Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Little Luke Lovin'

I have not updated about Luke in what seems like ages...with summer vacations and daddy being gone and transfers happening...Needless to say we've been busy!

But that doesn't mean there's not a lot going on with that boy!!!  It's CRAZY how much happens at this age!

He is still pretty scarred from the Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. His 18 month appointment is July 12, and we'll talk to the doctor to revisit whether or not they are *sure* it wasn't chicken pox too.  It was horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE and the scars will prove that for a long time.  Good thing he is such a trooper!!  No more night time bottle; that was taken care of with HFM, and we are *mostly* down to pacis at nap and bed (or emergencies!).  That stinker is sooo smart.  His Wubbanubs pretty much have no suction left—We have two Cliffords, Froggy and Tank his triceratops (which is the emergency car paci!).  Three of the Wubbanubs stay in his crib, along with a regular paci attached to a clip.  When he wakes up, we look into the crib, and I say, "Bye Bye, Clifford (or Froggy)," and he tosses the paci he's sucking inside.

If he has the clip one, though, he refuses to...or he'll toss it, but he will then go right back to trying to get it out of the crib.

He knows which ones have suction and which ones don't.  Couldn't really care less about the ones with none, but boy, he wants that Bop (?????? Who knows?) with the suction!

Funny boy!

Painting Daddy's Father's Day card!

He is talking a ton.  He parrots EVERYTHING.  Starting to put two-word phrases together, like "Oh, no!" or "More, please," (still with much prodding from Mommy!) or "Bye Bye, Daddy!".  He says "blueberry" in the cutest way ever, and he calls just about anything you can dip, "blueberry" (as in his beloved blueberry syrup!)...ketchup (though he's started to say ketchup more!), ranch dressing, you name it...if it's dipping, he'll try it and usually call it blueberry.  He lives to dip, that one.

Food?  Still selective.  I got him to eat three bites of scrambled egg yesterday, because they were dipped in ketchup, but then he said no more and it was over.  He loves most soups, so that's how I usually get veggies in, and has just started to eat strawberries and some mango.  He's getting really, really good with a fork, and still so-so with spoon, yet that's great because letting him spoon his own yogurt (yogi) allows me to have some eating time too!  He's also getting really good at drinking out of regular cups, which he much prefers, though we often have little overspills!  That's ok, he's learning!

I've given up soda altogether.  I was pretty much down to only if at a restaurant, I'd have a ginger ale, but the last few weeks have been busy and I've been indulging in a Dr. Pepper a couple of times at the beach. 

Well, of course, he wants it.  And has no idea of why he can have so much of what mommy has, but not that?  And how do I explain that it's bad for him, but not for me?  I can't...because really, I don't think it's great for me and I've just given it up, cold turkey.  I have grains to make water kefir, but I'm ashamed to admit that they've been in my refrigerator for two months because we've been traveling so much and I haven't started them.

My new go-to?  Water.  Every morning, I slice a lemon and a lime...fill a pitcher with water and put half the lemon and half the lime in.  It sits all day, infuses, and I drink from it all day.  Get tons of water, it tastes great, and is sooo much cheaper than soda.  And he loves it.  I'm glad that he is pretty much a milk and water kid because Lord knows he'd like to be a sugarholic every where else he could!

Yes, he is my child.

He's in 18-24 month pjs, and they are getting tight.  He's taller and I just can't get over how much he is a little boy.  Some of my favorite things about him right now are how much he loves transportation!  Everything turns into a 'guck' and he 'vrrooooms' all over the place.  My heart swells seeing his cars (thanks Connie and Terri!) in the driveway, with him just moving them all around like he totally knows how it all works.  Love that innate sense of 'boy'!

No, he doesn't match, but at least he's wearing a shirt, ha ha!

The More buttons to push, the better!!!!!!

Naked Back Hoe, Anyone???

He LOVES water.  Loves it.  When I water plants, he comes over, grabs the hose, and drinks straight from it...then shakes it all over, getting himself and everything around him WET!  And then he giggles, giggles, giggles.

I love that I have such a little beach baby (we are there ALL.THE.TIME!) and that he's such a fish.  He's gotten super great at blowing bubbles in the water and laying on his tummy sort of 'swimming' around in his little pool. Swim lessons soon, for sure!

I was trying to stay cool by sitting in his little chair in his pool and that stinker kept trying to climb all over me and get me wet!!!!  That's ok!  I'll take snuggles when I can get them!

