Sunday, December 16, 2012

And Now We Wait...

We arrived Saturday morning for our transfer. We had not heard from the office about our embryos since our day two report on Wednesday. They had said that no news is good news, so we were hoping for quiet.

They brought us back to the room, and I immediately noticed that there were no embryos in the incubator. ::enter panic:: The embryologist informed us that there were a few egg retrievals that morning. Since they are time sensitive, we were being pushed back a little.

Then he gave us our report. I was hoping for three to four to freeze. Both of my other cycles, we have had one to freeze. This time we had.... NINE to freeze! We were shocked. I did not know how to respond. Of the fifteen we had on day two, nine had made it to a good quality, freeze worthy embryo. That does not include what we transferred. Nine is amazing and completely surprising.

My doctor was very happy with how everything turned out. He came in with a giant grin on his face. This cycle required a lot of thinking on his part. My levels were difficult to control, and I was on the edge of overstimulating for the majority of it.

Our transfer went exceptionally well. We followed my doctor's recommendation for transferring two. He wanted to repeat our last cycle, so we did the exact same thing with similar grading of the embryos.

So now we wait. I'm on bed rest for the next few days, then back to normal and waiting.

Here are our nine waiting in the freezer.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding a Bubble

Yesterday morning, twenty little babies left for school that will never come home. Devastating. I wonder about that morning. Did one of them not want to wake up, and mommy made them? Was one child excited about a class event? Were they running late and rushing? Was the Elf on the Shelf a fixture in their homes like it is ours? Did they talk about Santa's upcoming visit? The small details that those parents will forever hold from their last morning. I pray that each one of those parents hugged and kissed their child before sending them to school yesterday.

I can't imagine how devastating it would be to arrive at a firehouse frantically looking for your child, and they aren't there. The drive back home.... Walking into your home.... Waiting for confirmation.

My first instinct is to never let Blake go. I want to shield him from this cruel world. I want to protect his innocence. I want to keep him in a bubble. Blake has no idea that bad people exist, and it is one of my favorite things about his sweet personality. He will flash that Blake smile and say "Hey" to almost everyone. He has no idea of evil. No concept. I want to protect that for as long as possible.

But, it isn't possible. Sure, I can home school him. I can keep him locked in our house forever. But what kind of life is that? A shooting can happen anywhere. Of course when it is in a school it is shocking and horrifying. It could easily happen at a park, the grocery store, or Blake's favorite frozen yogurt store (which he calls "Ike ceam"). We live close to a military base, and we could be injured in a military aircraft accident.... Or a terrorist attack. Or a car accident. The list is endless.

Living in fear is not living. Blake will attend school, and it will probably be public for the majority of his years. I pray that I am never in any of these parent's shoes, but I can not shelter my child. He deserves to experience all the perks of school and hopefully college. We can't live in fear of bad things or bad people.

That do not mean I won't worry, because I will. It doesn't mean I won't kiss him pray he is safe everyday, because I will. It just means that we don't have control.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


We received our fertilization report, and I was shocked. Of the twenty eggs that were retrieved, seventeen were mature. Of the seventeen, fifteen were growing on day two. That's amazing.

I feel so blessed to have so many this time around. Last cycle, we were working with five. We have ten more embryos this time. So now we wait for the transfer on Saturday. We will find out then how many will be frozen. Hopefully quite a few. We don't expect all of them to make it that far, but we are hopeful to have enough frozen to feel comfortable saying goodbye to IVF.

Dr. T finally figured my medicines out, and my body responded. I'm still shocked that it has turned out this way. Blessed.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I have been a very bad blogger. Things have been a little crazy, and I have been struggling to keep up. Joseph has had a busy week or two at work. His busy week just happened to coincide with the worst of my IVF cycle. Add a two year old into that mixture, and you have an exhausted, hormonal mommy that doesn't blog.

We started this cycle pretty normally. My last cycle started off with too little medicine, and it was an uphill battle the entire time. We ended up with six mature eggs. This time my doctor had the goal of more eggs. He started me out at a higher dose of medicines, expecting me to respond similarly to our last cycle.

My body decided to take that medicine seriously this time. My first blood work showed that my body was overly responding. My medicines were decreased, and we officially were dealing with too many eggs. My estrogen level was way too high. We went from threatening cancellation due to under stimulation to threatening cancellation due to overstimulation.

