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PCOS Pity Party: Coming to terms with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

If you’re reading this, it means I’m finally feeling comfortable enough to share my struggle with the world.  That’s not an easy feat for someone like me, who prides themselves on keeping things close.  But the thing I find most frustrating about what I’m going through right now, is that I can’t find anyone that shares in my pain.

I’ve found blogs posted by other women and some of them are wonderfully uplifting.  I’m not in that place yet.  I’m not going to “Let go and let God”.  I don’t know that I believe God exists.  And if he/she does, why would so many deserving people have such a problem building a family and so many shitty parents seem to have no problem?  The news is constantly littered with stories of child abuse and neglect.  Why do those parents get rewarded with one of the most beautiful gifts in life, one that they clearly take for granted?  It’s not fair and that fucking sucks.

The point of this blog is to share the journey as my husband and I navigate through IUI and IVF in an attempt to start a family together.  I hope you’re able to take something away from my story; whether it hits home or close to it, I hope that it will provide insight into what some couples go through to build their happily ever after.

Babymoon in Europe: Part Two

We left London Sunday evening and hopped on the Eurostar to Amsterdam.  I’m sure you’re wondering, “what’s a pregnant woman going to do in Amsterdam?”  I mean, I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t get high, and at almost 6 months pregnant, I wasn’t able to hop on a bike to see the sights.  But I could eat!

We got in to Amsterdam late Sunday night, so we didn’t have a chance to do much that first night, other than to find a place to eat close to our hotel.  Like the London leg of our trip, we didn’t have much of an itinerary.  Our plan was to figure it out when we got there.

The one thing I knew, I wanted to visit in Amsterdam was the Anne Frank Huis, but be warned: tickets sell out fast!  I procrastinated on purchasing them, and tickets were gone by the time I tried.  They do release a limited number of same day tickets each day, so I held out hope that I’d get lucky by checking the website each day that we were there.

We came up empty-handed the first day, so we decided to just walk around Amsterdam and see the sights.  Our hotel was located right on one of the canals, so we walked some of the canals, through  the Jordaan neighborhood, Vondelpark and up to the Rijksmuseum.

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We ran out of time to do much more that day, so we made our way back closer to the hotel to find a place to eat.  We found a cute little restaurant a couple blocks from our hotel to grab a bite to eat, but I couldn’t tell you anything about that dining experience.  Why?  Because my eyes were transfixed on the bakery across the street.  I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before.  It was bright, colorful and super inviting.  I told Lee we would be making a pit stop at the bakery as soon as dinner was over.

The bakery was packed.  I perused all of the different options while I patiently waited for my turn.  After some back and forth and absolutely no help from Lee, I chose a slice of Dutch apple pie and a chocolate cream puff.  They did not disappoint.

 

We awoke the next day, attempted to get tickets to the Anne Frank House and this time we were successful!  We finished our breakfast and then made our way over to the museum.

The tour was amazing.  Heartbreaking, but amazing.  You actually get to walk through the apartment where Anne’s family and others were holed up during World War II.  There are still remnants of pictures and magazine ads up on the wall in the room that Anne and her sister occupied for the majority of their time in the apartment.  I found the museum to be educational, poignant and incredibly well done.

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Anne Frank’s diary is on display, in all of the languages in which it has been translated.

From there, we took a boat tour of the canals, which was conveniently located outside of the museum.  It had started to rain, so it seemed the best way to see the rest of Amsterdam since we couldn’t walk around.

We made one more trip to Rene’s bakery on our way back to the hotel before calling it a night.  The next leg of our trip would be taking us to Brussels first thing the next morning.

While there was a lot we managed to accomplish in the 2 days we spent in Amsterdam, there’s definitely a lot that we need to go back and experience.  I would have loved to rent a bike and see the sights that way, however, I was a little nervous about hopping on a bike at 5 months pregnant.   I’ve never been to a city that is so bike friendly!  I would have also liked to take a day trip out to the country side to see some of the famous windmills.  And I’d be lying if I said trying a space cake wasn’t somewhat intriguing.

It might take us years to make it back to Amsterdam, but it’s definitely on our list of places to visit again.

