Today Sabine chased Yum Yum around with plastic plates and cat food bowls. You are a good, patient cat sweet Yum Yum!
Bon Jovi seems appropriate right about now:
“Wooo, we’re halfway there, wooo, livin’ on a prayer.
Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear.
Wooo, livin’ on a prayer.”
I cannot believe we are halfway through this pregnancy. It was never my intention to post our “yay! We are making a baby” story and then leave you hanging for the next seven weeks. Seems life does not slow down even though you are gestating, though.
This week Jay and I went in for the big 20 week ultrasound where they make sure our little baby, who we fondly call the Chicken, has all of his or her important body parts and is growing on schedule. Little Chicken passed all tests with flying colors.
At the 20 week scan we had the option to learn our baby’s gender. Jay and I went round and round about this – to find out would cut the stress of picking names in half. It would also help us plan and might help with bonding. On the flip side, finding out would take all the surprise out of having our doctor proudly hold up the baby all Lion King style while proclaiming “It’s a INSERT GENDER HERE!”
I get all squishy inside when I think about being surprised on our kid’s birthday. Let’s face it – going through infertility and in vitro fertilization takes ALL the surprise out of reproduction. I can tell you that on Feb. 11, 2012, 27 eggs were sucked out of my ovaries at about 8:30 in the morning. Within the hour those 27 eggs met MILLIONS of little spermies in a petri dish. Five days later 6 high quality blastocysts were frozen using cryogenic technologies – one of which became is the baby I’m currently housing.
Blah blah blah. You see, there is no mystery here. There is no trying to calculate the day I ovulated. There is no giddy recollection of one passionate night. Nope. Instead it was one stressful morning when I was wheeled into surgery and poor Jay had a date with a plastic cup. With this in mind, Jay and I went into the ultrasound this week with a renewed determination – we are going to wait and find out whenever the Chicken chooses to join us!
Pregnancy-wise, I’ve been blessed with an easy time. I had almost no morning sickness, have barfed exactly zero times and have been able to remain active. I walk, strength train or practice yoga every other day to stay in shape. I have very few aches and pains and I’m sleeping well since adding a ridiculous life-raft sized pregnancy pillow to the bed. Seriously, this pillow is huge and caused a good deal of grumbling from both my husband and cat. In time, though, everyone adjusted and the other night I found Jay snuggling one side of the pillow and Yum Yum curled up on the other. My loves were cuddling me through my pregnancy pillow! Awwwww!
Mentally I’m doing as well as can be expected after all we have been through. 75% of the time I’m certain that this little babe is the one and that sometime in June or July we’ll be able to call our family complete. The other 25% of the time, though, I find myself terrified by all the what-ifs. I’m not daft – I know there are still risks. These days are hard and leave me kind of numb for a while afterwards. I think this is why I’ve not written since our last post. As soon as I feel ready to share some news, a wave of worry washes over me and I decide it is better to keep quiet.
But then I have a good day and I just want to shout our news from the rooftops! Today was one of those good days when, after my morning workout, I checked on the Chicken with our home doppler unit (a device I can use to listen to baby’s heart beat in utero – it gives me immense peace during the hard days). I hiked up my shirt, squirted some gel onto my growing belly and turned on the machine. After a little hunting I found the Chicken thumping away and started to close my eyes and relish in 30 seconds of blissful baby spying.
Evidently the Chicken was not in the mood, though, because he or she KICKED the spot where the probe was with such force that it made me jump. It was such a strong kick that I could feel it in the hand that was holding the probe! At first I thought it was a massive pregnancy fart brewing (I could write 1,000 words on pregnancy gas) so I put the probe back onto my belly to continue listening and WHAM another big kick! It was CRAZY and filled me with so much happiness and hope that I wanted to call my Mom. (But I realize I’m a 32 year-old woman and can’t be calling my Mommy at 6 a.m. all happy and gushy because “ma baybee kicked meeeee!”)
So that is a little update on progress so far. I could write more, but I’m not sure how many folks are really interested in a play-by-play of my baby baking! Instead I’ll leave you all with a belly photo, taken after our successful ultrasound! It’s really hard to believe how much more this little babe is going to grow in the next 4.5 months. Yikes!