My monitoring office was guessing that I had thirty plus measurable eggs. That is a lot! I was obviously uncomfortable and the high estrogen levels made me feel horrible. We were not sure how many of those thirty plus would be mature. My doctor guessed fifteen, but I was a bit skeptical after my six from last time.

We pushed through and made it to the egg retrieval today....

They got 20 mature eggs! I was shocked when I woke up from the anesthesia. That doubles the amount that I got from my first cycle (9).

So now we wait. We have to see how our fertilization report goes. IVF is such a numbers game. You start out with a number, and slowly the number drops as time goes on. I'm just hoping for enough to transfer and freeze a few. Anything more than that is a bonus.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My baseline went better than I thought it would yesterday. Everything looked perfect, and I was given the all clear to start shots last night.

So, we should have an egg retrieval around the 10th or so. Funny little side note.... Blake was transferred within days of this schedule. So if this works, we could be having double birthday parties for awhile.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Here we go again...

I have my giant box of medicines, my baseline monitoring appointment, and our sad savings account. Our last IVF cycle was supposed to be our last, yet here we are. I have caught myself saying the same again this time. This is my last.... My last time dealing with the pharmacy and all those meds. My last time waiting on my cycle to start so we can just get things going already! My last time trying to figure out what day we will be doing this or that, and what day I will be on bed rest. This is my last.... I pray.

Today is my baseline. I'm a little unsure of how things are going to go. The last few times I have gone for something routine, it's turned into a setback. Part of me feels like that will probably happen again today. We will see. I'm hoping we can get started today, so we can avoid cycling during Christmas. I stopped taking my birth control pills I haven't started a cycle yet, which makes me think I have a cyst. I would not be shocked.

I have no idea how people can do cycle after cycle of IVF. It just is not for me. The stress and unknown nature of IVF is enough to drive me crazy. Last cycle, I had the benefit of three years of forgetting. This cycle I don't. I just did this, and I didn't really enjoy it. The excitement from last time is gone.

So here we go... I'm praying that this is a smooth cycle with a lot of success.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My surgery was Thursday. We arrived two hours prior to my scheduled surgery time of 11:45. The nurses did the normal questions, getting us settled in, IV, and all the other normal hospital stuff. I found out the Wednesday that my latest uterine biopsy had come back positive for infection, so they wanted to give me IV antibiotics while I was there to finally get rid of it.

The surgery went really well. The anesthesiologist took good care of me. They gave me something that made me loopy on the way to the OR, and I really could not have cared what they were about to do to me. I woke up in pain. As soon as I said ouch, they gave me something that made me equally happy. I had some nausea, but they also took care of that for me. By the time I left, I was very groggy. I slept all the way home (2.5 hours).

The surgery took about a hour and a half. My doctor fixed my tube issue, worked on my uterus a little, and also removed the infected lining. He was very happy with how it all went. He even gave Joseph pictures and was proudly showing him my remodeled female organs.

I'm sore, but it is nothing the pain medicine isn't taking care of. My worst pain is from my belly button incision. It is really uncomfortable for some reason. Pressure seems to help, so I have been keeping pillows on it.

Overall, it has not been horrible. I am still moving slow, but on the mend. My lovely husband even made me pumpkin pancakes from Trader Joe's today. Which may have been worth the entire process ;) Seriously. They are amazing.

I have a follow up in two weeks. We will talk about our upcoming cycle then.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It Never Ends....

Today was our follow up from my D&C and a pre-IVF ultrasound. It didn't go well. I really feel like we just can not catch a break. It is constantly something.

Today, my RE saw that my tube was damaged from infection from the retained tissues from the miscarriage. The antibiotics they gave me has cleared the infection, but that tube has to come out. Goodbye tube. I have never really used you anyway. I have never gotten pregnant without IVF. Tubes are worthless to us.

I also seem to have a misshaped uterus. It's very minor, but my doctor is going to check it out and fix it. He found that while they were examining my tube.

So, I have surgery scheduled for next week. I will get a pretty little battle scar right below my belly button. IVF is off until December. Only a month, which is good. It could be worse, but it is also so disappointing. We have been working on another baby to bring home since April.

I hate that everything is such a fight for us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Of Course...

My words exactly when my doctor told me I had retained tissues and needed a D&C yesterday.  Of course I do. Why wouldn't I? 

Sigh.  I am not sure why my body has to be so difficult about everything, but here we are.  Frustrated does not even begin to describe my feelings. 

