an {un}official last post

this will be my last post… at least for a while.  i started this blog during a time when i needed it most.  i found hope, strength, and encouragement from so many of you.  it was fun to see many of us get pregnant and have babies within a few months of each other.  some of us have gone on to get pregnant again {whether planned or unplanned}, some have decided they are content with the baby or babies they gained from that long awaited successful cycle.  unfortunately for me, i’m sort of stuck where i was before.  even though i’m a mommy to brian, i have a longing to feel another baby stretching my belly, to hold another fresh little bundle, to smell that new baby smell.  and i want a sibling for brian {because life is easier when you have someone to discuss just how crazy your parents are with}.  but here i am, stuck being {in}fertile, only this time, our go-to treatment {FET} doesn’t seem to be working.  my womb is empty once again, and my heart has a hole that is longing to be filled.  i wanted to share one last update {or lack thereof} and provide some closing thoughts, mostly because i need closure.  stick with me if you can.

after brian, we had 7 frozen embryos left. i never really tracked my cycle, but imagined it would be much the same.  coupled with hubby’s awful sperm statistics, it just seemed easier to go back on birth control and try to get pregnant through a FET.  well, things are seldom what they seem.  our transfers post brian have been everything but successful and easy.  brian was our only AA embryo.  we had one AB, and 6 BBs.  when transferring our AA led to brian, i always imagined God set apart the AA and AB as our two children.  i imagined the AB would be successful, so naturally i was shocked and upset when the AB didn’t even survive the thaw.  we transferred a BB back in may, which led to a negative pregnancy test and an awful skin reaction called dermatographia for me.  after 2 weeks of pure hell crawling in my own skin, the dermatographia slowly improved over the next two months but never went away.  we waited the month of june out, but hubby and i agreed it was probably time to start the process up again in july.  of course my RE has never seen the skin reaction, the allergist told me it is what it is and the only treatment is an antihistamine which i already take daily, but my dermatologist offered a little more in at least trying to determine the cause.  he said the skin reaction is usually caused by a meciation, in my case he felt the antibiotic we used for the FET protocol, and that it usually takes a month to go away.  desperate for answers, i wasted a ton of money at my old acupuncturist who promised quick results with one or two treatments.  finally after 8, i accepted that his treatments were not making a difference for me.  i did seek the second opinion of another acupuncturist and traditional chinese medicine doctor.  her treatment plan seems more promising and easier on the budget, so i decided to stick with her.  she cleared us to try again and said we could fix the underlying cause of the dermatographia after another baby.  so, we were back at in july with another transfer scheduled for early august.  i wish this transfer had a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  we transferred one BB, which implanted, but is currently ending in a chemical pregnancy.  and, the dermatographia is worsening, despite changing the antibiotic in the protocol.  to say i’m frustrated would be an understatement.  i have so many emotions – resentment, anger, feelings of abandonment, sorrow, the list goes on.  while we still have 4 embryos left, i don’t feel that my body is in a state to accept them.  knowing nothing about the health of these embryos, it’s hard to keep putting them back in my uterus since we do know my body is upset, as evidenced by the dermatographia.  i’d like to say we will try again one day, but time will tell.

as for the emotional aspect – call it whatever you want, chemical pregnancy or not, there was a tiny baby in me, that i now choose to believe is in Heaven with the first baby we lost through ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  i really felt like God was opening doors this last cycle, so it is hard for me to see the door close and to lose another baby.  i desperately do not want this to be my last experience and memory with pregnancy.  it’s hard to end on such a sour note.  i’ve had a hard time managing my grief this go around too.  how do i let myself grieve while experiencing so much joy from brian?  the two are separate but intertwined.  i see my bouncing little boy, with his full head of blonde hair and big blue eyes, but have this extreme sense of loss and sorrow.  i know time will bring healing, it did the first time.  but brian also brought healing to my first loss, and i pray that there is another baby to bring healing to the second loss.  in the meantime, feeling the twinges of my body trying to accommodate this life, but knowing there really isn’t life is hard.  hubby and i have framed every picture we received of our embryos on transfer day.  it sits on our nightstand, but like the last, this one will also be taken down and filed in my huge medical organizer.  i’m sure one day i will have the strength to look at the two embryos that never came to be again.