 

Babymoon in Europe: Part One

As you may remember, my husband and I planned a trip to Europe.  We scheduled the trip a few months after our IVF cycle, with the idea being the same as our Europe trip after the previous cycle.  If our IVF was successful, it would make for an incredible babymoon.  If it wasn’t, well, at least we’d have a vacation to look forward to.  As luck would have it, our cycle was successful, and we were determined to make our babymoon one hell of a celebration.

We left for Europe at the end of October.  Our trip would start as our Europe trips always do; with a few days in London.  This was my 8th trip to London and my husband’s 4th, so we didn’t really have an itinerary planned for this trip.  Our plan was simply to take in the sights and enjoy ourselves.  Chances are we won’t be making it across the pond again any time soon.

We did make a point to visit the Museum of London, which neither of us had been to in our previous visits.  It’s a museum that takes you through the history of London, from the prehistoric ages all the way to the present time.  It’s a great way to experience London’s history and it’s free!  We spent the better part of our day taking in London’s history at the museum.

Our weekend in London was spent with some of our closest friends and favorite UK residents, Charlie & Gareth.  We spent the morning making our way over to One New Change, a shopping center complete with rooftop patio and breathtaking views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the city itself.  It was there that my baby bump made its social media debut.

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From there, we went to Borough Market.  It’s an outdoor food market with tons of vendors and a variety of different foods.  We managed to destroy some cheese and olives breadsticks, pretzels, pad thai, bratwurst and Turkish delight in the short time we were there.  Honestly, we might have had more.  It’s all a food coma haze to me at this point.  They were out of the one thing we showed up for, however.  There’s a vendor there called the Pieminister that’s supposed to have the most amazing pie and mash, but alas, they were out of all the ones we wanted by the time we got there.  Oh well.  Gives us an excuse to go back, doesn’t it?

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A pregnant woman leads the way into the food market of her dreams

From there, we made a special trip to a bookstore in London called Waterstones.  Their store on Picadilly is the largest bookstore in all of Europe and one of my favorite places to visit when we come to London.  This time, our visit was particularly special, as I was buying my baby girl her very first Paddington Bear book.  I got incredibly emotional walking through the children’s books thinking about how lucky we were to be having this baby and how I couldn’t wait to start reading her some of my favorite stories from my childhood.  Picture it if you will; me, 5 months pregnant, walking around the  children’s book section, clutching a stuffed Paddington bear and crying hysterically.  Lee just looked at me and laughed.  Not in like, a “haha your tears are funny”, but more of a “that’s my pregnant wife, isn’t she adorable” sort of way.  I would use the excuse that pregnancy makes one emotional, but frankly, I’m just an emotional person and Paddington is one of my favorite books.  I probably would have cried about buying it for my child even if I wasn’t pregnant.

After a long day out and about in the city, it was time to head back to the hotel.  The plan was to take a quick nap and head out for dinner with our friends.  In actuality, it ended up being a 3 and half hour nap, followed by snacks purchased from the local grocery store, playing card games and watching music videos in our friend’s room.  It was a wild Saturday night.

Our last day in London was more like a half day, as we would be leaving for Amsterdam on the Eurostar later that evening.  We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel with our friends, and did a bit of shopping before we left for the train station.  We stopped at a cute stationary store and I happened to find a pregnancy journal.  It seemed like the perfect thing to work on during our 4 and a half hour train ride, so I snatched it up.

We also made a quick stop over at the British Museum, another one of the free museums that London has to offer.  We didn’t stay long, as we had a train to catch, but it provided a great spot to look around while we waited for an afternoon rain shower to pass.  The Great Court is, in my humble opinion, one of the coolest places in London.

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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Once the rain passed, we walked back to the hotel, picked up our luggage and said goodbye to our friends.  Then it was off to St. Pancras to embark on the next leg of our European Vacation:  Amsterdam!

 

 

Back from Hiatus

It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve posted!  A lot has happened in the last 6 months, and I have every intention of getting you all up to speed.  The abridged version is that we went on a babymoon to Europe, lost my mother-in-law to cancer and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  All of these life events deserve more explanation and their own separate blog posts, so please bear with me as I dust off my computer and get back into the swing of writing.

