Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hormones

Lately my hormones have been feeling all over the place. I've had 2 periods since the girls were born. I have no idea the length of my first cycle and my second one was 51 days long. I'm currently on day 60 with no period in sight. I feel so irritable and have little patience and I've am having issues with insomnia for the first time in my life. I am still breastfeeding and know that that can affect hormone levels. 

Recently I purchased ovulation tests to try to see what my body was doing. We're not trying to get pregnant, I just wanted to see if I was ovulating, and if so, on what day of my cycle. I never really used them consistently and always heard they aren't reliable with PCOS. I will have to agree. I didn't really take too many but I got 2 clear positives this current cycle. This tells me that my body is having LH surges but likely not ovulating= more ovarian cysts. 

I realized I needed to make an appointment to see some kind of dr, but just wasn't sure what kind. My ob? A regular endocrinologist? A reproductive endocrinologist since it's related to my reproductive health and hormones? I feel like a RE is the most appropriate person, yet most are just focused on fertility treatments and getting women pregnant. That's not my goal right now.

So, I have an appointment scheduled with my ob for next week. I emailed Dr. B last night just to get his input. He suggested taking progesterone every 3 months to get a period. I read more about progesterone to help manage PCOS and that seemed like a popular treatment. 

The thing is, I'm wondering if there are ways to restore regular cycles (ovulation) and minimize the PCOS symptoms without birth control pills. Due to blood clotting issues I was told I shouldn't ever use an estrogen based birth control because it will increase my chances of developing a blood clot. I'm currently taking 1500-2000 mg a day of Metformin, more often the 1500 since I have a hard time tolerating the full dose. I also don't want to go on birth control. We've both talked about it and we'd be fine with a spontaneous pregnancy. In fact, I'd love it if we got pregnant on our own. 

I know I have to do something. Having 50+ day cycles isn't healthy or normal and I feel like my mood and patience aren't in a great place. So, we'll see what my ob says next week and what he suggests. Has anyone else regulated their PCOS without birth control pills? Any suggestions or ideas?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

15 Months

I stopped doing these monthly updates last month but then was sad when I read an update from the early months and thought about there only being there for their first year. The girls are still growing and changing so much every month so I want to be able to look back and remember.
Sister love! This was practically a make out session, lol.
Trying on our new winter coats

Lucy- you've become such a happy little girl. You smile and laugh often, especially when we tickle your ribs or thighs. Since starting physical therapy you've practically caught back up with your sister. You're cruising furniture, standing independently for a few seconds at a time, and walking like crazy when we hold your hands or when you use your walker.  You're still sensitive and shy and there are days when you cry for the physical therapist. It's really a good act you can put on, lol. You're finally getting more hair and in the back you have a single curl. You've been eating so much better and love yogurt, pomegranate, and anything new or different. When we go out to eat you do so well, especially when it's ethnic foods like Thai or Indian. You're still not a great sleeper but I just can't fathom the thought of letting you cry it out if you're legitimately hungry. Typically you are up twice a night and will nurse and go back to sleep. We try to get you back in your crib ASAP because you'll always sleep in later if you're in there. You take naps pretty well but occasionally fight your afternoon nap. I'm pretty sure you'll be ready to go to one nap a day before your sister. Laundry is still one of your favorite things and you will do in and out play with the clothes in the laundry basket. You love any physical play (rocking horse, bouncing on a big exercise ball, climbing all over your anywhere chairs, etc). You still love your paci, but aren't quite as attached as you used to be. I think you weigh around 15 pounds and are wearing mostly 9-12 month clothes. You have 2 top teeth and 2 bottom ones, with another almost cutting through your gums on the bottom. We still have your cloth diapers without a rise and there's a single snap free in the middle. You nurse 3-4 times during the day and 1-2 at night. You've also started trying to bite your sister. You've only succeeded once, but you try multiple times a day despite our efforts to stop you. You're babbling and imitating like crazy and will spontaneously use a few words from time to time. You're definitely developing more personality every day and I can't believe what a big girl you're becoming. 

