Wednesday, 4 December 2013

One Perfect Heartbeat

What lovely words I've just typed as the title to this post.

One perfect heartbeat.

That's what The Hubby and I saw at our ultrasound today. Well actually what we saw was a fuzzy blob with a dense center that was flickering like crazy. Since this isn't our first pregnancy, we knew instantly that our little embryo was officially viable.

What an amazing feeling.

So here we go again. Our third pregnancy. Our second pregnancy after a devastating loss. Do they call the second pregnancy after a loss a rainbow baby too? Maybe that's just for the first one.

I feel very different than I did when I was pregnant with Frostina. I just went back and looked at my blog post after this same ultrasound and I realize that I am in a very different place now.

Obviously I have Frostina to chase around and keep me too busy to obsess about every little detail. But the biggest difference is that I'm not nearly as terrified. Of course I know all to well that things can and do go wrong. Of course I know just how devastating that can be. Yet somehow, I am able to be optimistic. In spite of everything, I feel hopeful, and that's something I was unable to feel at this early stage with Frostina's pregnancy.

So I hope that's progress. And obviously I hope and pray that everything continues to go well with this pregnancy. I hope and pray that in July of 2014 we are able to bring this baby home to join our little family. I hope and pray for take-home baby number two!

I hope and pray.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Beta Results Are In

I know I'm late in posting about this so apologies all around.

Beta 1 and 2 results are in and I am officially pregnant!

I'm still in shock.

I'm already starting to feel nauseous which I'm seeing as a good sign. Only a newly pregnant woman wishes for nausea.

Anyway, ultrasound is in a week and half so now I'm praying for a heartbeat.

Wow, I still can't believe this is really happening.

Donor eggs really are amazing!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Of Course I Tested Early

Obviously we all know you are supposed to wait until beta test day to find out if your most recent assisted fertility treatments have worked.

But obviously I have ZERO patience so I always test early.

Just peed on a stick and the result is......... POSITIVE!

It's early days for sure and I won't know until beta day (next Tuesday) for sure. This could be a chemical pregnancy, but I'm hopeful that it's not.

Fingers crossed everyone!

Friday, 8 November 2013


I'm officially PUPO. For those of you who have not had to burden yourselves with learning all the lingo and abbreviations that go along with infertility, PUPO means pregnant until proven otherwise.

The transfer went well. It was quite a whirlwind trip and I hardly had time to think about what was going on before it was over and done with. I missed Frostina, but not on the flights. I watched other parents walking up and down the aisles with their children and was sooooo happy it wasn't me for once.

We transferred one perfect embryo and had a couple left over to freeze. I'm hoping we won't need them, but it's nice to know they are there.

Stick little embryo, stick!

Now the dreaded 2 week wait.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Countdown To Transfer

Things have been crazy around here and I've been really bad at giving updates on my upcoming donor egg IVF cycle. I finally have a transfer date..... this Wednesday, the 6th of November. Eeek!

I've got my tickets booked to fly to the clinic and now I've just got to get my parents up to speed on Frostina's routine. Lucky me, I was able to fly to my parent's house last week so I can leave Frostina with them while I have my transfer done. The Hubby has to work out of town this week so if it wasn't them then I would have to hire my once-a-week babysitter for 3 days straight, including overnights. She was happy to do it, but I have no idea how much that would have cost me.

Probably less than a flight to the US, but my parents are absolutely loving all the extra time with their granddaughter so it's all worth it. Plus I don't have to worry nearly as much about her. All I have to worry about is staying sane and not freaking out too much between now and Wednesday.

I'm sure I will update you more this week since for at least a few days I won't have a super busy toddler to wrangle. Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to a plane ride without someone climbing all over me? One where I can actually read a book and watch a movie?

I'm doing my best to stay positive and am operating on the philosophy that this will work and in a few weeks I will be getting a positive pregnancy test, and after 9 months,,,, a healthy baby brother or sister for Frostina. Fingers and toes crossed.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Such A Cute View

Frostina was a bit of a late crawler which had me pretty worried for a while there. Once she got the hang of that it wasn't long until she was walking. It's been nice to finally see her being able to keep up with the other toddlers her age. *Side note- I love that I can say I have a toddler* She is having a blast exploring the world around her.

Now that she's walking I notice that I do a lot more chasing than I used to. She's getting really quick these days. Especially if I have forgotten to shut the baby gate or a door leading into a forbidden room. Then she's off with a squeal and a flash.

I find I spend quite a bit of time looking at the back of her, and the view is pretty cute. Don't you think?

Exploring our back garden

Checking out her shadow

On the way to the Halloween Parade

At the local park

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Babyloss Rememberance Day

I so wish that this wasn't a day that I mark every year on the calendar.

Today and everyday I remember my beloved son. I also honor and remember all of your precious babies who you can only hold in your heart.

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Strange IVF Cycle

I apologise for the lack of posts about my IVF cycle. For some reason I'm having a tough time expressing my feelings about it. Not just here in this space, but in real life as well. I'm operating as if I'm not really doing this.

As if I'm not actually injecting myself with hormones that make me crazy tired and crazy emotional. As if I'm not a week away from getting updates on my donor's progress. As if I don't have a schedule that includes an estimated embryo transfer date.  As if I don't have to fly to the US for transfer in a few short weeks. As if we're not putting all our hopes and dreams into this.

Because we are, and I am.

But for whatever reason, I'm not allowing myself to focus on it too much. I don't know if it's because I'm just too busy with Frostina, or if it's something else. All I know is that I want it just as much as when we were trying to conceive my son, and as much as when we were trying to conceive Frostina. I just can't bring myself to think about it too much.

It's strange.

Monday, 7 October 2013

How To Spot A Fake Blogger

What happens when a blog you follow suddenly feels like it's not real? When it suddenly starts to read like fiction? When you go back into the archives and start to wonder if any of the horrible things that have happened to the writer actually happened?

What do you do?

I'm going to go slightly off topic today. Not because I have nothing else to say about missing my son, or about my ongoing donor egg IVF cycle. I have lots to say about that. But something has distracted me and I can't get it off my mind.

I am starting to think that a blog I read occasionally may be a fabrication. I know, it's a horrible accusation to make. After all, I've had devastating things happen to me: things I've written about here in this very space. Unthinkable things like babies dying after a perfectly normal pregnancy. Tragic things like picking up the pieces and starting over after life deals you one of the worst hands it's got.

I know these things do happen and that people do talk about them. But somehow this particular blog is starting to seem unreal. So many different horrible things have happened to it's author. And everything happens so fast. Jumping from one tragedy to another, like a soap opera.There's hardly a break before the next big thing.

If you are reading this post then I can assure you that your blog is not the one I'm talking about. I am almost 100% sure that the person who writes the blog in question doesn't follow mine. I don't think I've ever commented on her blog and I know for sure she's never commented on mine. My blog is small potatoes compared to hers so I'm pretty sure I'm not on her radar.

I had originally started following her story when it was nothing like mine. She had different struggles than I do but I was attracted to her writing and I wanted a happy ending for her.Yet it seems that each time she reaches the end of one struggle, another one quickly takes it's place. Things that are unrelated to the previous issue she was battling.

I actually stopped following her story quite a while ago, after something she was writing about didn't sit well with me. At the time I felt she was a bit smug and presuming and my interest in her journey started to wane. But I still check in from time to time and it was recently that I read something that made me start to doubt it all.