Yesterday, we met with my infertility doctor to plan for our next cycle.  When we first scheduled the appointment, we had planned on using our one frozen embryo.  After scheduling the appointment, we did some soul searching and decided to do another full IVF cycle.  We both did not have a ton of confidence in using only one lower graded embryo, especially after what happened during our last cycle. 

Our RE actually brought up the idea of a full cycle before we told him we were talking about it.  He agreed that the embryo we have frozen is not the best quality, and it just isn't a good idea to transfer it alone.  So we made our plans, talked about medicines, and discussed my miscarriage.  My doctor decided at the last minute to do an ultrasound to make sure I did not have any scar tissue from the miscarriage. 

Instead he found left over tissue from the miscarriage.  Tissue that had to come out, and he was greatly concerned about infection.  Of course.  They offered to do the procedure the same day, which I agreed.  I wanted to get it over.  They gave me some really strong medicine, and I do not remember most of the afternoon. I left with antibiotics and pain pills. I have a follow-up next week, and I am praying that everything will finally be normal. 

Our IVF cycle is on, if I can ever heal.  I am now on birth control pills.  After my follow-up, I will have my medicines ordered, and we will have a cycle in early November. 

Here is hoping for an easy cycle...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here We Are

I often ask why. Specifically, I ask Joseph why the military does ______ frequently. Things that I just do not understand. Why are you driving two hours to camp in the woods, when we have woods right here? Why are you training for your predeployment training? Doesn't the predeployment training cover it? If not, why don't you expand the predeployment training to cover the multiple pre, predeployment trainings? Apparently it makes sense to someone, but certainly not me.

I purposely left a lot of emotion out of my last post. I wanted it to be the facts. The emotion wouldn't change anytime soon. The facts can be blurred and forgotten.

I'm frustrated. I'm really, really frustrated. I'm angry that I have had four babies, and I have only brought one home. I'm frustrated that we spend so much money on IVF (goodbye college fund) and twice had nothing but tears and disappointment to show for it. Once, we were given the greatest gift imaginable. I'm frustrated with our "bad luck" and how difficult things always are.

So here we are.... Three years after losing Ethan and Jacob. In a similar position. A completely disappointing outcome to our fresh cycle, and we have one sweet embryo in the freezer. One. I wish we had two. Two would make me feel "safe". One is such a risk. I remember worrying all night before Blake's transfer. Praying that one embryo would thaw well. Then I was on pins and needles all day, waiting for the call to say the embryo had not survived.

It did survive though. He is currently eating strawberries and cheese. I really hope that our frozen embryo turns into a baby we can bring home with us. Another IVF cycle seems so difficult right now. Emotionally. Physically, I can handle it. Emotionally.... I do not want to dive into that again. Worrying about levels, eggs, medicines, money, retrievals, transfers... I will do it if we have to, but I would love to transfer our frozen embryo and be done.

With one, it will be nerve wracking through the entire process. Completely our style...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another Goodbye

I had not posted on here, but our IVF cycle worked.  We found out we were pregnant with one little baby in late August.  I was trying to wait until we were a little further along to make an post.  We lost the baby this week at almost ten weeks.

I woke up Wednesday morning, and I felt a real urge to find baby's heartbeat on the monitor.  I have been very calm during this pregnancy, and only used my monitor two times. Anyone who knows me, knows that is really out of character. I am a worrier.  I tried to find it, and I could not.  At 9.5 weeks, baby is still pretty low, so I just thought he/she was hiding.  I tried again two more times throughout the day, and I had no luck.  Enter worrying.

I decided to go to the ER to have them check.  Part of me knew sometime was wrong.  The other part was hoping I would leave the ER with a new ultrasound picture and feeling foolish.  Thankfully the ER was very slow.  I was taken right back.  The ER doctor had an ultrasound machine in my room within a hour of me showing up, which for an ER is amazing. 

I knew it was bad as soon as he got quiet.  He had been small talking about my husband's job, the school he went to, my college.... Suddenly he went silent.  Silence is never good.  It felt like an eternity before he said anything.  Baby was measuring a day behind, which is acceptable.  He couldn't see a heartbeat.  He looked and looked.  He wanted to see a heartbeat so badly.  He knew this baby was an IVF baby.  He knew about Ethan and Jacob.  He knew we wanted this baby so much. 

He finally gave up.  He told me that he did not see a heartbeat, and he was going to call OB down to take another look.  I knew it was over.  You do not miss the heartbeat on an almost ten week baby.  I called Joseph while the ER doctor was calling OB and told him the bad news. 