I came home from yoga one morning to find my mom and Lucy snuggling and taking a nap. 

Practicing her walking with Pop-pop

Helping mama make a turkey craft


Ho, Ho, Ho!

A gift from last winter that still fits! Being tiny is good for something. 


Look at those teeth!


Clara- you are such a laid back little girl most of the time. I'm finding that with you regardless of how much I what you to do things, you'll do them when you're good and ready. You can stand for minutes at a time and your balance is amazing. Yet, you still don't want to walk it seems. You've tried a few times, but you aren't really that into it. You also aren't very interested in talking. You babble some, but haven't really started using any words consistently. You love playing and take it so seriously. The ring stacker is no longer your favorite although you'll still play with it and love to find ring stackers at friends houses. You've recently become very attached to your lovey "Owliver". I know, I'm creative. You're also suddenly obsessed with your paci. We try to limit use to your crib, the car, and the stroller. You figured out you could fish them out of the cribs so we have to be sure they're out of reach. Your favorite foods are yogurt and any starches like crackers. You're not very adventurous with eating and learned to shake your head no in refusal. You weigh about 17 1/2 pounds and are wearing 9-12 month clothes. Your cloth diapers have one row of rise snaps and two snaps free in the middle. You cruise furniture, stand independently for minutes at a time, and love your walker. You use the signs for please, all done, eat, and water. You'll imitate a dog panting sound and point to body parts when asked. You nurse 2-3 times a day and are less interested. Some days you don't want to work to get my milk to letdown, but you seem fine without it. You take breastmilk from a sippy and love to drink water. You're still our great sleeper and go 12 hours most nights unless you're teething or sick. You're also a great napper. You have 3 teeth on the top and 3 on the bottom. It's so amazing watching you turn into a little human before my eyes. 
Out for a walk
Such a big girl on the slide!

Look at my new trick!

On a particularly sleep deprived morning we tried on some gifts and had a good laugh. 

Where did my hands go?!

Standing like a pro. 



I can't believe the girls are 15 months. They've officially reached the "we fight over everything" phase and it's not fun. For the most part they get along well, but they have their moments. They also will give each other kisses when prompted. I just love watching them grow and change every day together. 
We took the walkers to a basketball court so they had more space to go, go go. 

At the playground. 

When did my sweet babies turn into naughty toddlers? Left the room to make a phone call and use the bathroom and came back to this!

They love these chairs!

Mama was giving rides. They were loving it!

Climbing up the stairs to go to bed. 



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Time

Every August when the first colored leaves appear on the trees I dread what it means; the end of summer. 

A few weeks ago I was driving to work and noticed a tree. This tree was holding strong to its last few brightly colored leaves, mostly bare otherwise. It made me think about time and how quickly it seems to pass now. It felt like just the day before I was seeing those first colored leaves and denying the start of fall. 

In what felt like the blink of an eye the seasons changed. Now, On the brink of winter I realize just how fleeting time really is these days. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thankful




This year we traveled to my sister's house in Albany for Thanksgiving. W had to work on Friday but was able to get finished fairly early on Wednesday so we could get on the road. Unfortunately, they were expecting a snow storm so our last hour (at least) of the drive was quite slow going. The girl were so great in the car and that helped a lot.

Traveling isn't quite what it used to be. We now have to pack for 4 people rather than 2. We need to find someone to watch and feed the pets. Remembering to bring everything important is always exciting too.  

Then there's staying at my sister's house. My sister tries, but she really is a bit of a slob. She has 3 cats (one of which peed on our suitcase), a dog, and a toddler. The room they give us to sleep in is an open loft. There's no door. And, the living room is directly below. My BiL loves his TV and video games so they're always on and loud. I love spending time with my sister, but it's stressful at her house. 

