Sunday, December 28, 2014

celebrating with family

the love of a family is life's greatest blessing. 

with our little boy on the way, my mother-in-law threw us a baby shower in southern california to celebrate our lil guy. 

what a beautiful and memorable shower she gave us. it was very intimate with a few special people which was wonderful because we were able to spend a lot of time chatting with each family member. i am still overwhelmed by her generosity and kindness. 

A's cousin K brought her 4-month old little boy to the shower. everyone was so excited to meet the little fellow. i think it will be fun to have our little boys so close in age.

it was so surreal to hold him and realize that i will have one of these precious babes in my arms very soon.

putting together showers is a big undertaking and it's not really my MIL's thing but she put together a very special event. everything about that day was perfect – the food, decorations, games, guests, and gifts.

it was so incredibly special to celebrate with A's 87-year old grandparents as well. and they were even gracious enough to host the shower at their home. they are such wonderful people. we just wish that they lived closer to us.

the next day, after our baby shower, we got together for A's annual family christmas brunch. it too was a delightful day. so many reasons to celebrate. i'm very lucky to have married into such a caring, loving family. they are ready to welcome our little boy with open arms when he arrives in a few months. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

into the third trimester

we're a few days away from the start of week 28 and have entered the beginning of the third trimester. wowzers. i can't even believe it. someone pinch me, please. i'm so happy that i've been able to carry our baby, with relative ease, for the past seven months.

weight | at my last doctor's appt, i was up about 18 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. 
while that seems on track for the 35 lbs that my OB wants me to gain in this pregnancy, it feels like a lot. especially since i'm vertically challenged at 4 feet 11 inches.

size of baby | about the size of an eggplant
…14.8 inches and 2.5 pounds. but i'm convinced he's bigger.

gender | a bouncing baby boy.
we are preparing for snuggles with mama, trips to the ER, and his love of sticks. he'll have a lot in common with our pup in this department.

movement | one day i tried to determine his sleep cycles by tracking his movement. 
i recorded 7:15AM, 8:45AM, 10:45AM, 1pm, 2:30pm, 4pm…and then i just decided that he moves all the time. last sunday, i didn't feel him move at all. it was the longest day EVER. i tried not to think the worse but it's hard when you're used to his movements as reassurance that he's in there and doing good.

fun fact | baby sunshine is showing brain activity now. 
and he'll just keep on getting smarter every day.

sleep | i normally sleep on my stomach so giving that up has meant a lot less good sleep. i wake up several times each night on my back and worry that i'm cutting off the baby's blood supply. i read that you're supposed to sleep on your left side but that's so hard. it's also tough to get good sleep when you're getting up 17.5 times per night to urinate. but i'm doing what i can in the sleep department.

exercise | during the week, i walk from the parking garage to my office and then to/from lunch. 
that's about the extent of my exercise regimen. however, my friend lanie and i have been walking every sunday morning through most of our pregnancies (she's 33 weeks).  last weekend, we walked three hours and i think it's safe to say we overdid it. no more of those long ones.

maternity clothes | i've worn mostly hand-me-downs but i have purchased few pieces here and there...if i find any good sales. like this "so in love" t-shirt pictured.

symptoms | my acid reflux has gotten worse. 
everything i eat...i get the privilege of tasting about 3 more times when i regurgitate my meals. fun! and my back is KILLING me. primarily on the right side. i'm told it is my serratus muscle. it's definitely from sitting so much and using my right arm to reach and type. sitting is awful when you're pregnant. and i do it 10-12 hours per day with my commute and work schedule.

cravings/aversions | i think my child might come out of the womb looking like a cheerio. all i crave is cereal with milk! and occasionally mini-slider burgers.

nursery | it is getting close to being done. 
we got our glider which was a big ticket item. i love sitting in the nursery, rocking and reading to our son. it is already my favorite time of the day.

best/worst part of the week | the worse part of last week was taking my glucose tolerance test. 
ugh. nothing makes you feel crappier than a 12 hour fast, downing 75 grams of glucose, sitting for two hours and then having your blood drawn three times in the same day. but the best part of the week was finding out that i passed said test and do not have gestational diabetes. yay!

what hubby is looking forward to | being able to take our little boy to the dirt bike track and teaching him how to ride.

recent news | a local magazine interviewed me and wrote a piece called "blogging, then baby" which was printed in their december issue. while i was flattered, i was a little disappointed when it published because some of the facts of our story weren't accurate. also some of the published blurbs pulled from my blog were slightly misrepresented. but i appreciate that someone took interest in my story nonetheless.

happy holidays! hope you have a fantastic week.
stay tuned for a huge new year's giveaway with trumpette….
something fun to kick off 2015.