My favorite thing about this time right now is how much even more he is showing he loves music.  He picks up a beat anywhere and starts bobbing.  He sings to just about any song he hears.  He is really starting to pick up and copy and sing songs like Baby BumbleBee  and Slippery Fish and my favorite, favorite, favorite is him singing with me as I rock him before bed.

Every night since he's been itty bitty, before I put him in his crib, I've rocked him and hum/sung You Are My All In All.

For months, he's been humming back with me as he's drifted off to sleep.

Now, he's actually able to somewhat follow the tune and he sings with me.  He sings!

And so does my heart.  Every time he holds his hand out before a meal so we can say, "Thank you, Jesus!" or stands in front of Praise Baby and sings, "Holy, Holy, Holy," or his new one, "Amen!" at the end of the blessing....I just tear up.

Literally.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this sweet, sweet spirit I've been given. (Even when that sweet spirit is awfully salty, which is ALSO new with this age, ha ha!)

He is our sun and moon and stars and we could not love him any more.  I'm pretty sure he gets a good read on that with all the loving he gets from us!

Being his mother is such a joy and privilege.  I am so grateful.

I adore his little feet!

Some of the 'salty' we are seeing these days!  Still too darned cute to even get flustered by!

No pearl in here!

Here, Daddy...this is what you do!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Last "First" Picture?

Today was the big day.

Several weeks of shots and scans and lots of driving and here we are.

My FIFTH embryo transfer.

I realized that I was driving to Rockville...five.

I've had five bracelets on my wrist for five different days I walked into that clinic praying I'd come out pregnant for the long haul.

I have one little boy that I get to love on each and every day.

Those numbers don't really match well, do they?

Holy tan!!!  Can you tell I live at the beach?  That's with lathering of the sunscreen too!!!!

Today went great!  I always do acupuncture before and after, and even doing so, my nerves apparently could not trick my blood pressure!  It was 152/110 when I went in for the transfer and was only down to 144/99 when I left.

I'm a 90/60 kind of girl, remember?  Even though I was optimistic, I guess my body isn't so easily fooled!

Dr. Stillman did the transfer.  He did the retrieval for Matthew, and is a pillar of Shady Grove, so I was in excellent hands!  Dana was a tech who helped me, and she was also one who helped me in December when I had to do my HSG.  It was a nice and reassuring little sign that I was not alone!

My embryologist was amazing.  She was the same one who did the transfer for Trey in February and she remembered me.  She said some very, very special things before the transfer and gave me the low-down on the blasts after and I cannot emphasize how grateful I was!

Dr. Stillman said he had emailed Dr. K because he wanted me to only transfer one!  ONE?  I told Dr. Stillman that we'd always transferred two and he said, "Yeah, but they were day 3.  You transferred two day fives and had a twin pregnancy that didn't work out."

Ouch.  I know his point was that the blasts with Trey's cycle both took and he would prefer a single pregnancy, therefore he'd prefer only transferring one because he felt the odds of it working were good.  That was encouraging.

But hearing, "A twin pregnancy that didn't work out," just stung.  Can't lie.

He had NO problem getting the catheter in, though I have a crooked uterus, haha.  He said if anything, my cervix was thinner, like as though I'd given birth, vs. thicker and closed or stenotic.  Have I mentioned how much I love Shady Grove?

Anyway, even though he'd prefer one transferred, two were already thawed out, so that's what we did.

And apparently, they looked great!  They looked as good as if they were a good fresh cycle.  Thawing went great, fragmentation was minimal and I was stoked.

I think my favorite part of the whole thing was right when Dr. Stillman shot the embryos out into my uterus.  I could watch it on the screen, and the collective, "Ahhhh!  Perfect!" from everyone in the room  made my heart just leap!

Again, it just couldn't have gone any better.

Just what I wanted...and just what scares me, as usual, as I wait for the other shoe to drop.

Dear Lord, I just feel like I ought to be out of shoes right about now....

I'm doing this all by myself...John has been gone for most of June, so Luke and Grandma are spending some quality time together and I am in Rockville myself.  I checked into a hotel, plopped myself onto the bed, have ordered room service and may or may not have been following a Sister Wives marathon.

Sort of like a mini-vacay.

Sort of.

I've been a bit goofy with the iphone camera since I've been by myself.  Why not, right?

Don't see this shot every day, do you????

Right before they all came in...this is what a blood pressure of 152/110  looks like!