Also, my BiL's aunt passed away on Monday afternoon. Because they are Jewish, they bury their dead in a certain timeframe. This meant my sister and BiL had to attend a funeral Thanksgiving day. My dad came over early to start cooking and we went for a walk to visit my childhood friend.

My sister lives in the same neighborhood that we grew up in. From her driveway you can look down at the house that we grew up in. It's also where my sister was born. So, visiting K means I can visit our old neighbors. My best childhood friend was my next door neighbor. She now lives in NYC, but on Thursday morning W and I went down to her parent's house for a visit. It was so nice to see her and her family, and she got to meet Lucy and Clara for the first time. I really enjoyed visiting with her and miss her like crazy. Over time we've fallen out of touch some, but we are Facebook friends so stay somewhat connected that way. 

When we returned to K's house W and I put the girls down for their nap. Then I logged onto my blog and read my Thanksgiving posts for the past few years. Last year's post had me seriously tearing up. 

It's amazing everything we went through. Some days I'm amazed I kept going and pushed through all of the sadness and hurt. I had no idea how strong I was at the time, but looking back it's amazing. 

Some days it's easy to lose track of all the things to be thankful for in life. There are days that the stress of caring for twins and the house builds up. W and I aren't always wonderful to each other, but we're working on it. Life is definitely different, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

I'm so thankful and grateful for my husband and partner in life. He leaves every day and works so hard for our family. He loves his girls and tells me how much he misses them on Monday when he has to go back to work. He listens to me and gives me breaks when needed and I can always count on him to laugh at my jokes. On the weekends he picks up the slack with the girls and does most of the care for them, giving me a much needed break. He sings to them, dances with them, and snuggles with them in bed. Recently we've been working hard on our relationship. It's crazy that something that was so easy and important in the past has taken a bit of a back seat. Now, we realize we need to work on our marriage and make time to make it a priority, something that isn't always easy when raising twins. 

I'm so thankful for my children. They made me a mama and have taught me so much about myself, love, and patience the past 14 months. Their little faces light up any room and bring smiles everywhere we go. The love they have for each other is amazing and so fun to watch as well. 

I'm thankful for my supportive family. My mom who lives a few minutes up the road and often watches the girls. How they love her so much and crawl full speed to the door when they see her. My in-laws who are always so helpful and supportive. My FiL who will drop anything to help us at any given moment. My sister who I love but wish lived closer. My nephew who loves his babies (Lucy and Clara) and asks about them constantly. 

My pets who continue to love me and stay loyal despite my lack of attention for them.

Our beautiful house that is so full with bodies and love. The large yard we have for our dogs to roam and for our girls to play in. 

My job that allows me to work just a little in order to stay involved and contribute to our "vacation fund". The chance it gives me to get out some and help others. 

There's so much to be thankful and grateful for and I know I just scratched the surface.  

This was Lucy and Clara's second Thanksgiving. As I watched their big cousin Benny show off for them, help them walk by holding their hands, and give them eskimo kisses and hugs I knew every year will just get better. These cousins will grow up together and cause lots of trouble together. The love I have for my family will expand and grow as my children do. I'm just so thankful to be able to live this life!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Friends

One of the hardest parts of being a stay at home mom is the social aspect. It's easy to feel lonely at home all the time. As a result, I try hard to get out of the house most days to do something. I've worked hard at finding friends to have play dates with.


I'm lucky that I have a great group of friends. My little group consists of my friend Natasha and her twin girls that are two weeks older (and twice the size) of Lucy and Clara. Stacy has twin boys that are almost 2 months older than my girls, and Katie has a son (who was a twin until 27 weeks) that is 8 weeks younger. All of us primarily stay home with our babies. Stacy is a photographer and shoots about 15-20 weddings a year as well as family photos. She took our photos this fall. 

I met Natasha and Stacy through the local Multiple Moms Mingle group. Natasha and I had due dates that were only a few days apart. I met Katie at prenatal yoga and we bonded over the fact that we were both pregnant with twins. Katie's pregnancy was complicated by placenta Previa and IUGR. 