The door to my room slowly opened, and I saw a very familiar face.  The doctor who delivered Ethan and Jacob was standing in front of me.  She said she immediately recognized my name on the chart.  As soon as I saw her, I began crying.  I am so thankful she was the doctor who came.  I was all alone in the ER, finding out my baby had passed away... I was so thankful for someone who knew me. 

We talked for almost a hour and a half.  I told her (and showed her a ton of pictures and videos) of Blake and how wonderful he is.  We talked about my loss.  We talked about her life. She did not rush.  She genuinely cared.

I was sent home with medicine to make my body miscarry and pain pills.  My experience was a rough one, but not as bad as what I had read online.  Now we wait.  I have a follow up on Tuesday.  I am not supposed to eat before the appointment, just in case I still need a D&C to remove anything.

As far as future plans, we will try again.  We have one sweet embryo that is frozen.  We are hoping and praying that embryo will be our take home baby.  We are praying that embryo will be just like Blake's cycle.  Single frozen embryo transfer that turns into a take home baby. 

One can hope....

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Where has time gone? It has been three years since our angels were born.  Three years since I held Jacob's little body.  Three years since I sat in the NICU begging God to make this OK.  Three years since we walked out of Bethesda empty handed and into our home full of baby things.

Three years ago, right now my world was ending.  My world was crashing down, and I wasn't sure we were going to recover from it.  I was struggling to breathe, move, talk. Basic necessities to live were a struggle. 

Three years ago, I was living my nightmare. 

After Ethan and Jacob passed away someone told me, "It never stops hurting, you just get use to the pain".  I think I am adjusting to the pain.  This year was the first year I was not a blubbering mess.  Three years to get to the point of being able to function on September 13th.  The first year, I was a few weeks post C-section.  Between it being the first birthday of my angels, hormones from having Blake, and sleep deprivation.... I was a hot mess.  Last year my husband was deployed, and I was at home alone with a 12 month old. 

This year was easier.  I don't know why.  I was just more focused on remembering them, instead of focusing on the pain and surviving. 

As we do every year, we let balloons go for Ethan and Jacob.  Blake and I went to the party supply store today, and he picked out the colors of their three balloons each.  He picked green, orange, and red.  We let them go tonight.  Blake let three of them go, one-by-one.  His two year old brain became bored with letting the rest go, so we did it.  Much to our surprise, Blake burst into tears after the balloons were gone.  He was quite upset that they were gone.  Maybe next year he will understand the balloon concept better!

This was taken about 10 seconds before he started crying.  He was quite upset that the balloons were gone. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Two years ago, I had just met the most amazing, stubborn, funny, cute, infuriating, and sweet person in my life. In true Blake fashion, he was born on his own terms. The doctors tried inducing me, but that is not Blake's style. Thirty-six hours later an emergency C-section was decided. I was put to sleep, because he was stuck. It was difficult to get him, and Joseph said he could see the worry in the doctor's eyes. He came out not moving, and he had to be forced to breath at first.

His birth fits him. Blake loves to be center stage.

In the last two years, I have learned all about this little man. I cherish him. There are days when I cherish him more than others, but each day I thank God for him. He is a blessing, even on his worst days.

The amount of love that little body holds is literally amazing. It is unconditional, pure, sweet love. Even with his latest tantrums, he wants love after timeout.

He is talking, and it is the sweetest thing. He asks where Daddy is every weekday morning, then says, "He at work! Oh no!". He knows faces and names. He says, "I love you". He has figured out what "One more" means, and uses it over and over again. Sometimes he will even say, "One more Mommy! Come on!".

I can't believe it has been two years. Two years since we were sitting in the hospital, terrified we were going to kill this tiny (8lb5oz) stranger we just met. Little did I know, he would be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We made it to transfer!
A picture of possible Z babies is below. We were also blessed with one to freeze for later. They are grade 4 and 3+ expanded blasts (for my ivf friends). Our frozen is a grade 3+ blast as well.

Our other two arrested, which was expected of one.

After a lot of thinking and praying we decided to go with our doctor's advice, and transfer two. We are hopeful we made the right decision.

Now starts the two week wait...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fighting Five!

We have five embryos! Joseph and I decided that the fighting five would be a good name this time. Our last IVF cycle we had five embryos as well. Apparently five is our number.

