Monday, September 15, 2014

The "Joys" of Pumping

School started a few weeks ago and amidst the chaos of gathering my work bag, lunch bag, hand bag, water bottle, and miscellaneous school supplies there was something that was clearly missing from my clutches:  my breast pump.  Last year each and every day was spent gathering all of the many bags I needed for school, including that dreaded pump.  It was bulky, cumbersome, and generally I really didn’t like using it at all.  However, pumping at work gave me the ability to provide breast milk for my daughter every day when she went to the babysitter, as well as keeping up my supply so that when I was home with her I was still able to nurse her.  I won’t lie when I say that I am truly thrilled not to have to use it this year!  My free periods are now my own again and I won’t have to spend that precious time locked in a supply closet.  Yet, if you are not as lucky as I am this year and you still find yourself confined (or planning to be confined) to one of those closets, I have some advice how to make this be a hopefully easy transition.

Pumping 101
Basic Tips for Returning to Work
(with sample schedule)

1.  Get a good, double breast pump and a hands-free pumping bra!  I used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and I must say that I really liked it.  It was wonderful being able to pump from both breasts at the same time.  The PIS also has an automatic “let-down” feature that I know some others do not.  I would often be so tired while pumping that I would forget to turn it on.  Luckily, it would do it on its own after two minutes.  And do invest in a hands-free pumping bra.  While you will probably not get much work done will pumping, it is nice being able to just sit and type at the computer.

2. Start pumping before you head back to work!  I know, it seems silly to pump when you have your baby at home and can easily nurse her/ him, but it is so important to get yourself used to your breast pump.  Not only that, it is great to have an extra supply stashed in your freezer, in case those first few days do not go as planned.

If possible, I say start pumping as soon as you can.  I think I had started pumping when Kendall was about a week old.  I made it part of our routine.  She would wake up every two hours to eat those first few weeks.  Around 7:00 am when she would wake I would nurse her, put her in her swing, and then pump.  My body got used to producing the extra milk (because our bodies are truly awesome!) and so it was no problem getting that extra supply.  I would then put that milk in a milk storage bag, label it, and store it in the freezer.  It was helpful to have in case I needed (or wanted) to go out anywhere.  And by the time I started work I had an additional 175 ounces of milk stored away.

3. Create a pumping schedule!  This is truly going to be based on what works well for you and your schedule.  As a teacher, I needed to work around my free class periods.  Luckily, I think my assistant principal responsible for scheduling knew that I planned to pump, so she gave me a great schedule!  My nursing/ pumping schedule looked like this:

5:00 am – Wake up, nurse Kendall
5:30 am – Pump for 30 minutes while eating breakfast (typically oatmeal with raisins and a cup of coffee) = Pumping anywhere from 3 to 6 ounces
8:00 am – Arrive at school and pump for 15 – 20 minutes = Pumping anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces
11:00 am – Free period to pump for 15 – 20 minutes = Pumping anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces
4:00 pm – Home with Kendall to nurse
7:00 – 7:30 pm – Nurse Kendall before bed
10:30 pm – Pump for 30 minutes before going to bed = Pumping anywhere from 2 to 6 ounces

4. Determine times and positions that work best for you! Before I went back to work I was pretty panicked as to how I was going to pump, how often, how long, and if it was going to work.  It is a scary thought giving up breastfeeding and I was determined to at least give this a try, so I went straight to someone who had done it before.  I emailed a girl I worked with who was currently nursing her little girl and pumping at work.  She shared all of her tips and tricks with me, which was truly invaluable.  Through her reassurance and support, I knew I could make this work for me. 

Of course, her schedule was not my schedule and her body was not my body, so I had to make some changes.  If you find that in the beginning you are not producing enough milk for your baby to get through the day try to add in a pumping session.  There were a few days where stress got the better of me and my supply of milk to send to the babysitter the next day was low.  In those instances, rather than reaching for my freezer stash, I woke up in the night to pump.  It isn’t fun, but I wanted to make sure I was still producing.  Also, see if you can add time to each session.  Eventually, you will see that you can drop minutes from pumping, but if you are trying to increase your supply, start by increasing your time.

If things still aren’t working out, change positions!  I found that sitting hunched of with my shoulders curled was my best pumping position.  Obviously, my back hurt all the time, but it gave me the most milk.  Others find that massaging the breast while pumping not only allows for more milk, but also helps prevent clogged ducts.

5. Have extra bottles and extra pump parts!  One thing that I really hated was washing bottles every single day.  And then have to wash out all of my pump parts.  Every. Single. Day.  It was exhausting and annoying and was probably my least favorite part of pumping.  If possible, get yourself a few extra bottles, so that maybe you can throw the used ones in the dishwasher, rather than doing it by hand.  Or have extra pump parts so that you can use the clean set and only have to wash parts every other day.  Again, this sounds silly, but it may make the process less tedious.

6. Create an environment that will allow you to relax!  Or at least relax somewhat.  The supply closet certainly wasn’t ideal, but there was a comfortable chair, soft lighting, and a desk for my pump and computer.  The more relaxed you feel, the easier it will be.

7.  Be proud of your accomplishments!  So you didn’t produce as much milk as you thought.  So you didn’t pump for as many months as you had hoped.  That’s okay!  Pumping is no easy task and it certainly is not fun.  Do not be disappointed if it did not turn out the way you had hoped.  The important this is you tried and as moms, that is all that we can do! 

Of course, with pumping comes the added stress of whether or not your baby takes to the bottle well.  I will share my struggles as well as the bottle that succeeded where all others had failed!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Bit About Breastfeeding

I am overwhelmed by all of the positive feedback and wonderful responses to my last post about ending our breastfeeding journey.  As I said before, it was such a blessing to have that experience and to bond with my daughter.  Although I have over a year of personal experience, I am certainly not an expert on breastfeeding.  However, I would love to share some pieces of advice that I learned along the way.

First, it is important to have realistic expectations.  My mom, a woman who breastfed her own three children and is a former breastfeeding consultant, shared something incredible with me.  She said, “If you can breastfeed your baby just once, you are already giving him/her the very best start.  If that’s all you can do, that’s great!”

That was so very comforting.  Before I had delivered Kendall I had browsed a few websites about breastfeeding and I won’t lie when I say that they made me supremely nervous and anxious.  It all seemed so difficult!  What if I couldn’t do it?  What if my body didn’t produce?  What if it wasn’t a possibility for my baby?  What if what if, what if???  Hearing my mom tell me that even breastfeeding ONE TIME would be beneficial to my baby made me relax.  If I could do it one day, that was great!  If I could do it one week, that was great!  If I could do it one month, that was great!  Any breast milk at all was going to give my baby good antibodies and immunity and a great start!

