Potty Training

Since it’s a long weekend, we decided to make this our potty training weekend. Our daughter has been fighting us on diaper changes, and she definitely knows when she has just pooped. I think she knows when she’s about to poop, so I feel like it’s time. Also, I’m tired of buying and changing diapers. She’s 23 months right now.

We had a good run with cloth diapers, using them about 85% of the first 18 months. We switched day cares at that time, and the new provider won’t use cloth. We half-heartedly tried to keep cloth going on weekends, but it didn’t really stick, so we’ve been buying disposables for about 5 months. I try to get the more ecologically “friendly” diapers, but when everything ends up in a landfill without the oxygen to decompose, it’s probably a futile effort.

I also want to get her potty trained long before her sibling arrives so that there is less chance of a regression, even though I know that can happen at any time.

We started this morning, because my wife and I split the day today (our daycare is closed today and for the upcoming week). We had two pees and one poop on my watch, and both pees started while playing, but she was able to stop the flow and finish vast majority of the pee on the potty. The poop seemed to catch her more by surprise, and she was pretty upset to have poop on her legs because she could not get to the potty in time. About 20 baby wipes and 6 clorox wipes later (on the floor and potty – not on her), she had mostly recovered.

We’re letting her stay in diapers for naps and nighttime for now, because sleep is not exactly solid. She sometimes sleeps from 8:00ish to 7:00ish, but not anywhere close to reliably. Lately she’s been waking up at 5:00, 5:45, or 6:00, and she’s obviously still tired but insists on getting up. So, we’re kicking the night training can down the road and attempting to tackle daytime training for now. I’ve read and we’re loosely following the book “Oh, Crap!”

Wish us luck!

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Second Beta & Telling Families

I called the lab about every two hours on Friday hoping to get my second beta result. Every time, they told me it was still “in process.” Nobody could answer whether or not the result would be available over the weekend on the 24-hour advice/nursing line. Saturday evening I got around to calling again, and this time the person who answered hinted to me that the results were ready, but that only a doctor/nurse could release them and she was neither. She recommended that I log on for an e-appointment and ask for the results. I did, the doctor who answered was very kind, and she told me the HCG was 380 and the TSH was 1.9 (I think). My first beta was 149.

This puts my doubling time around 33 hours. Betabase says the average for a singleton at 13dpo is 86 and 15dpo is 195. It says averages for twins are 146 at 13dpo and 370 at 15dpo. While it’s interesting that my numbers are so close to the twin averages, I’m still thinking there is just one healthy babe in there.

I’ll be calling the OB/GYN today to set up my first appointment. I’m hopeful that they will let me do it at 7 weeks, when there should be a heartbeat and it should be clear how many are in there. My inlaws come into town the following week, and I would rather not have them around if we face any challenges.

Because the betas are good, we let our immediate families know last night. We sent my family the picture below, and we tried to facetime with my in-laws in California so they could see our daughter wearing the shirt, but she was not feeling very cooperative, so we ended up just telling them and sending the photo afterward. My brother was like “I knew it!” but he was saying that before even WE knew it, so maybe he’s psychic, or maybe he’s just wrong.

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We threw this t-shirt together with some paint pens after dinner. Not perfect, but got the point across.

The responses to second pregnancies are so interesting. From both us, as parents, and the families. Of course, everyone is happy, but it’s distinctly less exciting. I guess this is probably true for all subsequent pregnancies. I shudder to think of what it’s like in families when they announce their sixth, tenth, or more! We got some of the typical questions – how I’m feeling, if we’ll find out gender, and what our daughter thinks. Because the news was much more gradual for us this time (slowly darkening lines), there was no emotional moment like last time. However, I still treasure the picture of our slowly darkening lines as they symbolize the real coming into existence of our child. It feels magical and special in its own way. I’m taking this stark difference between the pregnancies as an early lesson that I should not have expectations that anything be the same between the pregnancies or the kids. I learned the lesson about expectations with my daughter the hard way when she arrived 5 weeks early and has continued to live life her own sparkly, stubborn, inquisitive way for the last two years.