I thought I might not have much to share after getting pregnant, but as it turns out, there’s so much I’ve learned about pregnancy, the birthing process and raising a baby that I thought might be helpful to those of you reading.  So many of us have that dream of living the Pinterest ideal of motherhood, where we can accomplish it all while donning freshly applied makeup and a whipping up a delicious and nutritious dinner for your husband as soon as he walks in the door.  The reality of it all, is sometimes, that’s just not gonna happen.  In fact, some days, your only accomplishment (other than keeping a tiny human alive) might be that you showered that day.  And you know what?  That is perfectly okay.

Thank you so much for your patience as I’ve navigated my life over the course of the last few months.  I look forward to sharing my story with you!Hello-Im-back

22-Week Update

I’ve had the best of intentions with continuing my writing, but it seems like time is going by so fast.  So much of my time is now devoted to preparing for this baby; from preparing the nursery to researching day care centers, and every item that the baby may or may not need, to starting a baby registry.  It’s incredibly time-consuming, but oh so fun.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a planner, so all the research that goes into preparing for a baby is basically a dream come true.

Baby Girl Gilbertson is doing well.  We had our 20-week ultrasound a few weeks ago and our little ninja is continuing to impress with her ability to break dance in utero.  45 minutes into the ultrasound last week, our sonographer, exhausted by the number of images she still had yet to capture, finally looked at Lee and I and said “you’re going to have your hands full with this one.”  As of right now, we’re assuming she has all 10 fingers and toes?  It was incredibly hard to tell with all the fist pumping and karate kicks going on during our ultrasound.

Can I feel all these kicks?  Hell yeah!  It’s a pretty amazing feeling.  Lee got to feel her kick for the first time last week, so I’m guessing it’s starting to get real for him too.

How am I doing?  Pretty fantastic.  I spent the entire first trimester in an exhausted haze, so the energy burst I’ve experienced in the second trimester has been a welcome change.  Watching my belly grow has been a pretty amazing sight as well.  I’m being very cognizant about the amount of weight I put on, particularly because having PCOS makes me extra susceptible to gestational diabetes.  I was tested at 10 weeks (it was negative) and will have to be tested again (most likely at my next OB appointment).

And if life couldn’t get any sweeter, we’re heading on our babymoon on Wednesday!  10 days traveling around London, Amsterdam and Belgium.

Yes, things are going pretty well with the Gilbertson clan right now and we couldn’t be happier.  Only 18 more weeks until we meet our little miracle!

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Back from Sabbatical

I’ve been MIA for roughly three months now, for which I am deeply sorry to those of you who follow my blog.  But, I’ve been silent for good reason.  I’ve been hiding a monumental secret.

Baby Kira

Our second round of IVF worked!  I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant with an incredibly resilient baby girl.

It doesn’t feel quite real yet.  Even as I’m watching my body change to make room for baby, I can’t believe I’m pregnant.  I’ve seen her move like a maniac on an ultrasound and heard the sound of her beautifully strong heartbeat, but it still seems so surreal.  I’m not sure when it will truly register.  Will it be the first time I can feel her kick?  Or perhaps it won’t fully sink in until she’s in my arms?  I guess time will tell.  When you spend so many years hoping for something only to be consistently disappointed, it makes it a little hard to believe when that almost forgotten dream becomes a reality.

But now, let me get something straight.  That doesn’t mean I’m not over the moon with excitement.  And I’m already completely in awe of her.  She’s an absolute miracle.  And yes, I know all children, in general, are a miracle, but she’s managed to take it up a notch.  Between two IVF cycles, we had 25 embryos.  Out of all 25 embryos, she’s the only one that survived.  That in and of itself, is pretty amazing.

I’m excited to be back in the blogosphere and sharing our story; just because I’ve been silent doesn’t mean I’ve run out of things to say.  Thank you to all of you who have followed our story, shared in our heartbreak and celebrated our victories.  The story isn’t over; in fact, it’s just starting to get good.

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If you’re wondering what the hell the title of this blog post means, it’s IVF-speak for 3 days post day 5 day transfer.  That’s how all the cool kids going through IVF talk, so I figured I’d give it a try.