another reason i started this blog was to share my faith through this journey.  i have friends who are Christian, who also experience trials, and who also keep the faith.  i also have friends that can’t accept God and Jesus because of the injustices they experience and witness in the world.  how do you explain loosing a baby?  or when a child is born with a debilitating disease?  or when anyone gets a cancer diagnosis?  or when a loved one’s life is cut short because there should always be more time?  or when entire cities of people are harmed by natural disaster?  i hate when people try to bring comfort by saying “everything happens for a reason.”  i don’t think this is always true.  i don’t think there is a reason innocent babies have to suffer.  i don’t think there is a reason i have had two miscarriages {or at least i don’t know the reason yet}.  often times, there is no explanation.  stuff happens.  life happens.  life is not perfect, for any of us.  but i choose to believe in our Creator.  i choose to have faith and hope.  i choose to believe that one day, my aches and pains will be made better, that one day i will meet the two babies i never got to hold on this earth.  i also believe that God works all things together for the good.  the Bible tells me this, and it’s easier on the heart than to think there is no God or a God that doesn’t care.  while i hope and pray for healing on this side of Heaven, i look forward to complete restoration and perfection on the other side.

to all those waiting on babies or something else in life, don’t give up hope.  don’t lose faith.  the journey is tough, but there will one day be healing.

“for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” {Jeremiah 29:11}

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him {Psalm 126:5-6}

and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose {Romans 8:28}

refocusing

dear future baby g number 2,

i don’t know that you’ll ever be here, but i hope so.  before your big brother, i had so much confidence and hope that God would bring us a baby.  it wasn’t a matter of if, but when.  the journey was long, and took many more months than we hoped.  so far, the journey to you is panning out the same.  your big brother was worth the wait, and i hope to be able to say the same about you one day.

why am i unsure about you?  self protection so i’m not crushed if God doesn’t allow us to have another baby?  maybe.  but i also think my confidence in God Himself has dwindled a bit.  i’m so fixated on modern medicine, the statistics, the quality of our embryos, insurance approvals, etc.  where did my faith go?  why can’t i say the same for you – that i know i will meet you one day?  maybe i’m also struggling during this break time because i don’t have a clear feeling about when to start trying for you again.  i’m still trying to recover from our last failed cycle, daddy is ready to jump back in, and i’m just waiting for a sign.

before your brother, i held on tightly to several Bible verses.  they gave me hope and peace.  God has showed me a few verses recently that i need to meditate on, so i’m listing them here.  these are a reminder to me that our Lord is mighty.  that nothing is too hard for Him.  that he can overcome the statistics and my weak body.  i’m human, broken in more ways than one, i do need Him.  doctors are great, but God is the ultimate healer.  His ability and power goes beyond what i can dream and see.  that’s fabulous news.

for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you {Isaiah 41:13}

let your gentleness be evident to all. the Lord is near. do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus {Philippians 4:5-7}

even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you {Isaiah 46:4}

rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}

consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. but when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do {James 1:2-8}

“if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” {Matthew 21:22}

Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” {Matthew 19:26}

for with God nothing will be impossible {Luke 1:37}

ah, Lord God! behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. there is nothing too hard for You {Jeremiah 32:17}

my goal is to get back to that place of confidence and faith, to shake the doubt and anxiety that take hold of my mind.  and i’ve asked God to remove the desire for you if He has no intentions of giving you to us.  He can do great things, including changing my heart if that is His will.

love, 

mommy

yesterday

brian and i took a walk in the neighborhood yesterday evening while we waited for “da” to come home.  we saw a neighbor who’s usually out in her yard with her dogs.  both of these are not uncommon.  but yesterday we struck up a conversation that was about more than her golden retrievers and how old brian is.  one thing led to another, and she opened up about a horrific traffic accident her husband was in several years back.  her family thought they lost him twice.  and then he spent 4 months in the hospital recovering.  then on top of it, she lost her corporate job when the economy tanked.  she mentioned that life was chaos and she never imagined being where they are today.  