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One note, I do think I changed batches of tests on 11DPO, which might explain the blurring of the control line. The newer tests (same brand) are quite a bit clearer.

 

4 Weeks & Beta #1

I’m waiting for yesterday’s beta test results, but feeling fairly comfortable. I don’t want to use the word confident, but I’m hopeful and optimistic. I had blood drawn at 11:15 a.m. I was going to try to go earlier, but I had a few meetings in the morning, so that was the earliest I could get there.

Because I use an HMO, my reproductive endocrinologist is an “outside provider.” This means that the RE can do tests at their clinic (some of which they require), or they can order the tests to my in-network lab. It’s free if I use my own lab, so I try to do that whenever possible. The catch is that communication between the clinic and the lab is TERRIBLE. For example, I called the clinic on Tuesday to request orders for betas on Wednesday and Friday, and the clinic sent the orders Tuesday. On Wednesday at 11:00, the lab still hadn’t processed the orders. Luckily I had a hard copy from the clinic, so they knew what vials to draw. But now my test results are lost in the system until someone releases them to either me or the RE. What typically happens is my in-network lab sends the results to my primary care provider or OB/GYN (whoever ordered them) and then they call or message me with the results. The RE doesn’t have access to the same system, so I have to call and ask my PCP to release them to me or to the RE. I sent that request to my PCP yesterday and he said he would release them as soon as he sees them. I’m hopeful he sees them this morning. The alternative is paying $40 to have the local hospital/lab do them, or even more than that to have my RE’s office do them, so I’ll be patient and save my pennies.

My hpt’s continue to darken, so that is promising. I definitely feel pregnant…exhausted, bloated, famished. I have had off and on “pinging” in my lower abdomen. I had one minor cramp on the right side this morning, but I’m hopeful it was just gas.

Now back to hitting “refresh” on my Test Results page through my health insurance every 10 minutes…

**updated to add that I finally just called the OB/GYN and had them read me the result. First beta is 149. It’s funny…she acted sorry on the phone, but she didn’t have any information about how far along I might have been when the test was taken. That number is pretty good for 13DPO. Betabase says average for 13DPO is 86 and 14DPO is 130. Now just the painful wait until the second test.

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A rare moment of her wanting contact while riding home from the airport on the bus. She fell asleep a few minutes later.

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She was very proud that she bathed Baby Eugene in the dog bowl.

Symptoms

One of the interesting features of this pregnancy as compared to my first, is that I already seem to have symptoms. I have heard (and believe) that it’s virtually impossible to have symptoms before 6ish weeks, because the hormone levels don’t rise high enough to disrupt things. However, I don’t really know how else to explain what is happening.

I have to pee All. The. Time. I remember this from early in my first pregnancy (but later than 3.5 weeks!). I know it has something to do with my bladder positioning versus the uterus, which is likely swelling a bit.

I have the worst hemorrhoids. Sorry for TMI. I’ve had them since 3DPO, and they are killer. I hate going to the restroom!

I’m exhausted. That’s possibly a symptom, but also possibly the result of me waking up at 4:00 a.m. needing to pee, and not being able to fall back to sleep as my mind spins, thinking about what the next year will bring.

I can barely button my pants. This is just absurd. Sure, I’m a little softer around the edges than last go-around. At that time I was working out pretty intensely 5 days a week. Now I’m lucky if I get two dog walks a day. I know I’m bloated (coincides with the peeing thing) but I’m really, really hoping that this is not legitimate bulging, and it will go down before I really start to show. Last time, I easily wore my regular work pants until 20 weeks!

Betas are scheduled for tomorrow and Friday. Unclear whether I’ll get Friday’s result that day or have to wait through the weekend.

Happy Mothers’ Day

Mothers’ Day isn’t a big deal in our house, despite there being two of us. Last year I think I bought my wife a bracelet (or necklace?) and we exchanged cards. This year, she gave me a little treat bag with some really nice tea, a fancy chocolate bar, and lavender hand lotion – some of my favorite things. I have not yet gotten my act together to even get her a card yet, but I’ll deal with that this week to give her a belated gift. We spent Saturday with my parents to celebrate my brother’s graduation, so we decided to postpone a mothers’ day brunch for a week or so with them. As far as I can tell, everyone is fine with letting it be not a big deal and just remembering to call and thank their moms.