It’s been a whirlwind of activity the last 8 days.  Last Wednesday was our egg retrieval and it was just as I remembered; painful as shit.  You see, they give you some painkillers, but they have to use them sparingly, as too much can hurt the eggs.  Then, a needle is inserted into the uterus to remove the follicular fluid as well as the egg from each follicle.  After, the follicle is void of fluid and egg, however, it doesn’t deflate right away, so it feels like having an abdomen filled with air.  Actually, it felt exactly like this:

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Thursday, I went back to work in a fair amount of pain and feeling fat as hell, but tried to keep myself busy.  The day after the retrieval is when we would find out whether our transfer would be scheduled 3 days or 5 days after the retrieval.  You see,  after the retrieval, my eggs are married with Lee’s sperm via a procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).  All of the eggs are injected with sperm and then left untouched for roughly 20 hours to fertilize.  At the end of that 20 hours, if a couple has four eggs fertilized or less, Dr. Corfman schedules a 3 day transfer, the idea being that the woman’s uterus is a better incubator than the ones in the lab.  If there are more than four eggs fertilized, a 5 day transfer will be scheduled.  A 5 day transfer allows them to watch the embryos more closely and better determine which ones might result in a pregnancy.  Day 5 transfer success rates are a bit higher than 3 day transfers for that reason.

We didn’t find out how many fertilized eggs we had on Thursday, but we were scheduled for a 5 day transfer.  We chose not to ask how many eggs we had, as anything can happen in those 5 days.  We didn’t want to be told we had one number and then find out a bunch didn’t make it to the 5 day mark.  We did find out, however, that Lee gave one of his best samples for this cycle.  Not only was that something to celebrate, but it was sort of a feather in my cap as well:  Proof that all the nagging I did to change bad eating and increase exercise worked.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Monday morning was our transfer.  They give you a little report card when you show up that let’s you know what you’re working with.  The report card stated the following:

17 oocytes retrieved

15 oocytes ICSI’d

14 oocytes fertilized

13 viable embryos

First off, those numbers are pretty fucking incredible.  By the time a woman gets to my age, 40-60% of her eggs are considered abnormal.  One of the great things about aging!  We knew I would probably have a high retrieval rate because of my PCOS, but the number of eggs (oocytes) that are considered normal is always going to be a crap shoot.  On our last cycle, I had 26 eggs retrieved, 19 of which were considered normal.  Because I work in accounting and numbers are my favorite, I’ll have you know that 73% of my eggs were considered normal with our first cycle.  I was pretty jazzed about that  way back when.  But look at my numbers this time.  17 retrieved, 15 considered normal – 88%.  My eggs jumped a a full letter grade and a half.  We were awestruck.  Though they retrieved less eggs this time, we actually had more viable embryos.  We left the retrieval, still cautiously optimistic, but finally, maybe, just a little more optimistic than cautious.

But we still had one more hurdle to clear.  They don’t freeze embryos until day 6, so we had to wait one more day to determine how many embryos would be freezable and allow for future cycles, in the event that this one is not successful.  So we waited anxiously for one more day, fairly certain that with the numbers we put up this time, at least a couple would make it to the freezing stage.  NOPE.  What’s inside me is what we’re working with.  We’ve experienced this before, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear a second time.

The good news, is that Lee didn’t take this news lying down.  He did some research because, frankly, we were dumbfounded.  How on earth have we had 25 viable embryos between 2 IVF cycles and yet, we have no back up?  Well, it turns out that only about 20-25% off eggs make it to day 6.  There are plenty of cycles that don’t produce freezable embryos but still result in a positive pregnancy test.  So currently, that’s the glimmer of hope we’re holding on to.  That, and Dr. Corfman told us that my uterus had an A+ rating.  I’m basically a uterine valedictorian.

So that’s where it stands.  We’re currently in the dreaded two week waiting period, where we try to keep ourselves busy and not think about anything baby related, all the while secretly counting the hours until we find out the results.

 

Wholly Unprepared

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I’ve been staring at this empty page for what feels like ages.  I’m just not sure what to say.  Our retrieval has been scheduled and I’m feeling entirely unprepared.