So I think I won't "pop" over to see what's next for her. I think I'm done. It's a shame, especially if it all turns out to be true and she really has had THAT many terrible things happen in succession. If it's all really true then I suppose it's shame on me for not believing. 

Has this ever happened to you? Do we take for granted that people who take the time to write and share their stories are telling the truth? Does it really matter?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Same, But Very Different

I've started my Lupron injections which means my current donor egg IVF cycle is officially underway.

There are lots of ways that this cycle feels very much like the ones we did a couple of years ago. I have dug out my Bag 'O Meds from the garage and filled it up with a new batch of medication, needles, cotton balls, alcohol wipes, bandaids, and of course my sharps container. I have printed my injection schedule and am crossing off the days as they go.

I'm feeling like I remember feeling the last time I started on all the hormones. I have been crying at stupid things like X-Factor. Not that X-Factor is stupid of course, but it's nothing to cry over. I'm nervous and excited just like last time as well.

But this cycle is very different than last time for one huge reason; and that reason is Frostina.

It is very different going through an IVF cycle when you have a living child to take care of. The last time around I was broken and lonely and absolutely desperate for a living child. Not just to fill the hole left in my heart when my son died, but to finally complete our family. I spent hours upon hours obsessing over every detail of my upcoming cycle. I had everything mapped out. I had a special place to do my injections and quite a bit of mental warm up before each one. I was focused.

This time around I just don't have the time to be obsessed. I don't have the time to calm myself mentally before doing each injection. I don't have time to focus. This time around I have to work them around Frostina and her needs.

This means that my daily injections look a bit like this.
  1. Wait until after Frostina has finished her morning milk. Otherwise she will run around the room with her sippy cup leaving a trail of milk in her wake.
  2. Put a children's program on the TV (hooray for the electronic babysitter).
  3. Quickly dash out of the room when she's not looking and go to my bedroom.
  4. Collect Bag 'O Meds from the closet (where I have to hide it from Frostina).
  5. Unpack meds and do injection.
  6. If Frostina starts crying before I'm done, try my best to ignore her and hurry up.
  7. Clean up, making sure not to leave anything behind that Frostina can get her hands on.
  8. Go back out to the living room and hope she hasn't managed to get into anything she wasn't supposed to when I was gone. 
Thankfully once the Lupron is done I can do the rest of the injections in the evening after Frostina has gone to bed. That will make things much more calm.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

IVF- More Than Just An Injection Schedule

I'm not feeling very eloquent these days but I want to do more in this space than just list the stats and dates for this donor egg IVF cycle. There are a million places where you can read about all that and since I'm not a medical expert but a blogger, I realise that what I want to do here is talk about the journey.

It's easy to get caught up in the dates and the schedule and all the acronyms. You have to keep track of when to start each medicine and when to stop. Injections are carefully timed within a few hours of each other each day. In my case I even have to figure in time differences so that when I travel abroad I don't end up having to get up in the middle of the night to do them. It would also be nice if I could figure out a way to not have to do them on the airplane,,, but I fear that may be unavoidable.

Maybe I've been focusing on the dates and stats and appointment dates because it's easier than letting myself focus on my feelings. After all, it's a pretty scary thing to jump back on the IVF bandwagon. The hormones make what is already an emotional time a super-duper emotional time. Super-duper isn't really the right word of course but this early in the morning it's all I can come up with.

Ultimately, all the planning and injections and appointments have an end goal. This isn't just an exercise in timekeeping. It's all about the result. Will all this effort result in a pregnancy? Will a pregnancy result in a healthy baby?

If I'm not pregnant then I have to do it all over again. If I'm not pregnant, do I have the strength to do it all over again? I try not to focus on this part because I have to get through this cycle first. But at times it's hard not to get ahead of myself.

This time around I don't have nearly as much time to sit around dwelling on my feelings. I've got Frostina to look after. Frostina, my beautiful rainbow baby. She's my inspiration here. A reminder that if you don't take chances you don't get rewards. She is proof that all this can be worth it.

Frostina is almost 16 months old now and boy does she keep me busy. I hope that being busy with her will help keep me from obsessing. Not completely, but just enough so that I'm not the complete neurotic mess I was the last time. Or maybe I still will be a neurotic mess, just one with less time to be that way.

I start my Lupron injections tomorrow. Just in case you were wondering about my injection schedule. :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

We Have Dates!

I finally have a schedule from the clinic!

I swear it seems like this part has taken FOREVER.

Basically I start my injections of Lupron on the 26th. Ugh.

Estimated transfer date is November 1.


I will keep you updated of course.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

And So It Begins

Well I'm officially on my way. I started on birth control pills today which is the first step in the process.

They put me on birth control pills to synch my cycle with the egg donor's. That way we can start taking all our medications in synch. We do this so that when she is ready for egg retrieval, my body is ready to hold the embryos. It's very complicated and I'm sure part of the reason that things like this are so expensive.

I don't have my complete schedule just yet, but taking this first step feels like we're finally getting this thing started. And that's a good feeling.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Just Like Escrow, But You Get A Baby Instead Of A House

I forgot just how much paperwork is involved with a donor egg IVF cycle.

First you pay the clinic an ungodly amount money. Then the dreaded paperwork begins.

Sign this and scan/email it back to us.

Sign this and send the original to me at .....

Make sure this signature is notarized.

This one doesn't have to be notarized.

Consent forms up the wazoo.

I consent to this, I consent to that.

I promise to do this and I promise not to do that.

What to do with embryos left over? What to do if one of us dies before treatment is complete (really?)?

What to do if you cut your finger on this disclosure statement?

I swear, the last time I signed this many forms I was buying a house!!!

*Well sort of. We went through this process with Frostina a couple of years ago and the last time we bought a house was in 2003,,, but you get my drift. It's a lot like going through escrow, but instead of getting a house, you get a baby (if all goes well).

Monday, 26 August 2013

Egg Donor 2.0 Has Been Selected

Ever since we made the decision to try for another baby things have been very slowly moving forward. Things always take longer than we think they will for various reasons but we finally got all the preliminary steps out of the way and were granted access to chose donor 2.0.

Choosing an egg donor is tricky business. Back in 2011 when we were choosing Frostina's donor I wrote about my struggles here and here. I just went back and re-read both posts and have to say that it was pretty much the same this time around.

Sure we knew how to do it and yes it wasn't nearly as overwhelming this time around. But this time around there was a third point to consider. Did we want to pick a donor that looked like Frostina? After all, if this whole thing works then this person will be Frostina's sibling. So considering we couldn't use the donor we did for her, should we try and find a donor who looks similar?

I know, I know, looks aren't everything. And of course we looked for a proven donor with a good medical history. But what I have learned is that looks do matter a bit. I don't mean attractive or not attractive, I mean looking like Mommy or Daddy.

People are obsessed with looks when it comes to babies. They examine every nook and cranny of your little one trying to determine who he or she looks like. If I had a pound for every time I hear how Frostina looks nothing like me I'd be a very rich woman. So this time around we did take this into consideration.

In the end I think we found a donor who ticked all the boxes. So now we pay the clinic and get this party started!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday In Heaven

My beautiful beloved little boy,

I can't believe it's been 3 years since we said hello and good bye to you. There are times when it feels like just yesterday. And there are times when it seems like a million years ago. Your daddy and I love you very much and we miss you like crazy.

I know it might not seem like it nowadays since we are so busy taking care of your little sister, but we haven't forgotten you.

