dock a Tot they were getting much easier to put down for naps. Baby T is a bit of a nap fighter still but we are consistent with them and she’s doing much better. So these people continually told me that I just must be so tired, and I felt guilty saying I really wasn’t. Getting up once in the middle of the night for 30-45 minutes is totally doable. And then three days ago something magical happened. They slept through the night from 9 pm to 7 am. I was sure it was just a fluke. I assumed that they would just start pushing the middle of the night feeding later until eventually it reached actual morning, but that’s not what happened. We had a few middle of the night feedings around 4 or 4:30 am and then it just went to 7 am. And that’s been the case the past 3 nights. Again, I have no idea if this is going to last but I’ll take it right now, especially with my husband out of town this week!
  3. Eating-I have fought really hard to give them breast milk. Breast feeding twins is exceptionally hard if you are taking care of them by yourself for the most part. When they were super small its difficult to tandem feed by yourself because they have so little head control and you only have so many hands. Feeding them one at a time works except if you are by yourself what do you do when you are feeding one and the other is screaming bloody murder? So I pumped so that I could bottle feed them, but every time I started to pump one of them would wake up and scream. It felt like a constant battle. I did/do the best I can. I pump when I can. I made the lactation cookies. I took supplements. I power pumped for days. I just could not be consistent and obviously my already very weak supply got weaker. One breastmilk bottle per day went to every other day and now it’s every three days. But I still pump when I can because I firmly believe that FED is best, but I want to do my best for them so they have some breast milk as well. So they are both on formula primarily, and because they are different babies, they are on different formulas. We have switched baby K’s formula a few times because of her sensitive tummy and constipation issues. T has been doing great on the original formula we started with so no reason to switch her too. At our 2 month check up the pediatrician gave us the okay to give them 2 oz of juice or water every day to help with constipation. We tried water first. They hate it. I mean HATE it with passion. We tried for several days and while I like the idea of them having water more than juice, I don’t want them to start to reject eating and giving them water was just making them so pissed. So we give them juice every few days as needed. So far this has solved the constipation issue.
  4. Working- So there was a time in my life (early 20’s when I was young and so naïve) that I was dead set against ever being a SAHM. I was going to have a career and I just couldn’t stand to sit at home and not work. And 10 plus years into my career I am well aware that working for the man isn’t all I thought it would be back in the day before I had any real life experience. But since my family likes to eat and have nice things like a roof over our heads and the occasional vacation (and diapers and formula for two babies is $$$) I will be going back to work. I am going back to work in the middle of March. It is absolutely stressing me out already. The other day I got really emotional about it. I am sad because I don’t want to miss a moment of these two growing up. When they are napping I miss them. I actually REALLY miss them for that hour-ish they are sleeping. I just want to look at them and talk to them all the time. How will I be away from them for 9 hours a day? What if they need their mommy? What if they don’t eat? What if they won’t nap? So seriously how am I going to be away from them for 9 hours a day???
  5. Childcare- Since I am going to have to rejoin the working world after these joyful months of maternity leave there is the issue of childcare. As you can imagine childcare for two infants isn’t cheap either. After much research we decided to get an AuPair. It is affordable, we have space in our home (barely), and we will not have to worry about taking off work if they are sick and can’t go to daycare, and we won’t have to worry about them getting sick from daycare. We hired our AuPair in November and she arrived a few weeks ago. It has been great to have the extra help, especially since my husband has started to travel for work again, and it gives me the opportunity to spend time with her so I will hopefully feel more comfortable when that dreaded day comes that I have to go back to work. So far it’s been great! She is great with the girls and they really like her. Also because when they are napping she does there laundry and washes the bottles I have actually had time to accomplish things around the house.
  6. Travel- I decided that I should try and take advantage of this time off so we are going to Colorado to visit my mom and grandma. This is probably insane to travel on a plane with them at 3 months old, but it felt scary the first time we left the house with them so let’s just rip the travel band aid off right now. It might have been wiser to start with a shorter flight…but what is the worst that could happen? They could scream for 2 and a half hours and people might clap as we deplane…..but I have always been extremely patient and understanding that people have to travel with babies by plane sometimes and it’s not the babies fault that their ears hurt or that they are out of their element. So hopefully we aren’t sitting next to some A-Hole. I want my babies to meet their great grandma. She’s 87 and you just never know…and I don’t really know when we will have another opportunity to visit. Since we are now a family of five plus the Au Pair we had to rent a minivan (and we have to take both cars to the airport). Thank goodness for my husband’s work travel so we are all flying for free because minivan rentals are $$$. I am praying for a smooth flight and good weather…..and no major delays.
  7. Baby T- Taegan was our baby A. She is exactly the opposite of what I thought she would be when I was still pregnant. She is spunky and outgoing. She smiles all the time and cracks herself up. She is a wiggle worm. She is also tiny compared to her sister. At the 2 month check she was a full pound lighter (9 lbs 14.5oz) and 2” shorter (21”). She is more high maintenance than her sister but is becoming more independent. She is very verbal. She is my nap fighter but has been a good sleeper at night. She loves to look at everything around her and has been very alert since she came home from the hospital. I think she fights naps because she is afraid of missing out on something. She loves bath time and hates tummy time. She also has recently started to like her play mat and the vibrating chair. You have to steal snuggles with her right when she wakes up or right before bedtime otherwise she’s much too busy taking in the sights too snuggle.
  8. Baby K- Kruse was baby B. She is much more shy than her sister. She is a great sleeper at night and at nap time. She loves to cuddle. She is usually content to hang out in the swing or vibrating chair. She is more tolerant of tummy time that her sister but gets over it quickly. It’s hit or miss with the play mat. Almost everything gives her the hiccups which eventually makes her mad. She is noticeably bigger and heavier than her sister. She has the best squishy cheeks ever. She loves to look at our kitchen pot rack. Her favorite toy is a white stuffed bunny rabbit. She spits up much more often than her sister so we rock a bib after meals to avoid multiple outfit changes. She and her sister love to read books before naptime. She isn’t thrilled about bath time but tolerates it for the warm water. She hates the after bath routine because she hates to be cold. She even chatters her little lip. She despises lotion. She has the cutest pouty face you have ever seen. Her stretchy face when she wakes up is equally adorable. She “tells us” she us upset about something before she cries about it. She has a much bigger appetite than her sister and is ready to eat pretty much the minute she wakes up.
  9. Twins- Pretty much everywhere we go people stare at the massive double stroller rolling by them. It doesn’t really bother me and I’ve kind of stopped noticing. What I do notice is that there are twins everywhere! I love how many sets I see out and about! The questions I am asked the most –Are they girls?—Are they identical?—Do twins run in your family?
  10. Non questions people say the most – You must be tired. – You have your hands full.
  11. Being a mommy to these two is more than I could have ever imagined. They are the best.

