Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy List Saturdays

It's been a few weeks since I've done a happy list, so I suppose it's time again...

My new Tropical Fruit candle
(thanks Mom!). It smells SO good!

Serving dinner at Ronald McDonald House
I thought it was a really good way to spend the day. Otherwise I would have sat at home feeling bad for myself. I still missed my girl and it was hard going about the day knowing that six months ago, we said goodbye to Ellie. But I think Ellie is happy with the way we honored her.

Friday Morning Date- with myself
After I dropped Max off at school on Friday morning, I went to Caribou, came home and sat on the couch. I watched TV, uninterupted TV. Then I took a hot shower without anyone screaming at me or crying. It was amazing.

The Royal Wedding
I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that I watched it. I didn't get up early or anything, I just DVR'd it. It's all so fascinating to me and it's a great distraction. Everyone was so happy, even the people standing in the way back of the crowd. There has been so much sad and devastating news lately, it's nice to watch people come together for something happy too.
Kate Middleton Dress

Fried Ravioli
I bought them in the freezer section of Target. Dip them in a little marinara sauce and O.MY.GOSH are they good.
fab* reci...

Max's Masterpieces
Max has actually been painting and using markers lately! It takes a lot of encouragement, the use of a picture schedule and only lasts about 10 seconds, but it's an enormous deal for him! Plus I finally have little arts of work to save!

Ellie's Flowers
I got some bright pink flowers for Ellie on her six month Angelversary on Monday. I was going to take them out to the cemetery but it's been to rainy to go out there, so I kept them here. I'm glad I did because they are so pretty!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two years ago, we got another miracle

Two years ago today, I got knocked up. It was in a seedy neighborhood downtown, Dave was not the only person in the room and I was a little drugged. Not exactly the most romantic situation, but a good story nonetheless.

In all seriousness... On April 29, 2009, I became pregnant with two babies! We arrived at the office and I was feeling pretty good from the Valium they prescribed. After getting changed into a gown, robe and really sweet slipper socks, our doctor came in with a picture...

Ellie's first picture! And one of the few pictures we have of Baby Bee. Of course, they are just a bundle of cells here. But in just a few short weeks, they would have heartbeats. The miracle of life. Pure potential.
Even after two in-vitro rounds and two pregnancies, I am still in awe of the whole process. I don't think it will ever stop being amazing.

One year ago today, April 29th, 2010, we took this picture...
In just one year, 365 days, this incredibly amazing transformation occured. It doesn't even seem possible.

Little Peanut~ There was never any doubt that you were and are a complete miracle. A miracle that I am eternally grateful for. I love you, Elle Belle.

Remembering April 29th, 2010

These pictures are pretty much the same as the one above, but I love how she has a different expression on her face in every picture. I can't believe it's been two years since I started my journey with her, and now, she's already gone...

Getting tickled by Daddy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bust a Myth

National Infertility Awareness Week during Autism Awareness Month. Somehow I was forced into these two clubs and I wish there was a exit clause...

So anywho, the people over at started this "BUST A MYTH" blog discussion in honor of Infertility Awareness Week. I could seriously write an entire blog on this subject. There is so much people don't know about this subject, but think that they do- it's almost funny. As soon as you say you are having trouble getting pregnant, everyone and their mother has a suggestion for you. Most are hurtful, laughable and just plain stupid. But before I get to that, I want to share a little about what our journey has been like.

