Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Miss Blogging

It has been 4 full months since I've posted here.  I've missed it.

Life got a little crazy with Blue's deployment and managing Marek's allergies but things have slowed down enough now that I'm hoping to start blogging regularly again....

Quick updates on life:

Marek and I attempted to continue BF for 2 months after finding out all of his allergens but got to a point where breast was no longer best for either of us.  Since switching him to hypoallergenic formula we are both much happier people!

We have started introducing him to solids slowly, as of now he can have rice cereal, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes and chicken.  We're hoping to introduce a fruit next.  I'm still too paranoid about corn contamination to buy baby food so I'm still making it all myself (which is super easy and I'll probably just keep doing.)

We had him re-tested for allergies and he is still allergic to 15 of the top 20 allergens, the only one he got back was garlic, at least his food will taste good!

Blue's deployment went smoothly and we're so happy to have him home.  I have the utmost respect for single parents, it is a really hard job!

First snuggles after Daddy got home
 We spent most of October and November in Montgomery Alabama for a military school.  We had a great time touring the south and just enjoying the warm weather!

Baby's First Oysters on Bourbon Street in New Orleans!
Marek is now the proud owner of 2 teeth and likes to use them on anything he can get his mouth around.  On thanksgiving he bit his own arm so hard he left a mark that lasted the entire day...  He sits up on his own and started crawling on the 23rd, turns out he just needed the right motivation and coffee cups and Christmas presents provided it!
He wore these antlers around without complaining for so long!
I'm back at work 2 days a week and Marek stays with his Nana (Blue's mom) one day and his MaMaw (my mom) the other.  Its the best of both worlds and I'm praying I can keep this schedule up for a while!

 I'll update with more pics soon.  I swear all I've done for the last 8 months is take pictures of my little man...

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Year Ago Today Series: Day 1

I'm planning to do a series of posts about things that happened exactly one year before and how completely different my life is now.  I hope for these posts to be inspiring to those of you still in the trenches and will try and give some good insight into where I was mentally then and where I am now...

A Year Ago Today, August 24th 2011, was our egg retrieval.  The day that little Marek started cooking up in his petri dish...

One Year Ago Today
I just went back and read my post from that day, I was feeling extreme relief.  Relief that things were no longer in my hands (ha, like they ever were!)

When we came to Vegas we were expecting to have a very disappointing response to the stims, Dr. Sher had warned us that we may not get to transfer because we'd need to do another round of retrieval in order to get enough viable embryos to freeze some.  Dr. Sher told us his goal was 8 mature eggs to work with and miraculously that is what we got.

I have to take a break here and plug Dr. Sher.  I really don't believe it was a miracle that we had 8 eggs, I think it was because we had the best Dr. in the world.  He knew exactly what we needed to make the most and highest quality embryos we could get.  I put all my trust in him and it was the best choice I could have made.

I need to be honest too, most of me was really excited that we got 8 eggs but the rest of me was disappointed because statistically it meant that we'd only have 1 or 2 to transfer and none to freeze... I tried to focus on the positive, that we would have at least 1 embryo to transfer and that we were blessed to have that, but I would be lying if I didn't admit there was a little bit of disappointment in my withered old ovaries.

A year ago today the bitter wall that I built up to protect myself during my years of infertility started to crumble... I didn't want to hope too hard incase our babies didn't make it but I knew I needed to keep positive for them, so I let hope creep in, and I got lucky.

I got this incredible face to stare at...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cloth Diapering

I fell in love with the idea of cloth diapering (CD) long before we started trying to get pregnant.  Some friends of ours CDed and made it look so easy!

They used Bum.genius so I was already partial to them.  I researched diligently until we actually had M and everything I read pointed to Bum.Genius.4.0.s.  I convinced my sister to use them first, she and her son were awesome product testers!  Her son is 22 months, still wears his, and they're in great shape, plenty of use left for baby #2.
Rainbow of Diapers Drying
CD is a great option for lots of reasons.  Most important, it is so cheap!  Even though we bought brand new, pricey diapers ($18/diaper) they've almost paid for themselves and he's only 3.5 months old!  We have 24 diapers which is perfect (but it was a little tight when he was a brand newborn).  It was a little bit of an investment but well worth it, we put him in them when he was 10 days old since that is when he reached 8 lbs.  At that point we had already bought about 60 dollars worth of newborn diapers since he was pooping and peeing so much.