28 Weeks!

Third trimester! What?!?! How did that happen?

My last OB appointment was last week, but I now go every other week so I will have another one next week. I also had my gestational diabetes screening this week (I passed!). We have another growth scan on Monday (which is my birthday!) so it will be fun to see the babies and how big they are now.

We were able to take a little getaway to Newport Beach over Labor Day weekend. It was perfect to hang out by the pool and relax for a few days, however how that I am back to real life I am feelings very behind on everything and don’t quite have the energy to get caught up.

This weekend we have our maternity photos and my stepson’s birthday party as well as his first soccer game of the season. I was really hoping to have my nursery like 80% complete by my shower (which is at 30 weeks) but with how busy we are I have no idea how that is going to happen.

 

How Far along: 28 Weeks

Total Weight Gain: Up 18 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight

Maternity Clothes: Yes but I can still fit in my regular maxi skirts and leggings.

Movement: Yes! Baby B is super active most of the day and Baby A likes to rock and roll at night.

Stretch marks: No

Sleep: Horrible. See below.

Best moments:  Just when I finally relax at the end of the day feeling the babies squirm around.

Miss Anything: Nothing major.  Sleeping comfortably!

Food Cravings: Iced Tea. I’ve also been wanting just a small piece of chocolate before bed.

Anything make you feel queasy or sick: Just some motion sickness issues. Otherwise I have been feeling pretty good (knock on wood!)

Showing: Yes!

Gender: Girls!

Labor signs: No. I do get Braxton Hicks if I overdo it. It goes away when I sit in the recliner with my feet up.  I got them really bad yesterday and it was the closest I’ve come to going to the hospital.  Thankfully they finally stopped after a few hours of laying down and relaxing.

Symptoms: I still get tired/winded really fast.   I have to sit down and put my feet up/recline to be comfortable. Sleep is the worst. I get heartburn around 2 am most nights, which turns into hours of insomnia. I also have restless legs now so falling asleep is really difficult. And then there is the leg cramps in the night even though I drink ridiculous amounts of water.  Oh and nose bleeds!