On December 31, 2010 Jay and I sat in a hotel room in Seattle with take-out and a cheap bottle of champagne. Together we toasted away a year of awesome adventures and challenges. We also toasted away my birth control. As 2011 dawned we eagerly planned our new life as parents and prepared to get serious about baby-making.
By May my cycle had not returned and I was getting the uneasy feeling that something was wrong. We met with multiple doctors, eventually learned I had PCOS and were welcomed to the world of infertility treatment.
Since my diagnosis we have endured:
- Countless tests
- 1 failed round of Clomid (a mild ovulation inducing drug) and rare drug reaction
- 2 failed rounds of ovarian super stimulation with IUI (a more intense ovulation induction using injectable medications)
- 1 hospitalization due to Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome
- 1 IVF (in vitro fertilization) egg retrieval
- 3 frozen embryo transfers
- 1 miscarriage just shy of 7 weeks
- 1 D&C surgery to end that pregnancy
The day we lost our pregnancy was by far the hardest day of my life and has forever changed us as individuals and as a couple. Infertility robbed us of so much: trips to see the world and family, joyful holidays, romantic get-a-ways, peaceful time together and the chance to build a family naturally.
On October 10 of this year, my 32 birthday, I drove to my specialist in Ohio to have a final frozen embryo transfer. If this transfer failed we would be facing another full IVF cycle, adoption or living child-free. Five days later I saw a positive pregnancy test. Knowing how quickly this could be taken away, we were simultaneously overjoyed and terrified.
At six weeks an ultrasound revealed a beautiful little blob with tiny heart pounding away. At 10 weeks we saw our 1.5 inch baby moving. We saw him/her stretch up a tiny arm and rub an eye. We saw his/her long legs kick. It was absolutely amazing and incredibly humbling.
I have been dreaming of announcing our first pregnancy via blog post for years. Now that I’m here, though, I’m not sure how to proceed. Today we are 13 weeks pregnant and everything looks good. Unfortunately my journey through infertility has taught me that no one is guaranteed a child; just because today’s pregnancy test is positive does not mean you will bring home a baby in nine months.
Infertility has taught me just how hard “another pregnancy announcement” can be when you are struggling yourself. With one in eight couples suffering from infertility and one in four clinically recognized pregnancies ending in miscarriage or stillbirth there is no good way to share this news, no matter how hard you fought for it. To those still in the infertility trenches or mourning a lost child, my heart and prayers are with you. This is a devastating journey that too often is ignored and looked upon lightly.
Infertility has also taught me that at some point you need to embrace the possibilities. I could spend the next 6 months silently quaking, hiding behind baggy clothing and over-sized coats, or I could step up and share our joy regardless of the risk. I could hang my head in infertile shame for “making it to the other side” or I could stand tall and speak out about infertility and what modern science has helped us achieve – the chance at a family.
So it is with great joy and hope for the future that Jay and I make it official blog news that we are expecting a baby in June 2013. I’ll occasionally share updates here and in time I will open up more about our journey through infertility. As I have said before: I am always happy to chat about our journey or your story off-line – firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s harder on a marriage then finishing a Ph.D. while job hunting and struggling with infertility? Remodeling your kitchen WHILE dealing with all three!
We started this project almost exactly a year ago. Since then we have spent weekends gutting, repairing, rewiring, plumbing, fixing broken floors, tiling, sewing and more trying to take what used to be an out-dated nightmare of a kitchen into something of this decade where we actually enjoy preparing meals. I’m very pleased to report that we are still married after all of this, and have the kitchen of our dreams to boot. We learned a whole lot while doing this project. Let me share some of our major lessons and then we’ll get to the fun before & after shots.
Lesson 1: DON’T remodel your kitchen while you are finishing a Ph.D., job hunting and dealing with infertility!
Lesson 2: Take the time you originally estimated to complete the project and multiply it by 10.
Lesson 3: Factor “burnout” and “I no longer give-a-shit” periods into your time calculation. Multiply those by 3.
Lesson 4: Obsessive women who are overly hormonal thanks to science make for challenging renovation partners.
Lesson 5: Obsessive women CAN repair the heck out of some walls and are CHAMPS at building Ikea cabinets.
Lesson 6: A “quick” plumbing project is never quick.
Lesson 7: There is no such thing as “one trip” to the home repair store.