You are still there... just pushed a little bit back in our minds. Not because we don't love you... but because it's not possible to focus enough on taking care of your sister while thinking of you constantly.

In the beginning it was easy to think of you night and day. But now that Frostina is here, we have to focus on her.

Please know that you are not being pushed aside. You are merely working your way into the patchwork of our lives. You have become part of the thread that holds this family together. We were not the same before you, and we will never be the same since we lost you. It is because of you that we are the strong, loving family we are today.

We appreciate everything so much more now that we know just how it feels to lose someone we loved so much. Even though we never got to know you, we love you and miss you everyday.

So while you may not be the first thing we think of when we wake up anymore. While you may not be the last person we think of before we fall asleep anymore. While we don't cry ourselves to sleep each night missing you anymore. Please know that you are still an essential part of our new family,,,, and an even more essential part of our new normal. Without you there would be no us. You will always be a very special and important part of our lives.

Oh, and I hope you don't mind that we let Frostina play with your birthday balloon for a few days before we released it. She just loved it so much and we figured you would be old enough now to want to share.

Love always,

Mommy and Daddy, and your little sister, Frostina.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Feeling The Tug

We're back from our summer holiday in the USA and back on London time. Wow, what a struggle that was! Jet lag plus little people is an awful combination. But alas in the life of an expat, jet lag is just part of the package.

It was so lovely to see Frostina interact with the family. It's amazing how much joy and light a baby toddler can bring to a room. She was showered with love and totally spoiled... basically she loved every minute of it. I had lots of free time while everyone was spoiling Frostina so I loved every minute of it as well.

Frostina is almost walking. I think she could already do it if she had the confidence. Sometimes when she's cruising she takes both hands off the wall and takes a few steps. I know it's just a matter of time before I will be chasing after her. In the meantime she's moving all over the place and it's super cute to see.

Just a little baby yoga at my Great Grandmother's house.

I do feel a bit more of a tug back home now that we have Frostina. In the old pre-children days, these visits were fun but they didn't make me want to leave our life in London. This time around, leaving was hard. And now that I'm back I do feel like maybe she is missing out by not being closer to family.

I know logically that even if we do move back to the US, it will most likely not be back where we came from. Which means we will most likely be on the other side of the country and therefore not really any closer to our family. But my heart does wish that we could move back there sometimes.

I'm not quite ready to leave the UK, but I can feel the tug much stronger than ever before. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Jet Lag Is A Bitch

We are back in the UK after a wonderful trip home to the US to see family.

It's great to see family and watch Frostina interact with her family. But the coming home part sucks ass.

We are back to a land where it is 8 hours ahead,,,, after an almost 11 hour flight,,, with a 14 month old,,,,,,,

The plane ride was not so nice.

Our first night home was even worse.

Frostina went down at her normal 7pm bed time. Then she was up at 1am. Somehow thinking her bed time was just a nap.

So I was up with her from 1am until 4:30am until she finally went back to bed.

It's currently 9:45pm on day two.

Please let her sleep through the night!

Jet lag is a bitch!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Quick Catch Up

Hello all and apologies for not posting. We are home in the US visiting family and it's been busy, busy, busy.

We are having a great time and Frostina is enjoying swimming in various family member's pools and even in a lake. She's quite a water baby.

I am getting an actual tan for the first time in forever and am enjoying having all the extra hands to help out with my ever more mobile toddler.

I'll post more once we get home. Just wanted to do a quick catch up.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Family Holiday

We are on holiday! Or on vacation for my American friends. It's not the first time we have travelled with Frostina, but this is the first time it really feels like a family holiday.

We are somewhere in the sunny south of France and are loving every minute of it. My parents are here as well, visiting from the US, which makes it even more special.

Today we spent time hanging out at the pool. A first for Frostina who absoultely loved it. She was so cute splashing around. A true water baby.

So here's the view from where I'm sitting. What a lovely view it is!

Yes, that is an actual photo of Frostina. Even from the back you can see just how cute she is!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Crawling At Last

We have mobility at last! It's about freaking time!

I have been worried for a long time that Frostina wasn't crawling. When all the other babies in her playgroup were crawling around, she was happy to sit and play. She knew how to roll but hardly ever did it. Instead, she would play happily until she wasn't happy anymore. Then she would cry until I moved her to a new toy or the jumperoo or brought something interesting for her to play with.

Clever girl had me trained well.

She has been cruising for a while now and I started to think that she would be one of those babies who skipped crawling and went straight to walking. This was OK in theory, but I still worried that by not crawling she would miss some kind of development milestone that could hurt her in the future. *Note- I realise I sound completely neurotic, and I am. I accepted this fact about myself when it comes to Frostina a long time ago.

So imagine how shocked I was today when she decided that she wants to crawl. I swear it came out of nowhere. She has been rocking on all fours for a while now but no signs of real movement. I think all her new found mobility when she's cruising has motivated her to not just want to sit in one spot anymore. She was crawling and doing this funny scoot all over the place today.

The hubby and I are so proud of our little crawler. I know a year is quite late to get started, but we're so pleased she's finally figured it all out. 

I suppose it's finally time to do some real childproofing now.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Homecoming, A Year On

A year ago today we brought Frostina home from the hospital.

I was still in complete awe, amazed that I actually had a living baby to bring home this time. Coming home with baby in tow was so much better than the time before when I came home empty handed.

The house had gone from being completely lacking in baby things to overflowing with baby things. A sea of pink as I recall. It was a wonderful day even though I was super tired and still sore from my c-section.

A year later and my house is still overflowing with baby things. It never ceases to amaze me at how easily your house can fill up with baby equipment and toys. Some things, like her swing, have already been moved into the garage. So the pile up in there grows as well.

She is still not really crawling but she's an avid cruiser. She only cruises to the right at the moment which is pretty funny. As a solution I have placed chairs and her toys in a circle so she can keep cruising non-stop. Before I came up with my circular "cruising track" I had to keep picking her up and moving her back to the left whenever she reached the end of the line.

I also made the phone call today to have my saline sonogram done. It's one of the prep steps we have to do before we can move forward with trying for rainbow baby number two. As long as my uterus looks clear and healthy then we can take that leap.

A year ago I was staring at my tiny newborn with wonder. Today I stare at my almost toddler with the same wonder. I hope that feeling never goes away.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Happy Birthday Frostina

Today my beautiful baby girl turns 1.

I am overjoyed and without words.

For so many years I thought I would never reach this day.

Or any day where a living child of mine would reach her first birthday.

A day where I would be planning her birthday party.

A day where I would be inviting her playgroup friends over to help celebrate.

A day when I would buy expensive champagne to toast her first birthday.

It's a wonderful day, and I am so very lucky.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

I Can Look At Babies Again

I've always loved children and babies,,, always.

I started as a very young babysitter for all the children in my neighbourhood. In fact, I babysat until I figured out that all the rest of my friends were going to parties that I was missing out on. I had dreams about my future babies; what I would name them, how I would dress them, and how they would fit into my life.

I loved when I would catch a baby smiling at me from across the room. That little cute face with it's little toothless smile. Ahhh, it used to melt my heart. I'd do anything for that moment.

And then something happened. My baby died at 36 weeks.

My beloved son died before he had a chance to be born. I will never forget seeing him for the first time, lifeless in the bassinet the hospital provided for him. Just a shell of a real baby, there but not there. His body was intact yet I knew his soul had already passed on.