obviously a different situation, but what she said resonated with me.  it reminded me of the plumb song “need you now.”  the first two lines are “well, everybody’s got a story to tell, and everybody’s got a wound to be healed.”  how true this is.  so often we feel like certainly we are the only one who’s life is falling apart.  and it’s just not so.  my conversation with dottie reminded me that life has pretty hard moments, but when we live to tell, we come out stronger.

we just had a failed cycle.  i’m 19 days strong with dermatographia.  and my thyroid now seems to be going bananas.   life feels out of control, but it always has a way of calming down or adjusting to the new normal. my conversation with dottie reminded me of the verse below.  even if i don’t experience healing on this side of Heaven, there is something to look forward to.  i can do this.

these things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world  {John 16:33}

taking a break

last cycle was not kind to me.  at all.  i think this can be attributed to emotional stress and lots and lots of drugs.  i am a different person since giving birth to brian – mainly, i have hypothyroidism, requiring the daily use of synthroid.  then i pumped low dose aspirin, birth control, lupron, estrogen patches, progesterone inserts, progesterone shots, medrol, and doxycycline… and a vallium on transfer day.  oh, and i almost forgot, my daily antihistamine for seasonal allergies, xyzal.  that is a lot of stuff.  but that’s not all my body was asked to process.  i was extremely stressed out {like to the point my shoulders and neck were in a big knot}, so my body had to process it’s own stress hormones too.  10 days after the transfer, i noticed my skin turned red when anything bumped it too hard.  this just escalated as the days passed to the point where any light scratch or even me resting one leg on the other too long results in a bright red spot that takes over an hour to disappear and is usually accompanied by itching.

i was hopeful this would disappear once i started my period and my hormones got back to baseline… no luck.  i asked my RE about it when i went in for my CD3 screening over the weekend.  he said to follow up with my allergist or dermatologist.  by memorial day, i was so desperate that i went to urgent care.  the diagnosis confirmed my google research… dermatographism.  cause unknown.  only treatment… antihistamines… which i take daily.  insert grumpy face here.  i called the allergist this morning, and there is nothing more they can do for me.  my dermatologist says they can help the itch and that’s it… more to come from them today.

i did see my acupuncturist yesterday as i am willing to try ANYTHING to help me at this point.  he said i have toxic heat, which is where the liver gets overburdened with too much stuff {like medications or natural hormones}, your body draws heat away from internal organs, and it manifests itself on the skin whenever it is touched.  logical.  he said he could get rid of it with one treatment, which was last night.  maybe it’s a smidge better, but not much.  i plan to stick with his protocol of treatment and herbs, coupled with lots of prayer in hopes that this horrendous presentation leaves me soon.  oh, and i am a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend… i am going to look like a red streaked and splotchy freak.

anyway, i think my body was overloaded and is trying to tell me to hit the pause button.  i want my body to be as healthy as possible to receive another baby, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  i am taking the minimum/usual prescription drugs right now.  i am seeking acupuncture treatments.  the stress is still very much a struggle.  i am guilty of overthinking and getting wrapped up in the “what-ifs” of the future… this is very much a constant struggle for me, but i am trying to pause and pray through those moments.  i have a follow up with my RE next week.  i will discuss my concerns with him and see if we can alter the protocol at all to try to avoid something like this in the future. 

God, please bring me peace and comfort.  please work through the physicians and therapists i have trusted for my care.  please help me to remember that worrying about tomorrow won’t benefit me today, and that your plan is perfect.  thank You for Your sovereignty, which You have shown me so many times throughout my life.  please heal me of this dermatographia, and if it is Your will, please allow us to have another happy, healthy baby.

IVF recap – FET attempt #2

call me crazy, but brian is approaching one (will be one by the time i actually post this), and i feel the need to get the show on the road for number 2.  i’ve seen so many friends who battled infertility with their first to go on and wage war again for another baby, and i would rather have a bit of a buffer and not feel crunched.  hubby agrees, so we are proceeding with caution.

i’m writing this in real time, but will post later… sometime after the transfer.  i’m just not a post as i go kind of girl… maybe i’m slightly superstitious {which is totally ridiculous}.