Lesson 8: Laying tile on a floor with squeak and bounce is not possible. Fixing the floor so it does not have squeak or bounce is a nightmare of epic proportions. Lay wood instead.
Lesson 9: Cats don’t make renovations any easier.
Lesson 10: Cheap ceiling paint is exactly what the name says: cheap. Spend the money on good paint.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. We learned a lot from this project. We know that if the next house needs a new kitchen we will do the remodel before we move in. We also know our marriage is frighteningly strong – renovations are taxing enough. Toss in all our madness and you get a true test. I’m pleased we made it and that we are both still sleeping in the same room (well, except for the night’s I’m too crazy and want the window unit set at 65 degrees… but that is a blog post for another day!)
Old cabinets, gross counter, creepy red floor and crayon-yellow walls = one dated disaster.
The cabinets are all Ikea. We made multiple trips to Cincinnati to collect them in our little Ford Taurus. The sink and counter tops came from Lowe’s. The faucet was on clearance at Home Depot. I made the curtains with outdoor fabric from Hancock’s that was on clearance. That really big plant was a wedding gift from my sweet cousin. It must be the hardiest thing ever because it has survived me for more than two years. It has even produced a baby plant. Tile flooring is clearance from Home Depot. The tile was so cheap that we built the entire kitchen around it.
The paint color is “Stone Brown” by Benjamin Moore.
The rickety butcher block was a HAIY (Half-Ass It Yourself) project by the previous owners. If you wiggled it while cutting on it the top would collapse. The creepy knife collection is what happens when two grownups marry and combine two cheaply stocked kitchens. The upper glass cabinets were the only redeeming quality in the kitchen. Despite our best efforts, though, they could not be salvaged.
New cabinets with Ikea lighting mounted for illumination. I both store and display our inexpensive Bed Bath & Beyond serving dishes on top. The teal bowl is a $1 find from the thrift store purchased to give the space a pop of color. Due to all the doors leading into the kitchen (3) we had to do a little creative engineering. By using a low profile cabinet here and having the granite cut special we were able to maximize our space and create a “coffee bar.” Small PP Make Muji boxes contain things like tea, bag clips, wine openers, etc. The switches and outlets here still need updated. The new dishwasher is a Bosch we paid $75 for at the thrift store. With a lot of cleaning and a little engineering it now serves us VERY well.
A small, non-energy efficient fridge covered in crap. This side of the kitchen did not have any cabinetry originally. Jay added this huge wire rack. Again you’ll see what happens when two people marry and combine two cheap kitchens – lots of cheap stuff! Last year I spent several months eBay’ing all of this and made enough money to purchase minimal high-quality pieces that should last us for many, many years.
Again we had to use a little creativity with this space. The kitchen is narrow and would have been absolutely claustrophobic had we used full depth cabinets. Instead we opted for low-profile drawers and then open shelving above. This creates a small work-space and maximum storage. A small PP Make box holds our most frequently used items – olive oils, pepper and hot sauce. All the clear storage containers were gifts when we got married and now hold my baking supplies, grains and dried beans. The “spice file” saves space by keeping all our spices tidy and alphabetized. Still waiting on some electrical work over here, too. Oh, and my Vitamix. (LOVE)
The old fridge was old and cramped and sounded like it might launch from the house when it kicked on. It was also covered in crap.
The new fridge is a little larger, silent and energy efficient. A white box on-top holds appliance manuals and warranty information. A two-tiered basket holds produce.
I hated this stove. The oven burned everything. The stove burners were weak. All the utensils hanging on the wall were a mess and the zillion spice jars on the shelf collected a ton of grease.
New cabinets provide utensil storage. An old clear vase has new purpose holding my bamboo and silicone pieces. We purchased the Ikea microwave and mounted it above the stove to save space and double as a vent. I’m so pleased with this Ikea appliance. Next time we’ll skip the fancy Frigidaire brand and go for Ikea. (Buyer beware: We have already had repairs done to the stove and the fridge.) Cat potholders take up a prominent residence on the side of the stove. Two small prints of a rooster and an owl from a gallery in Cincinnati wait to be hung.
We sold the huge pile of cookware and used all the money made to replace it with 3 leCreuset pieces, one non-stick wok and one non-stick egg pan. I love this teal color and look forward to spending the rest of my life making nourishing meals in it.