Belly Button: OUT

Wedding Rings: Off

Mood: A lot more emotional. I have burst in to tears over the littlest things which is very unlike me.

 

Compromised

Social Media is so powerful.  I am so grateful for the ways that blogging plus social media has been able to connect me to so many amazing women going through infertility.  Seriously what a blessing that has been the past three years of blogging.

I honestly wasn’t really sure what would happen to my blog after my pregnancy.  I have loved having this as a safe space to deal with the struggles of infertility and now pregnancy and was hoping that could extend to parenthood as well.  I wasn’t totally sure how that would work given that I know for some still in the throes of infertility seeing posts of babies and parenting can be difficult, however I have always loved to hear about the next chapter for those who were finally able to realize the dream of parenthood.

I decided early on not to share this space with my real life friends and family (except you D, for obvious reasons), because I did not want to have to sensor what I was writing.  Three years ago when I started my blog I was just trying to figure everything out.  I was overwhelmed and confused.  I was constantly hearing the typical comments from those friends and family such as just relax or go on vacation.  Those people who wanted to support me didn’t know how, and I didn’t know how to let them.  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t understand the science of it all, the emotion of it all, the cost of it all, or the true struggle I was going through.  I needed an outlet and this was it.  It was like free therapy to just write it all out and have it read by an audience that really understood.  My response to each friend or family member that unknowingly said something insensitive needed to be individualized to that person, not something that I distributed over the internet for my whole real life community to read about.  For that reason, and many more, I decided my blog needed to be separate.

With that said, this blog, my safe space, has been compromised to eyes that were not meant to see it.

Thanks in part to Instagram’s new update meant to connect us with more people, my insta account, and by extension my blog address, were made known to people I did not want to have this access.  Truthfully I am very open to my friends about my journey.  Over the years I have found ways to share with people and handle the possibly uneducated or hurtful comments that might come, and provide appropriate feedback.  My journey to pregnancy through ART is not a secret, but it’s also not something I put on Facebook.  I believe for this particular part of my life that a personal conversation serves much better than a social media interaction with friends and family.  Further, for professional reasons, I needed to keep my experience with infertility private from social media.

While my blogging insta account was not connected to my Facebook, last name, or my regular email address, I did make it so that I would be able to switch between my primary insta account and my blog insta account without logging out.  This somehow made it so the blogging account would come up as suggested account to my primary account followers.  I have made my blogging insta account private, which I really did not want to do, and blocked those people who have followed the account from my real life.  If you are one of them, it’s not personal.  I am not hiding anything from you.  That account is for me, and I still post updates on my regular account.  I also found that people who I don’t actually know, but are connected to me through others, have discovered the account, which is the bigger issue.   I am not hiding anything, as would be obvious by the posts I have made, however I doubt that you have decided to follow my blogging account because you are interested in my journey.

With that said, I will continue to post pregnancy updates every other week(ish) as I have been.   I will continue for now to post to my blogging insta account which is now private.   After that, I don’t know what will become of this blog or that account.  Maybe I will start a new one.  Maybe I will just stop blogging out of sleep deprivation.  Maybe I will just use my primary insta account.

As far as past posts, I may make some of those private, but I had really hoped that this blog could be a resource for those just starting their own journey with infertility as so many other blogs were for me.  I do know that I do not want this blog, my story, to be the source of gossip for others.  Since my audience has now changed, I will tell you, if that is how you choose to use it, shame on you.

Moving Forward With IVF!

When I found out my husband had a business trip over a weekend I decided it would be the perfect time to go see my mom and grandma (who recently moved in with her) in Colorado. The one good thing about all of his work travel is he has tons of airline points so I decided to cash some of them in for a flight! Amazingly you can actually fly direct to Denver from our airport and its only 2 and a half hours, but I decided to take an extra day off and make it a long weekend.

I was a little scared I might freeze to death but the weather was amazing! My mom lives in the mountains outside of Colorado Springs and there is a perfect view of Pike’s Peak from her deck. I spent a lot of hours out there just relaxing. It was so peaceful.

I love my mom dearly but sometimes I have a hard time talking to her about things. She made some hurtful comments last year about the weight I gained after doing my IUI’s and also made some really inappropriate comments about having high order multiples. It really made me shut down for a while talking to her about anything I was going through.

I decided to breach the subject again while I was visiting and it went really well. It was nice to talk to her about it and she really listened and didn’t offer any unsolicited advice or say anything hurtful. One of the things we talked about was timing. Our original plan was we would start the process in March (because that is when we get our bonuses) and that would mean a late December baby if it worked out.