Luckily, this relaxation helped and it curbed any expectations.  I would breastfeed as long as I could.  If it was working for me and it was working for my baby, then that’s what we would do.  If any of those situations changed, then we would reevaluate.  Here are my top pieces of advice:

Kendall at two months, snuggled on my lap after nursing

1. Relax -  I know, it is so much easier said than done, but it is imperative to your success.  You need to be comfortable in order to nurse your baby.  Your “let down” depends on it!  So find a cozy spot in your home.  Mine was ALWAYS on the sofa in the living room, in front of the TV.  I had a tall, narrow pillow behind my back to keep me upright, but not too rigid.  I also used a Boppy.  This allowed Kendall to lay across me comfortably for both of us, from the time she was a newborn to just this past weekend.

2. Positioning – find a good position for your baby and stick with it.  It took me a good week to figure out that I liked having Kendall lay across me when nursing from the right breast, but in the football hold on the left breast.  Eventually, we got the hang of her laying across me on the left side as well.  Whatever works for you is the way to go!  I had a slew of lactation consultants in the hospital trying to get me to hold Kendall this way and that, but really, what I needed was to find my own way.  In the beginning, it was very difficult as she flailed around like a fish out of water, clawing and scratching, and being just plain difficult.  But I soon found a way to tuck her arm closest to my body under her just slightly, and then held her other hand.  Tiny babies are super squirmy and actually quite strong, but eventually they will learn to settle down and relax as well.

3. Supply – this is something that all nursing mothers will worry about at one time or another.  How is my supply?  Am I producing enough?  The way to ensure a good supply sounds pretty easy: drink water!  Oddly enough, the first time Kendall ever latched in the hospital I was overwhelmed with thirst.  It is amazing how quickly our bodies can respond to the effects of nursing.  It somehow knew that I was depleting my stores of hydration and told me I needed more.  That thirst was felt almost every time I nursed Kendall.  Knowing I needed much more water than I would have had I not been nursing or pregnant, I wanted to make sure I was drinking enough.  I went on Amazon and purchased a water bottle that holds 64 ounces.  That is the recommended daily intake for anyone.  So I doubled it.  It sounds like a ton of water, but I found that it really wasn’t.  My body actually needed it.  And it allowed me to produce enough milk for my baby.

4. Nutrition – As important as it is to stay hydrated, it is equally as important to nourish your body.  There are so many different things that are good for your body, especially while nursing, but I will share my favorites that I think supported my supply.  The first is oatmeal.  Now, I don’t particularly love oatmeal.  I find it sort of bland.  But every morning, after I nursed Kendall, I would put her in her swing, make myself a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal, sweetened with raisins, and I would sit and pump.  (I will get to pumping another day).  This ensured that I started the day off with some breakfast, but also a breakfast that was good for my milk supply.  The second thing I would do through the day is drink Gatorade.  I am not a fan of Gatorade, I much prefer water, but one glass each day again replenished my electrolytes and aided my supply.  Lastly, I added nuts in to my diet.  Nuts contain a lot of great fats and fat is necessary in the production of breast milk.

Obviously, there are many other foods you can add in to your diet.  Carrot, spinach, asparagus, raw garlic, apricots, fenugreek, and others are wonderful!

5. Avoid certain foods – You will quickly learn that what you consume affects your baby.  Stay away from things that can cause gas, such as peppers, onions, and broccoli.  For me, I learned that if I ate too much tomato sauce it bothered Kendall a great deal, as did the days when I had ice cream.  You will soon come to learn that there are things in your diet that you can only eat sparingly, but that’s okay!

6. Nurse often! – Your body learns quickly.  The more you nurse, the more your body produces milk.  The less you nurse, you will see your body stop producing at those times.  Our bodies are awesome!!  So if you are noticing a dip in your supply, you can add in a nursing session or a pumping session.  Sometimes moms will notice a drop after the baby starts sleeping longer through the night.  Obviously, the last thing you want to do is wake that baby.  In that case, this is a great opportunity to add in a pumping session and store some milk. 

If I were to really sit down and write all of the tips and tricks that I have learned you would be reading an entire chapter of a book.  These are simply the basics of my beginning of breastfeeding.  For new moms, be sure to find yourself a great nipple cream and apply it after each and every time you nurse, but be sure that it is safe for baby.  My favorite is this one.  Again, I am not a professional lactation consultant, but I would be happy to answer any questions or offer more advice.

Stay tuned for my next post on (the joys) of pumping!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saying "Farewell" to Breastfeeding

It was a sad weekend for me.  After more than fifteen months of what I would call a truly wonderful experience, I said “farewell” to breastfeeding.  Looking back on more than a year of the most special bonding time with my baby girl, I thought I would write a small reflection on what the experience has meant to me.

From the time I was pregnant I had it in my head that I would try to breastfeed.  I was lucky that I had such a great support system around me.  My husband was thrilled that I was willing to give it a shot, knowing full well how difficult it can be.  My mom, a woman who not only breastfed twins for six months, but then breastfed a singleton for a full year, was also behind me.  She also spent many years as a breastfeeding counselor, so I felt confident she could assist and guide me as much as I needed. 

No books prepare you for what breastfeeding is really like.  No first hand experiences really do it justice.  I knew it would be challenging, that I might not have a great milk supply, that the baby could have latch issues, or the pain could be too severe for me to continue.  I heard all of that.  I read all of that.  Yet what I didn’t read was how amazing it was, how fulfilling it was, and how it intimate it was to bond with your baby.

It really is.  Breastfeeding was the greatest thing I have done for my little girl.  Each well-check she had at the doctor was a reminder that I was still continuing to grow my baby.  Each nursing session was a time for us to be one, just her and me.  I loved watching her nurse, loved watching her as she got older and she knew just what to do.  My heart melted each time she fell asleep as snuggled in to me, belly full.  Once I went back to work, it was the first thing she wanted to do once we got home from the babysitter’s.  It was our time to reconnect and be together.

As she got older, nursing got harder.  No, it wasn’t because of her teeth, as some will assume.  Rather, it was from her curiosity of the world.  It is hard to nurse when you are trying to roll around, pet the dog, play with toys, and just check out what is happening all around.  At thirteen months nursing became just a morning and night routine.  We both still enjoyed it and on occasion she would verbally ask to nurse.  Yet I knew our time was limited.

The last few weeks have let me know that time was almost up.  Shortly after she would latch, Kendall would quickly sit up and ask for, “More?”  I was losing my supply.  So this past Saturday was the last time Kendall nursed.  We woke up on Sunday, I got her a cup of whole milk, and we went about our day.  That was it.  We were finished.

I didn’t have to go through the pain that many moms experience of “drying up.”  I was already dry.  Still, I felt an ache in my heart.  For fifteen and a half months I provided my daughter with food, immunity, and comfort.  Of course, she eats all read food now, so nourishment wasn’t a concern.  But how would I comfort her?  Tears in the night were quickly calmed with nursing.  How would we manage now?