 Dr. Stillman gave me the first pictures of the embryos inside Mommy's tummy!

Praying this is our LAST "First" picture!!!!!!
(Umm, and how great is that sweet little "Good Luck!" with the happy face??????)

The bigger one on the left looks a bit more promising, but they both look pretty great, according to those who know!!!!

I totally get the logic behind this...and do most of them anyway, but have to admit...not fond of using it all as a learning experience.  Yuck.  I'm tired of learning.

Yes, so...relaxing acupuncture followed by a fluffy bed, barbecue cornchips, Harry and David cookies, the computer and some crazy reality tv.  Hmmmm....what to do with myself????? Oh, yeah, stay in bed!

 I can't figure out how to use arrows in photoshop, so these are drawn, but the bigger arrow with the fatter head on the left is pointing to where the embryos are.  The thinner one on the right is the catheter...see how it's crooked and sort of has to bend?  Dr. Stillman said that was fun to navigate through the crooked, ha ha!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nothing Wrong Means Nothing To Fix...

I read those words on another blog tonight and could not have shaken my head more in agreement.


I called the lab today to see if all my loss testing results were in.  They were and i had them faxed to my nurse at Shady Grove.  She was having a crazy day because there were a few nurses out of the office and she was covering, so I told her not to worry about getting back to me with the results unless there was a reason to.

I know that if anything came back as other than normal, she'd have called me.

She didn't call.

My assumption is that all the results came back as within normal limits.

Not that I expected anything to be found, really...but...nothing wrong means nothing to fix.

Nothing you can feel like you have a handle on.

Nothing wrong means there really, really, really was no reason for Trey to die.

I was sick.  Doctors always say the baby will take whatever it needs from you, and that's true.  However, it can only take what you have.  Strep throat, Norovirus and bronchitis back to back for the entire first trimester took its toll on it stands to reason it took its toll on Trey.

I took medications, though pregnancy safe, that could have hurt him.

Who knows?

I'm not blaming myself.  I couldn't have done anything differently.

Guilt never leaves, but rest assured, I don't blame myself.  I tell people all the time that they are no more in control of some of their bodily functions than they are eye color or hair color.

I feel the same about getting sick.  How could I have stopped that?  How could I not treat those illnesses?  If I'm unwell, the baby will be unwell.  Not to mention, I have a little boy that depends on his mother.

I wish things were different, and while there is no way to prove that being sick or taking any medicines is what ended his life....there is no way to prove that it didn't.

And finding NO issues anywhere....backs that up.  Sometimes, all there is to say is that it stinks.

It just stinks. is somewhat reassuring.  If I am blessed to find out in three weeks that I am pregnant least I know what I *theoretically* don't have to worry about, right?

Nothing wrong means nothing to fix, but it also means nothing to fear.

Nothing known, that is...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Diagnosis Code 629.9

You know, people told me to be on the lookout for the words.



I even thought to myself, as people sweetly emailed or texted or called me to tell me, 'Just wanted to give you the heads'll see some ugly language in your records,' "Well, I probably won't see anything like that and even if I do, whatever."

Yeah, not so much.  It's not a, "Whatever," kind of thing.

On Saturday, I got the explanation of benefits for the D&C.

That sucker cost $4634.  Good night.

More, Tricare paid it all.  Tricare is pretty cheap, by most standards.  If they paid it all, that's saying something.

Can I tell you how super fun it is to get an explanation of benefits like that?

Then, putting it in the pile of papers for medical expenses this year, I glanced at my paperwork from Dr. P's the other day.  That appointment was to talk about all the recurrent loss testing that Dr. K wanted, as well as what Dr. Sweeney and I talked about and get Dr. P's weigh-in.  As he wrote up the lab slip, he kept telling me that testing for all of this stuff was pretty much overkill, in his opinion....that to test for all these issues because Matthew died and because I miscarried Trey was kin to a situation where  someone was killed from a gunshot wound, but was tested for cancer during the autopsy.

Totally tragic, but totally unrelated.  He then went on, though, to say that he understood why Dr. K and Dr. Sweeney were interested in testing—for some peace of mind for me about this upcoming transfer—and he agreed.  That said, however, in order for it to be covered and me not be responsible for thousands of dollars' worth of testing, he needed to diagnose it 'appropriately.'  "You are not what I would consider recurrent loss, by any means, Lori, but you've been through a lot of sh*t and you've sadly earned the right to have this testing. I'm sorry for how I have to code it...recurrent loss."

