Bike to Work Day!

This is practically a national holiday at our house (and in Colorado). We put it on the calendar and look forward to it for weeks to come. Last year we missed out, because we were busy watching a brand new baby sleep in the NICU. This year, we were prepared.

After the devastating news that IUI #5 led to miscarriage #3, my wife wanted to lift her spirits through retail therapy by getting a new bike. This has been on our radar for awhile, so it wasn’t a complete impulse purchase. And we prepared by selling two older bikes, so much of the cost was absorbed and extra space was created. We are bike people, so when some folks might purchase new shoes or a new purse, we buy/sell some bikes for fun.

Monday night we went out to test ride a few bikes and have a beer at our local coffee shop/bike store/bar. I chose the new commuter (aka hybrid, or urban). Unfortunately they didn’t have the right size in their inventory, so they called some other local shops and found one a few miles away. Because le bebe was ready for dinner and bed, we headed home. Tuesday we went to retrieve the new bike (and several accessories that we don’t really need like neon pink cycling socks). This morning we were all up and early to ride around town and eat free breakfasts! We hauled the babe out in her seat, even though “work” for her meant staying at our home with her grandma for the day. Weather was great, the stops are plentiful, and for a moment we got to feel like we were in the Netherlands where bikes dominate the intersections.

I was about 45 minutes late to work, but it was worth it overall. This evening there will be “bike parties” at several local restaurants and bars for the evening bike commuters to stop for a drink or app. Do you celebrate bike to work day? Is this just a US thing, or does Canada do something similar?

IMG_2244.JPGimage2(10).JPGimage1(15).JPG

Advertisements

RPL

Per usual, I have a bunch of things I would like to blog about (our daughter’s first birthday, our trip to San Antonio/Austin, our upcoming trip to the California coast, etc.) but today’s topic is a bit of a downer.

We’re officially categorized as RPL, or Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. This cycle, IUI #5, we got the positive home test at 13DPO (CBE Digital), and then a beta of 11 on 16 DPO. A quick snapshot of the statistics thus far:

Unmedicated IUI#1 – Nada
Unmedicated IUI#2 – Faint positive HPT around 15 & 16 DPO, 33 day cycle, but we didn’t make it in for beta tests before AF showed up.
Unmedicated IUI#3 – Nada
Medicated IUI#4 – Positive HPT, Betas at 130ish and 80ish. Natural miscarriage at 7ish weeks
Medicated IUI#5 – Positive HPT, 16 DPO Beta at 11…looking like a 31 day cycle (TBD).

For those counting, that’s 3 positives in 5 cycles. What the heck is going wrong?! We did genetic testing and chromosomal testing. The lining improved a lot on this last cycle.

We will try one more IUI cycle, but sadly we are going to be traveling to California for the next week, so we’ll miss the requisite follicle check around CD10 and have to wait until the following cycle to try again. After the IUI, we’re open to doing IVF (ooofta to the cost), but it’s hard to know whether it would be worth it since the problem seems to be MAINTAINING a pregnancy, not getting pregnant.

If anyone has any experience or insight, I’d love to hear it.

And one photo from San Antonio this week, because posts without photos are no fun:

IMG_2209.JPG

First Birthday Denial

In just a few days, I’ll have a one year-old. For many reasons, that just does not seem real to me at all. This post will likely sound like a therapy session starting in a few moments one sentence ago, but I feel like I need to write it anyway.

First of all, the fact that she came early lingers as a tender wound in my heart. She was due toward the end of July, and she came June 20th. I still have to work hard to wrap my mind around her birthday being in June and her being a Gemini. I have absolutely no negative feelings about June or Geminis…it’s just not what I expected. I’ve learned that expectations around birth, parenting, and children are big, heavy things, and re-aligning them (even to equally lovely realities) can be really hard work. I don’t know why that is, but it’s true for me, at least.

I also feel a lot of guilt around her prematurity. I don’t know that there was anything I could have done to prevent it (my water broke spontaneously in the middle of the night after a completely healthy and uneventful pregnancy), but I still blame myself for all of the challenges she has faced after starting life outside the womb five weeks early.