Monday, December 8, 2014

everything is about to change

everything is about to change.

although i’ve cherished our time…with just us two, i'm ready. i'm almost in my third trimester and it still feels like a dream sometimes. this bouncing baby boy will be on his way soon. he is going to turn our worlds upside down. and i can’t wait.

i’m excited for all of the firsts that we are going to experience together. 
his first smile. 
his first word. 
his first step. 
all precious moments that we will share.

i know parenting this little man won't be easy and it won’t always be fun. but it will be worth it. everything we’ve endured over the last five years was all for this. all the shots. the debt. the tears. miles traveled. hope followed by despair. it was all for what’s just around the bend. and i’m so grateful that i get to experience this little miracle with you.

you are going to be an amazing father. 
you’ll teach him how to ride a bike. 
how to be kind and courteous to others. 
to be a gentleman with the ladies. 
i know you two are going to be the best of friends.

so on this day that we celebrate 6 years as a married couple…
we also have something else so amazing to celebrate. our son. he will be in our arms in 100 days (if he is punctual). and he will reside in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

thank you for loving me. for choosing to fight for us when things got hard. and for walking by my side throughout our difficult quest to grow our family. it wasn’t an easy road that we took to get to this place. but i’m so blessed that you continued to trudge forward with me after each failure. because this is what we were fighting for….our little baby sunshine. and he's almost with us.

i love you, A….with all my heart. 
happy 6th anniversary!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

a low tech way to improve male factor infertility

before i started this blog, there was a brief period of time in which we thought my husband’s sperm was to blame for our infertility. his initial semen analysis tests showed low motility and morphology. at one point, an urologist even suggested that he undergo surgery for a varicocele (40% of men having trouble conceiving have one).  we did a lot of research to understand what hubby could be doing differently to improve his sperm quality.

what we found in our research was that heat and the sperm do not play well together. since my hubby is a cyclist (at the time he was racing motocross) and a firefighter, working in heavy gear in high temperatures, i really was concerned that he wasn’t keeping the sperm makers cool enough. that his sperm were being overheated. or damaged. i read about truck drivers having issues with their sperm because they sit so much in hot trucks.

but it wasn’t realistic to think that he was going to give up his job or hobbies because we were trying to conceive. he avoided hot bathes and hot tubs. he took supplements, asian herbs and reduced the number of hours that he was sitting on the bike seat. over time, his motility and morphology numbers improved. after about 6 months, our RE no longer thought that my husband’s sperm were playing a role in our inability to conceive.

in our case, lifestyle changes and alternative treatments helped to improve my husband’s sperm quality. it is for that reason (and because many of my readers are still in the trenches struggling with male factor or unknown infertility) that we’d like to share a new product that may be able to help your spouses’ swimmers.

the product is called snowballs (yes, a very fun, quirky name) and they are cooling underwear for men to help lower scrotum temperature and improve fertility. snowballs are designed using thin, organic cotton and can be comfortably worn all day. the snow wedges (the cooling mechanism) should be frozen and worn about 2 hours each day.

research shows that the testes of men with fertility problems tend to be warmer by an average of one degree celsius. if that temperature can be lowered on a consistent basis, fertility should improve.

if snowballs had been on the market four years ago, we definitely would have tried them to help improve my husband’s sperm quality. hopefully this product can help you save you from needing IVF or help improve your IVF success rates.  can’t hurt, right??!

if you're interested in trying this product, snowballs is offering DofD readers a 10% discount using the discount code: dimples10.