This wall is right by the door to the basement. It was largely unused so we added an Ikea rail and now hang our lunch boxes in a prominent location, encouraging us to pack lunches! The “Beat It” print is from a seller on Etsy. She customized it so the colors would match our kitchen.
I can’t believe summer has come and gone! First, a quick recap of our summer in bullet points:
- We had company and company and company. I washed more sheets and towels this summer than ever before. It was epic.
- I went to Murray, KY and San Diego, CA on business. The first was about as exciting as one might expect. The second was quite a thrill (zoos, three-state power outage, delicious beaches and fun times with colleagues).
- We went to Birmingham, AL for a very dear friend’s baby shower. She was super cute and super pregnant.
- We went to Birmingham again to help the same dear friend pick out paint for the baby’s room (and to visit, of course!)
- Bird went to Pittsburgh for a math conference. He did a lot of math, bought beer through a hole in a garage door, and had fun times with other math people.
- We went to PA to celebrate the 4th of July with my family. My awesome brother and dad also came. Sadly, my sweet mom could not join us this year. Hopefully next!
- We helped the Hines’ build a huge deck in their back yard. It looks a lot like a stage. We might need to do some karaoke on it this fall…
- I went to Chicago for a weekend with several super fun girlfriends. We had great food, listened to a rockin jug band and purchased mustache art.
- Bird did a lot of math and made good progress on his dissertation. Go Bird Go!
Whew! It didn’t seem that crazy when we were living it, but WOW what a summer! While not doing the above, we were either: washing sheets and towels (see earlier comment on company), chasing our cats, cooking, selling junk on e-bay and remodeling our kitchen.
Wait, what? Yeah, between summer company and travels we decided it was a GOOD time to begin gutting the kitchen. The kitchen renovation is about 1/2 of the way complete and is making us so g0sh-darned proud of our abilities (Palin Speak). I think the best way to illustrate our progress thus far is through photographs. But first, I want to share some of lessons learned thus far (with bullet points to save time because OBVIOUSLY I’m a busy woman):
- Remodeling a kitchen is a lesson in patience.
- Ikea cabinets are awesome. They are easy to build, super easy to install and look really good considering their price.
- Spend the extra money on the automatic door and drawer closing mechanisms at Ikea. They are amazing and make for great dinner party conversation. (Ha! We are THOSE people!)
- Wiring is never a “quick project.”
- The Borescope we bought to locate the mystery “stink stink stink” is an amazing tool when trying to run new wiring. Buy one immediately if you are remodeling your kitchen.
- The Borescope is also a hilariously fun thing to use to gross out your significant other (think up the nose…)
- Don’t buy the paint/primer combo. It sucks. Spend the extra time and prime with Kilz and then paint with regular paint (Olympic is my favorite brand and believe me, I know after painting almost the entire house).
- Invest in good paint brushes.
- Prepare to have the contents of your kitchen strewn about the rest of your house for weeks.
- It is perfectly acceptable to make coffee using water from the tub faucet when your kitchen sink is out-of-order. (All our house guests are now going, “Oh crap! Did they make coffee for me with tub water??? GAH!)
Now some during photos:
And now this brings us up to present day. Please forgive the really low photo quality. Better photos will follow when more progress is made.
And there you have it, folks! A summer recap and a photo journal of our kitchen renovation thus far! Bird and I have lots of exciting bloggy things to post in the coming weeks, assuming we don’t get more company!
Garage sale, eBay or Goodwill? That has been the hot debate in our house for a few months now. As our Kentucky departure nears, we are becoming increasingly aware of how much junk stuff there is to move.
I have had numerous garage sales in the past and am not eager to have another. There is something exciting about the initial purge and watching the “pile” grow. It is less exciting to have to price it all and then set it up. It is even less exciting to have to roust your behind out of bed at 5 a.m. on a Saturday to sit in the heat while strangers fondle your possessions and ask, “Will you take $2 for this piece of crystal?” that you spent $50 on.
I think I would rather go to the dentist than have a garage sale – and this is a bold statement from she who HATES going to the dentist (I always feel so violated after strange hands have prodded and scraped my chompers).
So this left either eBay or Goodwill. We have sent a lot of small stuff to Goodwill already and, truth-be-told, I always feel a little sick when I give away a car full of things we spent hard-earned money on. The things we need to purge before moving actually have some street value and, well, I’m kind of stingy and just can’t stand the thought of losing a buck.
