Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Checking In

Well, I kind of feel like I have fallen off the face of the earth. I have been super busy keeping up with these cute kiddos:

I'm not sure if anyone reads my blog anymore, but I wanted to do a quick check-in. I apologize in advance that this is going to be a bit choppy, but bear with me.

Honestly, the days are just flying by. Add to it that I have been trying to work a little bit from home while on maternity leave (since I used up all my FMLA when J was born), and by the time I have any spare time, all I want to do is sleep. But, I wouldn't change a minute of it. I am so in LOVE with these little kids.

J is almost one and A is already seven weeks old...where has the time gone? I have started planning a little family birthday party for J, and I am super excited. I am planning a Mickey Mouse themed party, since he loves to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the morning and he gets a huge smile on his face whenever he sees Mickey.

I will be going back to work pretty soon, and even though it is just a few days a week, I am still not looking forward to it. I have really enjoyed the time I have had with them.

It is looking like I have a fertile sister, and of course it would be the one who is only 20 and in a super unstable marriage - they are always talking about leaving each other. Apparently she wasn't taking any BCP because she was afraid that they would make her infertile, but her husband didn't know that. When he found out she was KU, he wanted her to get an abortion, but at least she has refused to do so. She is only 6 or 7 weeks along, so it is super early, but still...out of all the people to get pg, it would be her, who can hardly even take care of herself! It is just frustrating.

So, as evidenced by my lack of posting, it seems like my blogging time has been drastically cut. I really don't want to stop hearing about what is going on with everyone and lose touch with all of my blogging buddies. However, I kind of feel like I don't totally fit in with this community as much. Even though I will always be infertile, I don't know that I will blog as much about it for a while since DH and I will not be TTC for at least two or three years. So, I would like to invite anyone that still reads this and is interested to come follow me over on our family blog: mikeandlisafamily.blogspot.com. I hope that if I am only focusing on one blog, it will be easier to keep it updated and stay current on what is going on with everyone. I don't plan to leave this blog completely, but at the same time, I don't know how often I will post on it. All I ask is that if you do choose to visit my family blog, that you don't mention this one, since I haven't shared it with my IRL friends and family.

I hope that everyone is doing well, and hopefully I will be able to catch up with you soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where Has the Time Gone?

Wow, I can't believe that it has already been over two weeks since my sweet little A joined our family. Time as gone by so quickly!

Things are going really well. It has helped A LOT that DH was able to take four weeks off of work, plus my sister lives with us. It has been nice to have so many extra helping hands. I think the hardest part has been finding a good routine that meets both kids needs. There have been a few times when both J and A have been crying/needing something, and it is hard to make one of them "wait", even if it isn't a long wait. Although J seems so grown up now, he is still a baby himself and is trying to adjust to all these changes and not getting all the attention.

That said, DH will be going back to work a week from Monday, so that will be when the true test comes. My sister will still be here of course, but she has school a few days a week, including my first day on my own. I am not too nervous...most days A will eat and go back to sleep before J wakes up, and mornings seem to be the busiest part of the day. But, we will see.

Overall I am feeling pretty good. I have been able to start wearing some pre-pregnancy jeans, although they definitely accentuate my muffin top. I am starting to feel a little bit anxious to be able to start exercising again. I love to run, especially this time of year, so hopefully I will still have some nice running weather once I get the all clear to start again.

Besides that, not too much is new with me. I am just enjoying being able to be home with my family. I feel bad that I haven't been able to keep up with reading everybody's blogs. It seems like there is always something else going on and blogging always ends up on the back burner. I am hoping that I will have some spare time to get caught up on what is going on with everyone soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Here's the Scoop...

I am so happy to have this sweet little girl here! I apologize that this post might be a little long...I had originally planned to post an update last week, but didn't get a chance.

Last Wednesday night, I noticed that I hadn't been feeling the baby move as much as normal. I could still feel her, but it just felt kind of sluggish. DH and I were eventually able to get her a little more active, so we decided to go to bed and see how things were in the morning. On Thursday morning, I still felt like she wasn't as active as she should've been, so I called my doctor's office and they got me in for a non-stress test. Fortunately, everything looked perfect, and it was good to have another u/s of Jumper and hear her little heartbeat.

On Friday, I was officially 40 weeks and had a doctor's appointment. At that point, I was dilated to a 'tight 2' and 80% effaced. She said that it was their policy not to induce first-time moms until 1 week after their due date, which would have met being induced on September 9th. However, she wasn't going to be in that day, so she said if I hadn't had the baby, they would induce me on September 11th. However, she was really doubtful that I would make it that long without going into labor on my own. For the meanwhile, I was supposed to have two more non-stress tests and I also had another appointment scheduled with her. I figured that if I did have to wait until the 11th to be induced, I could handle it because I was feeling pretty good overall.

Before I left my appointment, I was told that I would have a lot more cramping and contractions, and that definitely proved to be true! I expected them to kind of fade away like they had the week before, but they never did. I typically had one contraction every hour or so, but sometimes they would start to build up and happen more frequently, while other times they weren't strong and hardly noticeable. On Saturday, we went to a couple of different family activities, and while I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, it wasn't like I was miserable. Overall, I just felt really tired.

On Sunday, I noticed that I was feeling my contractions in my lower back/tailbone area, and they were getting to be really painful. The problem was that they were still pretty irregular. They would start to get closer together until they were 6 minutes apart, and then they would start to fade again. By this point, I was pretty miserable. We went to a family dinner, and I pretty much just laid on my mom's sofa for most of the time. I remember commenting to DH and my sister that I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it another week if this is how I was going to have to be feeling.

As we were getting ready for bed Sunday night, I was feeling more and more miserable, but my contractions were still so irregular. Finally, around midnight, they got to where they were 3-4 minutes a part and I could hardly talk through them. At that point, DH and I decided it was time to head to the hospital. We arrived about 1:00 Monday morning, and when they did my initial assessment, I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced. They decided to admit me, and during my next check, I was dilated to a 4.

After I got admitted, I got an epidural and they broke my water. They ended up giving me a little bit of Pitocin, and that definitely worked...I went from a 4 to an 8 by the next check. I felt really comfortable and it was nice to be able to just rest while I let me body keep getting ready for the delivery. I started pushing at around 9:15, and I think that at that point, it really sank in that this was happening and I was in the middle of giving birth. The whole experience seemed a little surreal. I pushed for about two hours, which wasn't too bad. I was able to feel my contractions enough to know when to push without being in pain. Our little Baby A was born at 11:25...they had to have the NICU nurses there to suction her because she aspirated so much meconium, but after a little work, she pinked right up and has been healthy. She is such a sweet little girl, and DH and I are so in love with her. We can't imagine not having her in our family.

I know I need to post some more pictures and give some more updates about having her home from the hospital, so I will try to get to those within the next few days or so. Right now I am just enjoying the time I have being home with my family. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

She's Here!

Born September 5, 2011 at 11:25 AM.
7lbs, 11oz
21" long

More details and pictures to come soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Almost There!

Well, I feel like things are going better than they were last week. It is crazy to look over at my ticker and see that it says there are only three days left!

My appointment last week went well. The doctor said that I was 80% effaced and dilated to a 1+, so that is a little bit of improvement from before. She also stripped my membranes, in the hopes that would help move things along. She encouraged me to do a lot of walking and of course, have s.ex, which is the last thing on my mind. :) At least something I am doing has been paying off, because I lost my mucous plug on Friday. It is really good to know that things are progressing and my body is getting ready.

Part of me just wishes that I would go into labor, but part of me still feels like this has gone by so quickly and that I need to cherish every last minute. I hope that I will have the opportunity to experience pregnancy again in the future, but I know that I can't count on it.

Going forward, I have another appointment this Friday, which is my actual due date. Last week, my doctor told me that they typically won't do an induction until the baby is a week overdue, so hopefully that means no later than a week from this Friday. I have been joking with my family that Jumper is going to wait to be born until then so that she can join our family's September birthday party - between me and two sisters, there are three birthdays within four days (September 10, 12, and 13).