We (think we) had additional reason to celebrate this mothers’ day:

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These are all dry, past the time when they are supposed to be read, but I like watching the trend.

10DPO was yesterday, mothers’ day, and it felt like we had pretty good indication that this cycle was successful. I peed on another stick this morning, and at 4:00 a.m. it looked darker, so I figured we’re making progress. When my wife got up and looked at it at 6:30 she said “It doesn’t look any darker” which of course made me paranoid that it wasn’t sticking around. As a solution, I brought a handful of tests to work today. The first one (only about 1 hour of holding my pee) is here:

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Work bathroom lighting is different, so comparison is hard. 11DPO 7:45 a.m.

I think it’s darker, as least at the five minute mark when it is supposed to be read. Today’s test is clearly positive, so there is some comfort in that.

I actually have a lot of thoughts and feelings, and they seem to be more complex than my first pregnancy. I am, of course, elated and hopeful. I am thrilled that we might get to have a squishy brand new baby around who will grow into another amazing human. Having experienced birth and parenting, though, I feel the gravity of the situation more than during our first pregnancy. (Don’t ask why I didn’t consider these things BEFORE getting pregnant…I did. They are just all much more real now!!) I’m slightly nervous about birth and whether I’ll tear as badly this time. I’m both elated and fearful of how a sibling will impact our daughter’s life. We always wanted and planned for her to have a sibling or two, and we do want that, it just feels sad knowing that she will soon be sharing her position as Center of the Universe with someone else and I know that will be hard for her at times. I’m also not entirely sure yet how we’re going to afford daycare for two kids (we will be fine, it’s just a little mind blowing to think how much we’ll need to pay every month!). I have some complex feelings about this child having a new/different donor. I have another layer of feelings about the fact that I found a third donor AFTER this insem and bought two vials of him…it’s not that I like the third one more, it just feels tricky hoping we used the best donor we could. To reiterate, I could not be more thrilled to be very, very newly pregnant, and I know I’ll love whoever comes out with every ounce of my being. I just have a condition that my wife calls “Analysis Paralysis” and I consider every possible option TOO MUCH.

Another thing that I’m choosing to just “brush past” is the fact that the cheap tests (Clin.ical Guard from Ama.zon – 25 mIU) showed a very faint positive on the evening of 9DPO and a clear positive at 11DPO. Last pregnancy, I did not think my (more expensive and sensitive) test on 11DPO was positive (there was an odd evap line much later). I’m assuming this cycle’s early positive is just because it was an early implantation. I’m choosing not to consider whether or not it’s showing up early because both of the follicles implanted. I’ll just cross that bridge if we come to it (gulp).

So, onward we trudge. I think I’ll do betas on Wednesday and Friday, hoping to get results before the weekend. I don’t want this post to feel negative, because I’m truly very, very happy. I just have some “oh shit what did we do?” hanging around with the joy.

3 weeks pregnant (?) and a half ironman

I say “3 weeks pregnant” because I am 7DPO. If it worked, then I’m technically 3 weeks in. I just like trying to think positively about it, though I really don’t have any instinct or indicators as to what might be happening. An interesting twist this cycle is that I can feel that I have really high progesterone from some tell-tale signals in my body (sore throat when I wake up, really odd and vivid dreams, and some GI slowing). These symptoms started appearing long before it was even possible for them to be symptoms of pregnancy (3DPO?), so I’m not really interpreting them as “good signs,” but more of an indicator that I did ovulate and my progesterone is now high. As far as instinct, I don’t really feel like it worked. I feel like the timing was a little late. I had a lot of EWCM on the day of the trigger and the day after, but not really much on the day of insem. However, the OPKs were negative 6 hours before the trigger. I dunno.