The four of us (and our 7 babies) try to get together regularly. Our babies are all very close in age, play well together, and we generally have similar parenting ideas and styles (thus far at least). We always have a group text going with discussions, advice, questions, recipes, etc. The best part? We all went through infertility so totally "get it". A few months ago we started a girls night out where we go out for drinks and dinner once a month. 

We recently celebrated "friendsgiving". Here's a group shot. 

That's not to say I don't still try to branch out and meet other mommies. Recently I had exchanged quite a few messages with a girl from high school. She has a son that is 3 days older than Lucy and Clara. We planned a play date at the museum of play for last week. 

We had a really fun day. Her son was adorable and about twice the size of the girls (hmm...seems to be a recurring theme). Our conversations were quite the reminder why I love my usual mommy friends. In all fairness, she doesn't know our history and what she said came from a place of blissful ignorance. 


As we were walking she told me she was pregnant. Only about 5 weeks and she hadn't been to the dr yet. She told me she was worried she wouldn't be able to love another child as much as her son. When I asked if they were trying she said they had been. She was disappointed they hadn't gotten pregnant in August because her hubby was a teacher and that would be "perfect" timing. Instead, it took her 2 months to get pregnant. 

In my book, the fertile teachers are the worst kind. They plan their pregnancies so perfectly that no only is there perfect spacing between their children, but they are also born at the end of the school year. This allows them to take the remainder of the school year and summer off. 

I sat in so many meetings in the spring time with those pregnant teachers when we were going through fertility treatments. It was hard because there was always down time and chit-chat about their pregnancies. Their huge pregnant bellies would be an easy topic of conversation. 

I wasn't jealous of this friends pregnancy. I'm not really ready for another baby just yet. I'm just jealous of her blissful ignorance. Her ability to time things and then get pregnant so easily. 

The thing about infertility is, I don't think it ever leaves you. It continues to affect how you respond and feel about pregnancies even once you've gotten to experience it for yourself, and it even has the ability to shape your friendships. I'm so grateful to have been able to meet such a great group of women to raise my girls alongside. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Frozen Embryos

I used to joke that I had embryos all over the state. We have 5 here locally in Syracuse with Dr. K and then we have 2 that are currently residing in Manhattan at Dr. B's clinic. 

When we first started with Dr. K we bought a package IVF deal. For $7500 we purchased 3 fresh IVF cycles with unlimited frozen cycles. We signed a contract that all of these cycles had to be completed within a certain timeframe. 

After our second fresh cycle with Dr. K resulted in my third early miscarriage I met with one of the doctors. He told me I just needed to keep trying and that it was a numbers game. He didn't think my history warranted recurrent pregnant loss testing despite me practically begging for it. He was willing to treat me as if I had problems without actually testing for them (using intralipids, lovenox. etc). That didn't sit well with me so that's when we first scheduled a consult with Dr. B. At that point I had completed 2 of the 3 cycles we had paid for. 

Dr. B had different ideas for medications, protocols, etc for me. The thing was, I didn't want to jump in to that with a cycle already paid for. So, I got Dr. B to manage my last cycle with Dr. K. We did a freeze all since I used a Lupron trigger. We froze 7 embryos. The next month we transferred 2. Although I had faint positives on tests my HCG came back at below 5, so negative. At that point I was exhausted and so discouraged with treatments. I wrote Dr. B an email and he told me I needed to give it one more try before I decided the treatment didn't work. 

We thought about it for a while. Since I had transferred 12 embryos with that clinic without a take-home baby we decided if we were going to give it one more try we were going to go all in. We decided to do our last cycle with Dr. B at his clinic. I got pregnant with twins and we froze 2 embryos. 