I feel good about using them since they're good for the environment and great for diaper rash.  He had diaper rash the first 10 days of life and we had to use tons of butt cream but since then he hasn't had diaper rash once.

Here is how they work...  They are a pocket style diaper, which means they have a water proof outer layer with a wicking material attached that pulls the moisture away from their bum and inside of that cover you stuff an absorbent liner (or two depending on how much they pee).  They have all sorts of snaps so that you can make them what ever size the baby needs at that point and change them as they get bigger.

Showing the pocket where you stuff the liner in.

See how white the insides still are after 3 months!

The liner, it can be snapped to 3 different lengths.

A blue diaper.  The two rows of buttons on top are for cinching in the waist. The next row is for making the crotch size smaller/bigger.  

We have only had 4 or 5 leaks in the 3 months we've used the diapers and they were usually from soaking through the liners because he peed a lot or stayed in them a long time.  We have only had 1 poop-splotion and that was inevitable, it was a monster poop that no diaper could have contained.

Here is our system...  When I change the diaper I pull out the liner, drop it in the wet bag (water proof bag that lines our diaper pail) and spray the poo off into the toilet with a diaper sprayer (spray nozzle attached to the toilet water supply line.)  We do laundry every two days.  When its time I just dump the whole bag into the washing machine.  He uses about 8 diapers a day so we wash about 16 at a time and have 8 to use while the rest are washing/drying.  They say you can tumble dry the covers but that they last better and stay nicer if you line dry them so we do.  You do one wash with no detergent on cold, then a hot water wash with a second rinse and special diaper detergent.  Then we dry the liners and hang the covers.  At first I stuffed them all as they came out of the wash, now I stuff them as I need them.  I have one bin in his changing table for covers and one for liners.

Changing table

Bin for liners

The reason I like pocket diapers better than all in ones (basically pre-stuffed) is that you have more flexibility, you can stuff them with more/less depending on how much absorbency you need then, i.e. night time.  Also you have to tumble dry all in ones which means they don't hold up as well as the line-dried covers of pocket diapers.  Plus, (this is probably all in my head) they seem cleaner some how... like separating the parts lets the soap get to everything better... make sense?

Does this diaper make my butt look big?
Downfalls... they're not great for traveling more than 1 day.  For daily trips we just put the dirty diaper in a plastic sack and spray the poo off when we get home, but for weekend/longer trips it is hard with out a washer dryer and diaper sprayer.  But one weekend of disposables is pretty cheap, so that works for us.  They also are pretty big and make the baby's butt look big, this is a personal preference, I think it looks cute, and the bigger they get the less disproportionate the butt to baby ratio is.

Plus, in the words of Blue, when he wears them "he just looks more comfortable..."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Corn is the devil

Well, I promised you guys a post on M's allergies, especially Leisel, so here it goes!

Marek was the happiest baby ever until about 2 weeks old, then things started to change.  He started crying a lot more, especially when he was pooping.  And he had significant amounts of mucous in his poo, like giant stringy loogies (sorry, gross I know.)

Luckily my sister had been though this a year and a half before.  She went to the doc and was told to start by cutting out dairy and eventually had him allergy tested and his symptoms completely resolved when she cut out all of his trigger foods.

I started by cutting out dairy and eggs.  Things were going pretty well.

At this point I started to get my endo pain back (thats right, breast feeding only kept me in remission until 1 month PP) I had to go back to gluten free to save myself (and my liver since I was pounding advil like nobody's business.)

I didn't understand how but for some reason going GF made M's symptoms 10 times worse... He was inconsolably crying, crying when he ate, and throwing up (which until then he'd only done about 3 times in his whole life.)  We found out after testing this is because I was eating so much more corn and he is SEVERELY allergic to corn.

We finally got him in to see his pediatrician and demanded allergy testing.  At that appointment they tested his stool and there was blood in it.  Unfortunately they couldn't get us in to see the allergist for 2 weeks.  The pediatrician recommended during that time that we do a 24 hr test on hypo allergenic formula and keep all dairy, gluten, egg, corn and rice out of my diet.