In other news, I just received a really sad phone call while I was typing this post. I got a phone call from K's (J's birthmom) mom, who said she wanted to let me know that K has relapsed on drugs and that she wanted to warn us so that we could take adequate steps to protect our family. We talked for a while, and it broke my heart to hear about the choices that K has made. I have been thinking about her so much lately, and perhaps this is why. Her mom did say several times that she has so much peace knowing that J is with us and part of our family, and it scares her to think about where he would be if K hadn't placed him for adoption. I love J so much, and it is horrible to think of what type of environment he could be living in or what kind of life he could have. I also still have such a love for K for the decision that she made to place J with us...I wish there was something I could do, but I don't think there is anything other than praying for her. At her mom's recommendation, I think that DH and I will likely stop e-mailing K and making a few other changes just to be on the safe side, but we need to talk about it some more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Still Here

I know this post might rub some people the wrong way, so I would recommend NOT reading it if you are having a hard time right now...

I am 38 weeks 4 days right now, but I am ready to be done. I have really enjoyed my pregnancy, and it hasn't been until recently that I have started to feel more uncomfortable and miserable. I keep telling myself that I need to just be grateful and enjoy this ride for as long as it lasts, but it is getting hard.

For the past 10 days or so, I have had contractions pretty much every day. Sometimes it is just a few contractions, and those are manageable, but there are also days when I will have them for hours. On both Saturday and Sunday nights, I had them so badly and they were starting to get close enough together that DH and I were thinking that it was time to head to the hospital...and then they started to fade away. I am sure that these false labor contractions serve some purpose, but it is getting old to have them and feel so exhausted after, and then have it all be for nothing. Add to it that the worst ones usually come at night, so I am not really sleeping.

I think that one of the hardest things has also been that it is getting hard for me to take care of J. He had a pretty bad cold last week that we had to deal with, but now that he is back to normal, he is all over the place...and sometimes I physically can't keep up with him. It makes me feel like such a bad mom to know that it is getting so hard for me to take care of him. I know he won't remember any of this, but it kind of feels like he got the short end of the stick in regards to his first year of life. I am sure that he didn't ask to get a mom who has no energy to play with him or do fun things with him.

I go to the doctor again on Thursday and I am hoping that she will give me some good news. When I went to my appointment last week, she had been called to do an emergency C-section, so I had to see the nurse. The good news from that appointment was that I was measuring a half week ahead, but the bad news was that they didn't check to see if I had effaced or dilated more.

I know that my due date is next week and even if I do go over, the end isn't too far away...I am just ready for it to be the end now! I am so anxious to meet this little girl and enjoy our family of four!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

37 Weeks 4 Days

Still here, just keeping busy taking care of J and getting ready for Jumper's arrival. Just a head's up, but this post is pretty random!

As of last week's doctor's appointment, nothing had changed as far as effacement or dilation. I wasn't too surprised and had pretty much planned on not having any progress. So many people keep telling me that "there is no way" I'll make it to September, but I don't want to get my hopes up or plan on it.

On Sunday night, I started having some irregular contractions. They lasted for a couple hours on Sunday and then they came back yesterday afternoon. On Sunday, they weren't too bad because I was able to go to bed and sleep, so I didn't feel too tired from them. Yesterday, they started while I was at work and lasted for almost 4 hours. Part of me really wanted to just leave work and go to bed, but part of me knew that they weren't legitimate, so I might as well keep getting paid while I was feeling miserable. By the time they finally subsided, I was exhausted! We had to go to a family birthday dinner after work, and everyone kept saying how tired I looked and asking if I was okay. I guess one nice thing was that there were plenty of people around to help entertain J, so I just got to sit back and rest for a while. I have had a few more this afternoon, but they are still really irregular and they haven't been as strong as they were yesterday. It is so exciting to get to this point and know that Jumper really will be here soon, but it also makes me so nervous! I am getting nervous about the actual labor, but also the thought of having a newborn and J to take care. It makes me tired to just think about it.

Besides that, I am trying to just enjoy the last few weeks of this pregnancy and enjoy having time with just J. A few weeks ago, my mom watched J so that DH and I could get away over night...it was a much needed break, and I think everyone realized that it is going to be a long time before we get to do anything like that again. I also went with my family and took J up to a nearby lake for a picnic and walk. He LOVED being by the lake and looking at the water. After, I went out with my mom, sisters, cousin, and aunt for a girls night...pedicures and dinner. It was so nice!

For the most part, I feel like we are pretty prepared for Jumper, even though there are still some things that need to get purchased. I also really want to get my house nice and clean, but I just haven't seemed to have the energy to get it done these past few days. I know I need to just make myself do it while J is napping, but I really just want to take advantage of that quiet time and lay down myself...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

35 Weeks 6 Day

Wow, I can't believe I am already so close to 36 weeks! I still feel like time is going by really quickly, but I will admit that I am getting more ready for this little girl to make her appearance. I haven't been too nervous about her birth until just recently. Before, I always figured that it wasn't going to be a big deal because I already know what it is like to have a new baby, plus I still remember my OB rotations during school. Then, it hit me...this is going to be a lot different this time. This time, it is ME giving birth...this time, I will hopefully be breastfeeding, and that is a whole different ballgame compared to formula feeding. Needless to say, I am starting to feel a bit more nervous, especially since everyone loves to share their "worse case scenario" stories.

I went to my 36 week appointment today, and things are progressing really well. I am already 70% effaced and am almost dilated to a one. I guess that explains why I have been feeling a lot more pressure in my hips and tailbone lately. Plus, Jumper is head down, which is great news! The doctor said that at this point it is too soon to tell if I will make it to 40 weeks or end up going over, but I can only hope that things keep progressing as well as they have been.

It is kind of crazy to think that in *hopefully* less than a month, I am going to have two kids! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being in this situation a year ago. I know that life is going to be crazy busy, and it is definitely going to be interesting to care for a newborn while taking care of a 10 month old, but I know it will be worth it. I am just getting super excited to meet this little lady!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reflecting

I have been thinking a lot about J's birthmother, K, recently. I don't know if it is because as Jumper's due date draws closer, I have been thinking a lot more about when J was born, but I'm not sure. We haven't heard from K since President's Day weekend. I continue to send her a monthly update and pictures, but I have no clue if she is still reading them. I often wonder how she is doing...is she happy? Is she able to spend time with her two children? Did she end up getting married in June like she was planning? Does she ever miss J and wonder what he is doing? Does she ever regret her decision to place him for adoption or wonder what he is like? In some ways, it surprises me that I am the one who misses having contact with K. When we first started the adoption process, I felt nervous about having contact with a birthmother, because I worried that it would make it seem like J wasn't "mine" or that she would interfere with me being his mom. Now, I wish that there was at least a little contact or some sort of closure so that I could share it with J when he gets older.

I will always be so thankful and indebted to K for the decision that she made to choose DH and me as J's family. I love that little boy so much and I can't imagine life without him. It is crazy to think that I ever wondered if I would bond with him or love him as my own, because now it feels like he has always been mine and I can't imagine loving his new sister any differently than I love him. I am such a firm believer in adoption and I truly believe that J was always supposed to be in my family; he just had to come a different way than most kids do. I am so thankful to be J's mother and for the happiness he brings to DH and me!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nursery Pictures

Well, it is still a work in progress, but I thought I would post a few pictures of the nursery. Since I started working on it, we have painted the walls, rearranged the furniture, and of course, added a second crib. I would still like to do some sort of wall art...possibly doing some vinyl lettering with their names to put over each crib and maybe some framed baby pictures, but I haven't decided for sure yet. I am also debating about getting curtains for the windows, but I have a feeling they will just end up getting played with and they aren't really needed since we already have the blinds up. I would love any suggestions!

This is J's crib. As you can see, he has gotten good use out of his bumper! He loves to stand up in his crib and jump up and down, so the bumper is totally squashed. It is hard to see, but his bedding has the striped bedskirt and the bumper has a bullseye pattern in coordinating colors.

This will be Jumper's bed. It is so crazy to see two cribs in this room and to know that soon it will be put to use!


This is the new glider/rocker that we bought. I had ideally wanted a big recliner, but we decided that it would not fit well in the room. The blanket that is slung over the back was my baby blanket that my great-grandmother made for me.


Here is the view looking into the room from the doorway...as you can see, it definitely needs something on the walls to spice things up!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Braxton Hicks?

I have started getting what I think are braxton hicks contractions. The first time I noticed anything was last week. There were a couple of times when I got this uterine-type spasm. They only lasted a couple of seconds and then were gone. Since then, they have increased in frequency and length, although they definitely aren't regular or even a daily occurrence yet. The best way I can describe them is that they feel like a prickly/painful spasm that lasts 15 seconds or so. Sometimes I can feel them in my lower back, but usually it is just more of a uterine thing. I go see my doctor for my 34 week check-up tomorrow, so I figured I would just ask her then.