After waiting forever for my clinic to call, and a few angry phone calls... We finally got our report (24 hours later than we expected it). Our clinic dropped the ball, and they didn't call us with the report. It was so stressful waiting for the news. I was terrified none of them had fertilized. Terrified.

Our clinic grades on a 1-4 scale. 4 being the best and 1 being the worst. This is the opposite of a lot of clinics. I have no idea why they do it backwards.
We have on day two:
2- grade 4 (best) embryos
2-grade 3 embryos
1- 2+ grade embryo

We don't expect that grade 2 embryo to make it, but it still has time to catch up. We will get another report on Wednesday, and we are doing a day five transfer on Thursday.

This report was much better than I expected. I was so scared we didn't get enough eggs. Whew.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


We had our egg retrieval today, and they got six eggs. Less than our last cycle. We had nine eggs last time, so I was a bit disappointed with only six.

The nurses said they were great quality, so we are hoping for a great fertilization report tomorrow.

The egg retrieval went very smoothly. They knocked me out, and I don't remember a thing. Joseph said I was talking gibberish in the recovery room, but nothing too embarrassing. :)

Everyone say a prayer or cross your fingers. We are hoping for some great embryos, but with only six eggs... We aren't working with a lot.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Holding On

IVF isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. A marathon with a moving finish line. As you are running along in this marathon, you think you are three miles from the finish line.  Then you pass a sign that says the finish line has been moved, and you are now five miles from the finish line. Only two more miles, right? You have already been so far, what are two more miles?  Those extra two miles are huge, not only physically but mentally.

Our current cycle feels a lot like this. There have been a lot of issues with my medication doses, since I had so many problems my last IVF cycle. We started out WAY too low with the fear of repeating, and we basically wasted three days.  My estrogen was incredibly low (not a good thing), it was somehow lower than before we started the medicines. They slowly moved my medicines up, and nothing really happened.  It has been a trial and error cycle, and the word cancel has been used more than a few times.

When you are spending thousands of dollars on medications, the words, "Trial and error" and "Canceled".... not what you want to hear.  Things seem to be turning around, but it changes daily. This cycle has been much more emotionally draining than the last.

Last time, I never thought about being canceled.  My doctor was always happy with my levels, and he was confident we would get plenty of eggs.  We had five embryos, and we sailed to the embryo transfer.  Not a worry in the world.  Then I overstimulated and was so, so sick. Physically, it was horrible. 

It is never easy.    

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Fearless is the only way to describe Blake in the water.  He has zero concern.  He thinks it is all fun, even when he gets splashed in the face.  He is starting swimming lessons soon, since his lack of fear terrifies me.  He will just walk right into the deep end, with no problems with the water being over his head.  He is my water baby.  We have already taught him to kick his legs and blow bubbles in the water.  He is a water baby already, just like his mommy was.  

 Practicing kicking

 So much fun at the pool!

 He is SUCH a daddy's boy.  They are best buddies, which his daddy loves.

Hurry Up and Wait


My body does not want to follow the "rules".  Ever.  While it is really frustrating, I have almost come to expect it.  So when the ultrasound tech said that I have a cyst, I just shook my head.  Of course I do.  OHSS, pPROM, premature births, pregnancy induced hypertension, emergency c-section that required a urologist due to a ripped uterus... Normal? What is that?

The good news is that we later found out that it wasn't a cyst, just a huge follicle.  My body apparently thinks the birth control pills that my doctor put me on were a challenge.  They didn't work, and my body won.  If we weren't infertile, we could be one of those couples that gets pregnant while on birth control pills.... but we are infertile.

I was given a shot to speed things up, but our cycle will still be delayed about two weeks.  It was a blessing that it wasn't a cyst, as that would have delayed us a month or so.  Of course we had Joseph's work schedule planned around these next two weeks.  The end of July was really busy, so now he is trying to shift everything around.  It looks like it is all going to work out, minus a few days that Blake is going to stay with his Nana and Pa. 

So that is where we are.  The good news is that I won't be completely uncomfortable for our anniversary.  How has it been five years? Time has flown.  I am so lucky to have such a great husband and father for Blake.     

This is my favorite non-posed picture.  We had just come in from taking pictures outside. It was roughly 100 degrees in North Carolina (hello humid and poor Joseph was wearing wool). My love gave me a sweet kiss and told me I looked pretty. 