Dave and I got married in June of 2006 and we started trying immediately. From the very beginning, I just had a feeling there was going to be a problem. I didn't have any proof but just that feeling. After a couple months, still nothing and I realized that my cramps were getting really bad. I would feel so awful during my period that I was missing work and spending the day popping Advil and curled up on the couch with my cornbag (heat pack).
One night, I had a sudden and extreme pain in my abdomen that brought me to the ground. A few weeks later I went in to see a family practice doctor. After hearing my story, she sent me for an ultrasound that same day. A couple days later the Dr called to tell me that I had at least six cysts and the largest was the size of a plum! No wonder I felt awful! She recommended I see an OB/GYN surgical doctor. So I made an appointment and when I arrived I saw I had a man. I'm sorry, but no man can ever understand these issues. After talking and a horrible exam, he told me I needed surgery to remove the cysts. I asked him about my ovaries. He said, "Well, we won't know until we get in there, if they look bad, we'll just whip them out."
Whip them out?? I don't freakin' think so. I was only 24 and was actively trying to have kids, I kinda need my ovaries. So after crying to a few people, I saw specialist and a woman. And I am so thankful I found her. She has been amazing.
During my first appointment, she told me that the first priority was to get me pregnant and she would never "whip out" some one's ovaries while they were sedated and completely unaware. Two months later, I had my first surgery to remove cysts, clean up endometriosis scarring and check my tubes (both were open). After surgery, she told us to try again for a couple months. A few months later, still nothing except for increased irritation. An ultrasound showed that the cysts were appearing again. We knew we had to do something because my endometriosis was getting out of control.
We did one month of just Clomid and follicle monitoring. Followed by two months of Clomid and IUIs. I don't know about anyone else who has been on Clomid, but holy hell, was I crazy. That stuff was evil. It gave me awful hot flashes, headaches, leg tingling, insomnia and complete fatigue at the same time, and the worst mood swings anyone has ever seen. I was so mean. And I thought I was losing my mind. It's hard to describe, but it wasn't good.
I couldn't take it anymore, and I knew Clomid wouldn't work. We were referred to a Reproductive Specialist, also an amazing doctor! She was very confident she would get me knocked up, did an ultrasound that day and saw a lot of new, fairly large cysts. She wanted another surgery before we could start IVF. So we did another surgery, found that I had ruptured several cysts and that now, one tube was blocked.
On Christmas Eve day of 2007, I started Lupron. And it knocked me on my ass. I spent Christmas Day dry heaving into a bucket and wishing that someone would kill me. I missed almost two weeks of work because I was so sick. But once I started on my stim. meds (to stimulate egg production) I felt better. This cycle went pretty well, I had minimal side effects (well minimal for me- normally I get every side effect...) and we showed up at transfer day greeted by two pretty healthy embryos and one so-so embryo. My doctor only wanted to transfer two and so that's what we did. The third wasn't good enough quality to freeze. After two horribly long weeks, we found out it worked and nine months later, Max entered the world! Truly, truly amazing.
After having Max I started having really bad cramps again so I was put on continuous birth control pills to prevent cysts. We were advised not to wait too long before having a second child. So when Max was five months old, we went back. Our doctor was thrilled, she said, I was her "ideal patient." In early April 2009 we started another round of IVF. This time, my stim. meds had to be doubled from the first time. I got a mild case of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Which means that my ovaries were on overdrive which is sort of the point, but we crossed over into the excess side. I had excess fluid in my abdomen, my stomach was very swollen and was so tender, I could hardly hold Max. I was put on a high protein diet and had to down many nasty protein shakes, which is hard when the meds ruin your appetite. The progesterone made me so itchy, I thought I would lose my mind. It was a rough course.
We found out we were pregnant and the high HCG indicated twins, which was confirmed at seven weeks. We learned two weeks later, that our Baby Bee hadn't survived. Bee stayed in until the day our perfect Ellie was delivered on Jan. 15, 2010. As soon as I was done nursing Ellie, I started on continuous birth control again. But several months of excess hormones, followed by two back to back pregnancies has left my body very confused. My hormones are all out of whack and extremely hard to regulate. I hope the next time we do IVF, it will go well again and we will be blessed with another miracle.

That was a lot longer than I anticipated, but necessary to bust my....

Myth #1: "Why don't you just go do IVF?"
To all well-meaning morons- you just don't DO IVF. You have to try everything else first. And it's expensive. It comes with no guarantees. And you might feel miserable. AND it isn't even an option for some women. It's complicated.

On to the other myths that drive me absolutely INSANE!

Myth #2: Get a dog, then you'll get pregnant!
Really?! Did no one ever have the birds and the bees talk with you? What exactly are you proposing that I do with the dog? Because I'm NOT into that.

Myth #3: Adopt. Then you'll get pregnant.
This is stupid too. Too stupid for a response actually.

Myth #4: "Well, my cousin's friend's maid's sister, went to this doctor and she got pregnant right away..."
Just because so-and-so got knocked up one way, because of one doctor, because they were on a certain unheard of herb, because they stood on their head and sang ancient hymns, doesn't mean I will be pregnant that way. I know people mean well, but don't waste your breath. Everyone is different, every one's body is different. Let's leave the plan of attack to the doctors.