  
hormone evening out: BCPs

it’s funny, details from my first transfer that i swore i would never forget, i’ve forgotten… like exactly how long i took birth control and lupron shots, how many progesterone shots prior to the transfer, etc.  good thing i {sort of} documented that here.  i don’t have an official day count of how long i have been taking BCPs, because i’ve been taking them since november in preparation for this.  i recently called my RE’s office to say i was ready to start the FET process again and they drafted up a protocol that seems like a good timeline.  during this time, we also signed consents for the transfer, coincidentally on brian’s birthday. 


trial transfer and sonohysterogram

apparently my bladder was too full again {sorry dr. w, took me 45 minutes to get to your office thanks to traffic and the morning hot tea moves quickly}.  dr. w explained that these tests were necessary again because after having a baby the uterus changes size and shape, and theoretically the measurements for embryo placement may be different. i also had some “retained products of conception” after delivering brian requiring a d&c, so dr. w wanted to make sure my uterus was clear.  i’m happy to report that all went well.  interestingly enough, this test was scheduled for brian’s original due date.  dates don’t line up often in my life, but this is just weird. 

lupron

i started lupron on trial transfer day {again, weird with the dates since this was my due date with brian}.  i actually did not want to give myself the shot even though it was a tiny baby one.  crazy how i would do almost anything to get pregnant the first time.  shots didn’t phase me in the slightest, but today it did.  it went well enough though.  lupron will continue until progesterone starts.  i don’t remember this happening for FET #1, but i started spotting on lupron and the last day of BCPs… the only thing i can think of is that i took BCPs one day longer than i normally would in a cycle.  guess we’ll see how my hormones look in a few days.  also, my boobs hurt the last few days of lupron only, before starting patches.  i don’t remember this happening last time {at least i didn’t document it}.  lupron is supposed to suppress, so who knows. 

also, seems these little shots are giving me little headaches most evenings.  all for a good cause, i suppose.

last BCP

after starting lupron, i only took BCPs for 5 more days.  i spotted on the last day (see above).  my period/withdrawal bleeding started two days after the last BCP, which is similar timing to FET number one.

cycle day 3 screening (somehow this is technically CD 1, i guess because it’s my patch start date)

my appointment went well today.  i had to bring brian with me, which is always awkward at an {in}fertility clinic.  hopefully the other patients who have yet to have a baby view it as a success story, instead of judging me for rubbing a child in their faces.  there were two other ladies who had kiddos with them, so that helped.  back to the appointment, i met one of the newer doctors today (two of the familiar faces from my IUI, egg retrieval, and first FET days have since retired).  this lady was very friendly, but either her techniques weren’t as great or i couldn’t relax because my bladder was full having no chance to pee bringing brian with me and brian was fussing during the ultrasound because he wasn’t a fan of the lights getting turned off.  either way, the ultrasound wasn’t comfortable, but my insides looked good.  nurse mary {still not my fave, and apparently she is the nurse manager now… gasp!  i could think of so many other better candidates for that position just from my limited interaction with other nurses} called later in the day to say my blood work was good too, so i start estrogen patches this evening and decrease my lupron dose.

estrogen patches

first patch was uneventful.  it gets traded out this evening for another single patch.  then i will work my way up to four patches by changing them out and adding one every other day.  

by the third day of patches (still only one patch), i have noticeable cervical mucus and my ovaries hurt.  i remember the cervical mucus from last time, not so much ovary pain.  i’m moving up to 2 patches tonight.  my next ultrasound and labs are scheduled for next week (scratch this – i ended up going sooner, see below), hopefully my ovaries will be quiet and my lining will be pretty. 

i’m up to four patches now.  holy mucus.

been at four for a few days, and i had my first emotional breakdown.  i’m sure the hormones don’t help my cause, but for the record this process still sucks.  relying on a doctor to conceive a baby for you sucks.  relying on estrogen patches and progesterone shots to stay pregnant sucks.  having to order said medications from the speciality pharmacy because my insurance plan makes me sucks.  crying helps me accept.  this is my journey.  everyone has something because life is imperfect.  instead of constantly striving for perfection, i need to say thanks for what i have and how far i’ve come.  for me, and probably for most, this is a never ending process.  also, my appetite is out of control and i’ve gained a couple of pounds quickly… i’m assuming this is from the patches?  i’ll blame it on them for now.

i’ve been at four patches for more than a week and all of the sudden i have red spots that will not fade when i change them out.  what the heck?  hopefully this is just a fluke or i will run out of real estate soon. 