Monday, June 25, 2012



That is what we just paid for my medications.  We were shocked that our insurance decided to cover more than we originally planed.  It is still a sting to the bank account, which is currently crying over paying the IVF bill to our doctor almost a month ago.  But, that is much less than the estimate we received of, "Up to 5,000 for medications".  I did not know what to say to the woman who called from the specialty pharmacy. Relief. 

So, our bill will be lower than we thought.  We are hoping to have everything paid off quickly, since (hopefully) we will have added expenses of a new baby, or the cost of another cycle if this one fails.  Infertility treatments are so unfair.  You pay thousands of dollars to actually get pregnant, then your finances are so tight paying off the treatments, you can not afford all the baby things you have dreamed of. 

IVF is a slow going process.  Always waiting. Waiting to start medicines, waiting for the trigger shot, waiting for the egg retrieval, waiting for the fertilization report, waiting for the transfer, and waiting for the pregnancy test. I am not a great waiter, so I struggle with this. 

 We are finishing the first phase (birth control pills), and are ready to get into the actual IVF cycle.  That should begin sometime next week.  Expect some bruised belly, feeling horrible, completely uncomfortable, and hormonal posts in the near future ;)

So, let the fun begin!!!       

Monday, May 28, 2012

I lied...

After losing Ethan and Jacob, I swore that if we could get pregnant with just one baby.... I would never ask for another.  Then Blake's difficult delivery further pushed that decision.  I swore that Blake was going to be an only child.  I was done with IVF, PPROM, shots, fear, stress, and c-sections. We were blessed with a beautiful, perfect little boy.   I said I was done. No more. 21 months later, and here I am.... I lied. 

I blame Joseph.  It is his fault.  He is the ultimate baby hog, and he made me lie. ;) That is my excuse anyway.   

It looks like we are jumping back onto the infertility treatment roller coaster. We have gone through all of the testing, and made the big decision to move forward with another round of IVF. Our new doctor is pretty confident that we can avoid overstimulating again this time around. Hopefully, he is right. We are cautiously optimistic, but I have a bad history of surprising doctors. It would be lovely for this cycle to work with little drama associated with it. Praying for an easy, calm cycle that works. 

So, we are looking at starting the IVF cycle toward the end of June. I didn't have a blog for our first IVF cycle, so I am excited to have this journey documented.           

Friday, April 13, 2012


It's amazing how our brains adapt. How the yelling of a 19 month old can be normal. Depending on what he is yelling, it can also be beautiful. Blake now says "Wuv hoo" (love you). Silence is not normal in this house. It is amazing how I am conditioned to put my cell phone out of a toddlers little hand reach, even when he isn't here. I don't think twice about shutting doors to keep a 19 month out of the bathrooms, even when I don't need to.

Blake is spending a few days with his Nana and Pa. He did this a few times while Joseph was deployed, and he loves it. The boy gets so spoiled there. He is showered with love, undivided attention, new toys, and pizza. Nana also got sneaky this time and had a supply of suckers waiting. He loves it there. They love having him there. We miss him here. Blake is so blessed to have so many people who love him. My family is insanely obsessed with him, and it's wonderful. They get so excited to see him. They complain if they don't see him every few weeks. Blake calls them a few times a week to talk. He is a major part of their lives, and they are a big part of his life. He loves them just as much as they love him.

  So, while the baby is away.... Joseph and I work. We have been upgrading our yard. When we bought our house, it came with these awful, ugly bushes. They were short and prickly... And ugly. So, they were removed and replaced with pretty flowers. We lined the flower garden with bricks and filled it with mulch.

We start on our vegetable garden tomorrow. I am really excited about having a garden this year. I haven't had one in two years. We moved/I was hugely pregnant in 2010 and last summer Joseph was deployed. A garden was very, very low on my priority list. So, Blake is off having the time of his life at Nana and Pa's house. We are at home moving bricks and raking mulch. How life has changed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Pressure is On

We have officially been asked (more than once) by complete strangers when Blake is going to have a baby brother or sister.  The first time it happened, a little Asian woman who worked at Walmart asked us.  I was so surprised, considering I was just trying to pay for our peanut butter, milk, light bulbs, and chapstick.  I thought it was such an odd question.  Where did that come from?  Well, the Asian woman who worked at Walmart was the first of many.  It seems that once your child is eighteen months, baby number two should be on the way.  At least in the Marine town that we live in. 