The fact that she is TINY and still appears to be anywhere from 4-9 months old makes it harder to think of her as one. Twelve months. No longer a baby. At 15 pounds, we’re getting SO CLOSE to being on the growth chart (yay!), but when I see other 12 month-olds, I’m blown away by how bulky and sturdy they seem! She’s tall, her head is great, but she’s just a diminutive person.

Developmentally, she’s ahead with some things (she’s very smart, uses her pointer fingers and pincer grasp like a three year-old, communicates very well, and toilets like a pro), but she has gotten very delayed in gross motor skills, which makes her seem younger in a lot of ways. When I say “She’s almost one” to people when my daughter is not present, they respond “Oh, is she walking??” I cringe a little inside. She’s not walking. She’s standing while holding things all the time, but I know that she is months away from having the coordination to walk independently. She doesn’t crawl, and it’s not looking like she will (we have PT for this), and she’s able to roll but doesn’t really care to.

I should also mention the general denial most (all?) parents feel about their children aging – where did the time go? How are they already this old? Am I doing enough? Am I savoring enough? How can I get time to slow down?

So my denial is manifesting in a few ways. First of all, I don’t even think about where we were a year ago (getting excited to become parents, preparing for a baby shower that never happened, celebrating Father’s Day with my dad). Second of all, I don’t spend much time re-living the labor and first hours of her life. In fact, I completely forgot that we were sitting in the NICU for fourth of July fireworks last year, and this year in my mind I thought “This will be fun – her first fourth of July!”

My denial is also manifesting in the fact that we’re not planning a party. This is partly because I am philosophically opposed to huge birthday bashes for babies who don’t even understand what is happening. It’s also due to the fact that we have family in town this weekend and we’re traveling next weekend, so a party didn’t really fit into the schedule. Lastly, we don’t want any more stuff coming into our house, and parties equal gifts. But I would be lying if I said that my denial about reaching this milestone didn’t play a part in me ignoring how quickly this date has been approaching and not planning accordingly. Side note: we WILL celebrate her with our families when the schedules open up a little bit in mid-July, which will be close to her actual due date. Maybe that’s an unhealthy reinforcement of my expectations that didn’t materialize. (eye roll)

I don’t want this to sound too complain-y. I am SO, SO grateful for the last year. It has been a roller coaster, but it’s been great in so many ways. I will definitely write a positive and cheery “Yay for the first year” post within the next week – I just need to get some of this out of the way first. Also, I absolutely love my pip squeak, exactly as she is. I never anticipated having a somewhat frightening, early, and traumatic delivery, a tiny child with developmental delays, or a Gemini in our house, but I would not change her for a million bucks.

In conclusion, here are cute photos to reward you for reading my cathartic post about emotional birth and parenting baggage. Kisses!

image1(14).JPG

Chocolate “ice cream” face.

image3(3).JPGimage2(9).JPG

 

Postpartum Periods

All right, mamas. I’m almost a YEAR postpartum. I have had 4-5 periods (starting at 8 weeks). I had quite a bit of damage to my vaginal wall during delivery with MANY, MANY stitches, but everything has pretty well healed up, according to the doctor.

Anyway, I come to you looking for recommendations. I seem to no longer be able to use tampons. They are extremely uncomfortable going in, I can’t seem to get them up far enough, they leak, they sometimes fall out, and it’s just a disaster.

I’ve used a Diva cup in the past, and I didn’t love it, but I would be willing to try again with a Dive Cup #2. My only other alternative seems to be pads. Boo.

Thoughts? Advice? Helpful hints?

Bottles and Pacifiers

Well, at 11 months (10 months adjusted age) we’re officially done with infant dishes, it seems. After almost a year of having this grey plastic bin next to the sink to catch all of the Dr. Brown’s parts and pacifiers, I’m putting it away and I feel sad about it. Our daughter quit the pacifier at about six months. She took it as a newborn in the NICU and we relied on it heavily in the car and when I wasn’t around through her first months. Eventually, she started getting angrier when you tried to pop it in, so it made things worse rather than better, I guess I am happy we won’t have to deal with weaning her later, but it’s still a little bit sad and I wish we had that easy soothing effect.