And my favorite.....
Myth #5: Just relax.
So not possible. When you have to obsessively track your period, your sex, your temperature, your tenderness, your other disgusting unmentionable signs of ovulation, there is no relaxation. When you have to eliminate most alcohol, crappy foods and pain reducing meds, there is no relaxation. When you have to pee on a stick first thing every morning, there is no relaxation. When you have to establish a more than personal relationship with an ultrasound machine, you can't relax. When you spend more time at the doctor's office than you do with your friends or your arms are black and blue from blood draws- you aren't relaxed. When you have to go to Target, Cub, the pharmacy, work, family gatherings, appointments and see every pregnant person and newborn baby on the face of the earth, you can't relax. And when every idiot is telling your their opinion, you cannot relax. There is no relaxing in infertility. None.

Remembering April 28th, 2010

Even though it wasn't easy getting them, I wouldn't trade the whole process for anything. They are truly our little miracles!
"God bless the broken road, that led me straight to you..."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our little bundles of cells...

Two years ago, Ellie and Bee were just a cluster of cells nestled into a petri dish inside an incubator downtown. Two years ago today, I got a call from their babysitter (the embryologist) to tell us we had two healthy little cell clusters growing away.

It's hard to believe that in two years, Ellie and Bee were conceived in a truly miraculous fashion, we saw two heartbearts and said goodbye to Bee. I got to grow Ellie in my tummy for nine more months until I was finally able to hold her. And then we got nine more incredible months with our girl before we had to say goodbye to her too.

It's all happened so fast. A whole lifetime in just two years. Sometimes I wonder if it was all just a dream.

Remembering April 27th, 2010

Monday, April 25, 2011

Six Months Gone

Peanut~ Six months ago, we had to say goodbye forever. I miss you more every day. I knew I couldn't spend today sitting around doing nothing. So a couple of months ago, we decided to serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald House at the hospital where we lost you. It wasn't easy going back there today. I sat in the same break room across from a nurse who was there the night you left. I didn't remember until we left there tonight, that we sat in the main entrance waiting for the car to come around. Well, I didn't actually remember it, I just had a flash of sitting in the lobby.
But tonight, my sweet girl, your light shined brightly. There were so many people who were thankful for a hot, homemade meal. They were thankful for people to serve it to them and they were even thankful for someone taking their dishes to the sink. They were tired and exhausted. Having a sick child in the hospital is hard work. We were glad to be able to give them a little break. We got to tell some people about you and we wore our Ellie's Light shirts. Mine even said "Ellie's Mommy" on it.
After we served dinner, we took a tour of the House. It opened six days after you died. If it had been opened earlier, we probably would have been offered a room there- you were the sickest patient in the hospital and the House would have been a refuge for us. It's a beautiful place and I am so happy it is there for families who need it. I think we will be doing this again. I think your light could be used there too!
I am so proud of you Ellie. In just nine months, you showed us how to love and find joy in the little things around us. You are my reason. In just the six months you've been gone, you've inspired more than some people do in a whole lifetime. I am so thankful I get to be your Mommy. I love you forever and ever!

I wish I could say I made these!

For you, our Sweet Girl!

Remembering April 25th, 2010

It's hard to believe that this was our life just one year ago...

An attempt to get a picture of the two in their matching jammies

Max actually pretending to feed his monkey

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter- Ugh...

Well it's over. Almost anyways. There were tears today but not as many as I had anticipated. Every month on the 24th, as each hour passes, I think about that day. It replays in my mind. At 10 am today as we walked ito my grandparents' place for brunch, I thought about how six months ago, I was sitting in the back of the ambulance. As we approached lunchtime, I thought about the doctor telling us they had to intubate her. Mercifully, I slept most of the afternoon. I didn't recall each moment of that day, watching my girl slip further and further away.
I know that at this moment, six months ago, I was standing next to Ellie's bed, holding her hand. Just staring at her horribly disfigured body. We were drained. Exhausted beyond belief. The staff knew it was bad. I could tell. I kept getting that look from the nurses. They were just about to tell us they had one more shot. And it was a long one. We were about to lose the thin strand of hope we were hanging onto. Our families were leaving for the night- they would be called back just two hours later so they could say good-bye. Six months ago, we were watching our lives change into something we didn't want. Our happy, perfect lives were fading away; the darkness was moving in.
Even now, I can't believe we went through it. I can't believe we lived this nightmare and are now left to deal with the aftermath. Even to me, who has been in the middle of it every second, the horror seems unreal. How could something to awful, so ugly, so completely heartbreaking and devastating happen to our beautiful perfect girl? She didn't do anything wrong. We didn't deserve this. Even after six months, it doesn't make sense...