Last night was my first test.  It isn’t often that Kendall cries in the night, so when she does I know she needs me.  Her cries cut the silence in the house at 12:30 am.  I went in to her room, picked her up out of her crib, and held her close.  She was still crying.  I grabbed her blankie, gave it to her to snuggle, but still she cried.  We went in to the kitchen and got her a cup of water.  That seemed to help.  Then we went back to her room, sat in her rocking chair, and I told her a story from when I was little.  As a little girl, I absolutely loved hearing stories from my mom’s childhood.  They were my favorite!  Things seemed so different.  What the heck was penny candy?  How could you walk uphill to school BOTH ways?  If I liked my mom’s stories so much, maybe Kendall would like mine.

I told her about the blizzard of ’93.  I was in third grade that year and we had off more than a week from school due to the most snow I had ever seen in my almost eight years of life.  Knowing that we had off from school, my mom had woken up my sister and me in the middle of the night.  She made us homemade hot chocolate and turned on the movie “A Muppet's Christmas Carol.”  We all snuggled on the couch under a big blanket, sipping our hot chocolate and making plans for a day of fun in the snow.  It is just one of my special memories growing up, but one that I hope to do with my own kids someday.  I shared my hopes with Kendall as she quieted down and began to fall back to sleep. 

Our days of breastfeeding may be over, but our days of bonding are not.  I am sad to close this incredible chapter in our relationship together as mother and child, but I feel extremely blessed to know that so many more chapters are there, waiting to be opened.  We will continue to bond and grow together, just differently.  And I look forward to cherishing those experiences just as much as I cherish this one.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Are "Mommy Wars" a Real Thing?

There seems to be a new popular article on Facebook each week (or day).  Sometimes it is about moms needing to cover up while breastfeeding, toys that we owned that prove we were true children of the 90’s, or even the big teaser that there was going to be a Hocus Pocus 2 (such a disappointment)!  Yet one seems to come up over and over again that I just don’t know if I can relate to well – the story of “Mommy Wars.”

The introduction of Pinterest in to most of our lives has probably made us all feel inadequate in some way or another.  There are amazing recipes that we should be making for our families, adorable costumes we should be starting to sew for our children to wear on Halloween, and over-the-top themed parties to be had for every stinking holiday imaginable!  I should tell you all that I am not a great cook, made a pair of boxer shorts in home-ec class in eighth grade that promptly fell apart in the wash, and will expect you to bring a dish if I want to have you over for a party.  And no, there won’t be a theme or even a festive drink.  We are serving beer and wine.  Deal with it!  I’m the worst Pinterest mom ever!

Yet just because I am terrible at all of these things does not mean that I don’t like them or add them to my virtual pin-boards.  Of course I do!  And of course, if you were to look at them you would be expecting me to make gourmet dinner tonight while wearing a phenomenal outfit in my exquisitely decorated mansion.  For some moms this means that we must be in competition with one another.  That your kid’s birthday party has to be more over-the-top than my kid’s party.  That your Fourth of July has to be way more exciting than mine.  That everything you do must make every other mother out there swoon and say, “Man, if I could only be like her!”

This isn’t my reality.  It isn’t just because I know *most* of you aren’t making gourmet dinners every night, wearing perfectly put together outfits with matching wedge heels, and flitting around your mansions.  It is because my experience has taught me that we aren’t at war with one another.  We are attempting to create A VILLAGE!

My husband sent me a link to an article today that revealed the author’s greatest fears for our youth.  One of these fears was that “the village” was disappearing.  Those people in our lives who had previously succeeding in helping to raise each other’s children were going by the wayside.  Sure, I agree that some parents are quick to snap if someone corrects their child in front of them, that many parents are eager to blame teachers instead of their own children, and that many people do nothing more than shake their heads at poor behavior.  However, I also must reflect on my own situation. 

I am not at war with mothersI am in an alliance.  And a BIG ONE!  My village is HUGE!  Where some people are finding Pinterest and Facebook as battlegrounds for these so-called “Mommy Wars,” I am finding them to be sources of great help and strength.  Since Kendall has been born I have taken to Facebook dozens of times seeking advice, from what kind of shoes I should be buying her, to different Mommy and Me activities, to finding her a pediatrician.  I have connected with so many different people, it is remarkable!

- When I was trying to conceive one of my greatest sources of comfort was a girl with whom I went to high school.  We didn’t talk much throughout college, but suddenly, there she was and I was sharing my deepest struggles with her.

- Many of my greatest recommendations for Kendall and pieces of advice as a mom have come from girls from my elementary school.  Some girls are still local, while others are as far away as Connecticut!  It doesn’t even matter that some fifteen years may have passed since we have seen or spoken to one another.  Our motherhood connects us!

- As I am faced with more and more challenges as a wife, mother, and teacher, I have discovered a new friend!  Although we went to high school together, we weren’t friends then.  In fact, I’m not sure we had ever spoken to one another!  But that doesn’t matter, as our situations in life are so similar now. 

- With my time off during the summer, the opportunities for play dates are presenting themselves.  These aren’t just with friends that I have had for years and years, but play dates with girls from elementary school and high school.  Again, it has been YEARS since we have seen one other, but we are still bonded together.

I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed that I have been surrounded by women who are so eager to help, to support, and sympathize.  My successes are celebrated and my failures are commiserated.  And even though many of these interactions are taking place over social media, they are no less important than the ones that happen in person. 

So, for the very important moms in my life (and those who are not moms) who have offered so much of yourselves in support of my daughter and me, I am so very grateful!  Thank you for being a part of my village.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Moms-to-be, you MUST do this!

It was a harsh cry that broke the silence at 5:00 am this morning.  The monitor on my nightstand vibrated from the sound.  Immediately, I jumped from sleep-mode in to mommy-mode.  I grabbed my video monitor and watched as poor Kendall stood in her crib, clutching her blankie.  That was the signal that something had upset her and she was not about to go back to sleep on her own.  Not a problem at all.  My girl needed me and I was there.

After nursing, snuggling, and trying to settle her down for an hour, she was asleep.  Hallelujah!  There was just one major obstacle that stood between me and my bed: her closed bedroom door.  As I sat in her glider and watched her fall in to a blissful sleep, I wondered, “How in the heck am I going to get out of here?!”  There were so many things that could and WOULD wake her up. 

First, let’s just state the obvious: my creaky bones.  I am twenty-eight years old and have the creaky bones of an eighty-year old woman.  The second I try to slither out of the chair my knees are going to crack, followed by my feet and ankles, then finished off by a lovely medley of all the vertebra in my back.  Even without anything else standing in my way, my own body was its own noisemaker.