Our nanny told me this week that I don’t need to send the nipple/bottle parts to the bottles anymore, because she hasn’t taken the bottle for several weeks. I knew this was coming. Again, we started with the bottle from Day 1, though she’s always shown a strong preference for the boob. It worked moderately well for her to get some milk (never more than about 5 ounces…) while I was at work, but now she’s refusing it entirely. The nanny tries to get milk in through cereal, smoothies, and spoons, but it’s hit and miss. Again, I thought we would be able to get the comforting/nourishing benefit of the bottle for SEVERAL more months, but this kid does things her own way.

She continues to breast feed heavily when I pick her up at 3:00 and into the evening, so I know she’s still getting the benefit. It’s ironic to me that I have a strong supply and a kid who couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, she also hates EVERY kind of sippy cup, so we’re just working on regular cups or spoons. She does use a straw, so that’s a small win, but she prefers to just blow bubbles or suck it all up and dribble it down her front for fun.

I’ll be glad to put away the countertop clutter for now, but it’s hard to let go of all those tiny baby things, as many of you know well. Feeling kind of blue.

Weekend Fun

Our weekends tend to be pretty full, but I never really write about them. Every once in awhile we get one of those really nice relaxing weekends where I spend hours nurse/napping with baby in our bed, reading the internet or a book on my kindle. Those are rare.

This weekend we drove the the Flagship REI on Friday night to get a new commuter for my wife (she had been saving up REI gift cards for about a year). She wanted a specific type of bike to put the baby seat on, so we had to go to this location to buy it. Saturday morning we pulled up carpet out of the baby’s room. We have been replacing the flooring in our condo, because the main areas were an AWFUL tile and we wanted something cleaner. A few months ago we did the living room, kitchen, and hallway. The new wood has been amazing. But we’ve been biding our time until we were prepared to do the next phase: bedrooms. So, this weekend we sucked it up and moved all the furniture out of the baby’s room (which is really more of an extra-large closet, since she doesn’t sleep in there). We pulled off the baseboard, pulled up the carpet, and pried up the tack strips. My wife ran to home depot to rent the chop saw and I laid the underlayment. Finally we were off and running laying floor. It took Saturday to clear it out and Sunday to install. This is a small room, so it was much easier than Phase 1. Now we just have to finish our bedroom/closet/hallway. After that, we’ll tackle baseboard and some of the door trim. And painting the awful DARK BROWN doors that are everywhere in the house. The previous owner went crazy with this dark brown stain and it is just atrocious. I cannot wait to be rid of it! Also, I found this super cute rug for baby’s room, but I think it might mean I need to paint over my modern grey paint job. Ideas? Find a new rug that matches the walls or suck it up and paint the walls AGAIN before we replace the trim? Also, ignore the light switch hanging out of the wall above the dog. It’s totally safe and up to code. The dimmer box just doesn’t fit back into the hole in the wall. :/

image1(14).JPG

Between work tasks, we managed to get the bike seat and install it on the new commuter. It’s hilarious. I mean, the minimum weight requirement is 20 pounds, but hey, why not start at 14.5 pounds?? (Don’t answer that – I know why and I promise, we’re really only working on getting her acclimated to it – she’s not hitting the roads). She overall seems to like it. There is still a decent amount of head movement, especially if the bike sways side to side, so we have to be pretty controlled and steady in starts, stops, and pedaling. That’s okay – it’s really just for some fun loops around the parking lot until she gets a little bigger and stronger. Also, did you know they made helmets this small? Hilarious! As an aside, when I texted this photo to my mom, her response was “Her feet are going to get sunburned!?!?!” Leave it to grandma.

image2(8).JPG

Lastly, after a few other chores, I finally got to bottle my kombucha. I’m attempting raspberry/lemon/ginger. I cannot WAIT to find out if it takes even remotely like it should. My first ferment went pretty well – I was surprised at how much it tasted like GT’s kombucha that you buy in stores. I’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday if this all worked out. Meanwhile, I started my SCOBY up with another round of tea for my second batch. I need more jars!!

IMG_1989.JPG

Kombucha

Completely unrelated to pregnancy or parenting of children, I’m now “raising” a jar of kombucha. I’ve been super annoying about it – wanting my wife to leave one of the kitchen lights on over the sink because it warms the area juuuuust enough, not wanting the jar to get jostled, peering in at it 6 times a day to see how much it is bubbling. I’m a little obsessed, and SO excited. I pay like $3.50 for a bottle of this stuff from the store, so I typically have one every few weeks or so. Soon? I’ll be drinking it daily! I can’t wait to start experimenting with flavors.