That left us with eBay. eBay-ing a houseful of crap stuff is a serious undertaking. First you clean things, then you photograph them, edit the photos, post them, write clever descriptions that disclose any imperfections and then you obsess wait. The amount of manpower required to list one item to eBay is daunting. But so was the thought of getting nothing but a big “thank you ma’am” if I donated it.
Two weeks ago I bit the bullet and carried several items upstairs – the cake pans used for my wedding cake, a set of spring form pans I very rarely use and a cookie press that I purchased during my “Dairy Days of Youth” – i.e. before I became allergic to everything yummy. I cleaned, photographed, wrote witty descriptions, and then sat back and watched as people had bidding wars over our stuff.
Ready, set, start a new obsession!
Since then I have been on an eBay rampage. I have listed dresses, shoes, kitchen things, electronics, old cameras, and more. This weekend we are listing old computers, a snow board, tools, and more knick-knacks then you can shake a stick at. The entire experience is exhilarating! It is so thrilling to check the sales and see that, yes, someone has bid $5 on that old Show Choir dress (don’t judge). People will buy ANYTHING and, unlike garage sales, they are willing to spend more money on eBay. Dresses I could not sell for $2 at my last garage sale in Birmingham sold for $10 on eBay – and the buyer paid for shipping.
The entire experience is intoxicating. I now have an “eBay App” on my iPhone (yuppie) that allows me to stalk my sales at any time and any place. But unlike my other obsessions this one is actually making us money. In less than two weeks I have made $120 – which is nothing to sneeze at. Encouraged by this success, Bird and I have set a goal – to sell $1,000 in crap stuff. A lofty goal, yes, but I believe it is completely attainable.
In the meantime, if you are in the market for a smokin’ hot purple sequined Show Choir Dress I can hook you up!
Well it has been one month since I started Project 333 and I have several observations:
- I have done more laundry in one month time than I usually do in three months!
- Getting dressed in the morning takes less than 60 seconds – a welcome change from the “try this on, try that on” approach I used to take.
- I have spent more time wearing my white sandals than ever before. It turns out I really love these shoes but never gave them a real chance because of all the other options.
- I have cleared out two entire drawers that now sit empty. I am in no rush to refill them, either. I think instead I will move our towel storage to a drawer rather than stacking them haphazardly on the cupboard.
- Traveling is SO EASY now! I am able to travel with two bags – my one purse (I recently purged all my handbags except for one beautiful bag that I can carry year-round) and one small suitcase. My laptop even fits in the small suitcase.
I had to make a few adjustments to the pieces I originally selected after 110 degree heat struck Kentucky. I moved out the long teal skirt and moved in another pair of shorts. I am also swapping out a dress for a new pair of crisp white linen pants – a definite necessity in this kind of heat – purchased on clearance from the Banana Republic Outlet. I also realized that I need a little more variety in my shirts. I have traded in one solid tank top for a new printed halter – purchased on clearance from the Banana Republic outlet. This halter will carry into the fall season nicely and when the weather gets cooler I will layer it under a blazer.
I had one cheat this month when an unexpected trip to Chicago and a cocktail party popped up. Tucked in the back of my closet are three selections for unexpected occasions – one dressy cocktail dress for weddings, one suit for unexpected speaking engagements at work and one black and white polka dot dress for the unexpected cocktail occasion. For the Chicago trip I wore the black and white polka dot dress. I did not buy a new dress like I would have in the past.
My revised Project 333 list:
- black cotton dress
- orange sun dress
- tan sun dress
- black maxi dress
- black and white maxi dress
- multi colored maxi
- 7. Anthropology dress White linen pants
- red and white striped top
- pink floral button-up top
- white crepe top
- cream lace top
- slate blue T
- green floral button up
- white T
- black tank
- 16. white tank black and tan halter top
- olive-green tank
- dark blue jeans
- denim shorts
- khaki pants
- khaki skirt
- seersucker crops
- red skirt
- 24. long teal skirt gray linen shorts
- white jacket
- aqua sweater
- cream sweater
- pink sweater
- denim jacket
- black flat sandals
- white wedge sandals
- cream heels
- red flats
*Not included in this list are undergarments, workout clothes, pajamas, accessories and glasses.