The allergist started by doing prick tests for type one allergens (the type that cause you throat to swell up).  They tested him for 20 different allergens and then came back 15 minutes later to read the test.  He tested positive for peanuts...  Ouch.  So no more peanuts or anything processed in a facility that processes peanuts in our house.  We also got an epi pen junior and lessons on how to use it.

At this point they started the process for testing for gastrointestinal allergens.  The way the doctor described these was like a reaction to poison ivy on all your mucosal membranes, he thinks Marek has something called eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorder (but they can only confirm the dx with a colon biopsy which we hope he never needs).  They test by putting on a big sticker with tiny discs full of foods stuck to it.  They put the patches on Monday, remove them Wednesday and then read the results on Thursday.

Here he is getting ready in his precious tiny hospital gown

This is right after they put the patches on.  The purple dots are where all the type 1 allergy pokes were.

This is on Wednesday when they first took the patch off.  The one that is allready bloody is corn.  They marked underneath were each patch was so they knew where to read the results.

This is Thursday when they read the results.  I want to cry for his poor back.  

Of the 20 patches they put on M reacted to 15.  The worst one, the one just above the 10 on the last picture is his reaction to corn.  He is also allergic to wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes, soy, eggs, pork, peanuts, green beans, peas, carrots and garlic.

He didn't test positive for milk but apparently that is the one food with a high false negative rate.  My plan with milk is to completely avoid it for the first few weeks and then try it back and see how he does.

As for everything else... I can't eat any of it.  And corn hides in everything.  I'm still going to try and breastfeed for as long as possible because there is only 1 type of formula he can have and its incredibly expensive.  I really didn't realize how badly I wanted to BF until it looked like I might not be able to.

We met with a dietician right after they read the results and it made me feel more confident about being able to eat this way.  I think I'll start posting some allergy free recipes on here too.  Its definitely possible to eat well from whole foods only and as an added positive I have a feeling the baby/infertility weight is going to be pouring off!

Its been a week since they read the results and he is a different baby.  So much happier, healthy looking poop and you can just tell he feels better.  It is totally worth it!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Busy Busy and Deployment #2

Sorry I've been MIA for so long.  Lifes been crazy around here.  We've been enjoying the Alaskan summer, dealing with Marek's extensive food allergies (another post to come...) and sending Blue of to Afgahanistan again.

I've taken about a million pictures in the last 3 months, many with the intention of writing a post about the subject but as you can tell that hasn't happened.  I hope to get back to posting and updating you on our crazy lives soon.

How do you guys feel about baby updates and this blog losing alot of its infertility twist?  I know its my blog and people have a choice about reading or not but I also don't want to hurt anyone.

Here's a picture of our little fam just before Blue left.

This one makes me cry everytime I see it.  Its amazing how different this deployment is emotionally than the last.  Last year I was sad for me.  This year I'm sad for Blue.  He is having to miss so much time with our little guy, so many giggles and tiny milestones.  It just doesn't seem fair after how hard we worked to bring him into this world.  I started a blog just for Blue so that I can post tons of pictures of M and tell him about our daily advenures so I hope that will help him not feel so left out.

If you're the praying type I'm sure our family could use some over the next few months.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Newborn Photos

I am blessed to have an amazing photographer for a best friend!  She came over when Marek was a week old and took his newborn pictures, sorry I’m just now showing you them!  Today he is 6 weeks old, it makes me sad to say it out loud…
It’s a strange shift to go from infertility (and the pregnancy from hell) where you constantly wish the time away, to a new baby where you desperately want time to stand still.  What if this is our only baby?  This may be the only 6 week old baby we ever have, just thinking about that scares me, makes me want to savor every minute.  Unfortunately feeling that way just makes the time go faster.
Here is my tiny boy… He barely looks like this anymore!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breastfeeding Tips