I feel oddly neutral about the cycle. Of course, I hope it worked, but for some reason I don’t feel that nervous dread that maybe it didn’t. Perhaps it’s because the donor is different and for the last two cycles I desperately wanted it to work with one of our daughter’s donor’s vials. If this cycle doesn’t work, it’s on to Donor Plan C, who I actually really like. I like Donor Plan B, but I’m not as attached to him as Plan A.

In other news, the first half of the TWW was eaten up by a trip to St. George, Utah for a half ironman. My wife raced very well and had her best time on this course. St. George is both a lovely and a weird place. I love the natural landscape, although it’s very hot. The green trees and red rocks are beautiful. The town is unfortunately filled with fast food, drive-throughs, and things like that. It has a distinct feeling that convenience and low prices are the highest priorities. Every single food item you purchase is way overpackaged in Styrofoam and plastic. I joked at one point that they must have put one single french fry in each box because there was so much packaging. We live in a city that uses almost entirely compostable food service items, so it’s a bit of a shock to the senses to see so much Styrofoam.

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I am notoriously bad at photographing and cheering. Wife has on the teal/orange kit and white helmet.

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Yay, finishing.

One of the best parts of St. George is the town park splash pad and creek/fountain. They are open to the public and they run every day with chlorinated water. The creek is only a few inches deep and has a nice smooth bottom with gently sloping sides, so little kids can easily navigate into and out of it or over the natural rock features. It’s well-shaded and has lots of seating nearby. The town was clearly thinking about little kids and their parents, and it gets heavily used!

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Enjoying some watermelon at the splash pad.

As far as testing, I decided to test as much as possible this round, hahaha. I typically hold out until at least 11/12DPO and then use just one or two expensive tests. This time, I’m using Clinical Guard (?) cheapies from Amazon. I can still see a faint line from the trigger, which I expected, but I’ll keep peeing away to see if the line vanishes completely or gets any darker. Feels fun to try something new, even though it might not feel fun if they are negative at 12, 13 DPO.

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We camped one night after the race. We intended to camp two, but my wife’s parents insisted on extending their hotel reservation for us for the second night so we could spend the 95 degree day at the pool and sleep in beds.

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Snow Canyon State Park. It’s small, but beautiful.

Donors

Man, there must be a lot of people out there trying to get pregnant with donor sperm! The donor we chose for #2, after MUCH deliberation, sold out of 36 vials in about a month. I only bought one and shipped it immediately, because it seemed like too big of a gamble to buy more, knowing we might never need them. I watched his inventory, and when I bought my vial, there were still 25+ vials. Then within a week it had dropped to 14, 13, then 0. So I guess he was a popular choice? His little kid photos are very endearing, and he looks good on paper.

To make myself feel better, meaning feel less pressured to have our one chance at this donor work, I started browsing for a new donor. Sure, maybe this is bad juju because I should be focusing on how my current cycle will work. And of course I’ll be thrilled if it does! But it makes me feel more calm to know we have a Plan C if Plan B doesn’t work out. (Plan A was obviously using the same donor as our daughter, which didn’t work). I don’t know how or why I didn’t see him in the many hours I spent searching for Donor #2, but I stumbled upon Donor #3. It’s possible that someone returned a stock of vials that they decided not to use, so he wasn’t previously showing up in my searches. Anyway, he’s perfect in every way that a human can look perfect in a sales ad. He had 13 vials available two days ago. I checked again this morning, and now it’s at 7. I bought one.

Let’s talk about why that was a ridiculous choice. My wife has never even seen this donor! I know she’ll like him, but still, Poor Form!! Secondly, I might never need the vial, if this cycle works! Third, I barely even read through the complete profile! Yes, I looked at the major features – health, allergies, etc., but I typically comb through every single detail and every relative’s profile looking for any reason to exclude a donor.

If I want to plead my case, the saving grace is that I can get a 75% refund if we end up not using the vial. And I don’t have to pay storage for a month. So…$690? Meh!