We went in for an ultrasound and blood draw on Sunday morning.  At last count, I’ve got roughly 30 follicles, roughly half of which were at about 12-14 mm. The others were all under 10 mm.  At that point, the nurses weren’t quite sure whether they would try to bring me in for one more ultrasound or if they were going to schedule the trigger shot.  Sunday afternoon we received a call letting us know it was time.  We would do one more stimulation shot, two more follicle maturing shots and 3 more anti-ovulation shots.  The HCG and the Lupron trigger shot (designed to keep my ovaries from hyper stimulation – common in women with PCOS) were scheduled for 10:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, with the retrieval scheduled for exactly 36 hours later, at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

If it seems to you that things are progressing a lot faster this time around, that’s because they are.  We had 12 days between our first shot and egg retrieval on our last cycle.  This time it was only 9.  I don’t honestly know if that’s a good or a bad thing.  It just is what it is, I guess.  What I do know, is that everything seems different this time.  I don’t remember feeling bloated and achy last time, until the day of the retrieval.  This time, I feel like the fricken Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I haven’t gained any weight during this cycle.  If anything, I’ve dropped a couple of pounds, but I’m so bloated that I feel as though I look like I could already be pregnant.  I also don’t remember being this sad.  I’m sure it’s mostly hormonal, but I can’t seem to shake it.  Most days have been fine, but the last couple have been pretty terrible.  And I can’t quite figure out why.  Maybe because I have no choice but to be ready before I truly feel ready.

That’s all I know for now.  Our transfer date won’t be determined until after the retrieval and will be contingent upon how many eggs successfully fertilize.  At this point, we know it will either be Saturday or Monday.  I’m desperately hoping that we have better luck with that this time.  If you remember our last retrieval they took 26 eggs.  One of their technicians even mentioned that she’d never seen so many eggs get collected at one time.  That left me feeling pretty amazing.  Sore as fuck, but incredibly proud of what my body was capable of.  Of the 26 eggs, 19 were considered normal.  Again, great news and higher than average numbers.  Of those 19, 12 fertilized normally.  Lee and I were overjoyed at the these facts, feeling pretty confident that we would be an IVF success story.  And yet, none of those 12 ended up being viable embryos.  I honestly don’t know if I’m strong enough to endure that kind of pain again.  And I don’t know that I’m ready to find out.  But I don’t really have a choice anymore, do I?

I’m going to go underground again for a bit.  Call it self-preservation, if you will.  To those of you that have followed along through our journey, thank you.  To those that have felt compelled to reach out, just to let us know you’re hoping for the best for us, I can’t even begin to describe what your thoughts and kindness have meant.  Know that I’ll be carrying those thoughts with me tomorrow, all the way through our transfer, up to our pregnancy test, and beyond.  I hope this story finally gives us the happy ending (beginning, really) that we’ve been hoping for.

 

 

Europe 2k18

Well, this should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but surprise!  Lee and I are planning another Europe trip.  5 months from today, we’ll be on our way.

How can we afford this you ask?  Skymiles.  You see, roughly 5 years ago, when Lee and I were planning our wedding, I suggested that we sign up for the Delta Skymiles Card.  While we had some money set aside for our wedding, I figured if we were going to have the party we wanted, it was going to involve some debt.  And if we were going to incur some debt, we might as well get some credit card perks to go with it.  As we planned our wedding, we would put all purchases on the credit card, and then pay it off as soon as possible.  We managed to amass a fair number of miles this way, but not quite enough to pay for a honeymoon.  That would have to wait.

Then 4 rounds of IUI and 2 rounds of IVF happened.  We’ve got miles coming out of our ears at this point.  So many, in fact, that we’re able to pay for both of our flights with miles and still have enough leftover for another trip.  I guess that’s our silver lining?  Thanks inferility!

We’ll start the trip in London as usual, because that’s our favorite place in the entire world.

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Why do we love London so much?   The history is definitely a huge part of it.  Walking through a city with over 1,000 years of well-documented history is pretty awe-inspiring.  Also, the food is pretty amazing.  Don’t let anyone tell you that Brits don’t know food.  That’s false.  London is a melting pot of culture, so there’s something for everyone when it comes to food.  The last time we were there, we had great pub food, but we enjoyed fantastic Italian and Turkish fare as well.  The walkability of the city is another reason to be obsessed.  There’s so much to see in London and most everything is conveniently accessible by foot, tube or train.  Finally, the hotel company I work for has such great hotel deals over in Europe that it allows us to stay in luxury without breaking the bank.  As long as they keep offering such a generous perk, I will make sure to take advantage.

After a fun-filled 4 days in London, we’re heading to Amsterdam!