When we lived in Eugene, Oregon, I thought folks were nuts for trying to brew their own kombucha at home. Mind you, I’d just moved from Vail, where such granola crunchiness was not en vogue. Now? I’m thinking, why didn’t I start this sooner! Next up…sauerkraut. Yay, home fermenting!

IMG_1959.JPG

And for fun, here’s a picture of my kid choosing her own eggs from the dozen my mom’s chickens just produced. Don’t we sound like hippies?!IMG_1344.JPG

TTC#2 Update

We’ve now done four rounds of IUI with my wife. The first three were natural – waited for OPK+ and then inseminated at the office. The last one was medicated with low dose of clomid and a trigger shot. The second and fourth both gave us HPT+. Both ended very early.

During our follicle check for IUI#4, wife’s lining was only 4mm at CD10. They immediately started estrogen pills up the hooha, and at insem (CD15) the lining was only 6mm. We still got a positive at home, but then the betas were decreasing (I don’t remember the actual numbers but something like 180 on CD17 and 130 on CD19). We knew right away that it wasn’t going to stick around. Unfortunately, wife’s parents were in town when we got the positive, so we told them. I called the lab to find out the beta the same day they were flying out. I had to tell my wife that the beta was dropping, which had to be one of the hardest phone calls of my life. She then called her parents at the airport. Big bummer. At least we found out early, before we became too attached and before we made too many plans. It was extra hard to lose the baby that was due on Christmas, because we thought that would be fun.

We watched the beta slowly drop over the next week, and finally she bled at about 6 weeks. It passed relatively painlessly – she said cramps were worse than with a period, but not so much that she needed anything but advil.

Our clinic won’t try again until the beta reaches zero, so this cycle means we sit out (her beta was still around 40 right before she miscarried). It’s looking like her next cycle, which we hope will be IUI#5, will start around May 25th. Theoretically that would mean a March baby, which is always one of the first things I consider. Spring birthdays seem great, so we hope that works.

Hopefully this cycle the doctor will do something to increase her lining. I’m almost positive that’s what is causing these early miscarriages. I think the little nugget is fertilizing and trying to implant but just not getting enough blood flow to dig in. On the upside, she’s shooting a 50% success rate at insemination, anyway. Anyone have any experience thickening linings? We’ve only done one cycle of clomid, and they may try femara this round, so I don’t think that has had a huge effect on lining yet. Meanwhile I think we’ll be doing raspberry leaf tea, pineapple, pomegranate, and beet, because why not?

Nap Training

So, this 10-month old has now made clear that she does NOT want to sleep without a nipple in her mouth. This has been an evolving theme. Early on, she would nurse and then often take a pacifier. It would sometimes pop out or sometimes she would keep it in while she slept, but either way, she slept. As she became more aware and more assertive, she decided that she didn’t really like pacifiers. She would take it occasionally to soothe herself in the car, but when it was offered as an alternative to the human nipple, she raged. Around the same time, she started rejecting bottles, because, well, synthetic materials just don’t meet her standards. I used to be able to at least get her near to sleep by nursing, and then let her fall asleep on her own, next to me. At this point, though, if the nipple leaves her mouth, she immediately starts whining, writhing, and push/kicking me to give it back. When I do manage to sneak out of the room with her asleep, she’ll only stay asleep for 20-30 minutes before she realizes that her nipple is gone and she wakes up.

While I’m still willing to accommodate her for at least a few more weeks, the nanny is STRUGGLING to get any decent naps in. Last week, she mentioned that she would like to start some kind of nap training. At first my stomach clenched and I thought NO WAY. I just don’t really want the baby to lay there and cry, wondering why she is not being helped. I know that’s silly. I know there is nothing wrong with her figuring out that she does NOT need a nipple (or someone holding her) for her to sleep. It’s just an emotional reaction. Also, I figure I’m paying the nanny to tend to her, so if it’s burdensome, oh well.