It is crazy to think that I am already to this point! I know I have said this before, but time is going by super fast. Overall, I am still feeling pretty good, but I have noticed that there have been a few more days, especially in the evening, when I am just more tired and "feeling pregnant" in general. I haven't been sleeping quite as well lately and I have noticed that my feet have been swelling more, especially in the last week or so. I am not at the point of wanting Jumper out of me yet because I feel miserable, but I am getting ready and super excited to just meet her and hold her. I am trying to enjoy these last few weeks, both for the sake of enjoying the pregnancy and also the fact that things will get SO much crazier once she arrives. It is still hard to fathom that we are going to have two little ones that are so close in age.

As far as preparations go, I feel like things are under control. I still need to buy a double stroller and a breast pump, but I kind of want to wait to buy the pump until after she is born...just to make sure that I am going to actually be able to use it! Yesterday, my mom and cousin told me that they want to give me a little shower, so I don't feel quite as compelled to keep buying all of the cute little girl clothes and accessories. The nursery is pretty much set-up, so I promise I will post some pictures soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

J's New Cousin

My SIL gave birth to a healthy baby girl last night. This is their second child and also my second niece. It is good to say that I am so happy and excited for them!

When DH told me that she had gone into labor yesterday, I thought a lot about how I felt the last time she had a baby. We were TTC and my m/c had been a few months earlier. I remember feeling devastated that I wasn't pg again...I was so sure that I would be by the time her shower came around, and if not then, at least by the time their baby was born. When their daughter was born a few years ago, I remember that I was at work, and I just started crying at my desk. Even though I was happy for them, it hurt so badly and I knew that I was so jealous of them and what I was missing out on. I hated having to "fake" it in front of everyone.

It feels good to have been able to move beyond that place; granted, I realize that I probably wouldn't be at the point I am now if it weren't for having J or Jumper. I think it is true that nothing will help you move beyond the pain of IF until you have your own child or can truly get to a point where you want to live child free. IF has been such a hard ride, but as I have said before, I know that I have learned so much from it and I also know that it has brought me so much closer to DH. Now, I have to admit that I probably wouldn't want it any other way, otherwise I probably wouldn't have J and I can't imagine life without him!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Too Good to be True? and Thoughts on IF

Lately I have noticed that some of the old, familiar thoughts of "this has got to be too good to be true" have been creeping up on me. This pregnancy has been going very smoothly (not that I am complaining!), and I keep waiting for something to "happen". I went in for a routine appointment yesterday, and my OB said that everything is looking perfect. My weight gain is right where it should be, blood pressure is great, baby's growth is right on track, there is just nothing to be concerned about. I still feel like I have a decent amount of energy, I am sleeping well...I really have nothing to complain about right now. I guess it is the infertile mindset in me that is starting to doubt that this is all really happening to me and that there is bound to be something that comes along and screws it up.

I came to the conclusion a while ago that I will always consider myself part of the IF community and have at least some part of the IF mindset, so I am sure that is just manifesting itself now as I start to approach the end of my pregnancy. Also, on Sunday we had a BBQ with DH's family, and there was some discussion about how there are so many new grandchildren coming into the family - in addition to me, two of my SIL are expecting. My BIL made the comment of "wow, I guess we have a really fertile family". DH's stepmom then turned and said to me "Yeah, I bet everyone thinks you are really fertile now, so that is great". I didn't say anything back, but the comments really bothered me. I am proud of the unique way that my family has been created and the journey that it took to get here. Granted, IF has been painful and is not something I would necessarily choose to go through, but I also consider dealing with it to be a badge that I have earned and not something to be ashamed of. Maybe I wouldn't have said that a year ago, but I just don't want to minimize what I have been through, what I have learned, and how important my family is to me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vote for Us!!!

I entered J into the Gerber Generation Photo Contest...the winner of each age level gets an Ipad 2, and the grand prize winner receives a $50,000 scholarship! I am trying to get as many votes for him as possible. Voting begins today and runs through July 31.

If you are on FB, PLEASE vote for him! You can vote once per day per FB account. You can click here for a direct link or here and search for him using his entry ID, which is 77850. Thanks so much for voting!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finalized

We were able to finalize J's adoption on Monday...such a great day! Everything went really smoothly. We were so fortunate to have DH's grandpa be our lawyer, so it made it even more special. Basically, our caseworker just got on the stand and testified about the process of our approval, placement, follow-up visits, and that she thought placement with us was in J's best interest. Then, DH and I testified together that we were willingly adopting J and were able to care for him.

Even though I have felt like J is mine and is part of our family for a long time, it is still nice to have him be officially ours. I know that he is part of our family, and for whatever reason, just had to come a different way. Now it is all legal, and he will always be mine!

I also got the final results of my biopsy on Monday, and everything is good! I have a benign fibroadenoma, which is what the doctor thought it would be. Such a relief to have the answers and not have to worry about it anymore!

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Weeks!

Wow, I can't believe I have made it to 30 weeks...time is going by WAY too fast, and I feel like there has been so much going on and so much to get done. I am still feeling really good. I have noticed that I get tired a lot easier, but besides that, I feel great.

I went in for my biopsy yesterday, and things seemed to have gone well. I saw the same doctor that I did last week, and he confirmed that he thinks the tumor is benign. He said that he has seen cancer in girls my age before, but none of their tumors looked like mine, and that he has seen tumors like mine before, but none were cancerous. He said that it just has all the hallmark signs of being benign, so that is a relief. The biopsy itself was very easy and painless. It only lasted a couple of minutes and I think that the most painful part was having so much pressure put on my boob (to stop the bleeding) after it was over. I should hopefully get the results on Monday, so then I will know for sure what is going on in there.

The baby preparations are coming along, but it seems like there is still a lot to get done. We need to buy a closet organizer before I can really start putting the nursery together, but at least it is painted and we have a crib. I will post pictures once it gets a little closer to being done. I also still need to buy a car seat and a double stroller. We are planning on having Jumper use the car seat that J has been using, so I just need to buy him a bigger one. I have slowly been buying "girl" items, like clothing, bibs, etc, but there is still a lot to get. I have just been trying to spread it out so that I am not having to pay for it all at once.

I tried to sign up for childbirth class, but the classes are all full! My doctor warned me that they fill up quickly, so I guess it is my own fault. I would have really liked to have taken a class, but I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I did a few rotations of labor/delivery when I was in school, plus we saw J's birth, so I know what happens...it is just a matter of it happening to me! I also think it would have been helpful for DH to go to the class, but I think he is a little relieved that he is off the hook.

J is doing so great and is getting SO big. I started taking him to swim lessons this month, and he has absolutely loved it. Granted he is far off from being able to really swim, but I can tell that he is learning things and he just does so well in the water. He has also started crawling and he is always pulling himself up to a standing position and trying to walk. I have a feeling that he will be walking, even if it is just around furniture, by the time Jumper is born. The crawling is already making him so mobile, so I can only imagine how it is going to be when I am trying to keep track of him and care for a new baby. It should make life interesting, but I know that I wouldn't want it any other way.

Oh...and one of the most exciting things is that we are finalizing J's adoption on Monday!!! I am so excited! It kind of seems strange in some ways because he just feels like he is my kid, so why have to go through this process? It will be so nice to have it all taken care of and for him to legally be mine!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Benign!

I feel like it has been forever since I have had a chance to blog lately, but I am so excited to report that it looks like my tumor is benign!

I was a little nervous about going to my u/s on Wednesday, but I also had a really peaceful feeling that everything was going to be okay. I had to hold back a few tears, but I kept going back to that peaceful feeling. The tech told me that she would do the u/s and then have the radiologist look at it. After he had a chance to look at it, he would come in and talk to me. I could definitely recognize the tumor as soon as it came up on the screen...it looked like a big black hole. The whole u/s only lasted a couple minutes, and then the tech left to go get the doctor.

Waiting for the doctor seemed to take forever! The tech eventually came back in and said that he had been caught up with another patient, which was why it was taking so long. As soon as the doctor did come in, I could tell that he had good news. He said that he could definitely tell that it was benign because of how smooth the edges looked. He did another quick u/s just to look at it again, and then said he is very confident that the tumor is one of two kinds: either a fibroadenoma or another type (I can't remember the name) that is common during pregnancy. Assuming it is one of these kinds, they are perfectly harmless and I don't need to have it removed. The doctor said there is a slight chance it could be another type of benign lump that has the potential to grow and become cancerous, so if that is the case, it will need to be removed. He recommended I have a biopsy done just to make sure we know what type it is, so I am going in on Thursday to have that done.