Ellie Lauree,
There are no words.
It should be your second Easter today. You should have been dressed in your cute Easter dress, white tights and little shoes. You should have had little ponytails and bows. You should have been eating your first pieces of candy and looking for eggs. You should have been following your brother and cousins around trying to keep up.
Instead we had an egg hunt at the cemetery- how messed up is that?! We sent you balloons and brought Easter baskets and presents to your spot.
I can't believe I haven't looked at your beautiful little face for six months. Six months ago was the last time you cuddled up on my chest and snuggled in. I miss you so much. I miss you more than I could ever say. I love you Peanut.
Forever your Mama.

Remembering April 24th, 2010

Max's first haircut at the salon. Obviously, it didn't go well....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cookbook Name and Other stuff

And the winning name is... "Yummy in the Belly, With love from Ellie" submitted by ksue80! Thank you to everyone who submitted a name suggestion, there were a lot of good names to choose from.

ksue80- please send me an email at with your mailing address so I can send you a cookbook once they are done!


So far I have made it through half of Easter's painful reminders. Easter eggs have been dyed, our family had our big Easter/ Christmas celebration (Chreaster) today complete with egg hunt, cookies, white elephant and Easter baskets for the kids. Mercifully, Max participated today. He actually did the egg hunt- although he would NOT go onto the rocks or leaves for whatever reason- and he actually tried three new foods! My cousin made AWESOME homemade marshmallows and even with it's weird fluffy, sticky texture he tried it! He had three bites! I've never been so excited to see my child eat sugar! This is a big step for Max. Yay for therapy and school!
But even with Max's stellar performance today, it was sad. The three other kids (there should be four others...) played well together, but Max did his own thing. He's left out. It hard to watch the other kids play and wonder if Max will ever be able to play with them.

It's hard because I know Ellie should be playing there too. Just SIX MONTHS ago, we were checking on our babies safely asleep in their cribs. We had NO idea what was headed our way. The germs in Ellie's little body were already taking over. Our lives were about to be destroyed, forever, and we didn't see it coming.
As tomorrow approaches, I can't help but be anxious. I can't help but be angry and sad. I hate the 24th. I hate holidays. I will probably forever hate Easter because it's the one big holiday we got with our baby girl. And tomorrow they all collide. I want to scream and cry. I want to stay in bed, under the covers and hide. All day. I would prefer to spend it in a valium induced stupor. Because if I don't get to see my baby in her Easter dress, tights and little shoes, I don't want tomorrow. None of it.

But, tomorrow is going to come. And even though Max probably won't give a hoot, we will go through some of the motions for him. 'The Easter Bunny' hid eggs and left two baskets. Yes, two. We will be pretend excited tomorrow morning for him. And then we will go to the cemetery and send Ellie some balloons and leave her a basket. We will blow bubbles for her and I will try not to think how fucked up it is to spend Easter at the cemetary. Because that's what it is. There isn't any other way to put it.

Thankfully, the Easter Bunny is leaving champagne and orange juice for mimosas too.

Remembering April 22nd, 2010

I forgot to do pictures yesterday- we actually went out and had fun... These pictures are hard for me to look at and think about. I can remember a lot of this day. When I changed Ellie's diaper first thing that morning, I noticed her big toe was a little red. I looked at it, didn't see anything around it and the nail wasn't growing inward so I assumed her pjs had been on a little funny. An hour later when I changed her into her clothes for the day, I noticed her toe was now bright red and warm. I called the pediatrician who said to bring her in right away. My mom came to watch Max and we scurried in. And thankfully we did because she had an infected toe. By the time we got to the office, it was much worse and heading up her toe. The doctor said had I waited another hour and we probably would have been headed to the hospital for IV antibiotics. We got her started on oral antibiotics right away and within a couple hours it was already a little better- or at least not getting worse.

Looking back on that day, I wonder if it was a sign. I always thought, what three month old gets an infected toe? Especially for no apparent reason? And it got worse FAST. Was it because her spleen wasn't working right? Should I have made a bigger deal about it with the doctor? If I had, would we have found out about her spleen? Would she still be here?
It seems like no big deal, but I wonder. I will always wonder if this was our sign. And I missed it.
 The toe. Poor girl- I'm sure it hurt!

Remembering April 23rd, 2010

 Max at 18 months.
 To help her infected toe, we were doing foot soaks 5 times a day. Ellie loved them. I think Peanut and I would have had a lot of fun having Girls' Day at the Spa!!
My chunky little Peanut!