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about how hard breastfeeding can be so I made a point of asking around for tips before the little guy was born.  A few of these proved to be life savers so I figured I would share them with you all!
Disclaimer: I’m sure not all of these things will work for everyone; they just seemed to work for us.  Also I realize that I am very blessed to not have any supply issues which is one of the most common breastfeeding problems.
·         Read a breastfeeding book before the baby is born!
o   Waiting until you’re struggling is too late, bad latching causes a lot of nipple pain and is hard to get past once it starts, it’s smart to read up first (when you have time and aren’t exhausted) so that you can start off with a good latch.
o   My favorite book was Breastfeeding Made Simple, another option is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I’m not a huge fan because they seem to push attachment parenting rather than just being a good breastfeeding reference.
·         Meet with the lactation consultant as soon as you can in the hospital
·         Try and have breastfeeding figured out before you leave the hospital
o   Many women are focused on going home ASAP, but I had lots of women encourage me to stay at the hospital where you have good breastfeeding resources before rushing home.  This seemed to work for us.
·         If you have large breasts or had a C-section the easiest position is football hold
o   The babies legs get tucked under your armpit and they lay on their side. (We still use this hold exclusively.)
·         If baby seems to be hungry and is trying to latch on but not actually sucking, put a pinky finger in their mouth and remind them how to suck, then pull it out and try again. (We still have to do this about every other feeding.  I would say this is the most important tip I got!)
And now for your viewing pleasure, some precious Marek bath time photos…

Monday, June 11, 2012

Time is going too fast...

Our little guy will be 6 weeks old on Wednesday… it makes me sad just thinking about it!  He’s so perfect, I just want him to quit growing so darn fast!
In an effort to slow time down and do a better job of chronicling it I’m challenging myself to 7 straight days of blogging.  I hope I can pull it off!
Marek is a very happy baby, unless he is pooping he just stares at the world around him calm and collected.  Pooping is another story though, he hates it!  I’m a little worried he may have food allergies but our pediatrician won’t test him until he has blood in his stool, so for now I’ve cut out dairy (which I shouldn’t eat anyway) and most eggs.  Dairy and eggs are the most common food allergies in babies.
So far he has been on several adventures, he spent Memorial Day weekend on the lake, the following weekend went on a 4.5 mile hike to a waterfall and then to a wedding on a river and this weekend attended his first pig roast. 
I hope all is well in bloggy-land, I promise to catch up on all of you soon!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An Infertile's Nursery

One of the biggest hang ups most infertiles have is that room in their house that stares back at them, mocking them every time they walk by.  The room that it doesn’t make sense to decorate as an office or a guest room because someday it will be used for its actual purpose, The Nursery.  When we bought our house we were over a year into TTC, and yet I still immediately zoned in on the room that would one day be our nursery. 
That dreaded room sat empty for 15 months, taunting me every time I walked by.  Finally, when I was 23 weeks pregnant I got brave enough to let it reach its destiny, Marek’s Nursery.
After we cleared out all the junk that normally accumulates in the room that no one dares to go in...
Blue and I had already mentally designed it, so one Saturday I set out to paint the top half of the walls lime green, no baby blue for our little guy!

I love the built in shelves, now they are filled with all his books and toys!
Painting proved too much for my irritable uterus to take and that night I went into the hospital for pre-mature labor…  So once I was home and on bed rest our incredible friends and family came to help with the next steps, one more coat of paint and installing wainscoting and chair rail.
My Best Friend and her Hubby came to help with thier baby boy

My mother and father in law came 4 days in a row to help!

Finished wainscotting/chair rail with pegs for his little stuff to hang on!
Then Blue and I got to set up the crib.  There were a few things I fantasized about through this long haul to baby and putting together the crib with Blue was near the top of that list.  It was a special moment and I feel really blessed to have had it.
Now I get to give Blue some serious credit…  I’ve never been a big fan of super baby-ish nurseries for a few reasons; bright colors are better to stimulate the baby, I don’t like cartoon characters and I really love lime green!  I had originally planned to just decorate the room with colors and not have a theme, but then Blue changed my mind, he suggested we use the book “The Giving Tree” as a theme.  It was a favorite of both of ours growing up and it isn’t cartooney so I was an easy sell!
A good friend of ours is a teacher and she borrowed the projector from her classroom and made a transparency of the tree in the book that we then painted on the wall.  I LOVE it!