I told him I understood, that it was ok, and I walked out of there not even looking at my slip.

Until right after I looked at my EOB for the D&C.

Infertility Diagnosis Code 629.9— "Habitual Aborter w/out Current Pregnancy".


ONE--I am NOT an aborter.  I don't care what the definition is, my baby DIED.
I did not abort him.
I sure as heck did not want to do the D&C, but regardless...I am not an aborter.

TWO—There are many things about which I am habitual—I am an habitual tooth brusher.  I am an habitual laundress.  I habitually attend church and military spouse meetings.

I am NOT an habitual aborter.

Seriously, Medical Profession—you need to take some time and come up with different language.

If you pledge to First, Do No Harm, then you must know how much those words and that language harm my fragile heart and mind.

Really, really, really stings.  Like vinegar on a gaping wound right in the center of me.

Please, for the love of God, come up with something else.

*****Amendment****Janiece, you are SOOOO right.  It IS the insurance industry.  Totally.  My doctors are ALL amazing.  Poor Dr. P kept apologizing for having to classify me as Recurrent Loss.  I guess now I know what that meant...specifically an Habitual Aborter without a current pregnancy, as if I didn't know I wasn't currently pregnant anymore.  Thank you for reminding me—it IS insurance.  It's not the doctors and I really, really apologize for saying it was.  

My transfer for the two remaining blasts is on target for a week from today.  My lining check this morning was fabulous—11.3.  The shots stink, but they are shots, for Pete's sake, so they are not a fun day at the beach.  All in all, another great process for a Frozen Embryo Transfer.

I'd be 24 weeks this week.

Viable.  Trey would be viable.

Instead, I'm transferring again.  The inequity and the surreality of it all is overwhelming enough.

The ugly language is just such insult to injury.


Precious friends are with me.  We've had such a great time.  I am thankful beyond thankful for the hearts that touch mine so deeply.  Here's a picture of my Little Love Bug from this week.  That boy is pure joy.

Nothing but joy. (And yes, check out the hair!!!! He has some wild hair like his mama and his Great Grandma Gosnell and I LOVE it!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Only Been Two Months...

Sometimes I just can't express how much a 'random' kind word or thought means.

Especially when it may seem it's not really necessary anymore.  When one seems to be ok with things; maybe even back to 'normal,'; there's really no need to say something, is there?  Why bring up old wounds and stir the pot again?

The thing is, even if one 'seems' great...'seems' like they are just fine and all is well, so often, it's just the face they are putting on because they know it must be worn.

If it's not, people will worry.
People will tell you how you should be (or not be) feeling.
People will worry about how you are interacting with your living child.

You will just worry about what people are thinking of you, so it's just easier to wear the face.

So it is always so nice when there are those who do not do any of that...those who randomly email you and let you know that THEY know it's only been two months.

That two months ago, I walked into Dr. Sweeney's office thinking we might get a prediction for Trey's gender, and walked out with a broken heart.  Again.

It's not that long, two months.  It seems like it's been longer, and yet, it seems like just yesterday we saw him sucking his thumb on the ultrasound at Dr. P's office...wiggling and thumb-sucking.


I am so grateful for that message.  She who sent it knows who she is, and she sent it because she gets it.  I am grateful.  Thank you, friend.

I'm taking the estrogen shots every third day for the upcoming transfer.  The yucky thing about a frozen transfer is that there are so.many.shots.  More than a fresh cycle, at least in my case, and the drugs are in oil, which is always so much fun to inject.  The needles are bigger and I feel the side effects more than I do when doing a fresh cycle, for some reason.  I had my baseline ultrasound on Thursday and it was great.  As they were counting my follicles, the tech said, "Wow.  This is a great AF count for a fresh cycle!"  She mean that if that was an antral follicle count ultrasound, to see how many little possible follicles-to-eggs I had, I'd rock it.  She counted 23, and I always end up with a few more during the course of the cycle, and for my age, that is not too shabby.

I hope I NEVER AGAIN have to do that type of ultrasound again.  I'm tired of counting eggs and praying they hatch and I bring home the chicks.

Anyway, just had to get that out of my head—the gratitude for remembrance.  It's just the most supportive thing ever to have people share our excitement at the possibility of these embryos we are transferring growing into sweet little people we get to raise, while at the same time, sharing our sorrow and recognizing that our loss is still so fresh.  Our losses, that is...our losses are still fresh.

It's not even been 30 months since we lost Matthew.