After that I couldn't look at another baby. Whenever I passed a mother with her baby buggy I would look away, not wanting to see her living baby mocking me. Babies became a reminder of what I had lost. Each cute toothless smile was like a knife in my heart. "Look at me, I didn't die," they would say to me. "My Mom did something right and protected me, unlike you did for your baby."

Seeing a living baby became a slap in the face.

So I avoided babies for a very long time. As much as a person can avoid babies when she lives in a town full of babies.

But something has changed. Changed as a result of having my wonderful rainbow baby Frostina in my life. I can now look at babies again.

It came slowly I think, or maybe I'm just slow to notice it. But somewhere along the way, looking at babies doesn't hurt as much. Just today I was out without Frostina and I caught myself noticing all the baby girls I came into contact with. I was trying to figure out if they were older than her, or younger. If they were cuter than her or not,,,, of course none of them were cuter than she is!

That's when it hit me. I can look at babies again without it taking my breath away. Looking at babies used to be a grief trigger for me, but not anymore.

Now I just look at babies and smile again.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Last night I had a phone conversation with my fertility doctor. "Why a phone call?" you may ask. Well I have to talk to him on the phone because he's in the US.

If you haven't been following me for long, let me catch you up. We used a US based fertility clinic to add Frostina to our family. The reason we used a clinic in the US instead of one here in the UK is because there is a severe shortage of egg donors in the UK.

In the US the rules and regulations are different and as a result there are plenty of egg donors available. Lots of people from the UK go to Europe for donor eggs, but since we're American the US felt like a better fit. It's also a lot more expensive and takes longer to fly to, but it was worth it.

My doctor asked about Frostina and how my pregnancy with her went. After I filled him in on all the details and answered a few questions about my general health and monthly cycles he said we're fine to move forward. They still have The Hubby's "contribution" on ice so he won't have to do anything. I think he was a bit disappointed because he really liked the clinic's "collection room" which I wrote about back in 2011.

My next step is to have a saline sonogram at a clinic here in London. After that The Hubby and I have to get updated infectious disease tests done (HIV, hepatitis, and a couple more I think). We have had these tests done several times already, but as anyone who undergoes any kind of fertility treatment knows, they have to be within the past 12 months. Which means ours have expired.

After that we will be given access to the clinic's donor database and we go from there. Sadly, the donor we used for Frostina is no longer available and we have no more frozen embryos. I would have liked to be able to use the same donor this time so any sibling would be 100% genetically related, but alas this will not be the case. I suppose in the long term this is not a huge deal, it just would have been nice not to have to go through the selection process all over again.

Best case scenario, I could be booking a date for a transfer in 3-4 months. Though I think realistically it will take longer than that. These things always do.

So it's a long way to go, but at least we have some progress.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Heart Says Yes, The Head Procrastinates

We finally came to the decision to try for another baby. It's not an easy decision by any means. It took lots of soul searching and listening to my heart, which finally said yes.

So that's it, right? Well maybe not. You see, I'm mostly a logic driven person so listening to my heart is not something that comes easy. Once I was done listening to my heart, my head had to kick back in to work out all the details. After all, we can't just go off birth control and see what happens.

*Insert me laughing hysterically. "Come off birth control? I haven't been on birth control in 10 years. If I was going to accidentally get knocked up it surely would have happened by now!"

No, this trying again will involve doctors and egg donors and flying halfway across the world for treatment. This trying again will be expensive and stressful. This trying again will be a concerted effort on my part. So that's where my head has to step in.

And my head still has fears.

Shortly after making the decision I sent an email to our US based clinic to get the ball rolling. I asked if our donor was still available and also about pricing changes. The reply came quickly. No our donor is not available anymore (so sad about this) and no the prices have not changed much. I just need to give them the go ahead and they will set the process in motion.

So did I reply immediately to get things started? Of course I didn't. Instead I found a million and one reasons not to reply to the email. First I told myself that we should have all the money in place first. Then I told myself that I would do it tomorrow. Tomorrow turned into tomorrow and so on. Until over a month had passed.

The Hubby asked me last night when I was going to send a reply to the clinic. I told him I would, and I finally did. Today I sent an email with a few follow up questions and told them we're ready to start the process. I'm not sure what my head was thinking, but it's time it stopped procrastinating and got a move on. After all, we all know that any IVF cycle, especially one using an egg donor, takes forever to get rolling.

And I'm certainly not getting any younger.

Friday, 26 April 2013

I Finally Made Chili Again- And Nobody Died

You're probably reading the title for this post and thinking to yourself, "What on earth is she on about?" So I will give you a bit of background.

If you're a long time reader of my blog you may remember this post. It was written just over a year after my son died and was born. In it I was reflecting on my journey to find my new normal. I also shared a story about how I was no longer able to make chili after his death. If you've already clicked on the link to the post then you know why chili became a grief trigger for me. But it you don't want to do that then I will give you the short version.

I made a big pot of chili for a BBQ the night before I found out my son had died. When I got home from having received the horrible news, practically the only thing in my fridge was the huge pot of chili. As part of all the preparation for going back into the hospital to give birth to my son the next morning, I had to deal with what to do with said chili.

I have been unable to make chili ever since. The Hubby has asked me several times and the result has been anxiety and tears. I know it seems silly, but that's just the way it's been.

Until now.

Last week The Hubby told me that his employees were going to be in town and he wanted to have them over for another BBQ. He gently asked if I felt ready to make chili again. Apparently they have been asking for it every time they are in town. I know I should be flattered that almost 3 years on they are still talking about my chili, but up until now it's not been something I wanted to face.

This time when he asked I felt none of the old anxiety; none of the dread; none of the sadness. I didn't burst into tears or flash back to that place where I was back home with my dead baby inside me trying to figure out what to do with a big pot of chili. Someway, somehow, this huge trigger for my grief was just gone. Instead of being a trigger, chili was simply something to feed guests at a BBQ.

I don't know how it happened, or when, but I now have another piece of my old normal back.

It was a bit of a challenge to remember exactly how I made it as I had also thrown out my recipe. But I managed to piece it together and I have to admit that it tasted really good. Everyone loved it and most people went back for seconds.

So there you have it. I finally made chili again- and nobody died!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Heart Says Yes

A while back I wrote about my struggle to figure out if I'm brave enough to try for another baby. Am I strong enough to put myself, and The Hubby, back to into such a vulnerable place?

A place where we could be blessed with another living child. A place where we could also have another loss. A place where we have to have faith and patience. A place where we have to be optimistic in the face of fear.

We have been there before and have our precious Frostina as a result, but will we have the same happy outcome again?

Being a logical person, it can be difficult for me to stop strategizing and start feeling. As we all know, there is nothing logical about wanting children. It's much more primal than that. We are programmed with the desire to have them, or not to have them.

Do you have 1 child, do you have 2, do you have more than that? These decisions are often more of a gut feeling than anything else. There isn't a formula for the perfect family size. I think you just know when you're there.

As I've stated before, I'm not always good at listening to my gut feelings. So for me, these kinds of decisions take time. I have to stop thinking about it and wait for my heart to speak to me. That's what I've been doing and my heart finally answered loud and clear.

The heart says yes.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Still Not Crawling

Am I failing her?

That's the question that's been in the back of my mind lately.

Am I failing Frostina? Am I a good mother? Am I doing it right?

The Hubby is constantly telling me what a great job I'm doing. Frostina is eating well, and sleeping well, and happy most of the time. And yet the feeling that I'm doing something wrong still plagues me.

Why am I worried?