Second, the floor.  It is carpeted, but there are some vents under the floor that make a pretty loud, hollow sound.  Since it is under the floor, I clearly can’t fix it.  Although even if it wasn’t hidden under the floor, I probably couldn’t fix it anyway.  Whatever.  There are noises and I can’t fix them. 

Lastly, the dreaded door.  It creaks.  It is a brand new door that we had installed when we did the nursery, so it isn’t old, just squeaky.  I was going to have to crawl my rickety body over the minefield that was her floor, over to the door, gently peel it open without making ANY noise, and escape through it to safety (and sleep).

Naturally, that didn’t happen.  My body failed me as I set off mine after mine in the floor.  Luckily, I made it over to the door, hidden behind her dresser.  I couldn’t see her, but she wasn’t crying.  I gingerly lifted my arm to turn the handle, pulled the door towards me and CREAK!  And she was up, crying and demanding I stay in the room until she was good and asleep.  Hidden I stayed for fifteen more minutes until she was truly asleep and I was able to slide through the six inch gap I left myself. 

Moms-to-be, learn from these mistakes!  As you finalize preparing your child’s nursery for their homecoming do not overlook one of the most important areas of their room – the door!  You may have all of the diapers, wipes, onesies, and receiving blankets you could ever possibly need.  Yet what you really need is some WD-40.  Grease down those hinges.  Make sure that door is totally quiet when you go to open or close it.  Better yet, grease down the hinges of every door in your entire home.  You never know.

Then, get yourself some glucosamine and chondroitin.  I can’t be the only one who is noticing their bodies are falling in to disrepair.  (And I do Zumba, so we all know that I should be in peak physical condition.)  It should help lubricate your joints so that it isn’t your tip-toeing out of the room that is going to cause your sleeping baby to awaken.

Take it from me, these are a few, overlooked fixes that could be the difference between this:

and this:

Good luck!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

You'll understand...

…when you’re a mom.  Ugh.  That is such a frustrating phrase to hear…when you aren’t a mom.  What do you mean I don’t know what all-encompassing love is really like?  How can you say that I don’t understand what it means to be so tired that I could cry?  Why do you think I can’t relate to your life as a mother?

Easy.  Because you can’t. 

My husband and I were married for three and half years before Kendall was born.  During those three and a half years we were able to live our lives as carefree twenty-somethings.  We went out to eat when we wanted to, drank wine when we wanted to, left the house in a moment’s notice, and were completely absorbed in our own lives.  It was wonderful!  Yet this carefree existence made it really hard to relate to a few of my friends who already had children.  Why were they ALWAYS late?  Why can’t they just get a babysitter and come to hang out with us?  What do you mean you are cancelling our plans?  I DON’T GET IT!

Of course I didn’t get it.  How could I?  When I had to get ready to go anywhere, I was free to shower in peace.  I could dry my hair, put on my make-up, and spend as much time as I wanted standing in front of my closest choosing an outfit.  I didn’t need anyone to babysit my dog, Chloe.  She was pretty self-sufficient, so long as there was food and water left for her.  And other than grave illness, there was very little that would cause me to cancel my plans.

However, once I had Kendall I slowly began to understand.  Leaving the house is an art.  Forget getting myself ready, how about getting a baby ready?  Was she fed?  Has she napped?  Did I pack her diaper bag with four diapers, two clean outfits, a few toys, milk/ water, snacks, bib, spoon, etc.?  What if her nap ran longer than I expected?  I dare not wake her.  I’m going to be late.  Or how about the two dozen times we got in to the car only for her to poop at that exact moment, requiring a trip back in to the house to get changed?  I understand why you were late.

Why don’t you get a babysitter?  Um, how about because I don’t want to.  Save for the glorious summer months, I work full-time.  I am a teacher, which means that my hours of operation are from 5:00 am until TBD.  School ends at 2:30 pm.  My ride home takes between an hour to an hour and a half.  Then once I am home I have lessons and grades that could take me until 9:00 pm to as late as 12:00 am.  There is no rhyme or reason to my schedule.  So when you want to plan a whole Saturday to go out and about to an event that is not at all baby friendly, do not even consider asking me to get a babysitter.  Because guess what?  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to give up my precious time with my child to go out.  Sorry.  Actually, I’m not.

(And now that it is summer and I am blessed with being home all week with my little girl, I still may not want to “get a babysitter.”  No offense, but listening to my daughter say, “Hop!” when I ask her what a bunny does is infinitely more fun than anything I would have been doing with you.)

As far as cancelling our plans, something has come up.  My kid is sick.  I am sick.  I am too tired.  I feel guilty asking my babysitter to come and sit with a teething baby.  I have mastitis.**  Any and all of these have been my very valid reasons for cancelling plans.  And no, I can’t just bring my child.  Unless where we are going is around the corner from my house and child-friendly, don’t even ask. 

It was such a pain to hear all of the new and glorious things I would learn when I was a mom, especially when I was CERTAIN I already knew them.  How wrong could I have been?!  I had no idea.  The love I have for my daughter is all-consuming, amazing, and miraculous.  I cry thinking about it and her and how she is the greatest blessing of my whole life.  I could have never perceived what that love would be like.  Ever.  And it is that love that has changed me.  It makes me tardy for events, makes me not want to go places, and it makes me flakey, and flighty, and a different person than you used to know. 

But don’t worry, you’ll understand…when you’re a mom. J

**For the record, when a woman tells you she can’t go out because she has mastitis, the appropriate response is, “OH MY GOSH!  I am SO sorry.  I will pray for you!”  Because it is that bad.

Summer fun with my lady

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Back to Blogging

Wow!  It has been quite a long time since I have been able to get on here and share some of my favorite tips and products.  No worries!  I haven’t had a change of heart and decided to keep them a secret.  Rather, I have just been extremely busy.  Between redoing the basement, Kendall’s birthday party, my twin sister’s wedding, and the end of the school year I was running myself ragged.  Therefore, I gave myself a few weeks to recharge, fall in to my new (and favorite role) as stay-at-home-mom for the summer, and get some things accomplished around the house.  Now that those things are completed, I will be back with some new posts, so stay tuned.  For now, enjoy some pictures of my basement and my sister’s wedding.  

Wedding Fun

Me and Kendall at the ceremony

The Bridal Party

 Basement Transformation

This room became...

This room!

With these carefully painted shelves

This bar became...

This bar!

With Cole Hamels

*I can share my tricks of painting the paneling and transforming the room in to what I think feels like a very comfortable family room.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Registering: What Do I Need?

Now that I have shared my brief list of things that you DO NOT need to register for, let me share my list of BASIC things you DO need. 

1. Swing: If this is not on your registry, put one on immediately.  We used our swing daily until Kendall was seven months old.  The only reason we stopped using it was because it was in the place where we needed to put our Christmas tree.  It was our saving grace and she loved being in there.  Admittedly, she spent a couple of nights it there during that first week home when she would not sleep for anything.  We used the Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n Swing.