mid-cycle check (CD 7)

had an impromptu visit with my RE this morning after 3-4 days of ovary soreness.  my doctor asked me why i was concerned… “because you have cervical mucus?”  while i wanted to reply with “i’m not that stupid,” i instead told him about how my ovaries have felt tender.  i was just supposed to have an ultrasound, but the ultrasound revealed several smallish follicles and fluid in my uterus, so my RE ordered blood work too.  there is no dominant follicle, so ovaries are not an issue, so now we will have to see if the fluid disappears.  i wonder if this is what’s causing my discomfort.  anyway, i’m told this happens sometimes and progesterone usually dries it up.  i’m kind of worried about this cycle now and am hesitant to transfer our next best embryo because i don’t have a whole lot of confidence in my uterus.

second mid-cycle check (CD 12)

well, no more fluid!  i honestly think the fluid was a giant ball of mucus because something that looked like a mucus plug and that was streaked with blood fell out of me over the weekend/CD 9.  anyway, back to my appointment this morning… i had the triple stripe, as pointed out by the doctor on duty and according to nurse mary, everything looks perfect.  i know all too well that just because things look good doesn’t mean you will actually get pregnant.  we have a fair amount of frozen embryos still, but next in line is our only AB embryo… the rest are BB.  i’m nervous to use our AB, but i’m praying that the right embryo will make it to my uterus.

day minus 5 (new medicine day)

i traded lupron for four new medicines:

  1. doxycycline 2x a day: uneventful.  just had to rearrange my prenatal time.
  2. crinone 2x a day: the real fun hasn’t even begun… give this puppy a few more days to work up some good funk.
  3. progesterone in ethyl oleate: first shot was just fine, however my butt muscle was sore the next day.
  4. medrol: loathed this one last time and still do.  i’m currently listening to my husband snore as i “rest” in hopes that sleep will come soon.


day minus 3

just not feeling good about this cycle.  i feel crampy every now and then… who knows.  got a wart on my finger frozen at my primary care doctor this morning, seriously worried that will interfere with the FET.  he started talking about how the freezy stuff triggers an immune response, pretty sure i do not need any immune responses.  still praying that all works out according to God’s plan, which i know it will.

update on crinone… this stuff is still gross.  i think it seriously irritates all of my lady parts and just makes them hurt.  i had the option of skipping crinone this time, but hubby and i decided it was best to keep the same protocol that worked with brian, even though my RE doesn’t use crinone as much anymore.  to think, i could’ve avoided this.  if this cycle is not a success, i may consider ditching crinone for future cycles.

oh, and PIO… how you are a pain in my {back}side, literally.  i forgot how sore i got from these shots the first time… natures way of tricking me in to doing this again.  while they suck, when i think about the fact that i only had to use them for ~9 weeks with brian, i know it’s worth it.  it’s such a short span of time relative to the rest of pregnancy {and life}.  i hope i’m lucky enough to get another babe on take 2 so i don’t have to have cycle after cycle of PIO.  

either i’m adjusting to the medrol, it’s being kinder to me, or i’m so exhausted that my body gave in, but sleep finally came easier (although i did wake up to pee in the middle of the night, which is unusual).

day minus 2

blood work only today.  the past two draws, it felt like the technician was trying to rip the vein out of my arm. anyway, nurse mary called to say everything looks “perfect.”  i don’t love that word, but whatever you say nurse mary… i will be there at 10 am for a 10:30 am transfer in two days. 

day minus 1

i’m nervous and excited.  over thinking everything.  and finding comfort in some of my favorite Bible verses today.  in less than 24 hours, i will be at my RE’s office for FET take 2!


transfer day

after an awful night of sleep, here we are.  prayers said, consents signed, valium taken, hospital gown on.  just found out our AB embryo didn’t survive the thaw, so now we’re down to 6 BBs, well 5 after the one that will be transferred today.   i’m disappointed and sad, but God is in control.  this process is so emotional, but i hope will be worth it. 

the transfer itself went well, although apparently my bladder was not full enough {i will likely never get this right}.  we got to see our embryo up on a big monitor before the transfer and watch it make its way to my uterus on another monitor.  then i rested for 30 minutes after {and maybe cried a little}.  the nurse had my doctor stop by after she saw me crying.  he probably thinks i’m nuts, but this process is just draining and full of the unexpected, and sometimes you just need to cry those emotions out.