Regarding this cycle, things seem to be going well. I have lots of EWCM (I did yesterday too, which made me feel like we’re inseminating late). I got negative OPKs yesterday at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so I triggered at 9:30 p.m. Insem is tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m., and then we fly to a race in the early afternoon. (My wife races triathlon, though I haven’t posted about that in awhile). I have been able to feel the large follicles in my right ovary the last day. I don’t always have mittleschmerz (the feeling of ovulation), but for some reason this month, the follies are making their presence known. I’m hoping they hang on and wait to set sail until tomorrow morning.

Anywho, here’s a few pictures from a recent hike. Spring has sprung here in Colorado (after a long, snowy late-winter) and I’ve been getting out with the dogs and the hiking backpack most Saturday mornings. My co-pilot enjoys the adventures.IMG_4776.JPGIMG_4783.JPGIMG_4791.JPG

“Daddy”

I did not expect this to be happening this early. At 22 months, our daughter is fixated on daddies. We call ourselves Mama and Mommy, though she mostly calls us both Mama. I call my father “Dad,” but she rarely hears it, because we refer to him as “Poppie” to her, and she calls him “Pop pop.” Her grandfather on the other side is “Papa,” and she uses that with some regularity. We aren’t really around that many men who are “daddies” very often, though some are older fathers and others will be fathers soon. We have a few books in our house that probably refer to a dad, but really not that many – most of the books we read with her are pretty benign…Brown Bear, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, etc. Same with the occasional shows she’s allowed to watch – they rarely identify any kind of family structure.

The only thing we can think is that they are talking about it at daycare. Two of the kids have a traditional family – one with hetero parents and an only child (but they don’t speak a lot of English, so I kind of doubt the kid is walking around talking about his daddy), and one who has mom, dad, brother, and sister. I’m betting that this is where it’s coming from. Knowing this little girl, she probably shrieks and runs to her dad when he picks her up with great enthusiasm, so it’s probably caught a lot of attention. The third little girl has one mom, and no dad has ever been mentioned, but she is the oldest and most verbal, so our kid might be picking up some of what this girl is processing.

It’s manifesting like this: at the pool last week, a dad was playing with his kids and my daughter started pointing and saying loudly, “Daddy!” “Daddy!” I tried to confirm her label and then went on to label the Grandma in the pool with a kid, the other mommies in the pool, the big brothers, etc. She was just fixated on this one dad, and at one point said “My daddy.” Another way it has come up is these stupid fish toys she has in the bath. There is a red, yellow, and blue fish. They have no other real distinctions, and no gender indications. She’s had them for awhile, but yesterday, suddenly the blue fish became “Daddy Fish” and it was the only one she wanted to play with. I tried asking which one was Mama Fish or Mommy Fish, but she just ignored me and kept telling me blue was Daddy.

My wife is pretty bothered by this and wants to ask the caregiver if they’re talking about it at daycare. I don’t think there is any point to that, because I highly doubt it has ever occurred to the caregiver not to use a hetero-normative framework for language development and play. Of course we can try to guide her, and maybe we should reinforce that our daughter needs to be hearing about many family structures and not feeling like one is “best.” The caregiver is a divorced mom of two adult kids and 55ish, so I don’t think she’s really rigid about what family structure is “right.” She’s never given us any indication that she has any problem with our family, though she does happen to have a few Christian kids books around. I can’t tell if that’s because she bought them at church/yard sales, or because they are hers from when her kids were little. Until now I had figured that our daughter understood too little to really grasp the Christian themes, but now I’m starting to wonder.

When my daughter starts talking about “Daddy” I feel a pang of guilt because she doesn’t have one and she’s clearly intrigued by them. I know, logically, that she has two good parents and that’s more than a lot of people. I also know that as she grows, we’ll be able to have better conversations about it and let her know it’s okay to feel whatever it is she’s feeling, but we hope she knows she is loved by her parents. Part of me is glad we’re getting this out of the way now, not that it’s an open-closed kind of conversation, but rather that we’re all going to have to start navigating it together and not be thrown for a loop when she starts kindergarten and suddenly realizes her family is different from others.