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Neither Lee and I have ever been to Amsterdam, unless you count an hour-long layover at their airport.  There’s so much to see in the Netherlands!  We’ll be spending 3 days there, and so far have plans to do a half-day trip out to the countryside as well as a trip to the Anne Frank museum.  Other than that?  We’ll do what we do best on vacation.  Walk around and take in the sights.

We’re hoping to take the Eurostar out to Amsterdam, as they now have a direct from London.  On the way back we’re planning on making a stopover in Brussels.  Depending on how long we have in Belgium, Lee would like to make a quick trip to Bruges as well.  One of his favorite movies is the dark comedy “In Bruges” so Lee’s looking forward to channeling his inner Colin Farrell for an afternoon.  (I’d personally prefer that he channel his inner Colin Firth, but that’s another discussion altogether).

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Bruges is known as one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so I’m looking forward to taking in the history!  After a quick trip through Belgium, it’s back to London for a couple more days to wrap up our vacation.

Naturally, we’re hoping for a big fat positive at the end of this cycle, which would make this vacation a pretty epic babymoon.  In the event that we don’t get the outcome we’re hoping for, we’ll need something to look forward to.  While I don’t know that there’s anything that will quell the sadness and disappointment we’ll be experiencing if this round doesn’t work, spending some time in our favorite place will probably help to ease the pain; at least for a little while.

Keeping up the cautiously optimistic attitude in the meantime.  T-minus 4 weeks until we learn the outcome.

 

It Begins…..Again

We hit the ground running today.  Ready or not, the time has arrived.

Our first ultrasound took place this morning.  My endometrial lining is right where they want it, all of my cysts are under control, my ovaries look good.  I was instructed to go ahead with my first dose of hormones.  We should be excited, right?  Well, we are, except for one thing:  We’ve been here before.

It feels like we’re walking an emotional tightrope this time around.  We get good news and feel on top of the world.  But then we remember we’ve heard this good news before and didn’t fall pregnant, which brings us right back down to earth.  Naturally we want to stay optimistic, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves.  If our cycles had an underlying theme, this one’s would be “cautiously optimistic”.

My focus this time will be a little bit different than it was during our last go around.  Last time I was very focused on healthy eating, exercise and all that jazz.  While I still plan on keeping a healthy lifestyle, this time around I’m going to be laser-focused on my attitude and stress levels.  My emotions have been a veritable smorgasbord, much, I’m sure, to Lee’s dismay.  Emotions have been heightened for the last few months as I’ve tried to come to terms with our last cycle as well as attempting to mentally prepare for this one.  The stress and anger have been a little too much at times.  And I’m letting things that normally shouldn’t bother me throw me completely off-kilter.  I really need to focus on not letting the minutiae of every day life get to me as much as it has the last few months.  Try as I might, I can’t control everything.  I can only control how I react.  And my reactions need to chill out a bit.

The good news is, it’s almost impossible to be upset in Minneapolis in late spring.  Spring started off like an evil joke this year, but we’re finally getting the mid 70s and sunny days that keep most of us Minnesotans in the bold North.  It’s also a short week for me!  I’m two weeks from my 2-year anniversary at my job and have a few vacation days to use or lose.  I’m choosing to enjoy a 5-day weekend this week.  And I’m trying to ensure I make enough time this week to do the things I enjoy.  I have 3 books on loan from my local library, and my goal is to finish at least one this weekend.  Other plans include drinking tea on my deck, planting some flowers and enjoying the beauty of the season.  I’ll also probably spend an exorbitant amount of time with my husband.  Did I mention how much I enjoy his company?  I feel like I might have casually mentioned it once or twice on this blog.  A long weekend with my main squeeze sounds like the perfect way to spend a holiday.

I have no doubt the second cycle will seem to go much faster than the first one.  We’re excited and scared, hopeful and nervous for the outcome.  The time has arrived and now we’ve got to put our game faces on and get ready for a whirlwind of a month.

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always a funny day for those of us that struggle with infertility.  If you dare to go on any form of social media, you will no doubt see pictures of mothers with their children and sappy, albeit beautifully written posts from sons and daughters touting the super women they are lucky enough to call mom.  And while you’re so incredibly happy for the outpouring of love that every mother is receiving, there’s still a part of your heart that breaks if you’re not a mom but want to be.