2. Boppy: For those of you that plan to breastfeed, this is an absolute must!  However, the boppy is much more than just a prop for feeding.  It was also helpful to sit Kendall up, prop her on the sofa with me, and later practice tummy time.  I will never forget watching her as she learned to push herself up and over the boppy while on her tummy.  She thought it was the best!  Our Boppy.

3. Bassinet:  The first four months of Kendall’s life she spent every night right next to me and I loved it!  I would probably still have her right next to me if she had not grown out of her bassinet.  Alas, she did.  Yet I cannot say enough good things about having her in a bassinet.  It allowed me to check on her through the night, gave her the comfort of having mommy right near her, and helped to teach her how to sleep flat.  Some friends have said that the transition from the Rock and Play to a crib was difficult because of the sudden shift to sleeping flat.  I cannot speak to that, but I will say that once Kendall got over the change of scenery moving from our bedroom to her own, she did just fine.  We used the Simmons Gliding Soothe Bassinet

4. Wipe Warmer: Before registering I too had read lots of lists regarding what to avoid and what to include.  The wipe warmer was typically on the “avoid” list.  So when I received it as a gift from my brother-in-law I will admit that I was less than enthused.  Did I really want to “spoil” my baby with warm wipes?  What would happen when we were out and those warm wipes weren’t available?  Surely, I wouldn’t use it.  WRONG!  When Kendall came home from the hospital I did not have her wipe warmer set up.  Yet the first time Jonathan and I were changing her I grabbed a bunch of wipes, gave them to him and told them to hold them in his hands to warm them.  It was at that point that I realized I needed that wipe warmer.  She never had an issue with diaper changes and the wipes never dried out.  Add it to your list!  We used the Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer 

5. Play Mat: Until your little one can sit up on their own or scoot around, their play time is pretty stationary.  Be sure to register for a good play mat for them, something that will offer some different sights and sounds that will be (somewhat) of interest.  It also helps to not only have things hanging overhead, but also lower, as you may be doing tummy time on this same mat.  Luckily, our mat had some toys that hung at eye level when Kendall would pick her head up.  These are the same toys she first learned to reach for as well.  We had the Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym

All of those products are great, but these by far are my favorite!

1. The Miracle Blanket: If you have nothing else for your child, please be sure to purchase one of these.  It is the greatest invention of all time!  My mom had ordered me one of these months before Kendall was born, yet for some odd reason I didn’t pull it out until she was a few weeks old.  What a mistake!  Jonathan and I agonized over swaddling her in receiving blankets, fought to try to keep in wrapped tightly, and struggled with a crying newborn.  However, once I remembered The Miracle Blanket, the fighting stop!  It is a cinch to use, wraps the baby tightly, and stays in place!  We were able to use it until she was about eighteen weeks.  And it wasn’t difficult to wean her from her swaddle, as you are able to unswaddle one limb at a time for an easy transition.  We bought ours here.

2. Blooming Bath: Bathing an infant is no easy task.  They are slippery when they are all wet and soapy, too tiny for a full-size tub, and are hard to maneuver when bathing them in the sink.  However, I found a product that is AMAZING!  The Blooming Bath was perfect to use in our sink when Kendall was an itty bitty newborn.  It fit well in the sink, allowed her to recline comfortably, and Mommy to bathe her without worry.  Once she was too big for the sink, we simply moved her Blooming Bath over to our bathtub.  She was (and still is!) able to sit on it and not slip or slide around, again allowing Mommy some stress-free bathing time.  I am thrilled with this purchase as it is something that we are still using, a full year later!  I plan on buying these for a few friends who are expecting and using them to hold other small gifts.  There are a variety of colors, so choose your favorite at

3. White Noise Machine: Your newborn is used to hearing all sorts of sounds inside Mommy’s belly.  Food digesting, blood rushing through your veins, your heart beating…they are all sounds of comfort.  So it makes sense to try to recreate these sounds to ensure that your baby feels safe and secure.  If you do not want to get a specific white noise machine, there are many products out there that are similar.  Now I have been using a white noise machine since college (it helped drown out noises in the dorms), so Kendall listened to that while she was still in our room.  Once she moved to her own room she listened to the Sleep Sheep.  It has a few options for different noises, but we like the sound of waves the best.  For those instances of incessant wailing and crying, we reached for our smart phones, opened up YouTube, and played Baby Got Colic.  I don’t know what it is, but the ambient noises are miraculous when trying to console your devastated child.  In any case, white noise is your friend!

I have many other products I am happy to give feedback on, so feel free to ask in the comments section for other recommendations.  In the next few posts I will be sharing my favorite items for breastfeeding moms and suggestions for gift-giving, so stay tuned for more baby products!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Registering: What Don't I Need?

Everyone has their own suggestions as to what is an absolute necessity and what you can do without when it comes to preparing your home for a new baby.  So when it came time to registering I listened to every possible suggestion.  Jonathan and I got recommendations on the best receiving blankets, diaper brands, and strollers.  However, none of that really means much when you are going around a store, trying to navigate through the endless aisles of incredibly foreign products.

When we registered at Babies ‘R Us I was about twenty weeks pregnant.  (I wanted to register before Christmas so that people could get us things from our registry.  I knew neither of us really needed anything, so it was best to start getting ready for our little one.)  This ended up being a great time in the pregnancy to register.  My morning sickness was under control with my Zofran and I had plenty of energy.  Or so I thought.  Your energy seems to drain right out of you once you hit the aisle of 6,000 pacifiers.  How does anyone ever make any decisions?!

Somehow, we were able to make some selections.  After my baby shower and even after Kendall was actually born though I realized what was actually necessary and what I truly did not need at all.  Assuming that you will be having a baby shower for your loved ones to celebrate your new arrival, here are a few helpful hints when trying to figure out what NOT to register for.

1. Receiving blankets: You will get hundreds of receiving blankets at your shower.  Some of them you will have selected yourself, others you will not have.  Once that baby arrives, it won’t make a difference what you use (either for swaddling or cleaning up spit-up).  Save yourself some time and forego this one.

2. Baby towels and rags: Again, you will get hundreds of these at your shower.  Chances are you will get so many that you will even have some to take back.  So no worries, you don’t have to add this to your list.

3. Soaps and shampoos: Unless you are opting for organic soaps, you do not need to register for these.  Many stores carry little baby bath-kits that are full of shampoo, baby wash, and lotion.  You may receive a lot of these, even if you haven’t registered for them.  Again, save yourself the time.  Someone will buy it.