baby dust to all my ttc sisters!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

sharing our story on television

the perfect donor documentary filming in los angeles
over a year ago, 
i was contacted by a production company in new york city that produces some widely recognized and popular reality TV shows. they were interested in doing a show on infertility. following different couples through their baby making journeys.

candidly, i was ecstatic because i felt like this show could spread some awareness and true understanding of what infertility is like and how devastating it is. whatever i could do to help them get this program off the ground, i was going to do it.

after a screening phone call and then a Skype interview with the producer, it seemed that the project was moving forward. initially, the producer thought it might work to film in my hometown and follow my husband and i and some other couples that i'd met through my local IF support group. so i connected the producer with couples in various stages of infertility - pursuing adoption, IUI, IVF, living child-free after infertility, surrogacy, etc. 

then after weeks of screening phone calls and Skype interviews with the other couples, the producer told me that she didn't think it was going to work. in order for the show to be entertaining, you have to have all different personality types represented. think sex in the city. she basically told me "it is not surprising that the women you connected us with are your friends because they are a lot like you". low drama and relatable. apparently, i am a carrie and my friends are too.

next we decided to explore whether the program could work if we expanded the project outside of my geographic area. so i gave the producer a list of bloggers that i thought represented a good cross section of both personalities and stages of infertility. honestly, i don't even know how far that went or if she even contacted any of them.

needless to say, the project fizzled and i'm sure the producer moved onto something else as i haven't heard from her in a while. big fat bummer for the infertility community in my opinion. 

fast forward to a couple months ago. i was contacted by two producers in california who are filming a documentary about egg donation called the perfect donor. they are filming egg donors, egg donor agencies. fertility doctors, intended parents, etc. they wanted me to participate in an interview and provide my perspective as a recipient parent. 

i've always been super open about our infertility journey. i believe, at my core, that it is important to talk openly about the topic to remove the stigma and prevent people from suffering in silence. these are two among countless other reasons that i've continued to share our story. 

but this felt different. with infertility it always felt like my story (well, mine and my husband's) to tell. with egg donation, it feels more like "our" story. it belongs to us, our donor and our unborn child. if i had decided to participate, i would definitely have made sure that K is okay with it. but i can't predict how our child would feel when he's older and this is his story too. once i put something out there, i can't take it back.

like most documentaries, i'm sure the producers want to try to show all sides and angles of egg donation. and candidly, there are some sensitivities and issues surrounding the topic - especially regarding donor anonymity, treatment of donors by agencies and the relatively unknown health risks for egg donors. at the end of the day, i couldn't get a good sense of what the producers' "agenda" was so i couldn't be certain that egg donation wasn't going to be portrayed in a negative light. i guess it was ultimately the lack of control on how our story could be spun or used that prevented me from participating. i felt like our baby boy's story is too beautiful to risk having it be part of any negative media about egg donation. 

all that being said, i'm pretty certain that our story will not be shared on television. however, i still have high hopes to someday to flip through the remote and see someone else's infertility being shared. it is an important topic and i'm so thankful for the people that are willing to give infertile couples a voice. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

thanks giveaway blog hop

today i'm partnering with crystal at fertile gems and four other TTC sisters to bring you a blog hop giveaway. crystal started creating fertility jewelry as an outlet after she was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. she created her first piece of jewelry shortly after her miscarriage and the necklace kept her going during a difficult time. her hope is to share her jewelry with more women who are struggling to get pregnant. 

the giveaway
fertile gems is giving away the fertility bracelet, rebirth in sterling silver to one lucky Dreaming of Dimples follower. i chose this piece specifically for one of my readers. to enter this giveaway, follow this blog via Blogger or Facebook (both links in side bar) and leave a comment below sharing a little bit about your story by november 27th.

Double Strand Gemstone Fertility Bracelet with Lotus Charm
handmade using amethyst, moonstone, and rose quartz
value $42.99 
my hope is that this bracelet will bring you hope and baby dust on your journey. 

how does the blog hop work?
you can also visit each of the links below to see which fertile gems piece of jewelry they're giving away. one winner will be selected from EACH blog to receive a different fertile gems piece. each blog will announce its own winner on november 28th so be sure to check back on each blog to see if you’ve won.

good luck!