After several days of reflection, I’m actually considering letting the nanny try to let the baby cry it out just a little bit. For one, she does need better naps – two or three broken 20/30 minute snoozes are not enough. She gets to me at 3:00 and could nap for 3 hours straight (with nipple). For two, my back freaking hurts from laying in the position that allows her to nurse endlessly all night long. For three, it’s got to happen sometime, right? For four (fore), I can tell that her self-awareness is MUCH greater than it was a few months ago when her cries signaled fear and confusion. At this point her cries mostly signal irritation, frustration, or outright anger. I’m more okay with her working through those emotions than I am with her lying there scared and confused about why she is alone.

So, hive-mind, what say ye? Tips, tricks, advice to teach a 10-month old to nap? I’m open to hearing anything you have to give. I haven’t read any of the sleep books since the first few weeks postpartum when I was just SURE we were going to avoid bad habits, create a restful, healthy, sleep pattern, and do ALL the right things as new parents! Ha!image1(12).JPG

Babysitting

You guys, we babysat. To those of you with multiple kids, feel free to roll your eyes and laugh at my naivete. To those of you with one bebe like us, HOLY SHIT, IT WAS HARD! Our friends are photographers and they needed some help with their two month-old while they did a shoot from 4ish to 9ish. I was more than happy to help out, and we prepped our house to host two nappers, eaters, etc. Our friends hung out from noon to 4, so they were managing their own daughter for that time. She’s cute, snuggly, and still so floppy. I FORGOT how floppy! I remember being the nervous parent instructing friends and family to be EXTRA supportive of her body parts, but then I was the one holding the baby while nervous mom hovered nearby to make sure I used enough care/support. I felt like such a noob!

After our friends left, I seriously felt panicky about tending to two babies. Was it rational? No. Were we matched man-to-man? Yes. But for some reason, I was sweating bullets! I also had some SERIOUS mom guilt…was I able to provide our daughter with the care/attention she is used to? Did she notice that I was distracted and not truly focusing on her consumption of sweet potatoes and beets in her dining chair? I know this all sounds crazy. It felt crazy.

I eventually took both girls for a walk – the 10 month old in the Lillebaby and the 2 month old in the bassinet/stroller. That worked fine for about 30 minutes. Then, the little one couldn’t fall asleep in this foreign environment. I let her fuss for a few minutes thinking maybe she would work herself into a snooze. Nope. At one point, because she’s so little and I’m now used to a 10 month-old whine/cry, I was asking her, “Are you really crying? Like, is that for real? On a scale of 1-5, would you say this is serious?” I promise, it didn’t last more than 2-3 minutes. At that point, I pulled the big girl out of the carrier, set her sitting up in the bassinet, and gingerly picked up the crying (it was real) newborn into the chest carrier. My daughter then played with every single fold, zipper, button and wrinkle while sitting up as we carefully continued our walk. About 10 minutes later, the wee babe was asleep and the big girl started to fuss, reaching for me. Ugh. I momentarily contemplated whether she could ride on my shoulders while I pushed an empty stroller home. I was able to plop the big girl on the ground where she happily started grabbing bark and twigs, carefully transfer the sleeper into the bassinet, then move the other one onto my chest. Anyone watching this debacle out their window had to think I was nuts. At that point, my daughter wanted to nurse, which is not the most comfortable or convenient setup in the carrier, but we made it work. The little one soon started to fuss and I texted my wife for reinforcement. She laughed at me.

image1(11).JPG

We were all smiles at the beginning…

I was surprised at how strong my “divided loyalties” guilt was. I was also surprised at how my 10 month old seemed to understand that at certain moments, she just needed to ride along with the circus, because the baby was demanding some attention. It SERIOUSLY made me reconsider my commitment to having 3 kids. I suddenly understand how 2 is plenty for many people. I am in absolute AWE of those who manage more than two, especially with just one parent home! It also gave me a newfound respect for our nanny, who manages her 4 year-old with our daughter on some days.

Obviously, if we’re lucky enough to have a second (or third) the older sibling(s) will be much more competent at the time (I think?). It will be less like a baby juggle and more like a toddler chase with passenger (I hope). And I’m sure that it is like a lot of parts of parenting…you just have to jump in and things will get easier with practice and confidence.

My hats are off to you, mamas and papas of multiple kids! I now understand how having more than one kid simultaneously sleeping in the evening is one of the most gratifying feelings in the world!

image1(10).JPG

My wife trying to button the last button on our daughter’s pajamas while our visitor relaxed on her lap.