4. Snap ‘n Go Stroller:  Hear me out on this one.  I think this is a great product.  It is the perfect little vehicle for your infant’s car seat, without having to lug around a giant stroller that you got in the “Travel System.”  However, they are usually around $100!  It seems like a steep price for something that may not get a ton of use.  Find a friend with one and borrow hers.  I got mine on Craigslist for $30 from a very nice woman who lived nearby that had used it only a handful of times.  If you don’t have a friend with one, feel free to borrow mine J

5. Clothes: Tiny clothes are hard to resist.  Anything so small is going to be adorable and you are going to convince yourself that you need it.  But you don’t!  People are going to buy you clothes, especially once that baby is born.  And it seems like when people find out the gender of their baby, clothes are the most popular gift at the baby shower. 

6. Baby bath tub: They might seem like a great idea, but for how long?  And then after you no longer need it, where do you store it?  I have a better solution, so stay tuned!

7. Diaper genie: By the suggestion of our neighbor, we did not add this to our registry.  He said that he and his wife had had one and it was awful!  Although they are to hold in the smell, he said that they do not.  And worst of all, he said that changing the bag was a mess!  Opt for a small trash can with a lid, use old plastic grocery bags, and save yourself forty bucks.

8. Baby shoes and socks: Before Kendall was born, I was obsessed with finding her socks.  I had convinced myself that she absolutely needed them.  Well, I was right…she did need them.  However, a pair of socks that fit newborn feet just don’t exist.  I wasted a ton of energy looking for teeny tiny socks when all I really needed to do was put her in a pair of pants with footies or footie pajamas.  So much easier.

9. Brest Friend Pillow:  Cumbersome, awkward, gigantic.  Get a Boppy instead.  Kendall is one year old and still nursing and we still love our boppy. 

10.  Toys and stuffed animals: There really is not much of a need.  Other than perhaps a play mat and a few little rattles, I would skip registering for toys and focus on some things that you are going to really NEED when that little one arrives.

Of course, these are all things I discovered that were not necessarily the best items for US.  Everyone is different and you may find that there are some items here that you just loved.  For me, none of these are it.  Follow up with me as I give my must have list and my absolute favorite items.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kendall Paige!

Today marks an incredible milestone in Kendall’s life, as well as my own: her first birthday!  I cannot believe how quickly this past year has gone by.  It feels like only yesterday that I was heading over to the hospital to have my non-stress test, only to be told that it would be the day that I would be meeting my baby.  At that moment I had no idea how much love and joy would be brought in to my life.

Throughout my pregnancy countless people told me that a mother’s love for her child is the most powerful love in the world.  I would hear this and think to myself, “Yes, yes, I know.”  But I didn’t know.  I didn’t know just what that love meant.  I didn’t know that that love would be all-consuming.  I didn’t know that that love meant that I would give anything to ensure that my baby would be happy, safe, and healthy.  I didn’t know that that love meant that I would worry about every little thing under the sun.  I didn’t know that that love meant that I would cry (often!) because I felt so immensely blessed.  I didn’t know that I would question what I had done in my life to ever deserve to have such an amazing gift

Becoming a mother to Kendall has been the greatest joy of my life.  It is my privilege to watch her learn and grow.  Every day since she has been born I wonder how I got so lucky.  I don’t think I will ever know.  What I do know is that I could have never imagined loving someone more than I love my precious girl.  And that love continues to grow every day. 

Happy birthday, baby girl!  Your mommy loves you more than you could ever hope for or imagine.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Oh, the Morning Sickness

I can’t stress enough how much I loved being pregnant.  Growing a life inside of you, feeling your baby move and squirm, and creating a bond even before that baby is born is truly the most amazing thing.  It was such a blessing and I cherished it.

That being said, my pregnancy was not a walk in the park.  Morning sickness took hold right around five weeks and persisted until sixteen weeks.  Not that I minded it.  I recall driving to work one morning and talking to the baby, as I did every single day from the time I found out I was pregnant.  I told the baby to grow big and strong and healthy and that if those things meant that I needed to be horribly sick, then I would be horribly sick.  Wouldn’t you know that the very next morning my sickness started?!

Now, when I say I had morning sickness, I don’t just mean that I was nauseated.  Certainly, that was part of it.  Yet my morning sickness involved puking…a lot!  I would wake up feeling like death.  I would shower, start to get ready for work, and then begin vomiting.  I would get in my car and continue vomiting in to a paper bag.  I would drive down the road while vomiting.  Sometimes, if it was a really bad day (which usually happened the next day after I had gotten my progesterone shot) I would need to pull over.  Then I would continue on my way to work.  I would be teaching in class and need to run out to throw up in a trash can.  It was constant and brutal, yet in an odd way it was incredibly comforting.

Until about your fourth or fifth month of pregnancy, you do not feel your baby moving.  Thus, you live in constant wonder of how your baby is doing.  For me, my sickness served as proof that things were progressing.  My HCG levels were rising, my baby was growing, and I was sick as a dog.  It was wonderful!  I was ever so grateful for that morning sickness.  However, I was equally as grateful once I hit sixteen weeks and my doctor prescribed Zofran to end the vomiting. 

I did many things trying to ease my discomfort those first few months.  Crackers sat on my nightstand so that I could eat a few before I got out of bed.  I drank gallons upon gallons of Take a Boost.  Ginger ale filled my refrigerator, mint tea was ready for steeping, and pretzels traveled with me throughout the day.  None of it helped.  Being so sick was obviously impossible to hide from my students so I had to make up lots of excuses. 

“I eat lunch at sixth period, so I need to eat pretzels through the day so I don’t get too hungry.”
“I have low blood sugar, so I need to drink soda so I don’t get dizzy.”
“I am throwing up because I took my vitamins this morning on an empty stomach.”

Luckily, many of my guys believed me.  However, those who didn’t simply thought I was a horrible drinker and perpetually hung-over.  I lost a lot of street cred once they all found out I was sick from pregnancy, not being up all night boozing.  Teenagers.

Soon, my evidence of pregnancy was not my constant sickness, but the tiny movements of my baby.  The early flips and kicks, feeling more like small waves or popping popcorn.  They were miraculous and once they started they didn’t stop.  Eventually, those movements were felt in my expanding belly, as I started to grow right around nineteen weeks.  I loved that people around me were going to know I was expecting just by looking at me.
(19 week belly)

I was moving out of the “danger zone” and in to a time when it was safe to tell everyone.  More planning for this baby could begin and I began to really envision my life as a mother.  Time for registering was coming up and I had no idea how daunting that could be. 

Stay tuned for my best advice while registering, my favorite products, and the things to leave off of your list.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Learning About Pregnancy

I will happily write more about my pregnancy amazing benefits of using NaProTechnology through my journey, but for now I would like to focus on the much more fun aspects of getting pregnant.  Those who have waited to get a positive pregnancy test or those who are still waiting have probably visited the internet a time or two to check symptoms.  Well, the obsessing over symptoms does not stop with two pink lines.  Rather, I think it only increases the obsession.  So what should we do?!