The pressure is on for baby number four by complete strangers.  Who would have thought strangers would have started this campaign well before our family did?  Not me.  Our family are a bunch of baby hogs.  They love Blake, and he has quickly become the star of most family events.  Want to have a family birthday party that focuses on you, don't invite Blake.  

Why do people that know our story avoid asking about future babies? They know what a crazy, scary, devastating ride it was getting Blake here.  Blake is a miracle.  So the question is, do we try for another miracle?  Or do we thank God for the miracle we have? Or both?

The truth is that I am not getting any younger.  In the IVF world I am so so young, but the longer we wait the harder the cycle is going to be on me.  We had a hard time with the last cycle I went through.  Time is not our friend.  Money is also an issue.  Last time I looked at our bank account, we didn't have an extra 15,000 just hanging around to be spent at a fertility clinic.  If anyone would like to add to our bank account, please let me know ;) So, money is a major issue when it comes to IVF.  Putting ourselves in debt for a try at a baby is stressful.  Thinking about doing that for the third time is a bit overwhelming.  If it is successful, we are pregnant,  in debt from getting pregnant, and needing the expensive baby items.     

So, it isn't simple.  There are a lot of things that need to be checked off our to-do lists.  We have a busy summer that is packed with fun.  We are going to have our first summer as a family, since Joseph missed last summer completely.  We are traveling, attending weddings, and enjoying that we live near the ocean.  After we soak all that up, we will talk baby.          

Sunday, February 12, 2012

At Last

My lonely days are over. After ten and a half months, Joseph is finally home from his deployment. At last. He has been home for a week now, and he is getting back into the swing of things slowly. Things are pretty different in our house. He left a snugly, little baby boy, and he returned to a wild, giggly toddler. Things are much more chaotic than they were a little under a year ago.

Blake is in full toddler force. He knows what he wants, he eats "real" food, he understands when given (most) instructions, he gives kisses, hugs, the bottle is gone, and anytime he wants something he says "please" then gives the sweetest face in the world. He knows how to blow kisses, call his Nana and Pa (and asks to do it frequently), run, and helps clean up his toys. He is a big boy.

When Joseph left he was barely sitting up. He couldn't even sit up alone. We had to put him in a sitting position, and he could maintain it. He wasn't sleeping through the night yet. He was truly a baby. Such a difference. The transition has been going well. There have been a few moments where I had to step in and say, "We have to hold hands in the parking lot" or "He needs that cut up more", but I have been letting them figure it out together as much as possible (without completely messing up Blake's routine). Joseph came home and jumped right in. He is truly an amazing father. Blake and Daddy have been best buddies since about two minutes after Joseph found us at homecoming.

So, all is great in our world. We are so happy to be together again. Hopefully, there will not be any deployments in our immediate future. And, I leave you with our homecoming slide show. It is perfect. I am so, so happy with our photographer. She was amazing. Simply amazing. She arrived at our house to a screaming Blake and a stressed out Andrea. She took it all in stride. We are going to have a family session with her in the spring, and I can't wait.
 Homecoming Pictures

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


When we started our journey to become parents, I always thought of all the wonderful things I would teach a child.  How to give hugs, kisses, wave, count, and many other things. I never dreamed of what my children would teach me.  I never really thought about it.  It was not until each child was brought into my life, that I realized how much you can learn from such a small heart. 

Jacob was my first born.  From the moment we first saw him on an ultrasound, he was laid back and calm.  He was the entire pregnancy.  My laid back child.  He taught me that sometimes we have to make sacrifices for others.  He taught me what it means to fight.  He survived 3.5 weeks, when none of our doctors expected him to.  Had he passed during those 3.5 weeks, I would have certainly contracted an infection.  An infection would have ended the pregnancy before Ethan would have been considered viable.

Ethan was just the opposite.  He was moving constantly, even in the NICU.  He was dancing on every ultrasound we had.  He was tough, and I don't think laid back would have ever described him.  As he fought in the NICU, he taught me strength.  He taught me that sometimes we have to let go, even when we don't want to.  Sometimes life is cruel, and we have to pick ourselves up and continue living even when that seems impossible. 

Blake is my take home baby.  I think he is a mixture of his two brothers.  He has his laid back moments, but when he decides it is time for a dance party... we dance.  He has taught me so much in the last year and half.  While I was pregnant, he taught me that it is OK to be scared.  Just because bad things happened once, does not mean it will happen every time.  His birth taught me that sometimes things don't go as planned, but as long as everyone is OK in the end.... it is OK. 