After discussing it on Saturday she brought it up again on Sunday. My mom’s birthday is December 18th. She has always felt like she really missed out on having her birthday be special when she was a kid (and even an adult I think) because of Christmas. She said that she always felt left out because her brother’s always got to have special parties or camping trips and her day was barely acknowledged. She actually offered to loan us the money so we could start sooner to avoid the Christmas baby!

Honestly I will be happy whenever I have a baby and I know you just can’t control things, but the thought of doing this earlier makes me really happy. First, with my husband’s work travel it gets harder as the year goes on. I was honestly worried about April because he attends a conference in Florida and he cannot miss it. Even in January and February he has some required travel but we already know dates so it will be easier to work around. This will also allow us to plan the rest of our year sooner. I know part of this process is learning to let go of control but a person doesn’t just change overnight. Once a planner….always a planner.

At first I was very excited about starting BCP in December so we could do IVF in January, but for tax reasons we need to pay in January and our clinic will require payment when I start BCP so it looks like I will start BCP in January instead. Thankfully my friend (who did IVF at my clinic) let me know this before I called the clinic today. They will require that I see one of the doctors again (even though I had a consult last year) before going forward and the first appointment I could get was December 7th. I will probably have to go back and meet with the financial coordinator and nurse coordinator again as well, and do blood work, so December will be busy. I also have jury duty in December and we will travel for the holidays.

It is definitely feeling very real now and I am really happy to say that I feel excited and nervous. Last year when we first did our consult I felt completely overwhelmed. This really confirms that waiting was the right decision. I feel ready to move forward with this now which a really good feeling

The next 2 months are going to fly by with the holidays and everything else and I will just be focusing on taking care of myself the best I can. Acupuncture has been going great and I really look forward to that hour of my week that is just for me. I really look forward to going. January will be here in the blink of an eye!

Acupuncture and Stuff

Just a little update on things….

Acupuncture

I started acupuncture sessions at a place that ONLY does it for infertility and pregnancy two weeks ago. My first appointment I was pretty nervous just because I had no idea what to expect. I met with the Acupuncturist for about 45 minutes and we talked about my history with TTC, my cycles, my digestion, my lifestyle…..pretty much everything….and she gave me a book to use a reference for Eastern Medicine Infertility treatments. She also asked if I would be open to taking herbs for a few months since we still have some time before IVF. I mean why not?!?! So I agreed. She also asked that when I start my next cycle that I start temping, which I am so not excited about.

The first treatment was good, but since I was nervous I had a little trouble fully relaxing. I had my second appointment this week and the acupuncturist gave me my herbal protocol. It’s soooo many pills. She gave me 4 herbs to take. One I take all the time (3 pills per day), and the other three are taken at different times of my cycle (each are 9 pills per day). She also went over my current supplements and suggested I had evening primrose oil. The treatment itself was much more relaxing since I knew what to expect. While I did feel way more relaxed I couldn’t totally clear my mind, so instead I redirected my thoughts to the happiest moments of my life, like my time in Italy with my mom and grandma this year, my wedding day, my honeymoon, ect. That definitely helped me completely relax. I am really excited about the next few months of acupuncture but after just two days I do not love taking so many pills every day.

Nutrition and Exercise

I have continued to be AWESOME with my nutrition. I have pretty much kicked all my cravings and this is my last week of having coffee daily. One of my biggest challenges continues to be bloat, which is fine somedays and somedays it isn’t. I have been trying to go on walks but it’s still sooooo hot here. I got in my car to leave work on Tuesday and it was 101! Seriously Fall, where are you?? I have had great energy all day with no crashes, but I am asleep like 20 seconds after my head hits the pillow, which some nights has been around 8:45. I started to get a little burnt out on green salads this week, which were my go-to lunch at work since they are so easy to prepare ahead of time, so I am trying to switch it up a little with tuna salad or salmon salad or left overs of hot food. Overall things are going well and I haven’t really been tempted to eat junk food.

Work

I have been spending a lot of time studying for my Green Associate LEED exam, which is so boring. It’s one of my performance goals this year to get my accreditation and I finally registered for the test on Nov 3rd. I know I have a lot of memorization to do before then, but I figured if I sign up it would put the pressure on to study harder. It’s hard to focus though because the content is dry dry dry. I took a prep class online and I had keep going back to re-listen because it was just so hard to focus on it and the instructors monotone did not help.