Last year around this time I got a bill to continue to store our 5 embryos here in Syracuse. I called to speak with an embryologist because we were supposed to pay $600. I thought about keeping half of them so we didn't have to pay the full amount. When I spoke with them they told me they could put them all into one spot and only charge us $300. So, we paid it. 

The thing is, another year has passed. We once again got our $300 bill and W said, "I just can't picture paying it." 

If we decided to try for more children we would definitely use our 2 embryos in Manhattan first. As much as I'm not thinking any of those 5 embryos could be my future child/children, I hate the idea of just giving up on them. I went through so much to get them. I don't think I'd be comfortable donating them to another couple. Although it's not set in stone, both W and I have said we wouldn't want to go through another fresh cycle. 

So, we have to make some decisions soon. I'm hoping that W will agree to continue to pay to store our 5 little frosties here in Syracuse but we will see. I'll likely just put it off until they send me a final notice like last year. 

I know it's not a bad problem to have, but it really is difficult to make these decisions. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fall Back

This past weekend we all turned our clocks back for daylight savings time. The girls are on a pretty predictable schedule/routine. They generally get up around 7 AM, go down for their morning nap from 9:30-11, take an afternoon nap from 2:30-4 and go to bed around 7:15, 7:30 for the night. Maybe I'm a little crazy at times about our schedule, but that's because I've always tried to keep them on the same schedule. 

In an attempt to prepare ourselves to turn the clocks back we started last Monday. I had heard that by moving your child's schedule back by about 15 minutes every day (4 days that week), that by the time you turn your clocks back they will have already adjusted. So I decided to give it a try. 

I started on Monday by moving things back by 15 minutes. The girls didn't even seem to notice the adjustment. On Tuesday we stuck with the same 15 minutes. On Wednesday they went down for their first morning nap at 10 instead if 9:30. Getting to that point wasn't pretty, but we managed. On Thursday we moved back by another 15 minutes so they went down for their nap at 10:15. 

The problem we encountered was they weren't getting that whole sleep later in the morning memo. They were still getting up at their usual 7 am, sometimes even slightly earlier. 

Finally on Saturday morning they slept until 8:15. They were up earlier but we both grabbed a baby and brought them to our bed to snuggle. Luckily it worked and we all fell back asleep until 8:15. 

Saturday night was the true test. We put the girls down late (about 8:15) and crossed our fingers. Luckily it worked! They woke at 8:10 or 7:10 on our new time change. 

This morning was the same. Clara was up a little earlier, but nothing crazy exhausting. 

All in all, our first daylight savings change (that actually affected us) was a huge success. The only fail was that I can't manage to stay awake much past 9 pm. 

 How did it go for you? What was your strategy? 

Disclaimer: Don't read this and think both girls slept all night. Clara did but Lucy still got up a few times a night (will she ever sleep through the night?!). 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Yesterday we went with friends to the mall for a trick or treat event. It seemed like every kid was dressed as either a ninja turtle or Elsa from Frozen. Today we checked out the children's area at the local library and tonight we are home and totally over prepared for the 10 trick or treaters we will get. Wonder who will eat the leftover candy?

Here are the girls in their costumes. They were cabbage patch kids. 


I also had a little fun taking their pictures today. 
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween. 




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Wheels

When I got pregnant I was driving a Subaru. It was the first nice car I ever purchased and I did so a few short months after landing my first professional job out of grad school. It was a Subaru Impreza Outback sport. I seriously loved that car.

When we got the car seats at our baby shower we decided to try them in the car. Since my car was a sporty model, the backseat was not large. In order to install both car seats the driver and passenger had to practically hug the dashboard. It wasn't comfortable and it definitely wasn't going to work for long trips. 

It was at that time we started to look at new cars. We were looking mainly at SUV's that had third row seating. I liked the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Since my FiL goes to automobile auctions I had to be somewhat flexible about what I wanted. He found there were lots of Mazda CX9's at the auctions and we looked into that vehicle. For the price, we could get more features than the Honda or Toyota. 