My dear friend, Jenn, prepped me on all of the websites that are vital to exploring and visiting upon learning you are pregnant.  If you are anything like me, you will sign up for all of these great websites, yet visit only your favorites.  You may find that some sites have more beneficial information than others, especially considering what kind of plan you have for feeding your new baby.  Nevertheless, all can offer some great insight.

Some of my favorites:

1. – I loved this website for so many reasons.  It not only sent me weekly updates as to how my baby was growing, but it also provided endless articles and tools for answering questions related to pregnancy and beyond.  They also have an app for your phone, which I had and used daily.  Particularly, I enjoyed visiting the monthly Birth Club to see the experiences of other moms-to-be.

2. – For the inquisitive mom that just has to know what is happening at all times, this site is for you.  They offer a customized pregnancy calendar that details each and every day of your pregnancy.  I found this to be phenomenal and really allow me to bond with my baby, as I knew how she was progressing each and every day.  Definitely my favorite one of all!!

3. – Although I had the book, I also signed up for weekly updates from What to Expect When You Are Expecting.  Much of the same information that I had received from Baby Center was covered in their emails.  However, I found that I enjoyed their articles a bit more.

4. – Sign up!  It had always been my plan to breastfeed my baby.  However, I know that sometimes things are beyond our control and we don’t always get to parent the way we envision.  Therefore, I signed up here.  Along with emails and coupons, Similac mailed me tons of formula to try.  I stockpiled all of it, in case I would need it once the baby was born.  Totally worth it!

5. – Sign up!  The same wonderful deal that is offered through Similac is offered through Enfamil.  They send you coupons by email and standard mail, as well as formula samples.  Even if formula is not in your plan, sign up anyway!  I ended up being able to give my friend my unused formula, which can be very costly.

There are dozens of other sites that you can visit that offer great information and insight in to your pregnancy.  However, be warned that it can become significantly overwhelming at a time in your life when you are probably already feeling pretty overwhelmed.  If that’s the case, stick with a few sites that give you basic information on the development of your little one.  There are too many sites and message boards that can create unnecessary stress and fear, so stay away from them! 

Stay tuned for my favorite products recommended for every pregnant lady J  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pregnant: Now What?

I would like to think I am not the only woman who feels this way after getting their positive pregnancy test.  Moments after seeing that beautiful word on my Clear Blue Pregnancy Test, I then thought to myself, “Okay, now what?” 

First, I need to tell Jonathan.  I waited in the living room for him to wake up, contemplating exactly what I would say.  Telling him in a cute or creative way didn’t even cross my mind.  I just wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to say.  My time to agonize over my phrasing didn’t last long as I soon heard him stirring and he sleepily came out to greet me.  My face must have said everything my mouth couldn’t because he quickly asked what was up.  I told him, “I took a test.”  “And?” he replied.  “It’s positive.”  “You’re lying.”  “It’s on the bathroom counter.  Go see.” 

He jumped out of his seat and ran to the bathroom while I eagerly followed.  I waited in the hall until he came out, smiling.  He wrapped me in his arms and I cried happy tears.  I was pregnant.  First month of trying, after being told that it may not happen for us, and I was pregnant. 

Now Jonathan knew, but I was back to my uncertainty of how to proceed.  I emailed Liz and Dr. Jean, both of whom were thrilled!  My next appointment with Dr. Jean was that Tuesday, so she wanted me to get blood work done on Monday.  And it didn’t take long for me to tell my family.  (Within a few days they all knew, yet they knew to keep it a secret until I got past that first trimester.)

Once I saw Dr. Jean, she confirmed the pregnancy with the results of my blood test.  Looking at my chart we knew exactly when I conceived: August 8, 2012.  That meant we knew my exact due date: May 1, 2013.  I was not quite four weeks pregnant yet.  I needed to wait a few more weeks to have an ultrasound to determine if the pregnancy was viable.  If all looked good, then I would begin my bi-weekly shots of progesterone. 

Thankfully, that first ultrasound looked wonderful!  Jonathan and I sat nervously and anxiously in the exam room.  I had been getting my blood drawn twice a week to continue to monitor my HCG levels and my progesterone.  We watched as my HCG levels soared.  Being a twin myself, I knew what that meant…the possibility of multiples.  My heart danced at the thought!  I always tell people, “My twin sister is the greatest thing about me.”  She has been my best friend from the beginning of time, before we were even born.  How incredible it would be to have twins of my own!

However, Jonathan did not feel the same way that I did.  The thought of twins terrified him.  How do you care for two babies at once?  How do you pay for two babies at once?  More than that, how can you love two babies at once?  I told him if I were to be pregnant with twins we would just have to figure it out.  So until the time came for my ultrasound, I think he just held his breath. 

He finally exhaled when across my stomach the ultrasound wand revealed ONE beautiful sac.  As it flickered my eyes welled with tears.  That was my baby.  Only the size of a blueberry, yet looking more like a kidney bean, this baby was forming arm and leg buds.  The hemispheres of the brain were growing, red blood cells were being churned out, and the appendix and pancreas were already formed.  My baby was healthy and growing. 

Image of baby at 7 weeks

Thus, our plan began for me to take progesterone shots to maintain the pregnancy.  With my history of endometriosis there was the possibility that my body would not produce enough to sustain the pregnancy.  I would get a shot twice per week which would be administered by my mother, who is a nurse.  To make sure that I was taking the appropriate dosage of progesterone, I would also get a weekly blood test.  I would do this for the first twenty-two weeks of my pregnancy and then revisit whether or not I needed to continue with my shots. 

It all seemed so scary and daunting at first.  I remember panicking each and every time I went to the bathroom, praying that I wouldn’t see blood.  I remember feeling so nervous with every new pain I felt as my abdomen stretched to accommodate my new little companion.  Soon, I would learn to trust my body, as it gave my each and every indication that things were progressing and moving forward.

Continue following along to see how I handled my symptoms of pregnancy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Trying to Conceive

Not surprisingly, my cycle was very screwy after my surgery.  My hormones were still regulating and my body was still recovering.  Therefore, I needed to wait until I had a real menstrual cycle to begin trying to conceive.  The length between my surgery and that first menstrual cycle after was a very long thirty-nine days.  39!  Of course, it wasn’t as though I had never experienced a long cycle before.  I had gone weeks on end without getting a period.  However, I wasn’t waiting to try to conceive on those cycles.  So this time, thirty-nine days seemed like forever.

Happily, I started noticing something that had been absent from my previous cycles I had been charting: mucus!  Obviously, this is a strange thing to feel excitement over, but it was my little sign that things in my reproductive system were working and that my surgery was successful.  I made my mental notes throughout the day and eagerly awaited to put my “white baby” stickers in my chart before bed at night.  My cycle was finally looking like something.  I had days of bleeding, followed by a few dry days, followed by days of mucus.  Soon, once I was feeling a bit better, it would be time to try!