"There once was a tree and she loved a little boy"

His crib with the quilt I made to match his room colors
Oh also, 2 long years ago I bought a teddy bear themed glider rocker at a garage sale with grand plans to make it over, it finally happened but it took a long time and a lot of complaints from Blue....  I made the cushions and Blue and his mom and aunt spray painted the chair.  I love how it turned out and its super comfortable.  Not too bad for a $50 garage sale find huh?

After, way better right?!

And my very favorite nursery pic, my boys together snugglin'

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Dream C-section

I better start this by being honest, I never really wanted a natural delivery…  I’ve wanted to write this post for the last 9 months but kept chickening out.  I know there are a lot of women out there who think natural birth is the cat’s meow, but I’m not one of them.  I respect those who feel that way but I just don’t.  Since I can remember I’ve had an all consuming fear of permanent damage to my lady bits from pushing out a baby, specifically loss of bowel control.  I need to be clear that I was never scared of the actual pain (if anything that would be the one reason I would want a natural delivery, to brag that I did it pain med free) just the long term damage.  I feel like infertility took away a lot of my dignity and I just wasn’t ready to lose control of my bodily functions to top it off. 

I wasn’t necessarily planning to do an elective C-section but I definitely rejoiced every time they found another reason why it was medically indicated.   So now that I’ve clued you in to my state of mind pre-C I can go on to tell you that I am SO glad I had one! 
I detailed the C section in my birthstory post, so I won’t go into detail on that except to say it was smooth and baby and I were both healthy.  The recovery part is where it gets good so I’ll start there.
I was a little surprised by how much pain I was in while in post OP, they had to give me a few doses of pain meds and one nice big one of Tor.odol, my favorite anti-inflammatory.  After a short while of warming up and time for the meds to kick in I was doing good.
The C-section was at 7:30 am on Wednesday, I rolled in to snuggle my little man just before 10 am feeling totally refreshed.  There is something to be said for getting a great night’s sleep before delivering!  We made our first attempt at breast feeding as soon as I got to hold him and he latched right on (I had been worried that 2 hours after delivery was too long to wait so it made me really happy to know it wasn’t.)
By 2 pm I was out of bed and walked to the bathroom on my own,  around 6 pm Blue and I went for a walk around the maternity ward.  I think it helped to push myself to be mobile right away.  We kept up with our walks several times a day until we went home and each time they got easier and longer.  We left the hospital at 4 pm Friday. 
Here are just a few post C-section milestones that I think are awesome!
·         3 days post – Last narcotic pain med (stayed on ibuprofen for 1 week)
·         4 days post – First walk around the neighborhood and post pregnancy sushi dinner out with Marek
·         6 days post – First hike
·         7 days post – down 25 lbs and could button my pre-pregnancy jeans over my scar
·         9 days post – Walked a 6k fundraiser walk for MS
·         2 weeks post – Barely remember I had a C-section

The whole family on our first hike, can you see the tiny white hat peaking out of Blue's wrap?
I realize my C-section isn’t exactly standard and I think a big part of why I recovered so fast was due to the fact that I didn’t labor at all before surgery but here are a few things that I think that helped…
·         Positivity!  I was totally OK with the C-section so I didn’t have any depression over not experiencing natural labor.  I know this can’t happen for everyone, but I would say try not to get too attached to your birth plan and focus more on the delivery of a happy healthy baby.
·         I slept the night before!  I took an am.bien that my doctor gave me so I could get a really good night’s sleep and be well rested to enjoy spending time with Marek.
·         I pushed to get mobile right away.  My OB told me the best way to avoid scar tissue build up is good blood flow to the incision site, so I got up and got moving ASAP.
So moral of the story, if you don’t relish the idea of pushing a human out of your lady parts you’re not alone and you don’t have to dread the horrible C-section recovery everyone tells you you’ll have. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1 Week Old and Marek's Birth Story