The plan was that W would keep my Subaru, we would sell his Honda Civic Si, and get me a bigger SUV. 

Then I got into the accident that broke my water. My Subaru I loved so much was totalled. 


We brought the girls home from the hospital in my FiL's car. Shortly after we purchased a Mazda CX9. W's parents offered to give W their older Prius with the agreement that he would sell his Honda Civic and give them the money (the Prius was worth more). 


At first I liked the Mazda. Then I started to hate driving something so big. It felt like I was driving a school bus sometimes it was so large. Then one day in July I got into a minor fender bender in a parking lot. The scary part? I had no idea what I hit until after. I didn't see the car at all (it was a tiny Celica). It was then that I realized how large that car I was driving was. I realized how big the blind spots were and I remembered a few other close calls with cars I didn't see until the last minute. After that I was nervous driving the girls in the Mazda. Any time I changed lanes on the highway I worried I didn't see a car that was in my blind spot (despite obsessive checking). I hated merging with traffic and driving around parking lots. I didn't feel safe in the Mazda with the girls. It was that simple. 

When my car was in the shopgetting it's fender replaced we had a rental car. We got a mini van to see if that's something we would like. It was worse than the SUV. It was just as large and the only redeeming qualities were the electric doors. 

We took the girls in the Prius one day and, surprisingly, found it to be more than enough space for us. It was then that I decided I wanted to get rid of the Mazda. We didn't need something that huge, I didn't feel safe with the girls in it, and it guzzled gas at 17 MPG. 

We tried listing it to sell by owner but gave up after a few weeks and traded it in. I got a 2011 Subaru Outback in a really pretty blue color. I love it! It has tons of space, it's super comfortable and fun to drive, I can see and don't worry about blind spots, and it's so much better on gas. Although we didn't get as much as we hoped as a trade in, I'm so glad to no longer be driving the Mazda. 


Because there were some pros to the Mazda I decided to list them. There are a few things I will miss and lots that I won't. 

Pros of Mazda CX9:
Third row seating and large trunk for our dogs
Leather interior 
Great trunk height for diaper changes
Large backseat that's easy to crawl into from the front seat 
AWD
Trunk opens and closes with push of a button 

Cons:
Large blind spots
Drives like a truck (because it is one)
Large back doors (need to open wide enough to climb into third row) 
17 miles per gallon

All in all, I'm so glad to be driving a car I feel safe in. The improved gas mileage balances out the slightly higher payment so we aren't really paying much more a month. Also, I seriously love my new car!!



Monday, October 20, 2014

#MicroblogMondays: Happiness

Recently we had family photos taken. I wanted to get pictures done for Lucy and Clara's first birthday but also wanted some of all of us together. We hired my friend who also has twins and is a professional photographer. She recently got me the images. One of them really resonated with me. 

W and I got married 5 years ago. We didn't start trying for a family for the first year and just enjoyed married life. About a month after we started trying I got a referral to an endocrinologist due to abnormal hormone levels. We took the fast track to surgeries and IVF after getting some devastating news early on. 

For years we did treatments. We did 2 IUI's, 5 fresh IVF cycles, and 4 FET cycles. There wasn't a whole lot of down time between cycles. We miscarried three times in that time. It was really hard on both of us and, honestly, I stopped feeling genuinely happy. I would smile for pictures, but I just didn't feel happy. I often would look back at this one picture from our honeymoon and wish I could feel that same blissful happiness again. 

Then we got pregnant and I successfully carried twins to 34 weeks. Our lives drastically changed. I went from trying to speed up time to get to the next appointment or cycle to trying to slow down time to enjoy my girls. 

When I looked through our 172 images from my friend a certain picture stood out. It's one that captures the happiness and joy we both feel again now that Lucy and Clara are in our lives. It perfectly sums up life with them and I love it.
It's just so nice to see that look of genuine happiness on my face again. 

This post was written as part of Mel's MicroblogMondays. Check it out here to participate.