***updated 11.28.14
thank you for those of you who commented and entered this giveaway. the winner is comment #7 Holly Riggle. Congrats! Email me your address at dreamingofdimples at gmail dot com. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

his parts and pieces

last week, we had our 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound. it was nice getting so much time with baby sunshine and seeing what he does in my uterus all day long.

we saw him relaxing comfortably on top of the umbilical cord.
engaging in acrobatics with his feet above his head.
putting his hand in his mouth. 
arching his back.

it was so precious. especially since A was there with me. he got to see our little boy too. 
we were all smiles afterwards. and so grateful that we decided to take a leap of faith and try donor eggs. we are thankful every day for our donor k and the technology that made this pregnancy possible. our dreams are finally coming true. 

the ultrasound tech took the images and showed the doctor on duty. she came back to tell us that everything looked fine. what a huge blessing! i saw his little feet and legs. hands. heart. i even watched him give his mama a good kick. it was wonderful. now that he's packing on the body fat, he looks like a miniature little man (even though he's small enough to fit in the palm of my hand). 

i'm not sure how it is possible that i feel both that this pregnancy is flying by and that it feels like forever until he will arrive. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

we've made it halfway | 20 weeks

i can't believe we are halfway to meeting baby sunshine. it's been a fairly easy pregnancy so far and i feel incredibly blessed for that. i promised myself that i wouldn't do a ton of these "bump update" posts. but i'd say i'm overdue at 20 weeks. so here it is…

weight | i'm up about 12 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight which seems like a lot but i don't feel like i've gained that much. 

size of baby | about the size of a carrot…about 10 inches tall. 

gender | so excited for this baby boy! 

movement | he's pretty active. i can feel him move a lot which i love. mostly when i'm not moving. at work when i'm sitting at my desk. in the car on my commute. before bed. 

fun fact | baby sunshine can squint, frown, smile and suck his thumb. 

sleep | i don't always sleep the greatest. it's hit or miss. and i definitely can't seem to sleep very late but we've been going to be early. also, i've been trying to sneak in short naps on the weekends.

exercise | i have been trying to get at least 30 minutes of walking in per day. on the weekend mornings, i usually get more than that but i try not to overdue it.

maternity clothes | that's pretty much all i'm wearing these days. i'm so grateful to my friends A and D who gave/loaned me their maternity clothes. it's been such a blessing. we still have so much to buy for the baby that i couldn't imagine having to purchase an entire wardrobe right as well. 

symptoms | i've been having some acid reflux and back pain lately. hubby would also say that i've been super hormonal. but overall, nothing too bad.

cravings/aversions | fruit pastries and cereal have been my go-to sweet treats lately. i was having a chicken aversion but i think i'm over it now. 

nursery | it is coming along slowly so it will be while until we will be ready to do a reveal. we are on a tight budget due to the debt we incurred for our egg donor cycle. hopefully the nursery will be farther along after my baby shower and i can share it with you.

best part of the week | reading two books each night before bed to the baby. we're trying to establish a nighttime routine already. 

what i'm looking forward to | seeing our boy in the anatomy scan ultrasound next week. praying that all his parts and pieces are present and in the right places. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

my egg donor is her surrogate

sometimes you meet people and they change your life. you don’t know at the time that they will impact your life so dramatically, but they do. later, you look back at the situation and wonder if you’d be where you are if it hadn’t been for that fateful meeting. 

one of those serendipitous encounters was meeting fellow blogger suzanne in denver earlier this year. at the time, i just thought it would be fun to meet another infertility blogger and i knew that we’d have a lot in common. she and i were both traveling across country to seek fertility treatments at CCRM and we’d both had our share of heartbreak on the path to building our families. 

what i didn’t know was that suzanne would become a dear friend that i will have for the rest of my life. and what i could have never predicted was the path that our lives would take, in part, because of a conversation that took place at that first meeting in denver. 

suzanne and her husband T spoke candidly with A and i over lunch about their experience with egg donation at CCRM. we were very curious and asked a lot of questions. it wasn’t something we’d really thought very seriously about prior to that day. but that conversation planted a seed in us. despite our previous decision to end treatments if CCRM didn’t work out…we saw hope through suzanne and T’s story. perhaps egg donation could be the path to bring us our baby too. 