Also I am not sure if I ever mentioned this, but my office is literally an igloo. It is by far the coldest part of our building and I literally sit with a heating pad and huge scarf wrapped around me every day. My hands are always like ice and my nose runs. I have to go outside (into the 90+ degree weather) a few times a day to thaw out. I am pretty sure it’s one of the reasons I got sick in August. It actually wasn’t that bad until the end of July after they held some huge meetings in our conference room. I think they messed with the settings on the thermostat and it’s never gone back….so yea….I am freezing every day. WELL….yesterday I found out I’m getting a new office!! It’s also a bigger office with a window and its about 10 degrees warmer! They are moving me so I can sit closer to my boss and admin which will also be way more convenient, but I am so excited not to be so uncomfortable every day! YAY!

Other Stuff

My stepson received an amazing character award at school last week for being a good example to other students and living what his school calls the seven behaviors. He was recognized at a school assembly with two other kids! So proud of him. He also scored his first two goals of the soccer season at his game on Saturday. This weekend we don’t have a soccer game so we are taking him to Apple Hill, which is exactly what the name implies….lots of apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and general Fall activities. There are so places that offer kids crafts, some local artists selling their craft, and much more. It’s about an hour away and we went for the first time last year. I am super excited to go back! I was able to get a lot of Christmas shopping done up there last year, and find some really unique gifts!

While it’s been great having a few months of just being home it looks like November is going to be really busy. My husband had a work trip come up the first weekend of November so I am going to fly to Colorado to see my mom and grandma! With all of the travel he has been doing he has A LOT of miles so I decided to take advantage and use some of them! It will be really nice to spend a weekend with them, and my mom just bought a new house last year that I haven’t seen yet. Also while I have been to Colorado many times, I have not spent much time in the Colorado Springs area where they now live so it should be fun to explore. I am a little worried about freezing to death as there is a chance there could be snow and as I mentioned it’s still over 90 degrees here. It could be a serious shock to my system!

Later in the month we are spending a weekend in Napa with my aunt and uncle and the following week is Thanksgiving. Hopefully my brother and his girlfriend will be able to come up for Thanksgiving again this year but his girlfriend is currently dealing with some health issues that has her out of work so she isn’t sure she will be able to get the time off when she is finally cleared by her doctor to go back.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday!

In the Right Direction

For the past few months, while I have been wonderfully busy enjoying life, seeing family, and traveling, my overall physical health was going the wrong direction. Finally in September when things slowed down I was so disappointed in myself that I had let all my hard work from the first part of the year just dwindle away. Four weeks ago or so I started to really change the way I was eating my meals. I finally got back to prepping on Sundays and was mostly eating three healthy non-processed meals per day. But I was still snacking on really unhealthy foods in between and still eating out a bit too much (even if I was mostly getting salads). The scale wasn’t changing and I was feeling so sluggish and somedays I even needed a nap after work. If I had things to get done I would have to roll thru the Starbucks drive thru on my way home for a VENTI latte just to have the energy to finish the day. That is really no way to live.

Finally last week on Tuesday I decided to take my sugar and caffeine demons head on. It was time to stop snacking and cut WAY back on the coffee (or caffeine of any kind). The first few days were rough. I was exhausted, cranky and suffering from a serious withdrawal headache….and the bloat….OMG the bloat. I was/am still drinking a 2 shot latte first thing in the morning (that I make myself) with about 5% of the sugar that is in a Sbux drink and that’s it. The only other sugar in my diet has been fruit.

Over the weekend things finally turned in the right direction. Sunday I woke up with boundless energy. Before 7 am I was bouncing around the house getting tons of things accomplished (and I am not a morning person usually). I accomplished before noon what I usually do in an entire weekend. But it didn’t stop there. We had a lovely family bike ride in the afternoon, followed by some basketball with my stepson. Even at 8:30pm as I stood in the kitchen preparing my lunch for today I still had energy.

I woke up this morning feeling just as great. I was literally wiping down our appliances with stainless steel cleaner as I waited for my coffee to finish. When I did make my way to the scale I had lost 1.2 lbs since last Wednesday. The first loss since April.

In other exciting news I am starting Acupuncture tomorrow! I am going to a clinic which does only Acupuncture for fertility and pregnancy. I have heard very good things about them. I am a little nervous about how I am going to fit this into my schedule every week (esp since the clinic is like 40 mins from work) and how expensive it is, but I think it’s important and hopefully they will be able to help me out with end of day appointments.