I called my mom after I left the appointment and told her what was going on and also to see if she could babysit J while I have my biopsy. She said that apparently my aunt and grandma both had benign lumps in their breasts, so maybe this just runs in the family?

It is such a relief to know what is going on and to know that things are going to be okay. Even if I do end up having to have the tumor removed, at least I know the odds are VERY good that it isn't cancerous and won't pose a problem to my health. I am so grateful that things are going to be okay and that I should be able to look forward to many more fun times and years with my family!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Lady Lump

I went in for my regular check-up yesterday, and Jumper seems to still be doing great. Everything seems to be right on track. My OB started talking with me about my plans for delivery and when to come to the hospital if I experience any changes. It is crazy to think that we are getting to that point...12 weeks is not that far away!

At the end of the appointment, I told my doctor about the lump I found. She did a thorough exam and agreed that there is definitely a lump there. She congratulated me on finding it because she said it is somewhat deep in the tissue. She does not think that it is related to my pregnancy, but is most likely benign due to my not showing any other symptoms/changes or having a family history of cancer. She gave me an order to go get a breast u/s done and said that they will tell me right after the u/s if I need to have it biopsied. I was able to get my u/s scheduled and am going in on Wednesday afternoon.

I am really relieved that my doctor listened to me and is taking the lump seriously, but to be honest, I am also really freaking out. I have been doing a lot of online reading, which helps in some ways, but makes it worse in others. I read that 70-80% of lumps found during pregnancy are not cancerous, but that still means that 20-30% are! My mind instantly jumps to worst-case scenario and I start thinking about what being diagnosed with cancer would mean for the rest of my pregnancy. Would I have to deliver early in order to start treatment? How would that affect Jumper? Then I start to think about how cruel it would be for me to finally get my family, only to have me taken away from them. I can't stand the thought of not being there for these kids, and just the thought of it makes me start crying. It hurts so much to think that there is even a slight possibility that maybe I wouldn't be there to see them grow up, that they wouldn't remember me, and that there could be some other woman in my place. I know I am getting way ahead of myself and I need to just wait and see what they find on Wednesday, but it is so hard not to worry.

I have also debated whether I should tell my mom what is going on. Right now, DH is the only other person who knows about the lump, and I have been putting on a brave face for him. I hesitate to talk to my mom because she has been under so much stress as it is, and I hate to add one more thing. My sister is still giving her grief and stressing out the family, plus my mom's parents aren't doing well. They live out of state, so my mom has been considering planning an emergency trip to go see them and help make sure their affairs are in order. I am sure that my mom would want to know what is going on, but part of me wants to wait until at least after Wednesday so that she doesn't have to deal with the added stress.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Aquarium Visit

I took J to the aquarium with my family on Memorial Day. I had really been hoping to take him to the zoo, but since Utah had a record-breaking rainy May, the weather just wasn't cooperating. Although I think he is still a little young to really enjoy seeing everything, J loved looking at all the brightly colored fish. It was so fun to watch him stare at everything and just soak it all in.

The aquarium had a penguin exhibit, so we decided to compare J to the size of the different penguins. When I tried to show him the penguins that were swimming around, I think he was more interested in the water than in the actual penguins.

They had an area where you could touch some rays that were swimming around. For the most part, it was a little too deep for J to reach, but we were finally able to get one close enough that he was able to touch.

Staring at the fish...J's favorite were definitely the ones that were colorful.

All in all, it was a fun trip. I think that J will really enjoy it once he gets a little older (and we go when it isn't quite as crowded). I still really want to take him to the zoo, so hopefully we will be able to go sometime this month. I have a feeling that he will LOVE watching all the animals.

Friday, June 3, 2011

27 Weeks!

I can’t believe I have already made it to 27 weeks! That means I am officially leaving the second trimester behind and moving into the final stage! For the most part, I still feel like things are moving so quickly. It is crazy to think that at the end of the summer, I will have this sweet baby girl in my arms. It has been sinking in more and more that she really is coming, and I am getting so excited to meet her.

I have started making more and more progress in getting things ready. I still don’t think that DH has realized all that we need to do. He always falls back to the fact that we were able to get ready for J so quickly, but I have to keep reminding him that we had a ton of showers after J was born, and I just don’t feel like we can plan on having that happen again this time. It has been really fun for me to be able to plan everything and start buying little girl things. So far, I have bought another crib, bedding set, and have started buying her some clothes. I also bought fabric so that I can make her a quilt. Some times it seems like it is easy to prepare for her since we already have J, but other times it seems like there is so much to buy!

I go in for my glucose/diabetes screening next week. I am not too concerned, so hopefully everything goes well. The one thing I am concerned about is that I found a lump on my breast a couple of weeks ago. I showed it to DH and he was able to feel it pretty easily, too. It hasn’t gone away and is maybe a little tender, but only if I am touching it a lot. I read in my WTE book that sometimes women will get lumps because their milk glands get clogged, but it also said that these lumps are usually tender and the surrounding areas are red. I know that chances are it is related to the pregnancy and will not end up being anything to worry about, but it still concerns me. What if it IS something to worry about??? What if after all this time I finally get my precious kids, only to have something else happen?

It is also time for DH and I to sign up for a childbirth class! I don’t think that DH is really looking forward to this – he keeps saying that he has already been through a childbirth, but I keep telling him that it will be much different now that I am the one having the baby. I have been trying to decide between the regular childbirth class and one that has a heavier focus on breathing techniques for people that are going naturally. I haven’t decided yet what I want; I have a feeling I will end up getting an epidural, but there is a small part of me that is considering going natural. I know the classes are filling up pretty quickly, so I need to make some sort of decision soon. I am kind of leaning towards just the normal class, but we’ll see…

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Free Car Seat Cover

Seven Slings/Udder Covers is giving away free car seat covers this summer! All you have to do is participate in a quick one question survey where you choose your favorite style, and then they will send you a promotional code once they are available.

All you have to do is:
1. Go to www.SevenSlings.com/index.php/carseat_canopy_poll.
2. Browse the styles and select the carseat canopy that you prefer over the rest.
3. Once you have made your selection you will be asked if you are sure. Select "OK" if you are
sure, and then type the email address you want them to send your promo code for "100% off" to- once they are in stock this August!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Precious Moment

As I was snuggling J on the sofa this morning, I could feel Jumper start to move. I don't know if J could feel her or if it was just total coincidence, but he started wiggling down so that his face was closer to my stomach. He then reached out, started touching my belly, and then leaned down and kissed it! I know that he probably isn't old enough to really be doing that consciously and it was probably a coincidence, but it seriously melted my heart. I hope that he feels that way about his sister once she arrives and they grow up together!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Six Month Check-Up

I took J in for his six month check-up yesterday, and he continues to do great! He is still tall and thin. He weighs 15 lbs 9 oz (13th percentile) and is 27.5" long (80th percentile). We have been joking at our house lately that he is training for the NBA because he loves to watch basketball, is so tall, and is always doing this abdominal workout...this kid has some seriously strong stomach muscles!

The pediatrician also cleared J to eat pretty much everything besides honey and whole milk, as long as he can handle the texture. That is great news for us because J absolutely loves to eat and will start trying to grab whatever you are eating away from you. Even if he just sees you put a mint in your mouth, he will start to fuss for it!

The only bad part from the appointment is that I have to take him to see a specialist at the children's hospital because he has a flat head. This is something that we had already noticed and been watching, but the pediatrician said that at this point we need to get it looked at. Depending on what the plastic surgeon says, J may have to wear a helmet for a while! Kind of sad, but I know it is all worth it if it prevents him from having a poorly shaped head when he gets older.

I can't believe how big J is getting and that he is already six months old. He sits up so well and is able to scoot around a little bit, although he doesn't do that too consistently yet. The doctor said that he will probably start crawling and pulling himself up soon, which just seems so crazy. I love watching him grow and learn and it is so fun to see his little personality emerge. I love that he recognizes me and gets excited when he sees me when I have been away for a little while. He is such a sweetheart, and I feel so fortunate to be his mom!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catching Up!

This post is going to be a bit random...lots of quick updates and thoughts.

First, I finally took a belly pic! I took it on Saturday, so it is me at 23w1d. It was kind of crazy for me to see the picture. Maybe that sounds weird, but sometimes I don't picture myself as being "that pregnant". Like maybe it hasn't sunk in still? Anyway, it is nice to see tangible proof that there really is a baby growing in there!