i had acupuncture after my transfer, which is always relaxing.  now i’m just taking it easy at home – i plan to watch a little gilmore girls, search for some more house decorations, maybe nap. 

to keep the tradition alive, here is a picture of me and the hubs all suited up for the transfer {love the “artwork” in the background, ha}:




12 day wait

generally, i’m not a patient person.  infertility has helped me work on this a little, but there’s still room for improvement.  it’s only the first day of 12, but i don’t have a great feeling about this cycle.  with brian, i had so much peace.  it’s not coming easy this time.  i’m over analyzing every twinge and cramp, or lack thereof.  i haven’t decided if i will test before my beta.  i don’t want to drive myself crazy, but i want to be prepared if the results aren’t what i hoped for… so maybe i’ll test a couple of days before. 

5 days out now.  on day 3, i swore i was pregnant.  now i’m about 70% sure i’m not and the HPTs agree so far.  i know there’s still time, but my vote is not pregnant.  if anyone has success stories where you were still pregnant with negative HPTs 5dp5dt, i’m all ears.  i keep wondering where i went wrong.  with brian, so many people were praying… maybe i needed more prayer warriors.  then i realized 88% of the population just has sex without telling the whole world and asking for prayer, and they get pregnant.  wouldn’t that be nice.

anyway, here’s to baby g #2, whenever you come along!  

    it’s still hard

    {in}fertility.  it’s one of my scars, and technically i guess still a wound since we want another child.  i still can’t conceive a baby without a reproductive endocrinologist.  it’s still hard.  and it still hurts. 

    a friend recently had a baby.  no miscarriages.  no {in}fertility.  quick delivery.  baby seems to latch great.  i love this friend dearly, she is one of the best friends a girl could ask for. she has always been sensitive to {in}fertility, and has never taken her sweet children for granted.  but for some reason this has my emotions swirling.

    this morning i’m praying for peace about whether or not God allows us to have another child, and i’m praising him for the beautiful little boy he has already shared with us.

    happy 11 months

    baby brian,

    happy 11 months, baby buddy!  i say this every month, but i can’t believe we’re already here!  i’m so thankful you are learning and growing, but i do miss the tiny baby days.  i miss the way you used to fit on our laps with your head supported by our knees for bottles.  and i miss your toothless grin, but your big boy smile all full of teeth is pretty cute too.

    over the last month you have continued to grow and amaze me with all of the new things you are learning.  you have 6 more teeth coming through – all of your canines (february 26-27th) and your bottom one year molars (february 25th).  getting 6 teeth at once is efficiency at its finest!  mommy and daddy have seen you pull up from sitting all the way to standing once (february 27th).  you’ve learned to close doors and to open and close a dresser drawer in mommy and daddy’s closet.  you love to crawl around and explore.  and you love to chase balls and your plastic egg toy around the house.  you’re able to point, mostly when you’re interested in something – fish at the doctor office, whether a door is going to open.  and you can dance when you want to!  it’s pretty cute, like most things about you.

    not much has changed with your feeding and napping schedule.  you are drinking slightly less formula on your own, presumably from eating more table food.  in another month or so we will have some big changes like switching to milk from formula and getting rid of the bottle.  we continue to practice with the sippy cup, so hopefully you will be ready.  i always dread big changes in your routine, but most transitions are flawless, almost like you already knew they were coming.  we’ve added a few new table foods – pork tenderloin, cheese, waffles and pancakes, to name a few.  when you really like something, you sign “more” over and over and keep piling food in your mouth.  that’s been happening with waffles, so we have to give you only one piece at a time.  speaking of sign language, you still only know more.  we were working on please, but i guess mommy and daddy have sort of given up.  we will have to get back to it.

    something big is happening for our family soon!  in just 5 more days, mommy is resigning from her first big girl job to stay home with you!!  i am so excited… i really think this will be a good change for our family.  you are the most important thing to mommy and daddy, and raising you is the most important job ever.  i can’t wait until we get to spend our days together again, i’ve really missed that the last 5 months.  mommy has already enrolled you in a weekly swim class, and i hope we will be able to participate in moms group at church on thursday mornings (although this activity is during your morning nap, so we will have to see).   