While I have needed to get my act together for a while now, the realization that IVF is 5 months away really hit me last week. The time is really going to fly, especially with the holidays mixed in. Honestly this whole year has gone really fast. Now it’s time to keep my eye on the prize and stay motivated to be as healthy as possible in anticipation of IVF!

Thyroid Testing: The Basics and My Experience

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I was born with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Basically this means a lifetime of blood tests and a little pill I take every single day. Except for me it hasn’t really been all that basic.

The normal blood test to check up on thyroid function is to test TSH. TSH is actually produced by the pituitary gland, but its purpose is to maintain stable amounts of the hormones T4 and T3 which are produced by the thyroid gland.   What this means, is if your body is producing a high level of TSH your thyroid isn’t performing as it should and your pituitary gland is working overtime to try to get your thyroid to step it up. In other words, as far as tests results go, high numbers are bad.

So why is the thyroid gland so important? Well and underactive thyroid leads to rapid weight gain, low energy levels/fatigue, the inability to lose weight, dry skin, constipation, hair loss, cold intolerance, and INFERTILITY. I will also note that an overactive thyroid is also a very serious condition with its own set of symptoms, but as I don’t have a lot of experience with that I am going to stick to what I know.

From what I recall most of my childhood my thyroid was well controlled with my medication. I went in for labs to check on things every six months and had a few minor changes in dosage here and there, but for the most part things were steady. And then puberty hit and things went completely haywire. As if going through puberty isn’t hard enough as it is, my thyroid levels were on a roller coaster ride. I started having to get tested every six weeks (which is how long they predict it takes for an adjusted medication level to take effect). My senior year my thyroid was under performing so drastically my doctor forced me to quit the track team (my energy was so low and body so out of whack I was passing out at practice). My junior year I made it to the state track meet in the half mile and even won a metal, and just a year later I could barely make it to the finish line.

My parents drug me to all sorts of specialists and they could not figure out what was going on. About six months later, just like that, everything was normal again. They were able to decrease my medication and I went back to labs every six months. Throughout my twenties things stayed fairly regular other than one issue when I was 25. Again, out of the blue, my TSH came back extremely high, and then a few months later everything normalized again.

When we started TTC 4 years ago I knew it was super important to keep my thyroid levels in check. There is a lot of controversy on what a normal TSH should be. According to my current primary care doctor the normal range is 0.34-4.82 ulU/ML. Thankfully my doctor and I are on the same page and she will increase my medication if my result comes back over 2.0.

Until a few months ago I was on a combined dose for about 6 months. I would take one dosage on the weekdays, and a slightly higher dosage on the weekends. While I am totally willing to do whatever I need to, this is a huge pain in the butt. The largest issue is with getting the 2 prescriptions filled. Because of how insurance works, I was regularly told that the second dosage wouldn’t be covered unless I picked them up on separate weeks. Going to the pharmacy every other week is really a pain, but of course I did it. I had labs done in April and it came back too high (4.2) so my doctor put me on just the higher dosage 7 days a week (whew!). Because my dosage has swung from the low normal to the high normal a few times over the past few years she also decided to do a thyroid antibody test to test for the autoimmune disease Hashimoto thyroiditis. I didn’t know all that much about autoimmune diseases until the past 2 years, and to my knowledge I have never been tested for this. In basic terms having this disorder means that your immune system attacks your thyroid gland as if it were an invader to your body (like an infection), which results in decreased function of your thyroid. My doc thought this might explain my varying TSH levels over the years.

I received my results from my labs this morning and it’s actually all good news. My antibody test came back normal so no autoimmune disease (YAY!), and my TSH is a perfect 1.01 which means I will continue to take one dose 7 days a week for six months or so until I retest early next year. If we decide we are going to go ahead with starting the IVF process in March I will request a retest from my doctor in February. Results are usually available in 24 hours and this will give time to adjust my medication if necessary before I actually do IVF.

Because I have been dealing with this disorder since birth it’s on my radar and I know how important it is to keep it closely monitored, especially while trying to have a baby. For anyone who has been TTC for 6 months or more and hasn’t had this test, I would highly recommend asking your primary care doc to order it for you. While I have had an underactive thyroid since birth, most people don’t actually develop this issue until later in life.   If you do get the TSH result back and it’s over the 2.5-3.0 range ask to be put on a low dose of synthroid (thyroid stimulating medication) and retested in six weeks. At the very least get the test, do your research, and talk to your doctor/RE.