So long ago...and yet still feels like I was just at his grave, shivering in the cold and saying goodbye to a sweet little boy I'd waited my whole lifetime to meet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Had To Be Said...

My second month's article for Still Standing Magazine published today.

It was not what I originally wrote.  I originally wrote about how I was SO.SO.SO.SO mad at time.

Mad because I feel like it mocks me and steals from me and taunts me and burdens me and drags for me simultaneously.

But in the back of my head, this just kept nagging.

"This is different."
"This is eating at you."
"This could be ugly if you don't get it under control."

"You need to be honest about this."

So, I was.

I talked to John and I was.

If you'd like to read about it, please go here.

And while you are there, be sure to go to the GIVEAWAY page!  Our store is live and we are giving TONS of things away!!!  Who doesn't love that???

One more thing...How much do I ADORE this baby boy?

I tried to get him to nap with me this afternoon for over an hour.  He laughed.  He giggled.  He cackled.  He played peek-a-boo.  He was as cute as cute could be.

But he didn't sleep.

Until this evening after playing in the tidal pools on the beach before dinner.  He was zonked and took a nice nap in Mommy's arms.  Those are more and more rare these days, as he turns into a big boy.

I happily and my boy and the ocean.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Small, But Mighty!

Admittedly, I have been sick (literally) to my stomach since Tuesday.

A lot is going on in and around our lives, and frankly, much of what has been going on gives me quite a bit of perspective.

So, while I have been sick to my stomach, wondering what would happen today, I have also been at peace.

It has been well with my soul.

Crazy, right?

But it has.  I am very happy with the life I live.  I am fulfilled.  I am busy.  I have good friends and good family and am seriously thrilled to mother my amazing little Luke on this earth and be the mother to two more precious boys in Heaven.

I ache for what is gone, only because I know what could have and should have been...but I also realize my life is still pretty great.

I devised all my 'worst case scenarios,' and even THEY were livable.

Funny what becomes livable once the shock of death has entered your world, isn't it?

It would not be fun to have a hysteroscopy. 
But livable.

It would not be fun to do the transfer under sedation.
But livable.

It would stink to have to push the transfer off to give me more healing time.
But livable.

It would be heartbreaking if there was just no way to ever transfer them to me.
But livable.

Livable, livable, livable.

I sat on the table waiting for Dr. K to come in and just prayed for mercy.  To just take away my anxiety because no matter what, I'd live.  And be ok.  I don't know if anyone even understands how many back-up plans on top of back-up plans I have...and though some of them stink, they all leave me ok.

Dr. K had not one.single.bit of trouble getting through my cervix and into my uterus.

He said he knows exactly what happened--the other day, the resident just didn't realize how small I am.  How really small my uterus is.

He bets dollars to donuts that poor little guy actually WAS through, but just didn't realize it.  He kept pushing but not because my cervix was stenotic--because he was hitting my uterus wall!!!!!

Dr. K showed me where an 'average' woman would normally mark on the catheter (measuring how far in the catheter had to go to get into my uterus).

Then he showed me where the typical 'small' woman's mark on the catheter would be.

Then he showed me my measurement.

WAY different.  Dr. K bet that resident had never seen anything like it. By the time Dr. P took over, that poor resident had just done quite a job of wrestling and doing things more forcefully than needed, and Dr. P didn't want to make it worse.

But Dr. K had no problem.  Didn't even need to really 'negotiate' as he sometimes has to do with me.

He said my uterus looked pristine.  A true testament to the thorough work my OB had done.

I know.

He said it looked fabulous; I was great at making fluffy lining and that he saw no reason whatsoever not to have a transfer on the 25th.

Everything looked and was GREAT.

He told me not to worry about my small uterus. (I wasn't until he said something, ha ha.)  He said, "Lori, I'm sure you've been told you are a unique woman.  Your uterus is no exception.  You have successfully handled two full-term pregnancies in less than three years. Your uterus may be small, but it is mighty."

Small, but mighty.  John usually tells me that I'm small, but scrappy.

I'll take either one, thank you, very much.

Back on for June 25th!!!

One more reason I love Dr. K? When I told him how sick I'd been, he said, "Lori, you know 90% of what we worry about never even comes to fruition."

Then he stopped for a second, looked at me and said, "I'm sorry.  Even though that is true, the 10% you and John have had to endure is awful. It is no wonder you always assume the worst. You live it."


So glad that he gets it.

And loves us anyway!