    in this last month, you officially parted ways with your cranial band.  your head isn’t perfect, but i don’t think the general public will be able to tell.  you also caught a little head cold, and we visited your pediatrician to make sure it didn’t turn to ear infections.  mommy and daddy did have a little accident with you.  while installing the gate at the top of our stairs, we both thought the other was watching you.  mommy was cleaning baseboards upstairs and daddy walked away to get a tool.  in literally 20 seconds, you crawled down the top stair, which turned into rolling down a few more stairs.  thankfully you had your helmet on, so your head was protected.  your mouth did bleed a little, which led to a dentist appointment.  turns out your one year molars were about to erupt on the bottom and a blister like sack popped through first causing the bleeding… seemed coincidental, but mommy and daddy were pretty shaken up.  i don’t like recounting this story, but i want you to know that we truly believe God hears our prayers to keep you safe on a daily basis.  even when mommy and daddy don’t do such a good job, God does.  we are so thankful that you stayed safe, and we are extra extra careful to always make sure the stair gates are closed.

    mommy has been planning your first birthday party!  in a little over a month, it will be here.  i wish i could freeze time right here, but i’m so thankful you continue to grow and learn.  i love you millions, baby buddy!

    love,

    mommy

    happy 10 months

    baby brian,

    what in the world?!  how are you only two months away from being one?!  just yesterday you were my teeny tiny baby, barely smiling at your world, always hungry.  now you are my big baby boy… crawling around, getting into everything, curious about all of your surroundings, flirting when you want, and slowing down just enough to eat when mommy reminds you to.  this last month has held big things for you, mainly crawling (january 20th).  it took a while for you to figure it out, but once you got it, you were off!  now mommy and daddy have the joy of chasing you around and trying to keep you out of things you shouldn’t be in (like the dishwasher, shoes and shoelaces, mommy’s decorations).  and we have the joy of trying to keep you from rolling over and crawling away from us during diaper changes.  it is fun to watch you grow, and it keeps us busy, for sure!  i’m sure pulling up on things isn’t far behind, you can already stand on your knees and do some maneuver that closely resembles the yoga move “downward dog.”  we haven’t added any more new signs, but not for the lack of trying.  your claps have sound now, and they are super cute.  generally speaking, you’re a happy little fella, sometimes you start clapping just because.  you’re vocabulary is improving with words like “baah baah, “da da,” and an occasional “mama,” although “da da” and “mama” dont seem to be reserved for daddy and mommy just yet.  you have also figured out how to push buttons – buttons on toys, the button on your movement monitor, the GE symbols on our dishwasher and oven that you think are buttons.  it’s pretty funny!

    naps are still the same.  eating is quite different.  you have discovered that there is more than puréed baby food out there, and you’d rather have the other stuff!  you started to deny baby food after about half of the jar, so we’ve been offering you more table food… bananas, avocados, roasted sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, shredded chicken, Cheerios, kiwi, oatmeal, and this week, shepherd’s pie.  you love shepherd’s pie!  you sign more before you finish chewing the current mouth full, and if we’re not ready with the spoon, you let us know you still want more with a loud “mmmm.”  you even had your first bite of real cake at a friends’ birthday party… what can i say, we had to celebrate!  we’ve had a couple of feeding challenges, mainly spitting and swallowing pieces of table food whole.  the spitting is not very gentlemanly, we just try to convey our disapproval for spitting at the table.  swallowing pieces of soft table food wole isn’t all that bad, other than it has messed up your bowel movements some. i think all of the extra pieces that are not able to be digested almost act like fiber.  you had one weekend full of poop, which ultimately led to a very raw and sore behind.  you don’t have any new teeth, but i’m fairly certain you’re working on your lower one year molars… it’s kind of a challenge to get in there and see though!

    your appointments over the last month have just been for your cranial band and 9 month checkup.  you are about to outgrow the cranial band, we probably only have a few weeks of treatment left.  your head shape won’t be perfect, but it has improved some.  i wish we hadn’t waited so long to see the cranial banding folks.  your 9 month visit went well.  you’re right at average for height and weight.  you got one shot and a finger prick so your doctor could get a baseline reading for blood work.  the worst part about the finger prick was getting you to leave the band aid alone afterwards, you tried to eat it several times!  you’ve also tried to eat a band aid we had on your foot after you rubbed it raw crawling… no more band aids for now!