Mother's Day was amazing and definitely surreal. I had a lot of different thoughts and emotions that day. I feel like I had so much to be thankful for. I am so thankful to have J in my life and the opportunity I have to be his mom. I am also so thankful for Jumper and I can't wait to get to know her and be her mom. I also thought a lot about the past few Mothers Days. As I was sitting in church listening to the speakers talking about motherhood, I remembered all the pain and bitterness that I had felt before...everything that I thought had been buried was brought to the surface again. I almost started to get choked up remembering how hard it was and to feel like such an outsider. I think it made me really appreciate the day and my kids even more. I would like to hope that the pain of infertility will never allow me to take them and being a mom for granted. Sometimes it still doesn't seem real, but I am so thankful every day that it is!

I had my follow-up ultrasound today. This was the one that was scheduled because they weren't able to get all the measurements they needed of Jumper's head last time. This morning, I started to have a little bit of anxiety that something would be wrong...what if Jumper hadn't grown? What if there was no heartbeat? I suppose that the anxiety never goes away completely until the baby is born and is safely in your arms. Anyway, everything looked perfect during the ultrasound! Her growth is right on track and she weighs 1 lb, 5 oz. After the ultrasound, I decided to play a little joke on DH since he couldn't come with me. When I talked to him on the phone, I told DH that during the u/s they found out that Jumper was really a baby boy...not a girl! He totally bought it...he was silent on the other end of the line and then said that he was disappointed. I finally fessed up, but I thought it was a good joke!

I go for my routine appointment on Thursday, so it will be great to check in with Jumper twice this week!

As for the nursery, I ended up buying some bedding that is pink and brown. It is the same brand as J's crib set, so even though it doesn't really match, there are a few things that are similar. I figured that I will use chocolate as the mutual color, but besides that, I probably won't have a theme. I plan on printing some pictures of both kids to frame and hang on the walls, and finding a few other things to decorate. I will be sure to post pictures once I make more progress.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Elopement and Some Pics

I feel like it has been a while since I had time to post or blog! I will blame it on a combination of having a different work schedule this week and also finally having some beautiful weather to enjoy!

Well, my sister that I referenced a few weeks ago continues to have more drama. She broke off her engagement and got back together with her fiance several more times. Then, a week ago, she told my mom that she was going to run some "errands". My mom had a suspicion that my sister was lying, so she decided to search her room. Good thing she did, because she ended up getting married! My mom found a letter which basically informed the family that she had eloped. When my sister came home that night, my mom asked her about it, but she totally denied it. Finally, my mom got her to admit that they had gotten married the next day, but only because my sister was packing up her stuff to move out. I am glad that hopefully this will make things a little easier for my family and decrease some of the drama, but another part of me worries that this is just the beginning. Only time will tell...

Earlier this week, I invited my sister, mom, and MIL to come with J and me to enjoy something called the "Tulip Festival" which is held every year at a place near us called Thanksgiving Point Gardens. The flowers were beautiful, and everyone had a great time. I loved watching J, because he seemed so interested by everything. He was fascinated by the flowers and the bright colors, and I was able to get some really nice pictures.




Friday, April 29, 2011

Nursery Advice Needed

I need some advice for what to do for the baby's nursery! As of right now, we are having Jumper share a room with J. My sister is living in our spare room and unless we get around to finishing our basement, there isn't another place to put her. Plus, the two kids are going to need so much of the same stuff, I figure that for right now, it makes sense for them to share.

Anyway, I didn't have an opportunity to do much decorating before we got J since we had such little notice. I bought this JJ Cole bedding set, and figured that I would actually decorate the nursery when things calmed down.



Well, then I found out that I was pg, and figured that it might be best to wait and decorate until I knew if we were having a boy or girl. I didn't think it made much sense to do a boy room if there was going to be a little lady joining us.

So now I am trying to figure out the best way to decorate. I really don't want to have to buy another crib set for J, but I am having a hard time figuring out/finding a good set that will go with it for Jumper. I think that J's set is a little too masculine to use for Jumper, but what do you guys think? Any suggestions? I have thought that maybe if I could find some bedding that matched, I could take the circle theme from J's bedding and do some vinyl art, but that is as far as I have gotten. I would LOVE any advice/suggestions that anyone has.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

We were able to get away for a little while over Easter weekend, and it was SO nice to enjoy some warmer temperatures and sunshine. My FIL and his wife invited us, DH's brother's family, and step-siblings to come down to southern Utah for the weekend. Having that many people around made things a little chaotic, but it was still good to get away.

Most of the activities that were planned were geared more towards the older kids, so on Saturday, we decided to take a driving tour of Zion's National Park. I was a little nervous about how J would do in the car because it ended up being quite a bit of driving, but he did great. He absolutely loved being outside and looking around.









On Sunday, J got to "participate" in his first Easter egg hunt. Good thing dad was there to help him! The hunt was right during his nap, so he wasn't too excited about what was going on, but he still was pretty happy. He "found" some new toys, and the Easter bunny brought him a new outfit, movie, and his first sippy cup!





Although it went by pretty fast, it was still good to get away. I loved being able to dress in my summer clothes and enjoy the sunshine. It was at least 20 degrees warmer where we were than back home, which was perfect!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy ICLW!

Welcome to my blog! It has been a while since I participated in ICLW, but I am excited to be back in the action and hopefully meet some new blogging buddies. The past year, and especially the past six months, has been a huge whirlwind for me that have brought so many good changes. I COMPLETELY understand if you are struggling right now and don’t want to deal with a pg woman’s blog. But, if you want to get to know me better, here is my story in a nutshell:

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with a chromosome insertion. We were told that we could pursue IVF with PGD, but there was a chance we would not get any viable embryos. DH and I decided to pursue adoption instead of fertility treatments, and I am so glad that we did! We were approved for domestic adoption in August 2010. At that time, our agency told us that the average wait was about 18 months, so we were prepared to be patient for a while. However, we got a phone call on October 28 saying that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby and that she was due within a week! Our son, J, was born November 8, 2010, and we couldn’t imagine life without him. Fast forward to December, and I noticed that I wasn’t feeling too well. DH convinced me to take a HPT, and it was positive! I was pretty skeptical at first, since I have been pg before and always had a m/c, but here we are…I am just about 21 weeks pg and we are expecting a little girl on September 2. We are definitely excited for our new addition, but feel a bit overwhelmed at having two kids that are ten months apart.

So, that is my story…I am so grateful to be where I am at right now. I will never forget the hard times and the bitterness that I felt, but now I have to say that I don’t know if I could imagine it being any other way. I am so grateful to be J’s mom and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cutting the Apron Strings

When we first adopted J, we weren't really sure what to expect in the way of post-placement communication. When K first decided to place J, she wasn't even aware that open adoption was an option, let alone face-to-face visits or anything like that. DH and I told K that we were flexible and were willing to play things by ear based on what she wanted. We eventually settled into a pattern of me e-mailing her a picture and quick update once a week.

Our communication from K has never been very consistent, but we used to get e-mails from her once or twice a month. However, we haven't heard anything from her since we went to dinner with her over President's Day weekend. I know that is only two months ago, but if you figure that J is only five months old, that is a big chunk of his life! There have been a couple of times when I have asked her specific questions in my e-mails, such as wondering if J's biological dad was tall and thin (like J), but I haven't received a response.

In my last e-mail, I decided to ask K if she is okay with going to monthly e-mails, and I still haven't heard anything from her. It makes me wonder if she is even reading my e-mails anymore. I am glad that she seems to be moving on, but in some ways, it makes me a little sad for J. I feel bad that there will only be a little bit of information about K that we will be able to share with him, and that if things keep going the way they are, that he will never be able to meet her in person. At first I thought I would be grateful for a more closed adoption, but now I worry because I don't want J to feel bad about anything. I know that it will be up to DH and me to teach him about how he came to be part of our family, how much K loved him, and how special he is to us...I just feel bad that I don't think K will be as big of a part of that as I had originally thought.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumper is a...

First, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who left me those kind, encouraging words on my last post. It felt really good to be able to process my thoughts, and I really appreciate your support. That is one of the (many) reasons why I love this blogging community!

