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. 

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