She's almost 10 months old and still not crawling or pulling herself up. She can sit very well and loves to stand up when I pull her up. She can even balance herself for a few minutes while she is standing against the couch. But I have to put her in position first. She knows how to roll over yet she rarely does. Basically she stays in one position until she gets bored. Then she complains a bit until Mommy comes to the rescue.

She has hated tummy time from the beginning. It was only a month or so ago that she would tolerate it for any length of time. I've been trying to put her on her tummy a lot lately and it seems like when she's in the mood she can go for quite some time before she gets unhappy. She can rotate herself around in a circle and sometimes pushes herself backwards a little bit, but still no crawling.

Everywhere I go I see babies younger than her scooting, rolling, army crawling, bum shuffling (I love that expression), and full on crawling. I see them pulling themselves up and trying to couch surf. I watch Frostina get frustrated when she can't reach something she wants. I watch her sway from side to side on her belly, not being able to figure out why that doesn't propel her forward. Some days she's desperately unhappy because she's stuck in one spot. And yet still no crawling.

I have tried everything I can think of to help her along. I lay next to her and hold toys out of reach. I place my hands on her feet to encourage her to push against them. I have tried putting a towel under her belly and suspending her in the air so that her knees and arms touch (she hated this one by the way). I praise her when she pivots around, and yet still no crawling.

Lots of people tell me I'm lucky because once she starts moving I will never be able to sit down again. In my head I know that babies develop at their own pace. But deep inside I worry that it's something I've done. Have I let her spend too much time in the jumperoo? Have I been too nice by always rescuing her when she cries. Is this a sign that she's somehow developmentally delayed? If so then what on earth have I done wrong to cause it?

Ugh, this Mommy guilt is killing me.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Not So Far Away After All

Lately I have been feeling like my son is very far away. I don't mean my grief. My grief is never far away, even after over 2 and a half years. I mean that I feel like he is far away. Slipping into the background. Slipping into the shadows. Like he's somehow getting lost in the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Far away from my everyday thoughts. Far away from my everyday life. I still think of him every day, but it's different now. Now that my everyday thoughts are filled with Frostina. My everyday life is full of taking care of her basic needs. Feeding her, changing her, washing her bottles, washing her clothes, taking her places,,,, it is all consuming.

Which often leaves little space for him. So he gets pushed back. Away from my everyday life. Until he feels so very far away.

But then something small happens, and he's back. Right there. Front and center. As if he never left the middle of my heart. As if there was never anything besides his loss in my life.

This time it was a simple comment made by someone who had no idea what she was saying. Something she probably says a million times a day without even thinking about it.

I take Frostina to Gymboree classes (which she loves by the way). The current term is about to end and they are running a special if you sign up early. You get a discount and four free classes. I was asking the lady if the four free classes are part of the normal term, or if they are four extra classes on top of what you normally get. The woman explained that they are above and beyond the normal term. Bonus classes she tells me.

"You can either use them for her, or if she has any siblings you can let them have the classes."

If she has any siblings.... if she has any siblings. That sentence echoed in my head. If she had any siblings, like let's say her older brother who died before he was born. If she had an older brother who she could play with instead of just hearing his name. An older  brother who could actually play with her instead of just being able to play with the teddy bear that was meant for him.

If she had a living brother, then he could use the extra four classes.

But she doesn't, so I guess she will just have to use the classes herself.

I was overwhelmed with sadness. Her far away brother, the one who I feel is fading away, will never be able to use her extra Gymboree classes. He can't play any active role in her life, because he isn't here. And I was reminded just how sad that makes me.

I'm sad that I will never know him. I'm sad that The Hubby will never know him. But I'm even more sad that Frostina will never know him.

The tears came and I did my best to fight them off. I mean seriously, who cries at Gymboree? It took a few minutes but I eventually won the battle with my tears. And I'm pretty sure no one noticed, or if they did they were too polite  to say anything. 

That's when I realized, maybe he's not so far away after all.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Listening To My Heart

So do you want to try for another baby? It's a question I've been pondering for quite some time now. Back in January I wrote in depth about all the different things racing through my head.

The key phrase there is "my head" as opposed to "my heart." That post was full of my logical brain trying to work out the best path forward. I usually make my major life decisions using my head. I don't know exactly why, it's just the way I'm wired. Mostly it has guided me well, but sometimes my head can get itself all confused and really run me in circles. 

So over the past few months I've stopped pondering. I decided to see if I could figure out what my heart wanted. The problem for me is that my head is so loud that it's hard to hear what my heart is trying to say. I get so lost in the logic that I can't hear anything else. In order to listen to my heart, I have to make a conscious decision to just stop thinking so hard.

It took a while for my head to just shut up already. I occupied myself with other things, other projects, and things that needed to be done. Finally convincing my head to think about something else.

And now, here in the silence I am hearing a tiny voice. My heart, which is mostly drowned out by my head has something to tell me. At the moment it's still just a feeling. My heart takes it's sweet time you know. But this feeling I'm getting is that my heart wants very much for us to try again.

Hearing this, my head kicked right back into high gear with a million questions. What about this? What about that? Aren't you scared? 

This time I'm not going to answer my head just yet. I'm going to take a bit more time so I can listen to my heart. I'm hoping the message will be clear to me soon enough.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The "Me" Before

She was telling a story. Remembering things from the past. Talking about how much fun I am. Talking about how I throw the best parties. Telling everyone that I'm such a good cook. Saying how she was so happy to be moving back to London because she and her husband really missed us. They missed us because we are such good friends and we are so much fun.

Who is she? She is a friend that I met when I first moved to London almost 8 years ago. She was friends with me before tragedy hit. She was friends with the old me, the "me" before. She moved away a month before my son died. In fact, she delayed her departure so she could attend my baby shower. That was the last time she saw me until a few weeks ago.

Who was she telling her stories to? She was sharing this information with some of my new friends. Friends who didn't know the "me" before. As she was walking down memory lane, sharing stories about fun times and crazy moments I could see looks of wonder on the faces of my newer friends. I could tell that they didn't recognize the "me" that was being described in the stories. In a way, neither did I. That person seems so far away now.

It's been just over 2 and a half years since my precious baby boy died. A lot has happened since then. I have come out of the fog of early grief and despair. I have gone on to have my rainbow baby and know the joy of parenting a living child. I have slowly and deliberately carved out a new life for myself, a new normal.

I am no longer frozen in time. I no longer count each day without him. I no longer cry for hours every day. I suppose it's fair to say that I have moved on with life. I have moved forward to a place where there is still some sadness, but there is also much joy.

But I am forever changed. You can't go through something as devastating and soul destroying as losing a child and come out the other side the same person. It's just not possible. Moments like this create permanent marks in our lives. There will never be a time when I go back to being that person. There will always be "The Me Before," and "The Me After."

I don't think too much about the person I was before my son died and was born. I guess that's because it's been such a tough road to get to the person I am today. I'm still in the trenches trying to find my way to a happier place. So I rarely look back anymore.

But this week I caught a glimpse of the "me" before when I listened to her stories. And I really missed the woman I used to be. They way she talked about me made me remember just how full of life I was. How idealistic  and positive I was, even in the midst of an almost 8 year battle with infertility. I had a joy for life that I haven't been able to recapture just yet.

It was quite an interesting evening. Sitting with a mix of old friends and new friends. Friends I knew on either side of the tragedy that was my son's death. Two very different sides of the same person. I could see that my new friends did not entirely recognize the woman she was describing. The "me" before threw a lot of parties and cooked up a storm, the "me" after has much fewer parties and hardly ever cooks for her friends. The old me would never turn down a chance to socialize while the new me sometimes does.