Anyway, we had our big anatomy ultrasound yesterday, and Jumper is a GIRL!!!! We are so excited! I had kind of had a feeling throughout my entire pregnancy that I was having a girl, but I knew that it wasn't for sure. As soon as the tech started the u/s, that was the very first thing that we saw...even DH and I could tell. She was positioned head down with her face toward my back, so it made it a little difficult for them to get all the measurements they wanted. Because of that, I get to go back in a few weeks for another u/s, but I am not complaining about that. Both the tech and the doctor said that everything looks great and I am still right on target for a September 2 due date.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed

I have been debating over the past few days whether I wanted to write this post. I REALLY do not want to come across as being ungrateful, complaining, or selfish or anything like that, because that couldn't be further from the truth. I don't want to offend anyone by sharing my feelings, but at the same time, this is my blog, and I should be able to post what I want. With that said, please feel free to skip this post if you are having a hard time right now.

I have been feeling really overwhelmed for the past week or so. I feel like I need a break. I am sure that it is a combination of a lot of things...lack of a good night's sleep, pregnancy fatigue, all of the changes that are going on...it makes for a lot of stress! The thing is, I feel SO GUILTY about feeling overwhelmed, and that makes it even worse. All along, I have always said that I would be so grateful for the chance to be a mom or be pregnant, and that I wouldn't complain about it. It was like because it was something I wanted so badly for so long, I didn't have a right to complain. Now, I feel like it is hard for me to admit any fears or frustrations that I do have.

I love J so much, and I absolutely love and adore being his mom. I am so grateful that he was sent to our family. But I feel like I need a day off. I want a night when I can sleep through the night, sleep in, and then spend the entire day doing fun things that I want to do, while not worrying about if J needs me and knowing that someone else is taking good care of him. I love my days home with J, but man, it is hard work! I am sure that being pregnant doesn't make taking care of a baby any easier.

I am so excited to meet this new baby, but I am also terrified for what changes September is going to bring. I worry about adjusting from one baby to two, and how that is even going to work. I know that there are plenty of other people out there who do it everyday, but it still seems so overwhelming at times. I worry about how much time work will let me take off - I already took 9 weeks of FMLA when we adopted J. I also worry about being able to afford taking time off work. I used up all of my PTO and most of my sick time when I was home with J. I worry about childcare, especially if my sister decides that taking care of two babies is much more than she bargained for. I could always take the kids to the daycare at my work, but that is much more expensive than paying my sister. We are trying to save as much money as we can right now so that our savings will be a little more padded in the fall, but then that makes me feel guilty for spending money on myself for things that I need, like maternity clothes.

All of these worries and emotions just pile on together to where I feel like I just need a break. I need to take a deep breath and tell myself that things are going to be okay. I am trying to hard to enjoy this stage of my life, but it can be hard to just let go of all the worries. I know that part of it is also the weather. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I hate winter, and we have had so much snow lately! It has been to the point that I have looked for other jobs and houses across the country so that I can get away from these Utah winters.

I know that once I see that new baby and have both Jumper and J in my arms, it will all be worth it and that things WILL turn out...it is just getting there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Random E-mail

The other day I was checking my e-mail, I noticed that something had come from one of the websites DH and I had used to post our profile. I opened it up and was surprised to see that it was someone contacting us because they were interested in placing their child with us. The e-mail was from the father and basically said that his wife had died during childbirth. His child was now a year old and he realized that he wasn't able to keep taking care of her, so he was looking into adoption and saw our profile.

This struck me as odd for a couple of reasons. First, the e-mail seemed a little bit fishy. I know I shouldn't judge, but the grammar was horrible and something just seemed a little off. Second, I had requested that my account be cancelled and our profile be removed months ago. I headed over to the website, and sure enough, there is our profile for people to view. I contacted the website again, and now our profile should hopefully be removed.

I told DH about the e-mail and joked with him that we should call this guy...we could get done having all of our kids in less than a year! He didn't think it was too funny. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Faith and Infertility

Every month, my church publishes a magazine called the Ensign. I was so excited to see that there was an article about infertility featured in the April issue, so I thought I would share it here. I liked how the article talked to real couples who shared their feelings and that they didn't all have these miracle endings where they magically got pregnant and never had a hard time again. The information they presented was real, and it is nice to know that my church is aware of this problem and wants to be supportive.

Here is a copy of the article. You can also check it out at this link.

Infertility can be heartbreaking. Four couples share how they maintained faith and hope.

Infertility: it was the last thing Brenda Horrocks ever expected to hear from her doctor. She and her husband, Brad, had been married for four years, and although she had experienced complications with her menstrual cycle from the time she was a teenager, doctors had told her and Brad that with “a little help,” they would be able to have a baby. “A little help turned into a lot of help,” Brenda says, and after multiple fertility treatments over several years, the Horrockses were told that the likelihood of their being able to conceive was extremely small.

Infertility is not uncommon—some 15 percent of couples in the United States have difficulty conceiving a child; 1 other countries throughout the world show similar figures. In 40 percent of instances, the wife is infertile. In another 40 percent, the problem rests with the husband. In 10 percent of cases, both are infertile, and in the remaining 10 percent, the cause is unknown. 2 In the context of the Church, where the family is celebrated as the fundamental unit of society, 3 not having children can be an especially difficult challenge.

Yet as Brad and Brenda and many others can attest, God does not leave His children alone in their trials. “Never give up,” Brad recommends. “There’s always hope. Heavenly Father always has something in store for us. We have found that over and over again.”

Here, the Horrockses and three other couples who have dealt with the challenges of infertility—Dave and Angie Belnap, Phil and Valerie Hochheiser, and Curtis and Melody Linton—share how they saw the Lord’s hand guiding them through their challenges.

Dealing with Grief

Brenda’s grief at the diagnosis was so overwhelming that she began questioning her mission in life, she says.

“I felt lost for a long time. I felt I had no purpose. That’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it, to get married and have a family? I still knew I was a daughter of God, but I hated that I couldn’t be a co-creator with Him. I felt broken, like I wasn’t a real woman.”

Brenda tried “swimming through” her grief for several months and even years. At one point, it became so severe that she felt prompted to seek professional counseling.

“I realized the grief was inhibiting my progression,” she says. She asked Heavenly Father to guide her in a search for the right counselor and began meeting with one who was able to offer the help Brenda needed.

“As I went to my appointments and continued to do my homework [usually assigned reading], my heart was being prepared for healing,” Brenda recalls. “Many of my fears and pains started to subside, and a new person was emerging.”

Brenda notes that while some well-meaning people tried to assist by suggesting what might be wrong with her or what she could try, that didn’t help. “I just needed people to buoy me up as I struggled and to acknowledge that what I was going through was difficult.”

Angie Belnap and her husband, Dave, learned after four years of marriage that they most likely wouldn’t be able to conceive. Angie recalls going through all of the stages of grief but finding herself returning over and over to the anger stage.

“I remember wondering how something that was so important in life could be denied me,” she says. “My feelings of hurt and what seemed to me to be spiritual abandonment manifested themselves through anger. I was very angry. Angry at myself. Angry at my husband. Angry at God.”

But Angie started working through her grief by focusing on aspects of her life she could control rather than on those she couldn’t. Angie, who worked as a third-grade teacher, looked for ways she could improve her skills at work. She also read a lot—“there was always a book on my nightstand,” she recalls—and pursued other self-improvement projects. “I couldn’t change the infertility, but I could progress in other areas of my life,” she says.

She also found it helpful to keep a journal. “I didn’t always feel that I could talk to people about what I was going through, but I could get my feelings ‘out there’ by writing them down. That helped a lot.”

Debunking Spiritual Myths

Angie’s husband, Dave, grew up with four sisters and two brothers and always expected to have a large family of his own. However, when years passed without any children for him and Angie, Dave began to wonder if it were a consequence of inadequate spirituality.

“We tried to stay positive,” Dave says, “but it was hard. I knew the importance of starting a family, but because we weren’t able to have biological children, I felt like I was being punished or short-changed.”

Like Dave, many people facing infertility look for the reason behind the struggle and sometimes blame themselves. Such thoughts and feelings can sting even more when others make well-intended but hurtful comments, often laced with misguided beliefs.

For instance, Melody Linton recalls sitting in testimony meeting and hearing new mothers say things like, “God trusted me enough to bless me with this baby.”

“I can understand why they said it,” Melody admits. “It’s a fair statement. But in my situation without a child, I couldn’t help but think, ‘God doesn’t trust me.’

“I don’t know that I felt angry at Heavenly Father, but I felt forsaken by Him,” she continues. “I felt so left out. Why were all these other women getting to experience pregnancy? I had tried to live my life worthily and do things I knew to be correct. So why wasn’t it happening for me?”

