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 
Trunk opens and closes with push of a button 

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. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

#MicroblogMondays: 5 years

Friday was our 5th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately it didn't go exactly as planned as W woke up with a stomach bug. He ended up taking 1 of his 2 remaining paid days off for the year. He was so sick during the day but started to feel better by the afternoon. I gave him his gift (a pen made out of wood), a card, and some homemade applesauce to try to help him feel better. 

Unfortunately it hit me that night a little too. I didn't feel anywhere near as bad as him, but I sure didn't feel great either. Luckily we hadn't cemented any plans prior to the day. 

Saturday was spend lounging around on the couch and doing nothing. On Sunday we got together with friends and enjoyed a beautiful fall day. 

I'm sure when we stood on the altar 5 years ago we had no idea what was to come; infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and then twins! It's been a wild ride to say the least! I'm sure it's not quite what we pictured, but I also can't picture my life any different. 

13 Months

This post has been sitting in my drafts. I think I wanted to add more pictures but am realizing that's probably not going to happy. So, instead I'll hit publish. 

On Friday, October 3rd the girls turned 13 months old. I haven't decided yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be telling people they're a year old rather than how many months old they are specifically.
The girls celebrated their 13 month birthday with their 12 month appointment with the pediatrician. We had rescheduled because their original appointment was supposed to be days after Lucy got her cast off and Clara got her upper lip tie clipped. Those appointments were traumatic enough so we put off 1 year shots for a few weeks. 

Unfortunately both girls had lost a little weight at their appointment. I recently dropped a daytime feeding and they haven't made up for it yet with food. Clara takes milk from a sippy great but we haven't had any success with Lucy yet. We are trying, but it's a challenge. 

Clara- You are all over the place, crawling and pulling to stand on everything. You are still so full of personality and spunk. You cut an upper tooth this month and it really bothered you. Your sleep and moods were very affected by it so we're glad it's through and you've returned to the happy and sweet baby I love so much. You still love to growl and are just starting to try to imitate sounds or words. You said "yum yum" one night after sucking on a medicine filled syringe. You love syringes and think they're one of the best toys. If your sister ever gets medicine and you don't we have to give you the syringe or you freak out. You've pulled yourself up and walked behind your walker and are starting to let go and stand independently more often. You love your sippy cup or water bottle and will chug from them. You're full of spunk and personality and have showed us glimpses of your attitude this month. You focus so well during play and show us that you have great problem solving skills. 

Lucy- A whole month without your cast and we're all so happy. At first you were very reluctant to try to move much, but lately you've been trying so hard. You stay in a sitting position but scoot yourself around by your arms. You're also trying to pull to stand more. You definitely have the desire to move but I'm not sure you know where your legs go. You're moving in and out of positions more and more. You start physical therapy this week so hopefully that will help. You're really trying to talk and will say "up" most consistently. You've also tried to say bye-bye, pepper, hi, and pop. You are consistently signing "please" and "all done". If I ask you if you want milk you smack my chest, it's pretty funny. You got your first little curl on the back of your head and it's so cute. I'm hoping you get more curls. Your sleep seems to be improving and you are doing more long stretches at night. Out of desperation we started playing white noise in your room and it really seems to be helping. Although not ideal, it's better than you getting up 3-4 times a night. You have been so snuggly lately and your daddy and I both love it! You love to lay your head on my shoulder and snuggle in. Your favorite food is yogurt and we know you'll almost always go for it since you like to throw food off your tray. You're not impressed by your sippy cup and seem to only like milk from the tap. We're working on it every day but you're not convinced. 

We've been working on using plates and bowls with the girls and they're doing pretty well. They are both wearing 6-12 month clothes. They love to be told they've done a good job and will both do the movements to if you're happy and you know it. I love these 2 little girls so much. So frequently I just stare at them in disbelief that they're both mine! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Birthday Party

Even though I'm totally behind on some of my posts, I still want to add them to this blog. I want to remember them (as clearly as possible when writing them a month or two late). So, even though we celebrated Lucy and Clara's birthday party over a month ago, I'm still going to add my post.

The party was on August 30th, the saturday of labor day weekend. The weather was gorgeous although a bit windy. We served BBQ food with pulled pork, beef brisket, macaroni salad, fruit salad, rolls, and salt potatoes. We had friends cater the food. They gave us such a great deal we couldn't say no. We had the cakes done by the local grocery store and we had lemonade, iced tea, beer and lime-a-ritas to drink Apart from the bees stinging two friends (one on his tongue), it was a great day! Clara got upset when we sang them happy birthday and didn't get to enjoy her birthday cake until later that night. Lucy got stuck in her new swing because of her cast, but luckily I missed that one. All in all, we had about 40 adults and 18 kids. It was so fun celebrating Lucy and Clara's first year.

A little out of focus, but I love her face. 
Lucy in her new swing (before she got stuck). 

Cake time!
Poor Clara wasn't into it. 

With Char the LC from the NICU. 
So serious about her bow. 

Birthday banner I made hanging outside. 

Balloon wreath. 

Looking so fancy in her new tutu. 
She loves getting dressed up. 

Clara's headband was looking a little rough, lol. 

Hanging with their buddy Carmine. 

Clara enjoyed her cake later that night.  

Beautiful day. 

Lots of babies!

Monthly photos hanging up. 

Guess I only got a picture of the fruit salad. The other food was amazing too!