So you know what?  I might not be the mother of another human, but I’m most definitely the mother of three amazing animals.  This is my mother’s day tribute to them.

Omar

Omar is an 11 year-old Rat Terrier.  I got Omar when he was just an adorable little 6-week old puppy; practically small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

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Omar is an incredibly well-behaved little dude.  He never wants to be too far away from Mom and Dad and prefers when both Lee and I are home together.  If one of us is missing from the homestead, it’s safe to say that Omar will be laying in our bedroom, completely morose until we return.

Omar believes that he should be the center of our universe.  He doesn’t appreciate when we pay too much attention to the cats, and he especially doesn’t like it when Lee and I pay too much attention to each other.  In his mind, his spot on the couch, in bed, and in life should always be right between us.

Omar loves car rides, human food, wearing clothes, and an early bedtime.  Yet, for as excited as he gets to go to bed at a decent hour, he still has so much life and playfulness in him.  He especially loves to put on a show whenever we have friends over.  He parades around with his squeaky toys, daring our guests to play tug of war.  He’ll drop the toy at their feet, almost as if he’s offering a welcome present, only to snatch it back up and growl playfully as they try to wrench it from his mouth.

Omar has forever spoiled me as a dog mom.  The love that he puts forth is so pure, so unconditional.  I’m most definitely a better person for having been his mom.

 

Gladys

I refer to Gladys as my “angel princess”.  Named after my paternal grandmother because of her beautiful green eyes, Gladys is extremely cuddly and affectionate girl.  She expects pets and head scratches first thing when you walk in the door, and she expects a lot of them.  So much so, that if you even think about walking away from the pets before she’s had enough, you can expect that she will try to hook your hand with her paw to get your attention.  Don’t be surprised if she also tries to bite you to get her point across.  The good news, however, is that half of her teeth were removed last year due to a mouth infection, so when she bites, you won’t feel a thing.  If she really wants to get her point across, she’ll just climb right on top of you and make herself comfortable.

Gladys enjoys pets, rubber bands, playing with her mouse toys, waking us up with meows in the middle of the night to let us know she’s playing with her mouse toys, dry food and me.  She will accept affection from her father, but she’s a mama’s girl through and through.  Gladys’ dislikes include playing with our other cat, Roger, and when any of the neighbor cats walk through our yard.  Gladys spends many nights sleeping on my pillow, right above my head as if she’s my very own cat hat.

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I’ve said before, in this blog and in daily conversation, but I’ll say it again:  Gladys might very well be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  Gladys greets me at the door every day when I get home from work, ready for affection.  Whenever I’m having a bad day, Gladys is there to make me feel better with cuddles and nuzzles.  Cats can often be such finicky creatures, but I really hit the jackpot with this one.

Roger

How do I explain Roger?  He’s just a super chill little dude.  Actually, he’s not all that little.  The fact that he helps himself to Omar’s food and attempts to steal food from Lee and I has given him a little bit of a pooch.  He’s not fat per sé, but the vet has advised not to let him gain any more weight.

Roger came to us when he was 8 weeks old.  He and Gladys took to each other initially, because he was an adorable helpless little kitten who needed a mom.  However, he soon grew out of his cuddly phase and has been rocking the tormenting little brother phase for the last 5 and a half years.

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Roger lives for food and naps.  He also enjoys making space for himself in places where he doesn’t quite fit.  He’s the most malleable cat I’ve ever met.  You can pick him up, move him around, make him dance, whatever.  He’s never bothered.  And while he’s just as affectionate as Gladys, he’s not nearly as needy.  Mostly he just wants a comfortable place to take one of his 500 daily naps.

He’s a creature of habit, following us to bed every night and staying with us straight through until morning.  He takes turns sleeping between my legs and Lee’s but he’s definitely a “bros before hos” kind of cat.  Most nights, Roger can be found “bro-ing” out with his dad and watching TV.

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As I write this blog post, my heart is filled with such pride.  While I hope our family isn’t done growing, I do have to say we are a pretty amazing little family of  5.  These 3 (and Lee) are my absolute world.  I’m so thankful to be their mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing women out there.  Whether you’re a Grandma, Mom, Mother-in-Law, Mother-to-Be, Cat Mom, Dog Mom, Aunt, Sister, or just one hell of a woman, you deserve to be celebrated for all you bring to the table.

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