It got me a bit nostalgic about the past. I know I can't change anything. There will be no magical transformation back to that fun loving, much less complicated person. But maybe I could try and bring a bit of the fun back. Not just for them, but for me. There was a time when I loved having people over. There was a time when I loved cooking for friends. Perhaps I need to try and recapture that feeling.

Perhaps it's time for me to invite some friends over for a BBQ sometime soon.

Friday, 22 February 2013

When To Drop The "Dead Baby" Bomb

I've been blogging since a few months after my son died and was born. Along the way I have connected with other bloggers who share my story. There is a special bond between us, we are sisters in grief. Many of us have gone on to have our rainbow babies. Some have stopped blogging, but a few of us have continued. It's been nice to be able to see how other BLM's are dealing with life after our rainbows are born.

I was particularly touched by something Laura Jane wrote recently. She wrote an amazing post about living in the everyday after losing a baby.  So much of what she said hit home with me. How do you live each day for the rest of your life where your first baby died? I won't try to recreate her thoughts here because she did it so well, so make sure you click the link and read it for yourself.

The part that really got me thinking was about how everything in her current life is the way it is because her firstborn son died. It's so true. Everything about my current life is the way it is because my son died. Nothing in my life now would be exactly the same if he had lived.

Yes, I have my rainbow baby now and to the outside world I'm sure I look just like every other new mother. Only I'm not. For the longest time I surrounded myself with familiar friends. Friends who know my story. Friends who don't ever need an explanation for why things are the way they are. Safe friends.

Now that Frostina is in the world I'm doing lots of new things. I've entered the world of "Mommies and Daddies." I'm in a playgroup and have even joined a Gymboree class. All the things I dreamed of doing with my son but never had the chance to do. I'm finally living the life of a parent who has a living baby,,, and I'm loving it.

The issue though is this. None of these people know my story. So within the course of the normal "getting to know you" conversation I have lots of landmines to step over. Sometimes I catch myself telling a pregnancy story and about halfway through I realize I'm talking about my first pregnancy, not my second. When people find out Frostina was born via C-section and was early and they ask why I still struggle with the answer. Sometimes I say it's because she was transverse (which she was). Sometimes I say it's because my pregnancy was high risk but I don't elaborate. And in very rare instances I tell the truth.

I just never know how much to tell. How much to disclose about my personal tragedy. After all, new friendships are fragile. If you come on too strong, or too fragile, or "too much drama," you can be written off before you have a chance to get to know someone. But if you wait too long then you can seem fake or insincere. So what to say, and when to say it is a struggle for me. 

I mean, when is the right time to drop the "dead baby" bomb?

When is it the right time to start seeing those looks of pity and relief that it's your story and not theirs written on the faces of people you hardly know?

When is it the right time to freak out and scare off people that you may want to build a friendship with?

When is it the right time to be reminded that once again, you are "that women" and not just another normal new mother?

When will there be a time when I don't feel the stigma, and taboo, and silence that surrounds stillbirth?

When will I ever get used to this new normal that I'm living?

Monday, 18 February 2013

So Now Formula Feeding Your Baby Is As Bad As Smoking?

Is feeding your baby formula as bad as smoking? Are mothers who don't breastfeed causing serious harm to their children's health? Should baby formula packaging come with a warning label similar to the ones found on cigarette packs?

Sounds crazy right? But according to a report published by the charity Save the Children, that's all true and is exactly what should happen. I'm not going to link to them but you can look them and their report up if you want to.

I read through the report, not all 75 pages of course, but I did read it. I focused mostly on the section where they talk about the makers of baby formula. Here's what I gleaned from my read-through.
  • The evil manufacturers of baby formula have to figure out a way to get women to buy their clearly inferior product. 
  • They are competing with a product (breast milk) which is not only superior in every way, but is free. So they really have their work cut out for them.
  • These evil companies are resorting to dastardly tactics in order to accomplish this goal. 
  • These dastardly tactics include
    • Advertising their products. (the horror)
    • Giving free samples to midwives and new parents. (how dare they)
    • Giving free gifts with the company logo to health care workers, i.e. pens, pads of paper, and such. (round them all up and throw them in jail now)
  • Something must be done to keep these evil companies from promoting their "poison" onto new mothers.
  • One reason something must be done is that these companies are offering something that costs money and many people don't have the money to buy this evil baby formula. 
  • After all, breast is best.
So their solution? Require all breast milk substitutes to have a warning label stating all the reasons why feeding this product to your child is a terrible idea. This warning label should be at least one third the size of the packaging. That's right folks,,,, one third the size of the package.

A huge label that shouts, "You are a terrible mother/father if you feed this to your baby!" "If you feed this to your baby you will probably ruin his/her health for life!" "So you better pop that boob back out and try again, because if you can't breastfeed then you are damaging your baby forever!"

Ok, I'm sure the label won't say those words specifically. I'm sure they will be all official and much more scary. I also know that the result of those words will make Mothers like me, who were unable to breastfeed feel even more guilty and horrible than we already felt the first time we opened a package of formula for our babies.

Plus, baby formula packaging already contains a disclaimer that says breast milk is best and that formula is a breast milk substitute. In fact, on the website for the brand I use (Aptamil) you have to click a disclaimer that says, "Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant milk should be considered. Improper use of an infant milk or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant milk, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby." before you can even view what products they sell. So why the need for a bigger warning label? 

I know that this charity mostly focuses on women and babies in the developing world and I think a lot of the work that they do is pretty great. But the things they recommend should (in their opinion) apply around the world. Which means these warning labels would be placed on all baby formula packaging in the UK and Europe, and in America as well.

Reading through their report I learned that in some places women don't know they should try to breastfeed within the first hour. In some of these countries they think they should feed their babies all kinds of strange things. There are also cultural issues that prevent women who may want to breastfeed from doing so. So I get the focus on education and the idea that breastmilk is best.

I also read in the report that the baby formula companies are targeting the developing world as new potential customers. They seem to spin this as a travesty. My opinion is that if women in the developing world have trouble breastfeeding, like I did, then isn't it wonderful that there is another option for them? That instead of these babies being fed cow's or goat's milk, or something else that is unsuitable for newborns, they can obtain a formula that will sustain their baby?

If a woman can't breastfeed and lives in a place where no suitable breastmilk substitute is available then what happens to that baby? My guess is that he or she will eventually die of malnutrition. So what's wrong with advertising an available option that could be the difference between a healthy baby and a dead one? And considering that the slogan for Save the Children is, "No Child Born to Die," you would think that they would want families to have every available option to be able to feed their children properly. Instead, they seem to be pushing the "only breastmilk will do" agenda.

I don't normally get involved with what I consider to be controversial issues here. Partly because it's not really that kind of blog and partly because I don't always want to "stir the pot" or in any way contribute to the drama that surrounds these kinds of debates. Especially when the debate is about breastfeeding vs formula feeding.

My take is that people should do what works best for their family. Not every Mother can breastfeed, and not all babies can either. Some women opt for breast feeding only, some opt for formula feeding only, and some do a combination. In some cases these are conscious decisions, and in other cases there was no option. In my opinion, these are very personal decisions and it disgusts me when people get all high and mighty and preach that their chosen way is the only way.