When does this stuff normally come up? Is this early, or was I just not paying attention? How have/will you discuss genders and parents with toddlers? We always use very inclusive language and we talk about many friends who have varying family structures. Any insight is welcome!IMG_4819.JPGIMG_4811.JPG

Data Update

Only because I like to see it all in one place…I don’t expect this to be interesting to anyone else.

IUI #1 (September 2015)
CD 4-8: 100 mg Clomid
CD 10: 16, 14, 12 mm follies
CD 12: 21, 16, 13 mm follies
CD 13: Trigger at 1:00 a.m.
CD 14: Insem (1:00 p.m.)

IUI #2 (October 2015 – Pregnancy)
CD 3-9: 100 mg Clomid
CD 12: 18, 17 on left, 17 on right
CD 13: Trigger at 10:00 p.m.
CD 15: Insem (10:00 a.m.)

Cancelled Cycle (December 2017)
CD 3-9: 100 mg Clomid
CD 12: 12mm on right
CD 14: 14mm
CD 17: 17mm (Cancelled)

IUI #3 (January 2018)
CD 3-9: 150 mg Clomid
CD 11: 13(?) on left with trailers
CD 14: 21, 18, 14.5 on left
CD 14: Trigger at 9:00 p.m. (Early, maybe a mistake)
CD 16: Insem at 11:00 a.m.

IUI #4 (February 2018)
CD 3-9: 150 mg Clomid
CD 12: 18.5 on right, 16.8, 16.1, 15, 14 on left, Estrace 2x/day vaginally
CD 14: 22 on right, 21, 20, 18 on left (with possibly another hidden). Lining was 9 mm.
+OPK at 3:00 p.m., Trigger at 5:00 p.m.
CD 15: Insem at 11:00 a.m.

IUI #5 (April 2018)
CD 4-10: 150 mg Clomid
CD 12: 17 and 16 on right, 12 on left. Lining was 4 mm. Estrace 2x/vaginally
CD 14: 19 and 18 on right, 13 (or 14?) on left. Lining was 9mm.
CD 15: Trigger at 9:00 p.m. (scheduled)
CD 17: Insem at 11:00 a.m. (scheduled)

 

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I had my follicle check on Saturday morning (CD 12) and I had two 17mm follies on the right and only a 12mm on the left. Typically my left ovary is a much stronger performer. This whole cycle has felt a little half-assed to me, probably because I haven’t been trying to do anything to help it along (meditation, eating anything special, etc.). So, I wasn’t too surprised to find out I only had two ripe follicles and my lining was pretty thin. My instructions were to keep testing the OPK, start popping the estrogen pills in my vagina, and plan to trigger on Monday for a Wednesday insem.

It was kind of a goofy follicle check, because it was a nurse who I did not know. I usually have one of the three ultrasound techs, who I know pretty well. I was not totally confident that the nurse knew what she was doing, because it was a very brief sweep through my left ovary. I’m probably just hoping she was wrong, because I want more follicles on that side.

Considering that the clomid was late, I’m not surprised that I didn’t have more follicles, but I’m slightly disappointed it’s only two. Of course, two is plenty, and there is a possibility that before ovulation more will rise to the occasion. Since I had 4 or 5 ripe follicles last time and it didn’t even work, 2 feels like a poor performance. Logically, I know that any one single egg can be “the one” and quantity does not always equal quality.

Starting Saturday morning, I have been putting in a procrastinated effort to boost things along. I’ve upped my maca root intake to 3000mg (I was previously taking 1000 or 2000 each day). I’ve been swigging raspberry leaf tea to help my lining, popping estrace 3 times/day, and drinking tons of water.

The cycle package I buy with my clinic includes two ultrasounds, so I decided to use the second one this morning to find out how things are going. I’m still getting flashing smileys, meaning my estrogen has risen but my LH has not surged yet. I’m 99% sure that after today’s ultrasound, they’ll schedule me to trigger late tonight for an insem on Wednesday. My gut instinct is that more follicles have cropped up (at least the 12mm ont he left side) so I’m running a small gamble that I’ll show 4 or 5, and they’ll balk at the high number again. I’ll update the data later today when I have new measurements.