Eventually, Melody found solace in the writings of Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) on adversity.

“The tables turned for me,” she says. “I began to think, ‘Why not me?’ I’m strong enough to handle this.” She knew that with the support of her husband, Curtis, and in the strength of the Lord, she could face her challenges.

Brenda points out that it’s important to continue to trust in the Lord, even when what is happening isn’t what we want. “For a while, I thought if I had enough faith, I would be cured,” she says. “But sometimes having faith means trusting in and listening to the Lord even when we are not cured. What we want won’t always match what He has planned for us.”

She recalls a Sunday School lesson in which a bishopric member shared an important message about faith—one she’s clung to ever since. He said, “When someone has an ailment or an illness and they are healed as the result of a blessing, their faith is being strengthened. But for those who aren’t healed but continue faithful, their faith is being perfected. The first is a faith-promoting experience. The second is faith-perfecting.”

Turning to—Not Away from—Each Other

Infertility can cause a lot of couples to reevaluate their plans for their lives and in some cases, their very relationships. When Curtis and Melody’s doctor suggested a particular fertility treatment—one of their last options—Melody was ready to move ahead, while Curtis had significant reservations. At this crossroads, Curtis recalls, he retreated deeper within himself and escaped by exercising and working more.

Melody, meanwhile, felt stagnant. “While we were trying different procedures, I felt productive and proactive, and that brought a tremendous sense of hope,” she says. “But when we were stalling and nothing was moving forward, that killed me.”

The couple had worked hard for years to encourage each other in their education, careers, and other interests. This had carried over into their infertility challenges as well, such as when Curtis went to doctor appointments with Melody or she supported him as he sought refuge in bike rides and other physical activity.

“Trying to support Melody is what had saved me through all of this,” he says. But as Melody sunk deeper into sadness, Curtis felt powerless in knowing how to help her. They were, it seemed, at an impasse.

That changed, Melody says, when she ultimately realized that they needed to be united as a couple. While she did not share her husband’s reservations about the proposed procedure, she could respect them. “One no meant two no’s,” she says. Together, they began exploring other options.

Phil and Valerie Hochheiser discovered that when the stresses of infertility were too much—especially because, like the Lintons, they came to stages of understanding at different times—they could find relief in focusing on their marriage.

For instance, varying the routine gave the couple something besides fertility testing and treatments to think about. Phil says it was helpful to break away by going to the movies or taking a walk. He and Valerie also “took a couple of trips to put everything behind us for a bit. Otherwise, infertility could have run our days and nights,” he says.

To further strengthen their relationship, the Hochheisers wrote each other notes, went on dates, made anniversaries or other dates special by splurging on a hotel room, made efforts to look attractive for each other, sent flowers, and started saying “I love you” more often. “It’s easy when you’re feeling depressed to let some of these areas slide—or to not try anything at all—but by making a conscious effort, we were able to handle things with a better sense of well-being and unity,” Valerie says.

Physical intimacy also played an important role, Valerie adds. “Intimacy in marriage has several ‘functions’—procreation, yes, but also bonding and unifying a couple in their marriage. Going through infertility reaffirmed in my mind the importance of intimacy in our marriage.”

That stronger marriage, in turn, brought blessings of its own.

“It helped me realize amid a lot of unknowns that I was really blessed to have a husband who is good to me, who loves me, and who was willing to work through this together,” Valerie says. “It didn’t mean that we got rid of the ups and downs. It didn’t mean that there weren’t times that were scary. But we’ve learned so much and grown much closer because of what we’ve been through.”

Serving Others

Phil and Valerie readily acknowledge that it took more than turning toward each other, important as that was. They also needed to turn outward to others in the healing process.

Valerie remembers finding joy in her service in the Young Women organization. Focusing on those she served helped her deal with her own challenges, and occasionally, she even found personal solutions in the process.

“I remember one particular lesson teaching about having an eternal perspective. We discussed how different our own view is from Heavenly Father’s. For some reason, that particular lesson—while I was in the middle of serving others—had a big impact on me. It helped me see a little bit more clearly that my struggles were only temporary ones.”

Phil, too, had significant experiences reaching out to others. He remembers finding—and later sharing—Alma 26:27: “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”

“I identified with the ‘when our hearts were depressed,’ phrase,” says Phil. “Dealing with infertility is such an up-and-down cycle, and you feel that way a lot of the time. But I learned to ‘bear with patience’ my afflictions and, as Ammon and his brethren were instructed to do, serve others. So that’s what we did. We found ways to reach out to others and lift them up. We didn’t yet know what the ‘success’ would be, whether it would be pregnancy or adoption or something else, but we trusted that it would happen.”

Reaching Out to a Support Network

Because of infertility’s personal nature, some couples may decide not to talk about it with other people. The Hochheisers, for instance, waited until Valerie was about to undergo surgery before they brought it up to their families. “

It was hard for my family, my mom in particular, to have not been informed all along,” Valerie recalls. “She felt I hadn’t wanted to include her and let her be my support. But we were struggling to figure things out ourselves. It would have been really hard to answer questions when we weren’t yet sure what we were dealing with.” Moreover, they didn’t want to trouble others with their struggles.

Of course, people handle unexpected situations differently, Phil points out. “Later on, I realized the biggest help was having a strong support group outside of the two of us—people who could see the whole picture, or even someone who had been through what we were experiencing.”

Once they started talking to other people, Valerie and Phil realized they weren’t alone.

“There are people out there; there are support groups, both in person and online,” Phil concludes. “Look for help.”

Curtis and Melody found some of their greatest strength in such support groups, specifically Families Supporting Adoption through LDS Family Services. Although they were nervous about going to their first meeting, when they walked into the room, Melody says, “I saw in every woman’s eyes what I felt in my heart. I felt safe and knew that I could share what I was experiencing.”

“Within the support group,” Curtis adds, “we were Curtis and Melody dealing with this challenge of infertility, not infertility in the form of Curtis and Melody.” That realization, he says, was paramount.

“There’s nothing in the scriptures or anywhere in the gospel that teaches us to suffer in silence,” Curtis continues. “That’s a cultural thing. When you suffer in silence, you suffer more deeply. We went through periods where we were waiting for someone to take the first step to us. Be willing to approach others first. Share your story; you’ll find that others will often open up after that.”

Looking to the Lord

Eventually, the paths of the Belnaps, Hochheisers, Horrockses, and Lintons led them all to adoption. And while their children have brought great joy to each couple, healing, they say, comes from the Lord—not from adopting or conceiving.

“I finally realized that infertility wasn’t a punishment,” Angie says. “Once I was past the point of anger and bitterness, I was willing to hear the Spirit and receive direction about what we were supposed to do. Of course, that comes at different points for everyone. Infertility was my refiner’s fire. My faith was strengthened through those difficult years.”

“I had never really thought about adoption, but when Dave and I had been married almost five years, we moved into a ward where we met a couple who had adopted, and we started asking them questions and learning about the process. In receiving direction from the Lord that adoption was the path we were to pursue, I felt physical and spiritual weights lifted from my shoulders. The realization of God’s plan for our family gave me peace.”

“One of the gospel principles I’ve learned to appreciate through our experience is that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us,” Dave adds. “Sometimes we get caught up in the one-size-fits-all mentality, and we feel that our lives should look like other people’s lives. But that’s really not true. Everyone has different trials, and Heavenly Father is aware of those. If we are humble enough to follow the plan He has for us, we’ll be happy.”

Valerie Hochheiser agrees that relying on and trusting in the Lord is crucial. “I learned that we had to do everything in our power but then ultimately turn it over to Him,” she says. “Sometimes that means letting Him tell us which direction to go. Other times it’s a matter of choosing a direction and letting Him confirm the decision.

“I think that was part of our learning process,” she continues. “I remember at one point telling Heavenly Father that we no longer knew what to pray for. We could pray for this to work or that to work, but mostly we just wanted to be ready for the blessings that Heavenly Father was ready to send us.”

Seeking Heavenly Father’s comfort and guidance will help us make the best decisions regardless of our circumstances.

“I have learned to trust in Him, to follow the Spirit, and to feel at peace because God’s plan is the one that will benefit me the most,” Brad says. “There’s more to life than we can imagine.”

Brenda agrees. “His gifts are the best gifts,” she says. “He loves us so much. What I would have planned for our life would pale in comparison to what He has given us. We need to trust and know that He will give to us immeasurably. What He has in mind for His children is better than anything we could ever design.”