    my prayers for you are mostly the same.  i do pray extra hard for your safety now that you’re mobile.  and i continue to pray that your dimple won’t be an issue and that you will learn to stand and walk. i also thank God for you many times a day.  you light up my world, and i’m so very lucky to call you my son.

    i love you millions, monkey man!

    mommy

    one thousand gifts: 83 through 89

    i’m already behind.  honestly not surprised though.  being a working wife and mom is no joke.

    • 83. brian can crawl! another milestone that helps us worry less about the sacral dimple!
    • 84. a friday snow day with my little love!
    • 85. several joint pain free days recently, praying the trend continues
    • 86. celebrating the first birthday of our friends’ little girl
    • 87. warm weather on the last day in january 
    • 88. answered prayers for a dear friend
    • 89. a successful meeting with a new endocrinologist {for the thyroid}

    happy 9 months

    baby brian,

    happy 9 months, bubby!  wow, i can’t believe we are already at the 9 month mark.  time definitely goes faster now that you are part of our family.  we just celebrated the new year, 2016, which allowed me a little time for reflection.  2015 was a good year, possibly the best one yet.  you joining our family has been such a blessing and so much fun.  being a mom definitely has challenges, but most good things in life do.  i wish i could freeze time right here… to soak your 9 month self in just a little while longer.  i never want to forget your sweet baby face and expressions, the way you sign “more” and wave at mommy and daddy.  but time will march on, as evidenced by another year, and you will keep growing.  2016 will be a big year.  it is the year you turn one, and your birthday is only 3 months away!

    between 8 and 9 months you’ve added little scoots in every effort to be more mobile!  you can also get from the sitting position to the crawling position, but so far you just rock back and forth on your hands and knees before breaking out into your supermans.  you’ve learned to sign “more” for more food during feeding times.  we’re working on “all done,” but so far you use the same sign that you do for more.  in addition to signing and waving, you can give high fives and clap with no sound.  you definitely respond to your name now.  we celebrated your first christmas – you loved the ribbon, wrapping paper, and bell on your stocking more than the actual presents.  you did get a few cool new toys, but it seems like you’d always rather play with things that are not really toys – cell phones, remote controls, books, pieces of paper, jewelry.  

    your eating and napping schedule hasn’t changed from last month, but you are eating more things now.  more varieties of fruits and veggies, tiny pieces of bananas and avocados, and you even tried some biscuit on christmas day (grandma’s idea).  you are doing much better with not gagging when eating table food.  mommy is becoming more consistent with offering you water in the training sippy cup; you take a few drinks with mommy or daddy holding the cup for you, otherwise you mostly play with it.  you don’t seem to mind mommy and daddy helping you hold that cup and the bottle.  speaking of bottle, you’ve taken a new interest in examining the bottle nipple after you finish a bottle.  you love to squeeze it and play with the bottle in general.

    over the past month, you’ve had several helmet appointments.  mommy and daddy can see progress with your head shape and are thrilled about the results so far.  you also had your second flu shot and two sick appointments.  on new year’s eve, you woke up with a 101.6 degree fever after a restless night.  we were at pop pop and gigi’s house, but decided to come home to take you to the doctor.  the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with you, so she said it was likely a virus.  after 2-3 days, the fever subsided, but the restlessness, fussiness, and poor eating did not.  then you developed congestion and a yucky cough.  mommy could hear a wheezing sound when you laid down, so back to the doctor we went. turns out you had pneumonia in your right lung.  you’re on an antibiotic, so hopefully you will be all better soon.  the antibiotic seems to curb your appetite, which mommy is not a fan of, but it’s important that you get well!

    of course mommy still prays for you several times a day.  i pray for your growth and development, health, and well being.  and i always pray for the character traits i want you to have – to be a leader, compassionate, caring, confident yet humble, and obedient.

    i love you more than i have words to describe.  you are my favorite little man, and i’m so thankful i’m your mommy.

    love,

    mom