before we even got word from CCRM that all of our embryos (from two cycles) were abnormal, we’d already decided to move forward with egg donation. after so much disappointment and poor response, i knew in my heart that IVF probably wasn’t going to work with my own eggs. 

what if we’d never met with suzanne and T in denver? would we have decided to use an egg donor? maybe, eventually. or maybe not. but i certainly don’t think we would have powered forward so quickly into researching the egg donation process. nor would we have selected SDFC and been ready to accept the gift of K’s eggs when the opportunity presented itself. who knows how things could have been different? but i do think that everything came together perfectly to create this life growing inside of me. and certainly K and suzanne are a huge part of that story and the happy ending that i’m currently living by carrying our child. 

so imagine my anguish when suzanne told me that her doctor was recommending a gestational carrier for her remaining frozen embryos. i couldn't fathom going through everything she’s already endured and then being told…”yah, so now you can’t carry your child either”. pure and utter heartbreak. 

i couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen without feeling like i needed to do something. i remember telling suzanne, “i’m not giving up until i find you a surrogate so you don’t have to go through an agency”. it is so expensive to rent a uterus and agencies often stand to make almost $30,000 just for matching surrogates with intended parents and helping to guide the process. 

if i could just help in some small way, by eliminating the agency cost for suzanne so that she could move forward with her dream of becoming a mother, i wanted to do that. the woman that kept coming to my mind was K. she is the angel who helped us make our dreams come true and i wondered if she could be the one to help suzanne too. 

in several emails, K mentioned that she was done donating her eggs after her donation to us. but that she really has it on her heart to be a gestational carrier and help a family in that way. after the third time that K mentioned it, i decided to tell her about suzanne and put the two of them in contact.

almost exactly 5 months later, K signed the contract to be suzanne and T’s gestational carrier. it makes my heart swell that this is finally happening for my dear friend. it will be so incredible to watch our egg donor become pregnant with suzanne’s miracle baby. when suzanne and i both have our precious little ones, they will have such a special bond - knowing that the same amazing woman played a part in bringing them into this world.

what a beautiful shared story!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

celebrating baby boy | a trumpette giveaway

before i was pregnant with baby sunshine, i would occasionally pop into a little boutique near my office called Trumpette. They carry the cutest high-end baby socks, gifts and apparel. i'd walk around the store and daydream about, some day, dressing my little one in their gear. 

and now…finally...after almost 6 years of daydreaming, my little miracle is almost here. 
in fact, i felt him kick for the first time yesterday at 18 weeks and 4 days. since then, he's been practicing his field goal attempts inside my belly on a consistent basis. people say it feels like flutters in the beginning. um…not this guy. he is full-on kicking me. not that i'm complaining. i love knowing he's active and exercising his legs in there.

it is such a blessing to have this baby boy growing inside of me after everything that we've been through to get to here. so this post is to commemorate the kicking and celebrate our baby boy. when he arrives, you better believe my future NFL kicker's little feet will be covered with cute shoe socks from Trumpette. honestly, they are much more realistic than putting hard shoes on a newborn. i mean, come on. what little man doesn't need a pair of socks that look like slick boots to get around town in?

and the girl socks…ideal gifts if you're shopping for a little princess. from jewel tone mary janes to colorful little cupcake socks….they are so darling! they even have boo socks for Halloween. 

as if Trumpette gear isn't cute enough on its own, the celebs and their kiddos are always rocking this brand too.

i may or may not have been looking for an excuse to put a picture
of hottie Josh Duhamel and his stylish little boy Axl on my blog. ;)

now that you know more about Trumpette, i’m beyond ecstatic to team up with them to give away a huge prize to one lucky blog follower! the winner will receive ALL three items featured below: a large boy schleppbag, a cobalt howdy, and a box of six pairs of their new Hunter's socks. prize package is valued at over $150!

don't worry if you are still trying to conceive, you can always keep these items in a hope chest for your baby-to-be or use them for gifts.

you have until Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST to enter in this fabulous giveaway! just click into the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the easy steps to rack up entries! good luck.  
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