For additional information on this topic see Ana Nelson Shaw, “Being Sensitive to Couples without Children,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 61. You can also visit the Counseling and Resources section of ldsfamilyservices.org. For more from each of these couples—and others—on the topic of infertility, and for ideas for friends and family, please visit ensign.lds.org.

“I couldn’t change the infertility, but I could progress in other areas of my life. … I finally realized that infertility wasn’t a punishment. It was my refiner’s fire.” –Angie Belnap

“What I would have planned for our life would pale in comparison to what God has given us. What He has in mind for His children is better than anything we could ever design.” –Brenda Horrocks

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Have Movement!

I started feeling Jumper move last week, and it has been the coolest feeling! At first I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling, but the more I have felt it, the more confident I am. Sometimes the movement feels like a light tickling sensation, other times it feels more like light tapping. I love feeling Jumper because it reminds me that there really is a baby in there, and that baby is alive and growing! I am excited for when DH will be able to feel Jumper move...I am sure it will mean a lot to him.

I was thinking that it is getting to where I should post a belly shot, but sometimes I think I just look more fat than pregnant. My sister assures me that is not the case, but I guess I just feel really self conscious. I am really excited to look pregnant and not just like I have grown a gut. I think that part of the problem is that I am not quite fitting into maternity clothes, but am definitely outgrowing normal shirts. I feel like I have been in this in-between phase for a long time.

Besides that, things are pretty much the same with us. J is doing great. He loves his baby food and he is becoming so much more mobile. He has been rolling a lot more and is getting really good at moving himself around in his baby walker. I just can't believe how big he is getting!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Utah Infertility Awareness


I'm not sure if there is anyone who reads my blog that is in the Utah area, but Utah Infertility Awareness is planning their second annual infertility conference in April. I went last year, and I thought it was great to receive more information and support, plus they do a drawing for a ton of good prizes!

The conference is free and is scheduled for Saturday, April 30 from 9:00 - 12:00. You can visit their website for more details or to register.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Normal!

I got a letter in the mail yesterday stating that my integrated screening came back NORMAL!!! What a relief! Even though I wasn't super concerned that there would be any problems, there was still part of me that worried, especially because of my chromosome insertion. It is so good to know that Jumper is healthy!

We have our big anatomy u/s on April 12...I can't wait to see Jumper again in a few weeks!

Also - thanks for the comments from my post about my sister. I just really needed to vent to someone outside of the situation. It was a huge help to me to get those frustrations off of my chest. I still am frustrated with her behavior, but at least I feel like I could deal with it better now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

I feel like I haven't been the best blogger lately. I think it is probably a combination of not really having anything new to say, but also just being tired and not being online as much.

Things are still going well with the pregnancy. My biggest complaint right now is being tired, but that is definitely manageable. I can't believe that I am almost to 17 weeks! In some ways it seems like time has gone by slowly, but in others, I feel like it is going so fast! I know that September will be here before I know it. I don't think that it has completely kicked in yet that I am pregnant. I thought that it would once I started to get a belly or tell people, but it still seems surreal. Maybe once we find out what we are having or I feel the baby move regularly? Or once I really have to stop wearing my normal clothes? I am so grateful for this opportunity and I want to just soak it in and take advantage of it, but that is easier said than done when it doesn't even feel completely real. Maybe that sounds crazy, but that is my experience right now.

In other happenings, I am having a really hard time with one of my sisters right now. I have posted about her before...you can check them out here and here. Long story short, my sister (K) has a long history of being manipulative, lying, and stealing from my family. She has some mental health issues which are a huge contributor to these problems. She was engaged, but her fiance broke it off last week - most likely due to her lying and some other issues. Don't get me wrong, I am SO glad that she is not getting married; she just isn't ready at all, but I hate how my parents are responding. She has been able to manipulate the situation and take advantage of my parents. K's fiance had bought her a cell phone, car, and a puppy, and he took back all three once the wedding was off. I hate seeing how my parents (especially my mom) are willing to drop everything so that she has what she "needs", even though there are several very good reasons they had restricted those things before she even got engaged! I hate hearing how frustrated my siblings are that live at home because of what K puts them through. For example, my younger brother repeatedly asks me if he can move in with us, even if it means sleeping in our unfinished basement! Basically, I am just sick of seeing my family be taken advantage of because they can't tell K "no". I feel bad because I am the sibling that K gets along with best, but I am at the point of not even wanting to go to my family's house for fear that I will say something I will regret. I don't know what to do about the situation and I am not expecting anyone else to know either; I just needed a place to vent without having to worry about upsetting my family.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

4 Month Check-Up


I took J in for his 4 month check-up with the pediatrician yesterday, and everything went really well! He is still definitely tall and skinny. He is in the 75th percentile for his height, but only the 11th for his weight. The doctor said he isn't concerned about his weight because he has grown since his last check-up, but he did ask us if we knew anything about J's biological father. His thoughts right now is that J probably just inherited being tall and thin. We don't know anything about J's biological father. I have been thinking that I would ask K about it, but I get a little nervous since she hasn't shared anything at all about him with us. But I figured if I present it as the doctor wanting to know, it shouldn't be too bad.

Another good thing from the appointment is that the pediatrician said we could skip rice cereal and go straight to baby food. Apparently there are new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics that discourage rice cereal because it has no nutritional value. I was so relieved since J has hated rice cereal, but has really liked baby food. Hopefully eating baby food more will help him gain some weight!

Besides that, not much is new with me. I have enjoyed having my news be public, but I have heard a lot of "that always happens when you adopt" or "and you thought you could never get pregnant" comments from people that I talk to. I have started just saying things like "That is what I hear" or "That's what people tell me" rather than going into all the details. I know they are just excited, but it still gets old and frustrating.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OB Appointment

I had another OB appointment today, and things went great! I will admit it was a little strange to be going in and not having an u/s and being able to see Jumper, but I guess that it just a sign that things are progressing well. Like I said, the appointment went well. I was able to hear Jumper's heartbeat, and it was hovering right around 160 bpm. There was also another sound that we could hear through the doppler, and my OB said that is the sound of the baby moving. She said that based on the heartbeat, movement, and my measurements, it looks like things are right on track and everything looks great! One thing that did surprise me, though, is that I have apparently lost a pound since my last appointment...which means I am probably down about 4-5 pounds or so since getting pg. She didn't seem concerned about it yet, especially since I am just starting to get my appetite back within the past few weeks. I definitely don't feel like I have lost weight...some days I feel like I am running out of normal clothes to wear!

After my appointment, I decided to make the pregnancy news public via fb and our family blog. It seems like I am pretty much the only one out of my immediate family and DH who has been holding the news back. So far, I am pleasantly surprised to report that I haven't received any "that's what happens when you adopt" comments yet. It feels good to be 'out of the closet' and freely sharing the news!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Destined for Bitterness?

I am starting to wonder if I will always harbor some level of bitterness for pg women who complain about their pregnancies.

I think I have mentioned this before, but I have a good friend who is pregnant with twins. She is two weeks farther along than me, and it took her about a year and a cycle of Clomid to get pg. So, she hasn't had the easiest journey, but obviously not the worst time, either. I have noticed that whenever my friend talks about her pregnancy, there is usually some element of complaining. I don't think she is necessarily doing it on purpose, and maybe she is just trying to be funny, but it still bothers me to some degree, especially since I know that she HATED it when our other friend constantly complained about her pregnancy last year.

I feel bad, but part of me does not look forward to spending time with her. I know that pregnancy isn't necessarily the easiest thing to live with, and I am sure it is harder with twins. It is still just hard for me to hear others complain about something that I am so thankful for. I wish I knew a nice way to say something to her about it, but I don't want to come across as being snarky.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rice Cereal

We decided that it was time for J to try rice cereal. He has definitely been very interested in food lately. If he sees someone eating, he instantly becomes interested in them and will try and find ways to taste whatever it is, even if it is just sucking on your finger. If he is taking his bottle and sees someone eating, he looses interest in the bottle. We figured that since he is about four months old, can sit up in his high chair, and is obviously interested in eating, it was time to introduce rice cereal.

J did really well at taking the spoon and swallowing the cereal, but he appears to be very disgusted by the taste.


As you can see from this picture, he started pulling some faces. He would still open his mouth to take more, but as soon as he realized the taste, he would look disgusted.

Today, I tried mixing a little bit of apple juice in with the rice cereal to see if that would help improve the flavor, but he still was not going for it. Hopefully we will be able to move on to baby food soon and he will find that to be a little more appealing!