So the idea of putting a warning label on baby formula that is at least one third the size of the package? A label that lists all the things that are wrong with feeding your baby formula? A label that will make parents who are doing everything they can to take care of their babies feel awful? A label that would have made me feel even more guilty and inadequate about not being able to breastfeed than I already did? A label that at the moment is only put on things that are poisonous? A label like the kind you find on a carton of cigarettes?

I don't think so.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I've Supported Return To Zero, Will You?

I've seen a few posts around the blogosphere about a movie that's being made about stillbirth. I won't link them all but I will post a link to Still Standing where the director is interviewed about the project.

Obviously the film is still under production so I haven't seen the finished product yet. But what I like is that it is written by a Baby Loss Dad. Not just someone who is exploring what it might be like to lose a child, but someone who has actually been through the hell that is stillbirth. Someone who knows what it's like to hear those horrible words, "I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat." Someone who has to deliver a baby they know is no longer alive. Someone who has to figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on with life. A life that is never the same, even when people think you must be "all better" by now.

As you can imagine, the studios in Hollywood are not breaking down doors to fund this film. Apparently even with big stars like Minnie Driver attached to the project, a film about a dead baby is having trouble getting financial backers.

Here's where you can help. If you click on this link you can get lots more information on the film. Plus you can donate money to help make sure it can be completed and released for the public to see. I did, and hopefully you will too.

I should mention that this is NOT a sponsored post. I don't do sponsored posts and the makers of this movie have no idea I'm writing about them here. Partly because I don't know them and didn't tell them and partly because I donated in my real name and I blog here anonymously. So I'm pretty sure there will be no way for them to ever figure out that I'm the one helping to promote them.

I don't ask for much around here, but the idea that a film is being made that can help break the stigma and silence surrounding stillbirth really moves me. So help if you can, even $1 will do.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Teeth At Last?

It's been a while since I've given a Frostina update. I sometimes get so wrapped up in all my emotions and what-not that I forget I have this amazing little person living with me. So here goes...

She is 8 months old now and so much fun. Her favourite thing is the Winnie the Pooh jumperoo that I got her for Christmas. I swear, that kid would spend 24/7 in that thing if I would let her. She is also obsessed with TV clickers and any type of mobile device. Which means The Hubby and I are constantly hiding our phones and blackberries from her. A couple of days ago she found the TV remote and almost blew out the speakers when she hit the volume button until it was maxed out.

She's sitting up on her own with hardly any support which is amazing to me. She still hates tummy time so I've got to catch her in just the right mood in order to make it happen.

She knows how to roll over from front to back but hardly does it. Instead she will cry when she's sick of being on her tummy until I come to rescue her. She can almost roll from back to front, but since she hates being on her tummy I can't see her doing that anytime soon.

If she spends enough time on her tummy she will do this thing where she raises her butt in the air and tries to move forwards. But mostly she will just cry until I come over to sit her up which is her favourite way to spend her time not in the jumperoo.

She is making some hilarious noises these days. In addition to babbling and cooing, she is prone to squealing and making what I like to call "monster noises." She loves to laugh and smile. She also likes to shake her head back and forth, especially when I sing to her.

Oh, and I think we are finally getting some teeth. In fact, I think we are getting two teeth at once. It's hard to know since she won't let me peek in to see them. Every time I try and open her mouth she sticks her tongue out so I can't see anything. But I'm pretty sure they are almost here.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Crying In Toy Stores

At some point I would like to be able to report that I am no longer crying in public places. I'd like to report that I no longer have flashbacks that bring me to tears. I'd like to be able to report that I don't have random crying jags anymore. Today is not going to be that day.

Apparently I am stuck with this new found propensity for crying in public. Actually, it's not that new anymore. It's been happening since my son died almost 2 and a half years ago. Wow, typing that just made me realize that it's been almost 2 and a half years since we said good bye. That's a long time.

I stopped carrying around my sunglasses because I thought perhaps I was past this whole thing. Really I should have known better after what happened when I took Frostina to see Santa. But clearly I am still in denial that my emotions are so much closer to the surface than they used to be.

The Hubby and I just got back from a week away. It was nice to be on vacation in America without the obligation of visiting family and basically being passed around like an expat ping pong ball. We had lots of time to sight see and shop without having to worry about balancing our time between his and my family. It was a very nice week away.

On the last day we decided to kill some time before we had to go to the airport by doing some shopping. Naturally we ended up in a toy store. It's a whole new experience being in a toy store now that we have a living baby to buy things for. She's still a bit too young to tell us what she wants, but she was clearly enthralled with the store. They obviously know how to capture even a babies interest at the Disney Store because she was oohing and aahhing and squealing with laughter. It was one of the funniest things I've seen.

As we were browsing the princess section I burst into tears. I'm sure I looked like a complete idiot. I mean, seriously, who cries at the Disney Store??? Me apparently.

The Hubby was completely confused. "What's wrong?" he asked me. Nothing was wrong of course. I was just overwhelmed at the fact that we actually have a baby who we can buy princess toys for, and princess outfits, and princess crowns.... you get the idea.

For so long I thought this day would never come. The day when we went to toy stores like normal people and got toys for our child. The day when I would no longer rush past toy stores trying not to look in and see other people and their happy children.

This day I was one of those parents. A happy parent pushing around my happy, squealing baby. My happy baby who I could buy a princess toy for. Not that I looked like a happy parent with tears streaming down my face,,, but I'm working on that part.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

So,,, Are You Going To Try For Another One?

To try for another baby, that is the question.

It's the question that The Hubby has been asking me since Frostina was a few months old. It's the question that friends and family are starting to ask now that Frostina is almost 8 months old. It's the question that I have been asking myself.

It's the question I don't know how to answer.

Would I like another living child? Of course I would. If they just walked around passing out healthy babies I'd grab one in a hot second. If The Hubby and I could just live our lives and "see what happens" and get pregnant with little or no effort, I'd probably take a chance.

If our firstborn son hadn't died in utero at 36 weeks and my subsequent pregnancy with Frostina hadn't been filled with panic and fear, I'd start trying again today.

But that's not how things work for us. Well actually, the first part doesn't happen for anyone... unless there is a place where they just knock on doors and give deserving families healthy babies... if so I'll move there tomorrow. The way things work for The Hubby and I is much more complicated.

Trying for another baby would be a very deliberate process. A process we would be walking into knowing exactly how it would work. Knowing exactly how hard it would be. Knowing exactly how it feels when things work out. And knowing exactly how it feels when things don't work out.

I know exactly how it feels when things don't work out. The tears when my period comes after a failed cycle. The extra hormones and severe cramping that come along with it. The feeling of failure and hopelessness. Having to work myself up to try another cycle, trying to stay positive, trying to imagine that it will work the next time.

I also know exactly how it feels when a cycle does work, and you get pregnant. When you buy baby things, pick out names, and have a baby shower. I know exactly how it feels to get to 36 weeks of pregnancy and have it all taken away with 6 little words, "I'm so sorry, there's no heartbeat." I know just how hard it is to pick up the pieces and move on after a blow like that.

And pick up the pieces we did. We took a chance and after jumping through a lot of hurdles, we now have our little baby Frostina. She is the joy in our hearts and we wouldn't have her if we hadn't been willing to take a huge risk and leap of faith. I can't imagine my life without her and I don't regret for one moment all that it took to get her here.

But to do it again? I don't know.