Blake has taught me the meaning of happiness, true frustration, pure joy, unconditional love, and how to be a mother.  Before I had Blake I never would have thought the words, "We don't stab our friends with a fork" would come out of my mouth.  It is always an adventure, although it's usually an entertaining one.  Blake has a way of making people smile.  He just does.  His joy is contagious.  He has taught me that life is short, and we should enjoy every second. 

Here is some joy.... compliments of Blake.  


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Well, here you are 2012.  I have been waiting and waiting for you. 2012, I have high hopes for you, so don't let me down... OK?
2011 was a challenging year.  A friend did a year in pictures on her blog, and I loved the idea.  So, here we go! Hold on, it was a bumpy ride. 

This month was pretty uneventful.  Blake saw his first snow, and even played in it a little.  Joseph was in his job school.  The hours were nice, and it was somewhat stress free. 

This month was marked by Blake learning that he loves swinging.  The temperatures were mild, so we really enjoyed walking to the park on base.  This month was the calm before the storm. 

Oh March.  You rocked my world, in not such a great way. Joseph graduated from MOS (job) school on the first day of March.  His CO was nice enough to attend.  After graduation, he pulled Joseph away, and he explained that their scheduled deployment for July had been moved up to March 28th.  Enter panic.  The rest of the month was a nightmare.  Joseph had six months worth of work to do in 27 days.  He was working all the time.  Our "predeployment leave" consisted of a night in Wilmington.  Realistically, he left on his graduation day, he was just still here physically.    

 This picture was taken about 5 minutes before "the news" was told.

We had family pictures taken on a Sunday afternoon.  Thank goodness the photographer was my neighbor. 


This month was the actual month Joseph left.  He was put on remain behind for a week and a half, since he had so much work to do.  Sadly, he ended up working every second of that last bit of time.  He deployed in early April for a deployment that we were told would be 7-10 months.  Less than a week later, Blake had a surgery to correct a birth defect and tornadoes rocked the town we live in.  Not the best way to start a long deployment, but we survived.  I think this was the most difficult month by far.

 Deployment day
May was the month that I found my routine.  Things started falling into place a little easier.  I still had an infant by myself, but I had figured out what worked and what didn't.  Blake FINALLY started consistently sleeping through the night, which made life much better.  Blake also started crawling. 
 Thank you, thank you, thank you
There he goes
June was the beginning of our summer of travel.  I logged many miles, and June started with a trip to Miami for my college friend's wedding.  I left Blake with my parents, which I was quite nervous about.  It was my first time leaving him overnight.  We both did amazingly well.  He had a great time at my parents, and I was privileged to witness a beautiful wedding.  
We stayed at home for the 4th of July and enjoyed the fireworks on base.  We were also evacuated due to a large forest fire, which poured smoke into our town.  It was a scary evening.   Overall, we tried to enjoy time outside, when the smoke wasn't too thick.

August was a huge month for our family.  It started off with a trip to the beach with my college friends.  We had so much fun! Then, at the end of month, we headed off to Italy.  It was an amazing trip.  We got to spend four days with Joseph.  It was amazing, and the best decision we made during this deployment.  Blake spent his first birthday in Italy, which is a great story to tell.  While we were gone, Hurricane Irene came through.  We had minor damage, but it was quite stressful to deal with from another continent. 
 Someone had a lot of fun with his smash cake
Beautiful Italy

September was the slowest month of the year for me.  I felt like summer had so much going on.  We were going here and there... then September marked the end of all of that.  I started work on my master's degree again and also took a photography class.  The graduate class caused way too much stress, and we have a new family rule of no school during deployments for Mommy. 

Enter school madness and fall.  That was October.

November started with the Marine Corps ball.  A great event with the other spouses. I am so lucky to have had such a great group of buddies for this deployment.  A huge highlight of November was Blake FINALLY learning to walk.  He just started walking one day, like he had been doing it for months.  Once he started, he never looked back.
We spent the month sick.  Blake battled two ear infections and the flu.  Poor guy just couldn't catch a break.  I finished my graduate class, and felt the stress cloud lifting from the house.  We got a lot of family time in.  My sister spent a week with us, and we spent a week with my parents.  It was a quick month.  Blake was spoiled rotten.  

 Blake's new ride
 I love his joy
So, here we are in January.  I am hoping that this year brings less stress, more togetherness, and great things.  I can't wait!