I can’t believe Marek is already a week old!  He is incredible in every way.  He eats like a champ, sleeps like a champ and poops like a champ, just like everyone hopes their baby will.  So now that he’s sleeping and I have a minute I figured I would share his birth story.  Warning: its long!
It was clear around 34 weeks that my blood pressure was increasing and I was starting to show early signs of preeclampsia.  I started wearing compression socks which helped with the feet/ankle swelling and started weekly biophysical profiles to check up on the little guy.
A biophysical profile is an ultrasound that checks for 4 things to make sure the baby isn’t in distress, amniotic fluid level, gross movements (whole body), limb movement and practice breathing. 
At our 36 week BP my fluid level had dropped from 15 the week before to 7, which is below the cut off for healthy fluid levels.  They put me on bed rest that day and had me strictly watching my blood pressure. 
At my 37 week appointment my fluid levels were still low, I started spilling protein and had elevated liver enzymes.  Also by that point my hands were so swollen I felt like I had arthritis and my face had started swelling too (which are both bad signs of preE.) 
My OB, who is also a good family friend (and I really REALLY wanted her to deliver me) was out of town until Monday so we agreed I would wait out the weekend, get another BP on Monday and then go it for the final call on Tuesday.  The BP showed that Marek had barely grown in 2 weeks, which was the first time he wasn’t on the high end of the growth scale.
At our appointment the first thing she did was check my knee reflexes (which were insane, I almost kicked her).  Hyper-reflexivia is another bad sign of preE.  She agreed he needed to come out STAT and checked to see if he had dropped, he hadn’t at all so she advised us that C-section was the safest way to go.  This was 11 am, we were scheduled for the next morning at 7:30 and sent home on strict bedrest and told to closely watch my blood pressure and call her at home if I got a bad head ache.
The most interesting thing to me was that at around 36 weeks I started getting a really strong sense that things weren’t right and he needed to be delivered, that feeling got stronger and stronger until it was almost unbearable the weekend before he was born.  I felt physically awful but more importantly I had this impending sense of doom.  My OB said that is actually a really important sign of preE and that it’s really important to listen to your body.
We showed up at the hospital at 5 am to get hooked up to the monitors.  From there everything went like clockwork.  We rested there until the anesthesiologist got there and briefed us.  Just as my OB got there we got to see my parents and Blue’s mom (who flew home from a work trip on last minute notice).  Also my OB’s nurse practitioner whom I’ve also seen since I was 14 got to be there for the delivery which was special since she was leaving town the next day.  We all walked together to the operating room and got a few last pictures and then I went in to get prepped while everyone waited outside.
The epidural wasn’t bad at all and it was an interesting feeling to go numb while awake.  It reminded me of going to the dentist, except it was ½ of my body and not just ½ of my mouth…  Once they put the curtain up Blue got to join me and hold my hand.  The procedure itself was a little surreal since you can hear them talking about what’s going on but you can’t feel anything. 
I got a little nauseous but the anesthesiologist was on it and put in some more meds to fix it.
Hearing his first cries was one of the most incredible moments of my life, it was so instantly relieving to know he was safe and everything was going to be OK. 
Blue got to stand with him and hold his little hand while the neonatologist checked up on him and he got to cut his cord. 
Once he’d been cleared by his team of doctors Blue got to bring him to me to kiss and it was so incredible to see his perfect little face.
I stayed in the operating room for quite a while while Blue left with Marek and the nurses.  My OB cleaned up some of the endo that had spread since my last surgery and then stapled me up.  I spent a little extra time in post-op because my temperature had dropped a little low.
The most important things I remember hearing during the procedure were “he’s so high up there we’re going to have to use the vacuum” clearly he wasn't going to drop on his own!  “The cord is wrapped around his foot” which turned out to not be a problem once they got it off.  "There is a white spot on the placenta, we need to send that to pathology" the preE had aged my placenta which was probably why my fluid levels dropped and he stopped growing.  And “I’m going to clean some of this endometriosis off your ovary.”  Well, at least those were the things that made me the most nervous. 
After we got my temp up and pumped some pain meds they rolled me in to my room and I got to hold my little man for the first time.  I bawled.  It was so incredible to hold him and kiss him and know that the last 3 years of hell were totally worth it.
And now to finish, here is our little man, peacefully sleeping today at the 1 week mark!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Our precious, long awaited, bundle of joy arrived May 2nd at 8:08 am!  He was a perfect 7 pounds 10 oz and 20.5 inches long and aced his apgar with a 9/9!

The C-section was uneventful and I'll do a full birth story when things have calmed down!  For now I'm back to staring at this beautiful face!!