After over 10 years I'm finally a parent to a living baby. That emptiness and yearning and desperation that comes with wanting a living child and not having one has been filled. Yes, I'm still infertile,,, but for the first time in a very long time I'm not obsessing about it. My life isn't dictated by my cycles and medications and exams. I no longer worry about when my period comes or if CD-whatever falls on a Sunday when the clinic would be closed.

For the moment I am free of all that. Free. Freedom feels wonderful.

Do we want to try again? Do we owe it to Frostina to give her a living sibling? Or are we happy being a family of 3 plus an angel?

I don't have any issue with raising an only child. I am not one of those people who think that only children are somehow damaged by not having a living brother or sister. But in my pre-infertility and loss beginnings I always pictured myself parenting two children. Notice how I say parenting. I do view myself as a mother of two. It's just that I only get to parent one of my babies.

If The Hubby and I were younger I would take a few years and see how I feel. But we're not young, and even though we will use an egg donor again, we don't want to be too old when a future potential child is born. So there is a time constraint in place, a deadline of sorts. He wants to know by the time Frostina turns one.

So now I've got to decide if I'm ready to jump back on the infertility wagon. Ready for the injections and cycle dates. Ready for the chance of another living baby. Ready for the chance of another loss.

The chance of another loss is where I get stuck.

These are all the issues we had to deal with before getting pregnant with Frostina of course. Only this time things are different. This time there isn't as big of a hole to fill. This time we already have our rainbow baby. So maybe we should just enjoy her and cherish her. Maybe we should thank God for giving us Frostina and move on with our lives. Maybe we shouldn't risk it again, tempt fate again.

Should we try for another baby?? I have no idea at this point.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Traveling Internationally With Baby- 10 Thing I've Learned

Travelling with a baby can be a daunting and difficult task. Especially if you're travelling internationally. We are on our second trip to the US since having Frostina and I am learning more and more each time. Here's some of what I've learned this trip.
  1. Travelling with a 7 month old is harder than travelling with a 5 month old. I guess the more they can and want to move around, the harder it is.
  2. If you book a bassinet on the aeroplane and it is the kind that attaches to a shelf with straps, your baby will not sleep in it. Instead she will play with the straps for 7 hours or so and only sleep for 45 minutes (and only then because you rocked her to sleep in the aisle). 
  3. I have totally missed the USA and it's customer service. We checked into the hotel and because we had Frostina with us they offered us a fridge and microwave without us even having to ask. Not to mention the upgrade to a "pure" room which is basically a normal room with an air filter in it. But still, clean air is clean air.
  4. Frostina is a total trooper. She loves the buggy and loves being pushed around it in new places. 
  5. She is also great at restaurants, although we've yet to test her much past 5pm. To be fair, I take her to breakfast, coffee, and lunch all the time. But I've always avoided dinner time as I am worried about meltdowns. So tonight The Hubby convinced me to try a very early dinner. She was fine... but we got there at 5 and left by 5:30. So not exactly the kind of dinner's out we're used to.
  6. London isn't nearly as cold as I think it is. After a few days in NYC, London is starting to feel like Hawaii.
  7. Keeping a baby entertained in a hotel room can be a challenge.
  8. If you have a baby who is used to bathing in a small plastic tub, be prepared for screams when you attempt to place her in a full sized tub. Apparently they are super scary for 7 month olds.
  9. If you are lucky, there will be an older and even worse behaved child sitting near you on the plane. That way the dirty looks of your fellow air passengers will be focused their way instead of yours.
  10. My little girl is a total city baby. She can sleep through construction, car horns, and ambulance sirens. In fact, I think she sleeps better with all the noise than at home in her quiet bed.
I'm sure there is more to learn, but we're only half way through our vacation. If I learn anything else I will be sure to share it. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sleep Training

A few weeks back I wrote about my confusion and unhappiness at Frostina's new sleeping patterns.

It all started when she dropped her night feed. She wasn't hungry in the middle of the night, but she still wanted to hang out with me. So she would get up and make noises which would eventually turn into crying. I would pop out of bed each time and rush to her aid.

After a couple weeks I figured out that she really didn't need anything... she just wanted me to come see her. One night I was sure she was teething and crying out in pain. But the second I picked her up to give her some medicine she started kicking and smiling. No teething pain, she just wanted her Mommy to come in and pick her up.

So I stopped picking her up and would only go in to replace the pacifier/dummy. Well she got wise to this little trick as well. One night she was screaming so I went in to see what was wrong. I was quite shocked to see her holding her pacifier/dummy in both hands directly above her face. She was crying until she saw me. Then she flashed me a huge smile and popped the pacifier/dummy right back into her mouth. She had gotten me again, that cheeky monkey!

So I decided that I needed to do some kind of sleep training because going back and forth from my room to hers 8 or 9 times a night just wasn't working for me. To be fair, it wasn't working for her either because she wasn't getting enough sleep. As a result, she started having trouble with her naps as well and was quickly becoming a cranky, overtired little baby.

The Hubby wasn't as keen on the sleep training idea. Not because he didn't think she needed it, but because he has a hard time listening to her cry. He also has to go to work every day and didn't like the idea that he would be up from 2-5am every night while we went through it. I explained to him that each night was getting worse and we needed to do something soon.

We finally agreed that I would do the sleep training when he was away on a work trip. He would be gone for a week and I could do it then. Sounds like a pretty cushy deal for him doesn't it?? He gets to sleep uninterrupted in a nice hotel room while I sleep train on my own. I can't say I was thrilled to be doing it all on my own, but sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do.

I chose a variation of Dr Ferber and Dr Weissbluth's methods. Basically I let her cry for 5 minutes then went in to check on her. Then I would increase the time by 5 minutes each time if she was still crying. Not going for longer than 15 minutes without checking on her.

The first night was of course the hardest. She was up from 3 until 4 crying in spurts with me checking on her at the designated intervals. She finally fell back to sleep a bit after 4 and slept until her normal wake up time. I was thinking that there was no way I would be able to last through a week of this and almost gave up after the first night.

The second night was so much better. She only got up once at 4am and immediately fell asleep after I went in to check on her after the first 5 minutes of crying. Back to sleep and then up at her normal wake up time.

The third and fourth nights I increased the first crying wait time to 10 minutes. On the 3rd night she got up two different times and cried for 10 minutes each time. On the 4th night she cried for a few minutes and then put herself back to sleep (success!!) and then got up one more time and cried for 10 minutes but went right back to sleep after I went in to reassure her.

On the fifth night she did a bit of crying in very short bursts but I didn't have to go into her room even once!!! And from there it's slowly getting better. She's not sleeping all the way through each night just yet but I'm not having to get up 8 or 9 times anymore.

We did have a bit of an issue when The Hubby got back though. You see, while I thought it was terrible that I had to sleep train by myself, it turns out that it was actually a good thing. You see, The Hubby and I have different levels of tolerance for Frostina's crying.

After a week of sleep training, mine has built up. But his is very low. I had wanted to let her cry for longer intervals as the days went on but he didn't agree with me. His first night back she was crying and I wanted to leave her a bit longer. He basically told me that I was letting her cry too long and if I didn't go check on her than he would.

So I did, and she fell right back to sleep. And we have compromised and agreed that I won't let her cry for longer than 15 minutes without checking on her. I just hope that won't teach her to just cry for 15 minutes and Mommy will come rushing in. I'm hoping that over the week of sleep training she's now able to put herself back to sleep and won't want anymore middle of the night playtime.

So while sleep training was absolutely horrible, it seems to have worked. I know it's controversial and not for everyone, but I'm happy I did it.