My long thirty-nine day cycle was followed by a much shorter eighteen day cycle.  Although it was certainly not long enough to allow for conception, it offered an opportunity for me to chart very fertile mucus and visit with Dr. Jean to get my final instructions for conception.  It was all so exciting, yet so scary!  This was my chance.  This was my perfect opportunity.  Together, we planned all of the medications and supplements I would take and at which point in my cycle.  Certain days were optimal for certain medications, so I diligently wrote in my chart the medications I would be taking. 

I would immediately start taking vitamin B6.  This would be a daily supplement, along with the prenatal vitamins I had started taking prior to my surgery.  Fertile CM was also part of my daily regimen and had been after I had my HSG.  On cycle day three I would take a dose of Femara.  This was the medication I was hoping was going to help my body do what it hadn’t been doing before: ovulate!

For those who have tried to conceive before, they have probably heard of the drug Clomid.  It is one of the most commonly prescribed medications to stimulate ovulation.  However, Clomid does pose some side effects that are often quite uncomfortable. It has also been known to cause the ovaries to become enlarged with multiple follicles, increasing the chances for multiple gestation.  Femara, or Letrozole, Is a medication that also stimulates ovulation, just without the adverse side effects and increased number of follicles.

Starting on cycle day ten I was to begin taking a mucus enhancer, which was simply Mucinex.  Once I started noticing mucus during my cycle, I would take an antibiotic through my peak, plus one day.  Post peak began my ten day dose of Prometrium.  There were a lot of pills, all on different days, which seemed terribly confusing.  However, I wrote down every pill that was to be taken each day, in order to make sure that I was doing everything correctly to allow for conception. 

Dr. Jean also wanted to be sure we were doing all that we could to conceive.  Therefore, she had me come in to the office to have ultrasounds of my ovaries.  This began on Thursday August 2, 2012, cycle day sixteen.  Along with her wonderful ultrasound technician Amy, Dr. Jean monitored and measured the growth of my follicles in each ovary.  At the time, I didn’t realize just how important this step was in conceiving.  I thought I was there for one visit to gauge how my body was responding to all of the medication.  Yet this was just the beginning.

I was supposed to come back the next day, Friday.  And then that next Monday.  We measured the growth of each follicle, trying to determine if ovulation was going to occur.  Amy and Dr. Jean were confident, as one of my follicles in the right ovary seemed to be growing beautifully.  So I went back on Tuesday.  Still growing.  And then Wednesday.  But it was gone. 

Gone?!  As Amy moved her wand around, exploring my ovary, she told me the follicle was no longer there.  I didn’t understand.  What did that mean?  She probably wanted to laugh at my stupidity, but she just smiled and said, “You ovulated!”  YAY!!!!!  Much like my excitement for mucus, I am sure my excitement for ovulation seemed unusual, but this was huge!  Ovulation meant the ability for conception.  And according to Dr. Jean, I couldn’t waste any time.  “You have a very small window.  We don’t know if you ovulated right after you left the office yesterday, or just twenty minutes ago.  So get to it!”

It was Wednesday August 8, 2012.  My first ovulation in possibly years.  Jonathan and I knew how momentous this was and how important it was on our journey.  I took out my prayer card to St. Gianna and prayed that this was our day, our chance for a family.  It was now or never.

The following Thursday I had an appointment to see Liz and review my chart.  I should have been excited about all that had happened with my chart and ovulation, but I was feeling doubtful.  I realized that I had not taken my medication correctly.  My dose of Femara, six pills, were all supposed to have been taken on cycle day three.  I took one each day for six days, starting at cycle day three.  Now, I knew I had ovulated, but I didn’t know if my mistake could have altered my chances.  Only time would tell.  Leaving Liz that evening, she encouraged me to visit the chapel next to her office.  I did.  I entered the dark, empty chapel nervously, anxiously.  I prayed with such passion.  Lord, please give me a baby.  Please let me be pregnant.  Please let the surgery have worked, let my body be free from endometriosis and let it be capable of carrying a child.  Amen.

Two my days later, Saturday morning, I woke up early.  I never wake up early.  Jonathan was still sleeping, so I quietly got out of bed and went in to our bathroom.  I had a stash of pregnancy tests in the drawer under the sink, leftover from my friend Andi who had recently found out she was expecting.  Even though it was only ten days after ovulating, I decided to take a test anyway, since I certainly had plenty of them on hand.  I gently placed the test on the counter, washed my hands, and went to let the dog out. 

I came back just a moment later, fully expecting a negative test.  Yet, I saw this:

(The first of three pregnancy tests I took)

I screamed, “OH MY GOSH!”  I couldn’t believe it.  I was actually pregnant!  It was Saturday August 18, 2012.  Ten days after ovulation, less than three months after my surgery, and I was pregnant.  Jubilation washed over me and I prayed a quiet prayer of thanksgiving.  This was my miracle.  My body was now free from endometriosis…..and a baby now filled its space.

Stay tuned for what happens after that miraculous moment of seeing a positive test.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Home Improvement

I apologize for the long delay in between posts.  Along with trying to grade projects, papers, and tests for the end of the quarter, I am also in the midst of planning my daughter's first birthday party and preparing for my twin sister's wedding (and all of the fun events leading up to the big day!)  So naturally, I felt that this was the perfect time to tackle a big home improvement project.

Jonathan and I have owned our home for a little over five years.  In that time we have redone all of the bedrooms, updated the kitchen and appliances, installed a patio, had recessed lighting put in every room, and painted and sanded every other space we could find....with the exception of our basement.  Our basement is straight out of the 1960's.  We have wood paneling, a bench seat covered in burnt orange upholstery, and of course, a bar.  Walking down the stairs to the basement is like walking down the stairs of time.  I have come to love that space, as we spend much of our free time there.  However, Jonathan does not find the room to be as cozy.

Never one to let things be and always ready to tackle the next project, I took it upon myself to paint the paneling.  Yet in order to paint, you must sand.  In order to sand, you must empty the space.  In order to empty the space, you have to find time.  Since this week is my Spring Break, I figured it was now or never.  Yet this little project is taking far longer than I had ever anticipated.  The sanding took three times as long.  There were 6,428 nail holes to fill and sand flat.  I opted for cheaper paint at a large chain store, rather than my trusted Sherwin Williams.  Therefore, the project is not going smoothly and is taking what feels like forever!

I am sure it will be finished at some point, but it has put my next post on hold.  Stay tuned for my post on Trying to Conceive and perhaps a finished photo of our *hopefully* beautiful basement!

 My supplies

 Our lovely brick-faced bar

 The sixteen foot bench - cushions removed

A view of the rest of the room